Sunday, April 29, 2012

Travis' List

Travis' List (Wattpad)
Things I love about Avery

She’s smart as hell.

She’s fun to annoy.

She’s very cute.

She helps anyone – exactly like an angel.

She’s easy to persuade.

She’s funny.

She can be adorable when she’s angry.

I like kissing her.

I never met a seventeen year-old who doesn’t climb trees.

She has panic attacks.

Her blush is nice.

She can be a good kisser. Can be.

I dreamt about her. Weird.

She’s different.

Her scowl is adorable.

I like her laugh.

I like her hair.

I like her scent.

I like her smile.

I like her mood swings.

I like her voice.

I think I’m in love with her.

Saturday, April 28, 2012


Epilogue (Wattpad)


Travis had been living with it a year now, after that drastic chain of events took place for the both of them. A whole year, yet Travis had never let go, never forgot. And he never will.

He stared at the same decrepit white wall. White is the color for purity, yet the hue seemed to mock at him everytime. But it was better than looking at the ring on his finger. He never removed it, but it only causes sheer torture when he gives it the slightest glance.

Everyone was petrified when they found out. And they all blamed him for everything. Every single thing. The burning expressions from everyone as they looked at Avery through the small glass door were agony to him. Every single one of them put the blame on his shoulders; her parents, her friends, and her family all looked at him differently. They sent him silent, but hurt, angry and betrayed looks.

Right after everyone had found out, Travis’ world shattered like brittle glass. Evidences point that Avery, while still being held captive, got hold of the rapist’s knife and stabbed him multiple times – forty-two times. She’d been unconscious in the hospital for many days; days where every loved one visited, took care and guarded over her. But when Travis walks in, the tension in the air rises, speaking louder than words. Everyone prayed that she would wake up.

When she did, they regretted every prayer.

A psychiatrist said that this was normal, but to Travis’ mind, it’s not. She would come back to him, surely. She would, wouldn’t she? 

But two days later, they transferred her to the asylum. She kept screaming every single day and she would not let any male approach her – only Travis.

He didn’t know if it was a blessing or a curse. Every person who attempts to go near her to talk or calm her down – even her parents – always comes out hurt and injured and she shouted at them. Only he could come on her and when he did, she would bury herself in his arms and succumb to heartbreaking tears, murmuring nonsensical words over and over. 

They had so much love together, but so little time. He’d do anything he could to give them more time. Anything. She had her whole life ahead of her and yet she’s here. Slowly wilting. Not even in control of her mind. This shouldn’t have happened to her. A person like her deserves more, so much more.

She deserves to be happy, secure and everything good in the world. She should be with him.

But she isn’t. She’s here. 

Chapter 30: Painted promises

Chapter 30: Painted promises (Wattpad)

Part I:


Travis straightened his royal blue tie for the millionth time as he appraised his appearance with a critical eye. He didn’t even bother with clothes that much but then Avery came. He smiled, and then glanced briefly at his ring.

Everything had gone smoothly now, and he’ll admit that he’d been nervous about the meeting yesterday, but nothing ever came up that might be bad for Avery, and that’s all that mattered. He’d been doubtful about his parents, but then yesterday showed that he should have a little more trust in them. Both of them.

He gave his approval of his own reflection at the gargantuan mirror in his room, which looks more like a master suite at a hotel than a teenager’s bedroom. He checked his keys on his pocket and grabbed the remote beside the mirror and with a few buttons pressed, the windows closed by their own accord and the curtains closed as well, and the lights flipped off.

When he emerged from his room, he barely took in the sight of their luxurious hallway when three guards on their custom black and white suit, together with Paul, blocked his next steps.

 His heart pounded and confusion had no place as suspicion clouded everything else. This happened before, more than once. He tried to look calm as possible and look authoritative like his father.

“Paul, what – ”

“Sir, we were ordered to take you back to your room. You are not to go anywhere until – ”

“Fuck that, let me through right now.” He snapped, losing his patience altogether. His father had to be behind this, he always has been. But Travis wouldn’t have known yesterday, not when he was smiling down at Avery as though he’s welcoming her.


“Please, sir. We were ordered to – ” he didn’t finish the rest of the sentence as Travis stepped through and immediately, arms were restraining him and pushing him forcibly back to his bedroom door.

“Let me go! Bastards – ” they shut the door on his face. White-hot anger surged through his veins as he pounded through the door. “Paul, let me out right now. Tell my father I need to talk to him.”



A few more heartbeats passed when the doorknob turned and Paul emerged. Determination and a sliver of relief shook Travis but Paul shook his head, snapping the door shut and stood in front of it, making an exit purely impossible.

“This is fucking insane. Let me out, Paul.”

“Mrs. Warner gave us orders.”

Travis paused in mortification and his blood turned cold. “Did you – did you just say that my mother told you to do this?”

Paul mumbled his answer, but Travis can still hear it as clear as day, “Yes, sir.”

Travis’ head pounded and he found it impossible to believe. His Mom.

“Did she say why?” he said in a slow, but furious voice. Maybe he imagined it, but Paul’s stance turned something akin to doubt and disappointment, “She doesn’t want you around Ms. Allton, sir.” Travis couldn’t control the shaking of his entire frame now and he clenched his fists. She lied. She lied to her face.


“Dad?” he asked, restraining his fury.

“Business trip, sir.” Paul replied in a voice full of concern and most of all, pity. Travis raised his head high and leveled his eyes with his personal bodyguard since he was a year old. His eyes blazed like fire and when he spoke, his voice was moderate, but anyone can sense the fury underneath. “I do not need your pity, Paul. I need your help.”

Paul dipped his head.

“I’m sorry, sir. I can’t.”


“Where the hell is he?” I complained for the hundredth time. “He’s late.” I checked Cassie’s watch and exclaimed, “It’s been thirty minutes!”

“It’s okay, Ave. I’m sure he’s okay.” Nicole comforted with a pat on my shoulder. Everywhere I turn, I see dancing people. The school gym had completely transformed and music was blaring from the speakers. There was a table filled with punch and other food and all the students seemed to be enjoying themselves. 

But not quite all.

“Ave, if something’s happening, he’ll call you one way or the other.” Lexi said with concern.

“I agree.” said Theresa, nodding. They all look terrific in their party dresses but I can’t focus on anything right now. I was tapping my foot like mad and I kept shifting my feet. We were sitting around a circular table, with a glass of punch in front of each of us but I haven’t touched mine.

“Call him, Ave. I don’t like this.” Cassie said with a straight face. Everything we hear is just laughter and enjoyment but I feel isolated from the rest of the world. I feel detached.

“I will.” I took a small breath to calm my erratic thoughts, “I’ll have to go outside; the signal is damned low.” They all offered words of comfort and concern and I quickly went out with my pouch in hand. Immediately, I took out my phone once I’m on the parking lot and I willed for it to ring.

He will answer. He will.


“Sir, it’s no use. She disabled your remote control system.”

Travis flung a vase across the room and his ears met a crackle of porcelain and it shattered to pieces. “What do you want me to do, then?” he demanded, but received no response. For the past thirty minutes, he’d done nothing but find a way out but it was impossible. He locked gazes with Paul and saw no other choice.

Slowly, he stepped in front of him and said, “Paul, this is bullshit. Help me out.” When he received not a single word of reply, he wasn’t dismayed. On the contrary, he was even more determined than before.

“I know you might lose your only job over this, but I need you to help me. You’ve met Avery, for God’s sake, there’s nothing wrong with her.” Travis saw him recall the brief encounter and he was aware that Paul had taken a liking to Avery. Whenever he was forced to go over with Paul on his heels, she treated him as a friend and even offered her cookies. 

Anger was on the surface again as he thought of her sweet face and the deception she so unfairly received. 

Avery deserves so much more.

“Paul, I have enough credentials and if you lose your job for helping me, I’ll sign a letter of recommendation myself. I know Dad will do the same. I’ll promise we’ll do it.” His voice was near to pleading. Call it desperation, or anything you want. He didn’t care.

His statement was punctuated with a strong silence. Then Paul raised his head and fixed him with a determined stare. “I’ll escort you down to your garage, sir. We’re not going to Ms. Allton, your mother gave me orders to transfer you to your resthouse not far from here. When I tried to get you in the car, you knocked me out cold, and you escaped. We didn’t have this conversation at all.”

Travis smiled. “Agreed.”

In his haste, he forgot his phone on the bedside table.


Part II:

I gritted my teeth in barely-concealed aggravation. I was outside the school’s premises right now, holding the phone to my ear. Fucking signal. I can’t believe that tonight of all nights, this has to happen. I just need to know that he’s alright. That somehow, he’s on his way here.

But he isn’t answering.

Why isn’t he answering? In my panic, I moved forward, trying to get more signal as much as possible. My mind raced through the possibilities to provide a plausible explanation to my worry. He must’ve left his phone. Or he was out of battery or – or something. There must be something reasonable. I heard a small beep from my phone and I looked at my screen.

No signal.

“Fuck.” I hissed and strode further towards the street. I had no idea where I was going as I speed-dialed Travis again. I knew it was irrational, but I just couldn’t shake the feeling that this isn’t just a simple misunderstanding. It’s only one dance, but I think there’s something going on.

As I continued my strides forward, I didn’t notice someone inching forward, hiding from my sight. Waiting.

Just waiting.


Travis pushed his Jaguar until he could feel its annoyed grumble, but it still wasn’t enough. He was far away from the school and he wanted to get there now. He felt a deep gratitude to Paul, who agreed to stay behind to cover their alibi for his supposedly ‘escape.’ 

He was intensely worried about Avery. He didn’t know why this much, but he was deeply worried. It was protective instinct, but he wasn’t taking any chances. He needed to see her with his own eyes.

He accelerated the car, almost like a blur as he sped through the night.


Where the hell is he?

I massaged my throbbing temples and tried to calm down. My feet hurt terribly but I couldn’t care less about anything as my thoughts were rampant with fears and doubts. I know it’s only one mundane event, but I couldn’t put my finger on something. It’s maddening. 

I looked around and found the pavement deserted and deathly quiet. I hadn’t noticed that I’ve gone so far; the lights from the school gym appeared like pinpricks from here and I felt a stab of wariness. I started to walk back when I heard a man’s voice from behind me,

“Darling, why are you going back?”

I jumped in fright and stumbled forward, almost tripping. I whirled around and found a tall, muscular man, who towered over me and with a scarred face looking at me wonderingly. He smiled slowly.

“Boyfriend isn’t picking up?”

I tried to swallow my fear and said shakily, “I need to get going.” I didn’t wait for his response as I quickly took long strides back, dialing Travis again.

Where are you?

I risked taking a look over my shoulder and froze when I saw no one. Fear rippled through me in huge waves and I hurried my steps, looking around for the sight of the same scarred man.

Travis, where are you?


On the empty bedroom, the same phone kept ringing and ringing for the past hour. 

No one was there to pick it up.


Sylvia sipped her coffee. She was on break and she still has ten minutes more for free but she didn’t go out to buy a piece of her favorite pastry like she always does.
She’s worried. She tried to fight the feelings of concern as she did her work, but now it came back at her, stabbing at all corners of her mind. Whatever she tried to do, she just couldn’t shake the feeling. Giving in, she took out her phone and dialed her husband.

A mother’s intuition is always right.


The school still looks far away, though I felt like I’ve been walking hard forever. My heart rate accelerated with every single step I took, fearing to look at dark corners or anywhere at all where the light is scarce.

That man wouldn’t leave me alone. He wouldn’t. I have to get out of here now.

I walked for more minutes, it felt like it has been an eternity, but I can’t make sense of the time, or anything at all. All I know is that I have to be surrounded by familiar people again. My hands were shaking and I wasn’t thinking straight, my lungs were burning but I took no action to stop.

The next thing I knew, a hand covered my mouth and gripped my upper torso tightly.

“Boyfriend still didn’t pick up?” he said in a throaty voice directly to my ear and I struggled in fear. I whimpered as I at his hands to release me and I stared at the dropped phone on the ground, the name Travis was still legible even from here but the call declined automatically when he didn’t answer.

Where are you?

“Hmm.” His palms kneaded my stomach and I felt tears sting my eyes. My heart thudded when he took steps to the sidewalk and into a dark alley. Though there was no light, I could still decipher the foreign surroundings.

“You’re really pretty.” His hands gathered my hair and he licked my neck from behind. Revulsion pulsed through me as he sighed hungrily. He let my hair loose but covered my mouth in a filthy piece of cloth, preventing me from speaking. Then he tied my hands.

No, no, no.

He pressed me to the alleywall to my back and when he pressed his huge body to mine, he groaned. “You’re going to be a treat.” He started rubbing against me and I sobbed painfully. His wide hands came to my waist and squeezed, with it came a stab of pain. Then he reached higher.

I emitted a muffled cry.

“Sweetheart, did that hurt? No? Let’s try it again.” He squeezed my breasts and I whimpered, shaking my head.

“No? But we’re just getting started…” he dipped his head and licked my breasts. Even with the thin fabric between his tongue and my skin, I couldn’t bear it. I sobbed as he bit.

A guttural sound came from his throat and he started tearing my dress with his bare hands, unable to wait any longer. His hand rubbed against me and he sighed. “Soft.” I cried out and he sighed deeper, “So inexperienced. But I’ll teach you, don’t worry.”

As he took off the rest of my garments, my mind screamed revulsion, terror and the highest degree of fear. His knee pushed against my center but before he took my mouth, he whispered to words that destroyed and mutilated me. Words that made me snap and lose control over my whole mind.

“You’re beautiful.”

Friday, April 27, 2012

Chapter 29: Toward the end

Chapter 29: Toward the end (Wattpad)

Part I: 

I blinked my eyes open and drew the blanket higher up to my chin. I seemed to be half-asleep, but my mind persistently whispered to me that a blanket was out of place. Odd. The sunlight streaming through the windows did a bit of disorientation to my eyes, but then my mind shouted that a window is definitely off set. Groaning sleepily, I rubbed my eyes and tried to make sense of my surroundings.

My bedroom.

I slowly sat up and looked around. Next, I looked at myself and tried to remember if I put on the nightgown I was wearing. Surely, I did wear that. But the funny thing is, I can’t recall at all. How the hell can I not remember if I wore something or not?

I suddenly heard a soft knocking and I said in a sleepy voice, “Come in.” I wasn’t at all surprised when Mom came in, smiling pleasantly. What caught me off guard was the tray of food she was carrying.

“Breakfast in bed?” I asked good-humoredly as she approached me with a chuckle. She had her hair in a bun today, so that must mean that she has to go to the bank. I sat up gingerly as she set the tray in front of me. 

“We figured that you’ll be really groggy and grumpy when you wake up, so your Dad prepared this.” 

I blinked. “Dad?” I looked at the toast, sunny side-up and bacon that looks just perfect. I somehow find that hard to believe. “Dad made this?” I asked for the second time. Mom nodded her response and added, “I made your juice.” I looked at the orange juice beside the plate and smiled at her, “Thanks, Mom. And I’m not grumpy.” I chuckled.

“You were asleep when Travis dropped you back; your Dad had to carry you up the stairs.” She smiled at the memory. I imagined my soft-natured father carrying me all the way to my bedroom. “Is he okay?” I laughed.

“He’s fine. And about your school dance for tonight – what will you wear?” she had her eyebrows up and I quickly went to the defense before she harbors any ideas, “Remember the dress from last Friday?” Realization dawned on her and she nodded approvingly. “I won’t be home until later tonight, okay? Just rest or you’ll pass out in front of everyone when you go dancing.” Then she smiled. “Have fun, Ave. See you later.”

“Bye, Mom.” She kissed my forehead lightly and smiled at me one last time before going out.

I faced the tray of food and took a sip from the juice. So, I fell asleep; mystery solved. As I started to eat my breakfast, I thought of the day ahead. I find it uncomfortably strange that I have nothing to do but wait for tonight. But at that moment, I didn’t think much about anything except the fun I hill have at the event and how everyday seems to be an occasion of some sort.

But tonight has far more in store for me, and everyone I held dear.

Part II:

It’s six-thirty pm. For some parts of the morning and the whole of afternoon, I tried to fill up my day with activities right after I prepared for the upcoming event tonight. I tried to watch the television after taking a bath but gave up quickly after being bored to tears. I honestly don’t know how people stand to watch others do some drama on the screen. 

I read two pocketbooks in a row and called my friends, deciding that we should meet inside the school gym where the school dance is being held for maybe atleast, ten minutes before it starts. I gave them my okay to them and as I placed the receiver back to its place, I remembered biting my lip and wondering what to do next. Dad insisted on taking a nap and I walked upstairs like a zombie, intending to do just that, but I didn’t expect a simple nap to last atleast six hours. 

“Two kings.” Dad muttered, putting two cards on the table between us and took a bite of his toast.

“Bluff?” I guessed, holding my breath. He heaved a great sigh and upturned his cards, which were certainly not kings and added both to his deck. “I’m not a good liar.” 

I laughed. “I got that from you, then.” I finished the toast on my right hand and shuffled my cards and resumed the game with a pair of threes.

We’ve been playing for thirty minutes straight while eating toast. I already beat Dad five times, much to my amusement. I was waiting for his turn when he said, “I quit.”

I burst out laughing at the defeated look on his face. “Come on, Dad. One more round?”

“Not a chance.” He shook his head, albeit smiling. He said gruffly, “Why don’t you go and get dressed and put on your make-up or something?”

“I don’t do make-up.” I remarked as I arranged the whole deck of cards and put it on a small box.

“I still want to see you in that new dress of yours before you go clubbing.”

“Dancing, not clubbing, Dad. Seriously, I don’t even go near clubs.” I rolled my eyes  as he looked at me with in endearment and he said, “Sorry, honey. So why don’t you prepare a fashion show for me?”

“I’m on it.” I jumped to my feet and went up the stairs to my bedroom, taking note of my appearance at once on the mirror of my cabinet. No more eyebags – not bad. I took the dress and removed it from the hanger and began taking off my clothes and pulled the dress over my head. It actually feels fine, and I don’t look really bad at all. The white swirling designs are very nice to look at and – oh no. I twisted my torso around and looked at the complicated strings on my back, still untied.

I can’t believe I’ve forgotten it was a criss-crossing type of silly dress. I carefully reached back and tightened the two strings and tied it like a ribbon. I combed my hair until it’s ridiculously smooth and shiny before putting on topaz earrings and a simple necklace with fine chains. I didn’t bother with any ring as I looked at the one I’m wearing. Without being aware of it, I smiled at the name painted on the ring. 

I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

The real challenge was the heels. I stared at the three-inch…thing, and wondered if I might break my ankle or fall flat on my face. I debated for five more minutes before finally grabbing them and putting them on.

I took a deep breath and faced the mirror. I look...different and strangely normal at the same time. Different because I feel, tall. The black heels did a lot of work, I admit. But I saw some people wear more outrageous outfits than this, so I feel normal. As normal as I can be, anyway. I didn’t put anything on my face save for a lip gloss and I got my matching black pouch, which I filled with my wallet, temporary cellphone, and a few other necessities. 

Finally I went out to the hall and found Dad waiting at the bottom of the stairs.

“You look wonderful.” I walked down with care and kissed him lovingly on the cheek. “You’re biased as Mom, but thank you.”

He laughed, “I’m not biased, you’re too hard on yourself.” Then he escorted me to the door and gave me a really tight hug. “Have fun ‘til you can’t breathe, okay? You’re only in highschool once.” I giggled as he pulled back, “Yes, and thank God for that.” 

He gave me one last kiss on the head and a smile. Before I went out into the night, I blew him our trademark flying kiss.

The kiss that meant one of us will be away from quite some time.

Chapter 28: Prince in disguise

Chapter 28: Prince in disguise (Wattpad)

Part I:

Positive. I have to think positive.

My insides were twisting in horror, but I did my best to ignore it as I put my bag down on one of the benches and I faintly heard Travis say, “Thanks, Mina.” A helper – I think – nodded and smiled in response and proceeded to transfer my bag beside a briefcase and a Louis Vuitton. 

I took another deep breath as Travis led the way to his parents, who were now conversing lightly, glancing at our direction every now and then. Why are they looking at us like that? My stomach is now churning like crazy and I held Travis’ hand in a vice-like grip and I’m certain that one of us will have a bruise to deal with later on. He whispered in my ear, half-laughing.

“Relax. Smile. Where’s my little genius?”

“I’m right here.” I squeaked. He didn’t answer but traced patterns on my hand with his thumb and I became calmer with every caress.  Tried my best to put on a demure smile on my face as we approached them and in no time, we’re face to face.
“Hi, Mom.” Without letting go of my hand, Travis stepped forward and kissed his mother tenderly on the cheek and hugged her with one arm. As he pulled back, I saw the love between them and there’s no denying that they go along really well. Adding to my surprise was the accessory swinging on her neck, which became still and nestled comfortably on the base of her throat. 

I only have to wonder for three seconds before the memory from last Wednesday came back to my mind with surprising detail; we were shopping for the school dance – me, Cassie and the others – when Travis popped in the shop. He bought the necklace I’m seeing right now. He bought it for his mother! And to think we even considered Athena.

“Dad.” Travis gave his father a brief hug and stepped back, smiling at me. “Mom, Dad, this is Avery. Beautiful, isn’t she?”


My knees were shaking and I forced my smile to look as natural as possible as Travis eased me forward with a soft hand on my waist. “Good morning Mr. and Mrs. Warner. It’s nice to meet you.” I sounded tragically nervous and I probably look like a trembling penguin before a shark. Suddenly, Mrs. Warner laughed and stepped forward, rubbing my shoulders. 

“You don’t have to looks so scared, Avery. We won’t hurt you.” She flashed a smile at me that exposed both of her dimples and her brown eyes glistened. She looks so much like her son.

“Oh, you look so pretty. I knew my Travis won’t disappoint. Right, Anthony?” Eyes were drawn to the rock-hard features of Anthony Warner, who looked at me for full three seconds and moved his gaze towards his son. When he faced me again, his expression softened for a fraction and he offered his hand, “Delighted to meet you, Avery.” He said in a deep voice.

In a hazy daze, I shook his hand, my eyes meeting his very blue ones. His eyes are very much like Travis’ but you can see that he uses it more to intimidate, rather than charm. But my mind was constantly repeating, I’m shaking hands with the president of Gedi Institute, the most successful company in the finances…

My hand fell limply to my side as I said, “Thank you, sir.” 

“Don’t call him ‘sir!” Carolyn Warner laughed, You can call him Dad and call me Mom!” she smiled happily.

Oh my God. 

My heart slammed to my ribcage and my eyes widened in shock. “R-really?” Travis laughed on my side and his father scowled and said, “You’re scaring her, Lyn.”

“I’m not scaring Avery.” She punctuated that with a high laugh, “Please don’t feel uncomfortable around us, Avery. We won’t be mean to you. And why should we? From what we heard, you’re such a sweet girl.”

The tension left my shoulders bit by bit, but my mind was still completely boggled. “Uhm, heard from what?” I asked shyly, biting my lip. Her answer made me jump.

“Heard from Travis, of course! He’s told us so much about you!” She turned to her son with a beam and I stood, my entire body frozen. Travis flushed pink and said, “Mom.”

She giggled, seeming pleased with herself as I tried to process. Travis talked about me? My eyes watered slightly as I speculated just how I appeared to them. What the bloody hell did he say? I gave him a look that plainly said, I’m going to get you later. I received a nervous smile in return.

“Why don’t we walk along the beach and honey, you can leave your slippers. The sand feels good.” She twined her arm around her husband’s as we left our flip-flops on the white sand, away from the waves of the beach. Then all together, we walked with the comforting water lapping at our feet and resumed conversation in friendly tones. Mrs. Warner made the affair alive with her incessant questions and warm laughter. I never expected this, but in several more minutes of walking and talking, I’ve taken a particular liking to them and more than enjoyed their pleasant chatting and presence. The same thing goes to Travis’ father, though he’s reserved throughout the whole exchange, he remained pleasant and at times, he smiled at me.

Not any word can describe how that simple smile meant to me. It makes my chest tight with a sense of welcome, that somehow, they don’t despise me at all. They like me.

“Does anyone want to go swimming?” Mrs. Warner asked curiously. I barely got a word out of my mouth when Travis said, “Avery does.” Then he put a firm arm around my shoulders, not letting me to squirm away from his side. Then he added, “I’ll join her, of course.”

“Of course, Trav. You can go change.” Mrs. Warner smiled brightly at us as Travis half-led and half-dragged me to the nearest hut with a single seating bench. 

“What the hell are you doing?” I said through clenched teeth. The thought of the bikini came back to my mind full-blast and I stopped in my tracks, crossing my arms over my chest. I tried my best – believe me, I did – to appear as if I’m pissed off, but I could already feel the blush spread across my cheeks. Travis smiled and put his hands on my waist and I felt more certain than ever that he shouldn’t, at all costs, see me in the bloody two-piece creation meant for girls who are prettier than me. He shouldn’t.

“Now, just what are you afraid of?” he asked in a sing-song voice, his eyes already full of malice. 

“Honestly, I’m afraid of you.” I replied, brushing the strands of hair that are blown in the wind, hindering my vision. He smoothed the top of my head and smiled wider, “You’re not afraid of just me. You’re also afraid of showing too much skin.” He winked. My worries increased and I pursed my lips, trying not to show how panicked I am. I…must…not.

Travis chuckled mirthfully and he pressed closer, our bodies touching. “This is fun.”

“This is humiliating. Your parents are watching, for God’s sake.” 

“No, they’re not.” He answered with calmness etched to his face and stance, “They gave us some privacy.” At his words, I whipped my head around and indeed found the area deserted. 


“If you have some mercy, you won’t let me swim at all.” My pulse and heartbeats are increasing with every passing moment and it took only a sliver of patience and sanity not to run. I need to escape.

“Let’s say I don’t have mercy.” He replied, his expression serious and he looked at me straight in the eye, clearly of the intention of letting me know he’s not joking now. Well, that makes two of us.

“It’s not my decision to wear what I’m wearing.” I said, my voice barely above a whisper. His eyes glinted and one of his eyebrows pitched up. He asked, “Underneath?”

“Stop looking so sexy.” I snapped while my whole face turned crimson. He didn’t seem to hear me as his grip tightened on me and he asked further, “You’re wearing a two-piece underneath, aren’t you?”

“No – Yes. I don’t know!” I cried out hysterically. This is just getting worse, damn it. His fingers came up to the knot at the back of my neck. “You don’t know? Well, why don’t we find out?” he started untying it and I froze, aware of my hyperventilating. In a sudden reflex, my hand reached back to stop him. I should’ve screamed but I only managed a whisper of, “No. Why don’t we just by something from the – ”

“It’s not like you’re the only one in swimming attire.” I turned to a more deeper shade of red as he started undressing, leaving him clad only in Speedo trunks that reached to the top of his perfectly carved knees. I gulped when he stepped forward, enclosing me in the circle of his arms. He said in a solemn voice, “Your turn.”

“Wha – what?” I tried my hardest not to drool, but that’s a hard feat. I mean, I’ve seen his six-pack and it’s just difficult to maintain a sense of being normal when it’s really in front of you and your hands are free to roam and touch…

“Point taken.” I heard him say. I blinked several times and looked at his face, “What point? Sorry, I was lost in…thought.” He regarded me with a slight smile as he said, “If what I saw earlier isn’t you staring at me with lust, then I don’t know what the hell it is.”

My mind went blank. I sputtered, “Lust? I’m not a lusty person – ”

“Sure, you are.”
“I am so not. I’m a normal person.”

“If you experience it, it doesn’t mean that you’re abnormal.” He stated matter-of-factly. Taking a deep breath, I reached behind me and undid the tie, “I’ll look ridiculous.” Biting my lower lip, I tugged the dress down and discarded it beside Travis’ clothes. The caramel stood out against my porcelain skin and I shifted uncomfortably, lifting my eyes to see his reaction.

I instantly reddened as I saw him eyeing me with his blue orbs wide with wonder – and something else.

“This is ridiculous.” I whispered.

“You’re right.” He leaned forward, “I don’t know how I can just stand like that.” He kissed me with a passion I’ve never experienced from him before and I was absolutely undone. I forced myself to move back, “Why – why don’t we – ” I breathed hard, “Why don’t we just go swimming?”

“Good idea.” He said in a husky voice.

“I don’t thi – ” he crashed his lips to mine again, at the same time, lifting me up and I instinctively wrapped my legs around his waist, my arms around his neck. I had no idea where he is heading, but I could feel the motion of his legs and suddenly, the sound of monstrous waves came up behind me and saltwater splashed on my back. Breathing hard, I opened my eyes while Travis nuzzled my bare shoulder. We were thigh deep in water and my mind is in total disarray. My chest was heaving as I felt him gather my loose hair on one side and he sucked on my neck.

“God, Travis.” I pulled back again, only to have him look at me with hunger, which is either a really good or a really bad thing. I became strikingly aware of my legs still around him and I unlatched myself, landing in the cold water.

“Jesus, it’s so cold!” My teeth clattered almost instantly and I looked at him, “You didn’t tell me it was cold!” I wrapped my arms around myself against the chill. It’s so coooold. The corners of his lips turned up in a smile, “I didn’t notice. You see, I was busy. But then you had to cut my fun.” I rolled my eyes, still shaking violently.

“Right. Thanks bunches.”

His smile brightened as he put both his hands on my shoulders and guided me deeper to the waters, “It’ll go away.” I opened my mouth to protest but he beat me to it, “Should we have a making out session number two completely without clothes this time?”

I quickly swallowed my retort and didn’t say a word until we’re both underwater from the neck down. “This isn’t half-bad.” I remarked, aware of the constant brushes of his feet against my legs.

“Told you.” He winked again.

For the rest of the remaining hours of morning, we remained soaked; we first had a swimming race and then we took pictures of anything interesting underwater with his waterproof camera. Then we took stolen pictures of each other. It was as if everything I’ve suffered through; all the longing, the waiting, had all been for this particular moment. More than enough compensation for the constant yearning for that someone who would bring out something different from me, to actually look at me, not like so many others.

But he’s been there all along. My prince in disguise.

Part II:

We ate light dinner on the hut with Travis’ parents. There were lamps glowing, guiding us with light as we ate our shrimps and crabs. To be honest, the wooden table was filled with all the seafood I could think of and each must’ve cost a fortune. I huddled myself to Travis’ jacket, which I’m wearing over my wet garments but no one seemed to mind as we laughed and talked, enjoying each other’s company. 

Everything seemed to pass in a state of blur, because the next thing I know, I was bidding goodbye to Mr. and Mrs. Warner beside Travis’ car. They were making offers and invitations for me to come to their home – slash mansion – anytime I want and that I’ll always be welcomed. As they waved and smiled goodbye, I got in the car, as well as Travis and we were speeding out of the place.

I played with the hem of my summer dress which I wore again after dinner, and smiled contentedly. Behind the wheel, Travis also smiled. “And this morning, you were worried about dying.” He shook his head. I yawned and relaxed, then I snuggling deeper to the warm seat.

“I’m tired.”

“Sleep, love.”

I closed my eyes and let sleep take over me. That was the last words – those two words – that he ever said to me.