Elmo woke up the next day with a smile on his face. He lay on his bed, staring at the ceiling, remembering last night’s events. He hadn’t expected the party he came home to, much less seeing Julie Anne in their home, celebrating his birthday with him and his family. It had been the most tiring shooting day he’s ever had, so far, but all of that didn’t matter when he and Julie were sitting under the stars last night. He reached for his phone and was about to text Julie Anne a ‘Good morning’ message when someone knocked on his door. He looked up and watched his elder sister, Maxene, enter his room. She closed the door behind her and approached Elmo with a smile.
“Good morning, birthday boy! Had fun last night?”, Maxene greeted, sitting down beside Elmo on the bed.
Elmo scooted to the side so that his sister had more space to sit on. He grinned at her. “That would be an understatement, Ate”, he replied with a laugh.
Maxene laughed with him. “I’ll say. Nag-enjoy ka sa bisita mo kahapon eh”, she teased. Her phone beeped and as she read the message, Elmo watched the smile from his sister’s face slowly disappear.
“Ate?”, Elmo asked his sister, concerned about what the message contained.
Maxene looked up at Elmo and smiled tightly. “Look, Moe, I know you and L already broke up and now it’s awkward between the two of you—-”, but she was cut off by Elmo.
“Ate, hindi naman awkward—-”, Elmo started, but stopped when Max held up her hand to silence him.
“Let me finish”, Maxene asked Elmo. When he nodded, she continued. “Wag mo na akong lokohin, I know it’s still awkward between the two of you. Pero you have to remember that she and her sister are family friends. So…they’re both here for your birthday lunch. Kakatext lang ni M sa akin. Matagal na kasing plan itong birthday lunch mo kasi nga we needed to make sure the whole family was here, so I’ve invited them noon pa, before you guys broke up”, she explained, biting her lip and looking at Elmo. “I’ve told them naman na if they don’t feel like coming, I’d understand. Pero sabi ni L, it’s okay daw. Birthday mo lang naman so I let them”, she finished.
Elmo stared at her sister, not sure what to say. Tama naman si Ate eh, friends naman kami nila L before pa. Pero oo nga, medyo awkward nga talaga. But since it’s my birthday and ayoko naman may problema pa, he thought. Out loud he told his sister, “It’s okay, Ate. Yeah, you’re right, we’re friends naman so no big deal.”
Maxene smiled at her brother then tapped him so he’d get up. “Bangon na, tanghalian na”, she told him. She stood up and was about to leave when she suddenly turned to Elmo again. “I really am happy for you and Julie. It looks like you guys are happy”, she said gently.
Elmo sat up, smiled at his sister and nodded. “We are, Ate. Partida, di pa ako nag-uumpisang manligaw sa lagay na yan”, he said in a mock arrogant tone.
Maxene laughed and rolled her eyes. “Why are Magalona boys so overconfident?”, she teased as she went out of Elmo’s room.
Elmo laughed. “That’s just how it is!”, he answered his sister’s retreating back. He shook his head, still chuckling. Despite what he’d said to his sister, he still felt quite uncomfortable about the fact that L and her sister were downstairs right now, about to have lunch with them. Just be civil. They’re your friends, after all, he thought as he got up and readied himself to go downstairs. He grabbed his phone before going downstairs and typed up a message first.
To: Julie Anne
Message: Good morning, Julie! Kahit tanghali na, good morning pa din! Sarap ng gising ko! Bakit kaya? :D Hahaha! See you soon! Missing you already! <3
After sending the message, Elmo pocketed his phone and went downstairs. He braced himself for an awkward situation.
“Kumusta ka na, Moe?”, L asked as she and Elmo walked out to the Magalonas’ garden after lunch.
Elmo walked ahead of L and led the both of them to a nearby bench. He let her sit down first before he sat down next to her. He leaned back on the bench and stared ahead first before answering. “I’m good. Busy with work, but otherwise, I’m okay. You?”, he asked, turning to her.
L gave him a tight smile and looked away. She shrugged. “I’m better than when we first broke up. But I can’t really say I’m… good”, she replied.
Elmo watched L, trying to think of what to say. We used to talk for hours on end. Did I really just destroy our friendship by dating her and then realizing she wasn’t really who I wanted?, he asked himself. “I’m sorry”, was all he thought of saying.
L laughed lightly and looked at him. “For what? For following your heart?”, she asked, starting to feel tears well up in her eyes. She felt stupid for breaking up with Elmo in the first place and for actually just handing him over to Julie Anne. And now he looks so happy about it. I feel so bitter, she thought.
Elmo was about to answer when his phone beeped. He smiled apologetically at L. “I’ll just check the message, sorry”, he told her. He unlocked his phone and couldn’t help the smile that broke through his face.
From: Julie Anne
Message: Good morning! Yuck, kakagising ko lang, ako na ang batugan! Asus, talaga? Mas masarap ata yung gising ko eh. May umamin ata kasing mahal niya ako kagabi? Ewan ko ba, haha! Have a good day! Happy birthday uli!
L saw the immediate smile that crept up Elmo’s face. She smiled tightly. “Si Julie yan no?”, she asked, not wanting to sound accusatory, but sounding that way anyway.
Elmo remembered L was there and immediately locked his phone again and put his back in his pocket. “Ha? Ah… uhm, oo. Nag-greet lang”, he answered, not knowing why he felt guilty about his reaction when in fact, he had nothing to be guilty about.
L nodded and sighed. “Looks like you two are happy”, she commented.
Elmo didn’t know what to say to that so he just kept quiet and stared ahead at the plants in the garden.
They were quiet for a while, just sitting there side by side. It was funny because, when they were just friends, and even when they were together, they could just sit by each other silently and comfortably. Right now, they definitely felt the tension in the situation. Both might’ve even sighed in relief when M, L’s sister, came out and called her.
“Elmo, I’m sorry. We need to be going na, we have an appointment pa eh. Happy birthday, though!”, M told Elmo, giving him a peck on the cheek.
Elmo smiled at M and nodded. “Oh, it’s okay. Thank you for taking the time to come over!”, he told M, hugging her.
M smiled at him. “Oh don’t mention it. Mawawala ba naman kami sa birthday mo? Thanks for the lunch! I’ll wait for you in the car, L”, she said, directing her last statement to her sister.
L nodded at her sister and watched her go. Then she turned to Elmo. “Well, I better get going na din. I’ll see you around? Happy birthday!”, she said. She opened her arms awkwardly and hugged Elmo, but immediately let go.
Elmo stood still, surprised by L’s hug. When he was about to open his arms to hug her back, she’d already let go of him. And so, he simply waved at her. “Thank you so much!”, he replied. He watched her go then sighed. Ang hirap naman ng ganito, he thought as he went back inside the house.
“Anak, do you want to do anything in particular today?”, Pia asked her son as he sat down on the couch with the rest of his family.
Elmo was reading Julie’s message again when his mother was talking to him, his smile evident. He looked up and shook his head, then propped up his feet on the table. “Nope. I just wanna stay here with you guys”, he said, draping his arm over his mom’s shoulder.
Saab Magalona threw a pillow at him. “Asus, chos lang yan, Ma. For sure may gusto yan puntahan ngayon. Kita mo nga ngingiti ngiti kanina lang. Sino kaya?”, she teased. It was obvious that his smile was not lost on his family.
The other Magalona children started teasing Elmo as well. Pia looked at her son with a serious look on her face. “Si Julie Anne ba sinasabi ni Ate?”, she asked.
Elmo smiled and shook his head, although his resolve was weak. “Naku, Ma, wag kang maniwala dyan kay Ate”, he replied, hugging his mother with both arms.
Maxene and Frank laughed. “Ay nako, Mama. Ang lagkit lagkit kaya lagi ng tingin niyan kay Julie. Kahit magkalayo sila sa set, kala mo on-going padin prod nilang dalawa kung makatitig!”, Max told her mom, joining in the fun. She’d missed these types of days, when the whole family was present and just laughing.
“Oo nga, Mama. Kahit hindi ako lagi andun, whenever I am, Kuya is always staring at Ate Julie!”, Arkin added.
Clara laughed. “Eh Ate Julie’s very pretty naman kasi”, she commented.
Elmo reached out and included Clara in his hug with his mom. “Clara, have I ever told you how smart you are?”, he told her with a laugh.
Pia smiled at her children, teasing each other. “Oh, enough na, enough na. Wag niyo naman tuksuhin yung birthday boy!”, she said. When the teasing died down, she turned to Elmo. “Pero anak ha, don’t forget your priorities please”, she simply said.
Elmo let go of Clara and resumed hugging his mother tightly with both arms. He kissed her on the cheek and leaned his head on hers. “Yes, Ma, I know. Bonus na lang si Julie dun. Love ko siya, Mama. She makes me really, really, really happy”, he said, feeling slightly shy at how he’d just admitted that.
This time, instead of being met with teasing laughs from his siblings, he was met by smiles.
“Ano ba yan?! Big boy na talaga si Elmo!”, Maxene uttered. “Pa-hug nga!”, she added. She stood up and walked over to where her mother and brother were, and joined in the hug.
Pretty soon, Saab, Clara, Arkin and Frank joined. Elmo was very happy. His family was here with him, being very supportive, and he couldn’t be happier with how things were working out between him and Julie.
“Basta Elmo ha, ako pa din heartthrob sa ating dalawa”, Frank suddenly teased. They all laughed.
Elmo lay down on his bed after dinner with his family. His older siblings Frank, Maxene and Saab had already left to go home to their separate condos and he was left with his mother, sister Clara and brother Arkin in Antipolo again. He dialled Julie’s number.
Julie: Hello, birthday boy! Kumusta araw mo?
Elmo: Eto, kumpleto na. *smiles*
Julie: *laughs*Bola-bola na naman po.
Elmo: Hindi ako nambobola nga. Hindi kaya kita nakausap buong araw.
Elmo: So kulang yung araw ko… until now, syempre.
Julie: Sige na nga, maniniwala na ako sayo.
Elmo: Buti naman. Anong ginagawa mo?
Julie: Wala, nakahiga lang sa kama ko, naguubos ng oras. Ikaw?
Elmo: Pareho lang.
Julie: Nakahiga ka din sa kama ko? Asan? Wala naman eh. *laughs*
Elmo: Nakatira ka na naman?
Julie: Oo eh. Elmer’s glue.
Elmo: *laughs* Grabe, Julie Anne San Jose, anu ba yan.
Julie: Buong pangalan dapat?
Elmo: Kasi eh. Ang gulo mo.
Julie: Asus, gusto mo naman nga.
Elmo: Hindi ko gusto.
Julie: Ay. Okay.
Elmo: *chuckles* Julie naman… diba sabi ko sayo kagabi di na kita gusto? *smiles*
Julie: Aaah… okaaaaay.
Elmo: *laughs* Oh, natahimik ka? Kinikilig ka pag naaalala mo?
Julie: *laughs* Alangan sabihin ko hindi, kung oo naman.
Elmo: Pero totoo nga kasi yun ha.
Julie: Hindi ko naman sinabing hindi ako naniniwala eh.
Elmo: Wala lang, baka lang gusto mo ulitin ko yung sinabi ko.
Julie: Hindi na kailangan noh.
Elmo: Pero pwede ko ulitin na lang din?
Julie: Ha? Bakit pa?
Elmo: Gusto ko lang. Please?
Julie: Ikaw bahala. *smiles with giddiness*
Elmo: I love you, Julie Anne. *smiles*
Julie: *silent for a while* Uhm, okay ka na? Naulit mo na?
Elmo: *laughs* Pwede na. Pero mas magiging okay ako pag pwede na ako manligaw.
Julie: *laughs* Sabihin mo sa kalendaryo bilisan niya gumalaw para May na.
Elmo: Kung pwede nga lang bukas May 17 na eh.
Julie: Wag naman, magrerehearse pa ako para sa birthday concert ko!
Elmo: Kaya mo na yun noh. Ikaw pa? Kahit yata tulog ka, kumakanta ka eh.
Julie: Sobra naman to. Ano yun? Halimaw?
Elmo: Sus, ang ganda naman ng halimaw na yun.
Julie: *laughs* Ay, teka pala, may gagawin lang ako. Tawagan kita uli ha.
Elmo: Ah, sige sige. Antayin ko tawag mo ah!
Julie: Oo naman! Bye!
Elmo: Bye, Julie!
*end of conversation*
Elmo dropped his phone on his stomach and put both hands behind his head, staring at the ceiling with a smile. Suddenly, his phone beeped, indicating a mention on his Twitter. It had actually been beeping all day, probably because of his fans greeting him. Since he had nothing to do while waiting for Julie to call back, he decided to check. He smiled as he scrolled through the hundreds of greetings, sometimes laughing at the creativeness of the messages. Next, he filtered his mentions so he’d see only those from the people he follows. He began answering some of them. There was one from L that he was supposed to skip, but decided to answer anyway. He didn’t want to seem rude. The last tweet, which made him laugh, was from Julie Anne, tweeted just right after their phone call.
@MyJaps: Happy bday to you, happy bday to you, happy bday.. happy bday.. happy bday to you Nyel @SuperElmo #JOSpeg
He smiled and immediately replied.
@SuperElmo: @MyJaps thaaaaanks! Hahaha matagal nang hindi nakikita ni Nyel si Beto!
He laughed at his reply and sent it. After a few moments, his phone rang.
Julie Anne calling…
He answered it.
Elmo: Hi, Beto! *laughs*
Julie: *laughs* Ang sinungaling mo! Anong matagal nang hindi nakita eh nagkita lang tayo kahapon!
Elmo: Sabi ko si Nyel at si Beto ang hindi pa nagkikita. Miss na ni Nyel si Beto ng sobra sobra.
Julie: Ah, iba pa ba si Nyel sayo?
Elmo: Oo naman noh! Eh nakahalik na sa labi yun kay Beto eh! Ako hindi pa sayo. *laughs*
Julie: Hoy, Magalona ha. Hindi ako makukuha ng ganyang pag-papacute mo. *laughs*
Elmo: Oh, so cute pala ako? Eh di ayos lang hindi gumana sayo yung pagpapacute, basta sinabi mong cute ako, ayos na ko dun!
Julie: Ang baliw mo talaga!
Elmo: Ikaw kasi eh! Sarap mabaliw sayo!
Julie: *laughs* Alam mo, itulog na lang natin to. Good night na, Elmo! Happy birthday uli!
Elmo: Thank you! For the greeting, and for making my birthday the best ever.
Julie: Naku, wala yun. Mas engrande pa yan next year!
Elmo: Bakit? Kasi tayo na nun?
Julie: Hmmm, malay natin… Good night!
Elmo: *laughs* Good night, Julie Anne! Sweet dreams!
Julie: Sweet dreams din!
*end of conversation*
Julie Anne and Elmo slept with wide smiles on their faces.
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