Home > Through My Window (Hidalgos # 1)

Through My Window (Hidalgos # 1)
Author: Ariana Godoy





For my readers all over the world who never stopped believing in me, even when I did




   The Wi-Fi Password


- Raquel-


It all started with the Wi-Fi password.

   I know, it sounds simple and unimportant, but nowadays your Wi-Fi password is more valuable than almost any other thing you own. The internet alone is addictive enough; add wireless technology, and you have a permanent way to feed that addiction under the roof of your house. I know people who would much rather stay inside than give up their Wi-Fi connection.

   To back up the importance of Wi-Fi, I want to share a story about my neighbors: the Hidalgos. The only neighbors we don’t interact with. But I need to go back even further to when my mother immigrated to the United States from Mexico while she was pregnant with me. She’s struggled since arriving in this small North Carolina town. Growing up, I witnessed her victories and her defeats, her efforts and her perseverance. She’s an amazing woman who commands everyone’s respect. And in fact, she hasn’t had trouble socializing with our neighbors, but the Hidalgos are the one exception. Why? Well, they’re wealthy and rather obnoxious.

   The family consists of Sofia Hidalgo, her husband Juan, and their three children: Artemis, Ares, and Apolo. Their parents clearly had an obsession with Greek mythology. I can’t imagine how the poor kids are doing in school. I can’t be the only one who has noticed their peculiar names. You may be wondering: How do I know so much about them if we don’t even talk to each other?

   The reason has a first and last name: Ares Hidalgo.

   I sigh, and imaginary hearts float around me.

   Even though Ares doesn’t go to my school—he goes to a fancy private school instead—I’ve spent a lot of time checking him out. Let’s just say I’ve had an immense, years-long crush on him. It began the first time I saw him playing with a soccer ball in his backyard when I was just eight years old. I was shocked because he was the first member of his family that I saw back there.

   Naturally, my crush has diminished a bit over the years because I’ve never actually talked to him. We haven’t even shared a simple glance. I don’t think he’s ever noticed my presence, not even when I stare at him like an idiot.

   However, the little contact I’ve previously had with my neighbors is about to change, as it turns out that Wi-Fi is not only capable of connecting our devices, but it’s also able to bridge different worlds.

Imagine Dragons plays throughout my small room as I sing and take off my shoes. I just got home from my summer job, and I’m exhausted.Since I’m eighteen, I’m supposed to be full of energy, but my mother says she has a lot more energy than I do, and she’s right. I stretch out, yawning, and my husky, Rocky, mimics me, stretching out his paws. People say dogs become more like their owners, and it’s true that Rocky is my doggy incarnation. I swear he sometimes even mimics my facial expressions.

   My eyes land on the posters with positive messages hanging all around my room. My dream is to be a psychologist and help people. I’m really hoping to get a scholarship because I know that college isn’t something I’ll be able to easily afford.

   I walk to my window, intending to watch the sunset. It’s my favorite time of day. I love watching as the sun disappears across the horizon and makes way for the arrival of the beautiful moon. It’s as if they have a secret ritual between them, a pact where they promised never to meet, but to share the majestic sky. My room is on the second floor, so I have a wonderful view.

   However, when I open my curtains, it’s not the sunset that surprises me but the person sitting in my neighbors’ backyard: Apolo Hidalgo. It’s been a long time since I saw a member of that family out there.

   Apolo is the youngest of the three brothers. He’s sixteen and from what I hear he’s a nice kid, although I can’t say the same for his older brothers. No doubt the beauty gene runs in their family, since all three brothers are incredibly attractive. Even their father is good-looking. Apolo has a face that exudes innocence, light brown hair, and amber-colored eyes just like his father’s.

   Leaning on the windowsill, I gaze directly at him. He has a laptop and seems to be typing something in a hurry.

   Where are your manners, Raquel? my mother’s voice sounds in my mind, scolding me.

   Should I say hi?

   Of course, he’s your future brother-in-law, I answer myself.

   Taking a chance, I clear my throat and put on my best smile.

   “Good afternoon, neighbor!” I shout, waving my hand in the air. Apolo looks up and his little face stretches in surprise.

   “Oh!” He jumps up, and his laptop abruptly drops to the ground. “Shit!” he mumbles, picking it up and checking it.

   “Is it okay?” I ask, noticing his laptop is an expensive brand.

   Apolo breathes a sigh of relief. “Yeah, it’s fine.”

   “I’m Raquel, I’m your neigh—”

    “I know who you are,” he interrupts. He smiles kindly at me. “We’re lifelong neighbors.”

   Oh, I guess Apolo has noticed me.

   “Sure,” I mutter, knowing my cheeks are flushed.

   “I have to go.” He picks up his chair. “Hey, thanks for sharing your Wi-Fi password, by the way. We’re going to be without internet for a few days while they install a new service. It’s really nice of you to share.”

   I freeze. “Share my internet? What are you talking about?”

   “You’re sharing your Wi-Fi with us, that’s why I’m here in the yard. The signal doesn’t reach the house.”

   “What?” But I didn’t give you the password . . .” Confusion barely lets me speak.

   Apolo frowns. “Ares told me that you gave him the password.”

   My heart flutters in my chest when I hear that name. “I’ve never even exchanged a word with your brother.”

   Believe me, I would remember in great detail if I had!

   Apolo seems to realize that something’s off, and his cheeks turn red. “I’m sorry, Ares told me that you gave him the password. That’s why I’m here. I’m sorry, really.”

   “Relax, it’s not your fault.”

   “But if you didn’t give him the password, then how does he have it? I just connected to your internet.”

   “I don’t know.”

   “It won’t happen again. I apologize, again.” With his head down, he disappears back toward his house.

   I stare at the place where Apolo had been sitting. What was that all about? How does Ares have my Wi-Fi password? Ares is not only the most handsome of the three brothers, but he’s also the coldest, and probably the least likely to ask for a favor. This is turning into a mystery. I can even imagine the title: The Wi-Fi Password Mystery. I shake my head at the idea.

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