Fall For You

Fall For You
story by Kim©
started: March 31, 2008   completed: March 31, 2009


Everyone loves him. He’s funny, witty, good-looking and charming. He’s everything a girl wants for a boy. When he speaks, it’s like humor and sense combined. Mapapaupo ka talaga and mapapakinig sa kanya. Hindi rin naman daw siya playboy. He’s not like that. And he goes to school sa harap ng school namin. That’s Rhys. Rhys Romualdez.

I’m his total opposite. I’m not a stunner. I’m shy. I don’t like talking to people much. If my friends are out there partying on a Saturday night, I’m on my four-corner room studying my lessons or just blogging. I’m really weird..and geeky. And worse is, I’m not good at talking to the opposite sex. It really annoys me. I don’t know how to act around a guy, I just wanna stay quiet. Maybe because all my life, I studied at an all-girl school. And wala ring nanliligaw sakin. Kahit ako wala rin namang planong magkaboyfriend kung hindi lang naman si Rhys. And that’s a dream that will never materialize for me. 

So Rhys, can I fall for you

 

CHAPTER 001

It was raining hard and I was standing at the waiting shed sa harap ng school gate namin. And as usual, nagbabasa na naman ako ng libro or some kind of loooong novels na ayaw na ayaw basahin ng iba dahil “nakakatamad” raw. So yeah, I’m weird and…geeky.

Nabigla ako ng marinig kong nasa harap ng waiting shed namin si Rhys at ang grupo niya.

“Girl, andun si Rhys o. He’s sooo gwapo.” A 4th year student whispered kaya naman napatingin ako sandali sa tinuro niyang direksyon.

And there they are. Rhys was like may hinihintay sa kabilang shed at parang may hinahanap siya sa waiting shed namin. Prolly, some gorgeous girls from our school. It couldn’t be me. Yeah, dream on Yana.

Oh, before I start blabbing about my life, I’m Juliana Antonio, fondly called Yana. I’m a 4th year student studying at Lourdes College (an exlcusive school for girls) and I AM NOT A LESBIAN OR A TOMBOY. Get it?

Then suddenly, napatayo ako ng straight when Rhys and company crossed the street papunta sa waiting shed namin. Everyone started giggling and I’m sure, each of them, rather us, is wishing na sana “ako ang lalapitan ni Rhys”. T_T Funny, pero ganyan kalakas ang tama namin sa kanya. As what I’ve said, he’s everything a girl wants for a boy.. and you wouldn’t ask for more.

How I wanted to stay and observe him at a closer look, pero dumating na ang sundo ko and I had to go. Bigla naman akong kinilabit ni Vincent sa gilid.

“Yana.. andiyan ka pala. Di ka man lang namamansin.” He smiled..and everyone looked at me.

Yung mga babae sa school na nasa gate at ang mga kaibigan niya including Rhys. Bigla naman akong nataranta.

“Ah, sorry. Di kita nakita eh. Sige, una na ako.” Sabi ko at ngumiti. Pumasok na kaagad ako sa kotse and I had my last glance on  Rhys for that day. He was smirking.

Nung gabi na, since wala namang HWs and quizzes, and since nakapagreview na ako sandali in case na may pop quizzes, I logged on my YM.

lightningdude1218
BUZZ!

OMG. Rhyyyysss? My labs Rhyyyysss? OMG.

lightningdude1218: how are you related to Vincent Yap?
whizgirlame.o: do i know you?
lightningdude1218: ur the only girl who’s not familiar with my id
lightningdude1218: wow.

WOW? WOW daw? Dang. He doesn’t know alam na alam ko ang lahat tungkol sa kanya.

whizgirlame.o: where’d ya get my id?
lightningdude1218: nvm. how are you related to Vincent yap?
whizgirlame.o: he’s a family friend.
whizgirlame.o: how did-

lightningdude1218 has signed out.

Okkaaay? Dinednma ba naman ako. :OPero okay lang, he’s still cute. And I still like him.

Kinabukasan, syempre, inspired na inspired akong pumasok. Ikaw ba naman i-IM ng crush mo? Di ka pa ba matutuwa?

“Ba’t parang ang saya mo ngayon?” tanong sakin ng bestfriend kong si Bea.

“Wala lang.” I said and smiled again. Ayoko na munang sabihin sa kanya na inIM ako ni Rhys, baka ano pa ang mabuo sa isip niyan, eh IM lang naman yun, diba?

Then nung hapon na, sabay na kaming lumabas ni Bea. I was surprised to see Rhys sa waiting shed sa harap ng school namin na mag-isa. Come on, mag-isa siya. Ang daming girls na lumalapit sa kanya pero di naman siya namamansin. So naisip namen, baka inaantay niya si Gabby.

(FYI, Gabrielle “Gabby” Altuna is the prettiest and flirtiest girl in the campus. Pero kahit ganun siya, overall, she’s nice naman and actually, we’re friends. Di lang ganun kaclose pero “friends” kami.)

Dumating naman kaagad yung sundo ni Bea kaya naiwan akong mag-isa doon. And lumabas na finally si Gabby. She smiled at Rhys pero dinedma lang siya. So.. if not Gabby, who?

And then my phone rang.

“Dad?… yeahh… opo… sige po… train?… and then?…okay bus… sige… sige po… thanks…bye..” I closed my phone and tried to figure out myself kung pano makakaabot sa train station since hindi ako susunduin.

When I decided to cross the street, someone called up to me.

“Hey!”

Napatingin naman ako kasi baka ako yung tinatawag. Rhys?

“Me?” I pointed myself and looked around kasi baka di ako.

“Yeah, you.” He smiled and went up to me.

Okay, kinikilig na naman ako. Pero dapat play-hard-to-get ang drama.

“Why?”

“Sabay na ako sa iyo.” 

Chapter 02

“Sasabay na ako sa iyo.” Huh? Pakiulit nga. Anong sasabay ang pinagsasabi nito?

“Pardon?”

“Sasabay ako sa iyo.” He smirked again and went on his way.

Nagkibit-balikat narin ako at naglakad sa likod niya. Teka, ano nga ulit yun? Train.. then, bus.. then.. iono. San ako sasakay ng bus? San ako bababa? :paranoid:

“So.. do you watch Heroes?” He suddenly asked kaya muntik na akong mapatalon.

“Huh? Heroes? As in yung sina Wonderwoman and the likes?” Dang. I sound stupid. He just smiled.

“So.. kung hindi ka nanonood ng Heroes, Gossip Girl? Errr…”

“Hindi din. Sorry.” Sabi ko at bumalik sa pag-iisip kung san sasakay at bababa.

Gaaa. Kasalanan ko bang buong buhay ako, sinusundo ako at hinahatid? Gaaa. Kung alam ko lang naman na pagdadaanan ko ito, edi sana noon palang minemorize ko na ang mga pasikot-sikot dito sa lugar na to. Gaaa. Hmp. Nakakainis naman o.

“Alam mo ba talaga kung san ka pupunta?” He asked again na parang nacoconfuse na rin siya saken.

“Yeah.” Sabi ko at pumasok sa train station. Sumunod din naman siya kaya napatingin ulit ako sa kanya. “Teka, taga san ka ba?” Helloooo, alam mo kaya kung taga-san siya — Mandaluyong. And dang, parang North and South kayong dalawa.

“Mandaluyong.”

I know. Pero teka, sasabay ka pa saken?

“And.. you’re going with me?” Napataas ang kilay ko.

“Not really. I don’t think you can go home safely kasi.” He smiled. “So, I’m giving you the honor to come along with me.” He smiled again.

“Yeah right. Kaya kong umuwing mag-isa.” I said and went away. Okay, I like him a lot, pero I don’t want naman him to think that I’m stupid na di kayang umuwing mag-isa. Amf.

“I’m sorry if I offended you. I didn’t mean to.” He said and still followed me.

Sumakay ako ng train and he still followed me. What the hell does he want from me?! Pinabayaan ko lang siya hanggang sa bumaba kami ako dun sa ‘ewan’, hindi ko alam ang name. So, ayun. Tumayo pa ako dun sandali trying to figure out kung anong bus ang sasakyan ko para makarating sa bahay. Dang. Ba’t ang dami ng bus at jeep dito?

“San ka sa Quezon?”

Tumahimik lang ako.

Bigla naman niyang kinuha ang cellphone niya at may pinindot-pindot doon.

“Yeah. Puntahan mo nalang ako dito. Hassle na eh.” Then he closed his phone. Ngumiti lang kaagad siya saken.

Aalis na siya? Ang sama naman. Tsk.

Then mga 10 minutes pa siguro akong nakatayo dun. Naman.. san ako sasakay?

Biglang may car na huminto sa harap namin and I know kung kanino iyon. Marahil kay Rhys. Uuwi na ang Prince Charming ko at tuluyan na akong magiging ‘damsel in distress’ ditong mag-isa. Hmp.

Nang bumukas ang pinto, lumabas si Vincent. Yeah. Si Vincent Yap na kababata ko na katropa ni Rhys.

“V-Vincent?” I muttered.

“Pumasok ka na sa loob. Papahatid na kita.” sabi niya.

Ako ba Vince?

Tiningnan ko lang sila at nagkibit-balikat lang si Rhys. Napabuntong-hininga ako.

“Thanks Vince, but no. Sasakay ako ng bus katulad ng sinabi ni Daddy.”

“Aabutin ka ng 48 years kung sasakay ka ng bus.” Sabi ni Rhys.

Teka, ang alam ko, crush ko si Rhys. Si Vince naman, kababata ko. Hmm.. anong pakialam nila sa buhay ko?

“Hindi ako sasakay. Pano ako matututo kung di ko susubukan ngayon?”

Vince frowned.

“Ganito nalang, sasabayan nalang kita sa bus.” Sabi ni Vince.

“Ayoko-”

“Ako na Vince. Umuwi ka nalang. Ako nalang ang sasabay sa kanya pauwi.” Sabi kaagad ni Rhys.


Pumara bigla si Vince ng bus at pinapasok ako ni Rhys. Hindi pa sana ako sasakay, pero minura na kami ng driver at bigla naman akong tinulak ni Rhys at ayun napasakay kaming dalawa. Napatingin naman samin yung ibang mga babae na nakakakilala sa kanya. Naman… wag nio nga akong tingnan.

I sat down at di na muna umurong. Di naman siya siguro uupo sa tabi ko diba?

“Umurong ka dun.”



Chapter 03

Umurong naman kaagad ako at tumahimik nalang. Siguro kung di lang ako mahiyain, kanina pa ako nagtatatalon dito sa gilid ni Rhys. Pero hindi e, abnormal ako kaya stay put lang ako sa gilid niya habang nakaupo.

“So.. if you’re not a fan of Heroes nor Gossip Girls.. then I’ll guess you’re a fan of Sineskwela.” He said and laughed.

Ano naman ang nakakatawa dun? 

“Y-yeah. I do watch Sineskwela before.”

“Y-you do?” 

“What’s funny?” 

“I mean… nothing. Nanonood rin ako niyan.” He said, pero this time, di na siya tumawa, pinipigilan niya ang tawa niya.

“Ahhhh.” I said and looked at the window again.

Silence.

“Hmm.. bakit mo pala ako sinasamahan ngayon?” 

Bigla siyang tumahimik at ngumiti.

“Errr… siguro kasi.. kaano-ano mo nga ulit si Vincent?” 

“F-family friend.”

“Ayuuun. Kasi… family friend ka ni Vince.. at kaibigan ko si Vince.” Sabi niya and he grinned.

Concerned citizen? 

“Nga pala, san ka ba bababa?”

“Sa Grand Royale.”

“T-teka.. you live at Grand Royale?”

“Yeah. Bakit?”

“You’re filthy rich.” He said.

“I-I’m not.”

“You are. Anyway…. *Manong! Para!” Tumayo naman kaagad siya at bumaba ng bus. Napasunod nalang ako sa kanya.

Nung nakababa na kami, tumayo kami dun sandali sa entrance ng village na tinitirhan ko.

“Tara..”

“Teka, teka. Anong tara?”

“Ihahatid kita sa loob.”

“N-no, no, no. Kaya ko na. I’ll take it from here.” I said at tumalikod na kaagad. I hope he’ll insist.

“Uhmm.. okay. Ingat sa paglalakad ha.” Sabi niya and went on his way.

I turned around and started walking. Pero meron pa akong dapat sabihin sa kanya.

“Rhys Romualdez!!” He turned around. “S-Salamat!” I shouted and waved goodbye.

He just smiled and turned away.

“Yana!!” Did he just call me ‘Yana’? “Rhys nalang!” I smiled and nodded my head. Then finally, umakyat na siya sa fx na dumaan.

He left me smiling.

Kinabukasan, bigla akong hinila ni Bea sa gilid.

“B-bakit?”

“Sabi ni Vincent sakin hinatid ka raw ni Rhys Romualdez kahapon?”

“H-huh?”

“W-well..”

“Wag mong ideny.”

“O-oo… Pero hindi ko naman siya gus-”

“Are your crazyyy?!”

“Yun nga, hindi ko siya g-”

“Goosssshh!! Ang swerte mo Yana!! Hindi na ako magpapasundo mamaya. Baka ihatid ka niya ulit. ”

“Bea-”

“Hayyy… baka naman gusto ka niya?”

“H-hindi Bea-”

“Awww.. pag naging kayo.. kawawa na ako. wala-”

“Beaa!!’

Bigla siyang tumigil at napatingin saken.

“Bakit?”

“It’s not what you think it is.’

“Oh talaga? eh ano kaya yun?”

“B-bea..”

Mukhang mahihirapan ako nito sa kanya. ;]

Chapter 04

“Sabihin na kasi. Anong koneksyon mo kay Rhys?”

Tiningnan ko siya at nagpout sakin si Bea. Kungsabagay, may karapatan siyang malaman. Ano pa’t naging magkaibigan kami. Tsk.

“Well, tinanong ko siya kung bakit niya ako hinatid, sabi niya naman..” tumango siya saken. “Sabi niya, dahil family friend daw ako ni Vincent.” I smiled bitterly. “So yun lang.”

She looked at me habang nakataas ang kilay. “Oooowwsss?”

“Ows ka diyan. Tigilan mo nga ako. Yun lang talaga. Heartbreaking kasi I didn’t hear the reason na gusto kong marinig.”

Bigla na naman siyang tumingin saken at nanlaki ang mga mata nito.

“OMG. Ikaw riiiin? Nakagat ka rin ng “Rhys-bug”? OMG.” O___O

Bigla akong napatahimik. Oo, mukha nga.

“Oh please.. wag ka ng magdeny! Alam ko na no. Halata sa PULA mong mukha.” At bigla siyang tumawa.

“Very funny.” I said sarcastically.

“Kung sabagay bestfriend, gwapo nga naman si Rhys. Matalino pa. At medyo matino. Kaya hindi ako magtataka kung nakagat ka din ng Rhys-bug.” She laughed again.

“Eh bakit ikaw? Hindi mo ba siya gusto?”

“Ano ka ba! Alam mo namang may gusto akong iba diba?” She grinned.

“Hindi ko alam kung bakit mo nagustuhan yung Raph na iyon. I mean.. diba dapat nga-”

“Diba dapat nga hindi ko siya nagugustuhan dahil kuya siya ng bestfriend kong si Yana?” She laughed again. “Naku Yana, ayos lang ito no. Wala namang malisya itong pagkakagusto ko sa kanya. Kung-”

“Pero masasaktan ka lang Bea. May girlfriend na si Kuya at sa tingin ko, it’s time to give him up.”

Bigla siyang napatigil at napatingin sakin. Nanlaki na naman ang mga mata niya at napanganga siya.

“Repeat that again.”

“It’s time to give him up?”

“No! The other one.. before that, I think.”

“May girlfriend na si Kuya.” Bigla siyang napahawak sa ulo niya at sumunod sa kanyang puso.

“Sabihin mong nagbibiro ka lang Yana! Walang girlfriend ang Kuya mo! Yan ang sinabi niya saken noon! At hindi siya sinungaling! Kaya wag kang magbiro ng ganyan!”

“Pero Bea.. last year niya pa iyang sinabi sa iyo na wala pa siyang girlfriend. Meron na ngayon. Kaya tigilan mo na siya.”

“Tumigil ka nga! Kahit kailan, hindi ko titigilan ang Kuya mo. Over my dead body.”

“Ewan ko sa iyo.” sabi ko at naglakad na. Sumunod naman si Bea saken.

Pagkatapos ng Physics naming subject, nagligpit na muna ako ng gamit at pupunta na sana ng toilet room nang kinalabit ako ng seatmate ko sa gilid.

“B-bakit Trish?” O_O

“Nagdate ba kayo ni Rhys Romualdez kahapon?”

“Huh? N-nag-d-d-date? Anong pinagsasabi mo?”

“Wag mo ng ideny. Nakita ka ng mga schoolmates natin! Alam mong mahal na mahal ko si Rhys at marami pa ang nasa sitwasyon ko din! How could you do this to us?! How could you?!”

“Hindi kami nagdate. Hinatid niya lang ako sa bahay.”

“Hiiiinaaatttttiiiiiidddd?!” Napahawak siya sa puso niya at nahimatay. Promise, nahimatay si Trisha. Kaya naman dinala namin siya sa clinic. Tumawa nga ang nurse ng malamang si Rhys Romualdez ang dahilan ng pagkahimatay niya.

Nung hapon na, sumabay sakin si Bea sa paglabas ng gate.

“Sasabay ako sa iyo sa pag-uwi. Hekhekhek.”

“O bakit ka sasabay saken? May sundo ka diba?”

“Eh syempre. Loka ka! I’m going with you so that I can go with Rhys! Wahahaha.”

“Ah..ganun? Eh malas mo, ayun na ang sundo mo o.”

Bigla naman siyang pumunta sa likod ko.

“Itago mo ako.” She whispered.

“Sorry. Nakita ka na ni Tita.”

“Whhhaaaattt?! Si Mama ang sumundo sakin? Awww..” Lumabas siya sa likod ko ng nanghihina at nagbabye nalang sakin. Wala siyang choice eh. Hindi siya makakatakas. Ako naman, naghintay pa ako sandali dun.. hindi sandali – matagal pala.

“Uy.. kanina ka pa diyan?” S-si RHYS. O_O Anong gagawin ko? Anong gagawin ko?

“Obvious naman diba?”

“Aish. Suplada ka talaga.” He chuckled.

“Ba’t ka nandito?”

“I’m waiting for someone.” He smiled.

“Ahhh. Have a happy waiting then.” Umurong ako dun sa gilid at umupo.

“Wala ka na naman bang sundo?” He said and sat beside me. Umurong naman ako sa gilid.

“Hinihintay ko pa.”

“Ahhh.. kung gusto mo, pwede mokong gawing hatid-sundo mo.” He grinned.

Tiningnan ko siya na para bang hindi ako makapaniwala. Crap. Anong pinagsasabi nito?

“Are you crazy?”

“Not really.” He grinned again. “Seriously.”

RED ALERT. RED ALERT. I’m sure, namumula ako ngayon.

“G-ganun ba?” I looked at him and he looked at me.. and kulang nalang magmelt ako sa tingin niya. “H-hindi pwede eh.”

“Bakit naman?”

“Strict ang parents ko.” I whispered. Bigla aman siyang tumawa. As in humalakhak talaga.

Aissh. Niloloko lang siguro ako nito. Tsk.

“I figured.” He stopped laughing. “Uhmm.. can I have your digit?”

“W-wala akong cellphone.”

“Kunwari ka pa. nagtetext daw kayo ni Vincent eh.”

“Wo? Sinabi niya?” O_O

Tumawa na naman siya.

“Bakit?”

“Wala lang. So can i have your digit?”

“O-okay.” I said and binigay na kaagad ang number ko.

Dumating din naman kaagad ang sundo ko at nagbye siya saken. Uuwi narin daw siya. Sinigurado niya lang daw na may sundo ako kasi kung wala.. ihahatid na naman ako ni Rhys. Flattering na talaga at super kiligness pa. :)

So ayun nga, umuwi ako ng bahay. Nung gabi na, pumasok si Mommy sa kwarto to ask if everything’s alright about me.

“B-bakit po?”

“Kasi nitong mga nakaraang ilang oras, medyo you’re out of your mind once in awhile. There’s something wrong ba?”

“W-wala naman po. Everything’s fine po Mom.” I said.

“OKay. But if you feel uncomfortable about something or someone, just tell me ha?” She smiled sweetly.

This is the great thing about me and my Mom. We can talk like friends. We can communicate as such kaya medyo madali ang buhay. Si Dad naman, medyo busy lagi. Pero he always finds some time to be with us during Sundays. Kaya Sunday is like a family day for us talaga. And my brother… he’s living in Singapore already. Medyo malaki kasi yung gap namin, but he always calls me. And he goes home once in awhile. So okay parin.

“Nga pala sweetie, someone called.”

“Sino raw?”

“Rhys ata ang name.” Nabigla naman ako at napatingin sa floor.

“Ayyeee… a suitor?”

“Mom, no!”

“Ba’t defensive? OKay lang naman iyan eh. You’re beautiful.”

“Nahhh.” I shook my head. “What did he say pala?”

“He’ll call back.” She said and went out of my room smiling.

So ayun nga, I put my HWs away and waited for his call.

I waited. And I waited. And waited.

But he didn’t call.

Chapter 05

And yes, he didn’t call. I waited till God knows when. Nakatunganga lang ako sa telephone and paulit-ulit na binabasa ang mga numbers na nasa buttons. Crap. Pumuti na siguro ang mga mata ko sa kakahintay, the phone didn’t even bother to ring.. moreover, he didn’t even bother to give me a ring.. again.

So ayun nga, can you believe it? Nakatulog ako sa floor sa kakahintay ng tawag niya. Crap. 

Early in the morning, I woke up to go to school. Thank God it’s Friday. Pagkatapos nitong araw na to, weekend na and my brother’s gonna come home for his 19th birthday. Yipeee! Bea still doesn’t know about it, surprise nalang. She’s having her birthday rin naman next week. That geek will be very happy.

“Geek!” She called me. By the way, that’s what we call each other, ‘geek’.  I looked at her and smiled.

“Good morning.” Bati ko sa kanya.

“Birthday na ng Kuya mo this Sunday.” She grinned.

“Hindi siya uuwi.” I said and went on my way.

“Oh come on! Why not?! Of course uuwi siya. Lagi naman siyang umuuwi pag birthday niya diba?”

“Noon yun. Wala pa siyang kasama sa Singapore eh. Pero ngayong may girlfriend na siya, hindi na siya uuwi.” The sadness was in her face. “And.. that’ll save you from the pain, geek.” I tapped her back and smiled.

“Y-yeah.” She said and frowned. “Anyway, pakibigay nalang to sa kanya.” She handed me a red box.

“Sure.” I grinned.

“Wag mong bubuksan iyan ha?!”

“Oo naman.”

After nun, pumasok na kami sa class namin. Then someone passed me a note.

‘Are you and Rhys Romualdez going out?’

I looked at Trish kung sa kanya talaga nanggaling. She shook her head and looked at Gabby.

“K-kay Gabby galing?”

“Yeah. Pinasa lang sakin.”

Napatingin ako kay Gabby na nakikinig sa teacher namin. Doesn’t look like it’s from her.

“Pakisabi nalang sa kanya na hindi.” I whispered to Trish and binulong niya rin sa mga katabi niya na ipasa daw kay Gabby ang ‘hindi’ from me. Gabby just smiled at me.

Nung hapon na, lumabas na ako ng school dahil wala raw meeting ang Student Council. So ayun, paglabas ko, I saw Rhys standing at the front gate smiling at me.

I froze and paused to think.. ‘anong ginagawa ni prince charming ko dito?’

Although I got disappointed kagabi that he didn’t call back, I still can’t help myself from getting kilig all over him because of the speculation na baka hinihintay niya ako.

“Hey.” He smiled.

I looked at him na para bang naiinis ako sa kanya. Crap Yana. Wala kang karapatang mainis dahil hindi ka naman niya girlfriend and all. Crap.

I gave him a faint smile.

“I was waiting for you. Tagal mong lumabas.”

And my speculation didn’t disappoint me. I smiled to myself.

“Why would you wait for me naman?” I said calmly.

“Hindi pa ba obvious?”

Obvious? I looked at him confused. Obvious ang ano?

He looked at me and sighed.

“Anyway, I called your house last night.”

Bigla naman akong nawalan ng gana. Oo, tumawag ka and sabi mo kay Mommy tatawag ka ulit. Kulang nalang iwanan ako ng kaluluwa ko sa kakahintay sa tawag mo.

“Yeah. Mom told me.” I smiled faintly again.

“Did she tell you na I’d call back?”

“Y-yeah.” And you didn’t.

“Well.. I did call you back. Pero busy eh. Were you using the phone? Or baka ginagamit ng parents mo? I tried many times.”

O_O

I stood there frozen. Oh come on, anong pinagsasabi mong busy? Kunwari ka pa.. just tell me na di ka talaga tumawag.

“B-busy?”

“Yeah. I was dialing your number since 8:30 in the evening. Nung mga around 9:30 na, I stopped kasi it’s kinda late na to call  you. Baka pagalitan ka and ano. So..”

“I was beside the phone whole-” He looked at me. “I mean.. the phone was in my room.. and..”

“Extension?”

“Y-yeah.”

“Baka hung-up sa main connection.” OH SHOOT. Riiiiigggghhhttt.

So he did try to call me.

“Anyway, may sundo ka ba?”

I looked around to see if dumating si Manong Ernie. Pero wala eh. Then I checked my phone and ayun nga, a text from my Mom.

‘sweetie, commute na muna. i used the car for a vry imprtnt errand. take care. or sma ka nlng ky bea.’ -mom

Nagreply lang ako ng okay. When I turned around, andun si Rhys nakangiti sakin. RED ALERT. Natutunaw na ako.

“W-wala. Mom used the car daw for a very important errand.” I said and started walking towards the train station.

“Tara.” He held me by the hand and hinila niya ako. Napatingin ako sa kamay ni Rhys na nakahawak sa kamay ko. O_O

Gaaaa. Ang init ng mga kamay niya. Hanggang nakaabot kami sa train station. Nang makita niyang hawak-hawak niya ang kamay ko, bigla niya itong binitiwan. And naging awkward na kaagad ang situation.

“P-pasensya na. Hindi ko nama-”

“Ayos lang. Tara.” I smiled and went on the train.

Tahimik kaming dalawa and nung bumaba na kami, sumakay kami sa bus at bumaba ulit sa harap ng village na tinitirhan ko.

“Again.. I’ll take it from here. Thanks.” I smiled.

“Nahhh. Hatid na kita. Baka ano pa mangyari sa iyo diyan.” He insisted kaya.. why not? 

Nung naglalakad na kami, di ko maexplain nararamdaman ko. It feels like I’m scared na parang nahihiya.

“Ok ka lang ba?” He asked habang naglalakad kaming dalawa.

“O-okay lang.” I smiled.

“Nga pala, nasan ang bahay nio rito?”

“Oh. Sorry.” I led the way and he followed. So yun nga. “Here.”

We stopped at the front of our gate. He just looked at me and the house.. then at me.. then at the house.

“S-something wrong?”

“Wala lang.” He chuckled. “Anyway, go inside na.”

“Yeah. Thanks.” I smiled again. Pumasok na ako sa gate and.. then he called my name again.

“Yana!”

“Hm?”

“Just please.. don’t stress yourself too much kung bakit ko to ginagawa sa iyo. You’ll figure it out soon.” He grinned.

What will I figure out soon? 

Chapter 06

Figure out soon? A-ano naman yun? O_O

Nagkibit-balikat nalang ako at pumasok ng bahay. After the dinner, I went up to my room at humiga lang habang nakatingin sa ceiling ng room ko.

Naman.. ba’t ako nakangiti dito na parang ewan? Eh kung wala ka sa katinuan mo Yana, let me explain. Dalawang beses ka nang hinatid ni Rhys sa bahay niyo. Eh ano naman kung ganyan nga diba? And he even told you not to stress yourself out thinking why he’s doing all those stuffs to you.

Bigla akong napaupo.

“Teka.. hindi naman kaya… nagpupustahan sila?”

Napatigil ako. “Bakit hindi? Alam naman nating.. “di-ka” ako. Matalino lang talaga ako.. and mabait? So.. kasi.. walang reason na magkainteres sakin si.. Rhys.. aisshh.. sabi na nga ba.” Napahiga ulit ako sa bed at napatingin sa kisame.

I shook my head again and just turned on the tv.

Gusto ko siya, gustong-gusto ko siya. But if ever na nagpupustahan nga sila sakin, I’m gonna be strong and I won’t be damaged badly. Ihahanda ko ang sarili ko sa pwedeng mangyari. Sa ngayon, let’s enjoy the sweet moments, courtesy of Rhys Romualdez.

Saturday.

We went to the airport to fetch my Kuya. Hindi pa alam ni Bea na darating si Kuya ngayon, surprise nalang siguro. And may surprise din kami for Kuya. Mom coordinated the party. So mabibigla talaga siya pagdating niya sa bahay.

“Kuyyaaaaa!!” I hugged him tight and he hugged me back. “Aba.. ang laki na ng katawan natin ah.” I held his stomach.

“Uist. Lil sis kita. Walang tsansing.” I slapped his stomach. “Awww..”

“Kala mo kung sino ka naman. Tsk.” We just laughed it off.

“Raphael.. anak.. welcome home.” Mom kissed Kuya and Dad hugged him lightly.

After ng family reunion, may bigla namang lumabas sa door and stood beside Kuya.. smiling.

O_O Nabigla kaming tatlo. I mean, alam kong ang sabi ko kay Bea may gf na si Kuya, pero I was just kidding.. it was yet to be confirmed or denied by my dear brother. And I guess, eto na yung oras na gawin niya yun.

“Mom.. is that-”

“Mom, Dad, Yana.. meet my girlfriend, Pamela.” He smiled to all of us. He gave us like ‘say-something’ look.

Mom broke the silence. “Ohh.. hi darling..” She then glanced at Kuya.

Pamela is so pretty. Parang model lang ang dating. Oh my.. what will Bea say to this? O_O

Ayun nga, welcome to the family.. then we went into the car.. Honestly, medyo di ko feel si Pamela, but I think Kuya Raph likes her so much. Halatang-halata sa mga tingin niya kay Pamela e.

“Yana.. may boyfriend ka na ba?” Pam asked.

“Bf? Wala pa po.” I said.

“Wala pa? Sa ganda mong iyan?” She asked. Ano raw? Insulto yun ah.

“Hahahaha.” Tumawa naman si Kuya. “Pano magkakabf iyan, eh hindi kinakausap ang mga lalaki. Lalapitan palang, ilalabas niya na yung Physics niyang libro. Sino ba naman hindi matatakot dun?” He laughed again and bigla naman siyang hinampas ng mahina ni Pamela sa braso. “Sorry.”

Aba.. mukhang magkakasundo kaming dalawa a.

“Don’t believe your Kuya. If a guy really likes you, instead of being afraid of your Physics book, sasamahan ka pa niyang magstudy ng bouyant’s law.” She smiled sweetly.

I smiled at her. “Right.” I said quietly.

Tapos ayun, nung dumating na kami sa bahay, Kuya was really surprised na may party and nandun yung mga friends niya. He thanked Mom and Dad and he walked around introducing his girlfriend. Ako naman, nagdadalawang-isip kung tatawagan ko si Bea to come over.

And yes, tatawagan ko siya. She has the right to know about this.

“Yeah.. punta ka nalang dito.. oh well, he’s here.. okay.. bye..”

I hung up my phone and went to my room to go online. And crap, online din si Prince Charming. :]

lightningdude1218: yana😀
whizgirlame.o: uhh.. hi.
lightningdude1218: i have something to say to you.
lightningdude1218: sa monday.

Got something to say? Ano naman kaya? O_O

whizgirlame.o: oh. okay.
lightningdude1218: may pupuntahan ka ba bukas?
whizgirlame.o: wala.. why?
whizgirlame.o: pero prolly, since nandito si kuya, may mga unplanned activities siguro.
lightningdude1218: kuya? you didn’t tell me may kuya ka.
whizgirlame.o: did you ask ba?
lightningdude1218: hinde. lol. 1 point for you. *blush smiley*
whizgirlame.o: what’s with the blush icon?
lightningdude1218: what does it mean ba?
whizgirlame.o: nahhh.. anyway, see ya soon. bea’s here.

whizgirlame.o has signed out.

Crap. I wanna chat with him more pa sana. What does the blush icon mean? I’m getting kilig na naman. :)

“Bea..” bigla akong hinila ni Bea sa gilid.

“Who’s that girl?” She pointed Pamela. “Why is she with your Kuya? Why is she with my honey? Why?”

“Well.. honestly.. errrr…”

“OMG. Please don’t tell me.. ”

“Yess..” I nodded.

Hindi ko alam kung ano kaagad ang nangyari, basta we found ourselves sitting at the side of the pool – Bea crying and me, comforting her.

“My first I-was-dumped moment.” She said while sniffling her nose.

“Well, you were not literally dumped kasi.. you were not courting my bro naman or anything as such.”

“Aiiissh. I hate this. Pano naman kasi ako magcoconfess sa kanya.. eh lagi siyang wala dito. And that girl.. she’s so pretty. Syempre naman mas pipiliin siya ni Raphael kesa sakin.”

“No, you’re pretty naman e. Maybe.. he just didn’t see you as someone that he can be involved romantically.”

‘Yeah! He just saw me as his sister’s best friend.” She cried again.

Pero ayun nga, I just let her cry.

“When everything’s going to be smooth between you and Rhys.. please never give him up. Please.” She said at nabigla ako.

“That’ll never happen. You see.. he might just be playing with me.”

“Rhys can’t do that. He’s not branded as a playboy or anything as such.”

“But that’s the tru-”

She looked at me and huminga ng malalim.

“Honestly, he talked to me.”

“Talked to you? Why naman?”

“And why.. would.. he.. do.. thaaatt?”

“Because of you.”

“What about me?” O_O

“He likes you a lot daw.. and he will make everything for you to like him back.”

“But I like him already.”

“Well.. I don’t know. Pinapakita mo ba? Napansin ko kasi medyo pahard to get ka.” She laughed.

“Enough with me. Ikaw na muna.”

“I guess I just have to accept na he’ll always be the KUYA of my best friend.” She smiled.

“Go girl.” I hugged her and she hugged me back.

At the end of the night, it made me think again. He’ll do everything?

CHAPTER 07

SUNDAY.

Nasa bahay lang ako. Mom wanted to go to Tagaytay with Kuya and Pamela, but Pamela has to visit some of her friends. So I just stayed at the house. Sabi ni Dad, next week nalang daw kami lalabas na magpamilya.

So ayun, batong-bato na ako sa kwarto ko. Bea called, she asked kung tuloy daw ba kami sa Tagaytay dahil sasama daw siya. Okay din itong bestfriend ko e, kahit harap-harapan ng pinarada sa kanya ang girlfriend ng pinakamamahal niya, bigay todo parin siya. Siguro kung ako yun, suko na ako.

*tok *tok *tok

Bigla akong napatayo sa pagkakahiga ko at binuksan ang pinto.

“Bakit Manang?”

“Pinapatawag ka ni Mommy mo. May bisita ka raw.”

“S-sino?”

“Hindi ko alam iha e. Bumaba ka nalang.” Sabi ni Manang kaya bumaba nalang ako.

Pagbaba ko.. o____o Anong ginagawa niya dito?

Yes. Si Rhys. Kasama si Mommy sa garden umiinom ng juice.. and happily chatting?

o___o This is too much to bear.

“O, andito na pala si Yana.”

I smiled not knowing what to do. Crap. Anong sasabihin ko?

“Uh… hi? Napadaan ka ata?”

He smiled. “Yeah. Well, I’ll ask permission na from your parents.”

Permission? Anong permission?

“Let him explain. I said yes already. Excuse me, iho. I have some important errands to do pa. Take care tomorrow ha?”

“Yes, mam. Thank you.” He smiled. Mom then went away but she grinned to me when she passed by. What’s happening?

I sat down at the garden table looking at him.

“Ba’t ka nandito?” I asked him.

“Wala lang. Thought I’ll meet your family.”

“And why is that?”

“I’m planning to bring you somewhere kasi this Monday.”

Oohhhh?

“You asked permission na from my parents?”

“Yeah.” He smiled.

“Eh hindi ka pa nga nag-aask ng permission saken..” Ahihihihi.

Bigla naman siyang napatigil.

“Oh snap. Yeah, I’m sorry. So.. Yana.. would you like to go out with me.. tomorrow?”

Gaaaa. He’s really asking me out. Gaaa.. Is this really true?!

“You had a permission na from Mom, like i can say no pa.” I smiled.

“No.. I mean.. if you don’t wanna go out with me, it’s alright, I guess..”

“Oh. Okay..”

“But ayos lang ba talaga?”

“Yeah.” I smiled again and he smiled at me.

“Errr.. okay then. I’ll wait for you outside your school tomorrow.”

“Sure.”

“So.. mauuna na ako..” He stood up. “Err.. where’s Tita?”

“She’s in the kitchen. Ako nalang magsasabi sa kanya na aalis ka na.”

“Okay. Thanks.” Then ayun, hinatid ko siya palabas ng bahay and I then went inside my rooom.

“Waaaahhhh!! He asked me out!! Rhys Romualdez asked me out!!! Hahahahah!” I jumped around my bed and danced. “He asked me ouuuttt.. he asked me outttt…” Crap, i looked stupid.

Nung dinner na, hinila ako ni Mama sa gilid.

“Mom?”

“Don’t tell your Dad about what happened kanina dito sa bahay ha?”

“The what?”

“Your visitor.. lagot ka pag nalaman niya yun.” She winked.

“Sure..” I smiled.

MONDAY.

I am soo excited to go to school. As in pakiramdam ko nga, sana bumilis na ang takbo ng oras. Si Bea naman, nag-eemote parin sa mga pangyayari sa kanyang buhay. Alam niyo na, yung Kuya ko na may GF at siya.. na nagmamahal sa Kuya ko.

“Teka pala.. ba’t parang kilig na kilig ka diyan?”

“He asked me out…” I said while smiling.

“He asked you out?!” At ayun, nagtatatalon-talon kaming dalawa sa corridor. “O eh, wait. Kelan ang date?”

“Date ka diyan. Tambay lang.”

“Date narin iyan.”

“Err.. mamayang hapon raw. And you know what, he went to the house kahapon and asked Mom kung pwede niya raw akong ilabas. Craaapp Bea. Sobrang kinilig ako.” I laughed.

“Halata naman ee. Gaaa.. Pati ako kinikilig sa iyo.”

“Tigilan mo nga ako.” Sabi ko at pumasok na kami sa class.

Nung recess time na, lumapit naman si Gabby sakin. :)

“Hi Yana..” She smiled sweetly. Sobrang ganda talaga.

“Hi Gabby..”

“Rinig ko, magdedate daw kayo ni Rhys mamaya? Uyyy..” Crap. Kumalat na? Si Bea lang naman pinagsabihan ko nun ah. “Errr.. may mga sources ako. Plus.. someone saw Rhys daw yesterday na lumabas ng bahay niyo.” She smiled again.

“Ahhh. He-he-he. Hindi naman yun date e.”

“Oh, don’t tell me hindi pa nanliligaw?”

“Hindi naman yun nanliligaw e. Tsaka.. di yun manliligaw.”

“Ano ka ba.. of course he will. Sa pagkakaalam ko.. ikaw pa lang ang babaeng sinusundo niya araw-araw.”

“Hindi naman..”

“Anyway, update me ha?”

“Sure. Nga pala.. kumusta na kayo ni guy mo?”

“Yung kinikwento ko sa iyo last month? Ayun, inaaway parin ako ng mga friends ng girl. Sabi mang-aagaw daw ako and all. But who cares?”

“Yeah. Who cares? Kasalanan mo ba at naging maganda ka?”

“Eto naman..” Hinampas niya ako softly then she stood up. “Mauuna na ako. Bye Yana..”

She’s really a jewel. Siya na ata ang pinakamalapit sa word na “perfection”. Perfect match sila ni Rhys. And super nakakainggit. Yung meron ako eh utak lang e. Maganda naman daw ako, pero di lang talaga ganun ka-attractive. Parang ganun. It would be better if I got the brains and the beauty. Pero okay narin to. :)

Nung hapon na, sobrang kinakabahan na talaga ako. Parang ayoko na ngang lumabas ng school. Pero ayun, hinila ako ni Bea at ayun nga, lumabas kaming dalawa ni Rhys.

Honestly, wala namang dapat ikwento kasi wala namang special na nangyari sa “labas” na yun. Pumunta lang kami ng amusement park and sumakay ng mga rides. Yun lang talaga. He’s trying to have a conversation to me, pero dahil hindi ako marunong kumausap sa isang lalaki, quiet lang ako. Yes and No lang. Yung ganun. Plus nanginginig ako kaya medyo di ko talaga siya nakausap.

Two months narin ang nakakaraan since nangyari yung first “labas” na yun. And nasundan pa yun ng marami. :)Pero ewan ko ba, ayoko paring tawagin iyong “dates”. He got the permission na kasi from Mom kaya abuso. Hahaha. At gusto ko rin naman. :)Pero di parin alam ni Daddy. Natatakot ako and I’m sure, lagot talaga ako pag nalaman.

“Kumusta na KAYO?”

“Walang KAMI.”

“Oooowsss? Di parin ba nanliligaw? Two months na iyan ah.”

“Hindi. Di naman nagtatanong eh.”

“Oh come on. Malay mo.. actions speak louder than words iyan..”

“Hindi.. Ewan ko.”

“Hay nakoo… Nga pala, di ko na napapansin si Vincent ngayon ah.”

“Oo nga noh?”

“Diba dati lagi silang magkasama nina Rhys? I mean.. kapag uwian, lagi sila ang magkasama?”

“Break na siguro.” At tumawa kaming dalawa ni Bea. “Pero seriously, sabi niya sakin nung isang araw, mag-ingat daw ako kay Rhys.” Tumawa na naman kaming dalawa.

“Nangangain ba?” Ahahahahhahaha. “Lalabas ba kayo ni Rhys ngayong Sunday?”

“Yup..” I nodded. “Minsan nga.. medyo nagdadalawang-isip na akong tigilan nalang to. I mean.. baka umasa akong meron.. pero wala naman pala. Friends lang talaga. Siguro kakausapin ko siya mamaya..”

“Tanungin mo na kaya siya?”

“Tanunging ng ano?”

“Kung nanliligaw siya.. yung ganun?”

“Errr.. bahala na.”

And ayun nga, we went out nung Sunday. I just discovered something. I really like being with Rhys. Yun nga lang, it feels like I’m not me when he’s around. Parang nacoconcious ako na parang nahihiya. Ewan ko ba.

Sunday afternoon nun. Nasa isang park kami na may lake sa gilid. Umupo lang kaming dalawa dun sa ilalim ng puno. Nakakabigla kasi ngayon niya lang ako dinala dito. And super ganda ng place.

“Yana..” “Rhys..” At sumabay pa talaga sakin.

“Ikaw na..”

“Hinde, ikaw na.. Nothing important naman ee.”

“Ladies first.”

“Nahhh.. ikaw na.”

“Okayy..” sabi niya at huminga ng malalim. “Ayos ka lang ba?”

“Oo. Ayos lang.”

“Really?”

“Oo.” I smiled.

“You know what.. it feels like my life is not that complete pa. I’m not happy.”

“Really? Ang weird naman.. You’ve got everything already.”

“You think so?”

“”Well.. honestly, you’ve got everything. What more could you ask for?”

“There is one thing that I’m still asking for.”

“Meron pa? Ano naman yun?” O_O

“The girl I’ve been liking since the first time I saw her.”

“Oh come on. I’m sure she likes you. What’s not to like?” OUCH.

“She’s not katulad kasi sa ibang mga babae. She’s really different. I made friends with her already pero there’s still something else. Parang.. she’s still not open to me. I want her to trust me. I want her to be herself when she’s around me. Pero para bang hindi niya yun ginagawa. Parang she’s always on the lookout. And I don’t know why. I like her a lot. Pero.. she won’t like me back kung ganyan siya.”

Napatigil ako sa mga sinasabi niya. Naman.. ang sakit-sakit na.

“Does she know that you like her?”

“I don’t know. Pero it’s obvious naman e. I don’t spend a lot of time with just any girl. I mean.. others can tell na I like her, ewan ko ba kung nagbubulag-bulagan lang siya or wala talaga siyang pakialam. And I think..”

“You think?”

“I’m falling for her..” WOW. Double ouch.

“Buti pa siya..”

“What?”

“W-wala. I mean.. buti pa siya, may nagkakagusto sa kanyang katulad mo.”

“You think so?” He looked at me. “Pero kung ikaw yung girl and ako ito, would you let me fall for you?”

“Huh?” O_O

“I mean.. KUNG ikaw yung girl, would you let me fall for you?”

“I-I-I don’t know. Maybe you should ask the girl first?”

“Ahhh.. why?”

“So that she’ll be prepared to catch you.”

“Ahhh..”

Lucky girl. Very lucky girl. =(

“So.. Yana..” He then looked at me in my eyes. And with that look, I felt my knees weaken.

“Hm?”


“Can I fall for you?”

CHAPTER 08.

“Can I fall for you?”

Hindi ko alam kung ano kaagad ang naramdaman ko. All I can remember is that I was so happy that I really smiled sweetly to him with tears of joy in my eyes.

“I-is there something wrong?” He asked.

“H-hindi mo naman kailangang humingi ng permiso e.” I smiled faintly.

“Y-you mean..” He suddenly smiled widely.

“Yeah.” Nakangiti parin ako and he suddenly held my hand. He moved closer to me and akala ko he’d kiss me, pero di pala. He took my hand and kissed it. And that was more than enough to let my body feel that tingling sensation climbing up and down my spine.

Can you believe this?! This is like a dream come true. Rhys Romualdez is actually asking me to be his girlfriend. And no more pa-hard to get. Oo na yung sinagot ko sa kanya. And I’m so happy with just everything. I guess, pwede na akong sabihang “you’re complete”.

“Beeeaaaaa!!” I shrieked at the phone. “Yeeeaah.. He asked me if he can fall for me.. can you belieeevvee iitttt?! Sobrang kilig to the booooneesss!… nakuuu..Oa naman nito. Ndie aahh.. Syempre friends parin tayo.. oo naman! Ayy.. ganun? Sige, sige.. byee.”

MONDAY. OCTOBER.

“Really? As in kayo na talaga?”

“Yupp.” I smiled.

“Lokaret ka talaga Yana. I so envy you.”

“Si Vincent nalang kasi yung sa iyo.” I teased her.

“Duhhh. That guy likes you no. Ayokong maging epal.”

“Ha-ha. Funny Bea. He doesn’t like me. Magkaibigan kami simula pa noon. Kaya hindi iyan pwede.”

“Yeah, try convincing yourself.” She said and laughed. I just laughed with her nalang.

Wala pa namang ata nakakaaalam saming dalawa ni Rhys. Pero hindi na kelangang ipaalam. Marami narin kasing nag-iisip na matagal na kaming dalawa. Hindi lang kami umaamin. Pano kami aamin noon? Wala rin naman kaming aaminin. T_T Pero ngayon.. meron na. =p

Nung hapon na, when I went outside, I saw Rhys leaning on the wall of the visitor’s gate and I smiled at him. He then grabbed my hand and ayun, hinatid niya ako sa bahay. And yes, I started to talk and open up to him which is a very good thing.

And to make things shorter. Matagal narin kaming ganun and I really like being with him. Mom knows it already pero di parin alam ni Dad. And guess what, yung girlfriend ni Kuya Raph? Pinsan din pala ni Rhys. I guess we’re really meant for each other. Hihi.

“So.. wanna talk about Pascal’s principle?” He grinned.

“oh come on.. you don’t like Physics.” I teased him.

“Sinong nagsabing hindi?”

“Ikaw?”

“Well, okay. I don’t like Physics, pero para sa iyo, I’m trying to like it. Para at least lang naman, makasabay ako sa brain mo. Diba? I mean… I’m not that super smart-”

“I get it.” I grinned at him.

Umupo kami dun sa garden area ng bahay one Sunday afternoon and he was helping me with my computer project. He’s good at it.

“Hindi kaya..” I laughed.

“Hindi iyan cute, it’s gayish.” Sabi niya.

“Ikaw kaya gumagawa diyan.” I laughed again.

“Eh sabi mo ganito? Hahaha.”

“Eh, hayaan mo na iyan. Cute naman iyan eh.”

“Eh-”

“Yana!” Uh-oh. It’s DAD.

Mabilis akong tumayo and looked at Rhys. Si Rhys parang wala lang. Mukhang happy pa at mamimimeet na ang Daddy ko.

“Uhmm.. Dad..” I smiled.

Nakatingin lang sakin si Dad and tumingin ulit kay Rhys then back to me.

“Err.. Si Rhys po pala-”

“Good afternoon Sir. I’m Rhys Romualdez, b-”

“Studyante ko.” I smiled. Rhys looked at me. “Hmm.. i’m teaching him physics and he’s helping me out at my computer project. You know, that web-web thingy?” Siniko ko si Rhys para sumagot kahit papano.

“Uhm.. yes sir.” He smiled. Naks, mukhang decent tayo ah.

“Okay. Nice meeting you Rhys. I’ll go ahead.” Sabi ni Dad and went inside the house.

That’s when I realized I was holding my breath for more than around ten minutes already. Napatingin ako kay Rhys and mukhang galit ang labs ko.

“Ba’t di mo nalang sinabi na boyfriend mo ako?” He whispered.

“ano ka ba? Gusto mo bang makipagbreak sa iyo Dad ko?”

“Pero kahit na. I don’t want you lying to your parents.”

“Awww. Ayos lang iyan. Mom taught me. And siya rin nagsabing wag sabihin kay Dad.” I winked.

“But Ya-”

“No buts. BACK TO THE PROJECT RHYS!” Nilakasan ko medyo ang boses ko para marinig talaga ni Dad.

We were okay naman. Two months na kaming okay ni Rhys. December na nga oh. Can you believe it? Magtwotwo months na kami. I mean, okay narin iyan kahit papano diba? And the relationship is going smooth naman. Balanced masyado. Lagi nga kaming lumalabas e. Ang dami kong palusot since nalaman ni Dad na may ‘RHYS’ na nakabuntot sakin. And san kami lagi? KFCCCC.  And I’m being a good girlfriend naman raw which I heard also from Vincent according daw to Rhys.

Kaya nga nagtataka ako kung san ako nagkulang. Nagtataka ako kung bakit ganun. Nagtataka ako kung ano talaga yung nasa isip niya. Nagtataka ako kung san ako nagkamali. Nagtataka ako kung ano ang pwede niya pang gawin sa mga susunod na oras, araw at buwan.

DECEMBER.

I spent my Christmas at Singapore with Kuya. Sayang nga at di ko naspend yun with Bea, Rhys and Vincent. Pero he called naman at my phone and greeted me.

“Sa 28 pa uwi ko. Diyan kami magnew-new year.. yeah.. ikaw din.. what will I bring you? … nahh.. miss you too.. sige.. bye.. love you too.” I hang up my phone blushing and smiling. Syempre, alam na yun nina Kuya kung bakit.

Pero honestly, 26 ang uwi ko. Gusto ko lang siya isurprise. And when he called, I was on my way to the airport. And no, di ko kasama si Dad sa isang car. I was with Kuya and his gf. Si Mom and Dad naman, nasa isang car with Kuya’s GF’s parents. So yoon. No worries.

DECEMBER 27.

“Bakit, anong kelangan mo dito sa SM?”

“Wala lang. I just want to feel that New-Year season sa mall. Alam mo yun. Everyone’s cramming up what to buy.”

“Naku Bea ha, uso ba iyan dito. Nasa states lang iyan.”

“Meron iyan dun, pero meron din dito. Gets?” She grinned. And ayun, I just tagged along with her at the Department store. “Gaaaahh, I’m hungry na bestfriend. Let’s eat at Jabeee.”

“KFC nalang..” I smiled.

“I wanna eat Palabok kaya Jabee tayo.”

“Sige na.. sa KFC nalang tayo..”

“Sa Jabee nga. Gusto kong kumain ng palabok.”

“Gusto kong kumain ng Hotshots.” I smiled. “Libre kita.”

“KFC tayo.” Automatic na sagot ni Bea, kaya ayun, dumiretso kami ng KFC.

Then she suddenly changed her mind nung nasa labas na kami.

“Hindi, Jabi nalang tayo.”

“Bea.. andito na tayo o..”

“Hindi kasi.. ano..”

“And marami namang vacant s-” O__O Nanlaki ang mga mata ko sa nakita. Shit. Bigla nalang pinuno ng luha ang mata ko. I smiled. “Tara.. Jollibee tayo.” sabi ko kay Bea at hinila ko siya.

“B-bahay nalang kaya?” sabi niya.

Rhys Romualdez and Gabrielle Altuna at KFC —- together —- eating — and having fun —- and.. nagsusubuan?!

CHAPTER 09

“Sa bahay nalang kaya?” Bea asked worriedly.

I smiled bitterly to her and then lumabas kami ng MOA. Nung nasa kotse na kami, dahan-dahan namang kumawala ang mga luhang pilit kong pinigil. Nakakainis..

Bigla namang hinawakan ni Bea ang mga kamay ko. Humarap ulit ako sa kanya at ngumiti.

“Just… hear his side first.” She said with a sweet smile.

I wiped my tears and smiled back at her.

“Dito nalang muna ako Bei.” I said to her.

“Huh? No way!”

“Please? I’m gonna be okay. Uuwi rin naman kaagad ako. Promise.” I smiled and she signaled to the driver na huminto. Hindi pa naman kami nakakalayo ng Moa kaya sumakay ulit ako ng jeep at dumiretso ng Baywalk.

Nang bumaba ako dun, umupo ako sa gilid ng dagat at tumingin lang sa malayo. And it really felt good.. kahit papano.

And my tears kept flowing and I didn’t even know how to stop it. Bakit sobra akong nasasaktan? Bakit sobra akong natatakot? Bakit sobra akong naiinis? Bakit sobra akong.. umiiyak?

I just sat there silently habang pinariringgan ang paghampas ng tubig sa wall. It’s getting late and the lights at the boulevard started to light up. Narinig ko ring nagriring ang cellphone ko pero wala akong planong sagutin ito. I just wanna be with myself.. alone. And damn it, the “scene” kept flashing at my eyes and my mind.

And it just hurts even more.

“God.. answer the damn phone!” I yelled.

Kanina pa ako tawag ng tawag kay Yana but she still isn’t answering. Her parents are worried already. I’m worried myself.

“Bea.. yeahh.. good eve.. nasan si Yana?… oo, saan? sige, sige… pupuntahan ko siya dun.. hindi niya kasi sinasagot ang phone.. her parents are worried.. and I’m worried too.”

I hung up my phone  and went to the place where Bea said she dropped Yana.

[***]

It’s been 7 years since I started liking her. I was 9 by then. She was this shy little girl who always wear a pink ribbon on her pony tail. She was cute and even cuter when she starts fingling the piano keys with her little fingers.

And that “admiration”, through the years, turned into somewhat “deeper”. Gusto ko siyang ligawan this highschool but I’m afraid she’d reject me and baka masira ang pagiging magkaibigan namin. And that I don’t wanna lose.

At kung kelan naman ako nagkaroon ng lakas, doon naman pumasok sa eksena ang kaibigan kong si Rhys. Si Rhys, ang matalik kong kaibigan simula nung grade six. Hearthrob. Matalino. Magaling sa lahat ng bagay. Pero hindi playboy. Hindi pa nagkakaroon ng girlfriend pero magaling sa mga babae.. at mahilig sa mga babaeng mala-hearthrob din ang dating. Kaya nabigla ako ng pinormahan niya si Yana..

[***]

“Sabi ko sa iyo, mag-ingat ka eh.”

“HIndi ko magets kung san ako nagkamali.”

“Hindi ka nagkamali, siya ang nagkamali. Kaya don’t stress yourself.”

“You’re right.” I smiled.

“Basta.. if you need someone, I’m just ALWAYS HERE.. ” he then whispered.. “waiting..”

Napatingin ako sa kanya. But then I shook my head.

“Tara.. uwi ka na.” He smiled and he took my hand. We both stood up and went home.

June 07.

“Hi Yana, happy new year!” bati sakin ni Gabby when I entered the room.

I just looked at her and dumiretso sa chair ko. Ayokong makipagplastikan kaya please lang, wag ka na munang maging plastic and pretend that nothing happened. And gaaa, everyone has been talking about the three of us already (and the worse is, ako yung masama sa picture).

Rhys was texting and calling me, pero hindi ako sumasagot. Sobrang iwas rin naman ako sa kanya simula noong Monday, and tatlong araw na ang nakakaraan… until he finally caught me.

“Yana!” he grabbed my right arm at napalingon ako sa kanya. Huminga ako ng malalim.

“Look, if you’re going to ask me what’s wrong, better ask yoursef. Alam na nga ng lahat, ikaw pa. Imposible namang hindi mo alam when you know you did it yoursef.” I got my arm our of his hold and sumakay na kaagad ako sa kotse.

June 11. 8:32 pm.

Nung dumating ako sa bahay galing from school, I found out na nag-out of town sina Mommy and Daddy because of business matters and all. So naiwan lang ako sa bahay, then I called Bea to come and have a sleep-over. It was raining hard nung mga around 8:30 na ng gabi.

“The best thing about tonight’s that we’re not fighting
It couldn’t be that we have been this way before
I know you don’t think that I am trying..”

“What the-” napatingin si Bea sa labas ng window at napasunod rin naman ako.

“Rhys..”

“Yeah, and FYI, he’s with an iDock and the music’s Fall For You by Secondhand. Can you believe it? Awww.. and he’s all alone out there.. drenchedly wet..” she was smitten by the act. Good for her.

But hold your breath

Because tonight will be the night that I will fall for you
Over again
Don’t make me change my mind
I won’t live to see another day
I swear its true
Because a girl like you is impossible to find
You’re impossible to find

This is not what I intended
I always swore to you that I would never fall apart
You always thought that I was stronger
I may have failed
But I have loved you from the start

Oh, But hold your breath

Because tonight will be the night that I will fall for you
Over again
Don’t make me change my mind
I won’t live to see another day
I swear it’s true
Because a girl like you is impossible to find
It’s impossible to find

So breathe in so deep
Breathe me in
I’m yours to keep

And hold onto your words
‘Cause talk is cheap
And remember me tonight
When you’re asleep

Because tonight will be the night that I will fall for you
Over again
Don’t make me change my mind
I won’t live to see another day
I swear it’s true
Because a girl like you is impossible to find

Tonight will be the night that I will fall for you
Over again
Don’t make me change my mind
I won’t live to see another day
I swear it’s true
Because a girl like you is impossible to find
You’re impossible to find”

Yeah, he was there, drenchedly wet.. because of the rain.

CHAPTER 10

I went down and got two umbrellas. When I went out, dun ko nakita na basang-basa pala talaga si Rhys.

“Yana-”

“Look, it’s late in the evening. Umuulan pa ng malakas. I know you have something to say, so okay, I’m listening.”

“Yana.. I know that was a very wrong move. And I won’t even deny that last December 27, I went out with Gabby without you knowing. I am very sorry for that. Really, pasensya na.” He then looked me at my eyes. “I would clearly understand if you won’t forgive me. You have all the right to react that way. I am a jerk. I just really wanna say sorry.”

Tiningnan ko lang si Rhys.

“Okay.” I said and turned my back on him.

“And Yana.. it’s you that I really love. Sorry.” I stopped at nilingon ko siya.

[WEAK Chorus by JOJO]

I looked at his eyes and I saw the same eyes and sincerity Ive seen when confessed to me before. I stepped down and opened the gate.

“Yana..”

“I’ll forgive, but I wont forget this yet.” I looked at his eyes. “Wala sina Dad kaya bawal magpapasok ng lalaki sa bahay. Here’s an umbrella, umuwi ka nalang.” I told him and handed him the red umbrella.

Pero bigla niya akong hinila kaya nabitawan ko ang payon ko. He then played the song again.

“Would you like to dance with me?” He smiled while stretching out his hand on me.

“Why, I love to.” I said in an English accent.

And we danced.

Two hearts back together.
One song that tells their story.
Rhys and Yana… forever.

Noong Monday na, okay na kami ni Rhys. Parang kinalimutan ko narin muna yung atraso saken ni Gabby.. so yeah, we’re good again.

But crap, bakit ganun? Kung saan akala mo okay na ang lahat, dun na naman mag-uumpisa ang gulo. Tsk.

It was a Wednesday night and wala akong HWs, so Rhys called me up. We talked for around 2 hours or so. You know, just anything na pwede naming pag-usapan.

R: Vincent likes you.
A: Hinde aa.
R: Crush ka niyan, promise.
A: Pano mo nasabi?
R: Syempre, I know him too well. He’s my bestfriend. Tsaka obvious naman e.
A: Di nga?
R: Yuhh.

Bigla naman akong napatigil at nagflashback yung mga ginawa ni Vincent saken.

Bigla naman akong kinilabit ni Vincent sa gilid.

“Yana.. andiyan ka pala. Di ka man lang namamansin.” He smiled..and everyone looked at me.

Yung mga babae sa school na nasa gate at ang mga kaibigan niya including Rhys. Bigla naman akong nataranta.

“Ah, sorry. Di kita nakita eh. Sige, una na ako.” Sabi ko at ngumiti.

Nang bumukas ang pinto, lumabas si Vincent. Yeah. Si Vincent Yap na kababata ko na katropa ni Rhys.

“V-Vincent?” I muttered.

“Pumasok ka na sa loob. Papahatid na kita.” sabi niya.

Ako ba Vince?

Tiningnan ko lang sila at nagkibit-balikat lang si Rhys. Napabuntong-hininga ako.

“Thanks Vince, but no. Sasakay ako ng bus katulad ng sinabi ni Daddy.”

“Aabutin ka ng 48 years kung sasakay ka ng bus.” Sabi ni Rhys.

Teka, ang alam ko, crush ko si Rhys. Si Vince naman, kababata ko. Hmm.. anong pakialam nila sa buhay ko?

“Hindi ako sasakay. Pano ako matututo kung di ko susubukan ngayon?”

Vince frowned.

“Ganito nalang, sasabayan nalang kita sa bus.” Sabi ni Vince.

“Ayoko-”

“Ako na Vince. Umuwi ka nalang. Ako nalang ang sasabay sa kanya pauwi.” Sabi kaagad ni Rhys.

Pumara bigla si Vince ng bus at pinapasok ako ni Rhys.

“Sabi ko sa iyo, mag-ingat ka eh.”

“HIndi ko magets kung san ako nagkamali.”

“Hindi ka nagkamali, siya ang nagkamali. Kaya don’t stress yourself.”

“You’re right.” I smiled.

“Basta.. if you need someone, I’m just ALWAYS HERE.. ” he then whispered.. “waiting..”

Napatingin ako sa kanya. But then I shook my head.

“Tara.. uwi ka na.” He smiled and he took my hand. We both stood up and went home.

R: Still there, Yana?
A: Yuhh.
R: Hala.. iniisip mo siguro si Vince no?
A: H-hindi aa.
R: Kunwari ka pa.
A: Naqo, hindi nga e.
R: Nagseselos tuloy ako dito.
A: Tumigil ka nga.
R: Hmp. Baka sa susunod makita kitang kasama si Vince ha.
A: Di naman ako nagtwotwo time e. Di ako tulad ng iba diyan.

Biglang tumahimik si Rhys.

A: Oist, andiyan ka pa?
R: Nga pala, may gagawin pa ako. Text nalang kita mamaya. Bye loves. I love you.
A: I love you too. Byee..

I said and put down the phone.

And when I went down to get a drink, Dad called me out of nowhere.

And I can sense he’s mad. Uh-oh.

Crap. Extension.

“Dad-”

“Sino yung nasa phone?”

“Uhmm.. a friend?”

“You say I love you too to a “friend”? Moreover, to a guy friend?”

“Yuhh, we’re close.”

“Please don’t lie about it to me Yana. Ba’t di mo sinabi saken to?!” Medyo tumaas na yung boses ni Dad at ninerbyos na talaga ako.

“Why, Dad? If I told you about it, papayagan mo ba ako? Of course not. I know you won’t.”

“So you kept it a secret from me?”

“I’m sorry.”

I saw Dad’s hands formed into a fist.. and with a low but firm voice.. his words broke my heart.

“Break up with him.”

Chapter 11

I looked at Dad unbelievingly.

“No.. No.. N-” I shook my head. “B-bakit? Bakit hindi pwede?” My tears started to run down from my eyes.

“Hindi ka pa pwedeng magkaboyfriend.” He said calmly but firm. I turned around but then I saw Mom standing at the kitchen door. That’s when it hit me.

“Mom?”

“Yana.. I’m sorry-”

It hurt like hell. It feels like I’ve been betrayed by my own flesh and I SHE REALLY DID. I closed my eyes and ran to my room. Umiyak ako ng umiyak. Bakit si Mommy? Bakit kelangan niyang sabihin kay Daddy? Bakit ayaw ni Daddy? This is just too much.

*tok* *tok* *tok*

“Yana.. buksan mo ang pinto..”

I just kept silent at umiyak pa ng todo.

“Anak.. let me explain.. I know you feel bad.. I know you feel betrayed.. but Yana.. let me explain. Hear my side first..”

I stood up and open the door habang pinapahidan ang mga luha. When I opened the door, tumakbo ulit ako sa kama at umupo. Umupo naman si Mommy sa dulo ng kama ko.

“Ask me what happened.” She said.

“Why did you tell Dad about it?”

“He asked kung bakit lagi kang wala dito sa bahay. You know, I don’t like lying to your Dad.”

“Sana tinakpan mo nalang muna.”

“I did. I keep avoiding his questions. But then, he kept asking me.. until nakorner niya na talaga ako. I couldn’t lie.”

“I don’t get it.”

“Yana.. it’s like Rhys asking you if you still love him.. and you know, you don’t and you don’t want to hurt his feelings by saying no, so you try to avoid the questions.. until the time that you really have to say the truth before it gets worse.”

I get it. A moment of deafening silence.

“I know you’re smart and old enough to understand these stuffs. I’m sorry.” She rubbed my back and stood up to go to her room.

I knew what Mom meant. I don’t get it though why Dad has to ask me to cut off my relationship with Rhys. Okay naman grades ko.. and okay naman ang buhay ko – mas okay compare noon. At least now, I have what we call “social activities” outside sa school. So all in all, Rhys had been a good influence to me. So why this?

I cried and cried and cried.

Tuesday, 6:15am

“I’m going.” I said to Mom and went outside para sumakay ng car.

I was surprise to find Dad sitting at the driver’s seat. Oh come on, bakit kelangang ihatid niya ako?

“Dad..”

“Sakay na.”

“Asan si Manong Fred?” I looked around and saw Manong Fred watering the plants. Napatingin ulit ako kay Dad bago umakyat ng sasakyan. He started the engine and after a minute or so, we were on the road palabas ng subdivision.

“Starting this day forward, ako na ang maghahatid sa iyo. And susunduin ka tuwing hapon ni Manong Fred mo. Bawal sumakay ng bus or ng jeep. Bawal lumabas ng bahay ng walang permiso galing sakin.” Tumahimik lang ako, pero sa totoo lang, gustong-gusto ko ng sumabog. Hindi pa ako nakakarecover sa nangyari kagabi.. tapos, ito na naman?

“Ahhh.. parang preso?” I asked out of the blue. Dad looked at me.

“Hindi. More like, presidente at pinoprotektahan.” He said firmly.

I kept quiet. Nang dumating kami sa school, diretso lang akong bumaba sa kotse, ni hindi man lang ako humalik.

I went inside the class and I saw Bea, kaya nag-usap kami.

“So.. panu na yan? Alam na ba ni Rhys?”

“Hindi pa..” Napayuko ako.

“Panu na iyan? Hindi mo naman pwedeng suwayin ang Dad mo. You definitely know what will happen if you do.”

“I know.. but..”

“Yaan mo nalang muna. Lay-low ka nalang muna.”

Bigla namang pumasok ang teacher kaya di na kami nakapag-usap pa. Nung hapon na, paglabas ko, nakita ko na kaagad si Manong Fred na nakapark sa gilid ng gate. Then I also saw Rhys with Vince sa kabilang waiting shed.

I waited for quite some time. I texted Rhys na pumasok muna sa school nila at papuntahin si Vince saken. He replied bakit raw. Sabi ko, sige na, trust me. Ginawa niya naman and Vince came up to me.

“What’s happening?” He asked suspiciously.

“Wala naman.” I smiled. “Samahan moko sandali.”

“Oookkaay?” He followed me at pumunta ako kay Manong Fred.

Ngumiti naman si Vince sa kanya. Magkakilala na kasi sila noon pa. Fmily friend, ika nga.

“Manong! Kumusta na?” bati ni Vince sa kanya.

“Uy Vicente!” iyan tawag sa kanya ni Manong.

“Manong.. kain lang kami ni Vince. Pwede po ba? Pakisabi nalang kay Dad. Kay Vince nalang ako magpapahatid.” I smiled.

Napatingin naman sakin si Vince. Siniko ko kaagad siya.

“Uh.. yeah, hahatid ko nalang siya.” He said.

Umuo naman si Manong. Then nung medyo nakalayo na siya, humarap sakin si Vince.

“Just what the hell was that?”

“Okay, let me explain.”

Bigla namang tumakbo samin si Rhys.

“Anong nangyayari?”

“Wala.. I just want to spend some time with my two most favorite guys in the world.” I grinned and I slid my arms at the two of them.. you know, yung parang ikakasal.

Chapter 12

Nung pauwi na kami ni Rhys (nauna na si Vincent eh), he asked me what was wrong daw kanina. I walked faster ahead of him. Bigla niya namang hinawakan ang braso ko.

“May nangyayari ba sa iyo na hindi ko alam?” He asked firmly. His eyes were fixed on me searching for answers sa tanong niya. “Yana..”

“Wala.” sabi ko ng pabulong at umiwas ng tingin. “Wala. Wala.”

Huminga siya ng malalim at binitiwan ang braso ko.

“Ayoko ng nagsisinungaling ka. It’s not YOU, Yana.” He looked at me again. “Ano ba talaga ang nangyayari?”

I looked at him straight in the eyes.

“Wala, Rhys. Wala.” Then I smiled softly. He smiled back yet there was something in that smile that never assured me. He knows what’s happening and what’s going to happen. :(

Pumasok ako ng bahat at dumiretso sa kwarto. Dad made clear na bawal akong gumamit ng internet, telephone and cellphone. Bawal din lumabas pag hindi si Vincent or si Bea ang kasama. Wow, para akong anak ng presidente! And thanks to Dad for making me feel like the “first-daughter”. Ugh.

SATURDAY
January 25, 2008.
2 days more to go and its Rhys’ birthday!

May usapan kami ni Rhys na lalabas kami ngayon kasi may pasok na bukas, pero hindi ko alam kung papano ako makakalabas. Until Vincent came to my rescue.

“Goodmorning tito.” Nabigla ako ng makita ko si Vincent sa bahay.

“Oh, Vincent!” sabi ni Dad. “Naparito ka?”

I smiled at Vincent. “Hi.. Yana.” Then he looked back at Dad. “Hmm.. gusto ko po sanang humingi ng permiso if I can take Yana out of the house tomorrow?”

Dad looked at him suspiciously. “Is this somekind of a setup? Alam niyo na-”

“No, Tito. Ako lang po talaga at si Yana.”

I looked at him suspiciously too. What is he up to?

“San naman kayo pupunta?”

“Malling lang po. I’ll just treat her to lunch. Ibabalik ko rin naman kaagad siya dito.” He smiled.

“Then.. okay.” Dad agreed. I looked at him. “I have trust in you, young man.” He stood up and went inside.

Napatingin ako kay Vincent.

“Ano?”

“Ayos lang ba?”

“Well..” Geez. Mag-isip ka nga Yana. Tamang-tama lang ito. I know it would be really selfish of me to use him.. but the idea is so inviting. That’s the only way na makakalabas ako tomorrow without Dad being “bodyguard” mode. I know Vince will understand. “I don’t know.. Dad agreed na e.”

“No, it’s alright with me kung ayaw mo.”

“Nahh. It’s alright.”

“Okay then, I’ll just see you tomorrow at the mall.”

“Yeah sure.” I smiled.

SUNDAY PM

When Manong Fred dropped me off at the mall, late na ako ng 15 mins sa usapan namin ni Rhys. I ran as fast as I could to where Vince was waiting for me.

“Vincent!” I smiled to him.

“Yana.. buti nakarating ka.” He smiled back.

Nakakaguilty pero I just have to do this. =(

“Can we split ways?”

“What? Anong ibig mong sabihin?”

“Honestly, magkikita kami ni Rhys ngayon.. and-”

“Y-you made me an excuse para makalabas ka ng bahay niyo?”

“Y-yeah. Sorry.”

“It’s alright.” He smiled bitterly. “Sige, you can go.”

Habang tumatakbo ako palabas ng mall at sumakay ng FX, bigla akong napaisip.

Wait, am I betraying my own father? Hindi ko naman ito ginagawa dati diba? But why am I doing this all now? Because of my love for Rhys? Is he worth this all? Is our love worth this betrayal to my Dad?

“Rhys.”

He stood up and smiled at me.

And when I saw his smile, I knew then and there that this is worth it all.

“Geez. I thought di ka na makakarating.” He grinned.

“Pwede ba yun?” I smiled. He held my hands and we walked further. “San tayo pupunta?”

“Surprise.” He grinned.

“Hindi ba dapat ako ang may surprise sa iyo? It’s your birthday.” I smiled.

“Hmm.. bukas nalang yang surprise mo. For now, akin muna.” He winked.

“Geez.”

Pumunta kami ng Baywalk at dun narin kumain. Then suddenly, tumayo siya at kinuha yung microphone sa banda na tumutugtog.

“Err.. good evening everyone.” He smiled nervously.

Geez. What are you doing? Napatingin lang ako kay Rhys – ready to laugh out loud.

“Hmm.. tomorrow’s my birthday. And I’m here with my girlfriend. And.. I just want to assure her that I love her so much. So.. here’s a song for her…” The audience reacted ‘Awwww.. sa kanya lang?’ He chuckled. “-And for everyone too.”

We were as one, babe
For a moment in time
And it seemed everlasting
That you would always be mine
Now you want to be free, yeah
So I’m letting you fly
’cause I know in my heart, babe
Our love will never die, no

You’ll always be a part of me
I’m part of you indefinitely
Girl, don’t you know you can’t escape me
Ooh darling, ’cause you’ll always be my baby
And we’ll linger on
Time can’t erase a feeling this strong
No way, you’re never gonna shake me
Ooh darling, ’cause you’ll always be my baby

I ain’t gonna cry, no
And I won’t beg you to stay
If you’re determined to leave, girl
I will not stand in your way
But inevitably,
You’ll be back again
‘Cause you know in your heart, babe
Our love will never end, no

You’ll always be a part of me
I’m part of you indefinitely
Girl, don’t you know you can’t escape me
Ooh darling, ’cause you’ll always be my baby
And we’ll linger on
Time can’t erase a feeling this strong
No way, you’re never gonna shake me
Ooh darling, ’cause you’ll always be my baby

I know that you’ll be back, girl
When your days and your nights get a little bit colder, oh, oh
I know that you’ll be right back, baby
Oh baby, believe me, it’s only a matter of time

You’ll always be a part of me
I’m part of you indefinitely
Girl, don’t you know you can’t escape me
Ooh darling, ’cause you’ll always be my baby
And we’ll linger on
Time can’t erase a feeling this strong
No way, you’re never gonna shake me
Ooh darling, ’cause you’ll always be my, my baby

(You’ll always be a part of me)
You will always be
(I’m part of you indefinitely
(Girl, don’t you know you can’t escape me)
Ooh darling, ’cause you’ll always be my baby
(And we’ll linger on)
We will linger on
(Time can’t erase a feeling this strong
(No way, you’re never gonna shake me
(Ooh darling, ’cause you’ll always be my baby)

Always be my baby…

Geez. He’s really worth this all. I smiled to myself.

Chapter 13

Tumakas na naman ako sa bahay. I don’t want to do this pero kailangan. Dad’s been really tight about me lately. Ni hindi na ako makagamit ng laptop or phone. Kinoconfiscate na yung cellphone ko tuwing gabi. And he always checks my inbox. Shit, isn’t this “trespassing” through one’s property?!

“Hello.. Bea.. yup.. kapag tumawag sina Dad sa iyo and ask if magkasama tayo, can you just please say yes?.. well, I’m on my way to meet Rhys ngayon. Yuh.. please please please Beeaaa… please.” I beg over my phone. “Awww.. thank you so much! Last na talaga ito. Mua.”

I rode the taxi and went to SM.

“Yana..”

“Hey.. tara.” I held his hand and we went inside KFC.

“Is this your gift to me?” He grinned.

“Part of my gift.” I said smiling sheepishly.

“Oh.. okay.” He smiled to me and squeezed my hand.

We sat down and he ordered. I wanted to pay it myself, pero ayaw naman niya, so okay, suit yourself Rhys.

“So.. ano na yung gift mo saken?” He smiled sheepishly.

“Wag ka ngang ngumiti ng ganyan. Mukha kang ewan.”

“Mukhang ewan pero mahal mo naman.” He laughed.

“Whatever.” I laughed with him. “Well, this is nothing special, actually.”

“Nothing special?!” He scoffed. “Lahat na nanggaling sa iyo or ginagawa mo, for me, those are special.” He smiled again.

“Reallyy?” I asked sweetly.

“Of course.” He answered.

“Well, here.” I handed him a box.

“Is this it?” He asked excitedly.

“Yep.” I smiled again.

“So can I open this?”

“Hmm.. later on.” I said. “For now, let’s dig in.”

“Great idea.” He smiled and we ate.

On the other side of the metro.

BEA’s POV

“Ohh.. hi, Tito Edgar?” I smiled.

“Good evening Bea. Si Yana?” He asked.

What the hell is he doing here?!

“S-Si-si Yana?” I asked back.

“Yeah, si Yana.” He looked confused.

“Uhmm.. well, kakaalis niya lang eh. Besides, it’s kinda late na for her.. you know, to.. stay here.” I lied.

Huuuuhhh?! I LIED?! Oh my gosh, I can’t believe I lied to a person who’s been very good to me!

“Well, nagcommute lang siya?”

“Uhmm.. yeah. I tried to.. you know convince her na ipahatid siya kay Manong, pero she insisted. Alam mo naman yang friend ko Tito, when she had put her mind into it, wala nang makakapagbago.” I smiled.

“Have you made-u some story before, Bea?” This time, Yana’s father sounded firm and scary.

“N-no?” O_O Bingo!

“It shows.” He said and stormed out of the house.

“Tito-!” I slumped myself to the couch. “Great, totally great. Did I help at all?” I let out a heavy breath.

When I arrived home, I saw Dad sitting on the couch sa living room. I stopped and looked at him.

“Good evening.” Huminga ako ng malalim. “I’m sorry kung medyo nagabihan ako ng uwi, traffic kasi-”

“I trusted you, Yana.”

“Dad-”

He then stood up at umakyat sa kwarto niya.

Hindi ko alam kung anong klase ng pakiramdam ang naramdaman ko when I saw the look on Dad’s face. Naiwan lang akong nakatayo dun and before I knew it, tears filled my eyes.

“Yana!” Bea called me up.

“Bea..” I said almost whispering.

“I’m sorry. I really didn’t expect na pupunta si Dad mo sa bahay. I covered up for you, pero di parin nakalusot.”

“It’s alright.” I smiled. “Hindi ko sana ginawa yun. Tuloy, you even lied.”

“Yana.. just a piece of advice from a friend.” She looked at me. “Is Rhys really worth it all? I mean, do you really think he’s worth all the trouble? Just follow your dad. Alam mo kung anong kayang gawin ng daddy mo. And, people that are meant to be together, always find their ways in the end. So, why not let go? Just.. for now.”

I paused and looked at her.

“How I wish I can.”

“Vince!”

“Yana..” He smiled.

Huminga ako ng malalim trying to figure out kung panu ko sasabihin sa kanya na magkikita na naman kami ni Rhys ngayon.

“Uhm-”

He looked at me.. hurt.

“Yeah, you can go.”

I looked at him one last time.

“Thanks.” I smiled and went on my way.

At ilang ulit pa ito naulit.

“Yana.. I know what’s happening.”

“Rhys-”

“And I won’t let go.”

“Rhys..”

“Promise.”

Then enwrapped me in a warm hug.

Chapter 14

Hindi ko alam kung pano ako babawi kay Vince, but he has been one of my best-est friends lately. Bea stopped covering for me. Hindi niya na raw kaya na nakikitang pinasisinungalingan niya ang mga taong nagtitiwala sa kanya. I didn’t get angry. I know what she feels. Kahit ako masakit din sakin nagsisinungaling kay Dad, but I just have to. I don’t want to lose Rhys.

“Vince..” I sat beside him.

“If you’re going to ask me again na ilabas ka so that you can go out with Rhys today, pwede pass muna ako?” He stared at me. “I-I’m tired.”

“Vince, I’m so-”

“Yana.. I like helping you. Hindi ako madamot sa tulong. If you need something or someone, I’m always here for you. But.. please don’t take me for granted. It hurts more than being rejected.” He smiled bitterly.

“I’m sorry.”

He smiled at me and stood up then he went away. That was our last talk together. At katulad kay Bea, Vincent Yap gave up on me. At ngayon, I only have Rhys to deal with this stuff. Pero hindi niya alam kung anong nangyayari. Hindi niya alam kung ano rin ang pwedeng mangyari sa kanya.

After some sleepless nights, I finally got into the decision na kelangan kong sabihin kay Rhys.. one way or another. So the very first thing I did the next day was to go out of the house — one way or another.

“Yana.. what’s with the call?” He smiled while sitting down at KFC.

“I’m sorry.. but I just really have to talk to you.”

“Is there a problem?” He asked worriedly.

“Rhys.. do you really love me? Mahal mo ba talaga ako?”

“Of course.” He put his right hand on mine. “Mahal kita.”

Tears started to fill my eyes.

“Is that love enough, para ipaglaban mo ako?” I asked him while crying.

He looked at me in the eyes and smiled.

“Yana.. I know what’s happening.”

“Rhys-”

“And I won’t let go.”

“Rhys..”

“Promise.” He said in a firm and sincere voice.

Then Rhys enwrapped me in a warm hug. I knew then that he won’t ever let go. We won’t.

I used to believe the saying “love conquers all”. I wasn’t able to really prove this myself, but I guess I will – soon enough. And the challenge for proving this saying started at the 24th day of January.

“Vince.. si Rhys?” Hinintay ko talaga si Vince sa labas ng school nila para itanong kung nasaan si Rhys. 2 days na siyang di nagpapakita sakin or nagtetext or tumatawag. I tried calling his place pero binagsakan lang ako ng phone ng sumagot.

I have a big feeling na kumilos na si Dad ko kay Rhys. And I fear the thought na baka totoo ngang kumikilos na talaga si Dad.

“Well..” Vince lowered his head before answering. “Well..”

“Well-what?” I asked impatiently.

Huminga ng malalim si Vince bago ako sinagot.

“Dalawang araw na siyang di pumapasok sa class. Kahit si Paolo, two days narin na hindi pumapasok.” Sabi ni Vincent at nagsimula siyang maglakad. “I guess, alam na nating lahat kung bakit.” He then looked at me.

“Hindi naman sigur-”

“I don’t think so.” Umiling-iling si Vince at sumakay na kaagad sa kotseng naghihintay sa kanya.

Nakatayo lang ako dun habang nakatingin sa kotseng kumakaripas ng takbo palayo sa kinatatayuan ko.

“Hindi. Nagkataon lang di sila pumasok. Siguro may pinuntahan lang or something.” Sabi ko sa sarili ko trying to convince myself na wala pang masamang nangyayari.

I went home feeling all down. I tried calling Rhys pero “cannot be reach” ang cellphone niya. No, don’t panic Yana. Siguro nga absent lang talaga silang dalawa. Just plain absent.

Two days later.

“Vince!” I called up habang tumatakbo papunta sa kanya. “S-Si Rhys?”

Vince looked at me. “Wala parin eh.”

“Hmm.. can’t you contact him? Ano na ba ang nangyayari sa kaniya? Si Paolo, ang brother niya, pumasok ba?”

“Hindi pa din.” He said. “Sige, I’ll just.. I’ll just try to contact him. Don’t worry, he’s fine.” He smiled and went inside his school.

“Thanks.”

Hindi ko alam kung ano na talaga ang nangyayari, pero biglang naglaho si Rhys. Ni hindi na siya nagparamdam, nagpakita or kahit anu pa. I was so damn worried kaya I have to ask my Dad na.

“Dad-”

Krriinggg. Krrriiinnnggg. Krrriiinnggg.

Kumaripas naman kaagad ako ng takbo papunta sa telepono. Ewan ko ba pero I felt like I needed to answer the phone. And thank God, I did.

“Yes, good evening.” I answered.

“Y-Yana?”

“Rhys..” I almost whispered.

“Can we talk? Somewhere? Now?”

“Sure, sure.”

He then gave me the name of the establishment. Gabi na nun, but I really need to go out. Kaya dating gawi, tumakas na naman ako sa bahay without them seeing and noticing me.

When I arrived at the Bay, I saw him sitting by himself.

“Rhys..”

“Yana.” He smiled. I hugged him. “Geez, you really missed me, huh?” He grinned.

“Meanie.” Hinampas ko siya ng mahina. “Apat na araw ka nang absent.”

“Sorry. May mga family matters lang na dapat ayusin. But I’m back.” He smiled.

“Really?” I smiled.

“Yeah.” He smiled. He suddenly cleared his throat and looked serious. “Hindi na ako magpapaligoy-ligoy pa. It’s late in the evening and I want to talk to you about this, Yana.”

Bigla namang lumakas at bumilis ang kabog ng dibdib ko. I felt my knees weaken and my mouth shivering. I looked at Rhys, my eyes fixed on his face.

“Your dad doesn’t like me so much, right?” He looked at me. “He doesnt like you hanging out with me, moreover hindi niya ako gusto as your boyfriend. But Yana..” He held my shoulders and looked me in the eye. “..kahit anong mangyayari, I won’t let go of you. So Yana.. sana ganun din ang gagawin mo.” I looked at him and tears started to fall from my eyes.

“I won’t let go.” He smiled and hugged me so tight.

Pumasok na ulit si Rhys. Hindi ko na siya natanong kung anuman yung “family affair” na yun, pero I have a big feeling na may kinalaman na si Dad doon. And, unfortunately, this is your typical cliche telenovela when the lovers fight for their right to be with each other.

And then let go.

Chapter 15

It wasn’t long when I found out what was really happening. It was when Rhys stopped going to school for around a week already, and so did his brother.

“Vince.. can we talk?”

Vince stopped and looked at me.

“Bakit?” Lumapit siya saken at pumasok kami sa Kuppa, isang coffee shop.

“Anong nangyayari kay Rhys? I haven’t heard something from him for almost a week already.” I asked worriedly.

“Hmm.. well..” Umiwas siya sa tingin ko at tumingin sa malayo sa labas.

“Vince..”

Huminga siya ng malalim before looking at me back again.

“Sa totoo niyan.. I’m not really sure kung anong nangyayari sa kanya.” He sipped from his drink. “Pero according sa Dad ko, there’s something wrong with their business.” He looked at me again. “And.. I guess, alam mo na kung bakit.”

He then stood up. “Una na ako.”

Naiwan akong nakaupo dun sa coffee shop while watching Vincent walking away from me.

“..alam mo na kung bakit.”

Could it be that Dad really had his word on us? On Rhys? I dialed his number pero off yata ang phone niya. It’s been like this since last week. Then I dialed his number on his house, it was answered.

“Yes, good afternoon?”

“G-good afternoon. May I speak with Rhys?” I asked shaking.

Silence. Isang pananahimik na nakakabingi.

“Wala siya.” She said firmly. “And please don’t call here again.” Then she hanged up.

Hindi ko alam pero parang.. ang bigat-bigat ng pakiramdam ko. Hindi ko rin namalayang tumulo na ang mga luha ko sa mga mata. I guess these were the tears that I kept on holding back since.. last week. I missed him so much and I am so damn worried.. and I feel like giving up.

“Miss.. hanky?” I saw a hand with a brown checkered handkerchief stretched out to me. I slowly looked up kasi the voice isn’t familiar. “It’s alright. It’s clean.” I was still looking at him.. puzzled. “Promise.” He smiled in an assurance.

I cried one last time, stood up and ran outside. I never looked back.

Nang dumating ako sa bahay, nagmukmok lang ako sa kwarto with the phone on my hand. Dial ako ng dial sa number nila pero tuwing nagriring ito, ang Mommy niya ang nakakasagot.

And everytime his Mom answers it, nanginginig ako.. natatakot.. na baka lumala lang ang sitwasyon.

Until..

“Hello..”

Silence. RHYS.

“Geez. Kung wala kang magawa sa buhay mo, can you stop calling our number? It’s getting on our nerves here.”

Silence. Silence. Anong sasabihin ko?

“Whatever.”

Silence.

“R-rhys..” I said in a very low voice.

Then for around 7 seconds, all I heard was silence.. and then, a long deafening beep on the phone. He hanged up. He hanged up on me. And I felt my tears at my cheeks again.

And as the days go by.. I felt more desperate and alone. Rhys never calls me.. Rhys never sees me again. Rhys never talks to me again. Rhys.. was like a bubble who disappeared at nowhere.

“Vincent..” I was crying. I was crying so hard.

Vincent hurriedly came running down to me.

“What happened? Ba’t ka umiiyak?”

“Nasan.. *hikbi* nasan na … si Rhys?” I was asking him questions. I was asking him this and that. I was asking him about Rhys praying to God that Vincent may somehow give me the answers.

“Yana.. Yana.. tumigil ka sa kakaiyak.” He said leaning closer to me.

“I can’t.. I just can’t. I wanna see him. I wanna know what’s happening. I wanna know.. if we.. we should.. still keep on fighting.. or just..”

“Give up.” He continued the most heart-breaking words I’ve ever heard from a friend yet in my whole life.

I looked at him.. my eyes widening.

“Give up Yana. Please do. Hindi mo alam kung anong pinagdadaanan ni Rhys ngayon.”

“Pano ko malalaman if no ONE DARES to TELL ME?!”

“You really wanna know?!”

“Vincent..”

“Their business suddenly went bankrupt! It was so sudden that even my Dad couldn’t help them. That even my own Dad was paralyzed by your father! And since their business was bankrupt, he wasn’t able to take exams last week and so did his brother Paolo. Kaya Yana.. mag-isip ka. This is not just about the two of you. This includes Paolo. This includes the lives of other people. Don’t be selfish. Alam kong alam mo kung anong dapat mong gawin ngayon. Kaya Yana..”

“No.. No.. He promised we won’t give up! He promised we should do this together. He promised..”

“Yana!” Vincent shouted. “Promises are meant to be broken.. especially kung may mga taong nadadamay niyan.” I stopped.. and Vincent hugged me.

February 17, 2008.

Rhys never called me nung Valentines. He didn’t even send me some flowers or did anything special. Wala. So wala. I just cried all night sa kwarto ko. I even lulled myself to sleep through crying. Great.

I’m still fighting. I’m still hoping and praying na may mangyayari pang maganda sa relasyon na ito. I still do. Pero sabi nga nila, it’s hard to fight for something.. when the other one gave up already. It’s either you give up too or keep on fighting.. with no reason na lang at all.

And tomorrow.. dapat 5 months na kami. 5 months.
Are we finished? Are we done with each other? Kasi ako, kaya ko pa. Kasi ako, lalaban pa ako. Kasi ako, mahal ko pa siya…

1 message received
RHYS :]
Hey. Missed you. Can we see each other tomorrow?
Same place. :)530pm. I’ll wait for you. Mua mua. TC.

Suddenly, my world stopped turning. I just stared at the message for the longest time. Rhys.. Si Rhys.. He texted me and he misses me!

ME:
Sure. I’ll see you there. Missed you too. Mua.

I waited til God knows when.. but he didn’t reply. But at least diba, he sent me a message. That was great enough. And I’m going to see him tomorrow!

“Hello.. Vince..”

“Yeah?”

“Are you busy tomorrow?”

“Baket?”

“Baka.. Vince.. for the last time.. please.. ”

“Yana-”

“For the last time.. please.” I begged.

Silence over the line.

“Okay. For the last time.” He said and hanged up.

February 18th. Happy 5th Monthsary. :)

I’m so damn excited. Vincent fetched me at the house and pumayag naman si Dad. When we reached SM..

“Dito na lang Vince. Thank you so much.” I smiled and hugged him.

“Yana.. just be careful.” He said. “I don’t want you to get hurt.”

“Vincent..” I smiled.

“Alam mo na.. this is a battle where victory is undecided. It’s either you win.. or you lose – big time. So I hope you go to the batte prepared. Iyan..” He pointed my heart. “Dapat full-armored yan.” He smiled. “And Yana..”

“Yes?”

“If you need a tag.. I’m always here to fight for you.”
He then smiled and walked away.

Chapter 16

I hurriedly went to KFC and there I saw Rhys sitting. I skipped my way through and gave him the sweetest smile. Nakapagbihis ako ng mabuti. I dolled up myself because I wanted to be the most beautiful girl today.

“Yana!” He exclaimed and he gave me the sweetest smile too.

“Rhys..” He suddenly hugged me and gave me the opposite chair. When I seated, we were wrapped by silence.
We just stared at each other.

“I missed you.” He said.. and he said it with such sincerity. I smiled softly.

“Me too.” I whispered.

“Tara.. let’s order.” He said and stood up. “What do you want?”

“The usual.” I said.

“Okay! Be back.” He said and walked away.

Bigla naman akong napaisip. Does he know kaya that today is our 5th monthsary? I smiled to myself. Maybe he does naman no? He won’t ask me out naman if he doesn’t know.

Then after awhile, bumalik si Rhys with foods and drinks.

KFC had been a special place for the two of us. This is where we had our first date.. and our second.. and tuwing may mga nangyayaring masasaya sa buhay namin, dito kami pumupunta. This is where we celebrated his birthday too. :)

“Yana..” I looked at him.

“Yep?” I smiled.

“I’m sorry if.. di ako nakapunta nung Valentine’s. Long story.” He smiled. “I hope you understand.”

“Nahh.. wala yuun. At least you’re here and I’m really glad.” I smiled sweetly. “Pero sana Rhys.. sa susunod, if something’s happening to you, tell me naman. I was all worried these past few days of you.”

He held my hand he gave me a nod and a smile.

“Yeah. Thanks a lot.”

We were really having a good time, we talked about so many things… it seems nga na walang nangyayaring masama sa mga buhay namen. Parang katulad lang ng dati.

“You’re really beautiful today..” He said.

“I know.” I joked.

“Hinde.. really. And.. I guess this necklace suits you very well.” He then opened his hands and may nakalagay na kwintas doon. It was damn cute. “May I?” He asked.

I nodded and smiled. He went to my side and put the necklace on my neck. I held onto it and looked at Rhys.

“Happy 5th monthsary.” He smiled. “And.. I’m sorry.” This time, his face seemed to change. He smiled softly.

“Thank you. Happy 5th monthsary too.” I smiled and held his hand.

Then suddenly..

“Hey Rhys.” Someone leaned on his side and kissed him on the cheeks.

O_O I was damn shocked and suprised as well.

Biglang napatingin si Rhys sa kanya na para bang nagulat din si Rhys.. pero hindi ito pagkagulat lang, it seems like nagulat siya at natakot. Natulala lang ako sa kanilang dalawa. And suddenly.. I saw the same necklace safely placed in her neck.. in Gabby’s neck..

“G-Gabby..”

“Baby..” She smiled. Then suddenly, tumingin sakin si Rhys and I guess that’s when Gabby noticed na may kasama si Rhys. “Oh. Sorry.” She suddenly said. “So are you friends nalang?” She said cheerfully. “Did you explain to her na babe?”

I was so surprised and shock that I didn’t notice I was holding my breath for almost around 10 seconds. Then suddenly, chestpains kept attacking me. I was damn holding my tears from falling.

“R-Rhys..”

Nakita kong nataranta si Rhys.. but he still looked at me straight in the eyes.

“Yana..”

I looked away for a second trying to sink to my mind what had just happened awhile ago.. I looked at her necklace and so did Gabby at mine.

I firmly clung into mine and breathed deeply.

Gabby leaned closer to him.

My eyes widened and I felt like I couldn’t move. I wanted to scream but no voice came out from my throat. I just stared at him.. in silence.

“I’m sorry.”

That was all he was able to say. I knew then what was going on. I knew then what’s going to happen soon. And I didn’t wait for an explanation. It was all explained very well.

And the ending is that.. I gave up. Why? Because at that instant, it was finally revealed to me that I was the only one left standing up and there’s no need to continue the fight..

I stood up still holding my tears from falling. I couldn’t breathe. My heart pounded fast at pakiramdam ko, dahan-dahan itong sinasaksak at pinapatay.

He caught my right arm but I didn’t look back.

“Yana..”

Kumawala ako sa pagkakahawak niya at tumakbo palabas ng mall. Pumara ako ng taxi and the moment I sat down, I just cried. I cried so hard. I buried my face in my handkerchief at binuhos nalang dun ang sakit na nararamdaman ko.

“Miss.. san tayo?”

“Hindi ko alam..” I mumbled.

“Sa baywalk ka nalang. Mas maganda dun.”

“Oo *hikbi*.. Manong..”

Nang dumating ako dun, bumaba na kagad ako at binayaran ang taxi driver.

“Ayos lang yan.” Sabi niya at ngumiti. I smiled back.

Napaupo lang ako dun sa benches habang nkatingin sa laot. My vision was blurry because of tears. Hindi ko alam, pero sobrang sakit ang nararamdaman ko ngayon. I just stared out at the ocean for a very long time. My tears kept falling from my eyes. Thousands of questions are running at my mind. I couldn’t think. I couldn’t speak. I was just crying.. crying my heart out.

“Falling for him.. wasn’t it the best-est thing?”

Chapter17

RHYS’ POV

Juliana Antonio.. or YANA. :)
A name that I know I won’t forget soon or maybe, forever.

She’s the girl I’ve always waited at the front of their school. Kapag may nakikita akong babaeng may librong nakatakip sa mukha niya, alam kong si Yana na yun. I really want to know her.. pero wala akong connection sa kanya eh. It’s weird naman siguro if a guy befriends you with no reason or no connection at all. Dalawa lang yan, he may be really interested or he’s just friendly. :DBut more likely nian, he’s on the first one. Trust me *winks*.

But then I found out that she’s a friend of Vince, my bestfriend. Doon ko natanong ang mga bagay-bagay tungkol sa kanya.

“Hey.. you know her?”

“Yeah. Hindi ko pa ba siya naipapakilala sa iyo?” He asked, confused.

“Hindi pa eh.” I grinned. “So what’s her name?”

Tiningnan ako ni Vince… no, he examined my face before answering the question – he never really answered the question.

“Ba’t mo tinatanong?” he asked me back with hint of suspection.

“Wala lang.” I smiled sheepishly and went on my way.

Nung gabi na.. I buzzed Vince on YM and asked if my YM si Yana. I know he was hesitant to give it to me, but then I assured him that I was just interested to “befriend” her.. YES I AM. :DAyooon, binigay nga.

lightningdude1218
BUZZ!

Tagal magreply ah. Baka suplada. Baka ayaw magreply sa mga di kilala.

lightningdude1218: how are you related to Vincent Yap?
whizgirlame.o: do i know you?
lightningdude1218: ur the only girl who’s not familiar with my id
lightningdude1218: wow.

Galeeenngg. Di niya kilala ID ko. :DKakaiba to ah. Bagooo. *winks*

whizgirlame.o: where’d ya get my id?
lightningdude1218: nvm. how are you related to Vincent yap?
whizgirlame.o: he’s a family friend.
whizgirlame.o: how did-

Someone went online suddenly. —– gabbyaltuna. Need to sign out. Dang.

lightningdude1218 has signed out.

I just need to. I don’t want to befriend her through YM or chatting or texting. Ang cheap nun. Ayoko. Tsaka pag ganyan, I’m sure mahihiya ako sa kanya, or siya mahihiya saken kapag nagkita kami again. Kaya wag na.

Pagkabukas, nauna nang si Vince umuwi. May meeting pa ako sa Art Club kaya nahuli ako sa pag-uwi. Paglabas ko, I decided to wait for her.. kaya umupo ako sa waiting shed sa harap nila.

I just hope di pa siya nakakauwi.

Nakakabwisit ang mga babae sa Lourdes. Parang uhaw sa mga lalake. Eh araw-araw naman silang nakakakita ng lalake.. nasa harap lang kaya kami ng school nila. Nakakainis. Lapit ng lapit di naman sila ang inaantay at ang pakay.

Then bigla siyang lumabas with her bestfriend. And I guess God was on my side. Her friend went ahead and she sat down by herself at their waiting shed. I can’t help but stare at her..

There’s nothing really special about her physical appearance. She’s average. I mean, yeah, she’s pretty.. pero hindi yung mga model-like… hindi yung mga tipo ng babae everyone thinks na babagay saken. She’s just Yana. And that’s what I like most about her. It seems like she doesn’t care much about her looks. And I do believe that simplicity is beauty. :D

Then lumabas si Gabby ng gate nila. She smiled at me, pero ewan ko, wala ako sa mood to smile back. I know what she wants. And she’s not just my type.

She then received a phone call. I was just observing her from afar. But I can still see the worry in her eyebrows. Tumayo siya and started crossing the street papunta sa alley namen. That’s when I decided that was my chance to take a move.. take some courage.. and do it right.

“Hey!” I called up to her.

Napatingin siya saken.. nagtataka.

“Me?” She asked and pointed herself.

“Yeah, you.” I smiled and came up to her.

She was still confused.

“Why?”

I dont know if this is the rightest thing to do.. but I just have to try. If she refuses.. susundan ko parin siya. :)so wala talaga siyang choice.

“Sabay na ako sa iyo.” That’s why I ended this sentence in a period and not in a question mark. It’s a sort of.. you don’t have a choice because I don’t care about your answer thing. *winks*

She looked at me. Her eyes widened and was changed by confused look.

“Pardon?”

“Sasabay ako sa iyo.” I smiled.. sort of a smirk. Then I ran to her side and started walking.

Nagkibit-balikat lang siya as if wala lang sa kanya.. and followed me. I walked ahead of her and I felt that she’s just following behind me.

Anong iniisip ng parents nito para di siya sunduin sa ganitong oras?!

“So.. do you watch Heroes?” I started a conversation.

“Huh? Heroes? As in yung sina Wonderwoman and the likes?” Sheeett. How cute. I smiled at her amused by her answer.

“So.. kung hindi ka nanonood ng Heroes, Gossip Girl? Errr…” LOL Maybe she watches Gossip Girl instead. Yun yung kinaka-adekan ng kapatid ni Ronald eh.

“Hindi din. Sorry.” I glanced at her and she was back to a deep thought. At alam ko kung anong pinag-iisipan niya.. kung pano siya makakarating sa bahay niya without ending up at a police station or calling her parents or friends. I smiled to myself.

“Alam mo ba talaga kung san ka pupunta?” I teased her acting as if nalilito narin ako sa kanya..

“Yeah.” Pumasok siya sa train station at napasunod nalang ako. I smirked. “Teka, taga san ka ba?” She asked.

At first nahihiya akong sumagot kasi North and South kaming dalawa. Baka magtaka siya kung bakit ako sumabay when to think of nasa kabilang part ng lugar na ito ang dapat kong sinasakyan papunta sa Mandaluyong.

“Mandaluyong.” I answered coldly.

“And.. you’re going with me?” Napataas ang kilay niya. Ayoooonn, bistooo!

“Not really. I don’t think you can go home safely kasi.” I smiled. “So, I’m giving you the honor to come along with me.” I smiled again. Blue skies! I sound like a conceited guy!

“Yeah right. Kaya kong umuwing mag-isa.” Ayooon. Nagalet. Gago ka tlga Rhys!

“I’m sorry if I offended you. I didn’t mean to.” Bawi. Bawi. Bawi, Rhys.

Di na siya sumagot, dumiretso nalang siya sa train kaya I followed her nalang. Buong byahe, di niya ko kinibo. Then tumayo siya at bumaba. Sumunod lang ako sa kanya. Tumayo siya sandali dun sa sakayan ng mga buses. Muntik na akong matawa when I saw her reading one by one the route of the buses and jeepneys.

“San ka sa Quezon?” Hindi parin niya ako kinibo.

I pulled out my phone and texted Vince.

‘Dude, pnta dto sa Mbni. di makkuwi c yana. di mrnong smkay. Bilis.’

Di nagreply kaya tinawagan ko nalang kagad.

“Yeah. Puntahan mo nalang ako dito. Hassle na eh.” I looked at her and smiled.

Tinawagan ko si Vince para sunduin nalang si Yana dito since alam kong close ang family nila. Mas okay nang alam kong magkasama sila ng kaibigan ko kesa naman sumakay siya ng bus na parang nalilito kung san uuwi.

Mga ten minutes pa siguro yung hinintay naming dalawa before Vince’s car stopped sa harap namen. I saw the surprise in her eyes when Vincent got out of car and looked at her worried. Dun palang, may napansin na ako kay Vincent.

“V-Vincent?” she muttered.

“Pumasok ka na sa loob. Papahatid na kita.” sabi ni Vince sa kanya.

I smiled sheepishly at Vince and I saw his eyes asked me kung bakit magkasama kami ni Yana. Nagkibit-balikat lang ako and smiled more. Si Yana naman napatingin lang saken.. then kay Vincent.. then saken ulit at napabuntong hininga nalang siya.

“Thanks Vince, but no. Sasakay ako ng bus katulad ng sinabi ni Daddy.”

“Aabutin ka ng 48 years kung sasakay ka ng bus.” Medyo nainis ako sa pride niya kaya medyo “iba” yung tono ng pananalita ko sa kanya.

Tiningnan niya lang kami ng masakit.

“Hindi ako sasakay. Pano ako matututo kung di ko susubukan ngayon?”

Vince frowned.

“Ganito nalang, sasabayan nalang kita sa bus.” Sabi ni Vince.

“Ayoko-”

“Ako na Vince. Umuwi ka nalang. Ako nalang ang sasabay sa kanya pauwi.” sabi ko kaagad kay Vince.

Pumara nalang kaagad si Vince ng bus.. ayaw pa sanang pumasok ni Yana pero medyo tinulak ko siya ng mahina sa bus door, minura narin kami ng driver kaya umakyat nalang si Yana. Nabigla nga ako na puno ang bus ng mga studyante malapit sa schools namen. Napatingin sila saken at kay Yana. Nakita ko namang medyo nanliit si Yana at nahiya.

She sat down at mukhang di niya parin ata gets na ihahatid ko tlga siya hanggang sa bahay nila.

“Umurong ka dun.”

Umurong naman siya at tumahimik nalang. Ewan ko ba, I usually get bored with girls na uber tahimik pero ibang-iba siya.

“So.. if you’re not a fan of Heroes nor Gossip Girls.. then I’ll guess you’re a fan of Sineskwela.” I opened a conversation with her. Ayoko namang umupo nalang dun at hintayin siyang bumaba without hearing her opinions. She amuses me so much.

I chuckled. And I saw na medyo nainis siya.

“Y-yeah. I do watch Sineskwela before.”

“Y-you do?” I chuckled again, surprised that she really did watch it.

“What’s funny?”

“I mean… nothing. Nanonood rin ako niyan.” I said stopping myself from laughing so hard.

“Ahhhh.” She said and looked out at the wndow again.

Silence.

“Hmm.. bakit mo pala ako sinasamahan ngayon?”

I was taken aback by her question. Bakit nga ba?
Maybe because matagal na kitang tinitingnan sa malayo and this was my only chance for the past few months na ma-solo kita and get to know you better? Or maybe I was just surprised and worried to see you cross the street by yourself? Or pwede ring.. because I like you so much so that I want to spend time with you?

Weird. Of course, I couldn’t tell her these things. Baka matakot siya saken. :(

“Errr… siguro kasi.. kaano-ano mo nga ulit si Vincent?” I asked a different question.

“F-family friend.”

“Ayuuun. Kasi… family friend ka ni Vince.. at kaibigan ko si Vince.” I said and grinned.

“Nga pala, san ka ba bababa?”

“Sa Grand Royale.”

“T-teka.. you live at Grand Royale?” Shit, she does?!

“Yeah. Bakit?”

“You’re filthy rich.” I said.

“I-I’m not.”

“You are. Anyway…. *Manong! Para!” Tumayo ako at sumunod naman siya sa pagbaba.

Nung nasa baba na kami, tumayo kami sandali sa entrance ng village.

“Tara..”

“Teka, teka. Anong tara?”

“Ihahatid kita sa loob.” I was planning to take her inside hanggang sa gate ng bahay niya. I mean, I don’t know what’s in store for her inside the village. Although alam ko kung gano kasecured ang village, we still do not know. You get me?

“N-no, no, no. Kaya ko na. I’ll take it from here.” She said and tumalikod na kaagad.

“Uhmm.. okay. Ingat sa paglalakad ha.” I told her and went on my way. Dang. Too bad.

“Rhys Romualdez!!” I turned around. “S-Salamat!” she shouted and waved goodbye.

I just smiled at her. Ewan ko, pero parang yun yung totoo kong ngiti sa isang babae. This Yana Antonio really knows how to amuse me.

“Yana!!” I called back. “Rhys nalang!” She smiled and nodded her head. Then, I felt blood rushed to my face kaya tumalikod na kagad ako at umakyat sa unang fx na dumaan.

And dang, napasakay ako sa maling fx. :wallbash: Ang saya naman. Hahahahah.

Chapter 18
RHYS’ POV

Ang galeng naman. Ibang routa to ah. Di to papunta samen. Ang saya-saya. Ba’t ba kasi ako nataranta kaagad? Ngumiti lang naman siya.. naging magkaibigan lang naman kami, and most of all, hinatid ko lang naman siya sa village niya.. na super out of the way saken. :eh:Ang galeng. Perstaym ata to Rhys ah? :D

But then, I managed to get on my track before pa ako tinawagan ni Mommy. And nope, I’m not a mama’s boy. I’m just kind of close to my family. :D

“Mom, good eve.”

“Mommyyy! Andito na si Kuya!!” Paul shouted.

“Rhys, baba na kaagad. We’re going to eat dinner na, ‘kay?”

“Yep.” I ran to my room at nagbihis.

Hmm, we’re not that rich compared kina Yana. She’s super rich since they own a lot of real estates here in the metro and outside the metro. Kami, we just own some chains of restaurant and pubs. Not that rich, really. And.. I was just able to go to my school kasi they can afford it, pero not to the point that I can have everything. Mom and Dad made sure na di kami spoiled. So, I guess, I’m okay with it. *winks* Kaya nga nakakatakot si Yana. I mean, financial status, kalingkingan niya lang ako. Seriously. And I don’t what her family will do if nalaman nilang si Yana.. hhmm, let’s say, sa future mainvolve saken (which is I guess, unlikely to happen kung titingnan lang sa status niya and her personality), lagot ako. xD

And except for her family, takot din ako kasi baka mabusted ako.. for the first time. I mean, hindi ako yung mga type ni Yana. If ibebase ko lang sa personality niya, maybe she’ll be after “nice” and “smart” guys. Hindi ko naman sinasabi na bobo ako or ano, I’m not just smart enough for her.. I know a thing or two about stuffs and E=mc^2, but not to the point na alam ko rin kung panu yan nakuha ni Einstein.. and she knows that – according to Vince. Hindi naman ako takot sa katalinuhan niya or anything like that.. but sometimes, believe me, nakakaintimidate yun. :D

*knock knock

“Yeeep?”

“Rhys, hijo. Kain na raw kayo.”

“Opo, manang. Sandali lang po.”

I got down and sat at the dining table. Andun na si Dad, nakapolo pa. Naka-all smiles pa ako when I sat down and I really didn’t notice that I was smiling so wide.

“Kuya, para kang babae.” sabi ni Paolo.

“Oh, baket?” Napatanong ako bigla. Napatingin rin ako kina Mommy and Daddy. They were smiling.. as if they were very amused to my sweet smile. “Anooo?”

“May nangyari ba Rhys na gusto mong ishare samen?” Mom asked sweetly.. teasingly, I meant to say.

“W-wala naman po.” I winked at her. “Let’s eat.” I grinned.

Napatingin nalang si Dad and Paolo sameng dalawa.

Later that night, I sat down sa terrace ng room ko just looking at the stars. Ewan ko ba, but I can’t stop thinking of her smile and to what I just did kanina. San ko naman nakuha ang courage to take her home? I mean, she’s the only one who intimidates me.. yung parang, pag katabi ko siya, it seems like medyo nanginginig ako.. it’s really weird. And really, she amuses me. Kaya natatawa kagad ako minsan. Weird, indeed. One hell of a girl. *winks*

The next day..

“Uy, nakauwi ba ng maayos si Yana?” Vince asked.

“Oo naman.” I answered back.

“Ba’t mo siya hinatid? Rhys.. she’s a family friend.. I mean-”

“I know. Alam ko.” I looked at Vince. “I know what I’m doing. Don’t worry. I know how unique she is.” I winked at Vince. Napabuntong hininga siya and walked ahead of me.

Nung hapon na, I waited for her again. Hindi muna ako lumabas ng school, pero I was looking at her from the inside. Kanina pa sia nakaupo dun, her friend left early. Naman.. pano ko siya lalapitan? Ayoon, namumroblema na naman ako. Tsss.

“Uy, kanina ka pa diyan?” Bigla siyang napatigil at napatingin saken.

“Obvious naman diba?”

“Aish. Suplada ka talaga.” I chuckled.

“Ba’t ka nandito?”

“I’m waiting for someone.” I’m waiting for you. :D

“Ahhh. Have a happy waiting then.” Umurong siya sa gilid at umupo sa pinakamalayo saken. Sama talaga nito. Kala mo naman aanuhin ko siya. xD

“Wala ka na naman bang sundo?” I sat beside her, pero umurong siya onti. Okay, I get it.

“Hinihintay ko pa.”

“Ahhh.. kung gusto mo, pwede mokong gawing hatid-sundo mo.” I grinned. Lanya, anong pinagsasabi ko?
She looked at me as if I’m some kind of psycho or adeek na umupo sa gilid niya.

“Are you crazy?”

“Not really.” I grinned again. “Seriously.”

Napatingin lang siya saken then her eyes shifted.

“G-ganun ba?” She looked at me again and I looked at her smiling. “H-hindi pwede eh.”

“Bakit naman?”

“Strict ang parents ko.” She whispered shyly. Bigla naman akong napahalakhak.

She suddenly looked annoyed so medyo napatigil ako sa pagtawa.

“I figured.” I stopped laughing. “Uhmm.. can I have your digit?”

“W-wala akong cellphone.”

“Kunwari ka pa. nagtetext daw kayo ni Vincent eh.” I lied. Vincent never mentioned that to me. Hahaha.

“Wo? Sinabi niya?” O_O

I laughed again.

“Bakit?”

“Wala lang. So can i have your digit?”

“O-okay.” She said and she gave me her number. I guess bistado na siya kaya wala na siyang choice.

Dumating din naman kaagad ang sundo niya, but at least, I got her cellphone number :D.

“Ingat.” I said seriously, half-smiling.

“S-Salamat. Kaw din. Hindi ka pa ba uuwi?” She stood up.

“Hmm, uuwi narin ako. I just want to make sure na may sundo ka. Kasi kung wala.. I can always take you home..” I grinned. She looked at me. “I mean.. to your house, of course.” I said, embarassed.

“Oh. Sige, ingat.” She smiled and went to their car.

I looked at the car that sped away. Umuwi narin ako. :DWala akong magawa after dinner kaya I started fidgeting on my phone. Gusto kng marinig ang boses niya so cellphone number wasn’t enough. I looked at the phone directory for her phone number. May apat na Edwardo Antonio ang meron kaya tinry ko lahat. Then I was able to reach her. :eh:

“Hmm, good evening. Pwede po kay Yana?” Nanginginig tuhod ko. Nababakla na ako. Bahahaha.

“Yes, goodevening. Who’s this please?” Tanong ng babae – maybe it’s her Mom.

“Rhys.”

“Rhys? I’ll check on her, for awhile, iho?”

“Hmm, sure, thanks po.”

I waited for awhile.. then I heard a voice again.. from the same woman.

“She’s taking a bath. Should she call you back?”

“Npe. Don’t bother, please. Hmm, I’ll just call back nalang. Thank you so much Bye.”

“Okaaay? Bye.”

I hung up the phone and listened to my heart pounding so hard. Teka, teka. Ano ito? We’re just friends diba? But.. am I not going beyond the boundary? I mean.. I’m calling her and all. Dang. Epal.

I waited for another 30 minutes and dialed her number again. Pero busy.. I didn’t stop till 9:30. Busy parin, so I put the phone down nalang. Epal naman. Should I call her cellphone then? Hmm, nope. Wag nalang. Maybe tulog narin siya. I was disappointed for not hearing her voice that night though. Blue skies!

Friday.

I was thinking the whole night if I’d let her know about my feelings na. I mean, I don’t want to befriend her naman and someday baka sabihin niya I was taking advantage. Black and white. Nakakalito. Maybe I’ll just give some hints nalang muna. :)Right.

So nung hapon na, I stood at their waiting shed waiting for her. Everyone from Lourdes was confused and interested kung sino ang hinihintay ko.

Then she suddenly went out. I was smiling at her. She froze and looked at me.. suprised.

“Hey.” I said.

But she was a bit annoyed and went to the other side of the shed. She looked back at me though and gave me a faint smile.

“I was waiting for you. Tagal mong lumabas.”

“Why would you wait for me naman?” she asked calmly.

“Hindi pa ba obvious?”

I hope I’m doing the right thing. I hope I don’t seem as if I’m in a rush.
I studied her face and sighed.

“Anyway, I called your house last night.”

Her gaze shifted away from me as if she was annoyed again.

“Yeah. Mom told me.” She smiled faintly.

“Did she tell you na I’d call back?”

“Y-yeah.” Sabi niya in almost a whisper.

“Well.. I did call you back. Pero busy eh. Were you using the phone? Or baka ginagamit ng parents mo? I tried many times.”

O_O

She stood there frozen and studying my face.

“B-busy?”

“Yeah. I was dialing your number since 8:30 in the evening. Nung mga around 9:30 na, I stopped kasi it’s kinda late na to call  you. Baka pagalitan ka and ano. So..”

“I was beside the phone whole-” I looked at her. “I mean.. the phone was in my room.. and..”

“Extension?”

“Y-yeah.”

“Baka hung-up sa main connection.”

Her gaze shifted back to me and away.

“Anyway, may sundo ka ba?”

She looked around for the black car, pero wala eh. Hinalungkat niya kaagad ang bag niya searching for a cellphone, I guess.

She turned away from me and helf her phone. When she turned around, I was smiling at her. Bingo! God’s on my side. :D

“W-wala. Mom used the car daw for a very important errand.” Sabi niya and she started walking papunta sa train station.

“Tara.” Ewan ko, pero bigla ko nalang hinawakan yung kamay niya at hinila siya.

She didn’t flinch naman.. well, she did. Pero she really didn’t take her hand off mine. Or maybe di ko lang naramdaman because I was so damn concentrating as to how perfect our hands fit. But then, medyo nahalata ko na nung andun na kami sa train station that I was holding her hand so tight. I suddenly let go.

“P-pasensya na. Hindi ko nama-”

“Ayos lang. Tara.” She smiled and went on the train.

Tahimik kaming dalawa and nung bumaba na kami, sumakay kami sa bus at bumaba ulit sa harap ng village na tinitirhan ko.

“Again.. I’ll take it from here. Thanks.” She smiled.

“Nahhh. Hatid na kita. Baka ano pa mangyari sa iyo diyan.” I insisted.

We walked side by side. Ayokong mauna siya or mahuli sa paglalakad. Baka kung anong mangyari sa kanya. I don’t know, but with Yana, it seems like.. I’m always alert. Yung parang, I always think of her security first.

“Ok ka lang ba?” I asked kasi parang she’s not feeling well.

“O-okay lang.”

“Nga pala, nasan ang bahay nio rito?”

“Oh. Sorry.” She lead the way and I followed. “Here.”

Huminto kami sa isang bahay. Then I looked at her.. back to the house.. and to her again. I mean, alam kong big time siya.. pero never had I thought in a million years na ganito kalaki bahay nila.

“S-something wrong?”

“Wala lang.” I chuckled. “Anyway, go inside na.”

“Yeah. Thanks.” She smiled and went inside the gate.

“Yana!”

She turned around.

“Hm?”

“Just please.. don’t stress yourself too much kung bakit ko to ginagawa sa iyo. You’ll figure it out soon.” I grinned.

I hope I can get hold of myself. I let out a heavy breath and went on my way.

Am I really doing the right thing? It’s as if she’s too high for me.

Since it’s Friday night, my friends asked to party. So ayun, we went out and hanged out at the Fort. Hmm, clean fun naman. We just had a few drinks and laughtrip lang naman, mostly. It was a boys’ nightout actually.

Then suddenly, I saw Bea from another set of people.

“Hey..” I called to her.

“Oh, hi.” She smiled.

“Hmm, are you with Yana?” I looked at the table full of girls. “Or.. susunod ba siya?”

“Err, nope. Why?”

“Hmm, nothing. I thought I might just see her tonight. Thanks.” I smiled.

“Rhys.. can we talk?”

“Yeah. Sure.”

We went outside and stood at the front of the establishment.. sa parking lot malapit.

“Hmm, about what?”

“About my friend.” She looked at me and smiled. “Are you.. serious with her?”

I was surprised with her question and I was totally taken aback. I thought for a moment if I should let her know.

“You want the truth?” I asked her seriously.

“Yeah.” She nodded.

I took a deep breath. “I like her a lot. Noon pa, actually. I know she’s too good for me, or anything like that. But I have my reasons to dream her as my girlfriend in the future.” I looked at Bea. “I give you my word, I’ll do everything for her.. and I won’t hurt her.” I smiled. The second most bravest thing I did in my life. *winks*

She studied me for awhile and smiled back. “I believe you. Well, she’s all at your hands.” She winked at pumasok ulit kami sa resto.

So ayun nga, I gained the trust of Bea. And I hope soon enough, I’ll gain her friend. :)

CHAPTER 19.

Saturday.

I had nothing to do the whole day. I was thinking kung anong ginagawa niya or anything like that. But I know that wasn’t healthy, so I just played some basketball game with my neighbors. :)

Nung gabi na, I logged on at YM. Ewan ko ba, usually, Saturday night, I’ll be at Dirk’s with my friends. But tonight, it seems like I’m confused and messed up.. gusto ko lang magpahinga muna and think things over.

I’ve been involved with some girls before, but.. this one’s different. Seriously. Parang.. she’s for keeps. So I have to make things right and avoid screwing up.

“Well, honestly, Rhys. You screwed up already. Alam mo namang off-limits siya.. pero gusto mo parin siya.” I whispered to myself sarcastically. “Galeng mo, Rhys.” I smirked.

I was just staring at my YM when someone logged on.

Yana Antonio is online.

lightningdude1218: yana
whizgirlame.o: uhh.. hi.
lightningdude1218: i have something to say to you.
lightningdude1218: sa monday.

Eto na talaga.

whizgirlame.o: oh. okay.
lightningdude1218: may pupuntahan ka ba bukas?
whizgirlame.o: wala.. why?
whizgirlame.o: pero prolly, since nandito si kuya, may mga unplanned activities siguro.
lightningdude1218: kuya? you didn’t tell me may kuya ka.
whizgirlame.o: did you ask ba?
lightningdude1218: hinde. lol. 1 point for you. *blush smiley*
whizgirlame.o: what’s with the blush icon?
lightningdude1218: what does it mean ba?
whizgirlame.o: nahhh.. anyway, see ya soon. bea’s here.

whizgirlame.o has signed out.

May kuya siya? Dang. Akala ko nag-iisang anak lang siya. Eh ba’t di siya sinusundo ng Kuya niya? Tsk2.

BUZZ!

Napatingin ako sa window na nagpop-out sa screen.

gabaltuna.

gabaltuna: rhys :)
lightningdude1218: hey.
gabaltuna: how’d you been?
lightningdude1218: good. kaw?
gabaltuna: heard.. you’re getting along with yana. :)
lightningdude1218: you heard it right.
gabaltuna: you goin out? if you wont mind me asking
lightningdude1218: idk. must go. bye. :)
gabaltuna: oh. bye.

I signed out.

Well, let me tell you about my story with Gabby.

We’ve been in the same circle of friends since gradeschool. Although she went to an all-girl school and I, to an all boy-school, we still managed to meet and hangout after school or during Saturdays. I liked Gabby before. I liked her as just “Gabby” – back to the days when she was just normal. And I meant, not the most beautiful and most popular Gabrielle “Gabby” Altuna. Yes, she was the prettiest kahit nakabaseball cap siya, nakashorts, or naka loose tshirt lang. Hindi siya naconscious sa dating niya, and I liked it. I don’t know what happened though, she liked this guy named “Joel”. I never really met the guy, ayaw niyang pakilala o pakita saken.

“Ba’t.. ba’t ka nakaganyan?” Naalala ko yung araw na yun. We hanged out at LunarSky one Saturday afternoon. She wasn’t in her usual ponytail inside her red baseball cap, her maong knee-lenght shorts, her red sneakers.. she wasn’t Gabby.

“Uhmm.. hindi ba maganda?” She asked innocently.

Ewan ko, pero nakatingin lang ako sa kanya. Hindi ko alam kung anong sasabihin ko. She’s my bestfriend, at ayokong masaktan siya.

“Hmm, maganda ka.” I smiled in assurance. Totoo yung sinabi ko, maganda siya. No, mas lalo siyang gumanda.

“Eh ba’t parang..”

“Well, I just thought.. mas gusto ko yung ponytail and baseball cap than the hairband and the long straight hair.” I winked.

“But Joel-“

“Joel?” Napatingin ako sa kanya.

“I mean.. remember mo yung gusto kong lalaki?” She said in a blush.

“Ah, right. The jerk.”

“He’s not a jerk. He just doesn’t see me as..”

“That?” I asked. “You changed.. so that he’ll notice you?” I asked angrily.

“I didn’t change. It’s just that.. I just want to be noticed.”

“Nino? Ni Joel? Sino ba iyan?” I asked. I don’t know, but I felt some kind of jealousy and curiosity all at the same time. I mean, sino ba itong si Joel na ito for Gabby to change?!

“He’s someone we both know. You don’t have to meet him.” She said and walked away.

Di nagtagal.. she’s not my Gabby anymore. She was everyone’s Gabby – especially guys. Hindi ko alam kung anong naging reaksyon ko sa pagbabagong yun. But I got jealous and angry at this Joel all at the same time. I want to punch his face, kick his body and spit on him. Why? For changing Gabby into someone I do not know na kahit ganun na siya kaganda, hindi niya parin ito napansin.

What I found out was completely a different story.. and a different Joel.

“Gusto mo ba talagang malaman kung sino itong si Joel na ito?!” Gabby shouted at me. I just kept silent. I was waiting for her to explain everything. She scoffed. “Ikaw.” She said in almost a whisper.

Napatingin ako sa kanya.. my eyes wide in confusion.

“Anong ibig mong sabihin?”

“Joel is Rhys Romualdez. Si Joel ang bestfriend ko. Si Joel ang gusto ko simula pa noon. Ikaw.. na walang pagtingin saken.” She started to cry.

“Gabby-“

“I understand. What we have is simply platonic. What I have for you though is different.”

“You didn’t have to ch-“

“I had to change. I had to let you see that I’m a girl, that I can be a girl. That I can be someone you can get involved romantically. That I can be a girl and a friend all at the same time. I wanted you to see that Rhys.” Tears were streaming at her lovely face.

I couldn’t help but look at her. “Gabby.. I’ve seen that.”

“You have?”

“Yeah. But-“

“It was still.. nothing.” She said again in a whisper.

“Yeah. I’m sorry.”

“No, I understand. I’m sorry. Maybe.. maybe.. we’re just meant to be this way. Just.. this. Friends.” She said and stood up from the bench.

“Gabby!” I called up to her as she started walking away from me. “I have to say, you’re indeed lovely.” I smiled at her. She smiled back sadly and went on her way.

After that day.. the first time na nalaman ko I was Joel, I made things easy for her and she did the same thing. We started avoiding each other for almost 2 years since grade six. We stopped hanging out with each other. I then started hanging out with Vincent Yap nung grade 8. So it was really a bad time for the two of us. I missed her a lot, but we just had to make things easy for the two of us – for her, especially.

Then, nalaman ko nalang nung grade 8 that every guy was digging her. Guys from Xavier, Lasalle, San Agustin, Maranatha, Don Bosco… everyone. Dun ko rin nalaman that she was becoming a popular face at the metro among the guys and girls. Then suddenly, she was branded a “flirt”, a “GR”, a “pacute”, “mang-aagaw” and every nasty names. And I just wanted to punch all those people who made those. I’m still a friend to her.. until she was back to her mission with the courtesy of her friends pushing her through.

She wanted me again – not as a friend.. but more than that.

I knew it. It was going to happen sooner or later. I’m going to forget her and despise her sooner than I have been expecting. And yes, I started avoiding her to the max. Super distansya talaga ako. And I even had to hate her to do so.

So I guess, up to now, medyo dumidistansya parin ako. But if given the chance na she’ll decide to be back as “friends” nalang talaga, I would always wait for the time. :)I’m open to negotiations. *winks*

SUNDAY.

“Mom, I’ll use the car for awhile.” I said to her.

“Uy, why? San ka naman pupunta?”

“Hmm.. maglilibot-libot lang. I needed to relax.”

“Sure ka?”

“Yep.” I grinned.

“Wag pasakyan ng babae ha?” She teased me and we both laughed.

Kaya lumabas ako ng bahay. Pupunta sana ako ng baywalk, pero masyado namang emo dun. Di nagtetext si Yana eh. Text ako ng text, wala namang reply. Baka enjoy na enjoy sa pinuntahan nila ng pamilya niya. I just drove around the place.. when I decided to come see their house – again.

Nung nakarating ako dun, I stopped and looked around. Dun ko nakita yung Mommy ni Yana na nagdidilig ng halaman sa harap ng wall nila sa loob.

Hmm.. guess I have to do my 3rd bravest mission. :)

“Hmmm, good morning po.” I smiled.

Muntik nang mapatalon ang mommy niya when she heard my voice. She suddenly regained her composure. No doubt, mommy to ni Yana.

“G-goodmorning?” She greeted with hesitation, maybe trying to remember who I am.. or kanino akong anak or anything as such.

“Yeah, goodmorning Ma’am. Hmm, I just wanted to know if Yana’s there?”

“Y-Yana? Are you a friend?”

“Yes.” I smiled at her. “I have another intention by going here though, Ma’am. If you would hear me out.”

Her mom paused and looked at me..

amazed, perhaps? :eh:

CHAPTER 20

Well, anyway, skip the talking to her Mom part. She was just happy to know that someone was brave enough to ask her first before asking her daughter to go out with me. My third most bravest act so far. *grins*

“O, andito na pala si Yana.” Her Mom looked at the living room and smiled.

I followed her gaze and I saw Yana coming towards us. Hindi ko alam, but I was amused at the sudden shock at her face when she saw me.

“Uh… hi? Napadaan ka ata?” Natataranta si Yana.

I smiled. “Yeah. Well, I’ll ask permission na from your parents.”

Nagtatanong ang mga mata niya saken at sa Mommy niya.

“Let him explain. I said yes already. Excuse me, iho. I have some important errands to do pa. Take care tomorrow ha?”

“Yes, mam. Thank you.” I smiled and stood up. Then her Mom went on her way. Yana glared at me.

Napaupo ulit ako at napaupo din si Yana, napatingin siya saken.

“Ba’t ka nandito?”

“Wala lang. Thought I’ll meet your family.” I grinned.

“And why is that?”

“I’m planning to bring you somewhere kasi this Monday.”

“You asked permission na from my parents?”

“Yeah.” I smiled.

“Eh hindi ka pa nga nag-aask ng permission saken..” She sounded irritated.

Bigla akong napatigil. Crap. Tama. Yan yung pinakaimportante. Tanungin siya if she wants to come with me. Ulol talaga ako o.

“Oh snap. Yeah, I’m sorry. So.. Yana.. would you like to go out with me.. tomorrow?”

“You had a permission na from Mom, like i can say no pa.” she smiled.

No! Hindi ko gusto yung parang napipilitan lang siya. Gusto ko payag talaga siya.

“No.. I mean.. if you don’t wanna go out with me, it’s alright, I guess..”

“Oh. Okay..”

“But ayos lang ba talaga?”

“Yeah.” she smiled so I smiled back.

“Errr.. okay then. I’ll wait for you outside your school tomorrow.”

“Sure.”

“So.. mauuna na ako..” I stood up. “Err.. where’s Tita?”

“She’s in the kitchen. Ako nalang magsasabi sa kanya na aalis ka na.”

“Okay. Thanks.” I smiled and went on my way.

DID I JUST ASK YANA ANTONIO OUT WITH HER MOM’S PERMISSION?! Dang. I’m such a brave guy. Hahahaha. Napatalon ako sa kalsada at napangiti.

Nung gabi na, I was damn thinking kung sasabihin ko na bukas sa kanya yung nararamdaman ko simula pa noon.. or should I get to know her better muna? Or should I give her a chance to figure this all out by herself. Yana’s not stupid – alam ko alam niya na kung anong nangyayari. But I guess, I’ll choose option two nalang muna. Get to know her better.

MONDAY.

“Pare.. punta tayo sa Guilly’s mamayang gabi..” sabi ni Ramon saken.

“Pass muna ako.” I grinned at him.

“O bakit?”

“May date siguro kasama si Antonio!” sigaw ni Harold.

“Lanya! Epal ka, Rold!” Napatawa nalang kaming tatlo. That’s when umimik si Vincent samen.

“Totoo ba yan, Rhys?” Napatingin kaming dalawa ni Ramon sa kanya at napatigil sa pagtawa. “Lalabas kayo ni Yana?”

I grinned. “Yep.”

“Alam ba ng parents niya yan?”

“Hmm, yep. Pumunta ako sa bahay nila kahapon eh.” Biglang napalaki ang mata ni Vincent at napatingin saken.

“Ano sabi ni Tito?”

“Hmm, wala ata Dad niya. Si Tita yung humarap saken eh.”

“Ahh.. ano naman sabi ni Tita?”

“Payag naman siyang ilabas ko si Yana..” I smiled to him.

“San niyo balak pumunta?”

“Hmmm.. hindi ko pa alam eh.” I winked at him at tumayo na ako para pumasok sa klase. Sumunod rin naman sina Ramon at Vincent.

After the classes, dumiretso na ako sa harap ng school niya para hintayin siya.

“Hey..” I smiled at her. “So.. let’s go?”

“S-sige.” She smiled back.

I know everyone was looking at the two of us. Siguro nabigla.. this is the first time na sinundo ko talaga siya RIGHT AFTER HER CLASSES.. and right at the very eyes of everyone.

So ayun, we went to Jewel’s. Parang amusement park with all the rides and all. Hindi ko kasi alam kung san ko siya dadalhin na hindi magiging awkward para sameng dalawa. I mean, I want to sit down and talk to her.. but Yana’s not the type of girl who would sit down with a guy somewhere and just talk and talk. At least, sa amusement park, maraming rides and pwedeng gawin.. kahit di niya nako kausapin, as long as kasama ko siya.. it’s perfect with me. :)

Ayun nga, she just answered yes and no to my questions. Pero ewan ko, di ako nawalan ng tanong and topic para sa kanya. Ako ata yung kwento ng kwento at siya naman.. napapatango lang at napapangiti. Yung parang ganun lang. Pero ayos parin saken. Walang problema. That’s Yana eh. And I love every inch of her. :)

Two months narin ang nakakaraan since the first “date”. And honestly, nasundan pa ng marami. Siguro every Saturday, lumalabas kami ni Yana.. and I always make sure na alam ng Mommy niya yun. I wanted to meet her Dad din sana to ask permission to court her daughter, pero never kong nameet ang Dad niya.

Ewan ko if Yana figured out na that I like her a lot. It seems like.. hindi parin eh. Or ayaw niya lang mag-assume? Hindi ko rin alam if Yana likes me too. Kasi parang what we have now for her is mere friendship.. so parang.. ayoko ring umasa sa wala.. pero ayoko ring mag-give without trying. :)So I guess, sooner or later, I have to confess.

I just didn’t expect na it will be soon enough.

It was a Sunday afternoon. Lumabas kami ni Yana.. hindi ko alam kung san ko siya dadalhin kasi gulong-gulo ang utak ko kung sasabihin ko na sa kanya.. or kung mas tamang friends na lang muna. Pero masyado ng mahirap saken eh.

I scanned some places that I’ve been to at the back of my mind while driving kung san kami pwedeng mag-usap.. kung san tahimik…

Pumasok ako sa village kung san nakatira yung kaibigan ko noon. May park kasi sila dun na parang pang-picnic at may lake sa gilid. Naisip ko, pwedeng-pwede na dun.

We sat down sa ilalim ng malaking puno facing the lake. For the first time ever, tahimik lang ako.. hindi ko alam kung san ako magsisimula. Nakatingin lang ako sa lake.

“Yana..” “Rhys..” Napatingin ako sa kanya..

“Ikaw na..”

“Hinde, ikaw na.. Nothing important naman ee.”

“Ladies first.” Sabi ko at ngumiti.

“Nahhh.. ikaw na.”

“Okayy..” sabi ko at medyo huminga ng malalim. “Ayos ka lang ba?”

“Oo. Ayos lang.”

“Really?” I looked at her again kasi medyo pinagpapawisan siya.

“Oo.” I smiled.

“You know what.. it feels like my life is not that complete pa. I’m not happy.”

“Really? Ang weird naman.. You’ve got everything already.”

“You think so?” I looked at her again. Really? She thinks so?

“Well.. honestly, you’ve got everything. What more could you ask for?”

I guess she still haven’t figured it out.

“There is one thing that I’m still asking for.”

“Meron pa? Ano naman yun?” Medyo nabigla siya sa sinabi ko.

“The girl I’ve been liking since the first time I saw her.” Huminga ulit ako ng malalim and had a quick glance at her to see any forms of “violent” reaction. Pero wala.

“Oh come on. I’m sure she likes you. What’s not to like?” She smiled sweetly.

Really? I laughed at the back of my mind. I hope you know what you’re saying. And I felt butterflies all over my stomach. Blue skies! Akala ko sa mga babae lang ito nangyayari?

I took a deep breath again as my heart started to ache for her.

“She’s not katulad kasi sa ibang mga babae. She’s really different. I made friends with her already pero there’s still something else. Parang.. she’s still not open to me. I want her to trust me. I want her to be herself when she’s around me. Pero para bang hindi niya yun ginagawa. Parang she’s always on the lookout. And I don’t know why. I like her a lot. Pero.. she won’t like me back kung ganyan siya.”

Napakagat ako sa labi ko.. still looking at the lake ahead. Naramdaman ko na naman yung mga paru-paro sa tiyan ko.. and my chest.. parang.. di ako makahinga ng mabuti.. this was also the first time that my lips trembled.

“Does she know that you like her?” She asked while looking far ahead too.

“I don’t know. Pero it’s obvious naman e. I don’t spend a lot of time with just any girl. I mean.. others can tell na I like her, ewan ko ba kung nagbubulag-bulagan lang siya or wala talaga siyang pakialam. And I think..”

“You think?”

“I’m falling for her..” Nope, I have fallen for her long before I have formed a friendship with you.

“Buti pa siya..”

“What?” Bigla akong napatingin sa kanya. Was that my cue?!

“W-wala. I mean.. buti pa siya, may nagkakagusto sa kanya ang katulad mo.”

“You think so?” I looked at her, studying her eyes and hoping that somehow I may get some hints. “Pero kung ikaw yung girl and ako ito, would you let me fall for you?”

“Huh?” She was taken aback by my question. But I was damn serious.

“I mean.. KUNG ikaw yung girl, would you let me fall for you?”

“I-I-I don’t know. Maybe you should ask the girl first?”

“Ahhh.. why?”

“So that she’ll be prepared to catch you.”

“Ahhh..”

I was in deep thoughts again as to what I will do next. Ask the girl first huh? Siguro it’s time to do so.

“So.. Yana..” I looked at her eyes.

“Hm?” She looked at me back.

“Can I fall for you?”

“Can I fall for you?”

That was the second time I felt my heart pounded fast.. my stomach twisted in a very unfamiliar way.. my heart felt like it was squeezed by some person with great strenght. What will she react to this? :wallbash:

But suddenly, bigla siyang napangiti.. she smiled very sweetly.. and tears welled up her brown eyes. Bigla akong nataranta.. why is she crying? WHY THE HELL IS SHE CRYING? :wallbash::wallbash:

“I-is there something wrong?” I asked.

Is she crying kasi I broke the friendship? Is she crying kasi.. kasi hindi niya ako gusto? Is she-

“H-hindi mo naman kailangang humingi ng permiso e.” She smiled faintly.

“Y-you mean..” I suddenly smiled and let out a breath. That’s when I realized I was holding my breath for almost 20 seconds while waiting for her answer.

“Yeah.” She was still smiling.. and I held her hand and kissed it.

“Thank you, Lord.” I whispered to God.

Chapter 21.

Pagkatapos nun, I drove her back to her house. Hindi ko maexplain kung ganu ako kasaya. I mean.. all those times, may gusto din pala saken si Yana. :DButi nalang, I had the courage to come up to her.. to be friends with her.. to confess to her.

Wala pa akong may nasabihan.. actually. Hmm, si Vince palang. I guess he has the right to know. Kaibigan niya rin si Yana e. And.. he also likes her. :)

“Vince-”

“Hm?”

“May sasabihin ako sa iyo!” Sabi ko ng ngiting-ngiti sa kanya.

“Lanya Rhys. Mag-ayos ka nga. Para kang bata. Excited masyado.”

“Eh syempre.. kami na ni Yana eh!” Sabi ko sa kanya habang nakangiti. I studied his reaction.

Bigla siyang napatigil sa paggigitara.. napatingin saken at napanganga.

“Ano sabi mo?”

“Kami na ni Yana, bro. Galeeng!” Sabi ko.

Huminga siya ng malalim at napatingin sa soccer field ng school.

“Di nga?” He said it without any emotion.

“Oo, kami na talaga!” I repeated again and laughed. “Sobrang saya ko, pare! Ang dami ko palang sinayang na oras. Matagal na pala siyang may gusto saken. Buti nalang, kilala mo siya. Siguro kung di sa iyo, di ako naglakas ng loob na-”

“Good. Okay yan, Rhys.” Napatingin siya saken. “Okay yan.” He said again and stood up.

“Salamat talaga!” I shouted as he started walking away.

Nung hapon na, nasa gate na ako ng Lourdes para maghintay kay Yana. When she saw me, she smiled and I held her hand. Sabay na kami kaagad umuwi.. taking all the public utilities.. you know, katulad lang ng dati. Ang dami naming pinag-usapan. Kung ano-ano na lang. Diba dati nga, she never talks.. she never opens a topic? Pero nung naging kami na, ang daldal niya.. and I just love her more. :)

As everyday passes, I grew to love her each day. Parang.. all I wanna do is make her happy.. see her smile.. hear her laugh and listen to her Trigonometric theories and postulates. Hindi ko maexplain.. pero it seems like she’s my Trigonometric theory na kelangan kong isolve and prove to her that she’s really something. :)

Hmm.. ano pa ba ang ikukwento ko? Oh yeah, my family knows this already. Open ako sa kanila eh. Yana’s mom knows this already.. so is her Kuya.. and what a small world. Si Kuya niya, gf ang pinsan ko! Galeeeng.

What makes me scared though is the fact that her Dad has still no idea about what’s going on between me and his daughter. I want to make things right sana.. but Yana won’t let me tell her father. Sabi niya, masisira lang daw ang lahat. And since I love her so much, ayoko ring mawala siya saken. Kaya naman, pumayag nalang ako sa gusto niya.

“So.. wanna talk about Pascal’s principle?” I teased her while we were on their garden one Sunday afternoon. Wala akong magawa sa bahay eh, kaya sabi niya, punta nalang daw ako sa bahay nila. And I can also help her with her computer project.

“Oh come on.. you don’t like Physics.” She scowled.

“Sinong nagsabing hindi?”

“Ikaw?”

“Well, okay. I don’t like Physics, pero para sa iyo, I’m trying to like it. Para at least lang naman, makasabay ako sa brain mo. Diba? I mean… I’m not that super smart-”

“I get it.” She grinned at me.

We were just talking nonesense stuffs while facing her desktop computer at her room. May tiwala naman si Tita saken.. and even I myself, respect Yana. Wala akong pwedeng magawa sa kanya.

“Hindi kaya..” she laughed.

“Hindi iyan cute, it’s gayish.” Sabi ko.

“Ikaw kaya gumagawa diyan.” she laughed again.

“Eh sabi mo ganito? Hahaha.”

“Eh, hayaan mo na iyan. Cute naman iyan eh.”

“Eh-”

“Yana!” Yahoo! Yana’s Dad! I’ll finally meet him and introduce myself formally.

Mabilis na tumayo si Yana at napatingin sa Dad niya.

“Uhmm.. Dad..” she smiled.

Her Dad looked at me.. then to Yana.. then to me again. And I know what that means.

“Err.. Si Rhys po pala-”

“Good afternoon Sir. I’m Rhys Romualdez, b-”

“Studyante ko.” She smiled. Bigla akong napatingin kay Yana. “Hmm.. i’m teaching him physics and he’s helping me out at my computer project. You know, that web-web thingy?” Napanganga ako sa mga sinabi niya.. when I felt some elbow in my right rib.

“Uhm.. yes sir.” I smiled. Naks, mukhang decent tayo ah.

“Okay. Nice meeting you Rhys. I’ll go ahead.” Sabi ng Dad niya and he went outside.

Nainis ako kay Yana. I mean, why does she has to lie? That was our chance. That was my chance. That was her chance.

“Ba’t di mo nalang sinabi na boyfriend mo ako?” I whispered.

“Ano ka ba? Gusto mo bang magbreak tayo dahil sa Dad ko?”

“Pero kahit na. I don’t want you lying to your parents.”

“Awww. Ayos lang iyan. Mom taught me. And siya rin nagsabing wag sabihin kay Dad.” She winked.

“But Ya-” Seriously, I dont want her lying to her own parents. That’s not just the way it is.

“No buts. BACK TO THE PROJECT RHYS!” Nilakasan ni Yana ang boses niya… siguro to let her Dad hear that we’re really working on something.

Two months na kami ni Yana. Ang bilis ng two months actually. Masaya ako sa kanya. She’s really the girl I’ve been dreaming of simula pa noon. She’s caring, smart, sweet.. lahat na siguro.

And I wouldn’t ask for anyone else. :eh:

DECEMBER.
Christmas na. Yana went to Singapore. Dun daw siya magChriChristmas. Ako naman naiwan dito sa Pinas.

“Oh.. kelan uwi mo? Talaga? Buti naman at dito ka magnewnewyear.. Oo.. Miss na kita.. Hindi wag na.. ayos lang naman.. just bring yourself home safe and sound.. okayy? Sige.. bye, love ya.”

I put down my phone. Buti naman dito siya magnewnew year. Miss ko na siya eh.

Bigla akong napakunot ng noo.

Hindi. Hindi ko dapat siyang mahalin. Dapat tigilan ko na ito. Bago pa maging komplikado ang lahat.

I’m sorry.

“Hey.. Rhys.” She smiled.

It’s been awhile since I last visited her house. Been awhile, right. Is this the best thing to do?

“H-Hey..” I smiled nervously. “Been awhile.”

“Y-Yeah? Buti naman napadalaw ka.”

I looked inside. “Hindi ba pwedeng pumasok?” I grinned.

“Ay, I’m sorry. Tara, tara. Tuloy.” She said and I went in.

Dumiretso kami sa sala. Namiss ko ito. Dati dito kami naglalaro ng tagu-taguan. Marami narin akong nabasag na mamahaling vases dito. Hayyy, nakakapanibago. Hindi ako makapaniwala na andito ulit ako para humingi ng tulong – no, to let everyone believe that she’s not the only girl.

“Gabbbyyyy! Sino yung nasa gg-” bigla siyang napatigil sa harap ko. “-Oh my gosh, Rhyyssss, iho!” Tita Leny hugged me tightly. “Nakuu, buti naman at nakadalaw ka na dito. Binata ka na!” Tiningnan niya ulit ako. “Dati, mukha pa kayong batang-kalye nitong si Gabby ko, tapos ngayon.. ayyyy! Binata at dalaga na.” Tuwang-tuwa si Tita na nakadalaw ulit ako sa kanila.

“Oo nga poh eh. Matagal-tagal narin akong di nakapunta dito.” I smiled. “Ikaw nga Tita o, sexy ka parin. Talo mo pa si Gabby!”

Tita Leny giggled. “Naku.. ikaw na bata ka. Ang galing mo paring mambola! Umupo ka na nga. Papakunan kita ng meryenda. Excuse me lang ha..” She excused herself.

“Dun tayo sa garden.” Sabi ni Gabby at lumabas kami. “She’s really happy to see you again.” She whispered.

“Yeah, ngayon ko lang naramdaman na matagal na pala talaga akong di nakakadalaw dito.” I grinned at her.

“Hmm, so what made you decide na dumaan muna dito?”

Napaisip ako sandali..

“Wala lang. Naisip ko lang, it’s time to clear things up.” I smiled.

Gabby studied me for awhile.

“Alam ba to ni Yana?”

“Does she have to know everything?” I retorted.

She was a bit surprised.. and was taken aback. Then she suddenly gave me a naughty smile.

“Right.”

“So-”

“Can I take you to dinner this 28th? Hmm, I don’t know, I just want to-”

“.. be friends with me again? Look Rhys, I still want more than that from you. It’d be awkward for you if-”

“Then I can work it out, Gab. I can always work it out. You just have to wait.” I smiled at her.

“W-What do you mean by that?”

Huminga ako ng malalim at napatingin kay Gabby.

“Hindi ko alam kung anong nangyayari – saken, most especially. It seems like.. all these years.. I’ve missed you.” I saw Gabby’s face turned from confusion into a surprised one. “I just want to be with my bestfriend again.” I chuckled nervously.

Then she breathed out. “Awwww, Rhys.” She smiled. “Of course, you can always hang out with me.”

“Really? Great. Then.. we’ll have dinner on the 28th?”

“Of course.” She smiled again and I stood up.

“I’ll go ahead then. Thanks Gab.” I gave her a friendly hug and she hugged me back.

“Mom.. alis na si Rhys!” She yelled.

Bigla namang lumabas si Tita at niyakap ulit ako.

“Ba’t ka aalis kaagad?”

“Hmm, may dinner pa po sa bahay ng Tita ko e. I can’t be late.” I smiled at Tita Leny.

“You’ll drop by again, right?”

“Of course Tita.” I looked at Gabby who’s blushing at her side. “I’ll go ahead.”

“Gab, walk him up to the gate.”

“Sure, sure.”

Niyakap ulit ako ni Tita at lumabas kami ni Gabby sa bahay.

“Are you sure about this whole thing?” Gabby asked.

“Anong ibig mong sabihin niyan?” Napatingin ako kay Gabby.

“Wala.” She smiled sweetly. “Ingat sa pag-uwi.”

“Thanks Gab.”

Dumiretso na kaagad ako sa bahay dahil medyo madilim-dilim narin nun.

[****]

Things had gotten bad nung nalaman ng father ni Yana ang samen dalawa. Pinagbawalan siyang lumabas and all. She would use her friends – Bea or Vincent – and honestly, I never liked that. Sure, gusto kong nagkikita kami, gusto kong magkasama kami, but I don’t want her lying to her family. It would be really unfair.

“Rhys..”

“Oh, Ma? Baket?” Pumasok si Mommy sa kwarto.

“Can I talk to you?” Umupo si Mommy sa kama ko at napaupo rin ako. “Son.. I have something to talk to you about. Sana before you react, weigh things first, okay?” She asked.

“S-sure.”

“Your Dad received a call from Mr. Antonio.” When I heard the last name ‘Antonio’, bigla akong naalarma. Sa tingin ko alam ko na kung anong nangyayari. “And-”

“I.. I.. I need to.. stay away from her, right?” I asked. Eto na, eto na yung alam kong mangyayari saming dalawa.

“Yes.” She took a deep breath before answering me. “It’s alright.. if you won’t.. well–”

“Anong mangyayari.. kung.. kung.. hindi ko gagawin yan?”

Her voice broke. “Think about.. Paolo.”

Bigla akong napabitaw sa PSP na hinahawakan ko. I looked at Mom unbelievingly.

“H-hinde.. Hhindi.. No.. Not Paolo.” My hands were shaking. I was wrapped with anger and fear.  “Not Paolo.. No..” Then Mom hugged me.

[****]

I slammed my body on bed. Things have gotten worse. Pero alam kong aabot sa ganito to. From the very start kasi dapat, di na ako dumiretso. Kumbaga, alam kong Danger Zone ang pupuntahan ko, pero dumiretso parin ako. And now.. everything is screwed up.

28TH.

“Hey..” I smiled at Gabby.

“Hey.”

“Ready? Let’s go.” I said and opened the car door for her.

“Wow, thanks.” She slid in.

We went to MOA since sasamahan ko siya for her Christmas shopping – no, New Year shopping of gifts. :)So ayun, we just strolled around MOA.. finding gifts. Talk some. Laugh some. Reminiscing much.

“Tara.. KFC tayo.” She suddenly said. When I heard KFC, naisip ko, hindi pwede dun. Amin yun ni Yana eh. “Rhys?”

“H-huh?”

“KFC tayo.” She grinned.

“Uhhh.. sure.” I smiled back. Then dumiretso kami sa KFC.

We ordered and we just talked and talked. Pakiramdam ko, parang katulad lang noon. Yung parang.. si Gabby lang at ako. Back to the days when life was easy for the both of us. I missed her.

“My gosh, naalala mo pa ba si Hans nuon? We just saw each other nung Sunday. Hahaha. Natawa ako sa kanya. He’s uber macho na ngayon.” She laughed.

“Hahaha, talaga? Loko yun ah. Baka nag-gygym na siya.” Natawa kaming dalawa. “Gabs.. let’s make a deal.”

“Deal?”

“Laro-laro lang.” I grinned. Nanlisik ang mga mata niya.

“Game.. ano?” She grinned too.

“Pag yung lalake na kumakain dun..” I pointed out. “..natapunan ng drinks, susubuan mo ko.” I smiled. “Ayos?”

She studied the guy for awhile.. and maybe the possibilities.

“Hahahaha. Sure. Di siya matatapunan since nasa gilid siya.. and maganda yung pagkakaupo niya.” She said proudly.

“Well, let’s see.” I grinned.

We paused for awhile and just looked at the guy.. then we would burst out laughing if medyo nacoconscious siya sa pagkakatingin namen. :DThen suddenly..

*splash*

“Told ya so.” I whispered to Gabby. She laughed and held the spoon.

“Here you goo…” At sinubuan niya ako.

I didn’t know.. someone would see it; the least person I would like to find out about it.. But hey, that’s the point of all this, right? :|

Chapter 22.

After the dinner, hinatid ko na si Gabby sa bahay nila. Then I called Yana kung nakauwi na siya and all. But she’s not answering her phone. I was getting worried.

No, I shouldn’t be. This is how things should be.

But I still found myself calling and texting her. She never replied. She never answered. Hindi ko na alam kung anong gagawin ko. Grineet ko pa siya nung new year’s eve, pero walang reply. God knows how many times I called her, pero di sumagot. What’s happening?

Pero diba nga naman, Rhys? Eto yung hinahanap mo? Ito yung dapat mangyari?

JUNE O7.

Late akong pumasok sa school. Hindi ko naabutan si Yana sa gate ng school nila. I didn’t bother to wait for her, sa hapon nalang.

“Pare, happy new year.” Sabi ko kay Vince. Tiningnan niya lang ako and walked away. “Happy new year too, Rhys!” I said to myself sarcastically. “What’s up with people?” Nagkibit-balikat nalang ako at pumasok narin sa klase.

Nung hapon na, right after class, I hurriedly went to her school and waited. Pero nung lumabas siya, dumiretso lang siya. And when I saw her, I called her name and ran after her, pero nakapasok na kaagad siya sa kotse nila.

“Yana, sandali!” I even tried knocking her car, pero wala eh. She didn’t even have a glance on me.

I know what I did. Pero imposible namang malaman niya yun, or ng iba. Unless  kung pinagsasabi ni Gabby yun which is.. very likely to happen.. or happened. Shit. No.. it would be very good. (Yeah, right.)

Tatlong araw niya din akong di pinansin, until I decided na di na muna pumasok sa klase, instead wait for her nalang at the front of her school para di na siya makatakas pa.

“Yana!” I grabbed her right arm at napatigil siya sa paglalakad. Then I heard her took a deep breath and faced me.

“Look, if you’re going to ask me what’s wrong, better ask yoursef. Alam na nga ng lahat, ikaw pa. Imposible namang hindi mo alam when you know you did it yoursef.” She got her arm out of my hold at pumasok na kaagad siya sa kotse nila.

Right, I know what’s wrong. :|
Loving you, that is.

June 11. 8:32 pm.

Aiisssh, bakit umuulan? Hindi dapat eh. Yung iDock ko, lagot. But I have to do this. I have to get there, say sorry, explain myself and everything. I just can’t let go like this. I just can’t give her up just like this.

I just can’t because it’s not everyday I meet someone like Juliana Antonio. No.

“The best thing about tonight’s that we’re not fighting
It couldn’t be that we have been this way before
I know you don’t think that I am trying

But hold your breath

Because tonight will be the night that I will fall for you
Over again
Don’t make me change my mind
I won’t live to see another day
I swear its true
Because a girl like you is impossible to find
You’re impossible to find

This is not what I intended
I always swore to you that I would never fall apart
You always thought that I was stronger
I may have failed
But I have loved you from the start

Oh, But hold your breath

Because tonight will be the night that I will fall for you
Over again
Don’t make me change my mind
I won’t live to see another day
I swear it’s true
Because a girl like you is impossible to find
It’s impossible to find

So breathe in so deep
Breathe me in
I’m yours to keep

And hold onto your words
‘Cause talk is cheap
And remember me tonight
When you’re asleep

Because tonight will be the night that I will fall for you
Over again
Don’t make me change my mind
I won’t live to see another day
I swear it’s true
Because a girl like you is impossible to find

Tonight will be the night that I will fall for you
Over again
Don’t make me change my mind
I won’t live to see another day
I swear it’s true
Because a girl like you is impossible to find
You’re impossible to find”

This should be added to the history of mankind. One man with an iDock, serenading the girl of her life with a song right under the deep black starless sky.. drenchedly wet. How romantic, isn’t it?

“Yana-”

“Look, it’s late in the evening. Umuulan pa ng malakas. I know you have something to say, so okay, I’m listening.”

“Yana.. I know that was a very wrong move. And I won’t even deny that last December 27, I went out with Gabby without you knowing. I am very sorry for that. Really, pasensya na.” I looked at her straight in the eyes. “I would clearly understand if you won’t forgive me. You have all the right to react that way. I am a jerk. I just really wanna say sorry.”

“Okay.” She said and turned back on me.

“And Yana.. it’s you that I really love. Sorry.” I said softly and bit my lip. Shit, sobrang ginaw na. I paused and looked at her.

[WEAK Chorus by JOJO]

She looked at me – studying my eyes very carefully.

“Yana..”

“I’ll forgive, but I wont forget this yet.” She said. “Wala sina Dad kaya bawal magpapasok ng lalaki sa bahay. Here’s an umbrella, umuwi ka nalang.” She handed me the umbrella.

Pero bigla ko siyang hinila and smiled on her. Then I played the song again.

“Would you like to dance with me?” I smiled while stretching my arms to her hand.

“Why, I love to.” She answered.

And we danced.

Two hearts back together.
One song that tells their story.
Rhys and Yana… forever.

Thank God di ako nagkasakit. Nagkasipon lang kami ni Yana, pero di naman kami nilagnat or whatsoever. Okay na kaming dalawa until..

Wednesday night. Walang homeworks or quizzes so I called her up and just talked about just anything.

R: Vincent likes you.
A: Hinde aa.
R: Crush ka niyan, promise.
A: Pano mo nasabi?
R: Syempre, I know him too well. He’s my bestfriend. Tsaka obvious naman e.
A: Di nga?
R: Yuhh.

Bigla siyang tumahimik sa kabilang linya kaya medyo naalarma ako.

R: Still there, Yana?
A: Yuhh.
R: Hala.. iniisip mo siguro si Vince no?
A: H-hindi aa.
R: Kunwari ka pa.
A: Naqo, hindi nga e.
R: Nagseselos tuloy ako dito.
A: Tumigil ka nga.
R: Hmp. Baka sa susunod makita kitang kasama si Vince ha.
A: Di naman ako nagtwotwo time e. Di ako tulad ng iba diyan.

Nung sinabi niya yun, ako naman yung biglang napatahimik. I mean, I know I did something wrong, pero hindi naman kelangang iremind yun saken diba? But then.. I guess this is the lifetime consequence I’d get, nobody will forget what I did.

A: Oist, andiyan ka pa?
R: Nga pala, may gagawin pa ako. Text nalang kita mamaya. Bye loves. I love you.
A: I love you too. Byee..

I dropped the phone on my hand and just looked at the ceiling. When will this feeling stop? When will I stop? Life’s getting hard na for the family. Alam kong alam ng father ni Yana kung anong meron saming dalawa ng anak niya. That’s why ngayon pa lang kumikilos na siya. Pero bakit kelangang isali yung pamilya ko? Hindi ba pwedeng… amin nalang ito? Ako at si Mr. Antonio. Wag na sina Dad, Mom at.. Paolo. Especially, Paolo. Wag na sana yung iba pang tao. Wag na.

Nung hapon na, tumambay lang kami ni Vince dun sa harap ng school namen while I wait for Yana. Siya naman may pupuntahan daw kasama sina Jude. Then I received a text from Yana.. kaya napatingin ako sa gate ng Lourdes. There I saw her standing with a phone on her hand.

Yana
– get in ur skul muna.. NOW pala. ppuntahin mo dito si Vince saken. please? :]

‘bakit?’

Yana
– bsta. trust me. :]

I looked at her confused. She just gave me an assuring smile na okay lang yung ginagawa niya.

So I went inside the school after letting Vince read her text message. Alert naman si Vince papunta kay Yana.

Then, I noticed umalis yung kotse nina Yana and she was smiling at Vince, so parang naramdaman kong best time na to get the 411.

“Anong nangyayari?”

“Wala.. I just want to spend some time with my two most favorite guys in the world.” She grinned and slid her arms around ours. Napatingin lang kmi ni Vince sa isa’t isa.

Nauna na si Vince na umuwi. Actually, he insisted on bringing Yana home kasi siya daw yung responsible kung bakit pumayag yung driver ni Yana na sumama siya kay Vince, but we also insisted that I bring Yana home. So indeed. Nung naglalakad kami ni Yana papasok sa village nila, I asked her kung anong nangyari kanina. Pero binilisan niya ang paglakad niya and opened a new topic.

“May nangyayari ba sa iyo na hindi ko alam?” He asked firmly. My eyes were fixed on her searching for answers sa tanong ko. “Yana..”

“Wala.” sabi niya ng pabulong at umiwas ng tingin. “Wala. Wala.”

Huminga ako ng malalim and let go of her arms.

“Ayoko ng nagsisinungaling ka. It’s not YOU, Yana.” I looked at her again. “Ano ba talaga ang nangyayari?”

She looked at me straight in the eyes.

“Wala, Rhys. Wala.” Then she smiled softly. I smiled back. I know what’s happening and what’s going to happen. I just want to hear it from her.

SUNDAY
Wow, happy birthday to me! =)Hmm, what will I do kaya? I should’ve not asked Yana to come to my birthday. I’m sure tatakas naman yun.. or if not, hindi siya pupunta. I’m actually making things hard for her.. but much harder for me. :(Hindi ko na alam kung anong gagawin ko.. but hey, it’s my birthday today. And maybe first and last birthday ko with Yana. Better make the best out of it nalang. ;D

3:00pm. MOA.
The usual tagpuan namin ni Yana. Front ng KFC or sa KFC mismo.

5 minutes.. wala pa siya. Ba’t kaya late? Usually, on time siya.

10 mins.. wala parin. Is she gonna come ba?

15 minutes.. probably not. :(But will it hurt kung maghihintay ako?

3:17pm.

“Rhys.”

I stood up and smiled at her. She was still catching her breath. I was amused. How could I leave and hurt someone like her? I can’t..

But I have to.

“Geez. I thought di ka na makakarating.” I grinned.

“Pwede ba yun? Happy birthday!” she smiled and hugged me. I held her hand and we walked further. “San tayo pupunta?”

“Surprise.” I grinned.

“Hindi ba dapat ako ang may surprise sa iyo? It’s your birthday.” she smiled.

“Hmm.. bukas nalang yang surprise mo. For now, akin muna.” I winked.

“Geez.”

Pumunta kami ng Baywalk at dun narin kumain. Then I guess eto na yung dapat kong gawin. =) I stood up and sumenyas sa singer ng banda.. alam na kaagad ng lahat kung anong gagawin ko at kung ano ang tutugtugin.

“Err.. good evening everyone.” I smiled nervously.

She was confused.. she was staring at me as if.. “hello, ano gagawin mo?” Yung parang ganun.

“Hmm.. tomorrow’s my birthday. And I’m here with my girlfriend. And.. I just want to assure her that I love her so much. So.. here’s a song for her…” The audience reacted ‘Awwww.. sa kanya lang?’ I chuckled. “-And for everyone too.”

We were as one, babe
For a moment in time
And it seemed everlasting
That you would always be mine
Now you want to be free, yeah
So I’m letting you fly
’cause I know in my heart, babe
Our love will never die, no

You’ll always be a part of me
I’m part of you indefinitely
Girl, don’t you know you can’t escape me
Ooh darling, ’cause you’ll always be my baby
And we’ll linger on
Time can’t erase a feeling this strong
No way, you’re never gonna shake me
Ooh darling, ’cause you’ll always be my baby

I ain’t gonna cry, no
And I won’t beg you to stay
If you’re determined to leave, girl
I will not stand in your way
But inevitably,
You’ll be back again
‘Cause you know in your heart, babe
Our love will never end, no

You’ll always be a part of me
I’m part of you indefinitely
Girl, don’t you know you can’t escape me
Ooh darling, ’cause you’ll always be my baby
And we’ll linger on
Time can’t erase a feeling this strong
No way, you’re never gonna shake me
Ooh darling, ’cause you’ll always be my baby

I know that you’ll be back, girl
When your days and your nights get a little bit colder, oh, oh
I know that you’ll be right back, baby
Oh baby, believe me, it’s only a matter of time

You’ll always be a part of me
I’m part of you indefinitely
Girl, don’t you know you can’t escape me
Ooh darling, ’cause you’ll always be my baby
And we’ll linger on
Time can’t erase a feeling this strong
No way, you’re never gonna shake me
Ooh darling, ’cause you’ll always be my, my baby

(You’ll always be a part of me)
You will always be
(I’m part of you indefinitely
(Girl, don’t you know you can’t escape me)
Ooh darling, ’cause you’ll always be my baby
(And we’ll linger on)
We will linger on
(Time can’t erase a feeling this strong
(No way, you’re never gonna shake me
(Ooh darling, ’cause you’ll always be my baby)

Always be my baby…

She will always be a part of me. Even if we’re going to part ways soon.. even she won’t ever forgive me.. even if I’m going to give her up.. even if things will go to her Dad’s plan.. even after some years will pass.. she will still be a part of me – a big part, I tell you. I just hope that she knows this.. sana alam niya that I’m singing this song with all my heart.

Yana will always be someone I will always love. Always.

“Anak.. can I talk to you?” Mom went in my room.

“Yeah, I know. I should stop this. But honestly? I dont know how. It’s not that easy you know.” I took a deep breath, stood up at pumunta sa balcony ng kwarto ko. “Just.. just give me time, Mom.” I looked at her and she smiled. “Si Dad pala? I haven’t seen him for a quite some days.”

“Well..” she let out a heavy breath. “Nasa hospital pa siya eh. Siya muna yung nakabantay dun. Plus.. he’s on “vacation” naman.. since..”

“Right. Ma.. I’m really sorry. Just.. soon enough.”

“It’s alright iho.” She had a sad look on her face. “I’m a bad mother. I shouldn’t.. I shouldn’t do this to you. But you know this is for the best right? I just hope someday.. someday.. hindi mo ako sisisihin sa mga naging pasya mo ngayon.” Mom started to cry at niyakap ko siya. “I’m so sorry, Rhys.. sorry..”

“A-ayos lang.. I understand the situation.. ayos lang Ma.. ayos lang..” I said and rubbed her back.

“Yana..”

“Hey.. tara.” She held my hand and we went inside KFC.

“Is this your gift to me?” I grinned.

“Part of my gift.” she said smiling sheepishly.

“Oh.. okay.” I smiled to her and squeezed her hand.

We sat down and I ordered. She wanted to pay for it, pero of course, I can’t let her. It would be a big boo to my ego. ;)

“So.. ano na yung gift mo saken?” I smiled sheepishly.

“Wag ka ngang ngumiti ng ganyan. Mukha kang ewan.”

“Mukhang ewan pero mahal mo naman.” I laughed.

“Whatever.” she laughed with me. “Well, this is nothing special, actually.”

“Nothing special?!” I scoffed. “Lahat na nanggaling sa iyo or ginagawa mo, for me, those are special.” I smiled again.

“Reallyy?” she asked sweetly.

“Of course.” I answered.

“Well, here.” she handed me a box.

“Is this it?” I asked excitedly.

“Yep.” she smiled again.

“So can I open this?”

“Hmm.. later on.” she said. “For now, let’s dig in.”

“Great idea.” I smiled and we ate.

It was late in the evening. I was reading a book about JAVA when I saw Yana’s name on my phone’s screen. Syempre nabigla ako kasi gabi na, late na masyado. She doesn’t usually do this or call at this hour. She just said that we had to see each other tomorrow.. same time, same place. There’s someting in her voice.. and I know what it is.

“Yana.. what’s with the call?” I smiled while sitting down at KFC.

“I’m sorry.. but I just really have to talk to you.”

“Is there a problem?” I asked worriedly.

“Rhys.. do you really love me? Mahal mo ba talaga ako?”

“Of course.” I put my right hand on hers. “Mahal kita.”

Tears started to fill her eyes. I know where this is going.. and I shouldn’t have answered what I just answered.

“Is that love enough, para ipaglaban mo ako?” she asked me while crying.

I looked at her in the eyes and smiled.
No, not yet. I can’t see her hurt like this. Not now.

“Yana.. I know what’s happening.”

“Rhys-”

“And I won’t let go.”

“Rhys..”

“Promise.” I said in a firm and sincere voice.

And I  enwrapped her in a warm hug.

Promise.. that I don’t intend to keep. :doubt:

I walked inside the white building and searched for his room at the 3rd floor. Nang binuksan ko ang pinto, nakita ko si Dad na nakaupo sa couch holding a book at his right hand and a cold coffee on the table.

“Dad..”

“Rhys.. son.” He looked up at me.

“Hmm, ako na po muna dito. Go home, Dad. Take some rest.” I smiled at him.

“Ayos lang ba sa iyo? I have to check the business..” Bigla namang nagbago ang tono ng boses nya. “.. see if it’s still running.” He grinned. “Alam mo na..”

“S-sure. Ingat sa pagdrive.”

Pumunta siya ng cr at kinuha yung mga gamit niya. Then he left the book at the couch and started to walk through the door.

“D-dad..”

“Hm?”

“I-I’m really sorry.” I almost whispered.

“No.. you shouldn’t be sorry. Alam ko kung anong nararamdaman mo, Rhys. It’s the best feeling in the world you’ll ever feel. And you shouldn’t be sorry. It’s just that.. it won’t work out for you. It’s not just for you.. sa ngayon.” He smiled. “You get my point right?”

“Y-yeah. Thank you.”

“Just sleep on the couch. Pag gumising siya, you can call the nurse to check up on him.”

“Yeah.”

“I’ll go ahead.” And the door slowly closed.

Looking at my brother silently lying on this white four-walled room.. makes me cry so hard. Hindi ko alam kung saan ako nagkamali. Hindi ko alam kung bakit kelangan ng Daddy ni Yana na gawin ito. He can just go straight to me. Talk. Yun lang, hindi niya na kelangang sirain ang buhay ng kapatid ko.

“K-kuya..”

“Paolo.. how are you feeling?”

“Okay..” he smiled.

“S-sandali, I’ll call a nurse.”

Then I dialled a number on the phone and the nurse then appeared.

“I’ll check him up muna, sir.”

“Sige.”

After the check up..

“Kumusta naman yung kalagayan niya?”

“I’ll just call the doctor for a more accurate report.” She smiled and disappeared inside the room. Then may pumasok naman na doctor, he signed kung pwede sa labas kami mag-usap. So I went outside and excused myself.

“How is he?”

“Well, actually, until now, we can’t still find a bone for the transplant. Your brother had been weak for some days already.. and it’s hard to find a bone that is compatible with his age. We are trying very hard and.. it’s unusual that.. yes, it is hard to find one.. but we know meron talaga yan.. but ngayon, especially sa brother mo, it seems like it’s much harder. We just transplanted a bone to the other kid with his age the other day..”

“What do you mean? We’ll pay for it.. no matter how much.”

“I know, I know. But.. the seller won’t even give me the price.. no matter how much we are offering.”

“H-hindi..” Her dad. “No.. no no..”

“Iho?”

“I-I’m sorry.”

“I’ve explained this to your parents already. Please don’t tell the patient.”

“T-thank you.”

I knew then what was happening. Her dad is behind all this.. kung bakit hindi makakita ng bone for the transplant ang kapatid ko. And he’s going to die soon if I don’t take any actions. I can’t let this happen. I can’t.

“K-Kuya..”

“Take a rest, Pao. You need it.” I smiled at him.

“How are you and Ate Yana?”

“W-we’re fine..”

“No, you’re not.”

“Pao, just.. take a rest.”

“Don’t mind me, Kuya. You should promise me.. that you’ll follow your heart no matter what happens.”

“Pao-”

“Kasi.. even if I live, but kung nakikita naman kitang ganito.. I still won’t be happy.”

“Pao, please..”

“So promise me, Kuya..” He looked at me with his brown eyes. “Promise me..” And he lifted his pinky finger..

I took a deep breath and looked at him. “P-Promise. Promise.” I lifted my pinky finger and tied it on his.

But it’s been some few days na hindi ako pumasok ng school, tumatawag or nagtetext kay Yana. I was just in the hospital taking care of Paolo. I can’t afford to leave him.. what if.. what if pagbalik ko, wala na siya? I can’t even bear the thought of him.. dead.

The only thing that changed my mind of giving up Yana was my talk with Paolo. I promised.. and I guess, if things won’t work get better, this is the only thing that I can do for my brother.

“Yes, good evening.” she answered the phone.

“Y-Yana?”

“Rhys..”

“Can we talk? Somewhere? Now?”

“Sure, sure.”

For the first time after four days of keeping myself beside Paolo, I had the courage to leave him.

I found myself sitting at the Bay just looking at the open ocean. I hope this time, I have the intentions of keeping my promise.

“Rhys..”

“Yana.” I smiled. She hugged me. “Geez, you really missed me, huh?” I grinned.

“Meanie.” Hinampas niya ako ng mahina. “Apat na araw ka nang absent.”

“Sorry. May mga family matters lang na dapat ayusin. But I’m back.” I smiled.

“Really?” She smiled.

“Yeah.” I smiled. I suddenly cleared his throat and looked serious. “Hindi na ako magpapaligoy-ligoy pa. It’s late in the evening and I want to talk to you about this, Yana.”

She looked at me, her eyes fixed on mine.

“Your dad doesn’t like me so much, right?” I looked at her. “He doesnt like you hanging out with me, moreover hindi niya ako gusto as your boyfriend. But Yana..” I held her shoulders and looked her in the eye. “..kahit anong mangyayari, I won’t let go of you. So Yana.. sana ganun din ang gagawin mo.” I looked at her and tears started to fall from her eyes.

“I won’t let go.” I smiled and hugged her so tight.

I went to school again and nagkaleche-leche na ang lahat.

“Mr. Romualdez, may you accompany me to the principal’s office?”

“Y-yes sir.”

He let me sat down on the seat and looked at me.

“I don’t want to get into someone’s business, but you have to tell me what’s going on.”

“W-what do you mean, sir?”

“Your scholarship for college has been terminated.”

Bigla akong napatigil at napatingin sa kanya.

“H-hindi pwede.. how come? I mean.. hindi pwede-”

“Kaya nga.. that’s what I’m trying to point out here. Your grades are fine, your athletic standing is okay.. your character is great.. that’s why kahit ako.. I’m trying to solve some puzzle here.. you know what’s going on, Rhys.”

“Sir, I have no idea.”

“They said your parents called the university and cancelled the scholarship.”

“They won’t do that!”

“Yes, I know.”

“I-I really don’t know, Sir.”

“Please talk to your parents about this.”

“Yes sir.”

“How’s brother, anyway?”

“He’s.. fine.” I answered.

“You may go.”

I stood up and got out of the room.

Then I stopped going to school for a week again. And maybe.. I won’t go to school again. This time, I have to cut all connections with me and Yana. I can’t put everything in stake.. especially my family – my brother. I have to give up. I have to give HER up. I have to stop this feeling I have. I MUST.

“Wala siya.” She said firmly. “And please don’t call here again.” Then she hanged up.

“Ma..”

“Some friend..” She said while holding the phone on her hand.

“That was..”

“Yana.” She said in almost a whispere.

“Right.” I said and went to the kitchen.

Then suddenly the phone rang again. And I grabbed it.

“Hello..”

Silence. YANA.

“Geez. Kung wala kang magawa sa buhay mo, can you stop calling our number? It’s getting on our nerves here.”

Silence. Silence. Please say something.

“Whatever.”

Silence.

“R-rhys..” She said in a very soft voice.

Yana. Nang marinig ko ang boses niya, biglang nanikip ang dibdib ko. My mind froze and my heart stopped beating. God, how I missed her voice. My mind and heart was having a battle. If I should say something, or if I should let the situation remain as such.

And the moment my hand reached for the “flash” button, I knew then my mind had won.

I was hurrying up on wearing my uniform and all kasi late na ako and I have exams pa. I can’t miss this one kasi 3rd grading exam na namen. And I’m still running for honors. And my scholarship for college.. Everything is at stake.. so I really need to go and I shouldn’t be late and all.

“Anak.. san ka pupunta?”

“It’s my exam today.. Finals. And-”

“Anak.. Rhys..”

“What?” I was all panicking when I caught Mom’s face.

“Well..”

“Mom, I should hurry.”

“Rhys.. I wasn’t..” I paused. “I wasn’t able to pay for your finals.”

“But-”

“We have.. nothing.”

“No..” I shook my head.

“I’m sorry. You know what’s going on.. and..” She suddenly burst into tears and I had nothing to do but hug her and tell her it’s alright with me. “I’m so sorry..”

“It’s.. It’s alright.” =|

Days have passed. Paolo’s getting weaker each day. Dad’s been drinking for quite some days. Mom had been crying and telling me sorry. I don’t know what to do. Vincent.. he told me about Yana. I couldn’t bear it. I went to see the principal and he agreed on giving me special exams.. it will only be recorded though if Mom pays the bills. Soon enough.

Tomorrow’s going to be our 5th monthsary. But.. meron pa bang dapat icelebrate? Tomorrow’s going to be a big day. And I guess.. no, I know, after tomorrow, things will never be the same again. After tomorrow, my life will be back to normal. After tomorrow, she will forget that she loved someone named Rhys Romualdez. And after tomorrow, I’ll have my heart shattered to million pieces and it won’t be put back together  so soon.

I’ve decided. I know this will be for the best.

Hey. Missed you. Can we see each other tomorrow?
Same place.  530pm. I’ll wait for you. Mua mua. TC.

I hope she read the invisible “sorry” in it.
Sent to two people. Yana and Gabby.

Gabby.
Sure. KFC, right?

ME.
Yeah, I love you.

Gabby.
Does that mean-

ME.
Yeah, if it’s okay with you. I have to settle
scores with Yana though.

Gabby.
Sure. I love you too.

Yana.
Sure. I’ll see you there. Missed you too. Mua.

February 18th. Happy 5th Monthsary – NOT.

I was shaking as I settled on a table. I don’t want to do this. I’d rather die than see her cry because of betrayal. Mabilis lang to. After nito, wala ng explanation. I won’t even bother to give one. I’m not gonna be the good Rhys anymore after this whole thing. Gabby will be a very “loving” girl to me. And.. babalik sa dati ang lahat. Me, taken by Gabby though and her.. just Juliana Antonio, the simple girl who’s never noticed by people.

“Yana!” I exclaimed and gave her the sweetest smile. God, how much I missed her.

“Rhys..” Isuddenly hugged her and gave her the opposite chair. When she was seated, we were wrapped by silence.
We just stared at each other.

“I missed you.” I said.. and I know I said it with such sincerity.

“Me too.” She whispered.

“Tara.. let’s order.” I said and stood up. “What do you want?”

“The usual.” she said.

“Okay! Be back.” I said and walked away.

“I’m sorry if.. di ako nakapunta nung Valentine’s. Long story.” I smiled. “I hope you understand.”

“Nahh.. wala yuun. At least you’re here and I’m really glad.” She smiled sweetly. “Pero sana Rhys.. sa susunod, if something’s happening to you, tell me naman. I was all worried these past few days of you.”

“Yeah. Thanks a lot.”

We were really having a good time, we talked about so many things… it seems nga na walang nangyayaring masama sa mga buhay namen. Parang katulad lang ng dati.

“You’re really beautiful today..” I said.

“I know.” She joked.

“Hinde.. really. And.. I guess this necklace suits you very well.” I then opened my hands. “May I?” I asked.

She nodded and smiled. I went to her side and put the necklace on her neck. She held onto it and looked at me.

“Happy 5th monthsary.” I smiled. “And.. I’m sorry.” I smiled softly.

“Thank you. Happy 5th monthsary too.” She smiled and held my hand.

“Hey Rhys.” Gabby walked directly in front of me and kissed me on the cheeks. I think she didn’t see that I was with Yana.

“G-Gabby..”

“Baby..” She smiled. I suddenly looked at Yana and Gabby noticed na may kasama pala ako, but she didn’t really mind. “Oh. Sorry.” She suddenly said. “So are you friends nalang?” She said cheerfully. “Did you explain to her na babe?”

I looked at Yana. Hindi ko alam kung anong nararamdaman ko. It seems like ako yung nahihirapan. It feels like I can feel what she’s feeling.

“R-Rhys..”

“Yana..”

She looked away for a second trying to process everything in her mind.. and to keep her tears from falling. She held her necklace and looked at me again.

Gabby leaned closer to me.

“I’m sorry.” That was all I can say. I said it with all of my heart and soul. I will never ever forget this day and I will never ever forgive myself for hurting you in this way.

She was still staring at us unbelievingly then she stood up and left without looking back.

I grabbed her by her right arm but she didn’t look back and pulled her arm off from my grip.

“Yana..”

And she was gone.

I looked at Gabby and smiled sadly.

“You just said it last night to-”

“No.. That’s what I feel.” I held her face. “I was.. going to break up with her, but you came too early and..”

“Oh.”

“.. but no worries, as what they say, actions speak louder than words.” I smiled.

“You’re not going to do that to me in the end, right?”

“Of course not.” I chuckled.

And she hugged me. Maybe someday, I’ll forget everything about Yana. Or maybe.. I’ll learn to love Gabby for real. But as of now, one thing’s for sure, my brother’s going to live. He is going to live.

23.

“Nasan si Yana?!”

“Hindi ko alam..”

“Eh gago ka pala eh! Alam kong magkasama kayo kanina!”

“Hindi na kami! Kaya pwede ba.. wag niyo siyang hanapin saken!” Kahit masaket, kelangan kong gawin ito. And I just hope I did the right thing.

*bgjdsdk*

“Vincent!” Tumakbo ang Daddy ni Yana kay Vincent at pinigilan ito.

Hindi ako lumaban. Ayokong lumaban. Wala akong karapatang lumaban. Sinaktan ko si Yana. And I guess, I deserved that punch from Vincent. Actually, kulang pa yun.

Hinatak ni Mr. Antonio si Vincent palabas ng bahay namin. Suddenly, my Mom came running to me. I was trying to hold myself from anger and pain. Pero alam ko, sa kaloob-looban ko, gusto kong tumakbo sa labas at hanapin si Yana. Gusto kong sabihin ang totoo. Gusto ko pang lumaban. But looking at my Mom running twards me and  Paolo shaking with fear.. I know, this isn’t worth the fight at all. At dahil alam kong talo ako, isa lang ang gusto kong gawin.. UMIYAK.

“Rhys..” Mom held me in her arms and hugged me so tight.

“Mom.. I hope I did the right thing.” I said softly while tears came running down my cheeks. “I hope I did.”

“You did good, son. You did the right thing.” She said while crying.

Giving up in a fight doesn’t mean you’re a coward.. it only means that you realized something.. and that is you have better things to do than to fight.

[**end of Rhys’ POV**]

Hindi ko alam kung anong gagawin ko. Ang sakit sakit. Hindi ko alam kung pano patahanin ang sarili ko.. ang pag-iyak ko.. kung pano mawala yung kirot sa dibdib ko.. kung pano kakalimutan yung ginawa niya saken kanina.

“Ang.. tanga-tanga ko..*hikbi*.. ang tanga-tanga ko talaga…”

I can’t believe that I did all of that para lang maging ganito. I’m so stupid. Napaka-ambisyosa ko eh. Simula’t sapul, mali na. Simula’t sapul, alam ko na sa kaloob-looban ko that Rhys is playing games on me.

“Tanga ka talaga Yana..” Hindi ko alam kung anong gagawin ko. My tears just kept flowing from my eyes. Ni wala na akong clear na nakikita. My vision was blurry. Pakiramdam ko, bumaha yung mundo sa mata ko. I couldn’t breathe. Naninikip ang dibdib ko. My hands were trembling. I couldn’t even think straightly. The scene kept flashing at my mind.. His sorry kept playing in my head like a broken recorded tape.. and everytime it does, chestpains kept attacking me.. and I cry the more.

Sa sobrang sakit, kulang nalang sabihin ko mas mabuti pang tumalon nalang ako sa dagat at lunurin ang sarili ko. I didn’t know I’ll hurt like this. I didn’t know he’s capable of hurting me like this.

Nakakahiya ako. I turned against Dad.. I made Bea lied to them.. I used someone.. someone’s who’s very dear to me para lang sa kanya.. then.. I’ll get this. Iiwan lang naman pala ako.

“Andito ka lang pala..” He sat beside me. Hindi ako umimik. I just started crying more. “Sinapak ko siya..” He paused. “.. gago eh. Sabi ko sa kanya.. ingatan ka..”

Iyak lang ako ng iyak sa tabi ni Vincent. “Umuwi ka na.. your mom and dad are both worried.” Nang marinig kong binanggit niya si Dad, mas napahagulhol ako sa pag-iyak.

“Y-Yana..” Vincent held my head and slowly placed it in his shoulders. And when he did, I just found myself crying the more.

“V-Vincent.. *hikbi*..”

“Just..” He paused. “.. ilabas mo lang.”

“Anak… tumayo ka na diyan. You have a school pa.”

I woke up early.. only to find myself in my bed in a fetal position.. crying.

“Yana… you have a school. Tumayo ka na..”

“Y-you don’t understand Mom..” I said in between sobs. “Alam mo ba kung anong mangyayari ngayong araw na to kapag pumasok ako?”

“Yana..”

“I’m going to see Gabby.. *hikbi*.. at alam mo ba kung sino ang kasama niya bago siya papasok sa gate ng Lourdes? *hikbi*.. si Rhys.. si Rhys.. ngingiti siya kay Gabby.. kukunin yung mga dala niya.. hahawakan ang kamay.. ihahatid sa gate ng Lourdes.. hihintaying makapasok.. ngingiti ulet.. tapos.. tapos.. *hikbi*… pagkahapon… uupo si Rhys sa harap ng school nila.. tapos.. *hikbi*… hihintayin niya si Gabby na lumabas ng Lourdes.. waiting for that familiar face na lalabas ng school.. *hikbi*… then pag lumabas si Gabby.. he’ll cross the street while smiling sweetly.. tapos.. tapos.. *hikbi*… ngingiti din si Gabby.. kukunin ni Rhys yung mga dala niya.. hahawakan ang kamay… *hikbi*… tapos.. they’ll cross the street again.. together… ” I sobbed. “Then.. ihahatid siya ni Rhys sa bahay nila.. kahit gano pa kalayo yun.. kahit san pang lupalop ng luzon iyon..” I cried so hard.

“Yana.. you have to accept reality. Alam ko.. as a Mom.. as someone na nakadaan din niyan.. it’s hard, but you have to be strong..”

“H-hind-hindi ko yun kaya Mom.. Kasi hindi naman talaga ako matapang eh.. *hikbi*.. Alam mo ba kung anong manyayari kung papasok ako ngayon?..”

“Yana..”

“T-they’re going to laugh at me.. Why? Kasi.. kasi.. I was played.. *hikbi*.. kasi hindi na ako yung hihintayin ni Rhys.. kasi.. yung ngiti niya hindi na para sakin.. kasi.. mas maganda yung pinalit sakin.. kasi kasi.. mas bagay naman talaga sila simula pa noon.. kasi.. uupo na naman ako sa gilid.. titingnan sila.. with the thought that.. he used to be mine.. and I will be hurting like hell.”

“Pero Yana.. mas mabuting harapin mo iyan ngayon.. so that mas madali kang makaka-adjust.”

“No..*hikbi*.. ayoko. Hindi ko pa kaya..”

“Yana.. come on! Stand up.”

Bigla namang nag-alarm yung cellphone ko and Mom picked it up on the floor.

February 21.
Big day. Exam Results.

“You have to get up. This is for your college exam results.”

“I can just always look it up tomorrow.”

“Yana! You’re smart.. gamitin mo ngayon ang utak mo.”

“I-isa pa iyan.. Utak lang ang meron saken.. si Gabby, both beauty and brains..”

“Yana, stop that!”

And yes, kahit it feels like my body’s going to give up, I stood up and went to school. And as expected, everyone glared.. looked.. stared.. lahat na ng type ng “look” na makikita mo sa mga tao at hayop.. binigay saken ng mga tao sa school at sa school din ni Rhys.

I saw Vincent standing at the other side of the road, he smiled when he caught my eyes. Kaya napangiti narin ako. Then I saw Bea running up to me.

“Geek!”

“Hey.” I said faintly.

“I-I’m so sorry.” She said and hugged me. I smiled softly while hugging Bea.

“I’ts aarrright. I’m okay.” =)

“No, you’re not.”

Then suddenly, when I turned my head on my left side, indeed, I saw Rhys running towards our school.. smiling. And.. dang, ang saket saket.

“Pasok na tayo, Bey.”

“S-sige.”

Then we went inside the school. I didn’t bother to ask kung bakit ako tinitingnan ng lahat. When I reached the classroom, my other friends hugged me and told me na ayos lang. Well, half of the class thinks na Rhys is a jerk.. and half of the class think that he’s better off with Gabby. Hindi naman ako lumabas na api dito and all.. hindi rin naman lumabas na masama si Gabby. Wala lang. Parang wala lang talaga.

“Good morning, ladies.” Miss Santos will start her class na. That’s when I noticed Gabby entered the room. “Oh, good morning Miss Altuna.”

“Morning, miss.” She smiled so sweetly. And I don’t find it sweet anymore.

“Results of the exam will be posted at the Kwan Board. Just check it after the break.” She fixed her things and started talking again. “In a week, you’ll have your promdance. You know where to sign up naman for the prom committee right?”

Everyone started talking na kaagad kung sino kaya ang nakapasa and all. Ewan ko ba, hindi ako interested eh. Parang.. ang weird ng araw ngayon. I don’t even talk and all. And everytime na nakikita ko si Gabby, I feel nervous and all. Yung parang nininerbyos ako and at the same time.. masakit.

“Miss Antonio.. Miss Antonio? Juliana.. Juliana!”

“M-Miss?”

“Come to my office after this class.”

“Sure, Miss.”

After ng class kay Miss Santos, I followed her and went to her office. Hindi ko alam kung anong dapat kong maramdaman. I didn’t do something wrong naman so no need para manerbyos and all. I guess this has something to do with my class standing.

“Miss?”

“Oh, sit down Juliana.”

“Thank you.”

“So I’m going to talk to you about your exam results.”

“Oh.”

“This is really important.. and you running for the batch valedictorian. I hope you’ll come to a very good decision. I know you will.” She smiled. “I just received a call from a university outside the country..”

“Paris.” I whispered to myself.

“Y-Yes..”

“I sent an application to the University of Strasbourgh.”

“Y-Yes..”

Bigla akong naalarma at para bang binuhusan ako ng malamig na tubig.

“H-How was it?” Huminga siya ng malalim at tiningnan ako.

“Here.” She gave me an envelope. I looked at it, shaking. Pakiramdam ko nga ayokong hawakan. I took the envelope and slowly opened it.

And when I read the letter.. napanganga ako and I felt like screaming kaya I covered my mouth and my tears started to fill my eyes.

“Congratulations.” She smiled.

“Oh my gosh.. thank you Lord.” I said and hugged Miss Santos.

“You can also check the result of UP. I have a feeling oblation ka dun.” She smiled.

“Thank you so much, Miss. Thank you.” I said and left the room.

I hurriedly went outside and went to the Kwan Board. Andami sa batch namen ang nakapalibot sa board. Yung iba ang saya-saya pag-alis ng board, yung iba naman tahimik lang. I saw Bea looking for her name.. then bigla siyang tumawa ng pagkalakas-lakas.

“BWAHAHHAHAHHAHHAHAHHA!” She was laughing like an evil habang papalabas sa crowded people.

“Bea..”

“Guess what?!”

“Guess what too?!” I said at pinakita yung envelope sa kanya.

“WE PASSED UPDILLIMAN!” She shouted and we jumped for joy. “And you PASSED STRASBOURGH!”   And we jumped for joy again. Yung iba narinig namen.. ‘ang swerte naman’.. ang mga pinagsasabi. Then Bea leaned closer on me. “Gabby didn’t pass UP.” And she laughed.

Medyo nakalimutan ko na heartbroken pala ako. Ang daming nagcongratulate sakin. Lima lang daw kasi yung kinukuha ng Strasbourgh kada country for the scholarship. So I was really happy na nakapasok ako. And I guess, it’s one way na din to get out of the country and leave everything here. :)

CONGRATULATIONS
TO
JULIANA ANTONIO
OF 4-ST. MARY
BATCH 07-08
FOR PASSING
UNIVERSITY OF STRASBOURGH
PARIS, FRANCE

WE ARE PROUD OF YOU!

Looking at the banner na nakalagay sa harap ng school namen makes me smile and proud of myself. My parents are very happy to know that I passed the scholarship. I mean, they don’t have to pay my college na at the school although they can afford it naman. So.. apartment nalang and extra money. =)

Hmm, masakit parin yung ginawa saken ni Rhys, I’m still on the healing part. Pero katulad nga ng sinabi ni Mommy, kelan ko pa haharapin to? Mas maaga, mas madali. And he seems very happy naman with Gabby.

Maybe I should be grateful nalang din that kahit papano I had a boyfriend named RHYS ROMUALDEZ. :)

24

“Eh pano ba yan geek.. kukunin mo ba yung scholarship?”

“Awww.. Bea. I’m so gonna miss you.”

“Naku naman no.. you won’t. You can just fly here naman anytime you want, diba? And I can go there for vacation!” She said. “Can you imagine, makikita na natin yung Eiffel Tower ng magkasama! Bwahahaha.”

“Silllyyyyy.”

“Silly is good no!” She said and laughed again. “Hanapan mo narin pala ako dun geek ng french!” And she laughed again.

“Hahahaa. Loka.”

“Ay hinde, unahin mo muna sarili mo. Aba, baka maging second KC Concepcion ka niyan ha! Nabalitaan mo dati, sinundan siya dito ng suitor niya.. at alam mo kung ano yung kayamanan ng lalake?”

“Sige nga.. ano?”

“May-ari ng vineyard! O diba, bongga si bespren KC.” She laughed again.

“At kelan pa kayo naging bestfriend? Hahahahha! In short, haciendero!”

“Hindi haciendero ang tawag dun no! Vineyard man!”

“Whatever geek.”

“Pero dapat talaga.. unahin mo sarili mo. Maghanap ka dun ng mas gwapo.. mas matalino.. mas mabait.. mas honest.. mas matapang..”

“Mas?”

“Oo.. yung MAS makakapagpaligaya sa iyo kaysa kay R-”

“Kanino?” I smiled at her na para bang.. ‘sige, ipagpatuloy mo iyan at papatayin kita’.

“Kay Richard Gutierrez!” Tumawa siya ng plastic na parang alam niya na gets ko rin palusot niya. “Diba? Hehe.”

Tumawa narin lang ako kasama niya. Nung palabas na kami, nakita kong nakaupo sina Rhys and Gabby sa waiting shed ng school namen. Naghihintay siguro ng sundo ni Gabby.

“O sige, geek. Mauuna na ako, ayun na si Mommy eh. Hmf.” Bea pouted and went on. “Hindi ka ba sasabay saken?” Sabi niya at sabay tingin kina Gabby at Rhys sa gilid.

“May sundo ako eh. Alam mo naman… papatanggal na si Manong Fred kung hindi ako sasama sa kanya. Kawawa naman.” Sabi ko at ngumiti. “Ingat ha?”

“Aw, sige. Una na ako. Ingat ka din geeeeeeekk! Yung french man ha?!” She winked.

Tumawa naman ako. “Oie, madamoiselle.” She just laughed and got inside their car.

Ako naman, walang choice kungdi umupo nalang din sa waiting shed kasama sina Gabby at Rhys. Pero medyo malayo naman ako sa kanila no. Then yung mga babae medyo napatingin at naghintay ng something na mangyayari. I mean, siguro naweweirduhan din na andun kaming tatlo.. or kahit ako nalang, nasikmura kong umupo malapit sa kanilang dalawa.

I took a book from my bag and started reading it. Eto yung book na binabasa ko noon.. before we met. Pinagpatuloy ko na yung pagbabasa ngayon. Medyo iniwan ko ring hanging yung book eh.

“Awww.. you didn’t pass UP? Okay lang iyan. Mas ayos nga eh. Ateneo nalang tayo.”

“Right.. magkasama pa tayong dalawa. Hindi ka ba kumuha ng UP?”

“Actually, pasado ako sa Diliman. Pero may scholarship din naman ako sa Ateneo. Sabi nila Mom, dun nalang daw ako sa Ateneo. And most of the boys, papasok sa Ateneo.” I heard Rhys speaking.

“Wow.. maybe God’s plan din na di ako pumasa ng Diliman.”

Then I can’t take it anymore kaya di na ako nakinig sa usapan nila.. or tried hard not to listen much. Kasi kahit papano, naririnig talaga sila. Hmp. Sige, maglambingan pa kayo diyan, kala mo naman kung sinong mga loveteam na artista.

“Oh my gosh Yana.. bitter.” I whispered to myself.

Tamang-tama namang may humintong itim na mercedes benz sa harap ng Lourdes, kaya niligpit ko na gamit ko at tumayo. Nga pala, magyayabang na ako. Eto yung bagong bili ng Daddy kong car. Para lang talaga dapat sa kanila to ni Mom, pero sinundo narin ako kasi may pupuntahan pa kaming dinner – dinner something daw with the Perez family. Ni hindi ko nga kilala kung sino ang mga yun. Anyway, ayun nga, nang huminto ang sasakyan, syempre lahat nakatingin. Nung tumayo ako, syempre alam na din ng lahat kung kanino ang sasakyan. :D

“Manong.. san po ba yung dinner?”

“Sa Sorrento.”

“Sino po ba yung mga Perez na iyan?”

“Sandali, magbihis ka pala muna anak. Ihihinto ko diyan sa Mcdo. Lalabas muna ako ha?”

“Bakit, may damit po ba ako?”

“Oo, may binigay si Tresing kanina saken galing kuno kay Mommy mo.”

“Ahh.. sige po. Pakihinto nalang po diyan sa may gilid.”

Hininto naman ni Manong yung sasakyan at lumabas siya. Then I locked the door. Hindi naman kita sa labas kasi super tinted yung sasakyan namen. So kahit humithit ka pa ng shabu sa loob, o sumugal, o gumawa ng video niyo, hindi ka makikita sa labas.

So ayun nga, I changed my clothes at inayos yung buhok ko. At naglagay narin ng konting makeup. Konti lang naman. :D

“Abay.. ang ganda mo naman Yana.”

“Hahahaha. Salamat pooo.” I smiled at Manong Fred.

“It was his loss.”

“Ano po?” Nabigla ako at narinig kong nag-english si Manong Fred.

“Narinig ko yun kay Enteng eh.” Vincent.

“Ahhh..” I just chuckled and suddenly bigla akong nalungkot.

It was his loss. Wrong. Hindi siya nawalan
kasi mas maganda naman ang pinagpalit. =]

Nung bumaba ako ng sasakyan, pumasok na ako kaagad sa restaurant. Mabilis ko namang nakita sina Mommy and Daddy, at may kasama pa silang dalawa pa. The man looks familiar.. maybe nameet ko na siya dati pa. And the woman.. hmm maybe wife niya.

“Good evening Ma’am. May I take you to your table?”

“Antonio.”

“This way Ma’am.”

Hindi ko alam kung bakit, but everyone looked at me. As in, they were staring talaga. Eh buti sana kung sanay ako sa ganyan, or kung alam ko talaga na pinanganak akong head-turner, siguro mas ngingiti ako. Pero hindi eh, instead, nataranta ako kung bakit sila nakatitig saken. I was like.. ‘may dumi ba sa mukha ko? sira ba buhok ko? ano ba?’ Yung parang ganun.

“Hmm.. may I ask you something?” tanong ko sa waiter.

“Yes, ma’am.”

“M-May dumi ba ako sa mukha?” I asked him. He almost laughed pero pinigilan niya lang. “Just.. be honest.” I smiled.

“Wala po ma’am. Napakaganda niyo lang po talaga.” He said.

“Ha?” I chuckled. “Nevermind. Thank you.” I smiled at dumiretso na kaagad sa table nila Mommy.

“Oh.. here’s my Juliana..” Sabi ni Dad with open arms and they stood up.

“Good evening.” I smiled at them.

“How lovely.” I suppose si Mrs. Perez itong old woman.

“Oh, thank you.” I chuckled.

“Sit down, sit down.” Sabi naman.. ni (I suppose) Mr. Perez. “Take your order.” He said and the waiter gave me the menu. Ayun, binigay ko naman yung order ko.

“Yana.. this is Mr and Mrs Perez, they own the leading sea transportation lines here in the Philippines.”

“Wow, really? It’s nice meeting you.”

“The pleasure is ours, hija. Nga pala, your father mentioned that you got a scholarship at Strasbourgh. Congratulations!” He said smiling and turned to my father. “You two must be really proud of your daughter.”

“You bet we are.” Mom answered with a jokingly tone.

“Hahahhaah. They really are.” Sabi ko narin at tumawa kami.

“What’s taking Raphael so long?” I heard Mrs. Perez asked her husband.

“He’s on his way. Traffic daw.” Her husband answered.

“So, where’s your son na pala Belinda?”

“Oh, he’s on his way. Alam mo naman yun.” She was kind of embarassed and just laughed.

“He has the same as my Yana’s no?” Mom asked.

“Yeah. Grade 11 din. Nga lang, he’s from Rosevale.”

“Ahhh. Then, sana magkasundo kami.” I smiled.

“Oh of course.” Sabi ni Mrs Perez. “Oh, andito na pala siya eh.” She then looked at the glass doors. I didn’t follow her gaze since hindi naman ako ganun ka interested, instead, napatingin ako sa kabilang table, 5 tables away from us. Napalunok ako when I saw them – Rhys and his family.

What a joke. I chuckle to myself. Dito pa talaga sila kakain no? Aba.. masaya na pamilya niya ah. Mukhang balik na sila sa dati. Parang wala lang nangyari ah. Ang galeng galeng niya naman. Geez, I couldn’t be more happier for him. Yeah, right.

But then I still found myself looking at them.. at him laughing so hard. Ganun na lang ba talaga yun? Wala lang talaga sa kanya?

“Y-Yana? Yana? Yana..” Bigla akong napatingin kay Mommy.

“Y-Yeah?” She glared at me with a sweet smile. Tapos her head tilted to the side na para bang she’s saying, ‘may tao sa gilid ko’. Yung parang gnaun, so syempre, tumingin din ako sa gilid.

“Yana, this is Raphael, my son.” Sabi ni Mrs Perez. I looked at the guy and smiled. Then I stood up to shake his hands. “I’m Yana.” I said.

“I’m Raphael.” He smiled too. Bigla namang kumunot ang noo naming dalawa. Sabay pa talaga eh no?

San ko ba nakita ang lalaking ito? Nakita ko na talaga to eh. I just forgot where.. and I’m not sure kung kelan din.

“H-Have we met each other before?” I asked.

He chuckled amusedly. “Akala ko ba lalaki lang gumagamit ng mga ganyang klaseng pick-up lines?” He laughed again.

“E-excuse me? Pick up lines?” Abay gago pala to eh. Then this means hindi ko pa to namimeet.

I saw everyone looked at him then his father glared at him and so did his Mom.

“Just.. kidding.” He said in between gritted teeth. “Come on, I just want to have a laugh. Galaw-galaw baka mastroke.” Sabi niya and pat his dad on the back. Tumawa naman si Dad so, everyone followed.

But I didn’t kasi I was to busy remembering kung san ko siya nakita and all. Nevermind though. Ayoko munang mag-isip. So ayun nga, after dinner, the family talked with each other. Kaya pala sinama si “Raphael” para di daw ako mabore. Okay.. he’s damn funny, as in to the highest level. I’m wondering if may sense din siyang kausap pag seryosohan na.

“Hmm, excuse me.” I said, stood up and slowly went to the comfort room. Tamang-tama naman ng pumasok ako, lumabas si Rhys. Bigla kaming napahintong dalawa. I looked at him silently.. hindi ko alam kung anong sasabihin ko. Nakatingin lang ako sa kanya and he did the same. Then it’s as if on cue, he snapped out of some spell and smiled at me.

“Hey.. congratulations.” He smiled.. yung alanganing smile, pero alam mong sincere? Hindi ko gets.

“Hmm, thanks.” I managed to give him a smile. Yung medyo awkward din.. and he suddenly walked through me. Ni hindi lang man nagbye or anything.. or nagexcuse na aalis na siya. Geez.

I went inside the comfort room and looked myself through the mirror. Then tears started to fill my eyes again. His words kept playing back at my mind and I can’t help but cry again and ache. But then, naalala ko rin yung mga magagandang moments namen.. yung mga times when I felt I was the happiest person in the world. Nakakalungkot isipin that in the end, I’ll find myself hurt. Ni hindi ko nga naisip na masasaktan ako ni Rhys.

I wiped my tears and went out of the comfort room, pero bigla ko rin namang nakitang naghihintay si Raphael sa wall sa gilid ng ladies’ room. I looked at him.

“Ba’t ka nandiyan?”

“Pinasundo ka nila saken, baka kung napano ka na daw eh.”

“Ahh.. parang grade 1 naman.” I chuckled and put the handkerchief on my purse.

“Hmm.. it looks familiar.” He said so I followed his gaze to my purse.

“My purse?”

“Hindi. Yung pinasok mo bago lang.”

“Hanky?”

“Oo.”

“Aahh..”

“Panlalaki ang hanky e.”

“Ahh, oo.”

“Binigay ng bf mo?”

“Naku.. hindi.. ano.. binigay saken dati.”

“Eh ba’t panlalaki?”

“Kasi.. ano..”

“..umiiyak ka nun sa coffee shop?”

Biglang nanlaki yung mga mata ko.

“T-t-teka..” I found him grinning at me. “I-I-ikaw yung..”

“Hmm.. well..”

“Ikaw yun?” I asked softly.

“Welll.. yeah.” He smiled again.

Chapter 15

Hindi ko alam pero parang.. ang bigat-bigat ng pakiramdam ko. Hindi ko rin namalayang tumulo na ang mga luha ko sa mga mata. I guess these were the tears that I kept on holding back since.. last week. I missed him so much and I am so damn worried.. and I feel like giving up.

“Miss.. hanky?” I saw a hand with a brown checkered handkerchief stretched out to me. I slowly looked up kasi the voice isn’t familiar. “It’s alright. It’s clean.” I was still looking at him.. puzzled. “Promise.” He smiled in an assurance.

I cried one last time, stood up and ran outside. I never looked back.

“Oh my gosh. Nakakahiya.” I said and turned my back on him kaharap ng ladies’ room na door. I chuckled awkwardly. “Nakakahiya talaga..”

“No, seriously, ayos lang. Binigay ko naman sa iyo yang hanky e..”

“No, hindi yan..”

“Ang ano? That I saw you crying? Hhahahah.” He laughed.

“Ba’t ka tumatawa?”

“Hahhaha. Eh kasi ang cute mo pag nagbablush.”

“C-cut it out.”

“Ahhahaha. But seriously..” He cleared this throat. “Siguro ilang ulit mo na to narinig, pero if nagbreak nga talaga kayo, I dont care kung anong rason, it’s his loss.” He smiled and suddenly chuckled again.

“Right.” I answered sarcastically, but I was kind of touched rin naman sa sinabi niya.

“Hi, I’m Raphael. You can call me Raph. 17 years old. Rosevale.” He said and stretched out his right arm on me.

Nabigla ako sa ginawa niya. But he was smiling so sumakay nalang din ako.

“Hello. I’m.. Yana? 16 years old.. Lourdes?” I said.

“Hahahaa. Hi Yana. Nice meeting you. Can we be friends?” He grinned.

“Sure.” I chuckled, half-amused half-annoyed.

Bumalik nadin kami kaagad sa table nila Mommy. They asked kung bakit medyo natagalan daw kaming dalawa, sabi ko nalang maraming gumagamit. :D

So yun nga, since “friends” na daw kami ni “Raph”, we had our own conversation na din. Then out of nowhere, he just asked kung kelan daw ang prom namin and all.

“So, when’s your prom ball? This week right?” He asked.

“Yeah.”

“So.. have you found a date already?” He asked. I was thinking of Vincent.. I’m sure papayag yun.

“Err..Ye-”

“No. Wala pa, diba Yana?” My dad suddenly answered back at Raphael.

Napatingin ako kay Dad and I knew right then kung anong nasa isip niya.

“Yeeeaah, wala pa.” I smiled.

“But.. my son.. can-”

“Oh come on, Mom.” He growled.

“..can take me there? Ayos lang ba sa iyo?” I asked him hesitantly.

He looked at me and froze for a second and two. As in, he just looked at me as if asking kung sigurado nga ba talaga ako sa pinagsasabi ko.

“Well.. yeah. Wala naman akong gagawin eh.” He grinned.

“Then.. it’s on.” I smiled.

“Sure.”

Nakita kong lumabas na sina Rhys sa resto. Nakita din nina Mommy yung family nila and they glared at me. Yung parang.. don’t look back. Pero alam naman nila na nakita ko na sina Rhys kanina pa. They didn’t mind though. It’s as if.. Rhys didn’t exist lang at our lives.. to my life. Parang wala lang talaga.

And.. yeah, guess I have to give Vincent to Bea. Haissh, nakakahiya naman. Pero at the first place, I didn’t invite Vince naman to go with me there. So.. kaso.. haiissh. Bahala na. Si Bea na bahala sa kanya. :D

Ayoon nga, after the catching up, we decided to go home since it’s getting late. :)Raphael walked with me behind the parents. We were chatting happily. Yung maganda sa kanya, he knows how to make you laugh your ass off. As in, puno ng jokes and banat. So parang.. walang awkward moment. Yung ganun? :D

And before I got on the car, I told him about the prom.

“Friday.”

“6pm, I’ll be there.” He smiled.

“Bye. Take care.” I smiled at him.

“You too. Ingat po!” Sabi niya din sa parents ko.


So I guess, it’s ON. Raphael Perez will be my official date this PromBall. =)

25.

“Geeez, geek. I got my dress na. Pinakita na saken ni Mommy straight from Hongkong.” She grinned. “As in, sakto talaga sa binigay ko na sketch sa kanya.”

“Of course, your Mom’s a fashion designer kaya.”

“Eh kahit na noh.” She laughed. “Sino pala date mo? Si Vince?”

“Errr.. hindi eh.”

“Anong hindi?”

“Alangan naman si Rhys.. eh si Gabby na date nun.”

I glared at Bea. “Oo, Bey! Si Rhys nga!” I answered sarcastically.

“Naku.. eto naman. Joke lang nga eh. Eh hindi naman pwedeng pumunta ka ng PromBall na walang date. Ano ba iyan..”

“Meron na akong date.” I said softly.

“Meron ka? Kung hindi si Vince o si Rhys… sino naman kaya?” Then she glared at me. “Nakuu.. ikaw Yana ha. I don’t like that na.. may minimeet ka pa bang ibang lalaki ni hindi ko alam?”

Bigla namang may tumabing mga babae samen na kabatch din namen.

“Hey, Yana. Hi Bey.” Sabi ng isa sa tatlong babae. As far as I can remember, Nella yung name. Naghi lang din kami ni Bea. Then the girl turned around to her friends. “Oo. Si Raphael sana yung gusto kong kadate, nga lang sabi ng friend niya, meron na daw siyang date.” Sabi ni Nella.

Yeah, eavesdropping is bad.. pero naririnig namen eh. Kahit si Bea tumigil at tumahimik para makinig.

“I wonder who..”

“Ako din eh.”

“Pero, malamang totoo naman talaga Nels. Sabay kaya promnight ng karamihan dito saten.”

“Yeah. Guess, I’ll just find someone else na wala pang date.” Nella said and they went on talking about dates and prom and all.

Bigla namang napatingin saken si Bea. “You know that Raphael?” She asked.

“Hmm, Raphael who?” I asked.

“Perez. Yeah, if I got it right, Raphael Perez ata eh.”

Ako naman yung biglang napatahimik at napatingin nalang kay Bea.

“W-What about him?” She paused and think for awhile.

“Wala lang. I find him cute.. a lot of girls do.” She said and winked.

“Ahhh..”

“Oh well. So.. back to the topic? Sino yung kadate mo?”

1 message received.
+6391788923**
Hey.

Sino naman to?

“Sino yang nagtext?” Bea snatched my phone away from me. “Sino to?”

“Sa tingin mo ba kilala ko din? Di nga nakasave ang number eh.”

“Reply tayo.”

?

1 message received.
+6391788923**
Hahaa. Raph. Remember? From last night?

Napanganga si Bea kaya naman kinuha ko ulit CP ko sa kanya.

“Ano ba iyan? Sino daw?” Nang napatingin ako sa cellphone ko, napanganga din ako at napatingin kay Bea na nanlilisik na ang mga mata. “Whaaaaattt?”

“Raph? From lassssttt nigggghttt? Sino iyan, Yana?” She asked habang nanliliit parin ang mga mata saken.

“Errrr..”

“Akin na nga yan.” She snatched the phone away from me again.

Raph?

1 message received.
+6391788923**
Yeah, Raphael Perez. Kaw ha, kinakalimutan
mo na kagad ako.
=(

“Shit.” I said to myself na narinig ata ni Bea.

“Holy shit.” She said while locking her eyes at the cellphone’s screen. “Raphael Perez? You went out with him last night?”

“Well.. it was a dinner.. with.. with my parents.. and his? Alam mo yun.” I reasoned out.

“Ang defensive mo.” She then laughed. “Pakilala moko, Yans!”

“Ha?”

“Anong ‘ha’? Ayaw mo? Damot.”

“I mean, syempre, why not.” I flashed her a grin.

Oh right, I’m sorry. Kinda spaced out eh.
Hmmm, where’d ya get my number? You text?

1 message received.
+6391788923**
Oh, got it from a friend. He’s got a big crush on you
e. Hahahaaha. Err, just forgot to ask something.
:D

“Ang haba ng buhok mo, Yana…” She laughed again. “Kunin ko narin number niya ha? Pwede ko pa tong mabenta. Hahahaha.”

Hahaha. Yeah, right. Forgot? Ano pala?

1 message received.
+6391788923**
Oo. Hahaha. Big time! What’s your dress’ color pala?

“Ano sabi? Ano daw ang itatanong?”

“Ano daw color ng dress mo.”

“Aw, right. Di ko pala yun nasabi.”

“OMG.” She looked at me again. “Wag mong sabihing…. siya ang partner mo sa prom?!”

“Well.. kasi ano..” HIndi ko alam kung anong sasabihin ko.

“Bwahahahahhahahah!”

“Bakeettt?”

“Ang haba ng buhok mo!” She laughed again. “Oh, bilis na. Ano raw yung color ng dress mo?”

“Black.”

Right, I didn’t mention anything about it pala. My bad. Sorry. :]
Black.

1 message received.
Raph Perez
Ayoooon. Black. Okay. Thank you! See you on Friday.
=)


Sure, NP.
:D

“Waaaaahhh! See you on Friday dawwww!” Bea kept shrieking at me. “Ang sweet naman… nakuuu, start of something new ba?” Napatingin lang ako sa kanya.

“Ano ka ba noh? May 3-month rule tayo.”

“Kahit na no! Wala nga yan kay-”

“Kay?”

“Kay.. Basha.. sa One More Chance, diba? Heehhehe.”

“Tigilan mo nga ako sa ganyan Bea. Walang something new samin ni Raph. We’re jus-”

“Ano tawag mo? Raph? OMG. Close na kaagad kayo ha?! Hahahahaha.”

“We’re just friends. We’ll always be friends.” I smiled at her.

“Eh si Vince?”

“Errr.. ikaw nalang magyaya sa kanya.”

“Ako? Ba’t naman ako?”

“May date ka na?” I asked her. “Kungsabagay… marami ka namang boylets dun eh.”

“Actually, wala pa. Si Vince sana.. kaso kala ko kasi kayong dalawa ang magkasama.. but since Vince is out of the picture, ilalagay ko nalang ulit siya sa picture ko. Sana wag mang basted. Papatayin ko talaga siya no!”

“Hahahaha. Di yan…” I smiled softly to Bea.

February 22, 2008.
Prom Night – Middle Age Theme

Bea got Vince as her date. Di na nakapaghindi si Vincent since ininsist ni Bea na meron na daw akong date. Syempre, ginawa niya yun nang hindi ako kasama. I don’t want to be put in an awkward situation with Vince and my bestfriend no. Tsaka.. out of the picture na muna ako diyan. :D

So.. prom night na. Home service ang lola niyo. Raphael will be here in an hour. Nakaready na yung buhok and make up ko, bale retouch nalang ako mamaya before leaving the house. Ayoko rin naman kasing maghintay si Raph eh. Nakakahiya kaya yun.

1 message received.
Raph Perez
I’m on my way.
:)Black tuxedo lang ako.
Take your time. =D

Sure sure. Good. Thanks. Ingat.

1 message received.
Geek.
Huuuuiii. Excited na co!
Ano update diyan? Get a pic
of you and Raphael together ah?

Hahahha. Of course. =)
I’m all done. Retouch nalang
pagdating niya.

1 message received.
Geek.
Oh, good good. They’re still doing
my hair. Finish na make up co.
:)I’ll
be all done na rin by the time Vince
is here. :D

Hahaha. Wag pahintayin si Vince ha?
Be gorgeous, geek.
:D

1 message received.
Geek.
‘Course! Wonder who’s gotta
take the crown home tonight?

Hahaha. You shouldn’t wonder na.
Kay Gabby na yan.
:)

1 message received.
Oh really huh?
:DI’ve got a bet,
it’ll be between Gabby, Hannah, Kinny
and you. :D

Oh, ba’t nasali naman ako diyan?

1 message received.
Geek.
Eh friends tayo eh! Hahaha.
Cge na, I’ll text you later. Makeup
time na. Hihihihi.
:DMua. Ingat.

You too. TC. =)

So ayun nga, 5:30pm. I slipped on my ballgown and niretouch na nila yung makeup ko. Tama namang dumating si Raph. He waited daw at the living room with Dad. Chika-chika siguro sila? xD

“Raph’s here na.” Mom said and looked at me. “You are lovely.” She said while holding my shoulders.

“T-Thanks.” I smiled.

“Okay.. you go down na. No stress ha? Ingatan ang beauty.”

“Thanks Mom.” I hugged her and started walking outside my room. Dahan-dahan akong bumaba ng hagdan kasi medyo mabigat yung gown ko. Kasi nga diba, middle ages yung theme namen? So medyo.. yung pang ball talaga na gowns nuon sa France or England. Yung ganun. Bonggang-bongga talaga. Pati hair. =D

Then I saw Raph sitting with Dad at the living room. When they saw me approaching from upstairs, they stood up, Raph did and smiled at me.

“Lovely.” He said grinning.

I smiled at him and made a ladies’ bow. “Merci.” I grinned back.

“Shall we?” He took my hand and he bid goodbye to my parents. But then Mom insisted that we should take pictures daw muna kasi I still have an hour pa naman daw to get through to the hotel. Ayun, photoshoot muna. :D

Then pumasok kami sa car na dala niya.. he got a license na pala, so he can drive around na. Sabi niya nga dapat di siya uminom mamaya para di kami mapano.😄

Before I got down from the car, he looked at me.

“Oh right, muntik ko nang makalimutan. Here..” I put the corsage on his pocket sa chest and smiled at him. But he was still looking at me.

“Alam mo ang ganda mo.” He said and started chuckling.

“Yeah, right. Natatawa ako.” I said to him.

“Ha-ha-ha. At nagpapatawa talaga ako eh no?”

“Oh come on! Cut that one out for me Raph.”

“Seriously.. ang ganda mo. Kung ayaw mong maniwala edi wag. Wag ka lang mabigla kung sabihan ka din ng ganyan ng ibang lalake mamaya.” He said and got out of the car and opened the door for me. And who said chivalry is dead? *grins*

Nung papasok na kami ng hotel, I figured out na baka he’s serious nga.

“Raph?”

“Yep?” He turned to look at me while smiling.

“Thanks.” I smiled back.

“Thanks.. for? Being my date.. or being your date.. or.. for saying you’re beautiful?”

“For.. everything? You got a black tuxedo pa oh.” I held his tuxedo.

“Aww, right. Bummer nga ito eh. Pero okay lang. Kung ganito kaganda at katalino date ko, no problem with me.” He winked and chuckled again.

“Thanks.” I said and cut the conversation kasi baka kung san pa ito mapunta.

“Hindi pa ba natin bibilisan? Medyo late na tayo eh.” He smiled.

“Oh right.” So binilisan namen yung lakad papunta sa function hall. :)Then the doors opened and everyone stared at us. I kind of blushed kasi nakakahiya naman yun. Parang dramatic entrance. Kumpleto na yung lahat. I thought nga konti pa lang at kami yung mauuna. Sheeesssh. Nakakahiya.

“Dalhin mo nalang sila sa smile. Late pa naman tayo. Better give them something reasonable. You’re all pretty so dapat lang na malate.” He said in between gritted teeth while smiling to everyone.

“Right, thanks.” I smiled too. Bigla naman akong tinawag ni Bea so napaupo ako dun sa kanila. Nga lang, nung nakita ko ang mga tao sa table nila.. medyo napaatras ako at napadalawang isip. Rhys was sitting at Vincent’s left side.. Mukhang alphabetical order to ah. Bad. >.<

I looked at Bea pero nagwink nalang siya and looked at Raphael. She’s like saying.. ‘ayos lang, kasama mo naman si Raph’. So ayun nga, dumiretso kami dun sa table nila and sat down beside her.

“Hey Vince.” I smiled at Vince.

“Hey, Yana. Looking good.” He said and winked at me.

“Thanks.” Bigla naman akong sinipa ni Bea sa ilalim ng table. I looked at her and she pointed Raph. “Oh, right. Uhmm, Raph, these are my friends. Bea and her date, Vincent.. or Vince. Bea, Vince, this is my date, Raphael Perez.”

“You can call me Raph.” He grinned at them. “Nice meeting you.” He smiled at Bea. “Paree..” He greeted Vince and made some boyhood greeting with him. Something like that. So, ayun, usap usap and all. Then konting program, yung mga kachuchuhan like reading of the class prophecy, class history and everything else.

I looked at Vincent and Rhys na masayang nag-kukwentuhan sa gilid namen. I mean, akala ko ba nagkasapukan ito? Friends na sila? Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad na nagkaayos sila, pero wasn’t it really fast? Ibang-iba talaga ang mga lalaki sa mga babae no?

We chatted happily at the table naman. Everyone was laughing kasi “gago” daw si Raph kung si Vincent pa. Kahit sina Rhys and Gabby nakisabay na rin sa kagaguhan ni Raph. Ayos naman siya.

“He’s really nice pala talaga noh? Parang ang gaan-gaan ng feeling ko kay Raph.” She smiled.

“Yeah.”

“And.. he’s damn cute.” She winked. Hindi na ako nakapagsalita kasi nagtayuan na ang karamihan. First dance na pero I’m not sure kung sasayaw kami ni Raph.

But when I was about to ask him, he was standing at my front na and smiling.

“Can I have this dance.. with.. you?”

Napanganga ako sa kanya. I looked around and some of the girls were looking at the two of us. Then I caught Rhys glancing at my way. I smiled at Raph.

“Sure.” =)

26.1

26.

We went to the dancefloor and I had my first dance with Raphael Perez. Everyone was looking and I couldn’t be more happier. I mean, I’m not thinking of a romantic relationship with this guy, but it’s kind of good to know to meet another person who makes you look like you’ve lost nothing.. no one.

“I really owe you a lot..” I whispered to Raph.

“Yeah, you owe me big time.” He grinned.

“Yeah, I know.” I smiled at him. “Thanks a lot.”

“Oh come on, let’s enjoy the night. Bukas mo nalang ako pasalamatan.” He winked at me and spinned me around. So medyo nabigla ako kasi we were doing a slow dance kasi nga first dance diba? So medyo nabigla talaga ako and even yung magpartners sa gilid ko. Napatingin ako sa kanya. Then he pulled me back again and he chuckled. “Oh, sorry.” He said. I chuckled with him nalang din.

“Small world, don’t you think?” He smirked.

“Yeah, indeed.”

“The first time I saw drinking coffee at the shop, you were with those two guys I just met.”

“Really?”

“I noticed.. you’re more intimate with the other guy though.. than Vincent.”

“You mean..”

“Rhys.” He whispered.

I moved my eyes away from his gaze para maitago ko ang storya sa likod ng aking mga mata.

“And you know what, the second time I saw that girl, she was crying.. so hard. Sa tingin mo, dahil kaya sa lalaking yun?” He moved his eyes to Rhys’ direction and I followed his gaze. I saw Rhys dancing with Gabby and I couldn’t help but feel a pang of jealousy.

“Y-Yeah.” I whispered to Raph.

“Hindi ko alam kung anong storya ninyong dalawa, but I have a big feeling that he’ll regret this whole thing.” He smiled at me. Natawa ako ng konti kay Raphael. Hindi ko alam, pero feeling ko alam na alam niya kung anong nangyayari.

“Alam mo, your eyes doesn’t shine anymore.”

“Ha?”

“Compared sa first time kitang nakita with those two guys, your eyes were the brightest at pakiramdam ko, it was screaming of happiness. The second time I saw you, it was kind of fading.”

“Second time? Yun na ba yung umiiyak ako?”

“Hindi. Kasama mo si Vincent nun.”

“Nandun ka din?”

“Yeah. I always drink coffee there.” He smirked.

“Eh bakit dun pa? Malayo naman yun sa school mo?”

“Hmm, maybe kasi I was waiting to see that ‘girl’ I’ve seen before?”

“It’s not me, right?”

“Wrong.”

“Aisshh, Raph naman eh. That’s not even a joke!” I scowled at him.

“Hahahaha. Anyway, yun nga.” He looked at Rhys again. “He’s actually looking at you.” He smiled at me.

“Oh.”

“Bakit naman kasi hinde, napakaganda mo kaya. Probably, nagsusumamo na yun.” He laughed. “Goodluck.” He leaned and whispered on my ear.

Then suddenly, switch partners. I was surprised when I found myself in Rhys’ arms and smiling face.

“Hey.” He said while smiling.

“Hey.” I said and smiled back at him.

“Hmm.. you look good tonight.” He said. “No, you always look good..” He shook his head. Nakatingin lang ako kay Rhys, naghihintay ng “joke” at the end of what he said. Pero wala eh. Nakatingin lang din siya saken.

“Thank you.” I said. “It’s good to know that you and Vincent are friends again.” He just smiled.

Silence.

Silence.

Silence.

It was damn deafening. And again, it hurt like hell.

“Y-Yana..” He broke the silence and I flinched.

“Hm?”

“N-Nothing.” He said and smiled again.

“Yeah?”

“So you’re.. really going to.. France?” He asked nervously. I can see at his eyes that he’s hesitant to open the topic about it. I don’t know why.. but his eyes said it all. It seemed like.. ayaw niyang marinig ang sagot ko. In which he exactly knows kung ano.

I looked far away and smiled to myself.  “Yeah.”

“Right. I thought so too. You should go. It’s a very.. good opportunity.” He let out a heavy breath and smiled.

“Yeah. I’ve seen that. Sayang naman kung hindi ko kukunin.” I smiled back at him.

“Well.. congratulations.”

“Thanks.”

“And.. I’ll always be-”

Then switch places. He looked at me while dancing at Katie’s arms then he smiled like, ‘nevermind’.

I’ll always be.. what?

After ng first dance, announcement na kaagad ng prom queen and king. Yeah, may prom king. Yung votes and nomination will be taken from the girls parin. So.. yoon. We sat down at our table na while others are still dancing parin.

“Yana, sayaw tayo.” Vince asked me so napatayo narin ako at sumayaw kami ni Vincent. =)Then after awhile, napagod na ako, so umupo na ulit kami and everyone was laughing sa table namin kasi Raphael was making his banat na naman to everyone, you know.. the jokes. ;)

But Rhys.. he’s super quiet. Yung parang.. ang lalim ng iniisip niya. He doesn’t even talk to Gabby that much. So medyo, napaisip din ako kung bakit siya nagkakaganyan. I mean, it’s Rhys. Nung kami pa, kwento siya ng kwento. Tapos ang kulet kulet niya pa. Pero bakit ngayon..

“Hello ladies and gentlemen.” We heard Ms. Gauchingco taking the mic so napatingin kaming lahat sa stage. “You all look gorgeous and handsome. But of course, there will always be one.. who will stand out. One from the our gentlemen and one from our ladies.” She smiled and everyone cheered. “And don’t be sad if your bet’s do not make it to the final judgment.” She winked and an enveloped was passed to her. “So here goes for our nominations.. for PROM KING!” Everyone clapped and cheered again. “Josef Penuela!”

Josef whatever ran to the stage and everyone cheered for him. “Vincent Yap!” Napatingin kami kay Vincent.

“Aba.. may nagnominate.” I teased him. He just smiled and went upstairs. Syempre si Bea, super saya kasi nominated ang partner.

“.. two more, Rhys Romualdez and Raphael Perez!” Syempre nagkatuwaan na sa table namen kasi hamakin mo, karamihan sa nominated andun lang sa gilid namin, mga escort lang namen. Raph and Rhys went up stage together. Syempre, napasigaw sigaw din kami ni Gabby.

“Wow.. look at these four guys. Indeed, they all deserve to be right up here and be crowned as Prom King. Right girls?!”

“Wooooooooooohhhhhhhhhhh!!”

“And now.. for our Prom Queen! Come on right here, Gabrielle Altuna!” Gabby as expected. We cheered. She smiled at me before going up the stage. “Ashley Uy!” Umakyat din si Ashley and smiled at everyone. “Pauline Jimenez!” Umakyat din si Pauline at ngiting-ngiti sa lahat. “And.. Miss Strasbourgh Juliana Antonio!” Bea and I looked at each other. No, this can’t be happening. Pano ako napunta diyan sa nominations?! Bea winked at me and pushed me up stage. I just smiled at everyone and Raph winked at me.

“Ano to, sabotahe?” I whispered to myself.

“Hindi, you really deserve to be up here.” Raph whispered at me and smiled.

“Oh.” Yung iba napa.. ‘ayyyyeeeee, sweeeetttt!’ and all.

Napatahimik nalang ako at napatayo sa gilid.

“Can I see the nominees? Come on! Josef Penuela! Vincent Yap! Raphael Perez! Rhys Romualdez!” Yung apat na lalaki pumunta sa harap at ngumiti lang. “Very nice! Very handsome guys! Right, girls?”

“Woooooooooohhhhhhhhh!”

“Now for your Prom Queen nominees, may I have Gabrielle Altuna! Ashley Uy! Pauline Jimenez! And Juliana Antonio!!” Pumunta kami sa harap and smiled at everybody. Hiyang-hiya pa ako kasi.. duh, parang spot the difference yung dating ko dito no. Although its really flattering to be up here. :]

Then may binigay na naman na envelope kay Miss.

“Woooooooooooooooohhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!” Everyone made some noise again.

“Wow, okay! The votes were tallied! That was really fast, thank you Prom Committee!” She smiled sweetly at the girls na nasa gilid ng stage. “What do you want.. the Prom queen or the Prom king?!”

“Proooooooommmmmmmm Kiiiiiiiiiiinnnnnnggggggggg!!”

“I thought so too. So here it goes..” She opened the envelope and her eyes widened and she smiled. “Our Prom King iss…..”

*drumrolls*

“Rappphh!!SeefffffRhyyysssssVinceeeeeeeeeee!!!!”

“Our Prom King for 2008 is…”

*drumrolls*

“Rhys Romualdez!!!!!” Everyone cheered and Rhys went to the centerstage. “Congratulations, Rhys. Make your speech.”

“Woooooooohhhhhhhh!”

“Hey.. uhm, thank you for this.” He pointed his crown. “This is terrific! Let’s rock!”

“Wooooooohhhhhhhhh!!”

“Thank you, Mr. Romualdez. Now for your Prom Queennnn!”

*drum rolls*

“GabbbbbbbbYanaAshhhPauiiiiiiii!!”

“Our Prom Queen is.. Gabrielle Altuna!!”

“Wooooooooohhhhhhhhhhh!”

As expected. =)Gabby will get the crown. Don’t you think they look good together? I do. They went center stage and held the crown at his head. Geez. I don’t know what’s gotten into me, but for a second there, honestly, I was expecting the teacher would actually call my name. Funny, I know. ;)

Well, I guess that’s it for tonight.

The Prom King and Queen,
Gabby and Rhys.

Who else? :D

“Hey, I had a great time.” I said to Raph when he dropped me off at my house.

“Same here.” He grinned.

“Thanks again. I’ll.. go ahead. Bye.” I said and rang on the doorbell. When the gate opened, Raph held my right arm. I turned around and looked at my arm with his loose grip. “Something wrong?”

“That guy.. Rhys, right?”

“Huh?”

“Is he.. nevermind.” He said and smiled at me. “Good night. See you around.” Then he turned around and got in his car. Ni hindi lang man ako nakapagsalita. Nagkibit balikat nalang ako at pumasok ng bahay.

Graduation. March 19, 2008.

Hindi ko alam kung anong nararamdaman ko. Parang excited akong magcollege and at the same time, ayoko pang magcollege. A few weeks before the graduation, everyone was busy deciding kung san papasok sa college. Karamihan samen, sa Ateneo papasok, yung iba sa UP at Lasalle. Parang yan lang ata ang tatlo na papasukan nila. Yung iba, lalabas ng bansa.. kagaya ko. :|

“Geeeeekkkk!”

“Beea.” I smiled at her.

“Go right up there, gandahan mo ang speech mo, make it true and all.. then, it’s goodbye.” Bea smiled at me while a tear fell from her eyes.

“Not now. You’ll smudge your mascara all over your face.” I grinned at her and went upstage.

“…the future is not in our hands, but if we make it right, with the help of the Lord, we can make it. No matter how hard and high our goals are, as long as we are determined and focus, we will never ever fail. Today will be the last day of us being called, high school students or high school girls furthermore, today will be the start of a new journey that we will all explore. I wish you all the best in life and let us don’t forget each other. Let’s always remember our bonds, our friendship, our camaraderie that we formed here at Lourdes Academy. Thank you and may God bless us all.”

Just after I went down the stage, my tears started falling. And as Miss Huyett shouted, “Congratulations, graduates!”, it didn’t help me at all.

Mixed emotions, they would say. I feel happy because I’ve finally finished one part of my life, sad because I’m leaving my friends, scared because I will be in a new environment after a short while, hurt because…

I still wasn’t able to say goodbye at Rhys – for real and for good.

26.2

“I’m so gonna miss you guys!” Hariette told us. The girls gathered for one last group picture.. kahit anong poses na, super saya and super lungkot.

We were all crying so hard, hugging each other and smiling for the cameras.

“Vincennntttt!” Bea shouted kaya napalingon ako. And there was Vincent smiling widely at Bea with flowers on his right hand. “Awww, you brought me flowers.”

“Yeah, I did. Congratulations!” He said and hugged Bea. Nga pala, nagkamabutihan na ang dalawang ito simula nung prom. Laging nagchichill and napakashowbiz. Iniinsist na “friends” lang daw talaga sila. Yeah, right! Like that one works. Hahahhaa. But it’s good, at least, he found someone na gusto din siya. ;)“And.. for Yana, congratulations!” He said and I hugged him too.

“Rhys!” I heard Gabby shouted at nowhere so medyo napalingon kaming tatlo nina Vincent. I saw Gabby throwing her body to Rhys and Rhys caught her up fast and hold on to her firmly.

Ouch.

That’s one thing I wasn’t able to do with Rhys.

“Congratulations!” Rhys smiled at Gabby and kissed her on the cheeks.

Ouch.

That’s another thing we weren’t able to do.. kiss.

“Congratulations, Gabby.” Narinig ko ang boses ng mother ni Rhys and when I moved my eyes on the left, I saw his whole family walking towards Gabby and his Mom hugging her.

Hindi ko alam kung anong naramdaman ko, pero isa yun sa mga pangyayari sa buhay ko na hindi ko maialis-alis ang aking mga mata sa tinitingnan ko.. na dapat, kanina ko pa inalis.

Ouch.

His family never liked me.

That’s when I saw his eyes wandered around the coliseum, then it stopped when he caught my eyes. It was like before.. yung tingin na yun, yung tingin niya na nakakatunaw, yung tingin niya na alam mong madaming bagay nasa isip niya at iisa-isahin niya yun kapag nag-uusap kayo.. yung tingin niya na sumisigaw na ‘mahal kita’… that look.. that look..that look, that one I fell for.

Then he gave me a sad smile.
That’s when I heard a loud sound of shattered glasses.
My heart will never be fixed. Never.

His mom followed his gaze at dun niya ako nakita. I couldn’t look at her straightly. But she gave me a nod and one fourth of her smile compared to onewhole to Gabby. I smiled in return and went back to talking to Bea and Vincent.

Bea and Vince gave me a comforting smile.

“Soo, see you at the party mamayang gabi ha?” I said to Bea and Vince.

“Sure, no problem.” Sabi ni Bea then naglakad na ako papunta kina Daddy na kinakausap ang teachers ko and some of the parents ng mga studyante na friends nila ni Mommy.

“Mom, comforts lang muna ako. I’ll be back.” I said to Mom and excused myself.

Dumaan ako sa hallway ng Lourdes trying to memorize every angle of it. Matatagalan din bago ako bumalik dito. I’m not even sure if makakabalik pa ako. The thing is, this school will always be with my heart. Always.

“Yana..”

“R-Rhys..” I was surprised to see him leaning on the wall opposite of the girl’s comfort room. Huminga siya ng malalim at inayos ang pagkakatayo niya.

“Congratulations.” He said in a deep, husky voice.

“T-Thank you. Ikaw din, congratulations.” I said to him kasi gagraduate narin siya sa susunod na araw.. and I don’t think I’ll have the chance to say it personally sa saktong araw na yun.

He looked at me straight in the eyes and here goes ‘something’ from his stare that makes my knees weaken.

“Hmmm, I just-”

“I dont know-”

“Ikaw na.” I said to him awkwardly.

“No, you first.”

“Well, I just want to say.. good bye.” I smiled at him.

He smirked. “Hindi mo ba pwedeng sabihin iyan before ka umalis ng bansa? Like.. sa September.”

“Hindi. I’m leaving tomorrow.” I said in almost a whisper, then I met his gaze.

For a second there, I saw his face turned into a blank. It was as if he was looking past me.

“Ha? Bukas? Bakit naman? Diba.. diba sa Septe-”

“Kumuha ako ng advance classes para naman mas mapadali yung pag-aaral ko. Hindi kasi pasado yung curriculum ng Philippines sa curriculum nila. May mga classes na kelangan kong kunin before proceeding to my major.” I smiled at him.

“Ahh.. ganun ba.”

“Yeah.” Silence. “So.. ano nga pala ulit ang sasabihin mo?”

“Right.” Huminga siya ulit ng malalim. “Take care.” He suddenly hugged me and when I thought it wouldn’t end, he let go and ran away from me.

That was too fast ni hindi ako nakapagsalita sa nangyari. He just suddenly disappeared at the corridor. All that was left of him in my mind was the running figure of Rhys.

Take care.

That was all he had to say.. and he waited right outside the girl’s comfort room just to say that. I don’t get it. I don’t. Gusto kong umiyak at that instant, pero wala ng luha ang natira sa mga mata ko.

I slowly walked down the aisle back to the coliseum. Everyone was almost leaving. Mom and Dad was waiting for me at the entrance of Lourdes. Nang makarating ako sa kinatatayuan nila, I looked around for Rhys, then nakita ko siyang umakyat sa kotse nila with Gabby. I had my one last look on him.

RHYS.
I guess, this is goodbye.
This is really goodbye.


[PLAYING: KEEPER (chorus) – Yellowcard]

“Raphael, thank God you could come!” Inakbayan ko si Raphael pagpasok niya sa bahay that night.

“Of course, aalis ka na bukas tapos di pa kita sisiputin ngayon? Nu ka ba?!” He laughed kaya natawa narin ako.

“Hahhaa, loko. Tara, pasok na.”

Syempre, madami ang masaya kasi andito si Raphael. Life of the party ata ang lalaking to. Charismatic. Lol. So ayun nga, party party.

Then at the middle of the night, Raphael asked me to go to the poolside-area.

“Why, may gift ka saken?” I teased him.

“Nope. I already gave you my gift. But I want to give you something that you will always remember.” He smiled at me sounding so serious and led me to the pool area.

It was quieter out there. Konti lang yung mga tao. Mostly mga nakatambay sa pool area, mga sweethearts na nag-uusap at yung mga getting to know each other. The lights were dimmed and candles were lit.

“Hmm, so where’s your gift?” I looked around trying to find out what is his gift for me.

Ngumiti siya saken and extended his right arm towards my direction.

PLAYING: Can I have this Dance? – HSM3

“Can I have this dance?” He smirked.

Napatingin ako kay Raphael, looked around and tried to listen to the surroundings.

“But.. there’s no music.” I told him while smiling at him.

“Nevermind the music.” He chuckled.

“Oh. Sige.” I answered and gave him my hand. Then I just found myself slow-dancing with him with our shoes off, under the twinkling stars.. and to make it special, we found the rhythm to follow with no music at all.

“Too bad, I wasn’t able to spend a lot of time with you.” He whispered and I shivered at his breath near my ears.

“Nahhh, you had your chance before.” I answered back, trying to point out those ‘you-see-me-in-the-coffee-shop’ days.

“Yeah, pero of course, you wouldn’t talk to me or be close with me naman because you got those two guys.”

“Y-you’re right.”

“Then.. almost a month pa lang nga tayong magkakilala, tapos we don’t chill more often pa, here you are, saying goodbye to everyone kasi you’ll spend your four years of existence to some place very far away from here. I mean-”

“You mean?”

“I mean, kung san close na tayo or kung san I’ve known you a whole lot better, dun ka naman aalis.”

I looked at Raphael and he turned away trying to avoid my gaze. He sounds so different, but still sweet. He sounded like a little boy na iiwanan ng mother pero ayos lang sa kanya.

“You know what, I promise I’ll be here for your birthday.” I smiled at him.

“Next year?”

“Err, no. Not too soon.”

“19th birthday then?”

“Nope. That’ll be two years from now. How about the last year of my college?”

“Won’t you be that busy already?”

“Hmm, not to me for you.” I smiled sweetly at him.

“Then, twenty-first birthday it is.” He smiled at me. “You should promise me.”

I looked at Raphael. His eyes are so honest and sincere. Honestly, I can sometimes see my Kuya’s eyes at him when we were kids. When his classmates would come at my house and make fun of me, then he would get angry with them. Then pinupuntahan niya ako sa kwarto while I was crying. He would talk to me and say sorry.. and he would promise me na hindi na ulit mangyayari iyon. Kuya’s eyes would scream sincerity and apology. And Raph’s stares remind me a lot of Kuya’s.

“I promise.”

7:45 am. Flight to Paris. NAIA.

Ihahatid ako ni Mommy sa Paris. She’ll find me a place muna and make sure that I’m settled comfortably before she goes back here at Philippines.

It’s sad to know that the time has finally come for me to say goodbye to friends. Paris is not that near and accessible to all of us. Kahit may pera kami to buy tickets from here to there or vice versa, ayoko namang sayangin lang yun just to see my friends and family again whenever I feel sad or anything as such.

Maybe I’ll like Paris. Maybe.. I’ll learn to love Paris. Maybe I’ll find friends there, hindi katulad kina Bea pero okay nadin. Maybe I’ll also find someone who’d kill the time with me.

MAYBE.

“Yana, I’m gonna miss you a lot.” Sabi ni Bea habang yakap-yakap niya ako. We were both crying. “Mag-iingat ka dun ah? Tsaka.. matuto kang magsalita ng French so that they won’t trick you or something. Plus.. sabi ni Jenica, remember her? You should bring a condom daw everywhere you go.” She whispered to me.

Syempre, natawa ako. What is this girl thinking?

“So you think I’m going to do it?”

“Of course not! Baka lang? Okay? You have nothing to lose. Just be safe.” She said and kissed me. “Waaah, I’m so gonna miss you!”

“I’m gonna miss you too. Ingat ka din ah? Really, Bey. Take care of yourself.” I suddenly burst out crying and we hugged each other again.

Dumating din naman kaagad si Raphael and Vincent.

“Take care.” Vincent said to me habang niyayakap niya ako. “I wouldn’t be there to cover up for you.” Napatigil ako at napatingin kay Vincent. Then he winked. “Just kidding. Take care. Be the best that you can be.” He smiled and let go of me.

“Oh, ba’t andito ka?” I asked him.

“Aish, ang sama mo naman.” He said and started walking away.

I laughed. “Lika nga dito.” I suddenly hugged him and he hugged me back. “You take care of yourself.”

“Ikaw din. Basta, I’m just an IM away. Okay? Or a call away.. or an email away. So, I’ll be right here.”

“I know.. same here.” I smiled at him. “Promise.”

“Promise too.”

Then suddenly, pinage na yung mga passengers for the flight to get in of the departure area. I hugged all of them..si Dad din, before getting in. What makes me a lot more sad is the fact that “this” person never arrived to say goodbye. Maybe this is indeed reality. This is what God is telling me. Forget everything you had and have for him kasi hindi kami para sa isa’t-isa. Worse is, he forgot everything we’ve had already. So I should do the same.

Goodbye Philippines.
Goodbye Rhys.

PLAYING: One Year and Six Months – Yellowcard

27.1

RHYS’ POV […]

“She’s really leaving, huh?”

“Yep.” He nodded.

Napatingin ako sa kawalan habang hawak-hawak ang bote ng beer.

“Hindi na ba talaga siya mapipigilan?”

“Bakit, may plano kang pigilan siya?” Napatingin ako sa kanya.

“Wala.”

“Hindi rin naman siya papipigil. Siguro kung may isang taong makakapagpigil sa kanyang lumabas ng bansa.. alam mo kung sino yun.”

Pinatong ko ang beer sa mesa at tumayo.

“Salamat sa oras.” Dahan-dahan akong naglakad palabas ng resto.

“Rhys!” Napalingon ako at napatingin sa kanya.

“Hayaan mong alagaan ko siya habang wala ka.”

“Hindi na ako babalik sa kanya.”

“Hayaan mong alagaan ko siya.”

“Hindi. Kung meron mang isang taong ipagpapaubaya ko si Yana, hindi ikaw yun Raphael Perez. Hindi ikaw yun.” My fists turned into a ball.

“Just let me try, Romualdez. Just let me try.”

Napatingin ako kay Raphael Perez. Ewan ko ba, pero parang nakita ko ang sarili ko sa kanya. Marahil, siya ang bagay kay Yana. Marahil, matutulungan niya si Yana. Malamang, pwede sila.

“Just.. love her..” Sabi ko sa kanya. “More than I do.”

I got on my car and left Perez standing there. I want to make everything right. And I should start with Yana. Me and Yana.

5:30 AM.

Should I say goodbye?

NO.

Should I say goodbye?

YES.

Tumayo ako at kumuha ng tshirt.

NO.

Humiga ulit ako sa kama at napatingin sa kisame ng kwarto ko.
I put on my shorts and started running my way to the garage. I need to say goodbye, I need to see her one last time. Then after this, I promise, WALA NA. Last na talaga to.

Nakasakay na ako ng eroplano, pero walang Rhys na dumating. Siguro nga this is real life. Walang last moment na ‘please-dont-go’ effect. Walang ganun ganun. :(

“Paalam.” I whispered to myself. I do hope he hears it.


— continuation of Rhys’ POV.

It has been two years since she left. I’ve heard nothing from her again. Bea and I would usually bump into each other during parties or night outs, but we never got the chance to open up a topic about her. And besides, I’m kind of happy with Gabby narin. She’s been really sweet and supportive and all. I don’t think it’s right to have contact pa with Yana or anything as such. Although alam kong hinding-hindi ko siya makakalimutan.

And yes..I’m trying so hard to give up on her.

“Hey, Rhys!” Bigla akong napalingon at nakita si Bea.

“Bea.. kumusta na?” I asked.

“Ayos naman.. been months since we last saw each other.” She then looked around. “Where’s Gabby?”

“Hmm, di kami magkasama. She has a class eh. I’ll meet her around 7.” I smiled.

“Ohhh.. Anyway, nagkita ba kayo ni Yana?” Bigla akong napatingin kay Bea.

“Nagkita?”

“Yeah. She was here kaya last week.” She smiled again. “I mean.. I don’t mean anything by this naman ha? It’s been years narin since you parted ways, so I know wala na..” She smiled innocently.

“Right.” I sipped on my cup. “Hmm, we weren’t able to see each other. Ni hindi ko nga alam na bumalik siya.” I chuckled.

“Gabby didn’t mention?”

“No.” I shook my head. “Teka, alam ba ni Gabby?”

“Yeah, of course. We had an-all girls nightout kaya last Saturday.” Nagsimula na siyang magtaka.

“Right. She mentioned na lalabas kayo.. pero she didn’t mention na bumalik si Yana.”

“Oh. Maybe she just forgot.” She smiled and looked outside the window. “Vincent will be here any minute now.” She smiled again. “You might want to catch up with each other.”

“Yeah sure. Matagal-tagal ko narin siyang di nakikita.”

7pm, Ateneo.

“Hey babe.” Gabby kissed me.

“Hey..”

“Something wrong?”

“Wala naman.” Pilit kong ngumiti sa kanya. “Hmm, you had a nightout with the Lourdes girls last Sat diba?”

“Yeah.. why?”

“Yana was there, right?”

“O-oo. Bakit?” :|

“Hmm, hindi mo namention saken.” :)

“H-hindi ba? Well, yeah. She came back for a vacation. Break daw sa kanila e.”

“Ahhh..”

“Why are you askin?”

“Wala lang. Nagkita kami nina Vincent kanina e, Bea mentioned that you had a nightout daw nung Saturday.. with Yana.” Hindi ko inalis ang mata ko sa daan. I’m afraid that if I look at Gabby, my eyes will betray me.

“Ba’t mo tinatanong?” Her voice sounded firm and it was asking for an answer.

Tumahimik lang ako.

“Rhys, tinatanong kita! Ba’t moko tinatanong tungkol kay Yana?!”

“Gabby, don’t make such a big deal about this. I’m just asking.” I answered calmly.

She suddenly turned silent and then I heard sobs.

“Crap! Ba’t ka umiiyak?” Hininto ko ang sasakyan sa gilid and then I looked at her. “Gabby, come on..”

“You still love her.. huhuhu.. you still do.”

“No Gabby..”

“No! You stil do Rhys!”

“I dont.. ano ba.. I love you.”

“Si Yana parin.. si Yana..”

“Gabby, hinde. Ikaw ang mahal ko. I was just asking kasi magkaibigan rin naman kami.. it doesnt mean na mahal ko parin siya..”

“No..”

“Gabby.. ikaw ang mahal ko.. okay?” I held her face and stared at her eyes. “Ikaw.”

“Rhys..”

“I love you.” And I kissed her.

I do, right?

Chapter 27.2

Labas-pasok ako ng Philippines for so many times, pero sa mga uwi kong iyon, I never had the chance to see “him”. Hindi ko alam. Maybe hindi niya alam na umuuwi ako dito, pero to think of that Gabby and I go out everytime umuuwi ako, it’s weird and hindi kapani-paniwala na wala talaga siyang may narinig sa pag-uwi ko.

Or maybe.. wala na talaga.

5 years had gone so fast. I couldn’t believe that I’ve finally come back here at my beloved country – successful and proud. :)

“Anbilis lang ng five years diba?” He asked me while hugging me from the back. “And I couldn’t believe that you’ll be forever here with me.” I looked at him and smiled softly.

“Sama ka saken tomorrow, I’m gonna visit Dad on his company.”

“Of course. It’s been awhile since I last saw Tito.” Silence. All I heard was the beating of his heart. “I love you.” He whispered at my ears.

“I love you too.” I answered back.


I do, right?

“Vincentttt!! I can’t believe I’m seeing youuuuu!” I screamed and hugged Vincent Yap.

“Yannnaaa! Arayyy… I can’t breatheee!”

“Wala kang hiyaaa! Pumunta ka ng Paris, di moko kinontact!!”

“I’m so sorrry. 24 hours lang naman kasi ako dun! Busy pa! Nasa meeting hall lang kaya ako!”

“Kahittt na nooo!” Binatukan ko siya ng mahina at kumalas naman kaagad si Vincent. “Nasan yung girlfriend mo?” I asked.

“Mamaya pa yung dismissal nun sa work. Alam mo naman, mahilig mag OT.” He grinned. “Tara, kaen muna tayo.”

“Errr, sige sige.” I grinned back.

“San mo gusto?”

“Hmmm, KFCCC!!”

“KFC?! Wala ba yan sa Paris?”

“Meron, pero di ako kumakain dun e. Iba talaga yung KFC dito sa MOA.” I smiled at Vincent.

“Sure ka?”

“Oo, tara na.” I dragged him to his car and we just laughed together.

Sobrang namiss ko yung bonding na to with Vincent and the others. Pakiramdam ko, bumalik ako sa high school. I missed a lot of these stuffs while I was in Paris. :)

“Kumusta na pala kayo ni Raph?” He asked.

“Ayos naman kami.” I smiled. “He’s very happy na dito ako magtatrabaho.”

“Bakit, may plano ka ba dati na dun na din sa labas magtatrabaho?”

“Sana. But I changed my mind. Pareho lang naman yung offer. What I can earn there, I can earn here. Plus, my life is really here.” I smiled again and looked at him.

“So.. nagkita na ba kayo nina Rhys?”

Bigla akong napatahimik.

“I’m sorry.” He suddenly said.

“No, wala iyon.” I chuckled. “It’s been a long time na din. I’ve let go.” I smiled. “Hindi pa e.”

“Oh. Okay.”

We got down from the car at pumasok na sa mall.

“Gosh, I missed MOA.”

Vincent chuckled. “Dapat di ako kasama mo dito e.” :P

“Vincent?!” Hinampas ko siya ng mahina and we laughed again.

“Loko lang.” He continued laughing.

Then I found myself standing sa harap ng KFC. Hindi ko alam, pero parang everything in the past flashed right back at me. Everything. Everyone.

Napatingin lang ako sa counter ng KFC.

“Pasok na tayo?” Vincent asked.

“Oh, right.” I smiled.

Dinala ako ni Vincent dun sa gilid na table. Kokonti lang yung vacant and yun yung medyo okay.

“Order lang ako, okay?”

“Sige. Sure. You know what I eat.” I grinned.

“Sure.”

Then Vincent disappeared. Napatingin lang ako sa mga taong nakaupo dun sa foodchain. Dun ko napansin ang lalaking nakaupo sa mesa 3 tables away from me. RHYS. Hindi ko madescribe kung anong naramdaman ko the first time I saw him for five years. Biglang lumakas yung kabog ng dibdib ko, bigla akong di makahinga, bigla kong naalala ang lahat. Bigla kong nasabi sa sarili ko that I missed him so much.

Ibang-iba na siya. He looked more mature, happier, contented and very very handsome. But in his eyes, si RHYS parin na minahal ko noon… at patuloy na minamahal.

“Uy, Rhys!” Bati ni Vince sa kanya. I was still observing from afar at bigla akong napatalikod sa kanila. Hindi ko alam, pero parang hindi ko pa kayang harapin si Rhys.

Then after awhile, lumapit na saken si Vincent na ngiting-ngiti.

“Ba’t ka nakangiti?” I asked, kunwari di ko nakita na andun si Rhys.

“Uyyyy. Ikaw. Andito si Rhys o.” Tinuro niya si Rhys sakin kaya ako naman, pa pretend, kunwari, sinundan ko din yung direksyon na tinuro niya. “Ayooooonnn.”

Nang tumingin ako sa direksyon na tinuturo ni Vincent, nakita kong nakangiti na si Rhys.. nakangiti nga siya, pero hindi nakangiti ang kanyang mga mata. I smiled back at him.

Then she turned around.
And smiled at me. Crap.

Gabby.

“Wala na diba?” Vincent asked.

“Wala na.” I answered confidently.

“Share nalang tayo ng table dun.” yaya ni Vincent saken.

“Ha? Won’t we be disturbing them?”

“Nahhh, lagi naman silang magkasama e. Minsan lang naman to. Lika na.” Kaya napatayo nalang ako at napasunod kay Vincent. Tumabi naman si Gabby kay Rhys and Vincent and I sat at the other side of the table kaharap sila.

I smiled at Rhys and Gabby, but my eyes were fixed on him. His gaze were fixed on me too. Then I smiled again. “Been a long time.” I said to him.

“Oo nga eh. I heard lagi kang andito sa Pinas.” He said. Tumahimik lang naman si Gabby and Vincent sa gilid.

“Yeah. We had fun nga diba?” I asked Gabby. She chuckled.

“Oo kaya. We would always go out and drink.” She started laughing. “It seemed like everytime umuuwi si Yana, nagkakaroon ng reunion ang Lourdes.”

“Uy, pati din yung Ateneo boys. Maliban dito sa ugag na tuh o!” Sabi ni Vincent, tumawa nalang kaming apat. Si Rhys din, dinaan lang sa ngiti-ngiti.

SILENCE.

30minutes and more, nakaupo lang kami dun at nag-usap usap. Nalaman ko that Rhys is working for his father, while Gabby is under an ad agency. Mostly sa mga topics na pinag-usapan namen, it was about college and the present. Walang high school. I know why. We all know why. And I know you know why too. :)

*kriiinggg. *krrriiinnggg.

“Bea.. finish na?.. what? Puntahan kita? Ngayon na, of course.. sige sige. Andito si Yana.. Oh, okay. Okay. I’ll be there. Bye.” Napatingin lahat kami kay Vince.

“Is there a problem?” I asked worriedly.

“Well, something went wrong with her report e, I have to check it again sa laptop niya.”

“So you’re going there?”

“Yeah.” He turned to Rhys. “Pare, una nako. Gabby? Tara Yana.. Emergency e.”

“Nakuu.. basta girlfriend talaga..” Gabby laughed.

“Hehehe. Sensya na ah. Let’s chill soon.” He said and tumayo na.

I followed Vincent.

“Una narin ako. Take care. It’s nice seeing you both again.” I smiled.

“Ingat ah?” Sabi ni Rhys kay Vincent. “Ingatan mo.”

“Hahahaha. Syempre.”

I waved goodbye to the two of them at lumabas na kami ni Vincent sa kFC.

“Is it really okay if I go with you sa office niya?”

Vincent turned to me. “What do you mean?”

“Hmmm, it’s an office work. Baka di ako pwede dun. Alam mo naman kaming dalawa. BFFs. Hindi yun makakaconcentrate.”

“Pero hindi naman pwedeng-”

“Tawag nalang ako kay Dad and magpapasundo ako dito.”

“But Yana-”

**krinnnggg. krrriiingggg.

“See? You’re in a hurry. I’ll be okay.” I smiled.

“Okay. Take care.” He smiled doubtedly and went on his way.

I looked around the mall and started strolling. Then I checked my phone, it was almost 10pm. Kaya nagmadali na akong lumabas ng mall. I tried calling Dad pero mukhang nasa dinner meeting siguro. I tried calling Mom, pero wala ring sumasagot. Then I tried calling Raph, but he isn’t answering din. So I stood outside, hopeless. I was waiting for a taxi, but natatakot din akong sumakay ng taxi kasi mag-isa lang ako. Seriously. Baka san pako dalhin niyan no.

“Yana!” Someone shouted from afar kaya napatingin ako kung san galing ang boses. “Yana! Yana! Here!” I saw Gabby tucking her head out of the car window.

I walked up to them. “May nakalimutan ba kayo?” I asked. Rhys smiled at me from inside.

“No. May sundo ka ba?”

“Hmm, well.. I’m waiting for a taxi.” I smiled.

“Taxi? Magtataxi ka sa ganitong oras?” Rhys suddenly asked.

“Hmm, oo e. I couldn’t contact anyone.” I smiled again.

“You-”

“Come with us. Hatid ka na namin.” Gabby offered. I looked at her…then at Rhys. Rhys nodded.

“Tara na.”

“Hmm, hindi na. I’ll be fine. Thank you.” I smiled and stepped some few steps away.

“Yana!” Tumaas yung boses ni Rhys. “Pumasok ka na. Baka mapano ka pa diyan sa taxi taxi na iyan.” He said.

“But-” Lumabas si Rhys sa sasakyan niya and went to me.

“Don’t let me drag you papasok ng auto.” He said. Napatingin lang ako sa kanya.. then to Gabby. Gabby nodded naman.

“Okay.” I breathed a sigh and went into his car. Umupo ako sa likod then Rhys went back to the driver’s seat. I saw Gabby threw a flashing look on him. And it made me uncomfortable. “Hmmm, ibaba niyo lang ako sa Roxas.”

“Ba’t sa Roxas?”

“I can ride the bus from there.”

“Hindi. Marami kayang tambay diyan.”

“Oh, okay.”

“What about Rizal, hunn?” Gabby asked Rhys.

“Hindi pwede sa Rizal. Mas maraming kanto boys dun. Baka mapano pa sya.”

“G-ganun ba.”

“Hmm.. edi sa-”

“Ihahatid kita sa destination mo.” Rhys said firmly.

“Nooo! Hindi na. Don’t bother. I’m very out of your way.” Nagpanic na ako sa back seat.

“Rhys is right. Hatid ka na namen.” Gabby smiled.

*toot toot
1 message received
Raphiie co.
– Nasan ka na?

* Hmm, nasan ka ba? Puntahan kta.

– Andito ako sa Calleya. I’m doing my termpaper. Hintayin kita?
Sino kasama mo?

* Sina Gabby. Wait ha?

– Sure. Ingat. Mwa. Love you.

– Lve you too.

“San ka?” Rhys asked again.

“Hmmm.. katipunan.” I answered. “Napaka out of the way kaya.. dito nalang ako.”

“I won’t allow you to just go down kahit san. Ihahatid kita sa Katipunan.”

“But super out of the way, Rhys.” I insisted.

“Nope.” He answered. “I’ll take you home first, Gabs.” He turned to Gabby.

Napanganga si Gabby habang nakatingin sa kanya. “Okay?”

“Okay.” Biglang lumiko si Rhys and off our way to Gabby’s. Nakakahiya. Teka, pag hinatid si Gabby, kaming dalawa nalang. Crap. Pano to?

Then dumating na kami sa bahay nina Gabby. Gabby reached for Rhys’ lips to kiss him goodbye and good night, but Rhys kissed her cheeks. Napatingin ulit si Gabby sa kanya. She smiled irritatedly. “Bye. Ingat.”

Nakaupo parin ako sa back seat observing the two of them.

“And.. Yana?”

“Yeah?”

“Umupo ka sa front.” She said and smiled. “Ingat kayo ah?” She smiled again.

“Thank you.” I smiled. Bumaba kaagad ako and transferred sa front seat.

He revved up the engine again.

SILENCE.

SILENCE.

SILENCE.

“Hey-”

“Hey-”

We laughed awkwardly.

“Ikaw na.” I smiled at him.

“Today was…. surprising.” He said. “I didnt expect to see you.. of all place, sa KFC pa.” He chuckled.

“Yeah. That was.. indeed surprising.” I answered. “Antagal niyo na pala ni Gabby no?” I asked.

“Yeah. Almost 6.”

“Yep. Galeeng.”

“Ikaw?”

“Hmm, 2 palang.”

Napatigil siya at napatingin sandali saken.

“Sino?”

“Si Raph.” I answered softly.

“Perez.” He said firmly.

“Yeah.”

“Great.” That’s all he was able to say.

“Great.” I repeated what he said and smiled to myself.

“Paris changed you a lot huh?”

“In what way?” I asked.

“Everything?”

“Maybe.”

Then before I knew it, nasa Katipunan na kami.

“San ka dito?”

“Calleya.”

“Aw, okay.” He parked the car then looked around at Calleya. I saw Raph naman kaagad sa terrace. “Si Perez pala.”

“Yeah.” I smiled. I took off my seatbelt and smiled at Rhys. “Thank you for going out of your usual way. Thank you so much.”

“I always do that to you. I was always willing to.” He looked at me. MY knees weaken and I looked away.

“Then, thank you.” I smiled. “I’ll go ahead. Ingat sa pagdrive.”

I closed the door and started walking towards Raph. Raph was looking at me – never minding the car, or at least, pretending not to.

I kissed him on the cheeks and he smiled.

“Romualdez?” He asked habang nagnakaw ng tingin sa sasakyan na hindi parin umaalis hanggang ngayon.

“Yeah.” I smiled.

“Oh. Tara.” He smiled and we went inside the coffeeshop.

I paused and looked again if andun parin si Rhys.

But I saw his car moving on and speeding away.

Twas fun, loving you again.

28

“That was Romualdez, right?” He asked.

“Uhuh.” I answered. We sat down sa table malapit sa window. “We accidentally saw each other kasi at the mall.”

“Where’s Vincent pala?” He calmly asked.

“Pumunta kay Bea. She needs him. Emergency daw about her proposal for the meeting.” I smiled at the lady who gave us our coffee and cakes.

“Ahhh. And he left you-”

“No, he didn’t leave me on purpose. I insisted na wag niya akong ihatid kasi out of the way na masyado. And life and death na yun for Bea. I couldn’t go with him rin naman.”

“Ahhh. Buti nalang di ka napano. You should’ve called me.”

“You have a class kaya.” I smiled at him.

“I can always skip it for you.”

“Nahhh. I arrived safely naman. And we both know Rhys naman e.”

“But still-”

I looked at him and smiled sheepishly.

“What?” He asked.

“What are you thinking?” I smirked.

“I should ask you that!” He chuckled.

“You’re all red, o.”

“Hindi ah.”

“Hahahaha. You’re…”

“No I’m not!”

“Defensive.. Hahaha. Bakit ano sana sasabihin ko?”

“W-wala.”

I laughed. Then I smiled sweetly at him. “I love you.” I mouthed.

He looked at me, his eyes beaming.

“I love you too.” He mouthed back.

Then we chuckled.

It’s been days narin since I came back. I didn’t know what to expect. Oo, alam kong susulpot si Rhys sa buhay ko ulit, pero I didn’t expect na ganito kadalas at ganito ka lakas ang impact saken tuwing nagkikita kami.

“Ew, we haven’t done that yet noh. I have no plans pa of doing that hangga’t hindi pa kami kasal, Claire. Kaw talaga.” Bea said in her squeaky voice.

“Hahaha. Baka lang naman eh. You know naman Vincent, manyak kaya iyan.” Tumawa kaming tatlo.

“Si Vince? Manyak? At sino naman ang may sabi?” I asked.

“Manyak iyan..” Sabi ni Claire at tumawa kagad ulit kami.

“Lanya, wala namang ganyanan sa boyfriend.” Sabi ni Bea.. kunwari seryoso siya. “Uy, remember mo yung laro natin last last summer pa?”

“Alin?”

“Yung HOT or NOT, then WHY?”

“Oh, riggghhtt. Fave pastime natin yun dati.” Claire added.

“Oo. Laro tayo?” I suggested.

“Sige sige. Wala naman mga boyfriend natin ee.” Claire chuckled again. Bea and I agreed.

That’s when a guy entered the chilling spot.

“Not.” Claire said.

“Not too.” I added.

“Three nots.”

Tapos may pumasok na naman.

“Hmm, can I answer, in between?” Claire chuckled again.

“Cute.”

“Hindi pwede, hot or not lang.” Bea reminded us.

“Edi not.” Claire said.

“Oo, not nalang din.”

“Okay, 3 nots again.”

Then isa pa.

“Hot.” Sabi ni Claire.

“Sizzling hot.”

But then, pagpasok palang kilala ko na kung sino ang lalaking yun.

“Uy, hot or not?” Bea asked me.

Napatingin lang ako sa lalaki.. then Bea and Claire followed my gaze. That’s when he took off his glasses and smiled at us.

“Dang. Rhys Romualdez.”

“Gee.”

“Hot.” I whispered.

Napatingin silang dalawa saken. O_O I smiled at the two of them.

“We can’t deny the fact that he’s really hot.” I said calmly.

Their mind kind of stopped for awhile then processed what I said. That’s when they reacted.

“Oh, right.”

“Tama nga naman.. past is past.” Claire said.

Tapos we laughed awkwardly. And it caught his attention.

“Bea..” He called out and smiled at us. Mabilis ko namang hinawakan ang frappe ko and sipped from it to keep me busy. “Claire.. and.. hey.” He said. I looked above and saw him smiling softly at me.

“Heyyyy… how’d you been, Rhys?” Claire broke the silence.

But I swear, our eyes locked for 3 secs or so. And it was electrifying.

“Uhmm..” Mabilis niyang sagot. “I’m doing good. Ikaw? Kayo? Bea? Yana?” Merong kakaiba  sa tono ng boses niya when he mentioned my name.

“Okaayy naman ako. Busy sa work.” Claire answered.

“Ako din. Alam mo naman yan siguro. That’s why I don’t go out a lot na. Vincent and I. Siya na nga lang yung tumatambay sa bahay pag Saturday kasi tinatamad na akong magmalling or do something sa labas ng house. Pagoooddd.” Bea said.

Tumahimik lang ako.

“Yana?”

I looked up at him again.

“Uhmm, I’ll start working next week. So ngayon, medyo rest muna.. you know, get together with friends and acquaintances.” I smiled.

“Right. Uhmm, I think I won’t chill with you girls muna. I have somewhere to go. Just dropped by to buy some coffee. So I’ll see you around?” He smiled.

“Yeaaah.”

“Sure.”

“See you around.”

Then his car sped away.

Napatingin naman si Claire and Bea sakin, Bea most especially. I looked back at them and I guess I know what they’re thinking.

“N-no.. No..”  I said while I shook my head. Then I let out a soft chuckle. “Nooo..”

“Oh come on!” Bea growled.

“No! Really.” I smiled at the two of them.

Tumahimik lang naman kaagad silang dalawa so hindi ko na pinagpatuloy yung argument or opened any topic about Rhys again. I figured, if indeed I want to stop the talk about the two of us since high school, I’d rather keep my distance and silence about it.

“Oh, right. Uy, what will you two do pala next weekend?”

“Nothhiiinngggg!” Bea answered. “bakeett? San tayoo? Ukay ukay at Baguio!” She suggested happily.

“Baket?”

“Hmmm, Bob is planning kasi to celebrate his birthday at his lola’s island at Pangasinan.”

“Geez, hundred isllaaaanndds?!” Bea asked again.

“Uu.”

“I wannaaa gooo! Roadtrippp. Sama ko si Vince, pwede?”

“Uo naman.”

“Yana, you go with us too. Sama mo si Raph.. okaaayyy?” Claire asked.

“Hmm, titingnan ko pa if he could come kasi medyo busy sa masteral niya.”

“Oh right. Why does he has to get a masteral pa ba?”

“Hmm, his dad wanted it.”

“Oh well, you should make pilit talaga that he should come.”

“Sure.” I smiled.

WEEKEND.

Nagkita-kita kami sa bahay nina Claire. Everyone was there, Vincent and Bea, Bob, Frida and Leo, Trish and her husband Jonathan…

“Yana, where’s Raphael?” Trish asked. “Susunod siya?”

“Or we’ll see him nalang at Pangasinan?” Frida added.

I paused at napaisip ng isasagot sa kanila.

“Hmm, I’m not sure if susunod siya, but he couldn’t come with us as of now.” I said softly.

“Why naman? Sayang naman!” Bea said.

“Oo nga eh, he’s finishing their thesis kasi kaya medyo busy tsaka he has a dinner meeting with their company’s board members.”

“Damn, Raph is so busy huh?” Jonathan asked.

“Yeah, damn busy.” I answered him with a smile.

“Anyhow, we should get moving. Malayo pa yung destination natin.” Claire said and everyone hopped on the van.

Pagod na pagod kami pagdating sa island nina Bob. Sosyalen. Habang pababa ng van, may kumuha ng mga gamit ko.

“T-tek-” Paglingon ko, nabigla ako sa nakita ko.

RHYS.

Anong ginagawa niya dito?

“Hey, Rhys, andiyan ka pala.” Claire said. “Tulungan mo nlang si Yana, ha?” She smiled.

Earth to Yana.

“Wag na, I can carry it.” I said and kinuha ko yung dalawang bags ko sa kanya.

“No, it’s alright.” He smiled.

That smile..

I looked away. “Okay, suit yourself.” I said coldly at pumasok na sa loob.

Nang pumasok kami, everyone looked at us. I searched for a familiar face that may react badly at the view, pero wala.

“Ehem. I guess we should eat dinner.” Claire broke off the silence and the awkward stares.

Everyone scrammed naman then I turned around to Rhys.

“San si Gabby?” I asked.

“San si Perez?” He asked back.

Tiningnan ko siya ng masakit.

He chuckled. “Right, you asked first. She couldn’t come. Nasa Bangkok siya.”

“Oh.”

“Nasan si Perez?”

“May work and study. Busy, in other words.”

“Mukhang lagi naman eh.” I guess that wasnt supposed to be loud enough para marinig ko. I looked at him again. “I mean.. you should be understanding.” He smirked.

“I am. Akin na ang bags ko.” Kinuha ko sa kanya ang mga bags ko at nilagay sa sala since wala pang room assignment.

“Sure.” He smirked and sumunod na sa dining table.

“Hahaha, naaalala mo si Yana nung 4th year?” Trish said.

“Bakit, bakit?” Frida asked.

Napatingin lang ako sa kanilang dalawa.

“Kasi dati, nakita ko si Yana na hinihintay sundo niya, eh walang dumating. Biglang umulan ng malakas, then may nakita akong tumatakbo..”

I froze at napatahimik. Naman.. ba’t ako ang topic?

“Sino, sino, sino?”

Napatingin si Trish saken..

“Sino kaya yun, Yans?” She teasingly asked me.

I looked at her and smiled.

“Ayiii.. si ano yun e.” Claire added.

“Sino?” Tanong ni Bob.

Napatahimik lang talaga ako. I glanced at Rhys.

“Ako.” Rhys answered. Everyone silenced. Even myself.

I looked at him then he started chuckling.

“Basang-basa kaya ako nun. Tapos, wala pa akong dalang payong. Eh hindi ko naman pwedeng hayaan na umuwi siyang mag-isa na ganun kalakas yung ulan..” He laughed. “..hiniram ko pa yung jacket ni Loise nun.”

Tumawa naman si Vince. “Loko, yung kay Loise? Yun ba yung fave blue jacket niya?”

“Hahahaha. Oo, yun nga.”

“Lanya, ang baho nun!”

“Hahaha, nawala na yung amoy kasi nabasa ng ulan.” Sabi ni Rhys.

I just looked at him.

“Walang pikunan ha? Afterall, matagal na yun tsaka may mga kanya-kanya nang buhay.” Bea said while giggling.

Tapos ayun, andami pa nilang kwento tungkol samin ni Rhys. Dami rin kwento tungkol kay Rhys at Gabby, pati kay Frida and Leo, kay Trish din and Jonathan.. eh hindi ako ganong makarelate kasi wla naman ako dito nung college days namen, diba?

Mga around 12 na yun na nagkanya-kanya na ng tripping. Eh ako, medyo lumabas ako ng house kasi hinihintay ko tawag ni Raph. Di pa nagtetext at tumatawag since yesterday e. I mean, he knows kaya that I’m going to travel, di man lang nagchecheck. So napaupo ako dun sa beach sand.

“Hey.” Rhys sat down beside me.

“Hi.” I smiled back and nilapag ko yung phone ko sa buhangin sa harap ko.

“Pasensya na kanina if I spilled those all out.” He said.

“No problem.” I answered. “Nasa past narin naman yun e. And, we were young. We do those kinds of stuffs.” I smiled at him.

“Yeah. And I miss those times.” He said. Seryoso.

Napatingin ako sa kanya. Random things were spinning on my mind. It’s been a long time since I started keeping these questions and stopping myself from asking him kasi I was afraid that I would get hurt.. again.

“Rhys..”

“Hm?” He looked at me with those same eyes as when he confessed to me he loved me.

“Honestly.. did you really fall out of love with me..” Napalunok ako before finishing the sentence. “…that’s why we broke up back in high school?”

28.2

The third most bravest thing I did in my entire life. First was when I let go of Rhys. Second would be the day I said “I love you too” to Raph.. and third would be asking this to Rhys. All in all, it alll started and goes back to him.

Tiningnan niya ako and he smirked. Then he looked away, focusing his vision on the open sea. Nakatingin parin ako sa kanya.. waiting for an answer.

“I mean, it’s not like I’m still.. you know, I just want to know.. clos-” I hurriedly explained to him.

“Closure? You want that?” He asked while looking at my eyes na pakiramdam ko, he saw my soul through it.

“S-some..how.” I said softly.

Huminga siya ng malalim at nahiga sa buhangin. Tahimik lang siya habang nakatingin sa langit. Then he closed his eyes for awhile.

“Honestly.. No, I can’t.” He sat down again and shook his head. “I’m sorry, I just can’t answer it.” He said to me at huminga siya ulit ng malalim.

I smiled. “It’s okay.” At napayuko ako while my fingers played with the sand. “Alam ko namang hindi mo sasagutin e.” I smiled at him again. “It’s alright. I understand. I shouldn’t ask questions as such.”

Silence. Silence. Silence.

“I’m sorry. I can’t just do this to her.” He said in a soft voice.

Napatingin lang ako kay Rhys. Ayoko munang magsalita. Hindi ko alam kung tama yung ginawa ko.. kung tama na tanungin ko siya. Wala akong gustong ipahiwatig or what, I just want a “closure”. I’m happy with Raph, it’s just that, I can’t love him fully kasi nga I still have this part of me asking “why” to Rhys.

And honestly, I still have this part of me.. a big part of me that belongs to Rhys.

I looked at my phone in silence na nakalapag parin sa buhangin. Nakaupo parin si Rhys sa tabi ko while silently looking at the open ocean.

“Yana..” He said.

I looked at him.

“I’m sorry if I ended it up in a bad way.”

“Nevermind.” I was about to stand up when he said something that made me stay.

“I didn’t fall out of love with you.” He looked at me. “But.. wala na akong maisip na paraan to break up with you.. for good.”

I looked at him while questions started to fill my mind again.

“I needed a reason.. a reason that would make you hate me. A reason na.. maiisip mong wala na talaga. A kind of breakup na masasaktan ka.” Sabi niya and silence wrapped us again.

Hindi ko alam kung anong sasabihin ko. Hindi ko alam kung ano ang mga tamang salita na dapat kong gamitin at sabihin sa kanya.

“Indeed, that broke my heart.” I said softly.

“To tell you honestly, those were the days that I really hated myself.”

“You have no idea how much it hurt.”

“Hindi, Yana.” He looked at me. “Kung gaano kasakit ang naramdaman mo noon, made that double for me.”

I looked at him and I saw everything in his eyes. “Rhys..”

He held my face and I was taken aback. “And you have no idea how much it still hurt, until now.”

“R-Rhys..” I didn’t flinch. I didn’t turn away. I didn’t move. I was just there, looking through his eyes; searching for insincerity in everything he says and do.

And his lips met mine.

29.1

[Playing: Chorus of Fall For You.]

His lips impatiently searched for mine under the pale moonlight. My mind told me to stop, but my body didn’t. And I did the sweetest sin; I kissed him back. I poured everything on that kiss I gave him.

That kiss.. A kiss that betrayed my mind and two people who are both involved with the two of us.. Gabby and Raph. And that kiss told him everything I felt and still feeling up to now.

“Yana..” He looked at me when I pushed him back. He held my face and tried to kiss me again but I pushed him back and turned my head away. He let out a heavy sigh. “I’m sorry.”

“I’m sorry too.” I stood up and ran back to the main house.

Bea saw me running up to my room. So she followed me. “Yana..” Kumatok siya sa pinto and she suddenly opened it. “Something wrong?”

I was crying. Umiyak ako ng umiyak. Hindi ko alam kung bakit. Hindi ko alam kung umiiyak ba ako kasi my lips betrayed everything in me.. or kasi I felt guilty that I betrayed Raph.. or kasi, I knew that kiss told him everything.

“Ang sakit sakit na Bea.” I said softly while tears streamed down my face. “I let him kissed me.”

“Yana..”

“And alam mo kung anong naramdaman ko? It felt like everything came rushing back to me.How much pain he inflicted on me back at high school, how much it all hurt. Pero alam mo kung ano yung pinaka grabe?”

“What?” She asked understandingly.

“That after all these years..” I closed my eyes. “I still have this heart and love of mine for him.”

Bea hugged me tightly. “I know.”

“B-Bea..”

“Nakikita ko yun sa mga mata mo, Yana. The first time I saw seeing Rhys again. Your eyes just simply sparkled. And I knew right then, meron pa.” She smiled at me.

“But this is wrong. Hindi ito tama. There’s Gabby.. and there’s Raph.. and I’m not even sure if he really meant that kiss-”

“Hindi ganyan si Rhys. I think it’s time you should know the truth. Ask him.” She smiled again. Hindi ko alam kung anong ibig sabihin ni Bea. I have no idea what she was talking.

*Riiingggg* *Riiinggggg*

“Hun, I’m so sorry I wasn’t able to text you, I was busy-”

“Hello.”

“Sino to? Nasan si Yana?”

Silence. As if the two men are waiting who’s gonna shot first and who’s gonna die first.

“Damn it!”

*Beeeeeepppp* *Beeeeeeppp*

I was just lying on my bed habang gulong-gulo parin ang isip ko. That’s when I decided to check up the time on my phone.. but then nataranta ako when I realized that my phone is nowhere by my side. So I stood up.

Maybe naiwan ko sa beach. I have to go there. Pero nang binuksan ko ang pinto, Rhys was standing sa harapan ko with his hands on hanging on the air, siguro kakatok pa sana siya.

“R-Rhys..”

“Y-You left your phone.” He showed me my phone and he handed it to me. “He called.”

“Raph?”

“Yeah.”

Bigla na naman akong nataranta. Did he answer it? Nalaman ba ni Raph that I’m with Rhys?

He let out a heavy breath. “Can we talk?”

“We’ve talked enough.” I said softly.

“Closure, you want it? Right? I’ll give it to you, right now and then.” His voice was hoarse and serious and firm.

Bigla siyang pumasok sa kwarto ko and closed the door and locked it.

“I’m not going to kiss you again or anything as such. I just want to talk. Let go. And live again.” He said while sitting down on my bed.

“I don’t think-”

“Just listen, will you?”

I looked at Rhys, annoyed. Umupo ako sa upuan sa gilid ng kama.

“Akala ko wala na. Akala ko.. tinapos ko na ang lahat.” He chuckled. “Hindi pa pala. You know what I felt when I saw you again?” He looked at me. He bit his lips. “Ikaw parin.”

“Rhys-”

“You wanna know what happened talaga 6 years ago?”

“Please-”

“I had to do it for Paolo.”

“Pao-”

“He needed a bone marrow transplant. But we couldn’t find any. Our business went bankrupt. Your Dad threaten my father’s friends that if they’d help us, they too would be bankrupt. Even Tito Gary wasn’t able to help us out to think of that Vince did everything to convince Tito to help us. But he was scared. Okay lang samen yun, we had saved enough for Paolo. The thing is, we couldn’t find a bone. We weren’t able to find a bone marrow that would match his.. unless I give up on you.”

“So-”

“It took me a lot of courage, thinking and time to decide on what to do. I couldn’t afford to give up on you. But I couldn’t afford to give up on my brother too.”

“But Rhys.. you should have-”

“Told you?” He scoffed. “Then what? We’ll break up.. or patago?”

“N-”

“You don’t understand. You don’t know how powerful and influential your family is. Kahit ganyan ang gawin natin noon, my brother will still die, Yana. I had to end it with you.” His voice cracked and I knew right then, he was crying. “I had to end it, kahit alam kong kaya ko pa. But I was given no option. It was either I break up with you or Paolo dies.”

“Rhys..”

“I had to hurt you. Kelangan ko ng rason na masasaktan ka ng todo-todo. Something that will make you think that there’s nothing left between us. Something that will make you hate me.”

“Gabby..” I whispered.

“Mahirap Yana. Sobrang hirap.”

Lumapit ako kay Rhys and knelt down at the floor facing him. I held his face and smiled at him.

“Rhys, no matter-”

“I loved you, Yana. I love you.” He said and he pulled my face into his. We kissed for the second time.

Pero sa pangalawang pagkakataong iyon, I let go of guilt. Instead, I just savored the moment with him. Hindi ko alam kung ano na kaagad ang mangyayari saming dalawa. I don’t even know what I will feel about myself. And I have never thought of what Gabby and Raph will feel kapag nalaman nila ito.

Tell me, I’m selfish. But I couldn’t lie anymore. I’ve had enough of myself. I loved Rhys. No, I LOVE him. Sa limang taon na di kami nagkita, siya parin ang laman ng puso ko. And if I have to give myself to someone na buong-buo, it would be to Rhys Romualdez.

Siguro I’ll just deal with Raph and Gabby later on. For now, I just want to spend my night with him under these white sheets with thoughts of him and him only.


Nagpasundo ako kay Manong Freddy early in the morning. Mga around 4am, bumalik na ako ng Manila. I had his body memorized and familiarized by my hands. I even smiled before I left him at my room sleeping like an innocent child under the white sheets of that soft bed.

May iniwan narin akong note sa room ni Bea before I left and even sent her a text message para naman di siya magpanic kapag nalaman niyang wala na ako sa island nina Bob.

I have to say, last night was the best-est night for me. I never regretted anything. Alam kong hinding-hindi ko pagsisihan ang pinagdesisyunan ko kagabi.

Sa ngayon, I just have to deal with Raph and my family. I’m not expecting to be with Rhys again. I am contented na of what I found out last night. I’m done with everything else.

*Riiingggg* Riinggggg *

Rhys Romualdez is calling..

Nakatingin lang ako sa cellphone ko na nakapatong sa tukador. I have no plans of answering the call. It’s been a week since the outing and since that “thing” happened between us. After I left the place, I never contacted him and the others. Nagsimula na akong magtrabaho at sinubsob ko na ang sarili ko sa trabaho ko.

Kahit si Bea hindi na ako macontact at tinatiming naman lagi na di rin kami nagkakaabutan.

“Your phone is ringing.” Muntik na akong mapatalon sa boses. I looked at Raphael and his face looks a little confused. “Hindi mo ba sasagutin?” He asked.

I looked at my phone and shut it off at tinago sa bag ko.

“Wasn’t it important?” He suddenly asked.

“I would have answered it if it was.”

“Is something wrong, Yana?”

“Wala. Bakit? You’ve been asking the same question since last week pa.” I answered irritatingly.

“You’re acting weird since last week. May dapat ba akong malaman?”

“Girls act like this paminsan-minsan.” I flatly answered.

Tumahimik si Raphael sandali. “You were with Rhys last week, right?”

My hands started to shake and my knees trembled.

“Oo.”

“Am I supposed to know something?”

“Wala.”

“Yana-” He held my shoulders from the back and hugged me. “You can always open up to me.”

“Ano ba Raph?! There’s nothing wrong. There’s nothing between me and Rhys!”

Nakita ko ang pagkabigla sa mga mata ni Raphael. “Chill.” He said and walked away from me.

“I’m sorry.” I let out a sigh and sat down. “I’m just a little stressed out.”

He smiled. “I understand. Why don’t you call this a day and get some rest?”

“Right. I just need a little rest.” I started to fix my things.

“Ihahatid na kita.” He said and hinatid niya ako sa bahay.

The most unexpected thing happened. When I went down from his car and started to walk papunta sa loob ng bahay, everything went blur and.. black.

Chapter 30.

“Yes, Tita. Ako na po bahala sa lahat.”

“I am so disappointed, Raphael. But at the same time, very glad.”

“Make sure it doesn’t go out in the media yet before the wedding.” I heard Dad’s voice low and firm.

“Yes, Tito.”

I slowly opened my eyes and they all looked at me smiling.

“R-Raph..”

“Yana, how are you feeling?”

“I’m feeling all tired.”

“Y-You should take a rest.” He smiled.

“No. Why am I here? Did I really collapse? Hindi na ba kaya ng body ko?”

“I have something to talk with you. But you have to make sure you’re feeling all right.” He said softly.

“I-Is something wrong with me, Raph?”

“I don’t know if.. you’ll consider it wrong.”

“Bakit? What happened ba?”

He sat down at the left side of the bed and held my hand.

“You’re pregnant.” He said softly.

Hindi ko alam kung ano ang magiging reaksyon ko. Hindi ko din alam kung anong sasabihin ko. Hindi ko alam. Bigla akong nahiya sa sarili ko and most especially kay Raph. But at one point there, natuwa din ako. I’m carrying Rhys’ child.

“R-Raph..” I squeezed his hand.

“Ayokong itanong kung anong nangyari, kung kailan at kung sino. But Yana..”

I looked at him.

“.. I’m willing to take all the responsibility.”

Nabigla ako sa sinabi niya. It seemed like biglang umakyat sa ulo ko ang dugo ko. I looked at him fiercely.

“Take responsibility?” I asked.

“Yana don’t get me wrong..”

“At ano? Pakakasalan mo ako? Ganun ba, Raph?”

“Yana this is-”

“No! This is for your reputation’s sake! Sa inyo ni Dad!”

“Calm down. It’s not good for your bod-”

“I can raise this child on my own.” My tears started streaming down. “I can raise this, Raph. I don’t want you to get into something you don’t want.”

“This is something I want Yana!”

“No..”

“This is your child. It can be ours. It can be mine. I’ll treat it as if it’s my own flesh and blood.”

“No, Raph!” I turned my head away. “I can’t let you.”

“Look, I love you so much.”

“But Raph-”

“And I’m willing to give in and give up everything for you, Yana.”

“But-”

“Take a rest. Pag-isipan mo ito. Then we’ll talk again.” He smiled and kissed me on the forehead.

I closed my eyes and held on my blanket tightly. What did I do? What was wrong with me? Sabi ko I’ll deal with this later. And here it is now. I can’t believe Raph would do such a thing. Does he deserve everything of this? I can’t let him marry me just because I spent a night with someone named Rhys which is also taken by another person and that night bear into something like this. I can’t let Raph partake any responsibility at my stupidity. Pero.. hindi rin naman yun katangahan. I can raise this child if I want to. I can always raise this child by myself.


The next day, nadischarge na ako sa hospital and went back to working. Hindi pa kami nagkakausap ni Raph but Mom is excited for the wedding and for her first apo. Hindi ko alam kung anong sasabihin ko sa mga nangyayari, pero stressed out na ako sa kakaisip kung anong gagawin ko.

Rhys Romualdez is calling…

I looked at my phone and pressed the green button.

“Rhys.. okay. See you.”

I put down my phone and fixed my things.

After two weeks of avoiding him, I have finally decided to see him again and clear things out – that is, kung alam na niya.

I sat down at the table located at the centermost of the restaurant. He was late for around 5-6 minutes. When I saw him, kitang-kita ko sa mukha niya ang pag-aalala.

“Yana..” He held my hands pero kinuha ko ang kamay ko. “I heard what happened.”

Pero syempre I wouldn’t believe him. What happened to me was very confidential.
Ang nakakaalam lang ay sina Dad, Raph, Mom and the doctor na kaibigan ni Dad.
I don’t even know if the nurse assigned to me got any idea kung ano talaga ang nangyayari.

“He talked to you.” Sabi ko.

He looked at me.

“Y-yeah.”

“Anong sabi niya?”

“You’re pregnant.”

My vision shifted to nowhere, my lips tight.

“True.”

“I have to verify it to you.”

“Verified.”

“Yana-”

“I don’t need anything from you. I can raise this child by myself, Rhys. What happened that night last 3 weeks ago.. is now buried in the past. You don’t have any part on this. You can have your own family without thinking of your child to me.”

“No.. Yana.. I’m willing to take any responsibility with my deed.”

“What?” I sarcastically asked. “You’ll marry me? Yeah right.”

“Yana.. I will.”

I looked at Rhys. I scoffed. “No, Rhys.”

“Gabby and I broke up.”

Nabigla ako sa sinabi niya.

“I can’t continue hurting her like this. Hindi ko na kaya na kasama siya while it’s you on my mind.”

“Rhys please..”

“And you just gave me a reason to marry you and love you forever.”

“Rhys-”

“Yana..” He held my hands. “Simula’t sapul ikaw na ang mahal ko. It’s you I’ve always dreamed of growing old with me. Ikaw yung gusto kong maging ina ng mga anak ko. Ikaw yung gusto kong magmamahal sakin habang buhay. So please Yana, tell me you love me.. and I’ll marry you.”

“I can’t hurt Raph-”

“You’ve hurt him enough. Not only Raph, but also yourself.”

I looked at him while everything started to spin inside my mind. Isa-isa kong pinrocess ang mga sinabi ni Rhys at ni Raph.

“I have to go.” I said and stood up.

“Yana-” Hinawakan niya ako sa braso to stop me.

“Please, I have to go.”

He looked at me in the eyes and smiled.

“I’ll wait.”


I got on my car and that’s when my phone rang again. This time.. it’s the person involved simula pa noon.

Gab Altuna is calling..

I picked it up and she was asking if we could meet. I agreed. I guess, this is what I need. A talk with everyone. From Raph to Rhys to Gabby. Four people involved, including me.

I arrived at Calea’s and there she was. Sophistication and beauty all combined. She was holding a cup of tea and looking at nowhere.

Pumasok ako sa cakeshop and seated sa harapan niya. She smiled softly.

“Gab-”

“Don’t say anything.” She looked at me. Binaba niya ang hinahawakang tsaa. “I have been hurt enough.” Gabby is so transparent. “Alam ko, we cheated on you back at high school. I can’t believe karma does exist.” She let out a heavy breath. “But then again, it wasn’t a cheat. Cool off kami ni Rhys when he went with you guys.” She chuckled nervously. “He decided on it alone.” She chuckled again. “You know what’s funny? Ever since that day we saw each other at KFC, he started acting weird. And I knew right then what was going on. I’m so stupid. I let him used me for a long time.. only to be dumped when he sees you again.” Her tears started to stream down at her face. “And I have no choice but to let go of the grip.. even if it hurt me like hell. Because letting go would make him happy like no one else in the world.” She sighed and looked at me.

“Gab-”

“Yana.. I’m so sorry.” She smiled.

“No, I should be the one saying this to you-”

“No. Simula’t sapul palang sana, hindi na ako pumasok sa ganito. Noon pa lang, alam na alam ko na na ikaw ang mahal niya at mamahalin niya.. but then I held on to this little hope that.. maybe someday, he’ll learn to love me and he’ll realize that I will always be there for him..”

“Gab, you are-”

“Please.” She motioned me to keep quiet. “Let the child live.”

“Gabby, I am going to raise this child-”

“And let him be the father, Yana. Alam kong mahal mo parin si Rhys, magpakatotoo for once in your life.” She smiled, kissed me on the cheek and stood up. She left me speechless and a lot more confused.


The moment I arrived at home, I packed my things up. Nang lumabas ako, dun naman dumating si Daddy. Malas naman.

“Where are you going, Juliana?!” He shouted.

I stopped from dragging my suitcase and looked at him.

“Away from here.” I said softly.

“What are you talking about?!”

“Dad-”

“You are going to marry Raphael and give birth to that child!”

Tiningnan ko siya na para bang kinamuhian ko siya.

“This is not Raphael’s Dad.” I calmly said due to respect.

Nanlaki ang mga mata ni Daddy at namula ang kanyang mukha sa galet o sa hiya. Hindi ko masabi.

“What do you mean, Juliana?”

“This is not Raphael’s child.”

“Kanino?”

“I don’t think you want to find out.” I said and continued dragging my suitcase.

Hinawakan ako ni Daddy sa braso.

“Answer me! Kaninong anak yang dinadala mo?”

I looked at him angrily.  “Kay Rhys!”

He raised his hand and before I knew it, he slapped me.

My eyes welled up and I can feel the pain lingering on my cheek.

“You just didn’t do that, did you?”

“Y-Yana..”

“I’m leaving.” I told him firmly. “Pagod na ako. Pagod na akong sumunod sa iyo! I have been following for the past living years of my life! For once, let me decide for myself.. let me live my life. Let me..” I started crying so hard that I couldn’t finish what I was trying to tell him. “… let me leave.”

Dad looked at me.

“Alam ko na ang lahat.. everything back at high school. Kung anong nangyari saming dalawa ni Rhys. Kung anong ginawa mo sa pamilya niya.. especially to his brother. And after I’ve found out all of that, tell me, how can I be proud of you and give you the right to control my life?” I asked in almost a whisper, still afraid to hurt my father.

“Yana..” He held my face gently.

I stepped back.

“I’ll come back.. when I have finally figured out what I’d do in my life.” I said firmly and went out of the house. I got on my car and just drove around.

Nung una hindi ko alam kung san ako pupunta. Then I figured I should go to somewhere that would calm my mind. I left my car on the airport, got a ticket, called Manong Fred to fetch it, meron naman silang duplicate key and I’m off to Bora.

“Why Bora?” I asked myself.


2 days and counting. Nasa Bora lang ako, namimili ng kung ano-ano. Kumakain. Nagpipicture-picture. Nag-iinternet. Nakatingin sa sunset. Ambooring. But somehow, it calmed my mind. Babalik na ako ng Manila tomorrow. I know what I should do; leave this country, raise the child and go back at Paris. After all, I graduated there naman and I got friends back there.

“Yana!” Mom hugged me. “Thank God, you’re okay. Where have you been?” She asked worriedly.

“I’m fine. I just went back to get my passport and visa.”

“Visa? Baket?”

“I think I need to go back to Paris. I think I need to start again.”

“What did you do?” She was horrified.

“Mom.” I smiled. “I’m going to raise it. So don’t worry. I didn’t do anything.”

“But Yana-”

“Please. I’m not asking permission. I’m just telling you about my plans.”

I went back to my room at kinuha ko ang passport and visa. Then I hugged Mom for the last time.

“Take care. Take care of yourself better kasi may kasama ka diyan. Whatever happens to you, make it double for the child, so you better take care of yourself. If you need something, we’re always here. Just one call away.” Mom said and hugged me again.

Nang palabas na ako ng bahay, Dad arrived. No words were exchanged. He just hugged me so tight. And I knew right then, everything’s fine between us.

Then Raph got out of Dad’s car. He was looking at my eyes. I hugged him. And he hugged me back.

“Mag-ingat ka dun. I love you. Mag-ingat ka dun..” He cried.

“Thank you so much.” I whispered in his ears. “Thank you so much, Raph.”

He let go of me and smiled.

“Live your life. Live it well. For you.. and for that little child.” He said smiling.

Raph is the sweetest, and most kind person in this whole wide world. And I couldn’t thank him enough for everything.

I arrived at Paris safe and sound. Kumuha na muna ako ng hotel room and stayed there for almost two days. I called some of my friends already and I got a job na at an advertising company. Hindi gaanong malaki ang sweldo, pero okay narin for now.

It was a Saturday afternoon, nasa apartment lang ako nakahiga, kain ng kain. Guess the baby is really craving for strawberry ice creams. The bell rang so I stood up at pumunta sa door. I didn’t peek kung sino ang sa labas, I just opened the door.

“Oui?”

“Strawberry cake, delivery.” The guy said.

My body froze. The spoon dropped at the floor. Biglang tumahimik ang mundo ko.

“S-Strawberry cake? Hindi ako nag-order.” Hindi ko alam kung bakit bigla akong nagtagalog.

Then he took off his hat and smiled at me.

“R-Rhys.”

“I can’t believe you left me.. for the second time.” He said.

Hindi ko alam kung anong sasabihin ko sa kanya. Speechless. Its as if I wanted to cry like I wanted to laugh out.

I bit my lip.

“And let him be the father, Yana. Alam kong mahal mo parin si Rhys, magpakatotoo for once in your life.”

I smiled crookedly.

“If I didn’t leave, would you find yourself here?” I smiled teasingly to Rhys.

That’s when he wrapped me in his arms and showered me with kisses.

“Dad’s right.” He said and I looked at him. “It wasn’t our time back then. Pero darating din daw yung time natin, and I guess, this is it.” And he kissed me in the lips.. the kind of kiss that you didn’t want to stop but you just have to because you couldn’t help but smile. Best kiss, so far. :)


“… Adi, you kiss your lola na.”

“Awww. Adrian, my apo.”

“Lola, can you fix this?”

“Aww, why is it broken?”

“Kasi, I played with my doggie awhile ago.. eh he made it his teether.”

Mom laughed while listening to Adrian.

“You tell your Daddy to fix it for you, not Lola.” I told him.

“Oh, right. Okay, I’ll go find Daddy.”

Then he ran to find Rhys.

“He grew up to be a sweet adorable child.” Mom said to me. “I’m proud of you, sweetie.” She smiled.

“Thank you.” I whispered.

Looking at Rhys and Adrian playing together with Daddy on their side watching them, I couldn’t help but smile. Thank goodness I chose to live and get control of my life. If I didn’t, I wouldn’t know how happy I am right now.

And what amazes me is that everytime I wake up, I just find myself falling over and over again with these two boys in my life. =)


THE END.


Thank you for everything. I have to thank the readers (especially those from FTALK) who somehow patiently waited for the updates which always took me 48 years to do so. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. I bring back all the glory and honor to the Lord.🙂 Have fun reading. More to come, keep inspiring me, ya’ll.😀

44 thoughts on “Fall For You”

  1. Your stories are so great ate..

    I’ve printed it and my classmates read it..

    They loved it also..

    Hope you will have more stories to come ^^

    Good Luck!!

  2. ate iprinted yer stories….sorry……
    ipinabasa ko at inirecomend…hehehe
    somehow,,,,nabaliw sila sa stories moh…..
    hahahaa……nakakahiyang aminin pero akodin nabaliw……hahaha……..thanks foe sharin yer stories……<3 you ate!!!

  3. ang ganda pwamis!!!!!1
    naiyak effect pa ako…..kala ko di sila ang
    magkakatuluyan……hahaahaah

    luv it talaga,………ang ganda!!!!!!!!!!!!
    sana meron pang iba…….!!!!!!!!

  4. gNda puh ng story!
    nUng uNa nGuguluhan acouh
    pero nung huli na ay gets
    couh na ang story..
    hehe.. un lng

    2 na nGc0mMent? wow
    it’s so GREAT :]]

  5. heyah ate kimmie!!
    u really hav great stories
    even though ur busy wid ur studies
    nka2pgslat ka pa rin
    galeeeeeng mo po tlga

    i really luv ur stories
    alm q u hav ur new ideas again after this
    i’ll wait again for the others
    alam q mgnda rin u
    just continue
    it’s really great

    tnxie ^_^

  6. ,hahaha.. it’s nice to be back..
    ,wulang pa rin kupas.. it’s great..
    ,gnda tlga.. Thankz to God my website na ganito..
    ,hehehe.. keep up the gud work..
    ,un lan. xD

  7. wei!!

    you are INDEED a GREAT writer..

    ang galing m0 grbe!!, wala ak0ng msbe!, as in, wala , ang gling m0 tlga!!

    i hope n sna, mai-publish ito sa PHR romances or make a b0ok..

    hehe, nga pla, alam m0 bang nilagay to sa isang fur0m?. Pinoy Factor, kinapi sya…

    sana maganda nag maging future m0 sa writing ksi… I SWEAR, nbbliw ak0 d2.. ang ganda, ganda, ganda, ganda, ganda nit0.. although “KABITIN” ng unte..

    God Bless u and GoodLuck sau and to ur future career..

    FS nga pla, pa add.. honeypie_15@yahoo.com

    may blog ak0, kea lng sa blogspot eh sayang nman… Ge ahh. haiist!!

    “KAADIK” tlga to!!

    :p
    =h0ney

  8. Hi, Ate kimiiee~!😄
    You probably forgot me since you’re not active in TG anymore. ^^
    So happy that you’re still continuing your stories!

  9. grabeee…………….
    npaka…………..
    npka………………..
    ganda………………………

    the best kah tlga ate….
    nkakainspire……….

  10. Wow, sis Kim This story touched me from the bottom of my heart. It’s like all the good things in the world combined.

    I waited for months for the update but this is ooo worth the wait.

    Thank you!

  11. eun oh dLwang araw bgu cu ntapuz. . .hai wat a nyc stury. . .bgLa cu lng naaLa2 tuhng website ee pagtngin cu mai bgung stories nah. . .4 da author : u’r realLy doing a great job continue inspiring readers lyk me. . .:]*wink*

  12. Favorite ko talaga ‘tong story na ‘to.😀 Last year ko pa ‘to unang nabasa at ngayon, five times ko na atang nabasa ‘to. I’m so kilig.😀

  13. Uhm Ate Kim. I’m just wondering. why no. 48? Napansin ko lang Heheheh😀 Why number 48? Just Curious.😄

      1. Pag Dating po kasi sa mga Years, Kunyari “Ang Tagal mo naman! 48 Years na oh!” Yung mga Ganun. Ba’t po 48 lagi? I know this is a Pointless Question pero, I’m just Curious😀

    1. None yet, I’m quite busy.🙂 But I’ll make one as soon as I’m done with studies. Thank you for reading! Please do share it with your friends.

  14. it was such an exquisite story! i love the way u stated every instances of it , i really cried xa part na naging complicated na ang lahat xa kanila ( swear) .. i love rhys and yana both of them are paradigms of perfect teens .. cheer up! continue doing good job more power

  15. I almost cried! huehue Love and Like the story, wish there were a continuation of their love story and they’re family too OMG!😀 More power to you Kim! :*

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