Read Every Girl's Guide to Boys Online

Authors: Marla Miniano

Tags: #Literature & Fiction, #Contemporary, #Romance, #Contemporary Fiction, #Teen & Young Adult

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BOOK: Every Girl's Guide to Boys
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“What did Gio’s Daddy
tease Gio’s Mommy about? She’s really skinny.”

“Uh, yes. Yes, she is.
But that’s not what I meant, it was just an example.”

“An example of what?”

“Of... well, you know
how Mommy and Daddy love each other very much?” I wait for him to nod. “Okay,
well sometimes, other kids’ Mommies and Daddies stop loving each other.”

“Oh,” he nods again.
“So break
na sila
?”

My jaw drops. “How do
you know anything about breakups?”

He shrugs. “Mommy says
that’s the reason why
Kuya
Nathan doesn’t come around anymore. I miss
Kuya
Nathan. Why did you
stop loving him?”

I
stare at him with my mouth hanging open. Mommy and I are SO going to sit down
and talk about this. “I... I didn’t. I mean, we weren’t together. Officially.
You know, like a real couple? Oh God, do you know anything about this too? You
are way too advanced for a five-year-old.” I can’t believe I’m discussing this
with Justin. This is all very, very surreal.

He puffs up with pride.
“Teacher says I’m very smart,” he tells me.

I
laugh. “Of course you are, you’re my little brother!”

He smiles smugly, and
then, like he just remembered something, narrows his eyes at me. “You hurt
Kuya
Nathan,” he accuses.

“What?! No, no, no,
listen to me. It wasn’t like that. I didn’t hurt him. Or I didn’t mean to. And
hey, he also hurt me. But we’re okay now. I think. I’m not so sure. Yes, I
think we’re okay. He just doesn’t come around anymore. I know this isn’t making
sense to you. But I’m your sister and you’re supposed to be on my team.” I am
aware that I am babbling, and he is looking at me like I am speaking an alien
language.

“Are you friends?” he
asks me.

“Yes?” I say. But it is
a question, not a declaration, and Justin catches on.

“You’re not friends,”
he tells me. “I think it’s my fault, because sometimes I don’t share my toys
with him. Like when he asks if he can borrow my new Lego Batman, I say no.”

“Wait, are we talking
about Nathan or Gio?”

“Both.”

“Listen,” I tell him in
my best Big Sister voice. “It’s not your fault, okay? Sometimes people leave
because they have to. It’s nobody’s fault.” I’m not sure if this explanation is
good enough.

Apparently, it isn’t.
Because he looks at me in the saddest way anyone has ever looked at me and
says, “We hurt
Kuya
Nathan.” And then he leaves my room without even kissing me
goodnight.

Last but not the least,
Exhibit C is Nico.

I am about to go to bed
when I hear Dad calling my name from downstairs. I peek over the railing and
see Nico sitting on the couch with his knees together and his hands on his lap,
like he is a grade-schooler waiting for his turn at the principal’s office. Dad
doesn’t look too happy, and he tells me sternly, “It’s pretty late. Make it
quick.” Under normal circumstances, I would have asked,
Make what
quick? Be more specific, Daddy.
But whatever Nico came here for, I just want to
get it over and done with. So I nod and say, “I will.”

Nico gets up to hug me
hello, and I flinch. My arms stay glued to my sides for about two seconds too
long before I hug him back. We sit down and he says, “I have to tell you
something.”

“Go ahead,” I mutter.
Usually, when people say this, they either mean, a) Go ahead and do what you
have to do, I am right behind you, ready to provide support and encouragement
anytime,
or b) Go ahead and do what you want, I don’t really care,
bahala ka sa
buhay mo
.
However, in that peculiar dialect called Girl Talk, “go ahead” can only mean
one thing:
Don’t you even dare.
I want to take two throw pillows and use them
to cover my ears, because I already know what Nico is about to say, and it is
something I’d rather not hear.

“I’m St. Andrew’s
varsity basketball team’s new assistant coach,” he says with a flourish, like
he expects me to start jumping up and down in celebratory glee. I do not want
to hear this because I do not want to acknowledge that it is happening. I do
not want to hear this because I do not want to pretend that I’m happy for him.

“Congratulations,” I
mumble. “I’m so proud of you.” I sound like Anna, when she’s congratulating
Rickie on submitting a paper she should have accomplished writing days ago, or
congratulating Miguel on showing up ten minutes late instead of fifteen. In
other words, I sound sarcastic and insincere, but Nico hardly notices.

“Thanks,” he beams. The
clueless satisfaction on his face irks me, and I shock the both of us by
snapping, “Don’t you get it?”

“Get what?” he asks.

“I don’t want to see
you every day.”

“Why not?”

“Because I don’t want
to become too attached to you.”

“Why can’t you be too
attached to me?”

“Why can’t we be
together for real?”

He actually laughs out
loud. “
That
’s what this is all about?” He says this the way you would when a
kid throws a tantrum over a piece of candy, or when a teacher gives you a big
fat F over one misspelled word, and other instances where someone makes a
colossal fuss out of something so insignificant.

He takes my hand and
explains, “Chrissy, just because we’re not together officially doesn’t mean
what we have isn’t real. I just don’t want to rush into anything we’re not yet
ready for. I don’t believe in labels and I don’t want us to be defined by them
and confined within them.” His little speech sounds pompous and rehearsed, and
I retort, “Nico, just because I’m two years younger than you doesn’t mean I’m
an idiot. It sounds to me like you just don’t want commitment.” I have never
been the confrontational type, but now I have a feeling I’d get into a shouting
match with him if he were to provoke me just a little bit more.

“I’m sorry you feel
that way,” he says, putting an arm across my shoulders. I want to jab my elbow
into his ribs, but I am suddenly, surprisingly jittery. I try not to fidget as
I look him straight in the eye and tell him, “No, you’re not.”

He holds my gaze and
says, “Yes, I am.” And then he pulls his arm tighter around me and starts
kissing me, and I am a bundle of nerves but I find myself actually kissing him
back. I always thought my first kiss would be weird and honestly kind of gross,
but this is incredibly romantic and overwhelming in a good way and... well,
exactly how a first kiss should be. After what seems like ages, we pull apart.
His right hand rests on the back of my neck as he tells me, “I really, really
like you, Chrissy. I need that to be enough for you, for now.”

“It is,” I say. He
draws me closer to him again, drowning out all my words, and I allow him to.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rule number 7:

 
Be honest with yourself.

“So isn’t there
like, some sort of rule against
student-assistant coach relationships?” Rickie asks me while walking to the
Chem lab. We just passed Nico in the corridor (he was on his way to basketball
practice and was looking very athletic and manly in his workout clothes), and
she had seen the loaded look we had given each other.

“Relax,
Ric,” Anna says. “It’s not like they’ll be making out in the hallways or
something. This forbidden romance is strictly off-campus. Right, Chris?”

“Of course,” I say,
turning red. “Besides, we’re not really together, so it’s not a relationship.
You guys worry about me too much.”

“Why
are you blushing?” Rickie asks suspiciously.

“Yeah,
what did I say?” Anna puts her hands on her hips, frowning in concentration as
she tries to remember. “I just said, it’s not like you’ll be making...”

“A-haaa!” Rickie
screeches. “OMFG, Chrissy Legaspi, did you make out with Nico?”

I grab her arm. “Can
you not yell?!”

She twists her arm
away. “Can you not be violent? Get your claws off me, woman. Jeez.”

I can feel Anna’s
disapproving stare. “Is there something you’d like to tell us, Chris?”

“Okay,
okay,” I say. “Hold on to your horsetails.”

“Did you just say ‘hold
on to your horsetails?’ What are you, eight?”

“Shut
up, Ric!” Anna hisses. She closes her eyes and inhales, like she is trying to
suck in all our immaturity through her nostrils. We wait for her to wrap up her
meditation exercise. “Go on,” she tells me.

“Alright,” I say. “Nico
and I kissed.”

“I KNEW IT!” Rickie
shrieks. Subtlety is definitely not one of her strong points. A teacher pokes
her head out of the nearest classroom door and glares at us. “Sorry,” we all
mumble.

The bell rings and we
run towards the laboratory, making it just in time. As we gather our materials
from the supply closet, Anna gives me a look that says,
This ain’t
over yet, Missy.

 

 
“Well, if you’re
happy, then I’m happy
for you,” Anna says, when I finish filling her in on The Kiss. We are killing
time in the Starbucks near school—she is waiting for Miguel and I am
waiting for Nico. Rickie is off having her nails done and getting her weekly
hot oil treatment.

“Thank you,” I say. “I
am
happy.”

Miguel walks in, hugs
Anna like he hasn’t seen her in months, and tells her he missed her. Then he
turns to me and says, “Don’t worry, Chrissy, I think you are still way hotter,
and although you are my girlfriend’s best friend, this is still an unbiased
observation from a male point of view.”

Anna looks as confused
as I feel. “Okay, first of all, you only miss me because you go to an exclusive
boys school, and you don’t see girls too often,” she tells him matter-of-factly.
“And second, what are you talking about? What do you mean, Chrissy’s hotter?
Hotter than whom?”

Miguel’s eyes widen
when he realizes he has given away something he wasn’t supposed to give away.
“Never mind. Please ignore what I just said.” He reaches for Anna’s half-eaten
banoffee pie.

She swats his hand
away. “Miguel,” she manages to make his name sound like a threat. “Spill.” It
is not a request.

“Queenie Cooper.”

“Queenie Cooper? The
model who was rumored to have dated half of last year’s batch of
Candy
Cuties? What about
her?”

“She’s my classmate’s
kabarkada
and she’s, uh, going
out with Nathan.”

“WHAT?!” Anna sounds
livid. “That slut!”

I blink. “Um yeah, I
think they did a print ad together when they were kids. I didn’t know they were
still in touch.” I make it a point to sound as detached as possible. After all,
what do I care? Nathan can date whoever he wants. It’s not like I’m jealous or
anything.

Miguel says meekly,
“I’m sorry, Chris. I figured you’d already heard.”

“Oh, don’t apologize,”
I brush him off. I am cool, collected, and the epitome of nonchalance.

Miguel turns to Anna
with a tentative smile, as if to say,
See? She’s fine! Please don’t strangle
me.

Nico appears at my side
at that moment, looking fresh from a shower in a clean white tee and plaid
shorts, a gym bag slung over one shoulder. He asks, “Apologize for what?”

“Nothing,” the three of
us reply in unison.

“Okay,” he says,
shrugging. He holds a hand out to me. “You ready to go, babe?”

I
take it and try to ignore Anna as she makes a face at me and mouths,
Babe?
She knows I hate it when guys call me that.
It sounds so condescending. Miguel snorts and stuffs a forkful of pie into his
mouth.

On the way home, Nico
says, “Guess who’s coming to town this weekend?”

“The Jonas Brothers?” I
ask, grinning. “No, wait, don’t tell me. Christian Bale? Rodrigo Santorro?
Michael Cassidy?” I rack my brain for my celebrity crush who is least likely to
come here.

“No, silly,” he laughs.
“Remember my cousin Enzo?”

“Wow, really, he’s
coming? That’s great!” I gush, sounding convincingly enthusiastic. The truth
is, I do remember Enzo, but very vaguely, and only because when I was ten, I
attended his thirteenth birthday party and he spilled grape juice on my brand
new white canvas sneakers and made me cry. I still think he did it on purpose.

“Yep,” he says. “He
wants to check out the gimmick scene, and maybe hit the beach. And of course,
he can’t wait to see you again. You can go with us
naman
, right?”

“Absolutely,” I
promise, keeping a straight face
. “
It sounds fun.”
In my head, I say in
flawless Alex Band imitation,
This is my calling: I’ll go wherever you will go,
babe
.

 

When I read
the new comments on my site, I am not surprised that most
of them are about Queenie Cooper. Apparently, she brought Nathan to her
friend’s formal debut as her date, and photos of the two of them dressed to the
nines and partying the night away in an expensive club are posted for everyone
to see on her Multiply page.

This is an
outrage, Chrissy! She is not even half the girl you are. Oh well. It’s Nathan’s
loss.

I am
intrigued. What does Nathan see in her? I mean, I know she’s gorgeous and
popular and everything. But I always thought he saw beyond all that—I
never thought he could be so superficial.

For lack of a
more original derogatory term, let us call her a Ho-Bag. She doesn’t even
deserve a more creative insult. So not worth your time or tears. We’re rooting
for you, Chrissy.

I reply,
Hey, everyone.
It’s nice to know that you’ve all got my back, and that you all think Queenie Cooper
pales in comparison to me. I appreciate your comments because I know you are
just trying to make me feel better. But let’s cut Nathan some slack. I’m sure
he likes Queenie Cooper for a reason; maybe she has some secret redeeming
quality that won him over. Whatever. I couldn’t care less, really. Thanks,
guys. I love you all.

You see what I just did
right there? I approached the issue in a very straightforward, objective
manner. I just told them off for being mean to Queenie Cooper, and I was very
diplomatic about it, too. Queenie Cooper should be thanking me for this. (Yes,
in case you haven’t noticed, she is one of those people whose full names you
have to keep calling them by.) You’re welcome, Queenie Cooper. Take good care
of Nathan, okay?

 

BOOK: Every Girl's Guide to Boys
13.45Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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