The Heart Thief-1

Everybody has a mission in life. For work or for love, it’s still a mission.

Oliva dreamed of becoming a law enforcer. She loved danger.

Alejandro was a writer who liked to disguise as a different character to get first-hand experience of a different life.

Here are two people who would cross paths while living their fake lives. Oliva guarded her heart jealously because getting hurt by the dangerous world she lived in would be easy.

But Alejandro was a born charmer. He was magnetic and mysterious. And Oliva could never resist mysteries…

* * *

“Mr. Montero, magandang hapon po sa inyo,” ang magalang na bati ng head waiter na si Juanito.

Lumapit ito agad sa mesa niya nang mamataan siyang papasok ng Restaurant Monte Andro.

“May kasama po ba kayo? Kukunin ko na ang order ninyo.”

Umiling si Alejandro. He lit a cigerette before he answered the old man in the white coat.

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“Ako lang ang kakain, Juanito. Serve me my usual plate of steak and onions — well done. A bottle of red wine, semi-chilled. And a large pot of coffee, for dessert.”

Yumukod ang head waiter. “Yes, sir. would you like an aperitif?”

“Give me a glass of scotch on the rocks.” He looked around the room.

His agile eyes observing everything around him. Nothing every bit of informations in his mental memory bank.

“Here’s your scotch, sir.”

Tumango lang si Alejandro.

Isang magandang babaeng nakaupo sa gawing kaliwa niya ang napuna niyang nagpapapungay sa kanya ng mga matang may mahahabang false eyelashes. She even mewled her red lips in a pout, trying to look sultry and seductive.

His mouth curled in distaste before looking away. He sipped his drink while transferring his attention elsewhere, forgetting the flirtatious woman effortlessly.

“Excuse me, handsome,” anang boses-babae na sinadyang maging paos sa pandinig.

His skin crawled as he swiveled his head towards the persistent female.

“What do you want?” he asked her tersely.

Kung nakikilala siya ng babae, mahuhulaan agad nito na malapit na siyang maubusan ng pasensiya kapag ganoon ang tono niya.

Ngunit nagpatuloy lamang ito sa pagpapa-cute sa kanya.

“Ikaw,” anito habang ngumingiti nang buong tamis. “May I join you? Malungkot kumaing mag-isa, e.”

Umiling si Alejandro. “I don’t want to eat with you, miss.” Tumutol siya nang walang apology. “Puwede bang iwanan mo na ako?”

Parang sinampal ang hitsura ng babae. Namutla ito at kapagkuwan ay namula. “W-what? You’re refusing me?”

Ikiniling niya ang ulo. His hard face remaining blank as he stared at her.

“I don’t want to do anything with you, miss. Get away from me. You’re disturbing my meal.”

Her beautiful mask crumpled into angry lines as her true colors appeared with the humiliation he had inflicted on her.

“Masyado kang concited, Mr. Montero. Ang tingin mo sa sarili mo ay masyadong mataas. Darating ang araw, makakarma ka din!”

After hissing venomous words, she left him without a backward glance.

He just shrugged mentally and continued his silent scrutiny of his fellow diners.

Pag-aari niya ang Monte Andro pero ang nakakakilala lamang na empleyado sa kanya ay ang master chef at si Juanito, parehong imported mula sa Zamboanga.

At mga kakilala niya nang matagal na matagal nang panahon.

He had no friends. Wala siyang tiwala kaninuman upang magkaroon ng malalalim na relasyon sa kapwa.

He regarded any emotions as fickle and shallow. He disliked love the most. It was just a disease and a convenient word to use when a man and a woman wanted to use each other’s body for pleasure.

The woman with fake lashes had chosen a wrong timing. If he had wanted to have sex tonight, he would have accepted her invitation. She looked clean enough to pass his fastidious standard.

Ngunit wala sa mood si Alejandro ngayong gabi. Isang linggo na siyang sinusumpong at nababalisa.

“Would you like to taste the wine, sir?” Pinutol ni Juanito. ang pagmumuni-muni niya sa paglapit nito.

“You do it,” habang nakatingin lang sa ritwal ng bottle-opening. Tumango siya nang matapos ang pagtikim ni Juanito sa kaunting alak na isinalin sa kopita.

“Okey, please, see to it that I won’t be disturbed again,” utos niya sa head waiter habang pasimpleng sumusulyap sa gawing kaliwa niya.

Tumangu-tango si Juanito matapos maintindihan ang ibig niyang sabihin.

“I’ll do what I can, sir,” pangako nito bago lumayo sa mesa niya.

Ilang sandali pa, nawala na sa kanya ang atensiyon ng malalalim na mga mata ng babae. May lumapit ditong isang lalaki na bata at guwapung-guwapo sa suot na blazer and slacks.

Kilala niya ang lalaki. Kitchen-helper iyon ni Pablo, ang chef ng restawran. He made a mental note to give Juanito a small bonus on his next paycheck. An ingenious mind should not be left unrewarded!

Parang nawala-wala ang sumpong ni Alejandro. Medyo maganda na ang timplada niya nang matapos siyang kumain.

Naubos niya ang buong bote ng red wine at medyo malagihay na siya nang dalhan uli siya ni Juanito ng isang shot ng brandy matapos siyang magkape.

“Itawag mo ako ng taksi, Juanito,” utos niya nang makaramdam ng antok.

Kinuha niya ang checkbook sa bulsa ng suot na vest. “Nasaan ang chit ko?”

Maliksing inilabas ni Juanito ang chit. Tinanggap nito ang tseke niya at yumukod na naman bago lumakad palayo.

“Tatawag na ako ng taksi,” paalam nito.

Nagpahatid siya sa isang magulong neighborhood.

Nasa gitna niyon ang lumang apartment na inuupahan niya. Kalilipat lang niya nung isang buwan at bagu-bago pa lamang nasasanay sa ganitong klaseng lugar.

“Heto ang bayad,” aniya sa drayber.

Naalala niyang wala siyang baryang pambayad sa taksi kaya nanghiram siya kay Juanito bago siya sumakay.

“Sa’yo na ang sukli,” dugtong niya bago bumaba.

“Salamat, boss,” tugon ng tsuper, natutuwa na sa tip na bente pesos!

Hindi na kumibo si Alejandro. Kinakapa na niya sa loob ng bulsa ng pantalon ang susi niya sa pinto ng apartment, habang naglalakad sa bangketa.

THE HEART THIEF-2

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