Malaya Enriquez, also known as Aya is the Marketing Executive of an Advertising Firm that has been making a loud noise in the industry for its successful projects for the past ten years.
She’s a very career-driven woman that became the youngest executive of the company at the age of twenty-nine. She is a very prim and proper woman that never falters in any given situation.
Batch 2007 Grand Reunion
Aya froze and her mouth gaped at what she read when she opened the blue envelope on her office desk. She let out a sigh of frustration as she leaned back on the swivel chair and started biting her nail. She looked at the invitation again and then she dropped it on the desk before running her fingers through her hair.
Then Aya's cellphone rang, pulling her out of her little breakdown. She immediately rummages through her bag and took out her phone. She saw a name flashing on the screen, the name of her best friend since high school, Yvette Ignacio – now Alcantara after she married her long-term boyfriend.
Aya took several deep breaths before she answered the call and put it on speaker.
"Did you receive it?"
Aya heard Yvette’s high-pitched voice.
“Received what?” She asked.
"The reunion invitation!" Yvette exclaimed, making Aya winced.
“Invitation? I don't know any invitation; I didn’t receive anything.” Aya said, smiling as she lied to her friend.
And her smile widens as she heard a loud sigh coming from the other line.
“You’re lying. I know you got it, and I also told the organizer to send you one through your email.” Yvette said.
Aya’s smile dropped after hearing what Yvette said.
“I don’t feel like going, you know that,” Aya mumbled.
“Oh come on. This will be fun!” Yvette pressed.
“I don’t like socializing and I have tons of work to do.” Aya retorted, and then she heard Yvette groaned.
“No! You will attend this reunion.”
"It's up to Batman," Aya said softly.
“Batman is gone so you need to go. It’ll be a weeklong thing in a resort! It’s so fun under –“
Yvette stopped when she heard her baby cry.
“Oh yeah, the baby is awake. I’ll see you at the reunion. Bye! ”Yvette said hurriedly and the line was cut.
Aya sighed again and grabbed the invitation on the table. It was a weeklong celebration of their High School batch reunion at a resort in Batangas; a weeklong of nothing else to do but gossip and flaunt achievements. And one of those achievements is having a perfect husband, and family of their own.
Aya sighed again as she has none of those. Yes, she is quite successful when it comes to her career but her personal life is nowhere near being successful. She doesn’t date, see other people or have fun. She sticks to her daily schedule that consists of work, home, and work.
She stuffed the invitation inside her bag along with her phone and went back to work.
It was about seven o'clock in the evening when Aya came home from work. She just parked her car outside the townhouse where she lived, and when she climbed out of the car, her eyes fell on the bakery just across the street. She noticed how the display compartment is full as well as the people flocking around to buy bread.
So before she could walk towards her front door, she decided to go to the bakery to buy her favorite pan de siosa. She stood in line, waiting for her turn. It took about ten minutes until she advances in the line, and when it was her turn she smiled at the teenage girl named Jelai, who is working as the store attendant. Then she looks at the display.
“Pan de siosa please,” Aya told the girl as she still looks at the row of bread on display.
“How many loaves of my pan de siosa do you want, miss?"
Aya frowned she heard that voice. Aya adjusted her eyeglasses as he stood up straight.
“Just one,” Aya said spat towards the baker and owner of Pan de Pagibig Bakery, Andoy.
"Tsk, can you stop frowning? It hurts me to see you acquire the fine lines on your beautiful face.” Andoy teased, but Aya frowned even more.
“One, Pan de siosa.” Aya repeated her order but emphasizing each word.
The truth is that she is overly annoyed with Andoy. He seems to be rude, cocky, and definitely an airhead, just because other girls find him charming and hot. She gets annoyed every time he talks to her, with his cocky smile.
“Why so mean to me? I just want to see you smile. If you keep being like that you’ll grow old all alone. You won’t get yourself a boyfriend. ”Andoy joked, making Aya scoff.
"Strong independent women are a trend now, you babbling baboon.” Aya hissed.
“First, that is just a nice way of calling an old single lady, and second, I'm the most handsome babbling baboon,”Andoy said, winking at Aya.
Then Jelai hands the paper bag containing the pan de siosa to Aya. She immediately grabbed the bag and then she leaves the money on the counter. Aya was about to leave when Andoy had another thing to say.
“Even if you're mean to me, you're still my crush.”
He said making kissy faces towards Aya.
“Che! Orangutang!” Aya yelled at Andoy, and then she stomped her way back to her townhouse.
Andoy chuckled at her reaction as he watches her get inside her home.
"Really boss? Why do you have to annoy Aya every single time?” Jelai asked her boss.
“You know Jelai, if I don't tease her, she will never talk to someone like me,” Andoy replied as he went behind the cash register.
Jelai frowned and scratched her head.
"You’ll never win her with your strategy boss,” Jelai said and Andoy chuckled.
"I’ll have to make it work, young grasshopper,” Andoy replied and Jelai’s frown deepened.
“I’m no insect,” Jelai grumbled and went to entertain the customers.
Andoy on the other hand laughs at Jelai’s remark before going back to counting the money inside the register.
When Aya entered her townhouse, she immediately hung her key on the key holder, and then she took off her shoes. She put on her fluffy slippers before putting her shoes on the shoe rack. Then she placed her bag on the coffee table and sat down on the sofa, putting her foot up on the same coffee table. Aya took a deep breath and closed her eyes as she leaned back. She could feel how tired and stressed she was with all the work that is needed to be done. And that reunion just added more stress to her stress-filled body.
She wondered why High School reunions are so popular. She can’t find anything exciting about reunions; she won’t even earn money from it. She would rather just work, and at least she gets paid for the fatigue and stress.
That is just really Aya’s personality. She tends to overthink things; weigh their importance for her; like everything is work. She was really shy since childhood and she didn't want to be in the center of attention. As much as possible, she doesn't socialize with people and only studies. That kind of routine went on until she grew up, went to school, and started working. Her lifestyle is so boring that some would call her ‘the hermit’.
Actually, even if she doesn't work, she will be able to live a very comfortable life. Not only that her deceased mother left her a huge inheritance, but her father also comes from a very wealthy family that owns hectares of land in the province and several real estate properties throughout Manila and nearby cities.
Despite being born with a silver spoon, she preferred to work for herself and earn her own money. Why? Because she wanted to be free and independent, just like her name; Malaya, which means free.
Her grandfather, her father’s father who is still the head of the family, is a control freak. The old man still follows their family’s old tradition of marrying off the women in the family, when they reach the age of thirty to men from prominent families.
The tradition has been going on for several generations and it looks like her grandfather is nowhere near stopping such tradition. All her female cousins were engaged or married off to other rich or political clans. To everyone else, they looked like that kind of family that you can only see in TV series.
And because she is also approaching thirty, it means that she is next in line for their family’s tradition. That is what she was avoiding the most, so she decided to live alone, away from the luxurious life of her family in the province. And if possible she also avoids answering the calls of anyone from her family.
Aya sighed before she got up from the couch, and then she grabbed her things and walked towards the stairs. Before climbing up the stairs, she left the bread on the dining table. She went up to her room and put her bag on the desk and then changed her clothes. She just wore a loose t-shirt and shorts then tied her hair in a messy bun.
Aya was about to leave her room to eat when suddenly her cellphone rang. She took it out of her bag and answered it without even looking at the caller ID.
“Hello.” She greeted.
She heard the low, gruff voice of the caller.
Aya's eyes widened when she recognized the voice on the other line. She pulled her cellphone away from her ear for a moment and took a peek at the caller ID.
Aya just closes her eyes and internally kicks herself, because the name Gandalf that flashes on her phone is her grandfather's name in her contacts. Is she so tired that she can no longer check the caller ID? She asked, more like scolded herself. She avoided the old man's calls because she knows what the call is going to be all about. She put the cellphone back to her ear and took a deep breath.