ONE Madali namang magpanggap. It had always been easy with me and Jean Rose before.

Nung bata pa kami. But now is very much different! Kahit na ba iisa kami ng mukh a. Kahit na ba aminado `kong pareho kaming maganda. I never thought that I would wake up one day and be Jean Rose forever! Sabi nga ni Bea Alonzo sa movie na Sa `yo lamang kaya kong lahat `wag lang `to. So mething like that. At lalong hindi ko kayang maghimala! I can t be Mama Mary! Hind i ko kayang maghimala Hindi ba nila alam na hindi ako Immaculate Concepcion? Hind i ako santa. So I think, kahit anong hiling ko kay God ay hindi ako lililiman ng kung anumang espiritu. Mrs. Sunico? I flinch. I look up to see all their eyes on me. I am not Mrs. Sunico! Gusto ko `yong isigaw. Handa na `kong tumakbo. Kung hindi ko pipirmahan `yun marriage cer tificate eh di walang legal na kasal. Ganon lang kasimple. The paper looks like a snake ready to jump on me. Napaatras ako. Bahala na si Julian? I bumped into him. Ang likod ko ay lumapat sa dibdib niya. He was there al l along. He smiled at me. And I ll tell you. It wasn t a smile. It was more of a gri mace. I couldn t meet his eyes. Mabilis akong humarap sa taong nagpapapirma sa `ki n ng marriage certificate. My feet are frozen on the ground. I feel my back pres sed against his hard muscled chest. Lumakad siya which tugged me along him. His strong arms surrounded me all of a sudden. Kinuha niya ang ballpen at inilagay s a mga kamay ko. Napatingala ako. Wrong move. His brown chinito eyes sought mine. Bumaba ang ulo niya at tumapat halos ang bib ig niya sa gilid ng bibig ko. Biglang napahawak ako ng mahigpit sa ballpen at na papirma ng wala sa oras. Pinirma ko ang initials since pareho kami ng initials n a JR Leviste. That s my girl. I thought I am going to faint any minute now. Malamang na sa tingin ng ibang tao ay sweet na sweet kaming magkayakap. Little did they know that this big brute i s threatening me to sign this damned document that will bind us forever. Kiss! Kiss! No! My mind is screaming. My heart is racing. Forever. Marriage. And this is one of those ahm. Sh!t. Sh!t. Smile sweetie. And we ll give them the show they ve all been waiting for. He tilted my chin up. Sa gilid ng mga mata ko ay nakita ko ang pag-iyak ni mommy. Gusto kong sumigaw. Gusto kong sabihin sa kanyang dapat ako ang umiiyak at hindi siya. Isn t she happy? I become the good daughter they want me to be. All my life, I d been t he black sheep. At minsan na nga lang akong nag-attempt sumunod. Pumalpak pa! Jules I think this is not a good ide Don t call me that. Galit na sabi nito. Just because of that? He wrapped his arms around my waist and pulled me tighter. He pinched my waist n ot-so-gently. I yelped. Lumapit ang mukha niya sa `kin. As in, malapit na malapi t. My eyes grew wide. Stop acting the naïve little virgin darling The sarcasm wasn t lost on me. He whispered that almost to my mouth considering he was only an inch or two away from me. Isn t it late for that? Mabagal ata ang pagpafunction ng brain cells ko. At hindi ko nakuha ang ibig niy ang sabihin. Bakit Virgin pa naman ako tal Pumikit agad ako ng makita kong pababa na `yung mukha niya. This isn t my first ti me to be kissed. But this was the first time I would be kissed by someone I am n ot in love with. May napakalaking difference `yun! It seemed like a lifetime.

I opened my eyes. Tapos na ba? `Yun agad ang unang nag-register sa isip ko. But what amazed me was that I was already looking to Julian s back. At nakikipagkamay na ito sa mga guests. Parang biglang namula `yung pisngi ko. He didn t kiss me!

Ano? Tatayo ka na lang ba dyan? Magsasalita sana ako. Lumapit ito at hinila ang braso ko. Naiinis na ko ha. Juli an Sunico is anything but gentleman! Kung totoo man ang sinabi nito na pinikot i to ng kapatid niya pwes bakit nag-ala runaway bride din ito sa mismong araw ng k asal nito? Sa tingin mo ba pinikot talaga kita? Inis kong sabi habang pilit hinihila ang bras o ko sa kamay niya. He looked at me from head to foot. At ang response niya? He dragged me all the m ore. Pano kung nagustuhan mo naman? I know I m pushing my luck. Wala akong idea kung anon g nangyari bago ang kasal na ito. Sino ba? Mommy woke me up two days ago in my N ew York boarding house just to tell me that, Jeannie honey, two days from now you r e going to get married! Wow. Ganon lang. Parang nag-announce lang siya na-late na ko for school. We stopped from walking. Mommy, I think we re going to push through our honeymoon. Kayo na pong bahala sa rec eption. Mrs. Sunico, Julian s mother smiled at me and hugged me. Nakahinga ako ng maluwag ng bitiwan nito ang braso ko. Habang niyakap ako ng mama niya ay kitang kita ko ang warning sa mga mata niya. Hija, please take care of him. Pagpasensyahan mo na kung minsa y may tantrums si Ju lian. Please since you re going to be a mother. Please take care of them both. Hind i mo lang alam how you made me happy. I was overwhelmed with guilt. Walang baby! Gusto ko na ring makiiyak sa mommy ni to. Bago pa man ako makapagsalita ay hinila niya na ulit ako sa braso. Juli an I winc ed. Magiging masaya ka sa kanya. I doubt it. Pano ko magiging masaya sa isang taong ngayon ko lang nakita? On my wedding day. Of course mom, he kissed her on the cheek. Hindi na kasi kami makapaghintay. We hav en t had a proper honeymoon, you know. Ngumiti ito. At hindi ko gusto ang ngiti nit ong iyon. Parang mas lalo akong kinabahan. Julian let s talk. I stopped him on the way. Pero parang wala itong naririnig. If he dislike this marriage as much as I do. Why didn t he object? Dahil ba sa baby ni Jea n? Pero bakit ito umalis? Why didn t my mother tell me about this whole stuff? Pwede ba! Sumakay ka na nga lang. Bigla akong natakot sa biglaan niyang pagsigaw. Napaupo ako sa passenger seat ng wala sa oras. He drove off for about fifteen mi nutes. The silence stretched on between us. Tumalon kaya ako palabas ng kotse? T apos palabasin kong nalaglag ang baby? Pero pano kung mamatay naman ako? HINDI PW EDE. Ipagtapat ko sa kanya! Yes. That was it. Julian I ll tell you something Hindi ko napansin na nasa tapat na pala kami ng isang malaking gate. Must have b een their mansion. He glanced at me boringly. Na para bang wala siyang pakialam kung ano man iyon. About this marriage about the baby Don t tell me that the baby isn t real because I ll surely wring your neck. I might kil l you, you know. I looked him in the eye. He isn t joking! Ganon mo ba kahalaga `yung baby?... Hindi ba dahil mahal mo `ko? Sa pagkagulat ko ay bigla itong tumawa. He moved forward. Ang isang kamay niya a y humawak sa pisngi ko. I bit my lower lip. His nearness was causing my heart to palpitate at a not so normal pace. Dahil kinakabahan lang siguro ako. Dahil dahi l Bumaba iyon hanggang sa palapulsuhan ng leeg ko. His one hand wrapped around my n eck. My eyes grew wide. You ruined my future Jean. And I m going to make you regret the day you trapped me into this. Pinakawalan niya ko. I tried catching my breath. Bumaba ito ng kotse a t ibinaba lahat ng gamit ko, tatlong malaking suitcase at isang bag. `Pag baba k o ay nakatingin lang siya sa `kin. Dalin mo `yung gamit mo.

Ano?! Napatingin ako sa mga gamit ko. Hindi siya ganon kasama para gawin sa `kin `to. Ginagawa na niya. He s dead serious. He s going to make my life a living hell! Julian! He didn t turn around. Pero at least tumigil ito sa paglalakad. Oh Lord. I m sorry. Alam kong madadagdagan na naman `yung kasalanan ko. But this w asn t my entire fault! Gusto mo bang makunan ako?

TWO Hindi na `ko magtataka kung bakit nag-ala Julia Roberts `yung kakambal ko. Anywa y, I remembered specifically that Runaway Bride was her favorite movie. Had she thought for the first time that this Julian was a prince charming? LOL. I couldn t blame her. He is every woman s wicked fantasy. Though I was never particular with tsinitos, sige na nga since uso naman `yun ngayon. He was of a Chinese descent. Mayaman(sa hirap ba naman ng buhay ngayon, that s on top of my list ever) gwapo ( in fairness, my twin s got a taste), muy simpatico antipatiko `kamo. At ngayong na-realize niyang mas masahol pa kay Beast ang ugali nito ay umalis n a lang ito basta? On a serious basis, I knew deep down that she wouldn t do it. Un less may napakabigat siyang dinadala. `Yung baby! I sighed. Patihayang humiga ako sa kama habang ang mga binti ko ay nakasayad pa rin sa sahig. I could live like a princess here with the Beast. Unti-unti na `kon g hinihila ng antok. Then the door slammed open. LOUDLY. I groaned inwardly. I opened one good eye. Hindi ka ba marunong kumatok? Nakakainis. Wala ba itong natutunan sa GMRC? He didn t even look at me. Believe me , bigla akong nagising sa sunod niyang ginawa. Tinanggal niya ang necktie niya t apos ay inisa-isa ang mga butones ng polo niya. Bakit ako kakatok sa sarili kong kwarto? Lumingon ako bigla sa queen sized bed. Sh!t. Sh!t. Double sh!t. Jules surely you don t mean to Oh, I mean to. No! Papatayin na ba siya nito sa unang gabi ng kasal nila? I gnawed the inside o f my right cheek as I looked at him. He was already jerking his pants off! Damn. My brain wasn t functioning well. When he was standing very proud in front of me clad with his jockey, lo and behold! He should have he should have been a ramp mod el instead. He stared pointedly at me. Then reality dawned on me at once. This wasn t any of J ean Rose s pranks anymore. You re serious. I whispered. Lumapit ito sa kama paharap sa `kin. At itinukod ang dalawang kamay sa gilid ng mga hita ko. Our faces were in ches away from each other. Para `kong maso-suffocate na hindi maintindihan. I co uld smell his masculine scent mingled with perfume. Bakit ba hindi nakikisama an g mga senses ko! Are you forgetting wife? That this is our honeymoon night. Napalunok ako. His chinito eyes turned into slits. I m pregnant. Sabay kaming napatin gin sa tiyan ko. Naalala ko ang mommy noon kapag nagsisinungaling kami ni Jean, m agkakatotoo daw ang kung ano mang pinagsisinungalingan namin . Hindi naman siguro. Exactly. I couldn t get you any more pregnant than you are now. Saka stop acting as if you don t want this. Three months ago, halos ipagsiksikan mo sa `kin ang sarili

Umusod u lit siya. I sighed in relief. Hindi ito makulit. we were almost in timately embracing. Nasan na ang kakambal ko? Bakit ako ang n agdudusa sa kasalanang `di ko ginawa? Alam ko namang magaling akong umarte. Sasabihin mong either sipon lang `yan o napuwing ka lang. Yes. nakalimutan ko Pregnant women don t bleed. Ahm a three days. in bed with a stranger whom I had just met a few hours ago. Silence. So what s this grand scheme? Tignan mo `tong lalaking `to. I licked my lower lip. Parang bigla ng nagkaroon ng tenderness sa boses nito. Me ron kasi `ko. I am. blessing in disguise din naman pala. Nara mdaman ko ang paghawak niya sa balikat ko. Why do you hate me so much? Gusto kong matawa sa sarili kong tanong. The situation wa s worst than I had expected. I couldn t help it. Hindi ko sinasadya. nagkakapatong patong na ang mga kasinungalingan ko. And he also moved along with me! Umusod ulit ako. Niyakap kong mahigpit ang unan upang patahimikin an g paghikbi ko. So what game is this? Get into my bed and then play the pakipot later? I promise you. Specifically a very estranged and angry husband and here I was supposed to be pregnant.mo. Juli an I tried to push him off me. Pero lumapat lang ang mga kamay ko sa malapad niy ang dibdib. Sa pagkakaalam ko walang pikot na hindi planado. I shook my head. O baka imagination ko lang `yon. Natatakot na talaga ko. Tumagilid ako patalikod sa kanya ng inakala kong hindi na siya sasagot. How many days? He brushed his hand roughly through his hair. Naaw ardan pa nga ako nung high school na best actress nung gumanap akong Sisa sa Nol i. He stilled against me. Ah. Are you crying? Kung umiiyak ako may paki ka ba? No. Kung kaya t it was very much out of Jean Ros e s league to do something as pikot . I was alone inside a big mansion. Nakahinga ako ng maluwag ng itulak niya `ko palayo. I winced. Gusto kong sabihin iyon sa kanya on my twin s behalf. I felt his hard naked chest against m y back when he tried to peek above my shoulder. Napahiga na lang ako sa kama . Galit itong humiga. But some part of me still wanted to hear the conf irmation. Samantalang hindi ako titig il ng hindi ko nakukuha ang gusto ko. Silent tears turned into muffled sobs. Obvious na tinatanong pa. Kailan ba hindi sinadya ang pikot? Sige nga sabihin niyo sa `kin. Jean Rose isn t a crybaby. Didn t he know what he s doing to my senses ? His thumb brushed the moisture on my cheeks. Dyos ko po. What the hell is the matter with you? Ang laki laki ng kama dyan ka nagsusumiksik . Pinipilit kong pakalmahin ang mga hikbi k o. kung bumubuga lang ng apoy ang mga mata ng tao baka nasunog na `ko ni Juli an. How was tha t for a Shakespearean play? Masyadong tragic ang buhay ko. Then I f elt tears brimming down the side of my face. Pe ro para ko na rin niloko ang sarili ko. Nagbibilang ba si San Pedro ng penalty? A we ek. He frowned at me. Hindi na nga almost eh. Matulog ka na. You are crying. Onti nalang talaga mauubos na pasensya ko. He slid his hands and fisted my hair. Well Julian? Humiga na din ako sa pinakagilid ng malaking kama. I felt so alone and vulnerable. Juli an! ahhhh I moaned and twisted. Kahit ba sabihin mong gwapo ang mangre-rape sa `yo. I m sorry. He didn t give even a nary compassion toward me. He still didn t move from behind me. In this position. Pero lalo lang akong naiyak. It is still spelled the same R-A-P-E. Fine. Mabilis akong umisod palayo sa kanya papunta sa gilid ko. He si ghed. Not in pain. I thought my monthly flow was a curse. Do you hate me? I whispered again. Para iyong 1+ 1=2. But in shock. Yeah. Yeah. I was keeping my fingers crossed. Isang malakas na hikbi ang hindi ko napigilan.

So I wouldn t think about him. Mabilis akong umakyat at hinagilap ang cellphone sa bag ko. I cou ld have misheard him. Hangin. Me. I screamed my frustration within the fo ur walls of the mansion. Pat i ba naman cellphone ko hindi pa nakisama? Naiwan pa. and my twin. Hindi dahil pina hiran niya ang luha mo okay na Jeannie. My eyes grew wide at the implication of his words. Para `kong invisible na hindi niya nakita. Hang in lang ako. An yway. I said airily while I was putting butter on the toast. If I were pregnant you could h ave at least supported me financially. Good morning Jules! I take it you had a good night sleep? Deadma. They wouldn t do it. Where s the telephone? I didn t want to sound stupid. He was reall y hell-bent on making my life miserable. you know. Malamang sa mga araw na `yon mahahanap ko na ang magaling kong kakambal. Humihingal sa galit na sabi ko ng matapos a ng speech ko. No one pacified me. He was staring at me stonily. At take note: he didn t even bother to pull out the chair for me. Just as well. Mabilis akong bumaba at na ghanap ng telephone. I woke up late in the morning. Our noses touched. ANO?! Is he serious? Never mind. I don t care anymore kung mukha man ak ong peso sign. When a car automatically stopped in front of me. If he did. Siya nga pala. The woman hug ged me. Hindi ako makapaniwala sa narinig ko. Nang sa tingin ko ay kumalma na `ko ay lumakad ako sa front porch. The food was forgotten. what s a scandal with the Sunicos right? I saw the muscles on his jaw flexed. I dressed hu rriedly and quickly got out. may hinahanap po ba kayo? I smiled brightly at the maid. Had they really set out to ruin Julian s life? Pano k ung may ibang mahal si Julian kung may handa itong ibang pakasalan sana. Mabilis a kong bumangon at ginawa ang morning routines ko. SANA WAL A. Maaga `kong mababaliw sa bahay na `to. Inis na lumayo ito at tumalikod. Ang laki nga ng kama dikit ka naman ng dikit. Unless you re with me. Didn t Eskimos kiss like that? Matulog ka na. I couldn t believe it. Sa pagkakaalam ko hindi ko talaga sinadya na magka tapat `yung mukha namin. Hindi ako martir. Maglalakad na lang ak o palabas ng subdivision para maghanap ng taxi.. I would think first of myself. Matagal ng binaril si Rizal sa Luneta at wala akong balak sumu nod sa yapak niya. Natulig ako ng biglang bumagsak ang tasa ng kape nito sa platito. Where the hell are the telephones here? Ano `to mansyon na walang telepono? Ma am. `Yun lang. I thought women are the only ones who are fickle-minded. just as well. I was ready to weep. Eh ma am sabi po ni sir `wag daw po kayong pagamitin ng telepono. Sana naisip mo `yan when you and your family blackmailed me into this marriage. Jean! I was so worried about you. Mabilis na humarap ak o sa kanya. Not Jean Rose. Oh-kay. Gusto kong umuwi sa `min sa duration ng honeymoon natin tutal naman hindi mo pa ` ko kailangan. Not to mention that the house was so big you could get lost. Inis na humarap ako sa kanya. Ngumiti ako and said a tha nk you prayer to my maker. I closed my eyes. Sinigawan niya ko! I thought we were okay. Balak?! . Hindi na `ko magtataka kung masira a ng isa kong ngipin. Wala naman p umigil sa `kin ng nagtuloy tuloy na `kong lumabas ng gate. Galit na tumayo ako at hinabol siya. Why are you being so difficult? Nakikiusap na `ko sa `yo! If you didn t want this marriage in the first place then why didn t you object? Computer age na tayo! Hindi na uso ang shotgun wedding ngayon no. I gritted my teeth. Napasabunot ako sa buhok ko. Ako ang asawa pero wala akong alam. Isang babae t lalaki. myself and I. He stood up an d cleaned his mouth with the napkin. You re not going to see your family. I waved my hand at her in dismissal. I didn t care who heard it. Dahil hindi ko na alam kung anong magagawa ko. Sabay bigla `kong naalala ang sitwasyon ko. Itinuloy mo pa rin pala ang balak. `Pag baba ko ay nag-aalmusal na ang prinsipe sa lanai. Uuwi ako sa bahay mamaya may hihingin sana akong pabor. I smiled sweetly at him.

Ahmm . The beast roar. And what amazed me most was he embraced me! I missed you love so much. Sabi nila nagpapakatanga ako sa course ko: Fine Arts. Maybe I m just splitting hairs. PERIOD. I slowly looked sideways an d saw the blatant anger in his eyes. Nakalimutan mo na ba `ko? Hindi kita nakalimutan! Hindi lang talaga kita kilala. Naguluhan ak o bigla. And three years drew us apart. Ang sarap tignan ng may kakambal. Bumaling ako sa lalaki. My eyes grew wide when he cupped my face up. Then I felt the emanating anger from the other side. Then I realized I don t know the man s name! You cannot mean this Jean. Home. Nagpatangay na lang ako ng bigla akong hi nila ng babae. He encircled his arm around my waist i n a possessive manner. Pero hawak hawak pa rin ako ng lalaki. Oh no. Him. may papalit sa `yo kapag absent ka sa clas s. I mean please wake me up. And ne ver to be Jeannette Rose. Para kasing nilagyan lang nila `k o ng nette pero sa totoo lang it was as if they wanted me to be Jean Rose. Fe eling ko para `kong nagka-amnesia. Oo. `yung bunso kong anak she stays in N ew York . THREE We aren t rich. Nagulat ako ng biglang hinawakan ako ng lalaki sa braso. I became the blacksheep three years ago when I accepted the scholarship in New Yo rk University. But every time they asked my parents where school I go to? I think . I gnawed at my lower lip. Okay. Let s go. I could feel my hands shaking. maybe I could get some facts about my twin s whereabouts. Pwede pa natin `yun tamain. Well. A nd then one hand grabbed my other arm from the side. ROAR. Ay. please kung nanaginip man ako `wag mo po muna akong gisingin. Bulong. And boy. Go. Run away with me Napalunok ako. My eyes grew wide. There would surely be bruises later. Ano ba t alaga ang nangyari? Lalo akong naguguluhan. For the first time I was very much speechless! Have I heard it wrong? Run away run away in tagalog tan an! Blessed Virgin Mary. And it ends there. Something Jean Rose would do. I opened my mouth to say his name. And they would stop comparing me to Jean Rose. It was like Oh my God. Masarap namang pakinggan eh. Minsan lang naman akong pag-agawan ng ganito. To. Julian tried to tug my hand. Jean Rose I know I ve made a mistake. Wala sa loob kong nasabi. As in. Naramdaman ko ang pagdiin ng pagkakahawak ni Julian sa braso ko . I closed my eyes in frustration. But don t they already know that we only have one face. Julian deliberately whispered the words to me. Tell. they were proud to say in the least na. Jean Rose Sunico! I stopped dead in my tracks. Jean Rose Sunico! I heard that one again. His eyes were like challenging me to do just that. Sumakay ka na. I saw the emotions in his eyes. Siguro kung sa ibang pagkakataon baka kinilig pa `ko. You love me. Julian I Hinila niya `ko bigla sa tabi niya. fine w hile my sister is good with figures. Not that I was caught red-han ded. Pe ro rinig ko ang dagundong `non sa tenga ko. Someone who could break it off with your own boyfriend in proxy kung hindi mo kaya. My heart went out to my sister and him. ah. Kutis-mayaman kaya ako. pero parang lalong natuyot ang lalamunan ko. . Mrs. Naging Sunico ka lang Jean? He frowned at my reaction.Lumapit ang lalaki. Or maybe becau se I didn t want to be in my sister s shadow any more. but I wish they would be more proud of me.

I never asked for a wonderful love story. bakit naman siya magagalit? In the first place. Bakit? Had someone hurt him? Betrayed him? Minutes passed by. Bigla niya `kong ibi nalandra sa kama. Inis na tinabig ko ang kamay niya. Naiiyak na napatingin ako doon. Bago pa ako makapag-react ay hinawakan na ng mahigpit ni Julian ang mga braso ko . After all. wasn t he handsome in his thr ee-piece suit. The corner of his mouth twisted in a mockin g smile. Kung ang iba ay humihiling na makapangasawa ng mayaman. Please Brad. That was it. Parang mas lalo akong natakot doon. Si Julian `yung tipo ng lalaking hindi mo titilian. Ako hindi. he didn t turn around. Just like that? Julian what you saw earlier was how can I explain something I don t know? Hiniklas niya ang necktie sa sobrang galit. I don t take to infidelity lightly. I didn t ask for any of this. Na par a bang nasasaktan siya. Gigil na hinarap niya `ko. I sighed in relief when they walked away. my dear wife. Lumingon ulit ito. eyes were the windows of the soul. He rolled his e yes in disgust. I s lowly tried to catch my breath to stop from screaming at him. Honesty. Bigla nitong binitawan ang mukha ko. Lumakad na ito palabas. Parang gusto kong lumubog sa pagkakaupo ko sa kama habang malapit na malapit ang mukha niya sa `kin. Kaya t-a-n-g-a nga daw ako sa bi ng mga magulang ko. He tilted his head to the other side in question. Nanlamig ang mga kamay ko. Sh!t. And I was living a lie after all. I ll come back for you Jean! Then the woman dragged him inside the car. he isn t in love with me! So bakit siya magagalit well. Hindi ko ma-imagine ang sarili ko: blessed virgin Jeannette. that must have caused millions. He was dangerously gorgeous. Hindi ko alam kung bakit bakit ganon `yung mga mata niya nung sinabi niya iyon. Julian! Buksan mo `to! I m your dear wife! Julian ano ba! Open t his damned door! Surely he wasn t that kind of a monster? Napadausdos ako sa aubusson carpet at napa sandal sa pinto ng sa tingin ko ay hopeless case na talaga. All my daydreams flew out of the window when he towered over me. That is all I asked of you. W-what if I still love Brad. Kung ang iba sa ed ad ko ay humihiling ng prince charming. I couldn t term him just handsome. Pero may reluctant bang namikot? He did turn around. Leave Brad let s go Sabi dito ng babae. Lumabas ito. Honesty. lalaki siya. Mula sa lamp shade hanggang sa china vase. Julian As usual. Naiisip ko pa lang kung anong gagawin niya sa `kin ay nanlalamig na ang mga kamay ko. Tinignan ko ang mala ki at magarang silid. And I just wished he didn t! Hindi ko alam kung paano pa nagig ing lalong singkit ang mga mata niya sa galit. Then I heard the click on the other side of the door. I only wanted to establish myself on my . Women s ultimate weapon: Tears. He tilted my ch in up and looked me angrily in the eye. damn him! hind i niya `ko totoong asawa at wala siyang karapatang gawin sa `kin `to. My hands turned into tight fists and started banging the door. If you don t want to be sitting in jail. His fists were clenched. In the second place. And men s ego is sometimes bigger than their brains. We went upstairs while he was still holding my arm tightly. si Jean Rose. Julian you re hurting me! Halos kaladkarin niya na `ko papasok ng mansyon. My eyes grew wide. Julian! Galit na pinihit pihit ko iy on. And and we we both know that you don t want this marriage? Bakit hindi mo na ako pakawalan? I mean. And boy. Hindi naman a ko buntis pero nagiging iyakin na `ko. I felt tears threatening to erupt again. no. because he would surely int imidate you. I wa s afraid he would see through the lies written in my eyes. Because I m sure she was a reluctant bride. Suplado naman! May K naman kasi siyang magsuplado.Leave my wife alone Brad. Then I started really crying. Naiinis ako sa sarili ko. Get dressed. Pe ro teka. Hindi kaya dininig ako ni God? Diyos ko ` wag naman. Nasira lang ang drama ko. Ako hindi. NO! Mabilis akong tumakbo papunta sa pinto.

I sucked in my breath. His muscled back was rippling with water as his stroke became faster.own as a famous artist. Julian gets. I tugged her along and sec retly took the boat to explore the lake. Then flashes of yesterday came through my mind. Kinurot ko ang sarili ko. Then the dog came running. Julian please don t leave me I whispered frantically against his neck. I wasn t entirely looking at him. para itong kumunoy na kakainin ako ano mang oras. what Julian wants. Lumaya s lang ba talaga siya? Hindi niya mabilang kung isang oras na ata akong umiiyak. I kn ow I must have shouted Julian s name. Siguro y napagod na pumunta ito sa railing at umakyat. Hindi ko pinangarap maging si Cinderella. may mga pand esal siya sa tyan. I didn t want to be appreciated only after my death. Paatras na ako ng paatras. Manang pakilagay na po dyan `yung juice. I thought it was only termed with women. Jean! Nagmulat ako ng mga mata at umubo. I curled into a fetal position on the huge soft bed. Matangkad ito. Dahil sa `kin kaya nangyari `to. A hand grabbed my waist. `Yung katiwala din. At ah. We were still in the middle of th e pool. Ouc h. G usto kong maging si Juan Luna. Bilog ang buwan. I had no choice. Isang napak alaking akala. I heard splashes of water from outside. As in. alam ko nagblush talaga ako. I c onceded. Please please don t let me die yet. Oo. Pero I s aw out of the corner of my left eye how strands of wet hair hang down the side o f his face. Alam ko. Sana sana pipikit pa lang ako ng mapansin kong may lumalangoy sa foot-shaped swimmin g pool. I screamed when my foot stepped on nothing but water! I was in a deep end of the swimming pool. Nasa teritoryo `ko ng kaaway. Parang naiiyak na naman ako. I didn t know where the German shepherd dog had come from. And b oy. I woke up late. I saw his broad shoulders and arms flexed with his ev ery move. Hindi ko alam pero `pag upo ko ay dumulas ang kumot mula sa dibdib ko. 5 3 na nga sige na. But the sight before me froze me on the ground. Ma am siya nga po pala. Papanhikin daw po kayo ni sir kung hindi kayo bababa. He cupped my ch eek and looked at me for a very long time. Mabilis akong pumasok sa loob ng kwarto. And I was still here. Dun sa hindi ako matetempt. my heart beat triple time. She was crying and did n t want to let me go. And then I would wake up later and find myself in t he boarding house in New York. At sa maniwala man kayo o hindi. I was eight again. . kahit nga ba talentadong pinoy siya. Toward me. I hate you Julian Sunico! I hate you to the deepest part of the earth Sana binabangungot lang ako. Julian was here! I t hrew my arms around his neck and clung to him. Hindi na naka-lock! Ma am pinapatawag daw po kayo ni sir. Padabog na sumunod ako sa katulong. Sumabay na daw po kayong maghapunan sa kanya. He was standing on the edge of the swimming pool clad with only his swimming sinfully black trunks. Ano ba talagang nangyari sa kapatid ko? Why didn t I feel anything? Sabi nila may link ang mga kambal. Sige na Mag-isa siya! I smiled at her. I was gulping down a mouthful o f water. I looked around me. I fell into a deep slumber after exhausting mysel f from crying. Tumingin ako sa kabilang side. nakakahiya mang aminin 6 1 siya at 5 2 ½ lang ako. Jean! Jean! A voice whispered in my ear. Julian is in every way sexy. Nasa harap na ako ng swimming pool. Dun sa my eyes grew wi de. Must have stood almost a foot taller than me. Dapat dapat bumalik na lang ako bigla sa kwarto ko. Promise. Anim He looked up then. I didn t know. T apos biglang bumukas `yung pinto. I tasted the tears mingled with the c hlorine. I didn t remember covering myself I frowne d. Kaya nga ba hindi ko naging idol si Rizal eh. Feeling ko. Nanlaki ang mga mata ko. gabi na. I gritted my teeth in an ger. Si Amorsolo. Nagbabakasyon kami noon sa lake house n g Aunt Lara namin. I screamed my way to the surface. Mabilis kong hinawi ang glass door pa tungong terrace. Mula sa likod nito ay lumabas si Mang Pio. And Jean Rose caught my hand.

Gusto kong sakalin ang kapatid ko n g mga sandaling iyon. Na para bang titig na nagnanasa dududa. I am. As if naman. Jeannie! Bumalik na tayo. I bit my lower lip when he looked at me closely. My eyes grew wi de. Sa p ag-aagawan namin ay nahulog ang sketch pad ko. overrrrr. I was just shocked by your big dog. Jean Rose screamed. Our eyes met. I ngos ko sa kanya. Ayoko. Oh my God. You re supposed to be a swimmer. Pero kasi Jeannie baka Isasagwan ko na sana ang bangka ng tumuntong na din siya. Alam mo `yun naiilang ako sa titi g niya. Jean Rose scowled at me and didn t say a word. Naiiyak na pinilit kong abutin isa isa kahit basa na. You would be more shocked by my big Dog? Gusto ko sanang magbiro. I was amazed with its reflection on the water. Damn. I rolled my eyes heave nward. Jul ian I wrapped my arms around his neck. Hindi ko siya pinansin. Mabilis nitong inagaw ang sagwan. Both of my thighs wrapped around his body on its own accord. As if he were my lifeline. As in over. Rubbish. Well. There were mermaids in the la ke. Yep .Ano bang nangyayari sa`yo? You re a swimmer. Kung ayaw mo bahala ka! Natanggal ko na ang tali ng bangka. Siya ang unang un a kong mumultuhin. `Yan ang madalas na ipanakot sa `kin ni Aunt Lara. Ito ang taong kahit hindi bagong gising masamang biruin. And oh Lor d the tree was getting hard all over. I said airily. FOUR Jeannie! Kasi baka I looked back at her. At hindi ko kasalanan `yun! Siya kaya lunurin ko. Sinimangutan ko siya. I m ten but not entirely stupid. . Sa katulad ni Julian na perfectionist malamang na kasalana n ang `di marunong lumangoy. Anyway sino bang may sabing sumama siya? Jeannie ano ba! Ano? Inis kong sabi habang ginuguhit ang papalubog na sikat ng araw. Tignan mo ginawa mo! Naiiyak na sab i ko habang lumulutang lutang ang mga papel. Wala talaga siyang kunsiderasyon! `Pag namatay talaga ako. Kung meron man well. She became a champion in swimming competitions while I nev er learned. My breasts were flat tened against his hard chest. I froze in his arms. He said that silently. He said silently. Jeannie nasan na tayo? Bakit parang palayo na tayo ng palayo? She bit her lower lip . We were both screaming flailing And it was all my fault. Sa totoo lang Jea n was never the evil twin sister. Pagabi na. Hindi kita pinilit ha. wala pala. I smiled at myself and took my sketch pad with me. Pero bigla niya `kong pinakawalan. Gume wang gewang ang bangka. Para akong unggoy na nakabitin sa puno. Sa isang iglap ay tumagilid ang bang ka at sabay kaming bumagsak. Jean Rose overcame her fear by learning how to swim. And sh e was very good at it. Syempre ako na lang `yung natitirang kapatid no. Seriously she had always been there for me.

Goodness. The hell with the consequences. Inis na sabi nito. I wore a n off-shouldered cream tailored dress. Why not? He said huskily. Nagsasawa na `ko sa pagtatalo namin ni Julian. Ng panahon. Akala niya pinagko-compete ko ang kakambal ko tapos tapos ako kunwari ang nananalo? My God. Bente uno lang po ako God para sa mga ganitong bagay. At ang gentleman ba sta na lang akong ibinagsak sa marble floor sa gilid ng pool. Prom ise. At ni hindi man la ng nahiyang ipahiram man lang sa `kin. feeling ko nagkulay mansanas ako. Susumbatan niya lang ako. Ganyan ka ba talaga? Kung anong gusto mo `yun ang nakukuha mo? Without caring about others feelings? Ano kaya nararamdaman ng kapat id mo? Siya ang gumawa ikaw ang umaako? I should have said Hallelujah. o kaya ay wala lang ang mga katulong doon ay baka nilunod na `ko ni Julian. Naglakad ito kasama ako. wala akong kara patan.Julian was just staring back at me. Ano bang nangyayari sa `kin? I leaned my head in between his shoulder an d neck. So he already knew! Bakit ba ni konting pag-aalala man lang wala ang lalaking ito? Wala ba talaga itong inisip kundi ang sarili? Inis na humarap siya dito. As if hindi siya ang may kagagawan ng pinagk akaganito ko! As if it was a normal catastrophic event in my life! Bakit ba kasi I couldn t put my thighs down. At ang utos ng hari hindi mababali. It was a matter of choosing between the devil and the deep blue sea. Hindi iyon lalagpas ng mid-thigh ko. Hawak pa niya. He was so m ad at me. Siya ang gumawa ikaw ang umaako? You big stupid moron! Tama ito. Si Jean Rose ang gumawa ako ang umaako! He had it all wrong. Naramdaman ko ang paghigpit ng yakap niya sa `kin. His hand caressed my cheek. Just to satisfy my curiosity of what it feels like to be ki ssed No! He is still the father of Jean Rose s baby. Jules I m sorr y. Thank God for the two-inch stilettos. He didn t even comment about my appearance. His head came down down down. Jules I have something to tell you. Then it dawned on me. Bastos talag a. Ang mani pis na suot ko kanina ay halos kita na dahil nga basa na din. Ang tanong: sinong mananamantala at sinong pagsas amantalahan? Not I. I m not supposed to be who I am now. Parang nanlamig ako bigla. So what was the use of telling him how gorgeous he is? I just shut my mouth up. Siya `yung `yung magaling lumangoy. I cried on his shoulder. Tumayo ka at magbihis ka may pupuntahan tayo. experienced dr owning before. Lelecturan ng walang . We uhm. Had he forgiven me? Hindi siya galit? You should have told me sooner. From the start. It was now or never. Hindi ko alam kung dahil sa naudlot na o dahil sa alam niya na `yung sasabihin ko. Kung ginawa mo `yun just to get the fame you wa nted then you don t deserve it. Two days of being married to Julian Sunico was like hell! And it felt like a lifetime sin ce I said I do . Yeah you re right! Siya ang gumawa ako ang umako ng mga Sir telephone po mommy niyo. Nagsasalubong na naman `yung mga kilay nito. Hindi ko nga alam kung dahil sa ano o dahi l sa init. Isa lang. I licked my lower lip nervously. She overcame her fear by well. bata pa `ko. My heart was beating triple time. Ang mahalaga hindi siya nagalit Jea nnie! I tried telling you Ikaw ang Hindi maganda ang panloloko Jean. Diyos ko. Kelan ba matatapos ito? Tumingin ako sa harap ng salamin. Mag-aangilan lang kami. My creamy white shoulders were very much visible. Siguro hindi naman magagalit si Jean Rose kung kahit isa lang. Lalo a kong napayakap sa kanya. I whispered stupidly with lack of anything to say. I couldn t look him in t he eye. My twin she s the swimmer. Siguro kung hindi lang masamang pumatay ng tao. Giniginaw na `ko pero isang towel lang ang nakita ko. Grabe ang mood swings ng lalaking ito. that voice of his it was like he had just woken up from a night of debauchery. I blinked thrice. ako I never did learn. Ginamit ko lang ito once sa exhibi t ng kakilala ko. Galit na hinablot nito ang telephone habang pinupunasan ang sarili. I opened my mouth to shout at him. I winced when I heard him curse.

Hello Julian. When did you know t he meaning of love? Jumping off from bed to bed while you know someone s waiting f or you? Pareho silang tumayo. Invitation? Ang weird. Bakit wala po kayo nung kasal namin ni Jul ian? We would have been happy kung nandon kayo. dad. Galit na tinitigan niya ako. Halos ako at ang papa niya lang ang nag-uusap. your husband here didn t send me an invitation card. Hello sir. Pero bigla niyang tinabig ang kamay ko. She was in her early thirties and very much beautiful. I just want to see my son. We went inside the grand hotel.katapusan about honesty and virtues. Mabilis kong hinila si Julian. Naglalakad ako sa gilid ng kalsada na wala sa sarili. Baka nakakalimutan mo ako pa rin ang nanay ng anak mo. I m glad to finally meet you. Tahimik lang ito. Leave me alone! He shouted. Sorry sir. Mahina pero gigil kon g paalala. for the first time Julian knew how to act the gentleman. okay lang `yun okay lang na niloko ng papa mo ang mama mo past is p ast. Jean Rose Sunico! I didn t stop. Pudpod na stilettos ko. Julian please I grabbed his a rm. Sunico. Na parang demonyo. Say hello to your tita Doris. Bi glang may sumulpot na malaking truck sa harapan naming. masaya na si mommy sa buhay niya. Eh di baka ihulog na `ko ng tuluyan ni Julian palabas. is that bad? He said. Normal naman sa mga produkto ng broken marriages ang ganitong ugali ni Julian. Na-amaze ako. Your flavor of the month? Julian! Excuse my husband. Ni hindi na ko magtataka kung kukulutkulutin ko na ang buhok ko mamaya. it s nice to see you again son. I gritted my teeth in frustration. With his chinky eyes. Tao lang ako. I felt the impact of what almost happened to us. But his pain ran deep. I glared at him. Julian ano ba! Napasigaw ako ng pinaharurot niya ang Porsche niya. I looked at Julian then. And I m happy for her coz she s not waiting an ymore for someone who hasn t seen her worth. Hinila niya ako. She looked somewhat familiar. My heart went overdrive. Gusto kong sumigaw a . I loved your mother. Julian started laughing humorlessly. Nakita kong parang aatak ihin sa puso ang papa nito. Magtatay ba talaga ang mga ito? Umupo kami in silence at saka ko lang napansin ang babaeng kasama ni Mr. No. Ayoko pang mamatay! Parang naiiyak na `ko ng sumadsad ang sasakyan sa gilid ng iliko ni Julian ang s teering wheel. Tears were starting to form in my eyes. I was numb. Ano pa nga ba. I apologize hija. He s Biglang pinisil nito ang kamay ko. Hila dito. Kailan pa kinailanga n ng tatay ng imbitasyon sa kasal ng anak niya? What do you want? Julian said coolly to his father. hila doon. Julian?! I frantic ally searched his face for wounds. I smiled at her politely. Ano bang ginawa ko par a parusahan ni God? Ang tanga tanga ko ano bang akala ko sa sarili ko? Na ako sa darna? I can t save everybody. Nakikpagkarerahan ba ito kay Kamatayan? Napakapit ako sa dashboard. Halos lumangitn git iyon. Their fists were both clenched. Anong sasabi hin ko Julian. Act the very lovin g wife. Julian! Nagulat talaga ako. None. Ayokong magsalita. Nice nice to see you. Na-iim agine ko na `pagtumanda ito. His eyes sent me a warning message. Nanginginig ang mga kamay ko na bumaba ako ng sasakyan. Tears were streaming down the side of my face. Shock was the understatement of the century. My eyes grew wide. straight nose Ouch. How s your mom? Ayun. There was something wrong here. Na para bang mayroon siya! Julian opened the door for me. I smiled. Julian sighed and looked bored. He was tense. Hanggang sa makarating kami sa patutunguhan namin. The man was just an older version of Julian. You loved her? Cut the crap. marami pa pala kaming gagawin. I was shocked. God please! Virgin pa `ko. I t felt so awkward.

Then he d tell me that he di dn t believe in love? Bull. Julian s-sino `yung tumawag? Ano bang pakialam mo Jeannie? I was just curious. Me meron ako. Dahil sa galit. tenderly. Napalunok ako habang papalapit siya ng papalapit.. Yes. His shirt was loosened. But I believe in the sanctity of marriage. Not that I f elt anything well. Not that I care. Ayun. Again. . I sighed again when he didn t even bother to respond. Palap it ito ng palapit. Inihagis ni Julian ang coat sa couch at dumiretso sa mini bar. So he knew all a long! Bigla itong tumawa. Since I want honesty between us . Julian aren t you going to bed yet? A slow sexy smile twitched on the corner of his mouth. Julian I just want to hel Help? That s bullsh!t. maybe it was just guilt eating at me. Then I started wetting his shirt. I know deep down the call had something to do with his sudden withdrawal. She s my girlfriend of two years. Sunico. That T ricia must have been special for him to be like this. I sobbed louder. Wala na ang necktie nito. Kulang na lang sabihin niya sa mukha kong wala kang pakialam . Hello? His face suddenly changed. Or was it my imagination? Tricia? Who s Tricia? FIVE Sabi nila best things in life are free . no he wanted to eat me alive. Kaya nga hindi ako nanin iwala sa sinabi ni Kim Chui na habulin mo happiness mo! Eh di kung ganon lang ka dali iyon. tinalikuran pa `ko. `Yun lang. Mabilis kong sinundan si Ju lian sa study room niya. Tawang demonyo. And thanks t o you it won t happen anymore He looked bored and predatory. My eyes got misty all the more. Hindi ako bulag o bingi. His back w as turned to me. I don t believe in love Mrs. You r e bound to me forever. Tricia. Gusto kong sabihing. sana wala ako dito. Like happiness. At biglang may kamay na humawak sa braso ko upang iharap a ko. Marami talagang mga sinungaling sa mundo. He just shrugged. True. Are you inviting me to bed Jean? Ang boses niya ah parang nang-aakit. I can t Julian. Julian would have been with another. His eyes were squinted in anger. Pero minsan nga kung ano pa `yung li bre siya pang mahirap kunin. Then the phone started ringing. Okay lang sana kung desert eh. Is she special? Julian I jumped in surprise. I sighed exaggeratedly. I should have known. Life s not perfect. He had fox-like eyes. Na para ng gagawin akong panghapunan. kung bakit hindi ako nabingi sa pagbagsak ng decanter at pagkalabog ng pinto.. Why is it so elusive? Maybe because we cannot have everything we wanted. Wala nga ba Jeannie? Hindi naman siguro pinagbabawal ng batas ang pagtatano ng. Naiinis ako sa sarili ko. He should have been a DJ. I shook the cobwebs in my head. bakit ako mag-aalala sa isang taong ni wala man lang pakialam sa `kin? But I do. We are about to get married. Will you please give me peace even just for tonight? Mahina nitong sabi. Sunico! He roared. He wasn t drunk yet! Was he? Don t pull my leg Jean Do you think I m stupid? You lied to me. Ang boses nito. Parang nasasaktan. Silence. Parang pagod na pagod. I wonder. He poured himself a glass of brandy and downed it in one swallow. He started laughing mockingly.t magwala sa gitna ng kalsada. My back hit the wall. shut up! I m not Jean! Sinong g ustong humamon sa `kin? Mrs. Ang bastos talaga. His eyes. Well. wala naman tal aga. In a split second the beast hugged me! Fiercely.

I felt so hurt. Salamat sa pagiging tsis mosa no. He was always in his study room. Wow. And very much no! Ang mahirap kasi sa mga lalaki. Really stared at me like I d grown two heads and a horn. hinihintay kong dumapo sa `kin ang mga kamay niya. you couldn t resist my charm. kapag babae ang nakagawa ng kasalanan para kang nakamatay. Love? Letseng love `yan.So sinisisi niya `ko? Ang kapatid ko. Julian s family. Masyado ba talaga `kong generic? Napagpapalit palit? I had never been lonelier than this. I knocked. Bakit hindi na lang kami magpa-annul? Sila pala ni Jean? Kung ganito lang din na man Oo nga pala. Parang kasabay nun ang pagbagal at pag lakas ng tibok ng puso ko. Julian? Walang tao. Mabilis akong pumunta sa study room. I closed my eyes with a prayer. Gusto kong magpakamatay. Pero mali ako. Minsan nga naiisip ko. I was quite numb . the feeling was mutual. Dahan dahan kong nakitang umaagos ang dugo sa kamay ni Julian. hindi naman sa kinukwestiyon ko si God. hindi man ako ang pinakamatalinong tao sa mundo. I thought you were He said stonily. His knuckles were scraped because of the impact. It had been three weeks since then. My breath got hitched. What s your excuse? Dahil lalaki ka? Dahil mahina ka? And oh. So Mr. You were drunk Julian? So how do you think did I do it? Hindi ka ba nag-participa te nung ginawa natin `yun! Anong ginawa mo? Humiga ka lang and let me do all the dirty work? I wanted to shake some sense into him. Almost Perfect had the right to be Mr. I was just mad on my twin s ister s behalf. bakit nga naman hindi? Eh ako naman itong mamimikot `di ba? It was dark. It was a sin in the Sunico commandment. Three weeks. natempt lang. Dahil ba kay Tricia? Parang bigla a kong na-possess. Hindi ko kailangang maging si Madam Auring para ma-vibrate kong iniiwasan ako ni Julian. Julian? No response. Bakit lalaki lang ba ang mga tao? I slammed the door as I walked out of there. Jean Rose wouldn t do this without a valid reason. I was about to go out when Julian s medals caught my attention. Gigising ako sa umaga. Tricia? Gusto kong isigaw `yun. Soccer. . Parang biglang umakyat lahat ng dugo ko sa ulo. Dahil hindi na niya ipipilit ang marital rights niya. Hindi ako pwedeng magalit. Sa gilid ng ulo ko. Ikaw? What s your excuse? Having the Sunico name? You prostituted yourself to me! And ruined our future! Ginamit mo lang ako Jean! Ginamit mo lang. Arrogant. Champion siya 1st pl ace in a swimming competition? I gasped. pagiging mapagobserba ko ay narinig kong sinabi ng mommy niya na there sho uld be no broken marriages . Hindi ko makuhang dalawin sina Mommy. Sa saktan ba talaga `ko ni Julian? Would he resort to that? Parang gusto kong umiya k. Hindi lang siya ang nasakal. Then he hit the wall. But there s always an exception to the rule. My eyes grew wide. Wala pa siya. Sino bang hindi? Para `kong tuta na basta na lang pinamigay. At alam ko. eh? It was too good to be true. Hindi ako nagagalit. May class A at class B. Kung sa bagay. Twice. I s hould be thankful. Ano pa bang alam nito? O ma s tamang sabihing ano pa ba ang hindi nito alam? He graduated business ad. Then he raised his cle nched fist in the air. It was full of hatred and remorse. Naglalabasan na ang ugat sa leeg nito. No. Julian anong ginawa mo nung pinikot kita? He stared at me. Pero `pag sila lalaki lang sila eh. Siguro dahil nagtatampo pa rin ako. He whispered angrily. Wala na siya. Yep. Parang boarder nga lang ako dito sa mansyon niya. He didn t want to see me. He was bound by the Sunico tradition. Pwes. Akala ko walang taong ganito. Once. Para `kong naparalyze na nakatitig lang sa sa mukha niya. No. in the states. Matutulog ako sa gabi. Rugby. Thrice. I was drunk.

Pero kapag nasasaktan ang isang tao. Gusto kong magtitili. `Didn t know if it was because I knew her. Ang puso ko? And don t ask me why. may magagawa pa ba siya kung nandun na `ko? I was immersed into deep thoughts. I felt cold. kagandahan. Ma yaman. He bought Jean me. I just walked past him and got out. They have it all. Trying to be different from my sister All the while they were making both ends meet. Ang isip ko sinasabing hindi ako dapat magalit sa kanya. Sinalo lahat. Binayaran niya ang bahay namin. Hindi ko din alam! I dressed quickly upstairs and took my handbag. Jean did it because she was always the good daughter. Not beca use our parents forced her to do it. Nasan ang dad dito ni Julian? No.. Napatingin sa `kin si Manong. What the hell are you doing here? I felt weak. At hindi sila ganon kasama. . he won first place in a swimming competition. I rolled my eyes. At least CM would make me happy. They still loved me. the bod. `yung tipong pati hanggang dulo ng kuko kaiinggitan mo. At ang mga n ext pictures ay kasama nitong nagpi-fishing ang lalaki. He was right. with his uncle? Hindi ko kilala ang lalaki. Very much happy. Samantalang may mga pinagkaitan hirap na nga. I just wanted to get away from here. Then I saw an envelope written with a Leviste on it. Jean I prostituted hersel f for a one and a half million. Another surprise God? Paran g napapansin ko na you never ran out of surprises for me? And I didn t like it for one sec. Alam ko. Tumigil lang ako ng maisara ko ang pintuan at sumandal doon. Yummy. I hail ed a cab. He wasn t perfect. Seriously. Of course. Eh. Oh my God. Tumigil ang taxi nung umilaw ang stoplight. Minsan kahit anong pilit mong ngumiti. Para `kong sirang plaka na napaupo. Tricia Leyva? I competed with her once in a painting competition in New York. A notice of foreclosure from the bank. Kissing. h indi ito soap opera. where s the fairness of life in it? And Julian was one of the Class A. I frowned when I saw a woman crossing the street. She turned to the lane toward the side of the taxi. Here. Yeah. I don t want to hate Julian. My eyes grew wide. Then I moved on to the next picture. Napasabunot ako sa buhok ko. Manong stop! Napakamot ito sa ulo. Jean s face! Jean! I half shouted. hirap pang iharap ang mukha. Ho w could I not? I was looking straight into my own face. maganda kilalang kilala ko ang mukha na `yun. Parang gusto kong matunaw sa ngiting `yun. Or the kiss. Bubuksan ko pa lang ang handle ng umandar na si manong. No. So sinong dapat sisihin? Feeling ko napakaselfish ko. Tahimik na pumunta ako sa desk niya tinignan ang picture don. Kanino ka pa ba tutungo `pag may problema? `Di syempre sa bestfriend mo. kasikatan. Pero hindi na kami makatigil kasi may MMDA dun. Cheap. Then I saw a smiling picture of him. Naso-suffocate na `ko. lalo lang sumasak it. I don t want. Para silang buong pamilya. Binayaran ni Julian ang bahay na min. Wala sa loob na sinundan ko siy a ng tingin. lumil ipad sa bintana lahat ng logic . Sabi niya `wag ko na siyang sunduin. Tricia?.. A ten or so Julian. Hmmm Then my eyes grew wide. They have the same smile though. And my. I was in New York trying to make out on my own. Maganda. I started crying. The picture of a loving couple. I opened it. Then another with Julian s mom. May issue man ako sa parents ko. Nakatula la ako sa mismong picture ng dalawa. Stolen shot.Pero bakit kaya may mga taong sinalo ang lahat? Katulad na lang ni Georgina Wils on. He had a broken home. SIX Ni hindi ko siya tinignan. Mga sakim.

In short. Goodness. BRAD? Brad s face was polite. I sighed. SANA. He whispered achingly. bestfriend we could make it a story. From the b eginning `till the bitter end. Masyado kasing napraktis. Pero nakikita ko ang isandaan at isang tanong. Pinanlakihan ko siya ng mata. Bakit hindi? Bale-walang sabi nito. Ano `to soap opera? Salamat sa awa ha. Sa likod ng mga fats niya ay 24/7 tumitibok ang pusong laan para kay Adan. CM! Lakad pa lang niya alam ko na. siya ay paminta. Ang hudas pumalakpak pa. I could melt. Si CM ay isang nagbabalatkayong tao este lalaki. Jeannie. Yeah. Eh. He s he s Jean s ex. Wow. Katabi ko. bakit ba umuulan ng mga lalaki sa buhay ni Jean? Jean why did you do that to me? Anong sasabihin ko? Kelangan ba pag-naguusap ganito pa kalapit? You ve known him for only three to four months. At binaba ako ni Brad sa mansyon. Jean? We both turned at the voice. He had t he biggest mouth ever. Grabe. Nagpalumbaba ako at ikinuwento lahat. Ahm well. He mouthed. I saw t enderness in his eyes. Brad this is CM. an g morbid. Isa pa kakatayin ko na talaga `tong si CM. Ihahatid na kita. What if he found out the truth? That you re not pregnant? He wolfed down the pasta e nthusiastically. Hindi ikaw ang tinatanong! `Di ba Jeanni I sent him a warning glance. Kung ganito lang san a si Julian. Inakbayan niya `ko at pumunta kami sa pinakamalapit na Italian Restaurant. Mas morbid `yun. Hinawakan niy a ang siko ko ng tumayo ako. Ako? You ve know n me for three years! I thought you love me? Parang nagbago ka na. no. I would really melt. I shivered suddenly. What? I said innocently. Anong alam mo? You haven t known him that long. CM smiled up at Brad. Lahat-lahat ata ng sama ng loob ko kay Julian sinabi ko sa kanya. Parang bigla kong nalunok `yung laway ko. Pinisil pisil ko `yung bic eps niya. some advice. Hindi gagawin ni Julian `yun. Tumingin ako kay CM. So what happened? I pouted. Kung alam lang niya. Ayan pati a ko naguluhan na din talaga. Three to four months? I bit my lower lip. at si Zsa Zsa Zaturna. Nakangiti pa. Oh. Parang gusto ko siyang batukan. Ako din uuwi na. Tumalikod. Umupo ito sa tapat ni CM. CM raised o ne brow at me. Alam mo `yun g mga ginagawa ng mga mayayaman na pinapasalvage `yung first wife nila. CM could help? God. Tapos napatingin siya sa `kin . Kay Brad! Ah ah b-bestfriend siya ni ni Jeannie! How odd I refer someone as myself. Too sweet. Yuck. Agaw eksena kami ng niyakap niya `ko. Tapos biglang t umunog `yung cellphone nito at nag-excuse.Hindi na `ko magtataka kung akalain niyang may baliw na sumakay sa kanya. isang buwan lang naman. Baba na lang ako ng hawakan niya `ko sa braso.I mouthed. He s yummy. Kung pwede nga lang maghimala ako at magbuntis. Jeannie? One brow arched. I bet he s going to plot murder against me. I think I have to go. Then pigs would surely fly. CM rolled his eyes. Gross. CM? Sa tatlong taon na nakilala kita You haven t mentioned him. Nag-X sign pa ako n parang si April boy. Then I stared at his cute f ace. Kala mo naman hind i nagkita ng isang taon. Goodness. no. Pini sil niya ang kamay ko. Hindi kita type no. Ang bilis talaga ng radar nito. Hinatid namin si CM sa bahay nito sa Alabang. His face was an inch or two away from me. Nataw a pa nga ako ng sundan server `yung tingin sa min kay CM. I waited for CM s arrival. Hindi ka pa ba uuwi Jean? Nag-aalalang sabi ni Brad. Nagba yad ako at mabilis na bumaba. Kaya pala kaya pala parang hindi man la . Ah oo. Yes. you know . no. At gigil na kumaga t labi pa ito. halaman g dagat. Para kaming sira na nagsasign language. M-my b-bestfriend in New York. Brad frowned.

Lum ayo ako lalo. Please call me Jeannie. CM !!! The line went dead. I called CM. Tinanggal ko ang kamay niya sa braso ko. Tapos? . He walked on. He couldn t and wouldn t tell Jean and me apart. Anong gagawin ko harangin `yung eroplano? Pasabugin `y ung airport? Anong gagawin ko? We re going to fly to Korea! As in. CM I can t meet the whole Sunico clan. Oh my God. May jetlag pa `ko. Ang sitwasyon lang natin ang nagbago Brad. I felt exhausted and slept early. Oh my God. How? Buntis na si Jean kay Julian. I wanted to make a way for my sister an d him. I whispered softly. Galit na ibabagsak ko ulit ang katawan ko sa kama ng buhatin niya ko. It s it s my nickname. CM! We re going to Korea! So? Pati ba naman bestfriend ko nahawahan ng pagiging insensitive ni Julian? Help m e! Jeannie hindi ako si Darna.! Jeannie? Oh my God kung tsismis lang `yan ipagpabukas mo na. are you out of your mind? It s one in the morning! Kung gusto mo ikaw na lan g mag-isa. Again. Binabaan ako ng p hone! I tried and tried again. Julian no! Binuksan niya ang shower at itinapat ako sa ilalim ng napak alamig na tubig. O buntis nga ba? Had sh e just said it to blackmail Julian? I hadn t seen Julian when I got home. Ano `to napagtripan lang basta n i Julian na magtour kami sa Korea?! I bit my lower lip. Hindi naman siguro babagsak `yung eroplano no. Inhale. Tapos lumabas na ito. Sino bang may ayaw ng lalaking ganito magmahal? One in a million siya. Niyakap ko siya ng mahigp it. Nawala lahat ng antok ko. computer at alak niya. Por Santo! Ala-una ng madaling araw. Nicknames are supposed to shorten one s name. Magbihis ka may pupuntahan tayo. Ang ginaw talaga. Relax take a deep breath. In my panic-driven state. He chuckled. No! Mabilis akong bumitiw sa kanya kahit pa ma-hypothermia na `ko. `Yun lang. Nakatulog ako habang byahe kaya nabigla na lang ako ng nasa NAIA na kami. At ipinarinig pa sa `kin ang malakas na paghikab niya. Maliligo tayo ng sabay? Nakataas ang isang kilay nito. Anyone would want Brad for herself. now! Julian frowned at me. I screamed. Wha t did he mean by that? Pinaikli naman talaga ah. My God Ju lian. Then I gasped. Bilisan mo. Julian? He didn t turn around. naramdaman kong parang may pumasok sa kwarto. Por Diyos. mas gusto niyang kasama `yun g mga libro. Hindi ako mapakali lalo. Hindi naman ako manhid. At least. Punta ka sa asawa mo.ng nagtataka si Julian. I thanked God he didn t unplugged the socket. Jean! What! Natutulog `yung tao eh. from Jeannette to Jeannie Oh Jean was always just Jean. Tinakpan ko ng unan ang ulo ko at hinampas kung si no man `yung bastos na `yun. Hello? Carlo Miguel Jr. Dahil hindi niya talaga kilala si Jean! Hindi ako ang nagbago Winner! Pwede na `kong manalo sa FAMAS. exhale. Me included. Jean annul your marriage. He grabbed my shoulders and made me stand up. na-touched ako sa bestfriend ko. I heard the amusement in hi s voice. Jean must be very lucky. Kulang na lang sabih in niyang hang up na. Ganon naman eh. Then som eone was shaking my shoulder. Hindi rin dahil wala pang happy ending. Jean. Be with me. Again. Grabe. Later in t he wee hours of midnight. in that I didn t lie.

The family dinner before the wedding. Pero parang ayaw makisama ng mga muscles ko. Tumaas ang kilay nito. He was there with me. Pero lalo lang niya ng hinigpitan. He looked bored. But then I felt him. Habang n asa loob kami ng eroplano ay gusto ko ng tumalon palabas ng bintana. French kiss na lang. Then he sighed exaggeratedly. Malungkot. Gusto ko ng lumabas ng airport at sumigaw ng kidnapping. argh . Inirapan ko siya at umisod pakabila. Oh my. I didn t want him to be suspicious. Sino si Angko? You ve met him. As if telling me to keep my thoughts to myself. It should warm my heart. Kung alam ko lang na B. Tinignan niya `ko. Oh G od. Matagal na Jeannie. I. Sa sobrang higpit iisipin kong ayaw niya `kong pakawalan. Umupo ako sa tabi ni Julian. Grabe. I know I was acting childish. Para akon g pinasugod ng mga magulang ko sa giyera ng wala man lang dalang armas. Unti-unting tumaas ang ulo ko. Kung narinig niya lang ang sinabi ni CM. Na para bang may space akong mauusugan. Kahit papano gumaan ang pakiramdam ko ng ti nawagan ko si CM. I bit my lower lip. Inis na tinanggal ko ang kamay ko sa pagkakahawak niya. I swallowed. Parang nga. I pouted my lips. I knew he just wanted to make the ordeal light for me. padarag n a tinanggal ko `yung kamay niya sa pagkakahawak ng kamay ko. I already and suddenly missed Philippines! As if What would I do? What should I do? Julian just slept like the dead. Mahigpit. He raised one brow at me. Hmm. Sino si Tantan? My mind was scre aming. He wore that devil-may-care expres sion on him. Julian was sitting handsomely in his Lacoste polo shirt and Levi s jeans. Natatakot na talaga ako. Torrid. In disgust.Yakapin mo at saka mo ikiss. I whispered when I saw his one good eye fli ckered. What if they found out? I couldn t act as Jean ! In Korea! With Julian s estranged family! I was quite surprised when I felt a big hand hovered over my own. Habang hawak niya ng mahigpit ang kamay ko sa l ap ko mismo. Then it fitted the spaces between my fingers. He wasn t looking a t me. Siguro kung wala lang sakit si Angk o His tone changed. CM! I then gaped at Julian. I gave him my most charming smile. Wala naman siyang pakialam ` . SEVEN I didn t know a thing about Korea much less Julian s Korean family. At sa pagkagulat ko. Julian What? He snapped at me! Sabi ko na nga ba masamang biruin ang bagong gising eh. `Sus. no. My hands trembled. And he was also staring at me! Feeling ko nagkulay man sanas ako. I tried to smile. He raised one brow at me. kung alam ko lang natetempt ka na ding gawin. As in. Julian sm iled charmingly at her! The devil really could smile Tapos sa `kin pinagdadamot n iya `yun. ka Hindi ko napigilang hindi matawa. But panic was overwhelming me. Julian I don t think this is a good idea. Gawin ko kaya? Ano kayang magiging reacti on ni Julian? You already met my family when they d come home. remember? You and Tantan hit it off. Damn sexy men. As if he owned the world. Bakit ba umaasa pa `kong magbabago siya? The stewardess smiled at us specifically at Julian. He shrugged then looked at me knowingly. Eh `di `wag.

At lalong `yung Julian na nilockan ako ng pinto. Tapos bumaba `yung kamay niya sa leeg ko. Bumalik na naman bigla `yung takot ko. I could drown in those brown eyes. I just hoped it wasn t seen as a grimace. Magdurugo na ata ang lower lip ko sa sobrang kaga . Palabas na kami ng may naghihintay na sasakyan. Or bet ter yet. Mayamaya sumeryoso siya. Ano nga kayang nakain nito? He gave me a coat. Tapos hinamas niya ulit `yung tyan ko. Julian stared at me. he didn t r eally mean it. Naka tayo pa rin ako dun.di `ba? There s nothing to be jealous of I gasped. In another language. Ginising ko siya ng palapag na kami. Ba t `di na lang kaya niya `ko yakapin? Now I was sounding very much like CM. ayoko pa. Marami naman siyang pambili `di ba? Binalibag ko pasara ang pinto. Na para bang wala ako dun! I gritted my teeth and closed my eyes. It seemed to take an eternity. Para akong t-a-n-g-a na naghihintay ng himalang mapansin ni la. Anything basta healthy. Ganon ba talaga? Normal ba talaga `yun? O ako lang `yung abnormal? I m already excited to see our baby. Then he looked at me straight in the eye. The land was very foreign to me. Binitiwan niya `ko ng kinuha niya `yung mga bag namin. Nakita kong natigilan si Julian. What amazed me next was when he cupped m y face. And I was meeting the other woman. G usto kong sumigaw kay Julian at sabihing hello! I m here! I glared at his back. Tricia was still as sophisticated as I remembered. Napataas `yung kilay ko. Masama bang ma-carried away? I tried to crack a smile. Feeling ko nga. My tummy. ako pala `yung kontrabida. mag-freeze sa ginaw. Don t look at me like that I might fall! When we get back. Oh no. Sana lang pareho silang magka-sore eyes. Then down to my Oh my I whispered. Then they were speaking softly. I giggled. We both stopped when we saw a woman standing in the middle of the parking lot waiting for us. Mayamaya lang tulog na ulit si Julian. Excuse me? Mali ba `ko ng rinig? You re my wife. Ayoko sana. the hell I care. Then Julian replied quietly. Na para bang hindi siya `yung Julian na lagi akong sinisigawan. we ll see an OB. Na para bang iniisip niya talagang maig i. Dapat matuwa ako sa sinabi niya. I sucked in the air unconsc iously. They both stared at each other. my nose. We ll see an Napalunok ako. I felt warmth in the simple gesture. Kahit magtitigan sila buong maghapon. Tin uro niya sa`kin ang kotse at kinuha `yung nag-iisang clutch bag na dala ko. gusto ko ng maniwala. para akong na sa drama. Bakit niya hinahawakan tummy ko? I tensed. Like hell. Tenderly. hindi ko alam kung ako lang ang nakakaramdam non pero parang m ay kuryente. He was too gentle. Tapos tapos Oh God. Ganon ba talaga ang epekto ni Tricia kay Jul ian? Had he loved her that much to forget about me? Well. Ano nga kaya ang magiging itsura ng baby namin n i Julian? Kamuka din kaya ni Julian? His eyes. He didn t speak English. his one left dimple. At tinitignan ang reaksyon ko. I DON T CARE. Hindi rin naman madali na maging Vice President ng isang malaking kumpanya at the age of 27. But I saw amusement written all over his face. Seriously. Sa `yo lang ako Biglang napatingin ako sa kanya. Malamig. Inis na nilagpasan ko sila. my lips. Para `kong naparalyze. `Pagkatapos niya `kong sabihang Sa`yo lang ako Lumapit sa `kin `yung sa tantiya `ko ay steward nila. He said softly. Deadma. Wala akong pakialam kung masira man ang handle non. Galit na inunahan ko na ng bukas ng pinto bago ang steward. He must have been very tired because of w ork. `Yung Julian na walang pakia lam sa `kin. Hindi niya `ko pin agbitbit ng gamit ko! Ang bait ah. What do you want? Girl boy? Hmm His chinito eyes squinted all the more. Buti wala akong b ilbil. I for got all about the make-believe baby! Parang gusto kong lumubos sa kinauupuan ko habang himas himas niya ang tiyan kong wala naman talagang laman kundi puro inte stines. Ako din Wala sa loob na bulong ko. Sana laging ganito si Julian Well. We went out of the intern ational airport hand in hand.

Mabilis kong iniiwas ang mga mata ko. Julian got out and took our luggag e. Julian raised one brow at us. That wasn t what I intended. Kung alam ko lang. Naalimpungatan ako. `Yun lang. I didn t know why I felt hurt. No. I hated Julian. Julian was already embracing her! And she was crying. Tricia gaspe d. si Tricia. Baka pa gbuhulin ko pa sila ni Julian. Jean! I laughed nervous ly. Ganito ako kapag natetense o naiinip. So are you telling me that I m a scheming b!tch? Hell. I m a slut in the making. Napatingi n sa `kin si Tricia at Julian. Kung hindi ko pa alam na tinted ang sasakyan. Pareho kaming nagkatinginan. My eyes grew wi de. Yes. Tapos inalalayan niya si Tricia. I didn t care if I sounded like one. As if he could see through my lies . Julian sat in front. you were talking about Jean! Yes. We re not friends but we have been Hindi ko alam kung saan uminit ang ulo ko: sa endearment ni Tricia o dahil hindi ko lang talaga siya feel. I forgot. I didn t know She whispered wonderingly. Mas malaking mansyon. Pagod ako. Para akong sinasakal. Pero twinge lang. Chubby cherubin. I hated this feeling. Tricia had always been soft-spoken. Nag-duet kami ni Tricia. Imo Jean h-hold me! Para akong mahihimatay. I I Jeannie I met her in New York. Hindi ko napigilan ang sarili ko. Sh!t. Maputi ito. Had the circumstanc es been different we could have been friends. Pagod ka Jeannie. You didn t tell me about Jea nie. others were Filipinos. sa mood ko ngayon hindi ko feel maging chummy-chummy sa kanya. He frowned. honey she was Jeannie. Ang matatabang mga braso nito ay tumaas . Kami naman ni Tricia sa backseat. May kayakap ng iba! Gigil na kinuha ko sa bag ang cellphone na pinakuha ko sa isa sa mga maids ni Ju lian mula sa bahay naming nung isang araw. Lalo na ng titigan akong maigi ni Julian. Itulog mo na lang `yan. My eyes grew wide. At ako ayoko sa bata! Ngumiti ako dito at pasimpleng pinanlakihan ito ng mata. he was wishing me to the moon. If I were a scheming b!tch then he s the biggest hypocr ite ever. What did you say? Tricia turned at me. I dialed his number. Bakit ganito? Ayoko ng makita si Julian.t. at hayun ang magaling na lalaki. Nagpapabuhat! Oh. Madapa ka sana. Nakita kong nagkakatingin an sila sa rearview mirror sa harapan. Na para bang nakikita niya `ko. Jean Rose was fond of kids. Tumalikod lang ako saglit. Na parang torture. Julian chuckled. At pasimpleng umirap. When the car door opened. Tricia got in. . Then I saw the others looking at us from inside t he big yard. my God. So? Hindi ko pinansin a ng kamay niyang nakalahad. Julian glared at me. Wake up we re here. I couldn t be mistaken. Jeannie? As if naman nagulat ka! I smiled at her mockingly. Ah no. In the deepest part of me I felt alone. Could have been. Tinitigan kong m aigi ng kumalas siya mula kay Tricia. Ha? Had I said my thoughts aloud? Umiwas ako ng tingin kay Julian. You knew each other? I groaned inwardly. Some look Kore an. Narinig niya `ko. I felt a twinge of guilt. Tumingin ako sa kanila. Imo Jean! Nabigla ako ng may batang lalaking biglang tumakbo at yumakap sa `kin. Lumapit si Julian. Then he looked at me through the tinted wi ndow sill. Yes. Pero layuan niya muna ako. Three to four years old. Biglang bumilog ang naniningkit na mga mata ng bata. Gusto ko ng umuwi. Victorian style in Korea? Hmm. Ipinikit ko ang mga mata ko.

You re not Imo Jean! You re not Imo Jean! He started wailing. Tahimik lang ako. I just smiled. si Uncle Jin. I didn t make it on your wedding day. Tama . clearly. NO! He was holding Tricia s hand. The patriarch of the Sunico family. Hija! Kamusta ka na? Too sad. Then Tantan kissed my nose. NOT MINE! I fainted. My throat was dry. Emotional stress. Pinilit kong tumayo mula sa malaking kama. I smiled at the old man. He stared at me. God Sssshhh Tantan don t cry. . kay a ikaw Julian take care of Jean. Me. no. Me. Then I started hiccupping. You missed aunt Jean. and the res t I couldn t very well remember their names. Kumiss ito kay Julian. Some smiled at me. Celine smiled at me. darling? You got me worried We ll go to the nearest hospital. Our baby he might be He frantically cupped my stomach tenderly. Kahit isa sa ka nila hindi ko alam ang pangalan. Nananaginip ba `ko? Sa panaginip ko Julian was worried sick about me. So Juli an s words were asking him to kiss him? Was that it? Oh. My gaze was fixed on the grand staircase. Imo Jean s-sorryy My eyes watered. No make-believe baby. Kung hindi ko pa ala m in my peripheral vision I saw her. Hindi ba ako titigilan ng batang ito? Kinarga ito ng matandang l alaki. There stood Julian s grandfather . Hindi ko na kaya. But I m not that stupid. Are you sure. Aunt Risan. Tricia ey ed me curiously. Imo Jean! I almost groaned aloud. Then he stopped crying. Tantan. No nothing. I opened my eyes slowly. Sa sobrang inis ko binitawan ko siya. I froze in place. Hindi sila matapobre like what I d expected. What the hell is happening here?! Unti-unti akong tumingin sa hagdanan. H indi naman ako pinanganak na sinungaling kaya nagi-guilty din naman ako sa pamil ya ni Julian. Napansin ko ang closeness ni Julian kay Uncle Jin. Si Celine. They were almost all half-filipinos half-koreans. Then I saw Julian and Tricia talking quietly fr om a corner. Uncle I w hispered tentatively. He was the old man in the pictures! With Julian. like the way Julian stared at me when he was suspicious. My eyes searched for Julian. What have I gotten my self into? Tapos bumalik ulit ito at hinawakan ang kamay ko. Nagkalat ang chocolates sa mga kamay ko. EIGHT Jeannie! Jeannie! Damn Jeannie darling please wake up. At nalaman kong kaya lang sila nan dito ay dahil sa Angko ni Julian Julian s grandfather was sick. Nakatingin ako sa batang naglalagkit ng chocolates. Gusto kong maniwala Julian gusto ko. I m okay. Oh. Me. He looked real worried. Hindi okay. And sadly the divorce of Julian s parents caused the Sunico patriarch to dis own his eldest son. Alam mo cous. n o. Parang ito ang pumalit sa pwestong iniwan ng papa niya. Un cle Jin was his father s cousin.Hello Tantan dangsin-i samchon jullian-i cheos kiseu wonhaneun geos-il sudo? You might want to kiss Uncle Julian first Nakahinga ako ng maluwag ng umalis ito sa pagkakayakap sa mga hita ko. Tantan I gritted my teeth while s miling. Wala na `kong nagawa. you re okay? Tanong ni Uncle Jin. Ngumiti ito at inabutan ako ng wineglass. Lahat sila naka palibot sa `kin. eh? Pagpasensyahan mo ang apo ko Jean. Emotional stress. Imo Jean Yumakap ulit ito. ganyan din ako ng pinagbubuntis ko si Tantan. No Tricia. At apo nito si Tantan. Nakita ko ang mukha ni Julian. Para akong hihimatayin. So he s Tantan? I groaned inwardly. I wanted to g o home. Na parang hinipan lang ng hangin. Drake. Tantan smiled up at me. `Pagpasok namin ay niyakap ako isa-isa ng mga kamag-anak ni Julian. Oh m y. Natawa ang mga pinsan ni Ju lian at tinapik ito. Anak siya ni Uncle Jin. He grasped my hand. Then someone hugged me. Hindi ko ineexpect ito. Nasan ako? Julian cupped my cheek softly. The man who had bear-hugged me earlier. Imo Jean let s play. I heard that one. Reall y stared at me. Are you sure. Ayoko na. O kay lang po. He looked at me then started hiccupping.

Tinanggal ko iyon ng humarap ako sa kanya. Gi namit kita. And g oodness. Realization hit me all at once. Insensitive cad! What s wrong? Ha! Yes! Everything s wrong you. Hindi niya `ko maririnig na magmakaawa. Napalunok ako. right? And you re a hypocrit e. Now. Inihiga niya ` ko sa kama. Ewan ko. Ginamit kita para makuha ko ang gusto ko. Umiiyak ang huli. Because I m good at giving back to charities and you re one of them. I screeched and clawed his face. Pero lalo niya lang hinigpitan. Sabi nito sa mataas na tinig. His whole body was covering mine. Taas noong tumingin ako sa kanya. The rise and fall of my chest rubbed against his. In the first place. And let s face reality may mahal kang ib a. I know an insult when I heard one. di sana hindi tayo parehong nakatali sa kasal na ikaw mismo ang may gawa. Jeannie Will you please go away from me? I murmured angrily as Julian touched my shoulder. Parang bigla akong natakot sa itsura ni Julian. You love Brad. Nobody assiste d the old man. His fists clenched. O nag-aalala ba talaga? Tinalik uran ko siya. Tatakbo ako mula sa gilid ng hapitin niya ang bewang ko. darling? He said in sarcasm. My eyes grew wide I thought it might p opped out. Niyakap niya `ko. Charity? `Yun ba talaga tingin sa `min ng kapatid ko? I hate you Julian! I love Brad I so love Brad that I wished he were you right this minute! Pasigaw na sabi ko. Galit na tinitigan niya `ko. Arrogance. His rheumy eyes were still clear. What s wrong? I bit my lower lip from shouting at him. Please Julian Tama ka. My heart was thundering. Jean nie Nakita ko si Tricia. Nagti tigan kami. Right. He became withdrawn. Is there something wrong. May tungkod ito. Nagpapakatanga ba talaga ako? He was taking his clothes off one by one. Bulong ko. Sana nanlimos ka na lang sa `kin. Magkaya kap. Na parehong meron kay Julian. At may mahal din akong iba. Gigil na itinaas nito ang baba ko. Do I need consent in raping my wife. Kulang na lang maging ab o ako sa apoy na nilalabas non. he was clad with his Levi s Ganon kabilis. tukso layuan mo ako! Julian no My eyes grew wide. Pilit kong iniaatras ang katawan ko papuntang headboard. Parang naiiyak na `ko. mapapatawad ko na sana `tong batang `to. Diyos ko. I looked over my shoulders Lamp shade? Brush? No! I can t hurt him.At sana hindi dumating `yung panahong I d start really hating you. Niyakap ako ni Tant an sa leeg. Pero dinaganan niya `ko . Eh. wala siyang kara patan magalit. . Sadly. para makuha ko ang titulo ng bahay namin. me and Tricia! I clenched my teeth. Bakit ako masasaktan? Siguro kasi natatapakan pride ko bilang babae. But there was definitely something about his grandfather t hat made me fear him. Ako. No that would stomp my damned pride. At least not physically. Sa likod ng isip ko nakikita ko sila ni Tricia. I m already doing this. Narinig ko ang pagsara ng pinto. as if mocking me. Authority. sonja? Napatingin ako sa mukha ng Angko ni Julian. Nakita kong unti-unt ing nag-iiba `yung expression niya. His face was so close I c ould smell his breathing. He di dn t look as if he was sick. The corner of his lips twitched lazily. Jeannie. You ruined both our lives. parang nag-aalala siya. Julian s face darkened. Ang mga mata nito. Pagsalba man lang ng pride. Julian seemed like the very devil himself. Very much like Julian. pati ako naguguluhan. Let s get her to rest. I saw red. Natakot ako bigla. Are you going to rape me? I whispered angrily. I pushed him hard on the chest. I sighed. Ju lian was dead serious. Hindi ako makahinga sa bigat niya. And it hit right through the core. I was amazed at what he had done next pabalyang itinulak ako ni Julian sa kama. But oh my. Well. Julian don t do this. He pulled off his coat. No! O. I gasped. M y hands were trembling violently. Hindi naman ako nasaktan dahil malambot ang malaking kama. He didn t quite budge. Wala n a `kong pakialam kung magalit siya sa `kin. Overwhe lming anger and desolation. He s got grit and pride. ang pangalan ng pamilya mo . They were both alike. it felt wrong and delicious. My God. Na para bang ako ang may kasalanan ng lahat. I was sudd enly afraid. Ano `to stare-a-thon? The muscle on his jaw flexed furiously. He wouldn t hurt me.

I was half-naked. It was like I couldn t do anything anymore. Then he kissed me th ere. She was just a family fr iend. Nagsabog ang buhok ko sa k ama at sa mukha ko. We were in a war. Surely. Hungrily. Then his lips landed on the side of my neck. I saw the bitterness written all over his face. And I couldn t help falling for him. we weren t in pu rgatory. You re mine. Itinulak ko siya ng malakas. Wala na siyang ginawa kundi sa ktan ako. Umiiyak na ang mga pinsan nitong babae. But I did. Angko Julian and him spoke quietly in Korean language. yet I couldn t name . I shouldn t be feeling this way. War of heat. Uncle Jin s mouth was slacked. I opened my mouth to protest. Then he went out of the door. Ang mukha ng lolo ni Julian. Galit na sinabi nito. Ro ughly. I love Brad I love Brad I shouted at him. My God. Touching my stomach. Sanjo come here. He was already kissing me. Hindi niya kailangang magsalita para mari nig ko `yun. But the devil was kissing me. He roughly tore my blouse off me. Julian Sunico and his wife. I tried hard to close my mouth from his i nvasion. Then he kissed me. . Parang gusto kong yakapin si Julian. Then his hands were there touching me. then tears one by one pooled down my eyes. Ganoon ba `ko kababaw? Sinisigawan niya `ko lagi. Nanghihina na `ko. I closed my eyes ti ghtly. He s dying! We went to the hospital as soon as we got our clothes on. Pilit kong iniiwas ang mukha ko. Tapos hinawakan niya `yung kamay ko. SAVAGELY. And I tasted blood there. JUST. Without clothes on now. No one owns me He claimed my mouth not too gently. The buttons popped. Pilit akong nagpupumiglas mula sa hawak niya . parang biglang nag-init ang buong paligid. And I felt a little sympathy for this old man even though I had met him a few hours ago. I started crying. Nakita ko si Tricia na nakatingin sa `min habang nasa labas ng ICU. `Yung parang tinatawag na ni Sa n Pedro. Julian? Julian? We both turned at the frantic sound at the door. Open up for me Jeannie His voice was hoarse. In bed with a man who thought I was someone else. Th e soon-to-be patriarch of Sunicos. Ho? Julian pushed me. Julian! Angko s rushed to the hospital. No. His eyes were blazing Then he fisted my hair up that tilted my face in the air. War of emotions. His hand clutched the side of my neck. Something I felt strongly. Not l ike this Julian! Then his lips trekked down my neck. He wanted to see Mr. And now I love hi m. Carnally.Tumaas lang ang kilay niya. Then he looked down at me at my bare shoulders and flimsy black underthings. He was tense. Gusto k ong sabihing family matter `to. No Yes no then he was claiming what he shouldn t. You love Brad? Let s see. wala kang karapatan dito . Para akong masosuffocate sa loob ng hospital suite. I hate him. But it only ignite d something more more that I wanted. Na para bang magkakaroon ng Wo rld War III. Napatingin kami sa doctor. And I bet he hated the responsibility. Marahan niyang hinimas ang tyan ko. He was trying to hide the p ain. openly. He was now the heir. We were still in Korea. Tahimik lang si Julian . Sa pagkabigla ko Oh my God! I cried out.

Syempre. He s dead. Pinagtitinginan na kami ng mga tao sa paligid. I heard you are good at painting. What is over Jin? You tell me! You know it would never be over unless Galit na siga w nito at tumingin kay Julian. `wag naman sana. Aunt Risan looked worried. Alam ko kung pano magalit ang leon. why didn t you tell me? He gritted his teeth. Please make my sanjo happy h-he h-he had the full responsibility now. Julian moved forward. hindi naman ako ganon kasama. Too fast. I-comfort. Uncle Jin tried to pacify h im. The Old patriarch of Sunicos were now gone. At isa pa. You didn t even call me Risan? Me? Your own brother when dad died? I have every rig ht! Galit na nagwawala na ngayon ang daddy ni Julian. Before we knew it. What the hell Ang hirap pumagitna sa mga nag-uumpugang bato. went back to the Philippines. I m sorry. Promise me His voice was ho arse. Para kaming . Then his hand went limp. I was kinda shocked. nasasaktan din ako. I shook my head. After the third day. I wanted to tell him. Hmm He took my hand. I couldn t help being left out. At least. Ayokong ako pa ang maging dahilan ng pagkamatay ni Angko. With Tricia. we. Julian s father was red about the face. no. Nakita ko ang biglang p agmutla ni Uncle Jin. naniniwala akong bumabalik ang mga kaluluwa kung may unfinished business. Julian never needed me. My eyes grew wide.Angko He smiled sadly. Promise. We were out of the embassy when we saw Julian s father. Natatakot ako. Parang gusto kong maawa dito. Kay Tric ia lang. I nodded. Umiyak na `ko. I m old but I m not stupid. With me. Pero ako si ako si Jean. It s over. Jeannie could paint. meaning almost all of the Sunicos. I know I know He chuckled hoarsely. NINE Julian was withdrawn the whole burial service. Cremated. Gusto kong sabihing ako? Ako pa ang mananakit kay Julian? Apo niya nga talaga it o. What if what if Julian turned to his father in anger? O h. Promise. Eh. Hindi man ako inborn na mabait. you ll never hurt him. Gusto ko siyang lapitan. whatever happens take care of Julian. Tahimik lang siya these past few days. Julian! Celine said authoritatively. Yakapin. He needs you. Natatakot akong bak a hindi ko matupad ang promise ko kay Angko. pano kung balikan ako ni Ang ko? Diyos ko. Promise me. Ho? Para na akong parrot na paulit ulit. Jin. I wished you could paint the whole family. But he gave me that look that said back off . Promise me. It was too swift. Will you get out of here? You re not a Sunico! Julian hissed silently. His wrinkled chinky eyes seemed tired.

This is all your fault! You ruined mom s life! My life! And gave me the responsibil ity I never wanted in the first place. Like I was an altogether different person. Excuse me lang Carlo Miguel Jr. We ll have a press conference later. and men will always be boys at heart. Sa tingin mo. Julian closed his eyes. What do you think will Julian feel? Another blow? Dammit. I know. CM. Ilang beses ko na bang sinabi: Wala a kong balak sundan ang yapak ni Rizal. Eve rything.nasa slow motion scene habang nakita namin kung pano tumaas ang kamao ni Julian sa mukha ni Mr. Where s your sense of honor dad? Sana hindi na lang kita naging tatay! Julian was making guttural sounds. I took a step back in horror. artista ka na. She was crying now. Why? Kasi feeling ko malaya na `ko m ula sa manipulasyon ng parents ko. At ang hitad tumawa pa. Independent. CM I would tell him the truth. this is the right time to do that? I I don t know. you know. At lalong hindi ako magtataka kung ba kit siya pinikot ng kapatid mo. Mapagpanggap ka. Then I sighed. Para akong naestatwa. Pwede ng makulong. Hi Oh. And I never wanted to run for an ulirang anak awardee. Julian was remote. Where the hell had they come from? Tricia hugged him from behind. Iyak ng iyak si Tantan ng magising. Aunt Risan phoned someone. I felt exhilarated. Pero ang m agulang ay magulang. sa pagkakatanda ko never kang pinagnasaan ni Tricia back in New York. My phone vibrated. Dumating ang mga bodyguards ni Uncle Jin. May kumatok. But you know what? I still wanted to reach out to Julian. I d tell him later about everything.. What! Think it over Jeannie. I bit my lower lip. I saw Tricia squeezed his hand. Wala ng dialogue na bata ka pa . Wala ng curfew. Because he needed it t hough he wasn t asking it. Magpabuntis ka kaya kay papa Brad? I cut the line off. She looked pretty and sophiscated in her pink dress. I chose black. Painful. wala. I gave up. Ano naman nandyan naman si Tricia! He would feel betrayed. Hindi ko siya ma-t ake. Talo ako. Hindi ka si wonde rwoman. Pero anong ginagawa ko? Gusto kong protektahan si Julian. Hindi. Nagpapawis. Nasa kabilang sasakyan si Uncle Jin kasama sina Celine at Tantan. Susuko na ba talaga ako? My hands were cold. Hello? Wow.. I gritted my teeth. Julian please stop it. Pero paano ang panga ko mo kay Angko Jeannie? Hindi ko na kaya. When I turned eighteen. Tricia was with him. Tamang tama para sa okasyon. I gave up Juli an.. I saw the headlines. Ako? I felt alien. Don t cause any more scandal than we have now Even Celine was c rying. They have reasons. women have a nurturing nature. mag-boyfriend at uminom. Sunico. Wala talagang mabuting idulot si CM. At hin . LEGAL. I was mourning my heart out. At lalong hindi ko na kailangang magsinungaling na may project par a lang payagang gumala. Wrath and envy. God. Anong panama ko kay Tricia? She knew a lot. gwapo pala ni Julian Sunico I w ouldn t wonder why Tricia chose him over me. I know I m committing two of the seven deadly sins. There was more to this than I couldn t put a finger on. Muy. Sabi nila. totoo naman palang sinabi nila. Ako?. Mas matalino sa `yo kapatid mo. Tonight. Ayoko na. hindi ako nagi ng mabuting anak. Tricia smiled at me. However unreasonable it may be . I rolled my eyes. Inayos ko ang gown ko sa harap ng salamin. In fairness ha. CM I ll talk to you later. I remembered telling Jean this: Jean `wag mong i-save ang mundo. The n there were papparazzis. She understood him about his family.

Ano ba Jeannie! Magtino ka nga Para kang naka-drugs. You . The ot her hand on his pocket. But beca use you took Julian from me. He was a bit taken aback. My eyes grew wide. Two steps. I love you. I couldn t risk being seen with him. my eyes squinted. Just a peck. L ike hell. I closed my eyes and kissed hi m. Then I remembered what happened. Brad. Not personally. I m not a hypocrite Jeannie. Patatawarin kita sa ginawa mo. It was deserted. Tricia ayokong makipagplastikan. Jeannie He groaned. Pilit kong inaalis ang mga kamay ni Brad sa bewang ko. you know me. Three days ago. Parang gustong lumabas ng puso ko. parang hindi naman. Bakit hindi ka dumating? Ano?! Ano bang pinagsasabi nito? Was he into drugs also? Dahil sa kagandahan ko? Ang lupit talaga ng kamandag ko. Breathe out. Maganda naman ako. Ayan. Ikaw Jea nnie mag-prepare ka na. Lumabas na ako at pumunta sa conference room. I know it s you Jeannie. He clutched at me frantically. Three. Tuta l huling gabi ko na ito. I tiptoed and wrapped m y arms around his neck. I d tell him tonight. Parang naririnig ko pa `yun. his tux on one hand. Kasabay ng paglabas nito ng pinto. And I promise you My jaw dropped. It s alright. Tapos nanlaki `yun g mga mata ko. Kaya nga nagtataka ako kung bakit magaling din akon g magsinungaling.Ito ba ang k aya mong i-give up? Akala ko ba si Eba ang dahilan kung bakit nagkasala ang buon g daigdig. I sucked in my breath. I shrugged. Kumain na tayo. You re blushing. Thirty minut es later. I rea lized one thing: Hindi ko kayang i-give up si Julian! Dinner time. he was inviting me to taste the forbidden app le. If you don t. Thirty minutes. I wanted t o spit fire at her. Lumapit ito. Tricia cupped Julian s cheek! Kitang kita ko `yun mula sa salamin. Tsk. Julian let go of my hand. I m with Julian last night and I was wrong Jean! Once run away with me. Sa ginawa niyong magkapatid. me and our baby. Tricia was challenging me. Had Jean c . Julian? I smiled and turned around to see Brad?! You called me last night. Jok e lang ni Brad. A fresh start. One step. Gutom na `ko. I ll take Julian away from you. Parang namanhid `yung buong katawan ko. Jeannie I I shrugged and went forward. Hindi rin naman kita gusto. Uncle Jin said from out of nowhere. I blushed. Tumalikod na siya. had I? Jean always t old me how transparent I am.ihiling kong sana y hindi ko na makita ever si Tricia. Parang sirang plaka. His han ds automatically wrapped around my waist. Wala akong dapat ikahiya. Lumiko ako sa kabilang room. Oh. Pero tao lang po ako. Then I tried to smile at him. Nothing more. A slow grin played about the corner of his lips. This was one big hell of a joke. That s a mistake. And in that moment. Bakit hindi ko pa sabihin lahat? She smiled at me. Nagulat ako ng biglang may yumakap sa`kin from behind. Please take care of Julian. Lumingon ako. And his voice like hell. I swallowed. I don t feel good around you. I d rather eat you for dinner. Touching my closed lips light against his. Julian! For Christ s sake! The reporters are already here. You don t have to wor Julian was leaning gorgeously against the doorframe. Alam ba ng lahat? You knew? She nodded. Parang nanlamig ang buong pagkatao ko. I ll take Julian away from you. I wan t this marriage to work. I saw him tensed. I want to have a big family. I I ve always been alone. Dahil sa pagkaparalyze ko hindi ako makapag-react. I was out looking for Julian. no! I hadn t said my thoughts aloud again. If you don t. Later His eyes burned pr omise. My God. Oh.

Pwede pala kaming friends. Feeling ko masusuka a ko. I thought it was in the movies or telenovelas. I would underst and if he showed anger. Since. Then he walked away. No It hurt as I stared coldly at his back. The Great JULIAN SUNICO wouldn t cry over a woman. NO over me. Set us free. Mas kaya ko pang i-handle ang galit na Julian. I m He was already kissing me! My head spin. I d us e the word banging now. Hindi ba dapat nagse-celebrate siya at hindi na . mahalaga pala ako sa kanya. WHAT THE HELL DO YOU THINK ARE YOU DOING?! Tricia half-screamed half-whispered. I swore my life was doomed as Julian stared coldly at me. O dapat pang sabihin. Nakataas ang paa nito sa drawer. `wag daw po siyang gambalain. Para akong pinagbagsakan ng langit at lupa. ma am sabi po ni sir. ang lola ng lola ko ang p amangkin ng anak ni Gabriela Silang. `Yung pag-aagawan naming `yu ng bidang lalaki. At natakot ako kasi. Tricia we re regarding me with an accusing stare. Siguro h indi niyo ko maiintindihan. My heart stopped. Tricia yelled at me earlier in the ho tel suite and took me out of my reverie. Hindi pa naman ako ganon kamahal ni Julian para gawin niya `yun `di ba? Ma am kasi po baka sa `kin magalit si sir kung Magalit sir mo? Sino bang kaharap mo? Hindi ba dapat mas mauna kang matakot sa `k in? I took the keys in her shaking hands. Nalunok ko pa ata ang nanunuyot kong laway. Flashes of cam era. Posible pala. `Wag gambalain? Bakit ano bang himala ang ginagawa niya sa loob? Gigil kong sabi. I caused another scandal. The paparazzi. Twice. Jean what the hell do you think are you doing to me? TEN I knocked on the door. Ah ewan. Oh my God. Kay Julian. Hindi dapat mandamay ng inosent eng nilalang. iba ang pakahulugan sa `kin non dati. his deadly glance. Bakit ko ba naisipang mag-give up? I never had that in my v ocabulary. PAIN. Jeannie. Sabi ni mommy. Yes. Someone gasped. Then he turned his back on me. I failed Tricia. Parang biglang nawala ang lakas ng loob ko. Kapag bukas ko ng pinto madilim. Tapos may humawak ulit sa braso ko. No! Bakit hindi ako makasigaw? Julian turned to me. I stood there motionle ss. I wasn t knocking now. The door was locked. Julian open this damned door! Ma am What! I tried to calm my nerves. Then the door opened. Ahm. I m setting you free. Th e reporters were forgotten. Si Brad. What I saw in his face tore my heart into pieces. Julian lis ten to me! I pleaded. I failed. Bwisit na b inabalibag ko na ang pinto. May pills kaya itong dala sa loob? Wire? Rope ? Knife? Grabe naman. Tumakbo ako palabas. Hindi niya kasalanan. Hindi ko na natapos kung ano man ang sasabihin ko. I failed Angko. For the win pala itong si Tricia! Naiiyak na sana ako nun eh. And I hurt Julian. I turned on the lights and saw Julian s back. Julian Na kita ko ang nagsabog na mga beer bottles. Once. Unless you knew wh at love really meant. Unless you fell in love like this. I m sorry. Ako si Jeannie Rose Leviste. Julian She loves me Julian. my jaw almost dropped. Nawala na ang overdramatic mood ko kanina. No response.alled him last night? No Brad listen I m not Jean Rose. He was sitting on his swivel chair. And opened the damned door. I clutched at his arm. Julian! I gritted my teeth in anger. Okay. by the end of the day I wouldn t wonder if I woul d be six feet underground he was going to kill me. His eyes. I saw something luha? No. Eh. Are you just going to stand there like a n idiot? You re not even going to defend yourself? What? Iiyak ka at sasabihin mon g ikaw ang biktima? For the second time. Wala siyang alam! No! I whispered. Even though you couldn t define it.

Mas nakakahiya naman kung ako pang humigit sa kanya sa kama `di ba? Oh. I should have known. At hindi napagi-iwanan si Julian! Did he think his w ords would hurt me? Kilala ko na siya. they were born w ith long and sharp tongues. I winced at the brutal words. The first time. Ang mga butones ng polo shirt nito ay nagkandakalas. Oh I moaned only because lust is a deadly sin not because because May mabubuo bang baby kung nakaganito lang kami? Nakakahiya na nga `yung sitwasy on ko. I m not talking to your back. Payag na `ko. The tic on his adam s apple moved. I put it on my na. Tumawa ito na parang nang-aasar. Bad `yan ha. three days ago. Hindi ako magpapatakot sa damuho nato. Lumaki ang mga mata ko. My eyes grew wide. Hoarse. Hindi ito lu milingon. Bulong ko. didn t you? Wouldn t you scream his name if we were going to To make love? I supplied nervously. give me strength. I gulped Could n t I just look up and not on his chest. My I sighed silently. If we re going to do it. Screw. I swallowed against his deathly grip. Payag na `kong magpa-rape sa `yo Julian. Na para bang bago pa sa `kin `yun. Oh lord. My eyes grew wide.. Julian listen to me I want to come clean. I hated to admit it. He caressed my neck gently . His eyes glinted. That chest would hav e been illegal to cover! Payag na `ko. Bakit mo ipagpipilitan ang sarili mo sa `kin kung nandyan naman si Brad? Parang biglang bumalik ang animosity nito. Parang nag-init ang punong tenga ko. no t down but up. Naglalabasan na ang ugat nito sa leeg. Julian What! Pack your things and get out of my house! He whispered angrily. And then his big hand gripped me. I m right. I whispered and swallowed sharply. darling making love is only women s term. There. His teeth gritted. we ll only be screwing. Nabasa ko `ya n before. I blinked thr ice. Hindi. I felt him moved a little. bakit Jeannie may kasama namang alak kapag nagse-celebrate `di ba? Hell. I want an annulment. Gusto ko sanang sabihin `yun. He swung the swivel chair roughly. His brow arched. Tapos lumapit siya sa `kin. Payag na `ko. was I? His eyes squinted anew. Whatever. Papayag ka din sa a nnulment.. Then I took his hand and put it on my I swallowed first. Why wasn t he doing a thing? We were just standing there him touching me. I was that desperate. It was a little bit awkward and delicious? I moaned inwardly. D ry.gpapakalasing? Eh. His neck tie was scattered on the desk. Ayan. Second time. You fvcking love him. What the hell do you think are you doing? I was amazed. He was trying to intimi date me. eh `di tinab lan ka ngayon! I wanted to shout victory. At galit na tumayo ito. He always did that that menacing steps. See? He laughed out mockingly. `Di ba `yun din ang tanong sa `kin ni Tricia kanina? And all the while he didn t even take his hand off me! Naintin dihan mo naman `yung meaning ng rape `di ba? Pumapayag na `ko. He started laughing demonicall y. Nababaliw na ata talaga ako. Ju lian. Alam ko kasalanan `tong gagawin ko. I swore Julian s eyes grew wide. Nataob ko ang bataan. Then his hand moved. Oh. The more he was hurt. Bosom is for inbred ladies. here in the library. With consent bosom. Dalagang Pilipina ako no. Bingi ba ito? Ayoko. Ang mga singkit niyang mat a lumaki at bumilog. Sabi ko. You wanted out of this marriage because of that SOB. Men are men. n o. the more he lashed . Up to my neck. Then his err erri ng hand cupped my hmm.

God. Inaalagaan mo bang maigi itong si Jean? He snorted. I whispered. Rape nga `di ba Inis kong sabi. At isinara ko ang pinto. Balae? Napalunok ako. O isa lang talaga lagi `yung expression niya. Shut up Jeannie . Paano mo `ko papakinabangan kung patay na `ko? He sighed. It was like I could take on the world. Julian kissed my mom s cheek. amoy tsiko na. Dapat talaga naglagay ako ng banga sa harap ng p intuan para hindi nakakapasok ang masasamang espiritu sa bahay nila Julian.back. Su nico on the cheek. Ah Julian si CM. Napaka-contagious ng aura nito. I wouldn t be bothered by his cruel words. Then from the do orway came Oh my God. Negative vibes. He wiped his mouth with a napkin. Tinanggal nito ang kamay sa leeg ko. Yes. Minsan naiisip ko. I secretively smiled. Then I heard a loud crash. And one more thing Julian. May batas na ba dito sa bahay ang bawal ngumiti Jules? I saw his teeth gritted. You wouldn t do that. given. I whispered. Para tuloy may nagsasabi sa `king may hindi mangyayaring maganda. Our mommy now. What is it hija? She smiled at Julian. Julian you can t run away from me. may psychic ability kam i nitong si Julian. Itinaas niya ang baba ko. Tapos umupo na kaming lahat. Tawa ng tawa sa `kin mommy ni Julian. He said very politely. Ahm . Good morning Philippines! Good morning World! Good morning mommy! I kissed Mrs. Anong nginingiti-ngiti mo dyan? Ano bang problema nito? Panira ng araw. Oo nga po. para may maipam-blackmail ako kay Julian . Parang outsider din ang mommy ni Julian sa family Sunico. Wit h her mom. Must have been the china vase that caused millions. Morning. Your bestfriend? Lumingon sa `kin si Julian. Mukang masarap ang tulog mo hija Too bad I hadn t seen Julian s grandfather. Do you know what I want to wring your lovely neck right now. Good morning mommy. thank you for stopping Julian from killing me last night. Ang hininga niya. Hin di ako nagagalit. I bet he was wondering what on earth was happening to me. But what the hell was CM doing in here? Sabi ko na nga bad vibes. Kailangan kong malaman ang d eepest and darkest secret nila malay mo. And take note: with consent. Baliw na kaya ako? Kapag baba ko ay nakita kong nagbebreakfast na sa lanai si Julian. So how are we going to do it? Sa desk? Sa couch? Sa ibabaw ng counter? What he was doing was scaring me off. Tapos tinitigan niya `ko. it didn t matter. Seven months. mommy. Ang tanong paano ko manganganak? Paano kung hindi ako pumayag? He shrugged and took to his drinking again. She s Jeannie s bestfriend. M arami naman siyang pambili eh. Nagkatinginan kami ni Julian. Okay. CM? Mommy? Marahan akong tumayo at ngumiti sa kanila. He was pus hing me away. I could see that. Mommy Ma am. Bakit kita hihi walayan eh. sir may bisita po kayo. We ll ha ve an annulment after you give birth. so my mommy s here. Ano pa bang dapat sabihin? Julian became withdrawn again. And you can marry your SOB of a lover. Tinitigan n iya `ko ng masama. I turned around before opening the door. If I kill you there would b e justice. I pouted. Hindi ako nagtatatalak sa kanya. Ganon din si Julian. Parang gusto kong manghina. Tapos tinitigan ni ya si CM mula ulo hanggang paa. At siya? He didn t even g ive me a glance. My mommy smiled. Biglang tumaas `yung sulok ng bibig nito. ako din kaya. mas mayaman ka kay Brad? I smiled b!tchily at him. Hindi ko alam kun g bakit energetic ako at masaya. Akala lang nila si Jean ang matalino no.

so why don t you take on the job? Bigla akong nahirinan. I know you ll surely love it. A box of chocolates. Biglang binawi ni CM kamay niya at tumuwid ng tayo. Suspicious. It was like a tug o war between us. I smiled too sweetly. I forgot to give my gift. Pinanlakihan ko siya ng mga mata. I m glad to finally meet you CM ex tended his hand toward Julian. Tumabi sa `kin si CM.. Julian butted in. Bottle B. It was now or never. Ah. Later everybody was well and good. Na para bang ewan ko. CM smiled at me. kitang-kita ang pagkabuhay ng katawang lupa ni CM sa mga mata niya. Ahhh. Then I gasped softly. I m not very particular with gays. Here. Plan A and B. Julian. Ayokong bitawan ang paper bag. Really. Balae. Barakong barako. Napatayo silang tatlo. Ni hindi man lang hinimas `yung likod ko! Ahm talaga po? Maganda `yan. Julian tugged my hand. Then I made mewling sounds like I w as going to throw up. How dare you CM ! What is it? My mom asked. Julian raise d one brow at me. Jeannie. CM s eyes grew wide. Hinimas ni mommy ang likod ko. Ang boses. May ipapatayo nga pala akong business hija. Two vials. Sh!t. I opened the paper bag. And fashion Lahat nag-uusap save Julian. Weather forecast. He eyed Julian like my husband was the meal. Ay grabe. Pero hindi eh. Tapos bigla akong humawak sa tyan ko. Tumaas ang kilay nito. Tinitigan ko siya. He snorted at me. Parang nanigas ang panga ko sa pag-smile. I smiled at Julian s mom. Bottle A. how could I? Kung mommy ko pa m ismo ang nagtutulak sa `king gawin ito. sorry. Feeling ko lulubog ako sa kahihiyan.. Ang mga mata ni Julian parang lobo. . Pwede bang or na lang? Akala ko ba m ay mga choices sa mundo bakit ako lang ata ang pinagkaitan ni God? Gusto kong ma glumpasay at magngangawa ng mommy! . We re bestfriends. T sismis. Anong gagawin ko? Wala akong alam! Ano ano nga pala ang mga pinaglilihian mo hija? Parang hindi naman siya naglilihi. Hindi ko gusto `yung tingin niya sa `kin. Politics. God. halika na t mag-breakfast na tayo. Actually may mga gay friends din kami sa New Ahurm. Tinakpan ko ang bibi g ko. Let me see. Inabot niya sa `kin ang isang maliit na paper bag. Jean Rose finished commerce. Makakatulong `yan in future references. Oh? Naalala ko tutal tapos ka naman ng business administration. What the hell? Mom what s this? Pills. Tapo s sumabog ang laman niyon sa lamesa. hija? What k ind of chocolate? A box of chocolates. Tila ayaw pa ng makisama! Ganyan din ako ng nagbubuntis ako kay Julian hija I smiled secretively. CM an o ba `yang pabango mo ang baho! Itinulak ko si CM. In front of me was a box of chocolate-flavored c-o-n-d-o-m-s! ELEVEN My hands trembled. errr Masusuka ata ako. Usap. Really? One brow arched. Julian was still scrutinizing me.Yeah. My mom bit her lower lip.

Para akong bata. Dammit. Tinitigan niya `ko. Magtat aka pa ba ako kung saan ako nagmana? Magaling ding umarte `tong mommy ko eh. I gritted my teeth. kaya lang patutu lugin ko muna siya? Hello? How the hell would I do that? Gumagana ba `yung ano k ung tulog ang lalaki? Parang pikot na rin `yun no. Una lagi si papa God sa listahan ko kasunod lang si Julian na akala ata siya ang Diyos. Respetuhin mo ang iyong ama at ina. Ni hindi man lang marunong kuma tok. Tears were starting to form again. Me? Jeannette Rose Le viste? Pumunta ako sa CR at naghilamos ng mukha. Clean. Sa sobrang inis ko yumakap ako kay Julian. Lalong sumasaki t. Hindi ba Julian? Mabait naman ako bakit ako nagkakaganito? Ngawa ako ng ngawa. One hour later. Tinuro ko `yung dibdib niya. Ano bang nangyayari sa `yo? Bakit ka ba sumisigaw? My eyes watered. Tinignan niya `ko na para bang nababaliw na `ko. And he sla mmed the door to my face. Right at this moment I was wishing he could fall into a ditch. Ito give this to him one hour before you go to bed. It won t work this time. He g lanced at me boringly then shrugged. What do I need pills for? Anak there s no other way. Goodness. Ako na pala si Angel Locsin. Mayamaya lang I felt something pierced within my tummy. Get dressed. Tapos parang namimilipit na naman ulit sa s akit.. I winced in pain again. Shrugged! My God he was so inconsiderate. She s giving me a dose of ahm. My God. I smiled at him sweetly. `di ba? Ilang beses ko lang pinagpaplanuhang patayin si Julian sa isip ko. J eannie! What the I blew out on his polo shirt. malay ko ba baka sakaling pagtingin ko sa salamin iba na pala pagkatao ko. Okay lang sana kung hihiga ak o. Lobo na pala a ko at si Julian ang ihahapunan ko. Tapos tinignan niya `yung basang parte ng polo niya. Pano kung napasukan niya `kong nagyu-urinate? Or worst nagbabawas ng sama ng loob? Oh? Gigil kong sabi. mabango. In fairness. Don t pull that act on me Jeannie. My eyes grew wide. Pinipilit ko namang sundin ang sampung utos ni Go d. magkukunwaring tulog sa tabi niya. Hindi ba ganon ang pikot? Either that or ecstacy pills! NOT ADVISABLE. Ikaw na lang. Ha? Anak ka ng magaling ang plano ni mommy! Breathe in. Ano bang ginawa ko para parusahan ako ng Diyos Julian? Naging mabuting tao naman ako. My mom brushed an invisible tear on her left cheek. Oh. Jeannie! He gritted his teeth in horror. Tapos bigla akong tinalikuran! Wow. He was so caring and v ery sweet! Gusto ko siyang ipapapak sa mga langgam. Napakapit ako sa sink. see? Obedient pa nga ako `di ba? Akalain mong gawin ko ang utos ni mommy na lagyan ng ecstacy pills ang inumin ni Julian. Okay na `ko. Masama pakiramdam ko. salamat sa singahan. Na glalawa na ang ilong ko kakasinghot.Alam ko. O kaya magbula bigla ang bibig niya. magtatanggal ng damit. I hissed. May pupuntahan tayo. This is this is Grabe. Masakit talaga sa may bandang puson. Pero sa isip lang `yun! Huwag kang magnakaw. Magbihis ka na. violation of human rights ang ginagawa ko sa sarili ko! Pwede kong kasuha n ang mga magulang ko. Viagra? As if Julian needed i t! Hindi naman ako magtataka sa kakayahan ni Julian kaya lang. Naiiyak na pinunasan ko ang mga mata ko. karma na ba ito? Jeannie? Biglang bumukas `yung pinto.. Thank you. Para alalayan ako. . Huwag papatay. Grabe ang sakit-sakit talaga ng puson ko. Then I reached out to h im. Breathe out. Kun g hindi ko pa alam.

Muntik na `ko dun. Sa puson. So sinamantala ko na. Naghihikab na sumunod lang ako sa kanya. Assuming! I rolled my eyes.Hindi ako sumisigaw. Bakit ka ba kasi iyak ng iyak? Napanguso ako. Hindi pa ako tapos sa drama ko I bit my lower lip. There was so much pain written in Julian s face. Mga walang puso. I thought you re not coming. Julian s voice became tender. Tricia? Promise. My eyes grew wide. Huwag kang magnanasa sa hindi mo asawa. Ano ba Hindi ko naman pinagnanasaan si Ju lian ah. Mauuna ka sa `kin. Tap os bigla siyang tumawa. NAIA? Oh. I put his hand on the spot just below my ( `wag kulay berde) tummy. She smiled at me. Nagiging habit na a ta niya `yun ah. Naramdaman ko na lang na may yumuyug yog sa balikat ko. He sighed. Gusto nila sila ang hari. Parang bumata siya ng isang taon. I could see that. Wala naman masyado. Of course not. Parang tumataas ang altapresyon ko. Ano ba `yan Ang bilis naman! Kung ano ano kasi iniisip ko. Bak it hindi ko man lang nakita? Tsk. Hinimas-himas ko `yung puson ko. He cleared his throat. Sumanda l ako sa upuan at hinimas niya `yung parte kung saan ko nilagay `yung kamay niya . Not one of those demon laughs of his. my God. Can you please keep quiet? Lalong lumakas `yung hikbi ko. Men never wanted to be termed weak a nd emotional. I didn t care when he stared at me in confusion. I pouted prettily. He whispered. Masama talaga epekto sa `kin `pag -FOOL moon. Jeannie. Ang hirap maging babae. Wala pa namang nangyayari sa `min ni Julian. Nakita kong nakapagpalit na siya ng damit. Does this me an I m going to hell also? I groaned inwardly. Parang gusto ko ng magpalahaw ng iyak. Hindi ko pa naman sinasabing supe r okay na kami ah. he didn t and would n t show it ever. Mom told me that there would be times like this you getting emotional on me. Weird. Grabe. biglang nawala `yung antok ko. Oh. Eh `di sana h indi mo sa `kin binigay si Julian! Ikaw din papa God ang may kasalanan. Tumaas ang kilay ko. No. Hindi ko napansin na nakatulog na pala ako. Liars go to hell. Awkward. Ito ba ang dahilan? Napasigok ako. But I saw through his façade. The lines around his chink y eyes became soft. Pabalibag na tinanggal ko ang kamay niya sa balikat ko kahit disoriented pa `ko. Naghahyperventilate pa `yung hormo nes ko. Julian Ano? Inis na lumingon siya sa `kin. Are you sure this one was Julian? He was lau ghing cheerfully. Period. Naramdaman kong may humihimas ng tyan ko. Mood swings? Mero Buntis ka rin? Inirapan ko siya. Bac kaches. Ano ba! I hated it. I smirked and peer ed at the scenery outside. Establisments. Pinagnanasaan mo ba `ko? He was astonished at first. Someone pinched my nose. Ano ba kasing masakit? Gusto kong mapaantanda. Isa lang bata pa naman tala ga siya. Tumango lang ako as if saying go on . Ang aga namang punishment nito. Of course. Let s go. I wanted to sleep and never wake up. mood swings I snorted. Malls. Nakapamulsa si Julian. Ahm no comment ako dyan. Honey I Ahem! Lumingon sila sa `kin. no please don t tell me we were going away again? Where on earth would you drag me now? After Angko Parang gusto kong kainin ang dila ko. Tricia I m sorry. Kung hindi pa sigaw na tawag `yun eh ano? So bulong pa `yun ganon ? Huwag kang makikiapid sa hindi mo asawa. but his touch lessened the pain. Wala pa. Honey AHEM! . Iba ang admiration sa lust. Alam niyo naman po `yung white lies `di ba God? Huwag kang magnanasa sa hindi mo pag-aari. we re here! My teeth clenched. Huwag kang magbibintang at huwag kang magsisinungaling.

Humarap siya sa `kin. Julian raised his brow. Okay lang? A token of farewell. Lumapit ulit si Tricia kay J ulian. what have I done again? He sighed impatiently. wala naman siya dito? I sighed. What? Do you know where I can buy a doll? His one brow arched. Tapos lumapit siya sa `kin. Our families expected us to marry since we were kids. Julian looked at me in horror. Meron argh. Full moon. O. I saw red. She kissed Julian on the mouth! Just a peck. May excuse ako para magkaganito. We re just one of those cases of childh ood Korean sweethearts. walang choice. Ha? Before I knew it. Ipinikit ko `yung mata ko. Kasi naman may pangalan nam an `yung tao. My God I was going crazy with pain. In short. Hindi ko siya pinansin. It was only four in the afternoon. I swore I heard Tricia giggled. Hindi ko sinasadyang mapatingin sa labi niya. As in a smudge of red lipstick on the side of his lips. Inirapan ko siya. Friends? Yeah. How absurd no I nodded. . Friends! When you come back to New York. Hind i ko sinasadya! I gritted my teeth. What for? Ipapakulam kita! You and Tricia. Suminghot ulit ako. H-hello? Jeannie! Ano?! Shopping tayo. do tell me. Sana ma-solve mo na `y an. Dysmenorrhia. Hindi sila magkakaroon ng apo mula sa pinakamaganda nilang anak. Argh.Julian glared at me. ano p ang tinatayo tayo mo diyan? Uwi na tayo. Oh. buntis ako. Makakaangal pa ba siya eh. As in NOW. Sy empre second lang si Jean. S ometimes he thought he knows what he s doing. H inimas himas ko ulit `yung puson ko. Ayoko. Ang kapal! I tried to calm my nerves. I was really rooted on the ground. Take good care of him. Too happy. TWELVE How would I continue with the plan if my fvcking hormones were raging on? Gusto kong magpagulong gulong sa pamimilipit sa sakit. She smiled at me. But a kiss is a kiss! Then she started giggling as she took her bags with her. Gusto mong pumunta sa heaven? He pursed his lips teasingly. Ano namang akala niya gagawin ko `yung ginawa ko sa kanya kay Tricia? I smirked. I looked at my nails innocently. Talaga? Oo naman. Nagyakap sila. Niyakap niya `ko! Tumaas `yung kilay ko dun. I wanted to die. Wala na namang problema sa `kin `yun eh. layuan mo `ko! Mi nsan nga naiisip ko ipatanggal ko na lang kaya `yung uterus ko? Kaso kawawa naman sila mommy. Then I heard my phone ringing. Nagulat ako when she hugged me. The nerve! Akala ko ba friends na kami? Julian waved at her. Bulong ko habang sakay kami ni Julian pabalik.

Kung sa mga ganong klase ka ng tao sasama baka kung ano ano mapulot mong kalokoha n. I saw red! No Naiiyak na bulong ko. T-takot ako sa karayom. Pano kung sabihin ko sa kanyang nag-suggest si CM na i-french kiss ko siya. Umuwi na tayo. I said Sige na Jeannie shopping na tayo. His bark was always worse th an his bite. Manong bababa na po ako. Ceasarian? As in hiwa. Hello Jeannie! I ll go shopping with you later. Lecheng si CM. You got used to kissing a friend on the lips? Namamangha kong sabi. It was just a kiss. Nagtataka lang ako what does S stand for? Anong gagawin natin dito? His lips twitched at the corner. Inis na bumaba ako. A t sa kutsilyo. Fine. Wait lang Julian! What? Virgin ka pa ba? . I need to buy a nine-mo nth package. It was huge and big. Anong silbi mo? I rolled my eyes heavenward.Narinig kong bumuntunghininga si CM. Sa huli ako pa rin ang sinunod ni manong at pumunta kami sa S. wait! Nine months? Kelangan malaki na tyan ko nun. Seryoso nga! Napahaw ak agad ako sa stain sa bandang crotch ko. Who s that? CM. Mall. nagpapanic kong sabi. He told me to meet up! Then what he was late. Oh. Didn t I tell you not to talk to him again? Manong punta po tayo sa S. Eh. We go home. kaya nga diba? Nandun ako! I saw her kissed you. Eh Julian. Try me. Bakit pag-aari mo na rin ba `tong mall ha? Ha. Nag-iisa na nga lang ang sanitary pad ko sa bag ko. Ugh. So? Nasa Pilipinas tayo Jeannie! And who on earth would kiss a friend on the lips? He cleared his throat. He was going to get a tongue lashing from me. Grabe. In amusement? Malamang magsha-shopping. I heard his footsteps behind me. Fifteen minutes. Feeling ko lalo akong dudugu in kay Julian. Matuwa kaya siya? In the states it is very common! Sigaw ko. Tap os hinigit niya `yung braso ko. Naintindihan mo ba ayoko ngan My eyes grew wide. Ingos ko sa kay Julian. Julian. You cannot stop me. Jul ian grabbed my hand. Lee yesterday I asked her kung pwede kang i-ceasa rian. Badtrip. Tricia is my ex! Until you came along. he was leading me to a a baby section. N ew establishment. no. Tapos umiwas ng mata na parang nahuli ko sa akto. Bakit ka pa magsha-shopping? At ano naman ang ipa ng-shopping mo aber? May pera ka ba? My mouth turned into a big O. Bakit ba ako nagsuot ng pa lda? `Yung hanggang kalahating hita ko pa. Who s that? No one. Afte r CM gave me the details where to the line went disconnected. Jeannie! He shouted authoritatively. Who on earth would give a con contraceptives as a gift? Nakikita kong lalong pan iningkit ng mga mata nito. He raised one brow and read the newspaper. Sinisiguro kong mababaon siya ng buhay sa mura ko. Nahuli ko naman talaga sila ah! We just got used to it. I mean kelan gan manganak na `ko Don t worry Jeannie. No. I called Dr. Stupid. Mall. The hell I care. I gulped. Before I knew it. He would submit me to the k nife. Seryoso ba ito? I looked at his face. Sumandal ulit ako. Nanghihinang sabi ko na ikinalingon ni Julian. Ah ganon.

Parang nanghihinang napakapit ako kay Julian. Let s have lunch together. nakatanga lang siya sa `kin. Ah yeah? At ikaw ang ama! Sumasakit `yung puson ko. She s my mistress. Jean nette is very busy. How many months? Napatingin ito sa tyan ni Jean. Funny same with you Jeannie. Julian He picked up a feeding bottle. No. Paano ko sasabihin sa`yo eh. my face. Parang ang corny ata ng joke ko. She s also pregnant? Jean and I both looked stupidly at the baby shoes. Julian! I forced a smile upon my face. He stared fixedly at Jean. Pinaparusahan niyo ba talaga `ko God? Jeannie Jeannette. wife niyo po? At feeling close! Julian smiled back at her. No. wait `Di ba dapat maging masaya ako? Yeah kauuwi niya lang kahapon Julian. Ang kapal! Excuse me lang ha Parang lalabas `yung dugo ko. Unti-unti akong napatingin sa tyan niya. We shook our heads in unison. H-hi s-sorry I wasn t able to to come to your wedding. Pareho pala kami ng kuku nin. For the life of me. Oh. Yes. pareho kaming nagkulay papel ng kap atid ko. Julian frowned. Nanlalaki ang mga mata ni Jean. Inis na naglalakad pa `ko. He knew?! He called you Jeannie! She mouthed when Julian s back was turned to her. HAHA. May lalaking paparating. everything save that it wasn t me! Jean?! Jeannie? Para kaming naestatwa. Ano bang dapat kong sabihin? Hey. She smiled sweetly at Julian. I gasped aloud. No! No! Halos mag-duet kami ng kapatid ko. Parang naguluhan. I didn t know him. Kahapon. Bwisit na buha y `to. I was about to pick up a a pair of baby shoes when a hand caught mine. Masama pa na mang ginagalit ang babaeng kabuwanan. Ah yeah. Jean? Pinanlakihan ako ng mata ng kakambal ko.Julian was shocked. hindi ko rin alam?! Ahmm Napalunok ako. Jean? Let s What the hell was happening? I almost groaned aloud. right? Lumingon siya sa `kin tapos kay Jean. Baka hinihintay na tayo ni CM. Takp an ko kaya ng sako ang mukha ni Julian? Artistahin? Kaya lalong lumalaki ang ulo nito. Sir. Ano bang meron? Parang feeling ko mahihimat ay na `ko kahit anong oras. He was eyeing me and Jean. Inis na tinignan ko kung sinomang intrimitid It was like I was looking into my own wide eyes. You never told me your sister s here. Na parang natatakot akong bawi in siya sa `kin ni Jean. long time no see twin? Jeannie We both slowly turned at the voice. Promise. Kauu wi ko lang. Pink or blue? Ha? Hindi pa nga natin alam `yung gender `di ba? My voice trembled. Two and three weeks. At sabi nila ang mga demonyo daw virgin pa. Excuse me? Gigil na sabi nito. Manipis pa `yun. Yumakap ako sa bewang niya. Meron pa bang surprise? Ano pa ba? But my. Tumawa ako sa sarili kong joke. hindi nak . Biglang lumapit ang saleslady sa `min. At siya? Tinitigan niya lang ako. Gusto ko siyang sakalin. Juli an squinted his eyes. At ngayon sumasakit `yung ulo k o. Pero meron mer on God. kill me now! I whispered. What the hell Kasi hindi ka pwedeng pumunta sa heaven. ri ght. Biglang umayos ako ng tayo. He was with Jean! Vince? Vincent Gonzalo? Julian hissed. Hindi bumenta. I couldn t sprout any more lies. Iisa lang `yun! Ako lahat `yun! Tsk. And why do you ask? Kasi demonyo ka. Kung tot oong buntis lang ako baka nakunan ako sa sobrang bwisit kay Julian.

myself and I. So who s Michael? Definitely not Julian.aligpas sa pansin ko magaling talagang pumili ang kapatid ko. We re not yet through Sunico. Niyakap ko siya. Ang sarap hampasin ng mga i nsensitive na lalaki sa mundo. Jean nette. Napangiwi ako at nag-aalalang tinignan ang hit a niya kung may sign ng dugo. He smirked. Hindi ko na kailangang maging genius para malamang they weren t in good terms. Then she purred groaned aloud. why don t you tell our lover boy here what we re doing here. Ever. Bumalik ako sa tabi ni Julian. Sino `yan? In fairness yummy ha. I opened my mouth to say goodbye. Jean wagged the man s arm. Halata ko ang takot sa mga mata niya. Bigla akong natakot. Julian Hinawakan ko ang braso niya. Marahan akong lumingon. I play fair. I ll call you. Gusto ko silang pagumpugin dalawa. Sasakalin talaga kita `pag tumakas ka pa! Jean honey. Gusto kong lumubog sa kinatatayuan. Pero tinabig lang niya `ko. Pati ako hindi malaman ang gagawin. Ngayon ko lang na-re alize. What the hell are you doing here? Julian stepped forward in anger. But he s responsible. Afraid of the little woman? Oh The tough Vincent Gonzalo was afraid of his. Hey The guy s mouth twitched sarcastically. M ay tatlong lalaki sa likod nila ang dumating out of nowhere. Jeannie I won t go back to Julia n. I was an idiot. Julian gave him a mocking smile.. Oh.. Julian I Vincent may pupuntahan pa tayo `di ba? My twin. I opened my mouth t o shout at him. I was wishing the floor would cave in and ea t me whole. Vince `yung tyan ko! Jean sobbed and cupped her stomach gently. I forgot I was stepping into the great Juli an Sunico s lair. I don t know if I s hould be thankful he didn t get to seduce my wife. More like plead ed. I should have known. Bodyguards. Were they together? Obviously. Muntik na akong mapaubo. I wasn t that bad to wish for her to have a miscarriage. Jean Bulong ko at hinila ko siya ng onti palayo. He even courted Tricia. wife? You ve never bested me before what now? Inilahad nito ang kamay. If you only knew Julian. The guy smirked at him. He wasn t handsome but he was sexy. Iumpog ang ulo sa pader para matauhan. He laughed humorlessly. lagi na lang siya n akikipagkompitensya sa `kin. You promised me She whispered. Then Jean winked at me! My jaw almost dropped. Don t worry about her. Vince let s go. The two men looked astounded. Lumapit agad a ko sa kakambal ko. By God. Jean took his hand. Talaga bang nasa pamilya na namin ang sinungaling? Or we were just made t o be a good actress? I felt a caress on my back. kung i-seseduce . Pero wala talaga! I could only save me.Kung sa bagay. Julian! I screamed in panic. Pati ata si Sailormoon. No. Foul `yun no. THIRTEEN Was it the end of the world? Was it a clash of good and evil? Kung alam niyo lan g. Jean? Napalingon ito sa `ming dalawa. Conceited jerks! To our astonishment Vince started laughing. Kahit na nga ba gusto k ong sakalin ang kapatid ko kahit na nga ba minsan hiniling kong sana una ko na la ng nakilala si Julian kaysa sa kanya. Vince ma y be a bastard son of a bi tch. Anong pangako iyon? Napatingin ako sa kakambal ko. Vince grinned maliciously at me. Bulong niya. he knew. She was just shaking her head. no Lucifer and Michael met. For years. Wife? Hinawakan ito ng mariin ni Jean. Tinatawag ko na si Darna at si Batman. That took Vince out of his reverie. Natatakpan ko siya mula sa mga lalaki kaya hindi nila narin ig. dinadasalan ko na ang lahat ng santo. Vince looked at my sister in mixture of shock and hor ror. Mabilis nitong niyakap si Jean at binuhat. This one was oozing sex appeal.

for sure mukha ding kambal. Feel na feel nito. So she s pregnant? With Julian? CM sipped his Caffe Mocha. hindi halatang tsismosa. I didn t know that. Parang kinikiliting tumili ito. Tapos nanlaki ang mga mata na tumingi n sa `kin. Julian where are you goi The driver already went home. Salamat ha. ang dami mong naitutulong eh. Sabi nila the Gonzalos were bankrupt by the Sunicos. CM just laughed at me. Tapos iisa ng tatay paglabas non. Buti ka pa friend. Muntik ko ng hindi masalo. Tinanggal nito a ng rolex wrist watch at ibinato sa `kin. He smiled fishily. Halleluja.niya `ko. Siya itong nag-aya aya tapos ako manlilibre?! Mahiya ka naman sa lalamunan mo. Sa kanya si Vince which leaves Brad alone. He hissed and turned his back on me. `Yung ano Ngumuso ito. Ngayon pa lang bumabawi. Napaatras naman ako. Anong hmm? My brain wasn t functioning well. Libre mo `ko ha. I stared at him stupidly. Nag-ano. I was addlebrained. Which means y ou re going to live forever as her. What s this? Obvious ba? Susi ng sasakyan. What! There were so many untold stories here. He took my hand and gave me keys. mukhang hindi mo na talaga maibabalik si Jean. And she s with Vincent Gonzalo. Gross. I smiled sheepi shly. Magkape ka na nga lang para kabahan ka naman sa mga pinagsasasabi mo. He put his two fingers together. My blush intensified. Sabihin mo na. nagsinungaling na buntis. At isipin mo na lang kambal kayo. bongga alam mo naman tayong m agaganda Nahirinan ako dun. I have to be pregnant. Y uck. CM? I love you! Julian glared at me. pero `wag mo `kong sisihin kung bakit nasa headlines ka bukas. Sabihin mo kay Jean ibalato na lang sa `kin `yung isa. Landi. Napatingin ang isan g babae dito na kanina pa titig na titig kay CM. Magka-tonsilitis ka sana. Kalaba ng mortal ng mga Sunico. See? Ibinigay niya sa `yo si Julian. Babae. You didn t tell me they re together? Hindi pa rin talaga ako pinapabayaan ni God my phone started ringing. praise the lord. Pasabunot na itinukod ko ang kamay sa round table. Pabalewalang sabi nito. Pero kung kung mabubuntis naman ako . Ay. I don t have money! Isasangla ko `tong relo mo! I shouted after him. He nodded. Talaga? Wow. alam mo na `yun. Sabihin ko na lang kaya? I was getting frustrated. business magnate. You should be at home before seven. You have the same features. Delicadeza na lang `di ba? Ano `yun `yung mga anak naming mag-pinsan na magkapa tid pa? Ang sagwa `di ba? Tama. Tumaas lang `yung kilay niya. But because . Hindi ko siya pinapansin. I guess so? I told him everythi ng there was. m arunong naman akong tumingin ng oras no. Nauna na `kong umuwi kay CM. Akin na lang siya! Hindi si ya magugutom sa `kin promise. ahem. Ang slow mo naman Jeannie! `Yung tentenenententen. Hindi ako ipokrita para sabihing hindi ako mate-tempt. He was a chic. He even demonstrated the expressions. Very observant lang. pinatay ng asawa. Starbucks. He shrugged nonchalantly. F rom the looks of it. CM if Jean won t come back. no? Teka nga nag hmm na ba kayo? Bumilog ang mga mata nito at lumapit maigi ang mukha sa `kin. Ano? Inis kong sabi. Really? Biglang lumaki ang mata nito. Walang modo talaga! Anong akala niya sa `kin? Bata? May curfew? At saka I gritted my teeth. Parang ayaw mag-process ng brain ce lls ko. Then he ordered another beverage. Inirapan ito ni CM. Tapos ipinilantik niya `yung kamay. I opened my mouth to scream at him. Not because I was afraid of the dragon. Then you ll scream at the peak JU LIAAAAN.

`Wag m una. Were you telling me that I shouldn t have followed those novels I so much liked? Sabi kasi nila mag pakatotoo. Plus one. FOURTEEN Ito ang listahan ng mga kasalanan at kabutihan mo Was he serious? Sa sa langit na ba ako? I mean. P eter. At may biglang safety air balloon na lumobo sa harapan ko. I lived my life spontaneously. and a lot more blended together. Argh . I drove faster than I should have. I was feeling drowsy. Hindi ko pa nabibigyan ng apo sina mommy. ayokong lumaki ang eyebags ko. No! Ibababa nila `ko sa impyerno. I sighed. The impact. It w as a good thing Jean and I both know how to drive. My heart hammered loudly. Pati ba ang pagmumura counted na din? You can now take her. `Yun naman ang ginawa ko. I was pulled deeper into a pit less hole of nothingness. I felt the impact of it. Then I ende d up bumping a big trunk of a tree. Peter was also a philosopher.the princess also needed her precious rest. sa langit ba ako pupunta? Para kasing hindi naman ` to heaven eh. pain. . Hindi ba sabi nila kung mamamatay ka parang may mga scene kang makikita sa buhay mo? Mamamatay na ba `ko? God hindi pa talaga `ko ready. magkaroon ng maraming pimples. Paano kung mas marami ang kasalanan ko? Eh `d i may utang pa `ko? I groaned. Nakalimutan kong mag-slow down sa inter section. Little did I know that St. Hindi pa `ko prepared makita si San Pedro at saka God sabi nga ni CM hindi ko pa alam ang feeling ng nag-tetentenenententen. Magiging demonyo nga ako? Dahil virgin pa `ko. Hanapin mo ang sarili mo blah. Ilang araw na ding hindi ako natutulog ng maayos. I star ted sobbing quietly. Sana isinama na rin nil a `yung driver na nag-overspeeding. My eyes opened wide. I knew I cal led Julian s name. It was too quickly. Syempre. Right minus wrong. I wasn t so sure. I knew that there were endless problems but I stil l wanted to sur vive. Ayaw nila akong papasukin sa heaven! Kasama si Julian. Anong ibig niyong sabihin? Anak katawan lang ang iniiwan sa lupa hindi ang common sense. Wala sa loob ko. blah. God I have so many unfinished businesses. I should have seduced him sooner. My eyes were open wide. I stared incredulously at the shining bald head of St. Meaning good minus bad? What the fu ck. Mababangga ako! Pilit kong iniiwas ang sasakyan. Hindi pa ako nagbabayad sa mga pinagkakautangan ko sa New York. If only I had known. emotion al stress. I was shocked when an overspeeding c ar on the side tipped its way toward me. I cried out. The shards of glasses splintered on the side. Pinilit ko namang maging mabait. blah. It was getting hot. It was suffocating me. Ayokong mukhang stressed out. Jeannie Jeannie Did they know my name? Argh. My head bumped the side window.

My mommy was crying silentl y. may DVD version na ang Romeo and Juliet . Doc. Sure ako dun. Then I saw m y dad. I hissed at Julian. She was crying. Pero pero nakiki ta ko na si mommy! I was panting so hard. I moaned aloud and curled into a fet al position. He was skimming every part of me. What the fu ck s happening to my wife? Sumisigaw na sab i ni Julian. Where s Julian? The door burst open. It s a matter of life and . I have no time to explain doc. What if it was too late? He smil ed at me and patted my head like the way he used to. No nothing. Naiiyak na niyakap ako ng daddy ko. Napakapit ako bigla sa puson ko. there s no bab Kumapit ako sa braso ng doctor. basa ng novels. Are you okay? Natatarantang hinawakan niya ang buhok ko. Papatayin ako ni Julian. Tsk. He frowned at me. Speaking of the devil. It was as if Julian was possessed by some good spirit. I tsked. Bulong niya. Tapos super bait niya. As soon as the doctor gave me his promise I persuade Julian to take me home. Please Julian. Ahmm free shopping spree at S. He stared at me incredulously. Sunico. baka ako pa ang lasunin ni Julian.Jeannie Jeannie I slowly opened my eyes. Excuse me Mr. higa. Malaki utang na loob ko sa inyo doc. how I missed my family. In all fairness. I whispered brokenly. `Yung natatakpan ang mukha ko. blame my sister f or giving me this idea. My parents excused themselves. There I saw my mom. At saka niya lang siguro napansin na nandun nga ang doctor. Please. Please. Nag-movie marathon ako. Mall! I smiled charmingly. Wala ako ng maramdamang sakit. she s not even in the brink of danger. Anyway. ibalato ni yo na po sa `kin `to. I couldn t help it. May ininject bang pampamanhid? She s out of danger. Ambad ko. Then I blinked thrice. My smile froze in place. When the door closed I took the doctor s hand. Tulog. My nai ls dug deeper into his arm. Saka na tayo magbilangan. My jaw became slacked. Tapos . Is she having a miscarriage? Sigaw ulit nito. Mumultuhin ako ni Angko. for his sake. ang katawan ko. I don t know. The doctor frowned. kain. Actually. Is she alright? My God. Parang nataranta ang doctor sa galit nito. Nakakokonsensya na ng a ako. Hindi ko alam kung bakit ito ang ipinahiram sa `kin ng hitad kong bestfriend. Guilty ako. Only a small wo und on her forehead. Disoriented pa `ko. I love you daddy. `Yung winner na smile ng close-up. damn! I thought she s okay. I bit my lower lip sa sobrang gigil. Call mom my Parang hesitant pa itong tumakbo palabas. I want my mommy. death? Napan giwi ako. parang h indi niya nagegets! Naiiyak na `ko sa gigil. Totoo naman ah. nood tv. He was worried! I smiled eagerly as the doctor gave his prognosis. mmkay? Anyway. Whichever comes first. No ribs broken. Naii nggit tuloy ako sa gumanap na Juliet. sa santong paspasan na l ang. maiisip mong kailan mo din palang i-express ang nararamdaman mo sa kanila. Sorry San Pedro. The doctor frowned e ven more. Parang na-guil ty naman ako. Awww Pareho silang napatingin sa `kin. Minsan. Baby? Mr. What are you watching? I got engrossed. Oh. Kinuha ang stethoscope. What ever. Sunico there s no Oh my saving grace. Na para bang alam niya gagawin kung may s ugat nga ako! Hindi naman siya ang doctor. parang hindi tot oo. I winced. just pretend the babe s okay. ang mukha ko. my Leonardo Dicaprio s yummy. mommy. Biglang bumukas ang pinto. God. Gusto kong matawa na matakot kay Jul ian. Wal a naman talaga akong sugat. Ngumiti ang doctor sa mommy ko. She s okay except for How about the baby? He cut him off frantically. Grabe. Kung hindi pa siya madaan sa santong dasalan. Iniisip ba niyang iinom din ako ng lason para lang makasama ko si Julian? The wo rst is.

Naalala ko bigla k ami ni Julian. Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street na lang ang panoorin natin. Tapos sa swimming pool scene. Kesyo mali daw `yun. I couldn t help but sigh pleasurably. Hello? Jean Rose Leviste? Irene here. Napalunok ako. if I know kung anong bawal siyang masarap. Hindi ko gusto `yung ngi sing `yun ni Julian. Siguro nahiya lang siya so for his sake I inched closer. Napatitig talaga ako sa eksena sa party. basta gwapo si Romeo. Inis na dumiretso na `ko ng upo. I wondered why men turned away when things get mushy or better yet emotional. Then you re the one who s stupid! Had I really said that? Yeah. while she kept moving her lips to and fro against Romeo s. basta siya magtuturo sa `kin. They were kissing underwater! I wished Leonardo would kiss me like th There s a rumor that he s gay. At bakit? Ni hindi man lang naka-home base kay Juliet bago ipainom `yung lason.Goodnes s. hell move a little bit closer baby. Then I sighed. Fast-learner kaya ako. Dumila pa `ko sa kanya. Nakatanga talaga ako. Plasma ang tv. ugh eating each other in the pool. sig e na. She kept telling no. Pasalamat siya kung yummy si Leonardo DiCaprio mas h ot para sa `kin si Johnny Depp. Sosyal. I gasped aloud. I groaned aloud. FIFTEEN Make love to me . dinaig pa `ko. N abitin ako nung tinawag ng nursemaid si Juliet. Sus. At si Tricia. Parang feeling ko a ko ang naaatat na hatakin si Leonardo at papakin.niyakap ko `yung unan ng mahigpit. Then they were like kissing. Ingos na tinabig ko `yung kamay niya. Laway mo tumutulo Julian swiped an invisible saliva down the side of my lips. Akalain mo `yun. Alam mo `yun my hair on the nape stood on ends. Give Julian the credit to ruin my fantasy. Tuwang-tuwa talaga ako sa palabas na `to. honeymoon na nila. Then a sm ile slowly inched its way to the corner. I said he s stupid. aber? I snorted. Umusod ako palayo. Juliet was leading Romeo into a dance kis s. Siguro kahit ako din naman. I was having kinky thoughts. right stupid. Hindi ko napansin na nilagay niya `yung braso niya sa likod ng ulo ko. Wh en in fact. Napansin ko pero kunwari wala lang pero deep inside I was like. I leaned my head in the cove of his neck. His voic e became husky. My mobile started ringing. Despite her in nocent face was a great k-i-s-s-e-r. Na para bang sinasabing habulin mo `ko . Mayamaya lang Julian sat on t he bed beside me. I gasped so very loud than the first time. Naka-home base kaya! Ayan oh. Siya si Rosaline! Siya `yung first forgotten love . Romeo is stupid. they were always the one who resorted to cuddling. Hindi ko pinansin ang pandidiri sa mukha niya. I wasn t very particular with the chin itos. I forgot all about our honeymoon. we were both silently watching. thanks. O. Tsk. Inggit lang siya wala sa kanya `yung atens yon ko. He smil ed evilly. Titig na titig ako. I d tell you. Gee. I shivered delightedly. I d hug CM when we meet again. Excuse me? Ayoko ng pakinggan pa kung ano na namang panlalait ang maririnig ko kay Julian. Lumayo-layo si Juliet. I snuggled close to Julia n. Mayamaya lang. Nagpapakipot na naman. Then they fell into the water again when they declared their undying love. Natuwa ako kasi mu ka talagang inosente `yung gumanap na Juliet. Care ko. May reunion nga pala tayo. I was imagining that Julian was Romeo and Juliet was of course me. One advantage of being rich.

I didn t know a mere whisper in the ear could feel ticklish. Marahan akong umupo. Pero hindi ba `yun naman dapat ang maramdaman ko? Hindi ako ito. Parang gusto niya na talaga akong isama sa dako paroon kung hindi ko gagawin ang gusto niya. I waved at him. Gee I rocked my hips back in forth to the rhythm. Did you know what he did? Nilagpasan niya lang ako. Oh boy. And happy. is it a yes or a no? No. Me? I slithered my body against him. I won t effin waste my time on somebody who s not worth it. Hell yeah. Out of the blue. good morning? G morning.What? You heard me make love to me. Feeling ko ang dumi-dumi ko. I couldn t be m istaken. Sino ba? Parang naririnig ko pa rin ang boses ni Angko. Ilang shots pa lang. He was s tanding there. I was actually purring. More more My God. was I? He s got gray eyes. Someone tapped my shoulder from beh I screamed. Angko! Jean? Uncle Bert? I gritted my teeth. His lips twitched on the side. Not that it was unusal. This. Ano `yun? Insenso seryoso ba tala ga si Angko? Kinilabutan ako. Yes. Tapos lumapit siya sa `kin. Kailangan pa bang ulit-ulitin niya `yun? Alam ko. I rolled my eyes ceilingward. Have you seen Julian? I shook my head. What the hell were those dreams all about? there was a woman with no face. Seryoso ba si Angko? Minumulto nga ako nito! I was trembling violently. Madilim ang buong paligid. Ahm I m suppose d to be drunk. No. What s gotten into you? Masamang espiritu. Hindi ako. Galit na binalibag ko ang pinto. like a cat. So. Not. A helluva way to say it. . Lumingon lingon ak o. Hindi kaya nagkakamali si Angko ng pagpaparamdaman? I absent-mindedly touched my stomach. Hindi ako. What was happening? Parang umiikot an g paligid ko. You promised me! You promised me you won t hurt Julian. I bet you re feeling fvcking hot? And dir ty. Napaupo ako bigla at napa-sign of the cross. Angko was staring down at me. I gasped a little. Grabe lakas ng tam a sa `kin ng martini. Sinabi ko iyon na parang nagdedemand lang ng fla vor ng chupachups. Kinakarma na ba talaga `ko? Hindi na `ko nakatulog. Magsakit-sakitan kaya ako ulit? Bak a sakaling bumait pa siya. Humahabol ata sa buwanang dalaw ko. I wiped the threatening tears away. He grabbed my arm. Masyado ka ng madaming naiinom. Angko knelt down the side of the bed and touched my stomach. When the man swayed me back and forth I felt his rock hard body poking againt mine. And sexy Kaya nga tinawag itong bar `di ba? I stupidly c raned my neck. Ang sama talaga ng ugali ni Julian! Ni hindi man l ang binuksan ang lamp shade bago umalis. Sorry ahm. Fine. Goodness. Wanna ride with me boyo? Parang may sariling isip ang bibig ko. My FIRST TIME. Nakita ko siya kanina paalis. Umiling ito. I bit my lower lip then I sniffed. Or Was it me? Then ther e was Angko. NOW. I wasn t that drunk. You. He shook his head. I would dance the night away like it would be my last time. Is. Last night ko na `to. Para akong nakuryente. Don t hurt him. Hell. I felt my eyes widening. who wouldn t? No wonder Julian got dibs on you. This is not you. You promised me! She was sweating coldly. Hindi ako. You re drunk. I m a big time loser.

Are you okay? I nodded. Tapos nakita ko ang isang make-shift altar. Picture ni Angko! I almost groaned aloud. It was as if he were smiling at me. More like taunting me. Angko nas a heaven ka na ba? Lagot ka kay papa God. Do you want me to continue lying to yo ur grandson? I whispered. Para akong baliw na kinakausap ang larawan niya. What did you say? Ahm nothing. I smiled up at him. Anong meron uncle? Then I heard a loud giggle. I closed my eyes in frustration. Imo Jean! Dyos ko pina pahirapan mo ba talaga `ko? Gigil na lumingon ako kay Tantan, Celine, Aunt Risan at sa iba pa. They were here! Didn t Julian tell you? It was Angko s birthday today. We had a family dinner. And I d tell you. Julian was sulky and withdrawn. Hindi si ya makausap ng mommy niya, eh di ako pa kaya? He just kept shrugging his shoulde r whatever I asked of him. Minsan nga gusto ko ng ibato sa kanya `yung pinggan. My phone vibrated. One text message. Meet me up here in Butter Diner s now. I ll only be waiting for about an hour. Sender: Kambal ko. I opened my mouth in astonishment. Grabe, ang demanding! I couldn t just I gritted my teeth. Kailangan ko siyang makausap. Uncle I have to ran an errand for my twin. She s ahm here in the country. They all agreed. Wala naman silang sinabing masama d ahil tapos na rin naman ang dinner. At isa pa one valid reason `yun para makalay o kay Tantan. I winced. Julian I m going. I looked him in the eyes. At ang ginawa niya: He just shrugged at me! As if I could go anywhere for all he cared in the world. Nakakahiya naman sa `kin, ni hindi man lang ako tinanong kung san ako pupunta o kung anong oras ako uuwi. I glared at him. Mamaya, I d give him a Cold War. `Wag niya kong papansinin! I wou ldn t talk to him. EVER. Jean and I had a long talk. I was getting tired of everything. I sighed and took a step or two on the landing of the first floor. Tapos nakasalubong ko siya, he was holidng something long and big covered with black cloth. He just walked pas t me as if I weren t there. Ni hindi man lang nagtanong kung buhay pa `ko. Malay b a niya kung ghost lang akong gumagala gala. I wouldn t wonder now why Julian never saw the difference. He was always immersed in his agony. Masyado siyang seryoso sa buhay. Where are you going? He just waved his hand. Gigil na tumakbo ako. He was putting his things on his C adillac two-seater convertible. He didn t even ask me if I could join him. Even fo r decency s sake! Walang sabi-sabing umupo ako sa passenger seat. Don t ask me what am I doing. Sasama ako. Period. I crossed my arms over my chest. I want to be alone. Napaka-insensitive mo. Hindi mo ba naiintindihan `yun? I gasped. Me? Insensitive? My God. Talk about morons here. I zipped my mouth. Ba ka kung ano pa ang maisip kung sabihin sa kanya. He drove for miles and miles. T umigil kami sa bandang Tagaytay. I think? It was overlooking the Taal lake. Geez ers, why didn t he tell me? Nakapagdala man lang sana ako ng sketchpad. Even from here the lampposts lit the view, overlooking the lake. Ang ganda. `Yun nga lang. Medyo nakakatakot kasi deserted siya at gabi na. Iba din ang trip nitong si Jul ian. What s that? Deadma. Telescope? Deadma. I clapped my hands. Magii-stargazing tayo? Parang balewalang tumingala siya at sumilip na sa malaking telescope niya. Tayo. That was my operative word. Mali, mali. Siya lang pala! I was like a ghost. Inis na sinipa ko ang gulong ng mamahaling convertible niya. Paulit-ulit. Nakakainis

ka. Alam mo ba `yun? Sigaw ko sa sasakyan. Akala mo kung sino ka laging magaling. Lumakad ito. At nilagpasan siya! Kumuha ng sandwich mula sa basket. Wow. He wolf ed down the food and got himself busied again. Na para bang wala ako dito! At si ya lang ang tao sa mundo. Napakawalang hiya mo. You re a beast! I hate you! I hate you! You don t care about ot hers feelings. Sana tubuan ka ng kulugo. Ng pigsa sa sa ilong! Sana pumangit ka. Sa na sana I was already panting from exhaustion. Sumasakit na rin ang toes ko kakasip a. Ang tibay naman ng gulo. Bakit hindi ka minumulto ni Angko? Parang hindi ka pi nalaking maayos I felt a tight grip on my wrist. It was a vise-like that I thought my blood stop ped flowing to my hand. I was looking straight into his eyes. Namimilog ang mga tsinitong mga mata nito. He gritted his teeth. Ni hindi ko alam kung dapat ba ako ng matakot. How many times had I seen him this mad? This furious? You don t know what you re talking about. Angko loves me Ikaw? What do you know? It was a mere whisper but it sounded like thunder in my ears. You got me hitched into t his this mess. If his eyes were daggers I could have been dead right now. Lagi mo na lang akong sinasaktan. He smiled at me. Evilly. Tapos itinulak niya `ko. I tumbled on the passenger seat of the Cadillac. Nakabu kas na ang pinto noon. Nasaktan ang siko ko sa pagtama sa manibela. Pausog ako n g pausog hanggang sa makarating na `ko sa driver s seat. Ang mga paa ko ay nakalap at sa passenger s seat. He took my shoes off. My eyes were so wide to the extent t hat it hurt. I was like a cornered rat. Nowhere to go. He was kneeling, my legs were trapped between his knees. Julia Pilit kong binubuksa n ang pinto sa likod ko. When I flailed, my arms accidentally bumped onto the ho rn. His mouth cracked a maligned smile. Sabihin ko kayang meron ako? Pero tapos n a period ko. At saka he knew that pregnant wives don t bleed. Go ahead make some noise. Habang ang mukha niya ay palapit ng palapit sa `kin. No! Lagi kitang sinasaktan? Now He murmured against my cheek. I kept pushing his chest. Ang lakas ng tibok ng puso ko, hindi kaya naririnig din niya iyon? I ll give you pl easure, darling. My lawfully wedded and bedded wife. Nanlaki ang mga mata ko. Was he serious? Had he gone mad? He cupped my cheek and pulled me closer. This wasn t my ideal wedding night! I was going to scream that. But his mouth was there already claiming what he thought was rightfully his. I could feel him all over me. Against me. Julia n His kisses turned soft. Not the way he always used to. Not rough and forceful . This time it was a mating of two souls. Kissing like there d be no tomorrow. He rained tiny kisses on the side of my face, on my jawlines. He was too big for th e limited space provided by the Cadillac. My mind went fuzzy. Were we going to r eally do it here? Out in the open? He bit my lower lip and nibbled on it like a candy he couldn t get enough of. I op ened my eyes and saw the stars above. The sky was so dark but the stars were twi nkling brightly. I even thought it winked at me. I felt the cold wind againt my skin. He opened the buttons one by one. Skin skin i nch by inch uncovered. I gripped the car seat tight. So tight my knuckles were w hite yet my cheeks were burning hot. I sucked in my breath. My lungs were starti ng to lack the oxygen it needed. Was it suffocation? I need you There were no love words only the brutal truth. Had the wind only carried it to my ears? Or was my imagination playing tricks on me? I was hesitant to open my e yes. It might not be true. Ganon ata talaga ka-tanga ang main-love. You d wish upo n a star. You willed yourself to believe. Masakit. Because need was different fr om love. I breathed in and out. Here on the car seat. It was wild. Hot. Spontaneous. And scary. We were like teenagers on our first da te. There was the thrill of being caught. He stood before me naked as the day he was born. Sometimes words weren t needed. A t least now, he was loving me. I couldn t breathe. He was touching me everywhere.

There. Here. Again and again. Oh, lord rape na ba talaga ito? He outlined my shoulder blades then down... down to my flat stomach. We kissed u rgently. I heard the unsnapping of jeans. I wasn t so sure if I even helped him to ok it off. Hindi kami gaanong makakilos. Then he started chuckling on my neck. H e was heavy againt me. Hindi niya alam kung paano `pagkasyahin ang sarili niya. Plinano niya siguro ito? Oh, boy he should have brought a bulkier vehicle. Then f rom afar we heard the mewling of My hair stood on ends as his breath fanned my nec k. Was I really ready for this? Was I ready to go heaven? I shut my eyes as I gasped. He drove deep into me. He stilled against me. We were one. Tumaas ang mukha nito. Sana hindi ko na lang nakita ang mga mata niya. His foreh ead was beaded with sweat. You lied to me. Gone was the passion. He took me in anger. I kept pushing me to get off me. Para akong mahahati sa gitna sa sobrang sakit.

It hurt like hell. I couldn t take it him anymore. I fainted. SIXTEEN The first time is usually, if not always, painful. Para iyong karayom na pinilit mong ipasok ang yarn. Pero sa kaso ko, it really hurt like hell. He took me in anger with no amount of gentleness. Parang dalawang metal na nagkiskis na hindi man lang nilagyan ng grasa. Nagasgas. I felt sore all over. I slowly opened my e yes. I wanted to cry and tell him how awful it was. Pero bakit ko siya bibigyan ng satisfaction at malaman niyang nanalo siya? Sinaktan niya `ko. Not just physically but emotionally scraped. Walang pakialam na nagbihis ako sa harap niya. Ano pa bang mawawala sa `kin? I f elt so violated. Why did you do it? He whispered angrily. His jeans were hanging low on his hips. Ni hindi nito nagawang i-snap iyon. He wasn t wearing his shirt. I smirked. Sa likod ng gwapong anyo niya ay nagtatago ang napakasamang ugali. He was an angel in di sguise. A devil s advocate. He was pacing to and fro frantically. Galit na sinuklay nito ang buhok. Why?! He shouted furiously. I was up to the last button when he turned around and faced me. Angry lines were visible. Nagngangalit ang ugat nito sa leeg sa pagpipigil. Well, I didn t care if he d murder me now. I didn t care if he

he punched the rearview mirror! I almost jumped in surprise. Almost. Nakita kong nagdurugo ang knuckles nito. `D i ba sinabi kong wala akong pakialam? WALA. I blindly sat on the passenger seat. Para akong tanga. Tulala. I heard him hissing beside me. Gusto kong sumigaw. Gusto kong tumalon sa bangin. Gusto kong matulog at hindi na magising. I closed my eyes. Malay ko ba, baka mangyari `yun. Baka pakinggan ako ni God at maawa siya sa `kin. Ramdam ko pa rin ang basa sa baba ko. Idemanda ko kaya siya? I would scream I m a battered wife of Julian Sunico . May makinig kaya sa `kin? I didn t want to be a hypocrite. I wanted to kill him. Sunugin siya ng unti-unti. Like what happened to the cursed witches before. Would there be justice in killi ng him?

He hissed. Hinawakan nito ang kamay ko. The dream. I heard him swore. Pinigilan ko ang kamay kong masakal ang kapatid ko. Tahimik na bumaba ako ng sasakyan. I smiled at him. Pero parang wala naman akong choice. WHAT?! Seryoso? You you lied to us. Butter Diner s. Before I knew it he threw my underwear with brownish stain on it! I hate you. Tinitigan ko ang leather seat. Yes. Are you mad? My baby it s not Julian s. Was she talking in Latin? Parang sinabi niyang a lien ang nakabuntis sa kanya. So innocent. Everything. He called me four times. Ayo ko. I took my perso nal things and left those that weren t mine. To me? To Julian? You wanted him to father your baby? Oh my. Nothing less. Ayoko ng sabihing bakit siya ba ang nasaktan? Siya ba ang nawa lan ng virginity? Kung sa bagay. Oh. You know what. Kahit isa wala. Hindi ako `yun Julian. I got attracted to you that first time. Jean what is this all about? Jeannie I m sorry. Humarap ako sa kanya. Hindi ako kumibo. my God. I shook my head. Was he immune t o pain already? At least they had something in common now. Nasa garahe na kami. Sorry sorry eh. You look so vulnerable and trusting. I winced. I thought she wouldn t do this. He s he s mine now. Bayad na `ko sa `yo. I I gasped. Talo? We re even. Why did you do that? bulong nito. Una pa man talaga never naman akin `t o.Ayoko siyang tignan. It should have been Jean s. What did he want this time? Humarap ako sa kanya. Morning. Ni hindi ko man lang napansin. Baka hindi ko siya matantya. I smiled mockingly. Oh. no. I wished we ve never met. She was my twin. Pabalibag na binuksan ko ang closet. Ours was a marriage made in hell. when I first saw you crying at the hotel. Nothing more. I thought I wouldn t forgive my sister for what she d done. Sige. Jeannie. kung batukan kaya kita riyan? Bakit mo ba kasi ginawa `yun? What wo uld I do now? We can t just trade places again. Sana sana sinabi mo na lang sa `kin una pa man. I didn t turn around. He wasn t looking at me. what was a piece of flesh for a Sunico like him ? Kapirasong laman lang iyon. Wala na `kong balak bumalik kay Julian. Parang hind i nito nararamdaman ang pag-agos ng dugo habang nagmamaneho ito. He didn t even bother putting his shirt on. aren t we? Ang laki ng talo ko. I cried a river last night. God. Sana inutang mo na lang sa `kin ang pambili ng bahay niyo. I swallowed an imaginary lump in my throat. The he called my name. magpanggap siyang wala ako. Para akong naguluhan. At galit na binalibag ko ang pintuan pasara. Was it that t . Baka kasi siya ang nawalan ng pinaka-iingatang dangal. We can live like this forever. I can t tell you everything. We re both devils.

At itinaas ang ulo na parang sa reyna. Bigla niyang hinarang ang bulto sa harapan ko. Sinampal ko siya. What the hell are you talking about? Napatingin ito kay Jean. I whispered defiantly. Uuwi na `ko sa `tin. I looked up. Hindi na pwede. darling. There the devil stood. Nakita ko ang masamang tingin ni Julian ng dumaan si Jean. You owe me five million minus the interest which is your purity. yes. He cursed floridly. Do you think your virgi nity caused millions? I gasped at his crudeness. She went missing before your wedding day. It won t work this time. I rolled my eyes ceilingward. But tears were starting to pool in my eyes. I blamed her. I couldn t take the lies anymore. If you want you can tell Julian the whole fucccking tru What fuccccking truth are you talking about? We both turned at the door. damn you! Sigaw nito na rinig ata ng buong subdivision. Bakit ba? Eh. At wala kayong magagawa ni mommy. Wala namang gumalaw non. Ayoko ng magpanggap na ikaw! Kung gus to mo bumalik ka dito at No! Iling ko. And the baby s not yours.hen? `Di ba ang mga kambal ay may kakaibang koneksyon? Jeannie please No! I couldn t take it. Stop it. Narinig ba niya? What truth. You re not that expensive. if I know ganyang ganyan din arte ko sa may hospital. he was damned furious. iba ako. Para akong bagong ano panganak. I promised Vincent. I bet he was ready to wring our ne cks. Niloko. Bigla itong tumuwid ng tayo. Ayokong isipin kung ano ang napakalaking kasalanan niya sa `kin. Nakita ko sa likod niya si si Jean? What are you doing here? Not that I was blaming her but but Hell. Naiiyak ako habang naliligo naalala ko lahat ng pag-uusap namin. . She suddenly winced and moaned. It was the empty glass. We both jumped in surprise when I heard a loud crash. Jeannie listen to me. Becau se we just met only a few times after the the Pikot. The corner of his lips twitched. Didn t her explanations a bit too late? Anong ginagawa mo? Isn t it obvious? I wanted to scream and shake some common sense into her. I mean hindi niya napansin na iba ka. And boy. He frowned. At hind i kita ibabalik sa mga magulang mo hangga t hindi mo nababayaran iyon. Nakita kong may benda ang kam ao niya. Pareho kaming pareho kaming Pero Jeannie hindi pwede. We ll tell you Julian about thi s. I replaced her. I walked like a zombie. You are you are She s your real wife Julian. I m so Don t fuccking say sorry to me. We looked down. Ma am. Hinila ko ang kamay niya at kinuha ang clutch bag. Julian didn t know me that well. Bigla siyang umupo at hinawakan ang ty an. May bisita po kayo. I muttered. My heart went wild. Ayoko na Jean. Bakit ka nagbabalot ng damit? Tinabig ko `yung kamay niya. What else was there? He was betrayed. Julian I m Jeannette. I stared fixedly at him. Parang dagang tumalilis si Jean. Nakita ko ang galit sa mga mata niya. Umuwi na tayo Jean. Inirapan ko siya. He looked fierce. I walked past him. I didn t want to cry.

I was the ang el with a halo sent from up above. Wala na lang siyang ginawang mabuti kung hindi paiyakin at sakta n ako. Hell. Tapos nagdrawing ako ng dalawang sungay. Na aalilain ng demonyo. I smiled nastily. My eyes squinted in anger. Parang may kulang.SEVENTEEN I was pacing to and fro. I was startin g to hate him. I wrinkled my no se and closed my eyes. Kahit naman f ine arts ang kinuha ko alam ko naman kung anong ibig sabihin ng kontrata. His handsome face and his body. Bakit ba hindi eh. given the fact that he owned me. Hinila niya `ko pataas. Pati ako nga rin nahihilo na sa sarili ko. I cringed in pain. ba My mouth dropped open. . Ganon ba talaga ang mga bida? Laging api? Bulong ko sa sarili ko. This was legal and notarized. Of course. ako ako ang ikinulong niya at gusto niyang magsuffer. But not ME. I busied myself for how many seconds minutes I pouted and made face. Then I did sketch myself. O kaya pahihirapan ko muna ng unti-unti. I drew Julian s face. Tapos biglang bumukas `yung pinto. Makapal iyon. A chauvinist. Was I that bad to blame my sister? Pero nasa katwiran naman ako. He was a cad. I bit my lower lip until it bled. What s this? Nakakapagbasa ka naman `di. Kung legal lang ang krimen sa mundo baka ilang bese s na itong namatay. An o ba! Pilit kong tinatanggal ang kamay niya sa braso ko. I erased half part. Pabalabag. Hindi na siya naawa sa kagandahan ko. `di ba? He looked lik e a bench model on Halloween. I brushed my tears angrily. leaning against the bed. At ang hawak niya isang malaking tinidor. I glared at him standing like he owned the world. Ang pinakababoy sa lahat ng b aboy. Oh. Kahit magkita pa kami sa husgado! I took my sketch pad and sat on the floor. Puro papeles. I was fuming mad. Pabalewalang may ibinagsak siya sa kama. Without clothes on. Sign this. I wanted to kill him right this minute. Then I drew his body again . Mah abang buntot. I raised one brow. Mali mali. hours. Inirapan ko siya. Did he thought I was a real bummer? Hindi ba at siya nga ang naloko ko? So he was the one who s stupid. Sh!t. Tumayo ka dyan. I took the papers and read it. If it was an y consolation on every one s part Julian let go of Jean.

eh? Tumawa ako. It was null and void. ngu miti ito at lumapit sa `kin. Ano?! Are you darn serious? It only cost Five hund red thousand? Ganon ako ka-cheap? Sana man lang tinaasan niya kahit one million. Then on my right ear. Tapos yumuko siya para magkatapat `yung mukha namin. That easy. It was just one of those corny jokes. An heir. perhaps. Napaungol ako. You heard me. Magsalita ba naman sa tapat ng bibig ko! Swear. Nadah. What s this for? You have two options to make: One. An d you re not the first virgin I ve had. So bayad na ang interes. `Yung magdadala ng apelyido k o. He cracked a knowing smile. why didn t you even give me a sign? Or even a hint? Nakaupo ako kaya t nakatingala ako sa kanya. He wasn t dead serious. I m not your legal wife Julian. Tinitigan akong maigi. Tawa pa. Para iyong sumabog sa mismong tainga ko. Nine months then you re free. God. Tsk. I appreciated you prostituting yourself to me. Tapos tawa pa ulit. ang int eres sa bangko ay umabot ng half a million. my goosebumps w ere showing. Tama ka. you ll tell me anyway. Na para bang ang paggawa ng baby ay bato-bato-pik lang. Masakit kaya. `Yung ngiting alam kong bukas patay na `ko. Feeling ko pinagbagsakan ako ng langit at lupa. honey. Go shoot yourself and go to hell. Wala din! WAS I GOING DEAF? W-what what are you talking about? Nanghihinang napaupo ulit ako. Aren t you going to ask what s the second option? Bakit ko pa itatanong. As if we were talking about t he weather. Galit na pinalandas nito ang daliri sa mga pi sngi ko. And because I wasn t that bad. Siya lang naman nasiyahan no . Baka nakakalimutan mo. `Yung tawa ng baliw. His voice was laced with sarcasm. Aalilain niya ba `ko? Was I going to age cleaning this damned house? Kinakalkula ko na s a utak ko kung magkano ang sweldo ng katulong at ilang taon ko siyang makakasama sa impyernong bahay na `t You ll give me an heir. I crossed my fingers. Sorry sa ipagsisinungaling ko pero Isn t mine. I swallowed an imaginary lump in my throat. was he? Hindi. G anon ba talag siya kasama? I ve already had a lawyer examined it. I even put one finger inside my left ea r. I kept telling myself that it would be okay. I didn t even get any pleasure from it. Buti na lang bagong toothb rush ako kanina. The bomb was dropped. Napatayo ako sa sobrang galit. You might do that honey. B ecause I had drawn this pig s face exactly the way he was evilly smiling at me! Nagpapatawa ba siya? Kaya nga siya pinikot ng kakambal ko dahil wala kaming pamb ayad `di ba? Anong gusto niyang gawin ko? Malay ko bang papalpak pala ang plano ni Jean. `Yung kahit hindi nakakatawa pinipilit mong tumawa. Hindi pangalan ko ang naka-re gister sa marriage certificate. `Yun naman pala eh. He stared at me incredulously. He said nonchalantly. Pra ise the Lord! Kung hindi mag-mamagic talaga akong magkaanak within nine months a . I gritted my teeth anguishly. I was afraid. I realized I was really a good painter after all. Hinawakan niya ang baba ko ng madiin. No spooky things. It was your s ignature not your sister s. Bigyan mo ko ng tagapagmana. Really. hey. Hindi ako nakakaintindi ng English. pay me the five million pesos. Seriously. I ve had my fair share of women Jeannette. Ganon. Para akong mahihi matay. Hindi na ako magpapanggap na buntis this time. Sana man lang nakapaglagay ako sa account ko mula sa kaban ni Julian ba go nagkabukingan. He said smoothly. Pero kailan ba naging okay ang magkau tang ng Five million? I was dead before I knew it. He planted his hands on his hips.Ano `to? Printed paper. Jean s baby kinagat ko `yung labi ko.

Sawa? Hindi naman ito Zoo `di ba? S he gritted her teeth in anger. May psychic ability na ba ito? He glared at me. What would it be Jean nie. Namilog ang mga mata ko Julian was standing there. It s okay. dear. Hi. Hi Dahil assuming ako alam ko. Then she turned sweetly at Julian. . Julian grabbed my waist as if he wouldn t want me away from him. Julian smiled back. Don t you ever dare. Pambablackmai l nga lang! This is pure blackmail! No. Well. He looked like a wolf ready to eat his prey. Wala kang karapatang karapatang igiit sa `kin ang marital obligations ko dahil hindi tayo mag-asawa! Oh. He smiled e villy. The handsome debonair. your choice. Nabasa niya ang isip ko! Wow.. I sighed. I went out of the parking lot to get my cell phone from the car. I m sorry. They were all bugging him. Bakit hindi ako lumapit sa mga iyon at i labas ang baho ni Julian? He was after all. Forcing a woman isn t my cup of tea. At itinaa s nito ang legal na papeles na binayaran nito ang titulo ng lupa namin! He was w ise. I groaned inwardly. I so hate you. Ikaw din. The woman smiled at me. Pero ikaw din. huh? Brad? Uh-oh.. Bakit kailangan ko pang magpanggap na si Jean? Alam na naman ng lahat. Hindi nga ako nagkamaling hindi ka imbitahin! Saan? Irene! So Irene pala ang pangalan ng makiring kaibigan na ito ni Jean. May step one. The business tycoo n. I was quite surprised when a hand caught mine. that was fine. Forcing isn t his cup of tea? Oo hindi. Parang siya nga ang nagre-reunion. Jean! Baka nakakalimutan mo `yung reunion natin mamaya. I smiled here and there. sa `kin patungkol ` yun. Buti naman. Lalo na sa`kin.t ang tatay ay Oh. kung makapag-react ako parang hindi pa kami nag ano `yung ano alam n iyo na `yun. Nakalimutan ko. Syempre ang baby hindi basta lumalabas sa tyan ng baba e yan. Well. my God so all the while we were ju st living in sin together? Mga immoral. Nagkalayo kami ni Julian. he hissed. Sa `kin siya nakatingin eh. A businessman s stock in trade. Nakita niya akong papalapit sa isa sa mga ito. Kung makalingkis. So what is it? This is human violation. my bed s warmer than that of the jail s. At least hindi na niya `ko hahalikan ulit. two. bakit hindi mo man lang kami inimbitahin? Gusto kong isigaw: Sino b ang kinakausap mo? Ako o si Julian? Kung makangiti naman labas lahat ng ngipin! She flipped one hair expertly. exc ept for the press. My phone started ringing. Jean was infamed for her swimming ability. Kung fine nga bang matatawag ang halos pagyakap ng babae dito! Their faces were in ches away from each other. Flirt. Syempre ngiti rin ako kahit na nga ba never ko pa siyang nakita sa tanang buhay ko. my God. three `yan. I snorted. Hello Jean. Kaya lalong lumalaki `yung ulo. Hindi nga ako nagkamali The woman raised one brow at me. Very charming ang loko. darling. Napaatras ako. Malapit na kami dun ng matigilan ako. my dear. No doub t. Unggoy! Napakatuso! I opened my mouth in disust. he shrugged. Jean told me everything. I he ard about it. I shrugged. it s what you called persuading. Brad stare d fixedly at us. Hindi nakaligtas sa matalas kong paningin. Ang press! I smiled. Oh no! Gusto kong batuka n ang sarili ko. The feeling s mutual. a public figure. NO! REUNION. May process `yan. Later everybody was dancing.

His voice was icy cold. Twice. The next thing I knew Julian and Brad were grappling. And I was frightened by the look in his eyes. Julian how dare yo ! He looked at me coldly. You should have killed me and . Ako ang may sagot kay Brad! I winced as Brad punched back. Nakita kong pumutok ang labi ni Brad. Pakaladkad. I gritted my tee th. nakakahiya. Eve just tolerated being with Adam. They knew nothing! Mga taong walang magawa sa mundo kundi pagpi yestahan ang latest tsismis. Out of the corner of my eyes I saw Julian s frown. J ulian pulled me roughly in the arm. It was unlike any fury I d had. No choice eh. Whew. alam mong hindi pwed I said kiss me. He motioned the steering wheel t o the left. Julian no! I screamed. Parehas tikom ang bibig namin. I shoul d have wore Hester s scarlet letter. Julian. No. Hindi na `ko magtataka kung bakit ito pinagpalit ni Jean eh. I saw the registration of s hock.Brad kiss me. The woman was just standing there. loner siya `di ba? Pinagbigyan na nga siya ni God. Nasty gossips. Pabalyang ipinasok. Matutuwa na sana ako dun sa maganda . Itinulak! Niya ako sa loob ng sasakyan. Na parang ako an g may kasalanan! Na parang hindi ko siya nakitang nakikipag-flirt sa ibang babae ! Hinila niya `ko sa braso. I moaned aloud. Naumpog ako sa silya. Brad sige paaaa d on t stop kissing me!!! I shouted. May paparating na malaking truck. Let go of me. I was even m aking gurgling sounds. I was too stunned to react. Sinuntok suntok ko ang braso niya. I saw Brad s purplish face with bruises. What? Jeannie. I glared at wh oever said that. Maganda pa naman. Bakit ba hindi sila makuntento sa isa? Bakit ba `yun na lang palagi ang problema nila? Nung ginawa naman si Adan. Anywhere my hand landed. Jeannie. You bastard! Galit kong hiyaw. Para akong bulkang sa sabog. I said stop it! Tili ko at gumitna ako. I put all my force and slap him. Brad are you okay? I knelt down in front of him. At na-automatic lock niya na ang buong sasakyan. Pinipilit kong gumitna pero natabig ako. For the benefit of others! EIGHTEEN I didn t want to hate men in general but it seemed to be in their nature to be unl ikable. Grabe. Sa paghampas ko sa sugat niya ay nabitawan niya ang manibela. Hampas dito. Papalapit na sila. He gave me that chilling stare that sent shivers down my spine. Sa bilis ng pangyayari hindi ko na alam kung sino sa kanilang dalawa. There was not a bit of gentlemanliness in him. Pareho kaming napakapit dito. God. ano bang klasing babae `yan. Brad was badly beaten. Gusto ko siyang sabunutan! Sino ba siya? This was all her fault . Kinuha ni Julian ang lapel ni Brad at binalya. At masakit `yun ha! I screamed when he was a bout to kick NO! Niyakap ko si Julian ng mahigpit. Nakita kong papatay talaga si Julian. Ku ng pwede lang na sipain ko siya. I wanted to shout at him. Get in. para akong nanunuod ng a ction movie. Now I know. Syempre kahit pagbali -baligtarin ko man ang pangyayari. Damn. Abusado. Paikot pa lang siya sa driver s seat ay binuksan ko ang car door para tumakbo. makiri nga lang. Naawa naman ako bigla sa kanya. There were flashes of cameras. And take note: Eve was the only woman back then. We both gasped. this isn t righ I grabbed Brad s lapels and kissed him right on the mouth. I couldn t get enough. Galit kong sabi. Once. Para akong lulubog sa kahihiyan. He w as already seated. We both screamed. What the hell are you d ing. dinugtungan pa. Muntik na kami dun! My heart was thudding loud in my chest. Julian Sunico s wife was seen kissing his ex. nakakasama din pala ang masyadong gentleman ngayon. Hampas doon.

It was as if he would do just that. Ang maging babymaker mo? Ha! Holy crap. Julian wouldn t resort to this. Did he think I can just bear a child and leave him to his father? I suggest you go see a psychiatrist. My hair on the nape stood on ends. Bumaba ka na. Hanggang ngayon ba iyon pa rin ang iniisip niya? You very well know I can t pay you even if it s a one-year term. my God. I gave you a choice. Why can t you just let me go? I whispered achingly. Oh. natatakot ako sa itsura ni Julian. Kinilabutan ako. He hissed. Ang mukha ay nasa gitna ng mga rehas na bakal. He said silently. Tapos may dumaang sasakyan. utos nito. BUT they were even singing a verse of some song. Baba. Why did he have to d o that? Was this one of his seductions 101? You might be forgetting. Kahit na nga ba maghubad si Papa P sa harapan ko. Balewalang sagot nito. Gusto kong is igaw sa kanya na baka naapektuhan na ang utak niya. Pe ro pero `di ba may onting konsensya naman si Julian? Even the tiniest bit? Oh. I shook my head forcefully and vigorously. Pero gagawin niya na Jeannie! My mouth dro pped open. I swore my neck almost snapped sa mabilis na paglingon ko sa kanya. Ganon lang ba talaga tingin niya sa `kin? His property na pwedeng bakuran. Don t try my patience. Basta to the highest level na talaga ang pag-iling ko. The musc les on his jaw flexed. Naiisip ko pa lang na ipapa-salvage niya `ko at itatapon ang kagandahan ko sa kung saang ilog. Julian swung the door open. Why should I? You re mine. He was speaking to me. I couldn t imagine myself there. He said bitterly. With matching every emphasis pa. Napatitig ako sa kanya. Tumaas ang sulok ng bibig niya. Sisigaw akong rape? Fvck you Jeannie. He tilted my chin up. I d rather you do that Julian. it boils my blood. Hindi ko na alam kung paano at anong kaibahan non. Without remorse. Kung kanina ay halos ipagtulakan niya `ko papasok. I shook my head. My he . I shook my head vigorously. It was a mere whisper. I said get out. A choice? I said with sarcasm. Pero syempre `yung masarap na kilabot. I bought you for five million. You re dead serious. The side of his mouth lifted sexily. My eyes grew wide. There were bruises all over his face.He gave me that chilling look. Okay. Alam mo pala eh! He smiled evilly. Julian glared all the more. Pero bakit ba gwapo pa rin ito kahit mukha itong may sungay sa paningin ko? I might. Really. I did shut up then. Isang barkadang malakas ang trip. And the title: Love the way you lie by Rhianna. In my predicament I wouldn t have noticed them or anyone else for that matte r. Parang wala sa sariling nasabi ko habang nakatingin s a Sa Police Station. this time was very much different. Decide now. He wa s forcing me. Get the hell out of my car. Hindi sa natatakot ako. In close range as in close to my mou th. I closed my eyes. I looked around me and I gasped. God. no. Alam ko.

Tipong ikaw pa ang aagawan ng boyfriend. `Yung tipong `pagnaglak ad kayong dalawa sa mall feeling mo ang yaman mo. He didn t know the meaning of love or even gi ving. I agreed to his terms. He was nice to me. Yep. Masyado siyang makasarili. Sana nga gan on na lang. `Yu n nga lang pwede siyang pang-S. As in. Why not? Pwede ko `yung ipam-b lackmail kay Julian. In short. Wooooh! I shouted loudly. Parang gusto kong sabunutan itong si CM. Ikaw lang ang magdadala pero anak ko. Lagay mo sa CR `pagnaliligo si Julian. He was naughty and nice. Kasi may kasunod kang boy. Paano kung babae maging anak natin? Anak ko Jeannie. And he called me. But I found out I was doing the same thing. O k aya naman ang bait mo kasi kasi parang charity lang. Was I that bad? Pero sabi nga ni Andrew E. Is he big? CM! I swore I blushed to the roots of my hair. Rowel? Ahm. Jeannie! Kulog lang `yun. I thought it was a bit odd of my twi n to cry under the rain. Rowel s here. Nakita kong umuulan sa labas. Whatever. He whispered and bunched my hair up roughly. I closed my eyes. Mabilis niyang pinakawalan ang mukha ko at nag-drive na siya pauwi. Sabi niya kasi kapag umiiyak over a jerk hindi siya maririnig ni Mommy. Ano ba kasing iniisip mo? Masyado ng polluted `yang utak mo. I found myself taking my shoes off and standing on Julian s lawn. Next time videohan mo ha? Bigyan kitang hidden camera. And don t you ever dare slee p with Brad. He giggled. Narinig kong naghikab si CM. Sus. Why? Asking your whereabouts. `Yung t awang pinipilit lumandi. I d like to spit right onto his demonic face. humanap ka ng panget at ibigin mong tunay . you know. I rolled my eyes ceilingward. And very gay. Nagpapakamatay ka ba? Gusto mo bang magkasakit? . He gave me flowers. Jean di d. Hay nako Jeannie. `yung katawan. Dati ko siyang manliligaw na artist din. `Coz I d kill both of you. sorry. My eyes were moist. As if there was no tomorrow. I avoided eye contact with him. Lahat ng sama ng loob ko sa mundo ay inilabas ko. the hot guys are jerks. Nakakaawa siya. I was stepping o n his Bermuda grass. Syempre laging naka-coat and tie `yang suplado mong asawa. isa pang Bebe `yun e h. help me.O. I don t want the time to come that I would only feel hatred against Ju lian. One hell of a horse. gifts and very gentleman. dancing under the rain. Why was it so? I had living proofs. bibigay pa lang. O inakala nilang ba liw na `ko. Really? One brow arched. One theory I realized: The nice? guys are ugly. Sus. Knowing Jean s eccentricity. I sighed as I clutched the wireless phone to my ears. If I were you. Bibi? Bibi? Bibi? Bebe Gandang hari. CM. Wala akong pakialam kung pinagtitinginan man ako ng katulong ni Julian. CM said tersely. Wow. and the hot-and-nice guys are gay. Ulam. Chillax Jeannie. (secret on) God. Sigaw ko sa kanya. Then I heard his monstrous laugh. JEANNIE! One hand grabbed my arm and swung me around. if I know. gora na ako sa gusto niya. When I was a kid I never liked rainy days. I was sobbing profusely. Julian was one hell of a hot specimen. Ayokong makita n iyang malapit na `kong bumigay. CM? Geezers. Sana vinideohan mo. Malak as pa naman radar ng mga mothers. Yep. Baritonong high-pitched. I knew then that he won.art went out to him.

If only it didn t have any value. Na sana hindi lang ako gustong i-detain dito ni Julian dahil sa utang ko. He brushed the straining hair on my forehead. Ang lapit lapit ng mukha namin. I knew it. pang-FAMAS na sana drama ko. I wanted to smack his handsome face only if he didn t look amused. Tapos malapit na super lapit na Nanunulis na `yung bibig ko. Ok ay na eh. Feeling ko nga matutunaw ako. Bastos ka. On his face. Hello? This was so small co mpared to what we d done. Hindi kaya magkapalit kami ng mukha? I smiled at him. Then I started crying on his chest . Argh. LOL. What do you think are you doing? He asked na para bang nandidiri sa `kin! I blinke d thrice. Pilit kong tinatanggal ang mga patak ng ulan sa mata ko. didn t he? Get off me It was a joke. My chest was flattened against his. I probably lost one screw earlier.It was lightning. A mixture of tears and rain. Titig na titig siya sa `kin. Pilit kong sumasayaw at nagtampisaw pero hawak pa rin niya ang braso ko. On top of him. Ha? Wow. Tapos itinapat ko `yung mukha ko sa mukha niya. I was on top . Can you believe that? He did say he loved me. I wrinkled my nose. I was wetting his tux. This was the magic moment. I rubbed my nose against his. Grabe. I felt hot all over. At sabay kaming bumagsak sa Bermuda grass. He said in amazement. Tapos tapos Hachuuuu! There. Nakakahiya na talaga. NINETEEN Sometimes you d wished that things were easier. Nung pagtalon ko kaya? What joke? That you lov e me? No. He pulled me roughly into his arms. Was he worried? I shook my head. I wrapped my arms around his neck. I closed my eyes. Para bang hindi siya makapaniwalang ginawa ko talaga `yun sa kanya. Julian Niyakap niya `ko. I thought I was going to sneeze my head out. Was I dreamin g? Tapos bigla siyang umubo. I love you Uhhh I couldn t believe it. So I closed the distance. Gusto kong matawa sa itsura niya. We were both wet. I looked up at him. Nalaglag `yung payong. Julian was really saying those words? Oh. You are my baby. my God. Eskimo kiss. Nagsasalubong ang mga kilay nito at may payong na dala. Why was it so hard to hate somebody who could hurt you the most? Somebody you never intended to fall in love with? Napakatanga ng puso ng tao. I waited for him to do the next move. My God. Syempre mahiya naman ako `di ba? Hindi ko pa rin namang nakakalimuta ng babae ako. Halos maduling na kami sa titigan namin. Don t even tell me! . Are we going to start the baby making process here and now? I looked up. That money was just a piece of pap er. Under the rain.

May dictionary ka ba dyan? He shrugged. Narinig kong tinataw ag niya `ko. Jeannie Jeannie I thought my head was going to break into pieces. And stop staring at me like that! I know. sabi ko na nga ba Julian ha d a pretty fix on me from the start. Ba hala siya kung anong gusto niyang isipin. Sigaw sigawan niya `ko . Ohhh My mouth opened in an indignant O. Alam ba niya `yung ibig sabihin ng salitang hambog ? No? I thought so. Oh. Inirapan ko siya. Are you into drugs? I said I was kidding about you. hindi ko na kasalanan `yun. I couldn t breathe. Wala namang pinainom sa `k in si Julian `di ba? Hindi kaya nilason niya na `ko? I groaned louder than the la st. Tsk. I ve heard that before. Do you ever know the word humility? Okay na magsungit siya. My eyes grew wide. I know. Kasi parang hinihila ako sa antok. I rolled my eyes heavenward. Ni-rape niya ba `ko? Bakit feeling ko para akong ginahasa? Ang sasakit ng mga kalamnan ko. I wasn t so sure. I m handsome and you couldn t resis t that. he hissed and brushed his drenched hair. Alam mo `yung parang humalinghing na pusa? My mouth dropped open.He winced. In disguise. FROM YOU. Ohhh ohhh Jul ian Ohhh YUCK! GROSS! He just raised his brow and looked at me oddly. I frowned. May sakit ka ba? He s aid sarcastically. It was a great effort to slap the incredulity in his face. At ang mga kilay nito? Nagsasalubong na naman. What am I doing? Badtrip na pinilit kong umayos ng upo. Napatingin ako sa kanya. Ungol ako ng ungol. . Pero `yung ipamukha niya sa `king siya na lang ang natitirang lalaki sa mundo at handa akong halikan ang mga paa niya? It was abso-fvcking-lutely insane. me. I was still suncking in my breath ever so slowly. my God. I said stop it. Parang gusto niya na akong sakalin sa itsura niya. He k nelt down in front of me. Basta `wag niya lang asahanag maghuhub ad ako sa harapan niya. Oh God. He was pacing to and fro. He was standing there. Will you just shut up? Ex cuse me? Hindi na nga ako makahinga t lahat then he wanted me to shut up? He was a lways grumpy. Promise. his wet shirt was clinging to his body. Hingal don. Hindi na `ko magtataka kung friends sila ni The Grinch. I tried to focus my eyes on him. Nakita kong basang basa na `yung carpet. I opened o ne good eye. Then I imitated again louder. I screamed. Ang sakit sakit ng ulo ko. Ano na naman bang pinagsisintir nito? His wet hair was clinging to hi s forehead. You sounded you sounded Sounded what? Like you are making out! For Pete s sake! Ha? Grabe. Julian must have been an angel. But it s as if as if you re going to eat me for dinner. Will you stop that? angil nito. Pangalan ko. Nakaupo ako sa couch! Basa. Oh well. Ano bang problema nito? Gusto kong sumigaw pero wala akong lakas. He knelt down in front of me. just s eeing him standing there with his shirt loving his body to perfection was making me ahm. He proved to b e tempting. I closed my eyes. hot. Bakit hindi ko man lang nalaman? Sayang naman. my ey es almost bulged. I moaned aloud. Ano na namang kalokohan `to? And stop doing doing that. Pag-umpugi n ko pa sila eh. Sino bang may sabing ako lang pala ang n ag-iisip ng hindi kanais-nais dito! Akalain mo `yun. Para akong lasing. Napaungol ako lalo. Hingal dito. making love in the rain. What the heck. Pakipot pa.

The likes of Julian should be banned. Forceful. Nanlaki `yung mga mata ko. Then I closed my eyes. Pakawalan mo `ko!!! Ti nakpan niya `yung bibig ko. In my blurring vision I saw Juli an hovering over me. I felt his teeth nipped my lower lip. Sisigaw na talaga ako. Like the way he always used to. My. Sa sobrang gigil ni Julian. Santisima! Naman si Julian oh. Hotter. He ripped it off me! Goodness. Para akong inaapoy. gracious. I swore. She was in and out of consciousness. Natatarantang binuhat niya ito. Rough. Parang nawalang lahat ang panghihina ko. Walang p atawad. mabilis pa sa alas-kwatrong yumakap ako kay Julian. Para siyang binuhusan ng malamig na t ubig. Was he insane? We were in the shower room! Hanggang dito ba naman? I shrieke d. hindi ko alam kung panong tili ang gagawin ko. He frowned. Doon.. Pakawalan mo `ko! Pakawalan mo sabi ak ooo Ibinagsak niya `ko sa bathtub! He was really inconsiderate. Namatay lahat. God. Hindi ko alam kung anong l ubog sa hindi punong bath tub ang gagawin. Julian noooo! I screamed and wailed. Kung kanina y nagkakakawag ako. I wished that instant that I were a mermaid. Then h is mouth landed on mine. Anong akala niya sa `kin bata?! I bit his hand. Tapos dahan dahang bumaba `yung mga mata ko dun sa kamay ni ya. Naramdaman kong may nagbababa sa `kin sa tiles. A slow knowing smile played about his kissable lips.. He roughly cupped my left cheek. pati dun sa baba. Kung akala niyang inaapoy sa pagnanasa si Jeannie. Gosh.Hubaran niya `ko! Joke lang. The door burst open. Our wet clothes were felt so paper-thin. I moaned a loud. Hindi niya `ko pinansin! Tuloy-tuloy lang siya sa pagtanggal ng mga butones. I made sure na nahirapan siya. Bakit hindi? Ang mga katulad niya ang da hilan kung bakit nagkakasala ang mga respetadong babaeng kagaya ko. Galit na binuhat niya ulit ako. At w ala akong pakialam kahit bumabaha ng mura sa shower room. Jeannie fainted! Napapikit ang mga mata niya. he was definitely wrong. The he pulled down my jeans. Helllpppppppp And in fair ness. Well. Pumasok si Mommy! Jean! At ang mga katulong! We heard you scream. ano sa ti ngin niyang ginagawa niya? Magpapatintero kami? Mahuli huli taya! I was going to try for another scream even though my throat felt scraped. Para akong lalagnatin . Aba. Hind i ba dapat Julian s kisses would send me straight to heaven? Pero bakit feeling ko hinihinila ako pababa sa impyerno? Julian thought she was okay. You mani ac! I hissed through my teeth. He was a safe cover from the intrud . I was burning hot. But she lay passive. Inaapoy ito sa lagnat. Oh.

Parang hin di ako mahiwalay sa pagkakayakap sa kanya. no. They all gasped. Sana hindi lang ako nananaginip. What are you all doing here? Julian smiled. Then he took the soap. Julian smiled. Han ggang sa magbula `yung bibig niya. I looked at the alarm clock. Julian I have hands. Nang lumabas na silang lahat. Hinawakan nito sa balikat si Julian at pilit inaalis mula sa `kin. A mere whisper. He shrugged. He was such a monster. Hindi naman ako kasya sa butas ng banyo. Kinapa ko `yung sarili k o. Anong gagawin mo? I looked around me. Betty Boop PJs. `Yung parang hinuhubaran kung hindi ko pa alam na hubad na `ko! I h issed. pleaded with me to bathe her. Goodness. Darkness was pulling me down. Buti alam mo. He scrubbed my stomach. I smiled too sweetly. At isinandal ang ulo ko sa bathtub. Julian bathed me! He dressed me up! What did he thi . Napalingon siya dito. Goodness. Julian wouldn t say something like that. Hi ndi na `ko magtataka kung mas pa kung sasabihin niyang: I ll kill you Jeannie . I really croaked. Nanla laki ang mga mata ko ng Oh. Bahala? Ha! If I know. Don t you want to ask who? He just shrugged. What what? You look as if you would kill. Parang binabarena `yung ulo ko. There was someth ing endearing about a man who said that he could take on the world for me. He didn t look pleased with himsel f. tapos tapos bibitawan niya `ko. Ako ang bahala sa `yo. Anong masamang ginagawa mo sa kapatid ko? Tili si Jean.ers. Tinitig an niya `ko. Eight o`clock in the morning? I bolted upright. Hindi ko gusto ang ngiting iyon. Then his hands submerged under the water. I sucked in my breath. didn t I? Then I clos ed my eyes. An g bigat ng pakiramdam ko. Lumingon siya s a `kin. Then I d make him eat the cake of soap. Gusto ko siyang lunurin sa bathtub. My stomach churned. Parang batang bulong ko. I bit my lower lip. was this déjà vu? I had nowhere to go. I gasped. Ah. Who said that killing a moron was against the law? Hindi ba pwe deng magbawas kahit isa? TWENTY I hated him. Will you please get out? I shouted at him. He smirked. It me ant catastrophe. I was trying to cover myself. Pinanlakihan ko siya ng mg a mata. my God. That was only a snippet. Oh-kay. Isn t it obvious? My mouth dropped open. I woke up late that night. Tignan ko lang kung makahalik pa siya ng ibang babae. See? Your sister here wants me Oh. Sana totoo. What? He asked innocently.

I understand. Alam kong hindi uso sa mahihirap ang omelette .nk of me? Barbie doll. I really gasped aloud. Sabi nga ni mommy. Jeannie Rose Leviste? YOU? WON T TALK? Tawa. Julian wala na naman akong lagnat samahan mo `ko mamaya kina Sumpak ulit. He was really going to kill me. I wasn t giving him peace? If I give you peace I won t talk to you. I was about to talk again when he thrust the spoonful of kaning baboy in my mouth. I wanted to hit him with the lamp shade. May takip iyon. Nakita kong napahiga siya kakatawa. Thank you. Sa paningin ko. This side of Julian that I wasn t used to. Basta hinalo lang niya ang pagkain. Not talkin g would be the cause of your death. Wow. I took the pillow and covered my ear. I groaned inwardly. Yep. Medicine. Pasalamat siya gutom ako. Bumagsak ang katawan ko sa higaan. What a better way of saying Shut up Jeannie . I gasped. eh? Nooo I bemoaned. My hands were itchi ng to take those and cover his That would be the day Jeannie. Sa daldal mong `yan. Unti-unti akong napangiti. Betty Boop! Kumain ka na. He tapped my shoulder. He really had a sweet and cari ng side. Breakfast. Naniningkit ang mga mata ko. Sa bi nga pala ni Thrust the food on my mouth. Day off ng mga katulong. Omelette? Omelette? Ma y bago na palang tawag sa sunog na kaning baboy ngayon? Will you just be grateful and eat? He angrily shoved the plate of food on my lap. An ong ginagawa mo dito? bulong ko. Galit kaya ako. Don t make me laugh. Binuksan ko `yung silver cover. Hindi naman masama lasa niya. Mabilis akong humarap sa kanya. I opened my mouth in disgust. Bakit nga pala nandito sina mommy kahapon? Oh! I forgot to call CM. Hey. Confirmed. Surely I wasn t that fat. thank you. I gritted my teeth. All at once my heart started hammering. Ang kapal niya! Grabe. No more like poison me! My eyes stared incredulously. Biglang bumukas `yung pinto. My head was poundi ng. parang n agkaroon siya ng dalawang sungay. Whatever. He was e ven clutching his stomach. Ha! Grabe. Napatingin ako sa unan ng masama. kumain ka na. Naramdaman kong lumubog `yung kama sa gilid ko. Julian ano b a! Will just give me peace Jeannie? I opened my mouth to talk again. Tumagilid ako. He tapped again my shoulder. Evil Ken. Parang biglang k umalam ang sikmura ko. Wit h his bewitching smile. Tapos bigla niya `kong inabutan ng tablet. Ganon pala huh? . Gusto kong sabihing: Amuin mo ko Kumain ka na. Julian? He didn t reply. `Yung tawang parang wala ng bukas. Preppy Ken. Excuse me! Gigil na humarap ako sa kanya. Hindi ba niya `ko papatayin? I looked at the tray in front of me. I arched one brow. He started laughing. Hmp. parang utang na loob ko pa ang paggawa niya ng breakfast sa `kin. Surely Ano ng tingin niya sa `kin? BABOY? Ano `to? Kaning baboy? Why. Tawa. There the Ken stood. EVER. Patalikod sa kany a. But still mukha pa rin iyong darak. He even yawned. Tawa. No reply. He said with sarcasm. ang mahi rap kuhanin mahirap pakawalan. I chewed it. Forcefully. I glared at him. What did he think of me? Hard-to-get `to no. My God. Fine.

I would have cried aloud if not for Uncle Bert and Julian s dad. `Yun lang! G oodness. Wow. He was challen ging me. Well. He would break furnitures and lashed at people. His broad back was turned to me. Ayusin mo sarili mo. When will you tell Julian about his true parentage. Deadma lang ako. Gusto ko ng ngatngatin ang plato o ka ya ibato iyon sa kanya. Nangangalay na braso ko ah. Napapanis na ata l away ko. The side of his mouth lifted slightly. Parang sinasabi ng ti nging iyong akala ko ba hindi tayo bati? . I would have turned around and walked away. simpleng papansin. Tumaas `yung kilay ko. You know I can t. You hated lies. Hindi kaya pulutin ako sa kalsada `pagsinabi ko `yun? Pam-blackmail! Tama. Mabait po `pag tulog. Didn t you. Silence would really kill me. Nagsasawa na `ko sa ganito. At sabi nga. He turned around and just walked on! I saw the way he carried himself like the king of the world. I sighed. Would he slash his wrists? No. Naiisip ko pa lang an g mga gagawin niya y kinikilabutan na `ko. I wasn t really e avesdropping. I looked as if I d seen a ghost. Gusto ko ng magsalita. Bert? When will you take all the blame and this buuullshit end? TELL ME! Parang may bombang sumabog. Nagsasalita siya. `yung mga taong curious `yu n `yung matatalino. Mamamatay nga ata ako. Parang teledrama lang. Ang sinabi niya lang kanina we re going some place . But then all your lif e you were living a big damned lie. Inabot ko ang kamay ko sa kanya. She loved you damn you! Silence descended. Kasalanan ko bang halos rinig na ng buong bahay ang pag-uusap nila ? Sus. Smile. It was difficult ignoring someone who didn t want to be ignored. Yes. He ll hate me. My knees were going to buck le. Nod. Jeannie? I almost jumped in surprise. My hands were cold and c lammy. Parang balewala lan g naman sa kanya. Aunt Risan my wife s very pampered. The voices were familiar. Wala nama n talaga akong pakialam. Kanina pa kita hinahanap. Ang katawan ko. Parang bumalik ang sakit ng ulo ko. Ikaw ang may kasalanan ako ang umaani! She never love d me so I got tired of waiting for her. We Aherm! Aherm! Malakas kong ubo. Nanghihinang naglalakad ako. And she loves me dearly I would have gasped. Hindi kami bati! Hindi ko siya papansinin! Argh. See? Silence means yes. He ordered. He frowned and sighed. I was tight-lipped and turned to his aunt. At unang una ako sa mga taong iyon. Inirapan ko si ya. He raised one brow at me. Sabi ko na nga ba. Tapos napatapat ako sa library. And be polite. They all laughed. I was about to turn away when some snatches of the conv ersation caught my attention. Parang may sariling isip ang mga paa ko. We were both sile nt on the way here. In short. Ang bilis . most of the time. It was as if they (Julian s supposed dad and Uncle Bert) told me that it wa s the end of the world. His whole being would surely break into a thousand pieces. He r olled his eyes. He just kept on talking. I was just a very keen-observer. Poor you. Uuwi na tayo. Waiting. They were all looking at me. I was trying to find the comfort room. Paano ko sasabihin sa kanya? Julian your family wasn t supposed to be who they were. darling? Nanlalaki ang mga mata ko. Julian smiled at me and raised his wineglass in a mocking salute. Alam kong nan anadya lang siya. Ito ang napapala ng mga tsismosa. ha. I was rooted to the ground. Mabait na asawa ba itong si Julian hija? Tanong ni Aunt Risan sa `kin. What are you doing here? I swore. I was true to my promise. I frowned. You have to tell him! You can t just keep this damned secret forever. I even bathed her yesterday.

I cushioned my head against his back. Akalain ko bang hindi ko matiis and dyablong si Julian? I could have gone straight to a reporter or to any journa list. Parang may nakadagan sa katawan ko. I snuggled closer. Hmm? Humigpit bigla `yung kapit niya sa `kin. Katabi! Then it clearly dawned on me. I couldn t breathe a little. I ran to him. I sighed pleasurably. Sipon . Umiling-iling ito.. Nagsusungit na naman. Ang gulo no? Kasing gulo ng u tak ni Julian. Somebody was sleeping beside me! My eyes grew wide . he might n ot know yet but he d thank you later. I ll tell you something you don t know. I almost screamed. For the first time I rendered pity for the high and mighty Julian Sunico. As in.. somebody. May utang na loob ka sa `kin. Ang lakas ng impact. Kaya nga ba mas close siya sa Uncle Bert niya? Kaya nga ba nag-div orce ang parents niya? If this secret would spill out. . Eh. I fell in step beside him. He started laughing demonically. And hugged him from behind. You need me. Parang hindi niya napapansin na kasama niya `ko. Half of my body w as covered by. Ever since that phone call earlier. one baet point na `ko. He didn t ev en bother to open the door for me. Pero hindi ko ginawa. I smiled mischievously. And because he was very much a gentleman.ko. Well. Hindi ko na siya pinakialamanan. Uncle Bert was his dad. for sure he would blame himself for the separati on. Nasaktan pa nga ` yung dibdib ko sa pagtama sa likod niya. The hands tightened around my m idsection. He sighed exaggeratedly. Julian was in the study room fussing ove r documents. It was one hell of a secret. Baliw ka na ba? He said drily while looking at me in disg ust. And and Julian never slept wit h me. Naiinis ako sa sarili ko. Later that night I went to sleep early. Luha. Na hindi ko m an lang alam kung sino. If he d only known. Masarap palang matulog ng may katabi. And because I wasn t that bad I hoped God and St. But it didn t even bother me. TWENTY ONE We went straight home. In my dreamy state. And the one he grew up with was really his uncle. And I bet. Parang sinasabing nasiraan na nga talaga . Kaya tatanawin niya sa `kin itong isang malaking utang n a loob. Habang pilit pang tinatanggal `yung kamay ko s a harap niya! I tightened my hands around his middle. Peter was looking right down at me us . Laway ko. Bumaba na kami ng sasakyan. you can t live without me. What are you doing? He said softly. `di one ganda okay. I hiccupped through his shirt. Tandaan mo Jeannie may malaking utang na loob siya sa `yo. Ni-lock ko `yung pinto kanina.

My eyes slowly widen ed He was gloriously buck-naked. May pupuntahan tayo? U . Gigil kon g sabi. He wasn t talking to me the whole day! I woke up with the empty side of the bed. Bakit ba ang sungit sungit mo He slammed the door in my face! I was so shocked. wasn t that my weakness? Men with nice rounded bu tts.Madilim. I smiled sweetly. Sige magpanggap kang wala ako dito. This mig ht be heaven. You scared me inis na bulong ko. Julian san ka kumain? He shrugged. Maybe Julian needed some loving after all. No phone calls. Unfortunately. I started pushing. Three words. Pero utos pa rin. Tinatanong lang naman kita. The man s breath was fanning my cheek. Julian ungot ko. Inamoy amoy ko pa man din `yung unan na hinigan niya! Tapos `pagdating ng b reakfast hindi ako papansinin? Grabe. One word uttered. With gaps between my fingers. I angrily swung the door loud enough. Why are you in my room? Bulong ko. Lapasta ngan! Tinitigan ko siya ng masama. Nice butt. But my. My chest was flattened against his. Hell. I closed the door shut in effect. I was going crazy with boredom. Leave me alone. Ah. Hindi man lang ako pin agtangkaan ni Julian. Yuck. her eyes were big and even her mouth was a big O. Traveling. Inumang ko `yung kamao ko sa likod niya tapos humarap siya. What are you doing? I frowned when he started puttin g his clothes in a traveling bag. I know. Sleep. Ang ulo nito ay parang batang isiniksik sa leeg ko. Nakalimutan ba niya? He cuddle d with me last night! I thought we were okay? Ngayon ko napatunayang maraming na didisgrasya sa akala. Then I pushed him hard. Naghilik siya. Hawak pa `yung walis. Parang balewalan g naglakad siya papunta sa closet. luckily his back was turned to me. Aalis. He wore his underwear not a whit about me ogling standing there. Ano ba. I covered my eyes with my hand. Ang KAPAL! Mabilis na itinapat ko ang palad sa bibig at bumuga buga. Ah. He came back late that night. Hindi ko alam kung bakit. Seconds late r. Dirediretso sa study room niya. Excuse me? Bad breath. L alo niyang nilakasan `yung paghilik. Alam mo ba Julian na nakakainis ka? Nawala na `yung antok ko dahil sa He covered my mouth! Inis na tinatanggal ko iyon. Travel. Mabaho ba `ko? For the first time. My God. A person seemed vulnerable when asleep. Niyugyog ko `yung balikat niya. Nakiliti ako sa paghinga niya sa leeg ko. Niyugyog ko ulit. Hindi naman ah. `Yung isa naming maid nakatayo din! Promise. Sabay biglang takbo. napadaan lang ma am. he was fast asleep. ganon. I heard him chuckle. Then he went to work . Gigil na sinundan ko siya. Didn t he know that he was way bigger than me? He covered half of my b ody. Hello? Hindi ko kaya nakita! Wala kaya akong nakita. I tenderly caressed his hair. I rolled my eyes ceilingward. Then I looked over my shoulder. Balewalang dumagan ulit siya sa `kin! Na parang ba ta. arhm scratch that. Pinipilit nitong pigilan ang mga kamay ko. May alzheimer s na ata.

Teka. He was mouthing: Kiss. Sabi ko sa sarili ko at ginawa pang p uppet na nagsasalita ang kamay ko. I punched the pillow like it was his face. Inis na binato ko ang unan niya sa kama. I didn t even remember him. I One more week of not abiding that damned co ntract. Anong sinabi niya? I stared blankly at CM. Para akong robot. Kahit man lang hoy wala. Samahan daw muna kita. Aalis tayo Jeannie. How was that? Nakahiga lang ako. Not even a word. CM said from behind. I was a little absorbed with my emotions. That was it. So planado ito? G anon ba? Why didn t you tell me? Galit kong harap sa kanya. Baliw na ata talaga ako. Anong sinabi niya? Hindi kaya minura ako ni Juli an? TWENTY TWO Four full days. I realized then that my world started revolving around Julian. Wala naman talaga akong pakialam. He was going away. Parang hindi gumagana `yung utak ko. `di ba kapag naka-pout nanunulis `yung lips? Hindi man lang makara mdam! Tapos nakita ko sa likod si CM. Parang baligtad? Whatever. I was just plain bored . Kung ako lan g Jeannie mas gusto kong maiwan kasama `yung asawa mo. Oo nga. Oh. Mabobored lang siguro ako kaya ako nagkakaganito. Kung ako lang din CM mas gusto kong maiwan kasama ng asawa ko! Mabilis na sumakay ako ng sasakyan. Julian! Oo Jeannie narinig kita. Kinilig pa ang bruha. I ate silently at the breakfast table. He even smiled at me. CM was waiting for me downstairs. He was even immersed in painting a landscape. I sniffed it. Nobody would tor ment me. We were all quiet. O binabaon ko ba s iya sa utang through his credit card. He even demonstrated with his hands. Hindi niya ako pinansin. Tayo? Nagmamadaling tinignan pa nito ang wrist watch. I didn t even notice that we were already inside the airport. A week. dangsin-ibogo sip-eulgeoya I ll miss you. Wala na `kong yayamutin. I didn t miss him. I couldn t say anything. Naiinis ako sa kanya! Kahit `wag na siyang bumalik. Yo ur hubby called me.mupo ako sa gilid ng kama. Tapos pinisil niya `yung bab a ko. For a week! Na hindi man lang ako kasama? Ang galing. One week kong h indi makikita si Julian? Argh. Tapos tinalikuran niya na `ko. I m going to Las Vegas for a business trip. He could really be attracti ve and sexy without trying. Basta lagay lang siya ng lag ay ng gamit. Tapos tinalon talunan ko iyon. Okay lang `yun! Mabuti nga `yun. Jeannie . I sat down while panting. At saka lang ito ngumisi sa `kin. Ang laki-laki ng bahay ako lang naman at si CM. I was hugging Julian s pillow tightly. I was t rying hard not to look at his back while walking away. A. I pouted. Ang O. He moved toward me. Parang nakalimutan ko nga ding magpinta. No one would shout at me. No phone calls. ko. He studied his nails. One week. THE HELL I CARE! Jeannie! Ano?! Galit kong harap kay Julian. I rolled on my stomach and covered the pillow over my head. He put on a shirt and his rugged jeans. Nagulat ako. Ni hindi man lang nag-alalang tumawag para itanong kung buhay pa `ko. Anong ginag awa nito dito? Julian put his luggage in the compartment without a word to me.

CM said. I couldn t eat that muc h. He stood up from my bed. Just curious. Tapos tinalikuran niya `ko at isinara ang pinto `paglabas. The door opened. Alam mo naman si Julian napakapasensyoso! I gritted my teet h and sighed. How could he be my friend? He had done nothing but to hum iliate me. Mamaya mag-celebrate tayo tutal wala naman dito si Julian. CM won! I hated them both. I didn t even look at the screen. Inis na humiga ulit ako at tinalikuran siya. He gave me that eat-your-heart-out sm ile. Anong sabi niya? Hindi ka naman interesado. Bakit ba kasi nilock lock ko pa `yung drawer? Stupid of me. I gasped and glared at him. Huwag lang talaga siyang makalapit-lapit. my mobile started ringing. Namimiss mo na no? Sabi nito at umupo sa tabi ko. Anong ginagawa niya? Dinadaig si Bill Gates? Tsk. Big time. Hello Julian? Jeannie kain na tayo! Sh!t. Pilit ginagaya si Ann Curtis. Bwisit. Sorry na. Tama.That bolted me upright. I smi rked at him. I gnawed the inside of my left cheek. I almost tripped with the blanket in a hurry to g et to my cell phone in the drawer. Eh. Argh. Kahit `wag na siyang bumalik. Para akong tangang hawak hawak `yung cell phone sa tenga ko. you don t miss him? Umupo ulit ako. `di ba? Sakalin ko kaya `tong si CM? Once lang. Oh? I don t care if you don t believe me CM. I m just resting. I shouldn t have mentioned that name! CM was giving me those slow teasing grins I hated these days. Eee. My hand was trembling. What bad news? . Hindi! Hello. Umiinom ng isang tasang kape si CM. It opened. I reahed for it under my accessories along with other swell stuff. I forced my muscles to move. That would be a cold day in hell. Smile Jeannie. Gusto kong ipakain sa kanya iyon. dude. I didn t like CM s expression. you know. CM!!! I wanted to wipe the grin off hi s face. I said nonchalantly. We ate dinner serenely. Me? Missing him? Bull. Boom . CM said. Double Sh!t. Sayang sasabihin ko pa man sana sa `yong tumawag kanina si Julian Well. I don t want to be the bearer of bad news Jeannie. I hissed and stared at him pointedly. Naiinis ako s a mga taong magkukwento tapos mambibitin! My hands were getting itchy to wring h is neck. It tasted ashes on the tongue. Tatalikod pa lang sana ako ng tumunog ulit iyon. It stopped ringing just when the key turned in. So. Ahh he nodded indulgently. Nagmamadali ako. because you re not interested never mind. bakit ka nagmumukmok? Ako? Nagmumukmok? My God CM. Okay. I looked at him squarely. To my astonishme nt. Julian? Badtrip. Meron tayong bente kwatro oras sa isa ng araw. You should understand your husband. Kitang kita kong parang hinayang siya. Bakit ko mamimiss `yung taong lagi na man akong inaaway? Why should I miss him when he didn t even remember me? Ano ba a ng one-minute call sa 24/7? I sticked to my viewpoint that if a person valued you that much though he was bu sy he d take time even a minute to text you. Mauubos talaga buhok niya sa `kin.

I slept like the dead. Julian changed the word messy to SEXY. Napatingala ako sa kanya. And he was afraid of this from the very first fvcking day he met her. The light fli ckered from the lamp shade were casting shadows on the wall to the woman sleepin g serenely on the bed. He opened the door and slid inside the semi-darkened room quietly. Even in deep slumber she came to him willingly. There was nothing cons tant and permanent in this word. Tapos humarap ulit siya sa `kin. Angko s footprints. He didn t really know what bullsh!t happened t o him. TWENTY THREE I woke up with a start. wasn t it? Si Julian? Bankrupt? Bugger. Sabi ko na nga ba. That was the most hateful word in a businessman s vocabulary. Bankrupt. And my! His chest was uncovered. Parang slow motion na unti-unti akong tumingi n sa gilid ko. Maingat niya itong pinagmasdan. He grunted. `Yun ang narinig ko. He was a major lo ser. Ang hirap kapag magkalaban ang puso at ang utak. I was like was I dreaming? `Di ba merong seven days in a week? Nagkamali ba ako ng bilang? Pang fifth day p a lang ngayon ah! Maybe he wasn t Julian! A twin? I shook my head rapidly. It was just that he was afraid to get too attached. Marahang humiga siya sa tabi nito at tumagilid. It s the truth. Weren t his mother and father a one great example ? He was a very cynical man. They lost millions. I m sorry Jennie. She stirred in her sleep. His heart told him otherwise. He cuddled her in spoon fashion. He opened one good eye. Jules Tinalikuran niya `ko! Oh-kay. Ine-expect ko bang nandun si Sadako? Oh great. I went to bed that night with my head pounding so hard it hurt. At mas mahirap ipaglaban ang isang bagay na alam mong matagal ka nang talo. I love you. Ayt. He kissed her na pe softly. Tapos pumikit ulit. Lumapat ang likod nito sa dibdib niya. Why not? . Julian She turned to the side. Parang hindi ko ata naintindihan ang mga sinabi ni CM. Goodness. He had an eight o`clock stubbles about his cheeks. His mindset was shouting he didn t need her. My eyes grew wide. He was whi spering what seemed like love words to me. Now. Kukurutin ko sana `yung braso ko. Jeannie could disappear one day. God. I slowly smiled. At nalilis ang kumot mula dito. I was really dreaming! Oh. I pouted. Julian. He knew those facts might kill him. Oooh lala .Pabagsak na ang negosyo ng mga Sunico. He couldn t afford to lose his heritage. But but hey I had this dream last night. dangsin-eul salanghabnida. He found himself smiling oddly. Befo re I knew it his arm wrapped around my waist and pulled me closer. That was the last of my conscious thoughts. Tapos nakita k o `yung biceps ni Julian. Eight? Ten? Ang tagal ko na d in palang pinagtyatyagaan si Julian. And his fingers were itching to put an L word on his forehead. Huy. I thought men with stu bbles looked messy before. Someone groaned beside me. He look ed a bit disoriented. kabaligtaran ang nangyayari sa totoong buhay. my left arm jabbed som ething. This was just one of his grand jokes. I whispered. Why didn t he tell me a thing or two about it? Wala ba talaga akong silbi para sa kanya? It seemed a lifetime since I signed that marriage contract. She was one thing he didn t need right now. Napasubsob ak o sa dibdib niya. The investors in Las Vegas were pulling out. I stretched my arms. Disoriented. The word complication was writt en all over her face.

he wasn t that showy. Uh-oh. Pero ngu mingiti na rin siya ngayon. he became a bit ge ntler with. malakas kaya kiliti ko. Tingin sa lampshade. Sa kama. Jeans. But I m tired. Parang kagat lang `yun ng langgam. I clutche d the headboard. Tapos nagtititili ako. Naninigas na `yung leeg ko. I winced. Mayamaya lamang we were brushing our teeth side by side. L ukot na naman ang mukha. He ripped the magazine off my hands and threw it wherever it landed. Si Julian nga! Nagsasalubong ang mga kilay nito. He regarded me with incredulity. Anyhow. Grabe magkaka-stiff neck ata ako kakating ala sa kanya. Why. What did you do with my things?! What things? Painosente kong sabi. Tumalikod ako sa kanya ng tumayo na siya sa harap n g salamin. Ang kapal! I shrieked when he pulled my feet from the be d. He had already a to wel on. Nangangalay na `ko. Just a bit. what the Confirmed. Tapos nagbuklat ako ng magazine. I know you want me now Jeannie. I pouted. I woke up having him beside me. Damn. if I would be living with him forever I couldn t imagine. He was silent. Julian didn t mention anymore about my debt or the baby making cont ract. men had no modesty! I slept in my birth suit. I winced as I saw him striding down the stairs. was he seducing me? It wasn t working! It was oh-so-tempting. My. `Yun nga lang. Well. Inis na humarap ako. But not at him . Ayy. Feeling ko ang bilis humaba ng buhok ko. Who are you asking me or the bed? I looked him in the eyes. I hated him! Hindi na siya nahiya sa ayos niya. It was un-Julian to do those things for me. Hinuhubaran? More like sinu sunog. As in nada? Meaning. God Jeannie look elsewhere but him! Tin gin sa ceiling. Para kaming naghahabulan sa maliit na kama. Kinikilig talaga ako. . I gritted my teeth. He even make it a point to dine with me at night. Ginalaw mo naman `yung mga gamit ko! Even my baseball is missing. Hinila niya talaga ako. I was a bit tempted. Ano kayang pinakain kay Julian don? Na-realize niya sigurong mahirap ng makahanap ng isang Jeannette Rose Leviste sa buong mundo. sayang! LOL. Tingin sa flooring. Tapos `yung tingin n a `yun yung para akong hinuhubaran? Are you insane? Inis na lumayo siya sa `kin. Some things changed in him after his business trip. Nanggigil lang naman ako. Na para bang nababaliw na `ko! Tapos tumayo na siya na parang walang pakialam. Oh. Pe ro Julian toned down a bit. What! Inis niyang tanong habang hinahanap `yung jeans niya! Yes.I pinched him slowly and ever so painfully. He then hugged me and carried me to the bathroom. Nanghinayang lang. Tapos inabot niya sa `kin `yung toothbrush ko. I was like in fairy land for three m ore weeks. naninigaw pa rin siya. Not that I was disappointed. Geezers. He gave me that come-on smile. Why couldn t I close my eyes? Why do you have no clothes on? Not a stitch! A slow smile cracked about his lips. I swore I blushed to the roots of my hair. Grabe. Na para bang walang pakialam. But our eyes met th rough the mirror. Why do you have no clothes on? I parroted. Hello? It was daytime! Tapos tumata gos pa `yung sinag ng araw mula sa sliding door. He often scowled. He chuckled. A bit. I gulped. He said forlornly. He planted his hands on his hips. I lacked sleep. Kailangan ko pang pum asok. Not lower Jeannie! But hey. He tickled me on each side. Jeannie! Sabi ko sa inyo a bit lang eh. Oo.

My mouth almost dropped open. Nakakainis sa inyong mga babae. I mean. She knew CM by the photos I e-mailed to her before. He sighed. He slowly smiled at me. Listen to me sweetheart. Tapos naghikab ako. Babalik na `ko ng States the day after tomorrow. Vincent? Hmm. And hey. Hindi naman talaga masama ugali niya. I felt a pang of envy. In exchange I gave her a sculpture of Venus de Milo. It was a little bit over a month and a half simula ng bukingan portion na `yun. I glanced at him. Kung gusto mo kunin mo sa attic! The hell I care if it was even the Queen of England s gift to you! Ayoko kasi ng maraming basura sa room ko! Bwisit. For the win `yun te! Parang kinikilig na tumingala pa ito. Paint Julian while sleeping nude. Muntik na kong kiligin dun. blackli sted na. And that guy. Wel l. Mga ka-federation ko ata ang judges. Was he treating my sister well? Ngumiti sa `kin si Jean na parang inaassure ako. he really was a changed man. Tricia s a part of the past. Winner! Tumili pa siya. Sana may baby na rin ako. I t was gross to even imagine. That s Tricia s birthday gift to me. For me it wasn t even practical eating or even drinking a cup of coffee for how much! Tsk. Jean let s go. you know. Two weeks from now may gaganapin g Fine Arts contest sa New York. I didn t want him to change. But I knew deep down he cared about me. I m not good with explaining myself. Parang balewalang tumayo ito. He si ghed exaggeratedly. Kung sa bagay. I thought he was going to tell me go to hell . . I should have been understanding. Were rich men born to be airheads? Julian for one.I pouted. Hindi ko n a itatanong kung anong o much better sinong nilalapastangan niya sa isip niya. I shrugged. It s time. Hindi ko gusto `yung ngiting iyon ni CM. I frowned. I silently wished as I touched my sister s rounded stomach . Alin `yun baseball bat niyang may nakalagay pang From me to you? YUCK! I don t know. He gave me the creeps. siya naman ang magbabayad. Pero `yung Vincent. Ngumuso ito kay Vincent. Then we hugged each other. Ewan ko ba dito kay CM. Ang kapal ko naman kung sabihin kun g he was lusting after me. Her tummy s five months now. okay fi ne. eh kung tutuusin I was my sister s dead ringer. How rude . Did you know why Julian s business got a downturn? CM s eyes squinted at their backs. Hinarap niya `ko. CM s brow raised. Tapos lumingon ako. Kung buhusan kaya kita ng kumukulong kape? Gusto mo? I smirked. Because Julian was Julian. Pero hello? Kailangan pa bang ipamukha sa `kin na regalo `yun ng ex niya? EX na nga `di ba? Meaning X. You might want to join Jeannie? Seryosong sabi n ito. if I was going to ask for the moon. sometimes he was an asshole. I didn t know. If he would just kiss me and tell me he was sorry then he wouldn t be Julian at al l. He was looking right through me. He was eyeing me like. See? He even gave Tricia a very luxuri ous gift! Ako? WALA. Tell me you love me and I ll forget you even dated Tricia once u pon a time. Tipong mag-iinarte ka kasi gusto mong lambingin ka niya. No. Tapos nanulis `yung bibig ko. Well. Alam mo ba `yung feeling na gu sto mong magpa-amo. Anong isasali ko? Wala pa nga akong napipinta simula dumating a ko dito. Jeannie? Tumili siyang lumapit sa `kin. We chat a little for a while. Once in a while. ang big deal ng nakaraan para sa inyo. Parang nag-init `yung ulo ko. Parang tumaas lahat ng dugo ko sa ulo ko. At nauna na kay Jean. There was something there. Anong ibig mong sabihin CM? Nagkita kami sa Starbucks. argh. Okay. I smirked at him. Matino namang kausap `tong si friend. This Vincent was second on the list. Tricia gave it to me on my 21st birthday. There was m y sister. we could indulge in life s luxuries once in a while .

My phone started ringing. But he didn t tell an ything about us being together forever. That one s ruthless. Oh. CM. Artist yes. napakapit ako sa silya. Anak ko ito eh. What? I threw up on him. Who s her baby s father anyway? Isn t Brad her boyfriend? Parang naguguluhang napatingin ako sa kanya. He cut the line off. kelan ba naging negative ang plus sign? Parang nababaliw na sabi ko sa sarili. God. Then I slowly peeked at it with one eye. Raised my han d then pouted my lips. Why not? Sa kotse siya nabuo. This tim e he s got his revenge against the Sunicos. Pinaghirapan ko kaya ang paggawa dito. Could it be? As mommy told me. Just like that. Seriously. But not as an artist slash actress. So ano? Lalaking bastardo ang anak ko? Hindi ko napansing umiiyak na pala ako. CM even suggested we go to the OB. Bakit ko pa kasi pinirmapirmahan. `Yung hikbi ko naging hagulgol na. Bakit ako tatanungin mo kayo ang kambal `di ba? Anyway. What now? Paano kung igiit pa rin ni Julian `yung baby making contract namin? I was so stupid. I gasped. Siguro magiging car racer anak ko `paglaki. It had been ab out a month and a half since that night. If ever na totoo man syempre `yung tatay ng anak ko ang gusto kong kasama. Pero ayoko. I laughed silly at myself. He shrugged. Siguro may mga v . Nasulot niya ang mga investors ni Julia n. Plus sign. Jeannie? Are you okay? Okay? I groaned. Ano `yun mga tuta? Basta na lang ipapamigay.Wait. My sister s well-informed. I hadn t thought about it. Hindi pwedeng artista Jea nnie. Naiiyak na napaupo ako sa tiles. I don t know. I wanted to cry and howl at the same time. Na-realize kong ang sagwa pala. Jean s not like that. He changed. Positive? Malamang Jeannie. Then my vision became blurry. You re gross. no. Ngayon din. baka naman na g-eenie mini mynie moe `yang kapatid mo? Sino sa tatlo ang tatay ng anak ko? Sosy al. I know. Pero parang wala namang laman ang tyan ko. be careful what you wished for coz you just might get it. what do you mean? He shrugged. You re kidding me. May nagbago ba? Nag-pose pa ako. Kinakabahan ako habang hinihintay ko ang result ng PT. I yanked my tee shirt up. Julia I gritted my teeth in anger. My head was spinning. Hello? Umuwi ka na. She s one of the cronies of Vincent. We weren t even married legally! Dahil nga null and void ang marriage contract namin. I was a bit disconcerted about mothers who left their children withou t a by-your-leave. Who do you think? Mahina kong sabi. Hindi kaya buntis ka ba? My head swam with all the possibilities. Kaya nga nagtataka ko dyan sa kapatid mo. what would happen to me? I couldn t just give my baby up. I giggled. He shrugged. TWENTY FOUR I stared at myself in the mirror. I hugged my knees to myself. Akala ko ba nagbago na siya? Mabilis akong tumayo. We have a flight to catch up. Goodne ss. I looked pale.

my God. I smiled and caressed my stomach. He groaned. Per o naiinis din akong makita siya at the same time. Sabi ko lay uan mo nga ako. . Then I sniffed his shirt . Basang basa na ang mukha ko ng luha. Sigaw pa! Napahikbi ako. At mabilis inilayo ang mga braso kong nakataas sa kanya. My mouth dropped open. Biglang bumukas ang pinto. I might melt. it was difficult to carry extra pounds for nine months then you d just just Argh. My eyes watered again. Disgusted. I shook my head. Anon g sasabihin ko. He sighed. I said get away Will you just shut up? Para kang loro. Gusto ko siyang makita. I pouted then tears readily pooled down m y eyes. matter with you? frustrated na bumab a `yung sigaw nito. Niyakap ko siya. I swore I wanted to curse Julian. Bakit ba ayaw tumigil ng mga luha ko? Parang gusto kong maglupasay. Napakapit ako sa PT at mabilis na itinago sa likod ko. Gosh. Masyadong matapang . Ang baho mo kaya. At `pagsinabing layuan mo `ko ang ibig sabihin lang nun ay pilitin mo `ko. Jeannie! If you want to fly to the moon. WHAT! Mabilis nitong inamoy ang sarili. The grea t Julian Sunico? Parang takot na takot akong hawakan. Lalo akong naiyak. Naawa siguro sa `kin at saka ako niyakap. I would have died. Napakasama talaga ng ugali nito. Parang nanga sim `yung sikmura ko. Jeannie stop this nonsense okay? Aalis tayo ngayon din. Tapos Oh. And I shoved him away from me. Sabi ko. Umiiyak na sumuka ak o sa bowl. Hindi ko sinadya `yun no! Gross. Tumulo `yung sipon ko. Every woman deserved to be wooed. Para akong batang nagpapabuhat. At nilayuan nga ako! Didn t he know that when a woman said she hated you it meant she cared about you. he whispered. That kind of beast scowl he always had. fine with me. I wasn t here to sit judgement on them. Tapos iyak na naman ako. God.alid reasons sila. I gritted my teeth. Mamayang gabi na `yung fl ight. Julian buntis ako panagutan mo `ko! Baka sakalin ako nito ng w ala sa oras. It was just that. Ano bang problema ko? What s wrong Jeannie? I saw concern in his eyes. Nakita kong hindi siya magkandatuto. We re going Nabitin ang pagsigaw nito. I already love you baby JJ. And Jean(pronounced as John) Julian if a he. Jeannie! What is wrong with you? Wala siyang choice. Kadiri man halos isubsob ko na ang mukha ko sa bowl. He rolled his eyes ceilingward. Tapos pinipilit niyang nila layo `yung polo shirt niya sa `kin. Hindi ko gusto ang amoy ng pabango niya. Hindi ba niya alam na buntis ako? Sumisigaw siya? `Di kaya marinig ng baby `yun? What is the sigaw niya. Juliet Jean if ever the baby s a she. He carried me like a sac k of rice. Oi. Then I sniffed again. Before I could ev en say stop sniggering at me my stomach turned upside down. Mauna ka na! Hindi ako sa sama! He scowled. Well. Get away from me! I screamed at him. Layuan mo `ko! What! I said get away from me! Excuse me? He looked at me incredulously. `Yung tingin niya sa `kin `yung tingin na parang baliw na talaga `ko. I wasn t so sure why I couldn t just tell him right away. Go ahead. Ta pos pinunasan niya `yung bibig ko ng basang face towel. Napakasama ng ugali niya. Tapos tinampal ko `yung bibig niya. Para akong masusuka.

He teasingly smiled at me. Tapos ngumuso siya sa likuran ko. CM started laughing. Kapag idineny ako nito ikakaila ko din siyang tatay ni baby JJ. Like in a slow motion I turned around. At tumiklop na si CM. Damn. Sisigaw sana akong asawa ko `yan . The gay who impersonated President Gloria Arroyo patted my husband s rear! Aba. Then I raised my hand. Julian s eyes grew wide. Then my smile slowly faded when Julian cracked a slow. soft smil e about his lips. Wala na talagang matinong masabi ito. Baby JJ? Excited? Syempre! Of course. Kaya la ng baka kuyugin ako dun. He was shaking hi s head. It wasn t one of those sexy grins or even the self-mocking half- . I sweetly smiled at him then turned to the stage. galit na bulong nito sa `kin. I sipped the juice. I see. Effective. So is the lucky girl that one? Todo smile ako. I hissed and glared at him. Sorry Julian. Nagkita kami sa isang gay bar kinagabihan. Sus. going home. Bumaling ulit ako sa kanya. Hindi. Only if I would get out of here alive later. Patay. Hello Julian Jeannie s just One angry look. Sabay himas sa tyan. I was waiting for his response. Am I going to be a godmother. Parang nawala lahat ng sama ng loob ko. lover boy anong kakantahin mo? I don t know how to sing. expressionless but I clearly saw the way he was looking at me . Nilayuan nga niya `ko for hours! I called CM on the p hone. we need someone to volunteer to sing for us. Parang sinasabing patay ka talaga sa `kin . Yes? My husband will sing! CM groaned. ngayong umaga lang `yan `pagdating ng gabi bati na ulit kayo. how sweet. Let s go home. Nagpaalam ka bang aalis? I frowned. Biglang naghiyawan ang mga matrona at bakla doon. Syempre gay bar nga eh `di may mga halamang dagat na nagpe-perform. Are you single? Julian regarded me with intense dislike. Through the dim light his face was arhm. And he loves me so damned much The hell I don t know how to He hissed. Napatingin ako sa mga halamang dagat sa stage while Julian kept pulling my arm. Na tapat dito ang spotlight. Hindi ko hahayaang madungisan ng dugo mo ang baby JJ ko no. I gnawed at my nails. no. Ako. `Yun lang. iyan ang bunga ng inyong pag-iibigan ni Julian eh. And the re was him! What was he doing here? Napalingon agad ako kay CM. he s really sweet. I beamed proudly. Magkaaway kaya kami. Tumaas `yung kilay ko dun. So. CM! I thought you re my Ladies and gentlemen. dear? I smirked. Uh-oh. Ang masama pa nito ibitin ako ng patiwarik ni Julian m amaya. Parang nababagot na sabi nito. Anyone? I smiled. Buti na lang maingay kaya walang nakarinig ng sinabi niya. At halos bumaon sa braso ko ang kamay niya sa pagkakahawak sa `kin. I don t know how Pero inakay na siya ng dalawang bakla. Oh. Libre? Julian gave him h is infamous don t-touch-me glare of his.Nagtatampo ako kay Julian. Mamaya. Bakit may unfortunately pa?! Really? Very unfortunate nga. My. Unf ortunately. Kung makatsansing. I couldn t just help imagining the devil himself sing ing a love song for me in front of everybody. Napalingon agad ako. Kaya nga nate-tempt na din akong mag-asawa para may kumukulbit na rin sa `kin `paggabi. Jules kasi CM! Baling ko kay CM.

Pero hindi lang pala b ulag ang pag-ibig kung hindi bingi rin. oh I I need to share every breath of you Oh I. hindi pwedeng mag-Careless Whisper dito ha! They left him on the stage. Yes. Then he mouthed: I love you. Julian cleared his throat and looked about the surro undings uncertainly. Nagtawanan `yung mga nandun na kala mo kinikiliti. He wasn t near perfec t. It was as if he was talking to me through the lyrics. It was full of tenderness. TIGHTLY. I frowned and winced at the same time. So afraid to take a chance again So afraid of what I feel inside. At saka ano na lang sasabihin ng mga associates niy a? The CEO was seen singing a love song to his wife. oh I I need to know I can see you smile each morning Looking to your eyes each night for the rest of my life Here with you. Hindi ba dapat CM s eyes widened as he was w . Oh. Our eyes met. I thought the world stopped revolving. Magpapalakpakan sila tapos kikiligin.smile. The gay comedian snorted. He was rude. I don t know how to sing really. Because it was the best song I d ever hear d in my whole life. He was really croaking and out of tune. you re my every He smiled at me and grabbed my arm. eto na `yung moment na maghahabu lan kami tapos magyayakap kami sa gitna ng maraming tao. He stopped singing. Pretending I was better off alone But I know that it's just a lie. near with you. Nakakahiya lang tul oy. Bumaba siya ng stage. Leigh Nash sang that song beautifully. But I need to be next to you Oh I. Palapit na siya. Pero ngayon ko lang na-realize Prince Charming was real. and a very arrogant ass who thought he owned the w orld. At ibang sayaw din ang alam k o `yung `yung walang steps. `Yung parang shooting. Buti na lang gwapo siya. Seriously it was as if he weren t really singing. I grimaced. a chauvinist. Sa totoo lang naiyak ako kasi hindi pala marunong kumanta si Julian. Akala ko sa movies lang nangyayari ` to. No. O kaya he would tell me Je annie you re my life. My eyes got misty. Tapos tumayo ako. But it was okay with as long as he owned me. Been running from this feeling for so long Telling my heart I didn't need it. His voice was awkward. God. Eto na. Not even a one-fourth of any croakin g vocalists. oh I I need to be next to you Need to be next to you Right here with you is right where I belong I lose my mind if I can't see you Without you there's nothing in this life I would make life worth living for I can't make it if you're not there I can't fight what I feel any more.

God. He did. Pero nakita niya ang mensahe ni CM. It was all a dream! Humigpit ang yakap ni Julian sa `kin. I saw him packing our things. In b ed with a stranger. Bugger. I was naked. What happened? Joke lang pala ni God. Suka ng suka na wala namang inilalaba s. Si Julian nga! Malay ko ba. He felt stripped of his pride.agging his finger: lagot ka. no. I even brushed the tendrils of wavy hair away from the side of his face to make sure. he sang a stupid son g he had secretly listening when he was a teenager in front of a crowd. Mabilis akong tumaas at naglinis `pagkauwi. There. Then my stomach got queasy. Kung hindi ako ang magsasabi para matapos na ` yang problema mo. I was covering my mouth and running to the CR. I sat upright. He swore he gasped. Narinig niya ang pagtunog ng cellphone nito. on his stomach. It was so unlike him to snoop into o ther s things. Tala ga bang nagiging spoiled na sa kanya ngayon si Jeannie? He hissed. To God-knows-where. I gritted my teeth. Iti natanong pa ba `yun? THE USUAL. He gritted his teeth. didn t he? Argh. Mamaya niyan si Freddie na pala `yung katabi ko. Before I knew it. Kahit na nga ba nandito pa rin ako sa r oom ko. I remembered watching Nightmare on Elm Street last night. Naiiyak na subsob na ang mukha ko sa lababo. He said in a controlled voice. He loved me. Para akong naalimpungatan. What baby? Wasn t it ironic? CM would tell him? Didn t he? Jeannie had a baby how? Oh. hell. Kontrolado nga galit naman. Jeannie. Definitely not Julian! And very much naked! Oh. Sumuka ako dun sa sink. Aalis pala kami bukas ng madaling araw. She was inside the shower room. I woke up and opened one good eye. I gasped. anong tingin niya sa `kin robot?! Julian! Not a word. He was going to be a father without her telling him outright! TWENTY FIVE Disoriented. His left arm was wrapped around my midsection. Puro gastric juices lang naman ang . And Julian seemed withdrawn. This wasn t one of my fantasies. He shoved me inside his car. God. Grabe. Lahat na lang ng gusto nito nasusunod. Habang sumusuka ako ay pinapaliguan ko ng mura si Julian sa isip ko. I was paranoid. I pouted. wasn t I? Then my stomach started churning. He was sleeping close to me. Ang halos kaladkarin palabas! I tried to smile at everyone. He even bared his soul to that brat. Mabilis niyang tinignan ang cellphone nito. tell him about the baby.

Care ko? I pouted and made face. And my what a sight early in the morning. pawis. What! Jeannie may warning na sabi nito. Para akong nagl away bigla. Though sadly he s hould understand her. nakita ko ang panghihilakbot sa mukha ni Julian. His hair was dishevele d. I didn t smell bad. AGAIN? Oh. Inabot nito iyon! I stood up and he wrap ped my arms around his neck. Bakit ba lalaki na lang ang nagpapakasarap at babae ang nagpapakahirap? Why was life so unfair? Uwooo Hawak ang tyan na sumuka ulit. She was exasperating. for Pete s sake! Julian a no ba! I swore I wanted to punch Julian s handsome face. He wrink led his nose. And didn t even bother to lock the door. Whatever. To Hell. Na para bang anumang oras ay sasakalin niya na talaga ako. Tapos bigla kong inamoy `yung sarili ko. Okay. In my saner days I would have been also disgusted with myself. Sorry baby. What the hell are you doi Julian s shout seemed to freeze. He was shouting at me! Na para bang first time niyang gawin `yun Jeannie! Oh. Droplets of water was sluicing down his body. Kulang ako sa tulog. Tapos kapag upo ko sa bowl I started crying like it was the end of the world. I even scrubbed myself twice. Tahimik lang siya habang nakaupo kami sa eroplano. At anong ginagawa ng demonyong si Julian dito? He squeezed himself into the limited space of the lavatory and knel t in front of her. At magtitili. last night? . Oh. I screamed when I felt Julian s arms around me. If his wife didn t look pitiful enough. Para ba ng wala na akong lakas para bukas. The father of my b aby was traipsing clad with only a towel around his narrow hips. Hindi pa rin nagbabago ang expression nito. Sasamahan na kita. What was his problem? I got so lazy. Ano pang tinitingin tingin mo dyan? Umaga na po prinsesa. I arched my brow. Had Julian taken me to bed? It seemed so. May flight pa tayo. He pulled me close. She frowned. Lahat na. I walked on to the lavatory. Jeannie looked up. Her eyes grew wide. Gusto kong kiligin. she cried. Kung ganito naman ang panaginip I might ask God never to wake me up. Swear. It was only 3:00 am! Sh!t. I specifically reme mbered sleeping on the couch. Luha. Goodness. Ayokong umalis. I hate you Julian. Was this Julian the stranger in bed. in my dreams. I opened my eyes and swore. Had God really answered my prayers? Why are you crying? He whispered. Jeannie Itinaas ko `yung kamay ko. God. Kakatulog ko lang kanina. He was wet. Wala sa loob n a bulong ko.inilalabas ko. As in. What! My eyes watered. I was robbed of my power. sipon. He didn t really understand how women s minds work. God no. `Wag nang idagdag ang hindi paliligo nito kanina kahit ano ng pilit niya. kasalanan ng magaling mong tatay ito! Umupo ako sa couch at pinagmamasdan si Julian. I haven t had a good night s sleep. He was sulking because I didn t take my precious bath. Mamayang umaga pa ang flight namin ng ma galing na lalaki. As if he cares! He glared at me. Where are you going? He hissed. Isa bang malaking kasalanan iyon? Julian. I buried my face into the pillow. What was really happening to me? I bit my lower lip and stood up. Really? You ll escort me to hell? I said sarcastically. It was a miracle! Note to self: Magpapaparty ako `pag-uwi namin. God. He brushed the wet hair away from her tear-stained cheeks. Better to wake me up now! I glared at him. Bumukas `yung pinto. Pahikbi lang n ung una tapos palakas na ng palakas. Tapos unti-u nti niyang hinahalikan `yung mga luha ko. Sasama ka? Inis kong sabi. He rolled his eyes ceilingward. Parang tinatamad akong maligo. I couldn t believe it. I was in bed. He shrugged his shoulders. My mouth dropped open wide.

His teeth was grating. Julian s real dad. And I eve n cried when I saw a chicken being killed.Saan mo tinago si Julian? bulong ko sa kanya with matching stare-a-thon. Na para namang alam ko kung pan o `di ba? Lagi akong nagsusuka if not early in the morning. Jeannie He hissed. Oh. I shouldn t have known that sec ret. Sig e pa rin ako sa lakad. Buhatin mo `ko papunta sa upuan. I was rooted to the ground. Pero iba ito. Tapos bumagsak ako sa floor. Tapos humar ap ako sa kanya. Nakapaglakad ka ngang mag-isa papunta dito. W-wala. Where are you going? To hell. I saw Julian s father striding toward us. Hindi man lang naawa sa `kin. I merely got out of the room. Tapos tumayo ito. Tapos tinalikuran ako! Grabe. Isn t there something you want to tell me? Ha? Parang hindi nagpa-function `yung brain cells ko. Ano ba. He stepped out of the lava tory to the door. Julian! sigaw ni Aunt Risan. I was a bit overwhelmed. Kulang ako sa tulog. `Yung smile ko nag-fade. He hugged me from behind. Pero hindi ko rin siya gaanong ma-appreciate kasi si baby JJ. I bet you re going to be a pig in no ti me at all. Grabe. And Julian s specialty: growling at me! Julian. Sabi ni Uncle Jin. Leave him alone `di ba? Tears streamed down my face. Oo. He whispered to me and kissed my nape. Maybe bec ause I was just too emotional. I thought I thought He looked at me incredulously. Julian was looking intently at him. babe I m sorry. Hmm Syempre minsan na nga lang ito lulubus lubusin ko na! Tinatamad akong maglakad. Sasama ka? Galit na sabi nito. My knee s might give out. I shook my head and smiled at them. Kung paano hindi ko alam. It was Uncle Jin s birthday. Don t use that on me Jeannie. Syempre it had been my specialty: lying through my teeth. Sabi ko. I didn t want to swim. Jeannie! Sigaw ulit nito. Sanay akong nasisigawan niya. I was so lazy. Argh. Hindi ba iyon din a ng tinanong ko kanina sa kanya? Julian naman! Just leave me alone! Dumadagundong ang sigaw nito. Hayaan mo na siya Risan. . Mabilis akong nagmano sa papa ni Julian at sinundan ito. My eyes grew wide. He was such a very considerate and loving husband! My eyes watered. Then I felt a hand wrapped around my middle. Ano! He shouted no. Mukhang baby pa lang manang mana na sa tatay niya. Kung iiyakan ko lahat ng mano k na pinapatay para gawin Chicken Joy baka ipasok na nila ako sa mental nito. I gasped. Tapos tapos bigla na namang kumunot `yung noo niya. Ang morbid naman ng mga naiisip k o. Are you sick? Uncle Jin asked me once. screamed! God. I was too emo. Tapos tinanggal niya `yung mga kamay ko sa leeg niya. Paano kung makunan a ko habang naglalakad? Syempre sa sobrang stress ko. It won t work unless you tell me what s bothering you! He seethed. Really? Parang sa panaginip ko lang ito nakikita. He cracked an indulgently smile at me. Maglalaslas na lang siguro ako sa banyo. I clutched my stomach. I almost groaned aloud. So so I should tell him first about about the baby? We were in Morocco for a week. Sa tanghaling tapat. I pouted. Mabilis kong pinahid `yung luha ko tapos tumaliko d sa kanya. Bumagsak ang upuan nito.

Ang sunod na nangyari ang nakapagpatili kay Aunt Risan. He was lashing out. But from the looks of it. Sa baba non ay makikita mo `yung dagat. I already know. Oh. He said innocently. It warmed my heart. Kapag uwi namin. I couldn t believe it. Everyone was afraid to come to him. I wanted to ease that pain . Yep. What are you doing shouting at Uncle like that when you have no right to You re uncle? Julian s dad laughed demonically. This was the best of all the best vacation I ve ever h ad. Tapos lumabas na siya. Ju lian lost control and punched Mr. I tried my hands on it. I sobbed as I felt the pain k illing me. I was like really? It was a canvass with all its painting materials. I m the happiest man on earth . Na parang may kinukuha mula sa katawan ko. Ano `yun? Naglakad lang dito? I opened the big gift. Nakita ko si Julian dun sa may bandang cliff. But said instea d: We re going to have a baby. You re not happy. As if he owned the world. No! Damn you! Hiyaw nito. I painted him for hours with the sunset as the background. Pinipilit kong awatin si Julian. `Di ba? Hindi talaga nagkamali ang kapatid ko ng pagpili. Could I just shout freeze like what Ella in the Ella Enchanted did? Ju lian let s go someplace else and Tell him! Sigaw ni Mr. Kapag tingin ko sa back seat I was surprised to see a gift. The water was crystal blue. Second best gift Julian had ever given me. Naamoy ko na ang war of the worlds. You re lying! Julian no! Mabilis ko siyang nilapitan pero ilang beses niyang tinatanggal ang kam ay ko sa braso niya. We drove off to miles and miles. Nakita ko `yung sakit sa mga mata niya. Sa sobrang pagwawala niya ay naitulak niya ako. Ah. What are you talking about Uncle? That fuucking son of b!tch you call Uncle is your real dad Julian! Para iyong bombang sumabog. Nakatayo. They were a bunch of rich people. We heard someone shouting from inside the house. And damned if I m not happy! At saka lamang ito ngumiti. Ang gandang tignan. Oh my God. Aunt Risan screamed. Isn t it Uncle Jin? It s the truth. Because you didn t tell him the truth! He shouted. What s that? Malay ko. The se tting was just like this. Kahit ako. Syempre baby JJ would always come first. Blood! There s blood on her thighs. San a forever na kaming ganito. Uncle Jin owned the house. My eyes grew wide. no. Naiiyak na nilapitan ko siya at niyakap. Then I even put a chi ld beside him playing with his kite. . She couldn t even wonder if everyone would have been d eaf and blind by now. Walang makapigil dito.Then I slapped him hard. We halted dead in our tracks. He wagged me off him. eh `di na-shock ka ngayon? Gusto kong sabihin iyon sa kanya. I fell hard and flat out on the floor. Hinihintay kong tumalon siya tapos sabihin niyang Yes. Para iyong scene sa isang pelikula. No no my baby. He whispered. Sunico kay Uncle Jin. My heart skipped a beat. Naalala ko `yung sa Sisterhood of Traveling Pants part two. May dala siy ang mapa. It was the best thing ever. Then he slammed the vase with full force. Mukha siyang maglalakad sa death sentence niya. You re drunk. Sunico in the face. He carried me to his car like a sack of rice. Julian just please stay away from here! What? Galit niyang sabi kay Uncle Jin. I grabbed his arm. The pain in my tummy numbed me. I slowly looked up from Julian s stricken face back to the blood streaming down my thighs. yes. Baka nailagay lang diyan. Julian froze.

hatred won. At unang una kong nakita si Julian. Wasn t it long overdue for him to care for me? My heart went out to the tiny little thing who hadn t even seen the world. Hindi ko kaya. . That time. With the last ounce of strength I pulled my hand from him. Magwala. Two days. Hindi ko kayang mawala `yung baby JJ ko. Please hang on babe He kept w hispering. Gusto kong sumigaw. Mas ako ang nasasa ktan. Dapat lang! Dapat lang siyang matakot. Emotionally and physically. I missed him and hated him at the same ti me. It s okay ma am you re fine now. I woke up disoriented. Parang iba `yung room. right. `Yun yung naririnig ko. Though my body felt numb. They were all there. `Yung baby ko I cried. But this time. Nagtataka ako kung san ko pa nakukuha ang lakas ko. Napataas kilay ko dun.TWENTY SIX I was sent to the hospital. This would be my last day in the suffocating hospital. A blond petite nurse came to my aid. Doc what s happening to my wife? He screamed in fear. I didn t wish him to be dead bu t I did ask for him to fall into a ditch. Basta mabigat `yung pakiramdam k o. Death is quicker. Do I look fine? Was losing a baby okay to you? But no voice came out. My long overdue speech. Suffering isn t. Hindi niya `ko pinupuntahan. My hand flew to my stomach. Jeannie I m sorry. Even the nurses were calming me down. I was in and out of conscious but I saw Julian holdi ng my hand as I was rushed to the ER. Then the nur ses were speaking in English. I st arted sobbing hysterically. Then everything suddenly flashed to my memory again. My head was pounding. I hate you Julian. In my blurring vision I saw how defeated he looked. Malakas na nga ako eh. Wow Sosyal na ba ang mga nur ses sa Pilipinas? Are they required to talk in English now? May pisong multa na din ba kapag nag-tagalog sila kapag duty hours? Yeah. I couldn t live with Julian anymore if my baby would be taken from me. How inconsiderate of him! He didn t even get to v isit me? Ha! Hello okay na ba pakiramdam mo? Uncle Jin smiled at me. This time I I m-mean it Finally. Para akong mamamatay sa sakit. As if I were in ele mentary again. Hin di ko alam kung ano `yung tinurok nila sa `kin. Tapos biglang bumukas `yung pinto. Kaya k o ng sapakin sa mukha si Julian. ako ang nasasaktan. Naiiyak na napatingin ako sa labas ng bintana. Jeannie! Nilapitan niya agad ako. Tapos nung ipapasok na `ko sa loob ayaw niyan g pakawalan `yung kamay ko. He was about to embrace me when I pushed him hard away from me. I couldn t stand t he sight of him! Get away from me! I shouted.

Kay Julia n. Malakas. That was harsh I know.Diretso na tayo sa airport. Because Celine. Kung kailan pa nawala `yung baby ko. He bear-hugged me. Tantan s mother. I smiled at Tantan. I nodded again. All the things that I was trying to laugh off in the past months. I grab bed CM s hand. Don t touch me! I pushed him hard. kalaking lalaki este. Uncle Julian! Mabilis itong lumapit sa Uncle nito. Tears were threatening to explode again. bakla takot kay Julian! They were even of the same size and height. I wanted him to feel the pain. Ngayon ko lang siya na-appreciate. What was the use of talking if all we would ever do was throw snide remarks at e ach other? I drummed my fingers on my arm. Sabi ko. At ayokong dumating sa puntong hihilingin kong sana hindi ko n a siya nakilala o kaya naman ay mamatay na siya. I brushed the tears away angrily. He wasn t even thinking about our baby? Kung sa ibang pagkakataon baka nagtatalon pa ako at isipin kong ako lang ang inaalala niya. Pinipilit niyang hawakan `yung kamay ko. Uncle Jin pwede po bang sa inyo na lang ako sumabay? Halatang nagulat ito. Kapag uwi namin sa airport ay nakita ko sina mommy. I hugged the boy. Someone grabbed my arm that moment. Pinagpraktisan ko kaya iyon. H e mouthed: Are you sure? Why are you still here? Tanong ko kay CM. Hindi mo alam? Na ikaw ang problema ko una pa lang? Galit kong sabi. Ayokong umi yak sa harap nila. Naligo ka na ba? The boy frowned at me. Sabay tingin kay Julian. I mean ta ma. Salitang ilang beses ng nabali dahil kay Julian. He squealed. Grabe. I embraced them. Sipon. I m sorry ab out the baby thank God you re alive and You thank God because I m alive? You bastard! Galit kong sabi. Sabay iling papunta sa direksyon ni Julian. sabi niya. Hija I think you have to talk to him first. Nagtitimpi siya alam ko. My knees were buckling. Awkward. Tapos kinusot ko `yung ilong k o. On a serious note I didn t want to see him. Jeannie listen to me. Ahm you talk to your husband first. My hat red ran deep now. Na parang hindi alam ang gagawin. I avoided eye contact. Luha. First time after so many days. Pero parang ayaw makisama ng loko. Tapos pi nagsusuntok ko `yung dibdib niya. Ano pa bang tinatayo tayo mo dyan? Pasko? Galit na sabi ni Julian. I even memoriz ed a speech when we meet again. I don t have a husband Uncle Jin. I m sorry baby. Julian raised one brow and didn t comment. Jeannie. Naghihintay na may malaglag na butiki. CM was also there. Niyakap ko siya `yung parang wala ng bukas. Tinatanong pa ba kung sino? Nauna na sina Uncle Jin at ang parents ko. I could walk. Pawis. I wasn t even speaking in th e airport or on the way back. Mabilis itong tumalikod at tinapik ang balikat ni Julian. Lahat na. Hindi ako kumikibo. What is your problem? Mabilis pa sa alas-kwatrong hinarap niya ako. I didn t spare that bastaard a glance. Iyon lang. was Julian s half-sister now that the truth was finally set free. Ano? Sumigaw ito. But he hugged me. We weren t shou . he whispered and kissed the top of my head when I was exhausted. Hinintay niya lang palang maka-re cover ako. you know. Good. Ayaw mo? Ingos niya sa `kin. He was seethin g with anger. That stopped him. You re so selfish! You think only of yourself?! Honey please He combed his hair with his fingers. I looked at CM as if I were saying see? I m not going with you Julian. I gave him the don t-Jeannie-me glare. I started crying then. Lahat ng sama ng loob ko naipon. My pai n. He was such a dear boy. Ngayon niya matitikman ang isang salita ni Jeannie . Naintindihan mo naman `di ba? I m not going with you.

Actions were needed. Hindi. kung hindi man si Julian eh ako. Actua lly. Why did they have to say I love you? Kung magpapaalam lang din naman sila? Friend Hmm? Kumuha ako ng mga baby clothes. Sana man lang pinalipas niya `di ba? Wala. There were times whe n I wanted to call on him. I gasped. Iyo `yan. My baby JJ? JJ? He raised one brow at me. I willed myself to be strong. Si Julian Sinong Julian? `Yung nakabuntis sa `yo. True? Wasn t he just cracking a s tupid joke on me? Parang maiiyak ako sa tuwa na nababanyo. I started crying. Nakita kong nagagalit na siya. Ganon kasi ako kapag n ate-tense. Anong akala niya ganon lang iyon? Kiss an d make up? Pakipot ako no. He was shaking his head rapidly. Jeannie . If it s about the baby Of course it s about the baby! Are you stupid? I couldn t live with a killer like you ! A what? He started laughing. Sa school supplies section. He mouthed: Hindi ko asawa `yan. Nagpip igil lang. He couldn t haul me anymore to his car sa harap ng maraming tao. Jeannie. But Julian would always be a part of me. Julian and the baby. Mahiya naman kami. Meron Tapos lumingon lingon pa. dalawa na kaming buntis ng kambal ko. Hindi ito ang napagkasunduan natin. I just can t. Aminin niyo. We were in a public place. Dalagang Pilipina. About Julian Deadma. you re pini ng for that someone that you choose to leave behind? Ngayon ko na naintindihan a ng ibig sabihin ng I love you. Jeannie naman oh! CM took the baby clothes from my hands. Sheesh. May gunting ba dito? CM frowned at me. Julian I won t go home with you anymore. Could I survive without him? Of course.ting. he did call me on the phone. I hissed. Dati kasi inisip ko how stupid people were . I m going home with my parents. Away from Julian. I d like to cut off your long tongue. She hugged me like I were a child again. shouldn t I? Mom was standing in the middle of the room with Jean. So the baby was only a joke for him? Sobra na ito! Humihingi ako ng saklolo kay CM through my eyes. Three months seemed to pass without any ado. LOL. Grabe ngayon pa lang nami-miss ko na si Julian. There was so much at stake here. Grabe. Umuwi ako sa bahay namin. Bakit? Hindi pa naman mag-aaral `yang anak mo ah. Well. Isa lang `yung alam ko: I neede d space. pinag-usapan talaga namin `yun. What are you talking about? I haven t killed the baby! Hindi siya nawala! Nandyan p a rin siya! He even touched my stomach. This time I was so serious I woul d have knocked my head against the wall. lalaki lang `yun. Julian who? Inis kong harap sa kanya. Julian I won t go with you anymore. Alam mo `yung feeling na. Me. Galit kaya ako ng time na `yun. may mga taong ganon. Come on. And I cut th e line off immediately. In so many words. Did he think I was joking? Not on this lifetime. Hindi man lang nag-effort na suyuin ako. Baka nga kaisa ko kayo. He seemed so shock. I should be happy. I glared at him. I took my arm from his grip. Mother knows best talaga. didn t he always do that Jeannie? I m leaving you. Pa-hard to get. goodbye . Three months! Halos maglilimang buwan na `yu ng tyan ko ni-hoy wala man lang! Okay. Mommy Ewan ko kung bakit parang naintindihan niya agad ako. Na para bang ang sinabi ko ay isang nakakatawang joke . True. Someone told me that words weren t enough. Yayakapin niya sana ako ng umiwas ako.

Hindi ko napansin sa pagkain ko na pala naibunton ang kung ano mang na raramdaman ko. Nagrereklamo si Baby JJ. I sweetly smiled at him. Nakita ko ang pagpipigil niyang magalit. He was such a jerk. Gustung gusto ko na siyang murahin. Then he crossed his arm s over his chest. Hindi masama ang loob ko. Grabe. Jeannie honey He looked at my now rounded stomach. Julian s on the dating scene again. I almost slipped off the tiled flooring. I saw him controlling his anger. Naniningkit na ang lalong singkit na mata nito. I rolled my eyes heavenward. Tignan ko kung san siya tatagal. At lalong aaminin kong gusto kong patayin si Julian ngayon din! Those chinito eyes. Oh. She looked like a model out of a vogue cover. Humigpi t ang hawak ko sa tinidor. Ngumuso ito. Pinagbigyan na kita these past months. Hinawakan niya `yung siko ko per o mabilis kong iniiwas iyon. Kahit nakakahiya man. Listen to me Jeannie Did I really hear him pleading? Oh. I turned my back on him. Hindi. I didn t car e.Oh? Gigil kong sabi. Napaatras bigla si CM. Ang sakit ng tyan ko. I put my hands on my ears. Gutom ka pa? Lagay pa ito ng lagay sa plato ko. Papatayin ata ako sa pagkabusog ni CM. God. But he did. Hindi na naman ako naglilihi ah. Mamaya talaga bibili ako ng cha kang manika. thank you. sabi ko at taas noong naglakad ako. I opened my mouth in a big O. si Julian o? Biglang turo ni CM. eh `di lumabas din `yung tunay niyang kulay! Stop this playacting of yours. Kasi baka makapatay lang ako ng tao. May isang intrimitidang tinignan ako mula ulo hanggang paa. My breath got hitched. Na para bang sinasabing: Ah. okay wala ka pa palang pakialam a ng lagay na `yan. I didn t know why I was pushing him to hi s limits. How I would love to wring his neck. Hindi kaya lagnatin ito mamaya? Have we met before? I arched my brow. Bigla kong nabitawan `yung baby socks. I shouldn t have looked up. Jeannie Si Julian at si Wala akong pakialam!!! Tila ata mapapaanak ako ng wala sa oras. Wala akong narinig. However you pin a halo to Lucifer he would always be a devil. Hindi ako papansin no! Grr. You might be mistaken mister. Nasobrahan ata ako. Pwede mo na akong bitawan salamat . I w alked past CM and looked for a restaurant. Saan? Sa puso mo Then he started laughing. Napadpad kami sa Filipino restaurant. I leaned against the cubicle wall. I was so bloated. Why could he be so handsome? I gritted my teeth. Sig e lang. Oh. I went to the comfort room. Jeannie Wala akong naririnig I even sent you flowers. Thanks mister. Nasa basurahan na! What! I can t believe it! Those flowers are expensive! Ano bang gusto mo? Nahihirap . Angrily! CM winced at me. CM s face was devoid of any emotion. I started sniffing while I was inside the cubicle. I just heard it from my sister. Aaminin ko na gseselos ako. Samantalang ako? I looked like like I ate hungrily. Like in a slow motion reel film. He raised both hands in the air. I turned around. Kung pasabugin ko kaya `yung bahay nila Julian? I gritted my teeth. CM was really serious! Julian was speaking to a lovel y woman. May mga kamay na biglang umalalay sa `k in. Hindi ako depress. I cou ldn t walk. Hin di ako `yung third party. Baka kasi naghihintay pa `yung date mo. not Julian Sunico. Easy ka lang Jeannie. Why. Just like Julian. Parang narinig kong may sumabog na naman sa Iraq. Si Julian o? I glared at him. I started cryi ng. Dammit Jeannie! Oh. Galit na inihirap niya ako sa kanya.

Don t tell me. Ay. Why not? He glared at me. I would have laughed silly if anyone just blurted out: Hey. Hindi ikaw! I was trying to do what you wanted. Ooops. Tama. Nothing more. His teeth was grating. Kung gusto mo kausapin mo He smiled at me in dicating that I was jealous? Hell no! At saka bakit? May lalaki bang umaming nang angaliwa sila. Napansin kong naka-lock na pala `yung pint o sa CR. Nako. Jeannie please It didn t sound like begging to me now. So happy with myself.an na `ko Jeannie He whispered angrily. You look hapy anak? Ganyan nga smile. Tsk. Kahit magpakasal ako ulit? My eyes grew wide. So like men. Do you agree with mommy? Sumipa ka ulit baby para twice. Not because I couldn t ahm perform for him that he wou ld find somebody available. Mommy really did that? I know she was just p rotecting me. Biglang sumipa si Baby JJ! Baby I cooed. I felt like the most beautiful w oman in the whole world. Ayoko. Jeannie are you okay? Bigla ni ya akong niyakap. Yo ur mom talked to me. Naks. Hindi pa lang siguro niya alam. Gumagalaw `yung baby ko! It was amazing how God could implant a living soul within us. Umuwi ka na sa `tin. At ginawa mo naman! I glared at him. ito na naman `yung sumpong niya. hindi lang pala feeling `yun. Ni-lock niya! Nahihirapan?! `Yung delivery man `yung naghirap. There was unfamiliar warmth in my heart. Oo. Alam ko talaga. What?! I nodded rapidly. Why mommy? Nothing She shrugged. The hell I care. Makipag-date ka kahit sinong gusto mo. He begged. It sounded like a warning. Bad vibes. Don t touch me. Gumagalaw na ba `yung apo ko? Mommy looked at me from head to toe. Perform meaning do my wifely obligations. meaning Oo. Bakit ba hindi ko mapigilan ang reflexes ng sarili kong reaksyon! Something gripped me from within. You re dating somebody else. Siguro kahit papaano hindi rin naman malas ang mga babae. TWENTY SEVEN I was smiling stupidly in the mirror. honey . She asked me. I frowned. For the second time I heard the great Julian Sunico pleading. Our eyes met. You re trying to do what I wanted. San ka pupunta? . Bigla a ta akong nagka-asthma. You didn t even bother to call me to go for me I whispered numbly. At least then you won t pester me anymore! He gritted his teeth. Pero wala talaga. Pero may madaan lang na maganda at sexy `yung titigan mula ulo hanggang cleavage na. Itinaas niya `yung baba ko. Tapos hinimas ko ulit `yung tummy ko. nagmana ito ng tantrums sa daddy niya. Tapos syempre itatanggi nila `yun. Hey. O kaya aatakihin ako sa puso. honey listen to me I did call you many times. Then what? She s a foreign associate. Baliw na ata ako at hinihintay ko ngang gu malaw ulit ito. Parang hindi ako makahinga. Okay. I was Angelina Jolie s missing twin sister. You re going home with me now? On one condition. Ligawan mo muna ako. God. Magkakalintikan talaga. I straightened up fr om his arms. Damn. Tsk. He cupped both of my cheeks. Talaga? Talaga. Weren t the roses red and violets blue? Oh. no more like begged me to stay away from you for awhile. Nakangiti ako habang nakaharap sa salamin. I ve got someone on the side when you re busy. Sinabi niya sa `king `wag ka munang guluhin at Mommy what?! Biglang nawala `yung pagka-asthmatic kuno ko ah.

I was exploding! I hated him. Mabilis kong binagsak ang mga roses sa sahi g. Too achingly sweet. You always make me up just to put me down. I stepped on his peace offering! Once. Sheesh. are you ok ay? He kissed the side of my mouth. he said and handed me a bunch of red roses. Sabi ko. There was something wrong here. No mom. Sabi niya pupuntahan niya daw ako ngayon. Then I slowly gasped. It was a major no-no! Hindi hindi si I saw CM nodded rapidly at me. Basta ang mahalaga I was way too happy to bother with the problems of the world. Why was it that every time I thought everything was going to be perfect it would al l turn out to be worst than I expected? Why did Julian have to hurt me many many more times before he would see my worth ? Hanggang ilang beses pa ba? I was feeling and acting crazy I know that. Nanlalaki ang mga mata nito. The moron was standing there looking so smug like he owned the world. God no. I m way past that stage. CM ano `yan? Ito? ah wala. Oh. I could smell something fishy. Jeannie! Oh. What the hell are you doing? He hissed. I gritted my teeth in anger. At saka I pouted. Ang arte ko no? Ang drama ko. CM! Mabilis kong kinuha `yung dyaryo sa likuran niya. Picture kaya ni Ju lian `yung tinititigan ko nung time na `yun. Hey. Ano `yan? Balewalang tanong ko. Who are they? He winced. At si CM nga ang masangsang na amoy na iyon. He smiled sheepishly. What s this? I didn t know why my heart started hammering wildly. Whatever.Going to watch TV. Bummer . Damn him. he lov es me he Lalong tumaas `yung kilay ko dun. Ewan ko ba. didn t he? For five million pesos! He slowly gave me that charming. He loves me. No! Napataas `yung kilay ko dun. CM avoided eye contact with me. he loves me not. I was so mad I was going to explode. Look at this! What? I glanced at the newspaper he was holding in my face! I didn t even bother to look closely at the news clipping. I smiled at him. Na parang sinasabing: Oo. Jeannie He wasnow gnawing his nails. Naiiyak na ko. Mabilis na binitiwan iyon nito . I was just wait ing for Julian to drop by. What are you Napatingin ito sa dyaryong hawak ni CM. Jeannie! I frowned. Mommy volunteered. Humigpit ang kamay ko n g kinuha ko ang bouqet. Wala lang baka kasi kung ano pang makita mo maging kamukha pa ng apo ko. Dahil galit ako. Ah no. After clearing his throat he put the news clipping away. `Yung ngiting halatang may itinatago. O baka gut feel ko lan g. Nakakahiya naman `di ba? Ngayon pa kami magliligawan kung kailan naka-bingo na. Nakatingin lang sa `kin si CM. H e owned me. Pero umandar na naman `yung pagiging psychic ko. Oh? Ito lang pala eh. Ay. Narinig ko `yung pagkatok sa pinto. sexy smile. it might be Julia She was already out even before I could finish what I was going to say. Dahil naiiyak ako. Mommy. I picked one stem from the bunch of flowers. Alam ko gasgas na `yun. nakakaawa ka . Mommy smiled at me. I gritted my teeth. What the hell was CM doing here? Again? Hindi kaya ang masama pa nito siya pa maging kamukha ng anak ko. There was a couple cap tured kissing. Yes. Thrice. Honey. tanga. Judas s kiss. Twice. Last petal. I just stared at him. I was rooted to the ground. CM just excuse Ako na. I winced at her. He should have bought me those wi th thorns.

Mag-aaway. If you still don t sense that well too bad for you. it was all true . Without arms to wrap around you. Iyon ang sabi nito. Hindi ba malamig naman talaga kapag December? Ano bang formula sa pagmu-move on? Pano ba `ko magmu-move on lalo na kung wala n aman talagang closure? I started sobbing. Nag-panic ako. Ooops. we couldn t love someone who s faultless. Bakit hindi? I always described them as: STUPID. Jeannie Lilian kissed me I didn t know there was a paparazzi So kung wala pala dun baka kung saang biglang liko pa kayo nagpunta?! I was shouti ng now. Look at him. Maybe acceptance would eventually set me free. SANA. Pero ngayon ko lang na-realize. I was too emotional. I whispered furiously. My friends cried over my sho ulder. Teka. nadaig mo pa si Ri zal . My stomach started contracting violently. Or b etter yet my soon-to-be baby JJ. All in capital letters. Mahina ang kapit ng b ata. Eeeh. Nakaupo ako sa may bench. Why did a mere whisper in the ear from him and then my heart start beating triple time again and again. They cursed their jerks of a boyfriend. Pero hindi ba secretly all the girls i n town wished that? Deep down even if how many times we deny it. Grabe. Why did it have to hurt so bad? Na min san akala mo wala ng katapusan? I wasn t asking for a happily ever after. Syempre fetus pa lang siya ngayon no. Hindi naman ako magpapagod. Hindi ko ginustong maging character sa fairy tale books na kinukulayan ng mga bata. Couldn t just Julian see my worth? Sabi nila: iwanan mo na `yung taong hindi ka naman kayang pahalagahan. He was made to be perfect. He was all big aherm I mean he was almost perfect. I opened my mouth in disgust! Napapagod na `ko sa `yo Julian. I quickly pushed him off me. But he wasn t anywhere near human. No stress.at binigay sa`kin. Gumala w si baby JJ! Sorry. Jeannie. Magbabati. I never asked for a perfect relationship. Was baby JJ sensi ng anything? Jeannie He took hold of my arm. I m outta here. I whispered. Arms wrapped around my rounded middle. No amount of gentle words could ever mar the pai n. Pwede na nga akong magsulat ng Dear Ate Charo dito. But seriously. I start ed sniffing. He might see your worth when you re gone. I didn t have to be Princess Fiona to have the likes of Shrek. I didn t need Edward Cullen to be Bella. K ung totoong lalaki nga lang siya baka babae na ang tumakbong hubad para dito. Then suddenly my stomach contracted. Will you just get out? Out of my life Julian. I just needed time off alone. `Wag na lang. Get out!!! I hissed. Lagi na lang kami ganito. There was no point denying the obviou s. It was a cold night in December. Mero n. Argh. Malakas kaya kapit ko ka ya for sure dapat mana sa `kin si baby JJ. I was out walking that night. Kung dati tinatawanan ko lang `yu ng mga taong na-iinlove sabay sabing ay saludo ako sa `yo teh. Tea rs were blinding my vision. Kung memory storage lang ang puso hindi ba pwedeng . You couldn t just stop your idiot of a heart from beating for that pers on. They wept. Kailan bang mawala ka pa? What if dun ka masaya? Would you fight for him or let go? My whole body was rocking violently. Why not? Because I d never been bitten by the love bug before. baby I just miss you dad. The doctor told me that I should get some rest. Oblation sa UP. Kahit ilang beses mong marinig ang salitang tanga mapa-english man `yan o ibang lenggwahe. Oh holy sh!t. Drunkard on the street! Papalag sana ako. I was like are you okay ? Sympathetic. Walang taong ganon no. Pero hindi ako naniniwala don. I gasped. Magmamahal an. it s me.

I was a bout to run from him. He gritted his teeth. Now I was getting stup id. Had he just said okay?! He was such a cad. Trying to make everything okay and light. Julian you can visit baby JJ anytime you want. clutching his arm tightly. Here he was. I screamed. Tapos galit na tinanggal ko `yung mga kamay niya. Jeannie What! What you saw in the news isn t real. Jeannie! Damn you! Julian I was crying like a child. I saw the picture on the news clipping! Okay. I was real babe. I was quite fascinated. Shut up. I paused. I could never be anyone s prince charming. You are all warmed u p and kept on talking about baby JJ s future. Naiiyak na suminghot ako. He whispered. I didn t ever wonder now why I couldn t exchange him with Shrek. Amoy al ak. He had been drinking! Malamang amoy alak nga eh. Malay ko ba. Damn you! You always scare me. My eyes were watering. galit na sabi nito. But he wasn t that bad. I ve lusted for y ou since day one. Lalaki ako. I was so pathetic. It was just fine with you? I whispered brokenly. I ll admit. baka iniiisip niyang kulang pa sa daliri si baby JJ kaya pwede pa naming buuin. His adam s apple bobbed up and down. Tapos mabilis niyang itinaas `yung dress ko. Gah. Specifically without me in your life . Not some hypocritical character of some fancy novel. Was he nervous? . defending himself. He wasn t really begging but his voice wa s a mere whisper. Sabi nito. Aren t you hurt? Let s go the nearest hospital and So tinititigan niya lang pala kung may dugo `yung thighs ko. Argh.mag-erase? What are you doing here? I hissed and tried to take his arms away from me. Jeannie listen to me there were music and candlelight dinner s here. But my hips already bumped into the flooring. My eyes grew wide . don t you? Kayong mga babae. Green Monster. Onc e you ve said your piece you had it all figured out that you re right when in fact y ou re wrong. Mabilis akong nasalo ni Julian. My eyes grew wide. Bulong nito. Syempre financial supp ort is always open mmmkay? Let s just go on separate ways. You re still the father and I can t de prive you of that. Pano ko siya hindi maririnig s a sigaw niya? I didn t try to be the hero you want me to be babe. Makinig ka sa `kin. He put it on his heart. He caressed my stomach and I could feel him from behind me. At kung ibababa mo pa `yung kamay mo malalaman mong tao ako. He was all lean and strong. Julian s face softened. Bakit ba napaka-clums y mo?! Sigaw nito. Okay. You saw that one. Lillian kissed me! I didn t kiss her for Pete s sak e Jeannie! Are you listening to me! I started crying. I d even tell you outright that yes. Sssshhh I m here baby. Julian this is a public place! Kahit na nga ba walang ta He looked at me incredulously. That w as rubbish. Or even an orchestra. His voice held warning but his touch was g entle as he brushed the tears away from my cheeks. You don t want to listen to me. Akala mo ba lahat ng lalaki gustong maging prince charming? No. Feel this He hissed and took my hand. Thank God there was no blood. Please come back to me honey. Anong gusto mong sabihin ko? Sigaw nito. He could be a very green monster you know. Jeannie Don t worry about him I ll try to be the best mother I can be. Nang muntik na akong matapilok. Surely surely he wouldn t want to Argh! Not here. Paano kaya kung magkaanak din kami ng tatlong Julian? I shivered. I slipped off the pavement but I anchored my elbow so my stomach wouldn t fall head-on.

Men were born to be polygamous. I could tell you that I know a lot about women. Hindi nga ba t mahirap magpalaki ng mga magulang? In the three months I came back to Julian. Sheesh. It was flowing freely. Pero mahirap magpalaki ng baby. Big tim e. At your stupidity and silliness. Sumbong kay daddy. Married life was never perfect. Nah. Masarap gumawa ng ba by. growl. `di ba? Hindi masaya ang buhay kung magtititigan lang kayo. You re the next best thing that happen ed to me. And I don t know what I d do without you. he shrugged. Just kidding. On a serious note . I believed that there s one woman who can make a man a one-woman-man. change for a day just because you say so. Dahil sa tingin na ganon. Jeannie! I heard that shout. As if we didn t have the same face. Not that I told you to tolerate their being babaero . Talaga nga bang mahirap ispelengin ang mga babae? And I can even promise you that I ll never hurt you Hindi na niya pinapahiran `yung luha ko sa mga mata. There are and will be times that I can t make you feel special because because I wan t to shout at you. take note: in chorus. Kahit wala naman talagang nakakatawa. Sa lahat ng iyon isa lang kaya kong aminin sa `yo with all honesty: Kahit mukha k ang bola sa paningin ko he cleared his throat. He looked at me. we started arguing from our pony tails down to our crushes. when Jean and I were ready to rip e ach other s head s off our shoulders. Tapos kapag sila nag-aaway they d both tell us.I could be any man and tell you I love you every day. TWENTY EIGHT When I was a kid I was bothered with my parents petty quarrels from the spilled j uices down to the wet home slippers on the bathroom. At kami rin. Julian. Jean and I started growing up. Sin o bang mas gwapo? `Yung crush nyang kahawig `yung bida sa nightmare before Chris tmas? O si Johnny Depp sa Edward Scissorhands? And the biggest competition ever: Sinong mas maganda? Great. I can t just boom. He chuckled nervously. But this is me. Nakikisigaw na din si mommy. Siguro kaya maraming nabubuntis ng maaga n gayon. My professor in Psychology once said. Really looked at me. Bakit ba hindi? Daig ko pang kasama si Hitler. Because no man eve r did. Jeannie! . But that would be a joke. Bakit ba eh. I had gone to Heaven then back to hel l. Er r. to sh ut up. That will be the best lie ever. Pero we couldn t ask for a sain t. Aba.

This was damned serious. Humikbi ako. Jeannie! I know you re not asleep. Na para bang nagsisisi siyang pinabalik niya pa `ko di No. Hmm Jeannie. I shivered. He was now scowling. hiccups. He brushed the locks of hair away from his face. He looked like he was ready to wring my neck. Oh-k ay. Without a word he turned his back on me and walked toward the door. Kaya pala bumenta ang punchline na you re cute when you re angry . Grabe. Tinulungan ko na nga si manang na ayusin `yung mal agubat mong study room! Kung sabagay who dwells on that jungle? A monkey! I screa med at him. Goodness. I was pregnant and he was what? Shouting at me. Napangisi ako. Julia He raised one finger as if saying don t talk to me . Bull s eye. Pakiabot nga `yung bag. I closed m y eyes tightly. Nanlisik bigla `yung mga mata ko. Pero I could even h andle Julian shouting at me when he was mad. But not cold treatment on his part. `Yung tipong buk as pagsisisihan ko kung bakit nagkalamat `yun. Oh. I swore I took three steps backward. Can t you be more endearing and and I gritted my teeth in anger. I just helped yaya Oreng clean his study room. ang hirap magpanggap ng natutulog. Ayan. the mess in your study room. I heard him sigh. He glared at me. Hoho. I cried louder . Tapos sinabog ko ng onti `yung buhok ko. EVER. Kapag hindi na ako pwedeng bumalik sa New York makasali na nga lang sa starstruck dito. His voice held warning. Napaupo ako sa kama. Right on his face. JEANNIE! I put the big pillow over my head. May bago ba? I gritted my teeth and then groaned. Jeannie naman Parang stress na stress na sabi nito. Alam mo `yun? Palpak eh. I took out all my clothes. bulong ko. I pushed him hard away from me. Help me? Papatayin mo ba talaga ako Jeannie? He whispered furiously. Sana kahit `yung kontra na lang natin o titulo ng bahay niyo `yung tinapon mo Hinahanap ko nga kanina. Alam mo Jeannie hindi na uu bra sa `kin `yang arte mong `yan. `Wag ka na lang gumalaw. Even when stressed. Binasa mo ba? Kung hindi ka namakialam at binasa mo Hindi. How dare him! Naiiyak n a talaga ako. Bakit siya mags isisi? `Di ba dapat ako? I slowly smiled at him. Jeannie kapag hindi ka Ano? Anong gagawin mo?! Sigaw ko. Nanulis `yung bibig ko. Jeannie nasan `yung mga lumang folder sa cabinet? He said. Gigil na ibinato ko `yung unan. and walke d across the room. Narinig kong naglagutukan `yung mga buto niya sa knuckles. Hindi naman ako masokista no. Have I awakened the beast in him agai n? Tumaas `yung kilay ko. Mas mahalaga pa ba ang binubukbok na folder na `yun?! I stood up with chin in the air. Tapos nag-tremble `yung lower lip ko. We were really screaming.. He turned around slowly. Tears wer e pooling in my eyes. God. Nauubos na pasensya ko. Alin don? `Yung tirahan ng mga b ukbok? Ah. Nabilang ko pa talaga siya. Galit akong tumayo. Julian s face softened. In the middle of the night.. Bummer. More gentle this t ime. Believe. Winner! He sighed exaggeratedly and tilted my head up. tinapon ko na lahat `yu WHAT??? Oh. Julian naman oh. Damn you! Where did you put the documents? He was now shouting. An g gwapo talaga ng asawa ko. Because of Julian. That rooted him to the ground. chest out and protruding stomach out. Survive. I started sobbing. I just helped you hiccups. I said in a cold tone. . Anong pakialam ko?! Walan g utang-na-loob! Ingrato. Pabalibag kong binuksan `yun. To the closet. Of course. My. Okay. My mouth dropped open.I hadn t heard a word. God. My tears stopped immediately. sniffs. clean. Dream. Julian wouldn t hurt me at least physi cally. Tinanggal niya `yung unan sa mukha ko. God.

Mapapagod nga ako. Bakit kaya hindi ako ang tanungin ni Julian? Baka ang sagot ko ay Oo. aum. It felt so good to be in his arms like this. A ng bigat ko na nga ang bigat pa rin ng bag ko. Sabi kasi ng doctor bawal daw akong mapagod. stop crying please it won t do any good to our baby. Naiiyak na naman ako. For the likes of him. Tapos pinilit niya ulit akong buhatin. Sheeeshhh he kissed my swollen lips. Naramdaman kong lumuhod siya sa harapan ko. Tumaas `yung kilay niya. Bukas na gabi na eh. Papatayuan ko na nga ng monument itong si Julian. Oh. Err. He nodded rapidly. I was so big. Jeannie hindi mo ba naisip na ilang beses na ang pagbabalak mong lumayas? If I m goi ng to count it with my fingers save the part after the almost miscarriage thing . He chuckled. Babe. Siya kaya ang manganak! Puro lang siya pasarap tapos magagalit pa siy a sa `kin? Well. I was all set. He kissed the tip of my nose. I winced as the contraction was violent. Parang batang sabi ko sa kanya. Kaya hindi muna pwedeng gumawa ng Baby JJ the second . Oo. LOL. Te ll me I m beautiful. My eyes were bloodshot. Mababanyo daw ako! Tapos sumasakit `yung tyan ko. Tapos ta wa. I wra pped my arms around his neck. Na nakataas pa ang sanda ta niya ha.Tapos tapos inabot nga niya! Galit na binato ko lahat ng damit don. Ngumisi ito. Nung unang try. Samantalang ako naman a ng may katawan. He put me down on t he bed. Binuhat niya `ko! Napakapit akong bigla sa leeg niya. You do. He smirked then snorted. Uuwi na `ko sa parents ko. Hindi ka naniniwala? Galit kong sabi. he couldn t carry me anymore. Goodness. I thought I was dreaming. Delikado sa daan. As in BIG. Nag-bounce `yun mattress. The spasm overtook all consid eration. I d start on my diet aft er I give birth. Lalo akong naiyak. Do you know what sound you emit when y ou snore? I don t snore. I started sobbing like that of the child s. I was so big and round. He winced. Monster! I looked like Princess Fiona now. I felt his arm snaked behind my back the other one was under my thighs. Par a akong hippopotamus. Next to Andres Bonifacio. In my eyes only. Tapos tumigil pa ako sa may pintuan. Three months was like applying for sainthood. N a parang naghahanap ng milagro sa kisame. Syempre I ll tell you you re the most beautiful woman in the world. Like this: oiiink oiiiink I gritted my teeth. Tapos hinampas ko siya. Walo na. And ugly . I even saluted him for his control. I pouted. He rolled his eyes ceilingward. My mouth turned into an indignant O. Kaya siguro ayaw niya na sa `kin. Atapang atao di at akbo. ito namang si Julian masunurin! Hmp. Epic fail. Eh. My nose w ere stuffed with you know. Naiyak akong lalo. Uncontrollable. Napaupo ako sa may gilid ng pinto. Sabay kaming nagkatinginan. Why did it hurt like this? Manganganak na ba ako? Julian! I tapped his shoulder. Sabi ko. these past months we hadn t ahm . Grr. W ell. . You want me to lie? I hissed at him. Uuwi na talaga `ko. He snorted. Nakakainis talaga. God. I opened my mouth i n disgust. Loud. He sighed. Anong ginagawa mo? What do you think am I doing? Hinihingal na `ko. I almost screamed when I turned to find myself lo oking back at me in the mirror. Thank my failing eyesight for that.

I kissed her on her sweating forehead. Umiiyak. She opened one eye. I m sorry. I didn t know where they were taking me. Everything was all set. But we have to hurry. He was inside in a flash. He drove his Porsche while I was panting on the passenger seat. Can t you just take care of my wife first? Galit na sabi ni to habang may inaabot na fill-up form. Not that tears made men weak. He would ha ve cried and fainted at the sight of Jeannie in pain. Must have been reflex action. I wanna die. Na tatakot. I tried to crack a reassuring smile through my labored breaths. Maingay. I was in a state of panic How could I? I was only eight mon ths on the way. Why was this happening to them? Mabilis siyang pinagsuot ng hospital gown. We didn t know how we arrived at the hospital with just the two of us. As cause of preterm is known. With blood all over her th ighs. I started crying. But goo dness gracious I hadn t expected him this soon. In his saner days he would have given co nsideration and credit to their profession. He even promised God of a lifetime of rectitude. Pero wala siya sa katinuan para gawi n iyon! He couldn t praise them if they couldn t save Jeannie God. But I couldn t stop the fight. Ayos na din ang room ni baby JJ. God. You can talk to your wife she s in and out of consciousness. Tired and lost. All I know was that I was very. His breath got hitched. Hindi matanggap ng utak niya kung ano mang medical theory ang sinasabi nito. I op ened my eyes again. My mind kept telling me: I couldn t stand the pain anymore. It was as if I was torn apart. Pleas took my hand. He shouted for the maids to come upstairs. He didn t want to cry. It was just that he should be the pillar of strength for Jeannie. Bawat segundo ay nagdara sal siya para sa mag-ina. The pain was overriding a ll sense of logic from me. Galit na sinuntok niya ang pader. never letting go. Sumisigaw na ito. Remember this I love you both. What do you mean? Sigaw niya dito. Julian I clutched at his shirtsleeve. After knowing all complication of pregnancy decisio n has to be taken whether to allow the pregnancy to continue or not. The risk of delivery of a low birth weight baby has to be weighed against the risk involved to the unborn and mother in continued pregnancy. And dammit. There was something wrong. I we lost our very first baby. Jeannie oh. Nagkakagulo. No Numb. He took the matters into hi s own hands. Julian! What? Manganganak na ata ako. Save my baby. Dammit.He groaned. Ju lian my baby she started hiccupping. His Jeannie and baby JJ. Pity. very frightened. he could have said not his . Gusto ko ng magwala at magmura. Only o nly HE would spare Jeannie. That was what the doctor had said. the doctor gave him that look. Julian and baby JJ was rooting for me. he coul dn t afford to lose Jeannie. I took Julian s hand. You have to choose between your wife and the baby. Pero sa mga panahong iyon. . It was an either-or proposition. I was bleeding profusely. I closed my eyes. Didn t saying sorry was the worst word ever in w omen s vocabulary? Well. Magulo. She would hate me. She kept pleading while squeezing his hand. Buhat niya ito habang kinukuha ang susi ng sasakyan sa drawer. Hindi siya relihiyosong tao. Nagkakagulo sa bu ong bahay. Or else they ll both die. He tried hard to calm his nerves. Julian squeezed my hand. But he didn t know w here had gone awfully wrong. His precious Jeannie. Parang nanlamig ang katawan niya. Bullsh!t. The pain was killing me. Julian no save baby JJ. he knew. Nagmamadaling binuhat niya si Je annie.

Lagi nilang sinasabing ang lahat ng bagay ay may rason. Someone was hugging me tight I couldn t breathe. I even told him h e killed our baby. Tumayo ako para wala ng pagtatalo. Mommy smiled and waved at me. Pinili t kong pagalawin ang muscles ko sa panga. Even CM went home to see me after joining the co ntest in New York. He was also his. I rolled my eyes. You go eat without me. I asked her with my eyes. I shrugged my shoulders. It wasn t his fault. Malulungkot `yung baby mo kung ganyan ka. I know I was playing at being the self-centered b!tc h. Gusto ko sanang sabihing nananady a ka ba? But said instead.TWENTY NINE We couldn t have everything we wanted in life. Till my breath would be sucked out of me. Should w as the operative word. I could have Julian and it would be perfect. Gusto ko ng mamatay. Jeannie stop this to yourself and Julian. I wasn t crying. Nandun silang lahat sa may gilid ng pool. bakit pa niya ibinigay sa `kin k ung kukunin niya rin lang naman? Jeannie kakain na tayo I didn t look over my shoulder. But in the best of circumstances. Kasi nasasaktan ako. Hindi ko gustong sisih in si Julian. Gusto kong ako ang intindihi n nila. I should have been more understanding. Bulong ko. Hindi mo ba naisip na I know it would be t oo cliché to tell you this. I felt her beside me. the one I had done right the first day I told Julia n we were going to be a family. I remembered that one morning I woke up. How was that? Jeannie Julian smiled at me tentatively. Nababa lutan ng sakit at galit ang logic ko. Tama. yes. I could have kissed him o n the lips. Pero napapagod na `kong magsalita k ahit wala pa naman akong sinasabi. Was it the day afte r I cursed Julian to hell? Pero isang buwan isang buwan akong niyayakap ni Julian sa gabi habang umiiyak ako. He would rock me to sleep and kiss the top of my he ad. Pinalayas. Ayokong umunawa. Oh. I stopped crying the day Julian told me: I love you Jeannie that I d choose to live without our baby than you. I could have jumped with joy even with my stitches on. So. Hindi ko alam kung kailan `yun nagsimula. At gusto kong ibalik nila sa `kin si Baby JJ ko. Ayoko ng makaramdam ng ganitong . I followed her to the lanai . Hindi nga ba gasgas na `tong ganitong pakiramdam? You felt like crying but still gave the world a smiling fvcking face . It had been two months since then. I even asked HIM many times why. Before I thought love was all there was. Hindi lang akin si Baby JJ. I didn t want to wake up because I knew the pain was there. What do you want to eat? Anything. Motherhood is the best fulfillment a woman could ever have. I was immersed in finishing the painting I had sta rted in Morocco. And God s. Unti-unting humarap. Life. Pero hindi nga ba hindi lang pala love ang mahalaga sa mundo. Hindi ko nga maintindihan kung bakit pa sila nagpa-barbecue p arty! Why? Hindi ako naniniwalang gusto nila `kong sumaya! Jeannie I wanted to be alone! Gusto ko `yung isigaw. Bulong ng kakambal ko. Ganyan nga. Pero ano ang ginawa ko? Minura ko siya. How ironic. Gusto ko ako ang unawain nila.

Why are you alone? Lalong tumaas `yung kilay ko. There was sudden warmth that I hadn t felt in ages months now. I was too selfish to even ask him if he was also in pain about the loss. beautiful. kulang ka lang sa dilig. goodness. At one point I even blamed Julian. Tigang. I couldn t even go to the nursery room. The same spark was still there. I glared at him. At uhaw sa pagmamahal. I looked at CM. D ragging me to God-knows-where. CM winced at me. And life itself. I would very much like that. It was almost unbearable. Pano kung mabaliw ako? Paano kung manguha na lang ako ng bata at angkinin kong anak? God. To the point na kulan g na lang ay suutan niya `ko ng panty. I looked away and met Julian s eyes across from us. Tuyot. In short. He just snored and let me cry on his che st. I forcefully took the almost seven month old baby. Tapos na ang christening. Wala akong pakialam kung nandun man siya o wala. Ano bang tingin nito sa `kin? Kikidnappin k o anak niya? God gave me mercy. Nung panahon g iyon. Tignan mo nga k ung pano paglawayan ang asawa mo. It was only my sorrow t hat was important. Baka lang gusto mong sumali. What s with you people? Inis kong sabi. Karga niya si baby Czarina. She was smili ng at me. He didn t say a thing. That was so pathetic. But I started doubting about the future. He became gentler. We merely talked anymore. Hey. Months had passed. It was so unfair. Magsasalita sana ako ng dumating si Jean. Why not? The Jeannie I know so well would be dead by now if she didn t talk even a minute. Umiiyak agad ako first thing in the morning. Kung makatili naman kala mo ambulansiya. Give me baby Czarina Nagkatinginan `yung dalawa. I gritted my teeth. Our loss. Nakunan lang ako para na akong nagkaroon ng mga bod yguards. Jeannie! Tumaas `yung kilay ko. Ni hindi ko man lang nakita kung pa ngo ba `yung baby ko. Maalaga. Ui. Napalingon ako kay CM. These past months napapansin kong kahit saan ako p umunta somebody was with me. At lalong ayokong makakita ng mag-ina. He wa s still the same handsome devil I fell in love with. Ako ba? O siya? I suddenly missed him. Nakatingin lang sa swi mming pool. may tawag dyan eh. I know that painting has been your outlet after t he He cleared his throat. He shrugged. I shouldn t be surprised when an arm drew me closer. Can you hold her for me? she hesi tantly asked CM while looking at me. Kung may potential future child star ba siya? I didn t even get to hear him or her wail and kick. I was out in the garden alone. Siguro. do you know that there was another exhibit? This one s the big event of the yea r. Ano ha? I started cooing sounds. Pag-umpugin ko kayang `tong dalawa ng `to? Sheesh. Well. Missed him shouting at me. Nagtataka nga ako kung naglalakad na ng nakahu bad mamaya `yan eh. Jeannie? Hmm? . I didn t doubt my love for him. The people were everywhere in our house. Pero somehow along the way we became more of strangers than lovers. What? I asked impatiently.. Anong akala mo sa `kin? Tatalon ako dyan sa pool? Hindi naman kaya lang sabi kasi ni Julian kausapin daw kita at baka Baka magpakamatay ako dito? Gigil kong sabi. Alam mo te. Ano pa nga ba. But something along the way changed us. Ah nothing. Minsan nga natatakot na rin ako sa sarili ko. Pwede ba CM! Kung sa bagay kung magpapakamatay ka mas maraming magiging masaya. But funny I did. Yes.sakit.. He cleared his throat and looked away. Oh. Sana pinili na lang niya si baby JJ kung ganito rin lang kasakit. Siguro okay na `ko.

Just kidding. Mas pinili kong sumabay kay CM sa sasakyan. Saka makakagawa pa rin na man kayo no. Julian was waiting at the front step of the entrance. He covered his mouth. Then he slowly smiled. Kampon ni Satanas umalis ka sa katawan ng kaibigan ko! He gasped. He grinned at me. Julian told me not to say that he s going to prop I didn t say anything. How can you say beautiful agad eh. baby pa nga? Ang itim pa ni Czarina! CM! Sigaw ko. Jeannie give him a second chance. Na na ghihintay hingin ang number ko. S he beamed up at CM as if saying: Maitim pala ha. Umiiyak ang baby. I missed this. His eyes were uncertain. A hand grabbed mind. Mabilis ko siyang tinalikuran. Emotionally. Sawa na `kon g umiyak. He was cooing and tucking her like he was the r eal father. But the sorrow kept persisting with every thoughts of what could have been. Napanganga ako dun. Mer on ba sa pamilya namin ang pangit? Syempre wala. beautiful chi ld. I need you. You are acting so cowardly! Ikaw lang ba ang nasasaktan?! His hand gripped my arm so tight it hurt. Tapos hinawakan ko `yung noo niya at pumikit. Then the baby started making gurgling sounds. Nakita ko si Julian na papalapi t. Pero maganda pa rin. Syempre inaanak ko ata `yang si Czari na no. Hindi ko pinansin ang paghabol sa `kin ni Julian. the brid Oh. Jeannie! Oh my. As in. Trust CM to say all the wonderful things. Sabi nit o sabay tampal sa bibig. What are you talking about? Uh-oh. Ayoko nga sanang pumayag na maging best m an. Tears were already streaming down my face as I turned away. My heart was beating wildly. I didn t want to be with Julian in the same car. . Hi having a great time? He awkwardly said. Can I hold her? He took the baby from me gently. Kaya tumalikod na lang ako. very dark. Down there on his crotch. I nodded. Goodness gracious Jeannie. Jeannie naman oh! We started laughing. Gah. Jeannie! Bakit mo `ko sinisigawan? Sigaw ko. Naiiyak na naman ako. Tapos papakipot muna ng onti. Okay. Night CM. She ll be as beautiful like her ninang. All I cared about that instant was the man I d hurt so much. I heard the engine of CM s car out of the driveway. Parang hindi niya `ko narinig. I didn t even consider his feelings. I was walking like a zom bie toward Julian. It became somehow awkward. He was really shouting at me! Then CM gasped. I raised one brow at him. Oh.Bakit ang ne ne negrita ng baby ni Jean? Don t tell me salamat lotion lang kayong dalaw a? I opened my mouth in disgust. Jeannie! Narinig kong ibinigay nito kay CM ang bata. Czarina peed on me!!! Napatingin kami sa baba ng pantalon niya. she s a bit dark. Even CM was wailing! Jeanni SHUT UP! Nag-chorus pa silang dalawa ni Julian. And we didn t know how to ruin the wall that separated us. Para akong teenager na nakatitig sa kanya. Will you stop running away like a coward! I stopped dead in my track. I m thinking about joining the contest CM. Let me see her oh. ang beauty ko pang-alalay sa kinakasal? I should have been you. Didn t really care. Kung dati kung pwede lang na ibulsa siya ay ginawa ko na pero ngayon? The silence stretched between us. I couldn t afford to see them. Bata pa lang matalino na. Pati `yung luha ko parang nag-freeze. my God. Oh. very good girl. ano bang silbi ng reproductive system mo kung hindi mo naman gagami tin? I hissed at him. literally. Napatiti g ako sa niece ko.

There was this little cherubin who was looking at me. Ewan ko ba. Give m e a second chance. Anong pangarap mo? Kung sinabi nitong maging mabuting asawa t ama babatukan ko talaga `to. Sana nagamot ko man lang si tatay at `di siya namata y. He must have been at least eight years old. Ewan ko ba . Nyek. Baka gusto niya talagang mabaliw ang mommy ni ya kung iiyak siyang bigla sa gabi out of nowhere. I ll give your father a second chance. I missed these places. I didn t push him like I always did in the few months. His right shoe was toying the marbled flooring. Baliw ba `tong batang `to? Matawa kaya siya kung malaman niyang siya `yung pinagtatawanan ko? But his cute. baby JJ. I was looking out of the manila bay when the phone started ringing. I nodded. Real life drama pala ito. ayos. Really? Oo. Madungis nga lang. Kaso wala kaming pera. He slowly looked up and arched one brow and whispered: What took you so long? As if he was waiting for me all his life. With rai sed eyebrow I could very well say na ako si Jeannette Rose Leviste ang tanging t aong nakapagtiyaga sa ugali niya.He looked like a boy. I have submitted your painting. `Pagharap ko nagulat ako. Tapos one seat apart. `yun nga lang ang hirap ng buhay. brokenhearted ka ba? Ah. Wala ka na bang maisip na matinong ambisyon? Gusto kong maging doktor ate. He was a boy. Could it be a sign that baby JJ want us to be together again? I was trying to smile. Kahit na nga ba sabihing gwapo si Julian a t mayaman. `di siya. Tignan mo nanay ko nakapag-asaw a agad. The one with Julian under the shower? This was a make-or-break decision. I walked down the streets of Manila bay and along CCP. God. Either Julian or Career. hindi madali `yung decision ko. At may hawak siya ng mga sampaguita. Naramdaman ko `yung hangin. Really looking. Hindi gaanong mahigpit. But of course. Then he smiled. `Yun g parang sa cannibal? Tapos `yung ilong niya kumakalat lumalapad `pagtumatawa. Okay lang `yun ate. Anghel na naging tyanak p a. He slowly stepped forward. Some would even say that I d won the lottery by having Julian. Then my eyes started getting misty. Oh. Oi. Hello ? Kahit naman hindi mo pangarapin `yun. Ate. kung karirin ko na lang kaya si Julian? Kung pwede nga lang ba. but my heart suddenly went out to him. I didn t ask for him to do that now. Jeannie! I m so rry. An g hangin tinatangay ang buhok ko. I would have given everything to have him crying in the middle of the night waking me up for his breast feed. He coul d have been months now. I stood up and stared sadly at the engraved name: BABY JJ. I walked down the street. Pat i siya nakitawa na rin. Sana hindi na lang siya nag-smile. sa mga novels na nababasa ko `yung hangin na `yun `yung loved ones nila na nawala na. Caring to your lo ved ones. Sampu na kami! I winced. marami pa namang lalake dyan. Syempre ii sipin nila napuwing lang ako dahil sa lakas ng hangin. I would give him a second chance . deep down I already knew the answer. Okay na sana. As in now. So who was being lucky here? Eh. I slowly smiled. it was human instinct. I recalled one of my classmates in High School telling that particular dream of his. My whole future at stake. As if he wa s testing the waters. Could I forgive and just forget? Kaya ko pa kayang magmahal kung hindi na buo an g puso ko? THIRTY Of course. NIyakap niya ako. Eh. . I started laughing horribly. Do you know that mommy loves you so much? I murmured achingly. His teeth were decaying.

okay. Tha nks mom! I suddenly felt like the biggest scumbag ever. It always happened in real life. Then I saw a man with his canvass. I had nothing against rich kids. `yung mga gustong mag-aral walang pampa-aral. Nako. I didn t even look up. He was already in New York by now because of that blasted con test. Nasugatan ka na. Hindi ko alam kung bakit. Pero kung isa ka sa mga pinanganak na walang kasiguraduhan ang hinaharap. so I think he d got lots of work to do. nakakapaglabas ako n g pera. Dapat all set na para bukas. It was only four i n the afternoon. Baka pasko. I even bled my finger w ith the bread knife. I slipped into the room with so much as a noise. This wasn t one of those overrated version of classic dra mas. Kung ang motto ko ay: I could kiss and be damned tomorrow. Err. Tapos nagtago akong maigi ng nagmamadali ng umalis si Julian. I gave it to him. I strained my ears against the wall. `di ba sosyal? Samantalang sa kasuluksulukang kalye ng Cubao rugby lang. I smiled at him and slowly stood up. Wala na ba akong inisip kundi ang pambabababe ni Julian? Men could be honest. Tsk. Nagluto ako. I heard footsteps. Tapos napa-w ow siya. But really. He didn t really deserve a second chance. I made face. The irony of life. He didn t even bother t o call if he wasn t retiring early! Damn him. I even asked God to make my cooking p erfect. Baka bukas isa na din ako sa mga taong grasa. Tinampal ko `y ung kamay niya. I want to surprise Jeannie about the engagement. Blame CM for this. y`know. That s not for you! I was acting childish. How could I let Julian go? I love him so much. At ano? Para sa wala. at least passable na man. Ba ka maibato ko lang sa kanya `yung kare-kare at kalderata. May kausap sa phone. I started putting away the cold food. Ipinasa niya `yung painting ko. Minsan lang `yan no. I was so angry. Hindi man ganon kasarap `yung niluto ko. Stupid. Baka hindi niya na pakinabangan `yung ano niya `yung ano sex aherm appeal niya! Nagtago ako dun sa may corner. Sometimes happy endings were just in Fairy tale stories. Masama kutob ko dito. The one with Julian. Oh. And you were born with a silver spoon in your mouth. It was just that I hoped they knew their good f ortune. Why? `Coz I believed that what doesn t kill you can make you stronger . Ngayon pa nga lang baon na kami sa utang kay Julian. Oo. Very fortunate of you. I th ought my heart would burst any minute. Little di d he know that I was a descendant of Gabriela Silang? Beware. `Wag lang talaga siyang kakaliwa. Were all the men in general like this? Or only him? He was still insensitive. . He kept looking around as if it was some top government secret. My eyes got misty. Nakita kong nakatalikod si Juli an. God. Alam mo ba `yun. May mga nakapalibot s a kanya habang nagpe-paint siya. We ll. He wanted to capture the orange horizon with its reddish rays around the sun.Ngumiti ako tapos naglabas ng five hundred pesos. Not under the sho wer! `Yung ginawa ko noon sa Morocco. Seriously there were people who were given the privilege to live the ir life the way they wanted to be. Birthday mo? I hissed. SOMETIMES. He dipped one finger at the dish. Who the hell cared. Masama palang napapaisip ako. He frowned and arched one brow. At anong ginagawa nila? Ayun: Pare let s party! Party! Ilabas na ang cocaine. Iniyakan ko pa ang paghiwa ng sibuyas. Hindi. I stared fixedly at the blue and white sky. I m prou d of you. kung hindi mo naranasang mag-promissory note sa school o humabol ng scholars hip. I wanted to celebrate Julian s awakening! Namuti na ang mata ko kakahintay sa kanya. I was a bit disconcerted at first. Hindi man lang nahiya. Siya nga ni hindi man lang maisipang mag-text or tumawag. Siya pa ang isawsaw ko sa alamang. `Yung mga may p ampa-aral ayaw mag-aral. itatanong pa sa `yo kung nasaktan ka.

Would we start makin g babies now? Para makaabot sampu? My mind was screaming: I wasn t prepared for th is. Stop He groaned. Maybe we were immoral in the eyes of the society. Goodness. Of course. Brotherly kiss. It was hot and explosive. My breath got hitched. I hadn t thought that I could love this much. Julian let me down! I yelled a t his back. Hindi joke lang. He even waved his polo up in the air like a cowboy. I smiled sweetly. chaste. I gasped. I hadn t noticed that he was already on top of me. Gusto ko kapag nag-asawa na tayo nasa bahay ka lang. Diniinan ko ang mga kamay sa ulo niya. I want you here with our children hmm mga sampu okay na. I was hissing while sinking my fingers deep into his skin. I was trying to capture his mouth. Like we could satisfy the months. Galit ka ba? lingon niya sa `kin. What do yo u think are you doing? Perhaps going to striptease? He said playfully. He started laughing and crawled to the bed . Our bodies touched. I might melt. I was screaming when he scooped me up in his arms. Grr. Alright. Pakipot lang. He laughed loudl y and lunged at me. Julian Oh-kay. Massage my temples. bed! You re not serious. ganon? Inis nitong sabi. Lalong tumaas `yung kilay ko. I even hugged him tight to myself th at I thought I couldn t breathe anymore. He was pulling down his pants and oh So disappointed. Hindi. almost a year without this physical aspect of our relationship. Kung pwede lang na bumaon `yun baka nangy ari na. I was too eager. He put me down no threw me onto the bed. He turned me upside down. Where s my husband? I whisp ered. alam na. Fatherly. No. Yes. Yes. No. Pero I believed that you couldn t go play . Parang napipilita n lang. Julian no! I shrieked when he tickled my feet. Hindi lang sarap ng pisikal. Tuwang tuwa nga ako sa `yo eh. Had his horse been hidden somewhere here? He should h ave been putting me on his white horse and dashing me off to a castle and not to a Err. He nipped my lower lip and kissed each corner. He was a cave man! Okay lang kung buhat. He really smiled at me. Panira. He was teasing me. A kiss meant everything. while doi ng an imitative dance of that of macho men. words were mere words until you felt them. It was more. smile cracked on his lips. Our eyes met. Nakakatakot itong Julian na `to.Oh? Kanino? Sa aso. I was really a bit taken aback. Grabe. But this was one? We were groping for each other. More that you couldn t define. I was pummeling his back. A slow sexy goodness. Ayoko nang magpaka-ipokrita. Oo. L agi namang ganon `di ba? There would always be someone who would give more love than the other. We were husband and wife in the eyes of God. Masyadong wild at aggressive `yung isang `to. He even smacked my bottom! Tapos tawa siya ng tawa. It was proven and tested. You prepared this f or me. or whatever we could thin k of. Not t hat I was saying living in was justifiable. Anong tingin mo sa `kin palahiang bab oy? I hissed at him. Siguro nga sa `ming dalawa ma s malaki ang pagmamahal ko sa kanya. He was unbuckling his pants. Damn boxers. he loves me but not as much as I do. A kiss wasn t just classified into: smack. You e xperienced them. Were there flames everywhere? It was getting hot. He slouched on the chair and massaged his temple. with gaps between my fingers. Thirsty. right. Papel lang ang kulang sa `min. French or torrid. Kung makautos kala mo bayad na sa kasalanan niya. hindi bagay! I tried to cover my face with my hand. He said that with conviction. He didn t look the man who was so eager to propose. Pero hindi ganito na binibiyabit niya `ko mula sa balikat niya. He kissed me passionately. Sa relationship. I didn t want to close my eyes for a second because Julian might vanish into thin mists. Oh.

Twice. I wanted to laugh at his clumsiness. It w as like this was the last time. Everyone. We soared. Maybe I was really living in one of those fairy t ales and that I would be woken up by my mother. I shouldn t be surprised but I was. Excuse me? I glared at him and he started chuckling! I just want to make this time gentler.around if love wasn t involved. At pumunta kami sa banda roon. this was his idea of going slow eh? Parang ako ata a ng unang mamamatay. Even Brad and Vi ncent were there. Where we could hear our breathing as the music playing in our ears. I was about to shout at him to go to hell when he started raining tiny kisses do wn the side of my face. I started crying because because He kneeled down on his knees. He came back to my lips and kissed me openly. he cleared his throat. Nag papa-yummy pa kasi. Gentle. I was staring into his eyes. Lalo na `yung mga nagpo-pro pose. Like he really wanted to get acquainted wi th every part and pore of me. By God and by love. He groaned. And almost the same. Wasn t it a bit too late for that? After the wa y he took me that first time? He was going to tell me to go slow? Ach. C mon! I wasn t raised to be promiscuous. Nung una nga hindi pa niya m ahanap. . `Wag ka ngang excited. Well. I was happy and overwhelmed to see all of them. Sila mommy at daddy. Tapos sasabihin ko ano ? kasi hindi ko na maririnig kasi bingi na `ko. Nilagyan niya ako ng blindfold. Don t tell me ipapa-salvage mo `ko? I tried to joke my way around him. What? I would scream if he told me: no. Akalain mo `yun. Thrice. He was cuddling against my bosom. He was killing me softly. Jeannette Rose Leviste be my wife? I blinked once. The great Julian S unico was trembling. how I loved this man with all of my heart. The heat and the rush were there. Will you. Okay na ba? Not yet. Kahit `yung mga associates ni Julian. ang keso ko. I was a bit tensed. Sisigawan niya `ko. I gasped. He loved me. `yung x-rated version ba naman ang panuorin mo na pinahiram pa sa `yo ng Good Influence and Morally upright mong c mate. He took the blindfold off. Of course. I love you too I whispered against his hair. At ang sa `kin. So. I didn t know it was like this. I was bound to hi m. every man had his moment. I could feel it in his hands. it was very differen t. I just wished that when we grew old together it would still be like this. I was like: OH? With arched brows. Whatever. There was no pain this time. Late na pala ako sa school. He was re ally something huh. Posible pala. Slow. And God. It s just Just? I asked impatiently. Akala ko hindi. Mali kot ang mga kamay nito. And put out the ring. He was also tensed. I tast ed a morsel of heaven. But I wasn t running for a Maria Clara nominee either. I screamed. I was choking back the words. For the first time. Touched me and kissed me like there was no tomorrow. Na nakahawak sa bewang ko. Well. Si Julian iyon. What? Siya nga `yun ang manre-reject? Eeh. We should all know our limits. CM talked to me on the phone earlier. I love you He whispered as he claimed me. And Jean with her baby. Or it could be our heartbeats. Goodness. I thought and heard about sex was all hot and swea ty. Which he thought I had no clue of. Hindi ko alam kung dah il dahil alam kong ngayon magpo-propose si Julian.

u still have a clue that I love life? And so I did Julian. The diamond ring was sparkling. Because we couldn t have them all. As if telling me to say yes. Nakita kong napahigpit ang kamay niya sa hawak na box. I was nominated for a one-year e xhibit and tour around the world. It was the most pai nful and hardest decision to make.And looked at everyone. I was really s orry. Pero sa totoong buhay. they would ask me the why s and what s. I whispered through my blurring vision. I love you you know that. CM s motto: opportunity knocks only at once door. I even once asked many about which would they prefer: love or career? I couldn t very well answer my own question back then. I cried my heart out when I saw the defeat and hatred in his eyes. In reality. Tears streamed down my ey es. Ngayon ko lang na-realize tama sila. Did you think I wasn t hurt? Did you think I mi ght be selfish? Pero hindi nga ba mahirap abutin ang mga pangarap? I didn t want t o look back one day and blame Julian for not fulfilling my dream. But no. know th sakit rej didn t Didn t yo . I should have put that in Julian s vocabulary. For once. I should have been the one running away after doing the ecting. I couldn t help it while nodding rapidly. He did. I even dare look at everyone. Hindi lahat ng tao mas pinipiling mag-settle down kaysa piliin ang opportunity na ibi nibigay sa kanila. Alam ko. gusto ko namang maging matatag sa mga desisyon ko. But I m sorry I can t. But didn t I ever at a person in pain overlooked everything? Hindi nga ba t mas natatabunan ng ang logic? He walked out on me. THIRTY ONE Compromise. that s why we have choices. And I was chasing him. As always. Didn t you know that not all dreams come true? I needed to grow and that didn t include Julian in the picture. it was me all al ong. Gasgas na pero it wasn t him. I didn t cry.

I pouted and looked out of the w indow. you also have to love what I do! Per o alam kong hindi ganon kadali `yun. there was always an exemption. life without them was a boring world. One year Jeannie? Do you think a year is only a day for me? Galit nitong sabi. I tried to smile. But hey. Of course. Na gkakasala. men are men. Masara p walang pinagkakagastuhan kapag monthsary. You could live without them but somehow let s be honest . syempre masarap pa ring merong pipilit na kunin `yung kamay mo in public kahit kunwari ayaw mo. Ang gulo ko no? I asked him not to wait for me but then I wished with all my heart t hat he would. Isang taon lang `yun Julian. Bulong nito. Reality bites. Before you. I ll be away for a year. Glory be to God. I smiled bitterly to myself. He didn t turn around. Just being realistic. Julian painting is my very first love. In New York. At hindi naman sa wala akong ti wala sa mga lalaki. And warm hugs. Kahit ako man. kaartehan lang `yung mga nababasa t napapanood ko. But it was almost true. Wala ka pa. T here was no way around that but time. With pho ne calls! LOL. Kung anim na bwan nga `yung iba wala na. Sa mga single. Pain was pain. Nandun na `yun eh. Or even last night! He was now shou ting. His forehead was be nt against the wall.I found him in the adjacent room. Siguro hindi na `ko natakot. lagi kong sinasabi noon na mas masarap maging single. He didn t bother to turn around when I shut the door closed. Not that I was here to sit judgment. Heart grew colder with the absence of the other. Those were just life s facts. Why not? Either I ha d no choice `coz there was no one had dared to hold my hand at that time. Hindi lang naman lalaki ang makakapagpaligaya sa `yo. Kasi wala ka ngang ka-monthsary! Wal ang naninigaw sa `yo on the phone when you couldn t text him. Or they weren t as sexy as Julian. C`mon! `Wag na nating loko hin ang sarili natin. Jeannie I will Wait for you My breath got hitched. Yes. Gusto kong isigaw sa kanya: If you love me. Julian Akala ko dati. Gusto kong matupad ang mga pangarap ko. Mamamatay `yan kung isang taong walang putahe sa hapag kainan. Sino bang nakakaalam kung bakit ganito ang mga babae? . And it was my dream e ven before Julian entered my oh-so-boring life. Lit erally and hmm figuratively. Ano? Magtititigan na lang tayong mga bab ae? At the back of our minds we wished for someone to fill the cold nights. Ano bang alam ko nung time na `yun? Gusto ko lang maging m agaling na pintor. It might sound exaggerated. If and only if they d devoted themselves to God. His fists clenched. In general. Ano ba. Pero hindi nga ba k aya nga kakaunti ang pari sa mundo? At ang iba pa sa kanila y. That was what I wanted to hear from him. kung iiwan ako ng lalaking m ahal ko sa harap ng altar baka mapatay ko siya ng wala sa oras. Pero masak it Jeannie. I won t ask you to wait for me Julian. Long distance relationship only stood a chance as big as my thumb finger. you stood against odds and still be together after a year. O dahi l sa dinami dami ng lalaki sa mundo walang sumigaw sa `kin ng katulad ng pagsiga w ni Julian. Unless you tell me. It was very true. Abstinence was an avoidable word in their dictionary. But wasn t that our problem? Time. Wala ka bang sasabihin? Gusto kong sabihing naiintindihan kita. `Coz I don t know what will happen. That finding your self wasn t really true. You could have told me yesterday. His back was turned to me. He looked at me from head to foo t. Nung humarap siya. Again. Isang taon pa kaya? I wasn t being pessimistic here. True.

I really do. I snatched the cloth from him and cove red it again. Sino pa bang titili ng ganoon kung hindi ang kaisa-isang kaib igan ko sa mundong ibabaw. We disappointed you. I tried pushing him toward the kitched. You might be seeing some body I don t know. What if you find someone new? What if you do? I hissed at him. I gaped at him. He paushed. Galit kong sabi sa kanya. I lo Don t tell me you love me. Sino `to? I avoided his scrutiny. Ah. Get out Jeannie. Of course. `di topless. `Yung lalaki sa panaginip mo? Tuwing gabi dinadalaw ka? CM! He looked at the painting more closely. What? He smiled sheepishly. Ganon din naman `yun. Ang arte. I bit my lip to stop from crying out. So. Julian I whispered when I was in between the door and the outside world toward achi eving my dream. dammit! Just just get the hell out of here!!! Nanlaki ang mga mata ko at naisara ko agad ang pinto. Then shrugged. `Yun lang ang naiintindihan ko sa lahat ng `to. I wanted to slap him at that moment. I won t ask where you are going. Ano ba Jeannie defensive na sabi ni to. He shook his head. Kung gagabihin kayo e. Postcard greetings. I gritted my teeth. if you walk out of that door. He arched one brow. Let s eat. Sh!t. couldn t I just have both? Somehow maybe I would eventually forget him. Eh. And Julian didn t want anything to do with it. It seemed cliché but I m letting you go. Nahiya ka lang pero ang ido-draw . Ano ba `yang ginagawa mo ha? Tingin pa. natetempt akong mag-stay. Ex mo? Kung makapagtanong kala mo inosente! I gritted my teeth. it s okay with me. Pero pano na lang `yung mga pa ngarap ko? Hindi lahat ng tao nabibigyan ng ganitong opportunity. I understand. I chose my path. I didn t really care. And correction. My heart was breaking into pie ces. I mopped my forehead with the towel. My mind was made up. I cleared my throat and glared at him.Never forget you. Pwede ba. Gusto mo bang sabihin ko sa `yong hihintayin kita Jeannie? Then wha t after our promises to one another. For you. he isn t nude here. I like him. Oo. I m hungry. I m sorry baby JJ. And damn if he wasn t handsome here and nud e. este uumagahi n. It would deteriorate with ti me. He shook his head. I didn t care. But it hurt a lot. Busy? I shrugged my shoulders. Two years later. Jeannie! I raised one brow. You k now dear. You re giving up on me. Wala. It meant goodbye. However. Para akong rob ot na naglalakad. Narinig kong ang pagbagsak ng mga gamit at kung ano mang mga nagkala t na basag doon. Sakalin ko na kaya `tong kaibigan kong `to? He tried looking over my shoulders. A mere whisper. Hindi kaya maglolokohan lang tayo? He gave up on me. God. I glared all the more at him. Was there a difference? Iniba niya lang ng phrase pero ganon din `yun! Jeannie if you stay you choose me. BITTER! After a few e-mails and letters. So what time s your date later with Rick? Todo smile ito. Hinara ngan ko `yung painting sa likuran ko. dapat ba magpasalamat pa `ko? Utang na loob ko pa bang hindi niya `ko makakalimutan? Dapat bang magpaparty pa `ko? He s mirked at me. So this was what he called letting go huh. Bago pa man ako makapagsalita ay nahugot na ni CM `yung tel a mula sa canvass.

Nakalimutan ko na siya. It was so un-CM like. Maybe he was an angel sent from above. In a fashionable way. I was starting a new life now. I took hold of his hand. Baka si Piolo Pascual. I was even looking out for some sign s of imperfection. Para siyang sawa. Two years. I tried hard not to jab him in the ribs. I was looking out of the crowd when I met a pair of eyes. Magtira ka sa sarili mo. . Pisil pa. At bolero! Na ni minsan hindi man lang ginawa sa `kin ni Julian . He was half-Canadian half-Filipino. I couldn t ever forget that face. Hindi dahil nasasakal ako sa yakap ng katabi ko. Lakad. We now shared a unit. we were in the 21st century. Ang h irap kausapin ang sarili mong isip. where are you going? I squeezed through the throng of people. My very first date after almost two years. Napa-smile ako kay CM. Goodn ess. And they were all returned! Except for the e-mail syempre. Inis na sabi sabay irap. Rick was handsome. He didn t exist anymore. So now he wasn t perfect. Me? Ah. Wala na ni hindi ko na nga natatandaan kung pano siya ngumiti. Malay ko bang nagkaroon pa kami ng baby JJ the sec ond. Pa-humble pa. Nabigla ako. Save that he wasn t Julian. Takbo. This was our first date. He stood up and moved right to the door. I his sed. huwag mo ng ibigay ang lahat. I know thank you. I snorted. Actually. Dammit. para sa susunod na magmamahal ka u lit may ibibigay ka pa. Matangkad. But deep inside there was that wishful thinking that somehow he should have been there at night to cuddle her.ing mo talaga nude. it was a year. Naiiyak na `ko ng hindi ko na siya maki ta. Gwapo. She won the painting contest. He was as sleek as a snake. Excuse ako ng excuse par ang wala namang naririnig! Julian Bulong ko. Kahit anong pigil ko sa kama y niya kung saan napupunta. It was all worth it. He raised an inquiring eyebrow at me. He was really one he ll of a handsome man. I tried hard not to glare at him. He held my hand. Kahit kahit `pag sumisigaw siya hindi ko na matandaan kung pano nagigin g singkit lalo `yung mga mata niya. I ve already forgotten him CM. Totoo naman. I shook my head. How could you love another if you couldn t love yourself? She spent wandering around the world. Kung siya ang mapapangasawa ko ulit. Bakit ba hindi? Sino bang unang nakalimot? I e-mailed him. At si Julian ang devil. Akala ko ba nakalimutan mo na siya! Grabe. Bago pa kung saang imperti nenteng lugar mapadpad iyon. No more Julian. You know that I like you Jeannette. And very gentleman. Uh-okay. Who? I asked innocently. Y es. those black eyes. At lalong hindi ko na natatandaan kung pano siya Humalik? Inirapan ko siya. eleven months and twenty seven days. And this was New York! Kulang na lang ako ang gawin niyang dinner. Hey. You look beautiful and sexy. My eyes grew wide. Malamang magiging gwa po o maganda ang magiging anak namin. The people were blocking him. He smiled at me. Mabilis akong na patayo. Para kasing sinapian na naman siya ng masamang espiritu. You seemed preoccupied. I started preparing for our food. sent postcards and letters. Mab ango. I couldn t breathe anymore. Jeannie What! You haven t forgotten him. I looked at his impeccable white shirt underneath his coat. His hand started squeezing my thighs. I know. Jeannie kung magmamahal ka. I smiled at him. no.

I saw this man with his black coat. The same with Julian! Um sorry miss? Parang gusto kong lumubog sa kahihiyan. Ano ba. Bakit ba `ko ginaganito ni God? I didn t really care about him anymore, did I? Sino bang niloko ko? Kung hindi ang sarili ko. I turned around in defeat. I gasped. There I saw him. I realized then that I missed him I missed slapping him. Yeah. He was walking beside the very lovely Tricia. Could I just pluck that lovely hair out of her head? Just this once.

THIRTY TWO Operation Iwas. Whenever I bumped into someone I didn t feel like being chummy-chummy with, the mo st effective way I do was simply pretend to busy myself with finding my purse or looking at something in the opposite direction. Pero hello? Wasn t it too obvious of me? Nakita ko na sila t lahat. Wala akong dalang bag para mag-pretend na may h inahalungkat. I had failing eyesight. Yes! I had as of today, this exact minute. Pero pano ko idadahilang near-sighted ako, eh, kung tutuusin ilang hakbang na la ng sila sa`kin? Damn. I gnawed at my lower lip. My hand was sweating coldly. Thi s wasn t what I d envisioned of seeing Julian again. Bakit ang hirap magkunwaring hi ndi ka nasasaktan? When in fact you wanted to cry in front of him? You know what; I believed that there d be that one person you couldn t ever forget i n your life. Siya `yung sa dinami dami ng nakahawak ng kamay mo. O kung marami m an. Siya lang `yung perfect fit para sa `yo. `Yung totoo? Pwede mong sabihing hindi na `ko magmamahal ulit . Words from a mouth of a heartbroken. Rubbish. You d be a big time liar. Kasi we were made to be human. Human nature na `yun. We d keep falling and falling in love over and over again. But to those who had passed by. Tandaan niyo, may isang maiiwan diyan sa kasuluk sulukan ng puso mo. Either he or she stayed or not for keeps. Hindi nga ba makab ayan si Rizal? Siguro kung buhay pa siya active siya sa United Nations. Why not? Iba t ibang lahi ang mga minahal niya. But he had one great love. Leonor Rivera.

I d tell you I could love again but there was only one Julian Sunico. Hindi lahat ng nasa kasalukuyan ay siyang one great love. I didn t know if it was from Bob Ong : Hindi lahat ng nagmamahalan ay magkasama at hindi lahat ng magkasama ay nagmam ahalan. So I was very confident. Kahit sampung Tricia pa `yan, ako pa rin ang mahal ni J ulian. My breath got hitched. They did pass me by without so much as hi! Parang gumuho `yung mundo ko. Iyon pala ang ibig sabihin non. Jeannie?! I didn t turn around. Jeannie? Jeannette Rose Leviste? I closed my eyes. So, she did remember me huh. God give me strength not to throt tle the two of them. At lalong ayokong umiyak sa harapan nilang dalawa. I automa tically turned around and placed a robotic smile on my lips. Hi. You still remember me, don t you? Excited na sabi nito. Of course, nanadya ka ba? Gusto kong isigaw `yun sa kanya. She seemed nice and gen uine. Alam ko, lahat ng third party ang impression sa kanila ay masama. But no, in my rational state of mind, trust me, Tricia was kind and sweet. Pero hindi ak o rational ngayon! God. You ve changed. You ve thinned a little. But it s okay! Before I knew it, she was h ugging me. Argh. I met a pair of dark eyes. Those eyes I d painted in my mind. And he looked bored! As if he didn t recognize me. Gusto kong itulak si Tricia. So he was here, without telling me. At bakit pa Jeannie? Ano pa bang koneksyon niyo? He should have told me, for old times sake! Para ano? Para saktan ang sarili mo? Bakit mo pa kasi siya hinabol?! My hands were shaking due to the cold December night? Or because the chillness i n Julian s stare? I wasn t so sure. Anyway, Jeannie lumingon ito kay Julian. Julian ano ka ba! Para namang wala kayong p inagsamahan. My mouth almost dropped open. Goodness, pinagsamahan? That was an understatement of the century. He shrugged his shoulder and tilted his head toward her. Na par a bang isa lang siyang matagal ng kakilala. Julian Hinawakan ni Tricia `yung braso nito. I rolled my eyes heavenward. What? What do you want me to say? Long time no see? Nice seeing her again? Napabuka `yung bibig ko. He was referring to me now as HER. As if I didn t ah, no, n o never exist in his life. As if I d never been in his bed! Anong tingin niya sa ha los isang taong pinagsamahan namin? One-year stand? Damn him. I felt like crying at the same time bashing him in the head. Akala niyo ba babae lang ang bitter kapag hindi maayos ang ending ng relationship? O walang closure ? Somehow men took it all in. They were the high and mighty Mr. Macho men. But d eep inside they were more hurting. Because they couldn t let it out in the open. Th ey couldn t cry shamelessly like women did. It s okay Tricia. I so smiled at her. But ah, it hurt. Tapos biglang parang bumbilyang nag-lighten up `yung mukha niya. Jeannie! Since you re here, I m going to ask you a favor. You won t mind, right? Tricia ! Julian gripped her arm to shut her up. I frowned. Favor? Could I just kick mysel f for still standing here and not walking out on them? I I Hindi ko sinasadya. As in hindi. Napatingin ako kay Julian. And he was looking b ack at me. His hands were inside his jeans pocket. One brow arched in question. Tricia don t make her lie to you to come up with an excuse. I think she s busy with he r dreams. He snorted! Nanlalaki `yung mga mata ko. I knew a sarcasm when I heard one. I I m not busy Tricia. It s okay. Ilang beses ko na bang sinasabing it s okay ? At ilang es bang para kong sinasaksak kapag sinasabi ko `yun? Oh, my God! Thanks Jeannie! So much. Ano ba `yun?

Jeannie I want you to be my maid of honor! May bomba bang sumabog? It was like I couldn t breathe. She even put her ring fing er in the air. It was sparkling with diamond? Deymmmmm Damn Didn t Julian try to put something like that on me two years ago? Jeannie? Tricia eyed me. Are you okay? I m okay. Gusto ko ng sakalin `yung leeg ko. What was okay here? I looked at them bot h. Nakayakap si Tricia sa braso ni Julian. I saw the way he perused my expressio n. I m okay I m I started laughing, choking a laughter that caught on a sob. Jeannie? Tricia asked again. Are you crying? Ah no, no I m just just too happy! I felt like crying! Tumatawang pinunasan ko `yung l sa mga mata ko. Gusto kong sumigaw sa kanila: Nanadya ba kayong dalawa? I felt like an idiot. No. I was an idiot! I was trying to tell myself I had move d on. Hindi ko alam kung may dapat ba `kong pagsisihan. Like, I should have been in he r place, right? Or we should have been building a family now? Pero kung siya ang pinili ko maabot ko ba `yung mga pangarap ko ngayon? Did you ever feel empty inside? Like there was this giant hole in your heart. I left Julian so that I could grow on my own. I left him because I had no choice. Meron man akong mga choices. `Yun naman `yung mga choices na wala sa options ko . He asked me to choose between him and my career. Bakit hindi niya na lang hiniling sa `king hintayin niya `ko? He could even fly here once in a while. Nagagalit ako sa kanya. Because he didn t even put up a good fight. He just let me go. Just like that. You just call me Tricia. I have so many things to do. Hindi pa man ito nakakapagsali ta ay tumakbo na `ko palayo sa kanila. I was sobbing like a child. Napatingin sa `kin si CM. I didn t care. Eh, kung naka kaiyak naman talaga `yung Dvd na One More Chance ni JL at ni Bea Alonzo. Lalo na `yung part na bumabalik si Basha kay Popoy. He winced. Why are you crying? Nakaka iyak kaya. Huwaaa I hiccupped many times. And cried again. Tumingin ulit siya. This time slow motion `yung pagbaling ng ulo niya. Na para bang nababaliw na ng a ako. W-what? He rolled his eyes heavenward. Ang corny mo `te. Now that stopped me from sobbing. Excuse me? He sighed exaggeratedly. Alam mo ba mas naririnig ko pa `yung pag-iyak mo kesa sa dialogue nilang dalawa. He hissed at me. Bakit ba kapag brokenhearted ang tao kont ing masaling mo lang ng movie o sad songs umiiyak na? Malay ko I shrugged. Mukha ba `kong brokenhearted? Itinaas nito `yung kamay ko at ginawang puppet. `Yan. Tanong mo sa sarili mo. I glared at him. Alam mo ba I saw Julian? Yep. He s here. I ve seen him with Tricia. Nag-aayos kasi sila ng kasal My mouth dropped. Goodness, he knew? You didn t tell me? He shrugged again. Baka kasi makita na lang kitang nakabigti na dyan kaya `di ko sinabi. Alam mo friend you don t look brokenhearted. He nodded solemnly and looked b ack at the wide screen. You look suicidal. Naiyak ako ng malakas sa sinabi niya. Julian s business got bankrupt Jeannie. He couldn t take a day or two to go here for you back then. Alam mo naman siguro `yun he thought you left him because of that. I gasped at the seriousness in CM s voice. Well, he was damned serious. I didn t. Well he thought. Maraming namamatay sa maling akala. Sa sitwasyon niyong dalawa. H indi si Julian `yun. You knew the family scandal. He was sucked dry by Vince Gon zalo. That s why he let you go

Pero isa lang sure k o jealousy could kill. Ano Jeannie ? Ibabalik na ba ni Tricia si Julian? Now I knew the expression: ASA! OB. Laruan tama. All about baby JJ. CM! The phone started ringing. She was wearing a floral dress with a cardigan. eh? Napatingin . Ah. Jeannie! What? Why don t you take Julian back? I slowly shook my head. Pero kanino? Sa sarili ko? Kay Tri cia ba? O sa napakawalanghiya kong ex-hubby. Teka nga bakit ang dami mong alam? He talked to your mother. Baby. Silence. Nagsubo ito ng maraming popcorn. Mabilis iyong inabot ni CM. Tricia. So what would happen to Tricia? Julian will have a stag party! Bakit bakit hindi na lang nating totohanin `yung pi kot?! I groaned aloud. Wala nga lang sa kanya `di ba? He d even moved on and forgotten all about me. `Yung mga tatanga-tangang sumusunod sa yapak ni Cinder ella. Pwede mo ba `kong samahan sa OB? I want this to be a surprise Surprise! The phone went out of my grasp. Was t here such a thing? Could pain kill you? Hindi naman siguro. Gusto kong magalit. Hindi ako ganon ka-kontrabida. H e smiled evilly at me. Ahm Jeannie lulubus-lubusin ko na ha. Err I hated him. no. Ah no. Well. Naiinis ako sa sarili ko. I was never fond of maltreated protagonists. So shall we go? Tricia smiled at me.WHAT?! Just like that? Ganon ba kaliit `yung tingin niya sa `kin? He shrugged. as I stared outside the glas s panel from here. And little did I know that. Hello? Hey. Julian. at least I didn t have evil stepsisters. Never EX. legally speaking. that word would be applied to me someday and that someday happened to be now. Sino bang laruan dito? THIRTY THREE I now know the word STUPID. Not ex. I stared stupidly at CM. We weren t even mar ried. Si Julian lang talaga ang evi l dito. all in capital letters. At ngayon? Hindi ko alam kung unti-unti ko bang pinapatay `yung sarili ko. Very fashionable. it s me Tricia. Your twin told me Maybe it s better this way I m oka Okay? C`mon Jeannie! You have to be dead to be okay.

They were together. Iba na ata ibig sabihin niyon ngayon. a hand grabbed mine. It was a time to celebrate. mo Tricia! Dahil bitter ako sobrang bitter. Are you okay? Lumingon ako.akong bigla sa tiyan niya. The doctor smiled widely. I haven t been celibate say GOD. Are you sure? She looked down at me. He hissed. that she was lying for all that Julian s worth (which w as what I would have also done if I were in her place) or she was just too insen sitive. Spell desperada. So God wasn t on my side. Halos akayin na ko ni Tricia. Thanks doctor. And disgusted wit h myself. What the hell It s your fourth glass. too bad of me to pray. Kailangan pa ba niyang sabihin `yun? Five months now. Give love on Christmas day! CM cheered. It was awkward. Uh-huh. almost one year and seven and a ha lf months? Actually I wanted it to be a surprise. Congratulations! Let s cheers to that. Hindi ba magmumukha ako ng bitter? And that would be sheer hypocrisy. alam k o. Hindi ako iiyak.? Sa sobrang lakas ng kaba ko parang ako ang mahihimatay. Anong pakialam ko?! Kahit 24/7 pa `yan! Parang convenient store. Utang na loob! So was it any consolation that J ulian mourned over our relationship for over. I met a pair of chinito eyes. I tried to smile. Ahm mrs. Gusto kong sumi gaw na ang O. God forgive me. Tricia! I closed my eyes to keep my emotions intact. Walang iyakan. So how are you? Someone new? I wanted to smile and tell her: Yes. Nakakat atlong baso na ko. Nauwi kami sa videoke bar. So it was five months going huh. I ve found someone new and I m very much happy. Sa totoo lang hindi ko alam kung bakit pa `ko pumayag samahan siya sa OB.A. At sak a hello? Bakit dito pa? Pwede namang sa Pinas `di ba? Oh. As if. c`mon! Don t tell me nau ubusan na ng OB don? Maybe because half part of me was harboring a tiny hope that either Tricia was a certified scheming b!tch. Yeah. half-crying. I averted my eyes away from the scene. Tsss. Julian only looked at me. Mag-iinom kasi broken hearted ka. Argh. Big time. Ano bang ginagawa ko dito? Nagpapakamasokista? Maglaslas na lang kaya ako? Nasa baba na kami ng condo building ni Tricia. Sabay biglang labas ng doctor. Hindi siya buntis hindi siya buntis nagdadalang-tae lang si Tricia. Tricia was the first real love of Julian. Pero pwede ba at some point lahat tayo nagiging makasa rili kapag nagmamahal `di ba? Now I was getting all worked up. . No! Oo. It s confirmed J ulian! Thank you So it was confirmed. Before I could even drink my fourth glass. I was rooted to the seat. We turned around and Tricia quickly ran to him and hugged him. Congratulations! You re two and a half months on the family way. for all I care. Tricia was spared to drink any liquor. May we all have an everlasting friendship! W alang agawan. Pero minsan naiisip kong patirin si Tricia. Palabas pa lan g kami ng clinic. Hindi ako makangiti. I was still silent and mum about it. You and Julian can go to hell together. Had I seen in his eyes how he wanted me to be sorry? D ahil iniwan ko siya? Dahil pinagpalit ko siya sa mga pangarap ko? Tinawagan nila si CM. Itinayo niya `ko. Lagyan ng kung anong valium ang inumin nito. Pano kung sila talaga? After all. You re drunk. Tapos pumili na ng kanta si Tricia. Tricia was half-laughing.

I told you. I slowly smiled at him. His hands grabbed my sho ulders. Mabilis akong tumayo despite th e dizziness. shaking me. He s making me happy Julian. Sorry. And so w as I. Kung sinong mas magaling! I hissed. slap him or lied about not liking i t. Aren t we here to celebrate? I blurted out bitterly. Just don t make any noise. At sabay tulak sa`kin. Exactly. So it was the high and mighty Mr. This was what you called Women s violation! His hand was there. I missed his ne arness. There at the side of my ahm waist. Ooops. you love it. Tricia was singing my eyes grew wide. yes. CM! Julian was also shocked. Yes. I m sor ry Oh my God. I m going to sing. Under my lo and behold future! Almost there. I liked it rough . Goodness so y ou aren t any different from your sister. Of course. Oh. If I know! Pinindot niya talaga ` yung stop button. His head came down upon me. I covered my mouth and ran to the bathroom. Magtabi kami ni CM. I drank it in one fill without breaking the eye contact. no! Hindi ko sinabi `yun! I was drunk. Hindi ko sinasadya. Is h e making you happy Jeannie? He laughed sarcastically. CM smiled at me innocently. Uh-oh. He moved forward. The same heat and inten sity was there. Yes. Sunico hu h? I gritted my teeth. I can t read the lyrics from here. Uh-oh. We screwed in the backseat I was even comparing notes. An artist also. My so-called bestfriend just ignored me! Sa pagkakalipat nito ay nalipat si Julian sa tabi ko. Hindi ko alam k ung sinong sumundo sa`kin. I eyed CM with warning. Tricia frowned. you shouldn t drink. Who t old him about Rick? That maniac. Did it still taste the same? Oh. I was ushered into Julian s lap. Jeannie can you move a little over there? Masikip. Yes. Hindi naman ako claustrophobic pero parang nasosuffocate ako. CM said drily. Then we turned slowly.I raised one brow. Galit na sabi nito. I looked down at his hand. Julian s chinky eyes turned into slits. I missed him. Like you taught me. Umusog ako sa gilid palayo. Sige tuloy niyo lang `yan. I was ready to puke. It was like he was a menacing predator the next. Ahm excuse me Julian pwede bang dito ka na lang umupo? Diyan ako sa tabi ni Tricia . don t you? Why not for th e last time Jeannie? Do you know the word fvckiiiing qui ckie? He was mad. I thought I d forgotten that mouth. He mouthed. He moved forward. Oh-kay. Bruising my lips. god. Para akong masusuka. Pero hindi ko magawa. Ano bang pakialam mo? Tinanggal ko ang kamay niya at ngumiti. More than happy Do you know what? God forgive me for this. I didn t know what I was doing. Someone was caressing my back to and fro. he said sarcastically. mmkay? I looked at Tricia. My eyes were getting misty. My tears rolled down as the cold nights and empty sheets lay behind the almos . Julian s teasing smile froze me in place. Biglang nagiba ang tono ng boses nito. Demanding. that was it. Tric ia s busy singing. She seemed really oblivious. Oh. So I ve heard about your new boyfriend. That lips I had kissed many times before. Love will lead you back. I missed him shouting at me because he was concerned. Julian s hand steadied me fr om slipping into the floor in the other side. my words. But I didn t try to hold back. CM smiled at me. Someday I just know that love will lead you back in my a rms I winced. I had no strength anymore. Hindi naman ako `yung nagsalita non `di ba? Julian s grin was deliberate. Gusto ko siyang sampalin. Move a little. I g asped.

Isn t that what you want to hear from me Julian? I asked him sarcas tically. Kung ginawa niya `yun noon. Thank you because you left me. Pero lalo lang akong b inabangungot. Tricia was the second one. Walang taong ganoon kabait at kamartir. I m still mad at yo u because you hurt me (In truth. Tatlo lang `yun. Because the truth was becoming real to me with each passin g day. Some consolation. Okay. I started crying. I was the first among the Miss Stupidest runners-up. I swear. sino pa bang tatalbog sa pinakamagarang award na makukuha ko? Kahit nga si Janine San Miguel walang panama sa `kin. Jean was the first one. Was there such a thing? Forever. Ano `yan? Lipstick? THIRTY FOUR How many times did I pray to God that this was just a nightmare? I should be waking up now. As if I had a contagious disease. get in line please! I stared numbly at the organizer. And more years to come He d be gone from me forever. Kaya galit siya sa`kin. If ever my lipstick smeared. I was still wide awake. Ang love parang li pstick. It was all too vivid. And at that time Tricia was m y only chance of ever achieving it. Na parang walang pakialam! Anger was always okay than indiffe rence. I didn t dare wipe the tears. He shrugged at me. Pero hindi. Congratulations. music please . He looked up. Malungkot itong tumingin sa kanya. He pushed me away from him. Sa`min ni Julian? It should have been Neverever. Totoo `yun. kung nagkita kayo after so many years at hindi naging maganda ang break-up.t two years. Katulad mo. I smiled to myself humorlessly. I thought dreams were made to escape the painful reality. it meant I m still in love with you) kasi bakit ka kailangang mag-waste ng emotions sa isang taong wala namang halaga sa`yo? And indifference you re nothing to me anymore. That would be sheer stupidity. Jeannie our family s business is my dream. Pero hindi. For some reason. Hindi na `ko magtataka kung isang araw ay hindi na`ko magising. I closed my eyes. At least he was still as affected to me as he was. kahit gawa `yan para hindi matanggal o mapalis basta basta darating at d arating pa rin ang expiration date niyan. I got his point. eh. Now tell me. I heard CM asking him when he went out. Okay. Ilang araw na ba nang bumalik ako dito sa Pilipinas? Isa lang ang na-real ize ko: Ang tanga ko no? Ang tanga-tanga ko. I d file a laws uit against its manufacturer. Though he didn t love her i t wasn t me he really got tangled with. But why should I be the one to understand them? Walking down the aisle with the one you love is every girl s dream but walking dow n the aisle with the one you love when you happened to be the bridesmaid was out of the question. Kung iniwan kita non? At sinabi ng pamilya kong pakasalan ko si Tri cia dahil papalubog na ang business naming Jeannie? What would you feel? I was a bit confused. Kung umayaw ako. CM nudged my shoulder to keep going. O kung meron man hindi ako `yun. Kung ginawa niya `yun? Syempre magagalit ako ng bonggang b ongga! Pero maiintindihan ko ba siya? Syempre kung tanong lang `yun madaling sabi hing: I ll understand you. If he ever chose Tricia for his dream over me I would still be mad at him. There was always someone in the way. For ever. Maybe it was just sp elled that way. What for? Couldn t he see my heart breaking i nto pieces in front of him? I felt my lips were swollen. maiintindihan naman nila `ko `di ba? Dapat intindihin nila `ko.

But she couldn t she couldn t love me back. Sana naman kung nakikinig siya somehow he could guide me. But not really. But at this point in time. Sa `kin lahat sila nakatingin. Sipon. . I started crying and vomiting. Lahat naghalo na. Parang slow motion napatingin ako sa kamay ko. Nanlaki `yung mata niya na parang sinasabing: Oh. He didn t say a thing. you ll feel my pain. Julian Sunico. When I looked up I met a pair of dark. Free will. I love this woman greatly. My heart wasn t just broken into two. but into many pieces. Sana may cut. Naiinis ako kasi mas aya siya at ako hindi. `felt like it was my death march. I do. Her boyfriend got her pregnant. Alam mo ba kung gano kasakit `yun? Hindi. Do you know. Para naman alam ko kung kailan pipigilan ang emosyon. Syempre nahiya ako sa ayos ko. I glared at her. And of course. At take note: sa loob ng simbahan. Kasi sobra. Kasalanan niya `to. all I cared about was myself. This was what they cal led almost dying. He handed me a towel. I couldn t stop from sobbing . Ha? Napatingin ako sa paligid ko. I didn t know how I dared to be here. t o sacrifice and to understand. Fighting spirit . Mine was enough for me to handle. Para akong nasa pelikula. Or pride? I didn t know. I just fou nd myself sitting on the bench with him. I brushed my hair away from m y wet face. anong ginawa ko sa`yo? She shouldn t have made me replace her. My sister was staring helplessly at me. either mabaliw ako or maisipan kong mag-suicide bombin g sa loob ng simbahan. Pero sana sana lang may take two. me listening. Neither did I.There was a pianist. Out. The pain was excruciating. Luha. Jeannie. Hindi ko na sana nakilala si Julian. I was walking like a zombie. When he le ft her I was there to catch her. If he was sympathizing with me. CM was eyeing me pit ifully. Of course. Kunwari tumawa ako. Goodness. Tricia smiled at me hesitantly and reached out to me What? Jeannie You re holding the bouquet. Lalo na `yung mga caretak ers. Pero anong alam ko nung time na `yun? I didn t know that I was doing that specifically for her. They were right in front of the pretend pries t reciting their bows. That is what love is isn t it? You have to give. Actually. Kaw awa naman `yung mga walang kamuwang-muwang na halaman. Gusto kong isigaw na wala akong pakialam. Willed her mother to be strong. Just as the words were out. Nakakadiri ako. Oo na. Then I gave Tricia the flower. But t hen This practice was a major catastrophic event in my life next to having lost baby JJ. great. Are you okay? I slowly looked up. Kasi feeling ko. She tried to pat my hand but I turned away from her. do you take this woman as your lawfully wedded wife? My vision became blurred. What had I done now? What! I snapped at the organizer. Ang selfish ko no? I was hurting too much to be sensible. And he started talking. chinky eyes. I didn t need another broken heart. I was clutching silly at the bunch of flowers. No Don t J ulian. Hindi ko alam kung anong masamang espiritung sumapi sa `kin. Alam mo ba `yung feeling na nagsisikip `yung dibdib mo? Like you were getting suffocated due to pain? Na lalong sumasakit an g dibdib mo kapag pinipigil mong umiyak? That was how I felt just by looking str aight at him. I ran away from there as fast as I could. hopeless case r etard. As if I was a dimwitted. I couldn t handle it at the moment.

Hindi mo maintind ihan. So I married her. But I didn t want her gratitude. Pero naniniwala akong meron. LOL. I s tarted hating her for not loving me back. you just have to tell him that at some point you love him as a son. be us against the world . Nakakatawa no? Manood ka ng XXX tuwang tuwa ka. The only way I knew I could hurt her back He shrugged. I really tried. I loved you. He was there. Just as I am to you. Whatever. right? Jeanni Kung hihilingin kong maging masaya ka. present and future tense? EPILOGUE And in another life I would be your girl We keep all our promises. It was like that in love. But this time there was one thing he didn t own anymore. Sana nga I was walking down the memory lane. God will give you the man you are loo king for. And you hurt Julian the most. Nothing to say. I loved him I love him still But things change d. I crossed my fingers and hiccupped. sacrifice and understand. Loved. Sabi nila wala daw definition `yun. Sunico smiled at me. Why are you asking this nonsense? Nonsense? I laughed. standing as if he owned the world. Makakita ka ng PDA sa l abas yamot na yamot ka. Napalingon ako sa kanya. we did things we would never have thought for the sake of love. I think. Nagkamali kami pa reho. Julian whispered. It was only up to us how to show it. I stopped dead in my tracks. This time I was successful. Ngumiti ako. Bakit pa kasi nauso ang past. Not that I was saying love was connected to lust or so. Like he always. Akal a niya na-neglect siya. Sa tingin mo ba kung mabubuhay tayo ulit gugustuhin mo pa rin akong makilala? I tr ied not to croak. Mr. she s grateful to me. Sinisisi niya `yung sarili niya sa divorce niyo.You have to give. God. He was looking down at the stones. Bulong ko. How cruel love is. But after all those years. Mali ako. that would be sheer hypocrisy Julian. Go figure. You re a good woman. Sa totoo lan g hindi ko naman talaga maintindihan kung anong ibig sabihin ng love. I turned to women from night to night. At one point. Understanding what he meant. But only we had different meanings of love. Magulo. He frowned at me. How could you l et go of something that wasn t yours in the first place? How could I forgive Julian for letting me go so easily? How could I stop the pai n? Would time really help me? Or would it just get worse? Hindi naman nakakamatay a ng pagiging brokenhearted `di ba? Unless maglaslas ka. but then I wished with all my heart that you d be happy if only that is with me.

And hearing her daughter s voice made me w ish that I were her. Hello? Ako ang iyong konsensya I grit my teeth. I close my eyes and pray. maibabalik ko ba lahat? Had I cried openly would he would we What if there is a time machine? Or Reincarnation is real? Would I have made him stay? Would we meet again? Sa totoo lang hindi ko alam kung anong formula kung p ano manatili ang love. Paskong pasko. I put down the flowers. Someone who can make our hearts beat faster. Merry Christmas! Nagpaparamdam ka ba sa `kin baby JJ? Did you miss mommy? I kneel down. Right or Mr. next life. Kung may love potion lang malamang bestselling item `yun. I always envy my twin. Halos mapaantanda ako sa gustong ipabili nito. Eh. Oh. He loves you I sigh. Well. First to Jean then to Tricia. Meron sa buhay natin na darating. My eyes grow wide when I s ee a pair of a child s feet. I smile softly to myself. where are you? Haven t you been with Roy? He told me you re not feeling well. My cell phone is ringing. Splitting hairs. Kaya nga siguro deep down. Relationshi ps: Sawa to awa. Oh. Perfect. Do you ever believe in destiny? Eh. Binagalan ko `yung pagda-drive. He s laughing. Hindi niyo siguro napansin. Hey. `yung tao ang gumagawa ng kapalaran niya? Ts k. no don t go there anymore Jeannie. I bet you didn t guess how insecure I am. Tita Jeannie! Where s my psp? My laptop and she keeps rambling. I thought I could never live up to Julian s standard. Ang gulo ng mundo no? If you ended up together after so many endeavors. And we thought he will be Mr. Unknowingly comparing myself to other people. I am always splitting hairs. Al am mo naman `yung tao kung gano nag-aalala sa`yo. I am funny. Meron ng bumisita dito? I hear a child s laughter from a distance. I was a scared rat. Napangiti ako. Is happiness really elusive? Hindi ko ginustong mag-asawa ng maaga pero hindi ko rin naman pinangarap na tuma ndang dalaga. Well. I feel a pang of uncertainty. Pero lagi akong humihiling na sana ako si ganito.And in another life I would make you stay So I don't have to say you were the one that got away The one that got away. Yeah. I start hating the phrases what ifs and what could have beens. yes. Yeah. Y our skins tingle when you touch. ne ver naman akong humiling ng Mr. `di sana tumaya na lan g ako sa lotto non `di ba? They were one in a million. With rolled eyes. Deep down I know there s always something that kept me apart from her. CM. I vee never been contented in my whole life. may d . The one that got away I hit the high-pitched note as I imitated Katy Perry s song. I am beautiful. So mehow I know it by heart. sino ba? I ve always dreamed of something big. Regrets are those for what you can t have done. Give the phone to Czarina. Love is a very frightenin g thing. Congratulations! That started the word forever. O kung hindi man None in a million. hell. Wow. Pero kung sumigaw ba`ko ng mas malakas. Parang umo-order lang sa menu kung humiling. I chuckle drily. Didn t I already k now that? I m on my way to Tita! Where s my pasalubong? I hear that from the other line. God must have pitied upon you. and I find someone more beau tiful than I ever am. Forever. Pano kung mahal niyo ang isa t isa pero kahit anong gawin niyo however you struggle d with fate you still ended up apart? Well. but of course. I laugh about that. my Napaatras ako sa pagkabigla. Na-tense ako. So like Jean Somehow. Hindi ko rin alam kung bakit nagpe-fade `yun. better luck next time. I raised one brow. Ak o si ganyan.

Hindi ko na kaya. The corner of his mouth twitched in a lazy smile. I was looking down at the tiled floor. to have held a child of my own. at t his point I was wishing them the worst. It was like in slow motion. I wish the doctors are wrong. Kung pwede lang akong sumigaw ng freeze katulad ni Ella. Natulak. Was he also mourning for me? Hindi ko kaya. What was far more hurting than seeing the one you loved walk down the aisle wi th someone not you? Julian August Sunico. do you take this woman. One.. It s been five years I whisper and close my eyes and it all came back to me. Ayokong tumingin sa tabi niya. Everybody was cheering. Hindi ko alam kung anong nangyayari. Now I know what the phrase killing me softly meant. Then a woman came running in uniform. My fate was sealed. I was doomed to be a spinster forever. Siya ang nagtata nong. Tricia was in front of me.. w e were hoping against hope.alaw! The child is holding a doll. At me. So it was really over? The end. No no t mocking but it was as if he was telling me that everything would be alright. I slowly smiled. Giving me the bouquet of flowers. My vision was getting blurry. the maid smiles tentati vely and take the child s hand. Naku halika na. My eyes got misty. Siya ang na nga ang nanggulat. But he was there his hands were inside his jeans pocket. Sana hindi na lang sana Julian was looking at me. Thank you. CM patted my shoulder. Sino ka? I wince. Ayokong magpaka-ipokrita. I was going to throw up any minute now. biting my lower lip `til I almost draw blood. Julian took that particular hand of Tricia s that hand that signified letti ng go while he was looking looking at me. for everything. Gusto kong itanong kay father. But I couldn t set the love free so ea sily. Wala bang tututol? Sisigaw ba `ko? I placed a hypocritical smile on my lips. My hand was trembling as I took the bouquet from her gloved. Her eyes are chinky. alam natin. I wished I was in a time warp. Nasangga. Kung tututol ba `ko papakinggan niya `ko? Hindi ba masasayang ang effort ko kung mapapahiya lan g din naman ako? So let s proceed. Tricia Leyva Cheng to be your lawfu lly wedded wife? In sickness and in health `till death do you part? Do you know how sick I was? My hands were shaking all over. There were a lot of well-wishers. I feel that emptiness again. Two. I was staring num bly at Jesus Christ. Or did I? I . She is thumb sucking. ginawa ko na. That was the last of my full thoughts. She remi nds me of Tantan. Pe ro pano? I do. Kasi nasasaktan ako . white hand. e xpecting and gaping at us. This is for you Jeannie. They were all staring. I heard someone scream. Bakit ganon n o? Lagi nating sinasabing hindi tayo nag-eexpect pero deep inside. Hindi man ako tumingin alam ko alam ko ng lahat sila sa `kin nakatingin. It was all over. Finish. Bakit ba hindi nakikinig ang sariling puso? Hindi kaya hindi lang natin alam per o nilagyan ni God ng utak ito sa loob? Our hearts were more stubborn than the ow ner himself. Tumalik od ito. I almost snorted. She smiled at me. Three steps. My heart sank to the pit of my stomach. An overwhelming urge to slap him was building deep inside me. I didn t dare look at everyone or anyone for that matter. O `yun `yung gusto kong palabasin ngayon. Nakita ko na lang si Tricia na naglalakad palapit sa`kin. I was praying with all my might that God w ould give me strength to get through this. I looked up. I wanted to let go of the pain.

I almost throw it in his face. Define mabait. Well. sabi nga ni CM titigan mo lang ng buong araw busog ka na. Na para bang diyan lang sa Star City ang hinihiling nito. Goodness. Kung Titanic ang laman nito paniguradong gagawin ko ta lagang parol si CM. Sabay tumawang parang demonyo. I m being ungrateful. Then a face so familiar comes in view. Hindi ko alam kung matutuwa ba ako kay CM o ano. At sa sobrang katalin uhan ko dinaig ko pa si Rizal. CM but in. Magpatayo na rin kaya ako ng monument sa Luneta? A t least he died for his country. Bakit hindi. Merry Christmas! Nakita kong may ibunulong si CM kay Czarina. Lang huh? Okay lang. I love you tita. It was a dvd disk. No not name. Epilogue Part Two Wala na po siya. As i n. My eye s twinkle. She beams at me and kisses my chee k. WALA AKONG TIWALA. Mamamatay ka na ba at ito ang gift mo? O kaya nagh ihirap? Fine. he is a handsome and charming man. Hindi ko alam kung bakit o kung ano ng nagtutulak sa`king panoorin `yun. Half-fil. J ean s laughing and kisses her daughter. Hija! It s been a long while since you came back C M clears his throat. Somehow I am restless that Christmas day. That Christmas eve we open our gifts. dear! I smile at him. Do n t you know that Christmas had just been a holiday word to me? Entirely foreign. Nakaalis na siya? Damn. But isn t Christmas about giving? And someone told me AND receiving as well? But dammit if CM isn t having his joke time again. I snort. I met him through. Napatingin si mommy dito.fainted. Just a noun. Nothing else. I loathe that word. Good girl. Special ka kaya. I snort. Wallet? Necklace? My mind s warming up with all the expensive gifts I can ever have from him. Tanga na ba talaga `ko? O ako na ang pinaka-tanga sa l ahat ng tanga? Ginagawa ko ang hininging pabor sa`kin ng taong sanhi ng kalungku tan ko? Oh. half-canadian . The video is blurred at first. Present. Hindi ko alam kung bakit gusto niyang magkita kami ngayon. Parang naparalyze `yung buo kong katawan. He was an event organizer in New York. That Five-letter fvcking word. Okay. I learn to like him through the years. Sa`kin okay lang `yung trip to Disney land. `Yung tawang: Mwahahaha. well. I almost touch the stop button on the remote co ntrol. Hit me on the head. Roy hugs me as he hands me his gift. That name. Sana Coach bag `yung matagal ko ng inuungot sa kanya. Merry Christmas. Well. wala akong tiwala. Stupidass. Czarina comes running with my mom. Special child. He pouts. of course CM. I roll my eyes. This time louder with matching ubo pa. I gasp. All I want for Christmas is Jul youuuuuu! Hindi ko siya pinansin. I raised one brow. That morning I wake up and watch that video. Siguro mabait lang talaga ako. Knowing CM. ako? Because of just one man? Because of love? . kunsintidora! CM handed me a box. all in capital letters.

`Wag niyo ng itanong ang mga details . Malabo. Sayang It s that damn man s fault! My sigh is long I ll promise that after this I ll try with all my might to for Biglang m y isang petal na lumipad at dumikit sa gilid ng bibig ko. Jade! My eyes grow wider. Naramdaman mo na bang kahit anong sakit ang idinulot niya sa`yo. You know what. lady won t you talk to me? She pouts prettily. somehow I start hating mysel f. Hey. You re gross. I m looking around the house. D addy! There s a woman here! She s a strangeeeeeer! Napapikit ako. And no doubt obscene ones. I cup both her cheeks. That was our best time together. I close my eyes tight. I slowly turn around. I ll just wait outside. Pictures of me grimacing on our wedding day. Those days that I love him. I suddenly blu sh. if ever. Those days that I thought I ll hate him forever w hich I m doing a poor job of it. my God! Anak ka ng demon Oh. Anak ka ni Mabilis akong napakapit sa muk ha nito. My eyes get misty I so remember those days. Maybe just in anoth er lifetime I d have made him stay. Napatingin ako sa malaking bahay sa harapan ko. Hindi dahil nakalimutan ko n a kundi dahil hindi ko ginustong maalala. He ll be the Ice breaker. Nanginginig na naman `yu ng mga kamay ko. He s on the phone. Having my own child. their caretaker. Sumunod po kayo sa `kin. She s looking up at me And my. Ma am? Napalingon ako. salamat aalis na lang Kayo po ba si Ms. Ipinagbilin po kayo ni ma am Tricia. I wince. My so-called doomsday before. Napalingon ako sa bulilit na katabi ko. Hindi ko napigilan ang hindi mapaiyak. Three teeth are mi ssing. The hou se is overlooking the Taal Lake. Hindi ko napansin na ako na lang pala mag-isa. The kid skids away from my grasp. May nag-abot sa`kin ng panyo. Have she heard me? Oh. Masarap s ana kung may kayakap. With him. It reminds me of Oh. Long ago I ask that mys elf. Ma am? Ha? I turn to. Alam ko matutuwa I mean. Something warm tugs at my heart. My heart constricts just by imagin ing myself having a family. Who are you? At namaywang pa! Her chinky eyes tur n into slits. Those days I wish I have again.God. wasn t it? Para `kong nanghihina. Syempre sinama ko si CM. Kaya nga gusto ko ng pagtakhan si CM. Yuck. murm uring love words. Vague. my heart bea t triple time. `Nu ba `yan Panira ng m oment! The white petal looks familiar. I take it and sniff. It s bittersw eet. CM tilts his head to one side as if shooing me. My knees become weak. He kn ew where. Sige. Of course. She frowns at me. no. he can still make your heart beat faster? Naramdaman mo `yung feeling na kahit na pilit mong . Ikaw ikaw `yung Ikaw `yung babae sa cemetery! Saan ba nagmana ang batang `to? Hindi ba tinuturuan ang mga mayayaman ng GMRC sa exclusive schools nila? I slowly chuckle at the thought. Leviste? I nod. There are p ictures portraits I remember vaguely. Life-size photos of me in Morocco. I raise one brow at him. Kundi ba naman nakakatulig `yung pagtili niya. Cute. Lofty thoughts Jeannie Bulong ko sa sarili ko. You bought my paintings? I start hiccupping. Damn him Damn he-who-has-no-name. Malamig talaga dito. Sobra. God sorry. I raise one brow. I stop cold in my tracks. Knowing CM. Naiisip ko lang kung pano `y ung next scene. I bet she ll shake t he whole house off. I take it. Parang slow motion sa pelikula. My eyes grow wide as we enter a white room. kikilabutan lang kayo.

I say instead. Ang hindi matibag-tibag n a lalaki. It works. Close. He s more attractive. Nakalimutan ko she s there. The mature lines on his face tell on the wise years. Hindi ako manunumbat. She pouts a gain. You re always good at hurtin g everybody. Galit na nilagpasan ko siya. Long silence stretched. I m thankful now `coz I didn t get to live with you forever. Merry Christmas Jeannette Rose Leviste! She waves her hand. He s thirty-something now. How could I have loved him? Galit na pinunasan ko `yung mga mata ko. ano pa nga bang ineexpect ko mul a sa kanya? He s still the high and might Julian Sunico. Tumangkad ba siya? Gumwapo? Tumaba? Lalong pumuti? No. I ll act matured sophisticated. this is goodbye. Do you know the word pain? I guess. They open my child s eyes that there is a prince charming. Five years gives him just ice. Anong kayang sinasabi ni Tri cia? Nakita kong tinignan ng pagkasama-sama sa anak. I ll be over him in no time at Daddy. akala ko kapag hinalikan ni Prince Charming si Snow White okay na . I remember the video in my mind s eye. That face. I tried to. Full of pain. Biglang tumigil ang pagpatak sana ng luha ko. Tricia s gone. Hindi ako makapaniwala sa mga naririnig ko.sinasabing wala lang siya sa`yo pero isang tawag lang. I thoug ht it did. Isa lang. Pero nakita ko ang pan ginginig ng kamay niya habang hawak ang anak. didn t he? I forget his name. Pero sino bang niloko ko? `Yung kuko ko? Gusto kong magreklamo sa Disney! Bakit pa kasi sila nagpaasa. I count one to ten to stop m yself from shouting at him. Mabilis akong humarap sa kanya. He stares at me for the longest while. My hand stop in midair as a I hear a gasp. Kaya nga nagtataka ako sa sarili ko. So yeah. A four-year old chinita girl. T hat will be very horrible Mr. It s the truth. Bingi ka ba? I m going. Sunico. Now I guess painful is the best term. Sabi ni mommy. Madaling sabihing mag-let go. I frown when the scree . I turn my back on him. Not Julian s more like Tricia s. That somehow Aladdin will whisk me off wit h his magic carpet. Hindi mo pa rin mapigilan ang sarili mong umasa? There s that tiny part of you that says. Have a happy life Is that a fvcking curse Jeannie? Do you know you creep under my skin. Hindi dahil ayoko. Bakit ba? Hindi ba dapat ako ang magalit? Anong karapata n niya? I walk to the door. Kahit pangalan mo lang. They ll live happily ever after. Kundi ayaw makinig ng puso ko. I even thought he will run to me and hug me. But by God. Yes. how dare him do that. Eh. Jeannie she smiles at me. I open the door and smile to myself. idiot don t let go. Nung bata ako. Sasampalin ko siya. I can t breathe again. Pero mahirap gawin. I m just sorry I let you go. It fades as time goes by. And that he the beast will turn into a handsome prince and he ll give the word foreve r a meaning. Or to mock me of what I ve done? Now that you re successful? Hindi ko siya pinansin. bad daw ang magsinungaling! Dapat matuwa ako. you ll tell me yes. The video. Agree? He slowly squints. Are you here to laugh at me Jeannie? Just a mere whisper. Juli He even did more than his fair share of kis sing. Tisha Jade! I met a pair of chinky eyes. she s she s the one in your study room! Her picture s Julian covers her daughter s mouth. So. L ike he never existed in my whole life. He s expressionless. The little girl bit her nails. Sana. What are you doing here? And more domineering than ever. I m not sorry for what I did Jeannie. And everyone who fell i n love became stupid. Madaling sabihing hindi ko na siya maha l.

She looks straight at me as if she is really seeing me. That shut him up. But you came mahinang sabi nito. Hindi ko alam kung ako ba? Dahil dapat makaramdam ako ng galit. Gays. Na gust o ko ngang gawin. Though yes. Un til when I came to New York to find you. I still want to yank that lovely ha ir out of her face which is covered with a bonnet. Daddy always looks at your picture when he thought I m not there. I don t know where to start. We have a d ate! He shrieks. God. That s why She s got Leukemia. Gone. Considering mayaman si Julia n. P umangit siya. Jean came a nd unknowingly. Bilis na Jean nie! Tricia s happy wherever she is. Na para bang hinihiling sa`king unawain ko siya. Relief floods through my bloodstream. I envy you you have the zest for life Jeannie. Saka naghihintay na sa`kin si Roy. Back to the present. No. Natigil `yung muntik kong pagsinga. But not the way he loves you. She sighs. She just wants to live her last years making her family happy. He chuckles to himself. Parang hindi siya hindi naman sa pumangit siya o Oh-kay. I know something is very wron g here. Bakit ba gustong gusto niya `kong sinasaktan? I always thought of her as the kind. His hand tightens his hold on his daughter. She had already a bone marrow transplant then. or rather our families hastened our engagement. Ang sama ko ba? My eyes wate r. I can t seem to ta ke it all in. I even hear d him talking to you Tisha Jade! He s now roaring. Napalingon ako. Five years five long years. I muffle a gasp.n zooms in on her face. She laughs heartily. They want her to have a family. It was traced way back when yo u entered my life Jeannie. Nakakasama ng lo ob. queers(halamang dagat) are lovable. Naramdaman ko `yung basa sa pisngi ko. Para akong napako sa kinatatayuan ko. Nakakaiyak naman kayo. CM shrugs. Surely surely I m wrong? She s dying Jeannie. CM knew? Oh. Anyways. We thought she s already okay. Oh. Nang-aasar ba siya? I even salute you when you left him for your dreams. He nods rapidly. Julian just kiss Jeannie. Roy is CM s boo. Not that I love Julian She raises her hand. She shrugs. Living your life knowing that somehow you have a timeline. She thanked me on her wedding day. She paused. Kaya pala hin di na siya sumali sa painting competition? Kaya ba hindi ko na siya napagkikita non? It s almost nothing compared to what I endured. Kinarga niya ang bata. baliw na ata ako. Everyone has. I m not sorry I took Julian from you. Gusto kong maiyak sa itsura nito. They re the happiest years of my life. I blink thrice. He whispers. Naiinis ako sa sarili ko. I m just sorry that I hurt you. Nangingitim ang ilalim ng mga mata n ito. Tricia she never looks a day sicker than she is. You can be my mommy ag ain. you replaced her. Grabe! Si Tricia talaga oh. sweet girl. Ang kapal ng mukha ko no? Alam ko sasabihin mo. he loves me. He s jesting right? Mommy s gone to heaven. Na para bang pinapatahimik ako kung ano mang magiging violent reaction ko. I am now sobbing silently. That. How long is it daddy? She looks at me. Goodness. Para matapos na `tong usapang ito. Her own. Ano ba! Tigilan na nga natin `to. Tricia s dead? No. Am I that selfish? I wish her ill many times in the past? Now what? It s true Jeannie. Jeannie tell him what you feel . Fren ch kiss. He smiles sadly. Do you know she bit her lower lip. Oo. But then knowing that you know it s soo ner. Not that sinasabi kong mukha kang pera. Bakit ikaw ang m aiinggit sa`kin Tricia? Nasa `yo `yung gusto ko. I gasp. O siya? Dahil nakakangiti pa rin siya sa`kin ng ganon. Parang nanikip `yung dibdib ko sa sinabi niya. `Yung parang magkukuhaan kayo ng oxygen sa isa t isa dahil Julian s glare still work. Ewan ko ba. It s like I can hear Tricia saying thank you to me to Ju lian as we went out of the OB that day. Mabilis tinakpan ni Julian ang tenga ng bata. Parang umitim ang balat nito.

That forgettable huh? That day i n the car when you yelled like you wanted m Julian `yung bata! I hiss. That I ll still miss baby JJ. Jeannie. The child is amazed. Julian I m sorry. Walang reunion na hindi madrama. He gave love a bad name. He suddenly pulls me into an embrace that robs me of my breath. But his eyes are glazed. Mabilis kong hinawakan ang leeg ni Julian. Emotions kept hidden for so long is written there. There are times that I want you to shut your lovely mouth sweetheart.I glared at him. Love. If I m dreaming as cliché as it may seem. Thank God reall . Pakialamero. Overwhelming joy that I m afraid isn t real. He cups my cheeks. Oh. You re not as pretty as my mommy. In God. . . Ang drama ko. Don t ever be afraid to love. Now there s j oy. CM s giggles are getting louder. be yourself. I do now. I don t know about ghos ts or Tricia. I kiss her on the forehead. . It doesn t matter. French kiss. There will be times that I ll still shout at you I nod. Jeannie ang bagal mo naman kasi pano kayo magkaka Ang dami mong alam eh. I m sorry. But if you believe in it. she s even crushed in between. Thank God. Para siyang bumata ng ilang taon. didn t he? I smile. I wait for that long overdue kiss. Five years. Gusto kong isiping umiiyak din siya. I promise Tricia I wo n t be one. CM starts laughing. All the pain is swept away. Just I sigh and smile at Ti sha Jade. Per o walang luha don. He innocently look s up at the ceiling. `coz I k now how persistent and talkative you are. How hard it is. It s now or never if he can t accept me for what I am about to confess. I nod against his polo shirt.. Sumimangot ito. I still want to be a part of your life. It doesn t matter anymore. The doctor said it after I ve had a problem with m y He stares at me. I m sorry. Pain and sadness. Naningkit ang mga mata nito. I love this freaking insane and mad guy with all my heart. Like we need to breathe each oth er s oxygen. I can t bear anymore child Julian. Hmm? I built this house remember that first time? What first time? I ask innocently. I love you. I love you He whispers before he bends down. But hey. Pe ro wala akong pakialam. Naramdaman ko na lang `yung sarili kong mga paa na na glalakad din. And believe that dreams do come true. Julian tries to suppress his chuckle. Nakita ko siyang humakbang palapit. I ll be your mommy. Both don t know how to cross the distance. Talaga naman. He smiles tenderly. Love is a very frightening thing. Just kiss me J ulian. The years stretch between us. I don t just think. I hiss. no? Sige ikaw na! Inis kong sabi kay CM. I m very grateful. Wetting it. p lease I still don t want to wake up. In all that is possible without the eyes really seeing it. Hindi nga ba at a ng bata ay regalo ng Diyos? Damn evil stepmothers to hell. I think I ll love her. Well.

candymag.html uterus--. Bitin. I start laughing.com/teentalk/index.360.196622.405.html http://www. Hap py Ending na. well.candymag.candymag. Oh.html g http://www.com/teentalk/index.com/teentalk/index. What a we dding night.196622.196622. Julian grins at me and wink.candymag. you re pressing too close! I can t breathe! I close my eyes in frustration as I look at her chinky eyes. Jeannie? I close my eyes and groan. Pero hindi pa rin niya alam `yun? Shhh. http://www. Natupad ko mga pangarap ko.php/topic.candymag. I close my eyes and wait wait.196622.435. This is our wedding night Hey.php/topic.php/topic. I have a gift for you Jeannie. I close my eyes again. promising a one hundred and one pleasu res in life and in the next lifetimes.php/topic. Akala in niyo `yun.candymag. Until he kisses me it s as if I can still hear Tricia s last words. What! Inis kong sabi.php/topic. Uh nothing.com/teentalk/index. The nice? guys are ugly. I can feel it Ito na. Nag-asawa siya. mommy. how I love him.msg5452895. I smile to myself as I hug Julian close to mysel f.html es http://www. we had somethin he think his ex uncle Jin ñ . Oh. Thank Jesus.540.com/teentalk/index.html driver seat http://www.html http://www. What now? He smiles at me and whispers: Hindi ako marunong manligaw.465. will will you No. It s This is meant for you. It s just that Tricia and I never lived here.com/teentalk/index. It s a long time coming do me a favor? you know. Tricia.196622.html#msg54528 95 CC link Splitting Hairs.php/topic.360. and the hot-and-nice guys are g ay.ovari Uncle Jin Passenger seat.196622.php/topic.php/topic. Hearing her like I did through that v ideo early this morning. http://www.196622. the hot guys are jerks.com/teentalk/index. Only.com/teentalk/index.candymag.html http://www.285.candymag. you did me a favor. Merry Christmas! He murmurs with no one in particular.196622. Naghiwalay.y. Nakagawa na kami ng bata noon. I hope.

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