“That was the last of it,” announced by Mylie. She then jumped to the sofa and sat next to Ivy and Lexie.
The woman referred to the delivery of the furnishings for their Dreams Cafe. After a month of searching for the right materials, canvassing of prices, ordering and scheduling of deliveries to New Manila, everything finally arrived.
They estimated that they will still have to spend two more weeks in placing the materials and equipment to the right place and in thoroughly cleaning up the house.
Issa entered from the kitchen. “I didn’t expect it would be this tiring even with the help of many helpers.”
“Yeah,” the three of them agreed to her.
Issa also joined them and forcibly took a space on the sofa. “Ivy, how are you?” the woman asked from the other edge.
“In pain,” she answered.
“Aw, Sweetie…” She was hugged by Mylie, followed by Lexie and Issa, until they formed a circle for a group hug.
“I can’t breathe,” she gasped.
“Don’t worry, it will get better,” said by Lexie.
“No, I mean, I can’t breathe. You guys are on top of me!”
They laughed first before releasing her. “What’s happening to you, by the way?” asked by Lexie who was the most not updated about her because the woman went for an out-of-town shoot.
“Nothing. I went to his office for the signing of the lease agreement but he’s not there. He only made me face his assistant. The last time I saw him was before I left here.”
“So, you don’t know whatever happened to him and that woman. What’s her name?” Issa inquired.
“Noelle. And yup, I don’t have any news afterwards.”
“He didn’t even call you?”
She hesitated in answering. “Uhmm…”
“Shit, he called you?” Mylie questioned.
“Once. But I didn’t answer. I also didn’t know that time what to say to him.”
“Hey, Ivy. You know what? What if you were too hasty in your judgement of Jeff.”
She also thought of that once that’s why she couldn’t reply immediately. “Guys, enough talk about my emotional state. We have works to do!” She stood up to lead her claim.
“Mylie, can you tell me where is…”
She paused her words because the one she’s supposed to talk to had disappeared in front of her. The woman was together with her other friends who were flocking on the window.
“Here it comes! He’s finally taking off his shirt!” Lexie said while gasping for breath.
“Oh, my God!” Issa clicked her tongue. “Look at those abs.”
“Gosh! Wait a minute. I have my boyfriend, I’m sinning here!” Mylie interjected. “But that guy’s handsomeness is really at a different level.”
“Hey. Don’t be noisy or else, we’ll be caught red-handed,” scolded by Lexie.
“What are you doing there?” she asked when she got behind them. Since they’re obscuring the view, she can’t see what they’re seeing.
Her friends turned to her and giggled like teenagers. One of them replied, “Watching the er.”
“Er?” she repeated.
Lexie answered in a flirty tone, “Because we’re not sure if he’s a carpenter or a lifter.”
The three burst into a laughter.
“Sisters! He took his shirt off, for real! Zero body fat. All muscles. And he’s very very handsome, my gosh!” Issa shrieked.
She creased her forehead. “Outta way! Let me see who you’re being mad for?”
Lexie gave her a hearty laugh. “Get ready for a heart attack.”
The three made way for her but later on clung on her shoulder and back to continue peeping at their targeted er. When she took a glimpse at the person, she really almost had a heart attack. Add the fact that he also looked her way at that exact moment. She suddenly spun around and while clutching to her chest, she slowly sat down on the floor. She leaned on the wall beneath the window.
And the three guarded and watched after her. Lexie was Indian-seated while the other two were kneeling beside her.
“Hey! What’s wrong?” asked by the last one.
“He’s not an er,” she started. “He’s the owner of this house.”
The three simultaneously went up and gave an eyeful to the man they had mistaken for an er. Then they went back to their position on the floor.
“You mean, he’s Jeffrey Domingo?” Mylie tried to confirm from her.
“The drop-dead gorgeous, sexy hunk, very handsome guy outside?”
She said, “Yeah, stop asking me, alright?”
“What is he doing here?” asked by Lexie.
“I don’t know. Probably trying the experience of lifting garbage to the backyard? How would I know?” she replied.
“Why don’t you ask him?” suggested by Mylie.
“Wait, guys. I can’t breathe here anymore and you want me to walk to the backyard?”
She don’t even know how to cope up with her friends’ nagging but her eyes still caught the image of the person standing in front of her. The ghost is grinning at her. And she was sure she’s the only one who can see him now. Otherwise, there will be another handsome guy to be flocked at by her friends. Even if he can only be called a spirit.
Ivy shook her head to the ghost that is now a friend to her. But that very same ghost friend is smirking at her, as if telling her that he’s planning something. He even had the guts to wink at her.
“Luis!” she called out to stop whatever he’s planning to do.
“Luis? Who’s Luis?” her friends asked her suspiciously.
“I thought the name of your boylet is ‘Jeffrey Domingo’?” added by Mylie.
“He’s not my boylet,” she hissed. “And Luis is the resident ghost of this house.”
“Ghost?! Fuck shit! What ghost?” Issa panicked because she’s scared of ghost.
She spent the next few minutes in explaining to them about Luis, the ghost. For that long while, their attention was shifted away from Jeff.
“It means this house is haunted, Ivy?” asked by Issa.
“You can’t see or feel any odd thing, right?”she half-heartedly replied.
“Yup, nothing. But now that I know, I feel like going crazy!” she complained while her hand is in front of her chest.
“Ah, whatever,” said by Lexie. “I’m okay as long as he wouldn’t show himself to me. Until then, he’s nonexistent.”
Ivy was preparing to butt in but she was then startled by a loud explosion outside. It was followed by loud screams and shouts.
They all stood up and peeked outside. Her heart beats faster when she saw that the center of the commotion is where Jeff was standing earlier.
“I told you, sir. We could have handled that.” Ivy and her friends witnessed the scene where one of Jeff’s company employees was speaking. Jeff’s company was the one stated on the contract to move out the old furnitures and belongings which explains why they were here.
“What happened?” Ivy asked.
Everyone present looked at her but her eyes only met up with Jeff’s. She lowered her gaze to his chest level and then that was when she noticed his shoulder. He was bleeding. She felt as if she’s also losing blood when she was how many blood spilled out from him.
“Oh my God! You’re hurt,” she can’t help but exclaim in worry.
She couldn’t stop herself anymore and hurriedly attended to him. The men present gave way to her.
“What caused this?” she questioned after taking a good look at it.
“This is nothing,” replied by the wounded young man.
She gently ran her fingers across his shoulder to check the condition of his wound. He then flinched at her touch, either hurt or not willing to be touched.
Ivy let out a sigh. “How did this happen?”
“Ma’am, we also don’t know. Ramil had only plugged an outlet. Out of a sudden, something exploded. It seemed the cracked cements flew over and Sir was hit. Everything occurred so suddenly.”
She suddenly have a hunch of who was the culprit. And he was only not dead, she might do the honor of killing him right now.
“Let’s tend to him upstairs. I think we have a medicine kit there. Can you walk?” she worriedly said.
“I can even lift you upstairs,” he replied with a smirk.
She rolled her eyes at him because she heard her friends shrieked and giggled.
They climbed the staircases to give first aid treatment to him.
“Can you now tell why the heck you are here? This is not part of your job. Don’t you have better things to do with your time?”
She put a bandaid on the shoulder part. It was a relief the cut was not deep, probably the veins were only damaged which caused some bleeding. At the present, they were now on her room since there’s a need to wash the blood off. She was aware her friends purposely left them on their own but she won’t find it surprising if they are now eavesdropping on the door’s other side.
“It’s because I don’t know the stuffs that will be put aside on the backyard. I want to oversee everything since there might be a thing of value thrown out due to carelessness. Also, I can’t endure watching at the sides.”
I see. A control freak. She was disappointed in his answer because that was not what she yearns to hear. “I think it’s okay now. Here’s your shirt.”
He only grabbed the t-shirt but did not put it on. Out of nowhere, his words rushed out, “You confuse me because…” His eyes were intently looking at her so she didn’t move. “I want to keep my distance and yet, I can’t seem to take my hands off of you. I told myself after that weekend, I don’t want to have anything to do with you, and yet, I called you though you did not answer.”
“I badly want to see you so despite not meeting you when it was the signing of the contract, I’m here right now finding excuses to be here. I want to make sure you’re safe and that no nightmare will come to haunt you again. I feel confuse. You make me feel things that I never thought I would feel ever again,” he voiced out.
“How’s Noelle?” she chucked in the name of the woman who gave her a frightening amount of insecurities before.
“Still with Jerome. They will try to work things out. And she’s not part of my problems anymore. I’m familiar with her. My feelings for her do not confuse me. I loved her. I got angry at her. The anger faded through time. And when talked to each other again, I want to think I still have a thing for her but there’s none. All the time, I keep seeing your face in my mind. I asked myself, what are you in my life?”
“Jeff, we don’t need to answer that right away, right? Maybe we have to take things slowly for better understanding.”
He touched her face. “How could you be so fragile and still be emotionally strong, Ivy?”
She laughed at him.
He spoke once again. “You are changing my life which I don’t want you to do.”
This time, it was her who held him to his cheeks. “Have you never thought that maybe you’re confused because you already fell in love with me but you just can’t admit to yourself?”
His forehead creased. She placed a chaste kiss on his lips before looking in his eyes. She doesn’t know if he was startled by her words or by her kiss.
Jeff suddenly wore his t-shirt. “I think I better go,” he said.
She felt as if she was slapped on her face because of the rejection that budded up in her heart. It was as if she offered herself to Jeff but he declined her swiftly.
“Okay,” she said.
When the man left, she remained in her room for long. Her friends rushed in to accompany her when they noticed she was not coming out and they also noticed her eyes swollen from nonstop crying.
“I rarely fall in love but the one chosen by my heart seems to be emotionally unavailable. Am I that hard to love?”
“Just the opposite,” said by Lexie. “It is the easiest thing to love you, Honey.”
She cried, “Eh, why is he fighting so hard not to love me?”
She was embraced by Mylie, “It’s because when someone saw a very nasty and ugly thing, he would close his eyes. This is why the good and beautiful things in front of that someone will not be seen. The same applies to him, the reason why he can’t see how beautiful you really are.”
“Don’t worry, that guy will only need some time to think. He will come around, eventually,” declared by Issa with an unusual assurance.
Jeff drove away from Dream’s Cafe – his mind actually got used to call the house in that name. He left hastily. But he already wanted to turn back while not driving even a kilometer distance.
“Damn!” He smashed his hands to the steering wheel then he steered the wheel back – to return to where he left off.
What is happening to him? Frightened? Confused? Or have lost sanity?
He stopped in front of the house. The gate was opened but he didn’t drive his car to enter the place. He left it there.
“Have you never thought that maybe you’re confused because you already fell in love with me but you just can’t admit to yourself?”
Those words from Ivy were swimming in his mind while entering the house, back to the room where he left her.
In his mind, he could still see the dejected look on her face. He must apologize for that and explain his side.
The door was opened when he neared it. Ivy was there, sitting in the middle of the bed, encircled by her friends. She raised one of her hands to wipe the tears staining her face. And her next words felt like dagger in his heart.
“I rarely fall in love but the one chosen by my heart seems to be emotionally unavailable. Am I that hard to love?”
She loved him! And she was in pain because of him! At that moment, he finally realized his problem – he was not aware that someone like Ivy is in love with him. He also doesn’t know how he should express love to someone like her.
He moved away from that place.
Ivy. She was broken once. She was haunted by things she could not even remember and which came to hurt and taunt her again. But she managed to accept and pass through everything of it to see the good part in everything – even in him.
She managed to rise above everything. And she had remained beautiful, true and good. The love she should receive must also be like these. And he must learn to give these first.