Kiara Amaris North
“Ano'ng plano ng family mo sa birthday mo?” tanong ng kaibigan kong si Abilene.
I just shrugged my shoulders. I don't know, and honestly, I don't care. A simple birthday celebration is fine with me, I'm so done with the extravagant and costly birthday celebrations. My parents always invite their business associates and investors during my birthday, and it sucks. Wala pa yata sa kalahati ang kilala ko na imbitado kapag birthday ko.
“I don't know, I just want to sleep on my birthday for a f*****g whole day. Business trips always exhaust me. I just want to take a long rest,” I said and closed my eyes.
“Magpahinga ka rin minsan, saka maghanap ng boyfriend,” Abi said while typing something on her phone.
“I don't like commitments, Abi. I'm too busy to even look for a boyfriend who will agree to my conditions, like, we can only meet for at least once or twice a week for I am always busy. Kaya nga hanggang fling lang ako, e,” I said and drank my black coffee.
Mas convenient ang flings, they don't demand loyalty, affection, and time. Kahit naman sobrang busy ko palagi, I need to have some fun din naman paminsan-minsan.
“Why don't you just date my brother, Kiara? He won't demand for your time and such. He's a big catch too, right? Handsome, smart, and successful. Ano pa'ng hahanapin mo?” Abi put her phone inside her sling bag and smiled sweetly at me. I just rolled my eyes.
“Bakit ba ibinubugaw mo sa'kin palagi ang kuya mo?” nakataas-kilay na tanong ko. Napangisi na lang siya.
“Two reasons, b***h. One, I want you to be my sister-in-law, I don't want anyone else, and number two, I just want to!” she squealed. I just shook my head and just focused on my laptop.
“Whatever, umalis ka na nga lang. Wala ka bang trabaho?” I asked and raised my eyebrow. Abi pouted and stomped her feet on the floor. I grimaced at the sound of her killer heels clicking on the floor.
Tumayo na lang siya saka isinukbit ang sling bag niya.
“Fine, I'll go ahead. Make sure to take a rest tomorrow, you can call me if you wanna have some fun... you know,” she said and giggled. I just chuckled and shook my head.
Umalis na rin siya kaagad. My friend since elementary, Abilene, works as a hotel manager in a well-known hotel, siya na yata ang pinakastress-free na manager na nakilala ko.
Her brother on the other hand, Archer, is a businessman. Their family owns a successful company that manufactures different kinds of gadgets and Abi's brother, Archer, is the chief operating officer of their family's company at an early age. Abilene is actually right when she said that her brother is a big catch... but no.
I sighed while staring at my laptop's screen. I bit the upper tip of my fountain pen while tapping my fingers on the table. This month's sales decreased 1.2 percent. I closed my eyes and massaged my temple.
After graduating in college, I instantly took CPA board exam and passed the exam in just one try. I started working at our company as soon as I passed the CPA exam. I worked as a company accountant first but my Dad promoted me last year and made me the chief financing officer of North Technologies Corp. (NTC). Our family owns NTC, my late grandfather was the founder but Dad made it more successful. Kaya pressured din ako dahil ako ang magiging tagapag-mana nito since I'm the only child. I don't know if I will be able to make NTC successful in the future just like my Dad did.
“Manang, where's Mom and Dad?”
I put my bag on the table and slumped on the chair. Manang Celina, our maid for almost two decades, served me a cold water and started massaging my back. I smiled and closed my eyes, the best talaga ang hilot ni manang.
“Ang Mommy mo naroon sa kuwarto niya maghapon, ang Daddy mo naman hindi pa nauwi galing trabaho,” sabi ni manang habang hinihilot pa rin ang likod ko.
“Sige po, manang, salamat. Punta na po ako sa kuwarto ko.” Tumayo ako at kinuha ang handbag ko saka iniwan si manang sa dining area.
I threw my bag on the bed as I entered my room. I removed my heels and threw it too. I slumped on my bed and sighed.
I know that my parents are not in love with each other. Uso noon sa mayayaman ang arranged marriage at iyon ang nangyari sa kanila. But in my twenty-three years of existence, they did their best to be good parents to me... but these past few weeks, something is off between them. They rarely talk to each other, kung mag-uusap man sila, puro sigawan at away na lang. They are not like this before, siguro nga hindi nila mahal ang isa't isa pero hindi sila palaging nag-aaway para sa 'kin.
Napailing na lang ako at nag-shower saka nagpalit ng damit. I'll just have some fun tonight and get wasted. Napapagod ako sa trabaho araw-araw, dumadagdag sa sa iniisip ko sina Mom at Dad.
I looked at myself in the mirror and start applying make up. I wore a silver puff-sleeved velvet mini dress and paired it with a black platform stiletto heels. I look sexy, this outfit is far from my everyday office attire.
I stared at my face again before applying dark red lipstick. Mas kamukha ko talaga si Dad. I also got my naturally dark brown hair from his genes. I have almond-shaped and hazel-colored eyes, perfectly shaped eyebrows, pointed nose, and natural plump lips. Marahil labi lang ang nakuha ko kay Mommy, lahat halos kay Dad na.
Napailing na lang ako at inayos ang buhok ko. My hair is long and naturally wavy, which everyone finds sexy, that's why I always let it down because it's one of my asset.
I stood up and looked at myself in the mirror once again and took my black sling bag and my car key. Lumabas na ako ng silid ko pakatapos kong mag-ayos. Natigilan ako nang makita ko si Dad sa living room. He's sitting on the couch while massaging his temple. Napabuntong hininga na lang ako at lumapit sa kanya.
Dad opened his eyes and looked at me. I just smiled at him and sat beside him. He just smiled back and tapped my shoulder.
“Tomorrow is your birthday, is it okay if we will just have simple dinner? I'm too busy these past few days kaya hindi ko na naasikaso,” Dad said and sighed.
I like this about Dad. He's my father here in our house but he's my boss in our company. He's very professional and doesn't favor me at work just because I'm his daughter. Madalas ay napapagalitan niya ako sa harap ng mga empleyado ngunit hihingi rin siya ng tawad kapag nasa bahay na kami.
“It's fine, Dad. I actually plan to take a whole day rest tomorrow and besides, nagsasawa na rin ako sa parties,” I said and chuckled. Dad just nodded while still smiling at me.
“What do you want for your birthday?” he asked and gently caressed my hair.
“Nothing, Dad, gusto ko lang magkaayos na kayo ni Mom. That's more than enough.”
Napawi ang ngiti sa labi ni Dad dahil sa sinabi ko. He turned his gaze away from me and cleared his throat. There's really something wrong with them.
“May pupuntahan ka pa yata, go ahead. Be careful, hmm,” Dad said and kissed my forehead.
Tumayo na siya at iniwan akong mag-isa sa sala. Napabuntong hininga na lang ako at agad na lumabas ng bahay. Sumakay na ako ng kotse at agad na pinaharurot iyon.
I just need something to ease my mind right now. Halo halo na sa isip ko ang trabaho pati na rin sina Dad.
I parked my car at CAD Bar's parking lot. This my favorite bar because I like the ambiance and the loudness, marami ring guwapo. Dito ako madalas nakakadampot ng ka-fling. Most of the male customers here are handsome bachelors.
Pumasok na ako sa bar, agad na sumalubong sa akin ang malakas na tugtog at amoy ng naghalo-halong alak. I just shook my head and go straight to the counter. Napangiti na lang ako nang makitang yung guwapong owner ng bar ang nasa counter.
“Hey, Cadence,” I greeted him. I sat on the stool and put my sling bag on the table. Cad gave me his signature sexy grin.
“Hey, Kiara. Long time, no see,” sabi na lang niya habang nagtitimpla ng drinks.
“Yeah, busy, e. I just came from a business trip. By the way, one Aperol Spritz please,” I said and smiled at him.
“Okay, Miss,” nakangising sabi niya. Napailing na lang ako at pinanood siya sa ginagawa.
Madalang lang kaming magkita ni Cadence dahil bukod sa busy ako lagi, minsan lang din naman siya nagpupunta rito.
Actually, Cad and I had a fling. We made out a lot of times, one thing I like about him is that he's not into commitments too. We're just enjoying each other's company without pressure. Sa lahat ng naka-fling ko, si Cad ang pinaka-paborito ko. Let's disregard that he's the most handsome among the guys I flirted, what I like about him is that he's funny and easy-going.
“Aperol Spritz for a beautiful lady,” Cad said and gave me my drink. I just giggled and shook my head.
“H'wag mo na 'kong bolahin, wala ako sa mood makipag-make out,” napapailing na sabi ko na lang at ininom ang aperol.
“Aw, sayang.” Napakamot siya sa kilay niya. “By the way, what's bothering you? Medyo pumangit ka dahil mukha kang stressed,” napapailing na sabi pa ni Cad.
I glared at him, he just laughed and pinched my nose. Hinampas ko naman ang kamay niya.
“Nothing, I'm just tired,” I mumbled and drank my aperol.
“Aw, kawawa ka naman. By the way, Kiara, gusto pa sana kitang samahan kaso may kailangan pa 'kong puntahan.” Lumabas si Cad sa counter saka lumapit sa akin. “Just call me if you need something, o kapag nalasing ka. Bye.” He kissed me on my right cheek before he left.
I just shrugged and ordered another drink to another bartender. Hindi ko alam kung gaano ako katagal uminom doon, umalis na lang ako sa counter at umupo sa bandang sulok na parte ng bar nang makaramdam ng hilo.
I'll just take a rest for a bit before I'll go home. I should have called Abi to accompany me, malakas ang tolerance ng babaeng 'yon sa alak kaysa sa 'kin.
Napatingin ako sa lalaking katabi ko na kanina pa tahimik. Actually, nauna siya rito, nakiupo lang talaga ako nang hindi nagpapaalam. He didn't say anything naman. It's kinda dark here in this area kaya hindi ko maaninag ang mukha niya. He's wearing a black shirt and a black cap. He's just silent while drinking his whiskey.
He smells good, I can smell the scent of mint and musk from him. His muscled arms are fully tattooed which I find so attractive. Damn.
The guy looked at me when I called him. Inilapit ko ang mukha sa kanya upang maaninag ang mukha niya pero blurry na talaga ang paningin ko, dahil siguro sa kalasingan.
“What?” the guy asked in a cold tone. My whole body shivered because of his deep and husky voice. His voice alone is enough to turn me on.
“You're hot.” Mas lumapit pa ako sa kanya.
Hindi na lang ako pinansin ng lalaki at muling ibinaling ang atensyon niya sa whiskey. Napakunot ang noo ko. Did he just ignore me? Unbelievable.
“Hey.” Kinalabit ko pa ang matigas niyang braso.
I'm not really like this, hindi ako nagfi-first move. Mahirap lang talaga sa 'kin ang makainom, kumakapal ang mukha ko.
“Let's make out,” I said and touched his arm. Damn, his tattoos are cool.
I sighed when the guy ignored me again. I just pouted and was about to stood up but the guy held my waist and pulled me closer to him. Napasinghap na lang ako nang walang babalang siniil nito ng halik ang labi ko.
I was stunned for awhile but I instantly clung my arms around his nape and responded to his rough kiss.
I moaned against his kiss. Damn, I can taste whiskey and mint from his lips. I kissed him back with equal fervor, I moaned again when he put his tongue inside my mouth tastes its insides. My knees weakened when his hand reached my nape, he pulled my head closer to him and deepened our kiss.
He bit my lower lip and started sucking it. I gripped his nape tightly his hot tongue played with my small one. His hard chest crushed against my soft bossoms. My body shivered when he released a manly groan.
This guy just gave me the best kiss of my life. Cadence is a good kisser but I never felt something like this every time we kissed. This mysterious guy can make me feel something inside my system that I couldn't explain.
I moaned helplessly when his rough kiss goes down to my jaw. My eyes dilated when his hot tongue ran on my soft skin, his kisses reached my neck. I gripped his hair when he gently bit my skin there. Saglit lang 'yon at muli siyang umangat at hinalikan ang labi ko.
Good thing everyone is busy with their stuffs. Kami lang ang narito sa puwestong 'to kaya walang nakakapansin sa amin, dagdag pa na maingay na talaga sa paligid.
I was gasping for air when the guy finally broke our hot kiss. I gulped as my lips parted in satisfaction. I bet my lips are swollen right now, I can still feel his hot lips and tongue on my neck. Damn, I want more.
I just shook my head and calmed myself. Calm your malanding hormones, Kiara. Baka maibigay ko pa sa lalaking hindi ko kilala ang virginity ko ng wala sa oras... I don't want that, ni hindi pa nga ako nagkakaroon ng boyfriend.
“Thank you for that amazing and mind-blowing kiss, Sir. I won't forget that,” I said and took my sling bag.
Hindi ko na siya binalingan ng tingin, agad na 'kong tumayo at iniwan siya ro'n. My heart is still beating faster and my knees are still shaking when I came out of the bar.
I hope I'll meet that guy again... and I hope I'm not drunk when that happens.
MY FRIENDS and colleagues greeted me on social media, but some of them just texted me. I stood up and looked at myself in the mirror after taking a bath.
I'm now 24 years old, I'm still young but it feels like I've already done so many things in my life. I just shook my head and replied to my friends' greetings to me.
Natigilan ako nang makitang natawag si Cad. Agad ko namang sinagot iyon.
“Hello, Kiarabog. Nakita ko sa f******k na birthday mo ngayon. Ano'ng gusto mong regalo? Ako ba?” Nararamdaman kong nakangisi siya ngayon. Napailing na lang ako.
“No, I want free drinks for the rest of my life.” I chuckled.
“Tang ina, baka naman malugi ang bar ko sa 'yo, girl.”
Natawa na lang ako sa sinabi niya.
“Just kidding, hindi mo na kailangang regaluhan ako.”
“Aw 'no, sige, happy birthday na lang. Punta ka mamaya sa bar kapag may time ka. Chat ko na lang birthday greeting ko sa 'yo,” sabi niya na lang.
“Whatever. Sige, bye na.”
Hindi ko na hinintay na sumagot siya at agad ng binaba ang tawag. Lumabas na ako ng kuwarto ko at dumiretso sa dining area, naabutan ko ro'n si Dad na tumutulong kay Manang maghain. Napatingin naman si Dad sa direksyon ko at agad na napangiti.
“Good morning, Kiara. Happy birthday,” Dad greeted. Lumapit siya sa 'kin at niyakap ako.
“Thank you, Dad. Where's Mom? Is she still in her room?” I asked with concern in my voice. Palagi na lang nagkukulong si Mommy sa kuwarto niya, minsan naman palaging umaalis.
“Take a sit, anak. Ipaghahain kita.”
Dad didn't answer my question and guided me to my seat. I looked at him with confusion in my eyes. Is it that hard to answer my question? What the hell is happening here?
Natigilan ako nang mag-ring amg phone ko, I instantly answered the call when I saw Mom's name.
“Hello, Mom. Bakit tumawag ka pa po? Masama ba pakiramdam mo? Pupuntahan kita sa room niyo.” Akmang tatayo na ako nang agad na magsalita si Mom.
“No need, darling. I'm not in the house right now. I'm sorry kung hindi na kita nahintay gumising at umalis ako kaagad.” Napakunot ang noo ko sa sinabi niya.
“Where are you? B-bakit ka po umalis?” kinakabahang tanong ko.
“Maghihiwalay na kami ng Daddy mo, anak.”
Tila binuhusan ako nang malamig na tubig sa sinabi ni Mom. Agad na nanginig ang mga kamay ko kasabay ng panghihina ng mga tuhod ko.
“Is this a prank or what? A-are you doing this to surprise me for my birthday?” I stuttered.
“I'm sorry, Kiara. Actually, three months ago pa naming napag-usapan 'to. Your Dad is also aware that I already have a boyfriend. I'm sorry for telling you this on your birthday, honey. But I really want to be happy this time. I can't live with your Dad anymore.”
My lips quivered as my vision became blurry. Nabitiwan ko ang phone ko dahil sa panginginig ng kamay ko. Agad na lumapit sa 'kin si Dad at hinawakan ang kamay ko. Inalis ko ang pagkakahawak niya sa kamay ko at agad na napatayo.
“W-why did you let her go just like that, Dad?! And what? She has a boyfriend?! What kind of fuckery is that? Pinaglololoko niyo ba akong lahat?!”
This is probably the first time I shouted on my Dad like this. I'm always a good daughter to them, I thought we're just fine and living like a happy family but all this time... I'm just the one who think that way. My Mom can't live with my Dad anymore but how about me? Iiwan niya na lang ako nang gano'n gano'n na lang? For what? For her boyfriend?!
I get it, Mom is just 43 years old, she's still young and beautiful, 19 lang siya nang mabuntis siya sa akin... pero hindi pa ba siya kuntento sa amin?
“Kiara, this is for the best, anak. Sinubukan naman naming mahalin ang isa't isa para sa 'yo, pero hindi talaga namin kaya. We're both done with this setup, we're not happy anymore. Ayokong pigilan si Akira na magmahal, we never love each other in the first place anyway, Kiara. Just let your Mom be kung doon siya masaya,” Dad said. He seemed unaffected, tila ba wala siyang pakialam sa mga ginagawa ni Mom.
This can't be, I will never let this family fall apart. Alam ko na kahit papa'no, minahal nila ang isa't isa, imposibleng hindi!
“Where's Mom?” I asked. Dad sighed and held my arm.
“Kiara, let's just--”
“Where the hell is Mom?!” I shouted. I never shouted like this at Dad before. I'll just apologize to him later, after I talk to Mom.
“She's in her house, Kiara. You know where it is, right?” Dad asked in a calm tone. Tila ba hindi naiinis sa paninigaw ko.
Agad ko silang iniwan sa dining area at nagtungo sa kuwarto ko para kuhanin ang susi ng kotse ko. I need to talk to Mom right now.
Paano kung hindi katiwa-tiwala ang boyfriend niya? Paano kung lokohin lang siya no'n at perahan? Paano kung killer pala 'yon or what?
My mind is clouded while I'm driving my way to Mom's villa. Naluluha na naman ako, nanghihina na naman ang buong katawan ko. Why does it have to happen on my birthday? I should be resting right now or having a breakfast with my family. Why does it turned out like this?
Agad akong bumaba ng kotse nang makarating sa sariling bahay ni Mom. Agad kong pinindot ang doorbell, saglit lang ang hinintay ko at pinagbuksan na ako ni Mom.
“K-Kiara, what are you doing here?” Mom asked, she seems shocked. Maybe she didn't expect that I'll barge in like this.
“What the hell are you thinking, Mom?! Wala ka na bang pakialam sa akin? Naiintindihan ko na ayaw mo ng kasama si Dad, but how about me, Mom?!”
Mom remained silent, she let out a heavy sigh and held my hands.
“Anak, please understand. I had enough, gusto ko rin namang sumaya,” she pleaded.
“Am I not enough to make you happy?! Bakit kailangan mo pang magka-boyfriend?! Para saan?!”
Hindi nakasagot si Mom, napabuntong hininga na lang siya at tila hindi alam ang sasabihin sa akin.
“What's happening here, Akira?”
Natigilan kaming pareho at napatingin sa pinanggalingan ng boses. Agad akong natulos sa kinatatayuan ko nang makitang may lalaking lumabas ng bahay ni Mom.
Gano'n na lang ang gulat ko nang mapagtanto kung sino iyon... a man with a magnificent jet black curly hair, strong dark brown eyes, pointed nose, sharp stubbled jaw, sexy luscious lips, and a domineering aura... He's wearing his typical three piece suit.
“What is this, Mom? What the hell is that man doing here?! Why are you with him?” I asked and turned my gaze at Mom. Mom just sighed and held my arm and caressed it.
Of course I know that man, he's the owner of Archante Automobile Corp. and ARC airlines... But why the hell is he here? What the f**k is happening here?
“He is Xanthos Archante, Kiara. He's my boyfriend.”