The thing about chances was that they would not wait for you. Either you take them, or you regret not taking them.
Hindi naman na bago kay Benjamin ang mawalan ng chance at alam niyang kasalanan niya rin iyon. Kapag kasi nagkakagusto siya sa isang tao, madalas ay dinadaan niya lang sa biro. Katulad na lamang ng nangyari noong college.
Nagkagusto siya sa isang blockmate nila. Andrea told him that Valerie, his crush, might have feelings for him, too. Madalas naman din kasi silang magkita dahil classmates sila sa isang major subject.
Kaya naman nagsimula na rin siyang kausapin ito. Fortunately, Valerie was approachable. She had a bright personality so it was easy talking to her. Masaya rin siya kapag lagi niya itong napapatawa. They got closer, even became friends, but he was afraid to ask her out.
"Alam mo, sinayang mo lang 'yung chance mo," sabi ni Andrea matapos ang block meeting nila. "Mukha namang may gusto rin sa 'yo si Valerie, eh!"
"Paano mo naman nasabi 'yan? Paano kung wala naman?"
Andrea almost rolled her eyes. "Bakit, magco-confess ka lang ba kapag sure siya sa feelings niya for you?"
He could not answer her question. At the back of his mind, he knew he didn't have the courage to take that one extra step to pursue her . . . because he did not want to lose what they have now.
Paano kung wala naman pala itong gusto sa kanya at hanggang kaibigan lang talaga ang maibibigay nito? What if they became awkward after that?
He let out a sigh. "Mahirap din naman kasi magsabi. Ang daming mababago."
"Of course, it's hard," komento nito. "But why not take the risk? Malay mo better change naman ang mangyari. Ikaw rin. Baka 'pag pinatagal mo pa 'yan, magsisi ka."
And that was what exactly happened.
He convinced himself that he was contented with what was between them that he did not dare tell her his true feelings for months. Kaya naman noong may nag-confess kay Valerie ay wala na siyang nagawa, lalo pa't mukhang masaya ito.
Her smiles were different when she was with the other guy. And he knew it was his fault for letting the chance pass by. If only he was brave enough to take the risk, maybe things would be different now.
"Ayan, sinasabi ko na sa 'yo, eh," litanya ni Andrea matapos ang isa nilang klase. "Nasa huli talaga ang pagsisisi. Brokenhearted ka tuloy."
They were still friends, but it was hard to look at her now. Akala niya ay walang mababago kung hindi siya magco-confess, pero ganoon din pala ang mangyayari sa huli. Unti-unti na rin silang nagkakalayuan ng loob dahil sa magkaibang schedules at sa boyfriend nito.
That was when he learned that sometimes, there would be no second chances. Sometimes, things and relationships just end.
Ganoon din ang nangyari noong nagkagusto ulit siya noong fourth year college. Laging dinadaan sa biro. Laging nagpapatawa. Hanggang sa may magustuhan na namang iba ang gusto niya.
Kaya naman noong naging ka-trabaho niya pa rin si Andrea sa lab ay iyon ang lagi nitong panlaban sa asaran.
"Hoy, at least ako kaya kong mag-confess sa crush ko, 'no," she retorted while chugging a glass of alcohol. "Wala 'yan sa gender! Kung torpe ka, torpe ka!"
"Who?" John, their new labmate, innocently asked. He was just eating fries. Nahatak lang nila ito sa inuman dahil hindi nila sinabi kung saan pupunta. "Si Benjamin?"
"Hindi ako!" depensa nito at tumingin kay Bryle.
"O, puta, bakit sa akin ka nakatingin? 'Di ako duwag!"
"Mamatay na mga torpe!" yelled Andrea as she keyed in Torpe Song #5 by MYMP.
♫ Kung 'di ngayon kailan pa? Bukas o makalawa?
Baka pa makawala pa
Naiparating mo na ba? Naihayag mo na ba?
Nakapagtapat ka na ba, ano ba? ♫
Hindi na sila nagkaintindihan pagkatapos dahil nagwawala na si Andrea sa mga kantang pinili nito. Still, he felt relieved that he didn't have any feelings for anyone that time because she would surely mock him to death.
One thing that he learned upon watching John was that the guy was the real deal.
Nang malaman nila na may gusto siya kay Cayleigh, researcher sa Chemistry building, ay nagulat sila sa pagiging straightforward nito. He was sincere, but not assertive with his feelings. And Benjamin found himself cheering for him because John could do the things he was afraid of doing.
Pero kakabit no'n ay ang isang taong hindi niya minsan mabasa at masabayan.
Ianne had that bright and welcoming personality, but sometimes, her jokes would catch him off guard. Hindi niya alam kung malakas lang ba talaga itong mang-asar o half-meant ang ilan sa biro niya. But as time went by, he had gotten used to her antics. Hindi man niya aminin, natutuwa siya sa tuwing magkausap sila.
Ilang beses niya na rin itong nakasama lumabas, madalas ay coincidental, at panay lang ang kwento tungkol kina Cayleigh at John, o 'di kaya naman mga nakakatawang pangyayari. But after that phone call during her birthday, he realized how much he did not know about her.
Hearing her trembling voice while a guy was continuously asking him to drink on the other end of the call alarmed and frustrated him. All that was running through his head were ways to get her out of there.
And that moment, albeit unexpectedly, he took that extra step to help her. He pretended to be her boyfriend.
"Ingat din. Love you."
Maging siya ay nagulat sa sinabi niya. He was so into that role that he only realized it after it had been said.
Ah, shit, he cursed inside his head. He wondered if he just crossed the line. At kung magiging awkward na ba sila sa isa't isa.
There were already several scenarios in his head, but everything dissipated when she heard her response. "Love you, too."
Parang nalaglag ang puso niya nang marinig iyon. His ears were burning while talking to her and despite the doziness, he waited until Ianne messaged back to make sure she got home safely.
"Mukhang tulog na," he muttered after sending a chat. Hindi na kasi ito nagre-reply. Pagtingin niya sa oras ay mag-a-alas dos na.
Mukhang ako naman ang hindi makakatulog, he mentally remarked, and just gave up trying around 3 AM.
Isang malalim na buntong hininga ang pinakawalan niya. That was the first time he desperately wanted to be with her. He did not know if it was because she needed his help, or the situation made him realize how he felt for her.
His mind reeled at the what ifs. Subconsciously, they knew there were boundaries that shouldn't be crossed even if their jokes would sometimes go to that direction, but after that conversation, those same boundaries became less defined. And he knew it was him who went beyond them first.
Andrea's words suddenly rang in his mind. "But why not take the risk? Malay mo better change naman ang mangyari. Ikaw rin. Baka 'pag pinatagal mo pa 'yan, magsisi ka."
A chance. He knew how short-lived one could be, but at the back of his mind, he was worried at how it would change their relationship and interactions. Taking a chance would like dropping a pebble into the water. There might be times where nothing would change, but sometimes, it could create infinite ripples.
"Ah, tangina, bahala na," Benjamin grumbled as he aggressively ruffled his hair.
That night, he fell asleep while staring at their last conversation.
"Alam mo, ikaw, last minute ka lagi magpabili," reklamo ni Benjamin sa kapatid niya nang tumawag ito habang nakapila na sa bus pauwi sa kanila.
"Dali na, kuya, please! Nakalimutan kong sabihin kahapon," Bridgette pleaded. "Requirement namin sa Eng 40. 1984 by George Orwell. Thank you, labyu!"
"Eh 'di mag-download ka na lang ng PDF o kaya ebook! Bakit ba libro pa?"
"Ayoko magbasa sa phone, masakit sa mata!"
"Napakaarte nito, mayaman ka ba?"
"Babayaran naman kita pag-uwi mo!"
"Utot mo, ilang beses ko nang narinig 'yan pero 'di mo pa rin binabayaran mga utang mo," he retorted. "Baka nagkakalimutan na tayo sa mga binili mo sa Watsons noong nakaraan?"
"Hala, parang 'di naman tayo nag-Watsons—"
Bridgette laughed. "Joke lang kasi! Sige na, compute-in mo at babayaran na kita mamaya."
"Wow, parang ako pa ang may kasalanan, ah. Sige, nakakahiya naman sa 'yo."
"Bobbie lang?" sabay halakhak ng kapatid niya. "Pero kuya ha, 'yung book."
"Paano kung ayaw ko?" he returned, but the truth was he was already in the mall. Mabuti na lang at nakapila pa lang siya kanina sa bus bay sa labas ng mall.
"Grabe naman 'to, parang others! Sige, 'wag na. Kay ate Ianne na lang ako magpapabili."
Benjamin flinched upon hearing her name. "Kapal talaga ng mukha nito, o."
"Ayaw mo, eh! Babayaran ko naman siya, 'no. Saka close na kaya kami. Sige bye na, kuya, te-text ko na lang si ate—"
"Eto na, nasa mall na ako, 'wag ka nang manggulo ng ibang tao."
Narinig niya ang pagpipigil ng tawa ng kapatid sa kabilang linya. "Yiiieee. Si ate Ianne lang pala katapat mo, eh. Don't you worry, dahil d'yan, ilalakad kita kay ate—"
"Tigil-tigilan mo 'yan—"
"Labyu, kuya! Bye!"
Napailing na lamang siya habang papasok sa NBS. Kahit sakit sa ulo ang kapatid niya ay madalas hindi niya rin ito matanggihan.
He was about to go to the Classics section when he saw a familiar face. Agad niya itong chinat para kumpirmahin pero napatigil siya nang magtama ang mga mata nila. She looked like she was about to cry, and a couple was closely following her.
Ianne hastily walked toward him, but her expression hardened when the guy called her name. Bigla naman siyang napaisip. Kung may kasama na itong babae na mukha namang girlfriend niya, ay anong kailangan nito kay Ianne?
His question was answered when he saw her reply: Ex ko.
His emotions and reflexes took over and came to her defense. Tinawag niya rin ito at kumaway sa kanya habang nakangiti. Ianne smiled back and ran to him.
"Kanina pa kita hinihintay!" she beamed, but he could see the anguish and resentment in her eyes.
Her ex stopped in his tracks and gave him a curious stare. Napaisip siya kung bakit sinusundan pa nito si Ianne kung may kasama naman siyang iba. Looking at Ianne's expression, he thought the guy must be a jerk.
"Sorry," he softly said while shifting his gaze to her. "Tara?"
Ianne quietly nodded and he steered her toward the Classics section. Fortunately, the guy did not follow them.
"Wait," she whispered. "Bakit dito? Pwede bang lumabas na lang?"
He leaned closer. "May kailangan pa akong bilhin. Saglit lang," bulong niya.
Agad naman niyang nahanap ang pinapabili ni Bridgette. He also told her why he had to buy it and she let out a chuckle. "Ang rupok mo naman sa kapatid mo."
"May bayad naman, eh, tapos lalagyan ko ng patong," he replied.
"Hoy, grabe ka!"
Napansin naman niyang conscious pa rin ito sa paligid habang papunta sila sa counter. He could see that she was trying hard to act normal, but that guy's presence must be too hard to ignore.
He halted in front of a shelf and pointed at a book. "Gusto mo ba? Libre ko na sa 'yo."
Sinamaan naman siya nito ng tingin nang makita ang title ng libro: How To Get Over Your Ex. "Gagi, naka-move on na ako 'no!"
He snickered in response. "Ay, akala ko recent breakup, eh."
"One year na," she replied. "Medyo nag-panic lang talaga ako kanina." Ianne averted his gaze. "I'm also embarrassed. And annoyed."
"Kasi bakit gano'n 'yung reaction ko?" she said as a melancholic smile escaped her lips. "Bakit parang ako pa 'yung dapat umiwas? Eh wala naman akong kasalanang ginawa. Iniisip ko na lang na para sa peace of mind ko pero deep inside, ayoko lang makita nila ako at isiping mukha akong kawawa."
She ended her words with a laugh and before he could say anything, she lightly push him toward the counter. Wala naman siyang nagawa kundi magbayad at tahimik na maghintay.
That was the first time she opened up something about herself. He realized that behind those radiant smiles and confidence of hers were doubts, pain, and insecurities from her previous relationship.
Paglabas nila sa bookstore ay ngumiti ito sa kanya. "Thank you pala kanina. May utang na loob na naman ako sa 'yo."
"Hindi ka pa ba gutom?" tanong niya.
"Bakit? Libre mo ako?"
"Aba, abuso ka na," he retorted and she laughed heartily, which put him at ease. Gusto niya itong makitang tumatawa at masaya bago sila maghiwalay.
"Tara, nagugutom na nga rin ako."
They decided to eat in Ramen Nagi. Nagdadalawang-isip pa si Ianne noong una dahil mahal pero agad din itong pumayag nang sabihin ni Benjamin na libre na niya ang karaage.
He knew she wouldn't talk about what happened earlier anymore so the topic naturally shifted to Cayleigh and John. She was genuinely happy for them, and had a lot of stories she excitedly shared.
Pagkatapos nilang kumain ay nagpaalam na rin sila sa isa't isa. Habang nasa byahe ay ka-chat niya pa rin naman ito pero napatigil siya nang makwento niya ang nangyari sa kanila ng ex niya.
The guy was a cheater and what made it worse was he broke up before her birthday.
Bigla naman siyang may na-realize matapos malaman 'yon. Perhaps that was also the reason why she drank alone after her birthday celebration with her friends.
There was a sudden urge in him to comfort her, but he also knew that she might feel uncomfortable. He realized she was the type of person who would rather suffer alone than tell it to the world. The type to hide her pain behind her cheerful and carefree demeanor.
He was trying to sort out his feelings these past few days, but it was pointless to understand anymore. Because this time, the fear of not taking the risk and not being there for her outweighed his fear of rejection and how it would change the things between them . . .
Cute nga, he replied after she sent a photo.
. . . and that perhaps being honest with his feelings was the chance he should not let slip away.
Hindi niya alam kung matatawa ba siya o lalong kakabahan dahil sa mga pinaggagawa niya.
Benjamin tried to be more straightforward with his replies and jokes, but his heart would summersault whenever he sees her typing. Hindi niya alam kung magiging awkward ba ang usapan o sasakyan lang ito ni Ianne.
Mukhang naging busy naman ito dahil hindi na nasundan ang pag-uusap nila noong araw na iyon. At the back of his mind, he was wondering if she got uncomfortable in their last conversation. Pauwi na sana siya nang narinig niya si John na kausap si Cayleigh. Balak niya itong asarin pero agad siyang napatigil dahil naging mas seryoso ang mukha nito.
"Sasabay si Ianne? Bakit?" John asked. "What? That's messed up. Okay. I'm on my way."
"Anong meron?" tanong niya dahil mukhang may hindi magandang nangyari.
John sighed, clearly perturbed. "Sabi ni Cayleigh, Ianne's ex is waiting for her outside the building. Hindi raw tuloy makauwi kaya isasabay na lang namin."
I-cha-chat niya pa lang si Ianne pero naunahan na siya nito. There was a tingling sensation in his chest upon knowing that she was asking for his help. It might be because he knew the situation between them, but he was still pleased that she messaged him.
"Sama ako," sabi niya kay John at tinitigan siya nito nang ilang segundo.
He could hear his racing heartbeat as they approached the building. Saktong nasa first floor na sina Cayleigh at Ianne nang dumating sila sa lobby.
Ianne ran toward his direction, but her ex pulled her arm before she could reach him. His brows knitted in irritation as Ianne yanked the guy's hand off her. He could not understand why this guy kept on pestering her if he was the one who cheated on her in the first place.
"Ikaw na naman?" he interrupted and Ianne stood close to him. "Please leave my girlfriend alone."
His declaration earned a variety of shocked expressions from the four, but he did not mind. Gusto niya lang layuan na ng lalaking 'yon si Ianne. She clearly did not want to be associated with him anymore.
"Ianne," he called as he turned to her. Benjamin could feel his heart in his throat, but he did what he promised. He carefully held her hand and almost flinched at how cold it was. "Tara na?"
All she could do was nod, and before his ex could react, he gently pulled her with him.
He was staring at his hand while Ianne was ordering their food. Nagprisinta itong pumila at hindi na niya pinigilan.
Ianne's hand was cold, but by the time they arrived at the town center, it was already warm. However, he realized that that kind of warmth was also quick to disappear the moment he let go of her hand. He did not know it would leave such a strong longing feeling.
Gaya dati ay idinaan na lang nila sa tawa at light na usapan ang mga nangyari.
"Kita mo 'yung mukha niya kanina? Mukha namang titigilan ka na niya," he said as they started eating dinner.
"Sana nga. Pero sana in-orient mo naman ako sa script!" reklamo nito. "Grabe ang daming tanong ni Cayleigh. Naging tsismosa na tuloy 'to."
Napahalakhak siya sa sinabi ni Ianne. Sa katunayan, chat din nang chat si John pero nag-offline na lang siya para hindi muna mabasa.
"Mage-gets naman siguro nila 'yun."
Balak na sanang umuwi ni Ianne pagkatapos nilang kumain pero napaisip siya na rush hour pa at mahihirapan lang ito kung ngayon siya babyahe. Besides, he still wanted to spend more time with her.
"Ano ba 'yan bakit ang daming couples?" she muttered while they were strolling around the mall. "'Di naman February."
"Uy, inggit," he teased.
"Luh, 'di ah."
"Fine, slight," pag-amin nito.
He chuckled. "Bakit may kasama ka rin naman, ah?" sabay turo sa sarili niya.
"Magkaiba pa rin!" she retorted. "O, tingnan mo 'yang nasa harapan natin. Sarap daanan sa gitna."
Mayroong magka-holding hands na naglalakad sa unahan nila at muli siyang natawa dahil sa sunud-sunod niyang reklamo.
"Ka-holding hands lang ba kailangan mo? O, eto na," he taunted as he jokingly extended his left hand. Natutuwa kasi siyang makita ang expression nito kapag naaasar. He started walking ahead of her, but halted when Ianne suddenly reached for his hand.
He did not expect her to take her teasing seriously so when she laced her fingers between his, his brain froze momentarily.
"Pwede rin," Ianne murmured, looking at the opposite side, but he could see her cheeks reddening.
He cleared his throat and tried hard to act normal despite getting overwhelmed by her closeness.
Her hand is warm, he thought. That moment, the only thing he could think about was the tinge of sadness he felt when he let go of her hand earlier. This time, he hoped the warmth would last a little bit longer.
And perhaps that feeling was what drove him to indirectly and jokingly admit how he felt for her when they parted ways.
Ilang araw na rin ang nakalipas noong nangyari iyon pero hindi pa rin nagre-reply si Ianne. Mabuti na lang at may conference silang a-attend-an kaya naman kahit papaano ay magiging busy ang utak niya.
He thought she might have gotten uneasy with him after what happened so a lot of unpleasant thoughts weighed in his chest. Pagod ang utak at katawan niya matapos ang conference at madaling araw ang flight nila pabalik sa Metro Manila kaya alam niyang knockout siya bukas.
His eyelids were already getting heavy around 8 PM that he thought he was hallucinating when she saw her chat. Halos pikit na ang isang mata niya habang nagre-reply hanggang sa hindi niya namalayang nakatulog na pala siya. Nagising na lamang siya noong kumalam na ang sikmura niya.
"Ba't 'di n'yo ako ginising?" ingit niya nang makitang mag-a-alas onse na.
Bryle threw a pillow at him. "Gago ka, tinatadyakan ka na namin, 'di ka pa rin gumigising!"
"He was about to put his foot on your face," John mentioned.
"Kadiri kang hayop ka!"
Matapos nilang maghampasan ng ilang unan ay lumabas siya para kumain nang mabilis. Mabuti na lang at may fast food sa baba ng hotel na tinutuluyan nila. Ianne was still awake so he continued chatting with her. Para hindi siya antukin ulit at para bumili ng pasalubong ay naglakad siya sa night market sa tapat ng hotel nila.
He had already bought souvenirs for his family last night, but he wanted to give something to her, too. Tinawagan niya na rin ito dahil nangungulit si Ianne tungkol sa tanong na hindi niya pa sinasagot: Anong meron? Why did he start acting different toward her?
"A-ano? Bakit may pagtawag?" bungad nito sa kabilang linya.
He chuckled lightly. "Masama ba? Samahan mo muna ako para 'di ako antukin."
"What?! Akala ko ba—"
"Saka ko na sasabihin," he interjected, "kapag kaharap na kita."
Natahimik naman si Ianne sa kabilang linya at saglit siyang napatingin sa phone niya para i-check kung in-end ba nito ang tawag.
"Hello, ate? Andyan ka pa ba? Nakatulog ka ba bigla?"
"Oo, tulog na."
Natawa naman siya sa tono nito. He stopped at a stall that sells wooden souvenirs. "Uy, nandito ako sa bilihan ng keychains at ref magnets."
"At talagang gusto mong totohanin 'yang keychain, ha?"
"Standard na 'yan sa pasalubong," he snickered as he checked some of the stuff displayed. "Meron ding coasters saka utensils na wooden. Anong gusto mo?"
Napahinto siya sa paghawak sa isang coaster nang marinig ang sinabi ni Ianne. He wasn't sure if he heard that right, but before he could clear it up, she was already rambling on some excuses.
"I-I mean, ikaw bahala!" she shrieked. "H-hindi ko naman kasi nakikita 'yung sinasabi mo! Kaya ikaw na bahala! Hindi ikaw as in ikaw! Ikaw lang pipili! Hindi 'yun—"
"Kahit ano na lang! Ikaw na bahala! Basta walang ibig sabi—"
"Ianne!" he interrupted while holding back his laughter. "Kalma lang. Sige na, ako na ang bahala."
He immediately shifted the topic so she would not feel awkward. Mabuti na lang at mabilis din magbago ang mood nito lalo na noong ibang tao na ang pinag-uusapan nila. He was talking to her until he returned to their hotel. Pero dahil may pasok pa ito bukas ay in-end niya na rin ang tawag bago siya makarating sa floor nila.
He was about to open the door to their room when John came into view. Nagkatitigan sila ng ilang segundo at doon niya na-realize na kausap nito si Cayleigh dahil nakasuot ang earphones nito.
"Benjamin's smiling from ear to ear," John reported and he just realized it upon hearing that. "Baka kausap si ano kanina."
Naglakad si John palabas ng room nang hindi niya alam kung ano ang dapat i-react. Sisigawan niya sana ito pero naalala niyang hatinggabi na kaya wala siyang nagawa kundi pumasok na lang sa kwarto. Naabutan niya namang naglalaro si Bryle sa PS4 nito.
He plopped on his bed and stared at his reflection on his phone. I want to see her already, he thought.
As usual, nakakuha agad ng ticket si Andrea sa December fair. Madalas ay hindi siya ganoon ka-interesado sa fair pero kahit papaano ay nag-eenjoy din naman siya kapag andoon na. This year, it was different.
After that dare with Ianne, he planned on telling her his feelings even if it meant days of getting restless. Iyon na kasi ang huling araw ng trabaho sa campus at huling araw para makausap siya nang harapan ngayong taon. But he had almost forgotten everything when Ianne hugged him the moment they met.
He was so flustered that he just stood there like an idiot. Mabuti na lang at si Ianne na ang susunod sa pila sa stall kung nasaan siya at napunta sa pagkain ang atensyon nila.
"Hindi ka kakain?" tanong nito sa kanya habang hawak ang rice-in-a-box na in-order niya.
"Hindi pa ako gutom."
Dahil wala namang mauupuan ay kumain na lang si Ianne habang naglalakad sila. They also played games and tried some rides. Tawang-tawa nga siya noong nakasakay na sila sa ferris wheel dahil sobrang bilis ng takbo nito. Ianne was screaming at the top of her lungs while her knuckles were already turning white as she desperately held onto the metal bar.
"Octopus next!" he beamed while Ianne was still recovering from the ferris wheel of death.
He could not help but take videos and pictures of her while they were riding some of the extreme rides in the fair. Halos yakapin na ni Ianne ang kanang braso niya noong sumakay sila sa Octopus at Viking kaya naman naghalu-halo na rin ang pakiramdam niya.
"Ayoko na," she groaned.
Napahalakhak naman siya. "Ano, kaya pa ba?"
Ianne pointed at the crowd in front of the stage. "Doon naman tayo sa kalmado lang, pwede ba?"
Bumili muna siya ng pagkain niya at agad naman niya iyong naubos bago pa sila makarating sa parte kung saan maraming tao. Pero hindi niya ine-expect na magkagulo ang mga nandoon. The emcees just announced Rico Blanco as a special guest so almost everyone plowed their way toward the front.
Halos matangay din sila sa daloy ng mga tao pero nagulat siya nang halos sabay nilang inabot ang kamay ng isa't isa. Their eyes met and Ianne immediately let go of his hand. Mabilis nitong inilipat ang tingin sa stage kung nasaan si Rico Blanco.
After a few minutes, he started playing some of Rivermaya's hit songs and the crowd loudly sang along.
♫ Am I real?
Do the words I speak before you
Make you feel?
That the love I left for you
Will see no ending?
Well, if you look into my eyes
Then you should know ♫
He was just staring at Ianne as she recorded and sang with everyone. May ilang babae ring tumitili sa bawat linyang kinakanta ni Rico pero lumakas pa lalo iyon nang marinig nila ang pamilyar na tono ng isang kanta.
His heart throbbed painfully against his chest as he realized that this could be one of the few chances he was waiting for. Shit. This is it, he mentally remarked.
He drew a deep breath. "Ianne," tawag niya.
"Sasagutin ko na 'yung tanong mo."
Ianne's expression went from excited to curious to anxious. "H-huh?"
He leaned closer. "Listen carefully," he whispered while pointing at the stage. "'Yung kakantahin niya ang summary ng gusto kong sabihin sa 'yo."
As if on cue, Rico started singing the first lines.
♫ Tell me something
When the rain falls on my face
How do you quickly replace it with
A golden summer smile? ♫
Pakiramdam niya ay lalabas na ang puso niya sa sobrang kaba habang pinakikinggan din ang kanta. He wanted to confess, alright, but he thought he might mess up his words. Fortunately, the song kind of summed up what he was feeling at the moment.
♫ Tell me something
When I'm feelin' tired and afraid
How do you know just what to say
To make everything alright? ♫
Nakikisabay nang kumanta ang halos lahat habang nakapako naman ang tingin niya kay Ianne. He was watching her carefully, and when one of the lights illuminated her face for a second, he noticed that she was blushing. Upon seeing that, his face got hot, too.
"You can thank your stars all you want but," pagsabay niya sa kanta at napatingin sa kanya si Ianne. Isang malawak na ngiti ang ibinigay niya rito. "I'll always be the lucky one."
Ianne gasped as her eyes widened. "W-what—wait . . . are you—"
He inched closer to her right ear. "Sabi ko, ang swerte ko kasi sa 'yo ako nagkagusto."
Upon saying that, the fear that he felt earlier melted away. He did not know if it was the right decision, but at least, he finally took the risk. He took the chance. And he did not need any reaction nor answer from her at all. Because all that mattered to him was being with her at that moment.