|Picture is (c) at Danica Azares|
Authors: Lolita Cielai and Dandan Dallandan
Previously on Chapter One: The Necklace
That old hag was a real bitch, intimidating the new student. Without further ado...
Chapter Two: No Such Thing as a Happy Ending
I really hate "happily ever after"s. They are only applicable for fairy tales and when Fate maneuvers you towards your destined one. Wake up, kiddo. We're in the real world where Fate works the other way around. You just have to outsmart him.
Grocery was running low.
Living alone proved to be a hassle in my everyday living, but I had to buy my own groceries or else I would not eat for a week. Yes, I did live alone. My parents were out of the country, and my sister was married already. She and her husband did invite me to live with them, but I refused. I didn't want to be a burden to them. I'd rather take care of myself, thank you very much. So, I went to the nearest convenience store. Good thing I was able to catch up with the hoards of people there. It was sale, by the way, so no wonder there were many people who were trying to get their hands on those on sale. I saved fifty percent of my regular grocery budget. Score!
As I was walking towards the promising comforts of my apartment, I remembered visiting my favorite place. It was this humongous tree by the crystal clear river. There were many other humongous trees out there, but this one was my favorite because of the lush garlands that were hanged there. Those garlands, of course, rot, and I became its maintenance. I went to the said tree, feeling the remaining cool summer breeze before autumn comes. Autumn... As the wind blew harshly, I turned my head to the other side. That was when I saw the heaven-sent scholar sitting by the grassy slope. She still had this solemn look on her angel-carved face, and I could tell she was bearing problems. I approached her coolly and sat beside her. I felt her burning gaze on me as I looked straight to the vast stretch of grassland in front of us.
"What brings you here?" I started nervously, thinking of what would her reaction be.
"I live just around the corner."
She did not look at me; I could tell. For some reasons or another, it made me feel empty. A useless piece of trash. I looked into the distance her eyes were piercing at. There was nothing there to find; only the setting golden sun and the abundant trees there. Nothing more, nothing less. I could just...
"Besides, this is my sanctuary. Been visiting here for months since I arrived. What brings you here then, as well?"
"Besides, this is my sanctuary. Been visiting here for months since I arrived. What brings you here then, as well?"
I stole a glance at her and boy, I could faint at her smile! Then, everything seemed to be too dim as my eyes were blinded by her smile. Smile. There was something wrong with that smile.
"What? Cat got your tongue?"
I heard a child-like chuckle escaped her lips. Tongue, of all the good times, why must you choose this situation to twist thyself?
"Well," I started nervously. "this is, after all, my favorite place, too, in this subdivision. Probably the most tranquil place." I coughed a little.
"A tranquil place? You got to be kidding me!"
I laughed at the disbelief shown by her eyes and her voice. But her laugh was a dry laugh. No sarcasm injected, yet there really was something wrong with that smile.
"Sorry for being nosy, but I can tell you are carrying a burden." I gulped. This was not going to be easy. I waited patiently for her reaction.
All the color in her cheeks and the fake radiance of happiness in her eyes was gone in a snap as she looked down to stare at the river.
"Of course I'm burdened by school."
Not the answer I expected.
"You know you don't lie to me."
Oh, that was just great, Marco. You just did a good job.
I received no reply. Going home suddenly felt the best option for this situation. The sky got dimmer as it prepared for the coming of twilight. I rummaged through my pocket to see if I brought with me my apartment unit key. As I took the contents of my pocket, I saw the thing that started it all: the necklace.
"What did you get for..."
I immediately looked at her and I felt the cold beads of sweat into my forehead. She had this priceless expression on her face. She looked as if she just so a ghost; wide-eyed, paler coloration of her face and her eyes were piercing something from my palm.
Oh, the necklace.
"Where did you get this?" Her voice was so fragile that I could sense she was going to break should I utter something. Words left me when I needed them the most.
Without waiting for my reply, she grabbed the cursed material and threw it on the water. At that precise moment, I experienced the ceasing of time. I was unable to think, to react correctly on the event. The noisy whisper of the afternoon wind shook me out of my trance. Time passed by so quickly that I did not notice her leave. I did not know what came to me, for I suddenly jumped on the water and felt the mossy river floor for something I did not even have in mind. As I felt a familiar metal brushed my skin, I instantly grabbed it and lifted it out from drowning into the watery depths of the earth.
"I found it!"
Before I knew it, my feet brought me face-to-face with her. I gazed at her wide, a little sunken eyes, panting for breath. I did not know what was happening, for I was in trance and half-tired.
Increase in sensitivity.
I could feel my ragged breaths as I looked down on her, her eyes never leaving the wet article on the palm of my hands. I could feel the tension that between us; it was suffocating.
I could see that.
"Let's get you home."
And I felt myself tumbling towards an eternal oblivion.
Am I in heaven? I just heard the sweetest voice that could never be possessed by any mortal. I could see white light. This was probably paradise.
"I was asking if you'd like to have hot chocolate."
Eh? Why would an angel offer me hot chocolate? I could accept if she would offer me eternal happiness with her...
That husky phrase sent me shooting out of wherever I was laid on, wide-eyed shocked at the scene before me. I was in my house, all right. The white light I saw was probably the fluorescent light up in the ceiling. And that ghostly whisper...
There stood the materialized goddess Venus herself. What now?
"For the third time this evening, do you want hot chocolate or not?"
Unbelievable. She was real.
"What are you doing here?" I asked incredulously. Never in my life had I expected her, of all the people, to visit my humble abode. This was truly...
"Answer me first."
Oh. Right. The hot chocolate.
"If that doesn't bother you."
She turned away from me to work her magic on the hot chocolate she was saying. For some reasons or another, I found her dress giving me a déjà vu.
"You passed out at the park."
Right. The par-
"Whatever drove you to save that cursed necklace was probably a non-human evil entity."
Oh. I remember now. The necklace. The river. The black oblivion. The pieces are coming together.
"Sorry for the trouble."
"It's okay. I should be the one who must apologize for intruding your apartment. I can't bring you home."
She put the porcelain cup and saucer on the coffee table in front of me.
I nodded helplessly, bewitched by this too-good-to-be-true situation. I heard the soft clatter of glasses as she took it from the cupboard, and the gentle rush of tap water as she filled it. In no time, she was in front of me, holding the glass of water. Not one of us dared to say anything - to embarrassed actually - and instead looked somewhere our eyes would not meet. This was suffocating.
I suddenly remembered the object of discussion.
"Here you go. It's yours. I found it in the river."
"That's because I threw it there."
My lips were sewed shut by an invisible being. I was unable to reply.
"What's wrong with this necklace? If I know, it's very expensive, and I wouldn't mind if..."
I was cut-off when she retorted back.
"You can have it."
It was more of a statement than a question. I did not look into her eyes, afraid that I might see something that would break my heart; afraid that I could do nothing to comfort her at times like this; afraid that I might be rejected should I continue with my comfort plan; and afraid that I might break the friendship I so painstakingly built. All because of this necklace. We both knew we could not lie to each other. Maybe in a little while, she would open up...
"It happened just a month ago."
I looked at her suddenly, feeling the ruby color rush across my face. She sounded...forced. I suddenly felt bad about pestering her with her problem.
It's not like everyday you got to meet Fate who go with your wishes. Consider this as an open opportunity you only get once in a blue moon.
Shut up, self.
"We were in a joy ride at a park."
I could hear her voice breaking.
"But he lost control of the car. You know what happened next."
I found it appropriate to sit beside her, and so I did. Surprisingly, she leaned on me and I unconsciously wrapped my right arm across her small frame.
So behind this tough shell lies her very fragile essence.
"I was saved, but when we were brought to the hospital, he was dead on arrival."
Foolish me. I could only hold her tiny frame with my arm and nothing more.
"After the funeral, her mother approached me and asked if I was his girlfriend. I answered yes and she slapped me across the face. Nobody saw us because she led me somewhere secluded. She explained he already had a wife and three children. And that's when...that's when..."
Her broken sobs turned into a full blast cry. I held her closer, offering nothing but the warm comforts of someone to lean on at times like this. Man. I never knew it was this deep. I hope making her remember it for me did do any damage this time.
It took not more than five minutes before she stopped crying. Her swollen face was tainted with bottled up tears she had not cried for a long time. She sniffed before pulling away from my embrace. The blissful moment was gone.
"I'm sorry. It's late already."
Without waiting for my reply, she hurriedly went out of my apartment and into the cold, evening rain. True enough, it would not be obvious that she cried. The rain was her companion now to conceal what just transpired inside my humble abode. She was unable to bring the necklace.
Yes, my oh-so-great owner of our body?
Whatever. Still, your dream came true.
The soft pitter-patter of the gloomy rain reverberated through-out the unit. I smiled forlornly at the dark sky that hovered above. The hot chocolate she made was forgotten.
Evening turned to morning, yet the rain never turned to sun. The glorious golden ball of hot gas was hiding behind the grey clouds, intimidated by the mass of rain that fell onto the earth. It was going to be hard to get to the university without getting wet.
The morning bell rang, signaling the start of classes. The rain fell harder. It was music to my ears which was accompanied by the chatters of the other people inside the classroom. I fell sleepy.
It happened just a month ago.
A echo from the past shot me back to my senses, and I looked around to scan the room. The teacher was already there; everyone was seated on their respective seats. I noticed something peculiar.
The seat beside me was empty.
Strange. Why would she be absent at a time like this. I heard from her friends that she truly planned to absent today, but I did not know the reason why. I did see the absence slip she secured from the vice dean of college of engineering.
She was a proper student, and there was no way in hell she would absent for nothing. Probably family matters or something.
I missed her already.
"She's absent, miss. Were you not informed?"
The class president replied. The professor continued on.
Sheena. Her name sang tunes of goodness and graces. I had admired her from afar. We had known each other for the past few months quickly, and she began unraveling herself to me. We became buddies for a while, but we progressed to best friends rather quickly. She was intelligent, definitely worthy of being a scholar. Oh, how I wish she would notice me...
The school bell rang, signaling the end of classes. It was rather a short day for me. I did not know why, but I suddenly had the urge to actually go to my very in own sanctuary. Probably because studies had already caught up with me? Nah, it couldn't be. I was not stressed; in fact I felt like I had been laid back all the while.
That's when I collided with a huge crowd.
"Ugh. Excuse me, please."
Murmurs were everywhere. Surprisingly, I was able to wedge my way out of the thick mass of people. Just what on earth was happening?
We were in a joy ride at a park.
I saw the victim in his most pitiful state. His body was thrown for like 5 meters away from his broken motorcycle. There stood the white truck at the other end; the cops were interviewing the driver. There was dripping blood on one side of the truck. Probably the one where the poor guy slapped on.
But he lost control of the car. You know what happened next.
Cold sweat broke on my forehead. This scene was awfully familiar. I began to walk away, feeling nauseous about the whole accident.
"She's alive! Go bring her to the hospital, now!"
A loud siren from an ambulance woke me up from my nightmarish vision.
I was saved, but when we were brought to the hospital, he was dead on arrival.
That sent my skin crawling with goosebumps of some sort. I hurriedly left the place of accident and towards the comforts of my sanctuary.
"...And you actually dared to show your face here?! GET OUT!"
I looked to my right and saw Mrs. Gaffud scolding her son.
Oww, that hurts.
...she slapped me across the face. Nobody saw us because she led me somewhere secluded...
I felt my body shiver as the rush of memories came back to me. The hot chocolate. The goddess Venus herself. The necklace. The tears. The rain...
I ran, ran, ran as far as I could. I did not dare look back, afraid that these memories would turn into nightmares that would drag me to hell. Even though my feet hurt, I still went on; regardless of where they would bring me. At last, tiredness found its way to my system, and I stopped running.
I walked towards it, but I stopped in mid-step.
There she was, sitting by the tree. I couldn't see her expression, for her back was facing me.
The raven-haired goddess with short hair who captured the hearts of many men in the class.
The little lass who got a big brain and a big heart.
The tough, simple lady in blouse and jeans.
The woeful stranger who possessed the necklace I fell in love with.
The captor who caught my heart.
The one who gave my dull life its colors.
The very reason I felt the need to visit my sanctuary.
And there she was, ever-so beautiful; her lightly sun-kissed skin was glowing as it was basked in the golden sunlight; She would be the only lady forever in my heart, yet she would just be any other girls who passed by my life. She would be gone just like the others.
I never knew it was this hard to yearn for something so near yet so far.
"What brings you here?"
I asked casually. Now that I had sorted out my feelings, I should not be afraid. All this time, it was her who wrapped me in her little fingers. It was her that made me feel giddy all over. It was her that made me look forward to my dreams at night. It was her that inspired me back to life.
"You know you can't lie to me."
Then we laughed at each other.
"I was absent because I had to go to the hospital to visit my grandmother. She was confined."
"I'm sorry to hear that."
Tranquil silence embraced us after a few exchange of words. Maybe I didn't have to be with her forever. Just this once in a lifetime togetherness was enough.
Oh. The necklace.
"Here. You forgot this."
Without a word, she took the necklace.
"And don't you ever throw it again.
She laughed wholeheartedly. Her voice was like melody to my ears.
Time seemed to stop as she went towards me, her arms were outstretched, holding an opened necklace. I gulped as she tied it around my neck. Her trademark strawberry scent was intoxicating. It felt like hours when she finished.
"Maybe, the old fortuneteller was right. Pierre got it from a fortuneteller by his house. The fortuneteller said that whoever bears that necklace must have the right mate in his life. If he has the wrong one, mishaps would befall the mate. But then again, maybe the fortuneteller was wrong."
So that's why.
"Perhaps, the guy loved you a lot. He gave you that necklace, so you would be the bearer. And you told me he was married already, so the accident was probably the mishap."
She knitted her eyebrows in deep contemplation.
"That's probably it. But it was the past. All I mind now is the present. And that is you."
She was looking at the necklace all the while. She brushed it delicately with her fingers.
"The fortuneteller said as well, that should the right mate wear it, it would reveal its hidden luster. True enough, it was never this shiny before."
It was the most perfect moment.
"He probably didn't wash it well."
"Way to ruin a moment."
I pulled her into a tight embrace; afraid that this too-good-to-be-true moment would vanish in a snap of the fingers. It would drive me to my insanity. We shared a magical kiss that marked the start of our fairytale.
School festival was fast approaching, and our block planned on presenting a musical on stage. It was hard to be a props-man, plus I would hold a role in the said play. But it was harder to be a director.
She turned her head towards me and gave me a sweet smile. Our relationship was not a secret anymore. Let's just say the loquacious in the class did us a favor.
"Nah. Is your job finished?"
And we laughed and laughed our hearts out.
"There's really no such thing as a happy ending. I thought Pierre was my prince charming as I was his Cinderella. But we were not meant to be."
She had this faraway look in her eyes again as she reminisce those memories from before. I couldn't blame her though.
"Yeah. Because they are only for fairy tales. Life is no fairy tale; more like a living nightmare. There may be no happy endings but there will be lifetime happiness."
I gave her the most killer of the killer smiles I could muster.
And that was how out story went.
"Yeah, I'm done. I'm ready to submit this."
I only thought of writing in the feature section, but I was also invited to write in the literary. Talk about luck!
"I'll be going home."
"Have a safe trip!"
As I went out of the newspaper head quarters, I saw the lady of my life.
"Done already? I just went to buy something for dinner. I'd like to cook for you."
She smiled as she lifted the white grocery bag. Hm. Free dinner!
"Let's go home."
I only asked to have a good life in both home and school, but You gave me something more than I deserved and asked for. Thank You, Lord.
Author's notes: (I can't help ranting)
OH MA GOD! IT'S FINALLY FINISHED! >_< I want to apologize for delaying this part two. It was haaaaard to think of the ending. :)) Ah, sembreak is finally over. And guys, makakasama nio pa ako next term! YAY!
Well, enjoy the rest of my blogs to come 8D