I thought eating some snacks would distract me from my thoughts but his expression during that song kept on flashing inside my head. The takoyaki was delicious but it didn’t relieve my stress.
It was nearing midnight, too, so I had to go to the main entrance. I messaged our group chat and said I’d be going home since Xander would arrive soon.
Jess: Hindi ka na babalik dito?
Alice: Wala pa tayong picture!
Yna: Sorry haha
Yna: I’m already at the gate haha ang my feet hurt
Jess: Ano ba ‘yan! Pero ingat
Alice: Huhu ang duga mo Yna!
Yna: see you tomorrow
Yna: or not haha
The truth was it would still take me around five minutes before I could reach the main gate. Most were still enjoying the night and I felt at ease knowing that only a couple of people were walking with me.
I sat on one of the benches near the gate, waiting for Xander to pick me up. Resting my head on the back plank, I realized how clear the sky was. Stars were twinkling brightly and I thought this view was a good way to end the night.
Xander finally texted me and he said he just woke up. I almost talked back to him but I held back since he might not fetch me.
I’ll be there in 20 mins
I breathed a deep, long sigh. Twenty minutes, huh?
It was already getting cold and I wished I didn’t pick this dress because the slit was exposing my right leg to the freezing wind. Why didn’t I bring any jacket?
My eyes darted to the paperback I was carrying. I took the panda out and hugged it but suddenly remembered what happened a while ago. My face felt hot and I had to think of other things to push that thought at the back of my mind.
“My crush looks good tonight,” a girl said while passing by, catching my attention.
Her friend smirked. “’Di ba he likes someone na?”
“Ano naman? Crush lang naman.”
“Crush lang pero bakit parang nasasaktan?”
The girl lightly pushed her. “I’m not.”
She snorted. “Okay. If that’s what you think.”
Even before I started writing stories, I had always enjoyed listening to strangers’ conversations. Sometimes, I’d use them as reference for my characters and their dialogues and hearing those two made me think of my new story . . . as well as him.
As if fate was playing a game on me, I saw his figure walking toward the main gate. People seemed not to recognize him, maybe because of the gray parka and black cap hiding his outfit and face. My heart thumped a little when he sat on the bench right across me. I was about to turn on the right but our gaze met before I could do it.
It felt like the everything and everyone around us was fading and I could only hear my racing heart while staring at him.
He broke into a grin and I quickly averted his gaze. However, it was hard to focus on anything besides him. I tried to pretend looking busy with my phone but I yelped when I saw his name on the notifications.
calvingisel: I thought you were with your friends. Uuwi ka na?
I had to will myself not to look at his direction, keeping my eyes on the phone.
ynashin: Yup haha I need to be home by midnight.
calvingisel: Cinderella, is that you?
His reply made me smile for a second.
ynashin: Haha I will return to my normal self. Bye bye princess outfit.
calvingisel: Honestly, you look more like a fairy than a princess.
calvingisel: in that dress, I mean.
I remembered his talk on the stage a while ago and thank goodness I was in a dimly lit area or else he’d see my burning red cheeks. I didn’t have any idea on what to reply but he sent another message.
calvingisel: Ah. Is that the panda from the stall?
I glanced at the panda sitting on my lap and gently pulled it closer. He was also carrying a paperback so I guess the other panda was inside.
ynashin: Yes. Thank you :)
calvingisel: You’re welcome :)
ynashin: I was so bad at that game I thought I would never have the panda set.
calvingisel: Haha yeah I saw you struggling before I played the game.
Taking a quick peek at his direction, I saw him chuckling while looking at his phone. I remembered how frustrated I was while playing the game and realizing he was watching that unsightly view made me want to run away.
calvingisel: you were stomping your feet every time you miss the pole haha
ynashin: nooo stop it’s embarrassing
calvingisel: it’s cute haha
Ahh. I couldn’t take it anymore. I raised my head and looked at him, pleading to stop teasing me. He grinned in return and even though I couldn’t see his eyes clearly due to his cap, I knew it was already disappearing into squints.
Somehow, this was more comfortable than when he was on the stage. The way everyone who passed by ignored him, not realizing he was a campus prince felt calming. If only he was a normal student . . .
Xander’s message disrupted my train of thoughts. He said he was already nearby so I placed my panda inside the paperback and stood up but I received another message from him.
calvingisel: Ingat sa pag-uwi :)
I replied after reading it.
ynashin: Ikaw rin :)
I finally saw Xander’s car in front of the gate but before I walked away, I turned to his direction. He smiled and nodded at me and I did the same.
“How was your night, Milady?” Xander teased as I got inside the car.
“Unexpectedly good,” I replied.
He turned his head so quick I thought he’d break his neck.
“W-what?” I asked, still in shock.
He narrowed his eyes at me. “Don’t tell me you got yourself a boyfriend?”
“He should introduce himself to me first.”
“What are you talking about?”
“I don’t know. Something just feels strange.”
Good thing Xander didn’t push the topic that much and continued driving silently. I checked my phone and contemplated for a few minutes. In the end, I gave in and messaged him.
ynashin: Thank you for keeping me company.
ynashin: By the way, you look good tonight.
I inhaled sharply after pressing send, regret following right after. Oh god I shouldn’t have sent the second one.
My mind was buzzing with what-ifs when I received a reply from him.
calvingisel: That’s a first
Before I could ask what he was talking about, another message came.
calvingisel: Good night, Yna :)
A smile escaped my lips upon reading his last message. There were a lot of worries and fear in my head every time I talk to him in person but this time, his words were giving me comfort.
For the first time, I wanted to be honest with myself.
ynashin: Good night
ynashin: Calvin :)
That night, I slept with a smile on my face.