A Choice of the Heart

."Love is a choice you make from moment to moment" - Barbara de Angelis.

Chapter 1 - Choice

In a city, there was a girl named Isabelle. She traveled everyday in a chariot, together with other students, on her way to school; and everyday she caught sight of this boy whom she knew in her heart, they were meant to be. This boy, whom Isabelle not know his name, was of different school and noticed Isabelle's look at him. They were two love birds on one ride to different destinations. Though Isabelle thought of this boy-next-door type of guy all the time, her mind sometimes swings to another guy in school, much younger than her though. He was Juanito, known to many, and was described to be friendly and a happy-go-lucky person. Isabelle's friend, Maria thought of Juanito as gay but Isabelle thought otherwise, she always defended Juanito.
Every morning, before school, Isabelle would tell what happened in the lovely chariot, where she and this guy she didn't know of would look at each other, stare at one another's hand or clothes. They were shy to talk to each other but they knew they liked one another. But once she reached the school and saw Juanito, her heart would speed and she would take her mind of the 'guy in the chariot'. The school was a small place, making it very easy to see this guy, plus Maria was close to Juanito's bestfriend which made it hard to avoid him.
She was stuck in the middle. The guy she saw everyday of her life and knew something about or the boy whose name she can't seem to know but her heart calls out to.

So who would she end up with?

.Absence sharpens love, presence strengthens it - Thomas Fuller

Chapter 2 - Mystery guy

Usually, Isabelle would have the guts to sit right next to him which leads to them becoming closer and closer, the mystery guy pulling himself towards Isabelle; but sometimes, there would be no space for Isabelle and she would have to make do the with space across him. And when their across, they catch each other's gaze but look away for they are too reserved to show their inner feelings. Isabelle would notice this guy's eyes - like the moon in a dark sky, hair - tidied up, he was much taller than her and his lips - a deep luscious red. Once, during a gusty storm, the guy went back to his house via the chariot for he had forgotten his umbrella and Isabelle was there. At that moment, she caught a glimpse of this guy's looks, his shirt - decent and sweet - smelling, his pants - rugged and appealing, his hair - fashioned up and his dear house - now Isabelle new the location of her dream man. She was dazed for awhile as she was gaping upon a strikingly beautiful man, whom she knew she was in love with. Her heart raced as this guy was approaching the chariot; and once he was seated, the chariot journeyed toward the destinations. As soon as it arrived in the Academy, Isabelle's profound school, she departed the chariot and caught a quick glance of the guy whom she adored, looking at her, and she smiled. Isabelle always arrives in school early, she was among the few. It was worth it though, since everyday she would see that charming boy in the chariot and their eyes would meet and burn right through her fragile heart.

."Love isn't blind; it just only sees what matters". - William Curry

Chapter 3 - Juanito

The Academy has 2 main buildings, Ciencia and Constante. Ciencia was for the sabio or the wise; while Constante was for the parroquiano, the average people. Isabelle was a sabio, along with Juanito. The only difference was Isabelle was in 3rd year; while Juanito was a 2nd year. That was what kept them apart. Adrian Juanito Moreno was known to be popular in school though he wasn't handsome, he had an appeal. He was attractive. He was tall and thin; He had white complexion and slanted eyes. Isabelle seemed to always think about him. Whenever he passes by, Isabelle would smell his sweet scent, which was rather strong and fragrant. She would follow him with her eyes and gaze upon him. Was she betraying her mystery man? It's just a crush,she'd always say to herself. Juanito was rich. He loves to go shopping and his clothes we're not just your ordinary labels, they were branded. He dined at luxurious restaurants and fancy places. You wouldn't see him inside a mall or around the streets; though Isabelle once saw him in a stall where parroquianos usually hang out. Her friend Maria, always teased Juanito as gay; because of some doubtful signs. He's carriage was pink with hearts on it, he had many friends that were mostly girls and he liked to put his arms around his fellow boy friends. won't you think he's gay? But Isabelle always defended him. Her likeness for him would never fade even with these accusations. He was her inspiration. She needed that, for life in the Academy was stressful place, and Juanito was the kind of guy who would cheer her up.

"Love is a moment that lasts forever..." - Julie Wittey

Chapter 4 - Isabelle

It was a Monday morning, first day of the week for school again. Her mother came in, opened the windows and woke Isabelle up. Isabelle was first, hesitant, after all it was 5am in the morning; but because of her mother's perseverance, drowsily she got down her bed towards the bathroom. She washed her face and stared at the mirror. Her hair was rugged, eyes hazel brown and her skin was a fair complexion. She started brushing her long straight hair and tied it in a bow, "this would have to do", she told herself. She descended upon the staircase, ate breakfast and went back the bathroom to brush her teeth and smiled. After putting on her uniform, she made sure everything was all set; then heard the sound of the chariot. Her heart raced once again, any minute now she would see her man. She went out the gate and saw the chariot approaching half way to her home. She checked her mirror for one quick second. Her lashes we're curled, lips a deep red and eyes shaped like the earth. She had normal looks, the looks of a teenager in a normal life. She was stunned in a moment, the chariot was right in front of her; and Isabelle was not sure, but she saw the mystery guy staring at her. That was odd. As she was on her way to the chariot, her mom screamed "Isabelle Kate Turell! Have you got your lunch with you?" Isabelle was embarassed and just nodded, she didn't know if he ever heard it.

."Love, like a river, will cut a new path whenever it meets an obstacle". - Crystal Middlemas.

Chapter 5 - Another Day

Isabelle was so embarrassed, she couldn't even look at that charming guy sitting across her; but in her peripheral vision, she could see him staring at her, gazing upon her for such a long time. Isabelle flushed, what did I do? She thought to herself. After a moment, she had the guts to look at him; but, wrong choice, once Isabelle tilted her head, Miguel - as she liked to call him, quickly changed his glance towards the window. Now that was really weird. The chariot reached The Academy. Isabelle descended down the chariot; and, sure enough, a gust of wind blew her skirt. She quickly held it and ran towards the school building. As if she wasn't humiliated enough. Isabelle scurried towards her classroom without even bothering to smile at the guard. Once again, she was the first person to enter the classroom. She decided to calm herself down first, what happened today was not going to interfere with such a lovely morning. Finally, people were starting to come, and as she was looking outside the room, someone in a green and white jacket passed by, he was white and Isabelle knew who this person was. Juanito. She got composed and went on over to the seat next to her friend, Daniel. They we're having a quiz and needed to review. "Who is the father of history?", Daniel asked. Isabelle thought for a second, she new this. She was reading about it while on the chariot, of course she wasn't fully concentrating on it because of Miguel. How can she concentrate with all the fuss that happened this morning? Isabelle gave out a big gasp and answered, "Herodotus?" Daniel nodded. Isabelle gave out a big smile, she was right, maybe what happened wasn't so bad after all. She found her inspiration. The question is, who was her inspiration? Miguel or Juanito?

"Love is not who you can see yourself with. It is who you can't see yourself without."

Chapter 6 - Morning rights

Like every school, The Academy held morning rights. There was the oath to the country, singing of the anthem, and prayer to the gods and goddesses. Every class was lined up according to height. Isabelle was 6th in their line, at the back of Costanza, another close friend; while Juanito was near the last of theirs. At the front of the 3rd year section of the Sabio is the 2nd years, so it was easy to spot Juanito. So as hard as she tries, Isabelle couldn't keep her eyes off of him. She concentrated on the national anthem; but she can't stop but look at the person who was in front of her, Juanito. She remembered, one afternoon, while they were reviewing for an upcoming exam on physical education and math. For P.E. there was a practical quiz on dance steps, and for math - postulates. She was rehearsing with Maria while José was asking questions. Then right at their break for a while, Juanito emerged from the Constante building. She was shocked, stunned, she couldn't get hold of herself; suddenly, she blurted out, "Ruler Postulate" while holding Maria's hand for the Waltz position. Everyone who heard her, laughed. What was I thinking?!, she said to herself. She was completely out of her mind that time. Isabelle remembered everything perfectly clear, and went back to the present. That will never happen again! Full concentration! She thought to herself. Morning rights were done, and they were headed to their classes, she needed to concentrate. All her hard work could not just be thrown away just because of some guy. It's time to be serious.

."Love means never having to say you're sorry."

Chapter 7 - Embarrassment

It was break time; and Isabelle was so hungry. She and Maria went down to the cafeteria. As always, Isabelle ordered the Avena Caliente, it was her favorite. While munching, she thought about her mystery guy for a while, Did he hear my mom?Was he looking when my skirt whooshed?Will I ever know his name? All these was going through her head she didn't even notice Maria was impatiently waiting for an answer. "Well...?", Maria blurted. Isabelle was bewildered for a second, "huh? what?". Maria gave a fuming then a puzzled look, What's wrong with this girl? She thought to herself; then uttered the question again. "How's life in the chariot?, anything new today? Miguel?" As if she was reading my mind, Isabelle thought. Isabelle narrated the story once again; and before they knew it, it was the 3rd floor, they reached their classroom. Isabelle was breathless after climbing the stairs. Maria was just laughing, the story that Isabelle told was hilarious. Her short brown hair was swaying left to right, eyes gleaming with delight together with her petite figure. Was it that bad?, Isabelle thought to herself. Oh no! I wonder what he's thinking right now. She proceeded to the classroom without even bothering to wait for Maria, she had a lot on her head; and then shortly and swiftly, someone white bumped into her. Isabelle went right at the same time Juanito did. Her eyes could not meet his. Finally, Juanito decided to stop, so Isabelle got the chance to walk to the opposite direction. It happened in seconds, but for Isabelle, that incident happened for hours.

."And ever has it been known that love knows not its own depth until the hour of separation." --Khalil Gibran

Chapter 8 -Absence

Isabelle opened her eyes to a beautiful morning, checked the clock and saw that it was 7am. She ran downstairs, fuming. "Mamá! I will be late! The chariot has left me already!".Upon mentioning the chariot, Isabelle quickly thought of Miguel, is he missing me right now? Is he flirting with somebody else?. Then her mother gave out a burst of laughter, Isabelle glanced at her,how could she be laughing at this time?"Mamá! Mamá! stop laughing! What about school?"
what about miguel and juanito?, she asked to herself, worriedly. Her mother, realizing Isabelle was not joking, smiled and said,"Isabelle dear, it's a saturday, I can't beleive you forgot your favorite day of the week, too stressed in school maybe?"Isabelle was thrown aback for a second, she counted the number of days, the number of times she saw Miguel; and realized her mother was right, it was a Saturday. This was not her favorite day of the week. She went to her room disappointed, she wouldn't get to see Miguel or Juanito for today. Lying on her bed, she thought of Miguel - his soft look on the chariot, mysterious gestures and patronizing smile; and Juanito - his sweet scent, soothing voice and welcoming eyes. Isabelle just sighed, she would miss them. The question is, who did she miss more? Juanito or Miguel? She closed her eyes, and then slowly drifted to sleep.

."Love is but the discovery of ourselves in others, and the delight in the recognition".

Chapter 9 - Savior

She looked left then right; but there was no escape, the trees were all around her. She could hear the rage of creepy creatures and the owl's quite hymn, see the dark sky - there we're no stars in the sky,and feel the breeze of the wind, she shivered. Isabelle was stuck in the woods. She ran in circles, no stop until her feet can't handle it anymore. She leaned on a tree and tears started to fall. "How will I ever escape this forest", she told herself. Then suddenly, she heard a sound creeping near the bush. Isabelle got frightened and wanted to run; but what was the point? She was too weak. As the creature was approaching, her heart was racing faster; then it emerged from the bushes. She was shocked then blissed; there he was, standing 50 feet away from Isabelle, her savior. Her eyes were blurred from the tears that fell and she couldn't hear well anymore. The man was approaching her and kept asking, "Are you alright? I'm on my way! Don't worry!". Isabelle became composed, rescue was coming. She couldn't see clearly who this guy was. She then felt a warm hand carry her to the trees. Isabelle saw this guy vaguely, she caught sight of his hair - black and spiked, complexion - smooth and white and he was wearing a necklace with the letter "M" on it. M, this would forever be stuck in Isabelle's heart, she would remember the man who saved for life. Her vision was still unclear, she didn't realize her Mamá was right in front of her. Her mother was shedding tears and welcomed her daughter with open arms. The guy placed Isabelle on the couch. Isabelle shivered, her Mamá quickly got a blanket and wrapped it around her; but Isabelle was not cold, she was scared that her savior might leave her. She was too frail, she wanted to sleep; but she contained herself, she won't let her guy out of her sight. Isabelle could hear her mother, talking to the man, praising and gratifying him with all her life. This is good, Isabelle thought to herself, at least "M" would be stuck here. She caught various questions her Mamá said, if he liked to stay for dinner, was it he's job to save people and "Do you want to see Isa's baby pictures?". Isabelle was caught off guard. She quickly arose from the couch and said, "Mamá! Mamá! DON'T!!" But it was too late, "M" - guy saw it, her humiliating baby photos.

Isabelle swiftly got up her bed, "it was just a dream", she sighed a relief. It was ALL a dream; but she couldn't help but think, who was that guy? Who was her savior? Why did it have to be a vague image? His hair was spiky, Miguel? But his complexion was white, Juanito then? But the most important detail, he was wearing a necklace with the pendant "M", that was tricky. Isabelle was never sure if her chariot guy's name was Miguel, she doesn't even know what letter it starts with. Juanito could not be it. Right? But that letter "M" could mean so many things. It could be a gift from his mother or worst - case scenario, the name of his girlfriend. Isabelle could not be even sure if that was a letter M, it was very vague. Did her dream really mean anything? She couldn't get back to sleep after that, Isabelle kept on thinking, "Go back to reality, that was just a dream, it doesn't mean anything".

"True love never dies."

Chapter 10 - Fed - up?

He was there, sitting across her, Miguel. Early this morning Isabelle was so anxious to go to The Academy, to ride the chariot, to see him. She woke up with a happy smile and gay strides. Her eyes have been curled, face powdered and hair neatly tied up. Isabelle scrolled her books, wondering why Miguel wasn't. It was always like these, All the students had their bags and books with them except for Miguel and Isabelle always wondered why. Doesn't he study? He was a sabio in his school., all these were going through her head until she suddenly noticed. Miguel wasn't looking at her, not even a glimpse. Puzzled, she looked at him and saw that he was listening to his el jugador música; Isabelle got irritated. Was she paranoid? or just obsessed? Isabelle looked at him, hoping he would look back; but she failed. Isabelle's stare was no match for the power of music. She crossed her legs and looked at the other side, still hoping; but no luck. The chariot had reached her destination. She went down and saw Miguel look at her, she smiled but that was not enough. Was he fed -up? Isabelle missed Miguel so much, and all it took was one look; but she was not contented with that look. Before, Miguel used to stare until Isabelle would melt; but this time, it was just a simple glimpse. A glimpse of Goodbye. She shook the thought, "that would never happen", she thought to herself.

."Love starts with a smile, Grows with a kiss, and ends with a tear.".

Chapter 11 - Hidden

As she entered the classroom door, Isabelle kept thinking. What if he was fed - up? Is it too late? Should I speak to him already? Must I wait? Maybe he wasn't in the mood back then, with all these thoughts Isabelle became dizzy. She sat for a while; then she felt the gusty wind. Chills went down her spine. Then suddenly, someone or something, banged on the door. She became frightened. She ran towards the door and searched. No one was there. She went outside; and sat on the staircase. Isabelle waited for people, while observing her school. The aged paint, old cracks and dull lobbies. Not much to see. Finally, people were starting to pile up, by twos, threes, fours. It was 7am. While checking her shoes, someone passed by her with a great whiff of fragrance. She looked up and saw Juanito. Their eyes met; but Juanito looked away immediately. Isabelle's eyes looked the other way too. Her heart raced and she was feeling kind of queasy. Juanito passed by her. His eyes met hers. She flushed, she didn't notice Daniel was calling her. Isabelle, come on! Come inside!. Isabelle grabbed her notebook and swiftly went down. Their class was going to practice for the upcoming cascabeleo, the annual sing and dance festivity. Isabelle wasn't that of a dancer nor a singer; but their class was short of people so they grabbed everyone to present. Usually, Isabelle would play the escritura but they used the guitarra this time. So Isabelle had no choice but to dance and sing like the rest of them. The first line was "Cami gu Elite Por Pabor". She analyzed it and saw a sign. Cami gu Elite Por Pabor. What did that mean? She thought to herself. Was Miguel, her mystery chariot guy, the one? She scanned for other clues. Then she saw it, the last line, HiaJ uan itoko. This was getting confusing. Miguel or Juanito. It always ended like this. Even when reading between the lines. This was getting irritating and annoying. Isabelle told herslef, "Just choose"; but it wasn't that easy. It isn't like choosing between studying or not, walking or riding, this or that. No, It was far from that. It was a decision not by the mind, but of the heart. A choice of the heart.

."If a rose is supposed to represent love, then why does it wither up and die?".

Chapter 12 - Wave

It was break time, Isabelle and Maria sat on a stair where they usually ate. Maria grabbed a bread stick and started chewing. Isabelle was not in the mood to eat; though she had so many munchies in her bag prepared by her mother. They were talking about the upcoming test on geometry; then they came across with "Regordete" he was a chubby guy in school. Isabelle always admired him, not like the sort of admiration for Miguel, but because he was so cute. Maria and Isabelle talked about his cuteness, chubbiness, how they liked to eat him all up and squeeze his tiny little cheeks. They were laughing and taught what if Regordete passed by the staircase. He was so fat to even last one stair; and even if he did, he might roll over on the second stair. They giggled at the thought. They imagined it very clearly and Maria said, "What if it did happen? What would you say to him?" Isabelle snorted and said, "I'll say goodbye!" with the wave of her hands. Suddenly, Juanito appeared from the bottom staircase. They didn't even notice him climbing up. Juanito saw the hand of Isabelle and quickly looked away. Isabelle flushed and laid her hand back down. That was sorta embarrassing , she thought to herself. Maria just laughed and started to pick - on Isabelle. "I waved at him, Juanito", Isabelle said to herself. She kinda got frustrated too, what is he thinking right now? he doesn't actually think I said goodbye to him? I'm not an obsessed fan nor a stalker Who does he think he is?. Maria gave a big laugh and said "It wasn't that bad, maybe you should have just continued waving, maybe he would've waved back". Isabelle fummed down the staircase and into the classroom and at the same time, the bell rang. Great.

."We are afraid to care to much, for fear that the other person does not care at all."

Chapter 13 - Sense

The sun rose up with a smile on its face, birds were singing happy tunes and the wind was swaying pleasantly. Isabelle got ready for school with her daily routine. She combed her hair and felt different. She had a hunch on her heart. Isabelle tied her hair and got out of the house to wait for the chariot, to wait for Miguel. She was still feeling that weird sensation until the chariot came. She came in and sat on the very first seat her eyes had set upon. Isabelle looked around to find Miguel then her heart froze; Miguel was wearing a black shirt, white shoes and what struck Isabelle the most was his head. He was bald. "What an egg head", Isabelle said to herself. She tried not to laugh, they once maid a mosaic made of egg shells and it reminded her of him. She was feeling insane, for now on, she loved eggs. Isabelle looked up and caught Miguel looking at her. He scratched his blunt head and turned. Isabelle, though seeing it in her own eyes, couldn't believe Miguel was hairless. This time she can see Miguel's features clearly. Isabelle noticed that Miguel was not so handsome, he was plain; but that's what Isa loved about him. He was attractive, a girl could fall in his arms with just a simple smile.

."It takes a couple seconds to say Hello, but forever to say Goodbye.".

Chapter 14 - Jump!

Isabelle sat on the very first step of the staircase, Maria went inside to get something in their classroom. She waited while fixing her things; then suddenly, she smelt a strong scent. Isabelle looked up and saw Juanito wearing a brown fury coat. He went down swiftly and Isabelle admired it. She looked down quickly, Miguel Miguel Miguel,she said to herself. Isabelle wanted only to think about her mystery guy, her now bald guy. He was what she wanted. But Isabelle couldn't help it, she gazed up and saw him again. He was on his way down the second set of staircase, he saw him jump then Isabelle heard a thud! then another. That wasn't right. Usually, when you jump off a step, there would only be one sound; but what Juanito made was two. That would mean he slipped and just regained his balance. Isabelle smiled to herself, this was the second time.

It was time to go home. Isabelle grabbed her things and said goodbye. She walked to the gate and saw Juanito near. She bowed down and just acted normal while passing by him. Her chauffeur had not arrived yet, she decided to do some eavesdropping. Isabelle leaned closer to where Juanito was without being noticed. He was talking to his friend. "So how are you guys?", his friend asked. "I don't know we just keep on fighting". "Oh to bad". Then she heard a loud whistle, Isabelle moved quickly and rode the chariot. "We just keep on fighting", this line was stuck with Isabelle. What did that mean? Who was he talking about? Isabelle wanted to know. She wanted to ask; but she knew that could never happen.


"What's meant to be will always find a way."

Chapter 15 - Stare

Isabelle rode the chariot with haste. Her hair was a mess, she didn't get to powder her face and her things were everywhere. She just sat on the first seat that was available. Her eyes wondered around for Miguel. Her heart went wild, Where is he? She looked everywhere; but all she could see were the same faces. Not the face of her beloved Miguel. She then felt her seat mate moving closer to her. Who is this guy? She titled her head and regretted it. Miguel was sitting right next to Isabelle. She gazed upon the opposite direction, no, not this time. She was a complete mess, Isabelle wasn't prepared. Miguel kept going closer to Isabelle; and she retorted with moving to the right. People were starting to stare, she looked down and was getting kinda embarrassed. She then noticed a girl, a 5th grader, eying at her with penetrating eyes, like she was creeping into Isabelle's soul, piercing through her heart, as if she was jealous. Jealous. Of Miguel? No way, Isabelle thought. Was this young child envious of Miguel's closeness with me? Does she like him too? Now, what was her name again?, all these ran through Isabelle's head. She just threw away the thought, Would a 5th grader stand a chance with a high school junior like me? A sabio even. Isabelle looked at Miguel and their eyes met. Their gaze locked for a few seconds. Her heart sped even more like it was about to escape and explode. It all happened for a few minutes but Isabelle felt it happened for hours.

."Don't screw up the best thing that ever happened to you just because you're a little unsure about who you are.."

Chapter 16 - Menace

She descended down the chariot with a smile on her face. She felt as though it was a long ride. Isabelle didn't care if her hair was chaos or if the wind were blowing her skirt. All she thought about was Miguel, that instant. It was like friction, like a magnet. The way their eyes met was magical. The 5th grader was nothing, a speck of dust. She was no problem, not even a menace. Miguel doesn't like her right? . Isabelle wondered what happens in the chariot whenever she's not around. Before and after she rides. Does the 5th grader and Miguel have eye to eye contact too? Are they close? Do they even know each other? Isabelle shivered at the thought, a 5th grader new something about Miguel; but Isabelle doesn't even have a clue what his name was. No, it couldn't possibly be. What Miguel and I have is special. No one can neither replace nor destroy that. We have static between us. Chemistry She silently said goodbye and hoped for the best. That little girl would not interfere. Little. She was young, no idea in life. Miguel was a high school student, like Isabelle. Surely Miguel was mature. But Of course, Isabelle had no idea what year Miguel was in. She crossed her fingers hopping he was a junior too, a straight one at that. She came in the classroom and sat on her seat. This was going to be along day. Isabelle kept on thinking. She planned her next move. A plan to get closer with Miguel and eliminate the competition.

."The only guys worth loving are the ones that will take time just to be with you."

Chapter 17 - Dirt

It was nature week. Students belonging to the Sabio had to have a tree planting activity. They packed their bags and hiked to the mountains. The road was muddy and slippery; it was worth the long journey though. The spot was beautiful. Trees and flowers were everywhere. Birds were chirping, fresh air was breezing and the sweet smell of pine cones. They put down their bags and started to look for a spot to plant. The boys were in charge of digging while the girls lodged the baby plants to the spot. Isabelle looked around, she then spotted Juanito. He was digging like an amateur. Is this his first time to use a shovel? Juanito was taking a long time shoveling and it was like he was really hard - up. Isabelle couldn't help but smile. She finally found a spot near a marvelous flower. Her classmate, Natalia was at her left. Natalia approached her and asked if they wanted to be partners. Sure was all Isabelle could say. She got her shovel and started to dig. Then suddenly, she heard a voice. A man's voice. A tone she would recognize anywhere. Need any help? Juanito was standing next to her; but his back was facing Isabelle. He was talking to Natalia. They were friends. Why does everything have to connect with him? Natalia smiled and pointed to Isabelle. I think she needs it. Isabelle flushed. The soil she dug was only 1cm deep; Natalia's was ready for plotting. Juanito smiled and grabbed Isabelle's shovel from her hand. Her hear sped like crazy. She felt like fainting, if only the floor was not so dirty. She day dreamed while Juanito was sweating from the dig. Suddenly, Miguel's face flashed. She felt ashamed. Who was she really for? Miguel or Juanito? Again, it came to this. She was fooling herself and playing with Miguel. She had to put a stop to this.

."It takes a couple seconds to say Hello, but forever to say Goodbye.".

Chapter 18 - No more games

Another Tuesday Morning, another day of school, another time to see Miguel and Juanito; but this was not going to be those boring games. Isabelle swore to herself that this day would be different. This time, her roller coaster love would end. She would have to make her choice sooner or later, and it had to start now. She had to find out which guy her heart calls out to. This decision would be hard; but Isabelle was tired. Her heart was weary of getting hurt. She was getting dizzy of all the temptations. Just one, it isn't that hard? Right? Choosing between the quiet, mysterious guy in the chariot who looks at her with passion, and the attractive, humorous schoolmate who was younger yet appealing to Isabelle. It was time to pick her Mr. Right. Who was it going to be? This day will be start of her experiment. Day one of the series of test she would perform in order to choose wisely. Not anymore the daily routine. She kept her pen and paper in her pocket, just in case. Isabelle walked out the gate and waited for the chariot. She could hear the strides of the horse as it was approaching. Her heart was racing with it, as the chariot came closer and closer. You can do this. The chariot was right in front of her, she took a deep breath and climbed on the chariot. Isabelle sat next to Miguel purposely and with a flushed face, she opened her mouth and said a mere "Hello"..

"Love reminds you that nothing else matters".

Chapter 19 - Experiment 1

Miguel looked at Isabelle with speculating eyes. He wondered for a moment, Did Isabelle just talk to me? At first, Isabelle and Miguel's eyes were locked; then Miguel flushed and turned away. This could not be happening Miguel thought to himself. Why don't you talk to me?!, Isabelle was complaining in her head. She was determined to make her choice, to accomplish this experiment; but she needed Miguel's cooperation. This was going to be hard. Isabelle didn't know where she got her strength to speak to Miguel. Maybe it was her willpower, her heart. A driven force of love to finally speak to him. Still, it upset Isabelle the fact that Miguel was uninterested. Until now, he is looking at the opposite direction, stable. He wasn't even looking at her. Isabelle then looked at the direction Miguel was facing, and her eyes grew wide. He was looking at that little 5th grader; and she was flirting back. What's happening here?, she thought to herself. Are they really looking at each other? Isabelle gave up all hopes of talking to Miguel when she realized they stopped at The Academy. She walked out with heavy feet and noticed Miguel and the 5th grader's eyes gazing upon her. She smiled with delight; but when the chariot left, she felt a stung in her heart. What's going to happen in the chariot? Is Miguel and the 5th grader talking? So that little brat was a threat after all, she thought. Her spirit was down and started to think about what was next. Experiment no.2 : Operation Juanito.

."Love is but the discovery of ourselves in others, and the delight in the recognition.".

Chapter 20 Questions

Well, experiment 1 didn't turn out as Isabelle thought it would be. Was this a sign? She entered their classroom, it was so lonely. No one was around yet, she felt more down. With her pen and paper she wrote,

Experiment 1: Talk to Miguel

Pros: I got to talk to the man of my dreams (something I have been wishing for)
Cons: He just stared and looked at that little 5th grader brat!
Result: a definite FAILURE.

Isabelle sighed and closed her notebook. First part of her test and she's getting bad results. Is it really worth it to leave the other, to disappoint the man who also cares for her? She thought of it for a while; the question is, who was the person who loves her? and whose the person who cares? Miguel's results were devastating. She wondered if he deserved her love. Or was Juanito the right person? She hasn't even taken experiment 2 and yet Isabelle assumed Juanito was going to pass his. How could Miguel look at that 5th grader? Why were they staring at each other? Were they? How bout Juanito? She never knew who was this girl. Did she even had a chance at all to any of this guys? Isabelle was pretty sure she wasn't the one chasing after them, there wasn't any chasing. It was simple romance. A dizzy ride at that. Her mind was full of questions. Questions that needed answers. Questions filled with confusion. Questions that were about to be answered. It was only a matter of time. She was determined. The series of test would now continue. She wiped her last tear and smiled.

."Love is a serious mental disease.".

Chapter 21 - Experiment 2

It was break time, and Isabelle went out on her own. Nobody knew she was doing her experiments. She was being secretive. Maria wanted to know what she was doing, why was she was acting like this; but Isabelle refused. She sat on the stairs and waited. She wasn't sure why was she waiting though. Should she continue this experiment? She had to. Suddenly, Isabelle saw him; wearing another one of his branded jackets. She got up and took a deep breath. This was becoming a habit of hers. With her books in place she climbed the staircase and purposely tripped. Her books scattered on the floor. She flushed and sat to get her books. Her head faced down, hoping Juanito would help her. There was only one book left and still no Juanito. She sighed and given up hope, Isabelle started for that last book; but another person beat her to it. Isabelle looked up and saw Juanito holding her book. She got up and said, "thank you". Juanito smiled and gave it to her. She was astounded. Experiment 2 was a complete success; though it wasn't what she expected. Juanito was suppose to help her get at least all of her books. She was holding 6 books and out of that 6, Juanito got one. Only one. What kind of gentleman was that? She thought. But at least this one cooperated; Miguel didn't even flinch. She grabbed her lunch and got out of the classroom alone.

."For you see, each day I love you more Today more than yesterday and less than tomorrow."

Chapter 22 - Disappear

Her decision was becoming more and more clear. Isabelle can almost see her final choice. Their class was at the Constante building for P.E. They were warming up when Isabelle saw someone pass by. She was attracted by his mesmerizing jacket; she looked up and away immediately. It was her former crush, Pescado. Former, Isabelle thought. She didn't have any feelings for Pescado anymore; or does she? Maybe just a little; but she had more love for Miguel and Juanito. Isabelle wondered if her love for Miguel would fade away too. If one morning, she would realize that she didn't like Juanito anymore. Her heart crushed. "No, that would never happen", she thought. Isabelle is mature now, she knows what's real from what's not. Her daydreaming was interrupted by the sound of a whistle. Mr. Pasciano called Isabelle with an irritated voice. All eyes were at Isabelle, she guessed that she was being called for a long time. Her hands were shaking as she grabbed the ball. She was in position to start the game.

Isabelle climbed the chariot without haste. This time, she really wanted to talk to Miguel. Once she was at the door, her eyes searched for him. She flushed and her heart rolled down when she Isabelle noticed Miguel wasn't in sight. She sat at the empty seat her eyes set upon. She searched once again, thinking her eyes were just blurred back then; but no bald guy was seating in the chariot. "Where is he?" Isabelle asked herself, "Maybe the coach just went straight to my house, we're gonna pass by him soon". She looked out the window and saw that they were exiting their village. It can't be. Miguel never missed a day. Isabelle looked down and wasn't in the mood for school. Sadly, they had a test coming up so of course she had to be present. She couldn't help but blame herself and the stupid experiment. "Was he so conscious that what I did made him think I'm a flirt?", Isabelle was debating in her head. She felt so stupid. This proves that Miguel is cognizant kind of guy which Isabelle loves. She likes a guy who's secretive and yet gullible. Isabelle wanted him more. The chariot came to a stop and Isabelle climbed down hurriedly, wishing this day would end so she would see Miguel (hopefully) tomorrow.

"I love you, not for what you are, but for what I am when I am with you. " - Barbara de Angelis.

Chapter 23 - Butterflies

There was a gathering at the open space. Isabelle grabbed a seat next to Maria. They waited patiently for the program to start. They we're joking and kidding around. Isabelle had a big smile on her face; she had forgotten the absence of Miguel. Her head turned around, still with that sparkling smile, then Juanito passed by. She wasn't sure; but Isabelle saw Juanito wink at her or nod at her direction. She was caught aback. She had butterflies in her stomach. Was Isabelle right? Did Juanito look at her? Did Juanito even know her? She was filled with questions. What was that about? The people around were squealing and poking Isabelle. All of which knew Isabelle's liking for Juanito. She bit her lip and still couldn't speak. Suddenly, the principal announced something on stage. Isabelle didn't hear a word, she was too messed up. So what is Isabelle more concentrated on? Miguel's Absence or Juanito's Identification?

The program started and Isabelle was sort of composed now. Her eyes set on stage. There were performers dancing for the 'annual culminating program'. The crowd went wild. This was a treat. Maybe this would take her mind off her worries. She looked at the side of the stage and saw the section of Juanito lined up. Her heart sped, "He couldn't be", she whispered. Her eyes searched and saw Juanito in-line with paint on his face. He was going to perform. He had a smile on his face and Isabelle looked at his cute dimple for awhile. She saw his section practicing their dance before and she laughed. Now, she can't believe Juanito was going to endure the humiliation.

"Love the heart that hurts you, but never hurt the heart that loves you. "

Chapter 24 - Surprise

Every sabio was on their way toward the Constante building. Time for academics again; but they still couldn't take their mind off the morning activity. You could hear people buzzing and discussing. Isabelle can still remember every step of Juanito, she couldn't stop smiling. At least it took her mind off Miguel's absence. The day went by quickly. Nothing much happened. Isabelle then realized, it was Friday and she wouldn't get to see Miguel for 2 days; she hasn't even seen Juanito other than this morning. Her heart skipped a beat. It was dismissal time, she was hoping to see Juanito, maybe just a little glimpse; but her chariot together with her parents arrived. They were to go to Mazo, the famous sustentivo (mall in spanish). She hurried down with a frown in her face. She rode the chariot and sat with her shoulders slumped.

The chariot stopped at the front entrance of Mazo. Isabelle's father climbed down with poise, followed by her graceful mother then lastly, she with her shoulders unbalanced. She was not in the mood for shopping. The gates opened and the guards greeted them with delight. They entered the first shop and searched for their daily needs. Isabelle together with her mother passed by a lot of stalls; then her heart sped a thousand. Miguel was walking towards her, (or towards the bag of chips), his eyes locked on hers. Isabelle instantly looked down with her fingers crossed. She was walking with her mother; she smelt the warm aroma of Miguel pass by. She let out a sigh and her face was red as a ripe apple. She didn't dare look back, afraid to look straight at Miguel's eyes, especially with her mother around. She might faint.

"When you hold resentment toward another, you are bound to that person or condition by an emotional link that is stronger than steel. Forgiveness is the only way to dissolve that link and get free."

Chapter 25 - Imagination

Isabelle's hands were shaking and her face was red as a ripe apple. She wanted to run. To get a hold of Miguel. She wanted to hug him and show her affection. If only... If only she could. If only she had the guts. If only her mother was not standing right beside her in that instant. They rode the chariot once again, back to home. Isabelle was hoping that they might see Miguel's own chariot. That maybe she would see him one more time. Her heart won't stop beating recklessly. At least her face wasn't flushing anymore. They entered their village but still no sign of that egg - head. She sighed and slouched on her chair. They were approaching Miguel's home and she couldn't help but stare at the simple cottage. Then suddenly, she caught a glimpse of a red vest which she remembered Miguel wear last Tuesday. Her eyes widened hoping she could know for sure that that was Miguel. But the chariot sped up and she just saw the scenery blur. Disappointed, she looked down and started to day dream. Picturing Miguel and her dancing in the moonlight. The winter breeze swaying her soft brown hair. Her arms entwined against his. They stared at each other and were about to kiss when suddenly someone called her name. "Isabelle! Isabelle!", she turned and saw Juanito hurdling towards them. He bumped into her and knocked her down. Then Isabelle realized she had fallen asleep and bumped her head on the chariot's door. Her mother was smirking. Her mother had heard her dream. Sometimes, Isabelle would blurt out her dreams. Saying the lines she's been saying during her dream. It was humiliating, and usually it would happen if she deeply felt something. "It's ok to have an inspiration", her mother said, "just as long it's nothing serious". Isabelle smiled and nodded. Of course this was nothing serious right? Just a crush, an inspiration.

The greatest science in the world; in heaven and on earth; is love

Chapter 26 - Stare

As the days went by, everyday was like a daily routine. Maybe just a little spark whenever Miguel looks slash stares at Isabelle or Juanito passes by. There wasn't that much excitement during the past months. Christmas was coming near. Isabelle was thinking of giving Miguel a gift. She sighed, they weren't exactly close, they didn't even know each other's names. Why would she give him anything? Plus exams are by next week she mustn't be distracted.

The first Morning after Christmas vacation, another school day. Isabelle was excited and dull at the same time. Dull since there's a hang -over and excited because she will see the two most important guys in her world, Juanito and Miguel. She dressed and powdered up. The chariot once again came at her door and she rode hastily. Her eyes first set on Miguel, charming and striking as she last remembered , then on that empty seat next to him. She decided, 'why not'; and seated right next to her still mystery guy. Isabelle looked at another direction trying not to gaze upon Miguel, who by her peripheral vision is staring at her. She felt her face red hot, and continued to look at the opposite direction. The chariot went to a complete stop as they were at the academy. She got up and started for the door, Isabelle felt her bag hit Miguel's knee. She got out immediately and let out a deep breath. That was Miguel, how was Juanito?

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