Chapter 2: Choosing to Stay
Elaine woke and slowly slipped out of the blanket; she fixed the bed and decided to go downstairs. As she opened the door a stool was present, on top of the stool was a bathrobe and on the floor a pair of slippers. She quickly wore the slippers and robe then walked down the stairs. As she reached the living room Nathan was not there. The house was silent so she tried to look for him around the house. At the back of the house there was a glass door which was opened, she stepped out and saw Nathan sitting in a garden shade. She slowly and quietly approached him then said “Good morning”.
Nathan stood up and turned around, “Good morning, did you sleep well?” he replied. “Yes, thanks you for the robe and slippers” she said. “You’re welcome, please have a sit” Nathan told her. Elaine sits across him and Nathan pours orange juice on an empty glass. “Here, sorry I don’t have coffee. Is there something you would like to eat? I can cook for you” he offered. Elaine took the glass of juice and smiled. “Thank you but I don’t eat breakfast. Usually at this time I’m already at my workplace” she said.
“Oh by the way I tried calling all the hotels once I woke up and the earliest possible vacancy is tomorrow evening. So you can spend the night here again if you like” he told her. Elaine took a sip of the juice and sat back. “Tomorrow evening, then I guess if it’s okay I shall take your offer if you don’t mind” she softly said. Nathan smiled and asked her “Do you have plans for your vacation here?” Elaine paused and looked away. “I feel embarrassed to say this but I took the wrong bus” she revealed. Nathan looked at her surprised.
“You mean you were not intending to go here? So where were you heading exactly?” he asked her. “Somewhere warm, with a beach, I was planning just to stay overnight then leave but I think I’ll I will spend a few days here since I’ve never been here anyway” she told him. “You went the opposite way, its cold here and we don’t have a beach, all we have are trees and mountains.” Nathan added. Elaine sighed and took a look around, “Well I need to go buy clothes if I’m to stay here” she uttered.
“What for? Let me tell you Elaine, here in Baguio the people don’t care what you wear. Unlike for other places where they give you a total stare down, here it’s different, people mind their own business. So you can wear anything you like” he said. “All I brought were clothes for the beach, you know…” she was about to say when Nathan butted in. “I can imagine what’s in your bag. So tell me did he hurt you that bad?” he suddenly said.
Elaine was surprised hearing those words and she looked at him. “What are you saying?” she asked.
Nathan sat back, took a sip of his juice and then lit a cigarette. “Do you mind if I smoke?” and Elaine shook her head. “Well you see it’s kind of unusual for a person to take the wrong bus and then just decide to stay where that bus brought them to. Although I don’t know you well yet, I feel you are not that irresponsible, your mind must have been thinking of something. So what did you and he fight about?” he added.
Elaine remained silent; she was really surprised how he was able to figure out her reason for taking a vacation. “Okay I guess it’s something private. Since you have no plans for your vacation then let me tour you around the city free of charge” he offered. Elaine looked at him and said “Before you tour me around I need to buy clothes”.
“Tell you what, I have swimming trunks. You can wear your bikini and I will wear my swimming trunks then lets tour the city so you don’t have to buy clothes. Isn’t that exciting, people might say we are crazy wearing those in a cold weather. But you in a bikini….that might be a problem you know” he said and began grinning. Elaine looked at him starts laughing as Nathan pretended to be imagining her in a bikini.
“Do you have a girlfriend?” Elaine suddenly asked. Nathan looked at her and said “Yes, and she is going to kill me when she finds out a beautiful lady slept in my place.” Elaine laughed a bit and played with glass. “So this is going to be a problem for you after all” she told him. Nathan started laughing at her and she looked at him curiously. “I don’t have a girlfriend, I was just kidding. If I did then I would not have let you sleep here or even treat you out for dinner.” Elaine just smiled at him then finished her juice.
They went to the mall in order for Elaine to buy some clothes. As Elaine was about to enter one shop Nathan just stood by the door. “Hey come inside with me help me choose” she told him. Nathan hesitantly followed her inside and whispered “I don’t think this is a good idea”. Elaine looked at him and said “I thought you were gay, you told me last night” and started to laugh. Nathan raised his eyebrows and acted gay, “Oh so now you notice my beauty huh. Fine let me help you choose your clothes” he stated and Elaine laughed harder.
Nathan sat down on a chair as Elaine tried several clothes on. Every time she tried something she would come out to show Nathan. It took them an hour to choose and the attendants had fun as Nathan pretended to be gay the whole time. As they stepped out of the shop Elaine was still laughing and she said “I never have enjoyed shopping like this with my boyfriend, you are really funny.” Nathan continued the act and said “Oh, is your boyfriend cute? When will you introduce him to me? Hmmm he might fall in love with me you know” and people were staring at him.
“Nathan you can stop now, people are staring at you” she whispered. Nathan raised his eyebrows and put his hands on his hips, he walked forward swaying his buttocks. Elaine stood still as she laughed harder and her stomach was aching already. Nathan turned around and shouted “Hey girl, get your act together now, we will be late for our facial you know” he said. Everyone around was amused at his gay antics, Elaine was already teary eyed from laughing but managed to follow him.
They sat down at a nearby fast food joint to take brunch. After eating they went for a drive along Camp John Hay. Elaine stuck her head out of the window like a child and enjoyed the cool breeze. “Hey Nate this place is amazing, so many trees. Can you park it somewhere and let’s take a walk” she said. Nathan parked the car in a shaded area, the both got out of the car. “If I remember correctly there are trails here which you could follow, it’s like a nature hike” Nathan revealed. Elaine looked at him with excitement. “Where is it? I have never gone on a hike before” she says.
Nathan did not know about the trails so they asked for directions from people there. They went to the nearest trail and started to trek it. Elaine was enjoying the walk; she has never seen nature at its finest. She was used to seeing concrete roads and tall buildings. This was the first time she was in touch with nature so she walked slowly. After several minutes of walking, Nathan suddenly stops. “Wait here, just wait here” he says. Elaine sat down on the ground watching two butterflies flying around in circles.
As the butterflies came near her she stretched out her hand and one butterfly landed on it. The butterfly walked along her finger and she smiled. As the butterfly flew away she noticed Nathan standing not far looking at her. She noticed that his pants was muddy, “What happened to you?!” she asked him. Nathan scratched his head and walked towards her, she noticed he was hiding something in his other hand.
“What’s that you’re holding in your right hand?” she curiously asked. Nathan revealed what he was hiding, it was a white lily and he handed it to her. “Well you see and I thought you might like it so I went to get it but I slipped into a pile of mud” he said smiling and scratching his head. Elaine took the flower and started to blush; she looked at the flower and said “You got mud in your pants just to give me this. It’s so beautiful, thank you” she softly uttered.
“Just like you” he whispered and turned around. “What did you say?” Elaine asked him. Nathan shrugged his shoulders and said “We have to get going, come on follow me.” Elaine heard the first words he said so she smiled and gamely stood up. She walked beside Nathan and teased him, “Why would a guy go through all the trouble of getting a single flower? Hmmm I wonder.”
Nathan looked at her seriously, he raised his eyebrow and he said “I got that for me you know, but once I got it I white isn’t my favorite color so I decided to give it to you” he said with a gay accent then skipped and hopped forward while swaying his hands. Elaine laughed and held the flower tightly in her hands smiling as she ran after him.
After an hour they reached the exit, Elaine was tired and was gasping for air. “How far to the car?” she asked him. Nathan knelt down and looked at her, Elaine was surprised and curious. “Come on, piggy back, I will carry you back to the car” he said. Elaine managed to laugh and gamely rode on Nathan’s back. Nathan started to walk forward but Elaine shouted “Wait!” so he let her down. Elaine ran back and picked up the white lily and ran back towards Nathan. Nathan started to walk but Elaine just stood still, he turned around and stared at her and she smiled. Nathan grumpily walked back and madly stared her at the eyes. Elaine was frightened as Nathan grabbed the flower from her hands. He then fixed her hair on the right side and placed the flower on her ear. “There that’s where it should be” he said and he turned around and knelt down.
Elaine was quite moved with his gesture and she rode again on his back. As Nathan walked forward she wrapped her hands around him and leaned her head on his shoulder. “Why are you being so nice to me?” she whispered in his ear. “Midway we are trading places, you will carry me back to the car” he said. Elaine smiled and knew he was just joking her. “You’re kidding me again right?” she again whispered. Nathan took a deep breath and said “Now you’re getting used to me.”
Once they reached the car they drive towards a nearby restaurant to eat dinner. They were both exhausted; Nathan sat back and closed his eyes as they were waiting for their food to arrive. Elaine glanced at the mirror nearby and she sees the flower still in her ear. She smiles and looks at Nathan who was yawning, “I really enjoyed today” she said. Nathan looked at her and imitated her “I really enjoyed today, mud on my pants and shoes, and being a horse on the way back, I really enjoyed today.”
Elaine started laughing but paused after. “Hey Nathan do you think If I decide to spend my whole vacation here it would be as happy as today every day?” she asked. “I can’t promise you that, but I will think of something perhaps” he replied. Elaine looked at the mirror once again and smiled. “Okay then I’m staying”