“Hey did you have fun?” She asked as soon as Samantha stepped in.
Samantha nodded and handed her a cup of ice cream, “Kak Panji took me to buy some ice cream in our favorite place at BM Mall, I bought some for you, it’s your favorite flavor, pistachio.”
“Wow, thank you…..” She looked up at her fiance who was standing behind their daughter, “Did you say thank you?”
Samantha turned around, “Thank you, Kak!”
“Thank you for going with me!” He replied with a wide smile. “Pistachio, I would have never guessed.”
“I’m going to put my bag in the room, ” Samantha said, “Kak Panji has something to talk to you about.”
“Is that so?”She asked she put the ice cream cup on the dining table, “Why don’t you come in and sit down, can I get you something to drink? By the way, I hate Pistachio flavored ice cream.”
“Oh, don’t worry about it, I’m sorry that we got you one that you don’t like,” Panji’s voice was disappointed, he walked in and sat on the couch in the living room.
She followed behind him and sat on the couch across him as she carefully observed his concerned face, “What is it?”
“Samantha is a very mature little girl, for someone who is born of very young parents,”
“I’ve noticed that,” She agreed.
“When we were driving towards the mall, she expressed her concerns about……you….”
“About me? Could it be about our wedding plans?”
“No, not at all! Gosh, I hope not……do you think she doesn’t like me? Could it be?” He began side tracking from his initial intentions.
She shook her head vigorously, “No, not at all. That’s not what I meant.”
“Don’t scare me, you can’t begin to imagine how important it is for me that she likes me,” He exclaimed.
She smiled slightly, a light flashed in her eyes, “On the contrary, I understand perfectly well…..”
“Samantha is worried about your health. She said that you used to be hospitalized often, and she’s worried that whatever you had is back again.”
She sneered, “She said that, did she? I don’t see any reason why Samantha should be talking about my personal condition to just anyone.”
Panji didn’t expect her reaction, “But Luna. I’m your fiance, I’m not just anyone.”
“Ah…you’re right. You are Luna’s fiance,” She nodded after looking at him sharply. She leaned closer then said in a very low menacing voice, “And you’re also Anggraeni’s husband, it turns out, she’s not so dead afterall, is she? You’ve been busy haven’t you, Panji Asmarabangun?”
“Luna, what are you saying?” He was dumbfounded.
She stood up from her seat, “Thank you for taking Samantha for ice cream. I am going to make dinner, you should go now.”
Panji reluctantly stood up. Her reaction and behavior puzzled him, but he didn’t want to pressure her, although he couldn’t help but feel curious. Could it be that she found out somehow that Anggraeni had come back, and she is angry at him, “Luna, let me explain…”
“No need!” She cut him off, “Now if you would excuse me,”
She walked to the door and opened it for him, gesturing him to leave the apartment.
He took a deep breath and walked out, Panji turned to say something else but she slammed the door shut before walking into the bedroom where Samantha is waiting, “I would appreciate it if you don’t talk to anyone about my personal business!” She scolded.
“Kak?” Samantha was surprised by her reaction.
“Especially to that bastard!” She almost yelled.
Samantha stepped back, her eyes looked at the woman in front of her with fear, “Kak Luna?”
“That’s not my name!” She said firmly, “Call me by my real name, what’s my real name?”
“Kak Chandra…….” Samantha said in a low voice, “I’m sorry I was just worried about you.”
She sat on the bed and tapped the space beside her, “Sit down!”
Samantha nodded and gingerly complied.
She took Samantha’s hand in hers and held it tightly, “The world isn’t as innocent as you think. And neither is that Panji. He isn’t a good person. To be honest, I don’t like you to be around him. If it was up to me, I would prohibit you all together. But that’s not my decision alone.”
“But he’s nice to me, he treats me well, I like him a lot. I can see from his face and his eyes that he is a very sincere and great person,” Samantha defended.
She looked at her sharply, “Blood is thicker than water….” She muffled under her breath.
“What did you say?” Samantha asked.
“Never mind, my dear!” She shook her head, “I’m not saying that you should avoid him. To be fair to you, if you like him then by all means, you can build your friendship with him. I’m not so cold-hearted that I’m going to separate you from him. And I don’t think the others will agree with me if I do it. But don’t expect me to like this situation. Although you are undoubtedly his weakness, I will never use you against him, not for his sake, but for yours.”
“Kak Chandra what are you trying to say?” Samantha’s voice was but a whisper.
She shook her head, “Don’t worry about it. Come on, let’s fix you some dinner…”
Samantha nodded, “Kak Chandra….”
“What is it?” She asked.
“Can I hug you?”
She pulled the little girl into her arms, “Do you still have to ask? Don’t you know how much I love you?”
Samantha smiled, “I know…….”
* * *
Panji entered the apartment in confusion, he walked listlessly to the couch and sat down brooding.
“Hey, what’s with the long face?” Roni popped up from behind the kitchen counter.
“I was just with Luna….” He said pensively, “She didn’t seem like herself. She was…..different.”
“Different? Different?” Roni crinkled his brow, “Hmm….she always had extreme mood swings, since the first time I knew her.”
“Really?” Panji thought about his words, “The Luna I knew when we were younger wasn’t like that.”
“You are referring to the Luna who wasn’t raped and left pregnant by you, aren’t you?” Roni asked sarcastically.
Panji sat in silence, unable to respond to his cousin, finally he exhaled, “You’re right, even though I regret what I did, but I can’t go back in time to change it, the only thing I can do is try to build a future that can help her get over that pain I caused.”
“From what I see you have a second chance to make amends. At least be a man and confront your own doing. You should take responsibility of your own actions.”
Panji suddenly remembered, “I just found out today that Anggraeni is still live. Se came here to look for me.”
“Anggraeni your wife?” Roni dragged himself to the dining table, pulled out a chair and sat down.
Panji nodded, “She told me that my mother paid her to get out of my life. But when she heard that I was going to get married, she decided to come back.”
“So…..are you…going back to her?” Roni asked.
Panji shook his head, “I can’t leave Luna….Not after knowing what happened to her, as you said I have to take responsibility for my own actions.”
Roni looked at him, “I respect that you decide to stay with her for that reason. But a woman like Luna should be with someone who loves here sincerely. Not with someone who only wants to be with her for the sake of his family fortune, or even to make amends of his past mistake.”
Panji glared at him, “Do you mean somebody like you?” He asked sarcastically, “I don’t know how you can claim to love her when you never stop having casual relations with loose women.”
“I’m just saying. If you want to be with her, do it because you love her. Because it’s not like there’s nobody out there who loves her enough and who is willing to change his bad habits for her,” Roni’s tone was very serious, ” Besides, now that I know who Samantha really is, I can show her that I could be a good father candidate for her daughter”
“Stay away from my family!” Panji exclaimed with a loud voice, “Samantha already has a father! I’m not going to allow some pervert to use my daughter to get close to her mother.”
* * *
“I can’t believe you tricked me like that!” Panji paced back and forward in front of his mother, “How could you just stay there and do nothing while watching me suffering over a wife who I thought had died? Didn’t you feel any empathy or sympathy towards me?”
“Panji, what I did was because I love you. I wanted you to have a better future, I wanted you…I still want you to have your legacy, your inheritance, the inheritance that your father stupidly almost lost by making a bad investment,” She defended her reasons, “That woman wouldn’t and couldn’t help you in any way, unlike Luna. Her family is well off and can attribute to your future. A brighter future.”
“Don’t you think that I’m old enough to decide for myself?” He clenched his fist.
“I can’t believe that she had the nerve to come back and look for you!” Mrs. Dari critized.
“Well what do you expect?” He huffed.
“What do you want to do? Now that you know she’s still alive? Are you planning to go back to her? Do you want me to cancel your engagement to Luna?” She opened her eyes in annoyance. “Do you want to ruin your family’s future for your own selfish reasons?”
“I don’t intend to cancel my engagement to Luna, but not for the same reasons as you. I want to be with her, and I want to build a family with her.” He declared, “But I have to settle my situation with Anggaeni. Thanks to you, it turns out that it’s a lie that I’m a widower. Now I’m somebody’s husband.”
“Panji, let me talk to her, “She offered, “Maybe I can…”
“Dont! I’ll settle this myself,” He cut her off, “I don’t want this to become worse.”
“But you shouldn’t meet with her, what would Luna think?”
Panji took a deep breath, “I’m an adult man, I think, I am capable and mature enough to take care of my own problems without my mother getting herself in my life all the time.”
Mrs. Dari looked at him, her eyes shone with determination.
* * *
“Ma, if Panji wants you to stay out of his affairs, you should respect him,” Mr. Erlangga said calming his wife who stormed into his office to complain about their son and his recently returned wife.
“How dare she challenge me. I gave her a huge sum of money to disappear from his life, and now she’s back again to ruin our plans,” She grunted in anger.
“Ma, what you did was wrong. You separated her from your son by force. you madde us believe that she was dead. Didn’t it break your heart to see what Panji went through?” He scolded.
“This is all your fault! If you didn’t make that stupid investment, I wouldn’t have to resort to such desparate messures,” She pointed at him vicously, “You were about to destroy our family and our fortune, I had to take a firm decision to make sure that it doesn’t happen.”
“Ma….” He exhaled.
“I won’t let anyone destroy my son’s future,” She slanted her eyes, “Not you, not that woman, not anyone!”
* * *
“Hey, thank you for bringing Samantha home the other day,” Luna said when she saw Panji at the office, he was packing his personal belongings, this was the last day that he worked for Roni.
Panji crinkled his forehead, “You are most welcome, not that you need to thank me for taking care of my own daughter,” His voice was unsure.
“I’m sorry about…..” She hesitated
“About…your behavior…..?” He cut
She nodded solemnly, “I didn’t mean to go to sleep early, it was just that I had a bad headache, that’s why…”
“Huh?” Panji scratched his head, “Ah okay….”
She smiled sweetly.
“Um…Luna, about Anggraeni…” He paused.
“Hmm….?” She looked at him inquisitively waiting for what he was about to say next.
“I really didn’t know that she was still alive, my mother lied to me, I swear,” He assured.
“Wait…wait…wait….your wife, Anggraeni is still alive?” Luna asked, her face was pale as if she had just seen a ghost.
“You…don’t know?” He looked at her puzzled.
“How…how would I know….” She exclaimed, “Does this mean, you want to cancel our engagement?”
Panji shook his head, “Luna, you’re the only one I want to spend the rest of my life with. All I dream about is a future with you and our daughter.”
“But, if she’s still alive, that means you’re still married, where does that leave me?” She asked.
Panji shooked his head, “Anggraeni left me for more than six months already without a single word, I can legally cancel the marriage and divorce her, we were never officially married, so there won’t be any legal issues.”
“What if she refuses? I mean, she must have her excuses for leaving you in such a way,” Luna contemplated.
“It doesn’t matter, she left m and I’ve moved on. You and Samantha are my future now,” He took her hand with his freed one.
“Are you going to pick Samantha from school, can I take you?” Panji asked seeing her with her bag on her shoulder.
Luna nodded, “I’m going to take her to the BM Mall, to get some ice cream from our favorite place. I think she hasn’t had it since before she left for the States. I also haven’t had it in a long time. I have a craving for Pistachio ice cream, that’s my favorite flavor.”
Panji stood there speechless looking at her in bewilderment.