Jun P. Espina         16 min read
Written on August 5, 2022
[ Note: I invented every name and place in this short story. ] FICTION
Miyah Malloy washed her clothes by a babbling creek near their house. Why did God give me only poverty and not luxury and abundance? She took a moment to flip through her unpolished, untrimmed fingernails. They vouched for her donkeywork on the farm. She felt it wasn’t fitting to question God for her scarcity. She graduated from college with top honors, and they always elected her as the class muse in high school. The massive city of Zweedrah was only 40 miles away from her small village of 2000 people. She could have built a different life there. But her heart desires to support her worn-out mother, who persevered on the farm to give her siblings an excellent education.
The world is filled with opportunities. I think I am the problem and not God.
One hundred years ago, the Malloys were among the most landed families in the village of Farush, Zweedrah Province, Republic of Ovella. When Miyah’s father died, he left 100 acres of titled property, mostly forest, to her mother with the request to raise his four children, send them all to college, and never remarry.
Her mother was a devout Christian and made good on her promise.
Dangerous animals used to roam around their vast track of land, so her father spent a fortune digging a cave-like house, with a floor area of 750 square meters, at the foot of a hill, around 100 meters from the drought-proof creek that had its mouth on the hilly part of the property.
The huge tunnel-looking house (three stories in height) was reinforced with hardwood logs, akin to a coal mine that could withstand any pressure or environmental challenge for hundreds of years. The meticulous eyes of her brilliant father constructed it. Four gigantic doors made of oak lumber occupied the mouth of the cave.
Miyah’s mother asked her father once, “Honey, are you sure your kids won’t find your cave-house weird?”
“No, our home is safer than a log cabin because we are in a forest.”
Two meters of compressed soil covered the roof of the cave house. The grass, little trees, and vines that grew on it after two decades had already disguised the house as part of the hill. Except for its doors, no one would notice it was a house at the foot of a hill that had stood up against earthquakes and flooding for almost two dozen years already.
Miyah had to wake up early every day to milk the cows and goats. Then she would collect chicken eggs, feed the farm animals, and make butter and cheese.
When she was just six years old, her father passed away, leaving her mother to raise and educate her father’s four children by herself. Miyah had dreams of leaving their farm, but their steadfast faith in the Christian God, and her mother’s objection, seemed to have stalled her plans.
But after initially rejecting her proposal, her mother realized the benefits of having a job, so she let Miyah go to Zweedrah City.
“Miyah,” her mother reminded her, “whatever happens, always remember that we are inside a cave, which your beloved father built, every night without electricity during the age of the Internet.”
“I will, Mama. I promise. If I’m lifted, you’ll be by my side—all of you.” Miyah cried, embraced, and kissed her mother and three siblings, and then left.
At first, Miyah was so awkward with her first job as a restaurant crew member with the Zweedrah Hotel, but given her excellent resume, she was promoted by the brilliant CEO, Alden Haddir, to the reception desk a month later. From there, she promised herself never to wash her clothes by the creek of their Farush farm again.
Alden moved up the corporate ladder by helping resolve a significant sales decline mystery at the Zweedrah Hotel that persisted year after year. He provided the marketing team with every trick in the book as a computer whiz and marketing graduate, employing social media and other tried-and-true techniques to help people perceive the Zweedrah Hotel favorably. He developed software that helped automate the processes, such as online and direct bookings with the front desk. Thanks to his software, which was available for free download, the hotel’s housekeeping staff, concierge team, and restaurants also performed well to please the clients.
From server to CEO, the story of his financial journey and success could not be written in just one book. But Alden was unhappy with his life, even though the hotel’s board pampered him like he was just the man of the hour.
Three girls betrayed him. The beautiful gold diggers and corrupt butterflies he met and loved gave him only pain in his subconscious. He resolved never to find a wife until he met the beautiful farm girl, Miss Miyah Malloy.
“Miss Miyah,” said CEO Alden in a measured tone, “the Reception Desk is the heart and symbol of Zweedrah Hotel’s marketing exterior. You’re honest and firm, so we promoted you.”
“I’ll do my best, sir, with the help of God,” Miyah replied.
The CEO left as if reflecting that he had just recruited a religious girl.
The head of the reception team, Miss Nancy Jones, was stricter than the CEO, and her manners were just offensive to the poor and backward, Miyah. For the rest of the team, however, Miss Nancy’s impolite spiel was just normal at the Reception Desk.
“Miyah, you’ve got to wipe clean all the tables daily before starting your work.” Nancy hated her after impressing the CEO with her God.
Miyah’s ears felt pricked by the humiliation. She thought she could easily handle the matter by punching Nancy in the nose one day.
“I’ve got limited humility, and this farm girl has also knocked down six in a fistfight in high school.” Miyah went to the restroom.
Nancy’s overconfidence grew out of a sheltered existence and the wealthy environment of her family, which owns part of the hotel’s shares of stock. The Joneses are a powerful and well-connected rich family in Zweedrah City, and she had two brothers also covering her back. She is not afraid of the suicidal Miyah.
Knock, knock, knock…
Nancy was unusually confident. “I’ve got something to speak with you.”
“What exactly is it?” Alden sipped his morning coffee while checking his social media.
“Our new employee is dangerous. She threatened to punch me.” Nancy bit her lower lip. She hoped Alden would shield her from Miyah.
“Observe her further. She’s a Christian. Treat her fairly.” Alden cleared his throat, knowing Nancy’s domineering nature.
“Let’s be honest,” Nancy acted like she owned the hotel, “do you like that farm girl?” She stood up and left.
Alden was always insensitive to Nancy’s feelings for him. Her parents were the first to move to make him CEO just to please their spoiled daughter, notwithstanding that the board had already favored him even before its meeting for his promotion.
Nancy stepped into the elevator and immediately checked the reception area tables to see if Miyah had cleaned them all.
“Miyah, have you cleaned all the tables already?”
Miyah smiled in her heart. “Yes, Ma’am. I ordered the janitors to clean them all.”
So angry, Nancy threw her personalized brass-plated desk name out, which cut the wall’s paint. It almost hit one employee. She raced to the CEO to make her second complaint against Miyah in twenty minutes.
Annoyed, Alden investigated the matter.
“Miss Nancy, tell me your side of the story.”
“Ask your favorite farm girl first.” Nancy couldn’t hide her jealousy.
Miyah’s brain began laughing. Was she jealous of me?
“She ordered me to wipe clean all the tables, but I refused. I told her the janitor did the cleaning.” Miyah stared for a second at the CEO, as if to tell him how irrational Nancy had become.
“It’s your time to explain your side, Nancy.”
“We’re part owners of this hotel. I don’t need to apologize to this farm girl.”
“I got your statement. Miyah, write and sign your statement so we have a black-and-white record of the incident.
“Nancy, I’ll give Miyah further orientation concerning our reception protocols.”
“No need, Sir, it’s my work.” She had a thunderous expression on her face as she ground her teeth.
The CEO stood up and said, “Miyah, submit your incident report. And Nancy, give the orientation but exclude table cleaning.” He left, and Miyah followed him.
But before she could have walked by the CEO’s side, Nancy overtook and blocked her and began flirting with Alden. The CEO turned his head, caught Miyah’s eyes, winked, and then smiled at her.
Miyah felt nervous at first but then convinced herself she had won the fight and that she would not step back an inch.
Alden couldn’t stop liking Miyah, from her love for the work as a server, to her humility in dealing with her fellow employees and the customers. Then her poor farm-girl status didn’t stop her from disobeying Nancy’s abusive orders. She needed her job badly but was not afraid to fight her boss, to fight for what she thought was right.
Miyah could be an excellent wife.
Evening came, and Miyah texted her mother.
After the Reception Orientation, Miyah bought a respectable makeup set and practiced using cosmetics regularly. With a light makeover, she appeared more attractive than Nancy.
Alden used to drop by the Reception Area without saying a word. The Reception Team suspected he would like to see Miyah before returning home.
Nancy, believing in her power in the Zweedrah hotel, planned to drug Alden before he got too close to Miyah.
Nancy perfectly set up everything: the room, the hidden cameras, the dinner, and other kinds of equipment that would help her achieve her goal of capturing the elusive Alden.
No one knows about Nancy’s plan, which was to make Alden sexually hyperactive and then invite him to her room in the hotel registered under her alias.
Miyah’s co-employee named Gaber Gutierrez also invited the former to have dinner at the same restaurant where Alden and Nancy were eating.
Before Nancy could have drugged Alden, the latter saw Miyah. He excused himself so he could join her and Gaber at their table.
It was quite impolite, but Alden was always uncomfortable with Nancy, who was always reminding him of her part ownership of the hotel.
To prevent Alden from conversing with Miyah, Nancy also joined them. But she failed to block him from her competitor, for Alden talked or cracked a joke with the girl he loved.
Alden persuaded Miyah to eat ice cream at Sugar Hill Creamery. Nancy overheard the conversation, so she secretly put the drug on Miya’s glass. But Alden saw it. When Nancy—already convinced of the success of her wicked attack—turned her attention to their co-employee, Gaber, Alden switched the glasses and signaled Miyah not to take her juice. Nancy then drank the drugged glass empty and acted horny for a brief while.
Before leaving the restaurant with Miyah, Alden said authoritatively to Gaber, “Take care of your groggy boss,” and they left.
Alden was 28, a few inches taller than Miyah. He was handsome and exceptional.
Miyah sensed the CEO liked her since her first day at the hotel. That’s why he agreed to a date at the same place Nancy dated Alden. This time, she was the one blocking Nancy, and she succeeded.
At the Sugar Hill Creamery…
“Miyah, can I ask you something? I hope you won’t be offended.” Alden spoke politely, leaving all his CEO masks at the hotel.
“What’s that little scar on your brow?”
“Ah, this one thing that had made me ugly? A long story, a fistfight in my high school days. Bullies in school, you know. Even in our office, we’ve got bullies everywhere.” She smiled dryly.
“So, you’re a fighter, boyish?” Alden seemed curious about whether she was a tomboy.
“Just a survival instinct developed in a fatherless family. I’m the eldest child of a poor farmer’s family. I live in a cave house.” Miyah sighed.
“Cave house? Do you need my help?” Alden could not believe it.
“No, sir, thank you. We’ve survived all these years without a man’s help.” She pretended she was confident financially. Two of her siblings were in college and one was in high school. She needed cash desperately!
“Aren’t you interested in my story?” Alden smiled.
“I am, of course,” she replied.
“I started as a server at the Zweedrah Hotel. Yes, that resume alone is loaded with a poverty story, too. But now I climbed up the corporate ladder and become a bigger shareholder of Zweedrah than the shares of Nancy’s family. Nancy is just plain moronic sometimes. She showed love to me, but I hated her arrogance.”
Miyah cut the conversation short before it became emotional.
“No problem. But before I drive you home, I’d want you to know something.” Alden didn’t blink, making Miyah uneasy.
“What’s that? Will you demote me to dishwashing?” Miyah laughed.
“No, far from it. For many years, I’d been frustrated with girls who despised my poverty. A few wanted to milk my financial success. So I worked hard and forgot about women for a while until I met you.” Alden was almost trembling like an awkward teenager.
The hard-to-get side of Miyah suddenly surfaced, revealing the one trait of a true Farushan girl. “Well, sir, it’s midnight,” she said.
“I’m telling the truth, Miyah. I love you, and I’m willing to resign as CEO to join you on your vast farm if you’ll only accept me. My dividend with the Zweedrah Hotel is enough for us to live comfortably beyond our retirement years.”
They locked eyes.
“You must be joking, sir. Let’s go,” Miyah said, then stood up.
Meanwhile, at the Zweedrah Hotel, Room 701, Nancy had already gone wild. She removed her clothes and forced Gaber to come to her. But Nancy called Gaber “Alden.”
“Not good,” Gaber whispered to himself and left the room as fast as a jumping cat. He locked the door and ran into the elevator.
Frustrated, Nancy wailed and broke the mirrors and glasses inside her five-star hotel suite. After experiencing mental relief, she wore her clothes back and her shades and then left the hotel quietly.
Alden was sipping his morning coffee in his office when a report came that a guest in Room 701 broke the mirrors and the glasses and left the place in a complete mess.
“Reception,” Alden alerted the Desk, “check Room 701. Our guest broke things there and then left scot-free. I need a thorough investigation.”
Nancy quivered. But she wanted the mess covered. So he went to CEO Alden.
Knock, knock, knock…
Nancy walked in with her eyes on the carpet. Her confidence just disappeared, mysteriously.
“Take your seat.” Alden seemed confused.
“About Room 701,” Nancy cried, still confused. “I saw you there last night. I was there inside because you drugged me, but then you ran away like a faggot.”
Alden dialed Reception: “I need Gaber right now.”
Knock, knock, knock…
Gaber bowed his head just like Nancy.
“You two, why are you bowing your heads? Look at me!” Alden suddenly became authoritative.
“What happened last night, Mr. Gaber, in Room 701?”
“Ma’am Nancy took drugs and dragged me in and called me ‘Alden,’ so I ran away to avoid trouble.”
“You’re a liar. I will kill you! Who are you to stay in my room?” Nancy yelled.
“More info, Gaber, from your side.”
“Well,” Gaber hesitated, “she undressed and invited me.”
Nancy threw her bag on Gaber’s face and broke his nose. She then left the room, rushing, leaving her things scattered on the floor.
After a few minutes, Alden received a text message.
Alden checked Room 701 to see how Nancy behaved last night. I was her target, but Miyah saved me.
Then another text message reached his inbox after one hour.
Miyah sent the message after traveling ten miles from the city.
She reached her home and checked her mom’s fever immediately. She administered the medications she had purchased from Zweedrah and prepared a meal to help her mother regain her strength.
“What happened, Mama?” Miyah curled her lips, as she tensed about her mom’s abnormal temperature.
“I just got so tired.”
“Why the extra work?”
“Tuition.” Her voice was weak.
“I promised you, mom, I’d never report to work again. We’ve got a vast tract of land that’s not yet developed. We could’ve been rich had we had the resources and technology.”
Miyah’s tears rolled down her cheeks, not because of the work on the farm awaiting her, but because she missed Alden. She didn’t realize she loved him too dearly until she was 40 miles away.
Half of Alden’s texts reached Miyah because Farush was a dead spot. But she didn’t reply to any of them. She was terrified at the thought of welcoming him into her cave house.
A week later, while Miyah was working on the farm, a Farushan girl informed her about a good-looking man searching for the Malloy residence. Miyah briefly had a rush of joy. But she wore torn-looking farm clothing. If the guy was Alden, she was unprepared to meet him. While thinking about changing her clothes, Alden suddenly appeared as he was just nearby, behind a tree.
“Sir, you surprised me,” Miyah said while pretending to rearrange her twisted turban.
“Nancy tendered her resignation the day you left the city.” Alden had no other way of relaxing the awkward situation.
“I knew it, Sir. The team texted me.” Miyah was still reeling from the shock of Alden’s unexpected visit.
“Please don’t call me ‘Sir’ again. I’ll return to the city ASAP so I can tender my resignation too.”
“What! What do you mean?” Miyah seemed baffled.
“I love you, Miyah, and I love your place, too,” Alden said. “Please accept me as one of your hired farmers.”
Miyah couldn’t help herself. Her tears flowed just like water. She thought at first that Alden would despise her because of her situation. Emotionally, she embraced Alden and kissed him. She forgot she smelt bad in her farm clothes.
But Alden loved her and kissed her too, as her embrace got tighter. He was comforted after much searching in the Farush village for the girl he loved.
Then Alden spoke to Miyah’s mom to inform her he would return to Farush in two days.
“What is your plan?” Miyah asked.
“I’ll help you,” Alden said.
“Meanwhile, I’ll transfer all my money to Farush’s nearest bank. Then, I would buy everything we needed here, like a car, furniture for the cave house, etc.”
Miyah’s tears didn’t stop. Her heart pounded with deep joy.
But two days later, Alden didn’t return. Then a week, and another week—there was no Alden!
Miyah received not a single text message from him.
Miyah’s mom consoled her daughter. “If it’s God’s will,” she said, “he’d be yours, he’d be yours. All we can do is pray for his return.”
Alden, meanwhile, got stuck with a case filed before the Board against him by Nancy, which was attempted rape. It was just nonsense, but the plan was to kick Alden out of the Zweedrah Hotel Corporation, so he couldn’t provide money to Miyah.
So Alden looked for Gaber, who went AWOL after learning that Miyah, Nancy, and the CEO had suddenly resigned almost at the same time.
The housekeeping team of the hotel, however, discovered a few surveillance cameras inside Room 701, which Nancy herself installed.
They presented videos to the board, and the truth surfaced that Gaber ran away and no one raped Nancy that night.
But after Alden’s investigation by the board, Nancy’s two brothers attacked him outside the hotel and stole his wallet, cellphone, and cards. It was Nancy’s crucial attempt at blocking Alden’s fall into Miyah’s arms.
Alden woke up in the hospital with no money and without a way of contacting Miyah. He clenched his teeth as he pondered the identities of his two masked attackers.
Miyah’s fears and anxieties about Alden’s whereabouts were too much to bear. But then Alden texted her.
Miyah knelt and prayed for God’s wisdom, as she could not accept her defeat by Nancy. She knew Alden loved her, and she loved him dearly, too. She must have had to find Alden at Zweedrah.
The guards at the Zweedrah Hotel’s main entrance blocked Miyah from entering by the order of Nancy, the hotel’s new CEO. Miyah knew nothing about Alden. She thought only the reception team could help her.
While considering her Plan B, Gaber got out of the hotel and saw Miyah arguing with the guards.
“Miyah, any problem?” Gaber asked.
“I’m looking for Alden. Any information about him?”
“He’s in the hospital.”
Miyah dashed to Alden’s hospital room and found him disfigured, and medical devices and machine cables were attached to his body. Since Alden was deep in sleep, she left the room to ask the nurses at the nurse’s station about him.
“He was comatose for two days without money or a watcher, and we don’t know who he is.”
“He’s Alden Haddir, former CEO and part-owner of the Zweedrah Hotel. I’m Miyah Malloy, his fiancee. I’ll take care of his financial obligations here. Please help him recover fast.”
In a little while, Alden woke up and forced his bruised lips to give Miyah his sweetest smile.
“You texted me to forget you. Why?”
“Thank you, my love. Now I know who wanted to kill me. Nancy, you’ll pay a heavy price.” Alden said quietly.
“What!” Her eyes widened.
“We’ll file a case against Nancy by using my alleged text messages on your cellphone as evidence. She texted you, not me, using my phone, which they had stolen.”
In two days, the police apprehended Nancy, together with her two brothers, and the mainstream and social media covered the story. After her parents bailed them out, their lawyers agreed to an amicable settlement and paid Alden millions of dollars.
The scandal has affected the Jones family. They were furious the Zweedrah Hotel Board had fired Nancy as CEO. They sold all of their shares, and Alden bought them quietly. As a result, he became the new owner of the Zweedrah Hotel.
Alden appointed Gaber as OIC of the hotel, as he planned to resume his work as CEO later.
“We’d removed Nancy. What’s our next move?” Miyah asked.
“Let’s go back to Farush and have our wedding there. Then come back here to run our hotel. You’ll head the reception team.”
Miyah was wild with joy. She kissed Alden and embraced him intimately, then he drove her to his apartment.
After Alden recovered his card, he purchased the things he needed for Miyah’s farm. He hired a huge cargo truck to transport everything to Farush.
But while Miyah was busy choosing her best wedding clothes at the mall where they did their shopping, two men grabbed her arms and ordered her to remain quiet if she wanted to live.
They sat her in a car and then blindfolded her.
While Alden was busy purchasing home appliances for the cave house, Miyah was already 20 kilometers away from Zweedrah City. He called and texted her, but received no reply. Confused, he ordered some hotel guards to help him gather information about Miyah’s probable location.
Then, he paid a few police officers to help him track down his beloved Miyah.
After a few minutes, they headed toward a vast ranch. At first, the guards attempted to stop the police and Alden, but they insisted that Miyah’s kidnappers keep her inside.
Through Alden’s cellphone tracking app, he found Miyah’s location inside a log cabin.
Miyah’s kidnappers used a cow whip to torture her. She screamed in agony for half an hour.
She heard a woman laughing and then saying, “This is what you get, farm girl, when you interfere with the things of the rich.”
The officers encircled the hut quietly. Using a megaphone, one officer said, “Release Miyah Malloy or we will force our way inside the cabin.”
“Who are you?” asked a female voice.
“We are police officers. You are under arrest for kidnapping.”
Two men suddenly began shooting in their direction, but the officers outnumbered them. Then, after a brief gunfight, Nancy came out with her gun pointing at Miyah’s head. “Drop your guns,” Nancy ordered.
While Alden pretended to start a peaceful negotiation with her, two officers crawled behind her and swiftly pinned her down to the ground.
One officer removed Miyah’s blindfold, while the other one moved to handcuff Nancy. But as soon as Miyah’s eyes were exposed, she landed her hardest punches on Nancy’s nose and mouth, causing the latter to bleed and her incisor tooth to fall to the ground. She went screaming for revenge for a minute, but she could not fight back. Miyah was about to throw her solid right kick when Alden stopped her and carried her to his car in his arms.
The Jones siblings were jailed again, and their parents would pay an enormous sum of money to Alden and Miyah again.
At the hospital, Miyah asked, “How did you find me?”
“Do you remember the foot bracelet I gave you? It’s a GPS tracking device.”
“What a high-tech love. Thank you.” She hugged him. “At last, I punched her nose and extracted her tooth without anesthesia.”
At the end of the month, after Alden first arrived at Farush, Miyah’s cave house had been well-lighted, already using solar power, complete with furniture, a fridge, and other home appliances only city dwellers could enjoy.
They got married at Farush and stayed there while they managed their Zweedrah Hotel online, with Gaber Gutierrez serving as the keyman.
In one Zoom meeting with Alden, Gaber reported to him about a homemade bomb found by the guards at the hotel’s parking lot.
Nancy’s a psycho. Alden stayed in Farush to avoid any potential harm from crazy Nancy.
Two years had passed by and the Malloy-Haddir Resort Hotel at Farush village had no lack of guests and visitors every day.
Miyah’s hilly land holds a vast water table from which their white-water creek originates. The Malloy farm became known for its state-of-the-art swimming pools, thanks to Alden’s ingenuity.
Alden had convinced the Zweedrah Hotel Board to construct a three-story hotel with 200 rooms at Miyah’s farm, with him as the CEO. The board just trusted Alden’s marketing genius and innovative skills so much that they happily supported his project, aside from his ownership of most of the hotel’s shares.
The assets of Malloy-Haddir Resort Hotel continued to grow, making them the most successful couple in the history not only of Farush but the entire Zweedrah province. They built a magnificent mansion by the creek where Miyah used to wash her clothes. Their cave house became the major attraction of the Malloy-Haddir tourist spot.
Miyah rewarded Alden with five children, who were all cared for by her loving mother and siblings. They lived together in their mansion house as the richest people in their village, never wearing their dirty farm clothes again.