The Adventures of Maite and Kepa: Part 183

After cocktails, the four of them wandered the old part of town, stopping here and there for pintxos and drinks. Kepa figured he might regret it the next day, but he tended to order kalimotxos to have that combination of caffeine and alcohol. In the moment, he felt like he could drink them forever, but he knew the morning would tell him otherwise. Still, he indulged himself.

The Adventures of Maite and Kepa is a weekly serial. While it is a work of fiction, it has elements from both my own experiences and stories I’ve heard from various people. The characters, while in some cases inspired by real people, aren’t directly modeled on anyone in particular. I expect there will be inconsistencies and factual errors. I don’t know where it is going, and I’ll probably forget where it’s been. Why am I doing this? To give me an excuse and a deadline for some creative writing and because I thought people might enjoy it. Gozatu!

Maite, on the other hand, was significantly more temperate. She didn’t have an exam coming up or any big homework assignment due, but she planned to spend the next few days in her new research group and she wanted to make a good impression. At the very least, she didn’t want to get on the wrong foot and on the bad side of her professor. Maite had heard that her professor, brilliant though she was, was also very demanding. Having done her graduate work in the United States, she expected long hours and even weekends, something that was almost antethema to the Basque way of life. In any case, Maite knew this was essentially a trial run and if she did not impress her professor, she’d likely have to find a new one.

Belen and Joseba seemed to have no cares. They ate and drank with abandon, as if tomorrow would never come. They were also all over each other – the public displays of affection were almost uncomfortable for Maite. While Joseba had said that his grandfather was from the Basque Country, Maite couldn’t help but wonder if his grandmother might have been Italian. 

At one point, Belen seemed to notice Maite’s discomfort. She chuckled as she said “We’re sorry. It’s just been a little while since we last saw each other.”

“Oh?” asked Maite.

Joseba also chuckled as he dove in to give Belen a kiss on her neck. “I had to go back to Mexico for a few months. My mother had surgery…”

“I hope she is ok!” interjected Kepa.

Joseba nodded. “She is fine, but for a while it wasn’t clear she would be. My father needed some help around the business while my mother was recovering. But,” he added with a sparkle in his eye as he looked at Belen, “I’m back!” He grabbed Belen and pulled her tight against his body as she squealed in delight.

It was late when Kepa and Maite finally got back to their apartment. 

“Ugh,” said Maite as she collapsed on the bed. “The morning is going to be here too soon. I feel like I could sleep for a week.”

Kepa lay down next to her on his side, twirling the curls in her hair. “I have an idea,” he began.

Maite looked at him. “Seriously? I just told you I’m dead tired. I don’t have the energy for…”

Kepa interrupted her with a “Shhh. That’s not what I was thinking.”

Maite sat up, intrigued. “What were you thinking then?”

“Well,” he said. “What if we escaped to one of the bubbles for a little while? It would be like a vacation, except we wouldn’t miss any time here.”

“Most of the bubbles seem to be a dystopian nightmare,” exclaimed Maite. “How would that be relaxing?”

“Well, they are that way because we keep searching out the zatiak. What if we just took a break and relaxed before the mission?”

“Huh.” Maite just sat there, staring off into space. “Did you just think of that?”

“No,” replied Kepa. “I’ve been thinking about it for a while. The bubbles offer us endless possibilities to explore new places without much risk.”

“Ok. I like it. But, how do we even find a bubble on demand? So far, we’ve just accidentally bumped into one.”

Kepa sat up excitedly. “So, I’ve been playing around with my powers while you’ve been at the uni. Up until now, we’ve only been able to find bubbles when we crossed paths with one. But, I think we can find any of them across the world with our powers. Well, at least the ones near us. I think that, as our powers grow, we might be able to reach more and more, but that is just a guess.”

“A nice hypothesis,” added Maite. “It’s worth a shot. Where should we go?”

Kepa’s smile widened. “What do you think about Paris?”

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