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Mar. 31st, 2010

Gossip

Chapter 15: Perfect Morning, Baby Mommy and Butterflies.

Chapter 15: Perfect Morning, Baby Mommy and Butterflies.

The next day couldn’t come fast enough as I wait with baited breath for him to come to me. I haven’t crushed this hard for a while so it was a new and very welcome feeling to me. This feeling made me feel alive. I made sure I looked absolutely flawless today. I smoothed my hair with a flat iron. I wore my new Burberry Dress some Jimmy Choo peek toe stilettos and put on my new foundation, Lancôme extra lush lipstick in Berry mauve, my new bronzer and extra long lash mascara. Simple pearls were on my ears neck and arm and I topped it all off with my new Reaction for women By Kenneth Cole perfume that I have been saving just for moments like this. I looked and felt like a million bucks. I twirled around in the full length mirror in my room and admired the effect that the simple dress had with my new white silk Dolce and Gabanna pea coat. Checking out my newly manicured French tips, I knew that I was worth every single penny. I needed to. I want to make sure he sees me –I want to make sure that I capture the attention of Mr. Perfect ( and probably every other sailor around).

It was still early as I padded down to the breakfast table. My brother wasn’t even there. Only my sister was half-asleep, propped up on one elbow as she tries her hardest not to fall into her cereal. I tap her slightly and she wakes up and promptly puts a chocolate krispy filled spoon in her mouth. I reach for my cup and fill it with hot water. I brew some hot green tea and savor the wonderful and peaceful aroma. What a perfect morning! I look at the breakfast spread and reach for a piece of sweet roll and the light butter. I stood up and made my brother some toast and jelly and his usual coffee. I refilled my sister’s cup of coffee and she stared at me with surprise and gratitude.

“what’s with you today?” she asked in between chocolate krispy bites.

“I’m just in a good mood,” I chirp as I make her a sandwich to take to school with her. I make one for my brother as well before I sit down on the table to finish my breakfast. “ Good Morning!”

My brother came into the room looking about and was shocked to see breakfast prepared for him. He was even more surprised when he saw a sandwich, the morning paper and me, all dressed and ready to go on the table. “What happened?” He asked as he smiled at me.

“Nothing,” I say smugly as I enjoy a sip of my perfect tea.

“Whatever it is, it should last,” he said as he opened the paper and started his breakfast. Hmmm… News and Toast. Yum!

“But it’s kinda creeping me out,” My sister admitted as she disappeared into her room to finish dressing.

I finish my tea the same time he finished scarfing down his breakfast. I stand up and give my sister a few extra Pesos for Starbucks and Load before I left. Today was a perfect day and there was nothing this morning that could bring me down. Not even Kira, my jack russel terrier, who apparently found one of my havaianas slippers and decided it was his chew toy.

“Aww, Kira, at least you got the old one! I was planning to replace that anyway,” I said as I patted him on the head. The dog gave me a weird look and walked away.

Ok, so usually, I am not like this. I am usually a morning dragon as they call me. I am never awake anytime before eight o clock in the morning, So It was totally weird for them to see me like this. I myself found it highly unusual, this bright cheery and awake mood. Maybe this is how it feels to finally like a guy – maybe crushing has some form of energy boosting powers I did not know about. But whatever it is, it felt good and so I let it be.

Even when he dropped me off about a block away from the office, due to bad traffic, I was not complaining. It was a beautiful day. I wanted to walk. I put on my Ipod and started singing as I trekked my way to the office in my new stilettos. Normally, I would swear in eighteen different languages before anyone could let me use my new shoes in a filthy dirty and almost muddy street, but today, I didn’t mind. Shoes were made for walking after all, right? Jimmy Choo would forgive me – even this once.

I get to the office and greeted everyone a bright cheery “Good Morning!” as I get to my seat. I hang up my coat and kiss Joanna Galer on the cheek. “ Good morning, babe!” I sang.

“Ok, whats with you today? You look stunning! And, you’re smiling, something must be up,” She said as she eyed me.

“I just felt like looking good today. No particular reason,” I grin and bounce back to my seat and turned my computer on. Liar, you know very well who this is for. I thought.

“Had breakfast?” she asked, standing up. It was a new morning tradition. We get there and go for breakfast. There, we commence the morning chatter.

“Yup, but I’ll go with. Where are Kat and Elle?” I look around for my friends.

“There already,” she replied as we linked arms and went to our favorite convenience store to get our fill of instant coffee, bread and the like.

“Okay,” Elle grinned as she saw me coming into the store.” Behold the princess arrives!” She mock curtsied and came over to hug me. “Gorgeous! Gorgeous, let’s see. Who is coming today that she is looking this beautiful?”

Kat pretended to think and then smiled. “ I could think of only ONE name.”

They all looked at each other in understanding. “ Oiler Mitchell Russel!” They said in unison and started giggling like kids.

I shook my head in denial. “NO! That’s not true! Shush! I just felt like looking nice today.” I said as I perused the row of cookies for some zero trans fat, sugarless oatmeal raisin cookies.

“We do not believe you,” Kat poked me on the cheek as we both made it to the counter to pay for our goodies. Elle and Jo was already waiting at our usual coffee table with coffee, doughnuts and bagels.

“Ugh, calories,” I pointed to their feast. I raise up a banana I bought and smiled. “This is good breakfast.”

“For monkeys and desperate women,” Jo was halfway through a sugar glazed chocolate doughnut and offered it to me. “Want some?”

It took all my might to resist the sweet and chocolatey treat and it had “No, I love my banana, thank you.”

“Don’t worry, Sassy. If Mitchell likes you, and he would be blind not to, he would like you even if you were a fat blob in platform shoes,” Elle said patting my arm.

“I am not looking good for him,” I denied even harder, hiding my face behind my take out chai latte cup. “How about you, Elle? Any progress with Errol?”

Elle sighed as if she had the biggest problem in the world. “He told me he wanted to marry me, yet again. But I don’t know him at all, so of course, I said no. He started to plan without me and it’s annoying. I mean, he has like buildings and businesses he wants to put up when he gets back. Plus, he has that farm too. He’s really good with money. He said that when he gets back, he wants us to get married. He wants four children. I only want two.” She sipped her Milo, hot chocolate.

I was staring at Elle with the most amused expression on my face. She says that she’s not in love, yet she’s planning children! CHILDREN! I mean, I have not even thought of marriage yet, and she’s talking about little Elles and Errols running around the office. Geesh. Yet, it was a breathe of fresh air. Elle seemed happy, despite the fake desperation that she is putting on.

“You should hear yourself talk,” Jo commented. “You sound like youre talking about your husband.” She put into words what I could not and did not say. “Children?!” She scoffed.

Kat and I looked at each other and started to laugh. I look at Kat and she seemed to be positively glowing. Plus she’s eating more than she usually does, and it’s weird. “Hungry much, Kat?” I pointed to the full egg and bacon, plus fruit pudding and pancake meal in front of her.

“Starving,” she said between mouthfuls of food. “I just feel like I should eat more now.”

“That’s a meal fit for two people. Are you pregnant?” Elle was blunt and to the point. We all looked at each other and narrowed our eyes at her.

She had been acting a little weird. It seemed that the sodium loving chick started eating pineapples, fruit and vegetables day in and day out. I thought it was some kind of new diet and meant to ask her about it. But now, thinking about it, and her mood swings a couple weeks back, it all made sense.

Maybe the grapevine had been right all along, something was definitely up. And this was it. Oh god, the press must be buzzing at all angles. My mind went haywire and I imagined Ms. May in a reporter’s suit trying to get a scoop out of Kat in a gorgeous red Valentino Dress and a red carpet.

“Miss Kat, is it true that you are pregnant and will have a child with Mark Ong of Transporter 3?” She put the mic to Kat’s lips.

Kat was blinded by the lights and continued walking, Jo and Elle dressed in black suits flanked at her sides. Ms. V appeared and took a shot of the superstar.

Somewhere in reality, Jo poked me and the vision was gone. Kat’s eyes had widened. She teared up and then nodded slowly. She put down her fork and sighed as she looked to the ground. Jo and I came to a realization and then we started talking all at once.

“Since when?”

“Who’s the father?”

“Does your parents know?”

“Are you going to marry him?” Elle was the last question and we shut up. She was half furious, half in tears at the confirmation of her fears. Elle is the most conservative girl in our group and of course she would be furious. I watched as she stared at Kat with a mix of frustration and love.

“It’s Mark Ong,” Kat said in a voice that’s almost a whisper. “I meant to tell you but --- You know, words get in the way and I thought you were going to get mad. I found out I was pregnant a week ago. I knew something was wrong when my period was late and I started throwing up and liking pineapples.”

“Awww, baby!” I put an arm around her in a protective hug. She returned it before continuing her speech. I almost fell off my seat. I aws right.

“we will get married. Soon, I think this is it for me,” she started “I didn’t expect it, but… I am happy. “

“Are you sure?” The look of love on Jo’s face was unmistakable. It was times like these that we are glad that we are sisters. We group hugged her and she started laughing and crying at the same time.

“Of course, I am. I love him. I just couldn’t say it before, but now, I do! I mean, I wouldn’t give in if I didn’t.” Kat said smiling. “Now , let me go, me and baby are being smothered.”

We all jumped back laughing. I looked at the time and realized that it was time we ran to the office. “We need to go before the bell rings.” I said, pulling Kat up and getting a head start. We ran hand in hand to the office. Once we got to the door, we composed ourselves and went in one by one.

They were all staring at us, as usual. It wasn’t new to us so we ignored it and went to our desks to start working. I pulled out the file I was working on the day before. I was deep into typing numbers and names when a cadet approached. I didn’t even look up from my typing when the cadet spoke.

“Good Morning, Miss Sassy! Here are your morning appointments,” the over-enthusiastic cadet slid some appointment slips onto my desk. “Carlos, Tarucan, Loyola, Monteverde, and Sales for Sea Service, Mr. Cortez wants to see you about his SSS loan and Mr. Russell says that he’s claiming his paperwork.”

He’s here. The butterflies in my stomach started fluttering wildly. I straightened up and fixed myself. I made sure I looked just right as I called in the first seafarer. “Carlos?” I called out and a tall, semi-bald man came up to me with a shy smile.

“Ma’am Good morning! I’d like to apply for certification for sea service?” he told me as I looked up to him.

Out of the corner of my eye, I spied my target standing next to Robbie, the Liason officer. Apparently, they’re close friends. I was only half listening to the odd ramblings of Mr. Bald head. I smiled and handed Mr. Bald head a request form and told him to photocopy some requirements. He nodded and obliged before running off.

I decided to be bold and stood up to go to the file area to get Mr. Bald head’s records and ask Elle for his documents against the protests of the wild butterflies in my stomach. I smoothed my skirt and flipped my hair back. Armed with a fresh quick spritz of my cologne, I walked up to Elle’s desk and leaned casually on it, just enough to show my pretty little outfit off.

“Elle, I need the documents of Mr. Jeremias Carlos, I think he’s a third engineer, can you get it for me?” I was talking to Elle but my eyes were on Russell. The butterflies went wild.

Elle looked up at me and started to laugh. “Sure, babe. I’ll have it for you in a jiffy.” She called her assistant and asked him to get me the file. I watched Russell as he talked. He spoke in a low voice. It was kind of sexy. I looked down to Elle as he looked at me, if I don’t stop the butterflies will take over and I will swoon. No swooning. Not in this dress, at least and not in front of him.

Slow but sure, he tried to catch my eye. Easy does it! I thought and scolded the butterflies in my stomach. Stop it! I need to concentrate! I was half skipping as I flounced back to my seat, files in hand. I called each seafarer and entertained each one with special length. I wanted him to wait. I spied him watching me from the waiting area.

Finally, his turn came. I straightened out my desk and then nodded to my assistant. “Call, Mitchell Russell in.” The cadet delightedly obliged.

I tried to calm myself down as he came to my desk. I brushed my hair out and checked my reflection in the glass. Relax. He’s just an ordinary guy. Nothing to it. BUT OH MY! He’s knocking my stilettos off!

“Good Morning, Miss Sassy,” He smiled at me. I melted. Why does someone exist with that perfect smile?

“Morning, Mitchell,” I smiled back and avoided his eyes. “ Have a seat.”

He obeyed and then I took special care in taking out his papers. “Here are the things you requested. Do you have the documents I need?”

“Some of them, should I turn them in now or later?” He asked as he took out his folder. Our eyes met for a second, I could not breathe.

“What do you have?” I purposefully avoided his eyes.

“The ID cards, birth certificates, but I have not yet applied for insurance. Where do I go to get that done?” He asked still, he was staring at me.

I wanted him to stare at me. But, why do I feel so uncomfortable? It was like there was an electric current going through my body. I wanted to run away and hide. The butterflies in my stomach were waging a full blown war against me.

“Hmmm…” I thought a minute to calm my nerves. “Just give it to me when you have completed everything. In the meantime, here are the certifications you asked for. Are you going to take the exam?”

“Going to try to,” He blushed as he answered. I wanted to hug him. How adorable was that?

“Good Luck!” This time I braved looking into his eyes and smiling. So far so good, I thought. I haven’t cried, fallen over or died at the sight of this angel. Plus, I think – even just a little that he likes me. Keeping my fingers crossed on that.

“Thank you, Ma’am,” He smiled as he signed the receiving sheets. I almost stopped him as he stood up to leave.

“Anytime, “ I smiled back. “Just bring me back those things when you have everything.”

“Yup,” he nodded and smiled at me.

I stood up. Our eyes met for a minute and I froze. He was staring back. My butterflies stopped and my heart started to pound.

Lub dub, lub dub.

Oh, man. What the hell is this feeling? This is so new to me. I was the first to turn away. He stared for a moment more before nodding his farewell.

“See you,” I called out and could not help but smile back up at him. “Take care.”

He looked back as if wanting to say more but then shook himself and decided otherwise. “You too, Ma’am. Thank you.”

I just wish he could stay. I thought as I started humming silly love songs as I typed into my computer. I knew I looked a little crazy, but who cares? Maybe, just maybe… this could be something different.
Gossip

Chapter 14: Star Struck at the Box office

 

Chapter 14: Star Struck at the Box Office.

It was one of the busiest days inMatsushiro Shipping. Everyone was actually working this time. It was the end ofthe month so I was catching up on reports and going crazy with month-end bills,contributions and the like. My inbox was piled a mile high with requests aswell, and there were seafarers coming out of my ears. The office was buzzing,there were folders flying everywhere. Everyone was talking to a seafarer ortwo. Chief and the Captain was buzzing Elle and Jo left and right.

The waiting area in front of theoffice was packed. It seemed like everyone and their mother came to the officethat day for something or the other. I would compare it to the line to aconcert or the line to Judy Ann Santos’ latest box office hit.

“Sec, what time is the briefingfor Transporter 3?” Elle called from behind her folders.

“One o clock this afternoon, Ihave to debrief Sylvan Green,” He said distractedly as he tried to make senseof e-mails he was writing and the confused cadet in front of him. “ You,” hepointed to a random cadet. “See if everyone from Sylvan Green is here. Tellthem to go to the briefing room upstairs. I’ll be there in a few minutes.”

“Yes, sir,” The cadet scuttledoff.

“Ma’am, this came for you.” Ilook up at my cadet who was handing me a package. Another request. I sigh andput it down.  God save me from this neverending work! I close my eyes and take a sip of water to calm down. On my right,I glance at my appearance. Oh god! Yabai! It’s horrible, what Is that oily ,frizzy haired monster doing staring back at me?

 

“Oh! You retouched! Great!Perfect timing,” She lowered her voice and then winked at me. “ He’s here.”

“Who?” I was back to typingagain. In front of me were endless names and Social Security numbers I have toupdate. “Who’s here?”

“Mr. Mitchell Russel. He’s comingdown later,” She told me as she kissed my cheeks and fluffed my hair. “You’llthank me later.”

“What?!” I barely got what shesaid.  I had too many things to do thanworry about some mystery guy who was coming. I look over to Joanna who, in spite of her busyness, was smiling at mesmugly. Elle too passed by and told me to tidy my desk.

Ok, who was this guy and whatpower does he have on my girls? Why were they all so eager for me to meet him?And What did this moron look like? I wanted to know.

I continued my work as usual. Atone point, when I heard Ms. Neasly calling for Sylvan Green I looked up. For amoment there, I thought I saw a tall, handsome guy, pass by out of the cornerof my eye. Perhaps that was the Mitchell Russell they were talking about. Ormaybe I was just going crazy because of all the work I was doing.

All my thoughts turned back towhat I was doing. A cadet came to me and told me that I had appointments.“Ma’am I have five here, are you too busy?”

I thought for a moment and thenpaused what I was doing. I hit save and look at him. “Gimme,” I asked for theslips and looked them over. 2nd Engineer Carlos, Sea Service, AbleSeaman Tarucan, Sea Service for seamans book, Cabrera, Philhealth ID, Lorenzo,SSS update, Russell, Sea Service. Russell? RUSSELL?! I look at the slip againand read it carefully.

NAME:MITCHELL RUSSELL

POSITION:OILER

LASTVESSEL: SYLVAN GREEN

PERSONTO SEE: MS. SASSY

PURPOSE:SEA SERVICE FOR RENEWAL AND EXAMINATIONS

 

I told the cadet to send themin one by one. They came and went, each person drawing me closer to finallymeeting this mystery guy. Finally, when Lorenzo left. I stood up from my deskand looked out to the crowd. “Mitchell Russell?”

 

“Yes, Ma’am?” he answered. Thevoice was deep and smooth.  It was like aDisc Jockey’s voice. I shuddered at the sound.

 

Elle stopped whatever she wasdoing and watched me. I gave her a glare as the crowd parted to reveal a tall princein a crisp clean white shirt, with light blue lining, a shy smile and beautifuleyes. I gasped and turned around to avoid looking at him. Kat was right. Ishould look presentable. Thank God my hair was behaving today!

 

He looked like a model. He wasabout six feet tall. His body was lean and muscular. He had the most beautifulstride as well. I sat down on my desk and looked up at him. Eyes were glued tohim as he crossed the room. What a command performance! I sneak a peek and hesmiled. I had to take a deep breath.

 

Breathe, I told myself. I spied Joanna Galer giggling. Elle wasdoing the same.  I shot them both arrowswith my eyes. Fine, laugh at me while Isuffer, I thought as I sat down.

 

“Yes?” That was all I couldsay as I put on my glasses in an attempt to hide my eyes. Tough Luck, Sassy. Hecould probably read right through you.

 

“I need to request for CompanySea Service. I need it to get some stuff renewed,” he said looking at me. Ifelt his eyes pierce through mine. My heart started to pound a little. Iscolded it to stop. It didn’t. Oh shit.

 

“Uh… sure!” I smiled at him.It was kind of hard to think with him staring at me like that. I tried to thinkof the next step. “Uhmmm.. do you have your seaman’s book?”

 

He nodded and fished aroundfor it. I took this an opportunity to study him. He was physically perfect forme. Tall enough so I can wear heels and not look stupid around him. Beautifulface, beautiful voice, great smile. He had no fat whatsoever on him. Plus, hehas great lips. Like kissable. I wondered how it was like to kiss him.

 

I saw Jo behind him makingfaces at me and I frowned. STOP! Imouthed to her.

 

She smiled and made fake ooglyeyes and kissy faces at me. I had to stifle a giggle and stop myself fromthrowing a piece of paper at her. That wouldn’t look good in front of this guy.She laughed and turned back to her work.

 

He found it and I resumed myusual stance.  “I need to photocopy partsof it.” I said as I got the tiny book and called my dear utility to photocopyit for me. “Fill out this request form, uhm… “I pretend to look at the slip.“Mitchell, right?”

 

“Yes, ma’am. Mitchell Russel…”He said with a tiny smile. My heart did cartwheels. I watched him fill out theslip as I checked myself in my mirror. Great! I still looked halfway decentcompared to him but still, presentable.

 

“What do I put in here?” hepointed to the slip and I leaned over to look at it. I could barely collect mythoughts as I breathed in his perfume. HE smelled good. Really good. I resistedthe urge to jump him then and there.

 

“you put, whatever the seaservice is for,” I explained smiling at him. “Example this sea service is foryour Examination then put there for PRC examination or something like that.”

 

“Oh!” he started to write. Icontented myself with staring at his face. He looks like an angel.

 

What a hunk! I thought to myself as I imagined myself in his arms.That looks just about right.  My head wasrunning wild with the possibilities when he straightened up and distracted mefrom my thoughts.

 

“Is this it? Can you check itfor me, please? I might have gotten it wrong,” he said softly. He gave me theslip and I checked it out. He had clean penmanship. Nice.

 

“It’s ok, Mitchell. You got itall right. You can claim it from me tomorrow, I have to get it signed,” I smileup at him in the most professional way.

 

“Okay, ma’am. I’ll be backtomorrow. Thanks.,” He said as he smiled a little and turned to leave.

 

“See you!” I smiled. I let outmy breath very slowly as I watched him go. It was the least I could do fromtelling him to stay.  It was a littlesad, but at least –at the very least, he was coming back tomorrow. There wassomething to look forward to. 

 

I went to the filing cabinetto get his crew data and then realized that there was a picture there of him onthe file.  I wanted to smack myself. Whydidn’t I check here before? Then I should have known that there was some formof angel in this company. Stupid, Sassy.STUPID!

 

 

 

I close the filing cabinet asI tried to cool my cheeks. I was blushing and I know it.

 

Elle was only half gigglingand half listening to me as she whispered in a low voice. “We tried to tell youand you didn’t believe us. Now, what do you think? Is it just me or is MissSassy Castellon, Princess of Matsushiro shipping, starstruck over Mr. MitchellRussell, the Hunk of the Sylvan Green.”

 

“Shut up.” I scolded her. “Iam not that starstruck! Besides, I just find him cute.”

 

“Yeah right,” Elle shook herhead as she handed me the file.

 

I give in. I couldn’t hideanything from Elle. Not even if I tried. “Ok, I admit, he’s hot. He’ssteaming.” I glance around. He was still there. “I’m melting. Why is he stillhere? Is he still single? ”

 

“To talk to the Captain, Ibelieve, “ she said. “Yes, he’s still single and I think he likes you. Ok, soam I right in saying that we win this time? Is there a prize? Or will we beexpecting you to talk about him nonstop this time?”

 

“I won’t. But, I admit that ifthe topic is that hot specimen of a man, I would be all over it!” I laughed andhigh fived her.  “He likes me? How? Idon’t believe it!”

 

“You owe us,” Elle declared.“Youre treating us to lunch. We were right, you were wrong. If he doesn’t askfor your number, I will declare a loss and I’ll be your slave for a week.”

 

“Deal!” I said as Ipractically highballed it to my seat before she could say another word. I makea mental note to myself to make extra effort to be pretty tomorrow. I think Imay have to do a facial tonight. I also made a mental note to order somethingfor breakfast. I do owe them. Big time.

 

It was so busy but I wassmiling as I started to work on his sea service.

 

Kat came next to me with aknowing smile. “He’s single.” That was all she said before she left.

 

I look around to her just intime to see the Prince pass to talk to the Captain.

 

I was glad that there was awindow in front of me and through it I could see my Prince talking to theCaptain. Today was a beautiful day. Today was a lucky day. I felt like a girlwho found her idol . Today, Sassy Castellon ate her words and was defeated.

Gossip

Chapter 13: Secreat Admirers

 Chapter 13: Secreat Admirers

“Ma’am Kat, Someone asked me to hand you this.”

The whisper of a cadet came to her as I stoodbehind her. I tapped Kat to hide the present under her desk and smiled at thecadet. “Who was it from?”

“Mark,” she replied with a smugsmile on her face. She winked at me and quickly opened the package to revealchocolates and treats.

“Hmmm… “ I stole one before shecould protest and ran off to my desk.

“Stealer,” She called out to me.

“It was only one! “ I protested.“You have twenty!” 

“You have your own!” She scoldedplayfully as she turned to her work.

I should be doing the same. So Isat down and turned to the endless amount of paperwork on my table. I sighedand started the boring task of sorting through them and balancing numbers. Iwas almost falling asleep on my keyboard when my phone buzzed.

Hi. It’s James. I am currently in the Port of Spain. I saw the sunlightand remembered your bright smile. I wish you were here to see what I see. Youwould love it here. Take care of yourself. You know that I love you. Maybe oneday you would find it in your heart to love me too.

I stifled a laugh and shook my headand typed a reply.

Hey James. Thank you for that message. Take care of yourself.

And there was no way in heaven orhell that I would love you. Amen. That was that. James Delos Reyes aka TheStalker was the cadet who stalked, watched, obsessed over me in the past. Hewas not that creepy. In fact, some would say he was really nice, in spite ofhis obsessive nature. He would send me things from wherever he was, love notes,messages and even bring me nice little trinkets. He would never fail to remindme never to starve myself and to keep healthy. I mean, if he wasn’t stalkerish,I would even call him sweet.

Why don’t you like me? Is there anything wrong with me? I finishedsketching your face already. I think it looks quite good. I’ll give this to youwhen I return.

The last thing I need was astalker’s sketch of me. But I thanked him just the same. I wouldn’t want him tocome home because of insanity or to jump overboard because of me, so Iswallowed the bitter pill and let him be. Besides his little texts are an egoboost for me. Who wouldn’t want to be called an Angel anyway?

He loves me. I know it. He shows itwell enough for me to know. But I don’t that’s the problem. If I did, then theworld would all be good for him. But my heart won’t beat for him not even asingle tic. And he’s not the only one. I know of at least a handful of boys whowould willingly donate their right kidney for me and jump over a rocky clifftoo if I ask. But, it wasn’t something to brag about. In fact, I worry aboutthem. They shouldn’t love me. They should give their love to someone else. Theyshould give their heart to someone who would love them in return.

I am not the only one who has thatproblem too. Elle, Kat, Jo have the same problem. In the world where weoperate, it was quite obvious that we would be the only objects of theiraffection. We are the Ma’ams that they adore from afar. A little breathe offresh air from their sausage fest, and testosterone filled ships, traininghalls and lives.

Elle has a handful of people at herbeck and call. Kat as well and Jo, even in her quietness has abarrage of admirers. Never has a week gone bywhere one of us does not receive a note, a text, a dinner or lunch invite,chocolates, flowers and even presents from these avid fans. We feel likecelebrities in the office – celebrities who instead of being treated likeprincesses, slave over paperwork and computers to get them to set sail.

Today was Jo’s day. I guess thereare still a few romantics in this world. Today, JoanneGaler got a humongous (and I mean HUGE! Likeas big as a personal refrigerator kind of huge) teddy bear, an equallyamazing  bouquet of flowers, and thatmini pillow from an anonymous benefactor. It came during today’s Friday high. Wheneveryone is seriously trying to get everything done, and get out of there tostart their weekends. So it was a surprise when the cadets came in with flowersand that huge stuffed animal from Blue Magic.

“Ms. Jo, these came for you.” Thecadet said with a sheepish grin.

I look up to see the present and myeyes widened.  There were teasings, catcalls and bets on who it was and Jo was totally flabbergasted. I couldntcontain my curiosity and dove for the card. I practically fell on my knees whenit said.

 

 

 

 

I was amazed not only because ofthe amazing spelling of SECRET but also with the boldness and honesty ofemotion of whoever gave it to her.

I was half kidding when I said that "Jo,di ko kinaya, tinalo mo ang beauty ko. Sino man yan, pakasalan mo na! Laki ngeffort sayo! Ang laki ng pagmamahal sa iyo!"

Aside from the fact that I was green withenvy because I admit that I want a big teddy bear and some romance too, Iwas also thinking about how many guys would do that in this day and age! Shewas lucky she found one that was a bit out of the times or just a plainromantic. (Even if we do not know who he is).

We are not new to this. Kat, Elleand I have my list of secret admirers too. I had a stalker who sent me anengagement ring, a secret admirer who would pay my bills (I admit he wasuseful) and a secret admirer who would just text me advice at the right timeand would never give his name. Then again, there was the creepy, the corny andworst of all - the annoying.

There is still the thrill ofknowing someone loves you even if you don't know them. Then again, a big partof you is curious to know who that person is. And me with my impatience andcuriosity, I get really annoyed at the fact that people do this behind yourback. I mean, why not just get out and say it? Why not be straight up with yourfeelings? I mean, you already said it! You already gave it and showed theperson you liked them. WHY NOT JUST TELL THEM UPFRONT!? I am sure,anyone who is not stonehearted or numb would appreciate the gesture or evenrespect feelings that you will bring in front of them. I know I do.

Guys that do that only play safe.Seriously, and I think by doing so they are cowards. If you do it once or twicewhile getting the courage to come up to the girl, that's forgivable. But beinga "Secret Admirer" for eternity is dumb. The girl will never get tothank you. She will think that youre a coward and is not serious because younever show yourself. And who knows, what if she already loves/likes you andbecause of your cowardice, you never knew. It could happen.

But enough of this ranting, I watched as Mama may and Miss Glacie practicallyturned a weird shade of green as we examined the card. There was nothing.Nothing at all to tell who it is and Jo was practically beaming with delight.It was big news for a week until one day, I could not contain it and askedabout it again.

“So, did he ever find outwho it was?” I asked during our morningmake-up pow-wow.

“Nah, he doesn’t say who he is.He’s stupid,” Jo was obviously affected by all this and started pouting. “Butwhoever it is I’m grateful.”

“I mean the least he could do istell you his name,” Kat said as she leaned over and got my mascara.

“Or even take you out to dinner,”Eliza piped in checking her blush.

“What a coward,” I said thatmorning. But Little did I know that I was in for a surprise. I came to my deskand found myself staring at a cadet who was bringing in the most amazingbouquet of pink roses. Here comes SecreatAdmirer again, Lucky jo! I thought as I sat down.

But the cadet didn’t stop at Jo’sdesk and instead went straight to me. WHAT. THE . HELL! Me?! Who would besending me that? I thought of names off my list in my head and cocked my head.Hmmm...  I studied it. It wasfifteen  longstems of gorgeous pink roses, bedded onbaby’s breath and beautiful fern  from amystery person. I was flattered, I was flabbergasted that someone would spendat least three thousand pesos on flowers that would wilt, wither and die to winmy heart.

It was Jo’s turn to tease as Igrabbed the card. My eyes went wide as I read it. The card only said.

How about this?

No name, no address, no clue. Noteven a single piece of evidence about the guy who sent it. I went crazythinking about the penmanship, and even called the flowershop. But they sworeup, down left and right to never tell the name of the person who sent it.Besides, they wouldn’t be too sure because they deliver a LOT of roses. It wasfun thinking that it may be from a certain Prince and possibilities ranendless.  I hoped, wished and prayed thatit was from M.R.

Aadmittedly, I was inwardlythrilled. It was nice having flowers as gorgeous as those on your desk. I justdidn't like the stares, intrigue and  thehushed whispered guesses on who sent it. Some said it was Nico Salinas a fourthengineer I used to date. Some even said it was from one of the ships. Othersmused that it was from a certain lawyer who disappeared on me but they all gotit wrong.

At exactly two o clock thatafternoon my cellular phone rang. It was my friend, Jim Palacio. He was one ofmy sweetest and closest and dearest seafarer friends and I was always thrilledto hear from him.

“Jim!” I cheerfully said on thephone. “You would never guess what happened today?”

“Hi, Sassy! How did you like that?”he asked in a weird tone he never used on me before.

“What?” I was confused.

“The roses, did it come?”

I shut up immediately. It was him.I learned who it was from. It wasn’t that I didnt like him. In fact, I do! ButI only liked him as a friend and I would never think in a million years ofdating this person. Why would Jim send me those?

Duh, Sassy! Isn’t it obvious? Itisn’t rocket science! He obviously is in love with you! I thought back to lastnight’s conversation when I thought he was kidding when he admitted that heloves me. I told him that I didn’t believe him. And so this was his reply.So the flowers lost their appeal, I told himthat I didn’t like him except like a best friend or a brother and I thanked himfor the present and insisted then that we just be friends. Yet, he insistedthat he wanted a relationship.

How demanding! Is it just me orboys could be so impatient lately. I find a lot of my suitors as well as Jo’sand Kats and Elle’s are all demanding nitwits who wants to kiss after the firstdate or a dinner date when they just met us. Where are the gentlemen? The kariñosoboys that would woo you and wait? Now, it seems to be all instant. There's nomore courting. No more going to the house and trying to win her heart. Everythingis done through text. Through phone. INSTANTLY. Everything is just like3-in-1 coffee. JUST ADD WATER.

Of course, I know of couples whojust met one day, dated and became a couple the day after. Is that really love?or pure lust? Or maybe desperation? If it works out, then thats amazing andgreat. If not, could that really be considered a relationship? I don’t thinkso.

That afternoon, I approached thegirls and pouted. “I know who it was from.”

They looked at me eagerly. Isighed. “Jim.”

“BEST?!” they all cried out inunison. “But why?!”

“I don’t know. I rejected him. “ Itold them. I felt terrible. I felt like I lost a friend. I mean he’s stillthere. But the bonding that we had before was lost – all because he had to loveme when I didn’t. And this was the worst feeling for a girl. Especially if shefinds that you are a great friend.

“Aww, sweetie,” Elle smiled andhugged me. “It’s going to be ok.”

“Why do we keep finding Mr.Wrongs?” I ask aloud as I put down my coffee.”Where’s Mr. Right? I’m tired ofstupid Secret Admirers and Stalkers. Aren’t you?”

Jo nodded. “I know I am.”

Gossip

Chapter 12: NBSB (No Boyfriend Since Birth)

Chapter 12: NBSB (No Boyfriend Since Birth)

“Eliza! Eliza!!!” The voice of ourboss and friend, Capt. Shigeaki was hear echoing through our office. Elizarolled her eyes at me before she stood up and responded to the boss’ beck andcall. Her desk was full of paperwork. Yet, unlike mine, it was very organized.Mine was what everyone called Disaster onheels.  Being the Documentationsofficer of Matsushiro Shipping, she had a knack for organization and fixingthings even if she was neck deep in them.

I watched her as she entered thedungeon, aka the Boss’ office. Capt. Shigeaki was a kind, funny and sweet soulwhose love for women, golf and drinking went undeterred. He was loud andboisterous and spoke little English, but what we know and what he communicatesis a fun loving, yet determined and  hardworking boss that we all love. After about fifteen minutes, she emerged lookingfrazzled and frowning.  I felt that thatwas my cue.

I stood up to hand her a newdocument she needed to file. “Ms. Elle? What’s wrong?”

She looked up to me and greeted mewith a heavy sigh. “Exams in a week, three crew changes, I have backlog untilthe Jurassic age and I have no rest. I am exhausted. I just want to go away. Ineed a vacation or someone to understand what I am going through. I still havesome problems at home.”

I patted her arm and smiled. “Whatyou need is a boyfriend.”

Her eyes grew wide. “NO! I justneed friends. Friends like you who can talk me through things. I’ll be fine,promise. I’m just a little burned out.” She started filing and I took that as aclue that it was my time to go.

Eliza Rodriguez was my best friendin the office, and possibly in my life. She was a sweet, God-fearing girl who has avery cheerful and open personality. The first time I met her, we immediatelyclicked. I often joke that it was Love at first sight for me and her. It seemedthat she had me from day one. I couldn’t imagine working in Matsushiro withouther.  Eliza was very pretty. She waspetite with a very cute figure.  She hadlong smooth black hair that reaches almost her waist. She was fair-skinned witha little freckle and she looked always prim and proper. Her lips were full andas I joke, very kissable. But there was none who has kissed those lips becausethe beautiful Miss Elle was a NBSB. No Boyfriend Since Birth.

I am not joking or kidding. She wasone of those rare breeds. She has never kissed a guy. She never had arelationship in all her wonderful twenty six years of life. She’s soconservative. She wears very cute yet decent – as in covered up- decentclothing. She barely wears make up and she doesn’t flirt.Although boys go gaga over her, and she getswooed by many, it seems that our señorita is more focused on getting ahead inhear career rather than the tugs of romance. Her first love is the Lord (andrightfully is) and she spends most her free time in Church.

The girls often worry that Elizamight end up an old spinster with the way she’s living her life. But we loveher just the same.  To tell you the truth,I am a little envious of her and I admire her because I know no one this agethat would save herself like that for the ONE person she would love. She wasthe ideal girl we all want to be but can’t be.

It was because of this that we arevery protective of our Elle. Jo, Kat and I take special pains to get to knoweach person who woos our Elle. We investigate, sleuth around and spy on them.We ask people if he’s a good guy or what he really wants from our girl. That’show special she was to us. Though in our minds, we want Eliza to fall in love.We want her to experience its magic so we encourage her to try to open hertriple sealed, vaulted and security locked heart to someone who can make hergiggle like a lost school girl. Perhaps it was 3M Shea. Perhaps it was someoneelse, whoever it was we have to make sure that he’s deserving of her.

Lunch time rolled around and wewatched Elle push around things on her plate. I frowned and poked herworriedly. “Eat, you need to build up your strength.”

“I am just so tired and sleepy. Errolcalled again last night at one in the morning. I told him not to. He justdoesn’t listen! I mean, sometimes we don’t even talk anymore, is that crazy?”She asked us.

Three knowing smiles appeared onour faces.  “What time did you sleep?”Kat started to ask casually. Though I know what’s building in her brain.

“About three in the morning, Idon’t think I can do this like this all the time. I’ll get sick. I couldn’tconcentrate enough as it is,” she complained.

“If you don’t like it then put thephone down! Simple,” Jo said through a mouthful of food.

“But, the poor guy made effort! Heeven asked a little non-English speaking boy for help to find a telephone boothto call me. Who could drop the phone on someone who made that much effort forme? I mean, seriously. He was almost in tears because of frustration! Isn’t hestupid?” She said half laughing but her smile betrayed fondness.

“That’s it, she’s in love,” Ideclared to her protesting gaze. “Don’t deny it, Missy!” I shook my fork ather. “You wait up for his call. You’re obviously fond of him. You talk abouthim nonstop, and tell us about your conversations with him in full detail andactions. You smile at the mention of his name. You have never done any of thisfor any of your millions of suitors and admirers. What do you call it?” Idemand as the three of us look at her and expect an answer.

She looked at us and started togiggle, defeated. “Sassy, you wench! Okay, okay! Maybe I do like him a little…”she hid behind her glass.

“A little?” Jo insisted a littlemore. She was good at that. “From the sound of it you might like him more thanthat.”

“Okay, I like him,” she admitted.“But I’m not in love with him. Not yet! Remember, I have to wait and I don’tknow if he’s my God’s Will yet. “

“Sounds like she’s already thinkingof him as that,” Kat looked at me and I nodded. “If she’s thinking thatalready, doesn’t that mean something?”

“Definitely something,” I put downmy glass and grinned at Elle. “I think our little Elle’s in love and might soondrop off our single girl roster.”

“HEY! No… told you I’d be the lastto go,” Elle protested at me. “ I mean he tells me he wants to marry me but,no, I don’t think I am ready for that. I wont be ready until my brothergraduates.”

“When will that be? When you’rewrinkled and old?” Carlos said piping in the conversation. He was ourguy/heterosexual male friend in the office we can open anything about. He wasin with us.

“If you answer him, it doesn’t meanyou have to marry him, sweetie,” I say sweetly smiling at her. She glared atme.

“Sassy’s got a point, you know,”Kat answered as she peeled her banana back a little more.

Elle decided she had enough of thespotlight and willingly turned it to me. “How about Sassy? She’s the eldest among us. She should get hitched beforeme.”

“Nah, no eligible or even partiallyeligible bachelor around. My prospect died. Mr. Perfect wasn’t so perfect andI’m looking for Mr. Just-right but he’s nowhere to be found!” I fake a tear.“I’ll be like Elle, dying like an old spinster!”

“He should be coming soon, Isuspect,” Kat grinned at Elle. “He flies home in a week.”

“Eh?” I blink again. I pretended tobe clueless, but I knew that they were talking about the elusive Mr. MitchellRussel. I admit I was curious.

Jo grinned. “Oh, it’s going to beinteresting alright. Let’s see if the Ice Queen doesn’t melt into a puddle whenshe sees him.”

“ I have expensive taste, Jo,” Ijoke but then again, curiosity was killing me. “What does he look like?”

“Really tall, about six feet Ithink,” Eliza said raising her arms for emphasis. “ I think he’s still singletoo.”

I started laughing and stood up.“This is pointless until I see living proof of a prince in this office.I want chocolate. Let’s get some.”

They followed me out the door whenKat suddenly stopped short. “I think I’ll stay behind. I don’t feel likegetting anything.”

I look at her quizzically and thenspied a buzzing cellular phone in her hand. I nodded with understanding. “Okay.See you later.”

I soon catch up with Jo and Ellewho were talking about work again. I tune them out as I get lost in my ownthoughts.  Who was this mystery Princethey are talking about? I looked at Elle in fond jealousy. The girl’s luckythat she’s in love – even if she doesn’t admit it.

I want to be the one who’s giddy inlove. I want to go crazy thinking about that one special person in my life. Iwant to be absolutely sure that I would be head over heels. But I am not, andthere seems to be no one around me that I could fall in love with. No, I am notrushing. It’s just that I want someone. Maybe it’s just today.

In times like this, I do the nextbest thing to falling In love. Eat chocolate. It’s basically the same, exceptlove doesn’t really make you fat. Since I am partially depressed that day, Ichose my poison carefully. I pick out a huge bar of Twix, some white chocolatesand a several  Reese’s peanut butter cupsand looked around for something with caffeine in it to drink. At least when Iam in my greatest sugar rush mode, I would never think about it. I would be toocrazy hyper and happy to think about insane things like love and romance.

“Sassy’s depressed.” Elizacommented as she saw me paying for my poison.

“No, I just want something sweet,”I defended myself.

“Yeah, you do,” Jo scoffed. “Abouta million calories of it. Don’t whine at me if all that chocolate goes intoyour butt.”

“Shut up!” I giggle as I claim myprize from the girl at the counter who looked at me. “ I barely eat. Give mesome liberty!”

Eliza poked me. “It’s ok, we loveyou anyway, even if you’re a big fat blob.”

“But I’m not fat!” I protested as Iopened a peanut butter cup.

“After that, you will be!” sheteased. “At least, Errol says that he likes me just the way I am. He doesn’teven want me to lose weight or other guys might look at me and steal me away!”

Jo and I stopped and giggled atthat statement. “She’s a goner.” Jo said as she took the peanut butter cup fromme and claimed it for herself. I let her. I didn’t want to be greedy and fat.

“She’s in love,” I swooned as Joswatted me and continued our journey back to the office.

Eliza looked back at us. “I heardthat! I’m not in love! I told you! We are just getting to know each other.That’s it. There’s nothing wrong about that.”

“Yeah right.” I scoffed.

We entered the office and went straightto the locker room. Kat was already there, brushing her teeth. I wink at her.“I confirmed it. She’s got it bad for Errol.”

Elle smacked me.

“OW!”I half laughed and half massaged the spotwhere she hit me.

“You deserve it.”

“Stop denying and admit it!” I saidas I took out my toothpaste.

“NEVER! I’ll never be with ErrolShea. NEVER!” She said defiantly as she started to brush her teeth.

Kat , Jo and I started to giggle.We knew we are going to have a ball once she eats those words. It was quite obviousthat she will. Maybe not now, but soon… The No boyfriend since birth is fallingin love for the first time.

Gossip

Chapter Eleven:Someday my Prince will come

Chapter 11:  Someday my Prince will come.

Ring! Ring!

Good morning, Matsuhiro Shipping! This is Miss Sassy. How mayI help you?” I sang onto the phone, cradling it between my neck and my shoulderas I filed my nails. I listened to silence. Apparently, the person on the otherline hung up. Whatever. I didn’t care.

Today was Tuesday. There was nocrew change. There was no seminar. Nothing to be rushed. There was nothing to do.

It was one of those days when Iwould rather go home. But alas, I am a prisoner within these four walls untilfive o’clock. I would rather be shopping, or in a spa getting a massage or myhair done.  I drum my French manicured pictures and Istare into my computer, bored to death and dreaming of the day when someprince, preferably looking like Yamashita Tomohisa or Nishikido Ryo – or evenDingdong Dantes or Victor Basa, would come my way and sweep me off my prettySteve Madden stilettoed feet. But from the looks of things, I, SassyCastellon,  would die a stylish oldspinster unless I do something about it. Frankly, I don’t want to die unmarriedand alone. I am much too pretty for that.

I whip out my compact and check myappearance for the eleven millionth time. I know, I looked great. But for what?No one worth it ever comes my way. What I get are old, crusty, dark, stinkyseafarers who smell like smoke or ash who try to woo me with their jokes, smileor stutter at me. Occassionally a young man would brave the front, but therewould be many times that he would be too shy or too young for me to date.

I have been in Matsushiro Shippingfor almost a year now. In the past I crushed on some fair faced, chinky eyedDreamboy.( He turned out taken by a round pink thing called Peaches, and Ifrustrated myself.) I also liked the Little Brother for a short insaneinterlude in my life. Well, after that scene with Mr. Dreamboy and Robin, Igave up. Maybe my Prince would not be a sailor. Maybe he would be a lawyer, ordoctor, or Realtor – or better yet, a real prince. I sigh and tap my cheeks.Wake up, Sassy, you’re being delirious already.

Don’t get me wrong. I HAVE tried todate. I dated Tofee, the cute little dancing sailor who tried to sweep me awaywith a dance and a sweet smile. In fact, we had a second date – and a third –but romance failed and cupid’s arrow didn’t hit its mark. I have tried to dateoutside as well, but after the twenty first failed blind date, my friends aswell as myself seemed were resigned to give up and leave everything to fate.Who knows? Prince Charming was just around the corner. Maybe he was stuck in somekind of love traffic that made him terribly and most fashionably late.

I look across me at Joanna Galer,one of my best friends and also known as Sporty Spice,who stuck her tongue out at me.

“I’m bored,” I call out to her witha pout. I look at my well filed nails. No use in filing them over and overunless I don’t want any more nails. “ Entertain me.” I whined and pouted.

“Work.” She told me as she lookedup to me.

“Done. Besides, I don’t see youworking.” I smiled and flipped my now long black hair over my shoulder. She smirked and I refilled the papers on mydesk for the ten millionth time and then stood up to check on Eliza. I waspromoted, so I had to move away from her and I missed her during times likethese when I had nothing to do but open my Facebook. She and I used to sit nextto each other and chatter during times like these.

I pretend to hand over something toher and then lean over her desk. “Miss, Can I have my documents please?” Itease her.

She looked up and faked a frown.“Get an appointment slip.” She giggled and lowered her voice. “What’s goingon?”

“I’m bored and desperate. No Princeyet so I have to wait a looooooooong while for him,” I say in my mostmelodramatic voice.

“So, wait!” Elle grinned at me andswatted me with a pile of papers. “He’s gonna come. He will come. You’re prettyand smart. Boys go gaga over you and I know the person you will love will bethe same.”

“Thanks, I needed that,” I huggedher and then looked around to se Kat coming towards us.

Kat approached us, bearing a flightschedule. But I knew she just wanted to be in with the gossip. “Someone’scoming down, a Prince.” She winked at me. “This might be our Secret weapon.”

“Eh?” I look at her quizzically.“As if! There are zero. Null. Zilch. There are no good looking, princely sailorin this company. “ I have looked and God knows how long I have tried to findone to no avail. There was no one.

“Oh yeah?” She challenged me and winked at Eliza who seemed to understand her.“Right, Elle?”

“Oh! Right! “ Elle started togiggle and high five Kat. “there is ONE. Even your high standards may besurpassed by this one. Watch for him. His name is Mitchell Russel. We’ll see ifhe doesn’t catch your attention.”

“Oh,yeah. Then show me! Where ishe?” I asked doubting the existence of such creature. I have searched everywhere but there was none that I know of. Besides, if there is, then that wouldhave to be taken. Like Mr. Dreamboy or like that hot 2nd Mate fromMV Benihana. Wonder if he’s single?

“You’ll see, he’s coming home fromSylvan Green in a few weeks.” Kat said as she looked over my shoulder andsignalled. “we better disperse, the Queen’s eyes are on us.”

I saunter off to my desk, wonderingabout the person they were talking about. Could there be really a handsomeprince in this Zero Eligible Bachelor zone that I did not know about? Maybe hewas handsome, but maybe he was gay. The name sounded either nice or gay. Ishook my head and giggled as I pictured him in my head. I imagined a prettyboy, like very pretty boy- with girlish features in pink coming into Matsushiroshipping. It was quite comical.

Lunch time came around and thetopic was about boys as usual. Elle was talking about Errol Shea, the thirdmate she apparently receives calls from every time he gets a chance. He wasreally sweet and I think the guy is head over heels about her. LastValentine’s  he sent her a ginormousbouquet of pink roses, chocolates and a teddy bear that made me positivelygreen with envy. He also calls her from Italy, Rome, Panama, or whatever portor place that he had access to signal or a telephone. Everyone who would knowthis could tell that he is either a stalker or that he was wooing the mostconservative person in the universe.

Elle was ending with saying that hewas bothered by it all. Kat, Jo and I exchanged knowing looks and giggled.

“I mean, I really don’t care. Hesaid he’s going to call when he gets to Panama.” She said as she took a bite ofher meal. “He says he loves me. I don’t believe him. At least, not until hesays it to my face.  It’s so easy to say

“She doesn’t care, but she couldn’tstop talking about him since this morning!,” I giggled to which the girls didthe same. Elle swatted me.

“And she knows when he’d call, Ithink she’s going to expect it,” Jo agreed as she pointed to Elle with a spoon.

“And! She’s in love with him,” Katfinished her off with a flourish.

Elle responded to all this with agrowing blush on her cheeks. “NO! I’m not! Never. Like EWWW! Besides, I haveplans, beautiful plans for my family and I. I couldn’t afford to have aboyfriend right now, my brother’s still studying! Plus, I’m way too busy.Didn’t I tell you I wasn’t going to have a boyfriend until I’m twenty seven?”

We all laughed until Elle turnedthe spotlight on to Kat who was polishing off her rice. “Speaking of in love,isn’t Papa M coming home sometime too? Hasn’t he been wooing you all year aswell?”

“As a matter of fact, we have adate when he gets back,” Kat announced smugly. We all look at her expectantly.She loved being the center of attention and she lavished it. She kept us all insuspense.

“and? Will you drop off the singlelady roster?” I ask her. The suspense was killing me.

“Nah, not yet. It’s too fun to besingle. Besides, life is too short and boys are too plenty. I just lovereceiving gifts from them, don’t you, Sass?” She grinned at me and wink. “ Ithought I saw someone hand you a present this morning. Who wasit from?”

It was my turn to frown. It wastrue. Someone handed me a package that came from Southern Gale, the vesselwhere my little stalker was serving. I shook my head and rolled my eyes. “TheStalker.”

A collective EWWWWWWWW! filled thekitchen followed by hysterical giggles. It had to be a few minutes before they cameback to life.

“What did he give you this time?Swords? Fish? A love note?” Jo was practically rolling on the floor laughingShe loved teasing me about him.

“Maybe he gave her a horse thistime? Or a live pig from his farm,” Kat was still hysterical. She looked cuteas she was doubled over with laughter at the thought of a pig coming into theoffice for me.  She had to wipe awaytears off her eyes.

“A bunch of postcards, a kilo ofBatangas coffee and Buko pie,” I said simply as I shook my head in amusement.These girls could really be something. Maybe, that’s why I love them to bits.“I’ll have it cut for a snack later. Except Im on a diet so im not eating it.Not even if you force me and tell me that you will rip up my Louis Vuitton.”

“Or youre afraid to be charmed bythe very very very insistent Mr. Dagul! Hahah!” Elle said as she laughed at me.“Admit it, its kinda nice to be receiving gifts even if theyre from weirdstalkers,right?”

I smile sheepishly. “Yup, it is. Singleis good. I get so much presents, and admirers – and stalkers. I mean, we getthe bulk of the nice things. But I am getting lonely. Honestly, I wish princecharming would soon come and sweep me off my feet.”

“And The romantic strikes again,”Elle giggled. “He’ll come, we just have to wait, right?”

“Maybe Mr. Mitchell would be goodfor her,” Kat piped in. “Maybe he’s your match.”

We stood up from the table andgathered our things to head to the locker room to brush our teeth and getready. “Is he really THAT good looking?” I wondered aloud as I put on my blush.

They exchanged knowing looks and simply laughed. I wasinclined to believe it was the opposite and dismissed the fact off my prettylittle head. Lunch was over anyway, it’s time to pretend to work – AGAIN.
Gossip

Chapter 10: World Peace and Whispering Peons

Chapter Ten: World Peace and Whispering Peons
Days turned to weeks after the meeting. Darvin was better – even though I fear retaliation. I fear the whiplash of what I did. Though, it did serve him right. I knew that he was making an effort to at least follow through. He no longer wore the bandana, he was not that late anymore. He worked more efficiently and he kept me at bay. I liked it that way. He always kept a safe distance from me. He avoided each gaze and responded to me like I was an alarm or something. He glared at me many times to which I respond to it with a sweet smile.

It wasn’t the most comfortable work relationship. It was more of hate-hate and we were usually on the verge of blowing up. But because we had promised to try to get along ( or rather, he had promised that), I was forced to play nice with him. It wasn’t exactly easy when he constantly tried to pull things out of his ass that would piss me off or make me want to throw him tied to a cinder block for a nice swim in Manila Bay and forget about it.

But towards the end of the month, I was feeling more magnanimous. I looked over to the Batcave and found myself wanting to ask if he was ok. He seemed to be suffering from the neverending sniffles, which I, myself hate. He was slumped over his computer, working, as he sneezed, wheezed and coughed. I sighed and found myself sneaking in a couple of my antibiotics, a tall glass of Hot Kalamansi Juice and a pillow on his desk during lunch. I felt like I did a good thing.

It was hard to keep mad anyway when we work together so closely. The Audit was coming. We were too busy to hate each other. So the feelings had time to mellow down and fade away – of course, not entirely. By the time I realized it, it was done. I had no more anger for him. What was in place of hate was a sense of sadness. Maybe I was too harsh. Maybe I was wrong.

I should make it up to him. Really, I mean he wasn’t all that bad. Maybe I misjudged him. Maybe… I don’t know. I look up to see him working in his batcave. I cocked my head and looked up when he signaled to me. It was kind of our silent communication that only the two of us understood.

“I’ll give it to you in a sec,” I told him as I turned to my computer and printed out the file he transferred over to me. I stood up and handed him the last of our report. “Give that to me, I’ll fix that. We deserve a toast. We’re done. “

“We are?” He echoed to me incredulously with eyes I haven’t seen before. They were actually kind eyes.

“Yup, Good Job Sir Darwin,” I smiled up at him and gave him a high five. “We finished in the nick of time.” I showed him my calendar and timeline and it showed that we have less than a day, in fact about an hour and a half til we were at the Guillotine for not submitting our work.

“Nice,” He grinned with that tired yet satisfied look on his fair features. “Hey, let’s celebrate!”

“Uh-hmmm…” I nodded. “Let me finish putting this together and checking everything over. As soon as I get this to the DESK, we can celebrate.”

“Right. I’ll get back to you then,” He nodded and then ran off to rescue some poor helpless soul whose computer just broke down, has no ink or just being stupid.
I fixed our report and finally finished it. It felt like a baby in my arms as I carefully double checked the details that Darwin and I carefully slaved over for a few weeks. Yep, we were indeed done and in right form. I decided to hand it to him and give him the honors of turning it over to the Queens.
He came back around with a thumbs up sign and a friendly smile. I returned it. And there was peace in Matsushiro Shipping, at the very least, for the moment.
---
Since the thing with Darwin was over, there was really nothing to talk about anymore. I was done ranting to the whole world about it. We were fine. It was as if, I never really hated him. (Well, not quite…) But I knew, I always knew that this wouldn’t last for long.

Our grapevine, or the MNN (Matsushiro News Network) was a place where news never sleeps. The eyes of the peons of our good company were always peeled for the latest chismis. The walls indeed have ears and you can never keep a secret in this good company. So, it was a good idea, either to be as transparent as much as you can be or, be invisible.

You see, they are never satisfied. When things are too quiet in Matsushiro Shipping, you can be sure that there is something brewing in their tiny little brains. Their beady little eyes are always watching, much like reporters going after a good story. They research the details out, asking, prying, poking and watching..

“Hey, Sassy?”

“Hmm?”

I looked over to Mommy May who was putting on her make-up in our usual morning routine. I had my earphones on, with some music blasting in my ear. “What is it?” I was deciding whether to go smokey eyes or bright that day.

“Do you know Mark Ong?” She was now putting iridescent pink on her eyelids. I shudder and resist the urge to correct her.

“Who is that?” I asked. It was an honest question. I didn’t exactly recall a Mark Ong , unless he’s the cute dark haired guy at the club the other day – but no, he was Mike Ongpin. That couldn’t be right. I looked at her
quizzically and blinked my perfect bright eyes at her.

“He’s one of our sailors,” She started as she studied my innocent face. “I think he’s taking a fancy to our Kat.”

“Oh?” I looked at her. Now that I think about it, she did mention something about a cute engineer. What was his name again? Macky?

“You didn’t know?” She asked me again.
I shook my head. I was being honest. Though, I did hear that the guy kept on calling her. I guess I am just not good with names. “Nah-uh!” I was now slicking on my favorite coral lipstick and checking myself in the glass. Perfect, as usual!

“What about it?” I asked as I brushed out my long mane.

“Just a random thought,”She smiled and then turned the key to her locker. She was obviously lying, Maybe there was something that she wanted to know and wanted me to find out. “I’ll go ahead dearest!”
I smile and watch her leave. Suddenly, I was curious. What was that about?

During lunch, I catch up with Kat. I was curious about the bit of news that I got from our Mommy May so I ask her casually. “Sis? Do you know a Mark Ong?”

I wasn't really prying. I was more of-- well... you get the point...

She stared at me and her fork stopped in mid-air. “What about Mark Ong?” She feighned being casual as a furious blush rose up her cute cheeks.

“Ms. May was asking about him earlier,” I said as I sipped my water.

“Oh?” Elle pushed her lower lip out and wrinkled her nose. She gets like that when she disapproves of something, “I smell a rat.”

“Or two,” Jo piped in. “I heard Ms. V talking about her too.”

“Eh?” I stared at them. Ok, I am out of the loop. Tell me what rock I crawled under and that I didn’t know anything. Apparently, I am oblivious to the whole world. I’m usually on top of things too. What’s wrong with me?

“Well, apparently she thinks that it’s wrong for single ladies to date, maybe because she isn’t so young herself?” She pouted.

“Heh? Well, they aren’t the only one talking and Kat isn’t the only topic,” Elle nodded.”I heard from Daisy upstairs that they’ve been on the grapevine about Sass and her too.Apparently, pretty single girls are hot these days.”

My brows furrowed at this news. “What about me?”

“Eh, something about your past that you’re not blatantly sharing, “ Elle was now putting on mascara. “You had a past, Sassy. That is something – yet their bird brains cannot process it.”

“Nor can they understand why you are desirable,” Kat added as she handed me the lipgloss she freely borrowed from my kit.

“Hmm…” I thought a minute.” I could answer the latter one.” I smiled.

“Youre desirable because you’re seriously one hot piece of Sassy ass, love!” Jo squeezed one of my butt cheeks before ducking out to leave first before I could chase her.

I play-glared at her but smiled. “She’s right you know.”

The girls and I laughed. Insecurities were past us. We were just being girls, being beautiful and having the time of our single lives. Besides, they don’t like it? Then they would have to deal with it!

Nov. 17th, 2008

Gossip

Chapter 8: Tears on my Keyboard

Chapter 8:  Tears on my Keyboard

 

I am totally not myself today. It’s another Wednesday Morning. I haven’t been myself for over two days. I guess it is the joint feeling of being down, someone putting you down and making you feel down. It just seems that I cannot take it anymore. From a scale of one to ten, my mood would most likely be a nice big fat zero and it will not rise in scale any time soon. I feel like I am a ticking time bomb, that any time now, I will burst and flood the office with tears of pure anguish, frustration, annoyance, and sadness.


There are many reasons for this apparent depression. The first, and the most obvious is that some people, or the NETWORK is trying to pry into my life. The devil in particular, has been working his evil magic on me. Trying to bring me down at any cost. I have been trying so hard to keep a straight face in the office to no avail. In fact, more than once, my pretty little eyes have gone and glared at the horrible beast.

 

It started with Ref. 2589. When I succeeded, I bet he vowed revenge. He wanted me down and out. What he has against me, I don’t know. But what I have against him is another matter. If I could list the many things that I have against him, I would probably use up a whole ream of paper – legal sized, with narrow margins.

 

Honestly, what the hell is his problem?  I am here doing my work patiently and slowly with a LOT of errors (mostly, thanks to him) because of my lack of training and my lack of guidance from my supposed higher ups. I don’t really mind working or getting to know each job. I love learning. It is just that it does take time to learn the job.  But I could not do it alone, I know I need still the guidance of the people who knew what to do.

 

But of course, it was customary in this office that people should do self-discovery therefore I was left all alone with nothing. I started from scratch. I started from the bottom. Which even if I don’t mind, I wish that they gave me even just a little guidance. But not only was I NOT given a manual to work from, I also was not guided, trained or taught the proper way to do things in the office. I was like a blind chicken with its head cut off – running without knowing where to run, what to do or why I am running.

 

Of course I am not bitter (Insert blatant sarcasm here), I am MAD and when I am mad, angry or frustrated – I crave one thing- CHOCOLATE. Though, chocolate would ruin my perfect diet (I have already gone from a size eight to a six and I am very proud of myself.) I know I need the endorphin boost to survive the day. Because GOD knows how many times I have ducked into the file room to stomp, scream, shout, or let out a few tears of frustration in this office.

 

Besides, it was not only me. It was practically the whole staff who was feeling this way. Eliza was pouting the whole time. Kat wasn’t even chatting with me. Jo was quiet – too quiet. And even Robin wasn’t making any small talk. It was horrible. It was like I walked into the twilight zone and everyone were working drones, doing nothing but work, speaking nothing but work related stuff. Or maybe they are zombies, the living dead – or simply not human.


It was as if the laughter was drained from our usually sun shiney grinning and happy office. All because one person decided to be the Grinch and because he did not have any friends who wanted to talk to him and have a little fun. No jokes were heard. All that was heard was just the click clacking of the keyboard, the typewriter and an occasional printer. It was creepy. I almost could not take it.

 

But I bet he was enjoying himself. It was his kind of atmosphere anyway. It was duller than a bunch of emo kids staring at each other thinking of the coolest way to die. Gah, you wouldn’t want to be there. I didn’t want to be there.

 

The second thing that put the smile out of my face was the fact that I actually discovered that I like my little brother. LIKE. As in more than a friend, more than a brother – and it really scares me. I haven’t had a boyfriend in a long time and this feeling that I am falling in love with someone that is more than a crush takes me back to memories that are filled with regret, pain and heartache.

 

I know, I know. He’s not Rick. He’s Robin. They both still start with an R. And everything with Rick started with this friendship turned to love deal that I thought would be the best for me. In fact, I almost married him. I was so blind and stupid.

 

So, here I am, back turned to the person on my right, trying not to swoon every time he passes by and trying not to look into his perfect little eyes. But, OH MY GOD! Does he look good in glasses or what?!

 

I distracted myself from anger, annoyance and the temptation to stare and drool over the little one.

 

Four vessels were leaving that week. It was really good for me to be busy. It kept me from thinking too much of things that I shouldn’t be thinking of. It stopped me from looking at people I should not be looking at.

 

The week went on like that. Me, avoiding Robin like a plague, talking to him only when needed – trying to keep busy when I am not and me trying to avoid the gaze of the Network- to no avail. By Friday I was ready to burst. I was ready to scream and cry and shout, and it was something that could not be contained by the file room. This was intense. This was extreme need to find a soundproof room with padded walls to try to contain everything.

 

I was going crazy. So, the girls and I went out to lunch to relieve my stress. The stress was semi-relieved by the time we were going back. Thinking all the while that our one hour and thirty minute lunch break was still effective. I strolled casually into the office. Dilly-dallying my way to the locker room to freshen up and retouch my make-up.

 

Oh how wrong I was for that, because as soon as I stepped out of the room, two pairs of glaring eyes and a pair of mischievous eyes followed me to my cubicle. I had no idea what I did so I sat down, checked my mail and started to work. Suddenly, I got a message on the office messenger.

 

Ops- Robin: Hey, you’ve been avoiding me. What’s up?

 

Admin- Sassy: And you’re getting me into trouble. I haven’t been

avoiding you.

 

Ops Robin: Of course you weren’t I was just imagining that you just refused to talk to me at the Copy Machine.

 

Admin Sassy: Nope.

 

Ops Robin: Btw, you ARE in trouble.

 

Admin Sassy: Why? What did I do? I just had lunch.

 

Ops Robin: You’re late. The Devil and the Queen have been talking.

 

Admin – Sassy: Oh Shit. Really?

 

Ops Robin: Yep. Be careful.

 

Admin Sassy: What did I do? Break’s til one-thirty.

 

Ops Robin: Nope. Only until One o clock. I have to go.

 

Admin Sassy: Thanks for the heads up. Mwah.

 

Ops Robin: I don’t want that I want the real thing.

 

Thud. That hit me. What the hell? What if I just went over and gave him a kiss? That would be totally uncalled for and totally inappropriate, but would it be worth it? I contemplated this fact for a few seconds in my head and then closed my eyes.

 

Not him, bitch. It would be like kissing your hot little brother. Oh my god, incest. I giggled a little at this horrible little idea.I then, looked over at him and made a face then stood up casually and got a few things I needed to mail out and went to the Queen. She looked up casually as I put on my sweetest smile.

 

“I need money to mail out some stuff,” I raised four envelopes. “I’m sorry I was late. Break isn’t over til one-thirty right?”

 

“Lunch break is from twelve to one,” She said looking at me.

 

“Oh? I swear the sign at our door said until one thirty. When was that implemented? Did someone miss out on my desk when the memo was circulated? I didn’t get that memo,” I said looking concerned as she studied me.

 

“The sign at the door says, one dear,” she told me.

 

“I should show you, it was probably mis-printed then. Quitil, can you get the Lunch Break sign for me please?” I requested with as much sugar that words can take.

 

Quitil launched like a rocket at my command and was back before I knew it.

 

“ Thanks Quitil,” I gave him a wink as a prize. I turned the sign and it said One-thirty. Ha! “ Here Ma’am, I should really make a new one. It’s so ugly already.”

 

The Queen was rather speechless at my offer and simply nodded. I grinned. “Well, I am sorry I am late. I guess there will be no more lunch outs for me, “ I sighed melodramatically and flounced back to my seat.

 

Eliza shook her head and started to giggle uncontrollably.

 

“What?!” I said innocently as I printed out a new lunch sign. “I swear! I didn’t get the memo!”

 

“Nothing, you’re amazing,” She commented as she went back to her encoding her mountain of yellow folders.

 

“Hmm…” I smiled as I finished the sign with a flourish and handed it to the awaiting foot soldier. “ Make sure everyone knows that lunch is shortened by thirty minutes. We have no coffee break too.”

 

“Yes ma’am,” The obedient, unsuspecting lad smiled and simply went off.

 

The devil did not leave his office the whole day. He knew that he had done something wrong and he knew I was on his tail. It was only a matter of time until I snapped and told him off. But I had a better idea. I turn to my e-mail and write our boss a letter. She was returning tommorow. So, I could talk to her.

 

Dear Ma'am ,

 

Good Morning! How is your vacation? I hope all is well and everything is really good. I am hoping you had a good rest.

 

Thank you for the opportunity that you have given me and the chance to work for this company. I will do my very best not to let you, down. I know the pressure that is on my shoulders to be the best. I am trying my very best and please know that I will give this company everything that I can give.

 

I love my job. I love the people in the workplace - except one. I love the business, I love the pace. Plus, the fact that my stakes are high on this company because my grandfather built this gave me reason to care about everything about this company so much. I appreciate all the work you have put in the company and truly think that you are a blessing to this company.

 

However, I have some things I really need to let out of my system. I don't really know how to approach you with this. I do not know who to talk to about this problem. I have not been happy with the training that was given me during this training period. The fact taht I have to learn almost everything through trial and error, which caused the company a lot of grief (and I apologize for it), is something that I really did not expect from an established company like Matsushiro. 

 

I was given the important task of being the communications officer of Matsushiro through the guidance of Sir Darwin. However, I feel that the training was not enough. ( In fact, he left me alone after only 30 minutes of training) and left me with an address book with wrong names and barely any orientation of what I am to do. I tried my hardest to learn by myself and I know that I have caused the company much grief because of my many errors. I apologize from the bottom of my heart.

 

I admit that we have recieved many angry emails from our principals, due to my ignorance of the process, some due to my carelessness. This would not have happened if proper training has been given me.I felt that I was to blame in many of the e-mails and have cried over it in frustration. In fact, I was always scared of a reprimand - especially coming from my father and grandfather about my lack of competence. I apologize deeply for all of this.

 

I try to correct each mistake that I make, and slowly I am getting everything right. I only wish we could have avoided the mistakes. I only wished someone has guided me. I apologize for the mistakes I have made. I swear that I will do better.

 

I know I just started but I have noticed some things that may need improvement. These are only suggestions and comments. I don't know if I am entitled to them yet, but I could not take this sitting down.  I want this company to grow and these things I have noticed could be a hindrance to our growth. I have also spoken to my father about some of these, but I know it is only proper to inform you about some of the things I have noticed.

 

I notice one person who sleeps on the job in the middle of the day. I had to knock on the glass of his office to ask him for the attachments that I needed to send TOP URGENT however he has not done it. It has been like that always, I always end up compromised whenever I have attachments because he has not done it soonest. I get my attachments usually after two hours or so of my request. Sometimes even longer, and we get reprimanded by FMS for this slowness.  This did not only happen one time but many times and I am getting really concerned that this may reflect on my evaluation.  This only did not happen to me but also other staff members. We staff members are concerned that constant delay may hurt relations between us and the principal. We have been compromised many times because of his lack of attention. We have been unfairly reprimanded because of him.  I believe that it is time to take action upon it.

 

 One of our visitors from the Principal Side asked me when we had a meeting why Sir Darwin was wearing a bandana ( that is not work appropriate) to work. He said that it was our responsibility to look and act like professionals at work. I am not going to comment on the work he does because I really do not know what to say. But I have heard many of the staff members complain to me that he does almost nothing during the day and that it doesnt take a day to build a computer, and why the computers are stuck in the cubicle, making the office look dirty and unprofessional.

 

There is a huge rift between the staff right now because of him. The fact is that most people do not like Sir Dave in the office, and cannot talk because he is close to you and  the other boss. People have told me that Staff members have left and cried because of him. In fact, I did cry last Friday out of frustration - most of the staff were here to witness it. I am just frustrated that the rest of the people in the staff are working so hard and he belittles or gives false information about the rest of us. In fact, I heard him say that "Madali lang naman ang trabaho ng liason officer, bakit sila hirap na hirap." I get the feeling that he just needs a nudge in the right direction to set him right.

 

The staff and I wish to work in a happy office we enjoy to work in and not one where we have to whisper to each other to talk or are not freee to smile. I believe that we could resolve this issue and make an office where there is unity, love and harmony. I believe that a happy office is a productive office.  Right now however, some of us are not happy that we have to tiptoe around him during work and work around his schedule or moods.

 

I hope you take this matter and read this letter with an open mind. I am only thinking of the company. You know that I have no reason to lie to you or to destroy his good reputation to you. I only wish that he changes these unprofessional behavior that he has been doing as it does not reflect well on the company especially with our Audit coming on January/ February.

 

I hope you also see this letter coming from a very concerned person. I am sorry I had to give this to you as soon as you came back but my patience has been tried and tested. Thank You for listening. I hope you can help me with this concern, I really have no one to turn to regarding this matter. I am not going to give up on making this company better as I love it already.


Thank you.


Sincerely Yours,

 

Sassy

 

I looked over to his office with a smile of triumph as I pressed the send button. Watch it devil, your days are numbered. I am so sure of it.

 

 

Nov. 16th, 2008

Gossip

Chapter 7: Bottom’s Up!

Chapter 7: Bottoms Up!

 

I am still giddy like a school girl on crack. I don’t know how it happened but somehow Mr. Dreamboy got my number and text messaged me to come to his going away party tonight. I got dolled up and got ready to go to work. Thank God, for casual Fridays. I don’t have to wear any corporate gear today.

 

I chose a fun little dress, retro green and blue with cute white baby doll shoes. I even took extra care with my hair and makeup. I wanted to look my best for him. Who knows? He might look my way right?

 

Thankfully, work did not stress me out as much and we were out at exactly five o’clock in the afternoon, just in time for a quick bite to eat before heading to Caliente, where the party is going to happen. The place was near so we did not have to waste gas and drive there. Besides, the walk was fun, I was bonding with the gang as we walked.

 

      “I really shouldn’t have come,” Robin started to whine as he walked with us that night.

 

      “Whatever, Robin! You’re already here!” I pointed out as I grabbed his arm. “ You’re not going anywhere! Who else is coming?”

 

      “Just a few more people, I think…” Kat thought. “Jo’s sick so she’s not coming, I think George, Chris, Ed and well… they were trying to convince Noel not to come, but I hope Rich will.”

 

Noel, the name made me shudder. He was one of the foot soldiers who liked me. He admitted it, but the creepy part is, that he has a wife and child. Plus, he has this lecherous old man look upon him.  I was glad he was not coming. I was glad that he’s not going to be there to ruin this night.

 

We got to the place and started the night with a bucket of beer and some chips. As expected there were a few people there that I knew because it was my old college hang-out. I stopped over there to talk to them a little because god knows that I have to show off my new figure, new look and new life.

 

I came back and settled in the dark corner of the room where our group sat. Small talk started, I was beside Robin who started whispering to me that Ed and Kat looked very cozy together. Our giggling gossip was punctuated with the antics of George and Chris who were making fun of the person murdering Aerosmith’s “Bed of Roses” and singing BED OF HORSES.

 

Peter was late. I kept glancing at the door everytime I raised my glass for a sip. What was taking him so long? The clock ticked towards eight o clock and I was getting impatient. Some of the boys had started getting tipsy as we were on our third bucket of beer and I was on my second cocktail.

“He’ll come,” Kat reassured me as I sighed impatiently while I once again glanced at the door.

 

“When? Tommorow?” I pouted.

 

Just then, he came in. I gasped. He looked awesome up close. He looked even better than I imagined him. He was wearing a black shirt, jeans and had an easy smile on his face. Shit, I needed to breathe.

 

I wanted to swoon to death when I realized that his left hand clung to something, cute and curvy and in pink. Pink? Hmmm… The Pink thing was moving. Oh fuck, the pink thing was a GIRL. Wait, a second! Who was she, why is he holding her hand and why is she here?

 

I look quizzically at Eliza who sat beside me and she patted my hand. “That’s his on and off girlfriend, Peaches.”

 

“Peaches?” No Comprende. My mind could not comprehend the fact that there was a girl holding the guy of my dreams, who sat close to me and him and I was smiling at her. Besides, what girl in her right mind would be called a fat fruit?

 

“Yes?” She smiled at me, obviously she didn’t realize that I was busy agonizing over the fact that she was there.

 

“Nothing. Pleased to meet you.” I squeaked as I felt my heart, dreams and spirit crash to the floor and shatter to a million zillion pieces. I took an extra long sip of my Amaretto Stone Sour. God, I need another drink. Make it hard.

 

I studied Peaches from my seat. She was permanently attached to him like super glue. So I sighed shook my head and beamed at Peter. “I thought you won’t arrive. It was your party after all, I thought you would stand us up.”

 

“I won’t miss it for the world,” he smiled. I felt his eyes take me in. I winked at him playfully. “She’s gorgeous by the way.” I commented to Peter, motioning to Peaches and grinning at her in a fake, sugary – sweet kind of way.

 

“Thank you,” She blushed. She looked like an over-ripe peach.

 

“So, where are you from?” I started to make small talk.  Eliza eyed me from the corner of her eye.

 

“Taiwan, but I am moving to Canada by the end of the month,” She said smiling sadly.

 

“Awww… so you and Peter are going to be apart? What a cruel fate!” I exclaimed over sympathetically. I felt Eliza kick me in the shin.

 

“I know, it’s gonna be alright though, right pumpkin?” She looked over to Peter with puppy dog eyes I want to punch out.

 

Peter looked up from the message he was sending on his cellular phone.  “Ah.. yeah, of course, Sugar.” He said distractedly. I wanted to barf.

 

My cellular phone buzzed and I looked at Peter who nodded at me as I quickly read the message.

 

      I had to bring her. I’m sorry. You look so pretty and sexy tonight.

 

Blatant flirting while he is right beside his own girlfriend? I had to laugh.

     

      Concentrate on Peaches, dear.

 

I then turned my attention to Robin who was chattering beside me about something I couldn’t remember. I was engrossed in the conversation with her when my phone buzzed again.

 

      If only she wasn’t here…

 

I made a face and then whipped out my camera. Time to be a bitch and a tease. I took pictures of everyone and then bounced next to Peter.

 

“Peaches, mind if I borrow Peter for a pic?” I plopped beside him and gave Chris the camera.

 

Peter barely smiled. I think he was confused or something that he could not really react to the situation. The pic was taken and I bounced off leaving him speechless. Just the way I wanted it.

 

I took my time going around the bar and social butter flying my way around the room taking pictures with people I knew. Chatting up everyone for no apparent reason, all because I knew he was watching. All because I knew he was looking. And he could not do anything about it, because Peaches was there.

 

Dance music filled the air and I jumped up to dance. I just wanted this feeling of pure frustration to get out of my system and I wanted alcohol to work and get me tipsy already. But I was on my fourth cocktail already and already tempted to get a shooter, but my alcohol level wasn’t rising. Goddamn high alcohol tolerance! I wanted to get drunk and fast. I just wanted to forget.

 

Robin was practically knocked out. The boys were doing crazy things already. George climbed up onto the stage and danced. He had to be brought down by security. I was singing to the tune of every heartbreak song with Chris when they play.

 

God, this is horrible. Just when I thought I found my Dreamboy, he turned out to be taken. Is this a curse already? What did I do to deserve this torture? My phone kept on buzzing with messages from Peter that night. I sighed and closed my eyes. I didn’t want to be the other woman. I am too classy for that. No matter how much I liked him, I could not stomach being a home wrecker. I couldn’t be the mistress.

 

I left early that night. My party mood left me early and I ran out of excuses not to talk to him. I told Chris I needed a cab and he helped me get one and saw me off.

 

Inside the cab, I took off my headband, kicked off my shoes and closed my eyes. I felt like a fool. I made myself a fool. I wanted so much to fall in love that I did not check the facts before I fell.

 

I wasn’t hurt because he had a girl. I just felt hurt because of my own stupidity. I felt like a fool throwing myself at a guy I barely knew. Was I really that desperate? I thought I had more class than that.

 

My phone buzzed again. It was him again.

 

      Why did you leave? We barely talked. Are you mad at me?

 

I threw my phone into my bag and just closed my eyes to shut everything out. Why did he have to do that? He really didn’t need to. I checked my other messages and answered the ones from Kat, Eliza and checked on Robin then blocked everything out of my mind. I really didn’t want to talk to anyone right now.

 

I’m depressed not because of him. I am depressed because I thought I was going to fall in love tonight. I thought tonight was the night that I would be swept off my feet by a wonderful prince that I have been waiting for a very long time. I thought this was my fairy tale ending.

 

But I was wrong, I was so wrong. Instead of going to sleep giddy as a kid overfed with candy, I felt like I have suffered an intense sugar crash. I was just not in the mood. I made a fool out of myself.

 

I burned myself. I burned myself to the ground.

Nov. 12th, 2008

Gossip

Chapter Six: Mr. Dreamboy

Chapter 6: Mr. Dreamboy

 

I am twenty five years old, and I have no boyfriend. Not that I haven’t had one all my life. I HAD one- past tense- but I haven’t had a relationship since we broke up three years ago. Yes, it was a very long time ago. And according to my friends, its ancient history and I am going to become a little old spinster if I do not stop my man-hating phase.

 

I don’t really hate men. In fact, I love guys. I am a true-blue boy-crazy chick and of course, they like me back. In fact, I have more than a handful of suitors at anytime. But, I could not seem to find the right one.

 

Maybe it’s his fault- My ex-boyfriend, Ricky, the one who broke my heart. He was the love of my life. The one I thought who would grow old with me. We were college sweethearts, best friends and we almost promised that we would love each other forever. Until, of course, I found him more than kissing an old friend of mine in the back of his Rav-4 on the night when he was supposed to be sick.

 

I was furious. I was more than furious, I was in rage. After a depressing three years of self-denial, self-pity and twenty pounds later. I told myself after that that I would never again date a guy with the name Richard, works in insurance, drives a Rav-4 and loves the Los Angeles Lakers too much. He was not worth all the weight that I gained because of ice cream and chocolate indulgence.

 

Because of Ricky, I have a lot of regrets in my life. I regret ever meeting him. I regret ever falling in love so hard. I regret being totally loyal, honest and caring to him. I regret all that calorie-munching, endorphin crunching I did when I was depressed. I regret wasting five whole years of my life and dedicating it to him and him only.

 

Getting over him was the hardest thing to do. I really have not been myself in over three years – and I know I am still on that long hard road to recovery. The worst part is that I don’t look at all like myself anymore. I gained more than twenty pounds. I totally did not care about how I looked. I let go of myself. I was disgusting.

 

This is the reason why I am now on a strict diet, and totally trying to get my old fervor for life. I have been successful for most part. I finished school, got a good job, met new friends, and I live life the way I want to. The only thing missing is that I meet Mr. Right. I know he’s out there somewhere. Maybe he’s stuck in some form of traffic, delayed by cupid or something but he’s out there. I believe it. I know it.

 

It has been so long since I played the field and I am afraid that my playbook might be outdated and dusty. Besides, I already cooked up another set of standards for Mr. Right.

 

  1. He must be working and stable.
  2. He must be smart and intelligent
  3. He must have a good sense of humor
  4. He must NOT be named Richard or any other form of.
  5. He must be sweet, romantic and malambing.
  6. He must be understanding
  7. He must be loved by my family.
  8. He must be respectful.
  9. He must be honest.
  10. He must have a passion.
  11. He must be interesting.
  12. He must be cute/handsome/presentable
  13. He must have a good sense of fashion
  14. He must be good to my friends
  15. He must love me – and only me.

 

 

The perfect guy for me would have to fit in those standards. However, the world is not perfect and I know that people are not cookie cutter molded to be persons that we expect them to be. So I am a little lenient. I would most likely go for someone who gets at least a ten and above. Lower than that, and I put them in my steadily rising rejected pile.

 

Not to brag, but I have dispatched and thrown out a lot of applicants in the past years. Some of them have failed me in one way or the other. Some, I just don’t care about. A couple may almost have gotten my approval but didn’t work out.

 

I guess I am just looking for someone who would take care of me and not treat me like I am arm candy or worse a yaya. I also don’t want anyone to treat me like an older sister or their mother. That would just be too insulting.

 

Fate played with me when one day, cupid tried to aim too hard with one of his arrows and slightly punctured my ice cold heart. I met someone. Rather I was attracted to someone that was not in a poster or a television show.

 

We were going back in from lunch from the mall when Kat told me that her friend needed his allotment form from me but was too shy to approach. I told her to text him and tell him to come to me that afternoon.

 

I really wasn’t expecting it. It just happened. I was doing my usual stream of boring old men getting allotments and all these other crap, when I saw him. Like many of the cute seafarers that have come my way, I expected him to be either married, engaged, has a live in partner, or has a steady girlfriend.

 

So, I really did not take notice of him. Rather, not too much. I tried to avoid looking at him, even though if I just turn my head a little to the side, I would have a perfect view of this fine specimen of a male human being.

 

He was about five foot ten, with fair complexion, chinky eyes, nice hair, and a sweet smile. He wasn’t at all that built too, but not too skinny either. He was wearing simple clothes and was talking to some of the foot soldiers that were lined up near the entrance.

 

He was lined up for MV Galileo leaving in a week. From what I gather His name was Peter Pedro. Yup, his name is a translation from English and Filipino. He is a close friend of my spice girls from even before I came to this office. He’s 27, mature, nice, he has a house of his own. He worked in Shanghai for three years and now ventured into seafaring for his own money.

 

He sounded like a catch. He looked like a catch. So, I eyed him for a while as I spied around for bits of info about him. Joanna said that he’s really a cool friend and he totally is funny. Baby Kat mentioned that he’s really mature to talk to and very gentlemanly. Even Eliza gave him good remarks. There was only one piece of news that didn’t really make me happy. That he had an on and off girlfriend. I knew it. All the good guys are taken. Was that really something that I wanted to deal with? Maybe, maybe not. Then again, I really don’t know the guy yet.

 

He approached me shyly and I smiled up at him.

 

“Maám, I need my allotment,” he said with a small smile.

 

“Peter, isn’t it? Sure,” I found the form and looked up at him. Oh my, he WAS cute. I found myself blanking out, as I am in the presence of a hot guy. I found my voice again when I realized that his name was on my hot list of people who needed all the new requirements.

 

So, I took a breath and got ready to do my rehearsed speech about the requirements. I steadied myself to avoid swooning as I inhaled fresh aftershave and nice smelling cologne emitting from his body. It has been a while since I felt giddy over a man’s scent. What the hell does this guy have over me?

 

I avoided his gaze and focused at the job on hand. Eyes are looking remember. So I launched to my speech encircling things and pointing out requirements he needed. I succeeded in being business like with him, a big feat considering he was making me weak in the knees.

 

When he turned to get his application done, I whirled around on my seat. Eliza was watching me with an amused smile on her face.

 

“Pete, he’s a good guy,” she said to me as she pretended to busy herself with endless filing.

 

“Hmmm… he is,” I turned away from her and pretended that I was busy too. When I could not take it anymore, I got a piece of post it and quickly scribbled a note.

 

      He’s cute though!!

 

I handed it to her and she started giggling like no tomorrow. I knew that she knew I was interested. She wiggled her eyebrows suggestively as Peter turned back to ask me a few questions. I almost forgot myself for a few seconds when he came.

 

“Maám… I don’t have a bank account yet. Can I get a referral?” he said.

 

Brain froze. I could not move as I looked up to him. Uh… I shook myself awake.

 

“Er. Yeah… I’ll make you one as soon as you finish your allotment slip. Maybe in Marina Bank, they don’t close your account if you don’t deposit for a long time and they also have a low maintaining balance,” I was glad I caught my tounge again.

 

He smiled and turned away. I almost fell over my seat. Fuck, what the hell is this guy doing to my brain and my coordination? I picked myself up and continued with my work with much difficulty. I mean, how can I work with THAT just forty five degrees in my field of vision? Tell me, how?

 

I managed to do filing and a few e-mails while I waited for Mr. Dreamboy to come back. Once he did, he told me that he would give the rest of the documents to follow and left for something important. I couldn’t really remember what he said because I think my brain left me half-way through our conversation. All I knew was that he was coming back the next day. And that was all that mattered.

 

“Earth to Sassy. Are you there?”

 

I blinked out of my reverie to find Robin standing in front of my desk waving paper at my face.

 

“Huh?” I replied not really knowing what was going on.

 

“Where were you?” He asked as he perched on my desk.

 

“Dreamland.” I answered vaguely and turned to the email I was supposed to be finished with about ten minutes ago.

 

“And you’re thinking of?”

 

“No one.” I answered cutting him off and giving him a smile.

 

“Liar.” He jumped off my desk and went across to his own with a pout on his face. It was so cute I wanted to punch it off him.

 

I finished my e-mail with a flourish and winked at him as my ever trusty printer spit it out. I stood up and walked past him towards Sec who was waiting for my e-mail to sign his approval.

 

“Sorry, Sec, I got sidetracked,” I stuck my tongue out at Robin who made a face.

 

He laughed and signed his approval and then I flounced back to my seat. On my way back, I caught a pair of pretty black eyes looking at me. Oh, shit. He’s here. Mr. Dreamboy is here. He’s still here and he’s watching me.

“Eliza,” I whispered.

 

“Hmmm…”

 

“Why is Peter still here?” I asked casually as I can. My heart was beating ten million beats a second.

 

“Hmmm… I think he is waiting for Sec to call him,” She said non-chalantly as she continued her work.

 

Sure enough, Sec did. He passed by my table and smiled. I died again.


I really didn’t remember much that afternoon except that I was singing old love songs, giddy and high. It was that crazy school girl crush feeling again that I really missed. I was grateful for this feeling. This positive change was something that my bland life needed. At least, I have someone to look forward to … Did I just say someone? That’s right. Someone.

 

Even if he’s just here for another two weeks, it was something good. Mr. Dreamboy, thank you.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nov. 5th, 2008

Gossip

Chapter 5: Little Brother

Chapter 5: Little Brother

 

“Where’s Robin?”

 

That phrase has been on most everybody’s lips on Friday morning as the frantic search for the missing little brother of the company began. I really didn’t notice him gone until I needed him for something. I was distracted by the many sailors approaching, Sec’s constant e-mails and calls from different people who all seems hell bent to drive me insane or maybe kill me.

 

“Where’s Robin?” I asked. Then automatically whipped out one of my three cellular phones and checked it - still no message.

 

      Where are you? Why haven’t you texted. I am worried. Text back.

 

I looked with concern to the blank table to my right and continued my work. There was no use trying to worry over something that you currently cannot do about. Let’s be productive and hope that the brat was alright.

 

Minutes later of unproductive checking of cellphones later, I received a message from the missing lad.

 

I am sick. I caught the flu that has been flying around the office. I already miss you, Ma’am.

 

Brat! I sighed with relief and brought my cellular phone with me to talk to Ms. Diagracias and tell her about the whereabouts of our Little Brother.

 

With my mind, partially at peace and work ringing left and right, I returned to my usual half-crazed busy state quite contentedly. It was thankfully busy so the worrywart in my head was pushed back into the corners by the Obsessive Compulsive Dominatrix Workaholic persona of my brain.  But, that didn’t last too long., By lunchtime, the worrywart was back and I had sent an average of five text messages to the invalid.

 

How are you feeling? Text back if you need anything. We miss you back here.

 

I put down my cell and went back to work. The room was awfully quiet without him hanging around, chattering, or just plain doing nothing on his desk. An office void of the Little Brother seems lacking in more than one sense.

 

Can I be honest with you?  I bet I can. I have to admit that there seems to be a special connection between Little Brother and me ever since I met him. Some people thought that we fell in love at first sight. But no, I only saw him as something like a brother and I really never saw him anything more than that. I think he feels the same way that I do.

 

 Though people kept on speculating that we would get together before the end of the year, the possibility of romance between us is as possible as me finding Yamashita’s Treasure or solving the mystery of the Bermuda Triangle.

 

I looked up when I heard a beep on my screen. The magic messenger was on again.

 

      Exec-Kat: Did you find Robin?

      Admin-Sassy: Yep, he has a fever.

      Exec-Kat: Awwww… poor kid.

Admin-Sassy: I know. I’ll ask him how he is later. He hasn’t texted back yet. He’s probably knocked out.

Exec-kat: Give him our love.

Admin-Sassy: Will do.

Exec-Kat: BTW, dance practice in five minutes. J

Admin-Sassy: Do I have to?

Exec-Kat: We have no choice.

 

A quick check of the cell revealed nothing more than a text from the stalker and a quote from one of my college friends. I sighed as I made a face at Eliza who stood up.

 

Since our company is celebrating its anniversary soon, we were required to come up with some form of entertainment for the guests. They wanted us to dance. I mean, I love dancing don’t get me wrong. But, the kind of dance I want to dance is danced on the dance floor with my girls, or with a partner. I do not do the Streetboys or Wowowee dance kind of thing. That is just too embarrassing.

 

But since I am just a worker bee of this great institution, I have no choice but to swallow my complaints, pride and violent reactions and join the rest of my officemates in a quest to present something that resembles a dance and that is not too embarrassing and presentable.

 

We have debated on many dance number choices ranging from novelty songs to hip-hop crazes that I violently rejected. There was no way in heaven, hell or otherwise that you will make me shake my humps or my lovely lady lumps to incomprehensible babble in a language that is barely English. I would like to gently sway and dance and be graceful than to shake my booty to the tune of bootylicious – and I would rather die than to dance to igiling-giling by Willie Revillame.

 

So after a heated debate, we decided on a middle ground. A song that was easy on the ears, a tune that everyone knows and that was trendy. And it was a song that would best describe our views on love. It was a remake of a Phil Collin’s classic, “You Can’t Hurry love”. Practices were fun and relaxed. The ladies just went up to the training hall on the fifth floor to practice and just chat with Ms. Jasmine, the nurse.

 

Robin usually joined us on these trips up stairs to chill and make us laugh. But on this particular day, he wasn’t and it was obvious that people missed him.

 

“Did he text already?” Eliza asked as I approached her during a break in the dancing.

 

I did my routine phone check and shook my head.

 

“Maybe he’s really sick.” She smiled and patted me on the arm. “He’ll be fine.”

 

The weekend passed by and there was still no sign of Little Brother. No matter how many times I called, no one picked up. The worrywart in my head went on overdrive. It imagined all sorts of things that Robin could have experienced. He could be really sick and dying. Their maid stole his cellular phone. He could have been robbed and left for dead. Or worse yet, He could have been dead.


Only on Monday morning, and after about a million texts later did I receive a message from the elusive Mr. Robin Ballesteros.

 

      I am at the office. I haven’t slept all weekend.

 

All worries about him faded away and turned to mixed feelings of relief and rage. Part of me wanted to kick him and beat him up for making me worry. Part of me wanted to hug him and check that he’s alright.

 

I smiled at him as my brother pulled up to our building and let me off. I patted him on the cheek and then I hit him.

 

“Ouch!!! What the hell?” He complained as he backed off from me.

 

“That’s for making me worry, you brat! Why didn’t you even text me just once this weekend? And why didn’t you sleep?” I yelled at him. I knew I sounded like an over jealous girlfriend but I really did not care at this point.

 

“I was sick!! Well, that was last Friday. Then, we had the race this Saturday and Sunday, then I was just busy,” he explained as he raised his hands up in an expression of surrender. “Peace. Please don’t murder me. I didn’t mean to NOT text.”

 

I glared at him before I stomped into the office and dumped my bag on my table. He followed me. “I hate you.”

 

“No, you don’t,” He smiled.

 

“I do.” I said as I stomped off again, this time to the ladies locker room to recollect myself. I closed my eyes as I shut the door and stared myself at the mirror. At least, he’s safe. That’s all I could ask for.

 

I whipped out my make-up and carefully did my face.

 

“Boss?” Robin’s voice echoed from beyond the doors of the locker room as I finished up.

 

“What?!” I crossed the room and opened the door. He stood there with a tall and hot cup of tea in his hand and an apologetic expression on his face.

 

“Peace offering.” He offered the cup of tea with his oh-so-irresistible puppy dog eyes.

 

I took the cup and smiled at him. The goddess was appeased Plus, who could say no to that? Honestly.

 

 “Alright. So how was the race?” I gave in. He smiled and put a brotherly arm around my shoulder. I bet a million girls would love to have his arm around their shoulders.

 

I don’t really know why it was so easy for me to appease me. Maybe it was his charm, or that we have become so close that it was easy to mistake us to be brother and sister or worse- LOVERS. Ewwwwww… like, NO WAY!

 

We didn’t really have much time to talk since work captured us and kept us busy and unable to speak for the whole day. Though, worried glances over my cup of tea and my keyboard, told him that I wanted him to take it easy. But little brother was just as stubborn. He ignored me totally and went on working himself silly.


At least, that was not like what Francis is doing who was spending his time browsing porn sites at work. Francis who I found played Text Twist when he was supposed to be filing the mountain of insurance claims on his desk. And this was the same Francis who dared to tell our boss to find the 201 file while he was just e-mailing his girlfriend.

 

No wonder no one really liked him. No wonder he was being left behind by the office crowd. Ugh. Suddenly, I didn’t feel like being proud to be his childhood friend. In fact, I don’t know him at all. He’s a total stranger to me now.

 

Enough about Francis, I think we should really get back on track. So, it happened that today, Robin had brought his baby – his car- to work and was showing it off to me. He’s a racer. He loves cars. It’s his pride and joy. I am not that much of a car geek but I understand and know enough about cars to keep up with his random babble.

 

“So you see, I brought it down just a little bit to make it look better. I mean, I know that it might do a little shock damage but it’s hot,” he told me as I looked around the red Honda civic.

 

“Not bad, not bad,” I said looking at him. “It’s a good machine.”

 

“ You think so?” He said looking at me asking for approval.

 

“I mean, I could lose the mags and maybe a new coat of paint, red just doesn’t do it for me, but over-all, it’s pretty cool. I mean, it IS your car,” I told him as I scrutinized the love of his life.

 

“Wow, I really haven’t heard a girl talk that way. I mean, most girls who talk that way are freaking lesbians or tomboys. I have never heard that from a hot chick like you.” He looked impressed, with a teasing smile on his face.

 

I really wanted to smack him with something hard. Unfortunately, I didn’t want to damage my cellular phone nor my shoes. “So you find me hot?” I teased back, batting my long eyelashes at him.

 

“And sexy,” he confirmed as he winked. I knew he was teasing.

 

“Would you take me for a spin in your car?” I fake flirted.

 

“That and more, “He joked back, then turned to me seriously. “I’ll give you a ride anytime, anywhere, just pay for gas.”

 

“Cheapskate,” I swatted him playfully. It felt good having a friend like him. Cute, and arm candy but someone you know who could be friends for a long time.

 

“I was thinking of taking Ms. Nina home today,” he said looking at me with a look that said he wasn’t sure that was going to happen.

 

“Ask her,” I said plainly. Robin may be cute, but he’s totally slow when it comes to asking guys out. I ask girls out faster than he does.

 

“I can’t. Scared.”

 

I rolled my eyes. “You want me to ask for you?”

 

He nodded looking pretty much like a little boy eager for his candy.

 

“Fine, but you owe me,” I said as I turned on my heel and headed to the third floor. “ I don’t mean just coffee too.”

 

I smiled as I reached the elevator. No matter what he does, Robin will still be someone that I could not resist doing favors for. He is just and always will be my spoiled baby brother and he knows it. He knows it a little bit too well.

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