Set Up

Saturday March 14, 2020

Maan 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. 

“Good morning. I’m sorry I woke up late.’ I apologized.

“It’s okay. You take your breakfast. It’s prepared on the table.” he said.

“Thank you.” I said.

While I was doing the dishes I heard him talking via video call on his desktop computer. I saw it was an older woman. I tentatively walked behind him to tell him I’ll be preparing to leave.

“ Gil, I’ll just fix my things upstairs so we can leave in a while. “ I informed him.    

He glanced at me and said “ “Okay.”      

While I was going upstairs I overheard the surprise reaction of the woman that Gil has a woman companion at his home.  

“Ma, that’s Joan’s cousin. She’s uncle Art’s niece. She stayed here because something came up unexpectedly in their house.” she heard Gil’s reply.    

She didn’t hear the rest of the conversation because she already went inside her room.  She went down again to take a bath downstairs. She was on her way to the bathroom when she heard the woman calling her. 

“ Ma!” she heard Gil’s protest

She tentatively went behind Gil because she was afraid to offend the woman if she will ignore her. She saw the woman smiling from ear to ear.    

“ Ma, she is Maan. Joan’s cousin. Maan she is my mother.” Gil said.        

“H-hello!” I shyly greet her.

“ Hi!  Can you bend a little so I could see you clearly, Maan. “  the woman said.    

Maan did what was asked of her  that brought her face side to side with Gil.

       She was about to say something when the woman interrupted her with a shriek.   

“ Oh my! You look good together! She hasn’t had a girlfriend. How about you Maan? Do you have a boyfriend?” the woman excitedly asked.

Maan and Gil awkwardly looked at each other.

     “ Ma! Will you stop it!” Gil protested.

“Uhm… there’s no one as of now.” I shyly answered.

“ Ma, will you quit it? You're embarrassing her. I’ll be bringing her to the terminal later. She’s going back to the province. So stop saying nonsense.” Gil said.

“Uhmm… I’ll leave the two of you so you can continue your conversation. It was nice meeting you ma’am’ I said.

“Oh, it was nice meeting you too my dear. I hope I can see you again. But I hope you consider what I told you. My son is a good catch. He is a good man. You’ll never regret it coz you really looked good together.’ The woman insisted that made Gil uncomfortable.

“ Okay Ma’am.” I just answered, which made Gil give me a surprised look and a woman’s chuckle. She gave him a questioning look and retreated towards the bathroom.

What I just said “Okay” to say goodbye. Shucks! Did it sound like I just agreed to what the woman was saying! Is that why Gil gave me that surprised look! No! I didn’t mean it that way! I just said to cut the conversation. Realizing what she has done, she quickened her pace and  hurriedly closed the bathroom door.

          After taking a bath, she didn’t see him in the living room. She went right away to her room to prepare herself to leave.  He heard the car engine starts so she hurriedly went down and saw him waiting outside his car.           

“Ready to leave?”    he asked. I nodded and smiled.

Inside the car, I decided to text Joan to tell her I’m leaving and going back to the province.

“Couz, I’m going back to Batangas. Gil is driving me to the bus terminal. Thank you. Keep safe always.” I texted her.       

When we reached the terminal , we saw the long queue of passengers going to different provinces. Gil and I looked at each other. 

“It seems that people are starting to panic. Everyone seems to be in a hurry to leave.”: I said.        

It is almost ten o’clock in the morning and if I would line up I don’t think I’d be able to catch a bus even after lunch. I thought.      

“ There is another bus terminal in Buendia. Is it okay if we go there and check?  I am really sorry for bothering you.” I apologetically said.

When we reached Buendia, we saw the same situation as the previous bus terminal.    Then I heard my phone ringing. It’s Uncle Art.

        “Hello? Maan? Where are you?” Uncle Art asked

        “uhm.. We are already here at the terminal but there is a long queue of passengers.” I told him.

“ I suggest that you abort your plan of going home to Batangas. You are putting yourself at risk as well as your family. You do not know if those passengers with you already have the virus. You might get infected and pass it on to your family. I suggest that you stay with Gil. You’re much safer there. It’s better so that he also has someone to be with.” his uncle explained.

      “What?! But I am already too much of an inconvenience!” I reasoned out.        “

“I’ll talk to him. Give him the phone”. His uncle said so she gave him the phone but put it on loudspeaker.     

“Hello Gil? Will you let Maan stay with you? It is too risky for her if she will travel back to the province. We are not sure of the people around us. She is safer there with you. I trust you. If anything’re single anyway there will be no complication right?  Uncle Art said which made Gil chuckle and surprised Maan.

“ Uncle, you’re such a joker! There will be no problem I assure you. I will take care of her.” Gil said grinning while looking at her.

“ Okay. I’ll leave my niece in your hands. You take good care of her or else we will both answer to my older brother.” I heard my uncle laughing on the other line.    

Gil returned the phone to me with a smile plastered on his face but shaking his head. 

Oh my! One month living with Gil in his house! What kind of set up is this?! Live-In! We don’t even have a relationship. What is happening?  Damn this virus!

With a lot of things going in her mind, she didn’t notice they are back in Gil’s house!

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