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12

"Hello?" Sagot ko.

"Hayop ka, Soliel Alexis! I kept on texting you! Bakit hindi ka nagrereply!" Bungan ni Stephanie sa akin. I apologized and asked her what was wrong.

"I was working out. Bakit ba? Ano ba ang nangyare?" Tanong ko habang binubuksan ang hydro flask ko para uminom ng tubig.

"Alam mo ba na engaged si Sky?!" Hysterical na sabi ni Stephanie! Naibuga ko ang tubig na iniinom ko. Bigla akong kinabahan. Ano ang ibing niyang sabihin?

"T-teka. P-paano mo nalaman?" I was nervous as hell!

"What do you mean paano ko nalaman? Duh! It was on the news! Some reporter took a picture of Sky hugging someone from their Family gathering last night! After nalabas 'yung picture madaming lumitaw na mga insiders saying that Sky is already engaged and ang babaeng iyon daw ang fiancee ni Sky! Their picture is spreading all over social media, Alexis jusko! Saang planeta ka ba nanggaling at hindi mo alam iyon!"

I could feel my heart beating fast. Kinakabahan ako. It can't be! Hindi pwede malaman ng iba ang tungkol sa aming dalawa ni Sky!

I could feel my heart beating fast. Kinakabahan ako. It can't be! Hindi pwede malaman ng iba ang tungkol sa aming dalawa ni Sky! 

"C-can you send me the picture?"

"Sure, I can send it to you but are you okay? Wil you be okay? Baka may explanation naman si Sky. You know naman rich people diba. There. I sent the pic na," I got confused sa sinabi niya kaya agad ko naman tinignan ang picture na sinend niya.

Halos mawala ang hininga ko when I saw the picture. It was when he was hugging me from behind! Mabuti nalang at hindi gaanong kita ang mukha ko because of how tight Sky's hug.

"A-ah," I said. I don't know what to say. I was lost for words. Muntik na ako madulas kay Stephanie! Mabuti nalang at nakita ko ang picture. Kung hindi ay baka bigla akong mag explain sa kanya ng kung ano-ano!

"Anong 'Ah'? Hayop ka! Wala ka ba manlang any negative reactions? Anak ka ng hayop, Alexis! Napaka sweet ninyo kahapon sa council meeting tapos may lalabas na picture na may kayakap siyang iba? I know I said baka may explanation pero naku naman, Alexis! Awayin mo! Let him explain!" Galit na sabi ni Stephanie.

"Steph, calm dow-"

"Anong calm down?! No! Hindi pa nga kayo ay niloko ka na kaagad niya? Ano? Pagkatapos niya kaming pakiligin kahapon sa speech niya for you ay gaganituhin ka niya? I know he's super gwapo pero oh my gosh! Red flag!"

"Stephanie!" Tawag ko sa attention niya. Gladly, she stopped talking. "Sa school nalang tayo mag-usap, okay? I'll see you later," I told her and hung up. Hindi ko na hinintay ang susunond na sasabihin niya. I know she will just rant about it.

That guy! Hindi talaga nag-iingat! Mabuti nalang at hindi kita ang mukha ko kung hindi ay malaking gulo ito! We can not publicize our engagement yet. Not yet. Hindi pa ako handa sa mga sasabihin ng ibang tao sa akin when they find out about it. Announcing it after we graduate would make it bearable for me dahil hindi na rin namin makikita ang mga blockamtes namin so it doesn't really matter when the news about us getting married spreads out.

I hurriedly went back inside our house at nag bihis na ako for school. Hindi na ako kumain pa at dere-derecho lang ako palabas ng bahay. I stopped in my tracks when I remembered something. Halos sabunutan ko ang sarili ko. My car is with him! I was about to ask our driver when I heard a car entering our house. Lumingon naman ako para tignan kung sino iyon  it was the devil.

He parked in front of me. Binaba naman niya kaagad ang bintana ng sasakyan at ngumisi sa akin. I rolled my eyes at him. "Get out. I'll drive my car," sabi ko sa kanya. I saw him pouting. "Get out, Sky! I don't want to worsen the situation," pikon kong sabi. He opened the door and stood up. 

"Fine. Ikaw na magdrive. Pero sasabay pa din ako sa'yo. Nakikita mo naman siguro dahil may mata ka. I didn't bring my car," he said. I was about to say something when he went to the shotgun seat. I looked at him sitting comfortable while tapping the driver's seat. "Hurry up, Soliel. Malelate na tayong dalawa. Baka biglang matraffic sa daan." 

I just prayed na sana hindi ko masakal ang lalaking ito habang nasa byahe kami. I am so close to strangling him to death! I know that he knows about the issue that's going on right now. And us going to school together would give everyone an idea na ako ang babaeng iyon! I can't afford to be the talk of the campus. Not today. 

I parked at my usual parking space. Agad agad ko naman siya tinulak palabas ng kotse ko. I was panicking already. Natatakot ako na baka may nakakita sa amin. He was just grinning at me. "What's the rush?" He asked. 

Lumabas na kami pareho. He was hovering over me. Tumingala ako sa kanya. He looked pissed. "Look. I know you've seen the news. It's all over social media, Sky. The pictures. The rumors. Lahat!" I started. I tried calming myself down. I started to get pissed when he looked like he does not even care at all. If this rumor is nothing to him well sa akin hindi. I don't want to be judged by anyone, by everyone! 

"So?" Nanlaki ang mga mata ko. I pushed him. 

"So? Talaga? That's the only thing you could say?" I said sarcastically. 

"What do you want me to say, Soliel? Anong magagawa ko? I tried my best to put it down pero mabilis na kumalat." He did what? Inirapan niya ako at may kinuha siya sa bag niya. He fished his phone out at pinakita niya sa akin ang mga messages niya. Halos lumaki ang mata ko when I saw his messages. Halatang galit na galit siya. 

It's 7am Zeus. Get that sh*t taken down! 

If I see my girl crying because of this. I swear to god mapapatay ko ang reporter na 'yan. Who the hell invited reporters there anyway?

Zeus malapit na mag 9am kumakalat pa din!  Akala ko ba magaling ang mga tao mo. 

My jaw dropped. I know he's ruthless pero hindi ko inakalang ganito siya kapag galit. Kinuha niya kaagad ang phone niya mula sa akin. "I tried okay, I tried." He sighed. He looked fraustrated as well. Tumango lamang ako.

"I'll go. And please, huwag mo na akong sundan. It might create another rumor," I said at naglakad na ako paalis sa pwesto namin. Hindi pa ako masyadong nakalayo ay agad ako nakarinig ng mga usap-usap.

"I thought Sky is serious na sa kanya. Avery was talking about it hindi ba. Na Sky is serious with Alexis."

Avery? What does Avery have to do about this?

"Yeah, I know  right! Maybe she was just exaggerating it since diba magkasama sila sa council?"

"Probably. We all know naman na Sky isn't fond of commitments. Pero weird no? Pinagtanggol siya ni Avery."

"Aga aga naman ng mga chismisa dito," lumingon ako sa nagsalita. It was Avery! "Kung ayaw niyo maniwala sa akin edi kay Sky kayo magtanong. Kakahiya naman sa inyo. Bakit? Nakita niyo ba sa personal kung paano alagaan ni Sky si Alexis? Diba hindi? Makapag chismis kayo akala niyo naman importante kayo sa buhay nilang dalawa." Those 3 were left in shocked pero umalis lang kaagad si Avery na para bang walang nangyare. She didn't even looked at me. I chuckled a bit at nag lakad na ako papuntang building namin. 

I went inside our classroom and saw Stephanie watching her phone. Agad ko naman siya nilapitan. "Ano yan?" She was looking at some concert or something. Agad naman niya tinago ang phone niya sa akin. 

"N-nothing! You're here na pala. Kamusta? Okay ka lang ba? Hindi ka naman na hurt? Did he explain? Ano?" She kept asking questions pero hinayaan ko nalang siya. Hindi ko siya pinapansin. "Bruha ka Soliel Alexis. Sasagutin mo ako o ihahambalos ko sayo itong buong bag ko?" 

Tinawanan ko nalamang siya. "Ano ba kasi?"  Lumapit naman siya sa akin at umupo sa table ko. 

"Did you talk to him?" She looked seriously. As much as I want to tell Stephanie everything, hindi pa oras. Hindi pa ako handa. I nodded. She gasped at pinaharap ako sa kanya. "What did you say? How did you react? Did you make away?" I laughed at her kaconyohan. 

"Tumigil ka nga. Bakit ko naman siya aawayin. Wala namang kami. Tumigil ka na nga diyan at ang mabuti pa ay mag handa nalang tayo dahil 3 weeks nalang at UAAP season na. We have a lot to prepare." She pouted at bumalik na sa upuan niya. 

I was preparing my stuff when I felt my phone vibrated. I checked to see kung sino ang nag message sa akin. It was an unknown number. 

I'm doing my best to keep you safe and make your environment safer for you. I can’t promise that this won’t hurt you but please know that I am trying.

Just hang on, okay?

-S

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