Betrayed by the people she loved and trusted, Arianna found herself wasted in a bar. The next day, she woke up in a luxurious hotel suite with only vague memories of the previous night. Disappointed with herself, she left the country. But her father’s death prompted her to go back five years later. Their company was on the verge of falling into an outsider’s hands. Determined to reclaim what was hers, Arianna had to work with a billionaire named Alistair Miller. But he imposed one condition on Arianna—to let him meet their child! How did he know about her daughter? And did he just say he was the father?view more
Arianna couldn’t believe what Alistair told her.Why must fate play with her this way? How did the man she spent a night of mistake with five years ago be the same as the only man who could help her reclaim AL Jewels now? “Are you crying, mommy?” Mabilis niyang tinuyo ang kanyang mga luha sabay umiling nang nakangiti sa anak. “No, anak. Parang sisipunin lang si mommy.” Tiningnan lang siya ni Maliah nang nagdududa kaya mabilis niya ring dinugtungan ang sinabi. “Did I wake you up?” Tulog na kasi ito kanina nang tabihan niya ito.Maliah shook her head bago sumiksik sa kanya. “I dreamed of daddy,” sabi nito.Parang kinurot ang puso ni Arianna. Hindi mapaghanap ng ama ang anak niya. But since she saw Alistair at the airport, lagi na nitong bukambibig ang salitang daddy. And to think nagkawayan lang ang mga ito noon.Did she somehow feel they were connected? But wait… If Alistar knew about Maliah all along, then did that mean he was really waiting for them at the airport? He knew they
Five years earlier…“Have you found her yet?” kalmado kahit iritable nang tanong ni Ali kay Oliver na kanyang right hand man. “Not yet, Sir. All the CCTV footage didn’t catch a good recording of her.”“That’s impossible. That place has a lot of CCTVs!” “She purposely blocked her face from the cameras, Sir.”“Not even one clear shot?” Umaasa pa ring tanong niya.“I’m afraid there’s none, Sir. We searched thoroughly but she disappeared by the next block where there were no longer cameras installed.”“How about the taxis that came by that area?” “We investigated every car that we got a clear plate number in the CCTVs. But we didn’t find the girl.”Napabuntong hininga na lang si Ali. It seemed that the woman did not want to be found. At wala siyang magagawa ro’n. If only his eyesight didn’t betray him, he could at least remember her face. Pero tuluyan na ngang bumigay ang kanyang paningin. In fact he was slowly losing it even before she saw the woman being harassed by a bar regular. W
“Mr. Miller, what a coincidence!” This time, legit na coincidence lang na nakita ng dalaga ang bilyonaryo. She was supposed to be out on a romantic dinner date with Dominic. Pero ang magaling, thirty minutes nang late. Tumanggi kasi siya na magpasundo rito, kaya ang resulta, nauna siya sa restaurant.Nakita niya si Alistair sa mesang hindi kalayuan sa kanya na mukhang mag-isang kumakain ng dinner. Thinking she was wasting time waiting for a traitor, she decided to approach Alistair and tried to make use of her time well.“Are you alone?” she asked, sitting across him uninvited.“You just sat on my companion’s lap, Rian…”Napakunot noo siya saglit bago na-realize ang corny joke nito. Ali was suppressing a smile while chewing his food gracefully. Ayon na naman ang dimples nito na kusang lumilitaw kahit hindi nito sadyain.Arianna managed a smile. “Well, she didn’t say anything. I guess it’s fine with her.”“How did you know it’s a she?”“Well—”“I’m kidding.” He wiped his lips and lea
“Mommy, is he my daddy?” Nagulat si Arianna nang biglang sumulpot sa likuran niya si Maliah. Nakita nito sa laptop screen niya ang mukha ni Alistair. Nagbabasa kasi siya ng article tungkol dito at sa Exquisite. “No, anak,” sagot niya at hinayaan na itong sumiksik sa kandungan niya.“But I think he looks like me,” giit ng bata na inilapit pa ang mukha sa screen. Natawa siya. Sa katunayan, tumatawa pa siya nang matigilan siya. Why, Maliah was correct. She didn’t realize that until now that her daughter mentioned it. Bukod sa parehong asul ang mga mata ng mga ito, Maliah looked like a younger female version of Alistair. Mabilis niyang ipinilig ang ulo. No, nadala lang siya sa sinabi ni Maliah. “Why are you looking at his picture?” “Nope. I’m reading an article about him. See, this man is called Mr. Alistair Miller. He owns a big company of jewels,” sabi niya sa anak, dismissing her earlier thoughts about her daughter’s similarity with Alistair. Nagkataon lang iyon. Marami talagang
Three days later, the auction items were still delivered to Arianna’s office. Pero nainis lang siya nang makita ang mga iyon. “Robert, send them back to Mr. Miller,” aniya sa assistant.“Ms. Lucero, have you given up on your plans?” Sa halip na tumalima sa utos niya ay usisa pa ni Robert. He even sighed like he was disappointed in her.“There must be some other way,” sagot niya. “How is it going with the acquisition of the smaller shares?”Umiling ito. By that, alam niya na walang progress ang backup plan niya. She had initially assigned someone to come to the other minority shareholders to buy their shares on her behalf. Well, hindi iyon pangalan niya sa ngayon, because like Alistair said, they did not trust her. Nainis siya lalo nang maalala ang lalaki. That night, they didn’t part well. Okay lang iyon dahil hindi na niya ito hahabulin para kumbinsihin na tulungan siya. He had made it as clear as day that just like the other shareholders, he also had doubts about her abilities.
“You don’t seem to be waiting for somebody’s arrival. Did you really dare to come without a date, Mr. Miller?” sabi ni Arianna na bahagyang tumabi sa kakabakante lang sa kausap na si Alistair. May dala-dala siyang maliit na platito na may maliit din na serving ng sliced cake. She was trying to look like she just happened to be there by the buffet table and it was convenient to strike up a conversation with him since they knew each other. Nangunot ang noo niya nang imbes na humarap ito at kausapin siya, inuna nitong pansinin ang isang babae na kakalapit lang. The lady was wearing a mermaid cut tube gown, highlighting her curves and exposing half of her boastful chest. “Rude,” she remarked, low enough for him to hear bago siya nagretreat pabalik sa mesa ng mga pagkain. She lost the chance to talk to him. Pangit yata ang bungad niya. Feeling close masyado. Sa inis ay kumuha siya ng wine at inisang lagok iyon habang dinudurog ng tinidor ang cake kanina sa platito. Kukuha pa sana siya
“A charity gala?” ulit ni Arianna sa imbitasyon ni Dominic sa kanya. Nasa opisina niya ang binata. “Yes, Arianna. Will you come with me?” Nag-isip siya habang tumitipa ng mensahe sa nakaopen niyang laptop para kay Robert. If it were only to come as Dominic’s date, then she’d pass. But if it could serve another purpose, she would surely take advantage of it.‘Find out if Mr. Miller will be at the charity event happening tomorrow evening.’“Do you mind if I give you my answer after I talk to my secretary about my schedules?” nakangiting tanong niya kay Dominic.“I don’t. Just give me your answer before noon tomorrow. Kapag hindi ka makakasama, Bianca is interested in going. The event will showcase unique jewels and art pieces. So I prefer my fiancee to be with me in the event.” “Okay,” aniya. He could bring Bianca instead and she wouldn’t give a damn. Wala na siyang pakialam sa dalawa. Bagay ang mga ito, parehong mga ahas.Tumayo na si Dominic pero hindi naman ito kumilos para umalis
Alistair Miller’s profile shocked Arianna. He wasn’t just some shareholder in AL Jewels, he was the brilliant mind behind Asia’s biggest, and currently expanding worldwide, jewelry brand– Exquisite. A multi-billion company! Arianna couldn’t believe it. It made sense to her now kung bakit may pagka-OA umistima sina Bianca at Dominic noon sa lalaki. Hindi pala ito basta-bastang tao lang. Kung gano’n ay bakit nag-aaksaya ito ng panahon sa AL Jewels? The company only ranked third in the country, Exquisite being the first. Although it was quite big, hindi ito maikukumpara sa Exquisite. Nagkaroon ng pag-asa ang dalaga. Baka hindi siya mahirapan na mapapayag ang lalaki na ibenta ang shares nito sa kanya. “Robert, did you already get a hold of Mr. Miller?” “He is currently out of the country, Ms. Lucero. And according to his secretary, may engagement siya pagdating na pagdating niya bukas.” “The day after?” “Wala siyang free time sa susunod na isang buwan.” Arianna sighed. Hindi siya
“Mommy, can we go out now?” ungot ni Maliah pagkagising na pagkagising pa lang nito.Arianna was back in their hotel. Kaya naman sinusulit niyang makasama ulit ang anak na ilang araw niyang tiniis na hindi makita nang personal.“You can always go out with Tita Daisy, Maliah,” sagot niyang hinahaplos ang ulo nito. Maliah will be okay as long as she was not seen with her by either Dominic or Bianca. Hindi naman kasi niya kamukha ang anak. Pero syempre kapag nakita ito na kasama niya, it would easily be guessed na anak niya ito. Lalo na nga at limang taon siyang nawala. “But I want to be with you,” ngumuso ang anak niya.“We can’t be seen together yet, anak. But I promise you, once Mommy is done with the bad guys, we’ll go around together before we go back to the States.”“You are not changing your mind?” malungkot nitong tanong.“I’m sorry, Maliah. Babawi si mommy, okay? It’s just that now, it’s dangerous for you to be seen with me.”There was really no threat to her life for now. Bu
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