Wednesday, November 16, 2011

My Short Stories: Getting Hooked (A Love Story)



JM has a girlfriend, Shine.

Christine has a boyfriend, Jan.

JM is a doctor.

Christine is a nurse.

The both of them are just plain friends. Not even best of friends. It’s just that there are a lot of activities where they end up working together and plus the fact that both of their families are too close to be apart.

They almost knew each other since childbirth and have been friends since then. They are the kind of friends who often doesn’t see each other but when they do, they always end up laughing. They are not the best of friends because they don’t tell secrets to each other, preferring to keep it all to themselves. Loving to tease each other, they are the life of family gatherings.

“You know what?” JM’s aunt said one time, “I always thought the two of you would end up together.”

They looked at each other and burst out laughing, “Uggghhh…” moaned Christine, “The peace of the earth will soon disappear if it will happen.”

JM placed his arms around her shoulders and pulled her close, “Oh Tin, is that your heart going on tachycardic right now? And take note tita, we still have clothes on!”

She elbowed his stomach, “I will never take my clothes off with you.”

“Ouch.” He pretended hurt and clutched his heart. Then he winked and told her, “You’ll never know.”

“The two of you really look very good together.”

Innuendoes started firing every now and then, of course without their partners. Shine and Jan don’t understand that what they have is a relationship with nothing on it. It doesn’t mean that they are joking, they are flirting. They don’t. It is just the way how they treated each other. Old habits are hard to die. After all, why leave each other’s company when they’re not doing anything wrong?

***

Isn’t she lucky? Christine looked at Jan while he was driving his red Adventure car. They have been together for almost two years. Jan never cheated on her, and likewise. He always finds time for her despite their busy schedules. What more can she wish for? That his parents would like me.

The only drawback they have on their relationship – his parents. Okay, they both knew she isn’t Chinese and Jan is a “full-blooded” one. But is that something to worry? Cut the crap, Jan is the eldest, he is expected to marry a Chinese girl.

She hangs on to his love and faith, like what JM said, Who knows? Maybe everything will turn out pretty well at the end of the road and his parents will soon realize that love is more important than traditions.

“I love you, Jan.” He took her hands, held it against his and kissed it softly.

“I love you more, Tin.”

***

“You were looking at her!” Shine burst out.

JM’s brows met, where? He wanted to ask. This is one of the reasons why he doesn’t like going out with Shine. She throws accusations like a pile of thorns and it is not even real! Whereas, if they stay on his or her room, the only thing they get is pleasure. Ultimate pleasure and not fight.

He’s not getting bored. Five years? Or is it six? He couldn’t remember. He couldn’t leave her or else her family will haunt him down and push him into a firing squads. A family of military men – top caliber military men. Will he live for 24 hours after he call it quits? He doubted it. He will just wait for her to be the one to leave him, it will save his ass.

Not that he didn’t love Shine. He still loves her. But he’s not happy anymore. She needed someone to boss around and he needed a girlfriend. A real one. Someone who will love him, take care of him and be there. Someone who will trust him the way he will trust her.

“Can we go home now?” he asked her nonchalantly. He was not in the mood to stroll anymore.

“Why?”

Because I am already pissed off. But he didn’t say that, instead he smiled and told her, “I still have a duty in three hours.” If liars are being burnt in hell, I’m sure I’m already in ashes because of Shine.

***

Christine was grinning from ear to ear when she arrived at the hospital which made his brows arched. What is she so happy about? “Did you just reach, finally, a multiple orgasm?” Jan commented when he entered the nurse’s station.

She rolled her eyes and slapped him lightly on the cheeks, “Yes, and I didn’t get it from you. Thank God!” Christine laughed when his brows formed a straight line already, “No, silly! What’s wrong with being just happy?”

I wish I could be as happy as her. Why can’t I be? “Well… I don’t know. It’s just that you look different. Are you sure you didn’t have sex?”

He knew how prude Christine is. No matter how hot her boyfriend maybe, she wouldn’t do it unless after marriage. That is what he liked about her, she may speak about it freely but her values are intact. He wonders if how intimate could she and Jan get? Uuugghhh…. He shook his head to erase the thoughts. If you are not that prude and we are not friends…

***

“You expect us to be more than friends?” JM wanted to laugh as he put on his white coat.

Gilda, his fellow post graduate intern, was doing the same. They just did it inside the doctor’s lounge. Talk about raging hormones.

“Do you know who my girlfriend is?” he reminded.

“You don’t have to be blunt about it.”

After a great orgasm, here goes the problem with women. Do they really expect if they bed a man, he will fall in love with them? You don’t exchange body fluids for love. It is just out of this world. They are two consenting adults who have human needs that can’t wait. Yes, I am ruled by my id. I have to do something about it before I bed the whole IM department. What’s with the drama?

“I have to Gilda, we are friends. And we should remain that way. Yes, we have a good sex every now and then but it doesn’t mean I will leave my girlfriend for you. I cannot do that.” He told her truthfully. He didn’t want any lies to come between them, after all, they work together. It wouldn’t be healthy. I should’ve thought about it before I lure her to bed.

The next day, Gilda quitted the hospital.

***

Christine placed her cup of coffee in the table where JM was seated. He invited her to have a coffee after duty and she ended up paying for her own.

“I heard Dr. Gilda quitted.” She started, knowing that this guy was one of the major reasons why the lady doctor was running away from the hospital. A lot of talks were roaming around.

“So?” he answered coolly.

“What did you do to her?”

“Nothing!!”

“You are such a pervert!” Irritation rushed through her. She can’t believe this guy! Although she knew for a fact how things work for him. How can he pretend that he had nothing to do with it?

“You know what, Tin?” he started.

“What?”

“Really…”

Her brow was hooked up, “What?” One more what and I am going to throw this coffee at him.

He flashed his most dashing smile that never worked on her, “You look like my 8th girlfriend.”

She mentally counted his girlfriends and stared at him unbelievably, “But you only had seven.”

“Exactly!”

I’m his next victim? Ooohhh… scary. She wanted to laugh out loud. They both knew he can’t touch her. Their families will start a new civil war. “You think you will be married five years from now?” she decided to change the topic.

“Yes?” he answered so unsurely. “That’s near the end of my residency.”

“That’s almost near. A lot of things could happen.” She said while sipping her cup.

He grinned, “Yeah. Like if I see you naked now. It could change everything.”

Christine almost dropped her cup when she heard what he said. Oh God! He sounded so serious. Stop it Tin. This is JM, he’ll do everything to get anyone to bed. She had to get out of his web gracefully. Instead of getting affected, she chose to smile and answer, “Asus, I told you before, you’re the last person I’d kiss more so, to go to bed with.”

But he proved to be the best in the industry when he didn’t falter, “It would be our first and your last.” He laughed.

“Well, if nobody else existed.”

“And all you are going to give me is a kiss?”

“Well, since you are the last one on earth…. I might reconsider going to bed with you.” Christine was laughing. So this is how flirting is. Quite fun.

“And that’s how we’ll populate the world again.”

“Good genes.” She said, “Bring it on.”

JM was laughing as well.

“But I do hope there some laboratories somewhere; I’ll have your blood tested first.” She added seriously.

He did fell for it, she just knew, the moment he frowned, “You are mean.”

She winked and grinned. This is one great day. “No!” Denying the accusation thrown to her instantly, “I just want to stay healthy before I commit my ultimate sin—having to be laid by you.”

“If I am infected then perhaps I will not last until that day.” He rested his head on his palms, “They said sinful things are the most pleasurable and you’re calling that experience ‘ultimate.’ So perhaps it is paired with ultimate pleasure.”

“Bring it on.” She said again.

He looked at her intently and said, “You think I am joking, Christine Gellada?”

***

“Hello…” It is four o’clock in the morning and she is going to kill whoever disturbed her sleep. She was in the middle of a wonderful dream.

“You have a very sexy voice.”

“Gago ka, JM!” she cursed. When did he learn to call her at this kind of hour? If her mom will caught him calling at this hour, he can never step inside their house again.

“Gwapo, not gago.” He corrected. “I can smell you from here…”

“Pervert.”

“You smell like cum. Did you wash?” though his tone was quite serious, she knew it was a joke. However, this was not the proper time for any jokes. Not when she’s half-awake.

“One more and I’ll call your mom.” She warned.

“I passed.” He told her.

It took her a couple of seconds before she digested what he said. She suppressed a shout and finally wide awake she said, “Congratulations, JM!!!”

He laughed on the other side of the line, “So, you want to go grab a bite?”

“I’m not that cheap, you know…” and she won’t go out at this godforsaken hour. Her father will wring her neck.

“I know. You’re a china doll…” the connotation was far more obvious that it intended to be. “I’ll pick you up tomorrow at 3 in the hospital, okay? Wet dreams dear… dream of me.”

“Perve!”

***

They just finished eating in one of the most expensive restaurants in the city. Not nearly a date and the both of them won’t consider it as one. His wallet was almost empty when the waiter gave him the bill, he was half-scared he’d end up washing the dishes after (or doing the manager – who’s gay). He’ll prefer the first one though. Nevertheless, he enjoyed every single moment. They were talking about his exams and his triumph. On his plans now that he was a real doctor and anything at all. They were the noisiest table inside the restaurant.

“You smell good.” JM smiled instantly hearing the compliment from Christine.

“I know. It’s your favorite.”

“Armani white!!” she exclaimed

“Do I smell better than your boyfriend?” he tested.

“Is that a trick question?” He laughed and hugged her, she flinched, “What in the world are you doing?”

“I’ll hug you, so that my scent will transfer to you…”

She tried to break away but his hug was too tight, funny it didn’t feel like she was being harassed or abused. It’s just that — I couldn’t explain. “JM, get off me… I still need to go to Jan’s.”

Like a magic word spoken, he was suddenly 5 meters away, “What will you be doing there?”

“It’s his birthday today, JM.”

“Are you invited?” This was the first time he heard her going to Jan’s place. She was not yet introduced to the parents, yes, the tradition stuff that even he was not really sure of. All he knew was that there is a minute chance that Jan and she will end up together. Poor Tin-tin.

“Yes!” it was on a defensive tone and he understood.

Nevertheless he hugged her snugly and kissed her forehead, something he never did with either of his friends or girlfriends, “Don’t hurt yourself there, okay?”

***

Is this a wise decision to go to Jan’s place and meet his family? Did his family wanted to meet her? Confusion flooded her mind the moment she stepped in into her boyfriend’s gigantic house. Jan held her cold hands tightly as they transferred from one table to the other. She was introduced to every member of the family and was nauseated with their names and the company they are affiliated with. Owner of this and that, member of this and that. She felt she didn’t belong here.

“So you are the girlfriend?” his mother was cold as she expected, inspecting her from toes to the tip of her hair.

“Good evening ma’am.” She greeted politely.

“She’s not Chinese, Jan.”

Her hands held Jan’s more tightly. Wishing he’ll say something to ease whatever unlikely feeling she has right now. “Not now, mama.”

“Here’s my favorite girl!” the older woman exclaimed looking at the door.

When her gaze followed, she wanted to go home when she saw Ria, Jan’s ex-girlfriend coming towards them. As if she was not there, Ria tiptoed and placed a smack on her boyfriend’s lips. She went pale. What the?!

The moment she saw the reaction of his mom, she wanted to vomit. I wanna go home. It was too obvious that she still wanted Ria and Jan to end up together. A merge of two Chinese families, of wealth and tradition.

“Happy birthday, Jan.” Ria greeted, then fixing her eyes on her she said, “Oh, I see you brought her along. Good luck dear.”

I needed that.

Christine asked Jan if she can be excused so that she can go to the lady’s room. The truth is that her urge to escape was too strong that she wanted to call JM. She didn’t know if it was just her or if his family wanted her to feel out of place.

If he can’t bring me home, I’ll catch a cab or call JM. Either way, I am getting out of here.

She returned to the party and tried to look for Jan, only to find him with his cousins and friends.

“So is it really her, cuz?” the petite Chinese girl asked, the one who owned one of the famous food chain in the city if she’s not mistaken.

She halted and remained like a posted sentinel to hear Jan’s reply, “I really don’t know. We all know she’s not one of us.”

His cousins laughed ridiculously. That was all she needed to get herself out of this hell.

***

“Where?” JM was zipping his pants, his mobile phone was clipped between his head and his shoulders. He was trying to find his shirt. Where in the world is my shirt? When he finally found it on Shine’s desk, he put it on. The next one is his car keys. “Stay there and don’t leave, okay? I’ll be there.”

“Where are you going?” Shine has nothing but a towel on. “You can’t go!”

He released an exasperated air out, “Yes, I can. Tin-tin called up and no one will pick her up. It’s almost two in the morning. I can’t let her ride a cab.”

“Yes, you can!”

“No, Shine. I am going to get her.” He was losing his patience with his girlfriend. Can’t she think logically for even a second? His friend needed him.

“When I said no, I mean it.” It was a threat. A strong one.

JM didn’t really care if her family would put his life in peril right now. All he wanted to do was to pick up his friend and bring her home, “I thought you’re a smart girl, Shine. Hear this, I am going to say this just once.” He said in a low, well-modulated voice, “I am going to get her whatever you say. I’ll be back after and bang you until tomorrow. I am not asking for your permission. She is my responsibility.” Now that was not true. No one made Christine my responsibility. I just want to.

Before Shine could open her mouth he rushed towards the door and towards his car and accelerated it.

***

Christine’s eyes were puffy, “You look terrible.” He commented when he arrived at the 24-hour coffee shop.

“Did you just have sex?” she threw him an accusing look.

“I am a healthy human being with healthy needs.” He reasoned out. “What happened, Tin-tin?” he was more concerned about what transpire at Jan’s place rather than his sexcapade.

She told him what happened, “It was just terrible hearing it from him. It was okay if it came from his mom or the rest of his cousins. But he said it.”

“So what if you are not one of them. If he really loves you, he wouldn’t give a damn about it. Tradition is a lame reason for a guy to get rid of a girl.” Then, he looked at her seriously, “Do you have the inkling that by the end of your relationship he will have to choose? And his choice may not be you?”

She nodded sadly, “I was hoping it will not come to that.”

“But it is now. So what’re your plans?”

“What do you think?” Christine asked him.

If this was any ordinary day he would’ve laughed and throw a punch for a stupid question asked, “Do you want to continue your relationship with Jan?”

“We don’t have a future.”

Finally, an insight.

***

“You didn’t say goodbye. Mama was surprised.” The next evening Jan went to their house with a bunch of chocolates on his hands. She was a sucker for caffeine inside a chocolate bar, but even her favorite Hershey won’t give her the comfort she needed.

Christine sat in front of him with shoulders shrugged, “Nobody wanted me there.”

“That’s not true!” he disagreed immediately.

“I heard you talking to your cousins. You told them that you are not sure if I will be in your future.” She told him calmly and retorted, “Because for chrissake— I am not Chinese!”

“Tin-tin —“

“I never wanted you to choose between me and your family. I don’t even want to hear your choice.” She was on the edge of her seat, not wanting to break a tear in front of this guy as what JM advised yesterday. “It’s devastating. I love you Jan. But we both know this will end up both ways. And because I love you, I am letting you go.”

Jan’s face fell, she saw how much he wanted to take her into his arms but she was cautious. She had to do this or else it will just delay everything. A complete waste of time. “Don’t do this, Tin.” He beseeched. “Give me more time.”

“How much do you love me, Jan?” she challenged.

“I love you so much.” He replied immediately with ardor.

“Enough to fight for me?” When he didn’t speak up, she knew what the answer was. It was like a rush of valium in her system, too incapacitating. “Then this is goodbye.”

***

JM was whistling a happy tune when he parked his car outside Christine’s house. However, the moment he entered the gate, a familiar face brought him to a halt.

“What are you doing here?” Jan instantly asked.

He wanted to knock his head off for making his friend cry, “I am a family friend and I have a free access here.” JM just reminded him.

“Stop seeing her.”

“I’m not doing her any harm.” he replied defensively. Why should he do that? Tin-tin still wanted his company and as long as she wanted him to stay, he will. She needed a friend right now.

“She is my girlfriend.”

“You should’ve thought of it before you made her cry.” He wasn’t bad enough to slap him a rude rebuttal. She didn’t break up with him yet? Does she want me to do it for her?

***

The both of them were inside his car. Christine was half-asleep from her duty and he was driving and singing to himself. He made it his task to take her home and pick her up when her duty hours are way beyond safe zone. Jan was already off limits to their house. Christopher, Christine’s father, was too angry for him to step inside the house without being (probably) shot.

He slowly stopped his car in front of their gate. Not wanting to wake her up, JM stared at her for a couple of seconds. Damn hormones. She looked so peaceful, so innocent. So untouchable, so please JM, keep your hands off her. Yet, he can’t. He took his seatbelts off and moved closer.

JM traced her face with his palms, his heart kept on beating rapidly, more faster and he’s going to get a heart attack. It was when Christine opened her eyes. “What are you doing, JM?” she whispered.

“I want to kiss you.” He replied in low voice, “Just say stop and I will.”

He cupped her chin and moved his face closer to hers. He waited for her to say the word but he didn’t hear it. In a mili-second, he placed a soft, chaste kiss on her lips. They kissed and the world didn’t even move.

***

JM is in love with her.

JM is in love with Christine.

BIG PROBLEM.

***

Why do guys do that?

Kiss and run away like crazy little kids caught by their mom snooping around the kitchen. JM didn’t show up after the stunt he pulled two nights ago in his car. Christine can’t believe she let him kissed her. She liked the way he did kiss her. But remembering how good he is with girls, she frowned. Was he toying with her? He was, wasn’t he? Because if not, he would be brave enough to face her right now and tell her what the heck is going on.

“I haven’t seen JM these past few days. Did the two of you fight?” her dad asked.

He kissed me, tay! She wanted to tell her father, but decided to stop herself. “No.” she answered curtly, wishing thoughtfully that her father would just drop the subject.

Her thoughts had been filled with that short, uncorrupted (if such thing exists with JM) kiss they shared on his car. It made her stomach distend with colorful butterflies.

Shit.

Am I in love with him?

No!!!!

***

At last, JM knew what to do. After days of hibernating in his room, he is filled with renewed energy that needed to be wasted before it goes away. His itinerary for today had been carefully laid down.

“I want to leave your daughter but I don’t want to die.” JM’s palms were sweating but he stood still. One more day with Shine and he’ll end up in a psychiatric ward. He didn’t want to end in a memorial park either. So with all his guts grouped together, he went to see Shine’s father.

Shine’s father, Colonel Felizarta, was just staring at him blankly. He was sitting straight behind a wide mahogany table in his uniform that was well decorated with medals.

A couple more minutes of that stare and he would have needed an ambulance to the hospital, “Sir?”

“Do you know how brave you are coming here right now?” he said.

Yes. I am trying to hold the urge to micturate in my pants right now, sir. So please get on with your decision.

He stood up from his table and went near him, “I admire you for it. But don’t ask me permission if you want to leave Shine. You tell her. It is your relationship and whatever you do with it is your business. She is not my little girl anymore. Where did you get the idea I will have you assassinated when you leave her?” he was almost laughing.

From her.

***

“Shine, I don’t love you anymore.” JM explained. She’s a smart girl. Why can’t she digest what I just said?

She frowned, “I will tell daddy —-“

“I just told him.”

Her jaws dropped in surprise. “You did?”

He smiled triumphantly, “Yes, I did.” Yet, when he saw the tears that were about to fall from her eyes, he hugged her, “Shine, it is not healthy for the both of us to stay in this relationship. You make me miserable and I make you miserable as well. If we push this further, we are going to loose our minds.” He wanted to make her understand these things to avoid more complications. They may not part ways as best of friends, but at least he won’t make an enemy.

“Am I not good enough?”

Oh you’re so good in bed. He wanted to console but now was not the time to say that. He needed to finish this business before he can go on with his life, and this time a reformed life. If he wanted Tin-tin, his acts of lasciviousness should definitely disappear from the face of the earth. “I didn’t say that you are not. But Shine, this relationship has been on the rocks for years. Sex isn’t enough to save it. Save yourself some pride, Shine. You’re beautiful, sexy, rich and smart. Let me go.”

She released herself from his embrace and kissed him fast on the lips, “But promise me when friends asked who broke up with who — I broke up with you, okay?”

“With pleasure.” Some pride this girl has.

***

“Can I have breakfast there?” Mr. Sandman rushed off from the top of her head hearing the voice. How long has it been? Three weeks and two days. Now he’s back again?

“Go away, JM!”

“You don’t miss me?” JM asked sweetly, as if nothing happened at all.

Gago talaga. “You know what time is it?” she asked tetchily.

“You’re so cranky.” He noticed, “Either you have your period or you just miss me.”

Christine decided to answer his question before she compel to the strong persuasion inside her brain to put the phone down, “You cannot have breakfast here, JM.”

“Why not? I’m going to send Manang Juling there.” He was talking about their cook who can make the best ox tongue she ever tasted (second to her mom).

“Breakfast is too early here. Hindi ka na nahiya. You’ll be disturbing people early in the morning!”

“Okay, lunch then. I’ll send Manang Juling to the market and buy ingredients for the ox tongue, then I’ll take my lunch there.”

She resigned, knowing this guy, she wouldn’t win a single battle when he’s too eager to win it, “Whatever.”

“I miss you, Tin.”

She fell silent for a while. How can you tell me you miss me when you don’t show up after you smooch me in your car?

“I know I have a lot of explaining to do. We will have time for that, meanwhile, sleep and dream of me.”

In a jiffy, all she heard was the dial tone. Christine lay awake till the crack of dawn.

***

“What is Manang Juling doing here?” Christopher asked Christine when he found the old lady on their kitchen. True to his word, he sent their cook to her house at ten in the morning, complete with the necessary ingredient to cook her favorite menu.

She smiled at her dad and explained, “She’s cooking ox tongue for me.”

“Did JM send her?” he asked.

“Yes.”

“Why?” her father was quite curious with what the younger man was up to.

“Tay, he’s going to join us for lunch.” She informed.

“He is?”

Christine nodded gently. She didn’t want to appear excited in front of her father. It will feed him different information. “Is there any problem, tay?”

“I’m just a little worried, Tin. Anyway we are not sure yet. We’ll have to see, won’t we?”

She was almost sure what her father was afraid of.

She was scared for herself as well.

***

Another joyride around town was scheduled after the lunch. JM asked permission from

Christine’s father if he’ll allow them. He told her he’d be taking her home late. Actually, he didn’t know where to take her, all he knew is that he wanted her alone.

So, they just drove around until his gas went almost empty. Eventually, he decided to take her to his house. They were on his favorite spot, in the gazebo at the middle of the garden. They were sitting on two opposite sides.

“We broke up.” He managed to tell her.

She threw him an unbelievable glance at him, “And you are still alive?”

“Just don’t believe whatever gossip you heard around. Anything bad came from her.” JM reminded. He really didn’t care whatever lies Shine will spread. As long as Christine knew what the truth was.

“It is what you get from breaking hearts.”

I’m not going to break yours. He wanted to say but didn’t know how to sound truthful that it wouldn’t foster doubt once it escaped his lips.

“I can still smell you from here.” She said.

He laughed softly and offered, “You just want me to hug you until my scent clung on you?”

This was the only time in his life where he regretted all his escapades and his womanizing stints. How is he going to tell this girl what he felt without sounding like she was ‘one’ of them? “Can I kiss you again?” before he could stop himself from asking, the words were out of his mouth already.

“If I say ‘no’?”

“I will just have to step away and pretended it wasn’t asked.”

Then tentatively, she asked once again, “And if I say ‘yes’?”

He smiled, stood up from his place and approached her slowly, “That would just be wonderful.” He went in between her legs and placed his arms on each side of her legs and bent over for a kiss. It was supposed to be a short one but when his lips touched hers, magic erupted from every corner.

He kissed her hungrily and fiercely that almost made her whole body turned jelly. She put her arms over her shoulders for support. This is different. Far more different experience than what she and Jan had. It was more —- passionate and feisty. Like a fire being ignited over and over again. Soon his arms didn’t settle on her face, it moved down to her neck and down to her breast. She heard herself moan she he started to touch it. “Damn it, Tin! Tell me to stop.” He ordered between his kisses. But instead of telling him to stop, she reached for his nape and kissed him. His hands found the end of her shirt and she felt his cold hands cautiously move. His lips traced the arch of her jaw down to her neck, leaving a small bite along the way.

***

Christine felt the cold breeze. The moment she opened her eyes, she saw him staring at her with his eyes filled with complete desperation, “I’m sorry.” He told her.

Her eyes widened with surprise, “What did you just say?”

“It’s not what I meant, Tin.”

“You were sorry you kissed me?” More than angry, she was ashamed of herself for reaching that point with him, now she’s just one of those girls.

He shook his head fiercely, “No! I shouldn’t be doing this with you!”

Her face turned crimson, “Now that is complimenting!” She pushed her way passed him and fixed her shirt, “Take me home.”

“Tin, I can’t take you home when you are mad.”

“I am mad but you have to take me home!” she demanded. For the first time since her break up with Jan, she wanted to just curl up in bed and cry herself to sleep. This was the lowest, the lowest she ever got herself into. “If you won’t, I’ll call tatay to pick me up.”

She didn’t leave him any choice.

***

CONFIRMED.

Christine is in love with JM.

Her world peace fell apart. Darn.

***

Christine hid herself behind the wall adjacent to the living room where JM was sitting. He was wearing a long-sleeved polo and black slacks – not to mention a pair of black shoes. Where did he come from? A doctor’s convention?

“Please tell him, I am not here.” She pleaded to the maid.

The old woman threw her a confusing look, “Ummm… He’s not looking for you, Tin-tin.”

“He’s not?” She replied dumbly.

“He asked for your father.”

It was her turn to get confused, tatay? Why?

***

“I want to court your Christine, Tito Chris.” JM saw how Christopher’s features tensed when he delivered his speech.

This was scarier than JM’s meeting with the colonel. Christine had not been speaking to him since the gazebo incident. He didn’t mean it that way. He wanted to court her formally before he kissed her, but things happened too fast. She didn’t deserve to just be ‘one’ of his girls. He wanted her to be his last. And she will be once her father agrees.

“Did I hear you right, JM?”

He nodded, “Yes.”

“You want to court my daughter?” he reiterated his word with emphasis, as if digesting every syllable. “I know you, JM. I know how you are with women.”

JM smiled politely, “If you know me well enough, Tito, I wouldn’t be here in front of you asking your permission.”

“How sure I am you wouldn’t hurt her? You are such a womanizer.”

This is your fault he can’t trust you. Now, deal with it. “You can kill me if I make her cry.” And he meant it.

Christopher fell silent for a moment and contemplated on his words, “Do you love her?”

“Yes. I love Tin-tin, Tito. I will do anything for her. I am sure I have changed and I will not look for anyone because everything I need, everything I wanted is her.”

“You have my blessings.” He finally stated. “But I am hanging on to your word. I will wring your neck if you make her cry.”

“Okay, tay!”

***

“I can’t believe you proposed to tatay first!” Christine didn’t know if she should be irritated or get excited when she heard the conversation between his father and JM. At least she knew what is going on now.

He grinned, “At least, he will help me convince you.”

“Convince me what?”

He turned pale and speechless. Something he was not accustomed to. “Tin!” he complained.

She smiled widely, “You were too brave in front of tatay. Now tell me what you told him!”

“But you heard it already.” JM reasoned out.

“You make tatay your girlfriend then.” She was about to walk out when he grabbed her arms and pulled her close.

“I can’t make him my girlfriend.” He consoled smoothly, “Ang bilis mo namang magtampo.”

“So?” She impatiently waited, “Tagal.”

“I love you Tin-tin. Will you be my girlfriend?”

“We’ll have sex?” Christine asked him timidly.

“Is that all you want from me?”

She laughed and hugged him once more, “Gago ka talaga.”

“Gwapo, Tin.” He corrected. “Now the answer to my question?”

“I love you, JM. Yes, I will be your girlfriend.”

*end*

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