Here, have my feelings. All of them.

Okay, I know… I know. It’s been three weeks since the #romanceclass April Feels Day–I should have gotten over it by now, moved on and such… but guess what? It’s not happening. Nuh-uh.

All because the live readings for Waiting in the Wings happened.

So here I am, writing this post to try and process my feelings one by one. There will be more ~processing posts, by the way, because more things happened after April 30 and I just…

Why yes, I’ve been finding the need to do this for three weeks now.

Before I wordvomit around this space, you need to know these three things:

  1. Waiting in the Wings is my most personal work yet,
  2. A huge chunk of Ramon’s personality was inspired by Gio Gahol, and;
  3. Pio Alvez in my headcanon looks and sounds like Fred Lo.

I didn’t know which scenes Mina picked for the readings (and I wasn’t able to attend rehearsal because I was busy facilitating games), so this was kind of a surprise. At first I thought she’d pick one long scene where Pio, Erin, and Ramon would be interacting, but no. Mina went ahead and chose two scenes. And killed me. Real good.

Thanks, Mina.

Pio & Erin’s first date

Fred Lo is Pio Alvez, Graie So is Erin Javier

[ 1:37 ] Pach said she flailed at rehearsal when she heard this. I did too.

[ 1:49 ] Awkward Pio laugh. DEADDEADDEAD.

[ 2:19 ] “Let’s go?” And people started squealing. JEEZ GUYS RELAX. (I’m kidding let’s flail!)

[ 3:06 ] “Hey, do I need to play more music so we can start talking?” Someone laughs in the background. SAME, GIRL. SAME.

[ 3:31 ] Graie. I love you, I do. <3 Her “WOW” in 3:33 was just perfect haha!

[ 3:39 ] Fred says “Come on,” and someone in the background lets out a small wail. I can’t help but laugh. IDK who you are, person, but same.

[ 4:04 ] “I know. Don’t worry.”
Someone in the background, who sounds like my friend Rix: “YEEEEEES!”
Everyone else, probably:

[ 4:46 ] “Erin? You don’t seem happy.” Fred makes that face and I’m just like… STOP. STOP IT. NOW. HDU.
Graie’s “It’s amazing actually, thank you!” <3 She is Erin, I’m telling you. She was perfect.

[ 5:26 ] “I know right.”
[ 5:33 ] “No, you’re right. I am insane.”

^ Fred using his Disney Prince voice. I AM DEAD. BYE.

[ 5:59 ] The narration in this part basically describes Pio Alvez in Erin’s POV. She is clearly smitten, and my friend Rix told me (as this part was being read) that Erin was “so thirsty” for Pio it was funny. And perfect.

Also look at Fred’s face while his character is being described, especially when the word “sexy” was thrown out there. That jerked eyebrow, please. And then he smiles, bright like the friggin’ sun. Excuse me, how many times have I died in the past 6 minutes?

[ 6:27 ] Someone says “HALA” and that just cracks me up.

[ 6:51 ] Everyone laughs after “It’s really happening, Erin. Welcome to your first date.” AH MY HEART. Thank you <3

[ 7:34 ] Someone goes “awww” when Ramon is mentioned. Labyu, whoever you are. <3

[ 7:50 ] Graie says, “Cute mo!” and there’s laughter all around, like YEAH WE CAN SEE THAT.

[ 8:05 ] Graie’s face when Fred says “Would you mind NOT posting anything about this on social media?” </3 AWWWW. But seriously, just watch her face all throughout. She makes all the appropriate faces. She’s amazing.

[ 8:25 ] “local doughnut brand” — the way Graie said this was hilarious. And with that face too.

[ 8:58 ] Someone squeaks after Fred says “I want us to take a photo together.” HAHAHAHAHAHA.

[ 9:19 ] “I’m not seeing anyone. At least not until today.” Everyone just screamed like their team hit a home run or something. ISTG the energy! PLEASE. I mean. COME ON. How do you live after that?

And there was an impromptu ten-second break after that because people couldn’t stop squealing and laughing. Graie and Fred had to remind everyone to breathe. Sort of.

And me? I bolted out of my seat after that line was thrown, and I went over to where my Summer Crush girls Jay and Six were seated so I could hug them. HAHA. God, I was a mess.

[ 9:54 ] “Have you been lied to all your life?”
[ 10:10 ] “Truth is, I’ve had a little crush on you since seeing Minsan Tayo.”

CRASH CART PLEASE. I NEED A CRASH CART! (Someone squeals “Ano ba yan!” at 10:14 HAHAHAHAHAH GURL)

[ 10:38 ] The laughter and applause after Graie says “Wow?” I CAN’T. HAHAHAHAH. Fred’s reaction is so funny too!

[ 10:53 ] FRED’S JERICHO ABUEVA VOIIIIIICEEEEEE! *screams to oblivion* (I have been wanting to write a short Jericho-Hiraya spin-off tbh because I love them, and hearing this Jer voice was just UGH. REVIVE ME.)

[ 11:51 ] The collective AWWWWWW after Jericho’s threat to Pio hahahahahahaha.

[ 12:12 ] “Erin allowed herself to bask under the warmth of Pio’s smile.”
Someone in the background: /SIGHS AGGRESSIVELY

[ 12:37 ] Someone screams “Wala, may nanalo na!” HAHAHAHAHAHAHA YOKO NA MGA BES.

So, confession: I didn’t feel this much kilig while writing this scene. Maybe it’s because at the back of my mind I was rooting for Ramon, or because the scene I wrote prior to this involved Ramon getting sorta-kinda jilted that writing this scene felt like I’m betraying him. At the same time, though, I wanted Pio to be perfect. Boy-you-take-home-to-mom perfect. And I wasn’t very worried. 3/4 of my beta readers liked Pio, and during Waiting in the Wings‘ release week, a lot of people were charmed by him.

That still did NOT prepare me for ALL OF THESE FEELINGS.

Hearing Fred and Graie voice Pio and Erin just made everything different. Like… I know I wrote these words, but the interpretation (while not completely veering away from what I’ve imagined while writing it) and the audience’s reactions to it just made a world of difference. <3

Thank you, Fred and Graie.

Also, trivia! Prior to April 30, some people who have read Waiting in the Wings have asked me to write a spin-off book for Pio and I told them that yes, Pio’s going to have his own book someday, I promise. Back then, my plan was to start writing Pio’s book by the end of 2017 because I had another book on my writing calendar. Ayun, awa ng Diyos, more people demanded for Pio after the live reading, so now I’m writing his book! Lekat.

Anyway–target release for #ProjectPio is September 2017.

Ramon & Erin’s Roofdeck Dance

Gio Gahol is Ramon Figueroa, Graie So is Erin Javier

HAHA. I just love how people were like “Go Ramon!” before the reading even began. Thank you, #TeamRamon! This reading is less hilarious and more “awwwwww damn it” than the previous one, but I have ~thoughts about it. Spazzfest first.

[ 2:06 ] “You are such a good friend.”
Even Graie does this gesture to her chest, I can’t HAHAHAHA.

[ 2:35 ] “Is there anything I can do to make you feel better?”
“You know you can be honest with me, Erin.”

[ 2:53 ] Graie: “I’m not sure I want this thing with Pio.”
Gio: “What?” *smiles*

Teeheehee. The exact reaction I wanted. <3 (Although of course, in scene, nobody was supposed to see that. Especially not Erin.)

[ 3:20 ] You’re not the only one. And then Gio kinda squeaks “Selfish?” WHY. WHY ARE YOU SO ADORABLE WHY.
Also people are all awwwwwww. They’re probably killing me in their heads at this point, I’m so sorry?

[ 3:23 ] Graie goes “Do you have someone you like?” and everyone’s basically WOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAH DYING.

[ 3:43 ] “It’s time all right, but it’s time that’s not mine alone.” This part. THIS ENTIRE FRICKING PART was all AWWWWWWWWW. I wrote this book and even I thought I was making Ramon’s life so hard. HAHA! Letse.

[ 4:06 ] “Of course I do.” YOKO NA GIO. Yung bitaw mo rito ‘di ko kinaya.

[ 4:38 ] “For now, my heart knows no one else.”
Shit I still remember the time I wrote this line into the scene. It wasn’t supposed to be there, but it happened, and I loved it? So it stayed. And hearing Gio say this… I just went–

[ 4:45 ] “That’s sweet.”
Gio: /does a little, shy body sway
Everyone: /LAUGHS

[ 5:03 ] Gio mentions the song Nandito Ako and people REACT. I think it was Chris Mariano who said she thought he was going to actually sing it, and to be honest, if Gio actually did, I would have died a few more times.

[ 5:19 ] “Dance with me?”

[ 6:00 ] Gio describes how Ramon sings to Erin while they dance, and I hear people make dying sounds. (“OOOO.” “DIOS KO.” “MY GOOOD.”) I AM SO SURE IT WAS CHI WHO SAID “DIOS KO,” I SWEAR TO GOD I AM CACKLING RIGHT NOW! ^_^

[ 6:35 ] “As it turned out, Pio had arrived…”
*collective AWWWWW-ing*
I hurt myself listening to this part.

[ 6:56 ] “Anytime.” (LOL someone let’s out an UGH and ARAY after this. HAHAHAHA.)
Well, kinda.

[ 7:27 ] Mark’s voice LOL. Gio doesn’t know who my peg for this character is, but okay, I’ll take it. Pepe can modulate his voice like that anyway. *cackles*

[ 7:34 ] “Soda’s not gonna numb the pain.”
AGAIN… *collective AWWWWW-ing*

I said this on Twitter: I couldn’t breathe while this scene was being read. Of course–I’m #TeamRamon, even if I encourage people to go onboard #TeamPio or be non-partisan. The tone was just so, so different from the first and it was kind of difficult to adjust? This scene was pretty painful, I will own up to that. I will always hurt for Ramon in this scene, and I love how Gio set the tone for that–a little somber, a little hopeful, a little fine, I’ll take this if this is all I can get.

Gio’s interpretation of Ramon was a little more playful than I had imagined, but it worked. I love the little shy sway he did when Graie told him he was sweet. UGH. NO. HAHAHA. STOP. This, by the way, was the second time he narrated a book of mine (the first one was Scandalized, during last year’s MIBF) and he always, always delivers. Labyu, Gio. Thank you. For being one of the inspirations for Ramon, and lending your voice to him too. <3

Yeah. This was a dream come true.

Special shoutout to my sister Jill, who took these videos because I COULDN’T. <3 Love you, babylove.

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