A/N: The long wait is over… Hehe. Please enjoy! Forgive me if there are any grammatical errors; I didn’t proofread it, hihi.
Love, Miles ❤
Richard arrived around six o’clock in the evening at Genie’s newly built restaurant. He was wearing a purple polo, for this was Genie’s theme and favourite colour. Good thing that the party was an exclusive invite-only event and there were no press people allowed to enter the restaurant premises. Upon entering, he smiled at some friends from inside and outside showbiz he saw and estimated that there were 70 people already.
“Hi Papa Richard! Welcome to my bar and restaurant! Grabe, ang tagal nating di nagkita because of our busy schedules.” Genie approached Richard.
“Happy birthday, Madam G! Here’s my gift for you.” Richard smiled and hugged Genie. He looked around and said, “Oh, nasaan na ang bagong lovelife?”
Genie lightly slapped Richard’s left arm and said, “Ikaw talaga. Wala ngayon, busy ang peg ng lola mo.” Genie saw Raffi entering the restaurant. “Oh, ayan na pala pinsan mo.”
“Hi Genie, happy 18th birthday! Pang-ilang 18th birthday mo na ito?” Raffi said in jest.
“Ikaw talaga Rafaela! Thank you! Binibiro mo nanaman ako, ha. Oh siya, diyan muna kayo tignan ko lang sila sa kitchen kung ayos na yung mga food…” Genie went to the kitchen and entertained other guests afterwards.
“Hey cuz, andito ka rin pala. Tulog na si Abigail?” Raffi asked and went to sit down with Richard.
“No, Abigail is with Leilani.” He replied.
“Ah, talaga? Buti hindi siya umangal na pupunta ka dito. I know how she dislikes Genie. Pinagseselosan ata.” Raffi laughed out a little while munching on appetizers.
Richard smiled. “Ikaw talaga. No, this week talaga, kay Leilani si Abigail. Mas mabuti nalang na alternate kami para hindi ko naman masyado ma-miss ang anak ko and good thing na rin na malapit lang ang school niya sa bahay ko at sa bahay ni Leilani para hindi siya mahirapan.”
“Well, that is good to know na you frequently spend time with Abigail.” Raffi took a sip of water before proceeding, “Unlike the first year when you guys separated, you almost knelt in front of her just to let Abigail go with you.”
Their conversation was interrupted by Alyssa Martinez, Leilani’s niece and a supermodel wannabe. Alyssa’s eyes brightened when she saw Richard and Raffi together. She tried to remain composed as the big lights and celebrities around made her feel giddy.
“Hi, Tita Raffi and Tito Richard.” Alyssa said while she kissed Raffi’s cheeks and shook Richard’s hand.
Oh geez. This kid. Why is she here? Is she even invited, Raffi thought. She didn’t want to get annoyed so she tried to think of an alibi to excuse herself. “Hi Alyssa, nice to see you. I’ll just freshen up. Excuse me.”
“Okay Tita Raffi.” Alyssa then turned to Richard and even sat on Raffi’s chair. “How is it going Tito?”
“I’m good, thanks. Ikaw? How’s your studies?” Richard replied.
“Ah, it’s doing great Tito.” Alyssa smiled broadly, hoping that Richard would say anything that could help her career as a newbie.
“I see.” Richard paused for a second. He was hesitant to ask Alyssa, but still continued, “Ah, Alyssa… How… H-how did you get in here? Who invited you? If you won’t mind me asking.”
“Ah, it’s like, well, uhm, my manager, Genie’s friend, tagged me along. Sort of.” said Alyssa while stuttering.
Really? Pumayag si Genie? Richard asked himself. “Ah, I see. I thought Genie invited you.”
Genie’s friend, who also happened to be Alyssa’s manager, Dexter, approached Richard’s table. “Ah, hello po Sir Richard, good evening, pwede ko po bang mahiram si Alyssa saglit?”
“Sure, of course. Go ahead Alyssa.” Richard responded.
Alyssa faintly smiled at Richard and went to the corner. Then Dexter said, “Alyssa, hindi ka pwede dito. Alam mo namang invite only party lang ito. Also, you’re still a minor, baka pagalitan ako ng parents mo kapag nalaman nilang nandito ka sa bar.”
“Eh, Tito Dex, please? Let me stay. One hour lang. This is an opportunity, can’t you see? Genie won’t notice me anyway sa dami ng guests niya.” Alyssa insisted.
“Naku, Alyssa, hindi talaga pwede. Bilang na bilang ni Genie ang mga tao dito. Please, Alyssa? Kung gusto mong magkaroon ng career, sige, tomorrow we’ll go to CBN Network. But, please, not now.” Dexter pleaded Alyssa.
Alyssa eventually agreed even though she didn’t really want to leave. “Let me just say goodbye to Tito Richard. Nakakahiya naman kung aalis lang ako bigla.”
“Okay, Alyssa. Pero, please, be quick before Genie notices you. Kundi lagot tayo pareho, sinasabi ko sayo.” Dexter wanted to make sure that Alyssa makes it quick so he stayed behind her.
“Tito Richard, mauna na po ako. Good evening and nice seeing you.” Alyssa said politely.
Richard wasn’t surprised when Alyssa bade goodbye. He nodded and said, “Take care, Alyssa. Nice seeing you too.”
Raffi arrived shortly when Alyssa exited the restaurant. She was pleased that Alyssa wasn’t there anymore. “Oh, buti naman umalis na.” She said, feeling relieved.
Richard chuckled. “Yes, I think she wanted to meet some celebrities. Unfortunately, she’s still a minor that is why her manager insisted that she should leave. Besides, she just tagged along with Dexter. Kawawa naman ‘yun kapag napagalitan ni Genie.”
Raffi’s phone beeped. The text was from Maya. She smiled upon reading the text message. It read:
Hey Raffi. I’m almost there. Start na ba ang program? Nakakahiya kay Genie!
No, Maya. Remember, the party starts at 7:30 pm. 6:30 palang. You still have time if you are already around the area.
Panic alert! Anyway, my driver said na we’re 5 minutes away nalang. Hopefully.
Don’t worry sweetie. You’ll arrive in no time.
Richard was curious of who was Raffi texting, so he tried to peek in her phone. However, Raffi was fast enough to cover it. “Who are you texting, eh? New love life?” He tried to tease her.
“Hey! That’s invasion of privacy, didn’t you know? Eh, why are you asking who am I texting? Like, do you even care? Palibhasa kasi wala kang love life.” Raffi stuck her tongue out.
“I’m not jealous. Abigail is my love life.” Richard confidently said.
“Wushu. You’re just saying that kasi you haven’t found the one yet.” Raffi said while still glued on her phone. Moments after, she stood up without saying a word.
“Hey Rafaela, where are you going?” Richard asked.
Raffi didn’t reply. Instead, she made her way towards the entrance. Since she and Richard were sitting almost at the back of the restaurant, you can hardly see the faces of the people entering the venue.
“Happy birthday sa nag-i-isang Madam G! Nice to see you after so many months!” Maya kissed Genie’s cheeks and did the same to Raffi.
“Aba, ikaw ata ang madam sa ating dalawa. Look at you! Nene ka lang dati when we first met, pero tignan mo nga naman after 10 years, parang wala namang nagbago! Saan napunta ang panahon?” Genie said enthusiastically.
The three giggled at Genie’s antics. Their talk was interrupted when Genie entertained another guest. Raffi went to talk to other guests while Maya excused herself to the bathroom. She was surprised to see Richard when she was making her way.
“Richard!” Maya exclaimed.
It was quite dark when Maya approached Richard, so he had to look closer. When he realized that it was Maya, he quickly stood up. His heart was beating faster and his legs were quite pulling him down. What a strange feeling, he said in his head. He faced Maya and replied, “Oh hey! Nandito ka rin pala.” He leaned forward to kiss her cheeks. Ang bango niya, he thought.
“Ah, yes. I was invited by Genie. Ikaw?” Maya said.
“Same.” Richard replied.
“I’ll be back shortly. Mag-freshen up lang ako.” Maya walked towards the washroom.
Raffi went back to their table. From afar, she noticed that Richard was talking to a girl. Aba, dumadamoves ah! First time. Raffi felt excited about the thought of Richard dating somebody else. After all, she never liked Leilani. When Raffi reached the table, she sat down without asking Richard. Richard, on the other hand, thought that Raffi didn’t see her talking to Maya. Moments after, Maya went towards Richard’s table and to her surprise, she found Raffi sitting beside him.
“Hi guys.” Maya said.
“Oh hey, Maya. Come on join us!” Raffi motioned towards the seat.
“Have a seat, Maya.” Richard said while he pulled the other chair for Maya to sit on.
Ang gentleman talaga. Kaya lang, bakit sila ni Raffi magkasama? Ano meron? Asan asawa nito? She couldn’t help but to ask herself. Richard’s phone rang which startled the three of them.
“Nagulat naman ako dun.” Raffi said while holding her chest.
“Sorry guys, I have to take this call. It’s my daughter. Excuse me ladies.” Richard stood up.
“Sure cuz. Go ahead.” Raffi replied.
“What? Cuz? As in cousin? Did I hear that right?” Maya asked in confusion.
“Yes, Madelene Dela Rosa. You heard that right. We’re cousins.” Raffi responded. Maya’s eyes widened with her mouth was open. She couldn’t believe it – Raffi and Richard are cousins! Why was I relieved upon knowing the truth? She said to herself.