This is the first draft of the novel I am making. Hope you'll enjoy it. Have Fun!
CASSANDRA'S heart began racing as her phone rang that morning. She just let Alex to hold it overnight. Since yesterday, she bought a new phone with her new number. She wanted to get rid of her former life.
"I don't want to answer it, Alex. Please"
"It's your dad."
"I don't have a dad."
"Why not give him ..."
"No more chances. Alex. I'm tired of it!"
Cassandra Villanueva had just raised her voice which she seldom did in front of Alex. That's Alex' cue to stop. They were very close friends. She understood what's going onto her friend's mind. Yet, she didn't want to cross the line. Cassandra did not want anyone to intrude her space - To share a part of her thinking.
"Okay. Fine. What do you want now?" Alex' voice are full of sympathy. She always bear in mind that her best friend was struggling inside. She did not want to add more weight to that heaviness.
"Just give me space." Her voice cracked trying to hold a tear out of her eyes.
"I see. But if you need a friend you know that I am always here. Call me."
Alex was leaving. She had a contract to finish. Cebu's subway tunnel. Her ultimate dream. She engineered that underwater railroad connecting the islands of Ilo-ilo and Cebu. Sooner, after that project, she would design a subway railroad to Mindanao. After that, God permits, an interconnected underwater tunnels throughout the whole country. Such a big dream and she would never allow anything to hinder her finishing the project.
"We are friends right?" Sandra's calling too low. However, Alex caught her words. She looked back.
"Yes. We are friends."
"What if I say please don't leave me, will you stay?" she looked at Alex' eyes. There no more holding on. Tears glistened her cheeks. Her brown eyes beg her to stay.
Alex took a moment to answer. Her ultimate dream or her friend begging for company?
"You know that you are so precious to me. But, you also know that I got this contract . . ."
"Which is your ultimate dream. And, you cannot leave me." Cassandra finished those lines. She pitied herself. Crying and begging? What the heck!!! She was strong and she did not allow herself to cry. But there, she could not help herself in front of her friend. "Forget what I asked. Fine. You can go."
"You can go with me." Alexa said. "But, how about your project in Davao?"
"I don't say I'll go with you. I asked you to stay with me." She avoided her friend's eyes and looked directly out of the window. She knew that what she asked was so selfish and felt so guilty of asking it. "I understand the feeling of having the opportunity to live those big dreams. Now, that opportunity is already in your hands. Work them."
Alexa knew Cassandra all her life. She knew that Sandra would sacrifice herself for the good of others even if that would mean leaving her alone. She moved closer to Sandra whose standing near the window overlooking the green pasture and the mud smelling ranch they used to spend their many good memories. She embraced her. Warm as always. The friendship they had and the childhood they shared had made the connection that they had each time they are together. The warm embrace of friendship promising all things would just be fine.
"Shsssh... Just promise me we will be first riding horses when you come back. Summer here is perfect for bonfire and horseriding. Okay?"
"With . . ."
"Don't mention him. Just us." Cassandra lifted Alex' face and kissed her forehead."Now go, my little sister. Your plane is leaving"
For a last moment, Alex embraced her more tightly as if trying to break her ribs. Cassandra was her big sister, always sacrificing. She deserved more out of her life. Out of the lies. She deserved solid promises.
"Yeah. Summer is perfect. I am sure, I will be here." She leaned and kissed Sandra in the cheeks. "Just for now, Good bye, Stone Heart."
Sandra chuckled. What an eandearment." You too. Take care. You, Careless."
Alex walked to the door. With a last glance, she looked back to Sandra and waved a good bye gesture. Sandra, waved in response. Then, Alex closed the door.
The room was silent now except the ticking of the ancient clock her mother once gave her as a present. It was a gift of her grandmother to her mother once. Now, it's in her possession. Thinking about her mother, she realized what was she at the moment. Alone. Alex left. Her mother left. Her father left. The thought was disturbing.
It was already late afternoon. Twilight soon would fight the light for night. It was best to rein her horse again. Samantha will be glad for a company too before she will be leaving to nowhere.
LAND TRAVEL SUCKS. For 5 hours of land transportation, what she wanted was s few minutes to stand and stretch. Just for few minutes of sea travel, she would absolutely feel the open air and the solid ground. It was just a good thing that she really loved adventure and the travel that she didn't throw up. Samal Island was already seen at a distance.
Alex and her used to travel a lot when they were still a student. Skipping classes were not a surprising habit to them. It was their attitude whenenver they got bored in the class.
"Six day? Are you sure you are not going to be unished by your parents by that long absent?" Alex asked.
"Don't you worry. They don't care about me." Sandra said. The way she spoke was like she did not worry about all her life. She spoke those energetically as if there was a big show coming to town and all she cared about was to be in town.
"How about you? Your parents will wonder?" There still part in her that was afraid. Of course, she denied it. But, she cared about the influence of Alex. Alex' parents did not approve Cassandra to be their daughter's friend. Sandra did not care. Alex Did not care either. That's why she loved that woman.
She wondered what Alex was doing at the meantime. She was very far with her thoughts wandering the past they had been. Except that she was brought in the present by an annoying voice.
"Hey!!! Miss Stone!" She knew those voice and it was coming near her. She ignored it.
"Really? Ah, of course, stones don't have ears." He leaned over the ship's railing and faced her. His eyes teased hers.
"Mr. Domingo . . ." the gentleman beside her stopped her.
"Enough with the formalities, Miss Stone", he looked straight to her eyes. That froze her. He won. Smiling, he continued, "It never came to me that you are this very silent type person."
Sandra felt uneasy with his company. The way he stared at her, it seems to froze her as if he had power to make things ice. "Mark Domingo, I am not in the mood to play games with you. See?" gesturing something in front of the guy as if she was doing something.
"I don't see. Let me guess." His eyes still teases her. "hmmm... thinking?" He put his shoulders over her and laughed. "I know you very much Miss Stone. The hell with that thinking. I am bored here without someone to talk. And, I am not very good pretending that I miss talking with you."
Sandra felt her blood making her face red. "What do you mean?"
Mark put down his hands away from her shoulders and now, he was laughing very hard. "Gods! I miss a friend. I miss you Sandra. I miss talking with those your silly voice. Don't say you don't miss me?"
Sandra laughed then. Right. She forgot how fast time had travelled.
"That's what I wanted to hear. The laughing Sandra. You are better when you are not silent."
She was speechless. What should she say? The man standing beside her is the boy she used to play hide and seek before together with Alex. He was her comforter and he always made her laughed.
"Heavens! What brought you here?" That came unexpectedly from her mouth. She wonder why.
"You don't know?"
She made a face that she had no clue.
"I really don't know."
"I'm not used to that expression. I know that you are the person who knows everything what's going on especially to the project you are working on."
"Really?" her raised her brows and chuckled, "I am not that person now."
"There." He stooped smiling and looked at her directly in the eyes. Stunned.
"You are really lovely when you are laughing."
She was tie-tongued again. Obviously blushing upon the comment just told of her. She looked at him. The look in her face made Mark be back in the reality.
"Um.. Sorry. You know . . .I am still amazed how you turned ... for how many years already?"
That was an escape statement he hoped will saved him. He didn't want to spill his secrets he concealed in his heart for this woman over the years. She was an inspiration to him. He looked at her like a sacred idol worthy of all of good things. And, before Sandra would know how he felt towards her, he wanted to let her know it through action. Action speaks louder than voice, right? That was his motto. He will not tell her. He will show her how mush he adored Sandra. Glady, his escape statement worked. Sandra didn't need probing which made him rather annoyed than pleased. This woman is a genius who can figure out a sketch how to make a mud farmland into a romantic sanctuary yet could not figure out how he felt at the moment.
Sandra looked at him questioning. What did he forget to answer? Or, did she want to know what he really meant of his comment? Idiot. Why would she thought so?
"You did not answer my question yet." That proved Mark was an idiot.
It was Sandra's moment. She looked at him teasingly. Her brown eyes brought the tension in the air more erry to Mark making his neck's hair stood.
"hmm. Yeah. Right. I am here because I am working a project. . . with the best architect in the world." He was trying to catch the right words he could still see to hide his stammering. Good thing, Sandra didn't care. Was she really this Stone hearted? He thought.
"Right. He is working with us." A woman's voice mimicking a flirting 15-year old kid said. Chelsy Moons, Sandra's assistant, looked at her and moving her gaze to mark. The last look took longer. It irritated Sandra. She obliged herself to break the silence.
"So, Chelsy, what is Mr. Mark Domingo doing here with us?" She fancied herself to look formal always in front of her crew. Mark was different. He was an old friend of her. But, he was part of the crew, so she must act formal.
"Miss Sandra, I think you know each other already," Chelsy said.
It annoyed her more. She stared at Chelsy like transporting a message i-am-seriou-that-i-don't-know-thing look. No one would ever dare to try Sandra when she was looking like that. It means disaster and she was the boss. Her word meant law.
"Miss Sandra, this is Mark Domingo, your partner. He is the head engineer of the project." Chelsy took a pause. She was not in the flirting mood voice already. Sandra scared her too. "And, Mr. Domingo . . ." Mark cut her there.
"I already know about her," he said, playfully smiling towards the two ladies in front of her. "I am all nuts with it."
The two stared at him longer as if doubting what he had said. "I mean, I am all nuts about the project. Of course, the head architect is part of the project. I could not ignore it."
The barge signaled that they already arrived at the port. Thank heavens!! Sandra thougth. She was already a fried fries in there. His best friend, his old best boy friend would be her partner on the project. She could not easily catch her breath.
"So, Chelsy, please arranged us a meeting table in my cabin in Park Hotel," she looked Mark. "We are of the same rank, I could not just say in my place, but I am the lady here, right?"
Mark knew the meaning of that so he simply agreed with her. "Fine. Hmm, it is three already. Are you already good at 5 to discuss plans?" Sandra nodded and he leaned closer to her ears and whispered, "like old times, dinner would be also good."