Habang tumataas ang aking edad, dumarami rin ang aking responsibilidad. Life has been tough as I grew up, the reason why I needed to be tougher. I didn't give failure a room because I know that I'm much bigger than my problems. I have to be.
I thought, graduating college was already the end but how wrong I was. Because that's only the start of everything. Responsibilities started coming as I graduated. Not that I'm complaining but I am just stating a fact.
I felt like I had no rights to protest too because my mother has been carrying those responsibilities already for all our life after our father died.
Kaya ngayon na nagkasakit siya at nakatapos ako ng pag-aaral ay ako naman ang sasalo ng lahat ng responsibilidad.
I was eating my breakfast before going to a company who finally emailed me for an interview, when I heard the overreacting voice of my sister.
"Hindi! Oh my God! No!"
I winced after hearing my youngest sister shrieked. Tila lalagutan siya ng hininga sa tinis ng kanyang sigaw.
"Yena!" Saway ko nang pumasok siya sa hapagkainan kung saan ako naroroon, habang ang mga mata ay tutok sa kanyang cellphone.
Namumula ang mukha niya at hindi ko alam kung dahil ba iyon sa inis o kung ano.
She dramatically sat on the chair in front of mine. Tanging lamesa lang ang nakakapagpahiwalay sa amin.
"I can't believe this! Hindi 'to totoo!"
My brow creased as I diverted my attention from the food so I can ask why she looks so triggered.
"Ano 'yan? Bumagsak ka?" tanong ko gamit ang pabirong tono.
Nahihiwagaan siyang napatingin sa aking direksyon. Namimilog ang mga mata at tila hindi makapaniwala sa sinabi ko. "Hindi, ate!"
"Then why are you..." I trailed off.
"God! May kumakalat kasing balita tungkol kay Guiseppe!"
Napakurap ako. Don't tell me she's acting like this just because of her favorite actor?
I gently shook my head.
Bakit pa ba ako nagugulat? She's always like this when it comes to that Guiseppe. She's too obsessed with that actor to the point that even our whole family knew him well, already! Though I can't blame her. I've seen the actor on the television for how many times already and I must say, he really is one handsome man.
Gigil niyang dinutdot ang kanyang cellphone. "These idiots are spreading fake news about Guiseppe!"
Napangiwi ako. "Ano bang sabi?"
"Bakla raw si G! And they're saying that he's in a relationship with a man! No way!" she whined while exasperatedly shaking her head.
My brow automatically rose. That... gorgeous man is a what? Mataman akong napakurap.
I didn't expect that. Kung totoo nga iyon, maraming kababaihan ang maiiyak.
Nawala kay Yena ang aking atensyon nang marinig ang pag-ubo ng aming ina. I glanced at my back and saw her entering the dining room.
"Nay!" Agad akong tumayo sa kinauupuan upang salubungin si Nanay. Inalalayan ko siya patungo sa lamesa at pinaupo sa isa sa mga upuan sa hapag.
I scanned my mother's body. Lalo akong nanlumo nang matantong lalong bumabagsak ang katawan ni nanay dahil sa sakit na pneumonia.
"Hindi ba at may pasok ka, anak? Bakit naririto ka pa?"
"Nag-resign po ako, Nay. Pero nag-a-apply po ako ngayon ng bagong trabaho."
"Nag-resign? Umalis ka talaga roon sa dati mong pinapasukan?"
Pare-pareho kaming mamamatay sa gutom kung mananatili ako sa kompanyang iyon. The company where I am formerly working is now in the verge of bankruptcy. They failed to gave their employee's salary. Kaya't nawalan ako ng dahilan para manatili sa kompanyang iyon. I can't stay and act like a good hero, working without salary.
Aanhin ko ang pagiging bayani kung mamamatay naman sa gutom ang pamilya ko dahil wala akong maipakain. Reason why I instantly resigned and looked for another job. Luckily, in those six companies that I'm eyeing to apply for a new job, one finally emailed me.
They asked me to go to their company for an interview. And I really need a job right now so I must make a good first impression.
That's why I arrived at Morozov Engineering and Architecture Company earlier than my schedule. The staff on the front desk immediately asked me to go to a certain floor.
Nang makarating ako sa tinutukoy na palapag ng staff ay bumungad sa akin ang isang bulto ng lalaki. "Ms. Romualdez?"
The corner of my lips instantly lifted for a smile. "Yes, Sir."
"I'm Rowan Santiago, Mr. Morozov's secretary, the CEO. He will interview you."
"I'm sorry but, you're resigning?" Those escaped from my mouth. I mean, I thought the CEO doesn't have a secretary, reason why he's looking for applicants.
Mr. Santiago glanced at me and nodded his head. "You better get hired so I can resign. Follow me."
Iginiya niya ako sa nag-iisang opisina sa palapag na ito. The gently pushed the door of the office while I'm silently standing behind him.
I held my resume using both of my hands as I relaxed my insides. At nang masigurong kalmado na ako ay agad kong inangat ang gilid ng aking mga labi para sa isang ngiti.
I slowly stride forward to enter the office while Mr. Santiago is still in front of me. Pinigilan ko ang sarili na igala ang tingin sa kabuuan ng opisina. Ngunit nakasisiguro akong kaaya-aya ang hitsura nito.
"Good morning, Sir." He greeted the man sitting on the swivel chair in the middle of the office. Mr. Santiago took a step sideways before introducing me to the man. "This is Ms. Romualdez, one of the applicants, Sir."
That's when I finally saw the CEO of MEAC.
I don't know why but I instantly bit my lower lip as I saw a manly creature, who I think is in late twenties or early thirties, merely seated in a swivel chair but managed to scream authority.
His brooding eyes bore unto me. "Take a seat, Ms. Romualdez." He pointed the chair in front of his table but my attention was on his squared jaw and the manly stubble around his face.
And my eyes enlarged when I heard his deep and authoritative voice but I love how it sounds soothing in the ear.
For Pete's sake, Lavern! You're here for a job interview and not to fantasize about your possible boss! But w-well, I can do both.
"Do I have to repeat myself?"
Napapitlag at tila natauhan ako nang marinig ang malamig na boses niya. "S-Sir?"
His jaw clenched as he tilted his head towards the chair in front of his table. "Sit down, I said," mariing utos niya.
I parted my mouth to speak but nothing came out of it. Kaya naman agad na lamang akong umupo upang sundin siya.
I glanced at Mr. Santiago who stayed too inside the office. He's still standing from where he was when we arrived.
"What's your name again, Miss?" tanong sa akin ni Mr. Morozov gamit ang istriktong tono.
"Ylana Bernadette Romualdez, sir."
He simply cocked his head for a nod. "I'm Lucan Morozov," maikling pakilala niya bago bumaling kay Mr. Santiago. "Is she the one you're talking about? The one who's the most credible from all of the applicants, you said."
"Good." Muling tumango si Lucan. "You may now go," he muttered, dismissing his secretary.
When we're finally alone in his office, his eyes found mine. "You're hired. You can start tomorrow."
My mouth hung open upon hearing his announcement. What? I'm hired? Hell, yes! I will be able to see him everyday! And not just that, I'm his secretary! Meaning, wherever he goes, I'll be there too! Oh my God!
Ngunit ilang sandali lang ay natauhan ako. I cleared my throat and shifted on my seat. I suddenly remember why I'm here. You're here to work, Lavern. Not to flirt or whatever.
"Sir, I t-thought you'd interview me--"
His brow raised. "Do we have a problem with what my decision is?"
Namilog ang aking mga mata at agad akong napailing. "N-none, Sir. It's just that, I thought--"
"You're hired. Just make sure you're efficient, Miss. I can easily replace you if you aren't."
Lumawak ang ngiti sa aking mga labi. "Yes, Sir. I won't disappoint you."
Tumango-tango siya bago bumaba ang kanyang tingin sa dokumentong nasa kanyang harapan. "Your credentials were great," he stated.
Noon ko natantong baka ang ang resume ko ang dokumentong nasa harap niya. "But while working in my company, I hope you know the word respect, Ms. Romualdez. We can get along if you do."
Sunod-sunod akong tumango. I do.
"Of course, Sir. And you can just call me Lavern."
Ms. Romualdez sounds too formal.
But what were you even thinking, Lavern! Of course he's your boss and you're not his secretary. Both of you should be really formal to each other.
His brow manly raised again. Sapat na iyon upang matanto kong hindi siya sang-ayon sa sinabi ko.
"We practice professionalism in this company, Miss. Keep that in mind. If I'll call you aside from your surname, it would be Ylana as that is your name. And not..." He trailed off and his brows creased. "What is it again? Lavern? I don't even know where that came from."
Nakagat ko ang pang-ibabang labi. I forced myself not to raised my brow. Duh! Lavern is from Ylana Bernadette. Akmang sasagot pa nang may kumatok sa pinto ng kanyang opisina.
Mr. Santiago came as the door opened. "Sir, Mr. Miller is already waiting outside," he announced.
"Alright. Let Mr. Miller in. Take Ms. Romualdez with you and give her a quick tour around for her to familiarize the company."
Mr. Santiago tour me around like what our boss ordered. It took us almost an hour and it's really just a quick visit per department. Kung hindi ay hindi lang isang oras ang itatagal namin sa paglilibot.
Sinaulo ko lahat ng aming pinuntahan at lahat ng kanyang ipinakilala.
Huli kaming nagtungo sa palapag sa baba lang ng opisina ni Lucan. It seems like a huge leisure office but at the same time, the left side of the room has cabinets and shelves containing books and documents.
"When Mr. Morozov asked you for a certain document, this is where you'll get it. Narito lahat ng dokumento ng kompanya. All department heads have access in this floor. Ganoon din ang ibang tauhang may mataas na posisyon. I'm sure Mr. Morozov will give you access to this floor," Mr. Santiago explained. "Clear?"
"Clear, Sir." I nodded and stretched my lips for a smile. "Uhmm, can I use the restroom for a while?" tanong ko dahil ito na naman ang huli naming pupuntahan.
"Yes, there's a restroom in there..." He pointed the door just a few steps away from the shelves. "You can use that. Since this is our last stop, I'll go down to the lobby and wait for you there."
"Alright, Sir. Thank you."
I waited for him to leave the office before walking near the restroom.
I gently pushed the door opened. The first thing I saw are the cubicles. Muli ko sanang itutulak ang pinto upang lakihan ang bukas noon nang mahagip ng aking mga mata ang dalawang bulto ng lalaki sa gitna ng restroom.
I stilled as I realized what they're doing. They're... kissing. Namilog ang aking mga mata nang makilala ko ang lalaking nakaharap sa aking direksyon ngunit sarado ang mga mata dahil sa h***k.
I suddenly remember what I heard from Yena earlier about her favorite actor, Guiseppe, being in a relationship with a man.
The rumor is true! Because here, right in front of my eyes is Guiseppe Adams, deeply kissing a man! And their hands now seems exploring each other's body. Oh, goodness!
Hindi kita ang mukha ng lalaking kahalikan niya dahil nakatalikod ito sa akin. Ngunit kitang-kita ko ang dalawa kaya't sigurado ako na lalaki rin iyon. His haircut, stance and all are saying its a man Guiseppe is making out with!
With my hands shaking, I hastily fished my phone from my trousers. Tila may sariling isip ang aking mga kamay habang binubuksan ko ang camera ng aking phone.
Dali-dali ko iyong itinutok sa dalawang lalaking naghahalikan. Ilang ulit kong kinuhanan ng litrato ang dalawa habang ang aking nasa isip ay ang kapatid na si Yena.
Nanginginig ang aking kamay ngunit nasisiguro ko na malinaw ang mukha ni Guiseppe sa aking mga kuha.
I slowly put my phone back on my pocket. Akmang aatras ako nang dumilat si Guiseppe at nagtama ang aming mga mata.
"Mr. Almacen cancelled his lunch meeting with you for today, Sir," I informed while standing in front of Lucan's table.Prente siyang nakaupo habang suot ang malamig na ekspresyon sa kanyang mukha. "His reason?""Emergency, Sir. He didn't give any specific reason."Lucan reached his forehead and started massaging his temples. "Cancel our reservation in the restaurant," utos niya"Sayang naman, sir."He frowned. "What?""We can still use the reservation. Let's have lunch, Sir." The corner of my lips stretched for a wide smile. "Tayong dalawa, since Mr. Almacen can't make it."He eyed me with his sharp eyes. But after almost half a year working with him, I'm not bothered by it any longer. There are times that he's really scary. Ngunit nangyayari lang iyon kapag may empleyado siya na pumalpak sa kanyang trabaho.Pero ngayon, hindi niya 'ko madadala sa tinginan niyang iyon. My smile didn't even falter while
"This is not Guiseppe!" Yena shouted while her eyes were on her phone.Napakunot ang aking noo at nawala ang aking atensyon sa pag-liligpit ng aming pinagkainan nang marinig ang hinaing ni Yena."Tingin." Yarrah went near her and peeked at Yena's phone.Doon nagsimulang magbulungan ang dalawa."Ano na naman 'yan?" I interfered but I have a hunch already on what it is about.Rumor about Guiseppe being in a relationship with a man. Oh! That's not a rumor and I have a proof. And speaking of proof, ngayon ko lang ulit naalala ang litratong nakunan ko noong natanggap ako bilang sekretarya ni Lucan. Nawala sa isip ko iyon at hindi naipakita kay Yena.I can still remember how I turned cold when I met Guiseppe's eyes that time. Sa kaba ko ay agad ko siyang tinalikuran at patakbong naglakad patungo sa elevator. I don't even know if he ran after me or not. But what's important is I successfully got out of that room