11/23 Chapter 9
Hi, mine~ Sorry for the late update! My practicum has started so I'll be busy until January? Don't worry, I will still keep translating but I apologize if some chapters will be late. TT Cheers.¹Courting- I just want to remind you , Miko asked Jhing for permission to court her and Jhing accepted it. Courting can take days or years, depending if the man gave up on her, the woman rejects him, or if she accepts him as her official boyfriend. ²Pabebe- Pa is a root word which makes the word mean "trying to be like," or "acting as" while bebe means "baby." So "Pabebe" means acting cute, innocent and sometimes, playing hard to get.
“To blindly judge a broken soul is to not see entirely.”
For the first time since Miko found his way in Jhing’s circle of boring life, Jhing finally admitted that the reason why she cried was because of him and his crazy efforts. Bwisit. Looking at the paper rose, he probably researched: 'How to make origami roses,' which made her re-think about a lot of things.
Jhing drank the medicine he gave when she went home. Her tears almost ruined the paper rose, so she hid it in the box full of memories.
The next day in the office, Jhing's mind shut down and dismissed her happy thoughts when she saw the family picture plastered on her cubicle’s cork board. They were filled with smiles and happiness radiating from that memory. Everyone was too happy back then.
Too happy. Back then.
“You didn't tell me that you have a new illustrator.”
She was out of the office- Jhing was eating in the KFC with Fall, but why did the topic revolve around Miko again?
“You didn't ask,” Jhing shrugged.
Fall frowned. “Because you didn't say anything!”
“Because you didn't ask.”
“Why didn't you tell me that the illustrator was handsome!?”
Jhing wanted to choke herself to death. This was the topic she wanted to get out from but no matter what she does, no matter how she ignores it, that topic of him still haunted her.
Jhing was okay with every crazy topic Fall would say but this one? Not a good idea.
If she tells Fall everything, will Fall stop talking about it?
“Isn't Facio's birthday next, next week…”
Jhing had no guts. Even if it's she's her best friend, she didn’t have any strength to tell her their story. Mentally? Emotionally? Physically? Or maybe because she doesn’t know how to tell the story to someone to release and forget all the pent-up pain that was left inside her.
“Is the illustrator attending too?”
But of course, the guy’s everywhere, pushing her to remember everything.
Jhing had no chance to make dumb excuses when the day before Facio’s birthday came. She was hoping for her sickness to return to avoid the things she doesn't want to happen but unfortunately, it didn't.
She was strong as a tiger.
Facio threatened her, "If you're not coming to my birthday, I will submit ugly illustrations to all your future published books."
She wanted to say, 'Fine, there's another illustrator anyway' but that 'another illustrator' was the great Miko, so Jhing reluctantly nodded and said, “I'll go.”
As far as Jhing knows, only writers are attending Facio's party. The day of his birthday though, there was someone else who joined them.
When Facio asked for a favor, “Can you buy us some beer? I have to finish my illustration. I'll pay for it when you come back, promise!” Jhing was happy to oblige.
She's already used to being ordered around after all.
But when the universe gave her Miko to help her with the beers, Jhing wanted to cross the road and get hit by a car just to get away from him.
While walking beside Miko in silence, Jhing hugged a pack of beers. The other three packs were held by Miko. Jhing wanted to split it in half, but Miko insisted on bringing everything.
She didn’t argue, but she didn’t want to be useless either.
In the end, Miko let her hold one pack of beers. So even though Jhing could see the veins in Miko’s arms wanting to explode, she ignored it.
That's what he wanted to do.
He should deal with it himself.
Jhing, eyes looking forward, tried to stop her freaking heart from furiously beating. The uneasiness will be over soon… but not too soon for Miko tried to strike a conversation with her.
“You're so quiet.”
Jhing was counting the steps from the store to Facio's house until she heard his voice. Fuck. She lost count. Forcefully burying the anxiety in her heart, Jhing answered, “I’m always quiet.”
They can hear the sound of the beer bumping into each other but Jhing didn't mind. The louder the noise around them, the better. She was thankful that there are almost two meters of distance between them or else, she’ll die if he heard her traitor heartbeat.
“Because I'm here?”
Eyes still looking forward, Jhing's eyes narrowed. “I'm always quiet.” She even wanted to add, ‘Wow, you're so shameless ah?’ but decided to keep quiet.
The laugh from Miko’s voice made Jhing gaze at him. She couldn't help but frown thinking that life is easy for Miko.
He didn't hide the amusement from his voice when he asked, “Do I make you nervous?”
Jhing’s brow arched. “You wish."
Her words earned laughter from him while she looked away. Why is Facio's house so far away? And why are they walking like they’re on the moon?
Jhing starts walking faster to increase their distance. She doesn't want to see Miko’s face even if she really can't see it clearly in the first place because of the darkness of the night.
But the guy was so persistent, he followed to walk beside her.
“You're more talkative in chat.”
One meter distance from each other.
“I'm not,” she said, blocking the memories from her head. “I’m boring.”
He chuckled. “You're right.”
Ah dammit. Jhing glared at Miko who was still laughing. He actually agreed.
How dare he talk like that to her? Are they close? Jhing rolled her eyes. The second she saw Facio's house in the distance, she quickly increased her pace once again. Miko didn't want to lose so he strutted. He was already walking in front of her so Jhing decided to slow down.
When they were in the same phase again, a little closer than a meter distance, she saw Miko’s smile. His eyes looking forward. “39 days.” She didn’t say anything but wondered. “39 days since we last talked like this,” he said.
“I wonder how many days will pass before I can speak to you again?”
Before Jhing could even react or blink, Miko quickened his steps and went inside Facio’s house.
Jhing was quiet when the celebration began because of the conscience crawling inside her. Almost 20 people were present in the room, she felt suffocated.
After eating, she sat in the corner and decided to check all of her SNS accounts which was a wrong move because her mood worsens.
Ate, are you an ice cube?
She rolled her eyes before she answered:
Everyone who was busy watching Miko sing his heart out looked at Fall when she suddenly laughed. Miko commented using the mic 'Fall's IQ is falling.'
A smack from Fall flew towards Miko.
After a few hours, Miko is already happily chatting with all the authors as if they were his long lost friends. Jhing wasn’t even close to them, it also took a long time for her to be comfortable with Fall but what the heck?
Miko… was one hell of a social guy.
Fall, beer in hand and phone on the other, went beside Jhing.
“What's your problem?” asked Jhing.
“It's because of you!” Still laughing, Fall added, “You answered like an insane person.”
“Because the one who asked is insane.”
Fall laughed once more.
After two horrible songs by Miko, everyone was just looking at their phones. On the other hand, Fall whispered to Jhing… or at least tried to but because she was drunk, she couldn't control the volume of her voice.
“Isn't weird that…..” She hiccuped. “You're preventing a person who… un… wants to understand you, noooh?”
Jhing was stunned, and her eyes suddenly searched for a particular guy who happened to be sitting a few meters away from them. The second she found him, Jhing quickly looked away because his pair of eyes were set on her.
Fall continued. “Because yoh know, yoh yorself…. wants to make him unders–stand you…" She laughed. "But yoh don't want to eksplain yorself because yo're thinking that uh, yoh'll just waste yor breathe and time. Yo're being cold to them because uh… what wash it again."
"Uh what.. Open up! Yo don't like opening up so look, no one can't enterh yor life when yor doors are closed."
No one could stop Fall from talking, so Jhing went with the flow - and maybe let the others hear her for the first time. “They don't need to enter my life so I don't need to give them an explanation.”
Her voice was loud enough for the eavesdropper to hear her despite the loud karaoke singing.
Specifically, a guy named Miko.
“Ehh yoh know, there's—there'sh someone who wants to enter your life, Jeheng…" Fall leaned her back, it seems like she's getting really dizzy. "Yo're readersh are so pitiful…. You're a scary shiiiiit."
Jhing stayed quiet, and Fall decided to talk more about being proud of herself. “Congratsh me 'cause. . .I'm amazhing!” Fall laughed. “I broke down the walls!" Hiccup. “Shurrounding yo!”
Jhing rolled her eyes and shook her head with a smile. “Go home, Fall. You’re drunk.”
“Am notsh drank!”
Obviously, she’s drunk because, after a few minutes, Fall was knocked out cold.
When Jhing decided she wanted to have a bottle for herself, Facio agreed with a smile and offered a beer to her…..he froze. He and Jhing looked down and saw Miko holding Facio's arm.
Everyone stopped at Miko’s stunt.
He stared at Jhing. “You're drinking? Don't.”
“LAH!” an author’s voice. “What's this ah? What?!”
Jhing dismissed everyone’s reaction and grabbed the beer from Facio's hand who was still frozen.
She drank before she questioned him. “Why not?”
“You'll get drunk.” Miko’s voice sounded serious.
“Probably." Jhing shrugged her shoulders. "I'm drinking to get drunk after all.”
Miko held his hands up, surrendering. He didn’t look pissed. The guy was even grinning as he apologized “Sorry, Boss. Whatever you say ah.”
That mini scene made everyone around them contemplate for a moment about what just happened. Jhing, on the other hand, ignored their weird looks. She just drowned herself in beer.
At least after this, she’ll have a chance to forget everything… even just for a moment.
On her second bottle, they went from karaoke to telling stories. Almost all her co-authors were interested in Miko while Fall… well, she's still asleep beside her.
“Treat us food!” one of the authors laughed. “When's your birthday?”
Jhing frowned at what she heard.
“Last month, October.” Miko sipped on his bottle before he added, “17.”
She forgot about that ah? She didn’t even greet him or something. Make him feel speci—god What the hell is she thinking?
She doesn't care!
“You should've treated us dinner!”
“I need my birthday gift first.” Miko shook his head.
“What kind of gift do you want?”
“I want world peace.”
Wow. He's like everyone's best friend now.
Drunken stories, random laughter, and singing were all over the house. Jhing was starting to get dizzy at her third bottle of beer. She was busy trying to get her mind straight when someone asked her: “How about you, Jhing. Why don't you have any boyfriend yet?”
Without thinking too hard, she answered, “I don't want to,” with ease.
She could feel someone, a particular guy, staring at her, but she didn’t mind. Jhing was too drowned to care about others.
“Anyone courting¹ you?”
She heard a clearing of a throat, dismissed it, and said, “None."
The co-author laughed. “Wooshoo! Jhing is pabebe²!”
That ticked her off.
She hated a lot of things in life, yeah, pessimistic; and one of the many things she hated the most was the mainstream shitty terms.
Pabebe? Fuck that word. Jhing gave them a piece of her mind even though she doesn't know if she’s even making any sense or what; she let herself explode for once.
“Pabebe already?” she snorted. “Can it not be because my mind is not filled with flirting nor love?” A smirk. “Maybe because I have you know uh… priorities in life that I need to do first. Example: paying for my siblings' education, and my Mother. They all depend on me. So tell me…."
There was a provoking tone on Jhing's voice as her sight swirled a bit when she moved. She breathed heavily. “Can’t my reason be… busy trying to get this shitty life intact enough to say my top priority. . . is not love?”
“Woah,” Facio commented. “Chill, Jhing. Are you okay?”
She. Was. Not. Fucking. Okay.
Tears were trying to get out from her eyes. When Jhing glanced to her right, she saw Miko looking at her straight in the eyes that made her want to hurl.
Goddammit. Why is this guy even here in the first place!?
She stood up and almost lost her balance but thankfully, Facio helped her.
“I want to puke,” she said.
She heard a 'Sorry' but Jhing ignored it. All she wanted was to get out of that fucking room, so Jhing rushed to the washroom and stayed there for a long time.
She cried and vomited.
A crier when drunk.
Very pathetic, Jhing.
Her pathetic meeter increased when Miko went to her rescue and tried to help her stand up. With tearstained cheeks, she cursed, “Tangina oh.” Jhing pushed Miko away but her arms didn't have any strength.
"Wh-hy are you… doing this to me?"
A batch of fresh tears.
Miko stood silent. He wiped her face clean using a wet handkerchief while the latter closed her eyes. Looking at him too close made Jhing want to rip the breaking heart away.
She hopes everything is just a dream.
But clearly, it's not.
“Whyyyy. . . a-are you here?” Her voice almost whispered.
Jhing was a wreck, for sure. Her hair got entangled while her clothes are ruined due to spewing. It was harder to breathe when she was feeling more pathetic than before.
“Where does a broken heart go?” Miko asked as if he can’t see the mess Jhing is right now.
With blurred eyes, she looked at him. The man stood right in front of her. He invaded her personal space as she can almost feel his breath against her skin as he continued, “It stays.”
“I want to puke!” shouted Fall from the outside of the washroom. “I think I'm pregna—oh.”
“That's why I'm here,” Miko said, not minding anyone. “I stay.”
Apparently, both of their hearts stayed inside to hurt them like a pathetic bitch.