Chapter Seventeen – Cover Girl

Karina

When she looked at the mirror, she saw very sophisticated woman, confident and elegant. She never thought she could look this beautiful.

             “Your husband should see you like this. Maybe then he’ll realize how foolish he is for letting you go.”

            She gave Mark a dagger look. “We are not friends and I don’t need your pity.”

            Mark smiled mischievously. “That’s it. Release all your angst so it will be captured by the camera. The magazine will be out next week.”

            Returning his smile, she mocked him “Are you sure you want me for this job? What if I ruin it?”

            Before Mark could say something, Romina approached them.

        “Wow, what a transformation. Thanks Sissy.” Pinasalamatan ni Romina ang katabi niyang make-up artist. “Ready ka na? Punta na tayo sa set.”

        Tumango siya at tinapunan ng nang-iinis na ngiti si Mark. Hindi niya talaga magawang magustuhan ang kaibigan ni Jaime. Nakita niya kasi ito dati sa isang bar sa Baguio. He and a girl were making out sa loob ng CR. She couldn’t forget his smug face when she caught them, looking proud and unaffected.

         That was years ago but when she saw him again when she’s with Nathan and he thought she was Katrina, lalong nadagdagan ang inis niya rito. Noon okay lang na mapagkamalan siyang si Katrina pero mula noong magpanggap siya bilang si Katrina kay Ethan, naiinis na siya kapag hindi siya makatakas sa anino ng kakambal.

        “I’ll give you a place to stay basta ayusin mo lang ang photo shoot na ito.” Mark offered.

        “Talaga? Ang mahal naman ng bayad mo sa akin, house and lot?” Faking her facial expression, she replied with excitement.

        “Just for a week, enough time for you to get away.” Mark corrected her.

        “Tempting but no thanks, I don’t trust you.” She immediately declined his offer.

            “You could stay at my sister’s place, not mine.” He grinned. “Uulitin ko, hindi kita type. Dahil kung gusto kita noon pa niligawan na kita, noong hindi ko pa alam na may asawa ka. I only date single women.”      

            “Good at least we're cleared. I know where I stand and you stand away from me.” Sinundan na niya si Romina  sa naka-set up na studio. May iba pang models na naroon at tapos ng kuhanan. All were equally beautiful. Hindi niya kilala ang mga ito pero mukhang mga professional models.

            Nang dumating siya ay napatingin ang mga ito sa kanya. Ang iba ay nagbulungan pa sa harap niya na parang gustong iparamdam sa kanya na siya ang pinag-uusapan ng mga ito. Wala siyang pakialam kung ano ang isipin nito. Sanay na siya sa ganyang reaksyon.

            Now that she’s back to being her and there’s no more reason for her to be sweet and nice. The real Karina was back, the snob, unfriendly and unloved twin. They could talk all day but still her face will be on the cover and not theirs.

Mark

Kung totoong humahaba ang ilong ng mga nagsisinungaling, kanina pa sobrang haba ng ilong niya. He lied when he said he’s not his type. Sinong lalaki ang hindi maakit at mabibighani kay Karina. Habang pinagmamasadan niya ang iba’t ibang posing nito sa camera ay lalo siyang humahanga rito.

            She’s every photographer’s dream model. Every angle and every pose, she looked exceptionally beautiful and alluring. He looked at her sister and saw how much she’s enjoying every click of her camera. If only he knew how to use it, he would love to take those pictures.

            Once in a while, he saw her lips smiled but never her eyes.

Kanina bago niya ito ginising, narinig niyang binanggit nito ang pangalang Ethan. His guess was it’s her husband’s name. Nakita rin niya na umiiyak ito habang nanaginip. She must have dreamed of him, a very sad dream she cried.  

            Hindi pa niya nakakausap si Jaime pero pahapyaw na napag-usapan nila kagabi nila William ang tungkol sa ginawa nitong pagpapanggap bilang si Katrina. Malaking katangahan ang magpakasal na gamit ang pangalan ng kapatid nito. Kaso sino naman siya para mag-judge?

            He remembered his conversation with Jaime days after his parents’ anniversary party.

            “Mark, hindi ko alam kung matutuwa o maiinis ako sa iyo. Bakit ba dinala mo sa party si Marie? Alam mo naman na kasama ko si Katrina at iniimbitahan mo rin si Karina. You should hire clowns if you wanted fiasco not us.”

            “You should be thanking me, all ends well with you and Katrina.”

            But yesterday he somehow ruined his friend’s beautiful ending. Only during the picture taking he learned, Mary Ann accepted his invitation because she wanted to bring along Karina’s husband. When he saw her in a party, she immediately caught his attention. His eyes were good in finding beautiful women. He wanted her to be on the cover of his magazine. She refused him many time but eventually agreed only after he invited her at Jaime’s wedding.

            When he learned she just used him, he immediately erased the idea of her being the cover of his magazine. Regardless of her beautiful features, he lost interest. Good thing Karina needed him and he persuaded her to do it.

              “You need to change again.” Romina said to Karina after a hundred clicks. “Sissy, please assist her.” She called the make-up artist  “Guys, change the set and also adjust the lights. Bring in Mark’s car. Pronto!”

            He smiled seeing his sister handled her job. What a bossy little witch.

            Nang mapadaan sa harap niya si Karina ay natapilok ito sa mga light cables sa lapag. Maagap na nahawakan niya ito sa braso. “Easy, I’m not always here to catch you.”

            “Oh please don’t give me those cheesy pick-up lines.” Karina rolled her eyes and tried to pull her arm from his hold.

            Bur he didn’t let go.

        “Karina, I’m sorry.” He started. “I didn’t knew Mary Ann is your huband’s friend. Because of me--”

        “Okay lang.” She cut him. “It’s bound to happen anyway. He’ll learn the truth sooner or later.”

        “Still, I’m sorry—“ He continued.

        “Apology accepted. Can you let go now?” She said with her brows crossed. “You heard your sister I need to change clothes. Please do me a favor, stop talking nonsense, you’re boring me.”

        He released her arm and stared at her as she walked with Sissy. There’s still a hint of sadness in her voice which revealed her true feelings. The strong exterior she was showing him were all pretense. She’s not okay, not at all. 

Sweetest Lie (To be published by PSICOM)Basahin ang storyang ito ng LIBRE!