Posts Tagged Pinoy Romantic Fiction
Unexpected Love – Chapter 13
The place was packed, that evening being a Friday, as Pippa and Ethan, hands intertwined navigated the throng of people in the dimly lit inside of a popular watering hole in the rooftop of a building in Bonifacio Global City after their very nice dinner in Teacher’s Village in Quezon City.
Ethan loved the Asian fusion cuisine at the restaurant they have been to. They traveled to BGC from there to meet Ethan’s friend Werner. Pippa and Ethan agreed earlier to have a night out, so when Werner called and invited Ethan to meet him that night, he said yes and asked if he could bring Pippa too. Werner said yes and they agreed to meet at this bar in BGC.
“Ethan, someone is waving at you from the corner table.” Pippa told Ethan as her eyes caught sight of a tall guy wearing glasses, calling Ethan’s attention by briskly waving at him.
Ethan looked at the direction Pippa was pointing at, and saw Werner. He was with another guy. “That’s him! Come Pip. You will like him, promise. He is a very affable guy. That’s why we hit off, bat on the first time. We actually met at the bar at the resort. He was chatting with your cousin Belle.”
Several minutes after, and after sidestepping people who had a bit of drinks already, they reached Werner’s table.
“Mate, good to see you!” Werner said with a big smile, then looked at Pippa. “Hello, there! You must be Pippa. I’m Werner, and this is Colin!” Werner shook Pippa’s hand, and Colin, another foreigner, did the same, first with Pippa and then with Ethan.
“Hi Werner, Colin, please to meet you. Yes, I’m Pippa Montenegro, a friend of Ethan’s.” Pippa said, offering a friendly smile to Werner and Colin.
“Ethan, Colin is my partner in the software development company I have put up here.” Werner explained. “I invited him over so you two can meet each other at least, this evening. By the way, Pippa, I hope it is okay if we talk shop a bit.”
“Yes, it’s perfectly okay, Werner. That is, if it is okay that I’m here too.” Pippa said.
“Sure, sure no worries.” Werner replied. “Sorry, please have a sit.”
Ethan pulled the chair for Pippa, then took the seat beside her. “What would you like, Pip? Tanduay Ice or something else? Beer?”
“I would like Tanduay Ice, please.” Pippa replied. “Thank you, Ethan.”
Ethan signalled to the waiter. He ordered a SanMig Light for him and Pippa’s Tanduay.
“Werner, Pippa, Ethan, please excuse me. I’ll say good night then and nice meeting you two. I’m looking forward to working with you, Ethan.” Colin said. “I’m meeting my girlfriend and she just sent me an SMS. Have a nice evening!”
The three of them said goodbye to Colin.
“So Ethan, you have decided to stay in the Philippines after all!” Werner asked, sipping his beer. “I’m glad. We need a software developer with an expertise such as yours. I’m happy you changed your mind. You were not so keen the first time I mentioned the job to you.”
“No, but that was then. I had a changed of mind, recently. I do have a very compelling reason for wanting to stay in the Philippines for good, aside from the fact that I like it here.” Ethan said cryptically, looking at Pippa intently, which made her blush.
“Oh! That’s the way it is, eh!” Werner said with a teasing voice.
Ethan just grinned and Pippa smiled shyly.
“Do you also live in Mindoro, Pippa? I didn’t see you when I stayed at the wonderful beach resort near Ethan’s place.” Werner remarked.
“Sort of. My family owns the resort where you stayed. I’m glad you had a nice stay.” Pippa said with a smile. “But I live in Quezon City, where I work.”
“I’m staying with Pippa actually. She is my mom’s friend’s daughter, and my very special friend.” Ethan added, gazing at Pippa meaningfully. The two of them smiled at each other before looking at Werner again.
“I love your place! One of these days I will go back there. I also met your beautiful, charming and very nice cousin Belle. How is she?” Werner added with a smile. Pippa detected something from Werner’s voice, the way he said her cousin’s name, parang iba.
“Oh, she is doing great. Quite busy as we have a lot of guests these days, being the tourists season.” Pippa replied.
The drinks Ethan ordered arrived then. The three of them continued chatting about Mindoro and other vacation places they have been. Then the talk shifted to the job Werner wanted Ethan to do for him. They talked shop while Pippa listened on, drinking her Tanduay Ice. She limited herself to one bottle of Tanduay Ice, though, as she will be driving later on.
When they were finished discussing technical stuffs, the conversation shifted to Pippa’s job. Werner had a lot of questions. He was fascinated with her job. Sometimes, Ethan will answer for Pippa and Werner noticed the way they picked up each other’s thoughts. It didn’t escape his notice too, the way Ethan looks at Pippa. His mate is in love! But it looks like Pippa was the same. If not for Pippa introducing herself as Ethan’s friend, he would have assumed that they are in a relationship already. Well, the two of them are obviously on their way there.
Unbeknown to the three of them, Martin was also at the same bar, with Cassie. At first he wanted to approach Pippa when he saw her entered the place, surprised to see her there and the fact that she is back in Manila without him knowing. But then he noticed the good looking foreigner beside her. By the time he was going to approach them, even while Cassie was objecting, he saw them holding hands. He started to feel pissed off and he resented the fact that Pippa, this soon, had replaced him! Or maybe, he was replaced even before they broke up. His suspicious mind, cloudedd by jealousy and liquor, thought. He ignored Cassie who was sulking by then, and ordered one drink after the other.
“So, I will see you on Monday, Ethan to show you around our office.” Werner said as they were winding down the evening. “You are welcome to tag along too, Pippa.”
“Yes, I will be there. But I’m not sure about Pippa! Pip?” Ethan looked inquiringly at Pippa. They only managed to discuss their plans for until Sunday wherein they will pick up Ally from the airport.
“Oh, thanks for the invitation Werner. But I can’t. I’m flying to Palawan for work on Monday.” She told Werner apologetically. “Ethan, it slipped my mind earlier.” Pippa added, suddenly blushing, remembering how they spend the afternoon.
Ethan smiled, remembering their wonderful afternoon too before going to dinner in Teacher’s Village. Werner noticed them exchanging looks again as if they were in a silent communication. Love! He mused. He wished he would find it too. But alas, he was not as lucky as Ethan!
“Okay! It is just you, then Ethan.” Werner said, pulling himself out of his thoughts. “It was nice meeting you Pippa. Say hello to Belle from me. Ethan, until Monday!”
The three of them parted at the ground floor of the building. Ethan and Pippa offered to drop off Werner wherever he is going, but he declined as he will meet Colin and his girlfriend at the coffee shop across the street.
Pippa and Ethan walked hand in hand to the parking lot. Several minutes later, they were driving back to Pippa’s place.
“So, you will go to Palawan on Monday? How many days will you be there?” Ethan asked as they navigated the late Friday night traffic.
“Hmmm, about three days, I think. But after that, I have some free time. I can go see you and Ally in Mindoro.” Pippa started saying, then a better idea entered her head. “Or you and Ally, can come with me! I’ll be working, but the two of you can enjoy the sights and touch base. I will be free during evenings. Tapos, we can extend na lang for several days after we finish our shoot and interview with the celeb who has a house there.”
“That’s a better idea! I haven’t been to Palawan and I have been meaning to see a bit of the place at some point. That way, we can still be together.” Ethan said happily. He felt better, knowing that he and Pippa will have more time to be with each other. “Knowing my sister, she will like the place too.”
“Great then! I can also book you at the place my crew and I will be staying, and in the same flight.” Pippa said.
“Pippa, I’ll pay for it please. No arguments, okay?” Ethan said. He had a feeling that Pippa will treat him and Ally. “It is more than enough that you are letting us stay in your place here in Manila.”
Pippa knows there is no swaying Ethan on this. She was really planning on paying for it as a welcome treat to Ally. “Okay, I will bill you.”
“Thanks, Pippa.” Ethan touched Pippa’s arms. “And I’m looking forward to enjoying Palawan with you.”
“Me too, Ethan.” Pippa smiled. She and Ethan are really into this thing between them know and she feels very happy. The reason she forgot to tell him about the Palawan trip is that they got so caught with each other earlier. They just cuddled on her sofa after that sweet kiss. They have watched a movie and after that, ended up taking a nap together, without intending to, in the sofa while watching their second movie.
Soon after, they have arrived at Pippa’s building. They walked hand in hand towards the elevator, never letting go of each other’s hand as they walked to Pippa’s unit. Pippa was about to open the door, when she heard Martin’s voice from behind. She looked up in surprise.
“Kaya mo pala ako ayaw kausapin, may kapalit na pala ako agad, ha Miss-Goody-Two-Shoes, never-been-touched Pippa Montenegro.” Martin said in a loud, slurred voice. He was obviously very, very drunk.
“Martin! What are you doing here?” Pippa asked surprised. While Ethan moved closer to her, realizing who was the guy who materialised out of nowhere.
“Waiting for you, of course, my dear. Akala mo pa, palalampasin ko ang nakita ko sa bar.” Martin continued. “Ito lang bang mestisong hilaw na ito ang ipapalit mo sa akin? Bibigay ka rin pala, dito pa.” He added insultingly, not knowing that Ethan understood every word he uttered.
“Hey buddy, watch it! Dahan-dahan sa pagsasalita. No gutter language please.” Ethan said calmly, trying to diffuse the situation. “Pippa was not the one was at fault. It was you.”
“Huwag kang makialam dito. I don’t care kung naintindihan mo pala lahat ng sinabi ko. This girl is a cock-tease!” Martin continued crudely. “O baka naman hindi na. Was she good in bed? Kung sa iyo lang naman, mas mapapaligaya ko siya.” Then looking at Pippa sneeringly, he continued his tirade. “Ano bang meron iyang tisoy na iyan, ha Pippa? Halika, kaya ko ring gawin ang mga ginawa niya sa iyo.” He grabbed Pippa by the arm, roughly. Pippa managed to extricate herself fast, but she had a red mark on the arm that Martin grabbed.
With that, Ethan saw red too. He had enough of Martin and his insults and manhandling of Pippa. Before Pippa could react and ask him to ignore what Martin said and did, as it was not worth it, he punched Martin in the face and wherever he could hit him, in rapid succession. “Enough of your gutter language, you two-timing cad!”
It was the provocation Martin seemed to be waiting for. He also threw a punch on Ethan, hitting him on the mouth, then another which hit his left eye, and also his jaw.
Ethan was about to strike back again when he heard Pippa’s plea. “Ethan please, don’t. He is not worth it. Halika na pumasok na tayo. Huwag mo na siyang patulan.”
He looked at Martin one more time, threw a punch that sent him reeling and clutching his stomach, before nodding at Pippa, taking her hand, and going inside her place.
“Pippa darling, I’m sorry for doing that. I don’t like anyone insulting you like that.” Ethan said, unconsciously slipping in a term of endearment for Pippa, while touching her face gently.
“It’s okay, Ethan. Thank you for defending me. I’m over Martin and whatever he says, does not hurt me anymore. I’m thanking the stars for my lucky escape.” Pippa said. “Hayan, nasaktan ka pa tuloy. Halika, gamutin natin. Upo ka na lang muna sa sofa, I will get the first aid kit from the bathroom.”
Pippa returned several minutes after with a basin with lukewarm water, then the first aid kit. She cleaned Ethan’s split lip, gently and tenderly. “Masakit ba. Sandali na lang ito.” She said as she continue pressing a gauze on his lip to absorb the blood trickling from his wound. Pippa also iced it, so is his left eye that was already turning a bit purple, and his hand that bore the brunt of his punches to Martin.
“It is okay, Pippa. Thank you.” Ethan assured Pippa. “Pasensya ka na talaga. Ayoko lang ng binabastos ka like that. Paano pala kung wala ako and lasing siya, tapos nakita ka niya. I don’t want to think about it. I’m glad that I’m here when you saw him again.”
“I agree, Ethan. I didn’t realize that Martin could be like that. I only saw his good side when we were together. Well, not so much in the end. But I’m glad that you are here too when I faced him. Thank you.” Pippa gave Ethan a tight hug.
Ethan hugged Pippa back. “I’ll take care of you and protect you, always, Pippa.” He whispered fervently and lovingly.
“Thank you again, Ethan. Halika na let’s go to sleep. Ready na iyong room mo. Para makapagpahinga ka na rin. Let me know lang kung kailangan mo ng pain reliever ha.” Pippa said.
“Okay. But I do have one request.” Ethan looked at Pippa intently. “Can we sleep together, as in sleep only, like what we did when I had a nightmare. I just want to be with you.”
Pippa looked at Ethan. She does not want to part with him for the night too. “Okay. Let’s just go to my room, then.”
“Thank you, Pippa. I will be a gentleman, I promise.” Ethan assured Pippa as he does not want her to think that after Martin, he is the one who will try to take advantage of her.
Pippa gave him a sweet, trusting smile. “I know you will be. I trust you, Ethan.”
They walked towards Pippa’s room after getting Ethan’s bag, with their arms around each other’s waist, to settle in for the night.
Unexpected Love – Chapter 12
Posted by Antigone in Richard and Maya Fiction on March 1, 2015
Ethan boarded the ferry at the Puerto Galera Pier bright and early Friday morning. Unlike when Pippa took it four days ago, the ferry is going to sail to Batangas on schedule this day. He decided to sit out in the open area of the ferry as he always like looking at the beautiful view of Puerto Galera from the sea. The first time he saw it like that as his ferry approached, seems like ages ago, he fell in love with the place. Besides, in a cool morning like this, it is nice to sit out there.
Several minutes after Ethan settled down on his seat at the back of the rows of seats in that part of the boat, two giggling girls approached him.
“Hello there! Are these seats taken?” The girl wearing very short shorts asked him, pointing to the seats beside his.
Ethan looked up from the book he was about to read while waiting for the ferry to get moving. “No, the seats are free.” Ethan politely said.
“Thank you!” The two girls plopped themselves down beside him. Then they started to chat him up. Ethan knew then what they were up to, and he was not interested. He answered them politely in the beginning, but when they started speaking in Filipino about him, not so nicely, objectifyng him, he stood up.
“Pwedeng dadaan lang ako. Parang mas gusto ko na lang doon sa kabilang side nitong boat.” He said politely, but pointedly.
The two girls blushed to the roots of their dyed hair, realizing that he understood all the words they have spoken in Filipino. They mumbled a sorry to him. They were the ones who offered to move as far away from him as they could.
Ethan heaved a sigh of relief. He never thought of himself as a particularly good looking guy. But what the girls did is not new to him. It has happened several times while he is here, also in Thailand. He decided to send Pippa an SMS while waiting, informing her that he is already in the ferry and is about to leave Puerto Galera. She replied promptly, wishing him a good trip and that she will be waiting at the bus terminal when he gets to Manila.
Ethan felt very happy, and is very much looking forward to seeing Pippa again. Even the thought of what is Claudia’s diary failed to dampen his happiness in seeing Pippa again. He is prepared with whatever he will discover in that diary. It is time for him to move on and thanks a lot to Pippa, he is on that way already!
The past three days seemed longer with no Pippa around. Even the book he was reading before she arrived in his life was not as interesting as he thought it would be. He gets distracted with the thoughts of Pippa. He just would find himself smiling, the book forgotten. He always looked forward to the evenings and their nightly phone calls. Now in several hours, he will see her. The boat started moving and Ethan watched the receding Mindoro coastlines.
Pippa, at that time was busy cleaning her apartment. She had already prepared the room where Ethan will stay. When Ally comes, then she would have to share her room. Pippa hopes it would be okay with Ethan’s sister. She only has one guest room. She was humming while she mops her living room. She hopes Ethan will like her place. She find it a bit strange that it is important to her that he does. With Martin, she didn’t care much.
It has been a very hectic three days for Pippa. She had worked for 10 hours straight, putting the final plans for the production of her new magazine show, which will be launched the following month. It is earlier than schedule, but not the two weeks time her boss was initially told last Friday. Now, they have ample time to produce episodes.
The pilot episode of Pippa’s show would be about celebrities and their beautiful vacation houses around the country. Luckily, a well-known actress and a singer agreed to have their houses in Batangas and Palawan featured in their first episode. While the third one, that of a popular teen star, they are still negotiating, but it looks like the teener and his mom will agree. Pippa and her team, together with the host of the show, the well-known blogger and beauty queen Isabela Montes, are flying to Palawan next week for it. The Batangas one will be handled by one of the segment producers, with Isabela joining the team also, before the Palawan trip.
When Pippa finished cleaning the apartment, she went to the nearby supermarket to buy supplies for the house. She was thinking of cooking steak and mashed potatoes for Ethan that evening, if he wants to stay in. Otherwise, they can just go to one of the restaurants in Teachers Village in Quezon City or in Kapitolyo in Pasig for dinner. She also had a quick brunch in a nearby restaurant.
Having done that, Pippa returned to her condo. She was about to park her car, when she caught a glimpse of Martin and Cassie going up the elevator. She checked if she felt something, hurt or whatever, with the sight she saw, but there was none. In fact, she felt relieved. She smiled. Her heart felt so much lighter now! While she knew in her heart that she never really loved Martin, she also thought that it may be different when she sees him again. Thank God, she is so totally over him, and she got a lucky escape!
Pippa grabbed her keys after taking a shower. Ethan had just sent her a message to tell her that he was in the Camp Aguinaldo area. He even said, he knew because of the huge signage at the gate. Pippa replied that she will go to the terminal in Kamuning to wait for him.
Pippa was already waiting at the entrance of the bus terminal when Ethan’s bus arrived. Since she was double parked at the side, she called Ethan to let him know where she is and the color and make of her car. Several minutes after, Ethan opened the passenger’s seat of Pippa’s red Honda City.
“Hi Pippa, so nice to see you again.” Ethan said with a huge grin, then he gave Pippa a big hug, bags and all, just so very happy to see her again.
“Hello Ethan, so happy to see you too!” Pippa replied, with an equally big grin. Let’s get moving, baka paalisin na ako rito.”
Pippa drove back to her condo unit. She parked her car at her usual spot, then she and Ethan took the elevator to her unit on the 20th floor of the building.
“Here it is, home away from home. Welcome to my place, Ethan.” Pippa said smiling at Ethan.
Ethan looked around and he likes how Pippa decorated her flat. It looks cozy and very laid back. He also noticed her bookshelf and DVD collection in the living room. “This is a very nice place, Pippa.”
“Thank you, Ethan, would you like something to drink? To eat? I’m sure you must be hungry. We can order your fast food fix?” Pippa asked as she gestured for Ethan to sit on the couch.
“Oh, just Coke, Pippa if you have. We can just eat together later.” Ethan said.
“Okay, one Coke in can coming right up.” Pippa said smiling, then went to the fridge to get Ethan’s Coke. She also put some chips and dip on the tray she brought back to the living room. “Here you go, with something to tide you over.”
“Thank you very much Pippa. You are the best!” Ethan said smiling.
Pippa sat beside Ethan on the couch. She is happy to see him in her place. She feels that he belongs here with none of the awkwardness she felt when Martin comes for his one of rare visits. Normally, they just meet each other in restaurants or if he comes picking her up, they only stayed in her place for several minutes.
“I’m glad you are finally here, Ethan.” Pippa remarked, while she drinks the coffee she made for herself.
“I’m happy to be here too, Pippa! I really, really missed you a lot.” Ethan said while drinking his Coke. “Good thing we have been ringing each other every evening.”
“I missed you a lot too. Our nightly calls helped me relieved the tiredness I was feeling at the end of each work day. Thank God, everything is in order na with work so we can relax na completely.” Pippa said. “What would you like to do later? We can stay in the house and I will cook, or we can go out to have dinner?”
“Hmmm, how about supper somewhere you like very much, a place you haven’t tried or a place you like going to a lot? That way, you don’t have to cook.” Ethan suggested. “I’m good with any cuisine. Huwag mo lang ako pakakainin ng balut.”
“Ha, you don’t eat balut?” Pippa asked, smiling.
“I’m sorry, but no. Just imagining the duck embryo inside is enough to send me to the opposite direction.” Ethan said, smiling.
“Okay, no balut.” Pippa said. “By the way, what time will Ally arrive on Sunday?”
“I think around lunchtime.” Ethan said.
“Okay, we can just leave for the airport around 9AM. Traffic should be okay around that time since it is a Sunday.” Pippa suggested.
“Pippa, speaking of my sister, I want to tell you something.” Ethan said, then taking a deep breath, plunged in. “Ally will be bringing with her Claudia’s diary that the new tenant of our flat found recently while having the loose boards repaired.”
“Ethan, isn’t it good news?” Pippa said. “It might shed light on why she did what she did.”
“True, I thought of that too. I’m hopeful and at the same time, dreading what is in there. But I think it is better to know. Whatever it is.” Ethan said, then gazed at Pippa meaningfully. “I’m ready to move on. Thanks to you!”
“Ha, thanks to me, Ethan?” Pippa asked surprised, at the same time, she felt her heart skipped a beat with what he said, the way he said it and the way he is gazing at her.
“Yes, despite the fact that we have known each other a short time, you have helped me deal with it. I feel like you are a kindred spirit. I feel at ease with you in such a short time.” Ethan said, then continued, “And please don’t get me wrong, as this maybe too soon for you, the truth is, I’m starting to feel something for you.”
“Ethan…..” Pippa whispered. “You mean….?” She managed to say against the loud beating of her heart.
“Yes, Pippa, I like you, very, very much. I know it is too soon as you yourself just got out of a bad relationship, but we can take it one day at a time, please.” Ethan appealed. “Just give me a chance to prove to you that not all guys are cads!”
Pippa gazed at Ethan, saw his earnestness. “Ethan, I saw Martin earlier, going to his condo with Cassie, the girl I caught him with, and I felt nothing, Ethan! I was so happy. I think I’m over him and that it was not love really. But there is a part of me that is afraid, of getting hurt again. I know you are not like him, but still, the feeling of being betrayed like that lingers.”
“That’s a perfectly normal feeling, Pippa! Just take your time.” Ethan said, putting his hand on top of Pippa’s to comfort her. “I will just be here. I’m not going anywhere. I’m actually planning to stay in the Philippines for good.”
“Thank you, Ethan.” Pippa said, then cupping his face, she said candidly, “I like you a lot too, Ethan. In such a short time, you became someone very important to me. Yes, like you, I’m starting to feel something for you. But let us take it one day at a time, please.”
“Pippa, thank you! I’m so happy to know that. Of course, we could, we would.” Ethan said, touching Pippa’s face too. “All I want is a chance with you. I know we could have something very beautiful. We can take our time. One day at a time! As long as you are willing and open, then I’m happy.”
Pippa and Ethan gazed at each other. Then as if they can’t help it, their lips met for a searing kiss. They broke apart after several long seconds, with faces flushed. They looked at each other lovingly. Ethan put his arms around Pippa and laced their fingers. Pippa put her head on Ethan’s chest, the two of them savoring the moment that wonderful Friday afternoon.
Unexpected Love – Chapter 11
Pippa plopped herself down on her sofa as soon as she got home. She was very tired from the trip. It took a long time for the bus to reach Manila. By the time they entered the city, traffic was already a bit heavy. From the bus terminal, she took a taxi to her place. Next time, maybe she could just take the RORO and bring her car over. It is more convenient and faster. But as this trip was unscheduled and unplanned, she didn’t manage to do that.
Her stomach started grumbling, but Pippa was not sure if she has something to tide her over in her fridge! It was almost empty before she left. Whatever bread she had several days ago is probably very old by now. Better order some food! She called her favourite fast food’s delivery service and order a large fries, double cheese burger, a chocolate sundae and a large Coke.
Orders done, Pippa called Ethan’s number. He answered on the third ring.
“Hello Pippa!” Ethan greeted Pippa, happy to hear from her. “You made it safely home?”
“Hi Ethan, yes I did. I got caught in the traffic, pero okay lang. Next time, I will just bring my car over para hindi na ako mag-bus.” Pippa said.
“I think that’s a good idea!” Ethan said as he settled into the Montenegro’s veranda. Marianne took a nap and Manang Doray went to the resort so it was just him on the ground floor.
“So, what have you been up to since I left, aside from buying a mobile phone?” Pippa asked. “Speaking of, hindi ko pa pala natatawagan si Tristan!”
“Well, that’s about it. I had coffee while Tristan had breakfast and we chatted. Then after getting the phone and buying stuffs after, I headed back here, ate lunch with your Mum and Manang Doray. Now, I’m about to check my e-mail while at your porch. The signal here is better.”
“Oh, where’s Mom? I haven’t called her also.” Pippa asked, remembering that she promised to let her know she is home.
“She went upstairs to take a nap. But I think she is watching the telly.” Ethan smiled. “I will just tell her later that you have already rung.”
“I think so too.” Pippa smiled conspiratorially. She knows her Mom watches her favorite afternoon soap reiligiously. “Okay, just let her know please. Thanks Ethan.”
Before Pippa could say something more, her house phone rang. “Opps, sorry Ethan, I need to take this. My food delivery is here I think.”
Pippa told the reception to send the delivery guy to her unit. Then she went back to Ethan. “I’m back. I’m hungry so I ordered my fast food fix! I don’t think I have any food left in the house.”
“What will you have?” Ethan asked, suddenly, he too is craving for some unhealthy and greasy food.
“Burger, fries, chocolate sundae, Coke, the works!” Pippa replied!
“Wow, I wish I’m there eating those with you. I haven’t had my fast food fix since I moved here!” Ethan said.
“Well, you can have your fill when you make it here on Friday!” Pippa replied. “What time will you be coming? Oh, wait a second, the delivery guy is at the door. I will just get my food. Hold on, please, Ethan.”
Pippa returned after several minutes, munching fries. “Sorry, I’m eating while I’m talking to you. I will put the phone on speaker rin ha.”
“Go ahead, Pip, it is fine with me. I feel tortured though, imagining the food.” Ethan jested.
“Sorry, Ethan. I wish I can beam you over so you can share this.” Pippa said, smiling.
“Just teasing you, Pip! Go ahead and eat. I’m just teasing you. I know you must be hungry if your last meal was the one we shared this morning. I would like to be there with you, though. The house is lonesome with you.” Ethan suddenly said.
Pippa’s heart skipped a beat with that statement. “I wish you are here too, Ethan.” Pippa said softly. “Di bale, ilang days na lang. I will pick you up from the bus station. Just let me know approximately what time you will be there.”
“Sure about, Pip? I can just take a cab to your place.” Ethan offered.
“Hay naku, I will just pick you up. Huwag kang mag-aalala, okay lang. That way, hindi rin ako magwo-worry na baka mabiktima ka ng unscrupulous cabbies in the metro. Foreigner na foreigner pa naman ang hitsura mo.”
“Ha, but they don’t know I can speak Tagalog and I can shout ‘saklolo’!” Ethan jested.
“Hahahaha, ‘saklolo’ talaga, Ethan. I haven’t heard that word in a while.” Pippa said laughing.
Ethan laughed with Pippa. “Okay, I will send you an SMS then, when I’m near Manila. I’ll see you Friday, Pippa. I’ll say goodbye now so you can enjoy your meal.” He sighed dramatically.
“Okay, see you. Enjoy the rest of the day!” Pippa said, laughing.
“You too! I’m looking forward to Friday!” Ethan said before he ended the call.
Pippa ate her fast food fix while Ethan on the other hand, booted his MacBook and started checking his e-mail. He had quite a lot since he has not check for two weeks or so. He went through his Inbox, most of them are just junks, anyway. He was about to compose an e-mail to Werner, his acquaintance from Belgium when he notice another mail in his Inbox. It is from his sister.
Ethan opened Ally’s mail with trepidation. Ally seldom wrote. The last letter she sent him was when he was in Indonesia.
How are you doing down there in Mindoro? I would have rung instead of sending this e-mail if you had managed to replace the mobile Mummy said you have lost in Thailand. I don’t want to be a bother to Mummy’s friend to get in touch with you. Anyway, what I will tell you is very important for a phone conversation. I’ll wait until I see you in person.
I have decided to come to the Philippines because of it, and also to have some much needed vacation. I have booked my flight and I’m leaving London on Saturday. I should be there early Sunday. Can you pick me up at the airport in Manila?
E-mail back so I know you have read this.
Take care and see you soon.
Instead of replying to his sister’s e-mail, Ethan decided to give her a call. Good thing, he had a back up of his phone book in his computer. Ethan hoped his sister has not left for work yet.
“Hello, Allison Bowman, here.” Ally said when she picked up the call. She had a pretty good idea that it is her brother because of the country code, but she was not one hundred percent sure.
“Hi Ally, Ethan here! I bought a new mobile today, would you believe of all days. How are you? How’s Mum and Dad? Have you seen them lately?” Ethan asked in rapid succession.
“Whoa, Ethan, slow down.” Ally said, happy to hear from her brother. “Welcome back to the real world, Ethan. I’m glad you got yourself a mobile again.”
“I realised I needed one after all.” Ethan said sheepishly, not admitting to his sister that the reason he got one was because of Pippa. “You are coming for a visit, Ally? Great! You said you want to talk to me about something?”
“Well, first, brother, Mummy and Daddy are both doing great. They are going on a cruise later in the month. I had dinner with them last night to tell them of my plans to travel to the Philippines!” Ally said. “About the other thing, shouldn’t it wait until we see each other as it is a long story and I need to give you something to go with it?”
“Could you tell me what’s it all about, please. The suspense is going to kill me, Ally!” Ethan insisted. “Since you said both Mum and Dad are doing great, then it could not be about them.”
“Okay, Ethan, but I would like to ask you first, how are you truly?” Ally asked.
Ethan knew what Ally was asking him. “I’m doing quite good, Ally. You don’t have to tiptoe around what happened anymore. I have dealt with Claudia and the baby’s death. You know, accepted that they are gone. But I must admit, I still blame myself. I didn’t see the signs and I felt like I have let Claudia down! But before you call, I was already thinking of heading back to England, to find answers, put everything in order and see if Claudia’s parents are better now.”
“Ethan, I’m glad that you are moving on. This is the longest you have said on the matter to me, or to Mummy. You just clammed up on us. “Ally said emotionally. “But please, know that it is not your fault. We, your family, never thought that. None of what happened was your fault. It was tragic but it was not your fault. And I think you will not have to come back to find your answers.”
“How can you say that, Ally! Maybe, if I had looked paid attention closely, gave her the attention she wanted from me, she would still be alive today!” Ethan said. “And why would I won’t need to come back? Did something happen while I was away?”
“Ethan, listen, it is not your fault. There were some aspects of Claudia’s life she hid from you. I found that out after she died. Besides, you may find all the answers you are looking for in the diary she left behind.”
“What? She had one? I cleaned our flat before I had it listed at the realty agent you recommended to me. I didn’t find anything.” Ethan said, surprised.
“Well, the new owner, who incidentally, happened to be a colleague of mine at work discovered it by accident two weeks ago while having the creaking floor boards repaired. Claudia’s diary was hidden there. Jenny gave it to me, thinking that it might be very important to you, having known what happened a bit.” Ally explained. “I didn’t open it. It is not for me to do so. I thought of giving it to her parents, but the way they treated you after she died stopped me. Besides, after having it, you can decide what to do with it. Give it to them if you want to.”
“I never thought to look there! Yes, several of the floor boards were a bit loose. I have been meaning to have them fixed but never gotten around to doing so.” Ethan said. “I will wait for your arrival then. I will be in Manila, anyway, this weekend so it jibes with my schedule.”
“You will be?” Ally asked. “ What a nice coincidence! I thought your feet are firmly planted on Mindoro’s soil. Mum’s friend told Mum.”
“Yes, well, err, I’m just visiting a friend and meeting a guy a I met for some work I could do. Which reminds me, if you have some free time, could you ask Mum for my birth papers and some other documents I might need in applying for dual citizenship!”
“You will apply for one? Do you need it? Is your British one not enough?” Ally asked, curious.
“I want to stay in the Philippines for good, Ally.” Ethan told his sister. “It would be easier if I have a dual citizenship. Besides, we are half-Filipinos naman, di ba?”
“Well, yes, you are correct. That’s one of the reasons why Mum taught us how to speak the language.” Ally said. “Okay, I will get the papers. I’ll see you on Sunday. I think you owe me a lot of stories. Now, I better get moving and go to work.”
“See you, Al. Promise, we will chat the night away. Have a good flight!” Ethan said, then ended the call. Now he needs to buy more load cards for his phone. He decided to do that, leaving a note to Marianne that he borrowed the motorbike.
While on the road, Ethan thought of what Ally had said. He was nervously anticipating reading Claudia’s last thoughts and the same time, hoping that it will contain the closure that he needed so he can completely move on. It would be good to see his sister too. He realized how he had missed her while talking to her earlier. They have always been close. In fact, it was through her, though indirectly, that he met Claudia. While Claudia is a friend of one of her very good friends, her sister was quite vocal that she didn’t like her for Ethan as there was something not right with Claudia. However, she also told him, it’s his life and that maybe, she was not being fair anyway by disliking her. Ethan thought, for sure, Ally will like Pippa. He is looking forward to introducing Pippa to her, and his sister to Pippa.
That evening, Ethan mentioned to Marianne that his sister is coming for a visit. Marianne said that Ally is also welcome to stay either in the cottage with Ethan or in the main house as there are plenty of rooms there, especially now that Pippa is back in Manila. Ethan thanked her and then told her also that he is going to Manila to meet hs Belgian friend and visit Pippa. He also told Marianne that he would be staying in Pippa’s place. When she heard this, Marianne thought, her daughter and Ethan have really gotten very, very close. She also thought that Pippa is the main reason Ethan suddenly thought of going to Manila, but she kept her counsel as her daughter is old enough to know what she is doing and she trusts Ethan.
That evening, Pippa and Ethan chatted again on the phone. Pippa told Ethan that she did manage to call Tristan and her mom. Ethan mentioned to Pippa that Ally is coming, but not about Claudia’s diary. He would like to tell her about it in person. Pippa told him they can pick up Ally from the airport, then she too can stay in her place before they travel back to Mindoro. Ethan thanked Pippa for her generous offer. Pippa assured him it is completely okay and that she looking forward to meeting his sister.
Their conversation moved on to other topics. They only realized that they have been chatting for hours when Pippa’s phone made a warning signal that its battery is almost drained. They decided to call it a night then.
“Good night Pippa.” Ethan said, very happy. “And good luck on your production meeting tomorrow.”
“Thanks a lot, Ethan. For sure, I will have a long day tomorrow. But better to finish everything before you arrive so we can spend more time together.” Pippa said.
“I’m looking forward to that. Good night. Sweet dreams!” Ethan said, smiling at the other end of the line.
“Have a good sleep, Ethan! Think happy thoughts.” Pippa said smiling.
“I will!” Ethan said, reluctant to end the call.
Pippa and Ethan finally ended the call with big smiles on their faces after several more minutes of bantering amid the warning beep of Pippa’s phone, both are very eager to see each other again in several days.
Unexpected Love – Chapter 9
“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! ❤ ❤ ❤
Unexpected Love – Chapter 8
“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!
Unexpected Love – Chapter 7
“Ethan?” Pippa called from the entrance of the cottage where Ethan staying. She forgot to ask him whether they will meet there or the beach. Since the cottage is on the way, she decided to check there first. The cottage looks empty. The door was not locked so she took a peek inside. She called again and when she got no reply she walked back to the path beside the main house that leads to the beach.
Pippa passed by her mother’s beautifully-tended garden, then walked downwards until she reached a wooden gate wtih an archway adorned by all kinds of bougainvilleas. The view she can see from there is picture-perfect! She wished she had a camera with her. Then she remembered her iPhone. She put down the picnic basket she was carrying and took several pictures.
She saw Ethan right away after she opened the gate. He was lying on a beach mat, wearing only a pair of board shorts, his t-shirt discarded on the mat. He was also wearing shades while glued to the book he was reading. He looked like he was posing for the summer edition of a fashion magazine!
“Hi Ethan! I brought snacks.” Pippa said by way of a greeting, trying to control her physical reaction to Ethan’s male beauty.
Ethan looked at Pippa from his shades and admired the picture she presents. Pippa is wearing a thin halter maxi dress over her swimsuit. She looks very lovely. The dress showed in silhouette her long shapely legs and curves.
“Hi Pippa, great that you made it!” Ethan said with a big smile, sitting up, then inviting Pippa to sit with him on the mat.
Pippa handed Ethan a cold can of Coke, then opened one for herself too. “Sandwich? Manang Doray prepared it.”
“Oh, yes please! I’m famished. Thanks a million, Pippa.” Ethan said, smiling.
They ate while chatting about books that they have read, movies that they have seen, and places they have been to.
“So, when did you exactly leave home?” Pippa asked after a while.
“I left England about six months ago. I have been to Bali and stayed for a while in Ubod, then I moved on to Vietnam and Cambodia, took a trip to Singapore too, crossed to Malaysia, then off to Beijing, Macau, Hongkong, then moved around Thailand a bit then here in Puerto Galera more than a month ago. I stopped traveling na since I felt like I have found a home here.”
“Wow, so many different places in six months!” Pippa exclaimed, wondering if there was more then seeing those places that compelled Ethan to move around that much in such a short time. “But I’m glad you feel at home here at Puerto Galera.”
“Yes, I needed to keep myself occupied so I traveled a lot. I moved when I got restless.” Ethan simply said, sipping his Coke and looking at the horizon. “I needed to forget too.” He whispered, almost to himself.
“What did you say, Ethan?” Pippa asked, puzzled and she was not sure if she heard correctly.
“Wala, Pippa.” Ethan said, then change the direction of the conversation. “If you don’t have this book yet, you can have them after I finish. Iwan ko na lang sa iyo, and my other books na baka you would like to read din. I can just carry my Kindle around.”
“Oh, are you planning on leaving soon? I thought you will stay pa?” Pippa asked, surprised at the same time, for some reason she can’t explain, she feels sad and lost already with just the thought of Ethan leaving.
“Not in the near future! Wala pa naman akong plans. I like it here, really. I found peace. Pero siguro para makumpleto iyon, I need to go back to England and confront the past.” Ethan said all of a sudden.
Pippa was quiet. She wanted to ask Ethan for details. But maybe, it is better to let him tell her about it. But she wants to comfort him somehow without really prying into his affairs, so she decided to say something to him.
“Ethan, all I know is what you told me that Claudia died seven months ago. I don’t know what happened and what it is that is haunting you, and you don’t have to tell me if you don’t want to or if you are not ready to share it, pero all I can say is sometimes, the only way we can move on with our lives is to accept that things had happened, maybe for a reason we can accept, maybe not, or maybe we will never know at all. Hindi na rin natin kasi maibabalik ang mga nangyari na. The only way to go is to live in the present and move towards the future.” Pippa said eloquently. “Have a closure of some sort, and move on!”
“I realized that too, Pippa. But thank you for telling me too, put things in perspective somehow.” Ethan said, looking at Pippa.”I want to lay the past to rest and at some point I have to do it. I think I needed to go back to where it all started when I’m ready. Baka enough na ang six months of running away from it!”
“Minsan, masakit tanggapin when you lost a loved one, pero there’s nothing we can do about it eh. It is beyond our control. Wala naman tayong magagawa kundi tanggapin ang mga pangyayari and live with it.” Pippa continued. “It happened when I lost my Dad suddenly five years ago. He was so young to be taken away from Mom and I, but we can’t do anything about it.”
“Tita Marianne told me that your father died at sea while saving some kids.” Ethan said, realizing that Pippa have known lost too and at a younger age. He can’t imagine losing his Mum or Dad like that, so abruptly.
“Yes, after that, there was a time that I didn’t want to see Puerto Galera at all. I didn’t want to take the boat to go here since it reminded me of my lost.” Pippa said. “But eventually, you learned how to accept that the person you love is gone and it is better to just remember the wonderful memories you had with them.”
“Pippa, but how do you move on when you not only lost someone dear to you but that her passing left a lot of unanswered questions.” Ethan suddenly said, deciding to tell Pippa more of what happened to Claudia.
“What do you mean, Ethan?” Pippa asked looking at Ethan closely. She can see his pain. He was tapping on the empty can of Coke he was holding, unconsciously.
“Pippa, Claudia killed herself and our baby.” Ethan finally said. “She committed suicide. I found out after she died that she was pregnant.”
“What? Why?” Pippa was so surprised at Ethan’s revelation. “How far along was she when she died?”
“She was two months pregnant. On why did she do it, that I don’t know Pippa. She didn’t leave a suicide note. So I don’t have answers. I have been searching for those before I left. I was going crazy so I decided to just travel as far away from England as I could.” Ethan said pensively. “Did I drive her to it like her parents are accusing me!”
“Why would they believe that?” Pippa asked. Yes, she had known Ethan for a short time, but she feels like he is not capable of that. Why would he get affected this way if he was?
“I don’t know. But I have been thinking lately, that maybe, I have not search enough for answers.” Ethan said. “One of these days, I will go and see what I could find so I can finally move on. I have reasons to move on. Sorry, that is all I can tell for now.”
“Thank you for telling me Ethan and that is the spirit!” Pippa said, touching Ethan’s arm to comfort him. “I’m just here if you need someone to talk to.”
“Thank you, Pippa.” Ethan said, feeling lighter now by just talking to Pippa about it. She was able to do what his Mum and Ally were not able to do, him talking about his feelings. He just wished he can also tell Pippa about the guilt that has been eating him. Maybe, Claudia’s parents were right, he was also to blame for Claudia’s suicide to a certain extent!
Pippa and Ethan both stared at the horizon and watched the setting sun in companionable silence. Both were comforted by the other’s presence as they got lost in their own thoughts.
“By the way, I forgot to mention earlier, Tris called before I left the house.” Pippa said after a while. “He said all the passengers are safe, may mga injury pero hindi naman grabe. Iyong sa driver lang ang medyo grabe pero out of danger na rin siya.”
“That’s good to know.” Ethan said. “So makakabalik na si Tristan sa house later?”
“Hindi pa siya sure eh!” Pippa replied. “Sayang nga. Matutuwa pa naman ng husto si Belle kapag nakita si Tristan. Feeling ko may crush ang pinsan ko sa kanya.”
Ethan smiled and then remarked, “I think he likes you, though!”
“Ha, what do you mean?” Pippa asked, looking at Ethan closely. “Tris like me, as in like?”
“Errrr, yes, kasi I also noticed the way he was looking at you when you are not looking.” Ethan replied. “He likes you, you know a lot.”
“Naku, Ethan, for me, Tris is like the big brother I haven’t had. Growing up, siya ang protector namin ni Belle.” Pippa said. “Hanggang doon lang talaga ang feelings ko sa kanya. Saka, I’m off relationship muna.”
“Off relationship? And why is that, if I may ask?” Ethan said. “You know, I’m also just here if you want to unburden yourself. Sometimes, it is not so bad when you talk about it with someone.”
“I have a question for you, sige, since you are a guy.” Pippa said, deciding to find answers of her own. Questions that she can’t ask her mother. “Why do guys cheat? Why can’t they stay faithful? I mean, if they are not happy in a relationship, then bow out before they hook up with another person. And last question, do you guys think of sex all the time? Go to the first girl who is willing to give it to you?”
“Hmmm, I think I now have an idea what happened with that Martin guy. Sorry, I overheard you calling him by name when you answered the phone last night.” Ethan said, then thinking a bit before he replied.
“Number one, Pippa, you will not cheat if you really love the other person and you are committed to that relationship. You will not even think about it. My personal view is that if you are not happy in your relationship, then make a clean break before you hook up with someone else. It is a coward’s way to try to have both worlds. Not all guys cheat. Many don’t. Some are just born cads.”
Then he continues, “Well as for the last question, well yes, men were set up like that or wired that way by nature. We react physically when we see a beautiful woman that attracts us very, very much, for instance. But it does not mean you will act on it all the time. We are humans and not animals. And there is such thing as control and reason. Also, if you really love a person, you will wait until that other person is ready, and not pressure her into doing something she is not ready.”
“Wow, you really hit things right in the eye. Are sure you are computer geek and not a psychologist.” Pippa said, smiling. “Thanks a lot Ethan.”
“Hahaha, I wish I am. Hindi sana, I’m done with my issues na.” Ethan said giving Pippa an answering smile. He really feels so happy being with her, chatting like this. He forgot all his troubles.
“Thank you, talaga, Ethan.” Pippa said. “And fair is fair, since you told me a bit about Claudia. Yes, Martin was my boyfriend who cheated on me. I caught him with another girl the other night. Come to think of it, the other night lang pala iyon, parang a lifetime ago na. So after I saw what I saw, I broke up with him and packed my bags. And here I am. He had been calling and texting me asking for my forgiveness dahil wala lang raw iyong nakita ko, would you believe!”
“Oh Pippa, someday, you will find a guy who deserves your love. I gathered also that he was pressuring you to go to bed with him?” Ethan asked directly.
“Yes, he did try to talk me into it, several times. But to be honest, Ethan, it is not that I’m waiting for a ring on my finger before making love to someone I love very much. It is just that, I was not ready, I was not so sure I want to do it with him.” Pippa replied honestly. “I didn’t feel with him the feelings I imagine I will feel when we kiss, that sort thing, you know.”
“Then don’t do it, when you are not ready Pippa. You should make love with the guy you love when you are sure and not because you want to please him or is feeling pressured. It should be something beautiful, a physical expression of your love for each other.” Ethan said, gathering that Pippa is innocent in the ways of love even if she had a boyfriend already.“You will know when you are ready. And you are talking about passion, which you apparently didn’t feel with him. With the right person, you will. And yes, for guys it could be less than that, but after a while, meaningless sex is just like that, meaningless.”
“Hmmm, about knowing when the time comes, that’s similar to what Mom told me earlier, when I asked her how would I know when I find the one for me.” Pippa smiled. “She said I will know. Same meaning, different context, huh!”
“I think your Mum is right.” Ethan replied. “The mysteries of love and how it moves us, difficult to fathom, isn’t it?”
“So true. Thank you again, Ethan for listening.” Pippa said, giving Ethan a smile that lit up her beautiful face.
“You’re welcome, Pippa, anytime. Thank you very much as well for your insights and for listening.” Ethan gave Pippa a big smile too.
Pippa and Ethan gazed at each other, a silent communion and communication between them. It was broken when there was a gush of strong wind and Pippa shivered.
“Pippa, you are cold again.” Ethan remarked. “Come, put this on.” He said, giving Pippa his shirt which was lying on the mat beside him. “I’m good.”
“Thanks, Ethan. Yes, I’m a bit cold. But it is nice out here.” Pippa said, putting Ethan’s shirt which smelled a bit of him, mixed with the soap he uses.
Ethan also moved a little bit, then put his arms around Pippa to keep her warm fast. Pippa let him as it felt nice, very nice. They stayed liked that for a while, chatting about all kinds of stuffs and enjoying the beautiful view before them until it got very dark to see anything. Only then, they returned to the house, hand in hand.
Unexpected Love – Chapter 6
Posted by Antigone in Richard and Maya Fiction on February 1, 2015
“That was a lovely meal, Tita Marianne! Thank you very much. To you too, Manang Doray! “ Ethan said, smiling, after they have finished eating lunch.
“You’re welcome, Ethan.” Marianne replied, smiling at the young man who was very solicitous to her daughter all throughout the meal. She also noticed Tristan looking at the two of them often. Hmmm, what do I have here, she mused.
Marianne decided to let be. It is the kids business, anyway. “Doray, pakilabas na iyong dessert na binili natin sa bayan kanina.”
“Mom, what did you buy?” Pippa asked excitedly, hoping her mother bought her favorite rice cakes.
“Eh di ang mga paborito mong kakanin.” Marianne told her daughter. “Mabuti, naabutan pa namin ni Doray si Aling Bining. Alam mo naman kung gaano kabilis maubos ang mga tinda niyang kakanin.”
“Yes!!!” Pippa said gleefully. “Tulungan ko na si Manang Doray. Coffee, Ethan, Tris? “
“None for me, Pippa.” Tristan said. “Thank you.”
“How about you, Ethan?” Pippa asked.
“Yes, but I will go with you. I’ll make the coffee.” Ethan said, then stood up to go with Pippa to the kitchen. They smiled at each other and then disappeared through the doorway.
“Pippa, what are your plans for today?” Ethan asked.
“Just a chat with Mom, since I haven’t seen her for quite a while.” Pippa replied. “How about you?”
“Oh, I’m going to read a book by the beach. That is after I finish doing my laundry.” Ethan said.
“Bakit hindi mo na lang ipagawa kay Manang Doray iyan.” Pippa suggested. “I’m sure she wouldn’t mind.”
“Oo nga naman, Ethan. Sabi ko naman sa iyo, ilang beses na,ilagay mo na lang sa laundry room ang mga marurumi mong damit.” Manang Doray added while preparing the dessert, overhearing Pippa and Ethan’s discussion.
“Thank po, Manang Doray, Pippa. I would rather do it myself. Sobra-sobra na ng ginagawa ninyo for me, Manang Doray. Kayo ni Tita Marianne. Feeding me meals. Kaya ko naman. Remember I’m used to being on my own and doing those stuffs since unlike here, wala naman kaming kasambahay. Saka, I will just load the clothes lang naman sa washing machine, and that’s it.”
“Oh, okay then.” Pippa said. “Bahala ka. Manang Doray, ako na po ang magdadala ng dessert natin. Balik na po kayo kay Mom. Hintayin ko lang si Ethan na mag-prepare ng coffee.”
“O siya, sige Pippa. Salamat, anak.” Manang Doray said. “Dalhin ko na lang itong Coke ni Ate Marianne. Alam mo naman ang Mom mo, ito talaga ang paboritong inumin pagkatapos kumain.”
Several minutes after, Pippa and Ethan returned with coffee and desserts. Pippa served everyone.
“Thanks, Pippa. Ano pala ang plano mo after lunch?” Tristan asked, just like Ethan did.
“Hmmm, wala naman. Makikipagkwentuhan lang ako kay Mom.” Pippa replied. “Ikaw, gusto mo later puntahan natin si Belle sa resort? For sure matutuwa iyon na nandito ka.”
“Oh, sure!” Tristan replied. He was actually hoping that he and Pippa can spend time together, just the two of them. But with Belle is okay. For sure, they can find time alone since Belle will be working.
“You and Tristan can go after dessert na Pippa. We can chat naman later.” Pippa’s mom told her and Tristan.
However, before they can finalize the plans for the afternoon, Tristan’s mobile phone rang.
“Excuse me Tita Marianne, Pippa, Ethan, I just have to take this.” Tristan said as he stood up and move a little away. “Yes, Josh! What? How bad? Oh, okay, I’ll be there in 30 minutes or less.”
“What’s wrong Tris?” Pippa asked. Listening to his side of the conversation, it does seemed that something bad had happened.
“Tita Marianne, Pippa, Ethan, Manang, kailangan ko pong bumalik sa clinic. May passenger jeep po na nag-turn turtle diyan sa may dangerous curve malapit sa bayan. Puno daw po ng mga pasahero. Kailangan nila ang lahat ng doctors na available sa area.” Tristan said.
“Oh, hijo, sana naman walang grabe.” Marianne said. Se knows how bad it could get as she had her share of vehicular injuries in her stint in the hospitals in Manila and there in Puerto Galera. “Can I help?”
“Sana nga po, Tita Marianne. Okay na po, we can manage. Thank you. Nasa clinic naman sina Susan and Marita.” Tristan said, referring to their two nurses.“Sige po, bibiyahe na ako. Iwan ko na lang ang mga gamit ko, though not sure what time ako makakabalik. Bye sa inyong lahat.”
“Bye Tris, ingat.” Pippa said.
“Let us know if we could be of help.” Ethan said. “I hope the situation is not so bad.”
“Okay, just be back kung kailan ka libre and let us know kung ano ang development kapag hindi na kayo busy nina Josh.” Marianne said. “Ingat ka Tristan.”
“Doc Tristam, pasabi ka lang kung pabalik na ka na ha, para maipaghanda kita ng food.” Manang Doray added. “Isama mo na rin si Doc Josh.”
Tristan then drove off, leaving Pippa and Ethan at the dining table, with Mommy Marianne and Manang Doray.
“I hope no one dies. Saka hindi grabe ang injuries ng mga pasahero at nung driver.” Pippa remarked. She is not very good at dealing with dying, having to deal with the death of the father she adored, five years ago. It was still painful to remember even if her father died saving people.
Doc Tommy died saving two kids when the boat he took one December morning developed engine trouble, then pummelled by strong waves capsized, while on the way to Batangas. He was hit on the head by the boat’s broken outrigger. A wave suddenly hit the boat after he managed to put the kids into the other boat that was trying to help the passengers of the capsized boat.
Ethan seeing Pippa’s expression also got silent. His circumstance is different, but her statement made him remember seeing Claudia on their bed, with an empty bottle of sleeping pills beside her. He rushed her to the hospital but she was pronounced dead. He vaguely remember how he managed to bring her there. It turned out, she had been dead for a while, even before he arrived home that evening. He found out that she was pregnant when she committed suicide.
Marianne broke into the thoughts she was not aware of that her daughter and her guest were having. “So, what are your plans this afternoon na, Pippa, Ethan, now that Tris is not here?”
“I will just do my laundry and read by the beach, Tita Marianne.” Ethan replied, still shaking off the bad memory.
“Ethan, di ba sabi ko naman sa iyo ilagay mo na lang iyong marurumi mong damit mo diyan sa laundry room. Doray can take care of it.” Marianne told their guests.
“Many thanks, Tita Marianne I can do it naman. I owe you a lot already. Speaking of which, since I have stayed more than I should have, I would like to pay please for the stay in the cottage and the food.” Ethan offered. For him it is the least he could do for this very nice lady. Besides he is used to paying his way and being independent.
“That I will not hear of, anymore, Ethan and that’s final. You can stay as long as you want. Bisita ka namin. It is the least I could do for your mother, who have been the most wonderful person to me when we were in college.” Marianne told her friend’s son firmly. “Saka, you are doing all the guy’s work na nga dito sa bahay and that is enough. Okay? No more talk about paying.”
“Oo nga naman, Ethan, masanay ka na dito sa Pilipinas, lalo na kay Mom.” Pippa added. “Just enjoy your vacation. Stay as long as you want. Mas kampante nga ako na nandito ka kasi may kasama na sina Mom and Manang Doray. Para hindi rin ako nag-aalala pagbalik ko sa Maynila.”
“Okay, thank you so much, Tita Marianne and Pippa.” Ethan said, smiling. “Are you going back to Manila soon, Pippa?”
“Hmmmm, I’m not sure yet. I’m in between projects at the moment. Speaking of which, I need to call my production manager to ask if I can start with the new one next week, so I’ll have several more days here.” Pippa said.
“Okay, I’ll see you later then?” Ethan said. “Join me at the beach?”
“Sure. See you, around 4 o’clock? Would that be okay?” Pippa asked.
“Lovely! See you Pippa. Tita Marianne, I’m off with the laundry. Many thanks again.” Ethan said, then gave Pippa’s mom a kiss on the cheek.
“See you, Ethan.” Marianne said smiling, and getting more and more curious at how close really Ethan and her daughter has become.
Ethan left, leaving Marianne and Pippa alone at the table, as Manang Doray also excused herself to go to the kitchen and start washing dishes.
“Mukhang magkasundong-magkasundo kaagad kayo ni Ethan, ah.” Marianne remarked to her daughter while sipping her Coke.
“Yes, Mom! Ethan is fun and a wonderful guy. Magaan ang loob ko kaagad sa kanya.” Pippa said. “Napagkamalan ko nga siyang magnanakaw kagabi kasi may nakita akong ilaw sa kitchen. Eh ang alam ko mag-isa ako dito.”
“Hahahaha, really Pippa! Hindi na kasi tayo masyadong nakapag-usap kahapon. I forgot to tell you na dito kumakain si Ethan. Binilin kasi sa akin iyan ng Mommy niya.” Marianne said.
Her friend Virgie didn’t tell her the whole story behind Ethan leaving his job and taking a trip to Asia six months ago, just to ask her if he could stay with her for a while. Virgie has mentioned to her son about Marianne and her resort in Mindoro so Ethan was planning to go there, she said, after his trips to Vietnam, Thailand and Indonesia. Virgie just mentioned that Ethan is going through something rough. Marianne didn’t ask for details anymore, just assured her friend that she will take care of her son.
“Binilin po sa inyo ni Tita Virgie si Ethan? Bakit po?” Pippa asked, wanting to know, and maybe it has something to do with Ethan having nightmares about his dead girlfriend. Though on second thought, it is Ethan’s business and his story to tell, maybe when he is ready. “Oh, never mind, Mom, basta let him stay as long as he wants.”
“Oo naman. I like having him around too. Para akong nagkaanak ng lalaki.” Marianne said. “Mabait na bata naman iyang si Ethan. Masipag pa. O bakit ka nga pala napauwi anak? I’m glad to see you but I think there is a reason why you are home all of a sudden.”
“Mom, di ba pwedeng, I missed you lang.” Pippa said, buying time, though she knows her Mom’s question is coming.
“I know you anak! Sabihin mo na at baka makatulong ako.” Marianne said. “May problema ka ba, Pippa?”
“Mom, ikaw talaga, you know me so well.” Pippa said, sipping her coffee and taking a deep breath. “Mom, wala na po kami ni Martin.” Pippa blurted out, maybe it is better to do this in one tell so she can move on.
“Oh! What happened, anak?” Marianne asked. Though she was not so surprised. The two times she had met Martin when she was in Manila, visiting Pippa and buying supplies for the resort, there was something about Pippa’s young man that rubbed her wrong. She didn’t say anything to her daughter because it is her life. Ayaw naman niyang makialam.
“The other night po. Mom, I caught him with another girl in his apartment. They were obviously doing more than talking in his bedroom. Yayain ko lang sana siyang mag-dinner kasi I was feeling guilty na hindi ko siya masyadong naasikaso lately dahil sa work.” Pippa gave her mother the condense version of what happened. She does not one to dwell on the whole ugly incident.
“Oh anak!” Marianne said and then went to her daughter and hugged her. She must be hurting a lot.
“Okay lang ako, Mom. I’m dealing with it. Alam naman po ni Martin na iyan ang hindi ko kayang i-tolerate sa isang relationship, him cheating on me.” Pippa said. “Huwag po kayong mag-aalala, I will recover. Wala naman yatang namatay sa broken heart.”
“Pippa, anak, I never said anything when you introduced him to me, pero broken heart nga ba? Do you love him with all your heart to the exclusion of everything? Look deep inside you.” Marianne told her daughter gently. Call it mother’s intuition, but maybe, Martin is not really the one for her daughter. She feels so.
“You know, Mom. I thought of that also on the way to Batangas from Manila and while waiting for the first boat to Puerto sa pier kahapon ng umaga. Bigla na lang kasi akong nag-alsa balutan after I found him out. Hindi ko lang masyadong ma-process dahil sa galit and hurt, magulo ang mind ko, pero kagabi bago ako natulog, naisip ko na rin iyan.” Pippa said. “It was hard lang talaga taking in betrayal of our love.”
Then continued, “You have a point din with your question naman, Mom. Siguro I have loved him in my own way, but naitanong ko rin sa sarili ko na is that the kind of love that lasts? Parang hindi naman kasi dahil bakit nagkaganoon. Tapos what I feel at the moment was more of the hurt at his betrayal. There is a part of me rin that was disappointed kasi I fell for the wrong person again. Bakit hindi ko nakita iyon when I said yes to loving him. Paano ko ba talaga malalaman kung iyon na iyon? The great love of my life, I mean?”
“Pippa anak, you will know.” Marianne said with a smile. “Kung hindi ka sure na si Martin iyon, then when the time comes, you will know. Iyon naman kay Gerard, college ka pa noon, maybe too young to know love really. Sometimes talaga, you have to search among several frogs to find your prince.”
“Mom, ikinumpara mo pa sina Martin at Gerard sa frogs, hahahaha.” Pippa said smiling. “But I do get your point. You know what, I’m off relationship at the moment. Pero don’t worry, I’m not closing my heart or turning bitter or cynical, I just want to be sure next time. When I love again, I want to be sure that he is the one for me. Sabi mo nga, prince na at hindi na frog, hahahaha.”
“That’s the spirit anak!” Marianne told her daughter. “Sometimes, love comes knocking when you are not looking and when you are not expecting it.” She added meaningfully. “The important thing is when it does, be sure of what you feel. Also, you will know. Tell me when it happens and tell me if I’m wrong.”
“Thank you, Mom. Kayo ni Daddy, di ba you hit right off when you met at the hospital kung saan siya doctor at newly-hired nurse ka?” Pippa said. She never gets tired of hearing her parents’ love story.
Marianne smiled remembering meeting her husband, the great love of her life, at a time when love was the last thing in her mind also.
Mother and daughter talked the whole afternoon, until Pippa noticed the time.
“Oh, Mom, we have been talking for a while! Hindi ko namalayan ang oras. I promised to meet Ethan at the beach at 4PM. Mag-aalas kwatro na pala.” Pippa said. “I need to change pa. I think I have left a swimsuit here.”
“Go ahead, anak.” Marianne said. “We can chat again later. I need to talk to Doray also about dinner. Hindi pa rin tumatawag si Tris ah, baka kaya maraming injured.”
“I hope not, Mom. Baka busy lang ng husto.” Pippa assured her mother. “Sige po, aakyat lang ako sa room ko.”
Marianne watched her daughter’s departing figure, took a sip of her lukewarm Coke, and smiled. She had a feeling that her daughter will find the kind of love she had been wishing for and unable to find, soon.
Unexpected Love – Chapter 5
Marianne Montenegro arrived home around lunch with Manang Doray and Dr. Tristan Mendoza. She and Manang Doray saw Tristan in town when they stopped to buy supplies for the house. When Tristan found out that they just commuted from Calapan, he offered to take them home. Marianne initially declined as Tristan might be busy with the clinic. Tristan insisted.
Marianne told him that Pippa is home. Tristan said taking them home means he can say hello to Pippa too, like hitting two birds with one stone. Marianne then suggested that he stays overnight if he is free, so that he and Pippa have more time to visit as the childhood friends haven’t seen each other for quite sometime. Tristan said he will since he and his clinic partner, Dr. Joshua Carlos are not that busy at the moment. If there is an emergency he can just come back, he told Pippa’s mother.
The clinic was started by Marianne’s husband Dr. Tomas Montenegro and Tristan’s father, Dr. Benjamin Mendoza more than 20 years ago, with Marianne as their nurse. When Doc Tommy died five years ago, Doc Benjie as he is fondly called by the residents of the town, continued on with the clinic with Marianne.
However, when Marianne said she wanted to retire from the clinic three years ago to concentrate on running the resort, Doc Benjie said it was about time he does as well and pass the torch to the young ones. Tristan took over and after a year, his friend, and a classmate at the University of Santo Tomas Faculty of Medicine and Surgery, Joshua joined him. They hired two new nurses, and a medical technologist, and they have been running the practice since.
Tristan is several years older than Pippa but since their parents are friends, they too became very good friends since they were kids. He, Pippa and Belle were inseparable when they were growing up. He was like a big brother to Belle and Pippa, growing up, as the cousins were both only child.
“Tristan, you can have the room you occupied the last time you were here.” Marianne said when they were in the living room. “Maghahanda lang kami ni Doray ng lunch natin. For sure, walang naluto si Pippa since walang masyadong laman ang refrigerator kahapon kaya nga kami naghinto sa bayan.”
“Sige po, Tita Marianne, I will just bring my bag up, then help you.” Tristan said. “Nasaan po kaya si Pippa, parang sobrang tahimik nitong bahay.”
“Naku, baka natutulog pa iyon. Minsan ganyan ang batang iyan. Gawa nga siguro ng nature ng work niya.” Marianne replied.
“Sige po, hintayin na lang natin siyang magising. Aakyat na po ako, Tita Marianne.” Tristan said.
Tristan opened the room he occupied before, the one beside Pippa’s, and got the surprised of his life when he saw two people sleeping in the bed.
“Pippa!”…. Tristan exclaimed before he could stop himself.
Pippa was jolted out of sleep for the second time. But this time because someone called her name quite loudly. She opened her eyes and checked her surroundings. She realized that she feel asleep in the room where Ethan is staying and that during the course of the night, she and Ethan ended up in the middle of the bed. Ethan’s arms were around her, and she was half-lying on Ethan’s chest.
“Tris! What are you doing here?” Pippa asked, suddenly very much awake, surprised to see her childhood friend inside the room.
Beside Pippa, Ethan stirred, opened his eyes and realizing that there is another person in the room, he too sat up, shaking off sleep. He noticed too that he and Pippa ended up sleeping very close to each other. They must had sought each other’s body’s warmth while sleeping.
“Good morning to you Tristan!” Ethan greeted the doctor calmly. He had met Tristan through Tita Marianne when he accompanied her to town one time. They never got to talk much, but he seemed an okay guy, apparently well-loved by the people around here, and the girls around are crushing on him and the other doctor, according to Belle. He also noticed that Belle’s tone of voice changes when she speaks of Tristan. He thinks she has feelings for the doctor.
“Good morning, Pippa, Ethan! I’m sorry for barging in and disturbing your sleep. I didn’t know the room is occupied.” Tristan said, trying to regain his composure and be nonchalant at what he thought he saw. Pippa and Ethan are both grown-ups and single, even if the last time he talked to Marianne she mentioned that Pippa has a boyfriend in Manila. He felt like he was kicked in the gut when he saw Pippa in bed with another guy.
“This was the room I used the last time I was here, ilalagay ko lang sana ang bag ko. I’ll get going then. Excuse me. Oh by the way, Pippa, your mom is downstairs, making lunch. Nakita ko kasi sila sa bayan kanina.” He added.
“Oh, Mom is back then. Okay, I will go with you and say hello.” Pippa said, getting out of the bed, wanting to talk to Tristan alone and explain what he saw. “Ethan, I’ll see you downstairs.” She told Ethan, suddenly turning shy and a bit self-conscious in the light of day.
Ethan gazed at Pippa, intently, gauging her mood, but unable to.“Okay, Pippa, I’ll see you and thank you for keeping me company this morning when I had a nightmare. I really appreciate it. I guessed we just fell asleep while watching The Avengers.” He said not only for Pippa’s, but for Tristan’s benefits. He does not want him to think negatively of Pippa. He knows that Pippa and him sleeping like that, even if nothing happened, is not the norm where they are.
Pippa got what Ethan was trying to convey, and she appreciated it very much. “Oo nga, last thing I remembered was The Avengers battling the Chitauri in New York.” She said smiling, then looked at him and mouthed a silent thanks. “See you downstairs. Halika na, Tris.” She gave Ethan one last glance and a sweet smile, then closed the door with Tristan in tow.
Pippa and Tristan spoke at the same time while they were in the corridor in between the rooms. They looked at each other and shared an uncomfortable smile, both unsure on how to proceed.
“You go ahead, please, Pippa.” Tristan finally said.
“No, you go, please. What was it you want to say to me?” Pippa insisted.
Tristan took a deep breath and said his piece. “Pippa, I just want you to know that whatever I saw in that room stays there. It is yours and Ethan’s business.”
Tristan wants to reassure Pippa, the childhood friend whom he would like to look at him as more than a friend, somehow, wanting her to know that he is not passing judgment or drawing a conclusion at what he saw, or that he would tell her mother about it.
“Thank you, Tristan. But the thing is, that is what I wanted to talk to you about. While what you said is correct, that is mine and Ethan’s business, nothing happened in there beyond us sharing a bed. We ended up sleeping while watching DVDs, which I think now, you have left behind in that room. On how I ended up in that room instead of mine, was like what Ethan said, he had a nightmare. I just kept him company.”
“Pippa, hindi mo naman kailangang mag-explain to me, pero thank you pa rin for telling me. I hope you understand that I am not passing judgment on you and him earlier. I believe in the adage ‘live and let live’.” Tristan assured Pippa.
“I know that you didn’t. We have been friends long enough for me to know that.” Pippa said with a smile. “Thank you. Please go ahead pala, I’ll just take a quick shower and then I will be down too.”
Pippa went down 30 minutes after. When she went to the kitchen, she saw Tristan having coffee with Ethan and her mom.
“Mom!!!!” Pippa said with a big smile, then went to her mother and hug her tight while giving her a big kiss on the cheek. “I super missed you! Mabuti nandito ka na. Naaayos ang car ng maaga?”
“Pippa, anak! Naku, mabuti naman at nauwi ka.” Marianne said. She is happy to see her only daughter. She also knows that there must be a very compelling reason why she is home all of a sudden. Hindi nga nito nakuhang tumawag sa kanya na uuwi pala siya. Normally, Pippa calls days before she visits to let her know.
“Hindi pa nagagawa ang kotse. Iniwan na lang namin si Manong Ben sa Calapan. Nag-commute lang kami ni Doray kasi nga gusto ko na ring makauwi at makita ka. Nag-worry din ako na mag-isa ka rito. Mabuti pala at sinamahan ka nitong si Ethan.”
Mommy Marianne continued, unaware of what happened upstairs. “Ito namang si Tristan, nakita namin ni Doray habang nasa bayan kami. Nag-offer na ihatid kami. Para nga rin daw magkita kayo.”
While she was chatting, Ethan stood up and poured Pippa a cup of coffee. Pippa thanked him with a big smile. The scene did not escape Tristan’s notice. He is only human and he was wondering how come the two of them were already very close when apparently, they just met yesterday, according to Tita Marianne.
“Sandali na lang itong lunch, mga anak.” Tita Marianne said, cutting into Tristan’s thought.
“Errr, Tita Marianne, I’ll go to the cottage for a while to take a shower.” Ethan said putting down his cup.
“O sige, pero bumalik ka agad, Ethan at ng habang mainit pa itong sinigang, makain na natin.” Marianne told her friend’s son. Ethan is like a son to her also, even in the short time she had known him, parang si Tristan.
“I will. I’ll be back in a jiffy.” Ethan said with a smile. “I’ll see you in a while, Pippa. Tristan, Manang Doray, see you.” Then he was off through the back veranda.
“Bakasyon mo ba ngayon Pippa? Mabuti pinayagan ka ng boss mo.” Mommy Marianne asked her daughter.
“It’s a long story Mom. But yes, I can stay for several days. Katatapos rin lang naman noong isa kong project.” Pippa replied obliquely. While she had decided now that she wanted to tell her mom the whole sorry story, she wanted to do it when they are alone.
“Mabuti naman. I missed you.” Marianne said. “Medyo matagal-tagal ka ring hindi nauwi. Kapag kami lang ni Doray dito, kakalog-kalog itong bahay. Mabuti nga, kapag libre itong si Tristan, dumadalaw. Nadagdagan pa nitong si Ethan. Nabanggit ba niya sa iyo na anak siya ni Virgie?”
“Yes, Mom. Nagkakwentuhan na kami kahapon. We also went down to the resort last night. Nag-hello kay Belle and spent some time by the beach.” Pippa replied.
“I’m glad na nagkasundo kayo kaagad.” Marianne said. “Doray, pakihanda na nga ang mesa.” She told Manang Doray who was then making a pitcher of juice.
“Okay, Ate Marianne.” Manang Doray replied. Then she proceeded to set the table. Pippa offered to help, but Manang Doray told her to just chat with her mom as she really misses her company.
“Bayaan mo Tita Marianne, I will also visit more often, kapag libre ako.” Tristan promised.
“Oo nga, anak. Isama mo si Josh nang makapag-beach naman iyang kaibigan mo. Mula nang dumating dito, aba eh iisa lang beses ko palang yatang nakitang nag-relax.”
“Sige po, sasabihan ko. Ewan ko nga po doon sa mamang iyon. Lumipat nga ng Mindoro dahil ayaw na raw niya ang buhay-hospital sa Maynila. Mas gusto niya raw na mas relax ang work environment niya, but the thing is, workaholic naman kahit nandito.”
“Talaga, Tris! Sabihan mo yang si Josh na hinay-hinay lang.” Pippa added.
The three of them talked about the clinic and then Pippa’s job while waiting for Ethan to return so they can eat.
When Ethan returned, he saw Pippa talking animatedly about something, with matching gestures, which made her mother laughed. She was so full of life and she looked like, at that moment, without worries. She also looks more beautiful today in his eyes.
Ethan’s gaze then shifted to Tristan and was surprised at what he saw. He was looking at Pippa with tenderness. So, that is the way the wind is blowing, huh! The doc has feelings for Pippa, which she seemed very unaware of! For some reason he can’t explain, finding that Tristan likes Pippa that way, bothered him.
“O heto na pala si Ethan. Kain na tayo.” Marianne said, when she saw Ethan standing by the back door.
Pippa looked at Ethan and her heart beat faster at what she saw. Ethan looked very nice in his faded jeans and t-shirt, freshly shaven and his hair still wet for the shower. He was also giving her a bone melting smile again. “Pippa and I’s first real meal, since yesterday!” He remarked.
“The two of you didn’t eat?” Marianne asked surprised.
“Mom, itong si Ethan, feeling hunger strike kasi wala kayo ni Manang Doray, peanut butter sandwich lang ang dinner kagabi. Hayun, mabuti na lang may nakita akong eggs, cheese at bacon sa ref. Nagluto ako ng omelette.” Pippa said.
“Tita Marianne, you know me and the kitchen, we are not exactly friends.” Ethan said with a self-deprecating smile. “Mabuti na lang, Pippa saved me. That was the best omelette ever!”
“Sus bola, gutom ka lang kasi.” Pippa teased. “Compared to the peanut butter sandwich you were eating, mas masarap talaga iyon.”
“Hindi ah! Honest, it was really delicious.” Ethan said, grinning engagingly. “Crossed my heart!”
“Sige na nga. Thank you.” Pippa said with a smile.
“O siya, siya, kayong dalawa, tama na iyan. Kain na tayo. Doray, halika na. Huwag sabihing hindi ka pa sasabay sa amin.” Marianne said. She ushered everyone to the dining table. She noticed the easy camaraderie between her daughter and Ethan. They seemed to have really gotten to be fast friends in a very short time.
Ethan pulled the chair for Pippa. They shared a smile. Pippa thanked him. Ethan sat beside her, then started serving her food. A sight that didn’t escape Marianne Montenegro’s notice, nor Tristan’s.
Unexpected Love – Chapter 4
Ethan saw Pippa shivered. They have been sitting by the beach for more than two hours already. The wind has gotten stronger and the night cooler. He and Pippa have nursed two bottles each of the drink of their choice while chatting about anything and everything under the sun, except about very personal stuffs. As if by silent agreement, they avoided talking about love and relationships that night.
“Pippa, are you cold?” Ethan asked solicitously.
“Yes, a little bit. Medyo lumamig na ang gabi.” Pippa said, trying to rub her arms to keep warm.
Ethan rubbed his hands together, creating fiction, making them warm, then he gestured for Pippa to put hers in between his. Pippa did and she her cold hands felt relief. She felt warmer.
“Better?” Ethan asked, enclosing her hands in his, totally. “I used to do this when I felt very chilled after I was out walking in the cold.”
Pippa nodded. She likes the feel of their hands together. Pippa, she scolded herself, no relationships for now, remember. “Thank you, Ethan. I don’t think I will survive living in a country with winter. Madali akong lamigin.”
“That’s what some of my mother’s family also said when they visited us for Christmas. But they survived. It is a matter of putting on the right clothes, I guess.” Ethan said. “Humas do adapt and adjust to the environment thy found themselves in.”
“Hmmm, you have a point. Hindi ko pa rin naman kasi na-try. When I went to New York before for a study grant, hindi naman natapat na winter.” Pippa said. “I think we better head home.”
“I guess, we should.” Ethan agreed. He stood up and brought back the empty bottles to Belle. He told her that he and Pippa are heading back to the main house. Pippa also waved and said good night at her cousin. She felt very sleepy by then.
Pippa and Ethan walked back to the house, holding hands like they did on the way to the bar, debating about languages, on whether it is easier to learn multiple languages as a child or when one is older. The conversation shifted to Filipinos and the talent for learning languages, even accents. Ethan also told Pippa of having to use hand gestures when he was in a place where English was not spoken at all. Pippa laughed at Ethan’s anecdotes. Before the two of them realized, they were already at the veranda of the main house.
“Ethan, thanks a lot for the company this evening.” Pippa said. “You’ve helped me. I’m sorry if I can’t speak about it yet.”
“I had fun too, Pippa. You are a very fun person to be with. Thank you very much as well for the company. I had a lovely evening.” Ethan said, looking at Pippa intently. Then as if hesitating a bit, then making up his mind, he spoke again. “I have a proposal, and don’t get me wrong please, would you allow me to sleep in the main house this evening? I will feel better that you are not alone in this big house. Hindi rin naman ako makakatulog sa cottage with you alone in here.”
Pippa, thought about what Ethan is proposing, and while she is used to being alone, she does not want to be completely alone that evening too.
“Okay, you may stay here!” Pippa said. “Wait, I will check if the guest room beside my room is okay. Baka kasi magulo.”
“Thanks Pippa! I’ll go up with you then.” Ethan said. The truth is he does not want to go back also to his lonely cottage.
They checked the room and finding it in order, Pippa went to her room. She dug into her cabinet and found one of her oversized t-shirts. She knocked back at Ethan’s room.“Ethan, here, you can borrow one of my old t-shirts for sleeping.” Pippa handed Ethan the t-shirt.
“Thanks a lot Pippa. Now I can definitely take a shower before heading to sleep. Tita Marianne has put a complete set of toiletries in the bathroom.” Ethan said, smiling, while getting the t-shirt from Pippa. “I already checked.”
“That’s Mom! May pagka-OC!” Pippa said smiling. “I’ll say good night then, Ethan. Sweet dreams.”
“To you too, Pippa! Good night!” Ethan said giving Pippa a bright smile.
Pippa and Ethan both went to their respective rooms, preparing for bed. Pippa felt better that Ethan was just in the next room. Ethan was happy that he was still, somehow, with Pippa.
Several hours later, Pippa was jolted from sleep as she heard someone shouting. She listened and realized it was coming from the room Ethan was occupying. She grabbed the letter opener from her study table instinctively, and proceeded to check what was it all about.
“Claudia!!! No please, Claudia!!! Why did you do this? Why?….Why?….” Pippa heard Ethan saying over and over when she opened the door. His body was tangled in the bed sheet and he kept shaking his head. She deduced then that Ethan was having a nightmare.
“Ethan!!! Ethan, wake up! You are just dreaming. Wake up, please Ethan!” Pippa said urgently, going near Ethan but not touching him. She was afraid to make an overt move as she does not know how Ethan will react if she touch him while he is still in the throes of that bad dream. After her several tries, he opened his eyes.
“Pippa?” Ethan was startled to see Pippa by his bed. “What are you doing here? May emergency ba?” He also checked the time and discovered that it was three o’clock in the morning.
“Ethan, are you okay? You were having a nightmare, I think. Sumisigaw ka kasi kanina.” Pippa said. “You were shouting a name, Claudia?”
“Oh” was all Ethan managed to say. So he was back having the same nightmare! It has not happened since he moved to Puerto Galera a month ago. Maybe, meeting Pippa brought it back to the surface since he is attracted to her and that he thought about relationships again.
“I haven’t had this since after I moved here.” Ethan remarked.
“You mean, you’ve had this nightmare before? Sobrang balisa ka kaya kanina. I almost panic kasi parang sobrang sama ng panaginip mo! May I ask who is Claudia? Is there any way I could help.” Pippa asked, one after the other. She did get worried seeing Ethan like that, pain contorting his face as he called on Claudia.
Ethan, at that time, almost tell Pippa that not only he was having a bad dream, it was like reliving all over again something that had happened seven months ago. He thought he was dealing with it well, until the recurrence of the nightmare this evening.
“Claudia was my girlfriend.” Ethan finally said softly. Since Pippa heard him shouting her name and because she is already a friend to him in the short time he had known her, she ought to know what he could tell her at that moment. “She died seven months ago. I’m sorry, Pippa if that is all I can say for now. As you have probably sensed, there are unresolved issues in my life. But if I will tell it to anyone, it would be you. I have known you in less than 24 hours but it does not feel that way. Parang matagal na tayong magkakilala.”
Pippa was touched at what Ethan said. She feels the same and she understands. “Thank you for telling me Ethan. And I completely understand. Basta, nandito lang ako if you want to talk. I also have stuffs to deal with and I appreciate you not prying about it last night.”
“Thank you very much, Pippa. I appreciate it.” Ethan said. “Ditto! If you feel like you need someone to talk to, I’m just here.”
“No worries. Thank you also. Diyan ka muna, I will get you a glass of water ha.” Pippa offered. “Or would you like a glass of warm milk. It was what Mom used to give me when I had a bad dream.” She added smiling.
“Pippa, I can do it.” Ethan objected, getting out of the bed, wearing the t-shirt Pippa loaned him and his boxers shorts.
“I’ll do it, Ethan. Iinom din ako ng water.” Pippa said. “Dito ka na lang. What would you like pala, water, milk or something stronger? I think I can find something at the bar by the veranda.”
“Oh, nothing like that. Just water, please.” Ethan said. “Many thanks, Pippa.”
Pippa returned several minutes later with a glass of water which she handed to Ethan.
“Thanks a million, Pippa.” Ethan said again smiling at her. Then he drank the water in one gulp.
“You’re welcome. Sige, I will go back to sleep na.” Pippa said, getting Ethan’s empty glass also with the intention of putting it back to the kitchen before heading back to bed. Sleep will be difficult now, but it is still very early, even by Puerto Galera standards to get up and walk around. “Good night, Ethan. I hope you will sleep better.”
Pippa was almost at the door of the room when Ethan called her back. The thought of being alone in the room was getting to him. He doubts if he can’t sleep with the nightmare in his mind.
“Pippa, would it be okay if you keep me company?” Ethan asked from the bed. “I doubt if I could sleep soon. That is, if it is okay with you. I promise to be a gentleman.” He finished, wanting to assure Pippa that he has no other motives, just wanting her company.
Pippa looked at Ethan and his pleading expression. She also saw a vulnerability in him which she thinks he normally hides from the outside world. In the short time she had known him, she feels comfortable with him. For reasons she can’t fathom yet, she trusts him.
“Okay.” Pippa said, smiling.
“Thank you, Pippa!” Ethan said, happy. He also moved to give Pippa a space on the bed. “I promise, I’ll be good. Gentleman’s honour! And in my Mum’s name!”
Pippa took a deep breath when she approached the bed. She got a bit self-conscious. This will be the first time she will share a bed with a guy, no matter how innocent it is. She has never been alone with Martin like this, nor was she in a situation like this with her boyfriend while in college. But she believes Ethan.
“Okay, and beside, kapag nagloko ka, I still have my letter opener pa pala in my pocket.” Pippa teased him, fishing out the letter opener and showing it to Ethan. “Akala ko kasi someone was attacking you kanina.”
“Feel free to use that on me, Pippa if overstep the line.” Ethan assured her. “And thank you for your concern, Pippa. Pero be careful also when you hear a noise like that in the middle of the night kapag mag-isa ka lang. Di ba you told me you live alone? Your safety is more important.”
“Yes, I will. I’m normally cautious, and brave like that too. I can’t not check. But I get what you are saying.” Pippa, then sat on the bed, and like Ethan made herself comfortable by leaning against the headboard. “You know, we can watch a movie!” Pippa suggested. “Meron yatang mga DVD by the TV there!”
“Okay, we can do that.” Ethan agreed, then settled more comfortably into the bed.
Pippa found a DVD of The Avengers among the DVDs stacked by the TV and she loaded it. “Hmmm, I wonder who left the DVDs here. Hindi naman mahilig si Mom sa ganyang mga movie, lalo naman si Manang Doray. Meron pa ngang The Hobbit and Thor. We can watch either of that after this one, kung hindi ka pa antok.” Pippa said.
“Baka, it was left behind by one of your mother’s guests.” Ethan remarked. “Have you seen these movies before?”
“Yes, I did, but I wouldn’t mind seeing them again. I enjoyed watching those.” Pippa said as she too got under the blanket as the room becomes chilly. There was a respectable distance between her and Ethan as well as, by accident, a pillow in the middle.
They watched in companionable silence. In some instances, both were conscious of each other’s presence and that they were alone in a big bed in the middle of the night, but they tried very hard to get the thought out of their heads. By the time The Avengers were battling the Chitauri and Loki in New York, they were both nodding their heads off, until they fell into deep sleep. During the course of the night, or early morning, both of them unconsciously ended up in the middle of the bed.
Unexpected Love – Chapter 3
“Martin, I already told you, we have nothing to talk about. Hindi pa ba sapat ang nasaksihan ko! I hope this would be the last time you will call. Please lang, kung may natitira ka pang respeto sa akin, leave me in peace!” Pippa calmly said.
Martin knew then that Pippa is at her most angriest. She had been like that since he had known her, the angrier she is, the more soft spoken she becomes, as if it is her way of controlling her emotions.
“But, Pippa, Honey, please listen to me. Sabi ko naman sa iyo, wala lang iyon, di ba?” Martin said, trying to convince his girlfriend of six months. “Siya naman kasi ang lapit ng lapit.”
“Wala lang iyon Martin! Sa akin, hindi.” Pippa said, trying to hold on to her temper. “There’s nothing we can say to each other that would change the situation, what I saw with my two eyes! Let us part civilly, Martin. Alalahanin na lang natin whatever it was na maganda sa relationship natin.”
“Pippa, I love you!” Martin insisted. He does love her very much in his very own way. Yes, he had strayed, but he justified it in his mind, insisting that it was nothing serious. It is still Pippa he loves.
“You should have thought of that when you went to bed with someone else.” Pippa said. “Good bye, Martin!” Then she pressed the off button of her phone. She is not expecting any calls or text anyway. Luckily, she had finished her current project and her team is just about to plan the next one.
Like a scene from the movies she had seen, and in the romance books she sometimes read, she literally had caught Martin with someone else in his condo the night before. He was with the model who starred with him in his latest commercial for a beer company. They have not seen each other much the past month as she was busy. To make it up to him, she wanted to treat him to dinner the night before, finding herself with some free time, finally as they have finished editing the episode for their last week of airing. When he was not answering her phone, she decided to go to his place since it is in the same condominium complex where she lives. She knew he was home as he texted her earlier saying that he will just stay at home because she is not free to go out with him.
Pippa pressed the bell at the door of the unit. No one replied. It was then she noticed that the door to Martin’s unit was ajar. Fearing the worst, even if it is a secure condominium, she pushed it gently. It was then that she noticed the scattered clothes all over the living room. She felt nervous, dreading what she would discover, though she knew already. When she neared the bedroom, she heard sounds coming through it. She stepped backwards in surprise and crashed into Martin’s stationary bike. She howled in pain. In the process, she accidentally kicked his mountain bike which crashed loudly to the floor. It seems it was enough for the occupants of the room to stop what they were obviously doing. Martin opened the door with just his boxers on. He was followed by Cassandra Ledesma, wearing his discarded shirt.
“Pippa…..” Martin, blurted out, so surprise to see her. “It is not what you think.” He said, trying to placate her.
“I don’t think we have anything to talk about. I already told you that there is one thing I can’t tolerate in a relationship, you being unfaithful to me!” Pippa said, looking Martin in the eyes. She refused to look at Cassandra. It takes two to do this and not just one person. For now, her concern is Martin and what he had just done to her and their relationship.
“But this is nothing! This is just a fling! She had been coming on to me since we did the commercial.” Martin insisted.
Pippa was about to say something to Martin when Cassandra beat her to it. “So wala lang din ito sa iyo! After I made you happy, more than what your girlfriend can do, as you told me earlier. What was the term you used, that she is a cold fish!” She said insultingly. “Wala namang pilitang nangyari kanina matapos nating magkita sa bar. In fact, we ended up in your place and had so much fun inside.”
“Cassie, stop.” Martin shouted. “You know that you have been sending me all these signals. What can a guy do!”
Pippa looked at the two of them. She decided then that she had given her love to the wrong person. The way she and Martin started, she thought, it was for keeps as he pursued her relentlessly until she had said yes. At that time, she felt flattered by the attention he showered her, his attentiveness, him making her the center of his world. Now, she is wondering if Martin just felt challenged so he pursued her, and when in the end he was not able to get what he wanted, at the time he wanted it, he got bored.
“I guess you two have something to sort out. I’m out of it, out of this place and out of your life, Martin! Good bye! I hope in the future, you will find a person you will truly love at hindi mo pagtataksilan!” Then Pippa walked out of the apartment, still holding her tears at bay, her head held high.
She ran back to the elevator and hoped that it would come soon. She can hear Martin calling her, telling her to wait up for him. Luckily, the elevator opened. She ran back to her condominium unit, which is a building away from Martin’s as they found that they live in the same condomiinium complex the day he invited her to dinner. Only then that she gave way to tears!
Pippa, with tears blinding her, went inside her unit, hastily packed her bags and took a taxi to Cubao where she can take a bus going to Batangas Port. She ignored the calls Martin was making. She shut down her phone and dropped it into the bottom of her bag.
“Pippa, are you alright?” Ethan called from the sliding door that leads to the veranda, jolting her back to the present and away from the painful memories of a love affair gone bad and betrayal from a person she trusted very much with her heart. The light from the kitchen illuminated his tall frame and from what she could see, he is quite concern. “You were in there so long, so I thought I would check on you.”
“I’m okay, Ethan. I just need to collect my bearings. I’m okay. I should be okay. It’s not worth it to be not okay!” Pippa said. “Sorry if I’m not making sense. Thank you for the concern, but I’m handling this.” Pippa was tempted to tell him, but stopped herself as she is not yet prepared to share what happened with anyone, even with her Mom. She just want to be here where all her happy memories were and where she feels comforted.
“It is okay, Pippa. And if you need to unburden yourself, sorry I can’t help but overhearing a bit of your phone call, just before you went out, I’m just here to listen. Sometimes, it helps.” Ethan offered, though saying that, he feels like a fraud as he was also unable to do that after what happened to Claudia.
“Thanks, Ethan!” Pippa said, grateful for the offer. But she also feels that Ethan has his own demons to fight. Ayaw na niyang dagdagan pa. “Since maaga pa and I doubt if I could sleep after the long nap I took, I think I will just walk down the next beach and help my cousin Belinda at the bar.”
“Oh, but it is dark already!” Ethan protested, thinking of the dark, probably deserted road Pippa will take to go there.
“I’ll be okay. I grew up here, remember. People knows me.” Pippa insisted.
“But do the drunk and unruly tourists you might encounter know you too? I have seen a bit of them here since I came. Come, I will walk you there. And I insist, no arguments please.” He stressed, smiling at Pippa winningly. “Come on, let me play Sir Galahad since ayaw mo ng tulong ko sa ibang bagay.”
Pippa smiled, and Ethan was happy to see her doing so, unlike the forlorn sight he saw when she was sitting alone in the dark earlier. He saw her expression before she can masked it, when he opened the door and the light from inside spilt i to where she was sitting.
“O sige na nga!” Pippa smiled.
They got a flashlight each, then walked towards the road, off to the next beach. The gate of the house by beach just led only to the beach as there was a hill separating the two places, which was a good thing as it make the Montenegro beach a bit private, so they can’t go through that direction.
Ethan held Pippa’s hand while there were walking so as to be sure that she does not trip and fall. The road could be tricky at night, base on his experience. Pippa, at first startled when he did so. Ethan, then explained about the road. She nodded and allowed him to continue holdng her hand. It has a nice feeling to it. She felt safe and cared for. They walked in companionable silence.
Several minutes later, they entered the brightly-lit bar made of native materials. It was fronting the beach, and behind it are the cottages the Montenegros are renting out to tourists. Pippa’s mother insisted on retaining the cottages made of native materials even if other places beside theirs opted to ‘modernize’ and built concrete structures, which she had said were ugly. Marianne Montenegro said, yes maintaining the native huts are more costly but they look so much better and it is in keeping with the atmosphere of the beach place.
Pippa’s cousin Belinda was busy serving quite a number of customers when they arrived. When she looked up, she noticed Pippa and her friend Ethan, walking towards her.
“Pippa! I didn’t know that you are home! Kailan pa dumating?” Belinda greeted her cousin as she gave a Caucasian guy the beer he just ordered. “Nandiyan ka rin pala, Superman!” She added with a big smile, teasing Ethan.
“Hi Belle! Kumusta, parang ang daming customer this evening! Kanina lang ako dumating.” Pippa said. “And why are you calling Ethan, Superman?”
“Pippa, don’t mind your cousin. Belle has been teasing me since I arrived.” Ethan said with a smile. “Belle, stop that na, please.” He good-naturedly pleaded.
“Hahahaha, why should I. Kasi, Pippa, di ba kamukha niya si Henry Cavill, kaya Superman ang tawag ko sa kanya.”
“Belle!…..” Ethan suddenly felt embarrassed and self-conscious with Pippa looking at him intently as if she is checking if there is really a resemblance between him and the English actor.
“Oh, hindi naman Belle. Kamukha niya kaya si Matthew Goode!” Pippa said, teasing Ethan, seeing him getting uncomfortable, she stopped. “Sorry, Ethan! Belle tama na nga, cousin.”
Seeing the humor also, and seeing that it made Pippa smiled and animated, he joined the teasing. “O sige na nga, kamukha ko silang dalawa. Gusto niyo ng autograph. Kayo talagang magpinsan.”
“Sure!” Pippa said.
The three of them laughed. Then another customer called Belle’s attention.
“Pippa, what would you like to drink, my treat! It’s the least I could do after you cooked me dinner.” Ethan asked. “We can sit at the log table by the beach. It just got vacant.”
“Oh!” Pippa looked at the direction Ethan indicated and then looked at Belle. The spot does look inviting. Maybe, she should just forget all her troubles and have fun for once that evening.
“Go Pippa, I don’t need help.” Belle said, seeing her cousin indecisive. “I can manage. Nandito naman sila Andy and Melissa.” pointing to their two employees. “Saka feeling ko, paunti na ang mga customer. Kanina mas marami. You know how it is kapag long weekend, maraming nagpupunta dito. Nasabayan pa ng peak season ng foreign tourists. Go lang, cousin, I can manage talaga.” Belinda also sensed that Pippa might be going through something. Tita Marianne has not mentioned at all that Pippa is coming home. It is not also her usual time to be home too. So, baka kailangan talagang mag-unwind ng pinsan niya.
“Okay, I will have a Tanduay Ice please.” Pippa said. “Thank you Ethan!”
“Just go and save our space. I will take care of the drinks.” Ethan said.
Pippa did as he told. She sat on the bench facing the beach. While she can’t see anymore beyond the water lapping the shore as it was very dark already, she still find the place soothing and beautiful. She feels her body relaxing, and her spirits slowly lifting up.
“Thanks Belle.” Ethan said as Belle handed him a San Mig Light and a Tanduay Ice.
“No worries, Ethan. Take care of my cousin. You, two seemed to have hit if off right away, ha!” She remarked. “If not for the fact that I know you just met her today, I would say that you’ve known each other long.”
“Well, Pippa is nice. She cooked pa nga dinner for the two of us when she saw me eating a peanut butter sandwich.” Ethan simply said. He does not want to analyze this feeling of wanting to be in Pippa’s company despite the fact that he was still reeling from the aftermath of his relationship with Claudia and the unresolved issues in his life.
Belle let it be. She has a feeling that Ethan and her cousin would be good for each other. She hopes Tristan and her will be like that to! But for so long, it is only Pippa that Tristan sees.
“Here you go!” Ethan handed Pippa her drink.
“Thank you Ethan.” Pippa said. “Nice to be out here, di ba? Nakaka-relax at nakakatanggal ng worries.” She remarked.
“Yes, that’s why stayed and no plans of moving yet.” Ethan said, then before Pippa can ask for more details, he said, “Cheers!”
“Cheers, Ethan!” Pippa said smiling. Maybe, they should just enjoy each other company and the evening, enough of all her questions. Maybe, one day, he will trusts her with his secrets, in the same manner that she will, maybe, find herself confiding in him. For a while, she got tempted earlier, but it was just for a split second.
Ethan and Pippa gazed at each other, smiled, then both reach for their drinks, and started enjoying the evening with each other, setting aside all their worries and the unresolved issues in their personal lives.