All the Reasons to be Distracted by Gianne Rabena

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Despite the fact that I can definitely feel the weight of the eye bags forming beneath my eyes and after doing, probably, the 10th yawn I’ve made in the past 30 minutes, I squint at the screen and fumble with the mouse pad on my laptop. The glare of the stupid brightness didn’t do any mercies for my already deteriorating vision and I’m wearing thick framed glasses as it is. Damn. Whoever said doing an all nighter for a project was easy really didn’t know what they were talking about.

I sigh and feel my forehead. Did my face ever feel this numb before? I need a break. What was that about 20/20/20 a professor told us about once? You look at something 20 feet away for 20 minutes…wait…that wasn’t it. Ugh. My brain…

I walk over to the window and yank at the handles. I push it open. Air!!!

The cool night air slaps my face instantly. Instead of making me feel like I’m on a break, opening the window is only reminding me how late it is. I can see a lamp post somewhere below flickering and absolutely no one was outside the convenient store across my dorm, drinking and smoking like there would usually be earlier in the night. It must be past 2 am. Again, damn.

I walk back over to my desk and glare at my paragraph. Gotta’ go back and reference on that article I was just reading. I open the page I was at in Google Chrome and furrow my eyebrows at the text. Remind me again who chose this topic?

Oh right. Me.

You’re the one who said you liked Mysteries and you were that gung ho enough to volunteer to write the Introduction for that annoying Advocacy paper for Philippine Lit. If only I’d known that it would take a lot of effort to write something like this I wouldn’t have volunteered. Then again my group mate did all the field work, interviewing and getting documents from City Hall and that’s why I said I’d rather do the writing. So why am I complaining?

I don’t really know. I guess the 2 am is getting to me and there really are a bunch of other stuff I still have to worry about. You find reasons to complain when you’re the only one sleep deprived, while remembering what you’re doing is for a group project. Plus, maybe it’s the writing and these days it’s killing me to write anything. In order to write this introduction I have to really read some articles about this mysterious disappearance and to be honest I’m starting to get really creeped out. I chose the topic too, thinking it would be cool to discuss real life disappearances in the mountains and compare it to myths and legends. Didn’t think it’d spook me a little, reading about possible murderers or mythical beings that suck you into trees in the middle of the night.

I hear the air conditioning suddenly come to life and feel myself jump.

Really. Really creeped out. Maybe I should listen to some music while I work so it won’t seem that scary. My roommate just had to pick tonight to go work on a shooting for their own project for some other class. I’m alone. This is necessary. But which song do I choose? I think I have a study mode playlist here somewhere.

There I go again. Easily distracted. I waste ten minutes picking out a song.

Katie, don’t be doing this! Get to work!

I take in a lungful of air through my nose and do this intense face as I click my knuckles.

Fine. Where was I? Right.

So anyway, the report my group and I ended up with was something about a disappearance of a mountaineer in a local Mountain. Plus myths and legends about that sort of thing and how we could relate the two. There are stories like that, right? Of the mythical kind? I need to find a way to convince our teacher we knew what we’ll be going on about in that report. I didn’t even have to go anywhere near the mountain because, like I said, group mate got that covered. My teacher expected us all to do the actual interviews, but it’s not like I’d have the time to trek a mountain to ask a local if they’ve ever been abducted in the forest, by an encanto or a murderer, or heard about anyone who has. These teachers all assume theirs is the only class we have the way they give us these projects and deadlines. I just have to figure out how to write about it like we all had chipped in on some real in depth research and it wasn’t just me.

“Okay!” I say in a low whisper “Here we go. Seriously this time.”

My stomach grumbles. I may still have potato chips stocked here somewhere in my cabinet. Something tells me I’m not getting anything done.

I jump again at the sound of my phone vibrating on my dresser. That’s enough coffee for you. I’m desperate for distractions. I reach over for my phone. It’s only 79% so I keep it charging. I type in my pin number, seeing as there’s a little envelope that practically shouted “easy distraction”.

I think I forgot how smiling for normal people felt like because I swear my face still feels stiff as I do.

It’s Tim.

 I hope you’re asleep, Katie. I see your Facebook is still on.

 Speaking of distractions, I’d chalk him up to be my number 11 on a 1-10 distraction scale. Does this boy have like some weird super sense or does he just automatically always know when to pop up when I needed to concentrate? Forget whatever I still have to focus and work on.

I text him back.

Are you stalking me or something? It’s on because I still have stuff I need to finish and there’s no rest for the wicked!

I set my phone back in place and try to keep my cool. No big deal. I mean he could or could not reply. I really do still have stuff I need to do anyway and even if he is the highlight of my evening I still don’t-

The phone lights up and I make a grab for it. Okay. Still very dignified.

Or procrastinators.

I read. I literally giggle. It’s a good thing no one can hear me. Although he could’ve been more generous with his reply. I don’t care. He started the conversation and he could text “K” and I’d still have my heart racing.

But then another message comes in and my heart floored it.

You know you could always put that off till tomorrow. We don’t exactly have classes in the morning…unless you have plans.

I love how he’s always so mature when he speaks. Not a single shortcut to his text messaging. I fumble through my phone’s screen keypad. Stupid thing keeps disappearing every couple of times I type. Sometimes I think phones with actual keypads are better than these screen stuff. I swear under my breath. Don’t make me make him wait, you stupid phone!

 I could… I type. But you know me. I’d rather get this over with as soon as possible. I hate having to cram and the sooner I get this stuff done the more free time I’d get. I know we don’t have classes in the morning so I plan on sleeping in…

I bite my lip. Unless you’re planning on finally taking me up on that Milk Tea date I offered the other day.

 Don’t push your luck, Katie.

No. He’ll probably be okay with it. He knows how you feel.

No. It’s stupid and straight forward. Downright full of it. He’ll turn you down again flat! Then where would you be?

No. He totally gets it. Girls can make the first move and it’s not like he doesn’t already know you have feelings for him.

But he’d probably hate it if you were full of yourself and-

STUPID SENSITIVE TOUCH SCREEN PHONE I DIDN’T MEAN TO SEND THAT YET!

I seriously hate my phone.

He replied!

Okay 🙂

Okay?! I blink at the phone screen. What is that supposed to mean? I reply fast. I sit on my bed and plop down into the comforter. I roll over and lie on my belly so I’m close to the socket. I realize I might be tugging on the phone’s charger too much.

Okay? What do you mean okay?

I have been nonchalantly trying to get Tim to go on a date with me for weeks now. I mean, I started out with pretty smooth conversations and segued into:

“So, you maybe want to hang out sometime?”

I avoided saying “Just us. Without your friends. Like a date.”

Because even I still have my limits.

He said “Yeah that would be great” but then it just left me hanging, wondering if he got the message. We’ve been hanging out a lot in the library consequently after that and I’m pretty sure he thinks that that’s what I’ve meant by it.

So eventually I got the nerve to decide to drop the nonchalance and just go with it since one of my best friends suggested it. Or maybe one too many motivational quotes which I took as signs. It was debatable, since Tim was smart, whether he was really just dense or he was testing me or something. Or he doesn’t like me. Which part of me thinks but I try so hard to avoid.

My friend managed to convince me by asking me “Just how much do you like this boy?”

“So, so much. You think I should just tell him?”

She shrugged. “You guys are in a good place and you’re friends. Just keep talking to him until you get closer.”

“So, you’re saying I should just ask him out?”

“Well, not exactly. I meant just talk to him.”

“Talk to him and tell him. Right. Got it.”

So eventually I start opening up the subject of me possibly liking him so much it’s starting to become a shameless habit and a joke. Part of me is starting to think he doesn’t think I’m serious about it and so I kept getting the horrible feeling that I was somewhere in the clichéd Friendzone.

I hated clichés.

So I asked him out straight and in simple obvious words in the Library while he checked out a couple of books on Philippine Mythology for their project. His hair was over his eyes but I could tell they’d gone wide and darted from left to right as if to see if this was a prank, smiling sheepishly.

“Do you want to go out, on a date with me? Like you and me, on date?” I said. My voice sounded different and almost robotic but a tiny version of me was doing Munich’s The Scream in my head. He looked stunned. I mean, literally his eyes stayed that way, wide and blinking, and his lips pursed, speechless. I was trying to see whether he would start blushing but I ended up feeling like I was the one blushing furiously.

“I’m sorry…what?”

“Let’s go out on a date.” I nodded at my own words, but after a few more seconds of silence the tone sounded off to me. Like it was the lamest thing ever. His whole expression was demanding an explanation like some kind of final game show thing and my mouth just suddenly felt it had no other choice but to start saying things in panic.

I so wanted to sound cooler than that but either I sound like a creep or like I had no idea what I was saying…why can’t this just be normal?

But then he smiled, like really, with all his teeth out and everything. It was enough to make me want to ram my head in the pillar I was leaning on. I felt a wave like a charge of electricity going through me with just the assumption of what that smile could mean.

“Wait, you’re asking me out?” he kept tracing his fingers on the spines of the books he’d been looking through, suddenly avoiding my gaze. Feeling self-conscious. I think we both were. My cheeks started swelling like I had the strange case of the cavities from staring at that smile. Thinking that was lame too.

“Yes.” I started sounding like me again. Whatever confidence I had vanished and left me there like “See ya’ pal!” I blame Adrenaline rush from the pep talk I had with my friend and probably too much Nutella in that crepe I tried in the cafeteria. My voice faltered and I laughed nervously adding.  “Kind of.” As if that changed or reversed anything.

It sounded embarrassing. Somebody should’ve gotten out duct tape and sealed my trap. Internal tears.

He was still smiling though. I can’t tell whether it was a good thing or a bad thing. Anyway, the whole thing made me want to throw up. Not literally of course, I mean, he’s like still there.

“When?” he said.

Sweet angels in heaven! Did he just…? No? I mean, did he really just…?!

If you could imagine what I’d look like while thinking those things it would really help a lot, because I don’t think I could describe my reaction when he said that one word.

“I…” my throat went desert dry. I cleared it. “A-anytime. I mean, whenever. I guess.” Stupid of me not to have thought this through. I thought about asking him out without thinking of when? Seriously, Katie, go jump off a building.

“Okay.” he smiled, staring at his feet. “Er…so like, what?”

“What…what?”

“What do we do? I mean, what time? Where do we go?” he laughed. “I’m sorry, I’ve never exactly been asked out before.”

Are you kidding me? Who? What? Why? I started laughing too. Partly because he was laughing and it makes up for the awkwardness and partly because I was seriously going to kill myself for not thinking this through. “Wherever you want.” That sounded lame. “I mean, we could do whatever.”

“We could always just hang out in the library and read like usual.” he stuck his tongue out and chuckled. I think my reaction must’ve looked funny because he added. “Kidding. Really I don’t know, Katie. This is really, really awkward. I wasn’t expecting this.”

“Yeah.” I said, and then I thought. Woman up! Say something to fix this! “Good awkward though, right?” Forget what I said. Do not speak. Don’t.

He laughed again. “That just made it awkward-er.”

“I can’t help it!”

“Okay…so then what?” he said.

“How bout’ we just agree that we need to get out of the library more and maybe, I dunno’, how about we go get Milk Tea together? Or a movie?”

He thought about it. “When?”

“Today?”

He shook his head. “I have class in 30 minutes.”

“Tomorrow then?”

“I have to go meet up with Ben and Ricky for our Project.”

“Damn. I forgot about that. I have to work on that too with my group. Then the next day after tomorrow we have that seminar and the next day is recollection.” I think it was evident in my face that I was starting to feel down.

“How bout’ after all the projects and deadlines? I’ll just tell you. Or after Finals are over.”

“Yeah?”

“Yeah.”

“This is so going to distract me during the Finals.”

The thing is after that we barely got to talk about it again. The week went pretty hectic and he kept disappearing into his group of friends, worrying about projects, Finals and deadlines. I would message him every now and then. We would chat on Facebook but then I’d get guilty because I know I’m keeping him from working. Part of me thought it seemed insensitive to try to bring the date back up. He kept saying he was sorry and that he was busy. I said, I understand and that I’d wait for him. I got seenzoned when I said that and I tried my best not to overthink it. It was too crowded in the library these days anyway, so I didn’t bother going there to study. I admit every now and then I wonder if he’d been taking me seriously then or maybe he was just leading me on. Maybe he just didn’t know how to say no.

I mean, YES…I’m available. Let’s go on a date.

Despite the fact that I can literally feel the eye bags forming beneath my eyes and just stopped myself from yawning when the message popped up, I smile at the screen and fumble with the key pad on my phone. The beautiful light of the phone washed over my tired face. Of course it means I’ll end up cramming since I’d want to keep the conversation going. Then I’d fall asleep after telling myself ‘only for an hour’ and sleep through the alarm. Damn.

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When asked by Pauline Navarro

When Asked

Like this.
I was minding my business, as I always do when I board a bus home. I came from an exhausting one hour appointment in Makati, and all I want to do is to sleep on the way back to Lipa.
Being myself, I would’ve normally chosen to sit by the window. I tried thinking that it happened that way, with me there, but the image of my face leaning against the glass just wasn’t clicking in my head. I guess, that day, I was different, and so I sat closer to the aisle.

Like this.
You were loud. Everything about you was a fuzzball of loudness – your bouncing curly hair, your overstuffed backpack and your fumbling about and bumping into people. There was no way for me to miss you.
The seat beside me somehow ended up being your target, and before I knew it, you were skipping towards me.
I moved over when you came, as politely as an anxious person could, and let your occupancy settle in just so I could set the proper distance between us. To no avail, of course. You kept opening and closing your bag. Looking around. Fidgeting. You moved so much that looking at you made me feel like the bus was shaking.

Like this.
You began talking to me. I can be pretty self-absorbed when lost in thoughts about just wanting to relax back in the province, and you talked to me. Strangers don’t talk to strangers. That was the cardinal rule.
I didn’t know you but you talked to me like I was familiar. It felt like a scam. My walls were already high up, you know. (But of course, you didn’t.) And so you rambled on about how amazing it was to finally meet me today and about how you’d really love to eat with me once we got off the bus at a fast food chain by the toll way exit.
I didn’t trust you and you said that so yourself, so you promised to let me hold your phone when we get off. It was proof that you won’t hurt me or something. But I was a stranger to you too, you forgot.
Why did you strike up such a weird conversation? You felt like you should, you said. I was that girl you meet once, during a commute that you will never see again unless you take chances.
The deal-maker: you told me that if you were my soul mate and I denied you the chance, it might take another lifetime to find each other again. I was sappy. You took the words right out of the back of my mind even if they didn’t make sense.

Like this.
You were supposed to keep quiet. We were done acknowledging each other. Yet you asked about the actor acting as the male lead of the bus movie that was playing.
I was surprised you were so casual. We were not even friends and my trust would take more than a bus ride to be earned.
But you kept prodding, and with defenses still up, I surprised myself by responding. Being generally nice meant I wasn’t deliberately rude to anyone, and I admit, you were someone that I was intrigued by.
You were too chirpy and when I kept my replies short, you continued telling me your story. Why was it so easy for you to open up to a no one? I looked disinterested but I was already weaving your story and figuring you out. It was dangerous to be that spontaneous and honest, if you really were, and you must know that.

Like this.
I was getting travel-sick. It was hard to keep a conversation, trying to face you. By this time, I already wanted to keep listening. You were talking about your dog.
Of course, I told you I wanted to nap. We were beyond pleasantries for me to be uncomfortable about being frank. You understood.
I leaned to the side away from you and placed my weight on my right arm. I closed my eyes and started taking everything in.
A few minutes later, barely into a decent sleep cycle, you tapped my shoulder. It was cute, how you held one end of your earphones and offered it for me to listen to your songs too. I accepted, shrugging it off as an okay.
We had the same taste in music. Or at least, I liked your songs.

Like this.
I fell asleep. And when I woke, the bus took its last turn and we were back home at last. I remembered you telling me about still feeling strange that you now live here, having come from Manila initially. I wondered if you shared my sentiment then.
We got off and I told myself to forget. You didn’t mean asking me out, did you?
But you were awake the whole trip and you were sure about remembering asking me like you seemed to be sure of everything in your life. Saying what I couldn’t, you asserted once again that we should eat together and that if you should try something funny, I could just drop your phone on the floor. You smiled so so widely.
Okay. Reality check: everything about the whole situation didn’t make much sense. I must still be asleep.
Nonetheless, I walked with you anyway.

Like this.
Exiting, it was the cue for your loudness to end and for me to start replaying everything in my mind. We waited for a jeepney by the road when we’d already said goodbye. Yet again, you didn’t respect the boundaries of polite conversation. Apparently going the same way, we ended up commuting together.
I got off first. In a span of minutes, you were able to get my number so it was alright for you, you said. You’ll keep in touch. Of course, I was content with just the moment.
Walking down the street, silently counting the footsteps from where we separated, I laughed about the coincidences. It was a good day.

Like this.
When asked how I met you, how I came to like you, I would answer them like this.

A Chat with the Writers

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The two of us after splurging at MIBF 2016

Since we’re still working on the short stories we’d be posting here *insert nervous laughter*, we thought of interviewing ourselves so that you can get to know the duo behind Milktea Fiction better.

Milktea Fiction is basically a collaboration between two writers – Gianne and Pauline so that we’d have a space to publish our stories. We’re hoping to grow this into a community someday or at least to make this a legitimate thing. If you want to know more about us and our writing adventures, keep reading.

Why did you choose to start Milktea Fiction? How did you come up with the idea?

G: Milktea Fiction started as a suggestion for us to have this thing where we could continuously come up with stories we could share and maybe one day publish. I think I’d originally thought of it being a joke but we were actually crazy enough to take ourselves seriously. I can’t remember the exact details of how it started exactly, apart from it all coming up through a chat. I was pretty sure Pauline and I were chatting and then the next thing I know it was a call and we were laughing at how crazy this was.

It was a week before the Manila International Book Fair, I recall, and we were totally going. We needed some kind of challenge and it was to see if we could either write a new short story in a span of a week or add chapters to our novels. We honestly didn’t meet our deadline then, but the idea of Milktea Fiction, what we wanted it to become was too good to give up on. If anything, it prodded us to keep tabs on the kind of stories we wanted to make.

P: I remember coming up with Milktea Fiction because we wanted to print zines of our works and give them away to indie publishers present during the MIBF and we needed a brand name. We were both starting out with our careers then but we still wanted to pursue writing. To get started, we thought that, hey, let’s publish and get other Filipino authors to notice us. But mostly, as Gianne mentioned, we wanted to use Milktea Fiction as an excuse to motivate us to write (because we couldn’t print something out if we didn’t have any stories).

It was a just a spontaneous frenzy really. After a hyped up conversation via Messenger, we had a name, logo, email, blog site and social media accounts.

What kind of writer do you aspire to be?

P: I want to be the kind of writer that makes children believe in magic and adults find wonder again. I’m a strong believer of good things and I hope to be able to capture those in my stories.

With my stories, I hope that I’ll be able to give my readers the same heartwarming feeling I get from reading my favorite books (which are all about magic, youth and adventure, by the way).

G: I’ve always wanted to be an author ever since I found out I loved reading and it was an actual thing you could love, a hobby, and that there were these people that spend enough time trying to fill these books with stories.

Genre-wise, I think I’ve found my calling about a year ago when I started rekindling my love for Fantasy and Science Fiction as well. I remember asking my former English teacher whether I needed to be a Scientist to write them, worried I’d be way under-qualified because I didn’t get good grades in my Science class. She laughed and said I didn’t. It now dawns on me that to be a writer of any genre it takes reading and, next to that, imagination.

When I wonder what the heck I think I want to be I tell myself I want to be a storyteller. I wanted to make characters that are believable, that are human and people I would actually want to meet. I wanted to depict feelings and emotions and put them into moments that often people might take for granted. I wanted to make metaphors and subtle hints that would make me feel like what I just made means something. I just wanted to write in a way that it might seem real even if it was SF/F.

Oh, and hey I do want to write contemporary too.

When/how did you start writing?

G: I started writing, calling it legit writing, in sixth grade when I took a spiraled pink notebook and wrote this adventure story with me and my friends. It had no plot and my handwriting was terrible.

But I was making things up even before that. I would make short stories with markers and crayons in these empty scrapbooks my mom, who was an Arts and Crafts teacher, would give me. It didn’t occur to me then that I was practicing being an author, it’s just that I wanted to make those book things with the pictures. I wanted to make characters.

When I got to High School and an anthology for teens was part of our reading list, I discovered I could make cheesy love stories, put them all together and bind them into this one book. I was on a roll with shipping my classmates with one another and giving them new names, but it was obvious because I usually stuck to the first letter.

I also learned how to update chapters around this time because I got into writing fanfiction, which I am not ashamed of because it helped me break into the habit and I had my first real taste of having strangers react to the plot and the things I made the characters go through. If you’re wondering, it was Batgirl and Robin and it was very dramatic.

P: Like Gianne, I’d like to think I legit started writing in a notebook during second year high school. At the time, I was inspired by a classmate who created a novel about a bunch of kids who were sent to earth when their planets were destroyed. It only occurred to me then that you could do that, create a whole universe inside a notebook, and I was so fascinated that I tried to write in one myself.

Before that, I’ve been writing, somehow. I wrote in different notebooks different things – dairy entries, poems, songs and concepts. I remember attempting to write a novel before the notebook incident about three friends (vaguely based on the Barbie dolls we had as kids) but I couldn’t really count that since I only finished it in my head.

After the notebook writing, when technology slowly overtook society, I began typing my stories and posting them on Wattpad. My classmates then were very supportive and even requested that they cameo in my stories. Wattpad made it easier for them to access my stories rather than passing a notebook around in class. I finished my first novelette there and even gained popularity for a while due to the support of random internet strangers.

What are your writing habits/routines?

P: *nervous laughter* I don’t have a routine, but I do have passion. And when I’m passionate, I write all out. I give it my everything until I have nothing and I need to rest for a long time.

I write when it feels like it’s the right time to write, when it feels like I’m meant to write. (It’s because I believe that sometimes, you’re also meant to not write yet since there’s something you should experience first before you write a particular scene.)

G: I probably have a terrible writing routine of not getting it done right away, which is something I really need to outgrow. I find that I’m a better writer at night and for some reason between the hours of 10-11, after constantly trying to prompt myself that I should be writing, that the will to type or put pen to paper kicks in.

I could sometimes coax myself to write a draft in my notebook, telling myself it’s no big deal I could edit it later, during the afternoons and then all hell breaks loose when I do have to type it. Changes here and there would occur and it’s hard not to glance and maybe tweak at the previous chapter before getting new things in.

I fail to always bring a notebook handy, so I have a note app in my phone because my mind tended to wander into my stories, to my characters and their personal lives, to epic events and to more story concepts I would want to write in the future. If there’s a thing about writing that I enjoy, it’s coming up with concepts and finding out how it all fits together. There are too many notes in my phone now.

What kind of stories do you want to write?

G: Like I said above, I wanted to write stories with characters that feel real and the crazy plots and situations they’d get into. For me, the characters are what drives me to be into a story because they have to be able to take you with them along each page. If I’m not feeling friendly with a character then continuing a story may be a problem, with reading and writing.

I want my Characters to mean something as if the story is really a one to tell because they’ve really lived it. I would like to draw people into the dialogue and hear their words, their playful banters, their arguments their small talks, as if it could really be something someone would say in real life. I’m also really into world building because I’m a sucker for alternate universes and worlds and the What Ifs.

Also, if I could find the right balance between serious issues and a bit of good humor into a plot then I’m going the right way.

P: I want to write adult children’s fiction. Something that feels like ‘The Little Prince’, ‘The Graveyard Book’, ‘Navigating Early’ and ‘The Real Boy’. (Those are my favorite books, by the way.)

I believe that the best way to feel or realize something important is through the lenses of innocence and that’s just what I wanted to do with my stories. I want my stories to be youthful, magical and life-changing in a way.

I know that it’s a tough genre to break into but I’ll keep trying. In the meantime, I’d also work on young adult chick lit stories to get my ideas across. I hope I’d be able to write at least one good story, one that’s believable, realistic and natural (or basically one that would portray how I imagine love to be).

What’s your ultimate writing goal/dream?

P: I have a standard answer for this. I want to walk into a bookstore and find a bunch of girls flocking over one of my books from a shelf with my other works on display. I’d be eavesdropping about their impressions of the book and about who they ship with who.

The end game is to be published. I’m born to be a storyteller and I hope to serve my purpose.

G: My ultimate writing goal and dream is to be able to write a lot of books. Though, I don’t think I’ve been prolific since high school when I had no shame and I wasn’t at all that into specifics, I still hold onto the dream that I would be making more.

My all time favorite author is Diana Wynne Jones who I think is more known for writing Howl’s Moving Castle, but my favorite of hers is her Chrestomanci Chronicles. To be able to come up with whimsical and magical plots, fun and likeable characters, and finish novels as much as she did is my inspiration.

Also, Madeleine L’ Engle, my second favorite, had a way with putting together the kind of story with a welcoming atmosphere and I love the way she discusses faith and God. These ladies were able to write a lot of novels, created so many worlds and characters, and I wish to be able to do the same.

Any fictional crushes?

G: Obviously, because I’m all about the characters being real, it isn’t far to fall in love with them as if they were. I have a lot of them so I’ll just mention the top 5 from books.

Except one who’s from comics because he’s my most important one. Ultimate Fictional crush: Tim Drake (Robin III, Red Robin) from DC comics.

Top 5 Bookish Fictional Crushes: Park Sheridan (Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell), Christopher Chant (Chronicles of Chrestomanci by Diana Wynne Jones), Artemis Fowl (Artemis Fowl Series by Eoin Colfer), Millard Nullings (Miss Peregine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs), Kaz Brekker (Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo).

P: I had to think about this for quite a while. Other than Leo Valdez (Heroes of Olympus series by Rick Riordan), I don’t really have many fictional book crushes. I guess, most of the books I’ve read recently don’t really revolve around love so I focused more on the story other than the guys.

But if I have to pick for the rest of my top 5, they’d be: Jack Frost (Guardians of Childhood series by William Joyce), Day (Legend by Marie Lu), Jack the Sword (Magnus Chase series by Rick Riordan) and Sirius Black (Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling).

That’s it for this post. If you want to know more about us, just comment your question below and we’ll try to answer it!

It’s Not Exactly a Writer’s Block

(Written by Pauline Navarro)

We started Milktea Fiction seven months ago, and if you’ve taken the bait to actually check us out, you can see that we haven’t exactly made much progress since then. It’s only now that we’ve become active again in social media and in the blog. (And even with all the hype now, we cant guarantee that we’ll be consistently doing this already.)

We did this so that we can have an outlet for our writing. But, contrary to popular belief, it’s difficult to write even if you love doing it.

Other than adjusting to the corporate world after graduating college, Gianne and I have been busy pursing various passion projects. For her, she’s been writing numerous novels-in-the-making, some with side/supplementary stories of their own. She’s also been illustrating her characters and a few web comics. On my end, I’ve been blogging and writing that one story I couldn’t let go of. And, well, I’ve also been coming up with other creative projects related to music and video-editing, depending on my mood.

So you see, the problem sometimes isn’t that we don’t have the motivation to write or that we’re in a writing slump. We are writing, creating… other things.

There are just so many ideas and so many ways to express them!

Hopefully, this time, while our fire is still burning to create content for Milktea Fiction, we’ll be able to write lots and lots of stories and archive enough to keep the blog alive for when we start being potatoes again.

Do you experience the same thing? Did you ever take on too many passion projects that you neglected one? Share your story below. Wed love to hear from you!

P.S. We’ve resolved to publishing short stories and writing related articles for now but maybe, if we get a chance, we’ll be able to explore different types of content for you guys.

Dates to Remember by Pauline Navarro

February 1, 2015

They were going to break up.

When she entered their coffee shop that day and saw him by the counter, talking to the new head barista they hired, she knew he was planning to end them.

His shoulders sagged when he greeted her, and when his hands reached for hers, there was a certain heaviness, as if she was an obligation he had to pull around. Even in the way he looked at her, she saw nothing, just the reflection of a girl, searching for the eyes that fell in love with her.

She knew he sometimes appeared detached and sometimes his workload got to him, but that day, he wasn’t even trying.

When they headed to the office, she stayed a few steps ahead of him.

September 28, 2011

It was only during the last day of classes that he truly noticed her.

Sure, she had been a part of the creative team during his campaign term so he saw her a few times at the office. He’s also pretty sure she’s attended a few of the conferences he’s been in. Plus, he knew they’re both business majors, though from different sections.

But she never really stuck out before. She was just always the girl who wore her hair up, perhaps to keep it out of the way as she worked.

That last day, at the faculty room, lining up for consultation with the same professor, was the first and only time he saw her hair down, tips almost reaching her waist. Maybe that was it that got him, that tiny difference. She was so alive, her arms moving around animatedly, her voice commanding half the room, and her hair was down. He was captivated and he couldn’t put a finger on it.

With a swift movement of her hand, she swept her hair on one-side as she debated with the adviser. He thought she looked beautiful.

October 7, 2011

It was only a few more days until the launch of their thesis project.

She thought everything was going well with their business plan. They’ve finished the paper, found a place to rent and contacted the suppliers. It was going to be a stretch for her group to start an actual business, even if it’s just a school requirement, but with everything in her list checked, she felt a little bit at peace.

Until Cheska called her about Bea and how she does not want to speak to the latter ever again. Cheska was forcing her to drop Bea from the group or else she would pull out the suppliers from the contract. Bea called shortly after her conversation with Cheska and she threatened to call off the location contract if Cheska wasn’t going to be kicked out.

Everything was unraveling.

She tried reasoning with the two, showing them that splitting up wouldn’t be practical. She asked them to push themselves a little bit further, to try working as a group again. It was starting to work, until it didn’t and they couldn’t handle each other anymore. They blamed her for further damage.

August 10, 2014

They couldn’t possibly pull it off.

Sure, they’ve been a stable establishment for almost three years but they didn’t have the money to sponsor a big media event in their wee little coffee shop. They have just opened another branch a month ago and that already took half of their budget. Plus, they have the usual expenses to worry about. Why didn’t he get that?

“Don’t worry too much,” he said. “It always works out at the end of the day.”

“I’m glad you have this great plan for our business but don’t you think it’s too much?” she countered, touching his arm.

“We can do this,” he affirmed. “Since when did you retreat from a challenge?”
She moved away from the counter where he was. “That’s not the point, Jade.”

“Trust me. Please.” He said, holding her gaze.
She could’ve just nodded, believed in his dangerously optimistic trust in them. She could’ve held onto his words. But inside she truly felt that giving in was just like making a big mistake. She couldn’t let him do that to them.

So she stopped him. And though he didn’t tell her then, he blamed her for the loss he felt.

October 17, 2011

He didn’t expect to see her like that.

She was shouting in the middle of the school oval. Her hair was a mess and the wind continued to blow it in all directions. Her hands were stained with dirt and a little bit of grass, just like her skirt. She clenched and unclenched her fists and her feet were unsettled. It looked like she was arguing with someone except there was no one there.

He approached her, nonetheless.

“I wouldn’t go near if I were you,” she said when she saw him.

“I was just wondering if you could help me.” He came closer. “You see, I was on my way to return these balls to the athletics building but some keep falling off my grasp.”

“Now is not the time,” she crossed her arms.

“Why not?” he asked.

“Just because,” she turned away.
He stood there and waited for her to continue talking.

“Leave me alone!” she shouted.

“Grumpy, I see.” He said. “Well, Ms. Grumpy, I know a person who needs someone to talk to when I see one.”

He began walking away. “Catch up if you want to.”

After a few minutes, right after he left the athletics building, he turned to see her walk towards his direction. “I do need someone to talk to.”

“My group had split up and I couldn’t do anything about it,” She told him.

She continued talking as he waited for her to reach his side. “It’s either I would choose one of them or I would go solo.”

“I chose to do it on my own,” she said. “Except right now, I have no idea what to do.”

“I just,” she clenched her fist. “Don’t understand why this had to happen!”

“Breathe,” he told her. “It always works out at the end of the day.”

And it did.

It was crazy but for the three hours that followed, he managed calm her down and convince his thesis adviser and his group mates to allow her to transfer to their group.

She was also planning to open a coffee shop anyway.

October 25, 2014

He didn’t mean to bring it up. Not during the coffee shop’s anniversary.

But she was asking for reasons and explanations and he had to come up with one.

“We’re back to that?” She said. “That was two months ago. We decided to turn down the offer together.”

“I know,” he told her. “But I don’t know what else you want me to say.”

“Ever since then, I felt like you were the only one ever deciding on anything about this shop.” He continued.

“Why didn’t you tell me? I could’ve adjusted for you.” she asked, struggling to hold his hand.

“How was I supposed to?” he turned away. “You were always so intense. I couldn’t get a word in.”

She closed her eyes and exhaled. Then, she stood up and walked towards the exit.

“I didn’t mean it like that.” He said.

“Mae, come on.” He approached her. “Talk to me.”

She stopped walking and looked at him.

“I’m sorry,” he said. “I don’t know what to say anymore.”

“Maybe,” she told him. “You should just stop thinking about how bad you felt and start thinking how horrible it was for me to have to hurt you then.”

It was crazy because for the next three weeks, they didn’t contact each other.

October 25, 2011

She loved the rush. He must have loved it too.

The doors opened and the world around them changed. It was real. They finally launched the café.

She moved closer to him and sneaked a high-five before looking all professional again.

November 22, 2011

She watched him end his phone call.

It was already two in the morning but they were still not done with the preparations.

Ronnie, one of their teammates, had to leave early so only three of them remained at the café. The boys were putting up the new signs outside while the girls arranged the furniture inside.

She was redecorating the menu when she caught a glimpse of him, calling. He was probably explaining to his parents why yet again, he would be sleeping over at his friend’s apartment near the shop. By the look on his face, the conversation did not go so well.

She left her work and headed to the kitchen.

After a few minutes, she came out holding a tray of coffee and cookies. After setting it down on the counter, she called everyone for a break.

Jade came in last, since he had to answer another phone call.

He sat away from everyone after he grabbed a cup and took a sip from it.

She approached him and handed him a cookie.

“You’re welcome,” she told him. “You needed the break.”

“Yeah,” he muttered, checking his phone.

“I took the cookies from our stock. I hope you don’t mind.” She said.

“Uhuh,” he nodded, still occupied with his phone.

“Hey, don’t worry,” she said. “Everything is going to be worth it.”

For the first time since they conversed then, he finally looked her straight in the eye.

“You’re right.” He smiled and pulled her closer, putting his arm around her shoulder.
With that, she remembered the first time she saw him. She saw that man in him again.

Before they all went back to work, she sneaked a cookie pack in his pocket. Just in case he needed another boost.

January 1, 2015

Perhaps a new year would do them good.

For the past months, they have been going back and forth between bickering and not talking. She doesn’t know him and he doesn’t know her anymore.

Celebrating in their separate homes, they count down to one.

March 18, 2012

It’s over.

They turned in the results of their five-month business to their professor. After that, all that’s left is to divide the profit and ace the defense. After that, they would be busy with the graduation and applying to new jobs.

Holding the clear folder, she looked at him. She was going to miss making that face worried over her little fits, making that face scrunch up in confusion over her pointless jokes, making that face smile when he starts making the world’s problems, his problems too.

“We did pretty good,” he said, taking the folder from her and skimming over its contents.

“We did,” she nodded. “I honestly think that the café could grow even bigger in the future.”

He nodded beside her.

“You know what,” he turned to her. “Who says it has to end here?”

He gave her the clear book again and smiled. She immediately took his hand.

“Mae…” he began saying.

“Sorry,” she said. “I just got really excited!”

She tiptoed so they could be eye to eye. “I like you too and I would love to continue the café with you.”

He raised his eyebrows. Did she get it all wrong, the signs, the sweetness during the last week? She felt like she was on the edge.

“Always the anxious with you, Ms. Grumpy.” He rubbed the top of her head.

December 19, 2014

She learned to love him only sometimes, because sometimes, he only loved himself.

He had to meet with investors every day. It was suddenly all about the trade and the stock market. Gosh. She loved the café and all the memories it held but only because she loved him.

But because of his distance, it seemed as if he only loved his dreams of success. How could he be okay with not seeing her, talking to her?

She loves him. She loves him so much. It had been the worst couple of months and she loves him. He doesn’t show up and she loves him. He makes her wait and she loves him. He hurts her because she loves him. And today, alone in a corner of the café, she could not pretend not to.

March 23, 2013

He loved her.
He kissed her and he knew, it would be hard to leave her.

February 1, 2015

They were going to break up.

For a moment, they just stared at each other, the words hanging in the thin air. Who was going to say it first?

She took his hand and brought him at the office, at the back of the café.

“I don’t want to do this anymore,” he said.

She let him speak.

“But if this is what it takes to stay with you, then okay.” He continued.

“Okay?” she asked.

“Okay as in okay, I love you. Okay, let’s not breakup. Okay, let’s fix this.” he told her.

“You would seriously put up with me?” she asked.

She saw it in the way he pulled her closer, his answer.