I could see the quick evil grin on his face, and I knew he was going to do something that would make me bad or feel embarrassed.
“Guess you’re cheating on me now,” mahina niyang sabi pero halos sabay-sabay napasinghap at napanganga ang mga nakarinig.
After recalling what happened earlier, parang biglang bumalik ang sama ng loob ko sa lalaking ‘yon. Why couldn’t he just leave me alone? I should have just ignored him from the start. Ayokong ma-stress dahil sa ibang tao. I had to end this stupid and sham relationship once and for all.
“How would I cheat if you’re not even my boyfriend?” I retorted, earning more gasps from the spectators.
Ayaw ko nang magkaroon ng connection sa kanya. Ever since I got involved with him, parang lagi na akong nasa spotlight, and that was something I wanted to avoid. Pero kung ito na ang huli, I wanted a revenge, may it be petty, because he deserved it.
“Believe it or not, we just fell asleep there. I don’t even know him besides his name,” dagdag ko. “And don’t worry, I will never cheat. I am not like you.”
Mas lumakas pa ang bulung-bulungan at hindi ko alam kung in favor ba ‘yon sa akin. The smug on his face had disappeared and his expression darkened, which kind of unsettled me. Akala ko nga ay may sasabihin siya pero nanatili siyang tahimik.
Still, I’m sure mag-e-end up ito sa portal, and no way I’d be the one painted as the loser. If this was the last time I’d be in the limelight, might as well end it with me as the victor.
“If you really like me, you should have broken up with your other girlfriend first, which I never heard of until today. Let’s break up.”
Before he could say anything, I started walking away from them. Naririnig ko pa rin ang mga bulungan ng ibang estudyante at ang iba ay halos idikit na ang mga mukha sa phones nila. Noong makalayo ako ay saka ko lang na-realize kung gaano ka-cringy ang ginawa ko.
My face was so hot I was sure it was already beet red. Sinusubukan ko pa lang kumalma nang biglang may umakbay sa akin at halos manlaki ang mga mata ko nang makita ko ang nakakalokong ngiti ni Alice.
“Nakita namin ‘yon,” she said as she raised her eyebrows teasingly.
“You should try being an actress, too,” Yna commented while scrolling on her phone.
“Intense ng scene,” sabay tawa ni Jess. “Naku, baka gantihan ka na naman n’yan.”
I thought I kind of looked cool while walking out earlier, pero halos lumubog na ako sa kahihiyan habang pinakikinggan ang pang-aasar ng tatlong ‘to. Ni hindi ko alam kung paano ako nag-end up sa other girlfriend story, but at least he looked like the bad guy now. Sana lang ay tigilan na niya ako at hindi mangyari ang sinasabi ni Jess.
However, one thing that bothered me was his expression. I was expecting him to get annoyed or angry, but somehow, he seemed lost in his thoughts that time. Why did he look sad and hurt?
I was on the verge of calling Venice dahil init na init na ako rito sa shed ng Amarrison High, pero bago ko pa ma-dial ay nag-appear siya sa harapan ko.
“Omg, ate, sorry nag-extend kasi si Sir sa last subject!”
I was still annoyed with what happened earlier, pero medyo kinakabahan din. What if gumanti nga ang lalaking ‘yon? He was petty, too, so hindi malabo. I needed something against him, just in case maging ganoon ang sitwasyon.
Hay. Bakit ba pinalala ko pa kasi ang sitwasyon? Sometimes, emotions could really negatively affect one’s rationality.
Pumara naman kami ng taxi since hindi kami mahahatid ni Dad today. The driver greeted us with a smile so we smiled back.
“Saan po tayo?”
“Winston Highland studio po.”
Bago pa kami makapag-settle ay agad namang nilapit ni Venice ang mukha niya habang nakatingin na parang naghihinala.
“Did you do something bad?” tanong niya.
“Wha—I didn’t! What do you take me for?”
She narrowed her eyes. “You seem restless and worried. Ganyan kaya mukha mo lagi kapag may ginawa kang kasalanan tapos ayaw mong mapagalitan ni daddy.”
Sinamaan ko ng tingin ang kapatid ko. Sometimes, she could notice even the most trivial details. Saka ko naalala na magaling pala siyang kumalap ng details about individuals, lalo na kapag interested siya.
I cleared my throat and tried to keep it cool. “Can you do a little research about Ian Darryl Garcia?”
She turned her head to me, a shock expression on her face. “Omg, may crush ka na?!”
“No! I don’t!”
“Then who’s that—! Wait, that name rings a bell.”
Mukhang na-curious din siya kaya nilabas niya ang phone niya at nagsimulang mag-search ng kung anu-ano pero halos ma-out of balance kami dahil biglang nag-swerve si kuya driver.
Pinagpatuloy naman ni Venice ang ginagawa niya and after a few minutes ay ngumiti siya sa akin.
“Kaya pala familiar. His family owns a clothing line and stores. He grew up in the US with his younger brother, but he went back to the Philippines para dito mag-high school and college. Siguro to prepare na rin for their family business?”
Huh. No wonder his outfits looked stylish. Pero ‘yon lang? Wala na bang iba?
Itatanong ko pa lang sana kung wala na bang ibang information tungkol sa kanya nang biglang bumilis ang takbo ng taxi. We were so surprised that we just stared in horror as the driver looked at us with malice from the rear mirror.
“Ilagay n’yo mga gamit n’yo rito kung ayaw n’yong masaktan,” the driver threatened as he showed his other hand holding a knife.
Nanigas ang buong katawan ko sa takot. My heart was beating too fast and loud that it might burst out of my chest. Muling itinaas ng driver ang kutsilyo habang nasa manibela ang isa niyang kamay. Venice flinched and her eyes were filled with tears.
Doon ko lang din napansin na nasa expressway na kami kaya ang bilis ng takbo niya. I cursed myself for being neglectful of our surroundings.
Wala akong nagawa kundi sumunod. With trembling hands, I placed our things on the passenger seat—bags, phones, and even our earrings.
Several scenarios played in my head. Kung hindi lang sana ito ang taxi na nasakyan namin, baka hindi nangyari ito. It was my fault and because of me, we were in serious trouble, or worse, could be facing death.
Naiiyak na rin ako sa takot, but I had to protect Venice. I had to be the older sister I was.
My plan was crazy, probably even crazier than the situation we were in, but I had no choice. Fortunately, nasa outermost lane kami at ang katabi ay lupa at damuhan.
“We’re going to crash!” sigaw ko sabay turo sa harapan at agad nag-panic ang driver.
Without wasting any second, I forcefully opened the door and pushed Venice out. Maybe it was the adrenaline kicking in, but I was highly aware of the surroundings. Venice and I landed harshly on the grass, but our momentum wasn’t stopping.
My bones were aching, and I was so close from blacking out, but with a last-ditch effort, I stopped Venice’s momentum using my own. I used my hands to cover the back of my head at the last second before I hit the pavement . . . and then my vision went black.