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

Wakas

"Ejercito!" Tom exclaimed somewhere, napalingon ako at nang nasipa n'ya sa akin ang bola ay walang hirap ko iyong sinipa papunta sa kakampi.

I smirked when I saw the people cheered for that goal, tumakbo ako para makipa-apir sa mga kasamahan.

"Sigurado ka bang first year ka pa lang? Bagaling ka rito, ah!" Bati sa akin ng mas senior sa amin sa grupo.

He is I think on his third year now.

"Oh! Fuck, sorry, Miss!" My eyes shifted from my team mates towards the commotion at the side of the field.

Napaayos ako ng tayo nang makita ang nakapikit na babae habang pinapalibutan ng ibang myembro ng laro.

"I'm really sorry, Miss! Hindi ko sinasadyang matamaan ka!" The man apologize.

Tumitig ako roon at humalukipkip, I saw the woman then lifted her face. Namumula man ang mukha ay ngumiti s'ya.

"I-I'm fine," She said softly.

I froze, napatitig ako sa kanya at nakita kong natigilan rin 'yung nakatama sa kanya ng bola.


"Damn it, Mario! Tinamaan mo si ganda!" Kumunot ang noo ko nang magsikuhan sila at bahagyang nagtulakaan sa babae.

Hoy! Tinamaan n'yo ng bola! Are you all supposed to just teased each other around her? Come on, help her!

Tila mukhang naramdaman n'yang may nakamasid sa kanya mula sa malayo at halos matulos pa ako sa kinatatayuan nang magtagpo ang tingin namin.

Her face is red because of the hit but damn it, she's still beautiful!

"Sandejas, tabi!" A push infront of me made me curse when I lost my balance. Napaupo ako sa putikan sa likuran ko roon at mariing napapikit.

"Oh my God! Si Jer!" A couple of girls exclaimed.

Punong-puno ng putik ang shorts, damit at kamay ko at paulit-ulit akong nagmura sa isipan.

"Help him up! Oh my god! Nadudumihan na s'ya!" I heard a voice again.

"Bro, sorry!" I opened my eyes and saw Floyd smirking when he saw me.

Seryoso ko s'yang tinignan, I almost clenched my jaw and accepted the hand he offered to help me up.

Pagtayo ko ay hiyang-hiya ako sa sarili, hindi dahil sa putikan ako kundi dahil nakita 'nung magandang babae sa may malapit sa puno ng Narra.

She looked at me from head to toe and wrinkled her nose.

What? Gwapo pa rin ako kahit putikan!

I scoffed, nakita kong pinapalibutan pa rin s'ya 'nung mga lalaki roon, tila mas nagagandahan pa sa kanya kaysa sa pagiging concern sa pagkakatama nila ng bola!

"Let's continue the game!" I exclaimed, annoyed.

"Tuloy na raw, ginagalit n'yo si Sandejas!" Biro ng senior pero ngumisi lang ako at mas natuwa nang umalis na ang nakapalibot sa babae at bumalik sa laro.

I don't care if I looked a mess playing the game, what's important for girls is how I play the game, no matter how dirty I am.

Tsaka...okay, well. Girls crave for my looks.

I glided my feet to score a cool, perfect goal and they screamed and lifted their banners for me.

"Go, Jer! Ang gwapo mo talaga!"

I even chuckled evilly inside my head when I saw how the beautiful woman shook her head, confused with the crowd's reaction of me.

Why? Hindi ka tinatablan?

Habang naglalaro ako ay nagkakatinginan kami and I admit she is a beauty. Not the typical type of beauty for girls.

She looks immaculately innocent and sweet, with her pointed nose, red lips, flushing cheeks and that deep, hypnotizing black eyes.

I saw how the air blew her hair, napansin kong wala s'yang kasama habang nakaupo roon kaya mas nagtaka ako.

Do you want a friend?

I noticed Floyd looking at her, kumunot ang noo ko at nang wala sa sariling dumaan s'ya sa harapan ko ay pasimple ko s'yang pinatid.

He cursed and lost his sight of her.

Napahawak pa ako sa bibig ko para kunwari ay nagulat at tinulungan s'ya patayo.

"Didn't see you there," I smirked when he looked so annoyed.

Natapos ang game na madumi ang damit ko dahil sa pagkakaupo sa putikan na iyon. I was so annoyed and didn't have time to talk to girls when I saw her standing from her seat near the tree.

Yakap-yakap n'ya ang kanyang libro habang papatayo kaya wala nang pagdadalawang-isip na tumakbo ako roon patungo sa pwesto n'ya.

She froze when she saw me infront of me, kumunot ang noo n'ya sa akin.

"Excuse me?" She raised her brow.

I gave her a loop-sided smile and cute eyes.

"Saw you staring at me during the game, do you like me?" I asked cooly, suntok iyon sa buwan para makuha ang atensyon n'ya.

"What?" She scoffed then suddenly bursted out laughing.

"Crush mo ba ako?" I asked again.

She laughed again, halos pumalakpak pa roon habang pinagmamasdan ako at nailing.

Humor was evident on her face as she scanned me from head to toe at pagkatapos ay ngumiwi.

"Sa itsura mong 'yan?" She asked.

My mouth parted at that.

"H-Huh, maayos naman ako!" I exclaimed.

"Nah," Ngumiwi s'ya at pinagmasdan ako.

"Maniwala sa'yo, hindi ka tinatablan ng charms ko?" I smiled and winked at her and she shook her head again, halos maluha na kakatawa.

"No offense but...sa itsura mong 'yan? Mukha kang palaboy!" She growled in laughter.

And my Sandejas ego...ladies and gentleman, crashed down.

Parang niyurakan ang pagkalalaki ko roon pero hindi ko alam at sa halip na ma-offend ay naaliw ako sa tawa n'ya.

She's beautiful when serious but she's looks far more great to watch when being happy like this.

I silently stared at her and felt my heart twitched, ngumuso ako at tumikhim pero natigilan nang makita ang sugat sa may labi n'ya at ang pasa sa kanyang pisngi.

"Miss," I called his attention and she shook her head and laugh again.

"Sorry...sorry! H'wag kang magagalit! You were just so funny! Dumi-dumi mo, para kang lumangoy sa putikan!"

My lips protruded, humalukipkip ako at tahimik s'yang tinitigan habang tumatawa.

She seems so happy and impressed, my lips lifted for a smile when she suddenly felt embarassed with her laughters.

"S-Sorry..." She cleared her throat.

"Oh, that hurts." Napahawak ako sa dibdib ko at kunwaring nasaktan.

She flushed then bit her lip.

"Pasensya na, naaaliw lang ako sa'yo. Sorry if my laugh offends you--"

"Let me clean your bruise," I said and she stopped.

"H-Huh?"

"Papatawarin kita kung hahayaan mo akong gamutin 'yung pasa mo sa pisngi." I said.

Her mouth parted, napahawak sa pisngi n'ya at nanlaki ang mata sa akin.

"Oh God! R-Really? May pasa?!"

"Hmm," I tilted my head to see her bruise. "You have a wound on your lips. Sa pagtama 'yan ng bola."

"N-No, kaya ko na!" She exclaimed, hiyang-hiya at tinakpan ang kanyang pisngi.

"No, magtatampo ako n'yan." I said with joking, hidden pain in my voice.

"Sorry na eh," She said.

"I won't accept unless you'll let me clean it, sandali lang naman iyon. I won't do anything, I was just concern."

She stared at me and sighed, slowly nodding.

"Sige na nga," She murmured.

My smile widen and nodded instantly.

"Doon ka muna maupo!" I pointed the Narra tree. "I promise to be back, maliligo lang ako para maayos akong haharap sa'yo!"

"Oh...okay." She smiled. "Pero saan ang medicine kit?"

"Ako na bahala," I gave her a smile. "Let me be your hero at babalik ako."

I winked and she laughed again at me, shaking her head.

"Anong pangalan mo? Ang hangin mo, ah." She chuckled.

"Ejercito Sandejas," I said and smiled. "You?"

"Lena," She murmured and offered her hand. "Leona Harriet Abelló."

I accepted her hand with a smile on my face.

We started as friends, for years, we will eat together, spend time together at kahit ayaw ko man ay napipilitan akong mag-aral dahil nand'yan s'ya.

"Ejercito, wake up!" Pilit na sinisipa ni Lena ang upuan ko dahil nakatulog nanaman ako sa klase.

I was bored, alright, naaral rin naman namin ni Lena 'yan kahapon kaya wala na akong gana makinig pa. I like it when Harriet taught me things instead of listening to lectures.

Pakiramdam ko ay special ako at may tutor...lalo na at si Lena pa! Naku, d'yan ako sisipagin.

"Ejercito!" She groaned again.

I smiled while my eyes are still closed. Nagpapanggap na tulog kahit gising na ako unang tapik palang n'ya sa akin.

"Jer, nakatingin sa'yo si Ma'am!" Gigil na sabi ng mahal ko pero nangingisi ako at walang pakialam.

"Mr. Sandejas!" That's when I opened my eyes.

Napaayos ako ng upo at nanlaki ang mata nang makita ang professor namin na nakapamaywang na sa harapan ko at nakataas ang kilay.

She was petite and looks really, really strict. Para s'yang si Miss Minchin 'nung nanuod kami ng Princess Sarah ni Lena noong nakaraan kaya parang kinabahan ako.

Baka pagbalatin ako ng patatas!

"Ma'am," I smiled cutely at her kahit kinakabahan na ako!

I heard Lena sighing hard beside me, tila takot sa kakahinatnan ng kalokohan ko.

"Why are you sleeping in my class?!" She exclaimed heavily and groaned.

Halos mapatalon ako roon at napakurap.

"M-Ma'am, masakit lang po ang ulo ni Ejerc--"

"H'wag kang mangialam rito, Abelló!" She groaned and Lena stopped.

Napalabi na ako roon at hinanap ang mata ni Lena para ilingan s'ya at ayokong madamay s'ya sa gawain ko.

"Sorry, Ma'am, if I slept in your class. Naaral ko naman po kasi kaya nawalan ako ng gana." I said.

Her mouth parted, umawang ang labi n'ya at mas nanggigil sa sinabi ko.

Lena pouted, pasimpleng kinurot ako kaya napaigtad ako roon.

"Sige! You go infront and discuss this lesson! Pronto! Ako ang makikinig at nakapag-aral ka naman!"

My eyes widen, nang tumalikod ang professor ay hinila ni Lena ang tenga ko kaya napaigik ako pero hinila ang kamay n'ya at hinalikan ng pabiro.

"I got this, hon." I winked but she just punched my arm.

"Ang kulit mo!"

"Sandejas! Bilis!" The old woman exclaimed.

Napatayo ako, I saw my classmates looking at me. Ang iba'y mukhang namangha pero mas marami ang kinabahan dahil sa akin.

I walked confidently in front, nakaupo na ang professor sa upuan at tinuro ang lamesa.

"Go, magturo ka! Ikaw na ang mag-guro at nakapag-aral ka! Hala, sige, makikinig ako!"

Napangiwi ako sa tinis ng boses n'ya pero ngumisi lang ako at tumingin sa paligid.

I pulled my necktie and cocked my head.

"Okay, class..." I said.

Umawang ang labi ni Lena at napapikit sa sinabi ko.

"Our lesson for today is..." Sumulyap ako sa libro sa aking harapan at napangiwi bigla.

Lumingon ako kay Ma'am at ngumiti ng alanganin.

"Uh, Ma'am, ano bang lesson natin?" I asked in a low voice.

The class laughed hard, napapailing sa akin si Lena at ngumiwi pero kinindatan ko lang s'ya.

The professor sighed hard, halos hampasin na ako ng libro pero sinabi rin.

I nodded when I knew what it was, ito nga ang tinuro ni Lena!

I cleared my throat, started teaching the lesson for today pero halos trenta minutos lang ay natapos ko ang gusto n'yang ipaliwanag kaya napangisi ako at sumulyap kay Ma'am.

"Ma'am, I'm the professor for today, right?" I smiled.

"Oo!" She raised her brow.

"So..." I looked at the clock and saw that it was quick, mahaba pa ang oras!

"Class dismissed," I said and grinned.

Nagsigawan ang mga kaklase ko. Napasinghap ang professor ko at nakita kong nasapo ni Lena ang noo at iniangat ang libro para unti-unting magtago roon.

Kagaya ng inaasahan ay na-guidance nanaman ako at napa-detention. Ano bang masama sa ginawa ko? Sabi ako professor kaya pagkatapos kong magturo, nag-dismiss ako!

Pero anyway, detention isn't hard. Buong oras roon ay tulog lang ako at hihikab-hikab pa paglabas kung hindi lang napatalon dahil sa talim ng tingin sa akin ni Lena mula sa may pintuan.

"H-Hi, Harriet..." I chuckled awkwardly when I saw her dark eyes.

"G-Galing ng ginawa ko kanina 'no?" Pagmamayabang ko pero napasigaw nang i-angat ni Lena ang libro at ambang ihahampas sa akin.

"Sandejas!" She screamed and I gasped and ran towards the empty hallway with her chasing me behind.

She isn't Lena if she won't pursue me to study.

She wouldn't just let me sleep on the library when we have tests and activities in class, she motivates me all the time. Kahit minsan, mas lamang talaga ang kalokohan sa akin.

I just don't think things seriously, nasa utak ko lahat ng iyan ay matatapos rin at manghihinayang lang ako sa oras na ginugol ko.

The only thing that I want serious is the relationship we have, our friendship. I silently liked and loved her for all those years, I'm just so scared to confess because I am too afraid she'll slipped away from me.

"Come on, Jer. Don't sleep on me now, kailangan mong mag-aral para hindi ka pagalitan." She said worriedly.

I sighed, umayos ako ng upo mula sa pagkakasubsob sa lamesa at isinandal ang ulo sa kanyang balikat.

"Harriet, I'm tired." Reklamo ko at humikab.

She chuckled, inabot ko ang daliri n'ya at pinaglaruan at naramdaman ko ang pagsuklay n'ya sa buhok ko gamit ang kanyang daliri.

"You are such a baby, Sandejas." Malambing n'yang sabi.

"You treat me like that always, nasasanay na ako." I whinned.

"You need to study, okay?" Masuyong bulong n'ya.

"They'll treat me like I'm still dumb anyway," I sighed.

Hinuli n'ya ang kamay kong naglalaro sa palad n'ya at tinapik ang pisngi ko.

"You are not dumb," She said. "H'wag mong isipin ang sinasabi nila sa'yo, you're smart. You may be lazy at times but I know you are intelligent."

"You believe I am?" Nag-angat ako ng tingin sa kanya at ngumuso.

"Hmm," She nodded.

Sumandal ako sa upuan ko at humarap s'ya sa akin kaya hinawi ko ang buhok n'ya sa likuran ng kanyang tenga.

"Thank you for always believing in me, Lena." I sighed. "Ikaw lang naniniwala sa akin."

"Because I know you," Pumahalumbaba s'ya at pinagmasdan ako. "I can feel you will have a great future ahead of you, you wanted to be a lawyer, right? Mangyayari 'yun."

"You know I don't really mind what the people says, maybe tinatamad ako kapag naririnig ang sinasabi nila sa akin but it doesn't really matter to me."

"Yes," She nodded and pinched my nose, making me smile. "You are what you hope you'll be in the future. I know you will make me so proud in the future."

"If you believe in me, then." I smiled genuinely. "Your opinion is what matters to me, kung sabi mong kaya ko, kakayanin ko."

"Ayun!" She chuckled. "That's my Sandejas!"

Nag-apir kami at kinindatan ko s'ya kaya pinalo n'ya ako ng libro.

"H'wag mo akong landiin!" She exclaimed and I chuckled, catching her hand.

Why does success doesn't feel the same when you are not with the person who inspired you to do things you think you woudn't even reach?

Habang nakaupo at sumisimsim ng juice ay tahimik kong pinagmamasdan si Lena at Floyd na magkatabi sa upuan.

They were laughing and I can't help but to get jealous and insecured.

Minahal mo ba talaga ako?

How can I even think you didn't loved me when you showed me that you are. Your concern, everything, bakit bigla nalang iyong nawala, Lena?

"You are successful! I can't believe it! Napakagaling mo!" Pagbati sa akin ng mga professor noon sa aming unibersidad pero umiling ako at ngumiti, pasimpleng sumulyap kay Lena sa malayo.

"I'm not successful," kasi wala s'ya.

"You won cases abroad! That was such an amazing thing to do! Nabalitaan ko pa nga 'yung pinakamalaking kasong naisara mo!" Patuloy nilang pagbati sa akin pero ang atensyon ko ay na kay Lena.

Kapag ba lumapit ako sa'yo ay pagbibigyan mo ako? Kahit isang sayaw lang. Kahit ilang minutong pag-uusap.

I just want to feel her warmth, na kahit hindi man s'ya naging sa akin sa huli ay maramdaman man lang na hindi naging panaginip ang mayroon kami noon.

I spent years in Harvard in vain and sadness. Hindi ko manlang sinubok ang maging masaya dahil wala ni katiting na lakas ng loob akong gawin 'yun.

I never entertained girls dahil pakiramdam ko ay masasaktan ko si Lena kahit sumuko na s'ya sa akin. I focused on my goals, in becoming a great lawyer we once dream for me and maybe hope that someday, we still have a chance.

"Alagaan mo 'yan," My eyes shifted from my hand towards Floyd when he spoke beside me during Lena's photoshoot.

Hindi ako umimik, I just looked at him coldly and saw him smirked at me.

"Don't even think of attacking me, Sandejas." He chuckled coldly, doon ko lang napansing nakakuyom ang kamao ko.

"What do you need?" I asked non-chalantly.

"If you love her, go for her." I heard him say.

My forehead creased, nilingon ko s'ya at nakita kong ngumisi s'ya.

"You may think that you're the only one who suffered for all those years you two are apart, nagkakamali ka. She spent it in sadness too, mukhang lang s'yang masaya pero hindi."

I shook my head, smirking as I puffed a breath.

"Don't give that bull, Floyd. She left me because of you." I said, annoyed.

"Oh, sana nga kung ako lang pero hindi ganun kababaw si Lena, Sandejas. She woudn't trade the years of friendship or your relationship para ganoong kababaw na bagay lang."

My jaw clenched when I noticed that he's having fun with my confusion. Before I could even say more ay dumating si Lena kasama si Cecille kaya hindi na ako nakapagsalita.

But maybe...when it comes to love, we decide wrong things for the right reason.

Habang tumatagal ay mas natanto kong may mga bagay talaga na nakatadhana sa'yo, na kahit saan man dalhin ng hangin ay muling babalik dahil totoo.

Maybe, in this love, being apart with broken hearts is our challenge. Maybe this is where our relationship will be tested.

Nagkasakitan man kami ay binawi iyon ng saya 'nung sa wakas ay para sa akin na talaga s'ya.

The painful things happened to us will serve only as a memory now, mga ala-alang babaunin namin sa buhay naming magkasama.

"Stop kissing my neck, Jer!" She hissed quietly.

I chuckled, mas niyakap ko ang baywang n'ya at pinag-igihan ang halik.

"Let's go to our room, hon..." I hummed.

She chuckled a bit and run her fingers on my hair, mas tumungo ako sa balikat n'ya at yumakap.

"Nakakahiya kina Mommy," She said, referring to my Mom. "Tsaka sa mga bisita."

"They would entertain the guest, they won't notice we weren't here." I whispered, kissing her skin again.

"You woudn't want them to knock on our door and see me naked, don't you?"

"Let's go!" I exclaimed and tried pulling her but she laughed at me and shook her head.

"No?" I pouted.

"No." She pursed her lips. "It's your second son's baby shower, honey."

"I know Zeijan would understand," Hinaplos ko ang t'yan n'ya

"Hmm, you woudn't know. Baka sumpungin nanaman iyan at madamay ako, baka magalit lang ako sa'yo." Banta pa n'ya.

I pouted more and touched her stomach again.

"Weird siguro ito paglaki," I said.

She laughed and flicked my lips.

"Ano, mana sa'yo?" She asked.

"No, sa'yo kaya. Matino ako, Harriet." I said.

"Edi 50/50." She chuckled.

"Iñigo is serious, maayos rin naman ang pagbubuntis mo sa panganay natin. Itong pangalawa kong anak lang ang medyo pasaway."

"Maybe it depends on the pregnancy, I keep on having weird cravings with our second child. I am always annoyed at everything."

"Palagi mo ako pinapagalitan," Himutok ko.

"Oh, sorry, hon..." She pouted and touched my face, napapikit naman ako roon at ngumiti rin. "Mood swings, I just can't stop it, iritado ako sa lahat. Lalo na sa'yo, pakiramdam ko ang panget-panget mo at magmamana sa'yo itong pangalawa mo."

My mouth parted, natawa naman s'ya at lumapit para hagkan ang nakaawang kong labi.

"Nonetheless, I still love you, forever, of course. Medyo mahirap lang talaga ipagbuntis itong pangalawang lalaki mo."

I nodded obediently, caressing her baby bump and talked to my son.

"Zeijan, h'wag mong pahirapan ang Mommy, hmm? Mahal na mahal natin 'to." I whispered softly.

"Daddy, sleepy!" My eyes shifted from my wife to my son.

Instantly, a smile engrave my lips and offered my arm.

"Come here, son." I said.

I chuckled when Iñigo hugged my neck, kinarga ko ng maayos ang panganay ko at humarap kami kay Mommy Lena namin.

"Hi, Mommy!" Iñigo exclaimed.

Her eyes twinkled with the sight of us, kita ko ang pagsulyap n'ya sa akin pabalik sa anak n'ya at matamis na napangiti.

"Magkamukhang-magkamukha ang mag-ama ko," She murmured, kissing our son.

Ngumuso rin ako matapos n'yang halikan ang anak namin, nanghihingi rin ng halik kaya natawa s'ya at humalik sa labi ko.

"My, you're pretty!" Iñigo admired his mother.

"You're handsome too, baby." She smiled. "Kamukhang-kamukha mo si Daddy."

"I want to be like daddy too!" He exclaimed, smiling widely. "When I grow up I want to be a lawyer!"

My smile widened more, nagkatinginan kaming mag-asawa at sumulyap sa anak namin.

"Mana talaga sa'yo," Mahinang sabi ng asawa ko sa akin.

I kissed my son's cheek, marahang nilapitan namin si Lena at niyakap ng mahigpit.

"We love you, Mommy!" Iñigo and I both whispered when we hugged her.

Sa paggising ko sa umaga ay kaagad ako kumapa sa tabi ko at napamulat nang hindi mahawakan ang asawa ko.

I shifted my gaze and sighed when I saw her in the other end of the bed.

I smiled, gumulong sa kama para hagilapin ang asawa ko at pinahiga s'ya sa bisig ko.

"Why are you always sleeping away from me?" I whispered lovingly on her ear.

She opened her eyes, maliit pa iyon dahil sa antok n'ya kaya mas napangiti ako.

"Hindi ko napansin," She yawned. "I woke up early because I have to vomit."

Natigilan ako at hinaplos ang pisngi n'ya.

"How was it? Masakit ang lalamunan mo? I'm sorry, hon, hindi kita naramdaman. I should have assisted you inside the restroom." I said softly.

"It's alright," Malambing n'yang sabi at humalik sa pisngi ko. "Medyo masakit pero kaya ko naman, tsaka alam ko namang napagod ka kagabi doon sa gusto kong kainin."

"I don't have a problem with that, kapag may gusto ka pang kainin, sabihin mo lang. I'd gladly buy it for you." I touched her cheek.

"I love you," She hummed. "Pasensya na, hon, your second son is acting up again. Weird ang gusto kainin. Saan ka nakabili ng saging na may strawberry jam?"

"Mabuti nalang may nabilhan akong saging kahapon," I chuckled. "Yung strawberry jam nasa convenient store ko nabili tapos ini-slice ko lang yung saging para lagyan ng jam."

She chuckled, hugging my neck. Tumingala s'ya sa akin kaya pinaulanan ko s'ya ng halik sa mukha at sinuklay ang buhok n'ya.

"Thank you...sorry kung nasusungitan kita."

"No worries," I pinched her nose. "I understand, hon."

"Mommy! Daddy! Rise and shine!" Our gaze shifted on the door and we chuckled the moment we heard Iñigo calling us.

Inalalayan ko ang asawa ko sa paglalakad pababa ng hagdan, I first brought Iñigo downstairs and assisted my wife.

Natatakot na ako kapag naglalakad s'ya ng ganito, I remembered in her first trimester with our son, Zeijan, aksidenteng nahulog s'ya sa hagdan dahil nadulas.

Mabuti nalang at maaga akong umalis sa opisina para puntahan ang mag-ina ko sa bahay kaya kaagad kong nakita si Lena na walang malay.

Iñigo was crying, nang makita n'ya ako sa labas ay sinabi n'ya ang nangyari kaya dali-dali akong tumakbo at dinala sa ospital ang asawa ko.

I was scared that time, hindi ko alam kung ilang oras kong iniyakan ang nangyari sa asawa ko. Turns out, if I was too late to bring her in the hospital, we could've lost our second child at hindi namin kakayaning iyong mag-asawa.

Kahit palaging galit sa akin si Lena at sobrang pili sa pagkain, madalas rin na pinapatulog ako sa sofa simula noong nagbuntis s'ya kay Zeijan pero ayaw kong maisip na muntik nang mawala sa amin ang pangalawa ko.

"Careful, hon." I whispered, assisting her waist.

"It's alright, I won't slip." She smiled.

"Kahit na, ayaw kong manigurado ng ganoon." I whispered. "I want to keep you and our children safe."

Iñigo is waiting downstairs, nang makababa kami ni Lena ay kaagad s'yang lumapit sa Mommy n'ya at tumulong sa pag-alalay.

She was so sensitive, that's why we take care of her this much, una sa nangyari sa kanila ni Zeijan at naging sensitibo ang pagbuntis n'ya. She became so emotional too kaya kapag pinalayas n'ya ako ng kwarto, sa labas ng pintuan ako matutulog para marinig pa rin ang galaw n'ya sa kwarto.

Someday, when Zeijan grew up, I promise to tease him about nearly being aborted. Can't wait to see his expression.

Pagkatapos naming kumain ay nagtungo kami sa living room para manuod ng palabas. She sat on the sofa, akala ko'y naglalaro si Iñigo pero nang sulyapan ko ay nakasalampak sa sahig at pilit na sinusubukang magbasa kahit hindi pa n'ya kaya na nagpangiti sa akin.

"Son, I know you'll be a great lawyer someday." I smiled at him.

Napasulyap si Lena sa amin at sumandal sa akin bago tumitig sa anak.

"Like you po, Daddy?" He asked.

"Way more better than Daddy," I said and he smiled at me, his blue eyes glistening as he lower his eyes back to the book he's pretending to read.

"Lena! Jer!" Nawala ang atensyon ko sa anak ko nang may sumigaw at sa paglingon ko ay lumaki ang ngiti ko nang makita kung sino ang dumating.

"Cecille!" My wife exclaimed, akmang tatayo para salubungin ang kaibigan pero umiling si Cess.

"Opps! No! H'wag ka tumayo! Ako na ang yayakap!" Cess exclaimed, laughing. "Baka biglang lumabas iyang anak mo, mahirap na!"

I chuckled too, nagyakapan ang magkaibigan at nang matapos ay yumakap rin sa akin si Cess at sa anak ko.

"Iñigo! Hi, baby!" She said softly.

Iñigo smiled and kissed her cheek.

"Hi po, Tita!" He exclaimed.

"Nice, nag-aaral ang pamangkin ko! Mabuti nalang at mukha mo lang ang nagmana sa Daddy mo! Buti nakuha mo ang sipag ni Mommy Lena sa study!"

Lena laughed, sumimangot ako at kinuha ang throw pillow para ibato kay Cess at napahagalpak s'ya at binato sa akin pabalik ang unan.

"Hayop ka, Sandejas! Kamukhang-kamukha mo si Iñigo! Sarap na sarap?!" She exclaimed.

Lena suddenly flushed, sinamaan ko ng tingin si Cess at humagalpak s'ya ng tawa at sinuntok ang braso ko.

"Anong koneksyon 'nun?" My brow raised.

"Ano ka ba, sabi nila, kung sino ang kamukha s'ya iyong mas nasarapan!" She exclaimed.

Namula lalo ang mukha ni Lena kaya napatawang lalo si Cess at ngumiwi ako sa kanya at niyakap ang asawa ko.

"Cecille!" I exclaimed.

"What?" She laughed.

"Parang hindi naman totoo, she looks pretty into it too, parang hindi lang ako ang nasarapan--"

"Ejercito!" Halos ingudngod ako ni Lena sa sofa kaya napatawa kami ni Cess sa pang-aasar.

"Kidding aside, hon." I chuckled and kissed her head.

"Ano nga palang agenda mo, Cess, at napadalaw ka?" Lena stared at her friend. "Hindi ka nagsabi, galing ka pang Sta. Monica, diba? Sana pinasundo ka namin sa airport."

"Don't mind me," She chuckled. "I'm all good, may alipin naman ako para mag-drive."

My brow lifted and shook my head.

"I don't like that asshole pero masyado mo namang kinareer ang pagiging boss." I commented, chuckling.

She laughed and nodded.

"Well, he likes it when I order him around. Hindi ata nakokontento kapag wala akong utos." Hagikhik n'ya.

"Hoy, ginawa mo naman house boy ang boyfriend mo!" Lena laughed and smacked her friend.

"Sorry, hindi na boyfriend!" Natigilan kami nang bigla n'yang ipinakita ang singsing sa daliri n'ya.

My mouth parted, Lena screamed in happiness and clapped her hands.

"Finally! After years!" She cheered and hugged her friend.

Ngumiti naman ako at nang maghiwalay ang asawa ko at s'ya at ginulo ko ang buhok n'ya.

"Congratulations, Cess!" I said happily.

"Thank you!" She suddenly smiled and blushed. "You know he's been patient with me for years, I never really thought we'd make it this far. Alam n'yo naman ang ugali ko, diba? Pero nasakyan n'ya lahat ng trip ko sa buhay."

"Patay na patay ka nanaman sa akin n'yan?" A voice said at sa pagtingin ko ay nakita ko kaagad ang boyfriend ni Cecille.

I laughed, mabilis akong tumayo para sapakin at makipag-apir.

"Congrats, asshole!" I hissed and he laughed.

"Thank you, Sandejas." He laughed and punched me back.

"Hi, Lena!" He hugged my wife and my eyes sharpen.

"Asawa ko 'yan," I groaned and he laughed more, moving away from my wife.

"Seloso naman," Reklamo n'ya.

I pouted, hinila ko si Lena sa bisig ko at niyakap ng mahigpit bago tumingin sa mag-nobyo sa harapan namin.

"Akin lang 'to," I hissed. Lena laughed.

"Sa'yo na, I have my boss." Floyd then smirked, inakbayan si Cess at hinalikan ang noo.

"Bakit ang tagal mo?" Cess then stared at him softly and he smiled and kissed her cheek.

"I parked the car in their garage, sorry, boss."

I saw my wife smiling widely looking at her friends, pinaglalaruan n'ya ang singsing sa daliri ko kaya hinuli ko ang kamay n'ya at hinagkan.

"So," Cess bit her lip and then pulled her bag. "May ibibigay ako sa inyo."

I nodded at that, inayos ko ang pagkakasandal ng asawa ko sa akin at hinaplos ang tyan n'ya.

She gave us an envelope, nagtataka kong inabot iyon at binuksan at napatawa roon at hinagisan ng unan si Floyd na kaagad na umiwas at natawa bago yakapin si Cecille.

"Ang bilis mo!" I exclaimed.

"What's that, hon?" Lena asked and I chuckled and showed her the envelope.

"It our wedding invitation," Floyd said and smiled. "Asahan namin kayo."

"Of course!" Lena then cheered and clapped her hand.

"And uhm..." I saw Cess glanced at Floyd then at us.

I saw her touched her stomach, Floyd just smiled and brushed her hair with his fingers.

"We're pregnant! Two months!" She exclaimed at napasuntok ako sa hangin.

Lena laughed heartily and hugged her friend, sinugod ko naman at tinabanggan si Floyd na tumatawa sa sinusuntok rin ako.

"Tangina mo, ang bilis mo!" I hissed.

"Wow! Coming from you, nakadalawa ka na nga!" Floyd kicked me and I kicked his feet back.

Naging masaya ang gabing iyon para sa amin pero kaagad na nawala ang ingay naming lahat nang biglang matigilan si Lena at napahawak sa kitchen counter.

Mabilis kong naibaba sa upuan ang panganay ko at lumapit sa kanya.

"Hon?" I called.

"Jer..." She murmured at napasulyap ako sa hita n'ya at kaagad akong napanganga nang makitang pumutok na ang panubigan n'ya.

"Ako na ang bahala kay Iñigo!" Floyd exclaimed and I didn't think twice and carried my wife towards our car to drive her in the hospital.

I was sipping on my coffee as I watched my whole family having fun in the pool. Seing them right now, my heart feels so full and contented.

Kahit ginabi ako ng uwi kagabi dahil sa trabaho, makita ko lang ang apat kong anak na masaya at ang asawa kong naghihintay sa akin sa kwarto ay walang mapaglagyan ang saya ko.

My three sons are swimming on the pool, si Iñigo ang nagtuturo kay Dash, ang pangatlo kong anak na lumangoy.

I saw Zeijan leaning on the pool side wearing his shades and sipping on his orange juice.

Ang batang ito talaga.

"Mommy! Thank you!" I glanced at the side and saw my wife fixing our youngest's hair. She was combing it in a braid style kaya tuwang-tuwa ang bunso ko.

I stood from my seat, saglit na iniwan ang mga gamit ko sa lamesa at lumapit sa mag-ina ko.

Lena smiled the moment she saw me approaching, her bright eyes shined with the sunrays.

"Hi, honey." I greeted my beautiful wife and kissed her.

"Morning, hon." She smiled.

"Daddy kong gwapo! Good morning!" Zidney cheered happily.

That made me laugh, spreading my arms to hug her.

"Good morning, princess! How was school?" I asked her.

"Good, Dad! I was on top this grading!" She cheered happily.

If there is one person who resembled my wife the most, it is our princess. Kuhang-kuha n'ya ang bawat anggulo ng Mommy n'ya, kahit ang mga mata.

Sa kanilang magkakapatid, s'ya lang ang nakakuha nito sa Mommy n'ya at ang tatlong lalaki ko ay nakuha ang mga mata ko.

"Wow, you did great, princess! Daddy is proud of you!" I kissed her forehead.

She chuckled and hugged my nape.

"How about your brothers, Princess? Kumusta naman sila sa school?" I asked.

Lena moved closer to me, niyakap ko ang baywang nito at pinagmasdan ang prinsesa ng pamilya na nagkekwento roon sa harapan namin.

"Kuya Iñigo is great po as same as Kuya Dash! Si Kuya Zeij po, Mommy, Dad, mabait din kaso he keeps on teasing me!" Sumbong n'ya at humaba ang nguso.

Iñigo laughed on the pool, umahon si Dash at sumulyap rin sa amin.

"Ako nanaman?!" Zeijan suddenly whinned.

Lena started laughing when he removed his sunglasses and sipped on his juice.

"Tayo nga ang pinakaclose, princess!" He murmured.

"No kaya kasi I'm not special like you!" Zidney hissed.

"So? Ayaw mo 'nun, special ako--"

"Special child kamo, Zeijan." Iñigo teased him.

"What?! Excuse me, Kuya Raf! Ako kaya pinakagwapo sa ating magkakapatid, ako pinakamas gwapo kay Daddy!"

Napaismid ako, nagtinginan sa akin ang dalawang lalaki ko at si Zidney pero bago pa man ako makapagsalita ay tinakpan ni Lena ang bibig ko.

"Jer," She warned me.

"He needs special attention," Ani Lena na narinig pala ng mga anak ko kaya napatawa sila ng malakas.

I pulled the hand of my wife from my mouth and intertwined it in mine, laughing.

"Rinig mo 'yun, Zeij?" I teased him.

"Mammeh!" He groaned. "Inaapi n'yo ako sa pamilyang ito!"

"Ganyan ka namin kamahal," Dash laughed.

"Isa ka pa! Kiss kita d'yan eh!" He teased his brother and Dash groaned at binasa s'ya ng tubig.

Napatawa ako at natutuwa silang pinagmasdan nang maghabulan si Dash at Zeijan sa pool, nagbabasaan ng tubig.

Zidney then slowly walked towards the pool, nakita ko ang paglangoy ng panganay ko palapit sa kanya at inalalayan ito para hindi madulas.

"Careful, princess." He hummed.

"Thank you, Kuya. Kuya, I wanna swim." She said.

"Alright, I will teach you, okay?" He said and she nodded with a smile on her face.

Nang makababa na ang bunso ko sa pool ay nakita kong natigil ang dalawang lalaki ko sa paghahabulan roon.

I saw Dash pulled the board from the side of the pool, inabot iyon kay Zeij at kaagad nitong nilangoy ang direksyon ni Iñigo at Zidney.

"Zidney-tot, hop in. Dito ka muna para maturuan ka namin lumangoy." Ani Zeijan.

"Thank you, Kuya, but stop calling me with a 'tot'!"

They all laughed, kita ko ang paglangoy ng natututo nang si Dash palapit sa kanyang mga kapatid at tumulong sa pag-alalay sa prinsesa ng pamilya.

"Patay ang manliligaw ni Zidney sa tatlong 'yan," Ani Lena habang nakamasid sa mga anak namin.

I chuckled, hugged her more and kissed her cheek.

"H'wag mo akong kalimutan, if a man or anyone hurt our princess or you, our queen, me and your boys will always be there to protect you two." I said softly.

She smiled sincerely, touching my jaw and kissing my lips. Napapikit ako roon at kaagad na hinalikan s'ya pabalik.

"I don't know what I'll do if I lose this family," Lena whispered over my lips.

I stared at her eyes and removed the hair covering her forehead and placed it behind her ear.

"You won't lose me, won't lose our family." I touched her chin. "That, I'll assure you."

"I love you so much, Jer." She whispered. "Mahal na mahal ko kayo ng mga bata."

"And I love you so much too, honey, Lena ko." I said softly. "Thank you for giving me the happiest life and an opportunity to be with you. Thank you for giving me this wonderful family. I promise to protect this family at all cost."

Her eyes started swelling, her delicate fair skin started flushing for the coming tears so I lowered my head to kiss her tears away.

She gasped, I kissed her eyes and cheek down to her soft lips. I claimed what is rightfully mine in instant, I cupped her cheek to kiss her more carefully and intently.

Yumakap s'ya sa akin at ginantihan ako ng halik pero kaagad na naputol ang halikan namin sa boses 'nung special kong anak.

"Come on! Get a room, parents!" Zeijan exclaimed boredly, sipping on his orange juice.

I groaned, Lena then laughed and kissed my cheek.

"It's alright, mamaya tayo sa kwarto." Bulong n'ya.

I eyed Zeijan who was smirking at me. This brute! Nakuha ata ng batang ito lahat ng kalokohan naming mag-asawa.

Karma ko siguro itong si Zeijan.

"Alam mo bang muntik ka nang ipa-abort dati?" I teased my son.

His jaw dropped, napahagalpak ng tawa ang mga anak at asawa ko, Lena tried hugging me to stop my mouth but I wanna tease this man.

"Huh?" He asked.

"Muntik ka nang ipa-abort--"

"Hotdog!" He answered me back and laughed his ass out when I stood from my seat.

"You little--" Kinuha ko ang tsinelas ko at humagalpak ng tawa si Zeijan Ruias bago lumangoy kaya walang pagdadalawang-isip akong tumalon sa pool para habulin s'ya.

"Comeback here, Zeijan!" I groaned and swam.

"Joke lang, Daddeh!" He exclaimed when I reached him.


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