Zanne (16-18)

16. The way you look tonight

Nicomaine can still hear Richard sob every now and then. Even in his sleep, he seemed to be deeply burdened by whatever truth he is hiding regarding what he is feeling.

Nicomaine decided to singing her favorite song. This is one of the songs she used to sing back in Como. It was a song by Fred Astaire, that she first heard in the 30s.

 Some day, when I’m awfully low,
When the world is cold,
I will feel a glow just thinking of you
And the way you look tonight.  

She started combing Richard’s hair lightly with her fingers.

 Yes you’re lovely, with your smile so warm
And your cheeks so soft,
There is nothing for me but to love you,
And the way you look tonight.

Some may find her cruel for not feeling bad about Richard’s girlfriend’s death, but with somebody her age, she’s gotten used to seeing people she loves die.

 With each word your tenderness grows,
Tearing my fear apart,
And that laugh that wrinkles your nose,
It touches my foolish heart.  

She touched Richard’s face that made his facial muscle move a bit. She traced his jawline with her finger. Can she let Richard die? What if Val is right? What if Richard is her twin flame?

Lovely
Never, ever change.
Keep that breathless charm.
Won’t you please arrange it?
‘Cause I love you…Just the way you look tonight.  

She can now hear her heartbeat more steady. His breathing is now more relaxed.

She stood up and went to the kitchen. Anytime from now Richard will be waking up. She knows he’ll be hungry.

Even though she really doesn’t eat anymore, she still maintained her cooking skills. She still watches the cooking channel and when she cooks, she asks Val’s human to taste her dish to know how it tastes.

So far, she has never failed to please whoever ate her food.

Hopefully, it’s true that a way to a man’s heart is through his stomach.  Hopefully, he eats what she will cook and stop getting mad at her.

She started cooking what she knows would appease him, his favorite, Laoya and Sinigang.

17. Choke

Richard was awaken by his stomach growling. He is hungry.

He looked around and recognized that he was on his bed. He cannot remember how he was able to get to bed nor how he was able to change clothes.

He stood up and walked out of his bedroom and the smell of Laoya greeted him. His stomach growled even more.

“I’m hungry.” He said aloud.

“Come here, I cooked Laoya and Sinigang for you.” He heard a familiar voice coming from the kitchen.

He immediately went to the kitchen and a smiling face greeted him.

“What are you doing here?” He asked. “I told you I do not want to see you Dei!” He was about to turn around.

“Richard, stop being so dramatic. Eat first, mamaya mo na ko palayasin.” Dei motioned for him to sit. “I’ll leave later, after we make sure you don’t starve to death.”

Richard hesitated but the lion in his stomach cannot be tamed, so he sat down at the furthest seat. “Alright!”

Nicomaine served him the food. The Sinigang and Laoya are still smoking, fresh from the pot. Nicomaine cooked it using a palayok.

As soon as she placed the plate in front of Richard, he started eating like he never ate in a year. “Hey slow down, di ka mauubusan.” Nicomaine said but Richard did not give her any attention and continued to eat at that pace.

Then suddenly Richard acted like he was having a hard time breathing, like something was caught in his throat. He was choking. She immediately positioned at the back of Richard and pressed hard on his abdomen, lightly (that’s already the same as a hard press for a normal human, if she goes over that even his internal organs will collapse) .

“Oh, my God. Thank you.” He said and immediately drank the water she gave him. And followed through, like a reflex “I owe you o–” He stopped before finishing his sentence, probably realizing that it was Nicomaine who helped him.

“Yeah you owe me one, you owe me your life now.” Nicomaine intently The only thing I want is your forgiveness.” Nicomaine sat on the seat directly in front of him.

Richard looked at her. He seem to be thinking of the right words to say. Nicomaine can even see creases forming on his forehead. “Fine.”

Nicomaine automatically smiled, showing her perfect set of teeth. “Great!” She stood up and leaned over the table to hug Richard.

“Dei! Later, stop hugging me! I’m eating.” Richard complained and went back to eating with gusto.

18. Loved

“Richard, I really am sorry that I…” Nicomaine was sitting next to Richard in the balcony on his condo unit.

“Stop apologizing Dei. It’s not like you believe it was a mistake, that declining my request is a mistake.” He was looking at the sunset. “Besides, I understand your point. I just can’t accept the fact during that time. I felt like I owe it to her. I felt like that is the best decision at that moment.”

“Richard, I understand you love her and I know that reason is enough to think that, me, turning her is the best decision. You have to believe me though that it isn’t.”

You’re wrong Dei.”

“Huh?” She looked at Richard.

“I do not love her anymore.” Richard looked at Nicomaine too. “I am in love with somebody else.”

“Richard…”

“I’m in love with somebody who has the most generous heart I know. I’m in love with a woman who’s been through a lot and yet chose to be better for the benefit of others. I am in love with somebody who believes she’s cursed but she’s been nothing but a blessing to others. I’m in love with somebody who’d rather sacrifice her happiness for somebody elses happiness.” Richard moved closer to Nicomaine. “I am in love with you, Dei.”

“I don’t deserve that. I don’t deserve to be loved Richard.” She looked away.

Richard help her chin and had her face him. “Nicomaine everybody deserves to be loved. You deserved to be loved.”

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