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Chapter 5

  • It was Saturday evening, Alexandra has just finished taking a bath when her father called her downstairs.
  • “Alexandra! You have a visitor”, her father called to her.
  • Only four names came to her mind when her father said she has a visitor. It could only be Albert, Ronnie, Marlon, and Carlo. The four of them are relatives. Albert and Ronnie are brothers, while Marlon and Carlo are their cousins from two different siblings of their father. Aside from having the same surnames, they are all Alexandra’s suitors. They are even famous throughout the neighborhood for courting the same girl, despite being relatives. A fact that Alexandra is honestly embarrassed about.
  • During their childhood, Alexandra and the other children in their neighborhood are always playing outside on the streets, in front of their houses. Back then, she was always given the role of a princess every time they play drama, while the four boys always fought with each other as to who will play the prince. Although her other friends will tease her with them, she never really paid much attention to that. Aside from the constant reminder from her mom to not have a crush because she’s still young, her sister used to check up on her and her brother from time to time, while playing with her other friends on the other side of the street.
  • Before the four of them even started pursuing her months ago, she has already made remarks in passing, many times, that she appreciates them as her friends since they were young and that she would want that to stay the same. She thought that those remarks since she’s mentioned that lots of times to them, would make an impact and that any plans of confessing or courting her will not be pursued. However, she was wrong. Less than a year ago, Albert, Ronnie, Marlon, and Carlo, all four of them confessed to her on four different occasions.
  • When she was in her early teenage years, her father used to tell her that she owes her suitors honesty. If in any case, she doesn’t feel the same to her suitors, she has to be fair to them. She must straight up tell them that she doesn’t feel the same. This is so as to not prolong their agony, and stop wasting time and effort for her. This is also to let them be free to find someone else who will like them back.
  • It has always been in Alexandra’s mind every time someone confesses to her at school. Even though she had a bit of difficulty, since the four guys are her childhood friends, she just thought that she doesn’t want to be unfair to them, and rejected their attempt to woo right off the bat. The rejection seemed to might have fallen on deaf ears, especially Albert, who despite being turned down from the get-go, still continues to court her.
  • “Please, Alex. Just try to give me a chance to court you. You might not like me now, but still. You’ll never know, you might one day, develop feelings for me. Just please let me.” Albert pleaded to her, while he held her hand.
  • “Come on, Albert! You have to stop at some point.”, Alexandra trying to convince him.
  • “I will know. I will feel it. Or maybe when the time comes that you have someone else. But that will not happen cause I’ll do everything for you to like me.”
  • “Ugh! Albert!” as she palms her face in frustration.
  • She thought, Whatever! I’ve done my part.
  • “Alexandra!”, her father called again.
  • She was slightly ticked off thinking of having to change to proper clothes, as she was already wearing her pajamas. She’s been excitedly waiting for tonight, as tonight’s the night she’s going to start reading Norwegian Wood that Jacob just lent her the other day. It has been a week since they bought it.
  • After changing from pajamas to short pants that reach just one span above her knee, and a t-shirt, she brushed her not-so-wet hair and headed downstairs to the living room. While on the stairs, she saw Albert still wearing dark blue slack pants, white polo, and a navy blue necktie, while carrying a bouquet of roses and heart box-shaped chocolates covered in gold. Just your typical valentines day scenario.
  • “Hey! What brings you here?” she asked as she greeted him.
  • In response, Albert stood up and handed her the flowers and chocolates. She offered her cheeks for him to press his other cheek while accepting his gifts.
  • “Hey! I just thought I haven’t visited you in a while, and I’ve been so busy at work.”
  • Alexandra pointed her palm to the couch signaling for him to take his seat. She sat on the other single sofa. They both sat down at the same time, while Albert has maintained his body facing her.
  • “Oops wait! You must be tired from work then. I’ll make you coffee”, as she tapped the back of his hand, and went to the kitchen.
  • Of course, she’s nice to him. She and Albert have been friends since they were kids. Besides, Albert has never done anything mean to her. In fact, it’s the other way around. When she thinks about it, she’s actually more pitiful of him, than annoyed. She knows she’ll never feel the same way as to how he feels about her. The least she could do is at least still act as if nothing has changed between them.
  • “You can just come here without bringing anything if you want to hang out. We could call the others too.”, she said while preparing the coffee.
  • “It’s OK. I want to give you gifts. So, how are you?”
  • “I’m OK. Still busy at school, as usual…” as she walked towards the living room and handed him the coffee.
  • ***
  • Bang! Click!
  • “Whoah! Where are you going?”, Jacob exclaimed as he saw Kevin brought the empty luggage from the storage. It seems like his friend is about to pack clothes for travel.
  • Kevin, bare-chested as him, with a towel on his shoulder stopped in front of his door, “I’ll be on a one-week conference in Cebu. The conference is on Monday morning so I have to leave for my flight tomorrow afternoon. Ugh! It’s Sunday and I have to be busy catching a flight that is intended for work?. Geez! Good thing, my boss is compensating for it cause he’s giving me Friday off, and I can stay at the hotel until Friday, Saturday till Sunday, paid for by the company. Sorry man, don’t miss me so much, OK?”
  • “Lucky bastard! Don’t forget to bring me dried squid and dried rabbitfish. Oh?! And dried mango.”
  • “Sure!”, Kevin proudly answered.
  • Jacob smirked at his friend and chugged his beer as he turned to watch the game on TV. However, his eyes were not on the game. He just thought of a wonderful idea.
  • “Dude! Where will you be back again!” Jacob shouted over Kevin’s open door.
  • “Next week Sunday afternoon!” Kevin shouted back.
  • ***
  • The next day, Jacob drove Kevin to the airport. Afterwhich, he went to the work site for a while to check on his labor men. As it’s already about time for lunch, he decided to treat them out.
  • “Yeah! Free lunch! Rock en Roll!”, exclaimed one of the young welders, while doing the rock on hand sign.
  • He treats his men to out from time to time especially when he feels like they are already tired from work. There are some times when he will just order snacks and drinks to be delivered on the site and will make them have a quick break. It’s nothing much, but he knows it means a lot to them. He makes sure to bond and talks to his men every time an opportunity arises. Because of the smooth relationship he has with them, there has never been a deadline or a work that’s done half-assed. It makes him easier for him to ask them to do things at work, and they’ll all, without complaint, comply.
  • After eating to their heart’s content, Jacob drove his men back to the site and bid goodbye. He’ll be spending the rest of the day at home.
  • As soon as Jacob reached home, he rested for a while. Took a brief shower, and opened his laptop. He is going to rent the Norweigian Wood movie.
  • Jacob finished the book as fast as he could as he wanted to pass it to Alexandra. He thought since they are book readers, why don’t they just share and lend books to each other? Of course, only those genres they share an interest in.
  • Apparently, since Jacob just finished taking the shower, after standing under the hot sun at the site, and driving, he fell asleep on the sofa bed. By the time he woke up, it was already seven in the evening.
  • He decided to just order some char-grilled chicken with rice to this famous fast-food chain and requested additional chicken oil.
  • While waiting for the delivery which will take about thirty minutes to arrive, he started researching about the movie.
  • In between watching a game on TV and browsing the internet, the delivery arrived. He proceeded to the door to receive his food and went back straight to the living room where he left his laptop and the TV open. Sitting on the floor, he ate his food at the center table.
  • Eight-thirty in the evening, he finished eating, and the game finished. He finally chose the website where to rent the movie. Out of excitement, he decided to text Alexandra.
  • “Hey Alex, how are you? Have you had your dinner?”
  • “Hi! Hi! I’m good. Yep. Done. How about you?”
  • “Yep, done too. Listen, by any chance, do you have plans on Saturday. I mean, of course, today is Saturday, but the coming Saturday? Hehe!”
  • “Hmmm? As of now, none. Ate Esther and the kids are in her ex-husband’s province too. Why?”
  • “Oooh! I see. Make sense why their doors are always closed since the other day. Are you going to sleep now?”, Jacob asked, ignoring her last question.
  • “No, not yet. I’m going to start the book tonight, so I plan to stay up late. Yey!”
  • Jacob smiled at her childish remarks.
  • “I’ll show you something. I’ll drop by your house very quick, meet me outside. Yeah?”
  • He thought of showing her the rented movie which he plans to watch with her. Correct! That’s just an excuse. He really just wanted to see her as it’s been a week since he last saw her. When they had coffee somewhere near her school and she bumped into a guy named Albert.
  • That guy, that guy! He was unstoppable huh?! He even planned to ambush her for dinner?! Tough luck dude, I was there. Sorry, not sorry!
  • Few minutes passed, Alexandra has not replied still. Nevertheless, he still decided to stick to the plan.
  • As soon as he put on his hoodie, he went out and headed to her house. He stood in front of the gate and texted Alexandra that he’s outside.
  • “Come out! I’ll show you something. I’m outside your gate.”
  • Still no reply from her.
  • Their gate is of modern design made of iron and steel bars arranged horizontally that allows the house to be seen from outside despite being close. He turned to look inside and saw that the light from the house was still opened. After a few seconds, Jacob saw Alexandra rose from the scene from the window, holding a cup. It looks like she’s talking to someone. A hand suddenly reached for the cup. His heart started beating fast in anticipation of what’s next, but he can’t help but continue looking. That’s when he saw that the owner of the hands was Albert. The guy they bumped into last week.
  • He turned his back from the gate. For some time, he stood there and thought about things, trying to comprehend who is Albert in her life. Why is he visiting her in the wee hours of the night? Jacob’s heart felt so heavy knowing for a fact that he won’t be able to ask her who the guy is. For the last time, he looked back at them and saw that Alexandra looks like they are having a funny conversation as he saw her smile and laugh. Disheartened, he went back home, drunk the remaining beers until he fell asleep.
  • ***
  • Not so long, after he finished his coffee, Alexandra faked a yawn. Albert hastily apologized, and bid his goodbye.
  • “Oh sorry, you must be tired. I won’t keep you.”, as he stood up and offered his cheek.
  • “It’s ok. So sorry, I had a busy day today”, as she copied him and reached his cheek.
  • She pointed her palms to the door and saw Albert out. She just held the gate and locked it as soon as Albert walked past it. Afterwhich, she washed the coffee cup he used and headed straight to her room. Suddenly, she remembered she was in the middle of exchanging texts with Jacob.
  • “I’ll show you something. I’ll drop by your house very quick, meet me outside. Yeah?” which was sent thirty minutes ago.
  • “Come out! I’ll show you something. I’m outside your gate.” Alexandra looked at the time stamp, and it was just 10 minutes ago.
  • He might still be there!
  • With her phone in her hand, she rushed to the gate, opened it, but saw no one. She decided to step out to check outside, look side by side, but there is no one.
  • Oh well, too bad she missed him.
  • Alexandra then just decided to message him back.
  • “Hey sorry! I had a visitor! Did you drop by?”
  • Unfortunately, Jacob fell asleep, and he was not able to receive the message until the next day.