I looked up at the bright blue sky and took a deep breath.
Walking along the old streets of Rome brought me a sense of peace mixed with a little bit of nostalgia, especially when I passed by the gelato place Jesse and I used to love.
I was reminded tuloy of that time when we were still kids and he always shared his gelato with me because I often ended up wanting it, too.
As I thought of my brother, memories from last year came back to me.
We all thought he’d flip when he found out about me and Oliver. But instead, he reacted the way none of us expected na sobrang nagulat kami.
“Took you long enough,” he had said to Oliver about a year ago when Oliver confronted him about his feelings for me. He was very calm about it, too.
Turned out, Jesse knew all along.
He just didn’t say anything kasi he wanted to test Oliver and see how far he’d go for me. My brother wanted someone who would fight for his baby sister, not cower and give up.
Later, Jesse came to me and confessed about putting Oliver in that kind of pressure. He felt a little guilty naman daw, but he didn’t let up.
“I knew he struggled – I saw it – but I didn’t wanna interfere,” he told me, before shaking his head. “Ollie needed to make a choice, if he’d go head on, balls high, and fight for you despite knowing that he’ll be risking his friendship with me. ‘Cause if he thinks you’re worth more than our friendship…” He smiled at me and patted my head gently, which for the first time I didn’t mind. “Then, he’s right. You’re worth everything, Gel.”
Those were the sweetest words my brother has ever said to me that I cried and hugged him. He didn’t let me go for a very long time.
I shook my head with a smile as I continued along the cobbled road, dodging my fellow tourists here and there. So far, I have been thoroughly enjoying this eurotrip.
Balak ko bang puntahan every corner of the world? Sure! As long as it wasn’t dangerous and Jesse wouldn’t fuss na it was not safe before going on and giving his long speech.
I glanced at both ends of the street, before crossing the road. As I rounded the block, a cute little corner cafe came into view.
Immediately, I spotted a dark-haired chinito wearing a gray coat over a black turtleneck sweater, occupying one of the outdoor tables. He had a book in his left hand, while a cup of coffee in the other. The sunshine was hitting him like a perfect photograph that I stopped for a moment to look at him – or admire him, more like.
I couldn’t help the wide smile that spread across my face. And as I walked closer to him, my heart fluttered – knowing that he was waiting for me.
Then, as if I was in a movie, I watched it all happen in slow motion.
Oliver raising his head…
His eyes locking with mine…
And his face breaking into the most breathtaking smile.
He closed his book and placed it on the table with the cup of coffee, before getting to his feet and making his way towards me.
It took a while (practically a decade) for us to get to where we were right now, but it was alright. Back then, we weren’t mature enough to face this kind of deep connection that we had. We just went with the flow, not really knowing how to deal with it.
Eventually, we ended up hurting each other.
Over the years, I got to grow as a person. I managed to learn how to be myself, before I was someone else’s. Maybe that was the reason why it took forever for us to be together.
I needed to discover parts of myself that I didn’t know existed, while he needed to learn to fight for what he wanted instead of giving up and just accepting things that came his way.
It was a long journey, but we were finally here.
I watched as Oliver closed our distance, gazing at me like I was the most angelic thing he had ever seen in his life. While me? I almost melted at the thought that I could ultimately, after all these years, call him mine.
And you know what?
He was worth the wait.