Chapter 3 - Isolde

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The noise faded—slowly as if someone siphoned the sound out until all I could hear was my heart beating. I inhaled sharply; I wasn't sure if he heard it but the corners of his eyes crinkled as he smiled.

"Nginitian n'ya ako!" The loud shriek from the woman beside me broke the spell and I was inside the stadium again where everyone was screaming.

"Nakita mo 'yun, Girl? Nginitian n'ya ako!" she repeated holding my forearm tightly.

I knew that I should probably tell her off or else her grip would leave a mark but my mind was blank and I couldn't seem to form words. "Um..." I tried pulling myself free but she wouldn't let my arm go.

"My God, pwede na akong mamatay, Girl! Pwedeng-pwede na! Kukunin kitang witness, ha, na ngumiti si Gregory Yu sa akin ngayong araw na 'to!"

"That's his name?" I asked as casually as I could. "That guy with the number 22 jersey?"

The lady looked at me weirdly as if she realized for the first time that I was some stranger and she had just told me some intimate secret. "Saang bundok ka ba galing? Hindi mo kilala si Gregory Yu?!"

Gregory who?

"Hindi ka member ng Yu & I?"

"Ha?"

What the freak is You & I?

The bewilderment that must have been written all over my face must have given me away because the woman then scowled at me. "Eh, anong ginagawa mo rito?!" she asked sharply. "Naka-reserve itong hilera ng bleachers na ito pati na rin 'yung dalawa pa sa itaas para sa aming fans ni Gregory, 'no!"

"Um..." I wanted to say that I was lost but she was looking at me angrily like I had desecrated something holy.

"Applicant ka ba?" another girl asked.

I wanted to shake my head but there were around a dozen of them who were looking at me with murder, or at least hair-pulling, in their eyes that I could only helplessly nod.

"Ay, aplikante pala natin 'to! Bagong recruit, girls!" a petite girl announced; she was wearing a pink t-shirt with Yu & I printed in front.

I hope she'll realize that a word on that shirt is misspelled...

"I'm Carol, I'm the President. Ikaw 'yung tumawag sa landline namin n'ung nakaraan? Akala ko ba hindi ka tutuloy ng luwas dahil masama ang pakiramdam mo? I am so glad that you made it! Ano nga palang pangalan mo? Ivy ba 'yun o Yvonne?"

"Ha?"

What is this girl even saying?

"Name, pangalan...?"

I stared blankly at her.

She laughed. "It's okay, we've been there. 'Yung sa sobrang gwapo n'ya kaya naman nakalimutan mo na 'yung pangalan mo. 'Tapos, 'di ba, ngumiti pa s'ya sa akin kanina—"

"Anong sa'yo? Sa akin, ano!"

"Carmela, pwede ba, sa akin s'ya nakatingin. H'wag ka namang masyadong feeling. I mean, Girl, control yourself. Ako na ang nahihiya para sa'yo—"

"Excuse me lang, Carol, ilang katol ba ang nahithit mo, ha? Nakita n'ya na sa akin ngumiti si Gregory! Sabihin mo, Miss, 'yung nakita mo. Sa akin naman talaga tumingin si Greg kanina, 'di ba?"

They all looked expectantly at me.

"Dali na, sabihin mo!" the one called Carmela repeated.

"Actually..." I started to say.

"Actually, sigurado kami ni Julia na sa amin s'ya nakatingin!" someone butted in.

"Tama si Grace—"

"Hoy, kayong dalawa, pwede bang tumahimik kayo?" Carol snapped. "Ang layo n'yo kaya. Ano ba si Greg, banlag at talagang aabot 'yung tingin n'ya sa inyo, eh, you're four seats away? Besides, sure akong kilala n'ya ako, 'di ba nga, kinausap n'ya ako last time—"

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