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Terminal

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Irish

Digitally signed by Irish DN: cn=Irish, o, ou, [email protected], c=US Date: 2011.07.06 22:37:01 -05'00'

TERMINAL
Written by: Ayreezh Started: 07 November 2008 Ended: 16 March 2009

OFFICIAL COPY ayreezh
I never believed in love... I thought it's just an overrated emotion where the hormones take over a girl's heart.. I don't have time for that. Then I met Gerard. He was obnoxious.. arrogant.. selfish.. creepy.. We did not get along. But there was something that attracted me to the freak. Before I knew it, I couldn't let go. The overrated emotion I once shunned was suddenly the central force of my universe -with the creep smacked right in the middle. And it all started at the terminal.

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Chapter 1: (Venice’s POV)

I don't believe this!

Tinignan ko uhlet ung relo ko.. Almost 9 AM na.. Kailangan ko na talagang magbagong buhay... Anak ng tipaklong.. Ma-llate nanaman ako! Sinoh bang genius kaseh nag-imbento ng Snooze button!?!?

Okay... Relax... Take a deep breath... Nasa dulo man ako ng pila, gagalaw at gagalaw din yan.. and may.. mga 1.. 2.. 3... at least 8 na lang na tao.. kasya pa ko dyan! slim naman ako... :D

And lucky enough, may dumating na jeep... and luckier enough, as people started to go in, mukhang kakasya pa ko! bwahahaha iba na talaga ang hatak ko sa taas..

Kaya lang... all of a sudden, just when I'm about to step up, someone suddenly cut in front of me at pumasok sa jeep..

O__O

OFFICIAL COPY ayreezh

Tinulak ang beauty ko?!?

Ako: Excuse me?!?

Tumingin sa'kin ung guy na nakaupo na sa loob.. And ung expression pa ng mukha nya! parang nang-aasar na crooked smile na parang tinutukso akong patayin sya.. Napatingin pa ko sa school uniform nya.. Ever! Schoolmate pa!

"Miss, sasakay ba kayo?"

Naputol bigla ung assassination plan ko nung na-realize kong ako pala ung kausap nung driver..

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revised: 02.24.2010 | |

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Ako: Uh, opo..

Pumasok na rin ako -- late na nga ako, ma-llate pa lalo.. Nag-usugan ung mga people para bigyang space ang magandang estudyante tulad ko op corz.. At sa kung anong kabaitan ng mga people na toh, ung space pa na binigay nila, eh dun sa tabi ni kuya schoolmate...

Syempre, no choice, alangan namang mag-revolution pa ko dahil lang sa upuan di va? Umupo na rin ako.. ..and with all the subtlest ways of doing it, sinampal ko ung shoulder bag ko sa gwapong face ni kuya schoolmate na tinulak ako.. :D

Kuya Schoolmate: Ouch! Ako: (naupo sabay smile sa kanya) Ai sorry.. Masakit? :) Kuya Schoolmate: Nananadya ka ba?! >:( Ako: Ohhh of course not.. :D Charing! bwahahaha

Tinignan nya lang ako then shook his head and looked the other way...

OFFICIAL COPY ayreezh

Vic-toh-rii! hahaha :D

After some time, tumigil na rin ung jeep sa stop namen to be able to go to school.. Op cors, since nagmamadali ako, hindi ko na tinignan si kuya schoolmate and tumayo na lang ako bigla to get off.. Pagbaba ko nung jeep, nakaka-dalawang steps pa lang ako, may bumunggo na nang pagkalakas-lakas sa shoulder ko!!! Madapa-dapa pa tuloy ako! And guess who? >:O

Anak ng daga! Nananadya na yata talaga toh eh! >:(

Yes.. Si Kuya Schoolmate nanaman..

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revised: 02.24.2010 | |

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"ARRRRGGGGHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!"

Lunch time... binagsak ko ung bag ko sa cafeteria table na inuupuan nung best friend ko, si Sheena, and ng official tsismis radar ko, the vaklush queen, Kenny. ;P

Kenny: Anong pinagka-"argh" "argh" mo dyan? Naupo ako sa tabi ni Sheena and took a deep breath.. I know.. ilang hours na ang nakalipas, and ehto pa rin ako.. high blood pa rin..

So.. pagkaupo na pagkaupo, nakooooo total rant kagad ako.. Starting from the-abusive-tulakpara-lang-mauna-sya-sa-pagpasok-sa-jeep hanggang sa pagbaba-namen-and-pagsagasanya-sa-fragile-na-ako incident..

Ako: Tell me nga, I'm 5'3.. Posible ba na hindi nya ko nakita?!?! Kenny: (inom nung Pepsi nya) Eh baka kaseh nagpapakarampa ka pa sa paglalakad, natagalan si kuya schoolmate, kaya ahyun, sinagasaan na ang beauty mo.. :D Ako: Ang laki-lakiiii ng kalsada noh! >:( Sheena: Ay nako, Venice.. Relax ka lang.. Baka bago lang un sa school kaya ginanun-ganun ka lang..

OFFICIAL COPY ayreezh

Well.. That's true.. If that guy has been in this school for as long as I have, then hindi ako magagawang saga-sagasaan lang nun.. Miss popular, queenbee... whatever you call it, I'm that person.. Everybody knows me, everybody either wants to be me or wants to be with me.

and yes.. malakas ang self-confidence ko.. :D

My name is Venice Zhao. I'm 18 years old. and yes, I'm self-proclaimed vain. wahahaha My dad was Chinese, and my mom is Filipina.. Halfie.. and as everyone knows, may kung anong fascination ang mga people sa mga halfie na tulad ko.. Hindi ako sanay sa rough treatments.. :P kaya ganito na lang siguro ang taas ng boiling point ng attitude meter ko..

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revised: 02.24.2010 | |

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Ayreezh

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Gwapo pa naman sana si kuya... isa nanamang nasayang na species of testosterone.. Lord talaga.. konti na nga lang ang gwapo, nilagyan pa ng kung anong glitch sa brain si kuya schoolmate..

Kenny: Ganito na lang isipin mo: (bats his eyelashes) Ang ganda-ganda ko! :D Ako: (natawa) Ai gaga! alam ko na un noh! XD Sheena: Well, you can just hope na hindi na uhlet kayo magkikita.. or at least di kayo magsama in any close environment..

Hayyyyy wish ko lang talaga sana!

OFFICIAL COPY ayreezh

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revised: 02.24.2010 | |

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Chapter 2: (Venice’s POV)

"Why? Why? Why?!?!??"

Kahit na masisira pa ung floor ng hallway dahil sa pagdadabog ni Sheena, eh wah care pa rin ako.. Hindi ako papayag na mauna sya sa mall at mag-total shopping splurge nang wala ako noh..

It's late afternoon after class, and supposedly, diretso sana kami ni best pwend sa mall right after lumabas.. Kaya lang, pinatawag ako ni Ate Marian, si Ms. President ng Drama Club. She's been planning (dreaming, obsessing) to stage a musical she wrote herself, with some of her favorite songs weaved into the script. Sabi ko copyright infringement un, pero sabi nya for "educational purposes" daw... ehwan ko kung legal un...-__-

Pero anyways, ako ang favorite nyang female lead. Kaya kahit na ilang buwan pa bago mag-Pasko (originally, gusto nya maging Christmas play un, kahit wala namang kinalaman sa Pasko ung story line..), binigay nya na sa'kin ung script.. and naghanap na rin sya ng potential male lead. Ung script ng play for the "Linggo ng Wika", pinaubaya na sa ibang members.. Ganyan nya ko kamahal.

And this morning... talagang pinagka-hunting-hunting nya pa ko para lang sabihin na "thiz iz it!"

OFFICIAL COPY ayreezh

So I know she finally found my future partner.. ^-^ Kaya here we are, kinakaladkad ko si Sheena papunta sa auditorium where Ate Marian said she'll introduce my partner, her cousin -- na PAMATAY raw ang boses, NAKAKAMATAY ang looks, and MAMATAY-MATAY raw ako pag nakatrabaho ko na ang napaka-"charming" nyang pinsan. :D

naisip ko tuloy.. baka bangkay ung pinsan nya..XD pero sikret na lang naten un.. baka ako pa ang mamatay nang wala sa oras. :P

"Ay..."

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revised: 02.24.2010 | |

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Napa-stop ang thoughts ko nang biglang tumigil si Sheena sa heavy footsteps nya -- kung kailan ilang hakbang na lang, pinto na nung auditorium, ngayon pa tumigil!

Ako: Anoh!?? Sheena: SSSHHH!!! Di mo naririnig?

Tumahimik naman ako. And sure enough, may narinig nga ako.. A song.. coming from the auditorium...

A husky, soft rock voice.. mellow, pero hindi parang marshmallow.. hhmmmmm... -___- Chito Miranda.... that's right!!! Halos kaboses ni fafa Chito ng parokya -- kung ito magiging partner ko - wish ko lang, sana naman poh eh hindi sya kamukha ni Chito...-__-

I know this song... "Here I Am" by Bryan Adams... it fits his voice PER-FECT-LY.. O__O

Sheena: (napatingin sa'kin) Ahyan na ba un? Ako: Maybe..

OFFICIAL COPY ayreezh

Nung natapos ung kanta -- which is probably a minute later -- sinugod namen kagad ni Sheena ung pinto para makita kung saan galing ung golden voice...

Pagkapasok na pagkapasok namen, dumiretso kagad sa stage ung mata ko.. And there.. in front of a microphone, may nakatayo na mukhang kung anong entity of divinity.. kulang na lang ung blinding light na nakikita sa pictures o kaya sa movie pag may angel na sumusulpot.

But I can't see the face...

Hinila ko si Sheena palapit sa stage para naman maka-adjust ung mata ko.. And when we were near enough to recognize the person, I immediately focused on his face and----

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revised: 02.24.2010 | |

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o_o >_< o_o >_< O_O OoO Ohhhh helll nawwwww!!! <'OoO'>

Sheena: (bulong sa tabi ko) Oh my golay! Ang gwapooohhh! Nalaglag yata panty ko. @[email protected]

"Venice! You're finally here!"

Hindi nag-waver ung stare ko from the stage, kahit nung naramdaman kong nasa tabi ko na si Ate Marian. I continued to follow with my eyes as the person singing a while ago jumped off the stage and walked towards us.. At kahit nung tumigil na sya sa harap namen and tumabi kay Ate Marian, speechless pa rin ang beauty ko.

OFFICIAL COPY ayreezh

Ate Marian: Venice, this is my cousin, Gerard. He's going to be the male lead -- your partner! :D

Then he smiled... a crooked smile... the same smile dun sa jeep.. ung nakakaasar na smile that he flashed before.. Suddenly, naramdaman ko ang blood pressure ko tumataas! Anak ng tokwa! Eh pag di nga naman ako namatay! >:(

Ako: Ikaw!??!?!?!?! >:O Gerard: (still smiling his stupid smile) Ah, you know me.. :)

Ang--!!!! may nerve pang maging sarcastic?!?!!?

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revised: 02.24.2010 | |

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Ate Marian: (napatingin sa'ming dalawa) You know each other? Ako: Jeep! Abuse! High Blood! >:( Sheena: (turo kay Gerard) Ahhhhh! Kuya Schoolmate! O_O

Napatingin ako kay Sheena... Tama bang gamitin ang screen name na ginamit ko?-__-

Gerard: Eh? Ako: (tingin kay Gerard) Ikaw! The guy from earlier! You-----!!!!

Hindi ako makabuo ng isang sentence sa sobrang shock! My golay! Tumingin ako bigla kay Ate Marian.. She can't possibly expect me to work with this-- this-- this--kung ano mang species sya! >:(

Ako: Ate.. You can't be serious! He can't possibly be playing the lead. Extra! Extra lang dapat sya! Ate Marian: Why? Perfect naman sya for the role.. My cousin starred in almost every single play sa high school nya.. And inabot pa ko ng syam-syam just to persuade him to finally take part in this school play.. Ako: Pero, ate... I don't want to work with him.. -__Gerard: It's not like I'm particularly doing this because I want to work with you.. Who wants to work with you anyway?

OFFICIAL COPY ayreezh

Gasp! Ever the face?!?

Ako: (sarcastic) Awww.. how ironic.. I was thinking the same thing. Ate Marian: (claps her hands -- in glee) Great! You two have mutual feelings na! This is working wonderfully already! :D

-__-

Alam kong eccentric tong si Ate Marian, pero is it possible na natuluyan na ang pagka-abnormal nito while writing the play??!

Napatingin si Ate Marian sa relo nya, then looked at me..

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revised: 02.24.2010 | |

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Ate Marian: So anyways, I gotta go soon.. You know how I want my characters developed.. realistically, I mean.. ;)

Oh crap... Ehto ang isa sa mga dahilan kung bakit humahaba ang listahan ng mga stalkers ko.. at ng mga gusto na ring magpa-assassinate sa'kin. :P

Ate Marian: I want you two to develop your chemistry over the following months ok? (collected her school bag from the floor) So try to get along well, and spend as much time together as possible.. :)

Are you crazy? O___O

Lumakad sya papunta dun sa pinto, and just before stepping out, tumingin ulit sya sa'kin.

Ate Marian: I want to see a boyfriend-girlfriend relationship.. Ok? See ya! O__O

OFFICIAL COPY ayreezh

Why is this happening to me? T^T

Gerard: Well.. strict orders from the president.. how about that, huh, GIRLFRIEND? ;D

I turned to glare at him... Feel the wrath!

Ako: Go drown yourself. >:(

Then I stomped out of the auditorium -- with Sheena following closely behind me.

Sheena: (chuckles) NOW I'm glad I went with you. :D Ako: Shut it.

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revised: 02.24.2010 | |

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Ayreezh

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Chapter 3: (Venice’s POV)

"This is stupid.. unbelievable.. crazy... ridiculous.. foolish.. freaky.. creepy......"

Nag-isip pa ko ng ibang adjectives na alam ko na pwedeng mag-describe sa current situation ko.. pero naubusan na ko ng synonyms.

Tumingin uhlet ako sa taong naka-upo sa harap ko..

sigh... How did it end up like this? T-T

Gerard: You don't have to sound so disappointed. Ako: I AM disappointed! I'm supposed to be in the mall right now.. shopping.. getting new clothes.. trying on new shoes.. looking at new jewelries... Instead... (tingin uhlet ako sa kanya) haayyy.... -.-

Ehwan ko nga rin ba kung anong nangyari... I remember, I walked out of the auditorium with Sheena.. Pero di pa kami fully nakakalayo, humabol na tong unggoy na toh at nagtuloy-tuloy on how we should start getting to know each other -- NOW. Mukha namang nang-aasar lang pala, dahil nung biglang nag-agree si Sheena (traydor! traydor!), halatang-halata na nagulantang din sya.

OFFICIAL COPY ayreezh

At bago pa man ako makapagreact, nakatakbo na palayo si Sheena, naiwan na ko kasama ni Gerard, at hindi na ko nakapalag nung niyaya ako ni Gerard na kumain sa labas... Mahirap tanggihan ang gutom ng tyan.. *bow*

Gerard: (kagat nung cheeseburger nya) What's so great about shopping? Ako: "What's so great about shopping"?!? Abno ka ba?! What's not great about shopping?? Gerard: Spending a lot of money.

Well yea... but still!

Ako: You wouldn't understand..

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revised: 02.24.2010 | |

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Tinusok-tusok ko ng tinidor ung palabok ko.. sa sobrang sama ng loob ko, pati ung palabok kong mahal, hindi ko ma-appreciate.. Tumingin uhlet ako kay Gerard..

Ako Haayy... -_-

Lalo pang sumama ang loob ko..

Gerard: I just said that you don't have to sound so disappointed... Malay mo, someday, you'll think back on this day as one of the days before you fall in love with me.. ;)

Weh?

Ako: Adik ka ba? Feeling mo naman ka-inlab lab ka.. Excuse me noh, mataas ang standards ko.. Gerard: Oh really? At anong klaseng standards naman yan? Ako: Syempre, kailangan ko ng mabait.. gwapo.. matalino.. loving.. loyal.. and most of all, maiin love lang ako sa lalakeng magsasabi sa'kin ng: (with dreamy eyes look) "You... complete me.." ^-^

Ay! Kilig! :D ... .....

OFFICIAL COPY ayreezh

Nung wala akong natanggap na feedback, pinutol ko ung dreamy aura ko, then looked back at Gerard... na tinitignan lang ako.. Panira ng pantasya eh.

Ako: What? Gerard: Nothing. Ako: Really? No retort? Gerard: (inom nung softdrinks nya) Well.. yea.. I guess you really do need somebody to "complete" you.. Ako: Oh? Gerard: (turo sa ulo nya) Yup... sounds like medyo nakulangan yang utak mo eh.. :D

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revised: 02.24.2010 | |

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I knew it! Kontra talaga sa pantasya! >:(

Ako: Do you wanna die now?

That's pretty much how we spent our dinner... Sya, aasarin ako.. Ako, nagpplano kung pano sya sasagasaan ng truck... Kaya nung nag-offer sya na ihatid ako sa bahay, halos gusto ko nang umiyak sa sobrang disagreement.. ..Pero syempre, kahit anong palag ko, sumunod pa rin sya sa'kin hanggang sa bahay.. seriously, nagtanong pa eh noh?

Pagdating namin sa harap ng gate, nakaharap na rin ako sa kanya with the most genuine smile -- dahil sa wakas, mawawala na sya sa paningin ko! :D

Gerard: (tingin sa bahay) Your parents waiting for you? Ako: No.. I live alone. Gerard: (napatingin sa'kin) Really? Ako: Yep... My dad passed away when I was three.. and my mom is in the US, working.. I used to live with a housekeeper, pero sayang lang ang pera kaya my mom and I decided it's better that I live alone.. Gerard: Oh.. ok..

OFFICIAL COPY ayreezh

Tumingin uhlet ako sa kanya.. Di ka pa ba aalis?

Haaayyy.. out of curiosity, tinuloy ko na rin ung conversation..

Ako: Ikaw? San ka nakatira? Gerard: I don't live too far from here... About a couple or so blocks away..

Amp! Ibig sabihin magkapit-bahay pa tayo?!?! Gerard: I live with Marian and her brother, Anthony.. Ako: Eh? Talaga? San parents mo? Gerard: They're both in the States.. My dad's an American, and he took my mom when they got married.. I just came back here a few years ago..

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revised: 02.24.2010 | |

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Ako: Eh bakit nandito ka? Gerard: (smiled then looked down) Personal reasons. ;)

Chuchu nito.. personal-personal reasons pa..

Gerard: Oh well.. I better go.. Ako: Already?

Pero deep inside ko lang.. rejoice! rejoice! rejoice! ^o^

Gerard: Yep.. Baka ma-rape mo pa ko eh.. ;) Ako: Iba rin ang kapal ng epidermis mo noh?!?

Tumawa lang sya then started to walk away... But after just a few steps, he turned around again to face me.. ..with such a serious face na kahit si heart ko, natigilan...

Ako: What? O_O Gerard: Will you do something for me? Ako: Eh? Gerard: Try not to get too close.. Don't get too attached to me. Ako: Huh? Gerard: It's for your own good.

OFFICIAL COPY ayreezh

After that, umikot na uhlet sya then walked away na talaga.. Ako naman.. nawindang ever... Feeling nya naman...

Glue ba sya na ma-aattach ako!??

Ka-attach-attach ba sya?!??

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revised: 02.24.2010 | |

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But then again.. his face back then..

His face said it all..

He really didn't want me to get too close..

Weirdo.

OFFICIAL COPY ayreezh

Terminal © All Rights Reserved

ayreezh (http://www.ayreezh.webs.com)

revised: 02.24.2010 | |

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Chapter 4: (Venice’s POV)

Seven... It's been seven days, one week, and.. (look sa relo) about 4 hours. Ganyan na katagal nakadikit sa'kin tohng bubwit na toh.. Kain sa labas.. hatid-sundo sa bahay.. hintay ng jeep.. Asar.. pikon... making my life a living hell... -___-

And today, umariba nanaman ang pagiging feeling close nya.. For some reason, ang aga-aga, eh nakatambay kame sa Washington Sycip Park sa may Greenbelt.. pasalamat sya at Sunday ngayon, lazy day ko.. otherwise, hindi nya ko ever mahahaltak palabas ng bahay..

I don't even know kung bakit ako kasama dito.. Sya naman tong nagpapaka-photographer at kung anu-anong pinipicture-an.. pati ung ducks na nanahimik naglalakad, ginugulo.. ako naman, wala.. nakaupo lang dun sa may pond na may human-made na waterfall..

Ako: How come I find myself hanging out with you more and more everyday? Gerard: Coz you like hanging out with me. Ako: At sinoh naman nagsabi syo nyan? Gerard: (tuloy sa pag-photograph) You can just easily say "no" every time I ask you to go out...

OFFICIAL COPY ayreezh

Yea right.. as if naman nakikinig sya pag nagsasabi akong ayoko..

Nanahimik uhlet ako and just watched him click-click with his Canon Digital Rebel XT.. yes alam ko ung exact model nung camera nya -- dahil sinubukan nyang ituro sa'kin lahat ng tricks nung camera, how to produce a good picture, at kung anu-ano pa...

wala nga lang nag-register.. masyado lang ako polite para sabihin sa kanya un, since masyado syang excited na maging camera teacher ko.. :P

Ako: So.. kaya mo lang ba ko sinama dito para manood syo manghabol ng ducks, butterflies, at kung anu-ano pang insektong dumadapo sa halaman?

Tinignan ako ni Gerard, then he flashed his stupid smile again.. Medyo na-iimmune na ko sa

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smile nya, kaya hindi na masyadong nakakaasar..

Gerard: I just thought you might need a change of scenery.. Ako: (stretch) Anong change ng scenery? I need to study.. I have an essay due the day after tomorrow na gusto ko nang umpisahan.. Tumigil sa ginagawa nya si Gerard then walked over to where I was sitting.. Sinabit nya ung camera sa leeg nya, then umupo dun sa grass, sa tabi ko..

Gerard: What's the rush? You should really learn how to relax. Ako: I AM relaxed. Gerard: Well.. then look at your life.. Masyado kang focused dyan sa studies mo. I don't think you're having time for yourself anymore. That's why I take you out as much as possible.. Ako: Soooorrryyy... I was raised na isipin na education is the key to success.

Pangaral ng nanay ko.. :P

Ako: I don't have time na magliwaliw dyan sa tabi-tabi noh.. Gerard: (starts picking the grass by his legs, then whispered)

Napatingin ako sa kanya.. Even though I'm starting to feel like we're knowing more and more things about each other (alam nyo bang takot sya sa spider? ^o^ ), parang lagi na lang may isang bagay sya na tinatago -- na ayaw nyang ipaalam...

OFFICIAL COPY ayreezh
But life is so short...

I mean not that I particularly care.. Kung ayaw sabihin, eh di wag.. pero bothersome lang kaseh.. natural na tsismosa ako eh.

Ako: Why is your name "Gerard"? Gerard: (napatingin sa'kin) Why? Ako: Wala lang.. Sobrang simple kaseh.. Wala man lang ka-chuva chuva.. wala lang.. Mister "Gerard Sheen" ka lang.. Gerard: Sorry kung hindi kasing unique ng name mo ang name ko.. Hindi kasi naisip ng parents ko na paikutin ung globe at kung saang city dumikit ung finger nila, un na magiging name ko. Ako: Hoy, excuse me.. Hindi ganun ung way ng pagpili ng name ko noh! Gerard: Oh yea? Ako: Yea! My dad and my mom went to Venice for their honeymoon.. Then I was conceived.. So they thought to name me after the place where I was conceived.. Pure creativity...

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Gerard: (tingin sa'kin) I think your name is weird.

.. ... ....

Ako: Excuse me?!? Gerard: I said I think your name is weird.. It's like the city. Ako: Duh! At least unique ang name ko noh.. Eh ikaw, "Gerard".. what is that? At nakikinig ka ba sa story ko? The reason my name is "Venice".. It IS the city. Gerard: Well I don't like it.. I'm just gonna call you "V" from now on.

"V"?

Ako: Fine. I'll call you "G" then. Gerard: GD.. Ako: (napatingin sa'kanya) What? Gerard: My cousins call me "GD" Ako: Bakit? Gerard: I dunno Ako: Pssh.. Gerard: Anyway.... here.... smile!

OFFICIAL COPY ayreezh

Bago pa man ako nakagalaw, maka-react, nag-flash na ung camera nya sa mukha ko. O_O Wala man lang 1 2 3!

Ako: (blink blink) Anoh ba yan?!?! Warning naman muna! Gerard: (tumawa) It's called a candid shot. Ako: Di man lang ako nakapag-smile! Burahin mo yan! Gerard: What? Why? Ako: Mag-ppose muna ako!

Tumawa si Gerard. Kala nya ba nagbibiro ako!?? Mag-ppose talaga ako noh! Tinignan nya ung picture sa camera nya.. Akala ko buburahin, tapos bigla ba namang pinatay na lang ung camera.

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Ang loko! Tinignan lang ung picture?!?

Gerard: It looked good.. Wag ka na mag-pose.. baka masira pa ung camera ko. Ako: O_O Anong tingin mo sa'kin?!? Gerard: Trying hard 8D Ako: Yah! Do you want to go swim with the ducks!?

Tinawanan nya lang ako. After a few moments, tumayo na sya and then offered me his hand.

Gerard: Come on, V.. Let's go home.. Gutom na ko.. Pagluto mo naman ako. Ako: Hindi mo ko muchacha noh Gerard: But aren't you supposed to be sweet and caring to your boyfriend? Ako: Ulol. Kailan kita naging boyfriend ha?!? Gerard: Since that time you first agreed to hang out with me. Ako: Adik ka ba? Out of sympathy lang un noh.

But I took his hand anyway so he can help me stand up.. We started walking papunta dun sa may sakayan ng jeep.

Ako: And besides.. unless gusto mong magkaron ng sunog, you should never put me in the kitchen.. Gerard: (tumingin sa'kin) Bakit? Ako: Well.. remember when I told you I lived most of my life with a housekeeper? Gerard: Yea? Ako: A housekeeper isn't really a "mother"... I wasn't taught how to cook.. Takot ako sa mantika, kaya not even frying would do.

OFFICIAL COPY ayreezh

Napatigil sya sa steps nya.. Then stared at me with a dumb expression..

Ako: Kaya! If it's about food, di kita maaalagaan.. kaya wag ka na umasa.. =__=

I know.. It's weird that I can't cook.. Pero I'm sure I'm not alone naman di va?? Medyo na-shy lang akong aminin.. Stereotypical kaseh di ba na ung babae ang magaling magluto..

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Tumingin ako sa kanya to see his expression.. I'm sure pagtatawanan nanaman ako nito.. May kung anong smarta$$ comment nanaman..

..or maybe not..

Ngumiti lang sa'kin si Gerard, then all of a sudden, he took my hand and pulled me to start walking again..

Gerard: It's okay that you can't take care of me... I'll just take care of you.

OFFICIAL COPY ayreezh

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Chapter 5: (Gerard’s POV)

I took Venice back to the apartment, which I'm sharing with Marian and Anthony.. We already did the groceries -- I tried to point out to her what we need, pero hopeless case.. She doesn't even want to touch the pork. Kaya I ended up doing most of everything, and ang bitbit nya lang ay ung mga gulay. I told her next time, I'll make sure to bring her to the seafood and fish area.. Un ang hawakan nya! :D

Anyway, we got to the apartment after a few hours in the market. Nakasalubong pa namin si Marian na paalis kasama ung boyprend nya. She and Venice exchanged a quick greeting, tapos tumuloy na kami ni Venice papasok sa loob.

Anthony was in the living room, sprawled on the carpet, watching some anime on TV. Venice immediately jumped on him.

Venice: ANTON!!! :D Anthony: (napatalon) Venice!?!? Anong ginagawa mo dito?!? O_O Venice: Lunchtime. Anthony: (excited) Makikikain ka?? :D

OFFICIAL COPY ayreezh

Venice and Anthony are close acquaintances. They don't hang out often, pero magkakilala sila. Anthony used to hang out around the auditorium waiting for Marian; syempre, nandun din si Venice. Nagkasundo sila, ang bam! Instant friendship. Marian and Anthony were both captivated by the charisma of this girl they call Venice.

I put the groceries in the kitchen and then walked back to the living room. Busy na ung dalawa sa animated chatter nila.

Anthony: Gusto mo ng tour? Venice: Ay sure! Anthony: Okay.

He started pointing from one direction to another -- ni hindi man lang gumalaw dun sa pagkakaupo nya.

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Anthony: That door is my room. The one next to it is Gerard's. Then, the next one is a bathroom. Ung isang pinto na un, ahyun ung master's bedroom. Kwarto ni Ate Mars. Venice: Hoy. Hindi man lang ba tayo maglalakad? Anthony: Eh bakit pa? Kita mo naman ung mga tinuturo ko from here. Venice: Kaya ka tumataba eh Anthony: What?!? Nasaan ang taba?!? O__O

Anthony started to frantically feel his stomach. He gets a little crazy pag sinasabihan syang tumataba na sya. Wala namang ginagawa kundi tumunganga.. :P

Ako: I'm gonna get lunch started. Anthony: Insan! Fried chicken! :D Ako: Yea, yea..

I stood up and went back to the kitchen. Balik nanaman sa usapan ung dalawa.. Na-ignore na ung TV. Sayang kuryente. I started preparing all the ingredients. Nagluto na rin ako ng sabaw para di masyadong dry ung lungh namin. Mabuti nang healthy di ba? :P

"Hey, G!"

OFFICIAL COPY ayreezh

"G"??

Umikot ako and saw Venice peeking at me.

Ako: What? Venice: Is there anything I can help with? Ako: Akala ko ba, keep out of the kitchen ka? Venice: Yea-ha.. But I can set up the table or something right? Ako: Tell Anthony to do that. Venice: Natulala na un sa TV eh.. So, plates?

Tinuro ko ung cupboard sa may right ko, then the drawer on my left for the forks and spoons.. I let her work as I finish the chicken and the soup.. Kung san sya masaya, sige lang.. Sya na rin ung nag-sandok ng kanin and put it in a big bowl..

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Maya-maya, nakigulo na rin si Anthony. Umupo kagad sya dun sa mesa, all set nang kumain.

Anthony: GD, I'm hungry.. Ako: Yea yea..

After putting the steaming rice in the center of the table, umupo na si Venice sa tabi ni Anthony.

Venice: Reklamo ka pa, di naman ikaw nagluluto... Ako: Oo nga.. Anthony: Pagtulungan ba ko?

I finally finished frying the chicken. Naglagay ako ng sabaw dun sa isang malaking bowl. When the food is all ready, I put both dishes in front of two very happy kids. :P

Ako: There.. Kain na. Anthony: (helped himself with the rice) Talagang kakain ako! Ay, Venice, alam kong wala kang hiya, pero sasabihin ko na rin just in case nakabili ka this week.. Wag kang mahiya, kain ka lang. ;D Venice: Chaka mo! Anong walang hiya?!? Demure ako noh! Ako: Really?!?

OFFICIAL COPY ayreezh

She started helping herself with the food. Feel at home na feel at home.. Demure daw.. :P

Venice: Shut up. Ako: Hala, nagtatanong lang eh.. Hindi kaseh kapani-paniwalang demure ka.. Venice: Wala namang nagsasabing maniwala ka eh.. Anthony: Awwww... tignan mo kayong dalawa.. Ang sweet-sweet nyo na.. Close na kayo.. Parang kailan lang, pinapangarap ka lang ni GD.. Venice: Eh? ?__?

I shot Anthony one of the most extreme looks I can muster. Sinubukan kong i-send ung "SHUT UP!!!" message using my psychic abilities..

pero iba talaga ang kapal ng skull nung gunggong.. Dineadma lang ako!

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Anthony: (kuha ng chicken) Yea.. Nung una kayong nagkakilala, probably like 2 years ago, nakooo.. walang ginawa yang kundi sundan bawat galaw mo.. Naisip nga namen ni Ate Marian na kaya yan dito nag-college at di na bumalik sa States kaseh nagayuma mo.. XD

Is it possible to throw a plate in Anthony's face and make it look like an accident?

Anthony: Kaya nung sinabi ni Ate Marian na ikaw ung mag-sstar dun sa Christmas play nya, aba! Pumayag kagad na maging lead role sa play -- faster than you can say "bom chika wah wah!" :D Ako: Are you DONE yet?!?

Dun tumingin sa'kin si Anthony, and when he saw my face, he suddenly looked at Venice. When he saw HER face, he looked back at me -- at ang mokong, ngumiti pa!

Tumingin ako kay Venice, na by then, was already staring at me..

Ako: Don't mind anything he said.. Venice: You knew me before? Ako: Well.. not exactly.. I met you a couple or so times.... Trivial meetings.. Small talks.. I'm not surprised you don't remember. Venice: But.. you knew me before...

OFFICIAL COPY ayreezh

I don't know what to make of her face.. She looks confused.. confused.. and more confused..

Anthony: Yea he knew you before. Halos maging stalker mo na nga yan eh.. :D Ako: (glared at Anthony) Do you really wish to die now? >:( Anthony: What? I'm just telling the trut and nothing but the trut! Venice: So.. how come you acted like never tayo nagkakilala? And why can't I remember seeing you around school before? Why-- Why... Why?

Napatingin ako kay Anthony.. then balik kay Venice.. Anong isasagot ko? Sasabihin ko na nahiya ako? Na ang dami kasing laging nakapaligid sa kanya? Na nakaka-intimidate kasi sya? Mukha naman akong torpeng hindi maintindihan sa mga palusot na un.

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Ako: I don't know. Does it matter?

She pouted her lips, thinking for a bit. Then she shrugged her shoulders and went back to eating. I guess it doesn't matter.

Venice: Well.. Ang gulo lang. Ang weird mo talaga. :P Ako: Gee... Thanks.. -__-

That was the end of that conversation. I glanced at Venice as she talks to Anthony about some girl from one of her classes. May crush daw kay Anthony, blah blah blah. Venice looks so carefree. How can I tell her na kaya hindi ko sya nilapitan dati, it was because I didn't think it was worth it?

Anthony: Nga pala... (tingin kay Venice) Bakit ka nga pala uhlet nakikikain dito? Venice: Dahil apparently, may isang taong marunong magluto dito. Anthony: May turo-turo naman dyan ah..

OFFICIAL COPY ayreezh

Venice looked at me and smiled. Venice: Nah... Gerard said he'll take care of me. :)

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Chapter 6: (Venice’s POV)

"Can I go now? Can I go now? Can I go nowwwww?!??"

Sinulyapan lang ako nung dalawa, tapos total ignore na uhlet..-__-

Ilang oras na kong nakatunganga dito. After lunch, naglaro kami ni G ng PS 2.. ung fighting game, one-on-one patayan.. After my 25th K.O, na-frustrate na yata si Anthony, inagawan na ko.. :P

Kaya ehto.. tunganga ever. Di naman ako makauwi dahil di ko naman alam kung pano uuwi galing sa apartment nila. Ni sakayan ng tricycle ayaw pang ibigay.. Yoko naman mag-adventure mag-isa.. Mawala pa ko..

Gerard: (tuloy sa pindot nung joystick) Hold on! Sandali na lang.. Anthony: Oo nga! Hayaan mo munang talunin ko ung boyprend mo! Ako: Excuuusseee me noh, sinong boyfriend? Gerard: (tingin sa'kin then smile) Eh di ako. :) Ako: Ay, delusional?

OFFICIAL COPY ayreezh

Hihirit pa sana ako nang biglang bumukas ung main door, tapos binagsak.. as in, BAM! Sa sobrang lakas, pati ung dalawa, napatalon..

Anthony: (tingin kay Gerard) Anu un? Gerard: Eh di ung pinto.. Anoh pa pang babagsak nang ganun? Ung bubong?

Tumayo ako then pumunta dun sa front hallway para makitsismis. And there sa pinto, nakatayo si Ate Marian.. Dalawang bag ng beer ang dala. O_O

Ako: Ate.. Anong meron?

Tumingin lang sa'kin si Ate Marian, sabay diretso sa dining table nila para ilabas lahat ng

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alcohol na dala nya.

Ate Marian: Nag-away kami ng boyfriend ko. Mag-inuman tayo! Ako: ... But it's Sunday! Ate Marian: Alam ko. Nagsimba pa ko kanina! @[email protected] Nagsisimba pala si ate... :D Tinawag ni Ate Marian ung dalawang mokong na natapos na yata ung laro -- mukhang natalo nanaman si Anthony since sya ung madaldal na "one more game" ng "one more game".

After nyang ihilera lahat ng bote, inabutan ako ni Ate Marian ng baso -- oo, as in basong ginagamit pang-inom ng tubig.

Ate Marian: Damayan mo ko..

Ako naman si mabait, kinuha nga ung baso at umupo. Sumunod sina Anton tsaka si Gerard sa pag-upo.. Ang alcoholic na si Anton, kumuha kagad ng bote.

Anthony: Ate, nabuhat mo lahat toh mag-isa? Ate Marian: Oo naman. Gerard: Masculada talaga.. :D Ate Marian: Tigilan nyo ko.. Bitter ako ngayon! (tingin sa'kin) Oh, Venice, inom ka lang..

OFFICIAL COPY ayreezh

Kumuha na rin ako ng isang bote, kahit na medyo labag sa kalooban ko.. Ako: Pero may pasok ako bukas... Anthony: Ok lang un.. Ako rin naman.. Wag kang mag-alala, pag di ka nakapasok bukas, tawagan mo lang ako.. Dadamayan kita.. (taas nung bote nya) Mapasa-hang-over man o pagsusuka! Cheers! Ako: Akala mo naman tatabihan kita habang nagsusuka ka?!?

Bumigay na rin ako sa tukso ng magkapatid.. Nangangalahati na ung baso ko nang napansin ko si G.. Umiinom din sya.. Umiinom ng TUBIG. @[email protected]

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Ako: (tingin kay Gerard) Bakit yan iniinom mo? Gerard: What's wrong with water? Anthony: Haaayyy nako, Venice.. Wag mo nang pagkaabalahan yang taong yan.. Kahit anong pilit mo, di mo mapapainom si GD.. Ako: Bakit? Ate Marian: Health-freak yan! Balanced diet, exercise.. Pati ung mga pills-- vitamin pills! Kinumpleto na yata ung buong alphabet ng vitamins! Ako: Di nga? (tingin uhlet ako kay G) May balak kang maging health expert? Anthony: Ay nako! Ma-oover-qualified ka naman nyan, insan! Gerard: (blush) Tigilan nyo nga ako.. =__=

Waaahh nag-bblush ung unggoy! Nag-bblush!! :D

Ako: (pindot nung pisngi nya) My golay! you're red! (tingin kay Ate Marian) Capable pala ang mga monkeys na mag-blush?!?

PAK!

Ako: Awwww!!!

Batukan ba ko!?!? PAK!

OFFICIAL COPY ayreezh

Gerard: Ouch! What'd you do that for?!? Ako: Eh bahket mo ko binatukan? Gerard: Coz you're being dumb! Ako: You're dumb! Gerard: You're dumb-ER! Ako: You're dumb-EST! Ate Marian: Washa-sha! Manahimik nga kayo! Anthony: (chuckles) Dumb and Dumber. :D Gerard & Me: (glare kay Anthony) Oh shut up! Anthony: So mean... T-T

We continued drinking. Si Ate Marian, nag-total vent out na. Di ko masyado na-gets kung bahket sila nag-away ni boyfie nya.. Every other word naman kaseh, *toooottt!!!*... Si Anthony,

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mukhang happy-happy na makainom.. Alcoholic..

And si G... ay nako..tubig.. psh..

Ako naman... moderate drinking lang poh. Don't drink and go to school the next day nga.. :D It's bad for your health.

(Gerard's POV)

Seriously..

"Jack and Jill went up the hill to fetch a pail of waatteerrr Jack came down and broke his crown and Jill came tumbling aaaffteerrrr!"

I slung Venice's arm around my neck, and then tried my best to steady her as walk papunta dun sa sakayan ng tricycle. Venice, Marian, and Anthony drank for hours. Napasarap yata sa pag-inom as they gossiped and swapped stories with each other. Before I knew it, Venice was drunk -- extremely drunk. Ate Marian passed out on the couch, and si Anthony, nagbibilang ng mga stars na nakikita nya - sa ceiling ng apartment namin. -__Anoh pa bang choice ko? I took the liberty na ihatid si Venice sa bahay nya. Handling a drunk Venice isn't easy. She sways from side to side.. She slurs.. and for some odd reason, she's been singing "Jack and Jill" non-stop since we left the apartment.

OFFICIAL COPY ayreezh

Ako: V, ssshhhh.. people are already sleeping, you know? Venice: (tingin sa'kin) Bakit b-ba? Di naman nila ako kilala Ako: Well, after this, I'm sure, makikilala ka na nila. Venice: Alam mooooo... Relax ka lang... If they are sleeping, hindi na nila ko mapapansin noh.. Ako: You do realize how loud you are, right? -__Venice: Ohhhh boowie!

"boowie?" Who says that?

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We finally reached the terminal, and thank heavens there was a tricycle na naghihintay!

I helped Venice inside, then sumunod ako sa loob.

Venice: Where are we goingggg?? Mr. Driver: Hala, iho, ok lang ba yang kasama mo? Ako: Overly drunk lang poh kuya.. She'll survive.

Binigay ko ung street address ni Venice dun sa driver. Sumandal ako, all the while, hawak sa braso si Venice dahil baka biglang tumalon palabas ng tricycle. Pag ganito kalasing ang kasama mo, anything can happen right? Mann... You'd think she'd be exhausted by now!

Oh but noooo....

Venice: (sings) G and I went up the hill to fetch a pail of waah-ter G fell down and broke his crown-Ako: Oh my gawd, V! Shut up! Venice: Don't tell me to shut up.. Why are you taking me home anyway??! I don't even like you!

OFFICIAL COPY ayreezh

It's not like either of us has choice.. -__-

Ako: I'm not telling you to like me.. Venice: (slur) Oh but I know.. that you know.. that I know.. that you want me to want you to want me.. rrrriiggghhttt??

.. ....

Ako: ... Anoh? ?_? Venice: (tumawa) Wahahaha jay-kay! Just kiiiiidding! XD

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Just kidding daw.. Di ko naman naintindihan ung sinasabi nyang "just kidding" lang. :P She's so drunk.

Ako: And you're asking why I'm taking you home.. Obvious naman, you won't be able to go home by yourself. Venice: Yes I can! (tumingin dun sa tricycle driver) Di ba, manong driver?!? Mr. Driver: (natawa) Oo, oh sige, iha.. :D

After a few more minutes, nakarating na rin kami sa bahay ni Venice. I helped Venice out, tapos iniwan ko muna sya dun sa harap nung gate para makapagbayad ako kay Manong Driver. When I turned back to her, nakasandal na sya dun sa gate. Her eyes are closed, at parang konti na lang, dun na sya matutulog. At last! She's exhausted! ^o^

Ako: Huy.. Wake up. Where are your keys?

Hinalungkat nya ung bag nya, and after some time, she finally pulled out a key with a butterfly keychain. She handed it to me without too much fuss. Akala ko bibigyan nanaman ako ng kung anong banat nya.. :P

OFFICIAL COPY ayreezh

Ako: Anoh? Wala ka nang energy noh?

Umalis sya sa pagkakasandal nya dun sa gate. I almost tripped sa pagmamadali sa paghawak sa kanya, dahil she literally swayed from side to side. O_O Venice: Oh shut up and just put me on my bed.. Ako: I'm going all the way inside? Venice: Chyea

I reluctantly opened the gate, since I'm afraid if I don't get her at least to the main door, baka humiga na sya dun sa sidewalk. Ako: But you're all alone!

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She suddenly stopped wobbling and turned to face me.

Venice: Who would've known.. Ako: What? Venice: May virtues ka pala. Ako: What?!?

Eh kung bitawan kaya kita at panoorin kang bumagsak dyan?!?

Pero syempre, di ko naman magagawa un. -___- I opened the door and helped her walk inside.

Ako: Pasalamat ka lasing ka.. Venice: Okay.. Thank you I'm drunk.. I'm drunk drunk.. :D Ako: *sigh* Where's your room?

Venice pointed at the stairs.

Venice: 2nd floor.. the door at the end of the hallway.. *yawwwnnn*

OFFICIAL COPY ayreezh

Isa lang ang masasabi ko: It's a miracle na nakaakyat kami sa second floor without any bruises. -_- I didn't even know it was possible to trip up the stairs! -- well, Venice showed me that she's capable of doing just that -- trip up the stairs.

We finally reached her room -- which is all white, may I say.. reminds me of a psychiatric ward.. :D ung mga unan lang sa kama nya ung may colors (pink and purple).

Binagsak ko si Venice dun sa kama, then took off her shoes. Then.. Di ko na rin maalala kung pano ko nagawa, pero somehow, I managed to put Venice in the middle of the bed, and cover her with her blanket. Sa wakas, she's comfortable and all set to sleep. Gusto ko na rin humiga sa sobrang pagod. -_-

I turned around to leave, nang bigla akong tinawag ni Venice..

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Venice: G? Ako: Yea? Venice: ...... uhmm... ung susi.. Ako: Oh! Yea! Uhmm.. I'll just leave it under the rag dun sa front door ok? Venice: *yaawwwnn* ok.. Ako: Ok.. See you tomorrow then..

Sus.. Kala ko naman mag-tthank you! Ni isang "thanks for taking care of my drunk self", wala!

Venice: G? Ako: Yep? Venice: You know I don't like you.. I think you're annoying as hell.. Ako: Thanks...?? Venice: *yaawwwwwwwnnnnnn* But you're really not that bad after all.. I'm kinda.. starting to like being with you..... -__-

Huh..... She fell asleep..

But I heard what she said. :D

OFFICIAL COPY ayreezh

I finally turned to leave. I glanced one last time at Venice's sleeping figure before I turned off the lights. I walked out of the house, making sure to leave the house key under the front door mat (just like I told her I would).

All the while, I was smiling to myself at what I just heard. She said she's starting to like being with me. Isn't that interesting... :P

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Chapter 7: (Venice’s POV)

Hmmmmmmmmm...

-__>__< -__-

Masakit ang ulo ko... Bakit masakit ang ulo ko?

Tumingin ako dun sa orasan. I have about two hours to get ready for school. I'm probably gonna be late -- again.

"Womanizer, woman-womanizer You're a womanizer Oh, womanizer, oh You're a womanizer baby You, you, you are You, you, you are--"

OFFICIAL COPY ayreezh

Ugh.. no sounds, please!

Hinablot ko ung nakakalat kong purse dun sa tabi ng kama. Hinalughog ko kagad ung laman para manahimik ang skandalosong cellphone. Ang nakakainis pa, kung ano ung gusto mong kunin, ahyun pa ung nasa pinaka-ilalim ng lahat ng kalat sa bag mo. Nung nahawakan ko na rin sa wakas ung cellphone, halos itapon ko sya palabas ng bintana.. My golay. Ang ingay!

Tinignan ko kung sinoh ba ung natawag -- at syempre, sinoh pa ba ang mang-bbwiset sa'kin ng ganito kaaga? -__-

Ako: (sagot nung cellphone) Hello? Gerard: Kakagising mo lang? Ako: What do you think?

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Gerard: (tumawa) I'm just making sure you're awake. Ako: Yea, yea.. okay.. Ehto na, gising na ko. Go away then. Gerard: Geez, V.. Ang aga-aga, ang sungit mo.. Or is it because of the hang-over? Haay.. Pagkatapos kitang ihatid pauwi.. Ako: Shut up. I'm hanging up. Hindi ko na sya hinintay sumagot, binaba ko na kagad ung telepono. Promise talaga.. I can feel it. Posible ba na pumutok ang veins habang nag-tthrob sya??

Napatingin ako dun sa sahig.. sa very white na carpet..

Mahirap yata linisin ang dugo kung pumutok nga ung head ko sa sobrang sakit.. Gagamit pa ko ng bleach at matindihang scrubbing ito.. -__Pumutok na nga ung veins ko and all, paglilinisin pa ko ng puti.

Ang morbid naman! O_O Pano na lang ang census ng magaganda?! Low census na nga, mababawasan pa kung mawala ako!

Grabeh.. Ilang bote ba ng beer ang nainom ko kagabi at hanggang ngayon eh lasing pa rin ang mga brain cells ko? Ni hindi ko nga maalala kung pano ako nakauwi--

OFFICIAL COPY ayreezh

"I'm kinda starting to like being with you..."

O__O

Napaupo akong bigla!

Ughhhhh... headrush.... -__-

Umiikot ang world.. ~__~ Pero napabukas bigla ung mata ko nung nag-flash sa utak ko ung tiny bit of drunken memory na un..

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Sinabi ko un... Kanina?!? Saan!? Bahket?!?

Sabi ni Gerard sya raw naghatid sa'kin...

Di ko maalala... T~T What else did I say?

What did HE say? "Womanizer, woman-womanizer You're a womanizer Oh, womanizer, oh--

Tinignan ko uhlet ung caller id.. Anak ng tinapa! Wala pa ngang 30 minutes, manggugulo nanaman?!?!

Ako: (sagot nung phone) Anoh nanaman!?? Gerard: Hala.. Bakit lalo ka pang sumungit? Ako:: Bakit ka ba tumawag nanaman?

OFFICIAL COPY ayreezh

Tatawag-tawag kung kelan na-ppanic ako sa pag-iisip ng kung anong kababalaghan ang nangyari kagabi.. Amazing talaga sa pagka-bad timing tohng taong toh!

Gerard: Wala lang.. papaalala ko lang ung susi.. nasa ilalim nung welcome rag sa main door. Ako: I know!

Kunwari lang naalala kong nandun ung susi.. :P Kahit na, kung hindi nya sinabi sa'kin un, malamang magkakagulo ang mundo ko kakahanap ng susi ng bahay.:D

Gerard: Okay then.. I'll pick you up in an hour. Ako: Anoh!? At bahket? driver ba kita? Bodyguard?! Gerard: What? I've been picking you up the past few days.. Bakit ngayon ka pa nagrereklamo? Ako: A-Anong reklamo? Sinong nagrereklamo?

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Gerard: You're acting weird. Are you okay? ?__? Ako: Yes, I'm okay! I have to go get ready. Gerard: Okay.. I'll be there in an hour ha.. Ako: Fine. Do whatever you want.

I hang up the phone, then slowly -- verrrryyyy slowly -- pulled myself up.. Ahh ang gravity at central force ng elements ng physics... -___-

Dun ko lang na-realize... Napatingin ako sa sarili ko. I was neatly tucked in my bed. Usually, pag umuuwi ako ng lasing, I just jump on the bed, wala nang kumot-kumot. Pero this time, balot ako ng kumot.. at nakatanggal pa ang sapatos ko.

Gerard.. He went all the way to my room. He was probably the one who tucked me in last night... and for some reason, I told him I like being with him. Ako: (sigaw to the maximum level) WAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!! What else did I say?!?!?!??

What else happened last night!?!??!?!?!

WAAAAHHHHHHH!!!!!!!

OFFICIAL COPY ayreezh

True enough to his word, dumating nga si Gerard an hour later. Beaming with a smile pa habang nakakapit dun sa backpack nya and nakatayo sa labas nung gate. I closed the gate behind me, tapos tinignan ko sya up and down.

Ako: Anong nginigiti-ngiti mo dyan? Gerard: What? Masama bang ngumiti eh sa gusto kong ngumiti? :)

Weirdo. Happy-happy talaga sya. Naglalakad na nga lang at lahat, pa-smile-smile pa... Akala ko nga pati ung asong nakasalubong namen, babatiin nya pa ng "Good Morning!" :D

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Samantalang ako, sa isang oras na hinintay ko, kung anu-ano nang kahiya-hiyang mga scenario ang pumasok sa brain ko. Lasing na nga ung brain cells ko, na-overwork pa. Lalo tuloy sumakit ang ulo ko. -__-

Na-aawkward akong kasama si G, since hinde ko maalala ko ung anoh ung exactong nangyari. Dapat ba ko magpaka-Maria Clara? Dapat ba ko mag-feeling close? Aish! Nawiwindang ako!

Nung sumakay kami sa jeep, I even made sure na nandun sya sa isang side, and nandun ako all the way sa kabilang dulo -- kahit na may space pa sa tabi nya. Handa na nga akong sumabit, wag lang matabi sa kanya. :P

Mukha namang nakahalata si Gerard, kaseh nung umupo nga ako malayo sa kanya, he gave me a confused look. Pero hindi naman sya nagtanong what-so-ever hanggang sa makarating na kami sa school.

"Venice!"

Pagkapasok na pagkapasok namin, sumalubong kagad sa'kin si Sheena. Thank You Lord, dahil sa wakas, may reasonable excuse na ko para wag pansinin si Gerard. Ako: Sheena! Sheena: (tingin sa likod ko) Hallo, Gerard! Gerard: Hello. :) Sheena: Abah, the smile... Kayo na? :D

OFFICIAL COPY ayreezh

PAK!

Sheena: Aray! Ako: Anoh ba yang pinagsasabi mo!??

I turned to give Gerard an apologetic smile -- na mabilisan ko ring binawi. Bubwit na un.. Dinaig pa ung laki ng ngiti ni Jollibee eh! >:(

Kaya iniwan ko sya dun -- ngumiti syang parang sira, bahala sya sa buhay nya -- habang kinaladkad ko si Sheena palayo. Wa care ako kung madapa-dapa pa sya sa paghila ko sa kanya. This is a matter of life and death!

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Nung out of sight na kami, dun ko lang binitawan si Sheena.

Sheena: Anoh ba yan?!? Amazona talaga! Di mo naman ako kailangan kaladkarin noh! Ako: Best frieeeeennnnd! Sheena: (napablink in surprise) Ay? Bahket? Ako: Nalasing ako kagabi.. Sheena: Ohhh.. so may hang-over ka nanaman today. Suz! Okay lang yan! Sa daming beses mo nang hinahang-over, I'm sure, makaka-catch up na ung immune system mo. Ako: Bruha! Hindi un! -- Pero ang sakit nga talaga ng ulo ko, promise! Parang gusto ko nang magpa-head transplant. -__- Pero anyway, may nangyari.. Sheena: Weeh?!?! Ano?!?! O__O Buntis ka?!?! Ako: Naalala mo bang ipasok dyan sa ulo mo ung brain mo??! Sabi ko kagabi lang nangyari.. At wala naman akong sinabi na "ganun" ung nangyari noh! Sheena: Ay suz! Eh di trivial thing lang pala yan.. Ako: Anoh ba?!? Makinig ka nga muna. Inuwi ako ni Gerard kagabi.. and I don't remember anything.. except sinabihan ko raw sya na I like being with him na! And after that, best friend, hindi ko na maalala kung ano pang sinabi ko, or kung anong naging reaksyon nya...T-T

Tinitigan ako ni Sheena na parang nag-iisip sa nang mabuti. Then, I should have known. Incapable of deep thoughts nga pala tohng taong toh. -__Bigla ba naman tumawa na nang tumawa. Naunahan pa ko sa pagkabaliw!

Sheena: Ay shosko! Kaya naman pala iba ang aura ngayon ni fafa GD.. May kung anong sweetness chuchu kang sinabi. :D Ako: Weh!?? Ibig sabihin, talagang sinabi ko nga un?!? Sheena: Di ka sure? Ako: Ayokong maniwala...T_T Sheena: You don't mean it? Ako: (napaisip) Well... I guess he's okay.. He's really not that bad. He can be caring and sweet sometimes.. And it is fun being around him.. Sheena: Ay sister? Like mo na sya!? Ako: HINDE AH! O_O Sheena: Uuyyy, wag i-deny.. Aminin~! :D Ako: Gusto mong ihampas ko tong biology book ko sa ulo mo?

OFFICIAL COPY ayreezh

Tumawa lang ulit sya, tapos bigla syang nag-pause bago tumingin sa'kin. Sheena: If you're so worried about what happened last night, or about what you said, eh bakit di mo na lang tanungin si Gerard? Ako: Nababaliw ka ba? Eh di lalo pang lumaki ulo nun! Nakita mo ba ung itsura nya kanina?! Kulang na lang sumakay sya sa Cloud 9 eh!

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Sheena: Cloud 9? Di ba chocolate un? Ako: Remind me again why I'm talking to you? -__Sheena: Dahil ayaw mong kausapin ung dapat mong kausapin para may makuhang kang answers.

I let out a long exasperated sigh. Ayoko nang ganitong na-sstressed out ako! Nakakawala ng ganda!

Ako: Haaayyy nako.. Nevermind na nga lang! Erase-erase na un sa troubles of the day ko!

If only it was that easy.... -__-

OFFICIAL COPY ayreezh

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Chapter 8: (Venice’s POV)

Pero kahit na wa care ako kuno, the truth is, affected much talaga ako. O_O I avoided Gerard the whole day. Di ko sya nakita nung lunch, kahit na madalas kami-kami magkasama pag kakain na.. Di ko sya nakita nung break ko -- simply dahil tinaguan ko sya. :P And when my day was finally over, I made sure na hindi ako dun dadaan sa bench where he always waits for me.. malayo man ang ikutan ko para makalabas, ok lang!

BZZZZ

Automatically nag-reach ung kamay ko dun sa uniform pocket ko para kunin ung nag-vvibrate kong cellphone.. Text... from Ate Marian.

"Venice! brief song rehearsal. auditorium. NOW!"

But... but.. but ate... That would mean makikita ko si Gerard.. T_T

OFFICIAL COPY ayreezh

I took a deep breath. Kaya ko toh.. Anoh ba naman ung kakanta-kanta, sasayaw-sayaw, magsasalita.. Sandali lang un. Magiging busy rin naman kame, and nandun naman si Ate Marian.. Okay! Sige!

Mabilis akong umikot para bumalik papasok sa building -- para magbago man isip ko, maisip ko na lang na nakaikot na ko, nakapagbawas na ko ng energy, napagod ko na ung paa ko.. No turning back na.

"V!"

Okay. Just kidding. Let's turn back. NOW. O_O

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I saw Gerard running towards me. For some reason, napanic ang mga cells ko, umikot uhlet akong bigla, at halos patakbo tumakas.. Sorry na lang, Ate Marian. Pero, mahirap kaaway ang embarrassment. -__-

I can hear Gerard yelling after me. Lalo akong nagmadali, pero mabilis si kuya. Mahaba lang kasi ang legs nya kaya mas malaki ung steps nya.. -__- Nakahabol kagad si kuya.

Gerard: Are you avoiding me? Ako: Bakit naman? (tuloy sa paglakad) As if naman I can avoid you, eh everywhere I go, susulpot at susulpot ka din. Gerard: Exactly!

Eh? Compliment ba ung maging bubuyog na sunod ng sunod?

Gerard: And besides, after what you said last night--

Napatigil akong bigla. I can't believe he's really bringing this up! I glared at him. Natahimik si Gerard nung nakita nyang nakakapatay ang tingin ko sa kanya.

Ako: Okay. Whatever I said last night -- erase-erase mo na un! Lasing lang ako! So stop thinking about whatever it is!

OFFICIAL COPY ayreezh

Gerard looked at me, una, mukha syang confused. Then he smiled.. That stupid smile of his..

Arrogant.. -__-

Gerard: You don't remember huh? :) Ako: Kaya nga kalimutan mo na! Gerard: (smirks) But, V... Di ba nga, drunken words are sober thoughts? :D Ako: You wanna die? Gerard: Well, not now. :P Ako: Then shut up Gerard: I can just tell you if you don't remember, you know? Ako: Shut up. Gerard:: But--

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Ako: Ssh! Gerard: V-Ako: Shush! Gerard: Fine.

He gently stirred me pabalik ng building. Nagpa-stir naman ako. Tahimik lang si Gerard. Which is good coz arguing with him is not helping my still boom-boom-boom headache.. -__-

Pagdating namin sa auditorium, nandun na si Ate Marian, nakaupo sa stage. She's busy pressing the radio buttons na nasa tabi nya. Nung nakita nya kame, she immediately flashed a big smile on her face.

Ate Marian: Tatayo sana ako to hug you, pero sabi ni head, masyado raw kaming close ni gravity ngayon..

In other words, hang-over din sya.. :D

Lumapit kami ni G sa stage and sat down beside her. Ate Marian handed us a copy of the song we're supposed to practice today.

OFFICIAL COPY ayreezh

Ate Marian: This is the first song.. and I'm thinking, should it be the opening song as well..?

Kami ba ang tanungin? -__-

Gerard: Take A Bow? Di ba sad song un? Ate Marian: Wellll... I revised some parts of the play.. So mag-sstart na sya as the couple breaking up dahil nag-cheat si guy--

I leaned towards Gerard.

Ako: (bulong) Cheater ka pala eh. Gerard: And don't you wanna hear what happened before telling me I'm a cheater? Ako: Oh shut up.

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Tinignan kami ni Ate Marian curiously, pero she shrugged off the little banter, and proceeded with giving us a copy of the lyrics of the songs.

Ate Marian: So anyway, so nag-cheat nga si guy. Nag-break sila. The guy stayed with the other girl, and si bidang girl naman, chose to move on with her life. He's a successful entertainer, so sa sobrang pride, ayaw nyang sya ung napapahiya or nakakawawa.

Ang haba the story.. O_O

Ate Marian: Tapos long story short, he eventually realized he can't live without her, so he tried to win her back. At first ayaw ni girl. Then the guy was about to leave the country, and realizing na she could lose him forever, she ran after him, but wasn't able to catch up.

O__O Nooo..

Ate Marian: A few years later, she's celebrating her birthday with a big party. One of the entertainers turned out to be her long-lost lover coming back to take her with him -- if she'll allow him. Syempre, in the end, they lived happily ever after. :)

Sabi nya, some parts lang nung play ung ni-re-write nya. Bakit parang ibang-iba ung story dun sa original script? Oh well, whatever. I like this version better.

OFFICIAL COPY ayreezh

Ate Marian: I'll give you the new script tomorrow. Let's go back to the song rehearsal..

Tinuro nya ung mga parts na kakantahin namin, kung san kami papasok. She listened to us without music, correcting us pag wala sa tono or mali ung emotion. When Gerard and I got it somewhat nailed down, she suggested we sing with the music..

Gerard: She gave a round of applause Followed by a standing ovation I feel so dumb right now Standing outside her house Trying to apologize Cause I told quite a few lies (Damn)

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And she found me out So now I'm saying sorry, Cause I am Though it's very clear to me That she don't give a damn Got me out here putting on a show Neighbors laughing at me I just want her to know Without her I can't be happy So I'm putting on a show I hope it's entertaining Don't say we're over now Please let me in the house.. Ako: Oh and the award for the best liar goes to you For making me believe that you could be Faithful to me Let's hear your speech out How about a round of applause?

Gerard: Followed by a standing ovation.. Got me out here Putting on a show Neighbors laughing at me I just want her to know Without her I can't be happy Ako: That was quite a show Very entertaining Gerard: Baby, please Don't say we're over now Ako: But it's over now...

OFFICIAL COPY ayreezh

After a quick round, Ate Marian finally smiled at us. Wala nang mistakes, so hinde na sya frustrated. ;D

Ate Marian: Haaayyy.. perfect combination talaga.. :D

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Gerard: (tingin sa'kin) See? Perfect combination daw.. ;)

I felt blood rushing to my face. Lalo na nung binigyan ako ni Gerard ng parang knowing smile. =__= Parang nagpaparinig na ehwan. I stood up to leave.

Ako: If we're done, I'm going home. Ate Marian: Wait! Wait wait wait wait!

Bigla syang tumayo para humabol sana sa'kin. Kaya lang, pagtayo nya, napahawak din sya kagad sa ulo nya. Biglain ba naman kaseh si gravity.. Sabi nang dapat dahan-dahan lang ang motion pag may hang-over. :D

After nyang maka-recover, nagsimula na syang kolektahin ung mga gamit nya. Sasabay siguro palabas. So I waited for her as she jams the CD and a notebook dun sa bag nya. Nung nasalpak nya na lahat, she immediately ran to the door. I followed closely behind..

I was just about to breathe a sigh of relief nang nakita kong lumabas na ng auditorium si Ate Marian -- then she slammed the door -- a few inches away from my face. O_O Anoh ba un?!?

OFFICIAL COPY ayreezh

I opened the door -- or rather -- I tried opening the door.

o_O

What?

OoO It's not opening. It's not moving. It's not bulging. I started banging on the door.

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Ako: Ate?!?! Ate Mars!?!?!? Ate Marian: (from the other side of the doors) Ay, wag naman sumigaw! At wag mo rin gibain ung pinto! Mahal yan.. Ako: It's locked!! Ate Marian: I know. I have the key right here. Ako: Ate!??

Tumingin ako sa likod ko, and saw Gerard jumping off the stage and walking towards me.

Ako: Can you hurry up and open the door please?!? There's something unpleasant in here.. __Ate Marian: Nope. Kung anu man pinag-aawayan nyo, eh you better hurry up and fix it. Nagrreflect sa mga mukha nyo and sa mga actions nyo na may kung anong awkwardness..

Ateeeeee... T_T

Ate Marian: Soooo.. I'm gonna give the key to the janitor. I'll tell him to let you out at 5PM. Let's just hope na di nya makalimutan.. :D

OoO

OFFICIAL COPY ayreezh

Ako: But-- But-- But!!! What if I need to use the washroom?!!?

.. ... Silence.. Mukhang di nya na-consider ung idea na un..

Bwahahaha Makakalabas na ko~ :D

Ate Marian: May bote dyan.

O_O

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Ate Marian: So.. ciao ciao! Ako: Ate?!?! Ate?!?!?

As hard as I bang on the door, wala nang sumasagot from the other side. Umalis na talaga sya... T_T It's hopeless. I stopped banging na rin, kaseh masakit sya sa kamay ha, in fairness. :P

I turned around and saw Gerard right behind me, and sa kung anong reason, he looks fascinated. Hindi nya ba alam ang situation namen!??!!?

We're stuck! In the auditorium! For at least two hours!!!! Anong nginingiti-ngiti nya pa dyan!?!??!

Gerard: Well V.. Ako: What?! Gerard: (smiles) Please don't rape me. :D

o_O

OFFICIAL COPY ayreezh

ARRGGHH!!!! >:O

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Chapter 9: (Venice’s POV)

Ako: My hands hurt.. My hands hurt.. My hands hurrrrttttttt!!!

PAK!

Bigla akong binatukan ni Gerard. Masakit na nga ung kamay ko, babatukan ba ko. Tama ba un?!?!

Ako: Aw aw aw! Awwwww! Gerard: Will you please shut up already? Ako: Who are you to tell me to shut up? Gerard: I'm the person massaging your hands because you're stupid enough to bang them on the door.

Natahimik ako.. True enough, he's been massaging my hands for about 45 minutes now. We were practicing songs earlier, pero nairita na yata sya sa'kin coz I kept on rubbing my palms and massaging my fingers. :P

Eh sa masakit naman talaga eh...T_T

OFFICIAL COPY ayreezh

Kaya ehto.. nakaupo na lang kami sa stage.. nagbibilang ng dust particles. :D jowk! XD wala, nakaupo lang kame, sya nagmamasahe ng kamay ko. Ako, nagpplano kung pano ko isasabit si Ate Marian patiwarik sa labas ng bahay nila. :)

We've been here for probably almost 2 hours na. At sa totoo lang.. medyo nawala na rin ung anxiety ko about the drunken night.. kaseh naman.. Gerard is still acting like the usual... soooo, maybe I didn't really say too much.. I still think he's annoying..-_-

Gerard: You know.. you really changed..

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Napatingin ako sa kanya, wondering kung anong ibig sabihin nya na nagbago ako.

Ako: Eh?

Siguro, ang ibig nyang sabihin, gumanda ako lalo.. o kaya hindi nya akalaing so approachable pala ako. :D

Gerard: You used to be so much nicer.

-___Eh anoh?!?!? Hindi na ko "nice" ngayon!?!

Ako: At pano mo naman ang difference between then and now? Gerard: (tumingin sa'kin) You really don't remember huh? Ako: Remember what?

Aminado ako. May short-term memory loss ako. Ni di ko na nga matandaan kung anong nangyari kaninang umaga eh! I know I went to school.. tapos wala na.. blur na lahat. :D

OFFICIAL COPY ayreezh

Gerard: I met you nung first day mo dito. That was my sophomore year. I saw you looking at your schedule sheet with a blank look on your face. Apparently, you were looking for your classes. Wala naman akong ginagawa, so I showed you around. Ako: Ehhhh??!? Talaga?!? O_O

I remember na may someone nga na nice enough to give a brief tour, pero di ko naman maalala na sya pala un..

Gerard: Yea.. We hang out for about a couple of weeks. You used to look for me everywhere. Tapos naging popular ka, and next thing I know, di mo na ko hinahanap. (looked at me accusingly) Kinalimutan mo pa ko. Ako: Sorry naman.. Eh di dapat ikaw ang lumapit. :P Gerard: Hala, ayoko nga.. Anoh ka, special?

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Ako: Yah-ha!

Natawa lang si Gerard, then he stared at me. After a few seconds, he let out a huge sigh...

Gerard: *sigh* You were really sweet....back then. Ako: What are you trying to say? -__Gerard: Wala naman.

It definitely doesn't seem like "wala naman".. -__-

Gerard: Then when I saw you alone dun sa jeep terminal, for some reason, I got kind of excited.

Excited?!? Kaya pala tinulak ako?!?

Gerard: I wanted to talk to you, kamustahin ka man lang ba, and see if you remember me.. But for some reason, I ended up shoving you. :P Tapos nung nakita ko how you looked at me, I realized you didn't recognize me.. so I just played along. Let's just say payback na ung pagkakatulak ko coz you forgot about me. :) Ako: Has anyone ever told you what a jerk you are? -__Gerard: Hmm, konti. :P But you know what?

OFFICIAL COPY ayreezh

I turned to face him, but then I found his face verrryyy and dangerously close to mine.. O__O

Ayyyy heart! Ok ka lang?!?!

Gerard: (gently) I'm glad I found you again..

I stared into his eyes and he stared into mine.. Is it weird to say na ngayon ko lang napansin how extremely expressive his eyes are? I couldn't look away, even if I wanted to.. I was stuck.. entranced..

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Then I saw him leaning towards me....

O_O

Oh my golay! He's going to kiss me! <'OoO'>

Should I lean forward!? Should I lean back?! Should I turn away?! Should I--?!?

"Hoy mga bata? Buhay pa ba kayo?"

Napatalon kaming bigla. Parang automatic spring ung pagtayo ko -- parang ung guilty na estudyante na nahuli nung teacher na nag-ttext sa klase. Bumukas na ung pinto, and sumilip si Manong Janitor.

Ako: M-M-Manong Janitor!

OFFICIAL COPY ayreezh

Ni-ruin nyo naman the moment!

Ka-close na namin tohng janitor na toh.. kaya siguro sa kanya iniwan ni Ate Marian ung susi. Pero for some reason, never kong naalala ang name nya. Nahihiya naman akong itanong nang paulit-ulit, kaya Manong Janitor na lang ung naging tawag ko sa kanya ever since. :P

Manong Janitor: 5:00 na. Pwede na kayo lumabas.. ;)

Kinolekta ko kagad lahat ng gamit ko as fast as my hands and my feet would let me. Nag-bblur pa ung vision ko sa sobrang hiya.. and posible bang lahat ng dugo eh pumunta sa mukha? Un ang feeling ng face ko eh! Extreme blush ever! Anoh bang iniisip ko at-- at--!!!! WAAAHH ni hindi ko magawang isipin ang "supposedly" na mangyayari kung hindi sumulpot si manong!

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Sumulyap ako kay G. Napa-gulp akong bigla nung tamang-tamang pagtingin ko, tumingin din sa'kin si Gerard. He took one step toward me..

Then he smiled.

Gerard: We'll continue that some other time.. ;D

..... I dropped everything I was holding.

Chapter 10: (Venice’s POV)

OFFICIAL COPY ayreezh

The next day, maganda ang araw, presko na hangin at hinde nakakasunog ang araw. Gerard and I decided to take advantage of the weather kaya tumambay kaming dalawa dun sa isa sa mga bench na nakahilera facing the track field. For some reason, students dubbed that particular place as "Lovers' Lane". "Lane" siguro kaseh maraming upuan na nagkalat, tapos nasa main daanan pa papunta sa parking lot at sa main building ng school. "Lovers" kaseh, bago naging todo strict si principal, dito naglalandian ung mga luv-errss... :D

Anyway... Ako, nagbabasa ng some article for my next class; si G, naghahalungkat ng backpack nya.. Apparently, dinalhan nya raw ako ng Toblerone, pero di nya naman makita. And yes, bati na kami.

Gerard: Oh man... I can't find it. Ako: Hay nako, tigilan mo na nga yang Toblerone na yan.

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Sinarado nya na uhlet ung bag nya. Nagbuntong-hininga pa. Feel na feel ang pagkadisappointed dahil sa chocolate nyang di nya makita.

Gerard: But.. But I saved it especially for you... T_T

o_O Magpaawa effect vah? -__-

Ako: It's not the end of the world. Relax ka nga lang dyan.

"Venice! GD! Hallerrrr!"

Napatingin kaming dalawa dun sa direction of the calling, and nakita namen si Ate Marian, happily bouncing towards us -- with a similarly bouncing girl just behind her.

Gerard: (bulong sa'kin) Who's the girl?

OFFICIAL COPY ayreezh

I shrugged. Mukha ba kong phone directory at dapat kilala ko lahat ng tao sa campus?! We continued to watch the two girls palapit sa'min. And syempre, dahil hyper si ate, as soon as abot nya na ko, halos lumipad sya sa'kin para lang yumakap. O_O Tama bang maglambitin sa leeg ko?! I tried to pry her off --- pero iba talaga ang physical powers ni ate!

Ako: Avah, akala mo friendly-friendly tayo after nung ginawa mo kahapon?! Ikulong ba kame?!

She let go after I said that. Pero clear sa mukha nyang wala ni isang bahid ng guilt. -___- Abot tenga pa nga ang ngiti eh!

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Ate Marian: But it worked! See? Close na uhlet kayo! :D Gerard: Oo nga naman, V.. ;) Ako: (tingin kay Gerard) Anong "oo nga" ka dyan. Ate Marian: Ayyy before I forget!

Hinila ni Ate Marian ung kasama nyang girl, then hinarap sa'ming dalawa ni Gerard.

Ate Marian: Gerard, Venice, this is Sugar.

"Sugar"? Who names their kids "Sugar"?!?

Ate Marian: She's playing as the "other woman" sa play. Sugar, this is Venice, she's the female lead. and this is my cousin, Gerard. He's playing the male lead. Sugar: Hi..

Ay, demure ang lola? Mahiyain?

Ako: Hello! I'm glad I finally got to meet another main character. That means may iba na kong makakatrabaho besides this guy right here~ :D Sugar: Oh yes... I'm really glad na nasali ako sa play..

OFFICIAL COPY ayreezh

Tumingin sya kay Gerard.. then..then.. she BLUSHED! O_O as in!?!?

Ay! Malandi kang bata ka!

Gerard: Sugar talaga name mo? Sugar: Huh? Ah, Clarice ang real name ko.. pero ever since I was young, "Sugar" na ang tawag sa'kin ng whole family ko, kaya ahyun. Gerard: (smiled at her) That's cool.. :)

At ang unggoy! Nakipag-flirt pa! >:(

Naghalungkat biglasi Ate Marian nung dala nyang paper bag. Maya-maya, may nilabas syang

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dalawang booklets.

Ate Marian: And one more thing... Ehto na ung revised version nung script. Sabi nung club adviser, lagyan ko raw ng Christmas theme naman para maging right for the Christmas season.. Ako: (kinuha ung script) So naiba nanaman ung story? Ate Marian: Hinde ah! I just made it na sa Pasko sila nagkabalikan.. oh di va? Eh di may Christmas theme na! :D

I don't think that's what Ms. Rellano meant by "Christmas theme"... -__-

Tumingin sa relo nya si Ate Marian, then she looked at Sugar..

Ate Marian: Well we have to go.. Almost over na ung break namen. Gerard: You have class together? Sugar: Yep! We're in the same English class.

Abah. At talagang kinarir ni asukal ang pagngiti.

Ate Marian: So we'll get going now.. See you later na lang! Sugar: Bye, Gerard. :) (tingin sa'kin) Uh, nice meeting you, Venice. Gerard: See you later.

OFFICIAL COPY ayreezh

Bago pa man ako maka-say ng anything, umikot na si girl at paalis sumunod kay Ate Marian -pero not without batting her eyelashes pa muna kay Gerard. -__-

Eh kung ingudngod ko kaya ung mukha nya dun sa bench nang hindi na bumukas ung mga mata nya?!? >:O

Gerard: Well isn't she cute? Ako: (tingin kay Gerard) She's what?!? What did you say?!? Gerard: I said she's cute.

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At talagang inulit pa!

Ako: Oh? Talaga?

Umupo na uhlet si Gerard dun sa bench, then started to look over the script. Oblivious talaga sya na handa ko na syang itilapon sa kabilang dako ng track field.

Gerard: She looks sweet.. mukhang mabait.. She doesn't look the part of "the other woman" at all. Pero siguro un ung plan ni Marian.. or maybe, Sugar is just a really good actress.

GRRR! Why is he complimenting her so much!?!? Kakakilala lang nila ah! Anoh??! Close na sila!? Alam nya na lahat?! >:O

Hoy! Hinde ako nagseselos!

Tinignan ko lang si Gerard for one full second, tapos sinimulan ko nang kolektahin ung mga gamit ko.

Ako: Fine.. Gerard: (napatingin) Where are you going? o__o Ako: Away from you! Gerard: What?!?!

OFFICIAL COPY ayreezh

I turned around and stalked away. Pinulot kagad ni Gerard ung backpack nyang nakatilapon sa damuhan. Maya-maya lang, humabol na kagad sya sa'kin.

Gerard: Are you mad? You're mad, aren't you? Why are you mad? Ako: (tuloy sa paglakad) I am NOT mad! And stop following me!

Tumigil naman sya. Masunuring aso na sya ngayon na pag pinagsabihan ng "Stay!", titigil nga. Avah! Nagbagong

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buhay na!??

Gerard: (sigaw sa'kin) Well, okay! I'll just see you later then! I'll wait for you here after class! Ako: (sigaw pabalik) And who said anything about meeting you after class!?!?

Dun ka na lang sa asukal mo! >:o

Gerard: Coz I know you'd want to see me! :D

OoO

Ako: ULOL!!

OFFICIAL COPY ayreezh

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Chapter 11: (Venice’s POV)

Haayyy... Why did I do that??

I walked out of my last class feeling guilty... suuuppeerrr guilty. -__-

Kaseh naman.. impulse talaga.. -__-

Oh well...

Nagmadali na lang ako maglakad papunta dun sa "Lovers' Lane" where G said he'll wait for me after class para sabay kame umuwi, as usual. Halos patakbo na nga ako para di naman sya matagal maghintay..

But thennnn....

napatingin ako dun sa nakasalubong ko... Kumakain sya ng banana cue...

OFFICIAL COPY ayreezh

Naalala ko si Gerard. Nung umaga kaseh, Gerard was saying (actually, more like whining) he wanted to eat banana cue, ung malambot, with melted sugar... May nagtitinda dun sa may jeep terminal. Kaya lang, dahil pareho kaming running late, gusto nya mang tumigil para bumili nung banana cue nya, eh hinde pwede dahil maiiwan kame nung jeep.

Kaya kailangan ko pa syang hilahin palayo. Naluha pa nga yata nung naupo kame sa jeep. Ung banana cue nya raw.. -__- Daig pa ang naglilihi...

Haaayyy... I might as well..

Umikot ako and went the opposite way papunta dun sa cafeteria. Hindi naman masyadong malayo, pero un nga lang, nasa opposite direction sya, kaya nagmadali na rin ako.

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When I got into the almost empty cafeteria, diretso kagad ako sa stall ni Aling Luning.

Ako: Ateeeee~!!!! Nagbabasa si ate ng pocketbook nya. Araw-araw na ginawa ng dyos, hindi na sya nagsawa sa mga pocketbook nya. :P Nung nakita nya ko, tumayo kagad si ate.

Aling Luning: Oh! Venice! Ako: Penge naman dalawang banana cue. Aling Luning: Iha.. gano man ako natutuwa syo, hinde hinihingi ang paninda ko.

Tumingin bigla sya sa likod ko na parang may hinahanap.

Aling Luning: Nasan ung M.I.B mo? Ako: M.I.B? Aling Luning: (kuha nung isang banana cue from the fryer) Ung lagi mong kasunod.. bodyguard ba.. ;) Ako: Si Gerard? Aling Luning: Oo! MIB. Man In Bantay. :D Ako: Ate naman... Napatingin ako dun sa pangalawang banana Q na kinukuha nya.

OFFICIAL COPY ayreezh

Ako: Ate, pwede ba ung banana cue na malambot with melting sugar all around? Aling Luning: Ayaw mo nito? Ako: Hindi poh.. Kukunin ko rin yan. Maka-hardcoated sugar ako. Just give me another one na lang poh. :) Aling Luning: Okay..

Tinignan-tignan uhlet ni Aling Luning ung mga bagong luto nyang banana cue, tapos pinili ung may pinaka-maraming melted sugar. Nilagay nya ung dalawang banana cue sa plastic bag, then binigay nya na sa'kin.

Oh.. Eh di one for him.. one for me na.. pareho kameng masaya. :D

After kong bayaran ung banana cue, tumakbo na ulit ako papunta sa meeting place namin ni

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Gerard. Pero syempre, dapat may konting poise pa rin kahit sa pagtakbo. Mahirap na. :D

I'm sure he's gonna be happy with this... Suupperrr Banana Cue! ^o^

(Gerard's POV)

I looked at my cellphone again. No text. No call. Venice is already 20 minutes late.. Maybe she really was mad about something?

Tatawagan ko na sana si Venice nang..

"Kuya Gerard~!" ^o^

I turned around and saw Sugar running towards me.

Nung malapit na sya sa'kin, tsaka ko lang sya nginitian.

OFFICIAL COPY ayreezh

Ako: Hey, Sugar.. :) Sugar: What are you still doing here? Ako: Hmm.. I'm waiting for Venice. We're supposed to go home together. Sugar: Ahhh.. talaga? (isip) But you know what? Nung naglalakad ako papunta dito, nakita ko si Ate Venice. She was going the other direction. Baka naman lumabas na dun sa kabilang exit?

Lumabas sa kabilang exit? Is she avoiding me again? I need to call her---

Sugar: Kuya, how about let's just go? I'm hungry.. Take me out! :D

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Eh?!?

Mukha ba kong plato na kailangan syang pakainin?

I looked around again... Still no sign of V... -__-

Sigh...

Tumingin ako uhlet kay Sugar, na nakangiti pa rin sa'kin, waiting for my answer -- or probably, waiting for me to move. Gerard: Okay.. Let's go then...

I FINALLY arrived at the usual bench na hintayan namen. I know, I know.. I'm at least -- tingin sa relo -- 23 minutes late. Pero naman, there had been worse times. :P

OFFICIAL COPY ayreezh
(Venice's POV)

I looked around..

Nasan si Gerard? o_O

Usually, ako ang late. He's never, as in never late. Ayaw nyang pinaghihintay ako dahil ayoko rin nang naghihintay. nyahaha :D

I looked around again, then sat down on the bench. Maybe he ran into something..

Sayang.. lalamig ung banana cue nya.. :P

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5...

10...

15..

20...

25 minutes later...

Wala pa rin.

Tumayo na ko, then tinignan ung dala kong banana cue.. Sana kinain ko na lang. Sayang ever ha.. Sa hirap ng buhay ngayon!

I started to walk away.. Alam kong di na dadating ung hinihintay ko -- may banana cue man ako o wala.

OFFICIAL COPY ayreezh

I can't believe he just left me..

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Chapter 12: (Venice’s POV)

Pagdating ko sa bahay, tinapon ko ung bookbag ko sa couch, took a quick shower, nagluto ng Chilimansi Pancit Canton, tumambay sa harap ng TV -- all the while naghihintay ng text from Gerard.

Hanggang sa wakas, hindi na nakatiis si kamay at si brain, pinulot ko na ung cellphone ko and dialed G's number.

Gerard: Hello?

Ay, sinagot! Akala ko voicemail ang makakausap ko.. :P

Ako: Hello? Gerard: V? Nasan ka? Ako: I'm at home. Gerard: Oh. Okay.. That's good.. Ako: Where were you? I waited for almost half an hour. Gerard: You did? I waited there for almost half an hour. Ako: I got out of class a bit late. Pagdating ko, wala nang tao.

OFFICIAL COPY ayreezh

Natahimik sandali si Gerard. Then I heard him let out a long heavy breath.

Gerard: I'm soooo sorry.. I should have waited longer. Ako: Oh well.. Ok lang un.. Gerard: Well.. I'm actually out with Sugar right now.

"out with Sugar"?!?? O_O Okay. I take it back. It's NOT okay.

Gerard: But do you want me to drop by your house later?

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"OUT with SUGAR?!?!

Ako: Eh?? Hinde noh! Wag na! Tumingin ako dun sa malamig nang banana cue na -- yes til now -- eh nakapatong sa mesa, untouched, uneaten..

Gerard: Are you sure? I feel bad though.. Ako: Yea I'm sure.

..kahit na malamang di mo makakain ung banana cue mo dahil mas pinili mo pa yang asukal na yan! -__-

Ako: Umuwi ka na lang.. I'll just see you tomorrow. Gerard: Well.. okay.. I'm really sorry, V. I'll make it up to you tomorrow na lang, ok? I'll make sure we'll go home together. Alam ko namang na-mimiss mo ko. :D Ako: Ang chuchu mo? Ka-miss-miss ka ba?! Gerard: Aba, oo naman! Tignan mo nga, tinawagan mo pa ko! :D Ako: Managinip ka nang gising! Bye na nga!

Binaba ko na ung cellphone. I went back to watching TV para man lang bumaba ang blood pressure ko.

OFFICIAL COPY ayreezh

Kapal talaga ng skin ng face.

The next day, kumakain kame nina Sheena and Kenny sa cafeteria. As usual, nagtatalo nanaman ung dalawa kung worth it ba talaga na maging Hottest Man Alive for the year 2008 si Hugh Jackman.

Maya-maya, dumating si Anthony and naki-join sa table namen.

Anthony: Yo ladies! (tingin kay Kenny) and gay. Kenny: Hallo, Anton. :D

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Hmm.. that's weird. Bakit mag-isa lang toh? Tumingin ako sa likod nya. Baka nabubulag lang ako.. Pero wala talagang tao.

Ako: Where's Gerard? Sheena: Uuuyyy.. hinahanap~ :D Ako: Shut up. Anthony: (kagat sa sandwich nya) I asked him to eat with us today, kaya lang sabi nya may pupuntahan pa raw sya. Ako: Pupuntahan? Anthony: Hmmm, kung gusto mo ng specifics, sabi nya tutulungan nya raw sa Chemistry homework si Sugar.

-__Anak ng daga... Sugar nanaman?!?

Kenny: (tingin sa'kin) Sugar? Ung freshman? Break na kayo? Ako: Vahket? Kami ba? and besides, si Sugar? nakoo, kasama lang sa play un noh.

OFFICIAL COPY ayreezh

.. at supporting character lang sya! Supporting!

Anthony: Oo nga.. (inom nung coke nya) Pinag-uusapan nga nina Ate Marian tsaka ni GD si Sugar kagabe eh Ako: Bakit? Anthony: Tinatanong ni GD kung bakit si Sugar ang na-cast na "other woman", eh parang masyado raw sweet and sweet-looking. Sheena: Sweet na, sweet-looking pa?! Tapos "Sugar" pa ang name?!? Avah, tao pa ba yan? Kenny: Ay! Baka sugarcane si sister! wahahaha :D

Di ko na inisip ung conversation nung lunch... di "masyado". Di ko rin naman nakita si Gerard the whole day.. which is kinda weird.

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Pero sige lang.. di naman sya aso na kailangan talian at hanapin every minute noh.. :P

So nung uwian, since he said he'll make sure we'll go home together, naghintay na lang uhlet ako dun sa bench.

But then...

15 minutes.. Never akong naghihintay for more than 10 minutes.. ngayon, 15 minutes na ang bagong record ko.

Nilabas ko na ung cellphone ko, and just when I was about to dial, biglang nag-ring.

Si Gerard..

Ako: (sagot nung cp) Hello? Nasan ka na? Gerard: V! I'm really really really sorry. Ako: Hm? Bakit? Gerard: I just saw Sugar..

OFFICIAL COPY ayreezh

Napapikit ako..

I think I know where this is going...

Gerard: It seems like she's having some trouble with script.. and---

Di ko na pinatapos ung sinasabi nya..

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I just hung up. Bwiset.

At kahit nung nagpaulit-ulit syang tumatawag, nag-ttext... eh todo deadma ako.

Mamatay ka sa kakatawag!

Why is he choosing her over me? Mas maganda naman ako. Mas sexy. Mas magaling kumanta. Mas hinahabol ng mga lalaki, Mas sikat. Dahil ba sa mas matanda ako kesa kay asukal? Di ba ibig sabihin nun mas mature ako?

ARGGHHHH!!!

OFFICIAL COPY ayreezh

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Chapter 13: (Gerard’s POV)

This is probably the 20th time I called Venice and the 35th time I texted her.

Wala pa rin.

What did I do??

Sugar: Kuya? Ok ka lang?

Napatingin ako kay Sugar, na nag-aayos na nung mga gamit nya since we just finished going over the script and her parts.

Ako: Huh? Ah, yea.. ok lang.

Kapansin-pansin naman siguro kung gano ko kanina pa pinipindot-pindot ung cellphone ko.. __-

OFFICIAL COPY ayreezh

Sugar: Okay... Do you want to go grab some dinner? Ako: (tuloy pindot sa cellphone ko) Huh? Uh sure.. Umuwi ka muna.. I have to go somewhere first. Tawagan na lang kita pag ok na ko.. Is that fine? Sugar: Yea sure! Sige, kuya! I'll see you later! :D

Umalis na si Sugar. Ako naman, dumiretso sa terminal para pumunta sa bahay ni Venice. I don't understand.. she just suddenly hung up. Tapos kahit anong tawag ko, wala. Anoh kaya nangyari dun?

I jumped in a jeepney. After some time, nakarating na ko sa bahay ni V.. I felt sort of relieved nung nakita kong may ilaw.

Nag-doorbell lang ako para alam nyang may tao, pero dahil feel at home na ko, dumiretso na ko sa pagbukas ng gate (alam ko na ung trick para mabuksan ung lock), and walked straight to the

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front door.

Bumukas ung pinto after a few minutes, and Venice looked at me for a moment, then she was actually about to slam to the door! O_O

Buti na lang, natulak ko bago sumarado.

Ako: Whooaaaaa!!! What!??! O_O Venice: Why are you here!?? Naliligaw ka ng bahay? Anoh, lasing ka di mo alam kung san ka nakatira? Ako: What?!? I don't even drink! Open the door, will you?!

Binuksan nya ng konti ung pinto, then stared from the small opening, still glaring at me.

Ako: *gulp* Di mo sinasagot ung mga tawag ko tsaka ung texts ko... Venice: So? Ako: "So?"? I got worried! Nagmadali akong pumunta dito! .. ... ....

OFFICIAL COPY ayreezh

Nothing?

Gerard: What?! Why are you so quiet? What did I do? Will you just tell me?!? Venice: You're annoying! Get out of my property! I don't want to see you here again!

Then she slammed the door to my face. O_O

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(Venice's POV)

I looked at the clock. It's been one hour and 25 minutes.

Sumilip uhlet ako sa labas.. Nandun pa rin sya. Gerard is still sitting there.

Simula nung binagsak ko ung pinto sa mukha nya, he tried knocking again, calling, texting.. Di raw sya aalis hanggang di ko sya kinakausap.

Feel nya naman bibigay ako. Neknek nya noh! Di ako ganon ka-soft.. :P

Pero in fairness.. Inaantok na ko, at ayoko namang matulog nang may kung anong unggoy sa harap ng bahay ko. -____-

I opened the door again. Nakasandal si Gerard dun sa wall sa tabi nung pinto. He looked up when I opened the door.

Ako: Aren't you going home YET?!? Gerard: No! Not until you talk to me! Ako: Gusto mo bang tawagan ko pa si Anthony just to pick you up!?? Gerard: Unless gusto mong mapilitan din un maghintay dito, then I suggest not to call him.. because I'm still not going kahit pumunta pa sya dito.

OFFICIAL COPY ayreezh

Anak ng nanay nya!

Ako: Fine!

I finally stepped out and sat down next to him. I might as well get this done and over with. Ako: What do you want? Gerard: (smiled at me) Bibigay ka rin pala eh.. :) Ako: Pwedeng-pwede na kong pumasok uhlet. Matulog ka na dito kung gusto mo.

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Gerard: NOO!!! O_O Ako: "No" na anoh? Matulog ka dito sa labas? Gerard: Sa living room man lang.. Maraming lamok ha!

Bubwit. Bahala na nga sya sa buhay nya. I started to stand up. Ako: Kausapin mo yang lamok mo! Gerard: Hold on!

Hinila nya ung braso ko kaya napaupo uhlet ako. Kung di lang ako inaantok, na-karate chop ko na toh! Hilahin ba ang beauty ko!?!

Ako: What do you want then!?? Gerard: Tell me what's wrong. Is it about Sugar? Ako: Sugar?!? Oh noooooo... Bakit naman?? Special ba un?? Asukal lang sya noh! If you want to spend more time with her than with me, then fiiinnnneee! Bakit naman ako magagalit?? Tayo ba? Ha? Ha? Hinde naman, di ba? Di ba?? So go ahead and choose her. I. DON'T. CARE.

Napa-stare sa'kin si Gerard with big eyes. As in yung big, "WTH?" eyes. Then...

OFFICIAL COPY ayreezh

Then.. He started laughing. o_O

Ako: W-What?!? What's so funny? Gerard: (chuckles) Alam mo ba kung gano ka ka-cute when you're acting stupid? :D

OoO

Ako: Excuse me!??!

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Umusog sya para magkaharap kaming dalawa.

Gerard: I said you're cute when-Ako: I know what you said.

Suddenly, he grabbed me and hugged me really tight. O_O As in, tight talaga.. Sobrang random nung action na I didn't know who to react, kaya nanigas ako.

Gerard: Di mo pa ba alam? I will never choose anyone over you. In the end, V, it's always going to be you.

OFFICIAL COPY ayreezh

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Chapter 14: (Venice’s POV)

It's been about four days since that night...

and, honestly, nag-improve naman. He tries to spend as much time with me. And talagang sinisigurado nya nang sabay kame uuwi -- unless he really has to do something else.

Yes, friends pa rin sila ni Sugar. Pero un na lang daw un: "Friends" :D Wala na rin naman akong magagawa kung magkita sila o hinde. Oh anong karapatan kong pumigil~? Yak corny. :D

Okay naman kame nung mga araw na toh eh.. Un nga lang, it's getting weirder and weirder kaseh every single time he has to go and help Sugar with something, ay nako, gusto ko syang batuhin nung heels ko.

Kung di lang mahal ang sapatos ngayon.. rawr! Hayy.. Ganun ba dapat ang reaksyon ko?

OFFICIAL COPY ayreezh

Like nung lunch.. Kumakain kaming lima (me, Sheena, Kenny, Anton, and si G) as usual sa cafeteria. I noticed how he frequently looks at the clock dun sa wall.

Hanggang, finally, after looking for the last time, he stood up, threw out his tray, and collected his things.

Anthony: San ka punta? Gerard: I have a study session with Sugar sa library.

Screeeccchhh!!!

Kenny: Ayyy.. si Asukal nanaman.. Anong retort naten today, Venice? :P Ako: Wala noh! Anong retort-retort ka dyan..

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Di ba pwedeng paliguan ng tubig yang asukal na yan at ma-dissolve na sya sa buhay ko!?!?!

Tumawa si Gerard. Kala nya lusot na sya... -__He slung his backpack over his shoulder then lowered his face towards mine.

Gerard: Remember... Just friends. You don't have to get all worked up. Ako: A-A-Ako?!?! Worked up?!?! Hinde noh!

Liar... :P

Tumawa lang uhlet si Gerard. Nagpaalam na sya dun sa table and then he left..

Tumingin uhlet sa'kin ung tatlong naiwan.

Sheena: Promise? Deadma? Kenny: Let it out, sister! Yakang-yaka nateng i-chugi ang beauty nun! Ako: (inom nung tubig ko) Ay tigilan nyo nga ako! At kailan pa sya naging "beauty" ha?!? Anthony: Kaw ha.. hiya ka pa, selos ka naman. Mahal mo na pinsan ko noh?! :D Ako: Anton.. Gusto mo bang lumangoy kasama nung mga basura at poisoned fishies sa ilalim ng Pasig River? =__= Anthony: Ehto naman... binibiro ka lang eh. Alam mo namang maka-hygiene akong tao noh! Kenny: Really? Bakit di halata? Anthony: Kaseh di mo naman alam ung hinahanap mo para mahalata mong malinis ako. :)

OFFICIAL COPY ayreezh

Nagsimula na ang sarcasm overload nung dalawa. Feeling naman ni Anton mananalo sya kay Kenny. Sige lang, mangarap sya. :P

Napaisip naman ako.. Nung sinabi ni Anthony na mahal ko raw..

Dapat magalit ako.. todo defense.. mahiya.. todo deny..

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..pero bakit parang I'm just covering up the truth?

That night was unseasonably chilly. I mean.. yea, I know, tag-ulan, malapit na Pasko.. pero bahket ang lameeg? T_T

Gerard dropped me off at my house, pero nagmamadali din sya kaseh exam raw ni Sugar the next day. She needs all the help she can get when it comes to Chemistry..

Anoh ba yang batang yan? Lahat na lang ng bagay, kailangan ng help.. eh kailangan na yatang isama sa disabled list ng school eh! Mentally disabled!

Syempre.. I tried to be calm pa rin. Kaseh anoh namang itsura ko? Ang ganda-ganda ko, tapos naghahabol ako sa lalakeng di ko naman boyprend? -__-

Gerard left, and mag-isa lang ako sa bahay, as usual. Hindi ako mapakali. After hours and hours ng paikot-ikot, kung anu-ano nang tumatakbo sa utak ko.

Is he flirting with her? Is he saying sweet things to her the same way he does to me? Is he telling her how "sweet" she is?

OFFICIAL COPY ayreezh

I don't want him talking to her like the way he talks to me. I don't want him acting sweet around her like he does around me. I don't want him thinking of her. I don't want him with her. Period.

Lumabas nanaman ang pagka-paranoid ko. I ran out of the house and sumakay ng tricycle. Nung bumaba ako sa harap ng apartment nila, tsaka ko lang na-realize: What in the world am I doing?!? O_O Pero too late na. Nandito na ko. I might as well make it worth the travel.

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Tumigil ako dun sa upuan nung tindahan sa harap nung apartment nila -- sarado na ung tindahan kaya wala nang kokontra kung gusto kong maupo. :D Tapos tinawagan ko ung cellphone ni G.. Mas mabuti na ung sya ung palabasin ko. Malay mo, hindi sumagot, eh uwi na lang ako. :P

At least I tried. :P

Gerard: Hello?

Ang! Sumagot pa rin?!?

Ako: G? Are you home?

Kitam? Ang galing ko. Sugod ako ng sugod, di pa nga ako sure kung nakauwi na!

Baka somewhere out pa rin sya...

Oh well.. At least I tried na nga eh. :P

OFFICIAL COPY ayreezh

Gerard: Yea.. I just got home. What's up?

Lord naman.. Is this a sign? Ipapahiya ko na ba talaga ang sarili ko? T__T

Ako: Nandito ako sa labas. Do you mind coming out? Gerard: Ha? Eh bakit di ka pumasok? Ako: Eh.. I kinda want to talk to you alone. -__Gerard: Hmmm.. umalis si Ate Marian. Si Anton, kakapasok lang sa shower. Mamaya pa lalabas un. Technically, walang makakarinig kung dito tayo mag-usap. Is something wrong? Ako: Eh kung lumabas ka na lang kaya?? Papagurin mo pa kong maglakad dyan sa pinto nyo!?? Gerard: Ok, fine fine. Hold on.

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Binaba nya na ung cellphone nya.. I waited outside. Kung tatakbo ako, ehto na ung time na un. Mag-iisip na lang ako ng chuvang excuse pag-uwi ko para pag tinanong nya ko what happened, may palusot ako. Tama.. ganun na lang. This is ridiculous anyway. Anoh nga ba ako? I'm an amazing creature! Strong, smart, and beautiful!

Hindi ko kailangan gawin toh--

"V?"

Ako: (napatayo) G, I can't do it.

Anong nangyari!??!?! O_O

Gerard: Can't do what?

OFFICIAL COPY ayreezh

Lumapit sya sa'kin. Ako naman, I can feel it.. ahyan na.. tatalon na si heart at babatukan ako! Akala ko ba tatakbo na tayo?!?!

Ako: I can't do it.

Tumingin ako sa mata nya. Parang may sariling utak ung katawan ko. Kahit anong sigaw ng real brain na tumakbo na, ayaw talaga sumunod. Dire-diretso pa rin sa paghukay ng sarili kong libingan. T__T

Ako: I can't pretend that it doesn't bother me when you're out somewhere with her. I can't pretend that it doesn't affect me when I think of you and her together. Gerard: V... Didn't we talk about this already? It's okay, we're just-Ako: No! It's not okay! Di mo ba nakikita?! It's driving me insane! I want you to choose me! I want you with me!

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There.. I said it.

Natahimik si Gerard. I saw him clenching his hands and tighten his jaw. I looked around me to see kung may nakarinig ba ng skandalosa kong skandalo.. Wala naman. I can just die with humiliation right here, right now.

I looked back at Gerard -- and froze.

He was looking at me with the coldest, most desolate expression I've ever seen. I didn't know his eyes, his loving, warm eyes, could just freeze over in an instant like that.

Gerard: I warned you.. I told you not to get too attached.

I tried to speak, pero walang lumabas. I don't know what to say or what to do. I don't know what to think.

OFFICIAL COPY ayreezh

He turned his back on me, tapos naglakad sya pabalik dun sa apartment building.

I couldn't move. I couldn't even cry. What just happened??

I was just about to go after him, tell him to wait up, but he suddenly stopped in his tracks...

...and there, in the middle of the street, Gerard collapsed.

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Chapter 15: (Venice’s POV) Ang tagal.. Ang tagal tagal tagal tagal tagal.....

Ilang doktor, nurse, janitor, at pasyente na ang nagpaulit-ulit na dumaan sa harap ko. Anoh bang pinag-uusapan nila dun?!

Halos dalawang oras na pagkatapos naming isugod sa ospital si Gerard.. Sinabihan na kami nung doktor na okay na raw si G. Nagpapahinga na lang. Pero bago pa man masabi kung anong nangyari, biglang sumulpot si Ate Marian at halos kaladkarin ung doktor papasok ng kwarto kung san nakahilata si Gerard. Nung sumunod kami ni Anton, nauwi rin sa pagsipa sa'ming dalawa palabas. Para raw makapag-usap nang maayos. Mukha ba kaming magulo? __-

Kaya ehto, nakatambay ako sa visitors' lounge, samantalang si Anton, nag-adventure sa paghahanap ng cafeteria.

Sumandal ako dun sa hinde masyadong comfortable na waiting chair and tried to think back. Sa sobrang adrenaline rush ko kanina, parang isang malaking blur lang ung nangyari..

--- flashback ---

OFFICIAL COPY ayreezh

G??

Oh my gawd! OoO

Nang na-realize kong hindi sya tumatayo, nagsimula na ang panic attack ko. I ran to his side, sabay kapa-kapa ng mukha at braso nya. Bakit sya biglang bumagsak?!? He's clutching his chest tightly. His face tells me he's in a lot of pain.

Ako: What's going on?!? Anong masakit?!?! Ano?!?! Ano?!?! Magsalita ka!!!

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Naliligo na sya sa pawis.. Namumutla na rin sya. His hand suddenly flew and grasped his other arm. O_O

Oh my god! oh my god!

Ako: Teka lang! Tatawagin ko si Anton! Wag kang aalis!!!

Tatakbo na sana ako sa apartment nang may isang kuya na lumapit sa'min.

Kuya Passerby: Okay lang ba kayo?

Sinilip nya si Gerard, tapos nung nakita nyang namumutla na, bigla syang napaluhod sa tabi ko.

Kuya Passerby: Josko, iha! Anoh bang nangyari dito?!?! Ako: Hindi ko rin poh alam eh. Makiki-bantay naman poh sandali. Tatawagin ko lang ung pinsan nya sa loob.

Pumayag kagad si kuya. Tumakbo ako papasok nung apartment nina Anthony. Naalala kong sinabi ni Gerard na naliligo raw si Anton. Sumugod kagad ako dun sa pinto nung banyo..

OFFICIAL COPY ayreezh

BANG! BANG! BANG!!!

Ako: (sigaw) ANTON! ANTON!!!!!!! ANTHONY!!!!!!!

May narinig akong ingay sa loob, kung anu-ano na yata ang nahulog sa sahig. Maya-maya, biglang bumukas ung pinto at sumilip si Anthony, may sabon-sabon pa. Mukhang nagtali rin muna ng tuwalya sa katawan nya.

Anthony: Anoh ba? Masama na bang maligo!?? Ako: Si Gerard! Si Gerard!!! Hinimatay sa labas!!! Dalhin naten sa ospital!! Anthony: HUWAAATt!?!?!?

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Bigla syang tuluyang lumabas ng banyo at talagang tatakbo na sya palabas ng apartment. O_O

Anthony: Bakit!??! Anoh pang hinihintay mo dyan!??! Ako: Magbihis na ka naman muna!!

Napatingin si Anthony sa sarili nya, tapos nung na-realize nyang tuwalya lang ang bumabalot sa kanya, tumakbo kagad sya sa kwarto para magbihis. Kinuha ko ung cellphone na nakapatong dun sa table, tapos tinawagan si Ate Marian.

Wala pang 2 minutes, tapos na si Anton. Sumugod uhlet kami palabas ng apartment. Paglabas namen, may taxi nang naghihintay at pinapasok na nina Kuya Passerby at nung driver si Gerard sa backseat.

Kuya Passerby: Dumaan ung taxi kaya tinawag ko na. Mukhang kailangan nang dalhin toh sa ospital eh.. Ako: Nako! Thank you poh! Thank you poh talaga!

May mga santo pa pala sa lupa.. T^T

OFFICIAL COPY ayreezh

Tumalon kagad kami ni Anthony papasok nung taxi. As soon as sumarado ung pinto, kumaripas kagad ng takbo ung taxi. Thank GOD tapos na ang rush hour.

Pagdating namin sa emergency room, nanlalamig na si Gerard. Di ko alam, siguro dahil dun sa pawis nya.. Or siguro dahil nahihirapan na syang huminga.. Nagsisigaw si Anthony ng "Saklolo!" kaya napansin kagad kami nung mga staff at nurses. Pinaligiran kagad nila si Gerard. Anthony and I watched in horror as they lifted him out of the taxi papunta sa stretcher, tapos sinugod sa ER.

Binayaran ko ung taxi, just in time na may lumapit sa'min na isang nurse. Sabi nya, maghintay na lang daw kami sa waiting area. Syempre, sunod naman kame ni Anthony, eh anoh pa bang magagawa namen? Eh pareho kameng takot sa dugo.. -__-

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Parang ang tagal nila sa loob.. Ang bagal ng oras. Napagod na ko sa kakalakad pabalik-balik kaya naupo na lang ako. I don't think I've ever felt so helpless before. Naiiyak na ko sa takot... Hahagulhol na sana ako nang biglang may handkerchief na sumalpak sa harap ng mukha ko. Tumingin ako dun sa owner..

Anthony: Don't cry...

Kinuha ko ung panyo and smiled weakly at Anthony. Tapos tumahimik na ulit kami, balik nanaman sa paghihintay. After a few moments that felt like forever, may lumapit na sa'ming doctor. Ililipat na raw nila si Gerard sa kwarto. He's okay na raw.

--- end of flashback ---

Gusto ko nang magwala. Ayoko ng naghihintay! Lalo na pag hindi ko alam kung anong nangyayari!

As if on cue, biglang lumabas ung doctor from the room kasunod si Ate Marian. Napatakbo kagad ako kay ate.

OFFICIAL COPY ayreezh

Ako: Anoh? Anoh raw nangyari? Ate Marian: *sigh* Don't worry.. Ok na sya ngayon

Umupo sya dun sa inuupuan ko kanina, and then started rubbing her temples. Parang bigla syang tumanda. I mean, matanda naman talaga sya, pero.. lalong tumanda ba. :P

Ate Marian: It was just fatigue. He's been really stressed lately. Na-puno na siguro.. The body works in mysterious ways minsan.

Ahyan! Ahyan! Pinuno mo Venice ung stress bottle nya!

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Ako: Can I see him now? Ate Marian: Yea sure.. But he's still unconscious. Not that it's a bad thing. He needs to sleep and get some rest.

Pumasok ako sa loob nung kwarto, and true enough, tulog nga si Gerard. Nag-bbeep-beep ung machine sa tabi nya, and sabi ng mga TV shows, sign daw un na buhay pa sya.

Hinila ko ung isang upuan palapit dun sa bed and looked at his face. It's pale, pero it's better than before. For one, hinde na sya basa ng pawis.

I can't believe all this is happening just because of what I said.

Kahit kailan talaga.. pahamak na lang ako.. -__He's probably better off without me bothering him.

Mas masaya na nga siguro ung kasama nya si Sugar..

At least, si Sugar.. bata: marami na ngang energy, carefree pa! Tapos sweet-looking.. nakakatanggal ng stress un di ba? Malakas ang loob, kaseh harapan pa kung makipag-flirt. Mayaman, kaya di na kailangan i-libre.

OFFICIAL COPY ayreezh

Haaayyy.. buti na lang maganda ako. -____-

I looked at Gerard one last time, tapos tumayo na ko. Kakabukas ko lang nung pinto para lumabas nang nakasalubong ko sina Ate Marian tsaka si Anton.

Ako: Ate, uuwi na ko. Ate Marian: Ok.. Ingat ka ha. Anthony: Di mo na hihintayin gumising si insan? Ako: Di na..

...baka tumaas nanaman ang stress level nyan eh..

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They hugged me goodbye. Sabi na lang nila, tatawagan na lang nila ako pag gumising na si G.

I left the room and started walking out of the hospital.

Nilabas ko ung cellphone ko, dialed a number, and kahit anong tagal sumagot, sige lang, hintay lang ako. Dahil mabait ako eh.. :P

"Hello?"

Sumagot ka pa! After 10 years!

Ako: Hello? Are you busy? .... Nasugod sa ospital si Gerard eh, I just thought na baka gusto mong malaman...... No. He's ok now..... Okay..... Yea, ung ospital na un nga....... Okay......... Bye.

I hung up. I took a deep breath, trying to calm my nerves. Maybe... this is the reason Gerard doesn't want me... He doesn't even want me to get attached to him.

OFFICIAL COPY ayreezh

He already has someone else.

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Chapter 16: (Venice’s POV) "I'm not a princess This ain't a fairytale I'm not the one you'll sweep off her feet Lead her up the stairwell This ain't Hollywood, This is a small town I was a dreamer before you went and let me down Now its too late for you and your White Horse, To come around..."

Anoh ba namang kanta toh? Ang emote!

It's been two days. Supposedly, na-discharge na sa ospital si Gerard kahapon. Malay ko, di ko naman binisita. Sabi ni Anthony, buhay na buhay na raw. Nakulangan lang yata talaga sa tulog.. :P

Ganon ba ko ka-stressful?

Anywayyy, ehto ako ngayon sa auditorium after class, nag-rrehearse ng mga lines at mga kanta all by myself. I'm keeping myself busy habang siguro si G, happy-happy na somewhere out there with his asukal. -__-

OFFICIAL COPY ayreezh

Haayyy.. Binalik ko ung tingin ko dun sa lyrics sheet. I continued marking kung saan ako hihinga at kung saan ako mag-ppause para may stronger effect. Yes, alam ko, maarte ako eh. :D

"Ate Venice?"

Napatalon ako bigla. Ni hindi ko man lang narinig bumukas ung pinto! O_O Napatingin kagad ako sa entrance nung auditorium, just to make sure na hindi pa ko minumulto dito... Kaya lang, dahil sa nakita ko, parang winish ko bigla na sana multo na lang nakita ko. :P

Anak ng sugarcane! Si Sugar!

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Ako: Iha naman.. Wag ka naman ganyan. Mag-isa lang ako dito kanina pa.. Wag ka naman bigla-biglang nasulpot. Sugar: (natawa) Sorry... :p Ako: Mag-isa ka lang?

Tumingin ako sa likod nya, baka bumukas uhlet ung pinto ng auditorium at sumunod ang aso nyang stressed.. Baka lang naman~

Pero hinde.. Mukhang walang kabuntot itong babaeng toh. Feel nyang mag-solo flight. Lumakad sya papunta ng stage, palapit sa'kin..

Sugar: Mag-isa lang ako, Ate.. Di ko poh kasama si Kuya.

Smile naman ako innocently. Kahit na deep inside, natutuwa ako dahil hinde sila magkasama~ wahahahaha

Ako: Ay hinde ko sya hinahanap! :P Anyway, bakit ka nga pala nandito? You wanna practice your lines with me?

OFFICIAL COPY ayreezh

Hinablot ko ung script sa may paahan ko, sabay buklat from scene to scene.. Anong lines naman ang ppractice-in namin? o_O

Ako: I don't think we have a scene together though.. At least, nothing so complicated na kailangan ng matinding practice... Sugar: Ano.. Actually, I came here to talk to you. :-| Ako: Eh?

Napatingin ako sa kanya. Medyo na-confuse ako. May ginawa ba ko?? Wala pa naman akong ginagawa ah! o_O I mean, wala naman pala talaga akong balak gawin. Anoh vah~ Mabait ako noh~ :D Tinabi ko uhlet ung script and focused my attention on her.

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Ako: Okay... What's up?

She jumped on stage, tapos umupo sya sa tabi ko. For some reason, she looks awkward.. embarrassed? Nakabili ng hiya si ate?

Sugar: Kaseh, Ate.. I'm here about Kuya Gerard...

Ay! Tama lang na ma-awkward ka!

Dun pa lang sa isang line na un, ang dami nang banat ng maldita side ko. :D Pero syempre, ang exterior ko all calm and ready to listen. Kunwari oblivious. hahahaha Mahirap palagpasin ang tsismis! :D

Ako: What about Gerard? Sugar: Uhmm kaseh.. nagtataka sya kung bakit di mo na sya pinapansin..

Ay, hello? :P

OFFICIAL COPY ayreezh

Sugar: Kung bakit di mo raw sya binisita..

Parang ang tagal nya sa ospital ah.. Isang taon ba sya dun ha?!

Sugar: Tsaka kung bakit di ka na raw nya mahagilap..

Mukha ba kong walang life, at dapat eh nahahagilap lang every hour, every minute!? Sugar: Pero, ate! Wag mong isipin na pinadala nya ko dito para tanungin ka ha!

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Ay, hindi ba? Tsk! Sayang! :D

Sugar: It's just that.. Every time na magkasama kame, he's always worrying na baka galit ka raw sa kanya, or baka di mo na raw sya gusto..

Di ko na raw sya gusto?!?! Kailan ko ba sya na-"gusto"han?!?

Ako: Ay nako, Sugar! Wag mo nang alalahanin un noh! Sugar: Pero he's really worried.. Ako: Lilipas din un, wag kang mag-alala.. ok? Sugar:: ... Uhmm... okay... :-| I guess I'll go now then. I just wanted to let you know kung anong nararamdaman nya.

Akala ko ba hindi ka messenger? -___-

She suddenly took a deep breath, tapos biglang ngiti sa'kin.

Sugar: Alam mo, ate, may isa pa pala akong confession. :P Ako: Oh? Sugar: Buti na lang medyo madali na kitang nakakausap ngayon.. :P Nung una tayong nagkakilala, talagang natataranta ako tsaka na-aawkward pag magkaharap tayo eh. Ako: Eh?? Bakit naman?!?

OFFICIAL COPY ayreezh

Mukha ba kong kakagat ng tao?!

Sugar: Eh kasi, ate, sikat na sikat ka sa campus. Tapos ung mga sinasabi pa ng mga tao tungkol syo... Nakakaintimidate! Minsan tuloy, I don't know how to act around you... Kaya, ate, pasensya na kung medyo na-iisnob kita ha.. :)

I blinked twice in surprise. Na-intimidate si asukal sa'kin... O_O Kaya pala minsan, ang weirdo nya...... @[email protected] Ako: So, okay na ba ko syo ngayon? Tao na ba ang tingin mo sa'kin? Sugar: Ay, oo, ate! ;D Kaseh sa tuwing tinuturuan ako ni Kuya Gerard at nababanggit ka nya, parang nakikilala na rin kita. Ate, lam mo, patay na patay ung si kuya syo eh. ;)

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Ha... ha.. haa... =__=

Sugar: Anyway, ate, sige, balik ka na sa practice mo. Kailangan ko na umalis. Tawagan mo na si kuya ha.

She jumped off the stage and started walking towards the exit. Akala ko naman tapos na ang aming heart-to-heart... Ehto naman si asukal, lalabas na nga lang at lahat, may pahabol pa.

Sugar: Oo nga pala..

Her hand stopped on the doorknob and she turned to look at me again.

Sugar When he woke up at the hospital.. the first person he looked for was you.

Tapos nun, umalis na talaga sya... Parang dramatic exit vah~

Kala nya naman ma-aaffected chuva ako sa sinabi nyang un.. :P

OFFICIAL COPY ayreezh

Kung un ang akala nya, pwes!

Tama sya! bwahahahaha Ayyyyy kilig! bwahahaha XD

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Chapter 17: (Gerard’s POV) I stared at the red gate in front of me. Halos 15 minutes na kong nakatayo dito debating on whether I should knock or not knock.. or maybe knock.. or maybe not.. maybe knock?

I haven't really talked to Venice in a while... and ung pinag-usapan namen last time makes that "a while" more awkward than it has to be.. -___Maybe she's avoiding because of what I said or how I reacted...

Maybe I should just go home..

I turned around..

But then again.. Gano katagal pa kame mag-iiwasan?

I faced the gate again...

But I'm scareddddd... T_T

OFFICIAL COPY ayreezh

"Ikaw ba eh kakatok o ano?!?"

I froze. Is it too late to run after all?!?!

I slowly looked up and found myself face to face with Venice. She opened the gate and nakatitig sya sa'kin. Now that I see her here, I suddenly realized how much I really miss her. Maybe it's good that I came...

Ako: Kakatok, syempre! Anoh pang ipupunta ko dito?! Venice: Chuchu mo.. Kanina pa kita pinapanood dyan, mukha ka nang trumpo kakapa-ikot-ikot mo. Anoh? Papasok ka ba?

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Ako: Opo. -__-

Caught in the act pala ako.. :P Eh kung kanina pa pala sya nanonood, bakit ngayon lang sya lumbas?! Aish.. Pinahirapan pa ko. ~_~ Pinapasok nya ko sa loob. I followed silently hanggang sa living room nila.. Hindi pa rin matahimik ang utak ko dahil hindi ko pa rin alam kung pano wawasakin ung pader na tumayo after what happened that one night... T^T

Venice: Kumain ka na ba? Ako: Yea Venice: Mabuti naman dahil wala akong ipapakain syo. :P Ako: Bakit nagtanong ka pa? -__Venice: Avah, eh un ang common courtesy di ba? Ako: Eh pano kung sinabi kong hindi pa ko nakain? Venice: Eh di sasabihin kong sorry, walang pagkain dito.. :) Ako: Ang baiittt mo.. =__= Venice: Thank you. I know. :D

Anoh nga bang pinunta ko dito?

OFFICIAL COPY ayreezh

Yan, na-disorient na tuloy ako.. -___Ang gulo kaseh kausap!

Venice: It seems like you're okay. Ako: Ha? Venice: Mukhang ok ka na. You look a whole lot better than when you were in the hospital. Ako: You saw me? o_O

Tulog ba ko nung bumisita sya?? Bumisita sya?

Venice: Delusional ka na talaga nun noh? Eh kaming dalawa kaya ni Anton ang nagsugod syo sa ospital. Ako: Oh.. so you stayed long enough to see me out of the ER? Venice: Hmmm I stayed hanggang matapos lang mag-usap ung doctor tsaka si Ate Mars.

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Oh. So she's talking about that one night... That means hindi na talaga sya bumalik after that...

Venice: Tingin mo sa sarili mo? Special?!? Ako: Di ba, special naman talaga ako syo? :)

Napa-blink si Venice then her face turned red. :D I love it when she blushes. Ang cute! Akala mo kung sinong demure -- kahit hindi naman talaga! :D

Venice: PSH. Bakit ka ba nandito?! Pupunta-punta ka lang dito para humirit nang ganyan?!

Oh, lumalaban pa! Nag-blush na nga't lahat, may side comments pa. :D

Sumandal ako dun sa couch, then fixed my eyes on the ceiling. I can still feel her staring from where she's standing.

Ako: Hindi naman... I guess I just want to apologize. Venice: Apologize? Ako: Yea.. About what I said last time.. It was... stupid. I panicked. Venice: Panicked? Ako: Well yea... See.. I meant it when I said you shouldn't get too attached to me.

OFFICIAL COPY ayreezh

I would've told her the same thing over and over again. But, like I said, that'd be stupid. Sigh.. Maybe I just never expected the Great Venice, every man's fantasy, to actually be attracted to me. I thought life would be easier that way...

Ako: But... I guess I was just selfish. Venice: Selfish? Ako: I know you shouldn't, and I know I shouldn't get too close.. but in the end, I just found myself wanting-- needing to be near you.. to be with you. (chuckles) I know it's stupid. I just realized that I was saying one thing and doing another. Ako pa nga ang unang na-attach syo.

Napatingin ako sa kanya. She's looking at me with a blank expression. Poker face.

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Ako: Do you understand what I'm saying? Venice: Uh... Not really. Ako: Okay.

Sabi na nga ba.. Pag ganyan syang makatingin, siguradong nag-ppretend lang sya na may naiintindihan sya. I guess I have to try saying this in a different way...

Ako: Using the words you used back then... What I'm trying to say is..

I took a deep breath. Ehto na... Wala nang atrasan toh..

Ako: V, I want you with me

... ....

Venice: Is this a joke? -__-

OFFICIAL COPY ayreezh

J-Joke?!?!

Ako: I'm baring my soul right here, right now! Tapos iisipin mo pang joke?!? Venice: Abah malay ko ba kung na-apektuhan ng pagka-collapse mo yang brain cells mo! :P Ako: I'm okay now! Ipa-drug test, physical test, mental test mo pa ko!

Tinitigan ako ni Venice, like she's trying to read what I'm trying to do... Mukha ba kong unreliable?!??

Venice: Pano si Sugar? Ako: Sugar? Ano si Sugar? Venice: Anong "ano si Sugar"?! You know!

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Ako: There's nothing between us. Baliw ka ba? May crush na un na ka-batch nya noh! Venice: Weh?!?! Di nga?!? Sino!?? :D Ako: At bakit ko naman sasabihin syo? Ayoko namang malaman ng entire campus kung sinong crush nya noh! :P Venice: Salbahe... T~T Pero... kayang-kaya mong agawin un.. Jackpot ka pa. Ako: Didn't you hear what I just said earlier about you, me, you know?!?

She tore her gaze away from me. Nagsimula na syang mag-trace ng kung anu-anong shapes dun sa sahig gamit ung paa nya. A little habit I recognize she does when she feels uncertain or insecure. I know, it caught me off-guard too. Who would've thought na someone like her feels insecure sometimes? :P

Venice: But she's everything! She's talented. She's cute. She's sweet. She's rich. She's young. And me?

She stopped doodling on the floor and absentmindedly looked at her feet.

Venice: What do I have?

Sigh. -__I hate it when she does that. She may seem strong and confident to others, but sometimes, she has this tendency to put her self down. A perfectionist who never achieves perfection.. Anoh bang topak nya at tinatanong nya pa kung anong meron sya?

OFFICIAL COPY ayreezh

I stood up and walked over to her. I cupped her face in my hands and made her look straight into my eyes. Then in the gentlest voice I could muster, I told her:

Ako: V... You have my heart.

I saw a flicker of surprise in her eyes. Ngayon lang yata nag-sink in lahat ng sinabi ko. Iba talaga ang kabagalan ng processing center ng utak nya. :P

She blushed again. Pero kahit na namumula na sya and umiinit ung mukha nya, she still held my gaze. I feel like she's looking straight into my soul with the way her eyes are boring right through mine. It's pretty intense. I couldn't take my eyes off her. It feels like something is

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forming between us, and I'm afraid if I look away, it'll all be just a dream.

It's this moment right here that I knew for sure, I need to be with her.

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Chapter 18: (Gerard’s POV)

"You have to go back."

Napaikot ung tingin ko from my school project, papunta kay Marian na nakatayo sa likod ko. I didn't even hear her come in.

Ako: Huh? Marian: Bumalik ka na sa States. Ako: Why? Marian: You know it's for the best. Lalo na after what happened the other day...

Binalik ko ung atensyon ko dun sa project ko. Marian has been all up my case since that incident.

Ako: I'm fine. Don't worry about me. Marian: Pero insan.. isipin mo na lang, pano si Venice? Ako: Anoh si Venice?

OFFICIAL COPY ayreezh

Napatingin ulit ako sa kanya nung narinig ko ung pangalan ni Venice. Tumingin lang din naman sya sa'kin. Parang naman psychic ako na mababasa ko ung isip nya.. o kung ano mang mental message ung pinapadala nya. :P

It's been about three days since I told V how much she means to me. And since then, we're together more often than usual. We talk in a different kind of tone -napansin siguro ng iba, kaseh lagi na nilang sinasabi na iba raw ang aura namen pag magkasama. :P taste the rainbow. :D

Pero hindi kami.

"Anong pinag-uusapan nyo dyan~?" :D

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Pareho kaming napalingon ni Marian kay Anthony, na rumarampa papunta sa ref, fresh from the shower. Minsan talaga, hindi ko alam kung sumali na ba sa federasyon tohong pinsan ko o talagang may mga topak lang sya na bigla-bigla syang nagiging "feminine". =__=

Marian: Wala.. at ahyusin mo nga yang lakad mo!

Strict pala si ate eh.. :D

Anthony: Toh naman, nanunukso lang ako eh.. masyado kaseh kayong gloomy dito. Ako: Ahsus, palusot.. :P Anthony: Hoy! Akala mo dyan! Full-grown man ako noh! From the inside and the outside, lalake ako!

Natawa na lang ako, anoh pa bang sasabihin ko? Eh baka umiyak bigla yan.. :D Bumalik na ko dun sa paggawa ko ng school project ko, since I'm sure hindi na ko kukulitin ni Marian dahil nandito si Anton. Umupo si Anton sa tabi ko, at kahit na hindi ko sya tinitignan, nararamdaman kong nakatitig. Syempre, ako naman, kinilabutan na, na-weirduhan pa.. ~__~

OFFICIAL COPY ayreezh

Ako: May gusto ka bang sabihin o may gusto ka na sa'kin? Anthony: Hala, kilabutan ka nga dyan sa sinasabi mo. O_O

Ako.. ako pa raw dapat kilabutan. -__-

Nung hindi pa rin sya gumalawa, I let out a huge sigh at tinigil na ung ginagawa ko. Pano ba naman ako makakapag-concentrate nang may kung anong laser beams na nakatutok sa'kin?!? Humarap ako kay Anthony.

Ako: Bakit ba? Anthony: (smiles) Friday na bukas. :) Ako: Oh ngayon? Anthony: Tapos nun Sabado na. Ako: I think I still know how to tell the days of the week. :|

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Anthony: Anak ng tokwa! Kinalimutan mo?!?! Ako: Ahlin ba??!? Anthony: Sweetest Day! Sweet-est Day! Third Saturday na ng October sa Sabado! Ako: People don't really celebrate that here. Di ba? o_O

Natulala sa'kin si Anthony. Lumabas na yata ung kaluluwa nya sa katawan nya. :P Anoh naman ba talaga ngayon kung Sweetest Day na? As if naman national holiday un.:D

Marian: Ay ang gulo nyong dalawa! (tumingin sa'kin) Ang sinasabi ni Anton, since MU na kayo ni Venice to the highest level, eh di ba dapat mag-plano-plano ka na. Ako: Bakit naman? Anthony: Parang naman di mo alam.. Dinudumog kaya ng kung anu-anong papel, bulaklak, at tsokolate si Venice the day before Sweetest Day. Ako: Kaseh gusto nilang ilabas si V, eh di ang excuse na lang nila ung Sweetest Day. Anoh naman ngayon? eh ang alam na nga ng marami kami na -- NOT that I'm saying na kami na nga.

Tumingin naman si Marian kay Anthony para ipaliwanag ung side ko.

Marian: Ang sinasabi naman ni GD, since ang alam ng marami may boyprend na si Venice, hindi na sila manggugulo.

OFFICIAL COPY ayreezh

Tinignan lang uhlet ako ni Anthony, tapos tumayo na sya. Nilagay nya ung baso ng tubig nya sa sink, tapos sinabing matutulog na sya. Ganun na lang un. Iniwanan na yata talaga ng kaluluwa nya. :P Tumingin ako kay Marian, hoping na matulog na rin sya para naman matapos ko na ung project ko nang walang istorbo.

Marian: Oo na, oo na. Matutulog na rin ako. Pero GD.. Think about what I said. Ako: Ahlin? Ung magplano na para sa Sweetest Day? Marian: Hinde! ... -___- Pero isa na rin un. :D I mean, pag-isipan mo kung anong mas makakabuti syo. I really think you should go back. Ako: Hayyyy nako.. Don't worry about it.

Tinitigan lang ako ni Marian sandali, tapos pumunta na rin sya sa kwarto nya. Sa wakas! :D

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Sweetest Day...

Hmmm..

What should I be worried about? Eh sigurado naman kahit gano pa kalaking bundok ng "Venice, please go out with for Sweetest Day!" ang umulan kay V, hindi nya naman papansinin ung mga un.

I suddenly grabbed my phone from the other side of the table para magtext. Better safe than sorry. "Hoy, V!! Ako kasama mo sa Sweetest Day ok?!?!

OFFICIAL COPY ayreezh

Wala ng iba!"

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Chapter 19: (Venice’s POV) I made it! I made it! I. MADE. IT!

Tumigil ako sa harap nung school gate to catch my breath. Ganito na lang ka-kontiiiiiiiiii late na talaga ako as in! T_T Buti na lang umabot pa..

Kaseh naman si Gerard. -___- Hintay ako ng hintay, avah nung tinawagan ko, kakagising nya lang daw! @[email protected] Kaya sinabi nya, mauna na raw ako since he's gonna be late -- unless gusto ko raw ma-late kasama nya -- naloloko ba sya?!? Alam nya ba kung gano ka-bruha ang professor ko sa first class ko!??! Pinupuruhan na nga ako nun dahil maganda ako -- este, dahil lagi akong late! Napatingin ako sa relo ko. Ahh!! I better run! Mag-sstart na ung klase in a few minutes!!

"VENICE?!?!??!"

Napaikot akong bigla. Nakita ko sina Sheena at si Kenny na palapit sa'kin -- with bewildered expressions on their faces. o_O

OFFICIAL COPY ayreezh

Ako: Ma-llate na ko sa klase ko. kaya unless juicy couture na tsismis yan, no time ako tumigil. Save it for later na lang! Kenny: Ay ang taray ng lola! Sure na sure na kame na mag-dditch ka today! :D Ako: Bakit naman? o_O

Nagmamadali na kong naglalakad papunta sa building ko. Trip naman nung dalawa na sumabay sa power walk ko, kaya oh sige. Sumunod lang kayo. ;D

Sheena: May exam ka sa isa sa mga klase mo. Ahyun un noh? Ako: Wala naman. Bakit ba?!? Anoh bang meron?! Kenny: Hindi ba today is the official day of absence mo?

Napatigil akong bigla. Could it be?!? Napatingin akong bigla dun sa dalawa.

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Ako: Anong date ngayon? O_O Kenny: (smiles) October 17, my dear. :)

Nginitian ako nung dalawa nang na-realize nila ang nangyayari. I completely forgot kung anong date today.

Sheena: Happy Sweetest Day! :D

I knew it. I immediately turned around and started marching pabalik sa pinanggalingan ko. May oras pa para lumayas. Sumunod uhlet sa'kin ung dalawa. Kenny: Saan ka pupunta? Ako: Uuwi na!

Bigla-bigla, hinablot nung dalawa ung magkabilang braso ko. @[email protected] Ang mga loka, feel na feel ang pagpigil sa'kin!

OFFICIAL COPY ayreezh

Sheena: Nandito ka na rin naman, hayaan mo na! Kenny: Oo nga! Isipin mo na lang ang makakain nating desserts.. Ang mga lab letters na pagtatawanan.. Ang mga bulaklak na ibebenta.. :D Ako: Kailan ako nagbenta ng bulaklak!?!?

Hinila ko ung sarili ko para makawala dun sa dalawa -- pero anoh ba naman ang ganda ko sa lakas ng isang amazona at isang lalakeng mamon? T_T

Ako: Bitiwan nyo ko! Uuwi na koooo!!!

"Venice..."

Napatigil kaming tatlo sa tug-of-war ng arms ko, and sabay-sabay umikot.. May nakatayong kung sinong lalake dun sa likod namen, holding a bouquet of pink roses..

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Heto na... Nagsimula na... O_O

Biglang umusog ung dalawa sa tabi ko. Maaliw sana ako dahil in sync na in sync pa ung paggalaw nila. :P

Kenny: (bulong) Everybody stay calm. Venice, kunin mo ung flowers, at mukhang malaki naten mabebenta yan. Ako: (bulong pabalik) Nababaliw ka ba?!?? Ayoko nga! Sheena: (bulong din) Sige na.. Kunin mo na. Mukhang may nakasabit pang love letter oh. :D

"Venice?"

Napatayo kaming tatlo bigla nang diretso. Nandun pa nga rin pala si Kuya Roses. Anak ng tipaklong. Ito ang ayaw ko sa Sweetest Day eh!

Nawa'y mahulog si Mr. Principal mula sa upuan nya dahil sa pagpapauso nya nitong Sweetest Day na toh sa school. Bubwit talaga! Nakapagbakasyon lang sandali sa Amerika, pagbalik, sa dinami-dami ng pasalubong na pwedeng iuwi, ung celebration pa ng Sweetest Day! >:(

Ahyan tuloy, dinudumog ako ng mga unwanted na pagmamahal galing sa mga pangit, cheap, nakakalusaw na mga lalaking hindi ko naman kilala! Okay sana kung gwapo sila eh! Pero hinde! HINDE!!! Masakit talaga minsan isipin na lahat ng gwapo either taken na or -- katulad ni Kenny -- kashare mo sa preferences. -__-

OFFICIAL COPY ayreezh

Tinignan ko uhlet ung kuya sa harap ko. Akala nya ba nakakaaliw tignan na bukas halos lahat ng butones ng polo nya!? Ok sana kung may muscles syang ma-eexpose eh.. Ay nako, bastah! Ang disheveled tignan ni kuya!

Nung napansin nung dalawang katabi kong nanigas na ko dun sa pwesto ko, they took the initiative na talaga. Halos madapa-dapa ako nung tinulak ako ni Kenny paharap. @[email protected] I knew there was a reason I declared the Friday before before Sweetest Day my official day off. -__I flashed an awkward smile dun sa guy.

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Ako: Y-Yes?

Tinitigan akong mabuti ni Kuya Roses. May balak pa yata akong tunawin! Feel na feel ang pagtitig sa'kin! O___O

Kuya Roses: Here..

Bigla nyang hinarap sa mukha ko ung bitbit nyang roses.

Kuya Roses: I got this for you. May letter din dyan. and tomorrow--

"She's not free tomorrow."

Bago pa man ako makaikot para tignan kung sino ung bagong boses, may naramdaman na kong biglang umakbay sa'kin. Medyo nagulat ako, pero hindi ko na sinilip kung sino. I know who it is. I know that voice.

OFFICIAL COPY ayreezh

Rejoice Rejoice~ Gerard to the rescue! :D

Napatingin si Kuya Roses kay Gerard, tapos sa'kin. He looked startled at first, tapos siguro nagsink in sa brain nya na hinayaan kong akbayan ako ni G. He turned red!! Ever! :D

Kuya Roses: Oh... So you two--Gerard: Yea. So go away and take your roses. She's not going out with you tomorrow or anytime soon.

Naramdaman kong humigpit ung akbay ni Gerard. Hinila nya pa ko nang mas palapit sa kanya. Gerard: She's mine.

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Chapter 20: (Gerard’s POV) The whole day has been crazy – and I mean CRAZY.

A handful of guys had tried to give Venice flowers, chocolates, and letters all throughout the day. "Handful" pa lang nung magkasama kame.. Eh anoh pa kaya ung mga times like nung nasa klase sya or nasa break sya without me? Parang every time I see her, nadadagdagan ung mga bitbit na chocolate at bulaklak nina Kenny at Sheena. -__-

Maaannnnn....

Sa wakas, natapos rin ang araw. Pumunta na kami ni Venice sa auditorium for practice. Kahit papano, natahimik ang mundo ko dahil walang umaaligid-aligid. -__It was a few hours of singing, dancing, and reading off the script. Once in a while, may kung anong shadow na sumisilip sa loob, pero once nakita nilang busy si Venice, umaalis rin kagad sila. Or maybe it's because I look at them with the intent to murder. :P

After the rehearsal, umalis kagad si Sugar -- may date pa raw. Umasenso na. :D Tapos ung ibang extra, lighting, at music peopl, nag-uwian na rin. Kaya ang naiwan na lang, ako, si Venice, si Marian, at ang nakikinood na si Anthony. Inaayos ko ung backpack ko sa isang sulok nang lumapit sa'kin si Marian.

OFFICIAL COPY ayreezh

Marian: GD..Sumama ka sa'kin. We're going to the hospital. Ako: What?!

Napaikot ang tingin ko to see kung may nakarinig ba sa sinabi nya. Busy sina Anton at Venice sa kulitan nila dun sa stage. Mukhang dinedeadma nila kame.

Ako: Bakit? Marian: I scheduled an appointment with a doctor for you. You have to go. Gusto mo bang patayin ako ng nanay mo? Baka nakakalimutan mo kung bakit ka nakakatagal dito. I promised - promised -- your parents I'll take care of you!

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Hala, determined! :P

Ako: Fine fine. Kailan? Marian: Uh, now na. :D Ako: What?!? Already?!? Marian: Avah, syempre, hectic ang schedule ko noh!

Tumingin uhlet ako sa stage. Tumitingin-tingin na sa'min si Venice.

Ako: Alright... -___-

Sinabit ko ung backpack ko sa shoulders ko, then stood up. Lumapit ako dun kina Anthony tsaka kay Venice.

Ako: V.. Venice: Uwi na tayo? Ako: Sorry. Kaya lang may kailangan kaming puntahan ni Marian. Baka matagalan kami.. So I can't take you home.

OFFICIAL COPY ayreezh

Hinila ko bigla si Anthony.

Ako: This guy, however, can take you home. :) Anthony: Hala! Di ako sasama snyo?!?! Pamilya nyo rin ako ah! OoO Marian: Wag ka na nga. Di ka naman kasali sa schedule. ^o^ Anthony: Ate naman eh... T^T

Bumalik ung attention ko kay Venice, na biglang ko napansin eh tinititigan na pala ako. Parang may kung anong hinahanap. Ganun ba kahalata na may tinatago ako sa kanya?

Ako: What? Venice: Nothing. :| Okay. I'll let Anthony take me home. :D Anthony: (biglang tingin sa kanya) EHHHH?!?!?! O.O Ako: Good. I'll call you when we're done, okay?

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Venice: Okay. :)

Binitawan ko na si Anthony, na parang pinagsakluban ng langit at lupa. :P Exagge talaga minsan. I turned around para sumunod kay Marian na naglalakad na paalis.

"Ay, G?"

I turned back again to look at Venice. She jumped off the stage and ran over to my side.

Ako: Oh?

She suddenly held out her hand.

Venice: Wala ka bang ibibigay sa'kin? :) Ako: Like? o_O Venice: Roses? Chocolates? Letter? Cash?? Ako: Bakit? Valentines ba? And I'm already taking you out tomorrow, remember? Venice: You are? Ako: Di ba tinext kita kagabi? Venice: Really? O_O Ako: Are you serious? o_O

OFFICIAL COPY ayreezh

Did she really not see the text I sent her last night?! Pano na lang pala kung may tinanggap syang kung anong invitation from someone else to "hang-out" tomorrow?!?

Venice: Di nga? Sure kang ako un? o_O Ako: Yea! Venice: Hmmmm baka natutulog na ko... Ako: I texted you. You should have seen it in the morning! Venice: Hinde noh. Minsan, babasahin ko ung text, tapos buburahin ko, tapos tulog uhlet ako. Automatic un. Pero syempre, dahil naalimpungatan lang ako, hinde mag-rregister sa brain ko ung binasa ko. :D Ako: You're still going out with me right? O__O Venice: Is that an invitation? :)

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I pinched her nose and then smiled at her. I guess she's still available tomorrow. :)

Ako: I'm taking you out tomorrow, so don't make any plans, ok? ;) Venice: (pouts) So walang flowers? chocolates? Ako: Wala. Venice: Kuripot. -__Ako: Shut up. +_+

Tumawa lang sya then she went back to Anthony's side to grab her things. Nag-bye na uhlet kami ni Marian, then we left.

Doctor nanaman.. haayyy..

OFFICIAL COPY ayreezh

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Chapter 21: (Gerard’s POV)

It's been an hour since we got to the hospital. They just told us the results from the tests they took last time I fainted.

As if naman kailangan ko pang makinig, eh alam ko na yang mga yan. :P This is such a waste of time. Finally, nung na-explain na lahat. Ready na si doc for the conclusion.

Doctor: If you ask my opinion, Mr. Sheen, you should go back to the States and discuss these things with your doctor. Maybe they'll find some other things na hindi namen magawan ng paraan because of lack of equipments and information. Ako: No it's alright. I haven't seen a doctor for three years, and I'm still fine. Marian: But you've been feeling chest pains more often, GD! You know you're not "fine".

Bull's eye.. -__-

Ako: It's nothing serious. Marian: It was serious enough last time na kailangan ka pang dalhin sa ospital! Ako: Still! Doctor: You're having episodes of angina pectoris more frequently, Mr. Sheen. I really think you should consult the doctor who's been taking care of you since you were young. He has all your records; he knows what you can do to prevent any tragedy.

OFFICIAL COPY ayreezh

Napatingin akong bigla. Ehto na nga ba? Sasabihin nya na nga ba?

Doctor: Otherwise, Mr. Sheen, you won't survive until next year. You're dying..........

Ha.. So this is really it.

All my life I know someday I'll hear those words. Sabi ko, ready na ko by the time na marinig ko nga..

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Pero ngayong nandito na..

Kahit nung nagsimula nang umiyak si Marian sa tabi ko, kahit may kung anu-ano pang sinasabi ung doctor, parang biglang nag-blank ung utak ko.

Is this how it feels when you know you're really gonna die?

But.. si Venice.. pano si Venice?

Tumayo ako bigla and then looked at the doctor who stopped talking as soon as I stood up.

Ako: I'm not going back to the States. Thank you for your time.

Tapos nun, nag-walk out na ko nung office. Kakalabas ko pa lang, nang bigla kong narinig na tinawag ako ni Marian. She's running after me.

Marian: GD!! Mag-isip ka nga! You can't be stubborn at a time like this! GD, you're terminal! You're dying!

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"Dying?"

Napatigil kaming bigla ni Marian. Pareho kaming napatingin sa likod nya. There behind Marian, watching us with the most shocked expression sa mukha nya, is Anthony. So.. We can't hide this fact from him anymore.

Ako: Yes, Anthony.. I'm dying.

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Chapter 22: (Gerard’s POV) The three of us went home afterward. Just us three. Hindi kasama ni Anthony si Venice when he followed us to the hospital. All throughout the trip back home, tensed talaga ang atmosphere. Kaya siguro ayaw masyado lumapit nung mga katabi namen sa FX. :P

Si Marian, sobrang pula na ung mata kakapigil umiyak. Si Anthony, mukhang confused pa rin. Ayaw nga akong tignan.

Pag-uwi namen, I sat the two of them down sa couch. Aba! I can't go on living with people na hindi makatingin sa'kin without looking like it's the end of the world.

Ako: Will the two of you just snap out of it? Anthony: Snap out of it? Pano naman kame mag-s"snap out of it" eh kakaalam ko lang na may kung anong sakit ka pala! Marian: I told you to go back sa States. Magpatingin ka man lang uhlet. :| Anthony: Kitam!?!? Ako lang pala ang di nakakaalam!

He's freaking out. -__-

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Ako: Insan, relax ka lang. Anthony: Relax?!? Relax?!?! Nababaliw ka na ba?!??! Pano ako mag-rerelax!??!

Tinignan ko sya, then tumalikod ako para pumunta sa kusina. Kumuha ako ng dalawang basong tubig, tapos binigay ko dun sa dalawa na still todo depression mode.

Sigh.. They just don't understand...

Umupo ako dun sa other couch facing them. I should try to make them understand. Maybe they won't feel so bad.. maybe they won't keep on nagging me to go back to the States..

Ako: It's called Ischaemic Heart Disease.

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Napatingin sa'kin sina Anthony. Wala naman silang sinabi, kaya I went on.

Ako: I've had it since I was young. My parents both have histories of heart diseases. My paternal side has a history of diabetes. Nag-aaccumulate siguro lahat kaya ako ang tinamaan. Noon pa man, sinabi na ng doctor na time may come na hindi na makayanan ng puso ko. It might give up. The best thing I can do to prolong my life is live an unbelievably healthy lifestyle.

Dito na nagsimula mag-iiyak si Marian. I feel bad.. kaseh ang alam nya lang naman talaga eh may heart condition ako, kailangan ng constant care. Hindi na sinabi ng parents ko how severe it was. Ayoko naman kaseh ng sobrang alaga.

Ako: What I'm trying to say is.. Noon pa, tanggap ko na talagang di ako tatagal sa mundong toh. I knew I'm gonna--

I tried looking for a less harsher word than "die"..

Ako: --expire sooner than most people of the same age. I accepted that fact long time ago. Marian: *sniff* That's not fair. How can you just accept something like that?!? Ako: Of course it wasn't easy. Kaya lang, I've known this fact since I was, what, 10? This is what's meant to happen. Anthony: Si Venice...

OFFICIAL COPY ayreezh

Tumingin ako sa kanya. He looks worse than he did before. Pero at least hindi na sya frustrated or freaking out.

Anthony: She suspected something was going on. Kaya imbis na magpahatid sya, she urged me to follow you. Himala nga na nakasunod ako undetected. *sigh* But then again, kung sa ganong klaseng doctor's appointment nga naman kayo pupunta, bakit naman kayo mag-aalala pa kung may sumusunod snyo. Haaayyyy talaga.. (biglang tumingin sa'kin) What do you want me to tell Venice now!? Ako: NO! Don't tell her anything!

Napatitig sa'kin ung dalawa. I guess, masyadong napa-desperate ung boses ko. :P But I really don't want Venice to know..

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Marian: GD! O_O Ako: What?!? Marian: Anoh ka ba!?? Venice has the right to know! Ako: Why? Anthony: Anong "why"? Eh di ba nga.. I mean, siguro, hindi officially "kayo", pero you're about one step away from that stage. Tuloy ang titig nila sa'kin. Talagang gusto nilang sabihin ko kay Venice..

...at talagang ayokong gawin un...

Ako: I don't want to tell her. Marian: Bakit? Ako: Because.. We're okay.. We're great.. (tumingin ako sa kanila) So please, don't tell her anything. Ayokong may magbago. Even for the last few months I'll be here, ayokong may magbago..

Nagtinginan si Marian tsaka si Anthony. They probably realized how serious I am about this. Tumayo na si Marian and nagkulong sa kwarto nya. Naiwan kami ni Anthony.

Ako: Anton.. Anthony: It's not our right to tell her. I'll figure something out when she asks me where you went.. Tapos nun, umalis na rin sya. Naiwan na lang akong mag-isa dun sa living room.

OFFICIAL COPY ayreezh

Napasandal ako in relief. At least I don't have to worry about V finding out.

Terminal huh...

I wonder how long I have left..

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Chapter 23: (Venice’s POV) "Oh ako si Booba, simpleng dalaga Pag umiibig, masustansya~"

Wag nyo nang itanong kung bakit yan ang kinakanta ko.. Hindi ko rin alam.. :D Ni di ko nga alam kung tama ung lyrics ko.. :P

Anyway, maganda ang gising ko. Nagsasasayaw pa nga ako paikot-ikot ng living room. :P Kahit na windang ako kagabi dahil nga sa sudden walk-out ni Gerard, sige ok lang. Pina-stalk ko naman sya kay Anthony. :D tapos tinext ako ni Anton kagabi, sabi nya ok naman daw ang lahat. And today na nga lang daw sya mag-eelaborate ng details dahil inaantok na raw sya...

At isa pang magandang dahilan para sa isang magandang gising.. Alam ko lahat ng estudyante sa buong mundo makaka-relate: Last day of classes na today bago ang well-deserved na break. :D

I know na hindi masyadong considered na "break" ung Araw ng mga Patay, pero, sige na, counted na rin yan pag sobrang toxic na ang buhay mo dahil sa schoolwork. :)

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"V?!? V?!? Veeeeeeeeeeee??!? V-V-V-V-V-V-V-V?!?!?"

Anak ng tokwa!

Napatingin kagad ako sa bintana. Halos mahulog-hulog ang puso ko nang nakita ko kung sinong nakasilip: si Gerard. -___-

Ako: Anong ginagawa mo dyan!??! Gerard: (smiles) Narinig kitang kumakanta kaya nahiya akong mag-doorbell. ;D

OoO

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Hala! Hala! HALA!!! Narinig akong kumakanta?!?! Gano ba kalakas ang boses ko!?!? I mean, marami namang space sa loob ng bahay, hindi ba dapat nag-disperse na ung sound at hindi na sya marinig sa labas??!?! O__O

Ako: A-Ako!? Kumakanta?! Anoh ka??! Baka kapitbahay un noh.. Sus... Gerard: Nahiya ka pa...... Booba. :D Ako: Shut up. >:(

Tumawa lang si Gerard, tapos lumakad na sya papunta dun sa harap. Ako naman, bago ko sya pagbuksan ng pinto, sumilip muna sa salamin.. kahit na na-ffeel ko nang namumula naman talaga ako.

Sa dinami-dami nga naman kaseh talaga ng kanta noh.. -__-

After I calmed down a bit, binuksan ko na ung pinto and lumabas na. All the while, sinisipol pa talaga ni Gerard ung Booba. Nang-aasar ba sya?!? Malapit na kami sa jeep terminal nang mapatingin ako kay G.. as in ung tingin talaga. Dun ko lang napansin na medyo may iba sa mukha nya..

Ako: Puyat ka? o_O Gerard: Di naman masyado. Bakit? Ako: La lang.. You look pale.. and tired..

OFFICIAL COPY ayreezh

He suddenly turned away from me. o_O Gerard: Hmmm siguro nga medyo kulang ako sa tulog..

Marami nanaman sigurong tinapos na projects.. Procrastinator kaseh naman.. :P

Nakasakay na kami sa jeep, as usual tahimik, nagmumuni-muni.... nang biglang naalala ng brain ko ang matagal ko nang pinapaalalang itatanong ko kay G. Mahirap talaga minsan ang makakalimutin eh.. Di mo alam kung kelan mo maaalala ang isang bagay na pilit mong tinatatak sa utak mo.:P

Ako: G.. Anong balak mo sa November 1?

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Gerard: Ako? Hmmm.. Wala naman.. Bakit? Ako: Gusto mong makipag-date sa'kin? ^_^ Gerard: DATE?!!??! OoO

Wahahahaha the facial expression ever!!! bwahahahhaa ;D Mukhang gulat na takot na gulat! ;D Bastah, un na un!

Syempre, dahil enjoy naman ako, sige tuloy lang~ :D

Ako: Oo naman.. Pupunta ako sa Laguna.. Baka gusto mong sumama, two days din yun.. Ayaw mo nun, may quality T-I-M-E tayo? ^-^

Nagsimula nang mamula si Gerard. :D Buti na lang siguro at hindi masyadong puno ung jeep.. Dahil if ever, baka sabihin nila kung anu-anong sinasabi ko na mag-ccause ng ganun ka-todo na blush from G.:D

Gerard: Sa Laguna? Ako: Oo.. May bahay dun ung uncle ko. May swimming pool pa nga sila na never goes cold. Tapos may pupuntahan tayong isang napaka-special na lugar.. Gerard: *gulp* Special? Ako: Yea.. Marami tayong magagawa dun.. Maglalatag tayo ng banig.. Magpapakapagod tayo.. Pagpapawisan..

OFFICIAL COPY ayreezh

Biglang napa-diretso ng upo si Gerard. ;D Konti pang pula sa mukha nya, at mag-eexplode na siguro sya. :D

Ako: Mamimitas ng bulaklak.. Magtatanggal ng damo.. Mag-sisindi ng kandila.. Gerard: -___- ... Anoh? o_O

Wala na, dun na ko bumigay. ;D Wa care na ko kung pagtinginan man ako ng mga people.. Bastah ako, tumawa na nang tumawa.. :D Epic ang facial expressions ni kuya! ;D From embarrassment to pensive to pure confusion -- all in a span of 5 seconds.

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Ako: Ikaw! Kung anu-anong iniisip mo! XD

Lalo pa syang namula.. I don't think I've ever seen a face na ganun ka-red. :D Busted!

Gerard: Hindi ah! =__= Kung anu-ano kaseng sinasabi mo! If I know, sa sementeryo mo lang pala ako dadalhin! Ako: Oo nga! Sa family cemetery nga namen sa Laguna. ;D Pero totoo ung staying over sa bahay ni uncle ha.. Gerard: Hala ayoko na.. Niloloko mo na ko eh.. Ako: Hindi na, hindi na nga eh.. Sama ka na~ :D Para naman may katulong akong magtanggal ng damo noh! Gerard: Nasan mga pinsan mo? Ako: Hay nako, nagpakalat-kalat na around the world. Ung iba, exactong Nov 1 pa dadating. Gerard: Oh, eh Nov. 1 ka rin naman dadating.. o_O Ako: Anoh ba? Hinde noh. Aalis na nga tayo mamaya after school, tapos bukas, Oct. 31 maglilinis na tayo. Tapos Nov 1, magsisindi na tayo ng kandila. By night ng Nov. 1, pwede na tayo umuwi. :) Gerard: Tayo? Tayo? Tayo??

Bumaba na kami ng jeep. Hinabol ko pa si Gerard, kaseh nagmamadali syang maglakad. Naover yata sa pagkahiya.. Tinatakasan akong bigla.:D

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Ako: SIGEEEE NAAAAAAA~ Sama ka naaaaa~ Pano mo ba naman ako matitiis?

Tumingin sya sa'kin, and Iimmediately flashed the sweetest, most innocent smile I could muster -- complete with the batting of the eyelashes pa.:D

Gerard: *sigh* Fine.. -__-

I knew it! Success! :D

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Nakarating na kami sa gate nung school. And for the fifth time since pumayag sya, I heard him let out another sigh. -__Hindi na ko nakatagal kaya umikot na ko and hinarap sya.

Ako: Anoh ba? Ganun na lang ba ang level ng pagka-ayaw mong sumama? Gerard: Hindi naman un.. Ako: Eh anoh?

Tumahimik sya sandali, tapos nag-sigh uhlet. I swear, isa pang buntung hininga nya, isasalpak ko na ung sapatos ko sa bunganga nya para di na sya makapag-sigh-sigh effect dyan. +__+

Gerard: Eh kasi naman.. First date naten... Sa sementeryo pa! T_T Ang sagwa.. ?__? =__= @[email protected] XD

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Ay suz naman! Talagang inisip na date nga! ;D

Tinawanan ko lang uhlet sya. I can't even bring myself to comfort him or something. Kaseh naman, sineryoso talaga! XD

Oh well. I'm sure naman na magkakaron din kami ng real first date. ..ung hindi sa sementeryo.. :D

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Chapter 24: (Venice’s POV) Anak sya ng nanay nya. -__- Kanina pa ko nagpaikot-ikot dito sa campus, hanggang ngayon di ko pa rin mahagilap! May lahi yatang ninja!

Since this morning na iniwan na ko ni Gerard para pumunta sa sarili nyang klase, ilang beses ko nang sinubukan hagilapin si Anthony. Kahit nasa loob ako ng klase, todo pa rin ako sa pagttext sa kanya kung nasaan ba sya. Kaya lang.. natapos na ang buong araw ko sa school at lahat, ang mokong, hindi ko pa rin makita! Tinataguan yata ako. >:(

Nilabas ko ung cellphone ko for about the 442nd time that day at tinawagan si Gerard. Sure ako na kakalabas lang nun from his last class. May mental alarm clock ako. :D

"Hello?"

Ako: G!!! Gerard: Ouch!! wag mo namang sigawan ung cellphone.. -__-

OFFICIAL COPY ayreezh

Ay.. :P

Ako: Sorry.. nasanay ako na walang sumasagot sa mga tawag ko buong araw, kaya na-over excite ako nung sumagot ka. :) Gerard: Yea yea.. Bakit ka napatawag? Ako: Hmm pa-uwi ka na? Gerard: Oo. mag-iimpake pa ko para dyan sa halloween trip mo. -__-

hihihi.. Halloween Trip daw.. :D

Ako: Ehto naman.. Buti nga niyaya pa kita eh.. Ang annual tradition, ako at si Sheena lang ang pumupunta sa Laguna tuwing--

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Gerard: Whoa! O__O Sheena? Ako: Yea.. Si Sheena.. You know.. ung singkit na hyper na babaeng lagi kong kasama. Gerard: I know who she is. Kasama sya? Ako: Oo.. Every year nga kame pumupunta. Ahyun nga lang, this year, sabit ka. :) Gerard: Oh.

Disappointed much? o_O

Teka.. Ay Ay Ay! :D

Ako: Ikaw ha.. Gusto mo kong ma-solo noh! :D Gerard: Anoh!??! Hinde noh! San mo naman napulot yan!? Nababaliw ka ba!? Ma-solo, anoh ka?!

Si kuya naman, defensive masyado. Joke joke lang eh.. ;D

Tutuloy ko pa sana ung panunukso ko nang bigla akong may nahagilap from my peripheral vision... *_* Tingnan mo nga naman ang trip ni fate oh.. :P

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Ako: Sige G.. Umuwi ka na. Pauwi na rin ako in a bit. Punta na lang ako snyo mamaya ok? Bye!

Binabaan ko ng telepono si Gerard. Di ko na hinintay sumagot. Tapos diretso takbo papunta dun sa gate. Kung kailan di ko hinahanap, tsaka lilitaw. Kabute talaga.. +_+

Ako: Anthony! Anthony! AN-THO-NII!!!!!

Umikot si Anton para tingnan kung sinong tumatawag sa kanya. Nung nakita nyang ako, I swear, kahit na medyo malayo-layo pa ko, nakita kong nanlaki ung mga mata nya. o_O Tapos, bigla ba namang tumakbo palayo!?!

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Eh di syempre, hinabol ko naman sya!

Langya.. Patakbuhin ba ang beauty ko!?!?

Naghabulan talaga kame hanggang makaabot dun sa may sakayan ng jeep. Parang kaming timang naghahabulan. Naturingan pa namang college students.. =__= Ang bilis pa naman tumakbo nitong mokong na toh. Iba na talaga pag nabiyayaan ng long legs. -__Naabutan ko lang sya nang sumakay sya ng jeep. At kahit masikip na raw sa loob, wa care ako, pinagsiksikan ko pa rin ung sarili ko sa loob. :D Nginitian ako ung manong na katabi ni Anton. Nakahalata yata si manong, lumipat sya dun sa kabilang side para makaupo ako sa gusto kong upuan. I'm so pretty.. ;D Kahit na hingal na hingal ako kakatakbo. =__= Umupo ako sa tabi ni Anthony. And first things first.. BINATUKAN KO SYA.

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Anthony: Aray naman! Ako: Bubwit ka! Bakit ka tumakbo?!? Anthony: Eh hinahabol mo ko eh... T^T Ako: Eh tumakbo ka eh! Anthony: Kaseh nga hinahabol mo ko!

Tinignan ko sya... Tinitigan to the highest power.. Na-prito ba ung brain nito habang nasa Accounting class sya at parang namatay yata lahat ng brain cells nya? -__-

Anthony: Bakit di mo kasama si GD? Ako: Kaseh hinabol kita. Kanina pa kita hinahanap! Anthony: Sorry naman.. estudyante lang.. nagiging busy rin. Dramahan ba ko?!? o_O

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Ako: So anong meron nung sinundan mo sina Ate Marian tsaka si G? Anthony: Ahh... Ano... Wala naman nangyari... May pinuntahan lang sila na store.. Siguro pang Christmas shopping.. Ako: Christmas shopping? o_O Anthony: Oo.. pang-surprise pa nga talaga yata..

Nanahimik muna ako. Si Gerard, Christmas shopping? Mag-Nnovember pa lang, regalo na?

Anthony: OR!!!

Tumingin ulit ako kay Anthony. Parang may kung anong tumama sa utak nyang magandang idea. Masyadong transparent ang mga expressions ng taong toh eh. :P

Anthony: Di ba hindi ka nya nalabas nung Sweetest Day? Ako: Uh-huh? o_O

Sweetest Day nga pala.. last week.. And kahit na pinagpilitan nya na ilalabas nya ko that day, di naman natuloy. Bitter pa rin ako hanggang ngayon pag naaalala ko un.. -__Early that morning, tinawagan na lang ako ni Ate Marian na hindi raw matutuloy ung "date" namin kaseh masama raw pakiramdam ni Gerard. Ayaw naman akong pabisitahin dahil baka raw mahawa pa ko. Tinanong ko kung anong sakit, eh di nya naman daw alam.. Di raw kaseh sya Nursing student. tama ba naman un? =__= Kaya wala.. For the first time since nagkakilala kame ni Sweetest Day, hindi ko sya na-celebrate with someone. Dapat talaga next time, may pang-Plan B ako. :D

OFFICIAL COPY ayreezh

Anthony: Remember nung inatake--- I mean inatake ng sama ng pakiramdam si GD?

"Inatake ng sama ng pakiramdam"? o_O Bagong grammar ba un?

Ako: Oh? Anthony: Alam mo, masamang-masama ung loob nya kaseh di ka nya nalabas nung araw na un eh. Tapos kahit nung nakapagpahinga na sya at lahat, di naman sya pinalabas ni Ate

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Marian. Kaya hanggang tawag na lang sya.. Kala ko nga tatalon pa nung bintana nya para makalabas lang eh. :D Ako: Ok? Konekment? Anthony: Kaya ahyun! Nung sinundan ko sila... Kaya siguro sila pumunta dun sa store na un, para bumili ng gift for you, para di ka na mainis! ;)

Tinignan ko si Anthony. Hindi naman ako ganun ka-bitter na kailangan pa ng "I'm Sorry" gift. Matino naman kame ni Gerard these past few days.. =__=

Anoh ba yan.. Napaisip tuloy ako. Ayoko pa naman nang nag-iisip at ginagamit ng full extent ang aking brain. kaya may LQ kami ni Math eh.. :D Pero di ko naman alam talaga nag dinibdib pala ni Gerard ung nangyari nung Sweetest Day na un...

Ako: (bulong) Kaya siguro sya pumayag na pumunta sa Laguna.....

Biglang napatingin sa'kin si Anthony.

Anthony: Laguna?!? LAGUNA?!? :D

OFFICIAL COPY ayreezh

Napatalon ako sa gulat nung nagpaka-hyper si Anthon sa tabi ko. Pati ung mga tao sa paligid namen, napatingin. Si Anton naman kaseh, parang nakarinig na magiging 50 pesos na lang ung Nintendo Wii. Kamustah naman? O_O

Ako: Yeahhhh.. Pupunta kame nina Sheena tsaka ni Gerard sa Laguna for Nov 1. Bakit? Anthony: (with sparkles in his eyes) Sama ako. *__* Ako: At bakit naman kita isasama? Anthony: Because that's what friendz are por? :) Ako: Weh? -__Malapit na kong bumaba. Wala na kong time para makipagtalo pa kay Anthony. At judging dun sa mga sparkly lights na nag-appear sa mata nya, parang magtatagal bago ko sya makausap ng matino. Excited na talaga sya. Parang pumayag na kong sumama sya.

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Ung tingin nya pa sa'kin.. Parang bata na naghihintay ng candy..

Ako: Wag mo nga akong ngitian nang ganyan. Tumingin ako dun sa driver. This is my stop.

Ako: Manong, para!

Tumigil ung jeep. Kinolekta ko ung mga gamit ko tapos tumingin kay Anthony -- na pinalitan na ung expression nya from over-excited to over-the-top-puppydog eyes. -__-

Ako: Ay nako, tanungin mo si Gerard. Pag pumayag sya, sige, sumama ka.

Bago ako tuluyang bumaba, nakita ko uhlet nag-bounce back ung expression nya from pitiful to ecstatic. Sigh.. Well, hello cemetery.. Maraming maglilinis syo this year.

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Chapter 25: (Venice’s POV)

"Veniceeeeeee!!!!! Halika naaaaaaaa!!!!"

Arrggghhh!!! Isa pang tawag at itatapon ko na toh sa bintana!

Tumingin ako sa relo ng kwarto ko.. Ay.. Ilang oras na pala akong nag-iimpake. O_O Kaya pala atat na ever si Sheena.. :P Naubusan na siguro ng papanoorin sa TV.

After kong i-check ung mga life necessities ko (clothes to last for a week, shoes, kikay kit..), I grabbed my humongous luggage bag and dragged it out of my room. Pabagsak-bagsak pa ng hagdan ung paghila ko.. ;P Nawa'y hindi masira ang flooring. Pagbaba na pagbaba ko, mukha kagad ni Sheena ang lumantad sa'kin. Parang bantay na nagaabang.. -__-

Sheena: Ay finally! Ako: Sorry naman noh! Hindi naman ako kasing-aga mong nakauwi noh.

Tinignan nya ung kinakaladkad kong bag.. tapos tumingin sya sa'kin.. at tinaasan pa ko ng kilay!

OFFICIAL COPY ayreezh

Ako: What?! Sheena: Best friend, dalawang araw lang tayo dun.. May balak ka bang mag-relocate na forever? Ako: Eh bakit ba?! Pano na lang kung may makita akong fafable, syempre, kailangan ko ng numerous outfits for flirting purposes noh! Sheena: Flirting purposes daw... Ahsush.. Habang kasama mo si fafa Gerard mo? Loka! ;D Ako: Ah, tigilan mo nga ako.. Tara na.

Sinigurado namin na wala nang nakasaksak na kung anong appliance. Ayoko naman bumalik only to find na nasunog na ang house dahil sa electrical problems. :P Nag-iwan lang kami ng isang ilaw na bukas para kunwari may tao.

After namin i-lock ung gate, tumawag na kami ng tricycle. Kahit walking distance sana ang

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apartment nina Gerard, avah, eh mukha naman kaming probinsyanang bagong salta sa Maynila sa dami ng dala namin! O_O Mabuti nang mag-tricycle!

After a few minutes, nag-ddoorbell na kami sa apartment -- at wala pang 5 minutes, bumukas kagad ang pinto at lumantad ang mukha ni Ate Marian.

Ate Marian: Ay nandito na rin kayo! SA WAKAS!!!

Nagtinginan kami ni Sheena. Parang over-happy si Ate sa pagdating namin.. Bakit? Pinapasok naman kami ni Ate, kaya pumasok kame.. Napatingin kagad si Ate Marian sa bag ko.

Ate Marian: Akala ko two days lang kayo? o_O

@[email protected]

Sheena: That's what I told her! :D

OFFICIAL COPY ayreezh

Naka-backpack lang si Sheena.. Hindi maliit, pero I guess, mga half siguro nung luggage bag ko. Pero in my defense, may isa pa syang maliit na bag, ako wala! -- if that helps. :P

Ako: Marami akong kailangan sa buhay, okay?!?

"PLEAAAAAAAAASSSSSSSSSEEEEEEEEE!!!!"

Napatalon kaming bigla ni Sheena from the sudden scream. O_O

What the quack?

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May inaabuso ba dito?!? May hidden prisoner?!

Ate Marian: ARGH!!! Kanina pa yang dalawang yan! Konti-konti na lang talaga, ihahampas ko na ung kama kay Anthony -- kung di lang tatamaan si Gerard eh! >:o

Sinundan namen ni Sheena si Ate Marian papunta dun sa kwarto ni Gerard.. and HELL-OH naman ang lumantad na scene sa'min!!?!? O_O

Nakasabit si Anthony sa isang binti ni Gerard. Si Gerard naman, habang nag-iimpake, from the closet to the backpack on the bed, sinusubukang kaladkarin ung nakasabit na unggoy sa binti nya..

Gerard: Will. You. Let. Go. Of. My. Leg? Anthony: (tuloy sa pagkapit sa binti ni G) Waaahhh.. sama mo ko! Sama mo koooo~!! T^T

Is this about the trip? o_O

Ako: Uhhh.... O_O

OFFICIAL COPY ayreezh

Napatigil ung dalawang lalake sa ginagawa nila -- kung anumang ginagawa nila. O_O Then, at the same time, they both looked up at where the three of us were standing... probably with dumbfounded expressions on our faces.

Gerard: Hi. O_O

Tumingin kaming lahat kay Anthony... This is actually kind of awkward..

Sheena: Anton.... Uhmmm... Anong ginagawa mo? o_O Anthony: Ayaw nya kong isama... T-T Gerard: Eh bakit ba gustung-gusto mong sumama?!?

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Anthony: Gusto ko rin sa hot springs.. tsaka maglinis ng damo.. tsaka mag-going away from the city... Sama akoooo~! Ate Marian: Isama mo na kaseh. It would be wonderful to finally get the both of you out of here!

Gerard looked at me. Nag-shrug lang ako. I mean, I don't really mind if Anthony comes or not.. At, honestly, natatawa na ko sa itsura nilang dalawa. ;D

Gerard: Fine! (shakes his leg) Let go of my leg, and you can go.

Tumalon -- as in, tumalon -- si Anthony patayo! at kulang na lang yata eh yakapin nya si Gerard. Pero I guess he figured na that's gonna look weird, kaya he ran over to us, and ako ang yinakap nya. O_O

PAK!

Bigla nya kong binitawan sabay ikot patingin sa pinsan nya.

Anthony: Aw!

OFFICIAL COPY ayreezh

Yep.. Binatukan ni Gerard si Anthony. ;P

Gerard: HANDS?!?! Anthony: Whoops! Sorry! :D

Tinaas nya ung parehong kamay nya high up on air.

Anthony: Clear!

Tumingin si Anthony kay Sheena, tapos -- I think he bounced papunta sa kwarto nya para magtapon ng mga damit sa sarili nyang bag. Bumalik si Gerard sa pag-iimpake nya, na feeling

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ko lang eh tumagal dahil sa amazing nyang pinsan. ;P Lumapit sa'kin si Sheena para bumulong...

Sheena: (bulong)
Laguna pag nandun sya?

Ganun na lang ba ang powers ni Gerard na nagiging magical-place-everybody-wants-to-go-to ang

-__-

Anoh na lang mangyayari sa bakasyon na toh? =__=

OFFICIAL COPY ayreezh

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Chapter 26: (Venice’s POV) Anthony: Ehto na ba un? Sheena: Yep.. Gerard: Well.. di pa ba tayo mag-ddoorbell para naman may magpapasok sa'tin? Anthony: Bakit, GD? Pagod ka na ba? Ako: Buong bus ride na nga sya tulog, mapapagod pa.. (tumingin kay G) Samantalang ung shoulder ko na ginawa nyang unan, hanggang ngayon, di pa rin makagalaw.. -__Gerard: Eh sorry na nga eh.. Di mo naman kaseh ako ginising. Sheena: Haayyy enough na nga kayo..

Nag-doorbell na si Sheena. Naghintay kami sandali para sa taong magbubukas ng gate... magpapapasok sa'min.. magpapakain.. magpapatulooyyy... And hindi pa nagtatagal, nasagot na ang unang prayer: bumukas nga ung gate. Bumulaga sa'min ang face ni Uncle Pao.. :D

Uncle Pao: Venice! Sheena!

Napatingin bigla sya kina Anthony at Gerard.

Uncle Pao: At dalawang lalake....? Akala ko isang lalake lang kasama nyo? o_O Anthony: (tumuro kay Gerard) Yaya poh ako nito. :) Gerard: Pinsan ko ng timang na yan.

OFFICIAL COPY ayreezh

Tinignan nya nang masama si Anton.

Gerard: Anong yaya ka dyan?! Ako pa nga yata mag-aalaga syo!

Pinagtawanan lang ni Uncle ung magpinsan. Pinapasok nya na kami sa loob, all the while tinatawag ung asawa nya para sabihing dumating na kame. Tumingin-tingin ako sa paligid ko habang naglalakad kami papasok. I've always liked this house kasi simple lang sya. :) White-washed gate. Pataas na driveway from the gate to the house (bundok talaga!). Two-door red garage (kahit isa lang naman ung car nila -- ang main purpose ng garage ay dun nag-iinuman ang mga people pag may gathering). And ang main attraction: ang forever heated na swimming pool. :D

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Pinaliwanag na sa'kin dati ni uncle kung bakit a la hot springs ung swimming pool na un eh (geothermal energy vah?), di ko lang talaga maalala. -__-

Pumasok kami sa loob. Tahimik ang bahay. As usual, wala nanaman ang mga pinsan ko. Nagliliwaliw raw sa other side ng family nila sa Pampanga sabi ni Uncle. Nagkasundo kami na kaming dalawa ni Sheena ang mag-ooccupy nung kwarto ni cousin. Sina Gerard at Anton, dun sa guest room titigil.

Uncle Pao: Sige mag-impake muna kayo. Naliligo lang ang Tita Marilen mo. Malapit na rin matapos ung niluluto kong hapunan. Anthony: Nagluluto kayo? Uncle Pao: Aba oo naman! Master chef yata toh! :D Ako: Ayaw nyang paglutuin si Tita.. Baka raw masunog ung bahay.. Uncle Pao: Ahh, oo nga pala.. Isa pang dahilan un. ;D

Pinagtabuyan na kame ni Uncle sa mga kwarto namen para makapagbihis. Pinauna ko na si Sheena dun sa shower -- dahil amoy polusyon na raw sya. -__Ako naman, sinimulan ko nang ayusin ung mga gamit namin.

"VENIIIIIIIIIIICEEEEE!!!!!"

OFFICIAL COPY ayreezh

O___O

Oh no. That sounds a lot like Tita Marilen. Alive na sya. O_O Kailangan ko na sigurong magtago! Tatakbo pa lang sana ako nang biglang bumukas ang pinto! Ay isang lumilipad na tita ang biglang tumalon papunta sa'kin! OoO

And yes, bumagsak kami. B-U-M-A-G-S-A-K!!! As in narinig ko ang "BAM!" ng ulo ko sa sahig!

I see dots.. and orbs... ۞_۞

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Ako: Tita.. Sinabi ko na naman syo dati pa, hindi ako balloon na pag tinalunan mo eh tatalbog ka..

She pried off herself from me. Sinubukan nya kong tulungan tumayo, pero that didn't work out very well. Sa sobrang pagkabigla yata ng ulo ko dahil naalog sya, napagtripan ng room na umikot at umikot. @[email protected]

Tita Marilen: Aww.. I'm sorry, Venice. Alam mo namang na-eexcite ako pag nakikita ko ang sobrang cute kong pamangkin. :D

Oo.. Ganyan si Tita. Barumbado talaga ever! Talunan ba ko?!? Kaya bawal yan ma-over excite, malasing, mag-kape, kumain ng sobrang ma-asukal... in other words, bawal syang maging hyper.

"WHAT WAS THAT?!?!?!"

Biglang sumulpot sina Anthony at Gerard sa pintuan namen. Madapa-dapa sila sa pag-papanic pagtakbo sa loob ng kwarto. :P Kamustah naman.. ganun ka-lakas ang kalabog ko -- narinig sya sa kabilang kwarto.

OFFICIAL COPY ayreezh

Brain, are you ok? T^T

Inupo ako ni Tita sa kama. Tapos, bigla syang umikot at tinignan mula ulo hanggang paa ung dalawang lalake na nanigas dun sa pinto. ;D

Tita Marilen: Venice.. Sinoh dito ang boyfriend mo? Anthony: (biglang turo kay Gerard) SYA POH!

PAK!

Anthony: Aray naman.. T-T Bakit nanaman? Gerard: Turo ka ng turo!

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Well-deserved na batok un. ^o^

Ako: Wala poh akong boyfriend, tita. Mga kaibigan ko lang yan.

Biglang tinulak paharap ni Anthony si Gerard. O_O Iba na talaga ang taong toh.. Gusto yatang masakal nang wala sa oras...

Anthony: Ehto poh, ka-I-bigan. :D Gerard: (lumingon kay Anthony) Gusto mong lumipad pauwi? Anthony: Joke joke lang. :P

Tinignan ni Tita Marilen si Gerard from head to toe. Daig pa ang investigator. O_O Natahimik tuloy bigla si Gerard sa pang-aaway nya kay Anthony.

Tita Marilen: Bakit ayaw mo sa pamangkin ko ha? Maganda naman sya.. Matalino.. Talented! Mabait pa! Nako, pag yan ang naging asawa mo, trust me, wala ka nang hahanapin pang iba!

Binebenta ako! Binebenta!! O__O

OFFICIAL COPY ayreezh

Anthony: Oo nga naman, insan! See? Sabi syo ligawan mo na si Venice eh. Girl worth living yan!

Pinagsasabi ng taong toh? -___-

Tita Marilen: Korek! Gwapo ka naman.. Siguradong papasa ka sa mommy nyan. :D Gusto mo, iho, ilakad pa kita? ;)

Namumula.. Namumula na si Gerard. Ilagay ba naman kaseh sa hot seat. ;D This is peer pressure at its finest! :D

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Ako: Ay tama na nga yan! Tita, gugutom na ko. Di pa ba tayo kakain? Tita Marilen: Ay oo nga pala! Sige! Wait lang, titignan ko lang kung tapos na magluto ung asawa ko ha. Ikaw.. (tumingin kay Anthony) Sumama ka sa'kin. Anthony: Eh!??! Why me!??! O__O Tita Marilen: Syempre! Kailangan nating magplano kung pano mag-ddate yang dalawang yan! Ayoko namang tumandang dalaga ang pamangkin ko noh! :D

Anak ng tipaklong! 19 lang ako, tita!!! Mahaba pa ang buhay ko!!!

Anthony: Ay sige, tita! :D

Paki paalala nga kung bahket napasama tong Anthony na toh sa trip na toh? -__-

Umalis ung dalawa -- nagkasundo yata sa pagpplano ever!

Tumayo ako dahan-dahan -- making sure na bati na kami ni gravity -- tapos lumapit kay Gerard. Medyo bumabalik na ung normal mala-multo nyang kulay. :P

OFFICIAL COPY ayreezh

Ako: Sorry ha.. Malakas lang talaga mangtrip ung tita ko eh.. Gerard: Ok lang.. nasanay na ko kay Anthony. Ok ka lang ba? May narinig kaming bumagsak kanina eh.. Anoh un?

Automatically, napaturo ako sa ulo ko.

Ako: You're looking at it right now. Gerard: What?!?!

And promise! Na-panic sya. O_O Talagang pinagpaikot-ikot nya ung ulo ko, kinapa-kapa kung may bukol, pinagbuhol-buhol ung buhok ko! Akala ko nga tatanggalin nya na ung ulo ko para lang ma-examine nya nang mabuti. @[email protected]

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Ako: G! I'm ok! Baka gusto mo nang tigilan ang paglamutak sa ulo ko! Gerard: Pero ang lakas nung bagsak mo!

At tuloy pa rin talaga sya sa examination nya ever! Mag-panic ba?!?!

"Hoy.. Hindi ganyan ang pakikipag-make out sa babae noh."

Napatalon kaming dalawa -- 400 yards apart! :D Pumasok sa kwarto si Sheena habang pinapatuyo ung buhok nya.

Ako: Anong make-out ka dyan?!? Duling ka ba? Sheena: Avah malay ko.. Nahaharangan ni Gerard ung main action eh.. Basta nakikita ko lang ung ulo nya tsaka ung kamay nyang all over gumalaw. :D Kayo ha.. Di nyo man lang sinarado ung pinto.. Ako: Che! Tama ka na nga! Halika na, G.. Makigulo na lang tayo sa kusina!

Hinaltak ko si Gerard palabas para makapag-ayos si Sheena sa kwarto. At kahit na bumababa na kami sa hagdan, feel na feel ko pa rin, talagang tuloy ang titig nya sa ulo ko. =___= Promise! Wala naman talagang bukol or whatever. Malakas lang ung sound kaseh maraming calcium ung buto ko.

OFFICIAL COPY ayreezh

Ako: Will you stop looking at my head?!?! Gerard: Pero, V.. Ang gulo ng buhok mo..

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Chapter 27: (Gerard’s POV) What a weird house... -__Well, maybe the house isn't the problem -- ung mga tao lang sa loob. :P

All throughout dinner, ang kulit nung tita ni V.. hyper. Pero sabi nila, matino na raw ung lagay na un. -__- Kung anong tahimik nung tito, ganun kaingay ung tita. Opposites attract pala talaga sometimes.

After dinner, pumila na kami nina Anthony, ako, tsaka si V sa shower. Since nakapag-shower na si Sheena, dumiretso tulog na sya. Sinoh nga ba naman kaseh di mapapagod sa byahe na un -- combined forces pa nung traffic at ingay?

Kahit si Anthony, pagkatapos maligo, dumiretso na rin sa kama. Ako ang huling nakaligo kaya ako rin ang huling nag-perform ng mga seremonyas ko bago matulog. I was about take some pills when I realized na wala pala akong tubig. And I'm one of those people na kahit anong pilit, hindi ko talaga malunok ang gamot nang walang tubig. Lame, I know. =__=

Binulsa ko ung dalawang small bottles -- oo, efficient ang PJs ko, may bulsa sila :D -- then I went downstairs to get me a glass of water. I think tulog na lahat ng tao kaya safe naman siguro ako. Kaya lang, napatigil akong bigla nung nakita ko si Venice sa labas. Nakaupo sya dun sa tabi nung swimmong pool.

OFFICIAL COPY ayreezh

Napahawak ako sa bulsa ko. It feels like hindi naman sila mahuhulog accidentally... Tumingin ulit ako kay Venice.. Anoh bang ginagawa nya kasi dun sa labas?!??

Hay nako! Sige na nga! Sandaling usap lang!

I went out and silently walked over to where she's sitting.

Ako: Bakit gising ka pa?

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Napatalon si Venice sa gulat. Buti na lang nahawakan ko -- otherwise, she would have taken a late night swim in the pool. :P

Venice: Dude. You scared me. O_O Ako: Sorry. Anoh ba kasing ginagawa mo dito? Venice: Nagpapainit ng paa.

Umupo ako sa tabi nya -- careful not to spill any contents of my pockets. Mahirap na.. Di naman mukhang vitamins bottle ung nasa bulsa ko. :P

Ako: Ok? Wala bang kumot sa kwarto nyo? Venice: Eh bakit ba kumokontra ka?? Ako: Ok ok. Shutting up. :P

Taray naman... As if naman di pa sya na-iimmune sa pagkontra ko. :D

Venice: Oo nga pala.. Sorry kung napuruhan ka ni Tita eversince dumating ka ha.. Extreme ang topak nun once in a while eh. Ako: (natawa) Once in a while lang? ;D But it's okay. I don't mind. Venice: Na asarin ka? o_O Ako: No.

OFFICIAL COPY ayreezh

Nilapit ko ung mukha ko sa kanya. Ako: I don't mind that they're urging me to be with you.

Biglang namula ung mukha nya. Na-amuse ako. :D First it was a light shade of pink.. tapos naging pink.. tapos naging red. :D I've never seen anyone blush like that before. ;D She broke the eye contact. I laughed to myself and just looked at the starry night sky.

Venice: Can I tell you something? Ako: What's up?

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Venice: What exactly are we?

Napatingin ako bigla sa kanya.

Ako: Ako, sure akong tao ako. Ikaw? Hindi ko alam. O_O

PAK!

Ako: Aray naman! Joke lang. T^T Venice: Eh kaseh naman! Seryoso ang aura ko oh! Ako: Fine. Sorry poh. -__Venice: So?

What are we?...

This would have been that time when I would have grabbed her, hugged her tightly, and whisper in her ear that I want her to be mine.

OFFICIAL COPY ayreezh

But.. Everybody knows I can't -- I won't -- do that.

Not when I know what's going to happen in the future.

I tried to avoid her gaze. I settled on looking at her feet na nasa tubig.

Ako: What do you think? Venice: Hmmmm... I think there's something between us. Pero I don't know why it doesn't go any further. -__- G? Ako: Hm? Venice: Magagalit ka ba if I say something really random right now?

Napatingin ako sa mukha ni Venice -- which I kinda wish I didn't do.

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Her face is a picture of desperation, embarrassment, and frustration all rolled into one.

Ako: It depends on how random it is. Venice: If I say that I want to be with you, how will you respond?

O____O

Ako: Are... Are you serious? Venice: Eh sira ka ba?!?! Tingin mo mag-jjoke pa ko about this?!? Ako: Aba malay ko kung inaantok ka lang! O_O Venice: You.. You don't want to be with me? Ako: I didn't say that.

Ahhhhh screw all the bad things that might happen.

I took her in my arms and just held her. I don't know what to say. I can't promise her anything.. but at least I can hold her.

OFFICIAL COPY ayreezh

Ako: I'll do anything in my power just to be with you. You just have no idea how much I want you. I need you, don't you see? Venice: You need me? Ako: You're like the air. I don't know what I'd do without you.

I held her even tighter as I realize the truth in my own words.

Ako: I'm not afraid to die, V. I'm afraid of not being with you. Venice: What are you talking about? o_O

I just said it.

I actually just said it out loud. Now I just can't take it back because I know it's the truth... it's the

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absolute truth.

I don't want to die if it means leaving her behind...

Arghh..

No... not now..

Bigla kong binitiwan si Venice then stood up abruptly.

Ako: I'm gonna go now, ok? Get some sleep.

She looked confused. I don't blame her. But I immediately turned around and stumbled towards the door, back inside the house. All the while, I was clutching my chest.

OFFICIAL COPY ayreezh

It hurts...

I need to get away from V.. She doesn't need to know..

Di ko alam kung pano pa ko nakaakyat ng hagdan. The pain, the shortness of breath... It was a miracle na nakaabot pa ko sa kwarto kung san natutulog si Anthony.

I collapsed next to his bed -- which luckily woke him up.

Anthony: GD?? Oh shoot! Gerard?!?!? Nilabas ko ung pills ko from my pockets. I tried to open them, but even my motorskills were

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affected by the pain. Anthony grabbed them from me and easily twists off the cap. He gave me the pills then ran to his backpack and took out his bottled water.

After the pain subsided, tinulungan ako ni Anthony dun sa kama.

Anthony: GD? Okay ka na ba?

Mukha ba kong ok?!?

Ako: An.. Anton.. Anthony: Yea? I'm here. Ano pang kailangan mo? Tubig? May iba pa bang gamot? Ako: Anton..

I grabbed his shirt and pulled him close to me in frustration and in pain. Nararamdaman ko nang may tumutulo sa pisngi ko.. di ko alam kung pawis ba un.. o umiiyak na ba ko... dahil ngayon lang talaga nag-sink in sa utak ko...

Ako: Anton.. Anton.. I don't want to die..... Help me... Anton... :'(

OFFICIAL COPY ayreezh

Natulala lang sa'kin ung pinsan ko as I lay there clutching my heart and crying. I must have looked insane.

Anthony: Alam mo na dapat mong gawin, GD.

Tumingin ako kay Anthony. Of course I do.. Pero.. That means being away from Venice..

..but.. for only a short time.

Ako: I'm going back to the States...

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Chapter 28: (Gerard’s POV) "Good morning, lovee~"

"Love"? -__-

Sinong ulol naman ang tatawag sa'kin ng "love"?!? Dahan-dahan kong binuksan ang mga mata ko. Medyo nasilaw pa ko sa sikat ng araw. Itapat ba naman kasi ung kama sa bintana?! "Gising ka na?" OoO Napabalikwas akong bigla nang sumulpot ang pagmumukha ni Anthony sa harap ko -- as in sa harap ko! Is he insane!?? Aatakihin ako sa kanya eh!

Ako: Dude! WHAT THE HELL?!?!

OFFICIAL COPY ayreezh

Napatalon din si Anthony nung bigla akong sumigaw. He looked completely startled. Sya pa ang may karapatan ma-bigla?!? Anthony: Nag-gugood morning lang eh! Ako: Bakit kailangan may "Love" pa?!?! At bakit nilalapit mo yang mukha mo sa'kin?!?! Tol, iba na talaga yan ha! Bumibigay ka na talaga noh?! Anthony: Hoy, anong bumibigay ka dyan?! Eh kaseh naman! Ang tagal mong matulog, kanina pa silip ng silip ang mga tao dito kung gising ka na! Samantalang ako... Wala man lang sumilip sa'kin... T-T

Tama bang mag-emote? -____Teka.. kanina pa raw ako sinisilip ng mga tao... Tumingin ako sa relo. O_O 10:00 na?!?? Bakit tanghali na?!? Ang sarap kasi matulog eh.. -__-

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Anthony: Ok ka na ba? Ako: Oo naman.. Nakatulog na ko eh. Bakit? I walked pass Anthony, papunta dun sa duffel bag ko sa likod nya. I started rummaging through the packed clothes looking for something comfortable to wear. Anthony: Wala lang.. Ung sinabi mo kagabi.. Totoo na a un?

Naalala ko nanaman tuloy ung nangyari kagabi. Inatake nanaman ako -- muntik pa sa harap pa ni V. Si Venice kaseh eh, ginugulat ako. :D

Pero kahit na pamatay talaga ung paninikip ng dibdib ko, eh I still remember what I said naman. Hindi naman ung utak ko ang may problema. I know what I said, and I meant what I said. Ako: Oo naman. I'm gonna call my parents soon. I have to tell them to talk to the cardiologist who'll do the transplant. Hmm mabuti nang dito pa lang siguro, nagpapa-test na ko noh? Naguusap-usap naman ang mga doktor... Para pagdating ko dun, diretso surgery na kagad. Anthony: Is that how it works? Ako: Err.. I'm not really sure. :P I stopped to think for a while. Kung lilipad ako sa America, ibig sabihin I need to take my school finals earlier than scheduled. Kailangan ko na rin bumili ng ticket.. Uh.. anoh pa ba?

OFFICIAL COPY ayreezh

Anthony: Di mo pa rin ba sasabihin kay Venice? This topic... I'm sure we've talked about this before already. Ako: She doesn't need to know Anthony: Eh anong sasabihin mo kung bakit bigla-bigla yang lipad mo? Ako: May emergency sina mommy? Kailangan ko umuwi sandali? I'm only gonna be gone for.. I don't know.. a week or two, maybe? Anthony: A week or two? :) Ako: Maybe. Bakit? o_O

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Nanlalaki nanaman ang mata ng taong toh. -___I have a bad feeling about this. Pag lumalaki nang ganyan ang mata nya, isa lang ang ibig sabihin nun: may kung anong kalokohan nanaman sa utak nya. Anthony: Baka gusto mo kong isama? :) Ako: No. I don't think I do. -__Anthony: Wehhhh?? Ako: Bakit naman kita sasama? Anthony: Bakit naman hindi? Sige naaaaaa~ :D Ako: Kasama-sama ka ba?!? I threw the clean towel over my shoulder. In one hand, I have my clothes. All set na talagang maligo. :D I stood up and was just about to go out nang biglang humarang si Anton sa daanan ko. Hanep talaga.. Anthony: Okay.. iwan mo ko. Tignan lang naten kung anong sasabihin ni Venice syo pagbalik mo. ^_^ Ako: Why, you little--! O.O Anthony: Haayyy insan.. Alam mo naman kung gano ka-charming ung babaeng un. Massurprise ka pa ba kung ako -- isang hamak na lalaki lamang -- ang biglang madulas sa tunay na dahilan kung bakit ka biglang umalis? Lalo na pag kinulit ako ng kinulit nung madaldal na un! Aba, wala naman akong balak pumunta sa mental hospital noh! Ako: Just make up something until I get back. Anthony: I hate lying. :)

OFFICIAL COPY ayreezh

Eh kung sa Emergency Room ko kaya i-diretso toh? +___+

Anthony: (shrugs) Pero.. At least, pagbalik mo, eh di mas exciting kaseh di naten alam kung pano mag-rreact si Venice, di ba? Ako: Kung hindi lang kita pinsan, siguro inilibing na kita sa lupa matagal na. -___Anthony: Does that mean I can go? :D Ako: As if you're giving me much choice.. Anthony: Di nga?!? :D Ako naman magbabayad sa ticket ko.. Ako na rin maghihila ng maleta ko... ;D Kailan tayo aalis?!? Ako: As soon as we get a ticket.. Hopefully in a week.. That did it. -___- Nagsimula na ang victory dance nung mokong. Bakit nga ba hindi ko pa nililibing sa lupa toh? Wala namang maghihinala na ako ang criminal? -___-

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I stepped out of the room to finally head to the bathroom. Iba talaga ang level ni Anton...

Haaaayyyyy...

After naming mag-impake ng banig, kandila, at ilang papakin, kumain na kami ng tanghalian. As usual, napuruhan nanaman ako nung tita ni Venice. =___= Ganito na lang yata ang buhay ko as long as nasa 1 km radius ako ni tita. Good thing we have to leave the house -- at least, nahati na ang atensyon. After eating, lumarga na kami papunta sa sementeryo. Ang tagal naming nagpaikot-ikot para humanap ng parking. Ang swapang kaseh mag-park nung ibang sasakyan eh. After 30 minutes, nakakita rin kami ng spot. Kahit malayo-layo, at least may parking.

Naglakad kami papunta dun sa family burial lot. Magkasama si Sheena at si Venice na naglalakad sa pinakaharap. Sa likod nila, si Tita Marilen tsaka si Uncle Pao. At sa pinakalikod naman ng grupo, kami ni Anton -- excited pa rin kasi ung mokong dahil sinama ko papunta sa States. Kailangan ko tuloy ilayo from earshot ng mga tao. Hindi makapagpigil sa pagdaldal.. Konti na lang, isusubsob ko na sya dun sa tabi ng susunod na libingan na makikita ko. "Gerard!"

OFFICIAL COPY ayreezh

Napatigil sa pagdakdak si Anthony nang tinawag kami ni Tita Marilen. As much as natuwa ako dahil tumahimik si Anton, parang nabawi naman yata nung biglang sumenyas si Tita Marilen na lumapit kami sa kanya. Masakit man sa loob ko, lumakad naman kami ni Anton sa kung saan sya nakatayo.

Ako: Bakit poh? Tita Marilen: Bakit di kayo sabay maglakad ni Venice? Ako: Eh.. Bakit naman poh? Eh pareho lang naman ung pupuntahan namen...

Hinila ni Uncle Pao nang konti si Tita Marilen. Parang automatic, nagsimula naman syang sumunod. Kaya lang, kahit naglalakad na kami, parang sa'kin pa rin ang focus ng mata ni tita. T^T

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Tita Marilen: Nakooo, ang hina mo naman! Alam mo ba kung gano karaming lalake ang tumitingin kay Venice sa bawat puntod na dinadaanan naten? Aba! Baka maunahan ka pa nyan! Anthony: Tita, wag kayong mag-alala. Sa palagay ko eh hindi naman papatulan ni Venice yang mga lalaking yan. Aba, i-compare nyo naman sa pinsan ko!

Bigla akong inakbayan ni Anthony nang may buong pagmamalaki. =___=

Anthony: Tumingin man si Venice sa paligid nya, eh hindi nya malalaman kung tao ba o bangkay ung tinitignan nya! At least ang pinsan ko, mukhang anghel, di ba?!

Sige lang.. Mang-uto ka pa. -__-

Tita Marilen: Ay bastah!

Biglang tumigil sa paglalakad si Tita Marilen. Tumuro sya bigla dun sa bulaklak sa damuhan sa tabi nya. o_O

OFFICIAL COPY ayreezh

Tita Marilen: Ay, ehto.. ehto, Gerard. Kunin mo ung bulaklak at ibigay mo kay Venice. Ako: Tita naman.. Eh inalay na sa patay yan eh.. -___Tita Marilen: Ay hinde! Bakit nila iniwan dyan?! Ako: Kaseh poh ahyan nga ung puntod nung patay nila. Eh ayaw naman ho siguro nilang maghukay ng bangkay para lang magbigay ng bulaklak.

Tao pa ba toh?!? Anong klaseng ideas ba ang naiisip nya?!?

Anthony: Ung damong bulaklak na lang, insan. Ako: Alam nyo.. Baka mabatukan pa ko ni V pag binigyan ko sya ng bulaklak ngayong araw na toh. Sinoh ba naman ang nagbibigay ng bulaklak sa Araw ng mga Patay?!? Tita Marilen: Di ba, give love all year round nga? Anthony: Oo nga!

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Ayoko na! Di ko na kaya~! ToT Isang abnormal lang ang kaya ng utak ko! Bakit nila ako pinagtutulungan?!?

Tinanggal ko ung braso ni Anthony na nakapulupot sa'kin. Nginitian ko na lang silang dalawa, tapos humabol ako kina Sheena at Venice na naglalakad sa harap namin.

Venice: G? Anong nangyari syo? Mukhang nanglalaki yang mata mo? o_O Ako: Pinagtutulungan nanaman ako ni Anton tsaka ng tita mo eh. -__Sheena: (chuckles) Ang galing talaga ng tandem nung dalawa! :D Ako: Anong magaling dun? Eh ako ang mababaliw sa kanila! Sheena: Eh kaseh naman, pop out the question na noh! Ako: Anong question? o_O Sheena: Alam mo, fafa Gerard, gwapo ka sana eh.. may pagka-slow lang. :)

Anoh bang nangyayari sa mga tao ngayong araw na toh? Is this a conspiracy? Nag-usap-usap ba sila kung pano nila ako papahirapan? Napatingin ako kay V for help.

Ako: Am I missing something here? Sheena: Ayyyy wala! Sige, iwan ko muna kayo dyan dahil nakikita ko na ang ating destination.

OFFICIAL COPY ayreezh

Tumakbo na si Sheena papunta dun sa mga puntod sa harap namin. Napatigil si Venice sa paglakad nung biglang umalis si Sheena. Nag-overtake tuloy ung tatlong naglalakad sa likod namin. Nagbigay pa ng subtle cheering movements sina Anthony at Tita Marilen as they passed us.

Weird. :P I took one step towards where everyone was heading. Pero nung napansin kong hindi gumalaw si Venice, napatingin ako sa kanya.

Venice: You know.. about last night.. I'm sorry.. I didn't mean to scare you off like that.... :|

Scare me off? o_O

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Ako: What? Venice: Well.. When I said what I said... bigla ka na lang tumakbo pabalik sa loob.. so... anoh... :/

Oh. I see what she's saying..

Is she serious?!?!

PAK!

Tinamaan nanaman ng pagkatimang, kaya ahyan, binatukan ko nga para magising naman ung utak nya!

Venice: Aray! Anoh ba?!? Ako: Na-aabno ka nanaman eh! Don't you remember what I told you? At bakit naman ako matatakot sa sinabi mo ha? Katakot-takot ba un? Venice: Avah malay ko! Ikaw tohng biglang tumakbo eh! Ako: I just needed time to think about everything.

OFFICIAL COPY ayreezh

ahsus... excuses.. :P

Ako: Binibigla mo naman kaseh ako! Venice: Sorry naman! Dakilang randomness at frank ang brain at bibig ko pag inaantok na ko eh! Ako: Eh di dapat natulog ka na! Venice: Bigla ka kasing sumulpot nung aakyat na ko! Why are you yelling at me?!? Ako: I'm not yelling at you! I took a deep breath. Medyo pinagtitinginan na kami ng mga tao sa paligid. Mukha ba kaming circus dito ha?!

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Ako: May pagkatimang ka talaga kung minsan. Venice: Sor-ry. -___-

I smiled at her. Timang nga sya minsan, pero she's cute pag umiiral ang ka-stupidan nya. :P

Ako: You didn't scare me off last night. Hmm.. But I really wish you didn't do it. Venice: Oh.

Her face fell. She immediately shifted her eyes on the ground. This is Venice listening and embarrassed. Something like this is rarely seen. ;D I pat her head, which made her look back up at me.

Ako: Since you confessed before I do, how am I supposed to propose to you now? Venice: What? O_O Ako: I've been dreaming about it since the first time I saw you. But well, things don't always go as planned, right? Venice: Sorry. -___Ako: Don't be. Because of what happened last night, I realized what I'm willing to give up just so I can be with you.

OFFICIAL COPY ayreezh

I'll give up my indifference in living. I'll give up my willingness to die. I'll even give up my heart -- my own heart -- just so I can be with you.

Ako: V? Venice: Yep? Ako: I need to leave you for about a couple of weeks. Venice: Bakit? Where are you going? Ako: Babalik muna ako sa States. I need to take care of a few things. Di ko naman maasikaso dito coz I need my parents' consent and opinions. Venice: Family thing? Ako: Yea.. kind of.. It's my turn to look at the ground. Lying sucks. I hope she doesn't notice.

Venice: When are you leaving?

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Ako: As soon as possible.

I looked at her again. I met her eyes and it seems like she's searching for something as she stares back at me. Am I really that bad at lying?!?

Magsisimula na yata akong pagpawisan when she suddenly flashed a smile and took my hand. *whew!*

Venice: Ok! Just come back as soon as you can, ok? :)

That's exactly what I'm planning to do.

Ako: Of course.

I squeezed her hand for assurance.

Ako: Wait for me, ok? For sure.. I'll be back.

OFFICIAL COPY ayreezh

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Chapter 29: (Venice’s POV) Halos tatlong oras na kami nakatambay sa semeteryo. Dinasalan na namin ang mga ninunong nakalibing. Nilinis ang mga damo. Pinagsindi ng kandila. Inalayan ng mga bulaklak.. In other words, task completed na. :P So bakit nandito pa rin kami? Wala lang. Nagpapa-tan lang ako. Sinong may kailangan ng beach kung may sementeryo naman? :D Joke~ Trip lang namin tumambay. Well at least, ako tsaka si G, trip pang tumambay. Sina Tita Marilen tsaka si Uncle Pao, hindi na matinag paalis ng bahay. Mahirap na talaga pag tumatanda. Madaling mapagod! Si Sheena naman, kinaladkad si Anthony para mag-shopping. Uuwi na kasi kami mamayang gabi, mabuti nang may dala sya pabalik ng Manila. -__Ehwan. Parang lumipad kami sa kung saan at kailangan nya pa ng souvenir. Pero sige na.. Kung san sya masaya.

Nakaupo kaming dalawa ni Gerard sa harap nung grave nung kung pang-ilang great-great grandmother ko. Favorite ko ung puntod nya kaseh nasa ilalim ng puno. :P Nagkkwentuhan lang kami ni G habang nakadapa sa banig at nagpapapak ng V-Cut -- well, ako nagpapapak ng V-Cut, sya, as usual, tubig lang. Porket naturingang junk food ang V-Cut, dapat bang tanggihan?! Eh sa masarap eh~

OFFICIAL COPY ayreezh

Ako: So alam mo na ba ung specific date kung kailan ka aalis? Gerard: Hmmm.. Titignan ko pa pag-uwi naten.. kung anong available na flight. Ako: Seryoso ba tohng affair nyo? Mukhang nagmamadali kang lumipad eh.. Gerard: I just want to get it over with. Ayaw mo nun, mas madali akong makakabalik? Di mo na ko masyadong ma-mimiss.. ;) Ako: Ka-miss miss ka ba? -__Gerard: Ahsuusssss! Nahiya pa. Eh paiyak ka na nga kanina nung sinabi kong aalis ako.. :D Ako: High ka ba? Sinong iiyak?! Ni hindi nga nag-blur ung paningin ko noh! Gerard: Ganun?!? Ibig sabihin di mo ko ma-mimiss?? Pagpapalit mo na kagad ako!??! O_O 2 weeks lang akong mawawala, hahanap ka na kagad ng iba??! T_T

Ang exagge naman.. -__Pinapasok na yata ng lamig ang utak. Over kung mag-react.

Ako: Adik ka ba? Hindi naman ako ganun kabilis noh!

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Gerard: Hindi ka maghahanap ng iba? :)

Ikaw kasi, pakipot ka pa. Ayaw mo pang maging official tayo. Tapos ngayon, mangungulit ka na wag akong maghahanap ng iba.. Haaayyy nako, G! Ang topak mo talaga! All you have to say is, "V.. You complete me.. Be mine for eternity.." Waaaaahhhhhh kilig! nyahahaha ;D

Oh di ba, ang tapang ko! hahaha

Ako: Bahket? Tayo ba?

Bago pa man makasagot si Gerard (bubwit talaga, lagi na lang may kumokontra!), bigla na lang may nagsisigaw ng name ko!

"VENICEEE!!!"

Syempre, napatahimik kaming dalawa ni G. I squinted at the figures coming towards us.. at nung na-adjust ko na finally ang 20/20 vision ko -- Oh my golay! Is this real?!? OoO Napatayo akong bigla nung nakilala ko ang approaching figures.

OFFICIAL COPY ayreezh

Ako: DJ? Gerard: Sinoh yan?

Ang tatlong people na dapat ay nasa kabilang dako ng isla -- at sabay-sabay pa silang nagtapunan ng mga braso sa leeg ko. ~__~ Buti na lang hindi sila kasing barumbado ng tita nila, dahil mabilis naman silang bumitaw -- at tumingin kay Gerard.

Ako: Uh, Gerard, mga pinsan ko, well 2nd cousins, this is Kuya DJ.. si Rina, and this is Lilian. Gerard: Hello. :)

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At as usual, dahil kapamilya ko talaga sila, nag-bounce silang tatlo papunta kay Gerard. Mga excited at amused.. parang mga nakakita ng rare creature. :D

Rina: Hello! Totoong tao ka ba? @[email protected] Gerard: Huh? o_O Lilian: San ka napulot ni Venice? May kapatid ka pa ba? Kuya DJ: Kaano-ano ka ni Venice? Ako: KUYA! O__O

Unahan pa ba ko sa pagtatanong?!?!

Kuya DJ: Ano?? Nagtatanong lang.. Ikaw ha! Defensive ka! (balik tingin kay Gerard) Di nga, pare?

Napatingin din ako kay Gerard. Okay.. Torn between two possibilities ako. Gusto kong marinig kung anong sasabihin ni Gerard. However-- But-- Pero-- On the other hand! Pano kung bigla akong i-deny?!?!? Avah! Frustrating na, itz hurtz pa!

Ako: We're just-Gerard: She's my girlfriend.

OFFICIAL COPY ayreezh

W-W-W-Wha?!?!? "Girlfriend"?!?!?!? O.O

He turned to me sabay akbay. At ang mokong, kung anong shocked ng mukha ko, ganon naman ang laki ng ngiti sa mukha nya. Kung hindi lang ako napatunganga, nasuntok ko na siguro sya.

Gerard: That's if she wants to be my girlfriend. :)

*gulp*

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Bago ko ma-dissect ang mga events at mapakalma ang mga na-electrified kong mga brain cells, nagtalunan na uhlet ang mga pinsan ko at pinagyayakap si Gerard (although sa tingin ko, nakiki-chansing lang ung dalawang babaeng un.. -__- ) Cousin-in-law raw!?!? Pagkatapos nung hyperness nila, tumapat na sila dun sa mga puntod para magdasal and ilagay na ung mga bulaklak nila. Ni hindi man lang hinintay ang sagot ko... Pero ok na rin siguro un.. Dahil right now, parang isang whirlwind ng colors ang nakikita ng brain ko. Napatunganga lang ako kay G.

Gerard: What? Why are you looking at me like that? Ako: What was that? @[email protected] Gerard: What? o_O Ako: Girlfriend? @[email protected] Gerard: You.. You don't want to? I just thought.. Kasi.. I mean.... :|

Seryoso sya. Seryoso sya? Di nga?!?!

Ako: Seryoso ka ba? O natakot ka lang sa pinsan ko? Kaseh, I swear! Hindi ka dapat matakot dun! malaking tao lang un! Maraming ininom na gatas nung bata sya! Gerard: But I am serious. You asked me before if I want to be with you.. Tapos kanina, you were asking kung tayo ba.. Now I'm saying that I do want to be with you.. And.. and....

OFFICIAL COPY ayreezh

I stopped him from further stammering by placing a finger on his lips. I don't need to hear any more. I know what he's trying to say -- kahit na parang sya, nalilito sa sinasabi nya. :D

Ako: So.. you like me huh?

He smiled then gave me one of the biggest hugs ever!

Gerard: You just have no idea how much. :)

Ohmygosh I just became Gerard's girlfriend! OoO

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Chapter 30: (Venice’s POV)

Gerard: (bulong) Bakit kasama yang mga yan? Ako: Bakit naman hindi? Eh syempre, bibisita rin yang mga yan sa mga tita namen noh.. Tinignan ko sina Kuya DJ at ung dalawang kapatid nya na nakaupo katapat namin ni Gerard sa jeep. Kalahating oras lang nagdasal at nagstay ung tatlo dun sa sementeryo, tapos nagyaya na bumalik kina Tita Marilen. Kaya ehto, sama-sama na kami pabalik sa bahay. Si Gerard (ayyyy si boyprend!!!) nawiwindang na yata sa mga pangaral ng one and only kuya sa buhay ko. :D Kesyo alagaan daw ako dahil wala na raw ako katulad.. Wag raw ako papaiyakin dahil hindi raw bagay sa'kin ang umiyak -- masyado raw akong maganda para paiyakin. Ung mga ganyan bang banat.. :D After about 30 minutes, bumaba na kami sa stop namin at naglakad na sa mala-bundok na kalsada papunta sa bahay nina Uncle Pao. Naunang naglalakad ung magkakapatid, nagkukulitan pa. Ako and si Gerard, nasa likod, lumalayo sa chaos. :P Nagpasimpleng sulyap ako kay Gerard. Parang kanina pa kami naglalakad... Hindi man lang ba ko aakbayan ng taong toh?!?! Ako: Haaayyyy... Gerard: Ok ka lang? o_O Ako: HA?! Oo naman! Bahket? Ikaw? Ok ka lang? Natulala sa'kin si Gerard, ung tipong "huh??" ang itsura. Bakit ba? Kakaiba vah ang mga tanong ko? Hindi nya naman ako sinagot. Balik lakad lang uhlet sya. Kaya, ako, balik mukmok uhlet. Kung hindi lang ako mahiyain at demure (wahahahaha), ako na naunang humawak sa kamay nito eh. Pati ang mga subtle brushes of hand ko sa kamay nya -deadma! Manhid! Manhid ka ba?!?

OFFICIAL COPY ayreezh

Nung nakit ko na ung gate nung bahay, gumuho na ang hopes and fantasies ko. Nandito na kami't lahat, wala pa rin ang HHWW ko. -__-

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Napabuntong hininga na lang uhlet ako. Napansin yata ni Gerard dahil tumingin sya sa'kin, tapos tumingin sya dun sa kamay kong nagssway-sway sa tabi nya. Gerard: Ikaw naman, gusto mo lang maki-chansing, nahiya ka pang mag-request. :D To my surprise (and, sige na, delight), kinuha nya bigla ung kamay ko and held on tightly. Nginitian nya pa ko as he led me papasok nung gate. Ok.... some kinda late, pero better late than never, di bah~? :D I looked up at him and saw him looking back at me. Napahiya ako, pero ok lang. Nagngitian kaming dalawa... Ngayon ko na-realize kung anong ibig sabihin ng mga people pag sinasabi nilang parang nag-ffade away ang buong mundo kapag nag-meet ang mga mata nila ang ng mahal nila. Ang corny man pakinggan. :D "OH MY GOOOSSHHHH!!!!" Napatalon kaming bigla ni Gerard. Bago pa man makapag-register sa brain ko kung anong nangyayari, may humablot na sa balikat ko at pinag-sshake-shake ako! In fairness, may balak yatang i-dislocate ang mga buto buto ko! Sa sobrang biglaan ng paghila sa'kin, nabitawan ko tuloy ung kamay ni G. waaahhh hand! hand! hand!

OFFICIAL COPY ayreezh

Pero, let's focus on my life muna. Dahil pag hindi ako tinigilan sa pagyugyog ng kung sino man toh, talagang baka magkawasak-wasak na ang spinal cord ko. I looked in the front, and dun ko nakita ang amazona kong best friend. Note, masama ma-over excite si Sheena dahil lumalabas ang superhuman strength nya. Ako: Sheena!! Enough with the shaking! Nahuhulog na ang brain ko! Sheena: Best friend!! Best friend!!! :D Avah, at tuloy pa rin talaga sya! Ako: Anak ng tipaklong, Sheena!! Bakit ka ba hyper nanaman?!?! Hinalikan ka ba ni Anthony!??!

That made her stop, thank GOD.

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May crush si Sheena kay Anton dati, kaya medyo sensitive sya pag tinutukso sya kay Anton. wahaha Sheena: Hoy! Anoh ba yang pinagsasabi mo?!? Don't say bad words ha! Binitawan nya ko -- sa wakas -- and started raking her fingers through her hair. Masyadong na self-conscious. ;D Lumapit sa'kin si Gerard. Gerard: Okay, now that you're safe, mauna na ko sa loob ha.. :) Ako: Okay~ ^-^ He flashed me that heart-melting smile one more time bago sya pumasok. Haayyy.. why did I ever think na nakakapikon ung ngiti nya? Haaayyyy.. ~('',)~ Sheena: Wow... May mga langgam nang nag-mmeeting sa paa ng best friend ko. Nawa'y lamunin ka nila ng buhay. ^-^ Nag-pop bigla ang mga hearts sa aura ko. Bubwit na Sheena talaga toh. Panira ng momentum. -___Ako: Wag ka ngang kontra dyan. Sheena: Pero best friend, may narinig ako! May narinig ako! :D Ako: Huh? o_O Sheena: Kayo na?!? Kayo na noh?!?! Kayo naaa!!! :D Ako: I KNOW!!! :D

OFFICIAL COPY ayreezh

Parang kaming dalawang sira nagtatalunan dun sa may gate -- parang nanalo sa Lotto. Okay lang. Nasa loob naman silang lahat. Walang witnesses. Care ba nila kung magtalunan kami dito?!? :D Sheena: At sa sementeryo pa talaga naging kayo~! :D

Sementeryo? Napatigil akong bigla. Natulala.. Napaisip.. at dahan-dahan nag-sink in ang point ni best friend. Anak ng tokwa! Ang sagwa nga! O_O

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(Gerard's POV)

Nakita lang na magkahawak kami ng kamay, alam na kagad ni Sheena na kami na ni Venice. No wonder best friend sya ni Venice -- ibang klase ang radar! Kakasarado ko pa lang nung main door nang biglang sumugod si Anthony sa mukha ko -- sa mukha ko talaga! O_O

Anthony: Totoo ba?! Totoo ba?!?! TOTOO BA!?!? Ako: Ang alin? Ang alin? ANG ALIN?? @[email protected] Anthony: Kayo na ni Venice?!?!? Ako: How did you know? Anthony: Oh my gawd, it's true. The almighty Venice has finally been conquered.

"Almighty Venice"? -__-

Ako: Pinagsasabi mo? Anthony: What? You know it's true. Never nagka-boyprend si Venice -- well, at least walang seryoso... *gasp* Tol, sigurado ka bang hindi ka pinagttripan nyang si Venice?!? Ako: Who knows? I don't think so.... Err.. Palagay mo? Anthony: Aba malay ko! Di naman siguro noh? Mukha namang close kayong dalawa -compared dun sa mga dating lalake nya.

OFFICIAL COPY ayreezh

We both looked at each other for a few moments... then we both shrugged. Bahala na si Batman. :P I have a feeling na hindi naman ganun ka-cruel si V. Ako: Pano mo nga pala nalaman na kami na? Anthony: Dumating ung mga pinsan ni Venice. Excited dahil sa "bagong boyfriend" daw ni Venice. Kaya ahyun...

I started to walk towards the stairs. Nararamdaman ko nang malapit na kong ma-low batt. Kung sasabak kami mamaya sa traffic, mabuti nang fully charged ako. Mahirap na.... I went straight to my bed as soon as pumasok ako sa kwarto. Pinanood ko pa si Anthony as he walks aimlessly around the room. Mukhang may unfinished business pa sa'kin.. otherwise, bakit sya susunod sa'kin?

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Anthony: Sigurado ka ba dyan sa ginagawa mo, ha, insan? Ako: Bakit? Anthony: Aba.. Parang kailan lang, takot na takot kang ma-attach dyan sa babaeng yan -- or at least, sya ma-attach syo. Tapos ngayon, kayo na? Di ba todo attachment na un? Ako: Well.. Things are different now. Anthony: Talaga? Ni hindi ka pa nga nakakapunta sa Amerika para magpa-check up. Pano kung may mali at pagbalik mo, may sakit ka pa rin?

Why is he being such a pain? Ahyun na lang ba ang main purpose nya sa buhay? Ang kumontra sa'kin? -__-

Ako: Nothing's gonna go wrong. Sige, sabihin na nating there's a possibility na may pumalpak. If ever, I should have 6-- or less than 6 months to live. Terminally ill na ko, insan. Anthony: Sige, pagpa-ulit-ulitin mo pa. -__Ako: Ang point ko lang naman.. If something does happen to me, at least, kahit dun man lang sa final days ko, walang regrets. Kaseh kahit papano, I was able to spend the most important moments of my life with V.. completely, without holding back.

Tinitigan lang ako ni Anthony. Ehwan ko kung naintindihan nya ung sinabi ko. Kahit ako, parang nahihirapan ilagay sa words ung ibig kong sabihin. :P

OFFICIAL COPY ayreezh

Napansin ko na lang, after a few minutes, tumigil na pala sa pagpapaikot-ikot nya si Anthon. At ang pagtitig nya pa sa'kin -- nanlalaki ang mga mata. o_O

Anthony: Tol, magpapakasal na kayo ni Venice?!?! O_O

*blink* *blink* May sinabi ba ko tungkol sa pagpapakasal? +__+ Ako: Lumapit ka nga dito nang mabatukan kita. Baka sakaling magising yang utak mo. -__Anthony: Hala!!! Bakit nanaman!??! Eh sabi mo "completely".. di ba ibig sabihin nun kasal? Ako: Adik ka ba?!? Hindi nga ung sakit sa puso ang papatay sa'kin, ung nanay nya naman! Eh hinde pa nga nag-tturn ng 20 un eh!

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Anthony: Sabi naman ni Tita Marilen, ilalakad ka na raw nya dun sa nanay ni Venice. :) Ako: Kahit na! Hindi un ang ibig kong sabihin noh! Gusto ko lang na.. na..

na anoh nga ba?

Ako: Na mapakita ko sa kanya na mahal ko sya -- not as a friend. Ung official ba! Hindi naman porque hindi kasal, di na ibig sabihin na you can't love someone else completely.

di ba?

Ako: Ahh bastah! Umalis ka na nga dito, matutulog ako! Gisingin mo na lang ako pag aalis na tayo! Anthony: Ahsus.. Defensive na, in denial pa. :D Ako: Alis!! Anthony: Wahahaha ehto na nga, lalayas na! Mag-sswimming pa kami ni Sheena bago lumarga!

Naglakad na palabas si Anton ng kwarto. I closed my eyes para matulog. Tinamaan yata talaga ako ng pagod. All set na kong matulog nang narinig ko nanaman si Anton na nagsalita.

OFFICIAL COPY ayreezh

"Insan?"

Haaayyy.. -___I opened my eyes again and looked at my cousin na nakatayo sa may pinto.

Ako: What? Tinitigan lang ako ni Anthony sandali, tapos maya-maya ngumiti na sya. Hindi ung normal na nakakalokong parang adik nyang ngiti.. pero ung parang genuine smile ng mga normal na tao. :D Anthony: Insan.. Pagaling ka ha..

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Venice: G!! Are you sure?!? That's.. It's..... Di nga??!?

V looked at the diamond ring I just slipped on her left ring finger. She looks surprised and amused.. happy.. Happy? Understatement of the the year. :P Teka nga.. Anoh nga bang ginagawa ko? o_O

For some reason, ehto ako, nakaluhod sa harap ni Venice. I think I just proposed-Napatingin ako sa paligid. Props? Cardboard environment? Out of place furnitures? Audience??

Sinong matino ang mag-ppropose sa isang stage play while the story is still ongoing?? Di ko alam kung pano ko nalaman na di pa tapos ung play, pero I just feel like I'm sure we're right in the middle of performing.. -__-

Bumalik ung tingin ko kay Venice nung bigla syang tumayo and walked over to a radio -unusually placed in what seems to be the kitchen. Unusual dahil nasa ibabaw ng stove ung radyo. Sinoh bang nag-design ng stage setting na toh? O_O

OFFICIAL COPY ayreezh

Gising na.. Buksan ang yong mga mata, gising na Halina at silipin ang pagdilat ng umaga Tahimik at saksakan ng ganda

Aba.. Nag-pplay pa talaga ung radyo.

Gising na Nandiyan na ang umaga gising na Nais kong makita ang ngiti sa iyong mukha at pungay ng iyong mga mata-ha-ha-ha-ha -___-

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Uh... Haaayyyyy.. I knew this is all too unbelievably weird to be true. -__-

Binuksan ko ung isang mata ko. Tapos -- sapilitan pa -- binuksan ko ung kabilang mata. Kailangan ko pang tumitig dun sa silhouette na nakaluhod sa tabi ng kama ko para lang makapag-adjust ang mga newly opened eyes. At nung all is clear na nga, dun ko na-realize.. Kaya pala.. Kaya pala ako binabangungot.. Anthony: YAY!! Gising ka na! Effective pala talaga ung kantang un na panggising! :D Kantahan ka ba naman ng eccentric na toh, sinong di magigising?!? Ako: Anong oras na ba? Anthony: (tumayo) Uhmm.. Halos 6:30 na. Tumayo ka na dyan dahil kakain na tayo. Pagkatapos nating kumain, lalarga na. Dahan-dahan akong tumayo. Halos 3 oras na rin pala akong tulog. Napatingin uhlet ako kay Anthony.. at dun ko lang na-realize.. Ako: Anong nangyari syo!?? O_O Ehto namang mokong, natuwa pa yata. Nagpaikot-ikot pa dun sa kinakatayuan nya. Akala mo kung sinong model at kailangan talagang ipakita ang bawat angle ng katawan nya. Anthony: Look at me! I'm tanned! :D Ako: Actually, it's more like "burnt". O_O Nag-sunblock ka ba!?? Anthony: Eh bakit naman? Nag-papatan nga ako Ako: Sira ka talaga! Napatakbo ako sa kanya. Gusto ko sanang iikot-ikot sya para tignan talaga ung balat nya, pero natatakot akong hawakan. Di ba mahapdi kapag hinawakan ang sunburn? Ako: Tol! Daig mo pa ang alimango sa pula eh! Sigurado ka bang hindi ka na sun-poisoning o kung ano?!?! Anthony: Hinde noh.. Sabi ni Sheena, mag-ffade away din daw ung redness.. Tapos, magiging tanned na ko! Bronzed! A-la Brad Pitt! :D

OFFICIAL COPY ayreezh

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I don't think that's how it works.. Pero sige.. since na-comfort na sya dun sa idea na un, we'll just deal with the sunburns later. :P Bumaba na kaming dalawa. Talagang hindi ko magawang lumapit at dumikit man lang sa pinsan ko. Parang kasing ako ang nahahapdian sa balat nya eh. -__- Geez. Pagdating namin sa dining room, si Tita Marilen kagad ng sumalubong sa'min. Tita Marilen: Ay! Nephew-in-law! :D Nephew-in-law?!?! O__O Tita Marilen: Halika na! Maupo ka na dito at kakain na tayo! Tumingin ako sa paligid. Ako: Tayo lang? Nasan na poh sina DJ? Sheena: Ay umuwi na.. Pinauwi ng nanay nila. Anthony: You sound bitter~ Miss mo na? :D Sheena: Sapak gusto mo? Tita Marilen: Ay! May past? :D Sheena: HALA! WALA POH! O_O

OFFICIAL COPY ayreezh

Ay.. showbiz pa tohng mga toh... Tumingin-tingin ulit ako sa paligid. Nandito naman silang lahat. Nasan si Venice? Ako: Si Venice? Sheena: Naliligo pa. Natuwa kaseh sa "hot spring-slash-pool", ahyun, nag-amoy chlorine, sa tagal nyang nagbabad. Napatingin ako bigla kay Anthony.. Tapos kay Sheena.. Tanned.. Sunburn.. O___O Na-prito din kaya si V?!?!?!

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Waahhh... Ang panget.. at siguradong pag sunburn ang inabot nya, ilang araw (linggo?) akong di patatahimikin sa pagrereklamo nya ng mahapdi! "Haayyyy.. ang sarap maligo!" Napaupo ako bigla ng diretso. Ehto na.. Nandito na sya.. Makakatingin ba ko? NOOO!!! Seeing is believing! ToT Naramdaman kong humawak sya sa balikat ko. Titingin na ba ko?! Kaya ko ba ang kalbaryo ng reklamo!? Venice: Uyy, G! Gising ka na! Ang tagal ng tulog mo, di ka tuloy nakapagswimimng. Ako: Ha? Hinde! Ok lang! Marami namang tubig ung shower eh.. O_O Venice: Ok ka lang? o_O She sat on the seat next to me. Wala na talagang takas toh. Dahan-dahan akong umikot paharap sa kanya. At nung nasa gitna na sya ng vision ko, mahulog-hulog ako sa upuan -- from great relief. Venice: Huy! Ngiti-ngiti mo dyan?

OFFICIAL COPY ayreezh

She doesn't look like she burned her skin off or anything. At least sya, hindi tulad ng igno kong pinsan, natuto kung para saan ang sunblock. She got darker -- pero halos di naman pansin. Ako: Wala lang. Sige na.. kain ka na, V.. Baka kung anu-ano nanamang tinda sa bus ang bilhin mo mamaya eh. :D

Pagkatapos ng isang oras na paghakot ng mga gamit namen (na majority naman eh kay Sheena at Venice), all set na kaming lumuwas uhlet. Hinatid kami ni Uncle Pao sa bus terminal, and fortunately, may bus kagad na dumating. Hindi na tuloy nabigyan ng time magbibili si V ng kung anu-anong mapapapak sa bus.. :P Venice: Anoh ba yan, G! Dalhin mo naman ung gamit ko! Ako: Hala anoh ka.. Bigat-bigat nyan eh. Venice: Tao ka ba? -__-

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Ako: Oh but of course! :D Anthony: Hay nako kayong dalawa! Bilisan nyo na lang bago mapuno ung bus! Kinuha ni Anthony ung isang duffel bag na dala ni Venice, swung it over his shoulder and then looked at me. Nginitian ko na lang as thanks. Alam nya namang di pwede ang tremendous stress at fatigue sa'kin. Kaya sya na lang ang nag-presenta. Ang sweet ng pinsan ko! nyahahaha ;D Sumunod si Anton kay Sheena na pasakay na nung bus. Si Venice naman, napatingin sa'kin as she adjusts the straps nung backpack nya. Venice: Atat umuwi ang pinsan mo. Ako: Miss nya na siguro ung ate nya. :P Halika na nga! Sumakay na rin kami ni V nung bus. Tinapon ko ung backpack ko and ung backpack nya dun sa compartment sa taas, then sat down next to her. Mga advantages nga naman ng pagiging babae.. Dapat laging pagsilbihan!

Venice: G? Ako: Hm? Venice: Do you mind? Ako: Na?

OFFICIAL COPY ayreezh

Before I can turn my head to look at her, pinatong nya na ung ulo nya dun sa balikat ko. Makikitulog lang pala.. I gently held her face para hindi mahulog ung ulo nya as I shifted my position. Ako: It's alright. Get some sleep, V.

After about an hour and a half ng byahe, tinambak na namen ung mga babae sa bahay ni Venice. Makikitulog si Sheena raw dun si Sheena. :P

Kami naman ni Anthony, nag-tricycle nang pauwi. Hindi na kaya maglakad.. Rather, ayaw ni Anton maglakad.

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Anthony: HALA! Ano ka!? Maglalakad tayo??! Baliw ka ba!? Eh kung bigla kang mag-collapse? Tingin mo bubuhatin kita? Neknek mo! Ang panget tignan noh!

Yan ang reason nya, kaya sige, mag-tricycle kami. +_+ Pagbalik namin sa apartment, nandun si Marian, excited sa pagbalik namen -- kahit halos sipain nya na kami palabas nung aalis kami.

Marian: You're back!! How was---?! O__O Anthony, anong nangyari syo?!?

Binaba ko ung backpack ko sa may pinto as I watch Marian stare in horror at her brother.

Ako: Marian, meet the Red Lobster! :D Anthony: Red Lobster ka dyan! Tan! Magiging tan itoh! Marian: On what scale?!? Mabuti siguro kung tignan mo na ngayon pa lang kung may mga soothing lotion dyan.. O_O

Nanglaki ung mata ni Anthony. Nag-sink in na yata ang ibig sabihin ng "total sunburn". ;D Sumugod sya dun sa closet sa CR, looking for "magic soothing lotion". Sinundan ko si Marian papunta dun sa harap nung computer.

OFFICIAL COPY ayreezh

Ako: May nakita ka? Marian: Yup. Next Wednesday.. 9 AM flight.. from NAIA to LA. Ako: That's perfect. Marian: Sure ka na ba dito? As soon as possible ba talaga? Ako: Well, I'll just miss some classes. Pwede ko namang kunin ung mga notes for those missed lecture days. Tapos, I'll be back for the finals. It all works out. Marian: Eh pano ung mga recuparating days mo? Ako: Dadaanin sa will power! :D Marian: Adik ka ba?!? Ako: Hinde naman. Antok lang!

parang buong araw na kong tulog.. O_O

Ako: Everything's going to be okay. Marian: I pushed back the date for you. Ako: Anong date? o_O

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Marian: Ung sa play. I figured para naman mabawas-bawasan ang mga worries mo.. So I pushed it back to February -- Valentines Day. :D Wala nang kailangang isalpak na Christmas theme! Ako: Ehhh thanks.. Pero ok lang ba sa staff at sa cast? Marian: Syempre! Ako ang president! Ako ang masusunod! :D

Classic example of power-tripping.

Ako: Uh.. Ok.. I think I'm gonna go tell Anthony about the flight. O_O

Lumakad ako papunta dun sa hinahalughog pa ring banyo ni Anthony. Next Wednesday.. The sooner the operation, the better. Kailangan ko nang tawagan sina mom and dad para pagdating ko, at least may progress na. I'll call them after I deal with Anthony.

Tumingin ako kay Anthony. I wonder if he'll be able to come. -__- Mukhang ahas na magpapalit ng balat tohng taong toh. Di kaya mapagkamalang skin disease yan? Pagdating ng Wednesday, papasukin kaya sa airport toh?

OFFICIAL COPY ayreezh

Ako: An-Anthony: Soothing lotion.. Soothing lotion.. Soothing lotion.. Soothing lotion.. O__O

Uhh..

On second thought, I think I'll just call my parents now.

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Chapter 32: (Venice’s POV)

After a few days, back to normal nanaman ang lahat. Go back to classes, gumagawa ng blueprints para sa assassination plans for a variety of professors, sumasagap ng tsisimis, gumagawa ng tsismis, at dealing with people who can't get their heads around the fact na kami na ni G.

Isa na sa mga taong un si Kenny. Kenny: Ayyy, grabeh! Hindi ko pa rin ma-carry! Naging kayo, araw ng patay -- sa sementeryo pa! Bakla, di ka man lang ba kinilabutan? Ako: Tigilan mo na nga ako! Sheena: Heat of the moment nga raw. Tinanong sya, naging sila. Oh di va, shosyal?!? :D

The day after na nakabalik kami ni Sheena from Laguna, si Kenny kagad ang tinawagan ng best prend ko para makibahagi ng biyaya ng tsismis. At ngayon, kahit na ilang beses kong pinagpapaulit-ulit ung kwento (wala namang nagbabago sa details), pinipiga pa rin ako nung bakla every minute, every hour for two days na -- mag-tthree days pa nga yata! -__-

Haaayyyyy...

OFFICIAL COPY ayreezh

Pero di un ang focus ng brain ko ngayon. Dahil... Dahil.. Dahil... T^T Aalis na si G bukas!!! WAAAAAHHHHH!!! I know na babalik naman sya after a couple or so weeks siguro.. pero.. ba't ganon? Di nya ko sinama? Pano na lang ang mga picture taking opportunities ko? :D

Ako: *sigh* -__Sheena: Ay!? May paganon-ganon na lang? Kenny: Dahil ba sa lalayas na si fafa Gerard tomorrow? Ako: Haayyyy.. -__Sheena: Ay nako, best friend. Relax ka nga lang dyan. Babalik naman daw sila kagad, di va? Kenny: Bahket nga uhlet sila pupunta dun? Ako: Crisis de familia daw. Kenny: Anong klaseng crisis? Bahket kasama si Anthony? Ung mom ba nya may crisis kaya pati si Anthony kabuntot? Bahket di kasama si Ate Marian? Ako: Eh bahket ako tinatanong mo?

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Tumuloy kaming tatlo sa paglakad papunta sa cafeteria. Na-switch na ung subject dun sa new object of interest-slash-tsismis ni Kenny. Barely listening lang ako dahil nag-ffloat pa rin ang thoughts ko. I know it's not a big deal kung lilipad si G.. Wala lang.. Di ko rin ma-explain.. parang may kung anong nag-bbother sa'kin.

I was going to sigh again nang biglang napahinto kaseh biglang nangdilim ang paningin ko. O_O May rough na kamay ang biglang nag-cover sa eyes ko.

"Guess who?"

As if naman di ko makikilala ung boses mo. Kahit gano pa karami ang dumaldal kasabay ng pagsasalita mo, alam ko pa rin kung aling boses ang syo.

Waahhhh ang corny... brrr... kinilabutan ako. ;D

Umikot ako with the biggest smile plastered on my face, and ahyun nga.. Tumitig sa'kin pabalik ang fafable face ng boylet ko. ^o^

OFFICIAL COPY ayreezh

Ako: Hello to you too. :)

Gerard gave me a quick peck on the cheek. Kinuha nya ung kamay ko and led me dun sa mesa na kinuha nung mga friendships ko. Pag-upo na pag-upo naming dalawa, nagtinginan kagad si Sheena tsaka si Kenny.

Kenny: Alam mo, ito ung mga scenes sa movie na parang ang sweet-sweet. Pero pag nakikita mo sa tunay na buhay, nakakasuka pala. Ako: Inggit ka lang. :P

Umupo si Gerard sa tabi ko. Careful pa sya as he takes out a bottle of water from his bag.

Sheena: Oy, Gerard. Kamustah na ang kamatis mong pinsan?

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Gerard: (chuckles) Ahyun, nagbabalat na. Desperado sumama bukas kaya kunwari ok lang sya. Pero pag nilapitan mo naman para hawakan, daig pa si superman sa bilis ng takbo palayo! ;D Kenny: Ay speaking of! Ok lang ba ang mother mo? Gerard: Huh? Oo naman. Bakit?

Talagang hindi matahimik ang bakla hangga't hindi sya nakakasagap noh? Kaya siguro naging Journalism major yang si Kenny. Kailangan talagang ma-satisfy ang kanyang curiosity.

Kenny: Wala naman ba syang sakit? Gerard: Wala naman. I mean, none that I know of. Kenny: Eh ung mga kapatid ng mom mo? Gerard: Huh? I haven't seen them in years, pero I haven't heard anything about them being sick. Kenny: Hmmmm... Pinsan? Gerard: Si Anton, na-sunburn

Napatingin sa'kin si G with a big big question mark on his face. I can tell kung anong gusto nyang sabihin. Anoh raw nangyayari? :D

Ako: Hay, tama na nga yan, Kenny. Wala nga raw saket. Lalahatin mo pa ba ung buong angkan?

OFFICIAL COPY ayreezh

I flipped through my notes for my next class. May test ako, and dahil magaling akong estudyante, I barely studied last night. :P

Kenny: Last question na lang. So, fafa G.. Kung wala naman palang major event sa family nyo, eh bakit kayo pupunta sa US?

Naramdaman kong biglang nag-tense ung katawan ni G. Syempre, napatingin ako in surprise. May sense ung sinabi ni Kenny, pero kung may valid reason naman sya, bakit kailangan nyang mag-react ng ganon? Kinakabahan? o_O I saw his jaw tighten, which is ginagawa nya pag hindi nya alam ang sasabihin. Is he hiding something?

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"GD!"

Napatalon kaming apat dun sa sudden voice. Oh di va, to the highest level ang tension na ang simpleng tawag na ganun, tinatalunan namen. :D Halos patakbong lumapit sa'mi si Ate Marian. All bouncy pa sya as she sits next to Sheena.

Ate Marian: Kanina ko pa kayo hinahanap ha! :D Gerard: Marian..

He sounds relieved naman ngayon. o_O Anoh bang nangyayari sa world? Tumingin ako kay Sheena to see kung nakahalata rin sya. Tinaasan ako ng kilay ni best friend. In other words, may na-feel din syang out of place sa mga reactions ni Gerard.

Ate Marian: Ayy!! Venice, pahiram muna kay GD ha? May i-rrehearse lang kami for the play. Ako: Do you want me to come along? Ate Marian: Nako hindi na! Anoh, scene nila ni Sugar ung i-rrehearse namen eh. Lam mo na, since aalis na sya tomorrow, might as well practice ung scenes na paulit-ulit nyang tinatakasan. Gerard: Anong tinatakasan? Hindi ah! Tumayo silang dalawa at parang ma-llate sa meeting, nagmamadali ever! O_O Lalo tuloy akong napatingin kina Sheena at Kenny. They look confused too.

OFFICIAL COPY ayreezh

Something's really bothering me kaya, without thinking, tumayo ako to follow. Napatingin sa'kin ung magpinsan. Tumingin si Ate Marian kay Gerard. Parang may kung anong silent telepathy sa pagitan nila. Ate Marian waved goodbye sa'kin tapos sinabi nyang hihintayin nya na lang si Gerard sa hallway. Gerard looked at me, waiting for something. Parang nawala yata lahat ng sasabihin ko. -__-

Gerard: What's up? Ako: Are you.. Are you hiding something from me? :|

Wala pa tayong isang linggo, kung anu-ano na kagad tinatago mo! Avah, pano na lang ang mundo kung ayaw mong magsalita?? Anong tinatago mo ha? ha? ha?

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Yes I know. Matapang ako pag sa brain lang ako nakikipag-usap. :D

Ako: I'm not trying to pry into family issues.. pero.. you said, everything is alright with everyone in your family related to both you and Anthony. So.. why..? What's going on?

I stared at him. Now I know na there really is something kaseh kahit tinitignan nya ung face ko, he couldn't look straight to my eyes.

Sige lang. Magtitigan lang kame. I have time. Sinoh ba naman ang may gustong pumunta sa next class nya kung ung class na un eh Advanced Calculus ha?

Gerard: V.. Can I just ask you one favor?

Favor?? Ako na nga tohng nagtatanong kung anong nangyayari, sya pa mag-aask ng favor? Abno ba sya!?? Pero wala naman akong sinabi.

Gerard: Will you trust me on this? Ako: If I will, is it going to be a good idea? Gerard: I won't suggest it if it's going to be bad for you. Ako: Why can't you just tell me?

OFFICIAL COPY ayreezh

dahil ba sa tsismosa ako? Anoh bang ayaw mong lumabas? Terrorist ka ba? May iaassassinate ka ba? Bakla ka ba na ayaw pang mag-come out? -__- Teka.. Ang panget naman nun.

Gerard: Just trust me, ok? I'll tell you everything when it's all over.

Niyakap nya na ko then walked out of the cafeteria. Hindi ako sumunod. Di ko alam kung maaasar ba ko o anoh. Ayoko naman maging overbearing.

Aalis na nga lang sya't lahat, pipikunin pa ko.

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Chapter 33: (Gerard’s POV)

Sabay kaming umuwi ni Anthony nung hapon na un. Nauna nang umuwi si Venice, ni hindi man lang ako hinintay. Feeling ko lang, bad trip sya sa'kin. Kahit nung dumating na kami ni Anton sa apartment, ni isang text, wala akong natanggap.

Anthony: May LQ kayo ni Venice? Ako: I don't know. Anthony: Bakit di mo alam?

Feeling ko lang, malapit na rin akong ma-bad trip. Tinitigan ko si Anthony, baka sakaling mapansin nyang mainit ang ulo ko, baka tigilan nya muna ang interrogation nya. Pero syempre, knowing Anton, may pagka-dense ang loko. Lalo na't busy sya sa pag-iimpake. Di man lang nya na-realize na I'm looking -- glaring -- at him.

Anthony: Huling gabi mo na nga toh dito, mag-aaway pa kayo. Anu ba naman un? Ako: Anong "huling gabi"?!? Ano ba yang pinagsasabi mo!??! Babalik pa ko noh!

Late ko nang napansin na medyo lumakas na pala ang boses ko. Napatingin na lang sa'kin si Anthony with a startled look on his face.

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Anthony: Tol, relax ka lang. Ok ka lang ba? I threw myself on the couch and stared at the ceiling. Ano nga bang problema ko? I usually have more patience when dealing with Anthony.

Ako: Yea, I'm okay. Sorry. Anthony: Kinakabahan ka noh? Ako: Bakit naman? I know Venice. She's not that shallow. We'll be okay. Anthony: Hindi, hindi si Venice. I meant ung..... pwedeng mangyari pagdating natin sa US. What if.... What if something unexpected happens? Ako: Then I'll deal with it when it happens. Anthony: Hayyy.. Sige na nga, bahala ka. But won't you at least call Venice now?? Baka masugod pa sa mental un nang kakaisip eh. Ako: I've been texting her, di naman nag-rreply. Baka busy. I'll just try again later.

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Truth is, naiisip ko rin naman yang mga "Pano kung nangyari toh?" or "Pano kung hinde mangyari toh?" "Masyado na bang advanced ung sakit ko to undergo an operation?" "Pano kung walang donor?"...

..."What if I die?"

Di ko alam kung anong iisipin to comfort myself, kaya hinde ko na lang iniisip. Denial ba tawag dun?

I reached for my phone again, and for about the hundredth time since nakauwi kame, I went to "Create New Message".

"V?? Are u really busy? or are u just avoiding me? text mo naman ako.."

And that would be the hundredth text message I sent to her tonight..

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Chapter 34: (Venice’s POV) It was you and meagainst the world And you promised me forevermore Was it something that I said? Was it something that I did? Cause I gotta know what made me unbeautiful... It was you and me, against the world And you promised me forever--

Hello din syo, text message.. Ang ingay mo.

Binuksan ko ung "1 new message" and as usual, si Gerard nanaman. And syempre, high blood pa rin ako, kaya hindi pa rin ako nag-reply. :P

"Another text message?"

Napatingin ako dun sa shadow sa harap ko, and smiled -- the "flirtiest" smile I can manage. Old habits die hard. :D I know.. supposedly taken na ko. Pero sabi nga ng Biology professor ko: Kung hindi mo kasama ang boyfriend mo, single ka pa rin! ;D

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Anyway, nandito ako sa bahay nina Sheena, nakikigulo sa "Happy Vacation" party para dun sa pinsan nya from England. Walter Johnston aka Wally. 21 years old. Namana ang napakacharming na smile ng pamilya ni Sheena.. born and raised in England.. yes, England.. MAY BRITISH ACCENT SI KUYA~!!! :D At my golay, ehto sya ngayon sa harap ko. Parang akong batang nakatitig sa candy. *__* Josko, Lord, keep me away from the delectable temptation.

Ako: Uhmm.. yea.. Another text message. Wally: Your boyfriend, I assume? Okay lang kahit boyfriend ko un! Take meeee!!! :D

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Ako: Yea. Wally: Well, why don't you just tell him to come over here?

Anoh vaaah, kuya.. Bahket ba tumabi-tabi ka pa dito kung kukulitin mo lang pala ako tungkol kay Gerard?

"Because they're not speaking with each other right now."

Napaikot kaming dalawa and saw Sheena with two glasses in her hands... Two sparkly glasses with sparkly alcohol in them. :D

Wally: Oh I see... What was it again, Sheena? LQ? Sheena: Ay yes! I've taught you well! :D

Sa dinami-dami ng ituturo sa pinsan nya, un pang mga walang katulong-tulong sa buhay dito noh? -___-

Sheena: Anyway, stop pestering her, cousin. She bites. :P Ako: Hey! Sheena: Here, one for you, one for you.

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Inabot nya sa'ming dalawa ni Wally ung hawak nyang mga baso.

Ako: What's this? Sheena: The answer to all the world's problems. Also known as: tequila. Ako: Loka! May balak pa kong umuwi noh! Sheena: Anoh ka ba?!? Dito ka na matulog! May mga damit naman ako dyan, may pasalubong naman sigurong underwear yang si insan. (tingin kay Wally) Right, Wally? :) Wally: Huh? Sheena: Just say yes. Tumingin sa'ming dalawa si Wally. Ahyan kaseh, magbabakasyon-bakasyon sa Pinas, di muna nag-aral ng Tagalog. He looked at me again then he laughed. O_O Tawanan ba ko?!?

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Wally: Uh, yes, sure! What Sheena said. ;) Sheena: See? Sleepover ka na! Inumin mo na yan dahil marami pang susunod! :D

I watched Sheena walk away. Dakilang waitress yata. Lahat na lang ng tao, sya ang nag-sserve ng drinks.

Wally: Ahhh....

Lumipat ung tingin dun sa katabi ko. O.O Anak ng lola! Naubos nya na kagad ung iniinom nya! Samantalang ung akin, wala pang kalahati -- ni di pa nga umaabot ng kalahati ng kalahati ung iniinom ko! Di man lang ako hinintay!

Wally: This isn't too bad. Are you gonna drink that? Ako: You drink a lot? Wally: Not really. Just for special occasions. (smiles) And only with the most exquisite of women. ;)

Ay! Exquisite daw ako! :D Parang tarsier -- endangered species ang dating!

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Ako: Let's drink.

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Chapter 35: (Gerard’s POV)

Where is she? Where is she? Inikutan ko uhlet ng tingin ung buong bahay. I'm almost certain na wala talagang tao sa loob. Aside from the fact na halos 10 minutes na kong kumakatok at nag-doorbell, kahit anong titig ko, wala talagang gumagalaw sa loob. She's not answering her phone nor the house phone. Ni di man lang nag-rreply sa mga text. Where is she?!? Anthony: Can we gooo home noowwww?? Halata namang walang tao dyan eh. -___Ako: Anthony, where is she!?? Anthony: Abah! malay ko! Mukha ba kong tracker?! Since dumating kami kanina, umupo na kagad si Anton dun sa sidewalk. Di man lang tumulong mambulabog. Tapos ngayon, magpapaka-pilosopo pa sya?! Namumuro na sya, konti na lang isasabit ko na sya dun sa gate! >:( Anthony: Insan! Wag mo kong tignan nang ganyan! Natutunaw ako~! :D

PAK!

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Anthony: ARAY! Anoh ba?!? Ako: Ang gulo ng lahi mo! Anthony: Magkalahi tayo! Di mo dapat ako binabatukan dahil sa magulo ang lahi naten -NATEN! Ako: Gusto mo bang masipa pa? -__Anthony: Alam mo, for someone who's dying, ang brutal mo pa rin. Ako: Tigilan mo na nga ako! Halika na, umuwi na tayo. Tumayo si Anthony -- all smiles pa. Masaya na siguro sya dahil uuwi na rin kami sa wakas. Ganyan ba dapat ang isang pinsan?!? Di ba dapat mas supportive sya sa mga pinaggagawa ko? -___Anthony: Wag mo nang alalahanin ung si Venice, insan. Susulpot din un bukas. Matitiis ka pa ba naman nun? :D Ako: You think? Anthony: Of course! Ilang linggo ka rin mawawala, mamimiss ka naman siguro nun.

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I hope so. Si Venice pa, eh ang tigas din ng ulo nun. Anthony: Hayyy nako.. Ikaw rin naman kaseh. Ayaw mo pang sabihin ung totoo. Ehwan ko syo! Iba rin ang pagka-stubborn mo! I'm sure naman na maiintindihan nya-Ako: Anthony. Anthony: Yes? :) Ako: Shut up. Anthony: Okay.

(Venice's POV)

*gulp*

Ako: Ahhhhh!!! The best! Sheena: Venice.. Tama na yan. Kanina ka pa shot ng shot. :| Ako: Anoh vah, best friend? Di vah ehto naman ung gusto mo? Mag-enjoy ako? Oh, I'm enjoying myself!

Tumingin ako kay Wally na may hawak pang isang bote. Bakit parang nag-ssway-sway sya? Normal rin bang lumalabo sya? -___Lasing na siguro si kuya! wahahahaha :D

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Ako: One more! Wally: Uh.. Are you sure? You're beet red.. You're drunk already. Ako: I. Am. Not. Drunk. Drunk is when you go to the toilet to throw up.. or.. or.. or.. when you collapse on the floor because gravity is making the room spin. Now, one more!

Nagtinginan si Wally tsaka si Sheena.. at kahit hesitant, binigay pa rin sa'kin ni Wally ung kung anuman ung iniinom ko. Dapat lang noh! Kung hindi, tatalunin ko sya! :D

Sheena: Best Friend, anoh ka ba? Bakit ba close nanaman kayo ni alcohol? Ako: Matagal na kaming close ni alcohol noh~ Nakoo.. lalo na pag nagliliwaliw ang lalake sa buhay mo. Ang kaisa-isang lalake na you really cared about.. and.. and.. Napatingin ako bigla kay Sheena.

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Ako: I have noooo idea what's going on.

At ehto na.. nararamdaman ko na ang tama ng alcohol. Nagsimula na ang waterworks ng mga mata ko. Kamustah naman.. kanina, ako ang pinakamaingay, tawa pa ko ng tawa.. tapos 5 minutes later, wala na.. ehto na.. umiiyak na ko. Lasing na yata ako.

Kinuha na ni Wally ung hawak kong bote. Lumapit sa'kin si Sheena sabay yakap sa'kin.

Sheena: It's okay. You and Gerard... You two are meant to be. Wally: I know it's not my place to speak. I only know your situation from Sheena's words. But, don't worry, ok? He'll be crazy to let go of someone like you.

Napatingin ako kay Wally. Panira naman ng moment tong taong toh eh! Umiiyak ako, bigla pang hihirit ng ganon!?? Samahan nya pa ng katunaw nyang mga mata. Pano ba naman ako tutuloy sa pag-emote ko nyan?! Ava'y dinadaig ang pagkamalandi ko eh! :D

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Before I knew it, bigla akong tumawa. As in tumawa talaga ako nang tumawa. Pahid ng luha tapos tawa uhlet. Ehwan ko rin ba kung bahket ako tumatawa. Lord, is it possible na mabaliw overnight? ;D Kaya lang.. si kuya naman kaseh eh! Ang mga hirit! Ehto na nga ako, nag-eemote, tapos bigla kang sasapawan ng "He'll be crazy to let go of someone like you" Anoh vah!?? I know I'm perfect! :D Napatingin si Wally kay Sheena.

Wally: Is she bipolar? O_O

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Chapter 36: (Venice’s POV) Ugh.. What time is it? Why is it so bright? ugh.. My head...

"Venice?"

Wag sumigaaawwww~ -____-

In reality, bumubulong lang naman talaga ung kung sinuman ung tumatawag sa'kin. Pero pag ganito kasakit ang ulo mo, parang ung tenga mo nagkakaron ng superpowers. Lahat ng sounds, booming!

Ako: Who are you and what do you want?

Nung walang sumagot, binuksan ko ng konti ung isang mata ko. Sheena is standing right next to the bed. Yes, the bed.. I don't even remember going upstairs to her room.. much less actually sleeping on her bed. Iba talaga ang talent ni pareng Jack Daniels! :D

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Sheena: Girl, it's almost 8:00 AM. You're gonna be late for Gerard's flight. Ako: Ugh.. Why do I have to go!? It's not like he wants me there. Sheena: Alam mo, kung wala ka lang major hang-over, nabatukan na kita! Of course, he wants you there! Ilang linggo rin kayong di magkikita noh! Ako: But he still won't tell me what's going on. Kahit di ako nagparamdam.. Wala mang lang: "Ok fine, I'll tell you, so please talk to me" na sinabe ung loko. Sheena: Life is never a fairy tale. Ako: I wasn't asking for magic. I was asking for trust.

Walang kibo si Sheena. May sense naman ung sinasabi ko, pero parang hindi nya pa rin ako kakampihan. She looks determined to get me out of her bed, kaya malamang, kahit anong argument ko, mapapalayas at mapapalayas din ako. Oh anong saklap ng world sa mga may hang-over na tulad ko? T-T

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Sheena: Just go, ok? Wala namang mawawala syo kung pumunta ka.

She left the room, at syempre, dahil she had the final word, I have no choice kundi bumangon at sumunod sa orders ng best prend ko. Masama pa talaga sa loob ko ang pagtayo.. Parang ang possessive nung kama, ayaw akong paalisin.

11:00 ang flight ni G. If I manage to leave soon, aabot pa ko. Pero parang di ko talaga feel.

What is wrong with me?

knock knock

Naputol ang moment of reflection ko nang biglang sumilip si Wally. WALLY!!!! O.O

Napatingin ako bigla sa salamin -- and oh my golay! I look horrible! I quickly grabbed the bath towel Sheena laid out and covered myself. Kung pwede lang pati ung mukhatakpan ko. Mukha akong nakipagsabunutan!

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Ako: What are you doing here?!? Wally: Sheena told me to check up on you. Ako: For what!?!? Wally: She asked me to take you to the airport. I'm just making sure you're up before I go get changed. Ako: You?!? You're taking ME?! What?! When?! How?! Why?!? Napangiti si kuya. Ay nako, sige, i-flash mo pa yang dimples mo! Ipamukha mo pa sa'kin na mukha akong basahan habang ikaw mukhang Greek god dyan!

Wally: I offered to take you to your runaway lover. So go get ready, princess. We'll leave in an hour. ;) After that he smiled at me one more time then left the room. Ako naman, natulala..

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Princess?!? Itsura kong toh, mukha pa ba kong "princess"?!?!

Although I know, normally, maganda talaga ako. nyahahahaha :D

Napatingin ako dun sa outfit na hinanda ni Sheena sa kama. Sa daming beses ng mga impromptu naming mga sleepovers, nag-store na kame ng mga underwear, shoes, accessories, etc in each other's houses. Oh di va? Efficient? :D

Haaaayyyy...

Oh well.. I should be thankful. At least sasamahan ako ni Wally. If something goes wrong, at himatayin akong bigla sa sobrang hangover, he can carry me back home. :P

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Chapter 37: (Gerard’s POV)

10:25 AM. NAIA

She's not here. She's.. not here..

I looked at the crowd of people around me again. Has it always been this crowded in the airport?

She didn't come to the apartment. She didn't text me. She didn't call me. Is she alright? Is she not coming to see me off?

Anthony: Tol, relax ka lang. Baka na-traffic lang.

Ahyun ang sinasabi nya, pero halata naman sa mukha nyang na-sstress na rin sya. I bet if Marian ditched class to come here, she'd probably be stressing out too.

Ako: She's not coming.. is she?

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Tinignan lang ako ni Anthony. Walang maisagot dahil wala namang isasagot. Is it possible for Venice to be so pissed that she wouldn't want to see me leave? Kahit na di kame magkikita nang matagal?

Passengers for Flight 324 to Los Angeles, please proceed to the boarding area. Passengers for Flight 324 to Los Angeles --

Anthony: That's us. Let's go.

He stood up and started picking up our luggage bags. I looked at the crowd one last time. Baka sakaling mag-materialize sya.. Ung parang ba dun sa mga movies.. Di ba laging ganun ung nangyayari?

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Pero wala.

Ako: Okay...

I can't help but feel disappointed. I grabbed my luggage too and started to tread towards the boarding area when I heard it. It was subtle, but I heard it. Kahit gano pa kaingay, kahit gano pa karami ang tao sa paligid ko, I'll always know her voice. "G!!! G!!! Waiitttttt langgg!!!! Anak ng tokwa! Tumabi ka nga sa daanan ko! Kita mo nang may hinahabol ako!"

Yep, there she is.. pushing some random guy off her way. Hahabol na nga lang, mang-aaway pa. +__+ Anthony: Amazona talaga. O_O

When she finally reached us, dun ko lang napansin.. May kasama sya. Sa malayo, hinde halata. But when the guy stopped when she stopped, it's obvious na magkasama sila.. and not in a chaperon-client kind of way.

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Who is this guy??

Venice: (gasps for air) I can't believe I made it.

Napalipat ung tingin ko kay Venice na hinihingal sa harap ko. If people at school see their "Campus Queen" like this, they'd probably oust her. :P Di nga yata nakapag-blowdry ng buhok... or suklay man lang. :D

Ako: Late ka nanaman gumising. Anong ginawa mo kagabi? Napatingin uhlet ako dun sa guy sa likod ni V. Kasama nya ba toh kagabi? Napansin yata ni Venice na sinusulyapan ko ung lalaki kaya she casually pointed to him.

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Venice: Cousin ni Sheena, si Wally. Welcome party kagabi. I was so mad at you, I didn't want to speak to you at all. Ako: So you're not mad anymore? Venice: No. I'm sorry for how I acted. I'll trust you. Do whatever you have to do. Don't worry about me. I'll be here when you come back. :)

Binaba ko ung luggage ko then immediately wrapped her in my arms. I don't know if I'll be able to do hug her the same way after I change my heart. Do feelings really change when people get heart transplants? I don't know. But if ever, at least we'll have this moment.

Ako: Take care of yourself. Gusto ko pagbalik ko, buo ka pa rin. Venice: Mukha ba kong detachable? -__-

Tinawanan ko lang sya. We're okay. That's good to know. Ako: I'll miss you.

Venice tightened her arms around me. Parang biglang ayoko nang umalis.. Who's gonna watch her while I'm gone? She's such a klutz pa naman.

OFFICIAL COPY ayreezh

I was seriously considering backing out, but then she suddenly let go of me and smiled.

Ako: Di mo man lang ba ko iiyakan? Venice: Bakit? Kaiyak-iyak ka ba? :P Come back soon, ok? Ako: I will. :) Pinulot ko na uhlet ung maleta ko. I smiled at her for the last time, then turned around to leave with Anthony -- na hinde na mapakali kakahintay.

"G!"

I turned to look at Venice again. This time, ahyan, naluluha na sya. Alam kong medyo masama tignan, pero natuwa pa kong makita na naiiyak sya. :P At least I know she cares.

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Venice: Two weeks, ok? That's what you said.. Just 2 weeks.

I nodded. Napatingin ako dun sa guy -- Wally? -- he has his hands on Venice's shoulders. Why is he touching her?!? >:(

Wally: Don't worry about her, man. I'll take care of her while you're away.

Tinitigan ko lang sya. Eh kung talunin ko na kaya tohng Briton na toh?!? Anoh?! Ha?!? Hawak hawak ka dyan?!? Pasimpleng chansing ka pa kay V?!??! >:(

Anthony: Tol, halika na! Final call na nung flight naten!

Bago ako tuluyang mahila palayo ni Anthony, I turned to Venice again. Before I got blocked out by the crowd, I shouted to her, Ako: V! I'll be back! I promise!

And then she was gone. The crowd completely covering her from my sight.

Anthony and I reached our boarding gate. We handed out tickets and passports to the flight stewardess before dragging ourselves to the airplane. Tinapon ni Anthony ung mga bag namin sa compartment sabay upo sa tabi ko.

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Ako: We should make this trip as short as possible. Less than two weeks kung pwede. Anthony: Huh? Bahket naman? Ako: Didn't you see that guy?!? I'm not going to let him take my place for any longer than a month! Anthony: Si Wally? Bahket? Anong ginawa? o_O Ako: Are you blind?!? He was all over V! Anthony: Are you crazy? Wala namang ginawa ah. Na-pparanoid ka lang. At kahit pa may British accent un, hinde papatulan ni Venice un noh! Anong binatbat nun sa pinsan ko, eh ang gwapo gwapo ng lahi naten?! :D Ako: Palagay mo rin? Anthony: Oo naman! Hard to find ang lahi na kasing good-looking naten noh. -___-

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Ako: I was talking about Venice. Ung hinde nya pagpatol dun sa Briton na un.. What's up with you and genes? Anthony: What? Ako: Ang gulo mo kausap. Anthony: Anoh?!? Anoh nanaman? o_O

Ano na nga bang pinag-uusapan namin? Ang gulo kasi kausap nitong taong toh eh!

Oh well.. Basta, all I know is I need to get back soon. I'm not going to lose Venice. lalo na if-- when I'm finally better and living.

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Chapter 38: (Venice’s POV) It's been too long and I'm lost without you What am I gonna do? Blah blah blah blah blah-blah.. Kung pano man ung takbo nung lyrics nun.. :P Limang araw.. limang araw nang wala si fafa G ko. T-T

Ohhh ilaawwww.. Oh ilaawww.. Nababaliw na ko!!! Limang araw pa lang yang lagay na yan?! Eh ano na lang pag 2 weeks na?! Mapupunta na ko sa Mandaluyong City -- sa loob. Kasama ang mga former best prendz kong hanggang ngayon eh nasa mental house-pital pa rin. +__+ At for the 685,757th time this day, ehto nanaman ako.. napapaligiran ng cellphone, house phone, at ng laptop. Sinisilip-silip ang bawat isa. Di ba dapat nakarating na sa US ung dalawang un ngayon? Bahket wala pa rin nagpaparamdam? -__Wala namang bumagsak na eroplano sa news.. di va? O_O "VENICEEEEE!!! LUMABAS KA DYAN! NGAYON NA!" O__O Napatayo akong bigla sabay takbo papunta sa bintana -- magkandarapa-dapa pa ko. Magskandalo ba naman sa labas! Pasensya na, hamak na palengkera ang best friend ko. :D Hindi marunong gumamit ng doorbell si Sheena. Ano nga bang ginagawa nito dito!? Kasama pa ung pinsan nyang Briton. Haayyy.. Gusto ko man silang itaboy at bumalik sa pagtitig ko sa mga telepono, as if naman basta-basta aalis yang si Sheena. Anoh pang choice ko kundi papasukin sila.. Ako: Ano't nanggugulo nanaman kayong dalawa?

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Yes.. Sa loob nung limang araw, maka-twenty five times na silang daan ng daan dito. Nung minsang tinaguan ko, halos magpatawag na ng pulis ung kapitbahay sa sobrang ingay ni Sheena. Sheena: Eh kaseh naman, mukmok mode ka nanaman dito. Anoh, nagparamdam na ba? Ako: Hindi pa nga eh. Busy yata. Kahit si Anton, hinde rin nagpaparamdam. Sheena: Baka walang phonecard kaya hinde makatawag. May sira ang computer, kaya hinde makapag-net. Di va? Ako: *sigh* Siguro. -__Sheena: Ay! Ay! Baka na-evict na sila! Kaya wala na talagang telepono at computer! Ay! Oo nga! O.O

PAK! Sheena: Aray! I swear ha, nagiging violent ka pag stressed out! Ako: Ayusin mo nga yang brain mo. Kung anu-anong sinasabe mo! Napatingin ako bigla kay Wally na tahimik na nakatayo sa tabi ni Sheena. He's casually looking around since di naman sya makaintindi sa pinagsasabe namen. Ako: Bahket pati yan kasama mo? Sheena: Duh! Alangan namang iwanan ko!? Nagbakasyon pa sya kung sa bahay lang pala ang bagsak nya. Hindi na nga sya makalayas habang nasa school ako, ikukulong ko pa ba naman kahit nakauwi na ko. Ako: Okay? Sheena: Halika at sumama ka. Mag-cclubbing tayo! :D Clubbing? Now that I think about it, ang tagal ko na rin pala hindi nakakabalik sa club. Miss na ko ng mga tao dun. But still.. di ba pwede next time na lang? :P Ako: Ay bahket kailangan kasama pa ko? Sheena: Eh itsura naman! Magpinsan kame tapos kaming dalawa mag-bbump n grind!? Eeewwwww~ Ako: Eh sinong sasayaw mo?!? Sheena: Mamumulot na lang ako ng fafa dun. :) I just need you para hinde kami magmukhang couple noh.. Para naman may lumapet sa beauty ko. :D Ako: In other words, gagawin mo kong props? Sheena: Major props. :D Bruha talaga. Napatingin ako dun sa mga gadgets ko. Pano kung biglang magparamdam si fafa G ko? Baka ma-miss ko ang very much anticipated na pagpaparamdam nya.

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Sheena: Hay nako! Wag mo nang hintayin. I-todo loud at vibrate mo na lang ang cellphone mo, i-slide mo sa boots mo, at pag tumawag un, sure ako, mararamdaman mo. Now, let's go!

Haaaaayyyy... Ako: Okay fine. Wait lang, magbibihis lang ako.

It's alright. Sa cellphone ko sya tatawag kung walang sumagot sa housephone. at kung magemail o chat man sya, makikita ko naman pag-uwi ko. Okay! Let's go! :D

Ako: What do you mean we can't do it yet?!?! It's been a week already! Mom: Honey, I know. But they're having a hard time finding an organ. There's probably at least a million of people on the list. It's not easy to go up and get a donor as soon as possible. Ako: And what did the doctor say about all this? Dad: They said they can have a heart for sure by next month or the month after that. The only way we can go up that list is if you undergo more tests and they prove that you need that heart ASAP. Ako: But those tests need more time! I'll be here forever!

OFFICIAL COPY ayreezh

(Gerard's POV)

Nagtinginan ung parents ko. Anoh ba naman toh?!? Ilang araw na kong nandito, nag-uundergo sa sandamakmak na tests, hanggang ngayon, wala pa ring nangyayari. My 2 weeks are almost up.

I've been spending most of my days sa hospital. Doing this, taking that.. Talking with this doctor, making sure that everything's going the way it's supposed to go. Hinde ba dapat ngayon na sila nag-ooperate while I'm still strong enough to undergo an operation? Ako: Okay.. I'll just..

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This is crazy.

Tumayo ako and then started to walk out of the room. Dad: Gerard, where are you going? Ako: I need some air. I need to calm down. Nararamdaman ko nanaman ung mga small pinches in my heart. If I don't get rid of this, malamang diretso nanaman ako sa ER -- for the 2nd time since I've been here.

Nakita ko si Anthony na nakaupo dun sa garden nung hospital. I walked over to him since ung garden na lang din naman ang pinakamalapit na venue na mararating ko kung gusto ko umabot sa labas. He looked up at me nung umupo ako sa bench katabi nya.

Anthony: So, bakit gusto ka nila kausapin? Dahil ba dun sa mga nurses? Nagsumbong ba? Hinde naman tayo nakikipag-flirt eh! Hinde ko lang talaga makita ung CR! T^T Ako: (chuckles) No, it wasn't because of that. Anthony: Eh ano?

I took a deep breath. In, out, in, out... I'm feeling a bit better. That's good.

OFFICIAL COPY ayreezh

Ako: Tol.. wala pa ring available organ na makita.

Tumingin sa'kin si Anthony. He looks relieved that we're not really in trouble with sexual harrassment claims. Tapos, na-process na nung slow brain nya ung sinabi ko. He suddenly looked horrified. Anthony: Anoh!??! Hanggang ngayon?!? Akala ko ba bago pa lang tayo pumunta, nagpahanap ka na!? Ako: Oo nga. Kaya lang, I guess it's not that easy to get a heart. Anthony: Eh pano na ngayon? Ako: If they manage to prove na talagang mamatay ako without a transplant ASAP, then I guess, I can move up the list at makakakuha ako ng organ. Anthony: Oh, eh di gawin nila!

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I looked up at the sky... the clear blue sky. It's as if it's mocking me na konti na lang, lilipad na ko dun sa blue na yan. Pang-asar.

Ako: That means staying here far longer than 2 weeks... probably even a month. Who knows? And if I stay.. will Venice still be there when I get back? Anthony: Alam mo...

Napatingin ako kay Anthony para hintayin kung ano pa ung idadagdag nya. Kung anumang sympathy words yang sasabihin nya..

Anthony: Ang tanga mo. -___Yan ang pinsan ko: incapable of sympathy talaga. =__=

Ako: Anoh!? Anthony: Kung hinde ka naman ba dalawa't kalahating tanga.. Nag-wworry ka kay Venice kung nandun pa sya pagbalik mo.. Eh ang tanong naman talaga dyan eh, makakabalik ka pa ba!? Pano kung mag-collapse ka sa eroplano?! Akala mo ba i-rresuscitate kita?!?! Neknek mo! May dahilan kung bahket di ako nag-Nursing noh! At pag di ka bumalik, anoh na lang iisipin ni Venice!? tapos malaman nya pang sa eroplano ka naghingalo!? Aba! Kawawa naman ung kaibigan ko! Tinaguan mo na nga ng maluphet na sikreto tapos--Ako: OKAY FINE!

OFFICIAL COPY ayreezh

Tumigil lang sya sa guilt-tripping nya~ :P

Anthony: Really? Okay fine? :D Ako: Yea, fine! I'll stay for the stupid doctors' stupid tests for their stupid approval for the stupid list! Anthony: Ay, I'm so glad hinde ka na masyadong stupid! :D

Tumayo na kaming dalawa para bumalik dun sa kwarto ko. We found my parents talking to a doctor. They all turned to me nung pumasok kami.

Ako: I'll stay.

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Mom: Gerard? Ako: I'll take whatever tests you still need me to take. Just.. just make sure you find the best possible heart you can get.. as soon as possible.

The best heart. Dahil sigurado ako, pag bumalik ako, gyera kagad ang dadaanan nung pusong un para lang makuha uhlet ang other half ng puso ni Venice...

Papatayin nya kaya ako? Anoh ba naman un.. Naligtas nga ako from a heart disease, murder lang pala ang kakatapusan ko. -__-

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Chapter 39: (Venice’s POV) Good morning to you~ Good morning to you~ La la la la la la Good morning to you~ Masaya ako -- walang kokontra! :D Lately, nakasanayan ko nang paggising na paggising ko, check kagad ng phone. Pero just like the past few days, wala nanamang text or missed call. But do not despair! May laptop pa! I rolled out of bed and gumapang papunta sa laptop ko para mag-check ng email... @[email protected]

Is this real? After ilang araw ng complete silence, may laman ang inbox ko!!! T^T ..un nga lang, spam lang pala ung email na un. -__Haayyyy..

Pinatay ko na uhlet ung laptop. Another useless morning ng paggising nang maaga...

OFFICIAL COPY ayreezh

Rrriinnggg!! Rriinggg!!! O_O Ay housephone! Nag-rring! nag-rring! Takbo kagad ako dun sa cordless phone just outside my room. Parang timang noh? Ring lang ng telepono, madapa-dapa pa ko pagtakbo. :P Ako: Hello? Hello? Someone chuckled on the other line. and I swear, nanghina ang knees ko. It's him... Finally.

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Anak ng tokwa! Ang tagal-tagal kong naghihintay! Ngayon lang tumawag?!?!? rawr! Ako: G? "Yea. It's me. Hello, V."

WAaahhhh sya nga talaga!!! Gerard: Sorry, ngayon lang ako nakatawag. I've been busy. Hmmm I actually I still am, pero di na ko makatiis eh. :) Ako: Really? Ay josko! Anu ba un?! Kinikilig ako! :D Ako: So.. when are you coming back?

Patapos na ang kalahating buwan mo. Bumalik ka na!

Gerard: Actually.. That's the main reason I'm calling now. Nag-iba.. nag-iba ang tono ni voice.. :|

OFFICIAL COPY ayreezh

Ako: Okay? Gerard: It seems like I have to stay here for a while. I don't know for how long. I'm sorry, V. I know I promised you two weeks, but something came up and I really can't leave yet. ... ..... Gerard: V? Ako: I'm here. Gerard: You're mad. Ako: No. Gerard: Yes, you are. You're voice is doing that squeaky thing. Ako: I do not squeak! Anong tingin mo sa'kin, mouse?!

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Eeewwww.. nag-ssqueak nga ung boses ko. O_O Ano vah yan.. *inhale* *exhale* Ako: Bakit hindi ka pa makauwi? Gerard: I'm sorry, V. I'll call you more often if that's gonna ease your anger. Still avoiding the question.... Ako: You still.. don't want to tell me what's going on. Gerard: I'm sorry. Sorry.. Sorry.. Puro na lang sorry!! Makakain ko ba yang sorry na yan!?? Ako: I have to go. Papasok pa ko. I have to go get ready. Gerard: V... Please wait for me.

I didn't answer. I know I'd probably end up waiting for him, pero pag galit ka, parang ang sarap mang-torture eh. Gerard: I miss you, V. Ako: Bye. I hang up. Hinde ko na hinintay ung sagot nya. Kaseh.. I knew that if I stayed longer on the phone, I'm gonna start sobbing.. uncontrollably.

OFFICIAL COPY ayreezh

It's already good enough that he can't see the tears already streaming down my face. Napaluhod akong bigla sa sobrang sikip ng dibdib ko kakaiyak. Why won't he come back to me? :'(

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Haayyy.. The whole day passed by like a blur. Tanungin mo ko kung anong nangyari sa last class ko, at titignan lang kita dahel hinde ko maalala. Tapos ehto ngayon, umeextra pa si Ate Marian... Talagang nagpatawag pa ng practice after class. Bubwit na play yan! Yan ang may kasalanan ng lahat! >:( Nakaupo ako dun sa front row with Sheena, pinapanood ung scene ni Sugar tsaka nung character ni Gerard (na ngayon eh being played by the understudy). Ate Marian: Venice? Umupo si Ate Marian sa tabi ko. She looks worried. I would have asked her what's wrong.. sasabihan ko pa na kung may nang-away sa kanya, consider that person socially dead. I'll take care of her or him. Pero wala ako sa mood magpaka-queenbee ngayon. Masama ang umpisa ng araw ko kaya buong araw akong bad trip. Kahit nga si Sheena, limited ang pagkadaldal dahil alam nyang ehto ung mga panahon na talagang mangangagat ako if ever.

Ako: Yea? Ate Marian: Tumawag si GD kanina sa bahay. Ako: Oh. Ate Marian: I don't know kung anong nangyari snyo.. Pero, V.. He was panicking. He was practically begging me to talk to you. :| Ako: Hm.. Ate Marian: Venice.. Kausapin mo naman sya. Tatawag daw uhlet sya tonight.

OFFICIAL COPY ayreezh

Hayyyy nako.. Tumingin ako kay Ate Marian. Every time na naririnig ko ung pangalan ni Gerard, parang gusto kong pumatay ng tao. I know exagge... pero wala kasi dito ung taong dapat kong pagbalingan ng galit. Mahirap kapag napipikon at wala kang maaway. Nakakapraning!

Ako: Ate.. you know, before he left, he asked me to be his girlfriend. Don't you think I have the right to know where he is? What's he doing? Why is he gone for so long? Don't you think I have the right to know anything at all?

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Ate Marian: But, Venice.. Maybe.. Maybe.. Ayaw ka lang nyang mag-worry. Ako: Oh that's great, coz I'm definitely not worried now. Oh di vah?! Oozing with sarcasm! Ako: If he respects me, kahit konti man lang, dapat naisip man lang nya na nag-aalala ako.. na I deserve to know the truth. Otherwise, why did he even ask me to be the person who's supposed to share this period of his life kung hinde nya rin naman pala ako papapasukin nang buo?

May gusto sana sabihin si Ate Mars, pero parang nagbago yata ang isip. She just clamped her mouth shut again. I stood up and started gathering my things. Ate Marian: Where are you going? Ako: Tapos na naman ung mga scenes ko, di ba? I'm going home. Sheena, halika na. Nagtinginan lang sina Ate Mars tsaka si Sheena. I know gusto nyang kumampi kay Ate Marian, pero loyal sya sa'kin. Kaya nung sinabi kong aalis na kami, tumayo na rin sya. Hindi na kami hinabol ni Ate Marian when Sheena and I left the auditorium. As soon as we were out, tinitigan ako ni Sheena.

Ako: What? Sheena: Alam mo, sa malayo, you look fine. Pero pag lumapit na syo, isa lang masasabi ko, best friend.. You look horrible. Ang putla mo. Ung mga mata mo, namumula.. Parang ung multo sa horror movies. At least magandang multo naman. :P Ako: Che! Umuwi ka na at magbihis ka! Susunduin kita around 9 PM. Sheena: San tayo pupunta? Ako: I'm gonna go meet my minions dahil ang tagal ko nang nawala sa scene. Mag-cclubbing tayo tonight. Sheena: Clubbing? Again? Ako: Yeaahh~ I'm moving on. Tumigil bigla sa paglalakad si Sheena. Syempre, tumigil ung kasama ko, tumigil rin ako. Ehwan ko ba kung bahket ganun ang mga tao. Pag tumigil ung kausap nila, pwde namang magtuloytuloy sa paglakad, pero hindeeee.. kailangan pati ikaw, tumigil.

OFFICIAL COPY ayreezh

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Ako: What? Sheena: Sira ka ba!? You can't move on (snap fingers) just like that! Ako: Why not? Sheena: "Why not"?!? Avah! Because! It's against mother nature! Ako: You're not making sense. Sumama ka na lang, okay? Against mother nature daw. Ano pa ba naman kung madagdagan ang mundo ng isa pang kontra kay Mother Nature? :P I'm a teenager! It's Mother Nature's design na maging rebellious ako! And I will be moving on from that jerk na susulpot-sulpot, tapos mawawala lang pala. Adik. Maganda ako! Hear me roar! RAWR! -O-

The next morning...

OFFICIAL COPY ayreezh
(Gerard's POV)

Pinuslit ko uhlet ung telepono dun sa kwarto ko habang natutulog pa sina mommy sa kwarto nila. Di Anthony, ahyun, tulog din dun sa kabilang kwarto. It should be around 9:30 PM sa Pinas.. right?

Venice should be home.

I dialed the house number. Walang sumasagot.

I dialed her cellphone number. Nag-rring naman.. Until I got her voicemail.

Ayaw nyang sagutin? Ayaw nyang makipag-usap?

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Is she that mad? Ayaw nya na ba sa'kin?

Just one conversation.. just one conversation and she's already drifting away?

Napahawak ako bigla sa dibdib ko. Nangdidilim nanaman ang paningin ko. It's getting really difficult to breathe.

Crap.. Not now.. I still have to call... V.. She must be waiting.. for.. me.....

OFFICIAL COPY ayreezh

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Chapter 40: (Venice’s POV)

Ako: Heyyyyy~ Mister Bartender~ One more martini please? Thanks. ;) Todo smiles pa rin ako as the bartender turned around to make my drink. May kasama pang isang wink ung pag-ikot nya. I know.. Ang lande! :D Sheena: Balak mo bang ubusin ung mga bote ng alcohol dito? Nakakailan ka na ah! Kenny: Bitter much? Ako: Shut up. I'm just celebrating my liberation. Bumalik na ung bartender with my drink (at flirty smile -- lakas ng loob nya mag-flirt, as if naman gwapo sya). Smile ulit ako. Baka sakaling maka-discount. nyahahaha :D Halos tatlong oras na kame nandito sa nightclub. I'm taking my 10 minute break from too much dancing. Avah, nakakangalay magsasayaw nang naka-high heels noh! Kailangan ng liquid break. I took one big gulp from my glass -- ginawang tubig ang martini. ;D Ako: Okie, I'm gonna go back to the dancefloor. Wally: Aren't you tired yet? Ako: Tired? I haven't even begun my fun yet. ;)

OFFICIAL COPY ayreezh

I winked at him. Guys like it when I do that. I don't know why. Pero kung love nila, eh di sure why not? Mamatay sila sa pagpangarap sa beauty ko. :D Napatingin bigla si Wally kay Sheena after I gave him the infamous Venice wink. :P Wally: Is she flirting with me? O_O Kenny: Meet the untarnished, unsympathetic ice queen. Wally: Ice queen? Kenny: This is the Venice pre-Gerard. A complete flirt who goes around seducing guys but never really acknowledging their feelings. If we weren't friends, I would have called her a whore.... But she doesn't really sleep around so I don't think that fit. Thus, the label "Ice Queen". Cold as ice. Bam! Ako: Pinagsasabi mo dyan, vakla. Sa'yo ko natutunan lahat ng kalandian ko noh! Sheena: Wow. So this is an example of student surpassing the master. Kenny: Che! At least si Student #1 ko, may narating! Eh ikaw, Student #2, bahket average pa rin ang kalandian mo?

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Ako: Sinagap ko rin ung kalandian ni Sheena~ Mabuti nang isa lang sa'min ang mapatay ng mga jealous ex-girlfriends. :D I finished my glass in one last gulp. Ako: Okie! I'm gonna go now. I stood up to go back to the dancefloor -- and whoa! @[email protected] Nag-ssway ang room.... left to right.. right to left... up and down. Whooaaa... Head rush? Babagsak na sana ako, buti na lang nasalo ako ni Sheena at ni Wally. Kenny: You are so drunk. +__+ Napahawak ako sa ulo ko -- as if naman pag hinawakan ko un, titigil ang pag-spin ng room. :P Ako: I am so not. Ta-ta!

Tinaboy ko ung mga kamay na nakahawak sa'kin to prove na I'm okay. I swayed a little bit, pero buhay pa naman. Kaya pang maglakad. Inayos ko ung skimpy red dress ko, then I bounced towards the middle of the dancefloor. I think I heard Wally pa na kinukulit sina Sheena to stop me. As if naman. At dahil matapang ako tonight, nung na-realize kong mukhang may kung anong air ventilation dun sa stage, nilagpasan ko pa ung dance floor at nagtuloy-tuloy sa stage.. dahil lang sa hangin. :D

OFFICIAL COPY ayreezh

Sige, akyat ako sa stage. Kaway muna dun sa isang grupo ng mga lalake sa sulok at nagsasayaw. It's been a while since I last came to this club, glad to know I can still charm any guy I want. nyahahaha ang ganda ganda ko. :D "Venice.. Get down from there." I squinted at the guy sa baba nung stage. It's Wally. He has his hand stretched out to me. Pinapababa ako?!? Oh bat why?

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Ako: Why? It's great up here! Come, dance with me! Avah, umakyat nga si kuya. But instead of dancing, he gently pulled me away from the center and dragged me down the stage. Tama ba naman un?!? Eh nagsasayaw ako! Pagdating namen dun sa dancefloor, all set na sana akong i-push away si Wally. Kaya lang, bigla kameng napaligiran ng mga people na nakikipagsayaw. And before I knew it, nabitawan na ni Wally ung braso ko, and I found myself dancing with some dude.

Sinoh naman itoh?!? Pero sige, sayaw lang ako! :D Mag-enjoy ta--O___O

What the--?!?!

I felt a hand.. sliding from my thighs, going up..under my skirt..

Tinulak ko ung lalakeng kasayaw ko. Pero dahil yata slow ang motor skills ko -- binalak kong suntukin, sipain, sabunutan, kalmutin, kagatin, sampalin, at kung anu-ano pang atake ang pwedeng gawin dun sa bwiset na un -- pero hinde ako nakagalaw dahil isang wobbly step back lang ang nagawa ko.

OFFICIAL COPY ayreezh

Lasing ba ko? Nakita ko si Kuya Pervert na natawa, then he started to step towards me again, then -- BAM! He fell on the floor dahil sa one big Voltes-V kind of punch from Wally. O_O Ako: Wally! O_O Hinde ako narinig nung Briton. Ttuloy sugod sya dun sa manyak! Syempre, biglang nawala ang gravity around me at napatakbo talaga ako. Ang tapang ko! Kayang-kaya naman akong itapon sa tabi nung dalawang lalaking un kung gusto nila magsuntukan. Pero by some adrenaline rush, talagang kumapit ako kay Wally at hinila ko sya palayo. Totoo siguro ang magical strength na nabibigay ng adrenaline sa veins, dahil nahila ko si Wally!

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Amazing! Ako: Wally! Come on, let's go! Wally: But that--! >:( Ako: I know. Let's just go, ok? He glared one last time dun sa manyak, then he let me pull him away. We headed back to the counter kung san nakaupo sina Sheena at Kenny. Wally: Sorry. Ako: For what? You were just trying to protect me. *sigh* Let's go home. I'm getting dizzy, and I'm tired. Wally: Okay

(Gerard's POV)

White Blanket.. White Pillow.. White Ceiling...

Crap... I'm in the hospital again. -__-

OFFICIAL COPY ayreezh

"You're awake?"

I shifted my glance slowly dun sa corner nung kwarto. Nandun si Anthony, nakahilata sa sofa.

Ako: Yea.. What happened? Anthony: Ay ehwan ko syo! Natutulog ako dun sa kabilang kwarto, maya-maya may kung anong ingay dun sa kwarto mo. Pag takbo ko, nakahilata ka na dun sa sahig. Bumagsak ung frame na nakapatong dun sa sidetable mo kaya nagising ako. Ako: Ugh, that frame... -___Anthony: Worry not! Na-save ko ung picture ni Venice na nandun sa frame! Bili ka na lang uhlet ng bagong frame. :) Ako: Gee.. Thanks.

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Tumingin ako sa paligid ko. Where are my parents? At ang cellphone ko? Laptop? Tumawag na ba si Venice? nag-email? Maya-maya, bumukas ung pinto, at pumasok sina mom and dad -- grieving faces? o_O Lumakad papunta sa'kin si mom, sabay yakap sa'kin. What did I miss?

Dad: Gerard... We have good news and bad news. Which one do you want to hear first? Ako: Uh, good? Mom: They found a heart donor, honey. They can perform the surgery as soon as the papers are signed and the heart is examined to match your body. Ako: That's great! :D Dad: But there's a catch..

Catch?

Dad: I know you want to go back to the Philippines as soon as possible.. but.. if you undergo the operation, you will have to stay here for some more time to recuperate and make sure the heart works properly... Do you understand?

What is wrong with this hospital?!? Ayaw ba talaga akong pauwiin or talagang nang-aasar lang?!?

OFFICIAL COPY ayreezh

Mom: You have to go to that surgery, Gerard.. As soon as possible. The doctors.. The doctors said your health is deteriorating.

Akala ko ba "one bad" news lang?

Napatingin ako kay Anthony. He just shrugged at me. If I stayed any longer, siguro uuwi na toh. Venice would probably nag the heck out of him pagbalik nya. Gerard: You can sign the papers and do whatever you need to do, mom, dad. Schedule the surgery as soon as possible. Mom: Oh, thank you! That's good-- :) Gerard: But!

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Tumingin sa'kin lahat ng mata. I know, anoh pa nga bang karapatan kong magkipag-bargain, right?

Gerard: Two weeks.. Let me go back for two weeks. Mom: But, Gerard! Gerard: Just two weeks, mom. After that, I'll come back here, stay for as long as I have to -- no rush, no complaints. Dad: Can you handle the flight? Gerard: I can handle anything. Just let me go back for two weeks. I gotta take care of a few things anyway. There's also that school play Marian put me into.. Anthony: At si Venice pa!

Napatingin kaming lahat sa kanya. I saw him shrink back to the corner. Kaseh naman, ang mga sudden outbursts naman..

Ako: Yea, yea.. I have to make sure Venice knows everything as well.

Sa liit ba naman ng brain ng babaeng un, malay ko kung anu-ano na pumasok sa isip nun.. psh... I haven't called her back yet. She's probably furious already.

OFFICIAL COPY ayreezh

Nagtinginan ung parents ko.. hesitant.. thinking.. I continued to plead my case. I don't care kung pano ko makukuha ung gusto ko. All I know is that I have to go back. For me.. but mostly, for V.

Ako: Ok, mom, dad?

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Chapter 41: (Gerard’s POV)

Ringggg!!! Ringggg!!! "Halloooo?"

"Halloo?" Ako: Hey, Marian! Marian: GD?!? WAAAHHH GD!!! Bakit ngayon ka lang tumawag?!? Miss na kita! T^T Ako: Oo na, sige na. :P Anthony: (sigaw sa phone) Ate!!! Ate!!! :D Marian: Patahimikin mo nga yang kapatid ko. Ako: (chuckles) Yea, anyway.. I'm just wondering, can you put the play back to its original date? Marian: You mean ngayong December uhlet? Ako: Yea. Marian: Why? Ako: Babalik na kame dyan. We're leaving tomorrow. Marian: What?!?! Really!?? Ay josko! Sa wakas! Just wait til Venice-- I mean, that's great! o_O

Ako: Yea.. So is it ok na December na uhlet? Marian: Syempre naman noh! Ako ang batas dito! Salita ko ang susundin nila! Yay! Bilisan nyo umuwi ok!? At sabihin mo dyan sa kapatid ko, wag nyang kakalimutan ang pasalubong ko! :D Ako: Ok.. Oh, and one last thing.. Marian: Yep? Ako: Wag mo muna sasabihin kay Venice ok? I want to surprise her. :)

OFFICIAL COPY ayreezh

(Venice's POV)

After school, dumiretso kami nina Sheena, Kenny, Sugar, at ni Wally sa karaoke bar. Lumalabas ang pagkalakwatsera ko ever! Pero ok lang un, dahil naniniwala ako na hangga't kaya ng katawan ang trabaho, maglaro ka nang maglaro. :D As usual, best friend ko nanaman si beer at sina vodka, rum, at tequila.. Kailangan ko na yata mag-rehab.. :P

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Happy-happy kame sa pagkanta-kanta nung na-realize kong ubos na ang aming liquid drinks sa table. Tumayo ako para bumili nanaman ng panibagong round. Di naman ako napansin nung mga people. Piliin ba ang mic over moi?!?

I just finished ordering more drinks from the bar nang biglang sumulpot si Wally sa tabi ko. Sinundan pala ako ni kuya.

Wally: Venice, why don't you order something non-alcoholic for a change? Ako: What cha talkin' about? I do order non-alcoholic drinks. Wally: Yea.. But then you get something else for yourself. Are you planning to get drunk again? Ako: Listen, it's Friday. Fridays are for lonely people -- I'm just keeping them entertained. Wally: But you're wasted already! Ako: Tsk tsk tsk... I am never wasted. I waste the person -- people don't waste me. OK?!? I'm Venice!

Nilapit ko ung mukha ko sa kanya.

Ako: Just one guy running off to another country for who-knows-why is not gonna bring me down! Allelujah! Wally: That's not even what I meant. -__- Come on.. Let's just go back.

OFFICIAL COPY ayreezh

Napa-stare ako sa face ni kuya. He stared at me back. If he came in my life sooner than that brickhead Gerard, magkakagusto kaya ako sa kanya -kahit na nagbabakasyon lang sya dito?

He's been taking care of me -- well, at least, he's trying to -- ever since we met. Kahit nasan ako, buntot din sya. Cute naman si kuya.. Would it be horrible if I choose this guy who stayed with me over the other guy who left me? Bago ko pa na-realize ang mga pinaggagawa ko, I leaned towards him and gave him a quick kiss on the lips. O__O Pagkatapos lang mangyari ng lahat, tsaka lang ako natulala sa ginagawa ko.

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Anak ng tuyo! Anoh un!?!?

Wally: W-What are you doing? O__O Ako: I have no idea. O__O

Mukha siguro kaming tange na nagtititigan dun sa sulok ng bar. Maybe I should run. May mga kung anong alarm na nagtutunog sa utak ko. Pero for some reason, ayaw tumakbo ng paa ko. I did say I'm moving on, right?

Ako: I think.. I just wanted to try something out..

May sparks man lang ba na lumipad? Kahit ung watusi man lang?

Wally: Are you sure?

Avah malay ko kung sure ako! Di ba ikaw na nga ang nagsabi, wasted ako! Tipsy! Malapit na sa drunk stage!

OFFICIAL COPY ayreezh

Wally: (smiles) Well, if you want to try something that bold, then you might as well go on all out.

He took my face in his hands and.. and kissed.. kissed me.. It was sweet -- lasang piña colada. :D

Napapikit na lang ako. I don't know why.. Gerard's face flashed before my eyes, but I quickly pushed it away. I welcomed the kiss. In that moment, it feels like I found that one precious thing I lost when Gerard left.

In that familiar moment, I felt loved.

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Chapter 42: (Venice’s POV) The day had been long.. promise! pamatay! malapit na kaseh mag-end ang semester.. kaya siguro nagpapaka-importante nanaman ang each and every professor sa bawat klase.. Toxic ha!

Anyway, dahil nag-move back nanaman ang play sa December (insisted by the club moderator daw sabe ni Ate Marian), ehto balik practice kame.. perfecting everything..

No complaint naman ako dahil ang kapartner ko eh ung understudy para dun sa role ni Gerard. Ung understudy na siguro ang mag-pplay nung role come opening night. Eh kaseh naman..

Hay nako.. No comment na nga lang..

Anoh na ba sinasabe ko? -__Ah, so after ng mga klase, kahit 3 hours man lang, nag-rrehearse kame everyday. At isa na ang araw na itich sa madugong rehearsals. Tatlong oras ng lines at singing.. Kaya nung sumigaw si Ate Marian ng "Wrap Up", ay my golay! Mangiyak-ngiyak ako sa tuwa! T^T

OFFICIAL COPY ayreezh

Ako: Are we done? Are we really done?? T-T Ate Marian: Oo! Lumayas ka na dyan sa stage. ;D

I jumped off the stage -- more like, flew off the stage. Kinokolekta ko na ung gamit ko nang mag-vibrate ung cellphone sa bulsa ko. Juggle juggle the things, and the free hand fished for the cellphone..

Ako: Haller?....... Yea, we just finished..... I'll be out in a minute........... Yep, okay, Wally! I'll see you in a bit! :) Inayos ko uhlet ung gamit ko, then whirled around to leave -- only to find myself face to face with nangdidilat na Ate Marian. O_O

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Ate Marian: What in the world do you think are you doing?!? Ako: Uh.. aalis na? Bakit? o_O Ate Marian: You're meeting up with another guy?!? Ako: Kind of?

Tinitigan ako ni Ate Marian na parang nasisiraan na ko ng ulo. Mukha ba kong nasisiraan ng ulo? Maayos pa rin naman ang hair ko, di va? @[email protected] Hinila nya ko papunta dun sa far corner sa likod nung auditorium. Nilalayo ako sa mga people~ O_O Kung di lang some kind of tight the grasp, tinakbo ko na ung maliit na space papunta dun sa pinto -- makatakas lang murderous aura ni Ate Marian.

Ate Marian: Are you dating that guy?!?! Ilang linggo pa lang wala si Gerard! Are you dating that guy?!?! Ako: "That guy" has a name. And we're just friends. Not that I have to explain anything to anyone. Ate Marian: Why are you being such a btch? Ako: Well, you know what they say.. Behind every btch is a man that made her that way. Your cousin should feel special.

Tinalikuran ko na si Ate Marian bago pa sya maka-kontra. Naglakad ako papunta sa pintuan para lumabas na. Mahirap na, baka lalo pa masira araw ko--

OFFICIAL COPY ayreezh

Ate Marian: Two days.. Two days from now, babalik na si Gerard.

Napatigil akong bigla. Two days from now? Bakit hinde nya ko tinawagan? Hinde nya ko tinawagan ever since that one time.. Tapos ngayon, susulpot sya "two days from now"?

Ate Marian: He wanted to surprise you. *sigh* I might as well tell you na babalik na sya... Magisip ka muna, Venice, bago ka tumalon sa isang bagong affair. Lalo na when the old one -- the only real relationship you've ever had -- is not even finished yet.

Anoh ba namaaann....

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Ako: That's weird... I was pretty sure it ended in that moment he said he's not coming back. Ate Marian: Venice!

Daig ko pa si Flash nung binuksan ko ung pinto at lumabas ako ng auditorium. Ang bilis! :D Ayoko na ng mga ganyang complicated things.

Hayyyyy nako.. Ehto nanaman ako.. Ehwan ko ba kung naluluha ako sa inis, sa excitement.. sa inis-excitement.. mentally retarded? emotionally challenged? -___-

He's coming back.

So.. what does that make me?

Pwede na lang iwan-iwanan at kung kailan mapag-tripan, tsaka babalikan?

Anoh ako, dog??!

OFFICIAL COPY ayreezh

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Two days later...

Rollercoaster.. Merry-Go-Round.. Stuff Toy stalls.. Snacks.. Mga batang nagsusuka.. Mga feeling bata...

the enchanting world of Enchanted Kingdom, noh? ;D

Nagliliwaliw kame dito ni Wally. Syempre, kung magbabakasyon man lang din sya sa Pinas, eh hinde pwedeng hinde sya pumunta ng Enchanted Kingdom noh!

OFFICIAL COPY ayreezh

And of course, after ilang hours ng paikot-ikot, sakay-sakay, save the best for last: the rollercoaster, Space Shuttle! :D

...

..nahulog yata ang puso ko.. josko! Bahket ba ko pumayag na sumakay ng rollercoaster?!? T^T

Wally: Man, that was awesome! :D

"Awesome"?!?!? Pinagpaikot-ikot ako sa ere, "awesome"?!?

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Wally: Are you alright? Ako: Eh? Yea, I'm okay. I just need a break.

Umupo ako dun sa bench, sunod naman si kuya. Mukhang all set pa na pumila uhlet dun sa rollercoaster! Kamustah naman?!

Wally: Okay. I'll go get us something to drink then. :) Maybe we can go on that rollercoaster thing again...?

Smile na lang ako as I watch him walk away. Hyper si kuya! Nagkape yata kaninang umaga! @[email protected] Paulit-ulitin ba ang rollercoaster?!? Gusto nya ba kong magka-heart attack?!?

Womanizer Woman-Womanizer You're a womanizer Oh Womanizer...

Hmm? Tumatawag? o_O

OFFICIAL COPY ayreezh

Hinalughog ko ung maliit na purse ko para sa skandalosong womanizer-singing cellphone.

*blink*

*blink*

Nagulantang yata ang utak ko sa sobrang pagpaikot-ikot nung rollercoaster. Tama ba tohng nakikita ko? The name flashing on the cellphone's screen was: "G-licious!"

in other words, si Gerard.

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He's back?

"I'm back."

Napatalon akong bigla, sabay salpak nung cellphone pabalik sa pursey ko. Bumalik na si Wally with our drinks -- at gulatin ba naman ako?!?

Wally: Sorry.. Did I scare you? Ako: Huh?!? No! I was just putting my phone back in my purse.. hahaha

Anoh ba namang excuse un??

Tinignan ako ni kuya na parang "ok??" pero wala nanaman syang kontra. Inabot nya sa'kin ung bottled water. Tinungga ko kagad ung tubig. Nung nangalahati na ung bote, tumayo na uhlet ako.

Ako: OK!! Let's go! You want to go on that rollercoaster again, right? Let's go! Wally: Huh? Are you sure? I thought you needed a break? o_O Ako: Ahsus.. Break, joke only! ;D We're going to the rollercoaster, then the Flying Fiesta, the Anchor's Away, Rialto, bar, beer, vodka, wherever, whatever! Let's go! Wally: You're acting odd... Ako: What? Meee?? Nooo... Whatever made you think that?

OFFICIAL COPY ayreezh

Nanlalaki ba mata ko? O___O Tinitigan ako ni Wally -- as in titig talaga -- then he sat down on the bench and sighed. Anu nanaman??

Wally: Sit down. Ako: What? Why? Wally: Okay, if you want to remain standing, that's fine.. But that phonecall from earlier.. That was Gerard, wasn't it?

Fine.

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Naupo ako sa tabi nya. Mapapagod lang ako kung buong pagkontra ko eh nakatayo ako. Mukhang nasa heart-to-heart mode ngayon itong taong toh. Bubwit na kuya toh, makikigulo pa, nanahimik na nga cellphone ko.

Ako: I guess he came back.

Sumandal si Wally then looked at the afternoon sky. Nag-iisip yata -- mukhang malalim ang thoughts. :P

Wally: You should go back to him. Ako: What? O_O

Nevermind, hindi sya nag-iisip!

Wally: Well, it's not like you're going out with me because you want to. You're not even over him yet. Ako: What?!?! Wally: I'm just here on vacation. I'll leave someday too, and when that time comes, I doubt you'd sulk the same way you're sulking over Gerard now.

OFFICIAL COPY ayreezh

Nang-aasar ka vah?

Wally: You only want to be with me because I'm "temporary". Right now, you just need someone to hang out with. Face it, you don't even like me the same way you like him. Ako: Why are you saying these things now?!? I can't just ditch you just like that. Wally: Okay.... Give me one reason why I should let you stay with me, then. Ako: Because you want me to. ^o^ Wally: Okay.... Give me one reason why you want to stay with me. . .. .........

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Ako: Hold on. -____-

Tinignan ako ni Wally with an amused expression on his face. Ngayon pa sya na-amuse sa'kin. +__+

Wally: Do you really need to think about it? Ako: Just keep talking with that accent, I'll figure something out. Wally: You... O_O

Bigla syang tumawa nang tumawa. Lalo tuloy walang pumasok sa isip ko. Bakit sya tumatawa? o_O

Ako: What?! What?! What's so funny?!? Wally: You really are something! ;D

Ang weird ni kuya. -__-

He finally calmed down. When he did, he stood up and stretched.

OFFICIAL COPY ayreezh

Wally: I think I'm ready to go home. Ako: Eh? Wally: It's been a long day. I'm exhausted!

Exhausted daw.. Samantalang kanina, trip na trip nya pa sumakay sa rollercoaster.

Wally: Come on. Let's go back. There's someone waiting for you. ;)

He's right.... Of course he's right. Ako lang naman tohng dakilang timang eh. =___=

Ako: Okay. :)

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Pinulupot ko ung kamay ko sa braso nya para di ako bumagsak -- dahil poh masakit na ang paa ko. Advice lang: Wag magsusuot ng heels -- kahit platform pa yan! -- pag alam mong maglalakad ng ilang oras.

Ako: Thanks for the talk.

Nilabas ko uhlet ung cellphone ko, then went to create a new message.

"G!!! I'm going home.. I'll see you in a bit!^-^"

Wala pang 1 minute, nagreply na kagad. Minsan, naiisip ko na pang-world record ang bilis magtext nung taong un eh.

"Ok, V.. I'll see YOU in a bit."

I smiled.

OFFICIAL COPY ayreezh

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Ako: C'mon! Will you hurry up?! Anthony: Eh kaseh naman.. jetlag pa ko. T^T

It's been a couple of hours since nag-land ung eroplano namen. We went home to drop off our stuff, tapos kinaladkad ko kagad si Anthony palabas. I understand he's exhausted -- I am too -- pero I really wanna see V already. :P

Ako: Sandali lang tayo, promise! Anthony: Sandali... As if naman magiging "sandali lang" yang long-awaited reunion nyo. Bakit kaseh di na lang sya pinapunta mo sa'tin? Ako: Coz I can't wait anymore. Bilisan mo na lang kaseh, malapit na tayo oh.. Dali!

Tinulak ko si Anthony nang konti para magmadali. Itutulak ko pa sana sya ng isang matindi nang napatingin ako dun sa mga naglalakad papunta sa'min on other end of the street.

Anoh ba naman ung dalawang taong un? Ang lakas ng tawa..

*squint* *squint*

OFFICIAL COPY ayreezh

O___O

What the..

I froze on my steps as the two laughing figures walked closer to where I was. The girl was holding on to the guy's arm.. as if.. as if..

..as if they're a happy couple.

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Anthony: Oh! Ahyun! Di ba si Venice un? *squint* Sinoh ung kasama nya? Ako: [email protected] >:(

Before Anthony could pull me back, sumugod na ko towards the "couple". Halos nasa harap na nila ako nung napansin ako ni Venice na tumatakbo papunta dun sa Briton nya.

Venice: G--?

Then, BAM!

Isang kanginig-nginig na SUNTOK ang lumipad straight sa mukha ni Briton!

Venice: GERARD!!!! O.O

Napatakbo na rin si Anthony. He stopped me from going after the fallen British guy again. Dahel kung hinde, sipa, suntok pa aabutin nung taong un! >:(

OFFICIAL COPY ayreezh

Venice: What!?! What the hell are you doing?!? Bakit mo sinuntok si Wally!??!

I ignored Venice and glared back at Wally na masama na rin ang tingin sa'kin as he stood up. Eh bahket ba?!?! Kakagatin nya ba ko!?? ha?! Ha?! Sige, magkagatan kame! Anoh?! Ako: You! Stay away from my girl! >:o

He glared at me again, then he turned to look at Venice. The hell--! He's ignoring me?!?

Wally: I think I better leave. I'll talk to you later Venice. Ako: Like hell you will! Anthony: Tol, tama na! Venice: Umayos ka nga dyan, Gerard!

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She turned to Wally with an apologetic look on her face. Why is she siding with this guy!? Anoh, sila na ba?!

Venice: Be careful going home. Wally: Yea. Bye.

He threw me one last dirty look and then he turned around and walked away. Binitawan na ko ni Anton. Kakaalis lang nung isang masama ang tingin, napalitan naman kagad. The next glare I received was from V.

Venice: Naiwan mo ba ung utak mo sa eroplano!? Ipa-FEDex mo kagad dahil mukhang nababaliw ka na! >:(

Umatras kagad si Anthony nung nakita nyang lumalapit na si Venice sa'min. I don't blame him. Parang bubugahan kami ng apoy eh. O_O

Ako: Ako?! Ako pa ang nababaliw?!? Ikaw! Ikaw, tignan mo nga yang ilalim ng sapatos mo! Venice: Bahket?!? Ha?! Kokontra, pero pasimple naman nyang tinignan ung ilalim nga nung sapatos nya. Kung hinde lang ako na-hhigh blood, pagtatawanan ko ng isang malakas na HA-HA-HA-HA ang babaeng toh. ;P

OFFICIAL COPY ayreezh

Pero dahel high blood ako, instead of laughing, binatukan ko sya. Mahina lang naman. Hindi naman ako nanakit ng babae.

Venice: Aray! Anoh?! Ako na gusto mo ngayong suntukin?! Sige! Kala mo dyan, kung ikaw pwede suntok, sipa, ako pwede pa sabunot, kalmot at kung anu ano pa without looking gay! Ako: What are you talking about?!?

Tinitigan nya uhlet ako ng masama.. as in masamang-masama. Syempre tingin din ako ng masama.. as in masamang masama.

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Anthony: Anoh ba? Magtititigan lang ba kayo? Wala man lang excitement? Ako & Venice: Gusto mo ikaw bugbugin ko?!?!?!? >:( Anthony: Tatanong lang eh. T-T Ako: Nevermind. Halika na nga, Anton. Let's just go home. Venice: Ganon?!?! Uuwi ka na lang?! Ngayon mo lang uhlet ako nakita, tapos aalis ka na lang uhlet??! Wala man lang "I missed you"?! Ako: Eh di tawagan mo yang Wally mo, baka makarinig ka pa ng "I miss you" mo! Venice: Adik ka ba talaga?!? Anoh bang hinithit mo habang wala ka ha?! Ako: Ilang linggo lang akong nawala, Venice! Venice: Exactly! Wally and I are just friends! F-R-I-E-N-D-S! Friends! Ako: Fine! Makipaglandian ka na lang uhlet dyan sa "friend" mo! That's what you do best, right?!? Venice: Don't talk to me that way! Ako: Pampalipas oras lang ba ako, ha Venice!? Katulad lang ba ko nung ibang lalake na papaasahin mo tapos iiwanan mo lang?! Venice: What are you talking about?! Ako: Ah ehwan ko syo! I seriously thought you were better than that!

Hinila ko na si Anthony paalis. Mabuti nang umuwi na kami ngayon na. Baka atakihin pa ko dito.

Venice: Where are you going?!?! Ako: Uuwi na! Venice: Kausapin mo muna ako!!!!

OFFICIAL COPY ayreezh

Napatigil ako bigla sa paglalakad. I turned to look at her. She just stomped her foot. People really stomp their foot pag na-ffrustrate na sila? O_O That's new... Anyway, I paused for a while waiting for her to speak.

Ako: What?

Just say it... Say you missed me.. Say you were waiting for me.. Just those words.. say it and we'll be okay..

Venice: Anak ka ng tinapa! Hinde mo man lang ba ko na-miss??!

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Siguro parang kaming timang na nag-aaway dun sa harap ng bahay namen. Pero care ko ba?! Di pa naman scandalous ung away eh. At malay ba nila kung anong pinag-aawayan namen. Mag-tsismisan man ang mga people, maganda pa rin ako!:D Tinitigan ako ni Gerard nung binato ko ang "hinde mo ba ko na-miss?!" na interrogation sa kanya. Anong katitig-titig dun?! Gerard: Bahket?!? Ka-miss-miss ka ba?!? Ako: Oo noh! Booyah~! Gerard: Anoh?!? Ahh ehwan ko syo! I'm going home! Ako: Sasama ako! Gerard: Wag na! Matutulog pa ko! Ako: Oh?! Eh anoh?! Ipag-hehele pa kita! Anthony: Excuse me lang ha.. Kayong dalawa ba eh nag-aaway o anoh?? Nalilito na ko sa iisipin ko eh. O__O Gerard: Ehwan ko dyan! Halika na nga! Hinila nya na uhlet si Anthony paalis. Galit talaga si fafa G. O_O Mag-iisang step sana ako pasunod sa kanila nang biglang humirit pa ng isa si kuya. Gerard: Don't even think of following us!

OFFICIAL COPY ayreezh

Syempre, tumigil naman ako. He literally stalked off.. magdabog ba in the middle of the street? At kahit nung sinigawan nya kong wag sumunod, he didn't even look back to make sure na hinde nga ako susunod. Nung lumiko na sila dun sa corner nung street and disappeared, dun ko lang namalayan na naluluha na pala ako.. Kaya pala blurry ang vision ko!

Si fafa G naman kaseh eh.. Ngayon na nga lang uhlet kami nagkita..... tapos... =___= Ako: (bulong sa sarili ko) I missed you, G... :-[

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(Gerard's POV)

Anthony: Insan, sigurado ka ba?! Eh halos mahulog ka na nga dun sa hagdan nung eroplano pagmamadali mong bumaba at makita si V, tapos ngayon, uuwi na tayo? Ni di mo man lang--Ako: Anthony...

Natahimik bigla si Anthony nang, as soon as we were out of Venice's sight, napaupo kagad ako sa sidewalk sabay inhale ng as much oxygen as possible. I closed my eyes trying to calm my nerves. Baka sakaling hindi na rin mangdilim ung paningin ko. Napaluhod si Anthony sa tabi ko when he realized what was going on.

Anthony: Ay, anak ng! O___O Eh anak ka pala talaga ng tinapa! Inaatake ka na pala hinde ka pa nagsasabe!!! Ako: Shut up. Hinde ako inaatake. Na-burn out lang ako. I need to rest. Tumawag ka ng tricycle. I don't think I can walk all the way home.

Syempre, ever the masunuring sidekick, tumayo naman kagad si Anthony at talagang hinabol ung isang tricycle na kakadaan lang. Tinulak pa yata ung high school student na sasakay sana dun sa tricycle. O_O

OFFICIAL COPY ayreezh

I think it's just right that I go home and get some much needed rest bago ko uhlet kausapin si V. Otherwise, baka magsigawan nanaman kame, eh talagang tuluyan na ko. -__-

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Chapter 46: (Venice’s POV)

Hay nako.. Anoh ba naman itoh.. Pamatay ng pride, dignity, at feminism!

After umuwi nina Gerard at Anthony, pumasok na ko sa bahay at dun ako nag-dadabog. Two hours din akong nag-emote ha! After one hour pa, nagsimula na kong maghintay ng tawag ni Gerard. Di ba enough na ung length of time na un para matulog at magpahinga?

Nang hindi pa rin nag-ring ung telepono kahit isa man lang, wala na, na-frustrate na ko. Nagjacket ako sabay takbo palabas.

At heto na ko.. Kumakatok sa apartment nina Gerard.

Oh di va? Panira talaga ng pride, dignity, at all sense of feminism! Dapat ung lalake ang lumalapit sa babae, di vah! Anoh pa at naging dalagang Pilipina ako?!

Kung tumakbo na kaya ako...?

Kaya lang bumukas ang pinto.. at hello Ate Marian ang nag-greet sa'kin.

OFFICIAL COPY ayreezh

Ate Marian: Oh, Venice? Napadaan ka? Ako: Uhmm.. si Gerard?

Awkward moment.. After nung blow-out namen sa auditorium, hinde na uhlet kami nakapagusap ni Ate. Hinde naman sa galit ako sa kanya.. awkward lang talaga. -___Tumingin sya sa likod nya, tapos nung parang wala syang nakita, tumingin ulit sya sa'kin.

Ate Marian: Natutulog pa rin kasi si Gerard eh. :|

Hanggang ngayon?!?

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"Ate? Sinoh yan?"

Napasilip ako sa likod nya and saw Anthony walking around.. shorts, sando, at isang malaelectric fan na pamaypay na tuloy-tuloy ang hangin sa mukha nya. Init na init si lolo.. December na ung lagay na yan. :P

Teka.. bakit ehtong gunggong na toh, gising na?! Bakit si G, hanggang ngayon, knocked out pa rin?

Ako: Anton! :D Anthony: WAH! Venice! :D

Tumakbo sa'kin si kuya! Binitawan nya pa talaga ung pamaypay nya para lang mayakap ako. Oh di ba? Ahyan, ganyan dapat ang reaction pag matagal na kayong hinde nagkikita.... Well, nagkita kami kanina, pero... you know what I mean.

Anthony: Binibisita mo si GD? Babati na kayo? :) Ako: Eh bahket pa ba ko nandito? Anthony: Ay yehey! Hinde na ma-sstressed si GD! :D Ay, kaya lang, tulog pa si insan ngayon eh. Ako: Uu nga raw. Haaayyy.. sige, di bale na lang. May bukas pa naman. :) Anthony: Oh sige.. Kita tayo bukas. Ang init! Nasan na ba ung pamaypay ko? Pamaypay. Pamaypay. Pamaypay.

OFFICIAL COPY ayreezh

A.D.D talaga. Sandali lang makakausap ng matino, tapos tatalikuran na ulit ako para hanapin ung pamaypay nya. Naiwan kami ni Ate Marian sa may pinto. Ang tahimik..... Definition of awkward! *sigh*

Ako: Ate.. about that time.. Sorry. Ate Marian: Ay nako.. Ok lang un. Eh ano pa ba't kilala kita? Alam kong may topak ka minsan. ;) Ako: I know, right?!? O_O Pero sorry talaga sa mga pinagsasabe ko. Ate Marian: Wag mo na isipin un. Sige na, at umuwi ka na. Pagkagising ni GD, papatawagin ko sya syo -- sa ayaw man nya o hinde. :D

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Nginitian ko na lang si ate, tapos umalis na ko. Eh anoh pa nga bang gagawin ko dun? Tulog naman ung pinuntahan ko. Nasayang lang ang effort ko ha.

Pero dahil for some reason, ayoko pa umuwi, naglakad-lakad pa muna ako sa paligid. I know, laking kalye talaga! :D Kumain pa ko ng kwek-kwek, fishball, squidball, at kung anu-ano pang street food na nakasalubong ko. Nanood ako ng basketball dun sa may kanto -- na di naman natapos kaseh nagsapakan din in the end. Mga lalake nga naman. :P

After one & a half hour, tulala na naman ako. Siguro naman gising na ung lalakeng un! Abah! Anoh vah sya, sleeping beauty! Isang century matutulog?!?

Nilabas ko ang cellphone ko -- at labag man sa kaloob-looban ko, eh sige, hinde lang text, tawag pa ang ginawa ko. Kung hinde sya gising, gigisingin ko!

... ring!! ..... ring!! ........ ring!!!! .......... RINNNNGGGGGG!!!!

OFFICIAL COPY ayreezh

Ay ehwan! Kung ayaw sumagot, eh di sagutin mo man lang ang cellphone mo at sabihin mong ayaw mong sagutin! Na-ppraning na ko. He probably hates me now. Ang landi ko kaseh. T^T WAAAAHHHH Gerard hates meeee!!! Pinulot ko ung mata ko from the cellphone at napatingin sa harap ko.. at ehto na yata.. ehto na ba ang tinatawag nilang "divine intervention"?

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Hinde ko namalayan.. nasa harap na pala ako ng parish church namen. Hindi naman ako atheist. Nagdadasal ako paminsan-minsan... pero hindi ako religious. Hindi ako every Sunday kung magsimba. Hindi ko na maalala kung kailan ang last confession ko. Pero ngayon, parang ang welcoming nung simbahan.

Pumasok ako sa loob, at napansin kong marami-raming tao. Wala namang misa. o_O May kung anong pinipilahan ang mga people. Libreng pagkain kaya? Gumagalaw ung pila every time na tumatayo ung nandun sa harap. May lumalabas din naman na mga tao galing dun sa parish office na adjacent nung simbahan. Wala silang dalang plato... So hindi libreng pakain... Anong meron? Dahil natural na tsismosa ako, naki-upo ako dun sa be dulo nung linya. :D Talagang umiikot pa rin ang paningin ko kung ano kaya nangyayari. Di ko naman matanong ung mga katabi ko kasi mukhang seryoso silang nagdadasal.. actually, lahat sila, mukhang dibdiban ang pagdadasal... May namatay ba?

Wala namang kabaong sa harap. o_O

OFFICIAL COPY ayreezh

Lord, bakit Nyo naman ako pinapunta dito? Anong meron?

Pero sige, go with the flow ako. Upo, usog, dasal, tingin sa paligid. Wala na, pinanindigan ko na ang pagiging tsismosa ko. :D

Nung ako na ang susunod na tatayo, tsaka ko lang na-realize ang nangyayari. Nakita ko na rin kung saan pumupunta ung mg taong tumatayo at pumapasok dun sa opisina ni father. Kumpisal.. Nag-kukumpisal ang mga people! O_O

Teka, Lord! Hinde ako emotionally ready! @[email protected] Pero gustuhin ko mang tumakbo, nako! Nakakahiya na! Halos 40 minutes na kong nakiupo dun! Napa-kumpisal pa tuloy ako nang wala sa oras... +__+

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Lumuhod ako dun sa loob ng confessional booth. Tinitigan ko ung mga butas-butas nung separator between the priest and me. Makikilala kaya ako ni Father? Nakikita nya kaya ako kahit medyo madilim? -__-

Oh well.. Sige na, ehto na, Lord.

Ako: Bless me, Father, for I have sinned. My last confession was.. Kailan nga ba?

Ako: Father, huling confession ko pa yata nung nag-first communion ako... -__-

Sorry, Lord.

Father: Ok lang un, iha.. Better late than never. Ako: Ay, oo nga, Father! Yan nga yata ang lesson ko today from Lord! Kaseh, alam nyo, Father, bumalik ung boyfriend ko today from the States. Long story short, I really thought na hinde na sya babalik. *sigh* Kaya ako naman tong si timang, kung anu-ano ang pinaggagawa! Haayyy, stupid talaga! Father: Uh, ahem.. Ako: Ay, sorry. Bad word poh ba un? o_O Anyway, he's back na nga, Father, he caught me in the act of acting "foolishly" and now... :| I guess, hindi ko naman sya masisisi kung ayaw nya na ko makita. Masama na nga ang reputation ko before we got together, tapos ung nangyari pa while he was away... I wasn't thinking. Na-brain dead yata ako. Father, he's not talking to me. He probably doesn't want to see me or talk to me ever again.

OFFICIAL COPY ayreezh

Kinatok ko ung separator -- ehwan ko rin kung bahket. Sabe snyo ang tagal ko nang hinde nagkukumpisal! O_O Pero sige, kinatok ko ung butas-butas na separator.

Ako: Sorry, Father. Wala naman talaga akong intention na magkumpisal tonight eh. Di naman ako pwede sa mga ganitong impromptu. Father: Napansin ko nga.

Ay, sarcastic si Father? Na-amuse ako! :D

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Father: Pero, sige, papayuhan na lang kita. Next time na gagawa ka nung kung ano, eh pagisipan mo munang mabuti. Wag kang talon ng talon kung hindi mo naman alam ang tinatalon mo.

Ehh..

Father: At sa susunod na umalis ang boyfriend mo, kung magliliwaliw ka man lang din naman at hindi makakapaghintay, sabihin mo sa kanya para hindi kayo nagugulo pagbalik nya. Magbreak kayo, o cool-off na ba tawag dun ngayon?

Ay, updated sa terms si Father! :D

Father: As for now, hayaan mo munang lumamig ang ulo ng boyfriend mo. Tapos, tsaka mo sya ulit kausapin. Walang patutunguhan ang pag-uusap kung hindi malinaw ang pag-iisip.

Makes sense..

Father: At pag kinausap mo na sya, tell him the truth. Don't leave out anything. Trust is the foundation of any relationship.

OFFICIAL COPY ayreezh

Amen.

Father: At, iha, magdasal ka. Para sa susunod, ilayo ka na ng Diyos sa mga tukso.

Tama. Tama.

Ako: Ok, Father. Thank you. I'll make sure to follow your advice. Sorry poh uhlet. Mag-rready na poh ako next time para makapagkumpisal for real. Sige poh, alis na ko. Father: Sige, iha.. Umuwi ka na at magpahinga. Tatayo na sana ako nang may biglang pumasok sa isip ko. Eh alam nyo naman, may pagka-persistent ang brain cells ko eh. Ako: Ay oo nga pala, Father.

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Father: O? Ako: Magpapasko na.. Do you think you can grant me just one Christmas wish-slash-present? Father: Iha, pari ako. Donations lang sa simbahan ang perang nakukuha ko. At hindi naman ako santo para mag-grant ng wishes.

Ay. Parang ang bitter ni father! ;D

Ako: Eh, Father, kung ikukumpara naman tayong dalawa, mas hamak naman na mas malapit ka kay Lord. Kaya, Father, next time na magdadasal ka... Para man lang sa Christmas miracle ko.. Father: Oh sige. Anong gusto mo? Ako: Will you ask Him to bring my boyfriend back to me?

I bit my lip. Parang sobrang desperada na ang tunog ko. Anu ba yan.. Mabuti na sigurong lumayas na ko.. Baka mabatukan pa ko ni Father, pati sya, magkasala pa.

Ako: Sige poh, Father, alis na ko. Peace be with you.

Hinde ko na hinintay na sumagot si Father. Tumayo na ko tapos lumabas na ko ng simbahan. May pinatunguhan naman pala ung kumpisal kuno ko. Ang gaan na ng feeling ko. :D

OFFICIAL COPY ayreezh

Makauwi na nga. Sabi ni Lord, hintayin ko raw lumamig ang ulo ni G. Kaya sige, uwi na lang ako, gagawa ng last minute homework, tapos matutulog.

and then hopefully, soon enough, ipadala na uhlet sa'kin ni Lord si G. :P

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Chapter 47: (Venice’s POV)

Ako: You.. Why are you here? You're not supposed to be here. Gerard: I missed you.

Ahsus, "missed you".. chuchu moh!

Ako: Stop lying to me, Vince. I turned away from him. Ako: You left me for someone else. Gerard: No.. Trish.. That's not it.

I looked back at him -- confused kuno.

Eh umalis naman talaga sya! Tapos ngayon, babalik-balik, at ayaw pa rin sabihin kung bahket sya umalis! Abah! Eh abah talaga!

OFFICIAL COPY ayreezh

Ako: What are you talking about? You left! You chose that other girl over me! You-Gerard: NO! Trish, I.. I tried to leave. I tried to be with her. I tried to forget you. But.. don't you see?!?!

He took three strides towards me. Nung nasa harao ko na sya, he grabbed me by the shoulder, and then.. very gently shook me.

At least, he was supposed to VERY GENTLY shake me!! Eh, bahket halos mahulog na ang mata ko sa pag-shake nya?!?! O_O

Ako: Aray! Anoh ba!??!

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"CUT!!!!"

Binitawan kagad ako ni Gerard. He stepped away from me, as in pagkalayo-layo na kala mo eh kung may anong contagious disease ko. Pasalamat sya at busy ako sa pagkolekta ng brain ko, kundi tignan ko lang kung hindi ko sya itapon sa kabilang ibayo nung auditorium. Nanggigigil na tumayo si Ate Marian from the front row seat. Sa itsura nya, feeling ko kaming dalawa ni Gerard ang gusto nyang ihagis from one side of the auditorium to the other. -__-

Ate Marian: ANOH BA YAN?!?! Pag-uuntugin ko na kayong dalawa eh!

Nagturuan kami ni Gerard. Sabay na sabay pa kaming nagreklamo.

Ako & Gerard: Eh sya kasi eh! Anong ako?!? Ako: Eh ikaw nga tong over to the highest level ang pag-shake! Sabi sa script, "gently shake" daw! Binasa mo ba un? Gently. Gent-ly. G-E-N-T-L-Y! Gerard: Kasalanan ko bang mahina ang buto mo?!? Gently naman ung pag-shake ko syo!

Anong part kaya nun ang gentle?! Eh kung tumblingan ko kaya sya!?

OFFICIAL COPY ayreezh

Ako: Eh kung sipain kaya kita dyan!??! Gerard: Anoh, oh sige, gawa! Ate Marian: Magtigil nga kayong dalawa! *sigh* I guess it's a wrap for today. We'll continue tomorrow. Ako: Thank you. >.> Ate Marian: Anong "thank you" ka dyan!?? Kayong dalawa!

Tinuro nya kaming dalawa ni Gerard.

Ate Marian: Maiwan kayo! Ako: What?!? Bakit?!? Ate Marian: Dahil mag-oopening night na! Dalawang araw na lang ang meron tayo! At pag ganyan pa uhlet ka-emotionless, ka-sarcastic, ka-unbelievable, ka-stiff ang delivery nyo ng lines nyo... Ay, magdasal na kayo dahel baka hinde nyo na uhlet makita ang araw!

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Ay ang scary. Ung tipo bang if looks could kill, nakalibing na siguro ako ngayon pa lang. O__O Nagmamadaling umalis ung ibang tao na nasa auditorium. Na-feel rin yata nila ang maladragon na aura ni Ate Marian, ayaw pahuli sa crossfire. :P Pwede na talagang commander sa militar si ate. Kahit na may gustong kumontra, hindi makakontra dahil sa sobrang intimidating ni ate. wooh!

Nung naubos na ang lahat ng tao, kami na lang ni G ang natira, naupo ako dun sa gilid nung stage. Ehto na siguro ung isa sa mga moments na sinabi ni Father na kailangan kong magdasal. Nawa'y ilayo ako sa temptations at wag poh sana mag-surface ang pagkamaldita ko. Amen.

Umupo si Gerard dun sa isang couch na kasama sa setting nung stage. At talagang feel at home pa ang pagkaka-upo nya. Balak talaga mag-stay?!

Gerard: Well, this reminds me of that time she locked us in here. At least this time, hinde tayo literally naka-lock inside. Ako: Yea.. So why don't you just walk away? Gerard: Why don't you walk away?

OFFICIAL COPY ayreezh

I looked over my shoulder and threw him a look. Ehtong taong toh! Nagpapakabait na nga ako, sinusunod ko na nga ang utos ni Lord na hayaan syang magpalamig ng ulo, eh abah! Namumuro pa sa pang-aasar! Promise! Kanina pa yan! Kaya siguro na-high blood si Ate Marian.. Malamang. :P

Ako: Hay nako! This is hopeless!

I jumped down the stage tapos I started collecting my things. Kung walang mangyayari dito, sayang lang ang oras ko. Mas mabuti pa kung umuwi na lang ako. Nung nakita nya ung ginagawa ko, napatakbo bigla si Gerard dun sa gilid nung stage.

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Gerard: Where are you going? Ako: Eh di uuwi na! Mukha naman wala tayong patutunguhan dito. Eh kung mag-aaksaya na lang din naman ako ng oras, avah, at least ung worthwhile na pag-aaksaya na ang gagawin ko!

Natahimik si Gerard. Anoh ba un?!! Hindi man lang kokontra?!? Hindi man lang... hindi man lang..

Ay ehwan! Ay nako!

Ako: Galingan mo na lang ang acting mo in front of Ate Mars. Gusto ko pang makita ang araw noh. Okay? Vavush! Gerard: Wait..

Ay! Wait daw! :D

Ako naman si excited, tumigil nga sa paglalakad. :D Pero syempre, bago ako humarap sa kanya, tinanggal ko muna ung ngiti sa mukha ko. Dapat kunwari uninterested. ;D

OFFICIAL COPY ayreezh

Ako: What? Gerard: Don't you.... don't you want to talk to me? :| Ako: Haller?!? Kanina pa kita kinakausap, ikaw itong todo may I kontra noh!

He let out a huge sigh. Next thing I knew, he jumped off the stage at naglakad papunta sa'kin. He stopped just a few inches from me. Konting hakbang pa, baka ma-feel nya na ang tok-tokitok ng heart ko! @[email protected]

Ako: A-Anoh?! K-Kontra ka n-naman?!

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Nilapit nya ung mukha nya sa mukha ko to the point na nag-ttouch na ung noses namen. Ay josko! Kuya, wag ganyan! Kinikilig ako! :D

At ehto na! Sasabihin nya na! "I miss you, V. I'm sorry. Take me back! Muling ibalik ang tamis ng pag-ibig! Muling pagbigyan ang pusong nagmamahal!" :D

Gerard: Kontra?

He gazed straight into my eyes with a serious, solemn look. Hindi ko alam kung gano pa karaming suspense ang kaya ni heart bago tuluyang mahulog. Bakit ba hindi nya na lang sabihin kung anuman ang gusto nyang sabihin nang matapos na noh?!?!

Gerard: V, ung mga kontra ko syo.... Whose fault do you think that is?!?

OoO

Ay anak naman talaga! >:(

OFFICIAL COPY ayreezh

I finally stepped away from him. Wala na! Nasira na ang moment! Ako pa ang sinisisi nya?!? AKO?!?

Ako: Ganon!??! Kasalanan ko pang nagpapaka-PMS ka dyan?!? >:( Gerard: Oh anoh, tatakbo ka na ngayon dun sa Briton mo?!

Lord, isang suntok lang. Baka sakaling matauhan pag sinuntok ko.

Ako: Alam mo, kung hindi lang mahal tong mga librong hawak ko, pinaghahampas ko na tong mga toh dyan sa ulo mong hinde naman gumagana!

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I can feel the blood rushing to my head. Magiging bayolente pa yata ako nang wala sa oras.

Ako: Ehwan ko ba naman syo kung bakit feel na feel mong kami ni Wally! We're just friends! So what if I kissed him--Gerard: You kissed him?!?!

Oops. O_O That slipped out in the worst time, didn't it?

Ako: Y-Yea.

Gerard looked at me in disbelief. Then, all of a sudden, he whirled around and kicked the seat next to him. Great. -___- Now he has more reason to suspect something. Lalong walang mangyayari sa usapan.

Ako: I'm sorry it happened. I can't exactly say it's nothing.....

ARRGHHH!!! This is completely driving me mental!

OFFICIAL COPY ayreezh

Ako: I was lonely... insane.. completely out of my mind. G, don't you understand?!? Gerard: No, I don't understand! Kaya sige, ipaliwanag mo sa'kin para maintindihan ko! Ako: I wanted you, but I didn't know where you were! I didn't know what you were doing! I didn't know who you were hanging out with!

I paused nung naramdaman kong nag-cclose up na ung throat ko. I took a few deep breaths to calm myself down.

Ako: I didn't know anything... I still don't know anything.

Gustong-gusto ko ipaliwanag lahat. Pero at that point, nagkagulo-gulo na lahat ng gusto kong sabihin. I don't know where to start so that I can make him understand.

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Ni hindi ko na nga alam kung pano ko ba sasabihin. Ayokong-ayoko pa naman ng mga ganitong kadramahan sa buhay.

I bit my lip trying to stop tears from falling. But all the frustrations I felt up to now.. All the sadness I tried to conquer while he was gone.. All the doubts I tried to ignore.. They all surfaced right then and there. The tears just started to fall...

Ako: Lahat sila.. They all told me na everything's gonna be okay. You'll come back and things will be okay again. And I tried to believe them.. I really did, even if it took all of me to believe what they said. *sniff* But when you called and said na hindi ka babalik.. When you called and said you had to stay there.. when you still didn't tell me why.. I felt like I broke into pieces, G. I didn't know what to believe anymore.

He stepped towards me, pero he still didn't do anything. He was just watching me, probably debating whether to hug me or just let me continue.

Ako: Hindi ko alam kung babalik ka pa. I didn't even know kung baka may nakita ka nang iba. What if you went back for someone?

OFFICIAL COPY ayreezh

I furiously wiped my tears away. Dyahe naman tohng mga luha na toh.

Ako: And Wally.. Wally was there. He offered me a sanctuary. He made me feel wanted.

I saw Gerard clenching and unclenching his fists. May tinamaan yata ako. -__I looked down. Ang pangit ko pag umiiyak ako. Baka pag nakita nya ung mukha ko, lalo akong iwanan...

Ako: I spent time with him. Pero ngayong iniisip ko, (chuckles) Every morning, I'd wake up and still check my email. Tuwing gabi, I'd still check my messages, my voicemail. You never tried to contact me again. Syempre, deny naman ako, I pretended I didn't care. Wally just made it easier to pretend that I was fine.

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I wiped my tears again. It's getting easier to rant now. Pag nagsimula pala, talagang mahirap nang tumigil.

Ako: But then, you came back. I was beyond happy. I wanted to see you pero ma-pride ako. I wanted to rub it in your face that I moved on without you. That was really stupid. *sniff* I never moved an inch away from where you left me. All this time, I was unconsciously still waiting for you.

Ngayon ko lang yan napag-isip isip. Ngayon ko lang na-realize kung gano pala talaga ka"foolish" ang mga pinaggagawa ko. Nung na-realize ko ang mga kapalpakan ko -- lalo na ung "kiss" na un -- lalo akong umiyak. Kinarir ko na talaga ang pagkatimang.

Ako: And now.. and now.. Dahil sa mga pinaggagawa ko..... (cries) You really don't want me anymore! :'|

I started sobbing. I don't care kung nakatayo sya dyan sa harap ko o kung mamaga man ang mata ko hanggang mamaya. I just cried and cried. Di ko naman mapigilan na hindi umiyak.. At gustuhin ko man tumakbo palabas katulad nung mga nandun sa telanobela, I was frozen in my spot.

OFFICIAL COPY ayreezh

Gerard: You're so stupid... Ako: I know! ToT Gerard: (chuckles) That's not what I meant. >.> Halika nga dito.

He took another step forward and then, finally, niyakap nya na ko. Umariba lalo ang mga luha ko nung na-feel nilang I'm being comforted. Parang waterfalls ang agos ng luha ko. =__=

Gerard: Whatever made you think that I don't want you anymore? I'll always want you, V. Kahit anoh pang gawin mo, kahit gano ka pa ka-stupid.. I'll always want you. Ako: But I practically cheated on you... Gerard: You were lonely. It's my fault. I shouldn't have left you like that. Come on.. Tama na iyak.

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Ako: Akala mo ba ganun lang kadali tumigil umiyak?!? Gerard: But I'm here now, right? I won't leave you again. From now on, I'll always be by your side. Kaya wag ka na umiyak.

Sinubukan ko naman talaga tumigil umiyak eh. Pero kamustah naman, sadyang imposible na bigla-bigla ka na lang titigil di vah? Pero at least, I calmed down na. Binitawan ako ni Gerard. Ako naman, automatically tingin uhlet sa baba.

Ako: Do you really.. do you really still want to be with me? :| Gerard: Nothing or no one in this world can change that. Ako: I'm sorry. Gerard: I'm sorry too... and V, I swear, pagkatapos ng play, you'll find out everything, ok? Ako: Bakit pagkatapos pa ng play? Gerard: Coz I don't think Marian would appreciate it if you're distracted from everything. :P

Sa bagay.... I wonder kung bakit naman ka-distract-distract ung sasabihin nya?

Ako: So.. does this mean we're okay now? Gerard: I think so.

OFFICIAL COPY ayreezh

He tried to look at my face, pero dahel nga umiyak ako, eh talagang todo tago ako! Pinasok ko kagad ung kamay ko sa bulsa ko para mangisda ng panyo bago ako humarap kay G.

Gerard: Why are you still not looking at me? o_O

Anak ng jueteng! Nasan ang panyo ko?!?!

Ako: Kaseh ang panget ko pag bagong iyak ako! T^T Gerard: Sus naman. :P

He handed me his handkerchief. I took it with a very grateful heart. :D Sinimulan ko nang punasan ung mga luha ko. I wonder kung namamaga na ang mata ko? It feels like it. -___- Maaannnnnn....

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Gerard: Don't cry anymore, ok V? It hurts to see you cry.

I just silently nodded.

Gerard: Oh and by the way.

I looked up at him -- and nagulat when he suddenly took my face in his hands. Before I can even react, he already bent down and kissed me. @[email protected] It was gentle and sweet, but at the same time, demanding. Ang weird ng combination I know, but nag-melt pa rin ako. :P The kiss lasted for a few minutes until he finally pulled away. Hahabol pa sana ako pero nakakahiya naman. :D

Gerard: Now I own those lips again. ;)

He went to the front to get his things para makauwi na kami. I just stood there feeling dazed. My hands are shaking as I touched my lips.

I don't know when it started. I don't remember how I knew. but at that moment, it was very much clear to me..

OFFICIAL COPY ayreezh

I've really fallen in love with this guy.

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Chapter 48: (Gerard’s POV) December 20. Two days after our much-awaited reconciliation. :P

The final rehearsal went well -- very well, sabi mismo ni Marian. That only means everything was perfect. She must be happy. -__I guess we're ready for the performance night, which is in a few hours.

Pero before that, Christmas shopping muna. Pumunta kami ni Anthony sa mall para mamili ng mga regalo. Err.. actually, si Anton lang ang namili ng regalo. Sumunod-sunod lang ako. :P

I was getting tired kaya nagyaya na kong umuwi. Pero not before pumunta kami sa jewelry store. I won't leave without getting Venice something.

We walked inside, and as usual, nakangiti kagad ang mga salespeople. We started to look around.

Anthony: So bibilhan mo si Venice ng kung anong alahas? Ang generous mo naman.

OFFICIAL COPY ayreezh

He came up to me and peered at the ring I'm checking out. It's a silver wrap ring with pearls on both ends and little diamonds on the band. It's perfect. :)

Anthony: WAH insan! Mag-ppropose ka na kay Venice?!?! OoO I'm so proud of you. T^T

Pinagsasabi nito?!? Napatingin ako bigla dun sa saleslady na nasa namin. She immediately smiled wider nung narinig nya ung sinabi ni Anthony. =___= I smiled back at her then grabbed Anthony by the arm.

Ako: Uh, excuse me lang sandali ha.

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Hinila ko kagad si Anthony sa isang sulok -- out of hearing range. As soon as wala nang nakatingin, binatukan ko kagad ung pinsan ko.

Anthony: Aray naman! Bakit? Ako: Wag ka ngang magkalat ng tsismis! Anong propose-propose ka dyan?!?! Anthony: Ay suz.. Ikaw naman, insan. Mahihiya ka pa ba sa'kin? :D

Napatitig lang ako sa kanya. Some people are just hopelessly dense.. -__-

Ako: Talking to you is exhausting.

I walked back to the saleslady, who's patiently waiting for me. I looked at the other display first, pero nung wala na talaga akong makita, I decided to get the ring I was checking out earlier. She'll be happy with anything -- as long as may regalo sya, masaya na un. :P

Lumabas kami ni Anthony nung shop. I am now a few thousand bucks poorer. Ang hirap talaga ng Pasko -- lalo akong nahihirap. -___-

Anthony: San tayo ngayon? Ako: Hallmark? or something like that. Anthony: Ung card shop? o_O Ako: Yep.

OFFICIAL COPY ayreezh

We started walking towards the next store. This is the last one bago kami umuwi. Pero parang hindi pa rin ako papatakasin ni Anthony sa pangungulit nya. -__-

Anthony: Anong meron sa Hallmark? Bakit tayo pupunta sa Hallmark? Ako: Hindi pa ba obvious? I'm getting your gift. Anthony: Card? O_O Ako: Oo. Tama na un syo. :D Anthony: Sisingitan mo ba un ng cash? Ako: Naaadik ka ba?

Nagpanic si Anthony. Talagang kahit san ako pumunta, naka-sunod sya.

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Lalo pa syang nag-freak out nung napansin nyang puro blank cards ang kinukuha ko. I paid for the cards and practically dragged Anthony out of the store.

Ako: Tama ka na nga. Let's go home. I want to get some sleep bago lumarga mamaya. Anthony: Fine. T~T

Kinarir nya talaga ang pagka-bitter nya. >.> Buong ride sa jeep, nagmukmok. Buti na lang, isang baso lang ng mais con yelo, bawing-bawi na ko. Thank God sa mga taong mababaw ang kaligayahan. ;D

The first thing I did when we got home was take a shower.. simply because nanglalagkit ako. :D Then I took my purchases from earlier and dumped them on my study table.

Three blank cards and a blue silver ring box.. Dahil alam kong wala na ko time later on na magsulat, I might as well do this now.. di ba? :P

I wrote quick messages on the cards and put them back on their envelopes. I addressed each envelope to three people. I tied the blue box to one of the envelopes, then I put everything in the upper drawer.

OFFICIAL COPY ayreezh

That's that for Christmas.

I walked over to my bed and collapsed on the soft sheets. I have three hours to sleep. Lubuslubusin ko na dahil talaga naman... napagod talaga ako. *yawnnn*

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Chapter 49: (Gerard’s POV) It's the final scene. It's the scene where Vince finally realizes what he needs to do.. and he's trying to get back the one person he shouldn't have let go in the first place..

It was her birthday party.. a special one.. He was the last performer and there, as he stands on the stage singing the final song, he couldn't help but stare at her.... The beautiful, shining girl is dancing with someone else right now. but then she seemed to have realized who the person on the stage is. She froze. This person was singing directly to her.

Gerard: (sings) If I could have one dance forever I would take you by the hand Tonight it's you and I together I'm so glad I'm your man And if I lived a thousand years You know I never could explain The way I lost my heart to you that day but if destiny decided I should look the other way then the world would never know the greatest story ever told and did I tell you that I love you tonight...

OFFICIAL COPY ayreezh

I stared straight into her eyes. It really does feel like sya at ako lang ang nandito. Kahit na, in reality, there are about other hundred or so eyes watching from the audience, from the band, from the choir, crew, other castmates...

For now, it feels like it's just me and her.

I finished the song and just as the script said, I jumped off the make-shift stage and walked over to where Venice was standing on cue.

Venice: You.. Why are you here? You're not supposed to be here. Ako: I missed you.. Venice: Stop lying to me, Vince. (turned away) You left me for someone else.

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Ako: No.. Trish.. That's not it. Venice: What are you talking about? You left! You chose that other girl over me! You-Ako: NO! Trish, I.. I tried to leave. I tried to be with her. I tried to forget you. But.. don't you see?!?!

I took the three steps needed to close the gap between us. I grabbed her by the shoulders and gently tried to shake some sense into her -- kunwari.

And then.. I felt it. It was a sudden feeling -- a gripping, tightening feeling in my chest. I almost gasped for air. Pero sandali na lang.. A couple of lines... just a couple more lines left to say...

Ako: I belong with you! No matter where I go, who I'm with... I always find myself... coming back to you..

I had to take a breather in between those lines. The pain is starting to increase.

Venice: What are you trying to say? Ako: Trish.. I belong with you, just as you belong with me. I still love you. Won't you.. won't you continue this love story... with me?

OFFICIAL COPY ayreezh

Tears brimmed in her eyes. Right on cue.

Venice: Vince.. I've been waiting for you to say that.

The lights shone brighter on the two of us as I kiss Venice. The choir sings the chorus of "Greatest Story Ever Told" (which was the play's title by the way). The audience started to applaud. I saw the curtain coming down. I released Venice just in time as more spasms of pain went through my heart. The pain is so familiar yet so different this time... Can this be it?

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The curtain opens again as the cast lines up for the curtain call.

My eyesight is getting blurry now. Sounds are getting confusing. I would have passed out already if Venice wasn't holding my hand.. her soft, warm hand...

I felt another shot of intense pain.

Kung ehto na.... Kung ehto na talaga...

After the main characters' names were called (mine and Venice's), they start to lower the curtain down again. The darkness is increasing.... or is it just me?

Before the light in front of my eyes totally disappeared, I squeezed Venice's hand. She looked at me adoringly and smiled. That smile.. It could have been enough before to take away all this increasing pain. But... she's not an angel -- though she can pass as one. I can feel my body getting numb. This immense pain... it won't go away just like that, will it?

OFFICIAL COPY ayreezh

Ako: I love you, V. Venice: I love you too, G.

I smiled at her. Finally, I couldn't hold out any longer. I felt everything give way... break down.. My knees.. My vision.. My heart.. My breathing... I saw blurry images hovering in front of my half-closed eyes. I heard Venice's panicked screams.

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God, I hope she's not crying..

Then... One more grasp.. One final painful grasp at my heart.. Soon.. There was silence.. There was darkness...

Finally.. it was over.

OFFICIAL COPY ayreezh

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Epilogue: (Venice’s POV) Two weeks.. It's already been two weeks. The rushing to the hospital.. The time of death.. The sobs.. The phonecalls.. It's all a blur now.

Gerard's.... Gerard's body was flown back to the States. His parents are grievously waiting there so they can bury their son in the family burial lot. An empty grave serves as his final place for people here in the Philippines to visit. Empty.. but sentimental enough.

Christmas..... I don't even remember what I did for Christmas. I just remember never feeling so alone before. It was so lonely. With Gerard gone.... I don't like being alone. We cleaned out his room the day after Christmas. The room he'll never sleep in again... His scent seems to still linger on the bedsheets.. his clothes.. It was then that we found the cards. His final words.....

OFFICIAL COPY ayreezh

Two weeks... Has it only been two weeks...

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V,
I'm sorry I have to leave again. I guess I promised I'll tell you everything after the play... I don't want to make you wait again not knowing anything. I have a heart disease, V. Pero wag ka mag-alala. The reason I have to leave is so that I can get an operation. Then I'll be back and be with you -- really be with you. So for now, I'm gonna leave you this ring. I may be far away, but I hope you remember: I'll always -- always -- be by your side. Let this ring be the symbol of that promise. I'll see you again, V. and I love you.

Marian,

OFFICIAL COPY ayreezh

G

You are awesome! haha Pasensya na kung card na lang ang nabigay ko syo. Ikaw na rin naman ang nagsabi, dapat si Venice ang unahin ko. haha kaya ahyan, sa hirap ng buhay ngayon, eh sya na nga lang ang binigyan ko ng regalo. Bawi na lang ako next time! Marian, thank you na lang sa pag-aalaga mo all these years. I'll be following your long-time advice: I'm getting that surgery -- finally! When I get back, mag-inuman tayo and all those other things I couldn't do before, okay?!?

Gerard

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Anthony,
Man, you really took care of me. Alam ko naman na kaya ka lang sunod ng sunod kahit saan ako pumunta eh dahel nag-aalala ka. Kaya lang.. insan.. sorry. I know you were expecting me to go back to the States after the play. You were expecting that everything will be alright... Pero.. hindi ko na kaya eh.. Kaya, Anton.. ikaw na bahala kay Venice. Take care of her for me, will you? She'd probably be very mad. She'd probably cry..

Will you tell her that this time, at least, I'm not in pain anymore..? That it's finally all over now... Sorry, insan.. You're probably feeling confused and frustrated. But.. I don't regret anything.. I knew all along. I knew I won't make it in time for the surgery. and it's okay. dahil, alam mo? I was happy. Thank you for everything, Anthony.

OFFICIAL COPY ayreezh

Gerard
________________ The End.

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