i will reply to the para later

Busqué para tú (I searched for you)

“Calvin?” You asked from under the 7,000 blankets you were under.
No reply.
But then again, you were so sick you could barely talk, and when you did, a sandpapery sound was what you sounded like.
You say up, and immediately you felt yourself go lightheaded for a second, the you felt normal, well as normal as you could be at this time.
You looked around the dark room and sighed. You couldn’t see much, and your vision was kind of blurry.
You felt a sudden burst of cold flow within you, and your whole being felt like ice.
“Cal?” You called weakly again.
But again, nothing. He couldn’t hear your sickly soft voice from where he was in the other room, editing a video.
You sighed and shifted so that your legs were on the floor but you still sat on the bed.
You then stood up, and a felt a rush in your head, and you were dizzy for a minute.
When you adjusted to this new position, you started to walk very slowly to the door of the room.
You were shaking badly by the time you reached the door, and it only became worse as you staggered, most likely looking drunk, down to Cal’s editing and recording room.
The door was closed, and you reached out your arm to open it, but you were shaking so badly it took a minute to actually close your hand around it turn the knob.
You opened the door slowly, and saw Cal sitting on his chair, editing a video. He had his headphones on and you could hear bits and pieces of the music.
You walked over to him slowly and put a hand on his shoulder.
He took off his headset and smiled at you, but he then frowned.
“Babe, what’s wrong?” He asked.
“I’m…cold.” You answered in the less shaky voice you could muster.
“You are now? I’m not surprised, it’s cold in here,” he laughed, though you could see the worry in his eyes.
“I feel like ice,” you said.
He knew you were sick, and it didn’t surprise him. You always were needy when you were sick.
“Want me to come lay with you?” He asked quietly.
You nodded, and he stood, put an arm around your back, and walked you slowly back to your shared bedroom.
You laid back down in the bed and he got in next to you, cuddling you from behind.
He shifted and pulled all the blankets back on the both of you.
You snuggled closer to his warm body, and he rubbed your back slowly, and mumbled sweet nothings to you.
You fell asleep in minutes.
Calvin slowly pulled his phone from his back pocket, and pulled up Twitter.

‘No video tonight. Gf is sick and she needs me right now,’ he tweeted, and the support came instantly, and he smiled.
He actually looked at the clock, and it read 3:30am. It was kind of late. He wasn’t tired, so he opened up snapchat and starred to open uo messages from fans, and they were all cute little, 'Your the best!’ Or 'Hissss,’ like they usually were.
Cal took a picture of the dark room and captioned it, 'My girlfriend is sick and she got up to come get me because she was cold. But you still gotta love her :)’
He put the picture on his story and closed the app.
It was about 4:15 now, and he felt you shift, and he feared he woke you somehow.
But your eyes stayed shut and you sighed in you sleep.
He laughed silently and opened Twitter back up.
His tweet had gotten so many 'get well’ replies and he smiled, glad the fanbase loved you as much as he did.
You sighed in your sleep again, and cuddled yourself subconsciously closer to him, but then something peculiar happened.
Your started to talk, but not in English, in Spanish. Cal laughed quietly and opened up his camera and recorded what you were saying.
“¿Calvin? ¿Calvin? ¿Dónde estás amor? No puedo verte y tengo miedo! Sé que estás ahí, así que me siento mejor. Te amo Calvin, te amo.”
You stopped talking then, and sighed.
Cal didn’t know all of what you said, so he tweeted the video and asked someone to tell him, since he didn’t know Spanish.
The first reply was a translation:
“Calvin? Clavin? Where are you love? I can’t see you and I am scared! I know you are there, and I feel better. I love you Calvin, I love you.”
Cal smiled and then saw the second reply, saying to say:
'Busqué para tú, querida. Yo también te amo.’ It means, 'I searched for you, my dear. I love you too.’
Calvin tried his best to say the words, knowing fully that he butchered them completely.
But he felt you sigh and turn in your sleep so that you faced his chest. You nuzzled you face into him and said quietly, “I love you too Calvin.”
Cal put his phone on the bedside table and cuddled with you until he fell asleep a few minutes later.

[Hope you liked this lil thing :) I’m sick right now and this is honestly what I would lovee to happen.]
~Jazzy🌹

I feel like the rpers fit in certain categories here:

The fast food rper - can get rps out fast, and reply just as fast for that quick satisfaction. They are later the bane of the latter types most of the time - you’d wonder how they retain such quality while being so fast. Don't ask, everything is fresh here.

The gourmet rper - quality over quantity, gives much thought to things and very hard to themselves. The type of rper who will hesitate, over analyse every damn sentences and will delete a whole para or more and go back to scratch because “It was bloody mess”. When will you get your reply is in week to months

The Homecook rper - Is in between the gourmet rper and fast food ; instead of analysing like the gourmet they procrastinates hella much, unlike the fast-food their replies are not constant in speed. When they say they’ll get to the rps, it might be just straight at the draft-box or get distracted with a meme. Don’t ask when they will get to it

SELOSA

Elmo Magalona:

Good morning, Julie! What’s your schedule today? 😁

Nagulat siya nang biglang nagmessage nanaman sa kanya si Elmo. Kahapon kasi ay hindi naman ito nagparamdam sa kanya. Actually, hindi naman ito nagparamdam sa kanya mula nung Sunday after nila mag-usap.

Me:

Valenzuela today for Operation Linis by Puregold. Why?

Agad naman siyang nakatanggap ng reply mula rito.

Elmo Magalona:

Okay. Enjoy your day! 😊

Umirap siya sa ere at hindi na nagreply. Nasa biyahe siya ngayon papuntang Valenzuela para nga sa project ng Puregold.

Nagvibrate uli ang phone niya at nakatanggap siya muli ng message kay Elmo.

Elmo Magalona:

If it’s okay with you, pwede ba tayong magkita later? Please? I miss you.

“Wow. May I miss you ka na ngayon ha? Parang kahapon lang…”

“Anak sinong kausap mo?” tanong ni Tito Jonathan sa kanya sabay lingon sa kanya mula sa rearview mirror.

“Ha? Wala po, papa.” nakangiting sabi niya.

Nagtype na siya ng message kay Elmo.

Me:

Ikaw bahala.

Pagdating nila sa barangay na lilinisan ay nagpark agad si Tito Jonathan. Hindi muna lumabas si Julie dahil wala pa naman ang ibang kasama nila. Naisip na lang niyang magpicture at ipost ito sa instagram.

Agad naman siyang nakahakot ng pagpuri mula sa mga fans dahil sa bago niyang look. Sino ba namang hindi matutuwa diba? She looked gorgeous with her new hair.

Elmo Magalona:

Nice hair! You looked even prettier. 😊

“Makamessage naman agad. Eh kung nilalike mo kaya? Baka sakaling natuwa pa ko ng konti sayo.” sabi niya sa sarili.

“Tara na anak.” anyaya ni Tita Marivic saka na sila lumabas.

*****

Maganda ang gising ni Elmo. Bukod kasi sa panalo ang Miami Heat against Brooklyn Nets ay pinayagan siya ni Julie na makipagkita sa kanya.

“Ikaw bahala is the same as yes diba?” tanong niya sa sarili. “Hm. What to do before I see my girl?”

Inabala niya ang sarili sa paglalaro ng xbox habang nagpapalipas ng oras. Sure naman kasi siyang mamaya pa matatapos si Julie sa ginagawa niya at ayaw rin naman niyang kulitin ito. Baka kasi di na siya payagang tibagin yung natitirang pader na nakapalibot sa kanya.

Tanghali na nang magmessage uli si Elmo kay Julie.

Me:

Hey, don’t forget to eat lunch okay? Eat carbs. Wag puro salad. 😁

Agad naman siyang nakatanggap ng message sa dalaga.

Julie San Jose:

I’m eating lunch with the other volunteers. Don’t skip meals too.

Lumapad ang ngiti ni Elmo. Di bale na kung walang emoji o kung tarayan man siya ni Julie. Ang mahalaga ngayon ay may concern pa rin ito sa kanya.

Me:

Message me if your event’s done.

Julie San Jose:

Don’t you have work today?

“Psh. Concern?” natatawang sabi niya bago nagreply dito.

Me:

No, I don’t. Kaya makakapunta ako sa inyo anytime. 😊

Hindi na nakapagreply uli si Julie kaya naisip niya na baka busy na uli ito. Siya naman ay nababagot na sa condo niya. Lahat na ata ng laro ay nalaro na niya.

*****

Pagkatapos niya sa Valenzuela ay nagpahatid siya kay Tito Jonathan para bisitahin ang isang kaibigan.

“Julieeeeee!” bati nito nang makita siya. Agad siyang niyakap nito.

“Hello po, Tito Chuck!” bati niya.

“How are you? Yung album mo? Lovelife?”

Natawa si Julie sa dami ng tanong nito.

“Okay naman po. Uhm. By June siguro out na yung album sa record bars. Haha. Single and very happy pa din tito.” aniya.

“Nako, anak. You’re the next big thing na talaga. Proud na proud ako sayo! Yung first album mo malapit na mag-Diamond record. Excited ka na ba?”

“Hahaha. Tito talaga. Yung 9x platinum nga po di ko na macontain yung tuwa ko eh. Baka hinamatayin na ko pag umabot ng Diamond. Hahaha.”

“Ay! Kaloka kang bata ka. Basta proud ako sayo. Konti na lang talaga Diamond na. Inaabangan ko nga eh.”

“Haha. Thank you po.”

“Teka. Nagpagupit ka ba?”

“Ha? Ay. Hehe. Opo kahapon.” sagot ni Julie.

“You look gorgeous, anak. Alam mo pag nagpapagupit ibig sabihin may balak magbagong buhay.” kindat nito sa kanya.

“Haha. Nako. Nainitan lang talaga ako tito kaya nagpagupit ako. Hahaha.” nag-apir sila at nagtawanan.

Nagkwentuhan pa sila pagkatapos nun. Nagpost din sa twitter si Mr. Chuck at tuwang-tuwa naman ang mga fans dahil dun.

Makalipas ang halos 2 oras na kwentuhan ay nagpaalam na rin si Julie.

“Oh. Next stop, Araneta na ha?” sabi ni Mr. Chuck bago siya nagpaalam ng tuluyan kay Julie.

Pagkasakay ni Julie sa kotse ay agad naman silang umalis nila Tito Jonathan at Tita Marivic.

“San tayo nak?”

“Uwi na po, papa. May bisita po ako.” nakangiting sabi ni Julie saka na nagtype ng message.

Me:

I’m on my way home. Pupunta ka ba?

Agad naman siyang nakatanggap ng reply.

Elmo Magalona:

Yes. I’m on my way too. See you! 😊

*****

Nagmamadali si Elmo na bumaba sa parking lot at agad siyang sumakay sa kotse niya.

“Kuya, Novaliches po tayo.” utos niya sa driver saka na sila umalis.

Pagdating nila sa Novaliches ay sinalubong siya ni Tito Jonathan. Sakto kasi ay kabababa pa lang nito sa sasakyan at nakabukas pa ang gate.

“Parekoy!” bati ni Tito Jonathan sa kanya sabay akbay pa. “Nadalaw ka?”

“Ah eh. Good evening po, tito. Si Julie po?”

“Ah. Aakyat ka nanaman ng ligaw. Andun sa sala. Puntahan mo na lang.” ani Tito Jonathan sabay tapik sa balikat niya at mahina siyang tinulak nito papasok.

Kakamot-kamot siya ng ulo habang pinipihit ang doorknob ng main door nila at dahan-dahan pang sumilip sa loob. Walang tao sa sala at tahimik rin sa loob ng bahay kaya nagtaka siya.

“Kuya Elmo!!!” nagulat siya nang bumungad ang bunso nilang si Jac sa harapan niya.

“Uy! Hi, Jac!” bati niya.

“Hello, kuya! Sinong hinahanap mo? Si Ate Julie? Wala si ate umalis may pinuntahan. Sa malayo.” tuluy-tuloy na sabi ni Jac.

“Ha? Pero sabi niya–”

“Jac, niloloko mo nanaman si Kuya Elmo mo.” nag-angat siya ng tingin at nakita si Tita Marivic na nasa bukana ng kitchen nila. “Hello, parekoy.”

“Good evening po tita.”

“Andun si Julie sa taas. Maya-maya siguro bababa na yun.” ani Tita Marivic. “Jac, tawagin mo si ate dali.” utos ni Tita Marivic kay Jac.

Tumakbo naman paakyat si Jac at narinig ni Elmo ang pagkatok nito sa kwarto ni Julie.

“Ate!! Ate!! Andito si Kuya Elmo!” paulit-ulit na sigaw ni Jac. “Ateeeeeeee!!!”

Nagbukas naman ang pinto at narinig niya ang boses ni Julie.

“Oo na, Jac. Narinig naman kita. Sabihin mo teka lang.”

Tumakbo naman uli si Jac pababa ng bahay nila habang sumisigaw.

“Kuya wait lang daw po!” sabi niya. Hinatak niya si Elmo sa sofa at pinaupo ito. “Diyan ka lang kuya. Wait lang daw po sabi ni ate. Wait lang.” excited na sabi ni Jac.

“Okay, Jac. Dito lang si kuya.” sabi naman ni Elmo. Tumabi sa kanya si Jac at natatawa siya dahil mas aligaga pa ito kaysa sa kanya.

“Ayan na! Ayan na!” sabi ni Jac at nagtatalon pa sa sofa habang parehas nilang naririnig ang mga yabag ng paa mula sa hagdanan.

“Jac, wag ka nga makulit. Punta ka dun kay mama.” utos ni Julie nang makababa na ito.

“Hi, Julie.” bati ni Elmo sa kanya. Tinanguan lang naman siya ng dalaga.

“Bakit gusto mo makipagkita?” tanong ni Julie.

“Ah… Eh kasi namiss kita eh.” pabulong na sagot niya.

*****

“Ah… Eh kasi namiss kita eh.” pabulong na sabi ni Elmo.

“Weh.” irap niya.

“It’s true! I missed you.”

“Miss yourself. Kahapon kasama mo si Lauren diba? Tapos ilang araw kang di nagparamdam? Yung totoo? May Janine na, may Lauren pa?!”

Natawa naman si Elmo at saka siya hinatak nito para mapaupo sa tabi niya.

“Selos ka?” asar ni Elmo sa kanya.

“Hoy! Ang kapal din naman ng mukha natin no? Mas makapal pa mukha mo kaysa sa mga duming nawalis namin kanina eh!”

“Hahaha. Admit it, Julie. How many percent of your wall have I taken down? Nakikita ko na kasi uli yung selos sa mata mo. Just like before.” nakangising sabi nito sa kanya.

“Wala. 100% uli na buo yung pader. Nako Elmo ha. Tigilan mo ko sa confidence mo. Naaalibadbaran ako sayo.” sabi ni Julie habang nilalayo ang sarili kay Elmo.

Siniksik naman siya ni Elmo hanggang sa dulo ng sofa saka muling inakbayan.

“Baby naman eh. Wala namang ganyanan!”

“Tigilan mo ko please!” ani Julie.

“Aysuuuus. Ang Julie ko. Umiiral nanaman pagiging selosa mo. Baby, wala lang yun okay? Kaya ko lang naman kasama si Lo kahapon kasi niyaya siya nila Maxx na sumama sa event ng Havs eh.”

“Whatever. Sana kinain mo na lang yung Havaianas.” irap ni Julie.

“Aysus! Wala nga lang kasi yun. Masyado ka namang selosa.”

“Lakas talaga ng confidence.” bulong ni Julie.

“Julie, kung malakas confidence ko edi sana kanina ko pa ginawa to.” ani Elmo.

“Ang al–” hindi na natuloy ni Julie ang sasabihin dahil bigla siyang hinalikan ni Elmo sa labi. “Argh!!!!! Bwiset ka talagaaaaa!!!” sabi niya sabay suntok sa braso ni Elmo.

“Hahahahaha. You’re blushing! Hahaha.” sabi ni Elmo sabay turo pa sa kanya.

“Bwiset ka. Umuwi ka na nga!” sigaw ni Julie.

“Ayoko.”

“Uwi!”

“Sabihin mo munang nagseselos ka.”

“Wala akong dapat sabihin. Umuwi ka na!” sabi ni Julie.

“Hahaha. Ayoko.”

“Bwiset. Diyan ka na nga. Bahala ka diyan.” sabi niya at akmang aalis na nang hatakin siya ni Elmo.

“Sige na nga uuwi na ko. Ayaw mo naman ata talaga akong makita eh.” madramang sabi nito saka pa ngumuso.

Palihim na natatawa si Julie habang pinagmamasdan ang nakabusangot na si Elmo.

“Sige na. Next time na lang kapag di ka na masungit. Ganda-ganda mo pa naman tapos sinusungitan mo lang ako.” nakayukong sabi ni Elmo. Tumayo na siya at lumabas na ng bahay.

Palihim na sinundan ni Julie si Elmo hanggang sa labas. Nakabungisngis siya dahil sa itsura ni Elmo na mukhang nalugi. Pasakay na si Elmo nang nagsalita si Julie.

“Oo na. Negseselos na ko. Ikaw kasi eh. Ang gwapo mo masyado. Nagiging selosa tuloy ako.”


- THE END -

farewell // yejun & aaron

His voice was filled with concern as he tried to figure out what his mother was trying to say on the other line–her words were muffled by sobbing and mumbling that he couldn’t understand. A few minutes passed, perhaps two or three, before she spoke again. Her voice was shaky, and quiet, but the words she said he understood and they were clearer than day. “Your grandfather died.” She hung up before him, and he packed up only the essentials for going to Japan for a few days, and as he packed, the numbness set in. He managed to text Aaron quickly before he got picked up by his parents. The younger hated how abrupt and rude the texts sounded, but he’d rather tell the other what happened in person, after Yejun had heard more details.

[text >> 僕の愛💕] i would call you, but i can’t talk right now.

[text >> 僕の愛💕] i’ll be in japan for a few days, it’s an emergency. i’ll tell you more when i get back.

[text >> 僕の愛💕] i miss you.

The first thing he did after he made it back to the airport closest to Daejeon was text Aaron again.

[text >> 僕の愛💕] i’ll be back in daejeon in about half an hour. can you wait for me outside my dorm?

Family Time // Trinity, Kyle, and Amelia

Trinity stood at the stove in the small apartment that she shared with her little family. Mixing up a pan of stir fry chicken, smiling down as she  heard the small pitter patter of small feet on the tiling of the room. “Momma?” She heard, looking down she smiled. “Yes, Amelia?” She asked with a small smile. “Can I have cookie?” The young raven-haired girl asked, her bright blue eyes gleaming up at her mother. Trinity bit down on her bottom lip and took in a deep breath. “I don’t know, Amelia. Dinner is almost ready.” She replied. A pout taking over her daughter’s face. “Daddy! Daddy!” The 4-year old started to yell.

Distance (Chapter 1)

Julie was excited for tonight. Today was her and Zeke’s first anniversary and Zeke promised to take her to a new Italian restaurant that just opened a week ago. He knew how much she loved Italian food kaya naman pagkagaling niya sa campus ay dali-dali niyang hinanda ang dress na binili kahapon para lamang sa gabing iyon. Naligo na siya at nagsimulang mag-ayos. Pagkalabas niya ng banyo ay napansin niyang umiilaw ang phone niya sa ibabaw ng kama. Kinuha nya iyon at nang makita na si Zeke ang tumatawag ay sinagot niya agad ito.

“Hi!” Masaya niyang bati sa kasintahan.

“Hon.”

Napansin niya agad na may kakaiba sa boses nito. Hindi niya tuloy maiwasan ang kabahan. “Hey, anong problema?”

Julie could hear the excitement in his voice when he started to speak but she could also feel that Zeke was having an internal battle with himself. “Uh.. I know it’s our first anniversary but something really important came up just now—”

“Hindi na tayo tuloy tonight?” She asked, deflated. Alam na niyang kaya ito tumawag ay para kanselahin ang lakad nila.

He heaved a sigh in response. “I’m so sorry, honey..”

Alam naman niyang sincere ang pagsosorry nito at hindi man niya alam kung ano ang mas importanteng bagay (kaysa sakanya) na kailangan nito asikasuhin, pilit niyang inintindi ang kasintahan dahil sa isang taon nilang magkasama, he never took her for granted, not even once. So she realized that the thing that came up must be really important to him. Ngunit ‘di niya pa din maiwasan na ma-disappoint at malungkot lalo na’t anniversary pa nila.

“It’s okay..” Yun nalang ang tanging nasabi niya.

“No, it’s not. But I promise to make it up to you tomorrow,” saad ni Zeke sa kabilang linya. “I just really need to deal with this first.”

She knows he will. Napangiti naman siya dahil kilala niya ito, alam niyang babawi talaga ito bukas. “Okay, take care, ha?”

“Thank you, hon. I love you so much,” she heard a smile in his voice. “Happy anniversary! Sorry, I suck.”

Natawa siya sa huling sinabi nito. “I love you, too. Bye.”

Pagkababa ni Julie ng telepono ay nagbihis na lang siya nang pantulog at napahiga sa kama. Habang nakatulala sa kisame ay napaisip siya bigla. “One year na agad kami. Ang bilis ng panahon,” bulong niya sa sarili.

She couldn’t help but to take a trip down memory lane. She realized that it had also been two years since her accident. She and Zeke didn’t technically meet that night as she was unconscious and bleeding to death but after she had recovered from the accident, she made an effort to be friends with him. Utang na loob niya ang buhay niya kay Zeke kaya hindi pwedeng basta na lang niya ito pasalamatan pagkatapos ay kalimutan. Besides, Zeke also hinted that he wanted to stay in her life which made her happy.

Her doctor said there was that possibility she might have a temporary memory loss when she woke up but the only thing she couldn’t remember was what happened that night. How she got into that place in the middle of night still remained a mystery to all of them. What she just knew was what Zeke had told her and it wasn’t enough. She wanted to remember everything even if it meant remembering the horrible things that might had happened to her even before she was hit by a car. She felt like there was a missing part of her and she wanted to find it. Hinintay niya itong bumalik sa alaala niya pero dalawang taon na ang nakalipas ay wala pa din.

Eventually though, Zeke made her somehow forget the void she was feeling inside of her. It was still there, hidden at the back of her mind; the eager feeling to recall that night but Zeke’s presence distracted her from stressing about it. After she was discharged from the hospital, they immediately became friends. They visited each other at their houses and hung out to spend time together. And she discovered a lot of thinhs about him including how the two of them shared the same interests— especially in food and music.

Julie was taking up architectural courses while Zeke was majoring in business managament. Nalaman niyang pareho lang sila ng university na pinapasukan. Nagulat din siya nang sabihin ni Zeke na graduating na ito nang mga panahon na iyon kahit na halos magkasingtanda lang sila. It didn’t take her long to figure out that he was a smart and very responsible person. He was determined to chase his dreams as soon as he can and those were a few of the traits she loved about him. He graduated as magna cum laude a year ago at sa halip na mag-apply ng trabaho sa mga malalaking kumpanya like what usually fresh graduates do, ngayon ay nagsisimula na ito sa bago niyang business habang siya naman ay may isang taon pa sa unibersidad.

They also talked about personal stuff which brought them closer to each other. He mentioned that he has a brother but he was out of the country and they haven’t seen each other for four years already. She told him that she was an only child and how she wished she had a sister. They also shared the most unforgettable memories of their childhood and exchanged stories they never told to anyone else. They practically became best friends in a short period of time.

After nine months of friendship with him, Zeke finally confessed his feelings to her which she reciprocated. But he insisted to court her still and three months after, they became an official couple. And now it had been a good year for the both of them and she couldn’t wait to have more with him.

She fell asleep with a smile on her face.

She didn’t know how much time had passed when she woke up from a buzzing sound around her. Pagmulat nang mata niya ay madilim na ang paligid at dali-dali niyang tiningnan ang alarm clock sa bedside table niya.

11:15 PM.

May apat na oras na siyang nakatulog. Bigla naman niyang naalala ang ingay na gumising sakanya kaya lumingon siya sa paligid at narealize niya na phone niya pala iyon. Kinapa niya iyon sa ilalim ng unan at nakitang tumatawag ulit si Zeke.

“Hello?” Bati niya, medyo garalgal pa nga ang boses niya.

“Did I wake you up?”

Papikit pikit pa siya ng mata habang sumasagot. “Uh.. kinda.”

“Good,” at saka tumawa ito. Natawa na din siya.

“What’s up?”

“Come out, hon. I’m here outside your door at ngalay na ako.”

“Wh—what?”

“Lumabas ka na lang. One. two.. three…”

Nagpanic naman siya bigla habang natatawa at mabilis na bumabgon para buksan ang pinto ng apartment na inuupahan niya. Pagbukas ni Julie ay bumungad sakanya ang binata na natatabunan ng isang malaking bouquet ng red roses.

“Happy anniversary!” Masayang bati nito saka ibinababa ang bulaklak na hawak. “Abot pa naman ako di ba?” Tanong nito na malawak ang ngiti.

She squealed in surprise and jumped at Zeke to hug him fiercely. Nang kumalas siya sa yakap ay mabilis na hinalikan niya ito sa pisngi.

Ngumiti siya ng malaki. “Thank you. Ang sweet mo talaga, Zeke.”

“I just can’t stand to know that we would miss our celebration just because of an idiot who didn’t know the concept of timing,” he said, feigning annoyance but she could see a hint of smile on his lips. Napansin naman ng binata na clueless siya sa sinasabi nito. “Ah, I’ll tell you about it later.”

Inabot ni Zeke sakanya ang mga bulaklak saka nagsalita ulit. “Now, change into jeans and sneakers, and put on a hoodie. We’re going out.”

“Huh?”

“Sarado na yung restaurant na dapat pupuntahan natin kanina eh, so naisip ko magpaluto na lang kay Mama para makapag-picnic tayo,” nahihiyang sabi nito.

Napangiti ulit siya dito at tinitigan ang binata ng mabuti. Na-touch siya na hindi na nito hinintay magbukas para bumawi sakanya. “I love you.”

“I know,” he replied cockily and winked at her.

Dinala siya ni Zeke sa loob ng campus para magpicnic sa field kung saan nagppractice ang football team kapag umaga at hapon. Kahit na alumni na ito at hindi pinapayagan ang mga estudyante gumala kapag gabi sa campus ay napapayag nang kasintahan ang guard na nakabantay doon dahil naging kaibigan ni Zeke iyon noong undergrad pa ito.

Natuwa naman siya sa effort ng binata dahil kahit last minute na ay nakapaghanda ito nang lahat ng kailangan nila para sa picnic: food, blanket, wine, candles at kahit mosquito repellent ay meron din. Kumain na sila at nagkwentuhan habang nakahiga siya sa dibdib ng kasintahan sa ilalim ng isang makapal na comforter.

Hinawakan ni Julie ang kamay ng kasintahan bago ngumiti dito at nagsalita. “Sobrang thank you para dito. Happy anniversary, Zeke.”

“Happy anniversary, too. Buti tinulungan ako ni Mama mag-ayos kung hindi, ‘di ako aabot,” pagkkwento ni Zeke.

Pinalo niya ang dibdib nito. “Ikaw talaga, ginising mo pa si Tita?”

Nakilala niya ang mga magulang nito nung magkaibigan pa lamang sila at nagustuhan agad siya ng mga ito. Nang maging sila ay ang bonding na nila ng Mama ni Zeke ay pagbbake at pagluluto. Syempre nakilala na din si Zeke ng mga magulang niya dahil ang binata nga ang nagligtas ng buhay niya kaya alam ng mga ito na wala silang dapat ipag-alala.

Natawa naman ang boyfriend niya bago nagsalita. “Hindi ‘no, I don’t even think they’d be able to sleep tonight. Hyper pa eh. May bisita kami sa bahay.”

“Huh? Sino?”

“Ah, I forgot to tell you,” Zeke started. She could hear the happiness and smile in his voice and she couldn’t help but smile, too. “My baby brother just arrived earlier. That’s why I had to cancel our plans kasi I had to fetch him at the airport.”

“Really?” Napabangon naman siya at napatingin sa binata. “Umuwi na si Sam?”

“Yep,” sagot nito na malaki ang ngiti. Masayang masaya ito sa pag uwi ng kapatid. “It was a surprise to all of us. He didn’t tell us he was coming back.”

At least ngayon alam na niya na importante talaga ang ginawa nito kanina. Sa pagkakaalam niya ay close talaga sila ng kapatid nito at matagal na nitong pinipilit umuwi ng bansa iyon. Hindi pa niya nami-meet ang binata dahil nasa States na ito nang magkakilala sila ni Zeke. Hindi pa niya alam ang lahat tungkol sa kapatid nito maliban sa Sam ang pangalan ng binata pero masaya siya para sa boyfriend. Ayon kasi sa mga kwento ni Zeke ay close talaga silang magkapatid nung bata pa sila pero nang umalis ito ay nabawasan na ang komunikasyon ng mga ito.

“Is he staying for good?” Tanong niya.

“I don’t know yet. But Sam was transferring here to our school. So I guess, he’s gonna stick around for a while,” masiglang pagkkwento ng kasintahan. “For now, he said he was planning to apply for a part time job and a condo to stay in while he was finishing school.”

“Why does he need to do that?” Nagtatakang tanong niya dahil mayaman ang pamilya nina Zeke.

“It’s just.. the way he is,” sagot nito na parang hindi din sigurado. “He’s been like that ever since we turned 18. I.. I don’t know why,” mahinang sabi nito.

Napansin naman niyang nag-iba ang mood nito kaya naisip na lang niyang ibahin ang topic. “Well, at least he’s back now, right?”

A week after their anniversary, it was already the start of classes as well as Julie’s last year in the university. After two semesters, she will be graduating, hopefully with honors, if she keeps up her good work.

It was just 7 in the morning and her class was not until 9:30 so she decided to swing by the coffee shop inside the campus. She needed her daily fix of caffeine as she only had a few hours of sleep the night before. Madalas siyang doon tumatambay kahit noong freshman pa lang siya kaya kahit ang mga crew dito ay naging kaibigan na din niya.

Pagpasok niya ay napansin niya na may ilan na ring mga estudyante ang nandoon. Nagsimula na siyang pumila habang tinetext ang bestfriend niyang si Maq.

‘I’m here at the cafe. Sabay na tayo pumasok, hintayin kita dito. Don’t be late.’

'Good morning to you, too, bitch. Okay.’

'Hahaha. Love you, Maq.’

“Hi, good morning. What’s your order, ma’am?” Napaangat naman siya nang may magsalita sa kabilang side ng counter.

Nagtataka siya dahil alam na karaniwan ng crew dito ang pangalan at ang inoorder niya. Kaya napatigil siya nang mapansin niyang bago nga ang crew na nagtanong sakanya.

Hindi niya maiwasang titigan ito. Gwapo ito at maputi. Maliit ang mga mata pero hindi naman singkit. Parang lagi lang kulang sa tulog at inaantok. Matangos din ang ilong nito at medyo chubby ang cheeks. Ngunit mas napatitig siya ng matagal sa mapupula at makapal na labi nito.

Tila natauhan naman siya nang mapansin niyang lumawak ang ngiti nito, sa labi pa din nito kasi siya nakatingin.

“Um. Hi, one hot caramel macchiato, grande, please? Thank you,” mahinang sabi niya. Nahihiya siyang tumingin sa mata ng binata dahil alam niyang alam ng binata na natulala siya sa mukha nito.

Kaya naman sa name tag nalang nito siya napatingin. At napangiti.

Your name is too cute for your handsome face. But it will do.

Bigla naman ulit nagsalita ang binata. “Your name?” Tanong nito.

“Elmo,” biglang sabi niya. Saka lang niya narealize na binasa pala niya ng malakas ang pangalan ng binata.

Sa wakas ay naglakas loob na siyang tumingin sa mukha ng binata. Nakakunot ang noo nito na parang nalilito ngunit pilit na pinipigilan ang ngiti o tawa na nagbabadyang lumabas sa magagandang labi nito.

“Uh. Magkapangalan pala tayo?” Natatawang tanong ni Elmo.

“Ah. Uhm, Julie..” She answered, embarrassed. Her voice came out like a squeak. “Julie,” she repeated much louder with confidence this time.

“Okay, Ms. Elmo—I mean Ms. Julie,” he joked and she blushed furiously.

Mabuti nalang at walang susunod sa kanya sa pila at iilan pa lang din ang mga estudyante doon kaya walang nakakarinig sa kanila kung hindi ay sobrang mahihiya na siya sarili at magpapalamon nalang sa lupa.

She was desperate to forget her slip up so she tried to change the topic.

“Bago ka ba dito?” Tanong niya habang inaabot ang bayad niya.

“Yup, I just started three days ago,” sagot nito na hindi tumitingin sakanya dahil nagsusulat ito sa cup ng order niya.

“Kaya pala.”

He finally looked up at her again and raised one eye brow as if asking her to elaborate her answer. It was the sexiest thing she had ever seen so far. Even her boyfriend couldn’t do that.

Naiinis siya sarili dahil napapadalas ang titig niya sa binata. “Err.. I’m a regular here and the crew had become my friends already. So they usually call me by my name and don’t ask for my order anymore,” pagpapaliwanag niya.

“Ah, I see. Dalawa kaming bago dito though it wasn’t my first time to work in a cafe,” he said. “Don’t worry, Julie. I’ll definitely remember you and your order the next time you come in here,” he added with a wink.

Elmo sounded like he’s flirting with her. And he was definitely flirting with her. But when he winked at her, hindi niya maisip kung bakit parang pamilyar ang mukha ni Elmo sakanya.

“I guess we’re friends now?” dagdag na banat pa nito.

And it was even more odd that she remembered Zeke when he smiled again.

Nang makuha na niya ang order niya sa claiming area ay agad siyang umupo sa favorite spot niya sa pinakadulong side ng cafe kung saan tahimik at kita niya ang lahat nang nangyayari sa lugar na iyon: yung mga tao na lumalabas at pumapasok, yung mga nakapila para umorder at higit sa lahat yung mga barista sa counter.

Inilapag niya ang order niya sa table at naupo doon habang hinihintay si Maqui. May isang oras na siya doon at ubos na din ang kape niya ngunit hindi pa dumadating ang kanyang bestfriend. Kinuha niya ang phone niya para i-text ulit ito nang makita niya na may text siya galing sa boyfriend niya.

'Good morning, hon. Good luck on the first day! Though I’m sure you don’t need it. :)’

Napangiti naman siya at nagreply dito nang biglang makareceive ng text galing kay Maqui.

'Bes, sorry. Nakatulog ulit ako. See you in class na lang. Hehe.’

Napabuntong hininga na lang siya at umiling iling, “Hay, Maq. Di ka pa din nagbabago.”

Katulad niya kasi ay nagrerent din ito ng apartment malapit sa campus para hindi hassle sa pagpasok araw araw. Masyado kasing malayo ang mga bahay nila sa university. Isa pa, mas gusto niya na ngayon pa lang ay matuto na siyang maging independent. Madalas pa din naman niyang dinadalaw ang mga magulang sa bahay ng mga ito.

Tatayo na sana siya para umalis nang mapansin ang nakasulat sa cup ng kape niya. Lumuwag kasi ang cup holder nito kaya bumaba ito at nakita niya na may kakaibang nakasulat dito. Kinuha niya ang baso at tinitigan.

0918*******
Call me, maybe? ;) -E

“Seriously?”

Lalo siyang napailing at natawa na lang habang nagmadaling tumayo para lumabas. Ni hindi na siya lumingon sa counter kahit ramdam niya ang pares ng mata na nakatitig niya. Bago siya lumabas ay napadaan siya sa trash can malapit sa glass doors at walang alinlangang tinapon ang hawak na cup doon.