My heart was pounding so loud I thought it would jump out of my chest. I was thinking on how to start the topic because it’s been a while since I last sent a message.
I told them that I was too busy to do any administrative tasks and too overwhelmed with negative articles. Moon said I should think about it carefully because if I quit, I’d be removed from the group.
mugiwara: hala ikaw na nga lang matino rito, ikaw pa aalis
cafemocha: excuse me ikaw lang naman ang hindi
moonlight: basta think about it first
moonlight: we’ll be giving you a week for your final decision
moonlight: is that alright with you, King?
yeoshin: thank you :(
mugiwara: aww king will be sad
cafemocha: wala na siyang angel
moonlight: tigilan n’yo nga ‘yan
moonlight: baka umiyak si king hahaha
I was thankful that they could still joke around despite the situation. I thought they’d be mad at me for running away and burdening them with more articles to review but they were considerate instead.
My head was pounding again after hours of staying in the library. I initially wanted to attend my next and last class but I decided not to because I wouldn’t be able to focus on the lessons anyway. I should have asked King for an extra medicine a while ago.
My phone vibrated on the table and I saw Steff calling.
“Mmm?” I said as soon as I answered the call.
“Where are you?”
“Library,” I replied weakly.
“Why do you sound sick?”
“Just . . . just a headache.”
“Until now?” she asked and I could hear the worry in her voice.
“Do you have meds?”
I shook my head. “None.”
“Papasok ka pa ba sa classes mo? Or are you going to stay there?”
“I’ll stay here.”
“Okay. Hapon pa ang break nina Jess at Alice. I’ll see you there mamayang lunch?”
“Sleep first. I’ll ask b—I mean, Darryl to buy you food later.”
“Matulog ka na. Bye.”
As soon as I put my phone down, the screen lit up and I thought it was an unread message from the group or another incoming call from Steff but my heart skipped a bit when I saw Gisel’s name on the notifications.
calvingisel: kumusta ang Aral Pil? :)
My heart did flutter but a wave of sadness washed the good feelings away. After what happened in the café, I couldn’t help but think I was just falling into a trap. I got used to his presence and didn’t like how I couldn’t get rid of that feeling, especially these past few days.
I heaved a sigh and put my phone down. It was getting hot on this place because of the sunlight and the curtains weren’t drawn. I didn’t have the energy to close it from each side so I just moved one table to the right. I rested my head on the table and wished the headache would just go away.
The sound of flipping pages filled my ears and my eyes fluttered open. Orbs were dancing in front of my eyes and a ray of light passing through the windows made me squint, but it disappeared before I could move. Something blocked it.
I tried to focus my vision on the table on my left where I sat a while ago . . . and it wasn’t vacant anymore. Someone was sitting there, hence, blocking the sunlight from hitting my face.
It felt like I was watching a drama when I saw Gisel’s face illuminated by the light. He was reading a book and I didn’t know he could still get more attractive when he was this focused. I kept my face rested on the table as I silently stared at him . . . and I realized he was still too far, still out of my reach, despite being next to me.
He turned to my direction and I wasn’t able to close or avert my eyes. Our gazes met each other and held it for a few seconds. During that time, it felt like we were the only people in the world. Everything just faded away and the only sound I could hear was my heartbeat.
Strangely, it felt calm. The air was comfortable and somehow, it felt like we were back to our old selves again . . . but then, he smiled.
My heart did a flip and I was so startled that I almost jumped from my seat. I shifted uneasily on my seat as I tried to steal a glance at his direction. He was suppressing a chuckle as he returned to reading.
My cheeks felt hot and I didn’t know if it was because of him or I just developed a fever or maybe both. I clutched my head and massaged my temple. My head was still aching but it was less intense than before.
A notification appeared on my screen and it was from him. I didn’t dare to look at him and quickly took my phone.
calvingisel: namumutla ka
I racked my brain, trying to remember what namumutla meant but my headache was getting in the way so I just replied a question mark.
calvingisel: you look pale
calvingisel: are you sick?
Headache, I replied.
calvingisel: may I?
Before I could ask what he meant, he was already walking toward my direction. My eyes widened as he sat right across me. I looked around to see if someone was watching but I heard him snickering softly.
“Walang tao,” he mumbled. “It’s already lunch time.”
“Oh,” I muttered.
He inched forward as he held his gaze. I wanted to lean back but my body froze when he put his hand on my forehead. My skin tingled and I could feel my face burning from embarrassment as his hand cold hand lingered on my head. I wanted to tell him I was okay but I winced as soon as his hand shifted to my left cheek.
“Ang init mo,” he whispered.
“I—I’m . . .” My voice faltered.
“You have a fever. Bakit ka pumasok?”
Thank goodness my body finally listened to me and I leaned away from him. How could he do that without getting embarrassed? Meanwhile, I felt like my whole body would combust the moment he touched my face.
“I’m okay,” I weakly said as I looked around.
Steff said she’d be here by lunch, so I was waiting for her but Gisel’s presence was making me anxious. She seemed like she had already figured out what was going on and I didn’t want her to see me with him.
“Are you sure?” he asked.
I averted his gaze. “S-Steff is coming, so . . .”
There were a few seconds of silence between us. Just when I couldn’t stand it anymore, he finally figured out what I was trying to say.
“Oh,” he muttered, “okay.”
He returned to his seat and arranged the pile of books on his table. As soon as he left to return the books in their respective shelves, Steff came into my view. I waved at her and she headed to my direction.
The first thing she did was touch my forehead and I suddenly remembered what happened earlier. I could feel the blood rushing to my face again and I willed myself to stop thinking about it.
“May lagnat ka nga,” she said. “Let’s eat first.”
She carried my bag and held my hand as we got ready to go out of the library, but my sight suddenly turned dark and I got dizzy. I had to blink for a few times to get my bearings back and when my vision returned, Steff was looking at me with worried eyes.
“Are you sure you’re ok—oh my god, Yna!”
Before I could say anything, the whole room spun around me as I felt body falling to the ground, and the last thing I saw was Steff’s frightened expression . . .
. . . and Gisel who suddenly appeared beside her.