An Interview With a Playboy Chapter 8
Jennafei was irritated to death while sitting inside Dex’s ostentatious car. She can’t believe that he will fetch her from her house just to make sure that her day was ruined first thing in the morning. She’s irritated that Jonas seems to like the guy, far from what she expected. She’s irritated that even her parents were starstrucked from him. And it irritated her most that her father knew the guy.
She just found out that the Peralta family owns R.P. Naval Shipping where her father used to work at as a second engineer. As a result, her parents treated the guy kindly. They even asked him to join them for breakfast. Her mother was very hospitable towards him while her father had a conversation with him. After breakfast and their conversation, they even asked him to take care of her to her utmost irritation.
“I’m leaving Jenna to your care, Mr. Peralta,” she remembered her father asked him after she sat in his car.
“Take care of our daughter, hijo,” it was her mother this time.
“Bye, Kuya Dex, make sure to come back!” it was Jonas who was already feeling close with the guy.
(Kuya means older brother, not necessarily blood related)
She felt like her family sold her to this guy.
“So your father actually worked at one of our companies,” Dex casually said as he drove.
“So?” she reacted with an annoyed tone. She was staring outside the window all this time. She rather have a stiff neck than to see his face.
“He still wants to back at the company to work. But because of his medical records, he had a hard time going back. “
“Yes. And so?”
“I want to help him.”
She suddenly turned to face him. “Really? You’ll do that?” She knows how much her father wants to go back to his previous job. Even if she’d rather have him stay at home and be with him all the time. But she knows that since he stopped working and just stayed at home, his self-confidence and self-worth also fell. That’s why as much as she wants to be with him, it’s okay with her for him to work again although away from them for 9 months .
He nodded smugly. “Yeah… But…”
She snorted. Of course he wants something in return. “What do you want?”
He grinned. “Be nice to me. Stop making those faces because it’s annoying me.”
That is going to be hard. It’s hard to be kind to people who are as shameless as Dex. She’s not plastic as a person that’s why she thinks that she’ll have a hard time acting ‘nice’ towards him. “It’s like you want to slave me from what you’re doing to me.”
(I don’t know if the euphemism ‘plastic’ is being used worldwide, it basically means doing or saying something that is the exact opposite of what you are really feeling. In short, fake.)
“I’m giving you options. I’m not forcing you.”
“Give back my dad’s work first, before I start acting nice towards you.”
Dex did not answer, instead, started typing on his cell phone on his car’s phone cradle and after a few moments, someone answered his call.
“R.P. Naval HRD, may I help you?”
“Sir, what is it?” It’s on speaker phone so she hears the other line.
“I want to speak with your head.”
“Right away, Sir.”
After a while, she heard another voice on the other line. “Mr. Dex Peralta, what can I do for you?”
She just listened agape while Dex commanded the HR manager to accept her father’s application and to be lined-up for boarding, immediately. Until he pressed the end button of his phone. She can’t believe that it is that easy for him to get whatever he wants. He commanded the personnel of his family’s business like he was the CEO.
“Done,” he said while still looking on the road. “Now, be nice to me or just one call, I can pull out your father’s application right away.”
She tried to wear a fake smile. “Okay, master.”
He glanced at her. “Fix your smile. It’s obviously fake.”
She smirked and thought about the consequence of what he had done for her father. Once he found out that he can finally go back to work again, he’ll be extremely happy. From that thought, she smiled sincerely. She did not hear any complaint from Dex again.
“Do you always get whatever you want that easy?” She carefully asked. Starting this hour, she can no longer make a face and shout at him, though her heart was secretly rebelling against the idea.
“Wasn’t there anything that you liked that you did not get?”
Jennafei can’t believe his answers. So it’s possible that a person as lucky as him to exist. What money and power can do. “As in zero?”
“As in zip,” Dex confirmed. “Now zip your lips because you already asked me three questions. I just allowed you to ask me one question a day, remember?”
Jennafei was astonished. “What? That was not a part of my list of questions.”
“But you already asked. That’s why you can no longer ask me anything within this day.”
“You’re unfair,” she protested. “You did not even elaborate your answers. Those were all just one-word answer. We will not issue a slam book type article. Broaden and explain your answer.”
Dex suddenly stopped the car. “Are you issuing me a command?” he asked with a dangerous tone.
Therefore she gave in. “No, master. Please heed my request,” she answered calmly but sarcastically. She took out the tape recorder and pointed it near his lips.
Dex continued driving. She noticed that the entered the parking area of a shopping mall. “Later.”
“Why did we stop here?”
He stared intently at her glasses and her clothes, and she already guessed what he wants to say.
“You’re not Fei. I will only give her my complete answer.”
Fei weren’t able to do anything but follow him inside the mall.
The back of Dex car was loaded with shopping bags. He bought Jennafei short and fit dresses, high-heeled shoes and make ups. She changed her clothes at the boutique they went to. She changed her glasses to the contact lenses she brought with her. He brought her a beauty salon and had them fix her like they’re going to attend a party.
Everyone was staring at them the moment they entered the parking lot of the university. She did not know if it’s because of her get-up or because she came out of Dex’s car. He was pulling her arm as they walked to the campus. Jennafei knows that it feels good to be a campus figure. To be famous in the university and be looked up by her schoolmates. But if it’s because of Dex and her looks who seem like a campus slut, it’s not something that she is happy about. In fact, she was ashamed of herself during this day.
They walked past the library but she did not go inside because the guy did not let her. This day, he told her that she’d have to miss her job this morning and he’ll take care of it for her.
He brought her to a hidden part of campus where there are bleachers surrounded by trees and flowering plants and a man-made small lagoon. As far as she know, this place is off-limits to students for unknown reason.
“Isn’t it prohibited to go here?” she asked when he made her sit at the bleacher. She looked around. The place is quiet and beautiful. It’s a good place to read.
“It’s prohibited to ordinary students but not with me.”
She snorted. Oh, yes. She almost forgot that Dex was not just an ordinary students of this school. She she looked at him, she caught him staring at her legs. She hid her legs with her bag and glared at him. She not that afraid that he will do something to her at the moment, because they are still inside the vicinity of the school.
“Now, can we continue the interview, master?”
He leaned on the bench. “Let’s continue my interview that was cut off when you sprayed at me. “
Here we go again, she thought. Is he planning on continuing his harassment? “But-“
“Have you ever had a boyfriend?” He cut her sentence.
She moved as far as possible from him. “Yes.” She decided just to answer, incase he tries to re-phrase his question and bring the conversation to anywhere.
“How many boyfriends have you had?”
That’s unfair. Why if it’s you, I can only ask you one question per day? But if it’s me, I don’t have the right to reject answering your questions?” She protested.
“I will not write your answers in a campus paper. It means, nobody will know your answers aside from me. Now, answer my question before I get annoyed.”
She secretly made a face at him. “One.”
“How many weeks did you date?”
“Weeks? We were together for a year.”
“One year?” He laughed. “You fooled each other for that long?”
Jennafei got mad from what he said. “Don’t compare him with you. He was not a player and it was a serious relationship. We loved each other.”
“Love?” He laughed like he cannot belive what she’ve said. “You believe in that crap? Of course you do. Ah, women…”
“That crap? You don’t believe in love?” She suddenly asked and after a while, she nodded her head. “Of course, you don’t.”
He was a heartless playboy. It’s natural for him not to feel love.
“Love is just a fictitious thing created and believed by cheesy fools. That thing is not true. It’s like an old fictitious belief. For short, its bullshit.”
“To a person like you, maybe it’s not true. But for people who have hearts, love is true.”
He grinned, amused. It’s like he’s admitting that he does not have a heart. “How can you tell that your ex-boyfriend really loved you?”
“Because he showed me how he cared.He always had time for me. He respected me as a woman.”
“Where is he now. Why did he leave you?”
Jennafei was not able to answer. Why are his questions like this?
“Can I guess why? Maybe, he was tired of respecting you and you your relationship where he’s not getting any benefits from.”
She got pissed off from what he said last. “Don’t compare Melvin with you! He’s no pervert. He’s a gentleman. It’s natural for him to respect women. That’s why he did not look for the benefits you’re thinking of!”
“Did you forget what we just agreed about? You have to be nice to me. Why are you shouting about?”
Jennafei can’t believe that her family now owes him a debt of gratitude. She calmed herself and breathe deeply. “Can I ask you now?”
When he did not answer, she took out her tape recorder and moved it near him. “About the question I asked you in the car…”
“I can get anything I want. And I mean, everything. That’s why I’m not used in not getting anything that I wanted. That’s why, there was never a thing that I liked that I was not able to get.” Dex answered as he intently stared at her like his answer refers to her.
She dismissed the thought. Same with the awkward feeling she’s getting from his stares. “Of course, you have the money, the power and the slyness. You can get anything you want, right?”
“Exactly, he answered in almost a whisper, still staring at her intently.
“Are your parents agreeing to all of your wants? Did they ever prohibit or reject your-”
“One question per day.”
She pouted. She pressed the Stop button of the recorder.
As decided, Jennafei and Dex ate lunch together. Jennafei was not able to eat well because everyone’s attention was on them at the cafeteria. She felt like she was one of the numerous campus sluts that Dex oftenly dates. She can’t stay still, thinking of what the students might be thinking about her, probably on the negative side.
She even saw Leila who was obviously shocked at her changes. Maybe not just for that reason but also because she was with the campus king. Leila probably knew that she’s already working on her task for the publication. Jaycee no longer reacted when he saw her but because of his fear towards Dex, he did not dare approach her when she saw him on the corridor when they were walking toward the basketball gym, where they will practice. Red was obviously amused with her looks. She does not know if she should thank Red because he gave her pointers on how to be noticed by his friend, when her situation became even worse by him helping her.
Jennafei was just sitting on the bench while the varsity team are practicing basketball. She knew that practice games against other schools are getting closer that’s why the varsity team are practicing almost everyday. While she’s watching Dex as he plays, she was pondering over the nine and a half days she has to endure accompanying him. She did see even a hint of kindness on him. He was like a real beast. She might have thought that he really was a real monster if only he was not so good-looking.
She does not know what the guy was planning to do with her. She was only hoping that he was not that much of monster to rape her. If that ever happens, she always carry self-protection against him. Jaycee’s pepper spray, her ballpen attached on her key chain and her teeth to bite him.
She was startled when someone suddenly sat beside her. It was Jude. He was wearing a regretful smile.
“Hi, Jenna. You look different today. I almost did not recognize you.”
She smiled. “honestly, I don’t like this.”
“I wont ask. But… I hope you would take precaution from Dex.” That was the second time Jude gave her a warning against Dex.
“Thanks for the concern, Jude.” If he only knew what she was going through under Master Dex’s rule.
“And I’m sorry if I was not able to help you yesterday,” he said in a regretful tone.
“It’s okay.” She understands what Jude did yesterday. Even if the two of them are teammates, they did not look close with each other. It’s hard to go against the team captain and the king of the campus. “I unders-“
Jennafei was alarmed when Jude suddenly whooped. He was hit by a ball over his arm. When she looked where the ball might have come from, she saw the bad way Dex was looking at Jude. When Dex came near, she was even more convinced that Dex hit Jude by the ball on purpose.
“Back off, Jude. Stay away from my girl.” Although his tone was not angry, hint of warning was there.
Jude did not answer. He just bid her goodbye and walked away.
“What right do you have to throw Jude away? And may I clear something here? I am not your girl.”
He just grinned and turned his back. What a monster.
Later in the day, after her class, Jennafei wore again the clothes she changed from earlier. She removed her makeup. She’s going to work at the library so she has to be presentable. That’s what she will be doing in the next nine days. Just thinking about it makes her exhausted. She does not even know how she will begin to explain the dresses Dex has bought for her in any case they will see them and why will she wear different clothes on her way to school, far from what she’s isually wearing.
She was already at the library for few hours and just waiting for Dex’s last class to end. According to the guy, he will be the one to bring her home with the things he bought for her to wear.
“Jenna, what is your relationship with Dex, huh?” Mrs. Nambio whispered her inquiry.
“Nothing, Ma’am,” she readily defended.
“What nothing? You are already the talk of the campus. Earlier, I heard some students gossiping about you. I can’t even say ‘silense please’ because I’m also interested on the topic.”
(The librarian was such a jolly gossip monger >.<)
She moved near to the Mrs. Nambio and roamed her eyes around. “What did you hear?”
“They said that you are Dex’s new flavor of the week,” she whispered back.
“Flavor of the week?”
“Apparently, Dex changes women he dates every week. They can’t seem to believe it. They know you as a student librarian and a decent girl. They were shocked that you came to school with a new look. They said that you have changed. That Dex changed you.”
“Everything is not true, Ma’am. I’m not his flavor of the week and I did not actually change. I was just working on my assignment for our school publication.” Then she told Mrs. Nambio what exactly happened.
“Is that true? It must hard been hard for you. It’s like he’s toying with you.”
“Exactly. I was just saying to myself and this is how to be a true reporter, that I am just doing an investigative reporting. Those reporter who have to wear disguise and to act to get the story or expose.”
“This is really a big challenge for you to go through, but after this, I’m sure you will become a well-known figure in the campus. But remember to take care, you know what kind of person Dex is like.”
Jennafei just smiled at the librarian and continued fixing books on their designated shelves. She did not bother using carts because Mrs. Nambio just gave three books.
Jennafei glanced around when she heard the guy’s name. Then she suddenly bumped to someone’s body. The guy was frowning badly. She knows this guy. He’s notorious as a rich snob who treats her like he’s the person who pays her wage.
“Hey you! Why are you not looking while you’re walking?”
“Sorry? What if I stumble because of your stupidity? Will your sorry treat my injury if that happened? Stupid library maid.”
Jennafei just bowed down to pick the books they dropped. When she looked up, she was taken by surprise on what she’ve seen. Dex was suddenly in the scene. Dex was lifting the other guy by his neck and his fear was showing on his face.
“If I break you bone right now? I can afford your medication and operation fee. Can I?”
“D-dont…” the guy was stuttering as he speaks.
“Let go of him,” she asked Dex.
”She’s not a library maid. She’s also a student here. So you don’t have any right to treat her that way. Apologize to her.”
“S-sorry,” he said to her in a low voice.
“Say it aloud. She can’t hear it.”
The guy repeated his apology and Dex finally released him. The guy quickly went away.
“You didn’t have to do that,” she told Dex when he looked at her. She looked around and everyone in the room is looking at them. “It was me who first collided at him.”
“You already said sorry and he even insulted you. That jerk,” he uttered. Before she can reply, he was already pulling her on the way out of the library.
“Wait, my bag.” She went back to the counter and fetch her bag before she let him pull her away.
“I’ll go ahead and help you punch out, Jenna.” She heard Mrs. Nambio told her before they were out of the library.
WHILE they were on the road, Jennafei can’t help thinking on how Dex defended her earlier. It’s her first time someone tried to defend her. She was already being treated by rich students as a student librarian and did not expect that there will be a time that somebody will defend her dignity. And never did she imagine that it will be Dex. She did not imagine that he also have the ability to be like a superhero when he was notorious as a villain. She does not know why did he have to do that like they are friends and her dignity was important to him. When she knows the only thing he considers her as – a toy.
Dex stayed silent like he was thinking deeply the whole time until they reach her home. He took the paper bags at the back of his car without words. She was alarmed. She can’t let her family see him because she already formed an alibi about the shopping bags and also about Dex. She knows that by this time, her family was already thinking who Dex was and what was her relationship with him for him to fetch her to school this morning. They did not ask her this morning but she was sure that her family will shower her with questions later.
“I’ll bring these bags inside. You go home,” she tried to get the bags from his hands but he did not let go.
“Let me.” Dex pressed the doorbell.
“But they don’t need to see you anymore.”
“And why not?”
“Because it’s already enough that they saw you earlier. If they se you again this time, they will think that there is something going on between us and-“ Jennafei stopped talking when the gate suddenly opened and saw the elation in her mother’s face when she saw Dex.
“Good evening,” Dex smiled as he greeted her mother.
“Hijo, good evening. You arrived at the right time, I just finished cooking. Come in and let’s eat.” Her mother energetically invited him.
“Sure,” the guy readily agreed and wet in. She was not able to do anything and also entered next after them. She closed the gate.
“What are carrying, hijo?”
“It’s for Fei.”
“Fei? Ah, Jenna. Why did you have to buy so many clothes for Jenna? We’re embarassed to receive them.”
Inside, her father and Jonas are already enjoying themselves as they watch basketball game on TV. Her father showed happiness when he saw Dex. While Jonas had a high-five with Dex when he saw the guy again. She just rolled her eyes. If it’s only against courtesy, she’d like to go upstairs in her room and rest like what she usually does.
In the end, Jennafei just entered the kitchen and drank water. Her mother followed her.
“Jenna, is that good-looking and handsome guy courting you?” Her mother asked her like she’s teasing her.
As she expected, her mother was not able to stop herself from asking. “He’s not, ‘Ma.”
She lifted one of her brow. “He’s not? Then why will he take you to and from school and shop you clothes?”
“He’s just not. He’s not courting me. We are just friends.”
“Jenna. I don’t want you hiding things from us. It’s not bad for you to forget Marvin. Dex looks okay to me. He’s respective and he does not look like a bad guy.”
He did not answer her mother. If her mother only knows what kind of monster Dex was like, her mother might personally shoo the guy out. She helped her fixing dinner. She caught the guys yelling shout of joys in the living room. Even Dex was enjoying watching.
“Boys, boys. They all look like basketball.” She heard her mother say.
A while later, they are all sitting in the dining room. Her father was sitting on the head of the table. Jennafei and Dex were sitting in the left panel while her mother and Jonas were in the right panel.
“Is that true, Kuya Dex? You are the team captain of the basketball varsity team in Ate’s school?” Jonas asked Dex as they eat.
(Kuya is elder brother, not blood related in this point while Ate is elder sister, blood related this time)
“Yup,” Dex answered while her mother was putting rice on his plate. “Thanks, Tita.”
(Tita meant Aunt, a way of showing respect to an alder woman, not necessarily blood related; Whereas Tito is Uncle)
“I also dreamed on becoming a basketball player back in the days, Mr. Peralta. But I failed in height so I just joined the street liga instead,” her father began to tell his stories.
“You don’t haveto call me ‘Mr. Peralta”, Tito. It’s like you’re calling my father. It’s hard in the ears.”
“How are they doing, by the way? Don Romulo and Dona Elvira?”
“`Pa, you already asked him that this morning,” she told her father.
“Did someone from R.P. Naval call you yet when your line up is, Tito?”
“The three stopped eating and stared at Dex. Her fathr even dropped his cutleries.
“What do you mean…?”
Dex nodded. “I called them earlier. Maybe they are still checking when is the earliest line up they can include you in, that’s why they yet to call you, for sure they will call you tomorrow to inform you.”
The tree looked at each other while she just shook her head as she looked on. She does not know why does he have to let her parents know his role in her father getting his job back like he’s trying to get approval from her parents.
He family was not able hide their joy from the news they heard. Her father thanked Dex endlessly.
“Your welcome, Tito.”
Jennafei secretly made faces. If her family only knows that he asked something in return for this favor.
“You are a kind man, hijo,” her mother complimented him.
Her family was showing so much gratitude. She was hoping to see even a bit of guilt on his face but she saw nothing but smugness.
“Our house is always open for you, hijo,” her father told him.
“Are you serious with that, Tito?”
“Of course, I am. If we can help you with anything, just tell us so and we will readily help you.”
Dex thought for a while. “Actually, there is something.” She looked at him as she eats.
“What is it, hijo?”
“You said your home is always open for me. So… can I stay over for a few days?”
Jennafei almost choke.
End of chapter 8