I Just Can't Say Goodbye

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His Exact Replica

Jia leaned her back lazily on the sofa,  with a leg placed elegantly over the other. She picked up her phone and pressed Jim's number. She really coudn't drag her mind away from him being in his dad's hotel room. This time it went through but still unanswered. She tried to shift into a  video call. For some kind of luck that had suddenly struck her, he accepted the call.

"Sweetheart! I'd been missing you a lot already! " Jim said as he lovingly gazed into her face.

Jia frowned. Was it because he was with the pig girl that he became so good in flattering her? He was just too stupid in making up a lie. He never thought that she saw exactly where he was! The video was clear. He was inside a presidential suite! He could have gone out of the room to conceal his location to her.

She suddenly became blinded by her unfounded jealousy that she easily forgot Jim's naturally sweet ways in addressing her. But she still tried very hard to stay calm.

"Why are you not staying in the house and refusing Auntie's favor? "

Jim caught her eyes roaming around over his back and the silent flickering anger that emitted from it. He easily guessed that Jia must have thought he was in his dad's presidential suite again.

"Sweetheart,  why in the hell would I go back to dad's place to be trapped? You're no longer here to rescue me." He said in a comforting tone as an adult to a sulking child.

Jim was actually flattered. It only meant her thoughts were now on him. His decision now was indeed right!  She deserved not just something better but something surprisingly lovelier!

After Jia had had hung up, he hurriedly grabbed a short nap. He was physically exhausted in his 24 - hour - duty but because of his excitement, he was not wearing off. He just took a few - minute- rest in this most expensive hotel room he had booked days ahead. Then, he changed into his navy blue suit, a matching undershirt and a brown, leather shoes. After a thorough self - examination before the mirror,  he seated himself in the couch. He turned on his laptop,  placed it over the table in front of him and waited...

Jia,  who was idly sitting down at kuya Nap"s office,  got bored after talking to Jim. She just could not sit calmly down,  something she could not explain was inwardly bothering her. Perhaps because her mind was already creating plenty of disgusting scenes of how Dr. Grace would succesfully shoot Jim up into her trap. Most especially that, just a while ago, Jim seemed to be hiding something. He did not make himself clear. Though,  he was reassuring  her that he was not into something she was so afraid about,  she just felt something was not right.

She picked up her phone and searched for 'nearest coffee shop'. She need something to boost up of her mood. The search engine revealed a  Gee's coffee shop just inside the building where kuya Nap's law firm office was occupying. She suddenly felt happy and relieved. Could this be one of the branches that kuya Nap managed for Jim? Although she knew about that,  Jim did not tell her about the details yet.  It was one of the reasons why she was being sent here, to discuss personally the plans with kuya Nap.

As she pushed open the door,  her heart suddenly skipped a beat. Her eyes were caught by someone who was taking an exit at the far end of the shop.  The back of that man who was slipping out of the other door was very familiar. Only that, it was a little bit slimmer. As almost all the tables were occupied,  she could not just run to catch up with him,  as she would surely create a scene. So,  she was left with no other choice than to stare at his back as he swiftly disappeared. She suddenly forgot about her intention to order a cup of coffee.

An attendant greeted her warmly with a smile. And so she ordered a tall cup of cappucino and instructed her to wrap it as a take - out order. While waiting at a table by the exit door Anthon must have occupied,  judging by the empty cup on it,  she felt her heart hammering down inside. As if she had drunk ten cups of coffee already!

She stared at the cup and touched it,   foolishly imagining his very own hand that first held  the cup into his mouth. A sudden ring  of her phone brought her back to her senses. It was kuya Nap.

"Jia,  prepare and turn your eyes into the screen." Kuya Nap's excited voice waved through the line. Just as the attendant came over to hand her order.

Back at the office, she hurriedly sat down at the couch. There was nothing yet except for the same running advertisement before she left. She, then, took out the cup and opened the two small sachets of sugar. After stirring it,  she glanced over the monitor,  as a change of light was reflected on the screen. She,  then, saw Jian being assisted by kuya Nap to sit down by the table inside a somewhat function room.  She could easily tell that it was indeed a function room since there were tables neatly arranged in rows and in front was a big,  white projector screen. Jian was seated in the front table, his back was facing the door. She saw kuya Nap handing him a drawing book with a box of coloring materials. Jian excitedly grabbed it and started coloring. Kuya Nap was then  seen excusing himself before he walked out of the room.

A smile of admiration twisted in Jia's lips. Jian's back was an exact,  smaller replica of that back she just saw in the coffee shop. He was becoming more like Anthon.

Outside the function room, few seconds after kuya Nap went out,  someone called his name.

"Atty. Guevarra!" Anthon's big smile greeted him.

"Atty. Rodriguez! " He smiled back as his arm reached out to pat Anthon's shoulder.

"By the way, " Kuya Nap paused for a while , "before the meeting that would take place soon, I would like to personally introduce you first to the owner."

Marilyn Lucero

Edited: 28.08.2019

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