Chapter 24

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Chapter 24

"Thank you so much for taking care of her, Sir Joel." Ike stood beside me and faced our manager. He slipped the strap of my guitar case on his shoulder.

It was already almost eight in the evening. After he was done with his schedule and work for the day, he quickly came back to Top Star and picked me up. He was relieved to see that Mr. Joel was still guarding me when he arrived.

"No problem. I'm also Aleena's manager. You don't really have to thank me," sabi na lang sa kanya ni Mr. Joel bago ito sumulyap nang mabilis sa akin. "Anyway, mauna na ako sa inyong dalawa. May dadaanan pa ako sa opisina ko sa taas. Be careful on the road, okay?"

"Don't worry. I'll be alert," Ike firmly said.

Sumabay na kami kay Mr. Joel sa paglabas ng studio. We took the lift and went down to the basement where Ike parked his extravagant car.

Like always, Ike opened the shot gun door for me. He even used his hand to cover the metal arc and shield me from bumping my head while I slid in.

Tahimik kong inayos ang aking sarili at sinuot ang seat belt habang umikot si Ike sa harap upang pumasok sa driver's seat. Wala siyang inaksayang oras at agad binuhay ang makina ng sasakyan. Mabilis din kaming umarangkada papalabas ng parking.

Ike's eyes were fixed on the road. He kept silent. I played with my fingers as I contemplated whether I should ask him about what Willow told me. However, I was scared if I interrogate him, he might think that I didn't trust him enough, and I didn't want that.

Kaya nga lang ay hindi ko mapigilan ang sarili ko. I was really bothered even though I had already made a decision to trust him. I was still looking for an assurance. I needed his words. I wanted to make sure that my efforts wouldn't be wasted.

"Ike..." I hesitantly called his name, my voice soft and quiet.

Since he was driving, he just gave me a quick glance. "Yes?" he replied. "May gusto ka bang daanan bago umuwi?"

Mabilis akong umiling. "Hindi, uhm, gusto ko lang itanong..." Kinagat ko ang aking ibabang labi sa pagdadalawang-isip. "May hindi ka ba sinasabi sa akin?"

Pagkatanong ko ay saktong tumigil ang sasakyan nang magpula ang traffic light. Nilingon ako ni Ike nang maayos. For a fleeting moment, he seemed a bit taken aback, but then his brows furrowed.

"Of course, not," he answered, looking skeptical. "Did something happen earlier when I wasn't around?"

Napalunok ako at pinilit ang sariling ngumiti bago umiling. "Nothing," agap ko. "Naisip ko lang na baka may problema ka at gusto mong sabihin sa akin. Medyo tahimik ka kasi."

His shoulders relaxed as I explained myself. "You don't have to worry about me. I'm doing fine," he assured me. "Just focus on the competition. I'll do the rest."

While nodding my head, I pursed my lips tightly. Hindi na lang ako nagsalita ulit dahil baka makaramdam na siya.

"By the way, have you made progress with your song?" he popped a question so casually.

"Yes. Tapos ko na ang kanta."

A smile automatically spread on his face when he heard a pleasing answer. "Great! I can't wait to hear it!" he excitedly replied. "I'm sure everyone would love the song you've written. We can visit the studio again tomorrow. I'll see if there are still some changes or if there are parts we still need to work on."

"Hmm, sige."

"We will also meet Mrs. Molina and the new performance director I got you," he told me. "You just have to tell them the theme that you want. Sila na ang bahala sa lahat. They're known to be very efficient and they both have a great team. Even though we're pressed for time, they can give you great results."

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