On the Way

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"Mamá, I found the box from Italy in the attic. Why did you never show me these pictures?" Antonio asked as soon as he had walked down the stairs into the kitchen.

"Oh, Antonio! I forgot about those photos. Aww, look at Lovinito. That boy loved you, it's a shame you didn't keep in touch" his mother commented, smiling as she glanced at the photo of the two boys kissing from across the kitchen.

"That's what I'm here about. Do you know if their family still lives in Rome?" he asked, wondering if his mother had any way of possibly contacting Lovino's parents.

"No, why do you ask?" his mother asked, raising her eyebrows in curiosity, wondering what in the world her son was going to do with the information.

"I-I uh... I want to see how Lovino is doing" Antonio stammered, now feeling slightly embarrassed at his request.

"Oh, well sorry. I don't think I can help you with that" his mother said, shrugging apologetically. Antonio frowned but thanked her anyway before returning to the attic. After cleaning up the mess he had made by looking for his stuffed animals, Antonio returned to his room and sat down to think.

Although he had a week until he had to move to Madrid, Antonio began flirting with the idea of going to Italy to find his long lost Lovino. He didn't have anything to do for the next week as he was already packed to move, and the flight wasn't very expensive. Suddenly feeling a spark of spontaneity, Antonio flung his laptop open and searched for a flight. 

Within minutes Antonio had purchased a flight for the next morning. Not one to give much though to his actions, he felt quite happy with this irresponsible, unplanned decision to visit Italy without telling anyone. Closing his laptop, Antonio stood up from his bed and shoved some of the clothes he had left out for the week into his backpack, along with the photo of him and Lovino and the purple bottle cap. 

Now that he was packed, all he needed was confirmation that Lovino actually still existed and was living in Rome. Otherwise, this spark of madness would've been for nothing. After throwing the backpack across his box-filled room, Antonio let out a sigh and flopped backwards onto his bed, ready to perform the most intense internet-stalking of the century.

His most reliable source would definitely be Instagram, as a few classmates from his time in Rome had followed him on the app later in life in an attempt at catching up. Choosing one at random, Antonio went to their followers and typed in lov- before he saw the name Lovino_Vargas appear

Antonio's heart began beating a little faster as he inspected the small bubble of Lovino's profile picture from the followers list. He tapped the screen and opened to Lovino's instagram page, which was private. Antonio groaned in frustration for a moment but still smiled as he realized tracking down Lovino may not be as hard as he thought. 

His bio was fairly straightforward, indicating that he lived in Rome and was a wine enthusiast. Antonio smirked at the little emojis in his bio and squinted, trying to get a closer look at his profile picture. He was quite curious to see how the boy now looked as a man. Unfortunately, Lovino's picture was taken quite far away, leaving Antonio with nothing but the vague outline of an olive-skinned man. 

Antonio was tempted to follow him, but suddenly got nervous as he felt weird following him out of nowhere. Instead, Antonio decided, it would be far less weird to simply show up in Rome unannounced, entirely following his spontaneous desire to reconnect with a former best friend. From what Antonio remembered, Lovino wasn't the most gregarious of human beings, so this was definitely a risky decision to make. 

Pushing the idea of an awkward and potentially embarrassing situation aside, Antonio focused instead on the potential of this trip. Lovino and him could catch up and reminisce on good times, share a drink, possibly find out they're still the goofy and rambunctious pair that they had been years ago. The possiblities were endless.

Not wanting to focus too much on trying to predict where this unplanned trip would take him, Antonio let it be and calmed his nerves. He knew tomorrow was probably going to be one of the most ridiculous days of his life, but he figured he let himself deal with that fact tomorrow. For now, it was time to sleep. 

-

Anonio woke up the next morning with a smile on his face, knowing it was time for his adventure to begin. As the warm Spanish sunlight filled his slightly dusty room, Antonio stretched and mentally prepared himself for the chaos that would likely ensue in the next couple of hours. 

His plan thus far only included getting to Rome. Wake up. Eat breakfast. Drive to Málaga. Get on a plane. Rome. That's it. Other than that, he was absolutely winging it. Finding Lovino was next on the list, but Antonio would pick that one apart on the plane ride. With a population of around 3 million people, it couldn't be that hard to find Lovino, right? Rome wasn't so unnavigable anyway. 

Antonio sauntered down the stairs of his quaint home with his rugged green backpack hanging off one shoulder, ready to start his day. He gave his mother a quick kiss on the cheek as she vacuumed the living room, letting out a quick greeting before heading into the kitchen. He made himself some toasted bread with tomato and made a small cup of coffee. After scarfing down the breakfast, Antonio gave his mother one last kiss and hopped into his red truck, hoping to keep his momentum going as the first leg of his journey began. 

Upon arriving at the airport in Málaga, Antonio felt his nerves kick in. Had he made a mistake, spontaneously booking a flight to Rome? He had nowhere to stay, and no one he knew. He barely remembered Italian and was honestly banking on the linguistic similarities of Spanish and Italian to get him by. He told his mother he was going to Barcelona to visit a friend for the week, but wasn't prepared to explain himself on the way back when he finally revealed that he had instead gone to Rome. 

He was panicking, but it didn't matter. His flight boarded in 1 hour. 


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