Something I forgot to mention: Michael's moms are named Diana and Christina. He calls Diana 'Didi' and Christina 'Nina'.
He has an older brother named Josh who is 5 years older than him and moved out when Michael was 13. All Filipino is Google translate... Sorry if I use words wrong. I tried to use it correctly.
-Picks up where chapter one left off-
Michael went through the morning in a bit of a buzz. The cassette tape was full of his favorite songs, and he listened to it multiple times, not paying attention in class.
He kept looking around, trying to catch anyone watching him, especially at his locker. He didn't notice anything out of the ordinary. Michael was conflicted about the whole situation.
He liked the attention. He liked the idea that someone out there liked him. But whoever it was, he would have to let them down. He was already in love with Jeremy. Completely and irreversibly.
He had been since he was eight. Michael kept trying to figure out what to do. In the end, he decided to keep reading the letters.
Maybe he'd figure out who it was, and then he could let them down gently. He really didn't want to do that.
Michael knew firsthand how much it hurt to be in love when the person you loved didn't want you.
"Earth to Michael! Hello?" Michael jumped as Rich waved his hand in his face. Michael rolled his eyes and batted Rich's hand away. "Are you okay?" Jeremy asked. Michael nodded. "Yeah. Just...had a confusing morning."
Christine grinned at him. "What're you listening to?" she asked. Michael flushed. "Just a tape," he said.
He wasn't sure if he was going to tell anyone about the love letters. Rich reached out. "Let me listen!" he said, trying to take the headphones. Michael jerked back.
"Leave my headphones alone," he said, then stood. Jeremy looked up at him. "Where're you going?" he asked. Michael slung his backpack on. "7-Eleven. I need a slushie," he answered. Jeremy stood.
"Can I come with?" Michael nodded. "Sure," he said. He waited for Jeremy to gather his stuff, then they walked out together. Jeremy had his hands in his pockets. "Jer?" Michael asked suddenly.
Jeremy jumped a bit, then looked at him. "Yeah?" he replied, tugging at his sleeve. Michael bit his lip. "Has anyone been asking you anything about me?" he asked as he pushed open the door.
Jeremy frowned. "Huh?" Michael blushed a bit. "Like, about what music I like and stuff." They had to. How would the person know his favorite songs without asking someone? Jeremy shook his head.
"No." Michael frowned. "Alright," he said, getting into the car. Jeremy got into the passenger seat. "Where'd you go this morning?" Michael asked. "What?" Jeremy said. Michael rolled his eyes.
"This morning. You almost missed a fight." Jeremy laughed. "Yeah, Rich told me. Between Evan's boyfriend and that Jared kid?" Michael nodded. "Yeah. Evan broke it up." Jeremy's eyes widened.
"Really? Good for him," he said, obviously proud. Michael chuckled. "I swear, sometimes it's like he's your son, not your brother." Jeremy shrugged.
"I don't know.I just want to protect him, you know? He reminds me of myself in some ways. I want to... help him, so he doesn't make a bad choice as I did." Jeremy looked down.
Michael reached out and gently shoved at Jeremy's shoulder. "That's not a bad thing, you know," Michael told him. Jeremy flushed. "Yeah, it is." His voice was hardly there. Michael sighed.
"Do I have good judgment?" he asked. Jeremy looked up. "Yeah..." he said, confused. Michael smiled over at him and pulled into the parking lot at 7-Eleven.
"Well, I chose to be your best friend, okay? I wouldn't do that if you weren't a good person," Michael said as he got out of the car. Jeremy looked a bit happier.
"Thanks, Micha. You always know how to cheer me up." Michael grinned and slung an arm around his shoulders. "That's what best friends are for, right?" he said. Jeremy nodded.
"Yep. That's what best friends are for."
"I'm home!" Michael called as he walked in the front door. Didi poked her head out from the kitchen.
"Hey, mahal, how was your day?" Michael put down his backpack by the basement door and walked to the kitchen, his water bottle with the rose in his hands. Didi glanced at it.
"Oh, what a lovely rose!" she said. Michael smiled. "Yeah. Thanks. My day was... Confusing. Where's Nina?"
Didi took the water bottle from his hands and set it down on the counter, then reached up and grabbed a thin vase. "Nina's at work. She'll be home soon. Why was your day confusing?"
Michael grabbed an apple from the fruit bowl and hoisted himself onto the counter, swinging his legs like a little kid. "It just was. I'll explain when Nina gets home," he said, taking a bite of the apple. Didi set the vase beside him.
She had put the rose in some clean water, along with one of those packets you put in the water to keep the flower healthy.
"Did I hear my name?" Nina said, walking into the kitchen and setting down her bag. Didi beamed at her, then walked over and kissed her.
"How was your day, kasintahan?" Nina smiled and replied, "Good now," and kissed her back. Michael let them be for a few moments, then cleared his throat.
"Hello? Your son is in the room?" Nina and Didi broke apart, laughing. Nina walked over and hugged him. "Hello, Micha." Michael hugged her back, grinning. He loved his moms.
"Oh, where'd this rose come from?" Nina asked. Didi shrugged. "Michael brought it home." Nina gasped. "Michael! Do you have a boyfriend?" Michael blushed and shook his head.
"No! Of course not!" Nina pointed to the rose. "What's that, then?" Michael bit his lip, then held out the letter. Didi came over and read it over Nina's shoulder.
They read it slowly, then looked up at him. "That came with the rose and this," he said, pulling the cassette tape out of his pocket. Didi squealed a little.
She was the romantic of the household. "Oh, Michael, that is so sweet!" Michael put the tape back into his pocket and took the letter back. "The only thing is..." Michael took a breath.
"You guys know how I feel about Jeremy..." he felt his eyes cloud with tears. It hurt so badly to think about him.
Nina and Didi both moved and sat on either side of him, wrapping their arms around him. "What if you gave this person a chance? Tried to move on?" Didi suggested.
Michael wanted to. He wanted to so badly. His whole body, his whole brain, knew that was what he should do. That it could save him pain in the future. But his heart belonged to Jeremy.
It always had, and Michael knew it always would. He kept telling himself it was an adolescent crush, that he was only a teenager, and what could his heart know? It knew he wanted Jeremy. Michael choked back a sob.
"I have tried..." he whispered. Nina pushed his hair out of his face. "Hey, we know better than anybody that if your heart feels something, it feels something. You can't change those parts of you."
Michael looked up at her. Nina's eyes were clouded over. Michael knew she was thinking of her years as a closeted teen and her own internalized homophobia.
Nina had been raised by her very homophobic father, who kicked her out at 17 for being lesbian. Michael leaned his forehead to her shoulder, breaking down. "I wish I could..." he said, voice cracking.
"It's only going to hurt me." Didi rubbed his shoulder, and Nina stroked his hair as he sobbed. Eventually, he sat up, wiping at his eyes. "I'm sorry..." he murmured.
They both shook their heads. "Don't be, Micah," Didi said. "You're going through a rough time and dealing with some rough feelings. We can't blame you for being upset. Michael just nodded.
"I'm going downstairs," he said, sliding off of the counter. Nina pulled him in for another hug. "Mahal kita, okay?" she told him. Michael nodded.
"Mas mahal kita, Nina," he said, then walked out of the kitchen. He grabbed his backpack and went downstairs, flopping onto his bed.
He pulled one of his pillows to him, a rainbow Pac-Man plush that Jeremy had won for him at a fair when they were 14.
"Jeremy. Oh. My. God." Michael said, stopping dead. Jeremy looked at him. "What is it, Micah?" Michael pointed to a booth. "Rainbow friggin Pac-Man. I need it. " Michael said, then grabbed Jeremy by his wrist and dragged him over to the booth. Michael looked up at the plush. "How much?" he asked the girl running the booth.
It was the game where you threw the rings over the bottle-necks. "If you get 10 rings, you get it. $5 for 15 rings." Michael handed over the money and took the rings.
He sucked at games like this, but he was determined. He took his time and aimed carefully, but only got 4 rings. "Sorry, kid. Better luck next time." Michael shook his head. "Let me try again."
$15 later, he had only gotten 5 rings. Jeremy had watched the whole time, cheering him on. When Michael lost the last time, Jeremy stepped forward and placed $5 on the counter.
"I'll try," he said. "You don't have to," Michael told him, feeling bad. Jeremy only had $20. Jeremy shook his head. "I'm going to win that plush for you, Micah." And he did.
Flicking his wrist 10 times in quick succession, he got all 10 rings on the bottles. "How did you-" Michael said. Jeremy pushed the remaining five rings back to the girl. "I got 10 rings. Can we have the Pac-Man plush, please?"
The girl smiled, then took it down and handed it to Jeremy. "Here you go." Jeremy took it, then immediately turned and handed it to Michael.
"For you," he said, giving Michael a lopsided grin. Michael took it and held it to his chest. "Thank you, thank you, thank you!" Michael said.
"Here, I'll pay you back-" he said, only for Jeremy to shake his head. "No. You're happy. That's enough."
-End of Flashback-
Michael hugged the plush close and re-read the letter. What he wouldn't give to have Jeremy tell him these things... Michael sighed. He wondered when the next letter would come.
He shook his head and sat up, walking to his TV and turning it on. Video games would clear his head.
mahal- dear, love, darling, sweet kasintahan- sweetheart, girlfriend Mahal kita- I love you mas mahal kita- I love you more