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Stories posted in this category are works of fiction. Names, places, characters, events, and incidents are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously. Any resemblances to actual persons (living or dead), organizations, companies, events, or locales are entirely coincidental.
Note: While authors are asked to place warnings on their stories for some moderated content, everyone has different thresholds, and it is your responsibility as a reader to avoid stories or stop reading if something bothers you. 

Southward - 4. IV.

My teeth chattered as a gust of polar wind passed by the street, making me pull my legs closer to my chest in a futile attempt to keep warm. The concrete of the sidewalk felt hard against my ass, but it still beat standing up and facing the treacherous spring morning cold. I really shouldn’t have worn gym shorts.

“What time is it now?” Tomás mumbled over a cigarette from his spot on the sidewalk. It was still a mystery to me how he managed to stay in shape while smoking half a pack a day.

“8:21,” answered Nahuel, visibly irritated. The group groaned. “Serves us right for showing up on time every Friday when we know Jesus likes to keep us waiting.”

Jesus was the nickname the group had given to our PE professor, whose shoulder-length hair and carefree attitude made him vaguely resemble the Messiah. His habit of being late for class wouldn’t have been so bad if our PE class wasn’t at 8 in the morning in a private sports center that didn’t open until the professor showed up, which typically meant we had to wait out in the street until his untimely arrival.

My whole body shivered as another cold gust went by. Jesus the PE teacher could’ve stayed home for all I cared; I was worried about a different absentee.

I’d had a hard time falling asleep that night. I kept replaying the scenes of that surreal afternoon; the chance encounter with Valentín in the subway, our conversation in the balcony, making out with him on my bed…

Part of me still felt as if none of that had really happened.

Would he talk to me at school or would he go back to ignoring me? What if he was just nice to me because there was no one around?

I knew that was the sort of thing one was supposed to talk about beforehand, but in the heat of the moment all of those concerns disappeared. Short-term planning was hard with another guy’s tongue in my mouth.

Luckily, I didn’t have to wait for too long to find out.

“See, this guy’s got it right,” Tomás said as Valentín arrived, greeting the boys with a fist pump. “Hasn’t been on time all year and hasn’t had a single admonition.”

“Shut up Tomi, you live three blocks away,” Valentín barked back.

I stood up, expectant. He finished greeting the boys, and only then looked my way. Our eyes locked for an instant.

Well, what’s it gonna be?

He walked over.

“Hi,” he said, his voice a barely audible whisper, his expression unreadable.

“Hi,” I replied, emulating the frequency of his tone.

Then he placed a hand on my shoulder, leaned into me and kissed my cheek.

I let myself breath out. Out of the corner of my eye I noticed the boys looking our way in confusion.

By then I’d learned cheek-kissing was a commonplace and socially acceptable – if not somewhat dated – way for men to greet each other here. But for some reason, the gesture felt more intimate, more significant than the average kiss in the cheek.

Or perhaps I was looking too much into it.

I cleared my throat.

“You’re, uh, late,” I said.

Why did I feel like a giddy little girl all of a sudden?

He smiled.

“Maybe you’re too early.”

At that point Jesus finally showed up and opened the gates to the sports center, ushering us in. As we all walked into the court, Nahuel passed by me and mouthed an exaggerated ‘what?’, to which I merely shrugged.

For the rest of the class, Valentín treated me as just another one of the boys. After weeks of drifting away from the group, it was nice getting back into the fold, especially since it was on Valentín’s initiative. Perhaps the only downside was that I was now expected to keep up with them when playing soccer, which could only end badly, even if they were nice enough not to say anything about my lack of eye-hand coordination.

It didn’t help at all that now that I wasn’t mentally set to dislike Valentín, I couldn’t stop noticing just how hot he was. The way his Boca Juniors kit clung to his body was enough of a distraction to make me miss the ball a couple of times.

It was probably the first PE class I actually enjoyed in years.

I was washing my face in the bathroom after class when I felt a pair of warm hands on my hips. Startled, I turned to meet a familiar face.

“So I take it you don’t play much soccer in the US?” said Valentín, flashing a sly smile. He was drenched in sweat and his hair was messed up from all the exercise, but somehow the look suited him well.

“Yeah,” I said. “That’s totally why I suck at soccer. Nothing to do with my own abilities or anything like that.”

Valentín laughed. “Well, I’m glad. There was no way you could be good at everything.”

I raised an eyebrow. “What am I good at?”

He’d gotten closer to me, to the point we were now just inches away. My back bumped against the sink countertop. My eyes darted around to make sure we were alone.

His voice was deep and husky when he spoke: “I can think of a couple of things…”

I gulped down. His hands had returned to my hips. He leaned into my ear, and I got a whiff of sweat and body spray.

“See you at school later.”

Every last hair on the back of my neck stood up. It took me a moment to pull myself together and realize he was gone. My whole body felt like it’d just been charged with static.

How had it taken him a single day to gain all that confidence?

The subtle noises of a grandfather clock’s ticking and yesterday’s game on TV echoed through the house. Nahuel and I sat in silence on the couch, both of us scrolling through our feeds, fatigued after that morning’s exercise and the hearty meal we served ourselves afterwards.

I was about to lock my phone screen when a notification popped up.

@valen_g0mez99 is now following you.

I smiled to myself.

I was about to tap on his profile when Romina plopped down on the couch with a pout and a frown.

“They said no?” asked Nahuel.

“It’s not fair!” she said. “They let you go to Córdoba on your own when you were fifteen.”

Nahuel made an irritated face. “I went with Tomi and Valen. And it was a fishing trip in Mar Chiquita, not your weird feminist boot camp.”

Romina shot daggers at her brother. “How can you be such an idiot?”

I interjected before the conversation escalated further.

“What are you talking about?” I asked, trying to sound genuinely curious.

Nahuel groaned. “She’s pissed because mom and dad won’t let her go to Trelew for a feminist convention.”

“It’s not a convention, idiot,” Romina said, visibly annoyed. “It’s the National Women’s Encounter, it’s gonna be huge and all my friends are gonna be there.”

“Just go next year,” Nahuel said. “They won’t say no when you’re seventeen.

Romina rolled her eyes and waved her hand dismissively. “Whatever. You’re such a man.”

She stood up and left to her room, banging the door behind her.

Nahuel and I returned to the silence from before, albeit with an extra load of awkwardness after the heated exchange.

After a moment, Nahuel cleared his throat and turned to me.

“So… good game today in PE.”

I raised an eyebrow.

“I was awful.”

He snorted. “Yeah, you were.”

Then he leaned forward on the couch.

“How’d you get Valentín to talk to you?”

The question caught me off-guard, and I found myself panicking slightly.

“What do you mean?”

“He couldn’t even see you just a few days ago and today he was nicer to you than he’s ever been to all of us,” he said. He sounded genuinely impressed.

“Ah, well, you know…” Think fast. “I’ve just been, eh… Helping him with math homework.”

Real smooth there, Lauti.

“Math?” Nahuel asked.

“Uh, yeah,” I said. “He’s been having a hard time with the exercise sheets and since Mr. Rizzo wants us to submit them by Monday, I figured…”

He shrugged. “Well, that’s cool of you, helping him after the way he treated you.”

I forced a smile.

“But honestly I’m glad,” he went on to say. “He’s been all acting weird lately. It’s cool he’s at least talking to someone.”

I hummed, taking mental note of Nahuel’s words, but smiling inwards.

La Bombonera, a picture of a glass of fernet, a couple of nondescript photos of what appeared to be a motorcycle in a dark, dirty workshop… Not a single human face.

Valentín’s Instagram feed was as much a mystery as he was himself.

I sighed as I put my phone away. The whole classroom was quiet; everyone, including Mr. Rizzo, the math teacher, looked bored out of their mind. I was one of the few who’d already finished their designated classwork.

I looked to where Valentín was sitting, near the front of the class with the rest of the boys. We hadn’t really spoken since the brief encounter in the gym restrooms, but it didn’t feel like he was purposefully ignoring me.

The clock above the blackboard stated it was only 3:30 pm.

Two more hours to go.

I felt my phone vibrate in my pocket; a message from a number I hadn't saved.

“Hang out after school?”

I looked to the front. Valentín was on his phone. He didn’t look back.

“Who is this?”

“Who do you think?”

My eyes darted from Valentín’s seat to my phone screen. After a moment, he looked back and stuck his tongue out at me.

I rolled my eyes, mouthing ‘tarado’ back at him. Dummy.

Was this what flirting was like?

“Where do you want to go?”

He took a moment to respond to that one. When he did, he sent a location: the park a few blocks from the school, where we’d gone with the boys to crack open a cold one after that first day of class.

We shared another knowing look across the room that made my stomach turn into a butterfly farm.

Those two hours were about to feel so much longer.

The park was much bigger than I remembered. We walked around for a while before we found a comfortable spot. It hadn’t rained in a few days, but somehow the grass was all covered in dew.

We finally settled on a small bench by a pond. There weren’t many people around, save for a few runners. My heart beat fast as we finally sat down; we hadn’t exchanged more than a couple of words since leaving the school.

“Do you, uh, do you come here often?” I asked. For some reason every time I spoke with Valentín felt like the first.

He shrugged. “Sometimes, always with the boys,” he said. “It’s not really close to where I live, so…”

I nodded. I knew the commute to school was around the hour mark for him.

We sat in silence for a few minutes, facing forward. Slowly, but surely, our hands met on the bench, not unlike in the backseat of my mom’s car the night before. Neither of us seemed to mind the sweaty palms.

As we inched closer to each other, our exposed knees touched for the first time, and I decided the tickle of his soft leg hairs against mine was a sensation I never wanted to stop feeling.

Was it normal to feel all these things over just a touch? The way I could’ve written an entire manifesto to the congregation of our knees could not be within the realm of what was considered 'normal'.

“Will you ever return to the US?” he asked after a while.

“I don’t know,” I said. I took my time to think of the right words to answer. “Before I was sure I wanted to go back as soon as I could. But now…”

He hummed thoughtfully.

“What changed?”

I leaned into him, allowing my head to rest on his shoulder. His arm found its way around me.

I could’ve stayed like that forever.

“When my mom told me she was bringing me with her to Argentina, I thought my life was over,” I said. “But… I don’t know, maybe it was good after all – starting from scratch.”

He stayed quiet for a while, and then he chuckled.

“You’re so extra.”

I swatted his arm playfully.

“Hey, don’t talk to me like that,” I said. “I’m the one helping you with your math homework.”

He pinched his fingers upward, gesticulating confusion.

“What homework?”

I laughed. “It’s nothing. Nahuel asked me why you were talking to me today in PE and I told him I’ve been helping you with Rizzo’s exercise sheets.”

“Oh,” he said. “Yeah, that was smart.”

I felt his grip on my shoulder loosen, and he shifted uncomfortably on the bench. When I turned to him again, a somber look had appeared on his face.

Wait, what's wrong?

“I can actually help you if you want,” I said. “With math, I mean.”

He smiled, but it didn’t reach his eyes.

“Yeah, maybe sometime.”

The sun was starting to set in the horizon, its light creating a moving rainbow on the water. Valentín didn’t look impressed.

“Would you, uh… I’d love to meet your place,” I suggested timidly.

He turned to me.

“I don’t think that’ll be possible today,” he said. “Sorry.”

I felt as if I'd just been shot down from the sky.

“Oh, that’s alright,” I said, trying not to sound as disappointed as I really was. “Some other time, then?”

He nodded. “Yeah, that’d be cool.”

Panic settled over me. Something had changed.

Do something.

I placed a hand on Valentín’s cheek, making him turn toward me again.

Neither of us said anything. I tried to find the slightest hint of accord in his gaze, some sort of permission to move on.

When it didn’t appear, I decided to go for it anyway.

I kissed him, soft at first; tentatively. But then his body language changed, and his hand on my side gave me a cue to lean into him. As I pushed my weight onto him my tongue ventured into his mouth. He reciprocated accordingly.

We remained linked for what felt like an eternity, our liplock only interrupted by brief pauses to breathe.

Then he pulled away.

He exhaled as if he’d just finished a marathon.

“It’s getting late,” he said. “We should probably go home.”

My heart sank.

It was obvious something I’d said or done had upset him, but I couldn’t figure out exactly what, and it was killing me.

The customary silence on the way to the bus stop was the same type of awkward void from before, when we'd just met; the type of silence you desperately want to fill with words, regardless of what they are, but somehow can’t.

His bus came first.

I gathered all the strength I could muster to speak again before he left.

“Text me?” was all I managed to croak out.

His gaze was icy when he turned. “Sure.”

And just like that, he was gone.

I stared at the dark brown beverage on the table. It moved, ever so slightly, as wind came into the house from the balcony, and I suddenly realized I hadn’t drunk a single sip of it, and by now it was likely ice cold.

Shit.

I took out my phone to check the time. 3:21 pm. When had it gotten so late?

Instinctively, I opened the messaging app. Maybe Valen had answered my text and the notification hadn’t popped up, or maybe my text hadn’t sent at all.

Nope.

It was still there, effectively sent, with no answer.

“Wanna hang out later today? We can go somewhere close to your place”

I wrote it early in the morning, when I'd just woken up. I'd immediately regretted sending it, but ultimately decided it was better to take a 'no' like a champ than deleting the message and leaving the blank space for him to see.

I put my phone away. Had the cold coffee not been in front of me I probably would’ve fully headbutted the table.

What was it with the men in my life and ghosting me? An inexplicably transcendent bond.

The frantic clacking of my mom's heels made me look up.

“I’m leaving now,” she said from the door, almost breathless.

“Good luck,” I said, though she probably didn’t hear me.

She was having a hard time in the employment area, which was sadly to be expected given her age and the years she’d spent away from the country – years of severed connections.

At least I'm not the only one having a hard time.

Out of nowhere, I heard my ringtone go off.

My heart swelled in anticipation, but it was swiftly deflated when I saw the name on the screen.

I sighed in disappointment.

It was bound to happen eventually.

“Hi, dad.”

“Hey, Lauti.” I heard my father speak for the first time in three months. He sounded terrible. “How are you holding up?”

Terribly.

“I’m good.”

“I’m glad, I’m glad,” he said.

The voice on the other side of the line fell silent for a moment, and I started getting impatient.

This was the first time I was talking live with him since our departure, and it wasn’t a call I’d been particularly looking forward to.

“How are you?” I asked, more out of a desire to move on with the conversation than genuine interest.

“I’m good!” he said, clearly forcing it. I heard him sigh. “I know I’ve been somewhat absent as of late… I just thought I should call you because…” he cleared his throat. “I thought you should know that I’m selling the house.”

“Oh.”

It made sense – a single man living in a big, empty house, filled with nothing but memories of the family he’d lost through his own doing…

It still felt awful.

“Yeah…” He paused for a moment. “But tell me about your things. How’s school? Have you made any friends?”

My stomach turned. Something about the tone of his question reeked of condescendence.

“Yeah, I’ve made some friends,” I said.

I probably should’ve thought twice before saying what I said next, but the emotional rollercoaster that my life had been in the past 48 hours had effectively made away with all my inhibitions when it came to the man I considered responsible for the whole mess I was in.

And so my gums flapped away.

“I’m actually seeing someone,” I said, intentionally letting an edge slip into my voice. “His name is Valentín. He’s a boy.”

Silence. I knew he was still there only by the faint sound of his breathing, but otherwise, there was nothing.

“Eh, well,” he finally said. “I’m happy, Lauti, that’s great to hear.”

The contrast between his words and the tone with which he said them was almost comical. I tried my best to ignore the way it hurt, and the way my hands were trembling so much it was getting hard keeping the phone in place.

“Was there anything else you wanted to talk to me about?” I asked.

“No, son, I mean… If there’s –”

“I have to hang up now, dad.”

“Oh,” he said. Was he happy about that? I couldn’t tell. “Let’s talk again sometime soon, then.”

“Yeah. Bye, dad.”

I hung up before he was even done saying goodbye.

I heard myself curse out loud. I had to stop myself from throwing the bow to the ground.

This wasn’t even a hard piece. I’d played this part before without any trouble. I could visualize the notes on the partiture in front of me translated onto the strings, I knew what my arm was supposed to do, and still…

I couldn’t do it. It was like my brain had decided to check out for the day.

I sighed as I put away the cello. Maybe there was something from school I could still do? Something I could get ahead in?

I flipped through my school binder.

Nothing.

I checked the time.

8:06 pm.

I briefly considered just going to bed. What else was I supposed to do now? Staying awake would just leave me alone with my thoughts, and I didn’t have time to unpack all that.

I was about to get into bed when the notification bell on my phone went off again.

God, what now?

I opened the message only after seeing it was from Nahuel.

“Yo Lauti, want to come over to Tomi’s? Joaco bought a bottle of Absolut lmao”

I rolled my eyes.

“Again? Do you only get together to drink?”

He sent the woozy emoji. “It’s nothing like your birthday pregame, it’s just the boys here.”

Oh.

I suddenly felt a rush run through me. I tried to find a not-so-obvious way to ask if Valentín would be there.

“Who’s there?”

“??? Everyone. Tomi, Joaco, Valen, Santi…”

Bingo.

“Be there in 30.”

Nahuel had never looked so happy to see me.

“Dude, thank you for coming,” he said as he led me into Tomi’s house. “This is so dead.”

I shuddered as we walked in. There were some major memories attached to this place.

I was welcomed to a sorry sight. Five teenagers spread through the living room, unenthusiastically drinking from their cups as trap music played unattended in the background.

The group barely paid attention to me as I arrived, except for one. The one I’d come here for.

Valentín’s eyes widened when he saw me.

“Hey,” I said, loud enough for it to be a general greeting, but looking straight at him.

“Hey,” he said, blankly. Others followed suit. He didn’t get up to greet me, and I didn’t go to him.

I tried to figure out what he was thinking just from his expression. He didn’t look angry at me, but he didn't look particularly happy to see me either.

Why does everything have to be so difficult with you?

Nahuel handed me a glass of what appeared to be a screwdriver with – judging by the smell – obscenely off proportions. I hadn’t found a seat when Valentín stood up.

“I’m gonna have a smoke,” he announced, seemingly at no-one in particular. He didn’t meet my gaze as he passed by me to head off to the patio.

Oh, no you don’t.

I took a big sip from the cup, never minding the burning sensation it left in my throat. I stood up.

“I’m going too,” I said. Valentín made no effort in hiding the dismay in his expression.

Nahuel raised an eyebrow. “Since when do you smoke tobacco?”

“Since always,” I dismissed, and then nodded towards Valentín.

He was not getting rid of me that easily.

We sat down on the rusty iron bench in the small patio. Drizzle was starting to fall from the sky, but luckily we were under cover. Valentín lit a cigarette beside me.

“Weren’t you gonna smoke?” he asked pointedly. I gulped down.

“I didn’t bring my own.”

He eyed me and, for an instant, I could’ve sworn I saw a flash of mischief cross his face, as if he wanted to make a silly, flirty joke about what I’d just said. But he held back.

“I texted you,” I said.

“Oh,” he took a drag of the cigarette, looking away. “I didn’t see, sorry.”

“Right,” I said. “So… what’s up?”

He shrugged. “Just chilling with the boys. Then you showed up. Not much has happened.”

The indifference of his words stung as if he’d just slapped me.

I let out a heavy sigh.

“Listen, if I said something – or, I don’t know, if it’s something I did, I just…” I started rambling, but not even that made him turn towards me. “I’m sorry, okay?”

He looked down, silent as a grave.

I was starting to get angry.

“Hey!” I grabbed him by the arm. “Talk to me.”

He threw the half-smoked cigarette to the ground, the light rain putting it out right away.

“You didn’t do anything wrong,” he said. “We’re cool.”

What?

“I don’t believe you.”

He rolled his eyes. “Okay. Whatever.”

That was it. I’d had enough.

“Man, what’s wrong with you?” I asked. “One minute you’re acting all cool, flirting with me at school, the next you’re cold and distant…”

He shook me off and stood up.

“Dude, stop being such a girl,” he spat.

“Huh?”

“You and I,” he pointed towards me, then to himself. “We’re nothing. We just made out a couple of times, that’s it.”

It took me a moment to fully understood what he'd just said – the depth to which those words cut. But I could feel the unholy mixture of bewilderment, anger and sadness brewing within me.

The outside of me must've told a hell of a story of what was going on inside, because Valentín didn’t leave my side despite the harshness of his words.

A shaky breath escaped my lips.

“What if I want us to be something?”

He tutted sardonically. “Yeah, right. You can be my math tutor, right?”

I frowned.

“Is that what’s been bothering you? The stupid lie I told Nahuel?”

He made a dejected shrug. He looked like a little kid.

“I just…” he began to say, but cut himself short. “Forget it.”

He opened the door to go back inside, but I grabbed his hand before he could leave.

“Will you please talk to me?”

He wouldn’t meet my gaze, but I could tell there was a certain sadness in his eyes.

Is this all because of me?

We stayed like that for a loaded moment; a standoff between two unmovable objects wherein the first one to open up about their feelings lost.

This time, I won the battle.

“I know you’re ashamed of me,” he mumbled.

I shook my head emphatically. “What? Why would you think that?”

He looked up at me.

“Why else would you make up that bullshit about Rizzo's work sheets to Nahu?” he said. “And the way you acted around me at school, I just…”

I placed a hand on his chest. “Valen –”

“Listen,” he interrupted. “I know I’m not nearly as cool as you are. I can’t play any fancy instruments and the furthest I’ve been from Lugano was a stupid fishing trip with the boys… But you can’t play with me like this, y’know? I don’t want to have to wait until no one’s around to kiss you, Lauti.”

I stared at him in stupor. Never in a million years would I have imagined that was what was going on in his mind.

Ever since that first kiss I’d simply assumed the whole reason he’d kept his distance was his own aversion to being seen in public with me.

Apparently, he’d thought the same about me, but with a different reasoning.

I’d taken too long to answer. He made a pained face as he walked away.

Fuck.

“Wait, Valen!”

He was already by the living room when I caught up with him. I grabbed him by the arm again, this time with enough strength to make him turn toward me.

I knew the others were looking at us, but my attention was entirely posed on him.

We shared a knowing look. I looked for traces of hesitation in his eyes, as I’d done before. This time, I saw none.

I heard Tomás yell out a ‘what the fuck?!’ as our lips locked.

At first I tried to keep it civil, knowing well we had spectators scrutinizing us. But then he placed his hand on the back of my neck and tilted my head to the side to lean into the kiss even further. I simply let him take over.

The gasps from the group continued even as we finally pulled away. Our foreheads met as I caressed his cheek.

“I’m not ashamed of anything,” I whispered, so as to make those words for him alone.

“Okay,” he breathed out, his lips curving upwards. “I believe you.”

“Well, shit,” Nahuel said from across the room. Valentín laughed meekly.

I turned to face the group, unsure of what to expect. I was met with faces of shock, but no one seemed upset or angry. I let out a breath I didn’t know I was holding.

“So, uh, guys,” Valentín said. “There’s something I’ve been meaning to tell you.”

Who doesn't love public declarations of affection?
This one took a while to write! Thank you all for your patience.
As always, comments are very much appreciated 😊
Copyright © 2020 gor mu; All Rights Reserved.
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Stories posted in this category are works of fiction. Names, places, characters, events, and incidents are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously. Any resemblances to actual persons (living or dead), organizations, companies, events, or locales are entirely coincidental.
Note: While authors are asked to place warnings on their stories for some moderated content, everyone has different thresholds, and it is your responsibility as a reader to avoid stories or stop reading if something bothers you. 
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Just discovered this story today and read everything I'm loving it.I know very little about Argentine culture but I always figured What Lauti and Valen just did in front of friends would be  even a bigger deal then it is in the U.S. I guess I was mistaken. 

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I hadn’t expected this, and I certainly hadn’t expected this of Valentín. I’m interested in what Nahuel has to say to Lauti when they are on their own. This is to me a decision point in the story. Does the group accept them or not? I don’t know how this is perceived in Argentina. The next chapter will tell.

It’s interesting that both boys misgauged what the other was thinking. It’s also interesting that Valentín has such a low opinion of himself with respect to Lauti.

Good chapter gor mu. Are you Argentinian?

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9 hours ago, drsawzall said:

Well done...Fantastic!!!🤭

Thank you!

5 hours ago, weinerdog said:

Just discovered this story today and read everything I'm loving it.I know very little about Argentine culture but I always figured What Lauti and Valen just did in front of friends would be  even a bigger deal then it is in the U.S. I guess I was mistaken. 

Cheek kissing is a very common way to greet acquaintances in Argentina, regardless of their gender (Valentín's greeting earlier in the chapter was a bit more intimate than the usual cheek kiss, though 😊). Their kiss at the end of the chapter was definitely not an acquaintance-appropriate greeting, which is why it elicited the reactions it did from the boys.

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2 hours ago, Arran said:

I hadn’t expected this, and I certainly hadn’t expected this of Valentín. I’m interested in what Nahuel has to say to Lauti when they are on their own. This is to me a decision point in the story. Does the group accept them or not? I don’t know how this is perceived in Argentina. The next chapter will tell.

It’s interesting that both boys misgauged what the other was thinking. It’s also interesting that Valentín has such a low opinion of himself with respect to Lauti.

Good chapter gor mu. Are you Argentinian?

Thank you! I am of Argentine descent and I have lived in Argentina for some years now, though I grew up elsewhere.

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10 hours ago, gor mu said:

Thank you! I am of Argentine descent and I have lived in Argentina for some years now, though I grew up elsewhere.

Thanks for the response. So this might be interpreted as a story about you…

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1 hour ago, Arran said:

Thanks for the response. So this might be interpreted as a story about you…

Certainly there are many aspects of myself in these characters (not just Lautaro) and from my own life in the plot. The story isn't exactly autobiographical though 😊

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Outstanding chapter! The new relationship was on the rocks due to misunderstandings by both boys. They each made assumptions about what the other was thinking. Young teens have very little emotional experience with romantic relationships and there’s almost always friction and fighting with each other until they get their feelings out into the open in order to make the relationship work. I’m definitely looking forward to the next chapter! 😃❤️

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Wonderful chapter!!  Simply making a small statement to Nahu covering their budding relationship was taken the wrong way by Valentin. Perhaps he was making assumptions about what Lauti thought of his home environment.  Valentin seemed embarrassed and unwilling to let Lauti see his home!  I'm glad Laudi made the bold move to show his true feelings in public. 

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Whew that was a rollercoaster! Once again, I have to say I really enjoy your writing, the story flows so smoothly and it's a pleasure to read.

I'm eager to read what happens next and how the rest of the crew will react to the big reveal. 

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