Back in Santa Barbara - Ten


Early morning the next day, Ising left for Cebu. Chris drove her to the terminal where she would take the bus to the domestic airport. I was left with Crux, who like me, woke up late in the morning. I seriously needed to change this habit of waking up late. Santa Barbara has become too comfortable, and I didn't want to get used to being lazy. Maybe I could add this to my New Year's resolution next year: Wake up early in the morning and see the sunrise. Plus, my body could use some exercise. 

Still, I felt the pressure to match Ising’s recipe for breakfast. It was supposed to be easy, but Ising is an artist. When a measurement is involved, I easily lost my way. For a while, I stared at the stove in front of me. At least, coffee was done, and Crux seemed content with it. Next would be the pancake. I put butter in the frying pan, and when it melted, the thick liquid form made of flour and egg followed. It set into a round shape by itself. Within a few seconds, it bubbled up, and I turned it upside down. “Are you alright in there?” Crux asked. He was holding the morning paper in his shirt and pyjamas. “You don’t need to prepare me a meal like Ising’s. We all know in the Underworld that Gordo would be the one to do so in your tiny kitchen. Sometimes, it was Chris.” 
“As per my diary, I only used the stove to heat water for my coffee, that it’s not necessary for me to use it.” 
“You almost burned Gordo’s tree when you tried so he didn’t allow you to use it.” He stood up and hopped into the sink. He looked over to my creation. “It may be wiser to turn the stove off. My powers are not strong enough to kill a fire.” He suggested folding his arms. I stared at him for a few seconds, debating whether to give up or not. In the end, I turned the stove off. Instead, Gordo and I settled with cheese sandwich that morning. 

I was on my second sandwich when Crux asked me if I have already discussed with Chris. 
“Discuss what?” My innocent eyes fell on him, while his matched mine with annoyance. 
“Felicia, we only have three more days. You got to settle what you need to settle. You have feelings involved here!” He was miffed. 
“It's not that easy. I don't even know what to tell Chris. If he doesn’t want to extend what we have right now, if you can call it anything, I would be happy to let him be. I don’t want to chain him in this world because it may bring him into something he’ll regret.” 
As he scratched his head, he said, “Human beings are vulnerable. You don’t know what you want. You don’t stick to what you want. And this head needs washing!” 
“If the passage is close, how will you be able to get back to the Underworld?” 
“The Queen gave me two one-way tickets. These would create an illegal passage for us to go back to our world. The Queen made the rules, but she is the only one who breaks them." He stood up and head to the bathroom. "Don't tell anyone I told you that. Alright, I'm done here. Got to wash this hair." 
“So, it’s easy for you just to go back to your world, huh?" 
"Just talk to him, will you?” 

I was about to refill coffee to my cup when my mobile vibrated showing Ninong’s name in it. “Hello, Ninong? How can I help you?” A static sound was heard before his voice managed to get through. 
"Felicia, can you hear me now? First of all, I want to know the update for the Christmas party next week. Is everything settled? For the charity, I mean?” 
“Y-yes, Ninong. I just need to make some calls, and, er, I will let you know.” I have been busy, thinking about the Chris situation that I completely forgot about the Christmas party.” 
“Christmas should have required lesser effort because there will be no bazaars. I believe it’s only the mass and a small party where we will be giving gifts and donations to the less fortunate. This requires lesser work, but I still expect that like the feast, it will be a day that people would remember for a lifetime.” 
“Yes, of course, Ninong. Just a few more polishing-, and, yes, uh huh, I will update you. Okay, goodbye!” I snapped my forehead as I ended the call. I couldn't believe Ninong was after me. Only three days left with Chris, and I still have not talked to him. I needed to do it tonight when he’s back home after dinner. I was supposed to go for last minute Christmas shopping, but now I also needed to make a few calls to make sure that Christmas would go as smooth as expected. 
Here we go again with saving the world, while I couldn't even save myself. I shut down my inner critic and went to the library upstairs. There, I found my to-do list which reminded me of what I was supposed to do today. I needed to keep myself altogether and get more things done. I couldn't continue living like this. Next on the list was Lucy, who supposed to take half day off from work this morning for her monthly check-up. I promised to go with her. 

I got the keys and ran to the garage. I started the ignition and picked her up from the house. We drove to the hospital situated outside the town, thirty minutes away. This time, her tummy was showing a bigger bump than the last time I saw her. “My goodness, you are indeed pregnant. Look at you!” 
“Yes, I am. And last night, it must be my imagination, but I felt it moved.” 
“Oh really? Isn’t it too early?” 
“I know. This baby’s excited for Christmas!” 
“Is there anything you would like to talk to me about?” The hospital is near, and I only have a few hours to spend with her. Might as well squeezed as much information as I can. “I saw you with Jonathan a few days ago.” 
“Oh!” She was smiling. “Right.” 
“So, are you two back together?” 
“I guess we are.” 
“That’s good news!” 
“It is, and I’m euphoric. Suddenly, I don’t need to do all these on my own.” She showed me her left ring finger surrounded by a silver ring. “We’re getting married after Christmas.” As calmly as I could, I stopped the car by the side road to allow myself to scream in excitement. It took us a minute to finally get ourselves together. 
“Congratulations! I can't believe you're getting married.” 
“Thank you! Everything’s has been happening so fast.” 
“Not that this matters, but I want to make sure that you’re not getting married just because you’re pregnant, right? You do love him?” 
“Yes, I do.” And she looked solemnly happy. 
I gave her a tight hug. "I'm so happy for you." 
"You should because you're going to be the maid of honor." I gave out another shriek and hugged her again. This is going to be my first time! 
"I'm thrilled. What do I need to do? Do you need invitations? A catering team? Because I can take care of it. Of everything!" 
"No, I don't need any of those. The wedding is going to be small. Just the three of us and our parents. You can invite Chris too." I grabbed two bottles of water from the back and handed one to her. We drank and finished the whole bottle. I didn't know being so excited can make you this thirsty. “Lucy, I want to ask you something." 
"What is it?" 
"How did you know that you love him? That you want to spend the rest of your life with him?” 
“I hate to disappoint, but as much as I wanted to use my brain, it was the heart who decided this time. At first, I thought I can do this on my own. I was prepared, and I’ve got everyone’s support, but when Jonathan showed up at my door that day, I couldn’t stop this urge of wanting him by my side. He proposed last week and why should I say no, if the fact is I wanted to be with him? That won't make any sense at all. I couldn’t bear to think that he’ll be gone in my life again. I knew he needed to be there for us to be a family."

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