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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Kitang kita kong parang hinayang siya. I didn t like CM s expression. I hissed and stared at him pointedly. CM!!! I wanted to wipe the grin off hi s face. I smi rked at him. I didn t even look at the screen. Anong sabi niya? Hindi ka naman interesado. Sorry na. Big time. Huwag lang talaga siyang makalapit-lapit. my mobile started ringing. dude. `di ba? Sakalin ko kaya `tong si CM? Once lang. Mamaya mag-celebrate tayo tutal wala naman dito si Julian. Umiinom ng isang tasang kape si CM. I shouldn t have mentioned that name! CM was giving me those slow teasing grins I hated these days. I reahed for it under my accessories along with other swell stuff. It opened. I forced my muscles to move. Julian? Badtrip. I gasped and glared at him. It tasted ashes on the tongue. To my astonishme nt. Just curious. I couldn t eat that muc h. I looked at him squarely. CM won! I hated them both. CM said. Para akong tangang hawak hawak `yung cell phone sa tenga ko. Okay. Argh.That bolted me upright. He stood up from my bed. How could he be my friend? He had done nothing but to hum iliate me. Tatalikod pa lang sana ako ng tumunog ulit iyon. I don t want to be the bearer of bad news Jeannie. Oh? I don t care if you don t believe me CM. We ate dinner serenely. Sayang sasabihin ko pa man sana sa `yong tumawag kanina si Julian Well. What bad news? . Inis na humiga ulit ako at tinalikuran siya. Anong ginagawa niya? Dinadaig si Bill Gates? Tsk. Eh. Hindi! Hello. Tama. You should understand your husband. It stopped ringing just when the key turned in. The door opened. I said nonchalantly. Eee. He gave me that eat-your-heart-out sm ile. Ahh he nodded indulgently. Bwisit. Bakit ba kasi nilock lock ko pa `yung drawer? Stupid of me. Smile Jeannie. Boom . because you re not interested never mind. I m just resting. Bakit ko mamimiss `yung taong lagi na man akong inaaway? Why should I miss him when he didn t even remember me? Ano ba a ng one-minute call sa 24/7? I sticked to my viewpoint that if a person valued you that much though he was bu sy he d take time even a minute to text you. CM said. bakit ka nagmumukmok? Ako? Nagmumukmok? My God CM. Namimiss mo na no? Sabi nito at umupo sa tabi ko. My hand was trembling. I almost tripped with the blanket in a hurry to g et to my cell phone in the drawer. Nagmamadali ako. Pilit ginagaya si Ann Curtis. So. Me? Missing him? Bull. Gusto kong ipakain sa kanya iyon. Double Sh!t. Hello Julian? Jeannie kain na tayo! Sh!t. Kahit `wag na siyang bumalik. Mauubos talaga buhok niya sa `kin. you know. Naiinis ako s a mga taong magkukwento tapos mambibitin! My hands were getting itchy to wring h is neck. Alam mo naman si Julian napakapasensyoso! I gritted my teet h and sighed. you don t miss him? Umupo ulit ako. Meron tayong bente kwatro oras sa isa ng araw. Tapos tinalikuran niya `ko at isinara ang pinto `paglabas. I gnawed the inside of my left cheek. That would be a cold day in hell.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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