I was too invested in writing a new story that I didn’t notice the time. My head hurt and I was tempted to stay at home if it weren’t for a quiz in one of my subjects today.
Around lunch, I went to the library to sleep and fortunately, my favorite spot was vacant. I pulled some books from the shelves and placed it on my table so that it looked like I just fell asleep while reading them.
I was about to sleep when my phone vibrated. Several notifications from the portal popped up and I realized today was the release of the results for the qualifying exam. Most of the newest articles were about it. I opened one, which was focused on our batch, and as expected, all of them passed in their respective choices of special courses.
Yna: Hey Steff, Jess! Congrats!
Yna: Qualifying exams results are already out lol
Jess: Mas mataas ba ako kay Pat?!
Steff: Sinong mas mataas sa amin ni Darryl?
Alice: Hahaha may deal na naman ba kayo?
Steff: Haha yup
Jess: Yabang kasi niya eh
Yna: Darryl > Jess > Steff > Patrick
Jess: HAH YES
Yna: Alice, Kevin also passed
Yna: just in case you wanna know lol
He passed the exams, too. I wanted to congratulate him but I wasn’t sure if we were close enough for that. I rested my head on the table after deciding not to. My eyelids were gradually getting heavy and I drifted to sleep.
I was woken up by a heavy thud. Lifting my head and turning around, I saw a book that was accidentally dropped by a student on the floor while pulling it off from the shelf.
“Oh. You’re awake.”
Hearing that familiar voice almost made me flinch. When I looked right across me, I saw Gisel who was busy reading a book. I just stared at him for a few seconds, wondering if I was still asleep and this was part of a dream, or maybe this was real and I just couldn’t believe he was really here.
He suddenly glanced at me as he placed his ring finger across his lips, gesturing me to stay quiet.
“Sorry, this was the only place here where I could read comfortably,” he said in whispers.
He was reading a reference book on Statistics and I frowned upon seeing that. Anything related to mathematics would never be a good view for me.
I heard him chuckle, his eyes disappeared into squints as he smiled. He slowly leaned toward me and I had to pull myself back because he was too close.
“Kumusta ang Aral Pil mo?” he whispered.
“Uhm . . . ayos lang,” I replied as calmly as possible.
“Hmm. May readings kayo?”
“Yeah. Pero hindi ako pa nakakapag-print.”
Was my sentence right? Oh, well, nevermind.
“Ah. Congrats pala,” I said in a small voice and he looked confused. God, I shouldn’t have said that.
“I mean . . . sa ano . . . qualifying exams.”
“Oh.” He flashed a warm smile. “Thank you.”
There were a few seconds of silence between us and somehow, it felt comfortable yet there was a hint of restlessness in my chest.
I knew it would spark a rumor if someone saw us together, just like what happened with Alice and Kevin. Honestly, I felt guilty whenever I looked at Alice getting conscious and worried. Being part of the administrative staffs of the portal meant I was partly responsible for her difficulties. Steff and Jess also disliked how the portal would invade people’s privacy and personal space so every time we talked about it, I felt anxious and uncomfortable.
“Okay ka lang?”
I was distracted by my thoughts that I didn’t notice him staring at me.
“Ah. Y-yeah.” I replied.
“Namumutla ka,” he remarked.
True enough, I was kind of tired and sluggish. I wanted to go home and sleep comfortably on my bed but I still got two subjects to attend later.
“Kulang tulog,” I mumbled as I tried hard not to yawn.
“Tulog ka lang,” he said. “Anong oras ba class mo?”
“Uhm, 3 P.M.”
“Okay. Gisingin na lang kita 15 minutes bago ang class mo.”
Instead of a reply, he just smiled at me and continued reading. I stared at him for a few seconds and heaved a sigh. He seemed serious about waking me up later so might as well use the remaining time to sleep.
The youngest prince wasn’t charming.
That was how people in the palace would describe him. Unlike his older brothers who exude elegance and nobility just by the way they stood, he was the carefree type. He didn’t care if he did something unroyal, as long as it made him happy.
“Hey,” he called, a big grin pasted on his face.
“You’re not a princess, right?”
“Ah. I envy you,” he said, laughing.
“Why? You have everything as a prince. Why would you envy someone like me?”
His eyes looked sad for a moment. “Because you’re free.”
I was awakened by the sudden shaking of the table. My eyes fluttered open, yet I was still bewildered. After a few seconds, I saw Steff staring at me and that snapped me out of disorientation.
“Steff?” I called, still confused.
She was reading a book and taking down notes. Maybe she was reviewing for a quiz or doing her homework. But why was she here? And where was he?
“Oh. Sakto,” she said. “Fifteen minutes na lang, class mo na.”
Steff closed the book and put her pen down. She stared at me as if she was looking right through my soul and honestly, it wouldn’t be weird if she already knew what was happening. She was exceptionally perceptive.
“Gisel was here a few minutes ago,” she noted.
“Gisel? Villanueva?” I asked, hoping she wouldn’t notice I was feigning oblivion.
“Yeah. Nagbabasa siya rito habang natutulog ka.” She looked around the library. “Well, mukhang puno rin naman doon sa unahan. I guess he saw this vacant seat.”
I quietly sighed in relief. Thank goodness she didn’t catch something. I actually thought he told her about my class but I remembered that Steff had already memorized our schedules this sem.
I tidied my things and was about to leave when Steff suddenly called me.
I halted and turned my head to her. “Hmm?”
She stared at me for a few seconds and smiled. “Wala. Go.”
It was a bit puzzling but I just let it go and went to my next class.
After my last class, I immediately went home to rest. I was browsing the web when I was on my way home but my screen was suddenly flooded by notifications from the admin group and portal.
moonlight: OMG GUYS
moonlight: BIG NEWS
cafemocha: haha yeah I saw that
cafemocha: in-approve ko rin kasi interesting
mugiwara: yup rare news alright
kingtrex: I don’t think so
cafemocha: meh kj
I went to the portal and almost dropped my phone when I saw one of the trending articles.
Prince Gisel and Sleeping Beauty
And there it was: a picture of him sitting across a sleeping girl in the library.
Chills went down my spine and panic started to rise through my throat. My body trembled in anxiety but somehow, I was a bit thankful that my face was covered by the book cover and my hair, or else I’d be thrown in the spotlight right away.
Ah. I hate this. I just want to disappear right now.