Chapter 9

Maaga kaming pumasok ng paaralan ngayon. Napuyat ako kagabi dahil tinapos ko pa ang lahat ng isinusulat ko. Hindi ko lang alam kay Lucy kung natapos niya ba o hindi dahil mas nauna naman siyang pumasok sa kaniyang kuwarto kaysa sa akin. 

Mabuti na lamang at maaga kaming nagising pareho. Malapit na kami sa kanto at habang naglalakad, naalala ko naman ang nangyari kagabi. I don’t know but there’s something that bothering my mind about that guy last night. His scent, physique, and and the tone of his voice were a little bit familiar to me. I just wanna think that it was just a coincidence to meet him last night but my intuition says that there’s something off with that guy. What am thinking again? I should be thankful for what he had done. That’s the right thing to think and not being suspicious. I shook my head to erase the current thoughts circulating in my mind.

“Are you okay, beshie?” Lucy asked with her forehead furrowed.

“Yeah, I'm just a little bit sleepy,” I answered, giving her a weak smile to assure her that I am okay. 

“Madami naman kasi tayong vacant hours mamaya para gumawa ng assignments at ibang activities. Hindi mo naman kailangang magpuyat para lang isulat lahat ng na-research mo,” kampante niyang wika sa akin. Kaya pala confident siyang gawin ang mga takdang-aralin namin kagabi dahil iniisip niyang mayroon naman kaming free time para gawin iyon sa school.

“Gaga! Kaya nga sinabing homework 'di ba dahil sa bahay gagawin at hindi sa school?” pangaral ko sa kaniya. 

“Whatever! Basta mamaya ko na lamang tatapusin 'yong akin. Pahiram ng notebook mo, ha!” Humagikhik siya matapos niyang magsalita. 

“Ayaw! Mag-research ka. Libre naman ang Wi-Fi sa school at laging available naman ang library,” matigas kong pagtanggi sa kaniya. Umangal naman siya sa akin at nagsimula na namang talakan ako.

“Ang damot mo naman, beshie. Hindi ko nga alam kung paano magsala ng impormasiyon mula sa internet kaya baka kung anu-ano mamaya ang makopya ko. At saka, alam kong summarized na 'yong kopya mo kaya hindi na ako mahihirapang mag-breakdown ng information. Basta hihiramin ko mamaya,” tuloy-tuloy niyang hayag sa akin pero binigyan ko lamang siya ng iaang matigas na ekspresyon.

“Hindi pa rin. Bahala ka diyan, hahaha!” Binilisan ko ang paglalakad at iniwanan siya.

“Beshie, you don’t love me na? Am I not enough? Pangit ba ako? Kapalit-palit ba ako? Then, why?” dinig kong wika niya sa aking likuran saka humabol sa akin sa paglalakad. Binigyan niya ako ng nagmamakaawang ekspresyon sa mukha. She’s doing the ‘puppy eyes’ again. 

Tae, drinamahan na ako ng bruha. Napaikot na lamang ako ng aking mga mata at napabuga ng hangin. Ang hirap magkaroon ng kaibigang abnormal. Hindi ko siya pinansin. Bahala siyang ngumawa diyan. Napapatawa na lamang ako nang palihim dahil pinaggagawa ng babaeng 'to. 

I swipe my school ID at the entrance of the University and the machine responded quickly, confirming my identity. And same goes with Lucy. Almost everything nowadays done digitally. 

We head directly to our classroom. We saw some students, especially girls, talking some stuffs in the hallway. And as usual, they are throwing glares to us, especially to me. Well, I am getting used to this kind of treatment from other students. 

Hindi ko na lamang sila pinansin at nagpatuloy na lang kami sa paglalakad ni Lucy. Ewan ko ba kung bakit ganoon na lamang sila makatitig sa amin. Maybe, naiinggit sila dahil alipin ko ang kanilang Campus King. At isa pa, nakakalapit at nakakausap namin ang ilang miyembro ng Royal Ten kahit pa bago lang kami sa paaralang ito. Well, it’s not our fault. Hindi ko naman hiningi ito. It’s all Rave's idea. 

Natigil naman kami sa paglalakad ni Lucy nang makasalubong namin ang isa sa may pinakamataas na posisyon sa Royal Ten, ang Campus Queen. If I’m not mistaken, her name is Kath, yet, I don’t know her surname. She raised her right eyebrow to us before rolling her eyes. She sighed as if we’re an eyesore to her. What’s with this girl? 

The atmosphere between us suddenly filled with animosity. It became heavier to breath. There is a part of me telling that her presence is disgusting. I don’t know but I am not comfortable to see her around. 

“Bakit may mga dagang pakalat-kalat dito? Nasira tuloy ang umaga ko,” tudyo niya sa amin at hindi pa rin nawawala ang masungit na ekspresyon sa kaniyang mukha. Umiling si Lucy ngunit halatang nagpipigil siya. 

“Bakit nga ba? Baka dahil may naamoy silang mabahong basura,” sarkastikong sabat naman ni Lucy sa babae. This smells a fight. Kailangan na naming lumayo dito bago pa magkagulo. Hindi naman sa duwag ako o takot sa kanilang Campus Queen. Gusto ko lang umiwas sa gulo. Hindi rin naman ako palaaway na tao at mas pinipili ko na lamang na manahimik minsan kaysa makipagtalo. Maliban na lamang kung niyuyurakan na nang sobra ang pagkatao ko. But knowing Lucy, walang inaatrasang laban ang babaeng 'to. Laban kung laban. Hindi papatalo.

Muli namang natuon ang atensiyon ko sa babaeng nasa harap namin nang magsalita siya ulit. “Hahaha! Dear, we are not in the same level so don’t talk to me that lowly,” she sneered, faking a smile to us. Nagpipigil lang ako pero naiinis na ako sa babaeng ito. Ano bang problema niya?

“Yes, you’re right. It’s a waste of time to stoop down our level to lowly people like you. We are really not in the same level,” Lucy hissed, giving emphasis to her every words. Kath, on the other hand, seemed piss off. Her teeth are gritting. She is fuming mad right now.

“How dare you talk to me like that. Know who you are messing with, bitch!” Kath shrieked and she was about to slap Lucy on her face but good thing, I was able to block it with my hand. She’s pushing me to my limit. I can’t take it anymore. Her eyes widened at me. She tried to pull her hand from my grip at her wrist but she failed. I’m full of it. 

“Tell me all awful and painful words you have there and I won’t mind. But, hurting my friend is a different situation. Hurt my friend and I will never forgive you. I’ll definitely give you a pain in your ass if you do so,” I threatened. Her mouth went agape. She looks shocked with my words. Maybe, she wasn’t expecting me to delve in the situation. 

“Kath! Ano na naman ba ito?” Hearing that baritone voice, I knew it was him. He runs towards us. Hinila ni Kath ang kamay niya mula sa akin kaya naman binitiwan ko na ito. Muntik pa siyang mawalan ng balanse at matumba dahil sa pagbitiw ko sa kaniya ngunit agad naman siyang nasalo ni Rave sa kaniyang likuran. 

“Thank you, my king,” she gushed with sweetness in her voice. Good for you, your king has arrived. Napailing na lamang si Lucy sa aking tabi. “Ang landi. Sarap kalbuhin,” bulong pa ng aking kaibigan at halatang nanggagalaiti sa tono ng kaniyang boses.

“What happened?” Rave asked again. 

“They tried to insult me. They had pushed me to my limit so I couldn’t help myself but to slap her. Believe me, my king,” she answered, pretending to be the victim of the situation she had created. Looks like she is good at turning the tables.

“Wait? What? You insulted us first. Ikaw ang nagsimula nito kaya huwag kang magpanggap na inosente diyan,” angal naman ni Lucy at saka umigting ang kaniyang panga. 

“Kath, enough of this. Quit calling me any endearment. Don’t try to insult them again. I’m telling you, it won’t do any good. I swear!” Rave calmly told to Kath but his voice is full of authority as always.

“Are you telling me that you believe this girl than me? Oh come on, Rave. They are just new students here and yet--”

“I said enough! Don’t make me repeat what I’ve said again. I don’t trust you. You are way too good in lying so tell me how could I believe you?” Rave firmly stated, cutting the Campus Queen's sentence. Kath's eyes glistened with anger. Her jaw is tightening while her teeth are gritting each other. I can feel the tension in the air. Her breathes became heavier. 

Nagitla naman ako at hindi agad nakagalaw nang bigla na lamang higitin ni Rave ang aking kamay at inilayo mula kay Kath. Sumunod naman si Lucy sa amin. Bigla na lamang napaawang ang aking bibig dahil nagulat talaga ako sa ginawa ng kupal na 'to. 

“No! I won’t let this skip,” sigaw ni Kath sa likuran namin. Bago pa man ako makalingon sa kaniya, nahila na niya ang aking buhok dahilan para mapaaray ako sa sakit. Mariin siyang napasabunot sa aking buhok at kulang na lamang ay humiwalay ang aking anit sa aking ulo.

Nabitiwan ni Rave ang pagkakahawak sa aking kamay at tinulungan akong tanggalin ang kamay ni Kath sa aking buhok. Maging si Lucy ay tumulong din at ilang sandali lamang ay bumitiw rin lang si Kath sa pagkakasabunot sa akin. Mabilis siyang nakatanggap ng matalim na irap mula sa akin. 

“Ano ba, Kath? Hindi ba't sinabi kong tama na? You are the Campus Queen of this University. You shall embody the ideals and aspirations of every student here. You should be a role model. You are genius but your attitude sucks. You don’t deserve to be a part of the Royal Ten. Once you’ll hurt other students again, I’ll dethrone you as the Campus Queen of this institution. Because of what you’ve done, you are suspended for two weeks,” Rave declared, his voice is raging with anger. 

“Are you out of your mind, Rave? Suspending me for two weeks? Not because your family owns this school, you can do whatever you want. Dad will have to do about this,” Kath exclaimed out of frustration. 

“Of course, I can. Good luck for telling this to your dad. I don’t bother.” Rave scowled.

Muling hinila ng lalaki ang aking kamay at tuluyan na naming iniwan doon si Kath. Sinubukan kong hilahin ang kamay ko mula sa kaniya dahil nasasaktan ako sa higpit ng pagkakahawak niya ngunit bigo ako.

“Rave, let go off me. You are violating my first rule over and over,” I told to him but he didn’t throw a glance at me. He is just focusing in his way to our classroom. 

“I don’t care. Punish me later,” he just uttered seriously. He’s damn serious about it. What’s up this guy?

“I said let go off me. Nasasaktan ako sa pagkakahawak mo,” wika ko sa kaniya ngunit hindi ko maiwasang hindi taasan siya ng boses. Narinig ko ang pagbuga niya ng hangin saka dahan-dahang binitiwan ako. 

Humarap siya sa akin bigla kaya agad akong napatigil sa paghakbang ng aking mga paa. Namilog ang aking mga mata nang makitang may bakas ng pag-aalala sa kaniyang ekspresyon sa mukha. 

“I’m sorry. I didn’t mean it. I was just carried away by my anger. Is your hand okay? May I see?” paghingi niya ng paumanhin sa akin at akmang kukunin sana ang aking kamay para tingnan kung kumusta ito. Ngunit, kong tinabig ang kaniyang kamay bago pa man niya ako mahawakan. 

“It’s okay. Thank you for defending us from Kath. Excuse me,” wika ko saka nilampasan siya at binagtas ang daan patungo sa girl’s comfort room. Wala akong narinig na anumang salita mula sa kaniya. Napabuga na lamang siya ng hangin at hinayaan akong gawin ang gusto ko. 

“Beshie, hintayin mo naman ako,” sigaw naman ni Lucy sa aking likuran at tumakbo para habulin ako. 

Nagpatuloy lamang ako sa paglalakad at hindi na nag-atubiling lumingon pa. I’m sure nakakahiya ngayon ang hitsura ko dahil sa ginawa ng Kath na iyon sa aking buhok.

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Aiko Diaz
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