Short Stories

…and doth the lady protests

“The ladies doth protest too much.” Robert quoting Shakespeare.

“Jenjen, you see, Rodney here he has a gift, he even solved my petty problems at the office. You will be taken care of.” Jennifer, awed at what just transpired, her jaw is still dropped.

“Wanning, Robert, of course we are protesting, what did you just do, in exchange for what? She is our daughter, you can not just do that to her.”

“Nothing, really nothing. It is just a favor that Rodeny would come here and they can go wherever they please,” Robert paused and looked to Rodney and pointed his finger with a stern face, “just make sure nothing funny goes.”

“I will make sure that will not happen to her the second time around, I will wait until we have had our education at the university. ON my mother’s soul.”

The house help came just in time to serve the additional food.

“I say we eat, first. Rodney, will you do the honors of the prayer before meals.” Robert interrupts everyone.

After the prayers, they all ate together. But the silence was just deafening to Jennifer.

“Okay I just can’t stand it, what is really going on.”

“So do I Wanning, you can not be serious about selling your daughter.”

“Aight! Okay wait, no one is selling anyone. I did not sell her, or else she’d be shipped to Rodney’s house.” Robert agitated, but did not mind to be disturbed.

“Then what is in the letter, papa, what does it say.”

“The letter is a formal request that Rodney here will be courting you, period.”

“And you consented Wanning? How could you? She is…”

“She is already a mother Mamita.” Robert cutting his wife, “she is old enough to discern what is right for her and.”

“And what papa.”

“That I’ll have you marry Rodney and ship you to the US.”

“What!” Jennifer protested, and her mother caught aghast by her husband’s decision.

Rodney, unaware and is surprised as well.

“So you sold me father, for how much?”

“I did not sell you for anything or for any price. Just to get you safe with someone who cares for you.”

“Robert, there is something else is it.”

“President Marcos, declared martial law, a few days ago, and if worse comes to worst, I am sending her with Rodney to the US. It may not happen, yet, though, so, enjoy both of you.”

“You cannot be serious Robert.”

“Look what will happen in the coming months or years, I have to think of what is good for her. I cannot afford to think that she will suffer in this country. We are doing this the old way, this is now an arranged marriage.”

The conversation stopped and they all had their meals in silence.

Jennifer has mixed feelings, she is excited that she is going to be married to a hunk of guy well not right away, but afraid that she might just get hurt again.

Okay Jennifer, looks like this is the end for you. Well at least he is better than the last one. What if he is just like the last one, well he is, is he? He is a guy and guys are like all down there. 

Look at him, he is really better looking than the last one, but this one is not going to leave me. I am marrying him. Maybe this is different this time. Maybe this is really love.

Stop daydreaming Jennifer, wake up. What am I thinking?

“Jennifer… Jenjen….” Robert has been trying to get Jennifer’s attention, but she seems to be spacing out. 

Jennifer’s thoughts are drowning her, that she could not hear anything but her thoughts. Then she notices her dad seems to be saying something out of the corner of her eye, so she turns to see.

“Jennifer… Jenjen… are you alright?”

Robert’s voice began to filter in, like her ears were muffled with an earplug and slowly removed, his voice sounded like someone was wearing a mask, and then she could just hear him clearly.

“Oh, you were saying something papa?”

“Are you alright?”

“I guess so? Okay I guess. Yeah pretty much.”

“Hmmm… to put you at rest, let me read to you Mr. Quiñones letter to me.”

The letter goes like this:

Dear Robert,

Greetings, and felicitations! I am writing to you to request for assistance in my son’s quest for his heart’s affection. You have met him at the bank. He confessed to me about how he feels, for this new girl at school. I trust my son, as a good judge of character, when he mentioned the address, and the name, I realized that it was your daughter. He does not know that you are the father of Jennifer. 

May I formally request that he be granted the permission to court your daughter and let the courtship begin forthwith.

I have made sure that you are a shoe in, for the regional manager or assistant regional manager when the planned acqui…

“I will have to skip that part, I think I should not have read that, its confidential banking secrets.” Robert stops reading and scans to where he should go on reading.

With my partners inline with President Marcos, we will be able to succeed in our endeavours. However, if a falling out were to happen, we must proceed with a back up plan.

With the advent of Martial Law, we may be imprisoned here, for we do not know the mind of the President. 

I propose that they, your daughter Jennifer and my son Rodney, be wed, and sent to the United States for their safety, and preserve our legacy.

Signed, Severion Quiñones.

“I hope that will put your mind at ease my darling daughter. And that goes to you as well Rodney my boy.” Robert smiles, pleased at himself.

“I guess so, but maybe more wonder, amazement, and more questions, as I have not gone to the marriage part yet.”

“Don’t worry, it will be like riding a bike.”

Furious, Jennifer barks, “Don’t I get a say in this. Why does it feel like I am still being sold off to, or there is something in there that you did not read.”

While Jennifer argues her position. Mamita mumbles, “martial law, what is martial law?” She gets up from the table and goes to the living room and turns on the TV. There was nothing on TV. All channels are dead.

Silently Rodney thinking out loud and talking to himself, “and doth the lady protests”

Mamita, with fear in her voice, and trembling, “Robert? What is going on? Why is there nothing on TV?” Robert turns to Mamita.

“It is the beginning of a new society, my dear.” Says Robert in cryptic fashion, “Jennifer, why don’t you be a lamb and go to your room, take your boyfriend too.”

“He is not my boyfriend,” protests Jennifer, “lets go, Rodney” rolls her eyeballs, she stands up and goes to her room.

“Robert? Are you sure about this? The two in the room?” Mamita protests.

“Leave them be, we have much to talk.”

Robert goes to the living room and turns the sound of the TV up, the sound of static was deafening. And talk they did.