"It is the feeling when you notice the absence of a specific person. A part of you feels empty when he or she is not around. All of us have someone we hold dear, and when we miss them, we couldn't wait to see them and spend time together with them again."
It was the feeling that Senthie Salvador had long forgotten about and wished she could soon remember how to feel once again.
The clear sky and the orange hue of the sunset were visible from SENTHIE's view outside of her window. She couldn't help but gawk at it as the tree branches swayed gracefully. She took a deep breath and slightly slapped both of her cheeks with her hands when she realized she was zoning out again. This was one of her habits, by the way.
"I should get ready before Kenzo arrives," she muttered to herself as she stared at her reflection in the mirror of her dressing table.
She picked up her red lipstick and applied it by tapping it a few times on her lips. She pressed her lips together to spread the color evenly. She practiced a smile but noticed how it didn't reach her eyes. She laughed at herself as she rolled her eyes.
"Okay, let's try again." She forced an even wider smile, her white perfect set of teeth revealed as she tugged the strands of her hair behind her ears.
"I look pretty," she muttered as she put on golden diamond-shaped tassel earrings. Her long green-dyed hair was loose, the see-through bangs that she cut herself a month ago were on display, and she was also wearing her green contact lenses.
A few minutes had passed when she heard a car engine stops right about in front of her house. She thought to herself that it must be Kenzo. She hurriedly went downstairs after grabbing her black purse, matching her ruffled off-shoulder with a golden roses pattern on it. The dress was a knee-length mermaid style that fits her shape perfectly.
Seconds later, the doorbell rang. Senthie was now in the living room heading towards the door to open it.
Standing before her was Kenzo Yamamoto. A man with a cute and innocent face, a head taller than her (without her heels). He was handsome and pretty. His Japanese hairstyle looked perfect to him. His black shiny hair danced as the wind blew gentle breezes as if he was in a shampoo commercial. He ran his fingers through his hair and tugged it behind his ear to keep it from falling and coming to his face. Senthie felt a smile on her lips.
Wearing a bluish-green button-up shirt, tucked in, with the two buttons undone, Senthie could see his collarbone peeking. Letting her eyes look further down, fitted brown jeans with a black belt and black leather shoes completed his attire.
Kenzo looked at her from head to toe and then back to her eyes.
"You look gorgeous, babe," he said with a nervous smile.
Senthie gave him a big smile. "And so are you."
Kenzo pulled her into a hug and felt his breath on her neck as he spoke, sending chills to her spine. "I missed you a lot, Sen."
"Me too," she mumbled with guilt as she gave him a slight pat on his back. She never once missed him.
After they pulled away from the hug, Kenzo led Senthie to the car and opened the door for her.
Kenzo was just back from Japan today, he'd be summoned by his father sometimes to ask for his help for a certain project in their gaming company. It had been like that since he graduated from college. The longest stay that he had ever been in Japan was for six months, that was recent. Regardless of his busy schedule, he didn't forget or miss a single day without calling and checking up on her. He didn't fail to make her feel that she was his top priority and gave an effort to remind her that he loved Senthie very much. You could call him the ideal boyfriend.
The drive only took 30 minutes to the hotel. With Senthie holding his arm, Kenzo led the way to the elevator and pressed number 5. Senthie wasn't used to taking elevators, it made her dizzy. Her ears couldn't take the pressure as if she was free-falling in reverse. She tightened her grip on Kenzo's arm, taking him as a pillar. Knowing her, Kenzo held her girlfriend's hand and gave it a slight squeeze. When Senthie heard a clicking sound, she finally breathe in relief and stepped outside the elevator. They walked straight for a while, then turned right and reached the restaurant called Belle's.
They stopped at the counter to ask the employee to guide them to their reserved table. Belle's employees were in formal ivory-colored long sleeves in tucked, males in brown slacks, females in brown pencil cut skirts.
Senthie scanned the place, the ambiance was overwhelming in elegance. The theme color of the restaurant was brown and ivory. The chandeliers were sparkling, and the placement of candles and fresh flowers on each table were arranged meticulously. Her eyes went wide when she saw the view from the outside through the glass walls. It was beautiful, the buildings outside, the city lights, and most of all, the night sky. A lot of stars were visible and the moon shined brightly. Her heart jumped in happiness, knowing that this date was planned and thought of by her thoughtful boyfriend.
It didn't take long to confirm their seats. The receptionist Kyla--as it said to her nameplate--guided them to their table.
They made their order and waited for it to be served. Kenzo and Senthie ordered the same--steak.
"So, all in all, how was your work in Japan?" Senthie asked, elbows leaning on the table, her chin resting on her hands.
Kenzo pressed his lips together and stared at her while making a 'hmm' sound, then opened his mouth to answer.
"Nothing unusual. It still seems that they can't operate without my assistance," he said, trying to sound serious but betrayed by his humbleness. It was written all over his face that he wanted to take back what he just said.
Senthie took the ride and said, "It's because you're super awesome! I wish I could be like you."
He rolled his eyes and took a sip of water that the waiter prepared for them earlier while waiting. "Come on, Sen. I know you know that you are more awesome." A half-smile in his mouth showed.
She chuckled. "Oh, come on! You flatter me."
"Just telling you the truth."
She smiled at him, reached for his hand on the table, and squeezed it. "Thank you, Ken."
Senthie pulled back her hand when she saw the waiter approaching. He placed their orders on the table in a careful manner. When they gave him thanks, he smiled at them and hoped for them to enjoy their meal.
While they were relishing their meal, they also talked a lot about other stuff. When Kenzo realized that all of their subjects were all about him, he stopped for a moment and stared at her.
"Why aren't you talking about yourself?" he asked, eyes looking worried.
Senthie narrowed her eyes and smiled. "'Coz there's nothing to talk about me. I mean, you know. I don't leave my house if it's not necessary. You see, my life is boring without you."
Kenzo held his gaze for a moment and she felt his worries piercing through her heart. She bit her tongue to punish herself for spouting nonsense.
"If you say so, then I won't ever leave your side again," he genuinely said with an apologetic smile.
Senthie didn't notice that she was holding her breath until she opened her mouth. "No!"
Her voice was slightly raised, she couldn't believe it. She pressed her lips together, and turned her gaze around, hoping she hadn't interrupted the night of the other customers. Thankfully, her voice wasn't as loud as she expected it to be. She returned her gaze to Kenzo and saw him--stunned.
What was she doing? Kenzo was nothing but a good boyfriend to her. And yet...
"Kenzo, babe, I'm sorry for startling you. I just meant... You don't have to do that for me," she said, smiling as if saying 'don't worry about me.'
Kenzo smiled and nodded.
"There's something I almost forgot to tell you," she added, making it sound as interesting as it could be, and placed the last slice of meat in her mouth.
He raised his eyebrows and gave her a curious look. "What is it?"
She gestured a hand sign of 'wait for a second' and took a sip of wine. The wine was delicious, it had a little percentage of alcohol, and it tasted just like pure grape juice. Just what she wanted.
Kenzo nodded, slicing his meat not averting his eyes on her.
"I sent a lease application to GMC!" Senthie said excitedly.
GMC – short for Grand Mall Corporation, known as the most famous mall in the Philippines. The only mall in the county where you can find those well-known brands around the world.
His eyes and mouth widened. "Really? Wow, that's great!"
"Right?" She forced a smile. "You think they will approve it?"
It was Senthie's dream to run her business in GMC. It was an impossible dream, to be honest--but as they say, it's free to dream, so might as well dream big. Who knows? Maybe one day, that impossible dream becomes attainable. You just have to dream and take an action to make it possible. As long as you try, there'll be a chance you will reach it--even if it is small steps at a time.
Before Kenzo could answer, she followed her pessimistic sentence with a positive one. "Of course! They will approve it. 'Coz if they don't? That would be their loss."
She flipped her hair as she leaned her back on the chair.
He chuckled. "Yeah, right. And you know why?" His eyebrows raised.
"Because I'm awesome!" she said.
"Because you're awesome!" he said.
They laughed as they said their piece in unison.
Kenzo dropped off Senthie in front of her house.
"Thanks for the night, babe." Senthie gave him a sweet smile and he smiled back.
"And thanks for your time, babe," he said.
His eyes were still on her and she had the feeling that he wanted to say something. "Sen, I have something to say."
She gave him a nervous smile. "What is it?"
With his gaze, Senthie could feel the intensity of his small brown eyes, and what he was going to say.
'Don't say it. Please. Don't say it, Kenzo,' she chanted in her mind.
She could see his adam's apple move up and down as he swallowed. "Sen, I..."
'No, no, no. Don't say it.'
There was a hesitation in his voice, but he continued. "I... I love you, Senthie Salvador."
He watched Senthie as she froze for a moment, but then, she realized he was waiting for her reply. "I... I..."
"I?" he repeated after her with anticipation.
"I.. uh... I.." Still couldn't say it, beads of sweat were forming on her forehead.
The anticipation in his eyes was now gone and replaced by worries. "Are you okay, babe? You're sweating a lot."
Senthie turned her gaze at her feet and stayed silent.
Warm hands covered her arms and before she knew it, she was enveloped by Kenzo's hug, his chin resting on her shoulder.
"Relax, babe. It's okay. I understand," he said, hugging her tighter.
Her heart felt like it was being clamped hearing those words from him. She didn't deserve him.
He pulled away from the hug and smiled at her which seemed to be forced. He said goodnight and didn't wait for her to reply. He hopped into his car and Senthie was left frozen.
Senthie put on her pajamas and sat at the edge of her bed. The scene earlier flashed back and she was clouded with thoughts.
What was wrong with her? They had been together for almost two years now. She couldn't believe she still couldn't say it back. Those were just three words. He was looking forward to it. He must be very disappointed. He never made a big deal out of it, but Senthie knew he was waiting for her to say it, too. Of course, she loved him, but not the way he did. Kenzo was the most understanding and kindest person she knew. He didn't deserve this. She had to settle this, once and for all.
She grabbed her phone and sent a message to Kenzo.
"I'm sorry about earlier. I just didn't feel good, maybe because I didn't chew the steak well. But I'm fine now. Hahaha. Btw, Can we meet tomorrow? I have something important to tell you." — Sent at 9:52 PM
Thank you for taking the time to read the first chapter! :)
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