Bonus Chapter

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A/N: Reposting this chapter only for those who weren't able to read Renner's first meeting with his kuyas.

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“UNDER-DRESSED ba ako?” tanong ko kay Seffie habang nakasakay kami ng taxi patungo sa Arellano Towers, the building housing the offices of my three older half-brothers in Bonifacio Global City.

Seffie turned her head to look at me and smiled. “You’re perfect,” she said and fixed the collar of the dark blue polo shirt I was wearing. I wanted to wear a suit pero sabi niya baka mapagkamalan daw akong boss... or job applicant. So I settled for the polo shirt she chose for me and jeans.

Good God, I’m meeting my half-brothers, men who have the power to accept me or reject me like that proverbial job applicant, and I was wearing jeans. Her hand squeezed my thigh. I didn’t know it was bouncing up and down.

“Relax!” she laughed and kissed me on the cheek. “They’re going to love you.”

“You keep saying that.” She was! “But that’s because you love me.”

“What’s not to love?” she winked at me.

Huminto ang taxi sa tapat ng opisina. I paid the fare and we got off the vehicle. Nakatingala lang ako sa dalawang skyscrapers na bumubuo sa Arellano Towers habang nakatayo sa sidewalk.

“Renner,” Seffie said to call my attention. Nasa may front doors na pala siya at pinagbuksan na ng pinto ng security guard, isang security guard na nakatingin sa ‘kin na para bang iniisip kung saan niya ako nakita.

Sa mukha ng boss mo, I wanted to say. Because that was exactly where he saw me. Dale Eaton’s face was divided into four and equally distributed among his four sons.

Nag-iwan kami ng mga ID sa reception kapalit ng visitor’s badges at sumakay ng elevator to the top floor.

I looked down at the woman who was the center of my universe. Seffie never let go of my hand and her palm was running up and down my forearm in a soothing gesture.

Noong una ko siyang makita, alam ko na kaagad na siya na ‘yung babaeng mamahalin ko nang habambuhay. I know, I know, we’re a little bit too young to think of forevers but I just knew. She was it.

“Thank you for being here with me,” I said.

She smiled up at me. “You’re welcome.”

“I love you,” I added, needing to hear those words from her like a lifeline.

“I love you,” she said.

Just in time dahil nagbukas ang elevator doors, at sinalubong kami ng isang maiksing puti at well-lit na hallway bago ang glass doors na sandblasted ng mga salitang Arellano Group of Companies.

Kung hindi mo pa alam, nagtatrabaho sa Arellano ang tatlo kong kuya. David, the model and the youngest, was currently an executive vice president. James, the second brother, was currently COO. And Geoffrey, the eldest and the only legitimate son, was the CEO of the Arellano Group.

The doors opened and Seffie nearly dragged me through to the receptionist who opened the doors for us.

“Hi,” bati niya. “We’re here to see Mr. Geoffrey Arellano.”

“Do you have an appointment?” tanong ng receptionist.

“Actually, no,” sabi ni Seffie.

I don’t know. Ayaw ko kasing i-announce sa telepono kung bakit ako nandoon kaya hindi ako nagpa-appointment. I wanted to see their real reactions to me.

Isa pa, kung wala akong appointment, baka hindi ako payagang makipagkita sa kanila. I have an excuse not to see them, change my life and blow theirs up in the process.

“But I think his face should be an appointment enough,” sabi ng girlfriend ko sabay turo sa ‘kin. Nilingon ako ng receptionist at nakita kong, gaya ng guard, nabigla rin siya.

“Please have a seat,” sabi niya at itinuro ang sofa. “I’ll call Mr. Arellano’s secretary.”

Naupo kami ni Seffie habang tumatawag ang receptionist. Hindi ko narinig kung ano ang sinabi niya. I was too focused on the pressure in my gut. Pero hindi nagtagal, bumukas ang glass doors papasok sa executive area at tumayo kami ni Seffie.

And there they were, all three of them.

We were all nearly the same height. They were taller than me but not much. I was already six feet tall and expected to grow another inch or two. We all wore the same faces, vivid blue eyes and that damn aquiline nose that I hated so much that I knew I got from my biological father. Our biological father. And damn it, sinabi ko na kay Seffie eh. They were all wearing suits! I should have worn mine. And they were looking at me the way I was probably looking at them, with wide eyes and uncertainty.

Nadama ko ang kamay ni Seffie na bumalot sa kamay ko. She squeezed then gave me a little nudge.

I cleared my throat. “Hi,” I said. “My name is Renner Christensen. I’m your brother.”

Lumapit ang isa sa kanila, and I knew he was Geoffrey. Minsan ko na siyang nakita sa London, while he was at univesity.

Umangat ang isa niyang kamay. It hovered over my cheek pero bago ang contact, ipinatong niya ang kamay na ‘yun sa balikat ko bago ako pinag-aralan. It was like looking at a mirror. Then he smiled.

 In a voice that was so like mine, only a little deeper and hoarse with emotion, in an accent that was exactly like mine, he said, “My name is Geoffrey Arellano. And yes, you are my brother.” 

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