Chapter- 1

1395 Words

CHAPTER 1


France Christine Mondragon POV


Sobrang lakas ng music ko sa kwarto habang sinasabayan ko nang pag kanta ang paborito kung music artist sa aking speakers. Wait, kanta nga ba o pambubulabog ang ginagawa ko? Ah basta, wala akong pakialam kahit natutulog pa si Kuya Matt sa kabilang kwarto because today is the day! It’s my eighteenth birthday! Finally, I'm of legal age and starting today I can already do what every teenager does. This is our agreement kasi nina Mom and Dad. I promised to be such a good kid so I never once went out with my friends to party nor had any boyfriends, dahil bawal pa daw sabi ni Daddy and I respect that. 


Yeah, I know…I may sound like a hypocrite to you but that's just who I am and how I was raised by such loving parents. Hindi ako sumusnod sa kanila dahil takot akong mapagalitan. Sinusunod ko sila dahil mas takot akong ma disappoint ko sila sa akin, takot akong masaktan sila. 


“This is it!” super excited kong tili sa kwarto ko habang sinasabayan ko nang indak ang kantang ito ni Taylor. 


Mahilig akong kumanta kahit na ang tanging nakakaalam nito ay ang kuya, sina mommy and daddy and ang bestfriend kong si Addie. This song, Secret Love Song, is my theme song for Aaron, my Kuya’s best friend, my first love, my one and only love.


Growing up, I have always looked up to kuya. Palagi akong nakabuntot sa kanya dahil gusto kung sinasama niya ako sa lakad nilang magbabarkada. Our home, the Mondragon household, ang naglalakihang tambayan nang mga kaibigan ni Kuya Matt. Strict kasi ang parents namin. Gusto nilang kilala nila lahat nang mga kaibigan nang mga anak nila at hindi nila pinapayagan noon si kuya Matt na mag sleepover sa ibang bahay. Kaya ang nangyari, lahat nang mga kaibigan ni Kuya ay dito samin nakatambay at kadalasan ay nakikitulog pa. 


At siguro, dahil ang barkada ni Kuya Matt ang kinalakihan kong mga kalaro, ay naging boyish ako sa pananamit at kilos. I was never fond of designer clothes, bags nor shoes. What I love to wear is my favorite oversized t-shirts to hide my curves and match them with a pair of sneakers for comfort. Kahit naman mukhang lalaki ako at kilos lalaki ay alam ko sa sarili ko na hindi ako tomboy. I am 100% certain because everytime I see Aaron, my heart goes wild. Para bang ang buong katawan ko ay tumitibok. 


And today, on my eighteenth birthday, I plan to confess my long time feelings to Aaron kaya nga sobrang kinakabahan ako ngayon. 


“Kuya Aaron, no.. wait, that sounds awful. Again France.” I’m trying to practice kung paano ako magtatapat ang feeling ko mamaya kay Aaron. Of course, I cannot Kuya him if I’m going to confess right?


I cleared my throat and tried again.


“Aaron, I have something to tell you. Hmmm…Ever since....”


Naputol ang pagpa-practice ko nang biglang may kumabog sa pintuan.


“Hoy, France Christine Mondragon magpatulog ka naman!” sigaw ni kuya Matt sa labas.


“Hoy ka rin Matthew Mondragon! Anong oras na ba ha? Bakit natutulog ka pa?!” ganti kong sigaw sa kanya. 


Patuloy ang malakas na pagkatok ni Kuya Matt sa aking pinto kaya napilitan akon pagbuksan siya.


“Sandali! Ano ba kasing kaila–” naputol ang pagsinghal ko sa kanya ng pagbukas ko sa pinto ay nakatayo doon si Kuya at may hawak na bouquet of flowers. 


“Happy birthday, my little Princess whose not so little anymore” nakangiting bati ni Kuya Matt sakin. 


Sa totoo lang, hindi dapat gawin nang kuya ko to sa ibang babae kasi kahit nakakainis lang tong lalaking to ay hinding hindi maipagkakaila na sobrang gwapo niya lalo na kapag nakangiti siya nang ganito. Haaay kawawa talaga ang mga babaeng patay na patay kay Kuya.


Kahit hindi ko hilig ang mga pa-flowers, na-touch pa rin ako kay Kuya Matt. Alam kong mahal na mahal niya ako kahit palagi kaming nagbabangayan. 


“Aba may pa-flowers siya!” sabay tawa ko para hindi makita ni kuya na naiiyak ako.


“Syempre. Dalaga na kasi ang baby namin. Halika, mag-usap tayo France.”


France ang tawag sakin dito sa bahay. Sa school, France din ang tawag nang mga kaklase ko sakin. In fact, many of them does not know or nakalimutan nang may second name pa ako. 


“Pumasok si kuya sa room ko at umupo kami sa gilid ng kama ko.


“Bunso, I know you’re a grown up lady now,” sabay yuko at halik nito saking buhok. 


“But please, don’t just trust any guy kasi pag umuwi kang umiiyak baka makasapak ako ng tao.”


“Stop it kuya. Ang corny mo talaga,” natatawa kong tugon sa kanya.


Pero alam ko deep inside that my Kuya Matt is dead serious when he said that. Kinabahan tuloy ako bigla. Sobrang ingat ko sa pagtatago nang nararamdaman ko kay Aaron because I know that my Kuya would never take it lightly. But then, I am a big girl now and I have waited for years to finally confess my feelings.. I just hope that my Kuya will understand.


“Princess, I’m serious. You can never trust men easily. Dapat ipakilala mo muna sakin bago mo sagutin ang mga manliligaw sayo.”


I can feel my heartbeat racing. Ano kaya ang magiging reaksyon ni Kuya pag nalaman niya na balak kong mag confess kay Aaron mamaya, sa bestfriend niya. Baka magalit lalo ito pag napag-alaman na ako pang babae ang magtatapat.


“Yeah, I know Kuya. But you have to trust me din, okay? As you said, malaki na ako.” 


“Alright Princess, of course I trust you. Baka nga ang mga lalaki pa ang matakot sayo eh,” pangungutya na sagot naman nito sakin.


“France Christine, aba kanina pa kita tinatawag sa ibaba,” biglang pasok ni Mommy sa kwarto ko.


“Andito lang pala kayong magkapatid. Get up already! We need to hurry because we have a lot of preparations to do for your big night, honey,” paalala ni Mommy.


Nagkatinginan lang kami ni Kuya sabay tawa. He knows how much I dread doing girly things.


I started preparing myself because the makeup artist was already waiting for me. 


My 18th birthday will be held in our garden. Our home is huge enough to cater more than a hundred people but I opted to celebrate my birthday privately. Only family members and closest friends are invited for tonight.


“My goodness, gracious! You are so pretty kahit na bare face pa lang,” tili ng baklang professional makeup artist. 


Nahihiyang ngiti lamang ang tugon ko sa kanya. Hindi ko naman talaga hilig to. I hate puting on makeup and wearing stupidly expensive designer’s clothes. My Mom just begged me to have a party like this. It’s her dream for her only daughter. As usual, I can’t say no to my Mom. I want her to be happy too.


“Honey, you can now open your eyes,” the makeup artist said.


Muntik ko ng hindi na kilala ang sarili ko. Although I’m a little bit uncomfortable with all this makeup, I am pretty satisfied with how I look. 


I hope Aaron will see me as a grown up lady now. I stared at myself over the full body mirror I have in my room.


I am wearing a serafina champagne gown. The curves that I have been hiding beneath my oversized shirts have been exposed. Even if I’m only 5 feet and 3 inches tall, I know that I am attractively small and dainty. Petite and vivacious, that's how my best friend Addie always described me. 


Naririnig ko na ang mga tili ni Addie once na makita niya ako tonight. We’ve been friends since kindergarten kaya sobrang close talaga namin. In fact, she’s my only friend. Matagal na niya akong pinipilit na magsuot ng mga sexy na damit pero hindi ko lang talaga yun style.


For the last time, I glance at my overall look. Hindi ako kinakabahan humarap sa mga bisita. What actually occupies my mind ay kung paano ako magtatapat kay Aaron ang aking nararamdaman.


You got this, Franz. It’s now or never.


I inhaled deeply and closed my eyes. Kaya ko 'to.


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