I Just Can't Say Goodbye

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The Invitation

Jim wrapped his arm around her and laughed.

"Because you scare him! " He said while patting her head.

"And you're not? " She asked.

"Do you think I did not know about your escapades  when you were in college and while we were in Georgia?  I even watched in all the competitions you were joining with. "

Her eyes widened. "Really?  And why did you not scold me? "

"Because you did not want me to know. " She felt so ashamed and guilty that she hid her face in his chest.

"What else do I not know,  Jia? "Jim asked. She seemed to hold so many secrets and all of it were her achievements.

"If I were the one who discovered that you were flying with your bike,  I would have tied you up." Anthon was not yet done.

They all laughed.

"Ton,  sorry!"

"Do you want to die? " He asked back,  not appeased at all.

"I joined the sport for fun and not to die. " She smiled,  stealing a glance at Jim.

Anthon took Jian by the hand and talked to him.

"Son,  don't ever follow the steps of your mom. Never wish to die early or break your bones. That is such a crazy sports. "

Jia walked over to the car and opened the trunk. She lifted up the lid of the cooler and pulled out a cold iced tea.

"Here, Ton,  get cooled. " She smiled wickedly at him before pulling out more bottles for everyone.

Mr.Wayne just shook his head. He sensed that there must be something between her and Anthon. He must know about it.

"By the way,  are you done with the meeting? " She asked,  fixing her gaze at Dr. Aijohn.

"We decided to continue discussing about it here. They said that the place is conducive for  discussion. "

Jia pulled out more mats for everyone to squat down with but she tied up a hammock for Mr. Wayne.

Kuya Nap also came in with a retractable dining set and Jim followed with the boxes of food.
Jia looked at the boxes with knitted brows and Jim seemed to read her mind.

"We already expected that you would leave the food."

"I see. "

Soon,  everyone gathered for their lunch. The sun was already in its highest point in the sky but they did not notice it due to the cool breeze and shades of Maria Buhok trees. Dr. Aijohn brought up the topic again and they did the discussion over lunch.

The garden designer and the gardeners arrived as well so Anthon toured them into the whole area and did his own discussions with them. After he dismissed them,  the company's contracted architect came over and they also discussed his part for the beautification of the place.

The discussion that Dr. Aijohn lead shifted from business to experiences and other unrelated interesting topics that they were unaware that the sun had gone down already. Unwilling to separate,  they, in the end, went home to rest for the night.

In the next days, Jim and the rest were fully occupied with the problem of Hailey's Pill shortage and the raging demads of people who clung on to the hope of getting cured by the miracle pill. They were calling out for volunteers to help in searching for a place that could maintain the temperature required for the plants to thrive. They were also calling out for another sets of volunteers to help in planting and harvesting to cut the cost. The simultaneous opening  of more farms,  the purchase of more machineries and the hiring of more manpowers slashed off the financial limit of the Ybañez' treasury. With this,  Mr. Wayne offered to lend them the whole amount  needed to fill in the shortage without requiring for an interest.

To give more time for the reproduction and to be fair with everyone,  the company declared a six - month - temporary- stop of product release.

Anthon was likewise busy in the building of houses as well as the beautification project of Jian's Paradise.

Miss Maxine and her staff arrived and started the refitting of the outfit  of the whole entourage. Invitation cards were already printed with a definite wedding date. Mr. Wayne was already added to the list as the father of the groom.

After another weekend,  Mr. Wayne invited Anthon again for dinner. 
Jia set it up at the garden again. This time, they did not order the special dish of the Weekend Specials.  Anthon brought it over and cook it himself at their kitchen.  Last week, it was beef;   this week,  it was chicken.

After Anthon was done,  Jia sneaked into the kitchen and cooked her own version of fish paksiw. Instead of cooking it with oil, vinegar, onions and green peppers,  she replaced it with chili - peanut paste,  lime juice,  olive oil, soy sauce,  garlic,  onions and  another secret herbs and spices.

She realized that they had not prepared any vegetable dish,  so she hurriedly prepared a vegetable soup pre - boiled with a fried Trevally,  locally known as Mamsa fish.

To keep herself from being found out as the one who cooked the other dishes,  she asked the helper to set it up at the table. She felt inferior of Anthon's cooking skill.

Soon,  they gathered around the table to start the dinner. The aroma of the food made everyone so hungry. While everyone was feasting on Anthon's special dish,  he, himself,  was enjoying  the fish and vegetables that Jia cooked.

When he noticed the helper who attended to them,  he called her out.

"Miss, is the cook still here?  She cooked so very well. I just want to ask her the ingredients she used. "

"She's having her day off every Sunday, sir,  so she's not here
today. "

Mr. Wayne butted in. " Do you mean to say,  Ton,  that these fish and vegetables not included in your weekend specials? "

"No, uncle. " After that dinner last week,  he already addressed Mr. Wayne as uncle.



Marilyn Lucero

Edited: 28.08.2019

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