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"I might wanna fly like a paper plane but in the end, I'd still choose falling for you..."

Kabanata 24

Kung nakakamatay ang masamang tingin, kanina pa nakabulagta sa gitna si Ejercito.

I was sitting on the stool with the counter infront of me, sa kabilang banda ay nagluluto si Ejercito ng agahan habang sumisipol pa.

"What a wonderful morning," He sang like an idiot.

Nakamaong pants lang s'ya at walang damit roon habang may hawak na spatula at nag-iikot ng hotdog.

"Can you shut up?" I hissed.

He didn't even looked at me, mas natawa lang s'ya at iniangat ang spatula na at ginawang microphone.

"I slept with Harriet..." She sang again and my cheeks flushed, lumingon ako sa paligid at napamura roon.

"Ejercito!" I hissed.

He continued singing there and I gritted my teeth in annoyance kaya tumayo ako kaagad at inayos ang suot kong dress.

"You know what? I'm leaving!" I said sharply and turned my back, naglakad ako paalis sa kusina pero muli akong napasigaw nang umangat ako sa ere dahil sa bigla n'yang pagbuhat sa akin.

"Sandejas!" I screamed.

Pinaupo n'ya ako nang walang kahirap-hirap sa stool at ngumuso.

"Sorry, won't do it again." He smiled sheepishly.

"Let me go!" I hissed.

"No, we're still eating." Aniya at kumawala man ako ay hinarangan n'ya lang ako gamit ang katawan n'ya.

I was so irritated, because first, he was teasing me and second, because he's baiting me with his body! Isa pa naman 'yan sa kahinaan ko!

Sinamaan ko s'ya ng tingin, ngumisi lang s'ya at bahagyang tumungo sa akin.

"Sorry, Harriet, I'll be a good boy." He said like a puppy and I shook my head at him and rolled my eyes.

"Just...Just go away and cook." Sikmat ko.

His lip twitched, his blue eyes twinkled as he slowly licked his lower lip and stared at me.

"Hindi ka ba naaakit sa katawan ko, Lena?" He asked bluntly and I gasped at him.

"Excuse me?!" I exclaimed at bigla s'yang tumabi.

"Dadaan ka?" Aniyang nang-aasar at nang makita n'yang inangat ko ang kamay ko para batukan s'ya ay nagtatatakbo s'ya sa niluluto.

Sakit sa ulo!

Pagkagising ko kanina ay nang-asar s'ya at sige ang reklamong malikot raw ako sa kama at nahulog s'ya ng ilang beses dahil sa pagsipa ko.

Apparently, he woke up and saw me sleeping on the side of his bed. Ang sabi n'ya ay good samaritan lamang s'ya kaya n'ya ako inihiga sa kama.

I brushed my hair and looked at the clock, mabuti nalang at mamaya pa ang uwi nina Mamá kaya hindi ako hahanapin pa.

But now, paano ko maipapaliwanag na dito ako natulog sa mga Sandejas? Paano kapag nalaman ng pamilya ko? Nina Auntie?

Sumulyap ako kay Jer na mukhang maganda ang gising at sa aking parang pinagbagsakan ng langit at lupa ang pagmumukha.

"Here, let's eat!" Jer exclaimed when he was done, inilagay n'ya ang prinitong agahan sa hapag at para makatulong ay mabilis akong tumayo at kumuha ng aming mga pinggan.

I took spoon and fork and stopped when I noticed him staring at me with his serious eyes, nakasandal s'ya roon sa may counter at nakashirt na ngayon.

"What?" I asked when I saw him.

"Nothing," He chuckled and looked away, kita ko ang pagkagat n'ya ng labi n'ya at dumiretso sa fridge at naglabas ng fresh milk.

I went to the counter again and sat, naglagay naman s'ya ng baso sa harapan ko at nilagyan ng gatas.

"I will take a bath first and take you home," Aniya nang matapos at naupo sa harapan ko.

"No need," I said and shook my head. "Kaya ko naman, isa pa, iniwan mo ang sasakyan mo sa bar."

Nakita kong natigilan s'ya at napahawak sa mukha n'ya.

"Right, damn..." He muttered.

"So, there is no need." I smiled at him. "I can ride a cab or something."

"Anyway, we have spare cars in the garage." He said and smirked kaya natigilan na ako.

"Honestly, Jer, I can manage." I said, slowly eating the foods he prepared.

"No," Laban n'ya. "You took care of me last night so let me take you home."

"You're busy," I pointed out. "And you have a lot of things to do, may trabaho ka pa."

"Madadaanan ang mansyon n'yo kapag pupunta akong trabaho--"

"Oh, really?" I raised my brow. "I saw you went back to other direction the last time."

He froze then nodded and bit the hotdog.

"Nagpagasolina ako," Aniya.

"See? Edi nakaabala nga ako." I said.

"No, full tank ako ngayon." Aniya at nang hindi na ako nakaimik ay nagtago s'ya ng ngiti at uminom ng gatas.

Nagpaalam s'ya sa aking maliligo pansamantala nang matapos kaming kumain kaya nagstay ako sa kanilang garden para magpahangin at inaantay s'ya.

I looked haggard, wala pa akong ligo at suot ko pa rin ang dress ko kagabi! Mabuti nalang at nakapagsepilyo at hilamos ako pero ang pangit pa rin!

I was just looking at the flowers blooming in their garden, halatang sobrang inalagaan at inaayos palagi. Auntie must be so fond of flowers, I think.

I saw a red rose near me kaya pinakatitigan ko iyon at napangiti. It's beautiful yet the thorns can hurt you once you touched it.

"Where's Ejercito?" Nawala ang atensyon ko sa mga bulaklak nang makarinig ng boses.

I shifted my gaze and saw Emily on her red knee length dress, may hawak s'yang envelope at iilang papeles. A handbag is clinging on her hand and she looks sophisticated in it.

"Ay, Ma'am Emily, magandang umaga po." The maid said.

Hindi umimik si Emily at napasulyap sa mansyon.

"Where is he, I said."

"Ay, Ma'am, pasensya na po at naliligo pa po ata si Sir." Ani nito.

"What? Why?" She glanced at her watch. "It's kinda late, bakit ngayon lang?"

"Uh, nagluto pa po kasi ng agahan si Sir."

"Huh?" Her forehead creased. "Why would he cooked food early this morning? Diba, it's your job to cook food for him? Porket ba wala si Auntie ay hindi na kayo magluluto?"

My forehead creased at her words.

So? Ejercito doesn't have the right to cook? And why is she scolding the maids?

"Ay naku, Ma'am! Hindi po!" She said, shaking her head. "Nagpresenta lang po si Sir na s'ya ang magluluto."

"What? Why?" She asked, confused. "He's always busy so I don't think he still has time for it."

"Kasi Ma'am, nasabi n'ya na s'ya raw po ang magluluto ng agahan para kay Ma'am Lena." Ani nito.

"Lena?!" Her eyes shifted to an emotion. "What is that woman doing here?"

"You have a problem with me?" That's when I butt in, nakita ko ang gulat sa mata n'ya nang makita ako at kaagad s'yang natahimik.

"Leona," She called then suddenly smiled. "Hi, nandito ka pala!"

I didn't speak, tinanguan ko lang s'ya at nakita ko ang pagsulyap sa akin ng maid at pagngiti.

"Morning po, Ma'am Lena, masarap po ba ang luto ni Sir?" Aniya at ngumiti ako at tumango.

"Can you leave us here?" Emily suddenly hissed, napatalon ang maid at nagmamadaling umalis.

Nang makaalis s'ya ay napuno nanaman kami ng katahimikan bago nagkatinginan.

"So, what brought you here?" She said timidly, hiding a sarcastic smile.

"Uh, I just took care of Ejercito last night since he's drunk." I said.

I saw how her eyes widen, kumunot ang noo n'ya roon at nagtaka.

"What? He's with you the whole night?" She asked.

"Nagkayayaan lang kahapon kaya sumama s'ya, he got drunk and since his parents aren't here, walang mag-aasikaso sa kanya. I just assisted him."

"Kayo lang dalawa?" Her forehead creased.

"No, we are with our friends."

"You could have called me," She said, trying her best to calm down pero halatang nagpipigil lamang ng galit.

"I didn't know your number," I said.

"I'm his girlfriend!" She exclaimed. "No one should take care of him but me!"

"Sorry," I sighed. "I didn't know your number, I slept here to assist him since he's drunk, nothing else. Aalis rin naman ako ngayong umaga."

"Sana ay umalis ka nalang pagkatapos!" She exclaimed. "Hindi ka na sana dito natulog!"

My heart hurt pero tumango ako ns may maliit na ngiti sa labi.

"I'm sorry, masyadong malalim na kasi ang gabi..."

"It's not a reason, Lena!" She gritted her teeth. "Are you flirting with my boyfriend?"

"No..." I sighed. "I am telling you, inasikaso ko s'ya dahil lasing s'ya--"

"Know what? Fuck you, Leona! Matagal na akong nagtitimpi sa'yo! I am civil to you because you two had past pero ngayon, hindi ko na palalagpasin ito!"

Kumuyom ang kamay ko at tinitigan s'ya.

"Emily, look--"

"No, look, Lena! You are his past now!" She exclaimed. "Ako, ako ang girlfriend n'ya! I should be the one taking care of him and not some stupid, worthless girl like you!"

Nangilid ang luha ko pero hindi ako nagpakita ng kahit anong kahinaan sa harapan n'ya.

"I was there when he needed me! Nandyan ako 'nung panahong hirap na hirap s'ya sa pag-iwan mo sa kanya! I was there!"

Hindi ako umimik at pinagmasdan lamang s'yang naglalabas ng sama ng loob.

"Maayos na kami! He loved me and I loved him! We are together kaya h'wag kang lalapit at sisirain ang relasyon naming dalawa!"

"Emily," I gasped. "I would never ruin your relationship."

"Guess what, you did, bitch!" She exclaimed. "You keep on flirting with him! You keep on looking at him! Kinukuha mo s'ya sa akin!"

"You said he love you, right?" I said coldly.

"Yes!"

"Then why are you saying that to me now? If you two love each other dearly like you are claiming, why are you scared that I might take him from you? Bakit magpapakuha ba s'ya?" I said coldly.

I saw her mouth parted at me.

"Dahil malandi ka!" She exclaimed in my face. "You will flirt with him!"

"Are you threatened, then?" I said, staring at her face.

"What...you!" She lifted her hand, was about to slap me when a grip stopped her hand mid-air.

We both stopped, kaagad akong napabaling kay Ejercito na galit na galit roon sa likuran at hawak ang kamay n'ya.

"What the hell are you doing, Emily?!" His voice roared.

Napaatras sa gulat si Emily at napakurap.

"J-Jer..." Her voice trembled.

"What the fuck are you doing?" He said coldly, his jaw clenching, nakita kong namula ang mata ni Emily at maya-maya ay naiyak na.

"S-She started it first!" She exclaimed and pointed me.

"What?" I murmured.

"She hurt me, Jer! Nakikipag-usap lang naman ako ng maayos! I greeted her and yet she suddenly attacked me and told me bad things!" She exclaimed, crying.

Natawa naman ako roon at napailing.

"What are you saying?" I exclaimed.

I saw Jer's jaw clenching, malamig ang tingin na itinapon n'ya kay Emily at nang tumingin s'ya sa akin ay napapikit ako ng mariin.

"I never hurt you," I gritted my teeth and looked at her.

"You did!" She cried. "I was just nice to you pero ginawa mo sa akin 'to! You hurt me!"

"Look, Emily..." Mahinahon kong sabi pero punong-puno na ako.

"See?! Magsisinungaling pa 'yan!" She exclaimed, kumapit s'ya sa braso ni Jer at doon na mas sumama ang pakiramdam ko at napailing nalang ako at malamig na tumingin sa kanila.

"You know what?" I murmured. "I don't care anymore, kung anong iisipin n'yo sa akin, wala na akong pakialam."

Lumayo si Ejercito sa kamay nang nagpapaawa at umiiyak na si Emily pero mas kumapit ito sa kanya.

"Pasensya sa abala, Ejercito. Uuwi na ako." Sumulyap ako sa mukhang frustated na si Ejercito pabalik kay Emily.

"Sorry sa abala, Emily." I said coldly. "Don't worry, I would never try ruining your relationship with your boyfriend."

I saw how confusion played on Jer's eyes.

"What...What boyfriend?" He said, nang lumapit sa kanya si Emily at kumapit ay lumayo s'ya at nagtaka.

"What the hell is happening?" He retorted, staring coldly at the crying woman at napailing na ako roon at mabilis na tumalikod paalis.

"What...Lena! Ihahatid kita!" He exclaimed when he saw me walking out.

"Jer, mag-usap tayo!" I heard Emily exclaimed.

"Get off me! Fuck, Lena! Shit!" He exclaimed.

Hindi ko na s'ya pinakinggan at tinakbo ang gate palabas, I immediately saw a cab when I went out kaya wala pang ilang segundo ay nakalayo na ako sa mansyon.

I was in bad mood the whole ride, nang makarating ako sa bahay at binati ako ng mga tauhan ay pasimple na akong tumango.

When I got inside, I immediately went to the shower to take a bath. I was doing my best to keep calm but the moment the water poured down my head, my tears fell with the water.

Napapikit ako at mahinang napahikbi, isinandal ang ulo ko sa malamig na pader at humugot ng hininga.

I looked so desperate, tinulak ko palayo si Ejercito at pagkatapos ay lumalapit pa rin ako, dahil siguro sa palihim pa rin akong umaasa na pwede pa kami talaga when in reality, it's impossible.

I sighed.

Wala akong gana pagkalabas ng kwarto at bumaba para pumasok sa kusina at tumawag sa mga kaibigan ko.

Habang inaantay ang pagsagot ni Cess sa telepono ay hinaplos ko ang kwintas ko.

Should I remove this? To start my moving on phase?

"Hello," I froze when I heard a manly voice in the other line. Nangunot ang noo ko roon at nagtaka.

"Hello? Is Cess there?" I asked, confused.

"Lena," He called and that's when I realized who was it.

"Floyd?" I called. "Si Cess?"

"She's with me, still sleeping." He sighed.

"Oh," I nodded. "Why are you there?"

"She's alone, walang mag-aasikaso...and she puked on my shirt." Reklamo n'ya at natawa ako roon sa kanya at kinagat ang labi ko.

"That's too bad, tapos mag-isa pa s'ya sa bahay nila." I murmured.

"Yeah," He sighed.

"Nasa ibang bansa rin kasi ang parents n'ya. How is she coping?"

"She's good, I guess." Aniya. "I warned her a lot about that man she's with pero hindi nakinig. She'd been crying in her sleep kaya sinamahan ko na, she slept well after that."

"Thank you, Floyd." I smiled. "For taking care of Cess."

"No worries," He said. "How's Sandejas?"

"He's good too," I said, my mind flying back to where Jer is. "U-Umalis na ako sa mansyon n'ya."

"He took you home?" He asked at nakagat ko ang labi ko at napatungo.

"No...Uh, he's busy. Naroon na rin ang girlfriend n'ya." I said.

"What?" I heard his voice. "He has a girlfriend?"

"Si Emily," I whispered.

"Where did you know that? Sa kanya ba?" I noticed how concern his voice is.

"No...but..."

"You should confirm it from him, Lena. I don't want you to believe whatever that woman says, I don't want you crying again, okay? Cecille here is a mess, I can't stand seeing her like this. I swear, if I see that man, I will fucking kill him." He said hardly.

"Wala na rin naman akong pakialam sa kanila," I murmured. "We are over, Floyd, years ago pa. I don't wanna meddle to their relationship anymore."

I heard him sighed and cleared his throat.

"You don't wanna talk to him?" He asked.

"I'd like to but no, sarado na ang parteng iyon ng buhay naming dalawa. He already have someone and I will find my own life too."

Hindi s'ya ng umimik sa kabilang linya at alam kong nag-iisip s'ya.

"Floyd! Cook me breakfast!" On the other line, I heard Cess' voice at napangiti ako roon.

"The boss is awake," Ani Floyd at natawa.

"Cecille, Lena is calling!" I heard him scream.

"Oh! Kausapin ko! Papuntahin mo rito!" She exclaimed. "Go, Floyd, lutuan mo ako ng agahan. I'm hungry!"

"What are you...a boss?" Floyd hissed.

"May sinasabi ka?!" Cecille exclaimed and I heard Floyd scoffed.

"Wala, boss." Floyd said sarcastically and she laughed.

I went to Cecille's house after and we talked about her heartbreaks, we did our best to help her somehow ease the pain since hindi ko naman s'ya maturuan kung paano magsimulang mag-move-on, knowing na ilang taon na at mahal ko pa rin si Ejercito.

It will suck if I give a moving-on advice dahil sa sarili ko nga ay hindi ko mai-apply, sa kanya pa kaya?

We listened to her, though, Floyd will walk away or would just get angry with the mere mention of Cecille's ex name, natakot nga kami at baka totohanin n'ya ang bandang pagsugod sa lalaki.

Umuwi lang ako nang mag-bandang-gabi na at nakauwi na sina Mamá sa mansyon.

I didn't accept Floyd's offer for a ride home since I want him to stay with Cecille first, sinabi naman nitong ayos lang na mag-isa pero hindi kami pumayag na mag-isa lang s'ya sa kanila sa ganitong panahon.

"Kuya, sa tabi lang po." I said and the cab stopped.

Nagbayad ako ay kaagad akong bumaba at nakakita ng isang pamilyar na itim na sasakyan, my heart quickened, habang nakatitig ako sa sasakyan ilang metro lang ang layo mula sa mansyon ay kinabahan ako.

"Lena!" My eyes shifted from the car to a man who called me.

Nangunot ang noo ko at napaawang ang labi nang matanto kung sino 'yun.

"August!" I called.

He chuckled, nang ilahad n'ya ang kamay ay masaya akong lumapit at marahang yumakap. He kissed my cheek swiftly then stared at me.

"Kanina pa kita inaatay," He said, stopping me.

"What? Kanina ka pa nandito?" I asked.

"Yes, kaso hindi kita naabutan, sina Auntie lang ang narito at 'nung tinanong ko sila kung nasaan ka ay sinabing baka nasa mga kaibigan mo."

"I'm with Cecille and Floyd, may pinag-usapan lang. Sorry, August, hindi ko alam na pupunta ka." I said softly.

"It's alright, I had fun talking to your parents anyway." He smiled.

That made me smile too, sumulyap ako sa mansyon pabalik sa kanya na nakapamulsa sa harapan ko.

"Tara, pasok muna tayo..." I said. "Sorry talaga kung matagal kang nag-antay."

"No, ayos lang, I also can't wait too long, I have a dinner with my parents." He said at na-guilty akong lalo.

"I'm really sorry, Gus, I really didn't know. Kung alam ko sana na nag-aantay ka, I should have come home earlier."

"No, ayos lang." Tawa n'ya at hinawi ang buhok ko. He removed the hair from my forehead and placed it behind my ear.

Nagtaka man ay hindi ako umalma nang marahan n'yang haplusin ang pisngi ko.

"You're beautiful, Lena." He murmured, staring at me.

"Uh...thanks." I chuckled awkwardly. Bahagya akong napaatras at ngumiti sa kanya.

"I liked you since the first time I met you, I remembered you saying na may iba kang gusto, na s'ya lang talaga but I don't see you with that man you're talking about so, I wanna try a chance with you."

Natahimik ako, habang pinagmamasdan s'ya ay wala akong maramdaman na kahit ano.

"August," I murmured.

"Let's date, Leona." He said, staring into my eyes.

Kumalabog ang puso ko sa kaba roon sa sinabi, n'ya, I already know what my answer would be pero hindi ko masabi dahil umiling s'ya.

"I know what will be your answer now so, I am not rushing you." He said.

"But August, you already know..."

"Give me a chance," He murmured. "I promise I won't mess it up, I will give you time to think. Maybe you'll reconsider us."

I slowly nodded, kinagat ko ang labi ko at mariing napapikit.

"Lena," He touched my cheek and made me look at him.

"I can't promise you a good answer, Gus." I whispered, staring at him. "Palagi ko namang sinasabing may ibang laman na 'to." I pointed my heart.

"I understand," He nodded repeatedly. "Gusto ko lang sumubok, Lena. Malay mo, the risk I will be taking right now might be a successful risk someday."

"I don't want to break your heart," Iling ko.

"You won't, Lena, you won't. This is my decision and I know pwede akong masaktan pero wala na akong pakialam."

I just stared at him and nodded slowly.

"Okay," I murmured.

That made him smile, napaangat ang kamay n'ya sa ere at nagitla akong nang bigla n'ya akong yakapin.

Natawa ako roon at tumawa s'ya at mas niyakap ako.

"Thank you, Lena... Thank you!"

Hinatid ko s'ya sa kanyang sasakyan ilang metro rin ang layo mula sa aming mansyon para makaalis na s'ya at makapunta sa dinner. Kanina pa raw n'ya inilabas ang kotse sa mansyon para madali nalang na makaalis.

Habang naglalakad kami palapit roon ay hinawakan ni August ang baywang ko, I noticed the familiar car again then tilted my head.

That's impossible.

"So...goodnight?" Nang tumapat kami sa kotse ni August ay ngumiti ako sa kanya.

"Yeah, goodnight." I smiled.

He nodded, he licked his lower lip. I saw him took a glance on my face then placed his hand on my cheek.

"Thank you, Lena." He murmured.

I nodded slowly and smiled.

He caressed my cheek, his eyes went from my eyes down to my lips. Then, I was starled when in the blinked of an eye, he lowered his head and claimed my lips.

Sa sobrang gulat ay naestatwa ako, nagpanic lang ako nang matantong hinahalikan n'ya ako!

I lifted my hand to push him away from me when someone pushed him from me.

"Fuck you!" Napatulala nalang ako nang nakita kong sumalampak sa lupa si August at isang pamilyar na lalaki ang sumusuntok rito ngayon.

My mouth parted, gulat habang nakatingin sa kanilang nagpapang-buno na ngayon.

"Fuck you! You don't have the right to kiss her!" Ejercito's enrage voice filled the place, nakasalampak roon sa lupa si August at walang awa n'ya itong sinuntok.

"Fuck! Sino ka ba?!" August exclaimed, napasigaw ako nang gantihan n'ya ng malakas na suntok sa mukha si Ejercito kaya napaupo ito sa lapag.

"No! Stop!" I exclaimed when Augustine punched Ejercito repeatedly pero hindi rin nagpatalo ang huli, mabilis n'yang nagantihan si August at sinuntok.

"Fuck...Fuck you!" Ejercito exclaimed, napasigaw ako nang i-angat n'ya ang kwelyo ni Augustine patayo at isinalampak sa pader.

"No! No, stop it, Ejercito!" I screamed at the top of my lungs, sinubukan kong hilahin ang damit n'ya pero hindi manlang s'ya natinag kaya napaatras ako.

"Sino ka ba?! Putangina mo, bakit ka nanununtok?!" August cursed.

"You..." He punched August in the face again. "Don't have the right to kiss her!"

"Stop!" I screamed but then August punched him back in the face.

"At ikaw may karapatan ka ba?!" August exclaimed.

When I saw Jer lifted his hand to punch him again, I screamed harder.

"Stop!" I exclaimed, my voice started shaking. "Stop fighting!"

I saw them stopped, napaiyak na ako roon at naipikit ang mata ko.

"Don't fight...p-please." I sobbed.

I saw how August pushed Ejercito. Nakita kong napatitig sa akin si Jer habang umiiyak ako at mabilis na lumapit sa akin si August para hawakan ako pero napaatras ako at umiling.

"U-Umuwi ka muna." I murmured.

"L-Lena..." He breathe and tried touching my cheek. "I'm sorry, hindi ko alam kung bakit n'ya ako sinuntok--"

"P-Please, Gus, go home first. Let's talk again." I murmured.

I saw his weak face, confused of my decision but then nodded and took a step back. Nakita ko ang masamang tingin n'ya kay Ejercito na galit.

Ejercito's jaw is clenching, his cold eyes sent chills and I saw his bleeding fists.

"S-Sorry, Gus." I whispered.

Napatango si Gus at hinawi ang dugo sa kanyang labi at sumulyap kay Ejercito.

"I am not done with you, asshole." He gritted his teeth.

Jer cocked his head, his jaw clenched again, I saw the burning rage in his eyes that it almost turned black.

Without any other words, Augustine left with his car.

Nang makaalis s'ya at sa nanlalabong paningin ay tinitigan ko si Ejercito.

"What's your problem?" I said coldly. "Why the hell would you punch my friend--"

"Friend? Tanginang pagkakaibigan 'yan, Leona!" He exclaimed.

"Anong problema mo?!" I exclaimed angrily.

"He fucking kissed you! Your friend fucking kissed you! Tell me, huh, does friends fucking kiss each other?!"

Natawa ako roon sa sinabi n'ya, hinilot ko ang sentido ko at malamig s'yang tinitigan.

"Ano bang pakialam mo?"

I saw how pain crossed his eyes, his bleeding lips parted as he looked at me.

"He's your friend! Why would you let him kiss you?!" He breathe.

"Ano bang pakialam mo?!" I repeated. "Wala kang pakialam sa ginagawa ko!"

"I care!" He exclaimed. "I still care a lot for you!"

Natigilan ako roon, bahagyang umawang ang labi ko pero napailing.

"Stop fooling me,"

"Oh, I wish I was just fucking fooling around, Leona!" He exclaimed. "I wish I don't care! I wish I am not fucking jealous! I wish I don't love you anymore!"

My heart fasten in pace, nagwala ang puso ko at hindi ako nakapagsalita sa sinabi n'ya.

"Sana hindi nalang kita mahal!" He said weakly. "All I thought is you still care for me..."

Hindi ako nakaimik at mahinang humikbi.

"How I wish I moved on! How I wish I haven't get stucked in the past while you're moving forward without me! Kasi ako...Lena, hindi ako makausad!" His tears fell and I gasped and sobbed more.

"Ayaw mo sa akin dahil may iba kang gusto. Ayaw mo sa akin dahil wala akong pangarap kaya ginalingan ko!" His voice broke.

"I became who I am today because I think of you! I wanted to become successful because I want you to be proud of me! I did my best k-kasi baka...baka kapag naging magaling ako, may mapatunayan na ako sa'yo..."

I sobbed more, napatakip ako sa bibig ko at napatitig sa kanya.

"J-Jer..."

"I was in Cambridge but I am dying each passing days that I am not with you pero tiniis ko! Tiniis kong mag-isa para may mapatunayan ako sa'yo! Sa pamilya mo para matanggap nila ako!"

"I worked harder to deserve you, Lena." He murmured and lowered his head.

Mariing nakagat ko ang labi hanggang sa naramdaman ko ang dugo mula roon.

"But I guess...maybe, whatever I do, I will never deserve your love." He whispered weakly.

"J-Jer..." My voice broke, humihikbi na ako roon at gustong lumapit pero nanigas lang ako sa kinatatayuan sa sobrang panghihina.

"I'm sorry, Lena." He said weakly, his eyes looks in grief, lumandas ang luha sa mga mata n'ya at marahas n'ya itong hinawi at umigting ang panga.

"A-Akala ko kasi may pag-asa pa," He shook his head.

"J-Jer...I..."

"Emily's not my girlfriend, I never loved another woman but you." Sinuklay n'ya ang buhok at napatango.

"E-Ejercito... I'm sorry, I-I don't--"

"I understand," Hinawi n'yang muli ang luha n'ya.

"I'm sorry for messing your life again, Lena. Don't worry, hindi na kita muling guguluhin." He whispered and before I could even say anything, he walked out, mabilis s'yang nakasakay sa sasakyan at mabilis na pinasibad iyon paalis.



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