Updated: 4 days ago
Book Title: How Could You Tell
"Look at the horizon! Tell me what's new?" Fred pointed the pathway sprawling with young trees leading to the pond. The pond, one of the treasures of their town, where they used to hang around with their club members while filling the seed bags they collected from donations."Wow, this is so amazing; all the trees that we planted thrived! It's so magical!" Kate burst into excitement. "Not all trees, but most of them." Fred clarified.
"The water is clearer now, and the pathway is new. All these rustic benches. They are gorgeous!" Kate was so amazed as she gazed at how picturesque the place had become.
"Our town's folks must be very proud of you guys." Kate complimented Fred.
"Thank you. There's more." Fred smiled and headed back to the car as Kate followed.
"I can't let this day pass without taking you to the pride of our town," Fred said while driving.
"Where to?" Kate asked in a thrilling voice.
"The boardwalk. That is our latest town development." Fred proudly introduced the place as their car came to a stop.
"Then, it was just on paper, but now it's for real!" Kate excitedly hopped out of the car and strutted on towards the railings.
"This is superb!" Kate exclaimed as she inhaled the warm and fresh smell of the sea breeze. Fred enjoyed gazing at how Kate moved gracefully while enjoying the view.
"I guess I deserve a free dinner tonight!" Fred snapped.
"Of course you do!" Kate quickly agreed with a sweet smile.
"Thank you very much for taking the time to bring me here, Fred. I know you are a busy body, but you took the time to do this." Kate sincerely thanked Fred.
"What are friends for!" Fred answered in a high pitch.
"Yeah! What are friends for!" Kate repeated, and they both laughed.
"This, here, is the town's best seafood restaurant," Fred explained proudly. "I can smell the truth of your word." Kate jokingly agreed.
The ambience shifted. Fred's face turned formal, and he seemed uneasy.
"Seriously, Kate, I'm delighted that you decided to come home. Hopefully, you'll enjoy it here and finally decide not to go back to the city." Fred opened up.
"All the people who loved and cared for you are here." Fred continued.
"I would be the happiest of them if you finally decide to stay, for good." He shifted his glance from his cup to Kate's eyes.
"Well, let's see, let's see." Kate awkwardly answered.
The waiter came to their table and took their order.
They ate and laughed and talked, reminiscing the good old days.
They drove home quietly. Neither Fred nor Kate dared open a conversation.
"I had a great time, and the food was great too. Thank you!" Kate broke the silence as Fred slowly parked the car in front of Kate's parents' house.
Fred paused a while and just quietly gripped the steering wheel. He opened his mouth without looking at Kate and deeply breathed.
"I want you to think about those words I've told you tonight. That I'm the happiest person if you finally decide to stay for good. Not just because of your company." Fred paused hesitantly. "We are not that young that we should go through a lot of procedures in courtship." Fred continued formally.
"You know me, and I know you. We've known each of our families since we were young. I know you have no boyfriend, and I do not have a girlfriend. I want you to be my girlfriend. You don't need to say anything yet. I just made known to you, my sincere intentions."Fred babbled, made him gasping for his breath. He was sweating.
Both of them kept quiet. They don't know for how long. "I don't know what to say." Kate finally spoke up softly.
"Let's just sleep with it. As I've said, you don't need to say anything yet. For now, leave it that way." Fred explained hastily again; this time, he is smiling.
Kate smiled back and slowly opened the passenger door just in time for Fred to jump out of his seat and walked around to open the door for Kate.
"So, goodnight!" Fred back on his usual self again. "Yes, goodnight," Kate answered as she tried to gain back her balance and composure.
"Please say goodnight for me, to everybody in there." Fred motioned playfully to Kate's house.
"Don't forget about the contract signing tomorrow." Fred reminded her.
"Okay, see you tomorrow then. Again thank you for the wonderful time.night." Kate answered in a formal tone as she got out of the car without looking at Fred.
Kate strode as fast as she could so she could get inside the house quickly.
Her older sister opened the door for her, grinning. "What was that? I smell something mysteriously romantic aroma in the air!" Zeny, the teacher. Who had sent her long messages updating her about Fred when she was still in the city.
"Shhssh! Are ma and pa asleep?" Kate made sure that their parents could not hear their conversation.
"Asleep? I don't know. But I'm sure they are in bed." Zeny excitedly followed Kate as she headed to her room.
"Tell me, what's going on with you two?" Zeny, teasingly tailing behind her sister.
"Okay, okay. Let me relax and allow me to sit down. Please close the door behind you." Kate kicked her shoes off, threw her bag on the bed, and slammed her body on the couch.
"Talk! in detail!" Zeny demanded. "He wanted me to be his girlfriend, aaaah!" Kate jabbered and covered her mouth as she shouted.
"What? Why so quickly? What exactly did he say? Did he know that you had a crush on him since you were in high school?" Zeny burst. "No! I don't know!" Kate muttered.
"He said, I don't need to answer yet. For now, we just sleep with it. But tomorrow, I get to see him for the contract signing." Kate narrated. "What should I do?" She asked her sister without looking at her.
"Kate, you are in a trance. Go to sleep, and tomorrow is another day. Face it when it comes. And by the way, it's past midnight Cinderella, let's rest." Zeny patted Kate's shoulder and moved out.
"Ah! I'll tell Mom!" Zeny teased before she closed the door.
"No! Let me do it!" Kate disagreed firmly. "Just kidding, go to sleep," Zeny responded.
Kate has signed the lease contract. Kate's company can move in anytime. Fred's secretary, Nida, was very efficient. She is a bit elderly and a distant relative of Kate.
Fred was not present in the contract signing, and Kate felt comfortable with it.
Kate met with her assistants in their new office right away to discuss all the things to comply to officially start running their new branch. Kate is a dedicated employee. That got her the promotion.
Kate's day was hectic. She almost forgot her lunch. Thankfully the cafeteria is just beside her office. She can eat anytime. "What a favor." She sighed. They worked until sundown.
"Time to go home, everyone." Kate stood and stretched her body as she reached for her bag.
Everyone else stood up and headed out to go home.
"Mom, I can smell your best adobo. It makes me more hungry." Kate excitedly ran directly to the kitchen. She was expecting five people at the dinner table, her father, mother, brother, sister, and aunt May, the younger sister of her dad, a widow. But there are six this time.
"Take your seat Kate; we are just about to eat. Fred is here, and we are hungry. We just came from biking." Her dad casually invited her to dig in.
"Mom, your adobo is superb, as always. I'll forget my diet for now." Arman, her younger brother, mumbled.
"I know, honey, I know." Her mom Ramona answered, a woman of few words. "Armani, talk to me; I miss you," Kate called out her brother, who is on the other side of the table.
"Yes, sis, I'll come by to your room tonight before we sleep. Let's talk with ate Zen. Right, ate Zeny?" Arman responded. "Yes, bro." Zeny agreed. "Fred, try my discovery." Aunt May proudly served her homemade juice. "Fantastic, aunt May. So refreshing." Fred complimented the widow.
Everyone enjoyed the dinner.
"Time for me to go home," Fred spoke up as they got up from the dinner table. "I need to rest early; tomorrow, I'll be going to the city." He explained. "Okay, take care, Fred, and thank you for taking time biking with me." Her father patted Fred's shoulder.
"Come by anytime, Fred." Her mother nodded. "Goodnight, Fred, and take care of yourself," Arman added, as Zeny and Aunt May waved their hands. "Can you walk me to my car, Kate?" Fred asked politely. "Dad?" Kate faced her dad, asking permission. "Go ahead, you two." Dad agreed.
Fred opened the driver seat and took out a box. Opened it, and it was an engagement ring."This is my mom's; I will leave this to your keeping. Just don't say a word yet. I'm not trying to be pushy here, but I'm just letting you know that I'm dead serious with my intentions for you." Fred spoke in a solemn tone.
"I know you want to say something, but please hold it until I come back from the city. I'll be there for two nights. Enough time for both of us to come up with the right words to say to each other." Fred continued explaining.
"You can return it to me when I come back after we talk." Fred handed her the box. "Can I say something? Why so quick?" She asked.
"Please, let it be for now. I promise after we talk, we'll take it slowly." Fred assured her. "Just take this box and take care of it for me." Fred pleaded. "Okay, okay, I'll take care of it for you." She agreed "Promise me, the moment you come home, we'll talk right away." She firmly said.
"I promise," Fred swore.
Fred briskly hopped in his car and waved goodbye.