“Pippa, anak, please visit soon ha! Ingat ka sa biyahe, and please text me as soon as you get home. Saka, make sure, you always eat, lalo na when you are working. Huwag puro kape na lang. Feeling ko nakakalimutan mo nang kumain on time! ” Mommy Marianne said as she said goodbye to Pippa the following morning at the gate of their family home.
“Yes, Mom, I will. Text ko po kayo kaagad pagkadating ko sa condo. I promise to eat properly and as soon as maplantsa ko ang lahat regarding this new program, and I’m sure that I can stay longer, I will come back.” Pippa promised her mother, hugging her tight. She felt sad to be going, and she hates goodbyes. “Manang Doray, ikaw na po ang bahala kay Mom!”
“Naku, Pippa, anak, huwag kang mag-aalala at ako ang bahala dito sa Mommy mo. Mag-iingat ka ha.” Manang Doray told Pippa, hugging her also.
Ethan just looked on, waiting patiently, straddling the motorcycle as Pippa said goodbye to everyone. He felt sad too that she is leaving. But what can he do? Pippa needs to go back to work. At the back of his mind, he wonders how one he just met became a vital part of his life! But he does not want to dwell on it now.
“Ethan, ikaw na ang bahalang maghatid kay Pippa sa pier ha. Ingat kayong dalawa” Mommy Marianne repeated.
“Don’t worry, Tita Marianne. I’ll take care of Pippa until she boards the ferry.” Ethan said. “Pippa, here’s your helmet!”
Ethan handed Pippa her helmet and then fastened his. Pippa looked at Ethan waiting for her. He does looked like Matthew Goode, in that pose, she mused, remembering the actor as Mandy Moore’s love interest, Ben, in the movie Chasing Liberty!
Pippa securely fastened her helmet. Ethan double-checked if it is was too snug and adjusted it a bit so that Pippa is more comfortable. Pippa climbed on the motorcycle, straddling also, behind Ethan, her backpack, strapped on her shoulders.
“Hold on to my waist, Pippa so you don’t fall. Put your arms around me.” Ethan instructed her. “By the way, have you ridden a motorbike before?” He asked as an afterthought.
“No. This is my first time kaya huwag mong masyadong bilisan. Lalo na diyan sa may curve dahil baka mamaya, wala ka na palang passenger.” Pippa said, half-excited, half-afraid of the motorcycle ride with Ethan.”But I do trust you, Ethan.” Then patted him in the back.
“You should!” Ethan said, smiling. “I used to race in my dirt bike! Don’t worry, I will be extra careful!”
“Really, you did! Good thing you are still in one piece!” She teased!
“Hahahaha, Pippa Montenegro, oh, ye of little faith!” Ethan said smiling. “We will get going, Tita Marianne, Manang Doray. I’ll be back as soon as I deposited Pippa to her ferry. Baka you want me to get something in town also para maka-save na kayo ng trip.”
“Wala naman, Ethan. We have everything in the house. Thanks a lot.” Marianne said. “Dumaan ka dito pagkabalik mo and have breakfast.”
“Sa town na lang po, Tita Marianne,” Ethan said. “Thank you. Pippa and I will get going.”
“Bye Mom, I love you!” Pippa said, then wave at her Mom as Ethan started the motorcycle and they were on their way.
Pippa held on to Ethan. It felt very nice to do so. Ethan also liked Pippa’s arms around him as he navigated the winding road going to Poblacion! There was not much traffic, the morning air cool, and the view is very nice, with the side of tbe mountain on the right, and the view of the sea and beyond at the left.
“So, how are you doing, Pip?” Ethan asked. “Okay ka lang ba, diyan?”
“Oh, very good! I didn’t realize that riding a motorcycle is very nice.” Pippa replied. She likes the feel of the wind on her face and the closeness of hers and Ethan’s body. “Exciting, actually!”
“See! I’m right! If you hadn’t had to cut your vacation short, I could take you for a spin. We could go up the dirt road to the mountain and to the waterfalls there in a motorbike, not this one, though. But I do know a German who lives at the next beach who has a dirt bike we can borrow.”
“Sayang nga! Kung hindi lang kailangan kong bumalik, I think I would like that. Maybe, you will still be here when I manage to return, and then we can try it.” Pippa said, at the same time, the thought of not seeing Ethan again was making her feel blue.
“Sure! Let me know. Maybe I ought to buy another mobile phone so we can keep in touch.” Ethan remarked lightly.
“You don’t have one?” Pippa asked surprise. She does not know of anyone who hasn’t have one or who does not need a mobile phone.
“Oh, I had one, but I lost it in Thailand. Then I realized I like not having one.” Ethan replied as they approached the town. “There was no need. I just check my e-mail from time to time. If Mum needs to get in touch with me, she can just e-mail me or call Tita Marianne.”
“Maybe, it would be better if you get one. I can’t imagine, not having one.” Pippa said. “Kailangan mo rin iyon kapag may emergency. Anyway, when you manage to get one, just ask Mom for my number.”
“Okay, I will.” Ethan said as he parked the motorcycle in front of a restaurant by the pier. He removed his helmet and helped Pippa removed hers.
They walked towards the ticket office. They found out that the first boat will leave not at 6 o’clock in the morning as Pippa thought, but at 8 o’clock due to a mechanical problem. They bought Pippa’s ticket.
“Hmmm, now, I have two hours to kill here!” Pippa remarked. “Di bale, okay lang since my boss told me to report for work na lang tomorrow. Iyon nga lang, for sure, lahat ng traffic all the way to Quezon City, I will encounter. Oh well, that is life!”
“Now, that you have time, let’s eat breakfast.” Ethan suggested. “I’m starving. The morning air made me hungry. I want a cup of coffee too!”
Pippa and Ethan walked to the restaurant where Ethan parked the motorcycle. Ethan chose the table which was the best view of the harbor. He seated Pippa, then gestured for the waiter to give them a menu.
“What would you like to have, Pippa?” Ethan asked as he perused the menu the waiter handed to them.
“Hmmm, I think I will have an American breakfast and a cup of coffee.” Pippa replied. “Tapos, maybe fresh ripe mango shake if they have it. How about you?”
“I think I’ll have the ‘continental’ breakfast. And the same drinks as yours.” Ethan replied and then called on the waiter and told him of their order.
“So when you left England, you left your job too?” Pippa asked as they were waiting for their orders.
“Well, I was working for myself before I decided to pack my bags and left as far away as a I could. I might pick up work again. I can even do it from here or in Manila.” Ethan said. “I’m not in a hurry, though.”
“So, just in case you find yourself in Manila one day, give me a call, okay.” Pippa remarked offhand, Ethan giving her the opening for it.
“Sure, I will. Actually, I have been thinking of going there.” Ethan said. “I just passed by it on the way here. There is also a guy from Belgium I need to meet for possible work here. Just want to check my options.”
“Really! Please let me know when you are coming. Where will you be staying pala?” Pippa asked. She wanted to offer her place to Ethan but he might have other plans.
“I’m thinking of staying in a hotel in Manila, the capital, or in Makati.” Ethan replied.
“No, no, don’t do that. I have a guest room. You can just stay with me.” Pippa offered Ethan. ” I can take you where you would meet your friend and places you want to go. Hindi ka sanay sa Metro Manila. It would be easier if I take you around.”
“Well, are you sure it is okay for you to do so, Pip? You will be busy with your new programme, isn’t it?” Ethan asked. He likes what Pippa is offering, but she might be very busy with work and he does not want to add to her burden, as much as he likes the idea of staying with her and being with her most of the time. Actually, his plan to go to Manila was very loose, but now that Pippa is going back there, he decided to push through with it.
“No worries, Ethan. I would be happy too. Besides, I will not be working all the time and saka by the time naman that you are in Manila, okay na ang schedule ko. It would be nice also to touch base rin with you.”
“Thanks a lot, Pippa, if it is no trouble, then I will take you up on that offer.” Ethan said, feeling happier now that he will see Pippa again. “I really would like that. Maybe, we can also go out in the evenings.”
“Sure, that would be okay. I can take you to the nice new restaurants in Quezon City and Pasig too.” Pippa said.
“It’s a date then!” Ethan said, giving Pippa a brilliant smile.
Pippa and Ethan’s breakfast arrived soon after. They chatted while eating, making plans of what they can do pa if Ethan finally find himself in Manila. An hour so, after, they were about to leave the restaurant when someone called Ethan.
“Ethan!” A tall, beautiful foreigner called Ethan from the opposite direction. “Fancy seeing you here, so early. How have you been? I have not seen you down the beach since the other day. I missed you!” The beautiful girl about Pippa’s age told Ethan. Then she saw Pippa. “Oh, hello there! I’m Madeline, a friend of Ethan’s.” However, she was looking at Ethan as if she wants to be more than friends with him.
Before Pippa can react, Ethan pulled her closer to him. He put his arm on her shoulder as well. “Madeline, this is a special friend of mine, Pippa Montenegro. Pippa, this is Madeline Bertrand from France. She is staying at one of your guest cottages down at the beach.”
“I’m please to meet you Madeline. I hope you are enjoying your stay at The Cove!” Pippa said with a friendly smile, at the same time, wondering about Ethan’s action.
“Oh, you are Belle’s cousin!” Madeline said. “ I usually chat with Belle when I stay at the bar for a drink or two. I never realized that you and Ethan knew each other that well.” She remarked, looking at how close Pippa and Ethan were, with Ethan toying with Pippa’s hair. “I’ll get going then. Nice to meet you too.”
They waved at Madeline, who joined another foreigner girl carrying grocery bags. They can see her talking earnestly to her and then both of them looked surreptitiously at Ethan and Pippa.
“Hmmm and what was that, Mr. Ethan Benitez Bowman!” Pippa asked with an arched eyebrow, looking at Ethan.
“Pippa, sorry for that and thank you for playing along. She wouldn’t get the hint that I’m not interested.” Ethan said.
“Oh, an admirer, huh, Clark Kent!?” Pippa teased.
“Pippa naman, I thought I look like Matthew Goode and not Henry Cavill!” He teased back.
“Hahahaha, and the flattery goes to the head.” Pippa said laughing.
They both laughed.
“Halika na nga, bumalik na tayo doon sa may ferry. Malapit na palang umalis.” Pippa said.
They walked back to where the ferry was docked and saw people boarding.
“O paano, Ethan, good bye for now! Thanks for the ride and the breakfast. Basta, let me know if you will go to Manila ha.” Pippa said, feeling a bit sad. She then gave Ethan a big hug. “And do not leave the country without saying goodbye, okay?”
“I will, promise. And I will not leave the Philippines without you knowing.” Ethan said, gazing at Pippa intently, then he cupped her face. “I’ll miss you a lot Pippa.” Then he lowered his lips to hers and gave her a light kiss.
Pippa just stared at Ethan, her lips still tingling from the quick kiss. Then said softly, “I’ll miss you a lot too.”
They shared a meaningful smile. Ethan touched Pippa’s cheek gently. “Take care. See you soon.”
Pippa gave him a smile that lit up her whole face. Then said, “You too,” before boarding the ferry that would take her away from Mindoro again.
Ethan stayed at the pier, until Pippa’s ferry pulled out of the harbor and started sailing towards the direction of Batangas. He feels very sad and lonely already!
Pippa on the other hand, was wishing that she could just get off the boat then and stay longer in Mindoro. She stared at the receding harbor, until it was just a a small dot, feeling like she had left her heart in Puerto Galera.
Note: Second Valentine treat! 🙂 ❤ ❤ For those who are following Pippa and Ethan’s journey as well! ❤ ❤ ❤