Rebel & Rogue (excerpt)

Rebel & Rogue

WHEN THE REBEL MET THE ROGUE…

ONE THING REBEL DIDN’T LIKE about domestic flights was the uncomfortable planes. They were as small as it can get and the seats were stashed so close together there was no possible way to relax and be okay with it. He was a tall man and his legs were bent and cramped under his seat; his knees were bumping on the back of the seat in front of him; he could not really rest his arm on the armrest, and he can barely move.

However, other than having super powers that could transport him magically from Sydney to El Nido, he had no other means of reaching his destination pronto. He had no other recourse than to take this connecting flight from Mactan to Palawan’s domestic airport and then take a chartered plane from there.
It was not because for the lack of trying to land his own chartered flight but with such short notice, there was no possible way of landing a decent private plane to fly him to his destination. It was almost a miracle even that he chanced on a Cessna flying from Puerto Princesa to El Nido. That was the best he could get with his strings-pulling. He’d just have to make do with what he had. There was no use flying off the handle about it.

It was a small consolation that he was given a window seat and that he was probably alone on his side. Probably.

“Hi, ma’am,” he heard the stewardess greet a last-minute passenger. “What seat number?”

“Sa 14B, miss,” said the young woman that made him grimace.

So much for hoping he was alone on his side.

“Great…” he muttered to himself. The latecomer would be seated beside HIM. Of all the rotten luck!
He shifted to make himself as comfortable as he could get given the space allowed of him in his cramped seat. The little woman was led by the stewardess to his aisle and was helped in securing her big bag in the compartment above.

You should be ashamed of yourself, he thought grimly as he eyed her while she settled and belted herself on the seat beside him.

Almost everyone was on their seats now and she was amongst the few who came in later than the others. He hated these types of people. He just couldn’t understand why they had to wait for others to clear out before boarding the plane themselves. She could have fallen in line along with all the other passengers and not make herself feel more important than the others. In his book, they were the ones who were causing problems for other people!

He was still scowling and feeling so pissed at the woman but he got taken aback when, after buckling her seat belt, she faced him.

“Hi!” she greeted him cheerfully.

He was forced to look at her face.

WHAM!

He felt sucker-punched.

Her loosely-tied wavy dark brown hair framed her small face marvelously with little wisps wafting on her forehead. Her soft brown eyes looked warm and inviting and they were further enhanced by naturally-arched brows and thick lashes. Her smile was wide and affectionate and looked beautiful on her. Damn, gorgeous woman.

Fuck, was he actually gawking at her beauty, on a freakin’ pegion house of a plane with his legs cramping the shit out of him? He muttered an acceptable “hello” and faced the seat in front of him.
Damn, he could feel his heart beat abnormally fast and his blood rushed through his veins like a flooded river. He felt a little shortness of breath as well.

Hot damn! What the hell happened?

“You know, I almost did not make it,” she whispered to him even though he was no longer facing her now. “I got stuck in traffic and the taxi was running like a turtle. Then I got stuck inside the bathroom cubicle at the airport lounge. If not because of the janitress, I’d still be stuck in there right now! Great thing the flight was delayed, though. Answered prayers!” She chuckled her way through the last sentence.

Ah, damn it! A talker. Great… This flight plummeted from being uncomfortable to possibly unbearable.
She was about to say something again but the flight crew called for their attention as they went through their pre-flight safety reminders and the plane taxied for its ascent.
He just wished that he had a safe and quiet flight especially now that he was beside Miss Chatterbox here.

***
Napahikab si Rogue nang wala sa oras. Nababato na siya dahil wala siyang makausap at medyo nahihilo na rin dahil sa lakas ng turbulence. Forty-five minutes ang flight at alam niyang mas mababato pa siya dahil ayaw na siyang kausapin ng katabi niya.

Hindi naman siya talaga madaldal on principle kaya lang ay nakakatakot ang pag-uga ng eroplano habang nakalutang sila sa kalangitan kapiling ng mga clouds at kailangan niyang i-distract ang sarili mula sa mga kasamaan at kapahamakang tumatakbo sa kanyang utak.

Hindi naman siya makapagsulat dahil kung makatama ng air pocket ang eroplano nila ay wagas. It was as if they were trucking on a rough road exposed to a whole night of rain. Gustuhin man niyang iliko ang kanyang neurons patungo sa concept at story overview ng kanyang susunod na nobela, she just couldn’t help thinking about the plane spontaneously combusting and then crashing onto the hard ground or a tall mountain.

Napaantanda siya sa naisip. “Help me, Lord…”

Iyon ang isa sa mga problema niya tuwing sumasakay ng eroplano. The minute the plane taxied and banked on its ascent, her mind would go awry and morbid stuff would be running and running inside her head. And those thoughts would last throughout the flight. Her mind was like a whack-job every time she flew. Lalo na kung bumibiyahe siyang mag-isa. Natatapos lang iyon kapag nakalapag na ang eroplano sa solid ground nang ligtas.

Kaya nga kadalasan, kapag nagbibiyahe siya ay may kasama talaga siya para may mang-distract sa kanya. Pero dahil solo flight nga siya kaya heto ngayon, she was left to wallow in her morbid imaginations.

Ayaw rin naman siyang kausapin ng gwapo niyang katabi na kanina pa niyang gustong i-engage sa isang lively conversation kaya luka-lukahan ang drama niya. Well, pinagbigyan naman siya nito sa first ten minutes after the ascent but he was now turning a deaf ear on her.

Sayang. Feel na feel pa naman niya ang boses nito habang kausap niya kanina. Buhay na buhay ang kanyang katawang-lupa dahil ang sarap nitong pakinggan. Lalaking-lalaki. Feel na feel niya rin itong pasadahan ng tingin. He was the epitome of an eye candy. Pwede nang ilinya kay Brad Pitt pagdating sa face value at sa oozing sex appeal.

“You know, you look like someone I know,” sabi niya rito kanina, noong ini-indulge pa siya nitong kausapin.

“And who would that be?” pormal nitong tanong.

“Julius Caesar Dodds, a.k.a. Rebel Dodds!” madamdamin niyang sagot.

“Who?!” he asked her, his brows knitted. As if naman ina-associate niya ito sa isang kriminal. Eh, super-sikat kaya ang crush niya!

“You know, the author of The Plight of the Seven Kings series. You have an uncanny resemblance to him. Well, except for the—”

“Okay.”

Then that was that. Hindi na ulit siya nito kinausap pagkatapos niyon. Malay ba niyang offensive pala rito ang maikumpara sa pinakagwapong gwapo sa mundo niya? Hmp! `Tsura naman nito.

Pero kahit lokohin pa niya ang sarili at irapan niya ito sa isip, alam niyang arrive na arrive ito sa senses niya! Lalo na ang bango nitong fresh and oh so manly. Ano kayang cologne ang gamit nito? Mukhang ang mahal-mahal sa sarap amuyin! Lalaking-lalaki lang talaga ang dating nito, machong-macho! Waging-wagi sana siya kung hindi lang nagsimula ang turbulence at tinigilan na nitong makipag-usap sa kanya and left her to her gruesome thoughts.

Diyos ko po, patigillin mo na ang ka-morbid-an ko… piping hiling niya sa Maykapal. At sana pansinin ulit ako ng pogi sa tabi ko.

Dininig naman ng kanyang deity ang una niyang panalangin dahil natigil na rin ang turbulence for the meantime at nagsimula ng magpalaro ang mga flight crew. Nagprisinta agad siya nang magtawag ang mga ito ng volunteer singers galing sa passengers. Kakanta lang naman ng ilang verses sa harap, kaya na niya iyon. One thing that she was not was shy, kahit tanungin pa ng bayan ang mamang niya. At saka sayang din ang premyo, souvenir na niya sa sarili.

In-interview lang siya ng kaunti ng emcee bago ibinigay sa kanya ang phone receiver na nagsisilbing microphone.

“Hello, everyone! I dedicate this song to my handsome seatmate over there,” pabirong pabati niya para sa katabi. “I hope you like my song. At sana ay kausapin mo na ako ulit para hindi ako mabato.”

Nag-instigate man ng kantiyawan mula sa iilang audience ang kanyang dedication ay nakakuha pa siya nang mas maraming hooting at paswitan nang magsimula siyang kumanta.

Una, dahil sweet ang kanyang song choice…

“I was alone in this journey, you came along to comfort me. Everything I want in life is right here…”

Pangalawa ay mahihiya ang mga sintunado sa boses niya…

“This is not your ordinary, no ordinary love. I was not prepared enough to fall so deep in love. This is not your ordinary, no ordinary love. You were the first to touch my heart and everything’s right again with your extraordinary love…”

Siya ang may pinakamalakas na nakuhang palakpakan sa tatlong pasaherong nag-volunteer sa palaro. Alam niyang pinagkakatuwaan lang naman siya ng mga kapwa pasahero pero wala naman siyang kilala sa mga ito kaya bahala na si Batman.

Tawa pa rin siya ng tawa hanggang sa makaupo ulit sa 14B.

“What was that about?!” her seat mate growled at her, his teeth dangerously gnashing.

Natatawa siya sa naging reaction nito. She was expecting it, really, with the stunt that she did, but it was still funny lalo na dahil nakita niya kung paano ito tinukso ng ilang pasahero.

“I sang,” she said nonchalantly, grinning widely. She checked out her souvenir tote bag. Maganda iyon kaysa doon sa nakuha niyang souvenir noon. “Didn’t you hear me? It was fun, I think, the way people were cheering. They loved me to bits.”

“One, that was not singing, that was caterwauling to the highest degree and you busted everybody’s eardrums,” he said grimly. He was looming over her now, definitely displeased. “And two, you dragged me into that show of yours. It was not fun, not to me!”

“Well… One, what I did was singing no matter how you say it wasn’t,” nakangisi niyang balik dito.
Medyo na-hurt man siya dahil sa sinabi nitong caterwauling ang ginawa niya — hindi naman siya sumigaw, ah, simple lang ang binanat niya kanina — pero pagbibigyan na niya ito dahil nakuha niya ang gusto, ang makausap ito at ma-sight niya ulit ang ka-macho-han nito. “And two, people did enjoy it. It’s evident in their faces.”

* * *
Rebel wanted to choke the crazy woman beside him but he couldn’t even raise his voice lest more attention would be thrown at them after the spectacle that this imp did a while back.

He was just minding his own business trying to calm himself throughout the turbulence. He knew he rudely avoided talking to her especially after she said that he looked like Rebel Dodds. He did not expect that someone, especially a local woman, would recognize him now that he’d had his hair cut very short. For a bit, he was curiously elated that she’d actually read his books. Well, she won’t mention it if she hadn’t, right? A local woman he found attractive who read HIS works? That was VERY interesting. But he immediately squashed the interest he felt. He was here to relax, not to get into another fan-idol action, the very thing he was running away from.

Anyway, he was confident that she forgot about him after some time of ignoring her. But he was taken by surprise when the woman stood up to volunteer for the in-flight game. What really pissed him off was when the little scamp sang that wretched song in her more wretched voice and dedicated it to him. To HIM!

It was all he could do not to strangle her with the sling of the tote bag that she won by being a clown and by dragging him into her stand up comedy act!

“You should’ve just left me out of your craziness, woman!”

“Hey,” she retorted coolly. “Mind the attitude, mister. It was all in jest. I was having fun. I was quite bored, actually, and I saw you were bored, too, so it occurred to me that we could have a good laugh.”

“Yeah,” he bit back sourly, refusing to be appeased by her congeniality. “A good laugh at my expense!”
She just chuckled and that stoked his ire even more.

“You know what, I’m not even sure why I’m talking to you, you lunatic!” he muttered under his breath.

“I’m not crazy,” she said with that childish smile of hers. “My mother got me tested.”

“Crazy!” he hissed one last time before he turned his face away from her and tried to focus his mind on the blue and white ensemble outside his window.

He thought he was now left in peace then when he felt a finger poking at his back. He ignored her.

“C’mon, chill,” she said coolly. “Hey, my name is Rouge. Rogue Sta. Maria. How about you?”

He was intent on ignoring her. He knew that the moment he paid her any more attention, she’d latch on to it and barrage him with her antics.

“Hmp, suplado naman nito,” he heard her mumble when he still did not face her. “Mr. 14A, nice talking to you, whoever you are. And sorry for making you uncomfortable earlier. I was just having fun.”

He still did not mind her. He sat stiffly and closed his eyes to zone her out.

Then she muttered to herself. “Pasalamat ka at gwapo ka. Halikan kaya kita diyan at nang makita mo ang hinahanap mo. Hmp!”

Shit. He couldn’t fight it. What she said made him smile. A little. But he had to turn his head even more away from her to hide the big grin on his face.

Crazy.

Posted on October 5, 2013, in My WIPs and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Sir saang book store available?

    • Hi, if you are in Manila, meron sa Book Circle sa Reco. Meron din mga sellers online. You could check the Facebook page Love Match (LM) for details.

      I-friend mo na lang din ako sa FB para ma-direct kita sa trusted sellers. ^____^ Luan Lucas ang name ko.

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