Sep 11, 2011

When The Fireworks Begin (Chapter XV)

February, two years ago…

Devon was absently rubbing her fingernails together on her lap, while seated on the passenger seat of James’s car. She was wearing an off-shoulder beige dress. The long dress falls right on her ankles and has a slit just a little above her knees.   Her hair was let loose in soft curls falling below her shoulders. Except from the drop earrings, she has no other accessories.  The dress belonged to Shey, and it was the only conservative dinner dress Devon can find in her friend’s closet.

She and James will be attending a formal event.  Devon glanced on the driver’s seat and looked at the starkly handsome, James.  He was wearing a dark suit with a bow tie.

It was a dinner-party to celebrate the anniversary of James’s father’s successful corporation.  It will also be the first time that Devon will meet the politician and business magnate.  And her nerves are sowing havoc.

James glanced at Devon. She has been rubbing her fingernails together.  James touched Devon’s hand with his free right hand. Devon looked at him, questioningly.

“Nervous?”  James asked.

Devon nodded.  They have met August last year, and have been inseparable ever since.  Devon’s parents have met James and were surprised that she was dating a rich politician’s son.  They have warned her. 

“There’s nothing wrong with James, he is very courteous and trustworthy,” explained Mang Tony, Devon’s father.  “But don’t expect that his family will be the same.”

After several months of steady dating, Devon decided that she was ready to get into a serious relationship with James.  She gave James’s the much awaited “oo” on December, right before Christmas. 

Now, a couple of months later, James asked her to be his date to the anniversary dinner.  How can she refuse?

“Don’t worry, they’ll love you,”  James smiled and gave Devon’s hand a gentle squeeze.

Devon smiled weakly and wished that the night will turn out to be okay.  In a few minutes, the car started to slow down, as they approached a large resort owned by James’s father.  The party was already starting, and they can hear music playing inside the hall.

Devon hesitated as she got off the car. She saw elegantly-dressed women and men who were entering the hall.  She was a nervous wreck,  she was seriously thinking about running away.  James smiled at her and held her hand. 

“Everything’s going to be fine,” James assured her.  “You look stunning.”

They were slowly making their way towards the hall when they heard somebody calling out James’s name.  They turned and Devon saw another good looking man walking towards them.  He was wearing also a dark suit  and a dark blue shirt underneath.  He was about the same height as James and will definitely turn several women’s heads to his direction.

James gave the man a tap and introduced him to Devon.  “This is Sam. We’ve been together since college,” he explained.

Sam took Devon’s hand and kissed it.  “Why don’t you spend the entire night with me, instead of being with this very boring person,”  Sam flirted.

Devon raised her eyebrows and James burst into laughter. “Back-off Sam, she’s my girlfriend.”

It was Sam’s time to be surprised. “You haven’t told me about a girl.”

“That is because we never had the time to talk about it,” James said casually. 

They have already entered the ballroom and Devon was overwhelmed by the elegance of the upper class.  It was a room illustrating class, elegance and money. 

Things that I don’t have, Devon said to herself.  While she was looking at the elegant decorations and people, she was surprised when she saw a girl in a red dress jumping at James and hugging him.

“James,” the girl exclaimed. “I miss you so much.”

Devon looked at the beautiful girl hugging James.  She was the complete opposite of her, her milky white skin was glowing from her red dress.  She looked Chinese or Korean, Devon could not decide which, but she was definitely high-class.  The red dress has a slit up to her mid-thigh, showing her shapely legs underneath. Her hair was pulled together on a bun on the back of her head, with curly wisps of hair falling against her neck.  She was stunningly gorgeous.

James pulled away from the embrace.  “It’s good to see you again Aleli. When did you get back from the States?”

“I’ve been here for just two weeks, but I think I am staying for good,”  the girl answered.  But still, she did not pull away from James. She still has her hand resting on James chest.

James pulled away from the touch and drew Devon closer to him. “This is my girlfriend, Devon,” he introduced.

Devon instantly recognized the transformation in the girl’s eyes. From the happiness it had earlier, it became sharp and looked as if she would rip Devon’s head off.

“Really,” Aleli asked and raised her eyebrow.

James eagerly nodded.  “This is Aleli, another friend.”

“Actually, an ex-girlfriend too,” Aleli countered.  Devon was taken aback with what the girl said.  That explains why the girl suddenly looked at her with disgust.

“That was a long-time ago, Aleli,” James answered. “Come, let’s look for Dad and Mom.”  James then pulled Devon away and started to look for his parents. 

Devon eventually found her voice, “Is she really your ex-girlfriend?”

James nodded. “We were together for almost a year during college. It was those stuff that you really ask yourself, how did it happen? We were really good friends, my family is also a friend of her family. So, it was really the most convenient thing to do that time.”

“Why didn’t it work out?” curiosity got Devon.

“Because she tends to be controlling sometimes,” James answered.  “She’s so into building a political career. All I want is a simple life.”

Devon was about to ask something when James immediately pulled her towards, “Here’s mom.”

Melinda Rocafort is the classiest woman Devon has ever met. She was wearing a silk dark green dress that seems to flow on her every step. It was Grecian inspired and her hair was neatly pulled back. 

James approached his mother and kissed her on the cheek, Devon remained standing.  “Mom, I would like you to meet Devon, my girlfriend.”

Melinda Rocafort smiled endearingly and looked at Devon. “I have heard a lot about you.” she asked quietly.  “I kept asking James to bring his girl here and finally… ”

She approached Devon and took her hand.  “Welcome to the Rocafort Resorts, hija. Make sure that you enjoy the night. I’ll look for your father and tell him you’re here already,”   Mrs. Rocafort beamed at James.

When Mrs. Rocafort walked away, Devon whispered at James. “You told her about me? Us?”

“Of course, Mom was so excited to meet you.  I also told my brother and sister about us,” James smiled.  “But I haven’t told Dad yet.”

Devon relaxed a bit after meeting James’s mom.  James’s family appeared to be nice at not that judgemental, but again the night was too early to say that.

In a few minutes, Devon was able to meet James’s younger brother and sister, both were still studying in college. James’s brother, Malcolm, the second-born, has the stance of their father.  Devon has seen James’s father before.  Who wouldn’t?  He served two terms as a congressman and now a fixed figure in the business section of any newspaper or magazine. James’s youngest sibling, Jacqueline has the same fluid grace as their mother.   Both were very humble and very easy to get along with.

While talking to Malcolm and Jacqueline, James’s mom approached James and Devon. On her arm was James’s father. Who wouldn’t recognize that face, Devon thought.  Devon felt James tensing up a bit and she noticed that he was straightening his jacket and his bow, as his father approached.  Devon knows that there is a lot of pressure on James to follow his father’s footsteps.  As the eldest, he was expected to take over the company.

“Good evening,”  Edwin Rocafort smiled. He glanced questioningly at Devon.

“Dad,” James introduced.  “This is Devon, my girlfriend.”

Devon thought she saw a fleeting look of displeasure on the man’s face as James made the introduction.  But immediately, as it appeared, a smile plastered on MR. Rocafort’s face.  He shook Devon’s hand and greeted her.  “It is my pleasure to meet you, Devon.”

Devon smiled. “The pleasure is mine, Sir.”

“Come,”  Edwin Rocafort announced.  “Let’s eat.”

James escorted her to the dining area, where rows of tables and chairs were arranged carefully.  There were crystal vases with decorative orchids on each table.  Devon’s first thought as she sat on the table was too many forks and spoons.  Her mind was immediately taken off the topic when Mr. Rocafort asked her a question.

“So, hija,”  Mr. Rocafort started. “Where and how did you meet James?”

Devon was about to start narrating what happened in August, when James decided to tell the story.  “We met in the park, Dad...”

Mrs. Rocafort smiled at the story, obviously she has heard it before.  Mr. Rocafort’s smile however, did not appear on his face.

“Are your parents in any kind of business?” Mr. Rocafort asked. 

“My father has a vegetable stall in the public market,”  Devon started. “My mother is a public elementary school teacher.”

“Really,” Mrs. Rocafort exclaimed.  “Teaching is a very difficult job.”

Devon nodded. Mr. Rocafort meanwhile, remained silent. “Where did you study? And where are you working right now?” James’s father asked again.

Devon mentioned a state university where she took up humanities. “I’m currently in the same university working as a staff member.  I intend to teach after I finish my Master’s degree.”

Mr. Rocafort said nothing.  He was obviously not impressed with Devon’s background. He took a few bites of the food, before he stood up.

“James,” he stated. “Will you come with me for a second?  I want to introduce you to someone I just saw.”

“Can’t it wait dear?” Mrs. Rocafort asked.  “We’re in the middle of dinner.”

“Can’t dear,” Mr. Rocafort stated, obviously a little tense.  “He might leave early. Excuse us please.”

Mr. Rocafort stood up.  James whispered to Devon first before following his father.  James followed his father, until they reached the gondola far away from the dining crowd.

“Who’s the person you’re introducing me with, father?” James asked curiously.

Mr. Rocafort turned around and looked at James squarely.  “Are you out of your mind?” he asked angrily.

James was taken aback. “Why are you so angry?”

“Why did you bring her here? She is not right for you,” Mr. Rocafort argued.  “Really, you’re MY son.  You can’t just settle for her kind. End your relationship with her.” Then he started to walk away from James.

“Her kind?” James asked bewildered.

“End it, James,” Mr. Rocafort stated.

No,” James said, also angry and frustrated.  “You have just met her.”

“And in that short minutes, I realized how wrong you are together,” Mr. Rocafort said.  “I’m not saying that she is bad person, I’m just telling you that she is not the right one for you.”

“Who are you to tell me, who’s the right one for me?” James stated.

“For one, I am your father,” Mr. Rocafort answered back.  “Break up with her or else I will.”

“That’s what you have been doing in my entire life,” James stated. “You have been making the choices for me.”

“Because, I know what’s good for you,” Mr. Rocafort answered back.

“Good for me? Or good for you?” James angrily stated. “I am not ending my relationship with Devon, I love her,” he simply stated before walking away.

****

Devon sensed a change on James’s attitude towards his father.  Whenever she asks about it, James’s would disregard it quickly, saying that he and his father just had a disagreement about the company’s direction for the year.  Devon also noticed that James’s has become overprotective of her. 

One day, James took Devon home after their dinner. When they reached home, they saw Mang Tony’s vegetables outside their home.  Devon rushed inside, sensing that there was obviously something wrong. 

They saw Mang Tony sitting on the old sofa with Aling Linda treating some scrapes on her husband’s elbow.

“What happened,” Devon asked. 

“I don’t know,” Mang Tony started.  “When I got into the market this morning, everything was trashed in the stall.  The stall owner said that somebody bought the stall and I can’t rent it anymore. The buyer’s men were throwing everything out. I tried to stop them but they were too many.”

“But you have a contract with the stall owner,” Devon countered.

“I know,” Mang Tony agreed. “But the owner insisted that she has the right to sell the store. I can’t do anything.”

James felt something on throbbing on his chest.  He knew what this was all about but decided to say anything about it.  Maybe it was just a misunderstanding, James thought. But his heart knew, deep down, it wasn’t.

The next month was difficult for Devon’s family but they were able to cope.  Mang Tony decided to sell vegetables in front of their house. The neighbourhood, apparently, was relieved to find a stall nearby where they can buy fresh vegetables. 

Couple of weeks later, Aling Linda sadly stated that the loan they were applying for which they will use to pay Devon’s sisters' tuition fee, was denied.  They can’t seem to find any kind of bank who was willing to loan them money. Both of Devon’s sisters decided to work part-time to they would be able to help their parents raise the money for their tuition.

Towards the end of the month, Devon shared something sad to James.  The university has decided that they can’t accommodate her anymore.  They’re firing her.

“But you’re great on your job?” James answered.

“Well,” Devon shrugged. “I just have to find a new job.”

“This has to end,” James said aloud.

“What?” Devon asked surprised. 

“I think that my father has something to do with this,” James reasoned.  He quickly stood up and gave Devon a peck on the cheek.  “I’ll try to fix everything.”

Devon looked at James and watched him leave the house.  His father, Devon thought. 

James raced his car towards his father’s posh office.  He walked straight to the office, it was already eight o’clock but he knows that his father is still working late. 

Mr. Rocafort’s secretary stood up when she saw James barging out of the elevator.

“Sir James,” the secretary greeted. “Mr. Rocafort is just talking on the phone…”

James did not pay attention and went inside the office.  His father was talking to somebody on the phone.  He looked up and saw James standing on the front of his office desk with a murderous look on his face. 

“Talk to you later,” Mr. Rocafort said to the person on the phone.  “What is it, James?”

James hit the table hard. “You know what this is all about.”

Mr. Rocafort calmly shook his head. “I don’t, James, Tell me.”

“Stop messing with Devon’s family,”  James angrily said, hitting the table again.

Mr. Rocafort stood up and looked at James square at the eye. “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

James sniggered.  “Don’t lie to me Dad.  The vegetable stall? The loan? And now Devon’s job? There’s no other man who can pull the strings like you do.”

Mr. Rocafort  walked away from the desk and towards the window. “Then do what I say, break up  with her.”

“No, I am not,” James answered. 

Mr. Rocafort sighed.  “Don’t make things difficult for her, James.”

“Why can’t just be happy for me,” James asked.  “When I am with her, everything is different…”

“You will take over this company soon,” Mr. Rocafort, angrily answered.  “You can’t have a wife who doesn’t even know when to use the dessert spoon!”

“Are you that arrogant,” James countered.  “Are you that selfish?”

“I am not selfish James,” Mr. Rocafort answered.  “This is for you.”

James shook his head.  “If you want the best for me, then you’ll let me be happy.”

Mr. Rocafort did not say anything.  He looked at James and saw the resolve in his face.  He turned around and look at the panoramic view below. 

“Break up with her,” Mr. Rocafort said again.

James did not answer. All that Mr. Rocafort heard was the loud banging of the door.

6 comments:

superior-minori said...

now i see why.

waiting with bated breath for more - Tang

aya said...

I really love your fic ate bite....

jeck said...

wow ms bite i really love your works
from the first ff you make

then one of my fave - CHANCES
then now this one,

your really one of the best ff writer
handsdown to you :)

hoping to read more chapters :)

thank you in advance :)

Anonymous said...

lola biteee update!!!!

Anonymous said...

i am praying and hoping nasana may ending tong fanfic na to same as chances.... please madam bite.

Thank you.

manylyn laurito said...

huhuhuh.. when will it be updated. ang ganda grabe!~

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