Chapter II: If The Feeling Is Gone

We just went passed the security check on our way out of the port when a middle aged man approached Jon and started guiding us towards the parking lot with the two porters heavily laden with our baggages bringing in the rear.

We stopped in front of a dark red Ford Excursion, the driver easily clicked a button from his key that gave out a beep and the doors were unlocked. He then opened the back door for us and gestured for me and Jon to get inside.

I raised an eyebrow at my best friend.

"What?" Jon asked with a grin.

"New house, new ride?" I snorted.

"You know my mom. Out with the old and in with the new."

I chuckled at my best friend as I climbed up the step into the huge vehicle and settled myself comfortably.

It took us a few minutes before we actually started our way since Jon created such a fuss with the porters in the placement of the luggages at the back of the van, screaming obscenities at them whenever nobody takes him heed. But in the end, the patient porters who I think silently cursed my best friend's existence to end just about then went home happy with a very exorbitant fee coming from the rather demanding albeit bordering on abusive temperament that goes by the name of Jon.

He lives with this motto: Whoever said that you can't buy happiness never heard of Clinique Happy.

Go figure.

I rolled my eyes as Jon finally joined me at the back and just automatically grabbed on my leg and settled himself there to sleep.

What the? I mentally asked myself as I made myself as comfortable as I could with Jon's head on my leg which would guarantee a very numbing 1 hour plus journey towards the beach house.

20 minutes on the journey, as we finally left the city limits, a numbed leg which Jon is currently snuggled in, and I was feeling homicidal.

I am a city person, though I love the beach and the mountains, I am not too excited with the prospect of staying here in the province for an indefinite amount of time. Granting that we might have to go to the country's capital within the summer break, Jon being the annoying best friend that he is thought that nature would hasten the process of mending what he considers as my first official heartache.

Let me go tour the various nightspots, watering holes, hell even the sleazy and dingy joints at any city and I would have at least considered that as an adventure. But for the lack of anything better to do, and the fear of being alone lest I go into depression is enough motivation for me to go along with Jon on this vacation. Believe me, seeing Jon depressed for the past couple of years made me scarred of being depressed.

I held out a tired sigh. This time, if all things worked out as planned, I would have already been in Hong Kong, wandering around all the tourist spots being all tourist-y with non other than my best boy. My first love. The guy who I thought promised me forever.

Well, the best laid plans are those that normally does not end up happening the way we wanted it to. Right?

I searched for my ipod in my knapsack and plugged put it on my ears as I leaned my head on the window, wondering how long it would take for us to finally reach our destination.

With another tired sigh. I closed my eyes as I tried to join my best friend in dreamland.

I happily whistled a random tune, though for the love of me I could not even do. The reason for such a light mood, even making a fool of myself is not put into consideration, is that I am on my way to meet Paolo. It was his last day of finals and we will be off for a 2 month break from the very stressful academic environment. And I vowed to myself that I will have serious fun this summer since come next semester, we will all be swamped with our thesis and other requirements for graduation and after that I will have to go to medical school.

I parked my light green Volkswagen beetle at the back of the school chapel and made my way towards the Commerce building where I was supposed to meet the reason for my extended happiness. A state that I have been in for more than a year. And what can I say, the bubble is still intact.

Checking my phone for the time, just to make sure that I'm on time and patting my clutch bag that contained the tickets for my Hong Kong tour for 2 with me, I stepped into the buildings elevator and pressed 6, my desired floor. I can barely contain my excitement when I break the news to Paolo. God! The thought of him alone never fails to bring a smile to my face.

The elevator stopped on the 6th floor and the door opened and my breath hitched as I looked into Paolo. I broke into a smile as I gestured for him to get inside and we got pressed at the back as more people joined us.

I babbled about nothing in particular but stopped when I noticed that Paolo was barely responding to what I thought was our conversation but turned out to be my monologue.

"Pao-Pao, what's wrong?" I asked him concernedly, running a loving hand to wipe a bead of sweat on his forehead. "Was it the test?"

Paolo just shook his head and remained silent as we made our way back towards my car.

"So where do you want to go and celebrate the end of term?" I asked cheerily. "Jon wants to get together later tonight with the rest of the gang for an overnight booze overload, if not we can always go somewhere quite."

"Can you take me home?" Was the only reply that I got.

Being the good boyfriend that I am, I complied and just turned on the stereo to make up for the conversation that we usually have. We never turn on the stereo when we're on the car. We never even have a silent moment together as far as I can remember.

I was miffed but I was hoping that my surprise will cheer him up so I just continued driving towards his family's home. In a short time, bless the fact that there was no traffic congestion (considering that it was only 3 in the afternoon), I stopped the car outside Paolo's house that overlooks the city. I smiled as we made our way towards the door.

I can still remember the first time I was here. That was December of 2005 for our first date. We spent a lot of time talking, snuggling, and that was when I decided that he will be my ever after guy.

The first thing I noticed when we got inside the house is the eerie silence. The house is usually full of life, with Paolo's mom and his sisters always running around the house doing whatever.

"Pao, where's the rest of the guys?" I asked.

"Manila." Was the curt reply.

I figured that that was logical. Before Paolo transferred here, they used to live in Manila. Maybe the family is already there for the break. Maybe he is acting this way since he got left behind due to finals week. I comforted myself with those thoughts as I followed Paolo up to his room.

I never thought that what I would find out next would shatter the happy bubble that I have been in for the past year. I thought miserably as I fought hard to keep the tears at bay.

I never really got to sleep along the way. My leg was hurting but I loath to disturb Jon. He looks content sleeping. I'm glad that he is finally getting better after the whole Sebastian thing. It just breaks my heart that while I was with Paolo I often neglected Jon but he was cool with it. And look where I ended up with my devotion to Paolo?

I swallowed a sob, opening my eyes wider to not let the tears fall, as Kyla sings If The Feeling Is Gone on my ipod, and I once again settled into my own thoughts.