"Juan Bautista Castillo."
At the sound of his mother's voice, he groaned and buried his hands into his face. There could only be one reason for his mother to be calling him by his full name, and it wasn't one he liked.
Would it kill for him to have a single moment of peace after returning home?
A hand on his shoulder pulled him out of his thoughts. Dragging his hands down his face, he stared blankly at the person looming over him.
"How are you doing there, cousin?" his cousin asked as he took a seat next to him.
"I was doing fine until now."
"Don't be like that," his cousin said as he patted his shoulder again. "Auntie is just worried you haven't found herself a wife or girlfriend. After all, you are their only child."
He didn't need to be told something he already knew. It was unusual for someone his age to remain single, but none of the women in their small town caught his eye. All the men in his life constantly told him that he would one day feel the same attraction they had for their wives or girlfriends, but it never happened. The most he could muster up were feelings of friendship and familial ties.
Even his younger cousin by a couple months had a girlfriend he was probably going to end up marrying. The proposal hadn't happened yet, but his cousin was only seventeen. He may be an adult; however, it was frowned upon to marry before turning eighteen.
Wanting a brief reprieve before his mother found him, he asked, "How are things between you and Encarnita?"
His cousin beamed and promptly answered, "Great. I actually think she might be the one you know." He didn't know but nodded along anyway. "I'm going to propose to her as soon as I turn eighteen."
While the news his cousin was planning on marrying her was unsurprising, he hadn't expected the second part.
"That soon?" Nothing said it wasn't allowed, but it seemed kind of strange popping the question on his birthday. "Shouldn't you wait at least a few days?"
"I just don't want to miss my chance," his cousin said as his shoulders slumped.
It was his turn to pat his cousin's shoulder. "I'm sure she is in love with you as much as you are. You have nothing to worry about, but I doubt she would appreciate the proposal on the same day as your birthday. You should make her feel special and plan it out. You still have two more months until your birthday."
"Thanks, cousin," he said as he stood right back up. "I can't see why none of the girls would want to marry you. You obviously know what you're doing."
Not really. All I said was basic. I doubt there was anyone who would appreciate being treated as an afterthought which you were planning on doing without realizing it.
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