“Pippa, Ethan, mabuti nandiyan na kayo! Ipapasundo ko na nga sana kayo kay Doray.” Mommy Marianne told Pippa and Ethan when she saw them entered the house through the back veranda. She also noticed the two of them holding hands. Pippa was also wearing Ethan’s shirt it seemed since he was shirtless! Pippa realized that she forgot to return Ethan’s shirt when she noticed where her mother was looking.
“Oh, here’s your shirt, Ethan!” Pippa said, removing the shirt and handing it to him. “Hindi na ako nilalamig. Thank you very much again.”
“No worries, Pippa.” Ethan said, putting back the shirt that Pippa wore. “Sorry for taking so long, Tita Marianne. Pippa and I forgot the time. It was so very nice out there at the beach.”
“Oo nga, Mom. Sorry po. Sana po tinawagan ninyo na lang kami sa phone. I brought my phone with me naman.” Pippa said.
“Okay lang, Ethan, Pippa. Hindi pa rin naman ready ang food earlier. You are just in time,” Marianne assured her daughter and their guest. “Let’s eat na. I cooked your favorite, Pippa, adobo sa gata. Paborito rin iyan ni Ethan! Doray halika na, sumabay ka na sa amin!”
“Sige po Ate Marianne, mamaya na lang ako. Busog pa ako. Nag-merienda ako kaninang medyo hapon na.” Manang Doray said from the doorway leading to the kitchen. “Magpapahangin lang muna ako sa beach.”
“O siya, sige, bahala ka. Mauuna na kami.” Marianne said.
“Wow, thank you for this, Mom!” Pippa said happily as her mother passed her the serving dish with the mouthwatering adobo. Pippa got a portion then passed the dish to Ethan.
“Oopps, sorry Ethan!”
“It is okay, Pippa.”
The two of them shared a smile since Pippa almost dropped the dish and Ethan caught it, their hands touching.
“Pippa anak, tumawag pala ulit si Tristan, hindi na raw talaga siya makakabalik this evening kasi kailangan nilang i-monitor iyong patients nila, lalo na iyong driver.” Marianne said as they were eating. “He will try na lang daw to be back tomorrow afternoon.”
“Oh, okay po. Sayang naman. Pupuntahan pa naman namin sana si Belle sa resort ngayong gabi. Di bale, bukas na lang po.” Pippa said. “If ever naman na nakabalik si Tris this evening, for sure he is very tired na. Iyon nga lang, sayang he missed your adobo.”
“Oo nga.” Mommy Marianne said. “Di bale, padadalhan ko na lang siya kay Doray sa clinic sa susunod na mamalengke siya sa bayan. By the way, Ethan, inilagay na ni Doray sa cottage iyong laundry mo. Ako na ang nagtanggal sa dryer.” She told Ethan. Mommy Marianne has inkling that Ethan completely forgot about his laundry.
“Oh, golly! I forgot all about that, Tita Marianne!” Ethan said. “Thank you very much for doing it for me. Please send my thanks also to Manang Doray.”
“Okay lang iyon, Ethan. Maliit na bagay lang. Saka, wala naman akong ginagawa kanina habang nasa beach kayo ni Pippa.” Marianne said. “Hindi pa masyadong malakas ang alon? Usually, maalon talaga since mahangin, bukod pa sa medyo malamig, around this time of the year.”
“Hindi naman, Mom. Super nice nga eh. Iyon nga lang, malamig! Mabuti pinahiram ako ni Ethan ng t-shirt niya. Nakalimutan ko na malamig nga pala kapag ganitong panahon when I followed him there,” Pippa said. “Ito kasing si Ethan, for sure, sanay na sanay sa lamig. Ako, as you know, madaling lamigin.”
“Our weather here now is like late spring lang sa England.” Ethan smiled. “This can’t even be considered cold in my side of the world!”
The three of them then chatted about the seasons and best way to adapt to them, especially, winter. Pippa told her mother and Ethan that if she will go to Europe it has to be during spring or summertime, since parang depressing ang winter. Ethan said spring and summer are the best seasons talaga pero winter has its beauty too. Their conversation shifted to traveling and other things, mostly it was Ethan and Pippa alternately talking, while Mommy Marianne just listened to them, marvelling at the ease her daughter and Ethan were chatting, parang matagal na silang magkakilala.
When they have finished eating, Pippa and Ethan told Mommy Marianne that they will just take care of tidying up and putting the leftover in the fridge, also doing the dishes and cleaning the kitchen.
“Mom, kami na po ang bahala ni Ethan. Do you want coffee or a drink sa veranda? Parang masyado pang maaga to go to sleep. I’m not into watching TV rin naman while I’m here.” Pippa said. “Coke po?”
“Hmmm, that’s a good idea! Tara doon na lang natin ituloy ang kwentuhan natin.” Marianne said. “How about you Ethan? Would you like to join Pippa and I?”
“Hmmmm, sure, it is okay to do so, Tita Marianne? Baka you and Pippa would like to have a mother and daughter time?” Ethan asked, hesitating. He does not want to overstay his welcome. Besides, he knew it that it is not very often that Pippa is home like this.
“No, we had chatted na this afternoon, di ba Mom? I told Mom na about Martin!” Pippa said smiling. Remembering her conversation with her mom earlier! “If you don’t have anything else to do, we can just chat there.”
“Okay. I would like to. Coffee, Pip?” Ethan asked, shortening her name further and she kinda like it. So, Pippa told her Mum about Martin! He mused.
“Sure, thanks a lot, Ethan.” Pippa said with a big smile.
Hearing their conversation, Mommy Marianne also thought, so Pippa had told Ethan about Martin! Did Ethan tell her daughter too what caused him to ran as far away as possible from home? She had a feeling that he did. It looks like her daughter has really found her prince among the frogs, but does not know it yet! Besides, with the way things are, their happy ever after would probably be not as easy as in the fairy tale, so to speak. Maybe, that’s better as their relationship, if ever, will be stronger and more long lasting, and meaningful.
Marianne went to the veranda ahead of her daughter and Ethan. They tidied up the kitchen and then followed Pippa’s mom there after 15 minutes or so, with Ethan carrying the tray with two cups of steaming hot coffee and a cold Coke in can for Marianne, as well as some leftover rice cakes from lunch for the three of them.
“Here you go, Mom.” Pippa said. She was about to say something more when her phone rang. She thought at first that it’s Martin again. Ethan thought so too. But when Pippa checked her phone’s screen, she saw that it’s her boss, Tina Peralta. Pippa excused herself, mouthing to Ethan and her mother that it’s her boss calling.
“Good evening Mam Tina! Napatawag po kayo?” Pippa asked, moving towards the end of the veranda.
“Pippa, good evening! Pasensya na for the call ha. I know I have allowed you to go on vacation leave, pero I’m afraid I need to recall that or you need to postpone it for several days since I really need you in Manila ASAP sana!” Tina told Pippa, apologetically. “Pwede ka bang bumalik muna tomorrow?”
“Bakit, what happened po?” Pippa said. Her immediate superior is very nice and very accommodating as always when she asked for the leave earlier. She immediately granted her leave even if it was on a short notice. She didn’t pry also when she told her that she needed time to deal with something. Tina just told Pippa that if there is anything she could do to help, don’t hesitate to ask. Pippa appreciated that very much. Now it seems, her boss needs her. She know that her boss will not interrupt her vacation if it is not really very important and urgent.
“Last Friday kasi I got a call from our boss that the new program you will produce will be launched earlier than we were told in our last production meeting. Noong nagpaalam ka sa akin for your several days of vacation, I thought kakayanin naman. But after our phone call and until this evening when I double checked the timeline, I realized na baka kapusin tayo sa oras. Lalo na at our business head wants us to do a presentation the day after tomorrow for possible sponsorships.” Tina explained, and she sounded stress out.
“I needed you sana Pippa for several days, just to set up everything, do the presentation, and then after we distributed the materials to the writers and researchers, then you can take your vacation na. Kailangan lang nating makapagsimula muna with everything”
“I made some pre-work na po on our new program.” Pippa told her boss. “Saka I produced a presentation na rin. I did it noong patapos na iyong isang program that we produced. Kailangan ko na lang i-finalize. Sayang I didn’t bring my laptop with me here. Biglaan kasi ag uwi ko.”
“Okay, that’s very good! So, please come back for two to three days, then after you have set it up, you can take your vacation na. Would that be okay?” Tina asked anxiously.
“Yes, Ma’am Tina, okay lang. I’m just here at our place in Mindoro. Okay nga rin po if I will return to work na, since I have seen my Mom na.” Pippa assured her boss. Maybe, work will take her mind of what happened to her and Martin, put things in perspective, now that she is in a better frame of mind! At the same time, maybe, she and Ethan need some distance. Yes, she enjoys his company, but maybe, she should stick to her resolve not to have another relationship so soon. Besides, she knows Ethan has to deal with some unresolved issues too. She is starting to like Ethan too much! She is also a bit afraid to love again so soon.
“That would be even better! I’ll see you at the office the day after tomorrow then? Around 9AM.” Tina asked. She feels better now that Pippa is coming back.
“Sure po! Kapag nakasakay po ako sa unang boat bukas, then I can go directly to the office after lunch.” Pippa offered. She likes traveling early mornings to avoid the rush and the traffic along the way, going back to Quezon City.
“Naku, magpahinga ka na muna bukas. Mahaba-haba rin ang biyahe mo. Okay lang naman the next day, specially now that you have cancelled your vacation.” Tina said.
Pippa said goodbye to her boss, then returned to her mother and Ethan.
“Mom, I need to cut short my vacation, or rather I need to cancel my vacation! That was my boss, kailangan na niya ako sa work. Sabi niya mapapaaga ang launching noong bago namin show na ako rin ang producer.” Pippa explained.
“Ganoon ba anak! Too bad naman, ngayon pa nga lang kita makakasama ng mas matagal-tagal.” Marianne said, a bit disppointed at the development, but she knows her job is very important to her daughter. “Di bale, next time, habaan mo na lang ang vacation ha.”
“Promise, Mom, I will!” Pippa said.
“When are you leaving Pippa?” Ethan asked. He felt a tinge of sadness at Pippa’s news. In such a short time, Pippa became a very important part of his life. He really enjoys her company.
“First thing in the morning! May mga kailangan pa kasi akong tapusin bukas pagdating ko regarding that project. I think mas maaga ang ferry sa bayan, doon na lang ako sasakay kaysa diyan sa katabi nating beach.” Pippa said. Since her Dad died she had an aversion too at taking small boats to Batangas and Mindoro.
“I can take you there in Manong Ben’s motorcycle.” Ethan offered. “Hindi pa yata siya nakakabalik from Calapan.”
“Yes, tumawag nga si Ben kanina, bukas na raw siya babalik dito.” Marianne said. “Better nga Ethan if you could take Pippa to the pier. Please get the motorcycle key na lang sa lalagyan ng mga susi sa kitchen.”
“Thanks Tita Marianne. No worries. I will deliver Pippa to her waiting ferry, safe and sound.” He said smiling.
“Oo naman hijo. Alam ko namang maingat kang mag-drive.” Marianne said. “Tungkol pala saan iyong bago mong show Pippa?”
“It’s a magazine show, Mom.” Pippa asked. “Quite interesting actually!”
‘Talaga. Good luck anak. Hihintayin ko na lang sa TV, anak. I’m sure you will do another very good one.”
“Thanks Mom!” Pippa said, hugging her mother.
“O siya, sige, I will say good night to the two of you. Medyo inaantok na ako. Hindi ako masyadong nakatulog sa Calapan. Namahay yata ako.” Mommy Marianne said. “Ethan, good night! Pippa wake me up before you leave ha.”
“Yes, Mom! Good night!” Pippa said, kissing her mother good night.
“Good night, Tita Marianne! Have a good sleep.” Ethan said.
Marianne went inside the house leaving Ethan and Pippa at the veranda, drinking their coffee and enjoying the sudden silence. Ethan was the one who broke it. “So, you will be back to Manila for good, Pippa? “ Ethan asked. “I mean, there is no chance that you will be back here soon?”
“Im not sure, Ethan! I want to stay more but I don’t think I will be able to concentrate, anyway, with our airing date being advanced. Saka, maybe, I should talk to Martin and close that chapter of my life completely para hindi na rin siya tawag ng tawag.” Pippa said. “Ikaw, what are your plans?”
“Well, I’m thinking of staying here another month, then heading home to find answers. Tapos, I might come back here and see if I can set up something more permanent.” Ethan replied, the idea getting more and more attractive. He can work anywhere, anyway, as long as there is an internet connection.
“What do you mean? Stay here in Mindoro for good?” Pippa asked, surprised.
“Here in Mindoro, or in Manila, or anywhere in the Philippines. I like it here so, might as well see if I could live here” Ethan said, shrugging. The truth is, Ethan does not need to work at all. He can ‘retire’ for life, at 32, as he had made enough money in the dot com boom and with a game program he made and sold to a company especializing in online games.
“Really, that would be great!” Pippa said, smiling, really liking the idea of seeing more of Ethan, and more importantly, he will be in same country!
Ethan smiled, gazing at Pippa. “Let’s see, Pip! Who knows, what tomorrow will bring.” He finished obliquely.
“So true! Que sera, sera!” Pippa said. “O paano, sleep na tayo at maaga pa ang gising natin bukas.”
“Okay. I’ll see you at 5AM.” Ethan said, smiling “Good night, Pip! Pleasant dreams!”
“Good night, Ethan.” Pippa replied. “Sweet dreams. I hope the nightmare is gone. But if you can’t sleep, just knock on my door. I’ll keep you company.” Pippa said, despite her resolve to keep a little distance from Ethan.
“Pippa, that’s so sweet of you.Thank you very much.” Ethan said, giving Pippa a big smile. “I think I will be okay.”
With a final wave, Ethan disappeared into the night to go to his cottage. Pippa locked up and went to bed soon after packing her things. She slept well that night. It was the same with Ethan, as the dreaded nightmare didn’t come. In fact, he dreamt of Pippa!