***

“What are we doing here?”
“You have a client waiting for you, Sir,” I said while opening the door for him even though I was already holding a bunch of folders and papers. What a pain in the ass to be his secretary.

When we entered the room, a guy in a clean suit came into view. He placed a black case on the table and Sir’s expression turned grim.

“Why didn’t you inform me about this, Jasmine?” Sir whispered.
“I’m sorry about that, Sir. You’re too busy these past few days.”

Hindi siya nakapagsalita matapos no’n. I could see the hesitation in his expression and I had to suppress my smile. Dahan-dahan kong ni-lock ang pinto habang naglalakad siya palapit sa lalaki. He sat on the opposite side and I stood behind him while looking at the guy opening the suitcase.

“I’m Mr. Watson’s representative and here’s the payment for the guns,” the guy said.

Hinarap ng lalaki sa amin ang laman ng case at nakalagay ro’n ang thousands of paperbills. I adjusted my position, just beside my boss and saw his shocked expression while looking at the money, at the guy and at me.
 
“Damn that Watson. I told him to give it using the old way,” he mumbled and then he looked at me. “Ms. Jasmine, you can wait for me outside.”

So you don’t want me to see it, I muttered inside my head.

“Maybe you should also smuggle drugs and guns to Italy,” the guy suggested, provoking him.
“Shut your goddamn mouth!” he yelled while slamming the table. “Jasmine! I said get out of here!”
“Oh. You don’t want your secretary to know your illegal activities, Mr. Elliot?”

All of a sudden, he pulled his gun out and pointed it at the guy but it was too late. He couldn’t even move a muscle as I pressed my gun at his head.

“W-what is the meaning of this, Jasmine?” he said, confused and trembling.
“Being a secretary doesn’t really suit you,” sabi ng lalaki sa akin.
“Well, thank you.” I smirked at him.
“That’s not a compliment.”

Nagpabalik-balik ang tingin ni Sir sa amin. He looked at me with a horrified expression as if he just saw a ghost.

“Jasmine . . . w-who the hell are you?”
I smiled in return. “A spy, Sir.”

He tried to point his gun to me but I was faster. I already pulled the trigger. His own blood splattered on the floor as his body slumped on the couch.

“And my name is not Jasmine,” I added.
“I told you not to kill him, Nel.”
“Sorry.” Binalik ko ang baril ko sa strap sa may hita ko.

Kinapkapan ko naman ang bangkay niya at nakuha ko sa bulsa niya ang phone na naglalaman ng numbers at messages ng partners niya. I discovered it during my stay here as his secretary.

“Next target is at Philadelphia. C’mon Cliff,” sabi ko at hinagis ko sa kanya ang phone.
“That’s fifteen miles away from here.”
“Where’s Jett?” I asked.
“He’s waiting for us outside.”

Pumunta kami sa bintana at agad ko ‘yong binuksan. We both jumped even though we were at the 6th floor since our shoes could absorb the impact and we were trained to jump off buildings anyway. As we landed, Jett honked at us and we walked towards where the car was parked.

“You guys are late,” bati niya agad sa amin.
“Nel’s fault.”
“No it’s not,” I retorted.

Pinaandar naman kaagad ni Jett ang kotse at nag-discuss kami para sa gagawin namin pero napatigil kami nang biglang nag-blink ang screen sa harap at lumabas ang mukha ni Dad.

“Sir!” sabay yuko nina Cliff at Jett sa kanya habang ako ay nakatingin lang.
“Abort your mission and go back to the headquarters immediately.”
“What? Why?!” pasigaw kong tanong habang ‘yong dalawa ay tahimik lang.
“I’m assigning you to a special task. I already sent Team Rubeus to continue your mission so give them the details. That’s all.”
“Wait, Dad!” Nag-move forward ako papunta sa screen at tinignan ko nang masama si Dad. “What do you mean? Why should we abort this mission? Give me a reason.”
“I’ll tell you when you—”
“But Dad—”
“Penelope.”

I shuddered when I heard my whole name. Kapag tinawag na niya ako sa pangalan ko, alam ko na kaagad na tapos na ang usapang ito. Tss. Susuko na sana ako sa pangungulit sa kanya pero narinig ko ang mahinang sinabi niya at natulala ako.

“You’re going back to the Philippines.”



***