Short Stories

Chapter IV: I’m Confused

Anj, a bookworm and a self-claimed moved-on woman who doesn’t love the idea of loving someone – again.  She’s been through a painful heartbreak with her boyfriend for 10 years.  Surrounded with funny guy and gay friends, will they be able to convince her to give her heart a chance to love and feel loved one more time?

<<<<< Read Chapter III: I’m Hungry

———-

“Beks…. What to do?”

Jericho laughed big. “You don’t have to do anything, Anj!” He said in his loud voice. “What’s on your mind? I don’t understand why you’re so bothered with that CBTL guy.”

“If you’ll think about it, he knows my name. He asked my order by immediately saying my name. Gosh, why didn’t I notice that from the start? I remember he asked me if I want the cookie. How did he know that I’m ordering that specific cookie together with my fave drink? Beks…” I hugged Jericho as if I’m afraid of something.

Jericho instantly moved me away from him, looked straight at my eyes and raised his eyebrow. “May I ask, in a span of one week, how many times you are going to that coffee shop?”

“Hmmm… 2-3 times.”

“And you’re ordering what?”

“Ice blended double chocolate and…” I paused. “Okay I get it. So you’re telling me that my name and my order became familiar with him since I’m visiting the shop 2-3 times a week.”

“Many thanks to those brain cells,” said Jericho while slowly clapping and shaking his head.

“You think it’s just coincidence that we’re living in the same building?” I asked.

“I don’t think it’s coincidence!” Jericho said in his thrilled-hanging tone. I know at that point he’s thinking something enormous.

He continued, “I think it’s fate! Destiny! You know what I mean, Anj? Do you understand what I’m saying?”

Sigh…

I’m still confused. Is it a necessary skill of someone who is working in the field of food and beverage industry to memorize the names and orders of their customers? I don’t even remember him at the counter except last night. Oh well, and we’re living in the same condominium. Yeah, right. It doesn’t mean anything. Nothing.

Jericho looked at me for he knows I’m not yet fully convinced that nothing’s really going on.

“Beks!” I yell when I remembered something.

“I also saw the Ugly Pig! Oh my, he’s a stalker! That guy and that Ugly Pig are in connivance! They are following me! They might want to know what’s happening to me, if I’m living in misery or what. At this moment they might already know my regular schedule and my whereabouts. Oh, I should always be alert when walking alone at night and I should always lock my door. They might take me and bind me with a rope and torture me in an abandoned building. Should I need to hand over you my bank information and other investments?” I said in my wide eyes.

“Anj?” Jericho is as calm as ever when I need to calm myself. “I thought you locked yourself with comedy series and variety shows?”

I’m listening to him intently.

He added, “When did you learn to watch an action-thrilling-serial-killer type of show? I’m telling you to stop it now. Immediately.”

“I’m serious.” I want to convince him.

“Imagine this,” he speaks slowly. Very slowly. “The Coffee Bean guy is probably living in the same condominium as yours because he is working in a store near your place. Remember two years ago? You decided to stay there also because of the location, which is near your office. So there’s nothing wrong if you see him at Capitol Commons and you see him at Kapitolyo. It’s technically one and the same place. Well, about that Ugly Pig, that one is the coincidence part of your story.”

“If I’ll see him again somewhere outside the city, I won’t doubt a thing.” I started to agree with him.

“Okay, let’s forget about him for the meantime. Join me and my boyfriend tonight. There’s a newly opened bar somewhere in Greenfield and we’re curious what’s that D3 has to offer. You know, tugs tugs tugs tugs.” He said while swaying his body.

“D3?” I asked.

“Dance, Drink and Dine? I’m not sure though,” he answered.

“I’m scared,” I burst into laughter. “Don’t leave me alone even for a second, okay?”

Jericho knows that I’m not used to those kinds of places. I don’t even drink alcoholic beverages. I remember during my first conference and I’m still a newbie in R-Division, someone handed me tequila. Me, wanted to fit in and thinking that the glass is just small that I could overcome the peer pressure, I just drank it as is, not knowing what was that and what to do with that after-effect burn from my mouth to my throat all the way down to my chest. We were all bewildered – me with that drink; my officemates with what I did. Now I know the value of salt and lemon. And of course, there are men out there who’ll be in the influence of alcohol. I might be violated.

“Yup, no man could ever come near you, my darling. I’ll protect you like a real man. Ulk.” We both laughed. We agreed to pretend that I’m a lesbian so if someone comes and show some interest, he’ll be blocked automatically.

catI basically wore a leggings and a pull-over top with cat prints partnered with my favorite maroon flats. I guess it won’t be convincing that I’m a lesbian if I’ll wear a dress. Jericho picked me up and we headed directly to D3. He said he’s hungry so we checked the menu straightaway. The 200-pesos worth of 3-piece nacho chips left us both perplexed and confused. Nevertheless, we’re enjoying the 2nd level dance area while they’re having their vodka and me with my juice.

Tugs tugs tugs tugs. 🎶

Then there was darkness.

When the light turned on, the people screamed and the whole place was covered with excitement. I am puzzled how would the next performance be like. Before the dancing, there was a former contestant of The Voice Philippines. So what would be next?

U-oh… Okay, there’re about six topless men moving. I can’t say they’re dancing. The most I can say is they’re swaying. The people near the stage went hysterical. Gosh. Jericho and his boyfriend ran on the 2nd level viewing and found their best spot. After a few seconds, Jericho realized that he left me so he looked back and waved at me, gesturing to come over beside him.

“Are you okay?” Jericho asked.

“I guess this is the safest place on earth for me.” I said. “Here, I feel I’m the ugliest,” I added. We both laughed. The place is filled with women and gays. No one would dare to come near me. I feel really safe.

After few more performances and dancing, Jericho and I felt the need to eat a proper meal so we decided to go out the place. Her boyfriend was nowhere to be found so he sent him a text message as to where we will eat instead. Jericho was holding my hand while we’re going down the stairs but the crowd made us separate from each other. Then someone bump me while he’s walking backward because he’s talking to a friend.

“Oh, I’m sorry,” he said immediately while turning his face onto me. His body almost touched mine. I did not recognize him at first but his perfume seems familiar.

I looked at him.

Intently.

I can’t hear the music playing as well as the sound of the people having fun.

Our surrounding is moving but we’re both at halt.

Our world stopped.

‘Twas like the clock between us is tickling at the slowest of slow motion.

As he is looking at me with his apologetic face, I am also looking at him with a confuse expression. Then we spoke in chorus. “You’re here,” I said. “Why are you here?” He asked.

Before we even respond, someone held my wrist and pulled me outside.

“I’m really hungry.” said Jericho.

Read Chapter V: I’m Lost For Words >>>>>

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