Jan 25, 2011

When the Fireworks Begin (Chapter II)

Chapter II.

Devon went inside the bathroom and opened the first aid kit  cabinet.  She took a couple of cotton balls and the Betadine bottle.  She also took a few pieces of Band-aid.  She left the bathroom and walked towards the master bedroom of their two-bedroom apartment.

This was all James and Devon could afford right now, a two-bedroom apartment in the heart of Cebu City.  Devon is currently a professor in the city’s premiere university, while James works for an advertising company.  James has just started his career in this advertising company after severing ties with his family-owned company, where he was a senior executive. 

The apartment was big enough for the starting couple.  The furniture are modern in design and makes the house appear spacious.  Most of their kitchen appliances were given to them as wedding gifts. It has been a month after their wedding and their apartment has become homelier.

Devon opened the bedroom door and sat at the end of the bed.  It was already six in the evening, James was just on his way home.  Devon looked nervously on the bedroom door, wishing that she has enough time before James would see her wounds.

Devon has numerous scratches and deep cuts on her elbows and knees.  She had an accident in the university earlier.  She was talking to a student, asking her about their project.  They were walking slowly down an inclined platform.  Suddenly, she felt that she could no longer raise her leg for that next step.  For a briefest moment, she felt no control. She fell down the inclined platform, knees first. She managed to raise her elbow to break her fall. But there were nasty cuts and scratches, after all, she fell on hard concrete.

Devon was busy cleaning the wounds with alcohol, flinching when the cotton balls touched her wound. She was unaware that James was already inside the house.

“Baby,” James called out and went inside the bedroom. He saw Devon sitting on the edge of the bed with the first aid kit near her. James squinted and saw that she was dabbing some cotton on her knees.

“What happened,” James said in a panicked voice. He approached her and looked at the bruises.  “Did…”

Devon cut him off in the middle of his sentence. “It was an accident.”

“Are you sure,” James asked worriedly and took the cotton out of her hands.  He sat beside her and lifted her leg, putting it on his lap. He started to apply Betadine on the scratches.  “Cause, if this is foul play…”

“It’s not,” Devon defended.  Sometimes, James becomes too protective, always thinking that somebody was out there, hating her, and wishing her dead.  Well, that is partially true, Devon mused.  “I just fell, while talking to a student.”

James patted her knees and put them down. He took her elbows and started to clean them, too. “You are such a klutz.  You are falling down too much.”

“No, I am not,” Devon reacted.

James looked at her and shook his head. “How about last week when you almost fell while getting off the jeep?”

“My legs were dead from sitting for a long time,” Devon answered.

“What about the time when I found you sitting on the floor,” James countered again.

“I was wiping the floor and I slipped,” Devon answered back, giving James the other elbow to treat.

“Okay, how about two weeks before the wedding, when we were walking in the mall and then you suddenly flopped down on the nearest chair, without any warning,” James asked.

“I was tired,” Devon answered again.

“Honestly, baby,” James said as he put a Band-aid on a deep cut on her elbow.  “You have been falling too much, I was really worried you would not be able to walk down the aisle without tripping yourself.”

Devon laughed. “It’s because, everytime I think of you, I fall.”

James could not help but smile with his wife’s comment. “You are trying to distract me.”

“Of course not,” Devon answered back. Trying her best not to laugh, but an annoyed James looks so cute. She could not help herself and pinch his nose.

“Ah,” James reacted. “So is that how it is supposed to be?”

“You nag like a woman  sometimes,” Devon teased.

James started to tickle to wrestle her on the bed.  Devon tries to get up, but James hooked her legs and she fell square on the bed again.  James started to tickle her and Devon could not stop laughing.   A couple of minutes, later Devon was screaming in laughter because James would not stop tickling her.

Devon pulled her hand and slapped James hard on the shoulder.  James gasped. 

“You hit like a man,” James teased her and started to tickle her again

A few minutes later, the wounds and scratches were forgotten. The two of them were caught in a wild embrace and passionate kisses.


It was Saturday morning, Devon and James were quietly sipping their coffee and reading the morning paper.  James glanced at Devon who was quietly answering the Sudoku challenge on the paper.  He smiled, he loves this quiet mornings with her.  Nothing has to be said. Silence is nothing to be afraid of.

James heard his cellphone ringing inside the bedroom and grudgingly stood up to get it.  He was surprised to see his friend Aleli calling.

“Hey,” James answered the call.

“Good morning, honey,” Aleli greeted.  Aleli has been calling him honey even though they had already broken up.

Aleli and James were together as a couple in college. They went to the same school since high school, hung out with the same group of people and their parents are friends and business pals. When James’s father ran for public office, Aleli’s father supported him. At that time, it was practical and logical for him and Aleli to get together.

However, almost two years into the relationship, James decided that Aleli was not the girl for him.  Aleli said she felt the same way.  They ended their relationship in the dismay of their parents.  James’s father would often raise it in conversations and would urge him to get back together with Aleli, even when he was already with Devon.

But they did not stop being friends. And she did not stop calling him “honey.” James did not mind her calling him that. Devon did not mind either.

“Good morning, Aleli,” James greeted. Devon raised her head when she heard the name.

She does not mind James hanging out with Aleli, they have been friends for such a long time. But she is no saint. She would still feel pangs of jealousy whenever they talk or see each other.  Devon knew that James and Aleli used to be together.  She knows that James’s parents, especially his father, are expecting the two of them to get together. 

Get a hold of yourself Devon, she pacified herself. It’s just a phone call.

“I don’t care,” James stated steely.  Devon heard anger from James’s voice. 

James paused a while and listened.

“Your father is sick, James,” Aleli said on the phone. “Didn’t you hear me?”

“I heard you fine,” James answered. “I don’t care.”

Aleli paused. She continued, “He was brought to the hospital last night. You have to…”

James interrupted Aleli. “I am not going to.”

“Just one visit,” Aleli insisted.

“No,” James said hard. “Thank you for calling, anyway.” He ended the call abruptly.

Devon looked at James, he looked so strung out.

“Did something happen?” Devon asked.

James did not say anything. Devon did not force him to talk.  He would eventually say what it is on his mind.  That is one thing that James liked about Devon, she waited until he was ready to answer or share anything, which he always do.  Devon returned to her Sudoku.

“Dad’s in the hospital,” James started a couple of minutes later while looking at his cup of coffee.

“Well, what hospital?” Devon asked.

“I don’t know,” James answered looking distantly.

“Why didn’t you ask Aleli? Call her, ask her where, so we could visit him,” Devon started.

James looked at Devon, bewildered.  “We are not visiting him.”

“Why?” Devon asked. “If he’s seriously ill, then you need to see him.  He needs to see you.”

James smirked. “He does not need me. He told me that, loud and clear.”

“But people change, James,” Devon reasoned out.

James looked at Devon bewildered.  “After what he has done to you? To us? You  still like to see him?”

Devon shook her head. “It’s not about me.  It’s about you. He is still your father.”

“But he does not think of me as his son anymore,” James said sarcastically.

Devon felt something hit her in the chest. She felt guilt. “I did not want this to happen between you and your father, James. I did not want this to happen. I know I caused all this trouble, so  please let bygones be bygones.”

“Don’t feel guilty, baby,” James softly told Devon. “It’s not your fault. With or without you, it is bound to happen anyway.”

James walked towards Devon and kissed her on the forehead, before he went for the door.

“I am just going to walk this off,” James said and went outside.

Jan 23, 2011

When The Fireworks Begin (Beginning)

When The Fireworks Begin


The wind is unfriendly that night. For him, everything, all elements of his life has become his enemies.  The wind is just one of them.   They do, when they take away the most important thing in your life. Suddenly.  Unexpectedly. His conscience tried to reason out. It was not unexpected nor it was sudden.  You know this time would come.

He flinched, yes he knew that this time would come. But knowing and being prepared for it are two different things.  A man may know that a thunderstorm is coming, but that does not mean he is going to be prepared for it, he countered to his conscience. He looked at the scenery below him. He has been staying on this hill for a couple of days already. He has witnessed how the sun rose to bear light to its kingdom and how it succumbed to the moon at night. For two days, he has battling conversations with his conscience.  It is driving him crazy.

Earlier that afternoon, a friend dropped by, carrying the line he has been hearing for the last few days.

“Why don’t you just go home,” she said.  “You need to rest.”

“I can’t,” he answered. “She might drop by while I’m away. Besides, I have food and clothes in the car. I have everything I need in the car.”

“She’s never coming back,” she stated.

He has heard those lines so many times, but he has become numb to it.  He shook his head and refused to answer.  The friend stayed for more than an hour, sharing his silence, watching as the houses below them started to turn on their lights.  When the wind became fierce and howling, she decided to let go of his hand and say goodbye.

He hugged his jacket closer to his body.  He stood up and retreated to his car.  Inside the parked vehicle, he could still see if anybody would be visiting that spot on the hill.  He would be able to see her immediately, if she decides to come back.

The whole night passed, quietly.  But he saw no shadow on that desolate hill. 

Chapter I.

“Is it really possible to be happy and nervous at the same time,” Devon Serrano asked her friend Shey who was very busy in fixing herself in front of the mirror.

“Of course,” answered Shey. “I was like that during my first night with a man.”

Devon swatted her friend on the arm. “Stop making fun of me.”

Shey laughed. “That’s an honest answer, my dear bestfriend.  You need to take your mind off things.  You would be fine. Besides, it is not as if your groom would run away.”

Devon looked at herself in front of the mirror. She was wearing a very simple white, off-shoulder wedding gown, boasting her feminine shoulders and neck.  It was so simple, she could have worn it in a cocktail party and get away with it.  But instead she wore this simple gown to her wedding.

She ran her fingers down the gown.  Shey was behind her, looking at her sweetly.

“What now,” Devon snapped.

Shey shook her head.  “Nothing.  I’m just very happy that the two of you are finally getting married. After all what happened, you are finally going to be happy.”

Devon hugged Shey. She’s very thankful that she had a friend like her who stayed with her.  They were hugging tightly when Devon’s mother walked into the room. Linda Serrano looked at her daughter and Shey

“Don’t start crying,”  Linda reminded her daughter. “The ceremony has not started yet and your make up will be ruined. “

The two ladies, giggled and started to dab their eyes.  “We’re just happy, Inay,” Devon answered.

“Well, don’t leave me out of the hug,” Aling Linda countered.

Shey gave out a big laugh and pulled Aling Linda, into an embrace.


“Should I leave it buttoned or unbuttoned,” James asked for the seventh time.

Ivan shook his head.  He has been answering James’s question for the seventh time. “Like what I said for seven times already, unbutton it if you feel uncomfortable.”

“I think it looks so informal if I leave it unbuttoned,” James answered back and buttoned his shirt again.  After a few seconds, he unbuttoned it again. Ivan shook his head and sighed.

“Stop fretting James,” Sam reacted, who was leaning against the bathroom wall. “It’s just a ceremony.”

James shot his friend a look that would have killed him. Sam grinned at his friend. “Your killer stares would not affect me.”

James rolled his eyes and buttoned his shirt again.  He walked away from the mirror and started walking around the bathroom and started tugging on his shirt collar.

“For goodness sake, James,” Sam reacted. “If buttoning your shirt makes you feel uncomfortable then leave it open.”

Ivan who could not control it any longer, laughed really hard.  James shot him a look but Ivan continued laughing.  Sam joined in the laughter, making James angrier and blushing.  There was a soft knock on the door, a pair of chinita eyes peeked into the slightly opened door.

“Everybody decent,” she asked.

“Yup,” Ivan answered. 

The door opened completely and a tall girl waltzed into the men’s bathroom.  She was wearing an off-white dress, past her knees.

“You are not supposed to be here,” Sam countered.  The girl waived at Sam’s reaction, indicating that she does not care.

“Just want to see you,” the girl named Aleli said.  She walked towards James and tugged at his shirt.  “Button it, you look more dashing when you do.” She gave James a quick peck on the cheek. “See you later, honey.”

Ivan watched Aleli leave the bathroom.  James meanwhile, looked at the mirror and saw a faint lipstick mark on his cheek.  He started to scrub it off.  Ivan eyed James’ cheek.

“Make sure that you scrub all of it,” Ivan reprimanded.

James nodded and kept scrubbing, until everything was gone. Sam was about to say something when somebody knocked on the door and another female head slowly peeked inside. 

“The march’s going to start soon,” the wedding coordinator said. 

James nodded and started towards the door.  Before going out of the bathroom, he took one last look in the mirror.  He unbuttoned the top button that Aleli snapped in place earlier.  Sam shook his head and started to push James out of the door.

They ambled their way to the church door and when they heard the wedding march starting, they started to march towards the altar.  There were no parents that watched James as he walked down the aisle.  He does not care.  His friends were there, that was enough.  She was there, that was more than enough.

When the short entourage finished their procession, the small church with its fifty guests stood up to witness the bride’s entrance.  James’ jaw dropped when she saw her walking down the aisle.  He pictured her in his mind.  But he was not prepared for the beautiful lady that is walking towards him, in the arms of her parents.  Sam has to elbow him hard on the rib.

“You’re drooling,” Sam joked.

“You’re just jealous,” James said.  Sam’s jaw tensed and he fought back a retort.  James meanwhile did not notice that Sam’s face became rigid, he did not realize what he has just said.  All of his attention was focused on the woman who was walking towards him.

Once the bride reached the altar, the father patted James on the back and the mother, although, the eyes were dry, showed shadows of tears.  James nodded, they both knew that he will take good care of their daughter. 

“Hey you,” she greeted.

“Hey,” James greeted back. “When I saw you earlier, you were not this pretty.”

“Are you saying, that I’m not pretty?” she whispered, feigning anger.

James tried to suppress his laugh. “No, I’m just saying that you should wear this everyday so you’ll look pretty all the time.”

She pinched him on the rib, and James tried not to laugh more.  They were both shushed when they heard the priest clearing his throat and saw him eyeing both of them beneath his eyeglasses.

They bowed their heads.  James slipped his fingers into hers. She smiled and looked at their intertwined hands.

“Good morning,” greeted the priest. “We are gathered here today to witness the celebration between this two lovely couple, James Rocafort and Devon Serrano…”


The wedding ceremony was a blur.  All that mattered to them both was they responded to the questions with the right answers, and nobody stopped the ceremony.  Although, James thought that there was a slight movement when the priest asked if there is anybody who could testify why he and Devon should not be married.

The small reception for the fifty guests was held on the church courtyard.  It was a calm night, only the mild breeze would ruffle the tree leaves.  After the meal, everybody went dancing, then fireworks started to shoot into the  starlit sky.

“I love fireworks,” Devon whispered, as she watched the shower of light. 

James had his arms wrapped in Devon’s waist, leaned sideways to whisper into his ear. “I know, you’re just like one of them. Shooting upwards carrying a loud bang and bright light with you.”

Devon smiled and snuggled closer to James. James was bringing his face closer to Devon, when Shey interrupted.

“Save that for the honeymoon,” Shey interrupted, giving Devon a glass of water.

“Yeah,” Ivan  agreed.  “Think about us who aren’t married yet.”

Shey snorted and Ivan looked at childhood friend.  Shey, Devon and Ivan have been friends since they were elementary.

“What’s that suppose to mean, Sheila May?” Ivan asked, dropping Shey’s real name.  Sam who was sitting nearby, snickered when he heard Shey’s name.

Shey looked at Ivan, as if she’s going to throw the contents of the fruit juice in her hands to Ivan’s face. “Stop saying that name, Man-man,” Shey answered, using Ivan’s childhood nickname.  This time James, laughed. “How can you get married if you haven’t got a girlfriend for decades already.”

Ivan drank from his can of beer.  “The last time I checked, five years are not yet a decade. Besides, most of the girls that I like already have a boyfriend or is already married,” Ivan drowned that last comment with his beer.

Shey looked at Ivan, “Not all girls are married and taken. How about me?”  But nobody heard what she has said, for she only said that to herself.

Aleli approached the seated group and pulled Devon’s hand. “You look famished, let’s eat.”

Devon giggled when Aleli pulled her out of the seat.  They started tinkering with the food on the table, looking for some light snacks. 

“You finally did it,” Aleli remarked.

Devon smiled. “Yes we did.”

“James was never the marrying type,” Aleli answered as she puts dressing on her salad. “I was surprised when he said that he was going to marry you.  We have known each other for years, and it was kind of surprising that he was ready to give up everything he had, for a woman.”

Devon felt uneasy with the conversation, but continued smiling. “I know,” Devon answered back. “I never asked him to do that.”

“You’re really something,” Aleli stated, with a bare hint of sarcasm. “But marriage is never an assurance.”

Devon was putting some lumpia on her plate when she gently dropped the fork, “What do you mean?”

Aleli shrugged. “Well, there are girls who would still chase married men. Are you prepared to handle that?”

Devon was about to answer, when another loud bang from the fireworks cut her.  She looked at the showering red and green fire in the sky.  She looked at Aleli and answered, “Bring it on.”

Aleli’s smile faded from her lips and she started to walk towards the seated group.  Sam and James were quietly watching the two girls, they were completely unaware of what they were talking about.

“So, where’s the honeymoon,” Sam asked, looking at the girls. Not taking his eyes off a moment from them.

“There’s no honeymoon,” James answered quietly.  “We can’t get away from work, then we have to move her things to my apartment. It would be a very busy month.”

“There’s no honeymoon?” Sam reacted. “You have to bring Devon somewhere where she could relax, after all what happened…” his voice trailed.  Sam knew all about what happened, he knew it by heart and he resents it.

James eyed Sam. “I didn’t forget what happened,” James answered. “But we cannot make a decent schedule.”

Sam shook his head. “You should take good care of her…”

James interrupted. “I know, not taking her to a honeymoon would not affect anything or does not mean I am not serious about her.”

Sam could not control it anymore. “If you would make her cry, just once, I would not hesitate to pick up where I left off.”

James looked at Sam and saw that his friend was dead serious. “You would never have a chance.”

James stood up and walked towards Devon who was absently looking at her plate. 

“Care to dance, wife?” James asked but he did not wait for Devon to answer and instead pulled her towards his arms.

James and Devon looked at each other while dancing, there were no need for words. Both of them know that their hearts wanted to say.  Devon rested her head of James shoulder, while James pulled Devon closer to him, kissing her hair lightly.

That’s how they ended the reception, in a tight embrace. Swaying as one, along with the music. Their eyes only saw each other.  They were completely unaware that there were two pair of eyes looking at them intently, wishing that the other was in their arms. Another pair of eyes trying hard not to look, and another pair, searching and wishing that somebody would spare them a glance.

Jan 5, 2011

When The Fireworks Begin (New Fanfic)

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