I Just Can't Say Goodbye

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The Man Behind The Research

Jim looked  reluctant to release Jia as he glanced at her. She felt annoyed. This woman again!  How could she be luckier than her.

"You're here. " Jim casually said.

"Yes, with mom and dad."

"Vacation? " Dr. Grace returned a question.

"Honeymoon." He gave her a thin smile.

"Ha?  I thought you were married already as you said." Grace suddenly got disappointed.

"We shared the same bedroom under one roof for six years already. Just legalized yesterday." Jim explained well, insensible to how she would feel.

"Congratulations!" Dr. Grace greeted but with a forced smile.

"Thanks." He replied,  his fingers were playing with Jia's.

"When are you going back? "

"When she likes it" He looked tenderly into his wife's eyes.

"Gracie,  dear! We are about to start already. " A voice of an elderly woman yelled out.

Dr.  Grace turned to where the sound came from. It was her mom.

"Mom,  come over here,  please. "

The moon was already high up in the sky like a lantern on a silver canopy. The breeze was so cool that it constricted Jia's pores. She was only wearing a thin and sleeveless maxi dress. Jim felt her shivering so he moved a little backward and hugged her tight,  locking her in his arms.

Dr. Grace blushed in annoyance. They were too much!  They should have shown a little respect!

"Dear? " Madamme Ybañez tapped her daughter's shoulder.

"Aw,  mom!  I want you to meet Dr. Jim. " She looked at her mom then to Dr. Jim who instantly stood up and took her mom's hand.

"Madamme,  glad to meet you." He smiled.

"Really? It's you,  Dr. Jim?  Finally, we've met!" Madamme's eyes lit up.

"Vacation? " She asked the same question.

"Hmmn," he looked at Jia, "actually,  we are on a honeymoon." He smiled. 
"Just married? " She looked astounded.

"Just yesterday but we we're living together for already six years. In fact,  our son is already five years old." Jim was just not explaining,  but revealing.

"Are you sure?  Actually,  we got your CENOMAR!" She still seemed to be unbelieving. Not even realizing that she was slipping her tounge out until Grace cast her a glaring look.

"CENOMAR? " Jim pretended to be astonished as well.

"Ah.. I...I'm sorry,  Dr. Jim. Since I am already being caught,  I may as well just tell you the truth." She looked remorseful.

"I and your dad have planned to arrange a marriage for you and my Gracie. But it looks like impossible now." She glanced at Jia.

"Sweetheart, " Jim looked at Jia and held her hand,  helping her to stand up, "please meet Madamme 

"Hello,  madamme. Nice to meet you. "Jia smiled as she extended her hand to her.

Even when both the mother and daughter went back to the banquet hall,  Madamme still got emotionally bothered. She was hurting for her daughter.

After a while, she excused herself and went out to a quiet place.

"Mr. Wayne,  I thought the plan was all set." She tried to speak calmly into the phone.

"What do you mean? " He asked,  confused why she suddenly called.

"Do you know what? I and your son happened to meet here in el Nido. He's on a honeymoon!" Madamme was almost tempted to rant on.

"What?" Mr. Wayne was astounded. He,  indeed, sent  that woman away but he followed soon to marry her! What a respectful child!

"Yes,  Mr. Wayne!  I am just sympathizing for my daughter."

"Who says it is a problem? " He seemed to be kidding. "I can always get them a divorce!" Mr. Wayne seemed to take this great thing lightly.

"Mr. Wayne,  they are marrried here. "Madamme objected indirectly.

" Then I'll get them a marriage annulment! "

Madamme got angrier this time. He was so unreasonable. Even if she was hurting for her daughter,  she never meant to break a home.

"Believe me,  Mrs. Ybañez. I'll talk to my son as soon as possible!" Mr. Wayne was already seething in anger. This  brat really dared to disobey him!

Back in the banquet hall,  the party began. Mr. Ybañez stood up in front and took the floor. He first expressed his joy over the progress of the research. Then, he also expressed his appreciation for everyone's concerted effort as well as the leadership of Dr. Aijohn. Lastly,  he bid everyone to enjoy the night as well as the next day's adventure.

Before he took his exit, he remembered something. He chuckled before he spoke again.

"By the way,  I have almost forgotten this. My dear team,  I would like everyone of you to meet the treasure of our lives,  Dr. Grace Ybañez. "

He then gestured for her to come over. The next second,  she picked up the microphone.

"Hello,  everyone!  It is such an honor to  meet all of you who are our country's pride!  Please,  enjoy the night! Looking forward also to spend the day with all of you tomorrow."

As she took her exit,  everyone exclaimed in hushed voices.

"Hailey? "

Soon,  eating and drinking began. Some took turns in singing. Some played card games. Some just chatted over.  Mr. and Mrs. Ybañez joined in the fun as well.

When the night deepened, Dr. Grace went out to a balcony. Her heart was still heavy due to the unexpected meeting with Jia and Jim. She just tried to hide her pain to avoid causing more worries to her mom.

The sight beyond the horizon was like an undiscovered paradise in a moonlit night. There was a sense of unseen waves which seemed to draw her into getting lost in the beauty of nature. She wanted to cry but she did not know why. She felt lonely.

After who knew how long,  a hand tapped into her shoulder. A man in his early thirties smiled at her. Though the light was dim,  he still looked stunning.

Marilyn Lucero

Edited: 28.08.2019

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