Chapter 28

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Chapter 28
That Summer

The night had already fallen when the plane landed. The scent of the rural area, mixed with the salty breeze from the sea, hit me hard with nostalgia. A few strands of my hair danced to the flow of the wind. I immediately tucked it behind my ears when I saw a very familiar face that I missed waiting beside his car.

Gian was busy fiddling on his phone that he didn't notice I was already walking towards him. Isang metro na lang ang layo namin sa isa't isa nang mag-angat siya ng tingin sa akin.

His lips parted when his eyes met mine. I smiled and waved at him. He mirrored the smile on my face and quickly closed the distance in between us.

Agad akong binalot ng yakap ni Gian nang siya ay makalapit. Natawa ako at binitiwan ang hila-hilang mga bagahe upang tapikin ang kanyang likod.

"Miss na miss mo ba ako?" pabiro kong tanong sa kanya.

He nodded his head. Hinigpitan niya pa lalo ang kanyang yakap sa akin. "I really missed you," bulong niya. "A lot."

Napangiti ako ngunit hindi ko maiwasan ang maging emosyonal. I held my tears back even if it was already stinging my eyes, wanting to be freed.

Hinayaan kong ibagsak ang aking ulo sa kanyang balikat habang yakap-yakap niya ako. Seeing Gian and feeling his warmth told me that I was really back home. He made me feel home.

I was only gone for almost five months but it felt like I was gone for a year or more. My life in Manila was a very long journey, filled with ups and downs and unexpected turns. It started like I was Alice who followed a white rabbit down the rabbit hole and arrived in a wonderland. It was the same as me following Ike in Manila to try and live my dream.

However, I realized that it wasn't a wonderland after all. It wasn't just a land of my dreams. It woke me up to face the reality. It slapped me hard—the reason why I went back home even after I successfully overcame the challenges.

I won first place in Road to Record. I won by a landslide. More than fifty percent of the votes were all for me.

The groundless rumors that Willow tried to pull me down didn't affect my standing at all. According to Mr. Joel, it only solidified my place at the top as it proved my influence and popularity. More people got interested in me. That's why when they shut down the rumors, people sympathized with me and supported me even more.

But despite their overwhelming support, I failed those people when I turned down all the offers. I didn't sign a recording contract. Other record labels and TV stations tried to cast me but I remained firm with my decision. I chose to turn my back on the showbiz industry after I settled accounts with Willow.

It didn't take long for me to get the justice I deserved, though. Willow was smart enough to know that she couldn't get away from her sins anymore. She admitted that she stole and plagiarized my song. Although I had the choice to send her behind bars, I opted to settle everything in a civil way. She paid for the actual damages, legal costs, and other expenses.

On top of that, Top Star Records also terminated her contract. She also paid the company for the damages and breach of contract. But since she came from a very rich family, money was not a problem to her. However, it would be hard for her to enter the industry again.

As much as I wanted to settle the legal matters with her privately, everything was published and reported. If she really wants to be an artist, she wouldn't be able to do it as she pleases even if she uses all her resources. Her name was already stained because of her own doing. No one would want to sign her again.

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