Chapter 2
Miguel

Manila, Philippines

I was about to lit a cigarette when I felt arms suddenly wrapped around me.

I can feel her warm, soft skin. I wasn't wearing anything but a towel wrapped around my waist. Nasa balcony ako ng penthouse ng hotel.

I was staring blankly at the clouds, not really seeing them. I used to admire them, how perfect they are, their exquisite beauty complementing the magnificence that is sky.

But after everything that happened, nothing seems to be wonderful to me anymore.

"Babe, let's go back to bed." she said, seductively. Habang hinihimas ng kanang kamay niya ang dibdib ko. Hindi ako nagsalita. I gave her my four hours, that was already enough.

Biglang tumunog ang cellphone ko na nakapatong sa may table na katabi ko. I grabbed it.

But before I answer it, I turned to the blonde. What was her name? Nataly? Natalia. I almost snorted. Does it even matter?

"Get your things and leave" I ordered, coldly.

Napabitaw siya sa akin. Wala rin siyang suot katulad ko. "W-what?" she asked, as if hindi niya narinig ang sinabi ko. She knows the rule. Everyone knows the rule. My rule.

Tinignan ko siya mula ulo hanggang paa. How sad. Maganda lang 'yata ito. Hindi makaintindi. "You should know that I hate repeating what i've just said. Leave. Before I call someone to escort you out." Tumalikod ako sa kanya.

"You-you're a jerk!" she shouted and I guess, left. I snorted. I've heard worse.

I answered the call. Antonio. "What?" I snapped.

He chuckled. "Calm down, dude. What did the girl call you this time? Wait, wait. I'll guess. Was it heartless jerk? or was it cold-hearted ass?" Then he laughed.

"Shut up. What is it?" Hindi ko alam kung maiinis ba ako o bibilib ako na alam niya ang inasta ng babae.

"Okay. Okay. Come over my office, it's about the new project."

After he said that, I hang up without saying anything. I grabbed the lighter and tried to lit my cigarette. I tried and tried but failed. Ayaw sumindi. Frustrated, I threw it away.

Pumasok ako sa loob ng kwarto and walked towards the shower. Nang maramdaman ko ang malamig na tubig na dumadaloy sa katawan ko ay napakalma ako. This is who I am today. Heartless. Jerk. Ass. Cold. Soulless

Nakalimutan ko nang maging masaya. Nakalimutan ko nang i-appreciate ang mga magagandang bagay sa mundo.

I'd built a wall around my heart. Hard and thick. Protecting it from everyone. From being hurt. From being taken for granted.

I've already had enough.

After ilang minutes, nasa aiport na ako--kung nasaan ang office ni Antonio. I owned it.

Pagkalabas ko ng kotse ay nakita kong nagmamadaling nagpilahan ang mga empleyado. They bow down to me. My face remained expressionless. Dirediretso lang ako. I didn't ask them to do that but they do it anyways. Lahat ng madaanan kong empleyado ay hihinto at yuyuko sa akin.

Dumiretso ako sa office ni Antonio. Sa airport nakabase si Antonio. Ako naman ay sa mismong company ng MA Group of Companies or The MA Empire. Malapit lang din iyon dito sa airport.

Besides being a pilot at may-ari ng airport, marami pa akong ibang negosyo. Real Estate. Malls. Restaurants. Food chains. At iba pa.

I raised a brow nang hindi ko naabutan ang sekretarya ni Antonio sa puwesto nito. Kapag pumupunta ako doon ay karaniwang hindi magkandaugaga sa gagawin niya dahil nakita ako.

Usually kasi kailangan pang iinform na may papasok sa office. Let's just say... sometimes, Tony's "busy".

Hindi na ako kumatok. Alam naman niya na darating ako.

Kaya napataas ang kilay ko nang makita kong naghahalikan ang secretary niya at si Tony. Nang siguro'y maramdaman nila ang presensiya ko ay lumingon sila sa akin.

I heard her secretary gasped. Dali-dali itong nag-ayos ng kanyang sarili. She bow down to me bago namumulang umalis.

Sinundan ko muna ito ng tingin bago bumaling muli kay Antonio na inaayos ang kanyang necktie. He smirked. "What? Have you seen her ass?"

"You're unbelievable, Antonio. Even your secretary? Cliche" I asked, snorting. Okay, I saw her ass. No wonder kung bakit pinatulan ito ni Tony.

"Well i'm sorry, bro. Hindi ako katulad mo, nakaka-appreciate ako ng goods"

"Seriously, wala na bang pumapatol sayo?" Umupo ako sa black couch na nasa tapat ng desk niya.

"Okay, let's start."

Pumormal na siya. Iyon ang gusto ko sa kanya. Kapag dating sa trabaho ay seryoso ito, efficient and trust-worthy.

Tinawag niya ang sekretarya niya gamit ang intercom. Bumukas ang pinto at inilitaw ito at as expected, hindi ito makatingin sa akin ng diretso. Napailing na lang ako. Inilapag nito ang isang envelope sa harap ko.

"What's that?" I asked Antonio before picking it up. Inikot ko ang tali at binuksan iyon.

"Ayan 'yung file ng architectural and engineering firm uncle ko. His employees are one of the best in the world. May profile rin diyan ng mga gawa nila."

Pinasadahan ko ng tingin. Tumingin ako uli sa kanya. "And...?"

"D'yan tayo kukuha ng gagawa and magdedesign para sa gaawing airport sa Cebu. You wanted something na maihehelera sa ibang countries, kumuha ako sa America. I already talked to Uncle. Ipapadala na lang raw niya ang mga tao niya rito. Pinili ko sila hindi lang dahil may discount, but well, karamihan sa hinahire nila ay filipino. So hitting two birds with one stone."

"Okay naman ako. Ikaw ang may alam diyan. What's the problem?"

"Well, since na galing pa sila ng states, we should provide an office for them. Malaking project ito so team ang ipapadala nila. And I know you, gusto mo ng control at laging kang may nais ipabago."

"Sa main office na lang. Sa emp. Para mabilis lang nila akong ma-reach or ako sa kanila. Pwede sila sa extra room sa creatives. Malapit lang din iyon sa floor ko.

"Good idea. I'll call my tito later. Oh by the way, malapit na ang birthday ni Yesha, right?"

Napangiti ako when I remembered my daughter. She will turn few weeks from now.

"Lumalaki na siya. Wala ka bang balak magpakasal. I mean I know that.. uhmmm, well, what i'm saying is I think kailangan niya ng "official" mom and someone who's really your partner. Plus you need a wife. Someone na makakapag-alis ng ka-grumpyhan mo. Yes, that i'd like to see"

"I don't need one. Kaya kong alagaan si Yesha," I said, my jaw hardened.

Nagtaas ng dalawang kamay si Antonio na aktong sumusuko.

"Okay, okay! I was just saying. 'Eto naman mainitin ang ulo! Hindi naman umuulan ah!" Natatawa pang sabi niya. I glared at him.

"Ooopppss. Okay. I'll shut up" Inosenteng nagkalkal na lang siya ng files niya.

Hindi ko na kailangan ng babae. Alam nila iyon. They know Miguel Angelo Tan.

I don't need anyone. Not her. Not anyone.