Chapter 9

ALL throughout breakfast, Bullet heard nothing from Astrid. She was just quiet while stirring her coffee and occasionally getting a glimpse at Josh and Ellen. He could clearly see the sadness in her eyes and he knew that she’s trying her best not to cry. 

“You look awful,” he whisper against her ear. “Do you want to get out of here already?”

But she just smiled. She inhaled sharply and drank her coffee. He was suprised when she held his hand but he understood what it meant - that she needed his support so he squeezed her hand to let her know that she could count on him.

“So guys, what are your plans for today?” Bullet inquired, just to break the ice. 

Josh and Ellen looked at each other. “Well, we’re thinking of visiting the Grotto first. How about you?”

“I have a lot of places in mind so I think we’ll go ahead, right Astrid?” He stood up, grabbed Astrid’s bags and pulled her to her feet. But she didn’t dare move. 

“Actually, that’s also our first destination. Maybe you want to come along?” Astrid looked at Josh first, and then turned to him. “What do you think, Bullet?”

It was unexpected but he just sat back down. A smile replaced his frown. He didn’t know what’s her reason to bring up such a suggestion given the fact that seeing her former boyfriend with someone else breaks her. But whatever her plans are, he’d just have to go with it.

“Wouldn’t it be a problem? It’s our first time here so we don’t have any idea how to get there,” Josh admitted. 

“Not at all,” Bullet nodded in response and looked at his wristwatch. “We’ll just wait for you at the parking area.”

Josh and Ellen thanked them and went back to the hotel to get some personal stuff in their room. Carrying Astrid’s bags, Bullet walked by her side until they reached his car. The grass was still wet due to the dew drops and the cool morning breeze blew the leaves on the road. He noticed that that morning was strangely colder than the usual so he took off his topcoat jacket and put it around Astrid’s shoulder, which she quietly accepted.

“Are you okay?” he wondered. Because he didn’t hear anything from her since they left the restaurant. “Are you sure you want to carry on with this? Because it’s gonna be a long day, Astrid, I’m warning you.”

“Are you still willing to help me?”

Bullet smiled and nodded. “Anything for you, my princess. The question is, can you handle it?”

“O-of course,” she stammered. “Just make sure that you’ll behave.”

“Ah, that I can’t promise.”

He was about to ask her why she’s blushing but they saw Josh and Ellen walking their way. He immediately took her hand and kissed it. 

“It’s showtime, my princess.”

Bullet opened the passenger seat for Astrid while Josh and Ellen were at the back. No one dared to speak along the way. For Bullet, it was one of the most awkward moments in his life. He wanted to regret chasing Astrid and stopping her from returning to Manila because if he had done otherwise, he wouldn’t be in this kind of situation. However, on the other hand, he couldn’t deny that he enjoys seeing Astrid and he actually loves being with her.

From the rearview mirror, he saw Josh staring at Astrid and if he’s not mistaken, by the way the ex-boyfriend looks at her, he still has feelings for her and he’s jealous of him. That thought made him smile so just to annoy him even more, he grabbed Astrid’s hand and kissed it. Astrid’s eyes widen in surprise but he just smiled at her and kissed her hand once more.

Throughout the trip, Bullet made sure to be the ‘ideal boyfriend’ to Astrid. He always made sure to hold her hand, which is something he’s starting to get accustomed to. 

“Are you okay?” He asked softly when they went inside the church. They sat next to each other while Josh and Ellen were just in front of them.

Astrid nodded but her face tells a different story.

“Hey, I’m starting to get jealous now. I am your boyfriend but your mind is always on someone else.”

He felt a gentle pinch in his arm from her. He caught her hand, held it tight and never released it. She smiled at him and sigh.

“So, are you gonna talk to him and beg him to come back?”

“I just need to hear his explanation, that’s all.”

He raised an eyebrow. “You’ve already seen him with someone else. Isn’t that enough proof that he’s a cheater and he doesn’t love you anymore?”

Without saying anything, Astrid stood up and walked out of the church. She was walking too fast but he was faster. He was able to keep up with her and finally caught her hand to stop her from walking further.

“Hey Astrid, I’m sorry...I didn’t mean to hurt your feelings.” 

“Oh well, you have a point. Any kind of explanation from him won’t change the fact that he cheated on me. Anyway, thank you, Bullet. It was really interesting meeting you.”

He saw her cheeks were already wet and it was hard for him not to feel sorry for her. He couldn’t understand why he’s having a heavy heart knowing that Astrid is leaving and he won’t be seeing her again. He should be happy because his ‘responsibility’ on her is over and he can finally enjoy the last day of his vacation. But it’s the opposite. It was like something’s missing.

“Bullet, please let go of my hand.”

He slowly let it go but he immediately caught it again. “Stay, Astrid. I’m leaving for Manila tomorrow, we can leave together,” he proposed. 

“But staying here won’t do me any good. I might just cry all day and you wouldn’t want to be with someone like that.”

“If that someone is you, I’d want it,” he reassured her. He wiped her tears away and that made her smile. Bullet caressed her cheek. It’s starting to become a habit to him now. She looked so beautiful standing in front of him with the gentle breeze blowing her long hair. While staring at her, he didn’t dare think about the consequences of his decisions because at that certain moment, all he cared about was to do everything he could to be with her just a bit longer.

“Thank you, Bullet. I appreaciate your help thank you. I really have to leave. I can’t just forget all my responsibilites I left in Manila just because of this.”


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