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 These Four Corners (story by Lj)

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Lj
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PostSubject: Re: These Four Corners (story by Lj)   Thu 27 Feb 2014, 3:32 am

You're very much welcome, Anne. Good morning, LB.


Last edited by Lj on Thu 27 Feb 2014, 6:48 am; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : forgot a word)
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PostSubject: Re: These Four Corners (story by Lj)   Thu 27 Feb 2014, 5:58 am

For my students who keep me young at heart. Cheers to your youth, to all the laughter, all those funny conversations in and out of the classroom and of course, to our mutual love and respect. I love you guys.


Chapter 13

Almost a month has passed simula nang ma-operahan sa appendix si Sandra. She was back at as ever ay pasaway pa rin sa klase ngunit kapansin-pansin ang pagsisigasig nito sa pag-aaral. Thanks to Claire na lagi nitong kasama. She was a good influence to her.

“Okay so what I want you to do class, is to sell something like this!” inilapag ni Patricia ang isang bato sa mesa. “I want you to re-package this. Give it value.”

Nagtaas ng kamay si Patrick. “Ma’am sino naman ang bibili ng bato?”

“That’s the point, walang bibili ng bato as ordinary as this. Be creative and make it a product.”

“Ma’am, we’re future marketers, not miracle makers.” it was May, the girl wearing a pair of thick eyeglasses. She was running second to Claire pagdating sa standing sa klase.

Nakakahawa yata talaga ang pagka-pilosopo nitong si Sandra. Bulong ni Pat sa sarili.

“Class, I can’t believe you give up too easily!” nagkandakunot ang noo niya. She was disappointed. “You are future marketing managers. You don’t just satisfy needs. You create them. Are you following me?”

“Yes, ma’am!” the class responded in unison.

“That will be your assignment on Friday.”

Sandra sat quietly on her armchair. I have a better idea.



Friday came and everyone was excited to come to class. As expected, kanya-kanya sila ng gimik kung paano magpa-impress sa guro. Nakapasok na ang lahat sa silid kasama si Pat nang dumating si Sandra carrying a black shoulder bag. Hirap na hirap itong mag-bitbit nuon. Pagka-upo sa silya, inilapag niya ang bag sa may paanan. She was two minutes late pero hindi na siya sinita ni prof.

Pagkatapos mag-check ng attendance, she proceeded with her lecture. Tuwang-tuwa ito sa pagiging responsive ng kanyang mga estudyante. She knew this freshman class is extra special. They’re a bunch of bright youngsters who could be great managers someday.

“Claire what have you got?”

“Ma’am, I created a ref-magnet out of this material. Seems unoriginal but wait until you see what else you can do with it.” Hinawakan nito ang bato sinulatan ang rectangular-shaped window located at the center of it. “You can use it to leave notes on it, parang post it!”

“How creative!” Puri ni prof. “Very good!” she clapped her hands in approval. Claire’s creation was simple yet it was very useful.

Next, Shiela raised her hand to present her project. Kinikilig pa itong tumabi sa guro hawak ang batong nakasilid sa makulay na plastic.

She prepped herself and spoke in between giggles. “Classmates, I actually didn’t do anything spectacular with this stone. Idinaan ko lang lahat sa packaging.”

Everyone stared at the pink and glittery plastic covering the rock.

“I call this SSSS! That means Shiela’s Super Scrubbing Stone. Ang panghilod na kikay!”

No one was impressed. As in! Sensing the awkwardness of the situation, Pat barged in and gave Shiela some words of encouragement. But the poor girl heard none of it. Bumalik ito sa silya na humihikbi.

Then Pat asked for another set of volunteers. Those who haven’t been called raised their hands enthusiastically while Sandra remained slouching on her chair. Let’s see what the brat has in-store for me today.

“Sandra would you like to share us your product?”

“Absolutely, ma’am!” Yumuko ito para damputin ang misteryosong bag. “Kanina ko pa nga gustong mag-present.”

“Hmmm…we simply couldn’t wait any longer.” She said sarcastically. Kinuha niya ang classcard nito at ipinaypay sa sarili.

Tumayo ang dalaga at nagtuloy sa harapan. Seryoso ang mukha nitong nagtanggal ng bara sa lalamunan. She was oozing with confidence.

“I know the rule states that we should market those shiny little rocks.” Tinuro nito ang mga dalang bato ng mga kaklase. “But I prefer to be original. Behold, my creation!”

Hinila nito ang laman ng bag nang nakangiwi. The entire class was pleasantly surprised. Nanlaki ang mga mata nito at sabay-sabay halos nagpigil ng tawa. However, there was no amusement on her teacher’s face. In fact, she even wanted to get a knife dahil may gusto siyang saksakin sa mga oras na iyon! Kesehodang may-ari pa ito ng eskwelahan. But of course, it’ll be an over-reaction.

“Charan!” she waved her hand na animo’y pompoms ng isang cheerdancer. Saksak ng kapilyahan ang ngiti nito.

“At anong ginagawa ng hollowblock na yan sa klase ko?” Pat asked hysterically.

Kumawala ang kinimkim na bungisngis ng lahat. Hindi nila akalain na ang laman ng bag ni Sandra ay walang iba kung hindi isang hollowblock. Hollowblock!

“Ma’am, sabi mo be creative!?” paalala nito. “This is art! This is the future of marketing!”

“Art? San banda? Niloloko mo nanaman ba ako, Sandra?” nauubos na talaga ang pasensya niya dito. Umikot pa siya sa lamesa para sipatin ang sa kanya’y kahindik-hindik na produktong she claims to be the future of marketing.

Kulay pink ito na pinalamutian ng sari-saring mga bulaklak at paru-paro. Sa tingin niya, it was hand painted. Makinis na makinis ang paligid ng hollowblock, at sa malayuan, mukha itong napakalaking gold bar. There was nothing really special about it.

“Isn’t she beautiful, ma’am?” she teased again.

“Miss Martinez, could you please tell us kung ano it—“ she didn’t finish what she had to say.

“Paperweight!” Sandra proudly exclaimed. Hinimas-himas pa niya ito. Satisfied sa ganda ng pagka-pinta niya sa mga embellishments nito. “Kung liparin pa rin ang mga paperworks niyo dyan, ma’am, ewan ko na lang!”

“Oh—“ tinampal ng guro ang sariling noo habang patuloy sa paghahagikgikan ang buong klase niya.

“What?” si Sandra.

“Sit down right now!” pagalit niyang utos dito. “And move this rubbish paperweight of yours away from my desk!”

Sandra went back to her seat with a dejected look on her face. Pinaghirapan niya ring pintahan ang hollowblock ngunit hindi man lang yun napansin ng guro. Mas lalo siyang nalungkot nang hindi man lang nito binasa ang nakasulat sa lower right portion ng bato: isang tula that she made for her.

Stone cold, that’s what you are
But you touched my heart so deeply now
You are the flower, I am your butterfly
If you’re new to love, I’ll teach you how
-for PFDR

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PostSubject: Re: These Four Corners (story by Lj)   Fri 28 Feb 2014, 12:32 am

Happy birthday to my Gia!

Babe, you're the Sandra to my Pat. I love you. <3

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PostSubject: Re: These Four Corners (story by Lj)   Fri 28 Feb 2014, 12:37 am

Chapter 14

“I screw up again, didn’t I?” tanong ni Sandra. She was having lunch at the canteen with Claire and still smarting from what happened kaninang umaga.

A look of concern flashed on Claire’s face. “Ikaw naman kasi. Wala ka nang ginawa kundi painitin ang ulo ni, Pat.”

“Dun lang naman niya ako napapansin, eh.” katwiran niya.

“Hindi totoo yan. Nag-uusap kami sa bahay. Natutuwa siya sa mga results ng quizzes mo.”

“But she’s still cold to me. Hindi mo naman ako tinutulungan kasi.”

“Of course not! Hindi ba I am helping you excel in class? Hindi ba pagtulong yun? Napapansin ka niya dahil dun.”

“You need to hook us up. Gusto kong mag-level up.” Isinubo nito ang tacos at kinagat iyon. Lumampas ang ketchup sa bibig nito. Claire pulled out a tissue on her bag and dabbed it on her friend’s face.

Sweet nya. Sandra appreciated the gesture.

“Wait lang, Sands, wag ka kasi malikot.” patuloy ito sa pagpunas. “There.”

“Thank you.”

“It’s my birthday next week, Sands.” pagpapaalala nito sa kaibigan.

“Oo nga pala! Sorry, muntik ko nang makalimutan. So, anong plano mo?”

“Wala. Sa bahay lang ako.” nagyuko ito ng ulo.

“Ano ka ba naman? That’s your birthday. You should be able to enjoy it.”

“Wala naman kasi akong pera.” that’s true. Pati kasi allowance na tinanggap niya sa scholarship program ay halos masaid na niya. Gusto sana niyang umuwi ng Tarlac pero wala siyang pamasahe. She was broke.

“That should be the least of your worries. I’m filthy rich remember?”

“Sands—“ hinawakan nito ang kamay niya.

“Ako na ang bahala, dude. Gusto mong pumunta sa Star City?”

“Nakakahiya sa’yo.”

“Huwag ka ng maarte, please? Iiwan kita dito.”

“Okay, okay. Hindi pa.”

“Let’s go there.” She wasn’t suggesting. Nag-uutos ang tinig nito.

“Are you asking me out on a date, Sands?” nakangiting sambit ng kausap. Of course, she was just joking.

“Yup, friendly date with my promdi bff.” Inihilig niya ang ulo sa balikat nito. They were still holding hands. Kung madumi lang siguro ang mga isip ng nga nagdaraan, iisipin ng mga ito na mag-jowa sila.

Claire felt like jelo. Oh, she loved it kapag ganito sila kalapit sa isa’t-isa. Ilang beses na rin naman silang naghawak ng kamay pero hindi pa rin sya sanay sa warmth na dala nito. Magkasing laki sila ng palad nito and the only difference is that Sandra’s hands were as soft as cotton. Minsan sa library, pinagsalikop nila ang kanilang mga palad and they were surprised to know how they fit.

“Alam mo kung anong sabi nila tungkol sa kamay?” si Claire.

“No.” Si Sandra.

“Sabi nila, the spaces in our hands daw were made to fit the fingers of the person to whom we’ll spend the rest of our lives with.”

“So you mean to say, tayo ang magkakatuluyan in the future?” biro nito. “Yuck! Walang talu-talo, friend.” the brat protested.

“Why not?” she barked back. “Joke lang.” then poked half-heartedly.

“Jokes are half-meant.”

“Joke nga lang, eh.” Si Claire ulit.

“Sige ganito na lang, if I turn 60 at wala pa akong lifetime jowa, tayo na lang ha?”

Claire knows she was just kidding pero hindi niya napigilang kiligin. Pero siyempre, hindi niya sasabihin iyon. “Loko, straight ako!”

“If you say so.”

Tumunog ang telepono ng katabi and it jolted her. Parang usok, biglang nawala ang daydreams niya. Sandra excused herself to take the phone call. Pumuwesto ito sa labas ng canteen. Pagkatapos ng ilang saglit, bumalik ito sa mesa nila at masayang nagkwento.

“It’s my dad. Matatagalan pa daw siya bago umuwi.”

“Eh, bakit ka masaya?”

“Kasi I am free as a bird until sembreak. Pwede akong pumunta kahit saan ko gustuhin.”

“How about your mom?”

“Oh, she’s already based in Cebu—“ sadya niyang ibinitin ang sasabihin. “Pastilan!” ginaya niya ang expression ng ina.

“Hindi mo sila namimiss?”

Hindi agad ito nakasagot. Her mind drifted some place else. Nakita nya ang sarili nyang nakaupo sa pinakamataas na baitang ng magarbo nilang staircase. Ang mga magulang niya ay nasa living room at nagsisigawan.

“How many times do I have to tell you Zenaida na hindi ko pwedeng ibigay ang lahat ng mga hinihingi mo!” hawak nito ang telepono upang kontakin ang sekretarya nito to check on his schedule. Mainit ang ulo nito dahil ang trabaho’y hanggang leeg na. Dinagdagan pa ng pagkakasakit ng asawa.

“Alam ko yon, but it’s your daughter’s 7th birthday next week. You have to be there!” singhal nito. Her hands shaking at ang mata ay namumugto. “Please Eduardo!”

“Maita is sick and the kids are worried, hindi ako pwedeng umalis!” inihagis nito ang invitation sa sahig. “Won’t you listen to reason?”

“Matagal na akong nagtitiis, Eduardo. Matagal na kitang iniintindi!”

“Ganun naman pala, ano pa’t nag-iinarte ka dyan?”

“I want you to do this for Mikaela!” her mother cried again. Naawa ito sa anak.

“Bibilhan ko na lang siya anuman ang hilingin niya.” Umupo ito sa couch at ibinaon ang ulo sa dalawang palad.

“That is not what she needs. Ikaw ang kailangan niya!”

“Damn it! That’s all I can give her today. This is all I can give to this family dahil—“

“Dahil kabit lang ako at pangalawang pamilya mo lang kami? Put@ng-in@ mo Eduardo!” kinuha nito ang mamahaling flower vase at inihagis ito sa direksyon ng ama niya. Her mother was livid at pinagtatapon pa nito ang ibang antique sa bahay.

Her father was ticked. Hinawakan nito ang ina at nang hindi pa tumigil, he slapped her twice. Nabuwal ang ina malapit sa mini bar.

Simula nun, madalang pa sa leap year kung magpakita ito sa kanya. Then she started hating him. She started hating his name na kakabit ng pangalan niya. Martinez.

When she was 12, her mom shuttled back and forth from Manila to Cebu. Naging aktibo itong opisyal ng DSWD. Then she started hating her, too. She started hating the fact na hinayaan siya nitong lumaki sa piling ni Yaya Adelle.

No wonder that she became a rebel in high school at magpahanggang ngayon. No, she doesn’t miss them.


“Hindi.” matipid niyang sagot matapos maglakbay ang isip niya.

“Hey…” Claire held her chin and playfully pinched it. “Huwag ka ng malungkot ha?”

“Of course ‘cause we have a date on Saturday!” yun lang at niyakap niya ang katabi sa baywang. “Let’s go, bff.”

“Huy, yung paperweight mo!”

“Yaan mo yan diyan!”

Maya-maya, Pat came to have her lunch. Sa hindi kalayuan, she noticed something ultra familiar. Ang black bag. Nilapitan niya ito and saw the future of marketing. It was Sandra’s paperweight. Biglang umahon ang kuryusidad sa puso niya. She took it and examined it. And then was blown away by the words written on it.

A poem written for me?

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PostSubject: Re: These Four Corners (story by Lj)   Sat 01 Mar 2014, 1:52 pm

Just dropping by to say hi to everyone. I'm bored at home. ='(

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PostSubject: Re: These Four Corners (story by Lj)   Mon 03 Mar 2014, 5:22 am

To the one's who think their teacher is hot. ^_^

Chapter 15

Bumusina ang puting Honda CRV ni Sandra sa tapat ng apartment. Binuksan niya ang pinto ng passenger’s seat at bumaba mula rito.

Sumilip si Claire mula sa bintana at saka kumaway sa bagong dating. She was happy to see her. Sandra was wearing a purple statement shirt, capri shorts and a white Lacoste sneakers. Nakatali ang buhok nito at preskong presko ang mukha.

Claire stared at herself on the mirror and was satisfied on what she saw. Tamang-tama lang ang suot niyang skinny jeans and plain v-neck shirt. Pagkatapos nun ay kinatok na niya ang pintuan ni prof.

“She’s here, prof.”

“Okay palabas na rin ako.”

Prof came out of her room a few seconds later. Mukha itong bata sa get-up. Pinili nyang magsuot ng maiksing-maiksing shorts at hoodie tops. Nakalugay ang buhok nitong bagong gupit. Nagpalagay pa ito ng bangs.

Sabay silang lumabas ng bahay. Nagulat si Sandra sa nakita. Wala sa plano nitong isama ang instructor sa lakad nila. Anak ng pating, I should’ve brought my Hummer!

“Sands, san uupo si Pat?” kumindat ito sa kanya.

“Ah…you guys sit at the back. Sa tabi ako ni Mang Carding.” She stammered.

Ilang saglit pa ay binabaybay na nila ang daan papuntang Star City. Habang tumatakbo ang sasakyan, the three girls chatted about what happened to them in the past week. Nag-enjoy sila habang ginagawa ito. They were laughing all through-out. It was 4pm when they reached their destination.

Sandra paid for the tickets despite Pat’s insistence to pay for her own. Nagtalo pa ang dalawa sa ticket booth. Kung hindi lang mahaba ang pila ay tiyak na inabot sila duon ng siyam-siyam. Claire, as usual, served as their referee.

Una nilang sinakyan ang Vikings. Prof sat in between the youngsters at halos mabingi siya sa sigawan ng dalawa habang nagtataas-baba ang ride. Takot na takot ang mga ito. In fact, nanginginig pa ng kusa ang mga paa nito every time it plunges down. They were so exhausted afterwards pero tuloy pa rin sila sa tawanan.

Sunod nilang pinuntahan ang “Gabi ng Lagim.” Ah, that scared the hell out of Pat at hindi niya napigilang yakapin si Sandra duon. She thought she was really brave dahil tuluy-tuloy lang ito sa paglakad.

“Hey, sakay kayo ng ferris wheel!” yaya ni Claire. It was almost closing time at wala na masyadong tao. They can have the ride all by themselves.

“Tara!” game na game si Sandra.

Sumunod lang sa kanila si Pat.

“Kayo na lang kaya?” si Claire ulit. “I have to call tatay pa, eh.”

Tumingin si Sandra kay Pat at nang walang makitang pagtutol, she held her hand saka sumakay sa enclosed ferris wheel. They sat there facing each other.

“Thanks for coming, Pat.”

“You’re welcome . Sobrang saya nga diba?” Tumango lang ang kausap. “Thanks for treating Clarita very well. Hindi ko akalain na magkakasundo kayo.”

May rason kung bakit kami magkalapit ano? Ikaw. Dense. Tuod. Manhid. Cute mo!


“Prof—?“

“Yes?”

“Do you like me?”

“What?”

“As a person, do you like me?”

“Well, when you played the piano a long, long time ago, I started to like you na. But—“

“But?”

“I mean, I hate your guts, Sandra. I really do.” She didn’t know where that came from. I should've been more tactful.

“I’m not that bad.” She protested. “Makulit lang, may rason naman,eh.”

“Anong rason?”

“Wala.” Bigla siyang natorpe. She couldn’t stand her stare. Pakiramdam niya ay isang ice-cream na matutunaw. “Maybe, I was just hungry for attention, your attention.”

Si prof naman ang biglang kinabahan. Ninenerbyos siya sa takbo ng usapan. “There are other ways to get my attention, Sandra.”

Sandra inched closer and closer and closer. When Pat said her last question ay magkatabing-magkatabi na sila. Just like how they were inside the music room. Magkadikit ang mga balikat nila.

“Can I borrow your hand, please?” si Sandra. “Just a sec.”

Prof offered her hand to the little horror na tingin niya ay unti-unti nang tinutubuan ng halo. “Here.”

Then they held hands.

“Alam mo ba prof? I long to hold someone’s hand like this.” Namumungay ang mga mata nito. She was so serious. She was holding on to her teacher’s hand the same way she held on to the piano. May fondness siyang naramdaman para rito.

And prof felt it, too. Hindi nga lang niya mabigyan ng pangalan ang nararamdaman ngunit natitiyak niyang ibang klase ang dating ng pagkakadikit nilang iyon. She wanted to bit her nails para mawala lang ang tensyon.

“Why?”

“Do you want the truth, Pat?”

“Sure!”

“You can’t handle the truth.” She pinched her teacher’s nose. Cute na cute sya duon. “Pilitin mo muna ako.”

Patricia exploded in a hearty laugh. Then she leaned her head sideways touching Sandra’s head. “Ang funny mo. Has it something to do with the poem?”

“Did you read it?”

“Yeah, I took home your paperweight.” She winked.

“You did?”

“I figured I need something rubbish—“ she held out a sigh. “… and sweet in my room.”

The brat smiled coyly. Pinamulahan ito ng mukha. Aww, may pag-asa! She convinced herself.

“Then, I could probably stay in your room sometimes.” She said flirtatiously. She noticed na napalunok ito sa sinabi niya. She wet her own lips at nahihiyang nagbaba ito tingin. “Then maybe we can do something rubbish and sweet at the same time.” she boldly said sa gitna ng pag-aalangan at kaba.

Little did she know, prof started to feel a little tensed, too. May mga paru-parong nagliliparan sa sinapupunan niya egging her to scream and shriek and kiss the girl. It’s been three years since she did it at konti na lang at bibigay na ang katawang lupa niya.

“What are you actually telling me?“ Si Pat.

“Things you should probably want to find out but too scared to ask?” she bit her lips once again and looked at prof intently. Tinitignan ang reaksyon nito sa mga flirtatious remarks nya.

“Sandra, you are one troubled kid.”

“Yeah, but at least I’m not the one who’s trembling.” Sandra was carressing prof’s hair now. Iniipit ang mga hibla ng buhok sa likod ng tenga nito.

Sh!t. Prof thought to herself. Don’t come any closer or I’ll totally lose it. Kakasakit ka ng bangs!


“Stop! I’m trembling because it’s cold.”

But Sandra wanted none of it. Ginagap niya ang mukha nito and plant a tender kiss on her cheeks. Iiwas pa sana si prof but it was too late. It was just a simple kiss on the cheeks, alright, but it sent shivers down her spine. Oh, my gosh. Asan si Batman when you needed him?

“Pat—“

“Yes?”

“Can I—“

“Yes you can, please.” Wala sa sarili niyang sagot.

Sandra was about to dive for another kiss when they heard a thud. Tapos na ang ride. They looked at each other and smiled. Magka-holding hands silang lumabas ngunit bigla ring bumitiw when they saw a bunch of teenagers approaching.

Talk about timing. Sandra thought.

Mula sa glass window sa ikalawang palapag, hindi inaalis ni Claire ang tingin sa dalawang taong bumaba ng ferris wheel. She saw everything.The kiss? The stare? And she thought she could die at that moment.

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Current Status: Done being nice.
I am feeling..: Furious

PostSubject: Re: These Four Corners (story by Lj)   Wed 05 Mar 2014, 12:38 am

Just like Pat, I'm really not in good terms with tequila. But you know, it's fun being drunk and wasted sometimes esp. if someone's right there to carry you around. Haha.


Chapter 16

Pagkababa ng ferris wheel nilinga nila ang paligid looking for Claire. She wasn’t there. Nang hindi ito makita lumakad pa sila ng kaunti. Dinala sila ng mga paa malapit sa Surf Dance and sat there. Sandra glanced at her wriswatch and saw that it’s almost midnight.

“Guys!” tawag ni Claire. “Musta ang ride?” umupo ito sa bakanteng espasyo sa pagitan ng dalawang kaibigan at inakbayan ang mga ito.

“Oh, it was nothing short of fantastic.” One corner of Sandra’s lips turned upwards kasabay ng pagtaas ng kilay nito. She could still smell prof’s perfume. “Hindi ba prof?”

Natilihan ang dalaga. “Ah… yeah!”

Itinuon ni Claire ang pansin sa mga taong unti-unti nang lumalabas mula sa amusement park. “Uwi na tayo?” yaya niya sa mga kasama na himalang hindi nagtalo. End of the world na?

Tumayo si Sandra at nagpagpag ng dumi sa capri shorts niya. “The party has just started, my friends.” nasa mga mata nito ang excitement. “Tara, inom tayo!”

Sabay na tumayo sina Patricia at Claire. Pinagmasdan nila ang kasama at tiniyak kung seryoso ito sa sinabi. Apparently, she had it all planned. “I meant what I said guys, so let’s go.” Then she sprinted towards the parking lot kung saan nanduon ang kotse. Naidlip ng kaunti si Mang Carding kaya’t tinapik pa niya ito. Agad namang nagising ang matanda.

“Saan tayo, ma’am?” tanong nito habang nagpupungas ng mata.

“Manong, Makati tayo.” utos nito sa driver na agad binuhay ang makina ng sasakyan. “Hard Rock.”

“Yes, ma’am!”

Lampas na sa alas-dose nang marating nila ang bar. Maraming tao sa loob, maingay. Sandra lead the pack at nagtungo ito sa second floor. Lumapit ang waiter upang kuhanin ang kanilang order. Maya-maya pa bumalik ito bitbit ang dalawang bote ng tequila. Nawalan ng kulay ang mukha ni Claire habang sinapo naman ni Patricia ang noo. She’s not in good terms with tequila.

“What are we waiting for?” binuksan nito ang dalawang bote at sinalinan ang shot glass.”Walang lamangan ha?” inabot nito ang baso sa birthday celebrator.

Kinuha ni Claire ang baso at nilagok ang laman nito. Napangiwi ito nang sumayad ang alak at gumuhit sa lalamunan niya. Oh, it was her first at gusto niyang masuka.

Nagsalin ulit si Sandra at inabot ito kay prof. “Your turn, miss.” Her lips flaunted a devilish grin.

May ilang sandali pa bago tuluyang pumasok sa isip niya ang pinagapagawa ni Sandra.“Alright, pero hanggang tatlong shot lang ha?” pakiusap nito.

“That’s not going to happen, prof.” Sandra said. Her voice was a mixture of conviction and irritation. Wala siyang balak na iuwi ang dalawa ng hindi lasing.

Lumipad ang mga oras na hindi nila namamalayan. Ubos na ang dalawang bote ng alak at tinamaan na ang dalawa. While Claire was quiet at mabigat na ang mata, prof was embarrassing herself. Sobra ang daldal nito at humahagikgik kahit wala namang nakakatawa. Oh, she was crazy. Ang tatlong shot ay naging lima, hanggang sa naging pito, sampu. Hindi na mabilang ni Sandra kung gaano na karami ang nainom nito. Malapit na sa puwetan ng bote ang alak when Patricia’s energy started to dwindle down.

“Alam mo ba kung kelan ako huling nag-lasheng, ha, Shandra?” si prof na halos mabulul-bulol na. “Three yearsh ago na…hik!”

“Haha…lasing ka na, Pat!” saway nito. Pilit nitong itinatayo ang guro mula sa upuan. “Uwi na kita..”

“Hinde…kaya ko pa, Shandra.”

“Ang tigas ng ulo mo, de Rios.” Bumaling ito ng tingin kay Claire. Nakapikit na ang mata nito at wala na rin sa huwisyo. Gusto niyang pagalitan ang sarili kung bakit pa nilasing ang mga ito. Now she had to carry them to her car. Tumawag siya ng dalawang waiter para buhatin ang kaklase papunta sa kotse.

“Kaya ko pa…hik! Kashalanan to ni… Ruth, eh… hik!” halinhinan ang mga tawa at hikbi nito.

“Sino si Ruth?” takang tanong ni Sandra although she had a feeling na hindi ito basta kung sino lang. Pat’s limbs was all over the table at nakasubsob ang mukha niya sa pagitan nito. Ini-angat niya ang ulo nito. “Sino nga ‘yun,Pat?”

“Jo..wa… ko.”

She was stunned! She had a girlfriend! Sigaw ni Sandra sa sarili. May kabang umahon mula sa dibdib niya. Sa kilos at gawi nito ay hindi niya mapagkakamalang magkaka-girlfriend. Oo, whenever she fantasizes, iniisip niyang kabaro niya ito, pero sa tutoong buhay, hindi niya inakalang may tendencies talaga ito.

Nilapitan niya ito at hinawakan sa baywang. She’s decided to take her home dahil matindi na ang tama nito. Nakaangat na ang puwitan nito sa bangko nang tumingin ito sa kanya sa namumungay na mga mata. Her eyes drowned in her own tears.

“Okay ka lang? Kaya mo pa?” wala itong nakuhang sagot. Instead, prof looked down and pinned her mouth right at Sandra’s belly. “Prof, prof don’t you dare—“ hindi nito natapos ang sasabihin.

Bb…bb…bwarkkkkkkkkkkkkk! She puked to Sandra’s horror! Basang-basa ang damit nito pati na ang Lacoste sneakers!

Anak ka ng teteng, Pat, ginawa mo pa kong kubeta! Nilapitan siya ng dalawang security personnel at tinulungang ibaba si prof mula sasecond floor. She went to the restroom para pahirin ang dumi nito sa katawan. Pagkatapos, dumeretso ito sa kotse ng walang imik. Agad na pinaharurot ni Mang Carding ang CRV.

“Bahay tayo, manong.” sinulyapan niya ang kasamang natutulog sa likuran ng sasakyan. She cursed herself for putting them in that situation. She felt selfish ngunit hindi pa rin maialis sa isip ang kuryusidad tungkol sa past relationship ng instructor. Sa pagod, isinandal niya ang ulo sa headrest ng sasakyan.

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PostSubject: Re: These Four Corners (story by Lj)   Wed 05 Mar 2014, 12:41 am

I have a treat for you tomorrow. Hopefully, hindi ako i mix-martial-arts ni Poi. Haha.

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PostSubject: Re: These Four Corners (story by Lj)   Wed 05 Mar 2014, 6:42 am

can't wait

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PostSubject: Re: These Four Corners (story by Lj)   Thu 06 Mar 2014, 12:37 am

To my sweet, sexy thing. Thank you for your tenderness, babe. Haha. ^_^

Chapter 17

Dali-daling binuksan ni Yaya Adelle ang malaking gate ng mansyon. Pasado alas-dos na rin iyon at nagtatahulan na ang mga aso ng kanilang kapitbahay. Halata sa mukha ng kasambahay ang matinding pag-aalala nang salubungin sila nito.

“Yaya pakidala yung naka-pantalon sa guestroom.” Utos niya rito.

“Okay ka lang ba, Sandra? Anong nangyari sa damit mo?”

“I’m fine yaya.” pagkatapos ay bumaling sa driver. “Manong, yung naka short, sa kwarto ko na lang.” Hindi niya sinasadya iyon. Dalawa ang guestroom sa bahay. Ang isa ay nai-convert na niya bilang makeshift recording studio at natitiyak nyang may ilang araw nang hindi nililinis iyon. Ang isa naman na katabi ng kwarto ng mommy nya ay malinis nga, maliit naman ang kama at iisa lang ang kakasya.

Agad namang tumalima ang driver.

Pagkatapos magbilin ay tumakbo na ito sa loob ng bahay at agad na nagtungo sa banyo. She took shower at nagsabon ng maigi. Masarap ang pakiramdam ng tubig sa kanyang katawan. She felt refreshed. Tumutulo pa ang buhok nang lumabas ito ng banyo. She went straight to her walking closet at nagsuot ng pantulog. She chose to wear a pair of pajama at puting Jockey sando.

Pagbalik nya sa kama, she saw Patricia lying there. Malapit sa kanyang side table ay isang bucket ng maligamgam na tubig at towel. Agad syang umupo sa gilid nito at pinagmasdang maigi ang natutulog. She was wasted. Gulong-gulo ang buhok nito at bahagya pang natakpan ang mukha. Maingat niyang hinawi ‘yon para hindi ito magising.

Oh, and she really sleeps like a baby. Parang walang pakialam sa mundo. Muli syang nakadama ng affection para rito. One that is so strong at hindi niya ito makayang pigilan. She liked her the very first time she saw her. Her cyber friends call it hero-worship o infatuation. Her silly heart called it love. Love? Kailan pa niya natutunan ang salitang iyon? Hindi ba’t matagal na siyang hindi naniniwala duon ever since she saw her mommy drowned herself with alcohol when her father left and chose his legitimate family? Pero wala siyang magagawa. That’s what she feels for her.

Maingat niyang inalis ang damit nito hanggang sa undies na lang nito ang matira. Kinuha niya ang towel ay marahang ipinunas iyon sa katawan nito. She was trying very hard to stop herself from ripping off her remaining clothes. Nang matapos, itinaas nito ang kumot hanggang sa leeg nito. She was about to stand up para kumuha ng damit ngunit bigla siyang hinawakan nito sa kamay.

“Don’t leave me, please.” mahina ngunit klarong pakiusap nito.

Napahugot ng hininga si Sandra. Yumuko siya at inihilig ang pisngi niya sa dibdib nito. She could hear her heartbeat. How she wished na siya ang nilalaman nuon. Idinantay niya ang braso sa tiyan nito. Pat was murmuring something na hindi niya maintindihan. Nag-angat siya ng mukha and saw that she was sobbing. Umayos siya ng higa hanggang magkapantay na ang mga mukha nila.

“Sssshhh…. it’s alright, Pat. Nandito lang ako.” To see her cry like that is the last thing she’d ever want. Patuloy nyang inalo ito. She kissed her forehead gently, tenderly. Nagrambol ang feelings nya. She was happy dahil sa intimacy nila. She was sad dahil sa malungkot ito. She was mad dahil may taong nanakit dito. “You need to rest, okay?”

“Kiss me.” she spoke again. “…please.” sa pangalawang pagkakataon ay nakiusap ito.

Napatanga lang sya rito at hindi malaman ang gagawin. Sandra would love to kiss her pero hindi sa ganuong sitwasyon. She doesn’t want to take advantage of the situation. Pero iba ang sinasabi ng puso niya. She wanted to taste the sweetness of her mouth. Dati pa. Dating-dati pa. She will not forgive herself if she passes up on this one.

And so finally she did it. She pressed her body towards her at inilapat ang labi niya sa labi nito. She felt her body tremble like a child. Sa una ay marahan at maingat but when Pat wrapped her arms around her nape ay nawala na siya sa sarili. She kissed her deeper. Hungrier. Sexier. Her tongue explored every part of her na halos ikabaliw niya. Pakiramdam niya’y lumulutang siya sa hangin. She was soaring high above the clouds and beyond. And as if wala nang mas intense pa ruon, Pat responded by letting out an erotic moan.

Ang mga kamay niya ay hindi na mapirmi sa isang lugar. She touched her everywhere at bawat daanan ng kamay niya ay tila apoy na tumutupok sa kanilang dalawa. Ilang saglit pa, both of them were naked. Sandra marveled at her teacher’s body at hindi ito makapaniwala sa ganda nito. She was a masterpiece at kung sino mang lumikha sa kanya does not really belong to the world of mortals.

Her love and desire for her spilled like running water. Wala itong pagsidlan. No reservations. She was a river flowing, rushing to the ocean where it belongs.

Then she found herself suckling on prof’s nipples. Lalong nag-echo ang ungol nito sa buong silid. It got louder and louder nang sabayan niya ito ng haplos sa ibabaw ng puson pabalik sa dibdib. They were both gasping for air. Both sweating. Panting. Moaning. Singing in tune to the music of two people consuming a wonderful love affair.

Make me yours as I make you mine, love. She chanted.

Sandra’s kisses went down to her belly, then to her thighs at duon sa pagkababae nito kung saan naipon ang lahat ng pananabik. Pat was arching her back while her tongue tickled the crack of her sex. Like a see-saw, the soft and powerful flesh danced up and down her love button. Sandra felt her readiness. She was damp. She was hot. She was delirious and beautiful. She can already already take her. But Sandra’s mouth struggled to move away from the sweetness Pat was making. Ganun din naman ito na nakasabunot pa ang dalawang kamay sa buhok niya. Her toes curled up in sweet desire especially when her tongue plunged into her honey pot over and over. Oh, she can devour her forever.

Then, finally, she entered her.

Gosh, I love her. Usal niya sa sarili habang pinag-iisa niya ang kanilang katawan. She thrusted delicately, lovingly until Pat raised her buttocks in the air wildly. Napahawak pa ito ng mahigpit sa balikat niya as if her life depended on it.

And the fire burned even further. Pat picked herself up para sumandal sa headboard ng kama. Sandra followed and pinned her there gently yet passionately. Their eyes turned a shade darker indicating their hightened desire. At duon sa ilalim ng isang van Gogh painting, the world turned deliciously upside down.

After a long, long time, Pat felt loved again. She felt the sweetness of lovemaking. Para siyang dahong idinuduyan sa hangin. She flowed like crazy at alam nyang magma-mantsa iyon sa bedsheet ng kaniig. But she didn’t care anymore. She’s a tigress running free. Kung sino mang pangahas ang gumising sa kanya must be some lover. At gusto nyang umagos ng paulit-ulit.

Normal na ang paghinga nito when Sandra fell to her side. She was tired physically but her heart and soul wanted more. There’s throbbing down her sex ngunit alam niyang it would have to wait. Nanatili siyang nakatingin sa kisame, smiling. It was her first time with a girl and she can’t believe she made her climax thrice.

Muli siyang napatingin dito. There was still some track of tears on her cheeks ngunit nakangiti na ang labi nito. Everything was a blur. Ngunit isang bagay lang ang nasiguro niya. What she felt for her was real.

I love you, highness.That was her last words bago siya nakatulog.

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PostSubject: Re: These Four Corners (story by Lj)   Thu 06 Mar 2014, 2:31 am

To the 15 (?) people reading this story, super thank you. I hope you enjoy reading the story as much as I enjoyed writing it.

You know, I made this for someone to try to win her back. Sabi niya kasi favorite niya yung Loving Anabelle and she's fascinated with writers. Ako naman si hopeless romantic, I grabbed my laptop and started creating the love story of Sandra, Pat and Claire. Half-way through the story, I learned that she left already. Hindi ko na sana tatapusin but then a friend of mine told me to just go on with it. Sayang naman daw. She even suggested the title. Soon, I found myself smiling and laughing again. It became my therapy, my personal coping mechanism. While it's true that we didn't get a happy ending. But with Sandra, Pat and Claire? I just knew they deserve better than that.

Love conquers all. You'll see.  bouncing 

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PostSubject: Re: These Four Corners (story by Lj)   Fri 07 Mar 2014, 4:13 pm

nice story, Lj :)

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PostSubject: Re: These Four Corners (story by Lj)   Sat 08 Mar 2014, 12:37 am

kristel wrote:
nice story, Lj :)

The real one or this novel? Haha. Anyhow, thanks Kristel. Super thank you for reading this.

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PostSubject: Re: These Four Corners (story by Lj)   Sat 08 Mar 2014, 12:47 am

Sa lahat ng brat sa mundo who actually get what they want not by begging but by just being irresistible.

Chapter 18

Tunog ng telepono ang nagpasiging sa mahimbing na tulog ni Patricia. Nang imulat niya ang mga mata, isang antique na lampshade ang nakita niya sa may gilid ng kama. Sa tapat nito ay may nakapatong na photoframe ngunit natitiyak nyang hindi sa kanya iyon. Lumingon siya sa kabilang gilid ng higaan at naaninag nito ang isa pang sidetable kung saan naroon ang cellphone niya na kasalukuyang umiilaw.

Nasaan ako?

Dahan-dahan niyang ibinaba ang kumot and she was mortified to learn that she wasn’t wearing anything beneath the satiny mattress. Agad niyang nilinga ang paligid upang humanap ng maisusuot. Sa di kalayuan, nakita nya ang kulay dilaw na bathrobe na nakasabit sa upuan ng study table. She jumped out of bed at nagmamadaling sinuot iyon. Bumalik siya sa kama at pinilit alalahanin ang mga nangyari sa nakalipas na gabi.

Then she saw her thighs. May mga kiss marks ito. Sinilip nya ang dibdib and she saw how swollen they were. Biglang-bigla, images of her steamy encounter with a stranger appeared in her consciousness. Bigla ang relisasyon that the lover was no stranger at all!

Sandra. I made hot sex with Sandra.

Sinapo niya ang nananakit na ulo sa pagka-dismaya. Tumatanggi ang isip nya na tanggapin ang mga nangyari. She felt guilt, shame and disappointment sa sarili. I should’ve known better. Usal niya. She knew she made mistake.

Natataranta man, ay sinikap nyang bumalik sa tamang wisyo. She quickly formulated a plan kung paano haharapin ang problema. Denial. Matapos basahin ang laman ng text message ay agad itong lumabas ng kwarto.

“Magandang umaga po, Miss Patricia.” Bati ni Yaya Adelle sa kanya habang bumababa siya sa spiral staircase ng mansyon. Naging matipid ang pagtugon niya rito. “Nasa pool area po si Sandra. Dun na lamang kayo magtuloy at ikukuha ko kayo ng almusal.”

“Salamat ho.”

Pat was barefooted pero hindi niya ininda iyon. Makintab at malinis ang marmol na sahig ng bahay at wala halos alikabok. Kahit na siguro lamok ay madudulas dito. Ilang saglit pa ay narating na nito sa lanai na malapit sa kulay asul na Olympic-sized pool. Naabutan niya ruong lumalangoy si Sandra.

“Where are my clothes?” mahinahon niyang tanong sa dalaga. She really had no intention na magpaliguy-ligoy pa.

“As per house rules, you’re supposed to greet me good morning first.” Tumigil ito sa paglangoy at ipinatong ang mga kamay sa gutter ng pool. Nakatingala ito sa kanya at ngumiti nang makita ang bathrobe na pag-aari niya. “You looked great in my clothes.”

Nanatili siyang nakatayo habang pilit hinihila ng kanang kamay niya ang laylayan ng roba. It was small for her size na halos makita nang kaluluwa nya. Isa pa, nahihiya siyang makita ang kiss marks nito sa hita. Her left hand lingered sa pagka-buhol ng nito.

“I don’t know what happened so please give me my clothes?” pagmamaang-maangan niya. She struggled to keep her cool. Hindi iyon nakaligtas sa paningin ni Sandra.

“Pwede ba pakitigilan mo na yang pagpipilit mong magtago sa maliit na damit na yan.” Ngumisi ito. “I’ve already seen you naked, prof.”

“Oh—“ naeskandalo sya sa sinabi nito.

“And no offense, pareho lang naman tayong may ganyan. Yun lamang, di hamak na mas maganda iyong sa akin.” dahan-dahan itong umahon sa pool.

Patricia sucked her breath when she saw her rose from the water. Nakasuot ito ng itim na string bikini na talaga namang nagpatingkad sa kanyang kaseksihan. She has curves on the right places. Ang mga butil ng tubig na nagkalat sa katawan nito ay tila ice droplets na masarap halikan at paglaruan. Hindi napigilan ni Patricia na balikan how that gorgeous body gyrated on top of her. Naloloka sya sa parteng iyon. She found herself wanting to go back to bed with her. Trap her in her arms and make love to her. Pero sinaway nya isip dahil may acting job pa siyang dapat intindihin.

“Walang kaso sa akin kung binihisan mo ako. No need to explain—“

“No, I was the one who ripped off your clothes.” Kinuha niya ang tuwalya at pinunasan ang sarili. Sinuot nito ang over-sized sunglasses saka humiga sa folding beach chair.

“Look I do not know what you are talking about. So, spare me from your practical jokes, okay?” she pretended to be bored with the discussion.

Marahas nitong iniahon ang likod sa pagkakahiga at tumingin sa kanya. “Do I really have to give you a blow-by-blow account ng mga nangyari kagabi?”

“No, I just need my clothes!” bulyaw nya sa kausap. “Kung ayaw mong sabihin, sa katulong ko na lang siguro aalamin.”

Tatalikod na sana siya para iwanan ang ito nang muli itong magsalita.

“You were wasted last night.” panimula nito. “Lasing na lasing ka and you threw up on it pati na rin sa damit ko. You were crazy. You kept talking about some crazy b!tch that I swore to God gusto kong sampalin sa mukha. I took you home. I was about to put clean clothes on you when—“ she paused for awhile para huminga. The thought of what happened last night sent sexy discomfort in between her legs.

“I don’t remember.” Si Pat. She was determined to stick to her plan. Deny. Deny deny. Kung hanggang kailan ay hindi niya alam. But she knew Sandra isn’t that stupid.

“…you grabbed my hand at sinabi mong huwag kitang iwan.” Naiiyak ito sa inis at inihagis ang tuwalya kung saan. “Then we kissed, damn it. At hindi isang ordinaryong halik yun dahil naging mapangahas tayo. Next thing I knew, we were making love!” then she let out some expletives na nuon lamang niya nakuhang masambit. “Don’t deny that! Lasing ka lang pero wala kang amnesia!”

We made love. She wanted to repeat that over and over and over hanggang sa matigil ito sa pagtanggi. Gusto niyang sabihin dito that she would love to do that with her sa lalong madaling panahon dahil mahal niya ito. Yes, there’s a medical term for what she felt for her: love.

“You are such an @sshole for making this up!” dinuro niya ito. “You’re getting way out of line. There is no way I’ll have sex with—“

“A girl?” natakatiim bagang ito at sunud-sunod ang ginawang paglunok. Nasasaktan siya sa pagsisinungaling nito. Isa itong ipokrita sa tingin nya at hindi niya mapapalampas iyon. Hindi niya mapapalampas na tapakan nito ang ego niya. “Then who the hell is Ruth?” nakaramdam siya ng pait sa mga bahaging iyon.

The mortified Pat gave her a tiger look . Gusto niyang lamunin ito ng buong-buo. How dare she bring the ghost back to life? Ngunit sa kabila ng galit ay ang pagkapahiya. She knew the vixen has already seen her cards. Pusoy na siya at wala na siyang flashbombs to quell her attacks. Ang tanging magagawa na lang niya ay ang kumaripas ng takbo paalis ng malaking bahay. And she can bet na hindi na muli itong kakausapin.

“Know this Miss Martinez.” sambit niya sa awtorisadong tinig. “Walang nangyari sa atin. Everything is a product of your wild imagination and I will never allow you to manipulate me.” Yun lang at tinalikuran na niya ang kaharap.

Nasa may pinto na siya nang magsalita ulit ang dalaga. “Damn you, Patricia! You are such a hypocrite!” pinagdiinan niya ang salita iyon. “I hope you’re smart enough to explain to yourself why you have hickies on your thighs!” yun lang at muli syang naglangoy sa pool hoping na mabawasan nito ang init ng ulo at ang sakit ng damdaming gawa ng denial ni Patricia.

Nagtatatakbo si prof nang makasalubong sina Yaya Adelle at ang kagigising lang na si Clarita. Nilampasan lamang niya ang dalawa at nagtuloy sa kwarto ni Sandra. Nakita niyang nakapatong na sa kama nito ang mga damit. Dali-dali siyang nagbihis at lumabas ng mansyon.

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PostSubject: Re: These Four Corners (story by Lj)   Tue 11 Mar 2014, 11:34 am

Beautiful

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PostSubject: Re: These Four Corners (story by Lj)   Fri 14 Mar 2014, 7:20 am

Chapter 19

Sabado

“Claire.” Si Sandra.

“Oh, napatawag ka?”

“Puntahan mo ako.”

“Saan?”

“Dito sa labas.”

Sumilip si Claire sa bintana and saw Sandra. Nakahawak ito sa telepono habang nakaupo sa mini-bike nitong kulay itim. Nakapatong ang kaliwang kamay sa helmet nito. She was wearing a jacket na may stud and spikes sa bandang balikat, faded jeans at spaghetti-strapped sando.

“Gusto mong pumasok sa loob?”

“No. Hindi na.”

Napansin ni Claire na nangingitim ang ilalim ng mga mata nito na hudyat ng kakulangan sa tulog. Ang mga mata naman nito ay malamlam at walang kabuhay-buhay.

“Bakit ka nandito, Sands?”

“Samahan mo ko sa Tagaytay. May resthouse kami dun. Tara.”

“At ano naman ang gagawin mo sa Tagaytay?”

“I just need someone to talk to.”

“May problema ka ba?”

“Claire, please—?” she could no longer entertain anymore questions.

“Alright magbibihis lang ako, ha?”

Makalipas ang ilang minuto, bumaba si Claire ng bahay. Ini-lock nito ang pinto and stashed the keys sa ilalim ng isang paso na malapit sa gate ng apartment. Wala si Patricia, ummattend ito ng seminar at sa makalawa pa ang balik.

Claire hopped on the mini-bike at humawak sa beywang ni Sandra. Ilang sandali pa at humarurot na ito.

For the first time Sandra wasn’t herself. Tahimik lang itong nagpapatakbo ng bike. Nagsasalita lang ito para mag-reklamo sa init o kaya naman mag-kumento sa mga kaskaserong motorista. Wala itong imik at madalas ang buntung-hininga.

Claire could smell the scent of her skin. She was wearing Estee Lauder’s Pleasures. She couldn’t help herself but sniff her. Nagrerebulusyon ang puso niya habang ginagawa iyon. Bakit ba ganito ang nararamdaman ko? Tanong niya sa sarili. Mahal niya si Sandra bilang kaibigan. Sa maikling panahon, nakilala niya ito bilang mabait at mapagbigay. Yes, she’s a spoiled brat but her heart was as soft as cotton. Natutuwa siyang kasama nito. Masaya siyang kausap ito. She’ll do anything for her. Hindi pa ba sapat na pruweba ang pagsama niya rito?

Wala pa ring kibo si Sandra nang marating nila ang mga paunang sitio sa Tagaytay. Nililingon lang siya nito para tiyakin na nasa mabuti siyang kalagayan.

“Highlands na tayo. Kapit kang maigi.” Iniwan ng kaliwang kamay ni Sandra ang manibela upang hawakan ang kanang kamay ni Claire. Hinila niya iyon at inilagay sa tiyan niya. “You need to embrace me baka kasi mahulog ka eh, ha?” she warned her. Kasing lamig ng panahon ang tinig nito.

“Ah…eh, sige.” Si Claire. Mahigpit niyang niyakap ang sinapupunan ng kaibigan habang nakahilig ang sintido niya sa likod nito.

So close, yet so far. Yun ang drama nila.

“Okay ka lang?” tanong ni Sandra. Hindi man pinahahalata, she felt so safe with Claire around. She’s her beacon.

“Okay na okay.” sagot ng kaangkas.

Madilim na nang maabot ng dalawa ang resthouse ng mga Martinez sa Tagaytay Highlands. Isa itong two-storey house na idinesenyo kahawig ng doll-house niya sa bahay. Birthday gift ito ng daddy niya sa kanya nuong siya ay labing-tatlong gulang na. She called it Eddie’s Bribe. Paano ba naman, ibinigay iyon sa kanya sa halip na trip to DisneyLand na matagal na niyang hiniling. Kinailangan kasi nitong asikasuhin ang trabaho at as usual, ang una nitong pamilya. The house was the perfect bribe dahil nawiwili siya nuon kina Barbie at Ken.

Pagkatapos iparada ang Harley sa garahe, nagtuloy na sila sa loob ng bahay. Nalula ni Claire sa ganda nito. So this is how the rich and famous lives?At resthouse lang ito? She mused.

“Duon tayo sa second floor. Sa terrace. Let’s order some pizza.”

“Okay.”

“…and tequila.” She poked. Kung pumayag si Claire ay solved na ang problema niya. She really want to get wasted that night para makalimot sa lahat ng sakit na nadarama.

“Not again!” protesta ng kaibigan.

“Okay, kukuha na lang ako ng beer sa ref.” mabigat ang mga paa nitong tinungo ang kumedor.

Maya-maya pa ay nasa terrace na sila. Makapal na makapal ang fog sa labas at talaga namang ginaw na ginaw siya. Ang jacket na pinahiram sa kanya ni Sandra ay hindi sapat to stop her from shaking. Their view was perfect, though. Kitang-kita nila ang mga ilaw ng kotse at bahay na nasa mababang parte ng Tagaytay. It was very quiet, too.

“Ang ganda dito, Sands.” Buong paghanga niyang sambit. It was really her first time to Tagaytay at tuwang-tuwa siya dito.

“Yeah.” Simpleng sagot nito. Nakaupo ito sa malapad na pasimano ng terrace at nakasandal sa hamba nito. She was embracing her ankles habang ang bote ng beer nito ay nakalapag sa may paanan.

Lumapit si Claire at umupo malapit sa bote ng alak. Ang mga paa niya ay nakalaylay sa hangin. Her hands was behind her para tiyakin ang balanse ng kanyang katawan.

“Bakit nga pala tayo nandito?”

Dead calm. Tunog lang ng kuliglig ang maririnig.

“Patricia has been avoiding me.” She said matter-of-factly. Mabigat na mabigat ang loob nito.

“Baka busy lang, Sands.” Claire struggled to find an excuse sa malamig na pakikitungo ng roomie niya sa kaibigan.

“She even refuses to look at me.” Sandra added. Mukha itong namatayan sa ginagawi. Gusto na nitong maglupasay.

Lumingon lang si Claire. Hindi niya matagalan ang ayos nito. Ang dating matapang at kumpiyansadong kaibigan niya turned into a dejected, hopeless puppy dog. Naninikip ang dibdib niya sa awa rito. Gusto niya itong sunggaban at aluin.

“Ano ba kasing nangyari the day after my birthday? Ni si Pat ay ayaw magkwento. Minsan nga naiilang na rin akong kausapin siya sa bahay dahil hindi ko alam ang mga pwede naming pag-usapan.”

“May nangyari sa amin, Claire.” Sandra’s voice cracked. “May nangyari—“

“Ano?” nagtatakang tanong ng kausap.

“We had sex the night of your birthday.” The little horror divulged. Hindi nya gustong maging kiss-and-tell but she has no other choice. If she kept it in her heart, baka sumabog lang sya sa sama ng loob.

“What???” tuluyan nang nagulat si Clarita. Kung hindi lang maayos ang balanse nito ay malamang nahulog na ito sa terasa at ma-DOA. “Ginawa niyo yun?”

“Yes.” Maiksing pakli niya.

“Why?”

“Because….I—“

“Mahal mo na siya?” Claire supplied the missing words that wanted to escape Sandra’s mouth.

“Mahal na mahal, Claire.”

Ang mga katagang yun ay parang palasong tumarak sa kaibuturan ng dibdib niya. Gusto niyang umiyak at magpatihulog mula sa kinauupuan niya. But then again, she had to be strong for her friend. Ah, she felt like the real con artist. Paano niyang nasusuweto ang sarili upang hindi ipakita ang tunay na nararamdaman para rito?

“Alam mong hindi pwede, diba?” si Claire. Trying very hard to choose the right words to say. Ayaw niyang makadagdag sa sama ng loob ng kaibigan. Isang bulate na lang kasi at baka maglaslas na ito ng sarili.

“Bakit hindi?” Sandra scowled.

“Admit it, Sands, a student-professor relationship is not encouraged. Ano pa kung pareho kayong babae na papasok sa isang kumplikadong relasyon? And besides—“ she let the words hang for a second.

“Ano?”

“…wala naman yata siyang nararamdaman para sa iyo.” Maingat niyang pagkakasabi rito. Marahan pa niyang hinagod ang dalawang kamay nitong nasa ibabaw ng tuhod. “Bakit kasi hindi mo ibaling sa iba yang feelings mo? Maghanap ka ng kasing edad mo. Kapareho mo ng gusto. Marami diyan na nagmamahal sayo. You just need to open your eyes.”

“Sinasabi mo lang yan.” Umalis na ito sa pagkakasandal at ginaya ang pagkakaupo ng katabi. Malapit na malapit sila isa’t-isa. The only thing that’s in between them was the half-emptied bottle of beer. “I’m sure those people don’t exist.”

“They do.”

“So, can you give me a name?”

“Ako.”

“What?” Sandra had a hard time believing what she heard.

She cleared her throat. “I’m Claire.”

“Right—“

“And I am in love with you.” Hindi ito nagbibiro. Hindi ito lasing. At lalong hindi-hindi ito nagsisinungaling. She confessed her feelings nang wala sa oras ngunit hindi niya pinagsisisihan iyon.

Then she laid her head on Sandra’s shoulder. Hinayaan niyang pumatak ang luha niya mula sa mata pababa sa mga halamang nakatingala sa kanila. The sky was dark and it’s filled with stars while her foolish heart was filled with fear and pain. But she will never ask her to reciprocate. She knew her heart belongs to someone else. At handa siyang magparaya.

Silence.

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PostSubject: Re: These Four Corners (story by Lj)   Fri 14 Mar 2014, 7:27 am

Chapter 20

Napatingin si Sandra sa kalangitan. How could she not know na may feelings ito sa kanya gayung madalas silang magkasama? At kailan pa siya naging dense? Bakit isinantabi niya ang mga kakaibang obserbasyon niya sa dalaga? Bakit hindi nya yun hinanapan o binigyan ng ibang kahulugan? Isa lang ang sagot. Si Patricia. She was so in love with her at hindi na niya namalayang may ibang tao siyang nasasaktan. At ngayon, dinala niya ang dalaga sa Tagaytay, para ano? Para maging sponge? She felt so disgusted with herself.

“Claire, I’m sorry.” She apologized but even that won’t suffice. Even those words hurt like stingers.

“Huwag kang humingi ng sorry.” Si Claire. Tuluy-tuloy lang ang agos ng luha nito. She didn’t bother to wipe them. Hinayaan lang niya itong bumagsak ng malaya at baka sakaling lumaya rin siya from her heartache.

Ginagap ni Sandra ang palad ng katabi. “I am so insensitive. Hindi ko gustong saktan ka. Mahalaga ka na sa akin because you are my friend.” Her heart was breaking, too. Afterall, hindi magandang feeling ang mag-reject ng taong nagmamahal sa’yo ng tapat.

“Huwag mo akong intindihin.” Binawi nito ang ulo sa pagkahilig at tumitig sa kanya. Pinaglandas nito ang daliri sa matangos na ilong ng dalaga hanggang sa mga labi. “Okay ako.”

“Clarita—“

Claire took Sandra’s hands and kissed them one by one. Ah, how can these tiny hands carry my world?

“At ayokong ganyan ka.” she smiled. “Gusto kong maging masaya ka, Sands. Okay na ako kahit ikaw na lang ang makaramdam ng kasiyahan iyon. Hindi ko ipipilit ang sarili ko sa'yo.”

Sandra looked at Claire and nuzzled her nose, pagkatapos ay niyakap ito ng mahigpit. She's her first true friend at alam niyang she doesn't deserve to fall victim to an unrequited love. Pero wala siyang magagawa but to hold her close and assure her na hindi siya mawawala kahit kailan at kahit sino pa ang dumating. There are no break-ups in friendship.

And as if on cue, a wishing star sliced the dark sky. It passed through the moon and disappeared in an instant like how legends described them. Then she cast a wish for her, for Claire and for Pat. She murmured for a few seconds and stopped to heave a sigh. She found everything ironic.

She's after chasing me. I am chasing after you. I hope that by the end of these chasing times, magiging masaya na tayo. You can run all you want Patricia. And you bet I will run after you until you reach the ends of the world where the only thing that matters is me and you.


Cebu Waterfront Hotel

Pat was all alone in her room. Her roommate, a Cebuana, went outside to grab some coffee. Hindi na siya sumama dahil mas gusto niyang magpahinga. Habang nakahiga, inisip niya ang mga naiwan sa Maynila. The seminar was fun pero hindi talaga siya makatiis sa homesickness. Namimiss nya ang kwarto niya, si Claire, si Ma’am Liza, ang faculty room and unfortunately, pati si Sandra.

She couldn’t stop thinking about what happened between them. She was drunk, she had no control of herself pero tama ang dalaga, she remembers everything. Alam niyang if she’d said no ay titigil ito sa ginagawa. But she didn’t do it. She was the one who pulled the trigger and she was the one who reached the heavens at hindi lang once but thrice!

Pinamulahan siya ng mukha duon. Sandra was wonderful that night. The way she loved her is so much similar to the way she played the piano: delicate, skillful and utterly magnificent. And she felt like a work of art that night.

Pero mali, eh. Sabi ng utak niya. She had no choice but to keep distance dahil sa tuwing nakikita niya ito’y gusto niyang magtampisaw sa batis ng kaligayahan na kasama ito. Gusto niyang sumibasib dito ng halik. She makes her feel hungry at hindi niya alam kung paano pakakalmahin ang sarili. The feeling is totally foreign to her because even her ex-girlfriend didn’t have that kind of effect on her. Truth is, the little horror is devilishly good in bed.

Ilang minuto pa siyang nagpagulung-gulong sa higaan nang maisipan niyang buksan ang laptop. Gamit ang free WiFi ng hotel, pinuntahan niya a web address na isa at kalahating taon na rin niyang iniiwasan: Facebook.

Bigla siyang natigilan nang makita ang homepage nito. What the heck? Then she typed-in her username and password. Awtomatikong na-reactivate ang account niya. Natawa pa siya sa pinaka-huling status na naroroon: feeling ruthless still.

Nilibot niya ang account and tick on the photos she’d kept there. Tuwang-tuwa siya sa mga larawan na naroon which reminded her of happy times. Tatlong albums lang ang nanduon. Isa para sa mga family photos, profile photos at ang huli ay para sa mga travels niya. She chose to browse the last one. Then she saw Ruth there, her first and only girlfriend. The same one who broke her heart. Biglang-bigla, her body teleports to an epoch that she wished never happened.

“Don’t worry, Pat.” Ipinatong nito ang nakatikom na sa mesa. “You’re a good person. I’m sure you’ll find someone—“

“Cut the crap, Ruth. Meron bang iba?”

“Walang iba. You know that.”

“So ano ‘to?”

“It just wasn’t there, Pat.”

“Alin ang wala? Ano ang wala?”

“Chemistry, Pat. Huwag na natin pilitin.”

“Minahal mo ba ako?”

“I did, Pat. I tried to like the things that you like but it’s just not me.”

“Ano bang dapat kong gawin to make you change your mind?”

“You can’t.”

“Ganun lang?”

“Listen, I’m looking for romance, for spark. Alam kong ikaw rin so kailangan nating maghiwalay so we can give ourselves a chance to meet that someone who’ll … make us burn, Patricia. Please try to understand.”

Hindi na nito tinapos ang choco-frap, tumayo ito at mabilis na lumayo.

She shook her head. She didn’t allow her trance to go on for too long. Muli niyang tinitigan ang mga litrato at biglang napangiti. At last, I’m free! She thought to herself. She wanted to thank Ruth for breaking up with her. She was right, what she truly needs is romance, spark, chemistry and passion. She deserves someone who can make her burn. And at that moment she couldn’t think about any other person. Ah she gave in. She knew. The brat has won her heart.

No longer smarting from the memory of Ruth, Sandra updated her status: … I guess bahala na nga si Batman.

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PostSubject: Re: These Four Corners (story by Lj)   Fri 14 Mar 2014, 7:39 am

Chapter 21

A Harley in my backyard?

It’s a highly expensive ride at sigurado siyang iisang tao lamang ang alam niyang may dala nuon. Isinara niya ang gate ay may pagmamadaling tinungo ang main door. Napadasal pa siya ng kaunti bago ipinihit ang doorknob. Lord help me calm down, please.

“Welcome back, ma’am.” bati ni Claire sa kanya pagkapasok sa pinto.

Prof sucked her breath again. Naging malikot ang mga mata nito na tila may hinahanap. She looked left and right pero ni anino ng inaasahan niyang makita ay wala. She began to be a little disappointed.

“Yeah, good to be home.” Ipinatong niya ang mga plastic ng pasalubog sa center table. “Kanino yung mini bike sa labas?” napapitlag siya nang marinig na bumukas ang pinto ng banyo.

“Mine.” matabang na sagot ni Sandra pagkalabas nito. She picked up her jacket from the couch na natatakpan ng throwpillow at magalang na nagpaalam. “Uwi na po ako, ma’am.” saka tumingin sa kaibigan. “Claire, thanks.”

Parang nalunok ni Patricia ang dila nya. She was speechless. Hindi nakalampas sa paningin niya ang rugged na get-up nito. She wanted to stop her on her tracks para ikulong ito sa kwarto pero inunahan siya ng hiya. Teka, bakit ba ako ang magbababa ng pride, eh siya itong nag-take advantage?

Sandra opened the door and immediately left. Matapos bumusina, mabilis nitong pinatakbo ang Harley. She didn’t even look back. Kitang-kita iyon ni Pat from the window nang silipin niya ito.

“Kanina pa siya dito?” tanong niya na nagkunwaring hindi napansin ang pag-snob ng dalaga. She wanted to congratulate herself for acting cool and collected. Kumuha ito ng tubig sa ref pagkatapos ay umupo sandali sa sofa.

“Opo, kanina pang umaga.” Claire admitted. Inaayos nito ang mga naka-kalat na CD’s. Pati na rin ang mga throwpillows na nawala na sa tamang pagkakasalansan.

“And what were you guys doing?” bigla siyang nakaramdam ng kaunting selos. “Kayong dalawa lang?” Sobrang selos. Did they kiss? Ang eksenang yun ay nagpakulo ng dugo sa ulo niya. But of course, she wouldn't show that.

“Opo. Nagkwentuhan lang po.” Hininaan nito ang volume ng stereo at naupo sa kabilang gilid ng sofa. She tried very hard not to look at Pat’s face dahil nahihiya siyang makita kung gaano ang pamamaga ng kanyang mata sa kaiiyak sa nakalipas na gabi when she confided her feelings to Sandra. “Nothing much.”

“At ano naman ang pinag-kwentuhan ninyo?” she certainly hoped it wasn’t about their bed encounter.

“Wala naman po, hobbies, interests. And she mentioned about the Talent Expo next week.”

Bigla siyang napaisip at tumingin sa cellphone. “Right, muntik ko nang makalimutan, yan. I need to check on some of the sponsors I have invited.”

“Tumawag nga po yung Purefoods-Hormel.” She said while handling the flyers to Patricia.

“Anong sabi?”

“Gusto daw nila ma’am na mag set-up ng pinakamalaking booth sa gym.”

“Okay.” Pat said in approval. “Walang kaso ‘yun. We can do that, right? Ako na ang bahala sa arrangement. We’ll have to assign a team who’ll create that booth for them.”

“Baka daw po mga 2 days bago ang event ay mai-set-up na?”

“Sige Claire, tatawagan ko na lang sila.” Lumapit ito sa telepono at tinawagan ang numero ng sponsor.

Pinigil ni Claire ang mga kamay niya. “Ma’am, wala po silang opisina ngayon.”

“Ay, oo nga pala.”

Pagkatapos maghapunan at dumiretso na si Pat sa silid. Gusto pa sana nitong makipag-kwentuhan kay Claire kaya nga lamang ay pagod na pagod na ito. Sumulyap siya sa may mini library at napatitig sa makulay na hollowblock na nanduon. She closed her eyes and tried to remember the inscription written there. For the nth time mula ng sumakay siya sa eroplano, hinayaan nya ang sariling kiligin. Pastilan.

MARTINEZ MANSION

Nagtuloy si Sandra sa makeshift music room at sumalampak sa mga unan na naroon. Tinanggal na nito ang jacket at sapatos. Maya-maya pa ay kumatok na ang Yaya niya. Si Adelle.

“Napapansin ko nitong mga huling araw palagi kang tahimik.” Ipinatong nito ang gatas sa may lamesita. “May problema ka ba?” she sounded so worried about her. Bakit hindi? Sandra has always been full of life. Siya ang tipong lalagnatin kung hindi siya kukulitin.

“I’m fine yaya.” Pagkakaila nito sa nararamdaman.

“No, you are such a loser.” Ginaya ni Adelle si Angelina sabay muwestra ng letrang L sa noo.

Natawa ang dalaga ng kaunti ruon. Kahit kailan talaga ay korni mag-biro ang yaya niya. Binuksan nya ang piano at sinimulang tipain ang mga tiklado. Nag-echo sa silid ang tunog nito and she has never felt so proud of herself. Ngayon lang. Now that she was able to finish the song that for a few months now ay pinagsusunog nya ng kilay.

“Maganda ba, yaya?” baling niya sa kasambahay na nakatayo pa rin sa harapan niya. Tumango-tango lamang ito. Suot-suot pa rin nito ang uniporme nito kahit magaalas-onse na ng gabi.

“Oo, maganda. Salamat sa Diyos at natapos mo na, ano?” pagbibiro nito.

“Salamat po.” matipid niyang sagot. Thanks, Pat. Bulong ng puso niya.

Dahil dito, lalong napukaw ang pag-aalala ng yaya niya. Kapansin-pansin rin naman talaga ang di pangkaraniwang pananahimik niya. Gusto nitong alamin kung ano ang gumugulo sa isipan ng alaga. But Sandra remained quiet. She remained engulfed to the music.

“Para ka ring mommy mo, Sandra.” Putol ni Adelle sa ginagawa nito.

“Po?”

“Ganyang-ganyan din siya nung makilala ang daddy mo. Laging nakatulala at nakaharap sa piano.” Pagkukuwento pa nito. “Isang araw nagtapat ang mommy mo kay inay tungkol sa pakikipagmabutihan niya kay Eduardo. Nalaman nyang may asawa na ito. Bilang yaya, pinagsabihan siya ni inay. Sinabi niyang iwasan na niya ang ama mo. Pero hindi niya ginawa.”

“I can imagine that, yaya.”

“Pinaglaban niya ang daddy mo sa lahat ng tao. Alam mo bang, humanga si inay sa mommy mo?”

“Bakit naman po?”

“Dahil naging matapang siya. Kung hindi dahil sa tigas ng ulo ng nanay mo ay wala ka ngayon sa harapan ko. Wala akong alagang mabait, mapagbigay, malambing—“

“Si yaya naman binola pa ako.”

“Hindi anak. Sinasabi ko lang, intindihin mo maigi ‘yang puso mo. Kapag tumibok ‘yan, pakinggan mo agad at kapag namili na siya ng mamahalin, ipaglaban mo. Huwag kang susuko agad-agad dahil hindi mo alam, baka hinihintay ka lang rin niyang maging mas matapang para sa kanya.”

“Yaya, what if you love someone but the timing is not right?”

“Aba eh, matuto ka maghintay. At habang naghihintay ka, huwag kang magrereklamo. Kung mahal mo ang tao, huwag kang magbilang kahit segundo at baka mapagod ang isip mo. Mainipin pa naman’yon.”

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PostSubject: Re: These Four Corners (story by Lj)   Fri 04 Apr 2014, 2:35 am

Chapter 22

Iisang ilaw lang ang nakabukas nang pumasok si Patricia sa gymnasium. Walang tao at ang tanging tunog na maririnig ay ang pagtama ng kanyang takong sa parquet floor ng gusali . Mula sa malayo, nakita niya ang mga materyales na gagamitin sa paggawa ng booth. Sinulyapan niya ang relo. Alas siyete na ng gabi kaya’t bigla siyang nairita dahil ala-sais y medya ang usapan nilang magkikita nina Claire ang ng tatlo pang kasama nito.

She walked a little further to the center of the court. Ilang saglit pa, all the lights lit up ng sabay-sabay. No, it wasn’t the typical coliseum lighting. Sa isang iglap, nagmukha itong grand lobby na pagdadarausan ng isang magarbong ball. She was about to leave the place nang sumindi ang spotlight na nakatutok sa stage. May isang pamilyar na bulto ang nakita niyang naroroon. Her heart skipped a beat. Pakiramdam niya ay nagpaikot-ikot iyon sa chest cavities niya.

Si Sandra.

Titig na titig ito sa kanya as if begging her to stay. Pumitik ang kamay nito and another set of lights flickered and filled the entire room. This time mga hugis puso ito na nagpaiko-ikot sa sahig, sa kisame at sa mga bakanteng bleachers.

Valentines Day in September? She joked mentally.

She couldn’t move na tila may bloke ng sementong nakapaligid sa mga paa niya. She was completely hypnotized by the power of those piercing eyes. Dahan-dahan niyang ibinaba ang bag sa gitna ng court and watched with a rickety heart as the event unfolds. Isa pang pitik at pumailanlang ang isang malamyos na awitin.

I
“I didn’t mean to stare at you the way I do
You’ve got me shivering with every word you say
And I, I believe that you and me
Are in the perfect time to dream and fly


Chorus

‘cause I can feel you
I can see the truth
When you look into my eyes
I see paradise
When I touch you
I can feel the love
When you put your hand in mine
I could taste the sky


II

In the night when fireflies dance I see my world fall apart
‘cause you, you’re the only one I can’t figure out
You shine like a star
And I, I wanna be
Lost in your arms

III

Oh, I’ll follow you like a ghost
I’m here with you tonight
Can you see me?
Can you feel it?
I love you
I love you completely…”


Patricia was flushed. She felt like a teenager seeing her crush on a school day. Hindi niya alam kung saan magsusuot. Sandra sang her heart out at naramdaman niya ‘yun. She felt her love and sincerity. And she lectured herself that it must be what Ruth was trying to tell her 3 years ago.

Say hello to romance again, prof.


The song left her slack-jawed. She felt her cheeks were on fire at hindi iyon maitago ng mahaba niyang buhok. Habang bumababa ang dalaga sa stage, nag-cram ang isip niya sa paghahanap ng sasabihin.

“Hi, prof.” bati nito sa kanya. “Did you like it?”

“You should put that as an entry for Friday’s event.” sa wakas nakahanap siya ng topic na pwedeng i-discuss. Tinalikuran niya ang kausap para lumapit siya sa mga materyales. “Siguro dadami ang tatambay sa mga booth na ito para panuorin ka.” para itong armalite sa pagsasalita. “And for sure, ikaw na ang mananalo. Magaling ka naman talaga, eh. Isa pa original composi—“ napatigil ito sa sasabihin.

“Enough.” Masuyong sambit niya rito. “Napakahaba ng sagot mo para sa isang simpleng tanong.” Sandra was breathing heavily. But even her pleading sounded like a song.

“Okay, so ano nanaman ito?” nagkunwari siyang naiirita. “And where is my team?” itinaas nyang maigi ang kaliwang kulay to convince Sandra that she has no time for a senseless jab. Gusto niyang magpakipot ng kaunti. Nasaan nga values ng dalagang Pilipina kung bibigay ako agad?

“Dinaan kita sa santong paspasan and it didn’t work.” nakangising sambit nito. “Maybe, sa santong dasalan ay bumigay ka sa akin.”

Napahagalpak ng tawa ang batang propesor. Pagkatapos ay nagparoot-parito ng lakad sa kinatatayuan na animo’y may isang malaking business deal na pinag-iisipan. Gusto niyang magpalusot but her wits escaped her.

“You know what? I have never seen someone so impossible as you are, Miss Martinez.” then she pretended to be mad again.

“And I have never seen someone as impenetrable as you are, either!” Lumapit ito sa guro na sa mga oras na yon ay nakatalikod sa kanya. She was so close behind her, perhaps half an inch away. “Can't you just slow down for awhile.” pakiusap nito.

Pat looked over her shoulders and inhaled sharply. Gustong tumakbo papalayo but her muscles were uncooperative. The tenderness of her eyes and the sexiness of her lips are inviting at gusto niya itong ma-experience. She was breathtakingly beautiful. May munting tinig sa sulok ng isip nya ang tumututol pero sadyang napakalakas ng tibok ng puso niya. Her heart egged her to bear with the kilig feeling.

“Sandra—“she looked up to the rafters and heaved another sigh. “Can you please cut the crap? Any moment now ay darating na ang mga kasama ko.” Then she shifted to another gear again, this time, mahinahon siyang nakiusap.

“Hindi sila dadating. I’m sure about that.” Hindi talaga dadating ang mga iyon dahil naroon sila pizza house at nagpapakasasa sa tatlong box ng meat lovers. She bribed them para indyanin ang guro. At pinagpawisan siya sa bahaging ‘yun. Hindi madaling dispatyahin ang mga sipsip at grade conscious na ‘yun.

“If abducting my team is part of your vicious plan para magpapasin, cut it off or ako ang aalis.”

“Too late for that, love.” Sambit niya sa kalmadong tinig.”Bistado na kita kaya huwag ka nang mag-pretend that you’re not enjoying this!” bigla siya nitong niyakap.

That jolted her na parang pusang natapakan sa buntot. “What do you mean—?“

“Ang sinasabi ko lang, huwag ka nang magpakipot? Nakakainis ka na ha?” gigil na gigil na ito sa kausap. Patricia reminds her of an eel na madulas, malikot at mahirap hulihin. Wtf, Eel? She couldn’t think of the right metaphor at that moment.

“Ah, at ako pa ang nakakainis? Is that how you win someone’s heart?” Pat swore to God na kulang na lang ang octagon at mukha na talaga silang magkatunggali sa mixed martial arts. Why, the brat is too strong and she couldn’t squeeze out from her grip. Oh baka naman talaga lang nanghihina siya?

“Well, maybe you don’t have a heart!”

“I have a heart, natulog lang!”

“Kaya nga ginising ko dahil baka ma-stroke ka na diyan. Sayang naman, walang makikinabang!”

“You—“

Sandra gave her no chance to finish the sentence. Sumenyas muli ang kamay nito and all of a sudden rose petals came pouring down from the rafters. Napatingala si Patricia duon. Oh, she felt like a princess! Humakbang siyang papalayo na nakalahad ng dalawang palad and tried to catch as much petals as she can at pagkatapos ay lumapit itong muli kay Sandra para isaboy ang talulot duon.

“Ang ganda!” lumabi ito. Oh, she has always been fascinated with flowers at ang mga rosas ang paborito niya. In fact, may isang bahagi ng garden nya ang nakalaan para lamang sa bulaklak na ito. She considered herself a rose both delicate and dangerous. Kung paano nalaman ni Sandra ang weakness na ‘yon ay hindi niya alam.

Sandra remained standing. Nag-iinit ang puso niya sa nakikitang reaksyon ng dalaga. “Pat—?“ sinalo niya ang ilan sa mga iyon ang ikinulong sa kanyang mga palad.

“Yes?” she thought it was about time to listen to her. Pumormal siya ng ayos at bahagyang napayuko. She was bracing herself sa kung anumang rebelasyong maririnig. Kung may buntot lamang siya ay malamang kumawag na ‘yon sa antisipasyon.

“I hope you can find it in your heart to love me. Sana pwede akong magtayo ng real estate diyan.” Sandra poked her upper ribs.

Prof was caught off guard kahit papaano. Hindi siya sanay na nakikiusap ang kaharap. Sandra is as strong as they come, as confident as they come. Pero she was there, begging for some affection.

“Sandra—“she mumbled.

“Mahal kita, prof.” her voice cracked at mahinang-mahina ang pagkakasambit nito ng kataga. Perhaps, she wasn’t that conceited and confident after all. “Mahal na mahal kita!”

Silence.

Humakbang ito ng mas malapit pa kay Patricia. She sized her up.

“Hindi kasi tama ito, eh.” katwiran niya. “You know what I mean. At ayokong mag-alaga ng feelings para sa iyo because the rule states we cannot be together. I hope you understand, Sands.”

“To hell with the rules, Patricia!” she howled like a beast. Alam niyang iyon ang logical defense na gagamitin ng guro.

“Please wag kang sumigaw.” pakiusap niya rito. Her hands right on the side of her ears.

“Sisigaw ako kapag gusto ko and not even the President of the Philippines can stop me!” she said with a clenched fist. Kung saan at kanino ito nagagalit ay hindi niya alam.

“What do you want me to do?” tanong niya dito na punung-puno ng emosyon.

“Gusto ko isaksak mo dyan sa utak mo na mahal kita!” humihiwa sa puso ang tinging ipinukol nito sa guro. She was mad. And she really wanted to cry. “At dahil mahal kita, I will fight for you! And we can win this war if we fight together.”

Patricia began to open up. “Mahal din kita, Sandra! That silly paperweight of yours can attest to that!” naalala nito ang hollowblock na naka-display sa mini library. Kung pwede lang itong ilagay sa enclosed glass box ay ginawa na niya.

“What did you say?” Sandra wanted to make sure she heard it right.

“Ang sabi ko mahal din kita. Eversince the day we spent time sa music room hindi ka na nawala sa isip ko. At lalo kitang minahal when we…did it.” that made her blush.

“Oh, Pat.” She felt relief. Hindi niya inaasahan ang narinig. Patricia never showed sign of affection at ang kantang iyon ang last ditch stand niya. Never in her wildest dreams na maiisip niyang magka-tugma sila ng nararamdaman.

“When you were all over me that night, I could’ve said no. But I allowed us to do what we did.” Prof explained further realizing that there is no use to deny what she felt for her. Truth be told, she couldn’t take anymore sleepless nights.

“Then bakit mo pa ako pinahirapan? Why did you have to reject me?” Sandra’s voice became as tender as grains of sands.

“Because I got scared. Can’t you see? I have only loved one woman in the past. Nasaktan ako when she left and I wasn’t sure if I love you enough to take the risk. “Bukod pa dito, I’m working for you, working for a morally upright institution at walang lugar dito ang ganitong relasyon.”

“I love you like hell, Patricia. “ I know we can work things out if your hearts in it.” Inilahad nito ang kamay and egged prof to put her palm on top of it. “I’m as scared as you are so I am begging you, please, let’s just leap.”

The intensity of the moment was so overwhelming. They were there, alone, professing love for each other while the world outside stood still. Yeah, what the hell? Prof reckoned. Ano bang pakialam ng mundo sa kaligayahan niya? If she allowed them to get in the way ay kasalanan na iyon sa sarili.

And they finally kissed again. This time, it was more intoxicating.


Somewhere, Claire stood and she sobbed quietly. Her tears were a product of pain and happiness. Pain dahil mahal niya si Sandra. Happiness because she knew, the love of her life has finally gotten what she prayed for.

Maingat niyang binuksan ang pinto upang lumabas. Umuulan ng di kalakasan at hindi siya nakapagdala ng payong. But she thanked God for it. Niyakap niya ang bag at sumugod sa ulan. Oh, she could cry in the rain forever so no one would notice her tears falling like crazy. Then her heart thumped that it almost crushed her.

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PostSubject: Re: These Four Corners (story by Lj)   Fri 04 Apr 2014, 2:40 am

Chapter 23

Nilinga-linga ni Sandra ang paligid. Nang hindi makita ang hinahanap, umupo ito sa may upuang nakapuwesto sa harapan ng indoor fountain ng isang kilalang mall. Naglikot ang mata niya sa mga nagdadaan, sinisikap paganahin ang gaydar. She smiled when she spotted two girls na magkahawak ang kamay habang nakasakay ng escalator. Femmes! Lalo siyang natuwa nang hagurin ng isa ang likod ng girlfriend.

Maya-maya pa, her phone rang. The name on the registry is the most wonderful name she’s ever heard. Her princess.

“Where are you, babe?” tanong ng nasa kabilang linya. There was pep on the way she spoke. Nasa tinig nito ang excitement for their first date.

“I’m here at the fountain. Ikaw?” she snapped back. Hindi kailangan ng oracle para sabihing masayang-masaya rin siya sa mga oras na iyon.

“I’m on my way.”

Ilang saglit pa, nakita na ni Sandra ang kasintahan. Kumaway ito sa kanya. She was wearing a skirt na tinernuhan ng off-shoulder blouse. Biglang kumunot ang noo niya when she saw something in her wardrobe na hindi naman nito madalas isinusuot.

“Gusto mo hiramin yung windshield ng kotse ko?” paismid na tanong ni Sandra sa ka-date.

“Ha, bakit?”

“Eh, ang laki-laki ng shades mo! Baka kako mas bagay sa’yo yung sa kotse ko.”

“Hmp! I just want us to be safe.”

“Safe? Baka naman ikinahihiya mo ako. Hindi naman halata na tayo, ah? Ang ganda ko kaya?”

“Miski na, guilty ako, eh.” pangangatwiran niya. Nagsasabi siya ng totoo. She was very wary na baka may makakita sa kanila at pag-isipan sila ng masama.

“Halika na nga! Hold my hand.” she said in a very firm tone habang iniaabot ang kamay sa kasintahan. It stayed in the air for a few seconds at saka nakulong sa palad ni Patricia. Kapwa sila bumuntung-hininga when they felt the warmth of their hands habang magkasalikop iyon. It was just a simple holding of hands and yet they felt thunder and lightning struck all at once.

“Where are we going?” prof asked.

Sandra wrinkled her nose and reminded her. “Babe, we’ll watch a movie remember?”

“Ay, oo nga pala.”

Few minutes later at nasa loob na sila ng sinehan. Pinili ni Sandra ang pinakaharap na upuan where they can see the center stage. Kapansin-pansin na walang tao sa loob ng sinehan. Kilala naman ang mga actor na nagsiganap ngunit tila isa itong flop. The place was so deserted. Ni security personnel ay wala.

But Pat didn't mind. Gustong-gusto niya ang palabas and she doesn't care kung flop man 'yon o hindi.

“Pat?” si Sandra.

“Yes?”

“Pwedeng payakap?” she made a request in her sweetest voice. Para itong quickmelt sa ibabaw ng pancake.

“Okay.” Pat obliged.

Ilang minuto rin silang ganuon when Sandra made another request. And it’s a request Patricia cannot turn down maguho man ang mundo. Isa pa, wala naman ngang tao.

“Pat?”

“Babe?” prof answered sweetly. Paano ba naman, musika sa pandinig niya ang pangalan tuwing sasambitin ng kanyang prinsesa.

“Ang dilim, ano? Ang lamig pa.” Sandra stated the obvious. Nagpapa-cute.

“Yep. I should’ve brought my jacket.” And Patricia's density struck again.

“Can we kiss?” diretsong tanong ni Sandra na inginuso pa ang mga labi.

“Ay sobra yan ha!” then she faked a protest.

“Kapal mo naman. Wag kang choosy para kiss lang, eh.” Reklamo naman ng isa. Ang totoo she wouldn’t take no for an answer. By hook or by crook ay maghahalikan sila sa sinehan! Walang uuwi na hindi maga ang labi!

“Alright, but make it quick.” Nag-slouch pa ito sa upuan to make sure that no one would see them kissing. She must admit, she was feeling excited, too. She never thought kissing inside the theaters could be that exciting.

And she kissed her. Gaya ng paki-usap ng nobya, she made it really quick. At dahil madilim, tumama iyon sa sulok ng labi ng dalaga.

“Sablay, babe. One more!” she said giggling.

“That’s too much!”

“Babe, there is nothing too much with my kiss. Pambitin ka naman, eh.”

“Okay, last na ha?”

“That I can’t promise!” nakatanggap ito ng kurot sa tagiliran. “Aray!”

“Game na, Sands.”

Sandra stared at her for a few seconds. Patricia was so beautiful that night. She was blooming. Hindi na nito sinusuot ang salamin at ang contact lens nito ay bumagay sa kanya. Tama na rin ang kulay ng lipstick niya. It made her lips look more kissable. Pasalamat siya kay Sandra who’s a make-up guru.

“Here I come.” Sandra framed her face and gently kissed her mouth. It was just a smack, so playful. But their overwhelming feelings for each other helped turned it to a deeper more passionate lip-locking session. They kissed like no one is watching. They were both catching their breaths afterwards.

“I love you.” Sandra whispered.

“I love you, too, brat.”

“Sandra?”

“Yes?”

“Kanina pa tayo rito pero bakit kaya walang tao?”

“Babe, I rented this cinema for you.”

“Oh—“

“Happy first date, Patricia.”

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PostSubject: Re: These Four Corners (story by Lj)   Fri 04 Apr 2014, 3:04 am

Sorry guys, medyo naging busy. I'll see you around.

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PostSubject: Re: These Four Corners (story by Lj)   Thu 10 Apr 2014, 7:15 am

Chapter 24

Nasa loob siya ng cafeteria kasama ang mga kaibigan nang biglang tumunog ang cellphone niya. Hindi pamilyar ang numerong rumehistro duon kung kaya’t nagdalawang isip siyang sagutin ito. The ringing went on for several seconds kaya’t sinet nya ito sa silent mode saka ipinatong sa maliit na mesa. But the caller was so persistent, ilang sandali pa ay tumunog nanaman itong muli. Patricia excused herself at nagtungo sa hallway malapit sa restroom kung saan mas tahimik at may privacy.

“Hello?” the caller said.

Sandaling nanlamig ang buong katawan niya. Kahit anong ingay, hinding-hindi siya magkakamali kung sino ang nagmamay-ari ng tinig na ‘yun. Paano, it was the same voice that haunted her for so many years. It lingered in her head na tila isang aninong ayaw humiwalay. She wanted to hung up but decided against it.

“Ruth? Is it really you?” she asked in between shock and disbelief. It has been three years since they last talked. Iyon ang araw kung kailan sila nag-break.

“Yes, it’s me! Mabuti naman at hindi mo pa ako nakakalimutan?”

Hindi kita puwedeng kalimutan dahil may atraso ka pa sa akin.
That’s what she wanted to say, but then again, nangibabaw ang kabutihang-asal niya. Isa pa, hindi na siya ganun ka-bitter. Ruth broke her heart but she should be accorded with respect that former lovers deserve. Yun ang naisip niya.

“How did you get my number? Kumusta!?”

“I got it from your mom. Oh, I have been to places, Pat. I had the time of my life.” masayang paglalahad nito. Her voice was exhilirating. “Sa Qatar ako naka-base, HR Assistant Manager sa isang unibersidad duon.”

“I’m impressed, Ruth! At least you got what you wished for.” She said habang pinipilit iwinawaglit sa isip ang huli nilang pagkikita. “Bakit ka nga pala napatawag?”

“I have a proposal for you. Pwede ba tayong magkita?”

“Anong proposal iyan?”

“Basta, I want to discuss it with you in person. Are you free on Saturday?” pag-yaya nito.

It took a few seconds before she could answer. Nagtataka ang isip niya kung ano ang pakay ng dating kaibigan gayung tatlong taon na silang hindi nagkikita. Hindi naman siguro ito makikipagbalikan. Sorry, taken na ako.

“Okay, Saturday it is.”

“Great!” pagtatapos ng kausap.

Bumalik si prof sa umpukan nilang magkakaibigan at binalikan ang kapeng maligamgam na. Tinungga niya ‘yon at pagkatapos ay umorder pa ng isa. Muli nitong sinipat ang telepono at pagkatapos ay isi-nave ang numero ng dating kasintahan. And she though she would never hear from her again. Kung kailan maayos na ang lahat saka pa ito magpaparamdam?

“Baka hindi ka na makatulog niyan?” Ma’am Liza poked half-jokingly.


SABADO


Sinipat-sipat niya ang repleksyon sa salamin nang biglang may kumatok sa pinto. Ibinaba niya ang hawak na suklay at pinatay ang mini-stereo.

“Pat?” si Claire. Mula ng naging sila ni Sandra ay hinayaan na niyang tawagin siya ni Claire on first name basis.

“Pasok ka.”

Bahagyang umawang ang pinto at iniluwal nito si Claire na nakasuot pa ng apron at may hawak na egg batter sa isang kamay. Ito ang nagprisintang magluto ng kanilang brunch dahil sawa na raw ito sa mga binibili nila sa fast-food. Pagkapasok, pinunasan nito ang mukha at sumandal sa may pinto.

“Saan ang lakad mo?”

“Sa mall lang. I’ll meet with someone.”

“Si Sandra?” Bakit hindi pa kayo dito mananghalian?”

“No, hindi si Sandra. An old friend. May proposal daw para sa akin.”

“Anong oras ang balik mo?”

“I’m not sure, Clarita. Ikaw na muna ang bahala rito, ha?”

“Paano pag hinanap ka sa akin ni babe?” tukso nito.

“Tell her I’ll be back this afternoon. Hindi naman siguro magtatagal itong lakad ko.”

Matapos magpaalam kay Claire ay ipinara na nito ang unang taxing dumaan. Maaliwalas ang panahon at hindi masyadong mainit kaya naisipan nya munang umidlip sa loob ng sasakyan. May dalawampung-minuto rin kasi ang layo ng kanyang destinasyon. Ilang sandali pa ay ginising siya ng tinig ng driver na naniningil ng bayad. She hopped out of the car as soon as the guy reached for the money. She didn’t bother to get her change.

Wala pang sampung minuto siyang nakaupo sa isang sulok sa Seattles Best ng biglang dumating ang hinihintay. She saw her habang papasok pa lamang ito sa café at hindi niya mapigilang lumunok ng sunud-sunod. She was so tensed that she felt spasms in her stomach. When she pulled the door open at kumaway sa kanya, Pat felt the nostalgia. True, hindi pa rin ito nagbabago. She’s still as gorgeous at ever. Check that, mas lalo itong gumand sa paningin niya. Pat was slack-jawed but then again she scolded herself. This is the witch that created that gaping hole in your heart.

“Kanina ka pa?” she leaned forward and kissed Pat on the cheek. Kaswal na kaswal ang dating nito.

Nagulat man, Pat kissed her back. “I just arrived. Good to know hindi ka na nale-late sa usapan.”

“Why should I? I have been dying to see you all this time!” she tucked her hair behind her ears at kumindat. Kapansin-pansin ang saya nito sa mga mata. She really missed her at ang pagkakataong yun ay hindi niya dapat palampasin. “Kumusta ka na?”

Buhay pa naman. “I’m doing great. I just finished my masters last summer and it’s been fun working at the academe.”

Tumikhim ito and looked straight into her eyes. Sinusukat ang kahandaan nito sa anumang sasabihin niya. Ruth noticed the change in Pat’s aura. Maaliwalas ang mukha nito at kahit na halatang kinakabahan ay hindi nawawalan ng ngiti sa labi. She took note of how her eyes twinkle, may buhay na ito and not the same set of eyes na nang huli nyang makita ay tila ba pinagbagsakan ng langit at lupa.

“See? That makes you the right person I should be talking with.” Ruth said, trying to put the conversation in the correct context.

“What do you mean?”

“Tara, come with me. Let’s go somewhere.”

“But I should be home by 3pm.”

“Hey, don’t be such a killjoy. I will show you something and after that let’s discuss the proposal I was telling you about over the phone.”

“But—“

Hindi na siya nakatutol pa. Ruth grabbed the coffee Pat ordered for her and stood up. Ito na rin ang naglagay ng tip sa table saka lumakad palabas. Patricia followed her like a son following his mother in a crowded place. Nang maabot nito ang pinto, Ruth look back and playfully frowned as if asking her to hurry up even more.

Dinala sila ng mga paa sa parking lot. Pat’s eyes grew wide nang makita ang bagong sasakyan nito. It was one of Honda’s newest models at napakakinis nito. She thought that her ex has really gone a long, long way. Masayang-masaya siya para rito. She sat at the passenger seat soon after Ruth unlocked the security alarm. Oh, she could still smell the scent of fine leather na ginamit sa mga upuan nito. Gusto niyang manliit.

“Where are we going?” prof asked. May konting excitement sa tinig.

“Dasmarinas.”

“Great, malapit lang pala.” Nakahinga siya ng maluwag only to be shocked again.

“No, Dasmarinas… sa Cavite!”

“What—“ Pat shrieked ngunit dahil sa mga ingay ng sasakyan, she was sure Ruth didn’t hear it. At kahit naman narinig nito, she seemed disinterested na huwag ituloy ang pinaplano.

Few hours have passed bago nila ang destinasyon. Ruth’s car found its way sa isang posh subdivision sa Dasmarinas. Hindi siya makapaniwalang lalo sa sumunod na nakita. It was a two-storey house na nanakulong sa mataas na bakod.

“This is my house, Patricia.” Pagbibida nito sa kanya. Sino naman ang hindi matutuwa sa napakalaking achievement nito? Ruth was once a struggling yuppie na nangungutang pa ng pambayad para sa aparment and now may sarili na itong bahay at napakaganda pa. “Product of my 3-year hardwork in Qatar.”

“It looks beautiful, Ruth. Pero, ano naman ang kinalaman ko sa bahay mo?”

“I’m giving you a job offer my friend.” She said matter-of-factly.

“Oh—“

“Yes. By the end of next month, marami nang magre-retire na teachers sa unibersidad na pinagtatrabahuhan ko. Naturally kailangan namin ng mahuhusay na kapalit. We’re looking for teachers na single, matalino at may Master’s Degree. And you fit the bill. Ano sa tingin mo?”

“Binigla mo naman ako, Ruth.” She was telling the truth.

“Eh, I only have a few weeks kasi. Babalik na rin ako sa Qatar. Ikaw lang talaga ang sinadya ko tutal bakasyon naman. Pag-isipan mo. Triple ang kikitain mo duon, Pat. Think about it. You have my number. Tawagan mo lang ako if you’ve made a decision. And make it fast. When I talked to your mom, I learned na hindi pa rin pala natatapos ang second floor ng bahay niyo. This maybe your chance to finally build their dream house, di ba?”

“Okay. At talagang nagkwentuhan pa kayo ni mama?”

“Yeah. And I missed her. Halika sa loob.”

“Huwag na.”

“Ano ka ba? I’ll show you around. Nasa loob si mommy at si Elaine.”

“Si Tita Sonya? Ilang taon na si Elaine?”

“Yeah, 5 years old na siya at super kulet. You really should see her.” Ang tinutukoy nito ay ang pamangkin ng dalaga na nuon ay kinakarga-karga niya.


MANILA

Pinagbuksan ni Claire ang bagong dating. Hinubad nito ang helmet at tuluy-tuloy na pumasok sa loob. Bahagyang namumula ang mukha nito dahil na rin sa init sa labas. Bagamat pawis na pawis, mabango pa rin ito.

“Ang baby ko?” tanong nito habang hawak-hawak ang tiyan. She was starving and the smell coming from the kitchen made her hungrier. “What’s cooking?”

“Wala si Pat umalis. Bacon and cheese omelette lang ang niluto ko. Kakain ka ba?”

Hindi ito sumagot. Humiga ito sa couch at wala sa sariling pinalaruan ang mga throwpillows na nanduon. She was visibly disappointed dahil hindi nito naabutan ang nobya. Nagtataka rin kung bakit hindi ito nagpaalam sa kanya. But she trusts her. Nag-aalala lamang siya.

“Magtatagal ba raw siya?”

“Baka hapunin na. Tara kain na tayo.”

“Okay, sige. Sarap naman nito, Claire. Pwede ka na talagang mag-asawa.”

Kung papakasalan mo ba ko eh di may omelette ka lagi sa umaga. Sabi ng isip niya pero agad niyang binura iyon. “Salamat. Kumain ka ng marami ha?”

“Okay, mam. Ganda mo ngayon ha?” Sandra joked. Tinitigan niya ang kaibigan and examined her face. “Alam mo kung hindi ako taken, baka niligawan kita.”

“Ako nga ay tigil-tigilan mo Sandra? Alam kong di mo ko type. Maputi ang gusto mo.”

“Gusto ko rin yung masarap magluto.” Tumawa ito. Maya-maya ay bigla itong nag-seryoso. “Mahal mo pa ko, Claire?”

Claire was shocked! Muntik nang bumarandal ang puso niya sa baga. “Oo… as a friend.”

“Joke lang, wag ka na ma-tense.”

"Mukha mo tensed!" Claire barked back.

Sandra would spend the whole day waiting for her. Sinubukan nitong tawagan ang dalaga sa cellphone but there was no answer. And she probably texted her a dozen of times ngunit kahit sa mga iyon ay wala itong sagot. Gusto na niyang tumawag sa pulis but something tells her na nasa mabuti itong kamay.

“I’ll just wait here for her.” Iyon lang at inilatag na nito ang katawa sa sofa. She had no plans of going home na hindi nasisigurong nakauwi na ang kasintahan.

“Ikaw ang bahala. Ito ang kumot, baka makatulog ka, eh.”

“Thanks Claire.” Sandra rose from the couch to kiss Claire in the cheeks, niyakap pa niya ito. “You’re the best.”

Sandra, please, huwag mong gibain ang defenses ko. One more kiss like that at ke-kembolar talaga ako. She mused.

Pasado alas-dose na ng madaling araw siyang nakauwi. Tahimik na tahimik na ang buong paligid at tanging kuliglig lang ang maririnig. She opened the gate as quietly as possible. Nagulat siyang muli when she saw Sandra’s Harley standing proudly sa gitna ng di kalakihang bakuran. Bigla siyang nakadama ng guilt. Sandra called her more than 5 times at dahil nawili siya sapakikipagkwentuhan sa mom ni Ruth ay hindi nito nasagot ang mga tawag. She was about to call her pero bigla naman na-drain ang battery nya.

Then guilt turned up a notch when she saw her girlfriend lying on her sofa. Nakatakip ng kumot ang pang-ibabang bahagi ng katawan nito. Her right elbow was resting on her forehead. And she slept like a baby. If there’s a pictorial image of how angels sleep, it’s right there infront of her. Nawala lahat ng pagod niya upon seeing her.

And she gawked at her like forever. Hinaplos-haplos pa niya ang kaliwang braso nito nakapatong sa tiyan. Gusto niya itong tabihan but the couch was too small for them. Hahayaan na lang niya itong matulog duon habang nagbibihis siya. Slowly, she stood up para pumasok sa kwarto but her Sandra’s left hand found her wrist and grabbed her.

“Babe…” she said habang nakapikit. Pilit nyang inaaninag ang mahal.

“Babe…” Pat replied saka lumuhod malapit sa kanya. Ipinilig niya ang tenga malapit sa bibig nito to hear what she had to say. Nakiliti pa siyang bahagya sa init ng hininga nito.

“It’s late.” She said sa napakalambing na tinig. “Bakit ngayon ka lang po?”

“Sorry po, babe kasi I was with a friend at hindi ko narinig ang tawag mo. I was about to call kaso na-lowbatt ako. Bakit hindi ka pa sa kwarto natulog?” Pat kissed her in her forehead, nuzzled her nose and kissed her lips. She missed her badly.

Sandra kissed her back sa pisngi, sa ilong, sa noo, all over her face. “It’s alright. I’m happy that you’re here. Can we make—?”

“Nope, baby, I’m tired.” She kissed her again, this time sa palad naman. “Maybe tomorrow morning?”

Sandra pouted her lips. She wanted to ravage her in bed pero hindi niya kayang gawin yun. Kung sabagay pati siya ay ayaw na rin tantanan ng antok.

“How about first thing in the morning?”

“Kung mauna kang magising.” It was a bet Pat knew Sandra would never win. Para kasing mantika itong matulog.

“I love you, babe.” Sandra whispered. “Kahit ayaw mong makipag-lampungan tonight.”

“I love you, too.”

Magkahawak nilang tinungo ang silid ni Pat para matulog. They embraced each other the whole night but for the nth time Pat couldn’t get used to it. Nanduon palagi ang kilig at anticipation. Pipikit na sana siya when she remembered Ruth’s extremely enticing job offer.

Triple ang bayad. Pag-isipan mo.

God knows she wanted to fill-up the application form pagkasabi pa lang ng dating kasintahan ng halagang kikitain niya. But she wondered if it is worth it. People live by chasing their dreams. And die for leaving love behind. What is it gonna be? Hindi niya alam. She finally closed her eyes after saying her prayers. Yes, she asked Him for a sign.

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PostSubject: Re: These Four Corners (story by Lj)   Thu 10 Apr 2014, 7:19 am

Chapter 25

Agad na pinatay ni Sandra ang makina matapos makahanap ng parking space sa compound ng isa sa mga pinakasikat na coffee shop sa Maynila. Pagkahugot ng susi, isinuksok niya iyon sa faded skinny jeans and took Pat’s hands. She playfully caressed the palm of her hands and traced the words ‘I love you’ on it.

Then she opened the door of the driver’s seat, lumabas saka umikot papunta sa tapat ng passenger seat. Idinukwang ni Sandra ang ulo at ipinatong ang braso sa sa bintana ng kotse. Si Pat ay tila ayaw tumayo sa kinauupuan. “We’re here. Tara sa let’s go in.”

Sa loob, magiliw silang binati ng isa sa mga crew and led them to a two-seater table saka kinuha ang kanilang order. Pagkaalis, Sandra set her phone on silent mode at tinanggal ang earpiece na kanina pa nakasuksok sa tenga nito. Si prof naman ay tahimik at nanonood lang sa mga taong naroroon sa loob ng café.

“Kumusta ang exams mo?” wala sa loob na tanong ni Pat.

“It was okay. Alam mo naman inspired...” Nakangiting sagot ni Sandra at pagkatapos ay kumalumbaba. “..sayo.”

Hinila ni prof ang kamay niya at saka inilapat iyon sa lamesa. “That’s good to hear, babe.” Pagkatapos ay umiwas ng tingin. She’s started to feel pain in her throat.

Sandra frowned a little. “Hey, may problema ba? Ang tahimik mo ha? Hindi ako sanay na ganyan ka.” sunud-sunod na tanong nito sa nobya. Lumapit pa ito at sinalat ang nood niya. “Are you sick?”

“No, I’m fine.” prof spoke quietly. “Not sick. Siguro stressed out lang.”

“Well, I have something to perk you up.” She pulled a small photo from her pocket at pinakita iyon sa kaharap. She was grinning at ang mga mata niya’y naguunahan sa pagkislap. “Who is this?”

“Obviously, si Mickey Mou—“

“I’m taking you to Disneyland this sembreak.” She said excitedly. Ang paraan ng pagkakasabi nito ay napaka simple as if telling her na balewala lang kung gumastos ito ng napakalaking halaga para sa airfare, lodging atbp.

“Babe, hindi ba masyadong magastos yan?”

“Don’t even think about saying no to me, silly. Gusto kitang dalhin so you can meet my friend Mickey in the flesh. Isa pa, hindi ba nabanggit mo sa akin dati na pangarap mong makapunta duon?” nakangiti pa rin ito habang winawagayway ang larawan ng pamosong cartoon character.

Pat wanted to be happy. She wanted to give her an embrace and thank her for remembering ang isa nga sa mga pangarap niya. But she was in no mood for that. What she came to discuss with Sandra is no laughing matter. Mabigat ang loob niya at hindi iyon maitago ng mga pinong ngiti nya.

“Sands, hindi ako pumunta rito to check on your exam results. May importante akong sasabihin sa iyo. It couldn’t wait kaya sana makinig ka sa aking mabuti.”

Biglang kumulimlim ang mukha ni Sandra. “What is it, Pat?” she sipped her coffee and then rested her back against the chair.

God, help me with this. I would hate to see her cry. “I received a job offer from Qatar, Sands. One of the most prestigious universities there are in need of young, single professors na may master’s degree. Malaki ang suweldo. It’s triple or even four times bigger than the salary I am receiving right now. It’s a chance of a lifetime at ayokong palampasin.” Hindi na ito nagpatumpik-tumpik pa.

Ilang sandali ng katahimikan ang umiral bago sumungaw ang mapait na ngiti sa labi ni Sandra. She was still trying to process everything that she heard. “Chance of a lifetime? You can earn that much even without leaving the country, babe.” She tried to convince her. “If you want, I can ask daddy to increase your pay. What else do you want? A car? House? He can give you that.”

“Huwag mong gawin iyan, Sandra.” Pigil niya sa sinasabi nito. She couldn’t believe that Sandra took the situation lightly. “Nasaan naman ang dignidad ko kapag ginawa mo yan? I’m the eldest in the family. They expect so much from me at gagawin ko ang lahat para kina mama at papa. I intend to do that the right way. Gusto kong umahon sa sarili kong pagsusumikap.”

“At the expense of our relationship, Pat? Ni wala pa tayong dalawang buwan!?” she hissed. Masakit na masakit ang dibdib niya. The pain she’s feeling was no where near all the pain she’s ever felt before. Nakakabaliw. Nakaka-sira ng ulo.

“That’s exactly my point. Habang hindi pa malalim ang nararamdaman mo para sa akin, mas mabuti pang itigil natin ito. I have planned my life and I have little time for you, for love. I know kaya mo pang pigilang mahalin ako.” Pat offered sa napakalamig na tinig. She wanted to mask her feelings. She felt she had to.

“If I couldn’t love you anymore, how can I be myself?” Sandra broke down. Tuluyan nang tumulo ang luha niya sa magkabilang mata. “You are who I am, Pat! Ang lupit mo naman!” She trembled incessantly.

She swallowed. In her mind, she saw herself sa katauhan ng kaharap. Three years ago, she was the one begging for Ruth to stay. Ah, kung pwede lang niyang i-sugarcoat ang lahat ng bagay ay ginawa na niya. There’s really no easy way to break somebody’s heart.

“You need to pull yourself together, Sandra. Hindi rin madali para sa akin ito. Pareho lang tayong masasaktan kung itutuloy pa natin ito. Three years is a long time.”

“Well not for me! Don’t send me away like a puppy.” Anguish was written all over her face. She clutched her chest at pilit na pinipigilan ang paninikip ng dibdib. Sunud-sunod ang lagok nito sa kape na kanina lang ay matamis.

“I am not sending you away. Look, you have your own life to live. Just think about this as a phase that you have to go through to become a better person.”

“Stop lecturing me, Pat.” She was too busy with her emotions na hindi na nito napapansin ang mga pares ng mga matang nakatingin sa kanila. Ah, wala siyang pakialam. All she cares about is to find the proper words to say to make her stay. And she had to think quick dahil determinado ang kaharap na itigil na ang ugnayan nila. “I’ll go with you.”

“That’s stupid! At ano ang gagawin mo dun?”

“I don’t know. I just want to be with you.”

“I made up my mind, Sandra. I didn’t come here to ask permission from you. I respect you kaya ipinaalam ko sayo ang lahat. In return, I want you to respect my decision. Please be mature about this. There is nothing else you can do.”

Kung gaano karami ang sinabi niya ay ganun din karami ang iniluha ng kaharap. It just wouldn’t stop kahit anong pigil nito. And she wanted to curse the poignancy of the moment. She’s seen it in the movies where pain seemed unreal. Little did she know, reality hurts a hundred times worst.

“I can wait.” Tinitigan niya ang mga mata ng kasintahan ngunit naging napaka-ilap nito.

Pat sighed. “No. Stop. Don’t.” there was panic in her tone. She couldn’t leave her waiting in vain.

“Hihintayin kita dito, Patricia. I’ll keep my hopes up and wait. I’ll pray to God for you everyday and wait. I will fight for you every minute of my life and wait. I will wait for you. And you can’t stop me! You can’t take that away from me. Do you understand?” there was firmness with the way she spoke. Binubuhusan man ng asido ang puso niya, hindi siya patitinag. Yes, she could teleport to the moon and beyond but she will never be able to escape her love. Sisiguraduhin niya iyon.

“I’m sorry, Sandra.”

That was the last time they ever saw each other. Dalawang linggo matapos nuon ay lumipad na si Patricia patungong Qatar. She took the earliest flight aboard the Qatar Airways. She was accompanied by her mom and dad sa airport. They cried and hugged each other. Mahabang panahon rin kasi ang tatlong taon.

Few days later, Sandra flew to some place conducive to heal a broken heart. Si Claire ang naiwan sa Pilipinas.

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PostSubject: Re: These Four Corners (story by Lj)   Thu 10 Apr 2014, 7:24 am

Chapter 26

October 10, 2013

Hindi siya makatulog sa eroplano. Ilang oras siyang paikot-ikot sa upuan ngunit hindi siya dalawin ng antok. It has been three years. And since setting foot in Qatar, she dreamed about this day everynight.Marami siyang iniwan. Maraming isinakripisyo. But it was well worth it. Napagawa niya ang bahay ng mga magulang sa Rizal. May bahay na rin siya sa Las Pinas. Wala na siyang hahanapin pa. Wala nga ba?

She peeked through the plane window and saw the whole of Manila. Tuwang-tuwa siyang makita ang mga gusali at kabahayang kasing lalaki na lamang ng langgam. From her vantage point, nakita niya ang SM Mall of Asia at namangha siya sa laki niyon. That mall reminded her of the other malls na pinuntahan niya at ni… Bigla siyang tumigil duon.

Yes, it has been three years pero nag-iisa pa rin ang laman ng puso niya. Patricia reached for her pocket at mula ruon ay hinugot ang wallet. Punum-puno ito ng credit cards, ID at iba pang mga mahahalagang pagkakakilanlan. Then she pulled out photos of her family. She flipped them and saw another set of pictures na pinaka-iingatan niya. Larawan nila ni Sandra. Kumusta na kaya siya?

Ilang saglit pa ay lumapag na ang eroplano sa NAIA. She smiled upon seeing the signage at the arrival area. Wala duon ang ina at ama. She wanted to surprise them. Pagkalabas, tumawag siya ng taxi at nagtuloy sa isang hotel na nirentahan niya. Ala-una na ng umaga. She has enough time to do what she’s supposed to do to finally put her heart at peace.

“Good afternoon, ma’am.” Bati ng security guard.

“Manong James, hindi mo na ba ako nakikilala?”

Umiling lang ang matanda.

“Si Patricia de Rios ho! Si manong talaga, oh!”

Tinignan siya nito mula ulo hanggang paa. His eyes grew wide nang makilala kung sino ang kaharap.

“Ay, Miss de Rios ikaw nga! Ang ganda mo ngayon, ah? Saan ka ba galing?”

“Sa Qatar po! Pwede ba akong pumasok. Bibisitahin ko lang sina Doc.”

“Aba’y walang problema. Sige pasok.”

She lied. Hindi iyon ang pakay niya. Matapos iwan si mang James ay dali-dali itong nagtungo sa ikatlong palapag para makita ang music room. Bago na ang pintura ng lumang gusali and yet nakadama siya ng dejavu. Parang kailan lang ay binabagtas niya ang mga pasilyo nito paroot-parito. Gusto niyang tumili sa saya. Nginingitian niya ang lahat ng mga nagdaraan hoping that one of them can help her find her reason for trespassing on campus.

Ilang saglit pa ay nasa harapan na niya ang silid na hinahanap. She stood there for a couple of minutes. Nakikiramdam. Walang musika. She twisted the doorknob and she was welcomed by the darkness. Walang tao. Binuksan niya ang ilaw and saw that the room never changed. Nanduon pa rin ang piano although it looked a little older. Patakbo niyang tinungo iyon until it was finally a few inches from her. Hinagod niya ito ng tingin at pagkatapos ay marahang hinaplos. It showed no signs of usage. She examined it a little further hoping to find atleast a note coming from her pero wala siyang nakita. Disappointment was an understatement. And I thought you’re willing to wait? She mused.

But it’s too early to lose hope. Nang mag-decide siyang umuwi 3 days earlier than what was written on her contract, kinundisyon na niya ang sariling magiging mahirap makita ang hinahanap. But she will not give up. Never.

Bumaba siya ng third floor, sumuot sa canteen saka kumaliwa. Mula sa di kalayuan ay natanaw na niya ang gymnasium. She brisked her way towards the building at halos pagtingininan na siya ng mga nagdaaraan. Kung pwede lang niyang tanggalin ang wedge sandals niya ay ginawa na niya. She was in a rush. She couldn’t take anymore minute without her.

Bukas ang pinto ng gym at maraming tao. May mga elementary students na naroroon at naglalaro ng vollyeball. Sabay-sabay itong napatinginsa kanyang direksyon when she arrived. Hindi rin niya kilala ang instructor ng klase. He was a lanky man, maitim at may bigote. Magalang siyang tinanong nito kung sino ang hinahanap but her answer was vague. For the second time that day, she was upset. Hindi iyon ang inaasahan niya.

Tinignan niya ang relo and it reads 3:20pm. Mataas pa rin ang sikat ng araw na napapaso na ang balat niya. Tumatagaktak na rin ang pawis niya sa likod kakatakbo. Oh, she felt like a trackstar sa gitna ng isang Olympic-size oval. Only difference if that, the finish line gets farther by the minute at hapung-hapon na siya. Thirsty, she went to the canteen and ordered one bottle of mineral water.

Isang umpukan ng mga estudyante ang naka-pukaw ng atensyon niya. It was some sort of a pep rally sa loob mismo ng canteen. Hindi bababa sa dalawampung kabataan ang naroroon. Maingay ang paligid at hindi niya marinig ang paksa ng umpukan. Until the leader stood up and called the attention of the group in a firm booming voice. Agad siyang napalingon at hindi siya nagkamali. It’s her!

“Claire?” tawag niya. Then she waved her hand in the air animatedly. Tuwang-tuwa siyang makita ang dating roomie. Claire has grown into a beautiful woman. Mas lalo itong nag-mature sa kanyang paningin.

“Ma’am Patricia!?” bumaba ito sa tinutuntungang upuan and rushed towards her. Niyakap niya ang dating guro at hinalikan sa pisngi!

Here comes my savior and my compass!

“Kumusta ka Pat? You’re looking great!”

“Look who’s talking. Ikaw nga itong blooming!”

“Hindi naman.”

“What’s the commotion all about?”

“Oh, nothing. I’m running for President para sa school council. Can you believe that?”

“Of course! You’re born to lead naman! I’m so happy to see you!”

“Ako rin Pat! Si Sandra na lang ang kulang!”

Patricia stilled for a moment. The mention of her name is like flash granade na nagpatigil ng mundo niya. Why, she had to thank Claire for doing that. Nakita niya sa mukha nito ang saya para sa napipintong reunion. Bigla siyang nabuhayan ng loob.

“Where is that brat, by the way?” She asked casually. Ayaw niyang ipahalata ang pananabik niya sa dating nobya. But her shaking hands betrayed her.

Nagdikit ang kilay ng dalaga. “Why, I thought kayo ang may contact sa isa’t-isa?” bumagsak ang balikat nito.

“No. I haven’t been able to communicate with her. Why? What happened?”

Hinila niya ito upang maupo sa mesa. Mahaba-habang kwentuhan ito.

Claire cleared her throat. “Few days after you left, umalis na rin siya and left for DC. She didn’t even bother to get her classcards, eh. For three years, twice pa lang kaming nagka-usap. The first time was a day after her arrival duon. The last one happened, I guess over eight months ago when she told me she—“ she paused for a while. She looked at the floor and stomped her foot.

“Told you what??” Pat demanded.

“…that she met someone and they’re getting married!”

The news exploded like a bomb! She was appalled! Kung may lubid lang duon ay nagbigti na siya! Sunud-sunod na lagok ang ginawa niya sa mineral water at naubos ‘yon. Her emotions jumped from disappointment, to frustration until it reached the point of devastation. She wanted to scream! But not a sound came out her mouth. Then a battery of allies came to relieve her pain. They call themselves tears.

She broke down so hard that the stunned Claire could only stare. Inalo siya nito at hinagod sa likod. Naaawa siya sa dating guro. Isang oras pa silang nag-usap sa canteen. Para silang mga baliw. Pat was smiling, laughing and crying at the same time habang nagre-reminisce sila. Then they parted.


Patricia proceeded to Starbucks to find comfort from coffee. She went to the branch where they broke up. Stupid. Impossible. Improbable. That’s what she thought. No. No way Sandra could emerge from the walls of the café and reconcile with her. She’s gone. She’s getting married. Or perhaps married. Nag-simula nanaman siyang umiyak. She cried until her eyes hurt.

And he saw her. Lumapit ito sa dalaga and pulled out his hanky. “Miss, are you alright?”

Patricia raised her head to see where the offer came from. And that’s how she met the guy who’ll change her perspective in life forever. He was clean, fragrant and as good looking as the devil. Napakatamis ang itinapong ngiti nito sa kanya.

“I’m fine.”

“I’m Christian.”


Right at that very moment, at the opposite side of the world, Sandra stood over a huge crowd. The Filipino-American community gave her a standing ovation for her magnificent piano recital. She looked around and saw hundreds of people as they cheer for her. Maya-maya pa, Albert walked to the center of the stage and gave her flowers.

“You nailed it, sweetie! Look at them, they all love you.”

“Thanks.”

Muli niyang ibinaling ang paningin sa mga manonood at saka bahagyang nagyuko ng ulo bilang pasasalamat. She waved at them, sent flying kisses to everyone then drifted towards the dressing room. The guy was right. She did pretty well. Bilang isa mga organizers ng event na yon ay walang pagsidlan ang kaligayahan niya. The people who came in droves got their money’s worth. It was indeed one of the most succesful musical events in the state of Washington.

Nawala lang ang ingay when she shut the door of her spacious dressing room. Ipinatong niya ang mga rosas sa ibabaw ng mesa duon at saka umupo sa harap ng isang malaking salaming napapalibutan ng mga bumbilya. Sandra stared at herself on the mirror at saka hinila ang drawer. She saw a pocket sized calendar and smiled bitterly. October 9, 2013. She could’ve flown to the Philippines on this day if she just answered any of her letters. But she didn’t. There is no sense of coming back. At hindi na siya umaasang makikita pa ang dalaga.

“It’s the big day, isn’t it?” Albert, a Fil-American theatre actor, asked as he opened the door.

“Yes.”

“Sandy, you’ll never know what’s inside the box unless you take a peek.”

Nakuha niya ang ibig sabihin nito. “I know what’s inside the box and it’s not for me.”

“How sure are you?”

“She won’t answer my letters and emails. She completely shut me out. That doesn’t take a rocket scientist for me to know what the real score is. Why are you being overly sport about this? Going home to the Philippines means—“

“Answers Sandy! That’s all it is. You’re a musician. How long do you think you can make beautiful music out of a broken chord?” he leaned forward and planted a kiss on her head.

He’s damn right.

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PostSubject: Re: These Four Corners (story by Lj)   Thu 10 Apr 2014, 7:29 am

Chapter 27

One year later.

Her make-up is done at siyang-siya sa naging resulta ng dalawang oras na pagtityaga sa kanya ni Art, isang well-respected make-up artist sa siyudad na iyon. She kept thanking him for a well-job done dahil talaga namang gandang-ganda siya sa sarili. She was blooming like pink roses. Nasisiguro niyang ikasisiya iyon lalo ng kanyang groom.

Facing the mirror, unti-unting inilapat ng mga assistants nito ang puting traje-de-boda. Why, she looked like a princess and felt like one, too. The gown was alabaster white and embellished by sequince and ruffles on the right places. Hapit na hapit ito sa hubog ng katawan, niya giving emphasis on her curves. Whoever sees her would truly fall in love. Talagang hihilahin ang oras para mag-honeymoon.

Matapos isara ang zipper sa likuran, she spun around and saw the boquet resting on top of the bed. She smiled at it. Imbes na mga rosas, pinili niya ang iba’t-ibang uri ng wild orchids symbolizing how crazy her life has been. Yeah, she was smitten to a girl, loved a girl in a hardcore passion and ended up in the arms of a wonderful guy. Isang lalaking hindi niya akalaing matatagpuan niya right when she needed someone by her side.

Bigla siyang napalingon sa imbitasyong na nakapatong sa mesa. Sa ibabaw nito ay larawan nilang dalawa. He’s the prince who made a difference in her life. He taught her music. He taught her everything. Nakangiti ito sa litrato in a seductive smile. His eyes beamed like two sets of satellites watching over her world. Nakadama siya ng warmth and pride duon. She could never find someone as beautiful as he is. Handa siyang pakasalan nito sa kabila ng mga naranasan niya sa buhay. Buong puso nitong tinanggap ang kanyang nakaraan without any reservation. And today, he’ll prove to her kung gaano siya nito kamahal.

And she couldn’t wait.

Nang ipinatong ni Art ang belo sa kanyang ulo, gusto niyang liparin ang himpapawid papunta ng simbahan. She has never been this happy and excited. At matapos tumanggap ng bilin mula sa wedding coordinator, bumaba na siya ng silid at nag tuloy sa lobby. Tatlong minuto lang syang naroron at agad na lumisan when her bridal car arrived.

She spent all the time in the car murmuring her wedding vows. Paano, to stammer at the altar would totally ruin everything. She was nervous. That’s the chink in her armour kaya pinagbubutihan niyang mabuti ang pagkakabisa ng mga ito. Kulang na lang ay iplaster niya ang mga sasabihin sa palad. Yes, she’s used to talk in front of a crowd pero ibang usapan na ang kasal.

The car passed through her former school at hindi niya napigilang maiyak. She loved the place. It was where she learned a lot of things: love, life and letting go. She will never forget the hallways and the spaces that became part of her past. She will never forget her friends and all the precious time she spent there. Sisiguraduhin niyang bumalik dito as often as she can. Yes, if time permits.

Ilang sandali pa at narating na nila ang simbahan. She saw her parents standing in front of it along with some of her closest friends and relatives. Malapad din ang ngiti ng mga ito although naluluha ng kaunti ang kanyang butihing ina. She waved at them ng walang kapaguran kahit hanggang sa paglabas ng sasakyan.

Then her wedding coordinator requested everyone to go inside the church. She nodded to the bride and took her to the spot where she’s supposed to launch soon as her entourage made their way into the carpeted aisle.

Pagkatapos pumuwesto ng pari sa altar, nagsimula nang mag-martsa ang bridesmaids at sponsors niya. Then the music played. It was one of their favorite Tagalog songs sang by Ariel Rivera. And she felt the high of it all. Nagkandabuhul-buhol ang emotions niya. She was happy. She was tensed. Her body convulsed at para siyang matutumba. She was halfway through the catwalk of love when she saw her, oh well, good friend for four years. Ngumiti ito sa kanya ng pagkatamis-tamis. Her lips produced the staple words: best wishes.

Maya-maya pa at naramdaman na niya ang bisig ng ama. As expected, the old man was teary eyed. He kissed her in the cheeks and whispered words of encouragement. He egged his babygirl on like he used to. In return, she gave him butterfly kisses. Her father was a good man. Ito ang naging pamantayan niya sa pagpili ng mamahalin ano man ang nangyari sa kanilang buhay. And for his groom to get his nod is truly a good sign.

And then the moment for the father to entrust his little girl to her husband came. Both men shook hands and gave each other a tight hug. Pumatak ang luha niya sa nakita. Ilang sandali pa, her groom was already leading her to the altar. Boy, he looked dashing in his hand-made barong. His eyes filled with admiration and desire for his bride. At the same time he was as teary-eyed as she was.

Mabilis na lumakad ang oras. Vows were made. And it was time for the couple to receive confirmation and blessing from God.

“By the power vested upon me by God, His Son and the Holy Spirit…” everyone held their breaths. It was the moment they’ve all been waiting for. Bakas sa mga mukha nila ang antisipasyon dahil ilang sandali na lang ay magkakaroon na ng katuparan ang pag-iibigan ng mga taong kanilang pinakamamahal.

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PostSubject: Re: These Four Corners (story by Lj)   Thu 10 Apr 2014, 7:34 am

Chapter 28

Father Federico kept everyone at the edge of their seats in suspense. Tumingin ito sa mga bisita at pilyong ngumiti. Then he gazed at the handsome couple who seemed as bitin as the others. He smiled again as if savoring his Kodak moment. Sige na nga.

“Clarita Santiago… Miguel Saavedra… I now pronounce you husband and wife! You may seal this matrimony with a kiss.”

Sa wakas! Claire was relieved.

Dumagundong ang masigabong palakpakan! Patricia joined the crowd as they celebrate the union of her beloved Claire and her hubby Miggy. Masayang-masaya siya para rito because she found a man na hindi lang may sinasabi sa buhay, gwapo na ay mabait pa. She just met him few hours earlier and he’s already gained her respect. She knew Claire in his good hands. And their child too na tatlong buwan na ang inilalagi sa kanyang sinapupunan.

The witnesses were still rowdy nang biglang tumugtog ang piano. Then the wedding singer who was wearing a white tuxedo started to serenade the couple. Claire and Miggy, in between smooching, managed to smile at her.

After all that’s said and done
We are here standing on the line
Toe to toe, face to face
The dream is all over now


Patricia looked up to see who the singer was. Hindi niya ito maaninag dahil bahagyang nakatagilid ito mula sa kanyang direksyon. Hindi siya mapakali sa kinauupuan. Something’s telling her to look closer, shut all the noise and listen carefully.

Because I am here with you now
Taking this chance of a lifetime with you
Looking at all the possibilities
Life would bring
Life could offer
And I will hold your hand
Never let go
I’m here with you now

The noise tapered off a notch at nawili ang lahat sa pakikinig sa misteryosang mangaawit. And Pat was one of those who were mesmerized by her voice. She’s heard it before. May suhestiyon ang puso niya but her mind commanded her not to make any judgement hanggat hindi nito nakikita ang kumakanta. I need to see where that voice is coming from. Pagkatapos, she squeezed her way out of the crowd para hanapin ang hagdan paakyat sa ikalawang palapag ng simbahan kung saan naroroon ang pinagmumulan ng mahiwagang tunog.

This journey has begun
The moment you said my name
When I saw your eyes
I knew my life would never be the same


Finally, she reached the spot where the singer was. She was stunned. It was Sandra. Umikot ang paligid at gusto niyang himatayin. Nang makitang matigas na semento ang babagsakan, she collected herself and stood right where she was. Hindi niya inaalis ang tingin dito. She noticed the white tuxedo that clothed her. Bagay na bagay ito sa kanya. She never thought that a guy’s wardrobe could look sexy on a girl. But she was Sandra. And she has the power in the world to shatter her system of belief, to shatter all rules per se.

Sandra didn’t take her eyes off of her, too. Obviously, they were filled with longing. And when she saw her slightly parted lips, she wanted to throw the mic and attack her with a hungry kiss. Pinigilan niya ang sarili sa bagay na ‘yon.

I’ve gone to places, love
But there is nothing like your arms
I am home right where you are
And my heart is yours forevermore


Then she finished the song. The newlyweds marched outside the church at and the rest followed. They showered them with rice and rose petals. Patricia saw Claire as she looked down where they were. Isang kaway ang ibinigay nito bago tuluyang makalabas ng simbahan. In a snap, wala na ang ingay and all they have was each other.

“You didn’t return my calls, Pat.” Sandra said. Her face was dim. “I tried to reach you every single day but you deserted me.”

Pat gave out a sigh. “And I hated myself for that every day. I didn’t have the courage to talk to you or read your letters. Natakot ako na kung mabasa ‘yun ay umuwi agad ako ng Pilipinas. Then our break-up would defeat its purpose.”

“I almost died alam mo ba yun?”

“That’s unfair. I cleared everything to you before I left for Qatar.”

“I guess I’m that fool for you.” sarkastikong sambit nito. And still a fool after all these years. God, you look more beautiful today than you were four years ago.

“I came back, Sandra. After three long years I came back hoping that you’d keep your promise but to my dismay, I didn’t see you. You were no longer there.” Her voice was shaking.

“And you really expect the world to wait for you, Pat? Ganyan ka ba kasigurado sa sarili mo?” she frowned a little.

“No! Umasa lang ako sa pangako mo. I believed you. Gullible ako, hindi ba? You should’ve seen how devastated I was when I learned that you left for the states and was getting married.” She choked on that one. “I almost died right there, too. So, quits na tayo!”

Sandra shook her head. Incredible. “I was about to wear his ring pero naalala kita kaya kumaripas ako ng takbo palabas ng sala ng huwes! Hindi mo alam how painful it is to fall down from the stairs na una ang balakang! But I did because I tripped dahil sa pagmamadali! All because of your nagging memory! Hindi kita maalis sa isip ko!” panunumbat nito.

“And you have no idea how to sleep everynight with a hollowblock beside you. Ang tigas kaya nun? At kailangan ko pa talagang bitbitin ‘yun mula Pilipinas papuntang Qatar. On top of that, I wasn’t able to bring enough undies on my baggage because of that silly hollowblock pero ginawa ko yun dahil—“

“What? Magsalita ka!”

Pat’s voice mellowed. There was really no use to shout. “I wanted to bring a piece of you with me. And that rubbish paperweight of yours reminded me of you, kung gaano katigas ang ulo mo! You’re one stubborn young lady at talagang bagay na bagay ka sa akin because my heart is stubborn, too.”

“Nagsusumbatan ba tayo?” Unfortunately, hindi niya nakuha ang gustong sabihin ng dalaga. If she was attentive enough, nalaman niyang mahal pa rin siya ng dating guro.

“Ikaw ang nag-umpisa, bingi, dense!”

“Tapusin na natin ‘to!”

Sandra put the mic away and grabbed Patricia’s hands. Napakahigpit ng pagkahawak nito sa pulsuhan niya and she almost cried in pain. Hinila siya nito pababa mula sa second floor at saka kinaladkad patungo sa altar ng simbahan. Ang mga taong naroroon na empleyado ng wedding planner ay sinenyasan niya munang umalis. Tumalima naman ang mga ito. By then, the whole place was deserted. Pati ang pari at sakristan ay nasa kumbento na. Tanging huni lamang ng mga ibon ang maririnig.

“Anong ginagawa mo? Anong gagwin natin rito?”

“Gumalang ka nasa harapan tayo ni Bro.” binitawan siya nito. Sandra stepped a little closer and knelt in front of Lord’s image. Nahaharangan sila ng malaking mesa na may mahabang sapin. “Tone down a little, Patricia. Now profess!”

“What? At anong ipo-profess ko?”

“Love! Pag-ibig! Katatapos mo lang marinig magpalitan ang pinsan ko at ni Claire ng marriage vows kaya alam mo dapat kung paano ginagawa ‘yon.”

“Pinsan?”

“Saka ko na ipapaliwanag ang family tree namin. I want you to profess! That, o iiwan kita rito! Then I will leave first thing in the morning at sa postcards mo na lang ako makikita!” she said in a quiet yet unyielding voice.

“That’s emotional blackmail!” she barked back.

“Do it!”

“Okay!” She docked her head and gathered her thoughts, imagining a shotgun pointed towards her temple. “I, Patricia de Rios, do solemnly swear that I would never, ever leave Sandra again.”

“Good start! Parang kontrata lang?” she teased.

“Won’t you let me finish?”

“Sorry! I couldn’t help it.”

Pat continued. “I vow that I will stay where she stays. Not even a storm as strong as Pepeng could ever blow me away from her. I will be patient when she is stubborn. I will try to get used to her snoring at night.”

“I don’t snore!”

“How would you know, tulog ka? Don’t worry, you’re secrets’ safe with me. Gandang babae ang lakas humilik?” she joked.

“That’s not true!”

Pat was unmoved. “Lord, forgive her mistakes. If you don’t, then punish me, too.” Biglang sumeryoso ang mukha nito. “I’ve spent four years alone in my room as she unknowingly filled my thoughts. Now that she’s here with me, I promise to let nothing or no one, even the universe to prevent me from loving her because that is the only thing that makes me… me.”

Sandra’s face reddened. She knew she couldn’t top what Pat has just said. She looked at her and saw that her eyes were still closed. She’s really praying? She shoved her lightly to signal that it was her turn to say make vows.

My turn. “Patricia, today I kneel before God and before the Angels, to offer myself to you. I have beauty…” itinaas niya ang kaliwang kilay.

Kelangan magbuhat ng bangko? Pat wondered if there was ever a time she abstained from being a show-off. Wala siyang maisip na petsa. Petsa talaga?

Sandra continued, “… power and fortune enough to keep me comfortable with my life. But in the years that we were apart I realized that the only thing I needed is you.” She winked. Nice one! “Today, I vow to protect you; to make you laugh, to make you shed tears of joy and to make you the only thing that matters in this world. I will sing to you until we are pale, semi-blind and forgetful. We’ll buy adult diapers together and remind each other where we put them. I’ll clean your dentures. Basically, grow smelly old with you.”

“That wasn’t very romantic.” She joked although the thought of growing old together was sold to her. Yeah, I like that, babe.”

“I tried my best but I realized I’m not that cheesy. But—“

“Yes?”

“If you're hearing my heart, Pat, I want you to know that I love you very much. I've been around. I've been in heaven and clawed back from hell. I went to the moon. I sank in the ocean. My life is a constant free fall. But I'm here and I'm standing naked now telling you that I love you. And no one, nothing in this world is more important than you. I asked HIM why I have a heart. He said he gave me one so it could beat for you.”

“That’s beautiful, babe.” Then she wrinkled her nose. Pat was the happiest person in the entire world.

“Really? I had my lawyer compose that. Joke!”

“Haha, ikaw talaga. Can we leave now? Hinihintay na tayo sa reception.”

“Not yet! We have to kiss each other to seal our vows!”

“Here? No way! They might see us.” then they began to argue again.

“A kiss takes away all bad omen! Don’t you know that?”

“Sino nagsabi?”

“Ako lang, pauso ko!”

Patricia thought it was goofy, lame and utterly stupid. But for a girl her stature to resort to goofiness just to kiss her, well maybe, she deserves a kiss. The sweetest one. “Are we trying to wed each other right here?”

“Yes, ma’am.”

“Then a kiss is really that necessary!” finally she was kind enough to herself to give in.

Birds were chirping and the migthy rays of light passed through the colored glass window as two lovebirds that were once separated by time and space kissed each other. It was a simple kiss, a slight touching of the lips but if was enough to end all their heartaches and pain. Surely, they’ve been to places only to find themselves at the four corners of the minster, looking at the great scheme of things, swearing to God to live happily ever after.

THE END

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