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C3 Past in Present

Zanara panicked instantly and took a small mirror from her apron pocket, checking what was on her face. Is it dirt?

There was nothing there, and Jayme irresponsibly smiled to herself.

"Don't joke around! What's on my face?" asked Zanara, slightly exasperated.

Jayme shook his head.

"There's beauty over there. Alright ... I'll go first. Here's your phone; I've finished cleaning it from that intruder, so you're safe now."

Jayme then turned his body and swung away, leaving Zanara, who just stared at Jayme's retreating.

She was relieved that Jayme had finally left and would probably return after a few days. His job as a psychiatrist made Jayme stay at the hospital more often than at home. And on his days off, he would come to see Zanara and spend time with Marion.

Does he have no family to go to, so he always comes to Zanara?

Even though Zanara had always been rude to the man, Jayme seemed to have no qualms about repeatedly coming, with the excuse of meeting Marion, even though she missed Marion's mother.

Jayme had been approaching Zanara for a long time. Even since Marion was born, the man acted as if he had a responsibility towards Marion, so he always came and played with the little girl, who was getting used to even knowing that Jayme was her father.

"Mama, is Papa going to stay with us? He always leaves and comes back after a few days," Marion asked innocently as they chatted on the apartment balcony.

Zanara stroked her daughter's hair which instantly reminded her of Mark. However, she quickly dismissed the thought. There could be no more of that man in Zanara or Marion's lives. For Zanara, Mark was dead.

"Marion, what should I tell you? Uncle Jayme is ... he's ..." Zanara sighed, resigned when she realized Marion was asleep on her lap. Zanara smiled at the beautiful and innocent face in her arms.

Her memory went back to three years ago when she caught Mark doing something painful before her eyes. If she hadn't left home then, who knows what would have happened to her now?

Zanara's cell phone roared. Shienna's name was on it. It had been so long since her sister had contacted her, and now she finally made the call that the woman, who was now 33 years old but still looked as young and beautiful as a twenty-something, was looking forward to.

"Hey, how are you?" greeted Zanara, who was immediately greeted with an annoyed sigh. "What's wrong?"

"You know, Zee. Mark came to see me again to ask for information about you. Are you all right there?" asked Shienna after reporting what happened.

Zanara had asked Shienna not to tell anyone about her whereabouts. She did not want anyone to know where on earth she stood now. Her and Marion's life was already happy; she didn't want anyone to ruin it.

Zanara wanted her and Marion's life to be undisturbed by anything. And Jayme was an extraordinary occurrence. She never expected him to come into her life.

"I'm fine, as of now. Safe and still have my voice."

"That's good. How is that handsome doctor? Does he still visit you often?" Shienna slowed down this time, afraid that Zanara would get angry at her repeated questions about Jayme.

"That again. Please don't start, Shie ... I'm too lazy to talk about it. She had come earlier, and my mood suddenly became gloomy. How about just for you? His name is almost the same as your ex-husband."

Shienna laughed as she heard Zanara's words. "Are you kidding me? I don't want to get my heart broken again, Zee. All men, if they choose you, then they will stick to their stance. Even though we're twins, you remember how Mark—oops, sorry, Zee ... I didn't mean—"

Zanara let out a tired sigh. "No problem, Shie. Never mind, let's not talk about that. What about Aaron? Has he started school yet? I miss you guys so much. It would be best if you came here sometime. You'll love this place."

And chatter flowed between them as a way of letting go. After being forced to be apart for so long, there was naturally a longing in their hearts for each other. However, Zanara was confident that one day they would be reunited.

She is grateful that with Shienna, she doesn't feel alone because she still has someone who can be her best friend.

"Alright then, I just wanted to say that and check how you two are doing. I miss you, Zee. Hopefully, I'll be able to catch up there soon. Bye ... I love you."

The call ended and left Zanara thinking about what Shienna had just said. Was Mark looking for her? Had he and she gone their separate ways? Wasn't the last she heard; Mark was engaged to that woman named Laura. Whether it was Laura or Bernadette, it was inevitable that the woman had ruined the harmony of Zanara and Mark's marriage.

However, it wasn't just Laura's fault because if it was love, no matter how strong the temptation, Mark would never waver. The reality was quite the opposite.

Reminiscing will never end, but it will only reopen the wound in Zanara's heart.

Zanara turned back to her phone screen and dialed the number of Melika, Marion's nanny. She needed her help tomorrow, as she no longer wanted to bring Marion to work. She didn't want Jayme to have an excuse to keep coming over. If he wanted to see Marion, he could meet her at home.

Zanara didn't want to meet that man, even by accident.

"Yes, Mrs. Miller?" greeted Melika from the other side. The 20-year-old girl sounded excited every time she received a call from Zanara. Another person loved Marion besides herself. And Jayme, of course.

"Hey, Melika. Can you keep Marion company all day at home tomorrow? And if you want, I want you to start doing it every day because starting tomorrow, I won't be taking her to work anymore."

"I will, ma'am. Thank you very much. I'll come early tomorrow. Thank you."

One problem had been solved. Now it was just a matter of organizing how to keep Marion from whining about coming with her to work. Marion was still a child, after all, so there would be times when she would ask to be clingy with her, fussing and all the antics that were sometimes adorable, even if they also annoyed Zanara.

However, her love for Marion is beyond measure. She would even die for the happiness of her only daughter.

Zanara then got up, lifted Marion's tiny body, and carried her into the room. She looked back at the little girl, rubbed her head, and kissed her lovingly. She left the girl to sleep while she began to prepare the ingredients for the bread she would sell tomorrow.

In the middle of her busy day, Zanara's cell phone rang for the umpteenth time. Another call from an unknown number. She had no idea how many times she had gotten such a call. And for the umpteenth time, despite her doubts, she was forced to accept the call.

"Hello," she greeted, hoping it would be one of her friends or family members. Or, if necessary, an unknown person or wrong number. However, what she received was just the opposite.

The voice of someone she could never forget for the rest of her life, who she had been trying to banish from the back of her mind.

"Hello, Zee. How are you ... and our daughter—what's his name? I miss you guys so much."

Libre Baskerville
Gentium Book Basic
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