Chapter 5

[A story from haveyouseenthisgirl.blog]

“Hi everyone, my name’s Melody Tiangco.” 

I felt like fate was playing with me as soon as I saw her enter the room. I can’t believe someone would still be transferring mid semester. It doesn’t usually happen pero from what I  heard sa classmates namin her aunt is the owner of the school and made the special arrangement for her. She was also doing private virtual classes with the professors in the university when she was still in California para makahabol siya sa mga lectures before fully transferring here. 

Sa dami-rami namang mas magandang universities, dito pa talaga sa parehong unibersidad at sa parehong klase pa. At sa lahat naman ng araw na pwedeng maging vacant ang upuan sa tabi ko, ngayong araw pa. Yes, she decided to sit next to me and befriend me! Buti na lang hindi niya ako namukhaan kahit nagkita na kami sa sinehan.

Kyla, being extra friendly as always, was too excited to even invite her for lunch. All the while, I had to force a smile and be awkward to her the whole time. 

“I’m really happy na I already made friends agad. I was really nervous kasi I don’t really have friends here as I’ve lived mostly in California and I might not fit in with anyone here.” Kahit pag-inom ng iced coffee ang sophisticated niya pa rin tignan at dinig sa pananalita niya ang American accent niya.

“Ngayon ka na lang ba naka-visit dito sa Pilipinas ulit?” Napakaraming tanong ni Kyla, always a curious cat. 

“Not really, I was actually here just last year to meet my fiancé.” 

Nagulat kami pareho ni Kyla. Well, kahit alam ko na, hindi ko pa rin napigilan mag-react.

“Woah! May fiancé ka na?”

Ngumiti si Melody, “Yup! It was actually arranged by our parents but I was so glad they did kasi I ended up really liking him! He’s such a sweet guy!”

Napatigil ako sa paghahalo ng straw sa kape ko nang marinig ko ‘yon. I felt a tinge of jealousy when I heard her say that.

“Hala! Wow! Parang sa mga movie lang ang ganyan ah! Ano name niya? Pakilala mo naman sa amin one day!”

Iimik pa lang sana ako para sana pigilan ang sinabi ni Kyla pero nailabas na agad ni Melody ang phone niya at ipinakita sa amin ang wallpaper niya. Picture niya ito kasama si Cedric. Pareho silang nakangiti sa litrato at magkadikit ang kanilang mga mukha.

“This is him. His name is Cedric Fontanilla. Ang gwapo, right?”

Nanlaki na lang ang mga mata ni Kyla at napangiwi na lang siya, “A-ah! W-wow! Oo nga!”

I smiled awkwardly and didn’t really say anything. 

“How about you girls? May mga boyfriend na ba kayo? I want to get to know you more!”

Napansin ko na parang hindi na rin mapakali si Kyla sa sitwasyon pero sinubukan niya na lang din sagutin ang tanong ni Melody. “Uhh . . . hindi pa naman boyfriend, pero dating stage na kami. Kakakilala ka lang sa kanya from an online app.”

Nagtanong pa ng marami si Melody kay Kyla about Mark and how they met. Pinagmamasdan ko lang siya at sa tingin ko ay mukha naman siyang mabait. In fact, she’s really nice and sweet to us. If I didn’t know na may relationship siya kay Cedric, I think sobrang gaan na agad ng loob ko sa kanya. Why am I feeling resentment towards her? She’s not at fault here. Mukhang hindi niya nga rin alam na naging kami ni Cedric.

“Ikaw, Sai? Do you have a boyfriend?”

I tried to give her a genuine smile. “Ah, wala akong boyfriend.”

“No way, you’re too pretty! Not even dating or an admirer?”

“Hmm . . .  I think I have someone pero we’re not yet dating. He has not fully admitted it pero he’s showing signs na interested siya sa akin. For now, friends pa lang kami.” 

Nagulat si Kyla at hinawakan ang magkabilang balikat ko upang komprontahin ako. “Ha? Sino iyan? Bakit ngayon ko lang nalaman?”

“Duh, si Brian.”

“Wait, wait, wait! Akala ko ba you’re not ready to commit yet?”

“Kaya nga sabi ko ‘friends’ pa lang kami at binabawi ko ang sinabi ko. I was able to spend the weekend with him and he doesn’t seem so bad. Maybe it’s worth trying, you know?”

Nagningning ang mga mata ni Kyla when I said that and she seemed very excited about the news. “Hala! Magiging cousin-in-law na kita! I’m so happy!”

Pinalo ko siya ng mahina sa balikat at natawa. “Ang advance mo mag-isip! Wala pa nga! OA mo girl!”

Hindi ko pa naike-kwento kay Kyla ang nangyari kahapon. I’ve made up my mind. I’m really going to make a move to forget him no matter what, even if it takes me to use someone else to replace him in my mind and hopefully, in my heart as well. 

“Wait, sorry, who’s Brian?” Melody asked curiously so we explained it to her. We continued to chat over lunch break and went back to our classes afterwards. 

When class ended, Kyla had to meet Mark and Melody had to go home early. Instead of going home, I went straight to the school’s library. I felt like doing my homework there para makapagpa-aircon lang din muna. Maaga pa naman since we finished class at 2 p.m.

[A story from haveyouseenthisgirl.blog]

While I was reading my textbook, I felt my phone vibrate and saw Brian’s name on the screen. 

“Are you free?” 

“Not really, still doing my assignments sa library.”

“Ah, nasa campus ka pa! I’ll be there in a bit.”

Like he said, in just 5 minutes, he already found me alone at a table near a window. He sat in front of me and smiled.

“Hey, kumusta?”

“Wala ka bang klase or swimming training?” I answered his question with another question.

“Ah, mamaya pang five ang practice namin. Hindi mo sinagot ang tanong ko, kumusta ka?”

I let out a big sigh. “Alam mo ba nag-transfer sa class namin today si Melody.”

“Melody?” Hindi agad nag-process sa kanya kung sino ang tinutukoy ko pero once na na-gets niya na, napalakas ang boses niya at nasita pa siya ng librarian.  “Melody?! As in ‘yong Melody na…”

Hindi niya na naituloy ang sasabihin niya dahil mababanggit niya ang pangalan ni Cedric kaya tumango na lang ako sa kanya para i-confirm ang hinala niya. 

“Ang kulit ‘no? Plot twist of the year sa buhay ko.” Bumuntong-hininga na naman ako at tumingin na lang sa bintana habang nakahalumbaba. “Alam mo ba I also spoke with Cedric yesterday.”

Ibinalik ko ang tingin ko sa kanya at nakita kong nagulat siya sa sinabi ko. “I asked him about Melody and if she’s the reason why he left me.”

Nakatingin pa rin sa akin si Brian, nakikinig lang. “He didn’t really confirm anything, pero he did say na I should just forget him and he even mentioned you saying na he trusts that you will give me the love I deserve.” 

Tahimik pa rin si Brian ngunit halata ang gulat sa kanyang mukha. Tinapatan ko ang tingin niya sa aking mga mata habang wala akong maipakitang emosyon. Sa kaswal na tono ay tinanong ko siya, “Brian, do you like me?”

Kumunot saglit ang noo niya ngunit nawala rin agad at napalitan ng mga ngiti. Ibinaba niya saglit ang kanyang tingin at pinagmasdan ang lamesa habang nakahawak siya sa kanyang batok. 

Pagkatapos ng ilang segundo, ibinalik niya rin ang tingin sa akin. Nandoon pa rin ang mga ngiti sa kanyang labi at sabay sabing, “I like you, Sai. I wasn’t expecting to confess like this pero you already got me cornered. Pero as you said before, hindi ka pa ready and I’m not going to annoy you or anything. I am happy to be just your friend if that will make you feel comfortable around me. I’m just here for you.”

“You are really kind, Brian.” I stared at him longer than I should, I think it made him feel uneasy as he tried to remove his gaze and look around. He only returned his gaze at me when I spoke again. 

“Alam mo ba Brian, what Cedric told me stuck in my head. He said I should go for you, he was pushing me to choose you. Out of anger, I wanted to take his advice and actually go for you. I wanted to use you to forget him pero seeing you in front of me and saying kind words to me, I feel guilty. Hindi ko kayang gawin sa ’yo. I don’t want to play around with people’s feelings kasi I know how painful that is. I’m sorry I ever thought of doing that to you. I promise I won’t use your feelings for something so selfish.”

It took me by surprise when he reached for my hand and leaned forward to me, almost closing the gap between us. “Sai, thank you for being honest and thinking about my well being. Pero if you need to use me, please don’t hesitate. I like you and I want to see you happy. If you need someone to forget him, I’m happy to be that someone you need. I will also try my best to hopefully help you like me back in the process.”

Marahan kong hinigit paalis ang kamay ko sa hawak niya. “Salamat pero huwag na lang. Ayoko gawin ‘to sa isang mabuting kaibigan na tulad mo. Regardless if we both try our best, in the end, walang guarantee. We might even end up hating each other and I don’t want to lose a good friend like you.”

Brian leaned back to his chair looking a little bit defeated pero after a while, he spoke again.”Okay, ganito na lang. Let’s have the stars decide for us.”

I gave him a puzzled look. 

“I’m having a national swimming competition this Saturday. If I win the race for the 400m individual medley, will you allow me to actually start dating you?”

“Ha? Wait —”

“This way, walang sisihan sa ating dalawa if it doesn’t end well. We’ll go with whatever the stars decide for us. Isipin mo na lang parang flipping a coin lang. If talagang hindi pwede, for some reason, fate will not let me win the competition. If I win, it’s decided that we should go for it. But I should just let you know na I will really do my best to win this competition for you.”

He was really determined to do this and I ended up nodding and agreeing with it. 

“Before we seal the deal, I just want to propose one condition in case I do win the competition.”

“What condition?”

“If I win this competition and we actually start dating, can you please promise that you will always be honest with me? You will tell me everything even if it hurts me? I’d rather hear you say all the painful truth than believe in beautiful lies.” He raised his pinky finger and waited for me to seal the deal with my pinky.

“I promise.” 

And that’s when all my beautiful lies for Brian started.

Lie About Love

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