Cebu Coffee Shops - Part 3

Written by: Ram 
In the morning, I woke up with a throbbing in my head. Jon was already awake, half naked and sitting with his back to the bed. I cleared my throat and he faced me.

“You can shower and borrow some of my clothes before we go and get your car. I’ll be in my parents’ room, showering.” He said, going outside.

“Don’t. I’m not showering or borrowing your clothes. I’ll go outside and wait for you while you get ready.” I stood up and waited for him downstairs. I recalled the events that happened the past night and I cursed myself. What the fuck was I thinking? Did I really say that? Another friendship broken.

He came down fresh but he was looking glum and drained and I thought it was because he was still angry and pissed at me. We drove in silence but he stopped in front of Starbucks IT. “Breakfast before anything else.” He said going out of the car.

“Jon, bai, I’ll walk nalang to my car. Thanks a lot bai.” I said as I closed the door to his car.

“Ram. Breakfast.” He said sternly. I complied because I didn’t want him to get angry at me even more. We ate in silence, like strangers all over again.

“Jon,” I cleared my throat and he looked at me.

“Bai, if it’s about last night, kalimti nalang to.” (Forget about it) he said.

“Bai no, I can’t forget about the shitty things I did last night. Sorry kaayo bai.” (I’m so sorry) I apologized again.

“Ok ra lagi bai, let’s drop it na. You were just drunk.” (It’s really ok)

“I can’t drop it bai because there were things that I said that needs to be explained! And yes I was drunk pero the things I said were…” I snapped at him. The passersby eyed us but didn’t linger. There weren’t a lot of people in Starbucks and we were sitting outside.
“Let’s not talk here.” He stood up and walked to his car. I followed. He started the engine and drove us to where I left my car last night. We were silent until we’ve reached the parking lot.

“Bai, kapoya na bai oy (It’s all too tiring already). No more excuses, here it goes bai.” I said and swallowed hard on my seat. I was looking at him and he was trying not to look back at me; confusion and axiety written all over his face.

“What you heard last night was true bai. I like you. I fucking like you kaayo (very much) bai and I know you can never like me back so it sucks to the core. I’m sorry if I got wasted last night but what you did was really painful for me but of course I can’t blame you, all I have to blame is myself. Bai I’m sorry I can’t stop myself. That’s why I’ve been trying to keep my distance from you but I found out that I can’t get away bai. Fuck oy I’m so sorry for making things awkward for you bai.” I said and started to cry. The car was silent so I decided it was time to get out. That time he didn’t stop me. I didn’t want to look back, I tried hard not to look back. But I was thinking, Please call me. Please call me. Please call me back. But he didn’t. I drove home with tears clouding my eyes.

School continued and avoiding him was still hard. The teasing continued but a week before the second semester finals, I blew up. My barkada and I were on our way to our next class which was a room next to the class of Jon and his barkada. They just got out of their class and the two parties saw each other, so the teasing between Rhea and I ensued. It was alright, I learned to ignore them. But Jon decided to go overboard this time. He dragged Rhea by the hands and grabbed mine too. He then forced our hands together but I pulled away and when I did, he playfully pushed me towards Rhea who seemed uncomfortable already. I told him to stop but he kept on pushing me and lastly, he pushed me hard that I almost stumbled on Rhea but I managed to maneuver and avoided her but I landed with my ass on the ground.

“Bai what the fuck is wrong with you bai? Can you fuck off already?” I snapped at him. My friends helped me get up.

“Sorry bai, it’s all a joke.” Jon apologized.

“You think everything’s a joke Jon, fuck you oy.” I barked.

“Unsa’y problema nimo bai? (What’s your problem?) It was all a joke, calm down bai.” He said, pushing my chest.

“Kayata nimo oy, sobra na ka ha!” (What the fuck dude. You’re going overboard!) I exclaimed and landed a punch on his face. He threw a punch at me and hit me on the cheek. Our friends managed to hold us back before anymore damage could have been done. Both of us were struggling to break free and I saw that his nose was bleeding, I felt blood on my lips too. Our barkadas separated to try and clean our wounds before someone ran to the student affairs officer and report the incident.

After that, the teasing stopped and I could feel the tension between his barkada and mine every time we ran into each other between classes. After that, my feelings for him changed. Summer passed by quickly and before we knew it, I was a second year student and he was a third year.

Things between us began to soften up and one day, we caught each other’s eyes and he smiled at me. I smiled back. The feelings that I thought changed went back to how they were before and I cursed myself for that. But I thought, hey since we’re not that close anymore maybe it’s easier for me to not notice this feeling. Boy was I wrong.

One Saturday night, I was invited to a friend’s debut and when I showed up there, he was there too. Fate decided to play with us because we were seated on the same table; he was sitting across me. After the program, there was a DJ and the partying continued. There was a lot of dancing and grinding and alcohol so pretty much everyone was having fun. I didn’t drink too much because I was driving home and after a while, I decided to sit out the next song.

I was just observing from my table when Jon walked towards me, with two shots of tequila in hand. He gave one to me. It was the last one I had for the night.

“Musta bai?” (How are you?) he said.

“Ok ra bai, struggling but surviving.” I replied, “You? How’s third year life?” I asked.

“So tiring bai. The struggle is real gyud oy haha!” he said and it’s like nothing changed between us. We talked the rest of the night away but he kept on drinking while I kept on refusing. By 3am, he was drunk enough to walk in a wobble.

“Ok that’s it, I’m driving you home bai.” I told him and he didn’t protest. I helped him inside my car and drove to his house.

“Bai, can I crash in your place tonight bai? No one’s at home man gud and I don’t think our yayas will open the gate for us.” He said and I thought for a while, drunk person + alone with him in the bedroom + crazy feelings for the drunk guy = not a good idea, I told myself but he was pleading; there was pain in his eyes so I had no choice.

I helped him out of the car and up the stairs to my bedroom, making sure that we were quiet.

“Bai, you can change into my clothes bai.” I said and helped him out of his clothes and into mine. He was silent all throughout that time.

“Sleep on the bed, I’ll sleep on the floor bai.” I told him as we sat on the floor. I stood up to try and make a bed for me on the floor but he held my arm.

“Bai, you can sleep next to me.” He said.

“No bai, it’s ok. I can sleep-”

“Ram, tupad ta.” (Ram, sleep beside me) he said and I had no choice, his grip on my arm was strong. So we lay in bed, side by side. I turned to him but his eyes were closed. I wasn’t able to sleep, I just kept on staring at the ceiling.

A few minutes after, he said, “Ram?”

“Yeah?”

“I’m sorry.” He said and sat up. I sat up and faced him.

“You don’t have to be. It’s ok bai, you did the same thing to me so I’m just paying you back.” I said but he shook his head.

“For everything bai. For all the pain I caused you.” Shit, is he for real? I thought.

“Bai, don’t worry. Time heals and I have forgiven you. Now, let’s sleep na bai.” I was about to lie back down but he did something. He grabbed my face with both of his hands and brought his lips to mine. I kissed him back but I soon realized what was happening. I pushed him away.

“Bai, what’s worng with you?” I whispered to him.

“Ram, I’m so sorry Ram.” He buried his face on his hands and began crying. I hugged him until he stopped.

“Ram I’m so sorry Ram. That night, when you told me you liked me, I don’t know what was going on. It happened all too fast. Everything seemed all too real for me and I guess I got scared bai. I’m a fucking mess bai.” There was silence as he tried to touch my face.

“I know it’s too late but Ram… I like you too.” He said and all the pain and wounds he caused me seemed to stitch and heal at that moment. But I stopped myself.

“Bai.” I said but he kissed me on the lips again. This time I gave in. Our hands began to explore each other but I told him to stop.

“It’s too fast bai. I don’t want it like this.” I whispered to him and he nodded, kissing me on the lips.

So we just lay there, in each other’s arms and fell asleep.

I woke up to his lips on mine. “Good morning.” He smiled. I smiled back.

I was about to get up when he grabbed my arm and wrapped me in an embrace.

“Can we stay like this for a while?” he whispered and again, I complied.

We stayed like that until 2pm, when our stomachs began to grumble.

School was different. It became better. My smile became wider whenever we bumped into each other in between classes, we had secret meetings in Mango Square especially when we had the same breaks and we went to school and went home together. Our friends asked us what was up but we only told them that we got close. They didn’t speculate anymore.

“Ram, let’s study out bai!” He texted me one Saturday morning, a week before midterms.

“Sure! Where man?” I quickly replied.

“Any idea where? Kana’ng near lang sa ato’ng house.” (A place near our house)

“Country mall bai!” I said.

“Boang! Haha how about Starbucks in Oakridge?” He asked.

“Sounds great!” I replied.

“Ok, get ready na”

“Pick me up?” I asked him.

“Actually…” he replied.

“What?”

“Look out your window.” When I received this text, my heart jumped. I went to my window and opened the curtains. There I saw, the bastard smiling widely at me. I can’t help but smile back. My phone rang.

“Pagdali na!” he said, still smiling at me.

“You’re crazy you know that?” I replied.

“I know. I’m crazy for you, you ugly bed monster.” Fuck he was so cute and I died a little when he said that. I rolled my eyes and got ready.

We spent the whole day studying in Starbucks and there were times when I’d catch him gawking at me and then he’d just smile shyly. There weren’t a lot of people especially 4pm onwards so both of us became touchy and we didn’t care. He even held my hand under the table, catching me off guard and when I looked at him he was just smiling and continued reading his book. I didn’t let go.

I don’t know what we were but I think we both silently agreed that we were something; there was something special between us. But things never last forever.

And it’s something I learned the hard way.

We spent the whole day studying in Starbucks and there were times when I’d catch him gawking at me and then he’d just smile shyly. There weren’t a lot of people especially 4pm onwards so both of us became touchy and we didn’t care.

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