CHAPTER 14

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CHAPTER 14

CLARIANETTE couldn’t move. She can’t talk. Her breath was caught in her throat when she heard Cleevan’s confession. Sobrang lakas ng tibok ng puso niya habang titig na titig sa mga mata ni Cleevan na puno ng halo-halong emosyon. At isa sa mga emosyon na iyon ay ang pagmamahal na sinasabi nito.

Her mouth parted open but no words came out from it.

Cleevan chuckled. “Is it that unbelievable?” Dumako ang tingin nito sa iba’t-ibang kulay ng swan boat na nasa gilid ng lawa. “I’m in love with you. I just don’t know how to express it.”

Still, no words came out from her mouth. She was just gaping and staring at him.

Cleevan looked at her again. “When I first saw you, I thought you were the most beautiful girl my eyes had ever laid on and I was in elementary back then. Nang makita ni Daddy at ng Daddy mo kung paano kita tingnan, pinagkasundo nila tayo. Funny. I was a kid back then. The second time I saw you was when I graduated in college. You were young, senior high school maybe?” There was a faraway look in his eyes as he smiled. “Nuong bata ako, I thought of you as a princess, fifteen years later, you were a goddess to me.”

Huminga ito ng malalim. “Hinintay ko na dumating ang panahon na ikasal tayo, but you know what’s bad about waiting? It’s when you’re waiting alone. Every time I see you, you’re with that guy named Lance. I like you since I was a kid and it hurts me to see you with another man but I don’t have a choice. I have to wait. Pinanghawakan ko ang pangako ng mga ama natin sa isa’t-isa na ipapakasal nila ta’yo pagdating ng tamang panahon. But my parents died in a plane crash and all of it was forgotten. Hindi na ako umasa. I let the promise go and let bygone be bygone. I went out with different women. I dated a lot. I hurt so many women and I’m not proud of it. Well, I wasn’t saving myself for anyone anymore, why not let loose? And then one day, the heaven smiled upon me when you’re father asked me a favor. I know it was a bastard move, but when I saw the opportunity, I grab it like a hungry animal that I am. And now you’re here … with me,” His far away looked disappeared as he looked deep into her eyes. “And I just confess what I’m feeling for you and you’re just there, staring at me.” He laughed shakily. “Mind if you talk? Like, tell me what you feel or something?”

Kumurap-kurap siya at humugot ng isang malalim na hininga. Pagkatapos ay sinalubong niya ang matim na titig ni Cleevan.

“You like me since I was a kid and now you’re in love with me,” Mahina siyang napatawa. “Alam mo bang halos isumpa kita sa araw na pinaperma mo ako sa marriage contract na iyon? Halos ipagdasal ko sa lahat ng santo na kilala ko na sana kunin ka na ni lord.” Naiiling na natatawa siya. “And after seven years, I saw my so called husband whom I cursed to the depths of hell. My first impression? Gorgeous and annoying as hell. Ewan ko ba, kahit inis na inis ako sa’yo, hindi ko mapigilan ang sarili ko na humanga sa’yo. Naiinis ako sa sarili ko kasi pakiramdam ko ang rupok ko pagdating sa’yo. Just one touch and you can make me burn for you. One kiss and I can do anything you ask me to.”

“Do you feel the same way too?” Hinawakan nito ang kamay niya at hinalikan ang likod niyon. “Do you love me too?”

Clarianette smiled lovingly at her husband. “I don’t know when this started. One day, I woke up and I felt my heart beating for you. I thought the feelings isn’t mutual and you don’t feel the same way—”

Cleevan cut off her words by crashing his lips against hers. She smiled against his lips then kissed him back with the same ferocity. Inilagay niya sa halik na iyon ang pagmamahal na nararamdaman niya para rito.

When Cleevan pulled away, he had a wide smile on his face as he looked deep into her eyes. “Pumunta na kaya ta’yo sa grotto ni Lady of Lourdes.”

Kumunot ang nuo niya. “Bakit naman? Nagmamadali ka?”

Umiling ito. “Hindi naman. Gusto ko lang magpasalamat sa kanya na mahal mo rin ako. At syempre, gusto kong marinig na bawiim mo ang pagsumpa mo sa’kin. I mean, mahal mo na ako ngayon, hindi ka na galit, so, bawiin mo na yung sumpa mo. Sige ka, maaga kang mabu-byuda.”

Napatawa siya ng malakas sa sinabi nito at pinanggigilan ang kaliwang pisngi nito. “Masamang damo ka, kaya nasisiguro kong matatagalan pa bago ako mabyuda.”

“Ang bait ko kaya.” Wika nito na nakasimangot.

“Mabait?” Tumawa siya. “Sinong pinaglololoko mo? May mabait bang pinagsasamantalahan ang problema ng isang tao?”

Nawala ang ngiti sa mga labi ni Cleevan at nawala ang kislap sa mga mata nito.

Shit! Bakit ba napakataklesa niya?

“I’m sorry.” Niyakap niya ito ng mahigpit. “I shouldn’t have said that. I didn’t mean it.”

“You mean what you said, Nett, and its okay with me.” Kumawala sa pagkakayakap niya si Cleevan at sinapo ang pisngi niya. “I wasn’t proud of what I did to your father, Nett. But I did it because this organ,” He pointed his heart, “told me to. And I always listen to my heart, even if sometimes I don’t have one. I’m cruel. I’m rude. Call me a bastard, a jackass, an asshole or a jerk. Call me anything you like, Nett, tatanggapin ko, just please, don’t leave me because of my bad attitude. Hindi ko kakayanin na mawala ka sa buhay ko. Nasanay na ako na kasama ka kahit pa nga galit ka noon, nasanay na ako na nakikita ka araw-araw. Nasanay na ako na ikaw ang unang nakikita ko pagmulat ng mga mata ko sa umaga. Kaya please lang, huwag mo akong iiwan.”

A lone tear rolled down to her cheek when she heard his voice quaver.

“Baliw ka talagang lalaki ka.” Pabiro niyang tinampal ito sa pisngi. “Hindi mo ba narinig ang sinabi ko kanina? Mahal kita. Ano pa bang kailangan kong sabihin para maniwala ka na mahal kita at hindi kita iiwan?”

“Marry me again, this time, in the altar, in front of god.”

Nanlaki ang mga mata niya ng mag-sink in sa utak niya ang sinabi nito. “You want us to…”

“Yes.” He pressed his lips on hers then pulled away. “I want us to get wed again, in the church this time.”

Nilukob ng sobrang kasayahan ang puso niya.

Mahigpit na niyakap niya ang asawa. “I love you so much, Cleevan.”

Cleevan hugged her back. “I love you more, Nett.”

Claria pulled away then pressed her lips on his. Napaungol siya ng ipasok ni Cleevan ang dila sa loob ng bibig niya. Napahawak siya sa balikat nito ng mas lumalim pa ang halik na pinagsasaluhan nila.

Cleevan reluctantly pulled away from the kiss. “I want you, Nett. I want to brand you and shout to the world, that you’re mine and mine alone.” He caressed her cheek like she’s a porcelain doll. “I want you like a hungry animal in the forest that hasn’t eaten for a decade.”

Nag-init ang pisngi niya sa uri ng pagkakatingin nito sa kanya. His eyes were dilated as he stared at her hungrily. She stared back with the same ferocity on her eyes. Hindi na niya pipigilan ang nararamdaman. Oras na para iparamdam niya rito ang pagmamahal niya. It’s time for her husband to know that she’s his and no one else’s.

She snaked her left arm around his neck then fisted a handful of his hair and pulled him closer to her.

“I want you too, Cleevan.” She said.

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