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From the moment I met you

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Chapter 1

Juliana Valdés was in her car on her way to her mother's engagement party. Her mother Lupita had, after her divorce from Juliana's father 10 years ago, mostly been alone. Sure there had been a few nice men here and there but nothing ever turned into something serious. Juliana chuckled, thinking about the countless times she'd talked to her mother on the phone, it always turned into the same conversation: her mother's constant self-pity about her non existing love life and that she would spend the rest of her life alone. Needless to say, it was a very surprised Juliana who received a phone call from her mother two weeks ago. A mother who was bubbling with joy and excitement and Juliana had a hard time trying to figure out what her mother was telling her through her squeals of joy. When she'd finally calmed down a little Juliana would learn that her mother was in fact engaged to be married to señor Leon Carvajal and she was head over heels in love. Her mother had mentioned earlier that she'd met someone but it was still so new, knowing that most of her mother's 'I've met someone' never turned into something more, Juliana hadn't shown too much interest. So she had no idea who this Leon Carvajal was, but by the sound of her mother he was someone who made her incredibly happy and that was all Juliana needed to know. Later on she'd learned that Leon Carvajal was a widower and like Lupita, he'd been mostly alone since his wife past away 8 years ago. He also was a proud father of two daughters and a son. He'd proposed to Lupita about two months after they'd met on a cruise and now, Juliana was on her way to finally meet this man and to celebrate with the rest of their family and friends.

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Juliana turned off the engine and got out of the car. She retrieved her bag from the back seat and as she looked up at the house she saw her mother stepping out on the front porch. Lupita wrapped Juliana up in her arms the second her daughter stood in front of her.

"I'm so glad you're here sweetie. You look beautiful." Lupita pulled away and gazed lovingly at her daughter.

She put her arm around Juliana's shoulder and turned her towards the front door.

"Come on, let's get inside. I can't wait for you to meet Leon." Lupita said with a huge smile on her face.

Juliana had to admit, her mother was absolutely glowing. She couldn't even remember ever seeing her this happy. They stepped inside and Lupita led Juliana in to the dining room which was beautifully decorated with burning candles and newly picked flowers. The whole atmosphere was so romantic and so much like her mother that Juliana's heart just filled with warmth and she pulled her mother in for another hug.

"I'm so happy for you mom." Lupita smiled and held her daughter a little tighter.

"Now I'd really like to meet this man who's made my mother so happy." Juliana continued.

"He's in the kitchen, I'll go get him."

A minute later her mother returned with her arm linked through her fiancé's, beaming like never before.

"Juliana honey, this is Leon. Leon, this is my daughter Juliana." Before Juliana had a chance to open her mouth, Leon had engulfed her in a big hug.

"Juliana! I've heard so much about you! I'm so glad to finally meet you." Leon said and released the daughter of his fiancée.

"Nice to finally meet you too señor Carvajal." Juliana said and smiled brightly.

"Call me Leon please, 'señor Carvajal' makes me feel old." Leon said and gave a warm smile back.

Lupita put an arm around her fiancé's waist and smiled. Juliana watched the pair and saw how her mother looked at the man beside her and saw nothing but love.

"You have a lovely house Leon. Is there anything I can help you with now?" Juliana asked.

"No, everything is finished. The guests will be here in about an hour so why don't you relax in the backyard for a while. You've had quite a drive." Leon said kindly.

"Okay, but if there's anything I can help you guys with, don't hesitate to ask." Juliana said back with a smile.

"Thank you Juliana, will do. Now go pour yourself a glass of wine and relax, take your mother with you. I'm sure you have some catching up to do." Leon said and kissed Lupita's cheek before he left the two women alone.

Lupita wrapped her arm around Juliana's waist and walked them out to the backyard. Juliana took a seat in the shadow under a huge oak tree while her mother went back inside to get the wine. It was a warm afternoon, Juliana leaned back in her chair and closed her eyes as she took a deep breath. She opened her eyes when she heard the chair next to her squeak and was met by her mother's warm smile.

"It's really beautiful here mom." Juliana said and picked up the wineglass her mother had put down on the table in front of them.

"Yes, it is. I love being here. Leon bought this place a year after his wife passed away, he said the old house carried too many memories so he wanted a fresh start." Lupita said.

"I can understand that. So when will you be moving here?" Juliana asked and winked at her mother.

"He asked me to move in after he asked me to marry him. We haven't decided if I'll move in before or after the wedding. There's no rush really, there's a lot to take care of. I have to sell my apartment and organize a lot of other things but honestly? I can't wait to move in here and start the rest of our lives together." Lupita said and smiled.

"You know I never thought I'd say this but I'm actually a little jealous of you. All those talks about never finding love and spending the rest of your life alone, look at you now. You're so happy and in love and I'm so so happy for you mom but now it's like I'm the one who's never going to find somebody to love." Juliana said and took another sip of her wine.

Lupita reached for her hand.

"Just because you and Maria didn't work out doesn't mean you won't find love again." Lupita said sincerely.

"I know, it's just… being surrounded by all this love just makes me wonder if I'll ever be lucky enough to find the same kind of love, you know? Maria was wonderful but she wasn't the right one for me, we just weren't meant to be."

Lupita leaned closer and placed a kiss on Juliana's temple.

"You'll find it honey, I know you will. Look at me? The hopeless case is now about to get married. Who would've thought?" Lupita said with a smile. Juliana chuckled and nodded.

"Yeah, who would've thought?"

"Leon seems like a really nice man, and he's quite handsome too, for someone his age." Juliana said and winked.

"Hey! He's my age!" Lupita said resentfully.

Juliana laughed.

"Exactly" Juliana said and continued laughing. Lupita shoved her daughter playfully.

"Seriously though, I can tell he makes you very happy and I'm so happy for you. You deserve this mom and I can't wait for the wedding."

Lupita was just about to respond when Leon appeared on the back porch calling for their attention.

"Lupita, Juliana? My daughter and her fiancé just arrived, I want you to come and meet them." Leon said brightly.

Juliana and her mother left their wine glasses and walked up to Leon who led them in to the house where his daughter and fiancé was waiting.

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As they entered the dining room again Juliana saw the back of two people. A tall dark haired man and an equally tall woman with beautiful long, light brown hair. When Leon called out their names they turned around and as Juliana looked at the tall woman, Leon's daughter, she felt her breath caught in her throat. There was just something about her, she was beyond beautiful but there was something else, something Juliana couldn't pinpoint but just looking at her gave her a warm feeling inside. She almost missed when Leon called her name to get her attention.

"Lupita, Juliana, this is my daughter Valentina and her fiancé Lucho." Leon said and then turned to his daughter.

"This is my Lupita and her daughter Juliana." he continued.

Lupita instantly wrapped Valentina up in a hug.

"So good to finally meet you Valentina, I've heard so much about you." She smiled as she pulled back and looked at Leon's daughter.

She was strikingly beautiful with piercing blue eyes, just like her father.

"I'm glad to finally meet you too Lupita. This is Lucho, my fiancé." Valentina said and turned to her fiancé who immediately stretched out his hand to say hello. Lupita however ignored his hand and pulled him into a hug as well.

"Nice to meet you Lucho." she said as she withdrew from the hug.

"You too Lupita." Lucho said and smiled.

Juliana stood a bit behind her mother and watched them say hello to each other, her eyes strayed towards Leon's daughter every other second, she just couldn't help herself. Suddenly she felt her mother's hand on her shoulder and heard her voice.

"Valentina, Lucho, this is my daughter Juliana." Lupita said proudly.

Juliana smiled and took a step forward, Lucho held his hand out which she took and shock politely. Then her eyes turned to the left and instantly locked with a pair of the bluest eyes she'd ever seen. Her mouth suddenly felt dry and it felt like the temperature in the room had rapidly increased. There was a moment's awkwardness as it appeared both women were a bit uncertain how to greet each other. A simple handshake or a hug? They were going to be stepsisters so why wouldn't they hug? Valentina acted first and tentatively moved closer and gave her soon to be 'stepsister' a quick hug before looking back at her. She was incredibly beautiful and as her eyes found the other woman's dark ones she suddenly felt a strange feeling in her body. She had no idea what it was or where it came from so she shook it off.

"Nice to meet you Valentina."

"It's nice to meet you too Juliana." Valentina said and smiled.

Juliana smiled back but as Lucho wrapped his arm around Valentina's waist her smile faltered.

"Lucho, how about you and I go to the living room and get something to drink." Leon said and put a hand on Lucho's shoulder.

"Sounds good Leon." Lucho said and followed his father-in-law into the next room.

"So, what do you girls say about some more wine in the garden before the rest of the guests arrive?" Lupita asked.

"That sounds like a wonderful idea Lupita." Valentina said and smiled.

Lupita put an arm around each girls shoulder and led them out to the back yard. Juliana tried to focus straight ahead but failed every time, she just couldn't help herself from turning her head slightly to get a glimpse of Valentina. When they reached the place under the oak tree where Juliana and her mother sat a while ago, Lupita removed her arms from the girls' shoulders and motioned for them to take a seat.

"I'm just gonna go and get you a glass Valentina, I'll be right back" Lupita said with a smile before she turned and walked back into the house.

Both women followed her with their gaze and when she disappeared into the house they glanced at each other.

"So..." Juliana started.

"So..." Valentina repeated.

"Do you also live here in the area?" Juliana asked, trying to keep a conversation going.

"No, we live about two hours away. You?"

"I live in the city." Juliana answered.

"Oh so you're a big city girl then?" Valentina said with a smile.

Juliana laughed.

"Yeah I guess you could say that but I love getting away from the big city chaos every now and then. Mom has a cabin by a lake a couple of hours away, it's so peaceful and quiet there, I go there to relax as often as I have a chance.” Juliana said.

"That sounds really nice.” Valentina said and smiled.

"It is, you should come visit there sometime." Juliana started.

"I mean you and Lucho." she finished.

"Yeah? That would be wonderful." Valentina said sincerely and was struck by how quickly she'd come to like this woman.

"So, when are you and Lucho getting married?" Juliana asked and regretted asking cause she felt a pang in her heart the moment the words left her mouth. She had no idea why but she really didn't want to know when this gorgeous woman was getting married.

"We haven't set a specific date yet but in a couple of months. It will not be before dad and your mom's wedding." she answered.

"Are you married?" Valentina wondered.

"No, no, I'm not married. I'm not even dating anyone at the moment and even if the laws in this country has changed, some people still find it too controversial so no, marriage really isn't on the map for me." Juliana said, suddenly feeling like she'd said too much by the look on Valentina's face.

"Sorry, I didn't mean to be so blunt and just dump that information on you. I'm sorry..." Juliana said a little meekly.

Valentina was still processing what Juliana just said and what she meant by it when it clicked.

"You're gay..." It was more a statement than a question.

"Yes, sorry I didn't mean to come out to you like this, not that I'm not out. I'm very out and I'm not ashamed of who I am it's just I don't usually come out to people I've just met like within the first half hour and I know some people are having a hard time accepting this lifestyle and I'm sorry if-" Valentina put a hand on Juliana's arm to stop the rambling woman.

"Juliana? Calm down, take a breath." Juliana met Valentina's soft eyes and immediately she was silenced and completely mesmerized.

"I was rambling wasn't I?" Juliana asked a little embarrassed and was very aware of the hand still holding her arm.

"Maybe just a little." Valentina said and winked.

"But really Juliana it's totally fine, I have absolutely no problem with you being gay and I appreciate your honesty. Even if it wasn't your intention to come out to me right away, I'm glad you did. We're going to be 'sisters' soon anyway." Valentina continued and instantly that funny feeling she'd managed to push away, returned.

Something about referring to herself and Juliana as sisters, even though they weren't biologically related felt, well wrong. That was the only word she could think of to describe it but she had no idea why.

Juliana looked down at her lap and tried to ignore the little voice in the back of her head that was telling her the reason she didn't want to be Valentina's stepsister. She was very grateful when Lupita chose that exact moment to return with a wineglass for Valentina and some more wine.

The three women sat outside and enjoyed the summer breeze and each other's company until it was time to go back inside as the rest of the guests were starting to arrive.

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During dinner Juliana had a hard time keeping herself from seeking out Valentina. The truth was she failed completely. Every now and then as she looked up towards where Valentina was sitting she caught the other woman looking back at her but in a wink of an eye she'd averted her eyes.

Valentina didn't know what was wrong with her, why couldn't she stop looking in Juliana's direction? A few times she noticed that Juliana was looking back at her and when their eyes met for a split second Valentina looked away quickly, hoping the other woman hadn't caught her staring at her.

By the time dessert was finished people had started to mingle, some were dancing and Juliana had walked back out to the garden to get some air. She was sitting in the garden swing with her head tilted back slightly, gently swinging back and forth while looking up at the beautiful evening sky.

"Hey..."

Juliana sat up and looked to her right, Valentina was standing beside the swing with two wineglasses in her hands.

"Are you okay?" Valentina asked.

"Yeah, I'm fine. Just getting some air and then I kind of got stuck here in the swing. It's insanely relaxing." Juliana said and smiled.

Valentina smiled back and took a step closer to the swing.

"Mind if I join you?" she asked.

"No not at all." Juliana answered and gestured for Valentina to take a seat.

"I brought some wine if you want?" Valentina said tentatively.

"Thank you, I'd love some." Juliana said and took one glass from Valentina's outstretched hand.

Her fingers brushed over Valentina's and both women simultaneously looked at each other. Juliana knew she held Valentina's gaze for far too long but she couldn't look away. Valentina was feeling exactly the same yet she did nothing to break the spell they seemed to be under. The sound of someone calling Valentina's name brought the two women back to reality.

"Vale? Are you out here?" Both Juliana and Valentina looked over to the back porch and saw Lucho standing there, apparently a little tipsy.

"Yeah I'm here."

"Come back inside babe, I wanna dance with you."

"In a minute Lucho, I was just about to sit down and talk with Juliana. Go back inside, I'll be there in a while." Valentina said and wondered why she was feeling slightly irritated that her fiancé had interrupted them.

Interrupted what exactly? She couldn't quite explain that part but she felt interrupted.

"Sorry about that." she said and sat down on the swing beside Juliana.

"It's fine." Juliana said, she had no idea why Valentina was apologizing.

"No need to apologize." she continued.

Valentina looked at her and smiled then looked down at the wineglass in her hand.

"It's a nice party." Juliana started.

"Yeah, they're really happy. I haven't seen my dad this happy since before my mom died."

"My mom calls me every week and for the past I don't know... 5 years or so, every call has started with how she'd never find anyone. She's made me promise her to look after her and take her out on trips when she's old and lonely." Juliana said and chuckled.

"So when she called and told me she was getting married, no one was happier than me." she continued.

"I can understand that. I never thought I'd see dad smile again, like really smile, the way he smiles when he looks at your mother."

Juliana looked up and met her eyes, she smiled.

"I can tell he makes her really happy, he seems like a really nice guy."

"He is and I'm so glad he met Lupita, they really are perfect for each other." Valentina said and smiled warmly at the other woman.

"I'll drink to that." Juliana said and clinked their glasses together.

"So, Juliana Valdés, what do you do for a living?" Valentina asked and put her left arm up on the backrest and turned slightly towards Juliana.

"I'm a fashion designer." Juliana said and took another sip of her wine.

"A fashion designer? Impressive!” Valentina said with a smile.

"It's not that impressive, but I love it. It's been a dream of mine ever since I was a kid and I still can't believe I get payed for it now" Juliana said with a chuckle.

"Anyway, what about you Valentina Carvajal? What do you do?"

"I'm a journalist.” Valentina said and finished the last of her wine.

“That sounds interesting” Juliana said sincerely.

“It's really not that interesting, I've been doing it for a couple of years and yes, parts of the job can definitely be interesting. But I don't know, I don't think I want to do this for the rest of my life” Valentina confessed.

“No? Is there something else you have in mind?” Juliana wondered.

“I don't know, but I've always loved photography” Valentina replied.

“I think you should go for it, life is too short to be stuck doing something you don't want to do anymore” Juliana said and finished the last of her wine too.

Valentina looked at the other woman and found herself being so intrigued by her. She was fascinated by the way she talked and her whole appearance really. She found that she just wanted to know more about her.

"Do you want some more wine?” she asked when she noticed Juliana's empty glass.

“Yeah that would be nice” Juliana said and smiled.

“Okay, I'll be right back." Valentina got up from the swing and went back to the house. The engagement party was in full bloom and people seemed to be having a great time. But Valentina only wanted to return to the backyard to continue the conversation with the daughter of her dad's fiancée.

Juliana smiled when Valentina returned with fresh drinks and reclaimed her seat next to her on the garden swing.

“Thanks” she said and took the drink Valentina offered.

"Tell me more about yourself." Valentina put her legs up on the swing and turned so she was facing the other woman as she took a sip of her drink.

"What do you wanna know?" Juliana asked and put her elbow up on the backrest and put her hand behind her neck and rubbed it slowly as she turned towards Valentina.

"I don't know." she pondered for a while.

Do I go there? No. Yes, why not? She said she was out...

"When did you realize you were gay?" Valentina said softly, hoping that she wasn't too blunt.

"Wow, you just jump straight to it don't you?" Juliana said playfully and Valentina was relieved she hadn't overstepped any boundary.

"Yep, I'm pretty straightforward." Valentina said and winked. Juliana laughed.

"Indeed you are. But okay. I think somewhere deep down inside I always knew I was gay but it wasn't until my first year in college that I actually admitted it to myself. When I finally realized who I was it actually wasn't a hard thing for me to accept. I just felt so relieved that there wasn't any more confusion, it was like all the pieces of the puzzle finally fitted together. I called my mother the morning after the new realization had hit me. My mom and I have always been close, I'm an only child and for as long as I can remember I've turned to her first with my problems and she's always helped me solve them. So calling her to tell her I was gay wasn't something I dreaded. I knew she'd be okay with it and the first thing she said to me when I told her was that she'd always love me no matter what and that she'd thought I would've called her sooner to tell her this news." Juliana chuckled.

"She already knew?" Valentina wondered.

"Yes, she'd known for years and the second thing she said was that a woman she worked with had a gay daughter and that she would arrange for us to meet. It took me a while to get out of that one."

Valentina laughed, amazed by this woman. You'd think coming out to your parent would be the hardest thing you'd ever do but luckily there were stories that showed the complete opposite.

"I'm so looking forward to getting to know your mother more, she sounds like quite a remarkable woman." Valentina said sincerely.

"That she is." Juliana said with a smile starting to really feel the effect of the wine now.

"So, what happened that made you come to the realization that you were actually gay?" Valentina wondered.

"I had always found women attractive but never thought anything more about it, I had boyfriends in high school but it never felt right being with them. It wasn't until I got a roommate that first semester in college that it hit me. The moment I saw her she literally took my breath away, she was ridiculously beautiful and so nice. Anyway, she became my roommate and we got along great. We hung out every day after our classes had finished and went out to clubs together. It was after a night out with maybe a few too many tequila shots that we ended up kissing when we got back to our room. We'd been touching and flirting the entire evening but I was still a bit shocked when she kissed me, then as I kissed her back everything just fell into place and I realized I liked women."

Valentina listened intently.

"She was my first with, well everything regarding dating a girl. We dated for a year then she got a scholarship and had to transfer to another college. We tried the whole long distance thing for a while but eventually it just sort of ended."

Valentina nodded and looked at the woman sitting beside her. She really was beautiful, there was no denying that and she was taken by surprise by how easy it was to like her. She felt completely comfortable in Juliana's presence and she'd only met her just a couple of hours ago. That wasn't something that happened often in Valentina's life, usually she was pretty reserved and it took a while for her to let somebody in. With Juliana though she felt like she'd already done that and it actually felt okay, more than okay actually.

They continued talking and completely forgot about time as they slowly got to know each other. Valentina told Juliana about her mother and how she passed away while Juliana listened intently. There was just something about this woman, she still couldn't pinpoint it but she found her intriguing and was drawn to her in a way that scared her a little.

They'd been interrupted again by Lucho who'd become pretty intoxicated and again requested a dance from his fiancée. Valentina had declined again telling him he was too drunk, if he'd sobered up she'd consider dancing with him later. The truth was she had no intention of leaving the swing and Juliana, she was enjoying talking to the other woman far too much. Juliana was glad Valentina choose to stay outside with her, she was having a great time in her company. She only left her briefly to go to the bathroom and get them some more wine.

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"So you have a sister and a brother? But they're not here right?" Juliana asked.

"Yes. Eva, my sister is on a business trip, she's always working so it's not a surprise that she couldn't make it tonight. Guille, my brother is in Costa Rica with his girlfriend on vacation.They will be here for the wedding though" Valentina explained.

"I see, well I'm looking forward to meet them. If they're anything like you I'm sure I'll like them." Juliana said and put her hand on Valentina's arm. The effect of the wine really started to make her say and do things that she'd normally wouldn't, especially not after only knowing the person in question for a couple of hours.

Valentina got a warm feeling inside her chest when she heard Juliana say that and for some reason her whole arm started to tingle from Juliana's touch. She looked up and met Juliana's eyes and suddenly it was like everything else around them disappeared. She no longer heard the sound of music and people talking from inside the house. All she heard was the sound of her own heart beating and it was beating a hell of a lot faster than it used to. All she could see was Juliana's deep brown eyes that were looking intensely at her and all she could feel were the feather light touches coming from Juliana's thumb as it slowly, excruciatingly slowly, moved back and forth over her arm.

Juliana had no idea what she was doing, her brain screamed at her to remove her hand from Valentina's arm but she just couldn't do it. It was as if her hand suddenly had turned into lead and it was physically impossible to remove it and why...oh my God WHY was her thumb moving over that incredibly soft skin?

"Girls?"

A voice calling from the back porch brought them back to reality and Juliana carefully withdrew her hand. She dared to cast another glance at Valentina who met her eyes before they both turned their attention towards the back porch where Juliana's mother was standing.

"Yes mother?" Juliana called back.

Lupita left the porch and walked down to the girls on the swing.

"There you are, are you two planning on coming back inside anymore tonight or?" she asked jokingly.

Juliana quickly got up from the swing.

"Yes, as a matter of fact we were just on our way back inside. I believe Valentina has promised to dance with her fiancé." Juliana said not looking at Valentina.

Actually she really didn't want to go back inside but after the 'moment' she just had with Valentina she really needed to distance herself from the brunette a little before she would do something she definitely would regret.

"Well, sorry to disappoint sweetie but your fiancé has gone to bed, well he was carried to bed to be precise." Lupita explained and looked at Valentina.

"Great..." Valentina muttered as she got up as well.

"Most of the guests have started to leave. I've prepared some snacks in the kitchen if you two are hungry, you've been out here quite a while." Lupita said.

Juliana checked her watch and was surprised to see what time it was. They'd spent three hours outside in the garden swing, just talking. It sure hadn't felt like three hours.

"Wow, is it this late?" Valentina said surprised when she checked her phone for the time.

Juliana looked at her.

"Yeah, I totally lost track of time." she said.

"You and me both." Valentina said and smiled.

"I'm so glad you two are getting along so well." Lupita said brightly.

Juliana and Valentina glanced at each other but didn't say anything.

"Come on then, let's go inside and get something to eat shall we?"

Both women nodded and followed Lupita back into the house.

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Juliana drank a large glass of water in the kitchen, she felt like maybe she'd had just a little too much wine for one evening and she should really start sobering up. Not that she was that drunk but enough intoxicated for her own liking.
As she put the glass down on the counter Valentina and Lupita walked into the kitchen and headed straight to the little snack buffet. Juliana joined them.

"This looks really good mom, I'm actually really hungry."

All three women took a seat by the kitchen table. Though it had been a wonderful party, Lupita was quite relieved that the party was over. She was really tired and her feet hurt from all the dancing, she couldn't wait to go to bed.

"Do you need any help cleaning up Lupita?" Valentina asked.

"Thanks for asking Valentina but it's really late so we'll deal with the cleaning up tomorrow. The last guests have left so let's just go to bed and then we'll handle the cleaning up in the morning." Lupita said and stifled a yawn.

"Sounds like a good idea. Why don't you head up to bed? Juliana and I can put the food away before we lock up and go to bed." Valentina suggested.

"I think I might take you up on that offer Valentina. Leon went up just a minute ago." Lupita said and smiled.

"Are you sure you don't mind?" she continued.

"Go to bed mom, we'll handle the rest." Juliana said and got up from her seat to give her mom a goodnight kiss on the cheek.

"Alright alright. See you tomorrow girls. Goodnight." Lupita said and hugged both women goodnight before she headed upstairs.

Juliana and Valentina started to put the food away in silence. Juliana couldn't help but think back to the moment they had in the swing. She glanced over at Valentina who was cleaning the counter and remembered how soft her skin was, all she wanted was to touch that skin again. She shook her head to get those thoughts out of her mind.

"Juliana, do you mind locking up?" Valentina asked.

"No, I'm on it." Juliana answered and left the kitchen.

The moment the door closed Valentina dropped the washcloth and put both hands on the counter and leaned on her arms as her head dropped. She took a deep breath, she had no idea what was happening and why she felt like there was a wave of new emotions going through her body. She sighed and picked up the washcloth and threw it in the sink before she decided to walk out to the dining room to see if there was anything left that needed to be put away.

At the same time Valentina reached for the door handle Juliana was coming back to the kitchen and when Valentina opened the door it took Juliana completely by surprise and she stumbled through the doorway straight into an equally surprised Valentina who managed to catch the tripping woman in her arms. Juliana had grasped Valentina's upper arms while the brunette held on to the shorter woman's waist. When the initial shock subsided and they looked up they realized their proximity. Their faces were mere inches apart and they could easily feel the other's breath coming out in short puffs.