Boyfriend? Oh my god, this guy is totally insane. What’s worse was a lot of students heard his words.
Muli siyang ngumiti. It took me a few seconds to realize I hadn’t refuted his nonsense yet but he already turned around before I could say something.
“See you tomorrow, Tiffany,” he said while waving his hand at me.
Napatigil ako dahil ang dami nang nakatingin na estudyante sa akin. Some were whispering to one another; others, looking back and forth to me and that freak. I suddenly wanted to vanish into thin air.
“Uhm, S-Steff . . .”
I flinched upon hearing Yna’s voice and when I turned around, they had a variety of expressions on their faces.
“Gwapo nga,” Alice commented. “Pero omg bakit may pa-ganon?”
“Hala ka Steff, he set you up.”
“But don’t they look good together?”
Napabuntong-hininga na lang ako. “Please. That guy is just making fun of me. Ang kapal ng mukha talaga.”
“Pero ang funny,” said Alice. “Ikaw raw nagtanong kung pwede mo siya maging boyfriend.”
I grimaced. “Eww. You know that I have no interest in men.”
“For now,” she retorted.
“Right. Steff would rather date a strawberry cake than a guy,” Yna chuckled.
Halos hindi nila ako nilubayan sa mga tanong hanggang sa matapos ang vacant period ko. Kahit ang classmates ko at ibang estudyanteng nakakasalubong ko ay kakaiba tumingin sa akin. I mean, wow, rumors do fly fast.
By the end of my last class, I was mentally and physically exhausted. Halos wala na ring pumapasok sa utak ko dahil sobrang nakaka-conscious ang tingin ng classmates ko. I was about to call Dad but he beat me to it.
“We’re here at the parking lot near the entrance,” sabi niya kaya nagulat ako.
Dad rarely comes out of the house during his day offs unless we plead when we want to go somewhere. Magpapasundo sana ako sa kanya ngayon dahil napagod ako, but I didn’t expect that he’d be already here.
He sighed. “Yeah. I’m with Venice.”
Ah, kaya naman pala. Now, I know why.
“Okay, I’ll be there in five minutes.”
I drew a deep breath as I walked toward the main gate. Gusto ko na lang sanang magpahinga sa bahay pero mukhang lalo akong mapapagod ngayong araw.
Venice, my younger sister, likes to shop, and she’d always drag me with her to ask for my opinions. Mas maganda raw kasi ako pumili ng clothes and shoes kaysa sa kanya. Dad would sometimes accompany her pero lagi niyang sinasabi na it’s tiresome lalo na at ilang oras siyang naghihintay kaya alam kong deep inside, mas gusto niyang ako ang kasama ni Venice sa pagsho-shopping.
I saw our car in the parking lot kaya agad akong naglakad papunta ro’n. Venice was already checking some items on the stores’ websites when I got inside.
“Ate!” she beamed. “Shopping tayo.”
Halos sabay na kaming napabuntong-hininga ni Dad pero wala naman na kaming magagawa. Dad drove to the mall while Venice and I settled quietly at the backseat. After fifteen minutes ay nakarating kami ro’n pero sinabihan kami ni Dad na mag-taxi na lang pauwi dahil may pupuntahan siya. I suddenly missed Kuya Felix dahil madalas ay siya ang naghahatid-sundo sa amin but he’s on a leave due to family matters.
Agad namang pumunta si Venice sa favorite brands niya na stores. She started browsing the dresses and I joined her after seeing some cute and cool designs.
“Will this suit me?” sabay pakita niya sa akin ng isang yellow dress.
“The white looks better,” I suggested.
Napangiti naman siya ro’n at agad na kinuha ang white variant na katabi ng kinuha niya. She rushed to the fitting room with several more stuff.
After four fittings ay binili niya ang mga iyon. We also bought shoes and bags from different stores. Okay na rin palang sumama ako sa kanya, at least, I got to relieve my stress.
We were about to leave the current store when she suddenly pulled my sleeve. “Wait, Ate.”
She was staring at the men’s section with a bashful expression on her face. Wait, don’t tell me . . . ?
“You have a boyfriend?” I intoned.
Her cheeks reddened. “W-wait! Wala pa!”
“I mean, it’s just . . . just a crush, okay?”
Venice had a lot of admirers in her school, but she didn’t really care about them. Akala ko nga ay magiging tulad ko rin ‘to na walang paki sa mga lalaki pero these past few months, she was always on her phone, smiling and giggling.
I crossed my arms and narrowed my eyes at her. “Crush lang pero bakit parang may balak kang bigyan ng gift?”
“Masama bang magbigay ng gift?” she muttered.
“No, but you clearly have an intention.”
“But he’s really cute! And he’s nice din—”
“Tigilan mo nga ‘yan at mag-aral ka muna, or I’m gonna tell Dad about him.”
She averted my gaze in return and pouted. “You know, ate, I’m the first honor in our batch last year. I can multitask.”
Halos mapanganga na lang ako sa sinabi niya. Wow, this kid is growing up . . . and learning.
“Ikaw kasi, ate, maghanap ka na ng boyfriend para naman sumaya ang buhay mo.”
I rolled my eyes in distaste. “I’d rather study—”
Bigla ko namang naalala ang mga nangyari kanina. I’ll be willing to be your boyfriend. Those words echoed in my head and made my skin crawl in disgust. God, even without his presence, that freak is torturing me.
“Anong nangyari sa’yo, Ate?”
My mind jarred back to the present upon hearing her voice. “Nothing.”
She gave me a skeptical look and grinned. “You’re hiding something.”
“I am not,” sabi ko at nagpatuloy maglakad.
Sumunod siya sa akin and this time, curiosity gleamed in her eyes. “Oh my god, ate, don’t tell me ikaw ang may boyfriend—”
“I don’t have a boyfriend,” matigas kong sagot. “And never will I have one.”
Napatigil naman siya at na-realize kong masyado kong sineryoso ang tanong niya. Parang ang guilty tuloy ng dating ko.
“Okay, fine,” she said, clearly hurt by my tone. “Bakit ka galit?”
I heaved a deep sigh. “I’m just tired, Venice. Tara na, let’s go home.”
We booked a taxi and arrived home after thirty minutes. Dad was already there when we got home. It was already dinner time but I wasn’t in the mood.
“Hindi ka kakain?” tanong ni Dad.
“No, Dad, antok na ako.”
Dumiretso ako sa kwarto ko at nag-shower saglit. Pagkahiga ko sa kama ay naramdaman ko kaagad ang pagbigat ng mga mata ko. It was such a long and stressful day.
I hope tomorrow would be a better one.