Actions

Work Header

She's (In) Trouble

Chapter Text

“One thing!” she yells, “I asked you one thing.”

Valentina rolls her eyes at her sister’s dramatics, “Evangelina!”

“Don’t Evangelina me. I asked you to stay away from alcohol for one night and you wouldn’t even do that! When was the last time I asked anything from you?”

“To be fair Eva, you ask us things all the time” her brother jokes in a futile attempt to ease the mood.

“So what, are you taking her side now?”

“I’m not taking anyone’s side! I just want this intervention to be over,” he then turns to her, “Eva is right though Val and you know how much it pains me to say it.”

“Whatever...” she sighs, “I tried to remain sober ok? But Lucho kept talking about sports and cars and his breath smelled like cat food!”

“She has a point there, Lucho stinks.”

“Shut up both of you! Lucho is the son of one of the most highly regarded lawyers in our state. This marriage is the best thing to happen to our company since the scandal! I couldn’t care less about his personal hygiene...”

“I told you Eva, I don’t want to marry Lucho. I don’t love him!”

“Do you think I loved Matteo when dad introduced us? No, but now I can’t imagine my life without him. Love is built everyday, you’ll have teach yourself to love him.”

“That’s not fair” she whines.

“In case you haven’t noticed, life isn’t fair! Without Lucho there won’t be any future for Grupo Carvajal and without our company you’ll have to wave goodbye to your limousines and fancy clothes and everything our parents worked for. Do you think Guille and I didn’t make sacrifices? Grow up and learn to take one for the team like the rest of us.”

“Miss, we’re here” Alirio announces and Valentina jumps out of the car.

Sunday service. Exactly what she wants to do this morning with a killer hangover after the worst fight with her sister. Valentina waits patiently until it’s over and she briefly talks with some family friends who haven’t shun them.

After a while her sister gets closer and says with a polite smile “Come on Vale, we have to go. We’re having brunch with Lucho’s family.”

“Of course Eva. Will you excuse me while I say goodbye to Mrs. Mildred first?”

When she’s sure that neither of her siblings have their eyes on her, she slips out of the church and leaves from the back. She walks away unnoticed.

In all honesty, Valentina has no idea where she’s going. All she knows is that she wants to get away from her family and the pressure of a life she didn’t choose. She walks aimlessly through the streets and parks for hours. She feels like she can’t catch a break.

After the loss of her mom the Carvajals went through hell and when they finally started to mend their wounds, tragedy struck again. Her father died from a heart attack a week after his wedding and mere months later Johny murdered Lucia. It then came to light that they had been lovers and he’s the only name mentioned in her will.

Since then it’s been one constant battle after the other. Eva and Guille were busier fighting for Johny’s 25% and challenging wills than to grieve. When her dad first passed away, Valentina’s grief turned ugly and Lucia was the only person who took notice and helped her clean up her act.

But for the last year Valentina feels more lost than ever. With Johny’s trial still pending she doesn’t have any answers. She refuses to believe that Lucia could be part of such an elaborate scheme but she also can’t ignore the mounting evidence against her. Valentina isn’t close to be done grieving her dad and now it’s like she's lost Lucia not once but twice.

A ringing from her phone brings her back to reality. Guille calls her but she isn’t in any mood to talk so she just texts him. Valentina soon realizes she has no idea where exactly she is and she doesn’t care. The only thing she knows is that she doesn’t want to go back to the big empty mansion.

She’s completely oblivious to the fact that she’s being followed by two men. If she had been aware she wouldn’t have walked to a narrow dirty road.


Sudden she feels a bold touch and her first instict is to fight back. She has taken some self defense classes which came in handy. But as much as she's scratching and punching and kicking she knows she’s no match to two men who know what they’re doing. And so, Valentina screams even louder.

One of them takes ahold of her hands and ties them behind her back while the other shoves something into her mouth to muffle the screaming. The gravity of the situation finally settles in but she won't go down without a fight. She continues kicking and doing whatever she can to defend herself, but deep down she knows that she's done for.

Until she hears commotion from behind the two men.

The details of the following minutes aren’t clear in Valentina’s mind but what she does remember is seing two bikers coming in and hitting the two men. Saving her life. After a little fight one of them falls unconscious to the ground.

One thing that soon becomes clear in Valentina’s mind is that one of the bikers is a woman. She has long hair, face covered with a helmet and she's holding a baseball bat with nails that she’s not afraid to use. The very next moment, Valentina’s white shirt is covered in blood. Thankfully not her own.

It takes her minutes to realize what happened. She turns around and she sees the two offenders lying in a pool of blood as the two bikers tie them together with their hands behind their backs. Valentina takes deep breaths and tries to ground herself. God she’s so stupid!

Finally, once they’re done, the two bikers turn towards her and take off their helmets. The man, with a knife in his hands, looks around her age and height, he has brown hair and looks too prep to be a biker. The woman has long silky raven hair, strong jaw and the warmest brown eyes Valentina has ever seen. She wears a leather jacket and combat boots, a black t-shirt that looks unstained and black ripped jeans.

They get closer and free her hands from what turns out to be zip ties. She then removes the article of clothing from her mouth.


“Hey, are you okay?” the man asks but, hard as she might, words cannot come out.

“Of course she isn’t Sergio” the woman says and comes closer again. She slowly moves her right hand to Valentina’s shoulder, giving her enough time to back away from the touch if she wants to.

“You’re safe, these cowards can’t hurt you now” Valentina nods but she’s still speechless. “Let us take you to the hospital or call you an uber if you don’t feel safe with us.”

Valentina shakes her head. She doesn’t want to go to the hospital or her home or anywhere else, she just wants to disappear. She closes her eyes but tears refuse to fall from her eyes.

“They don’t have any form of identification” she hears Sergio say to his partner. The woman tears her eyes from Valentina and whispers something to him, then Sergio runs towards where they came from.

“I’m Valentina” she finally speaks once they’re alone.

“Juliana.”

“Thank you for saving me. If it hadn’t been for you...”

“There’s no point in thinking about that. Just don’t walk to these kinds of streets all alone, even on a Sunday morning.”

She nods again. God, she’s really stupid. Valentina Idiot Carvajal.

A moment later Sergio runs back to the two of them and without saying anything he just nods to Juliana who seem to stiffen.

“I think we should get the fuck out of here. These assholes are gonna wake up soon” Juliana says and turns back to her “Look, I know you have no reason to trust two strangers but let us drive you somewhere safe. You aren’t in a state to walk anywhere.”

“You saved my life, I trust you” Valentina says, following her guts, and when Juliana offers her hand to stand up she takes it.

They walk back to their big motorcycles and the woman gives her helmet to her. Valentina reluctantly accepts it. She notices how casually the other woman puts the bloody bat into an empty guitar case which in turn hands to Sergio.

“Where to princess?” Juliana winks playfully as she starts tying her hair. Valentina tries hard not to stare at her defined biceps and clenched jaw or the abs that are now visible. She decides to focus on the helmet instead.

“I... I don’t know.”

“Let’s grab some beers then?” Sergio offers and Valentina nods. She’s still hangover but after everything she’s gone through, alcohol sounds like a good idea. Besides, she really wants to spend more time with the people who saved her life.

Valentina has never ridden a bike before but she doesn’t expect to love it so much. Even with the helmet on she feels free, weightless. She has her hands wrapped around the other woman’s waist and she tries to ignore the sparks she feels from everywhere their skins touch.

After fifteen minutes of driving they arrive at a neighborhood Valentina is completely unfamiliar with. She quickly realizes that she’s in one of the poor areas of the city that her father used to strictly forbid her from going. Right now though she can’t see anything dangerous about it.

They go to a small diner called “Perlita’s” and Valentina notices that the owner is a short old lady who looks as threatening as the grandmas at the church. “Juli, Sergio! Long time no see!”

“We’ve been busy, you know how it is. Anyway this is Valentina.” Juliana introduces them.

“Nice to meet you Valentina. What can I get you? The usual?” she takes their order and comes a moment later with an ashtray. Valentina is confused, the diner is too small to have a smoking area. She sees Perlita laughing “What are they going to do niña? Arrest me or fine me?”

Valentina isn’t sure if she’s above the law because she’s so lovable or because she’s some mob boss. She nods and smiles regardless. “I feel so out of place” she cringes and buries her face in her hands.

“I wouldn’t be so sure if I were you” Sergio smirks.

“I think you should visit the bathroom” Juliana adds and seems to bite her lips in an effort to suppress a chuckle.

Valentina does that mainly because she really wants to pee. When she’s about to wash her hands she glances at herself from the mirror and finally understands what the bikers were talking about. Her carefully straightened hair is all tangled, her navy blue cardigan muddy while her shirt has a large amount of dried blood on it. Her jeans have a large rip that wasn’t there this morning. Only her shoes are relatively okay.

She turns her head towards their table which is visible from where she’s standing. The two friends meet her gaze and after a beat the three of them laugh in unison. The entire situation is absurd. Valentina, a heiress, although they don’t know that, is looking messier than anyone else in this small diner.

After that Valentina stops feeling uncomfortable. Sergio and her drink beers while Juliana sticks to Coca-Cola and cigarettes and they talk like old friends. The food in this place isn’t the healthiest but it’s by far the tastiest.

At some point Perlita offers her to wash her clothes since she has a washing machine in the back. After some convincing she finally hands her the cardigan. Juliana takes one last drag from her rolled cigarette and gets up with her stuff “Sergio stay here. Val wanna come with me?”

Valentina smiles and she follows the other woman, completely enchanted. They cross the street and enter an apartment complex. Juliana presses the number 10 on the elevator and when they get off they walk another short flight of stairs.

“Excuse all the mess. I try to keep it as tidy as I can but...” she trails off and unlocks the door.

Honestly, the place is very well put together considering its size. It could easily fit in her father’s bedroom and then some.

“You don’t live with your parents?” Valentina wonders because, putting everything aside, Juliana doesn’t look older than twenty.

“Nope, they’re assholes and they never deserved me anyway. Come here” she follows the woman to her small bedroom and sees a big wardrobe. “Your shirt is all messed up, wear whatever you like.”

“Wow, you have some really beautiful clothes here Juls” she comments. Sure, they’re... edgier than anything Valentina would ever wear but she could tell each and every one of these garnments were handmade. She feels guiltier for having to borrow one of these shirts than she ever did while buying clothes that cost hundreds of dollars. “I can’t possibly take any of these...”

“Why? Are you too good for them?” Juliana arches her brow and she isn’t sure wether the girl is joking or not.

“No, it’s not that. It’s just-”

“Then pick what you want and you can give it back anytime” Juliana shrugs but tears her gaze from Valentina’s.

“What’s your insta?”

“I don’t do social media. Have you seen my phone?” Juliana shows her flip phone. A flip phone. In 2020. “You could give me your number instead.”

“Sure, oh shit. You don’t have an iPhone charger, have you?” Juliana raises her brow once again and they both chuckle “I don’t know my number and my phone just died.”

“Ok, I’ll write you mine somewhere. In the meantime choose a shirt, Sergio is waiting for us.”

Valentina goes for grey off shoulder t-shirt and suddenly her shirt feels weird in her hands. She knows she has to throw it away, she owns hundreds of clothes and blood stains are impossible to remove. So why does she find it impossible to get rid of it?

“Que?” the other girl asks when she walks back in.

“I know this belongs in the trash but I can’t do it. I know it’s crazy.”

"No Val, it’s not. This shirt is a reminder of what you went through and what you survived. If you don’t want to take it home you could let me keep it and figure out what to do with it...”

“Thank you” Valentina says and hands her the shirt. Juliana gives her an awkward smile.

“Come on, Sergio just texted me” she grabs a second halmet from the couch.

“Are you studying fashion design?”

“Nope, it’s more of a hobby. I work as a bartender four nights a week.”

“You’re really talented Juls and I’m not just saying that because I owe you my life.”

“Thank you and don’t say that, you don’t owe us your life. We only did what’s right.” Juliana refuses to meet her eyes again and locks the door “Clothes and fashion are important. They’re the first thing someone notices about you, they can represent who you are.”

“So, you are a tough biker who beats the living shit out of predators?”

“I guess, and your clothes cost more than my apartment” Juliana says as they wait for the elevator “We shouldn’t get along.”

“We don’t get along?” Valentina is taken aback. She has the girl’s number on a paper in the pocket of her jeans and now she’s saying that she doesn’t like her. What exactly went wrong in the past minutes?

“We do, of course we do. I’m just saying that we’re an odd match, you and I” Valentina lets a barely audible sigh of relief.

“You and Sergio are cute” she says to change the subject and clicks the zero button. Instead of a thank you all she gets is a belly laugh which makes Valentina blush.

“Haven’t heard that in a while” she notes and takes out her tobacco from her jacket and starts rolling another cigarette “He’s got a girlfriend and I’m like, super gay.”

Oh...

“That’s nice” she replies and tries to sound as nonchalant as possible.

“Yeah, it’s really nice” she chuckles, focusing on the task at hand.

They hear a pinging sound and Valentina opens the door for Juliana. She wonders if her sexual orientation is the reason why the other woman isn’t with her parents or why she lives such a risky life.

“Finally what took you guys so long?” Sergio greets them at the entrance.

“Wait you didn’t pay did you?” Valentina asks, the least she could do was to pay the bill.

“Nah, Perlita doesn’t accept money from us” he reassures her. “Where to next?”

“I was thinking about the beach. Unless you want us to drop you home?”

“Are you kidding?”

 

Even with their bikes, it takes them an hour to get there. They grab two beach towels from their tranks and they lay on the beach, chatting for hours drinking beers and smoking cigarettes and later, they watch as the sun begins to set. Valentina doesn’t remember the last time she had felt so young and carefree. Her new friends made her feel welcomed, like she’s always been one of them. The ugly morning seems like a distant memory.

When the beach becomes too dark they go to a nearby restaurant. Thankfully, the owner has a charger for Valentina’s phone.

“Some friends are performing in a while. It’s like ten minutes from here, wanna come with?” Juliana asks her once they’re finished with dinner.

“Oh shit” Valentina gasps. She has just turned on her phone to find 23 missing calls from Eva, 11 from Guille and just as many from various numbers. “This is going to be awkward.”

She gets up from the table and goes outside. She calls Eva who sounds furious and she can’t blame her this time. Valentina had such a good time that she didn't notice how quickly the day went by. She apologizes and comes up with excuses as to why she didn't call. She makes no mention of the incident since there isn't any reason to worry her further.

When the call ends, she finds Juliana and Sergio waiting for Valentina outside with her stuff. They paid the bill which infuriates her, she really wants show them how grateful she is. They dismiss her words and she decides to give in, not wanting to ruin the mood.

“So, Valentina. Will you join us?” Sergio asks.

Valentina thinks for a minute. Her siblings are very worried but on the other hand, besides everything she went through, she really hasn’t had so much fun in a very long time “Sure.”

“Great, lets drive there, it’s safer” the woman offers.

“I prefer to walk if that’s okay with you ladies. I haven’t talked to Fer since this morning.”

“Loser” Juliana teases him and all she gets as a reply is an arching brow. She rolls her eyes at the inside joke and adds “Shut up, idiot.”

“See you in ten” he winks and Juliana raises her middle finger at him.

They start walking in the opposite direction from Sergio and toward her bike in comfortable silence. At some point, while Juliana lights her cigarette Valentina gets so distracted that she almost slips but the other woman grabs her hand. And she doesn’t let it go. So, they continue all the way there holding hands. It feels so natural that it doesn’t register to her for a while.

“Juls? What were you doing there? In that street?”

“Are you sure you want the truth?” Juliana looks uncomfortable at the prospect of telling her but Valentina insists, she has to know. “Lately attacks from strangers have increased in certain areas. Their main targets are white women under 25. My friends and I try to parole those streets.”

She suddenly remembers Matteo mentioning a vigilante biker gang who beat up alleged predators. Was he referring to Juliana and her friends? But then another, more urgent question pops up in her mind.

“What do you think it’d have happened to me if you...” she trails off.

“Val...”

“Please” she squeezes Juliana’s hand and holds her gaze “I can handle the truth.”

She sighs. “My guess is as good as yours. Sergio found a white pickup van without licence plates.”

“What about the police?”

“Come on Val. The cops don’t give a shit about people like us. It’s always been that way...”

Valentina nods. She can’t blame Juliana for her disillusionment. Even the Carvajals, who are as privileged as they come, have many issues with how the police had handled the now suspicious death of her father. She can’t even begin to imagine what it must be like for people without all the money or influence her family has.

“Maybe we should have called them regardless and make them take my statement...”

“Yeah, well we had to bolt. Let’s just say that our relationship with the cops isn’t the best. Besides, Sergio told me he called them.”

“That's good then, isn’t it?”

“I don’t know Val, it all goes beyond these two creeps” Juliana shrugs but it’s obvious that it bothers her.

After a minute they reach Juliana’s motorcycle. Valentina is about to put her helmet on but notices that the raven-haired woman isn’t in a hurry. She rests against her bike, takes another drag from her cigarette and lifts her head to stare at the night sky.

Valentina can’t help but regard Juliana. She’s simply breathtaking. She takes in every detail of her face: her lips that are slightly open as she observes the sky, the shape of her nose and chin and how full of life her dark deep brown eyes look even from where Valentina is standing.

Suddenly Juliana snaps from her thoughts and catches her staring. She feels herself blushing but she doesn’t break eye contant, she’s not sure that she could even if she wanted to. Juliana’s lips curl in a small inviting smile and all Valentina wants is to taste it.

Valentina bites her lips, fighting the urge to tell her to run away together somewhere and enjoy the starry night and talk about the universe and the meaning of life.

“Que?” Juliana finally breaks the silence but still holds her gaze.

“You’re very pretty Juls.”

The other woman blushes and stares at her boots. A moment later she lifts her head and brings her teeth between her bottom lip and takes small steps towards her until they’re only a few inches apart. Valentina once again finds herself lost in the woman’s eyes but she isn’t the only one affected.

She catches Juliana’s gaze shifting between her eyes and lips. Valentina closes her eyes and decides to take a step forward and do what she subconsciously wanted to since the moment Juliana handed her that helmet all these hours ago. They’re only millimeters apart now, eyes closed and hot breaths minging. She then feels the other woman’s hand moving on the back of her neck, her thumb softly caressing the spot under her left ear.

Suddenly, an invading noise comes from Juliana’s phone breaking the bubble the have found themselves in. She stares at her screen and quickly texts a reply. Valentina is still transfixed and observes Juliana who meets her gaze and gives her an apologetic smile.

She then feels a warm hand in hers and she’s guided to the all but forgotten bike. Juliana rides it and wears her helmet, she turns to her and offers her hand once again. “Come on, they’re waiting for us.”

Valentina, breathless and speechless, just nods and follows her.

Chapter Text

 

It only took them a couple of minutes to reach the venue. It's like any other bar, the main difference being a medium sized stage where a band is currently performing.

Their sound is a mix of rock and trap music with rap, clean and some screaming vocals. To Valentina it's just noise but the environment is otherwise friendly. Nothing like what she pictured on the way there.

After proper introductions they both settle at the bar, where everyone's sitting since the bartender is part of the group. An unremarkable girl named Marina takes Juliana away and starts talking very close to her ear, but Valentina isn't as jealous as she expected. She doesn't demand her undivided attention and besides, she's content with speaking to Sergio.

More than once Juliana has caught her staring and, likewise, she has felt the woman's gaze on her without having to look at her direction. Sergio tells her about their friends who are currently performing but she pays little attention.

"And then Elvis visited their studio to tell them about his new collab with Post Malone and asked Juliana's opinion about-"

"Juliana's opinion?" she repeats absent-mindedly.

"You didn't listen to a word I said, did you?" Sergio chuckles. "You like her a lot."

"Yes, I do," she admits, finding no point in denying the obvious.

"Look Valentina," she feels his hand on her forearm and she takes her eyes off of the stage to look at him, "be careful with her okay?"

"Of course."

"I'm serious. Don't get fooled by her appearance. Her tough punk chick look is nothing but an exterior. Juli is a sensitive girl, very romantic. She doesn't let people in easily," he notes and then adds, with a threatening voice that doesn't fit him, "if you fuck with her, you'll have to deal with me."

"Duly noted," she replies and bites the inside of her cheek.

"I'm glad we're clear," he gives her a cold smile that could make Eva envious.

As he turns around to talk to a friend, Valentina takes a look at the rest and, for the first time since she met them, she feels isolated. It's clear that they're a tight knit group of friends that would do anything for each other.

Sergio's words come from a place of true concern for his friend. It's a sheer contrast to anything her own siblings have done for her since the death of their father. To them, her happiness is unimportant compared to the future of the company. Lucia was the only one who cared but she had ulterior motives after all.

Valentina feels a pang of jealousy. She wishes she could still pretend that her family cared about her. She wants to get the hell out of here, but first she orders a shot.

Suddenly, familiar images flash before her eyes. Two men in ski masks with cold stares and one goal in mind. To kidnap her and do what the hell knows with her. Valentina blinks rapidly, trying to let go of the terrifying memories.

“You’re safe, these cowards can’t hurt you now,” Juliana's words from earlier come to comfort her.

She downs another tequila shot and walks towards Juliana who's still talking to Marina. Once she enters her peripheral vision she notices how her brown eyes sparkle, how her lips curl up slightly, and a lump forms in Valentina's throat.

"I'm afraid I have to go. It's late and I got classes tomorrow."

"Wait no, stay a little longer," Juliana pouts adorably and Valentina feels her heart skip a bit.

"I really can't..."

"Okay, give me five to talk to the guys," she points at her friends who are getting off the stage, "and I'll take you home."

"There's no need to bother, Juls, you've done more than enough already."

"That's nonsense Val," she rolls her eyes dismissively and laces their fingers together, "let me introduce you before we go."

They only hold hands for a few moments and she quickly lets go to hug her friends but even that brief contact is enough to calm Valentina down.

Juliana talks to a platinum blond guy who's the rapper of the band. Valentina engages in a conversation with Guz, the frontman of the group who did the rest of the singing. He has purple hair, deep blue eyes and dresses like a goth. He's hot and he knows it.

He asks her questions, pretends to listen and as soon as she finishes he starts talking about his tough life. He talks about his absent father and his mother's constant battle with addiction and how music was his only refuge.

Soon, they both finish their drinks and order another round. She feels his hand on her thigh, his breath on her ear and Valentina politely pushes him away. He's handsome and under different circumstances she might have entertained the idea but her interests lie elsewhere tonight.

Valentina never labeled herself, always knowing she's attracted to all genders. Her experiences with girls so far could be described as brief adventures, never having felt intensely about them. Until today.

There's just something about Juliana. Valentina can't put it into words, but she's never been more attracted to another person before. It goes deeper than purely physical and she knows she should be scared but she's not. Whatever happens between them tonight, Valentina intends to enjoy at its fullest.

She cuts the awkward silence by ordering water. A familiar perfume combined with freshly smoked tobacco surrounds her. She doesn't have to turn to know who's standing next to them. Valentina watches a serious exchange between the friends until Guz gets off the stool and walks to Marina. Juliana takes his place and Valentina grins like a fool.

"I see, you no longer have to go," Juliana teases. If it weren't for the playful, nonchalant tone of her voice Valentina would swear that she's jealous.

"It's not like that."

"No need to explain yourself. Besides, I'm not blind. He's pretty."

"I know I don't have to explain myself but I'm not interested in him."

After an intense eye contact Juliana nods. She scratches an invisible spot above her right eyebrow and looks down at her boots.

"Good," she smirks and looks up again. She brings the bottom lip between her teeth and ever so slowly leans towards her to "whisper" something in her ear. "Because he's a jerk to women he's into."

"Really?" she's surprised. Not due to that revelation precisely but because her seductive brown eyes gave her the impression that she'd take the conversation in a different direction.

"Yep. I'm sure he told you about his abusive father or that he was raised by his grandparents and that music saved his life."

"He did mention an addict mother."

"He hasn't used the mother in a while," Juliana rolls her eyes, "the truth is that his parents are together, healthy and perfectly fine. The worst thing that ever happened to him was that he had a completely ordinary childhood."

"What a great tragedy for a rock star," she playfully replies close to Juliana's ear who chuckles in response.

"His 'bad boy with a heart of gold' act works for girls who want to change someone..."

"I don't want to change anyone," Valentina notes, "I don't want any mystery, or games."

They smile as they let these words linger in the air between them. They stay in comfortable silence for a while, observing their surroundings and simply enjoying each other's presence.

After a while, their gazes lock and as much as Valentina tries, her eyes can't help but fall to her lips. All she wants is to bridge that small distance and taste them. Her eyes flutter close and her forehead rests against Juliana's.

The music is very loud, the club is full with people of all shapes, sizes and colors; the atmosphere is filled with sweat and alcohol but none of this matters to Valentina. Not for the first time since this morning, she feels everything around them vanishing. The only thing that exists is Juliana and her.

Before Valentina can muster the courage to kiss her, Marina and Guz interrupt them to say goodbye. After a brief conversation they leave together holding hands.

A moment later, Juliana takes off her leather jacket and hands it to Sergio who takes it and gives Valentina a pointed look. Juliana rolls up the sleeves of her t-shirt revealing a small mermaid tattoo on her bicep and Valentina feels a surge of heat in the bottom of her stomach.

She's too distracted by her toned arms and her badass look to notice that she has offered her hand.

"Come on, let's dance!"

"No, Juls, I don't know how to dance to this music," she complains.

"There's no right or wrong way, you can do whatever you want." Valentina isn't entirely convinced but then Juliana takes both of her hands and pulls her closer,  making her hop off the stool.

"Take a look around you, Val, nobody's gonna judge..."

Valentina does just that. She sees a group of teens filming something on their phones, others dancing like crazy, a white girl is trying to twerk and a few feet away two men are making out, with too much tongue in Valentina's humble opinion. The more she looks the more she realizes that she can do whatever she feels like.

She sighs in defeat and lets Juliana guide her in the crowd. Their fingers are interlaced but this time that contact alone isn't enough to calm her nerves. She's stiff, acutely aware that she doesn't fit in there.

"Take it easy, Val, relax..." Juliana says to her ear, their arms brushing.

"Easy for you to say," she whines, knowing that she sounds like a baby.

Juliana chuckles and turns her body around as to face each other. She puts both hands in Valentina's shoulders and stares deeply into her eyes. If the goal is to relax her then she's failing miserably.

"Just close your eyes and focus on the music. Let your emotions flow."

Hard as she might, she can't make out the lyrics of the song but she can feel the anger emanating from the singer. Her mind goes back to the untimely death of her father, to Lucia's betrayal, to Lucho's persistence, to her almost deadly encounter earlier, to her selfish siblings. What Valentina doesn't know though is how to channel all these suffocating emotions.

Juliana must have felt her uneasiness because her hands slowly move from her shoulders to her wrists and squeezes them lightly. She opens her eyes, immediately meeting brown ones.

They're so close, Valentina realizes. Their upper bodies almost touching, their breaths mingling and her thumb caressing Valentina's cheek. Juliana's mouth parts slightly and her eyes fall to her lips.

Finally, Valentina closes the small distance. At first their lips brush softly before starting to move more firmly. Juliana not only doesn't push her away but she also places her hands to the nape of her neck to bring her closer.

She lets out a sigh as chills run up and down her spine. Valentina can hear her heart pounding in her own chest. Never before has a kiss taken her breath away with such force.

They part for just a few seconds before kissing again. This time she feels Juliana's tongue asking for permission. It doesn't take them long to deepen the kiss.

Valentina struggles to remember that they aren't alone but in a crowded room. Nevertheless, she lets her hands snake inside Juliana's shirt. The need to feel her soft, smooth skin against her fingertips more urgent than air.

Before reluctantly letting her go, Juliana bites her bottom lip with just the right amount of pressure. For once Valentina is thankful for the loud music because otherwise her moan would be audible.

Their foreheads touch and for a long moment they remain like that. Eyes closed while their lungs collect all the air they need. Neither of them is in any rush to end this serene moment in the middle of a loud concert.

When they finally open their eyes they share bashful smiles. Valentina doesn't know what to do next. Should she kiss her, ask to talk or simply take her hand and leave the bar? Juliana licks her bottom lip and Valentina feels like the universe made the decision for her.

Their lips meet once again with less urgency than before. The kiss is slower and more confident with a familiarity that, logically, shouldn't exist. Juliana's short nails dig lightly into the base of her neck, both sighing as their tongues touch.

Valentina is absolutely addicted to the sensation of having Juliana's body pressed against hers. She's kissing her without inhibitions. Her hands move with a will of their own to back pockets of Juliana's jeans and squeezes lightly.

At the contact, right against Valentina's mouth, Juliana releases the sexiest moan she's ever heard. The sound encourages her to repeat, with a little more firmness. The shorter woman brings her even closer and Valentina briefly wishes there's a wall to press her up against.

Juliana brings an end to the second kiss and Valentina attempts to close the distance again. Instead of being met with soft lips, she feels a finger and she has no other choice but to open her eyes and face reality.

She takes a step back and blushes. She hasn't behaved like that in months and never before with a woman. She opens her mouth to speak but Juliana beats her to it.

"I think we should take it easy. Let's not give them a show," she winks and Valentina lets out a breath of relief before nodding.

When she's about to ask what she wants to do, a new band introduces themselves. Juliana stares at the stage and smiles, a precious glint in her eyes.

"I like this band, they cover pop punk songs. Let's dance," she suggests. Valentina wants to complain but Juliana's energy is infectious and so, she complies.

"They're fun, you're gonna love them!" she says in her ear and briefly bites at her earlobe before letting go. A mischievous grin on her face while she drags her closer to the stage.

Valentina rolls her eyes, realizing just how weak she is to all things Juliana Valdes. A familiar melody starts playing and she feels content with just observing the way the girl enjoys the song. She lifts her hands in the air, sways her hips and during the chorus she jumps in tune with the melody.

Once the first song ends, she catches her staring but Valentina is past caring so she just shrugs. Juliana smirks and gives her a playful nudge on the shoulder.

The next song starts and Valentina recognizes it. It's called "All the small things" and years ago Guille was obsessed with it. They used to blast it on repeat and jump on his bed until Eva forced them to stop. Nostalgia floods her and she soon finds herself lost in the memories.

The song ends faster than she'd want to but when she turns to the biker she realizes that their roles have been reversed. Juliana doesn't pretend not to stare either and just smiles at her.

"I didn't know you sang so well!" Valentina feels herself blushing at those words, not realizing that she got so carried away. Juliana chuckles and adds, "I like seeing you like this."

Before Valentina can reply, another song starts which is just as familiar. Juliana takes her hands and encourages to dance ridiculously with her. As one silly pop punk song shifts to another, they let themselves get lost in their own world. A world where every problem has disappeared. Where she and Juliana are all alone, carefree.

Sometimes they dance next to each other, without necessarily touching. At other moments they act childish, jumping and shoulders bumping midair with increasing force while laughing or holding hands and dancing around. Then there's the times that they flirt shamelessly, try to provoke one another. Pushing the limits, teasing. Getting to see who gives in and kisses the other first. They both lose, they both win.

Valentina realizes that it's the first time that she's free to be herself completely. She doesn't have to repress different facets of her personality depending on her company. She can be her true, authentic self next to Juliana.

She can be as silly as she was with Guille. She can be the witty friend she used to be around her friends before the scandals. All that while also remaining as sexy and as flirtatious as she was when she was interested in someone. She's all that together, with no expectations, nothing holding her back.

I'm still young, wasting my youth
I'll grow up next summer

These silly lyrics, coming from the mouth of the singer on the stage, suddenly hit her like the world's most profound wisdom. She opens her eyes and takes Juliana's hand.

The woman turns to her and opens her mouth but before words manage to come out, Valentina takes her bottom lip between her own. She doesn't attempt to deepen the kiss, separating after a few seconds instead.

"Wanna get out of here?" Valentina asks against her lips in a hoarse, seductive voice.

Juliana doesn't open her eyes but she can see her swallowing heavily and nodding. They intertwine their fingers and silently walk to the bar, where the rest of her friends are.

They both pay quick visits to the restroom, chat briefly with the rest, take their stuff and bid their goodbyes. They join their hands again and walk away together.

As they get closer to the exit, an older drunk man who's standing next to the door catches Valentina's attention. He's staring shamelessly at Juliana and makes a very vulgar gesture with the tongue inside his mouth and his hand. Juliana looks at her and rolls her eyes, not worried at all.

"If I had a dime for every time a man was disgusting to me I'd be able to afford your clothes, princess" she smiles and winks.

Valentina isn't convinced because she sees him moving closer to the door. She makes sure to go to Juliana's right side, positioning herself between them. The girl smiles at her, still nonchalant but charmed by her chivalrous act.

They share a meaningful look and Juliana starts rolling a cigarette, Valentina tries hard not to stare at the way the tip of her tongue touches the rolling paper. And, rather predictably, she fails.

This momentary distraction is enough for the drunk man to grab Juliana and pin her against the door.

And Valentina sees red.

She grabs a beer bottle from a table, smashes it right next to him, barely missing him, and breaks them apart. She doesn't let go of the bottle and pushes the sharp, broken end of it against the man's neck.

Her hands don't shake and she's aware she won't hesitate to hit him for daring to touch Juliana. At first he seems completely unfazed, he even gives her a haughty grin. That's until she presses forward, the sharp glass touching his skin.

He's left with no other option than to walk backwards until his back hits the wall next to the door. He lifts his hands in surrender, indicating that he no longer poses a danger to them but that's not enough for Valentina.

"Apologize to her!" she demands in a voice that she barely recognizes as her own. When he doesn't comply, she presses more firmly on the skin of his neck.

"Alright, alright" he looks behind her right shoulder, where Juliana must be standing, and with voice dripping of sarcasm he starts "I apologize malady for wanting to fuck your-"

"Apologize to her or I swear to lord I'll cut your throat and rip your balls out" she's fully aware that the threat isn't empty. She glances at the drops of red liquid falling from his neck and she realizes that the situation might escalate further.

Fortunately that's not the case, as few patrons push the man away. Before more fuzz surrounds them she feels a warm hand grabbing hers swiftly.

She follows Juliana outside on autopilot, deafening silence enveloping them. Valentina has hard time recognizing herself. This might have been an overreaction from her part but, to her surprise, she doesn't regret it at all.

They finally reach Juliana's bike and for the first time since this incident, their eyes meet.

"Are you okay?" they ask in unison.

This makes them smile, relieving some of the awkward tension even for just a moment. Valentina nods, not trusting herself to speak further yet.

"Thank you, Val, but you" Juliana stutters, struggling to complete her sentence, "you didn't have to do that. This man was dangerous. He could... he could... have harmed you!"

"I don't care, Juls, I don't care. What he tried to do was..." the rest of the words die on her throat.

"I can defend myself," she replies weakly.

"I wasn't willing to risk it and wait to find out." These words fall heavy between them and they both look to the ground, overcome with emotion.

After a minute their gazes lock and Valentina sees something brand new in Juliana's eyes. She can't place what it is exactly. A combination of sadness, worry and... vulnerability.

The girl walks closer and rests her thumb on her cheek. Juliana's finger travels softly and slowly towards her chin and uses her index finger to bring her face closer to hers.

Their lips meet again and Juliana pushes her until the back of her legs touch the bike. There's a sense of desperation on that kiss. As if they're reunited after days apart. And it might all just be in Valentina's head, but she feels as if this is Juliana's way of saying things she can't convey with words.

They only stop when the need for air is absolutely necessary.

"Please, promise me that you won't put yourself in danger for me again," she asks in a low voice.

"No," she denies and watches Juliana take a step back.

"Val, I-"

"No, Juls, listen..."

Now it's her that can't come up with the proper words. She wants to tell her that she'd do anything to keep her safe but that's too fast too soon, even by her own standards. Instead she goes for something safer, less intense. Something Valentina knows Juliana will understand.

"If something like that had happened to me, what would you have done?"

She opens her mouth and closes it again. She repeats that action a couple of times until she realizes what Valentina is trying to say.

"Okay, but if there's next time promise me not to be so reckless."

"I'll be more careful. I promise," she reassures her and extends her pinky finger. Juliana lets a lighthearted chuckle and unites their pinkies. A silent pact forms and the air between them changes for the umpteenth time since they met this morning.

"So, where to next?" Juliana asks, "I could take you home-"

"I don't want to go home. Do you?"

"No," she bites her lip and smiles, "I could show you my special place."

"Is this a lesbian innuendo or?"

Juliana laughs loudly, her head falls back revealing a very inviting neck that begs to be kissed. Valentina bites her bottom lip. They'll have time for that later.

"There's only one way to find out, princess," Juliana winks.

She jumps to her bike and puts on her helmet. Valentina mimics her actions.

Juliana turns on the engine and drives to the same direction that they came from. Valentina wraps her hands around her waist and rests her head against her back.

As the chill night wind touches her skin and Juliana drives into the unknown, Valentina feels safer than ever before.

Chapter Text

 

On their way to their destination they stop briefly at a gas station to refuel and buy some items from its convenience store, like rolling tobacco and paper, beers and snacks.

Valentina insists on paying but when all her attempts fall short she resorts to the one method of persuasion that has never failed her: puppy eyes. Predictably, she gives in which makes Valentina squeal and pull her in for a hug. Juliana feigns annoyance but her bright smile gives her away.

They then drive away without abandoning the coastal area. After a short ride they arrive at a parking lot.

They take the two beach towels from the trunk and replace them with their shoes. Valentina notices Juliana's adorable panda socks but says nothing. They walk for a few moments until they reach what seems like a private beach, but not its main entrance.

"It belongs to that four star hotel across the street," Juliana clarifies as if that doesn't make their climbing of the small fence trespassing.

"That's illegal Juls..." she whispers.

"You know what should be illegal? Owning part of the sea."

They put their socks in their pockets and walk on the sand. Juliana takes off her leather jacket and drapes it over Valentina's shoulders, her perfume enveloping her completely. They hold hands as the cold sea touches their feet. It's all very romantic and Valentina is completely charmed.

They soon reach the left corner of the beach as indicated by a tall rock formation which sticks out into the sea for what looks like several feet. That area is somewhat neglected, with the racks of plastic lounge chairs and filled garbage cans.

"Now comes the most difficult part," Juliana notes nonchalantly. She rests her weight into the rock and starts rolling her jeans just above her knees.

"We're not going inside, are we?" she asks with an arched brow.

"Aha," she smirks, "it's gonna be worth it, I promise."

Valentina huffs, annoyed, but mimics Juliana all the same. Once they're done, they manage to distribute their stuff in a way that leaves their one arm free to hold on to the rock.

The water might be calm but it's also very cold and against her better judgement she follows Juliana inside. Once the sea reaches up to her knees she realizes that the rock creates a small narrow arch, about seven feet tall, and within a few steps they're both out of the water.

The pebbles and small rocks are bothering her but the view is breathtaking even if the only light is coming from the full moon. When they reach the other side of the arch Juliana jumps first and then offers her hand to Valentina.

Once her feet touch the sand, she takes a look around. They're at a small cove beach, about the size of her home's tennis court, but that's part of the charm. That, and the clear white sand and the trees which give off a sense of serenity.

"It was worth it," Valentina gladly admits. Juliana comically throws her fist in the air and claps. It doesn't take them long to break into giggles.

They start getting settled, hanging their stuff on tree branches. They place the beach towels next to each other, close enough to the sea that sometimes the waves reach their toes. Valentina opens a beer while Juliana rolls a cigarette which she promptly steals.

"I didn't know you smoked," she notes. Juliana leans closer and lights the cigarette. They lock eyes but she soon gets distracted by the way Juliana bites her bottom lip.

"Only on special occasions..." Valentina finally replies in a raspy voice and hands her the cigarette.  Juliana then takes a sip from Valentina's beer, "I didn't know you liked alcohol."

"I don't. But since it's a special occasion," they share the cigarette and the beer with conspiratorial smiles.

Juliana takes one last drag, stabs the cigarette in the sand and blows out the smoke from one corner of her mouth. She looks irresistibly sexy and Valentina wants to make her hers. The black-haired woman seems to understand her intentions, if her teasing smirk is anything to go by.

So she leans forward and kisses her.

Valentina feels Juliana's smile widening against her lips and that's enough to take her breath away. Maybe it's the idea that she's the sole source of that smile. It feels special, somehow.

The kiss deepens and Juliana removes her leather jacket from Valentina who pulls her closer, feeling the heat of her skin everywhere they touch. She's always been the one in control during her encounters, regardless of her partner's gender, but she senses that she's met her match.

Just as they're ready to lose themselves in each other, a phone rings. Recognizing her ringtone, Valentina curses internally. She runs to her bag but she doesn't answer in time. It's her brother. Her phone has 27% battery so she asks Juliana to use hers.

They talk for a few minutes, informing him that she's not coming home. He doesn't refrain from reminding her all the responsibilities that she's left behind and she'll have to deal with in the morning.

The conversation leaves her emotionally drained and stressed. Juliana notices it but says nothing and just hands her the forgotten beer.

Valentina stares ahead, at the black starry sky, the calm sea and the white moon that is reflected on there. She closes her eyes and tries to relax.

"Do you ever wish you could run away from everything?" she finally asks Juliana.

"When I was younger whenever life got overwhelming I used to come here to leave everything behind ever for just a few hours, " she smirks, "but no. Not anymore."

"Really?" she turns to look at her but Juliana's eyes are still at the sea.

"My life's isn't perfect. I not only work as a bartender but I also have to supplement my income with various part-time gigs and I can't turn my hobby into a job yet. But I'm happy where I am today," she smiles and meets her gaze. "For the first time in my life I have some financial stability. I'm surrounded by people I consider family and I also give back to my community. I fought very hard to get where I am today and I wouldn't change it for the world."

"Wow, that's impressive," Valentina says, "very few think like that."

"Us humans tend to focus on what we don't have instead of everything we do have..."

Valentina lets a dry laugh. She's spend all her life with people just as rich and privileged as the Carvajals and she can attest to that. As for herself, she'd give up everything just to get her loved ones back, just to restore the relationship she used to have with Guille and Eva.

"You know," Juliana nudges her with an encouraging smile, "I'm a very good listener, or so I've been told."

"I don't want to bother you with my problems..."

"You won't. I'm serious!"

Valentina sees nothing but honesty in her eyes. She really looks interested in what she has to say which makes her realize just how much she needs to talk.

So Valentina does just that, knowing that Juliana won't judge her. She talks about the death of her parents and that of Lucia. The different ways each loss impacted her and how betrayed she feels by her siblings. And as she speaks, she realizes that this is the loss she currently mourns the most.

She ends up talking for a long time, letting it all out. Juliana listens intently with few interruptions. Her usually expressive face reveals very little of what she thinks. Instead she holds her hands, rubs her back or simply nods.

"May I be frank?" she asks after minutes of tense silence. "I really don't like your siblings. I think in their own way they care about you but they've also put so many expectations on you."

"No more than what they've put on themselves. Guille sacrificed his relationship with Renata, his secretary, to date a woman of his status. Eva had to terminate a pregnancy in order to focus on the company."

"All that sounds tough but that's their decisions, Val. They're the ones responsible for their actions. Not you, not anybody else," Juliana sounds irritated and a part of her feels the responsibility to defend her siblings.

"I know, but it's unfair that I have done nothing in return..." she confesses but Juliana looks even more annoyed after that.

"Nothing? You changed majors from journalism to business and you also gave up modelling. You're shoved deep in the closet and now they're trying to trap you into marrying someone you don't love. Fuck Val, what more should you do?"

As these words settle in, silence envelops them. Hearing the reality of it all hits her like a ton of bricks. She buries her face in her hands and tries her best not to cry. She feels Juliana scooting closer.

"I'm sorry, that was out of line. It's easy to judge but believe me, that wasn't my intention."

"I know Juls."

She wants to tell her that she's the only person in a very long time that has taken her side, who has defended her without ulterior motives. She stares at her deep brown eyes and feels understood.

"Que?" she asks confused.

"Nothing, I'm sorry. I'm very intense," she whispers. Juliana smiles and rests her thumb on her cheek, caressing her softly.  Valentina closes her eyes, already relaxed by her soothing touch.

"Don't ever apologize for being yourself and besides, you're not the only intense person here. Let's not forget how we met," they both chuckle with that. "I know we've only spend a day together but I can tell that you're a beautiful person, inside and out, free spirited and open-minded too."

"You figured all that out in a few hours?" Valentina jokes, trying hard not to let her eyes water.

"What can I say, I'm awesome like that. It took me a little longer though to discover that you're also a fighter."

They both seem to remember the way she held that broken bottle against that man's neck. It doesn't feel too much to Valentina but judging by the appreciative way Juliana smiles at her it must mean something to her. Given how out of her way she goes to protect others, Valentina wonders. How many have extend that kindness back to her?

"You're stronger than what you give yourself credit for, princess," she continues, "you have to stand up for yourself and show your siblings that you're willing to fight for what you want."

"It's hard," she whispers.

"I know but trust me, there's no better feeling than the freedom to be yourself. It'll be worth it, in the end."

Valentina nods and gives her a shy smile. Juliana cups her cheek and comes closer. Suddenly, they're back to where they were before the phone call, but yet not quite.

She just shared some of her deepest secrets with Juliana. And she supported her, without downplaying her emotions. She's never been so open and vulnerable with any of her partners, even those who she have known for months and years. Nobody earned her trust as fast and as blindly as Juliana has.

Their lips meet once more and now there's no doubt in Valentina's mind. Everything is different. She's surrendering herself to Juliana and her touch, knowing that she's safe.

And they seem to be on the same page. There's no fight for dominance this time. Juliana straddles her and keeps kissing her. Her hands travel from the back of her neck to the hem of her shirt as Valentina brings their bodies closer, not without squeezing her butt first.

Their lips part just enough for Juliana to take off her shirt, a move which Valentina mirrors. Their almost naked bodies touch. Hard nipples brush against each other's even though they're both wearing bras.

Valentina releases a groan which changes the energy. They break their kisses and take a moment to appreciate each other's body. She's captivated by Juliana's beauty and the way the white moonlight makes her skin glow.

Juliana remains in control. She goes on to kiss her face, starting from her lips to her cheek, biting her earlobe before moving slowly down her neck. Her lips travel to her collarbone, kissing and nipping until she reaches the strap of her bra. Then Valentina feels confident hands unclasping the article of clothing; slowly removing it from her body.

She feels the cold air touch her naked skin and before long Valentina takes off Juliana's bra as well, admittedly with less grace. Their bare chests come into contact and Valentina is sure she can feel her heart exploding.

She cups her perfectly round breasts but she soon gets distracted. Juliana pushes her until she's laying completely on the beach towels. She proceeds to remove Valentina's pants and then her own. Juliana lies completely on top of her, between her legs and Valentina moans when she feels a familiar heat.

She's kissing her mouth, then her neck and moves downwards. She takes one of Valentina's breasts into her mouth while cupping the other. She swirls her tongue on her nipple, licking and sucking with dedication.

She feels the woman's smirk against her sensitive skin once Valentina releases a sigh the exact moment she catches her nipple between her teeth. She pulls at it before moving her attention to the other breast.

She's left breathless, panting. Craving for more. Valentina has never been so desperate and deep down she knows. Never before has she wanted to be fucked as much as right now. She's never been so willing, so eager to give up control.

Juliana kisses her way to her abdomen, until she reaches her panties. She touches it and looks up at her. It takes Valentina a moment to realize why she stopped, assuming that her sounds of pleasure count as consent. Apparently she needs further confirmation which turns on Valentina even more.

She puts her hands on Juliana's and together they remove her underwear. The intensity of her lover's gaze disarms Valentina completely. She opens her legs wide, inviting her to do whatever she pleases with her.

Juliana licks her lips as she looks at her body with raw desire. For a moment everything stands still, the only sounds come from their ragged breaths and the waves that crush smoothly on the shore.

"How are you real?" the words seem to escape Juliana's mouth. In fact, she doesn't look aware of having spoken them.

"Make me yours," Valentina replies. It sounds more like a plea than an order but she's past caring.

Suddenly, Juliana snaps out of her trance. She gives her one of her irresistible, mischievous smirks and goes on to move Valentina's right leg on her shoulder, kissing her inner thigh.

"Val, open your eyes."

Nothing more needs to be said. The image of this endlessly sexy woman between her legs with tousled black hair and a grin full of promises is enough to almost bring her on edge.

They hold eye contact for a moment extended in time before Juliana turns her attention on Valentina's sex. She feels a warm breath against her pussy.

Finally her tongue comes into contact with her most intimate part; moving up and down, licking and sucking, making her moan uncontrollably. Just as she's getting closer with Juliana's tongue focused on her clit, she feels a single finger entering her.

She raises her legs even more, helping her with the movement. Once Valentina adjusts she finds herself wanting more. As if her lover could read her mind, Juliana briefly removes her finger and then adds a second one.

After that, it doesn't take her long to reach her climax. The perfect combination of expert tongue and fingers and the sexual tension that's been building up for hours, makes Valentina come.

Her fingers are buried in black damp hair. Juliana kisses her mouth without removing her fingers yet, making sure to draw every last bit of pleasure from her orgasm

With the right partner, losing control is the best sensation in the world.

Her eyes remain closed as she tries to catch her breath. She feels Juliana laying next to her. A few minutes later Valentina realizes that she's ready. She can't wait to return the favor. To make Juliana feel as good as she just made her feel.

She hovers over her lover. She watches as her eyes slowly open, their gazes locking. She cups her cheek and her thumb swipes across her bottom lip. She then leans in, taking it between her lips, still tasting herself on it.

As Valentina straddles Juliana, she takes her in. Her hair is damp, some strands sticking on her neck and forehead while some others touch the sand. Her eyes are black now, like galaxies, the pure lust with which she stares back at her sends a shiver down her spine.

Her lips are slightly parted, her chin is wet and her perfect neck, as if sculptured by gods, ever so inviting. Then there are her breasts, looking like they're meant to fit in her palms, her nipples darker than her own and already hard. And finally her flat abdomen is just begging to be kissed.

She's a goddess, Valentina concludes, a goddess that she can't wait to worship.

And so, she returns to action with newfound vigor. She dedicates herself to fully appreciating Juliana's neck; kissing, licking and nipping it, knowing fully well that she's going to leave marks.

Just then she hears Juliana's hoarse voice calling her name. For a moment she fears that she's done something wrong but her words put Valentina at ease.

"Have you... Have you done this before?"

Juliana doesn't look disappointed or uninterested, the opposite in fact. And then it dawns on her; even now she puts Valentina first. She wants to make sure that she doesn't feel pressured to do more than she wants to.

"What exactly?" she feigns innocence, as she feels a smirk forming on her face.

"You know..." she trails off, a faint blush adorning her face. Valentina finds it adorable that mere minutes ago Juliana was fucking her with her mouth and fingers but now she can't even say the word.

Sergio's words come to the back of her mind. Juliana is romantic and maybe this is just as unusual and special as it is for Valentina. She decides to push these thoughts away, for now at least.

"Do you mean, if I have fucked a woman before? Then yes," she whispers as she kisses her jaw, placing special emphasis in the word 'fuck'. "Or if I have fucked on a beach? Then also yes."

"Val, please," Juliana sighs.

"Or if I've fucked a woman on a beach?" she ignores her. She's kissing her way from the base of her neck to the valley between her breasts while her right hand slides down her body until she reaches her boy shorts. "No, but I really want to."

Juliana moans and pulls her up to her face. Their lips crush in a ravenous, lust driven kiss. Valentina moves her fingers, placing them over the clearly wet underwear. She breaks the kiss and whispers against her mouth, "tell me what you want Juls."

"Fuck me."

These couple of words reignite everything, the slowness of moments ago evaporates completely. Valentina removes her panties and takes one of her breast in her mouth. Juliana digs her nails on her hair, a pleasurable pain.

Valentina enters her with a finger which elicits a loud moan from her lover. An intense reaction that surprises both but when she looks up to Juliana's eyes she doesn't see any hint of blush.

She continues with a second finger, her thumb circles Juliana's swollen clit. She watches the way her fingers penetrate her, disappearing deep inside her pussy, Juliana's wetness on her digits. The way her entire body reacts to her touch makes Valentina weak.

If there's something better than letting go then surely that's watching Juliana letting go completely.

And just as she thinks that this couldn't get any better, a word escapes Juliana's mouth. A word that drives her crazy.

"More."

Valentina eagerly obliges. She enters her with a third finger and she soon feels Juliana's smooth inner walls welcoming her with relative ease. Finally Juliana comes, loud and hard with nothing holding her back. It once again feels special. And she knows that this moment will obsessively play on her head for a very long time.

She doesn't move from above Juliana. Watching every minute detail of her orgasm and the way she's slowly coming down from her high. She herself is already wet.

Valentina calls her lover's name and their gazes meet. Their eyes remain locked as she does something she's never interested in trying before. Without any modesty she puts her fingers in her mouth. Savoring Juliana's wetness on them.

Juliana's expression quickly shifts. Her surprise subsides as she bites her bottom lip and releases a guttural moan. She then lifts her upper body until their faces are inches apart.

She removes Valentina's digits from her mouth without breaking eye contact. She then takes her thumb, still wet from stimulating her clit, and licks it, eliciting another moan from Valentina. At her reaction, Juliana quickly releases it and smirks before finally kissing her again.

One thing is clear to them both. Their night is far from over.

 

Later, once their bodies are completely sated and they can barely move, they rest together on the beach towels. Valentina allows herself to be held by Juliana who plays with her hair.

Although her eyes feel heavy, she doesn't want to fall asleep yet. She stares at her lover's various small tattoos without moving from the comfortable place in her hug.

One particular tattoo catches her attention, a series of numbers ending in 2016, in the right side of her left hand's index finger. She laces their hands together and absent-mindedly caresses the inked skin there.

She wonders if the numbers indicate a certain date but although her curiosity is piqued she doesn't ask questions. The woman quickly realizes where the attention of her touch is directed at and immediately tenses up. Valentina squeezes her eyes, regret taking over her.

Juliana retrieves her arm, breaking their hug. Valentina clears her throat in embarrassment and moves away from her touch.

"I'll grab some chips and a beer," she announces and she puts on her gray shirt, "do you want some?"

Juliana just nods, her eyes focused on the pattern of the towel. She gets up and for the first time, she feels self conscious of her nakedness. Internally she's thankful for the fact that her shirt is long enough to cover her backside.

She grabs two beers and a bag of chips and sits across from Juliana who has also wore her shirt. They eat and drink in silence. The tension palpable in the air.

"It's a date. The tattoo, I mean," she finally says.

"You don't have to tell me if you don't want to. I'm sorry for-"

"No, Val, you have nothing to apologize for. I'm sorry for making this weird. And I want to tell you, I'm just not used to..."

"I understand," she says with a reassuring smile.

She can't turn back the clock to ten minutes ago but she can put everything in the past. After all, even with that thin article of clothing Juliana remains as sexy as ever. Valentina watches the way her shirt has ridden up, revealing the curve of her ass.

She licks her lips and closes the distance, resting her hands on Juliana's thighs, just above her knees. They kiss softly and she feels the familiar sense of heat reappearing. To her utmost surprise, Juliana breaks the kiss.

Valentina opens her eyes and sees how squeezed tight Juliana's eyes are. Her inner struggle is obvious in her flawless face. She doesn't understand what is happening inside that beautiful, complicated brain of hers.

Whatever is going on though, Valentina knows that she wants to be there for her. And so, she puts a loose strand of hair behind her ear and kisses her cheek.

"It's okay Juls," she whispers but she feels like these words fall short. However, they seem to work as Juliana relaxes, a shy smile briefly appears on her face.

"February 15th 2016. It was the last day I saw my parents," she confesses. "This stupid tattoo was my ex's idea, an attempt regain control over that date but it's still hard. Very few people in my life know about this but I..."

Valentina just nods, she understands the weight of this moment. She wants nothing more than to be there for her just as Juliana was for her earlier.

"Your parents, what happened to them?" she asks. She knows she's taking a gamble and prays that this question won't shut her down but instead encourage her to lift a much needed weight off her shoulders.

"They're alive, if that's what you're wondering. That day... they had a dinner date, for Valentine's. I was sixteen and kind of dating a girl from school, looking back it wasn't anything serious. It's mostly lack of options since our school was in the outskirts of San Antonio, in a conservative area. Willow was the only gay girl with who I clicked but back then we saw ourselves as Romeo and Juliet."

"I was the same as well with my first relationship, but as it turns out we were just horny teenagers," she notes and Juliana chuckles at that. Some of the tension leaving her face for a moment.

"That could describe us as well. Willow had five siblings so meeting at her place wasn't an option. I used to live in a trailer, which was even smaller than my apartment, but we had made plans to take advantage of my parent's date night."

Suddenly she stops talking, she takes one large gulp from her beer, sadness clouding her face. Valentina holds both of her hands and squeezes them.

"Juls, you really don't-" she starts. She puts two and two together, she can only imagine how difficult it must be to relive this moment.

"They came back early and caught us in their bed in a rather compromising moment. Chino, my father, became furious and my mom had to use all her strength to close the door and let us get dressed." Juliana broke eye contact and focused on rolling a cigarette, her hands shaking slightly, "he started screaming and almost broke the door. He tried to attack Willow but I got between them, she wasn't to blame for any of this."

"Neither were you, Juliana," she interrupts. Valentina has somehow managed to keep her cool but she needed to tell her at least that.

"I know, it took me a while but I know. Back then that's how I saw it. My father, my responsibility."

"Did he... did he..." she can't bring herself to finish the question, even though she already knows the answer. Juliana nods.

"I don't remember most of it, it's as if I had a black out. One second he's pushing me against the wall and the next I'm sitting on a chair and my mother cleans up my wounds."

Valentina opens her mouth but Juliana shakes her head. So she lets her go on.

"It took me years to come to terms with how traumatizing this was. I used to say 'it's not as bad as it sounds' but it was. That wasn't the worst of it though..."

"It wasn't?"

"Chino was never a good father to me. In fact, I suspect that he has a second family out there. His actions didn't surprise me, he was always violent especially towards Lupe. Their relationship was toxic and abusive. She loved him blindly besides everything he put us through but I really thought that seeing what he did to me was going to be the catalyst."

"She didn't kick him out?" she asks. Juliana shakes her head.

"He locked me in the trailer and wouldn't let me out. I heard him mentioning my name in phone calls. I don't know what his plans were but Lupe woke me up in the middle of the night with a backpack full of my stuff and some of the money she had saved over the years behind Chino's back. She helped me sneak out of the house."

Their gazes meet. Juliana's eyes are watery but she doesn't cry. She takes one last drag from her cigarette and throws it inside the half-full beer. Then proceeds with the rest of her story.

"I begged her to come with me, Val. The two of us could've been enough, we could start a new life elsewhere but she refused. She claimed that she was needed there. She hugged me one last time and told me to never forget how much she loves me and that I'm the most important person in the world for her."

"Juls," she whispers helplessly. She's at a loss for words.

Juliana doesn't seem to have heard her. She releases a dry chuckle and allows her the tears trickle down her face freely now. "What a load of bullshit. Actions speak louder than words and she chose Chino."

"You were right Juls," she finally says after a moment of processing all she's just heard.

"Huh?"

"Your parents are assholes and they never deserved you," she replies. Juliana seems to recall their exchange from earlier and she chuckles.

It's not much but regardless, Valentina considers it a small win. She has more colorful adjectives to describe Juliana's parents but she's aware that it's not what the woman needs right now.

Valentina closes the distance and wipes the tears from her face and then kisses the same spots. Juliana releases an almost childish giggle but Valentina doesn't stop. She kisses the rest of her face; her eyelids, her wrinkles, her eyebrows, her cheeks, her chin, the tip of her nose.

Juliana smiles again, their foreheads rest against each other's and their eyes lock. They slowly lean forward and their lips meet in a slow, comforting kiss. Valentina realizes that she craves her like never before.

Is this how couples feel for one another? Is this how sex with connection feels like? Do others want to make their lover feel as loved and as appreciated as she wants to make Juliana feel?

Because that's exactly what Valentina wants. She wants to comfort her, to take her pain away, to fight her demons for her, to make her forget about the cruelty of this world. She wants to worship her, beyond her body.

She wants to make Juliana see herself the way she does. As the brave fighter who saved a stranger's life, as the warm friend who welcomed her in her world with open arms. As the sexiest woman she's ever met, with the biggest heart than anyone else in the world.

She thinks that, given how hard her life was, Juliana is a miracle. She didn't let her demons destroy her, she rose above them and came out stronger.

"Que?" she asks, a faint red in her cheeks.

"Nothing," Valentina replies moving Juliana as to sit on her lap and then whispers, "I was thinking of just how fucking incredible you are."

Juliana shakes her head, a shy smile on her face. "Let's focus on the 'fucking' part now."

Valentina releases a thundering laugh and soon the other woman joins her. They both stare at each other's lips and close the distance, continuing from where they left it off.

Her hands travel from Juliana's knees to the curve of her ass, squeezing it, until she reaches the hem of her shirt, removing it from her body.

She notices the vulnerability in her deep brown eyes. They're once again in total sync, understanding each other's needs. And right now Valentina wants to show her how much she cares about her and Juliana wants to feel comforted.

They met less than a day ago.

They've both opened up to one another more than to people they've known for years. But Valentina still wants more. She feels like she's barely scratched the surface of who Juliana Valdes is.

Still, no matter of how real and instant their connection is, some facts don't change. These less than 24 hours are too early to make this thing between them something very serious.

Whatever is happening right now isn't love, but Valentina knows it can eventually be. She can see herself falling madly in love with Juliana.

And this realization both scares and excites her.

 

Chapter Text

 

A sharp pain in her arm wakes up Valentina less than gently. As soon as she registers where she is she breathes a sigh of relief, realizing that the previous day wasn't just a dream.

The sand continues to hit her skin for a couple of moments. When the breeze stops she opens her eyes to see that the space next to her is empty. At first she panics until she realizes that Juliana's leather jacket is still covering her naked body.

She finally gets up and stretches. Her body is aching, both because of where they slept and from last night's activities. It's still dawn and the sun has only began to slowly rise. 

Valentina takes a look around her and now, without the biker being a beautiful distraction, she can fully appreciate the beauty of this secluded beach. She puts her shirt on and lets the tranquility of this place relax her. She allows herself to just be, pushing away all thoughts about their impending separation.

Just on cue, Valentina hears steps in the sand and turns her head to the right. Juliana holds a cardboard tray with two coffees and a bag hangs from the same hand. As soon as their eyes meet they share identical serene smiles.

The woman sits next to her, their arms and outer thighs touching, and gives her the coffee. Valentina puts one extra sugar from the tray and opens the small bag which contains cold water bottles and two sandwiches.

"I didn't know what you liked so I bought chicken and tuna," she simply shrugs and takes a sip from her coffee.

"Can I take the chicken one?" she asks, wanting first to make sure that Juliana doesn't have a specific preference. The woman nods but when she offers her the other sandwich she simply shakes her head.

"I don't like breakfast..."

"Excuse me?" Valentina is genuinely offended. She's sure that, even from miles away, Chivis just experienced physical pain.

"I'm strictly a coffee person," she notes with a smile, clearly entertained by her reaction.

"That explains why you beat up dudes with a baseball bat that has nails on it."

"Damn, my secret is out," Juliana winks and Valentina is positive that what she just felt was butterflies in her stomach.

"Don't worry, your secrets are safe with me," she replies feigning nonchalance and takes a big bite from her sandwich, "this is so good. Here, try it at least."

"No, Val," she looks disgusted which she takes as a personal challenge.

Valentina pushes it against her sealed lips but instead of giving in and opening her mouth, she gets up and starts running. She hears herself laugh and, with energy she usually lacks this early in the morning, starts chasing Juliana. They both giggle until she catches up to her and pins her against one of the trees.

Their laughs die down and their smiles slowly fade, suddenly aware of just how close they are. Their faces are a breath away and although Valentina is dying to kiss her, just as she's done countless times the previous night, she hesitates. She has no idea where they stand now that it's morning and their parting is hours, if not minutes, away.

Juliana's expression seems to mirror her own. She gives her a bittersweet smile that comforts Valentina and brings her fingers to caress her cheek. Then she slowly rest both hands on the nape of her neck and kisses her.

This time it's soft and slow, with no intention of escalation. They allow themselves to simply enjoy the feeling of their lips against each other's. Memorizing the sensation, every minute detail of it. Valentina can feel tears beginning to form in the corner of her eyes.

"Juls," she whispers but the woman hushes her with another soft kiss.

"Don't worry your pretty head about it princess," she says with a smile that doesn't really reach her eyes. "Let's finish our breakfast and watch the sunrise. What do you think?"

She nods, putting on a brave face as well and takes a couple of steps back. They hold hands and walk back to the towel. They then sit down and watch the sun coming up, slowly illuminating their small corner of paradise.

At first they don't really talk, they settle in a warm, comfortable silence as they enjoy their coffees. Once the drinks start having the desirable effect they begin to chat about nothing and everything.

Juliana tells her that her favorite color is currently red but it changes all the time. She doesn't like rock music all that much anymore but she's a little hesitant to admit it to her friends even though she knows they won't judge her. Her favorite food is sushi and she adores Hawaiian pizza, much to Valentina's horror.

Her dream is to launch her own clothing brand that reflects her ideals. She wants it to be environmentally safe, without exploiting workers while representing all body types and genders. She talks about it like it's something completely unattainable but Valentina has no doubt that she's going to achieve all these goals and more.

The biker doesn't delve a lot to the years between February 2016 and May 2020 but Valentina manages gather some information from their conversation. She met Sergio, Guz and the others a few months after the fact but Perlita must have played a big role on Juliana's current stability.

Apparently she hired her full time at her diner, encouraged her to finish high school and convinced to her stay in a room at her house until she turned eighteen. Juliana mentions Perlita's grandson, or "cousin" as she affectionately calls him, who used to own her apartment and bike until he got married and moved far away from their neighborhood.

In turn, Valentina also shares more about herself. About her favorite films and designers, she even confesses her embarrassing One Direction phase when she was fourteen. She also talks about how lonely she's been most of her life, with Guille being her only true friend.

She also mentions the true reasons she dated Lucho. They were never formally together but once she hit her all time low, after her father's death, she tolerated him solely for all the drugs he was scoring. Her family never saw that side of them and therefore can't understand why she doesn't want him around now that she's out of that dark world.

She can see the worry in Juliana's brown eyes and because she doesn't want to bring them down anymore she makes sure to joke about him. She mentions that no matter how much he showers or how many expensive perfumes he puts on, his body odor is always bad.

"I'm so happy that I like women..."

"I'm so happy that you like women too," Valentina jokes. "And I'm also happy that you finally tried that chicken sandwich."

"Que?" she furrows her eyebrows. During their conversation, while she was deeply engrossed in her words, she absent-mindedly accepted Valentina's offer. She ended up eating it all without even noticing it.

"Seems to me that you like breakfast after all," she teases her and adds, "I ate the tuna sandwich by the way."

"I can smell it..."

She gasps dramatically and puts a hand on her chest, pretending to be offended. Before she gets the chance to reply, Juliana pulls her from her shirt and kisses her loudly. They both smile against each other's lips.

Valentina places Juliana's hands on her ass, which the woman then squeezes, and brings their bodies closer. Juliana places her on her lap and Valentina immediately loses control. She grinds shamelessly as she moves her hands from the unruly black hair, between their bodies and down to Juliana's jeans.

She unbuttons and unzips them and she places her hand there. She ignores the rough sensation of the zip against the back of her hand. She doesn't care, she just wants Juliana. She wants to watch the way her body relaxes completely and her mouth falls open the exact second she comes.

But it wasn't mean to be because just then a phone rings. It takes them a long moment to realize what happens. Juliana is the first to snap out of it, she reluctantly disentangles to take the device out of her front pocket. 

She gets up to talk and Valentina out of discretion takes hers as well. Surprisingly, it has 16% battery and only a few texts from her siblings, which she ignores. She makes sure to save Juliana's number before locking it.

"We have to go," Juliana announces shortly after with a pout.

Valentina's stomach drops. She knew that this moment would come sooner than later but she isn't ready to let go of Juliana. She doesn't want to go back to her monotonous, hollow reality and be surrounded by fake people. Not now that she discovered just how wonderful and exciting life can be.

She nods and they start getting ready in deafening silence, making sure to leave the place as clean as they found it. Their bubble has burst, their separation is more real than ever before. As they walk up to the small arch, Valentina takes one last look at the beach.

"Be careful, the descent is trickier," Juliana warns and helps her enter the cold waters.

The main beach is almost empty since it's still very early, except for a few older people here and there. Just as they touch sand again Valentina realizes that she doesn't want to spend the rest of their remaining time like this.

Juliana walks ahead to throw a bag to the trash and Valentina uses it as an opportunity to text her. She can feel her serious gaze on her as she types but plays dumb.

"Sorry, I had to send a message of the utmost importance," she says.

A few seconds later a buzz comes from Juliana's phone. She bites her bottom lip as to repress a giggle.

"I'll hate to see you go but I already love watching you walk away 🍑🤤"

Valentina watches with amusement as Juliana's expression shifts from bafflement to unimpressed. For a second she gives her a scolding look but after a beat she starts laughing, her head falling back as she does so.

All the previous tension seems to dissipate thanks to that intentionally cheesy text. Mission: success.

"Seriously, Val? How old are you?"

"Doesn't matter. With you I become a teenager again," she shrugs with a mischievous smile.

This reply earns her a playful eye roll and a small slap on her shoulder. Then Juliana takes her hand and they reach the same fence from the night before. They climb it undetected and they wear their socks.

"I love the pandas," Valentina teases her, referring to her gray socks.

"Thanks, they're very punk animals."

"Punk animals?" she questions with a raised eyebrow and holding back a big smile.

"They eat bamboos and climb trees, Val, there's nothing more punk than that," she explains while she ties her combat boots.

"If that makes you feel less of a softie..." she trails off with an innocent smirk.

"Take that back, I'm not a softie! I beat up creepy dudes with a baseball bat, I'm a bad bitch!"

"I bet you cry when Mufasa dies in Lion King," she says it as to tease her but to her absolute amusement Juliana doesn't deny it.

"It's the saddest death in cinematic history," she defends herself with absolute seriousness.

"You're a total softie," Valentina insists and squeezes both of her cheeks with her hands, her thumbs on her chin. "Don't worry, I'll take this secret to my grave."

"Good because I'm going to kill you if you keep call-"

"Did you know that the French call orgasm 'a small death'?"

"You're unbelievable Val," she rolls her eyes but it's obvious that she's trying not to smile, "that's it, I'm leaving. I'm not driving you home."

"No, please. I don't want to say goodbye here," replies and starts forming her biggest weapon.

"Not the puppy eyes."

"Yes the puppy eyes."

Juliana lets out a dramatic sigh but she quickly drops the act and starts laughing. She takes her into a warm, protective hug and squeezes her. Valentina nuzzles in her neck and for a moment they let time freeze.

"Come on, we have to go."

They start driving towards Valentina's house and the reality starts setting in once again. Unlike a day ago, when she first rode the same bike, this time she doesn't hold back. She allows herself to bury her hands underneath Juliana's shirt, caressing her abdomen lightly.

It takes them time to reach the corner of her house but she still wishes the trip had lasted longer. Right now the place feels more like a prison that a home.

She steals a glance towards Juliana who suddenly looks overwhelmed by its sear size. Their eyes meet and for the first time neither of them knows what to say.

"I guess this is goodbye," the biker notes, an indecipherable expression on her face.

Suddenly Valentina remembers all the encouraging words she told her last night. She wants to be brave and she knows from where to start.

"It doesn't have to be, if you don't want to," she replies, trying to mask her fear with a smirk.

"I'm busy today. Guz called and his-"

"I'm not talking about right now. This doesn't have to be a one time thing, I want us to meet again." Juliana's eyes widen, her mouth hangs open and closes. Did she get this all wrong? "Unless you don't want to. It's fine. Really, no pressure."

Instead of a reply she feels warm lips in the corner of her mouth. Their foreheads touch and Valentina sees a combination of longing and fear in her brown eyes.

"I'd love that. To meet again I mean. I want this to be more than a one time thing too," she says with a shy smile and Valentina feels a weight lifting off her shoulders.

"Great. You have my number."

"Yes, you send me a very charming text earlier," Juliana chuckles.

"I told you, with you I become a teenager again..." what Valentina doesn't tell her though is that right now she feels like a thirteen year old with a crush. Suddenly her own phone rings but she doesn't answer it.

"Well, I have to get going," the biker notes reluctantly.

"Text me when you get home, alright?"

Juliana nods and closes the distance for the last time. The woman kisses her neck, near her ear and says in a low voice, "you're a fighter Val, don't let anyone tell you otherwise."

With that she takes a step back and winks. She rests her weight on her bike, a small warm smile on her lips.

Valentina takes one last good look at her. She starts walking backwards until the very last possible second, unwilling to say goodbye but having no other choice. She waves awkwardly and turns to the corner, at the entrance of her house.

She musters all the strength she has not to turn back towards the direction of the bike. She knows that if she does that she will run to Juliana's arms to kiss her and consequences be damned.

Valentina sees Fabrizio, as vigilant as ever, at the main door. As soon as he notices her he puts his hand on his ear and says something unintelligible. No doubt informing everyone of her return.

They chat briefly and she finally enters the premises of the Carvajal mansion. Not a minute afterwards she hears a bike speeding off in the distance.

Chivis talks to her but she brushes her off as soon as she can. She runs to her bedroom and into the shower. As the hot water touches her naked skin she realizes something.

She doesn't want to cry. Instead she smiles. After all, this wasn't goodbye.

And Valentina knows, with a certainty she's not aware of possessing that their story isn't over.

No.

Their story has just began.