melissa_42: drawn woman in a sweater (sweater)
[personal profile] melissa_42
Title: An infinite capacity for self-deception (3/?)
Fandom: Latin Hetalia
Characters: Martina (fem!Argentina), Luciana (fem!Brazil), The Green Eyed Monster, Sebastián (Uruguay), Daniel (Paraguay), Manuela (fem!Chile)
Pairings: mainly Martina/Luciana...and some others...
Rating: PG-ish
Warnings: Human AU and some swearing.

Summary: Laundry day is always an adventure in Martina's household.


1|2|3|4|5



Sometimes Martina and her cousins happened to do laundry all on the same day, completely monopolizing all three washing machines in the basement of their building with a rainbow of towels and sheets, pants and shirts, socks and underwear. They'd set out with good intentions of keeping their clothes separate, but by the time they were finished, many of Daniel's items would find their way into Martina's baskets, and only half of Sebastián's piles actually contained his own clothing.

Occasionally Martina would find the odd shirt or pants from Luciana amongst her belongings. Once she found a pair of her underwear, sky-blue with green polka-dots made from pragmatic, well-worn cotton, and she'd very nearly left them in the washing machine until she realized that that would mean that another person would find them, most likely one of her cousins, and then someone else would have their hands all over Luciana's private things, and that's when it hit Martina that she had her hands all over Luciana's private things, which was about the point when her thoughts slammed into a brick wall. She'd dropped the offending piece of clothing on the floor, where Sebastián reached down, picked it up, and folded it like it was nothing at all. He hadn't said anything at the time, only subjecting Martina with a pointed look, which Daniel finally noticed and asked what he had missed.

Luckily that had been a one time incident, and afterward Martina hadn't even given Luciana grief over leaving her dirty clothes at her place to clean. While she was pretty proud of her own self-control, she did have the ulterior motive of keeping her sanity relatively intact.

With all their laundry damp and freshly cleaned, the cousins would construct a maze of clothes lines and drying racks across their tiny balcony and into the living room, so dense and intricate that Martina has found herself trapped in a tangle of rope and clothes too many times to count, trying and failing to explain to Sebastián and Daniel as they set about freeing her that it wasn't her height that was the culprit but whichever asshole had decided to hang a line directly at the level of her neck (conveniently forgetting that she was always at fault).

It was while Martina was rearranging some towels on one of the lines to make room for her skirts that Daniel ducked under a pair of pants and asked, "Hey, has Luciana said anything about me lately?"

She dropped the skirt in her hands and cursed around the clothespins hanging from the corner of her mouth before answering, "No. Should she have?"

Her cousin smiled and balanced his chin lightly on one of the lines. "Well, I texted her about going out for dinner sometime, and she said it was a good idea. I was just wondering if she'd talked to you at all about it."

"No," Martina spat out with a little more force than the situation called for.

Dani's smile lost a bit of its brightness, but he didn't comment on her outburst. "Oh. Well, could you let me know if she does? Because I want to know if I'm doing anything wrong...or right, or whatever. You know? Because she's really fun to be around, and I don't want to screw this up."

"You're going on a date with Luciana," Martina said. She could practically see the words hanging heavy in the air amidst the drying fabric, bouncing off the walls to echo in her ears. Daniel grinned brightly again and nodded.

So Luciana was going on a date with Daniel and hadn't told her about it. Luciana was going on a date with Martina's cousin and hadn't told her about it. She was certain there was some kind of universal law of friendship that Luciana was breaking. Whatever happened to trust? Whatever happened to confidence between friends? Whatever happened to not dating her fucking relatives without saying anything?

Daniel continued to stare at her as she processed all this, finally filling the boiling silence with, "Is there something wrong?"

"No. Yes. I - I don't...She just said yes?" She clipped the clothespins in her mouth to the line. Maybe that would help alleviate her sudden case of word vomit.

"Uh, yeah. Seriously, is this going to be a problem?"

Yes, it was going to be a problem. Why, Martina wasn't exactly sure, probably something having to do with boundaries and loyalties. Were they actually even friends if Luciana hadn't bothered to tell her about this? And how had those two gotten so cozy together right under Martina's nose?

"It's only a problem if you make it a problem," she said, "but don't come crying to me when you find out how stupid she can be."

Daniel looked a bit skeptical, but he said, "Okay. Oh, have you seen my blue polo?"

"No," Martina replied. "Go ask Sebas."

"It's out on the balcony with the rest of your shirts," Sebastián called out from behind a curtain of bed sheets. When Daniel wandered outside, he peeked over the clothesline and said, "So..."

"I don't want to hear one word," Martina growled.

"...you're completely okay with Dani and Luci..." He continued as if she hadn't even said anything.

"Stop. Seriously."

"...because I wouldn't take it quite so well if my cousin and the girl I was pining after started -"

Martina yanked violently on the line before her, sending it and an innocent drying rack crashing to the ground in a flurry of colors and the fresh scent of detergent. Clothespins skittered across the floor like little pieces of shrapnel, pinging against walls and furniture.

"What happened?" Daniel asked, poking his head in through the sliding glass door.

Martina left Sebastián to answer that question, stomping through the wreckage to the front door. As she passed him, he muttered, "You don't have to take it out on the clothes," which set her teeth even more on edge.

The door echoed like a gunshot through the narrow, bare hallway when she slammed it behind her. As soon as she stepped out into the sun, she made a beeline for the park a few blocks from the apartment. There were a handful of other pedestrians out and about, and she pointedly ignored the stares her trembling limbs and lip drew, only pausing when she finally reached an unoccupied bench in the middle of the park. Above her, the trees cast a broad shadow, their leaves glowing green where the sun illuminated them. A couple holding hands strolled passed her without purpose, letting their shoes dictate what path they would take next. Martina scuffed her feet in the dirt and bit her lip until it felt numb. She took a few deep breaths through her nose in an attempt to calm herself, holding them in as long as possible and exhaling shakily each time. It didn't seem to help.

Her cell phone shook in her hand as she fumbled through her contact list, lifting it to her ear once she had initiated the call. After five rings, someone finally picked up.

"What do you want?" Manuela demanded on the other end of the line.

"Everyone's trying to ruin my life." Martina explained, willing her voice not to shake, too.

"That's a bit self-centered, isn't it?"

"Why did I even call you?"

"I have no idea."

Martina paused to gather her thoughts. "You know Luciana, right?"

"No," Manuela drawled.

"Really? 'Cause - "

"Oh, give me a break. Of course I know her. What'd you do this time?"

"Why do you assume it's something I did." Martina bristled. "It's everyone else who's going behind my back. Hasn't anyone ever heard of propriety? Hasn't anyone ever heard of courtesy?"

"Did you just use 'propriety' in a sentence? I'm impressed."

"Shut up." Martina tilted her head back, letting her hair fall behind the bench. "Luciana's going on a date with Daniel."

There was silence on the line for a few excruciating seconds before Manuela said, "...and you're telling me this because...?"

"Because she didn't tell me about it! I had to find out from Dani."

"I still don't see why you're so worked up about this. They don't need your permission."

"But he's my cousin. She should have had the decency to ask first. Wouldn't you be angry if one of your friends started dating one of your relatives?"

"Thankfully I'll never be faced with such a problem." Manuela sighed. "If you're done wasting my time, I'm going to hang up."

"Well, thanks, you've been a real help," Martina said, scowling at a pair of pigeons that were pecking at the ground on the other side of the path.

"I didn't know you were looking for advice," Manuela replied, her voice as dry as ever. "Fine. Be a big girl and tell Luciana how you feel."

"What the hell's that supposed to mean?" She kicked a rock at the birds, making them coo in distress and fly a meter away before resuming their search for food.

"Exactly what you think it does. Get your head out of your ass and figure it out."

Martina rubbed at her temple. "Have you been talking to Sebastián?"

"No. If he's told you the same thing, that just means that he has eyes and knows how to use them." There was rustling in the background. "Okay, I really have to go now. I swear Miguel's going to have an aneurysm if I let the food sit any longer. Bye." And then the line was dead.

Martina kept the phone to her ear for another minute as she stared at the pigeons strutting about, their feathers gleaming in the sun like oil on water. A jogger ran past, leaving the scent of vanilla and spiced deodorant in her wake. Martina barely stopped herself from screaming in frustration.

Against her better judgment, she opened her most recent text conversation and sent a message.

    To: Luciana
    Thanks for telling me nothing.


Less then two minutes later, she received an answer.

    From: Luciana
    wtf are you talking about???



    To: Luciana
    You know exactly what I'm talking about. Daniel.




    From: Luciana   
    still not following you
   
Martina ground her teeth and furiously typed on her phone.

    To: Luciana
    Do you or do you not have a date with him?



    From: Luciana
    yes, friday. why, you wanna come with? :P



    To: Luciana
    Why didn't you tell me?



    From: Luciana
    idk, i didnt think i needed to. did he say something?



    To: Luciana
    You should have said something or asked me if it was ok



    From: Luciana
     i didnt know we needed your permission.
 


    To: Luciana
    He's my COUSIN.



    From: Luciana
    whats your deal, seriously? you think you have a right to tell me who i can and cant see?

Well, no, obviously, but Daniel was a relative, and...

Martina's lip began bleeding, having been finally ruptured by her incessant biting. She swiped her tongue over the wound and winced. Why was she so worked up over this? Daniel had dated plenty of other women, and she'd never had a problem with any of them. Hell, she hadn't even noticed half the time when Daniel had a new girlfriend - not that Luciana was going to be his girlfriend, at least she'd better not...

She buried her face in her hands. What the hell was she thinking? There was definitely something wrong with her, and it was all Luciana's fault, she just knew it. This whole affair had to be a joke. Luciana was going to jump out from behind one of the trees and yell 'Surprise!', and Martina would slap her and give her the silent treatment for a while, but then they would make up like always, and...and things would be better, right? Then she wouldn't have to feel like this anymore, like...she wasn't sure what exactly. It was as if her thoughts had been caught in a whirlwind and left scattered about like debris, so that only snippets of memories stood clear in her mind, things like the warmth of Luciana's smile, and the lilt of her accented voice, and the feeling Martina got in her chest when she stood too close, a tight clenching, almost like someone was squeezing her heart. She must be missing something, some absent piece that would complete the puzzle and bring sense to it all.

They were so overwhelming, these unnameable feelings that seemed to be bent on toppling her to her knees, but Martina wasn't so weak. There was no need to show the world that she felt like she was on the verge of falling apart due to reasons unknown, and she sure as hell wasn't going to let anyone responsible for this see. Luciana could go on her stupid date with her stupid cousin - see if she cared.

Her phone began to ring, but Martina didn't feel like talking to anyone at the moment, so she silenced it. For a long, long while, she sat on the bench, kicking at the gravel while she stewed in her own bitterness. Around her, the world continued to revolve, the bright lights and the colors, the couples strolling past hand-in-hand, and the proud, proud pigeons pecking around her feet, until she finally noticed how much longer the shadows had grown. There were still a few people making the most of the last few moments of daylight in the park, but it seemed that most were retreating to the more brightly lit settings of the avenues and squares.

Her cousins were probably wondering where she had run off to. Sure enough, her phone indicated three missed calls from Sebastián and one from Luciana, who had left a voice mail and another two text messages:

    From: Luciana
    youve been acting really weird lately. tell me whats wrong.

and

    From: Luciana
    are you ignoring me? come on, stop it.

She took the longest route back to her apartment, stopping at a few boutiques on the way to peer into the windows before continuing her meandering. When she opened the front door of the apartment, the first thing to greet her was the sound of the television. Sebastián sat on one end of the couch with a glass of red wine, engrossed in a rerun of the Brazilian telenovela A Escrava Isaura. Plopping down on the other end, Martina grabbed the remote from the coffee table and switched the channel to a sitcom.

"How nice of you to grace us with your presence," Sebastián quipped, taking the remote from her and switching the channel back.

Martina wrestled him for the controller while asking, "Where's Dani?"

"He got called into work," he answered with a wince. "Stop scratching me, your nails are dangerous."

"Then stop...struggling..." she ground out. "I don't want to watch that stupid Brazilian show," she said, spitting out the offending word as if it was an expletive.

"You," he managed to pant out while protecting his most vulnerable parts from her flailing, "are absolutely impossible, I hope you know."

With a well aimed flick of her hand, Martina sent his glasses flying behind the couch. By the time he had recovered them, she already had the channel changed and the remote hidden safely under one of the cushions.

Sighing, he raised his hands in mock defeat before taking another sip of wine.

Martina eyed the glass and propped her feet next to her on the couch. "Is there any left?" she asked.

"I just opened it. Are you asking for some?" Receiving a nod as an answer, he wandered off to the kitchen, where Martina could hear a variety of pops and clinks. When he came back and handed her the glass, she sniffed at the tart bouquet before taking a deep swig. The tang of the fruit mixed with a hint of oak smoothed her rapidly fraying nerves with such finesse as only an Argentinian wine could possess.

"So..." Sebastián sank back onto the couch. "Where were you all day?"

"At the park," Martina replied. "I don't want to talk about it. Please," she added as an afterthought.

"Hmm."

Then he was silent, much to Martina's relief, though that just meant that he would probably bring the issue up at the most inopportune moment, as was his habit. They spent the rest of the night watching terrible television shows and drinking wine, until Sebastián made the decision to call in a pizza, which led to them putting in old Disney DVDs.

It reminded Martina a little of when they were younger and would camp out in one of their bedrooms, making tents out of blankets and stolen couch cushions while their parents' raucous laughter floated down the hall from the kitchen, when the most pressing thing on their minds was how they should sneak into the kitchen for more snacks without being seen by the adults. When dating was the last thing on any of their minds because the opposite sex still had cooties, though as cousins they were obviously immune to each other.

When Luciana wasn't complicating their lives.

Eventually, Martina fell asleep on the couch in a position that left her with a crick in her neck in the morning, but she was thankful that Sebastián had at least remembered to cover her with a blanket. With Sebastián at work and Daniel still out, Martina was left with the house to herself, so she took a quick shower and threw herself into the schoolwork she had been putting off in a desperate attempt to distract herself from any traitorous thoughts.




Next Chapter

PLACEHOLDEEEEER

Date: 2011-09-27 07:31 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ilye-aru.livejournal.com
I'M IN LOVE WITH THIS FIC I WANT TO MARRY THIS FIC

Re: PLACEHOLDEEEEER

Date: 2011-09-27 11:15 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] melissa-42.livejournal.com
You have to tell me what you think of Manuela (even though she barely there) because I don't know what I'm doing with herrrrrr. ;__;

Date: 2011-09-28 11:35 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] berseker.livejournal.com
… you know, I just realized that the world needs more jealousy stories. This is EPIC.

Martína is so intense, and I keep going from wanting to shake her to wanting to hug her and give her chocolate. And Luci is perfect. I like how consistent she is, even if we only see her from Tina's pov, and she doesn't always get her. And aw Dani. And Sebas. And the laundry. And Luci's panties, and Martína's reaction to it. It's so hilarious and weirdly hot.

Also, I love the cousins. This is all so real, the way they interact, and how they care about each other, and... everything. And I feel like that about all the relationships here, they're all so real (btw girl Manu is perfect. Such a helpful friend).

I loved this chapter ♥

Date: 2011-09-29 05:20 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] melissa-42.livejournal.com
Can I admit that the entire impetus for writing this story came from the realization that at some point in time, all the cousins wanted Luci? I really like writing the family interaction. Despite their differences, they work together so well. Even though they want to strangle each other sometimes, but isn't that how all families are? xD

♥♥

Date: 2011-09-29 05:58 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] sipmiau.livejournal.com
I'm just going to sit here until I find words to say how much I love this and how you write.

Date: 2011-09-29 04:54 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] melissa-42.livejournal.com
You're too kind. ;__; I'm glad you like it!

Date: 2011-09-29 06:04 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] sipmiau.livejournal.com
I'm not. I just really love this. And Martina, I want to hug her so bad Dx

Date: 2011-09-29 08:09 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] melissa-42.livejournal.com
Thank you! Yes, she definitely needs a hug. ♥

Date: 2011-10-02 12:31 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] aluha.livejournal.com
D:

Now I'm feeling really sorry for Martina! She's so sweet and confused and maybe Sebas and Manu should be more SPECIFIC, cuz she obviously doesn't seem to understand what they're trying to say.

Poor Tininha. I hope Lulu will kiss her and everything'll be fine <33


Besides that, it's so beautiful how everything flows so naturally <3

Date: 2011-10-02 07:46 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] melissa-42.livejournal.com
She can be a little dense at times, plus she is confused, so I can't blame her for not understanding what's going on.

She'll get her kiss....eventually....

Thank you!

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melissa_42

January 2012

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