There was an uneasy silence between us while we were waiting for the car that he just booked. My stomach was churning and I wasn’t sure if it was because of hunger. I was getting conscious and him glancing at me every few seconds was not helping.
Good thing we were at the shed where students seldom pass by. Still, I was nervous because I was with him. If we were seen by someone, I’m sure it would create articles and rumors again. And I don’t want that to happen.
“I have read your updates,” he said, breaking the silence between us but that made me more conscious because it was about my stories.
“Oh. Uhm . . .”
He snickered softly. “Nag-improve ka na kahit papaano.”
I looked at him, surprised at his comment. “R-Really?”
I still felt awkward when we talk about my writing but his words made me a bit proud of myself.
“Yeah,” he smiled. “May mga nakita pa rin akong ibang mali pero minimal na lang.”
My heart fluttered upon hearing that but I couldn’t reply since the car finally arrived. We sat on the back seat and we both stayed silent.
We went to a restaurant and I was surprised when he ordered a lot of food. He must be really hungry.
“Kumusta pala ang Aral Pil mo?” he said as he drank his tea.
“Uhm, meron readings ulit,” I replied.
I remembered reading the first paragraph a while ago and I almost threw it because I had a hard time understanding the context. And we would have a recitation next meeting. Good luck to me.
Well, it would be my fault, too, since I prioritized updating my story rather than studying the readings we were given.
I fished out the readings from my bag and he checked them out.
“Hmm, mas malalim ang words kaysa sa nakaraan,” he remarked.
“Do you need help?”
I just stared at him for several seconds, unsure if I should accept the help he was offering. Students were surely observing his every move after that article and I don’t want to give him trouble anymore.
“Aren’t you scared?” I mumbled.
“I mean . . . people are watching you.”
“Ah. That.” He smiled while staring at a distance. “Kita na lang tayo sa café na pinuntahan natin dati.”
“Are you sure?”
He sighed. “Not really. But I promised, and I don’t want to go back on my words.”
His words almost made me tear up. For a second, I wondered if I deserve his kindness . . . and then I felt guilty. As an administrator of the portal, I knew he would hate me once he learned about it.
“Thank you,” I said, trying hard to choke back my tears.
“No worries,” he replied as he smiled.
When I got home, I immediately opened my laptop and updated my ongoing stories. Then, I looked at that one offline story that I was working on. There were several minutes of hesitation. Of doubts and fear. But when I remembered what happened today, it gave me courage to continue.
With a deep breath, I posted the prologue on Nook and stared at the new story on my profile: Prince Not Charming.
“Pagod na ako,” Jess grumbled as she plopped beside me.
“Practice?” I asked.
She pouted in return. “And review. May exam pa ako next week.”
“Aww, poor child,” I said, caressing her hair.
“And that unknown particle didn’t even call me.”
I chuckled as she complained about Patrick. Among the three of them, I find Jess the cutest when it comes to their relationships. She likes to annoy and tease Patrick but showers him with love and concern when he’s not around.
“He’s busy, for sure,” I remarked.
“I know. Late na nga ‘yon lagi nagla-lunch this week. Akala niya nakakatuwa.”
“Cute mo,” I commented and Jess looked at me as if I said something odd.
“Ah! Teka, ganyan. Mag-Filipino ka. Like simula na ngayon. Nakalimutan ko na ‘yon, ah!”
“Cute-cute mo rin kapag nagsasalita,” she said between her snickers. “Baka may ma-inlove sa’yo niyan.”
Her energy was depleted a moment ago, but this time, she seemed too eager about this topic. I suddenly felt nervous.
“Speaking of, kumusta naman ‘yong nakita ko sa library last time?”
Oh. He remembered King. I thought he wouldn’t ask about him anymore after learning that he was friends with Stan.
“I told you, he just said came to me because I glared at them. Then, he told me he’s sorry for his friend’s behavior,” I explained, hoping that it would end there.
“Anong name niya?” she asked.
“I . . . I don’t know . . .”
“Ha! A lie!” she scoffed. “Ikaw pa ba? Lahat yata ng sikat at friends nila eh kilala mo by name.”
Jess looked determined and I couldn’t understand why I got worried. I guess my poker face game wasn’t good today.
“Jervin,” I mumbled.
“Oohh.” She had that teasing look on her face and I’m sure this wouldn’t end today.
“C’mon, Jess, he’s not—”
“I know, I know, pero malay mo. Cute kaya siya.”
“Though may reservations ako dahil friend niya ‘yong bwisit na ‘yon. Hmm . . .” She looked at me with a serious expression. “Ano bang type mo sa lalaki?”
I stared at her after hearing her question, and for a second, a face appeared in my mind. I felt the blood rushing to my face and I tried hard to push that thought at the back of my mind but . . .
“Oh my god!” she squealed. “You’re blushing! Hoy omg teka lang!”
The next thing I knew, she was already video-calling Alice and Steff. Before she could blabber anything, I snatched her phone and ended it.
Thank goodness Pat arrived and took Jess before she could interrogate me about it. I leaned on the chair, mentally exhausted. My cheeks still felt hot and I had to drink a glass of water to calm myself.
“That was close,” I mumbled.
Just a moment after that, I saw King walking on the corridor. He was busy checking his phone and it might be because of the pending article reviews. He was adjusting his glasses when he bumped into a girl. A smile escaped my lips as I watched him get flustered. He’s really clumsy, isn’t he?
I checked the portal and we had to review fifty-four articles today. To be honest, checking the articles had been causing me anxiety after my friends got involved. It was fun for a while but it felt like a misdeed now.
With a heavy heart, I opened the articles for review and approved those that were about the upcoming Feb Fair, as well as the positive ones. Fortunately, Alice didn’t get any article about her, though I doubt they would just stop talking about her.
I attended my remaining classes and after the last one, I saw Steff on the hallway. She waved at me and ran to my direction.
“Don’t you have a practice?” I asked while she linked arms with me.
“Katatapos lang,” she replied. “Come with me.”
“Let’s watch their practice.”
“Their? Huh? Who—”
She dragged me to the rehearsal room before I could ask. I realized what she meant when we were already in front of the room’s door.
She opened the door and all the people inside had their eyes on us. My heart sank and that moment, I wished I was invisible.
I heard Darryl’s voice, and when I glanced at him, he was already grinning lovingly at Steff. Patrick, Kevin and Gisel were also there and it looked like they just finished rehearsing a song.
“Already finished?” Steff asked.
“Nah,” Darryl answered. “May dalawa pang kanta.”
“Baka mahulog ka lalo,” he retorted and the guys whistled and laughed at him.
“I doubt it,” Steff said although I could see her ears getting red.
Darryl’s cheesy lines made the atmosphere light and somehow, I calmed down. While the rest were still teasing Steff and Darryl, I peeked at Gisel and I flinched when our gaze met each other.
He flashed a quick smile and pulled out his phone from his pocket. A second later, I saw a notification from Instagram.
calvingisel: See you again later :)
It felt like my heart would jump out of my mouth after reading that and seeing his expression. How could he act so composed?
I took a deep breath and replied away from Steff’s vision.
ynashin: yeah :>
ynashin: good luck on your practice
ynashin: which I am watching haha
They started the preparations for the next song and I saw him typing on his phone. A minute later, I was already having a hard time breathing.
calvingisel: I’m kinda nervous now that you’re watching haha
calvingisel: but thank you for coming :)
And the moment they started playing the next song, my heart raced every time he glanced at my direction.