Recife is a city known for having a warm climate, but on that day, it was more than usual. Not because of the temperature, but because Anna would finally go on her first date, which made her hands sweating a lot.
— Alexia, I don't know if I'm ready.— Anna says as she passes her hands repeatedly across her face.
— Stop it. — Alexia says without making eye contact.
— But what if it all goes wrong? What if the conversation isn't good? What if I spill food on her? I don't know, so many possibilities.
— Yeah, it's a lot of possibilities, but you're not gonna give up, are you?
— No, I don't think so. I like her too much for that.
— So you're ready.— Alexia gives a forced smile and hopes Anna doesn't notice.
After they say goodbye, Anna goes to her favorite coffee shop, which she thought was the best place in the world because she could be herself. All she had to do was sit down, grab a book, order a milkshake, and her day was complete. But this place was also her favorite because it was discreet, it was in a neighboring city, so she'd hardly see people she didn't want to see.
— Hi, sorry to keep you waiting!
Anna closes the book she was reading and focuses on the female figure in front of her. She's tall, long dark hair, green eyes, and a smile that would melt a thousand glaciers and your heart all at the same time.
— Hi, Carina.
Anna smiles timidly, gets up to kiss her on the cheek, but is confused if she should give a kiss on one side of the cheek or both. Just in case, kiss one cheek and pull her in for a hug.
Carina squeezes her a little harder than expected and she likes it. When they separate from the hug, Anna doesn't know what to do or what to say. After all, this is your first date. All she wanted was a manual that would help her not to ruin everything.
— So, is that good? — Carina says as she sits down.
— What?— Anna looks at her without understanding.
— The milkshake— Carina points to the large, pink glass that appeared to have a strawberry milkshake.
— Oh, yes, it's great! Want to try it?— Anna talks without thinking.
Carina raises an eyebrow at her and smiles.
— Shit, I shouldn't have offered mine. — Anna thinks.
— Sure.— Carina pulls the straw closer to her and sucks some of the liquid that was there. — It's really good.— She looks right into her eyes, now closer to her.
— I – i - I think I'll order another one.— Anna speaks nervously.
— All right then.— Carina goes a little backward, aligning her back to the chair.
After a while without saying anything and Anna forgetting to ask for another milkshake, the silence was uncomfortable, until Carina decided to talk.
— This first date thing is kind of hard, right? I mean, we see each other at school, but we hardly talk.
— Do you mind?— Anna asks to be sure.
— With a strange first date or with us not to speak properly?
— Both, I think.— Anna smiles.
— No, not at all.— She bites her lower lip. — I always wanted to have more time alone with you, but I respect your choices.
— Thank you for that. It's not easy to hide from everyone, but I thought it would be better not to have interference from other people.
— Okay, I get it. You need to go at your own pace and it's not like we don't spend time together.
— Many hours on the phone count as time together?
— Of course! I know you better than the other girls I talk to every day at school.
— Good to know.— Anna gives a happy smile. — But I'm nervous to talk to you in person.
— Why? It's just me.
— Exactly, it's just you.— Anna sighs — You're beautiful and smart, you look ridiculously cute when you smile, you tear me apart with your Italian accent and I'm what?
— You are all I've been waiting for.— Carina stares at her. — I love how you can calm me down even when we're not in the same place, the way you care about me, and the hours we spend on the phone talking about tv series, books, or anything random because everything becomes important when I'm with you.
Anna smiles without believing. This is the first and best date of all! (or she thought it was).
Anna's phone rings and she tries to stay focused on Carina, but as she was out of town and her parents didn't know, she feared it was them. Then she reads the message and her heart starts beating harder.
— Are you okay?— Carina asks worriedly.
— Yeah, I just...i... I need to make a call.— she says bewildered.
Anna goes to the front of the store and reads the message again: "I know what you did last summer."Her heart freezes once again.
It is not possible, only one person knows it.— She thinks trying to recap the story in her head.— It does not make sense that on the day of my first date, I receive this message. It was intentional, someone trying to break up my relationship.
So she calls the only person who knew what she had done. — Alexia?
— Hi, Anna, how's the date?
— That's not what I want to talk about.— Anna sighs in agony. — Have you told anyone about us?
— What? Why would I tell anyone?— Alexia asks.
— I don't know, damn it! I got a text and I'm sure it was about that. I have done nothing else worthy of such a message.
— I don't know what to tell you.— Alexia speaks upset.
— Okay, whatever. I need to fix this.— Anna hangs up the phone and goes in to face her fate, whether it's good or bad.
— Your parents?— Carina asks about the call.
Anna thinks for a few seconds if she should lie and pretend that the text never happened or if she should speak the truth and risk losing the confidence of the person she likes.
— Something has happened.
— Was it something serious? Do you need to go?— Carina asks worriedly.
— I need to tell you something and you won't like it.— she says as her eyes fill with tears.
Carina patiently waits for Anna to have the courage to tell and takes her hand to show support.
— I don't deserve your support. I lied to you.— Anna looks down, unable to face her. — A few months ago you asked me if I had had any sexual experience and I said no, you also asked me if I had ever kissed a girl and I also said no.— Anna takes a deep breath. — I kissed my best friend and had my first sexual experience with her last summer.
Carina releases Anna's hands and stares at her.
— Sorry, I should have told you.— The tears she was trying to hold escape.
— Yeah, you should.— Carina replies upset. — I trusted you and now I don't trust you anymore. — She bites her lower lip to prevent crying. — I don't care how many mouths you kissed or how many people you fucked, I just wanted you to be honest with me and you didn't.— Carina gets up and walks out of the store.
— Carina, wait! — Anna screams as she gets up from her chair. But Carina had already disappeared and Anna still needed to pay for the milkshake and return the book.
It was an almost comical scene, a relationship was dissipating while the girl's concern was not to leave without paying. But at the end of the day, she paid what she owed, but she didn't fix the relationship...until a moment later.
Anna walked around the neighborhood looking for Carina. She had left not long ago, so she couldn't have gone that far. But after a few minutes of searching, Anna couldn't find her and it began a storm. Her cell phone was low on battery, there were no other messages like the one she had received, but also none from Carina. She tried to call as long as she could, but Carina wouldn't answer.
That way, she was already soaked and with no prospect of finding Carina in this rain. So she walked slowly, feeling the rain on her body until she arrived in a neighborhood park. It had a covered spot that had no one. So she decides to go there to shelter until she can find a way to get home safely.
Arriving at this location, she notes that it was a greenhouse for small plants, but as it was dark outside, she could not see how big it was. Thus, she walks through the main corridor that was already brighter and realizes that there are seedlings of the Black Rose, Carina's favorite. This species is particularly rare. Just like Carina.— Anna thinks.
She runs her fingers through the rose petals until something catches her eye. A desperate cry. Anna takes a few steps and arrives at the sound source. She approaches and puts her hand on that person's back.
At first, the other one gets scared, but seeing who she is doesn't take their hands off. — What are you doing here?
— Running from the rain, I guess. Or of life.
Carina looks at her with red eyes and a red nose for crying. — Why didn't you tell me?
Anna sits on the floor next to Carina. — I was afraid. - She squeezes her fingers as a way to minimize anxiety. — A year ago, I didn't know I was bisexual, I just questioned myself, but I never admitted it. Then you transferred to my school and I was sure who I was. But I couldn't talk to you in person, so I texted you for the first time.
— You sent that Rupaul's meme to wish me welcome.
Anna smiles instantly with memory.
— I guess I just wanted to be a little more like you.
— What do you mean?— Carina asks.
— I hide who I am out of fear. Fear of the reaction of my parents, of my friends, of their acquaintances, of everyone. And you never hid who you are, so I was intimidated by it.
— I would never ask you to come out. This choice needs to come from you.
— I know, but...— Anna sighs. — I wanted to, you know? I just can't do it.
After a few seconds of silence, she continues. — Before you, the only person who could talk about it was Alexia. She's been my best friend since kindergarten. So, last summer, she went to sleep at my house and we kissed and happened more than that.
— And why didn't you tell me when it happened?
— Because we were getting to know each other and I didn't want to give you a reason not to choose me.
— That's not how a relationship works, Anna. You don't choose what the other should know about you. Not if you want it to be real. Do you want to?
— Of course, I want to.— Anna holds on again not to cry. — We're building something of our own, and I don't want to let my insecurities get in the way.
— So talk to me, don't assume things.— Carina says upset. — I don't mind meeting you in another city if it's so we can be together, but I need to know that you'll also make an effort to make it work.
Anna takes one of Carina's hands and squeezes slightly. — I will, I promise.
Carina feels Anna's touch but stops her. — You need to regain my trust first.
So, they use what's left of Carina's cell phone battery to call an Uber for the two of them and go to their respective homes without speaking a word to each other.
It's been a few days and they haven't been in touch. However, Anna missed Carina a lot and constantly remembered her. From the first time they saw each other at school, the long phone conversations, the first date, and finally, the fight that drove them away.
But what Anna also remembered was Alexia. She was her best friend and the only one who knew what happened last summer, other than Carina who had recently found out. So, after much thought, Anna invites Alexia to talk and clarify some things.
After talking about her suspicions that Alexia had sent that message to sabotage her relationship with Carina, she does not even try to deny it, as she was visibly upset that her plan had collapsed.
— I can't believe you did that.
— You're not even dating, Anna!
— I don't need to ask her to be my girlfriend, Alexia. We like each other and that should be enough for you to understand.
— But I was here the whole time, why didn't you want me?
— We spent one night together and decided to forget about it. You suggested it, damn it! Why didn't you tell me you weren't okay with this?
— I didn't think I needed it, I thought you would love me more.— she says almost in a whisper.
— I love you, Alexia. And I thought you loved me, too. But part of love is being happy for the other, even if this happiness has nothing to do with you.— Anna opens the door of her house. — I'm sorry, but I can't continue a friendship with someone who doesn't care about my choices.
Alexia looks at her one last time and leaves without even trying a reconciliation because she knew that this time she had crossed the line.
With the Alexia-Anna story resolved, she goes after the person who makes her heart jump out of happiness, her eyes glow and her hands tremble nervously.
She sends a message to Carina and says she's outside her house.
Carina appears in her bedroom window. — What are you doing here?
— Could you come down?— Anna suggests, without wanting the neighbors to listen to the conversation.
Minutes later, Carina appears outside the house, with her hair stuck in a bun and a large shirt that went to her knees. — How can she be so beautiful even in ordinary clothes?— Anna thinks.
— I'm here, what do you want to say?— Carina asks straight to the point.
— When we were on our first date, I received a message that said: "I know what you did last summer". I panicked because I knew it was about Alexia and me.
— And because you hid it from me.
Anna lowers her head in shame. — ... Yes.
— And what does that have to do with me now?— Carina says sharply.
— I discovered that it was Alexia who sent the message as some kind of threat. But that's not the point.— she approaches Carina. — Hiding all this from you was not her, it was me. I'm sorry.
Carina walks a path with her fingers across Anna's face. — Thank you for telling me the whole truth.
Anna feels the warmth of Carina's fingers on her face and closes her eyes in appreciation. — I never thought your touch felt so good.
— There's more where that came from.
— Will you forgive me?
— I've forgiven you, but I meant it when I said you need to show me that you want this relationship to work.
Anna looks into her eyes and smiles mischievously — How about a second date then?
— I would love to.
The two of them smile cheerfully and Anna pulls her into a strong embrace as if her world were inside. And in a way, she was right.
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