FIRST AMONG EQUALS

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Summary

First Among Equals (Vier Series #1) Some things are better left unsaid. Or so, Wendy thought. Forced to flee her hometown with her family for the fear of getting condemned because of a tragedy, she has to leave everything behind even the answers that she is too scared to confront. But, when she was forced to open the wounds the past has scarred her young heart, she has to face what she left and relive them all over again. Walking down the memory lane will not be easy especially when she has to go through the one she has lived her life trying to forget. He, who has always been the first among equals, will always be her first love but will destiny ever let him be the last?

Genre:
Romance / Humor
Author:
AJ in Spring
Status:
Ongoing
Chapters:
1
Rating:
n/a
Age Rating:
18+

Simula

Misfortunes can be in the form of a blessing in disguise.

This is what I keep on repeating to myself while walking away. When I was young, our family met a lot of misfortune but after years of hard work by my parents, we got back on our feet, we got more than what we lost.

That’s life.

Kaya napahinga na lang ako ng malalim while thinking about what I lost. How is that a blessing in disguise, Wendy? Hindi ka na makakakilala ng kagaya niya!

Looking at me now, I am working at my dream job that is in-line with my bachelor’s degree. Nakapagpatayo na ako ng bahay para sa pamilya. I have traveled to many countries. I am just not sure if I can call that a success for some but comparing it to the life I thought I’ll have after the tragedy, I am living this perfectly normal life.

I just couldn’t take David’s offer.

“You’re joking, right?” Para akong tinakasan ng init sa katawan pagkatapos ng marinig ang boses niya. It was in the middle of our dinner anniversary when he showed me a ring. I had no idea this was in his mind already!

Pumungay ang itim niyang mga mata sa’kin at hinawakan ang kamay kong kanina pa pala mahigpit ang hawak sa table napkin.

“I can’t leave you here. I say we get married and we’ll live in Poland! Ano bang mahirap don?” Iwinaksi ko ang kamay niya. Hindi ko mabilang kung ilang segundo akong tahimik at hindi makagalaw sa sinabi niya at ngayong nakapag-isip, hindi ko mapigilang magulat sa plano niya.

“You planned all that by yourself?”

“Ayaw mo ba? Tumatanda na tayo. We both need to settle down!”

“You just turned 27! At sinong may sabing handa ako? Paano ang pamilya ko?”

“This is an opportunity for your family at sa bubuuin natin. First, we’ll live and travel at Europe. Kung sustento, papadalan natin sila!”

“No, I’m sorry.” Iling kong sabi sakanya. I looked around on the rooftop of his condominium. With rose petals forming a way and candles lit paikot sa table namin.

“This is too much, David. You’re too much. At alam mong pareho tayong hindi handa. This is just because you’re too overwhelmed dahil sa opportunity na natanggap mo.”

“There aren’t any words to say, then. It’s just— It’s just, it’s over.” Nakayukong sabi niya. Now he’s the one who can’t look at me straightly.

Looking back at our relationship, he was always the one who initiated. Siya ang unang kumakausap sa’kin kapag nag-aaway. Siya ang nauunang tumatawag, mag-aya, makipag-bati, which I have always admired from him. He was initiative pero ayoko ng may nagpa-plano ng buhay ko na ako dapat ang gumagawa.

I hugged him so tight. I understand if he doesn’t want to continue our relationship anymore after turning down his proposal.

In this life, we are only given a chance to experience the start of something new and the end of what was somehow meant not to last, not knowing which of them will first happen to you dahil may mga pagtatapos na nagbubukas ng bagong pinto para makapag-simula.

Napailing ako habang sunod-sunod na umalpas ang luha sa mga mata ko. Was I too cruel? Pagsisisihan ko ba lahat ng ’to?

Masyado na akong maraming pinagsisisihan sa buhay ko para madagdag pa ’to.

Pinag-buksan ako ng pintuan ng kapatid kong si Favio. My sixteen year-old brother is now taller than me. Being part of his school’s varsity team, he gained muscles.

“Hindi ka hinatid ni Kuya David?” Umiling ako sa nag bukas ng pintuan para sa’kin. Favio. My sixteen year-old brother is now taller than me.

“Chismoso ka. Dalhin mo ’tong bag ko sa taas.”

Napakamot na lang siya sa ulo dahil sa utos ko. Napailing na lang ako sa kapatid.

“Arwendella?”

I heard my mother’s voice calling me from the kitchen. Lumapit ako para makapag mano. She was still wearing her apron and washing the dishes.

“Bakit ikaw ang gumagawa niyan?” My mother who looks older than she looks is still not accustomed to us having maids. She was wearing her favorite apron.

“Wala na ’to. Nagtitimpla lang ako ng tsaa para sa Papa mo.”

“Teka, akala ko gagabihin kayo ni David?”

“Uhm, iyon nga, Ma, I need to talk to you. Sainyo ni Papa.” Agad kumunot ang noo nito at mukhang kinabahan making me chuckle.

“Sige na, sabihan mo si Papa, ako na maghahatid nito.” Nagpunas siya ng kamay at umakyat na sa kwarto nila. I guess there’s no point in delaying this sa pagkuwento sakanila.

I have always been close with my parents. Sila ang naging sandalan ko sa lahat ng bagay. Halos lahat ng magiging problema, sinasabi ko sakanila. Hindi rin naman sila nag kulang sa pagpapaalala sa’kin.

Kumatok ako ng nakarating sa kwarto nila. They were both on Papa’s study table. Mukhang kanina pa nagbabasa ng bibliya si Papa at tinabihan lang ni Mama.

Agad akong nag-mano at iniabot ang tsaa nila. Umupo ako sa gilid ng kama, nakapaharap sakanila.

“Ma, Pa, David and I broke up tonight.” Hindi napigilan ni Mama na itago ang gulat sa mukha niya samantalang tumango lang si Papa. He was always like that. Too strong, too mysterious.

“Hayaan niyo, Ma. May ipon ako, kung gusto niyo tayo na mismo ang pumunta sa Europe?” I tried lifting my mother’s mood. Tingin niya’y sila ang dahilan sa pag hindi ko kay David.

While my mother tried to console me, my father tried to drop a bomb in front of me.

“Ilang taon na nga ba tayong hindi nakakabalik ng San Gabriel?..” Tinanggal niya ang reading glasses bago nagpakita ng maliit na ngiti sa’kin. My mother stopped him before he could say anything but I answered him.

“Pitong taon po.”

In those 7 long years, we have never talked about what happened to us at our hometown, San Gabriel. It was indeed a tragedy not just to us, but to all people there.

“Naglalaro ka lang dati sa tapat ng bahay. Uuwi ako at may dalang hapunan na ang Mama mo galing sa..” He stopped before continuing, “mga Ibarra. Natatandaan mo pa ba?”

I felt him flinched while saying that surname. Umiling ako sakanya, ayaw ng mapahaba ang usapan. I was kept in the dark for seven long years. Ano pang mangyayari kung babalikan?

“Masyado pa akong bata noon.”

“Bata ba? 18 ka na noon! Ang dami mo ngang manliligaw!” With unshed tears, Mama tried to lighten the mood. I bitterly smiled at them.

“Ate, siguro sapat na ang pitong taon nating naiwan ang bahay natin doon?”

“Pa, may bahay na tayo ngayon. Kaya nga ako nagpagawa hindi ba?” I tried to argue with him kahit pa sa loob ko’y alam ko, walang mas hihigit sa bahay namin noon. May dalawa ring palapag, at mas malaki pa nga dito. It was the house of my paternal grandfather.

Maybe, that’s why he was too fond of it at hindi nga natanggal sa isip sa loob ng nakalipas na taon.

“Kung.. sana.. yung ipon mo doon mo na lang ilaan.” My Papa asked me.

“Hindi naman po pera ang problema.” I looked at him straightly.

“Alam ko. Ako.”

“Ako ang may kasalanan kung bakit kinailangan mong iwan ang pag-aaral at mga kaibigan mo doon. Kaya ngayon, binibigyan kita ng pagkakataon para bumalik. At alamin mismo ang tinago ko sainyo ng kapatid mo.”

“Ipaayos mo. Renovate ng kaonti. Pagkatapos titignan namin ng Mama mo kung.. ibebenta ba natin o kahit paupahan man lang.”

Sinabi ko sakanyang pag-iisipan ko at agad pumasok na sa kwarto ko. Ipinikit ko ang mga mata ng nakahiga na sa kama. It was a long day of making decisions that would affect me for a long time. After deciding hastily with my relationship with David, hindi ko kayang magdesisyon agad-agad.

I finally looked at my phone with a couple of text messages from my workmate, my cousin, even from David, na pinili kong ’wag munang basahin.

I got an unexpected text from an unexpected someone at iyon ang napili kong buksan.

Marquess Ibarra:

Good evening, Wendy. This is Mara Ibarra? We got to talk months ago? At hindi ko alam kung naalala mo pero, I was pregnant that time. Magbibinyag na ang baby ko and my offer of you to be the godmother still stands. Two months from now pa naman, sinabihan lang kita agad. I know its a lot but you’re my best friend. Always.

P.S. Her name is Angelique! She looks like me. :)

I closed my eyes again and decided not to reply.

It’s like a night full of opportunities na nagtutulak sa’kin para bumalik. I broke up with my boyfriend, my father asked me for a favor, and now, this. Mara’s text. My best friend from San Gabriel asking me to go back.

A door has just closed for me, another chapter of my life with David has finished pero hindi ibig sabihin noon, babalikan ko na ang pahina ng nakaraan at mananatili doon.

Unti-unti akong pumikit at parang isang sirang plaka na bumalik sa’kin lahat ng alaala. Mula sa pag pasok sa eskuwela, pag-aalaga sa kapatid tuwing hapon, ang pag dalaw sa mansiyon, at ang paglalakad sa malawak na school field. Lahat ng iyon, nangyari habang kasama ko ang isang partikular na lalaki.

I had a dream about someone from the past who I can never be with.

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