Round 16 – Happy Birthday, Ella
“Do you know how I feel?” Ella said as she rested her head on Chun's shoulder. Chun looked down at her. “My heart hurts so much. It's too hard for me to breathe...” she said softly. Chun pulled her close to him. Ella closed her eyes, and let her tear fall down her cheek. “He is my wings. He is the ground I walk on. He is the very air I breathe... now that he have abandoned me... I felt like falling into an abyss. I deep, bottomless abyss...” she said wearily. “I guess the problem with you is you expected a lot from him. You thought in the end he will learn to love you... but life is unfair, you know? Even if you give your all... even if you play fairly... he will never give you the love you've always wanted.” he said. Ella smiled sadly to herself. “You're right...” she said. “But even if that's the case, it doesn't mean that he never loved you. He loved you... but in the only possible way that he knows... and that is as his best friend.” Chun said.
Tears began to roll down Ella's cheeks again. “Why can't he learn to love me? Why do I always have to be the best friend? Why do I always have to be the one loving more?” she asked. “I wish I could answer your questions, Ella... I wish I have all the answers to your question... but I am just an ordinary person also asking those kinds of question. But I know there is a reason for everything, and we're yet to find out what that is.” he said. Chun looked at Ella, and saw her with her eyes closed, sleeping peacefully. After a night of crying, she got tired and rested, he thought. He brushed away the hair from her face and looked into her face. “One day, Ella... one day I know Sphinx will regret not loving you back...” he whispered.
Then, Chun carried Ella to her room, and laid her on her bed. After he settled and tucked her in, he sat on her bed, still gazing into her face. He smiled to himself as he watched her sleep peacefully. “Sphinx doesn't really know what he's missing out... how could he be so blind not to see how pretty you are? You're even more prettier that Bianca, especially when you sleep.” he said. Then, he let out a faint laugh. “You do look like an angel when you sleep. When you're awake, you can be both an angel and a devil. But nevertheless, you're still an angel. Sphinx is so lucky to have an angel by his side all this time...” he said. He brushed her hair again, and then he leaned down to kiss her on her lips. “Good night, Ella...” he said. As he stood up to leave, he felt Ella hold on to his hand. “Don't leave me... please...” she whispered. Chun looked back at Ella and smiled. He felt happy knowing that she needs him at this very moment. “OK...” he said. He held her hand, and then settled on the floor. “Just hold on to my hand, Ella. I assure you, I won't leave you. I won't abandon you like Sphinx did.” he said. He looked outside the window, and saw a bright star shining on the night sky. He closed his eyes, and made a simple wish for Ella.
“Star light, star bright,
First star I see tonight
Wish I may, wish I might
Have my wish come true tonight...
I wish... when Ella wakes up tomorrow, all the pain in her heart have faded...”
Then, he closed his eyes and slumbered.
It was morning.
Ella slowly opened her eyes, and the first thing she saw was Chun, who was peacefully sleeping while sitting on the floor. She sat up, and noticed that she was holding his hand. “What happened last night?” she thought. She recalled those events that took place after she shouted at Sphinx. She remembered kissing Chun out of her anger for Sphinx. She remembered dragging that piece of chunk inside her apartment. She remembered crying her heart out to him until her eyes got swollen and got tired from all of it. “So, I fell asleep while crying?” she thought. She looked at Chun, and then a thought hit her head. “Oh. My. God.” she panicked. She sat up on her bed,and looked at herself inside the blanket. She sighed with relieve upon seeing herself still fully clothed.
She let got of Chun's hand, and this made him wake up. He looked up groggily at Ella, and then scratched his yes. “Morning...” he said. “Morning...” Ella said. She took her blanket, and covered herself, which made Chun confused. “What?” he asked. Ella gave him a suspicious look. “Nothing.” she said. He stood up, and then faced her, letting out an evil smirk. “Nothing happened, all right? You cried while crying, and being the good boy that I am, I carried your fat body up here on your room. And besides, you're not my type.” he said. “That's good. At least we're clear now. But, what are you doing here on my room? Don't you have your own room, or your own house?” she asked. “You didn't want to let go of me. You asked me not to leave you, so I stayed.” he explained. “You shouldn't have...” Ella said as she looked away from him. Chun sat beside her, and smiled at him. “It's OK. This is what friends do, right? I thought we're already friends?” he asked. Ella looked at him, and turn into a smile. “I think I'll crash your kitchen and fix you some decent breakfast, all right?” he said. Ella smiled at him, and nodded his head.
Ella just ended her show. She put her headset on the table and got out of the DJ's booth. As she walked back the the office, she saw Sphinx walking towards her direction. He was looking at the documents on his hand. As she paused, Sphinx stopped walking and looked at her. “Ella...” he called. Ella chose to ignore his call. She's still not over what he did. She still could not accept what he will be doing, leaving her all alone. Ella kept on walking until she passed by him. She know she said too much the other night, and somehow she regrets telling Sphinx that she doesn't need him, but she's out of prove to him that she doesn't need him anymore.
Sphinx looked back sadly and watched as his best friend leaves him. “I guess she really wants me out of her life completely...” he thought. Just then, he saw Chun walking up to her. “Ella!” he called. Ella looked back at Sphinx, and as she turned to Chun, she smiled. “Hey, Chun. What are you doing here?” she asked. “I was around the place. I thought maybe you would want to have lunch with me.” he said. Ella smiled at him and nodded her head. “I'd love to.” she said. Sphinx watched her as she held onto Chun's arms. Well, that's the only thing he could do, watch Ella from afar. He couldn't even come close to talk to her, to explain everything to her. He was scared that Ella is still mad at him because of what happened. Since that night, Ella have been avoiding him, she acts as if he was just a stranger to her. It hurts him more, because he knows its all his fault, and there's nothing he could to make everything right.
“I guess someone really took my place in her life...” he thought sadly. And sadly, that someone turned out to be Ella's sworn enemy.
“You and Sphinx are still not talking?” Chun asked as they were having lunch. Ella paused, and looked at him. “Can we not talk about him?” she said. “Ella, you can't stay mad at your best friend for a long time. Look, he'll be leaving in two days. You should spend more time with him, because it would take a long time before he comes back from Australia.” Chun said. Ella shook her head, then she took a spoonful of food inside her mouth. Chun just watched as Ella ate. He sighed, and shook his head.
“What?” she asked in an irritated tone. “Are you sure you don't want to make up with Sphinx?” he asked. “If pigs fly.” she answered. Chun let out a groan, and leaned back on his chair. “And I thought you are a mature lady, Ella. Why can't you try to understand your best friend? Maybe he took that scholarship not to be with Bianca, but for himself? Maybe he only said he didn't want that scholarship because he is scared to leave you, and maybe he only considered taking that scholarship because he knows you can take care of yourself.” Chun said. Ella put down her spoon, and looked at Chun furiously. “You know what made me angry, Chun? It's not the fact that he is leaving on my birthday. It's that he did not consider me when he finally decided to get that scholarship. I am happy for him, yes. I even encouraged him. But he said he didn't want to leave, because he didn't want to leave his work and his friends. I know Sphinx, he loves his work more than he loved all of his girlfriends... but then all of a sudden, he made this rash decision just because he met Bianca. He could''ve told me his plans, and not kept it from me.” she said.
Chun sighed, and sat up on his seat. Ella is being unreasonable, and it frustrates him most. “Maybe he do have plans of telling you.” he said. Ella shook her head, not accepting his argument. “But until when? Until the day he leaves? Obviously, he doesn't have plans to tell me!” she said. Chun let out another sigh of frustration. “You know what, Ella... that reaction of yours is the exact reason why he didn't tell you right away!” he shouted at her. Ella was surprised at what he said. “You think you can always have Sphinx by your side? Well, FYI, his life does not revolve around you. He have his own life to live. He was given free will to decided for himself. And he will decided what he will do in his life with or without your approval.” he said. Ella leaned on her chair, and hugged herself. She could feel the tears about to fall from her eyes again. “Stop it...” she said in a low voice. “And you have to learn to live your own life. You can't always depend on Sphinx all your life. He already broke his promise to you, remember?” Chun continued. “Stop it...”
“You have to accept that fact. That he can never love you.”
“He loves Bianca so accept it. You don't have to hold on to his promise.”
“Because holding on to his broken promise is like holding on to a broken glass. A sharp shard of a broken glass.”
“I said stop it!”
Ella stood up from her seat. She took a deep breath to calm herself down, then she looked at Chun. “I have to go back. Thank you for the lunch.” she said. She took her bag, and then stormed out of the restaurant. Chun let out a sigh. He was disappointed in himself for making Ella mad at him. He only wanted her to understand Sphinx's side, and maybe she would forgive him before he leaves. He took his wallet, took out some money and placed it on the table. Then, he rushed outside the restaurant to follow Ella. “Ella!” he called as soon as he spotted her. Ella did not heed his call. She just continued walking as she let the tears fall from her eyes. “Ella!” Chun shouted again. He ran after her, and as he reached her, he held her arm to stop her. “What?!” Ella said in annoyed tone as she faced him. Chun could see the tears from her eyes. At that moment, he wanted to reach for her and wipe those tears away.
“Have you had enough?!” she asked. “Look, I'm sorry, all right? I can't stand seeing you like this. I can't stand seeing you and Sphinx like this. You guys are best friends. I know I would feel the same way if Ethan or Bianca have done the same thing, but you have to understand... Sphinx have his own life. His decisions may hurt you, but as his friend, you still have to support him. If taking that scholarship means being with Bianca for a long time, or he is just merely doing that for himself, you still should support him. Because you are his friend... his best friend...” he said. Ella lowered her head and let the tears fall from her eyes. Chun is right. She should not stay mad at Sphinx, and instead, she should support him. But then, she still feels hurt because of a promise she held on for a long time.
“I know you waited for the day Sphinx will ask you to be his girl, or to marry you... but Ella, love is not something you ask for. It's something that is freely given. If Sphinx can't love you, if he can't keep his promise of marrying you, can you forgive him? He only broke this one promise to you, right? Forgive him...” Chun said. He walked up to her, and then hugged her, letting her cry on his shoulder once again.
The Day Of Ella's Birthday.
“We have another caller to share her own love problems. Hello?” Ella said. She pushed a button so that the caller could be on air. “H-hi DJ Angel...” the girl on the other line said. “Oh, hi. What's your name?” Ella asked. “P-please call me Genie...” the girl said. “OK, Genie. Can you tell us your love problem?” she asked. “I... I'm in love with my best friend...” the girl said. Ella paused and leaned back on her chair. As a DJ who tries to solves other people's love problems, she have encountered this situation a lot of times. She, herself, have encountered this. It should not be a big deal for her, but somehow, she felt affected.
“Go on...” Ella said. “He... he is the only friend I have since elementary school. Even if we were young, I've been in love with him. But... but I always hold back how I feel for him. I'm scared that if he ever found out that I love him, things will change between us. And... and now... he left me. His family decided to migrate to the Philippines for good... when I found that he's leaving, I got mad at him... he promised me that he will stay with me forever, but he's going to leave me now. He is my only friend, DJ Angel...” Genie said. Ella could hear Genie crying on the other line. “And now, it's too late... he's gone. I... I wasn't able to tell him how I feel, and he thinks I'm mad at him because he broke his promise to me, that he will be with me forever...” Genie said.
Ella could feel her tears falling from her eyes as she listened to Genie's story. She is affected. She sees herself in Genie's shoes. “Y-you know, just because your best friend is leaving you, that doesn't mean the he wants to break his promise. He wants to keep it, but he have no other choice but to leave...” Ella said. “I know that, DJ Angel... but I felt bad with what I've done... I felt like I was the one who ended the friendship... I didn't want our friendship to end...” Genie said. Ella shook herself, and smiled. “No... the friendship doesn't have to end. Friendship knows no boundaries and distance.” Ella said. “B-but I'm scared... w-what if he... he found someone to love while he is away?” Genie asked. “If he found someone to love, then you have to let him go. It means that he can only love you as his best friend... and it's the best possible way he could love you in return... just be happy that even for a while, you have met him and that he taught what it's like to love. In the future, you will find other people. You will meet new friends. One day, you will learn to love again. Always believe that there is a reason for everything, Genie.” she said. Genie thanked Ella for her advise, and Ella pressed on the play button to play the song in queue.
She leaned back on her chair, feeling guilty. She gives advices, yes, but she doesn't practice what she preaches on air.
Chun spotted Sphinx at the park. He let out a sigh, and walked up to him. “Sphinx...” he called. Sphinx looked back at him, and smiled. “Hey, Chun.” Sphinx said. “What do you want from me? Why did you call me to meet you here? Aren't you supposed to be preparing for your flight later?” he asked. Sphinx just smiled, and nodded his head. “I'm leaving today... but I'm leaving with a heavy heart because Ella is still mad at me. I don't know what to do to appease her anger...” Sphinx said sadly. “You don''t have to worry about that girl. Sometimes she says one thing, and do the other. I could feel that she have forgiven you, and that she misses you. It's just that her pride is getting on her way...” Chun said.
Sphinx looked at him, and smiled to himself. “What?” he asked in a confused tone. “I underestimated you...” Sphinx said. Chun could only give him a confused look. He put his hands in his pockets, and then walked towards Chun. “You've only known her for 6 months, and it looks like you've known her forever. I've been with her for 12 years, and yet it's only know that I got to know the real her...” he said. “It's not just six months, Sphinx. I've been with her since kindergarten. But that doesn't mean I know her from head to toe... you are the one who really knows the real Ella.” Chun said. Sphinx shook his head. “She loves... she is in love with me... and yet I didn't realize it. Now I know why she is angry with my decision to go to Australia. It's because she loves me... and she is holding that promise I made that I will marry her.” Sphinx said.
Chun lowered his head as he listened to Sphinx. “But I can't love her the way that she does. I only love her as my best friend. And that promise... I am sincere when I made that. I was thinking maybe one day she will find someone to love, and I don't have to keep it... but I was wrong. She was waiting for me. Chun, I will keep that promise. I am going to keep that promise. I just need the time...” Sphinx said. “How much more time will you make Ella wait? She have waited for you for twelve years. She waited for this moment, and you're blowing it all off because of Bianca!” Chun said angrily to him. “Chun, believe me when I say I am going to keep my promise to her... but I don't think it's necessary... because you're now in her life.” Sphinx said.
Chun was surprised with what he said. “Me?” he asked. Sphinx nodded his head. “I knew it, Chun. You love Ella. And even if I don't approve of you for her, I'm letting you be with her.” he said. Chun was somewhat confused with what he is saying. He doesn't know why Sphinx was saying that, or how he even found out about it. “Plan Z...” he thought. “Of course... that Plan Z! Ella used Plan Z on Sphinx out of anger... stupid Ella... remind me to get back at her for this.” he said to himself. “You're in charge of her now, Chun. Not that Ella needs someone who could take care of her. She's very independent, I tell you.” Sphinx said.
Then, Sphinx turned away from him. Chun saw him took a box from the bench, then he gave it to him. “What's that?” Chun said, staring at the box. “It's Ella's birthday today, remember? I don't know what wonderful plan you have for her... but then again, please give this to her.” Sphinx said. Chun took the box, and opened it. “It's strawberry shortcake. It's her favorite cake. When this day comes, we spend the day together... we do crazy things, we go to places we have never been before... the likes. It's too bad that I can't do all those things with Ella now...” he said. Chun looked up at Sphinx, and could almost see him in tears. “Make sure that she blows her cake before 7:15 PM. That's the exact time that she is born. Make sure to sing happy birthday to her, and make sure to ask her to make a wish. Sometimes, she tend to forget that.” Sphinx continued. Chun looked at the cake in his hand and nodded his head. “Don't worry, I won't forget that. I'll make sure that Ella will be happy today even if you're gone.” he said. Sphinx smiled at him, and nodded his head. “And Chun, please give this to her...” Sphinx said. He pulled out a long box from his pocket, and gave it to Chun. “It's my gift for her. Please make sure that she will open it.” Sphinx said. Chun took the box, and nodded his head. “I sure will.” Chun said.
“That's it, Chun. Thanks...” Sphinx said. As he turned to leave, Chun called on him again. “Sphinx...” he called. Sphnx paused, and looked back at him. “I'm going to do this favor for you, as long as you promise to take care of Bianca. Remember all the things I told you about her? Keep it in mind. And you have to promise me that you will not do anything that will make her cry, or else.” Chun said. Sphinx nodded his head. “I promise, Chun.” he said. Then, he left Chun alone.
Ella opened the door of her apartment, and the first thing she saw was a cake on top of the coffee table, with a small candle lighted up on top of it. She walked slowly to it, and then knelt down on the floor. She looked at the cake, it was strawberry shortcake, her favorite. No one knows her favorite that her best friend. “Sphinx...” she whispered. As she remembered the past birthdays she had with him beside, her, she felt the tears welling up her eyes. She could still remember her 24th birthday, her last birthday with Sphinx.
“Happy Birthday to you
Happy birthday to you
Happy birthday, happy birthday...
Happy birthday to you!”
Sphinx and Ella clapped their hands as they sung the birthday song. Ella readied herself to blow the cake, but Sphinx stopped her. “Hey, hey...” he said. Ella paused, and looked at him. “You haven't made your wish yet.” Sphinx said. “I don't think I need to make I wish. I got everything I wanted.” Ella said, smiling at him. “But you still have to make a wish. That's what birthday cakes are for.” Sphinx said. Ella just laughed and shook her head. “Fine... I'll make a wish.” she said. She clasped her hands, and closed her eyes to make a wish. Then, she blew the candle.
[End of Flashback]
Ella stared sadly at the candle on top of the cake. This is her saddest birthday ever. Her best friend left, and he left without her having the chance to say goodbye to him. Somehow, she regrets those hurtful words she told Sphinx on their last encounter. She wished she could turn back time and take back what she said. Chun is right, no matter what, she should have been supportive of him instead of being mad at him. She should be happy for him. This is all that he have always dreamed of, and even if she is his best friend, she have no right to stop him from chasing his dream.
She let the tears fall from her eyes as she stared at the cake. Then, she clapped, letting out a sad smile as she sung herself a birthday song.
“Happy Birthday to you
Happy Birthday to you
Happy birthday, Happy birthday...
Happy birthday to you...”
She clasped her hand, and closed her eyes to make a wish. As she opened her eyes, another tear fell from her cheek. Then, she leaned a little closer, and blew the candle. Everything was dark after that. She buried her face on her palms, and began to cry for her loss.
Meanwhile, Chun was just outside, watching her every move from the window. As the small light flickered out, he leaned on the wall, and sighed. “Happy birthday, Ella...” he said sadly.
Ella sat in the dark, still staring at the cake on the table. Just then, the door opened. Someone turned the lights on, and as she looked up, she saw Selina, Hebe, Ethan and Nicholas walking up to her. Selina was carrying another cake. The others were holding some food and gifts. “Happy Birthday, Ellie!” They all shouted happily. Ella smiled at his friends, and wiped the tears on her face. Though Sphinx is not here to make her birthday complete, she have her friends to keep her happy and sane.
She began to smile. She began to laugh. Then, as she laughed, she began to cry. Ethan looked at Selina with confusion. “Hey, is your cousin crazy? Why is she laughing and crying at the same time?” he asked. Nicholas and Hebe laughed, while Selina just rolled his eyes at him. “You will never ever understand girls, Ethan.” she said. Selina ignored Ethan, then she walked up to her cousin, and placed the cake she was holding beside her other birthday cake. “Happy birthday, Ellie...” she said, smiling at him. “Thank you, Sel. Thank you for the surprise...” she said. Selina shook her head, and smiled. “You shouldn't thank me. It's Chun's idea. We have been preparing for this for a month now.” she said. Ella was surprised at what her cousin said. “Chun did?” she asked. Selina nodded her head.
As Ella looked up, she saw Chun walked inside the room. “Happy birthday, Ms. Piggy.” he said, smiling at her. Ella smiled at him. She could feel the tears falling from her eyes again. “Thank you, Chun...” she said. She stood up from her seat, and then walked up to Chun. “Two gifts. One is from me...” he said, giving her a gift bag. “And this one is from Sphinx.” he said, giving her the long velvety box. Ella took the gift from his hand. She first opened the long velvety box, and saw an angel pendant inside. Then, she noticed a small paper inside. She took it, and read its contents. Dear Ellie,
Happy Birthday! I know you're still mad at me for leaving you. But even if I left, it doesn't mean that I'm not keeping all my promises to you. Ella, please trust in me... please trust in me when I say that you mean so much to me. Please believe me that I will take care of you, even if I am far from you. Here's a little angel you will guide on you always. As long as you wear this, I'll always be with you.
Before she knew it, she was crying again. “Sphinx...” she whispered. All this time, Sphinx still cared for her. He never forgot her birthday even though she got mad at him. She should have believed him. She should have trusted him. Then, she ran out of the house, hoping she could still see Sphinx one last time. As she dashed out of the house, Chun followed her.
“Ella!” Chun called. Ella paused, and looked at Chun. “I have to see Sphinx, Chun. I have to see him one last time. I have to tell him I forgive him, and that I'm sorry because I didn't listen to her.” she said. She turned away from him, but before she could go, Chun stopped her by holding her hand. “It's too late.” he said. Ella paused, and looked at Chun. She shook her head, not believing what he said. “No...” she said. Chun just nodded his head. “He already left, Ella. He's gone...”
She felt weak all of a sudden because of what Chun said. She felt all of her energy was drained out of her. She's too late. And she will never get to see her best friend again. As another tear rolled down her eyes, it began to rain. She slowly slid into the ground, and Chun knelt down on her to hold her for support. “No...” she whispered as she cried. Chun embraced her, and once again let her cry on her shoulder.
The rain continued to pour all though out the night, finally hiding the tears in her eyes with every drop. The sky, like her heart, cried with her for her loss.
Two weeks later...
Ella was in her deep sleep when she heard her phone ringing. She turned to her side, and took the phone. “Hello...” she said in a sleepy voice. “Hey, Ella! It's me, your groovy grandpa!” the voice on the other line said. “Hi groovy grandpa...” she said, still not aware of what she is doing. “Hey, Ella. Let me tell you this... I'm going home next week, so you better prepare all right?” he said. “Right, I sure will...” Ella said. “And yeah, I want to meet your boyfriend.”
With that, Ella's eyes opened wide. Now she knows what she is doing, what she is saying, and who she is talking about. “Groovy grandpa?!” she exclaimed as she sat up on her bed. “What? I just want to meet your boyfriend. I know Selina have one... so you should too, right? You know what will happen if you turn 25 and still don''t have a boyfriend, right?” he said. And with that, Ella dropped the phone. “Nooooooooooooo!” she shouted at the top of her lungs.
Chun heard his phone ringing. He took it, and then saw a familiar number flashing on the screen. He panicked upon seeing that. The only thing he could do is reject the call. But then, his phone rang again. The only option he had is to turn it off. “Hey, what's the fuss? Why aren't you answering that call?” Ethan asked. Chun looked at Ethan, and he could see the scared look on his face. “If someone asks for me, tell me I'm back in Australia.” he said. Ethan just gave his Chun a confused look as he watched him go back to his lair.
Labels: fan fic, Me And The Boy Next Door