Sep 23, 2011

Escape (A Flash Fiction)

17 Adele - Someone Like You (Live Acoustic)

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Devon looked around her home. Everywhere she looked reminded her of what she longs to forget.  Today she decided to take a walk in the park to escape the memories that seems to be suffocating her in the apartment. 

But the walk was no escape either.  She hoped that the blue skies and the soft summer breeze will give her the much needed break.  But the peaceful walk has become a nightmare. 

A few feet away from her, Devon saw him.  He has her back against her. She can recognize that figure from anywhere. The tall figure that was just a few inches above hers, the short and soft hair where she would frequently run her fingers into, the sculpted back she would often let her hands travel on.  Who would forget?  It has been few months already but it seems just like yesterday.

But Devon cannot run towards him.  That time nor act was no longer hers to make.  She stood, rooted to her position, trying to ignore the nagging voice in her head, “Go. Just leave. There’s nothing to expect anymore.”

But her feet won’t take the step. She stood there.  Devon can’t tell how long she has been watching his back.  She kept whispering, “Look at me, just once.” But her mind was urging her to leave, just how much pain does she want to handle?

Then he turned, and looked at her direction.  Devon’s breath caught in her throat.  Their eyes met and she felt that her heart skipped a beat, or maybe two.  He tentatively looked around and then his gaze settled on Devon’s direction again. 

Nobody broke the stare, nobody looked down or tried to avert their eyes.  Devon was not even distracted by the strand of her hair that fell from the tight ponytail.  He did not move even when a group of noisy children passed by. 

Will he take a step, Devon thought.  If he does, what will I do? But she got ahead of herself. For minutes passed and  nobody took a step forward.  She wanted to run towards him, unleash her anger, frustrations and at the same time love him and tell him how much she has missed him.  It took all her self-control to keep herself from doing that. 

But the silent conversation of their eyes was finally broken when somebody called his name.  It’s her, Devon thought and she was right.  There she was, walking down with a couple of plastic bags on her hand.  The truth was difficult to deny when it is already smacked on your face.  For there she was, leaning on his side, while Devon was standing several feet away. 

Devon could not deny what she is seeing.  The girl’s curved womb was a telltale sign.  They already have their own package of joy, while she, Devon, remained a lonely soul. 

Devon’s eyesight became hazy.  There were thousands of questions, but she knows that these will never be answered now.  The tears silently rolled down her cheeks.  She took one look of the man whom she loved for years and the woman who was able to fulfil his needs.  She took one  look and then turned. 

She took a step forward and she knew, that it will take more than one step to recover what she has lost, her heart.  She did not see the man looking towards her direction again. Seeking her eyes, with something of a hint of regret in his own. 

Devon continued walking, the sun’s rays were now too warm. She remembered,  he once whispered in her ear, while they were laying on the soft green grass. While she was cradled on the crook of his arm and the enwrapped with the heat of his embrace, he whispered, “sometimes it lasts in love, but sometimes it hurts instead.”  

Sep 11, 2011

When The Fireworks Begin (Chapter XV)

February, two years ago…

Devon was absently rubbing her fingernails together on her lap, while seated on the passenger seat of James’s car. She was wearing an off-shoulder beige dress. The long dress falls right on her ankles and has a slit just a little above her knees.   Her hair was let loose in soft curls falling below her shoulders. Except from the drop earrings, she has no other accessories.  The dress belonged to Shey, and it was the only conservative dinner dress Devon can find in her friend’s closet.

She and James will be attending a formal event.  Devon glanced on the driver’s seat and looked at the starkly handsome, James.  He was wearing a dark suit with a bow tie.

It was a dinner-party to celebrate the anniversary of James’s father’s successful corporation.  It will also be the first time that Devon will meet the politician and business magnate.  And her nerves are sowing havoc.

James glanced at Devon. She has been rubbing her fingernails together.  James touched Devon’s hand with his free right hand. Devon looked at him, questioningly.

“Nervous?”  James asked.

Devon nodded.  They have met August last year, and have been inseparable ever since.  Devon’s parents have met James and were surprised that she was dating a rich politician’s son.  They have warned her. 

“There’s nothing wrong with James, he is very courteous and trustworthy,” explained Mang Tony, Devon’s father.  “But don’t expect that his family will be the same.”

After several months of steady dating, Devon decided that she was ready to get into a serious relationship with James.  She gave James’s the much awaited “oo” on December, right before Christmas. 

Now, a couple of months later, James asked her to be his date to the anniversary dinner.  How can she refuse?

“Don’t worry, they’ll love you,”  James smiled and gave Devon’s hand a gentle squeeze.

Devon smiled weakly and wished that the night will turn out to be okay.  In a few minutes, the car started to slow down, as they approached a large resort owned by James’s father.  The party was already starting, and they can hear music playing inside the hall.

Devon hesitated as she got off the car. She saw elegantly-dressed women and men who were entering the hall.  She was a nervous wreck,  she was seriously thinking about running away.  James smiled at her and held her hand. 

“Everything’s going to be fine,” James assured her.  “You look stunning.”

They were slowly making their way towards the hall when they heard somebody calling out James’s name.  They turned and Devon saw another good looking man walking towards them.  He was wearing also a dark suit  and a dark blue shirt underneath.  He was about the same height as James and will definitely turn several women’s heads to his direction.

James gave the man a tap and introduced him to Devon.  “This is Sam. We’ve been together since college,” he explained.

Sam took Devon’s hand and kissed it.  “Why don’t you spend the entire night with me, instead of being with this very boring person,”  Sam flirted.

Devon raised her eyebrows and James burst into laughter. “Back-off Sam, she’s my girlfriend.”

It was Sam’s time to be surprised. “You haven’t told me about a girl.”

“That is because we never had the time to talk about it,” James said casually. 

They have already entered the ballroom and Devon was overwhelmed by the elegance of the upper class.  It was a room illustrating class, elegance and money. 

Things that I don’t have, Devon said to herself.  While she was looking at the elegant decorations and people, she was surprised when she saw a girl in a red dress jumping at James and hugging him.

“James,” the girl exclaimed. “I miss you so much.”

Devon looked at the beautiful girl hugging James.  She was the complete opposite of her, her milky white skin was glowing from her red dress.  She looked Chinese or Korean, Devon could not decide which, but she was definitely high-class.  The red dress has a slit up to her mid-thigh, showing her shapely legs underneath. Her hair was pulled together on a bun on the back of her head, with curly wisps of hair falling against her neck.  She was stunningly gorgeous.

James pulled away from the embrace.  “It’s good to see you again Aleli. When did you get back from the States?”

“I’ve been here for just two weeks, but I think I am staying for good,”  the girl answered.  But still, she did not pull away from James. She still has her hand resting on James chest.

James pulled away from the touch and drew Devon closer to him. “This is my girlfriend, Devon,” he introduced.

Devon instantly recognized the transformation in the girl’s eyes. From the happiness it had earlier, it became sharp and looked as if she would rip Devon’s head off.

“Really,” Aleli asked and raised her eyebrow.

James eagerly nodded.  “This is Aleli, another friend.”

“Actually, an ex-girlfriend too,” Aleli countered.  Devon was taken aback with what the girl said.  That explains why the girl suddenly looked at her with disgust.

“That was a long-time ago, Aleli,” James answered. “Come, let’s look for Dad and Mom.”  James then pulled Devon away and started to look for his parents. 

Devon eventually found her voice, “Is she really your ex-girlfriend?”

James nodded. “We were together for almost a year during college. It was those stuff that you really ask yourself, how did it happen? We were really good friends, my family is also a friend of her family. So, it was really the most convenient thing to do that time.”

“Why didn’t it work out?” curiosity got Devon.

“Because she tends to be controlling sometimes,” James answered.  “She’s so into building a political career. All I want is a simple life.”

Devon was about to ask something when James immediately pulled her towards, “Here’s mom.”

Melinda Rocafort is the classiest woman Devon has ever met. She was wearing a silk dark green dress that seems to flow on her every step. It was Grecian inspired and her hair was neatly pulled back. 

James approached his mother and kissed her on the cheek, Devon remained standing.  “Mom, I would like you to meet Devon, my girlfriend.”

Melinda Rocafort smiled endearingly and looked at Devon. “I have heard a lot about you.” she asked quietly.  “I kept asking James to bring his girl here and finally… ”

She approached Devon and took her hand.  “Welcome to the Rocafort Resorts, hija. Make sure that you enjoy the night. I’ll look for your father and tell him you’re here already,”   Mrs. Rocafort beamed at James.

When Mrs. Rocafort walked away, Devon whispered at James. “You told her about me? Us?”

“Of course, Mom was so excited to meet you.  I also told my brother and sister about us,” James smiled.  “But I haven’t told Dad yet.”

Devon relaxed a bit after meeting James’s mom.  James’s family appeared to be nice at not that judgemental, but again the night was too early to say that.

In a few minutes, Devon was able to meet James’s younger brother and sister, both were still studying in college. James’s brother, Malcolm, the second-born, has the stance of their father.  Devon has seen James’s father before.  Who wouldn’t?  He served two terms as a congressman and now a fixed figure in the business section of any newspaper or magazine. James’s youngest sibling, Jacqueline has the same fluid grace as their mother.   Both were very humble and very easy to get along with.

While talking to Malcolm and Jacqueline, James’s mom approached James and Devon. On her arm was James’s father. Who wouldn’t recognize that face, Devon thought.  Devon felt James tensing up a bit and she noticed that he was straightening his jacket and his bow, as his father approached.  Devon knows that there is a lot of pressure on James to follow his father’s footsteps.  As the eldest, he was expected to take over the company.

“Good evening,”  Edwin Rocafort smiled. He glanced questioningly at Devon.

“Dad,” James introduced.  “This is Devon, my girlfriend.”

Devon thought she saw a fleeting look of displeasure on the man’s face as James made the introduction.  But immediately, as it appeared, a smile plastered on MR. Rocafort’s face.  He shook Devon’s hand and greeted her.  “It is my pleasure to meet you, Devon.”

Devon smiled. “The pleasure is mine, Sir.”

“Come,”  Edwin Rocafort announced.  “Let’s eat.”

James escorted her to the dining area, where rows of tables and chairs were arranged carefully.  There were crystal vases with decorative orchids on each table.  Devon’s first thought as she sat on the table was too many forks and spoons.  Her mind was immediately taken off the topic when Mr. Rocafort asked her a question.

“So, hija,”  Mr. Rocafort started. “Where and how did you meet James?”

Devon was about to start narrating what happened in August, when James decided to tell the story.  “We met in the park, Dad...”

Mrs. Rocafort smiled at the story, obviously she has heard it before.  Mr. Rocafort’s smile however, did not appear on his face.

“Are your parents in any kind of business?” Mr. Rocafort asked. 

“My father has a vegetable stall in the public market,”  Devon started. “My mother is a public elementary school teacher.”

“Really,” Mrs. Rocafort exclaimed.  “Teaching is a very difficult job.”

Devon nodded. Mr. Rocafort meanwhile, remained silent. “Where did you study? And where are you working right now?” James’s father asked again.

Devon mentioned a state university where she took up humanities. “I’m currently in the same university working as a staff member.  I intend to teach after I finish my Master’s degree.”

Mr. Rocafort said nothing.  He was obviously not impressed with Devon’s background. He took a few bites of the food, before he stood up.

“James,” he stated. “Will you come with me for a second?  I want to introduce you to someone I just saw.”

“Can’t it wait dear?” Mrs. Rocafort asked.  “We’re in the middle of dinner.”

“Can’t dear,” Mr. Rocafort stated, obviously a little tense.  “He might leave early. Excuse us please.”

Mr. Rocafort stood up.  James whispered to Devon first before following his father.  James followed his father, until they reached the gondola far away from the dining crowd.

“Who’s the person you’re introducing me with, father?” James asked curiously.

Mr. Rocafort turned around and looked at James squarely.  “Are you out of your mind?” he asked angrily.

James was taken aback. “Why are you so angry?”

“Why did you bring her here? She is not right for you,” Mr. Rocafort argued.  “Really, you’re MY son.  You can’t just settle for her kind. End your relationship with her.” Then he started to walk away from James.

“Her kind?” James asked bewildered.

“End it, James,” Mr. Rocafort stated.

No,” James said, also angry and frustrated.  “You have just met her.”

“And in that short minutes, I realized how wrong you are together,” Mr. Rocafort said.  “I’m not saying that she is bad person, I’m just telling you that she is not the right one for you.”

“Who are you to tell me, who’s the right one for me?” James stated.

“For one, I am your father,” Mr. Rocafort answered back.  “Break up with her or else I will.”

“That’s what you have been doing in my entire life,” James stated. “You have been making the choices for me.”

“Because, I know what’s good for you,” Mr. Rocafort answered back.

“Good for me? Or good for you?” James angrily stated. “I am not ending my relationship with Devon, I love her,” he simply stated before walking away.


Devon sensed a change on James’s attitude towards his father.  Whenever she asks about it, James’s would disregard it quickly, saying that he and his father just had a disagreement about the company’s direction for the year.  Devon also noticed that James’s has become overprotective of her. 

One day, James took Devon home after their dinner. When they reached home, they saw Mang Tony’s vegetables outside their home.  Devon rushed inside, sensing that there was obviously something wrong. 

They saw Mang Tony sitting on the old sofa with Aling Linda treating some scrapes on her husband’s elbow.

“What happened,” Devon asked. 

“I don’t know,” Mang Tony started.  “When I got into the market this morning, everything was trashed in the stall.  The stall owner said that somebody bought the stall and I can’t rent it anymore. The buyer’s men were throwing everything out. I tried to stop them but they were too many.”

“But you have a contract with the stall owner,” Devon countered.

“I know,” Mang Tony agreed. “But the owner insisted that she has the right to sell the store. I can’t do anything.”

James felt something on throbbing on his chest.  He knew what this was all about but decided to say anything about it.  Maybe it was just a misunderstanding, James thought. But his heart knew, deep down, it wasn’t.

The next month was difficult for Devon’s family but they were able to cope.  Mang Tony decided to sell vegetables in front of their house. The neighbourhood, apparently, was relieved to find a stall nearby where they can buy fresh vegetables. 

Couple of weeks later, Aling Linda sadly stated that the loan they were applying for which they will use to pay Devon’s sisters' tuition fee, was denied.  They can’t seem to find any kind of bank who was willing to loan them money. Both of Devon’s sisters decided to work part-time to they would be able to help their parents raise the money for their tuition.

Towards the end of the month, Devon shared something sad to James.  The university has decided that they can’t accommodate her anymore.  They’re firing her.

“But you’re great on your job?” James answered.

“Well,” Devon shrugged. “I just have to find a new job.”

“This has to end,” James said aloud.

“What?” Devon asked surprised. 

“I think that my father has something to do with this,” James reasoned.  He quickly stood up and gave Devon a peck on the cheek.  “I’ll try to fix everything.”

Devon looked at James and watched him leave the house.  His father, Devon thought. 

James raced his car towards his father’s posh office.  He walked straight to the office, it was already eight o’clock but he knows that his father is still working late. 

Mr. Rocafort’s secretary stood up when she saw James barging out of the elevator.

“Sir James,” the secretary greeted. “Mr. Rocafort is just talking on the phone…”

James did not pay attention and went inside the office.  His father was talking to somebody on the phone.  He looked up and saw James standing on the front of his office desk with a murderous look on his face. 

“Talk to you later,” Mr. Rocafort said to the person on the phone.  “What is it, James?”

James hit the table hard. “You know what this is all about.”

Mr. Rocafort calmly shook his head. “I don’t, James, Tell me.”

“Stop messing with Devon’s family,”  James angrily said, hitting the table again.

Mr. Rocafort stood up and looked at James square at the eye. “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

James sniggered.  “Don’t lie to me Dad.  The vegetable stall? The loan? And now Devon’s job? There’s no other man who can pull the strings like you do.”

Mr. Rocafort  walked away from the desk and towards the window. “Then do what I say, break up  with her.”

“No, I am not,” James answered. 

Mr. Rocafort sighed.  “Don’t make things difficult for her, James.”

“Why can’t just be happy for me,” James asked.  “When I am with her, everything is different…”

“You will take over this company soon,” Mr. Rocafort, angrily answered.  “You can’t have a wife who doesn’t even know when to use the dessert spoon!”

“Are you that arrogant,” James countered.  “Are you that selfish?”

“I am not selfish James,” Mr. Rocafort answered.  “This is for you.”

James shook his head.  “If you want the best for me, then you’ll let me be happy.”

Mr. Rocafort did not say anything.  He looked at James and saw the resolve in his face.  He turned around and look at the panoramic view below. 

“Break up with her,” Mr. Rocafort said again.

James did not answer. All that Mr. Rocafort heard was the loud banging of the door.

When The Fireworks Begin (Chapter XIV)

It was their third day in Boracay, they would be leaving tomorrow. Devon and James were trying to get as much sun and beach as possible.  They were eating their breakfast outside the veranda.  They haven’t seen Ivan and Shey that morning.

“Where are they?” Devon asked James.

James shrugged. “Shey left last night to party with some college friends who were also here. I think Ivan followed her.”

Devon took a bite from the fresh papaya when she heard a door opening.  Ivan and Shey came into the room.  Ivan was leading Shey and he was holding her hand. Shey meanwhile was holding her sandals, it looked like they took a walk on the beach.  Both of them did not notice Devon and James on the veranda.

Ivan turned around and pulled Shey towards him.  He dipped his head and kissed Shey deeply.  Shey raised her arm and wrapped it around Ivan’s neck. A few seconds later, Ivan pulled away from the kiss and looked at Shey and smiled.

“Ahem,” James coughed.

Shey and Ivan quickly jumped out of each other’s embrace and looked at James and Devon.  Devon raised a fork towards her lips and smiled.

“I guess, somebody’s not that confused anymore,” Devon commented.

Ivan scratched his head and took Shey’s hand.  “Let’s just say that acceptance made things easier.”

Shey smiled brightly.  Devon stood up and walked towards Shey, and hugged her. 

“I’m so happy for you,” Devon said while hugging her friend.

“Thank you,” Shey whispered to her best friend’s ear.
“C’mon, let’s eat,” James signalled the three to eat.

“Tell me everything that happened,”  Devon said pulling Shey beside her.

“Not everything,” Ivan countered.

Devon raised an eyebrow and then Shey started to blush.

“C’mon let’s swim,”  James coaxed Devon

“You know, I don’t swim,” Devon protested. 

Devon was sitting on the shore, playing with the short waves.  James, a champion swimmer, has been slicing through the water and waves for the past few minutes. Devon meanwhile, was contently sitting on the shore and watching her husband’s muscles ripple on the water.

James tried to pull Devon on her feet. 

“I’ll teach you how,” James argued.

“James, you have been teaching me for years,” Devon reasoned out. “We know that my case is impossible.”

“There’s nothing impossible with Instructor James,” James joked.

Devon laughed and let her husband pull her on her feet.  They walked until the water was up to James neck. Devon, being a few inches smaller than James, clung to James for dear life.

“You won’t learn when you’re hanging to me like that,”  James joked and tried to pry Devon’s fingers from his shoulder.

“Oh, no, Mr. Rocafort,”  Devon protested.  “I am not letting you go.”

“Well, Mrs. Rocafort,” James started. “Your therapist told me that swimming is a great exercise. So let’s swim.”

With one flick of his hand, James was already facing Devon. Devon was jumping on the sand floor, trying to keep her head above the water.  James caught her on her waist and told her to go under the water and swim towards him.

“No, I am not,” Devon protested. “This is too deep.”

James nudged her and eventually Devon got under the water and she tried swimming towards James.  In a few minutes, she rose up gasping for air and James quickly rushed to her side and caught her on the waist.

Devon quickly lunged at James at hooked behind his back. James went slightly beneath the water.  Devon’s weight and claw-like embrace behind him, was keeping James below water.

When he eventually found his footing on the sand and managed to push himself above water, “Are you trying to drown me?”

Devon slapped James loudly on his shoulder.  “You said you’ll teach me, but you’re drowning me.”

“You’re the one who’s doing the drowing,” James protested.

Devon slapped him again. James was wading on the water, with Devon safely on his back.  Once again, he insisted on letting Devon go under water and swim towards him for a few times.  They were having so much fun, that they did not notice that the sun was already high above their heads.

The intense heat drove them out of the water.  Devon and James walked out of the water and seek shade under an umbrella.  James gave Devon a bottle of water.

“That was fun,” Devon said.

“Yeah, fun,” James agreed. “But you still don’t know how to swim.”

Devon laughed.  “I told you, I’m a hopeless case.”

Devon leaned back and closed her eyes. She felt very exhausted, but in a good way.  She fanned herself while leaning back on the lounge chair, under the shade. James was looking at her and watching her. 

“Are you alright?” James asked.  “You look very tired.”

Devon nodded and smiled.  “That swim was a bit too much, along with sun.  But I am okay.”

Devon settled on the lounge and took deep breaths.  James watched her and thought she would fall asleep. James was watching the children and couples frolicking on the white sand and the crystal blue waters.  He was startled when he heard Devon moaning.

Devon suddenly sat on the lounge chair and held her legs.  The pain was so intense and so sudden, she felt that she was going to faint.  She moaned louder.

James jumped off his own chair and quickly went to Devon’s side. “What’s wrong,” he asked. Devon was pale as paper, she was obviously biting back her pain.

“Painful,” she said, trying to massage her legs. James rushed to her side and tried to relieve the cramps by massaging her legs.

She fell back on her lounge chair and felt the pain searing her legs.  Then she felt as if it was very difficult to breathe.  It was as if a heavy rock was placed on top of her chest, crushing her lungs.  She winced from the pain and difficulty in breathing.

James noticed how pale Devon became, he instantly lifted her from the lounge chair and started to run towards the house.  The sand was hot on his bare feet, but that was the least of his worries.  He was dripping when he went inside the house with Devon still on his arms. 

When Ivan saw James, he immediately ran towards him to help him.  In a few minutes the dripping James was already on a car that Ivan managed to borrow from the caretaker.  Devon was obviously struggling to breathe.  She was really pale and would moan about the intensifying pain on her legs. 

Upon reaching the island hospital, the nurses and doctors took Devon out of James’ arms.  Barefoot, he followed while she was on the bed. They rushed her into the emergency room.  James just stood there, with sand on his feet, with a wet shirt and shorts, dripping water on the floor. But James never took notice. His eyes were fixed on the pale figure of the woman he loves.

The nurses then draw the curtains and Shey and Ivan pulled James away from the nurses and doctors attending to Devon.  There were questions. Too many questions, James head was screaming.  He fell on the seat and then buried his head on his hands. 

He cried.  He cried so hard that he could not identify where the sea water and his tears began.


James finished talking to Dr. Alvarez and he was on his way to Boracay to take a loot at Devon.

“I’m coming over,” Dr. Alvarez stated earlier.

“There’s no need Ninong,” James responded. “We’ll be going back once she’s up on her feet.”

“No,” Dr. Alvarez insisted.  “When your parents chose me to be your godfather, I promised that I will take care of you.  I will be there tomorrow morning.”

James almost cried on how thoughtful the good doctor was. Thank you, Lord, he silently whispered and looked at the resting figure on the hospital bed.

It was already early in the evening.  After Devon’s admission to the hospital, the doctors decided to keep her overnight.  The  doctor gave her medicine for the cramps and pains. Her difficulty in breathing is part of her disease, the doctor explained to him.

Ivan and Shey decided to go home and pack their things.  They would be leaving the soonest time possible, when Devon is already stable.  Their things should be ready. They did not blame James for what happened.  James knows that Ivan, who still believed that Devon should stay in Cebu while being treated, was against their plan to travel.  But he also knows that Ivan noticed how happy Devon was. 

Devon’s parents were very worried when he called.  They wanted to come, but he insisted that everything is fine. They will be home soon.  Devon’s parents did not blame him, too.

But why do I feel that it is my fault, James asked himself.  He leaned on the bedside and caressed Devon’s hands.  He fell asleep with his head on the pillow. 

The next morning, Devon was still weak but the pain and the cramps were no longer there.  With Doctor Alvarez coming, the hospital decided to keep them for a while. 

It was midmorning and Devon was already sitting on her bed.  She was looking at the pictures that Shey and Ivan brought.  The pictures helped in taking her mind of the situation. James was taking out the food that he bought, when he heard a knock from the door.

The door opened and Dr. Alvarez came in. He was all smiles when he saw James and Devon.

“You look great,” Dr. Alvarez greeted Devon, while James took his hand and mano.

“The sun is great here in Boracay,” she smiled back.

“Let me see how you are doing,” Dr. Alvarez commented and approached Devon’s bed.

“You should’ve not done this,” Devon reasoned.  “We’re fine here doc. We’ll be going home tomorrow.”

Dr. Alvarez nodded. “I guess, I want to see how you’re doing first.”

James was standing on the foot of the bed, when he felt that somebody else was standing outside the door. He turned around and saw his father.  James eyes narrowed and his face became intense. James looked at Devon, she did not notice that somebody was with Dr. Alvarez. 

James immediately went out of the room and closed the door. He does not want to upset Devon.

“What are you doing here,” James reacted harshly.

“I saw your Ninong in the airport and he was about to go here, so I decided to see how you two were doing,”  Marlon Rocafort answered.

“You have no business here,” James answered back. He turned around and was about to go back into the room when he heard his father again.

“What were you thinking James,” Edwin Rocafort stated. “It was dangerous taking her out of Cebu.  You should have stayed and get her treated.”

“She is getting treatment,” James answered evenly.

“Let us find the best doctor…”

James cut his father off angrily. “There is no us, father. You said that yourself. As far as I can remember, you said I was no longer your son.”

“James, when will you stop being stubborn and just talk to me,” Mr. Rocafort stated, slightly rising his voice.

James turned around and walked towards his father.  “What happened to us was your fault.  Don’t dare talk as I was an ungrateful son.  You created your own misery.”

James then left his father standing on the hospital hallway.

When The Fireworks Begin (Chapter XIII)

The vacation did wonders on Devon’s disposition. She’s more participative in her therapy sessions and more eager to rehabilitate herself.  She is experiencing more cramps, nowadays.  Both legs are now both cramping and sometimes they can be very painful. 

Devon tried to hide it from James. But she was unable to do so.  The other night she felt that her leg muscles were twitching.

“Are you okay?” James asked he felt Devon sitting up on their bed, in the middle of the night.

Devon can’t help but ask for help. “Cramps.”

James immediately got up from bed and started to relieve the painful cramp.  He  noticed that Devon’s muscles are twitching.  He tried to bite out his concern.  The doctor already warned him against the involuntary movement in her leg muscles. 

Devon sighed as she remembered how worried James was that night.  But the twitching in her legs occurred more often, especially at night.  She decided not to tell him that, so that he will have some good night sleep he deserves.  The twitches were not painful anyway.

She has no classes today, so she decided to visit her parents.  After spending a few hours in her parent’s home, she decided to visit Shey who just lived a few blocks away.

Shey was living alone in her home, since her family migrated to the United States.  Devon let herself into the gate and was very surprised when she heard voices quarrelling.  It was Ivan and Shey who were having their spat.

“I told you, it’s none of your business,”  Shey answered angrily.  “I’ll date the guy if I want to.”

“That guy is the worst jerk ever,” Ivan countered. “Haven’t you heard anything that I’ve said earlier? He just got somebody knocked-up and decided to leave her while she’s delivering the baby.”

“He is just misunderstood,” Shey reasoned out.

“Misunderstood?” Ivan almost yelled. “You have got to be kidding me.”

“Why are you so into this, Ivan?’ Shey asked angrily. “Why are you so concerned?”

“Because,” Ivan strained with his answer and raked his fingers through his hair. “You’re a friend.”

“Am I?” Shey asked. “Am I just a friend? Is that how you see it, after the…”

Ivan immediately cut her off. “It was nothing. Nothing happened. Don’t change the subject.”

Shey almost shouted in exasperation. “Why are you trying to deny it?”

“Because it was a mistake,” Ivan curtly answered.  He started to pace around, and that is when they both noticed Devon standing on the garden.

“I’m going,” Ivan immediately and angrily said.  He angrily walked out the house and towards the gate.  “Catch up with you later,” he said to Devon. Devon nodded in agreement. Once Ivan was already out the gate, Devon looked at the wrung-out Shey.

“What was that,” Devon asked.

Shey explained in between sobs and a pint of ice cream, a few minutes later. Apparently, Shey and Ivan kissed while Devon and James were away on their vacation.  They were watching a movie at Ivan’s place and suddenly it happened. 

“It was not just a peck,” Shey explained. “It was a mind-blowing, earth-shaking, and window-shattering kiss. I know that he’s as affected as I am. But he keeps on denying it.  He keeps saying that it was a mistake.”

Devon listened and Shey dug for another spoonful of ice cream. “Since he kept implying that there is nothing between us, I decided to date this other guy who has been asking me out for days. And now, he came barging in, telling me that I was dating the most horrible guy in the world.”

“So, were you referring to Ivan when you asked for advice last New Year?” Devon asked.

Shey nodded.  She buried her head in her folded arms and cried.  Devon patted her friend’s back.

“Ivan is just confused,” Devon said as she comforts her friend. “He’ll come around. He’ll realize his feelings for you.”


“Are we doing the right thing?” James asked looking over his shoulder making sure that nobody will hear him.  “If looks can kill, both of them will be dead by now.”

Devon touched his husband’s face, reassuring him. “It’s the perfect time for them to talk.”

It has a month since Devon visited Shey at her home and discovered her friend’s secret feelings for Ivan and their passionate kiss. James and Devon planned a vacation on the beach, especially that there will be a long weekend coming.   They packed their bathing suits, their sunblock and decided to enjoy the four-day vacation on the white sands of Boracay.

Devon asked James if they could bring Ivan and Shey along. After all, they used to take excursions together.  James agreed with Devon, but he was unaware that the two were not very happy with each other.

“You didn’t tell me that they are fighting,” James stated. They have just arrived in Boracay where it is all sunny, but Ivan and Shey remained cold towards each other.  James pulled Devon aside inside the beach house that Ivan’s uncle owned.  Shey and Ivan went outside to get a taste of the beach.

“I don’t want you to have second-thoughts on inviting them,” Devon explained on hushed tones, peeking over James’ shoulder, trying to make sure that their subject is nowhere near them.

“What happened?” James asked.  Devon then started to tell him about the kiss,  jealousy and fight.  At the end of the story, James started to laugh. “Are you playing matchmaker?”

Devon slapped James on his arm, silencing him. “We’ve been friends for so long, I know that they will be happy with each other.”

James shrugged and answered, “I hope this will work out-“

But even before James can finish his sentence, the door behind him opened loudly.  Shey came barging in with Ivan following her closely. Both of them cannot see James and Devon who were standing on the veranda.

“We barely got here, and you are already getting into my nerves,” Shey cried out.

“Well, we barely got here and you were already taking drinks from somebody you don’t know,” Ivan countered.

“It was just a fruit juice. It wasn’t even an alcoholic beverage,” Shey answered, obviously frustrated.

“And I was just warning you on what can happen to you,” Ivan answered, looking more frustrated.

“Warning?” Shey asked sarcastically. “You practically dragged me out of that bar! I am perfectly capable of handling myself,” Shey pointed out. “You are not my bodyguard or a boyfriend, so get off my case.”

Shey stomped to her room banged the door. Then James and Devon heard another loud bang. Obviously, Ivan left the house.

“I seriously hope that your matchmaking works, before the entire house crashes,” James told Devon when the house was already quiet.


It was early morning and Devon was talking a walk on the quiet beach. The fine white sand felt so soft under her feet.  It was very early in the morning, only a few people were on the beach that day.  Devon sat down on the sand and looked at the sand castles that some children probably left yesterday.  Today is August, she thought.  She smiled fondly and remembered.

Month of August, three years ago…

Devon love visiting the playground. Everything seems so alive, colourful slides and swings and hearty laughter and squeals raise her spirits. Even the occasional wails and cries seem to make her smile a little. 

She was peacefully sitting underneath a tree, with a book open on the top of her knees and earphones plugged into her ears.  She took a break from reading and was watching children playing on the sandbox. A little girl was patiently building a sand castle. Nearby a young boy was kicking a ball with his friends.  The young boy kicked the ball hard, sending it straight to the carefully constructed sand castle. Within seconds, the little girl’s art crumbled into a pile of loose sand.

The little girl started to cry. The boy approached slowly and retrieved the ball, without even giving the girl a second-glance. It happened quickly, in just a matter of seconds, the girl’s bucket hit the boy’s head with a loud “toink.”  The boy then rubbed the spot where he was hit and turned angrily towards the girl.

Devon quickly rose unto her feet and approached the tear-streaked, angry girl standing on the sandbox. The boy and the girl were already locked into heated exchange.  In the same moment that Devon reached the children, another man also stepped into the sand box.

Devon instinctively pulled the little girl away, while the man pulled the boy. Perhaps the father, Devon thought. But he looks too young?

“Stop that,” commanded the man. “What happened here?”

“She hit me with a bucket,” the little boy exclaimed.

“Well he did not even say sorry for hitting her sand castle,” demanded Devon.

“Still, it is not right to hit another person’s head,” James answered back.

The little girl started to cry and Devon lowered herself beside the girl.  Soothing and calming her, telling her that it was wrong to throw things. The man eventually, pulled the boy and told him to say sorry for the ruined sand castle. In a couple of minutes, the boy and the girl were already in good terms. When she was sure that everything is settled, Devon walked back to her book she left under the tree.  She picked it up and was about to walk away when he saw the man standing near her.

Devon looked at the perfectly chiselled face. His wife is so damn lucky, Devon thought. I would never get a guy who looks like that.

“How old is she,” asked the man.

“Huh?” Devon asked. She was completely lost with the question.

“She’s your daughter right?” James asked.

Devon burst out laughing. “Oh, no. I don’t even know her. I just saw what happened when I was sitting here.”

The man smiled. “I’m sorry, I thought she’s your  daughter. It is very common for  couples to get married early nowadays.”

Devon smiled. “How about your son?”

The man burst out laughing. “No son.  I just happen to be watching that little boy for a cousin. He’s my nephew.”

That explains the resemblance, Devon thought.

“James,” the man initiated and held out his hand.  Devon took it  and introduced herself.  “You live nearby?”

Devon nodded. “I love going to this park everyday. I wish I can really live here.” She smiled and she heard the man taking a deep breath.  Devon looked at his direction, but he quickly directed his gaze somewhere else.  Eventually, the little boy called his uncle and signalled that he’s ready to go. 

Devon thought it was the last time that they will see each other.  Imagine her surprise when she saw James again in the park, the next weekend. 

“Hey,” James smiled.

“Hi,” Devon smiled back. “Watching your nephew?”

“Aw, no,” James shook his head. “I’m here on my own.  Looking for some peace and quiet.”

“Well,” Devon smiled and was about to walk away. “Let me leave you with your peace and quiet.”

“I was hoping you can spend it with me,” James immediately said.

Devon looked and was surprised with what James said. “Okay.”

James moved a bit and made some space on the park bench. Devon sat beside him.  In just a matter of seconds, they were already engaged into an interesting topic. They never ran out of things to talk about.  They did not even notice that time was flying by quickly and it was already past lunch time.   James offered to take Devon to lunch, to which Devon agreed as long as she pay for her own meal. 

James learned a lot about books, arts, and history just by listening to Devon.  She is obviously smart.  Devon learned a lot about business, culinary arts, and economy when listening to James.  He obviously knows a lot about running businesses.  They complement each other. 

Their common ground? Their differences.  Both knew that they belong in different social classes.  James found Devon world interesting.  On their Saturday dates, Devon would usually take James to the public market, in the noisy wet section. They would eat by the roadside stalls and pick their way through street food. There are Saturdays when James would take Devon to fine dining restaurants, museums and galleries. 

It was like that every weekend. Devon and James will meet in the park at talk about their week. They would have their lunch together, visit places that both of them will find interesting, and would part ways late in the afternoon. James never asked for her number and she wondered why. Devon never offered hers, nor asked James his number.

It was Saturday again and Devon was walking along the bicycle path, with two  coffee cups on her hand. He saw James sitting on park bench. It was a little bit warm that day, but James was wearing a jacket.  Devon approached James and sat beside him.

“Is this seat taken?” she asked.

James laughed. “You’re already sitting on it.”

Devon handed him the coffee cup which who took.  Then he took out a pack of bread and offered it to Devon. She took one and started to nibble on it.  They have been meeting for several weekends now and this has been their ritual.  Devon glanced at the bundled James.  He looked a little pale.

“You don’t look okay,” Devon said.  She placed the bread down and touched James’ forehead and neck. “You have a fever.”

“I know,” James answered.

“Well, you should go home and rest,”  Devon quickly reacted. She placed the bread back into the pack and was preparing to leave.

“It’s weekend,” James reasoned. “We meet at weekend.”

Devon softened.  He’s looking forward to Saturdays too, she thought. “I know, but there’s no need to meet when you’re sick. You need to rest. C’mon. I’m taking you home.”

“You can’t,” James retorted.

“Why not,” Devon countered. “What’s your address?”

James gave his address. Devon looked confuse. “But that’s almost an hour away from here?”

“I know,” James said.

“You drive for almost an hour, every weekend?” Devon asked with her eyes wide open.  James nodded and calmly sipped his cup of coffee.  “Why?” Devon asked.

“I want to spend time with you,” James simply answered.  Devon looked at James closely, looking for traces or hints of humor on his face. But there was nothing. He was telling the truth and he’s being serious.

“Actually, there’s a reason why I drove today even if I am sick,” James explained.  “Will you have dinner with me?”

Devon looked at James bewildered. Why is this guy driving an hour every Saturday to meet her, she thought.

“I really like you,” James answered, answering the questions on her head. “And I want to date, that is if it is okay with you?”

Devon could not believe what she was hearing.  She smiled and looked at James. “Well, you need to get back home and rest.  I don’t want to date a sick man.”

James smiled and started to sip on his own cup. 



Devon looked at the bright sunrise. She burrowed  her hands on the sand and smiling at the thought of their first meeting.  A warm pair of hands touched her shoulders and gave a warm peck on the cheek.

“Good morning,” James greeted. “What are you doing here?”

“Catching the sunrise,” Devon answered.

James sat beside her and looked at the horizon. “It’s so pretty.”

Devon nodded and leaned back.  This is how she wants to be like forever, watching the sunrise with the man she loves.
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