Blown By The Wind – Kabanata 11

July 24, 2017 By In Blown By The Wind Comments Off on Blown By The Wind – Kabanata 11

Kabanata 11
Break

Hinawi ko ang mahabang kurtina sa aking bintana, tama lang para makita ko ang dalampasigan. I sighed when I realized that my view is dotted with obvious in disguise media.

Kakatapos ko lang manood sa telebisyon ng paulit ulit na pahayag ni Blair tungkol sa kumalat na relasyon namin ni Zander. And it is funny when I realized that all I feel about this issue is anger. Hindi sakit o hinagpis kundi galit. To see that Zander did not even clear our name and is letting Blair talk about it speaks volumes. Lalo na sa kanyang social media accounts, na ibinalita rin, na dumami ang post niya na silang dalawa lamang ni Blair.

I remember how my parents are beginning to understand what I really want. I remember them finally accepting that this is what I want. I remember them realizing that they couldn’t dictate who I want to be with. I remember the first time they supported my relationship with Zander. I remember them pushing me to be in a relationship with Zander because he is the top of the pinnacle in my chosen field.

Now that they think my world is crumbling down, the little step of acceptance they have given it has crumbled down, too.

Tumingala ang mga nagpapanggap na turistang reporters kaya agad kong binitiwan ang kurtina ng aking kwarto.

“I’ve known Zander for a long time and I don’t think he is the kind na magiging unfaithful. So whatever that is, it’s probably just rumors,” sabi noong isa sa mga common friend ni Blair at Zander.

Matalim kong tinitigan ang TV. Kanina pa hinihingan ng opinyon ang mga kaibigan nila. And on my side, Carrie did not comment on anything. Flyn is busy with her own shoots kaya hindi rin ito nahingan ng opinyon.

“Well, the pictures. I’ve known Eury for quite sometime now and alam kong touchy talaga siya at medyo friendly towards boys so…”

Padarag akong naupo sa kama, tumingala at binuga sa hininga ang frustration. People think they know everything. What the serious hell are they saying? At si Zander, ni walang statement? This is obviously a sabotage to ruin me. This is clearly his choice and I cannot believe him! Bago ako pumuntang Romblon, he offered me a house. He seems serious about it. Kung ito ang sukli niya sa naging reaksyon ko, then fine! But we’re fucking done!

At ngayon… hinihintay ko na lang na ibalita ang detalye ng aking relasyon. Because of what happened in the front desk, I believe some media covering events in Boracay went here without hesitation because of it. Kaya hindi ako makalabas dahil ayaw kong pagkaguluhan ng media sa mga tanong.

Nag-iba ang topic sa news ngunit ang tumatakbo sa utak ko ay ganoon pa rin. I want to call the restaurant and ask them to deliver my dinner here. Ayaw ko nang bumaba.

Tumayo ako at lumapit sa telepono nang narinig kong tumunog ang pintuan, hudyat na may papasok. I muttered a curse under my breath and saw Vincent’s large brooding frame on my doorstep.

Kunot noo niya akong tiningnan habang sinasarado ang pintuan. He put the card he used inside his pockets. Maraming tanong ang bumalot sa aking utak. Paano siya nakapasok? Hindi ba may privacy dapat ang mga rooms? But then, fine, he paid for this room.

Lumapit siya at nilapag ang mga paperbag sa kama. Napakurap-kurap ako at tinalikuran ang telepono. He started removing his wristwatch. What the hell does this mean?

I stepped forward para komprontahin siya ngunit mas lalo lang nadepina ang konting distansya namin dahil doon. Para akong nasa gitna ng isang electric field. Pinapalibutan ng libu-libong boltahe ng kuryenteng kung saan-saan tumatama.

“Maraming reporters sa baba,” panimula ko. “Some of them overheard the front desk woman when she told me that the room is paid by my fiancee.”

Lumapit si Vincent sa bintana. Tumingala siya at sinarado ang gahiblang espasyo na maaaring gawing mata ng mga nasa labas patungo sa aming kwarto.

Nagtagis ang bagang ko habang tinitingnan siyang ginagawa iyon. He checked all the ends and corrected the spaces that seems a bit too revealing. Then he turned to me.

“Dumaan ka ba sa lobby?” tanong ko.
“Yes,” he said in a low baritone.

He shifted a bit and started unbuttoning his white longsleeves. Oh my God, Eury! You fool! Stop noticing even the small things about him! Ganyan ka nagsimula noon!

“W-W-Were you asked by anyone about… anything.”

Now I can’t even say the words properly without stuttering.

“Yes,” he answered. “Tinanong ako kung bakit hindi ka bumababa.”

Damn! So the media really is shamelessly waiting for me to show up for an exclusive interview? Bakit pa ako nagulat. It is a big scoop right now. To be the first one to enjoy that privelege will allow them access to an award or something.

“Anong sagot mo?”
“I said you were too tired last night so you’re probably resting the whole day.”

What? A smirk curved on his lips but then it immediately disappeared. Napalitan ng pagseseryoso.

“Bakit mo naisipang kumuha ng hotel?”

God! I want to avoid this confrontation tapos narito na ito sa harapan ko ngayon?

“I don’t want to be a burden to your sister or to you. Besides, I can afford a hotel room, talagang wala lang akong access sa pera ko ngayon at nag-aantay pa ako sa aking P.A. na dumating.”

He is walking lazily towards me. Maaaring relax pa ako ngunit nagwawala na ang sistema ko. You fool! Hindi ka parin talaga nagbabago! But at least now you know what it is and not making excuses for being a crazy bat shit, Eury!

“And you think people will believe we have a relationship when you’re being this distant? Ang lapit lang ng bahay ko rito, Eury. Bakit ka rito titira kung pwedeng doon?”

Uminit ang pisngi ko. I know and I understand that my accusation is unforgivable. Ano man ang gusto niyang mangyari ngayon bilang kaparusahan ko, dapat ay tanggapin ko na iyon. Ngunit hindi ko mapigilan.

If I tell him that I’ll just issue a statement about what happened years ago, para sa kung sino man ang gusto niyang makaalam, alam kong walang bisa iyon. That is why he’s opting for us to show an intimate relationship just to prove that he never forced me whatsoever years ago.

Pinisil ko ang bridge ng aking ilong at naglakad na para malagpasan siya at mapanatili ang distansya.

“Fine! Fine! But when does this end, Vince? Alam kong ang gusto mong mangyari ay ipakita sa mga kliyente at mga tao na walang pilitang nangyari sa atin pero hanggang kailan tayo ganito?”

I am trying so hard to think straight while he’s watching me losing the filter of my mouth.

“Until I’m satisfied,” he said.
“Until you’re satisfied?!” Gusto kong maghisterya.

This is ridiculous. Pero alam kong wala akong karapatang magtanong dahil ako ang may atraso at siya ang naagrabyado ko.

“Fine!” I said, frustrated. “I have so many issues right now, Vince. If you haven’t noticed? My boyfriend is not defending me from all of our issues and people are accusing me of being his mistress.”

His lips twisted in a sexy manner. Iniwas ko ang mata ko sa kanya at saglit na inisip kung bakit hindi ako makapag-isip ng diretso. Ah… oo nga pala.

“Your… boyfriend? Sabihin mo nga sa akin, Eury,” mariin ang pagkakasabi niya nito habang humahakbang palapit sa akin.

Nanuyo ang lalamunan ko. Shoot! I did not realize what I just said.

“Paano maniniwala ang mga tao na tayo kung may boyfriend ka? Hmm?”

Asshole! And I have no right to question it because… damn it! Ganito ba magbayad ng kasalanan?

Yumuko ako nang napalapit na siya. The scent of his expensive perfume mixed with his unique scent filled my nose. Napapikit ako ng mariin at pilit na itinutulak ang sarili sa galit.

Here is a man who’s trying to get even with me. Here is a man who’s trying to clear his name while literally forcing me to do it. At heto ako, walang magawa dahil alam ko na may atraso ako sa kanya. At kung hindi ko binawi o naging mas malupit ang mga magulang ko’y baka nakulong na siya habang buhay sa kasalanang ‘di niya ginawa.

He slowly caressed my chin with his index finger. Para akong lumutang sa ginawa niya. How can a man so savage and ruthless as him have this kind of gentle touch. Like how he’s able to touch me before. Noong nahulog ako sa bangka at napagalitan. Noong umiyak ako at naghihisterya. Kahit noong ipagtulakan ko na siya sa galit ko.

He pushed my chin up para makatingala ako sa kanya. Pagbabanta, panghihina, galit, at frustration ang nakita ko sa kanyang mga mata. His lips curved.

“Break it up,” he said breathily.
“I am in showbusiness, Vince. Unless you want a complicated life, filled with questions from the media because of your sudden relationship with me-”
“Break your relationship up, Eury,” he said ignoring my last call for his change of mind.
Ngumuso ako at bahagyang tumango.

Inangat ko ang tingin ko sa kanya. Matalim at madilim ang kanyang mga mata. Umawang ang kanyang labi at bumaba ang kanyang tingin sa aking labi. His very presence and the closeness made my heartbeat faster. Sa sobrang bilis at lakas nito, pakiramdam ko’y sumasakit na ang mga butong nakapalibot dito.

My breathing is heavy. His fingers grazed the sof sides of my face and I was already hesitant to question more.

“You told me to tell Dad that we’re getting married. We can’t just fool him! He’ll expect, Vince,” mahina kong sinabi. “And that’s too much.”
“I’ll say it’s too much if it is.”

Tinulak ko siya ngunit kung may distansya mang bumahagi ay agad din siyang nakabawi.

“If you want to get even with me, h’wag mong idamay ang pamilya ko! They will expect so much, Vince, and I don’t want to disappoint them again!” halos maiyak ako. “Kung gusto mong maghiganti sa ginawa ko, ako ang saktan mo! Ako ang pagbayarin mo! I am willing to pay you anything! Even this! Even the ruin of my own name just so you can forgive me but I won’t allow you to ruin my family!”

Hinapit niya ang baywang ko at dinikit ang aking katawan sa kanya. I would be squished on his chest kung hindi ko lang nailagay ang braso ko sa kanyang dibdib bilang pantuko at ang tanging nagpipigil sa distansya naming dalawa.

“We won’t disappoint,” he said.

For a brief moment, naging masyado akong naging conscious sa posisyon namin. I am almost tiptoeing because of his height and his demanding stance. I am almost certain that he can hear my heart’s beating or he can feel my ribs hammering like crazy.

“Bakit hi-hindi nanliligaw na lang muna, k-kung ganoon?” I swear I sounded so ridiculous at my request.

Ngumuso siya at nagtaas ng isang kilay. Ilang sandali siyang hindi nagsalita dahilan kung bakit mas lumala pa ang awkwardness na naramdaman ko. Eury, you freaking fool!

“I don’t do courtship, Eury. You think anyone would believe that?”

Bumuhos ang pait sa akin. Of course, Eury. He doesn’t do courtship, obviously. Noon hanggang ngayon. His relationship with women is not really that private. Lalo na syempre noong naging isa siya sa pinaka in demand na Architect sa buong Asya. Walang babaeng mag-aantay pang ligawan niya. His looks, masculinity, power, and money is enough to seduce anyone. He doesn’t have to be nice or whatsoever. Damn him!

He tilted his head and then loosened his grip. Haplos sa aking baywang bago siya umurong at tumalikod.

“I bought you new clothes. That’s not as fancy as the clothes you model but will do for now.”

Nilingon ko ang mga paperbag sa aking kama. Lumapit si Vincent sa kama at kinuha niya ang paperbag. Nilahad niya iyon sa akin.

“I don’t want you wearing that dress while roaming around here. We’ll eat our dinner downstairs.”

Binalingan ko ang damit kong ipinahiram ng kanyang kapatid. It’s an old rose floral dress that would pass as a daster, kung iba lang siguro ang nagsuot. Is that what he meant? I shouldn’t wear something of this variant? Damn him!

“Maliligo muna ako,” sabi ko at hindi na siya tiningnan.

Dumiretso ako sa banyo at nagkulong na roon. Nilagay ko ang aking mga kamay sa aking mga mata. Damn him! And Eury, you fool! How dare you just agree even when you know what it is!

Binaba ko ang aking mga kamay at pinagmasdan ang aking sarili sa salamin. Hell, I look like a lost child in a dress. Bakit ba hindi ko ito naisip kanina?

Niligo ko lahat ng frustrations ko. Puno ang pag-iisip ng maraming bagay habang nagbibihis at sinusubukang patuyuin ang buhok gamit ang blowdry.

I have to ask him if my manager called his phone or anything. There is no news again about what happened with Hubert but I’m glad that the police is on it. I wonder what the higher ups of the station is thinking. O nag-iisip pa ba sila sa akin?

He bought me a black simple dress. Siguro’y sa Caticlan, kung saan siya nagtatrabaho, iyon galing. I peeked at the other paperbag and saw sets of underwear.

“God damn it!”

Pumikit ako sa awkwardness na naramdaman at inilayo iyong paperbag sa aking mukha. Sa huli ay kinuha ko ang mga ito at sinuot na. May iilan pang damit ang naroon. I checked them one by one. It can actually last for a week.

Pagkatapos magbihis ay lumabas na ako ng bathroom. My eyes immediately flew to my bed where Vincent is. Wearing a white v-neck t-shirt, holding on to the remote control, his eyes drifted to me. Pinatay niya na agad ang telebisyon at agad na bumangon galing sa pagkakahilig sa headboard.

Nilingon niyang muli ako. Tiningnan mula ulo hanggang paa bago huminga ng malalim at tumayo.

“Kakain tayo sa restaurant dito?” tanong ko.

Nakapamaywang siya nang tumigil at tinatantya ang sinasabi ko.

“The media won’t come near us if you don’t want to.”

Bakit? Anong gagawin niya? Even the security of this hotel can’t just tell their guest to leave other guest alone.

“We’ll eat our dinner inside their VIP room. Tito Solomon and his wife is waiting for us.”

Sa ilang araw naming pananatili sa ginagawang resort sa Batangas noon, alam ko na kung sino ang kanyang Tito Solomon. These couple guided him growing up. At paniguradong hindi lingid sa kaalaman ng mga taong iyon ang tungkol sa nangyari sa amin noon.

“Okay,” pagsang-ayon ko.
“Let’s go…”

Nauna na siya sa pintuan. He opened the door for me at ilang sandali akong hinintay na makuha ang gusto niyang iparating bago ako tuluyang lumabas.

Patungong elevator ay tahimik kaming dalawa. Walang imikan. Bago kami nakasakay ng elevator ay may tumawag sa kanyang cellphone. He answered it.

“I’m in The Coast. Dito na ako matutulog,” sagot niya.

Nanatili ang tingin ko sa harap. Isang malaking salamin sa pintuan ng elevator na may repleksyon naming dalawa. He looked at me intently as the elevator started to travel down.

“Paki sabi kay Rod na siya na muna bahala. Susunod ako bukas ng tanghali.”

He sighed. The elevator opened for the ground floor. Lumabas ako, ganoon din siya bago binaba ang cellphone at iginiya ako kung saan kami kakain.

Hindi iilan ang mga nakakita sa akin. Alam kong media tuwing agarang nagmamadali pagkakita sa akin, sinusundan ako at nagpapanggap na hindi. Mabuti na lang at hindi kalayuan ang restaurant, ngunit hindi pa kami nakakapasok sa VIP room ay nakita ko nang nagsitayuan ang iilang kakilala kong media na naroon, kasama ang mga nakausap ko kanina sa front desk.

“Eury,” ang matangkad na bading ang unang bumati. He’s calling me but his eyes drifted to the one beside me.
“Hello!” I smiled.

Vincent snaked his arm around my waist and blocked my view.

“I’m sorry but I want a private moment with her,” he said immediately.

Bumaba ang mata ko sa kamay niyang nakahawak sa baywang ko. He pulled me closer against his body in a possessive stance that had my heart hammering. Para akong masasamid sa bagsik ng pintig ng puso ko.

“Sure, Architect Hidalgo.”

Inangat ko ang mga mata ko sa mga lumapit na media. They did not even look at me when they said it. Lahat ng mga mata ay na kay Vince. Pagkatapos ng sagot ay nagkatinginan sila, parehong malalapad ang ngiti. Vince’s chest blocked my view, iginiya niya na agad ako sa loob ng isang silid.

The VIP room in the hotel’s restaurant is made of glass walls decorated with flesh colored curtains. Sa mahabang hapag ay naroon ang isang lalaking tantya ko’y nasa 40s-50s ang edad kasama ang nasisiguro kong asawa nito. They were sweet and touchy on the table. The man’s hand is on the woman’s thigh. When they saw us, tumayo agad ang dalawa.

“Tito,” Vincent said in a greeting.

Tinapik ng mas matandang lalaki si Vince sa likod at pirming ngitian. The woman kissed Vince’s cheek before they both turned to me.

“This is Eury Saniel,” ani Vince.
I smiled and held out my hand. “Nice to meet you, po.”
“This is Captain Solomon and his wife, Tita Athena.”

The man gave a hearty laugh before shaking my hand firmly. Pagkatapos ay iyong babae naman. The woman looked so elegant. With her straight shiny hair, soft facial features, plump lips, and curved lashes, I must say na bagay na bagay sila ni Captain Solomon.

I suddenly wonder if I could ever grow older like that.

“Your father designed my wife’s resort in Batangas years ago, tama ba, hija?”

Tipid akong tumango. The man looked at Vincent bago ako iginiya sa upuan.

“Thank you,” sabi ko.

Pumasok ang iilang waiter para paglagyan ng inumin ang aming mga baso. Kinuha ko ang baso at uminom ako galing doon. Naabutan kong nakatingin ang Tita Athena ni Vincent sa akin. Mapanuri ang kanyang mga mata ngunit agad din itong ngumiti at binalingan ang mga pagkain.

I bit my lowerlip. I wonder if these people knows about the past, too. I cringed when I realized that they probably did. At ito ang dahilan kung bakit gustong-gusto ni Vincent na ipakitang hindi ganoon.

“Mabuti at tumawag ang aming front desk kay Athena noong nag check in ka, hija,” Captain said.

My eyes darted towards him. Muli akong kinabahan. May kasunduan kami ni Vincent ngunit hindi ko alam kung anong isasagot sa mga taong malapit sa amin.

“As much as possible, we want to avoid scammers. Maaaring mathreaten din ang aming mga bisita kung sakaling hindi kami nag-ingat kaya kailangan iyon, Vince,” Tita Athena said pagkatapos ay sumulyap sa akin.
“Naiintindihan ko. Mabuti po at itinawag ninyo sa akin.”
“Why would you want to stay here when his mansion is only a few blocks away?” tumaas ang kilay ni Tita Athena sa akin.

Nanuyo ang lalamunan ko. I seriously don’t know what to say.

“Misunderstanding, Tita,” sagot ni Vince.

Tumaas ang dalawang kilay ng kanyang tiyahin na tila nagulat at naliwanagan ng sabay. Tumuwid ito sa pagkakaupo at tumango.

“Well, I hope it is a simple misunderstanding. By the way, nalaman ko kay Sibal ang tungkol dito noong nagkwento siya sa mga sinabi ni Wanda sa mga Riego. Your Tita Fely is worried about you.” Pasimpleng sumulyap si Tita Athena sa akin.

I wonder what that means. Wala akong ganang kumain ngunit sinubo ko ang iilang nasa aking pinggan habang nag-uusap sila.

“Wala kang dapat ipag-alala,” sagot ni Vince.
“The whole hotel seems packed with media today. Alam ko na kung bakit,” Captain Solomon smiled at me.
“I’m sorry, po. I know it is because of me.”

Palipat lipat ang tingin ko sa dalawa sa harap. I can sense that their eyes are trying.

“I can just entertain their questions para matapos na ito pero nag-aantay ako ng tawag galing sa aking Manager,” paliwanag ko.
“That’s okay, hija. Wala namang inaabala ang mga media sa aming guests so it is not a bother. Besides, most of them has checked in the hotel so it is even an advantage.” Tumawa si Kapitan.

Vincent leaned on me a bit.

“Wala akong tawag na natanggap galing sa Manager mo.” Then he took his phone out. “You may use this. I’ll buy you a phone tomorrow.”

I nodded. Tinanggap ko ang kanyang cellphone at tiningnan ito. Isang tikhim ang naging dahilan kung bakit nag-angat ako ng tingin sa dalawang nasa harap. I saw them both take a sip on their wines.

Nilagay ko ang cellphone sa aking bulsa at nagpatuloy na sa pagkain.

Ang sunod na pinag-usapan ni Vince at ni Captain ay ang trabaho. While Tita Athena is suggesting some of their unique food to me. She’s kind and nice. If she ever think that I am a bad person, I cannot blame her.

“I will get some of those Strawberry Parfait I’m talking about from the kitchen. Omar, kindly please put more wine on our glasses?” sabi ni Tita Athena sabay tayo.

Tumango ako at ngumiti sa kanya. Nang umalis siya at nagpatuloy si Captain at si Vincent sa pag-uusap ay bahagya kong tiningnan ang cellphone ni Vince. His social media account is active and on his newsfeed. Nilingon ko siya at mabilisang binisita ang isang account ng pinakamalaking namamalita ng nangyayari sa showbiz industry.

The freshest news was posted three hours ago with so many interactions. Ang titulo nito ay isang quote galing sa mukhang cover nito na si Zander saying…

“I don’t have any romantic relationship with Eury. It has always been Blair.”

Parang kumulog ang kalooblooban ko sa nabasa. I don’t have to read the whole article to confirm it. I can imagine Zander doing that to save his career. Kahit pa sinabi niya sa aking kaya niyang talikuran ito para sa akin. I can imagine him being an asshole just to get back at me! Just for me to hurt because I rejected him!

Hindi sakit ang naramdaman ko kundi galit. I clicked on the comments and saw how people talked so many shits about me. How they called me a whore, a slut, and a mistress. How I’m suddenly the bad person when I just freshly escaped death.

I put the phone back in my pocket. Nilingon ako ni Vincent at agad kong pinangalahatian ang wine sa harap ko.

Can this be anymore fucked up?

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