Parchment, Part 2

November 27, 1998: “Just a half day ago I was seemingly caught in the never-ending glut that was my daily struggle. Not that I have regrets about my career decision, yet, but it has gotten quite monotonous and frustrating for me over the past few weeks.

“Now, I am excited! I am going down to San Fabian, to some person’s place I’ve never been to before. I have been to the town before, though, and it is nothing short of peaceful beauty along the sea shore. The waters are warm, the winds cool, the atmosphere simply invigorating. I am almost certain that when I come back home, I’ll be in an even better mood than I am now, which really says something. Who knows? I may even meet the girl of my dreams at that party. Ah, that just might be my optimism charged up by all my excitement.

“I can’t wait to get there though!” On Saturday, November 28, at about six o’clock in the evening, he was there. This had to be it, with all the brand-new looking cars parked around the area. Philippine high society at it’s finest, or ugliest, depending on your viewpoint. Filipinos mostly regarded their vehicles as status symbols first, vehicles a distant second. John happily took note of the fact that the place was practically right on the beach. He got out of his car, familiar with it for all of the two weeks since it was purchased, and walked out to through the open gate and to the closed main entrance.

His mom didn’t give any hint of a dress code, so he chose to dress semi formally, which, for him, was a pair of white slacks and a black long sleeved shirt. He straightened his tie. The smell of ocean air, the sea breeze running into his face, the orange and purple haze of the setting sun, all of it made him feel very happy to be there at that point in time. He rang on the doorbell. After nearly a minute, the door finally, slowly opened. He couldn’t believe his own eyes.

“Hello, good evening!” was what he heard. What his eyes then focused on was quite a sight. A tall, slim, and totally gorgeous female, apparently in her twenties, wearing a dark blue dress, stood there with a bright smile, and a gleam in her eyes. An almost, hungry gleam. Astounding beauty is one thing, but there was something about this woman, to John. That “glow” you see in a person, that beams of confidence, inner beauty, attractiveness, and possibly other things.

He was momentarily at a loss for words. An even brighter smile came from her, breaking him out of his trance. “Good evening, madame”. Her smile became bigger and brighter still. John’s heartbeat rushed to a mad frenzy. He had hoped to meet someone like this, but not this soon! “Hi, I’m Janice Santos. Want to tell me your name?” John then introduced himself, “I’m John Flores, son of Mr. and Mrs. Henry Flores”. Janice then gestured to John, saying, “Okay, let me take you inside the house”.

As they walked through the Santos residence, the word “house” made the place sound a lot smaller than it really was. The ceiling was about thirty feet from the floor, and the walls were so far apart from each other. Not that the place appeared full of empty space, of course. All kinds of decor and furniture, of the richest kinds, livened up the place, if if they were placed there solely for that purpose, on this night they were roughly as useful as a fifth wheel.

John then turned his attention to the many finely dressed people at this party. He looked around as best he could, but he couldn’t spot his parents amongst all the partying rich people. “Is this your first time to be here?”, interrupted the brief period of silence between them as they were walking around. john nodded to Janice, and added, “I’ve seen a lot of rich houses, but nothing like this! This place is really nice”. Janice thought that perhaps John was being overwhelmed by the surroundings, given the clue of his statement, and conceived a possible solution to get him used to the atmosphere of the Santos party. “Want to go for a drink at the bar?” “Okay”.

The bar being fully occupied, they sat down and engaged in quite a bit of conversation over thirty minutes of time and two glasses of bubbly. After revealing a lot of information on himself, his parents, and his professional life at the moment, John then listened to Janice talk of similar topics. She was the only child of a somewhat rich filipino-american family, owning a medium sized business in the United States.

Though they were more than able to financially, they couldn’t come to visit their friends and family in the Philippines more than once every four or five years because of business matters. As for Janice herself, she was a Economics major, and she was set to take charge of the business once the got too old or were confident that she was capable of taking over. She didn’t seem to be happy or proud, though, when she was revealing details of the silver spoon in her career life, though, John sensed. He asked if there was something wrong, or any more to the story.

“Oh, I don’t know. I’m just, kind of… no make that very frustrated, helpless, to have the rest of my life planned out for me by my parents, no matter how great and wonderful that life is. You know they even have me set to marry someone already, in about eight months from now. He’s from a rich family, of course, and I hate every part of it all. As in, all of my future life, so they have planned for me”. “Do you like the guy?” “I don’t. I don’t like a lot of things in my life right now, to tell you the truth.” “You know all about my life right now too. I feel like we’re in very similar situations, though very different as well.”

Then, just one of those moments came, without much explanation for it. They looked into each other’s eyes, deeper than people usually do. They stared into each others eyes. Then, it turned to a gaze at each other.

John felt so warm, all of a sudden.

Janice suddenly felt the urge to do something.

“Come up with me to my bedroom! I want to do something”.

John started feeling hesitant, that all this was happening too quickly. “What do you to do in your bedroom?”

“I just have to do this now”. Janice saw John’s eyes giving her a strange look. Janice said, “On IRC”.

John knew what that meant. He never really liked participating in online chat sessions himself, but he was aware of the existence of Internet Relay Chat. They walked up the stairs to the upper floor, and down the hall to her room. Janice opened the door, to reveal a brightly colored but somewhat bare bedroom, with the most prominent feature being a laptop computer on the bed. He noticed that a phone line cord was connected to the modem port, and that the computer was already turned on.

As they walked in, Janice flung herself onto the bed, not fussing over wrinkling her dress, and started dialing for internet connection. John pulled a nearby chair and sat on it near the bed, in clear visual range of the laptop’s monitor. Having established internet connection, Janice said “I still prefer going with shell access, it’s how I started out, and it’s all substance, no style that way”. She then connected to an IRC server channel: “#alsharem”.

“Alfred is so big-headed,” Janice explained, “he keeps saying how he’ll have a harem with the most rich and beautiful young women of the world. Just because he’s rich and ‘handsome’. Right”. John just listened to Janice venting, as she added one last comment: “Tonight, he’s gonna have a heart attack!”

She checked for the other users presently in the channel: HaremAl, SexyLady69, Trish24, Womn4U.

<HaremAl> Hi Janice! How are things in the Philippines?

<Trish24> Hi there, are you Alfred’s fiancee?

<SexyLady69> Hey =)

<Janice> Go to hell, Alfred!

<HaremAl> What?

<Womn4U> Oooooh…

<Womn4U> What an entrance

<Trish24> She makes an entrance

<Janice> Don’t say “what” like you didn’t read my message just now. You bastard.

<Trish24> What’s going on?

<Womn4U> Looks like someone’s getting it 😛

<HaremAl> I demand an explanation, Janice!

<Womn4U> Just give it to em, girl!

<Janice> I am so sick of you. To hell with your parent’s arrangements, I’m outta here. Goodbye Alfred.

And with that, she powered off her laptop without even taking the time to hang up the phone connection. She then started crying to herself, not an outpour of tears, but a quiet, private sobbing. John got out of the chair and put his arms around Janice’s shoulders, trying to comfort her, and listened to what she went on to say.

“I did it. My parents are probably going to hate me for it… maybe even cast me out of the family… but I did what I felt I should do, from my heart. I’m happy, believe it or not.”

Janice then looked into the eyes of her concerned new friend, and smiled a smile of vain courage, in the eye of a storm. John saw a woman who desperately wanted her own life, damn the consequences, and was momentarily like a newborn deer, struggling to stay upright on her own feet having received her new life. After a couple of minutes of getting her strength and composure back, and feeling concerned over his new friend’s anguish, there was a brief respite. And they talked to each other again.

“Now, I want to get on with my real life” “What do you mean?” “Let me tell you something. Ever since you appeared at the door, I knew you had something special. I liked you almost from the word “go”. I’m still supposed to be greeting the arriving guests, but you were just too enticing for me. Hey, you should feel pretty good about that!”

John had met a lot of women in his lifetime, but never one that came onto him this strongly. Janice sensed that he seemed to be feeling uncomfortable with the situation, so she tried to soften up.

“Just talking to you makes me feel lots better about things. We’re both so different, yet very much alike, when you really think about it.”

John finally broke his silence. “I’ve been shown off so much to women, rich women, lots of girls with everything. Funny, I find myself so attracted to you, a woman with a life problem.”

Then, her eyes gave him a different look, a look that John had seen before, and, he knew what it meant. His pulse raced as he knew, at that point, what would happen next.

She laid herself on the bed, and sleekly, smoothly, almost expertly slid off her dress. She gave him the sexiest stare of hunger she could give.

©1999 Jerome Baquilar