Chapter 2

Annual Meeting at Manila Peninsula Hotel

"Ma'am Sheena, handa na po ang lahat" Bungad sa kanya ng kanyang personal assistant paglabas niya ng VIP Room.

"Good."

"Ma'am, nariyan na din po sila Mr. Vince Alfonso, nasa lobby na po sila"

"Oh my god..." nagulat siya nang marinig ang pangalan ni Mr. Alfonso ang chairman ng Alfonso Group of Companies. Ang matalik na kaibigan ng kanyang papa ngunit kasalukuyang kakumpitensya nito sa kanilang negosyo.

"Hurry up!"

"Yes, Ma'am"

Makalipas ang kalahating oras ay nagtipon tipon na sa malaking bulwagan ang mga kilalang investors at stockholders. Kahit kinakabahan ang dalaga ay pilit niyang iwinaksi sa kanyang sarili ang pangamba na mag kamali sya sa harap ng malalaking tao.

"Kaya mo 'to, Sheena..." Sambit niya sakanyang sarili at huminga ito ng malalim.

"Good morning everyone, welcome to the annual meeting of International-Goldencentury Company. To present the company's current standing and performance for the year, I present to you Miss Sheena Ocampo, our new president"

"Greetings to our stockholders and investors. I also like to extend my warm welcome to our guests. Mr. Rolando Suarez of Alfa Group Holdings, Mr. Miguel Las Rosa of NZG Investment and lastly Mr. Vince Alfonso of A-Group of companies. After the presentation, we will open the floor for your questions and clarifications..."

"Our sales for the year have grown by 29% which is above the industry standard of 18%. We would like also to mention that in the past 3 years, our company has grown by 21% on an average, this is despite stiff competition and slowdown of some sectors."

"Our production line capacity is at all time high of 87%. We also managed to keep our inventory at 1:1.4 ratio."

"Another breakthrough the market tests of our new product have shown large potential and may get into production in 8 months time as soon as the production tool is updated." Paglalahad ni Sheena.

Matapos ang ilang minutong presentasyon ng magandang dalaga ay muling emeksena ang kanyang host.

"Overall... The President will continue with facts and figures for the duration. Next will be the q&a part."

"Can you elaborate on the new product? " Pinasimulan ng tanong ni Vince Alfonso.

"Our current product has been in the market for 3 years and still showing a healthy uptrend. We are introducing a new product to expand our market base. It was developed to address another age group which the existing product cannot serve. We don't want to rest on our laurels over the success of the existing product, thus after one year of launching our new product, an update of the existing will be launched " Paliwanag ng dalaga kay Mr. Alfonso.

"Though your growth rate is higher than the industry do you have an idea on the profit ratio vs capital? What are these companies you use as comparison?" Tanong pa ng isang investor.

"Thanks for asking that question. As you can see in the chart we have prepared. We compare our performance index with our three closest rivals. These figures are based on their published reports. Only cause competitor V came near to our own figure while the 2 were not able post a double digit" Sagot ni Sheena

"Is it the time table of the new product too short? " Muling sinegundahan na tanong ni Mr. Alfonso.

"We assure you the time is adequate. In view of this development, in front of you is a folder containing our investment proposal. We will highly appreciate to discuss further details in one on one meeting"

*

Matapos ang mahabang discussion ng bawat isa. Sa wakas ay natapos din ang lahat, ang pangambang nararamdaman ng dalaga ay naglaho na at masaya siyang nakipag halubilo sa kanila.

"Our annual meeting is adjourned please enjoy the cocktail we have prepared. " Wika ng host.

Nang mga sandaling yun ay kapansin pansin naman ang mga nakaw na tingin ni Mr. Alfonso sa dalaga na tila ba nabighani sa kanyang kagandahan. Hindi lingid sa kaalaman ito ni Sheena bagkus ay sinamantala nya pa ang pagkakataong makuha ang atensyon ng matanda. She's highly confident of herself kaya alam nyang tatalab kay Mr. Alfonso ang kanyang alindog na kagandahan kaya minabuti nitong lumapit sa kanya.

"Hi, Sir Vince Alfonso. Mabuti naman po at nakarating kayo, i'm glad to meet you, sir"

"Pleasure to meet you, hija." Sabay abot nito ng kamay kay Sheena.

"By the way, our team has reviewed your proposal and I'm here to relay that we will be making the investment."

"Well, that's great news! You made the right choice on trusting your money on our company" Nakangiting sagot nya sa matanda, hindi sya nagkamali mukang gumana na nga ang kanyang karisma.

"We believe that your company is doing great and please arranged the documents so our internal affairs department can legalize everything"

"We will be sending the files within the week. We will be sending our finance people to meet up with your internal affairs officer within this week. "

"So, that's it for now, I have to go since I have another meeting to attend to." Paalam ni Vince Alfonso sa kanya.

"Again thanks for investing with us. I will not hold you up longer and we are very pleased to be your chosen partners"

_____________

2 weeks later . . .

"Good day, Mr. Rolando Suarez. I would like to make an appointment with you this coming Friday." Pagbati ni Sheena sa kausap niyang investor sa telepono.

"Wait for a moment, I will check on my schedule. Hmm, it's only open at 11 am on the said day and I'll be off to another meeting by 1 pm. So, I guess, it will be a working lunch meeting." Sagot nito.

"Oh, that will be fine. We will just make some arrangements in the restaurant nearest your office."

"Okay then, it's set. Thanks! I guess this is regarding the proposal of your Company?"

"Yes, Mr. Suarez. I would like to discuss further about it."

"Actually I was also thinking of arranging a meeting with you Ms, Ocampo , but since you beat me to it, the timing will be just perfect. I will be with two of my partners so please make the necessary reservations."

"Yes that will be just fine. Thanks for entertaining our call."

"It's my pleasure and goodbye for now."

Matapos ang naturang pag-uusap sa pagitan ng investor at ni Sheena ay agad siyang humarap sa kanyang sekretarya.

"Good morning, Ma'am. For today you'll have a meeting with the production manager in the morning, then in the afternoon with the marketing department."

"Good morning too and thanks. By the way, is the finance doing well with their talks with CNC group?"

"Everything is going smoothly, ma'am."

"Oh, great! Can you send me the documents? I need to review them before going to the meeting with production. Thanks!"

Pagkalabas ng kanyang sekretarya ay agad siyang bumulusok ng upo sa harap ng kanyang desk at mariing hinilot ng daliri ang kanyang magkabilang sentido.

"This is bullshit. Uurrghhh!" Tiimbagang na bulalas niya sabay tabig sa mga papeles at ilang kagamitan na tumilapon sa sahig.

Napahagulgol siya ng iyak, Hindi ito ang pinangarap niyang buhay at lalong lalo na ang ipagkasundo siya ng kasal sa matandang si Vince Alfonso para lamang sa katanyagan at ambisyon ng kanyang ama ngunit wala siyang magawa dahil nag iisa lamang siyang anak na tagapagmana. In short, sunod sunuran.

Nang mahimasmasan ay tinawagan niya ang kanyang bestfriend.

"Where are you?" malungkot na tono ng boses ni Sheena.

"Hey! What's wrong?" Tanong ni Abbie sa kabilang linya. Nahalata nito ang boses ng kaibigan na tila may problema.

"I need you now, bes. Please help me."

"Okay, I'll be there in a few minutes. Wait for me."

Makaraan ang ilang minuto, agad na pumasok sa opisina ang kanyang bestfriend na si Abbie. Nanlaki ang mga mata nito nang makita na nakakalat ang gamit sa sahig.

She quickly move toward to her friend and asked her, " Tell me what happened?"

"Besssss! I don't want to get married!" Naluluhang sambit niya.

She hug her tight and tried to calm her. "Ohhh! Bes..!" Mahinang bulong ni Abbie habang hinahaplos nito ang kanyang likuran.

"Tell me... Tell me what I'm supposed to do now?"

"I don't know either... If only we could swap our bodies, I would have done so."

"Honestly I envy you... You're free to do what your heart desires. My life is pitiful. I'm being controlled by my dad... I'm his puppet, following everything he dictates."

"There's nothing to envy about my life, bes. You have everything and many people could only wish that they had what you have. Cheer up! I know you can handle this and whatever your decision will be, we're going to support you. Stop crying, please."

"Bess, you know me, I'm contented with my modest life. Why should I be married to that old man? For fame or money?" Halos hysterical niya nang turan.

"I know bess, but what will be your move?"

"I don't know... I'm really clueless. I can't imagine being with that old man and every time those thought s enter my mind I want to puke or die. If I'm going to be married, I want to be with the guy I love."

"There's still time... The only solution I can think of is to find Mr. Right and only then you'll find answer to all of your questions."

"But how? Dad was very strict and everywhere I go, my bodyguard trails me. Even when we were studying, all of you fails to get me out. They always find a way to chase me."

"Yes they always spoil things up. But what if?" She paused for while. "I think I know a person that could help. You need to have sex to recharge yourself." Pang bubuyo ni Abbie.

"Are you crazy?" Bulalas ni Sheena tila na nagulat sa sinabi ng matalik na kaibigan.

Tumawa naman ito. "I'm just kidding, but if you're curious, I really know a guy that could help you and who knows... you might even like him."

"What?! You're going to pimp me up? Seryoso ka? Ipinamimigay mo ang jowa mo?"

"Jowa? No, Hindi naman matatawag na jowa ang Ka-Fubu! Hahaha." Anito sabay halakhak.

"Kadiri ka talaga bes, nalawayan mo na tapos ipapatikim mo sa'kin? Eeeww!" Sabay tapik nito sa kanya. Slowly, the loneliness in her eyes faded away as she was eased by her bestfriend's joke.

"I'm jus kidding! Oh well, since it has been a long time we lazed around due to our busy schedule, why not we go and enjoy the remaining day before the wedding and be crazy...!" As they laughed, people surrounding them started to notice.

"I think I know what you mean..."

"Oh! Really? Alam mo ba ang naiisip ko ngayon B1?" Tanong ni Abbie na tila may ibig sabihin habang nakatitig sa kaibigan.

We're gonna...

"Partyyyyy!" They both of them shouted... na may tonong kalandian.

______________

Later that night, they went to Valkyrie at 9th Ave. Uptown BGC, Taguig together with their other friends...

While having fun and trying to catch the eyes of guys around them, a very loud but familiar ivoice called them. "At anong meron, huh?"

"Oh, shi t!" said by Abbie who was taken by surprise.

"What's up, girls?" greetings made by the girl that called their attention...

"Mayumi? Is that you?" Gulat na tanong ni Abbie.

"Ay.. hindi picture ko lang 'to." Sarkasmong tugon ni Mayumi.

"Shi t you... I almost peed on my skirt!!!"

"Ayeee! Behhh! Long time no see, kamusta na?" Sabat naman ni Sheena nang pangangamusta.

"Eto malibog pa din... haven't been laid for a month."

"Ano daw...! Month? So Ilang buwan ka na palang walang KANTOT? WTF! Edi bulok na yan"

"Baliw"

"Wahahaha"

"You're still shameless!"

Nagyakapan at nagbeso beso sila kay Mayumi.

"Kayo ha, nakakapag tampo na kayo hindi kayo nagpaparamdam! Why have you two been out of the circulation lately? I miss you!" Ani Mayumi.

"Naku, beh! We're just busy recently and having some hard time to go out for fun."

"Ang taray... Nagpapayaman?!"

"Gaga ako mayaman? Siya lang 'no?" Sabay turo ni Abbie kay Sheena.

"Don't put your finger to my face, b itch." Reaksyon niya na may pabirong pag tataray.

Sabay na nag tawanan ang dalawa.

"Anyway, how's the new queen of Papang? I heard you're getting married?" Tanong ni Mayumi na tila may nalalaman.

Nagkatinginan silang dalawa ni Abbie.

Nahigit kumulang tatlong segundo pa bago siya nakasagot.

"Hoy, sinong makating dila ang nagsabi sa'yo n'yan?" Agad na tanong ni Abbie.

"How did you know that?" Tanong din ni Sheena na may kuryusidad.

"Tsh! Wag nga kayong OA dyan, Don't me...!" Reaksyon ni Mayumi na nakataas ang kilay at napangisi ang bibig.

"Sino nga kasi?" Dagdag pang pag tatanong niya sabay kurot kay Mayumi.

"Aray ko ha!"

"So, totoo nga? My god, ilang taon na ang lumipas hindi pa din kayo nagbabago beh, Both of you haven't changed... still secretive!" Ani Mayumi sabay hithit ng sigarilyo.

"Actually, were going to tell you since you're invited but we haven't had time do so." Paliwanag niya.

"Talaga lang ha! Pero tanong ko lang seryoso ka na ba talaga d'yan beh?" Seryosong tanong ni Mayumi.

"It's my father's wish. How can I say no? You know him and I can't do anything but to follow once he has decided." Sagot naman niya.

"Should I say congrats or condolence?"

"Fuck you"

Utas sa kakatawa ang dalawa.

"Baliw ka din eh'no?" ani Abbie sabay apir nito kay Mayumi.

"Harhar! Funny!" She said as she rolled her eyes.

After thirty minutes, Jaz and Meagan, their two other friends have arrived.

"Aba, kami nalang ba hinihintay?" Wika ni Jaz.

"Ayeeee!" Magkapanabay na tili nila Abbie at Sheena.

"At talagang kailangan magkasabay pa kayo?"

Natatawang napapailing ang dalawang bagong dating. "Grabe VIP lang mga te?"

"Hoy.. manahimik ka d'yan... Booba."

"Palibhasa kasi wala kang suso."


Napuno ng tawanan at halakhakan ang table nilang magbabarkada dahil sa palitan ng barahan na salita.

Itinaas ni sheena ang hawak na lighter at sinindihan iyon para mapansin ng waiter. Pagkalapit ng isang lalake ay agad na umorder siya ng isang bote ng Jose Cuervo.

Si Abbie naman ang nag silbing tanggera ng magkakaibigan at nagpasimulang iangat naman ni Mayumi ang isang shotglass ng Tequila tanda ng kanilang pagsasamahan at matatag na pagkakaibigan.

"For the bitches..." magkakasabay nilang sigaw habang nakaangat ang mga shot glass na hawak nila at ipinagdikit dikit ang mga ito.

"Cheers!" Sabay sabay nilang nilagok ang alak.

Wohhhhhh

Let's go to the dance floor bitches

Hell, yeaahhhhhhh...


*

After few hours, they got a little bit tipsy. Abbie decided that they should go to Tagaytay for a road trip.

"Bes, malayo pa ba? May amats na talaga ako.. ugh!" Utal utal na sambit ni Sheena. Halatang hilong hilo na ito at umiikot na ang paningin.

"Heyyy... just relax bessy, may sorpresa pa kami sa'yo."


To Be Continued

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This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events 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.

All rights reserved. This story or any portion thereof may not be reproduced or used in any manner whatsoever without the express permission of the author by any means available.

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© Rance Revilla