7:30 PM, Soriano Residence
Riing.. Riiing... Riing....
Mikhaila hurriedly picked up her phone as she came out of her bathroom door.
"Sai! Wassup?"she quickly answered when she saw Simon's name on the Caller ID.
"Hey, did I call at a bad time?" she heard him say, his voice seemed disturbed.
"No..I was just.." she sat on the bed and asked, "just.. where are you?”
"Uhm, I'm here at your back gate. Can you come over?"Mikhaila quickly stood up with her eyes wide open, "B-back gate?"
* * *
Simon counted the twelve bright stars of the constellation located between Scorpius and Centaurus while he patiently waited for Mikhaila. Just above the 12-sided polygon group of stars, he recognized Libra and Saturn. While searching for the constellation's brightest star, he heard a scraping sound of metal behind him. When he turned around, he saw Mikhaila. He smelled the scent of ylang-ylang carried by the wind and noticed her shoulders were wet from her hair.
"Is something wrong?" Mikhaila asked him with a worried look.
Simon pulled his hood over his head and tried to hide his face. "I'm sorry for suddenly leaving the arcade earlier. I uh, wonder if you guys are ok."
"How could you ask that after you got us worried?"
"Right. Hey look, sorry about that. I, well.." Simon let out a deep breath before proceeding, "I was wondering if, maybe we could meet at the city library tomorrow after school. You know, to study for our tests.."
Mikhaila smiled in relief, "Is that it? You look so scary I thought I'm gonna die."
Simon bursted into laughter when he realized he made her feel uneasy. "Sorry, sorry.."
"You don't mean you're skipping school again?"
"It's the last time.."
"Do you promise that?"
"Uhm.. well," Simon looked down and placed his two hands on his pockets. "So be there tomorrow, there's something important that I need to tell you, ok?"
"Nope.." Mikhaila shook her head. "Can't you just tell me right now?"
"Agh, listen.." Simon moved closer to Mikhaila. He placed his left hand on her shoulder and stroke the tips of her hair. "If I tell you now then I wouldn't have a reason to see you tomorrow, don't I?"
Mikhaila blushed, "You don't need a reason.."
"Just be there."
"Don't make me wait then," she muttered.
"Ok, I won't. I promise," he said with a smile.
When Mikhaila looked at his eyes, Simon heard his heart raced. He loved the smell of her hair that he almost wanted to touch her face. "You better go back," he told her instead as he placed his hand back to his pocket.
She stepped back and waved him goodbye. She slowly closed the rusty old gate and smiled once more at Simon whose pale face was being slightly covered by his jacket's hood. From that point, where they were being separated by the old gate, Mikhaila felt a sudden churn in her stomach. She noticed how heavy his eyes were and realized how far Simon seemed to be, and with that feeling she turned her back and dragged her feet as fast as she could.
As she walked past the nipa hut in their garden, she didn't notice that fifteen meters away from the gate, a scheming shadow overheard their conversation. The shadow looked up and started counting the stars on the cloudless dark sky as she hid her phone inside the pocket of her black apron.