Cole (19)

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Warning: This chapter alludes to some stuff that may be uncomfortable to think about.


The party is already in full swing but there is still a long line of cars waiting outside the gate to be allowed in. Napapangiti na lang ako habang pinagmamasdan 'yon. Mommy will throw a hizzy fit once she finds out that some of her very, very important guests are being made to wait outside.

It is very obvious that Tito Fyodor is in attendance tonight. Siya lang naman ang malakas ang loob na suwayin ang mommy and do what he likes. Sigurado akong marami sa mga sarili niyang tao ang dinala niya rito ngayong gabi at marami sa mga 'yon ay kasama sa mga nagve-verify ng mga bisita sa gate.

Some of the guards are holding leashes of sniffer dogs. The guests must be thinking that since we have the Russian ambassador and his family in attendance tonight, we are taking precautions. Not really. Tonight is Daddy's birthday party. Understandably, this makes the already paranoid Fyodor Andreyev even more neuorotic. He is already like that as long as I can remember. Daddy just laughs it off while Mommy—well, Mommy does not like the Russian side of Daddy that much. She accepts it, sure, but has no great love for it.

Hindi ko maintindihan kung ano ang ikinababahala ni Tito. It is not as if we are holding this party, or any other of our parties for that matter, at our primary residence complex. We are using The Mansion, this huge ostentatios baroque-styled building no one in their right mind would live in. Pang-display lang 'to.

We live in The Complex deep within the compound. The set of guards guarding that has a standing order of shoot first, ask questions later. No spy in their right mind would go there unless they have a death wish.

Napukaw ako mula sa pagmumuni-muni ko sa kapraningan ni Tito Fyodor nang may biglang tumabi sa akin. I recognized the perfume and when I glanced at the newcomer, it was indeed Tita Leine.

She stared at the gate I'm looking at earlier and then studied the skies. She stared intently at various points into the darkness.

"Tita, there's nothing there," malumanay kong paalala sa kanya. Isa pa 'tong paranoid.

"You never know," buwelta niya.

I sighed in exasperation. Sometimes, I can relate to my mother's frustrations when it comes to my father's side of the family.

"Tita, Tito Fedya made sure that there's nothing for a sniper to nest in anywhere here. You can relax."

"I heard about remote-controlled drones."

My eyes rolled but didn't voiced out a response. Her teeth flashed white in a wide grin.

"By the way, litte vor," panimula ni Tita Leine. Nanayo ang mga balahibo ko sa batok sa kakaibang pagsambit niya sa titulo kong iyon. "I know what you did earlier to that beautiful child."

Maang akong napatitig sa babae at hindi agad nakapagsalita. "I did nothing," I protested.

"Yet," sabi niya, lalong lumapad ang pagkakangisi. "But you wanted to."

"I still did nothing," giit ko. "Sabi niyo nga ni Tito, wanting and doing are two different things."

Mahina siyang tumawa. "Hindi ko inaakalang ikaw ang mauunang gagamit ng mga itinuturo ng casa sa iyo. I thought it would have been Theo. You were the most reluctant student The House ever had.

I can feel my face burning with the reminder of what that establishment has been teaching me, against my will, I might add. "I didn't want the lessons. Still don't."

"Too bad you will continue to have them."

"Until when?"

"Until the Brigadier says so."

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