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Minsan hanap tayo nang hanap ng "meant to be" natin. Lumingon pa tayo sa likod at sumulyap pa sa kaliwa at kanan... Yun pala, nandyan lang sya sa tabi mo...

They arrived in the parking lot of the fine dining restaurant sa Ortigas where Josh made his reservation. Maya-maya ay lumapit na ang parking guard para i-direct si Josh sa kanyang reserved parking. Pagkatapos nyang mai-park ng maayos ang kotse ay dali-dali syang bumaba para buksan ang door sa side ni Jelly. He gave her his hand para alalayan ito while going out of the car. Jelly felt so flattered kung paano sya titigan nito sa kanyang mga mata. She felt so pretty tuloy because of the way he's treating her, sa pag-alis pa lang sa bahay kanina hanggang sa oras na iyon. Para syang prinsesa sa piling ng napaka-gwapo at maginoong prinsipe... "Waaaah! Wag sana akong himatayin mamaya sa sobrang kilig. Sobrang nakakahiya pag nangyari yun." Bulong nya sa sarili.

"Let's get inside". Josh said smilingly.

Jelly just nodded shyly.

Then they walked to the door and someone opened it for them. "Good evening Sir, Good evening, Ma'am.." The restaurant host said.

"Reservation for Joshua del Rosario." Josh said politely.

"Okay, this way Sir.." The guy said.

As they are walking to Josh's reserved table, Jelly let her eyes inspect the place a bit. She saw the elegance and sophistication of the ambiance. The restaurant's wall paint  has a combination of white and espresso brown and everything really matches. From the paintings to the bar, to the tables and chairs, to the chandeliers and other decors... Everything really looks fabulous and soothing to the eyes.. Actually, Jelly has been here to this restaurant for a family dinner. This is one of her favorite restaurant since ilan lang sa buong Metro Manila ang restaurant na merong  jelly bean flavored ice cream like this one. But Jelly finds this place is more beautiful tonight. Eh kase siguro wala syang time mag-observe noon. Or siguro sobra lang syang happy ngayon at lahat talaga ng bagay sa paningin nya ay sobrang ganda. 

Then they went to the part of the restaurant which Jelly thinks is the most private table in that place. It has privacy screen which made the spot more exclusive. Medyo malayo din ng konti dun sa ibang mga patrons that she thinks, most of them are also in a date. Hindi masyadong madami ang tao ng gabing iyon compare nung last time na mag-family dinner sila dito. Jelly thinks he actually tried to find a day na walang masyadong tao para mas romantic. Weeeee! Kilig na naman sya inside! Medyo nawawala na nga kaba nya pero dahil sa naisip nya ay bumabalik na naman.. "Jelly Joy Joaquin, tumigil ka! Chillax ka lang kase baka mahalata ka na ni Josh." Saway ni Jelly sa sarili

Then he pulled the first chair out. "Jelly..." He nodded trying to tell Jelly to have a sit.

Then Jelly replied, "Thanks." She smiled while sitting on the chair.

Then sumunod na ring umupo si Josh.

"So how do you feel? Do you think comfortable ka ba dito sa place na napili ko?" Josh asked.

"O-of course, of course I am.." Jelly answered hesitantly. Parang ang hirap talaga laging magsalita para sa kanya. Kanina pa sya napakatipid sumagot. Siguro nagtataka na si Josh sa kanya kase sa school naman e alam nitong talkative din sya paminsan-minsan. 

"So I guess, we can order now, right?" Josh asked for her approval.

"Sure, it's up to you." Jelly said while thinking... "Siguro nga mas mabuti na kumain muna kami bago sya may sabihin sa kin, kse baka pag mamaya pa e hindi ko na makuhang kumain pa. Waahh! Pero kahit before or after yata e di talaga ako makakakain ng maayos. Pero sobrang gutom na ako kse di ako masyadong maka-eat ng food mula pa kahapon dahil sa sobrang kaba at excitement." Nasa isip ni Jelly nang mga oras na iyon.

"Okay, as you wish.." Then they grabbed the menu that's already on their table. Jelly actually doesn't need to look at it since she has some favorite foods there already. But she still looked for the sake of looking at it. 

"Are you ready to order now?" Josh asked.

"Yeah, sure.." She smiled.

Then he raised his hand and called the waiter. "Waiter!" 

Then lumapit ang waiter. "Yes, sir.. Can I have your order now?" The waiter asked.

"Yes, we are ready.." Then he moved his hand to tell Jelly that she can order first.

"Okay, just please give me  Mojito Shrimp, Caesar Salad in a Crisp Parmesan Cheese Basket, and a glass of mango juice." Jelly told the waiter.

"Is that everything for you?" Tanong ni Josh.

"I'm on a diet.. Hahaha!" Gustong-gustong sabihin ni Jelly kay Josh.. "Yeah, that's everything for me." She just replied.

"Please add a cup of jelly-bean ice cream for her.. Thanks" Josh told the waiter.

"Paano nalaman ng mokong na to na favorite ko ang jelly-bean??? Hmmmm.. siguro nag-research! Touch naman ako talaga! Nag-eeffort talaga sya ha... Love ko na talaga sya, sobra!" Bulong ni Jelly sa sarili.

"Then for me is Prime Beef Tenderloin Carpaccio, Beef Consomme, Mediterranean Salad and orange juice... and that's everything." Josh added.

"Okay Sir, I'll just repeat everything.. It's Mojito Shrimp, Caesar Salad in a Crisp Parmesan Cheese Basket, and a glass of mango juice and a cup of jelly-bean ice cream. And for you sir, it's Prime Beef Tenderloin Carpaccio, Beef Consomme, Mediterranean Salad and orange juice..." The waiter repeated.

"That's right, thanks." Josh said to the waiter with a smile.

"This will take 15 minutes, Sir." The waiter added.

"No worries.." Josh replied.

Then as they're waiting for the food, napag-usapan nila ang about sa mga happenings and activities in the university. For a short period, they've talked about some funny events in the school and they keep laughing hanggang sa mai-serve yung food nila. Hanggang sa kumakain na sila ay panay pa din ang kwentuhan nila about sa family and everything under the sun and topics na bigla na lang nilang naiisip. At least medyo naging comfortable na talaga si Jelly with that date and hindi na nya nararamdaman ang panglalambot ng tuhod! "Good job girl!" She told herself.

With their conversation ay mas lalong nakikilala ni Jelly si Josh, ang kabaitan nito at pati ng family nya. Napakabait ni Josh at napakasarap kausap. Di halos nauubusan ng kwento. And Jelly thought, napakaswerte nya siguro pag itong lalaking ito ang nakatuluyan nya. "Happy yung family nila, happy yung family ko.. what a perfect match!" Naisip pa ni Jelly.

Pero matagal na silang magkausap ngunit bakit wala pa syang binabanggit about sa importanteng bagay na sasabihin nya.. "Well siguro hinihintay lang nya matapos ang pagkain namin tsaka mabuti na to para may suspense." Sabi ni Jelly sa sarili.

Jelly was eating the jelly-bean ice cream that Josh ordered for her when she noticed that he's looking at her seriously. Jelly just smiled back. She doesn't know what to tell him so dinadaan na lang nya sa ngiti until she had her last spoon of ice cream. Jelly thought that he is just waiting for her to finish so she actually ate her dessert faster than she normally does.

As soon as she finished her ice cream, he said, "Thank you so much for going out with me. I really appreciate it a lot." Then he smiled.

"My pleasure... I'm so happy that you invited me..." Jelly replied just after she wiped her mouth with a napkin.

"I told you that I will tell you something very important, right?" He said while looking at her eyes.

"Oh my, eto na to!!!" Eto na talaga!" Jelly was screaming inside her. Parang gusto na nyang mahimatay kase feeling nya e unti-unti na syang lumulutang sa ulap.

"Yes, whatever it is, I really want to hear it." Jelly said sincerely.

"Jelly, I...."

"I... what??" Bulong ni Jelly sa sarili ko na parang gusto nyang pablilisin kaagad ang paglabas ng words sa bibig ni Josh.

"I.................."

"I... am entering the seminary very soon. And as a special friend, Gusto ko na isa ka sa mga unang tao na pagsasabihan ko..."

"What???" Rewind, rewind, bulong ni Jelly sa sarili nya... Baka naman nagha-hallucinate na talaga sya kaya kung anu-anong naririnig nya. Baka naman sinabi na nya yung "I love you" pero iba lang narinig ni Jelly kse nga wala na sya sa kanyang sarili.

"What? Can you repeat it, Josh?" Parang nabibinging tanong ni Jelly.

"I said, I' m entering the seminary very soon..." Ulit na sabi ni Josh.

Napatulala at matagal na natigilan si Jelly bago sya nakapagsalita ulit.

"Ke-kelan mo binabalak pumasok sa seminary?" Tanong ni Jelly.

"Tatapusin ko lang itong sem na to at pupunta na ko ng Iloilo, dun ko plan na pumasok sa isang seminary na malapit sa place ng Tito ko." Sagot ni Josh.

"Bakit... Bakit..." At tuluyan nang bumigay ang kanina pang pinipigilan na luha ni Jelly.

"Jelly..." Pilit gustong hawakan ni Josh ang kamay nito.

Iniiwas ni Jelly ang kamay nya. "Bakit kailangang ganito? Bakit kailangan pang maramdaman ko na mahal mo ko. Yun pala naman hindi pwede. Yun pala naman hindi mo ako pwedeng mahalin. Yun pala naman... Bakit kailangan paasahin mo ko, Josh.. You're so unfair!" Pinipilit hinaan ni Jelly ang boses dahil ayaw nyang maging focus sila ng attention ng ibang tao sa restaurant. She's trying to be sure na sila lamang dalawa ang nakakarinig sa kanilang conversation

"Maniwala ka sa kin Jelly, di ko sinadya na saktan ka. Di ko sinadya na masaktan ang babae na napaka-espesyal para sa kin. Matagal ko nang pangarap maging pari, bata pa lang ako. Kaya nga umiwas ako na makipagkaibigan kahit kaninong babae dahil ayokong mapalapit kahit kanino. Pero hindi ko alam kung bakit naramdaman ko yun sa kauna-unahang pagkakataon, ang magmahal, ang magmahal sayo. Kase iba ka sa lahat ng babaeng nakilala ko. You're so special Jelly. Ininvite kita sa date na to na ang unang plan ko ay magtapat talaga sayo at piliin ka at kalimutan ang pangarap ko. Pero ng makita kita kanina, naisip ko hindi kita kayang saktan. Mas masasaktan kita kung makikipagrelasyon ka sa isang tulad ko na di pa sigurado sa totoong nararamdaman. Kaya nga mabuti na ngayon ka na makaramdam ng konting sama ng loob sa kin kesa pag mas malalim na. Mahal kita pero ayokong maging unfair sayo. Ayokong maging unfair sayo dahil may alinlangan ako. I hope, mapatawad mo ako, Jelly..." Paliwanag ni Josh.

Narinig ni Jelly ang lahat ng sinabi ni Josh. At masakit man ay ailangan nya talagang tanggapin yun. Sino ba naman sya para ipagkait na magawa ng binata ang matagal na nitong pangarap. Pero medyo mahirap pa din para kay Jelly na maka-get over sa mga naramdaman nya ng oras na iyon. Hindi na talaga mapigilang di maiyak.

Habang nagpapahid ako ng luha. "Okay lang yun Josh, wag mo na kong pansinin... Napaiyak lang naman ako siguro kasi nag-expect ako. Pero kasalanan ko din naman kse pinaasa ko yung sarili ko. Pero pasensya na din kung hindi muna ako magiging okay after this... Pero wag kang mag-alala, I'll be okay very soon. All I want to do now is to go home now..." Malungkot na sabi ni Jelly.

"I respect it Jelly. Naiintindihan ko.. Sana lang maging mabilis na mapatawad mo ko kahit bago man lang ako umalis." Josh said with a sad voice.

"It will come, don't worry..." Jelly replied.

TO BE CONTINUED....


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