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Novkey > Library > Crime > Number One Fan

Number One Fan

CHAPTER 5

Author: issabacsa Total hits: 5331 User hits: 24 Date: 05-15-2014

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  A MAN IN A BLACK SPORTS JACKET DROVE the car to Fairview, Quezon City. He turned on the voice recorder he held and spoke while driving at a slow speed.

  “I, Jose Luis Anacleto III, a professor and journalist, bids goodbye to this world. To you Belinda, my wife, please forgive me. I know it is Valentine’s Day but I cannot bear my problems anymore. I am doing this so as not to cause you more inconvenience. To my children, Beth and Bobby, I love you, too. Take care of your mother. Again, I’m sorry.”

  He stopped the recorder. He turned to a vacant lot in Regalado Avenue and parked the black Mitsubishi Lancer.

  A hardware store celebrated its Chinese New Year several meters away. The place was quiet, the sun has not risen yet, and only a few vehicles passed by.

   He attached the silencer to his gun and tightened it.

   At that time of dawn, most people were still asleep. A few celebrated the Chinese New Year with their traditional dragon dance before opening their stores. No one would have heard a gunshot.

  

  

  MY BOSS SUMMONED ME when I reported to work the next day.

  “Yes, Mr. Borja, you called for me?” I said as I entered the office of the head of News and Current Affairs.

  I wore a black blazer over a white blouse with small red prints. It matched my pair of black pants, a pair of red shoes and accessories that had to go with Valentine’s Day and Chinese New Year.

  “Have a seat, Miss Sta. Maria,” said Mr. Ponciano Borja.

  At fifty-five years old, his hair started to thin. His double-vision eyeglasses covered his chinky eyes. Metro M Group appointed him to lead the new RMBN News and Current Affairs department. His fame as a newspaper columnist and broadcaster from another network made him get that spot.

  The Executive Offices occupied the second floor. It took me ten minutes to walk from our studio cum newsroom at the basement to Mr. Borja’s office. Thick, dark-colored curtains covered the glass panel windows. It blocked the view of the city but contained the cold air from the air conditioning unit. His desk looked organized despite piles of paper works on top. Plaques and trophies decorated the shelf behind him. We both sat on a chair across each other.

  “I’ve learned that you have an ongoing relationship with a news reporter from another network,” he said.

  “Yes, sir,” I admitted. “He’s Alex Joven, former field reporter of Royale Radio before Metro took over. He’s a college classmate as well and we have been dating months ago.”

  How did he know that?

  His face changed upon hearing my answer.

  “I see,” he said.

  “Is there a problem with that, Mr. Borja?” I asked.

  “You see, Regine,” he said as he lay back on his chair. “We need to raise our ratings. I have learned that he is one of those former employees and he is coming here most of the time to see you. There might be some details that he could get from you or from his acquaintances here that should not be.”

  “I see what you mean, Sir,” I said. “You’re speaking of confidentiality.”

  “That’s exactly my point,” he said. “As much as possible, we don’t want others find out our plans here, especially from a competitor.”

  I did not speak.

  Who could have mentioned this information to Mr. Borja?

  “I’m not meddling with your relationship, Regine,” continued Mr. Borja. “But see to it that confidentiality is still your top priority.”

  

  

  “DAVID, WAIT,” I called when I saw him in the hallway after my brief meeting with Mr. Borja.

  He wore jeans and t-shirt when I saw him stop on his tracks. He looked smart in his casual wear, something that reminded me why I liked him before.

  Few people passed by the well-lit hallway from the Executive Suites going down the studio. David stood in front of a lighted poster of an upcoming TV drama series that reminded me of our past.

  “Hi, Regine, good morning,” he greeted. “You look nice today.”

  “I want to ask you something,” I said and ignored his comment. “Did you tell someone about Alex and me?”

  “Yes,” he nodded. “Last night, I met Mr. Borja at Starbucks after I left you guys. I remembered mentioning the two of you. Why?”

  “So that explains it,” I said, avoiding his stare.

  “Is there any problem?” he asked.

  “None,” I said. “I was just wondering… because Mr. Borja cautioned me about Alex coming over here since he is no longer connected with RMBN.”

  “I do not see anything wrong with your relationship with Alex,” David said. “Maybe Mr. Borja was just exaggerating. Do not worry about it. I know him. Management kept on pressuring him to raise our ratings, and our revenues.”

  He stopped for a while and continued, “But, in my opinion, I would suggest that you be careful with Alex.”

  I stared at him.

  “You do not know him… yet,” he continued.

  His change of tone sounded like a warning.

  “I knew him since grade school,” he continued. “We were classmates, he had childhood sweetheart, and you know what happened to Adele. After Adele died, Alex has changed a lot. I am not saying anything bad about him, it’s just that…”

  “Thank you for your concern, David,” I interrupted. “I’ll think about what you’ve said.”

  “So you’d better be careful, Regine, maybe they will just use you. I don’t trust David Lim,” said Nitz.

  “I’m not jealous… Then, I thought, Metro M Group took David from Channel 7 and brought him here. Maybe they want to stir things up,” said Alex.

  “I’m not meddling with your relationship, Regine. But see to it that confidentiality is still your top priority,” said Mr. Borja.

  With three persons saying these to me, should I be cautious with David Lim?

  

  

  I FOUND ANOTHER BOUQUET OF ROSES on my desk with a small card. I read the card and it came from David greeting me on Valentine’s Day. The bouquet of flowers sent last night still sat there beside it but I kept the card in my locked drawer.

  I opened my drawer, took the card, and compared it with the card from David. Although the card didn't have a sign of what store it came from, both bouquets came from one shop: Flower King. I saw a phone number at David’s card and I dialed it. But, I only heard a continuous busy tone from Flower King.

  

  

  EVERYTHING WENT NORMAL the whole day, in fact, the prank caller never called back.

  After the newscast, I met Alex at the lobby that night. He kissed me on the cheek and put his arms around my shoulders as we walked towards his car.

  “How was your day?” he asked while walking.

  He parked his car at the visitor’s area and I have noticed from afar that it got dirty after seeing it last night. Yet I did not mind, maybe Alex came from a far place for an assignment.

  “I’ve been busy the whole day,” I replied.

  The meeting with Mr. Borja early that morning came back to mind.

  “Is there anything wrong? It seems you’re lost in a trance again,” he said as he opened the door for me.

  “Oh, it’s nothing,” I replied as I was about to enter the car. “I just remembered what Mr. Borja said this morning about you.”

  “What about it?” he asked.

  He went around the car towards the driver’s door. I waited for him to get inside.

  “You know how managers could be paranoid sometimes,” I said as I settled inside his car. “David mentioned us to Mr. Borja last night when they met at Starbucks.”

  “David met Mr. Borja last night? I thought he was with Prof. Anacleto,” Alex said as he settled on the driver’s seat as well.

  “David told me that he met Mr. Borja and Prof. Anacleto at Starbucks before that dinner,” I said as I clipped on the seat belt. “Anyway, Mr. Borja remembered you as one of those former employees. So he advised me to be careful and not to jeopardize confidentiality and all those stuffs.”

  “Ah, okay. I understand,” he said as he started the engine. “Mr. Borja has a point, although that shouldn’t prevent us from seeing each other, right?”

  I put my hand on his right hand, smiled, and shook my head.

  



  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  
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