kumalma

07112017 // 

Pareho na kaming nakainom ng bigla kong tinanong sa kanya, “Ni minsan ba nagtampo ka rin sa’kin?” hindi ko alam kung saan galing yung tanong na yun, sa kawalan? Haha sagot niya, “Oo naman. Nung mga panahon na hindi ka nakakapunta dito sa bahay tapos nung nakakilala ka na ng mga kaibigan sa tumblr, nung sila na nakakasama mo.” dahil sa mababaw ang luha ko, nagsimula na akong maiyak haha niyakap ko siya dahil ayokong makita niya, but this time hindi ako umiiyak dahil nagtatampo o nagseselos, umiiyak ako dahil sa sobrang pagmamahal ko para sa kanya. Niyakap ko siya nang sobrang higpit, umiiyak habang sinabing, “Mahal na mahal na mahal kita alam mo yan. Hindi ko kayang mawala ka sa’kin, hindi ko kaya. Hindi ko kakayanin yung sakit.” At sa bawat hagod niya sa likod ko para kumalma ako, alam kong ganun din siya sa’kin. Siya lang yung kaisa-isang tao na nakapagbibigay sa’kin ng kasiguraduhan, na pag sinabi niyang ako lang, ako lang talaga.

Sigh. Minsan maiinis ka nalang talaga sa mga nangyayari. Tipong pinapakalma mo na sila, hala sige pa rin. Sige, naiintindihan ko naman na hindi talaga maiiwasan iyon. Pero minsan subukan din nila lumagay sa pwesto ng isang empath. Nasasagap lahat, nadadama lahat. Yung tipong binobomba lagi yung nadadama niya dahil sa pakiramdam na nakukuha sa iba. Pati moods nila nasasagap. Minsan kasi nakakabaliw din eh. Tipong matutulog ka nalang, binabagabag ka pa ng nasasagap mo. Uso kasi kumalma, minsan kasi nabubulag lang din ng sariling mga emosyon. Tapos pag nahimasmasan, hihingi ng paumanhin. Hayyy. Nakakaano lang talaga minsan. Nakakapuno, Pero iniintindi pa rin. Pinapahaba ng pinapahaba pa rin ang pang unawa. Kaso, sana di naman sagarin.

hindi ka lang mag-post about sa ganto ganyan sasabihin, ay bakit ganon? break na kayo? post ka naman ng picture niyo? like hello pwedeng kumalma hindi lahat ng bagay kailangan i-post dito para wala kayong masabi jusq oo nagkkwento ako minsan dito about sa amin or siguro lagi pero hindi talaga lahat sinasabi ko duh privacy naman po kaya kung atat kayong malaman tungkol sa amin ewan ko na lang paka-pagod kayong mag-anon 

I am a proud Ateneo fan.

Surreal.

It was like standing in the middle of the loud, crazy crowd, not knowing what to do first: jump for joy, scream, or cry.

I couldn’t even remember what I did first. Or if I did it altogether. All I remember was that all the time, right at the first throw of the ball on the first set until its last hit on the floor at that 25th mark on the fourth set, I was praying.

I wasn’t actually praying for the Lady Eagles to win. All I ever prayed for was for them to give a good fight. That may there be no injuries on both camps, and that may He bless the players with their A-games on that do-or-die match. 

I just trusted His will, for I know that He would only give the win to the team that has the biggest and the most deserving hearts. 

I came to the Big Dome, setting the expectations of my family. They are Ateneo fans too, but not as ‘fangirl’ as me. They watch the games on TV but rarely watch live. They know the players but not as well as I do. They know the Ateneo Lady Eagles as a team but they don’t know their story.

How they’re too young and less experienced as a team, and how they have been struggling, losing some of the keep players last season.

So I thought they might get disappointed if ever the Lady Eagles lose.

I kept setting their minds, telling them it would really be okay for me if the girls lose. They got Game 1, what more could I ask for? But my tita, from time to time, told me, “Nakaya nga nila ‘yong una eh. Kaya nila ‘yan.”

I just smiled whenever she said that, and I was like, “Parang mas mababaliw ako kapag pumasok ang Ateneo sa finals!”

Well, not that I really didn’t believe they’d win, but it was easier to think that they would lose against NU because it was what everybody believed. It’s going to be NU and DLSU in the finals, plus the fact that they were twice beaten by NU in the eliminations. I knew they’ve got the skills, the talent, the unity and the hardwork. I knew they can make it but I recognized, too, that it’s not going to be easy. 

I wasn’t ‘not believing’ but I was just trying not to expect. 

I tried to be a matured fan so I set modest expectations in mind.

So, imagine my delight when they got the first set. I was literally jumping, screaming while praying and taking pictures and whatever. I didn’t even mind the cameras rolling (although I saw myself in one of the replays, looking crazy, jumping for joy).

Who even cared about being seen on TV? The #BigBlueCrowd was too happy, excited and overwhelmed. What with the eleven-drum set by the Ateneo Blue Babble Battalion (kudos to them, by the way), the #BigBlueCrowd literally dominated the Big Dome and made a thundering noise whenever the Lady Eagles get a point. 

There was a debate going on in my mind. It was like being torn between “OMG kaya nga nila! Shocks, grabe, nakuha nila first set! Woohoo!“ and that "Noooo, huwag ka munang umasa. Isang set pa lang ‘yan, kumalma ka, utang na loob.’ thoughts. 

And then my tita said, “Sabi ko sa’yo kaya nila eh.”

But apparently, the second set was a total meltdown, and while the crowd tried to be as noisy and as lively as it was during the first set, it really hurt to see the score. 

And there was fear, too, because that time, NU was already getting their game. There was this, "Shet. Ito na ang NU. Gising na.

The next two sets didn’t really give all of us the chance to sit back and relax. It’s a tight ball game, without any team leading big enough to be complacent. 

But seriously, the next two sets were the loudest. 

The screams, the chants, the drums. The boos. The cheers and the jeers. Everything was there. At one point I thought the floor was literally shaking. I didn’t mind, though. It was a tough match and the Lady Eagles were fighting. Fighting real hard. 

You can just imagine how the Big Dome erupted when they snatched the third set. 

That time, I was screaming "Thank You, Lord! Thank You, Mamy Mary,” hoping they would hear me from heaven. 

Tita, kakalma ako. Kakalma talaga ako. Naka-dalawang sets na sila, OMG! Kakalma talaga ako!” 

But I didn’t. I was too happy and the crowd was too noisy to even calm. The sea of blue was celebrating. I even saw some, exchanging high fives, hugging each other. 

The #BigBlueCrowd felt they were already winners. Why not? Their favorite team - young, struggling, doubted and counted out - had just won two sets in its second attempt to snatch the finals ticket from the Number 2 team. 

The fourth set was a more relaxed one. At the back of my mind, I really wanted to believe we’d be getting this last set but the thought of the Lady Eagles going to the finals really gave me goosebumps, so I chose to set it aside and enjoy the game, one point at a time. I was really praying they’d finish it, though I knew that Lady Bulldogs wouldn’t give it up that easy. I knew, as competitive as they are, they would want to take revenge. 

They were as hungry as any Top 2 team in any league would be to get to the finals. But I guess their hunger wasn’t that bad enough.

The Araneta Coliseum just erupted with that Valdez hit that ended the match.

I cried. And I knew thousands of those in the Big Dome and those that were in front of their television sets and cellphones were crying too. 

Crying out of happiness.

Crying out of pride.

As Charlie in The Perks of Being a Wallflower puts it, “In that moment, I swear, we were infinite.”

True enough, victory is sweeter when you least expect it.

And then I saw big smiles and heard hearty laughs as we went out of the court. Those in blue, men and women, young and old, hugging each other, as they celebrated like they were the players that won the game, exchanged stories at how they were nervous and excited and how they screamed their hearts out. And how they were still feeling surreal right at that moment. 

That scenario was a delight to the eyes and music to the ears. 

Heartwarming.

I am a proud fan, just like thousands of those rooting for the blue and white, who were once again convinced that we were never wrong in choosing who to support.

The Lady Eagles are brave fighters who never give up. 

They are the warriors that struggled, worked hard, and succeeded.

It is the team that most people doubted, hated, mocked, and was counted out.

And yes, it is the team that remains unassuming, focused, and hardworking:

It is the young Ateneo Women’s Volleyball Team, right there at the Finals.

Finals, baby. Finals.

I remembered I kept praying to God that He may let the team with the biggest and most deserving hearts win the bid to the finals.

Thank You, Lord.

You never fail.

The Lady Eagles, indeed, have the biggest and strongest of hearts.

For updates on new blog entries, follow @forthephenom on Twitter. 

Hi, asthma.

Asthma? srsly, super hirap magka asthma. AS IN 

try mong di huminga, tas tuwing 5 secs hihinga ka lang saglit, ganon tas ung tuwing 5 secs pa non as in hinahabol mo ung hininga pra lng mka hinga ka. gets? feel ko hindi, basta super hirap.. dati as in tuwing mafefeel ko palang na aasthmahin ako mag nenebulizer ako. tas mga 13 y.o ako, pinag bawalan ako ng parents kong mag nebulizer tuwing inaatake ako ng asthma ko, kasi daw nasasanay na ung katawan ko ng umaasa lagi sa nebulizer tas maiipon daw ung something ng gamot sa lungs ko, tas mamamatay na daw ako.(pde/baka/dimalayo) kasi mag sstuck sa lungs ko tas lalong sisikip. 5 days pabalik balik sinat ko, tas feeling ko dahil sa asthma ko un. tas nung kanina lang dun ko tlgang na feel na mamamatay nako, (oa lang) super di nako makahinga. dapat sa sanfernando kami matutulog pero di ko na tlga kaya kelangan ko na mag nebulizer, e dito sa bahay angeles ung nebulizer ko, kaya hinatid kame. tas ngayon nag nebulizer ako, nung una nga ayaw ng dadi ko e. sabi ko di ko na tlga kaya. ayon, parang akong drug addict habang nag nenebu sumisingot. haha! after kong mag nebu ung whole body ko nangingineg.. actually, hanggang ngayon. tas sabi nila pag lumagpas 7y.o mahirap or imposible na daw matanggal asthma. kaya eto lagi kong pinag ppray, I know nothing is impossible with him :) kaya kung binasa nyo to PRAYER REQUEST ko nadin sainyo ;) super nahihirapan nako </3 (haha.drama) pero srsly, mahirap. laging umiiyak ako kunware may activity tas inatake ako ung iisipin mo “andaming pwedeng magka asthma, bat ako pa? buti pa sila nagagawa nila mga di ko pedeng gawin” this is sad. pero alam ko naman may purpose si Lord, I declare healing In his name. (wla namang masamang mag speak ng healing sa sarili dba? lels) I am healed :) haha =) mahirap talaga <///////3.. K ano na mga pinagsasabe ko. bye =) God bless!

Last Duet

Note: I originally got the idea from JuliElmoMEDICS’s tweet. And I just wrote a one shot out of it. :)

Julie was breathing hard by the time she finished her last song for the night. She could barely hear the final roll of the drums as her almost 60,000 fans screamed their hearts out for her, chanting her name over and over again like it was some prayer, at the Philippine Arena.

She should have been exhausted and drained from all the songs and dance numbers she performed during her 2-hour concert but right now, as she scanned the endless heads smiling up at her, she had never felt more alive than before.

Hindi niya maiwasang mag-reminisce sa nagdaan na isang dekada ng career niya. Halos sampung taon na ang lumipas simula nang tuluyan siyang makilala lalo ng mga tao ngunit pakiramdam niya ay parang kahapon lang lahat ng iyon. Ngayon, habang pinapakinggan niya ang sigaw ng mga adiks na pumunta para lang mapanood siya ngayong gabi, hindi niya maiwasang maging emosyonal at mapaluha.

Pagkalipas ng ilang minuto sa wakas ay medyo kumalma na ang mga taga-hanga niya. Ginamit niya ang pagkakataon na iyon para magsalita.

“Thank you so much everyone for coming!!! From the very start of my career, you’ve always been there to support me in everything. And until now, on my 28th birthday and my 9th major concert, nandito pa din kayo at never niyo akong iniwan! Kaya maraming maraming salamat po! Sobrang mahal ko kayong lahat adiks!” Sigaw niya sa mic na hawak niya habang kumakaway sa libo libong taong sumusuporta sakanya.

Sabay sabay na naghiyawan ang mga ito bilang tugon at halos mabingi na siya sa lakas ng cheer sakanya ng kanyang mga fans. Kinakabahan pa nga siya dahil sa taas ng intensity ng mga ito ay baka biglang gumuho ang buong arena.

Sa umpisa ay puro sigaw lamang ang naririnig niya sa kanyang fans nang di tumagal ay may isang salita na lamang ang binibigkas ng bawat isa sa mahigit na 50,000 na adiks na nandoon.

Natawa si Julie nang maintindihan na niya ang hinihiyaw ng mga ito. “Encore! Encore! Encore! Encore!”

“Ha? Gusto niyo pa ng isa?”

Kahit na halos wala na rin siyang boses at talagang pagod na siya ay gusto niyang pagbigyan ang kahilingan ng mga ito. Ano ba naman ang isa pang kanta sa sobrang tindi ng suporta na binibigay ng mga fans niya sakanya di ba.

Isang malakas naman na sigawan ulit ang sagot ng mga adiks sakanya. “Yeeeaaahhh!!”

Tumawa siya ulit ng malakas at umiling iling sa mga ito. “Sige, last na ‘to ha.”

Muli, isang malakas na hiyawan ang isinagot nito sakaniya.

Namimili pa siya ng isa sa mga kantang inihanda niya just in case mag-request nga ang mga manonood ng encore. Lalapit na sana siya sa banda at musical director niya nang nagsimulang tumugtog ang mga ito.

Napatigil siya sa kinatatayuan sa stage dahil sa gulat at nagtataka siyang tumitig sa musical director niya. Ngumiti lang ito pati na din ang buong banda na tumugtog para sakanya sa gabing iyon.

Biglang nagtilian ang mga fans nang marinig nila ang tinutugtog ng banda. Obviously, alam na agad ng mga ito ang kanta ngunit wala pa din siyang ideya. Hindi kasi iyon kasama sa mga kantang ni-rehearse nila. Pamilyar sakanya ang intro ngunit hindi niya talaga maalala kung ano ang kantang ito. Lalapit na sana siya ulit sa banda para patigilin ang mga ito nang bigla niyang narinig ang isang boses sa mga speakers.

Shawty’s love is like a pyramid

Si Elmo.

At tuluyan na ngang dumagundong ang buong Philippine Arena sa lakas ng tilian sa loob ng stadium.

We stand together till the very end

Lumabas ito mula sa backstage at mabagal na naglakad papunta mismo kung saan siya nakatayo sa stage. Sa pangalawang pagkakataon ay napatigil lang siya gulat at walang ideya sa mga pangyayari sa sarili niyang concert.

There’ll never be another love for sure

Nakangiti si Elmo sakanya nang malaki na parang ini-enjoy ang pagkagulat niya. Habang kumakanta ay may dala itong isang bouquet ng roses na iba’t iba ang kulay: white, red, pink, yellow at orange, at iniabot nito ang mga iyon sakanya.

Elmo and Julie let we go

Sa nakalipas kasi na walong taon ay kasama sa mga nangyari ang pagkakatuluyan nila ng binata. Pagkatapos na pagkatapos niyang grumaduate ng college ay muling nagparamdam si Elmo sakanya. Dahil tapos na ang isa sa mga top priorities niya, ang pag-aaral, sa wakas ay nabigyan na niya ng pagkakataon ang mga matagal nang nagpaparamdam sakanya. At isa na si Elmo sa mga ito. Sa lahat ng nanligaw sakanya ay si Elmo lang talaga ang tunay na nakakakilala sakanya kaya ito lang din ang matiyaga at nagtagal na nanligaw sakanya. Maging ang mga magulang niya ay niligawan din ng binata. Lahat ng issues nilang dalawa noong mga teenager pa sila ay nalinaw na sa pagitan nila at wala na siyang dahilan para patagalin pa ang panunuyo nito. Dahil ayaw man niya aminin, matagal na rin niyang hinihintay ang pagkakataon na magkatuluyan sila ni Elmo.

Kung masaya silang dalawa dahil sa wakas ay sila na, mas masaya ang kanilang fans na hindi lang sa career sila nagkatuluyan kundi sa totoong buhay. Ngayong taon ay 7th year anniversary na din nila ni Elmo. Hindi naging madali sa kanilang dalawa ang nagdaan na pitong taon. Nagkaroon din sila ng issues at mga away ngunit ginawa nila ang lahat para maayos agad ang mga ito. Ni minsan ay hindi sumagi sa isip nila ang maghiwalay.

At ngayong gabi nga ay isa din ang binata sa mga special guests niya. Kaya nagtataka siya kung bakit lumabas ulit si Elmo ng stage para kumanta dahil nakapag-perform na ang JuliElmo kanina.

Dahil gulat pa din si Julie, hindi siya nakakanta sa part kung saan alam niyang siya ang dapat na kakanta kaya itinuloy ni Elmo ang pagkanta hanggang sa first verse.

Stones, heavy like the love you’ve shown
Solid as the ground we’ve known
And I just wanna carry on
We took it from the bottom up

And even in a desert storm
Sturdy as a rock we hold
Wishing every moment froze
Now I just wanna let you know

Earthquakes can’t shake us
Cyclones can’t break us
Hurricanes can’t take away our love

Isa pa ay hindi na rin niya kabisado ang lyrics nito dahil 12 years na ang nakakalipas simula noong una at huling beses nilang kinanta iyon.

Kung saan nagsimula ang lahat.

Nagtataka man ay natatawa siyang sumabay kay Elmo sa chorus dahil biglang lumabas sa prompter sa harap niya ang lyrics ng kanta. Naisip niya tuloy na siya lang talaga ang hindi nakakaalam na ipeperform nila ni Elmo ang kantang iyon sa concert niya.

Pyramid, we built this on a solid rock
It feels just like it’s heaven’s touch
Together at the top, like a pyramid
And even when the wind is blowing
We’ll never fall just keep on going
Forever we will stay, like a pyramid

Like a pyramid like a pyramid eh (ooh)
Like a pyramid like a pyramid eh (ooh)
Like a pyramid like a pyramid eh eh (oooh)

Nang hawakan ni Elmo ang kamay niya ay doon niya lang ulit naalala na nasa harap sila ng libo libo nilang fans na lumakas ang tilian dahil lamang sa simpleng contact ng kanilang mga kamay at lalo siyang natawa sa mga nangyayari sa paligid niya. Hanggang ngayon ay namamangha pa din siya sa epekto nila sa kanyang mga fans. Kahit na mahigit isang dekada na ang nakalipas kasi ay hindi pa din kumukupas ang kilig ng mga ito kahit na madalas na nilang makita ang dalawa na magka-holding hands.

Lalo na pag nagkiss kami. Jusko. Parang end of the world na.

Magkahawak kamay, nagpatuloy si Julie sa pagkanta habang si Elmo naman ay nakatitig lang sakanya.

Cold, never ever when you’re close
We will never let it fold
A story that was never told
Something like a mystery

Kahit na ilang taon na silang magkasintahan, hindi nagbago kung paano siya tinititigan ni Elmo na parang siya lang ang mundo nito. Kahit sa mga panahon na nagtatalo sila.

And every step you took we’ve grown
Look how fast our time has flown
A journey to a place unknown
We’re going down in history

Earthquakes can’t shake us
Cyclones can’t break us
Hurricanes can’t take away our love

[Repeat Chorus]

Pyramid, keep it going

Elmo let go of her hand as he sang and wrapped an arm around her waist, pulling her closer to him. Just like the old times, they were wrapped in their own bubble on the stage despite the thousands of fans watching and screaming for the name that binded them as one.

JuliElmo.

She realized how the song fit their story. And it was ironic how it was the same song they sang for the first time as a tandem and then, 12 years later, it was also the song she would use to describe exactly how strong their love for each other right now.

Like a pyramid.

Then Elmo went on to rap his part as he intently looked at her like he was telling her something more than just the lyrics of the song.

Like a pyramid girl let me show you
That I love you so much
That we gonna get through (oh oh)
Even when there’s storms
I will never go, Ima be the one to keep you safe (hey)
Before was our love back it up more than enough
Holding on to one another be the cover when it’s rough (oh oh)
Mother nature (hey) or disaster won’t stop at happy ever after

She knew she was about to belt the highest note in the song when all of a sudden, the music stopped. And Elmo released her to step back.

For the third time, she was dumbfounded by everything and all she could do was stare at her boyfriend.

The fans were probably as surprised as she was, as they eventually stopped cheering and just quieted to hushes on the background.

Elmo smiled at him nervously. When he was sure everyone was now calm and waiting for what was going to happen, he finally spoke. “Baby…”

“Waaaaah!!!” The fans screamed. But she remained silent.

He then continued despite of the deafening noise. “We’ve been through a lot together. Everyone in this arena knows that. They knew how long I waited just so I could finally make a move on you. I’ve strayed along the road but I still found my way to you. I had been so patient and consistent while I was courting you. And I remember it was not easy. Even after seven years. Everything about you wasn’t easy. Even up until now.. This isn’t easy,” he said, his voice cracking at the last word.

She didn’t know what else to do but just stare at him in panic and confusion as she had no idea where he was going with his sudden speech. Even their fans were as quiet as they could.

Oh my God. Are you breaking up with me?! Tonight? Here? Sa concert ko talaga? In front of more than 50,000 people?!

He smiled reassuringly at her like he could read her mind. She knew the look on her face gave her away. He opened his mouth to speak again.

“But if there was one thing I realized from everything I’ve been through just to be with you.. It was that.. something that lasts forever never comes easy.”

What? Oh my God.

“And you know what? It was all worth it. And I’d do it all over again if that meant being with you forever,” he confessed softly as he looked straight into her eyes.

She stopped breathing and her jaw touched the floor the moment Elmo suddenly dropped to his knees in front of her. Her eyes widening in pure shock as she realized what he was planning to do all along. She could barely register the collective gasps of thousands of people in the arena. Tears immediately escaped her eyes as she watched him pull out a simple but elegant platinum band with a big diamond rock on it from his chest pocket.

Elmo looked up and she noticed for the first time the tears in his eyes. “Julie, baby. I love you so much. Will you spend your forever with me?” He whispered.

She fought the urge to jump as she managed to squeak out her answer. “Oh my, God! Yes!”

The whole crowd at the Philippine Arena went ballistic. Everybody was screaming that people from the outside would think there was a genocide happening at the moment. Elmo stood up with shaking knees then she tackled him for a fierce hug, wrapping her arms tightly around his neck as he kissed her forehead.

Everyone cheered for JuliElmo. The paramedics and security team were alert and ready if ever some of the fans might think of jumping off the balcony in excitement and ecstasy. All of them were sobbing as they watched their favorite couple hug in pure bliss. Julie knew each and every one of them was waiting for this moment more than their own dream proposal. And she knew they were as happy for them as she was. She was glad that they could get to share this special moment with them. Julie wanted to thank Elmo for choosing that moment to propose to her.

The band continued to play where they left off but Julie was too busy crying she wasn’t able to belt out the line.

“I love you,” she heard Elmo whisper to her ear.

“This is the most epic proposal, Moe. Ever. I love you so much,” she squealed.

Julie leaned back to wipe Elmo’s tears and he did the same thing for her. He then gave her a short but very passionate kiss in front of the world that the screams got louder they could bring the whole house down.

Pyramid, we built this on a solid rock
It feels just like it’s heaven’s touch
Together at the top, like a pyramid
And even when the wind is blowing
We’ll never fall just keep on going
Forever we will stay, like a pyramid

It was their fans singing along the last chorus as the back up singers for them. When they pulled away from each other, they saw all of their hands raised up in the air and swaying them from left to right as each of everyone cried with them out of joy.

Julie and Elmo finally sang along even though their voices were hoarse from crying and every individual at the stadium was singing Pyramid with a smile on their faces because they were all aware how important the song was for the fandom.

Like a pyramid, like a pyramid, yeah (3x)

And as she sang the last line, Elmo and Julie stared at each other lovingly like they always did after their perfomances together. She couldn’t help but smile at the fact that the first song she and Elmo performed a duet was also their last duet as a loveteam.

Because the next time they would sing together, they are finally husband and wife.

“Pyramid.”

anonymous asked:

Ate leeengg, ficlet request po please on Zade's reaction the first time Andreau calls her 'babe' nung official na sila. (Or whoever calls the other 'babe' first). Naalala ko kasi sa isang chap sa tsib when A texted Z calling her babe tapos di pa sila nun. Mehehehe 😊😊😁

I was actually surprised to see a ficlet request about this! May naisulat na kasi akong ficlet na about the babe thingy last year.. and ayoko pa sanang ipublish.. kaso.. you asked for this!

Tweaked the prompt a bit!

So this is… five times Andreau called Zade “babe” and the one time she did :)

***

1. The first time he called her babe, she was flat out drunk.

Si Ninna talaga ang may kasalanan kung bakit nalasing si Zade. Sure, her sangria recipe was a bomb, pero first time lang makainom ni Zade no'n. Akala siguro ni Zade simpleng juice lang ang pinapainom sa kanya ng kambal ni Roldan. She didn’t know (and he’s sure walang balak si Ninna na aminin) na mas dumadami ang red wine kesa sa orange juice sa bawat bagong batch na pinapainom sa kanya. Wala siyang planong malasing kaya nag-orange juice na lang siya buong gabi (much to the twin’s dismay. sober!andreau was no fun)

Ibang klaseng experience para sa kanya na makitang lasing si Zade. Alam niyang carefree at madaldal ito pag sober, pero mas malala pa pala kapag lasing ito. Sila lang naman ang nasa resort pero may weird instinct siya na lagi itong bantayan at sundan kung saan ito magpunta. Inasar pa nga siya ni Kesh na mas malala pa sa dorm manager nilang si Ate Mel, na notorious sa pagiging Matanglawin (Zade’s words, not Kesh’s). Aside sa pagiging protective, bentang-benta rin sa kanya ang English Speaking Drunk!Zades. He found Italian Speaking!Zades hot just last week, pero ibang klaseng hotness ang English SpeakingDrunk!Zades. (O nadala lang ng pagiging touchy sa kanya ni Zades? He didn’t want to know).

After Zade’s 15th glass of sangria (na mukhang 80% wine, 20% juice na), inawat na niya ito at pinasok sa loob ng bahay. Their three companions shot him glares as if saying Hoy Andreau pag may alak, may balak! Of course, he flipped them off. He couldn’t do that to any woman, especially to Zade. Hindi niya mapapatawad ang sarili pag nangyari ‘yon.

Sa pagkakaalam niya ay first time pa lang malasing ni Zade, kaya hindi na siya nagulat na halos 45 minutes silang nasa loob ng CR dahil sa pagsusuka nito. He couldn’t help but laugh at his predicament; gusto niyang mag-unwind sa trip na 'to pero eto siya, taga-hawak ng buhok at tagapunas ng suka ni Zade Pascual.

Since hindi bitbit ni Zade ang susi ng kwarto nila ni Kesh, he had no choice but to bring her to his and Roldan’s room. Nahirapan pa siyang alalayan si Zade dahil himalang mabigat pala ito.. at ayaw nitong magpatulong sa paglalakad. Nang makarating na sila sa kwarto, bumagsak si Zade sa sofa.

“Zades.. don’t sleep there. Malapit na yung kama o.” Sinubukan niyang itayo si Zade kaso nagpumiglas ito. “Zades..”

“I’m gonna sleep here,” she replied, words slurring. Nagtakip pa ito ng throwpillow sa mukha.

He was too tired, too elated to move, so he decided to sleep on the floor near the sofa. It wasn’t the most comfortable position, but he didn’t care. Wala siyang pakialam kung sumakit man ang likod niya bukas. It was all goddamn worth it.

Bago siya matulog, chineck niya muna si Zade at kinumutan ito.

“Goodnight, babe,” he whispered before laying down on the floor.

(Narealize lang niya ang sinabi niya pagkagising niya, noong naapakan siya ni Zade. Babe? Why the fuck did I call her that?)

2. He fucking texted it to her.

Bihirang magpanic si Andreau Cortez sa buong buhay niya. Years of practicing his control made him composed as fuck. But nothing, as in nothing, ever prepared him for this one.

Babe, what time will I pick you up?

He fucking called her Babe. Thru text. While he’s driving.

Muntikan nang magswerve ang kotse niya nang magsend ang message na 'yon. He wasn’t really thinking while typing that. Nasa Cloud 9 pa rin siya dahil nangyari ang imposible: Zade agreed to be his date to the Charity Ball. Isang buwan niyang pinag-isipan kung paano aayain si Zade.. at buti na lang hindi siya nabigo.

Tapos… baka dahil sa isang text na babe.. mawala ang lahat.

Alam niyang nasa klase si Zade kaya nabawasan ang kaba niya kahit paano. Hindi naman 'yon mahilig magcellphone kapag nasa kla–

Then his phone rang.

This time, bigla siyang napapreno. Buti na lang malapit lang siya sa may Skyline at walang sasakyan sa likuran niya. Nang medyo kumalma na siya, tinuloy na niya ang pagdadrive at sinagot na ang tawag ni Zade.

Kabado siyang sagutin ang mga tanong ni Zade. Obvious kasi sa boses nito na uncomfortable ito sa pagtawag niya ng babe. He hated lying to her, per kung anu-anong palusot na lang ang sinabi niya para makatakas.. at himalang tumalab naman. Successful din ang tactic niya na pag-offer ng pagkain, na dinamihan pa niya para hindi na nila pag-usapan sa sasakyan mamaya ang text na 'yon.

His prayer was answered though. Zade never brought up the babe thing nung sinundo siya nito. Busy kasi ito sa pagkukwento ng burn moments ng kaklase niyang mahilig gumamit ng Shakespearean puns. Nakinig siya sa kwento.. kaso hindi niya maamin sa sarili na nabother siya sa sinabi ni Zade na I find the endearment babe so juvenile. Tsaka na lang niya poproblemahin 'yon.

3. He didn’t care if she heard it the third time.

For nine years, naasanay siyang mag-isa kapag death anniversary ng parents niya. Iyon lang kasi ang panahon na nilalaan niya sa sarili para magpakalunod sa lungkot. Ayaw niya kasing may nakakakita ng vulnerable side niya. Gusto niyang mapreserve kahit paano ang image niyang composed at parang walang problema.

(Nine years na siyang nag-iisa. Nine years na rin siyang naghihintay na may maghahanap sa kanya.)

That someone came on the 10th year.

Zade found him.

She saved him from the darkest moment of his life.

She chose to be with him.

And that’s all that mattered.

(Months back, he’d told himself, maybe.

That maybe changed to eventually when

can i hold your hand?
no. but i’ll always hold yours)

They were on his childhood bed when she said, “O sige na nga. Goodnight na, Francisco.”

Ang dami niyang nararamdaman at gustong sabihin that moment, pero sa sobrang pagod niya, ito lang ang nasabi niya kay Zade.

“Thank you for finding me, Babe.”

Wala na siyang pakialam kung narinig man 'yon ni Zade. He meant it.

4. The fourth time was a slip of tongue… in front of everybody.

After the Great Fight Over Cordon Bleu (Zade’s words, not his), bumalik ang kapayapaan sa Noche Buena nila. Kunwari masaya siya sa successful na pagnakaw niya ng cordon bleu sa plato ni Zade.. pero deep inside.. ilang beses na niyang sinipa ang sarili niya dahil sa ginawa niya. What the fuck’s that acting, Andreau!? Divorce?! What if I ask now?! Are you fucking out of your mind!? (This only showed na ibang klaseng tao siya pag gutom. Pagbigyan na.)

At dahil natakot na si Zade na mawalan ng pagkain, bantay-sarado na ito sa mga natirang cordon bleu, to the point na hindi nito binitawan ang tray. Nagkaron na ako ng trust issues sa pagkain nang dahil sa 'yo, Francisco. Wag ka na ngang magnanakaw! Inassure niya si Zade na sa kanya na lahat ng cordon bleu at puro salad na lang ang kakainin niya. She accepted it with a smile, thus ending their food fight.

Favorite salad niya ang Caesar salad na gawa ni Mars, lalo na ang super secret dressing nito. Pasko naman, kaya dinamihan ni Mars ang salad dressing as part of her heartfelt gift for him. Of course, jinudge siya ni Zade sa pagkain niya ng salad, aka pagkain ng mga rabbit, pero nakitikim din ito ng dressing na gawa ni Mars.

He was already on his fourth salad serving nang mapansin niyang wala na sa tabi ng plato niya ang bowl ng dressing. One quick scan and he located the bowl near Zade’s plate, which was just across him. “Babe, yung salad dressing nga paabot,” he said absent-mindedly as he dumped a load of croutons on his salad bowl.

“O, here you go,” inabot nga ni Zade ang bowl, na kalahati na lang ang laman. “Ooops.. sorry kung yan na lang. Ganti lang yan sa cordon bleu shit mo kanina.”

He ignored Zade’s quip and then turned to Mars, “Marion Jane, can you make me an–” natigilan siya nang makita niyang nakatitig sa kanya sina Tristan, Marisse, Roldan, Kesh, at si Mars na halos sumayad sa table ang panga dahil sa pagnganga. “What’s wrong?”

“You called her babe!?” Mars mouthed, completely in shock. Nang hindi siya nagsalita, tinuro ni Mars si Zade na busy sa pagkain ng cordon bleu. “Tinawag mo siyang babe?”

Agad siyang napatingin kay Zade. Shit, I called her babe? How come she didn’t react or something? Maybe she didn’t hear it? Or.. she heard it.. but…

“Oy Francisco! Anong tinitingin-tingin mo dyan?” sabi sa kanya ni Zade na masama ang tingin. “Wag mo nang pagplanuhang kunin pa 'tong cordon bleu ko! Hindi na kita mapapatawad!”

Yep, she didn’t hear it at all.

(He wished he could make the others unhear it, though.)

5. The fifth time.. well.. he’s blaming Mars.

“Andreau, have you seen my phone?”

He was in the kitchen, busy preparing his all time favorite Nutella mug cake. “Huh? Di ba hawak mo kanina?”

Salubong ang kilay ni Zade nang lumapit ito sa kanya. “Oo nga eh. Bago ako pumunta sa CR, 'di ba? Saan ko kaya nalapag 'yon?”

“Baka nahulog sa toilet? Tapos naflush mo?”

“Ugh you’re not helping me at all!! Nasan phone mo? Tawagan ko muna!” Tinuro niya ang nagchacharge niyang phone sa may counter at dali-daling pumunta don si Zade. “And excuse me ha, I made sure na wala 'yon sa backpocket ko! Wag mo nga akong i-paranoid dyan!”

“I was just exploring other possibilities, Zades,” he countered. “Sorry if I tho–”

“WHAT THE FRESH HELL IS THIS!?”

He almost dropped the hot mug in surprise. Nang tignan niya si Zade.. nagulat siya na inis na inis ito. “What the fuck happened!?”

“Bakit ganito ang pangalan ko sa phone mo!?” pinakita sa kanya ni Zade ang phone screen niya at.. oh. Oh.

Babe ang pangalan ni Zade sa phone niya.

“What the hell?” was all he could say.

“Talagang what the hell mo mukha mo! Ba’t mo ba ako tinatawag niyan ha!?” she tossed his phone, which he caught miraculously. “How many times do I have to tell you na ayoko ng mga endearment na ganyan! Ang bantot! Ang juvenile! Babe!? Hindi ako baby! Zade ang pangalan ko! Hala, baguhin mo yan!” Zade threatened before walking out of his kitchen.

Binago na niya kaagad ang pangalan ni Zade sa phone. Kahit lasing siya, never niyang aatimin na palitan ang pangalan ni Zade sa phone niya, lalo na’t alam nito ang passcode. Takot na lang niya sa Beastmode!Zade, 'di ba? Now.. who could’ve ch–

Oh right. Si Mars. Nakitext nga pala ito kanina bago umalis papunta sa condo nina Tristan.

Bago niya habulin si Zade, he sent a short text to his road manager. Patay ka sa 'kin, Mars.

(Mars replied five minutes later. Sus, I didn’t know you’re such a softie. Babe.)

+ 1

“Babe?”

Napatitig na lang siya kay Zade, as if bigla itong nagsalita ng Latin or something. “Huh?”

Shaking her head, Zade smiled as she handed him some papers. “Babe.”

“Huh!?” Now he’s more than confused.

“Wala lang. I’m just trying it out.”

“For.. what?”

She sighed. “Just curious. Yung ibang couples may endearments sa isa’t isa, right? I was thinking.. ba’t tayo wala?”

He couldn’t believe she’s initiating this conversation. “So…?”

“I think okay na sa 'tin yung babe. Pero wag lang masyadong gamitin. Nai-imagine ko kasi na baboy yung ulo mo.”

“What!?”

“Naman, Francisco! Babe nga, endearment nating dalawa! Ikaw nga 'tong nagpasimuno na tawagin ako no'n ah tapos.. para kang sira!”

“So.. you’re okay with the endearment thing? I thought you find them juvenile?”

“Sus, tolerable naman,” she said, shrugging. “And besides, we’re one of those icky couples who call each other icky names. Might as well sagarin na natin. So.. babe.”

It took him seconds before a wide smile formed on his lips. “Yeah. Babe.”

(And that endearment stuck for a long, long, long time.)

Sa Pag-ibig, hindi kailangan minamadali o kaya pinipilit ang isang bagay na  impossible pang mangyari sa kasalukuyang panahon. Sabi nga nila kapag nagmahal ka, dapat matuto ka ng maghintay at magkaroong ng mahabang pasensya para sa mga haharapin mong  sitwasyon ng magiging karelasyon mo o sa taong iibigin mo at magiging parte ng puso at buhay mo. Para sa mga lalaki, kapag ikaw may mahal ka na hindi pa handang sabihin yung tamis ng kanyang “Oo” dapat matuto kang maghintay at wag ipilit na sabihin ka kagad ng salitang “i love you” kung hindi pa naman niya talaga ito nararamdaman sayo. Ang bawat babae kasi madali lang paibigin. Pero yung fact na 100 percent sure na talaga kami na mahal na talaga namin yun guy. Not sure. Hindi naman kasi ganun kadali e, oo mdaling ma fall pero hindi madaling umibig ng as in talaga. Kaya hindi ibig sabihin na hindi mo nakikita sa kanya yung mga bagay na ginagawa mo para sa kanya e, parang pinapaasa ka niya hindi ganun yun. Naninigurado lang siya na kapag sinabi niya yung word na “Mahal kita” eh yung with 100 percent feeling kilig at totoo from the heart talaga. Mas masarap kasi yun kapag totoo talaga at walang alin langan na baka ganito o ganyan lang ang gawin mo sakin kapag ganito ganyan ng lahat lahat.

Hindi kasi minamadali ang pag-ibig. May kanya kanya kasi yang tamang panahon para maging handa talaga ang lahat. Kasi kapag pinilit mo ang isang bagay na hindi pa napapanahon. Ikaw at siya mismo ang magsasakripisyo. Hindi sapat na mahal mo lang talaga siya dapat nasa gawa mo din yun kung paano mo mapapakita na mahal mo talaga siya. Ikaw nga nila. Action speak louder than words. Kaya wag ka laging umasa sa baka sakaling sabihan ka niya pabalik na mahal ka din niya. Hayaan mo na maramdaman mo ito paunti-unti. At sa mga umiibig dyan na may relasyon. Alam ko masaya na kayo. Alam ko din na masaya mag mahal, oh diba? sobrang sarap pero in the point na di kayo pagkakaunawaan at may unting nabitawan na salita. Love is patient tandaan mo. Kailangan mong kumalma at tanging isipin na magiging ok din ang lahat at ang puso mong nagmamahal ang dapat nangingibabaw sa bawat desisyon na panininindigan mo.Learn to wait.

THE LUCKY ONE

Chapter 17

“Uy Julie san ka pupunta?” Diva asked. I didn’t answer. Instead, I went inside my car and drove away. My heart feels heavy. As if there’s a boulder on top of my chest. As if air was blocked from my lungs. I couldn’t breathe properly. I’m hyperventilating, I’m having palpitations, I feel dizzy. I feel empty.

I don’t even know how I got to my house, safe. I was crying really hard. And I couldn’t see clearly. I slumped on the floor, box in front of me. My hands were shaking as I open it again. Seeing them again. Feeling heartbroken for the nth time.

I took one memorabilia at a time and as I stare at them, memories came rushing back…

FLASHBACKS…

“Manager!!” I was awaken from slumber when I felt someone jumping on my bed. I opened my eyes and saw a 19-year old Elmo looking excited and hyper. “Manager wake up!!!”

“Tsk. Ano nanaman ba muppet?” I asked him.

“Wake up! Wake up!” he said and even slapped my cheek lightly.

“Tsk. Ano?” I asked as I opened my eyes.

“I got the tickets!!!” he said flashing two tickets at my face. I backed away to see it clearly and my eyes grew wide.

“Tickets to CB’s concert?!” I asked.

“Yes!! And guess what?”

“What?”

“VIP, Manager! VIP!!!” he said. I shrieked and we both jumped up and down my bed.

“OH MY GOSH! I LOVE YOU NA TALAGA! GALING MO!!” I said as I ruffled his hair.

“Hahaha. Love you too!”

*****

We were sitting at the school field, waiting for the boys’ soccer practice to finish when he came up to us.

“What’s up ladies?” he said and laid beside me, sweaty and all.

“Yuck, muppet! Ang lagkit mo!” I cried. The others laughed as they watched us fight.

“Arte mo naman!” he said shaking his head like a dog. Sweat started dripping from his hair to my arms and legs.

“Elmo Moses kadiri ka!!!”

“Hahaha. Just kidding, manager. May food ba kayo diyan? I’m hungry.” he said, rummaging through Sef’s backpack.

“Hey hey hey! Don’t touch my beautiful backpack you slimy icky creature.” he warned Elmo.

“Whatever.” he said and threw the backpack back at him. “Manager, feed me.” he whined and even leaned his head on my shoulder.

“Tsk. Wala na. Itong chocolate na lang oh.” I said, giving him the bar I have.

“Yehey! Thanks manager! I’ll go back to the field na.” and he kissed my cheek before running back to their training.

“Ehem. Kamatis. Ehem.” Jmee and Diva said while Maqui and Sef poked my sides.

*****

“Oh guys! Picture na kasi!” Diva yelled. We were in Palawan and were riding a boat when she told us to pose for the camera.

“Ayoko!” Elmo said. He was starting to get seasick and we were all teasing him of being a coward.

“Come on muppet! Picture na!” Derrick said and even pushed him playfully.

“Rick naman!” he cried.

“Hahaha. Oh wag na asarin baka magkalat pa yan dito. Tayo pa kawawa.” I told them. “You okay?” I asked him. He shook his head and leaned on my shoulder.

“I feel sick.” he said.

“You look sick. Dapat pala naiwan ka na lang sa hotel.” I told him.

“No! I don’t wanna be alone.” he said.

“Hahaha. And we don’t want to bathe in your barf.” I laughed.

“Game na lovebirds! Picture na!” Diva yelled again. I smiled for the camera and when it clicks, the picture taken was a candid shot of us in chaos. Because Elmo puked and we were all looking shocked and disgusted.

*****

Baguio. It was another barkada trip and everyone’s asleep except for me. Di kasi ako makatulog because of how cold it was. I think the temperature dropped from 13 degrees to 9 degrees. I was standing in the balcony of our hotel room trying to appreciate the quiet place when I heard the sliding door open. I glanced back and saw him.

“Can’t sleep?” he asked. I shook my head and looked back at the vast space below us.

“Nope. Ikaw?”

“Me too. Ang lamig eh.” he said. He stood beside me and we stared into space for a long time. No one dared to move. No one dared to speak.

“Shit ang lamig talaga.” I said, shivering. I was hugging myself already and he was just looking at me. “Haha. Look at your pullover, mukha kang gangster na takatak boy sa sobrang laki niyan. Seriously Elmo. Ganyan ba uso sa inyo ngayon?” I teased him.

“Haha. Makaasar ka ah. Useful kaya to.” he replied.

“Mukha nga eh. You have a blanket and a jacket in one.” I said and laughed again. The next thing I knew, he was making me wear the pullover with him still wearing it.

“See? I told you it’s useful.” he whispered afterwards. We were sharing one big pullover. Bodies close to each other. Feeling each other’s warmth. He hugged me from behind and rested his chin on my shoulder as we watched the lights and the stars and the moon above us.

END OF FLASHBACKS…

“Moe…” I cried as I hugged that huge piece of clothing.

*****

2 weeks have passed and finally I can go back to Manila. I missed them all especially Julie. I was waiting for her to call me but she didn’t. And I began to worry that she doesn’t feel the same way anymore.

When I arrived at the airport, I was surprised to see Gino and our barkada there. Teka. I was the one who’s supposed to surprise them. Bakit sila nandito? I ran so that I could catch up with them.

“Gino boy!” I yelled. They all looked my way and I was smiling widely at them. When I reached their place…

PAK!!

“Maqui!” Sef yelled.

“What the–” I said as I touched my now red cheek.

“The nerve of you coming back here?! After ng lahat ng sakit na binigay mo kay Julie?!”

“What?” I asked, confused.

“And now you’re acting innocent. Shit ka talaga!” she screamed.

“Maqui pwede ba kumalma ka?” Diva told her.

“Paano ako kakalma kung ang rason ng pagpunta ni Julie sa Singapore eh andito?! Ha?!”

“What? Julie’s in Singapore?”

“She followed you, you moron. Ano ba kasing laman ng box na pinadala mo at bakit nagmamadaling umalis yung gagitang yun ha?” Sef said starting to get angry as well.

“Teka nga. Pwede wag tayo sa gitna ng airport magdramahan? Nakakahiya sa mga tao.” Derrick said as he pushed us towards his van.

“Shoot.” Kris said once we all got in.

“Elmo, ano ba kasing laman ng box? When I gave it to Julie, she opened it pero sinara agad tsaka na siya umalis sa bahay, crying. And then the next day, she called Maqui na ayaw mo na daw and that you’re ending things with her. Ano bang laman ng lintek na box na yun?!”

“It was our memorabilias.” I answered.

“Eh gago ka pala talaga eh. Bakit kailangan mo pa ibalik mga yun? Tanga!!” Jmee said.

“Teka nga. Hinalungkat ba niya maigi yung box?” I asked them.

“Pakyu ka. Sa tingin mo hahalungkatin pa niya yun kung puro memories niyo andun? Talaga bang sasaktan mo si Julie?!” Diva said. I facepalmed myself and scratched my head.

“Tsk. Tara sa kanila. Bilis.” I ordered them.

“At bakit?” Sef asked.

“Ipapakita ko sa inyo kung anong laman ng box.”

*****

Singapore. Why did I even go here? To hurt myself more? Para isampal ko lalo sa mukha ko that Elmo is over me already?

“Elmo asan ka ba?” I asked myself as I looked around the place. I feel out of place. Alone.

I checked in to Sentosa and fixed myself after. I wanted to start looking for him but I feel dead tired because of the 3-hour plane travel and because of the jet lag. I was staring outside when something hit me. I started looking for it on the contacts and finally. Finally I saw it.

‘Tita Pia Magalona’ was the name that might be of help to me.

*****

“Apo!” Nana looked surprised to see me with the barkada. “Eh kaaalis lang ni Julie ah. Diba hinatid niyo?” she asked us.

“Opo, Nana. Pero may kailangan kami.” Maqui replied. We all went upstairs to Julie’s room and found the box sitting on her bed. I instantly went for it and opened it. Rummaging through the memorabilias one by one until finally I saw it. Untouched and obviously she didn’t see it. I took them out of the box and they all looked curious and surprised.

“What’s that?” Sef asked.

“She didn’t mention about this?” I asked.

“Nope. Not a clue.” Kris replied.

“Eh ano bang laman niyan?” Maqui asked, still pissed at me. I opened the little blue box and they were all taken by surprise.

“Elmo! Eeeeeeeeh!!!” kinikilig na sabi nila Sef and Jmee.

“Gago ka talaga boy.” Derrick said as he punched my shoulder playfully.

“Sabi na eh.” Gino said.

“Langya. Ikaw na!” Diva cried.

“Dude, idol talaga kita.” Kris said. We all looked at Maqui who was teary-eyed. She snickered and wiped the tears in her eyes.

“Kala mo bati na tayo dahil diyan? Sunduin mo muna yung kaibigan ko sa Singapore. Tsaka tayo magbabati.”

*****

“Julie, sweetie!” I was greeted by a middle-aged woman. She still looked like my mom’s bestfriend. Young-looking and sophisticated.

“Tita.” I greeted her with a hug and a kiss on the cheek.

“How are you sweetie? You looked gorgeous! Dalagang-dalaga ka na.” she said turning me around just like how she does everytime we see each other. “Elmo told me about your business in the Philippines. And sabi niya you are like Mav when it comes to cooking and baking. I’m so proud of you!” she said.

“Thank you tita. Uhm…”

“Teka. What are you doing here in Singapore?”

“Uhm… Tita it’s about Elmo.”

“Bakit?”

“Is he here?” I asked looking around their house. I looked at her and she looked serious.

“He isn’t here. He went back to Manila for you eh.” she said.

“P-po?”

MY PRINCE-SS CHARMING

Chapter 14

After the 4-hour drive ay nakarating na sila finally sa Subic.

“Anvaya Cove, I’m here!” maarteng sabi ni Sef.

“Hoy. Mukha kang tanga.” Maqui told him.

“Che!! Gisingin niyo na nga si Julie nang makagora na tayiz sa villa.” sabi nito tsaka na bumaba ng kotse.

“Julie? Jules wake up.” sabi ni Elmo habang tinatapik ang balikat ng dalaga.

“Hmm?” she moaned but still remained asleep.

“Julie, andito na tayo.” sabi niya pa. Unti-unti nang dumilat si Julie tsaka na dahan-dahang umupo ng maayos.

“We’re here already?” she asked, still sleepy.

“Yes, H.” sagot ni Elmo.

Bigla namang tumingin si Julie sa kanya at saka siya nito inirapan at iniwan sa loob ng kotse.

“Ay ano ka na girl? Sleeping Beauty ang peg mo lang?” narinig niyang tanong ni Sef nang makalabas na sila ni Julie.

“Ts. Puyat ako kagabi okay?” mataray na sagot naman ni Julie. “Tara na.” sabi nito sabay sumakay sa golf cart kung nasan ang mga gamit nila.

Sumakay na rin ang tatlo tsaka na sila dinala sa villa nila. It’s about 2kms away from the beach pero makikita mo pa rin naman ang magandang view ng dagat.

They entered the biggest villa at saka na nag-ayos ng gamit.

“Sino yung gagamit ng kabilang villa?” Maqui asked them.

“Wala. Hindi pa pinapagamit yun because it’s not fully furnished yet.” Julie replied.

“Yeah. Tsaka yung villa kasi na yun, yun yung ipapagamit sa employees. Ito naman samen lang ni Julie.” Sef added.

“Huh? What do you mean inyo lang?” pagtataka ni Elmo.

“Ay medyo slow itey.” bulong ni Sef. “Kasi friend, this villa is owned by my ever beautiful bestfriend. Yung isa, company owned yun.”

“But the company is owned by Julie diba?” Maqui asked.

“Yes. Pero kasi yung villa na yun, matagal na nabili yun. Pero di agad napagawa since yung nangyari nga kay dear bff. Yung sa family niya.” sagot ni Sef.

“Ah. Okay.”

“Anyway, matutulog muna ako ha? Kayo na bahala sa rooms niyo. Basta wala munang iistorbo sa akin.” he heard Julie said. Tumayo na ito from the couch and carried her luggages.

“Uhm, Julie ako na.” Elmo offered.

Tumingin lang naman si Julie sa kanya at saka na siya nilagpasan nito leaving her things in front of him. Napangiti si Elmo saka na niya binuhat ang mga yun and followed her upstairs to her room.

“Here you go.” masayang sabi niya pagkalapag niya sa bag nito sa kama. Julie sat on the edge of her bed as she started to fix her things quietly.

“Ano pang ginagawa mo dito?” she asked, annoyed. “Labas na!” pagtataray niya pa.

“Ha? Ay oo nga.” sabi ni Elmo at agad na lumabas ng kwarto ni Julie.

Pagbaba niya ay nakatingin sa kanya sina Maqui at Sef.

“What?”

“Natarayan ka?” Sef confidently asked. Elmo just shrugged kaya natawa ang dalawang kasama niya.

“Haha. Ikaw kasi eh. Kung di mo talaga ginalit yun baka kinama ka na nun ngayon.” Maqui said as she laughs.

“Ay kaloka ka friend!” natatawang sabi ni Sef sabay tulak kay Maqui. “Pero truelaloo yun Mokong. As in kung di mo siya ineklavern lang basta baka sakaling cuddle cuddle na kayo nun ngayon. Hahahahaha.”

“Tss. Magbabati rin kami ni Julie.”

*****

Sa totoo lang, di naman natulog si Julie. She just wanted to be alone and think of ways on how to test Elmo’s sexuality.

Nakahiga siya sa kama niya habang nag-iisip.

“Ano bang pwede? Hm.” she said to herself. Gumulong-gulong siya sa kama at saka nag-unat. “Hay nako. Makapunta na nga lang sa beach. Yayayain ko si Sef and Maqui.” sabi niya saka na bumangon.

She changed into her black two-piece swimsuit tsaka pinatong uli ang cropped shirt niya. Tapos kinuha na niya ang shades and sunblock niya tsaka na lumabas ng kwarto.

“Sef, tara swi–” napahinto siya sa pagsasalita when she saw Elmo standing by the stairs at nakatingin sa kanya.

“Uhm. N-nasa beach– nasa beach sila ni Maqui.” Elmo stuttered.

“Ah. Sige.” she replied tsaka na nagpatuloy sa paglalakad.

“Yan lang susuotin mo?” Elmo asked her. She smiled before she turned around to face him again.

“Oo. Ano naman?”

“Uhm ano kasi… Baka lang…”

“Wala kang paki sa susuotin ko okay? Nasa beach tayo so normal na ganito ang suot ko. If you want magsuot ka rin ng ganito. May extra ako sa bag.” pagtataray niya tsaka na lumabas bago pa makawala ang kilig at tawa niya.

Masama ang tingin sa kanya nila Maqui at Sef when she reached their place sa gitna ng beach.

“Bakit?” pagtataka niya.

“Mukha kang tanga. Bakit tawa ka nang tawa?” Sef asked.

“Wala. Kasi si Elmo. Hahahaha.” tawang-tawang sagot niya.

“Bakit?” Maqui asked, sounding interested.

“Pinagalitan niya ko because of what I’m wearing. Hahahaha.” sumalampak siya sa beach towel sa tabi ni Maqui at saka pa tumawa ulit. “You should’ve seen his face. Yung mata luluwa na sa sobrang laki. Tapos his jaw literally dropped. Hahahahaha.”

“Gaga ka talaga. Lalong maguguluhan yung pinsan ko dahil sa ginagawa mo eh. Hahahaha.” natatawang sabi na rin ni Maqui.

“Kaloka ka bff. Bet mo bang magsuicide sa confusion ang suitor de beki mo?” Sef asked and joined them as they laugh. “Gagita ka talaga.”

“Haha. Thanks.” Julie said.

“Eh asan na siya? Hindi ba magsswimming yun?” Maqui asked.

“Ewan ko dun. Baka susunod na din.” Julie replied sabay higa sa towel niya.

*****

Naglakad na papunta sa beach si Elmo. Susundan ang tatlo para mabantayan niya si Julie. Baka may umaaligid sa kanyang lalaki dahil sa suot niya.

“Tsk. Bakit ba kasi naimbento pa ang two-piece? Kaya madaming lalaking nagiging manyak eh.” he told himself.

He reached the sandy part of the beach and looked for them. Naglakad-lakad siya at saka nakita si Sef at Maqui na galing sa restaurant sa may hotel malapit dun.

“Maq! Sef!” tawag niya sa mga ito.

“Uy! Kanina ka pa namin hinihintay eh.” Maqui said nang makita siya.

“Si Julie?” he asked.

“Andun sa umbrella. May kasamang boylaloo.” sagot ni Sef.

“Ha?”

“Ay nako, ang gwapo Moe. Promise. As in drop dead handsome yung guy!!” kinikilig na sabi naman ni Maqui.

“S-saan yung umbrella? Kanina ko pa kayo hinahanap eh.” he said.

“Ayun oh! Yung orange beach umbrella dun. Bobita naman oh.” pagtataray ni Sef.

Tinignan na ni Elmo ang tinuturo ni Sef and sure enough, Julie is sitting under the umbrella while she talks to some guy he doesn’t know who.

Lumapit siya rito at saka nagsalita.

“Julie.” he called. Tumingin si Julie at ang lalaki sa kanya.

“Oh?”

“What are you doing?” he asked.

“Isn’t it obvious? I’m talking to Toffer. Diba?” sabi ni Julie sabay tingin pa sa lalaki. Tumango naman ito at saka ngumiti kay Julie.

“Uhm. Toffer dude.” sabi nito sabay lahad ng kamay kay Elmo. Hindi naman pinansin ni Elmo ang lalaki. He looked at Julie who is making googly eyes with this Toffer guy.

“Julie can we talk.” sabi niya.

“Mamaya na pwede?” masungit na sabi ni Julie. “Toffee, punta tayo sa snack bar.” pagyaya ni Julie. Tumango naman ito saka na siya tinulungan tumayo.

Elmo sat on the sand, looking pissed kaya naman nang dumating sila Maqui at Sef ay tinanong siya ng mga ito.

“Hoy. Anetch nangyari sa iyo at ganyang di mapinta fezlak mo?” Sef asked.

“Ts. Sino ba kasi yung Topaz na yun na kumakausap kay Julie ha? Feeling niya naman.”

“Toffer kasi.” Maqui said. “Tsaka bakit pa nagagalit ka? Inaano ka ba nila?”

“Didn’t you see the way he looked at Julie? Para niyang nirerape si Julie sa utak niya!”

“Grabe ka friend alam mo yun? Ang hard mo.”

“No I’m not. I’m just saying the truth. As in grabe siya makatitig kay Julie.”

“Teka nga. Nagseselos ka ba?” Maqui asked and even raised an eyebrow at him.

“N-no!!” he yelled.

“Weh?” tanong ng dalawa.

“Ts. Diyan na nga kayo. Tinamad ako magswimming.” inis na sabi niya sabay tayo. He walked away from them nang sumigaw si Sef.

“Try mo magpa-spa baka sakaling kumalma ka!” he yelled. Hindi na lumingon si Elmo sa kanila at nagpatuloy na lang sa paglalakad.

“Ts. Kung makadikit akala mo mauubusan ng lalaki.” bulong niya sa sarili niya habang naglalakad papunta sa spa. “Humanda ka saken Julie Anne.”

*****

“Uy, thanks ha.” Julie said to Toffer.

“Sure no problem. Why are you avoiding that guy ba? Boyfriend mo ba siya?” tanong nito sa kanya.

“Ha? N-no. Manliligaw ko lang.” she replied.

“Really? Ayaw mo sa kanya?” tanong pa uli nito sabay abot kay Julie ng inorder nilang snacks.

“Not that I don’t like him. Actually gusto ko siya to the point na feeling ko in love na ko sa kanya. Haha. Ang cheesy ba?” she laughed.

“Haha. No, no. Ayos nga eh. Pero if you really like him, bakit mo siya iniiwasan?” tanong nito.

“Magkaaway kasi kami. And yun. Balak ko siyang pagselosin. Hahaha.”

“So naisip mo na ako yung guy na pwede magpaselos sa kanya?” he asked.

“Hm. Yeah. Kung okay lang sayo. Grabe ang kapal ng mukha ko to even ask you to make him jealous. Hahaha. Eh kakakilala lang natin. Sorry ha?” she babbled.

“Haha. No it’s okay. Mukhang effective nga eh. Look oh, he walked out on your friends.” sabi nito sabay turo kay Elmo na paalis na sa beach.

“Haha. Hayaan mo na siya.” she said.

“Hm. Anyway. How long will you guys stay here?” he asked.

“3 days lang. Why?” she replied.

“Cool. May party kami ng friends ko sa isang araw. You guys can come. And pwede natin pagselosin yung manliligaw mo. Haha.”

“That’d be great! Sige I’ll tell them.”

“Cool!”

“Uy ha, thank you talaga.” Julie said.

“You’re welcome Julie.” Toffer replied.

“Sige. I’ll go back to my friends.”

“Okay. I’ll see you guys tomorrow then?”

“Sure. I’m sure susundan nanaman ako ni Elmo.” Julie replied tsaka na nagpaalam uli.

*****

Paglabas ni Elmo from the spa ay nakita niyang nagkakasiyahan sa beach. He walked towards it and nakitang may beach party pala.

“Moe!” narinig niyang tawag nila Maqui at Sef sa kaniya. He looked at them through his shades. Lumapit ang dalawa sa kanya tsaka siya hinatak papunta sa pwesto nila.

“Tara sali tayo!” Maqui told him.

“Ha? Ayoko! Kayo na lang ni Sef.” tanggi niya.

“Bilis na! Kakaltukan kita!” sabi ni Maqui at aamba pa ng sapak sa kanya.

“Gora na friend. Tamo oh!” sabi naman ni Sef sabay turo sa gitna ng malaking bilog na ginawa ng mga tao sa buong beach.

Tumingin siya sa sinasabi ni Sef and found Julie and Toffer as one of the contestants. Magkahawak pa ang kamay ng mga ito.

“Seriously?” he asked himself.

“Bakit?” pagtataka ng dalawa.

“Holding hands agad?! I mean, come on! Kakakilala lang nila kanina ah.” he said habang tinuturo sila Julie at Toffer.

“Eh anetch bang pinuputok ng butchi mo? Eh gandarabels bff ko eh. Papable din naman si Toffer baby kaya gorabels na!” mataray na sabi ni Sef.

“Tara na, Moe. Laro na tayo!!” hinatak na siya ni Maqui at saka na sila tumakbo sa gitna katabi nila Toffer at Julie.

“Maq!” tawag ni Julie kay Maqui. “Kasali din kayo?” Julie asked.

“Oo!! Haha.” sagot ni Maqui. Nag-apir silang dalawa at saka na nagtawanan.

“Okay players! The game is called Channel Race. So what you’ll do is to dig and make a channel from that sand dune down to the water. Then you will place a pingpong ball on the end of the channel and pour water so that the ball will move down the water. Understand?” the host said.

“Alright!!” sigawan ng players except Elmo. Hindi niya kasi talaga maatim na makitang magkahawak ang kamay ni Julie at Toffer.

“Okay. When I say go, you will run towards the sand dunes and will start making the channel.” sabi ng host. Tumango na sila at saka hinintay ang signal nito.

“Elmo head in the game!” Maqui yelled at him.

“Tsk.” tanging sagot niya.

“Ready? Set? Go!!!” sigaw ng host. Nagtakbuhan na sila but Elmo stayed on his place. Nakita niya kasi how Toffer carried Julie para mas mapabilis ang takbo.

“Elmo!!!” sigaw ni Maqui.

“Friend! Takbo na over there!!” narinig naman niyang sigaw ni Sef. He shook his head tsaka na tumakbo rin papunta sa sand dunes.

They made the channel as instructed at saka na pinagulong ang bola papunta sa dagat. Pero dahil nga last sila ni Maqui na nakabuo ay natalo sila.

“Yeheeeeey!!!” he heard Julie shout. Sila kasi ang nanalo.

“We did it!” sigaw naman ni Toffer sabay yakap kay Julie.

“Ts. Flirt.” he whispered.

“Ano yun, Moe?” Maqui asked.

“Wala.” sabi niya tsaka na naglakad paalis.

“Uy! Teka lang!” habol ni Maqui sa kanya. “Jules tara na!” pagyaya naman niya kay Julie.

Naramdaman ni Elmo na sumusunod na sa kanya sina Maqui and Julie pero hindi niya pinapansin ang mga ito. Mainit ang ulo niya. Naiirita siya.

“What’s his problem?” he heard Julie asked.

“Hm? Ewan ko.” Maqui said. “Baka nagseselos? Hahaha.”

And oo. Nagseselos siya.