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Spaces Between Us

Image Description AnnaBanana0405   |   10 May 2018


He loves her, but she is not sure who to give her heart to. Read how Edward and Maymay close the spaces between them.

By: AnnaBanana0405

"Why are there so many cars here?" Maymay wonders as she walks towards her best friend's house. "I wonder if he is here." she adds in a whisper. She actually came to say sorry because they fought again. Being the best of friends, they fight over the most ridiculous things such as Edward forgetting to pick up Maymay from her class, forgetting to bring her books or anything of the likes. 

Today is not any different from those petty fights, Maymay was more than sure that Edward was not going to walk her home that day. But for some odd reason, her best friend is not replying to all her messages and neither is he picking up her calls. 

She begins to twist the knob and walks through the door, "The second daughter of the house is here" she announces. "Edwardo Barbero, are you--" she halts her words as soon as she begins to realize that there are boxes and a huge  luggage in the room. 

"Maymay! What are you doing here?" Tita Cathy, the mom of Edward asks. 

Maymay advances towards the hurdle of people, "Hi Tita" she greets, "..I was looking for.. uhmm.. Edward." she smiles. 

As soon as she said her best friend's name, Edward walks in the room. He is followed by a tall handsome man, who seems to be about their age. He has a very noticeable smile and beautiful eyes. 

"Oh, twin.. what are you doing here? Are we going somewhere? Did I forget something?" he asks as he puts the tray of snacks on the table. 

Maymay does not utter any word. Instead, she just stares at the boy right behind Edward. This did not miss Edward's watchful eyes, he followed her gaze. Upon realizing that she is staring at his cousin, he snaps his fingers in front of Maymay. 

"Hoooy! Earth to Maymay?" 

"Ha? Edward! Uhm, ahh... I was just wondering...Why didn't you answer my texts and calls?" she raises her hand and acts like she is about to hit him.

However, Edward grabs her wrist. "May, everybody is watching." he reminds her. 

Maymay looks around, and everybody is actually either smiling and laughing at them. "Hahaha" she fakes laugh. "I was just playing around with Edward Tito, Tita.." she taps his shoulder. "I would never ever hit your precious son" she laughs. 

"Right." he laughs. "by never, she means... always." he adds, causing the whole room to erupt in laughter--including the stranger in the room. 

"Why were you ignoring me huh?" she asks. 

"I wasn't! I was just busy... did you call me?" he asks as he pulls his phone from his back pocket. "10 missed calls? Did something happen? Are you okay?" he asks. 

"Actually, that was my question for you... are you okay? Did anything happen?" she asks. 

"Did I forget something? Was I supposed to walk with you? or bring you something?" he asks, with everybody watching. 

"No. Actually, I thought there was something I did wrong 'cause you haven't been replying..." she says as she drops her whole weight on the single couch beside her. "...all those worries for nothing." she adds. 

"You two have to stop fighting, or worrying." Tito Kevin comments. 

"Dad, you know Maymay.. she can be quite the drama princess." Edward says as he also takes the space beside Maymay. 

"You seriously want a beating, eh?" she says as she lightly pulls Edward's hair. 

"Hep! Stop, let's not fight and let me explain." 

"Fine, explain. For a best friend, you worry me way too much." 

The handsome boy coughs on the side which immediately caught everyone's attention. 

"Hey.." he greets. 

"Ahh, there's my reason."Edward points at the handsome boy. 

"Who is she Edward? You didn't tell me you have a girlfriend." the boy comments. 

"Girlfriend?" Maymay and Edward screams in unison.  "Yuck! Yuck! Eeww, eeww!!" they add. 

"Right, Darren?! I've been telling them to just date, but apparently they are just best friends." Laura comments as she smiles slyly at them. 

"Seriously? You two aren't dating?" Darren asks. 

"No. And I will never ever ever ever date Edward." Maymay adds. 

"She's not my type either." Edward comments. 

"Ha! As if, you're not my type too, baboy!" Maymay laughs. 

"Whatever manok." Edward ruffles Maymay's hair. "By the way, he's my reason, my cousin, Darren. I wasn't paying attention to my phone because my cousin decided to surprise us. He just came from La Union, but he is actually from Canada. Darren, my best friend, Maymay." he introduces them. 

"Oh hi, like he said, I'm Darren." he walks towards Maymay, and spreads his arms. 

Maymay gets up from the couch, and let herself be enveloped in Darren's arms. "I'm Maymay. Welcome to the Philippines." she greets. 

"Thanks. It's been a while since I came home. I nearly forgot how beautiful the girls are here." he smiles brightly at her. 

Edward intervenes immediately, "Now, I know I said we are only the best of friends, but I am super protective over this one." he says as he pulls Maymay away from his cousin's embrace. 

Darren raises both of his hands as if surrendering, "Noted Edward, noted." he laughs and soon after, everybody joined in. 

"Oh yeah, yeah..my overprotective brother." Maymay adds. 

Maymay stayed in the Barber residence until evening since they only live down the street. When it was already late, Edward offered to walk her home. Darren wanted to tag along, but jet lag seemed to have attacked him. He is now sleeping soundly in Edward's room. 

"Baboy, how come everyone in your family looks good?" she asks. "...except you." she adds in a laughter. 

"Excuse me, your best friend is one of the heartthrobs in our university. Who is ugly? This face?" he asks, pointing at his face. "..this face will be the reason why you may one day lose your best friend." he laughs. 

"Don't say that." 

"Say what?"

"That I might lose you, or that I am going to lose you." she whispers. "Remember this Edward, I can never ever imagine my life without you." she smiles. 

As surprised as Edward was, he still passed it off as a joke. "Did you sneak some wine from mom's glass earlier, May? Why being so dramatic?" he asks. 

"Nothing." she whispers. 

And it hit him. Maymay did not actually call him that many times for nothing. And yes, it is a normal occurrence for them to be this clingy with each other since they basically grew up together. However, now that they are alone on their street that is only lit with street lamps, it truly hit him. Maymay is more herself--the Maymay she only ever shows to him. 

"What's wrong May?" he asks as he grabs her shoulder and spins her around. "And please, don't even think about lying, just tell me the truth."

She was quiet for a bit, and when she finally begins to speak, tears are already glazing her beautiful eyes. "I was glad you left school early today." she begins.

"What happened?"

"I was walking behind my department, and I saw Dism with--"

Edward's jaw hardened, "Say no more. And I wouldn't tell you 'I told you so' anymore because I said that too many times already. Instead, I will just hold you and let you cry, okay?" he pulls her in. 

She laughs lightly, "Thanks Baboy." 

"Just calm your heart for now, don't jump onto the next guy that shows you interest. Let your heart heal first. How can that muscle have so much space for all the guys you dated, huh? Is there even any room left for the right one?" he babbles. 

"Right! You're right! No more dating." she laughs. "Actually, Edward.. maybe I should be a nun? What do you think?" she utters as she pulls herself out of his arms, and wipe her tears away. 

"Stop cyring over Dism. He is not worth it. Look, now you have snot dripping from your nose." he says as he pulls his shirt and wipes her nose. "Blow." he asks.

She happily obliges, "You know baboy, I just realized now..."

"That?" he asks as he wipes her tears from her eyes down to her cheeks. 

"That you are not baboy anymore. Look, you have abs." she says as she pokes his toned abs. 

Edward suddenly feels shy and pulls his shirt down, "Pervert. Why are you looking?" he asks. 

"You have my head down, and your shirt is lifted! My eyes are just open. It isn't like I pulled your shirt up--"

"Even still. What happened to respecting our boundaries?"

"Mr. Edward 'Baboy' Barber, did you forget that we grew up together? We used to bathe together! And hello, I was there when you got.." she looks around as she tiptoes right beside him. "circumcised." she giggles. 

"Maymay!!!" he exclaims, as blood start to travel up his cheeks. He feels embarrassed all of a sudden. "We were eight then. Now, we are twenty three, and seeing any parts of my body is totally off-limits. "

"Why? Are you shy? It's not like you have any reason to be shy about." she says as she reaches for the bottom of Edward's shirt and begins lifting it up. 

"Marydale!" 

"You are so cute, my not-so-baboy." she laughs. 

"Well, you moved on fast." Dism states as he walks in the situation. 

"Wha-a--" Maymay stutters. 

Edward's face suddenly became serious and angry. He steps in front of Maymay, acting like a shield from her ex-boyfriend. He seems determined to not let him back in her life. He knows Dism since they were in high school. He was a well known 'man whore' then, and it seems like he hasn't changed one bit. 

"What are you doing here?" Edward asks angrily. 

"I just came to check on my girlfriend right there 'cause I think she misunderstood what happened. Mayyyyyy" Dism slurs. "..why are you hiding behind your best friend when your boyfriend is right here?" he asks. 

Maymay grips Edward's shirt tightly. "Edward, I'm scared." she whispers. 

Edward lets out a heavy sigh. Over and over again, he kept telling Maymay not to give Dism a chance because she will just get hurt again. And not that he is getting tired of protecting her, he is getting tired of seeing her cry. 

Fifteen Years Ago...

Maymay and Edward met exactly in a circumstance like the one they are facing now. It was the most cliche story of all time. It was a Sunday morning, and Edward's mom brought him to the market to do some grocery shopping. Beside the market is a park and a basketball court where kids of the nearby school hang out and play. Tita Cathy left Edward in the park with all the grocery bags because she forgot to buy milk.

Edward was busy eating his ice cream when all of a sudden, he heard someone crying within his earshot. He looked around, and near him is a petite girl who seems to be about his age with very long hair that covers her face. Surrounding the girl are little boys who all had straws in their mouth and seems to be shooting her with some sort of wet paper.

He just kept watching the boys bully the crying girl, and did nothing. Not until his mum came back and Tita Cathy followed his little boy's gaze. It must be her motherly instinct because as soon as she saw the situation, she walked towards the little girl and told off the swarm of boys around her.

"You okay?" she asks as she pulls tissue paper from her purse and start to wipe her tears.

The little girl didn't answer, instead she just stared at the woman's beautiful face.

"Mum, is she okay?" Edward asks as soon as he walks towards his mom.

"Edward John Barber, I am so disappointed in you. I saw you just watching all those boys bully her, and you were doing nothing." she begins.

"I wanted to help her, Mum. I really did. But there's so many of them." he explains.

"Come here." she asks. "I'm not saying you should've beaten them, but you should've done something to help her. Next time, try asking help from an adult nearby, okay? When you see someone getting hurt, you should always try and help. Okay?"

Edward nods. "Okay mum. I'm sorry, but don't worry..I will learn Taekwondo, Judo, and such so I can protect you, dad, Laura and anybody all the time." he happily cheers.

"And me?" the little girl asked.

Edward seems surprised that the girl actually speaks, for she hasn't said a word and only been crying. "If you stop crying, then I will." he smiles at her.

"Good boy." Tita Cathy said proudly.

Ever since that day, Edward became Maymay's protector and growing up, Maymay rarely cried. Not until, puberty actually hit them and Maymay turned to be such a beautiful girl. She kept her raven colored hair long--almost as long as her legs. She has beautiful round eyes, cute round nose, and plump lips that make her face so noticeable. 

It all started in high school when so many boys were showing Maymay interest. At first, she didn't want to go on dates, so Edward always had to be near her when she would go out and ready to intervene when needed. Overall, Edward kept his promise but as more men enter Maymay's life, it's becoming harder and harder. 

"Leave Dism, you and Maymay are over." he commands. 

"You know, over the years, I heard what your role is in Maymay's life...but to actually experience it first hand, I must say, you do a good job as her best friend. But here's the thing Edward, are you doing this because you're getting something from her?" he laughs as he slurs his words. "Because I tried getting in her pants, but she wouldn't agree. So, I am wondering if maybe you guys are doing it, that's why you're over protective of her and she--"

Before Dism can finish his words, Edward's fist landed on his cheek already. Edward keeps on hitting and only stopped when he felt Maymay's hand on his shoulder. 

"Stop Edward. Please, stop." she cries as she pulls him away from Dism. "Let's go. He's drunk, and probably didn't mean anything he just said. Don't mind him." she cries. 

"Whether he meant it or not, he shouldn't have said anything." Edward tells her, his tone angry. "What are you doing?" he asks when he sees Maymay taking Dism's phone from his pocket. 

"I just need to send a text to Gideon to pick him up from here. We can't leave him here." she explains.

"He more than deserves it." he says in fury. 

"It's not a matter of whether he deserves it or not, I am doing this because we are better than him." she answers back. "Let's go."

As soon as they reached Maymay's gate, she hugged Edward tightly. "Thank you, Edward. I'll never ever know how to repay you for all this."

"May, just start loving yourself, know what you deserve, your worth...because you deserve a great guy who will love you with all his heart."

"I wish you loved me that way, and that I loved you that way, then maybe I'll always be happy and feel loved."

"For now, start with loving yourself so much. Love yourself to the point that you won't wish for another's love anymore." he says calmly. "Go in already, and rest. Sleep well. Tomorrow is a new day." he says as he turns around, and walks back home. 

---

When Maymay wakes up, she sends a good morning text to Edward, but no reply. She sends another text, and another, but nothing. She tries to call, and no answer. She even sent a text to Laura, but no answer. Worry started to creep in, so she walks toward the Barber's residence and Tita Cathy opens the door for her. 

"Oh hi Tita, just wondering where's Laura and Edward? I have been texting them and no one is answering." Maymay asks. 

"Oh, Laura was called in the clinic because it's busy. But Edward is just in the backyard playing basketball with his cousin. He probably isn't checking his phone." Tita Cathy explains. 

"Oh!" Maymay smiles. "Can I see them, Tita?" she asks.

"Sure. Come in." 

Maymay walks towards the backyard, "How are they playing ball when I don't hear any ball at all?" she wonders. She saw the two boys laying on the grass, shirtless. They are facing the opposite direction that Maymay is walking from, so they didn't realize that she is slowly approaching them. 

"Couz, you know the girl from last night?" Darren asks. 

"Who? Maymay?" 

"Mhmm."

"What about her? And FYI, Maymay is not a girl, she's a chicken." he laughs. 

Maymay wanted to walk towards them and give her best friend a good beating, but something tells her not to. Instead, she hid herself behind the nearby tree, as she silently thank the universe for letting the Barber's backyard to have many trees. She suddenly wants to eavesdrop on the two boys who are clearly talking about her behind her back. 

"But seriously couz, are you two really just friends?" Darren asks. 

"No."

"No?" Darren asks. 

"Maymay is more than just a friend for me. She is my partner in crime, and my best friend. I've seen her at worst, and I've shown her my worst. So, to say that she is just a friend would not suffice at all." Edward explains. 

Maymay secretly smiles. "Same." she whispers. 

"So, you don't like her? You know, as a potential girlfriend?" Darren asks. 

The question took Edward by surprise, and took him more than thirty seconds to answer. 

"No." he simply answers. 

Darren smiles, "Whooo!!!"

"Why?" Edward asks.

"Because I think I might ask her out. Do you think I have the chance?" Darren asks. 

"Why are you asking me? You should ask Maymay." Edward answers seriously. 

"Ask me what?" Maymay says as she reveals herself. 

"How long have you been there?" Darren and Edward ask at the same time. 

"Not that long. Actually, I just got here." she lies. "So, ask me what?" she prompts. 

"Uhm... Err.." Edward begins. 

Darren gets up from the grass, "Uhm, a date. I want to ask you out on a date." he asks. 

Maymay looks at Edward questioningly, "Uhm, err... I.. uhmm.. give me time?" she asks. 

Darren smiles politely and says, "Sure. Take all the time you need. I'm sure you will say yes because I have the best wing man here." he answers as he puts his arm around Edward. 

"Right." Edward adds. 

When Darren left Maymay and Edward alone, she rests her head on Edward's stomach who is still laying on the grass.

"Twin, remember about what we talked about last night?" she asks. 

"We talked about a lot last night." 

"Do you remember about what you said about giving my heart a break, and letting it rest first?"

"Mhmm."

"Well, if I give Darren a chance, would that still be considered as resting?"

Edward stays quiet. 

"Twin?" Maymay calls.

"Yeah?"

"Well, would it? I mean, can I trust him?"

"Do you like him?" Edward asks. 

"Do I have to like them already before I go on a date with them? Isn't that the whole purpose of a date? to see if there could be a spark? a possibility?" 

"Darren is a good guy, May. But if you were to ask me, I don't want you to date him..cause if you two won't work out, then I will definitely be caught in the middle. And, I don't want that." he explains. 

"But what if we work out? Then we could be family." she answers. 

---

Maymay's words continue to play in Edward's head, "We could be family.. we could be family." The poor boy sighs. He now feels very confused and lost. When Darren asked him earlier whether he likes Maymay, or whether there could be a possibility of them being more than what they are now, he didn't want to say the truth. At least, he didn't want his cousin to be the first to know of what he truly feels. Because, yes, he likes Maymay. Actually, no, he loves her. 

It's not the kind of love that started when they were children and developed over time. It was more the kind of love that came in like a hurricane--a hurricane that passed by and left his thoughts, emotions, and state a mess. But he didn't care, because even if he feels like a mess, when Maymay is there, he feels at peace. It is as if every pieces of the puzzle is in it's right place. He simply feels complete. 

He said no to Darren because he wanted Maymay to be the first to know. It's just that he can never ever find the right timing. 

"If she wants us to be family, that could also be possible. I can marry her, in the future. But, ugh! What if she falls for Darren? And what if they actually work out? Damn it!" Edward thought. His thoughts are so loud that he actually ended up putting his headphones to drown his thoughts. He fell asleep in that state, and is now being woken up by his favorite sound in the world.

"Baaaaaaaaa-booooo-oooyyy! Wake up already! I want to go to the mall, shop, and yanno, same as before.. FOOD TRIP!" she exclaims. 

Edward smiles, "I swear, you use your break-ups as reason for us to eat out all the time."

"Because food is life." she answers. "So, come on! Get up, let's eat! You're driving." she asks. 

"Fine, fine! Let me just shower, and it's a twinnie date." he laughs. 

Maymay walks out of the door, "Sure, I'll just have breakfast. Tita is making longanissa and fried rice with lots of bawang." she laughs as she closes the door. 

"SAVE ME SOME!" he yells. 

After his shower, he walks toward the kitchen and he could clearly hear his best friends lively voice. Edward's face has a very bright smile, but as soon as he walks in the kitchen, it disappears. He witnesses Darren sitting beside Maymay, and giving her a bite of longanisa from his fork. He's very sweet towards her, and he just can't help but feel a bit of pain and a pang of jealousy. 

"Oh, hi couz! Good morning!" Darren greets. 

"Baboy, come, eat! I might just finish all this, so delicious." Maymay happily cheers. 

Edward takes his seat and fakes a smile as he puts food on his own plate. "Hurry twin. The mall will open soon, and you know, let's avoid traffic." he says. 

"Oh right! Speaking of the mall, Darren said he will tag along." Maymay informs him. 

"Can I? I realize, I didn't pack enough clothes for the summer. I need to buy more." Darren asks. 

Edward shrugs his shoulders nonchalantly, "Yeah, it's cool."

In the mall, Darren walked along side Maymay at all times. Edward seems to be two step behind at all times. He isn't happy about the situation at all. In the past, he would always be a third wheel in all of Maymay's first date. But, Maymay never made him feel like an outsider, if anything, the date is the one that seems like an outsider. It is a way to test the guy for both of them if he could ever accept their friendship. 

However, with Darren, it seems like she didn't even care at all. "Could it be because he is family?" he wonders. 

He stops walking when he noticed that Maymay stopped moving, and that Darren is nowhere to be seen. He started to walk towards her in the hopes that maybe he could talk to her, and possibly salvage the horrible day he is having. When he is only five steps away from Maymay, he sees his cousin walking out of Blue Magic. Darren is holding a teddy bear, and hands it to Maymay. 

The whole time they were at the mall, she was holding on to the bear. And when they were having dinner, Maymay even put the bear on a chair across from Edward. She even said that the bear is Edward's date, clearly stating that her and Darren are on a date a the moment. Edward's mood just turned more sour as the day progresses. 

Darren asked if they could watch a movie, and Maymay easily said yes. However, Edward said he is not feeling well anymore and wants to go home. 

"But the movie twin?" Maymay asks. 

"I really don't feel well." Edward answers. 

"Oh, okay. Let's go then." 

Edward thought that when Maymay said 'let's go', she meant 'let's go home', but apparently she was saying that to Darren. 

"Go home and rest twin. I'll check on you after the movie, okay?" 

"Oh, sure." he says disappointingly. 

Edward starts to walk away. And when he was a good three meters away, he suddenly hears Maymay calling his name. 

"Edwardddd!"

He immediately turns around and a glimmer of hope is clear on his face. 

"How will we get home? You're our ride." Maymay asks. 

Edward's face turns sour, "Oh right. Uhm, call Laura, she might be available later. Like I said, I don't feel well." he simply answers back. 

"Oh, okay." Maymay answers back.

Edward starts to walk away with heavy steps, as heavy as the feeling in his heart. 

"Feel better twin!" Maymay yells. 

---

A week passed, Edward and Maymay are both very busy on their own. Or at least, Edward pretends that he is, so he could avoid Maymay. On the other hand, Maymay's time is mostly occupied by Darren for the passed few days. Darren seems very sincere in pursuing her--he would often bring her chocolates, flowers, and food. He would also constantly visit her at home and chat with her until the wee hours of the night.

He would always send her good morning and good night texts, not missing a single day. And yes, Maymay loves the attention she is getting from Darren. Though after some days, Maymay begins to wonder why she somehow feels empty and sad. It is like something is lacking--like something is missing in her life that almost seems perfect at the moment. 

---

Maymay sighs as she puts her phone down after sending a text to Edward. She honestly doesn't know anymore why the guy is avoiding her. 

"That's it! I can't take this anymore. He is even more dramatic than me! Ugh!" Maymay exclaims frustratingly. 

She walks to the Barber's residence, not even caring if she looks disheveled at the moment. Edward has seen her at her worst, and he is still there. So now, even when Maymay is truly annoyed at him, she also can't helped but feel more concerned. She doesn't even know what is happening in Edward's life anymore. 

She walks to the back of the house, and climbs the tree that used to be Edward's escape route when they were younger. As she jumps onto Edward's balcony, she opens the glass door and prepares herself to do some yelling. However, she was stupefied...and speechless. 

In her best friend's room is Carla who is on top of Edward, and anybody who would see them right now would clearly know what Maymay walked into. 

"Sorry." she hastily apologizes. She walks back to the balcony, and when she realizes that she is too unstable to climb down the tree, she walks back in the room. She runs to the door as fast as she could, but Edward reached her.

He grabs her wrist, "Stop May."

"Stop what? I am just leaving. I, uhmmm...er.. I don't want to bother you." she starts as she avoids his eyes. "Continue with what you and uhmm, her are doing." she finishes. 

"Sorry." Edward mutters. 

"Edward, please. We're both mature here, no need for apologies. I really am sorry for barging in just like that." 

And right at that moment, Darren walks out of the guest bedroom. "Oh May, you're here?" he asks. 

"Uhm, seems like it." she says with a forced smile. "I just wanted to say hi to Edward here, but it seems like he is bus...y. I mean, I think he has a visitor."

"Oh, so you've met Carla?" Darren asks.

"You know her?" Maymay wonders.

"Well, not that much. But Edward here has been bringing her over for the passed week." he informs her. He walks towards Maymay and puts his arm around her, "I think they're dating." he giggles. 

"Right. I think so too." Maymay smiles, though her smile did not reach her eyes. 

"Come. Let's give the two their privacy." Darren says as he pulls Maymay away. 

Edward's feet seem to be glued on the carpet, for he does not even move an inch. He watched Maymay and his cousin's disappearing figure. He sighs as he walks back in his bedroom and asks Aria if she could leave for he suddenly does not feel well. 

---

Maymay and Edward's friendship seemed to be in trouble, and everyone in their family have noticed it. Everyone except Darren--who seems oblivious with everything. It may be because he is not really very familiar with the two. However, no one said anything for they believed that Edward and Maymay can get through anything that is thrown at them. 

However, they may be wrong. 

Edward went through serial dating--every month is a different girl.

Darren pursued Maymay more, and eventually, she said yes. 

After three years..

"Is Maymay ready?" Tita Cathy asks. 

"Almost." Tita Lorna answers. 

"Nervous?" Tita Cathy asks.

"We are so close to becoming a family. What's there to be nervous about?" Tita Lorna smiles. 

"I always knew we were going to be part of each other's family. I just always thought--"

Darren walks in with his mom, Tita Julie. "Oh, Tita, you're already here." Darren greets Tita Lorna and Tita Cathy. 

"Uhh, yeah. I asked Cathy to accompany me here since Maymay will get a ride from Laura." 

"Oh! Good, good. I offered her a ride but she refused. I told her that it's just our rehearsal dinner, and I am still allowed to see her, but she is just so stubborn." Darren smiles. 

"You know my daughter, she's the most stubborn." Tita Lorna smiles.  "Good luck." she adds jokingly.

In the Barber's residence, an emergency came up. "Please Edward, the hospital called and one of my patient's appendix is inflamed. I really have to go because this will most likely turned to appendectomy, and if that appendix burst, infection will happen." Laura begs. 

"Tell her to take the taxi or Uber." Edward says nonchalantly as he keeps his focus on the game he is playing. 

Laura stands in front of the TV, blocking his view. "Edward Barber, I don't know what happened between you and Maymay, but she used to be your best friend. And now, she finally found the right one for her, which happens to be your cousin as well. So, get your butt up and be a supportive person for both of them. Now, you can either help them be happy or be a butthole right here and do nothing." she says as she pulls her phone from her back pocket and dials Maymay's number. 

"Hello Laura, where are you? We'll be late." Maymay says on the line.

"I have an emergency in the hospital. Edward says he will drop you, so just wait for him." Laura says before ending the call and leaving Edward stunned.

Edward gets up from the couch, puts on decent clothes, washes his face and brushes his teeth. As frustrated as he was towards her sister, he doesn't want to be the reason why Maymay doesn't get to their rehearsal dinner. 

"My May." he sighs as he heads out of their house and get in his car. 

He honks the car when he gets in front of Maymay's house, and after about a minute, the most beautiful girl in his eyes walk out of the gate.

She walks to the back, and tries opening the back door but it was locked. She sighs and walks to passenger door and opens it. 

"I'm not an Uber or a taxi driver for you to seat at the back." Edward says grimly. 

She ignores him. Instead, she smiles brightly at him. "Oh, hi to you too Edward. How are you? In case you're wondering, I have been well!" Maymay says sarcastically. 

"Who cares?" Edward mutters under his breath. 

Even with his low tone, Maymay still heard him, and truth be told, those two words are like daggers to her heart. "You don't. I know you don't." she answers as she turns her head away from Edward's direction and looks out the window. She couldn't help it, her tears started to roll down her cheeks. 

Edward lets out a heavy sigh and continues to drive to the hall. When they reached the hall, Tita Lorna, Tita Cathy, Tita Julie and Darren are all waiting for them outside. 

Darren opens the door for Maymay, "Oh honey, you're finally here. Thanks bro." 

Edward just nodded.

Tita Cathy walks toward Edward's door and signals for him to open his window. "How are you feeling 'nak?" she asks. 

"I'm okay mum." he answers. 

"Hello Edward, thanks for bringing Maymay here." Tita Lorna greets him as she appears behind Tita Cathy. 

"You're welcome, Tita. And oh, welcome back." he smiles at her. "I have missed you." he adds.

"Oh really? You have? Well, if you really do, come inside and join us. Now, I know that your stomach doesn't feel well, but just join us for a little bit." she asks. 

"Uhmm--"

"No uhm, just come." Tita Lorna says as she opens the door and pulls Edward out of the car. 

Edward is supposed to sit where the groomsmen are, but he opted to keep the bartender company instead. He just stayed on the side as he watches Maymay in her beautiful gown from the side. She walks around the hall like royalty. And as she walks further and further on the other side of the hall, he finally realizes that there is truly nothing in between him and Maymay. 

Nothing, but space. 

"One more whiskey, please." he asks. 

"Coming" the bartender politely obliges. 

"So, are you planning to get drunk tonight?" Maymay asks as she walks to the bar to get herself a glass of wine. 

"Lately, I feel like my tolerance for alcohol is so high. Getting me drunk is near to impossible." he smiles. 

"But you must be tipsy since you're talking to me." she comments. 

"Why must I be tipsy for me to talk to you?"

"Edward, what happened to us?"

"How do you mean?"

"You..I.. we, we used to be so close. We used to be a 'we', partners in crime, best of friends--you used to be my over protective fool, my punching bag. And now, look at us. What happened?" 

"Love."

"Huh?"

"Love happened, May. L-O-V-E. This heart of mine started beating, and before I knew it... everything has changed." he laughs emptily. 

"Huh?"

"You really have no idea?" he asks.

Maymay shakes her head. "Do you mean you fell in love with that Carla girl? From what I know, you two didn't even last a month. Did she break up with you? Was she your first love? Did you first love break your heart?" she asks. 

Edward stares intently into Maymay's eyes, "You're right, May. My first love broke my heart and until now, no matter how many times I try to bandage it back together, it just keeps breaking even more. For the past three years, that's all I have been doing, but nothing." he confesses.

"Then, maybe I can help, like old times. Like, when you used to help me through every heartbreaks ever since then. I can hold you like you used to hold me until my heart is whole again" she smiles hopefully.

"You can't help me." Edward says straightforward.

Maymay face saddened, "But why? Did you love her that much?" 

Edward nods. "I really did..." he says before pulling Maymay outside the hall. He held her hand like his life depended on it. He finally lets her go when the cool air hit them, he pushes Maymay against the wall and traps her in between his arms. 

"Edward, what are you doing?" she asks.

He takes a deep breath, "I really loved my first love, you know? That up to this day, my heart still beats only for her. And no matter how I try so hard to set aside these feelings and settle for just being friends, I can't. I can't because no matter how much I beg my heart to stop loving her, it doesn't stop. I tried May. I tried dating other girls so that I could divert all these... feelings." he waves his hands in the air, then plants them on the wall behind Maymay again. "But it just won't do. The first time I ever tried diverting was with Carla, and that didn't even last."

Maymay suddenly looked up and locked his gaze with Edward's, "Ca-a-rla?" she asks. 

"Yes, with Carla. Remember that night you walked in and you saw Carla in my room? That was the very first attempt, but when our lips touched.. I pushed her back because it just felt so wrong. And..." he laughs, another one that sounds empty. "..and when you walked into my glass door, I wanted to grab you and--"

"Don't continue bro." Darren's cold voice broke the trance that Maymay and Edward are in. He walks towards them and grabs Maymay's wrist. He pulls her away, and when they were a good five steps away, Darren turned around and stared Edward down. "I won't do anything because I am still thankful to you that I have May in my life. In a way, you introduced us. But do me a fuckin' favor bro, don't come to our wedding and don't show your face to us for a long time, or possibly never." he finishes. He pulls Maymay back in the hall where there rehearsal dinner is occurring.

"YOU'RE MY FIRST LOVE, MAYMAY ENTRATA! MY BEST FRIEND, MY PARTNER IN CRIME, MY SOULMATE. WHEN WE FIRST MET, I ALWAYS THOUGHT THAT YOU AND I WILL END UP IN EACH OTHER'S ARMS. NOW, I'M THINKING I MAY BE WRONG." he yells. 

And he was so sure that Maymay heard everything, because just for a moment, Maymay paused and stopped her steps. It was as if she was contemplating whether to go back to her wedding rehearsal or walk back toward Edward. And that pause determined her future. 

Five Years Later...

"You sure you don't want to visit home, 'nak?" Tita Cathy asks. 

"When I die mom, just have me cremated and bury me in the Philippines. I don't want to go back there alive." he informs her as he wipes the tear that fell from his mother's eyes. 

Five years ago, after the incident with Maymay and Darren, Edward decided to fly to Germany and keep his father company while running their business. He didn't dare to go back in the Philippines even after he heard that Maymay and Darren never got married. He knows that he played a big part in that separation, and he just didn't want to go back home and face Maymay. He knows that he broke his best friend's heart. He blames himself for the separation. To repent, he chose to punish himself and refused to be happy for he believes that he deserves to have a horrible life. 

Apparently, the universe has a different plan for him. It was not enough that he chose to live a very unhappy life. Two years ago, during a ski-trip in Black Forest, Germany, Edward accidentally fell and broke his arm. He was in so much pain, to the point that he was crying for his mum. And that is why Tita Cathy decided to move back to Germany to look after him. Laura often visits for she cannot leave her job in one of the biggest hospitals in the Philippines. 

After staying in the hospital, they found out that Edward has osteosarcoma--bone cancer. Edward has been feeling some pain on his back and ribs. He would often just say that he deserves the pain anyway. Therefore, he ignores the pain and wait for it to subside. If it hadn't been for his broken arm, they would've never found out that he has bone cancer. 

He tried all the treatment, radiation therapy and chemotherapy but it was too late. The cancer is too aggressive and already metastasized to his lungs. The doctor told him then that he only has about 5 years to live. 

"It's been years, Edward. People have forgotten and forgiven you. Look, even Darren moved on and married in Canada. And as per your request, only our family knows about your condition and Maymay still has no idea. But she is a good person, I know she has forgiven you also, son." Tita Cathy smiles at him as she holds his hand firmly. 

"Do I even deserve their forgiveness, mom? Look.. even the heaven is punishing me. I think God wanted Darren and Maymay to be together, but I intervened..and broke His plan for them."

"God forgives, son. He knows that we are all imperfect, and if you ask me.. you did nothing wrong. All you did was love. Darren and Maymay ended their engagement because both of them believed that their reasons of getting married are not enough to go through with it. Because...because--"

"Because my heart belongs to you." a familiar voice says from the door of his hospital room. 

"Maymay!" Tita Cathy exclaims.

"Ti-ta." she gulps as she tries to stop herself from crying. 

Tita Cathy walks toward Maymay and hugs her. "How did you know?" she asks. 

Maymay hugs Tita Cathy back tightly.  "Darren. He told me everything." she answers. 

"Stupid guy." Edward mutters under his breath. 

And that was when Maymay released herself from Tita Cathy's arms, "No Edward. You are the stupid one. How could you?" she says as she wobbles toward Edward. She hasn't had any sleep since she heard the news. Luckily, she already processed her visa a long time ago for she had been planning on visiting her Edward. 

"What are you doing here?" he asks as he turns around and faces the wall. 

Tita Cathy quietly stepped outside, leaving the two of them alone. 

"How could you, Edward? Why didn't you tell me?" she asks. 

"What are you doing here? Why didn't you marry my cousin?" he asks. 

"He wasn't the right one." she answers. "Now, answer my question, why didn't you tell me?" she asks. 

"There's nothing to tell." he shortly answers. 

"Edward John Barber, I haven't slept since I found out. I flew straight here and I couldn't even eat. My legs feel like they're about to fall down any minute now, and my heart feels like it's in pieces--the least you could do is face me, show me the face I miss the most and talk to me." she cries.

She had promised herself that she won't cry in front of Edward because she knows that will sadden him more. Darren told her that Edward didn't want her to know because he doesn't want her to be sad. For Edward, it's easier to think that Maymay is angry at him, instead of feeling sorry for him. But she couldn't help it, her tear ducts are like dams that won't stop flowing since she found out. 

"I really hate you for not staying and fighting for me. I really hate you for not coming back. I really hate you for not telling me anything...I hate that you didn't tell me about this stupid cancer--"

"May--" he interrupts as he turns around and face her.

"No, you let me finish because I have been keeping this in my heart for 5 years, Edward. You listen, okay?"

He nods as tears start to brim and glaze his eyes. 

"I hate that you didn't tell me sooner that you loved me. You saw me offer my heart to so many guys, why didn't you grab my heart then? Why would you confess a few days before I tie the knot with someone else and not even stay to explain yourself more? I went to your house the day after the rehearsal dinner, because I wanted you to help me. I wanted you to help me have the right happiness in my life, in our lives. Because damn it Edward John Barber, we deserve to be happy--"

"May--"

"I'm not done. I said let me finish." she asks. "Now, I know everything because I actually flew here with Laura. She wouldn't let me fly by myself in this state. She held me in the plane while I cry my brains out for you, you stupid baboy." 

Edward smiles, for he never thought he would hear that again from Maymay in this lifetime. 

"Two years left to live? I'll be beside you. I know it hurts. I was told that your can..no, your condition is really painful. I'll be right beside you, Edward. You left me then, and I don't want us to be separated again. So, Edward John Barber.. I am going to ask you a question, and please, I am begging you.. let us be happy. The past 5 years have been hell for me, and I know that it was difficult for you too. So Edward John Barber, my best friend, my partner in crime, my soulmate, be with me...in sickness and in health, for richer or for poorer, until death parts us... marry me?" she asks. 

Edward didn't care much about his bravado anymore. He let himself cry in front of the woman who owned his heart. He didn't think that God would still be good to him, but here He is again, working His wonders. He wipes his tears, then reaches for Maymay's hands. "Are you real?" he asks.  

She nods while letting her tears run down her face.

"When I left, I decided not to come back; not because I didn't love you enough nor did I not want to fight for you. I didn't want to come back because I don't want you to feel obligated to share your heart with me, but here you are, offering me your whole heart. I am weak now, May.. I can't protect you like before anymore. I also cannot promise that I won't hurt you or make you cry in the future because I know I will. I can't promise you that I will always be beside you, because I can't and I won't." he cries. Alongside him is Maymay who is wiping her snot with the back of her hand. 

Upon noticing, Edward offers his hospital gown for her to blow her snot on, and she does. 

"But, I don't care Edward." she says.

"I know, you don't." she smiles, "because you just have the kindest heart I know." Edward looks up, "God, if I make a selfish decision right now and marry the woman of my dreams, would you get mad?" he asks. 

Maymay grips Edward's hand firmly and shuts her eyes tightly. "If he says 'yes' God, it is not selfish at all.. because that would also make me the happiest woman on Earth." she smiles. "We have suffered long enough, God. Now, please, let us love each other the way we truly deserve. Let us not hurt each other anymore. Let us be your instruments into making each other happy." she prays. 

Edward pulls Maymay for a hug, "I think God wants us to be happy. So, yes, May.. I will marry you. I love you." he seals the promise with a kiss.

"I love you." she says as she rests her forehead on his, and let herself get lost in the eyes of the man she loves. 

The space between them disappeared, not because one person took a leap of faith and step towards the other. It is because both of them took the courage that emitted from their love for one another and finally step towards each other--making the spaces between them smaller and smaller, and now, none. 

***THE END***

"The course of true love never did run smooth"

- William Shakespeare, playwright and poet


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