Really, he shouldn't have been surprised by it.

It was like reading a fairy tale. He should have known that, at some point, the words "and they lived happily ever after. The End." would come up. That story had been going on at a monotonous and boring pace, for lack of witches and dragons and evil stepmothers, for almost seven years. But still, somehow, Mister Silang found it in himself to look mystified when his co-faculty, Miss Sinag wordlessly handed him the large dove gray envelope and a small white card. Mister Silang found himself backtracking through the four years he had known the couple and ten years he had known the groom, searching for the quintessential climax that should have preceded this inevitable conclusion. Catching himself, he thanked her and buried himself back into his work and wondering why he even bothered to wonder. As he mechanically ticked away at the test papers that he promised himself he would have graded by that afternoon, he found his thoughts constantly looping back towards princes and princesses and missing adventures.

There was a buzz in the room even after Miss Sinag had left, and the dull hum of the chatter of his fellow teachers suddenly felt suffocating. Mister Silang found himself packing up his papers and mentally searching the school for a quiet place to work. As he stood up, he directed all attention towards himself, and he found himself being crushed by the stares of the other people in the office.

"So, will you be going, Mister Silang?" Miss Villanueva's eyes shone under her thick-lensed tinted reading glasses. It was like she was living the role of the starry-eyed fairy tale princess through the much younger Miss Sinag. She was a nice lady who had her fair share of sad love stories to tell, so in her old age, she was more than content to giggle with misplaced giddiness.

Mister Silang frowned. He may have just been paranoid, but Miss Villanueva's voice appeared laced with unspoken implications. "I can't make any promises at the moment," he replied.

"But, you're not just Miss Sinag's co-faculty," Mister Maligalig pointed out as he leaned back on his chair. He was looking pointedly at the white card Mister Silang had amongst the things in his arm. Now, the implications that seemed to be in Miss Villanueva's voice made themselves clearer in Mister Maligalig's double entendre comment, which Mister Silang dared not answer. "You're also both a close friend of Miss Sinag and a dear childhood friend of her fiance, are you not?"

"That was a long time ago," Mister Silang retorted to both the implicit and explicit questions. He gathered his thoughts and excused himself before he suffered further scrutiny. He began to make his way to the library, filling his mind with thoughts of partial points and bonus quizzes. He had just barely succeeded in pushing the princess who delighted in sitting prettily in the maze of his consciousness to the proverbial gutter, when Murphy's Law decided to apply itself to his internal battles with fairy tales.

"Mister Silang, are you busy?"

"I'm on my way to the library, Miss Sinag," he responded, hiding the exasperation that was probably clearly painted on his face by not turning to face the one who called him.

The volume of Miss Silang's next words seemed softer, "It..."

It won't take long.

In Mister Silang's mind, she was slightly flushed at the effort of saying those words. She hesitated, and she twiddled her fingers uncomfortably. He was making her uncomfortable, and, for some odd reason, he found himself feeling triumphant at that.

"I just wanted to know if you'd read the card," Miss Sinag's voice came out a lot more steady than Mister Silang had anticipated.


Snappish. Cold. Uninterested. Those were only a few of the ways to describe Mister Silang's tone. This deterred the female teacher and she was quick to say that she had other matters to deal with and would Mister Silang be so kind as to respond to her note before the wedding, thank you very much.

And, after that encounter, the princess that had previously been rudely shoved into the side streets of his thoughts came dancing back onto the main road, laughing haughtily at him. Even as he sat in the library which was quickly emptying at that late hour, Mister Silang found his mind wandering back towards the white card Miss Sinag had obviously been talking about. Before opening it, he speculated about its contents, trying to find courage he didn't realize he was missing.

"My Dearest Bryan,"

What bold beginnings for a woman about to be married!

"Do you still love me?

I still love you..."

The princess in his head giggled girlishly, shyly, embarrassed by her own boldness. Mister Silang took her hand and kissed it.

"Just say the word and I won't marry him."

And the prince in his head wept bitterly at the sight of his princess stolen by a mere teacher. But, who was the prince in the face of true love? He was just a prince, after all. And even princes can get their hearts broken.

"I want to be with you for the rest of my life."

Perhaps another happily ever after was to be read, but this time, not with the prince. And just as Mister Silang was about to ride off on his white steed, he read the card in his hand.

Would you be Roy's groomsman?
He wants you by his side at the wedding.
Just as he wants you to be our friend for the rest of our lives."

Mister Silang closed the card and tucked it into his pocket. In his mind, the prince and princess were riding off on their white horse to Happily Ever After. The princess seemed to be smiling at him rather smugly.

Mister Silang picked his things up and went to find Miss Sinag to give his response. He would not make any promises. He could not.

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