“I like music,” she breezily informed him when they were
thirteen. Peter Parker had been standing off to the side, on the edges of the
orientation for Midtown School of Science & Technology, when a girl with
deep-set eyes and buyout curls approached him. He had thought he was invisible,
or hoped it, but the music lover had seen him.
Later, he would learn she was very observant.
Peter cleared his throat and turned around to look for
anyone else she might have been addressing, but it was just him. She had crossed
a room full of brilliant peers to talk to the lonely boy in the corner. He
wondered if she was some kind of superhero, looking out for the little guys.
He couldn’t help it, he smiled. “Me too,” he replied.
She rested her shoulder against the wall and turned her gaze
on the gym floor where all of the other Midtown acceptees were talking, “What
kind of music?”
“My Uncle Ben and I like to go to grunge concerts. He says
everything after 90s rock n roll is autotuned garbage.” Peter tugged on the
paws of his long-sleeved shirt nervously. “By the way, I’m Peter.”
“Michelle Jones,” she introduced herself.
“Cool,” he ducked his head to hide a blush. She was very
pretty, his Midtown Orientation protector, and he wasn’t sure it was very nice
to notice such things. May was always chastising him for gaping openly at
girls, but, gosh, they were so pretty. Especially this girl.
She gnawed on her lip anxiously and he considered that maybe
he was not the only one that felt out of place in the grand school with all of
these smart kids. “Queens,” he added, as an afterthought.
Michelle tucked some runaway curl behind her ear, “Brooklyn.”
“Cool. Cool. ….cool,” he repeated a third time. “I like
She raised her eyebrow at him dubiously, “Have you ever
Peter shook his head, “Uh. No.”
“I’ll take you some time,” she had said.
“I like music,” she echoed again when they were seventeen.
She was sitting on her fire escape in Brooklyn between his legs with her back
squared against his chest.
Peter easily ran his thumb up and down her arm. He hid a
smile in her curls, “Oh?”
“Everybody likes music, Parker,” she snuggled deeper into
the ring of his arms. “Don’t be deranged.”
“You know, I promised to take you to Brooklyn sometime.” She
gestured to the horizon broadly with her arms, “What do you think?”
Peter kissed her shoulder and hummed contently, “I love it.”