The Enslave Story Part 17

“MOM!” Sigaw ni Eon habang patakbo itong lumapit sa kanya. Kararating lang nila ni Raffy mula sa Tagaytay. Nasa garahe pa ito ngayon at ibinababa ang kanilang gamit.

“Oh, my God! What happened to your skin?” Bulalas niya. ‘Di hamak na umitim kasi ito.

Pilyong ngumiti si Eon saka humalik sa kanyang pisngi. Napasulyap siya kay Raffy na ngayon ay naglalakad na patungo sa kanilang kinaroroonan.

“Yeah, my bad. I forgot to put sunblock on him,” he said. Tilting his head in a boyish manner.

Napapalatak siya sabay iling. Pero wala na siyang magagawa. Eon would eventually regain his true complexion. Ginusot niya ang buhok nito at pumasok na sila sa loob ng bahay.

“Stay for awhile, dito ka na mag-lunch,” anyaya niya kay Raffy. Alam niyang nakasunod ito sa kanila ni Eon.

He casually rested his hand at the small of her back. Ginawa niya ang lahat ng kanyang makakaya para lamang iwasan na mapapitlag.

“Ya?” Tawag niya kay Yaya Mercy. Hindi niya alam kung bakit pero bigla siyang nailang. Why would she behave like this. Nagka-anak na sila’t lahat, pero heto siya, nilulukob na naman ng kaba at agam-agam ang sistema.

Laking pasasalamat niya nang pumasok sa dining area si Yaya Mercy na may bitbit na tray ng ulam.

“Mabuti naman at nakauwi na kayo, hija,” anito habang inilalapag ang bawat putahe sa mesa. Nang tulungan niya ito ay napako ang tingin nito sa suot niyang engagement ring. Nagpalipat lipat ang tingin nito sa kanilang dala ni Raffy. Ginagap naman ng lalaki ang kanyang kamay at dinala iyon sa mga labi nito upang halikan.

“Salamat sa Diyos!” Bulalas ni Yaya Mercy. Maluha-luha pa ito habang yumayakap sa kanila ni Raffy.

Napaiyak na rin siya.

“O, s’ya, kumain na kayo, kanina pa kayo hinihintay ni Eon,” wika ng kanyang yaya habang pinupunasan ang mga luha sa pisngi.

Pumwesto si Raffy sa tabi niya sa kabila ng pag-aakalang uupo ito sa tabi ng anak. Si Eon naman ay nagsimula nang kumain. Aabutin niya na sana ang bowl ng kanin nang kunin iyon ni Raffy at ito na ang naglagay niyon sa kanyang plato.

“Dad, when are we going back to Subic?” Eon asked while munching on a chicken leg.

Raffy looked at her and held her hand.

“We’ll see, buddy. Do you wanna go back there or you want to go out of the country? Japan, perhaps?” Lumiwanag naman ang mukha ni Eon sa sinabing iyon ng ama. She sighed. He’s really spoiling their kid.

“But we still have to ask mom though. Where do you wanna go, babe?”

She just smiled. Napakaaga pa para magplano ng kung ano mang bakasyon.

“About Eon’s schooling,” untag ni Raffy. “I guess we can transfer him to an international school here in Manila. Either Brent or Reedley,” he added matter-of-factly.

She took a deep breath. Alam niyang may karapatan ito kay Eon pero parang naasiwa lang siya pinangungunahan siya nito sa ganoong bagay.

“We’re moving here for good?” Eon exclaimed.

She felt cornered and she doesn’t like it. Ano’ng sasabihin niya? Alangan namang tumanggi siya? Nakakainis lang na pinangungunahan siya ni Raffy. Oo, masasabing okay na sila. Pero napakabilis ng lahat.

She’s overthinking again. Over analyzing things. But she can’t help it. That’s how she is.

Tumikhim si Raffy at nagsalita.

“Your mom and I will discuss that first, son. For now, just finish your food,” anito sabay ngiti.

Matapos kumain ay dumiretso siya sa veranda. Nagkakasayahan ang mag ama sa living room at naglalaro ng PS4 Pro.

She took a deep breath. Ano bang nangyayari sa kanya? Bakit siya nagkakaganito? Kung kailan nagiging maayos na ang lahat, saka naman siya nagdadalawang isip.

Doubts filled her head. Perhaps she’s just anxious. Anxious of what lies ahead. Anxious of the idea that this is all just temporary. That, eventually, they’d end up like before.

“Hija, andito na sina Ma’am Consuelo.” Her yaya’s voice snapped her back from her deep thoughts.

Dali dali siyang bumaba upang salubungin ang kanyang mga magulang. Walang pagsidlan ang tuwa sa kanyang puso nang makitang masigla na ang kanyang ama. Agad siyang lumapit sa mga ito.

“I’m so glad you’re okay now, dad!” Aniya kapagkuwa’y niyakap ito nang mahigpit.

“And I’m so happy you’re finally home, anak.”

Napalingon naman ang kanyang ama kay Raffy nang lumapit ito at magmano. Ang akala niya talaga ay hindi magiging maganda ang reaksyon ng kanyang ama. Ngunit magiliw na inilahad nito ang kamay at saka ginulo ang buhok ni Eon.

After a few moments, her parents excused themselves. Magpapahinga raw muna ang mga ito. Lumapit naman sa kanya si Raffy. Tahimik lang itong nakaupo sa tabi niya.

“I’m sorry. I overstepped, I know, ” he said in a low voice.

Hindi siya umimik.

“Galit ka ba?” Tanong nito.

She bit her lip. Galit nga ba siya?

“YOU’RE playing with your food, babe.” Untag sa kanya ni Raffy.

She straightened her back. It was as if she was awoken from a dreading trance. She’s feeling nauseated. Her hands are cold and clammy and she can’t even move her feet.

Dahan dahan niyang inilapag ang kanyang hawak na tinidor. They’re having an intimate dinner at The Peninsula Manila. Pagsapit ng gabi ay sinundo siya nito. According to him, they’ll be spending the night together.

Mainam na rin siguro iyon. Mas makabubuti kung ngayon pa lang ay ayusin niya na ang lahat at masabi niya na rito ang lahat ng gumugulo sa kanyang isipan.

“Nique?”

She heaved a sigh.

“Is there something wrong?”

Take a deep breath, Monique… She told herself as she nervously toyed with her engagement ring beneath the table.

Umabot sa kanilang kinauupuan ang mabining musikang nagmumula sa bulwagan ng naturang hotel. Ilang saglit pa ay narinig niya na ang isang malamyos na tinig.

Sweet love yeah
I didn’t mean it when I said I didn’t love you so
I should have held on tight, I never should have let you go
I didn’t know nothing I was stupid
I was foolish, I was lying to myself
I couldn’t have fathomed I would ever be without your love
Never imagined I’d be sitting here beside myself
‘Cause I didn’t know you, ’cause I didn’t know me
But I thought I knew everything I never felt
The feeling that I’m feeling now that I don’t hear your voice
Or have your touch and kiss your lips
‘Cause I don’t have a choice
Or what I wouldn’t give to have you lying by my side
Right here
‘Cause baby…

Baby, when you left I lost a part of me
It’s still so hard to believe
Come back baby please
‘Cause we belong together
Who else am I gon’ lean on when times get rough?
Who’s going to talk to me on the phone ’til the sun comes up?
Who’s going to take your place? There ain’t nobody better
Oh, baby baby, we belong together…

…I only think of you
It’s breaking my heart
I’m trying to keep it together but I’m falling apart
I’m feeling all out of my element
Throwing things crying trying to figure out
Where the hell I went wrong
Pain reflected in this song
Ain’t even half of what I’m feeling inside
I need you need you back in my life baby

Baby, when you left I lost a part of me
It’s still so hard to believe
Come back baby please
‘Cause we belong together
Who else am I gon’ lean on when times get rough?
Who’s going to talk to me on the phone ’til the sun comes up?
Who’s going to take your place? There ain’t nobody better
Oh, baby baby, we belong together

Baby, when you left I lost a part of me
It’s still so hard to believe
Come back baby please
‘Cause we belong together
Who am I gon’ lean on when times get rough?
Who’s going to talk to me on the phone ’til the sun comes up?
Who’s going to take your place? There ain’t nobody better
Oh, baby baby, we belong together…

Hindi niya namalayang umiiyak na pala siya. As cheesy as it may sound, but that song hit her hard. Why? She was the one who left. She shouldn’t be feeling this way. And now, she’s leaving. Again.

“I can’t do this, Raff. I’m so sorry…”

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