A couple of hours later, long after the sun had set and the night sky had filled with stars, they pulled into Javi’s driveway in Santa Barbara. Kepa had woken up just as Maite had pulled the car onto Javi’s street, the speedbumps jostling him awake. As they pulled in, the front door of the house burst open, and a figure silhouted by the bright lights from inside came rushing out.
“Kepa!” cried a voice as the figure reached the car. As Kepa opened his door, the man nearly pulled him out. “It’s been a long time!”
Kepa laughed. “It’s good to see you too, Javi!” They squeezed each other in a bear hug.
“Kaixo,” said Maite as she approached them from the other side of the car.
“Javi, you remember Maite, don’t you?” asked Kepa as he pulled her in, his arm around her waist.
“Of course!” exclaimed Javi. “I have to admit, I always thought you were the prettiest girl in the Basque Country.”
“She still is,” added Kepa with a smile.
Maite blushed even stronger.
“Anyways,” said Javi, “Let’s get you inside. Are you hungry? Do you need anything to eat before we head out?”
Maite winked at Kepa. “What did I tell you?”
Kepa just shrugged. “I got that power nap in, I can go all night if I have to.”
Javi laughed. “We don’t do gau pasa very often here. I was just thinking a beer or two at the nearby pub to catch up. I figured you might need some rest after that drive. The real fun will be tomorrow. My girlfriend will join us for dinner and some dancing?”
“Girlfriend?” asked Kepa incredulously. “You? Shy little Javi?”
“Well,” said Javi as he lifted their suitcases out of the car. “I have grown up.”
Javi led them into the house. In the light of the room, Maite got a better view of Javi. He had changed from the scrawny kid she remembered from his visits to the Basque Country. He had certainly grown into his body, the muscles on his arms and chest rippling as he carried the three suitcases. He clearly worked out. A lot. But his t-shirt said something Maite couldn’t quite make out about Hogwarts, which told her that he still had some of that geeky nerd inside.
Javi carried their suitcases to a room in the back. “I hope this meets your expectations,” he said as he set the suitcases down at the foot of the bed.
The room wasn’t big, but there was a queen bed nicely made up with nightstands and bottles of water on either side. A large ikurrina was hanging from one wall and on the other sat a flat screen television.
“Looks perfect to me!” said Kepa.
“Bai,” added Maite. “Eskerrik asko!”
“Ez horregatik,” said Javi.
Maite plopped down onto the bed with a dramatic fall. “Have fun you two. Gabon!”
“What?” asked Javi. “Aren’t you coming with us?”
Maite looked up at the two of them. “I’ve been driving all night. I think I’ll crash and rejuvenate for tomorrow. Besides, I imagine you two have a lot of catching up to do, especially since you both have girlfriends now.”
It was Kepa’s turn to blush.
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