The rumors about us breaking up spread like wildfire and the next few days was just too chaotic.
“Tawang-tawa talaga ako sa anecdotes na nabasa ko about that,” Jess said while nibbling on M&M’s.
“Right? Hindi pa rin ako makapaniwala na ginawa mo ‘yon, Steff,” dagdag ni Alice.
Meanwhile, Yna was busy with her phone. “The top ten trending articles on the portal are all about that.”
We were chilling at Jess’ house this weekend since they wanted to talk about a lot of things. Isa na roon ang nangyari ngayong week.
According to the witnesses, I broke up with him because he was still hung up to his ex, Tricia. And I was just informed that the Tricia they were talking about was Patricia Dominguez, the first campus princess and the overall first rank in our batch.
“Pero totoo ba na ex niya si Patricia Dominguez?” tanong ni Alice. “Or assumption lang ng mga tao?”
I shrugged in response. “No idea. Pero ayun nga, nag-uusap sila during that time, so I guess mayroon talaga silang history.”
“They went to the same high school,” Yna suddenly said, much to our surprise. How did she know that? Flustered, she pointed at her phone. “I-I read it in one article!”
Jess nodded. “Oh, baka nga ex niya. O baka crush niya before. Akalain n’yo ‘yun, nagkaka-crush pala siya. I thought he was a narcissist na ang interest lang ay sarili niya.”
“’Di ba? Kaya nga na-involve sa kanya si Steff, eh. Medyo nakita ko na siya in a new light. Pero speaking of crushes, may mga crush na ba kayo sa university?”
Yna shook her head. “How about you? You’re still crushing on Kevin?”
Bigla namang tumili si Alice at napakuwento sa nangyari. It turned out she saw Kevin one time and even smiled at her. Akala ko naman ay nagkaroon na sila ng legitimate and more personal interaction. Well, that was how Alice behave when she’s crushing on someone. Madalas ay gusto niya lang na nakikita sa malayo ang crush niya at hindi nakikipag-interact dahil alam niya sa sarili niya na short-term lang iyon.
“Kayo, Steff at Jess?”
Jess’ eyebrows knitted. “Hmm, wala pa naman sa ngayon. Hay, gusto ko rin magkaroon ng inspiration.”
Napaisip naman ako sa tanong. I would usually say none since they knew I wasn’t interested in guys before, but the looks on their faces were telling me they were expecting something else.
“None,” I mumbled.
“Sigurado ka ba?”
“Bakit ‘di ka makatingin sa amin?”
Suddenly, I found myself in the hot seat with all the questions they were asking. Na bakit daw parang hesitant ang pagkakasagot ko samantalang dati ay agad-agad kong sinasabi na wala kahit hindi pa tapos ang tanong. They said I also looked too conscious as if I were hiding something.
You know, you are a terrible liar. His voice echoed in my head, and I remembered that genuine smile on his face. My cheeks felt hot, and I had to push that image at the back of my mind to calm myself.
“Omg, Steff, don’t tell me may crush ka na talaga ngayon?”
“Who?! Wait, h’wag mong sabihing si Darryl?”
A surprised gasp escaped my lips. “W-what?! No way!”
“Bakit ang strong ng denial?!” retorted Alice.
“Because it’s not true!”
“B-but Steff,” mahinang tawag ni Yna sabay turo sa mukha ko. “You’re blushing right now.”
True enough, my face was beet red, and for sure it was because of their provocations. They even insinuated that I was in the stage of denial, but I was firm with my answer.
“Seriously, wala nga,” I grumbled. “You know I’m not that interested with relationships, and the only guy that was ever around me was that jerk. There’s no freaking way.”
Fortunately, tumigil sila sa pang-aasar after a few minutes at nag-focus sa movie na pinapanood namin ngayon. I just hope this mess would die down after a few days.
Sometimes, it felt like fate enjoys toying with me.
It was pouring hard so we couldn’t eat at the garden. We decided to eat at the cafeteria but there were a lot of people. Eating outside the campus would take too much time, so it was better to stay here. However, mukhang wala nang mauupuan.
“Tiffany,” a familiar voice called. “Here.”
Agad akong lumingon sa pinanggalingan no’n at nakita ko sina Patrick at Kevin sa isang long table sa gilid. Dahil silang dalawa lang ang nakaupo ro’n ay marami pang bakante.
Halos itulak naman ako ni Alice nang makita niya si Kevin do’n at dahil doon na lang kami makakaupong apat ay tinanggap na namin ang offer nila.
Yna, Patrick, and I sat on the wall side, while Alice, Kevin, and Jess sat across us. The atmosphere was kinda awkward after what happened, and the students were glancing at our direction.
Kevin formally introduced himself and we were shocked to know that him and Patrick were cousins. Hindi rin naman kasi halata at parang rare din na makita silang magkasama. Siguro among the ten campus elites, kami lang ni Jess ang laging nagkikita dahil nasa same circle kami.
We were quietly eating our food when Yna suddenly let out a surprise gasp. Agad akong napatingin sa direksyon na tinitingnan niya at gano’n din si Kevin pero mabilis akong nag-iwas ng tingin nang makita ko ang taong gusto kong iwasan.
“Darryl!” tawag ni Kevin at halos panlakihan ko siya ng mga mata pero mukhang hindi niya ‘yon nakita. “Dito ka na, may space pa.”
I felt a wave of panic when he started walking toward us and shot an uneasy glance at my friends when he decided to sit right next to me.
“Thank you,” he said while placing his food on the table. “Akala ko wala na akong mauupuan.”
The only good thing was he fulfilled his promise of not talking to me, although everyone must be feeling the obvious tension between us. I thought that was the worst thing that could happen, but Tricia was in the cafeteria, too. Halos gusto kong batukan si Kevin dahil tinawag niya rin si Tricia para umupo sa table namin.
She was hesitant at first, but since she was attracting more attention by standing at the middle, she was forced to sit down in front of Darryl.
“Wow, it’s rare to see six campus elites together, isn’t it?” remarked Kevin. “This is nice.”
Hindi ko alam kung saan banda ang nice sa sinasabi niya. Couldn’t he feel the uncomfortable atmosphere? Lalo na nina Darryl at Tricia? I swear they couldn’t even lift their heads up.
“Why are you two so quiet?” tanong ni Kevin kina Darryl at Tricia. “Awkward ba kayo sa isa’t isa?”
I wanted to tell him to read the room, but it was already too late.
“She’s my ex,” he announced, earning sharp gasps from almost everyone in the table.
That was my exit cue. I couldn’t bear the situation any longer, so I inhaled my food and got up right after. I didn’t want to be included in their affairs anymore.
“Tapos ka na agad?” Alice intoned.
“Yeah, may readings din kasi akong kailangang kuhanin,” I said. “Bye.”
I realized I was holding my breath while exiting the cafeteria. God, that was the most awkward lunch I had ever experienced, and I wasn’t sure if it was funny or vexing that the only one oblivious to the situation was Kevin before Darryl dropped the bomb.
There was still an hour before my next class, so I went to the library to spend the rest of my vacant period. Pumuwesto ako sa usual kong seat at napasandal na lamang sa upuan.
So, it was real, huh? Tricia was his ex-girlfriend. And clearly, he was still not over her.