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Number One Fan


Author: issabacsa Total hits: 5331 User hits: 24 Date: 05-15-2014

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  INSTINCT TOLD ME to hurry. Thoughts running in my head made me calling for the guard. When we returned, the stranger had gone.

  "He was standing there,” I said pointing where I last saw him.

  “It is usual that fans stand up there and peek,” Castro said, “especially when celebrities come in and out here at the main lobby. Most likely, he’s one of your fans, ma’am.”

  “Thanks, anyway,” I said dismissing the thought of a fan, more so, Number One Fan.

  Was he the prank caller that I talked to earlier?

  The disturbing scene in the past flashed in my mind again. The shouts, the cries, and the man I saw carrying a bloody knife.

  Why was everything in vivid detail except for his face?

  “Hi!” someone greeted that yanked me back.

  “I’m sorry. I didn’t intend to scare you,” said David Lim.

  “It’s okay. I’m fine,” I said, recovering from the surprise.

  “Are you waiting for someone?” he asked.

  “Yes, I’m waiting for Alex.”

  I have to accept the inevitable, I would be dealing with David Lim starting today until the rest of my career here with RMBN.

  Try to be civil with him, Regine, just for the sake of being civil…

  “Ah, Alex Joven,” David said. “How is he? Where is he now?”

  “He’s a field reporter in DZQR,” I replied.

  “It seems that you have a Valentine date with Alex,” he said. “The flowers on your desk this evening might have come from him. That’s what I’ve heard inside the newsroom awhile ago.”

  I noticed that his eyes looked green with envy.

  Was he jealous?

  “Ah, yes,” I answered. “But I don’t think the flowers came from Alex. The card said it came from someone who calls himself Number One Fan. Weird, don’t you think?”

  “Would you know from where it came from?” he asked.

  “According to the guard, it was from Flower King,” I answered.

  David nodded, thinking of something.

  “It could be from Alex disguised as a prank,” he said and smiled at me.

  "No, I don't think so," I said.

  “How long have you been dating?”

  “A couple of months now,” I said. “Alex has changed a lot since college.”

  I intended to change my tone to show him that I have moved on. Yet, at the back of my mind, memories kept on coming back every time I see David.

  David and I came were college classmates while Alex came from another section. Comparing the two, Alex looked more handsome than David. Alex took after his late father, an American soldier assigned in Clark Air Base in Pampanga. David was pure Chinese, quiet, intelligent, and dresses well. These qualities strengthened his charisma and made him handsome in his own way. They both grew up together and only drifted apart during college.

  “How about your sister, Joyce, how is she?” he asked.

  “She’s now in her sophomore year,” I replied. “She’s taking up Nursing and a working student, too.”

  “Well, that’s good to know,” he said.

  “How about your sister, Caths, how is she?” I asked. “Perhaps she’s now married and has children.”

  “Caths married a Chinese-American businessman. They’re often out of the country,” David replied. “They travel a lot to Asian countries and the U.S., managing their import-export business. Until now, they do not have children. It seems like they’re not planning to have one.”

  He changed the topic of our conversation to something trivial. He asked questions to catch up with some classmates and common friends. Since we would be working together, I should let myself be comfortable around David Lim.

  We talked for a few more minutes and were in the middle of our conversation when Alex arrived.

  “Sorry, I’m late,” he said gasping for breath, “caught up in traffic. Have you been waiting for too long?”

  I turned and faced Alex. People would mistake Alex for an actor rather than a field reporter. Towering at five feet nine inches, fair-skinned and well built, who would not think so?

  “Hi, Alex, ” I said. “David and I were just catching up.”

  “Hello, Alex,” David said. “Long time no see, bro.”

  “Yes,” said Alex. “It’s been years, bro.”

  They shook hands, just like two fraternity brothers meeting along the way. We continued talking outside the lobby for a few more minutes.

  “Alright,” said David. “I’ll go ahead. See you tomorrow.”

  “Okay, bro,” said Alex smiling and tapped David’s shoulder. “Just give my regards to Caths.”

  After David left, Alex turned to me and asked, “Is he courting you again?”

  “No,” I replied. “Don’t tell me, you’re jealous. Besides, that was long time ago.”

  “I am not jealous,” he said. “I just remembered the reason why you separated. Adele was my girlfriend that time, remember?”

  “Alex, I’ve said it has been a long time,” I reassured him. “It hurt us, I know. Right now, the wounds in me have healed. Besides, Adele died many years ago and you have also moved on.”

  “But then, I thought, Metro M Group took David from Channel 7 and brought him here,” Alex said. “Maybe they want to stir things up. Maybe they want to use you.”

  “You sounded like Nitz,” I observed. “Both of you warned me to be careful with David. We have been college friends and I don’t see anything wrong with him.”

  “See? Even Nitz has the same thoughts on him,” he said.

  I ignored Alex’s statement. I could not consider David as someone as bad or scheming even if we had an awful separation way back then.

  In the first place, why did David have to return to my life?

  I just wished that we did not cross our path after college.

  I turned and saw the stranger, the old man I saw earlier, staring at me once again. I called Alex’s attention.

  “Alex, do you see that old man standing at three o’clock?” I asked and gave him the direction where to look.

  Alex pretended not to notice the man as he put his arms around my shoulder and whispered to my ear.

  “I saw him. Why?”

  “I saw him earlier staring at me,” I replied. “Then he left when I called the guard. I do not know if it was a coincidence or not, but remember I told you earlier that I received a prank call? I was just thinking…”

  “Shh… that’s enough,” he cut me off and put his index finger on my mouth. “Let’s go now and eat. We will just discuss this later then I will bring you home afterwards. What do you think?”

  “Sounds like a plan,” I smiled.



  ALEX PULLED OUT A CHAIR for me and I sat down. I looked around the restaurant full of customers. Alex managed to reserve a table for a pre-Valentine dinner to surprise me.

  I heard of the recently opened 24-hour restaurant that boasts of international and local cuisine. It has a deli and wine shop in front so no one would notice the restaurant inside. But once inside the dining area, people would feel transported back to nature. Indoor plants filled the interiors. A fountain flowed on one wall. The sound of flowing water and the instrumental music provided the ambiance. The tall bamboo fence shielded the view of neighboring establishments outside. You would never feel that you were in a middle of a bustling city. No wonder people rave about this restaurant. It felt so Zen.

  “Nice place they have here,” I said.

  “I’m glad you liked it,” Alex said as he sat down.

  He signaled a waiter to come. The waiter gave each of us the menu. I looked at what they had to offer and found it too pricey. I hoped it would be worth it.

  “Would you order for me please? It’s my first time here and I don’t have any idea on their specialty,” I said to Alex as I put the menu down on the table.

  “Okay,” he said.

  He gave the waiter our orders and turned to me to ask if I prefer any wine.

  “You know that I don’t drink much,” I replied.

  He smiled and turned to the waiter.

  “Red wine for the lady, it goes well with the food.”

  We talked after the waiter had left. I tried not to talk about the flowers and the prank call I received earlier. Every now and then, Alex would insinuate the status of our relationship.

  “Regine, we have been dating for months now and I…,” he said as he reached for my hand on the table.

  I stared at his hand on mine and continued his statement for him.

  “Are you asking for my true feelings for you?” I asked.

  “Yes,” he replied. “I want to make sure that I have a special place in your heart and David is no longer there.”

  I bowed my head and bit my upper lip. Everybody, including Alex, knew that David was my first love. I had relationships after that but now that David returned to my life, something rocked the boat somehow. I do not know how to say it without hurting Alex.

  “I’m happy when I’m with you,” I said as I faced him and smiled. “I have moved on, Alex, although I cannot forget David. Every time I see him, some memories come back to life.”

  Alex and I were silent for a few seconds.

  “Can we just go on one day at a time?” I asked, breaking the silence. “Enjoy every moment together.”

  He nodded. “If that’s what you want.”

  I smiled at him. He squeezed my hand.

  After a few minutes, our appetizers came. Alex ordered a salad mix of red beets, crabmeat, bacon, mustard, quail eggs, and black-eyed peas croutons. I savored the salad and kept silent while listening to Alex’s stories about his work. He seemed to enjoy his job at a new company.

  Then our soups came. Alex ordered for us pea and mint soup with bacon crisps and cheddar cheese. Between servings, we would discuss about our careers.

  “It was a dream come true awhile ago,” I said, referring to my debut at the six o’clock newscast. “I never thought that I would be filling in for Alma, who is my idol. I just have to work hard to come up with Management’s expectations.”

  “Good for you,” he said. “Me? I still have to carve a name for myself.”

  “With your good looks, everyone remembers your name as Alex Joven, the handsomest news reporter,” I said.

  He chuckled and tilted his head.

  “Hmm, not the way I expected to,” he said as he put down his spoon. “I want my capabilities as a reporter known, not just my looks.”

  We went on further to talk about his career at DZQR. He might have missed working in Royale. He kept comparing the big difference between Royale and a single radio station with a limited audience.

  “Why not use the social media?” I suggested as I finish my soup. “Everybody is doing it.”

  “I know,” Alex said. “But not everybody online would click ‘Like’ for an unknown radio station like DZQR Quality Radio. I tried suggesting to them to go on air on a cable TV channel but they said there’s no budget for it.”

  After a few minutes, the main course came. A big serving of grilled beef with shallots and roasted tomatoes, potato chips and mushrooms landed in front of me. Again, between servings, we talked about friends and classmates.

  I have to admit, Alex’s charisma worked on me. I fell for him. In my mind, I kept on comparing him to David because they were best friends and Alex won in points.

  Chocolate pecan nut tart and marmalade ice cream topped with pecan brittle and orange syrup capped our dinner. Something in the orange marmalade reminded me of David. He liked oranges and preferred anything citrus.

  As if in a trance, I mentioned to Alex the whole incident about the prank call and the bouquet of red roses during dessert.

  “And speaking of flowers,” he said as he signaled the waiter.

  A waiter came and handed him a bouquet of roses.

  “Here are twelve roses for you,” he said as he handed to me the bouquet. “They are in red, pink, and white --- your favorite colors.”

  “Wow, they’re beautiful!” I said. “Thank you.”

  I looked for a card tucked into it but there was none, typical of Alex.

  “You’re welcome. Happy Valentine,” I heard Alex said and held my hand.



  NUMBER ONE FAN ENJOYED THE VIEW inside the cozy restaurant. He already ordered his dessert and a cup of brewed coffee and saw familiar people when the waiter left.

  “How interesting,” he thought to himself. “Is it a coincidence that Regine Sta. Maria and Professor Jose Luis Anacleto III are here?”

  Each of his future victims dined with someone. He smiled to himself as he reviewed the next steps of his grand plan.









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