It’s been three days since that horrific incident. Fortunately, the ranking of the article gradually went down due to the anticipation for the upcoming Feb Fair. And thank goodness I was wearing a simple black shirt with my hair covering my face taken at a bad angle, or else, they would have known my identity by now. God, that would be terrifying.
Gisel, on the other hand, got most of the attention. Eyes were following him everywhere, hoping that they would see the ‘girl’ who was photographed with him. He couldn’t even approach some of his girl classmates because it might lead to another rumor.
“Sa lahat ng Prince, siya lang talaga ang rare mong makikita sa articles,” Jess said while looking at Gisel who was walking on the hallway. “He looks annoyed.”
“Well, mas kawawa ‘yong babaeng kasama niya. For sure, tina-try pa rin siyang hanapin ng mga tao,” Alice added and I could feel the sincerity in her words. It must be because she was experiencing the same thing.
“It must be hard for the girl right now, knowing she got involved in this situation,” Steff remarked as she glanced at me.
We were here in the garden, eating snacks and discussing matters, since this was our only common vacant period.
“So, how’s the pre-Feb Fair for you two?” I asked, changing the topic quickly.
Jess immediately rolled her eyes and grunted. “Tinitingnan ko pa lang ‘yong schedule for next week, parang hihimatayin na ako sa pagod.”
“I need chocolates,” Steff mumbled.
“So, what’s the theme this year?” I asked.
“Oo nga, ano nga ba?” Alice added.
However, Steff and Jess remained tight-lipped. Hmp. Stingy.
After that, we got to ask Alice about what happened between Kevin and her. In the end, she confessed that he was courting her and the things he said that made her fall deeply. I had to take a mental note so that I could tweak those words and incorporate those into the story based on them.
As if on cue, we saw Kevin walking toward us and Alice couldn’t even keep a straight face. She was flushed and embarrassed and the three of us enjoyed that sight.
Steff and Alice also left to attend fair-related meetings. I wanted to go to the library but after what happened last time, it might not be the right choice. In the end, I went to the café where we met last time since I don’t have any class this afternoon.
On the way, I checked my social media accounts and remembered him when I was on Instagram. Right. He must be busy, too, as a Campus Prince.
I pulled my laptop from my bag and started updating my stories. Good thing there were only a couple of customers so it was not distracting.
Hearing Alice’s stories made it easier to write. I could imagine them in the scenes, as if they were leading me to the best part of the story. Last two chapters and it would be finished. I kinda feel sad.
I checked my phone and saw notifications from the group . . . oh. It was just from King.
kingtrex: hi angel
kingtrex; that’s kinda weird now since I already know you
yeoshin: haha you’re right
yeoshin: but I still prefer calling you as King instead of Jervin Castillo
kingtrex: oh you already know my name
yeoshin: it’s pretty easy to find haha
kingtrex: is that so, Yna Shin?
A smile escaped my lips as I continued replying to him. I’m glad we didn’t get awkward after that accidental meeting.
kingtrex: but are you okay?
yeoshin: hmm? Yes. Why?
kingtrex: well, that article . . .
kingtrex: it’s you, right?
I shuddered upon reading his message. How did he . . .
kingtrex: don’t worry, I won’t tell anyone
yeoshin: how did you know?
kingtrex: just a hunch . . .
kingtrex: haha actually nevermind
yeoshin: thank you, king :)
kingtrex: no worries, angel :)
I sighed in relief after his reassurance. Somehow, I felt guilty for judging him when I saw him with Stan before. King’s a nice guy, after all.
After updating my stories, I opened the one I was writing offline. I already had written five chapters but I was still hesitant to post it, since it was based on him. What if he decided to read it and noticed something? Oh god, I wouldn’t want that to happen.
I spent four hours in the café and I decided to go home. However, while checking my things, I realized I forgot my readings in the locker so I had to go back to the campus.
When I arrived at the campus, people were busy setting up the open field for Feb Fair. Jess and Steff must still be practicing even though it was already past 7 P.M.
I went to the locker room and got the readings. As I was walking, I could hear some singing and dancing in the rehearsal rooms. Somehow, I kinda feel excited for this year’s Feb Fair.
Darryl was visible from my line of sight and I could see that he was enjoying the song, even though I couldn’t hear anything from here. I remembered Gisel singing during the Foundation day, and for a second, I wanted to hear his voice again.
That thought got me a bit flustered and I looked around, afraid that someone might be watching. I hurriedly walked away as I pushed my thoughts at the back of my mind. I was about to leave the campus when I saw something behind the Arts and Letters building. With careful steps, I approached the place and halted when I saw Gisel leaning against the wall, already asleep.
Why does he always sleep here?
I was contemplating whether to wake him up since it was already dark and he might be bitten by mosquitoes, or just leave him be. In the end, I sat down and watched him for a few seconds.
He looked exhausted. I kind of feel sorry for him. The articles published about him must have worsened the stress, especially since he didn’t want to be the center of attention.
I was surprised when he suddenly moved. My first thought was to leave immediately but I wasn’t able to move when his eyes fluttered open.
It felt like the world had stopped and I wished I was invisible or I would just sink to the ground, unnoticed. He was still in daze but his eyes were staring right into mine. There were a few seconds of suffocating silence and I was hoping he couldn’t heart my heart thumping loudly against my chest.
Despite the darkness, I could see the loneliness in his eyes.
“Nadamay ka tuloy,” he softly said. “I should have been more mindful.”
“It’s okay,” I replied. “It’s not your fault.”
“How’s practice?” I asked, trying to change the mood.
He just stared at me for several seconds and it was too nerve-wracking that I had to look down to avert his gaze. Just when I was about to collapse from the tension, I heard him chuckling.
“It’s tough,” he said.
“I . . . I see. No wonder you fell asleep here.”
“Yeah. Though Darryl and Kevin are still practicing. I cou—”
He wasn’t able to finish his sentence because his stomach growled. This time, he was the one to turn his eyes away. But there was another rumbling and we both snickered.
“Mukhang kailangan ko nang mag-dinner,” he said as he scratched his head in embarrassment.
“Yeah,” I replied. “Practice must be really tough.”
We both stood up and I was ready to go when he suddenly asked me a question.
“Nag-dinner ka na ba?”
“Uhm . . . not yet.”
“Sabay na tayo?”
I wasn’t sure if I heard that right. Did he ask me to eat with him or I just misheard him?
Then, a lot of questions and scenarios lingered in my mind. He was the subject of the articles recently and being with him would be a risk. I couldn’t stand getting unwanted attention, and I’m sure he feels the same way, too, but this time . . . just this time . . . it felt different.
“Ah. Sorry, you must be—”
I pulled my cap from my bag and put it on his head. “O-okay,” I mumbled.
He was silent for a second but grinned afterwards, the kind that made his eyes disappear into squints, and readjusted the cap.
I followed close behind but he matched my pace and walked beside me. I glanced at him and our gaze met each other.
I could hear him chuckling but I kept my gaze forward. And that night, I had finally thought of a good title for that story.