Breaking: Prince Kevin Fuentez Has Found His Princess
I was anxious while reading the articles. What happened during the Feb Fair gave writers, especially between the Campus Princes and Princesses, stories to write about. Almost all the trending articles were about them, their ‘sweet moments’ and how Kevin crowned her as her princess.
Fortunately, the malicious articles didn’t get any attention. I was so worried that Alice might receive negative comments but they were praising her look that night. Indeed, she looked beautiful that she could be mistaken as a Campus Princess, too.
mugiwara: ganda pala ni Alice no?
cafemocha: lol crush mo?
cafemocha: sorry ka may boyfriend na
moonlight: well, the articles are all about them now
moonlight: my fingers hurt
moonlight: dami kong in-approve
mugiwara: bakit parang ‘di na nagpaparamdam sina king at yeoshin?
cafemocha: maybe they’re busy
I quickly went offline after reading my name from their conversation and sighed. Approving and disapproving articles were okay with me but talking about them was getting harder, especially this time that both Alice and Kevin were thrown into the spotlight. I was afraid I might say something that could get the administrators suspicious of me.
A knock on my door brought me back to the moment. Xander was peeking and when he saw me looking at him, he entered my room and sat on the side of my bed. He eyed the panda beside him but shifted his attention to me when I talked.
“What?” I asked.
“Wanna go with me to the mall?”
He scratched his nape and averted my gaze. “Well, I want to buy a gift.”
“For Ate Mau?”
Since I couldn’t focus on writing and staying here would just drown me in my thoughts, I agreed to accompany him to the mall.
I didn’t want to wear tight pants, so I opted for a simple and billowing dress. Xander drove us to the nearest mall while I fumbled with my phone. The next thing I knew, I was already opening our last conversation.
My face felt hot after remembering what happened during the Feb Fair. Reading the messages, I realized how embarrassing they were, and I wished I could take back everything. Calling him Calvin just because everyone uses his second name was cringey to the point that I don’t want to face him anymore.
We got to the mall and Xander went to Tiffany & Co. As far as I remember, Ate Mau likes pink and there was one pendant that stood out.
“That,” I said, pointing at the pink circle pendant studded with diamonds. “It’s beautiful.”
He, too, looked fascinated with the necklace and immediately bought it.
“Are you going to ask her out?”
He tensed. “Maybe.”
Ate Mau likes him, too, but I don’t want to tell that to him. Somehow, I was enjoying his distress after how many years of teasing me.
“Scared of rejection?”
He remained silent, sighed and raised an eyebrow at me. For someone who’s confident with everything he does, he looked hesitant this time.
“Of course,” he muttered.
I was just about to start teasing him when he suddenly shifted the topic to Feb Fair and that caught me off-guard. As if on cue, I saw some notifications on my screen and his name was one of them. My heart pounded loudly and I had to put my phone out of sight to keep my composure.
Fortunately, luck was on my side and Ate Mau called him before he could notice any changes on my expression. He excused himself and I said I’d walk around, maybe shop, so he didn’t have to wait for me. I checked some outfits and dresses but halted when I saw a familiar face.
He was wearing a white shirt, faded jeans and white sneakers. But what caught my attention were the black cap that once belonged to me . . . and the girl walking beside him.
Our gaze met each other. I wanted to avoid him but my body wouldn’t move. He subtly smiled and waved at my direction, prompting the girl to look at me, too. For a second, it felt like I was an intruder, someone who shouldn’t be here, but before I could turn my back, the girl went to the other direction and gestured at Gisel to, maybe, call her.
Run, I thought, but it was already too late. He was already walking toward me.
“Hey,” he softly greeted and I nodded.
Unlike before, it was completely awkward. My heart started racing crazily and I was praying he wouldn’t hear it since he was just right next to me.
“I didn’t expect to see you here,” he said.
Another wave of silence. There was nothing to talk about and our exchange that night made it harder to act like nothing happened.
“Ikaw lang mag-isa?” he asked again.
“No,” I replied. “Uhm, kasama ko ang kuya.”
“Oohh. Pareho pala tayo.”
“Kasama ko rin ang ate ko,” he said while looking at the direction the girl went to, “pero mukhang marami pa siyang bibilhin.”
We started walking and slowly, the atmosphere became less uncomfortable. However, I stayed cautious since there might be someone who might recognize him. Maybe he felt the same, too, since he lowered his cap.
“Nasaan ang kuya mo?”
That question made me uneasy and I realized it would be messy if Xander sees us, especially since he was suspicious of me after the Feb Fair.
“Around there, maybe,” I replied reluctantly, pointing at the jewelry section at the third floor.
I caught a glimpse of Xander’s profile and Gisel couldn’t finish what he was supposed to say because I pulled him away. Despite the confusion on his face, he didn’t resist and let me lead the way.
“Okay ka lang ba?” he asked when we got outside of the department store.
We stood in silence, waiting for each other to say anything. I was the one who dragged him here but I didn’t know what to say.
“Cof—” He chuckled as we both spoke at the same time. “Coffee?”
He pointed at the café on the right side. I wanted to eat some sweets, too, so I nodded and we headed to the coffee shop.
“Ohh. Good luck,” he said after I told him we would be having an exam next week on Aral Pil. “Nakapagbasa ka na ba?”
I averted his gaze and sipped from my cup. Well, I got too invested with my stories these past few days that I wasn’t able to study our readings. A while ago, when I couldn’t focus with writing, I tried reading them but didn’t last for an hour because of the articles from the portal.
“So. . . no,” he concluded, chuckling.
We mostly talked about acads and truthfully, I was still anxious because it seemed like he, too, was avoiding Feb Fair as a topic, which was understandable.
“Hmm, free ako bukas,” he suggested. “Doon ulit sa dati?”
I nodded, grateful that he was willing to help me again. “Thank you.”
“Ah. Gawin ulit natin ‘yon.”
“Mag-usap tayo gamit lang ang Filipino.”
“Para tuluy-tuloy na rin ang practice mo. At para mas masanay ka.”
“Kaya mo ‘yan.”
He started talking in Filipino and I couldn’t argue anymore. I was still having a hard time with tenses and pronouns but he kept on encouraging me to converse even if my sentences weren’t perfect.
“Kumusta pala si Alice?”
“Ah. Masaya siya,” I responded. “Kilig siya.”
He grinned and chuckled upon hearing my response and I felt my cheeks getting hotter because of embarrassment. Did I use the wrong words?
He rested his chin on his right palm as he stared right at me. His grin turned into a mysterious smile and my heart skipped a bit upon seeing that expression.
“Ikaw?” he softly said. “Kumusta ka?”
All of a sudden, it felt like everything had stopped moving and then . . . there were only us. His question made me remember that night and the emotions I felt after talking to him.
I wanted to tell him I was okay . . . that everything felt normal . . . but his eyes were expectant. My heart felt like it would come out of my mouth but I tried to remain calm.
How do I feel right now?
“M-masaya ngayon,” I mumbled.
His smile widened and remained staring at me. I had to pull away, put some distance between us, afraid that he would see my emotions and hear my heart racing crazily.
“Ako rin,” he muttered as he adjusted his cap, covering almost half of his face, and his ears bright red. “Masaya ngayon.”
Silently, I wished I could see the expression on his face, but embarrassment got the better of me after remembering what I just said. We stayed silent for minutes, avoiding each other’s gaze, and wishing we could go back to the time before we said those words . . .
. . . words so sincere that they resonated deep in my heart. It was something I feared right from the start and yet . . . here I was . . . glad that I got to hear it from him.