“YOU SHOULDN’T BE HERE,” Huan heard a familiar booming voice behind him.
He turned around and saw General Quitano standing behind him, smiling.
“I’m sorry, Chief, got used to it,” Huan said.
He approached the General and shook his hand.
“It had become so automatic that I would go back here after work. But when I saw my desk there with someone, that’s when I realized, I don’t belong here anymore.”
“You still belong here, Huan,” the Genenal said as he led Huan to his office. “I know that you would like to be an investigator first rather than a lawyer. But things change. How’s the arraignment, by the way?” the Chief asked.
They reached the office of the Chief at the Criminal Investigation Division headquarters.
“You saw it on the news, Chief,” Huan answered as they enter the office.
He unbuttoned a few from his shirt, put down his briefcase, and sat down on a chair.
“Yeah, I saw it alright,” the Chief said as he started preparing two cups of coffee for them. “The illustration on the news showed both of you talking. The news said that she stopped to greet you.”
“That WAS the news, huh?” Huan said almost laughing.
The Chief laughed. “Oh, yes. The reporter said she was the most beautiful person in that courtroom.”
He gave a cup of coffee to Huan.
“You should have seen the contrast between Rosanna and that associate lawyer of yours. All cameras focused on Rosanna when she came out of the court room. That’s her spell. Her beauty is her charming spell. God might have showered her with all…”
“Have you approved of Atty. Noguerra replacing me?” Huan cut him out as he started to sip his coffee.
“For Heaven’s sake, no! You’re still the man for this job,” the Chief said. “Why do you keep on asking for a replacement? You have read the memo, right?”
“You don’t understand, Chief,” Huan said as he put down his cup on the table. “Natalie is the associate lawyer of the late Atty. Fortuna. She’s an experienced prosecutor. She is expecting THIS job. Besides, I have my own reasons for not wanting this case, it’s something PERSONAL.”
The Chief’s face turned serious when he heard the word “personal”.
”Is there something I would like to know about, Huan?” Gen. Quitano asked as he sipped his coffee.
“Maui was Jian’s girlfriend,” Huan said.
“Jian was the first prime suspect in this homicide case.”
“Then do it for your son’s sake!”
“Another thing, Buddy Jimenez and Fonsy were my friends back in high school.”
“I told them before I couldn’t compete with friends.”
Huan turned away from the General. He thought about the last statement he uttered. That was a half-lie. He had said that statement many years ago TO A FRIEND, not “them”. It’s coming full circle now. Huan thought if it was wise to tell everything to the Chief.
“So you’ve known Buddy and Fonsy long ago?” asked the Chief.
“Yes, Chief,” Huan replied as he turned back to face Gen. Quitano. “Fonsy, Buddy, me, plus two others… we’re all friends back in senior high school…” Huan paused for a moment, and he continued, “But, I’m the only one in the gang who went with the GOOD side of the law.”
“I see,” the Chief nodded. “So you’ve known Rosanna, too?”
“Don’t tell me, Huan, that there was something between you and Rosanna back then?”
Huan stared back at the smiling general.