A DAY before the concert of Presly, Andrius took a walk in the park. Carrying his camera, he took lots of shots of the scenery. When he felt hungry, he went to an open restaurant.
Carrying a tray of cheeseburgers and a large soda, he finds an available seat. He happened to see a woman who is seated in a corner. He approached the woman’s place to partake at the table.
“Excuse me. Can I join—” he was shocked when the woman turned around. She’s no other than, Sam. “You!” he put down the tray and sat down in front of her.
“Are you following me?” She knocked over the tray of her French fries.
He unwrapped his burger. “Why should I follow you? Are you famous?”
She frowned, took a deep breath, and pouted. She then looked in the other direction.
“And you already said that we’re even. Why do you feel intimidated seeing me?” he asked.
Instead of responding, she just sipped on her soda and stood up.
Andrius looked up at her. “You’re leaving?”
“Yes. I might lose my temper and slap you again.”
He stood up. “Wait. Why are you like that to me?” He smiled mischievously. “Does your abdomen got hurt also last night?” he asked he knew that it was his true feeling, but he just wants to pester the girl.
Sam laughed and blushed. “It’s just a job. Wait, why are you personalizing it? Are you still fantasizing about me, until now?”
And that hit him.
“Isn’t it a part of your job?” he asked, teasingly. “I tell you, woman, covering your body with clothes doesn't change the fact that you're naked in front of men's eyes.”
“Bastard!” she raised her hand, but he stopped her from doing what she wanted. She then pulled her hand away. “I don’t want to see your fucking face anymore inside that club!” she said, angrily.
Andrius laughed sarcastically. “And you think I have plans to go back there?” He shook his head, “It’s just a waste of money to pay someone like you.”
Clenching her palms, and holding back her tears, Sam ran away. And Andrius wanted to blame himself for being rude to her.
“Damn,” he cussed.
SAM’S vision got blurry because of continuous crying. She can’t blame the man for judging her. In the nature of her work, no one will believe that she is a virgin.
She graduated from college and it’s not impossible for her to find a decent job, however, she was already used to her work as a dancer. One thing is, she was paid big time. In case she can’t find her father, she will be able to bring home a lot of money to her home country one day and will just look to her relatives in Cebu.
According to her mother, her father loves to dance and sing. She asked many clubs, but no one knows Robert Johansson. She almost loses hope that he would find him again.
“Miss, are you all right?” A man approached her, wiped her tears, and sat beside her. “I saw you at Peregrine Club.” The man presses his body to her. And Sam already predicted what the man wants.
She suddenly stood up and started to walk away.
“Hey, miss!” the man followed her. “I’m just trying to befriend you.”
“Befriend, huh?” she shook her head. “If you want to have some fun, look for someone else!” she turned her back away from him. She’s not dumbed not to predict what the guy wants.
"Calm down, girl."
She faced him and put a hand on her waist. “Won’t you stop bothering me?”
"What are you talking about?"
She clenched her right palm and threw a punch at the man’s face. And he almost fell. Before he could touch her, she kicked him and run away.
The man did not follow her again. She didn’t stop running until she was completely away from that man. When she stopped, she leaned against the wall. She cried again.
If it weren’t for her work at the club, men wouldn’t look down on her that much.
And as the man she slapped at the club told her, even if she covers her body with clothes, it doesn't change the image that she’s naked in front of men’s eyes.
SAM AND HELEN are avid fans of international Russian musician, Presley. His ability to play the violin is unbeatable. Even though the ticket was expensive, they still did their best to get to his presentation at the Silver Dust Hotel. Many people attended it, mostly celebrities.
They have enough money to get a good seat. For over an hour, the famous singer serenades them. The music was surreal. They felt like they were on cloud nine. And many got emotional as he convey his masterpieces.
After his performance, Presley thanked his friends.
Sam couldn’t believe that the friend Presley mentioned was Andrius Novitch—his male customer in the back room of Peregrine Club.
“Why?” asked Helen when she noticed that she seems restless in her chair.
“It’s him,” she muttered.
“He’s the one who insulted me earlier.”
“Oh. My Gosh!” Helen covered her mouth, “He’s the one you punched?”
She shook her head. “No. That’s different.”
“Wait, could you explain it.” Helen was confused as she was still looking where Andrius is.
“Do you remember the guy I slapped? It’s him.”
“My gosh!” Helen gasped and covered her mouth.
“We met earlier at a restaurant.” Her voice cracked. “He insulted me.”
“Hah!... Well, your fault. You shouldn’t have slapped him.”
“Wow… so, the blame is on me, now.”
“Shh! They might hear us,” said Helen and put an upside finger between her lips.
She then stopped talking and just glared at the man.
“So, he was Presley’s friend?” Helen poked her, and looked at her, meaningfully.
“Oops! Don’t look at me like that. If you are thinking that I’m going to apologize to him just so we can get closer to Presley, I’m sorry… but I can’t.”
Helen just shrugged.
“I’m still mad at him,” said Sam.
“Enough. That guy shouldn’t spoil your mood. It will be a waste of money if you will get home angry.” Helen returned her attention to the musician.
“I would also take this opportunity to thank the owner of Silver Dust Hotel, Mr. Robert Johansson, popularly known as Mr. Silver Johansson,” said Presley.
People around gave the man a round of applause as he climbed up to the stage. He reached out for the microphone to give a word.
Sam was deafened, not because of the loud noise from the crowd but by the voice of Mr. Johansson. She can’t breathe. She can’t move. Her whole body shivered. She wanted to scream, but she can’t.
It had been a long time and she never thought she would find what she was looking for. She did not take her eyes off the person she had been looking for and now she had found him.
The old man's speech ended, but nothing came into her brain. When she gained strength, she stood up and hurried out.
Helen caught up with her in the elevator before it closed.
“Why?’ Helen asked, confusedly.
“I’ve found him,” she said, and tears began to flow from her eyes.
“Who?” Helen asked.
“My father,” she replied.
“Who is he?”
“Robert Johansson, the owner of the Silver Dust Hotel.”
The Silver Dust Hotel is one of the finest hotels in Las Vegas. Aside from that, it was a hotel for elites, it was also where well-known musicians and singers often performed.
After more than a year of staying in Las Vegas, it was her first time entering the hotel. It never crossed her mind that the famous Silver Johansson and her father, Robert Johansson are just the same. The name Silver Johansson is famous in the city and its invaluable wealth, but she hasn’t seen him in a picture.
She still feels intense anger for her father, but she can’t deny the fact that she badly wanted to hug him and introduce herself to him as his own child. Many questions troubled her mind. Why did he never return when he promised to? If he did come back, why didn’t he scour the whole Philippines to see them? With his wealth, she knew that it was possible.
Does he have his own family here in Las Vegas that’s why he never returned to them?
THE NEXT DAY, Sam went to the Silver Dust Hotel. Now that she had found her father, she would not prolong the waiting just to meet him and ask him about his reasons. He had so many arrears with her and to her mother and she wanted to slap her father.
After the receptionist called Mr. Johansson’s secretary, she then gives the number of the old man’s office—the fifty-fifth floor.
When she was there, the secretary asked her questions, “what can I do for you?”
“I want to see my—Mr. Johansson,” she replied.
“And you are?”
“Samantha Marie Johansson.”
The secretary frowned. “Are you related to my boss?” she asked.
Sam just looked at her. And the secretary’s jaw dropped, eyes questioning, and glanced at the logbook to the side.
“Does Mr. Johansson expect you today?”
“No. I intend to surprise him,” she said.
Marcy was even more confused. She then opened the locket that hung around her neck and showed it to the woman. When Marcy saw the familiar face of her boss, she then pointed the hallway toward the office of Mr. Johansson.
She then headed to it. At the end of the short hallway is Mr. Johansson’s office. When the computerized door opened, she immediately saw her father. When the man noticed her, he suddenly put down his mobile phone. Seems to have seen a ghost in her being.
“Luna!” the man’s voice echoed in the corner of his office as he uttered her mother’s name.
“Luna…” Mr. Johansson repeated, weeping. He opened both hands to embrace her.
She stepped back. She shivers. She should not be discouraged. She had a reason for going there and she had no intention of not doing so.
“I’m Samantha Marie Johansson. Your daughter to Luna whom you abandoned.” There was a tremor in her voice full of resentment. And she had no intention of hiding from her father the anger she left.
“My daughter?” He approaches her. “My child! I didn’t intend to forsake you. I know that I have a child with Luna, but I thought… Luna dies before giving birth.” His shoulder dropped as he sat in the swivel chair in front of his desk.
She shook her head.
“I returned to Cebu just like I promised. But she was not there anymore. If you’re thinking that I abandoned you and your mother, then you’re wrong. We searched the whole of Cebu. I lived there for a long time.” She can feel the sadness in the old man’s voice. “One day, a burned body of a woman was found near the favorite place your mom. Everyone thought it was her remains.”
Her tears began to fall. If only her mother was alive… if only she knew that her father never abandoned her.
“I’ve accepted that it was Luna for a long time.”
Sam was stunned.
“My mom fled from Cebu before her bump grew bigger. She was afraid her parents would find out about her condition.”
“But they did, I told them.” Her father stood up. “I’m sorry, my child.” He hugged her.
She pushed him, slightly. She looked up at him and suddenly burst into tears when she saw her own eyes in his father’s eyes. She bears a strong resemblance to her late mother, except for the color of her eyes. Her brown eyes, she inherited from her father.
“I only loved Luna. I love her and continuously love her memories.”
She leaned her head on her father’s chest and hugged him, tightly.
“Give me a chance now, my princess, to make you feel the love that I have long wanted to be felt by your mother, but I failed to find you both.”