Only maybe José was right to be concerned. Truth was, things heated up not long after Tony moved in. He was a perfect gentleman, of course, at least in the first week or so, going out of his way to respect my privacy, not to mention my modesty. After the first couple of days, I wondered if I’d accidentally been right about that kiss. But it had to mean something, right? It wasn’t every day that an unaccompanied minor caught entering the country illegally planted one right on the mouth of a not unattractive, completely unattached Border Patrol agent.
At any rate, there was no way Tony was actually sixteen. I’d glimpsed him from the second storey balcony coming out of the shower sporting nothing but a towel. Talk about a hot bod! Mamá was right. Without a shirt, he looked like an actor from one of her telenovelas. Oddly, he was often muttering something to himself, almost as if he were rehearsing lines for a play, and sometimes I’d even hear him singing under his breath. I wondered if it was that song about me. Anyway, with muscular development like that, not to mention his easy, natural swagger, there was no way this guy was a teenager. And that whole story about us being related?
I didn’t believe it for a second.
Early one morning, coffee unbrewed, Mamá still sawing logs, Tony came out of the shower wearing next to nothing, droplets of water beading on his ripped shoulders and back. He strutted toward his bedroom, but before he got to the door, he swiveled and gazed up at me. I gasped but didn’t slink away. “Buenos días,” I tried to say, but it got stuck in my throat.
“But soft,” said Tony, “what light through yonder window breaks?” He took three steps toward the balcony and grinned. “It is the east, and María is the sun.”
Soon it became our morning routine, the main reason I rolled out of bed, the highlight of my otherwise long, boring days. I was faking it pretty well on the job, but I could feel José giving me these looks, like he knew I was hiding something. Still, the whole thing with Tony was completely harmless. Seriously. I mean, so what if there was so much passion in his voice, the words he spoke no longer meant what they were supposed to mean, but something more intense, indecent almost, so you wouldn’t actually want to say it out loud?
As it turned out, quite a lot.
Because one morning, as we stood there devouring each other with our eyes, I said, “Te adoro, Antonio.”
I didn’t even know I was thinking it. Or maybe I did, I’d known it since we danced at the Christmas party, but I certainly hadn’t meant to say it. There was no need to worry, though, because Tony never missed a beat.
“Te adoro, María,” he said.
That wasn’t the end of anything. In fact, it was only the beginning. Because not two days later, I stood on the balcony gazing down at Tony, ogling his hot bod and not feeling an ounce of shame. I wanted to say, “We’re not really related, ¿verdad?” But what came out was:
“Antonio, Antonio, wherefore art thou Antonio?”
Now I was quoting Shakespeare, too?
He grinned up at me, teeth gleaming bluish-white in the new morning sun. “Because a Rosás by any other name wouldn’t smell as sweet, amor.”
That night, he crept into my room, my bed, my life.
“Only you,” he whispered in the darkness. I couldn’t make out more than his silhouette. “You’re the only thing I see, forever.”