“I think she likes me.”
I still couldn’t believe that he did that. This guy just took boredom and revenge to another level. Halos sinusumpa ko na siya sa utak ko pero ayaw ko namang mag-eskandalo. I took a deep breath and stood up.
“Sorry, Ma’am, for the disturbance. Don’t mind him. He said your class is boring so he’s doing this.”
I shot a glare at him, and our professor’s expression turned grim. Halos nagbubulungan na rin ang classmates namin at ang iba ay nakuha pang humiyaw.
Ma’am Cruz cleared her throat and she looked . . . angry. I realized what I just did and wanted to take back everything I had said. Ang sabi ko hindi ako gagawa ng bagay na maglalagay sa akin sa spotlight, but here I am, doing exactly what I said I wouldn’t.
“Being Elites does not give you the rights to disrespect your professors,” Ma’am Cruz said, and I just knew she already had a bad impression on us. “Am I clear, Mr. Garcia? Ms. Damian?”
“Yes, Ma’am,” sagot ko.
Dahan-dahan akong umupo habang nakayuko. That was indeed disrespectful. Naiinis ako sa sarili ko dahil nagawa ko ‘yon. I shouldn’t have responded to this freak’s absurdity.
I took a deep breath and reassessed my priorities. Right. Kahit na bwisit pa rin ako sa rankings and titles na ‘yan, my academic performance would still take precedence.
For the whole duration of the class, I only paid attention to the lecture. Fortunately, he didn’t bother me anymore, but his silence was kind of unsettling. Pakiramdam ko may binabalak na hindi maganda ang lalaking ‘yon.
Right after our prof dismissed the class ay nagmadali ako sa paglabas sa room. Finally, I could breathe. God, that was suffocating.
Agad kong tinawagan si Alice dahil ang alam ko ay vacant period na rin nila. “Saan kayo?”
“Garden,” she answered. “By the way, kasama namin si Jess.”
Her words didn’t sink in for a few seconds and I was surprised when I realized what she just said. Wow. Nagkita na sila? At close na agad sila?
“Dalian mo, Steff, malapit ko nang ikwento high school life mo sa kanya.”
Alice chucked. “Heto na nagtatanong na siya about sa kung sinong naging crush mo—”
“Fine, I’m running, okay?”
Agad kong in-end ang tawag at halos patakbo na ngang pumunta sa garden.
The school garden was one of the few things that I like in the university. Each table has a wooden shade, vines coiling around them, and different kinds of shrubs and flowers between spaces. You’d feel like you were in a fairytale setting, especially with its aesthetic touch.
I looked around, trying to search for my friends, and a grin grew on my face when I saw Yna waving at my direction. Agad akong naglakad papunta sa kanila pero bigla akong na-conscious dahil nakatingin sa akin ang ilang nasa garden din.
“You’re finally here,” Yna remarked.
Umupo naman ako sa bakanteng upuan. As expected, we were receiving attention because of Jess and I. Paano ba naman, dalawang “Campus Princess” ang nandito. After all, we were treated as public figures in this university. I hope people would come to realize that we were not the people that they should admire. Estudyante lang din naman kami katulad nila.
“Don’t you think that guy’s hot?” bulong ni Alice kay Yna.
“Eh? Hot? Where?”
“Hay naku, magkaiba talaga tayo ng type!”
Napangiti naman ako dahil kahit papaano ay hindi gaanong affected ang dalawang ‘yon. Sana nga lang ay hindi rin sila idamay ng iba.
“Kevin Fuentez is looking this way,” Yna remarked.
Alice suddenly froze and suppressed a squeal. First week pa lang pero may crush na agad ang isang ‘to. Worse, Campus Prince pa. Parang nagbago na ang tingin ko sa kanilang lahat noong nakasalumuha ko ang lalaking ‘yon.
Jess gasped. “Omg, oo nga. Baka crush ka?”
Tumawa naman si Alice. “Asa! Baka isa sa inyo ni Steff kasi Campus Princess kayo.”
“Jealous?” Yna taunted.
She flipped her hair. “Hindi naman masyado.”
Nagtawanan kami dahil sa kanya at mukhang magka-wavelength nga sila ni Jess dahil nasasakyan nila ang jokes ng isa’t isa.
“Speaking of stories,” sabay tingin sa akin ni Jess. “May narinig kami kanina habang hinihintay ka.”
“Oo nga, Steff. May kaklase ka raw na Campus Prince,” dagdag ni Yna.
“Eh? Who? Patrick? Calvin Gisel? Ian Darryl?”
Okay, ngayon ako na ang nasa hot seat. I was trying to forget about that annoying encounter but these girls were persistent. Idagdag pa na ikinuwento rin ni Jess ang nangyari noong nasa corridor kami.
“I can’t believe it. For the first time, Steff had a verbal argument with someone,” Yna chuckled.
“Wait, never ka pang nakipag-away sa kahit sino?” gulat na tanong ni Jess.
Natawa naman si Alice. “Ano pa bang aasahan mo sa dalawang ‘to,” sabay turo niya sa amin ni Yna. “Ako ang taga-away sa mga nang-aaway sa kanila.”
Alice looked angelic and her smile could melt everyone’s heart, but she could also be deadly when serious. Mabuti na lang at wala naman kaming nakaaway nang malala noong high school. Kadalasan ay ‘yong mga nagpaparinig lang, but we just ignored them since that was the best way to deal with those kinds of people.
Yna smiled teasingly. “Did he tease you during class, too?”
I was hesitant to answer it at first but their stares were clearly asking for the details. “Yeah,” sagot ko. “I almost got into trouble because of that jerk.”
Alice snickered at my reaction. “Wow, jerk na ang tawag. Mukhang hate mo nga.”
“He’s seriously hateful,” reklamo ko.
“Akala ko ba playful lang siya, sabi ni Jess?”
“’Yon ang sabi ng iba kong classmates. Medyo flirty rin pero sa nakakainis na paraan.”
“Please let’s not talk about him anymore,” I commented. “Nakakasira ng mood.”
We continued eating and talking about our respective classes. Last class na raw ni Yna habang si Alice ay hanggang 3 PM pa. Meanwhile, pareho naman kami ni Jess na 5:30 PM ang huling klase.
Mabuti na lang talaga at nalipat ulit ang topic kay Alice at sa crush niya raw na si Kevin. Si Jess wala pa raw crush, but she admitted that Kevin and Darryl were handsome. Nagtaka naman ako nang bigla silang tumigil sa pagtatawanan habang nakatingin sa akin.
It was already too late when I realized they weren’t looking at me, but at someone behind me.
The hair on my nape stood up upon hearing that familiar and displeasing voice. I turned my head but flinched when I realized our faces were just inches apart. An impish smile grew on his face while I drew back a little to put some distance between us.
Pero bakit ba ‘to nandito? Was he really serious about getting interested with me? Ano bang problema niya sa akin?
“What are you doing here?” matigas kong tanong.
“Yes,” he answered, earning a confused look from me.
Bigla naman akong kinabahan. Anong yes ang pinagsasabi nito?
He gently pulled back and stood straight, his hands inside his pockets. “I was musing on your proposal a while ago and I think it’s not bad.”
Napakunot ang noo ko dahil hindi ko masundan ang sinasabi niya. What proposal was he talking about? Ni hindi ko na nga siya kinausap pagkatapos ng ginawa niya.
“What are you—”
“Alright, then, Tiffany,” he said, cutting me off. He gave me an innocent smile, which was obviously fake, and held out his hand. “I’ll be willing to be your boyfriend.”
I heard collective gasps from the students near us. For a second, my mind was blank, unwilling to process the words I just heard. When I realized what he just said, I almost lost my balance, but he swiftly held the chair in place.
“Oh my god!”
“Did you hear that?”
“Wait, for real?”
Words got caught in my throat and I ended up staring at him. Boyfriend? Where the heck did that come from?
Oh my god, this guy is deranged.