Chapter 3: The Trap

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A month has passed since then. We have to do another group project. In an unexpected turn of events, poor Diego has to work with the queen, Gonzalo, Jaime and Mario: the entire royal court. It's as if they rigged the groups themselves. Diego wants to spend as little time as possible with them, in other words, to work separately and just get together to share conclusions. But the group insists on meeting up:

Gonzalo: We have to meet up for the project.

Diego: Better to work on it separately and only meet up if it's really necessary.

Mario: I vote to meet up. 

Diego: I've got basketball today. 

Jaime: Tomorrow?

Diego: I've got astronomy club.

Sandra: So you wanna see the stars but not us?

Diego: It's not that.

Sandra: It's like, I dunno, you've got something against us.

Diego: I'm working tomorrow, I'm broke and I haven't got much free time. You guys get together and I'll send you my part of the project.

Sandra: If we can't agree to meet up, I'll talk to the teacher.

Well, to make a long story short, they end up meeting up at Gonzalo's on Friday afternoon. Diego goes reluctantly. He's missing dinner with his basketball team for it. He doesn't get why they're meeting up so late to work on a project. He sends us a WhatsApp:

Diego: If you don't get a message from me in three hours, call the police.

Jaime and Mario are drinking beer in Gonzalo's living room. Paula, Lucia and Natalia are there too, even though they're not part of the work group.

"Hey, Diego, we've been waiting for you. Want a beer?" asks Jaime.

Diego doesn't want a beer, but he knows the offer means more than it seems. On the one had, they're asking him "do you accept us?" If he rejects the offer, it's like he's rejecting them. On the other, they want to test his alcohol tolerance. He knows it's a trap.

"Well, how about we get to work? I'm in a bit of hurry," says Diego.

"No, we've got to wait," orders Jaime.

"For what?"

"For Gonzalo and Sandra to finish fucking. They're taking advantage of everybody being out of the house to have a good fuck in his folks' jacuzzi."

Jaime's comments make Diego feel uncomfortable, but he doesn't dare say anything. The rest laugh and carry on with their jokes.

"You don't want us to interrupt them having a good time just because you're in a hurry now, do you?" asks Paula.

"Couldn't we have met up another day and just left them to it?" asks Diego, controlling his anger.

"Chill, dude, those guys are champs, they'll be done soon enough," replies Mario.

Diego is getting more and more nervous at this point. For a few crucial milliseconds, he considers walking out. He feels like getting to his feet and shouting at them: "Are you really that dumb or what? Couldn't you have told me this was all a set-up?

I've got to get up at 8 a.m. tomorrow to help my dad in the bar!" But fear reels him in, he's not capable of obeying what his body tells him: "Get out of here right now, they've played you for a fool and they're just wasting your time." The invisible hand of fear glues him to the spot, leaving his mind blank; he's simply unable to think. Moments like this are key in the life of a teenager: follow your heart or succumb to the crushing fear of what others think of you. All of us, sooner or later, experience a situation like this. Diego regrets not having the courage to leave. Instead, his mind in a haze of rage, he grabs another beer, and another, and another...

Mario starts rolling a joint.

"Let's share it like real bros. Diego, do you like hash?"

"No, it makes me feel sick. Hey, could we not just get on with the project?"

"This kind of group work not good enough for you, Diego? Just you wait," Sandra's voice echoes down the hallway as she emerges from a bedroom with Gonzalo.

"Come on, take a drag, it'll do you good. We're going to do it together as a group, it'll open our minds, ready to get to work."

But instead of passing the joint, they inhale the smoke from one person's mouth and exhale into the mouth of the next. Mario passes it to Paula, Paula passes it to Jaime, Jaime to Lucia, Lucia to Diego, and Diego to Natalia. Diego has no idea how long he's been at the house, he's lost count of the beers and puffs of the joint. His vision becomes blurry; he thinks he sees Paula with her legs around Mario's waist, who's no longer wearing a shirt. Shortly after, they both disappear.

As they pass the joint around for the last time, Natalia lifts up her skirt and sits on top of Diego, making out with him forcefully. Afterwards, she takes a puff and exhales all the smoke into his mouth, staying on top of him the whole time. When Diego exhales the smoke he feels so disorientated he can hardly think or breathe. Natalia kisses him again not letting him move. It's like a slug writhing in his mouth. He feels cold hands starting to slither over his belly and chest like snakes, paralyzing him, working their way down to the fly of his pants. The lights seem to get dimmer and dimmer and the music, louder. Diego feels sick, repulsed, he wants to move but another pair of arms grab him from behind and stop him. The arms belong to Gonzalo. He sees his face and Sandra's behind, cackling with laughter:

"You'll see what a good job they're going to do," says Sandra. Jaime and Lucia laugh along too.

"Come on, Natalia, go for it, champ! This guy's a catch, I bet it's his first time," somebody says.

The snakes curl round his legs, taking his shoes off and lowering his pants. Diego wants to leave right now, but Gonzalo arms are impossible to escape. Sandra puts a bottle to his lips. Trying to speak, he unwillingly swallows a mouthful. It's whisky, without a doubt. Sandra is filming everything on her cellphone. Diego starts crying out as loud as he can:

"Let go of me, fucking let go of me! Let me go!"

It takes several members of the group to hold him down. They're still laughing. Humiliation, for some unfathomable reason, is their favorite sport.

"You're sure to calm down after the blowjob I'm going to give you," he hears Natalia murmur as she pulls down his underpants. As he feels the slugs latch onto his penis, he's overwhelmed by a sudden urge to puke. He vomits over Natalia, splashing the rest of the onlookers. Blessed vomit, who would have thought?

Everybody starts complaining.

"Fuck, gross, you're disgusting, dude."

The comment sticks in his mind: "you're disgusting, dude." While they're busy cleaning themselves up, Diego quickly gets dressed, grabs his bag and his books, snatches Sandra's cellphone out of her hand and runs out of the house. Diego doesn't know how the night ends, but he left them with the gift they deserve: vomit encrusted in Natalia's hair and on the faces of the rest, a physical incarnation of their shameful behavior.

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