This week is going to be slow on the writing department, the big boss at work is in town, so I am a little bit occupied.
The next chapter of Putri will be coming out in a few days. It’s somewhat more complicated than the light-hearted romance series that i write, so it does need more time to produce.
In the meantime, please enjoy this chapter.
“Would you mind if I talk to my daughter in private for a few minutes?” Mr. Dartono said after they had finished eating dinner.
“Certainly….” Panji replied. He stood up to help Luna out of her chair.
After they walked away he sat back in his chair and took a sip at his coffee.
“I have to admit her resemblance with Anggraeni is amazing.” His mother noted.
“Do you think so? I think they are very different, not only in personality but also physically,” Panji replied, “Luna is one of a kind and irreplaceable.”
“Luna is one of a kind and irreplaceable?” His father repeated Panji’s remark caught his attention.
“Panji, what is this about her sister? Are you sure you want her to come and live with us?” Mrs. Dari asked ignoring her husband.
Panji shook his head, “I’m going to find a house for Luna and me, and Samantha. We’ll be living together just the three of us.”
“But why? We have more than enough rooms in the house. Where are you going to live?”
“I don’t know yet, we’ll start searching tomorrow, some place nice and adequate to raise an eight-year-old girl.” His voice without a shred of doubt.
“What is this Panji?” His mother couldn’t believe her ears.
“Ma, you were the one who wanted me to marry the daughter of Mr. Dartono.” He said flatly, “So what’s the problem now?”
“Leave him alone!” Mr. Erlangga rebuked his wife, “He’s old enough to make his own decisions. Besides, it’s normal for newly weds to want to have their own place to live.”
“It’s not about having their own place or not, why do you have to raise her sister?”
“I can understand the situation,” Her husband defended their son, “Mr. Dartono is a widower and he is very busy with work. He wouldn’t have the time and patience to take care of his eight year old daughter meanwhile, Luna would have more time to do so.”
“I don’t know about this… ” She sounded skeptical, ” I don’t like this arrangement.”
“It’s Panji’s life, not yours.”
* * *
“What did you tell him about Samantha?” Mr. Dartono interrogated her.
“That she’s my sister whom I love so much, and I want her to live with me.”
“Are you out of your mind? How could you take your illegitimate daughter to live with you and your new husband, what happens if he finds out who she is?”
“Papa! How could you call her that?” Luna felt offended and upset.
“Look, I’m sorry, but you have to be prudent and careful. Do you want to destroy your reputation if word of this goes out?”
“Papa, I’m not a promiscuous woman, I told you, it happened because.. ”
“Because some bastard coerced you, I know!”
“Papa, I never said that!” She defended, “We were both very young and curious.”
“What else do you call it when a guy pressures a minor to have relations with him. If I ever find out who he is, I’ll show him to treat my daughter like that!” He huffed, “But that’s not the problem, the problem is if your fiance and his family finds out about it, they would be in a position to pressure us on the payment terms of the investment.”
“Papa, trust me, it’s not going to happen!” Luna replied with security. “They out of all people have absolutely no rights to use Samantha against you or me.”
“Why do you say that? Is there something you haven’t told me?”
“Papa, when Samantha arrives, I’m going to take her to live with me at Nuri’s apartment.” Luna changed the subject.
“I suppose there is nothing I can say to make you change your mind, is there?”
“Fine! just be careful.”
* * *
“Do you think I should get her something? Some flowers? A doll? Banana chips?” Panji asked nervously as they drove to the airport. The heavy traffic was frustrating for him as he found it distracting from brooding over his daughter. He didn’t know how she would think of him, and he wanted to make a good first impression.
“Banana chips? Why banana chips? What made you think of those?” Luna wondered.
“Why doesn’t she like them?”
“On the contrary, she loves them. I find it strange that she would prefer something crunchy like that as comfort food.”
“So do I, I guess my daughter will inherit some of my traits, right?”
“Hmm… She’s also pushy and stubborn like you,” Luna remembered dreamily.
“What is she like? Her personality,” His eyes were curious at the subject.
“She’s a sweet girl, very empathetic and understanding, but when she puts her mind on something, nobody can get it out of her. She’s smart, she loves to study but also the kind of smart like she catches on to things very quickly, and she’s good at languages. She doesn’t like sweet things unless it’s chocolate. And she loves her chips.”
“Do you think she would like me?” he asked again.
“You caused her to be sent to the US and be separated from her big sister. What do you think?” She replied in a harsh voice.
Panji frowned, “You’re so cold….”
She laughed, “But you have a chance to win her over, and I’m sure you’d do a great job at that.”
“I hope so,” He mumbled.
“At last…look! 3 more kilometers to the airport.” Luna pointed to the sign hovering over the road.
* * *
The international arrivals at the Terminal D and E of the Soekarno Hatta airport was packed with people picking up guests and loved ones.
Luna pushed her way through the crowd while dragging Panji behind her by the hand. She jumped up and down in excitement trying to see over the heads of the people who have gathered in front of the fence, “I don’t see her!” She exclaimed to him.
“Well their flight landed ten minutes ago, I’m sure that they are still making a long line in front of the immigration posts.” He said, she knew that with his head towering over her, he didn’t need to jump to look at the exit door, “Hey, I’m going to make a dash for a few minutes, if she comes out before I get back, wait for me at that corner.”
“Where are you going?” Luna asked wondering where he plans to go at the very moment their daughter was about to arrive.
“I have to get something, I’ll be back soon.”
She looked at his back as he walked away, the sight of him made her smile. As she watched him from afar he turned around, walking backwards he smiled and waved at her. Luna waved back at him with a big smile.
She turned back towards the gate paying attention to the people walking out the door to see if it was Samantha and her aunt, but every time someone else walks out she shrank in disappointment.
She looked at the watch fastened around her wrist, fifteen minutes had passed, and still no sign of either Samantha or Panji. She was beginning to feel restless.
Then she caught sight of the sight she had been longing to see for a few months. It was her daughter, the little girl was dressed in a pink t-shirt and faded denim jeans. She was wearing a matching colored sneaker on her feet. Her straight long hair was tied into a ponytail behind her back. “Samantha…” Luna shouted while lifting her arm above her head, “Aunt Rita…”
Luna ran to the end of the fence to greet them. Apparently Samantha didn’t hear her amidst the voices of the other people crowding the terminal. ‘Samantha…” She shouted again.
This time it was obvious that the ;little girl heard her. Samantha waved back and ran towards her. Luna opened her arms wide as her daughter ran up to her and rushed into her embrace, “Kak Luna, I missed you so much…” Samantha sobbed.
“I miss you so much too, my baby…” Luna cried, tears of happiness ran down her face, “Let me take a look at you, how are you doing? Have you been eating properly? Why are you so thin?”
“Luna, stop exaggerating,” He aunt walked up slowly behind Samantha, “I made it my number one priority to make sure that Samantha eats well and is always happy.”
“I know you did Aunt Rita…” Luna released Samantha and hugged her aunt, “I miss you so much too.”
“Where is your father?” Her aunt asked.
“He is at work,” Luna replied, “I came with…”
“Hi, you must be Samantha…” She heard Panji’s voice from behind her.
Samantha looked at him then at Luna, “Kak, who is he?” She asked.
Lunabowed down and touched Samantha’s shoulder, “Samantha, this is Kak Panji, he is…he is my fiance…..”
Samantha looked at him observantly as Panji kneeled down in front of her and extended his hand, “Hello, it’s nice to finally meet you. I’ve heard so much about you.”
“Hello, Kak Panji!” Samantha said flatly while taking his hand and shaking it, “It’s nice to meet you too.”
Luna could see that he was distraught with her coldness towards him, but he smiled anyway. She decided to bridge the gap between them, “Panji, what is that in your hand?” She asked while looking at the plastic bag that he was holding.
“Ah, of course, I heard that Samantha like banana chips, so I went to the shop to buy some.” He explained as he handed the bag to Samantha.
She looked at Luna who nodded in approval, “Go ahead, take it!”
Samantha received the bag from Panji, “Thank you, Kak Panji…” She said.
Luna smiled when she saw his face lightened with happiness, he looked to her and smiled back, “Panji, this is my aunt, Aunt Rita. Auntie, this is Panji my fiance.” she introduced him to her aunt.
“How could you call your future husband by name?” The older woman scolded as she gave her hand to Panji and shook his, “That is taboo…”
“It is great to finally meet you, Aunt Rita,” he said politely, “Luna and I are the same age, so honorifics between us is not really necessary.”
“Hmm…but still…” Aunt Rita wasn’t convinced.
“Hey come on, let’s go…” Luna intervened, “Aunt Rita, Samantha is going to live with me at the apartment. So we’ll take you to Papa’s house before we go home.”
Aunt Rita nodded, “I understand…”
“But before we take you home, we’ll go to eat first,” Panji added.
“We just had something to eat, didn’t we Samantha? I prefer to head home immediately so I can lie down and rest,” Aunt Rita looked at the little girl and suffed as she saw Samantha too busy munching at her bag of chips.
“Okay, let’s take Aunt Rita home,” Luna affirmed to Panji.
* * *
It turns out that Mr. Dartono wasn’t at home when they arrived, he was still at work heading a very important client meeting. Panji and Luna decided that they didn’t want tpo wait for him, thinking that Samantha must be tired and wanted to rest too. They drove back at to the apartment. panji felt a cold chill ran down his heart when looking through the review mirror towards the back sit, he saw the little girl curled up on the seat sleeping.
“She must be very tired,” Luna whispered, “It was more than a full days trip.”
“Eh-he..” He nodded, “Doesn’t she look adorable when she sleeps like that…” He admired earnestly from the heart.
“Yes, she does,” Luna agreed.
“She looks just like you, doesn’t she?” he said again, “But it’s funny how she sleeps with the palm of her hand clasped together and tucked between her legs. it reminds me of me when I was smaller.
“Panji, I’m so happy that she’s back here again…” Luna whispered, “I couldn’t stand the separation…”
“I know, sweetheart…” He said as he held her hand, “You know I promise nobody will take her away from you again.”
He drove the car into the garage and parked in the space assigned for Luna’s and Nuri’s apartment, he had rented a different space for her scooter, a space shared with other motorbike owners.
“I’ll wake her up,” Luna got off and opened the back door.
“Don’t I’ll carry her upstairs,” he said, he couldn’t bring himself to disturb the little girl.
“But she’s too big to be carried around like a baby…” Luna protested.
“Maybe you’re right. But I never got the chance to carry her when she was one. Can you at least give me this opportunity?”
He opened the door and bent his body to enter the car. He carefully sat her up and held her against him. As he slowly moved back and exited the car, he straighten his body, putting her head against his shoulder and carrying Samantha in his arm, “Can you please close the car door…” He whispered to Luna.
She nodded and did what he asked her, he waited until she closed the door before pushing the button of the remote lock with his free hand.
They walked together to the elevator. He silently thanked her when she pressed the button to open the door. It didn’t take long for them to reach the apartment. Luna opened the door with her key, she showed Panji to her room so he could put Samantha down on the bed.
He slowly place her on the bed, “She doesn’t like blankets,” She whispered.
“Okay, we should let her rest then,” He replied.
She nodded as she followed him out of the room.
“I’ll come back later this afternoon,” He said, “I want to take the two of you out to a very great place for dinner.”
Luna agreed, ” I’ll see you later then. Bye!”
“Bye!” he said as he kissed her on the cheek before leaving the apartment.
 Kak the Melayu word for older brother or sister.