I'm still amazed that I live in such a pricey property in Alabang's most renowned neighborhood. Never in my wildest thoughts could I imagine myself walking through such a place, let alone living here. Fortunately, Rachel, an old college friend, introduced me to Romina Martinez and suggested that I apply for the nanny post she had open.
I didn't want to be a nanny, but I didn't have any other options at the time. The job market was tight when I graduated from college with an English degree in hand. If only I'd knew that before I took out all those student loans. But when I met Andrew, Romina's kid, I was completely enamored with him. There's no place I'd rather be after three months of full-time caregiving for him. In fact, I spend more time with him than his parents. It's gotten to the point where people frequently inquire if he's my son. I'm fortunate that we have such a tight relationship.
As if living in such a posh location and caring for an adorable little boy weren't enough, I'm now able to devote my full attention to my true passion... cooking. My passion for cuisine is strong, and I aspire to have my own restaurant one day.
In the meantime, Romina is my personal taste tester here at the office. Every night, it seems, I'm trying out new recipes, such as the roasted duck I cooked the other night or the braised lamb with red potatoes I did two nights ago.
Another perk of my job is having an endless supply of fresh foods to work with. When it comes to food shopping, as with everything else around here, no money is spared. Romina enjoys organic, home-cooked meals, which is exactly what I'm looking for. Andrew has never eaten fast food, and I make it a point to keep him away from it.
Romina steps in with her purse on her shoulder, just as I decide the living room is ready. I find myself admiring her incredible form as she stops to give herself a quick once over in the mirror. Romina's body has never looked better, despite the fact that most women require some time to heal following childbirth. As best as I can tell from the images I've seen around the apartment, her rapid metabolism keeps her rail thin, just like she was in her modeling days. I'm not sure what's troubling her as she starts smoothing non-existent wrinkles out of her tight dress.
Her little hands tug at the lovely silk scarf draped around her neck before tossing it onto the freshly dusted sofa. I wish we were the same size because I adore her fashion sense. She has way more clothes than she knows what to do with thanks to her big wardrobe allowance. In fact, she never wears the same outfit twice. Despite my fashion envy, I adore my diminutive frame's contours and wouldn't change a thing.
I'm not one of those gals who can pull off the model appearance.
Romina walks around in solitude, adding more lipstick to her already pouty red lips. Her sandy-colored hair drapes over her shoulders in gorgeous waves, and the color explodes against her perfect olive tone complexion. Andrew, who is currently napping, has inherited his mother's stunning green eyes, albeit they still have a childish innocence to them. Sadly, Romina no longer has that feature.
“Don't forget to wipe off the picture frames, Aliyah,” Romina says, a flawlessly manicured finger pointing in my direction.
I'll never forget that. I'm more familiar with the ins and outs of this location than you are.
I take the photo closest to me and grin as I recall the day I took it. It's a photograph of Andrew, taken as he was playing with his father, Jonas, in the middle of a chuckle. To be honest, I despise any and all contacts I have with Jonas Samonte, one of Metro Manila's greatest jerks. He's unreasonable in his demands, and every thing he's ever spoken to me has been condescending. Andrew appears to be the only one who can get that man to grin, and even then, it's a rare occurrence. I'm not sure why Romina puts up with Jonas when he just seems to care for his son.
I don't like how he treats me, but he treats his on-again, off-again girlfriend Romina ten times worse. She is the mother of his child, yet she may just as easily be referred to as a glorified concubine. I've watched her cry more times than I care to remember, and I don't think it's worth it to me. Everything she could want is there at her fingers, except Jonas. When he's in the mood to be bothered, he calls her to meet him at any time. He gets whatever he wants, and it's all on his schedule.
"I'm going out with Mr. Samonte," Romina says. "There's no need to wait for me because I'll be back after dinner." Marie should be here for Andrew's lessons in about an hour, so make sure he's eaten his snack by then."
Andrew's French tutor, Madeleine, is a complete nightmare, and I try to avoid her as much as possible when she's here. Andrew is tutored by her three times a week. So she comes in and gestures to things while Andrew keeps on blowing and spitting bubbles while she says things in French. I've never heard of someone tutoring a nine-month-old child, but everything is possible if the price is right. Romina came across an article about babies learning languages before they can speak, so she asked Jonas to get a tutor for him and the rest is history.