“help! Somebody please help!” Mari cried as she held unto Fred. I could only look on and couldn’t do anything. Eliza was still unconscious and I was drifting away slowly My eyes were closing and my ears kept hearing Mari’s cries. I tried to stay conscious but I couldn’t fight it
I woke up in a bed. As usual I felt heavy and weak at the same time, I sat up and slowly ran my fingers through my hair. I’ve been through a lot this past week and I don’t think I would be able to get the memories off me.
I can’t believe Eduardo didn’t die. That psychopath! He was behind this all along. I shouldn’t think this way but I’m glad I saw him die real this time. At least I’ll be sure he won’t come back.
I sighed when I remembered how Mari clung to Fred’s body and cried. I was hurt. She didn’t even care for me the way she did for him. Does that really mean she loves him? Has she lost her feelings for me so soon? It’s all my fault though, I made friends with the wrong people in my life. Both the guys and Eduardo wouldn’t have hurt her so much if I didn’t make friends with them in the first place.
“thank goodness! You’re awake! Finally!” Winifred shouted and began to hurry towards me. She reached me and threw her hands around me
“gosh! I thought I was going to loose my half. Thank you for staying alive for me” she said and withdrew from me. Her eyes had turned teary. She sniffed and blinked and the tears fell
“oh my God. Are you crying?” I asked because I couldn’t believe Winifred was crying for me. All she has ever done is get really angry at someone for me, beat up someone for me or bully someone for my sake. She has never shed a tear because of me
“of course I’m crying! I almost lost you” she said and hugged me again. I felt my body softening and I hugged her back
“when I saw you lying down looking so pale and wounded, I thought you wouldn’t make it. I cried because I didn’t want to be alone. You’ve always been on my side despite being a dummy” she stated and I rolled my eyes. Of course she had to insult me.
“I love you Will”
I kissed her hair
“I love you too” I replied and we just stayed there for a few seconds before Lucas voice broke the silence
“if I didn’t know you two, I’d think you’re in love” he said and closed the door that Winifred had left open.
We laughed and Wini sat up.
“welcome back home brother” he said and hugged me too.
“thank you” I replied. I looked around
“where I’m I?”
“at my place. I couldn’t trust you staying in a hospital or your house so I brought you here. The security here is okay for you” Lucas said and I nodded, I looked at the bed and began to think about Mari again.
“I know what you’re thinking” Winifred said and the two of us looks at her
“Mari… She’s fine. She and Eliza are back to Manila too. But they’re both still in the hospital” she said and I nodded
“you should rest. Wini will get you something to eat while I go check on the office” Lucas said. He tapped me and left the room.
“how’s Claudia? Is she here?” I asked her
“yeah. Kinda. Whatever” she said and stood up
“I’ll go get some soup for you” she said and left the room
I opened my palm and stared at it. It was not healed yet and was still very painful.
I felt a type of shrill cold immediately we stepped into the house. I don’t think I can live here again, I just don’t feel good about the house anymore.
“this place suddenly feels cold” I said and stopped walking
“hey don’t bring that mentality here. The house is still fine. Come on, let’s rest. We have work to do” Eliza said to me
“what work?” I asked her
“we have to take care of this place. There are lots of things to clean. We have to bring back the life” she said
“I don’t want to” I said and exhaled
“I miss Goldie” I said again and sat on a stool in the living room.
“the stool is dusty”
“do I look like I care about it’s dirtiness?” I asked and huffed
We contacted the hotel where we lodged before we were abducted and they said they didn’t see any dog in the room.
I looked out the balcony of my brother’s house and stared at anything I could place my eyes on. I was feeling dull and bored. I had just finished lunch and I was heavy with food.
“I see you’re getting better now” Claudia’s voice said behind me
I looked at her and smiled “yeah. I am”
She stood beside me and placed her hands on the railing too
“I’m glad you are. My cousin is still in coma” she said and sighed softly
“I hope he gets out soon”.
“me too. Well, do you need anything? I’m heading out into town and will be back in at least, two hours from now” she said and looked at her wristwatch
“oh, I think I’m good. I don’t need anything yet” I answered
“okay then. Take care till I’m back” she said and walked away.
I sighed and looked at the trees below.
Mari would love to sit under one of those to read. And I’ll love to watch her reading with my head on her thighs
“if only…” I said and left the balcony
“the break is finally here! Are we still going home?” Eliza asked “or our vacation?” she added and stared at me
“I don’t know” I answered and glued my eyes to the TV
“Mari, stop being gloomy. Don’t you ever let go? It’s almost a month already!” Eliza said and scoffed.
I chuckled “what is your problem? Can’t I just stay quiet? I’m not holding unto anything okay? In fact, nothing happened before” I answered and crossed my arms. She laughed and sat beside me
“then, are we going on the vacation?” she asked
“yes. But we’ll have your mom watch this place for us” I said and she squealed and hugged me
“thank you so much. Goodness! It’s gonna be my first time leaving the country” she said
“really?” I asked sarcastically
“yes. I haven’t left the…. Ohh. I was in Japan a month ago” she said and we laughed
“wait. What about your auntie? Won’t you go and visit her first?” she said and I nodded
“I have to” I said, The door bell rang
“I’ll go get it. You go check if the popcorn is ready” I said and stood up
“yeah. It should be” she said and ran to the kitchen. I brought down the volume of the TV and went to open the door. I didn’t even look through the pinhole and when I opened it, I gasped.
“hi… Marigold” he said after few seconds of just standing there and looking at me
I couldn’t reply, I just stared at him.
“when did you leave the hospital? Wini told me you were admitted” he said and I only gulped, I still didn’t find my voice
He exhaled “I’m sorry I put you through all of that. Will you forgive me?” he asked
“I… You… You didn’t put me through anything. Please don’t blame yourself” I said
“still, those guys only came after you because they wanted to hurt me. I’m really sorry Mari” he apologized again
“it’s… It’s fine. Thank you” I said and looked down. He was silent for sometime and I couldn’t say anything, neither could I usher him in. I was just standing there like stagnant water
“Marigold” he called out and gently took my hand. I shivered and slowly looked up at him. I tried to look into his eyes but I couldn’t. I felt guilt. Pure guilt. Caleb tortured him because of me.
“would you…” he sighed as if he was nervous
“would you be my girlfriend”
“again?” he asked
I looked down
“you don’t have to give me an answer now. I know I’ve not been the best of myself and I’ve caused you pain. But I’m sorry. Mari I can’t live without you. I love you so much. I can’t be me without your love to warm me up. Please, don’t let us die down. Please save us” he said and I looked away so he wouldn’t see the stubborn tears trying to fall.
He exhaled again and placed something in my hand. I looked and it was a big envelope, not too big though. But it wasn’t the regular sized envelope.
“Winifred and I are having a party next month. It’s our birthday and it’s strictly family because of the incident. This is your invitation. If you come then you’re willing to give me another chance. But if you’re absent… Then I guess it’s finally over” he said and released his hands from mine
“goodbye Mari” he said and left. I watched him leave and I looked at the invitation card. I gently turned around and closed the door.
Eliza was standing there with the bowl of popcorn in her hand. She must have heard everything.
She dropped the bowl and stared at me. She must have known I was going to cry because she spread out her hands to embrace me and I started crying immediately before she could even hug me
“it’s okay Mari. Stop crying” she said and held my hands then made us sit on the couch
“just know that I’m right here and I’m going to support you in every decision your heart makes. I’ve actually learnt my lesson about pushing you to a guy and I give up on my matchmaking skills because I’m terrible at it and it’s obviously not my calling” she said and I laughed
“but I will support you in any guy you want or not want. Okay?”
I nodded and hugged her
It took me a lot of courage to leave my new house and go and see Mari.
Yes I got a new house. The old one had too many memories and stories bottled up in it and it kept choking me. I packed up all the important things and took them to a new house I bought.
It was during the packing that I saw a painting I had been working on since last year. That day I was feeling bored at home after a hard day trying to get to Mari’s good side. I had entered my studio to paint. I didn’t know what to paint at first but then I settled down to paint the only image in my mind then, Mari.
The painting was completed about five months ago but I didn’t find the perfect time to give it to her. It was that same painting Wini had seen in my studio when we were talking about the return of those guys.
It was also the painting that reminded me of my one year anniversary of meeting Mari, that night at the KFC. I already forgot the date but I couldn’t forget the day we agreed to date. On her birthday.
I was smiling from molar to molar while thinking about all these memories. Those were good times.
The following week, I went to see my auntie. I couldn’t believe she was the one. She looked so malnourished and looked like she was going to die. Immediately she saw me she began to cry and say that I left her to die. I felt bad for her so I had her taken to a home where she’d be taken care of and she would be able to quit drugs that were responsible for her slow path to death.
Eliza’s mom moved in to look over our house and we went on our vacation to Fuji. It was really lovely and I was really happy. It was in the vacation that I decided that I won’t hold unto anything from the past anymore. I then told Eliza that I won’t go back to him. That I’ll live my life afresh. I could see the disappointment in her eyes but she didn’t say anything otherwise. She just smiled at me and said “I support you”
I tapped my fingers on the champagne flute I held in my hand. I patiently waited for the CSO (Chief Security Officer) of the event to come and tell me if Mari checked in for the party.
I didn’t see her but I was hoping she had come and was hiding somewhere to play with my mind
He finally came to me
“I’m sorry sir. No Marigold Cruz checked-in” he said and my heart fell to my feet. I felt disappointed
“okay. Just let me know if she comes okay?”
“okay” he said and left
“still waiting for her?” Wini asked as she walked to me
“I’m loosing hope Wini” I said and she sighed
“maybe… Maybe you should just let her go Will” she said and I stared at her waiting for her to explain why
“she’s probably not the girl for you. I’m sure your Ms right would come soon. Stop putting all your love on Mari” she said and I got pissed
“seriously Wini? You of all people? You’re saying this?”
“I’m sorry but… If she doesn’t come tonight… Then you should know that I’m right” she said and walked back to her guests. I didn’t even want this party in the first place, she just insisted.
“cheer up. That girl loves you” Lucas said behind me. I turned to look at him
“she’ll come” he said
“it’s halfway through the party already” I said
“calm down Wilbur”
“what if she doesn’t come?” I asked despite him telling me to calm down.
“then we’ll arrange a new girlfriend for you. Sexy, cute and intelligent” Claudia said and Lucas chuckled
“the same way our marriage is arranged?” he joked. The two are getting along quite well to my surprise. Well, I’m not really surprised anymore. Claudia’s not the person we thought her to be
“exactly” he cooed and slipped his hand over her waist
“Ahh, you two are getting me jealous”. I protested and they chuckled
“excuse me please” I said and left there. I went through the rest of the party with my eyes constantly darting to the entrance. Ten minutes to the end of the party and still no Mari. I spoke to Wini and told her to give the vote of thanks that I was going upstairs. I went up to my room in the hotel and angrily threw my phone on the bed.
She didn’t come! She gave up on me!
I screamed my anger out and opened the French door in the room. It led to a deck where there were chairs and tables for relaxation. I stood there and ruffled my hair, the wind did the rest of the ruffling for me.
So that’s it? I totally lost Marigold Cruz. Winifred said she wasn’t the one for me, is that true?
“it’s really not right to leave your party just to stand here” a feminine voice said behind me. I looked back and gasped. There was a very beautiful woman standing there. Everything went into slow motion. The wind was playing with two curls by her face. Her eye lashes blinked sexily and her lips smiled at me. She was beautiful, very beautiful
“Mari” I breathed out and she walked closer to me until she stood right in front of me
“sorry I’m late” she said and I placed my hands on her waist
“it’s better late than never” I stated and coveted her lips
To Be Continued