I squeezed my temple because earlier, I was focus on my laptop. After all, Ja let me do her presentation that I need to finish now. I just returned to the Philippines, and they immediately asked me to do to be part of our family company.  I was expecting this to happen, but not really sudden. So, the ending is sometimes I do what my sister Ja needs even though she has her secretary. I don't know what she ate why she enslave me here in our company.

"Jay? Send me some coffee here. The creamy one but not so sweet." I ordered my secretary when he exactly just entering my office.

It looks like Ja is ordering something again that's why he's here in my office. I told him not to disturb me unless it was essential because what I am doing right now was also urgent. I do not want to be distracted.

"Noted, Miss Sofia. Your sister told me to inform you that you need to finish the presentation before lunch and make sure that it was all done." He calmly told me before he leaves and do what I asked him earlier.

I just scratched my head so hard because of what I heard from him.

Arg! I am still halfway through what I'm doing, and what time is it?

"My God! Does my sister want to kill me? It's already 11:30 in the morning. I should have finished it within 30 minutes, right? Aish! This is big torture!" I'm annoyed with myself and seriously turned my attention back to what I was doing.

A few minutes later, my secretary gave me my order.

"Thanks." I just said to him while my attention is still focused on what I am doing.

I felt that he doesn't move where he stands, so I quickly looked up at him to know what he needed from me before looking back at my laptop.

"Miss, someone called earlier." Hesitantly he told me.

I want to know who it is but what I do is more important. I need to finish this presentation immediately without any problems because closing the deal with the other company depends on it. It's problematic that Ja might fire me because I didn't do what she asked me to do correctly. I'm just new here, then I immediately get fire because I make mistakes? No way! It will never be going to happen. So embarrassing.

If only mommy hadn't forced me to take this position in our company, I wouldn't have been able to sit here all day while my eyes were focused on the laptop as I do now. I would instead undergo training every day in volleyball, roll, hit, and block than this.

"Remind me later. If someone is looking for me, tell that person that I'm not here. Sofia Lorie Andre has never been here in the office." I seriously order him.

He just said okay with agreeing to what I want before finally leaving my office.


I exactly finished the presentation at noon.

I immediately looked up when someone suddenly entered my office without even knocking on the door.

"So?" The intruder said as she sat on my sofa and looked at me.

I just raised an eyebrow at her that her smile afterward.

"Do you want me to punch you? I'm done. Can you get the presentation already, and you can leave so that I can go out and grab some lunch? I'm hungry as hell, can't you see? Why did you inform me so late? I would have done it last night." I directly said and leaned on my swivel chair.

"The president of the company is ashamed of you, younger sister." She said sarcastically because of what I acted in front of her.

I quickly glared at her because of her artistry in life.

"You're not ashamed that you let the vice president of the company make your presentation. In the first place, you are the one who needs to do it because you're the one who will face the client, not me." At the same time, I caressed my temple again because my head hurt too.

This is really what I don't like at all. Why because of the business trends in the Philippines? If it was volleyball, even if it was late to eat, it was okay because I enjoy what I do. But this? My gosh! Aside from monotonous work, it gives you also a headache. After all, our ancestors also worked hard for it, so we also need to take care of it. Only a handful of businessmen stay in this field. Some did not survive and went bankrupt.

"What's this?" My sister Jasmine asked when she saw what I did.

Shocked was visible on her face. I didn't know that she was on my side this instance while she's checking what I've done to the presentation that I made. She doesn't seem to like the outcome of my work. Even though I finished the business course, I am still not used to do such things. It's her fault why she asked me to do it. She said earlier that I will take care of it, so that is the outcome.

"Why? I did what you said." I asked her in astonishment as she couldn't believe it while looking at me.

"Why is there cartoon character included? Hello? The presentation I asked you to make is a presentation that helps me to close the deal. Are you expecting me to use this as a presentation for class reporting? Are you even serious with this?" She said with a hint of irritation as she looked at each slide I made one by one.

I was able to sit up straight when she told me that. I was still dazzled for a few seconds when I saw the design of each slide I made—Sesame Street cartoon character, none other than Cookie Monster.

"Holy sh*t!" I just said when everything I did sink into me.

I would have changed the designs of each slide when my sister snatched my laptop. I will just delete the cookie monster on the slides and replace it with a more presentable blue template slide. She even requested that every slide's color in the presentation be blue, her client's favorite color.

"Oops! There is no time. Next time don't worry too much, huh? I'm afraid you will put something else in this presentation. I will tell them that the one who made the presentation was my youngest sister." She meaningfully told me before finally carrying my laptop away from me.

"Get out of here!" I just threw the tissue I got on my table from her.

She just laughed at me, and she left while carrying it. It was not even thought to move to a flash drive. Her laziness worked again.

"Fudge! Why don't you get lost in my system! Annoying!" I cried out in annoyance.

I was able to pull myself together because of that. Fudge! I immediately denial Kiwi's number to invite her to have lunch outside. I was thinking about something earlier. I didn't realize that the design I saved was the cookie monster I was just looking at when searching for the blue template for Ja's presentation. I just remembered something, so I didn't realize that was what I put. I'm such stupid.

"Kiwi? Where are you?" I asked immediately after she answered my call.

I even heard a noise on the other line. Looks like she's still at the mall now. Who could be with her?

"We are here at the mall. Roaming around and eating later at Shakey's. Why?" She answered immediately.

I even heard someone ask 'who called' so I found out that she and Jaemie were together.

"I'll be going with you. See you." Once the line is dead.

I immediately fixed my messy clothes and set my messy hair lest I be mistaken for being raped in this situation if I did not fix it before leaving my office. My secretary, who was already standing outside the door of my office, greeted me. He seems to be hesitant to go inside or not. He was surprised to see me leave the office. What is his problem again?

"Hmm, Miss Sofia. Your sister said you have a family dinner around 7:00 in the evening at the same restaurant." He said politely immediately and seemed restless.

"Are you okay? I don't eat people." I just said when I noticed his reaction again when I'm around.

"Huh? Ah no. Ahem, because I'm ashamed of you. You are beautiful, and also you are so confident in yourself. Are you a model?" He said and asked confusedly as if he did not know if the words he was uttering in front of me were still correct.

I laughed softly because of his question and the way he talks fast. I immediately grabbed him by the shoulder to calm him down.

"Relax. I've been a volleyball player before, and I can't avoid having a photoshoot, but I can't say I'm a model." I answered. "I have to go, okay? I still have to go somewhere. You'll take care of everything. Tell them to come back tomorrow. I will not be coming back here to the office. "

I smiled at him and immediately walked away from my office, but he said something that I did not hear anymore because I was in a hurry to take the elevator.

"Miss Sofia! Mrs. Aragon is coming here, Miss Sofia!"

And the elevator door finally closed while he was saying something.


"Why are you like that? You're spacing out." Denise suddenly asked because of what I did.

That's when my mind came back because of her sudden question, and I blinked for a few seconds before answering her question.

"Nothing. I was just really stressed in the office. I wish I hadn't agreed to mommy's request. I wish I hadn't been like this now. It's tiring even when I first entered the office earlier." I answered her question.

Of course, those are white lies. Although I do not want to admit it, there is only one reason, and it will be why I am like this now. When I returned to the Philippines, I was like this again. This country has a curse. It also hurts emotionally. This country wants to bring back memories that have been buried deep in my mind during my two years stay in New York.

"Ow? Something fishy!" She meaningfully said that it was the reason for our companion to laugh.

They don't seem to believe what I said. I don't know if my friends know anything that happened to me before, to us. Or is it still the same? Clueless.

"Hey! Earth to Sofia, again!" At the same time, they waved their hand in front of me.

I blinked again and averted my eyes from them.

"Why?" At once, I averted my eyes.

"You're late. It's almost seven in the evening, and the traffic is still on today. You and your family still have dinner, right?" Ella reminded me.

I got up from my seat when I saw that it was 6:45 in the evening.

"Ow, shoot! Thanks, I'll just get it back next time." I immediately grabbed my bag and walked out of where we ate.

I almost bumped into other people because I was in a hurry, so what I was doing was making an excuse. I gasped when I arrived at the parking lot because of that. I immediately got in my car and drove away from the mall to go where my family and I would have dinner.

"Fudge!" I shouted, frustrated because I was stuck in traffic.

Argg! This is how difficult it is to get stuck in traffic again here in the Philippines. I thought the government had done it this way. Not yet. This is also a headache because there are motorists who suddenly overtake and suddenly appear somewhere. If I hadn't been in a hurry, it would have been okay for this to happen, but unfortunately, it didn't.

I blew the horn a few times, and maybe because of others' annoyance, they gave way to my path. I looked at my watch, and it was precisely 7:00 in the evening. I can see the name of my family's favorite restaurant not far away.

"Just a little!" I was in a hurry.

When I was in front of the restaurant I gave the man my car key when I got out and ran inside again.

"Miss Sofia? Long-time no see." Miss Fiona, one of the staff at this restaurant, greeted me with surprise.

"Hmm. Where is mommy?" As I look around every corner of the restaurant, hoping to see mommy right away.

"They're in the garden." She replied while pointing in their direction, so after I thanked her as I ran again into the garden, she said.

"Hi, mommy!!" I cried when I finally saw them.

But there is no denying that I was late for dinner for 15 minutes.

"You're late." My sister just said.

"I'm sorry I was stuck in traffic." I just said, kissing mommy and sister on the cheek at the same time.

"Sit down daughter, you look like millions of horses are chasing you in your haste." Mommy just said, noticing my state while she was still laughing softly.

"Something like that." I smiled as I agree with what she said before reaching for the glass of water.

"Oh, my God! You're back!" Suddenly a familiar voice shouted and at the same time hugged me.

I almost choked because she suddenly hugged me from behind.

"Aunt?" I can't believe I called the newcomer.

"Oh my gosh, Sofia. You only went abroad for two years, and then you called me aunt again. I will be angry with you." She immediately frowned in front of me, so I just shook.

My family shrugged as I looked back at them. It seems my fault that I should take care of it alone.

"Ti — mom, I mean. I'm sorry, I thought you didn't want to." I hesitated to tell her as I scratched my eyebrow in embarrassment.

I used to do it when I was shy.

"But I miss you." She just said with a sigh.

I quickly hugged her, and she enjoyed it. Mommy gave a thumbs up because of what I did. My sister smiled teasingly at me, so I just smiled at her instead.

"It's not just you, hon, me too. I miss that girl too." Suddenly her husband shows up, and I am shocked.

I did not know I would see them here. It looks like my family planned the family dinner they are talking about because aunts and uncles are here, and they want me to call them mom and dad.

"Close your mouth before the ball can come in there. They are part of the family, daughter. That's why they are here." Daddy said as if he had read the question in my mind.

"Ahhhh." That's all I can say because until now I still can't digest what is happening now, that we had a family dinner with the parents of the person who caused me to leave this country temporarily.

"Don't you want your dad and I to be here, Sofia? You don't seem happy to see us tonight." Mom said to me.

Dad quickly approached mom to hug her.

"Oh, not like that. I was just surprised that you are here. I am happy, actually." I told him as I was ashamed of the two of them.

But I'm humiliated that they are here now. Because I am not ready. Jasmine did not even remind me that we had someone else with us at our family dinner today. It also doesn't sink into my mind that they are part of our family. Awkward!

Mr. and Mrs. Aragon. Wow! It's shocking—the power couple of the business world.

My knees almost softened when I heard the familiar voice I had once been insane with. Owns a cold voice that I am not yet ready to face.

"I'm sorry I'm late. I'm stuck in traffic." She said.

I looked at her as she greeted my family as well as her family. Because of that, I noticed something new. Her eyes, full of emotion and glitter, were gone. What happened to her two years later? But whatever it is, I don't care. I don't care anymore.

"Sofia Lorie." She casually said my name.

I thought it was more painful to hear that she did not want me to be her girlfriend, but it was more painful to be treated as if we were not together, as if she never had just really met me.

My grip on the glass tightened, and something suddenly sank into my brain.

"Is this another one of your pretenses?"

I immediately dismissed that in my mind. I should not act like this because I also ended my feelings from the end of what we used to have. That's why I came back here again because I knew in myself that I could handle everything I left here. But I made a mistake. But I will do my best not to put in vain everything I did during my two years stay in New York.

I should not have felt this way. She was the only one who was to blame for why we ended up like this. But I also faulted why I was so hurt then. I imprinted in my mind before coming home that I would no longer be affected by her presence. Two years have passed. Many had changed between the two of us. And I am sure my feelings for her have also changed at the same time. I will not let myself fall into her trap again. I do not want to repeat the past I once went through. The difficulty is we are the only ones who know what happened to us. Maybe when others find out, there will be more trouble, so they should not know the real reason I just disappeared suddenly as much as possible.

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