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

Kabanata 30

I saw how the farmer started crying when Ejercito won the case for them. I was teary-eyed too, napatayo ako sa aking upuan nang ang pinuno ng mga magsasaka ay lumapit at nakipagkamay kay Ejercito.

"M-Maraming salamat, Attorney! Hindi namin alam ang gagawin kung sakaling makuha ang tanging pinagkakakitaan namin sa amin."

He was crying, I saw Jer smiling at them and accepting their greetings and thank you. Maraming magsasaka na nasa crowd ang nagpasalamat sa kanya sa pagkakapanalo n'ya sa kaso.

Pinagbigyan kasi ng local na pamahalaan na magtayo ng pabrika malapit sa sakahan at dahil sa mga leak na kemikal ay naapektuhan ang mga ilog at mga pananim ng magsasaka.

Nagreklamo ang mga magsasaka tungkol roon pero walang naging aksyon ang pamahalaan, ang tanging sinabi lamang ng mga ito na nagpaplano na rin silang bilhin ang lupain ng mga magsasaka para wala nang mamroblema.

They asked Ejercito for help at hindi n'ya binigo ang mga ito.

My heart is pounding in happiness as I watch those hard-working people greatful for winning the case.

Ipapasara ang pabrika dahil sa lumabag ito sa mga panuntunin at nagsanhi ng damage sa paligid pati sa mga likad na yaman.

"M-Maraming-maraming salamat, Attorney! Ito nalang ang tanging pambuhay ko sa aking pamilya!" Samu't-saring pasasalamat ang sinasabi ng mga ito sa saya.

"No worries, Sir. It's your right to fight for this, kayo ang naagrabyado." He answered humbly.

Looking at Jer, I couldn't get any prouder. This is what I hoped he'd become.

A successful lawyer, like his dream. I am so glad seeing him help those in need and being just and fair all the time.

Naupo ako habang pinagmamasdan si Jer na kinakausap ng mga may edad na magsasaka. He was patiently talking to them all, sa kabila ng lamig at tapang n'ya sa korte kanina habang may session ay s'ya namang ikinalambot n'ya ngayon.

"Ang bait-bait mo, Attorney! Maraming salamat! Swerte siguro ng mapapangasawa mo!" Sabi ng isang matandang babae roon.

Jer smiled and chuckled a bit, glancing at my direction.

"Hindi, Nay. Ako ang swerte sa kanya." He answered.

That earned a couple of screams and teasing for him. Natawa si Jer roon at bahagyang namula.

"Actually, she's here." Aniya.

"Oh, nasaan s'ya? Ipakilala mo naman kami!" Tawa nila.

Jer looked at my direction again, tumayo na ako roon at nakita kong naglingunan sa akin ang mga tao kaya ngumiti.

"Hello po, magandang tanghali." I said.

"Naku at ang ganda-ganda naman pala!" The man exclaimed.

Nag-init ang pisngi ko, natatawang inabot ni Jer ang baywang ko at marahang ipinatong ang kanyang kamay sa t'yan ko.

"This is Lena," Pakilala n'ya.

"Magandang tanghali po," I greeted.

Isa-isang nagpakilala sa akin ang mga tao roon at tinanggap ko ang kamay nila at nagpakilala.

"Aba, pamilyar itong nobya mo, Attorney! Beauty queen ba ito?" I was starled when the old lady asked.

"Opo," Jer answered, I heard the proud tone on his voice kaya nilingon ko s'ya at naabutan ko ang kanyang ngiti.

"Naku at panalong-panalo ka rin, hijo!" Nagtawanan kami nang tinapik ng matanda ang balikat ni Jer.

"Magpakasal na kayo kaagad at bagay na bagay kayo! Paniguradong maganda ang lahi n'yo!" Tawanan pa nila roon at matamis akong napangiti at marahang sumandal kay Jer.

After that great but tiring session in the court, napagod si Jer. Nakaupo s'ya sa trunk ng kanyang sasakyan habang nasa harapan n'ya ako at sinusuklay ang buhok n'ya gamit ang daliri ko.

"Maya-maya na tayo umalis para makapagpahinga ka," I said softly.

He lifted his head to glance at me and smiled before kissing my chin.

"Ang ganda mo," He said.

My cheeks flushed. He laughed and slowly hugged my waist, ipinatong n'ya ang noo sa aking balikat at mas niyakap ako.

"You did great, Jer." I said happily while brushing hid hair. "You made me so...so proud of you."

He tilted his head, glancing at me with his twinkling blue eyes.

"I did?"

"Hmm," I hummed. "Ang galing-galing mo, kulang nalang pumalakpak ako kanina kahit seryoso! I love it when the other lawyer said something silly at sinupalpal mo ng article!"

That made him laugh, mas niyakap n'ya ang baywang ko at pinatakan ko s'ya ng halik sa noo.

"Dati, I keep on imagining what you're like in court but when I saw you, para akong nanunuod ng palabas pero mas maganda kasi totoong buhay!"

"Nagpakitang-gilas lang ako kasi nandun ka." He winked at me kaya natawa ako at muling hinalikan ang noo n'ya.

"Why kiss me in the forehead?" He hummed.

"Huh? Ano naman?"

"I want a job-well-done kiss on the lips, hon." His lips protruded.

I rolled my eyes but then cupped his cheek and pressed a small kiss on his lips.

"Ang galing-galing mo but next time, try not to pull your necktie, okay? Parang ako naaawa sa paghila mo, baka masakal ka."

"I just get used to it, when it started getting serious. Maybe a habit?" Aniya.

Muli kong sinuklay ang kanyang buhok at natutuwang pinagmasdan s'ya.

"Parang mas lalo kang gumagwapo ngayon, Sandejas?" I said and I saw his smile escaping from his lips.

"Syempre, nandito ka na." He stole a kiss from me.

Time flies so fast and I am doing my best to stay calm despite being infront of thousands of people in the arena.

Wearing my best smile and charm, I looked at the crowd and caught his eye.

He looks nervous...mas kinakabahan pa sa akin. I saw his forehead creasing as he look around at halos magpalakad-lakad pa roon.

I smiled at him and nodded when our eyes met.

"You okay?" He mouthed, concern was written on his face. Ilang oras na kasi kaming rumarampa at walang pahinga.

I haven't eaten any since the pageant started and Ejercito, being my number one food spoiler is worried I might faint.

I nodded slightly at bahagya pang nagulat nang marinig ang numero at pangalan ko para sumama sa top 5 sa gitna.

I saw my friends screaming, ang pamilya at mga kamag-anak namin ay may dala pang malaking banner roon para sa akin. His family is also here, supporting me.

Mas naging maingay ang crowd nang maglakad ako patungo sa harapan pero ang pansin ko ay na kay Ejercito na napapailing pa habang malakas na pumapalakpak.

"Girlfriend ko 'yan!" He screamed at the top of his lungs. Our families and friends laughed.

Napapangiti ako roon pero pinigilan ko at sumulyap sa judges at audience.

"Thank you for joining us on stage candidate number nine!"

"It's my pleasure," I said softly and smiled.

Wearing a body hugging shiny red gown, I know I stand out. Hubog na hubog ang katawan ko sa gown na suot at kita pa ang kalahati ng hita ko.

Naalala ko pa 'nung pagkalabas ko ng stage suot ito ay tulala si Ejercito at kung hindi pa tumili at sabunutan ni Cess ay hindi matatauhan.

Pero mas malala ang sa swimsuit! I honestly saw him gulped hard! Muntik pa ngang hubarin ang suit at takbuhin ako sa stage para balutan kaya nag-aasaran sila roon.

Isa-isang tinanong ang mga kandidata, I was called after the first two contestants and my heart started beating rapidly.

I am used to pageants but this one, it's different. I can guess that this might be the last pageant I will join before we decide to settle down.

After this, I wanted to focus to my work, to help the company and to focus to him and our future.

Tila hangin na nagpunta ako sa gitna at narinig ang malakas na sigawan sa paligid.

This pageant is important for me because he is here, watching me with his nervous yet proud self.

"Go, honey! You got this! I love you!" He screamed again.

I wanted so bad to join him in the audience to give him a kiss for being a supportive and loving boyfriend but I can't give him that right now.

And...he's still not my boyfriend! Oo nga at hindi pa ako sinasagot nito pero nagpaplano na ng kasal?!

"Thank you, Miss Philippines, you look lovely tonight!" The blonde host commented.

"Thank you, it's an honor being here." I said softly.

They made me choose from the folded papers from a bowl. Inabot ko iyon sa host at kaagad na tinawag ang isang matandang judge para ibigay sa akin ang kanyang katanungan.

"Good evening, Miss Philippines." He said.

"Good evening, Sir." I said with a sweet smile on my lips.

"My question is...if you were to choose, would you rather choose love or dreams?" He said.

I stopped at that.

Tila may kung anong lumukob sa aking puso at kaagad na napasulyap kay Jer na mukhang nagulat rin sa tanong.

When our eyes met I saw how he smiled proudly and assuringly. Like he knows I got this.

"Thank you for the question, Sir." Magalang kong sabi at sumulyap sa crowd na nanahimik para mag-antay ng sagot ko.

"If I were to choose between love or dreams, I will choose my dream." I said softly.

"When we were still a child, we have a goal, a goal where we will strive hard to reach in the future. Before we even find the love of our life, we loved first the dreams we wanted to achieve and become. I believe that real love will not be a hindrance in one's dream, instead love will be the main driving force to reach your goal. There is nothing more successful than achieving your dreams with support of your love ones because that's what real love is."

I took a glance at Ejercito and his genuine smile at me. I smiled back and spoke gently.

"Choose dreams because a love that is meant for you will always find a way back." I said.

That earned cheers and screams and before I could even realized what happened, I was announced as the winner.

Hindi ako makapaniwala, habang rumarampa sa gitna ay malakas ang pagkabog ng puso ko. Habang ipinapatong sa akin ang korona ay malaki ang ngiti ko at naluluha.

I saw Jer tearing up, inaasar s'ya ng mga pamilya namin dahil mas naiyak pa s'ya kaysa sa aking pamilya.

Dinumog ako ng sponsors, photographers at judges pagkababa para sa litrato at pagbati. Isa-isa at taos puso ko silang pinaunlakan.

I posed for photos, smiled in the cameras. Sa kabila ng pagdumog sa akin ng tao ay nakita ko ang mahal ko na naghihintay sa akin sa dulo ng mga tao.

He was just glancing at me with his bloodshot eyes and proud smile, he was patiently waiting for me to come to him and did not forced himself to get my attention from all those people because he knows...kahit gaano karaming tao ang humarang at mauna, s'ya pa rin ang pupuntahan ko sa huli.

"I am so proud of you, hija!" Samu't-saring papuri ang aking natanggap mula sa aking pamilya, kanyang pamilya at sa aking mga kaibigan.

Dinumog ako ni Floyd ay Cecille at natatawa ako habang kinukuhaan nila ako ng litrato gamit ang polaroid.

"Bakit ba natin dinudumog si Lena eh, 'yung lover boy n'ya kanina pa naghihintay!" Cecille exclaimed.

"Oh, fuck, oo nga. Damn, baka busalan na ako ni Sandejas!" Reklamo ni Floyd kaya napatawa akong lalo.

I stopped when I felt a hand on my stomach from behind, kaagad akong lumingon at nagliwanag ang mga mata nang makita si Ejercito.

"Hon!" I screamed happily and hugged his neck.

He laughed, mabilis akong niyakap pabalik at sumigaw roon si Cecille.

"Leona ang korona mo!" Sinalo n'ya ito mula sa likuran kaya napangisi ako at humalik sa pisngi ni Jer.

"I won, hon!" I exclaimed happily.

"You did great, I'm so proud of you." Masuyong bulong n'ya sa akin ay hinalikan ang tungki ng ilong ko.

"Hi! Excuse me mga brothers and sisters, bago kayo magharutan, ipapaalala ko lang na malalaglag na ang korona ni Lena at nangangalay na ako kakahawak!"

Napatawa ako at mabilis na umangat ang kamay ni Jer sa ulo ko para alalayan ang korona ko.

"I got this, Cess." Jer chuckled then looked at me.

"I would never let the crown fall from my queen," He said softly and my smile widened. Tumungo s'ya ng bahagya at pinagtama namin ang ilong at natawa.

"Wow, sana lahat matangos para may ka-nose to nose!" Cess exclaimed kaya napahiwalay ako kay Jer at natawa.

Inabot ko ang korona at inayos sa ulo ko habang si Jer ay may kinuha kung saan.

"Matangos naman ang ilong ko, Cecille. Gusto mo ba?" Akmang tutungo si Floyd kay Cess pero tumili ang huli at lumayo.

"Floyd!" She exclaimed, blushing.

"Hoy, ano 'yan?" Pansin ko nang magtitigan silang dalawa roon pero hindi ko nakita ang kanilang reaksyon nang lumitaw muli si Jer at may hawak nang palumpon ng bulaklak.

"For you, hon. Congratulations!" He gave me the flowers and my heart pounded in happiness.

"Thank you!" I tiptoed and kissed his cheek, staring at the colorful roses.

"You made me so proud," He said softly and slowly caught my waist for a hug.

Para na ata kaming mababaliw ni Jer, kanina pa kami nag-iisip kung saan ang magandang venue sa aming kasal.

We wanted to see the church but in the end, we found ourselves infront of our college university way back.

"It's been a while, I guess..." Naramdaman ko ang pag-akbay sa akin ni Jer habang nasa tapat kami ng unibersidad.

"I wanted to come in, kaya kaya?" I took a glance at the university.

"It's sunday, walang pasok. I don't know if there are guards there, gusto mo?" He took a glance at me.

I nodded slowly. "Yes pero paano? Paano tayo makakapasok?"

"Tayo pa ba, Lena?" He suddenly chuckled kaya nilingon ko s'ya.

"Why?"

"You haven't forgotten how we escaped the university every damn time, right?" His lip twitched when he saw my eyes widen.

"Oo nga!" I exclaimed and he laughed at me and pinched my cheek.

"Maybe we can check how we can enter the premises?"

"Paano kapag nahuli tayo?" I asked.

"Hon, baka nakakalimutan mo kung sino ako. I am Ejercito Sandejas...hindi tayo mahuhuli kagaya kapag tumatakas tayo dati. Akong bahala sa'yo." Siniko ko ang sikmura n'ya kaya napadaing s'ya pero natawa rin.

Nagtungo kami sa may exit part ng unibersidad malapit sa parking kung saan kami dumadaan noo t'wing tumatakas kami.

We were holding hands and I keep on glancing around me to see if things have changed in this place.

"Ejercito? Lena?" Sabay kaming napalingon at 'yun nalang ang panlalaki ng mata ko nang matanto kung sino ang tumatawag sa amin.

It was Manong Larry! 'Yung suki namin kapag bumibili kami ng street foods ni Jer sa labas ng unibersidad!

"Manong Larry!" I cheered happily.

He laughed, hila-hila ko si Jer na malaki ang ngisi at kaagad na nakipag-man hug kay manong.

"Manong!" Jer laughed happily, nang matapos s'ya ay yumakap rin ako sa kanya na mukhang tuwang-tuwa pagkakita sa amin.

"Ngayon ko lang kayo nakita muling dalawa!" He exclaimed happily.

"Naging busy lang po sa trabaho kaya ngayon lang nakabisita," Jer laughed.

"Naku, ang lalaki n'yo na lalo! Noon at palagi pa kayong nandito t'wing uwian at nililibre mo si Lena ng pagkain kasi ayaw kumain!" He remembered it and I was smiling widely while thinking about it too.

"Opo, at sasabihin n'ya na ayaw n'ya dahil tataba raw s'ya kahit hindi naman!" Dagdag ni Jer at nag-apir pa sila.

"Ang sama n'yo sa'kin!" I sulked and they just laughed at me.

"Ang ganda mo na lalo, hija!" He greeted. "Kumusta? Congrats nga pala at napanuod ko sa telebisyon ang pageant mo!"

"Salamat po!"

"Atsaka itong lalaking ito!" Tinapik n'ya si Jer. "Abogado ka na! Naku naman at naipanalo mo pala ang kaso 'nung mga magsasaka! Kasama roon sa mga iyon ang kapatid ko! Maraming salamat!"

"No problem po," Jer smiled. "They have the right to their land atsaka congrats rin po at lumaki na ang negosyo n'yo!"

Sabay kaming napasulyap sa isang malaking kainan sa may tabi ng unibersidad na may pangalan ni Manong Larry sa itaas.

"Naku! Sa tyaga lang iyan, hijo! Napatapos ko na rin mapag-aral ang mga anak ko! Ngayon ay umaasenso na, napagawa ko na rin ang bahay ko! Laking tulong rin 'nung araw-araw n'yo pagtambay rito at pagpapataba kay Lena!"

I bursted out laughing, umakbay sa akin si Jer at tumawa rin bago nailing.

"Hindi ata masyadong effective 'yung pagpapataba ko dati, tignan mo at ang liit pa rin ng katawan. Ewan ko ba at pinapakain ko naman ito ng tama." Iling ni Jer kaya binatukan ko s'ya.

"Kumusta na kayo, tuluyan na bang hindi natorpe itong si Ejercito?" Manong asked us teasingly.

"Well, hindi po torpe pero pakipot!" I exclaimed.

He laughed, namula si Jer at sinundot ang baywang ko kaya napasinghap ako at pinalo s'ya.

"Anyway, Manong, ano..." Jer cleared his throat. "I am inviting you to our wedding."

His jaw dropped, nakagat ko ang labi ko nang manlaki ang mata n'ya.

"I-Ikakasal na kayo?"

"Opo," I said in a small voice.

"Congrats! Masaya ako sa inyo!" Napangisi kami nang yakapin kami ni Manong at inilihad ang kanyang kainan.

"Alam ko na! Sabi na at kayong dalawa ang magkakatuluyan eh! Ramdam ko naman na 'yun noon pero nakakagulat pa rin talaga kapag nalamang nagkatotoo nga! Dahil d'yan, tara doon sa negosyo ko at libre ko ang pagkain n'yo. 'Yung paborito n'yong kwek-kwek ay nandoon pa rin!"

"Salamat po!" I cheered and Jer laughed, s'ya pa ang humila sa akin papasok dahil nakarinig ng salitang libre.

Tuloy ang kwentuhan namin nila Manong habang kumakain roon, we ate street foods, like what we used to way back in college and I missed this.

Simula kasi 'nung nawala s'ya ay hindi na ako nakakain nito at dahil na rin pinagbawalan na ako. Ejercito is the only person who never stopped me from eating what I like, kapag hindi pa nagustuhan ang kinain ko ay dadagdag pa s'ya para ma-satisfied ako.

Kinatatakot ko lang talaga noon ay tumaba ng sobra at pagalitan ni Mamá dahil sa maaantalang shoots.

"Careful, hon." Jer lifted me slowly towards the edge of the wall so we can enter the school.

Mabuti at hindi pa rin ito pinapaayos kaya pwede pa rin kaming makapasok sa loob!

Jer then swiftly pulled himself up beside me, malaki ang ngiti ko habang nakaupo kami sa may pader at iginagalaw ko ang paa ko.

"It's been a while since we did this," Natawa pa ako roon.

"We always love doing crazy things together," He chuckled then glanced at me. "You'll be Miss Perfect and I'm Mr. Ginagawang-bahay-ang-detention."

We laughed again remembering what we did, breaking the rules and skipping class. He keeps on spoiling me and I keep on disciplining him everytime he sleeps in class and opens the damn buttons of his uniform.

He swiftly jumped on the ground, flawlessly that my mouth is still parted everytime he's doing that.

"Gulat na gulat pa rin, Harriet?" He asked.

I chuckled, my lips protruded as I swing my legs and watched him.

"Catch me, tatalon ako!" I said.

"Of course, mahal ko." He readied his arms. "I will catch you every damn time."

I screamed when I jumped and he was quick to catch me, kumapit ako sa leeg n'ya at nang makita ko ang mga mata n'yang nakatitig sa akin ay napangiti ako at iniangat ang sarili para hagkan s'ya.

"Mahal na mahal kita," I whispered over his lips.

Namamangha pa rin at hindi makapaniwalang naroon kami sa loob ng unibersidad.

I still can't believe how this university did a lot in our relationship, from being friends and enemies at the same time, from being lovers until we broke up.

Inalalayan ni Jer ang baywang ko habang paakyat kami sa mataas na parte ng soccerfield kung saan naroon ang puno ng Narra na madalas naming gawing tulugan at kainan.

I felt my eyes swelling as I stared at the strong tree who didn't even swayed for all these years.

"Wait, hon." I gaze at Jer and saw him removing his suit, leaving him on his white button down shirt. Inilagay n'ya ang suit sa may damo atsaka ako inalalayan paupo.

The wind blew my hair the moment we sat, I watched him stretched his body a bit the rested his back on the tree behind us.

"We're back!" He screamed and his voice echoed.

Matamis akong napangiti at sumandal sa kanyang balikat habang pinagmamasdan ang napakalawak na soccer field.

"Jer," I suddenly called his attention.

"Hmm..." He hummed softly, catching my fingers and slowly intertwining it with his.

"Wala lang, gusto ko lang ulit humingi ng tawad sa'yo." I said softly. Hindi s'ya umimik pero naramdaman ko ang paghaplos ng daliri n'ya sa aking palad.

"I just realized that instead of talking to you about going to Harvard and our relationship, I decided to decide alone. Alam mo, noong pageant, na-realize ko na may punto ang ginawa ko pero mali pa rin."

I glanced at him and saw his soft eyes staring at me, listening intently to whatever I am saying.

"Sana kinausap kita ng maayos, sana pala ay nagkaliwanagan tayong dalawa kaysa naghiwalay nang masama ang loob sa isa't-isa. All this time, I thought tama lang ang ginawa ko pero noong gabing tinanong ako 'nung hurado kung anong pipiliin ko, natanto ko na hindi pala kita kinausap ng maayos. I supported you in your dreams pero hindi mo nadama kasi pinagtabuyan kita."

"We could've have better communication and talked that one out." He said softly, still caressing my fingers.

"You're right but maybe your decision is what made us what we are now today. Ako, panigurado ako na...kapag nalaman kong alam mo at mahal mo talaga ako, hinding-hindi ako aalis sa tabi ko kahit anong taboy ang gawin mo."

"Noong araw na 'yun, ang nasa utak ko lang ay gusto kong makamit ang mga pangarap mo. Nauna mong minahal ang pangarap mo kaya ayokong mabalewala lang iyon ng ganoon lang dahil minahal mo ako."

"If I just know your reason for pushing me away and breaking up with me, I woudn't even think and crossed a damn door away from you." He touched my cheek and I closed my eyes.

"We must compromise, 'yun ang natutunan ko. Relasyon nating dalawa ito kaya tayong dalawa ang madedesisyon dahil iyon ang mas nakakabuti." I answered and opened my eyes.

"But we sometimes decide stupid things for love," He answered me. "Nung panahong iyon lang siguro, naisip mong 'yun ang pinakamabuting desisyon dahil matigas ang ulo ko."

"That was an impulsive and reckless decision, dahil nagkasakitan tayong dalawa pero hindi ako nagsisisi kasi nandito na tayo sa mayroon tayo ngayon."

"Hmm," He nodded. "You know sometimes, naguguluhan pa rin ako sa desisyon mo but it's all done now, kasi ako, kung 'yun ang naisip mong desisyon noong tayo para matupad ang pangarap ko, the stupid decision I will make for us, para hindi lang tayo malayo ay itatanan kita."

I chuckled at stared at him.

"Paano tayo mabubuhay, aber?" I raised my brow.

"I can work for us!" He said. "Magsisikap ako kahit anong trabaho dahil kahit ano makakaya ko basta nasa tabi kita."

I stared at him and realized how proud I am seeing what a great man he'd become.

"Tapos ako...magtatrabaho rin." I said.

"No, ayokong napapagod ka. Gusto ko, kapag ako ang asawa mo, hindi ka mamomroblema sa buhay na mayroon tayo kasi ako ang magsusumikap para sa atin."

"Wrong," I flicked his lips.

"We will work hard, together, for our family. Tulong tayong dalawa para sa hinaharap, ang mga anak natin ay magkakaroon ng magandang buhay." I answered him.

He smiled at me and cocked his head.

"I don't know what I'll do without you, hon." He murmured.

Ako naman ang humaplos sa kanyang pisngi at dinama ang hangin na tumatama sa aming mukha.

"I don't know what I'll do too, kahit kailan siguro ay hindi ako magiging masaya."

"But you know, hon, maybe you're right." He said and I nodded at him and listened.

"Tama kang...may mga bagay na dapat nating mapakawalan para maging malaya at makalipad ng mataas. Because...like you said, a love that is always meant for you will always find a way back. Para talaga tayo sa isa't-isa dahil nandito ka sa harapan ko...bumalik ka."

My tears fell, I saw how he smiled and dried my tears with his fingers.

"I promise I'll be the best man I could be for you...and for our future family." He whispered.

"I promise to be the best wife too, palalakihin natin 'yung mga anak natin na may masayang pamilya. We will filled them with love and support." I smiled softly.

His lips protruded a bit, lowering his head to claim my lips but then I stopped and pulled away.

"Anyway..." I said. Napanguso s'ya sa pag-iwas ko ng halik at tumungo sa balikat ko para pagdiskitahan ng halik ang balikat ko.

"Naalala ko lang...bakit nagpaplano na tayong ikasal tapos hindi mo pa ako sinasagot?" I asked.

He didn't answer me and lowered the strap of my dress to kiss my skin.

"Ejercito..." Lumayo ako at iniangat ang ulo n'ya at ngumuso s'ya at inilapit ang labi n'ya.

"I just want a kiss..." He whinned.

"Mamaya na ang kiss, sagutin mo nga ako, ano na tayo ngayon? Hindi mo pa ako sinasagot sa panliligaw ko." Reklamo ko.

He smirked, tumungo s'ya para magnakaw ng halik pero lumayo ako sa kanya at sumimangot.

"Jer!"

"Yes, honey, yes." He smiled.

"Yes, what?" My brow raised.

"Sinasagot na kita, you're my girlfriend now." He said sheepishly.

My heart pounded, lumaki ang ngiti ko at ako na ang humawak sa pisngi n'ya para bigyan s'ya ng halik. He groaned, opened his mouth to kiss me back pero kaagad akong lumayo kaya napanganga lang s'ya sa akin.

"Harriet!" Napasipa s'ya.

"Oh... Sinagot mo ako sa ilalim nitong puno!" I exclaimed happily.

"Yeah, isn't it sweet?" He pouted. "Kahit pinako mo 'yung pinky promise natin dito sa ilalim ng puno 'nung first year na ako ang date mo sa senior ball!"

Natawa ako, sumama naman ang mukha n'ya nang maalala ang pag-oo ko ng biglaan kay Winston noong ball bilang date.

"I was pressured! Nagulat lang ako kaya napa-oo!"

"Yeah, and I was pressured too kaya nasagot kita ngayon." Sinamaan ko s'ya ng tingin kaya napahagalpak na s'ya ng tawa at walang hirap na binuhat ako paupo sa kanyang hita.

"Kidding, Harriet. Mahal kita." He kissed my chin.

My lips protruded and raised my brow at him.

"Gaano kamahal?" I asked.

"Sobra...sobrang-sobra. Hindi ko masabi kasi parang hindi mo ma-explain." He said kaya natawa na ako roon at humalik sa kanyang noo.

Niyakap n'ya ang baywang ko at humalik sa panga ko kaya napasulyap ako sa soccer field kung saan s'ya pawisang naglalaro dati at ipinagsigawan sa lahat na girlfriend n'ya ako noon at may naisip.

"Jer, soccer field." I said.

"Hmm?" Namumungay ang matang sumulyap s'ya sa akin.

"Let's get married here...in the soccer field." I said.

He smiled genuinely and nodded at me.

"The altar will be here under the narra tree," He said. "Because this is where we first made a promise, this is our hideout, the place where we broke our hearts and the place where we'll make it whole again."

"Sino kayo?! Tresspasing kayo!" Sabay kaming napalingon ni Jer sa guard roon na papalapit kaya napatili ako at napatayo.

"Shit! Let's run!" Jer exclaimed and pulled me swiftly as we run for our lives but instead of being scared, we are laughing hard.

"Are you sure we're gonna ride this? Hindi ka na manginginig?" I keep on teasing Ejercito who keeps on glancing on the ferris wheel above us.

"Yeah," He puffed a breath. "I am not that scared anymore,"

"Bakit dati...nanginginig ka pa nga." Ngumiwi s'ya sa akin at inakbayan ako.

"Dati lang 'yun, Harriet, kasi bata pa ako." Reklamo n'ya.

"H'wag kang mag-alala, akong bahala sa'yo." I winked at him and I saw him blushed a bit. "I'll be your superhero, Jer."

He eyed me and suddenly laughed.

"Okay then, my superhero. Kaya mo ba akong dalhin sa langit?" He whispered and my mouth parted.

"Jer!" I exclaimed.

"Ma'am, Sir... Kayo na po ang susunod." Sabay kaming napatingin sa nakaopen na pwesto at kaagad na lumapit roon.

Jer then assisted me to go inside and swiftly sat beside me.

Pag-upo n'ya at bigla nalang gumalaw ay napasinghap na s'ya at humawak sa akin.

"M-Mission abort! Lena...we should--" Napamura s'ya nang i-lock ng staff ang pintuan kaya wala na s'yang choice.

"It's alright," I chuckled and slowly hugged his arm. "Hindi ka pa ba nasanay, palagi tayong nandito dati."

"This is my first time in years..." Napapikit s'ya nang bigla kaming umangat kaya napahahikhik ako.

"It's alright, hon, okay?" I keep on kissing his cheek and he was tightly closing his eyes.

"Just...tell me if where on the top." He murmured.

Sa lakas ng hangin ay mas umuga ang sinasakyan namin. Ejercito seems really stressed while I am enjoying it.

Nakapikit s'ya roon at maya-maya'y sumiksik na sa aking balikat para magtago.

"Hon..." He whinned.

"Maganda na rin sa itaas, may fireworks!" I said. He shook his head, noong una ay takot na takot na talaga s'ya pero makaraan ay naramdaman kong pinapapak nanaman ng halik ang leeg ko ay kinaltukan ko na s'ya.

"Hoy, iba na 'yan!" I exclaimed and he chuckled a bit, lumayo s'ya sa akin ng bahagya at tumingin sa paligid pero nang muling umikot sa pinakatuktok ay napamura na s'ya.

"Why the fuck--" I stopped him by kissing his lips.

He froze, nanlaki ang mata n'ya sa biglaan kong paghalik pero sa huli ay kumislap lang ang mata bago tumungo at halikan ako pabalik.

I closed my eyes, savoured the kiss we are sharing. Naramdaman ko ang kalabog sa puso ko at ang hindi maitatagong damdaming nararamdaman ko sa oras na ito.

I heard something exploded, ang madilim na langit ay napuno mg magagandang kulay mula sa mga fireworks.

I slowly pulled away from our kisses and smiled at him with his dizzy eyes.

"See? Wala na ang takot kapag nasa tuktok na tayo." I said.

He stopped, his eyes shifted from me to the colorful fireworks above.

"I'm only not scared because you're here..." He murmured softly then touched my hand.

My smile widened when he kissed the back my hand and slowly looked at me in the eye.

"You'll always be my paper plane, Lena." He said, staring at my necklace before lifting it from my neck and giving it a small kiss.

"I love you," I said softly.

"I'm inlove with you too," He whispered back at kissed my lips again.

Nang maghiwalay kami ay nanatili kaming magkahawak at nakasandal ako sa kanya habang nakatitig sa makulay na langit.


It's always good to be on top with the one I love, hindi ko akalaing dito rin ako dadalhin ng hangin...na kahit nawala sa landas at nagkamali ng daan ay bumalik pa rin sa itaas kasama s'ya ngayon.

I can feel Jer gasping everytime the ride would move, hindi nga lang nagsasalita pero ramdam ko ang hawak n'ya ng mahigpit sa kamay ko.

"Ang tagal naman natin bumaba?" I noticed when we are still on the top and the ride isn't moving.

"Baka mabagal lang bumaba 'yung ibang tao." He said.

I nodded slowly at him and smiled, staring at the whole place, ang makukulay na ride sa malayo at ang kalmadong langit na kanina'y napuno ng mga kulay.

The ride moved more harshly now, napamura na muli si Jer at napaayos ng upo.

"Fuck, pakibilisan naman!" He exclaimed and I laughed and shook my head.

"As if they can hear you, hon." I chuckled.

"Sabi ko kasi bilisan at ayoko dito sa tuktok pero ang bagal..." Bulong-bulong n'ya roon.

"Akala mo naman close mo 'yung operator." Tawa ko at sumulyap s'ya sa akin bago ngumuso.

"If I asked you something...would you say yes?" He suddenly asked.

"Ano bang tanong?" I asked curiously.

"Kahit ano..." Aniya.

"It actually depends on the question, Jer. What would it be?" Pangungulit ko pa pero nag-iwas s'ya at tumikhim, biglang mukhang kinakabahan.

"Wala namang hangin, bakit ka kinakabahan?" Natatawang tanong ko sa kanya pero ngumuso lang s'ya sa akin at tumitig sa mata ko.

"Hope you'd say yes," He said softly.

"For?" I asked pero wala na s'yang nasabi nang unti-unting bumaba ang ride na aming sinasakyan.

I was curious because he looks like he's gonna faint now, ilang pisil pa ang ginawa n'ya sa aking kamay roon.

"Jer?" I asked, akmang lalabas na sa pintuan ng sinasakyan namin pero pinigilan n'ya ang balikat ko.

"Why?" I asked.

"Do you trust me?" He asked me seriously and I slowly nodded.

"Yes...why?"

He sighed, nangunot ang noo ko nang maglabas s'ya ng puting panyo at ipinakita sa akin.

"I'm gonna cover your eyes," He said.

"H-Huh? Why?" I asked again.

"Do you trust me?" I nodded again and he sighed, slowly kissing my forehead and covered my eyes with the blindfold.

"Then, trust me." He whispered.

Abot-abot ang kaba ko, sa bawat hakbang ay nagwawala ang puso ko sa kaba at excitement sa gusto n'yang gawin. Nakaalalay s'ya sa bawat hakbang ko pero kuryoso pa rin ako at kinakabahan.

"Jer, I swear, kapag may pinalipad kang ipis pagmulat ko, sasapakin kita." Banta ko.

He laughed and kissed my cheek.

"Won't scare you like that, hon." He chuckled and lifted me softly until I feel like I'm standing in a small platform.

"Jer?" I asked curiously and stopped when I heard a familiar song, the song we danced that night in our senior ball.

Every time our eyes meet
This feeling inside me
Is almost more than I can take
Baby, when you touch me
I can feel how much you love me
And it just blows me away

Naramdaman ko ang pagkalas ng blindfold ng mata ko at napapikit ako at unti-unting nagmulat at napasinghap nang makita ng paunti-unti ang tao sa harapan ko.

I gasped when I saw my family in the crowd, sina Auntie at Uncle, pati na rin sina Cecille at Floyd!

I've never been this close to anyone or anything
I can hear your thoughts, I can see your dreams

Nangilid ang luha ko nang makita si Ejercito mula sa aking likod at umawang ang labi ko nang mula sa bulsa n'ya ay may inilabas s'yang isang pulang kahita.

I gasped, my eyes swelled with tears when I saw how his eyes glistened with tears.

The smell of your skin
The taste of your kiss
The way you whisper in the dark
Your hair all around me
Baby, you surround me.

"Hi, hon..." His husky voice said when he saw my tears. "Don't cry, honey, please..."

"I-I'm just..." I harshly dried my tears.

He sighed hard and closed his eyes tightly then opening it again with the courage he is seeking now.

"I...remember when I first saw you, sa ilalim 'nung puno ng narra." I laughed softly when I remembered it. "Nakaupo ka lang doon, tahimik tapos nanunuod ng soccer. I saw you and instantly, I thought I should get close to you."

"T-Tinamaan nga ako 'nung bola!" Reklamo ko at napatawa s'ya pero namumula na ang mata sa paambang luha.

"You're beautiful," He whispered. "Hindi mo ako pinapansin kasi sabi mo mukha akong palaboy."

I heard laughters from our families and friends, documenting the moment.

"You're dirty!" I exclaimed and he laughed again and shook his head.

"Nadapa ako sa putikan kasi," He chuckled and shook his head. "What a disaster first meeting isn't it?"

"P-Pero gwapo ka pa rin, napanganga nga ako." I commented and they laughed again. I saw Jer flushing and biting his lower lip.

"That's why I love you," He teased back and I bit my lip.

"And...you know, hon, as time goes by, I fell inlove with you. Deeply, passionately and how much I stopped myself, I always fail."

"Then, I told myself I should tell you and hope you'd reciprocate my feelings and I thank you...because you loved me for who I am. Thank you for believing in me when no one else can, for supporting me, for loving me."

My tears fell more and gasped.

"You know this is way too late...way too delayed from the original plan. Iba man ang petsa ngayon, hindi na 'yun mahalaga. What's more important is that the woman that I will offer this ring is still the same."

Napasinghap na ako at napahagulgol, he opened the red velvet box and my sobs become more evident when I saw the glistening crystal ring inside.

My knees started wobbling and my heart trembled in so much happiness the moment he lowered his one leg and kneeled infront of me.

"Leona Harriet Abelló, my only bestfriend, my only love...my confidante. I wanted to ask your hand for marriage, alam kong medyo late na dahil nagpaplano na tayo ng kasal pero gusto kong hingin ang kamay mo. I am the best version of myself when I'm with you, lahat ng impossible kaya ko basta kasama kita.

"You are the only woman I will love this much and I promise to give you the world and a happy family. I promise to protect you at all cost, I promise to never let go of your hand for better or for worst. I will be always here for you, a shoulder to cry on when it becomes hard, a crazy partner if it becomes happy. I will work hard for us, I will be our feet, I will love you for the rest of my life."

"J-Jer..." My voice started shaking and I cried more.

"P-Please, hon..." He whispered and then stared at me lovingly with tears on his eyes. "Please, I'm begging you, please be my wife..."

Napasulyap ako sa likuran, sa mga magulang at kaibigan namin na nag-iiyakan at sa pagtaas nila ng banner na s'yang mas nagpahina sa akin.

Say YES.

That's what the banner says.

"Will you marry me, Lena ko?" He asked gently and held my hand.

I stared at him and started crying hardly as I nod my head.

"O-Oo! Syempre, oo! Tatanonh pa ba 'yan?!" I exclaimed and cried harder.

Nag-iyakan na sila at nagsigawan sa tuwa. Nang tuluyan nang maisuot sa akin ni Ejercito ang singsing ay tuluyan na s'yang tumayo at mabilis ko s'yang sinunggaban ng yakap.

I heard his sobs on my ear, hugging me tightly as he kissed my hair.

"I-I love you, Lena...I love you, thank you so much!" He whispered on my ear.

"M-Mahal na mahal din kita," I whispered back and hugged him tightly.

He moved away, searched for my lips and in instant, we were exchanging deep kisses.

The kiss was filled with heat, love, passion and the promise of forever love for each other and the family we will build in the future...for better or for worst.

We moved away and a smile crept on my lips as I stared at him.

"Thank you for coming back to me, my paper plane." I whispered softly on his lips.


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