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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Yeah you re right! Siya ang gumawa ako ang umako ng mga Sir telephone po mommy niyo. Lelecturan ng walang . It was now or never. Hindi iyon lalagpas ng mid-thigh ko. We uhm. Naglakad ito kasama ako. I cried on his shoulder. Thank God for the two-inch stilettos. bata pa `ko.Julian was just staring back at me. Kelan ba matatapos ito? Tumingin ako sa harap ng salamin. Siguro kung hindi lang masamang pumatay ng tao. I licked my lower lip nervously. It was a matter of choosing between the devil and the deep blue sea. Parang nanlamig ako bigla. I wore a n off-shouldered cream tailored dress. Siya `yung `yung magaling lumangoy. Inis na sabi nito. She overcame her fear by well. Siya ang gumawa ikaw ang umaako? You big stupid moron! Tama ito. feeling ko nagkulay mansanas ako. Hindi ko nga alam kung dahil sa ano o dahi l sa init. Galit na hinablot nito ang telephone habang pinupunasan ang sarili. The hell with the consequences. Akala niya pinagko-compete ko ang kakambal ko tapos tapos ako kunwari ang nananalo? My God. Ng panahon. Goodness. Why not? He said huskily. Had he forgiven me? Hindi siya galit? You should have told me sooner. His head came down down down. Then it dawned on me. Nagsasalubong na naman `yung mga kilay nito. 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. Siguro hindi naman magagalit si Jean Rose kung kahit isa lang. Ang mani pis na suot ko kanina ay halos kita na dahil nga basa na din. I couldn t look him in t he eye. Si Jean Rose ang gumawa ako ang umaako! He had it all wrong. Tumayo ka at magbihis ka may pupuntahan tayo. I whispered stupidly with lack of anything to say. Hawak pa niya. My twin she s the swimmer. experienced dr owning before. At ni hindi man la ng nahiyang ipahiram man lang sa `kin. I opened my mouth to shout at him. Diyos ko. So he already knew! Bakit ba ni konting pag-aalala man lang wala ang lalaking ito? Wala ba talaga itong inisip kundi ang sarili? Inis na humarap siya dito. Ang mahalaga hindi siya nagalit Jea nnie! I tried telling you Ikaw ang Hindi maganda ang panloloko Jean. My creamy white shoulders were very much visible. Bente uno lang po ako God para sa mga ganitong bagay. that voice of his it was like he had just woken up from a night of debauchery. So what was the use of telling him how gorgeous he is? I just shut my mouth up. Nagsasawa na `ko sa pagtatalo namin ni Julian. Ang tanong: sinong mananamantala at sinong pagsas amantalahan? Not I. wala akong kara patan. From the start. Ginamit ko lang ito once sa exhibi t ng kakilala ko. Susumbatan niya lang ako. My heart was beating triple time. Lalo a kong napayakap sa kanya. Two days of being married to Julian Sunico was like hell! And it felt like a lifetime sin ce I said I do . His hand caressed my cheek. He was so m ad at me. I blinked thrice. He didn t even comment about my appearance. At ang gentleman ba sta na lang akong ibinagsak sa marble floor sa gilid ng pool. Bastos talag a. o kaya ay wala lang ang mga katulong doon ay baka nilunod na `ko ni Julian. Naramdaman ko ang paghigpit ng yakap niya sa `kin. At ang utos ng hari hindi mababali. Mag-aangilan lang kami. Just to satisfy my curiosity of what it feels like to be ki ssed No! He is still the father of Jean Rose s baby. Jules I have something to tell you. I m not supposed to be who I am now. Ano bang nangyayari sa `kin? I leaned my head in between his shoulder an d neck. Jules I m sorr y. Kung ginawa mo `yun just to get the fame you wa nted then you don t deserve it. Isa lang. Prom ise. 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. Giniginaw na `ko pero isang towel lang ang nakita ko. Grabe ang mood swings ng lalaking ito. Hindi ko alam kung dahil sa naudlot na o dahil sa alam niya na `yung sasabihin ko. I winced when I heard him curse. ako I never did learn.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Uh nothing.php/topic.com/teentalk/index. What a we dding night. I have a gift for you Jeannie. What now? He smiles at me and whispers: Hindi ako marunong manligaw. Nakagawa na kami ng bata noon.html g http://www.com/teentalk/index. It s a long time coming do me a favor? you know. well. This is our wedding night Hey.196622. I close my eyes and wait wait. I start laughing. you did me a favor. we had somethin he think his ex uncle Jin ñ .196622. Akala in niyo `yun. What! Inis kong sabi. mommy.285.435.php/topic.com/teentalk/index.196622.ovari Uncle Jin Passenger seat. Merry Christmas! He murmurs with no one in particular.com/teentalk/index.msg5452895. Oh. The nice? guys are ugly.y.html#msg54528 95 CC link Splitting Hairs.com/teentalk/index. I close my eyes again. Naghiwalay. Hearing her like I did through that v ideo early this morning. Julian grins at me and wink. Until he kisses me it s as if I can still hear Tricia s last words.196622. Hap py Ending na.com/teentalk/index. you re pressing too close! I can t breathe! I close my eyes in frustration as I look at her chinky eyes.candymag. I can feel it Ito na.com/teentalk/index. I hope.196622.html http://www.196622.php/topic.candymag. and the hot-and-nice guys are g ay. It s just that Tricia and I never lived here. Only.php/topic. Bitin. Jeannie? I close my eyes and groan. Natupad ko mga pangarap ko.405.360.html uterus--. will will you No. http://www. Pero hindi pa rin niya alam `yun? Shhh.html es http://www.candymag.candymag.php/topic. the hot guys are jerks.196622. Nag-asawa siya.candymag. It s This is meant for you.candymag.196622.360.com/teentalk/index. promising a one hundred and one pleasu res in life and in the next lifetimes.html driver seat http://www.php/topic. http://www.php/topic.465.candymag.php/topic.html http://www.540.html http://www. Thank Jesus. Tricia. I smile to myself as I hug Julian close to mysel f. Oh. how I love him.candymag.