Eduardo Cendrars Queral paid little attention to the usual landing announcements made by the flight crew as the Cebu Pacific Air jet began its descent over Mactan Island, its colourful yellow-and-orange livery flashing brightly in the tropical sunshine.
The Spaniard was more interested in watching Mi-chan’s reactions to the sea of green that was becoming visible as the plane began to descend below the clouds. Her hand was resting on his thigh, hidden by the salmon-pink newsprint of the financial paper which he had lowered rather quickly over his lap when, at 25,000 feet, she had begun to worry and tease the head of his batuta with her elegant fingers.
His feet in their dark socks were still locked discreetly around one of her ankles; a delicate bare sole was pressed against his instep, exciting him even more than her pretty toes, which were curling softly as she caressed his foot lazily with them.
They were not the only couple on the flight in that kind of mood. After all, Cebu was a popular honeymoon destination, and the flight from Singapore was carrying the usual numbers of foreign newlyweds in every row.
However, Eduardo’s honeymoon in Cebu was not going to be a typical tourist’s luna de miel, either. For the first time in his life, he was bringing a wife to meet the Filipino side of the family. He was well into his forties, lean, and worldly; Mi-chan was only 23, and even more worldly than he was.
He was proud of her, and not only on account of her exotic Eurasian features and her pornographic curves; she had been educated well by the cousin who had raised her after she was orphaned. However, he had been thinking of the Filipino saying may tainga ang lupa, may pakpak ang balita even before they boarded the aircraft. ‘The earth itself has ears, and gossip has wings.’
For his bride was gloriously and healthily pregnant, already in her second trimester, and the first time the family had ever heard of her was approximately three weeks previously, when he had telephoned his grandfather in Cebu to inform him that he was about to enter into a civil marriage with a young Frenchwoman who lived in Singapore.
Acting on a gut feeling, Eduardo had taken a deep breath and mentioned to his lolo that Mi-chan was very young, and was rather obviously embarazada; at least four months along, to be precise.
The grandfather they were going to visit in Cebu was a tisoy, the local term for a mestizo of European descent. Although the Filipino side of the family did not import their brides from Spain by design, a family tradition of sending the sons to the Old World for their education had meant that most of the men-including Eduardo’s father and even the grandfather in Cebu-had chosen their wives from good Castilian, Basque or Catalan families in Spain.
Eduardo was a Spanish Filipino whose eyes were such a deep shade of blue that they looked almost violet; his looks were utterly Castilian. Although he still thought and dreamed in Spanish, and did most of his business in English or Japanese, his fluency in Cebuano and Ilonggo was well appreciated in the Philippines, where most of his workforce was based. His core business trained and employed dozens of talented local illustrators who worked on the animated feature films he produced with his Japanese partner.
Mi-chan had never visited the Philippines before, despite the fact that she had been living in Southeast Asia for nearly three years. After the prim efficiency of her adopted city of Singapore, she found herself enjoying the untidy bustle of Cebu-Mactan International Airport. Eduardo used his burgundy EU passport, instead of the maroon one issued by the Republika ng Pilipinas, so that he could be in the same queue as his wife.
Most of the passengers who had been on their flight were met by hotel staff in the airport terminal and herded into minibuses and hotel cars within a matter of minutes. Eduardo was queuing up patiently at the car rental booth when he was approached by a cheerful young Filipino who addressed him by name.
The man’s name was Fidel. Smiling, Fidel greeted Mi-chan politely before saying, ‘Sir Eduardo, your lolo wants me to drive you and Ma’am Ayumi to the house. He said to tell you that he doesn’t trust your driving.’
Eduardo was bewildered, but understood perfectly when the driver continued, ‘And he also asked me to tell you that your brother Juan Carlos and Ma’am Christine arrived the day before yesterday.’
The Spaniard shot a sympathetic look at Fidel, and asked him a pithy question in the Cebuano dialect, ‘I suppose my brother’s wife is in … the usual form?’
‘Oh yes, Sir,’ was the young man’s sunny reply.
The grandfather had asked to receive them privately in his study before they saw to any other family business-such as the complicated, and very public, distribution of pasalubong, the obligatory presents expected of any Filipino returning home. Mi-chan had brought him a fine hand-turned Danish pipe which she had purchased in Singapore.
Mi-chan watched her husband greet his lolo respectfully by making a slight bow over the back of the man’s right hand, until the knuckles grazed his forehead. Acting on instinct, she copied the mano po, and received a very proper but affectionate bisou on each cheek from the grandfather in return.
At 92, Old Man Queral was a charmer. He also had an impish style about him which she had never detected in the grandson, who had a taste for aggressive martial arts, tended to take everything very seriously, and had certain rather dark hungers in the bedroom which some women might find intimidating.
Addressing his new granddaughter-in-law, the lolo said, ‘My dear, let me give you my blessings for your marriage to my grandson. He is a lucky man. I understand that your parents are no longer living. I will do my best to make sure that their souls are at ease as long as you are here under my roof.’
He continued, ‘I have explained to the family-especially the titas, who are anxious to meet you-that you are an expectant mother, and may want to rest until the meryenda at 4.30pm. The pasalubong and the introductions can wait, no?’
The lolo took Ayumi’s hand and said, ‘Thank you for the pipe, it is such a good one. Mrs Hizon has set out some refreshments in your room in case you get hungry or thirsty.’
The room which had been assigned to them was one of the most romantic rooms in the colonial-style bahay na bato-or ‘house of stone’. That part of the house was so old that the afternoon light filtered into the room through panes made from translucent capiz shells, ventanillas carved from Philippine hardwoods, and colourful sheets of speckled glass.
Mi-chan lay back contentedly on the big four-poster bed and allowed her husband to remove her sandals and pull her panties down towards her ankles.
He left on the confining Japanese hara-obi bindings which she insisted on winding tightly around her midriff after every bath in order to support the ever-growing bump and her lower back.
Eduardo’s sexual hunger liquefied his wife’s spine when he forced her young thighs apart with his knee and began to push the heavy head of his cock into her kiki, which was hot and fluid from the hormones.
The belly was high and narrow, in that modern way; soon he had her on her side, with her thighs parted widely and the bump pressed safely to the side, and was thrusting into her in a rough rhythm which made her full breasts roll heavily into his hands as he smacked his hips against her buttocks and her thighs.
One of his hands gripped her ankle and pulled it back in order to open her up more as he ploughed her young body with his batuta, a Spanish Filipino word meaning ‘baton’.
In the gentle tropical heat of the afternoon-which was kept comfortably at bay by one ageing air-conditioning unit that juddered every few minutes as it kept the bedroom well-chilled, in true Filipino style-Mi-chan moaned softly as her husband made love to her. At one point, the butiki-house geckos-scurrying silently along the walls and across the ceilings watched Eduardo strip the pregnancy girdle from his wife’s midriff and use that to tie her to the bedposts.
After the sex, Mi-chan sat quietly on a low stool in the simple old-fashioned bathroom as Eduardo lathered their bodies up with a bar of soap and rinsed the suds off, Filipino-style, with big scoops of fresh water from a large earthenware jar fed by a plastic hose attached directly to the faucet.
The slippery feel of her warm soapy body under his hands brought the Spaniard’s dako back to life yet again, and Mi-chan was quite happy to find herself being eased, monkey-style, onto a very clean penis which spread her buttocks as her husband asserted his conjugal rights on the cool bathroom tiles.
The meryenda was Ayumi’s formal introduction to the family. In Spain, a merienda was a simple affair, a piece of fruit and some toast or pastries served with coffee or tea just before sundown.
In Old Man Queral’s household, this snack was a substantial meal, Filipino style, with custard tarts, Chinese meat buns, a healthy selection of fresh tropical fruit, and even a steaming dish of fried pancit noodles. Although sundown was still a couple of hours away, both he and Eduardo accepted the tumblers of whiskey offered to them by the staff; Mi-chan sipped a glass of young coconut juice.
Eduardo’s brother Juan Carlos looked longingly at the drinks tray, but settled on a glass of fresh pineapple juice after a sharp remark from his wife.
The servants were all aware that Juan Carlos was living under the saya, although they would never dream of expressing those views in so many words. To say, even jokingly, that a man lived under his woman’s skirts-her saya-was quite a serious insult in the Philippines.
Christine was the kind of Frenchwoman for whom the air-conditioning in Cebu was never cold enough and for whom the staff never moved quickly enough. She and Juan Carlos lived in France; the only thing she enjoyed about visiting the hacienda in Cebu was having a large staff to boss about.
Old Man Queral often wondered why Christine was so imperious and demanding with his staff when, in France, she washed her own clothes and relied on a cleaner who came in two days a week. Her behaviour always reminded him of the Phillipine saying ‘A fly that lands on a carabao feels itself to be higher than the carabao.’
The woman began attacking Mi-chan almost as soon as the family was seated around the mango wood table on the patio. During their first meeting only the week before, Juan Carlos had been taught by Eduardo to treat Mi-chan with respect, but his wife was not a fast learner.
Christine’s line of attack was the pregnancy. Under the pretext of being happy for Ayumi, she seized every opportunity to draw attention to the healthy size of the bride’s stomach, considering that she had been married for only a few weeks. Her remarks injured Eduardo’s pride, his amor proprio; the Filipino sense of embarrassment and shame, called hiya, was deeply ingrained in him.
Mi-chan, who understood the Asian concept of ‘face’ perfectly, sensed that her husband was not in a position to put Christine in her place without losing even more face. For his sake, she concentrated on maintaining a sweet, calm and respectful demeanour.
Old Man Queral liked the way Mi-chan was holding on to her dignity.
Unlike Christine, who was rapidly approaching what Filipino culture calls the napasubo, the ominous ‘point of no return’ in social conflict; the aunts, uncles and cousins at the table were already looking embarrassed and uncomfortable.
He had thought well of Eduardo’s young bride from the moment she had greeted him instinctively with a mano po, a simple but meaningful gesture which Juan Carlos’ wife had never bothered to perform.
Just as he was about to say something firm to Christine to put a stop to the nonsense once and for all, Mi-chan spoke up. ‘Grandfather, I feel very embarrassed to present myself at your house in this condition.’ She added, wistfully, ‘My stomach is so big. O-negai shimasu; I am sorry.’
Her words snapped every head in her direction. Including the household staff. The head of the family raised his glass to his new granddaughter-in-law and smiled at her. ‘ Hija,’ he said, ‘all that matters to me is that both you and the baby are well. I have never seen my grandson so happy before. And he is no fool.’
In an instant, the old man’s gracious words made Christine’s pointed remarks appear indelicate, and even uncouth. The formal afternoon tea continued without further incident.
Mi-chan enjoyed her stay at the Spanish-style colonial house where she spent her time getting to know the grandfather who had shaped her husband’s character, and gaining a feel for the rhythms of life in Central Visayas, which was colourful and lush beyond anything she had imagined when she had chosen to make tropical Singapore her home.
The honeymoon in Cebu showed her a side of her husband which she had not known when they were in Europe. He seemed more playful-and, well, Asian-in the Philippines, especially when he spoke in Filipino.
She could not bring herself to tease him when, on the very first day of their stay, he had approached her, looking sheepish, and handed her a small cloth pouch containing a knob of ginger and a few coins, which one of the older servants had asked him to keep close to her pillow as protection against the asuwang, a deadly supernatural creature which is believed to feed on pregnant women and their unborn children after dark.
His lovemaking was sweeter and rougher and deeper in the New World; the long and quiet siesta period every afternoon was always well-used by them. The Japanese pregnancy girdle was unwound every day between two and four in the afternoon. He enjoyed the pregnant sex so much that he even entertained inappropriate thoughts of keeping Mi-chan embarazada all the time.
During their honeymoon on the hacienda, Eduardo and his new bride went at it like Sikalak and Sikabay, the Adam and Eve of the Visayas creation myth, who made so many babies that the pale-skinned Spanish conquistadors who arrived in the 16th century were initially believed to be the descendants of Aryon, the son who had travelled north to lands so cold that the winds there had blown all good sense out of his head.
One hot afternoon, a few days into the honeymoon, Mi-chan sent her husband off to play golf with his friends, under the pretext that she needed to rest.
Eduardo returned to the house sun-burned and sweaty and happy after 18 holes of golf at the course in Danao City.
He found a note from her on the bed. ‘Out shopping with Tita Ernesta.
Back at 4.00. See you-Mi-chan.’ Grinning, he headed for the shower, leaving the bathroom door ajar so that he could hear his wife letting herself in, exactly 30 minutes later. For she was always punctual, even in the Philippines, where timekeeping was elastic.
Eduardo hummed under the cool water as he soaped himself, feeling very pleased with himself for having been intelligent enough to marry a young woman who had a wise old head on her slim shoulders, and tastes which were such a good match for his hungers. Drying himself off with a towel, he stepped into the bedroom and was so startled to see his wife standing there that he bit his lip.
Mi-chan had her hair in a ponytail, and she was wearing a cheerleader outfit, a very distinctive one in a rich shade of Marian Blue, which he knew well from his days at the Ateneo de Manila-right down to the white shoes and socks. He wondered how she even knew about the famous cheerleaders of his alma mater’s Ateneo Blue Eagles.
When he approached her, she signalled to him to stop. He obeyed.
Hoisting one small, white-clad foot onto a chair, she pretended to adjust a shoelace, exposing a great deal of fair silky thigh and a sliver of navy blue panties.
Smiling naughtily, Mi-chan shocked his stiff penis to full attention by executing a near-perfect herkie for him to see. On landing, she took two graceful steps forward, lifted one long leg, and rested a neatly be-socked ankle on his shoulder, allowing the skimpy pleats of her skirt to plunge to her crotch. She was very agile despite the expanding stomach, which was already quite solid and growing by the day.
Kissing his new wife very deeply on the mouth, Eduardo used his hands to rub her between her supple legs over the dark blue cotton of her panties, lingering at the very damp spot just below her clit.
Mi-chan decided that it was time to progress matters. Removing her ankle from his shoulders, she kept the hungry Spaniard back with one slim arm held straight out, and leaned back until her lovely ass was resting against the edge of the small table where Mrs Hizon had laid out a tray of fruit and tea things.
Eduardo stepped forward very quickly and dropped to his knees in front of her. He was still naked and damp from the shower; he had lost his towel and his solid pokochin was pointing straight ahead.
Pulling the panties down those tender thighs, and leaving them beached at her knees, he began to work on his wife with his mouth. Using both thumbs to stretch her sweet baby lips lengthwise, he flicked his tongue firmly along, and even into, the lips which were being pulled gently taut, making her shudder and mew as he ate and drank her hungrily.
Once again, Mi-chan changed gears for both of them. Kicking off her white sneakers, she gripped the sides of his head hard and pushed him and his prickly blue chin back far enough to place one small foot against his chest and push him back onto his heels.
The white sock travelled steadily from his very Spanish chest down to his groin, where she used her foot to play with his chinchin-san until Little Eduardo was furiously hard. The husband gripped her lower thigh with his hand, making her shiver as he stroked and squeezed the soft back of her knee.
Eduardo broke free of Mi-chan’s leg, rising to his feet above her so quickly that he was able to make her gasp sharply by spinning her around and flipping up her tiny skirt. He gripped her firmly with one arm around her waist, trapping her, as he bent her-and that belly of hers-forward over the desk.
He only needed the long fingers of one hand to spread her buttocks; Mi-chan was always crazy for anal sex. And her sexual hunger was so great these days, in the second trimester, as the hormones heated her skin and turned it to velvet, thickened her hair, and engorged her nipples and the tender membranes between her legs.
As usual, Eduardo paused for a moment to enjoy an intimate look at the woman he was about to take.
And was startled to see something sparkle between his wife’s buttocks.
He was puzzled for only a few moments.
Pushing his nose and mouth deep between her cheeks, Eduardo prickled and grazed her briefly with his stubble as he worked his teeth around the edges of the small round diamond and platinum stud covering her sphincter.
He tugged gently with his mouth, drawing out a small platinum plug so slowly with his teeth that Ayumi’s knees trembled; his hand had moved to the front of her crotch and was very busy there.
Rising to his feet, Eduardo held his wife’s chin gently as she received the plug from his mouth, the contact between their lips making him so aroused that he left the jewellery between her teeth, braced his hand across her throat, and felt the vibrations of her moans through his fingers as he pushed his penis deep inside her back entrance.
No lubrication; he barely allowed her the time to adjust to his cock’s rude entry before he began to take her with long fast strokes, vaguely aware that the hem of her skirt was brushing against the base of his penis, increasing his pleasure. Eduardo knew that the sounds coming from her were a mixture of a bit of pain and a great deal of pleasure.
The arm around her waist shifted to her chest as the rhythm of his thrusts became quite fierce; Mi-chan was having to rise on tiptoe now with every stroke. The fingers he was keeping between her legs were signalling to him that she was shivering on the verge of a very nice orgasm.
Biting his wife’s shoulder hard enough to make her yelp once as she squirmed against that big cock in her butt and began to come, Eduardo swung his hips firmly upwards twice, thrusting roughly between her cheeks as he spurted inside her with such force that he began to feel a slow trickle of himself ooze out between her tightly-stretched muscles and his shaft.
Panting, Eduardo stopped thrusting so that he could enjoy the sensation of his cock throbbing inside her as it softened; both husband and wife could feel the baby kicking. He kissed Mi-chan and thanked her for the nice welcome home.
They had at least one free hour to themselves before they had to dress for the next meryenda at the mango wood table on the patio. His heart pounding as if he had just completed a fierce and aggressive session of kendo with his Japanese business partner, Eduardo fondled his wife’s breasts and listened to the white cockatoos quarrelling and making love outside the finely carved ventanillas of the room which was home to both him and Mi-chan during his honeymoon in Cebu. He felt very contented.