But I can't email him, because then we'll have to involve our lawyers. That means jeopardising the four days I have with Pao. So no, I need to talk to him without them.
I have no choice but to ambush him that Tuesday afternoon when I went to the school just to catch him in time picking up our daughter. Fine, I actually have been waiting here since an hour ago, afraid if I'd miss him so the moment I see him walk into the school compound, I ditch my stalking spot and tail him for an encounter.
"Mama!" Pao calls me cheerfully the moment she sees me walking towards them. He doesn't seem bothered with my presence when he keeps on helping Pao with her backpack.
We haven't seen each other since the day I told him to get the hell out of my place, and it's been four months. He looked amazing as always, this time in a pair of jeans and a hoodie. Cute, despite being 44 this year.
"Hi," I greet him once I'm standing right next to them.
He doesn't say anything but takes his daughter's hand and walks towards the exit, leaving me as if my voice is just the sound of the wind, as if I'm invisible.
I jog into the same direction, wanting to catch up with them. Pao is telling his papa to slow down, to wait for me, but he's ignoring her and picks her up instead, so he can move faster.
"Wait," I shout while trying to catch my breath. Wearing these high heel boots is obviously not a wise decision today.
"Try to catch us!" Pao giggles, thinking this is some sort of run and catch game.
"Owen, wait!" I call for him one more time, "Please!"
Fortunately he has reached his car, which later he proceeds with putting Pao in her carseat giving me more time to get there.
"I need to talk to you," I managed to stop the door from closing despite my chest going up and down in a rapid wave, trying to catch a breath, "Please."
"The lawyers are there for a reason." He replies coldly but I shake my head, still breathless, "Give me five minutes. Just five minutes, I promise."
"I'm busy today."
"Okay, tomorrow then. Five minutes is all I'm asking. Please? Tomorrow?"
He doesn't say anything but nods, which I reluctantly let go of my hand to allow him to close the door properly. Just like that the car leaves me at the roadside, but I'm grateful for being able to get that five minutes meeting.
He hasn't replied any of my texts when the only thing I wanna know is when and where are we meeting, but of course, just like he's been since the past two weeks, he went radio silent.
I dropped by at his place around ten, knowing Pao is at school at that time so we can talk freely without her interruption. But Margo informed me he's at the office, and would be there the entire day. Great, since when is he a liar? He fucking said yes to today.
Nah, this is nothing. He lied to my face for two years so this is nothing. He even fucked me day and night for two weeks without a pinch of guilt about hiding the fact that we share a daughter.
As usual, I pick up Pao from school in the afternoon and have lunch with her at home before going out again around 2 for her Karate class. Then at 4 we go home again and cook dinner together, bath at 7 and bed by 8.
Nancy, her weekdays nanny, and Mia, her weekend nanny still clocks in daily but I make it my commitment to still be with her, because I know that's what Owen prefers and has been doing since forever.
I text him again asking when can we meet once Pao is fast asleep in her bedroom. I've converted the guest room to her bedroom, making it princess-like just like my own room. She wants to be mini me too much I feel flattered and relieved at the same time that she's taking this new living arrangement with an open mind.
Though during the first few days she cried every few hours, asking for a facetime with her Papa because she misses him too much. I miss him too, baby. But we've gotta be strong and move on.
Or for Pao, she's gotta wait till it's Tuesday again then she'll be able to see her Papa. Thank God she got over it after a month and now she hasn't really mentioned about wanting to see Papa, just sharing about him once in a while when we're chatting.
I was already sleeping when my phone rings signalling an incoming call. Slightly irritated because I'm so tired from all the activities with Pao today that I resort to bed by 9, I can't believe it when I see the caller ID.
"I'm at the door." He announces without giving any polite greetings. Excuse me, last time I check I was the one who was mad at him.
"Okay, I'll-" but the line has been disconnected. I groan at the confusion on how our roles have reversed, also at his rude behaviour.
Whatever, I need his help. He can act like a dick if he wants to, if it means yes to my request.
I get off the bed and put on a knee length, thick night robe on top of my pink nightie, wrap it with a bow made at my middle. Glasses on, hair in a bun, I walk towards the door to open it for the man I shouted at four months ago, kicked him out of this place with rage in me that I still have some left but for now, he's the one person I need to see very much.
The navy blue suit he's wearing highlights the blue glint in his eyes, and I'm stunned by how handsome he is right now though his face shows a dismay for being here unwillingly.
"Hi." I give him a half smile and shift to a side, allowing him to enter the space.
"We can talk out here." It was a stern statement, and I can't help but wonder if that's the outcome of what I said back then.
"Uhm okay," I nod, then pull the door to leave a small crack just in case Pao's calling me from her room. Though that never happened, she sleeps like a log.
Both of us stand a bit further from the door, and I hug myself to brace for the impact, if there is any more rude statements he's gonna give.
"What is it." There it is, asking me as if I'm that annoying leech he couldn't get rid of.
"Uhm, I... have a... favor. To ask." I tighten my arms around my body, trying to gather more courage.
He doesn't react to it so I continue hesitantly, "Uhmmm. Well. Thank you so much for coming this late at night, I'm sure-"
"What favor." He snaps, wanting to get straight to the point without hearing more nonsense from me.
"I'm going back to the office next month. No, next week, since I'm starting on the first but, uhm, I need your approval about something."
His eyes which I used to be fascinated with in the past are intimidating me. They're giving this message that I better make it quick and concise.
"Will you be okay if the nanny sends and picks her up from school? I need to be at the office before 9, and I don't think I can escape in the afternoon to pick her up, or stay with her until the extra classes, so, uhh, is it okay if the nanny does all that? And the dinner too, since I don't think I can be home before 6. I know-"
"No. I'm not okay."
I've been imagining about this situation so many times since last week, practising in front of the mirror, in the shower, on how to tell him this, but never even once I thought that he would say no to it. I mean, he's one of the nicest, most chill person I've ever met in my life. He hardly says no to anything.
"Why?" Help me to understand this, "Why not?"
"There is no way I'm letting the nanny raise my daughter."
"I get your frustration but I need to go back to work. It isn't that bad. Lots of kids turn out fine even if-"
"But I have to go back to work."
"Tell the lawyers, we'll draft a new schedule." What? No. I could lose my four days. No.
"Please Owen," I reach for his arm, pleading, "Okay I'll send her in the morning, and pick her up in the afternoon. But I can't stay after 1, is it okay if she stays with the nanny from 1 to 6? Please?"
"No. Call the lawyers, I'm free tomorrow to discuss again. With the lawyers."
I sob as I shake my head, "No, no lawyers. Please. No lawyers."
"You are the one who brought them first. I'm just doing things the way you preferred."
I don't care how hideous I must have looked at the moment with tears and snots on my face but I'm not letting him go, "Can't we discuss this like two caring parents? We don't have to involve the lawyers. Please."
He removes my hand from his arm, "See you tomorrow."
Just like that he's off to the elevator as I cry by myself next to the door. Am I going to lose my daughter?