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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tatlo lang `yun. Congratulations. 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. Though he didn t love her i t wasn t me he really got tangled with. That would be sheer stupidity. it meant I m still in love with you) kasi bakit ka kailangang mag-waste ng emotions sa isang taong wala namang halaga sa`yo? And indifference you re nothing to me anymore. Kung ginawa niya `yun noon. I d file a laws uit against its manufacturer. And at that time Tricia was m y only chance of ever achieving it. I was the first among the Miss Stupidest runners-up. Walang taong ganoon kabait at kamartir. Isn t that what you want to hear from me Julian? I asked him sarcas tically. I closed my eyes. Katulad mo. Jeannie our family s business is my dream. He shrugged at me. sino pa bang tatalbog sa pinakamagarang award na makukuha ko? Kahit nga si Janine San Miguel walang panama sa `kin. For some reason. I heard CM asking him when he went out. It was all too vivid. He pushed me away from him. I smiled to myself humorlessly. Hindi na `ko magtataka kung isang araw ay hindi na`ko magising. Na parang walang pakialam! Anger was always okay than indiffe rence. Okay. O kung meron man hindi ako `yun. At least he was still as affected to me as he was. Kung ginawa niya `yun? Syempre magagalit ako ng bonggang b ongga! Pero maiintindihan ko ba siya? Syempre kung tanong lang `yun madaling sabi hing: I ll understand you. Pero lalo lang akong b inabangungot. Now tell me. There was always someone in the way. Was there such a thing? Forever. If ever my lipstick smeared. For ever. Because the truth was becoming real to me with each passin g day. Tricia was the second one. Okay. Thank you because you left me. music please . eh. Kung umayaw ako. As if I had a contagious disease. Malungkot itong tumingin sa kanya. Kung iniwan kita non? At sinabi ng pamilya kong pakasalan ko si Tri cia dahil papalubog na ang business naming Jeannie? What would you feel? I was a bit confused. kung nagkita kayo after so many years at hindi naging maganda ang break-up. get in line please! I stared numbly at the organizer. I swear. 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. I thought dreams were made to escape the painful reality. Sa`min ni Julian? It should have been Neverever. I got his point. maiintindihan naman nila `ko `di ba? Dapat intindihin nila `ko. Kaya galit siya sa`kin. Jean was the first one. I didn t dare wipe the tears. I was still wide awake. He looked up. 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. Ang love parang li pstick. Pero hindi. If he ever chose Tricia for his dream over me I would still be mad at him. Totoo `yun.t two years. Some consolation. I m still mad at yo u because you hurt me (In truth. What for? Couldn t he see my heart breaking i nto pieces in front of him? I felt my lips were swollen. I started crying. And more years to come He d be gone from me forever. Pero hindi. Maybe it was just sp elled that way. kahit gawa `yan para hindi matanggal o mapalis basta basta darating at d arating pa rin ang expiration date niyan. CM nudged my shoulder to keep going.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

html http://www. Bitin.candymag. This is our wedding night Hey. Jeannie? I close my eyes and groan. well.360. Uh nothing.196622. What! Inis kong sabi.405.php/topic.candymag. Oh.196622.php/topic. Thank Jesus. I can feel it Ito na.540. I hope.html es http://www. http://www. will will you No. the hot guys are jerks. http://www.php/topic.com/teentalk/index.candymag. Only.com/teentalk/index. Natupad ko mga pangarap ko. I smile to myself as I hug Julian close to mysel f.196622.285.php/topic.com/teentalk/index.y. Merry Christmas! He murmurs with no one in particular. you did me a favor. I start laughing.com/teentalk/index. Until he kisses me it s as if I can still hear Tricia s last words. promising a one hundred and one pleasu res in life and in the next lifetimes. The nice? guys are ugly. What a we dding night.196622.candymag. I have a gift for you Jeannie.com/teentalk/index. I close my eyes and wait wait.msg5452895. It s just that Tricia and I never lived here.465.ovari Uncle Jin Passenger seat. Akala in niyo `yun.html http://www.html#msg54528 95 CC link Splitting Hairs. you re pressing too close! I can t breathe! I close my eyes in frustration as I look at her chinky eyes. I close my eyes again. Oh.php/topic. Hap py Ending na.com/teentalk/index.360.candymag. Naghiwalay. Julian grins at me and wink. It s This is meant for you.html g http://www. mommy.196622.com/teentalk/index. It s a long time coming do me a favor? you know.com/teentalk/index.html driver seat http://www.candymag.html http://www. Pero hindi pa rin niya alam `yun? Shhh.php/topic.435.candymag. Hearing her like I did through that v ideo early this morning. Nakagawa na kami ng bata noon.php/topic. how I love him.196622.candymag. Nag-asawa siya. we had somethin he think his ex uncle Jin ñ .php/topic. and the hot-and-nice guys are g ay.196622. What now? He smiles at me and whispers: Hindi ako marunong manligaw.196622. Tricia.html uterus--.

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