2. Chapter 15.

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  • Dedicated to @jennifercimeni

"Unexpected events will make us realize we still have lots of growing up to do..."

Matty was his usual enthusiastic self while they made their way to the grocery of Market! Market! which was just a few minutes from Two Serendra. It became a habit for him to talk to Drei and Alex about stuff in school and all the whatnots. Alex smiled at him fondly as he went on blabbing about his day went today – his homework and the upcoming open house that their school was having next week. Things have changed between them ever since they walked out of Matty's room that night when they had that talk a few weeks ago. They became partners in crime.

He suddenly remembered Drei saying that Matty was Anton's exact replica and he couldn't agree more especially when Matty showed him his Dad's picture in his wallet. Their features were identical. Another thing about Matty is that he was unusually advanced for his age. Drei found it convenient to communicate as honestly, and as openly, as possible to her son. For her, Alex remembered, it was the best way to avoid complications for them in the future. And he couldn't help but credit Drei on how she managed to raise such a smart boy, given that she needed to fill in two roles at the same time – a mother and a father. Because of that, his admiration for the mother of his child was just way beyond than he expected.

And there was no denying that Alex was slowly becoming attached to Drei's amazingly smart little boy. He found himself drawn to his little world as he was learning more about Matty every single day. Little by little, Alex was allowing the little boy to occupy a space in that hollow organ in his chest which he kept guarded for so long.... His heart. Allowing someone, who isn't even related to him by blood, into his life was something new to him. It felt good. And he loved the sound of Matty's voice calling him Dad for the first time. It gave him that sense of pride that he couldn't explain and knowing that he was becoming a part of this little boy's life suddenly made him feel important and needed.

"What are we cooking?" Matty asked as they walked inside the supermarket of Market! Market! pushing the shopping cart. Alex took out the list from his pocket and scanned through it.

"Hmmm mauna muna tayo sa pork section...bili tayo ng baboy..." he answered. "We're cooking Pork Sinigang tonight, Kuya... kumakain ka ba nun?"

"Opo naman!" he smiled. "Can I help?"

"Oo naman!" Alex nodded in approval. "Makakaluto kaya si Chef Alex kung wala ang magaling kong assistant na si Chef Matty?"

The two  did a high five and then they both headed to the meat section. When they got there, Alex requested for two kilos of pork. He explained to Matty why he chose specific cuts for their menu tonight and the boy just listened carefully. Then he added some chicken breasts, thighs, wings and drumsticks.

"Sino po nagturo sa'yo na mag cook?"

"My dad... saka mga Tita ko... I have a big family... and they like cooking..."

After that they went to the vegetable section and Alex got what he needed – tomatoes, onions, radish, string beans, kangkong. He added some broccoli, carrots, potatoes, pechay and malunggay leaves for tomorrow's menu that he had in mind. They also got some eggs, bacon, hotdog and ham for breakfast. Then some broth cubes and the sinigang mix.

"Daddy Alex," Matty called out as they were strolling by the canned goods section, Alex looked at him. "Paano kayo nagkakilala ni Mom?"

"Well," he gazed afar as if recalling the memory. It was Johan's birthday if he wasn't mistaken. He could still remember every detail of how she looked and what songs she sang. "We met sa birthday ng Ninong Yo mo... nagpa party kasi si Ninang Jeannie mo, doon kami nagkakilala."

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