Chapter 8Jon was definitely on the verge of meeting someone new. He was spending the afternoon browsing through the newest paperbacks at the ABC bookstore in Roppongi. For the past fifteen minutes, he had been playing eye-tag with a hunky northern European who he was sure had been checking him out. The guy was just about to approach when his phone rang. The guy smiled and proceeded to the counter as Jon fumbled for his phone.
“Winner timing ka talaga,” he muttered into the phone.
“Asan ka?” Kaye asked abruptly.
Jon sighed; his peaceful afternoon was about to be invaded. He told Kaye where he was and hung up. He looked around, but just as he thought, the guy was nowhere to be seen. He sighed again and continued browsing until he heard the steady clatter of heels that signaled Kaye’s approach.
He looked up at her and thought life would be so much simpler if he could fall for someone like her. Although he changed his mind not ten minutes later as they lined up for ice cream at the Cold Stone Creamery. When he had asked where Ana was, Kaye had started in nonstop. Jon was surprised when Kaye told him that Ana was with Nakamura. He knew that Ana had accepted the proposition and that they were bound to start going out soon, but he couldn’t suppress a flicker of worry. Ana had cocooned herself in work for so long that he feared that she had forgotten all about the niceties of dating. He glanced at Kaye who was still talking up a storm. Thank goodness they were able to converse in a fairly uncommon language.
“… tapos naka-heels pa sya. Dyosko, if she isn’t careful baka ma-inlove talaga sya dun,” Kaye said as she paused for breath.
“Would it really be that bad?”
“Well, he’s not exactly the steady type I’d wish for her.”
“Aruuu, you yourself said steady was boring.” Jon reminded her, “Actually I’m more worried about the guy; he’s probably regretting his plan now.”
“At bakit naman?”
“Well, the phrase ‘go calmly into the night’ doesn’t necessarily describe Ana.” He turned to Kaye to reassure her, “Relax, however fragile she may sometimes seem, she’s tough. She won’t let herself be forced to do anything she doesn’t want to.” He chuckled, "I assure you, hinding-hindi nya isu-surrender ang Bataan"
“Sana nga,” Kaye muttered as they finally reached the counter.
“Whoa. Babe. You hot.” Jon exclaimed when Ana joined him and Kaye for coffee at Starbucks later that afternoon. He and Kaye had both gaped at Ana for almost a full minute after she had arrived at their table.
“The guy has taste, I’ll give him that.” Kaye commented, still shaking her head in disbelief at the expensive cut and the stylish makeup.
“He has balls if he managed to convince Ana to shed her manang image” Jon commented.
“Well, he couldn’t very well show her off as his girlfriend in the state she was in” Kaye argued.
“Hahaha.” Ana retorted good-naturedly. “Does it matter to anyone that I am actually privy to this conversation?”
“Don’t get us wrong girl,” Kaye explained, “but your old look didn’t exactly beckon to men.”
“She means you looked like a yuki onna masquerading in a lab coat,” Jon joked, ”So what’s the next stage in the plan?” he asked.
“He wanted to go shopping for a cocktail dress for the launch, but I couldn’t afford it. So I’m just going to have to find something,” Ana said as she took a sip of Jon’s frappucino.
“Wait a damn minute,” Kaye butted in, “don’t tell me he made you pay for all of this?” she said as she gestured towards Ana.
“We-ell,” Ana started to say, but Jon, who knew her all too well, beat her to it.
“Ok. Don’t tell us, I get it, he was supposed to pay, but Ms. Dalagang Pilipina turned him down. Am I on target honey?”
“I couldn’t make him pay for something that I would be using exclusively now could I?” Ana retorted, “He’s not even my boyfriend!”
“Honey, he’s your pretend boyfriend. Couldn’t you have pretended that that was part of the deal?” Jon asked.
When Ana stonily refused to answer, Kaye sighed in exasperation, “Ann, it was his idea, let the man pay.”
“I don’t get you, sweetie,” Jon said, shaking his head, “You’re one of the most giving people I know, but when someone tries to give you something its like pounding your head against a brick wall.”
“It was more along the lines of a nuclear explosion,” Ana commented, recalling Ken’s reaction when he had found out that the bill had been paid for. He had started to ask Taki for a refund for her, but Ana put her foot down and firmly said that she was paying for the makeover herself. This announcement didn’t go down well with Ken, and Taki tactfully exited as the two of them had a pow-wow in the waiting room. Finally, it was resolved when Ana said she would refuse to go on with the plan if Ken insisted on paying the saloon fees. So, with gritted teeth, Ken had ushered her back into the car and driven her to Roppongi where she was to meet Kaye and Jon before the 6 pm anticipated mass at the Franciscan Chapel Center.
“That bad, huh?” Kaye asked.
“Yup. But at least I won,” Ana said with a mock-wave.
“But you’re still lacking something to wear to the event next week,” Jon reminded her.
“I’ll figure something out later,” Ana prevaricated.
“Oh good, here’s Tessa” Jon announced as he spied Tessa walk in the doors, unfortunately she was not alone.
“Ano ba namang buhay ito,” Kaye muttered as she saw whom Tessa was with. “What could have possessed Tessa to bring her along?”
“Uy, marinig ka nun” Ana warned.
“Hay naku, wala akong pakialam,” Kaye answered as they collectively turned to greet Marga and Tessa.
“Hey everyone!” she called out in her sing-songy voice, “I asked Tessa if she was meeting you today and when she said yes I thought I’d drop by to say hi.”
Tessa had turned to gape at Ana, and studiously ignored Kaye who was glaring at her. “Omigod, Ann you look fabulous!” She said as she took a seat across from Jon.
Oblivious to what was going on around her, Marga sat down beside Ana and continued, “So Ana, I didn’t know you were such good friends with Ken Nakamura,”
“We didn’t either,” Tessa muttered and Jon kicked her under the table.
“Well, we know each other very casually,” Ana began, but Jon cut her off.
“Maybe you used to know each other casually, but now you’re really good friends, right Ana?” he said, with a warning not, reminding her that she was in the presence of one of the worst gossips in Tokyo.
“Where exactly did you two meet?” Marga asked again.
“In Los Angeles,” Kaye answered, “He was shooting a movie and she was there to present at a conference.” Ana almost smiled, she felt as if she had her own personal press agents.
Marga considered this for a moment, then she stared critically at Ana, “Wow, you changed your hair! It looks really nice,” Then she said, “Did he make you change it?”
Ana shook her head, “Actually I’ve been toying with the idea of changing it for some time, but I didn’t know where to go, but I recently discovered a great salon in Omotesando.” She explained as she ran her hair through her newly shorn curly locks, “I just felt that it was time for a change. It’s been so long, you know?”
Marga smiled, “I’m glad you feel that way, you’ve had the same hairdo since I arrived 2 years ago,” she observed, “and it was a bit ah…”
“Frumpy?” Ana suggested.
Marga smiled in relief, “Exactly.”
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