"Dad." I quietly said as I stood in front of his desk. He looked up at me from the papers he was reading and took off his reading glasses.
"Sweetheart." He smiled.
His smile quickly disappeared when I didn't smile back at him. I just stood there with a frown on my face. He gestured for me to sit on the armchair in front of him and I sat on it.
"What's wrong?" He worriedly asked.
"What is he doing here?"
"Who?" His brows furrowed.
I let out an annoyed huff and rolled my eyes. "You know who..."
"Yes." I said.
"Sabi niya gusto niya daw magtrabaho dito." Kibit-balikat na sabi niya.
"Daaaad!" I whined.
"What? It's free labor." Painosenteng aniya.
I pouted at him. "Dad naman, why are you doing this to me! Alam mo naman ang tungkol sa amin."
His face changed into a serious expression. He took a deep sigh as he looked at me. "Hindi mo naman siya kailangan pansinin, hindi niyo kailangan mag-usap. I just feel like you still need him, sweetheart."
"I-I don't." I said in a harsh tone, my frown grew even bigger. Dad looked at me in the eyes and my eyes automatically dropped to my feet, afraid of what he might see in them.
"Valerie, sweetheart, you know it's better to be hurt than hardened." Seryosong sabi ni dad. "I will not allow anyone or any situation to harden you and make you bitter. I don't want you to close your heart. I'm doing this for you, sweetheart. Alam kong hindi mo naiintindihan ang mga ginagawa ko ngayon pero gusto kong malaman mo na wala akong ginusto kung hindi ang mapabuti ka."
I was already up by four in the morning. Mas nauna pa akong nagising kaysa sa pagsikat ng araw. My body was sore. Day two and I still wasn't used to sleeping on a hard worn down bamboo bed. I forced myself up, sitting on the edge of the bed and stretching my aching limbs. I brushed my fingers through my sweat drenched hair and stood up. Well, at least it wasn't as hot as it was last night. I put on my jeans and my tank top before going out.
Sabi ni Jaime kailangan gising na ako bago tumilaok ang manok. I had to work from dawn to dusk. He gave me a chance to prove my love for Valerie and I wasn't going to let it go to waste. Patutunayan ko sa kanya kung gaano ko kamahal ang anak niya.
Oh, the things I do for you Valerie.
Kailangan kong mag-igib ng tubig pangpaligo mula sa poso. Just getting a bucket of water was already a lot of work. My stay here as Jaime's worker made me realize I took a lot of things for granted. My bed, airconditioner, water... Valerie...
Yun ang mga akala kong hindi mawawala sa akin pero nagkamali ako. I was used to being handed everything. Ngayon lahat ng kailangan ko dapat kong pagtrabahuhan. In a way, the little things I did gave me a sense of accomplishment because I knew I worked hard for it. I would work myself to death if I had to, bumalik lang sa akin si Valerie.
Yesterday, we had sex... if that's what she wanted to call it. It didn't feel like the way it felt everytime we made love. She was so detached, so impersonal, and cold. I had never felt sexually used by a woman before, usually it was the other way around or if I'd ever been used before I didn't care at all, they didn't mean anything to me. But it was Valerie and it hurt like hell. I was inside her but it felt like we were still a world apart.