The sound of water freely flowing from the shower was all Diego could hear. His eyes closed as he savour the refreshing feeling of late night bath after hours of working behind the desk. The agency hasn't received any requests that he finds a great deal. And he's getting bored at it.
"I'll pass," one of his subordinates invited him to drink. It's Friday night and they are all going to the nearby open club. He's drying his hair as he talk to him over the phone. His bare naked as he strut out of the bathroom and walked across his room. "I'll give it to you guys. Enjoy the night. Well done to the last assignment."
They tease him how killjoy he become and Diego just let them. After the call, he throws his phone at the bed and wears his drawstring, cotton lounge pants. He picks up his glasses and the book at the bedside table and make his way on the pool side.
Diego Varres always makes time to read books, of all sorts. At his age, accomplished and with a stable job, reading has been a past time to him before dozing off after a long day. And his favourite place to do that is at the lounge chair near the pool with a glass of brandy at side. The area is well illuminated. Just perfect for its cause.
He's at page 35 when he read something about Melancholia. That it is a severe form of depression. That the patients with this case would typically deeply sad but beyond the sadness is the feeling of nothing. And such patients are at risk of suicide.
He closed the book and stared at the night sky. A week ago, Diego attended the funeral of his friend, Mario San Diego. He died of leukemia, a type of cancer in the blood. Mario become weaker and more tired over several months. They have constant communication since then. He's always checking his old friend and tells the tales they knew since college. It was fun reminiscing the past, but knowing he's talking to a dying friend makes it even more agonizing.
It has been difficult for Mario, and his wife is his only form of solace. But even his death to be expected, everyone got shocked at the sudden news. And his wife bears the pain no one can even measure. Not her family. Not even her closests friends.
Not even him who knew her since college.
Mikaela never shed tears on the days of his internment. He heard from the maids that she stop crying the day after she found his husband dead on his bed. They say she'd gone back to normal, able to converse well with others. Diego could see it from afar. She's pretty good at hiding her true feelings but he will never be deceived.
He knew her more than anyone else.
"Good Morning, Ninong," Diego greeted his Ninong
Cholo as he enters his office. He recieved a message that morning from the head of the security agency that he's needed at the office ASAP. And so Diego came with such urgency. "I assume you got the job for me."
"I do, son," yet his eyes noticed another man inside. An old man ,maybe in his sixties, staring at the frame of him taken years ago. He's all smiles with Mario and Mikaela at that graduation picture. "And this man is here to give you that job."
"I would like to refer it as act of solicitude, Pocholo," Giorgio faced the man his friend speak highly of. A bar top notcher and registered civil engineer for that matter. A man with intelligence and principles. A man who choose a different path from the rest. "I am pleased that you know Mikaela San Diego."
"She's an old friend, way back in college," Diego had seen this man somewhere. He cannot be mistaken. His presence can't be disregarded. "Same with Mario. We were quite a team back in the days."
"Then what I'll ask will be an easy task for you," he hand over the frame to him. "I want you to look after Mikaela."
Looking out for her is an easy task for Diego. Days had been pretty much ordinary for him; keeping his distance at bay and watching her till night comes out. All through out, Mikaela hadn't known his presence. He kept it as a secret as to not be avoided by her.
He decided it's for the best. She didn't want his protection the day Giorgio introduce him to her as her bodyguard. Apparently, someone is sending her letters everyday and the old man was concerned of her welfare. But there's nothing to be afraid of, just as what she said, the letters are not a threat so is the sender. He pulled an all-night to capture the one behind the ruckus. Turns out she's a new girl in the neighborhood with secret admiration to the designer and means no harm to her. His task clearly ended at that moment but Diego keep watching her. For days.
He wonders that to himself. Mikaela doesn't recognize him; should be taken as an insult but he finds it amusing. And her displeasure to see him is something new, kind of refreshing. He never knew a woman could actually hate him. Not to brag but he never exerts effort to see a woman. They came to him, all too willing to please him.
So what is it about her that makes him wanted to stay? Make him wanted to understand? Make him wanted to be acknowledged...by her?
As he continues this uncalled pursuit that Sunday morning, Diego noticed that Mikaela hadn't gone out of her house to do her usual routine. It's already 8 am and there's no sign of her inside. No lights. No movements inside. He was trained to have patience longer than the others but that instant, he felt tensed. He fears of something that's been playing in his mind over and over. Diego immediately jump off his car and run towards her house .
The front door is locked so he has to open it by force. Frantic with worry, he searched for the only woman living inside that two storey house. She let her maids took an indefinite leave with compensation. That thought he paid no attention but now he realized he's a fool. Mikaela is up to something. Something she'll entirely regret her whole life.
After searching all other rooms, his feet leads her to the very last, her bedroom. With no hesitation, he barge inside and call for her name. Still no answer. His eyes focus on the only door that he wished that doesn't exist. The door that always witness the suffering of the women who lost the will to fight. Lost the will to live.
And he's right. She looks like an Angel that lost her wings to fly. Eyes closed, she's crying as blood comes out from the wound of her own suffering. Diego act on instinct, get her out of the tub and cover the wound she inflicted herself.
"I told you I don't need your help," in small voice she utters. Diego covers her wet body with the towel. He's infuriated of how he didn't see this one coming. He actually did but why he'd never acted on the first place?
"Save it for later, Ella," he pick her up and left the bathroom. "Don't die on me. Don't die on me you foolish woman!"
But Mikaela just smiled at him.