Quill Library

Three Points (An Excerpt from ‘Red’ and ‘The Early Works’)


Leather pierced through air, rotating wildly in its axis, almost invisible in its swiftness. Seconds seemed like hours as the ball reached its apex and started its downward arc. Breaths held, fingers crossed, bodies shivered with sweat and anticipation. The ball’s slow descent seemed even longer and as it hit the ring, there was an audible gasp from the audience. Thousands of pairs of eyes looked with wild excitement as the basketball bounced on the rim of the ring, seemingly hesitating. For one crazy second, time stopped. Slowly, silently, the ball went through the basket with barely a whisper.

The crowd grew wild, and the announcer shrieked, “Oh my God! Raphael Taylo did it! He scored a three-pointer! Manila Rhum wins by one point! They’ve bagged the championship! What a game!”

There were people everywhere. The court was filled with pulsating, throbbing bodies and Raphael stood still staring at the ring in amazement. Suddenly, he felt himself being lifted from his feet. Then it hit him with blinding certainty. We won… he whooped for joy and let the cheering crowd carry him. Then it happened. He no longer heard the cheers, no longer felt the falling confetti and balloons. He looked around him and saw the moving mob in slow motion. He searched for a face. A reassuring face. The only face he had wanted to share his happiness with. Then, as if by fate, he turned his eyes toward the corner of the court. He saw the pair of eyes that he had loved for so long. They locked gazes. I did this for you… Raphael said with his eyes. I know… the other pair said. In that single shining moment, Raphael’s heart seemed to have stopped beating. Then the voices, the cheers and movements started again and Raphael was swept in the undulating dance of victory. He turned his eyes toward the corner again but his gaze couldn’t find what he was looking for.

* * *

He opened the window of his SUV and let the cool night air wash over him. He could still get a whiff of the champagne he had been bathed in and a smile crossed his handsome face. This has been one of the happiest days of his life. His life-long dream had come true. He had helped a team garner the All-Filipino conference championship. No mean feat for a former slum dweller. It was his first professional championship ever and his heart hasn’t returned to its normal rhythm yet. Maybe next week… he smiled in spite of himself.
The locker room celebration was understandably rowdy. A member of the Sports Association press came for an interview and got drenched with Dom Perignon along with Raphael in front of a million televiewers. There had been tears, of course. A relatively new team bagging the championship after entering the finals for the first time and powered by a sophomore at that, was cause for jubilation indeed. Raphael had been one of the past season’s Rookies of the Year, and he sighed when he thought that at that time, it had been the ultimate fulfillment in his life.

The motor hummed hypnotically and the soft music from the CD player rang soothingly in his ears. He couldn’t believe how easily the people had taken to him. The time he had been drafted into the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA), he already had a lot of diehard fans. His playing for the amateur UAAP had seen to that. He had powered his school team (Manila Technical University) to many championships and during draft time, he had been one of the first picks. He had always been touched when people would approach him and tell him how much they admired him. He could almost cry whenever he would hear the chant of the crowds during his games.

Then he thought of his inspiration and his heart beat wildly in anticipation. He saw the familiar road leading to his house. And he started to drive faster. Messy’s waiting for me… he wore a silly grin as the thought entered his mind. He stopped the motor and hurriedly got out. He slammed the door and locked it and almost ran towards the front door. It was open. Once inside, he heard the whisper of the shower in the upstairs bedroom. He dropped his things on the sofa and quietly made his way to the upstairs room.

He silently opened the bedroom door and saw to his amazement the tangled mess of clothing on the floor. Messy… his eyes drew toward the slightly open door of the bathroom. The sound of the shower was louder now, and there was the unmistakable sound of someone humming. Off-key as usual… Raphael smiled. Slowly he slipped off his Lacoste shirt and his shorts. He kicked off his loafers and finally his undies. He crept toward the open door and silently slipped in, the slightly transparent (slightly opaque) sliding shower door was half open. Messy’s back was to the door and Raphael slipped inside the shower stall effortlessly. Then, he hugged Messy from behind. Messy uttered a soft gasp, turned around, smiled lovingly and said, “Congratulations, Raph.” Raphael took Messy in his arms and they kissed.

Finally Raphael lifted his head and stared straight at Messy’s beautiful eyes. “There’s a matter of a bet, I believe…” Raphael said softly.
Messy laughed and said, “Oh, I thought you forgot…”
Raphael shook his head and said, “How could I ever forget a thing like that….”
Messy protested and said, “We were drunk when we made that bet…”
Raphael stared wickedly and said, “You won’t get off that easily. I get the royal treatment for a week. That was the deal. You’ll clean the house and cook the meals and…’
Messy grinned seductively and said, “And?”
Raphael smiled and said, “And… you will have to be my slave for the whole duration…”
“Oh, so that’s it… I completely forgot we even talked about that…”
“Don’t try and wiggle out of this one. We bet that…”
Messy placed a finger on Raphael’s mouth and said, “Ssssshhhhh… if you want your prize, just shut up and let me give it to you….”
Raphael shut up and Messy gave him his prize… some of it though…

Raphael Taylo was born 23 years ago in a small shanty, aided by the squatter area’s best-known midwife. He arrived in this world wailing and kicking, the fifth of a family of three boys and two girls. He had been easily the baby of the family, spoiled and pampered by his parents and his siblings. The family lived across the street from a mansion. And although they lacked the material possessions they may have wanted, they were never wanting in happiness and love.

Raphael’s father, Julio, worked as the family driver of the Tiglaos, the family who owned the mansion across where they lived. Mira, his mother sometimes washed clothes and did some baby-sitting for the family as well. The Tiglaos were a down-to-earth family who rose from poverty into riches. The two families were good friends. During Christmas, the Tiglaos never failed to include Julio’s family in their Christmas list. It was during this time that Raphael was introduced to basketball.

Julio came home with a bundle of gaily-wrapped packages and some foodstuffs. The whole family had a feast and at the strike of twelve, they opened their presents. They had gifted the richer family with handmade tablecloths, which the latter used regularly. With the gifts opened, the little house was filled with dolls and toy vehicles. Raphael stood shocked holding his first ever basketball. He liked the feel of the leather in his hands and he liked the smell as well. He was too happy to speak and tears spilled out of his eyes as he hugged the ball to his chest.

So started the life of a champion. He started playing in the streets with his brothers and sisters and other street kids as well. When he reached high school, he had outclassed everyone from his neighborhood. He started to play in his school and landed on the team. He propelled his usually lackluster school team into the championship. For the first time, Ramon Magsaysay High School figured prominently in the world of junior basketball.

Many colleges fought for him. Scholarships and special benefits were dangled before him, but Raphael chose to enter the nondescript college where his father graduated from, Manila Technical University. The school was one of many sub-standard universities proliferating in the country. It was relatively unheard of, until Raphael Taylo joined their basketball team. The university became an overnight sensation. Both Raphael and his school became known to almost everyone familiar with the UAAP. He played his heart out and studied well. When he graduated, he did so with honors. Even if he wouldn’t be playing basketball, he could get work, as he was a licensed Electronics and Communications Engineer. He topped his board exams as well, bringing further prestige to his once unknown school.

Messy stirred from a dreamless sleep. Raphael slept soundly, his arms around Messy. Messy looked at Raphael’s peaceful face and sighed. A certain memory returned…

Raphael had everything he had ever wanted. He was the star player of his university’s team, he was a consistent Dean’s lister and the land where his family’s house was standing had been declared theirs (he suspected the help of Mr. & Mrs. Tiglao was partly behind it). He was sought after by the female population in his school. But there was one thing that was missing. In all the years of his adolescence and early adulthood, he had never had any serious relationship with anyone. He had not formed any special friendships with people his age, and he has never been in love. This problem plagued Raphael. It was especially obvious when people would ask him how many girls he’s had or who his gang mates are. Although he was very much a part of his team, he was never really close with anyone in it. He only had his family. Then one day, everything changed. He met the two people who have been long denied him. A friend and a lover.

She was breathtakingly beautiful. With long straight hair cascading down her smooth shoulders. She was fair and slight with a model’s poise and figure. Her face was a study in inconsistencies. Her eyes were a little too big and a little too far apart. Her nose was a little too pointed and a little too small for her face. Her lips were surprisingly full and red and her cheekbones, astonishingly high and pronounced. But the overall effect was devastating. Anyone who wouldn’t give her a second look was either cross-eyed or blind.

There she was. On the front row near their bench, sitting like a cold goddess. Raphael had trouble keeping his mind on the game at hand. For that matter, almost all the players of his team were distracted by her presence. But what was surprising was that the other team seemed oblivious to her presence. Damn… Raphael thought. His team was playing against their perennial rival, St. Augustus College. He found his nemesis in Chris Fortich, the other team’s captain. It was a championship game, best of 5. MTU had already won the first two games and AC bagged the last game. MTU needed just a single victory to win the championship. The game had been riddled with deadlocks and the crowd did not know who would win. It had always been the case with these two opposing schools. Frequently, the winning margin had been only from one to three points. Raphael always found it the hardest to play against AC. Chris knew his game inside out. They were the perfect foil for each other. Only he could guard Chris, and vice-versa.
There they were, with barely a minute left in the game. The game was into its nth deadlock at 74 all. Raphael managed a magnificent steal off Chris and was on his way to an easy fast break, when the lady decided to stand and adjust her skirt. From the corner of his eye, he saw the fluid movement and the graceful and prim adjusting of a mini skirt above the longest legs he has ever… the ball was suddenly knocked out of his hands and Chris Fortich managed a deliriously impressive dunk off his own steal. Raphael was dazed. He sneaked a look at the lady again and he saw that she was already sitting, without any emotion, watching the game intently. He looked at the triumphant smile of Chris and he barely recognized a wink from his nemesis. Ahhh shit… Raphael closed his mind to the beautiful creature on the front row and concentrated on his game. It was a narrow finish. AC won by two points, the last basket, which barely beat the buzzer, was scored by none other than Chris Fortich. Raphael was fuming. Damn… the son of a bitch is really good… he thought. Then he sneaked a look at the lady in the front row and saw that she was cheering. Just my luck. There ought to be law… no one as beautiful as that lady should be allowed to watch a championship game…. It was true; the concentration had been divided between the game and the girl. He resolved to bag the championship the next game.

“Taylo….” Raphael spun around at the sound of the voice behind him. What he saw first was the beautiful lady who cost him the game. Oh, the beautiful face and the smooth shoulders and the arms around her… he looked at the source of the arms and saw the mischievously handsome face of Chris Fortich.
“I want you to meet Krista, my girlfriend…” Chris said with a hint of humor. It was the first time the two men shared any words with each other outside of a game.
“Your girlfriend… Chris and Krista, cute,” Raphael murmured. Then a sudden realization dawned on him. “You son of a bitch… you planned this, didn’t you?”
“Planned what?” Chris said innocently. Krista started to grin and Raphael saw with surprise that she had the cutest dimple on her left cheek. Her face took on a whole new aspect with her smile. She was still beautiful, but she didn’t look anymore like a cold goddess. She looked friendly and bubbly.
“You purposely brought her into this court, seated her right behind our bench and made her move in time to some plays so that you would win tonight…” Raphael said with mock dismay.
”Oh, Taylo… I wouldn’t do such a thing….” Chris said with a smile. By his side, Krista giggled.
“I bet she’s not really your girlfriend either…”
“Well, let’s just say, we are very good friends, aren’t we?” Chris squeezed Krista’s shoulder and the girl nodded.
“Actually, I wanted to meet you personally….” Krista said in a soft melodic voice.
“Yup, she may be beautiful, but she’s got the worst taste in men….” Chris said.
Raphael felt elated that this beautiful creature wanted to meet him but he answered Chris’ joke. “That’s why she hangs out with you….”

So started a strange friendship between the three. Ironically, Raphael found the friend he was looking for in Chris. It was a favorite subject of UAAP buffs how the two captains of rival teams could play fiercely against each other yet still be the best of friends. But they managed. They went out regularly, more often than not, with Krista in tow. Now, Krista was another story. Raphael found in her everything he had been looking for in a woman and more. And Krista was obviously infatuated with him….

Christopher Fortich had been born with the proverbial silver spoon in his mouth. St. Augustus College was a university reserved for those who could afford to pay 5 figures for a semester. He was an average student but excellent inside the basketball court. Although AC has been consistently in the top three in the UAAP with its share of championships, they have never had a player as talented and as determined as Chris. He was a showman, mixing prowess with exhibitions that made his fans breathless. He had that unusual flair for doing everything right, even the most impossible plays. He had his pick of women, and he never hesitated to choose. He never gave anyone any hope of a relationship, and nobody pressed him for a commitment. It was enough that he gave them a single night alone with him. He was rich, talented, with a different beautiful girl every week. And he was the best damn basketball player his university has ever seen for a long time. Everyone figured he was unbeatable. Until he played against MTU… and Raphael Taylo. Then he found his perfect match. With these two teams, it was anybody’s ballgame. Their friendship was the subject of every basketball fan’s conversation. The two university supermen were friends and they obviously had the same taste in women….

Krista Elizalde was a young socialite. At eighteen, she owned her own condo, living comfortably off her parents’ investment of her large income from modeling. She was sought after for print, TV and ramp modeling assignments. She had been linked to many a handsome men, but she never stayed with any of them. They bored her too soon. But when she met Chris, everything changed. She not only found a very willing and creative lover, she also found a true friend. They were able to mix the two, friendship and sex, effortlessly, treating each other with the utmost respect and affection. Love had no place in her life… until she met Raphael.

Messy dozed with a smile…. Raphael stirred and stretched. He looked down at the sleeping form by his side and he smiled tenderly. Oh, Messy… am I glad I found you…

She slept. Her glorious body lay naked in complete abandon. The satin sheets barely covered her exquisiteness. A ghost of a smile haunted her red lips. Krista was content. She’s never had a sexual partner as good as Raphael. It was really different if you were in love. Barely a few minutes after their first coupling, she fell asleep. They had been desperate, almost violent in their lovemaking, and their strength was sapped. She slept soundly, unaware of the turmoil happening within the person next to her.
Raphael sat smoking a cigarette. Before he lit it, he was amused of the fact that he was performing the corniest thing you could do after making love. Making love… so, this was how it felt…. A dozen thoughts entered his mind. This had been his first time, and it was with Krista, but still… he turned and looked at the beautiful face that slept with a smile. His heart ached. She’s so beautiful, so perfect… Raphael stood up stark naked and walked toward the large picture window. He stepped on a pile of Krista’s clothing. For one so beautiful, she could be so untidy with her things… They were in a resort in Boracay, an island paradise. His school team was there resting after a match with a university in that region. Krista followed him there and the moment she called him up at his resort, he knew the time had come. He and Krista had had a very unusual relationship. They were always together but then Krista was also with Chris when she’s not with Raphael. And both men didn’t mind. Raphael felt that she was also sleeping with his friend, but strangely, that did not change anything between the three of them. But then, there was a certain tension in the air… as if something of great importance would happen. Raphael glanced back at the small bed and marveled at the beauty of the woman who had been his just a while ago. Maybe this was meant to happen…. But his heart was beating fast as a sudden realization dawned on him. It would come. What was supposed to happen was certainly on its way to being fulfilled….

Chris slept restlessly that night. He thought of Krista and Raphael together in Boracay and he felt a certain emotion that never seemed to be a part of his personality. It’s true, Krista was just one of his lovers, but she was a good friend also. As was Raphael. He sensed that his two friends will never be the same after that trip, and it was this change that made his heart beat faster. If they decide to be a couple, it would be all right with him, as long as his friendship with each would not be jeopardized. But, will it really be alright with him? He was thinking how he would react if what he thought has come to pass. Maybe nothing happened, he assured himself. But then, as did Raphael in Boracay, Chris felt a certain foreboding of something to come. It was this feeling that made him toss and turn in his bed. He couldn’t wait for the day of his friends’ homecoming…

Chris looked impatiently at his watch as he fidgeted with his tie. He was in formal attire at a table at a Manila Hotel cafe. He was waiting for his friends. They had just arrived a few hours ago but they had set the date even before they left for Boracay.
The door opened and the usher welcomed Krista. Chris smiled tenderly at his beautiful friend. Krista smiled back.
“Hello, Chris….” Krista kissed him deeply on the lips. Chris kissed back and then he saw her eyes. They were haunted. “Krista, what the….”
“Please, Chris, let’s not talk about anything serious okay? Let’s just try to enjoy the evening while we can….” Krista’s eyes brimmed with tears.
“Hey, what’s wrong?” Chris looked with agitation at his friend.
“Nothing… okay? Just let’s forget for a while, okay?”
The sound of excited voices floated to their table. A group of students have espied the captain of their university’s team. Raphael has arrived. After a few minutes of mingling, he went straight to the table.
“Hello… I hope I didn’t keep you waiting….” Raphael said with a shy smile.
Chris looked at Krista then at Raphael. Both had the same haunted look. He decided to keep mum about it. At least until after dinner.

Chris sat with his hands on the steering wheel. He had just turned off the ignition and his car was parked in front of Krista’s condo.
“What the hell is going on?” Chris demanded.
“Oh Chris… I don’t want to talk about it….” Krista said with a quivering voice.
“Shit!!!! Are you going to tell me or am I supposed to ask Raph about it? C’mon, I don’t have all night!” Chris shouted. “You made me such a big ass back there, pretending nothing was the matter. Well, I’m not as insensitive as that!”
Krista broke down and as her shoulders trembled in distress, Chris forgot his own anger and embraced her. “Hey, I’m sorry…. I didn’t mean to shout like that.” He raised Krista’s teary face toward him and said tenderly, “It’s just that I want to know what’s wrong. I want to know if I could help….”
“Oh Chris….” Krista wailed.
“What happened in Boracay?” he asked.
“It was… beautiful….” Krista stammered.
“Beautiful?” Chris shook his head in puzzlement. “Then why are you here crying and why is Raph in some place sulking?”
“Because… we made love… for the very first time….”
“And was it so horrible?”
“No, on the contrary it was the best experience of my life….” She said glowingly.
Chris stared at her and said with a smile, “Thanks, you just about told me that Raph is a better lover than I am….”
“No, Chris… you don’t understand. You are a great lover. But Raph is… so sweet and gentle at times. And excruciatingly passionate the next….”
“Then what’s the problem? You went to Boracay, made love with each other, found the experience satisfying…. What’s wrong with that?” Chris demanded.
Krista stopped crying. She was dabbing her eyes with tissue. “I… I think I’m in love with him….” She said softly.
Chris sat still. He shook his head and said gently, “Did you tell him?”
Krista nodded.
“He said, he doesn’t know if he’s in love with me….”
“Well, at least he didn’t say outright that he didn’t love you or anything….” Chris reasoned.
“No, but there was something in his eyes. Something that told me he’s in love, but he’s holding back….”
“Hey, Krissy. You might have been the first woman in his life. It’s natural for him to go in shock for a few days. Let the shock wear off first. Then, maybe you’ll make love again, and that time, he’ll know what he feels for you is indeed love….”
“… Or not….” Krista stated with finality.
“… Or not… it’s a risk you’ll have to take, my dear.”
Krista threw her arms around Chris and said, “You’re so good to me…. Why haven’t I fallen in love with you?”
Chris smiled. “Lady, I’m no Raphael Taylo, that’s why….”

“Hello? Raph are you awake?”
“No, I’m sound asleep and this is a recording….”
“Hey, Raph cut that crap….” Chris screamed.
“Geez! Chris, it’s two in the morning! How do you expect me to answer? ‘Oh Chris! It’s nice to hear your voice at such an early hour!’ Is that what you want to hear?” Raphael snapped.
“Christ! Raph what’s wrong with you?” Chris demanded. “Ever since you came back from Boracay, you keep avoiding to talk about what happened there! What the hell is the matter with you?”
Raphael sat up slowly in his bed. He closed his eyes shut. When he opened them, they were moist.
“Raph, are you there?”
“Yes, Chris… I’m here….”
“Hey Raph… I spoke to Krista. I think you guys have to talk….”
Raphael didn’t answer for a while. Then he spoke clearly. “Why do some things have to get in the way of good friendships?”
“I don’t know Raph…. Maybe it was just bound to happen.”
“What do you propose I do?”
“Talk with her. Tell her how you feel. She’s strong. She’ll be able to take whatever you might say…” Chris said slowly.
“What about you? Can you handle it?” Raphael asked pointedly.
“What do you mean?”
“The three of us had been inseparable since the first time I met the two of you. The Original Three, remember? Are you really ready for a change in that arrangement?”
“Well, what will happen is bound to happen sooner or later. The important thing is, we are honest with each other. It won’t affect our friendship….”
“Do you really think so?”
“Yes, I do….”
“Then maybe I have something to say to both of you then….”
“That’s great, Raph! It’s best to open up. Bottled up feelings are wasted. They may even turn to resentment and worse, regret….”
“At least I won’t be faulted for not trying….”
“Hey, one tip my friend… just say the word and Krista will jump….”

Raphael was awakened by the shrill ringing of the bedside phone. It was six in the morning.
“Hello?” he murmured.
“Congratulations….” A familiar voice said.
“Hi… thanks….”
“How’s Messy?”
“Sleeping like a log…. Where are you?”
“Across the street, I’m calling from my car….”
“Shit! C’mon up! I’ll wake Messy and the three of us will have a fine breakfast!”
“Okay….” A click.
Messy stirred. “Who was that?”
Raphael smiled. “Guess what? The Original Three are going to have breakfast together!”

The breakfast was over and the dishes had been cleared. They sat facing each other. Four years have passed since that fateful night in Boracay. Five years since they met. A lot have changed. Raphael was the star player of Manila Rhum. Chris was the team captain of the team that battled Manila Rhum for the championship, Cryte Cola. The two men shared the Rookie of the Year award the previous season, and were again battling for the Most Valuable Player award for this season. Krista was a highly paid fashion model. Friends. They have remained so even after all the revelations and the tension. It had been a difficult year that time. There was a period on non-communication and there was the threat of the three of them splitting up. But real friendship and love prevailed, and friends they have remained until now.
“God, the game was great! I never really knew who would win until Raph sunk that final basket!” Krista exclaimed.
“Lucky shot…” Chris countered.
“It was not….” Raphael said.
“It was anybody’s ballgame! You were tied like before….” Krista said.
“Like before when you let this son of a bitch use you to make me so distracted I’d botch my plays….” Raphael said humorously.
“Well, you have to admit, it worked like a charm….”
“You just had me that one game…. We won the championship afterwards…” Raphael said.
“Well, we got it the year after….” Chris said.
“Like you would likely win the championship next conference… not that I would let you…”
“Of course not, Raphael plays to win….”
“Like you do….”
“Guys, I’m here. Remember me? Every time you guys get together, you never cease to get on each other’s throats,” Krista said with a smile. The two men stared at the beautiful woman before them and for a while there was silence. Then, they laughed together.
“Well, it’s nice to stay and chat with you, my two very best friends, but I have practice today. We have an exhibition game tomorrow and we have to be in top form. Don’t want to look pitiful even if we were beaten by a greenhorn team….” Chris laughingly remarked. He picked up his bag, drank up his orange juice and fled out the door.
“Talk about a short reunion….” Krista remarked.
“You know him, here one second, gone the next….” Raphael said.
The two people stared at each other tenderly. Then, the door opened and Chris stood sheepishly. “I forgot something….” He walked towards the table and gave Raphael a big smack on the lips.
“I promise I’ll cook your supper tonight. God!” He turned to Krista. “A slave for a week! How am I going to do that?” and he was gone.
Krista stared at Raphael’s glowing face and said, “Oh, so you finally won a bet against Messy.”
“Yup… I guess that’s why we won the game. If only to show him I can win a bet against him… at least he will be the one to clean up his own mess for a change. God! He can be so damn careless with his things. Maybe that’s what drew you together, your utter lack of tidiness.” Raphael said tenderly.
They sat staring at one another for a while, memories remembered.
It was great watching the two of you on the court. No one would ever suspect….” Krista paused. “It’s been four years, you’re still together. Talk about true love….”
Raphael smiled. “Some people are just lucky to be able to find that one person one really would be happy with.”
“I’m glad you found yours….”
“I was lucky…. I never knew how to tell him that time…”
“I knew there was something… I just wrongly thought it could’ve been me….” She said softly.
“I loved you too, Krista. But….”
“I know, you’re in love with him. I learned to live with that a long time ago. I just sometimes wonder how it could’ve been if the two of us….”
“Krista, sooner or later, my true nature would surface and I would be hurting you more.”
“I know…. I’m just glad you two found each other…”
“You will find that someone for you one day….”
“Yeah, in my wildest dreams. I never had an affair that lasted more than a week.” Krista laughed.
“Don’t lose patience.” Raphael said. “And one more thing.”
“Whoever the person may be, don’t be afraid to take a chance. It is only in that way that you’ll find out if it was meant to be or not….”
She stared at Raphael and tears threatened to fall. She stood up and embraced Raphael. “I better go, I have a shoot at nine.”
“We’ll be having a dinner party for three next Saturday. Please come.”
“I wouldn’t miss it for the world. Is it the fifth anniversary or fourth?”
“Fifth. It’s been five years since we all met each other. I guess it’s fitting to celebrate it with a bang…”
“I’ll bring the champagne…” Krista said.
“I’ll bring the flowers and…”
“Oh no…. Messy will cook?”
“I’m afraid so. His week will be up on Sunday yet…”
“I have a feeling even if you won the game, he will still have the last laugh on our anniversary. For sure, we’ll have to order out for food or we’ll die of food poisoning from his cooking!” They laughed.
Krista gave Raphael a tender kiss on the lips and left.


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