11/23 Chapter 13
“Keeping the push and pull will make one or both injured.”
Jhing thought that this ‘too many moments with Miko’ will end after Caliraya weekend escapade. She survived the team building, body ache, and Miko staying in her own apartment! Jhing was going to bury all memories into ashes.
But how to bury a photo uploaded on the Team Building photographer’s FB account?
Facebook must have a report button for ‘offensive picture for my moving on process.‘ It’s like a shout to her face that Miko’s presence was unavoidable.
And it’s posted on FB!
For everyone to see!
They weren’t the subject of the photo, really. It’s a group picture of people… It’s just that… Only the two of them were wearing a serious expression.
It was almost blurred but to Jhing’s eyes: the part when Miko reached for her and the way she stared at his hand, was vivid.
Caught in cam!
Fortunately, the camera cannot capture feelings.
Jhing prayed for everyone to ignore it. There were so many pictures posted on the album, but lo and behold, someone tagged her.July Verano uyy, Miko and RionaJ what kind of moment were you having in the background? ♥s everywhere!
A few more comments were posted; thankfully, unrelated to the background, but Fall added salt to Jhing’s wounding ego.Fall Ying OTP ♥♥♥♥ Miko † my side profile is so handsome (＾～＾✿) Sam Juan ^oh god kuya, where did you get that emoticon? What app po? Miko † Sam Juan gid.com?? gid app? It's not on the emoji app TT n TT Miko † google it, dummy Miko † *dear Fall Ying i see what you did there Miko † ┐(￣ヮ￣)┌ Sam Juan crying, can't find it!!!!
“We were just playing around,” Jhing’s defense when July bothered her the second she entered the office.
She cringed. Jhing can’t believe that July zoomed in on the picture. “Looking so serious?”
“I didn’t want to lose.”
“What kind of game is it where he had to reach his hand out?” July whispered, “First one to confess loses?”
Jhing ignored the last line and answered, “Tag.”
It was obvious that July didn’t believe her but thankfully, she didn’t push through.
The rest of the day went pretty normal.
Jhing loves normal.
Miko, apparently, doesn’t.
When December 1st came, Jhing got excited. She promised herself to buy one book for leisure’s sake. However, on the way out of the building, Miko rode on the same elevator as her; walked towards the mall like her; and went on the same floor where the bookstore is.
So he dropped the bomb. “Are you following me?”
To say Jhing was shocked by Miko’s question was an understatement. She could only utter a “What?” to defend her ego!
Miko’s smile widened. “You, a paparazzi, should not forget to take pictures on my best angle, okay?”
She walked away from the laughing Miko. After a certain distance, she turned around and saw that he was browsing technical books with smirking lips.
So he read books? Seriously?
Jhing spent her 15 minutes staring at the 3 books in hand when someone decided to stand next to her and hiccuped.
“Jhing.” It’s Miko, holding an art book.
Another hiccup. “Number¹?”
When she didn’t reply, the man poked her. “Jh—”
She stared at the books in front of her. “What number?”
“Number! When you hic—”
“Shut it,” she cut him off before looking at him, “11.”
Miko thought for a moment before his forehead wrinkled. “Not 10?”
Another hiccup. “Just say 10 oh.”
Jhing shook her head. She returned her focus to the books on her hands as she smelled the scent of paper with a smile. Before she walked away, Miko held her elbow, making her happiness from bookish momentum quickly vanish.
“Say 10,” hiccups, “okay?”
“What’s your problem with that number?” Jhing removed his hold from her. “I don’t want 10. I like 11.”
Miko stood in front of her to stop her from walking away. “But 11 is K. Just make it 10.”
“For what?” Jhing wanted to push Miko away but skin contact wasn’t an option, again. “Why do I care about the number and the alphabet?”
“But I ha—” another hiccup, “hiccups. Someone is missing me. I want the number 10 so that someone’s name starts with J,” Miko said while wiggling his eyebrows.
Ignoring the heat on her cheeks, Jhing rolled her eyes. “Are you a child? You believe in that?”
It was a rhetorical question to insult him but it seems like Miko became numb to it because he still has the smile on his lips. “I’m no longer a child. I’m even older than—”
“But you believe in that number thing?”
“Why not?” Miko’s smile widens, “Someone definitely misses me anyway.”
“There’s just something wrong with the flow of your breathing, that’s why you’re having hiccups,” Jhing countered and started to walk, a book clutched in one hand.
“We—” Hiccup “Weh?” Miko chased after her. “Isn’t because someone misses—”
He faked a pained expression as he put his hand on his chest. “Awtsu, you’re ruining my—” hiccups, again, “Belief of 26 years.”
“Oh, you’re 26?” Jhing tilted her head. “Doesn’t look like it.”
“A lot of peop—” His smile brightens but a hiccup ruined it, “—ple told me that I look younger.”
Miko chuckled shyly at the compliment. “Around 20—”
“You act like 12,” Jhing deadpanned.
Jhing = 1
Miko = 0
Jhing left the aisle with a triumphant smile.
“Sometimes your wo—” Miko hiccups, “—ords stab me like a knife.”
Because Jhing got annoyed with his hiccups, she says, “Don’t breathe.”
Jhing covered Miko’s mouth with her hand which made her shivered a bit. It’s not much… his lips just touched her palm.
“Don’t breathe. There shouldn’t be any air going in our out your system to stop your hiccups.”
She felt her palm burned from the touch so she let go of Miko, but it made Jhing smiled when the man followed her order. He stopped breathing, his lips pursing into a thin line.
But it ended too soon.
When Jhing reached the aisle for Wattpad published books, she almost dropped the books she was holding when Miko pulled her arm as if he needed to hold her for his dear life.
Miko pointed at himself, coughing, as his face turns red. That’s when she realized that he still hasn’t breathed for a while!
“Breathe!” Almost a minute has passed already, “You’re insane!”
Miko exhaled, then inhaled, and exhaled again as if he drowned. A lot of people looked at them curiously because his reaction was over the top. Jhing wanted to smile—laugh, even—but Miko will think that his action was sold to her so… nevermind.
“Is this all your pent-up anger for me? You will kill me whenever you have the chance ah.”
It was painful to hide her smile but she needed to. Jhing didn’t want to boost his confidence. “Who told you to stop breathing for a long time? 10 seconds should’ve been enough.”
“You didn’t tell me.”
Jhing shrugged. “It’s not my fault if you’re naive.”
“But handsome.” Miko patted his chest before laughing, “No hiccups!”
“Wow!” A fake smile. “Congrats.”
Ugh. Can’t he understand the sarcasm from her words? Bwisit.
Jhing winced when she saw the Wattpad books on the shelf. It looked like a hurricane passed by as all the books were a mess and filled to the brim. Some of the books’ plastic, covers, and even pages are ruined.
Ah~ The mass production of Wattpad books craze.
It’s heartbreaking to see piles of Wattpad books in stores as if they weren’t a product of logic, creativity, and hard work. They just left it as it is… because of the quantity? Because it wasn’t sold out? Because people destroyed it?
“Awtsu, what happened?” Miko frowned.
He tried fixing the displays to make the shelf look neat which made Jhing sigh. His efforts will just be wasted because it looks impossible to fix it, but still, Miko didn’t give up. He sat down on the floor as he put all his dedication to clean the aisle.
He looked up at her. “What the authors will feel when they see their books ruined like this?”
“You believed my words?” Jhing rolled her eyes and sat next to Miko to help him sort the books. “It hurts. If my books turned like this, I would probably cry.'”
A lot of people think that authors who got their books published are fortunate because they will see their own works in public. However, they didn’t know that books staying too long in bookstores were books that didn’t sell.
And a book that didn’t sell is a story, creativity, and an author’s voice that no one will care about.
It’s not a ‘Wow, you got your books published? Why didn’t you tell me! Oh treat us to dinner!’ or ‘I saw your book in the mall! Awesome! Give me an autograph!’ proud moment.
It’s more than that.
Books should be more than the external celebration.
“Thankfully, I’m a good Samaritan who—hey, this one’s perfect for you!”
For the Hopeless Bitter Melon.
Jhing pushed Miko away. “Bwisit.”
The two of them had fun sorting the books ‘by colors which look pleasing to the eye,’ Miko said. They have their own little bubble, ignoring the passing people.
“I wonder why these books are not selling well?”
“Too many books. They were even destroyed.” Jhing answered. “But I can’t blame the publishers who are non-stop looking for new novels to sell.”
“Business,” Miko said. “Their operations revolves around money to continue.”
“That. And it’s a scary thing for us,” she added. “It hurts us when we see this situation. They said that undiscovered gems deserve the publishing world more, but what are they doing—ignoring these books here.”
“Because they’re not selling out,” he added.
“Yeah. Only a few readers will actually search for these hidden gems that got buried in the bookstores,” Jhing stared at a wattpad book which pages’ got torn apart. “If they didn’t sell well after six months, the books will end up in a warehouse to collect dust.”
“Awtsu,” Miko commented. “The dust needs to learn how to read.”
He, Melchizedek Jesus Crux, is a hopeless case.
After a long while of sorting the books by colors, Jhing stood up with her wobbly legs. Miko followed her to line up at the cashier. It was at that moment when they saw Jhing’s published titles in the near book stand.
“Oh no, your books are on display.”
Too late to hide her face, people looked—stared at her as Miko grabbed all her books. Jhing has the right to ignore him; unfortunately, the idiot walked closer to her with a handful of books.
“I’ll sell them out so it won’t collect dust in the warehouse…. wait— ” Miko went back to the stand and grabbed a book written by Fall, his voice was loud when he explained, “I don’t want Hulog to scold me for not supporting her ah.”
Jhing made sure Miko won’t pay for the books. She slapped his hands a few times because he was insisting to buy everything. After all, he has few five hundred in his wallet because he recently got his salary.
“So they won’t just pass your books by,” Miko almost whined.
“Someone will still buy and actually read the book.”
Wow, she felt optimistic for a moment there.
“I will read it okay!”
“Just you? Not enough.”
“Oh, fine. I’ll just turn it into flyers to attract readers.”
“Fine,” Jhing snapped. “If that’s what makes you happy. How about you also buy all the books from other bookstores?”
“Awtsu. Jhing is mad.” Miko smiled. “Okay, boss. I won’t buy everything,” He returned the books on the display neatly, “Just one.”
When Jhing glared at him, Miko quickly let go of the books and raised his hands as if surrendering to the police. That gesture ended their scene that almost killed Jhing from humiliation. People watched them with interest!
But that also became the reason for Jhing’s smile before she slept.
What a fool.
A knock woke Jhing up the next day. She grunted. She still has 30 minutes left before her alarm rings! But the knocking didn’t stop so she dragged herself to splash water on her face, and rehydrate before opening the door.
A KFC delivery guy.
“Jhing K-Kruks—” The delivery guy looked sorry for pronouncing it wrong.. He gave her the paper bag while Jhing wanted to correct the guy, ‘It’s Krus po even though the name spells Crux’ but nevermind.
“I didn’t order—”
“It’s already paid.”
Before closing the door, her neighbor smiled at her teasingly. She’s the one who gave Jhing’s address to Miko last time… God, they weren’t even close!
She Miko… Miko..WHAT THE HELL?
For a reply, he called her with glee on his voice. ‘Morning!’
“What the hell?” repeating her text. “What is this?”
‘What is what?’
To play innocent was Miko’s talent.
‘Ahh, let’s eat together?’
Miko sighed. ‘Just pay me back if that’s what makes your heart, mind, and soul at ease.’
“I will” She looked at the food. It made her hungry! “Why did you give them my name again?”
‘Was I supposed to give mine? Unless you want me to cry blood as I listen to them pronounce my Melchizedek all wrong, sure,’ He laughed. ‘But anyway, I already told them your name and my surname on the first delivery ah.’
“You could just use Miko, ah!”
‘Ah.’ Another silence before a laugh. ‘Why didn’t I think of that? Eh whatever. It already happened… do I really have to change it?’
On purpose! This is definitely on purpose!
Too early in the morning to argue, Jhing didn’t complain when Miko asked if they can eat breakfast together.
Over the phone.
With a loudspeaker.
It’s a good thing that they weren’t eating together together or else Jhing will rather kill herself than Miko finding out how she’s smiling as tells her different kinds of stories.
And Looorrrd, AM steak bowl of KFC Breakfast is so freaking delicious.
She was in a good mood.
Miko was the reason.
But the smile on her lips expired when she stepped into the office lobby earlier than usual and saw Miko sitting on the sofa.
With an unfamiliar woman.
The bitch’s hand “accidentally” dropped near his crotch.
Too soon to be happy?
Miko jerked up and saw Jhing. His eyes darted from Jhing to that woman back and forth. Thankfully, the receptionist was gone, and the guard didn’t see it.
Jhing would just laugh at this cliché situation if Miko says ‘It’s not what you think it is!’ but he didn’t… instead, he stood away from the bitch and hugged himself as if he got assaulted.
“Rape!” he screamed, “My manhood!”
The bitch laughed.
But Jhing didn’t see the humor.
Very fucking funny.
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