Second Chapters 1-9 Finale

Second

(A/N: Hi po. This is a quick write, next time na yung next part. (: )

It was a date, their nth date, she had lost count. He had taken her to a fancy Chinese restaurant. The place was filled with candles and soft music. She was blown away by the ambiance of the place and add to that, the man beside her is so dead gorgeous.

A song kept on playing as they sat on the table quietly eating beside each other. They steal glances with each other and a smile on their faces was shown whenever one caught the other. Right in the middle of the song, Richard asked Maya to dance in the middle of the restaurant joining other customers.

He held her like she was a gem, a precious stone. As the song ended, Richard leaned to kiss her. His lip touches hers. She breathes him in. She kisses her back with a kiss like a smile. Richard whispered right into her ears those three sweet words… ‘I love you’ it wasn’t the first time he told her that, but it felt like it was the first real I love you that she received from him.

She almost stumble as she kept on walking fast, doubling her steps. She wanted to go out of the airport as soon as she can. Pulling her luggage behind her, her eyes are searching for him. She halted as she heard her phone beeped. She fishes it out of her pocket and looked at the screen.

“Baby, I’m already here. I’m dying to see you. (:”

Her face brightens up as she reads his text. That is what she likes about him. He’d start her mornings off with sweet good morning’s text and end the day with another sweet message or a call from him. Her heart would leap with excitement whenever she would receive a text from him especially when they’re not seeing each other because of work. She misses him. Distance is what makes her heart long for him each passing day.

She walked few more steps before she saw him walking to meet her. She wanted to run and throw her arms around him, but she was struck with a wave of shyness to him and besides she is wearing her uniform and her heels will make her stumble.

So, Maya stood there and waited for Richard to come nearer.

“Hi” he mumbled as he reached her, giving her his heart melting smile and leaned to kiss her

“Hi” she answered back as she cuts the kiss, smiling

“I missed you, Maya” he said as he reached for her luggage and held her hand.

Her heart flopped and a smile plastered on her face while she answered back “Parang 1 week pa lang naman tayo hindi nagkikita ah, tsaka kausap kaya kita kagabi sa phone.”

“I know, but it’s not the same as being with you.” He held her hand tighter as they continued their way out of the airport. “I’m so happy you’re here.” He added as he smiled fully.

While inside the car, Maya kept quiet. She glance at him once in a while.

“Maya, Oo nga pala. I’ve thought of why we just buy you your own condo? Para hindi ka na din makitira tutal ayaw mo naman sa bahay ka na lang.” Richard told her while his eyes were focused on the road

“Ha?! Naku, wag na. Saka na lang pag nakapag-ipon na ako, mahal yun eh. Tsaka okay lang naman kay Emman. Mas mabuti nga yun di ba, may kasama ako.” She answered.

“Maya, sa tingin mo ba pagbabayarin kita?” He said with his eyebrow furrowed while he glanced at her

“Yun na nga eh. Alam ko naman na gusto mo na ikaw ang magbayad, e di mas lalo namang ayoko nun. Sir Chief, alam mo naman na ayokong may masabi yung ibang tao.” She knows too well that Richard wanted to treat her as his princess, or rather a queen. He wanted to give her everything but she can’t accept it, knowing that the kids doesn’t know yet and what others will say really mattered to her. She doesn’t want to ruin Richard’s reputation. She is over thinking, but she knows she had to think all the possibilities.

“Bakit ba lagi mo iniisip yung sasabihin ng iba?” He is starting to get annoyed

“Wag na muna natin pagtalunan ‘to, Oo nga pala, bukas na lang ako dadalaw sa inyo ha? Gabi na din kasi. Pagkahatid mo sa’kin umuwi ka na ha? Baka hanapin ka na din.” She changed the topic not wanting to argue coz she knows she will never win.

“It’s okay, I told them I have a late meeting.”

Late meeting. That is what Richard would always tell his kids whenever he’s out on a date with Maya. They have agreed not to tell the kids yet and just to enjoy each other’s company but, she felt her heart twitch. She feels that there is something wrong with their set up.

“Pero late na masyado. Alam ko pagod ka din sa work kanina.” She told him not wanting to make him know how she felt.

“Okay.” He finally agreed.
__

The next day, she went to the Lim’s mansion. Richard is at work when she went there. The household are all happy to see her again. She gave them their gifts and stayed for the rest of the day to bond with the kids. Before the sun sets, Maya bid goodbye to everyone and went back to Emman’s condo.

Comfortably seated on the couch, she suddenly stood up as she heard the door bell rang.

Richard was standing outside with groceries at hand. He gave her a smile and kissed her

“I called sa bahay kanina, maaga ka daw umuwi” he said as he went in

“Oo, parang kulang pa kasi yung tulog ko. Bakit nandito ka?” She followed him as he walk towards the kitchen

“Ayaw mo ba na nandito ako?” His eyebrows goes up and down, teasing her.

“Uy, hindi ah! Teka, kumain ka na ba?” She laughed as she wrapped her arm around his waist

“That’s why I’m here. Tara, let’s cook.” He started to get all the ingredients out of the grocery bag

Maya is busy cooking as Richard stayed beside her, hugging her from behind when he gets a chance to.

“Oh, akala ko ba magluluto TAYO?” She asked, raising her eyebrows emphasizing the last word.

“Oo nga.” He answered while his right arm is on her waist.

“Oo daw, eh ako lang naman yung nagluluto!” She laughed as she stirs the pot.

“Oh, I’m here beside you naman ah. I served as your inspiration while cooking. For sure masarap yang luto mo. Hurry up please. I’m starving” He teased her. She laughed and pinched his nose.

As they continued to fill the room with their sweetness, Richard’s phone started to ring.
“Sorry, I need to answer this.” He answered the phone while Maya stared at him.
“Oh, hello baby!” He said as his face light up. “Abby” he mouthed to Maya as if informing her who he is talking to.

She nodded and smiled at him.

“Ahm, baby kumain ka na. Daddy will go home late eh.” Maya watched him intently as he talks to his daughter.

“Pero kasi– okay.” He took a deep breath. “Sige baby, wag ka na malungkot. I’m on my way home.” He smiled as he ended the phone. Richard faced Maya as he puts his phone back on his pocket.

“Ahm.. Sorry, I need to go home.” He gave her an apologetic look

“Okay lang, ano ka ba. Si Abby yun. Magtatampo yun, sige na umuwi ka na. Mag-ingat ka ha.”

He nodded then kissed her. He stormed out of the condo leaving Maya behind.

She ate alone wandering, her mind full of thoughts.


“Maya, I’m sorry but I have to cancel our dinner. Got some problem at work. Maybe I’ll see you tom.”

She pouted after reading his text. She only have few more days before her next flight and they haven’t spent so much time together yet. She just replied “it’s okay” before heading to her room and decided to sleep instead. She doesn’t feel hungry anyway.

It was Friday night. She was seated on the couch, her head resting on Richard’s shoulder, their hands intertwined.

Maya stared at their connected hands somewhat studying it.

“Why? You’re studying it rather intently. Did I forget to wash my hand? Is it dirty?” He raised his eyebrows, teasing.

“Ha? Hindi.” Her cheeks heat up and dropped his hand.

“Then, what were you thinking? Penny for your thoughts?” He asked her as he grabbed her hand again

“Wala naman. Namiss ko lang yung ganito.” She rested her head again on his shoulder. He went straight to Maya after work and he’s with her for 15 minutes now.

He kissed her hair as he answered “same here.”

She smiled with contentment. “Ahm.. Nga pala Sir Chief, hindi ba tayo magbo-bonding?”

As she remembered her next flight, she was worried that they won’t have enough time left to be together and she was sad if she won’t be bringing memories with her while she will be gone again for a couple of weeks. They had agreed on this, that when Maya is on a vacation, she and Richard should spend at least a day or two together, so that Maya could bring happy memories with her while they’re apart.

“We are now, aren’t we?” He answered as he caress her hand

“Hindi, yung ano, yung buong araw magkasama kahit sa mall lang. Yung ganun.” She suggested.

“I am too busy these days eh. Pero, the kids and I will be going somewhere on Sunday. You should go with us. They will be glad if you’ll be with us.” Excitement was written all over his face as he told her.

“Okay.” Was all that she managed to say. She wanted to have a bonding time with him. Just the two of them, even just for a day. She knows that it might sound selfish but she’ll be gone again for weeks and all that she asks is that. Just that. She misses him so bad, well, she misses the kids, too. It’s just that, she doesn’t know how to react on things and what are the right feelings to feel knowing that it is the first time that she fell in love. Add to that, Richard seemed to forget what’s the occasion on Sunday. She frowned.

As Richard’s phone beeped, he stood up and bid his goodbye to Maya. Nikki needed him for something. Maya just nodded.

“Bye. Ingat ka ha. I love—” but he stormed his way out of the condo before Maya could finish her sentence. Without any goodnight, he left her.

She hates what she is feeling right now, she knows that what she feels is wrong. She has a selfless love but why does it feels like she changed?

She closed the door and took a deep breath. Ginusto mo naman ‘to di ba, Maya? She mumbled to herself.

It is the 27th of the month, Sunday. She is staring on her gift to Richard. She is smiling as she wanders on what Richard’s reaction will be. It is a watch, a gold colored Timex watch that she bought few weeks back in one of the countries that she was scheduled to.

It is six in the morning. She waited for Richard’s text message to her earlier as the clock hits 12am but to no avail. Before, Richard will not sleep yet until it is 12 am in the 27th of each month, he is always the first one to greet Maya but not today. Maya just thought that maybe Richard is just dead tired after work so he slept and forgot to text her. She doesn’t want to entertain negative thoughts. Not now, not on their special day.

She fixed her things for she remembered about Lim’s family outing. Yes, family. She still feels that she is not part of that although she knows that they love her very much but for her, there is still something missing. She’s not sure what it is or she just doesn’t want to know.

She reached the Lim’s mansion at 7 in the morning. She saw the kids having their breakfast with sad faces. When they saw her, they kissed her.

“Good morning baby! Good morning Luke and Nikki!” She greeted happily and the kids rewarded her with a reluctant smile.
“Oh! Bakit parang ang lungkot niyo?” She asked them

“Kasi ate Maya, dad said hindi na daw tuloy yung outing!!” Nikki said then pouted her lips

“Ang arte mo talaga Niks. Busy si dad eh. Tsaka sabi naman niya kakain tayo after natin dumaan kay mommy.” Luke told his sister, making his point.

Maya was sad because she won’t be able to bond with them but she’s curious as well on why they will visit their mom. It is not that this is new but they just don’t do it often.

“Well, sa bagay, it’s just that mas masaya sana if we’re on the beach celebrating mom and dad’s wedding anniversary di ba?…” Nikki suggested

‘Anniversary nila??’ Maya asked herself. Her hand tightened its grip on her bag handle somewhat protecting her gift to him.

“Ah..eh.. Si Sir Chief nasaan na pala?” Maya suddenly asked

“Ay. Nagbibihis na si Dad. After breakfast daw kasi aalis.” Luke answered as he continued eating his food.
“Ate Maya, umupo ka na. Kanina ka pa nakatayo. Kain na po” he added when he noticed that Maya is still standing.

She quietly took her seat next to Abby when she heard the footsteps of Richard.

“Good morning dad!!” The three greeted their father with a kiss

“Good morning Sir Chief” she smiled at him while Richard was surprised to see her.
“Ah. Akala ko kasi tuloy pa yung beach.” Maya answered when she sense that Richard was surprised by her prescence.

“Oh, yes. Sorry I forgot to tell you.” He told her as he took his seat.

“You should come with us na ate Maya.” Nikki told her

It is so sweet of Nikki to ask her to come. She just feels so important but, she doesn’t want to go. It is Richard’s special day. Well, it is also theirs but she respected the fact that this day is special to Richard and to his kids. It is a day worth remembering, his and Alex’s wedding day. It is alright if he forgot about their monthsary, they still have more months together anyway or this is just what Maya kept on telling herself. That it is just okay.

“Ay. Hindi, wag na. Naisip ko kasi na ngayon na lang ako dadaan sa Airways para kunin yung sched ko. Tsaka mag-aayos na din ako ng mga ipapadala ko kila Nanay.” She reasoned out

“Sige na po ate Maya.” Abby pleaded

“Baby, wag na natin pilitin si ate Maya okay? Maybe next time na lang.” Richard sweetly told Abby. So Abby nodded in response.

She doesn’t know why but Maya felt that Richard doesn’t want her to go with them.

“Maya, sumabay ka na lang sa’min. Ihahatid ka na muna namin sa Airways.” Richard told her without any sweetness in his voice. Well, she knows that they’re in front of the kids but still she is hoping that he’ll be sweeter even just a little bit.


When they reach the Airways, the kids bid goodbye to Maya.

“Ingat ka ate Maya!” The three waved at her

“Sige, enjoy kayo ha.” She stepped out of the car and waved at them as the car drove away from her.

She was deeply hurt. She doesn’t know if she should greet him first and remind him about today. She was so sure that he forgot about today well not on their Alex’s anniversary part but with their monthsary. Or rather, does he just want her to greet him first this time around?

She is now confused.

‘Sir Chief, pwede ba tayo mag-usap mamaya?’

She texted him before her mind could stop her from doing so. But after some minutes or even hours of waiting, he didn’t texted her back. Maybe he’s busy. She thought.

Maya kept herself busy. She still managed to prepare something for them to share hoping that he’ll come over to Emman’s condo after his day with his kids. She’s hoping that he’ll surprise her. Maya bought a cake and ice cream, she even cooked kare-kare for him.

The minutes are ticking away. She was seated on the couch thinking if she should text him again or call him instead but she decided to wait some more when the door suddenly opened. Her heart leaped with excitement only then she realized that Richard doesn’t have a key to Emman’s condo. She sighed in disappointment.

“Oh, Roomie birthday mo ba?” Emman asked her as he saw the food on the table

“Ha?.. Ah..eh.. Hindi” she answered while still sitting on the couch, her eyes following Emman’s every move.

Emman took his seat beside Maya.

“Eh bakit ang daming pagkain?” He is not yet done interrogating her.

“Twenty-seven ngayon.” Was all that she said

“Oo nga Roomie, alam ko..” He trailed off while Maya just stared blankly at nowhere.
“Oh my pink wall!! Monthsary niyo ni Sir Chief mo?” He asked, surprised, his hands covering his mouth.
“Oh, happy monthsary sa inyo! Teka, eh nasaan siya?”

Maya pouted and shrugged her shoulders. Emman tapped his friend’s arm.

“Tawagan mo na. Baka na-traffic lang di ba? Kaysa naman nagmumukmok ka diyan girl!”

She finally agreed and dialed Richard’s number. He answered on the 4th ring.

“Hello? Maya? Sorry I wasn’t able to contact you. Kakauwi lang din kasi namin. I was about to call you.” Richard answered

“Ahh.. Pwede bang sumaglit ka muna dito?” She asked, her voice filled with sweetness.

“Sorry, but I can’t. Naglalambing kasi yung mga bata they wanted us to watch our Wedding..” He realized he shouldn’t tell her that so he stopped. “I mean, well I’ll just visit you tomorrow, okay?” He continued.

She was now really hurt. Her heart felt like it beat its last.

“Paano kung ako naman yung maglambing sa’yo na pumunta ka ngayon? Kahit sandali lang naman.” Her voice is now shaking, she is stopping her tears from falling.

“Maya, don’t be like this.”

“Like what?” She is really pissed now. She felt that she is not really important to him. She is being selfish, yes she knows that but all her life, she loved everyone else more than herself. She is selfless and all she asks is to be given such love and importance that she deserves.

They hover for a second. Richard heaved a sigh.

“Daddy! Let’s watch na!” Maya heared Nikki shout on the other line.

“Sige, susunod na ako.” Richard shouted back.

“Maya, let’s just talk some other time, okay?”

She sighed in defeat. “Sige. Happy anniversary sa inyo.. Happy monthsary sa’tin.” Before Richard could say something, she hang up the phone and cried.

Emman who was beside her hugged Maya tight comforting her while Maya’s phone kept on ringing.

Maya turned her phone off when she saw that it’s Richard who’s calling her. Emman just stared at his friend.

“Emman, di ba mali din na nagagalit ako sa kanya?” She said sobbing in between words
“Kasi di ba tama naman na unahin nya sila? Tsaka dapat hindi ako nagseselos eh. Lalo na sa mga bata at kay Alex. Naiinis ako sa sarili ko!” She cried her lungs out.

“Wala naman mali sa nararamdaman mo Maya eh. Ganun talaga kasi nagmamahal ka. Normal lang na masaktan at magselos.” Emman told her while rubbing her back.

“Bakit ba kasi ako nagkakaganito? Tanggap ko naman dati na sila ang 1st priority nya eh. Mahal ko din naman yung pamilya niya. Pero kasi habang tumatagal, ang hirap pala. Palagi na lang ganito. Pakiramdam ko kasi, pangalawa lang ako. Kumbaga, number two ako pero wala namang number one. At parang forever na akong number two kasi forever ding number one sa puso niya si Alex. Ganun yung naramdaman ko nung naalala niya ang Wedding Anniversary nila pero yung monthsary namin hindi. Sobrang sakit pala Emman.” She cried and cried.

“Maya, hindi naman importante kung sino ang 1st priority eh. Ang importante mahal ka niya at mahalaga ka sa kanya. Intindihin mo na lang din siya.” He embraced Maya once more to somehow ease the pain that his friend is feeling.

Chapter 2

The room was dark and quiet. His kids are silently watching his and Alex’s wedding on the TV. But his mind is not on it, he couldn’t focus. He tried calling Maya after his conversation with her but she didn’t pick her phone up. Surely, she didn’t want to talk to him. He is mad at himself for forgetting their monthsary. It is the first time that he did, is it that such a huge crime that he committed?

“Oh My Gee!! You are so cute dad!” Nikki squealed at the kissing part of their dad and mom’s wedding.

“Ang ganda ni mommy!” Luke added while covering Abby’s eyes because of the kiss

“Yes she is.” Richard agreed. He is half listening to the kids as his mind continues to wander off.

“Yes, I know you’re mad at me. I’m sorry. Let’s talk tomorrow okay?” He sent that message to her when the video of their wedding ended and the children kissed him goodnight.

Maya on the other hand, finds it hard to sleep that night. Her phone keeps on ringing flashing her Ser Chief’s name on the screen. She hates him for making her feel this way. She is not even sure on why she is acting like that. He sent her a message asking for forgiveness. But for her, it is not enough.

She was deeply hurt. She is guilty of being jealous to the kids but somehow she knows that she’ll get over that, she loves the kids, too it is that Richard’s love for Alex that made her feel sad. She feels she is his number two. What is love doing to her? She is not like this before, but then you’ll never know what you can do and feel when you’re in love. Love may somehow change you.

She woke up 9 in the morning, her eyes were still red from crying last night. As her eyes landed on the table beside her bed, she saw a one long-stemmed tulip. She smiled on the thought that it was from Richard but it vanished quickly as she remembered what happened.

Standing up from her bed, she reached for her phone and saw a message from Richard.

“I was there kanina. May urgent meeting lang. Let’s talk later.”

She shook her head as if saying no. His message doesn’t have any sweetness in it. She pouted her lips as she places her phone back on top of the table.

“Roomie! Good morning! Oo nga pala, nandito kanina si Sir Richard mga 7am. Pero umalis na nung mga 8:15 ata.” He happily informed his friend.

“Ah.. Eh bakit daw?” She innocently asked

“Aysus. Drama! Malamang gusto ka makausap. Kumain ka na nga muna girl!” He told her as he prepares their breakfast

“Gusto makausap pero umalis agad.” She murmured as she took her seat.

“Eh girl, nagmamadali eh, may biglaang happening ata sa office niya.” He said, his right eyebrow raised

She kept quiet and started eating instead. While Emman stared at her.

“Oh ano na girl, nagtatampo ka pa din ba?”

“Ewan ko ba.”

“Aaah. Nagtatampo nga. Alam ko na. Samahan mo na lang ako sa mall!!” He excitedly said while Maya just nodded as she agrees.

Emman pulled Maya inside the cinema. He wanted her friend to think things over and to somehow understand her situation. He knows how hard it is for her especially that it is the first time that she fell in love and what’s different is that, the man that she fell in love with has his own priorities as well.

Surely, Emman knows that her friend will be able to cope up with these. She is very understanding and she loves everyone but now, she needed time to think.

“Mahal niya ako James.”

“Talaga? Pero mahal din niya yung trabaho niya, yung pamilya niya hindi lang ikaw! Ako, handa akong mahalin ka ng buong-buo!”

The character started to raise their voices. As the moviegoers were all hooked up, Emman saw his friend from the little light coming from the screen staring on the scene.

“Pero ako, hindi ko kaya! Hindi ko kayang magmahal ng iba. Siya lang.” The lead character started to sob and Maya, too started crying silently.

“Okay lang sa’kin yon Claire.. Mamahalin mo din ako paglipas ng panahon.”

“Ayoko. Siya pa din ang pipiliin ko.”

“Kahit na nasasaktan ka na?”

“Oo kahit na masakit, okay lang.”

“Damn! Ano ba naman yan Claire!! Bakit mo pa ipagpipilitan yung sarili mo sa taong hindi ka naman mahal kung may tao namang mahal na mahal ka na nandito palagi tuwing kailangan mo!”

“Kasi nga mahal ko siya!! At alam kong mahal din niya ako!” Maya nodded with this. Like she agrees with the girl from the movie.

“Really? He loves you? Okay, then tell me, Kung ikaw ang mahal, bakit hindi ikaw ang kasama?” And with that final sentence, the lead character was left quiet. She started to cry more. James, the other character hugged the girl and they stayed like that for a moment or so, who knows? Maya is no longer into the film. She was also strucked with the last words that she heard and it kept on running through her head.

Emman can sense this. As he glances at his friend again, he saw her wiping away her tears. This is not a good idea, he thought. All these time, he wanted to comfort his friend and for somehow divert her attention but he failed. He now blames himself for not picking an animated film instead.

“Where are you?”
Kailangan ko muna ng space.

“Ano bang nangyayari sa’yo?”
Hindi ko din alam, Sir Chief.

“We need to talk. Nasaan ka na ba? I told you that we will talk today di ba? I tried calling you.”
Ayoko pa. Huwag muna.

“Pick up, please.”

“Maya?!”

She saw messages from Richard and she answers them in her head. There are also a couple of missed calls from him as well when they went out of the cinema. She ignored all of them and didn’t dare to text or call him back. She somehow thinks that she is overreacting but it is not just because of him, forgetting their monthsary. It is something that bothers her. It is her place in his heart and his life.

“Hi. Maya dela Rosa (; I’ll be leaving soon, is it okay if we can catch up before I leave the country?”

The last message was from Capt. James. She really needed him now. So, she quickly dialed his number.

“Hello?”

“Hello, James? Nandito ako sa mall. Punta ka na lang….”

Chapter 3

The room was dark and the only light in the room was from the moon. Seated on one of the corners of the room, her head facing the ground, arms embracing her knees she cried so hard. She promised herself not to cry, but her eyes couldn’t hold her tears anymore. She is a jolly person, full of positive energy but this time, she was hurt. She was sure it wasn’t her fault but one of the passengers shouted at her, in front of everyone inside the plane, she stayed calm and tried to appease the passenger but things got worse. The passenger even told their head about what happened and even told lies. Add to that, the passenger was a VIP.

Their heads told her that everything is okay after they talked to the VIP but she was still bothered by the incident. It was also the first time it happened to her, she needed comfort, she needed Richard. But then she realized he can’t pick her up today because he is busy at work.

“Hello… Sir Chief…” She sob in between words

“Are you crying? What’s the problem?”

“Kailangan kita..please…”

“Why? Maya…. I’m sorry, I really can’t. Abby is not feeling well and I have a lot of things to do. Sorry, let’s just talk about this. Ano bang nangyari?” His voice is so soft and sweet so that Maya will understand

“Ahh, pakisabi kay Abby pagaling. Painumin mo ng gamot pero pakainin mo muna.” She wiped away her tears as she was concerned about her baby Abby forgetting that she needed care as well.

“Okay. Hey, anong problema?”

“Wala ito Sir Chief, mamaya okay na ako. Stressed lang sa work. Sige na bye.”

“Okay. I love you.” Then he hang up.

It was the first time she felt she was alone and one of those times that he can’t be beside her when she needed him. Surely, he is not hers alone. He was not made only for her.

The crowd are busy walking on the other side of the glass window of a fast food chain. Some are a picture of a perfect family having their family time together, some are couples walking hand-in-hand inside the mall with smile on their faces. The woman who’s also busy watching them smiled as she remembered someone..her Sir Chief. She misses him but she can’t put aside those things that worries her, so she just waited for James to come.

“Hi, need a company?” She was startled for she didn’t notice James coming. Her reminiscing of the past events was interrupted.

“Oh, upo ka James. Gutom ka na ba? Ano gusto mo? I-oorder kita.”

“Ako na. Upo ka lang muna.” And before Maya could argue, he left.

While waiting for James to come back, her phone suddenly rang which startled her and made her finger to accidentally press the answer button.

“Hello? Maya. Finally you answered your phone.” She heard Richard on the other line, his voice is full of coldness.

Maya remained quiet.

“Maya? Are you still there?” He raised his voice a little.

“Ha- ah. Oo.” She started to talk. She doesn’t want yet, she needed more time for herself.

“Look, I’m sorry. If this is all about our monthsary… I’m sorry for…” He was trying his best to say things smoothly but he was cut off by James’ voice.

“Maya, ito na yung food natin. Okay na ba yan sa’yo?” He asked her as he places the food on the table and it looks like he ordered everything that he could see.

“Maya?! Is that James?! Bakit kasama mo siya?!” Richard is now mad as he heard James’ voice. First, she doesn’t answer her phone and now she’s with James. He is starting to get pissed.

“Saka na tayo mag-usap.” Maya calmly told Richard and then she hang up.

“Si Richard ba yon?”

“Ah.. Oo.”

“Oookay. Parang alam ko na kung bakit ka pumayag makipagkita ngayon. Nag-away ba kayo?” He asked her pushing the question, his eyebrows rising

“Oo…”

“Sige. I have a lot of time. Tell me, what happened.”

She pursed her lips as she gather all the things that she will say. She needed someone to talk to. Someone who’ll listen and understand her. As she told him her side of the story, James remained quiet and listened attentively.

“So you mean, same date ang wedding anniversary nila and monthsary niyo?”

Maya nodded.

“And he forgot about your monthsary?”

Another nod from Maya.

“And your problem is?”

She took a deep breath and covered her face with her palms before facing James again.

“Gusto niya makipag-usap.”

“Oh! That’s good. What seems to be the problem with that?”

“Eh, ayoko nga kasi James.” She shook her head a couple of times

“Wait. Wait. Paano maaayos ang problema kung ayaw mo makipag-usap? Ano ba talaga ang issue bukod sa pagkalimot niya ng monthsary niyo? Coz I can sense there is something else.” James leaned closer to Maya while seated, his thumb brushing his chin.

“Ewan ko ba James. Parang kasi may nag-iba.”

“Sa’yo ba o sa kanya?”

“Pareho.” She mumbled “kasi parang mas sweet siya dati nung nagdedate pa lang kami. Tapos ako naman, naiinis, nagseselos sa mga taong hindi naman dapat pagselosan alam mo yun? Hindi naman ako ganito dati eh.”

Hearing this, James laughed his lungs out. He finds it cute and funny. Maya on the other hand was annoyed by this.

“James naman eh! Ano bang nakakatawa?!” She raised her voice a little as she gets irritated by his laugh.

“Sorry..haha. Well, ang cute lang kasi. Normal lang naman na magselos ka and you know kung sa tingin mo na nagbago siya, maybe iba lang yung mga nangyayari noon sa ngayon, maybe he’s just busier now than before. You see, madaming nagbabago pero hindi porket may nagbago, hind porket hindi na nagagawa ng taong mahal mo yung ginagawa niya dati eh hindi ka na importante.”

“Hindi eh, kasi bakit dati naman kahit busy siya gumagawa siya ng paraan.”

“Maya, Maya, Maya dela Rosa. Parang hindi advice ang kailangan mo parang naghahanap ka ng taong kakampi sa’yo. Well, you guys need to talk. Tell him everything that bothers you.”

She shook her head slightly as her mind started to wander again. Yes, he may be different, he is not as sweet as those guys in the movies or those guys he would see outside with their girl. But she knows that he loves her it might be a cliche but she knows that she is the problem here.

Walking slowly, her mind full of thoughts, she went back to Emman’s condo. James’ advice repeated in her mind, somehow James is right. Deep inside her heart she knows that he love her it’s just that she fell in love with a man that has a lot of responsibilities and he can’t love her the way that she loves him. Richard cannot give as much love as Maya could give. As they say, you should never ask someone to give back as much love as you give because like in buying things, change can never be much more than the payment.

Chapter 4

Should I give up or should I just keep on chasing pavements even if it leads nowhere, or would it be a waste even if I knew my place should I leave it there.

The house was full of laughter. The kids are happily sharing stories and laughing at it as they eat. He can hear them from his office, he didn’t eat with them. He told them that he is busy and will just eat later. Yes, he is really busy, busy thinking of her, his Maya. He rubbed his temples as he remembered calling her, he was glad that after a long and tiring day, she finally picked up. He knows that she is still mad and he is ready to explain his side, to say sorry and to ask her out for dinner just to make it up.

“Maya, ito na yung food natin. Okay na ba yan sa’yo?” But that voice kept on repeating in his head. So she’s with him and that made Richard angry. They are together and are they having a date? Friendly date or whatever, he doesn’t want his Maya hanging out with James especially that they are not okay. James might took advantage of the situation. He creased his forehead on the thought. He can’t take it anymore. He suddenly stood up and rushed out of the house. The kids was surprised to hear the door opened and their dad’s car headed out. They shrugged their shoulders thinking that it’s an emergency in his office and that he needed to be there this late at night.
___

“If he can’t appreciate your presence, make him appreciate your absence.” Maya remembered one of her co-trainees told her when she asked for an advice. She blinked a couple of times as an idea came in her head. They needed that, she knows that they needed- space.

She reached Emman’s unit, her mind still wandering. They needed to talk before she leaves and so she promised that they’ll talk tomorrow before her flight. So before entering the condo, she managed to text Richard first.

“Bukas na lang tayo mag-usap. Goodnight.”
She heaved a sigh as she opens the door and headed inside.

When she closed the door, she saw Emman talking to someone. The man’s back facing her. He is familiar, that built, that posture, she knows who it is, it’s Richard.

Emman saw her so he stood up. “Ay Sir Richard, ayan na po pala si Maya. Labas lang po muna ako, may bibilhin din kasi ako.” Richard just nodded as he turns to look at Maya, his heart leaped with excitement as he sees her again but a part of it still feels that jealousness as he remembered that she came home late tonight from a date with James. His heart tore apart.

“Uy girl, pinapasok ko na ha. Usap na kayo, kailangan nyo yan. Kalma ha.” Emman whispered to her as he passed on her on his way out of his condo.

When Maya looked back at Richard, he saw his scowling face. She was pissed on why he looks at her like that, she should be the one who is mad, right?

“Sabi ko naman bukas na tayo mag-usap di ba?” She started when she took a seat on the couch

“Why? Because you’re tired with your date?” Maya’s eyes widened when she heard that from him. His voice is rising.

“Anong date?!”

“You’re with James kanina di ba? Bakit sa akin ayaw mong makipag-usap?” He tried to calm his self.

She sighed and bit her lip before looking at him and answering his question. “Tinanong mo pa talaga ako kung bakit ayaw kitang makausap?”

He suddenly bowed his head and sat beside her. Maya moved a little away from him. “Okay, I am sorry that I forgot about our monthsary. I am just busy. That’s why I went here kanina, babawi ako.” He looked at her intently

“Ah, tapos umalis ka din agad. Buti pa yung anniversary nyo naalala mo” she said sarcastically, while staring blankly at no where.

“Maya…” He sighed. “Is that the real issue here?”

“Oo at hindi…”

“What??” He asked her, confusion written on his face

She wanted to tell him everything although she was scared to tell him all the things that scares and troubles her but she knows that it is the right time to do so.

“Oo kasi, nasaktan talaga ako dahil nalimutan mo yung special na araw natin pero hindi lang naman yun eh, madami pa. Madami pa akong bagay na naiisip.”

“Like what?” He is now more puzzled as he patiently waited for her reply.

She tilted her head as she continues to talk “Kasi.. Hindi ko alam pero pakiramdam ko may nagbago.. Sa ating dalawa. Dati naman palagi kang nandiyan pag kailangan kita kahit gaano ka ka-busy.”

Richard looked straight into her eyes. “I have a lot of things to do. Kailangan din ako ng trabaho ko, the kids also need me. Hindi naman pwedeng palagi akong nasa tabi mo. Di ba before ikaw pa nga yung nagsabi na hindi naman kailangan na palagi tayong magkita? You don’t know how I wanted to see you every single day. Look Maya, I know things are hard but it doesn’t mean that I don’t have time for you, hindi ibig sabihin nun na hindi ka importante. I love you and you know that.”

Tears started to fall from Maya’s eyes. She knows that he loves her, very much but she wanted more love. Is she being that selfish?

“Alam ko, so-rry. Pero dati naman hindi ako ganito. Pakiramdam ko sobrang nagbago din ako. Parang kasi, pag nakikita ko yung mga tao na nakakasalubong ko na yung taong mahal nila kasama nila, masaya sila, sobrang sweet, parang naiinggit ako. Di ba dapat hindi? Kasi di ba nandiyan ka naman? Pero kasi Sir Chief hindi ko na maramdaman eh.” She tried to stop from sobbing in between words.

“Maya..” He tried to hold her hand but she refused “okay, I’m sorry if I’m not as sweet as the others that you see outside or in the movies but I love you, isn’t that enough?”

“Pero ako kasi sobra kitang mahal. Ikaw lang, mali nga siguro na sa’yo lang umiikot yung mundo ko. Kaya kong gawin lahat para sa’yo pero bakit ikaw, parang hindi mo kayang mahalin ako the way that I do?”

“Maya, magkaiba tayo. All I know is that you are important to me. Things may be difficult, yes, it is complicated but true things are, Maya. And the love that we have is true.” He knows Maya won’t listen to him, but he should give it a try. They should be okay.

“Parang yung pagmamahal mo kay Alex? Tell me, kung nandito pa siya mamahalin mo kaya ako? Sabagay, kahit naman ngayon pakiramdam ko pangalawa pa din ako.”

Richard stood up. What is happening to his Maya? “Ano bang sinasabi mo? This is not getting anywhere, Maya. You are right let’s just talk tomorrow.”

But Maya is not done yet. “You still love her?”

He heaved a sigh. Answerless questions doesn’t need an answer but he knows that there is still an answer to this and if that’s what she wants to hear then he’ll say it. “Yes. I love her as much as I love my kids. Pero wala na siya, you are here.”

He wanted to make her realize that she shouldn’t get jealous of someone who is now part of his past and is only a memory but Maya took it on a wrong way.

“Ah. Kaya mo ako minahal kasi ako lang yung nandito?” Tears continued to roll on her face

“What??!” He shook his head in disbelief. “What’s happening to you?”

Silence filled the air as the question left unanswered. Richard broke the silence.

“Okay. I’ll give you time to think. I don’t know what’s wrong. You are not listening anymore. I have to go home. Just please, stop over thinking.” And with that, he left the condo.
___

It’s past 4am, she is looking at herself on the mirror for what seems to be like an eternity now. She is wearing her FA uniform ready for her flight. She will be away for a month or so, she still doesn’t know. Before, she would leave her country with a smile because the joy of remembering yesterday with Richard would light up her day. Those sweet moments with him, but now the pain is on remembering what happened yesterday. She’ll be leaving with a pain in her heart.

She never been afraid ever in her life but now, she is afraid of facing each day without him. They are not okay yet and she has to go. She needed time away, he is right she needed this. She never realized this day would come, that not every day she is happy and complete.

She took a deep breath as she fixed her hair again, pulled her luggage and went out of the condo. She will definitely miss him. Surely, being in love is not enough. You have to be ready to face all of the challenges if you really want to stay beside the person you truly love.

__

Chapter 5

I am a lonely flower.. No sweet smiles, no loving kisses, no sweet embraces, I am alone under the heat of the sun.
__

More than anything she wanted to hide, at least for a while. Just to keep a distance, a short break away from the things that hurts her but she couldn’t leave without saying goodbye, like a coward running away from the problems of her heart. She couldn’t leave without seeing Richard one more time.

She heard footsteps in the room and her heart started thumping in an out-of-control rhythm. She saw Richard pacing back and forth in the room holding a picture frame. Maya was outside just staring at him not wanting to be seen. She stared at him like she won’t be able to see him again. She looked at his face lovingly. All she wanted to do is to hug him right now but she knows she just can’t. Him telling her that he loves Alex as much as he loves the kids somehow hurt her. The fact that she can never be loved the same way pierced her heart.

Richard halted and stared at the picture frame he was holding. “I’m so sorry Alex…” He said as he gently rubbed the frame with his thumb. Maya, though she can’t see who is in the frame, knows too well that it was Alex. She now regrets on why she went there. ‘Is he sorry for loving me?’ That was what kept on repeating in Maya’s head. A tear fell from her eye as she turns around and went away from the house, away from her Sir Chief.

She patiently awaited the arrival of the good-bye to Richard as the airplane started to take off…
____
The sunlight barged in through the windows, the warmth touching her beautiful face. She shifted as she felt the heat of the sun. Still sleepy, she reached for her phone as she slowly opens her eyes. She started to check for her messages, one from Kute, and a few more from her co-FAs. She sighed as she didn’t find any messages from Richard, then a realization came into her head, she forgot that she changed her number and promised herself that she’ll stop thinking of him for a while but for the past 3 days out of the country because of work, she’s been like this- she still longed for him. She lazily sat up on her bed and looked at the clock on the bedside table. It is 9 in the morning in Japan. She rubbed her neck thinking what to do for a couple of hours before her flight later at night.

Her eyes catching the laptop on top of the table of her co-FA caught her attention. Its been a while since the last time she checked her e-mail. She asked permission to her friend to use the laptop and quickly sat down on the chair and opened her e-mail.

She wasn’t shocked as her expectations was met. There was a couple of e-mails from Richard. She smiled on the thought that he remembers her.

From: richardlimAviServices@gmail.com
Subject: where are you?!
September 12, 2014, 7:08am- Friday

Maya,
I know I’ve given you time to think but not days or months, okay? Where are you? You never answered my calls nor replied to my messages. I’m so worried!

Yours,
Sir Chief

That ‘yours’ thing made Maya’s heart flipped with joy. She feels giddy yet she hates on how someone who hurt you is also the only one who could make you smile again.

___

From: richardlimAviServices@gmail.com
Subject: we need to talk
September 12, 2014, 10:55pm- Friday

Maya,

I’ve waited the whole day but still you haven’t replied. Are you busy? Emman told me that you’re away in your International flight for a week or so. Why did you never told me that? Come on! I couldn’t even reach your phone. We needed to talk and you know that.

Richard

‘Hala Sir Chief sinabi ko sa’yo kung kailan ang next flight ko nung.. Bago tayo mag-monthsary. Kung sa bagay, yun nga nalimutan mo na eh yung flight ko pa kaya.’ She replied in her mind, she knows that he is now mad, the fact that he just addressed himself as Richard and well, he is not even sweet.
__

From: richardlimAviServices@gmail.com
Subject: why?
September 13, 2014, 9:12am- Saturday

Maya,

Why are you doing this to me? I’ve been thinking about you the whole day. When I wake up and before I sleep. I am so worried, I don’t know if you’re doing okay. I miss you, Maya. Please, just tell me where you are or just a hi and a simple message telling me that you’re okay would do.

Missing you,
Richard

She smiled as she finished reading this e-mail of his. He misses her and he is so worried! A part of her tells her that she just won their fight and that she should tell him that she misses him, too but the other part of her tells her that Richard needs to do something for her, she doesn’t know what and how but she won’t give up that easily.

From: richardlimAviServices@gmail.com
Subject: fine!
September 14, 2014, 11:47pm- Sunday

Maya,

Fine. If this is what you want, I will give you as much time as you needed. Just keep safe. I don’t know what else to say to you. Whatever bothers you, I want to know. Please, let me know.

Richard

She sighed. She just told her before she left all the things that bothers and hurts her. His time and love for her isn’t enough, that is what hurts her.

Face scrunched up, she shut down the laptop as she stood up and headed outside to go to a convenience store and find something to eat. Same old thrifty Maya.
___

“I’m so sorry Alex…” He heaved a sigh and paused for a while. He closes his eyes as he rubbed the picture frame with his thumb. He imagined his wife, smiling beautifully at him. He embraced her for a moment and continued what he was saying. “But I guess, I have to let you go. I don’t want Maya to feel that she isn’t loved. She deserve all the love in the world, forgive me. Don’t worry I will never forget you. I am so thankful that I met you and you are still part of me. Good-bye Alex, I love you.”
___

His eyebrows furrowed as he types another message for her in his laptop. He haven’t heard anything from her! He thought she wanted some time for herself but 3 days without her answering his phone calls? That is unacceptable. Dang! How he misses her.

A ring from his phone was heard. He hurriedly answered the phone without even looking who it was.

“Hello?” His lips crept up for a smile as he waited for the reply on the other line.

____

Chapter 6

The temperature inside the convenience store near her hotel is cold enough for her to shiver, she waited for her cup of noodles to cool down as she contemplated on her action 3 days ago. Was her leaving him without saying a word was the right thing to do? Was it just because she was so confused and mad as well that she chose to have a break and leave him? She was so sure that what she did was right before, until she saw his e-mails which made her guilty and made her miss him much more. Then those things that hurts her, her issues about their relationship once again came rushing in her head.

Her stomach growling, she winced those troubling thoughts and took the chopsticks and started eating instead.
___

“Hello?” His lips crept up for a smile as he waited for the reply on the other line.

Her, hearing Richard’s tone was happy to know that her boss was having a good day. “Ah, Sir Richard…”

“Liza?” Disappointment was written on his face and can be heard in his voice as he put his phone away from his ear to check his screen to make sure that it was really his secretary. He was expecting someone else. He sighed in frustration.

“Ah- Opo sir.” Liza was also confused of his boss’ sudden change of tone, he seemed disappointed.

“Why did you called?” He asked as he gain back his composure.

“Ah Sir, you have to go to Japan sa makalawa. Our possible client wanted to discuss something.”

“Discuss what? Do I really have to go there?”

“Yes sir. You really have to. Very important client po ito.”

He paused. Sure thing, he needed also a break. He needed this in order for him to lessen his worries about Maya.

“Fine. Just book me a flight. Thanks Liza.” Then he hung up the phone. He was tired of his work and no one could make him smile genuinely. Well, his kids could but he just felt that there is still something missing, he is not completely happy.
___

He ended a dinner meeting and was about to leave when he saw a very sweet couple seated near his table. He suddenly remembered Maya and their dinner dates.

The guy was really sweet as he leaned to kiss her girl on her cheek and pinched her nose publicly, the girl smiled lovingly at the guy. The guy scooped some ice cream as he spoon feed his girl which made the girl blush.

He shook his head with the sight. He is not like that, he doesn’t want to display too much affection in public. For him, it is not needed. A relationship is only for two people and not for the whole world to see. He wants privacy. He then remembered Maya saying that she envy other couples when she sees them outside. Am I really not that sweet? He asked himself as his mind continued to wander.
___

“Guys, I have to go to Japan and will be there for a few days. Luke, take good care of your sisters.”

“Sure dad.” Luke smiled at his dad

“Oh my gee! We’re gonna miss you. Don’t forget our pasalubong dad ha.” Nikki pouted

“Hay nako Niks, uwi lang pala gusto mo from dad eh.” Luke playfully told her sister

“Of course not Kuya!” She rolled her eyes on her brother, Luke just laughed.

“Don’t worry kids, of course I will have something for you when I get back. Just be good while I’m away.”

“Yes dad!” The kids answered their dad in chorus

“Daddy, take care po ah?” Abby sweetly said. He bend his knees in order to hug his younger child. “Of course baby.”

“Ah, daddy… Alam mo po ba Ate Maya is also out of the country! I miss her na nga po eh. Super dami daw niya flights.” Abby proudly told her dad

Richard nodded “uhm.. She called you? Where is she?” He asked

“Ay. Di ko po na-ask daddy, she called me po yesterday. She was tired po eh kaya sandali lang po kami nagtalk. Kinamusta nya lang po tayong lahat and just said that she was happy with her flights.” She smiled sweetly at her dad.

With that, Richard nodded again. Well, at least he now knows something about her and noted, Maya is okay and happy. Why didn’t she contacted him yet? He wanted to ask Abby to tell him if Maya would call her again and to ask Maya where is she but he can’t. The kids might wonder. He sighed, helpless with the current situation. He wanted to see her so bad. This was noticed by Luke.

“Okay ka lang po dad?” Luke asked, his hand patted Richard’s shoulder

“Oh, yes I am. Sige na it’s getting late. Matulog na kayo.”

The kids nodded and kissed their father goodnight.

Nikki and Abby went upstairs, Luke is on his way as well upstairs when his dad stopped him.

“Ahm..Luke.” Richard called his son.

“Yes dad?” Luke turned and looked at his dad’s somehow sad face. “May problema ba dad?” He asked again, he is not convinced earlier with his father’s answer.

“Ah, wala.. I was just..uhm.. I wanna ask something.” He stutter

“Sure dad, what’s that?”

He paused for a few seconds before finally blurting out his question.
“How sweet are you before with Joey?” He was at first hesitant but he needed someone to talk to. He was worried when he saw his son’s face, it seemed like he still didn’t want to open this up. “Ah.. Nevermind Luke, I was just–”

But Luke cut his dad off. “It’s okay dad. I was just surprised on why did you asked that. Anyway, what do you mean by how sweet am I?” Luke asked, his lips pursed, hands in his pocket.

“Well…” He started thinking on how to open the topic. “I mean, what are the things that you do that made Joey feel so special and loved? I’m just curious. Katulad ka din ba ng iba that are well, publicly displaying their affection towards the person that they love?” He said, stopping after few words.

He stared at his father, thinking on why was he asking that? Maybe dad is in love. He thought. “Minsan opo. Pero hindi naman sobra, dapat may limit. Ang girls kasi gusto yung sweet ka sa kanila yung hahawakan yung kamay nila na nakikita ng lahat kasi parang pinagmamalaki mo na girlfriend mo siya. Yung parang sa movies dad kinikilig kasi sila dun. Yung aakbayan mo sila, lalambingin. Pero with limits kumbaga respect should still be there.”

Richard nodded. So Maya wants him to be extra sweet?

“How about the term of endearment? Sa tingin mo necessary pa yun?” Richard asked with his brows furrowed. Luke can only stare at his dad wondering where is he coming from.

“I don’t think so naman dad but girls love that eh. Di ba? Don’t you and mom once had a term of endearment? That is sweet, right?”

Once again, Richard could only nod. Yes, he remembered those endearments but he thinks that such are only for young couples.

“Well yes, those endearments are for the young ones.” Richard answered after a few moments of silence.

Luke gave his dad a warm smile. “No dad, wala namang nagsasabing para lang sa younger generation yon di ba? As long as you guys love each other. Tsaka, I’m sure you still call mom sa term of endearment nyo”

“Thanks Luke.”

“Teka dad, bakit po ba?” Luke gave his dad a teasing look Richard could only smile and walk away.
____

The warmth from the sun slipped in through the blinds of his room. He pulled the cover above his head wanting to continue his dream. He is having a good sleep again. He is dreaming of Maya, every night since the day she left him. “Riiiiiiiiiiing!!” The alarm clock of his woke him up in his deep slumber.

“Darn alarm!” He almost throw the alarm as he turned it off and sat up from bed. He sighed as he remembered that he have to pack for his flight.

Lazily, he stood up from his bed and started packing. “Oh, Sir Chief magdala ka ng extra shirts. Okay lang kahit madami baka mamaya madumihan ka o mabasa ng pawis mabuti na yung madaming pamalit na damit.” He remembered his love reminded him as they talk on the phone before while he’s packing then for an out of town trip. So, he placed inside his luggage a couple more of extra shirts.

“Tsaka magdala ka ng tuwalya o bimpo. Buti yung may dala ka. Tska ano pa ba dapat mong dalhin? Hmm…” He smiled as he reminisced those days when she’s so caring. He misses her big time! He paused a while then he took his phone and sent an e-mail to Maya. He is not sure if she can read all of his messages but he is desperate, he doesn’t know how to reach her anymore. “I love you… I miss you.” Was the words that his e-mail for her has. He heaved a sigh before closing his bag and heading inside his bathroom.
____

“Hello po Sir?”

“Yes ate, hello there!” His cheerful voice was heard from the other line.

“Ahm.. May naghahanap po sa inyo dito sa ibaba.”

“Ha? Sino?” His eyebrows raised as he thought of who that might be.

“Si Mr. Lim po. May gusto lang daw pong sabihin.”

“Ha? Ah. Eh. O sige.” He was hesitant at first as he thinks of another lie he could tell him if he’ll ask about where Maya was again. Richard asked him about Maya for a hundred of times already but he couldn’t and won’t say anything.

The receptionist handed Richard the phone “Uhm, hello Emman.”

“Ay. Hello po Mr. Lim!” He happily answered

“Uhhhh…I was just wondering if may balita ka na kay Maya?” He asked hoping for an answer this time.

Emman knew that he’ll ask the same question again. “Aaaah…eh. Wala pa din po kasi ewan ko ba dun. Di nagpaparamdam baka busy po sa flights.” He was shaking, he have to lie.

“Well. Uhm. Okay then. Thanks.”

“Ok po.” He sighed a relief as Richard bought his lie

“But please, if Maya will be back within these coming days could you please tell me? I would be glad if you would. I just need to talk to her. I’ll be gone for a few days so I’ll appreciate if you would let me know anything about her.”

Emman is now guilty. He knows that Richard really loves Maya but he can’t let him know. His loyalty is still on Maya, anyway. “Sige po Mr. Lim.”

“Thank you.” And with that, Richard headed off to the airport to catch his flight.
____

Chapter 7

It was her routine to check her e-mail whenever she gets a chance to. She would wait for an e-mail from Richard every minute of the day. The mouse would be heard clicking every now and then as she keeps on refreshing the site.

The last e-mail that she received from him made her heart race. Those “I love you… I miss you” words were read by her for a million of times yet it didn’t fail to make her feel giddy. She misses him saying that to her. The last message was earlier today was what Richard sent her:

From: richardlimAviServices@gmail.com
Subject: let me make it up to you
September 17, 2014, 11:03am- Wednesday

My Maya,

I will make it up to you… As soon as you get back. Just please let me know. You know what? I got jealous when Abby told me that you called her. Are you still mad? Are you thinking of ending our relationship? Please, tell me that it never cross your mind.

Sir Chief

Her heart felt a twinge of pain. She never did thought of ending their relationship. Heck no! She loves him so much, she is just not herself these past few days.

Before she could change her mind, she quickly typed letters into words then words into a thought.

Usap na lang ulit tayo pagbalik ko within a week.

This is all that she managed to say and sent him to his e-mail before closing the laptop and going back to bed to catch some more sleep.
____

She barely slept. Sitting on top of her bed, her mind started to wander again. She hates being alone because it gives her a lot of time to think about Richard.

Staring at the picture frame beside Richard’s laptop for what seems like an eternity, her face showed a bitter sweet smile. She waited patiently for Richard in his office. He is still in a meeting when she arrived there so she stayed in his office for some minutes now. The frame displayed a picture of a perfect family. They had a big smile on their faces. She hates what she is feeling but she can’t stop her heart for feeling such.

She sighed. How she wished she was Richard’s first love. How she wished she was the mother of his kids, how she hoped she was born the same time as him. How she hoped she was his first and true love…

She shook her head as to make those thoughts disappear. Her eyes landed on Richard’s phone that was left on his table. Having second thoughts, she grab his phone and checked on it.

The photo gallery of Richard was filled with pictures of his kids. She smiled when her eyes saw Abby’s baby picture that was scanned and was put on his phone but that smile faded when she saw a picture of Richard and Alex when they were still on college. It was also scanned for the picture looked old. “She’s so pretty. Sobrang gwapo din ni Sir Chief. Bagay na bagay nga sila.” She said to herself. She immediately left the gallery when bitterness hit her hard. She just checked on his contacts wondering what her name on his contacts might be.

She passed through Abby, and passed through the B’s then to Luke when she saw a name that might be her and stopped to “Love, My life” she suddenly felt giddy.

Quickly, her thumb tapped on to this contact just to satisfy her heart and make sure that it was indeed her number on his phone.

As her eyes and mind started to read the numbers from 09 to the last digit, her heart suddenly sank. It wasn’t her! She doubled check it, even tripled but she was really sure it wasn’t hers! Her eyes furrowed thinking who that might be.

Is there someone else? But, she is sure that Richard is a one woman man. Maybe it was Nikki’s number. Yes, it might be. She tried calling the number on Richard’s phone to find out who it was but it cannot be reached. She was so curious, furious even. Thoughts came rushing into her head. She checked his phone again and it added to the pain that she is feeling to found her name on his contacts with her name. “Maya dela Rosa” her own name followed by other M’s then Nikki’s number. Surely, she loves her given name but not at this moment. Add to that, it wasn’t Nikki as well who has the name “Love, My Life”. Is he cheating on her? She will confront him as soon as he gets out of the board room! World war III is on!

She keeps on pacing back and forth in Richard’s office. “Nakikielam ka pa kasi Maya eh! Yan tuloy.” She scolded herself. She wanted to talk to him right now. She was in this situation when Richard came in.

“Oh, Maya. Kanina ka pa daw. Sorry I was in a meeting earlier. Hindi ka naman kasi nagsabi. I could’ve canceled my meeting, you know.” He smiled as he walks closer to her.

“Stop.” Her palm raised on the air.

Richard could only stare at her with curiousity in his face.

“May iba ba?” She blurted out after a few moments of silence.

“Ha? What do you mean?” He asked, his eyebrows raised.

“May iba… Ibang mahal…” She answered, her voice shaking as she stopped her tears from falling.

“Wha-aaat? Saan naman galing yan?” He said, his tone higher than his tone earlier.

She was about to answer when Richard’s phone suddenly rang.

“I’ll just get that.” He said as he walked to his table. When he reached his phone, the call ended leaving it as a missed call.

He checked his phone’s call logs only to find out the name that stayed on his phone for quite some time now. His lips pursed as he realized on why Maya is acting like that.

“Okay, Maya… Look-”

“So, tama nga ako?” She stated.

“No! I don’t have any other woman in my life.” He defended

“Wala daw! Eh ayan na nga eh. Nakalagay pa love tapos my life. Tapos walang ibang babae sa buhay mo?!” She said.

“Okay, fine. It was Alex’s number. I save it whenever I change my phone. It was saved here almost 2yrs ago when I changed my phone.” He answered, his voice is calm.

She fell silent. She was left with no words. A tear fell from her eyes. She stared blankly at him and then she felt his arms enveloping her. He embraced her tight. “Let’s not fight dahil lang dito, okay?” He told her, Maya could only nod but deep inside she was hurt. She was jealous. Why can’t she be his love and his life now? Why?

Another tear fell as she remembered that incident. Suddenly, her reminiscing was disturbed by a call.

“Hi Maya!”

“Hello. Konichiwa.” She answered back.

“Tara, lumabas tayo! Samahan mo ako mamili kaysa naman nagkukulong ka sa hotel room natin. Ang ganda pa naman dito di mo naeenjoy.” Her co-FA told her

“Okay, sige.” She answered quickly and prepared herself. She really doesn’t want to remember him for now and being alone would let her mind remember him and those scenes that she hates.
___

Darkness is now everywhere as the time made its way late at night. It was 8:10pm when he arrived in Japan, his phone on his ear as he gives instructions to his workers way back in the Philippines. Looking around, he saw his service and he immediately get in. He was dead tired, he wanted to reach his hotel right away and to get his needed sleep.

The lights were on as the city lights shine bright at night. Busy people walking beside the road chatting and laughing while passing through stores.

The traffic light hit red. He was just looking outside the car’s window observing the people. Suddenly, He felt his breathing speed, heard the sound of his heart pumping louder than was usual.

He saw a familiar figure. It was dark, his eyes may fool him but his heart tells him that it is really his love.

“Maya…” He muttered. Eyes widened in disbelief.

The car suddenly moved. His eyes followed the figure as the car move away.

“Wait!” He ordered the driver but he didn’t stop.

“I said wait! Stop! Teishi!!” There, the car pulled and the driver looked at him. Without saying anything, he left the car and ran towards the girl that he saw.

He ran as if his life depended on it. He bumped into people and doesn’t have any time to say sorry. He continued to run, then to walk doubling his steps as he came nearer.

He halted when he was just a few meters away from her. He wanted to walk nearer, he wanted to hug her right away but his knees are getting weak, his heart beating fast.

Before the lady could walk away, he managed to shout her name not as loud as a shout could get but enough for her to hear. “Maya!” A few seconds after, the lady stiffened. She is a few steps away but he knows that the lady is now shocked. Few beats of his heart was heard beating by him. He is now sure than ever that it was really her. His lips crept up a smile- a smile that was only reserved for her.

The lady wearing nothing extravagant at all, but still made his heart leap. Like a slow motion in his eyes, the lady turned around. A few steps away, staring at each other, people passing by beside them but still it felt like they were the only people living on earth.
____

Chapter 8

“Because life is all about learning how to love, God wants us to value relationships and make the effort to maintain them instead of discarding them whenever there is a rift, a hurt, or a conflict.” ~The Purpose Driven Life

A moment of silence, no one dared to talk as Richard walks closer, closing their gap. He wanted to run but he wanted to stare at her some more.

Few inches away, without hesitation, he pulled her closer to him and embraced her as if he just lost her for years. All of his longing and sadness vanished with just a tight embrace.

Maya savoured the moment but didn’t hugged him back. He missed him terribly but after a few seconds or so, she pulled away from him. Rain started to pour lightly at them. The crowd started to run as the drizzle turns into a rain, looking for somewhere to shelter them.

Maya did the same, but instead of looking somewhere else to go, she decided to just go back to her hotel room. She quickly turned away and walked as fast as she could. She doubled her steps not wanting to be caught by Richard but then, Richard wouldn’t let her leave him, not again.

As the rain started to pour harder now, Maya runs as fast as she can while Richard is following from behind. She goes right and then turns left as she tried to go back to the hotel.

“Maya, we can ride a cab. Malayo pa ba? Malakas na yung ulan!” Maya heard Richard shouting behind her as she continued to walk as fast as she can, getting soaked and wet now.

“Malapit na ako, at isa pa wala naman may sabing sundan mo ako!” Maya shouted back, not even looking back at him.

With that, Richard knows too well that he won’t win. So, he quietly followed Maya, trying his very best to catch up with her speed.

Finally, after a few minutes of running and letting the rain pour down on them, Maya entered a hotel and proceeded to the elevator. Before the elevator could close, Richard made his way inside, still soaking and shivering from the coldness because of the aircondition or Maya, he is not even sure.

There are four of them inside the elevator, the old man about 60’s first stepped out of the elevator but gave them a curious look before he could be out of sight. Another one, a girl about early 30’s an Asian girl on the left side of Richard who seemed to glance at him every now and then.

Maya noticed this and could only roll her eyes. Why do he have to be so freakin’ good looking even if he’s soaking wet? His effect to every girls makes her head pound. She couldn’t blame the girl, anyway.

“Are you Chinese?” The lady suddenly ask Richard, which annoyed Maya even more.

“Uhm..yes.” He answered politely and coughs after speaking.

“Oh my. You might get sick. Here, I have a hanky.” The lady hands over her hanky to Richard.

Richard, not wanting for the lady to feel bad accepted her hanky and wiped some droplets of rain on his face. “Thanks.” He said.

“You’re welcome. I’m Chinese as well, half actually.” She smiled so widely, or so Maya thought. She wanted to shout at them and to remind them that she is also there but she managed to stop her emotions.

When they reached the 23rd floor, Maya could only shout for joy inside her head as the lady stepped out, bid goodbye to Richard while giving him a seductive smile which made Maya want to punch the lady when Richard smiled back like he was flirting and made the lady blush before the elevator closes again.

Richard continued to wipe himself with the lady’s hanky. Few inches away from him, she could smell the perfume of the lady earlier on the hanky that she gave Richard. She could only frown.

As soon as the elevator opened on the 25th floor, she quickly stepped out of the elevator and made her way to her room.

As quick as she could, she fished her electronic card in her purse, entered the room and hurriedly pushed for the door to close but Richard was quick enough for his hand to halt the door from clicking close.

He slipped his arm then his whole body inside the room. Maya shoot daggers at him. He doesn’t know why, but he found it so adorable.

“Maya, please..” Was all he could say and then he gave her his sweetest smile.

In the aftermath of those moments when he’d called her in her given name but with the sweetest tone ever, and looked into her eyes as if he really and truly cared about her, all she knew that she would die inside if she would let him go.

So, she surrendered, turned around and headed to the bathroom. Richard is still shivering and coughing every now and then. The coldness of the room makes him shiver more.

There are two beds and a television, a small table and a couch on the side of the room. Surely, she’s staying here with someone, maybe her co-FA, he thought.

He stood standing beside the bed not wanting to seat anywhere for he might get it wet. He was really shaking now. After a few more minutes, Maya came ouf the bathroom wearing dry clothes now and then she handed him a towel.

“Oh, ayan. Parang di naman kasi nakatulong yung panyong inabot nung babae sa’yo kanina. Magpunas ka na muna. Mag-cr ka na din kung gusto mo. Teka, asan yung bag mo?” There was a hint of concern from her tone which she can no longer hide

“Uhm.. I left it sa car service kanina.” Great. Now, he will surely shiver all night long.

“Hay nako. Buti pa, gamitin mo na lang muna yung bathrobe ko sa cr tapos isampay mo na lang sa loob yung damit mo para matuyo.” She ordered him “I’ll ask my co-FA na lang to buy you shirt and shorts nasa mall naman siguro sila.”

“Uhm.. Maya..” He tried to talk to her, as he walks near her

“Op-op-oops! Wag kang lumapit. Amoy na amoy ko yung pabango nung babae kanina, di naman mabango yung perfume nya. Dumikit sa’yo, maligo ka nga!” She said, irritated.

“Wait. Are you jealous?” He asked teasingly.

“Asa ka Mr. Lim! Maligo ka na nga dun! Magkasakit ka pa nyan.” She blurted the last words with full of concern.

“Eh, I’m just thankful dun sa babae kanina kasi she noticed me shivering.” He said further

“So? Nakawala ba ng ginaw yung panyo?” She crossed her arms, Richard is enjoying this.

“Well, no. But at least she’s concerned. Pero you’re right mas lalo nga akong gininaw kasi mas lalo kang naging cold.” He teased

“Whatever! Magshower ka na nga lang!” She turned around from him

“Alright, Thanks baby.” He said like as if it was the normal thing ever before heading inside the bathroom, grinning. Maya, on the other hand rolled her eyes. She can feel her cheeks blushing and her heart pounding loud.

When he was done having his hot shower, he steps out of the bathroom and saw Maya talking to someone on the phone telling his sizes of shirt and shorts. When she saw him, she immediately hung up the phone.

“Gutom ka ba? May food pa diyan nagparoom service kasi ako kanina eh di ko din nakain. Pero kung ayaw mo, paparoom service na lang ako ulit.” She said, not looking at him.

“You didn’t eat yet?”

“Hindi.” She answered, busying herself as she prepares the food.

“Bakit hindi ka kumain?” He asked again

“Dapat kasi kakain kami sa labas ng mga co-FA ko papunta na ako sa kanila nung nakita mo ko.” She feels that somehow she doesn’t have to explain but she did anyway.

“Well then, let’s just order so that we could both eat.”

Maya just nodded in agreement as she could also feel her stomach growling.
___

Dinner was more quiet than usual. They didn’t even indulge in small talk as both are too busy trying to avoid each other’s eyes. The tension hanging on the air is so thick one would need a chainsaw to cut through it. The rain is still pouring hard outside the room, the coldness of the room is the same as the coldness of Maya to him. While Maya is toying her food, he would pause for a while and glance at her before swallowing his food.

“Ahm..Maya…can we talk?” He tried to start a conversation

“Ah.. Sobrang lakas ng ulan, kung gusto mo, dun ka na lang sa couch matulog baka maya-maya dadating na din yung kasama ko.” Obviously avoiding talking to him. Maya quickly stood up, gathered the dishes and made her way to the bathroom to prepare for bed
—–

Richard settled himself on the couch. He managed to call the hotel where he should have stayed and asked for his things. Good thing, his baggage was sent there by his car service, he’s a VIP anyway.

Maya gave him her extra pillow and made herself comfortable on her bed. She pulled her comforter on top of her head and after few seconds, she would peek to see if Richard was already sleeping and to her surprise, he is staring at her so she quickly pulled the covers up again. Richard could only laugh at this.

“What are you doing? Miss me?” He teased.

Putting down the covers from her head, she answered “kapal. I was just-”

“Peeking?”

“No!”

“Staring?”

“Of course, not!”

“Glancing at me?”

“Hindi nga!”

“Wait, uhm.. Surreptitiously gazing?”

“N-O, No.”

“Oh. Can’t get enough of me? Yeah, I guess that’s the right explanation to that.” He nodded and smiled

“Uuugghhh! Ewan ko sa’yo!!” Maya throw her other pillow at him, and pulled her covers up again. Richard laughed out loud. It has been days since the last time he laughed like this, Maya can really make him happy.

“Okay, fine. Hindi na. Good night Maya, sweet dreams, dream of me.”
—-

Richard woke to a dark bedroom, he was not comfortable sleeping on the couch add to that, he is just so happy knowing that Maya is just a few steps away from him which made it difficult for him to sleep. Apart from the fact that she must have gotten up to turn off the light, he noticed the blanket spreading warmth in his body. He smiled on the thought that Maya must have gave him that and made Richard conclude that she is still concerned to him.

Glancing out the glass door of the room’s veranda, he noticed the dark clouds and the rain that is still pouring since he sleep. He hoped that the rain would stop until he is safely asleep in his own bed in his hotel room. It has been a tiring day. The crammed sched he had last few days, plus the days when he cannot sleep because he often thinks about Maya.
But he is now happy to finally see Maya again. Though, he is still paying the price of his sleepless nights as he can feel the fatigue weighing him down.
All he wants to do right now is fall into bed and get a decent number of hours of sleep.
Yawn. He wanted to stay there, near Maya but he is not comfortable sleeping on the couch. It gives him muscle pains, he also would want to just sleep beside her but that might scare her away add to the fact that they are not yet okay. So, he decided to go and sleep to the hotel where he is supposed to be.

He sat up on the couch and saw Maya sleeping soundly. The other occupant of the other bed is not there, yet. Maybe it is because of the rain. It is 3 in the morning. He tucked her in, careful enough not to wake her up, kissed her forehead before he headed to the bathroom.
—–
The early morning sunlight cast a warm glow on the two occupants still languishing on the two beds in the room. Neither noticed that the rain had stopped.

One, still covered by the blanket hugging a pillow with a half smile on her lips as if she is in the middle of a very pleasant dream.

Fidgeting under her covers, she stirred as she heard few knocks on the door. Lazily, she sat up from her bed and inspected the room. She saw her co-FA sleeping now on the other bed, she must have got home late for she didn’t notice her going back. Her eyes suddenly stared on the couch. She stared at it for like an eternity not noticing the person outside her room knocking still.

It took sometime before she processed and asked where Richard went. Startled by the knocks from the door getting loud now, she stood up thinking that it must be him.

She checked herself first before she opened the door slowly. Her warm smile faded when the lady from the elevator last night welcomed her.

The lady’s eyes widened in shock as she expects someone else. “Ahm, good morning. I’ve checked the room for a couple of times and I know that I’m right. This is where Richard is staying, right?”

Maya’s eyebrows raised “actually, no.”

“But-”

“He’s not here.”

“Oh. Yeah, I think I remembered, you’re with him last night. Are you his cousin or something?” She asked

Half smiling, Maya answered “No. He’s MY BOYFRIEND.” Emphasizing the last two words.

“Oh. So that’s why I saw him entering this room.” The lady could only look at her from head to toe examining her.

Irritated with what the lady did, she wanted to dismiss her right away “Yes, so if you’ll excuse me I really need to do something. Good morning.” Maya smiled at her once more before she closed the door.

“Nakakainis! Ang aga-aga babae mo na agad Mr. Lim ang nakausap ko! Bakit ba kasi ang dami-dami kong kaagaw!” She said to herself and made her way back to her bed.

A note from the bed side table caught her eye. “Maya” it says.

She slowly opened the letter and read it. “Maya, let’s have dinner later. I’ll pick you up at 3pm after my meeting so we could catch up. See you later, I love you.
-Sir Chief”

She doesn’t know how to react. He doesn’t even really ask her to go out, it was more than an order that they’ll go out together. That would have awake the angry side of her but the I love you part made that fade away. “Haaaay Richard! Ayan ka na naman.”

Excited as she is, she stood up and looked inside the closet for she has few more hours left in choosing what to wear.

___

Chapter 9

Standing unobtrusively against his car door, undeniably handsome with his blue longsleeves and slacks, he could really melt every girl’s heart who sees him. His pair of chinky eyes hidden behind his sunglasses. He is simply, gorgeous.

Maya, seeing him like that made her heart flipped. He never fail to make her feel giddy even without doing anything.

As soon as Richard saw her, his lips crept up for a smile. He immediately approached her and kissed her on her cheek before opening the car door.

Silence followed not long after. Richard’s eyes were focused on the road while Maya quietly sat beside him, eyes fixed outside the window.

“Saan tayo pupunta?” She asked when she could no longer hold the silence.

“It’s a surprise. You’ll find out later.” He casted a glance at her before turning to the left of the road where their destination is.
~

“Wow.” She murmured completely in awe of the place as their car pulled in Sumida park.

More than the beautiful sight that the park has to offer, he is just so happy to be able to see Maya’s face with so much joy. “Mas maganda daw dito pag gabi, lights are lit up.” He informed her as he slowly went beside her holding her hand.

Maya didn’t bother to look at Richard, she is completely enjoying the place. The cherry blossom gives her so much joy, like a kid who first saw something pretty amazing. Lost in her own world, Maya walked in the park, enjoying the nature. The park stretches for a few hundred meters along both sides of Sumida River with views of the Tokyo Sky Tree. With few steps, she is so sure that she will enjoy the day.

For her, the place is as romantic as her mother and father’s romantic place. Well what makes it different for her is the cherry blossom and a number of people strolling. The place is really magical for her and maybe, it is because of her company. Yes, it sure is.

Every now and then, Maya would stop by and would look at the few food stands all over the place with Richard following her and spoiling her with anything. She’s like a little kid who is so curious with everything which amused Richard. Oh how he loves this woman.

They are now enjoying the Cherry blossom viewing from boats cruising the river. How Richard wanted so bad to pull Maya to a corner and to have a talk with her, but seeing her face light up, her eyes glistening with joy, he decided to just do that later and would let her enjoy a little longer before having their serious talk. For all he wanted is for his Maya to be happy.

The sun is slowly dipping, allowing the darkness to take over. They sat quietly beside each other still in awe with the beauty of the place.

Neither of them talk. They are both lost with words to say. He missed her terribly, while she missed this time with him and yet, it reminds herself that this is just a fairy tale and will end soon. She knows well that she can never have his whole heart and she finds it unfair, so unfair that her whole heart is his and yet, she can only have a piece of his heart in return.

“Maya-” he started. It’s now or never, he thought

Slowly, she shifted her gaze to the man beside her. She knew that this is inevitable no matter how long she tried to avoid it.

“I went to Emman’s condo whenever I get a chance because I-” his voice faltered and her heart ached for him.

“Hindi mo na kailangan pa sabihin. Di ko din naman gusto malaman.” She cut him off not wanting to hear what she knows. He kept on asking Emman her whereabouts for the past few days she’s happy that he did, though she doesn’t want to hear it coming from him because the wall that she just build between them might collapse.

“Maya… Please. I miss you a lot. You know how much I love you, right?”

A pause. She was not contemplating, she knows that he does really love her but a part of her wanted more time, or maybe, she’s just tired of everything.

So then she thought that this opening up was everything she’d wanted but why did she still feel like her heart was barely breathing?

“Hindi lang siguro talaga sapat yung mahal natin yung isa’t isa. Ako talaga siguro yung may mali sa ngayon. Kahit ako, hindi ko maintindihan yung sarili ko eh.” She glanced at him trying to read his reaction. “Gusto ko muna ng time.”

Face scrunched up, he answered trying to control his temper. “Are you breaking up on me? Hindi pa ba sapat yung time na nagkalayo tayo? You just don’t know how hard it is for me. I don’t know where you are, I don’t know how you’re doing!” He can no longer hide the pain that he is feeling as his voice rises an octave higher.

“Please. Wag muna ngayon.” She almost pleaded. How she wanted so bad to hug him right now and to tell him that everything’s okay. But she knows herself, and she is not herself when she is with him. She can no longer give that selfless love and she wanted her own self back. Maya would like to fix herself and make sure that she’ll be able to accept the consequences of loving him with open arms.

A deafening silence ensued between them. The darkness now covering the whole park and the trees are now glowing as the trees are lighted.

It would really be a romantic place for the two people who are in love, but not for them. As they could both feel the tension rising in the air together with the cold breeze that lashes on their faces.

“Don’t you take it as a sign? I don’t know where you are, I was supposed to just have a meeting here but then we saw each other.” Maya remained quiet. Yes, indeed, she as well is taking it as a sign.

Receiving no response, Richard could only sob. All of those days without hearing her voice, ending with sleepless nights without seeing her, he almost lose his sanity! And just when he thought that they will be back together, that everything will be fine. That love will prevail. But then, reality strikes, love is really not enough, sometimes. So, is this goodbye?

Reaching for both of her hands, he was shaking as he tried to control his sobs. “Before, I was brave, really brave enough to face everyday knowing that I was sharing with you the same agony of waiting for days to pass just for us to see each other again, but this past few days, I was so scared because I don’t know if you are also feeling what I am feeling. Once again, I feel so alone…”

She had to admit there was hurt bubbling up inside of her because it was clear just how much he was hurting. He never saw him cry like that. She never saw such sadness in his eyes, well, the last time was when she saw him looking at Alex’s photo. That really hurts.

His head bowed down, he stood up and took few steps away from her. His feet are heavy as he continued to walk away. He is somehow waiting for her to stop him from walking away, but that did not happen. And his heart crushed into pieces yet, again.
~~

“Maya?” The voice on the other line said.

“Oh, bakit Eds?” She replied trying to control her sobs. No matter how she tried not to be affected with what transpired earlier, she as well, is deeply wounded.

“Eh kasi, we are here sa isang bar, you know naman the boy FAs…”

“Ah. Oo nga daw, inaaya nga nila ako. Kaso wala kasi ako sa mood eh.”

“Yes, and I think I just know why.”
~~

The cab pulled in a not so enormous bar about 30 minutes away from their hotel. People are going in and out of it with some people drunk. As she walks in, she quickly scanned the place. A number of people are having fun. Dancing with the roar of music while some are seated, drinking.

“Maya!” Eds tapped her shoulder when she saw her. Leaning in, almost shouting near her ear to over power the sounds. “Andun! Let’s go.” Eds pointed in a corner and lead her the way.

It was dark and noisy inside the bar but her eyes quickly recognize the man seated with empty bottles on top of the table and a not-so-empty bottle of beer at hand. From a far, you’ll be able to say that he is indeed, inebriated.

How her heart twinge in pain. She never wanted him to be like that. Never.

Without hesitation, Maya, with the help of Eds and a boy FA, easily lead Richard inside the cab. The smell of the alcohol is spreading inside the taxi. Richard is leaning on Maya’s shoulder in the backseat murmuring words that can’t be understood.

She’d looked into his eyes, had run her fingers across the harsh lines of his face, and knew how much he needed her. She is so guilty right now. She had cause this hurt in him.

Maya tried to unbotton his polo just to lessen the warmth that is spreading all over his body. This is the first time that she saw him like that. His gorgeous face is burning red because of alcohol.

She is trying to unbutton the first one when his two hands took a grip on her wrists.

“Ddo–n’t.” He stammered, eyes still closed.

“Para lang mapreskuhan ka ng konti. Tatanggalin ko lang kahit tatlong butones.” She calmly explained to him.

“No. Ma-ya will ge-t ma-d. I al-re-ady ha-ve a girlf-rieeeend.” He murmured, his grip is starting to loose as sleep slowly catches him.

She was surprised to hear that from him. Her heart doubled up its beating. She is now accustomed to his smell as she leans in and kisses his forehead.

“I love you. Sorry.” It wasn’t what she planned to say, but she couldn’t hide from the truth of it.
~~

The sun was streaming into the windows as they held each other. He stirred and slowly opened his left eye. Blinking several times, he was astounded to see her beside him. All of the pain that he felt yesterday suddenly disappeared.

He moved closer, caressed her cheek with one of his hands.

Maya’s eyes flew open. She smiled at him ever lovingly, like all of those things that bugged her for days, all of those issues that she felt were thrown away.

His bright smile practically jumping through his lips. “Good morning!”

“Good morning. Sorry ha, dito na kita dinala sa room namin ni Eds. Di ko kasi alam kung saan yung hotel na pinagiistayan mo eh.” She said.

“Thank you. I love you.” Was all that he could say. Heck, how good it feels to be waking up beside your love.

“Hindi ba masakit yung ulo mo?” She asked, smile still plastered on her lips.

Oh how his head throbbed in pain, but he didn’t notice it right away. The love that flows in his heart is the most noticeable feeling to him right now. “Uhm.. Just a little.”

“Hangover yan, ikaw kasi ang dami mong ininom kagabi. Tara, baba tayo para makapagkape ka. Cr lang muna ako ha? Tulog pa naman si Eds.”

“Wait.” He pulled her making her fell on the bed again. “Please..let’s stay a few more minutes.” He pleaded. He doesn’t want this to end, not yet. No. Never.

“If this is just a dream, I don’t want to wake up. Not just yet. Let’s sleep some more please?”

Maya nodded and laid beside him again. Why did she ever wanted more? More time from him, more love from him? When you can never really measure someone’s love for you? She can never doubt his love for her, anyway. She knows too well that she is loved by this man.
~~

“Sorry.” Her eyes fixed on her own food as she started to talk.

Richard paused for a while as he wipes his mouth with a table napkin before answering her.

“For what?”

“Sa lahat.” She pouted.

“For not talking to me these past few days? For not telling me where you are? For not answering my calls, for-”

“Oo na! Lahat na nga eh.” She pouted once more which made Richard laugh.

He reached for her hand “It’s okay. Just please, don’t do this again. You just don’t know how hard it had been. I’m trying to keep myself busy but every time that my watch ticks, I am missing you more and ended up thinking of you.”

She nodded. How she thought that he’s not hurting the way that she is but again, she was wrong.

“Promise.” She raised her right hand in the air as a sign of a promise that she will definitely keep.

“And, uhm. By the way, I’ve arranged everything so that we can go back home together.” He added as he continued eating

“Ha? Teka, pero.. Kailan? Aalis na tayo?”

“I have a lot of things to do kasi pagbalik kaya we have to go back tomorrow.”

She almost choked. Tomorrow? Together? And then everything will go back to normal, he will be busy with work. But work is part of him that she should get used to and that she should love as well. Not just him, alone.

But she wanted to stay some more. Anyway, he will be busy for quite sometime and he couldn’t spend much of his time for her so she wanted to disagree. “Pero, since magiging busy ka, kasi nga di ba sabi mo, madami kang gagawin. Eh di tatapusin ko na muna yung flights ko. Kasi di ba, di din naman tayo makakapagspend ng time kagaya nito. Di ba mas okay na tapusin muna natin yung mga trabaho natin?” She explained lenghtly.

“Who said that I’ll be busy for work?”

“Ha? Eh kakasabi mo lang kaya!”

He grinned. “Nope. I can’t remember that I did. All I remember is that I said that madami akong gagawin.”

“Oh, yun nga! You’ll be busy.”

“But not with work.”

“Teka, eh saan naman?” She asked, confused.

“Sa’yo.” He smiled widely.

Her heart felt like it somersaulted. How this man knows how to melt her heart. She is now blushing profusely which made Richard chuckle. “Naman Sir Chief eh!”

“What? I am telling the truth here. Pagbalik natin, we’ll be busy. We’ll be telling the kids about us.”

“Ha?” She doesn’t saw it coming. Not just now. She is fearing that day.

Sensing her discomfort and fear, she calmly talked to her “Look at me, it will be okay. As long as we’re together. Walang iwanan okay? We need to tell them because not long after we should let them know our plans of getting married.”

“Ha? OUR plan?” She answered in shock

“Yes. Di ba I told you na magiging busy ako? After what happened. After you, totally ignoring me and all, I cannot let you go. Not again!” He smiled, proud with his whole idea.

“So, ganun na lang yun? Wala man lang proposal?”

“Is that necessary?”

“Oo naman no! How sure are you na gusto kitang pakasalan?” She crossed her arms, a serious look on her face

Now, Richard’s face had lost its color. He is hurt. Will she say no? “Why? A-ayaw mo ba akong pakasalan?”

Oh how she wanted to laugh at his reaction! She knows that this is what she wanted for a long time. For her heart never to doubt, she surely wanted this. But of course, every girl would love to have a romantic marriage proposal. She really hates how guys could sometimes be unromantic.

“Hmmm…”

“Maya!”

“Hahaha. I’ll save my answer sa marriage proposal mo. Basta ang gusto ko, maganda. Dapat mapa-Oo mo ako.” She stuck out her tongue at him which made the latter chuckle.

“I’ll make sure that you’ll say yes Mrs. Maya Lim!” He winked.

Fin.

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