Witnessing Darryl wearing such solemn look made me see him in a different light. I never thought this personification of mischief could be serious, too. Pero agad din iyong nawala nang bumalik sa dati ang expression niya.
He stepped back while a huge grin appeared on his face. “Mas maganda ka pala sa malapitan, bebe girl.”
I was caught off-guard that I could not respond right away. Did he do that on purpose? Or was he just trying to cover up that vulnerable moment of his? Either way, I was pissed.
“You’re annoying,” I said and kicked him on the shin.
Bago pa siya makapag-react ay mabilis akong tumakbo palayo. This day was the worst.
I couldn’t focus on my remaining classes. Paano ba naman ay pinag-uusapan pa rin ang photos ko at nag-send si Yna ng screenshot ng portal. Several articles about our photos and antics had occupied the trending list, and now everyone knew that I was a model.
Pagkatapos ng klase ay agad kong ni-contact si Ven dahil stressed na stressed ako. I needed to shop.
“Omg ka ate, himala, magsh-shopping ka today,” Ven commented as soon as Dad and her came to pick me up. “Akala ko ba you’re trying to shop less this month?”
“Oo nga,” dagdag ni Dad.
“I need to destress.”
“Because of acads? Marami ka bang hahabulin na classes? Do you want me to talk to your college dean?” suggestion ni Dad, to which I vehemently refused.
Meanwhile, Ven’s eyes narrowed. She knew the cause of my stress wasn’t academic-related. At oo nga pala, may kasalanan pa ang isang ‘to sa akin kaya sinamaan ko rin siya ng tingin.
Pagkahatid sa amin ni Dad sa mall ay mabilis kaming nagpaalam. Hinatak ko agad si Ven habang naglalakad pero mukhang alam na niya ang sasabihin ko dahil nakangisi na ang buwisit.
“You’re the one who gave him my pictures, aren’t you?”
She averted my gaze. “I mean, his family saved us, ate. Besides, ‘yung prettiest photos naman ang binigay ko.”
“At least I’m not a liar,” she retorted. “You didn’t tell me he’s your boyfriend.”
I gasped in disbelief. “Oh my god, he isn’t!”
“Oh, sorry, I mean your pretend boyfriend.”
“Again, he isn’t!”
“But ate Alice told me he is!”
I took a mental note to give Alice an earful next week after knowing that she was feeding my sister lies.
Dahil gusto kong mag-destress today ay ni-ban ko ang pangalan ng lalaking ‘yon sa usapan namin ni Ven. Fortunately, she honored my request, and we talked about fashion as we shopped for the latest designer items in the luxury section.
Few hours later, Dad fetched us. We ate dinner in one of our favorite restaurants and headed home right after. Pagkatapos kong mag-shower ay chineck ko kaagad ang to-do list ko. I had a lot of projects to cram pero binigyan naman ako ng extended time for those so I guess ang kailangan kong unahin ay ‘yung mga wala akong special treatment. And one of those was a project for our Music class.
Medyo nakaka-stress lang dahil elective lang ang subject pero grabe ang demands at requirements.
Nag-online muna ako para mag-check ng email at social media. Napataas naman ang kilay ko nang makita ko ang influx ng friend requests sa facebook. Where did these come from? Dahil ba ‘to sa trending articles sa portal?
As I was browsing the requests, something caught my eye.
Ian Darryl Garcia sent you a friend request.
I was about to delete it when a sudden urge to visit his profile tempted me. In the end, the temptation won.
It turned out he was kinda famous online since every post of his had high engagements. I also learned his birthday was on February 14, which was kinda ironic if you asked me.
I-e-exit ko na sana ‘yon nang biglang may nag-chat. I was surprised to see his name popped on the bottom of my laptop screen. Hindi ko sana i-re-read pero napindot ko ‘yon accidentally. What a luck.
His message read:
Stalking me, bebe girl? I know you are ;)
I groaned in annoyance. Him and his conceited remarks. Nakakagigil.
Agad namang may sumunod na chat.
Kidding aside, may partner ka na ba para sa music project? I desperately need one.
Bigla ko tuloy naalala ang project na ‘yon kaya agad kong ni-dial si Ven kahit nasa kuwarto niya lang naman siya. Luckily, she was still awake.
“Kailangan naka-call pa kahit nasa bahay lang?” bungad niya.
“I need a partner for my project. Help me please.”
“I decline,” mabilis niyang sabi.
“Busy ako ate, ang dami ko ring kailangang gawing requirements.”
“Pero sa shopping, laging may time?”
“Of course! Shopping ‘yun, eh. Anyway, sina ate Alice na lang. Bye!”
And she ended the call. That kid.
Hindi ko naman puwedeng kunin si Alice dahil medyo tone deaf siya and Yna would rather die than face a recording camera. I called Jess pero partner na raw niya ang younger brother niya. Buti pa siya. Wala naman na akong ibang kakilala na puwedeng maging partner in such a short notice.
Napabuntonghininga na lang ako. Desperate time calls for desperate measures, I guess.
I messaged Darryl back. So, wala ka pang partner? Serves you right.
He immediately replied. You already have one?
I can ask my sister.
Ako na lang. Please?
Wow. For someone famous, did he not have any other choices besides me? Parang hindi kapani-paniwala, pero mukhang wala na rin akong choice. However, I wouldn’t give it to him easily.
I’ll consider it.
But beg, bebe boy.
Regret instantly washed over me after I sent the last message. Ang cringe talaga ng bebe boy. Why did I even use that, ugh. Also, I thought there was a chance he would back out, so I kinda got worried on how it would turn out. Nag-offline ako after that dahil hindi ko kinaya ang ginawa ko. Nag-focus na lang muna ako sa homeworks and requirements sa other subjects.
Dahil simula na rin bukas ng iba kong make up classes ay hindi ako nakapagpuyat. I woke up early and prepared for my weekend classes. Fortunately, hindi lang naman pala ako ang magte-take up ng lectures, although ang awkward dahil tingin nang tingin ang iba sa akin.
Pagdating ng Monday ay pagod na pagod na ang utak at katawan ko. I had no time to rest and worse, I was still behind on some of my subjects.
Nakahinga lang ako nang maluwag noong lunch time na. I was waiting for the three when the students sitting on the nearby tables started whispering to one another. It was already too late when I realized why.
Darryl sat beside me with a practiced smile plastered on his face.
“Ano na namang—“
Halos mapanganga na lang ako sa sumunod niyang ginawa. He knelt in front of me, earning attention from the students nearby.
“Please consider my proposal,” he softly said, and I had no idea how to react or what to reply.
This guy . . . he really did it. He freaking begged.