Songs for this chapter:

Iris by Goo Goo Dolls

Make Damn Sure by Taking Back Sunday

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Chapter 18: School of Sick Heroes

"Hey, why are you always with that detective? I thought you didn't like him?" Tanong ni Jin habang naglalakad kami patungo sa Montello Main Building. I was shocked when I saw him outside the Girl's Dormitory waiting for me. Akala ko kasi, nagsawa na siya sa bodyguard role nya nang hindi ko nakita maski anino man lang nya kahapon. I decided to have lunch in the dorm instead of going outside the school. Hindi pa rin kasi maaaring gamitin ang cafeteria. Hindi ko na rin pinasukan ang mga pang-umaga kong klase. Kasama ko si Detective Penber at pinagdiskusyunan namin ang posibleng paraan para mailigtas si Mirden. Jin was outside the dormitory after lunch, waiting for me.

Tapos ay agad syang humingi ng tawad dahil sa nabalitaan nyang nangyari kay Mirden. Shame on me but I was actually expecting him to have started hovering around me the moment na mabalitaan nyang nawawala si Mirden. Ang sabi nya, he wanted to pero dinetain sya ni Zach. Totoo nga yata ang sinabi ni Zach nung isang araw na nagiging problema na nya ang pagbuntot sa akin ni Jin kaya baka gumagawa na ito ng paraan. Siguro tama siya. Kung si Jin ang kasama ko kahapon, posible kayang mapahamak rin siya?

"It doesn't mean I like him now," sagot ko sa tanong niya. I could say that I'd really made an alliance with Detective Penber. But it was all for Mirden. I just needed to save Mirden and if hanging out with annoying people is what I have to do, I'd do it.

"I'm serious about this, Summer. I know why you're always with that Detective. I don't think it's a good idea. Mapapahamak kayo. Mapapahamak ka," wika ni Jin. I know about that. And I'm also serious about this.

"Jin, pwede ba? Bakit ba nagiging malaking bagay sa'yo na nakikipag-usap ako kay Detective Penber? He was just telling me something," inis kong sabi.

"He's telling you about what?" Muli niyang tanong. "About dangerous stuff like saving Mirden? I told you, I know. Kilala kita, Summer." Marahas akong huminto  at humarap sa kaniya.

"Ano bang paki-alam mo, Jin? Sa huli kong pagkakaalam ay kakilala lang kita at kapareho lang ng school na pinapasukan. Wala akong kahit na anong kaugnayan sa'yo upang umasta ka ng ganyan." Saglit na napawi ang ngiti niya dahil sa mga sinabi ko. Subalit bumalik din ang carefree nyang ekspresyon.

"Well, Autumn is already convinced I'm your boyfriend. And in case you have forgotten things, I'm also your bestfriend. So I think those titles are both enough for me to be worried about you and ask questions," sagot niya. Hindi ko na siya sinagot at ipinagpatuloy ang paglalakad. Wala na talaga syang pag-asa.

"Summer, masyadong marami nang delikadong nangyayari at nag-aalala ako. Hindi rin maalis sa isip ko na maaaring maging isa ka ring biktima ng mga gulong ito."

"Kaya ko ang sarili ko," walang emosyon kong sagot. Pinigil ko rin ang magbuntung hininga. Parang ilang beses ko nang naririnig sa iba't-ibang tao ang mga dialog na ito lately. Hinawakan niya ako sa braso at pinigilan sa paglalakad at saka iniharap sa kaniya. Nawala na ang carefree look. All that's left in his expression was seriousness. I looked straight into his eyes and realized that he's showing me his soul. He's trying to be vulnerable in front of me and I can't help but think that it was brave and admirable. Pero naisip ko rin na maling-mali ang timing nya dahil nasa gitna kami ng school yard at kasalukuyang tinatakpan ng ulap ang sinag ng araw.

Montello High: School of Gangsters (Published under Cloak Pop Fiction)Basahin ang storyang ito ng LIBRE!