🎀 I - BASTARD DAUGHTER 🎀
Ann stuck out like a sore thumb despite her efforts not to standout.
Before walking in to La Casa del Syvil—the house of Syvil—she contemplated hard on what she should wear for the event. But with the quick realization that no one in her patriarch’s side of the family tree is worth to impress, she decided it wasn’t worth the trouble.
Her caramel brown hair that naturally curled at the tips wasn’t styled. Hinayaan niya iyon na malayang nakaladlad sa likod niya at umaagos sa mga balikat niya. Simple lang din ang suot niyang loose off-shoulder blush pink dress na tinernuhan niya ng kanyang light nude flats. Even the make up she applied on her porcelain skin wasn’t anything remarkable. There was nothing extra about how she looked, and yet, she can feel everyone’s eyes on her.
Well, if you ask her, she would say she’s not anywhere near surprised. She may have arrived there looking like a plain and boring Jane but family on her father’s side always take interest in her...and that’s never in a good way.
That interest starts today with the question what the hell was she doing there? Na bakit siya...ang bastarda...ang anak sa kabit ng namayapa niyang amang si Dante...ay may kapal ng mukhang magpakita sa annual family reunion ng mga ito?
The answer is simple. She got an invitation and she doesn’t give a slightest fuck about what her relatives think about her being there.
Ever since she was a kid, she was under constant surveillance and unwarranted judgement from chismosas and pakialameras. That's what she gets for being a daughter of a concubine.
Maanghang ang pagtingin ng lipunan sa mga kabit pati na rin sa mga batang bunga ng pangagabit katulad niya. Minana niya ang galit ng mga tao para sa kanyang ina at tuwing naiisip iyon ay gusto niyang tumawa nang mapakla. Kahit siya ay hindi rin masaya sa ginawa ng mga magulang niya. It wasn’t anything to be proud of. She, too, wished that her father’s cock stayed loyal to his wife and she, too, wished that her mother was smarter. But those were things that were never within her grasp to control. Just like what others think of her as the daughter of two condemnable persons whose sin was to fall in love with each other while the other was still in marriage is something she can’t do anything about.
The world she opened her eyes to wasn’t kind because of her roots. As she grew up, she learned to adjust in order to survive. She knew how to remain calm whenever fire was thrown at her. She was trained not to engage when provoked because of her parents’ mistake. Damn, that even helped her develop an offensive humor matched with a great sense of sarcasm that only smart people can relate to. Her skin thickened. Because at the end of the day, none of what others think matter if they don’t personally matter to her. In other words, kung wala silang ambag sa buhay niya, wala siyang pakialam sa pakiramdam ng mga ito patungkol sa kanya dahil hindi naman sila importante.
So it’s not the whisperings about her presence right now nor the disgusted looks from her father’s legal children that would lift her ass from her seat in this function hall and make her go. If she was going to leave, it would be as a result of her own volition.
“Hija!” magiliw na bati ng Lola Ligaya niya. Ang tanging tao sa side ng Papa niya tinanggap siya bilang kapamilya. “I’m glad you made it!”
Nakangiting tumayo siya para tanggapin ang yakap nito. “Thank you, Lola. Nakakahiya namang hindi pumunta matapos mo akong kulitin nang kulitin about this.”
“Sit down,” Lola Ligaya coaxed her as she pulled her own chair to sit on. Nang makaupo silang dalawa ay humawak ang dalawa nitong palad sa isa niyang kamay. “I’m sorry, apo, if I was annoying. But I knew you wouldn’t come if I wasn’t persistent!”
She chuckled. “I really wouldn’t have and you know why. This family gathering is not for someone like me.”
“Oh, shut up! Anak ka ni Dante kaya nararapat lang na nandito ka.”
“That’s true but that’s beside the point, Lola.”
“Shush!” Lola Ligaya silenced her. “I missed you. Mula nung nagsimula ka sa trabaho mo bihira na kitang nakikita at nakakasama.”
“I’ve been busy,” she shrugged.
“Kaya nga napakasaya ko na nagpunta ka rito, apo.”
“I missed you, too, Lola,” she replied smilingly.
Abot-tenga ang ngiting ibinalik nito. “You look very beautiful just like your Mama Angel.”
Lumiit ang ngiti niya sa pagkabanggit ng namayapa na rin niyang ina dahil sa lungkot at pangungulila.
“But your smile,” Lola Ligaya continued. “Kuhang-kuha mo ang ngiti ni Dante.”
Hindi niya napigilang matawa. “Lola, maganda ba talaga ako o gwapo? Kasi ang lagi mong sinasabi, magkangiti kami ni Papa.”
“Syempre maganda kasi girl ka,” sagot nito.
They were both giggling when the smile on their faces dropped after Romulo Syvil, her grandfather, stood next to where Ligaya was seated. A hard look on his face told Ann he wasn’t happy to see her.
“How dare you disgrace this event with your presence?!” the old man gritted.
“Romulo, please,” Ligaya begged. “I invited her here.”
“’Di ka ba nag-iisip, Ligaya?!” angil ni Romulo sa asawa. “Alam mong malaking insulto ’to kay Laura at sa mga anak niya!”
“That is not my intention!”
“But that is the effect!”
“Mama! Papa!” agaw pansin ni Laura mula sa hindi kalayuan, ang legal na asawa ni Dante. The lovely woman gracefully approached them with a pleasant smile. “Is everything okay?” The smile remained but the pleasantness was gone when she realized who was there. “Wow,” she blurted. “May I ask kung ano‘ng ginagawa mo rito?”
“She was just leaving,” Romulo said.
“No, I wasn’t,” Ann corrected. That instantly earned her a hard glare from her precious lolo. “Nandito ako kasi inimbitahan ako ni Lola,” sabi niya kay Laura. Pagkatapos ay bumaling siya kay Romulo. “Sana okay lang, Lolo? Anak din naman ako ng anak niyo.”
“You’re not my granddaughter. You’re just a filth my son spawned upon this planet!”
She laughed dryly. “Kung madumi ako, edi ganoon ka rin. Your blood runs within my veins after all,” kalmado niyang tugon. “Filth,” she repeated the word happily.
Tumiim ang mga labi ni Laura. “Papa, hayaan na lang natin. Mama invited her anyway and I think Dante would’ve welcomed her here if he was still with us.”
“Laura?” Romulo shot the woman a disappointed look. “You are too kind.”
“Don’t confuse kindness with my choice not to fight with...you know,” Laura winced like she tasted something bitter. “Trash.”
“Right,” Romulo agreed. “You’re too sophisticated for that.”
“I’ll go talk to the other guests. Enjoy the party, Ann,” Laura sourly told her.
She smiled and mouthed thank you.
Hinila ni Laura sa braso si Romulo. “Come on, Papa. Let’s leave them alone.”
Habang naglalakad palayo ang dalawa ay hindi mapigilan ni Ann na sundan ng tingin si Laura. Lumapit ito sa mga anak nito—sa mga kapatid niya sa ama na sina Gianna, Marissa, at Zamiel—at nakipag-usap na hinala niya ay tungkol sa kanya dahil sabay-sabay na nagsilingon ang mga ito sa direksyon niya.
“Don’t worry about them, apo.” Lola Ligaya squeezed her hand and offered her a reassuring smile. “Hindi ka nila aawayin.”
“I’m not worried about that, Lola,” she told her. “But that’s good. Ayaw ko rin naman ng away.”
“Tatakbo si Gianna na mayor ng bayan natin sa susunod na eleksyon.”
“I wish her good luck even though she doesn’t need it. Mukhang malakas ang laban niya.”
“Marissa opened her new restaurant in Marivilles last week.”
“That’s great, Lola.”
“And Zamiel had a very successful book launch! I think that was last Wednesday. Nandoon ako, apo. Napakaraming tao! Sikat na writer si Zamiel, Ann. Magaling siya. Dapat binabasa mo rin ang mga isinusulat niya.”
“I’m happy for him, Lola. Pero sinabi ko na sayo noon na hindi ako nagbabasa ng teen fiction.”
“Subukan mo lang,” udyok ng matanda.
Umiling siya at ngumuso. “Hindi ko talaga bet.”
“Edi bilhin mo na lang.”
“Wow?” Nakangiting napamaang siya sa matanda dahil sa dedikasyon nitong iendorso ang isa pa nitong apo. “Pahinging pambili.”
Nagtawanan silang dalawa. Ganito sila lagi ng lola niya tuwing nagkakausap sila. Her lola would talk about how she finds her beautiful and how her smile reminds her of Dante. Magkukuwento rin ito tungkol sa mga kapatid niya na hindi naman niya nakakausap. Saka ito magtatanong tungkol sa mga recent na pangyayari sa buhay niya at makikipagbiruan. Being with her Lola was always a chill moment filled with light-hearted topics that the old woman would initiate. Ito na lang ang natitira niyang malapit na kamag-anak dahil karamihan ng mga tiyahin at tiyuhin niya sa mother side ay nangibang bansa na. Ganoon din ang mga pinsan niya. She wished she could spend more time with her Lola Ligaya but sadly, her job as a nurse doesn’t leave her much free time to do that. Speaking of which, kailangan pa niyang bumalik sa trabaho after lunch dahil may sixteen hour duty pa siya mamaya.
Nang sumapit na ang oras na kailangan na niyang umalis ay nagpaalam na siya sa lola. Balak niya ay lisanin ang lugar nang walang gulo na mangyayari. Na hindi kinukuha ang atensyon ng mga tao. Pero sa kamalas-malasan niya, saktong pagtayo niya ay nabangga niya pa ang waiter na naglalakad at may dalang mga champagne flutes. Nabasag sa sahig ang mga nahulog na baso at pati ang kasalubong na lalaki ng waiter ay natapunan din ng champagne.
“God fucking damn it!” the man who was doused with champagne cursed.
That was the sexiest way Ann heard anyone curse. It wasn’t the words said that made it sexy. There was something about the man that made it hot.
Her mouth fell open as her eyes moved to admire the man in black polo shirt and blue jeans that stood a few feet from her. Matangkad ang lalaki at napakagwapo pa rin ng mukha nito kahit nakasimangot. He wore a round silver eyeglasses that looked like Harry Potters. He had a rich sun-kissed skin. His hair was black and so was his hair. His eyebrows that were furrowed were thick and between those was a strong pointy nose. Those lips of his that were upturned with a disgusted sneer looked so fucking sensual, too.
“Sir, sorry po!” anas ng waiter na nagkukumahog kumuha ng tissue sa malapit na table para sa lalaki habang siya ay nakanganga at nakatulala pa rin.
The man thanked the waiter. “It’s not your fault,” he said. Still with a frown on his face, he shot her a concerned look. “Are you okay?”
Immediately snapping out of her approval for him, she nodded. “Oo, okay lang ako. Ikaw, ayos ka lang ba?”
“Good,” he quickly cut her off. God, he had such a lovely voice, too. “Next question, are you fucking stupid?”
The concern in his face was gone. It wasn’t genuine.
“Excuse me?” She was taken by surprise by the rudeness but she quickly got over it. “It was an accident. You should ask yourself that question kung hindi mo naintindihan ’yon.”
Her sister Gianna quickly came rushing to them to check up on the man. “Mr. Martinez! Oh my, God, I’m so sorry about this. Are you hurt?”
The way her sister addressed the man told her he wasn’t a family. She wouldn’t have known that a few seconds ago because she was not familiar with her father’s relatives. But this was a family event. Why was he there?
“No, I’m not,” Martinez answered. “Nabasa lang ang shirt ko. But at least it’s not red wine and I’m wearing black.”
“Bakit ba kasi may anak ng kabit dito?!” tili ni Marissa na bigla na lang sumulpot mula sa kung saan.
Lola Ligaya stood up from her seat to defend her but she signaled her not to.
“Marissa,” Ann drawled. “Grabe ka naman sa akin at sa mama ko. Bakit ka ba galit? Ano naman sayo kung kabit ang mama ko? Did she fuck your dad?” Parang binuhusan ng malamig na tubig ang kapatid niya. That made her laugh. “Oh, wait she did. Now, I understand kung bakit ka galit.”
“That’s me,” she smiled.
Marissa charged to pull her hair but Martinez grabbed the woman to stop her.
That was her cue to leave.
Tumalikod na siya at taas noong lumabas sa building. She left the place hot and burning with the words that reminded the legal family of the humiliation her mother brought to them. That would have been avoided if Marissa did not drag her dead mother into an accident that was completely unrelated to it.
She kept smiling thinking how funny it was that her half-sister thought that it would demean her if her mother’s wrongdoing was slapped on her face. She laughed, remembering how dreaded Marissa looked when she owned the insult and shoved it back to her throat.
That was her remaining calm as fire was thrown at her.
Ann mothefucking Syvil. Ang bastarda.
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