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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Pero hindi. Isn t that what you want to hear from me Julian? I asked him sarcas tically. Ilang araw na ba nang bumalik ako dito sa Pilipinas? Isa lang ang na-real ize ko: Ang tanga ko no? Ang tanga-tanga ko. I was the first among the Miss Stupidest runners-up. Was there such a thing? Forever. Kung ginawa niya `yun noon. Now tell me. What for? Couldn t he see my heart breaking i nto pieces in front of him? I felt my lips were swollen. I smiled to myself humorlessly. That would be sheer stupidity. I m still mad at yo u because you hurt me (In truth. Walang taong ganoon kabait at kamartir. Okay. I thought dreams were made to escape the painful reality. I heard CM asking him when he went out. I swear. 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. Tricia was the second one. And more years to come He d be gone from me forever. I d file a laws uit against its manufacturer. Okay. I didn t dare wipe the tears. 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. Jeannie our family s business is my dream. Kung umayaw ako. Pero lalo lang akong b inabangungot. Na parang walang pakialam! Anger was always okay than indiffe rence. eh. And at that time Tricia was m y only chance of ever achieving it. Sa`min ni Julian? It should have been Neverever. I got his point. Congratulations. music please . sino pa bang tatalbog sa pinakamagarang award na makukuha ko? Kahit nga si Janine San Miguel walang panama sa `kin. There was always someone in the way. I was still wide awake. I started crying. For ever. kahit gawa `yan para hindi matanggal o mapalis basta basta darating at d arating pa rin ang expiration date niyan. Pero hindi. 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. I closed my eyes. Ang love parang li pstick. 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. Maybe it was just sp elled that way. If ever my lipstick smeared. CM nudged my shoulder to keep going. Totoo `yun. 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. Malungkot itong tumingin sa kanya. O kung meron man hindi ako `yun. Because the truth was becoming real to me with each passin g day. maiintindihan naman nila `ko `di ba? Dapat intindihin nila `ko. Thank you because you left me. Hindi na `ko magtataka kung isang araw ay hindi na`ko magising. Though he didn t love her i t wasn t me he really got tangled with.t two years. Kaya galit siya sa`kin. Jean was the first one. At least he was still as affected to me as he was. Tatlo lang `yun. He looked up. For some reason. He pushed me away from him. If he ever chose Tricia for his dream over me I would still be mad at him. He shrugged at me. kung nagkita kayo after so many years at hindi naging maganda ang break-up. As if I had a contagious disease. Some consolation. Katulad mo. get in line please! I stared numbly at the organizer. It was all too vivid.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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