The driver stopped the van and Marc immediately opened the door and jumped out. I followed after him and almost fell when I bumped into my best friend.
Marc was standing still, mouth slightly opened as he stared in awe at our location.
It was nothing much too look at really, the breath-taking view is at the back part of the house but Marc was more than surprised at how the new house turned out.
We are currently on my family's newly renovated, no, scratch that, newly constructed beach house that is located on an island province in the country and a 12 hour boat ride from home. It's the same place where I spent my soul searching summer before senior year in high school. Mom decided that we needed to have the place renovated and in the process, changed her mind and had the whole place torn down and here now stands the new and proud piece of beach property in an isolated and environmentally protected island in one of the Philippines' top summer get-away location.
"Wow. I feel like I'm somewhere else." Marc finally spoke after having soaked up the beauty of the surroundings.
"You are somewhere else, at least away from your dreary everyday city." I replied sarcastically.
"This place beats any resort Jon."
"Wait till you see what lies behind those doors." I grinned at him.
Marc smiled and rushed off to open the wide antique double-doors and flew inside the house.
I smiled at his child-like excitement. I perfectly understand. I was like that too when I first set foot in this house after it was done, the main purpose for that trip was to make sure that I get to choose my own room and have it done the way I like it.
I turned my back towards the waiting driver as I instructed him to unload our bags and packages and where to put it. I stepped back as I surveyed my environment. The double-doors are left open, the front part of the house with its angular design, painted a bright peach color is too bright on the afternoon sun. The house sits on a low cliff, and bordered by a high fence . I took a look at the gates to make sure that its closed.
We have two gates, one on each corner of the property which meets in an arc that serves as the driveway. In between is a manicured lawn which is perfectly landscaped. Nodding my satisfaction, I made my way inside the house to give Marc the grand tour.
It was after dinner that Marc and I found ourselves lounging at the gazebo that overlooks the beach. We were shrouded in darkness since the only lights that were lit outside were the lamp post on the gate that leads to the beach below. We stared out at the swinging hammock at the deck a few meters from where we were.
"Where's Vince?" Marc asked after puffing out smoke from his cigarette.
"Off somewhere doing his good deeds for the summer. You know him and his youth organization works."
"So he's not coming?"
"Might swing by, but not sure."
There was a lull in our conversation before I decided to brave myself in asking something I have been meaning to ask since school let out a week ago.
"How are you?"
"I'm breathing so I guess I'm still alive?" Marc said rather slowly.
Marc and Paolo just broke up. What was a year ago a very perfect loving relationship was mutually ended when Paolo's family had to move to Manila. Paolo just left two days ago after staying behind just to finish the semester in school. Both decided that they could not take the strain of a long-distance relationship, so they ended up breaking with each other with the promise of keeping in touch and remaining friends. For all the bravado that Marc is mustering, I think he is hurting inside. I should know, we're best friends after all.
"How are you holding up?" I prodded.
"Would you stop treating me like I'm going to break down any minute." Marc snapped.
"Go ahead. Deny you're not hurt. But deep down, I know you cannot lie to yourself. I know that the moment you go to your room later you'll end up crying. So fool yourself, maybe you can convince yourself that everything is fine."
"I don't cry. I'm not a sissy like you."
"Ow?" I raised my eyebrow at him. "Then what was that weeping sound I heard last night in the cabin? It wasn't me for sure." I taunted him.
I just so love riling him up. It gets better reaction from distressed people than to actually placate them to make them feel better. Cruel, I know. But it works perfectly for Marc.
"For a person who never had a boyfriend longer than what it takes to get off, you seem to be full of yourself to think that you can dole out advices and comforts to me." Marc snapped.
"Well for such a highly idealistic, if not moronic individual such as yourself who thinks that distance can hinder a relationship from growing, then I don't think you deserve any of my advices." I said. "Then again I don't dole out advices, those are for people who do not have minds of their own, which I doubt at this point you have one, but since I know you, I trust your judgment though I might not like it."
"It's my life. It's my call."
"Amazing to hear that from the person who always bitch at me when I go on self-destruct mode." I smirked at him. "This is after all, a self-induced suffering Marc. One that you can live without."
Marc sighed. "I know. But I have to live with this. Paolo and I made the same decision."
"Technically, it was Paolo's idea." I reminded him.
"He's right you know. I don't think we will last if we are far from each other. We were together for more than a year, it seemed that he was my life. I almost left you out remember. Now that he is gone, I feel so lost but I know there is no use going back." He said sadly.
"I don't know Marc. I do not have any idea how a normal loving relationship works as you so clearly stated."
"Then why are you asking me in the first place?" Marc said affronted.
"I feel the need to satisfy my sadistic impulse." I laughed at Marc's angry glare.
"Chill. You'll get over it. Though for what its worth, I still think you both should have given each other a chance. You had such a good thing going on between you, only to have it set aside because of fear of losing intimacy due to distance. This is the cyber world hon, there's email, text messaging, cellphones even video calling."
"That's not it. I feel like I'm left out from what you have. It sometimes feels like I'm chocking."
"Then talk to him about it. Believe me, you should not envy my being unattached."
"Think about what you really want. We'll be going to Manila two weeks from now and we'll sure to hang out with him so you have until that time to think things over." I added.
A comfortable silence settled between us as we both stared at the horizon. After about half an hour of keeping to our own thoughts I stood up.
"It's late, we need to have an early start tomorrow to prepare for mom's birthday so lets retire for the night."
Marc gave me a nod and went with me inside the house. We paused in the hallway as we both turned to open the doors on our separate rooms.
"Are you happy?" Marc asked.
"Happiness is such a fleeting thing. What's important is that I'm at peace with myself. At this point, I can say that I'm doing fine with what I have and I'm thankful for that."
Marc smiled and went inside his room and I did the same.
The next day, I woke up to the bright summer light that filtered through my window and went directly to my own private bathroom complete with tub and a separate shower stall. Once ready and dressed, I took my time to fix my hair.
I long said goodbye to long hair. Since last year I started sporting a versatile short hair that can be sculptured to any style and or just the low maintenance wash and wear. Amongst the other changes I made for myself since 2006 was substituting my contact lenses for framed fashionista glasses though I still occasionally wear black colored contacts to make my eyes appear bigger than it is, and I also took to wearing regular male clothes having said goodbye to my cross-dressing days as well.
Hair in a faux Mohawk, nice fitting shirt with the collar turned up and loose shorts later, I hurriedly slipped on a pair of leather sandals and went out of my room to look for Marc.
I saw Marc in the inside garden/fish pond holding a bag of fish food and throwing it lazily at the fishes gathered below him.
The house actually looks like a cube with the center left open. Its a single story affair with five bedrooms, 5 bathrooms, a good sized dining area adjoining the kitchen and 2 common areas (the living room and the entertainment room) and an outhouse for the staff, not to mention a gazebo and a pool at the back. The center of the house has a skylight instead of a regular roof to let the sun filter into the squared sunken area where there are stone steps forming a cross with bonsai plants, bromeliads and orchids placed in perfect symmetry on one square while the two other squares are made into different aquariums for the turtles and the carps. The last square has a small fountain that looks like a birdbath with water lilies floating below it. This is one of my favorite spots in the house and I guess it's also one of Marc's.
"Are you ready?" I asked.
"Let's eat and then we'll be on our way."
After breakfast we made our way towards the city. Since it was an hour long travel and considering that we are going to do some serious shopping for supplies and food stuff, I had the driver come with us instead of having myself or Marc drive towards our destination.
The city was rather backwards, does not have all the regular kind of fun places to be at compared to where I grew up but we managed to buy everything we needed and had some spare time to linger around and explore some. We got home around mid afternoon and decided that it's high time to try the sea so we ended up swimming in the open waters until dinner time.
Tomorrow would be a different thing since the rest of the people will be arriving. Dad is flying with Eric and Andrea from Manila together. Yes brother dear and his girl friend are still together for more than a year now and I have actually grown to like her and are friends with her even. Mom will be arriving by boat with her constant travel companion these days, Pearl who happens to be Sebastian's mom. I heard Sebastian and his brother Jean will be joining us but I didn't take too much notice of it. If I'm going to see Sebastian then be it. I no longer hold any animosity towards him.
Again we slept in early and woke up to an unexpected raucous. Turned out, Mom's trip came in earlier and they are now in the living area shouting for me to get my ass up front and kiss her. So unladylike and unbecoming for a person of leisure to behave in such an uncivilized manner. But then again, ever since she decided to resign from her job, late last year she has suddenly become this more open and spontaneous person which can sometimes be scary. She has far too many time on her hands that I sometimes get bored accompanying her around on her shopping trips and such.
Taking stock on the situation I ticked off the necessary sleeping arrangements. Mom of course gets the master suite and dad will be joining her later. Ms. Pearl gets to have her own bedroom. Eric and Andrea will share one and there's nothing that mom can do about that, it's inappropriate but then does she really expect my brother and his girlfriend to be celibate? That leaves 2 bedrooms free, mine and the one Marc is using. Since Jean is here and no Sebastian, I asked Marc to share the room with Jean which he readily agreed seeing that the boy is now quite a looker but horribly straight.
Dad, Eric and Andrea arrived late that afternoon and we all ended up having a big dinner together. Mom took charge of running the house and she approved of my selection for her birthday lunch tomorrow which will be strictly for family and a little dinner party for her friends living locally in the island. Knowing my mother, I would not be surprised if the whole island population will be joining us since she grew up here to start with.
I had orders of fresh seafoods to be delivered in the morning and the meat and poultry are marinated and ready to be cooked as well so there is no need to worry about food for tomorrow. The night ended pretty late but happy.
It left me with no time trying to decide whether I need to feel elated or disappointed of a certain someone's presence or lack thereof.
I slept in the following day. I took time lazing in my bed until I remember that mom is already 45 years old. An old hag. Hahahaha. Then the thought sobered me, as I remembered that I have to actually help her prepare.
I stumbled towards the bathroom and showered quickly. I left my hair wet, and went to hastily slather my whole body with sunblock and got dressed in a low-cut swim trunks and donned on a free-size shirt. I slung a big towel over my shoulders, grabbed the sunblock container and a pair of shades and went out of the room.
Mom spotted me as I made my way to the pool area where she is busy commanding the extra hired hands into organizing the whole backyard for tonight's party. Since its already almost noon, I can smell something being grilled and sure enough, my dad was in front of the barbecue grill doing the only form of cooking that he knows off.
Being the good son that I am, I helped out in making sure that the tables are well covered, the flower center pieces would have to wait till later tonight to avoid wilting and I supervised the placement of the lanterns as well as the torches that will be used tonight. A few finishing touches are needed but can be done later so after being satisfied with our work Mom called everyone out to have lunch.
Lunch was a bore. I do not know why I am feeling so anti-social all of a sudden but without a word I excused myself from their company after a quick lunch and made my way down to the beach.
This part of the island does not have sand, its all jagged edges of sharp rocks and smooth stones that serves as the shoreline. The tide was high so I made my way carefully towards a big rock formation on the far side of the beach.
I climbed as carefully as I could making sure that I do not slip and laid out the towel on the smooth surface of the rock and stripped down to my swim wear. I applied more sunblock just to make sure that I do not die of skin cancer and laid down to soak up some sun.
If I stay under the sun for far too long, I easily burn and its a bitch to actually regain my normal complexion. But I love sun bathing' so to make sure I get tanned evenly, I shift positions every 15 minutes. After about 2 hours of lounging on the hard rock under the sun, I decided to finally swim. The beach here is pristine. The water is clear and you really get to swim with fishes, especially when you get to the deep part, that might be because the whole island is a marine life sanctuary and no resorts are allowed to be put up here so as not to disrupt the environment.
I don't know how long I spent on the water swimming and just generally floating around but when I decided to head back I noticed that someone was standing over where I left my things. Since I do not have anything to aid my vision, I made my way quickly over to my private spot out of curiosity.
Once I climbed back up, I was greeted by a guy wearing a tank top, loose shorts and flip flops. He definitely was a looker and could even be considered hot but I was caught off guard by his unsmiling face and bad vibes just coursed through me.
"So you must be Jon?" The unfriendly intruder asked.
"And you are?"
He shrugged not bothering to answer.
"If you would kindly remove yourself from my spot and my presence then that would be highly appreciated." I said, voice void of any niceness.
"Tough." He turned to look at me, face still unsmiling with an unreadable expression on his eyes. "I never really got it why he was so enamored over you. You're nothing special." He spat out.
What the fuck is this guy talking about?
"Listen. I do not know who the fuck you are but let me remind you that you are in a private property and I can easily have you thrown out."
The stupid asshole just laughed out loud. My eyebrow rose at such display of rudeness. He invaded my private recluse for the day and he had the nerve to make a joke out of it? I crossed my arms in front of me and waited for his laughter to die down.
After what seemed like a lifetime enduring the mocking laughter of such a rude individual I was caught off guard when he suddenly smiled brilliantly at me. If he was actually thinking of disarming me with one of the cutest smiles that I have seen, then the moron thought wrong. I was saved from further aggravation when I heard Marc calling out my name.
Marc called out my name again as he reached us. He was wearing board shorts and nothing else. But what caught my attention and almost left my mouth hanging open and my heart skipping a beat was the guy following Marc behind.
"Hi Jon." The new guy said after climbing over and settling next to Marc.
To say I was surprised was an understatement. I was expecting him to be here but when he did not arrive with his mom and brother I thought he couldn't make it and did not bother. Seeing him here after more than a year was kind of surreal. And why did I get that kind of reaction? Why did it feel like I'm seeing him for the first time? Why am I suddenly nervous?
"Sebastian." I finally said in acknowledgment.
Sebastian smiled and introduced Kris to me. Kris smiled and held out his hand out but I just raised my eyebrow and plopped down on my towel and set about ignoring them. After a tense moment of silence, Sebastian and his rude friend went down to swim, leaving me and Marc behind.
"Why didn't you warn me he's here?" I glared at him.
"I tried. I looked for you but can't find you anywhere."
"Great and he brought along a date." I huffed.
"I thought you were over him?" Marc asked with a raised eyebrow.
"I am over everything that he did and on what happened, but unfortunately not over the person. Its the first time that I saw him since last year so forgive me for being human and reacting strangely."
"Good. Since your mom decided to make him your roommate for the duration of his stay."
"What?" I shouted.
Marc cringed but smiled at me as he went down to join Sebastian and his friend. A few hours later, I heard Marc calling out to me again telling me that they are heading back up to the house. I told them to go ahead without me. The sun was just setting and it was beautiful. Beautiful but sad.
Sitting here alone, the sky bursting into shades of orange, pink and mauve, I felt that the beauty that was unfolding in front of me is overrated. Sunsets are overly romanticized that it hurts. Like everything else, it's fleeting and after a few moments spent in boundless awe it will eventually lead to darkness. And once again I'm left void. Empty. Alone. Lonely.
Last year went by like a blur. After sometime, I was finally able to act as normal as I can after the scene with Sebastian. I changed my hair and my wardrobe. I spent more time studying and catching up on my reading. I dated but it never went beyond friendly chaste kisses. I was taking time off to find myself again. I was left with more time for myself. Marc and Paolo were doing fine together, Vince finally got the guts to ask out the girl he had been crushing on since high school and that left me with nothing but my studies and the occasional night outs with Don and the gang. I became an A student when I started taking my majors, I earned new friends in school, I became active in student politics. But despite my new life, I felt there was something missing. Sometimes, I thought I should just have easily forgiven Sebastian and took his love offering. But better judgment told me that I would have sold myself short if I did just that.
More that a year later, here I am, still alone amidst the almost perfect life that anybody would have been envious off. I can say, I'm free of the demons that have plagued me. That chapter in my life was finally over. I have finally and sincerely forgiven Sebastian for everything that happened. I believed rejecting him when he finally had the courage to tell me the things I so longed to hear from him was the best thing that I could have done at that moment. I stopped second guessing myself. I have finally forgiven myself for doing that as well.
I chose to be alone than be with someone who claims to love me when I myself am not sure that I am ready for such a big leap of faith.
In the darkness, I carefully made my way down from where I was at and proceeded to join the rest of civilization.
The tide was low and it was dark, since the house was located in a sort of low cliff, I made my way towards the staircase that leads back to the house. Guided by the lights from the perimeter of the house, I cursed and cussed as I slipped several times due to the slippery rocks which were abundant in the area and the total lack of sand on the beach. Thank God that I did not scrape my skin, that would have been a major bummer.
After what seemed to be like forever, I finally made my way to the gate of the house and was pleased at what I saw. The house lights were dimmed, the lanterns and torches were lit, flowers and lighted oil lamps were floating on the pool. The buffet was being set up and an acoustic act was starting to do sound check. I hurried to my room to get changed.
I made a beeline to my bathroom and run water for a bath. I have been under the sun for far too long and I need to moisturize. I put a good amount of bubble bath and a scented bath oil into the warm water, stripped and got in. I turned off the tap when I noticed that water was still running, that was when I realized that I was not alone in the bathroom. FUCK!
I remembered that I was supposed to be sharing a room with Sebastian and I have a good guess as any that he is the one inside the shower. Great! I just saw him after more than a year, granting the last time that we parted was bitter-sweet, I find it so not funny to be reacquainted with him in all his glory – naked glory. Well, he'll just have to deal. It's my bathroom after all.
I heard the shower door slide open while I was slowly rubbing the loofah over my body. Moments later, I saw Sebastian walking past me in the tub and stood in front of the mirror and brushing his teeth. It would have been fine on any other day except for one thing, he was buck naked and he seemed to be enjoying parading himself infront of me.
"Cover yourself please." I muttered.
He stopped what he was doing and looked at me with amusement on his eyes.
"Stop the prudish act. It's not like we haven't seen each other before in varying states of undress."
"Fine." I said as I stood up, puled the drain with my toes and padded my way towards the shower.
I turned around and noticed that Sebastian was staring straight at me, toothbrush dangling inside his open mouth.
"What? Enjoying the show?" I said, smirking at him.
"You are such a tease." He responded, lustful gaze still lingering at me.
"Is it working?" I smiled.
Sebastian walked over to where I was but before he got anywhere near me I slid the door to the shower shut and closed it from inside.
I chuckled and shouted for him to be out of the room when I got out of the bathroom.
I took my time rinsing my body and washing my hair. I dried myself and finished my toiletries and found myself relieved when Sebastian was nowhere in sight when I went back into the room. I dressed in a sheer cotton long-sleeved cream shirt that has a deep v from the neck-line, a black gauzy drawstring pants that hangs low on my waist and a pair of wooden sandals.
Leaving my hair damp and tousled, I grabbed my ever dependable cancer sticks and went out to join the party.
Mom was radiant on her special night. There were more people than I thought possible and everyone seems to be having a grand time. The band singer was good and is currently belting out songs from my mom's time. Not bad at all. I made my way to my family and was offered a seat next to Kris.
Mr. Attitude is smiling graciously at me but I would not even look at him. The snobbery did not go unnoticed by Sebastian and Marc who both raised their eyebrows at me. I rolled my eyes at them and chatted for a few minutes with Andrea who was seated on the opposite side of the table.
Once the buffet line has been cleared of people, I made my way there alone to get dinner. Everyone around me were having fun, some were dancing, my mom seemed to never get tired of the photos that were being taken, dad was smiling, my bestfriend is even flirting with Kris. And I feel dejected.
I'm happy for my mom. I'm glad that we are all here together. But why am I all of a sudden feeling alone?
I made my way back to the table and ate, occasionally joining in the banter of the whole bunch and not forgetting to reply sarcastically to almost everything that Kris says just for sport.
The party went on. Some where singing karaoke at the entertainment room that opens out to the pool, the older people (which is more than half the whole attendees) were dancing slowly to the acoustic duo on the raised platform. There were still plenty of food and various drinks were flowing steadily.
I grabbed a bottle of Vodka Ice and made my way down to the beach. I reached the middle ground and sat on the steps that leads further down, lit a cigarette and nursed my drink.
Why am I suddenly feeling this way? I was more than excited when I arrived here with Marc and then all of a sudden it seems that the vacation is going to end up a mess. The situation is so familiar that it makes me want to laugh out loud. Why did he have to bring someone else? Why did it have to be someone cute and passably hot? Why am I even reacting this way towards Kris?
I was stirred out from my own musings when I heard someone approaching.
"Enjoying the view?" The person behind me spoke.
I turned around to face a smiling Kris. I turned my back at him and said.
"What view?" I asked.
I mean I was right. All you'll see is darkness all around, nothing much. There were no stars and the moon is nowhere to be found up above. You can't see things clearly but the cold wind is nice and the sound of the waves splashing is harsh but soothing in a way. It's calming.
Kris sat down beside me and grabbed the cigarette from my hand and stole a puff. The nerve of this guy.
"We didn't actually start on the right track."
"Are you trying to apologize for being an ass?" I asked.
"Nope. I'm just telling you that who knows, maybe we can get along." He said, offering me back the cigarette.
"No thanks, I've got plenty."
A few minutes of uncomfortable silence ensued as I dragged on my smokes and he did the same.
"What makes you special?" Kris asked suddenly.
"That's easy." I said as I looked at him. "I was simply born me."
"Hahahaha." Kris laughed and it echoed. His laugh was rich, warm and heartfelt.
"Seriously. What's in you that makes you his everything?"
"I mean, The first time I saw you at the beach I was like, wow, you're hot but there are a lot of hot guys out there. Why can't he get over you?"
"And your asking me this because?"
"Because Sebastian is my friend and I don't want to see him hurt again."
"And I owe you answers because?"
Kris sighed. I lit another cigarette and remained silent.
"Look." Kris spoke. "Sebastian is special, I just don't want to see him mope around. It took him years to get the courage to actually seek you out again, hell it took major guts for him to actually admit to himself that he's gay. He's still pinning for you. If you don't want him then tell him."
"Wow." I deadpanned. "Spoken like a love-struck idiot. How long have you been harboring unrequited feelings for Sebastian by the way?"
"Since freshmen year in college. We're roommates." Kris explained. "He came out to me you know, that's how I've heard about you. I being a good friend encouraged him to make peace with you. He came back to school downcast and inconsolable. I tried to cheer him up but that didn't end well." He finished with a sad smile.
"Meaning?" I asked, my curiosity piqued primarily because it has something to do with Sebastian and also with the fact that Kris seems to be open about the fact that he likes him.
"In the hopes of getting him to see that your rejection does not mean the end of the world, I accidentally told him that I liked him." He explained.
I raised my eyebrow not caring whether he sees it or not considering that the whole place was dark.
"One thing lead to another and we ended up..."
Kris tried to continue but I cut him off.
"You ended up sleeping with each other." I seethed. Suddenly struck with a wave of jealousy.
"Yes. After that we both decided that we're better off as friends. It hurts you know, for me to have him for one night knowing that on the back of his mind he's still longing for you."
I felt the need to shout. To physically hurt someone. I'm generally not an aggressive person but Kris just hit something in me which I cannot even begin to explain. It made me feel good that Sebastian is still thinking of me, but once again I felt betrayed. He slept with someone after me, while I was finding myself for him. Granting that I never told him to wait for me, I told him that us being together that New Year's day might not just be the right time. Could he be anymore dense? Or was it too much for me to hope that he will wait for me for awhile?
"Are you ok?" Kris asked.
"Leave." I said with my voice shaking. Tears are threatening to fall but I held on. "Please. Just leave me alone for now."
After a minute of silence, Kris stood up and started to leave but he stopped and said.
"For what it's worth, I think you both still have a chance with each other. Just talk to him, You have this summer to make a difference."
With that he left and tears just fell from my eyes.
I never thought myself as over Sebastian. A big part of me was hoping that maybe we might have a chance together. The year 2006 was spent finding the strength to let go of past hurts, disappointments, and betrayals. To forgive him and myself and to work everything from there.
I was never really good with swallowing my pride, I could never bring up the courage needed to actually approach him even if an avenue of communication was open between us. We have remained civil to each other for over a year now. We forward text quotes intermittently to each other, exchanging pleasantries but never really getting personal.
When Sebastian did not arrive as scheduled, I was caught between feeling relieved that I do not have to face him and feeling sad that I might have lost my chance. The chance to explain myself, to apologize and see if we can work something out. Not that I am desperate or something but I really wanted to have something meaningful with him and I believe I'm ready.
But I was once again taken aback by the unexpected when Sebastian showed up late with someone in tow. That crushed my hope in having to speak with him. I lost the will to fight. For as much as I want to have the guy, I do not want to hurt someone else in the process.
But maybe. Just maybe, I still have something to look forward to. Maybe Kris is right.
Do I dare trust his word? Can somebody who loves the same guy you're after be gracious enough to stand aside and give up the fight?
Like everything else that happens in my life when I feel so overwhelmed, I cry and I laugh. I laughed out loud despite the tears trying to choke me, strangely finding comfort in hearing my voice echo. And when everything settled down, I find myself at peace. Greatly relieved by the hope that lies behind the dark of night.
"Sebastian." I said to myself, loving how his name rolls out of my tongue.
My mind flashed mental pictures of the boy that still makes my heart stop . I smiled to myself and decided to get up and go back to the party. I have spent so much time being alone and I missed the crowd.
The climb up was uneventful. I must have stayed down for so long, The only people left in the property are those singing in the entertainment room, Marc of course was still holding the microphone doing his famous rendition of the gay guy's theme – I will survive. The band is already packed, the tables already set aside, lights are still flickering in the pool though, providing perhaps minimal lighting outside since the lanterns and torches were already turned off and or distinguished.
I spotted somebody rummaging at the makeshift bar in the gazebo, so I decided to head there to get another drink. As I drew nearer, I got a good view of the guy who is now drinking a bottle of beer.
"Since when did you start drinking?" I asked Sebastian as I retrieved a bottle of Vodka Ice from the cooler.
"Just a new pastime I picked up a year ago. Why do you care?"
"Nothing. Just asking." Great! Here is my chance to speak with him and once again I'm backing out.
I looked at him. His face is not as clear as I would have liked it to be, owing to the fact that we are far from any source of light. My heart hitched. That's just how I react to him. I know for a fact that he has always been the only guy who can elicit that kind of reaction from me. Is that reason enough to risk myself opening up to him again? I have gone through a lot because of him, some of them were the worst moments of my life, yet some of them were unforgettably the best. If this is what taking a leap of faith means then I'll gladly and willingly do it for him.
But how to start? What if he rejects me?
Sebastian stood closer to me. I can see his face clearly even in the dark. It seemed to be as good a time as any but we both let heavy silence reign. I just kept looking at him, waiting for something, anything.
"Is there something you want?" He asked.
I bowed down my head. "No." I said in a small voice.
"Goodnight then." Sebastian said and stepped aside and began to walk away from me.
This is it. This is my chance. If I chicken out then maybe I might have the courage to stand in front of him again. I might not be able to face him considering that we are still going to share the same room.
"Do you still like me?" I asked, with my head still bowed and my back at his retreating figure.
I was left all alone. "Happy April Fools to you Jon." my mind screamed at me for being so gullible to Kris' words.
With that, I downed the full bottle of Vodka Ice and opened a new one as fast as I can.
I'm pretty sure I spoke loud enough for him to hear me. It's either he just didn't hear me or he blatantly ignored my question. I'm too tired to try reading him and his actions. I sighed as I finished my third bottle and decided to go back to my room. Marc, Jean, Kris, Andrea, Eric and Sebastian are still taking turns singing their hearts out. They are about the only ones left that still has energy at 2 in the morning.
Too distracted to join the lot, I decided to head to my room. Once there, I washed myself and brushed my teeth before snuggling in the covers in an over-sized shirt and briefs on after setting the air conditioning unit to the lowest possible temperature.
The blanket and the comforter kept me warm but inside I was cold. My pride was hurt by Sebastian's apparent lack of interest and it got me thinking if what I did was nothing more than an ill advised move on my part. But then again, weren't you expected to swallow your bigger self in attempting to woe someone? Weren't you supposed to subdue a part of yourself in order tom accommodate someone else's person in your life? This is obviously difficult for me. I have never found myself in a situation where I have to do the courting. Yes I flirt but that is to attract guys, for guys to come and woe me. I turn people down and not the other way around. Superficial and pathetic, but sadly true.
But if Sebastian is still capable of looking at me with unbridled longing then perhaps I still stand a chance. It might be high time for me to turn on my gay charms and see if that is enough to lure him back to me. I have as long as his stay on this island so I better work fast. With that thought in mind I closed my eyes hoping for sleep to come.
Sleep did not come easy for me though. I found myself tossing and turning for who knows how long until I was forced to remain steady as I heard someone open the door and Sebastian ushered himself inside. I watched him undress, leaving his boxers on and rummaged through his part of the closet for a tank top. In less than a minute, I felt the bed shift from his weight as he joined me in bed and I turned my back at him feigning sleep.
What surprised me though was that a few moments later Sebastian came closer to my side of the bed and spooned me to him. I tried my best to remain relaxed otherwise if I tense up, Sebastian might notice that I am still awake.
We remained on that position for some time. Sebastian alternated between stroking my hair and rubbing his nose at the back of my neck where the hair line ends. It would have been sweet if this wasn't a stolen moment, and the fact that Sebastian smelled strongly of beer which was something I hate. But you get what you can take right? So I let out a soft contented sigh which made Sebastian press me closer to him.
I laid there, being spooned to him, now with my eyes opened wishing I could speak to him but that might dispel this spontaneous moment of affection between us.
It was good, and was made even better when Sebastian spoke softly.
"I'm sorry Jon. I really am." He pressed his lips on my hair as he continued his monologue. "I miss you so much. I still think of you and yes I still like you."
I allowed a few minutes of silence before I turned around to face Sebastian. I still feigned sleep as I snuggled and rested my face on the space between his neck and his shoulder. Sebastian stiffened and was about to move away but I held him close to me.
"Do you still like me Sebastian?" I asked with my head still buried between his neck and shoulder.
Sebastian chuckled lightly before answering.
"You were awake the whole time weren't you?'
"What if I say I am? Are you going to take everything you said back?" I looked him in the eyes as I asked him this.
He smiled slowly as he shook his head and kissed my hair. "No Jon. I would never take those back. I meant every word."
We settled in silence again until we shifted positions. Him lying on his back and me pressed to his side and my head on his chest.
"So you and Kris?" I asked. Afraid of what he has to say.
"Do we have to talk about it? Look whatever he told you remains between the both of you. What me and Kris had remains between the both of us. I might not have been proud of somethings and unsure of some but I know that I still like you and I still want you. What happened between the last time we saw each other until now should not have any bearing in this conversation. Let's not judge each other on how we chose to repair ourselves."
"Wow! Since when have you become so insightful?" I asked coyly. Sebastian just smiled at me then. "I just wanted to make sure. If Kris likes you and wants you, then I have to know from you whether or not I have a good chance in fighting him over you."
I was afraid that that question will remain unanswered since it took Sebastian a few moments to voice out something.
"Kris and I are friends. Whatever happened or might happen between us, we will always be friends. He knows and understands that I don't like him like I like you so there is no competition Jon."
I let out a relieved sigh and Sebastian just snorted at me.
"So Sebastian, do you like me?" I asked as I climbed on top of him.
Sebastian was caught off guard with my action but he held me on my waist to steady me as I one again snuggled to him and buried my face on his chest.
"Would you like to go out with me sometime?" I asked with a muffled voice.
Sebastian took his hands from my waist and placed it on the back of his head. He looked at me and said.
"I don't know Jon. I'd have to think about it."
My face fell and I scrambled away from him. I felt like I was given a candy and when I tried to reach for it, it was snatched away from me.
I started to get out of bed when Sebastian stopped me by pulling at my shirt. I fell backwards to him as he laughed at my expense. I was struggling to be free from him when I didn't notice that the shirt has bunched up and it exposed the fact that I am only wearing my briefs. So I stopped moving before I get more exposed to this madman that I happen to be attracted to.
I pouted at him as he held me close to him.
"I just want to make sure that you want this as much as I do. It has to come from you Jon since the last time I asked you out you did everything to humiliate, reject and hurt me."
That dampened the mood. Somehow that topic is still touchy. I may have surfaced out of that experience whole but I never knew how he worked his way through all those. Wait. There was Kris and their tryst.
I rolled my eyes as I got up and straddled him.
"Let me say this once and for all. For the record. You were not the only one hurt when I rejected you for the last time last year. But that was something that I had to do. I was so disappointed with everything that you've done, that even though I knew you were sorry, I still felt the need to avenge my pride. Stupid? Yes. But I also realized that saying no to you then was one of the most liberating things that I have ever done. It gave me time for fresh perspectives. And it would have hurt us both more if we both went at it with more emotional baggages that any of us can handle."
Our eyes locked as I continued to speak.
"I loved you Seb. I did. But I hurt myself with what I have done because I was an insecure brat with an emotional quotient of a retard. But that does not also erase the fact that what you did to me, by lying to me, gave me the impression that everything that we had were nothing but a huge farce. I had to forgive you and myself before I consider the thought of having you back in my life."
Sebastian merely nodded soberly and reached out to hug me.
"I know Jon. I know."
I shook away from his embrace and grilled him with the most penetrating gaze that I could muster.
"So those words aside. Are you or are you not going out with me?" I growled.
Sebastian laughed again and reached out to me but I slapped his hand away as I growled at him again.
"Yes Jon Louise, I would be more than happy to go out with you." Sebastian shouted.
I was about to slap him, irritated on his playfulness when I'm being serious, when what he said sinked in. I threw myself at him and laughed out loud.
When both of our laughter died down and we were lying side by side under the cover of the blankets, I reached for his hand and linked it with mine.
"For giving me a chance. For giving us a chance."
"Just a question though Jon. What made you change your mind?"
I remained silent for some time. Emotions so raw that I felt my throat dry up and tears almost choking me. This loving business has turned me into one sappy and mushy individual. I swear.
"I read The Wedding by Nicholas Sparks last Valentines day, and I think I finally understand what one of the lines meant there." I said shyly.
See what I mean when I have suddenly became more in tune with my sensitive self?
"Go on." Sebastian urged.
"It contends that it is possible for two people to fall in love with each other again despite years of disappointments between them."
Sebastian just smiled at me before claiming my lips with his own in a kiss that sealed our renewed acquaintance and our unspoken promise of love to each other.