“Audrey…” Callum hugged me from behind. I turned to face him and wrapped my arms around his waist. His head leaned down to mine and we shared a gentle kiss together.
“Why did you leave me downstairs? Why have you been locking yourself in here all day?”
I spent all day in my room. I went down to have dinner earlier and then I went back to my room. I just took a shower and was getting ready for bed when Callum came in. Callum had quickly gotten along with my family. He, Kuya Miggy, Coco, Dad, and Tito Axel were talking and having drinks when I left them in their ‘man cave’. It was the room where Dad, my Dad’s friends, and my brothers all hang out when they get together.
“I’m still tired from the trip.” I lowered my gaze from his. The truth is I couldn’t stand being around the child. Hindi ko siya kayang tignan. I tried to stay as far away as possible from him. I did not want to see him, I did not want to hear him, I did not want to communicate with him. I didn’t like the feelings he makes me feel whenever he’s around. Alam kong ramdam iyon ni Mama, Dad, at ng mga kapatid ko. They too tried to keep him away from me.
“Okay, we’ll rest. I’m just going to take a quick shower.” He kissed me on the forehead.
I nodded my head. He walked towards the bathroom door but paused midway.
“I almost forgot.” He took something out from his pocket and handed me a blue paper.
“Arthur told me to give this to you. Welcome home present niya daw sa’yo.”
I didn’t want to take it but I didn’t have a good reason to tell Callum as to why. I hesitantly lifted my hand to take the blue paper.
“The boy’s such a sweet heart, Love. I feel sorry that we forgot to bring him anything. Hindi tayo nakapamili ng pasalubong kahit para sa mga bata lang. Good thing he loved my guitar. He’s really interested in learning how to play it. I have a feeling that we’re going to get along pretty nicely.” He said, turning his back to me once more and walking to the bathroom.
I looked down and saw the paper crumpled tightly in my hands. Rip it and throw it out, I told myself. But instead I found myself opening the folded paper. It had on it a drawing of a female stick figure holding hands with a smaller figure in a big heart.
My heart sank. I sat on the edge of the bed and tears began to drip down the paper. I couldn’t love the boy. Hindi ko kayang mahalin ang batang hindi ko ginusto. Tuwing lumalapit siya sa akin pakiramdam ko ang dumi-dumi ko. Hindi lang nila ako binaboy, I also had to carry their child. And I had to live with it for rest of my life.
I wiped away my tears and hid the paper in my bedside table when I heard the shower in the bathroom stop. Humiga na ako sa kama. Callum walked out of the bathroom with a white towel wrapped around his waist. He put on a pajama bottom and slipped into bed with me.
He wrapped his arm around my waist, pulling me against him and kissing my shoulder.
“Callum…” I quietly said as we lay in bed.
“Mm?” He murmured lazily, his face buried into the crook of my neck.
“You were great with my family, especially with the kids.” I raised one hand to run my fingers through his thick dark hair. “Thank you.”
“You don’t have to thank me. Now that I’m your husband, they too are my family. What’s mine is yours and what’s yours is mine.” He nuzzles against my skin. “I want to have our own baby someday.”
“Cal.” I was slightly baffled.
“I’m not in any hurry, Love. I know we just got married and we’re still getting to know each other more. I just never expected I’d enjoy being around kids.”
“Maybe in the future, maybe a year from now, pwede na tayong magkaron ng baby. It’s a huge responsibility.” I sighed heavily.
I wonder how he’d react if he finds out what about Arthur. When he finds out that before our child, I had already carried and gave birth to the child of the man who’d violated and abused me. Mandidiri din ba siya sa akin katulad ng pandidiri ko sa sarili ko?
“Did Dr. Callum give you the card I made for you?” I almost dropped the plate I was holding when I heard a tiny voice of a little boy from behind. Then I felt a tug on the hem of my dress. “Ate Drey, did you like my drawing?”
“Don’t touch me.” I flinched away from him. I took in a deep breath, trying to calm my emotions. “Leave me alone. May ginagawa ako.”
I’d been minding my own business here in the kitchen and then he had to show up. I wanted to make something for my family and friends who were going to come over later. Pupunta din ang fashion designer na gagawa sa susuotin naman for Anais and Coco’s wedding. I’d been trying all day to think of other things other than him and here he was.
“Arthur, come here. Huwag mong guluhin si Ate Drey.” Ronnie went to get him. She immediately grabbed the boy away from me.
“Am I bad, Ate Ronnie?” He asked, all of a sudden.
Ronnie gazed at me before turning her eyes back to Arthur. “Bad? Minsan makulit ka but you’re not bad. Bakit? Sino nagsabi sa’yo niyan?”
“Eh bakit parang di kami bati Ate Drey?” He innocently asked.
“What are you talking about? Busy lang si Ate…” Ronnie’s voice sounded somber.
“Ate Drey, are you mad at me kasi kinukulit kita sa car yesterday? I’m sorry…” His usual cheery tone was now gone.
I felt an unexplainable pang of pain in my chest as I listened. Bakit ba kasi siya lapit ng lapit sa akin? Why were they letting him? They knew I didn’t want that.
“No! Hindi mad si Ate, she’s just busy, okay?” Ronnie explained. “Halika na nga. Doon ka na lang muna sa play room.”
“Hey, wife.” Callum suddenly walked into the kitchen and wrapped his arms around my waist. “Nandito ka lang pala.”
“Cal.” I swallowed the lump in my throat.
“Dr. Callum!” The kid ran up to him and hugged his leg.
“Hey, little guy” Callum chuckled and picked him up in his arm. “Where’s our guitar?”
“It’s in my room. Turuan mo ulit ako magplay ng guitar.” He wrapped his tiny arms around his neck. I looked away, pretending to be busy with the food in front of me.
“Of course.” Callum answered. “Let’s go get your guitar.”
The two left and there was only Ronnie and I. Ronnie leaned against the countertop and let out a deep sigh.
“He was so excited to see you, Ate. He made a card for you, he and Cookie made a welcome banner, he even wants his piggy bank opened so he could buy you something nice.”
“I don’t want to talk about him.” I said in a stone cold tone.
“Don’t you feel anything for him? Kahit konti lang?” Ronnie’s voice shook. “Naawa na ako sa kanya. All he wants is a little love and attention from you.”
“I said I don’t want to talk about him! He will never get anything from me. I don’t want anything to do with him kaya huwag niyo nang ipagpilitan sa akin ang bata!” I exploded like a dynamite, tears coating my eyes.
“I- I’m sorry, Ate.” Ronnie chewed on her bottom lip with guilt all over her face.
“Mukhang si hubby gusto ng magka-baby.” Therese said, her eyes on Callum. Since there was only glass sliding door seperating the dining room from the veranda, we could see Callum from here. He was sitting on the outdoor sofa with the little boy on his lap and a guitar in front of them.
I lifted a glass of tea and took a sip, not knowing what I should say. Nobody knew but my family that the boy came from me. I never wanted anyone to know that I conceived the rapist’s child. All they knew was that he was our brother.
“Wala pa rin kayong plan ni Callum?” Scarlett asked.
I shook my head. “It’s too early for that. Kakakasal lang namin.”
“Mukhang he’d be a real good Dad naman.” Sabi naman ni Maddie.
“Ako nga hindi pa kami kasal, may Cookie na.” Anais chuckled.
“I don’t think we’re ready. Gusto muna namin ma-enjoy ang pagiging married.” I told them.
“Sabagay, having a kid is a lot of work. Halos hindi na nga kami makapag-solo ni Coco simula ng magkaron kami ng Cookie.” She said.
“You have a point. You can always have kids later on pero hindi mo na mababalik yung kayo lang.” Maddie said.
“Hello Ate Anais, Ate Therese, Ate Maddie, Ate Scarlett!” The little boy came running inside from the veranda, waving at them. “And Hi Ate Drey.”
I lowered my gaze to the cup I had in my hand and pretended I heard nothing. He gave each one of them a kiss. He tried to kiss me to but I pulled my head away and stood up. I pretended to get something from the fridge.
“Dr. Callum, show them our guitar!” Fortunately, his attention turned to Callum when he walked in. Callum let out a chuckle and handed the guitar to him. Dinala niya ito papunta kina Anais.
“We even drew on the guitar. See!” He proudly showed the drawing on it. “This is Kuya Callum and this is Arthur!”
“Wow! Ang cute naman.” Therese said.
“Ako nagdrawing yan, di ba Dr. Callum?”
“You did a great job.” Callum playfully messed with his hair.
“And you should’ve heard Kuya Callum play the guitar! He’s really good tapos tinuturuan niya ako ngayon. I’m having a hard time because I’m just little and the guitar is kind of too big for me.” The kid told them.
“Maybe we’ll get you a smaller one to practice on.” Callum said.
“But I still get to keep this guitar?”
“This is all yours now. We just need something smaller to get you started. There’s still some strings you can’t reach properly because you’re hands are still too small. When you’re a little bigger, you can use the bigger one.” Callum lifted him up in one hand.
“Okay. Thank you, Dr. Callum. You’re the bestest!” He exclaimed and kissed him on the cheek.
“Aw. You two are so cute.” Scarlett commented.
“Dr. Callum can play Twinkle Twinkle Little Star. Right, Kuya?” He looked at him. “Do you want to hear him play?”
“Of course, we do.” Anais answered.
“Come on, Doctor! They want to hear it!” The child encouraged. Callum laughed a little, putting him on top of the table and then he started strumming his guitar to the tune of the nursery song.
“Twinkle, twinkle little star. How I wonder what you are? Up above the world so high like a diamond in the sky. Twinkle, twinkle star, how I wonder what you are.” The boy sang.
“Very good!” My friends cheered.
“You did a great job!” Sabi naman ni Callum sa bata.
I wondered how he’d be like with our own children someday. Ngayon pa lang nakikita ko na na magiging mabuting Daddy siya. But I do wonder how he’d react when he finds out that Arthur was the product of what my abusers had done to me. I didn’t think I’d ever want him to know. It was a secret I wanted to take to the grave. My life with Callum now was perfect and I did not want him to be a part of it.
“Hey girls.” Coco walked in with Cookie.
“Mymy!” Cookie jumped on Anais.
“Saan na naman kayo nagpunta?” Anais asked.
“We went to the park. I tried the shoes Tita Drey gave to me.” Cookie answered.
“Cookie, look at my guitar. It has a drawing of me and Dr. Callum!” He proudly showed Cookie.
“That’s awesome. Me and Dada has a Guitar Hero guitar.” Cookie said.
“Dr. Callum is still teaching me how to play.” He said.
“I don’t know how to play that. It doesn’t have any buttons and aren’t you supposed to plug that on the TV?” Cookie’s brows furrowed.
“It’s a different kind of guitar. That one is the real one.” Coco exclaimed to his son.
“Let’s just play Guitar Hero! That looks kinda hard to play.” Cookie said. “Dada, can we go to the movie room to play Guitar Hero?”
“Sure. Pabukas niyo na lang kay Ate Ronnie yung PlayStation.” Coco said.
The two boys raced out of the dining room. Callum came up to me and wrapped one arm around the small of my back. He gave me a kiss on the side of my head.
“Kailan niyo ba bibigyan ng kalaro si Arthur at Cookie?” Coco asked as he stood on the back of Anais’ seat, his arms around his soon-to-be bride. He bent his head down to kiss her on the shoulder. “Baka maunahan pa namin kayo magka-baby. I have a feeling we’re going to have another one pretty soon.”
“Coco.” Anais giggled, pulling away as my twin shower her with kisses.
“Honeymoon muna, Coco.” Scarlett joked.
“We already had our honeymoon.” My twin grinned.
“Nothing is in order with you two. Magbestfriend kayo pero nagkaron kayo ng baby, ngayon naman ikakasal na kayo pero mukhang mas nauna pa ang honeymoon kaysa sa kasal.” Therese joked.
“Are you okay? Why are you so quiet?” Callum whispered in a worried tone.
“I’m just tired.” I shook my head.
“Baka naman you’re pregnant na din.” Therese teased. “Hindi niyo pa sinasagot ang tanong ni Coco. When are you two planning to have a baby?”
“In the near future, maybe.” Callum answered. “Arthur seems so fond of you.” Anais commented. “You’re great with kids.”
“I used to work with kids too during my residency. And Arthur’s a real charmer, he’s a great kid. He’s very easy to get along with.”
“Kung okay si Arthur sa’yo, okay na din ako sa’yo.” Coco said.
My head snapped and I threw a glare at my own twin brother.
“Mukha din naman okay si Cookie sa’yo.” Agad na sabi niya, probably realizing what he just said.
“We’ll get there when we get there. We’re not in a hurry.” I answered.