Alina did end up going on the tour of Little Havana with her mom and Josie the next day. They started at 10am and toured the colorful streets of Little Havana, stopping only for lunch. She loved it more than she expected to between the vibrant art galleries and beautiful murals that graced the walls of old brick buildings.
As Alina walked around, the scent of fresh spices sizzling in pans and loud, excited conversations all around her, she realized how much she was starting to relax. The beginning of this trip (and really the weeks leading up to it) did not give her a lot of hope of leaving her troubles behind, even for a brief time. But as she spent more time with her family, and the tall, gorgeous Noah, she'd felt the muscles in her body relax in the Miami heat.
Around 2pm, their legs sore from walking and a sheen of sweat covering their bodies, the three made their way back to the hotel. Alina asked her mom if it was okay to meet up with Noah tonight instead of having dinner with her and Josie.
"Of course sweetie, have fun!" Her mom said, squeezing Alina's shoulder.
"Really?" Alina asked, cocking her head to one side.
"Yes, I'm honestly relieved that you are finding things to do on your own here. I know you are smart and will stay safe but I also wanted you to have some fun on this trip. You deserve it," she said.
"Alina has a boooooyfriend, Alina has a boyfriend!" Josie started singing. Alina's mom pinched the back of Josie's arm. "Ow!"
They all made their way back to their rooms. As Alina was unlocking her door, her mom glanced back out into the hall at her.
"You can call or text me if you need anything okay?"
"I know Mom, and thanks."
The doors to the elevator opened at 3:40pm. Alina was a bit early to meet Noah so she sat down on a chair in the lobby and pulled her phone out.
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