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Chapter 1

It was the usual boring graveyard shift for Dr. Carla Labao. It’s one of those evenings where there are no vehicular accident or severely ill patient. There is also no epidemic, and it is not the season of any disease. It is an easy-breezy night at the emergency room of Tarlac General Hospital.

She’s not the only resident doctor on duty, but she’s the only one who’s awake at the moment. Her colleagues are all on the on-call room adjacent to the ER. There just needs to be one doctor who is ready to assist any patient who comes in. She is the sacrificial lamb tonight.

She takes a sip of her perfectly brewed espresso as Donna, the nurse-on-duty, yawns beside her. They are now in the lounge room, behind the reception area inside the ER. It has a small pantry, and it is where staff hang out when they have no patients.

“I’m sleepy…” said Donna while yawning and stretching her hands up.

Carla smiled. ‘You should stop watching Koreanovelas.”

Donna frowned. ‘No way.”

‘Then let yourself suffer sleep deprivation.” Carla took a sip of her coffee once again.

‘Lee Min-ho is just so handsome…”

‘Oh well…” Carla just said.

Then Lea, another nurse-on-duty, entered the room.

‘Papa Joshy has an interview tonight.” She took the remote control and turned on the TV inside the lounge area.

Carla looked at the TV set. A shampoo commercial is currently being shown.

‘Joven Pagala Live?” asked Donna.

‘Yup,” Lea answered. ‘With Caitlyn.”

‘Ah, yes! They have an upcoming movie, right?” Donna asked again.

‘Yes, on Valentine’s Day.”

Carla is not a fan of showbiz. She watches movies, yes, but she’s not a fan of any actor. Local, at least. She’s always been a fan of Leonardo DiCaprio ever since she watched the movie Titanic when she’s in fourth grade. And then, Patrick Dempsey because of the series Grey’s Anatomy.

Actually, it was one of the reasons why she wanted to become a doctor. She was already on her fourth year in high school, yet she’s still undecided as to what she will study in college. Probably business, or culinary arts? Their family owns some restaurants and she thought that that will also be her fate. It turns out McDreamy was bound to change her destiny.

‘These commercials are too many!” Lea complained.

‘You just have to be a little patient if you want to see Papa Joshy,” said Donna to her friend and colleague.

Carla knows who Papa Joshy is. She’s well aware that her colleagues are a fanatic of Joshua Socorro. Donna and Lea are just two of the thousands of fans of the said actor who starred in so many blockbuster movies and high rating teleseryes. He also dominates even on TV commercials. He really is a certified matinée idol.

The commercials are over and the talk show that the two comrades are waiting for has aired. Donna and Lea became more excited.

‘We’re back, and now, we have with us the phenomenal reel and real-life couple,” said Joven Pagala, the host of the talk show. ‘Please welcome Joshua Socorro and Caitlyn Soriano!”

The fans started screaming and shouting, and the audience got even more excited when Joshua and Caitlyn came out, their hands holding. The two waved and smiled at the fans for a while before heading to the waiting host.

The two kissed Joven before sitting on the sofa on the stage. Joven was sitting in the opposite armchair.

‘How are you? How have you been?” asked Joven to the couple.

‘Great!” Joshua replied while looking at Caitlyn. ‘It’s always great to be here on your show,” he said as he looked back at Joven.

Then Caitlyn said to Joven, “Yeah, it’s just so fun here… Uhm …”

“We love you JoshLyn!”

The three laughed at that sudden outburst of a fan.

“We love you, too,” Caitlyn said with a smile.

Fans were overjoyed by what the actress said.

“Yes, whoever you are,” Joshua said, pertaining to the fan who shouted a while ago.

The others pointed out to the said fan. Joshua and Caitlyn greeted the fan who became even more excited.

“Actually, I was quite hesitant to invite you here because every time you are my guests, I feel like the studio will collapse,” Joven said to the couple.

Joshua and Caitlyn laughed at Joven’s joke. The fans then made more noise to justify Joven’s remark.

“It feels like this is an afternoon show because the energy of your fans is not for a late-night show,” Joven added.

The fans made noise once again.

“No, but the truth of is, I really want you to be here because that is the only time that I get to see Joshua again,” Joven retracted. He then looked at the audience. “For those of you who do not know yet, Joshua is my high school classmate. And since then, he has always been popular. But it seems like your popularity has moved on to the next level, right?”

Joshua smiled. “I owe it all to the fans. They are the reason why I’m here today.”

The fans screamed once again.

“Actually, I miss you, too,” Joshua said to Joven. He then faced the audience. “Joven always lets me copy during high school.”

“Because I also copied that from our other classmates,” Joven said.

The two laughed at their jokes. Even Caitlyn laughed with them.

“I wonder what kind of a classmate Papa Joshy is,” Lea asked Donna.

“I think being classmates with him is fun,” Donna said.

Carla took a sip of her espresso once again. If they only know how Joshua Socorro was during high school. Well, Joven said it right. Joshua was already popular back in high school. He was a dancer, and he always performed in all the school programs with his dance group, the Pure Act Dancers. Even then, he has been a heartthrob in the making.

But back then, his heart throbs only for someone.

As Joshua and Caitlyn talks about their upcoming movie, Carla can’t help but reminisce their good old high school days. Joven has always been the reporter of the class. He literally knows everything that happens in the entire school campus. Joshua has always been the celebrity. Together with his groupmates, he made a mark on their high school life’s history. And then, she has always been the smart Carla who loves studying verging on nerdish and geeky.

But she’s not really a nerd or a geek. She is not socially inept and irrelevant. She has been active in all the school activities, aside from the fact that she’s already charming to begin with. She’s one of the those ‘perfect’ students back then – beauty and brains. That is why even though she focused on her studies, she could not be considered as unpopular. She actually managed to steal the heart of the high school heartthrob.

Joven continued the interview.

“So, the premier night will be on the twelfth?” he asked Joshua and Caitlyn.

Joshua nodded. “The premier night is on the twelfth, and then on the thirteenth, you will witness a very extraordinary love story…”

Joshua and Caitlyn continued to promote the film. They said the names of the other cast members, the director and writer of the story as well as its producer.

“Any upcoming shows?” Joven asked after.

“I have a show in Dubai,” Caitlyn said. “It’s a Valentine’s Day concert…” She then announced the venue and inclusive dates of the show.

“So, you won’t be together during Valentine’s Day?” asked Joven.

“Actually, on the premier night only,” Caitlyn answered.

“Ooh! How will that be, Josh?” Joven asked his friend.

“We already talked about that, actually,” Joshua said. “She allowed me to bring a date to the premier night. The only thing is, we still don’t know who that might be.”

“What do you mean by that?” Joven asked.

“We are actually looking for my date for the premier night of the movie,” Joshua explained. “It is open to all female fans.”

“Female fans only?” asked Joven.

That made Joshua and Caitlyn laugh.

“Well, if male fans want to join, why not, right?” asked the smiling Joshua. “It’s not just the premier night. There will be a dinner before the film showing… Make it early dinner because the movie starts at seven.”

“OMG!” Lea screamed while looking at Donna.

Donna was also excited by what she heard. “Friend!”

“So how can they join that contest?” asked Joven.

“Just send us the reason why we should pick you as my date on the premier night through email. The address will be shared on the official page of the movie. So, the best story or answer or whatever will be my date on the premier night plus an early dinner before the film showing.”

“Wow! That is the most awesome Valentine’s Day gift!” Joven said. He looked at the audience. “So, if I were you, I would construct a nice statement as to why Joshua would pick me.” He looked back at his friend. “Will you be the one to choose?”

“I will be the one to choose,” Joshua said.

“With your consent?” Joven asked Caitlyn.

“I guess so,” she answered.

Joven looked at the camera. “That’s it! Submit your entries and who knows? You might be chosen as Joshua Socorro’s date on February twelve.”

“Friend! You know that will be me,” Lea said to Donna.

“Sorry, but my story will be better,” Donna said.

“Ooh! I’m not letting you win over me, Friend,” Lea said. “I will create the best story.”

“Mine will be the best,” Donna countered.

Carla just giggled at her colleagues’ banter. She looked at the TV and at that moment, Joven is wrapping up the interview. He then introduced a local band to perform the theme song of the movie. As the band plays, the camera was focused on Joshua and Caitlyn.

Donna and Lea continued teasing each other.

“Don’t you have a date on Valentine’s Day?” asked Donna.

“Yes, but the premier night is on the twelfth.”

“Isn’t that what you will watch with your date?”

“It’s not the same as being with Papa Joshy,” Lea said.

“So just let me win, because I don’t even have a date on Valentine’s Day,” Donna insisted.

It seems nothing has changed. Girls still desire to have a chance to be with Joshua Socorro. It has been like that since high school, and Carla thinks the hype grew more now that he became a national celebrity. There’s just one thing that changed, though. Carla once again saw Joshua on the TV, and this time, he was happily chatting with his girlfriend Caitlyn.

Back in high school, Carla is the girl that Joshua wanted to be with. That is the one thing that changed on him.

“I’ll go out now,” she said to the two nurses as they continued arguing who should date Joshua Socorro.

When Carla got out to the ER, there was a woman who is in labor. She immediately attended the patient and gave her whatever help she needs from her.

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