“The number you dialed is busy at the moment, please try your call later.”
Padabog na hinagis niya ang cellphone sa kama. Nakakailang dial na siya sa number ni Ethan pero hindi nito sinasagot ang mga tawag niya. Kailangan na mag-usap uli sila. Baka sakali na mabago pa niya ang isip nito at pumayag na sa gusto ni Don Eduardo na i-annul ang kasal nito kay Karina.
She was pacing back and forth unaware of the person standing at the open door.
“Is that your secret for having a great body? Nice exercise routine you have there.” Mark asked after he knocked twice.
Immediately her brows furrowed. What was he doing here? There’s so many things she needed to do and he’s not included in her agenda.
“Why are you here?” She glared at him.
“Sweetheart, you forgot? We have dinner reservations later at Imperial Hotel.” Mark crossed her arms and leaned on the door.
Upon hearing the word Imperial, she immediately went to her side table and grabbed her bag. Nagmamadaling humakbang siya palabas. Huminto siya sa tapat ni Mark. “Would you mind getting out? I need to close the door.” Nakasandal ito sa pinto kaya hindi niya magawang maisara iyon.
“I didn’t know you’ll be this excited. We could go somewhere else first, maaga pa naman.” Mark stood straight.
She stepped back when he leaned closer to touch her face.
“Sino naman ang nagsabi na kaya ako nagmamadali ay dahil sasama ako sa iyo. May pupuntahan akong importante at malabong matuloy ang dinner na sinasabi mo. Marami akong dapat asikasuhin at wala akong panahon na makipag-bolahan sa iyo.”
She pushed him away and when she pulled the door knob, she heard her phone rang. She checked her bag but she couldn’t find it. Umupo siya at ibinuhos ang lahat ng laman ng bag niya. Pero wala roon ang phone niya.
Patuloy pa rin sa pag-ring ng kanyang phone. Kailangan na masagot niya iyon. Ethan was the one calling her. She knew because she set a different ring tone just for him.
“Are you looking for this?” Mark asked.
She looked up and saw him holding her phone. Tumayo siya at sinubukan na agawin iyon mula rito. Pero panay ang iwas at atras nito para lang hindi niya iyon makuha.
“I don’t have time to play your games. Give me back my phone or I will call security.” Tumigil siya sa pag-agaw rito ng phone at pinagbantaan ito.
“You are not in the position to give demands sweetheart, say we’ll be having dinner and you can have your phone.”
“You son of a---“ She didn’t had a chance to finish her sentence because she was shocked when he pulled her close.
“Say it and I’ll make sure you’ll regret it.” He threatened her. “I don’t like my women cursing. Your mouth is so beautiful to utter foul words.”
“I am not your woman, damn you!” She tried to free herself but his strong hands won’t allow it.
“You stubborn woman!” He’s about to kiss her but she covered her mouth with her hand.
“Mark, please I need to answer Ethan’s call.” She said in a pleading tone, still covering her lips.
“Ayan, kaya mo naman palang makiusap bakit palagi mo akong sinusungitan?” Mark said before he anwered the phone. “Hello?”
She suppressed a gasp. Hindi niya akalain na sasagutin ni Mark ang tawag. Sinubukan niya muling makawala rito pero lalo lang nitong hinigpitan ang paghapit sa kanya. He put her phone in between his ear and shoulder. When she tried to speak, he placed his finger on her lips and gave her a warning look. He didn’t need to say it but she knew he wanted her to keep her mouth shut.
“Si Mark ito. She’s taking a shower.” Mark eyes were locked at her lips while he was listening to Ethan. “I will just tell her to return your call. No, wala naman siyang sasabihin sa iyo. Maybe we accidentally pressed the call button, naghaharutan kami kanina baka nadaganan lang namin.”
“What are you saying?” Hindi na siya nakapagpigil at hinablot niya ang phone mula rito. “Hello Ethan. Don’t mind him, it’s not true!” Kasabay nun ay nagpumiglas siya at tinalikuran niya ito para makausap si Ethan.
“Is he bothering you?” Tanong ni Ethan.
Kinilig siya ng marinig ang concern sa tinig ni Ethan. “No, huwag mo iyong pansinin. Ethan, we need to talk. Baka naguguluhan ka lang. Naiintindihan kita you love Katrina so much, you are willing to settle for a copy cat. Pero huwag mong hayaan na bulagin ka ng puso mo. Be rational and think straight.”
“Ethan, halika na sa baba. Nagluto si Nana ng specialty niya.” She heard Karina on the other line.
“Ann, I need to go. Be safe okay. I’ll call you gain later.”
“No, wait, Ethan!” She panicked when he ended the call.
Akala niya magkakaroon na siya ng pag-asa na mapansin ni Ethan pero mukhang tuluyan na itong mawawala sa kanya. She closed her eyes and tried to stop her mind from picturing Ethan and Karina together. Na-witness niya kung gaano ka-sweet ang mga ito dati sa Davao at hindi malayong ganoon na naman ang mga ito sa ngayon.
“So, you’re ignoring me because you have hots for Ethan!” Mark said behind her.
“Umalis ka na please.” Humarap siya rito at nakiusap. “I know I promise you we will have dinner later pero biglang sumakit ang ulo ko. Sa ibang araw na lang pwede ba?”
Iniwas niya ang mata at hindi niya matagalan ang mga mapanuring tingin ni Mark.
“You love him but he’s already married. Don’t tell me you’re willing to be his mistress.”
“Stop it!” Galit na tinakpan niya ang kanyang mga kamay ang dalawa niyang tengga. “You’re not my friend at wala akong pakialam kung ano man ang isipin mo tungkol sa akin.”
“You want him that bad huh?” Mark sounded irritated. “I’ll help you but in one condition.”
“What?” She surprisingly asked. “I don’t need your help, I can manage on my own.”
“Nah, I don’t think you can break them apart. Hindi mo naman siguro gugustuhin na magalit sa iyo si Ethan diba?”
“Umalis ka na. I don’t want to hear any of it.” Itinulak niya ito palabas ng kwarto niya. Hindi naman iyon naging mahirap kahit na higit na matangakad at malaki ang katawan nito, he was actually walking his way out too.
Finally when he was outside her room. Before she could shut the door, nagawa pa nitong magsalita.
“Kung gusto mo talaga silang maghiwalay, tawagan mo lang ako.”
Pagkasara niya ng pinto ay sumandal siya roon. Tanggap na niya noon na hindi magiging kanya si Ethan pero ng malaman niyang si Karina at hindi si Katrina ang pinakasalan nito, umasa siya na pwedeng maging sila ni Ethan.
Kung kaya ni Ethan na ibaling ang pagmamahal nito kay Karina, hindi malayong kaya rin siya nitong mahalin.
Wala sa plano niya na manakit ng ibang tao pero ayaw pa niyang sumuko, ngayon pa nga lang siya magsisimulang ipaglaban ang pag-ibig niya kay Ethan. She wouldn’t mind to be called a home wrecker, a mistress or a bitch. She could bear anything just to have him.