Chapter 25: Quid pro quo
(A/N: helloooo! Mag-uupdate na ako today since aalis ako bukas. Hahaha sino pupunta sa Lucky China Town Mall? Andun si Sir Chief di ba? Tama ba ako? HAHA Sana maaya ko Lyce friends ko after kuhanan ng grades. Haha pls. :’)) anyway, ito na. Happy reading po! :)).
“Hello, anak?” Maya’s mother phoned her in the office that morning. Maya is bothered with Ricky. She just heard from Liza that the latter had just arrived yesterday from Cebu yet he didn’t call her. Liza also informed Maya that Richard is in the other company in Pasay attending some meetings. She tried calling on him but he never did accepted her calls.
She wanted to cry as negative thoughts are filling in her mind again. What if Richard met another woman? What if he realized that he doesn’t love her anymore? She is trying to stop her tears from falling by filling up her mind with positivity. ‘He is just busy with work’ was her mantra that day.
Good thing her mother called during lunch time so she can divert her attention to her mother and she could have a break from thinking about Richard.
“Hello, po Ma.” She responded trying to pretend that she is okay.
“Oh, kumakain ka na ba? Lunch break nyo na” her mother asked. She’s concerned about her daughter because it didn’t ate her breakfast earlier and told her that she will just eat in the office’s canteen.
“Ay, kakain pa lang po ako Ma. Bakit po pala kayo napatawag?” She lied. She had lost her appetite since this morning.
“Eh kasi yung kapatid ng tatay mo tumawag. Yung tita Pia mo na nasa Italy.
“Opo, si Tita. Bakit daw po?”
“Eh may available na work daw duon. Ang sabi sa’kin pag-applyin daw kita at sayang naman. Sabi ko sasabihin ko sa’yo. Malaki daw ang sweldo tapos dun ka na daw sa kanila tumira para menos sa renta.” Her mom informed her.
She wasn’t surprised at all, because after her graduation, she told her parents about her plan of working out of the country when an opportunity will be given to her. Her aunt who lives in Italy once told her that she will look a job for her and after few yrs, finally, her aunt had called.
If she’s in her old self, she would definitely scream and jump for it is her dream of working abroad and add to that, living there, too. Since she was a kid, she loved seeing pictures of different tourist spots abroad. Her dream is to live in any place in Europe or in America. And now, her dream will come true. Should she grab it? But why would she? Everything had changed. And her dream has already come true. Being with Richard is a dream come true for her and that is enough.
“Ah.. Ma..” She paused, unable to think on what else to say.
Sensing her daughter’s doubt, “Anak, di bale, pag-isipan mo na muna. Okay din naman yung trabaho mo dito tapos malapit ka pa sa’min ng tatay mo. Kung gusto mo, kausapin mo na muna si Ricky. Itanong mo sa kanya kung anong masasabi nya.” Her mother adviced.
That’s a good advice, she thought. She needs to talk to him anyway. She’s missing him like crazy! She cannot take it anymore, she made a decision. She needs to talk to him and see him at that very moment!
Ryan is sitting on the couch in the office of Richard drinking a cup of coffee prepared by Richard’s secretary there. He took a glance of his friend who is seated beside him and saw how devastated he looked like. He cough to caught his attention, but Richard remained staring at his mobile phone. Somewhat waiting for someone.
Richard immediately stared at him with his brows furrowed. “Opps! Sorry, ayaw mo nga pala magpatawag ng Richard or Chard or Chardie. Because only Alex can call you that.” He told him truthfully
“Shut up.” He replied somewhat annoyed
Ryan shook his head in disbelief. “Hey bro, it’s almost 2 years now. And Maya is there with you. Eh mukha ngang hinihintay mo sya tumawag. Pero kapag nababanggit si Alex, nakikita ko parin how much you miss her. You’re being unfair.” Finally, he had the courage to tell his friend on what he notice in his relationship with Maya. He thought that Maya could give his friend the same happiness that he had before, but Ryan was wrong. It seemed as though Richard is still living in the past, not able to move on with his life. He is still trapped in the past.
Richard remained mum. He, himself is confused. He is being unfair, he knows that. But he also can’t let Maya go. Call him selfish but he loves Maya, too. Just not as how much he loves Alex. Not at that moment.
“Bro, I’m being a friend here. Break up with her kung wala ka naman palang balak na ibigay kay Maya yung 100% ng puso mo. Kung si Alex pa rin talaga, then set Maya free. She deserves someone better. Kung hindi mo naman pala siya mahal edi-”
“No! I love her!” Richard’s voice roared in the room
Ryan couldn’t believe how his friend is acting. “Okay, sige. Pero mahal mo din si Alex. Okay lang naman yun bro eh. Hindi naman niya hinihiling na kalimutan mo yun. Habambuhay nasa puso mo si Lex. Pero sana iparamdam mo din kay Maya na importante sya at mahal mo sya. Kung mahal mo pala, ano bang problema?”
He sighed. He is so sure that he loves Maya. But the problem is that he cannot see himself settling down with her. “I.. I.. I just don’t think I can.. Marry Maya.”
A deafening silence ensued. Ryan shook his head frantically. “Bakit, gusto na ba nya kayo ikasal?”
“Hindi naman Ryan.. But I know dun din hahantong. I mean, that’s every girl’s dream, right? I love her, but my heart is not yet ready to give up Alex. I don’t know what’s holding me back.”
Ryan could feel that Richard is really hurting. “Brad wala na si Alex. Nandiyan si Maya.” He tapped his shoulder and said, “dapat brad, give and take sa isang relationship. Sabi nga sa law, Quid pro quo. Kung hindi mo kayang ibigay kay Maya yung gusto nya, let her go. Yun ang sagot. Mas mapapadali ang pag-iisip kung malayo kayo sa isa’t-isa. Mas marerealize mo lahat.”
Richard heaved a sigh. “Wag mong hanapin si Alex sa kanya, magkaiba sila bro.”
He is having a heavy heart. He no longer knows what is the right thing to do. Why everything should be as complicated as this? Actually, he is the only one who’s making everything complicated.
She is walking towards Richard’s office. His secretary had told Maya that he’s inside and is just talking to Ryan.
She is getting nearer. Her heart is very excited to see him again. Before slowly turning the knob, she run her fingers on her hair and checked herself. With Richard’s door slightly opened, she didn’t intend to overhear their conversation. Her heart fell. Tears started falling down her cheeks. It is confirmed. He doesn’t love her.
She ran out of the building immediately after hearing those words straight from his mouth. She is crying so hard inside the cab as those words continued to play inside her head. “I.. I.. I just don’t think I can.. Marry Maya.” Never did she imagined how words can hurt a person.
Truth hurts that Richard can’t see his future with her while Maya’s been dreaming about their future almost everyday.
With all of the efforts that she exerted in their relationship, still he didn’t appreciate those. “Ano pa bang kulang, Ricky?”
“Maya, I’m in Manila already. Let’s have dinner?”
“Baby, why are you not answering your phone?”
“Wala ka na daw sa office? Maaga ka umuwi?”
“May problema ba?”
“Where are you? I’ll fetch you.”
Those were all of the messages that Maya had received from Richard that same day. She is inside her room, crying her lungs out. She hates him! She doesn’t want to see him. She is hurting like hell.
There were 20 missed calls all from Richard. Somehow she knows that she should face him soon. He doesn’t deserve her tears nor her heart. And the reason on why he wants to talk, she’s sure he’ll break up with her, so why not break up with him first?
With trembling fingers, she started typing words to her phone. Encoding what she needs to say to him. It reached 6 pages yet she didn’t send it. She deleted her message and started typing shorter message this time.
Controlling her sobs, she made a decision. And she is sure this is the right decision that she’ll make.
“Not now. Let’s just talk some other time. I’ll see you.” She sent it to him and turned her phone off afterwards. The rest of the night were spent by her staring at the ceiling. Contemplating of what she should tell him soon. This decision of hers came in her head like a blink of an eye. Yet, she knows this will happen anytime soon. She should just make things easier for him.
“Sorry Alex if I took him away from you. You’re indeed very lucky. I’m sorry if hindi ko magawang ibalik ang bagay na hindi sa’kin. Promise, I will return it to him” she silently talked to Richard’s late wife. Her heart is still hurting but she knows this is the best way to set him free.
A week had passed. Maya asked for a leave in her office and were often visited by Richard in her home, however, she never faced him. She even changed her number. Maya’s mother would often ask her what’s wrong but couldn’t get any answer from the both of them.
Until this day came. She is waiting inside Richard’s living room. She didn’t inform him that she will come over in his house.
The notebook of Alex is inside Maya’s bag, waiting for the right moment to be given back. She no longer care if he will hate her because of that notebook. Maybe that is even better to finally close their relationship. Enough of those crying nights. This is goodbye.
Her head bowed down, it automatically lifted up when she heard footsteps coming from the staircase. She saw him staring at her. Their eyes locked yet Maya exerted all her effort to tear her eyes away from his gaze.
“Maya…” He finally said. She can see how sad his eyes were but that wouldn’t change Maya’s purpose that day. She is determined to end things between them.
“I missed you!” Richard engulfed her in a bear hug. Maya could hear his heavy breathing. Her eyes started welling up with different emotions bubbling up inside her. He is confusing her! She felt how happy he is the moment that he saw her. Still, that wouldn’t change her mind. She would still break up with him.
He stepped back in his arms length to face her. He found him crying which urge him to embrace her again. “Hey.. Why are you crying? And why are you ignoring me for days? I’m worried sick! Akala ko ayaw mo na akong makita.” He said almost in tears. “Did I do something wrong, baby?”
That’s it! He’s acting like he had not said those words! With all of her strength, she pushed him away. Richard stood few feet away from her. His eyes wide in shock.
“Oo.” She murmured.
“Ha? Anong Oo?” He asked her with confusion
“Oo, ayaw na kitang makita.” She said without even blinking.
It took a while before his mind had processed what she’s trying to say. “Y-y-you’re kidding, right?”
“Mukha ba akong nagbibiro?”
Richard’s heart fell. He never expected this day would come. He is used to seeing her sweet. He’s not ready for this. What the heck did he do for her to do this? “Why?” He had lost for words. His mind could only think of the possible up coming days without Maya in his life.
“Hindi mo alam?” She pursed her lips and forced a smile. “Okay, sige. Isang tanong lang Ricky!” She sniffed. Trying so hard to pull back her tears. She wanted to be strong in breaking up with him.
“Minsan ba, naisip mo din na.. Na.. Gusto mo akong makasama habambuhay?” Those words that pierced her heart for days finally came out. She’s been dying to confirm it again, even if it would hurt.
Richard stared back at her. Words failing to come out of his mouth. That is his issue in this relationship. He cannot give her marriage because his whole heart still belongs to Alex. Something is holding him back.
“I.. I..” He started but cannot continue. Days with her flashed in his mind. They’ve been happy together, why can’t they just settle as girlfriend-boyfriend for a moment while he’s trying to let go of Alex’s memories? How the heck did such thing appeared in her mind? He knew it. This issue will come out eventually. But why this early when he still hadn’t have any solution to that?
Maya wiped her tears and nodded. She perfectly understood what his silence meant. “It’s alright. I will make things easier for you Ricky.” She paused and fishes something inside her bag.
Her hand shaking, she handed him his wife’s notebook. Richard immediately recognized it and was surprised that all along it’s with Maya. He felt betrayed. “Nasa iyo ‘to? Gaano na katagal? How? Binasa mo?” Was Richard’s immediate question. Gone was his sadness about their coming break up. His reaction had changed. From that moment, Maya knew he is still very much in love with his and Alex’s memories together.
“Yes. I.. I’m sorry kung hindi ko agad sinoli. Nung una, nahiya lang ako kasi alam kong iisipin mong pakielamera ako. Pero hindi ko naman kasi alam na.. Na makikita kita ulit. Di ko naman alam kung kanino ibabalik yan. Pero nung gusto ko na syang ibalik sa’yo.. Narealize ko na.. baka pag binalik ko yan, bumalik ka na naman sa pagiging malungkot… Yung.. Katulad nung araw na nakita kitang… umiiyak sa train..”
“Yes. Dun mo naiwan yan. Ang lungkot mo nun. Balak ko naman talagang ibalik yan.. Pero nung nakita kitang masaya na.. Naisip kong baka bumalik ka sa dati pag naalala mo sya. Kapag nabalik yung bagay na makakapagpaalala sa kanya.” Tears started to fall from her cheeks once again. This time, she let it all out. She is sobbing.
“Tapos.. T-tapos.. N-nung na-naging tayo, sabi ko.. H-hindi kita papalungkutin kahit kailan. Gusto ko na palagi kang makitang nakangiti kasi deserve mo yun. Mahal kita kasi.. Yun yung sabi ng puso ko.”
“P-pero.. Mali pala ako,.. Kasi.. Siya pa din yung naaalala mo kahit na wala sa’yo yung notebook nya. Siya pa din yung mahal mo. Yung laman ng buo mong puso. Yung mas pipiliin mong makasama forever…hindi ko naman hinihiling na kalimutan mo sya. Hindi naman pwede yun eh.. Hindi ko din hinihiling na sana mas mahalin mo ako kasi hindi naman dapat sinusukat yung pag-ibig..kahit lang sana.. Sana.. Iparamdam mo, na mahalaga din ako s’yo.”
Richard is breathing heavily. Everything is taking toll on him. And he deserve it. Maya paused to gasp for some air. She waited for any response from Richard but he continued staring at her with misty eyes. That sullen face that she had once promise never to see again.
She sighed and wiped those tears that is making her eyes blurred. “Naiinggit ako Ricky.. Kasi kahit wala na sya.. Siya pa din eh.” Her lungs is having a hard time gasping for air. Her heart is slowly breaking. Richard keeps staring at the notebook that he’s holding now. Listening to everything that Maya is telling him.
“Hindi ko na kayang intindihin ka. Sabi ko dati, makahanap lang ako ng lalaking katulad nung kinekwento ni Alex sa notebook na yan, siguro… Siguro magiging.. Kasing saya nya ako.. Pero.. Pero mali na naman ako.. Kasi.. Kasi.. Sya lang yung.. Yung kaya mong bi-bigyan ng ganung happiness…” She cried even harder this time. Everything is slowly making sense to her.
“I have to let you go. Makikipag-hiwalay na ako Ricky. Hindi lang para sa’kin. I know it’s the best for us.” She said those words in tears. Her mind is sure about her decision, but her heart tells her to hang on. To keep on believing. But she refused to follow her heart this time. She needs the happiness that Richard couldn’t give her. It’s time.
She smiled at him before she slowly walk her way outside his house. Richard remained standing there, his feet were glued on the floor. Watching Maya walk away. He is letting her go. He is breaking, but at that moment, he is so fazed up. He doesn’t know what to do. He sat on the couch and covered his face with his hands. He cried so hard. He allowed her to go. It felt like he is slowly dying again with the pain that he is feeling.
Maybe, Maya’s right. This is what they need. It’s for the best. She needs all the love in the world and he cannot give his whole heart yet, because it still hadn’t fully mended when Alex died.
(A/N: thoughts, suggestions, reactions whatsoever feel free to comment. Haha if there are any errors, sorry di ko na binabasa ulit kasi. :’))
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