Sep 29, 2010

Chances (Chapter Eight)

VIII. Mountain’s Call

Two years ago…

Devon was patiently waiting for the bus to leave the station.  She was comfortably seated near the window on a bus going to Baguio.  She’s going to attend a company seminar in the nation’s Summer Capital.  Actually, she was supposed to be travelling with officemates and arriving there yesterday. But something came up at home and needs to take care of her Tita first.

Her Tita has been taking care of her since the first day she set foot on Manila, seven years ago. Devon could not leave her aunt with a high fever for a conference. So, she called her officemates and told them that she would just take the bus to Baguio the next day. After all, it’s a three day conference and she would just miss the first day. 

She sighed and remembered how hard she worked to be in this place.  When the family they were working for decided to move to another house, she was devastated.  The house was too far away from her school, she had to transfer.  Luck is with her side.  The family they were working recommended her to another school with a good scholarship program. She passed and continued to study there.

Her four years in college was tough, but it was great.  She was able to finish her course with flying colors and was immediately hired in one of the top consulting firms in the country.  After college, Devon left the family she was serving with a heavy heart. But the family was very supportive of her. Her Tita remained with the family, until she was forced to retire last year because of her bad back.

Nowadays, her Tita is living with a cousin and his family.  Although, they were taking care of her aunt very well, she just feels responsible whenever something happened to her. Which is why, when her cousin Chaz called her telling that her Tita Aiz has flu, she immediately postponed going to the seminar. Devon even volunteered not to attend and send another officemate in replacement, but her boss was adamant.

Now, it’s already six o’clock in the morning. If everything goes well, she will be in Baguio a few hours after lunch.  Devon closed her eyes and listened to the music coming from her headphones. She rested her head on the window and tried to catch some sleep. She had a restless sleep night because of her Tita’s sickness.

She felt somebody occupying the seat beside her.  She tried to moved towards the window closer. She could hear the man’s voice.  He was probably talking to somebody on the phone. I hope he wouldn’t be talking on the phone the entire trip, thought Devon.  The last thing she needs is a noisy seatmate.

Devon could hear what the man was saying clearly through her earphones.

“I told you. I’m already on the bus,” he said. There was a pause and then an exasperated sigh. 

“I am not taking the plane and I am not driving either. You already have your car there, why should I bring mine? I need to rest and a comfortable bus ride would be good enough for me,” he explained.

Apparently, the man was talking to a very stubborn person. He kept repeating what he said. Until he cut the conversation, “I’m gonna go now.  I’ll call you later. I love you, honey.”

Devon could not help but look at the man sitting beside him, after hearing him say goodbye.  She was surprised when he saw a familiar face.  She immediately turned her face towards the window. I know him, Devon thought. He probably doesn’t remember me anymore. She was so flustered that she did not notice her phone slipping from her pocket.

The man noticed it and handed the phone to her,  “Hey miss, your phone slipped.”

Devon turned and smiled, “Thanks.” She immediately turned her face again until she heard a sudden exclamation..

“Devon,” the man asked.  “You’re going to Baguio, too?”

Devon faced the man and greeted him. “Hi, James.  I thought you won’t remember me.”

“That’s impossible. Totally impossible to forget that smile,” James exclaimed.

Devon blushed and tried to disregard what he said. 

“When did we last saw each other?” James asked.

Devon shrugged and smiled. “I don’t know. I think it was seven years ago.  I was still a freshman in college then.”

“I know,” James said in disbelief.  “I’ve been working for three years now.”

“Me, too,” Devon said. 

They both shook their head  and said at the same time, “I can’t believe it’s you.”

They laughed.  Some things never change, thought James. She still has that vibrant and contagious smile and laughter.  

“So why are you going to Baguio?” asked James.

Devon smiled and pointed to the folders on her lap. “Work, I have to attend this seminar.”

James nodded.  “How about you,” Devon asked.

James was about to explain when his phone suddenly rang. He looked at the phone calling and sighed. He excused himself from Devon and answered the call. “Yes, honey. I told you, I won’t change my mind. I already paid for the ticket. I’ll see you in Baguio, okay.”   He immediately ended the call and turned off his phone.

James looked at Devon and explained, “My fiancée, Allie. We’re getting married in Baguio in a few months. She insisted in checking on the place, reception area, and all that wedding stuff.”

Devon smiled. So he’s getting married, she thought. She felt something sharp in her heart but she ignored it. You couldn’t be jealous, Devon, she said to herself. You barely know the guy.

“Sometimes, I wished I did not propose,” James said jokingly.

Devon slapped James’s arm. “Hey, don’t say that. You’re mean.”

James rubbed his arm. “Argh,” James winced. “I forgot how hard your slap is.  Do you go around slapping people you haven’t seen for a long time?”

“Uy, I’m sorry,” Devon said and rubbed James’s arm which is now turning into red.

James looked at Devon and let her rub his arm. “Do you have this feeling that we have known each other for a long time?”

Devon looked at James’s eyes and smiled. “Yes, I do. I feel that we have been friends forever.”

“Even during the first time we met,” James asked. Devon nodded and pulled her hand away from James’s arm.

“It’s great that I am on this seven-hour trip with you,” James said thankfully.

Devon answered, “I know.  I feel the same way.”


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