Chapter 4. Agreement.

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He looks so happy.

"So...it's tonight?"

Jake smiled.

"Yes."

I gave him a pat in the shoulder.

"Goodluck then." nakangiting sabi ko sa kanya.

"Thanks. So pano, I have to go."

"Yeah... Call me whenever you need a Best Man!" pahabol ko sa papalayong si Jake.

I heard him chuckle.

Pumihit na si Jake at naglakad sa opposite direction ng pupuntahan ko.

Hindi parin maalis-alis ang ngiti sa mukha niya.

Why is everyone so happy these days?

It's some kind of an epidemic or something.

Nagkibit-balikat na lang ako at tinungo ang daan papunta sa garden. Isa itong malawak na open space, may mga gazeebo, a big fountain right in the middle, and an exclusive dining place. It was dim-lit and the landscaping was just as perfect as the wild varieties of garden plants.

Dumiretso ako sa dining place dahil natanaw ko na ang mga magulang ko na nakaupo at nag-uusap doon kasama ang isang middle-aged man na kasing-edad rin siguro nila.

Strange...usually, it's a woman sitting with them at the table...not an old man.

My parents have this kind of an annoying hobby: setting up a blind date---and I'm always struggling to endure it.

Gustung-gusto nilang ipaalala sakin that I'm not getting any younger and they want to have grand kids soon.

I don't know what's wrong with the society today but we should do something about my parents.

"Good evening." bati ko sa kanila

Napalingon sila sakin at lumiwanag ang mukha.

"Oh, Hi! I'm glad you made it, son. Have a seat." si Mommy

"Zeus, this is Robert Matthews, a good friend of mine. Rob, our unico hijo, Zeus." pagpapakilala ni Dad sa kasama nila

"It's a great pleasure to meet you, Sir." iniabot ko ang kamay ko at nakipag-kamay sa bisita

"Pleasure's all mine, son." sagot nito na nakangiti.

Now that I've seen him closely, I had this feeling na parang nakita ko na siya or maybe he looked someone familiar but I'm pretty sure that this is the first time we met. Maybe I've seen his face from papers or something. His features are not of a pure Filipino. I think he's half-Filipino, half-American...or so...

He has that same authocratic look as Leon Tyrell.

What's he doing here? There must be something...

"So...what are we having for today?" diretsong tanong ko sa mga magulang ko.

I know they're up to something.

Sinenyasan ni Mommy ang isang unipormadong lalaki na nakatayo sa may di-kalayuan, tumalima naman ito.

"By the way, Z...Robert wants to talk to you personally about some matters, but that can wait after dinner. I hope you can spare a little time for him?" si Dad.

There it goes...

"Yes, of course."

The old man looked relieved.

"How's your work, son?" baling sakin ni Mommy

"Great! It's doing fine, Mom."

"And you still tire yourself too much?"

"Sort of..."

Bumakas ang pag-aalala sa mukha ni Mommy at saka umiling-iling.

"Talk to your son, Leonardo. Hindi ko na alam ang gagawin ko sa batang yan..."

Tumawa lang si Dad.

"Your son is a very successful bachelor of his time, you must be so proud." singit ni Mr. Matthews

"Of course we are...but that doesn't mean that he should do all the job. I mean, he's done so much already." sagot ni Mommy

Great!

Now I'm the primary subject.

"How are your boys, Robert? I heard that their company is a very successful one." si Dad

"Ah, yes... My engineers, they finally found their way out of my winery business..." Robert Matthews laughed.

Nakitawa na rin ang mga magulang ko. But looking up closely, he doesn't seem like a happy man to me.

Anyone can fake a smile, but their eyes don't lie.

Why do I even bother?

Mabuti na lang at saktong dumating na ang mga pagkain namin. The whole conversation could go on for like...forever. And I loathed these kinds of meetings.

Fortunately, I managed to go on through the night.

But I was more curious about the 'matter' that Mr. Matthews wants to talk to me personally about. If it's business, then fine. If it's about a woman, I'd try to get by. So what brought him here?

All through dinner, napag-usapan naming lahat ang mga bagay-bagay---keeping my personal life out of the topic.

I learned that Dad and Mr. Matthews were college friends at nakabase ang huli sa States and he's not here in the country para magbakasyon.

He's not an ordinary person. He owns hectares of lands na ginawang vineyard, and he has a winery having his own signature wine: Nayaleigh.

Hindi biro ang pagkakaroon ng ganoong klaseng negosyo, it takes years to produce a good wine kaya sa tingin ko ay namana niya ang winery niya sa kanyang angkan.

"It came from my great-great-great-grandparents that is passed on to generations after them." kwento ni Mr. Matthews at naging tama nga ang hinuha ko.

Nang sa wakas ay natapos ang dinner, pasado alas-nuebe na ng gabi.

Nagpaalam na ang mga magulang ko na babalik na sa Mansion para makapag-usap kami ng matandang Matthews.

Niyaya ko siyang magkape sa private balcony ng Villa, doon rin dinadala ang mga bisita kapag may mga importanteng meetings.

Nakaupo lang kami doon habang nakatanaw sa magandang night-view ng Villa Yelena.

Maybe he wants to make a business proposal.

I'm not a good mind-reader pero natural lang na magkaroon ako ng assumptions tungkol sa taong kaharap ko.

"You might wondering why I sought you here, Mr. Tyrell. I'm gonna be real honest with you. It's not about business." nakatingin sa kawalan na sabi ng katabi ko.

So it's a woman then...setting up his daughter with me, perhaps?

"Your father and I had an old agreement long time ago. Leon suggested that it's only convenient to discuss it with you." patuloy niya

Tumangu-tango ako at nakikinig lang.

"I hope you would consider it."

"What was the agreement, Mr. Matthews?" curious na tanong ko

He went silent for a moment at halatang pinag-iisipan kung paano sasabihin ang nasa isip.

Maybe he wants to hook up his daughter with me...but I feel sorry for the man. I'm rejecting it already because I don't do princesses---I do business in bed.

"Zeus..." his voice was deep and when I turned to look at him, he was looking at me with that strong determined look in his eyes.

"Yes?" casual na sagot ko.

This old man is pretty desperate.


"The agreement was...you are to marry my daughter...Sophie."


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