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Splitting Hairs END

Splitting Hairs END

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Published by Sharmine S. Ignacio

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Published by: Sharmine S. Ignacio on Apr 17, 2012
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12/16/2012

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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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

candymag. Nakagawa na kami ng bata noon. Only. Oh. Hearing her like I did through that v ideo early this morning.405.html es http://www. http://www.com/teentalk/index. and the hot-and-nice guys are g ay. how I love him. Akala in niyo `yun.candymag. The nice? guys are ugly.php/topic.html http://www. It s just that Tricia and I never lived here.html uterus--.php/topic. I close my eyes and wait wait. well. This is our wedding night Hey.196622. I hope. we had somethin he think his ex uncle Jin ñ .196622. What a we dding night. Merry Christmas! He murmurs with no one in particular. I can feel it Ito na.html http://www.candymag.540.com/teentalk/index. Uh nothing.y. Until he kisses me it s as if I can still hear Tricia s last words.196622.com/teentalk/index.msg5452895.435. Hap py Ending na. Naghiwalay.php/topic.candymag. Jeannie? I close my eyes and groan. Natupad ko mga pangarap ko.196622. Nag-asawa siya.196622.candymag.196622.360.html g http://www.196622. It s a long time coming do me a favor? you know.465.php/topic. I start laughing.candymag. I smile to myself as I hug Julian close to mysel f. What! Inis kong sabi. http://www. It s This is meant for you. Julian grins at me and wink. the hot guys are jerks.candymag.php/topic.php/topic.com/teentalk/index.html http://www. Bitin. Pero hindi pa rin niya alam `yun? Shhh.196622.com/teentalk/index. Tricia. What now? He smiles at me and whispers: Hindi ako marunong manligaw. you did me a favor.com/teentalk/index. I have a gift for you Jeannie.285. you re pressing too close! I can t breathe! I close my eyes in frustration as I look at her chinky eyes.ovari Uncle Jin Passenger seat.php/topic.360.html driver seat http://www.candymag. I close my eyes again.com/teentalk/index. Oh. mommy.html#msg54528 95 CC link Splitting Hairs. promising a one hundred and one pleasu res in life and in the next lifetimes. will will you No. Thank Jesus.com/teentalk/index.php/topic.

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