Friends with Mr. It’s Complicated

Photo from Grey’s Anatomy.

Luke and I both felt awkward talking about his lovelife over dinner. It started good as talked about small things, like work and stress and our clients. Then, after we finished our first serving of Maki, we both looked to the other side of the table, obviously running for something else to talk about.

We used to be okay talking about his girlfriends in the past. But when Nate and I got together, I stopped talking about my relationship with him to protect Nate, knowing how Luke’s righteousness would prevail if I’d ever open up about our misunderstandings. I know he’d never buy my happy storied with Nate either.

Luke also didn’t mention his dating life since Nate and I started living together. He used to be a playboy, just like Nate, and I think the reason for not opening up since then was because he wanted to avoid me thinking I was just one of Nate’s girls he was playing with. He knows I’ll compare myself with the girls he’s dating and afraid I’d find so many things in common with them, like obsessing over small things and clinging to wherever we would go.

“So, uhm. Who’s the lucky girl?” I started asking.

He laughed. “I don’t actually know if she’s lucky. I think neither of us are.” Then a sad smile registered on his face.

“What do you mean?”

“I mean, the thing that we have. It’s kind of complicated.”

“Complicated? How?”

“Just… complicated.”

“Hey, Luke.” I reached out for his hand over the table. “You asked me out here to talk about her. So spill.”

“I know. But I’m just realizing how it’s a bad idea.” He looked down on the food, not wanting to meet my eyes.

“Just tell me, Luke. Who is she?”

“It’s… Karina…” he whispered. For a moment, the name doesn’t sound familiar. Then I realized, Karina is Yna, Sid’s girlfriend, or fiance?

“Marg…?” it must’ve been a few minutes of shock. I think my face went funnily confused.

Why would he date her? Yes, he dated lots of girls for fun, but he never targets those that were in a stable relationship. He never wants drama, especially in bed. And the most confusing thing is he would never ask me out to talk about his relationship, except that one time with….

“Carla.” I muttered accidentally.

“What? What did you say?”

“Sorry. I must have blanked out.” I snapped out of my confusion.

“I know this is something out of the ordinary from me. But I just wanted you to know just so you would know how I’d be spending some of my time out of the office.”

“What do you mean? How are you going to spend some of your time?” I asked, and it sounded more like an accusation rather than a question. I saw his face went red, ashamed.

“Hm. I knew it was a bad idea to open up.” He held up his arm to call a waiter, and gestured the bill.

“What are you doing? We’re not done talking?”

“I think we are, for now. I’m sorry.”

“Hey Luke. I’m sorry, okay. You yourself said it was out of the ordinary for you. So imagine me shocked.” I said, trying to meet his gaze.

“You aren’t shocked, though, Marg. You’re judging.” He stared back at me, already knowing what I’m doing inside my head.

I felt terrible that he said that, because it was true. I felt like I already knew this was a mistake for him. Yna is a mistake, because for starters, she wasn’t right.

“Hey, come on. What do you expect me to think? She’s Jane’s friend, and she has a… boyfriend.”

“I know that! Don’t you think I knew that? I just thought when I opened up about her to you, you’d at least listen to my story, before jumping into any conclusions in your head.”

I sighed. He’s right. I was too fast to conclude. I remembered when I told him about finally being with Nate. He never said anything negative. He just nodded and listened and we never talked about it ever.

“Okay, Luke. You’re right. You did told me it was complicated so I should have not expected that it’d have a good story. I’m sorry. Do you want to tell me how it happened?”

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Awkward friend dates are awkward

“You have had one failure in your twenties, it doesn’t mean you’re doomed to fail at everything for the rest of your life,” Ian said, smiling before taking a sip of his coffee.

“Well, they said twenties is the defying decade of our lives,” I replied and shrugged, forked a waffle and directed it to my mouth.

“That! That is why you’re so anxious. You care about the general view. ‘They say this, they say that’. Come on Margo. Our ancestors had lived in cages for years, with no interaction whatsoever. They had built a family and survived catastrophes, without other people telling them when is the right time for everything.”

“Hmm. Good point. Doesn’t matter, though. I’m here. I’m taking charge of my career, and setting aside my romantic life.”

“Ouch!” he said, jokingly, clutching his chest with his hand.

Finally, I agreed upon meeting Ian, but only for breakfast, after finally accepting that we’ll be here in the island for a good amount of time. No best way to say ‘I’m not dating’ to a friend with coffee and waffle. He is just so nice and comforting. We talked a lot over the phone and updates each other constantly. We’re a little awkward when we’re with a group of people, so I decided it’s time we do a bonding together.

“I’m serious, Ian. I’m a mess. I’m sorry if I’m being so assuming with you, but I’m in no place to flirt and date, that’s why I’ve no shame in saying that. I guess we just have to hang out for now, as friends.” I said. I told him about my 3-year relationship with a broken man and how we ended it badly.

“Hey, it’s okay. Really. We can hang. Totally.” he laid his back into his chair  and smiled.

“As friends?”

“As friends.”

“No expectations?”

“No expectations, whatsoever.”

Our first friend date, and we’re already promising something we don’t even know how to keep.

I walked toward the house/office that morning, with the remaining latte in my hand, with the thought of Ian’s smile in my head. When I try to picture Ian, he’s always showing the most perfect set of teeth. Nate’s smiles, on the other hand, are limited, present only on special occasions and for extremely special people that he wants to impress; his parents, his boss.

I shook my head as I push open the door to our headquarters, shaking away myself into the present, trying to put in any unwanted thoughts and reasons why I have to compare the two.

Ginny, my OJT, handed me over my messages while I’m gone for the morning.

“Oh, and Luke said he needs to talk to you.” She added.

I went in to my office and dialed Luke’s extension number. It kept ringing and ringing, and suddenly, he’s knocking on my office door.

“Hey you! How you doin’?” he started.

“I’m good. How are you?” I replied.

“I’m great! There’s… uhm..  actually something I have to run by you. It’s kind of, uhm, personal. So maybe we can grab dinner together.” He stuttered, trying to get the words and breaking the sentences in awkward places.

“You’re kind of creeping me out. But I’m down with dinner. How about tonight? Sushi?”

“Great! Sushi, is great.”

“You say great a lot today, huh. What are you? Did you just get laid?” I kid.

He suddenly looked down on his feet, a hand scratching his head. This is Luke’s classic you-got-me move. I suddenly felt my mouth formed an O…

“Oh. You did. Okay…” I felt different and awkward for having caught him off-guard. I put the pieces together and realized that’s what he wants to talk about tonight. “Okay.” I said again, trying to find that I’m-happy-for-you feeling inside of me. “Okay!” This time, it sounded jolly and high-pitched, but a little bit fake for my ears.

“That’s great! Talk over dinner! I’m down, you great man!”

Improving Business, Moving On Life

Photo from The Mindy Project.

Our month long stay here at Chancella Island is almost over. Only a week to go before the make or break. So far, Jane hasn’t even asked about Luke and my decisions for after.

The planning of the company was a success. We’ve started good and strong, but also low-key for we still don’t have that much manpower. My contacts grew three times over just talking to suppliers and new connections finding new clients. The three of us were spending so much time together working.

“Guys, we’ve a big problem,” Jane said one morning when we were having our breakfast meeting. She was late, as usual, as Luke and I are already on our second cup of coffee, VENTI! She sat down, not removing her eyeglasses which covers half of her face, threw her bag (which contains her laptop, but she doesn’t care, of course) on the vacant seat nearest her.

As I looked up to her, I can’t actually see her face with the sunlight behind her. But I was so scared at her news. We haven’t gotten any bad news since we came here.

“We need…” she started and paused, and then quickly followed with: “Tech people because we just closed Hotel Marina!” I tried to comprehend what she just said because it was really fast, and when I understood, I just can’t help but stand up from my seat and hug her. I think I may have also shrieked.

That was our first done-deal client, and they were the first hotel that we went to the very first day we finished with our marketing and presentation materials. I have improved my materials since then, so imagine my happiness that my proposals and presentation skills have closed an account.

Okay, given that that account was actually handed over in a silver platter by Jane’s friend, Chester, we may have had a little advantage. We also gave them a huge discount. But Mr. Javier was not a very easy person to convince, and so was his daughter Marcel.

Since then, the house/office was out of control with two more hotel deals and bagging few small businesses in the area. Luke has gotten a local youngster to help him with other programming stuff. Jane got herself a personal assistant, and all around PA, and I got control over one marketing student who applied as an OJT for us. Aside from that, we have 2 more IT fresh grads to do the tech stuff to the clients.

We’re in our third week in our island and we haven’t gotten any pause since our last party night on a bar.

Good news is Nate’s totally out of sight, no text, no calls, no nothing. Better news, he’s starting to be out of mind as well.

On the other hand, Ian managed to replace Nate’s position on my phone. He would message from time to time, and we’d also talk when I’m free.

Just this morning, after our breakfast meeting, I called him to share more good news. He owns the finest restaurant in the island and they do not open until lunchtime. He would love to come over to the SOHO and bring fine wine.

“Oh no! That’s not necessary. Besides, we don’t allow drinks at the office this early.” I said.

“Alright. How about dinner then?”

“Seriously? You’ll deliver a 5-course meal on our office tonight? For all of us? Free of charge?” I kid.

He laughed. “You’re funny. I mean, the two of us?”

Like a date? I almost blurted out the phrase I feel so naive and pretentious.

The truth is, I don’t think I’m ready for a new relationship in my life yet. Not when I’m just getting started with an independent life of my own.

“Ok. That silence is kind of shameful, but I’ll take that as a no.” He said after my long pause

“I mean, it’s not that. It’s just…”

“It’s okay. No worries. Not that I understand, but I don’t hurry people to be with me.”

“I’m sorry,” I feel so picky and I don’t like playing hard-to-get.

“Hey. No. Okay. I’ll just come over this afternoon bring food for everyone. I also need to talk to Jane. So that’d be hitting two birds.”

“Great. See you around.”

Really, Ian is great and I like his vibe. He is, of course, handsome, like most of Jane’s man friends, Sid and Chester. And they all talk business-y, but never about money. The good thing about Ian is he is somewhat polite, and humble than Jane. A man-Jane is someone I would never have anything to say to, but Ian is approachable. He’s just not someone I would want to mess around with, though.

By lunch, he did came over, as promised. He went directly to Jane’s office after having 2 of his people prepare the packed food they have. Then, went to my office.

“I just came in to say hi…” he said, his head popping in my office door, smiling. “Hi.”

Somehow, I felt a tiny part of my heart melted.

New Friends

Photo from New Girl.

It took us half the year to finish our current professional commitments. I had only to advise my current Project Manager to take me out of team, who, right after my notice, went out looking for a new guy to take my place, which took him almost a month, and another month to turn over my work. Almost the same goes with Luke, while it was so much easier for Jane.

We spent another 2 months planning the product that we could offer. I buried myself with our work, and spend so little time outside. It was good that I had to save my little resources, I cannot spent long hours at our local grocery store because that’s where Nate and I would usually shop. I also went back to cooking my meals, since I can’t stand eating at the restaurants we frequented.

“You know you can borrow money from me, right?” Jane offered, nonchalantly, thinking I was doing it to save up since no money is coming in at me right now.

“I know, but I don’t need it for now. Sometime in the future maybe.” I just replied.

Almost every night, we were planning the things that we could offer, and our marketing strategies. In the morning, I’d wake up and right after making coffee, I’m in front of the computer, creating presentations for Jane.

The group decided to not talk about the work every weekends, when we go out for dinner. Although we don’t have a formal business hours yet, we tried to keep it on weekdays, as normal companies do. We met different people who could join the team. Jane offered to give me full salary even though we aren’t operating yet, so I declined the offer and ask her to just gave me a huge sign in bonus once our first client comes in.

After six months of preparation, we are ready to go on our island trip to meet our potential clients. We were to stay for a whole month at Jane’s small condo unit she purchased last year, and we will see from then.

The small condo unit has 4 bedrooms and a huge living room, which we decided to turn into a small office. Luke and Jane and I had our own rooms with our own TV and closet. The other spare room was converted to a conference. All was set few weeks before we even arrived.

The first three days in the Chancella Island was spent touring around, seeing the attractions, and the vibe of the people. I had enjoyed the tour so much that I was so thankful we get to stay for at least a month. We were so lucky to have been escorted by Jane’s local friends which she said used to be her playmates whenever they came here for family vacation once a year. They were warm and funny, 2 couples (one married) and one single guy and girl. We went out almost every night for a drink.

At the last night of our 3-day touring, we went out on a classy bar where customers had to be members of the resort club. Ian, the single guy, and Chester, the married one, both Jane’s friends, were VIPs.

“So Jane, are your city friends here a couple?” I heard Chester’s wife, Dianne, said with a whispering gesture.

Jane looked back at us and shrugged. This girl isn’t someone she’s approved of, obviously.

“If they were a couple, I’d never be friends with them.”

Dianne laughed, totally not getting the joke.

It wasn’t really offending. Had I been an outsider to our group, I’d also think Luke and I were dating. I’ve been very clingy with him since we got here, because Jane doesn’t want me sucking up  all her happy hormones. Thus, she spent more time with Chester and their friends.

The night life started, and we settled on our VIP lounge, with non-stop booze and cocktails settled and refilled at our table. The other people would once in a while stand up to dance or to play poker on the other side of the hall. Dianne with Paula and Sid(the unmarried couple), settle with their own conversation. I, as usual was tied up with Luke (or the other way around), while Jane was taking a tour down memory lane with Chester and Ian.

I noticed Luke looking at the poker table, and I knew he’s eager to play just one hand, to enjoy the night.

“Go.” I shouted in his ear. He was surprised, and I think he definitely still didn’t hear what I said.

I nodded my head pointing to the playing area, and smiled.

“Oh, no. I’m good here,” he said, and laughed nervously.

“Play, just one game. But don’t forget to treat me dinner when you win.” I insisted.

“Do you want to come and play?”

“No, I’m good here.”

“Are you sure? I don’t have to-”

“Go, geez! This is why they can’t stop talking about us.” I pushed his shoulder up and urged him to go.

When he was gone, of course, I was left to myself. Jane is looking at me from time to time, also offering me drinks and snacks and asking me what I want.

Finally, I stood up and told her: “I’m gonna go check the area. Would that be fine? I can use a time looking around.”

She looked at me with that excited eyes, totally thinking I was going out to hunt some men. I ride in on her thought just so she could let me be alone.

“Do you need me to come with you?” She asked, just for etiquette.

“No, no… I’ll be fine.”

The minute I stood up, I walked around and looked for the bar. I positioned myself on a stool, and ordered my favorite tequila sunrise.

“So you’re a tequila girl,” I heard a man’s voice beside me. Suddenly, I saw  his perfect smile. I felt shy, feeling like a little girl who just got busted buying alcohol. I just nodded without a word.

“Glad I ran into you. I am dying to get Jane out of my ear.” He replied, and then turned to the bartender and ask for a new drink for himself. Suddenly, he’s also sitting at the stool next to me. Somehow, I got the feeling that Jane sent him to talk to me or whatever. But I knew her, she’s not the cupid type of friend.

He turned to me, and then, with a worried look, stood up as if he got burned. “I’m so sorry. I got excited. Can I stay here?”

I smiled. And just nodded.

New Friends

It took us half of the year time on our own. I had only to advise my current Project Manager to take me out of team, and right after, he went out looking for a new guy to take my place, which took him almost a month, and another month to turn over my work. Almost the same goes with Luke, while it was so much easier for Jane.

We spent another 2 months planning the product that we could offer. I buried myself with our work, and spend so little time outside. It was so good that I had to save my little resources, I cannot spent long hours at our local grocery store because that’s where we used to buy our goods. I also went back to cooking my meals, since I can’t stand eating at the restaurants we frequented with Nate.

“You know you can borrow money from me, right?” Jane offered, nonchalantly.

“I know, but I don’t need it for now. Sometime in the future maybe.” I just replied.

We spent almost every night planning our and our marketing strategies. In the morning, I’d wake up and right after making coffee, I’m in my front of the computer, creating presentations for Jane.

The group decided to not talk about the work every weekends, when we go out for dinner. Although we don’t have a formal business hours yet, we tried to keep it on weekdays, as normal companies do. We met different other people who could join the team. Jane offered to gave me full salary even though we aren’t full on operating yet, so I declined the offer and asked her to just gave me a huge signing bonus once our first client comes in.

After six months of preparation, we are ready to go on our island trip to meet our potential clients. We were to stay for a whole month at Jane’s newly purchased beach house and we will see from then.

The house has 4 bedrooms and a huge living room, which we decided to turn to a small office. Luke and Jane and I had our own rooms with our own TV and closet. The other spare room was converted to a conference. All was set few weeks before we even arrived.

The first three days in the Chancella Island was spent touring around, seeing the attractions, and the vibe of the people. I had enjoyed the tour so much that I was so thankful we get to stay for at least a month. We were so lucky to have been escorted by Jane’s local friends which, she said, used to be her playmates whenever they came here for vacation once a year. They were warm and funny people, 2 couples (one married) and one single guy and girl. We went out almost every night for a drink.

At the last night of our 3-day touring, we went out on a classy bar where customers had to be members of the resort club. Ian, the single guy, and Chester, the married one, both Jane’s friends, were VIPs.

“So Jane, are your city friends here a couple?” I heard Chester’s wife, Dianne, said to Jane, with a whispering gesture.

Jane looked back at us and shrugged. This girl isn’t someone she’s approved of, obviously.

“If they were a couple, I’d never be friends with them.”

Dianne laughed, totally not getting the joke.

It wasn’t really offending. Had I been an outsider to our group, I’d also think Luke and I are dating. I’ve been very clingy with him since we got here, because Jane’s too happy she doesn’t want me to suck all her happy energy. Thus, she spent more time with Chester and their friends.

The night life started, and we settled on our VIP lounge, with non-stop alcoholic beverage settled and refilled at our table. The other people would once in a while stand up to dance or to play poker on the other side of the hall. Dianne, with Yna and Sid(the unmarried couple), settle with their own conversation. I, as usual was tied up with Luke (or the other way around), while Jane was taking a tour down memory lane with Chester and Ian.

I noticed Luke looking at the poker table, and I knew he’s eager to play to enjoy the night.

“Go.” I shouted in his ear. He was surprised, and I think he definitely still didn’t hear what I said.

I nodded my head pointing to the playing area, and smiled.

“Oh, no. I’m good here,” he said, and laughed nervously.

“Play, just one game. But don’t forget to treat me to dinner when you win.” I insisted.

“Do you want to come and play?”

“No, I’m good here.”

“Are you sure? I don’t have to-”

“Go, geez! This is why they can’t stop talking about us.” I tapped his shoulder and urged him to go to the other side.

When he was gone, of course, I was left to myself. Jane is looking at me from time to time, also offering me drinks and snacks and asking me what I want.

Finally, I stood up and told her: “I’m gonna go check the area. Would that be fine? I can use a time looking around.”

She looked at me with that excited eyes, totally thinking I was going out to hunt some men. I ride on her thinking just so she could let me be alone.

“Do you need me to come with you?” She asked, just for etiquette.

“No, no… I’ll be fine.”

The minute I stood up, I walked around and look for the bar. I positioned myself on a stool, and ordered my favorite tequila sunrise.

“So you’re a tequila girl,” I heard a man’s voice beside me, suddenly I saw  Ian, with his perfect smile. I felt shy because I have the feeling that I’m hiding from the group. I just nodded without a word.

“Glad I ran into you. I am dying to get Jane out of my ear.” He replied, and then turned to the bartender and ask for a new drink for himself. Suddenly, he’s also sitting at the stool next to me. Somehow, I got the feeling that Jane sent him to talk to me or whatever. But I knew her, she doesn’t play cupid with friends who already knew each other.

He turned to me, and then, with a worried look, stood up as if he got burned. “I’m so sorry. I got excited. Can I stay here?”

I smiled. And just nodded.

Planning and Forgetting

Photo from of 2 Broke Girls.

Of course, it took me several months to get over Nate. Even today, as I celebrate the holidays, over 5 months after his “Proposal”, I still feel depressed. I keep hitting the replay button in my head when that day took a miserable turn. How did I end up here, celebrating the most happiest holidays of all, alone and lonely. You know that single moment that you knew your life has turned around and you’re back at zero, again. No one to hold, no one to hug, no one to say “I love you, too.”

“Stop it!” I got distracted by Luke’s nudge. “You’re thinking about him.”

I can’t say anything. I don’t even want to try to deny it. These people around me, they were the no-judge circle I have after Nate.

“I say, we fix you up! I keep telling you this.” It was Jane, and true that. She gave me enough time, 3 days, before she brought up a hundred men she wanted me to date.

“And she’s not ready yet!” The thing I love about Luke is I have someone on my side so that I don’t have to waste time arguing with Jane.

“When will she be ready?” She asked, exasperated. Then held my hand. “New Year’s coming. Are you going to be in that state forever?”

“Just give her a few more time.”

“Oh, time! It’s ticking. Marg, you’re not getting any younger.”

I mildly laughed. “Ha ha, thank you for that. You’re such a nice friend.”

“I’m just saying.”

We opened a bottle of cheap wine, ate our meatballs which the three of us cooked and fought over an hour ago. Jane started Netflix, and we stayed up until 3 am, talking and half-watching Masters of Sex.

At midnight, while Dr. Masters and Dr. Johnson’s are in the middle of observing 2 patients having sex, we decided to open our presents for each other. I got them both overnighter bags. I opened my gift from Luke and it was a mermaid blanket. And then, Jane’s little rectangular box of gift for both of us. It was a ticket out-of-town.

I was shocked and amazed with her gift, but I know why she picked it. She’s been wanting to drag me out for a vacation for a long while, and it was kind of my fault that she missed summer this year because I was just too emotional to be happy over the break-up.

“Jane, I don’t know if…” I started.

“Don’t say anything yet. It’s a blank plane ticket. We can go whenever all three of us are ready.” She answered.

I looked over at Luke, and he seemed kind of pleased and is waiting for my next reaction.

“Well, here’s the thing, guys. It is more than just a vacation. I wanted you to see something. I bought something for myself. Actually, half is given by my dad. You know, he wanted me to be serious with business and all that. And then, a friend offered me to buy their beach house, which I think is so big, so I said yes and I wanted to do something with it.”

“Do what?” sometimes, I wonder how she became my friend. She’s filthy rich, and so annoying most of the times. But I am so touched that she thought about us.

“I wanted to do something that binds us. I wanted a business. With you guys, as my partners.”

“Are you building a hotel?” Luke asked. He sound excited, and actually, I kind of am, too.

“Not that big. I wanted us to be the first group of tech people in that area. There are a lot of hotels there already, small ones. Maybe hostel is the right term? But I wanted to offer them a product or a service of some sort…” And Jane bored us with all of her plans.

Not really bored us, the opposite, actually. She wants Luke to be the tech guy who created some program, and I’ll be the marketing person. She wants us to see the place, to appreciate and create as much opportunities as we can.

For the first time in a long time, I somehow forgot Nate, and the heartaches and the chaos of the last 5 months. I started to look forward to the future, my future with my friends. This is something that I feel good about.

The Aftermath

There was nothing I could do the after Nate and I broke up. I didn’t even get to text Luke and Jane to pick up her car from my place. I just sit at my bedside trying to figure out what I could do from then, but I felt too exhausted to even get up.

Thankful to these two wonderful friends I got, I could have been dead by now, forgetting to eat and get out of the house the whole weekend. It was quite a timing that that happened on a Friday. My best friends were able to rescue me without leaving work.

It was Sunday when I got fed up by my phone’s constant ring and decided to answer it, Luke on the other end.

“Hey! What happened? We’re getting worried, and Jane’s needing her car.”

“Come over, please.” I said, sobs in between the words.

It felt like seconds for them to get to the apartment. I opened the door and I saw the horrified look on their faces. I may have looked like a zombie. But I didn’t care. I left the door open for them, and heard it shut by one of them. Again, who cares.

It took Jane a lot of courage, and surprisingly, no nagging, for her to get me to the bathroom to clean up. She even prepared a hot bath for me, and lingered in the bathroom, sitting in the toilet, trying to tell me stories about anything. I didn’t listen.

Finally, when she thought I looked decent, they both pushed me out the door to have dinner. We went to our favorite Tapa house, and sat at our corner seats. Gil, the waiter, came over to greet us. As loyal customers of the diner, we got the privilege to be buddy-buddy with the servers, and sometimes, we get personal with Gil. But before he could even say hi, Luke already gave him the look that says: “Not today, Gil.”

“The usual okay?”

“Thank you, Gil.” Luke said.

As soon as the coffee and the food arrived, they started their questions. One by one, I answered it. From the night I left Nate to go to Luke’s, to having to pee on a pregnancy test kit, to Nate’s proposal, until we broke up.

“And the funny thing is, the pregnancy test is negative.” I said, trying my hardest to smile, and failing

.I felt Luke’s arms hugging me on his side, then suddenly, my cheeks began to blush, and even though I don’t want to cry in front of them, and outside the comfort of my bed pillow, my tears began to pour and I felt betrayed by my own body. Again.

“I believe it’s your body taking charge over you. It falsifies a pregnancy because your body wants you to get rid of that ugly kind of guy.” Jane said, failing to calm down my heartache.

“Jane! Can you not.” Luke stopped him.

“What? I’m just saying…” And they started to bicker.

I moved to get my phone in my bag, and checked for messages that I’ve missed. Particularly, messages from Nate. I saw one, and opened it.

“Margo. Forgive me. I cannot, really. I’m not fit to be a father, not ready to be a parent. It’s not something that I wanted to do, not now, not ever. You are right. We cannot compromise on this. And sooner or later, if we continue ‘US’, we’re just going to be miserable with each other. You see yourself that you can do the parenting stuff, but I can’t. I don’t know how I can handle knowing that I am having a child, it’s a burden already. But I loved you, remember that.”

He loved me. Loved. Already in the past. It was just 2 days ago and he’s already texting me his goodbye. I wanted so bad to tell him that we’re not having a baby. But I don’t know if this is the right moment, or the right move. I don’t trust myself and whatever I do right now. Before, I tend to be compulsive about my emotions. But now, I wanted to think things through.

Somehow, I felt proud of myself. I felt proud that I can resist the temptation to run back to him and tell him the things he wants to hear. Is it because this time, it was me who broke up with him, it was me who actually caught his shitty acts? Probably, and more so, probably because I knew deep down that there really is no love in the first place. Only matured infatuation, and it is so complicated that I felt the exhaustion of keeping the relationship going.

We finished the dinner and paid the bill. I looked up to smile at Gil as he takes away our cash. He smiled back and relaxed. It might have only been 2 days, but I feel ready. I realized how old I am now, and how near I am to being a full-time adult. I look at my friends, at our favorite waiter, and I realized that they had to go through life even if I’m hurting. That is adulthood. And I have to prove that I belong in that club by dusting off my clothes, fixing my hair, and holding my head up after a big stumble. It hurts, everything aches, but seeing the mistake and forgiving myself is the first step in moving on.

“Thanks, guys. I think I’m gonna be okay, so please don’t worry about me when you go to work tomorrow. I’ll text you, okay?” I told Luke and Jane as I gave them the keys to the car that I borrowed.

“No problem.” Luke said.

“I’ll go over and get my stuff out of your house this week, okay? I still don’t know what would happen but…”

“No, don’t worry about it. It can rut in there, I wouldn’t mind.” He replied, smiling.

“Hey, do you think you’ll ever tell Nate that you’re not pregnant?” Jane reminded me.

“Jane! Oh my God!” Luke shouted and walked away, out of the apartment.

“What?” She asked innocently to Luke, then returned her face on me. “Seriously, tell me, okay? Because I wanted to be there when you do. I’m here for you. I love you.”

“I know. Thank you. I will call you.”

The Proposal

Photo courtesy of Pretty Little Liars.

I could’ve actually let Jane drive me back to the apartment, the problem is I won’t be able to stop by the drugstore to buy a pregnancy test. She would never let me out of the car without a thousand questions about it.

As soon as I parked in the driveway, I immediately run to the bathroom in our room. I quickly inspected the house and concluded that Nate went out for a run. He always does at this hour, and I guess, my reply was enough to relax him and get around to his usual daily routine. I saw his laptop plugged in on his usual working corner, and a fresh set of clothes for when he gets back.

I tore the wrapper off the stick and made the necessary squat and pee. I haven’t been done yet and I already heard the door of the room open and shut. Nate’s here. And he also checked the bathroom door, realizing someone’s in there, he shouted:

“Marg, is that you?”

I snapped, and quickly stood up from the toilet. Holding the stick in my hand, I opened the door, as if by reflex.

He looked at me, and his eyes suddenly got fixated on the stick in my hand.

“Honey.” He said, in his calming voice, somehow, hinting the nervousness behind it. He holds my other hand and brings me to the bed, like I was hypnotized by simply being around him. He pushed me to sit down on the side while he moves next to me. The stick is still on the other hand. I cannot look at him. I can only look at my lap.

“Look. Here’s the thing. I love you and I’m ready to be with you. I’m ready to give myself to you, Margo.” He started to say, and somehow, I don’t know where he’s getting at.

“It’s just that,” he continues. “I don’t know if we’re ready to commit to this thing.”

“What?” I finally found my voice, and at the same time I realized how confused I am.

“No. What I mean is, I love you. And I can commit TO YOU. I will commit to you. But maybe, we should do something. I mean, wouldn’t it be fun if we just have a time of our own? Just the two of us. It’s enough for you, right? Am I not enough for you?”

“I don’t understand what you’re saying.” Still trying to figure out what he means.

“I’m just saying, let’s get married, okay? Will that not make you happy? Will that not make you feel enough?”

“And,” I said, finally understanding what he wants to do. “At the expense of our marriage, you want me to not be pregnant, is that it?” I suddenly put the stick under my butt, as if hiding it means hiding the very thing that we wanted to detect by it.

“Well, it sounds awful if you put it that way.”

“It is awful, and there’s no other way to put it!” Now, i feel the anger rushing in.

“I just wanted us to have a time for ourselves after marriage. Just the two of us, enjoying each other’s company. My friend said that somehow, it made their relationship stronger.”

“What made them stronger? Marriage? Or the abortion that you’re actually subtly suggesting.”

“Hey, Margo! Can you not be so angry about it. Let’s try to make sense of this.”

“Okay. Let’s. You want us to get married, and get rid of the baby? That’s the solution that you came up with?”

“We can compromise!”

“Compromise, how? What if I wanted to actually have the baby?”

“You don’t believe that, how can you raise a baby at this age? We’re just at our 20’s. We’re still enjoying our life.”

“Yes. But, I don’t like the idea of abortion.”

“Then don’t think of it that way. Think of it as a medical thing. It’s avoiding something that you are not ready for.”

“But how do you know that I’m not ready for it?”

“Because I am not, so I know that you’re not either. I’m not ready to be a father. I can’t be a father.” He finally said it, exasperated. And at the end of the sentence, I sensed how blurting it out somehow made him feel better. Like he’s no longer tensed of the situation.

“Then maybe that’s the problem, you’re the problem.” I said, as if giving up with the situation. I finally knew what I wanted. And seeing how different he wants to approach this disgusts me.

“Look, we’ll get married. I’m gonna be there for you. I’ll be your husband, your partner.”

“And you’ll do that if we’re not having a baby now?”

“Well, yes.” He said, not proud of his answer.

“Then, I don’t want a marriage.”

“But I can’t…”

“And you can’t have a baby. So I guess, this is it. Maybe we’re done.”

“Maybe? That’s a maybe Marg, what I’m offering you is a full time commitment.”

“You’re offering something that you don’t know how to give Nate! I’m done. This is finished.”

I stood up and went straight to the bathroom. I locked myself in, even though I don’t really know for how long I’ll be in. But with the looks of it, it wouldn’t be that long. I almost forgot the stick on my hand, and looked at it. Just a single line.

It’s a false alarm, but the alarm was loud enough for me to wake up from my dream to date the best version of Nate. I thought I wanted to be different from the other girls. I wanted to be someone who wouldn’t let Nate feel like he needs to change himself for me. So I let him be himself, while I struggle to adjust to his ways that I wouldn’t ever be comfortable with. I stopped being me so he can be just the way he is. I never knew that because of that, he’d actually want to force himself to do something he resisted from the beginning, and I ended up turning my back on that chance.

I looked at the stick that shouted NEGATIVE, and I’m left to wonder what to do now. I just broke up with my boyfriend for nothing. Is it for nothing? I don’t know anymore. I heard the bedroom door shut and I decided to come out of the room. He left the house without even calling me out. Is he okay with what just happened?

Hide and Seek

Photo courtesy of Pretty Little Liars.

Where the hell are you?! We’re supposed to talk!

Can you just text me please. What’s happening?

I can’t keep doing this, Margo. Please call me!

20 messages so far, from Nate. I couldn’t blame him. I just threw a huge bomb on him last night, then disappeared while he was just sleeping beside me. I am lucky if I thought I would get away with this from him.

“You’re phone’s buzzing. Nate must have woke up,” Luke said, bringing me a cup of coffee. “By the way, Jane texted me. She knows you’re here, but wants to ask you if she could come over.”

“Oh of course she could come over! This is a crisis. I just don’t want to be at her house the minute Nate decides to barge in there looking for me.”

“You have a point. I say let’s wait till Nate does that. I don’t think he’ll do that here so this is a safe zone.”

“Exactly.”

Nate knew I would always run into Jane’s, I always do whenever we fight. And though Jane’s never hid her disapproving act when it comes to me dating him, I just can’t drag her into the seriousness of all these. The last thing he needs is a nag from my friend.

Hence, Luke. I texted him at 3am, when I managed to gather myself up and decided I wouldn’t be sleeping, not while Nate’s breathing down my nape. Get me out of here, please. No questions, for now.

20minutes later, I received a reply from him, informing me he and his car’s outside.

“Hey!” I whispered to him, my overnight bag slinging on my right shoulder. He managed to noticed that and hurriedly went out the car to help me load the bag in the trunk.

“Hi! Everything okay?” He whispered back. “And why are we whispering?”

“Can we go first?”

That’s how I ended up in his place on the day that I badly needed to talk to my boyfriend about possibly having a baby.

“I know you said no questions, but can I just say something?” I just looked at my friend and nodded quietly. I crashed into his couch and slept for what seems like the shortest nap I’ve ever had. “If you have needed a space to think last night, he should have given you that. He shouldn’t just even be outside your room, but outside your house as well.”

“That was both our apartment.”

“I know, but you are going through something. And you might have thought it was sweet of him to stay by your side, but it is respect, you know. For you to figure the problem out on your own, because it might not have been about your relationship, but about yourself.”

“Yea. I know what you mean. Honestly, I was quite out of it last night. I’m so confused of what to feel.”

“That’s understandable, considering…” He paused.

“What?” I insisted.

“Considering you haven’t been in a healthy relationship for a while.”

I was shocked. I didn’t know Nate has a bad impression on him, too. I thought he was always neutral.

“I know! I’m sorry. It’s not that I don’t like him. But I don’t like you with him.”

I sighed.

“I don’t need this right now, Luke. Just let me stay a couple of hours and I’ll be gone in a jiff!”

“No! I’m sorry. It’s not that. Let’s talk about this once all this trouble is done. Stay the hell in here, I won’t say a word anymore.”

“Are you sure?”

He sat beside me on his couch, remote on his hand, and switched the TV on.

“Shut up and don’t be a drama queen. You can stay. But promise me you’ll talk.”

“Promise. Thank you Luke!”

I held my head on his shoulder, and he gladly welcomed it.

I think I already knew why I ran away from Nate. I’m already assuming his reaction and I’m not ready for that. I know that he’s not ready with this kind of seriousness yet. And I’m scared that this might break us. But the thing is I don’t really want this to be something that could make us, because deep inside I know that for me, this would be good.

The thing is Luke has a point. My boyfriend should have given me the space I needed to think this through. It’s just that when you have to make a decision, it’s hard to look out for your own sake without thinking about the other person who’s hugging you from the back.

I picked up my phone and decided to text Nate back.

I just needed a minute to think on my own. I’ll be back soon.

I wanted to say that I’ll be home, but I don’t feel like it’s mine right now.

Jane arrived at around noon, bringing us food for lunch.

“Did he hurt you?”

“No.”

“He molested you? Asked you to have sex on your period?”

“No.” And I remembered what triggered the fight last night.

“Did he proposed?”

“No.” And I smiled at the stupidity of the thought.

“Are you even gonna tell us?” She asked exasperated, almost throwing her chopsticks at me. I saw Luke smiled in the corner while getting the last spring roll.

“Hey, look. Let me just finally talk about this with Nate. I don’t want to tell you then we end up concluding this story on our own.”

After lunch, I went to take a good bath. Luke’s so nice to even offer me wine while I enjoy the hot bath. I thought I wouldn’t be able to resist, if it weren’t for my situation.

Okay. I just regret not having to be by your side with all the stuff you’re going through. I want to be there for you. Let’s just talk, please. Nate’s reply to my last text.

At least he’s calm now, before he even got the chance to call my parents.

“Hey, Jane, can I use your car?” I asked Jane while she snoops around my bag while I cloth myself.

“Sure. I can also drive you if you want.”

“No need. I would just text you if I’m coming back tonight. Just pick up the car later if I’m not. I will call you again soon as we finished talking.”

“Alright.”

Triggering Night

Photo courtesy of Younger.

I was so focused on the TV that I got surprised by that small kiss he planted on my shoulder. I didn’t realized he already adjusted my robe’s sleeves so he’d be able to do that. I pulled away and smiled.

“Not tonight, babe. I’m sorry.”

“Why? Are you still on your period?”

I was shocked when he asked that. He must have assumed that I was on it for refusing to bed with him for quite a while now. But it was for a different reason.

He noticed the silence and the deep thinking in my face, and he started to melt down, knowing something is wrong, that something horrible is coming.

“Actually,” I started.

“Hey, hon, we don’t have to do it tonight. Don’t scare me like that if you just want to get out of sex.” His voice is quite different and it’s offensive to me.

“When did I ever make a big talk just so I could opt out of sex?” Now I’m really not in the mood.

“Okay. Here we are.”

What?! Did he just really do that? Did he just blamed me for being pissed at him for accusing me of using an argument just so he could not get pleasure tonight and proved his point?

“You want to know what’s wrong? Why I don’t feel like having anything sticking on me tonight? It’s because I’m pregnant! You happy?”

He laughed so hard it makes me even angrier. I didn’t even feel a bit of regret for saying that. So I stood up and decided to open up the topmost storage in the cabinet and brought out a fresh comforter and threw it at him.

“Get out.” I said silently.

“Seriously?”

“Yes, seriously! Get the fuck out of my room. Better yet, get the fuck out of my house!”

I moved closer to him to try to get back the comforter which he now hugs in confusion.

“Wait, wait! Why are you being so serious about this? Can we just chill? It’s okay if you don’t want any action tonight. No worries.”

“Not ‘no worries’. We cannot ‘no worries’ when I just told you what I told you.”

“Come on, hon! You can’t be that serious about it.” He hold my face with both of his hands, forgetting he had something on it. I had my eyes fixated on the comforter which were now on the floor. “Hey.” He called out again.

I realized how I’m not ready to do the talk. “Maybe you really should just sleep outside for now.”

“Are you sure?”

Yes, because I think you can’t handle it for now. And I don’t know if I could handle you right now. I thought.

He picked up the comforter off the floor, got a pillow from the bed, and head out of the door.

“Okay, if you think that’s the best. Let’s both have a sleep and think about it overnight.”

It’s as if I would be able to sleep through this. Honestly, I haven’t been able to test myself yet. But I’m sure, well sort of. I have already gone through my pills and I remembered when I started forgetting to take one. It’s something that I hate myself for. I knew for sure that once I forgot to take one, a day would turn into two, and then a week, and the next thing I know, a month would pass without my period coming in.

The worst thing about it is I haven’t figured out what to feel personally. At 28, should I be happy? I’ll be growing another child in my womb. And why should I be worried? Nate and I have been together for 3 years. Okay, maybe it was just a year since we first really dated as a couple. But I shouldn’t worry about our relationship, ours was strong, and serious. And he loves me, right?

I suddenly felt a change of weight on the bed. And Nate’s arm is wrapping around me, spooning me.

“I know you needed space, and I know you might be mad at me for something really important, but can you be mad at me while we sleep together. I just can’t sleep without you, love.”

It sounds so sweet and loving and is it just the confirmation to the nagging question I had? Or is it a display of disrespect, him not giving me the time for myself, in such a serious moment? Is he mocking me, telling me that I cannot be thinking alone, by myself, for myself? Should I be angry? Should I be touched?

He burrowed his face at the back of my head, teasing me for an answer. Even if I wanted to pretend I’m asleep, I just can’t. Not with snots pushing out of my nose.

“‘Kay.” I answered, hiding my sobs.