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***Based on True Events***

Seventeen-year-old America Gil has one goal in mind before starting college: to lose her virginity. At the heels of high school graduation and summer about to start, she decides to date Luis. Blinded by her caprice, America is unable to see the signs. When she and Luis are faced with an unforeseen revelation, America soon finds out that not everything is as it seems.

Growing up without a father has been difficult for Athena Gil. When she was young, she was forced to leave everything she had known behind to meet her dad. Athena loathed him ever since. Even though they have lived together for many years since then, the hatred has not banished. She wants to know why it took eight years for them to become a family again. But when her father begins to confide in her his deepest secrets, she uncovers the story of a man she had no idea she has been living with.

After her boyfriend of three years breaks up with her, Blythe Wright finds herself lost. Willing to do anything to forget him, she goes out on a date with a stranger. After the one-night stand, Blythe swears never to do such thing again and goes on with her life, not realizing that the stranger has left her with something she never wanted.

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5. 04. America

America

As I wake up to the ringing of my alarm, a smile grows on my face. I get out of bed and follow my daily routine: turn on the shower and brush my teeth while I wait for the water to warm up. Today is going to be a great day. Luis is picking me up in about two hours, which is perfect because it gives me more than enough time to get ready. We plan to eat brunch and see where the day takes us.

I decide to wash my hair before lazily skimming a razor over my legs and underarms. Turning off the shower, I dry myself and put the towel around my body, securing it tightly with a knot at the front, and head to my room to start on my makeup.

My phone alerts me that I have a new text message.

[Luis] Hey beautiful, you up?

He always calls me beautiful. I remember asking Sara once if he ever gave her a nickname or called her beautiful, but according to her, Luis never did. This makes me feel special. This is also how I know I'm different to him. More.

[America] Yes, getting ready for today. You?

I apply some moisturizer on my face and mascara for my eyelashes. I'm not one for too much makeup. Whenever I do wear it, I make it look as natural as possible. Another text from Luis draws my attention to the phone.

[Luis] Same. I'll be there in a few. We still going to brunch, right? I'm starving.

I remember hearing these two girls in my math class talking about how they would wait exactly five minutes to text a guy back. They said it didn't make them seem desperate, so I decide to wait a few minutes before answering back. Make him sweat it out a little. I finish applying blush on my cheeks and grab my cell phone.

[America] Yes lol. Can't wait.

[Luis] Cool. I'll text you when I am on my way.

I need to figure out what to wear. I stand in the closet looking for just the right clothes. I mean, I've never been on a date before. I don't know the proper etiquette on what to wear or...I can feel my eyes widen at the thought of him kissing me. My first kiss. I don't know how to kiss. Which way should I tilt my head, what will my hands be doing. Do I breathe? How do I breathe? I jump a few feet at the sound of my phone ringing.

[Luis] On my way, beautiful.

America, there is a first time for everything. Everyone goes through this. I just have to find something to wear, do my hair, and be ready.

I decide on a scarlet red dress, with a small white flower pattern on it. It hits just above my knee. I pair the dress with black flats and a white cross-body bag, which I wear on my shoulder. I start flat ironing my hair as another message alerts me. I finish with my hair before I look at my phone.

[Luis] I'm outside.

A flock of tropical birds soar through my stomach as the first sign of anxiety hits me. I'm really nervous. I could feel my ears warming up. Stop, I tell myself, this is what you want. I have a goal in mind and it's going to be accomplished today.

I take one last look in the mirror, making sure that Lexi's white hairs aren't on my dress and open the bedroom door. I stick out my head to see if my grandma is outside. I just know that she's going to ask me something.

Ugh. Grandma's sitting on the couch watching t.v and eating oatmeal. I quietly tiptoe to the door. Just as I'm about to grab the handle, Lexi's bark echoes around the room.

"Lexi, shh. Stop." I whisper.

My grandma's head turns toward me and she asks, "Are you leaving?"

"Yes, Luis is outside," I say in Spanish.

"You're not going to eat something?" she put the bowl down on the coffee table. "Why didn't Luis knock on the door, America? Where are his manners? I don't like that," she admonishes.

I roll my eyes. My grandma and her primitive way of thinking. She believes a guy should ask the father for his daughter's hand before asking her to marry him. When I was little she would tell me that a man, a real man, opens door for women, is not afraid to show his love for her, and will always be at her side representing her. Old-fashioned romance is dead, grandma.

"Abuela, I have to leave already," I lean forward and kiss her cheek. "Bye."

"Adios. Don't come late."

I grab my keys and lock the door behind me. A two-door, black Toyota corolla is parked on the gravel of the driveway. From this angle I can see Luis sitting on the driver's side, looking down at his lap. He's probably on his phone. Here we go.

"Hey." I say as I open the car's door.

"Wow, you look beautiful." His dark eyes light up when he sees me. Luis is wearing a baby blue muscle shirt and khaki jeans with dark brown Sperry's.

"Thanks. You look nice too."

"Oh, please. Nothing compared to you." He looks at my dress and says, "Red is my favorite color."

"I know." I smile and put on my seatbelt. Just now noticing he's not wearing his.

Luis points to the passenger's window of the car and asks, "Is that your grandma?"

What? Please, let it not be what it is I'm thinking. I turn my head to be confronted by my grandma hiding behind our window curtains, grey hair still showing slightly through the blinds of our house. There she goes again moving the blinds and peaking her head.

"Can we just go, please?" I put my hand on my forehead and take a much needed breath.

Luis starts the car, "Your grandma is funny." A curved smile traces his lips.

"I'm sorry."

He puts a hand on my upper thigh. "It's cool. Can't say it happens often, though." He begins to laugh. "This is a story for the books."

Great! Now I'll be the laughing stock of his friends. Thanks, abuela. We ride in silence the rest of the way to the restaurant. Once we get there, we are seated in a table and the waitress asks for our order. I go for waffles and fried chicken while Luis orders a fully loaded omelet.

"Are you excited for tomorrow? Finally done with high school," he says.

"Yea. Kind of. I'm actually a little nervous though, aren't you?"

"Nope. I'm so done with high school and stupid teachers giving us work that'll never be useful to our lives."

"What are you majoring in?" I ask.

"Fire Science. I wanna be a firefighter," he reaches for his drink and takes a gulp of orange juice. "We're going to the same college, right?" Almost everyone in our high school goes to the same community college after graduation since it's just ten minutes away from school.

"Yeah."

The waitress places our food on the table. Throughout our meal, we talk about college and how graduation will be tomorrow. He also mentions he wants to get another tattoo, a flower on his chest to represent his mother.

"You have other tattoos?" I ask, surprised.

"Yea, look." he puts his elbows on the table and leans forward. Luis pouts his bottom lip and I can see a small pyramid with an eye and lines around it. All thoughts of nervousness leave me as all I'm capable of thinking is kissing his luscious lips and being the one biting his lips.

My thoughts are interrupted by the waitress who brings the check and Luis reaches for his wallet to pay for the food.

"So, I live five minutes away," he says. "Wanna go watch a movie or something?"

I shift nervously in my chair as the birds from earlier flop their wings inside my belly again. Wow, my fingernails need some trimming. I also have to clean and repaint them. A hand covers my fingers, and I jump in my seat.

"So...my house? Movie?" Luis asks, a little impatient.

"Okay." I whisper.

He smiles, "Come on. Let's go, beautiful."

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