[Breaking news: OneClick Advertising Incorporated's Chairman of the Board was murdered.]
[Tamara Feriol murdered inside her own mansion: Feriol Family is facing a tragedy]
[The most shocking catastrophe in the business industry: Tamara Feriol passed away]
[Shocking death: OC's Chairman of the Board died at the age of 52]
Nang mapagtanto kong nakatulog ako, agad akong napabalikwas sa pagkakahiga. "Mom? Mom!" Tears started to trickle down my cheeks.. I looked around trying to find a trace of her but all I saw is Renzo sitting beside me. "Wendy.."
He hugged me for a while as I silently cried.. still hoping.. that the most important person in my life will bring back to life. Sumandal siya sa headboard ng kama habang nakayakap pa rin sa akin. "Your father.."
Agad ko siyang nilingon.. "Where is he?"
Bumungtong hininga siya at bigong tumingin sa akin. "He's on the other room.. He's quite unwell."
I immediately stood up. Naalerto si Renzo sa pagbangon ko pero nanatili siya sa aking tabi para umalalay. Mabilis akong nagtungo palabas sa sarili kong kwarto at pumasok sa pintong pinagbuksan ni Renzo.
Sa loob ay tanaw kong nakabukas ang glass door at sa wheelchair ay nakaupo roon ang aking ama. Agad akong naglakad palapit sa kaniya na nakatingin lamang sa kawalan. Maputla ang kaniyang labi at sa likod ng kaniyang palad ay may nakakonektang IV tube.
Dahan-dahan siyang lumingon sa akin.. bigo ang kaniyang tingin na tila nagmamakaawa sa pagbabalik ng minamahal. "Tamara?"
Muling tumulo ang luha ko.. Naalala ko ang mga araw na palagi niyang sinasabi kung gaano kami magkamukha ni Mom. "Dad.. it's me."
Muling bumalik sa kawalan ang kaniyang tingin na tila hindi ako narinig.. "Tamara.."
Dahan-dahang bumagsak ang aking tuhod sa sahig dahil sa panghihina habang nakakapit sa kaniyang kamay. This must really be.. the worst punishment for us.
"Wendy.." Tiningala ko si Renzo na tinulungan akong tumayo.. "Your father's not very well.. He can be aggressive.. we should go."
Before I could even move a muscle, I felt a tight grip on my wrist as fear struck me quickly. "Where's my wife?" Dad's piercing eyes sent me shivers. It felt like in just one wrong move from me, he'll smash me into the floor!
"Where is my wife?!!"
He stood up reaching for my arm but Renzo is fast enough to pull me away. Nawalan ng balanse ang aking ama dahilan para matumba siya sa sahig kasama ang kaniyang wheelchair! "Dad!"
"My wife! Where is my wife?!"
Male nurses came in and assisted him back on his chair. "Tamara! Tamara!"
My heart broke at the sight of my fragile father so I immediately went out of the room. Pagkasara ko ng pinto ay hindi ko na mapigil ang pag-iyak. Nararamdaman ko na naman ang panghihina ngunit isang braso ang kumapit sa aking bewang kaya nanatili akong nakatayo. "Wendy.. You need to regain your strength. You should eat."
I nodded as I wiped my tears away. Iginiya niya ako pabalik sa aking silid. Pagbukas niya ng pinto ay naroon na sina Julius at Gigi. Agad na lumapit si Gigi at nilahad ang kamay sa lamesa. "Let's eat." She forced a smile siguro para mapagaan ang loob ko.
Ang araw sa labas ay nakakahalina kaya nagtungo ako palapit sa glass door at binuksan ito. Sa balcony ay tinanaw ko ang malawak na pool at garden sa labas habang dinadama ang malakas na hangin.
Naramdaman kong tumabi sa gilid ko si Renzo. Tiningala ko siya na seryosong nakatingin sa malayo.
"I exactly know how it feels.. and during those days, you chose to be with me, even if I was too cold.. So I'll do the same.. I'll be with you in your darkest moment."
I faced him. His hands caressed my arm.. but I shoved it away. "I appreciate your effort. But I have no time for this, Renzo. There are still a lot of other things I am concerned about."
He gently nodded.. at binigyan ko ang tingin na tila nagsasabing naiintindihan niya.. naiintindihan niya na ganito ang turing ko sa kaniya.. "Tell me what is it?"
"Where's the intruder?"
"At the morgue.. your father was able to shoot him dead. I already talked to the police.. they're already investigating if someone ever paid the intruder."
"And my mom?" Tears started to fill my eyes so I didn't blink just to prevent it from falling.
"Her ashes will arrive at the cemetery before evening.. I cannot ask your father about this so I'll just ask you instead."
"What is it?"
"Do you want to arrange a wake for your mom?"
Saglit akong napatitig sa kaniya. Sa huli, dahan-dahan akong umiling. "My mother's death is already too horrible to stomach so I want the rest of the days be peaceful for her. If I were to arrange a wake for my mom, political leaders will only use this opportunity for publicity and for sure, our competitors will shamelessly mock us if they see my father's condition. We are already led to our downfall but that doesn't mean I will let them step on us."
He nodded. "I understand."
Bumalik na ako sa loob ng aking silid. Dumiretso ako sa lamesa kung saan naghihintay sina Julius at Gigi. "I'm sorry.."
Mabilis na umiling si Gigi. "Ayos lang. We can't possibly know how much you're in pain right now. But we will be patient.. we will wait for you to recover."
I smiled at them. Nilingon ko si Renzo. He's reading some files on my study table. Tila sanay na sanay siya rito sa kwarto ko. I sighed and focused on my meal.
"Your Tito Harold.."
Nilingon ko si Julius. Seryoso ang kaniyang mukha nang bitawan ang kubiyertos at bumaling sa akin. "He'll pay a visit."
I nodded. "Kasama niya ba si Denise?"
"Yes, they might stay here for few days.. Here.. in your mansion."
Mabilos akong umiling. "Tell them they can't stay here."
Gigi sighed and wiped the side of her mouth. "Dennise insisted. Gustong-gusto niyang makita ang mansyon."
"Tell her they can visit. But they can't possibly stay here. Plus, I want everyone out of this house. I am moving out with Dad. I can't spend another night in this place."
Almost all of my memories with my mother lies in this mansion but so is my most horrible memory with her. I'll just torment myself everyday if I continue living here. Ni hindi ako sigurado kung kaya ko na bang bumaba sa sala.
Nagkatinginan silang dalawa. Sa gilid ng mata ko'y nakita ko ang paglingon ni Renzo. Tumayo siya at naglakad palapit kaya umupo ako ng diretso. Akala ko'y sasalungat siya sa gusto ko pero nanatili siya sa aking tabi. Nilingon ko siya at tiningala. "What?"
He sighed. "Take a rest for the whole day. Kung kaya mo nang bumiyahe at lumabas, give me a call. We have to talk to your lawyer."
Agad na bumaling ang aking tingin sa envelope na hawak niya. Napansin niya iyon kaya inangat niya ito ng bahagya. "I am taking care of your legal matters. Your mother's last will specifically."
"We have our lawyer to arrange that, bakit mo pa inaabala ang sarili mo para rito?"
"Wendy.." Gigi's voice sent me a warning. I exhaled violently and remained silent.
Tinuro ni Renzo ang pagkain ko. "You should eat more to regain your strength.. I'll go ahead." He threw a gentle look at me before leaving the room.
Even just by seeing his back.. he already looks like someone who knows his business very well.. just by simply walking.. he can relay a warning.. do not mess with him. Over the years, I noticed how much he has changed.. from a humble employee.. he's now a CEO that emanates power and vigor wherever he goes.
Muli kaming bumalik sa pagkain. Tahimik ang silid bago basagin ni Julius ang katahimikan. "You should know about your father's condition."
Nilingon ko siya.. "What happened?"
"Tito Henry, has a retrograde amnesia.."
Padarag kong nabitawan ang hawak kong kubyertos. "What?"
"All he remembers.. are his memories with your mom and that includes.. her death."
Napansandal ako sa aking kinauupuan."Then does that mean he doesn't remember.. me?"
Julius cannot even nod but his eyes already gave me the answer. For so many years, I wanted my father to pay for his sins. This must be it? Only remembering the person he loves and that includes.. how horrible she died. My heart pounded in pain as I exhaled violently.
Gigi cleared her throat trying to lighten things up. "But it's temporary. Babalik din ang alaala niya. That's for sure.."
Napabuntong hininga ako at inalala ang itsura ni Dad kanina. He literally.. lost his mind. Napabuntong hininga na lamang ako at nag-isip ng paraan para ma-distract ang sarili ko sa sitwasyong ito. Kung magiging abala lang ako, baka sakaling mawala sa isip ko ang mga nangyari.
"Call Renzo for me. Tell him, I'll meet with our lawyer."
Natigilan ako sa pagmamaneho nang sa labas ng subdivision ay nag-aabang ang napakaraming media reporters. Nauuna ang sasakyan ko sa sasakyan nila Julius at Gigi kaya kitang kita ko ang kumpol ng mga reporters na pinipilit makalapit.
Ang nasa sampung gwardiya ng subdivision ay nagtulong tulong upang mapigilan ang mga reporters. Heavy tinted ang aking sasakyan pero hindi na ako magugulat kung bakit alam nilang ako ang sakay nito.
Mabilis na akong nagmaneho palayo roon. The news must've spread already.
Pagdating sa OC ay agad na bumaling sa akin si Julius. "From now on, you should be careful when you go somewhere. Tita Tamara's death is all over the news. Everyone wants your statement."
Tumango na lamang ako at hindi na nagsalita. Alam ko namang naroon sila dahil sa malaking balita. Tamara Feriol, a smart and dignified businesswoman was murdered in her own mansion. Everyone must be dying to know the whole story.
My heart never stopped pounding in pain pero pinilit kong maglakad ng taas noo sa harap ng mga empleyadong nadaraanan. Kitang kita ang pagiging aligaga nila at pagyuko kapag nakikita ako. Tila takot na takot.
Yes, they better be scared. With my current state, I can be really mad with just one wrong move.
Gigi pushed the door open for me. Sa loob ay naroon na sina Attorney Isidro at si Renzo. Naupo ako sa dulo ng lamesa. Ang dalawa kong kaibigan ay magkatabi sa kaliwang bahagi habang si Attorney at si Renzo ay magkatabi sa kanan.
Attorney Isidro looked at me with concern in his eyes.. "Are you okay now, Miss Feriol?"
"Let's just proceed with the meeting, Tito." I smiled at him as I dropped the formality. Tito Andrew is my mother's bestfriend so he's quite close to our family.
"We're here to discuss your mother's last will and testament." He opened the case and took out some papers at saka tinuro naman ang papel na nasa harap ko. "Before you is a copy of your mother's last will.. with your father and two of their business partners as witnesses."
The meeting went on. I inherited all the money from my mother's independent account, the mansion and the private island she received from my father as a gift.
But OC.. where Mom owns 30 percent of its shares was surprisingly inherited to my father's younger brother, Tito Harold. Although I know they are waiting for my response, I remained silent.
This means, Tito Harold will be having the same amount of shares as mine. The remaining 40 percent of the shares are owned by the 13 shareholders of OC. Kung gusto niyang makuha ang OC, ang kailangan niya lang gawin ay bumili ng shares.. maybe double or triple the price.
Since Mom is the Chairman of the Board, there will be a new election soon. If Tito wants the position, it will not be that hard for him.
We all remained silent for a while. I was about to get lost in my thoughts kung hindi lang nagtagpo ang tingin namin ni Renzo, he's eyes.. are telling me that everything is going to be fine.
I sighed in relief bago ako lumingon kay Tito Andrew. "Tito Harold will arrive in few days, you can set a meeting with him to tell him about his inheritance."
He nodded.. "Then we will proceed to your mother's shares at Fidel Cruises.."
He flipped a few page before clearing his throat. "To my nephew Spencer Mariano Alvarez, I give and bequeath the following properties to wit: My 25 percent shares at Fidel Cruises."
Now, I couldn't hide my shock. Maging sina Julius at Gigi ay nagkatinginan. I leaned against my chair. Ngayon, hindi ko na alam kung ano bang balak ni Mom. I don't feel betrayed. I'm just.. confused.
I don't have a share at Fidel but Dad holds the 30 percent of its shares. Even if Dad will bequeath it to me.. Spencer could also just buy shares to take over Fidel. Kailangan ko pang makipag-agawan sa pagbili ng ibang shares para lamang manatili ang Fidel sa akin.
My mind felt empty at the moment..
"This Spencer Alvarez.. have you met him?"
Bumaling ako kay Tito. "No." But I know him..
"He is your Tita Janine's adopted and only son and as you know, at the age of 30, he's already one of the youngest and richest businessman in the country. He is your cousin."
Sumandal ako sa aking kinauupuan at dahan-dahang tumango. "I know.."
Naikwento sa akin ni Mom na nagkaalitan sila ng nag-iisa niyang kapatid, si Tita Janine. Matagal silang hindi nagkita pero alam niyang nakapangasawa ito at dahil hindi magkaanak ay piniling mag-ampon. In terms of income, Spencer's internationally known winery holds a place in the list of the country's highest-earning company.
I sighed. I'm not disappointed at all. Siguro ay medyo kinabahan lamang ako. Nagpakadalubhasa ako sa pagne-negosyo para maprotektahan ang pinaghirapan ng mga magulang ko. Pero ngayong nalaman ko na ipinamana ni Mom ang kaniyang shares kina Spencer at Tito Harold.. I can sense.. that either both or one of them.. is a threat.
Nang makalabas si Tito Andrew, bumaling sa akin si Gigi. "Are you okay?"
I nodded.. can't say anything.
Julius spoke. "There must be a reason to all of this. Your parents will never put you in a difficult position for nothing."
"And what could be Mom's possible reason for giving her shares to someone else?"
Sa huli, wala ring naisagot si Julius. Ngunit sa isang taong narito ay awtomatikong dumapo ang tingin ko. I lived far away for five years, kung mayroon mang posibleng nakakaalam, that must be Renzo. I stared at him but he just only stared back at me.
I sighed and looked away in defeat. Even if he knows anything, if he doesn't want to tell me, hindi ko siya mapipilit.
Bumaling ako kay Gigi nang abutin niya ang kamay ko. "May gusto ka bang puntahan? Sasamahan kita."
I shook my head. "I know you have a lot of work to do. I'm just going to find a new house, kaya ko na ito."
Bumaling naman ako kay Julius. "Thank you for accompanying me."
He smiled and nodded. "It's nothing."
Muli kong nilingon si Renzo. Kahit walang sinasabi ay tila inuutusan ako ng kaniyang tingin na manatili. I sighed and faced him. "I'll go ahead."
Nagtungo na sina Gigi at Julius sa kanilang opisina habang ako'y bumaba na sa lobby. Sa entrance ng gusali ay naghihintay na ang aking sasakyan. Mula rito ay kitang kita ko ang barricade na itinayo para mapigilan ang media na makalapit sa gusali.
Tirik pa rin ang araw kahit hapon na pero nagtitiis silang tumayo sa gilid ng highway para sa kapirasong impormasyon. Natigil ako sa pagbukas ng aking sasakyan nang isang kamay ang marahang humaplos sa aking braso.
Without even thinking, I already know who is it. "What do you want?"
Bakas ang kabiguan sa mga mata ni Renzo ngunit kitang kita ko ang pagpapasensya niya. "Gigi told me you that made an appointment with Mr. Li, I'll accompany you."
I immediately shook my head. "As the CEO of OC, I know you are very busy."
"I can always find time when it comes to you."
"You know what, Mr. Solivares? Sometimes I really hate your persistence."
Tumalikod na ako at kinuha ang susi sa valet na naghihintay sa tabi ng aking sasakyan. Nang makarating ako sa opisina ni Mr. Li ay malungkot siyang sumalubong sa akin.
"Good morning, Miss Feriol. I feel sorry for your loss.."
I smiled weakly. "Let's just get down to business."
I chose a two-story house with a huge garden at the back. The garden is a good place for Dad para naman hindi siya mainip sa kaniyang silid.
"About the security.. you know you should not disappoint me, Mr. Li. The consequence of fake promises, you will see a glimpse of it tomorrow."
He gave me a reassuring smile. "Of course, Miss Feriol."
"Since my father is quite weak, a lot of enemies will try to use this opportunity. I don't want the same thing to happen so I am trusting my father's safety to your tight security."
After signing the contract and handing the check, agad akong nagtungo palabas ng gusali. I contacted Renzo along the way. "I need a secretary."
"Yes." I answered without second thought. Si Jessica ang sekretarya ko noong ako pa ang CEO ng OC. She's loyal and I trust her so she's fine.
"Okay. I'll do a few adjustments."
"Tell her I have to meet her asap."
"Yes?" His voice softened and felt more homey.
"You're welcome. I'll send Jessica in my office. Go back here. Don't worry about the media. They're gone."
Nagmaneho ako pabalik sa OC. Dama ko na ang pagod pero wala pa akong balak magpahinga. Hindi ngayong bumabagabag pa rin sa akin ang pagkawala ni Mom. I badly need to distract myself. And I need to vent this overflowing anger.
Mioz Avez Holdings, the developer who failed to secure the vicinity.. they have to pay for this. A mere intruder was able to get in a high-end subdivision? What a shame. What a fucking shame. Their carelessness caused my mother's death!
Nilibot ko ang tingin ko sa labas ng OC. Indeed, the media was gone. I parked my car smoothly in front of the building's entrance and handed the key to the valet.
Sa opisina ni Renzo ay naabutan ko si Jessica na nagsusulat sa kaniyang notebook. "Good afternoon, Miss Feriol." Her smile, just like any other smile I've seen today, is laced with sadness.
"Good afternoon, Jessica. Long time no see."
Her beautiful eyes narrowed as she smiled wider. "You're still beautiful as ever, Ma'am." She told me the same compliment I wanted to tell her too.
"Oh, Mr. Solivares fetched your uncle at the airport."
My smile slowly faded. Tumango ako at naupo sa sofa. Sa tapat ko'y si Jessica na hawak na ang kaniyang iPad, handa sa anumang iuutos ko.
"To whom are you assigned before Renzo appointed you as my secretary?"
"I am originally assigned to him, Ma'am but Mr. Solivares believes that you would want a secretary you can trust so he immediately appointed me."
I see. That's why I haven't seen Emily. If that bitch was fired, I won't be surprise. How dare she claim Renzo as her husband? Cheap bitch.
"I want to release a statement in behalf of OC."
She nodded. "Yes, Ma'am."
She handed me the tablet so I started typing.. While composing my statement, I left her a few instructions. "After this statement, a lot of media companies would ask for an interview but reject all of it and tell them that I am planning to just stay in our house to properly mourn. That way, the media will bug the Mios Avez for few days and eventually, home owners will retaliate and sell their mansion, this will soon cause Mios Avez to be out of business."
Jessica nodded as she listened very well. I handed the tablet back to her. "Do a little proofreading then release it anytime it's ready."
"Yes, Ma'am. Mr. Solivares told me to do anything you want and give everything you need but.. is our CEO knows about your statement?"
"No. You can tell him then, but if he disapproves. Send me the statement, I'll release it myself."
But of course, releasing my statement in behalf of OC means it will be published in our different media outlets and a lot more will be able to see it. Since the reporters are dying to know the back story of my mother's death then might as well provide them an explanation. But I won't bother explaining if it will not serve a special purpose so I have to push this one.
"Ma'am, Mr. Solivares wanted me inform you that he employed new set of bodyguards to your mansion from a more reliable and powerful security agency. As for the payment, he is asking you to leave the check to me."
I nodded. For someone as busy as Renzo, hindi ko akalaing magagawa niya pang isipin ang mga ganitong bagay. After discussing some of my concerns with Jessica, I handed her the check and headed out of the office.
Pabalik na ako sa mansyon pero hindi maalis sa isip ko ang pagsundo ni Renzo kay Tito Harold. I feel something wasn't right.
Sa mansyon ay sumalubong sa akin si Susan. "Kumain ka na, Hija? Iaakyat ko sa kwarto mo ang pagkain."
Lumungkot ang kaniyang mukha. Magsasalita pa lamang sana ay napalingon kami sa hagdan nang umalingawngaw ang pagsigaw ni Dad. "Take me to my wife!"
"Where is she?!"
I closed my eyes when Dad's wailing resounded in the whole mansion. Agad akong umakyat sa ikalawang palapag at nagtungo sa kaniyang kwarto.
The nurses forced him to lie on the bed and injected him something that made him calm few moments later. He's still crying and sobbing as he hugged the pillow beside him.. "My wife.. My precious wife.."
The nurses went out and left us alone..
"Dad.." Tears started to trickle down my cheeks as I caressed my father's shoulder..
"Come back to me.."
No matter how I try to distract myself, at the end of the day, I will still feel it. The excruciating pain of losing my mother and the terrible sadness of seeing my father cry himself to death.