Admin Note: *Contributed Story* Please give credit and thanks to faerieMagic. This is a continuation to Adventures With Little Chief – part 1.
Part 2: The Lim Family version 2.0
It was a perfect day to stop over at an open restaurant on their way home. They were hungry, and they had a financer. Little Chief and Nikki went out of the car to look forward to their tasty snack. Daddy Chief had entrusted Niccolo to drive them home from the Lim Aviation Office.
It was exactly across this street that he saw their school janitor eating out with a shadowy man he thought was so familiar…
“Hey, you haven’t touched your cake,” said Nikki, interrupting his thoughts.
“No thanks,” said Little Chief. He didn’t like chocolate.
Then suddenly and shockingly, he heard someone ask from behind, “You’re not going to eat that, are you? Can I have it?”
What Little Chief saw could hardly be more surprising. It was a very dirty girl; someone who had been apparently crying. Her weekend frock might have been beautiful for there were even ribbons trailing on the sides and some frills on the front, but what with all the dust and mud she picked up along the way, it’s a miracle he still recognized her as his classmate.
Little Chief took one look at her. A girl going to a private school all alone in the city with no chauffeur or guardian, with a very dirty garb; it only meant one thing.
They recognized each other. Fear came over her face and she made a run for it. The most sensible thing to do was to run after her. And he did. He grabbed her from behind just in time before a car skidded in front of her.
It had already been four hours, and Gems was still walking along the metropolis with no apparent salvation. It was tricky enough trying to get out of her grandmamma’s house, but she did not expect that outside the house was also going to be a maze. Her plan was simple: to find a high place where she could see which way her old house lay, then to head that direction. And then, she’ll be back to papa again, and everything would be all right.
But she was hopelessly lost and hungry. Hungry would be an understatement. For the moment she saw a table with food, she immediately rushed to it. What she saw and heard was the most wonderful thing that could ever happen in that lonely day.
“Hey, you haven’t touched your cake,” she heard the grown up girl say; Grown-up, but not so grown up.
“No thanks,” she heard the boy replied.
She was hungry. Come on. Cut her some slack, for she plucked up her courage and asked, “You’re not going to eat that, are you? Can I have it?”
The boy turned and what she saw made her gasp. It was Ricky-boy. She panicked and ran. Don’t know where, or what direction, as long as it’s away from him. It would have been a fine plan if she just did not happen to be in the downtown area, and if she just did not happen to be a child, not to mention a child from the province at that.
Suddenly, she felt someone pull her from behind.
They both tumbled on the roadside. “Are you crazy?! You almost got lacerated to pieces!” he angrily scolded.
In the end, she ended up eating a lot more than just the chocolate cake, with Nikki and Niccolo interviewing them along the way, saying things like, “are you sure she is your classmate?”, and “Maybe it’s his girlfriend.” He replied indignantly to all their inquiries.
“Thank you for the food. But I really must be going now,” she finally said, after eating (I wonder who paid for the food).
“Wait, we’ll just give you a ride,” said little Chief.
“No thanks, but I really must be going back now.”
“Exactly. You need to get back home. Get in the car,” he ordered, with the same expression that would remind us of someone.
“Get in the car.”
Gems went in the car as an obedient child as if it was her grandmamma who ordered her so.
“So.” Little Chief said continuing the conversation. “What’s your home address?”
“Home address?” said Gems.
“Yes home address! Street name, your subdivision, anything,” said Little Chief.
“I… I don’t know.”
“Of course, who was I kidding. You just recently transferred. Well, do you have the number of your mama?” he asked.
“I haven’t got any mama.”
“What? No mama?” little Chief said, as if he expected everyone to have a mother.
“Who is your guardian then?” asked Niccolo from behind the wheels.
“Okay. We’ll call her. Give me your phone,” little Chief said.
“I left it home,” said Gems.
“Reckless girl! How do you expect to survive in the streets without phone and money?”
“How about if you put just put me back on the streets?” she suggested.
Little Chief sighed in frustration. They decided it was best to just get home.
Everyone piled out of the car one by one, until only Gems was left inside.
The house was all big and prim just like her grandmamma’s. Gems didn’t want to go back inside to be locked forever and ever.
“Come on, Gems,” said Little Chief holding out her hand. After a while, she took it in spite of her fears.
Every one of her new friends ran inside the house. None of them seemed to be afraid of being locked inside its bolted doors. All vast houses seem to scare her. They always had those scary looking vases that almost always break without being touched. She had to check her shoes when she gets in because hers was always muddy. And there were so many spoons and forks and knives in the dinner table and it had to be flicked this way and that for grandmamma to not be angry. And she had to sit proper and stand up straight and be all stiff if she wanted to behave well.
She remembered all these horrors when little Chief pulled him inside.
They arrived home to find that their father arrived ahead of them, because his meeting was cancelled. Upon seeing her father, Nikki rushed to his side.
“Welcome to our house. That’s my ate Nikki you just met, she’s the most well-behaved kid in our family,” said Little Chief.
“Come on, daddy, could I have my own car already?” they heard Nikki say. She was following her dad as he headed to his office.
“No, Nikki. I told you. This is not the time,” said Sir Chief.
“But dad, I worked hard for the last four years. I even —-,” said Nikki.
“—Graduated with flying colors. Yes. I’ve heard that. But my decision is final,” said Sir Chief.
“Fine,” said Nikki after Sir Chief shooed her away when he entered his office.
“See?” said Little Chief.
“See what?” said Gems.
“…that she is the most well-behaved,” said Little Chief. Then, he shouted to his sister. “I told you we should have stolen your car keys.”
A beautiful woman greeted them on their arrival inside. Her hair was flowing free and not tied up into all sorts of laces the way her hair was done but she looked more beautiful because of that. She wore a kind face and she walked freely towards them that for a moment, she lost a bit of her stiffness without knowing it.
“Niccolo, why don’t you stay for dinner?” she asked the young man who drove the car.
“Sure thing tita Maya,” said Niccolo. “I won’t say no to that.” (Niccolo staying for dinner even if Luke is not here, what does he mean by that?)
“And who is this little girl?” asked Maya.
“Ricky-boy picked her out in the streets,” said Niccolo.
“Ricky-boy! I can understand your sister bringing some friends over the house” here, she looked at Niccolo implicitly. “But bringing over a girl, at your age?” said Maya.
He told her she was his classmate and she was lost in the downtown area, and it was already night time, so they decided to bring her home. But even with that, everyone still teased him as her girlfriend.
He repeated again and again that “she is not mygirlfriend!” until it put him really bad-tempered.
It was a merry party when all sat to have dinner (They dressed Gems in Little Chief’s clothes to his annoyance). KuyaNiccolo cracked a lot of jokes. She slowly felt at ease in front of the new strangers, that she forgot to use her spoon and fork. She ate happily with her hands for a few seconds, just like the way she did in her old home, before she realized her terrible mistake with the spoons.
“Oh, I’m very sorry. I know we ought to use the proper spoon and all,” she shamefully lowered her head and tried to use the spoon, feeling, for all in the world as if she was going to be thrown into jail after that slip.
Sir Chief and Maya looked meaningfully at each other. Then, Maya finally said, “No. It’s perfectly fine to use your hands.” Maya set aside her utensils and also ate with her bare hands. “Right Abby, Nikki?”
Abby said yes and immediately obeyed. Nikki said of course and elbowed/threatened Niccolo to do the same. Little Chief said okay, and shrugged his shoulders. And Sir Chief said fine and was obliged to do the same. It really does not fail to amaze me when I see those porcelain hand of theirs doing those kinds of stuff.
It was a messy business; For Sir Chief and Nikki that is who continued to do it the wrong way and kept on spilling the rice all over until everyone laughed at their vain attempts. And even Gems finally thought that it wasn’t very shameful to eat without spoons after all.
After dinner, Sir Chief immediately went down to business and asked her a series of questions. Asked for the name of her mother, she told her she did not have one. He mother had already passed away. That got her liked by sentimental Abby and Nikki, who said “Aww, poor thing. You know, we lost our mother too.” Even Maya was moved to being teary. Gems told them she had a father, who was working as a security guard. She also had a grandmamma named Victoria Mendoza.
Sir Chief called their school adviser, and it was confirmed that Ms. Mendoza was the new transferee student from Visayas. Her grandmother was called at once, and a car arrived to claim her back to their house.
Her grandmother went down from her Porsche. She wore a refined sophisticated look. Her face had fine strong lines which might have once been beautiful. Her mouth was curbed up so tight, and her chin was held up in a dignified way.She looked relieved when she saw her grandchild. “Grandmamma!” Gems called and ran to her grandmother. But the moment she got near, a hand immediately slapped her. She was not hurt, it wasn’t that strong. It was only to let her know that she did a very naughty thing.
“You reckless girl! This is not the province!” she scolded Gems. But she never let go of Gems’ hand after that.
“Mr. Lim, thank you for taking care of my grandchild. You see, she just recently moved in the house, and she’s still having trouble adjusting.”
Sir Chief said there was no problem and it was really their children who found her when they were driving and the visitors left their mansion in peace.
Northwest Hills MontessoriSchool, morning, 7:00 am
“Hey, out of the way!” said a dandy-looking child when he saw little Chief in front of him.
“And you are…?” said little Chief,not looking up from his tinkering and not getting out of the way.
“Don’t you know me?” said the boy indignantly. “I’m the son of the husband of the sister of granddad of President Noynoy?! Eugene Aquino! And what did you say your father was?”
“He fixes things,” said Little Chief inattentively.
“Psshh. What, you mean toys and electric fans or cars? Those stuff?”
He shrugged, “I guess I’ve seen him fix those,”
Then there came a couple of girls.
“Richard,” said a girl in the group. “Is it true you have a helicopter and a plane in your backyard?”
“No, not in our house here. But we have a summer house in Mindoro where my fatherextended our land; he said he wanted his own hangar at the house. But it’s not really a hangar. Just a big open space and a single room where he keeps all the tools,” replied Little Chief.
“Wow, so you mean, you could actually go to school in a helicopter?” another girl asked.
“Hmm. Interesting. I hadn’t thought of that. But aeronautical engineers don’t usually fly planes, you know,” said Little Chief.
“Richard, How about if you sit with us at lunch? We have cake,” the girls offered.
“Hey, Richard, buddy.” Eugene caught up with little Chief all of a sudden. “Let’s have lunch,” he told little Chief.
“Lunch. With you,” Little Chief looked at him as if having lunch with him was the most preposterous and stupid thing to do. “No.”
After turning down two lunch offers his mood got better, but not for long, because after a few more minutes, he felt a familiar presence scuttling on his back. “What do you want Gems?”
“Ricky-boy! Let’s go!” said Gems. She was carrying two little lunch boxes. It had spaghetti inside.
“Where?” said Little Chief.
“You promised to have lunch with me, remember? Long long time ago.”
How many times does he have to decline for them to get the point?
“Don’t call me Ricky-boy,” his family calls him Ricky-boy.
“I thought, perhaps, after what happened last night…” Gems began.
One of their classmates gasped. “Last night? What happened last night?!” he looked at both of them.
“I’m tired. Let’s do it some other time,” said Little Chief. He walked away not even answering his classmate’s inquiries. If he had to choose between a poisonous meal and those suspicious looking spaghetti that looked like one of ate Abby’s recipes (and may therefore also be poisonous), well, alright. He’d eat the spaghetti.
That afternoon, classes were suspended because of another teacher’s meeting. Little Chief went to the computer lab as his most preferred destination.
The library and the computer lab were two side-by-side rooms separated from the main classrooms by a clump of trees and a pathway in the middle. You had to walk a few yards and climb more set of stairs to get there.
It was one of those lazy school afternoons where nothing was expected to happen except the regular melody of the bees busily buzzing in their work, and the lawnmower at it with his machine somewhere inside the campus. The sun was glaring hot (It’s the Philippines), but the cool shade of the trees is guaranteed to calm any exploding terror teacher anytime. It was the bullies one had to look out for.
Although he had already walked a considerable distance, he could still feel her following from behind. It was enough! He’s going to hide and catch her at it at the next bend.
Gems searched in front of her. Ricky-boy was gone. She rushed outside her hiding place (behind a tree) to get a better view. Then from the approaching wall, she saw someone in the shadows, and thought it was just him trying run away again. But it was the janitor who emerged and quickly pulled a sack over her head.
“Gems no!” Little Chief shouted when he saw Gems walking towards the man in the shadows in an attempt to stop her from being captured, but he revealed his position in the process. But it was already too late. He did shout for help. But, of course, it had to be the part of the school that was less populated.
Truth is, the thing was planned and the assailants were just waiting for an opportune moment of finding him alone. But perhaps they had been wrong at that point.
The next sack was for him. They struggled for a bit until the Chloroformput them to sleep. The two sacks were rushed at the back of the Ram Cargo Vanparked inconspicuously among the trees. Then they were gone! The guards in the gate let it pass without question, so long as it was registered as one belonging to the school community with a piece of false information and a 200-peso sticker. Outside the gate the vanrushed at full speed, as if impatient to get away from the school who was coming to get her students.