I turned to look at Thaddeus. I had been silent for the first ten minutes of the ride to their house, and please don’t blame me. I know I was rude, I know Desiree was out of line, and I know I should have stood up to her.
But I didn’t—when I should have.
I sent him a message while Thaddeus and I were in the elevator ride, while the event that had happened was still fresh to me: I am sorry, Josh. I am sorry for letting you down again. I am sorry for… not fighting for you. Have a nice trip. And—even though this would sound so awful to hear from me, after what happened—enjoy yourself there.
“I… I don’t know, Thaddeus. I’m sorry. I really don’t think it’ll be a good idea to take me to your brother today,” I said, and he glanced at me from the road.
“Nyah, it wasn’t your fault that the circumstances were like that,” Thaddeus said lightly. I sighed. “I know it wasn’t, but I know I could have acted a lot more… decent than that,” I reasoned.
“He’s important to you, is he?”
The question caught me off-guard. I gazed at his face for a long time, trying to decipher if he has figured me out once more, and then decided to admit it. “He is, but come on—you are important to me, too.”
Thaddeus smiled bitterly. “But if I were to tell you to make a choice—right here, right now, in my car, in the middle of EDSA—who would you choose?” he asked, and I stared at him. I reached out for him and touched his cheek.
I cannot bear to hurt Thaddeus no more than I could if I hurt Joshua.
“I would choose no one,” I said, and he frowned.
“And you’d do that because…?” he prompted when I didn’t explain. I looked away and tried to think of a good way to explain my answer. “Because I don’t want to lose you both?” I said, and Thaddeus let out a laugh. “Nyah, you can’t have everything in life,” he said, and I nodded.
“I know that, but what price do I have to pay to have you both in my life?” I asked, and I wanted to kick myself. I have to make a choice. And the sooner, the better it is for me, for Thaddeus, and for Joshua. I have already kicked Dave out of the picture a long time ago, but he still is in my life as a friend. Again, I am having the best of everything in the world for I have my long-time ex as a relatively good friend. I say relatively good for I know that in the event that most of the world will abandon me? I know Dave would rush to my rescue and help me.
“Nyah, I love you—”
“And I love you, Thaddeus,” I responded, shocking him—and even myself. Why did those three words come out so easily? I haven’t told him of how I feel about him—except tell him that I care for him—in those exact words. It was the first time he has told me that, and I had already responded. I wish I knew how to tell him that in my world, “I love you” and “I’m in love with you” are two different things. I could marry the guy I am in love with, or at least in a shorter time span I will be with him in a relationship, but I would probably opt not to be with a guy whom I just love, because it could only be brotherly love, friendly love, or just pure, plain platonic love.
In my world, “in love” is more than “love.”
We were already near his house but he opted to park by the shoulder of the road just to talk to me. He put on the car’s blinking lights, and then turned to me. “But…?” he said, his voice filled with challenge. He knew there was a continuation to what I had said.
“But what?” I asked back. His eyes narrowed at me. “Nyah, you love me. I can feel that. I know that. But you’re holding back on me. It’s as if you’re scared that if you do love me entirely, you’re going to get hurt. You’re going to get disappointed.”
“Thaddeus, it’s not that,” I said, shaking my head. “I love you, but at this point, I think it’s best if we could just wait it out a bit? I am not so sure about how I feel towards you or for Joshua. I just know I both care for you guys, deep enough to love you both.”
“Nyah, you are about to go on to a trip with Joshua next week, and I feel like something is going to happen there that I probably wouldn’t like. If I had the right to ask you to not go, I would have. You seemed to be giving him an awful lot of chances—”
“Thaddeus,” I cut in, “if I told you at this point that I would have chosen Joshua but I am just scared of what that choice will bring me, what would you tell me?”
Thaddeus looked at me, his eyes mysterious swirls of emotions. He was silent for a couple of minutes before he cleared his throat. “Then I would tell you I would stand by your decision,” he said with firm resolve.
“Oh please,” I said, shaking my head.
“I will, Nyah,” he insisted and I just looked at him, appalled. He took both my hands and held it in his. “What, you think I can’t take that? I know you like him more than you like me, but I know you care for me too. I still have something to hold on to,” he said. We are seriously taking a long time parked by the shoulder, and I sorely wonder when the traffic enforcers would get to us.
“You love me, Nyah,” Thaddeus said, kissing my hands. “You have to understand that for some people, just getting someone to love them back is good enough for them.”
I exhaled my frustrations loudly. “Thad—”
Thaddeus shook his head. “Allan and Mom are waiting,” he said dismissively, and whatever arguments in had, the courts of Thaddeus Sanmartin are not hearing it. He unlocked the handbrake and we continued the trip to his home in silence.
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