Chapter 1 - Isolde

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"You're not allowed to see him again!" my mother angrily told my older sister. "Ano na lang ba ang sasabihin ng mga Sy kapag nalaman nilang nakikipagkita ka sa lalaking 'yun?!"

I put my spoon and fork down before wiping the corners of my mouth with the table napkin. It was a Sunday morning and my older sister and I were having breakfast with my mother; a breakfast that soon turned into a shouting showdown with my mother as the only contender.

"Why would I take their family into consideration when it comes to deciding for my life?" my older sister, Isabel, serenely asked.

Just like me, she had put her spoon and fork down but instead of wiping her mouth with the napkin on her lap, she opted to take a small sip from the cup of tea in front of her.

"Isabel, are you out of your mind?!"

"It is my life, Mom, the Sy's have nothing to do with it."

"You and Denton Sy are engaged—"

"An engagement that I did not agree to. Shouldn't I be asked if I am amenable to the engagement since it is supposed to be mine?"

"H'wag mo akong pinipilosopo, Isabel!" my mother exclaimed. "Your engagement to Denton Sy is final! Kalimutan mo na 'yang Ireneo Samonte na 'yan! Your Dad and I did not work our asses off para lang mapunta ka sa isang lalaking mas mahirap pa sa daga!"

I flinched at the sound of broken chinaware but my sister remained calm picking the cup of tea again to take another sip.

My mother realizing that her outburst wasn't getting through my sister forced herself to calm down.

"Issa..." Mom said before she sighed. "Issa, Darling, you know that I only want what's best for you. Would I let you marry Denton Sy if I am not sure that he can make you happy?"

"He can't," my sister replied plainly. "And please don't tell who or what can make me happy, Mom, because that only means how much you don't really know me."

I knew how my mother was fighting for control, I could see it in the way she clenched her jaw. And I could also see that she was slowly losing. Still, she determinedly put a smile on her face.

"You're young, you just turned nineteen. You are kind-hearted and easily swayed. He is not good for you, Issa. He'll only make your life miserable."

"Mom, I love him," my sister emotionally declared. "And I can't see a future with anyone else but him."

And the control my mother was struggling with collapsed like a pile of cards. "You stupid, stupid girl! Tell me the truth, are you pregnant?! May nangyari na ba sa inyo ng lalaking 'yun kaya ka nagkakagan'yan?! Tell me so we can do something!"

"What do you mean, Mom? Kung sakaling buntis po ako ay ipalalaglag n'yo?"

"Oo! At pagkatapos ay ipapapatay ko ang lalaking 'yun!"

"Mom! Don't you dare!" my mild-mannered sister yelled pushing to her feet. "H'wag kayong magkakamaling pagplanuhan nang hindi maganda si Ireneo because I am not going to just stand here and do nothing if you do!"

"Ano bang ipinakain sa'yo ng hampaslupang 'yun—"

"Hindi s'ya hampaslupa! He's an honest, hardworking man! Don't disrespect him—"

"Disrespect him?!" my mother barked. "How about you disrespecting me?! Hindi ka ba nahihiya na sagot-sagutin ako?!"

"I am not disrespecting you, Mom, I am merely reasoning out! Wala po kayong karapatang husgahan s'ya, hindi n'yo po s'ya kilala!"

It wasn't like my sister to talk back to my mother. But, love must truly give you some crazy courage to make you do crazy things because there she was—on her feet, fists clenched, and a not-so-subtle determined look in her eyes that bordered on rebelliousness—passionately fighting for a man that she'd recently just met.

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