The Runaway Wife-29

Naglaho ang ngiti ni Andrei. “Yeah, I’m just joking.”

She regretted the loss of his smile. Nagsisi tuloy siya kung bakit binara niya ito agad gayong nagbibiro lang naman.

“I’m sorry for being such a wet blanket,” she mumbled discomfittedly.

Hinawakan ni Andrei ang isang kamay niya upang haplusin ng mga daliri. Para bang siya pa ang inaalo.

“No, don’t be. I didn’t know how to be a father. You should correct me when I’m doing something wrong and coach me to do everything right,” pahayag ng lalaki.

“I can’t do that, Andrei. I wouldn’t know how to be a father,” tugon naman niya.

Andrei smiled at her again. His good spirits had returned.

“But I’ll still listen to you. Because you’re one great momma.”

Her cheeks were suddenly being suffused with warm color. He had complimented her with deep sincerity.

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“T-thank you,” she stammered.

Hinagkan pa ni Andrei ang gitna ng palad niya bago nito tuluyang binitiwan ang kanyang kamay.

Electricity-like sensations shoot through her arm and throughout her whole body.

The small and casual kiss made her quiver with something powerful and baffling.

Turning her into a willing slave.

She snatched back her hand. Nakakuyom ang kanyang palad. Pilit niyang binubura ang mga sensasyon.

Ngunit tila walang paghinto ang mga iyon sa gabing iyon.

Her body had turned into a malleable mass of susceptibility.

Halos ang lahat ng gawin ng lalaking kaharap sa mesa ay nararamdaman niya. Naaapektuhan siya.

His eyes caressed her slowly.

“I like your gown, Rana,” pahayag nito. “It makes you glitter and sparkle with elegance.”

“Thank you.”

Pinili niyang isuot ang may pinakamagarbong disenyong gown niya para ma-impressed nang husto ang lalaki.

She made up her face carefully.

Nagpatulong pa siya sa dalawang katulong para lang magawa ang elaborate hairstyle niya na tanging babagay sa kanyang kasuotan.

Hindi naman nasayang ang kanyang effort dahil si Andrei ay impecabbly dressed nang bumalik sa kanyang bahay, sakay ng isa pang vintage car.

His lips twitched in amusement. “Are you speechless, Rana?”

Tumango siya.

“But why? Don’t tell me, you’ve suddenly turned shy?”

“Hindi naman,” aniya habang ipinipilig ang ulo.

She did not want to be drunk from his attention. But the attraction between them had always been irresistible.

Everything was magical.

She could be easily waylaid again.

It was like having a déjà vu.

Ayaw na niyang maulit ang kahapon.

“Ngayon lang kita nakitang walang imik, a?”

“This is all something new to me,” she confessed. “Y-your kindness, your tenderness… You must give me some time to adjust.”

“You mean I’ve never been kind to you — ” Tila nasaktan ang lalaki.

“N-no. I mean, the male attention – we never went out before.”

Nagkaroon ng kakatwang kislap sa mga mata ng lalaki.

“You mean to say, you’ve not dated any men?”

She interpreted the gleam in his eyes as cynicism.

“N-no,” ang matamlay na wika niya.

“You’ve turned into a beautiful woman, Rana. I can’t believe that men did not see you?”

Nag-apuhap siya ng kahit na ano sa kanyang kalooban. She clutched at something desperately. And it was her nonchalance that she found.

“Oh, they see me alright but not inside the dining room,” she expressed airily.

Biglang nabura ang kasiyahan sa mukha ng lalaki. Naglaho rin ang pangingislap ng mga mata nito.

Again, she felt the gnawing loss and strange regret. Para bang kinasabikan niyang makita uli ang mga ngiti ni Andrei.

Tumindig siya mula sa kinauupuang straight-backed chair, upang magtungo sana sa kusina.

It was more like she was asking for help. Her situation was not her usual scene. Nalilito siya.

“Where are you going?” pigil ng lalaki sa kanya.

“I — to the kitchen. I’ll just check if everything is alright.”

“Everything will be alright, princess,” pahayag nito.

Inilabas nito ang isang mahabang kahon na may nakapalibot na matabang ribbon na kulay pula.

“Do you have wine glasses?”

Tumango si Rana. Lumapit siya sa wine cabinet na nasa isang sulok ng sala.

Inilabas niya ang dalawang kopita na nakakahon pa. Iniregalo lang sa kanya iyon ng isang kliyente na nasiyahan sa kanya.

“Huhugasan ko,” prisinta niya.

Umiling ang lalaki. “No, ako na lang. Maupo ka na lang diyan, aking prinsesa.”

Muntik nang mapasinghap si Rana dahil sa pagsibol ng kasiyahan. Kahit na alam niyang pulos pakunwari lang ang masuyong pakikitungo ni Andrei, tinatablan pa rin siya.

Gayun na nga lang ang nagawa niya nang ipilit ni Andrei na ito na lang ang magtungo sa kusina upang ipahugas ang naturang mga kopita.

“Hindi ako umiinom ng alak, Andrei,” she told him. Para hindi siya piliting uminom.

“You don’t drink wine, my dear. You just sip it. Pamparelaks lang ito, don’t worry. Para mawala lang ang nerbiyos mo.”

“I’m not nervous,” she denied spiritedly.

Andrei just chuckled out loud.

“You’re as nervous as a young deer, dear Rana. Always ready to bolt away with my slight movements,” panunudyo nito.

Namula ang mukha at leeg ni Rana. She did not realize that her fear was very transparent.

Huminga siya nang malalim para makalma ang sarili. Ngunit lalo lamang bumilis ang pagtibok ng kanyang puso dahil pirming nakatitig ang lalaki sa kanya.

“You have the most delightful breasts I’ve ever seen,” papuri ni Andrei habang hinahagod ng humahangang paningin ang kanyang harapan.

Parang ibig niya tuloy huminto sa paghinga nang mga sandaling iyon.

Dahil kaya lang naman napuna ng lalaki ang kanyang dibdib ay dahil sa malimit niyang paghinga nang malalim.

Her cleavage became more interesting than it should be.

“You have the most satiny skin I’ve ever touched,” patuloy ni Andrei, pabulong pa rin.

She tried to take back her wits.

“P-para kang makata, Andrei. Dumidiga ka ba?” It was intended as a turn-off but her voice was too quivery to sound like a chide.

Ngumiti nang seryoso ang lalaki habang tumatango nang marahan.

“Yes,” he admitted ruefully. “I really want you to marry me, Rana.”

Nakakapaso ang mga titig na mapang-arok.

Agad siyang nagbaba ng tingin uli. Hindi niya kayang makipagtitigan nang matagal. Baka may matuklasan si Andrei…

“Alam mo na ang sagot ko diyan, hindi ba?”

THE RUNAWAY WIFE-30

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