Yay! Last chapter! There’s still the epilogue but for now, here’s the concluding chapter.
It’s Ivy’s last day in her job. The day was tiring since she had to call every person she must inform of her retirement. Her phone rung when she was walking towards the parking lot.
Issa was the caller and she informed her that someone was waiting for her at Dream’s Cafe and was being tended for the meantime by Lexie.
She drove faster than usual to reach New Manila. There’s a good lighting on the ground floor and she also noticed the people inside while driving her car to the parking lot. She nervously crossed the gate, walked towards the house and opened the door.
Two people faced her – Lexie, and a middle aged man.
She stopped dead.
A sudden gushed of emotions overwhelmed her and she couldn’t help but cry.
Since her parents separated, she only saw her father for few more times. But she never forget his face.
“Genevieve,” he called out her name before crossing the distance between them.
She cried and cried in the arms of her father who she almost couldn’t recognize. He was just a memory – a man her mother described as a psychological case. She said to herself, the questions and complaints can be left for later. This man was her father and that was what is important.
When the first wavering of emotions concluded, they sat down for a talk. Lexie served them drinks and left afterwards so that they would have the place for the two of them.
“Where have you been all these years, Dad?” she inquired while holding his hands.
“I’m sorry, Ivy. But I believed your mom that time that I should leave you so that you would have a normal life.”
“But… why? I don’t see anything wrong with you.”
The man breathed deeply. “You were too young to understand. And your mom, she never tried to understand. So when you started exhibiting your ability to see deceased… people, she freaked out. She also blamed me for it.”
“But when Mom died, why didn’t you return?”
“I was at her funeral. Your aunt told me that you can’t remember what happened before the accident. They said it was for your betterment, and also your chance to live the life of a normal person. I love you, Ivy. I don’t want to take away that chance from you.”
“What is wrong with you, Dad? Why did they say I wouldn’t be normal if I were with you?”
Mr. Veneracion sighed. Then he continued his explanation. “Only firstborn women in our family have the gift. For so many generations in our family, the firstborn had always been women and all of them possessed a third eye – the ability to see the deceased people. It was a gift coupled with a curse. Those people who can see the deceased was haunted in their dreams and only the strong-willed could resist the nightmares.”
Ivy was dumbfounded. She only heard of this. Was that why she always had nightmares?
His father added, “When my mother got pregnant, my grandmother feared that the curse would be transferred again to another generation. It’s because her first child died mysteriously and the second child, my mom was left to be the oldest of her children. My mother did not have the gift, but my grandma feared the curse would be transferred through her. My grandma did a devotion. She almost served the church in every day basis. She only wished for one thing – to end the curse by having a male firstborn for the next generation. They were so grateful when I was born since I’m a male.”
“I never had the gift but I was obsessed with it. I sought ways to obtain it. I researched, joined occult groups but to no avail. Then I met your mom and my obsession temporarily ceased. Until you were born and showed signs of having the blood of my ancestors. You’re not a female descendant of the firstborn female, but for an unexplained reason you gained it.”
“The reason probably has something to do with you being the only female born in our family line. I’m not sure. I told your mom about this and insisted on it, until she gave up and concluded I was being paranoid. I thought, maybe she was right. You couldn’t know anything. I couldn’t trust myself that I wouldn’t tell you the truth so I left.”
She closed her eyes. It was overwhelming for her. “Then why did you see me now?”
“Jeff looked for me. He told me what you have been going through so I decided you have to know everything about us.”
“You said, Jeff?”
“Yes. He told me he’s your acquaintance. I think you’re important to him because he really exerted efforts to find me.”
She restrained herself from reacting about it. Instead she asked, “Where did he find you?”
“At Batangas. At my mom’s home, Casa Cecilia.”
She felt something jolting within her after hearing that particular name. “Cecilia told me that her grandma can also talk to ghosts,” said by Luis. Don’t tell me… “Casa Cecilia?”
“Cecilia is the name of my grandma, your great-grandmother. Maybe you remember her as Grandma Ilyang since she was being called that. My grandfather named after her the house built near the place where she was found when she was still a maiden”
“Dad, do you know your grandmother’s maiden name?”
“Yeah, it’s also my mom’s middle name, Descardin.”
Oh, my God! Luis also told her that his Cecilia’s family name is Descardin! She placed one hand on his forehead. When she raised her head, she saw Luis standing behind her father. He was only looking at her as if still processing what he heard.
After a while, Luis slowly smiled her a gentle one.
“Casa Cecilia was situated near a sea bay. You will surely like the place. If you want, I will bring you there tomorrow.”
Luis nodded at her. She noticed his desire for her to accompany her dad and discover Cecilia’s life after their separation.
“I agree, Dad.”
The next day, they reached Casa Cecilia around noon.
“I’m really old now. To think I become tired just from that drive,” her father exclaimed. “Maybe you want to walk around? The bay looks fascinating around this hour, especially when the sun is setting.”
“Okay, Dad,” Ivy consented. She thinks though that he doesn’t look tired.
She walked down several flights of stairs just to go to the beach. Her father said the stairs were designed like that since there are times when the tide rose to that level.
She looked around for the scenery.
This was where Luis’ Cecilia grew her old age, his Cecilia who is also her great-grandmother. Yeah, look at the fate where Luis’ faith lies.
“You have her eyes and her smile.” He told her once, but they never suspected the connection.
She took a deep breath of the sea-scented air. This afternoon’s breeze was being gentle to her hair and face. She took off her sandals to walk the sandy beach.
Her eyes narrowed when she tried to pry on the other person present at this place aside from her. The person walked towards her direction. Her breathing almost stopped when she recognized the person.
When he finally stood in front of her, Jeff extended his hand to her with a smile. She took his hand wordlessly.
“Your father is a good man,” he said.
She replied with a confirmation. “Yes.”
“I finally learn from whom you got your traits,” he stated smilingly.
They resumed the beach walk slowly. She was observing him. She is afraid to show happiness upon thinking why he’s here. She is afraid he would suddenly turn his back against her. It would be very painful for her.
The young man broke the silence. “All this time, I’ve been thinking hard how to love you. And I realized someone like you must be loved wholly. You must be loved the way you see love itself – pure and beautiful and wonderful.
He stood in front of her. “Close your eyes, Ivy.”
She obeyed him. Then all she heard before he spoke was the sound of the waves hitting on the sands.
“We didn’t meet each other because of an act. We didn’t have our first meeting on a party. We met each other on a beach. And there we fell in love…”
She slowly opened her eyes and saw in his eyes the meaning of his words.
“I love you, Genevieve.”
The sun is setting. She can hear the music produced by a violin. A little girl approached them and handed something to Jeff before running away.
The young man offered her a bouquet of flowers.
It was after that she remembered his sarcastic remarks before.
“And I suppose, Ivy, you would prefer a story where we fell in love together with the sunset? There was music playing and I gave you roses and read you poetry?”
It felt like it happened ages ago…
Now the violin’s music came rushing to her together with the waves’ sounds. She can also smell the rose given by him. Only one thing is missing…
“I only found this on the internet.” He brought out a piece of paper. And read its content to her in his deep sonorous voice.
“I will tell you I love you
Not in the middle of the day when the sun light can hurt our eyes.
While the sun is setting
That is when I will confess.
So you’d be with me when evening falls
Safe. In my embrace.
I’ll guard your dreams
I’ll only let the blue-colored skies and the neverending garden of roses.
You will smile when you wake up.
I will be the one next to you.
The one who loves you
The way I love you right now…
She hugged Jeff tightly. “You don’t have to do all of this…” she murmured while burying her face on his chest.
“I have to, Ivy.”
“Because I want to give you lovely memories to dream about.”
“Thank you… Jeff.”
He was kissed by her. She gently opened her mouth and traced her hand up to his nape. Her other hand held the roses behind his back.
“I love you,” he whispered against her lips. “I think I have always loved you.”
They watched the sunset together while holding hands. The music also accompanied them, still echoing throughout the romantic scenery.
A random message in a bottle, found drifting through the waves:
Actually I changed the title into its acronym so if you enjoy the story, try to guess its real title. winks
PS: This was the very novel which opened my eyes to the world of pocket books, which later on led me to online novels, Baka-Tsuki, Wattpad, and to NU.