The Enslave Story Part 15

MONIQUE woke up with a splitting headache. She tried to get up, but that just made the pain more excruciating. Sinapo niya ang kanyang ulo. Kulang nalang ay hilahin niya ang kanyang buhok sa tindi ng sakit na nararamdaman.

Iginala niya ang kanyang paningin sa buong silid. Her headache didn’t stop her from being awed by the rustic interior of the room. Ang malaking canopy bed ay may mga makalumang adorno. Pero sa kabila ng pagka-antigo nito ay lumulutang pa rin ang karangyaan.

She rubbed her eyes. She’s being silly. Why is she even praising the interior of the room? Nasaan ba siya?

Tila bigla siyang natauhan. Nasa Casa Ysabela siya. At ang huling natatandaan niya ay ang pag-ubos ng isang bote ng alak. Iniangat niya ang kumot na tumakip sa katawan niya. Nakasuot na lamang siya ng isang manipis na cotton nighties. Bago rin ang underwear na suot niya.

Naihilamos niya ang mga palad sa kanyang mukha.Monique… what on earth have you done.Sa isip niya.

She fucked up once again. She left home to visit this place without even informing her parents. Sigurado siya na nag-aalala na ang mga ito. She did not mean to cause any trouble. All she wanted at that moment was to forget. She just wanted to forget.

And she thinks she got what she wanted. Heck, she can’t even remember what exactly happened to her last night. Lalabas nalang siya ng kuwarto at magtatanong kay Kei. Perhaps she blacked out. And perhaps that poor kid was responsible for dragging her in this room.

Bumangon na siya at tinungo ang dresser. Naroon ang kanyang mga gamit. Grabbing her toiletries, she headed towards the bathroom. Kailangan niya nang umalis. Mamayang gabi ay iuuwi na ni Raffy sa kanya si Eon.

She smiled as she felt the warm trickle of water against her skin. Magkikita na silang muli ng kanyang anak. Sabik na sabik na siyang mayakap ito.

Matapos mag-shower ay pinili niyang suutin ang isang pale yellow off-shoulder sundress. Dahil biglaan ang kanyang desisyon na tumungo sa Casa Ysabela, iilang piraso ng damit lamang ang bitbit niya.

Inayos niya ang lahat ng kanyang gamit. She was almost done strapping her beige Valentino Rockstud flats when the door opened. Expecting that it might be Kei or maybe one of the caretakers, she plastered a sweet smile on her face.

Ngunit bigla ring naglaho ang kanyang ngiti. She’s looking at Raffy. Ano’ng ginagawa nito rito?

“I thought you’re still asleep,” anito sa masuyong boses.

Judging from his outfit, she’s quite sure that he went out for a jog. Basa ang damit nito at may tangang bote ng mineral water sa kaliwang kamay.

“What are you doing here?” Aniya. Trying her very best to sound calm and collected. Pero ang totoo ay ang lakas ng kabog ng dibdib niya. May namumuo nang hinala sa kanyang isip. And she’d die of shame if she confirms what she’s thinking.

“You left without notice. Yaya and Tita Consuelo were so worried,” sagot nito. Nagsimula itong maghubad ng suot na t-shirt.

“I’d love to take a shower first, pero magpapalit nalang ako ng damit. Baka malingat lang ako, mawala ka na naman,” he said jokingly but she didn’t find it funny. She even looked away.

Gusto niya sana itong tanungin kung paano siya natunton nito. But she restrained herself. Just being in the same room with him felt awkward. What more if they engage in small talk?

Raffy’s acting casually. He walks and talks as if there is no awkwardness between them. She bit her lip. Eh ano ngayon kung komportable si Raffy na kasama siya? Siya lang naman itong hindi mapakali at atat na atat nang maka alis.

“Don’t worry about Eon. I left him with Yaya Mercy. Natawagan ko na rin kagabi sina Tita Consuelo. I told them that you’re with me and you’re safe.”

Tumango lang siya. She never even bothered to say thanks. Bakit ba kasi ito nandito?

“We’ll take my car. Ipapasundo nalang natin kay Mang Bert o sa isa sa mga empleyado ko ang kotse mo,” he said as he grabbed her stuff.

Inagaw niya iyon. “I can drive,” tipid niyang turan.

“No, you can’t. You’re hung over and I’m pretty sure you don’t feel well right now.”

Oo, masakit pa rin ang ulo niya. And it’s even worse now that he’s here.

Nauna na siyang lumabas ng kwarto. Mag-aalas sais na ng umaga. Pero malamig pa rin ang simoy ng hangin at hindi pa lubos na sumisikat ang araw. Habang naglalakad palabas ng bahay ay namataan niyang nakasakay ng kabayo ang dalagitang si Kei sa ‘di kalayuan.

Everything here in Casa Ysabela is magnificent. The fresh air, the breathtaking scenery… It just makes you wanna live here forever.

She leaned on the porch’s wooden baluster. Nilalanghap ang sariwang hangin at ninanamnam ang kagandahan ng lugar sa huling pagkakataon.

Napapitlag siya nang hawakan siya ni Raffy at dahan dahang ipanagsalikop ang kanilang mga kamay. He pulled her towards the wooden swing. Tahimik lang itong tumitig sa papasikat na araw.

“Do you remember the day after I proposed to you? We watched the sunrise together. Here. At this very same spot,” wika nito.

How could she forget? Her Casa Ysabela memories will forever be treasured. It’s one of the memories which were not tainted by her mistakes and shortcomings.

Naramdaman niya ang pag-alog ng mga balikat ni Raffy. She squeezed his hand on instinct. Hindi niya napigilan ang sarili niya.

“B-Bakit ‘di mo sinabi sa’kin, Nique?” He asked. Still focusing his eyes on the sunrise.

“Pero kahit na… I still should have known. I should have fβ€”cking known,” patuloy nito. Naka-tiim bagang.

What is he talking about? Why is he being weird?

“But you should have told me. You should’ve told me back then… I could have killed him with my bare hands.”

Nanlamig siya sa narinig.

“You know how scared you were last night?” Anito habang nakatingin sa kanya. “You thought I was him. You were so scared you’re shaking in my arms. You were reliving the trauma. And I can’t do anything about it. Do you know how hard it is for me to see you like that? At napakagago ko kasi sinaktan kita.” Tuluyan na itong umiyak.

“R-Raff,” basag ang boses na tawag niya rito. She pulled him close and let his head rest on her chest.

“Okay lang ako. I’m okay now. I’ve been on therapy. I promise, I’m okay…” alo niya rito. O mas tamang sabihin na ang mga katagang sinabi niya ay nagsisilbi ring pang-aalo sa kanyang sarili. Dahil, hanggang ngayon, masasabi niya na nga ba talagang okay na siya?

“He took advantage of you!”

“Y-Yes. He did. He r-raped me. On the second time, he threatened me. But… but I still made a mistake, Raff. I was so twisted because I still let himβ€””

“No, no…” he shook his head and cupped her face.

She closed her eyes as his lips covered hers. Parang hinaplos ang kanyang puso sa pamilyar na sensasyong hatid niyon. Lahat ng takot at pag-aalinlangan na baka hindi niya ito minahal noon ay tuluyan nang naglaho. Minahal niya pala ito. At hanggang ngayon, ang naturang pagmamahal ay naroon pa rin sa kanyang puso.

Mahal niya si Raffy. Hindi ito perpekto. Hindi ito gaya ng mga lalaking matatagpuan lamang sa mga libro. Pero alam niya na ito ang katuwang niya sa pagbuo ng sarili niyang kwento.

“I’ve never stopped loving you, Nique…”

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