I was in a bad mood for the rest of my morning classes.
Hindi ko nga rin inaasahan na classmate ko ulit si Jessica sa Eng 1. After our class ay sabay na rin kaming naglakad pababa ng building.
“Oh, god, sorry talaga kanina,” she said with an apologetic expression.
I forced a smile. “It’s okay. That guy needs a good smack on the head to wake him up from his delusions.”
Natawa naman siya sa sinabi ko pero bumalik din agad ang worry sa mukha niya.
“You’ve already butt heads with Ian Darry Garcia, the third on the Elite list. The first Campus Prince. Medyo nag-aalala ako sa’yo.”
My eyebrows knitted. “Bakit naman? Masama ba talaga ang ugali niya?”
“May mga nagsasabing mabait siya and he’s just playful. Pero sa nangyari kanina, I say mukhang may lahing demonyo ang isang ‘yon.”
This time, it was my turn to laugh at her comment. Despite her short stature, she looked like she’d fight someone who’s taller than her. Though natakot siya kanina kasi raw medyo nakaka-intimidate si Darryl at dahil ang daming estudyanteng nakatingin sa kanila.
“I really owe you one, Tiffany,” ulit niya.
“It’s really okay,” I reiterated. “And just call me Steff.”
I told her that my name was supposed to be Steffany but the nurse misheard my Dad and wrote Tiffany instead. Mom was quite upset because of that so they started calling me Steffany, despite it not being my official name. Kaya rin Steff ang naging nickname ko sa family and close friends ko.
“Ang cute naman, may history pa,” sabay tawa niya. “You can call me Jess. Haba ng Jessica, eh.”
“I see. Alright, Jess, mauna na ulit ako. May class pa ako, eh.”
“Okay! Bye, Steff!”
Buti na lang at last class ko na rin ito for the morning. Gutom na rin ako at gusto ko nang mag-lunch. I went to my class less annoyed, thanks to Jess, but I was already running late. Paano ay late din nag-dismiss ‘yong last class.
I was already half-running on the stairs at napapikit na lang ako nang makita kong nandoon na ang prof namin. I was hoping that she wouldn’t see me but I halted when she called my name.
“Ms. Damian?” she called and almost everyone in the class turned their heads to my direction. Great.
“Sorry, I’m late, Ma’am.”
She heaved a sigh, clearly disappointed. “Please sit next to Mr. Garcia. That’s the only vacant seat.”
Tumango na lang ako at nagtuluy-tuloy sa upuang tinuro niya. I was already a few steps away from the seat when her words started to sink in.
Mr. Garcia? Don’t tell me . . .
I slowly raised my head to see who my seatmate would be, desperately hoping that it wouldn’t be the guy I was thinking of, but his annoying smile was the first thing that came into my view.
Ha! And he had the gall to sneak a wave?!
“Ms. Damian? Please sit down,” the prof ordered, now with a hint of annoyance.
Wala naman akong nagawa kundi umupo sa tabi niya. Nakakainis lang dahil fixed ang seats kaya hindi ko mausod palayo. I didn’t want to deal with him so I tried not to look at his direction.
Our prof started talking about the course and our requirements for her class. I thought everything would be fine, but he suddenly leaned forward, enough for me to see him on my peripheral vision.
He let out a sly smile. “Didn’t think I’d see you this quick,” he said in a whisper. “Ms. Tiffany Damian.”
The hair on my nape bristled as he said those words. Oh god, tama nga si Jess. This guy’s a devil’s relative. Mukhang ako ang pagdidiskitahan niya.
I ignored him but he kept on kicking the leg of my seat and it was messing my handwriting! Ang ayaw ko pa naman sa lahat ay kapag nagugulo ang notes ko! Sinamaan ko siya ng tingin pero nakatuon lang ang atensyon niya sa harapan. Hah. As if he was really listening to our prof!
“So annoying,” I murmured as I clicked my tongue.
Huminto naman siya sa pagsipa pero nag-lean back siya at umusod palapit sa akin. Annoyed, I shifted on my seat and turned slightly away from him. Narinig ko ang pagpipigil niya ng tawa kaya lalo lang akong nairita.
“You’re really interesting,” mahina niyang sabi.
“I’m not,” I replied. “Please just find someone who’s willing to tolerate your annoying antics.”
He chuckled in return. “No one’s more interesting than you as of this moment.”
Huminga ako nang malalim para kalmahin ang sarili ko. “Please stay away from me.”
Napapikit na lang ako dahil malapit ko na siyang sabunutan sa inis. I tried to focus again on the orientation, but this guy was making it hard for me! Bakit ba kasi siya ang katabi ko? Pwede bang makipagpalit sa kahit kanino? I couldn’t stand this jerk any longer!
Nagsimulang mag-lesson si Ma’am about our first topic in the syllabus. Fortunately, tumigil siya pansamantala sa pambubwisit. Tiningnan ko naman ang oras dahil medyo inaantok ako sa lecture. Buti na lang at last fifteen minutes na lang. Gusto ko nang kumain.
“Boring,” he murmured.
Saglit akong napatingin sa kanya. He was cupping his chin with both of his palm and his eyes looked drowsy. Nagulat ako nang bigla siyang lumingon. Crap. Our gazes met each other.
“Looking at me, huh?” pang-aasar niya and I rolled my eyes in return.
“Oh please, you’re not that good-looking to be stared at,” I returned.
Parang gusto ko na agad ‘yong bawiin dahil baka lalo lang lumala ang attention niya sa akin. I know that ignoring him would be the most effective way, but for some reason, ayaw ko ring magpatalo sa jerk na ‘to.
“Talaga lang, ha?” sabay tingin niya sa mga babae sa bandang front row.
Sinundan ko ang tingin niya at nakita ko ang ilan na lumilingon-lingon sa direksyon namin. My god, ang yabang! Alright, he’s got the looks pero basura pa rin ang ugali.
“Don’t lump me with them,” I retorted.
I really should shut up pero ayaw kong patalo sa kanya. Feeling ko kasi kapag hindi ako gumanti, iisipin niya na nanalo na siya. And I hate how he would always smirk whenever he thinks he already won an argument.
Ugh. Don’t call my name! Kinikilabutan ako kapag siya ang nagsasabi.
“Shall I start?” he whispered.
Start what? What kind of monkey trick would he do this time?
Nagulat ako nang bigla siyang tumayo at tinawag ang attention ng prof namin. Oh my god, what is he doing?!
“Ma’am, can I switch seats with the guy over there?” he asked while pointing at a guy on the front row.
“Why, Mr. Garcia? Is there something wrong?”
Buong klase ay nakatingin sa kanya kaya para akong binuhusan ng malamig na tubig nang bigla siyang lumingon sa akin. An impish smile escaped his lips before he turned back to our professor.
“My seatmate’s bothering me,” he announced. “I think she likes me.”
My mouth hung open upon hearing his statement and I suddenly wanted to vanish from existence. What the freaking heck is wrong with this guy?!