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A nerve-wracking marriage of two old lovers who broke up once few years ago If there will be a reverse button, would they choose to click it

Paggising ko'y nakaalis na si Renzo, naabutan pa raw siya nila Dad pero tumanggi na siyang magtagal pa. Sa galit niyang 'yon, imposibleng maatim pa niyang kumain dito.

"Good morning, Mom." 

She smiled and nodded. Umupo ako nang hindi nililingon si Dad na nasa dulo ng lamesa because suddenly, I feel so distant. My growing doubt on him explains the indifference that I feel. Sa tuwing titignan ko siya'y naaalala ko ang bintang ni Renzo. Pilit ko mang isiksik sa utak ko na walang kasalanan si Dad.. but with such power and strong will.. kinakabahan ako.

Mom spoke in the middle of our meal. "It's so complicated now. Renzo is fuming mad this morning. Bakit pa kasi kailangang ipilit ang kasal? You should've moved on years ago. It's him who wanted to be out of your relationship anyway.."

I sighed.. "Naiintindihan ko kung bakit siya nakipaghiwalay noon... at least siya, alam niya ang priority niya. Kailangan niyang unahin ang scholarship niya dahil mula nang mawala si Tito Darius, nahirapan na sila, iyon na lang ang kinakapitan niya."

Hindi tulad ko, napakachildish ko noon. Mas inuuna ko si Renzo kaysa ang gumawa ng assignments ko, madalas akong magtampo kapag hindi siya nakakapagtext kaya imbes na makapag-aral siya ng maayos ay kailangan niya tuloy unahin ang pagpapaamo sa'kin. I was just a burden all along and yet, galit na galit ko sa kaniya noon iniwan niya ako. 

May kung anong bumara sa lalamunan ko kaya uminom ako ng tubig at tumayo na. "I lost my appetite.."

Pag akyat ako sa kwarto, I received a lot of missed calls from him. My heart raced at the thought of his eagerness to talk to me, ano kayang dahilan? Tinawagan ko siya pabalik pero hindi naman siya sumasagot. 

I went to the my office para magreview ng mga proposals at sa kalagitnaan ng meeting ko kasama ang ilan sa mga empleyado ko ay biglang bumukas ang pinto. Niluwa nito sa Renzo na masama ang tingin sa akin. "Let's talk.."

Nagkatinginan ang mga kasama ko sa meeting pero ngumiti na lamang ako at tumayo. "Excuse me."

Sinundan ko si Renzo palabas ng pinto. The door opened again at nilingon ko ang sekretarya ko. "Resume the meeting, take notes for me."

"Yes, Ma'am." Saka siya bumalik muli sa silid.

I faced Renzo.. "What's wrong?"

"I remember everything you told me last night."

"So? Wala naman akong sinabing masama." May naisip na masama, oo.

"Kinausap ni Mama ang daddy mo tungkol sa 50 million?"

"Oo, bakit?"

"Personal?"

"No, just over the phone."

Hinagis niya sa akin ang isang brown envelope. Punong puno na naman ang galit ang kaniyang mga mata kaya sumibol sa takot ang puso ko. He looks like he can hurt me right now.. what the hell happened? Pinulot ko ang envelope at nilabas ang mga papel sa loob.

"My mother left her phone at home.. I paid someone to retrieve the call logs and the messages pati ang linya ng telepono na gamit niya sa opisina. Since the day that the phone was bought, my mom and your dad never talked."

Pinulot ko ang envelope, printed copy iyon ng call logs and messages. I scanned the list and hoping to see my father's mobile or office number pero wala. 

"Kung may kinalaman ka rito, sabihin mo na."Gigil na gigil siya. Ang namumula niyang leeg at salubong na kilay ang patunay nito.. He stepped closer and my initial reaction was to step back.. takot na mahawakan niya o ano.. "It's clear that your father did this, aminin mo na!" Hinigit niya ang braso ko at mariing ibinaon ang kaniyang kuko roon.. Halos maiyak ako sa sakit pero pinigil kong dumaing.. 

I've never been held like this before and seeing him tower over me makes me want to scream.. "I-I swear to God, hindi ko to alam. I.. I don't know anything—"

Marahas niyang binitawan ang kamay ko. "I want to fucking avenge my mother's death! Gusto ko ring pumatay! This is a fucking sign! Ni minsan ay hindi niya nakalimutan ang cellphone niya, ito ng unang beses, unang beses! Ang araw mismo na namatay siya maybe because that was destined to happen! It helped me find out the truth.." His voice grew weak as he spoke of the last line.

Nanginginig ako at hindi ko alam kung paano ko pa ibabalanse ang katawan ko. "I'm sorry.. I'm sorry. Kung si Dad nga ang may gawa nito.. then.. then file a case.. Do everything for your mom.. But if Dad has nothing to do with this.. I don't think he'd.. let you slip away."

"I don't fucking care."

"You know that this is not enough. He can deny everything that he said to me kaya hindi mo rin ito magagamit na ebidensya. Kung kakasuhan mo siya, masisira ang reputasyon niya at sigurado akong hindi niya ito palalampasin! You need to be ready before  declaring a war against him..."

"Renzo, let's push the wedding, kailangang matuloy ang kasal or else, si Daddy naman ang magpapakulong sa'yo. I'll give you one month.. just one month to prove what you believe. I think I can protect you until then but after that.. I.. I have to give you up. My father also needs my support. Kahit duda ako sa kaniya, I am still his daughter.."

Inabot ko sa kaniya ang envelope at pumasok na muli sa opisina ko. I was absent minded the whole day. Pag uwi ko ay tahimik ang bahay, lagi namang ganito pero mukhang masyado pang maaga. 

I knocked at my parents' room pero walang nagbubukas. "Mom? Dad?" Tinignan ko ang relo ko. 9 pm pa lang, usually gising pa sila ng ganitong oras. I went to Dad's office instead at natigilan nang may mabasag na kung ano roon. Agad akong tumakbo at binuksan ang pinto.

Broken figurine were scattered on the floor. "What happened here?" Lumingon silang dalawa sa akin so I saw my mom's tear-stained cheeks. "Why.. why are you crying?" 

Sanay na akong nag-aaway sila, marami silang hindi mapagkasunduan but this time, Mom looks scared as fuck. Mabilis siyang lumabas sa opisina at tumakbo patungo sa kwarto. Pinagmasdan ko lamang siya habang hinahanap ang susi sa kaniyang bag. Mukhang pare-pareho kaming kakauwi lang.

"What happened?"

"May hindi lang kami napagkaintindihan. Matulog ka na."

Pagod na rin ako so I went to my room. Ayoko nang makigulo pa sa away nila dahil kahit ako, may sariling away kay Renzo. For sure Mom and Dad would be okay tomorrow, hindi nila kayang tiisin ang isa't isa. 

Matutulog na sana ako nang biglang may kumatok sa pinto kaya agad akong bumangon. 

"Wendy?" Then I heard another few knocks on my door. Agad kong binuksan ang pinto. Mabilis na pumasok si Mom, ni-lock ang pinto at saka ako dinala sa kama ko.

"What's wrong?"

Sabay kaming naupo habang hawak niya ang dalawa kong kamay. "I.. I don't know what happened to your Dad. I was just.. just silent about this pero hindi ko na mapigilan. Ayokong madamay ka rito so you have to help Renzo.." Malamig na malamig ang kaniyang kamay at namumutla ang kaniyang labi.. what the hell happened?

"What? What are you.. saying?"

"Your Dad paid someone.. to burn iMake..." Her whisper sent me shivers down my spine.. and her bloodshot eyes are telling me that she's not fucking lying! 

Natulala ako sa gulat. Tila unti unting lumulubog ang puso ko kaya hindi ako makahinga. "How.."

"Listen to me, Wendy." Mas hinigpitan niya ang hawak sa kamay ko. I am not ready to listen, tila mas naririnig ko pa ang kalabog ng aking dibdib. It felt like a powerful spell released my greatest fear.

"Someone went here, hinanap ang daddy mo.. And your dad.. he was so surprised with this visitor. I felt something wrong because your dad did not entertain him, pinaalis niya agad at pinakaladkad pa kay Jerry palabas! I asked him who that man is but he didn't answer and just glared at me. It's like he's warning me to stop asking questions!"

Huminga ako ng malalim at lumunok. I think I know where is this going, can I accept it, though? Do I even have a choice? I stared at my Mom. She gulped and wiped her tears. "His phone rang minutes later, your Dad is in his office so I answered the call. It was that man, he's asking for additional payment and in return, he would not tell anyone about what happened."

Naramdaman kong mas nanlalamig at mas nanginginig na ang palad ni Mommy. I can't react much but my tears just keep flowing.. She hugged me and we stayed silent for a while.. I can't believe what kind of monster my father has become.

"So you have to help Renzo. He's mad too.. alam kong gagawin niya ang lahat para magbayad si Henry at ayokong madamay ka rito. You have to help him para hindi ka madamay sa gulong ginawa ng Daddy mo."

"W..what about you?"

Umiling si Mom at saka ngumiti. "It's my fault why your Dad has changed. Ngayon ko lang napagtanto that he did everything for my sake, for our sake. Kahit sa maruming paraan. Nagpanggap akong wala akong alam sa mga ginagawa niya noon, taking down small businesses na nagiging threat sa ating kumpaniya.. pinalagpas ko iyon. But ignoring Ida's death was beneath me. Hindi na pwedeng magpatuloy sa ganito ang Daddy mo.."

"Why.. why does he have to do that?"

Mas lalo akong naiyak habang yakap yakap ako ni Mom. Gusto kong sugurin si Dad at magtanong kung bakit kailangang umabot doon?! Kung bakit niya nagawa iyon.. pero ang isiping malalaman niyang alam ko na ang ginawa niya, pakiramdam ko'y mauubusan ako ng dugo. 

"You have to be strong, Wendy. Makipagtulungan ka kay Renzo, you have to retrieve the call from your Dad's phone and you have to find that man. He's the only witness we have... and the suspect himself."

"A-are we really doing this? Paano kung malaman ni Dad?"

As much as I want to help Renzo, inuunahan ako ng takot. I have watched how people can be evil in movies and I never thought that my father will turn into one. 

"We have to do this. You have to do this, Wendy. This is the only way to spare you. Wala kang kinalaman dito kaya hindi mo dapat pagbayaran ang mga kasalanan ng daddy mo."


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