11/23 Chapter 14
Don’t do this to me.
“When jealousy creeps, not even impassiveness can hinder the buried feelings.”
There were no fucks given by Jhing that day. And a lot of days after that. She also didn’t care about the fact that, for the whole week, different women went to the office to meet their friend Miko Crux.
She won’t care even if they had sex on the lobby’s sofa.
Although… Jhing will not sit on that sofa again, ever.
“Who’s the girl?” asked Yayo during lunch.
A different woman has visited the office once again to invite Miko for a lunch.
“They said that she came from Tinder, sweetie,” one of them answered, “I never thought that he will use an app to search for a woman.”
“Don’t judge,” Yayo countered. “He’s old enough to do whatever he wants. Maybe he’s looking for a long-term partner.”
“Why not!” July laughed. “Anything is possible. Girl, online relationship nowadays is trending.”
That made Jhing’s hands colder. She looked up and frowned as she wonders why the aircon aimed in her direction?
“I forgot that it’s all about the internet in this generation.”
“Or maybe….. he’s looking for a FuBu.”
Jhing almost choked after hearing July’s words. When the three of them looked at her, she pretended she was busy staring at her food.
“FuBu? The clothing brand from America?”
Jhing tried to laugh with everybody at Yayo’s inquiry.
“I can’t believe that these innocent words came from a pregnant woman!” July said. “FuBu! Fuck Budd—Oh Jhing, where are you going?”
Jhing already stood up as if she’s looking forward to going back to work. Wow. “Let’s go, I miss my manuscripts.”
She went out of the pantry first to go to the washroom while July followed her behind and asked, “Bothered?”
“You know what I’m talking about. Do you still want me to spell it out for you?” Another laugh from July. “Miko—the Tinder thing, and every single day, a different woman is looking for him.”
Oh, look at how Jhing’s hands are shining from the way she scrubs it with soap so hard.
She sighed. “No comment.”
“What do you mean why? That’s his life, not mine.”
Jhing walked out of the washroom as July shadowed her once again. “I don’t know. Maybe because—uh,” July dragged her uh. When they reached their cubicle, she continued, “You have something with Miko?”
Jhing felt her heartbeat stopped for a moment. “None.”
“Isn’t he courting you or something?”
Another heartbeat stopped. Ugh.
This will be the death of Jhing Bautista.
“Well, he’s flirting with you.”
She wasn’t supposed to be rude so she just glanced at July and smiled. “Let’s chat later, I still have many pages to go ah,” she pointed at her monitor.
July sighed and, thankfully, stopped bugging her.
While staring at her manuscript, Jhing’s head kept on repeating: Hooker. Flirt. Horn… Scandalous. Miko is a flirt. Miko loves to flirt. Again, if they want to have sex on the sofa—Jhing would be glad to record their sex video for them and even post it to the internet world.
When Miko got back from his friendly date with another friend he met at Tinder, he was wearing a serious expression. His forehead was creased, clearly, in a bad mood. Maybe he couldn’t score. The moment Miko and Jhing’s eyes met, the man’s emotions lifted as he smiled.
Stomach backflip for Jhing, yeah?
Fuck that smile.
“Is everyone here?” Sir Franz asked.
The book team is now in the meeting room to discuss book-related topics, and Jhing wanted out ASAP. Why in the world is she sitting across from Miko? And why the hell does he keep staring at her? Jhing suddenly has the urge to pull his eyeballs out from its sockets and cook it for his friends he met on Tinder.
Jhing swiped her phone while seated. If her phone can speak, it will definitely complain of dizziness. Good thing phones can’t speak. Jhing just kept swiping and swiping as if she has an important mission from FBI to do.
She was too busy with her swiping expertise when papers were passed.
“On those papers, write 11 life goals— short or long term,” Franz explained and pointed at the box near him. “Tomorrow morning, drop your papers in this box. We will read all the goals without knowing who writes which, after work hours. Just the goals.”
Facio raised his hand. “We don’t have to write our name then??”
Franz nodded. A lot of workers got excited but to Jhing, it was hell.
What do they mean by… goals?
Goals? Now that they mentioned it… what goals does she have?
Jhing can just take the day off tomorrow. She always runs away whenever she can’t do something anyway. And even if she can do it, she will be too afraid of the consequences, the scenario, or the what could’ve been.
Thankfully, the internet was invented. Jhing can copy someone else’s goals as her temporary goals. She’s tempted to title it 11 goals that will NEVER be achieved via Jhing. This is making her insane.
A knock woke her up again the day after. Because she was still half-awake, Jhing felt like she saw Miko’s face on the KFC delivery guy’s which quickly boiled her anger.
“I’m allergic to chicken,” Jhing snapped.
What? Since when?
Before she could close the door, the delivery guy said, “Uh Ma’am, it’s already paid… and these are pancakes.”
“I’m also allergic to pancake.”
Facepalm, Jhing. FACE. PALM.
“I’ll die.” She scratches her neck. “Ugh, just the smell triggers my allergy already.”
RIP Jhing due to pancake allergy.
Can you also please bury her humor in her grave?
“Return his money, and tell that guy… I’m allergic to him.” And his scandals.
This! was the reason she shouldn’t talk without thinking. She was getting snarky! But the delivery guy didn’t say anything; instead, he just smiled, bid him good morning and said something near ‘Love Quarrel.’
What LQ! she wanted to shout. No L! or Q for that matter!
When everything finally kicked in after closing the door, Jhing couldn’t help but facepalm. She hit her forehead a few times, trying to know if her brain’s still inside her skull.
God, she can’t ever show her face to KFC ever.
A few minutes after, her phone rang. It’s Miko. She ignored his call until it stopped an hour later.
Jhing went to work as usual. What’s funny is the fact that she entered the office with Miko’s friend. She heard her ask the receptionist: “Is Melki—Mel-cheese-dehek Korohks here? ”
Melkizedek Krus, she wanted to correct. You all kept going to the office to visit him and yet you don’t even know how to pronounce that scandalous name.
To add twinkling glitters to her good mood, she bumped into Miko when she was walking to her cubicle. But Miko wasn’t smiling that morning. Bad trip. Again?
New day. New woman. New don’t-care-moment of Jhing.
Jhing is blaming her boring manuscript for turning her day boring. But hey! Part of the job, no complaints. She didn’t know her life can get a lot more boring than usual. So yeah, she wasn’t in a pleasant mood the whole day.
Surprisingly, Miko was also quiet even in their meeting where they have to do that goals thing that didn’t make sense for Jhing.
A lot of them almost died after reading certain goals, “First man to get pregnant in Mars,” “Get married to Leonardo DiCaprio,” there’s even a “Make Hugh Jackman divorce his wife to marry me,” and also “I want Maria Ozawa as my side chick,” which gained lots of laughter.
Jhing suddenly felt embarrassed when Facio read a set of familiar goals.
“Be rich, travel world, a good relaxation, business for Mom, buy leisure without worrying about money, Write all stories inside my head,” Facio read.
There were no names included but all eyes were on her.
“Movie adaptation of own work, receive writing award, get siblings good education, discover right life path.”
“Deep,” July commented and smiled at Jhing.
Of course, Jhing pretended she was not the owner of the goals. Her name isn’t written on the paper! They shouldn’t judge her, okay.
Fortunately, she crossed out Contentment for her last goal. She thought about how she just didn’t want contentment… she strives to become better than she was yesterday.
She ended up with the 11th goal: “Have reason to smile.”
It made her cringe.
A few set of goals after, it was Jhing’s turn to read. She randomly grabs one of the papers in the box and saw a familiar horrible handwriting on the paper.
Reading the first goal made Jhing felt like dying.
“Eat KFC Breakfast.”
She could feel her skin burning from someone’s stare. Jhing felt guilty…. pancake allergy? What bullshit.
“Sleepover, go to ToysRus, have an Artist talk.” She reads faster. “Watch Ayala lights on XMas.”
“Christmas!” she heard someone said.
“X is written here,” she reasoned. “I just read it.”
“Ay the handwriting is horrible,” another commented.
Jhing laughed from the inside when Miko creased his forehead.
Then she continued. “Binge-watch series. Road trip. Publish an art related book. Do workshop. Learn from intellectual debate. And…” she trailed off.
Oh god, her poor heart.
“S-see… uhm… her true smile.” Jhing didn’t add the (in real life) part.
And there was also a goal written at the very end.
.- .-.. .-.. / –. — .- .-.. … / — ..- … – / -… . / .– .. – …. (－‸ლ)
ALL GOALS MUST BE WITH (－‸ლ)
She didn’t want to know what it meant. The morse code and emoticon was a blast on Jhing’s face that the set of goals was Miko’s.
After the dreaded meeting, Miss Vams made Jhing and Miko stay.
Another bonding time!
“Miko,” called Miss Vams. “We already hit December. What happened to the Novella? We need to rush—”
Miko tried to reason. “Uh because—”
“I’m not done yet, I want to change the ending,” Jhing answered.
Vams is confused. “Change? It’s already—”
Jhing sighed. Her head is aching. “I just want to write how the male lead has moved on.”
Miko frowned at her words which she ignored.
It was Vams who broke the silence. “Moved on?”
“Yeah. Moved on. He has found another woman, and flir—”
“Woah!” Miko looked like he was taken aback by Jhing’s words. Even though she didn’t want to, Jhing looked at him— or his forehead so their eyes won’t meet.
“Another woman?” Silence. “There’s no one ah.”
Her heart was beating too fast for her to breathe normally.
Vams looked at them curiously.
“Why? Is it your story? Your novella? You’re the one who wrote it?” Jhing got snarky, and she could taste bitterness on her lips— but whatever, shit. Miko doesn’t have the right to complain when he’s only an illustrator, not the writer.
“No, but why is it—” Miko sighed. “How can they have a once upon a time when it’s not even midnight but the princess already ran away?”
“Maybe because she’s not a princess.”
“Maybe she is.”
Jhing’s lips formed a thin line. “No,” she said. “She’s not born as a princess, so she doesn’t need to be treated as one.”
“She deserves it.” He was serious.
So was she. “She doesn’t.”
“She just doesn’t want to accept it.”
“Because she doesn’t want to get used to it. You can’t accept something you don’t deserve,” Jhing argued. “Everyone will only get hurt if you force something that isn’t meant to be.”
Miko arched a brow. “This is not Romeo and Juliet.”
“But it hurts more.”
The word from her lips made a broken piece pierce her from the inside. She felt like someone has poured boiling water over her, followed by a freezing one to calm her down…. which wasn’t a good idea for it was much more painful to feel both sides of the spectrum.
Too much happiness can lead to too much sadness. That’s reality. It’s one or the other. If there’s an in between, it’s called emotionless. And being emotionless is . . . emptiness.
Which Jhing preferred, by the way.
“Wait, is this getting personal?” Vams looked awkward, bouncing her look at the two. “Do you want me to give you two space or…”
Jhing stood up. She wanted to smile but failed, the anxiety on her expression was screaming at everything. “I need to go back home and send money to my Mom,” before she walked out, she added, “Next week at most… I will change the ending.”
She tried to change the ending.
Saturday night, she texted Miko to meet to finish this stupid illustration cover.
Jhing was always in time, but on this day, she appeared in the meeting place earlier than ever. Miko suggested that they should discuss the illustrations, scenes, character look, style, and color palette, so she brought her laptop with her.
Her hands trembling and cold, heart beating fast, sweat rolling down. Jhing remembered the last time she waited for him. Near koi fish pond. Even though she’s angry, she also felt scared at the same time.
When Miko texted, her heart jumped. He must have an excuse for being almost late on their 7pm meeting! Only 23 minutes and he’ll be late okay!are you in KapeLibro already?
Jhing got nervous. She searched KapeLibro’s surroundings… books and coffees, everywhere. He might be acting mysterious once again… that’s when another message comes in.i have an emergency. i need to go... it's urgent. :(
Jhing stared, and replied:I was actually feeling lazy to go out today. It's good that you told me you can't go. Ok.
It was like that day…. over again.let's talk about this on monday? sorry. :(
She didn’t reply and stood up. After finishing up her third glass of water, Jhing went out of KapeLibro.
She doesn’t have the right to be disappointed. It’s just work, and there are far more important things for him than this. Than her.
The next day, everyone was having a commotion with Yayo on the lead. Jhing was passive until July asked, “You don’t like him because you knew…?”
No good morning? Not that she’s a person who likes greeting people morning! with a sunshine smile.
“That Miko already,” she paused, “Has a wife and a child.”
July lead Jhing to Miko’s FB when lunch came. In his profile, there’s a tagged photo of Miko smiling at the baby he’s holding posted via Bee Gonzaga with a caption:This guy made me realize I'm one of the luckiest to have him in our life. Thanks much for staying with us the whole Sunday night (and Monday morning!) even if it's sudden. Baby's not sick anymore! Baby & I appreciate you so much xoxo
That explained the important emergency.
Jhing held the lump in her throat. Not fucking disappointed. She had no right.
She composed herself and let the world see nothing.
Jhing was getting good at telling lies to herself and to everyone. But with the Forget Him, Move On Department and him easily making his way through her? She was terribly failing.
And it fucking hurts.
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