Chapter one of Starts With Goodbye
Chapter 1: To Hell with the Freakin' Sexy Step-Mom.
"Hey man!" I heard Benjamin's voice behind my back. I stopped punching and took off the gloves in my hand to turn at him. "What's up man?" I answered as we fist-bumped. "Nothing man. I just heard that Tito Romulo got a hot chick with him! You have a step-mom, man!" He grinned which earned a scowl from me. "What? Dad will never do that to mom. They're still together. Hell." Benjamin just shrugged at me. "And where the hell did you dig that piece of shit?" My voice rising from irritation. "From my reliable source. And I've confirmed it with my own two eyes. She's sexy, man. And she's just about our age or we're just two years her junior." He said dreamily. Lumipat ako sa may treadmill and he did the same. "How sure are you of that?" I asked as I run through the treadmill. "A hundred and one percent sure, man. What's there to doubt? Your dad seems so smitten with the whore." He said while grinning. I just shook my head at him. Dad can never cheat on mom, I'm sure of that. Hell, she's still alive and still lives under one roof. He patted my back and I was startled. "Don't worry Reid; I'll help you with that gold-diggin' whore. After all, money's just what she's after. So that will just be an easy target. I'm just one text away." He offered then smiled. I just nodded at him. And with that he's gone in an instant. Naiwan akong nakatulala habang tumatakbo pa rin sa may threadmill. 'No. Dad will never do such thing. I have to find out the truth and if there's really a woman involved--sexy or not, I'll make sure she'll have a piece of my wrath.'
My mental battle was cut off by a melodic voice beside me, more like a treadmill away from my right. I turned my head and saw the woman singing along with whatever music was playing on her iPod. Calling her gorgeous is an understatement. Her hair is in a high ponytail, wearing an aquamarine print sports bra with matching shorts that reach her mid thigh. She's all-sweat but never bothered to wipe them away. She kept humming, never cared about her surroundings full of testosterones ogling at her sexy body. All lustful stares are on her and she's so oblivious to it.
"Take a picture, it would last." She smiled sweetly then plugged her earphones out and holds them in her left hand. I was caught off guard by her statement. Shit. She caught me staring rather checking her out. I smiled to hide the embarrassment I'm feeling. Never in my life I've felt this embarrass being caught checking out a girl. But this one girl who just stopped her treadmill got me questioning my discreetness when it comes to such things. As my mind reel in of what just happened, a hand went to stop my treadmill. "It's not good going on a treadmill while you're so lost in thought. You might hurt yourself in the process." I saw concern in her eyes but it was quickly replaced by a normal stare again. As stupid as I get, I smiled at her and took her hand, kissed it as I introduced myself. "Thank you sweetheart, I'm Reid. And you are?" My heart constricts in pain when she pulled her hand away from me as if she was burned or something. "It's Hannah. I have to.." Before she could tell me that she has to leave, I did the usual thing a Reid Montreal, eligible bachelor and one of the richest bachelors in Asia--use his charms to get her. "How about some drinks after your workout?" I asked confidently. It's Friday and it's close to seven, the clubs will just be the right place to hit off. She shrugged her shoulders and turned my invitation down. No one, no woman has ever turned me down. "Sorry, but I don't go to clubs. It's not my thing." An apologetic smile plastered on her face. Maybe a little more flirtation and touch she'll give in. 'Come on Reid, put your best cards on this one.' My mind nudged me. "I don't bite, Han. A few drinks and a conversation will do." She snickered and looked me in the eye. A determined Hannah was staring right at me. She smiled sweetly and leaned closer. Yes! It work-- "Sorry, it's still a no. It's not really my thing." She dropped the bomb and I was damaged and beyond repair. My heart constricts in pain and my ego's inflated.
With that, she disappeared in front of me and went straight into the shower room. No, I won't give up. If she thinks she can turn me down that easily, then she should have guessed and had second thoughts. Reid will never give up on a challenge. I do not give up that easily on a challenge. 'A challenge in the boardroom not in the bedroom--especially to women. You have them at your beck and call. No need to sweat and fret about losing a girl. There are so many of her out there--those who will take you with open arms and willingly.' Half of my mind reminded. I smirked, knowing full well the authenticity of it. 'Yes, there are so many of her out there, willing and desperate but she's different than the rest. She stood out among the rest. And that's what I would like to know, what's with her that pulls me to her.' The other half of my mind countered. As two hemispheres of my brain indulged on a debate, I finally cleared and made up my mind. I'll change her mind and make her go out with me tonight no matter what extent. Extreme measures? Extreme measures it is! "Han, I'll have your company tonight." I whispered more to myself, a determined Reid is now back in the game.
"Shock-a-doodle-doo!" She exclaimed as she clutched her hand at her chest and heaved a sigh. Shit. Good way to change her mind. I just fucking startled her. And from the looks of it, she might just have a heart attack. "Shit. I'm sorry, Han. I never meant to startle you." She rolled her eyes at me. "Just don't sneak on me like that again. You look like a lizard glued to wall awhile ago. God, I'm afraid of those cold blooded creatures but when I saw--" She suddenly laughs not being able to finish her sentence. She laughs and giggle. Her cheeks a shade of crimson from all the laughter she made. And I let her laugh all she want. Watching her laugh made some knots over my stomach that I could not name, seeing her eyes brim with tears of joy is amusing. She was a sight to behold even in just her blue collared shirt and cropped shorts paired with a Nike Luna racer. 'She's the kind of woman you don't go to bed with. No killer heels, truck loads of makeup, skimpy clothing that barely covered everything; still, you have your eyes all for her. Ready to worship her.' My mind countered. I sigh and just scratched the back of my head. "Are you done laughing at my misery, sweetheart?" Time to roll the dice in your favor, Reid. You have to play great this time. She just can't slip out tonight without getting some action. "Oh sorry, Reid. I just can't help it." Then she restrained from laughing, letting her breathing return to normalcy. "By the way, I have to go." She waved goodbye but I caught her wrist and spun her around. "You think you can get away that easily from me, huh?" A smirk formed. She rolled her eyes again, pursed her lips as if in disbelief. And here I am, restraining myself from pulling her close and devouring her lips here on the deserted hallway of the gym. "What do you want?" She asked annoyed. Feisty, huh. "Go out with me tonight."I almost begged. "What part of 'no' that you cannot comprehend? I don't go to bars. I said it's not my--"
She's exasperated and annoyed so I cut her off. "Yeah. I know that you made it clear awhile ago that clubs aren't your thing. That's why I'm here to invite you out for--" I don't know what I was saying. But probably, it's for the best. "What is it?" Curiosity written on her angelic face. "I want to invite you for a cup of coffee just..just across the building." I finished. She contemplated and she laughs again. Argh. Fuck. This woman's really testing my patience. What does she will say now? I already took a detour of my usual invitations to women. Then now, she'll have the guts to turn me down again? She tapped my shoulder. I looked up to her and see a beautiful smile on her face and it brightened my sour mood that she herself put me through. "Aren't we going for that cup of coffee you've invited me for?" I almost jumped in the air when her words finally sink in. She said yes! Shit. I just can't contain the happiness inside me but I have to. She cannot know what she does to me. My hand went to her back in a protective manner as we cross the street all the way to Starbucks.
After two frappes and muffins, she walked to the counter to order again. "Do you want another round?" She asked, her eyes sparkling with joy. I shook my head; I've had enough caffeine in my system. We talked about the usual, her favorites, hobbies, and her degree over Hazelnut and Cinnamon Dolce frappe. She loves cinnamon. Her favorite colors are green and crimson. She's sporty; actually she loves soccer and basketball. Well, I love fit and sporty women because that could only mean one thing--her stamina in bed could be good as well. She plopped down on the flushed seat opposite me. "You really love coffee, huh?" I teased her. She nodded and smiled, dimples shown on both sides of her cheeks near her mouth. Seeing those made her more beautiful--extraordinary. "I already told you, I'm more of a caffeine person than an alcoholic." As a matter of fact, she's not also afraid of taking in so much calories and carbs, it's her second pastry tonight. "Another round for pastries too?" I raised my eyebrows at her as she cuts the cheesecake brownie with her fork. "Yep. Hey, I'm also a foodie. I think I've mentioned that earlier." She said defensively. My hands sprung up in the air as a sign of defending myself."You want some?" She offered and took a slice in front of me. When I was about to close my mouth on it, she put it in her mouth and giggled. Seeing her this playful is a breath of fresh air. She's so unlike of those socialites I went out with. They literally act like anorexics, just toying with the food on their plate. This lady who's happily munching on her brownie is one of a kind--a rare gem. "Java Chocolate Chip for Ms. Hannah." The guy from the counter called out. She rose from her seat but stopped her. "I'll get it. Just munch on that." I pointed at the brownie which I think will last for a bite or two.
I took a seat opposite her and handed her frappe. She muttered thanks and sipped on it. Those luscious pink lips enclosed on that green straw lures me to devour her at this instant. But I can't. Lucky damn straw! Argh. I groaned. "Hey, are you alright?" Concern and worry etched on her face as her hand gently rub the top of my hand. It soothes my nerves and directly shoots up to the lower part of my body. Shit. Not now, buddy. You don't need to salute her now, just wait for a few more nights. She's not the kind for 'bed 'em and leave 'em' schemes. "Reid, if you're bored now, you can leave. I don't mind. Chatting with you for three hours is enough. I'll just take this frappe and leave.." She trailed off but I cut her off. How will I get bored with her? Damn. The things we're discussing excites me. She's so well-versed in sports, business, and the economy, unlike the other women I have been with who just whines about how gross the food was, their hair and makeup. Those were totally airheads who just know how to spread their legs and moan like a porn star. At least, they have such skills because if not, where that would leave them, right? "I'm fine. I just remembered something. So where do we left off?" I asked hoping to continue a great conversation again. "Your course. You said you took business ad in UP, right? How about your masters?" I nodded. "In UP as well. Only the best." My voice laced with honor and I'm proud I came out unscathed in UP. "Interesting, so how does it feel having two sablays? God, if we hadn't stayed in States I would be in UP as well." She stated. Well, she'll fit in. I am one hundred and one percent sure that she'll pass the UPCAT. "Kind of proud. Knowing UP's glorious reputation in the country and now, in the world. I guess I've never been more proud of myself." "Don't forget to mention the perks of having open-minded people around you. It's just like in the U.S., right?" She knows well.
"Yeah, discrimination and ill-judgments are minimal. How about in States?" I asked though I knew very well how people live there. "Just the usual hormonal students. I am glad I was never one to succumb to those. The Filipino's value on purity and chastity is engraved on my mind." She said proudly, voice laced with the sound of victory. She isn't helping with my situation right now; she just subtly told me that she's a virgin! For Pete's sake she's still a virgin at the age of-- Wait. How old is she again? "That's great to hear. You have a great sense of control despite the surroundings you practically grew up in. How old are you again?" "23, I'll turn 23 in the next three weeks." The exact date wasn't exposed. But at least I have an idea when will be her birthday. Maybe I'll just surprise her each day on the third week of July. Wait--what?! I almost punched myself in the gut with what I just said. Damn it. I shouldn't be thinking about such stuff. I barely know her. We barely know each other. To be honest, we never delved about our personal lives, things about our respective families but we're both single that's for sure. 'Because you're not one for relationships.' My mind added. "Hmmm..well happy birthday in advance." She laughed really hard, patting her bare leg with one hand. Shit. The smooth white leg is turning into crimson. I knew one pleasurable way of turning it into one once again. "You're funny, you know that." Then she continued laughing again, this time without tapping her leg. "Huh?" "You're way too early to greet. So early that you beat even my own mom." I nodded then grinned. Then a thought came to mind.
"Well, you could type your number here so I could greet you on your birthday." I handed her my phone. "So smooth, Reid. Real smooth." She shook her head as she smiled mischievously. She lifted the phone and typed in her number. "Here." She didn't save it. I eyed her she just shrugged. "It's your choice what name you'll put on. It could be Jake, Mike, or Ethan." Then she giggled. This woman is really amazingly funny and full of wit. "Why? Guys like you often do that to keep secrets and turn away suspicions from your lovers. Am I right?" I pondered. No, I never did that. I wasn't one for saving women's numbers. Hell, I can't even remember their names. And I never bothered recalling anyway. Their just one-time bed flings. "I don't save numbers. Actually, you'll be the first woman aside from my mom who will be on my contact list now." That's the truth. A blush crept up her cheeks. Then her phone rings. Her brows furrowed in confusion. She answered it. "Hey, it's me. Reid Montreal, you're handsome new friend. Save my number, sweetheart." I winked at her. "Idiot." She remarked. She ended the call and we both laughed. After she saved my number, her phone rang again. "Yes, mom. I'll head in now. Yeah. Sorry, I was having coffee with a--friend. I love you too." I eavesdropped on the one-sided conversation. So it's her mom who called her. Who else will it be, right? "So, is she calling you to head home right away? Sorry, I held you up for too long." We talked for about four hours and a half. It's 11:34pm now. Wow. Talk about irony. I never thought my time will always be spent on clubs drinking the night away and have hook ups for the rest of the night. But here I am, I've spent almost five hours over coffee with an amazing woman.
And I wasn't getting laid! "No. She just checked up on me. Well, it's nice to have coffee with you, Reid. But I have to go." She rose from her seat and bent to grab her gym bag from the side. Her shorts ride up high which gave me good looks of her creamy and smooth thighs. "No peeking, Reid." She reprimanded me but I caught the tone in her voice. She's not mad, just being polite and not one for slapping and making a scene. I mouthed an apology to her in which she nodded in acknowledgment. When we headed outside, the street lights and the moon above made her features softer and alluring. "Hey, I can give you a ride home. Just tell me the directions." I offered. The taxi drivers during the night aren't one for trusting. I can't take the risk of letting her ride one with the uncertainty of her safety. She might be raped or mobbed. Or both. Damn it. My protective instincts are kicking in when in fact they only resurface when it comes to my mother. 'So you think she'll be safe with you then? Aren't you thinking having her for the night awhile ago?' Half of my mind countered in. Shit. But I'm better than them. I can offer marriage. Hell, I'll offer marriage. Wait--what? Damn it. I must be really going crazy again. I guess a good night sleep will help and some distractions from work. "Thanks but no thanks, Reid. I don't think you have all the time to drive me home." Confusion settled in me. She giggled at my reaction. What is happening? Why is that so? Is she from Visayas or Mindanao and it will take hours to get her home? "Home is in States, Reid I am staying in a hotel nearby." A sad expression crossed her face. Does she miss home? "You're alone in a hotel? Where's your mom?" Idiot. Why I never bothered asking awhile ago when we were having coffee? "She's in States. She stayed. But I'll be back as soon as I settled the things I need to attend to." She bit her bottom lip as she clutched tightly at her gym bag. What's with the sudden change of mood?
Argh. Women and their pathetic mood swings. I just nodded and insisted to drive her back to her hotel. At first she was reluctant, insisting that it'll be out of my way. But then again, who could resist Reid Montreal's charms? No one. Even the virgin Hannah my sweetheart caved in. At least she caved in my charm for giving her a ride. But I'll make sure to give her another kind of ride the next time we meet again. I smirked at the thought and a tent grew inside my black pants. Someone's excited! The ride to the hotel was excruciatingly silent; no one ever uttered a word. "We're here, sweetheart." She never budged. Then it dawned on me that she's sleeping the whole time. She must be tired from all the things she did the morning before and the conversation awhile ago. I caressed her left cheek, her neck exposed a bit due to her position. My forefinger slid down her lips, caressing it lightly afraid of getting caught. Then she suddenly nipped on my forefinger and left a soft bite with her front teeth. I almost jumped and tore my forefinger from her as electricity shot through me. She giggled. "That's what you get for perverting with a sleeping woman." I thought I stopped breathing for a moment but when she turned her head at me, I finally released the breath that I was holding on. Her eyes sparkling with joy, not anger or fury. Phew. I thought it's game over for us. "Let me correct that, you're an angel. You're a sleeping angel of beauty." She blushed but quickly recovered from it. "Cut the flattery, Reid. Anyway, thanks for the ride and see you around?" It more sounded of a question, as if she's confused if she wants to bump into me again and talk to me. Well at least she considered the thought of us meeting once more. "It's nothing. I had fun talking to you and seeing you munch away those brownies." I winked. She pouted. My eyes are drawn to her pink lips now making my eyes dilate in desire--desire to claim her luscious lips.
As if she could read my perverted thoughts, she moved closer to me and brushed her lips on my cheek. We're both stunned at the moment but she was the first one to recover. Her eyes widened and she hurriedly went out the car and inside the lobby of the hotel. Damn it. What was that?! I got a kiss from Miss Virginal Hannah my sweetheart. I pumped my fist in the air as I drive the way on my pad.
"Where's Dad?" I asked as I put down the basket of fruits beside my mom's bed in her hospital room. She's admitted for the week due to over fatigue. "He's outside for an important appointment." There are lines under her eyes, and she's a bit sappy today. I wonder why. Could it be due to Dad's infidelity? "No one or nothing's far more important than your condition, Mom. He should know better." My annoyance is bubbling to the surface and she noticed it. "You worry too much. I'm still alive, Reid. If you really care about me, why don't you settle down? Give me grandchildren. I want to see and spoil them before I die." Her eyes are misty from imagining her grandkids. Argh. Not this topic again. "Mom..don't say that." I whined. "What I won't say? Could you please repeat it?" She teased me. God, for three years she's been taunting me to get married. "Both." She chuckled at my response and patted her bed letting me sit beside her. "Reid, my big boy Reid you need to settle down. One of these days you'll just realize what you lack in life. You'll miss the happiness of having someone to lean on in good times or bad ones. The time of being with the woman you could share your insecurities with and still love you despite your flaws. Aren't you lonely, Reid? What kind of happiness do you get in whoring around with ladies?" She spat and looked at me, waiting for my response. I just shrugged my shoulders and pouted. "Nothing, right? Physical intimacy is meaningless--it lacks happiness. Orgasm is useless when emotions and intimacy are out of the equation. Sex, or love making will be meaningful with the one you love--your other half." Her words struck me and I felt ashamed. Of course she knows my sex escapades; these were plastered in the magazines and gossip stands. "I haven't met the woman I could marry. It's not as simple as picking vegetables from the dishes you cook, Mom. It's as hard as choosing what tie will suit my tuxedos." My explanation did not seem so valid but hey, it's hard to find a good investment of a wife. "Maybe you're looking in the wrong places. She could be the woman you'll meet at a restaurant, the one you'll bump into a coffee shop and all that cheesy stuff." At the mere mention of coffee shop an angelic face crossed my mind. Then a smile crept up on my face--a goofy smile. I really had a great time talking with Hannah last night. "I can tell you met someone, huh?" She pried. Oh no, it's not a good omen that she noticed my goofy smile. "Just seeing your smile, that goofy and love struck smile tells me that she's good for you. Who is the not-so-lucky-lady that got my big boy Reid's eyes and heart?" Her teasing is beyond my level of tolerance now. "It's not what you think, Mom. We just had coffee last night, nothing more. Nothing follows." Please buy it, Mom. No more prying. "Absurd. You were sober with a lady last night? This is good omen, Reid. Though I haven't met this lady in person, I could tell she's a keeper. So keep her before anyone else does." Shit. There goes her line of keeping a good woman once again. I am so tired of hearing such for the past three years. "And I can't wait to meet her. No more buts." She beat me to it. Damn. "Mom.." I tried to bargain. Why would she want to meet Hannah? We haven't established a concrete relationship nor talked about us, literally and figuratively. Argh. This is absolutely getting crazier and complicated. What Hannah will say about me, that I'm a freak for inviting her over to meet my parents? No way, I won't let her think of me as the obsessed stalker. "No more buts, Reid. I repeat no more buts. She must be the one who will lessen your struggles on choosing what tie will suit your tuxedos and even more. She can help you tore it off you at night, or any time of the day. End of discussion." She chuckled. Argh. My mind wandered about Hannah's smooth and delicate hands peeling away my tie and the rest of my clothes. "Snap out of those perverted thoughts; wait until you gave her your surname, Reid Montreal. And answer your damn phone then leave. It could be the not-so-lucky girl. And your Dad will be here any minute now." I kissed her cheek, nodded and answered my phone outside her room. "What now, Benj?" "I sent a photo awhile ago. I was just checking your reaction. But based from your reaction you haven't see them." He chuckled. "What photos?" I asked not knowing what he was talking about. "Just open the damn photo, and you'll see. I'm warning you, your happy sing-song mood will vanish right after seeing those pictures." He warned seriously. So it's about Dad's mistress. Shit. I ended the call and tapped on the application and saw the pictures--three pictures of my Dad with a lady at the airport. Shit. "My Mom still breaths fine. To hell with the freakin' sexy step-mom." I muttered under my breath, my knuckles turned white from gripping the phone as I promised to make this woman's life a living hell once I knew who she is.