They stopped in front of a new, red, Toyota Vios car. He placed her bag at the passenger seat at the back instead of putting it inside the trunk of the car then they both got inside the front seat.
“ I will leave you in my house to wait for Joan to fetch you later. I just need to go back to work. My lunch break is only for an hour.” he said.
“ I am really sorry for the inconvenience but thank you for fetching me.” Maan shyly said.
“ No worries. The terminal is just near to my workplace so it's really not an inconvenience.”
“What is your line of work?” she asked.
“ I am an electrical engineer at the City Hall. How about you? What brought you here?” he asked.
“ I have a scheduled interview in a BPO company in Alabang on Monday.” she informed him.
A few minutes after, we stopped in front of a simple two - storey house with a not so high iron gate’ He did not bother to bring his car inside the garage’ He opened the main door of the house and there I saw a very neatly arranged sofa set, desktop computer, television, component, family pictures, pictures of a little boy and girl, adult pictures on the shelves. She put down her bag on the sofa and went to look at the pictures.
“Is this you?” I asked him, pointing to a little boy in the picture.
“Yeah.” he answered sheepishly.
“ You were so cute here!” I uninhibitedly said.
“ Really? You mean not anymore?” he asked grinning.
I felt the blush crept inside me for being tactless.
“ uhmm… not anymore…” I tentatively answered and I saw his smile slowly fading. “ because you look much better now..” I continued.
I saw him smile again and I feel myself blushing because of what I am saying.
“You find me good-looking?’ he asked again.
“ Uhm... Can I use your restroom? I asked to escape from him because I already feel awkward.
“ Far end door at the right side.” he answered sheepishly.
After composing myself for a few minutes I went back to the living room.
“ Sorry about that. I wasn’t able to use the restroom at the restaurant earlier.”I said.
“ No problem. Anyway, I have to leave you here. I need to go back to the office it's almost one o’clock. You take a rest while waiting for Joan’s arrival. In case you get hungry, there is food in the refrigerator. Just feel at home.” he told me.
“Okay. Thank you.” I answered.
At four thirty in the afternoon, Gil arrived at home. He found Maan dozing off in the living room. He thought she was tured because of her trip earlier so he let her sleep. He went to his room to change his clothes. After a while he heard his phone ringing. It was Joan.
“ Hello,Gil. How are you and Maan getting along? Joan asked.
“ I think she’s tired but okay. She’s sleeping in the living room, Wait. I’ll wake her up.” Gil replied and went beside Maan to wake her up.
“Please put me on loudspeaker so both of you can hear what I have to say.” Joan said.
“ Hey Jo! What’s up? Where are you now?” I asked.
“ Hey cousins, uhm...it’s like this… mommy was asked to undergo swab testing for COVID-19…” Joan nervously said.
“What!” Both Gil and I were surprised.
“We will find out the results next week. We are also being closely monitored by the barangay officials and asked to undergo home quarantine to be sure. So Maan, I am really really sorry I could not bring you to the house for now. Gil, can Maan stay with you for the meantime?” Joan worriedly asked.
Gil was suddenly quiet and took a glance at Maan before answering.
“ Jo, I see no problem if you asked me because there is a spare room upstairs it’s just that… she’s a woman...you know…” Gil tentatively answered and gave a questioning look at Maan.
“ Couz” Is it okay with you to stay with Gil for the time being? I heard Jo asking me.
She surely doesn’t know what to do. She’s confused with everything that is happening but she knows she has no choice right now. She tentatively looked at Gil and asked.
“ Is it okay if I stay here until Monday? I will immediately go home after the job interview.” I breathlessly said.
“ Fine with me.” he quickly answered.
“”I’ll take care of your cousin Jo. Just look after Aunt Jean. Tell her to get well soon. You all take care of yourselves. Hoping the COVID test is negative.” Gil said to Joan.
“Thanks Gil! Take care both of you! Bye for now!” Joan said.
“ Take care Jo! Tell Aunt Jean I wish her well.’ I said before Joan went offline.
After the call, Maan and Gil exasperatedly look at each other as if asking what they get themselves into.
“ I’ll go upstairs and check the spare room. “ he told her after a while.
At six in the evening both of them prepared for their dinner. Gil is in charge of cooking chicken adobo. While Gil is busy in the kitchen, Maan is quietly observing him. He moves adeptly in the kitchen. She noticed something unusual with the way he moves, making her ask herself if he's a true blooded male or what.Oh come on Maan! Don’t be judgemental. She scolded herself for thinking that way. What if he’s just effeminate. It’s not right to ask him right away, they are not that close yet. Maan just focused on helping him in the kitchen. When dinner was ready, both of them ate in the kitchen while watching the news.
“ Hmmm… this tastes good!” Maan exclaimed.
“ Really? It’s good you liked it.” Gil smiled and winked at her.
Maan decided to focus on her food for she might say something that would put her on the spot again. She was tidying the utensils when an announcement was made on the television.
“ In the light of a pandemic that we are experiencing due to COVID -19, everyone is advised to stay home as a safety measure. I am placing the National Capital Region (NCR) and the entire Luzon under community quarantine to stop the spread of the virus starting the 12:01 am of 16th of March until 12mn of 13th of april 2020.” the president announced.
Both Maan and Gil were stunned with the announcement.
What?! One month lockdown! No! Panic was evident in Maan’s face thinking about it. I can’t be stuck in here. This is totally embarrassing.
Maan felt the energy was drained out of her so she slowly sits on a vacant chair to prevent herself from collapsing. Gil was closely watching her.
If it’s locked down, it's possible that her job interview will not push through anymore. She thought of immediately going back to the province. But it’s already late. It would really inconvenience Gil if she asked him to bring her to the terminal tonight. She had asked too many favors from him in a day.
“Are you okay?” he worriedly asked.
“I’ll leave tomorrow for the province so I will not be here when the lockdown starts on Sunday. It seems my job interview will be cancelled anyway.” I sadly told him.
“Oh… okay I’ll drop you off to the terminal tomorrow. Just tell me when you’re ready.” he said.
“ Thank you. Go on ahead and watch tv. I’ll take care of the dishes.” I said.
I let out a sigh. Is Friday the 13th really a bad omen?
Saturday March 14, 2020Maan woke up late that morning. She could not sleep last night because of too many worries on her mind. She went down immediately to prepare breakfast.She saw Gil setting up something on the desktop.
CHAPTER 4 - CHATTER DAYMaan felt exhausted after the turn of events. She sat limply on the sofa.
CHAPTER 5 - SUN DATESunday, March 15, 2020
Monday March 16, 2020When Maan woke that morning,she unplugged her cellphone and opened it to check the time. She turned off her phone last night after posting some photos on Facebook. It showed five in the morning on her phone. All the notification suddenly came
1 Message Received from Joan“ Couz! Hav
Gil spent most of the time singing his heart away if not for his sister’s text that they will have a video call he wouldn’t stop singing. It’s been a long time since he did that. He usually goes out with friends to the bar twice a month to unwind or to celebrate something.
Gil ate his dinner alone then decided to watch his favorite series on Netflix. His phone alarmed with Facebook Notifications. He got curious and decided to open his Facebook account. JoanVP tagged you and Maan Perez in a post. Caption:
Tuesday, March 17,2020It was seven in the morning when Gil woke up. It was the second day off from the office due to cancellation of work by the government brought about by the pandemic of COVID -19. It was still quiet when he went to the kitchen so he decided to make breakfast. After eating, he opened the telev