Chapter 8

JOSH?” Astrid stood up when she saw Josh coming over. He was glaring at her as if he wanted to eat her alive. But she didn’t care about it because her attention was on someone else - Ellen, who was holding Josh’s hand. She looked as if she had seen a ghost. 

“What are you doing here?” Josh asked softly. He was wearing the red sweatshirt with the logo of his favorite basketball team, which was her gift on his last birthday.

She knew she had to say something but nothing came out from her mouth. Thankfully, Bullet was quick-witted and immediately stood up. He put his arm over her shoulder and joined the conversation.

“She’s on vacation, with me,” he chimed in, smiling. “So, you are ‘the’ Josh. Astrid has told me so much about you. By the way, I’m Bullet, the new boyfriend.”

Astrid turned her head and saw Bullet smiling. He tightened his grip on her shoulder as if telling her to be still and just go with the flow. Once again, she glanced at Josh and Ellen who both looked as stiff as a board.

“New boyfriend?” Josh pressed, suddenly releasing Ellen’s hand. He looked at Bullet sharply, and then at Astrid. “Is that true, Astrid?”

“Well, okay...not yet. We’re just dating as of the moment but we’re getting there. Right, Astrid?” 

She forced a smile, her eyes still glued at Josh. “How about you, what are you doing here?” At last she mustered the courage to ask.

“Vacation, too.”

Same time last year, they went on a vacation to Tagaytay together with Josh’s family but now, he has somebody else with him. Just one year has passed but it was like a long time ago. She didn’t even know if the man standing in front of her was the same guy she once knew. She wanted to slap him right then and there but she didn’t want to make a scene so she just took a deep breath and fake a smile. 

“Why don’t you join us for breakfast?” Bullet offered, which made Astrid reach Bullet’s hand and grasp it tightly. “The cafeteria’s full anyway.”

“Thanks,” Josh stammered after scanning the entire place. He said goodbye and headed to the long buffet table, still holding Ellen’s hand. When the couple were standing in line, Astrid noticed that Josh was glancing in their direction every once in a while.

“Hey, Astrid, look at me.”

“S-sorry?” she asked absently, still eyeing the two because she couldn’t help it. Bullet had to hold her hand just to get her attention.

“You are with me so just look at me,” he whispered. “I’m your new boyfriend, right?” He moved closer that there was almost no space between them. He looked into her eyes as if it was all he wanted to do forever, “I told you, you needed my help, didn’t I?”

Astrid tried to avoid staring at Bullet’s face but it wasn’t easy. It was like she was hypnotized. She wasn’t able to protest when he caressed her cheek and his stare was so intense that she felt like his eyes could penetrate her soul.

“So, that’s the ex-boyfriend. I don’t mean to offend you or anything but he’s not as good looking as I imagined. I wonder why you’re still crazy about him, considering that he’s a douchebag.”

Yes, he is and that only proved one thing - that she’s just too foolish to fall for him. She believed in everything he said, she held on to his promise that they’d be together forever. But sadly, while she’s building their future in her dreams, he’s been cheating on her.

“Hey, hey, don’t cry now, not here.” Bullet took a piece of tissue and immediately wiped her tears. “Do you want that man to see you sulking like that?”

“You shouldn’t have invited them to eat with us.”

“Why not? I want to witness how you skin him alive and cut him open. That’s something you don’t see everyday.”

That made her laugh and all of a sudden, she realized that she’s enjoying Bullet’s company more than she would want to admit and if not for Bullet, she’s probably crying her heart out somewhere.

“So, now that we have confirmed that he is indeed with somebody else, what are you gonna do next?”

“I’m going back to Manila.”

“And then what, you’ll cry in your room all night until the end of time?”

She pouted her lips and glared at him. She was about to hit him on his arm but he immediately caught her hand and held it tight. Astrid’s eyes widened especially when they saw Josh and Ellen coming. She wanted to cry even more when she witnessed how sweet they were as they whispered and laugh at each other. 

“Look at me. Focus on me, Astrid.”

And so she did. She let him stare at her, hold her and touch her cheeks. Bullet’s eyes were only on her and since her attention was all his, she didn’t realize that all eyes are on them. He held one of her hands and kissed it while occassionally caressing it on her cheek. She shouldn’t let him do that, given the fact that she had just met him the night before. But she allowed him to hold her hand and kiss it because she can no longer deny that there’s something about Bullet that made her so drawn to him. 

“You look more beautiful up close, you know,” he said almost in a whisper, caressing her cheek. His hot breath fanning her hand gave her shivers.  

“Bullet, my hand, please...” Astrid tried to withdraw her hand from him but he didn’t let go. He then kissed it again, which almost made her jump.

“Let me be your boyfriend, Astrid.”

“W-what?” Her eyes widened and slowly pulled her hands away. 

Bullet’s face turned red. He combed his long hair with his fingers and emptied his coffee cup. “I mean...that’s the plan, isn’t it? I’m going to pretend to be your boyfriend in front of him to make him jealous, right?”

“I think that’s no longer necessary.”

“Well I think it is.” Bullet turned to the couple and Astrid felt his hand over her shoulder. “Be ready, honey. They’re coming.” He even moved the chair closer to her that their cheeks were almost touching.

“Smile, honey,” he whispered in her ear. It tickled her and laughed, which got a frown from Josh.

The couple sat in front of them and started eating quietly. She could feel the tension building between them. Fortunately, Bullet was just next to her because otherwise, she would have already broken down.


Related chapters

Latest chapter Protection Status