Two days before Christmas, my brother was finally here.
I received a text from him saying he had booked a car and he’d treat me for dinner since our parents would be in Japan until tomorrow evening.
Fortunately, I just finished typing updates for my story so I immediately posted them before getting ready. It’s hard for me to continue typing a chapter if I get interrupted in the middle of it, especially when I’m already in the zone.
Opening my account, I checked the messages and replied to the readers who sent me encouraging words. After that, I posted my updates.
Hi! Happy holidays, everyone! Here are some updates to cheer you up! Enjoy~
When I finally uploaded the latest chapters, I closed my laptop and dashed to the bathroom to get ready.
It’s been thirty minutes and he’s still not here so I decided to check my social media accounts but immediately regretted it.
Two days had passed since I last opened my Instagram because of Gisel. After reading his message, I tried my best to reply as casually as possible, but he didn’t respond anymore.
Hi! You can return it next year :>
Steff and Patrick posted photos so I just liked them and as usual, Alice and Jess were trolling in the comments. Alice seemed to be better compared last time and I just hope they could still fix everything between them.
I almost dropped my phone when someone suddenly slammed his hand on the table. Wide-eyed, I lifted my head and saw my brother smiling mischievously.
"You look ten years older," he commented as he sat down.
I rolled my eyes in return. "You look uglier."
It's been five months since he last returned here. I could still remember how he introduced himself to Kevin as Alice's boyfriend just to tease the both of them.
"Where's the honorifics?"
"You don't deserve it," I retorted.
He ruffled my hair and I glared at him in return. I was about to whine at him when he suddenly put a present in front of me.
“Where’s my thank you?” he said while smirking.
“Thanks,” I murmured.
I had been using the younger sister card for him to buy me gadgets in high school and college, and in return, he didn’t give me any Christmas presents . . . until now. Well, I didn’t spend that much this year and didn’t ask him for anything so maybe that was the reason I got one from him.
We ate dinner and talked about a lot of things. He said he’d been busy this year because he needed to learn a lot from the former CEO of one of our hotel businesses in Korea. It was turned over to him after he got his Master’s degree in business administration.
“Ah. What happened to Alice? I read your post about her,” he asked.
“Tsismoso,” I said after learning the meaning of that word from Jess.
“Oh? That’s not a basic word. Kanino mo naman ‘yan natutunan? Wait, it’s either Jess or Alice.”
Unlike me, my brother was fluent in Filipino and he had been teasing me since forever because I couldn’t be as good as him.
“You’re kinda improving,” he remarked. “Pero imposibleng tinuturuan ka ng tatlo dahil matagal na silang sumuko sa’yo.”
“Aish!” I huffed. “You better watch out, I’m gonna be fluent the next time you return.”
“Oh, really? How?”
“I’m . . . gonna learn that by myself.”
His eyes narrowed and that made me nervous. Among the people around me, he’s the one I am most cautious with. Maybe it was because he’s my brother but he could read me pretty well.
“Do you have a boyfriend right now?” he suddenly asked and I almost choked on my food.
“That better be true. He needs my permission first to court you,” he said with a serious expression on his face.
“As if I’ll have one,” I muttered.
After our dinner, we went home and he immediately fell asleep. I, too, resigned to my room, posted on Instagram, and checked the notifications from Kingdom Nook. His username was the first thing I saw, and it garnered a lot of replies.
iamaroyalty: Their misunderstandings were caused by their fear of acknowledging each other’s feelings. Why can’t people be honest with what they feel? I am genuinely curious.
It was the kind of question that would make you think of yourself, of what would you do if you were in their shoes, and some readers shared their thoughts about it.
ladyinwaiting: It can be because of pride. Admitting your feelings to a person gives them the power to hurt you and honestly, some people believe that the one who falls first lose.
knightmare: Recognizing what you feel toward someone and admitting it to him/her are two different things. Confessing is never easy. That shit is frightening because you don’t know how the other person will react.
queenofthenight: knightmare is right. They say you confess to a person not to hear their response but just to tell them what you really feel. But deep down, we all want them to feel the same way. We want to hear the same words, the same feelings. So sometimes, people just keep what they feel to themselves because they know the person they like do not feel the same.
doubleduchess: Uncertainty is also a factor. There are times when you’re unsure of what you feel and it’s hard to be honest when you’re still figuring it all out.
princesswho: Love, anger, fear. Those are primal feelings and most people can’t be rational when they feel these emotions.
etherealmaiden: Being honest with your feelings takes courage. And not all people have that ability.
Reading their response made me think about the characters, and I understood their sentiments. Alyssa, my lead character, couldn’t admit her love for Karl because she thought she didn’t deserve him. She had been insecure her whole life and Karl, who had been in the spotlight since the beginning, giving her all his attention made her pressured rather than feel loved.
Their discussion sparked some motivation in me and before I realized it, I had already typed three chapters. I posted the first two at around 2 A.M. and slept afterwards.
My brother’s voice woke me up and I groaned as he continued calling my name.
“What?” I grumbled with my eyes still closed.
“Maureen is coming,” he said.
“Come on, wake up.”
“Don’t want to.”
He kept on bugging me and in the end, my irritation had reached its peak and woke me up. I glared at him and saw him flinch. I would’ve laughed if I wasn’t too annoyed with him.
Ate Maureen was his childhood friend . . . and his first love. We all know they have feelings for each other, but they stayed as friends. I asked him one time why he still isn’t pursuing her and he said he still needs to prove himself.
“Alis na,” he said while giving me ten thousand pesos.
My brother would always win an argument against me, except when Ate Maureen is present. He knew I’d tease him endlessly and that would surely ruin his perfect image. So whenever she comes here, he would always bribe me to go out so I wouldn’t be able to say bad things about him.
“I hope she rejects you once you confess,” I jeered at him as I stepped out of the house.
“You little . . .”
“Bye! Enjoy it while it lasts!”
It was kind of refreshing to see his frustrated expression and that made my mood a bit better. I booked a car and went to my favorite coffee shop. It was a bit far from home but I liked spending my time here because there were only few people and the ambiance was great for writing.
I went directly to the counter and ordered the usual: iced caramel macchiato and a slice of red velvet cake. Upon receiving the pager, I turned around, walking to my usual spot, but I halted when I saw someone sitting there.
He was just wearing a plain t-shirt and jeans yet he stood out. It was the first time I saw him with a serious look on his face as he stared intently and typed at his laptop. It took me a while to realize I was gawking at him and that made my face flushed. I was about to make a turn and hide from him when he suddenly lifted his head up and met my eyes.
There were a few seconds of silence, as if the world just stopped for a while. And then he smiled.
The kind of smile that would make your heart thump a little. The kind that would make you want to smile, too.
“Hey,” he said, still smiling.
He tapped the table and gestured at the empty couch in front of him. I wanted to run away but it would be rude to just ignore him. In the end, I sat right across him.
“Here,” he softly said while gently putting the cap he accidentally took on my head. “Thank you for lending that to me.”
“Ah. Uhm, no worries.”
I couldn’t look at him so I scrolled through my feed, though I wasn’t able to read or understand any post.
My body tensed upon hearing my name. It still felt weird even though he had already called me a couple of times.
“Nothing,” he replied as he flashed a smile and I had to lean back, afraid that he’d hear my racing heart.
I breathed deeply, trying to calm myself. Maybe this was my karma for teasing my brother.
Now, I just want to go home.