I Just Can't Say Goodbye

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Now And Forever

Mr. Wayne and his men returned to the city right after they watched the surveillance video. Judge Ramirez was completely able to eliminate himself from the suspicion of Mr. Wayne and his team, as well as with Bryan himself,  since it was clearly revealed in the video how he was also assaulted. No one ever doubted him as an accomplice of Anthon and Jian's escape. Worst of all,  Mr. Wayne was completely unaware that he was fully tricked out of his own game and had been innocently trapped into his own lair.

Bryan was the most defeated person in this game. Aside from coping with Mr. Wayne's anger due to his failure,  he had given him a more ferocious order. And that was to put Jia out of existence as Mr. Wayne realized that her complete disappearance would set his plan into full actualization. Yet,  the most mind - boggling fact that affected him was his failure towards Jia and Anthon. With this,  he swore to go ahead diligently with his secret search,  not for Mr. Wayne,  but for Jia.

Jia and Jim finally arrived to the new hideout of Jian and Anthon. It was in La Verde Highlands, somewhere faraway from the city,  where only  lush greeneries and thick foggings  on the top of the hills could be seen,  even in the middle of the day.

The subdivision was situated at an elevation of about 300  meters above sea level. Built in the hilltop where one could perfectly commune with the nature,  it overlooked the bustling lights and infrastructures of the city below the downhill slopes as well as the sea view along the northern coast.

It was one of the property investments of Judge Ramirez intended for transient rental contracts for those Balikbayans who desired to take their vacations on a mountain getaway.

The three - hectare- land was his inherited property from his maternal side who had roots in the mountains of Balamban,  Cebu. Her mother, when she was alive,  understood very well the value of land property that she made efforts in acquiring many of those from land owners who negotiated through 'prendas' .
'Prenda' meant pawning a property as a collateral or as a security purpose in exchange of a monetary loan.

Way back in their time,  landowners were mostly unable to redeem it because of sickness in the family member. The income they got through the produce of their land wouldn't be sufficient for their daily needs especially if they were sending student to colleges. How much more for an added amortization to their borrowed amount?   There were also few of them who lost it because of gambling vices and adultery. Through these method,  land title ownership transfer became their business. They were widely known for accepting land 'prendas' all throughout the mountain barangays.

Through loan availments, Judge Ramirez was able to build one house until it became two and so on. The subdivision was provided with a 24 - hour security personnel and was also secured by a security monitoring and basic intrusion alarm system.  Besides,  most of the occupants were foreigners and balikbayans who had no interest in the local businesses of the city,  so he felt that they would be safe there.

The helicopter was the same aircraft which Jia and her rescue team boarded from Palawan. It was sent to rescue Anthon and Jian upon the order of Jia's rescuer through Mr. Rex.  It was because Jia asked for help through Arvin when Judge Ramirez requested Jim to hire a rescue team to pick their son up in the resort. She just couldn't trust anybody else,  even from the authority. Brian himself,  who held a high rank as a police officer, was even bribed. If it were not because of his gratitude towards her ,  she would have been in the hands of Mr. Wayne by now.

Peeping through the hole, Anthon recognized Jia in her disguised appearance but he was both surprised and amused to see Jim in a new look. He recognized him through  his built and the intimate way Jia had held him. Though his heart sank a little when he saw her clinging to him, the sense of thrill and joy still outweighed the pain.

Gradually,  he had began to accept that she could never be his. He slowly became contented in just seeing her and had gotten used to seeing them together.  Aside from that,  Jim was exceptionally so good to him and he even felt like he was treating him, not just a friend,  but a real part of the family.

"Tooon,  thanks God you're both safe!" Jia ran to hug him as soon as he opened the door.

"I was also scared to death..."

Anthon showed them his bruises when he fought with those men who grabbed Jian from him. There were even bleeding cuts in his lower extremeties when those tips of their  shoes hit him. He related them the whole story and they both gaped in horror. Though, they were too nervous on the thought of sending him and Jian for the enactment,  they never expected such a twist of the plan. They did not really expect that Anthon would be  exposed to a violent entrapment. They fully trusted  Brian and their carefully -  plotted escape but none of those actually happened.

" Sweetheart,  do you have antiseptics with you?"  Jia turned to Jim with a worried look.

"Yes,  I always bring along a small pack in my bag. But I don't have antibiotics. " Jim replied as he hastily opened one of their suitcases.

"What shall we do? This place is too faraway from the nearest 
pharmacy." Jia's tone was much more worried but it brought delight to Anthon's heart.

"Don't worry. We can ask the utilities here and pay them. I'll give them a prescription." Jim turned right away towards the door as soon as he was done scribbling in a  pad.

The housekeepers and utility workers were always looking forward to errands and would be happier to accept it, especially from foreigners,  due to the big 'tips' which would be their means of additional income. Judge Ramirez had already informed Jim about it as long as their exit and entry would be properly documented for security purposes.

Marilyn Lucero

Edited: 28.08.2019

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