Love, Scandal etc. by Ate Nora
9th in a series
Editor’s Note: This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events, locales, and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.
Maria could not believe it. Instead of Elena next to her on her way to San Francisco, it was Francisco, the son of Junior, her deceased lover and benefactor and the Mayor of Diliman City.
What are you doing here, Francisco? Why are you here? Where is Elena?
Maria was so confused. Right before she and Elena had plotted a way for Maria to go to San Francisco to complete her studies, she had convinced herself that she needed to leave the Philippines and be as far away as possible from the Mendoza family.
Maria had confessed to Elena that she felt something for Francisco but Maria had not confessed everything. Now Francisco was seated next to her on a thirteen hour flight. There would be no avoiding Francisco.
Maria, Elena told me everything, said Francisco. She confirmed there was a spark between us and I couldn’t let you go. I know this might sound trite but ever since I first met you, I’ve been head over heels in love with you. Yes, I know about you and my Dad but that’s all in the past. We all have a past in our lives–some of which we may not be very proud of. But I believe that God had our lives crossed for a reason–to be together forever.
Maria could not believe what she was hearing. She was infuriated that her best friend had violated her trust and told Francisco how she felt! Yet she could not deny her feelings for Francisco anymore.
Francisco, I don’t know what to say. So much has happened between your family and me. What do you mean by you can’t let me go? I’m supposed to be enrolling at the University of San Francisco next week. What are you going to be doing in San Francisco? How long will you be staying? This is so crazy!
Just as Francisco was going to respond, the flight attendant made the final announcement:
Good evening Ladies and Gentlemen. If you have not done so, please fasten your seatbelts and pay attention to the monitor for a security briefing as we have closed the doors and we are enroute to San Francisco–The City by the Bay. We also have a special guest with us tonight, the Honorable Mayor of San Francisco, Mayor Rick Chin. Please help me to extend a Mabuhay to Mayor Chin.
It had been sometime since Maria had flown and she always got nervous. Francisco sensed Maria’s nervousness and extended his hand to her to hold and Maria did.
Maria held on to Francisco’s hand tightly. She felt comfortable and protected–and she didn’t want to let go. Francisco placed his right hand on her upper arm and Maria instinctively leaned into him, looked up to him, and suddenly, Francisco turned towards her face and kissed her and she kissed him back.
Francisco, I have strong feelings for you. I can’t deny them. But I don’t know how this will work. I mean with my history with your Dad, what do you really think of me? I don’t want to be your plaything. I really want to have a new life–away from my past but if you’re part of my life, my past will always be there.
Francisco knew those were valid questions. Ever since he had learned of his father’s indiscretions with Maria, he battled daily with his feelings for Maria. But every time Maria had dropped in to visit him, his feelings only grew stronger. They had developed a friendship but had never really addressed the situation with his father. Francisco had sought counsel with Monsignor Cadabana who counseled Francisco to be patient and to listen to his heart for no one was perfect.
Maria, I know it may be hard to believe but it the past does not matter. What’s important is that if you are willing, I want to have a future with you. I want you to be my wife. I’ve decided to leave the Philippines to be with you and to handle all of the Mendoza business and charitable affairs from San Francisco. I’ve taken care of everything including our new home in The Presidio Heights. But only if you will be my wife. So in a long winded way, I’m asking for your hand in marriage.
With that, Francisco, unbuckled his seat belt, quickly went on one knee and whipped out a ring.
Francisco, get back in your seat. I don’t know what to say but yes, I love you and I want to be your wife as long as you accept me for who I am and that you promise we will make a new life together.
Francisco smiled and placed the engagement ring on Maria’s finger.
This ring has been in my family for years. Before my grandmother died, she gave it to me and said to give it to the person who will steal my heart… and that’s you.
Maria was still uneasy. After all, there was one more secret that she had kept from everyone–including Elena. But she knew she had to tell Francisco.
Francisco, there’s one more thing I need to ask you. Is the place we’re going to live in large enough for a nursery and a ya ya?
Francisco was shocked and didn’t know what to say. I thought you weren’t impregnated by my Dad? I always knew that was impossible because he was sterile.
Maria knew she had to finally tell Francisco the truth.
Francisco, what I’m about to tell you will be another test to see if you can really love and trust me. But listen carefully and don’t judge me.
Maria proceeded to tell Francisco how she had learned Francisco had participated in an exclusive Sperm Bank that was housed at De La Salle University and how she had secretly injected herself with his sperm. As Maria told Francisco her story, Francisco kept holding her hand. After Maria had told Francisco everything, Francisco reached over for Maria’s other hand.
I’m so happy I’m going to be a father. You really don’t know how long I’ve been thinking about starting a family with you. I’m so happy. I love you Maria.
Editors Note: This is the final story in the series