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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Inis na sabi nito. Ano bang nangyayari sa `kin? I leaned my head in between his shoulder an d neck. At ang utos ng hari hindi mababali. Grabe ang mood swings ng lalaking ito. His head came down down down. Naglakad ito kasama ako. wala akong kara patan. Kung ginawa mo `yun just to get the fame you wa nted then you don t deserve it. Siguro hindi naman magagalit si Jean Rose kung kahit isa lang. ako I never did learn. Lalo a kong napayakap sa kanya. He didn t even comment about my appearance. I m not supposed to be who I am now. He was so m ad at me. Siguro kung hindi lang masamang pumatay ng tao. Isa lang. Goodness. 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. Naramdaman ko ang paghigpit ng yakap niya sa `kin. 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. Lelecturan ng walang . Hindi ko alam kung dahil sa naudlot na o dahil sa alam niya na `yung sasabihin ko. Siya `yung `yung magaling lumangoy. bata pa `ko. Hindi iyon lalagpas ng mid-thigh ko. Ang mahalaga hindi siya nagalit Jea nnie! I tried telling you Ikaw ang Hindi maganda ang panloloko Jean. experienced dr owning before. My heart was beating triple time. Giniginaw na `ko pero isang towel lang ang nakita ko. It was a matter of choosing between the devil and the deep blue sea. Tumayo ka at magbihis ka may pupuntahan tayo. 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. Akala niya pinagko-compete ko ang kakambal ko tapos tapos ako kunwari ang nananalo? My God. Kelan ba matatapos ito? Tumingin ako sa harap ng salamin. o kaya ay wala lang ang mga katulong doon ay baka nilunod na `ko ni Julian. I licked my lower lip nervously. At ang gentleman ba sta na lang akong ibinagsak sa marble floor sa gilid ng pool. Hindi ko nga alam kung dahil sa ano o dahi l sa init. So what was the use of telling him how gorgeous he is? I just shut my mouth up. His hand caressed my cheek. Ng panahon. From the start. Two days of being married to Julian Sunico was like hell! And it felt like a lifetime sin ce I said I do . I cried on his shoulder. My creamy white shoulders were very much visible. Ginamit ko lang ito once sa exhibi t ng kakilala ko. Why not? He said huskily. Bente uno lang po ako God para sa mga ganitong bagay. that voice of his it was like he had just woken up from a night of debauchery. Yeah you re right! Siya ang gumawa ako ang umako ng mga Sir telephone po mommy niyo. feeling ko nagkulay mansanas ako. I winced when I heard him curse. Galit na hinablot nito ang telephone habang pinupunasan ang sarili. Susumbatan niya lang ako. Then it dawned on me. She overcame her fear by well. Had he forgiven me? Hindi siya galit? You should have told me sooner. Mag-aangilan lang kami. Jules I m sorr y. Parang nanlamig ako bigla. I wore a n off-shouldered cream tailored dress. Ang tanong: sinong mananamantala at sinong pagsas amantalahan? Not I. Bastos talag a. Jules I have something to tell you. Nagsasawa na `ko sa pagtatalo namin ni Julian. Nagsasalubong na naman `yung mga kilay nito. Siya ang gumawa ikaw ang umaako? You big stupid moron! Tama ito.Julian was just staring back at me. Prom ise. The hell with the consequences. I opened my mouth to shout at him. At ni hindi man la ng nahiyang ipahiram man lang sa `kin. Diyos ko. Ang mani pis na suot ko kanina ay halos kita na dahil nga basa na din. Hawak pa niya. Si Jean Rose ang gumawa ako ang umaako! He had it all wrong. I couldn t look him in t he eye. My twin she s the swimmer. It was now or never. I blinked thrice. Thank God for the two-inch stilettos. We uhm. I whispered stupidly with lack of anything to say. 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.

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

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

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

Napatingin sa `kin si Manong. The picture of a loving couple. I felt cold. with his uncle? Hindi ko kilala ang lalaki.. Or the kiss. I was in New York trying to make out on my own.Pero bakit kaya may mga taong sinalo ang lahat? Katulad na lang ni Georgina Wils on. maganda kilalang kilala ko ang mukha na `yun. Sabi niya `wag ko na siyang sunduin. Nakatula la ako sa mismong picture ng dalawa.. Jean I prostituted hersel f for a one and a half million. At least CM would make me happy. Gusto kong magtitili. . I rolled my eyes. They have the same smile though. Bubuksan ko pa lang ang handle ng umandar na si manong. Stolen shot. My eyes grew wide. Sinalo lahat. may magagawa pa ba siya kung nandun na `ko? I was immersed into deep thoughts. I started crying. lumil ipad sa bintana lahat ng logic . No. Yummy. `Didn t know if it was because I knew her. Here. Seriously. Jean did it because she was always the good daughter. I hail ed a cab. Nasan ang dad dito ni Julian? No. Manong stop! Napakamot ito sa ulo. Tahimik na pumunta ako sa desk niya tinignan ang picture don. kagandahan. I opened it. Samantalang may mga pinagkaitan hirap na nga. Tricia?. Not beca use our parents forced her to do it. Eh. hirap pang iharap ang mukha. She turned to the lane toward the side of the taxi. Pero hindi na kami makatigil kasi may MMDA dun. Then another with Julian s mom. Para `kong sirang plaka na napaupo. kasikatan. Very much happy. What the hell are you doing here? I felt weak. At ang mga n ext pictures ay kasama nitong nagpi-fishing ang lalaki. Cheap. h indi ito soap opera. Hmmm Then my eyes grew wide. Alam ko. Napasabunot ako sa buhok ko. Wala sa loob na sinundan ko siy a ng tingin. he won first place in a swimming competition. They have it all. 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. Parang gusto kong matunaw sa ngiting `yun. Minsan kahit anong pilit mong ngumiti. Kissing. So sinong dapat sisihin? Feeling ko napakaselfish ko. I frowned when I saw a woman crossing the street. Trying to be different from my sister All the while they were making both ends meet. Naso-suffocate na `ko. He was right. Binayaran ni Julian ang bahay na min. the bod. May issue man ako sa parents ko. And my. Tricia Leyva? I competed with her once in a painting competition in New York. I don t want. Then I saw a smiling picture of him. I just wanted to get away from here. A notice of foreclosure from the bank. Para silang buong pamilya. Then I saw an envelope written with a Leviste on it. Ma yaman. Of course. At hindi sila ganon kasama. Tumigil lang ako ng maisara ko ang pintuan at sumandal doon.Pero kapag nasasaktan ang isang tao. Mga sakim. He wasn t perfect. A ten or so Julian. He had a broken home. They still loved me. Ang puso ko? And don t ask me why. Yeah. Tumigil ang taxi nung umilaw ang stoplight. Ang isip ko sinasabing hindi ako dapat magalit sa kanya. I don t want to hate Julian. where s the fairness of life in it? And Julian was one of the Class A. I just walked past him and got out. `yung tipong pati hanggang dulo ng kuko kaiinggitan mo. Hindi ko din alam! I dressed quickly upstairs and took my handbag. Binayaran niya ang bahay namin. Then I moved on to the next picture. Maganda. Oh my God. Kanino ka pa ba tutungo `pag may problema? `Di syempre sa bestfriend mo. lalo lang sumasak it. SIX Ni hindi ko siya tinignan. Jean s face! Jean! I half shouted. He bought Jean me. Ho w could I not? I was looking straight into my own face.

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

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

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

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

Chubby cherubin. Tinitigan kong m aigi ng kumalas siya mula kay Tricia. Ang matatabang mga braso nito ay tumaas . What did you say? Tricia turned at me. Madapa ka sana. at hayun ang magaling na lalaki. my God. Tricia got in. No. I hated Julian. You knew each other? I groaned inwardly. Tapos inalalayan niya si Tricia. In the deepest part of me I felt alone. Three to four years old. Na para bang nakikita niya `ko. he was wishing me to the moon. Baka pa gbuhulin ko pa sila ni Julian. At pasimpleng umirap. If I were a scheming b!tch then he s the biggest hypocr ite ever. Narinig niya `ko. I forgot. Mabilis kong iniiwas ang mga mata ko. I hated this feeling. Jeannie? As if naman nagulat ka! I smiled at her mockingly. Imo Jean! Nabigla ako ng may batang lalaking biglang tumakbo at yumakap sa `kin. He frowned. . I felt a twinge of guilt. Gusto ko ng umuwi. Julian glared at me. Lalo na ng titigan akong maigi ni Julian. Nagpapabuhat! Oh. As if he could see through my lies . Biglang bumilog ang naniningkit na mga mata ng bata. Sh!t. Mas malaking mansyon. Pagod ka Jeannie. Para akong sinasakal. Pagod ako. Naalimpungatan ako. Bakit ganito? Ayoko ng makita si Julian. I didn t know why I felt hurt. Ipinikit ko ang mga mata ko. So are you telling me that I m a scheming b!tch? Hell. Imo Jean h-hold me! Para akong mahihimatay. My eyes grew wide. Julian raised one brow at us. Then I saw the others looking at us from inside t he big yard. honey she was Jeannie. Nakita kong nagkakatingin an sila sa rearview mirror sa harapan. When the car door opened. Hindi ko napigilan ang sarili ko. you were talking about Jean! Yes. Kami naman ni Tricia sa backseat. Ha? Had I said my thoughts aloud? Umiwas ako ng tingin kay Julian. Kung alam ko lang. Na parang torture. Victorian style in Korea? Hmm. Julian sat in front. Maputi ito.t. Lumapit si Julian. My eyes grew wi de. 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. I m a slut in the making. sa mood ko ngayon hindi ko feel maging chummy-chummy sa kanya. Pero twinge lang. Napatingi n sa `kin si Tricia at Julian. Pareho kaming nagkatinginan. Julian was already embracing her! And she was crying. `Yun lang. Tumalikod lang ako saglit. others were Filipinos. si Tricia. Itulog mo na lang `yan. Yes. Ah no. Julian chuckled. I didn t care if I sounded like one. Tricia gaspe d. So? Hindi ko pinansin a ng kamay niyang nakalahad. Pero layuan niya muna ako. That wasn t what I intended. Could have been. I didn t know She whispered wonderingly. Then he looked at me through the tinted wi ndow sill. Tumingin ako sa kanila. Julian got out and took our luggag e. Nag-duet kami ni Tricia. You didn t tell me about Jea nie. Had the circumstanc es been different we could have been friends. Ganito ako kapag natetense o naiinip. I couldn t be mistaken. Jean Rose was fond of kids. Yes. I dialed his number. Some look Kore an. At ako ayoko sa bata! Ngumiti ako dito at pasimpleng pinanlakihan ito ng mata. Tricia had always been soft-spoken. I I Jeannie I met her in New York. Wake up we re here. Kung hindi ko pa alam na tinted ang sasakyan. Jean! I laughed nervous ly. 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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

On his face. Nalaglag `yung payong. Pilit kong sumasayaw at nagtampisaw pero hawak pa rin niya ang braso ko. Hindi kaya magkapalit kami ng mukha? I smiled at him. LOL. Julian Niyakap niya `ko. He pulled me roughly into his arms. didn t he? Get off me It was a joke. My chest was flattened against his.It was lightning. He brushed the straining hair on my forehead. Feeling ko nga matutunaw ako. NINETEEN Sometimes you d wished that things were easier. Ang lapit lapit ng mukha namin. I closed my eyes. This was the magic moment. Para bang hindi siya makapaniwalang ginawa ko talaga `yun sa kanya. Grabe. Eskimo kiss. Julian was really saying those words? Oh. Syempre mahiya naman ako `di ba? Hindi ko pa rin namang nakakalimuta ng babae ako. Titig na titig siya sa `kin. I probably lost one screw earlier. A mixture of tears and rain. I wrapped my arms around his neck. My God. Argh. I love you Uhhh I couldn t believe it. Don t even tell me! . If only it didn t have any value. You are my baby. I looked up at him. We were both wet. I wrinkled my nose. Na sana hindi lang ako gustong i-detain dito ni Julian dahil sa utang ko. Tapos itinapat ko `yung mukha ko sa mukha niya. Halos maduling na kami sa titigan namin. I was wetting his tux. Ha? Wow. Was he worried? I shook my head. At sabay kaming bumagsak sa Bermuda grass. Then I started crying on his chest . I wanted to smack his handsome face only if he didn t look amused. Pilit kong tinatanggal ang mga patak ng ulan sa mata ko. Can you believe that? He did say he loved me. He said in amazement. 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. What do you think are you doing? He asked na para bang nandidiri sa `kin! I blinke d thrice. Under the rain. Tapos tapos Hachuuuu! There. I waited for him to do the next move. I was on top . Bastos ka. my God. Nakakahiya na talaga. That money was just a piece of pap er. pang-FAMAS na sana drama ko. Gusto kong matawa sa itsura niya. I thought I was going to sneeze my head out. Was I dreamin g? Tapos bigla siyang umubo. I knew it. I felt hot all over. Are we going to start the baby making process here and now? I looked up. Nung pagtalon ko kaya? What joke? That you lov e me? No. Tapos malapit na super lapit na Nanunulis na `yung bibig ko. So I closed the distance. Nagsasalubong ang mga kilay nito at may payong na dala. I rubbed my nose against his. Hello? This was so small co mpared to what we d done. Ok ay na eh. On top of him.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

hindi pwedeng mag-Careless Whisper dito ha! They left him on the stage. Buti na lang gwapo siya. My eyes got misty. `Yung parang shooting. Seriously it was as if he weren t really singing. I don t know how to sing really. Nagtawanan `yung mga nandun na kala mo kinikiliti. So afraid to take a chance again So afraid of what I feel inside. Been running from this feeling for so long Telling my heart I didn't need it. Akala ko sa movies lang nangyayari ` to. At saka ano na lang sasabihin ng mga associates niy a? The CEO was seen singing a love song to his wife. At ibang sayaw din ang alam k o `yung `yung walang steps. I grimaced. Oh.smile. God. He was really croaking and out of tune. Sa totoo lang naiyak ako kasi hindi pala marunong kumanta si Julian. eto na `yung moment na maghahabu lan kami tapos magyayakap kami sa gitna ng maraming tao. Magpapalakpakan sila tapos kikiligin. Eto na. He wasn t near perfec t. Pero ngayon ko lang na-realize Prince Charming was real. No. 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. Julian cleared his throat and looked about the surro undings uncertainly. Leigh Nash sang that song beautifully. But I need to be next to you Oh I. I thought the world stopped revolving. But it was okay with as long as he owned me. It was as if he was talking to me through the lyrics. Bumaba siya ng stage. Our eyes met. Because it was the best song I d ever hear d in my whole life. oh I I need to share every breath of you Oh I. Palapit na siya. He was rude. I frowned and winced at the same time. It was full of tenderness. O kaya he would tell me Je annie you re my life. His voice was awkward. Pretending I was better off alone But I know that it's just a lie. a chauvinist. Not even a one-fourth of any croakin g vocalists. Yes. He stopped singing. you re my every He smiled at me and grabbed my arm. near with you. 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 . Then he mouthed: I love you. Pero hindi lang pala b ulag ang pag-ibig kung hindi bingi rin. The gay comedian snorted. and a very arrogant ass who thought he owned the w orld. Nakakahiya lang tul oy. TIGHTLY. Tapos tumayo ako.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Men were born to be polygamous. Tapos kapag sila nag-aaway they d both tell us. Really looked at me. As if we didn t have the same face. There are and will be times that I can t make you feel special because because I wan t to shout at you. growl. I believed that there s one woman who can make a man a one-woman-man. Masarap gumawa ng ba by. Dahil sa tingin na ganon. But that would be a joke. Sheesh. It was flowing freely. Because no man eve r did. to sh ut up. Hindi nga ba t mahirap magpalaki ng mga magulang? In the three months I came back to Julian. I had gone to Heaven then back to hel l. Married life was never perfect. Kahit wala naman talagang nakakatawa. 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. Nakikisigaw na din si mommy. That will be the best lie ever. Julian. Jean and I started growing up. I can t just boom. we started arguing from our pony tails down to our crushes. Er r. He chuckled nervously. 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. take note: in chorus. Sumbong kay daddy. Jeannie! . Pero we couldn t ask for a sain t. Bakit ba eh. But this is me. Big tim e. Bakit ba hindi? Daig ko pang kasama si Hitler. Siguro kaya maraming nabubuntis ng maaga n gayon. `di ba? Hindi masaya ang buhay kung magtititigan lang kayo. I could tell you that I know a lot about women. And I don t know what I d do without you. he shrugged. He looked at me. At kami rin. change for a day just because you say so. Aba. Nah. Pero mahirap magpalaki ng baby. 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. 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.I could be any man and tell you I love you every day. when Jean and I were ready to rip e ach other s head s off our shoulders. Just kidding. On a serious note . At your stupidity and silliness. You re the next best thing that happen ed to me. Jeannie! I heard that shout. My professor in Psychology once said. Not that I told you to tolerate their being babaero .

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I didn t cry. As always. Ngayon ko lang na-realize tama sila. But I m sorry I can t. I was nominated for a one-year e xhibit and tour around the world. I should have been the one running away after doing the ecting. I whispered through my blurring vision. that s why we have choices. I love you you know that. 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. 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. u still have a clue that I love life? And so I did Julian. He did. Hindi lahat ng tao mas pinipiling mag-settle down kaysa piliin ang opportunity na ibi nibigay sa kanila. THIRTY ONE Compromise.And looked at everyone. know th sakit rej didn t Didn t yo . they would ask me the why s and what s. Because we couldn t have them all. I couldn t help it while nodding rapidly. I even dare look at everyone. But no. CM s motto: opportunity knocks only at once door. Pero sa totoong buhay. I was really s orry. For once. gusto ko namang maging matatag sa mga desisyon ko. The diamond ring was sparkling. And I was chasing him. I should have put that in Julian s vocabulary. As if telling me to say yes. It was the most pai nful and hardest decision to make. Gasgas na pero it wasn t him. Tears streamed down my ey es. Alam ko. 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. Nakita kong napahigpit ang kamay niya sa hawak na box. 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. In reality.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I m still mad at yo u because you hurt me (In truth. I was the first among the Miss Stupidest runners-up. Pero lalo lang akong b inabangungot. kung nagkita kayo after so many years at hindi naging maganda ang break-up. At least he was still as affected to me as he was. Kung umayaw ako. I was still wide awake. Kaya galit siya sa`kin. I started crying. And at that time Tricia was m y only chance of ever achieving it. maiintindihan naman nila `ko `di ba? Dapat intindihin nila `ko. Tricia was the second one. sino pa bang tatalbog sa pinakamagarang award na makukuha ko? Kahit nga si Janine San Miguel walang panama sa `kin. For some reason. kahit gawa `yan para hindi matanggal o mapalis basta basta darating at d arating pa rin ang expiration date niyan.t two years. Okay. Congratulations. Okay. It was all too vivid. 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. Though he didn t love her i t wasn t me he really got tangled with. Kung ginawa niya `yun noon. Now tell me. Jeannie our family s business is my dream. Hindi na `ko magtataka kung isang araw ay hindi na`ko magising. Because the truth was becoming real to me with each passin g day. If ever my lipstick smeared. Was there such a thing? Forever. Katulad mo. Walang taong ganoon kabait at kamartir. Ang love parang li pstick. Malungkot itong tumingin sa kanya. 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. I closed my eyes. 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. Some consolation. CM nudged my shoulder to keep going. 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. Pero hindi. get in line please! I stared numbly at the organizer. I smiled to myself humorlessly. Thank you because you left me. He shrugged at me. I didn t dare wipe the tears. That would be sheer stupidity. For ever. I d file a laws uit against its manufacturer. There was always someone in the way. Na parang walang pakialam! Anger was always okay than indiffe rence. Totoo `yun. If he ever chose Tricia for his dream over me I would still be mad at him. Sa`min ni Julian? It should have been Neverever. I thought dreams were made to escape the painful reality. As if I had a contagious disease. Maybe it was just sp elled that way. And more years to come He d be gone from me forever. He pushed me away from him. eh. I heard CM asking him when he went out. I got his point. I swear. O kung meron man hindi ako `yun. Isn t that what you want to hear from me Julian? I asked him sarcas tically. What for? Couldn t he see my heart breaking i nto pieces in front of him? I felt my lips were swollen. Tatlo lang `yun. 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. 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. Jean was the first one. He looked up. Pero hindi. music please .

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

She sighs. No. It was traced way back when yo u entered my life Jeannie. Her own. CM shrugs. Five years five long years. Nang-aasar ba siya? I even salute you when you left him for your dreams. His hand tightens his hold on his daughter. I even hear d him talking to you Tisha Jade! He s now roaring. Back to the present. Naiinis ako sa sarili ko. I am now sobbing silently. Gusto kong maiyak sa itsura nito. Oo. Julian just kiss Jeannie.n zooms in on her face. Parang umitim ang balat nito. Though yes. Not that I love Julian She raises her hand. Tricia s dead? No. Ang kapal ng mukha ko no? Alam ko sasabihin mo. Goodness. Fren ch kiss. P umangit siya. They re the happiest years of my life. She had already a bone marrow transplant then. Relief floods through my bloodstream. She shrugs. Living your life knowing that somehow you have a timeline. She thanked me on her wedding day. Ano ba! Tigilan na nga natin `to. baliw na ata ako. I m not sorry I took Julian from you. he loves me. Nakakaiyak naman kayo. But not the way he loves you. Para matapos na `tong usapang ito. Na gust o ko ngang gawin. That s why She s got Leukemia. God. Everyone has. I muffle a gasp. Parang nanikip `yung dibdib ko sa sinabi niya. But then knowing that you know it s soo ner. He chuckles to himself. Daddy always looks at your picture when he thought I m not there. Not that sinasabi kong mukha kang pera. I blink thrice. Tricia she never looks a day sicker than she is. Un til when I came to New York to find you. Bilis na Jean nie! Tricia s happy wherever she is. Na para bang hinihiling sa`king unawain ko siya. Bakit ikaw ang m aiinggit sa`kin Tricia? Nasa `yo `yung gusto ko. queers(halamang dagat) are lovable. I gasp. Hindi ko alam kung ako ba? Dahil dapat makaramdam ako ng galit. Bakit ba gustong gusto niya `kong sinasaktan? I always thought of her as the kind. You can be my mommy ag ain. Do you know she bit her lower lip. or rather our families hastened our engagement. That. He whispers. I know something is very wron g here. Jean came a nd unknowingly. I envy you you have the zest for life Jeannie. She laughs heartily. Roy is CM s boo. Para akong napako sa kinatatayuan ko. sweet girl. Grabe! Si Tricia talaga oh. Mabilis tinakpan ni Julian ang tenga ng bata. I can t seem to ta ke it all in. Surely surely I m wrong? She s dying Jeannie. Napalingon ako. CM knew? Oh. Jeannie tell him what you feel . How long is it daddy? She looks at me. Parang hindi siya hindi naman sa pumangit siya o Oh-kay. Ang sama ko ba? My eyes wate r. He s jesting right? Mommy s gone to heaven. Nakakasama ng lo ob. Anyways. I don t know where to start. you replaced her. Gays. `Yung parang magkukuhaan kayo ng oxygen sa isa t isa dahil Julian s glare still work. Natigil `yung muntik kong pagsinga. Na para bang pinapatahimik ako kung ano mang magiging violent reaction ko. We have a d ate! He shrieks. Ewan ko ba. Am I that selfish? I wish her ill many times in the past? Now what? It s true Jeannie. Saka naghihintay na sa`kin si Roy. They want her to have a family. Oh. She paused. He nods rapidly. Naramdaman ko `yung basa sa pisngi ko. I m just sorry that I hurt you. It s like I can hear Tricia saying thank you to me to Ju lian as we went out of the OB that day. He smiles sadly. Gone. 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. We thought she s already okay. Kinarga niya ang bata. O siya? Dahil nakakangiti pa rin siya sa`kin ng ganon. But you came mahinang sabi nito. That shut him up. I still want to yank that lovely ha ir out of her face which is covered with a bonnet. Nangingitim ang ilalim ng mga mata n ito. She just wants to live her last years making her family happy. She looks straight at me as if she is really seeing me. Considering mayaman si Julia n.

Now there s j oy. I love this freaking insane and mad guy with all my heart. no? Sige ikaw na! Inis kong sabi kay CM. And believe that dreams do come true. There will be times that I ll still shout at you I nod. French kiss. Don t ever be afraid to love. CM starts laughing. Hindi nga ba at a ng bata ay regalo ng Diyos? Damn evil stepmothers to hell. Naramdaman ko na lang `yung sarili kong mga paa na na glalakad din. Emotions kept hidden for so long is written there. I kiss her on the forehead. Overwhelming joy that I m afraid isn t real. Ang drama ko.I glared at him. Pakialamero. I nod against his polo shirt. The child is amazed. Love is a very frightening thing. CM s giggles are getting louder. You re not as pretty as my mommy. He innocently look s up at the ceiling. Nakita ko siyang humakbang palapit. I m very grateful. It doesn t matter. In all that is possible without the eyes really seeing it. I can t bear anymore child Julian. Jeannie ang bagal mo naman kasi pano kayo magkaka Ang dami mong alam eh. Thank God. . Love. All the pain is swept away. I love you He whispers before he bends down. But hey. Pain and sadness. If I m dreaming as cliché as it may seem. I wait for that long overdue kiss. He smiles tenderly. I ll be your mommy. Well. Per o walang luha don. Naningkit ang mga mata nito. Hmm? I built this house remember that first time? What first time? I ask innocently. But if you believe in it. I don t know about ghos ts or Tricia. `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 do now. Like we need to breathe each oth er s oxygen. she s even crushed in between. Pe ro wala akong pakialam. be yourself. I love you. In God. Gusto kong isiping umiiyak din siya. That forgettable huh? That day i n the car when you yelled like you wanted m Julian `yung bata! I hiss. I think I ll love her. Five years. Sumimangot ito.. It doesn t matter anymore. I hiss. Just kiss me J ulian. He gave love a bad name. . didn t he? I smile. He suddenly pulls me into an embrace that robs me of my breath. I still want to be a part of your life. That I ll still miss baby JJ. Walang reunion na hindi madrama. I don t just think. There are times that I want you to shut your lovely mouth sweetheart. p lease I still don t want to wake up. Wetting it. I promise Tricia I wo n t be one. Both don t know how to cross the distance. Jeannie. Talaga naman. Oh. . Just I sigh and smile at Ti sha Jade. I m sorry. I m sorry. Thank God reall . Mabilis kong hinawakan ang leeg ni Julian. But his eyes are glazed. The years stretch between us. Para siyang bumata ng ilang taon. Julian tries to suppress his chuckle. He cups my cheeks. Julian I m sorry. The doctor said it after I ve had a problem with m y He stares at me.

html http://www.com/teentalk/index.196622. well. It s This is meant for you.html uterus--.html http://www.196622.html g http://www.com/teentalk/index. The nice? guys are ugly.285.com/teentalk/index. Oh. Uh nothing. Jeannie? I close my eyes and groan. we had somethin he think his ex uncle Jin ñ . Naghiwalay. and the hot-and-nice guys are g ay. Natupad ko mga pangarap ko. I have a gift for you Jeannie.com/teentalk/index.465. you re pressing too close! I can t breathe! I close my eyes in frustration as I look at her chinky eyes. you did me a favor. Until he kisses me it s as if I can still hear Tricia s last words.196622. I close my eyes and wait wait. http://www.com/teentalk/index. What a we dding night.candymag. Oh.candymag. I smile to myself as I hug Julian close to mysel f. will will you No. I can feel it Ito na.candymag.com/teentalk/index.405.html http://www. Thank Jesus. mommy.php/topic.360. Hap py Ending na.196622. What! Inis kong sabi. the hot guys are jerks.php/topic.php/topic.com/teentalk/index. Nakagawa na kami ng bata noon.candymag.ovari Uncle Jin Passenger seat.php/topic. I start laughing.msg5452895. Julian grins at me and wink. I hope.php/topic. promising a one hundred and one pleasu res in life and in the next lifetimes. Tricia. Merry Christmas! He murmurs with no one in particular.y.196622.540. I close my eyes again. Nag-asawa siya.html es http://www.php/topic.candymag.html driver seat http://www. What now? He smiles at me and whispers: Hindi ako marunong manligaw. This is our wedding night Hey.php/topic. Hearing her like I did through that v ideo early this morning.candymag.candymag.196622. Pero hindi pa rin niya alam `yun? Shhh.html#msg54528 95 CC link Splitting Hairs. Akala in niyo `yun.php/topic.435.196622. http://www.360.com/teentalk/index.candymag. how I love him. It s just that Tricia and I never lived here. It s a long time coming do me a favor? you know. Bitin. Only.196622.

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