ANG MALAKAS na sigaw ni Direk Bim ay nalunod sa maugong na tunog ng takong ko habang papasok ng opisina. Nang magbukas ang pinto ay agad akong sinalubong ng katahimikan at mga nahihiyang ngiti ng karamihan.
"Am I too late for an introduction, Direk?" tanong ko. Dinig ko ang maluwag na paghinga ng nakararami sa loob. Matagal siguro talaga silang naghintay.
"Not really, Lola. I'm glad you're here! Because I'm getting pissed with Scarlet. Ang sabi niya hindi niya matatanggap ang project na ginawa para sa kanya. And then, she suddenly suggested you to take the role. I'm not quite sure if you're okay with it but—"
"Okay!" I answered, all smiles. My eyes suddenly rooted for the apple, but he's nowhere to be found. Hindi kaya pinagloloko lang ako ng babaeng `yon?
"Are you sure?"
"Yes, Direk. I want to try a new kind of role, iyong magugulat ang marami. I like challenges," I added in a positive tone. This should be a good pay, or else I'm not gonna sign up for this. Si JD lang ang dahilan kung bakit ako narito. I'm rooting for that sexy guy. All girls, ma-showbiz man at sa elite circle, they want to be with that guy, kahit isang gabi lang. Not that I'm into sex, but being around him might take me to ecstasy of fame. Hindi lang kasi siya basta Filipino actor, he's also a Hollywood actor. Nakakasalamuha na niya ang mga bigating artista sa Hollywood, and dating him is the coolest way to get there. Isa pa, hindi na bago sa akin ang ganitong kalakaran. I'm used to date several star actors just to stay in the spotlight. At kapag hindi na sila sikat, I get the alibi of breaking their hearts because I don't feel the spark anymore.
"Good! So, si JD na lang talaga ang problema ko..."
"I mean James Dean. He should be here na dapat but he called earlier na mali-late siya dahil sa isang emergency."
"Um, Direk..." biglang singit ng isang isang babae. One of the staffs, I supposed. "I think you should see this..." Nakita ko na hawak na nito ang isang remote control at itinapat ito sa flat TV screen na naka-install sa wall sa harap naming lahat.
It was a news flash. All of our eyes captured the headline as it goes like this: "JD Ferrer at Hannie Torres, isinugod sa ospital matapos magkaroon ng komplikasyon sa pagtatalik!"
Halos hindi ko na maibaba ang nakaangat kong kilay sa nakita. Oh, who wouldn't forget about the infamous JD Ferrer? He's just the sex machine of his age, at halos majority ng populasyon ng kababaihan ay willing victim para sa kanya. Who wouldn't? He's hot and sexy. Halos lahat ng clothing line, pabango, vehicle compainies ay gusto siyang kunin o piratahin. Kulang na lang ay mag-endorse na rin siya ng flavored condom. Why not? Walang Pinay ang inosente at hindi alam kung anong meron sa isang JD Ferrer. He's the talk of the town, a top influencer, a multi-millionaire of his own blood and sweat. He's an ecstasy and a perfect fantasy to crave for.
"Oh my God! Is this for real?"
"Just take a look at the headline and the news! It's coming from BTX Network, our network!"
"And we all know that Hannie is the new flavor of the day. Hindi nga lang fit!" anang kasama kong artista na si Gaia Lopez habang tumatawa.
I secretly rolled my eyes and pompously opened the folder on the table and started to study the new project, not minding the commotion. I'm not going to be depressed by the thought that JD is already dating a dozen of it-girls. I'm not here rooting him for love, duh! I wanted to ride on his fame and seek ways on how to maintain it. I will not be another Hannie Torres na madadala sa ospital para lang matanggal ang ari ni JD. I might even enjoy the fact that he's in me for a long time.
But kidding aside, wala akong balak na maging katulad ni Hannie. For sure, that girl will be in social media and cry all over the news and blame JD for all the dramas, just like the other girls in the past. Si Yvette Sarmiento nga, isang sikat na modelo, hindi pinalampas ni JD. After a week, nabalitaan na lang na nag-suicide attempt ang babae sa pakikipaghiwalay ni JD sa kanya. Well, alam naman kasi ng mga babae na hindi nagseseryoso ang isang James Dean Ferrer, bakit kasi pinapatulan nila?
I continued reading through the papers as I heard Direk cleared his throat. Nagsawa na siguro siya sa kapapanood ng mga eskandalo ni JD.
Direk Bim is never a good director of his time, everyone in the industry knows about him and how he pays his artists. Nagdaan na rin ako sa kanya noong nagsisimula pa lang ako sa industriya at hindi na ako gaanong umuulit, not unless he's been pursuing the project to my late foster father and the all-time action leading man in his time, Albert Lee. Kapag nauuto kasi ni Direk si daddy, saka ako napapa-oo sa kanila. Ayoko kasing binibigo si daddy sa lahat ng kahilingan niya. I was always like that until his last breath.
After the meeting, niyaya ako ni Scarlet sa isang high class bistro. As usual, bago pa man ako makaupo sa pwesto namin, I was always asked for a picture taking or for an interview. Nang makaupo kami, pinalapit ko ang manager ng bistro.
"Please give me a peaceful night and let the bees out." As soon as I said those words, the manager automatically nodded. They know the code. I hate paparazzi.
"So... you accept the project?" panimula ni Scarlet.
I rolled my eyes and drank my margarita. "Hell, yes, Scar. Akala ko ba sure na si JD sa project? Bakit hindi naman pala? If I knew it, I wouldn't have agreed too early. You know how I hate being in Direk Bim's flock. He's soloing the money!"
Scarlet laughed. "Yeah, yeah, bitch. I know how you feel. And don't worry, JD has already signed up at hindi siya mapipigilan kahit pa ni Hannie. You wanna know why?" she cunningly smiled at me. Iyon ang ngiti ni Scarlet na hindi ko nagugustuhan. If I'm mean, well, Scarlet is at some point higher than mine. Although she hates keeping up with other's fame, she likes seeing other people's downfall whenever she have the chance to look at it without even wishing.
"I hate you for looking at me like that, bitch. So, you're saying that he's up to something?"
"Of course! May tao bang walang plano sa buhay? Of course he has a plan. A very cunning plan."
"Spill it, bitch! Ayoko ng suspense, gosh!" I can't wait to know it. Something is telling me that JD Ferrer is not just any sexy man, but someone deeper than that.
"Hmmm... I heard a rumor that his downfall is about to start. You know... I really don't hate him. I like JD, but I just hated the news. Naalibadbaran din ako minsan. Kaya, mas magandang gumawa na ako ng move para sa downfall niyang iyon, don't it sound cool, bitch?"
I laughed. "Oooh. I think that's exciting. Ano bang score between you and JD? May past ba kayo na hindi mo sinasabi sa akin?"
Mas lumakas ang tawa ni Scarlet. Buti na lang at nasa private room kami at malayang nakakapag-usap. "Wala naman kaming past, noh! Let's just say na may kaibigan lang akong gustong paghigantihan kaya kinakausap kita na pumayag sa project ni Direk Bim. Because from what I heard, JD is rooting for a woman inside the project. And I think nakita mo na siya kanina."
Napaisip ako. "Who? Gaia?"
Nanlaki ang mga mata ko. "What?! That low-class actress, he wants to hit on her? Eww!"
Scarlet laughed crisply. "Yeah. But I think Gaia is a big catch. Hindi dahil sa papasikat na rin siya, but because her uncle is the great Jo Herrera. Close sila ng uncle niya and that's why Gaia has been all over the TV because of him."
"W-wait... what's exactly this gossip? Are we really talking about JD pa rin? Because as you speak as of this moment, parang nagsusumbong ka sa akin na may isang lalaking social climber like me. Are you saying that JD is one of my kind?" Parang hindi ko mapaniwalaan ang revelation ni Scarlet. Minsan, gusto ko na rin siyang batukan sa sobrang chikadora niya, but she has never reported something so absurd to me before.
Scarlet's lips curved a devilish smile. "That's why you have to find it out yourself. Seduce her, bitch. Total, you're a big catch for him. Big catch siya for you. If I'm right, you will smell social climbing in his aura. If I'm wrong, then he'll definitely fall in love with you and you will ride on his fame."
Dahil sa sinabi ng kaibigan ko, napasandal ako sa couch.
Sa unang dahilan kung bakit ko kinuha ang project ni Direk Bim, I was always focused on rooting for JD, his influence and his wealth. But now, parang gusto kong umatras.
But I'm stuck in between.
Being a social climber, I know in particular that the most implemented rule that we, social climbers, must adhere: "Don't fall in love with a social climber like you, if you wish for his/her fall, his/her fall will be yours, too."