Inside a quiet room, a young woman held a boy, seemingly 7 years old, in her arms. It would have been quite a lovely scene to look at, except the boy wasn’t breathing and the woman’s eyes were lifeless, staring into nothing.
Liya never liked her son, Jacob. He was an unwanted child, a stain to Liya’s life.
She went to a bar with her boyfriend of 2 years and college friends to celebrate her 18th birthday. She can barely remember the memories from that night as she was so wasted and the last thing she remembered was making out with her boyfriend, Zeke.
Liya groggily opened her eyes the next morning. She panics for a bit, realizing she was in an unfamiliar room, until bits of images of her kissing Zeke enters her mind. A faint blush tinted her cheeks, smiling like a fool very much in love. Trying to get up, a sudden gush of cold air hit her. That’s when she saw she was naked, and in the center of the bed was what seemed to be a puddle of blood. Realization hit her: she just lost her virginity. She blushed heavily, how would she act in front of Zeke now? She might not be able to recall everything that happened during their lovemaking, but Liya still remembered some of it. She remembered how she was kissed sweetly by him and one second later how he seemed to be greedily hungry for her. She might not remember all of it, but she was in pure bliss with the thought of giving herself to Zeke. She felt shy and embarrassed, not knowing what to do and say to Zeke after their wonderful first time.
She tilted to her side, expecting to see her darling beside her but Zeke was nowhere to be found. Maybe he went to buy breakfast for us? The thought made her smile and she went to bathe while she waited for him. After more than half an hour, she came out with just a robe on and went to pick up her disarrayed clothes on the floor. There was still no sign of Zeke so she took out her phone from her bag and dialed his number. The call was answered immediately. Before Liya could say anything, she heard Zeke’s voice laced with worry.
“Liya, where are you? I’ve been trying to call you since last night when you suddenly disappeared. Are you alright?”
Liya was baffled, “What are you saying? We were clearly with each other the whole ni--”
She abruptly stopped talking, her mind suddenly blanked out. She could still hear Zeke talking in the background but she couldn’t seem to grasp what he was saying. It took her only a couple of seconds to understand everything. She didn’t need to be a genius to realize that the guy she had sex with was not her Zeke, that the guy she thought she was making love with was a stranger and not the love of her life.
She wanted to cry, but no tears fell out. No matter how sad and pained she was, it couldn’t compare to the guilt that flooded her. She was sad that it wasn’t Zeke, but she was more guilty towards him. Guilty because she felt nothing but pleasure last night, and not even once did she reject the touch of that stranger. Being drunk was not enough to pardon her from this mistake. She claimed to love him so much yet she couldn’t even recognize her Zeke.
Not knowing when Zeke disconnected the call, Liya managed to calm herself in what seemed like forever. She was determined to bury this secret to her grave. She was afraid that once Zeke knows of this, he would leave her and that’d the last thing she wanted. She wouldn’t be able to bear that. Even just imagining it made her feel like someone was tearing her heart apart. Zeke was her life, and there was no way she would let go of him.
But not everything went how Liya wanted. 2 months after that night, she found out there was currently a life growing inside her.
No no no, this can’t be happening.
She didn’t want this. She’s been trying really hard to forget about that forsaken night, and just when she was finally starting to, another nightmare came. A nightmare disguised in the form of an unborn child.
Abortion, I need to have it aborted.
Finally deciding, Liya went to her older brother for help. She was an heiress, she was rich, but she did not know anyone. She grew up a spoiled princess, not bothering to learn anything, not putting efforts in making connections even to their relatives. She knew she couldn’t just find any doctor, she needed one who can keep their mouth shut, because surely the news of the barely-legal Fain heiress being pregnant would sell for quite a fortune.
Liem always doted on Liya since their parents passed away many years ago. He knew he was mainly the reason why his sister grew up spoiled, but he always thought that it’s the least he can do to make up for their parents’ absence. He bore the responsibility for their company as he didn’t want Liya to suffer from this dog-eat-dog world of business.
He was delighted that his sister visited him after so long. She was always with her boyfriend these past couple of months and never came home to the main house as Liya had her own condo unit. He missed her a lot. But before he could even hug her, Liya rushed to him and tightly held his hands, not wasting any time and told him,
“Brother, I need your help. I remember you have quite a network. You have a doctor friend right? Can you ask him where I can get an abortion in secret? I ha--”
“WHAT?! Liya!! An abortion?!!!! You’re pregnant?!!!?!” To say Liam was shocked was an understatement. Obviously this was beyond what he predicted.
“I’m pregnant but I don’t want it. It’s not my boyfriend’s so please brother, help me get rid of this thing.”
Liem was flabbergasted, but his shock soon turned to anger. “Liya are you crazy?! This is a life we’re talking about and not just a “thing” you can discard when you want to! You can’t do this!”
Liya continuously shook her head, “No brother you don’t understand. Zeke will leave me if he learns about this. I don’t want that. I can’t live without him. I can’t. I can’t… If you won’t help me, I’ll just find my friends. I know they’ll help.”
Liem was beyond horrified by his sister’s words. He didn’t expect Liya to decide to kill an unborn child, and so easily at that. This wasn’t her baby sister. This wasn’t the sister he treasured very much. This was but a crazy woman.
Liem, for the first time ever, did not indulge his sister. “I didn’t want to do this Liya, but you leave me no choice. If you really go through this abortion, you will not get your inheritance. I swear Liya, not even a cent. Let’s see then if your darling boyfriend would want to stay with you without your money.”
Liem turned and left his sister standing in their living room. He knew Liya was afraid, but his morals wouldn’t let him just stand by and do nothing while she kills her unborn child.
Liya, on the other hand, was torn. She loved Zeke because he was different. Unlike other men, he didn’t pursue her for money, she just knew it. But even then, she’s still afraid. He might not be greedy for her money, but he certainly wouldn’t want a penniless wife, right? Zeke didn’t come from money. So there were only two choices, a penniless useless and non-virgin wife, or a non-virgin got-pregnant-and-gave-birth but rich one?
He would accept me even if I wasn’t virgin anymore. He loves me. I can just find a live-in nanny for the child after I give birth. I won’t have to be a mother to him.
Thinking this, Liya went to Zeke’s apartment. She told him everything, not leaving any detail out. Anxiety took over her while waiting for Zeke to talk.
In what seemed like hours to Liya, Zeke finally responded, “You know I love you Liya. It broke my heart when you told me that you slept with another man, but my love for you outweighs the pain. Don’t abort the child, your brother is right. Every life is precious. But Liya, I don’t think I would be able to live with the child in the future. He’ll be a living proof--”
Liya immediately cut him off, “I’ll have my brother to hire a nanny for him. You don’t have to worry about seeing him in the future.”
Zeke showed a smile with a trace of guilt, but also mixed with relief. Liya was content with how things went. Not hiding anything was the right thing to do. Coming clean was always the best decision, especially to your loved ones.
Months passed, Liya gave birth and did as what she told Zeke. She hired a nanny to take care of the child which she didn’t even bother naming. Liem was the one who named him Jacob. Jacob stayed at the main residence, mostly with just his nanny and maids as his uncle was always out at work too. Liya went home once a month since Liem persuaded (better word: threatened) her to come for dinner every first Sunday of the month.
After giving birth, she lived with Zeke in her condo and both of them graduated from university not long later. Zeke, together with his friends, started a tech company specializing in security with, of course, Liya’s inheritance money. Liya, on the other hand, surprisingly chose to learn house chores. Gone was the spoiled princess, replaced by a sweet and husband-devoted wife. Only they weren’t married, which prompted Liya to urge Zeke into marrying her. But he always said that it wasn’t the right time, that he’s not on the same level as her yet, that they wait until his company becomes more successful and internationally recognized. And only then would he deserve to stand side by side with her in front of everyone.
On the other hand, the siblings’ relationship only got worse. As if it wasn’t enough, Liya finally crushed what’s left of their broken relationship that her brother has been trying to mend. She sold their parents’ memento, a pair of their wedding rings encrusted with precious tiny blue diamonds, just so she can help Zeke with a big project.
Time went by and the small company Custos Tech 2 years ago has transformed to the world-renowned Custos Internationals. That big project was their breakthrough. At the beginning, Liya felt regretful of what she has done but seeing as Zeke was a step closer to his goal which meant that their marriage was just a few skips away, the regret and guilt bottled inside were replaced with excitement and glee.
On the day of Custos Tech rebranding, she wanted to congratulate him. Putting on her best dress and making sure her make-up was perfect, Liya drove to the company.
Happily skipping to Zeke’s office, she thought ‘Maybe today is the day he will finally hold me’ which made her squeal internally. She imagined what could happen tonight? Will Zeke love her gently? Or will he ravish her until her voice becomes raspy from moaning? She remained dazed until she opened the door, but her daydreaming was cut off by the scene inside the office.
Atop the office desk was a mewling woman under a groaning Zeke while they lapped each other’s mouths. Zeke’s suit was messy and the woman’s upper half was fully exposed while her skirt was flung upwards.
Zeke slowed down a bit when he realized they had an audience and scolded without turning to look at the door, “Get the hell out! I told you to not bother me on my free time!”
Not hearing a door being closed, he finally looked at the person. His face which was at first full of annoyance was replaced with nervousness which changed to a calm expression almost immediately. He abruptly stopped, pulled out and zipped his pants up, while the woman whimpered in protest from the sudden withdrawal, seemingly not aware of what was happening, thanks to the intense pleasure her boss was giving her.
Liya was frozen on her spot, tears threatening to fall out. The only thing that was able to come out of her lips was “Why?”
Zeke started to fix the rest of his suit, casually like he hadn’t just been caught cheating while the other woman who finally seemed to catch on, sat up and looked at her with ridicule “You’re still asking why? Are you really that dumb?” She smirked, continuing, “You’re dirty, that’s why. You don’t expect my darling Zeke to touch you when you’ve been used by another man. He doesn’t like used things.” The woman then stood beside him, her index finger playfully tracing his abs and seductively licked his lower lip lightly with her tongue “Right, babe?” she said the last line almost purring.
Like a crazy person, Liya wanted nothing but to strangle the woman to death, and that’s exactly what she did. Well, almost. Zeke shoved her mercilessly to the ground, he spat, “You were always just a source of money.”
Liya couldn’t say anything. Everything was a blur. She didn’t even know how she managed to get home. She felt broken and empty. She confined herself for days even after the sensation of hunger started surfacing. She liked feeling weak.
Clueless to how many days has passed, she got up to charge her almost-dead phone, planning to call Zeke and hoping that maybe he wants her back. Her phone was bombarded with notifications the moment it lit up, majority of it were down to one thing: Custos Internationals’ Founder-CEO engaged to a supermodel. What’s left of the little hope she had was instantly crumbled.
She’s been absolutely stupid. For 6 whole years she loved someone who she thought was ‘the one’. Offered everything she had, did anything he wanted. Only to be thrown away the moment he had no use of her anymore. What a fool she was.
What made everything worse was she had no one to talk to. She would appreciate even if it was a stranger. A simple “it’s okay” or a small pat would’ve given her strength.
She had wanted to call Liem, but the heavy feeling of shame consumed her. Did she even still have the right to approach him? She’d been staring at her list for so long contemplating if she’d call or not when she noticed a lot of missed calls from the nanny the day before. And that’s when she realized that she still had someone left.
Jacob whose face was full of smiles whenever he saw her. Jacob who called her “Mommy” while showing his little dimples. The same Jacob she’s been ignoring. The same Jacob she’s been hating all these times.
She was then remorseful for the years she had not paid attention to Jacob. But she set that feeling aside. She just wanted to see him as soon as possible. Wanted to hug the little man. He’s the only one she had left.
Feeling very weak just a while ago, no one could’ve traced weakness from how rushed Liya was at that moment. Her eyes held hope again, desperate to see her son. She drove off with one destination in mind.
Still dawn at around 3:30 a.m. and currently winter, people in the residence were still asleep. Liya wasted no time as she got to the main door to unlock it. She practically dashed to where she remembered what her son’s room. She slowly pushed the door open as to not wake up the little boy. Seeing her bundle of hope covered with the duvet, a genuine smile crept on her lips. She reached for Jacob to caress his tiny face.
What met her hands though wasn’t the warmth she longed for, but pure coldness.
Her eyebrows scrunched and felt something wasn’t right. She lightly tapped Jacob’s cheek and tried to wake him up. Softly calling for him, slightly shaking his body. Alas, her efforts were all but futile.
In his sleep.
From a severe fever.
And Liya did not know. How? What happened? Like a statue, unmoving while hugging her son. Eyes lifeless. The room was tranquil and eerily cold.
Liya did not know that behind the plenty number of missed calls was the nanny attempting to inform her that she needed to go back home for her sickly old mother. Liya did not know Liem was on a business trip and couldn’t attend to the boy. Liya did not know why the other maids didn’t pay attention to Jacob, not that she could blame them when she, the mother, herself did not care. Liya did not know that Jacob suddenly hosted a severe fever in the middle of the night. Liya did not know Jacob was suffering alone. Liya did not know Jacob silently cried for her Mommy.
Liya did not know.
Liya then wondered, would Jacob still be with her if she hasn’t been a complete idiot? Would they have been laughing now like the perfect mom and son? A sad smile appeared at the distant and unreachable thought.
If only she loved her son the way all little kids deserve. If only she didn’t make her brother turn away from her. If only she didn’t choose to blindly love someone. If only.
Liya slowly let go of Jacob’s body and stood up. Like a lifeless puppet, her eyes only looked straight ahead while she went to get a knife. She then went back to Jacob’s room and sat beside him.
She lovingly stared at her son’s face for a long time.
I’m sorry, my baby. I know I haven’t been a good mom. I don’t even deserve to be called Mommy. Killing myself would be an easy way to escape from the pain, and I know, again, that I deserve to suffer but it hurts so much. My baby, forgive me one last time for my selfishness.
Taking a last long look of her son, Liya ended her life.