Oct 25, 2010

Chances (Chapter Nineteen)

XIX. Departure/Arrival

James was seated anxiously in the middle of the plane. This was the best seat that he could get for the shortest period of time.  Getting reservations was the longest time of his entire life.  He was sandwiched between two burly men who probably would be going overseas to work.  But he does not care.  What keeps playing in his mind was the time when he went to Devon’s house to know where she was. 

He remembered what happened two days ago.


Two days ago.

James rushed to Devon’s house, upon knowing that the most important woman in her life has vanished from his life. He knocked until his fist became red.  Bren opened the door, and James forgot all his manners and barged inside. 

“Where is she?” James asked Yen, the first person he saw upon entering the apartment. 

Yen was caught by surprise and was unable to answer immediately.

“Where is she,” James asked Freya when he was unable to get some answers from Yen. 

“She’s not here,” answered Bren quietly. Pulling Freya away from James slowly.  “I told you on the phone, she’s gone.”

“Let her go, James,” Yen said sharply. “She’s finally moving on. She’s finally going to get her life back.”

James shook his head. “I can’t let her go. I can’t.”

“Why?” Freya demanded angrily. “You left her. And now you’re telling us, that you can’t let her go? Make up your mind.”

“I made a mistake,” James admitted. He sat down on a chair and cradled his head in his hands. I made a mistake.

“Bo-hoo,” Freya said sarcastically. “You realize it when it’s already too late.”

Freya and Yen started to walk away.  Obviously controlling their anger. Devon has always been the fighter among the three, she has always been their defender. It is about time that they pay her back. Even it means, throwing harsh words on a beaten man in their living room.

Bren sat down beside James.  “If you’re meant to be together, then you will be together.”

James shook his head vehemently. “I can’t just sit and wait. I can’t live a day thinking and asking myself if she would be back, when she will be back.  I need to do something to make her come back.”

Bren looked at James and saw the sincerity of his words. He looked at Freya and Yen, asking for permission. But both shook their head.  They should not tell him where Devon is. 

James looked pleadingly at Bren but he also shook his head and lowered his eyes.  James felt anger, surging.  Angry not to these people, but to himself. How could he possibly let everything slip away from him? How could he?  James heard Ryan cleared his throat. He was sitting on the chair on the far corner.

“I’m sorry, James,”  said Ryan. “We can’t tell you where she is. We promised never to tell you that she is going to Singapore.”

James nodded. “I know you can’t,” but he immediately cut his statement and looked at Ryan, unbelievably. “Singapore?”

A slipper flew across the room and hit Ryan on his cheek. “What the eff?” he remarked and looked at the direction of the flying slipper.  Yen was holding her other slipper on her hand, ready to throw it again. Ryan immediately slid out of his chair and hid behind it.

“She’s in Singapore?” James repeated.  He stood up and started to browse his phone. The good thing about travelling so much is that you get to save airline numbers on your cellphone. He quickly dialled the airline number and patiently waited for somebody to get on the phone.

It’s taking too long, he angrily mumbled.  He started to walk towards the door when suddenly somebody answered.

“I want to book a flight to Singapore, for tonight,” demanded  James. “I don’t care how much it is, I need it tonight.”

The female voice on the other end of the line calmly answered, “I’m sorry sir, all flights are grounded for tonight because of the storm.”

“What storm?” James asked angrily.

“Sir, if you would check the news, you would see that there is a storm in the Philippines and would be hitting Manila by 10 o’clock tonight.”

“What, there are no flights?” James demanded. “How about tomorrow?”

James waited, pacing back and forth.  The representative came back on the line, telling them that the flights for the next day are all booked. The earliest flight he could get would be the day after tomorrow, at three in the morning.  James was frustrated and decided to hang up on the representative. He used Freya’s phone to call all airlines. But all of them have the same news. No flights for that night, booked until tomorrow.

“When did Singapore became a freaking world destination?” James growled frustratingly.  “How could it be possible that all flights are booked?”

“Cause you’re not really supposed to go after her,” Yen insisted. But she was taken aback when she saw James’s reaction.  His eyes bear all his emotions. He is wearing them all on his sleeve, vulnerable. He does not care if he gets hurt.

“All I need is to see her and tell her what I feel,” James told them.  He started to dial again, while the lightning, thunder and heavy rain vibrates in the entire house.


This is why he is here now. Two days after Devon left for Singapore, he is still in the Philippines. He has never felt so helpless.  He wanted to do something but he cannot.
James tried to be patient during the four hour flight.  He took no notice of the man who was sleeping and resting his head on James’s shoulder.  He glanced and saw that he was in fact, drooling. But he does not mind. This is the earliest flight he could take, and even poor seating would not keep him away from it.

After almost four hours of flight and almost another hour in the Changi International Airport, he is already in the streets of Singapore.

He was able to talk to Jack yesterday, Devon’s officemate.  He asked him if he has any idea where Devon would be staying in Singapore.  Jack gave him a hotel where firm employees would spend their business trip, as well as the address of the firm’s office in Singapore. 

He shrugged his backpack and navigated the streets of the Central Area. James asked several people for directions, until he was able to find the building that he was looking for.  James walked inside the building, towards the receptionist area. The woman behind the desk, perhaps sensing that he is a foreigner, greeted him in English.

“Good day, what can we do for you?” asked the receptionist.

James opened his mouth and asked for Devon. “She was supposed to be here as consultant from the Philippines. I think she arrived here a couple of days ago.”

The woman motioned for him to wait and dialled with her IP phone. She talked in Chinese for a while, before she finally ended the call.

“I’m sorry sir,” said the woman as he approached James. “No Filipino consultant arrived sir.”

James eyes opened wide and looked at the woman. “That can’t be possible. She was supposed to go here.”

The woman shook her head. “No consultant came, sir. They were scheduled to come two days ago, but the date was moved indefinitely.”

James walked out of the building, several minutes after, asking the receptionist over and over again, until the lady threatened to call security unless he stop.  James continued walking.  He stopped under a tree and leaned on it.

Where are you Devon, he asked himself.


Devon was looking at her cellphone. She hasn’t called or texted anybody in the Philippines. Nobody knew that she is in Macau.  Devon fidgeted on her phone, it is already late in the afternoon. She arrived two days ago, and all of the problems with one of their firm offices in Macau is being straightened out. If all goes well, she may be going home early.

Home, Devon thought. Is there really a place that I can go home to?  From her hotel window, she could see the entire city.  Am I willing to stay here?  She closed the window blinds and looked at her phone again.

She took a deep breath and started to dial her mother’s number. After a brief talk with her parents, Devon felt a lot better.  She decided to call her friends to let them know that she is doing great.

Freya answered on the fourth ring. “Hello Devon.”  Devon sensed that there was something wrong and guarded with how Freya greeted her. But she did not took notice.  “How’s Singapore?” Freya asked.

“I’m not in Singapore,” said Devon. “I’m in Macau. They sent me here instead.”

“Whaaat?” Freya exclaimed. “You are not in Singapore? Since when?”

Devon started to share what happened in the airport. She noticed a commotion in the background. “What’s wrong? Why is everybody noisy?”

“There’s nothing wrong,” denied Freya. “We’re just excited that you called.”

Devon talked to her friends for a while before she hung up.  There is something going on, but she decided not to take notice of it.

“Have you talked to James?” Freya asked Bren for the nth time.

Bren patiently answered while holding his phone. “No, I haven’t. I’ve been trying to call him since Devon called last night.”

Yen was already strangling Ryan. “Where the heck could he be?”

Bren started to dial on his phone again, and this time he was able to get James on the phone. “Where have you been dude?”

“Sorry,” said James. “I lost my phone charger and I have to look for another one here. You have to idea how difficult it is to find another charger.”

“Well, Devon called,” Bren interrupted.

“What did she say?” James immediately asked.

“She’s not in Singapore. She’s in Macau,” Bren answered.

Bren heard James cursing on the other end of the line. “Do you have any idea what hotel she’s in? I’m going to the airport now.”

Bren gave Devon’s hotel and James ended the call, immediately.

Is nature working against me, James asked angrily.  Are you punishing me? 

He was able to get a flight to Macao from Singapore. Unfortunately, there were no non-stop flights and all he could get was a flight with one stop, and it was a long layover.  So the three hours of air travel from Singapore to Macau, lasted for blasted ten hours.

To make matters worse, the long layover, became longer.  There were some engine trouble and they need to wait another couple of hours before they were able to board the plane. He left early afternoon, he would be arriving in Macau the next day. 

Are you punishing me? James asked.  If you are, can you just punish me after I see her, James pleaded.  A whole half day was wasted just by changing and waiting for planes.  He would be arriving in Macau, the next day.


Devon closed her suitcase and looked around. Her work just wrapped up yesterday, she has the option to stay longer. But she decided, her family and friends are in the Philippines, her roots are there. Why should I be afraid of coming back? Devon thought. I did nothing wrong. I should not be afraid of being myself. It's just another heartache, she thought.

She walked outside of her room and down the hotel lobby. She decided not to inform anybody that she would be coming home today. She checked out of the hotel and went into the taxi, waiting for her.

She was quietly watching the sights while inside the cab, thinking, this is such a romantic place.  It would be great to comeback, she thought.  After a few minutes, she was already on the airport, lugging her bags behind her.  She went inside the airport and started to look for her terminal.

In a few minutes, the passengers from Devon’s flight were called.  At that same time Devon stood up to hand her ticket, James was coming out of the glass doors. He immediately called hailed a taxi and asked to be taken to the hotel that Bren told him. After a few minutes, he arrived in the hotel lobby and walked towards the reception area.

James greeted the receptionist and asked about Devon’s room number, introducing himself as the boyfriend.

The woman eyed him but still answered him, “She just checked out, more than half an hour ago.”

James slapped the counter top and cursed loudly.  He saw how surprised the lady opposite him was. “I’m sorry. But do you know where she’s heading?”

The woman looked at him again, this time pitifully. “She asked for a taxi cab that would bring her to the airport.”

James cursed under his breath and immediately left the hotel.  I hope I catch her, he thought.  He fought his way on the next taxi cab, cutting a couple who were obviously waiting for the taxi. He offered a higher tip which made the taxi driver agree to take him to the airport.

But it was too late.

When James set foot on the airport, Devon was again out of his life.

Oct 21, 2010

Chapter Eighteen (Chances)

XVIII.  She’s Out of My Life

James was seated in the patio outside his home.  He was looking from afar, Allie was meanwhile, was on the front of her laptop pouring over her work.  James’s thoughts were filled with the episode a week ago. 

Illian kissing Devon. 

No matter how many times he tried to shake the images off, it keeps coming back.  And he is seriously getting irritated.  Right after James’s and Devon’s conversation, he drove off in fury.  He cannot tell why he was so angry. That makes him even more frustrated.  He knows that Allie is feeling his frustration. She tried to be calm and tried to take it lightly. 

Last night he had another dream.  This time he remembered it clearly.  Devon and James were swimming together, he was trying to teach her how to swim.  Instead, she succeeded in almost drowning him because she kept on grabbing his hair.  She was doing this while they were swimming around the pool, with her clinging  on his neck. They kept on moving back and forth.  When he woke up, he thought that the dream was real since he was feeling muscle pains all over his arms and legs.

Was it just a dream, James thought. The dreams looked so real and so true, that he honestly thought that they were no longer just dreams. 

James leaned back on the chair. His Iphone was playing Angel by Jack Johnson loudly.  His fascination with his music has completely taken him by surprise.  The song ended, he grabbed his phone, intending to play it again.   Allie looked at James, clearly irritated.

“Don’t tell me you’ll be playing that song again?” Allie asked, with a trace of sarcasm in her voice.

James did not say anything, instead, he just hit the play button. Allie grabbed the phone from his hand and turned the song off.

“If you will be listening to that song again, use earphones,” Allie retorted. “You’ve been listening to that for an entire hour and for the entire week.  It’s getting on my nerves already.”

“What’s wrong with you,” James reacted. “It’s just a song.”

Allie stood up and turned her laptop off. She collected her things and prepared to leave.  James stood up and followed her.

“Where are you going?” James asked, walking behind her.

“I’m going home. Obviously, my presence here is not important,” Allie said walking towards the door.

James grabbed her arm. “What do you mean? I’m not saying anything against you.”

Allie shook her head. “You’ve been ignoring me for the last few weeks. You are always occupied with something else, you forget about me.”

James looked at Allie. He was never conscious of that. He has always been with Allie. “What do you mean by ignoring you? I’m always with you.”

“That’s the problem James,” Allie said in frustration. “We’re always together, but you were never really with me.”

Allie turned and walked away, leaving a befuddled and more frustrated James.


“You’re seriously not doing this,” Ryan reacted.  Bren and Ryan were in Devon, Yen and Freya’s apartment.

“Yes, Ryan. I’m really doing it,” answered Devon.  She was walking back and forth, getting things and clothes from her closet, packing them on a open suitcase.  Freya and Bren exchanged glances.  Yen could not hold it any longer.

“Why do you have to leave now?” Yen answered. “We just knew about this yesterday.”

Devon sighed. She knew that her friends would not be taking her decision lightly. Her family took the shock better. Maybe it is because her parents and her sisters did not witness how devastated she was after what happened with her relationship with James. It’s perfectly natural that her friends who saw her moping the last few months would be shocked about her sudden departure.

“I told you, something came up. I have been waiting for this opportunity for a long time. I’m not going to let it pass,” Devon tried to explain.

“It’s just such as shock,” Bren tried to speak for her friends. “You’re doing well with your job, you’re even starting to get your social life back. And then suddenly, you’re going to leave?”

Freya nodded vigorously, agreeing with his boyfriend. “We thought everything is okay,” she gently said.

Devon sighed, I thought so too.  “I told you this is completely professional.”

“We can’t change your  mind?” asked Ryan for the hundredth time.

Devon smiled. “No, I won’t change my mind.”

“Does James have something to with this?” Bren asked.

James would always have something to do with everything, Devon thought. “No,” she said. Trying her best to sound confident and putting up her best smile.


James has spent the hour doing laps on the swimming pool. He kept changing from one stroke to another.  Perhaps physical activity could take his mind of her. He flinched at the thought of her again and pushed himself forward into doing another lap. 

Unaware, Allie was watching him behind the curtains of his home.  She silently retreated.  Their fight yesterday was supposed to be the past, but something kept nagging her. He’s starting to become more distant everyday.  She tried to reach out to him but all she would see is a wall. 

This is exactly how it happened two years ago, after his Baguio trip.  This is how she lost James to Devon.

Allie was clutching on the chair so hard, deep in her thoughts that she did not realize James was already inside the room. James saw Allie standing by the dining table, gripping on the chair, so hard. Her knuckles were already white.

James threw his t-shirt on and walked towards Allie.  Allie heard his footsteps and looked at him.  James stopped and looked at Allie. He felt the room started to shrink.  And then something hit him hard, so hard that it almost sent him backwards.

James and Devon on the gasoline station.

James kissing Devon.

Devon hugging James under the trees, one dark night. Telling him that he’s a bad poet.

James holding Devon’s hands.




Airplane landing.


Her face on his cellphone.

James plummeting forward when something hit his car.

Calling her name. Trying to reach his cellphone. Blackness.




James opened his eyes. He was still standing on the same spot. Allie is holding his hands.  Allie.  He stared at Allie. What have I done, he whispered to himself.  Allie looked at James, he looked surprised and bewildered. She held into his hands and could no longer control it.  Tears started to fall from her eyes.

“I can’t stand the thought of losing you again, James,” Allie whispered, trying to keep the sobs away.  “Not for the second time. Not to her again.”

She knew, James thought.

Allie lowered her head, shaking, trying so hard to fight the tears. “But I can’t hold on forever. Not when every time you look away, I kept thinking that you are thinking of her.”

James started to open his mouth and speak. He could not bear hurting Allie like this. She has been a good friend and she has taken good care of him. But Allie placed his hand over his mouth, keeping him from speaking. She took her hand away and bravely look at James with her tear-streaked face.

“You don’t have to say anything. Besides, you know I can’t stand losing,” Allie took a deep breath. “Which is why I’m ending this.” 

“At least, leave me some pride,” Allie said jokingly.  “Leave me with the thought I was the one who ended this.”

Allie moved forward and kissed James’ cheek.  She slowly pulled away and started to walk away. 

“Allie,” James called. She turned. “Thank you.”

“Love is not always sweeter the second time around,” Allie answered back.


Devon was already in the airport. She insisted that there is no need for her friends to see her off. She would be sent to Singapore, handling one of the company’s accounts there.  She looked at the crowd, and saw her officemate and boss who was supposed to give the details of her trip.

She walked towards them. Although, her stay in Singapore would only be for a few months, it was the relief she was looking for. She does not have to worry about running into James and Allie or seeing him on her footstep.  She does not have to endure everything.  Also, Devon intends to make her stay in Singapore permanent.

As she approached her boss and officemate, they looked stressed.  “Why?” Devon asked. “Is there any problem with the trip?”

Her boss started to scratch his head.  “There would be some changes with your itinerary.” Devon looked questioningly at her boss.  “This is a short notice, but you’re not going to Singapore. You’ll be sent to Macau.”

Devon nodded.  Well at least it does not mean I have to go back home.

“Your Macau stay would just be brief, maybe two or three weeks. There are just some urgent matters that you need to attend to. You’ll be able to handle it,” assured her boss.  “You’ll be coming back here in Manila after that. Then we will see if you will still be sent to Singapore.”

Devon nodded at her boss instructions. She listened carefully and after an hour she was already boarding her plane to Macau.  She was seated near the window and watched the blue skies outside of the plane when it took off.

She closed her eyes. 

It cuts like a knife, she thought.

She remembered when she asked her boss before she boarded her plane. A question which left her boss speechless for the first time.

“What if I decided never to come back?”


Few hours have already passed since Allie left, James was seated on the couch with eyes closed. But he was not asleep, he was savoring each moment and image that flashes in his mind.  There were still some lapses, there were still some gaps, but he think he regained more than half of  the memories he has lost. 

He opened his eyes.  He looked at the phone sitting beside him.  He has been lifting and dropping that headset for a few times already.

He took a deep breath. Come what may, pay your dues, he scolded himself.

He dialled a cellphone number, but the number could not be reached. He tried again, and again. And again. But he kept getting the monotonous recorded voice.

He decided to call his friend.  In just a couple of rings, Bren answered his phone.

“Do you know where Devon is?” James asked directly.  “I’ve been trying to call her but her phone’s out of service.”

He heard Bren took a deep breath. “She’s gone dude. She left just a few hours ago.”

“What?” James exclaimed. “Where did she go? Why did she leave?”

 “James, don’t go after her,” Bren answered. “She’s moving on.”

It’s useless to talk to Bren like this.  I’ve got to see them, James placed the phone down and started to walk towards the doorway. 

That is when he realized, that he was alone.


Oct 17, 2010

Chances (Chapter Seventeen)

Recommended music: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hPhjf30NqC8

XVII.  Meeting Again

Devon and Illian were walking side by side on the way home. It was almost midnight. Their dinner date which started at seven o’clock, lasted through a couple of cups of coffee and a walk in the park.  It was already midnight, when they decided to go home.

Illian is sweet, Devon thought catching a glimpse of the guy who is quietly walking beside her. But I only met him yesterday. She smiled at the thought, she is not the person who would normally go out with a guy she just randomly met. But then, with James… Her thought trailed, her brows creased. 

“You did not enjoy the night?” Illian asked her.

She was surprised with the question, “What made you think that I didn’t,” she asked back.

“Well, your forehead creased and you frowned,” Illian demonstrated what she did.

Devon smiled. “I just remembered something.”

Illian nodded, “And that something is?”

Well, I have to come clean, Devon thought. “An ex-boyfriend.”

“Aah,” Illian said and nodded.  He did not say anything. Devon did not bother continue explaining. 

They kept walking until they reached Devon’s apartment door. Devon smiled and faced Illian, “Thank you so much, for a wonderful dinner.”

“It was nothing,” Illian said, smiling back. “I had a great time, too.”

Devon said goodnight and started to get into the house.  Illian was carefully watching her. He cleared his throat and Devon looked back at him.

“Can you go out with me again,” he asked.  It was a great night with Devon, and he wanted more than just one date.  He wanted to know more about her.

Devon looked at Illian, seriously thinking. I gave it a shot, one date. Am I willing to take another step?

Illian interrupted her thoughts, “I’m going to be honest with you. I had a blast. You’re funny and easy to talk to. I don’t know if you feel the same way. But I really wanted to know more about you. I like you.”

Devon was speechless and she does not know what to say. It’s very rare that a man would be that straightforward with her. Well, except James. The thought angered her.  There were already two instances that she kept thinking “except James.”  It’s about time she takes him out of her mind. He is no longer an exception. 

“Well,” Devon started. “I’m pretty busy this week, but maybe I can make some time.”  Devon took Illian’s phone from his hand and started to punch into the keypad.  Illian was looking curiously at her.  “I already saved my cell and home phone number.”  After typing on the keying in her number, she dropped in into Illian’s shirt pocket.

Illian broke into a wide smile and took Devon’s hands. “You have no idea, how happy you made me.”

Devon smiled, “Don’t exaggerate.  I only agreed to go out with you more.”

Illian laughed and dropped a quick kiss on her cheek and said goodnight. “Bye,” Devon smiled and waved to Illian before she walked inside her house.

Am I really ready for this, Devon thought. She saw Yen and Freya, with Bren, sitting on the living room. Obviously waiting for her and to tell them what happened. She looked at her friends.  She thought of her family.  They were all worried about her. Somehow she needs to let them feel that she’s okay.  Well, you’re not going to lose anything.

She put on a smile before she walked towards her friends.


“I can’t believe it,” Yen reacted while sitting on the couch, watching Devon while fixing herself in front of the mirror.

“What?” Devon asked.

“That you’ve been going out with Illian for almost month,” Yen answered.

Devon paused and looked at the mirror. A month, Devon thought. We’ve been exclusively dating for that long?  “You’re keeping count?” Devon asked Yen jokingly.

Freya joined in the conversation, “It’s not that we’re trying to keep you from dating, but, we kind of surprised.”

Devon sighed. “Why do have to get worried? If I don’t go out, you worry about me. And now, I’m trying to enjoy, you’re still worried about me.”

Freya and Yen looked at each other. “We just want to make sure that you’re doing this, because you want to. Not because you have to,” Yen told her gently.

“Illian is a great guy,” Devon told her friends, sincerely.  Although, not as great as, Devon immediately cut her thoughts.

“Rebound relationships rarely work,” Freya told her honestly.

“We’re not yet in a relationship. It’s just exclusively dating,” Devon reminded her friends.

“We just want the best for you,” Yen countered. 

Devon looked at her friends, they really looked worried about her.  She walked towards them and hugged them. “And I am super thankful for that.” She would’ve gone through everything, without her friends.  Her tears started to swell in her eyes.

The she heard someone knocking on the door.  “Illian’s here,” Devon pulled herself, wiping the tears in the corner of her eyes.  She walked towards the door and saw Illian, dappy as ever, standing outside the door. Devon motioned him to get inside. 

Freya and Yen greeted him, Devon went inside her room to get her purse. She looked at the mirror for the last time. She was wearing an off shoulder, red dress. They would be having a fancy dinner tonight.  Put on a brave face, Devon said to herself. Smile. She practice smiling and then left her room.

Devon said goodbye to her friends and walked with Illian, with his arm wrapped protectively on her waist. Illian was happily talking about his friends and work.  Devon responded politely, dropping a few funny comments and smiling at Illian.

He’s a wonderful guy, Devon, why can’t you just be happy with him, Devon looked at Illian.

They stopped in an Italian restaurant. Devon looked at place and felt panic. They were dining in one of James’ favourite restaurants. 

“We’re eating here,” Devon asked Illian, her voice slightly wavering.

Illian brows creased, “You don’t want to eat here? We could look for another place.”  Illian started to rev the engine up again.

Get over it, Devon scolded herself. You can’t avoid everything associated with James. If you will do that, might as well, stop eating.  “No, it’s fine,” Devon smiled and looked at Illian. She started to unbuckle her seatbelt.

Illian looked at Devon.  He wanted to ask her something, but changed his mind. He unbuckled his seatbelt and immediately went out of the car. He escorted Devon out of the car and they walked inside the restaurant.


James was quietly watching the cars passing by.  He and Allie decided to eat out tonight.  They decided to eat in one his favourite restaurants.  For the past month, everything has not been smooth sailing, as he thought everything would be. Allie has been getting on his nerves, and him on hers.

Allie would get infuriated sometimes, especially when he would insist on eating tuyo for breakfast. She would insist that it makes the whole house smelly, but James wants to eat the dried fish badly.  James could not remember how he started to like that kind of fish.  This past month, he also had a renewed fascination with Jack Johnson’s music. He kept playing the CD, over and over again.  Allie would sometimes beg him to change the music.

There are also simple things that he expects Allie would do, but she never did.  The other day, he asked for a back massage. Allie gave him a bit of it, but it felt different.  There are times when he would pinch Allie’s nose, expecting her to do it back. But she would just get irritated about it.

There is still something he could not place.

“What are you thinking? You’re quiet,” Allie asked.

James shook his head and smiled. I made this choice. “Nothing. I’m just thinking about the last time we ate here,” James feinted.

Allie smiled. “A long time ago,” Allie signalled for a waiter and then James saw her eyes began to open wide, looking shocked or surprised. 

“What?” James smiled and followed the direction she’s looking at.  A few tables from them, James saw her. Three months without seeing her. And here she is, looking exquisite in a red dress, red-hot.

Devon, James thought. She was looking so darn hot. James’ attention was shifted to the man who was helping her into her chair and smiling at her. James felt something hit his chest. Then this guy placed his hand on the back of Devon’s chair, trying to signal the other guys on the restaurant that this is her girl. Then something must have been on Devon’s face because the guy gently wiped her face.  His breathing became haggard and the first thought that came into his mind was, get away from her.

It took Herculean efforts for James to take his gaze away from Devon and her date.  He glanced at his plate at started to shift the food around the plate. Allie was quietly watching him. Quietly watching him.

Stop thinking about her, James thought. You made a choice. You made a choice. James lifted his head up and looked at Allie. Think about Allie. James smiled at Allie.  That smile seems to pacify Allie, since she smiled back and motioned for the waiter again.

Meanwhile, on the other end of the restaurant, oblivious that somebody was watching them. Devon kept on smiling at Illian, he was exceptionally sweet tonight. Instead of sitting opposite her, he decided to sit beside her.  He kept her glass filled, kept asking her if there’s anything else she wants, kept on giving her tissue to wipe her mouth. He kept asking if she’s comfortable enough.

“Illian, stop treating me as a child,” Devon retorted.

“I’m not treating you as a child,” Illian reacted.

“Yes you are. I can do things by myself,” Devon retorted.  She took a bite of the pasta on her plate. Illian got a piece of tissue and wiped the corners of her mouth, gently.

Devon sighed and smiled, “Stop doing that.”  She took the tissue from Illian’s hands and started to wipe her mouth, when she felt somebody was watching her. She lifted her face up and was met by the coldest eyes she could ever see.

Devon’s breath stopped, when she saw James standing a few tables away.  Looking at her. James was staring at Devon.

He’s alone, Devon thought. I bet Allie’s somewhere.

Allie went into the restroom and that was a good thing. She did not see the murderous look on James’ face when he saw the guy sitting beside Devon, gently wiping at the corners of her mouth.

He looks like he wants to kiss her, James thought.  Both of his fists were tightly clenched inside his pant’s pockets. 

He looks like he’s going to kill me, Devon thought.  Never mind him. You’re through. You’re done. Devon threw him an angry look and shifted her attention back to Illian.

James heard Allie walking towards him. He stopped staring at Devon and her date. His jaw was tightly clenched and he was breathing hard.  I have never been this furious my entire life, James thought.  He escorted Allie out of the restaurant.

Devon glanced and saw James and Allie, leaving the restaurant. She took a deep breath. She glanced at Illian who was busy sharing a funny story about a friend.  Devon politely smiled at Illian. Move on Devon, she silently pleaded with herself.


After dinner, Devon asked Illian to bring her home early.  She said that she has a headache, which she really has because of the seeing James. The drive was quiet. Illian kept looking at Devon, thinking if he did something wrong.

Once on the front of their gate, Illian looked at Devon, “Will I see you again?”

Devon was caught by surprise. “Of course,” she said.

Illian did not say anything.  He felt otherwise. Something happened in the restaurant, and he cannot say what it was.  Illian went of the car and opened the door for Devon. Devon started to walk towards the gate of her apartment, when Illian caught her elbow.

Just this once, Illian thought. He pulled Devon towards him and kissed her on her lips.

Devon did not pull away. Just this once, Devon thought. But on her mind, she saw a different man. Illian ended the kiss, Devon pulled away. They knew. Both of them knew, they would not be seeing each other again. They might, but just to part again.

“I’ll call you tomorrow,”  Illian said.

Devon nodded and waved at Illian. She watched him as he got into the car and drove away.  She was about to get inside the house when she heard a voice behind her.

“Who is he,” asked a man who was hidden behind the shadows. She did not notice the car nor the man. Perhaps he has been there watching her the entire time.

“Mind your own business, James,” Devon retorted and started to get into the gate. James caught up with her and held her elbow.

“Who is he?” James insisted.

“A friend,” Devon answered.

“So you kiss your friends,” James angrily pointed out.

Devon looked at James angrily. “What’s wrong with you? Why do you care?”

James was unable to answer her questions. He kept asking himself why he ended up here in this place. Right after dinner, he dropped Allie off in her house and said he needs to go someplace else.  He was so confused, especially when he saw Devon with that good-looking guy at the restaurant.

He was furious, in rage. He needs answers and he would be getting them. He drove into Devon’s apartment and parked outside her home. He kept on debating with himself, when Devon and her guy friend pulled up in front of her home. Obviously, they did not saw him nor his car. He saw them, though. He saw them kiss. And seeing them did that, just made him more furious.

Devon shook at her head and shook his grip on her elbow. “Go home.” Devon turned her back at James and started to move towards her apartment.

“I just want to know how you’re doing,” James feebly answered.

Devon turned around and walk towards James. “I’m great. I’m doing fine. What else do you want to know?”

James turned red and angrily answered back, “I’m just concerned about you.”

“Oh, you’re concerned about me? When did that start James? Oh, I know, you can’t remember,” Devon answered sarcastically.  “What do you expect? That I would be crying over you for the last three months? Just like I did when you left me in La Union? Well, news flash. I’m getting my life back. I’m finally moving on.”

“Don’t make me sound so inhuman,” James answered back.

“James, when you got amnesia, you did forget about me, I accept that,” Devon said. “But you forgot something else. You forgot how to be considerate of other people’s feelings.  You dropped me like a hot potato. You made your choice, and I respected that. It’s time you respect what I do with my life, especially now that you’re no longer in it. ”

James was unable to answer Devon.  She looked at him.  She turned away from James and went inside her apartment.  Just a few steps more, she whispered to herself. Once the door was closed beside her. She cried.  She cried, all the tears that she held back for the last three months were released. And it was life floodgates opening.

James watched Devon walked inside her house. He turned and went into his car. You’ve made the choice James. He banged his hand on the steering wheel of the car and saw that his phone was ringing. Allie was calling. He waited until the phone stopped ringing, and then turned it off.

He leaned back on his car seat. Took a deep breath and started to drive away.

Both of them forgot something that night. Devon has never brought James back into her apartment after his accident. James never remembered going there before.

James found his way, on his own.
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