Hindi ako makapagsalita. Pakiramdam ko ay umurong ang dila ko nang makita ko siya. What was worse was that Andrea linked her arms with his.
“Ian, let’s go,” she said, but Darryl held his gaze at me.
I wanted to run away already, but my feet weren’t listening to me. Seeing him with this girl who seemed like they were more than friends made me feel ashamed and uncomfortable. My tears were threatening to fall, but I held them back. Hindi kaya ng pride ko na maiyak sa harapan nila. Ayokong magmukhang kawawa, at lalong ayaw kong magmukhang talunan.
Agad akong napalingon nang marinig ko ang boses ni Patrick. He ran toward my direction and I drew a breath of relief when he stood beside me.
For a second, there was only silence among us. The tension was high after what happened and because of our situation. It was Patrick who broke the suffocating atmosphere.
“I didn’t know you were here,” he said while looking at Darryl. “Sige, una na kami ni Steff.”
Tumingin siya sa akin at tumango naman ako. He offered his arm for support, and I took it. Pakiramdam ko kasi ay madadapa ako dahil nanginginig ang mga tuhod ko sa kaba. We walked away from them and I realized I had been holding my breath for a while.
“You okay?” Bulong ni Patrick habang palayo kami sa kanila.
“I’m not really sure.”
It was hard to fight the urge to look back, but I steeled my resolve and continued walking forward.
My tears immediately fell as soon as we settled in the gazebo, and Patrick offered his handkerchief. I felt sorry because I could not even enjoy the magnificent view of the garden and the classic style of the gazebo because of what happened.
I was not prepared to face him, and it greatly flustered me when I saw him with someone else. Paulit-ulit ding nagp-play sa utak ko ang mga salitang narinig ko mula sa kanya noong araw na ‘yon.
“Do you like her?”
“No, I don’t.”
It was already bad enough that I saw him when I was still hurting, but seeing him on a date with a beautiful (yet rude) girl was just rubbing salt in the wound.
I was trying to calm myself down when the gears in my head started turning. The girl was called Andrea, right? Was she the same girl who was talking to Darryl that time? Sa pagkakaalala ko, Andrea ang binanggit niyang pangalan noon. May gusto ba sila sa isa’t isa kaya nagde-date sila ngayon?
I mean, Darryl said he had already moved on from Tricia. I was hoping he would feel something for me, but it turned out his feelings were directed to someone else. Maybe even right from the start, I didn’t have the chance. But then why would he ask for my help?
Isang malalim na buntonghininga ang pinakawalan ko. Naco-confuse na naman ako sa mga nangyayari at iyon ang pinakaayaw ko. I didn’t like it when I couldn’t understand something. I didn’t like it when I feel something unfamiliar.
Mabuti na lang talaga at hindi na nagtanong pa si Patrick at hinayaan niya lang ako.
Hindi ko alam kung ilang minuto ang lumipas bago ako tuluyang kumalma. I suddenly felt bad for Patrick because I ruined the night. Gusto ko sanang makabawi kaso hindi ko alam kung ano ang puwedeng gawin.
Pareho kaming natigilan nang mag-ring ang phone ko na nakapatanong sa maliit na table sa gilid. I frowned upon seeing an unfamiliar number. For a second, I hesitated, but it might be an important call from someone.
Although doubtful, I still answered the call.
“Steff, is this you?”
Wait, the voice sounded familiar. “Uhm, who’s this?”
“It’s Tricia,” sagot niya kaya napanganga ako.
“Tricia? Omg, how are you? Bakit ka napatawag?”
She chuckled on the other line. “I’m fine. And I know you’re not.”
Natigilan ako nang marinig ko ‘yon. How did she even know that?
As if reading my thoughts, she continued. “I have my sources. Anyway, I just want you to know that Andrea has come home.”
My mouth twitched a little upon hearing that name. “Yeah. I just met her.”
“What? She’s already making her move?”
“Who’s that girl exactly?”
She heaved a sigh. “Ian’s possessive best friend.”
Tricia told me a lot about Andrea, and I wasn’t sure if I could process everything that I had heard. Apparently, she was Darryl’s childhood friend and they grew up together. They had been classmates since elementary, but she went to Macau during their third year in high school because of Tricia.
“Bakit?” tanong ko.
“Because Ian chose me,” she answered. “Every time she has a chance, i-t-threaten niya ako na lumayo kay Ian kahit noong nagco-compete pa kami as academic rivals. But it worsened when we became closer. She even made a rumor about me at sinabi ko iyon kay Ian. In the end, pinapili niya si Ian kung sino sa ami nang kakampihan niya. He chose me and that created some rift between them. Hindi na niya kinaya noong naging kami kaya lumipad siya papunta kung nasaan ang family niya.”
Wow, that was intense. No wonder ganoon ang pakikitungo niya sa akin kanina.
“So, she loves him?”
“Yeah. I told you she’s a bit obsessive, at gagawin niya ang lahat para hindi sila maghiwalay, unless kay Ian mismo manggaling ang word. She’s a spoiled child and manipulative, too, kaya please be careful when you’re around her.”
“Hmm? Wait, is he targeting me because I’m involved with Darryl?”
“Yes. I think umuwi siya dahil wala na ako r’yan, at dahil sa ‘yo.”
But he didn’t even like me, so what was the point? I thought.
Nangingilid na naman ang mga luha ko kaya agad ko ‘yong pinunasan bago pa tumulo.
“I just hope she won’t do anything crazy, and Ian won’t be too lenient to her,” dagdag niya. “Anyway, ikaw naman ang gusto ko para sa kanya, and I think Ian and you really suit each other.”
A pained smile escaped my lips after hearing that.
We might look good with each other in the eyes of other people, but that was just a façade. Because the truth was he didn’t feel the same way, and this time, he chose his best friend.