Phones and Tablets

SERIES: Knight In Shining Suit (Episode 2A)

I met up with my friends. I could tell that they were all getting bored with me. I whined about the usual things.

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A group of people surrounding an important person or persons… like the bride and groom in a wedding.
I met up with my friends. I could tell that they were all getting bored with me. I whined about the usual things. Like how I had known Bryan since I was in college and we had been friends first before we dated and how I’ve known Geena since we were little and never in my wildest dreams had I imagined that she would betray me like she did.
Dannie Jones, my gay best friend, became the most impatient. He had listened to me enough, I guess.
John Green, my guy best friend, was the angriest at Bryan for what he did to me.
Nicole was the most sympathetic for my feelings.
“I wonder how he is now.” I asked.

“Oh, for crying out loud!” Dannie muttered. “Ash, please! Don’t do this! You’re beautiful, you’re smart! You have your whole life ahead of you!”
“No, I don’t! I’ll be thirty in a few months!”
“You’ll be thirty in twenty-three months!” John muttered. “That’s plenty of time to score a guy who is a lot better than Bryan!”
“But we’ve been together for two years! Do you know how much work that took?”

“A lot! Particularly since you have been withholding sex!” Dannie said brutally. 

“But what is wrong with… no sex before marriage?”
“Nothing! Only that you open him up to readily available sluts within a mile proximity.” John said.

“Look, Ash, if he couldn’t wait, then he isn’t the guy!” Nicole said. “And if he really did love you, he wouldn’t have the nerve to sleep with Geena. If he had an inch of decency in his body, he would have remembered that Geena is your cousin!”
“Relationships are not important to a horny guy.” John butted in.

“Apparently!” I rolled my eyes.
“So, now what are you going to do with your life? 

I shrugged. “Drink it away?” I asked sarcastically and took another gulp of my beer.

“Look at you, Ash! How can a gorgeous girl, who’s sweet and smart waste her life over a loser like Bryan? I mean, no offense, but he’s not nearly that hot!” Dannie said in a frustrated voice.

“And he’s short. What is he? Like five feet tall?” John chuckled.
“Hey! He’s five feet six!” I said defensively. “And his chocolate eyes are dreamy.” 

“His eyes are brown! As plain as brown could be!” Dannie argued.

“I just… couldn’t think of a reason for him to do that to me!” I heaved another frustrated sigh.

John rolled his eyes. “I can. But you’re not going to like it..”

“Sex?” I asked him. “He only needed to wait three more months… after we’re married.”
“Well, apparently, he can’t wait nine months. Haven’t they been sleeping with each other for a good six months already before you even found out about them?” Dannie asked. 

“For all you know, Ash, he could have proposed to you because he wanted to get you to bed.” John asked.
“Not with the size of the ring that he gave me!” I said. Bryan gave me a two carat diamond ring. It was expensive. He wouldn’t splurge on that if he was only after the sex, will he?

“Speaking of the ring, where is it?” Dannie asked.
“In my jewelry box.” I replied.
“Hmmm… you should have returned that weeks ago.” John said.
“Hell no!” Dannie argued. “Don’t return it! Pawn it!”

“No! I’m not going to pawn that ring!”

“And why not? You want to hold on to it and reminisce the good times you spent together whenever you look at it?” Nicole asked in an irritated tone.

“We did have some good times.”
“This is not the time to be thinking about the good times. That’s a no brainer. Right now, for you to get over him, you have to think about every single annoying thing about him and every single irritating thing that he has ever done to you!” Nicole said.

“True. Right now, you have to think of him as a monster! He has no heart! He has no conscience.” Nicole said. “This thing that you are in, he brought this upon you! Everything that he was before you broke up with him, was nothing. That’s not the person that he is now!”

“You need a makeover. Find a hobby! Get a gym membership! Learn to play the guitar!”

“Or you can always find a job!” John suggested.
“I hope you have been saving money.”

I sighed. “Of course. But... unfortunately, I used some of it to pay the florist.”
“I hope you had the guts to refund them.” Nicole said. I shook my head. “I gave all the receipts to Bryan when we broke up. I wanted him to refund all those payments so that he’ll know how difficult it was for me to make those arrangements while he was humping my maid of honor!”
“So, let me get this thing straight!” John said. “If he was able to refund the money you paid the florist, it means… he cheated on you… and you paid him to do it?”
“Shut up, John.” I told him, although I understood the irony he was aiming at.

“That settles it then! You have to pawn the ring.” Dannie said. “With the size of that thing, you can pay for your own wedding.”
I snorted. “That is, if I still want to get married. I think I completely lost faith in love. If I see or come to another wedding in my life, I think I’ll hang myself! I don’t believe in weddings anymore!”
“Really? Then why do you still believe in engagement rings?” John asked.  
“Why don’t you want to pawn it for its worth? If you don’t want to use the money for your future wedding, then use it as a down payment for your own apartment.” Dannie suggested. “That could be at least ten grand. You’re going to have a long way to go with that! And trust me, hon. You deserve it!” 

“I wish you would display the same angst about Bryan as you do about weddings and happily-ever-afters!” Nicole said. “If only, you would be as optimistic about getting over Bryan as you are about the doom of the weddings of the couples we were handling.”
I know it was downright pathetic. During the first week, I was so mad at Bryan. He was a liar! He was my best friend before he became my boyfriend. How could he treat me like that?

Then I was so mad at Geena, because in my opinion, she should have stopped things from happening. Bryan is merely a man. A man who had been harboring his sex drive since we started dating. His testosterone levels were probably shooting rocket high when Geena showed a little bit of flesh.
On the second week, I was mad at myself. I thought it was my fault that I was a self-righteous virgin who believed that a relationship these days can go a long way without intimacy.
On the third week, I was just mad at love itself… for leading me on, for making me think that there is a happily ever after in store for me.  
For making me believe that the dream wedding I had in my head since I was ten years old could turn into a reality. 

And now… I just don’t know what or who I was mad at anymore. A part of me hurts so much that sometimes, I think it would have been so damn easier if I just ran back to Bryan’s arms and forgave him. But a bigger part of me cannot trust him again. Not anymore. A part of me says that I have made it three weeks without him, with this pain. I can make it a few more. And then healing will come for sure.
When I got home that night, Adam was on his way to his deck with a beer on his hand.

“Half-pint.” He greeted me.

“I’m not a kid anymore, Adam.”

“Ha! See? I learn something new everyday.” He said sarcastically.

I rolled my eyes and started to head to my room.
“Hey, wait up.” He called.
I turned back to him.

“Join me.” He said, motioning towards his deck.

I raised a brow. “No. Thanks. I better go to bed.”
“And do what?” He asked with a raised brow. “Sleep? Mope? Dream that the bastard is going to magically develop a conscience for you?” He shook his head. “Come on, Ash. I’ve known you all your life. You’re smarter than that. Maybe you just need a little push. Come, drink with me at the deck. It’s time you and I have our heart to heart talk.”
I sighed and followed him towards his deck. The moonlight was beautiful. The sea breeze instantly blew on my face. I sat on the chair beside Adam’s. He handed me a beer 

I took a gulp and waited for him to say something.

“It’s been three weeks, Ash.” He started. “And you’re looking worse.” He sighed. I didn’t reply. “Don’t tell me that I don’t know anything about pain. About love and heartache. Trust me, I’ve had my fair share. Maybe that’s why I am what I am now. I’ve been hurt too much before.”
For the first time, I saw Adam in a different light. The cold, ruthless façade… the brutal truth he always speaks, regardless of who will get hurt… Now, I understood. He experienced pain. He had been lied to in the past. He had been betrayed before… that he resorted to being the man that he is now. A man who believed that brutal truth, no matter how much it hurts is still a lot better than the sweetest of all lies. And thus, he always says what is on his mind. He speaks the truth, as he sees it. He doesn’t lead people on.

“What?” He asked, when he realized I staring at him intensely.
I snorted and took a gulp of my beer. “Well, I guess this is probably the first time I’ve seen evidence that you have a heart.”
He chuckled. “Hard as it may be to believe… yes. I do have a heart. Oh! I meant… I did have a heart.”
“So what happened to you?” I asked him

He snorted. “I’ve blocked out some memories. So I can’t really tell you.”

“But you just said you’ve had your fair share of love and heartache. Surely you must remember some things.”  

“If you lose, don’t lose the lesson.” He murmured. “I may have chosen to forget the incidences in my life that tore me apart, but I don’t forget the lessons they taught me. So, though I may not tell you what happened to me exactly, I can still give you advice.”

“Okay, knock yourself out, big brother.” I said sarcastically. 

“Hey, I have known you since you were kid. We grew up together. We may not be related by blood, but guess what? I was probably the only brother you’ve known.”

“Yeah. And Geena was the only sister I’ve known. And look what she did to me.” I said glumly.
“At least we’ve never been best friends when we were growing up. You used to hate me.”
“What makes you think I don’t still hate you?” I raised a brow at him.

“Fair enough.” He said coolly. “But at least you don’t expect me to be nice. If I say something that hurts your feelings, remember that I’ve always been like that.” 

“You’re the first one to teach me how to be immune. To tune it all out.”
“Yes. But you’re not a very good student, are you?” He asked. 

“Why do you say that?”

“Because that’s what you should be doing now. Tuning out. I don’t think you know how to.”
I sighed. “There are times that I thought I can. But then again… sometimes it gets so hard. It was painful.” Tears rolled down my cheeks. “It still is painful.”

“I know.” He said. “Don’t think that it will go away soon. It’s physically hurtful. Like your chest aches. You know, that’s why they call it a heartbreak. Because you really feel like your heart is breaking. It’s not just an emotional pain, it’s a physical pain too. And you have to face it, Ash. There’s no running away from it.”

“I know. But it’s difficult not to remember how things were. You know I didn’t only lose a boyfriend… or a fiancé for that matter. I also lost a best friend. Geena’s been there through most of my childhood. She was a sister. And I can’t stop hurting over the fact that the two people I loved and trusted the most did this to me.”

“Geena has always been liberated. You know that. You were the only person in the world who trusted her too much. She was spoiled. But you worshipped the land that she walked on. She made out with one of the guys you dated in high school one hour after you broke up with him. But still… you never expected anything less of her

“That’s why I still couldn’t believe she’d do worse than make out with my ex-boyfriend! God! Now, I hate her!”
Adam snorted. “Really? And what about Bryan? Don’t you hate him

“I should. But…” I sighed. “We’ve been through a lot. And… well, maybe I also drove him to do what he did…” 

Adam was silent for a while. Then he asked, “What… what could you have done that would drive him to cheat on you over and over again… for six months… maybe more? And with your cousin?”
I sighed. I stared at Adam for a long while. And then I replied, “What he got from Geena… he never got from me, you know 

A long, deafening silence.

I stared at Adam. He was looking at the sea view. His thoughts were not visible on his face.

“Adam…” I called. He finally looked at me. “I can’t believe I am going to ask you this… but please… say something! For once, I’ll be glad to get a reaction from you.”

He recovered from the shock and then he chuckled. “Alright. Even if you’re not going to like what I am about to say or how I’m about to react? 

“Yes.” I replied quietly.

“So you are saying that you guys never… had sex or attempted to have sex?”

I nodded. “I have a no-sex-before-marriage thing. Bryan knew that. We’ve been best friends even before we got together, you know.”
“And he never even attempted to ask?” 

I shrugged. “He did. Just once. But I was firm then. Now, I’m not sure anymore! 

“How long since he last asked before he proposed to you?”

I sighed. “Maybe… maybe about a month after.”

Adam took a gulp of his beer and then he sighed. 

been best friends even before we got together, you know.”

“And he never even attempted to ask?”
I shrugged. “He did. Just once. But I was firm then. Now, I’m not sure anymore.”

“How long since he last asked before he proposed to you?”

I sighed. “Maybe… maybe about a month after.”

Adam took a gulp of his beer and then he sighed.

“What, Adam?” I asked. “Please…” I pleaded. “You said you’ll say what you think no matter what. And I promise I won’t get mad.”

Adam took a deep breath and then finally, he said, “Alright. I just think that even if you and Bryan had gotten married… it wouldn’t last forever. You wouldn’t grow old with this guy

“Yeah. I don’t think Geena could keep her mouth shut for too long..

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