We all want the happy ending, the dream come true. But what if it doesn’t happen? How far would you go to get that “ever after?” Would you change who you are? Would you swallow your pride? Is the story really going to be as perfect as you think? Follow the path of these characters and see where they lead.
Fall for Grace by Anne Plaza
Aso’t pusa, away-bati…
Sino sa inyo ang unang aamin?
Meet Grace Almeda—the darling of Luna East Arts Academy—maikukumpara sa isang artista sa hitsura, reputasyon, at katarayan. At heto si Jason Jacinto—the resident school genius—kilala rin sa pagiging go-to person ng mga estudyanteng problemado sa pag-aaral. Nang magkabanggaan ang kanilang maliit at magkaibang mundo, napilitan si Grace na hingin ang tulong ni Jason sa isang mala-life or death na sitwasyon. Mukha ngang pumuti na ang uwak dahil dumating ang araw na kinailangan ni Little Miss Spoiled Brat si Boy Genius. Pero ang hindi alam ni Grace ay may dahilan ang lahat sa likod ng pang-aasar at pambubwisit ni Jason. At sa ‘di inaasahang pangyayari, may isang mahuhulog ang loob para sa isang naghihintay lang ng tamang pagkakataon.
Mabuti na lang at hindi nila kailangang mag-usap habang naglalakad. Mas kailangan nilang pagtuunan ng pansin na hindi masyadong mabasa ng ulan habang sinisigurong hindi liliparin ng hangin ang payong. Sa kahabaan ng kanilang paglalakad ay walang ibang nasa isip si Grace kundi ang pagkakalapit nilang dalawa. Hindi siya gaanong nilamig dahil na rin dito. Kung ganoon lang sana kadali patahanin ang dagundong ng kaniyang dibdib.
Ni minsan ay hindi pa siya pinakitaan ng kagandahang-loob ni Jason. Hindi rin naman niya sinasabi na hindi ito mabait; hindi lang ito naging mabait sa kaniya. Kaya nga medyo hirap siyang intindihin ang mga pangyayari, lalo na ang mga bagong nararamdaman niya sa mga sandaling iyon.
Gaya nga ng sabi nito, hindi malayo ang lakarin. Pag-angat niya ng tingin ay napansin niyang ilang dipa na lang sila mula sa waiting shed. Mabilis nilang tinungo iyon. Nang naroon na ay pinakawalan na siya ni Jason at nanumbalik na siya sa kaniyang katinuan.
“May Bus 5 na dumadaan dito. ‘Di ba malapit na yun sa inyo?” Pinapagpag ni Jason ang payong.
“Oo, pero lalakad pa ako nang kaunti.”
Tamang-tama, naaninag na nila ang ilaw ng paparating na sasakyan. Walang jeep o tricycle sa lugar at serviced vans lang ang nakakaraan doon dahil isang exclusive property ang buong compound ng Luna East pati ang dating subdivision na tinirhan ng pamilya Almeda.
“Heto.” Iniabot ni Jason ang payong sa kaniya. Napatitig lang siya dito na para bang nagsalita ito ng ibang lengguwahe. “Sabi mo maglalakad ka pa papunta sa inyo. Kakailanganin mo ‘yan.”
Nagkibit-balikat ito. “Hindi naman ako mamamatay kung maulanan ako. ‘Tsaka dadaanan ng bus ‘yung bahay ko.”
Hindi na ito nagpatumpik-tumpik at inilagay ang payong sa mga kamay niya. “Ayan na ang bus. Sige na, nang makauwi ka na. Baka hinahanap ka na sa inyo.”
Tumigil ang coaster sa tapat ng shed at sumakay na siya.
Tiyempong may bakante sa tabi ng bintana kaya doon siya naupo. Kinawayan niya si Jason nang umarangkada ang sasakyan.
Kumaway din ito sa kaniya, sabay kindat.
Just the Way You Are by Kat Sales
Rica Valdez has always been one of the guys, so it was hard for her to find a prom date. When her new friend and crush Joshua Fernandez volunteered to take her to the prom, she wondered if he liked her back too, or was he just being nice?
Homeroom was Erica Valdez’s favorite time of the day. It allowed her to review the assignments she had due for the day, and if there were none, she could read a little of whatever book she had going on at the moment.
Her friends teased her a lot about it, but they knew her well so she didn’t mind. They benefited from it anyway, as Rica would look over their homework too.
The class adviser, Mr. Suarez, was early today. He was sitting at his desk when the students started coming in. It meant something, that was for sure. He never came early. He was always just on time.
When the clock hit 8:00, Mr. Suarez stood up and looked over the students, as if quietly doing a headcount. Once he was done, he started on the roll call. No one was late, for once, and no absent students either. The young teacher grinned, and half of the girls in the class sighed.
“Great to see you all. I hope you had a good weekend. We’ve got a couple of announcements that you might like.” He reached back on the desk and picked up a sheaf of papers. “Ok, first, your quarterly exams will be on February 3 to 7. Your teachers will hand out pointers for review within the week.”
The class groaned, and Rica couldn’t help but grin at that. No one liked quarterly exams, even she who was a pretty ok student.
Mr. Suarez looked over the paper he held in his hands again and read out the other announcements. He answered the questions the students had. Around thirty minutes later, he checked the clock. “That’s it.” He looked at the paper again. “Oh, I almost forgot. The junior-senior prom will be on Friday, February 14.”
About Kat Sales
Love in the Time of Viral Videos by R. Linea
Like. Retweet. Follow. Fall in Love?
They say that that the things we own tend to own us in the long run. Today, at a time when we’re connected 24 hours a day and 7 days a week, social media has helped shaped who we are, how we want to be seen and how we deal with other people. And if that’s the case, then who knows us better than our own social media accounts? This is the story of Patch and Sebastian who met in real life, as told by their digital selves. This is their story in the time of #hashtags, inspiration boards, and viral videos.
I – Hurley. Chen. Karim.
Are YOU ready to be famous? This is 15 Seconds of Fame! The show where we give everyone a chance for worldwide popularity and then be forgotten to obscurity. Like all you viewers know, we’re always on the lookout for either the next Ellen DeGeneres discovery or the next evening news exposé. Because here in Fame, fifteen seconds you’re in and the next fifteen, you’re out!
Grab your popcorn my lovely viewers and get your bandwidth ready for a slew of videos that’s worth your miniscule attention. Right off the bat, we’re serving you the nth version of Let It Go sung by an unknown Filipino! And he not only sings it perfectly, he does it without his shirt on, right in the middle of EDSA traffic! Talk about grit! Oh yes, two things Filipinos are infamous for, traffic inefficiency and hitting the high notes, together in just one video! Could he be the next Oprah protégé? Will his face launch the next thousand memes? Only time could tell!
And by time, I mean your fifteen seconds is up, Mr. Half-naked Elsa. We now move on to the sequel of one of the forefathers of viral videos. I present to you, Charlie Bit My Finger Part Toe! Awww…look guys. Charlie’s biting his brother’s toes this time. He’s so cute with his googley eyes…as he tears the entire toe off! Oh my freakin’ G! Oh, I can’t watch this. Too much blood! I’m blacking out! I’m blacking out! Oh this isn’t good. Why does their mom just keep on taking the video? Can somebody please hand over my barf bag? Somebody please report this video immediately! Take it down!
The First Time They Met by Ana ValenzuelaWhat’s making Mayumi anxious on her best friend’s birthday party?Is it her long time best friend Marie? Marie is now in college, and Mayumi starts to doubt their friendship as Marie meets new people and gets closer to them.
Or is it this basketball player named Micah? A guy she recently met and who has turned into an overnight confidant.
“Can I ask you for something?”
“Sure, anything,” Micah was standing now, on her left, his back on the tree.
“Could we wait for the sunrise?”
He looked down on her as he nodded.
“It’s a photographic cliché, sunrise and sunset,” she said. “For me, the sun rising actually isn’t. It’s a different experience when you see the sun wake up instead of it seeing you get out of bed like everybody else. It’s the start of a new day, and that’s what makes it beautiful.”
“The first day,” he sounded like he just laughed. He folded his knees as he sat next to her. “I’ll wait with you.”
Butterflies flew inside Mayumi’s stomach as she stammered, “great play, by the way.”
About Ana Valenzuela
Ana Valenzuela is a graduate of AB Literature from UST. She has written for several magazines and online news blogs.
The Path of Us by Cassandra JavierAre our paths already laid out for us, or can we make them ourselves?Can fairytales actually come true?
Clara has always been fond of fairytales and grand gestures. She always had a plan of how she’d like her life to turn out, and that’s why she worked hard to be on top of the class, and make sure that she has her real life Prince Charming to boot.
And then there’s Andrew.
Andrew’s always been the easy go lucky guy, but that doesn’t mean that he’s not smart and appealing; it’s just that he chooses to go through life in a fuss-free, no nonsense way.
When Andrew and Clara’s paths meet, things don’t exactly go easy. They hated each other with a passion, but then they got to share unexpected moments, and end high school with a memory that they’ll never forget. In college, they lose each other, and Clara has to go through the hardest things on her own–until a trip back home sends them to each other’s paths again.
Will they ever be able to understand their role in each other’s lives?
Or will they just get out of each other’s lives for good?
“I’m sorry, okay? But Clara, you’ll do great. You’ll do amazing things because that’s who you are. You’ll manage out there because this is what you’ve always wanted, right?”
He went on, “And you know what’s even better?”
She looked at him and waited for what he had to say next.
“You’ll finally be able to get away with Pink or Purple streaks on your hair or whatever.”
She found herself laughing despite of herself. “Without you ratting me out?”
It depends.” He quipped, smiling. “I might see you in college.”
“Oh god no.”
They laughed. “See? You look so much better when you smile.”
“I still hate you.”
He laughed. “If you say so.”
She didn’t know what came to her mind right at that moment but she found herself inching towards him. In a span of seconds, she was planting a kiss on his lips. It didn’t last long—just a few seconds or so, and she wanted to bask in that moment, feel the butterflies in her stomach, the warmth of the air, the romance that the light of the fireflies gave, but she remembered that a) she had a boyfriend, and b) she hated Andrew—this shouldn’t be happening.
“I’m sorry.” She said. “I shouldn’t have—“
Please.” She said with finality. “I shouldn’t have done that. I’m sorry.”
She then ran away, leaving him and High School behind.
About Cassandra Javier
Cass is a cat lady who graduated with a degree in Broadcasting and has worked as a copywriter, a researcher in an IT company, a call center agent and was even a trainee for a time in a television network. She writes articles for a living. When not writing articles, she writes novels, fanfiction, short stories and whatever she may think of. She loves TV series, movies, music, and is a very big bookworm. She’s also addicted to butterflies, faeries and Ice Cream.
When Cocoy Became Kikay by C. P. Santi
Cocoy’s not-so-secret dream is to one day become a gun-toting, ass-kicking secret agent. But she has another dream—and this time, even her best friends don’t have a clue—she dreams of being with someone.
Problem is, she finds out that Jaime Arguelles—a.k.a. the guy she’d been secretly crushing on for years—likes girls who . . . well . . . like pink.
To Cocoy’s logical mind, there’s only one solution: it’s time to go girly. After all, how hard can it be?
“Since when did you start having a lablab, Coy?” Dags lifted a brow.
So much for keeping secrets. “So I like someone. Big deal.”
“Is . . . is it a guy or a girl?” Paulo asked tentatively.
I turned incredulous eyes toward him. “What’s that supposed to mean?”
“Dude, whichever way you roll . . .” Dags shrugged.
Oh, c’mon. True, I was a T-shirt-and-jeans kind of girl and I hung out with guys, but that didn’t automatically translate to such gender assumptions. Sure, I loathed boy bands. And I loved basketball, camping, and shooting more than the average girl should. Living with my dad hadn’t exactly encouraged girly pursuits. But still.
I sighed. “Dude, if I were gay, I’d tell you. But I’m not.”
“So, who is it? You have to tell us,” Paulo protested. He stood to tower over me, arms crossed over his chest.
“Aw, Coy, aren’t we friends?” Dags cajoled as he strummed the first notes of “Maalaala Mo Kaya.”
I sighed. Paulo, Dags, Joel, and I had been friends for years. The four of us were the only ones crazy enough to take up a dare issued by our neighborhood playmates—to see if a manananggal indeed left the lower part of its body at the abandoned Siangco house on Lilac Street.
Over the years, our friendship had been further cemented by bruises and scraped knees, basketball games, camping trips, fish balls, turon, and buko pandan royale, day-long village-hopping bicycle trips, and innumerable fries and Coke floats.
I never kept secrets from them. Usually.
“So who is it?” Paulo asked again.
Fine. I cleared my throat. “It’s . . . it’s Jaime.”
I counted five seconds of absolute silence.
Dags frowned. “Jaime?”
“Jaime Arguelles?” Paulo bent over, laughing. “Cocoy, you are so predictable!”
About C.P. Santi
C.P. Santi is a Filipina author based in Tokyo, Japan. She is a wife to an engineer/musician/jokester and a full-time mom to two energetic boys. She loves cooking and baking, and enjoys feeding people, gorging on chocolate, watching J-doramas, belting it out in the karaoke box, and running around the house playing tickle tag. She also loves dreaming up stories about the people she meets.
In another life, she is also an architect and academic.
Her first book, Be Careful What You Wish For, is a contemporary romance based in Tokyo.