Sep 11, 2011

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. 

****

Present…

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.

3 comments:

c_h_a_n_g_e_s said...

awww.... i almost cried....

superior-minori said...

this chapter was pure 'awwwwww..' in different hues... there's:
*awwww their story is so cute...
*awwww that was very sweet...
*awww where can i find a guy like that...
*awwww the little things they appreciate and finally the
*awwww, why do i feel like there's impending doom following this fluff??

-Tang

Anonymous said...

grabe ang emotion ko habang binabasa ito... sadness... thanks po dito... hmmm.. Sana masundan kagad ang chapter na ito.. Salamat!!

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