(Note: The following was an excerpt taken from my story ‘Beyond Reasonable Doubt’ which will be released…soon.)
GREG ONGPIN stared at the almost empty bottle of Brunello di Montalcino, Italy’s finest. Who would say that he’d be one day sipping on Italy’s most expensive wine like Coca Cola? Before he married his wife Tina, he was just a nameless sleazy alcoholic lawyer. Before, he only drank Johnny Walker and he already considered himself class. But his name changed together with his taste the moment he married her.
Until he met Amora Fox and she became his new addiction. His body ached for more sex with her no matter how much it would cost his wallet. It was purely lust but with their constant paid intercourse, he soon saw in her more than meets the eye. The whore was but a girl, an ordinary girl with great potential.
He admired her for her wisdom which surprisingly was even more advanced than his wife’s. She was, apparently, intellectual than most of the professionals he had so far dealt with. She was a natural born genius. And what made it more thrilling was the fact that the young prostitute had no idea of her gift.
The next thing he heard was the running sound of the water at the shower. He sipped his wine again and played with his glass. He found the swishing sound it made alluring and comforting at the same time.
Ah, Amora…such beauty was hard to overcome. She was different and way too far from his wife. Since Day 1 of their affair, he had already seen the potential within her. And so, he encouraged her to enrol in law school and offered to finance her all throughout. She was excited. But he had a hard time dealing with her transsexual handler which he luckily was able to convince at the end provided that he would pay the gay at least the basic maintaining fee. Hell, why not? Amora’s brain was an investment and her body was for his flesh’s benefit.
For a lawyer like him, it was frustrating that none among his children was interested in entering law school and become his successor. Not that he blamed them for choosing a different path. But at least, they could have considered trying even for one semester before closing their doors.
But Amora was different. He saw the interest in her eyes, the burning desire to learn and the challenge of finally pursuing a career …a real career this time. To his mind, she might have seen the opportunity as her way to escape the curse of the brothels and the syndicate of human trafficking.
And he now officially considered himself as a messiah doing a modern day resurrection of the lost. Oh how he prided himself for such! A toast for the messiah!
The running of the water stopped. And minutes later, the bathroom door opened.
“Your turn, Greg. I don’t like you dirty.”
He smiled. Actually, he almost laughed at that. “Yes boss, I know your rules. I’ll just finish this glass,” he answered with his back on her.
No reply, just a humming from a naïve young girl. His luck was something to drink at. And no matter how he hated to admit it, he was falling in love with this whore. Amora was independent and strong. Unlike his wife, Tina, who was very dependent on him.
Oh yes, Tina—his beloved wife who he was obliged to love forever and ever ‘til death do them part. There was a tone of despise but he was in denial. Oh how he wished death would be quick and end their marriage. Their union was obligatory. Perhaps it was because it was only she who gave worth to the name Gregory Ongpin.
Without her and her filthy rich family, he would just be an unknown lawyer doing ambulance chasing in government hospitals. Tina lent his father sufficient capital to start the old man’s print advertising business in Quezon City. With his father’s hard work and determination, the printing business expanded and gained more clients. And the Old Berting bounced back. Thanks to Tina and her money.
And this was among Greg’s and his family’s indebtedness which they would forever owe to Tina. She became the favourite of his father—the Old Berting.
Not that he was a complete user. No, God knew he tried to love her and become a loving husband to her and good father to their children. But for him, hypocrisy found itself at all fours of their relationship.
Tina was able to acquire a degree in design studies in Harvard but she rather chose to be a full-time devoted wife and mother. But he begged to disagree. For him, she was too comfortable with her family’s wealth that finding a lucrative job and establishing a name of her own was never an option. Anyway, her inheritance would suffice to keep them and even their children’s families alive. With such a great fortune to spend, who would want to get down and get her hands dirty anyway? She could, after all, hire anybody she wanted to do the dirty work and let the income flow through her treasure chest.
She cooked for him, personally ironed his clothes, bought his underwear, chose what color of shirt matched a particular slacks. Name it, Tina did everything for him! As what has been told, she was a perfect portrayal of a martyr and devoted wife who was willing to endure the pain of having a philandering husband in order to boast to the community that her family was intact and kept the legacy of her family on the roll at the same time.
Tina was in fact nothing but a control freak who expected everything she did for her loving husband be returned. You eat this because I cooked that; you wear this because I bought that; you use this because this is damn more expensive than your monthly income and I bought that exclusively for you! Hell! Every day was a living hell knowing that each of your moves was well calculated and every single cent spent was well accounted for.
And until now his family owed Tina the money she lent for his dear father, for the construction of the latter’s warehouse.
He wanted to be in control. Damn, he was the man of the house! He didn’t owe his name to Tina and her family! He had his own identity and he deserved the respect from his children even if he came from scraps!
But he gave up long time ago his dream of changing how he was being viewed by his in-laws, his wife, and his children. A puppet, that’s what he was. The only way to start a new beginning was to prepare a new life ―with Amora.