This Time-Chapter 3: Plan B

Chapter 3: Plan B

“Hi. I am sorry dun sa nasabi ko last time.” Maya texted Richard that Tuesday morning. It actually took her some time to send that message. She still thinks that she doesn’t need to apologise, this is a free country and she could voice out what she wants to say.

But then, she’s been a good daughter all her life and that sudden incident make her look like a monster to everyone. Like, really is he that good for her mom to love him that much?

Different scenarios were eating her brain after she send the message. What if he would laugh at her? What if he thought that she likes him? She is overreacting, she knows but she can’t help it.

Focusing her attention to paperworks, Maya had finished her report which is due next month. She just reviewed her finish papers when suddenly her phone buzzed indicating a message.

She quickly took it from her bag and saw a message from Richard. After three hours he finally can spare her a few seconds to reply! Great.

‘Sorry? U don’t have to. But if u insist, dinner at 7pm will do. I’ll pick u up.’

What?! The nerve of him. She is already thinking of something to reply to him when her phone buzzed again.

‘Of course I want to know the progress of your plans. See u’ was his follow up text message.

Maya could have said no, but she needs someone she can share her plans with. Someone who knows the guy that much and can give her advice even though his advice were not always welcomed by her. Also, she knew she needed to talk to him and apologise personally. That would make her mama proud, she chuckled with her own thought.

‘Fine! Basta ikaw magbabayad’ she replied and shifted her attention back to her finished paper works.

‘Sure. See u.’
~~~

Richard arrived in their lobby at exactly seven in the evening. He was wearing an ordinary black V-neck sweater over a blue buttondown shirt and black slacks. It’s been a long day and yet he still looked striking. He is sitting on the couch while reading something on his phone.

Eds and Emman who were Maya’s officemates and friends teased her as soon as they saw such handsome man waiting for her.

“OMyyy!! Lookie lookie! Yan ba ang dahilan kung bakit di ka makakasama manuod ng movie ngayon girl?” Emman nudged her and stared at the guy seated on the couch.

Eds followed his eyes and was surprised to see such handsome man. “Hayyy! Kung ganyan din ang susundo sa’kin, I’m sorry girls di din ako makakasama sa night out natin.” Eds joined in.

“Tumigil nga kayo. He’s a friend of Simon, yung boyfriend ni Rafs. We will discuss something about the wedding since si Rafs and Simon were asking inputs from us. So, you know.” Maya explained and shrugged

“Oh, if I know, baka wedding plans nyo na ang iplano nyo ah.” Emman blocked her way and crossed his arms

“Shut up! Ano ba naman kayo. And please, mauna na kayo para malapitan ko na yun.” She rolled her eyes ignoring her friends’ stupid ideas

“Ha? Oh no! Ipapakilala mo kami sa kanya! Kung ayaw mo sa isang masarap na ulam, kami na lang ang kakain!” Emman giggled

“Sira talaga kayo. Sige na ipapakilala ko na kayo. But I don’t think he’s single.”

“Okay lang yan di kami selosa.” Eds and Emman pulled her and walked their way towards Richard.

“Ah.. Richard” Maya tapped him on his shoulder and smiled.

When Richard lifted his eyes from his phone, his lips curved up into a wonderful smile. “Hi, Maya.” He stood up “and.. Hi friends of Maya, I assume? I am Richard.” He offered Eds and Emman a handshake which the two giddily took.

“Hi din Richard! I am Eds and this is Emman. Yes, we are Maya’s friends. Well sige papahiram na muna namin siya sa’yo tonight.”

“Oh. Sorry, may lakad ba dapat kayo?”

“Ay hindi naman manunuod lang dapat ng sine pero nagkayayaan lang din kanina so talagang nauna ka sa schedule ni Mayabels kaya okay lang.” Emman animatedly said

“Oh, ok na. Sige na guys ingat kayo.” Maya gave her friends a piercing look when she noticed that the two weren’t still moving.

“Grabe ka naman friend pinapalayas mo na kami agad.” Emman pouts while Richard laughed

“Concerned ako kasi nga baka di kayo umabot sa Last full show.” Maya faked a smile and arched her eyebrow.

“Hmp! Fine. Sige na aalis na kami. Ingat kayo! Maya, ingatan mo si Richard ah?” Emman playfully caressed Richard’s arm which earned a chuckle from Richard and a slap from Maya.

“Sira ka talaga. Bye na.” She pushed the two away and wave her goodbye. “Sorry dun.” She apologized after the two were out of sight.

“Sorry sa nangyari last time or sa ngayon?” He smiled

She rolled her eyes “Sa lahat na lang, okay?”

“Don’t worry, kahit ano dun you don’t need to apologize.” He smirked and steered her to his car one hand on her lower back. She almost jolt with the feeling of his warm hand on her lower back but she didn’t remove it.

She could smell his perfume, faint and expensive inside his car. “So, saan tayo pupunta? At bakit mo naman naisipan alamin ang progress ng plano ko eh nung nakaraan nga halos-”

“Hey. Stop.” He glances at her and smiled “gusto ko lang din malaman kung ano na bang pinaggagagawa mo. Just that no reason at all. Also, I want to sing somewhere.” He starts the engine and drive his way out of the parking lot.

“Sa mall tayo? Dun sa karaoke booth? Stressed ka ba with work at gusto mong kumanta?” She asked. “And don’t expect me to sing! Nung nandun tayo hindi ako kumanta, I don’t sing.”

He smiled at her “Okay, ako na lang kakanta.”
~~~~

The car pulled out outside The Club 522, a small but expensive looking kind of bar in Makati. Richard steered her around the crowd smiling down on everyone they see. A tall muscular guy approached them and whispered something at Richard. He shook his head on something that the guy must have said while the other mouthed an ‘Oh’ afterwards as if understanding something.

Maya wasn’t aware that this is where Richard wanted to be that night. Some place where loud music were playing and alcoholic drinks were passed. It’s like a party she used to watch on Hollywood films.

“Akala ko ba gusto mong kumanta?” She shouted at him to overpower the blasting of music.

“I do.” He shouted back “is it okay if I will leave you for a while?”

“Ha? No!” She is shaking her head wildly. Oh no, he won’t leave her alone in such a place.

“I’ll be quick.” He waved his hand and left her sitting on the stool. The crowd ate him alive so Maya doesn’t know where he had gone.

After a few seconds or so, she starts to fidget. She doesn’t know what she’s doing there and why is she staying. Like crap, Richard obviously left her and he doesn’t want to talk about her plans. Really, can they even discuss something in such noisy place? Is this some sort of penance from what she had said to him? Crap.

Maya is ready to leave the place and just send Richard a text message when she saw him on the stage with the tall, muscular guy earlier. The loud music starts to faint as the muscular guy approched the mic. “Hi everyone!”

“Yoooohhh!” The crowd cheered wildly raising their glasses up in the air.

“I know, you are all excited to hear a friend of mine’s song for you. So sit back and relax for this will be the first and final song for the night of him. Please, let’s all welcome Chardie!!!”

The crowd cheered once more while a group of girls shouted a “we love you” chant. As if they’ve been waiting for this performance their whole freaking life.

Oh no, wait. So Richard will sing in public? And ‘Chardie, huh?’ Oh just wait Mr. Lim ’til you get back here. She laughs.

She plucked an ice cube from her glass and looked straight ahead as she watch Richard playing on the keyboard with some melody. Okay, sure she wasn’t aware he knew how to play the guitar but he knew as well how to play the girls, too. About a group of girls were seated near the stage with their glass of wines resting on the table. All were waiting and smiling as the gorgeous man on stage looked at her for a moment and smirked before he started singing.

Beautiful in White by Shane Filan was Richard’s choice of song that night. She almost choke when she remembered that was the song she once heard on the radio and fell in love with. On that moment, she promised that will be her song on her own wedding day.

Not sure if you know this
But when we first met
I got so nervous
I couldn’t speak

Darn. He had a pretty voice. She shifts on her seat somewhat uncomfortable with the fast beating of her heart. That must be because of the loud sound coming from the stereo.

Applause and loud cheers filled the room after his song. He take a bow and stood up, walking down the stage was hard because of the girls waiting for him. They were obviously flirting with him she rested her chin on her palm as she waited for ages before he finally made it back. The girls were still following him with their eyes and was disappointed when they saw him approach her.

“So.. How do you find my performance? Hindi ka man lang nagcheer.” He grinned while sitting in front of her. True enough she didn’t even clap her hand while he’s singing or even after his song because she was just staring at him amazed that she met a man near perfection.

“I don’t think you needed it. Madami na namang nagcheer, Chardie. Anyway, pinapunta mo ako dito for that?” She doesn’t really get it why they are there.

He laughed as she emphasized his nickname and pauses for a while as if thinking “No. I just needed a place to relax. Let’s get out of here and have our dinner.” He took her hand and pulled her out of the place. They ended up having a dinner in a restaurant. She ordered chicken wings and ate with delight.

“You’re really good in singing, huh. Madalas ka ba kumanta dun? Parang everybody knows you, especially the girls.” She said what she noticed earlier inside the bar.

“Not really, just sometimes when I feel like it. The owner is actually my friend so I can sing there if I want to or if I want to relax.”

“And you bring girls with you whenever you feel like singing?” She asked finally more convinced that he’s like Simon.

“Nope.” Was his one word reply. Maya let it pass, his tone was cold as if he doesn’t want to touch that topic.

“Uh.. By the way, if you wanna know, Simon and I talked the other day and he told me that the wedding was put off because of the church’s renovations. You are indeed clever.” He smirked and took a sip of his soda. The air changed once again and he is back being nice and cool.

“I told you.” She wiped her mouth “so you asked me out to congratulate me.” She guessed that this is his way of congratulating her.

“Nope. I asked you out because you want to apologize.” He shrugged

“Ha!” She forked another chicken wing ignoring what he said “Whatever.”

He tried not to laugh as she’s now on her fifth chicken wing. She’s so sexy yet she eats like a man. “So what are you up to now?” He forked a chicken wing but Maya slap his hand away.

“Hey. Order ko ‘to, umorder ka ng sa’yo.” She said

“Wh-what? Ako naman magbabayad ah. And seriously, kaya mong ubusin yan?” He asked, amused.

“Yes, I can. And I don’t care kung ikaw ang magbabayad, pasta inorder mo kaya yan ang kainin mo.” She forked the last three chicken wings and put it on her plate.

Richard chuckled “You know, you make me laugh.”

She snorted “ano ako, clown?”

“Okay, no. You’re not. So ano na nga?”

“Why are you so into my plans now?” She raised her eyebrows questioning him.

“Well, it worked so maybe I am impressed.” Not that what she’s been doing is that hard. The universe is just on her side at the moment.

“Or maybe you’re here to stop me.” She arched an eyebrow at him trying to insinuate. Maybe he will try to fish details of her plans and tell Simon everything. That will ruin her and her friendship with Rafaela. Game over.

“I won’t.” He quickly said. She studied him for a while and was quite convinced that he’s sincere.

“Why?” But still she probed, unconvinced that he’s on her side.

“Why what?”

“Why are you not stopping me? Like, you are Simon’s buddy.” She threw her hands up in the air stating the obvious.

He looked away for a nanosecond “Because as I’ve said, I don’t think he’s ready to settle down. But ayoko din siya pigilan sa gusto nyang gawin ’cause it’s his life.”

“Yun naman pala, then just leave it like that. Bakit mo pa gustong kausapin ako about my plans if number one, you won’t stop me and number two, you are not keen with the idea of him getting married? Seriously whose side are you?”

“I am not taking sides, Maya.” He smiled “I understand how much you love your bestfriend but she’s happy with Si, let her be. She’s stupidly in love that is obvious. That is-”

Maya holds her hand up to stop him. “She is not stupid, she’s blinded by Simon.” She defended her bestfriend. As though Simon gave Rafi a love potion or something.

“Fine, fine..” He sighs “Okay, I don’t want you to be upset. I am here to talk about your plans, remember?”

“Then zip your mouth shut and just listen!” She said quite annoyed.

Richard smirks, nodded and listened carefully.

“I still have few months to think of something. They are looking for a designer and Emman knows someone who studied in US pa. But I don’t really know if I can pay him for not doing his job. But I’ll try.”

“You will pay him to do exactly what?” He asks after finishing his pasta and resting his fork down.

“I still don’t know. Siguro pasikipin yung gown ni Rafi.” She shrugs still unsure. “Rafaela also wants mom’s flower shop to decorate her wedding day. Yun hindi ko na kayang sirain, my mom’s been very excited when she knew about it. Gusto na nga nya malaman agad ang venue so that she can plan already.”

He nodded and smiled as if he knew all along that she can’t do anything about it. “You know, for example, you are a guy and you’ve been secretly in love with your girl bestfriend then suddenly she’s going to marry her long time boyfriend and you wanted to stop that wedding.” He paused and grinned “what will you do? If you were a guy?”

She rolled her eyes again “I don’t know, you tell me. You’re a guy.”

“You can do this Ms. Clever dela Rosa.” He took a big gulp of his soda giving her more time to think.

“Uh, talk to her and tell her how I feel about her?” She arched an eyebrow. How the heck can she even know what guys would do if she’s a woman?

Richard shook his head, the smallest shake. “That will only break your friendship.”

“Eh ano nga? Sira din naman kasi yung guy, kung gusto nya yung kaibigan nya sana sinabi na lang nya agad.”

He laughed “But what if he’s scared na ayaw sa kanya ng kaibigan nya?”

“He’s such a chicken!” She raised a fork of chicken wing to emphasize the ‘chicken’ part of her sentence. “Just go straight to the point, Mr. Lim.”

He chuckled, he can’t believe how this woman can make him laugh with her silliness. “Okay, relax.” He raises his right hand. “What I am trying to say is to…” He trailed off exciting her.

“Is to freaking what?!” She exclaimed. Customers around them diverted their attention towards them from their food. Maya covered her mouth while Richard apologized for her.

“Hush, Ms. Dela Rosa. You’re ruining their night.” He chuckled again

“It’s your fault. Di pa kasi sabihin ang sasabihin!” She hissed and took a bite of her chicken wing.

He cleared his throat before speaking. “Fine. Ganito lang, give the guy a pretty girl to give his attention to.”

Maya’s eyes turned into tiny slits as if thinking and then it rounded after realizing his point. “Oh!! You’re a genius!” She squealed, she earned another stare from a few customers “opps, sorry po!” She quickly apologized.

“I know, I know.” He shrugs and took a sip of his soda again.

“Your ideas make me doubt your loyalty to your girlfriend.” She snorts

Richard pauses and look away. “You don’t know me.” His voice got distant and cold but she still heard him. He looked like a stranger to Maya. “As I told you, I know him and girls are his weakness.” She was taken aback by how he looked but then she can’t be deterred.

“Chill, Chardie.” She leans in and touched his cheek to get his attention back. “Now, about your plan… How will we do it? I mean, I am aware that your bestfriend is indeed a womanizer but still I need inputs.” She grinned and clapped a little, excited with the whole idea.

He forks some pasta and finished chewing and then put his fork down before looking at her. “I already gave you an idea. You go make the plans. I think you’re good at it.”

“Sungit! Okay, I will think of something. That will totally ruin the whole wedding!” She winked at him and finished her remaining chicken wings.
~~~~

The highway is pretty empty on this side of the road at this hour. The red glow of scattered taillights up ahead.

She leaned her head against the car’s window. There was music. She’s looking through the passenger seat window, arms crossed.

Maya noticed how quiet Richard had been after their talk. Okay, fine. Not that they are that close to be talking for hours though, but still she’s getting bored inside the car.

“Um.. May kilala ka bang girl na Simon likes?” She asks suddenly when she can no longer handle the silence.

He stopped his car at a red light while the stereo hummed. “Yeah, Rafi” he stated

“Besides Rafi, duh.” She rolled her eyes. The light turned green and Richard drove again.

“Basta maganda and sexy, I think.”

“You’re right. Yeah, most guys likes that.” She stated bitterly

“Why do I sense that there is some bitterness in that statement of yours?” Richard’s calm voice came back, like her statement is an interesting topic.

“You don’t know me!” She retorts which made Richard chuckle again but didn’t say anything. She’s really good at making him laugh.

Beep. Her phone alerted a text message.

“Been tryin’ to call u. Must be busy. ‘Nyway, Hi, yo beautiful! I was thinking of checking out ur friend’s recommended designer. I AM SO EXCITED!! Call me asap! Xoxo”

Was Rafi’s text message to her. She was puzzled on why she needed her attention that night. And when there is an ‘asap’ in her message which meant that it is some sort of an emergency.

“Suup?” Maya called Rafi and she pick up after three rings.

“I am just so excited!!”

“Yeah, I know..” She exhaled and looked out of the window

“But kasi,” she giggled “hush, baby! I am talking to Maya” Maya heard her friend whispering to someone probably beside her. And she is so sure that she’s with Simon. She suddenly wanted to throw up.

“Rafi, if you’re with your boyfriend and you guys are playing hide and seek, whatsoever. Pwede bang ibaba ko na itong phone dahil nakakahiya naman sa inyo.” She said quite annoyed. Richard casts a glance at her and smirked

“Sorry, sorry. Si Simon kasi eh.–”

Maya immediately cut her off. “Okay! I don’t care what he’s doing to you or whatever. Sabihin mo na lang kung bakit mo ako pinapatawag.” She wanted to curse. Why does she have such a friend? She massaged her temple while she waits for Rafi’s response.

“Sorry. Anyway, about the designer can you please give me a contact number? I wanted to talk na sana asap.”

“Is that all? You could have just texted me! Sana sinend ko na lang. Geez!” She half shouted.

“Ang sungit mo naman, okay maybe you’re that busy. Fine. Sorry. But hindi lang naman yun kasi yung sasabihin ko. Pero kung ayaw mo ako kausapin okay, I will hang up.” Rafi said quite pissed on her bestfriend. She’s about to hang up the phone when Maya faked a calm tone and talked to her.

“Okay, sorry. It’s just that.. Well, I am not having a good day.” Richard throw her a glance and frowned. Maya mouthed a ‘I am having a good time with you! Swear!’ which made Richard smile again revealing his dimple. Damn hot. “So, okay Rafs.. Go on. Ano bang sasabihin mo?”

Maya waited on her friend’s news. She’s been quiet on the other line for a few seconds but Maya can feel that Rafi’s been smiling from ear to ear excited with the news she’s about to share. “Well, we are getting married!!” Rafi exclaimed and giggled.

Maya rolled her eyes. As if she doesn’t know. The heck, the whole world knows! “Rafi, alam ko! Alam naming lahat. Hindi mo na kailangan pang paulit-ulitin. Hindi kami malilimutin, okay?” She said. Like really, she’s been dying to find a way to stop that wedding and she’s reminded of their wedding day like every second of the day for crying out loud!

“No! You don’t get it..” Rafi sighed “what I meant was, Simon talked to his high school buddy na lawyer and asked him if he can officiate our wedding two days from now. Actually dapat nga bukas na but hindi siya pwede nun so sa makalawa na lang.”

At first, Maya couldn’t believe what she’s hearing. Like this is a bad joke her bestfriend is throwing into her. But she knows Rafi well, and definitely she’s damn serious. “WHAT?” Shocked was an understatement.

“Ye-yes! Wait. Bakit parang you are not happy? Maya, ayaw mo pa din ba na-”

“Oh! No! I am very happy for you. Nagulat lang ako. Pero bakit? I thought we’ve talked about this? Tapos you’re so excited for the wedding di ba mas maganda yung church wedding? Ano ka ba.” Oh Maya’s ready to bump her bestfriend’s head into something hard just so she can realize things.

“I know, but after na lang ng civil wedding. We both wanted to be together agad and five months were just too long for us. And besides, I called you up just to inform you. Kasi gusto kita maging witness also, after you we will call Richard kayong dalawa sana gusto namin maging witness so I’ve gotta hang up already so we can talk to him.”

Maya is nursing her temple and she hadn’t notice that they stopped somewhere and Richard’s been eyeing her. “Oh he’s here with me. Kausapin mo na lang.” She said immediately without even thinking. Darn it! She saw Richard’s eyes rounded in surprise.

“What? OMG!! Are you guys dating?” Rafi excitedly said on the other line.

“Oh no we aren’t!” Maya quickly said.

“Put the phone on speaker!!” Rafi demanded and Maya relented. She mouthed a ‘sorry’ to Richard before putting her phone on speaker.

“Hi.” Richard greeted as if testing the water.

“Oh bro!!” They heard Simon’s voice as excited as Rafi. “Nasaan kayo? Don’t tell me nasa lugar na madilim?” He teased

“Yes.. I mean no! Of course not!” Richard quickly took what he had said back. Darn it, it is indeed dark on that side of the street where they are but that is not what Simon is trying to say.

“Ohhkay..” Simon and Rafi laughed on the other line which annoyed Maya more.

“Shut up, you two!!”

“Eh bakit kayo magkasama?” Rafi asked them curious on why they are together and happy with the developments of their relationship as she thought.

“We.. Maya and I we’re just..”

“We were.. Ano. Nagkasalubong kami sa Makati and he offered a ride home!” Maya finished his sentence

“Yeah. That’s it.” Richard quickly agreed, he is blushing. Good thing it is dark in there.

“Sige na, sabi nyo eh. Pero ayun nga guys, gusto namin kayo maging witness. We will just text you the other details basta sa makalawa na yun ha? Better be there.” Simon instructed oh good thing that these guys sometimes were self-centered.

“Okay, I will be there.” Richard said without having second thoughts.

“Thanks bro!”

“How about you my bestest friend in the whole world?” Rafi checked on Maya. She look at Richard while he nodded as if telling her to agree.

“Of course! I won’t miss it for the world!!” She tried to communicate happiness in those words.

“Thanks guys, enjoy the night!” The two giggled once more before hanging up.

She broke off with a sigh and brought her hands together in front of her face.

“Ano ba naman!!” She screams. “Help me look for a pretty girl!! Let’s go back to the club! Now!” Maya’s eyes darted back to Richard. He cracks up with the situation and her reaction but he quickly went silent when he saw how serious she was. Like a good boy to his master, he started the engine again and steered his car back to The Club 522 for some girl hunting.
~~~~~~~

Next Chapter:

“Maya!” Richard roared and before Rafi could jump out of excitement, Richard’s roar jolted her.

__

“Sorry na, please don’t be mad. They deserve to know.” She pleaded cutely then pouted.

~~~

hi guys. Thank you for the prayers and all. Comments and suggestions are welcome. Gusto ko lang din malaman kung may nagbabasa pa. Haha finally I had the courage to watch the final episode ng bcwmh 😀 happy reading. 🙂 🙂 🙂

This Time- Chapter 2: Step One

Chapter 2: Step One

Their steaks and salads arrived. Beautiful medium rare steaks. Richard ate with gusto. He was charming, but someone that you don’t just encounter everyday.

Maya called Richard three days after they first met. She said that it’s an emergency and that they have to meet as soon as possible. In amusement, Richard could only stifle a laugh and immediately cancelled some of his meetings for this day.

He then decided to meet her in a restaurant near his office which surprisingly was also near where Maya works.

He brought a forkful of steak to his mouth. They had remained quiet for the last minutes and the only words that has been exchanged were “hi”, “how are you”, and “good to see you again”. No one knows how to start a conversation with the other especially that they barely knew each other.

Maya is quiet in personal but could really talk too much on the telephone, he thought.

“You know what, we can start talking. Sabihin mo na kung tungkol saan itong emergency meeting na ‘to. I even cancelled some of my meetings for this.” He said, wiping his mouth with his napkin.

She set her knife and fork down on her plate and pressed her lips. “Ughh sorry.. I didn’t mean to..”

“Hey, come on. I can say na hindi ako pwede, but I did show up which means it’s really okay. The meeting is not that really important kaya I can cancel. Anyway, so ano na?” He voiced expressionlessly.

“OK.” She sighs “You will not believe this! Rafi called me up and talked more and more about her wedding plans. Like, yuck! I was just half listening with everything until she told me that I should help her in choosing the Church. So, I agreed and an idea pops in my head.”

Richard watched her face as it changes reactions. He took a sip of his wine “So.. What idea then?”

“We have this promise kasi noong High School, I reminded her of that tapos she went excited. Like, super natuwa siya. Kapag kasi ikakasal kami, gusto namin na sa Manila Cathedral kami ikasal so ayun.”

“Okay, and ano naman ngayon?”

Maya rolled her eyes at him when she realized that she should explain it further “Basically, gusto nila ikasal sa November. That is already settled. Pero, the church is still doing renovations! They still have like three months left for the renovation. See?”

“And how sure are you na hindi papakasal yung kaibigan mo kapag hindi dun yung simbahan at hindi rin November ang date?” His eyebrow shoots up

“Well, exactly I am her friend and I know her so well. At alam ko na hindi talaga siya magpapakasal kapag wala sa plano. She’s like that.” She shrugs her shoulder and smiled

Richard shakes his head “you are out of your mind. Simon can change her mind.”

Maya sighs “y-yeah he can… But wedding is very special lalo na sa mga babae I am sure I can still make her fix her decision.”

“How sure are you?”

“Hmm.. 95 percent! I should always leave a room for doubt especially with Rafaela. Anyway, check na yung church but if tama ka, and I can’t stop them from getting married sa isang simbahan, I can still ruin the reception.” She beamed

“Wow. You are really that determined.” He frowned

“Of course!” She thumbs in few words in her phone before looking back at Richard. “I just asked Rafs kung anong balak nila sa reception. So, check na yun. Next is honeymoon.” She scrunches up her nose in disgust.

“Lahat ba talaga pinag-uusapan nyo?”

“Yup. We’re that close. Anyway, gusto nya out of the country-”

“Ano, wag mong sabihing bibilhin mo lahat ng available seats?” He asked sarcastically

“Hindi no! Isipan mo nga kung anong magandang gawin natin dun?”

“The heck! Natin? Look, hindi ko nga alam kung bakit ako nandito eh. Maybe I just want to hear your plan. But really, I don’t know if you can do this. Just be happy for them it’s their life.”

“I can’t be happy kung alam kong sa huli, yung bestfriend ko na naman ang masasaktan!”

“You think your ideas will work?” Richard asked her quite annoyed.

Maya pondered this for a moment and stared off into space. “I guess so.” She pressed her temple and sighs

“What you should do is to sit tight and wait for the right moment. Don’t change anything by force. Walang mangyayaring maganda if you will force things to happen.”

“At anong gagawin ko? Hintayin na naman masaktan si Rafi? Then what?” She planted an elbow on the table.

“It’s her decision, Maya.”

She glared at him for a moment before she stood up. “Fine. Kung ayaw mo akong tulungan at kukunsintihin mo lang palagi yang kaibigan mo, sige. Pare-pareho talaga kayong mga lalaki.” She said with gritted teeth and left in a huff

“I am not-” he didn’t manage to complete his sentence as she watches her retreating back.
~~~~~

It’s a lovely Saturday afternoon another week of tiresome work had passed. Maya is helping her mother today with her flower shop in QC since one of her helpers was on leave. Maya happily accepted her mother’s request because she would also have a day off in Rafi’s wedding news.

‘I’m on duty. Text me later.’ She texted Rafi one last time before turning off her phone.

“Maya ‘nak, ikaw na muna bahala dito at bibili lang ako ng lunch natin dyan sa labas at hindi na ako nakapagluto kaninang umaga. Nandiyan naman sina Lino para tulungan ka sa mga customers.” Her mother said

Maya rarely helps in their business because most of the time when she was younger, she is studying hard and when she graduated, she’s been too busy with work especially when she is on her way to promotion. She used to work even on weekends.

One time, she did help in their flower shop and when a customer asked for a discount, she lowered down the price way too low. They didn’t earn a profit that day and her mother didn’t ask for her help anymore unless on special situations like this but she wasn’t left alone anymore. She prefer that she isn’t left alone in this shop especially when a guy enters the shop asking for a good bouquet she can suggest for her girl, she could throw up at that moment. She guessed, that the guy would have another girl in mind the next time he visited the shop. Darn love.

She is busy arranging a bouquet of red and white roses with the help of Cris, one of their helpers when suddenly, she heard the door opened.

“Good morning, sir! Kamusta po? Tagal nyong hindi nakabalik ah.” Lino greeted the customer as if he had known the guy for years. Maya’s attention remained on the flowers, not even having a slightest urge to look up.

“Oh sir, teka lang po ah, malapit na matapos ito.” Cris joined in. Maya knew then that the flowers they’ve been arranging was this guy’s order so she focused some more so that this can be done. She knew by then that the guy’s eyes were fixed on her direction because of the flowers.

“No problem. I’ve been away kasi for days kaya hindi ako nakabalik dito agad.” Maya quickly stopped in wrapping the flowers when she heard the familiar voice of their customer. She didn’t even dare look up. She knows that voice, it’s.. Darn him! Why is he here? She can still feel his eyes fixed on her direction.

“Where is ‘Nay Tere?” He asked, what the? And he also addresses her mother as ‘nay? Wow. That close huh?

Finally, with all her gathered strength, Maya lifted her eyes and met his stare. “Wala si Mommy, lumabas bumili ng makakain.” She answered him coldly.

“Ah, Sir Richard, si ma’am Maya po, anak ni ma’am Tere.” Lino introduced the two smiling.

“Oh, finally you talked, Maya. Nice to see you again. Hindi ko alam na anak ka pala ni ‘nay Tere.” He said in a way like as if they’ve been friends. She can sense that Lino and Cris were now curious on why they knew each other.

“Ano namang ginagawa mo dito?”

“Ahh.. Let me think.” He pauses and tapped a finger on his chin. “Buying flowers?” He grinned

Maya rolled her eyes. “Yeah whatever. Para ba sa bago mong babae? I am so sure since mukhang matagal ka na naming customer, na madami kang babae ang binibigyan ng bulaklak.” She crossed her arms but they didn’t notice that Teresita already entered the shop and had heard what her daughter had said.

“Maya! Ano ka ba!” Maya was startled with her mother’s voice. All of them stared at her as she walks closer to them. “Nako, Chard, pasensya ka na sa anak ko ah? Bitter ata sa pag-ibig.” She smiled at him while Richard chuckled. How dare him.

“Ma!” She roared why the heck would she say that? OK, she may be unlucky when it comes to boys but why did she even say such a thing? She is her daughter for the love of heavens!

Teresita gave her a piercing look before shifting her gaze back at Richard. “Ay, yung order mo pala. Cris, akin na nga yan at nakakahiya naman kay Chard at baka hinihintay na ito dun.” Cris quickly wrapped the flowers while Maya remained standing on the side of the shop. Lino thumbs in the price on the cash register while Richard handed him the money.

“OK lang naman po, ‘Nay Tere. I am sure she won’t mind if malelate ng konti yung pagdating ng bulaklak.” He said sadly. Maya wondered why his voice changed a bit.

“Ay nako, pero nung araw na nasa business trip ka, hindi naman nalelate yung pagdedeliver namin duon sa bahay niya. Wag ka mag-alala.” Tere taps his shoulder

“Maya, mag-sorry ka kay Richard sa mga sinabi mo kanina. Bakit ba kailangan mong sabihin yun sa tao eh hindi mo naman siya kilala.” Her mother’s loving eyes turned icy when she looked at her. Is she adopted and Richard is her real child? What the heck.

“Ah, ‘nay it’s okay. I am sure Maya doesn’t mean to say those things. And actually, we knew each other medyo hindi lang kami close.”

“Oh? Talaga? Eh paano naman kayo nagkakilala?”

“Ahh.. May kaibigan po ako na kilala niya. Anyway, ‘Nay I should go. Bukas na lang ulit and thank you.” He kissed her forehead and waved his hand towards Lino, Cris and Maya’s side before exiting the shop.

Maya was then left wandering.
~~~~

“You’ve gotta be kidding me?” Rafi giggled on the other line after Maya narrated what happened in the flower shop. “This must be fate!” She giggled some more

Maya snorts “shut up, you!”

“Eh ikaw kasi, why say nasty things? Bakit ba parang galit na galit ka dun sa tao? Like, hello Maya pangalawang beses pa lang kayo nagkikita.”

She bit her lip. Oh yes, she’s used to sharing everything to Rafi but she can’t tell her that she’s been seeing Simon’s friend because she wanted to stop her wedding. That is insane.

“Well, as I’ve told you give him a chance. I don’t think he’s babaero as what you think.” Rafi went on. “You know what, why don’t we hang out again? With Richard and Simon?”

“NO!” She quickly brush the idea away. “No way!”

Rafi laughs “Okay, chill. I won’t push you to him. Anyway, I’ve called the church na pala.”

“Ah.. Good, so anong sabi?” Maya can only roll her eyes when Rafi quickly changed their topic that easy back to her wedding plans. Maya sat down and rested her chin on her palm while waiting for an answer she already knows.

“Ayun na nga,unfortunately sabi under renovation pa daw yung simbahan and they can’t book me a date. They can reserve a date after five freakin’ months!” She sighed. Maya smiled on the thought that the wedding will be put off for a while. Rafi can consider for such span of time that getting married with Simon is not a good idea.

“Oh. Too bad.” She faked her feeling bad tone.

“I know! I’ve called Simon and he told me na sa San Agustin Church na lang but I told him na ayoko. Kasi di ba? We promised na dun tayo magpapakasal and then I remembered our moms’ friend Tita Ella getting married there it was so perfect. I can imagine getting married there, too!” Rafi keeps on talking while Maya listened.

“I know! Yung flower arrangement ni mommy dun was so pretty! And tita Ella looked like a Barbie doll. Tapos nung bumukas yung door ng church to welcome the bride..yung voice ng choir echoing.. Uggh perfect!” Maya relieved the moment as if wanting to get married there too but the truth is, she doesn’t care at the moment. Such wedding plans never entered her head especially that she’s single.

“Kaya nga.. I wanna cry! Two months of preparations is already long tapos maghihintay pa kami ng five months? What now? We really want to get married!”

Maya shakes her head. It is really that obvious that Rafi wants to get married but she just doesn’t know about Simon. She never heard Rafi telling her that “they” called this and that, what she keeps on hearing from her friend is that “I” called this and that. Another reason for Maya to stop this nonsense.

“Well, worth the wait naman ang pagpapakasal eh. At saka, mas mapagpaplanuhan at mas maaayos yung kasal kapag ganon. Mas magiging maganda and worth remembering.” Maya tried to make more sense.

“Right.” She sighs “di bale na, I can wait. Oo nga pala, we are looking for a designer na once we find one, magpapaset na kami ng date ng pagpapasukat. I will just inform you, ok?”

“Sure, no problem.”

“Kaaaay, bye.”

“Bye Rafs. Just call me anytime!”

“Ok.” She hung up. Maya sighed in relief at least the renovations bought her more time to stop the wedding. Knowing Simon, he can find another girl with that span of time.
~~~~~

Teresita is busy cooking in their kitchen when Maya enters to drink some water.

“Need some help?” She asked after taking a gulp.

“Hindi na ‘nak. Magpahinga ka na lang at bukas busy ka na naman sa trabaho.”

“Medyo well rested na naman po ako eh.” She shrugged

“Di na ‘nak, kaya ko na ‘to.” Tere pauses “Ay, siya nga pala. Paano ba kayo nagkakilala ni Chard?”

Maya leaned on the kitchen counter and crossed her arms. “Ma, di ba nga, may common friend kami. Ayun. I just met him, acquaintance lang.”

“Ahh.. Eh kung ganoon, wag mo siya pagsabihan ng ganung mga salita at hindi mo naman pala ganun kakilala. Hindi tama yun ‘nak. At isa pa, kilala ko si Richard napakabait na bata at hindi siya katulad nung sinabi mo. Kung pwede nga lang nireto na kita sa kanya.” Her mother smiled while chopping onions.

“Bakit hindi pwede?” She asked inside her head. She want to ask her mother but decided against it. It might prolong their conversation. Is he gay? But those flowers…

“Maya, ‘nak..” She glances at her

“Po?”

“Mag-sorry ka sa kanya ha?”

Maya reluctantly nodded. Her mother remained quiet after that, just humming some old songs that Maya never heard of. She wonder for whom those flowers are? If he orders one for that person everyday, then that person must be really special. Whatever. She doesn’t care. She shouldn’t care about him.
~~~~

sorry for the late update. Super stressed with school. Pleaseee pray for our defense on Saturday. 🙂 thank you sa mga nagbabasa pa din. Haha happy reading.

It Happened in Paris: Part 6

Part 6

I look at her and have to smile as we go driving for a while…

Richard’s been smiling to himself the whole ride. The song on the radio is their background while Maya is not smiling and is staring outside the window the whole time. She’s also quiet and is not talking to him.

“Are you hungry? Magpapagas ako later we can buy something.” Richard broke the silence but never tearing his gaze on the road.

“You meant wala kang food na binili?” She shifts her gaze at him “well I am hungry right now, tapos walang food?” She rolled her eyes when she sees him smile

“Thank heavens for talking! Akala ko mapapanis na yung laway mo. Well don’t worry, nung nakatulog ka kanina I already ordered sa drive thru. There are burgers at the back.”

“Bakit walang fries?!” She asked with annoyance. He knows that she loves fries!

“Oh. Oo nga no? Well, next time…” He bit his lip to stop himself from smiling when she saw Maya threw one burger in his side.

“Wow, thank you. Naalala mo ako bigyan.”

“Whatever!!”

Ohh and I can’t keep my eyes on the road.. Knowing that she’s inches from me.

The light turns red and Richard halted. He leans in and opened the compartment revealing a one extra large fries hidden inside.

Maya followed the fries as it passes at her. She saw Richard took one and bit it. Maya gave him a deadly stare. “Why do you have that?!”

“Well I ordered one for me.” He shrugged and took more fries before shoving it inside his mouth.

“Give me those.” She snatches the bag of fries away from him and ate it with delight.

Richard chuckled upon seeing her act like a child. When the lights changes into green, Richard drove again smiling. “Pahingi naman, akin yan eh.” He pouted while casting a glance at her side.

“No. I will just pay for this.”

Richard nodded his head and started drumming his fingers on the steering wheel. “Hmm.. But you see, I really don’t need money. So I will think of something later as a payment.” He answered with a grin

“Hoy! At ano naman yon?!”

“Chill. Nothing indecent.” He laughed which earned a pinch at his side from Maya.
~~~

Few more hours had passed and they are getting nearer in their destination. Maya is getting more comfortable being with Richard. The two felt like they are those strangers who met in Paris and built a relationship that is worth remembering.

“So ayun na nga, namatay yung aso ko nung nine years old ako. Iyak ako ng iyak nun kasi since four ako kasama ko na siya kaya after nun, never na ako nag-alaga ng aso. Gusto ko sana kaso nalulungkot kasi ako pag naiisip ko na baka iwanan din niya ako soon.” Maya narrated her childhood pet which she loved dearly.

“But still your dog gave you happiness even for a short time. And I know, you never stopped loving your dog.”

“Oo naman.” Maya nodded vehemently.

“Di ka na ba nag-alaga ulit ng kahit na anong pet?”

“Uh.. Hindi na. May aquarium sa bahay pero sila Mom yung nagpapakain ng mga isda dun.”

“Ahh.. I see.”

“Eh ikaw?” She looks at him and waited for his reply. Richard turned left and went quiet for a few seconds before responding.

“Nope. Dad doesn’t want me to get emotionally attached into something. All I did was follow him, do things which I know he will be proud of. He’s training me to become the best businessman there will ever be.” He answered

Maya studied his face and saw how sad his childhood must have been.

After a few more hours of driving and talking, they finally made it to Baguio. Maya oohed and ahhed at the sight of the wonderful nature in front of her. It’s beauty is breathtaking. It is not her first time there but it’s been a long time since the last time that they visited Baguio and indeed, the memory of the place is slowly fading from her mind.

“Ricky!! Pahiram ng cam mo! I want to take some pictures. Tapos bumaba tayo dun sa malaking lion pagdaan natin ah?” Maya said excitedly.

Maya took pictures of the nature using Richard’s camera and as soon as they saw the lion statue approaching, Richard parked his car and went out to take some pictures and selfies with Maya.

It’s been a long time since they went out together just enjoying the time with each other. Maya walked some more and took more pictures while Richard followed her from behind. Before they went back inside the car, Maya took a stolen shot of Richard which made her giddy. He is so handsome even just standing there looking at the different souvenir shops.

When he shifted his gaze back at Maya, he saw her smiling at him. Richard smiled back at her and so the two went on with their journey to Baguio with a huge smile plastered on their faces.

~~~

The two checked in The Manor for two days each will have their own rooms as promised by Richard. Their rooms were beside each other which Richard arranged so that whatever she might need, he can be reached by Maya.

“See you later. We still have two more hours before lunch time so I will let you take a nap then I will knock on your door for us to eat is that OK with you?”

“Sure. No problem. Pahinga ka na din since I know napagod ka sa pagdadrive, see you later.”

“OK.”

Maya waved her hand before closing her hotel room door.

She smiled appreciatively once inside her room. It is big with a couch, a huge tv, and a queen sized bed which she quickly slumped into for a quick nap.

~~~

Richard had insisted on taking Maya out for lunch. He doesn’t want to stay inside the hotel for lunch so he took her out of The Manor

The car’s windows were open allowing the cold breeze to enter the car giving them fresh air. It is getting colder as they were outside longer so Maya put on her jacket to feel warmer.

“Are you really really hungry?” He asked her after stopping the car in front of a building where a man in barong approach them.

“Yes.” Maya answered with a smile. She is indeed very hungry as soon as she woke up earlier from her nap.

“Good afternoon ma’am, sir. May parking spaces pa po sa baba tapos akyat po kayo sir sa 8th floor madami pang vacant tables.” The guy cheerily informed them.

“Thank you.” Richard then followed the guy’s instructions and drives his car down where there are more parking spaces.

“Madalas ka ba dito?” Maya asks with cross arms when she notices that Richard knew the place well.

“Yes.. Let’s just say that kapag aakyat ako ng Baguio I always eat here once or twice the whole time I was here. Masarap yung food pero mura. Not that gusto kong magtipid ngayong kasama kita.” He laughs “it’s just that I want you to experience the food here.”

“Sus. Kunyari ka pa, tinitipid mo lang talaga ako.” She pokes him and laughs

“Well… Medyo lang.” He winks at her before pulling her beside him and directed her towards the lift.

It took them good five minutes before they made it inside the lift because of the long line waiting to be lifted to their respected floors. The building only has one elevator so it didn’t help that a lot of customers were frequently eating there.

As they are traveling up in the lift, Richard pulled Maya closer to him so that she won’t get squished by someone else. It only took them a few seconds inside but for Maya, it was like an hour because the time seemed to stop when they are together inside the lift.
~~~

“What do you want?” He whispered to her ears when the waitress arrived to get their orders. Maya is staring at the menu but she doesn’t really know what food she wanted in particular.

“Kahit ano. You know the place so I think, kung ano yung masarap for you.” She shrugs and closes the menu.

“OK, then.” Richard ordered five viands and a tower of iced tea. Maya’s eyes grew wide and she starts nudging Richard but he ignored her. The waitress just keeps on writing down their orders and repeated it afterwards before leaving their table.

“Hoy. Ang dami naman nun! Mauubos ba natin yun?” She asked him

“Sabi mo you are really hungry? And you said I can order yung sa alam kong masarap, I just did, you know.” He shrugs his shoulders and smiles

“Hay nako ka talaga Mr. Lim.” She shakes her head in disbelief. This man could really be sweet, funny and scary sometimes.

The place is spacious even though there are a lot of people eating there. It is not expensive looking like those restaurants she’s been to before but it’s clean. Families are the usual customers of the restaurant that is why there are long tables everywhere and noises of crying babies, laughing family members can be heard from different tables.

Given the fact that he eats here frequently, she wonders who he’s with?

When their food arrived, Maya can’t help but to throw a question at him. “You eat here alone most of the time?” she realized how awkward it must have been sitting alone in a place where everyone’s been with a company.

Richard quickly places food on Maya’s plate as if he already knew what she would like and what amount of food she can consume. Maya just watched him and waited for him to answer.

“Yes.” He spoons his soup before adding “syempre if I will date someone I will bring her somewhere else. Like in one of our restaurants.” He continued eating and kept quiet for a while.

Maya nods her head before she started eating. Yes, it is not a date. They are two old friends traveling together just like before, she thought. She shouldn’t be affected with what he had said however, she can feel the stabbing pain in her heart. But come to think of it, it is better that she is the only girl he chose to eat with here. That makes her special in a way.

“Ah.. Eh saan mo naman dinadala yung mga date mo kapag nandito ka?” She tried not to ask the question but she knows it will bother her forever so might as well ask it.

“No personal questions.” Richard glances at her and smirks. He put more food on his plate and continued eating.

Maya then remained quiet for the rest of the lunch time and just focused in eating everything. Richard is right, the food there is delicious. They ended up finishing everything. Geez. She should be on diet after this weekend with him.

After lunch, the two then went to the Military Academy where Maya happily jumped out of the car and took pictures of everything that she fancy. Richard would sometimes take pictures of her in different buildings and even beside a tree.

Two hours after, they went to Wright park where they walked and took more pictures and lastly, they visited the very well known haunted hotel in Baguio, the Diplomat Hotel. The afternoon starts to end and the place gets a little bit creepy.

“Geez. Lumalamig lalo. This place gives me chills.” She said then she starts rubbing her arms.

Richard chuckled. “Come, let’s go inside.” He pulled her inside the abandoned hotel where few furnitures and people were scattered in the ground floor of the building.

“Let’s take pictures, pose wherever you want your picture taken.” He took his dslr camera from Maya and positioned himself to take pictures.

“Huy! Wag na. Baka mamaya may makunan kang iba. Ayoko nga na makita yung picture ko tapos may katabi akong multo.” She started pulling his sweatshirt to distruct him as he took photos of the place.

He laughs “don’t be a scaredy cat, my dear Maya.”

My dear Maya, those words echoed in her ears and made her blush. “What the heck Maya?! Bakit ba ganyang yang nararamdaman mo? Takot ka hindi kinikilig! Geez” she thought

In the end, Maya and Richard posed in the different corner of the abandoned building. In front of the old fountain, furnitures, as well as outside its garden.

Maya was scared all right but because of this, Richard keeps on teasing her the whole time they were there. He even wanted to stay a little longer but Maya refused saying that she will take a cab if they will stay a few more minutes there so Richard agreed to go shopping when Maya suggested that she would love to catch a movie there.

When the sun went down, the air grew cold. The flow of people changes. People walked past, puffing white breaths into the air. It was the coldest time of the year so Richard pulled Maya closer at his side while they waited in line outside the cinema.

“Kung alam ko lang na chick flick ang balak mong panuorin, I’d rather go back in the hotel then I will just fetch you afterwards.” He kid

“Sus, ang KJ mo. At kunyari ka pa samantalang nung nasa Paris tayo kahit anong kacornihan kahit gaano kacheesy, pinapanuod natin.” She giggled then stopped when she realized where she had led the conversation. That is still a very sensitive memory of them and true enough, when she cast a glance at Richard, she saw how he bit his lip uncomfortably and looked away.

Maya breathed deeply “uhh..well yung movie na ‘to maganda daw eh. And I’ve read the book kaya alam kong magandang love story.” She said

He nods vigorously “yeah, typical love story for sure. There is no such thing as ‘magandang love story'” Richard quoted in the air.

“Ang nega mo naman” she rolled her eyes at him and silently hoped that the line would start moving to the cinema soon.

“Not really. Anyway, bibili na muna ako ng popcorn dun sa gilid.” He points the snack corner and walks away not waiting for her reply

As the line starts to move, Maya shifted her gaze towards the snack corner where Richard seems to take too much time in there.

To her surprise, Richard is already talking to a beautiful girl who seemed to be also a customer of the snack corner. She saw how he flirtatiously smiles at the girl and she could count how many times the girl laughed.

“Miss, dito ako ah. Tatawagin ko lang yung kasama ko nandun lang.” She said to the lady behind her and left when she nodded at her

Her heart thumped loudly while she approaches Richard. She will grab that popcorn away from him and he could stay with that girl if he wanted! Darn it! Is she jealous? Oh no, no, no!

With just few more steps left, Richard noticed her presence and waved at her. She moves towards them and she noticed how the girl beside Richard studied her “ah. Nagpapapasok na kasi.” She informed him. He then glances at the line and nodded

“OK, let’s go. Nice to meet you Dianne.” He smiled at the girl and off they go towards the cinema.

All throughout the movie, Maya cannot focus. She didn’t even notice that the movie is now near its end. She turned to him, and his eyes are closed. He fell asleep while watching a movie with her. He did changed, before no matter how boring the movie is, he will still enjoy watching it with her. But now, he changed and it is her fault. Maybe.

She is still thinking about what she felt earlier when she saw him flirting with another girl. A familiar kind of pain that she experienced the night of the party where she saw him talking with Jane. Is it jealousy? Darn. No. This feeling is not right. She already chose Jeffrey and she loves him. Yeah, she does love him so she should stop this nonsense thought.

The screen faded, credits rolled and the lights turned on. That also ended those thoughts that bugged her, for now.

They were quiet after a short conversation of how the movie went during dinner. After eating, they called it already a night and headed back to their hotel.

Richard pulled up to the building and killed the engine of his BMW. Maya was stunned when she felt his hand reaching for hers and intertwined their hands to the lobby while they quietly waited for the elevator.

The door slid open and it was surprisingly empty. They got in and pressed their hotel floor’s number. The door shut soundlessly and both felt a slight movement and the door opened. The floor’s brightly lit.

Side by side, no one dared to talk. Richard had sensed that Maya’s mood had changed and he doesn’t want to make her feel more uncomfortable so he let her be.

However, this not talking thing irritates Maya more.

When they reached Maya’s room, she offered him to stay for a while inside since it is just ten in the evening. Richard was surprised at first but still gladly accepted her offer.

She sat on the edge of her bed while he followed suit. Slowly, as if testing the water, he places his arm around her and like it is the most natural thing in the world, she rested her head on his shoulder. He is just holding her, her just sitting there, head on his shoulder, her eyes closed, breathing softly, as if she were asleep. She was tired and confused with everything. Her heart never denied her feelings towards him but her mind still ignores that feeling.

“Long day huh?” He whispered “you can sleep if you want, Maya. I will just see you tomorrow.” When he tried to stand up, Maya clutches his hand to stop him.

“Can you.. Just ah.. Stay here? I just feel so alone. P-pwede bang dito ka na lang muna matulog?” She asked. This time, just once, she will listen to her heart. She wants him near her even just for tonight.

“OK. I can sleep sa couch, I guess.” He smiled down at her

“The bed is big, and.. I trust you. You can sleep beside me.” She suggested. Of course, way back in Paris they had been this close and never did he took advantage of her so she really trust this man. He is such a gentleman.

“Are you sure?”

“Yes, please.”

“OK. No problem.” He slowly took the left side tucked her in and kisses her forehead “goodnight”

“Goodnight, Ricky icky.” She pinches his nose before she drifts off to sleep.
~~~~~

He is in the lobby’s restaurant chewing on a couple of muffins and reading the morning paper while sipping his coffee.

She woke up earlier on her room alone. She was surprised as she expected to wake up with him beside her and he then would greet her a good morning like he used to do before. Yes, she misses those nights when they shared bed but with Richard staying as gentleman as ever. He never dare took advantage of her and she just loves embracing him until she sleeps.

“Good morning.” She greeted him as soon as she walked on his table.

He looks up from his newspaper and smiled at her. “Good morning too, Maya. What do you want for breakfast?”

“Uhh.. Waffles na lang and hot chocolate I am not that hungry.”

Richard then nodded and stood up to get her some waffles and hot chocolate in the buffet table.

“Bakit hindi mo ako ginising?” She asked while he put down the tray of food on their table

“Well, I know you are still sleepy and I am hungry kaya I thought of waiting for you downstairs.” He said flatly while going back on reading the morning paper.

“But hindi ka nag-iwan ng note.” Both elbows were on the table then she propped her chin up on her hands. He used to leave notes before, darn it! Why is she reminded of those things that he used to do? They are saving their friendship why is she acting like an upset girlfriend?

“Later, we will go to church to hear mass then go some shopping para sa pasalubong or kung may gusto kang bilhin.” He said ignoring what she said earlier.

Maya toyed her waffles and allowed her hot chocolate to go cold as her mind wandered off. She checked on her phone countless of times and only saw a few text messages from her parents. Jeffrey seems so busy with work that he didn’t even bother text her. Well, that is also good for she can stop thinking if these feelings that she is experiencing again is right or not.
~~~

She turned the radio up loud inside the car, rolled down the windows and were on their way. Everywhere they passed was filled with light as the morning sun fulfilled its duty.

After hearing the mass, Maya bought a dozen of her ube jam in Good Shepherd which she loves more than anything. Richard then helped her in carrying all of the things that she bought. He didn’t even bother to buy some for himself saying that he often go there so he can just buy some other time. He also joked that their car is already full with Maya’s things that there aren’t any left space for him. That earned him a pinch on his nose from Maya.

~~~

Dropping his last card onto the bedsheet. She flopped back onto the pillows with her feet into his lap.

“Ang daya mo! Ayoko na makipaglaro!” She said while kicking him

After lunch, they went to the mall to buy few things and saw a deck of cards. Maya had an idea of playing card games inside her room which Richard agreed to.

Richard chuckled “Oh no. Pikon! Hindi mo lang talaga ako matalo.”

“Eh kasi nga madaya ka!” She kicked him some more but Richard held his feet tight such that she cannot move. “Oyyy!!” She giggled

He starts tickling her on her feet, then on her sides. Maya can’t stop laughing while trying to fight back.

But of course she can’t tickle him back. He is stronger than her so he ended up on top of her as he continued to tickle her.

As soon as they noticed what scene they are in right now, the room temperature quickly changes. They just stared into each other’s eyes. She can feel his warm breath touching her face. His eyes then traveled down to her lips, she will kiss him back if he will try to kiss her. She will stop thinking if this is right or not. For now, everything feels so right.

He slowly kissed the peak of her nose and was soon ready to kiss her on her lips when suddenly, Maya’s phone started ringing real loud breaking the moment. Richard sat up and stared at her. Maya did the same and quickly answered her phone without looking on the screen who it was.

“Hi babe!” Jeffrey’s cheerful voice welcomed her

Talk about good timing.

Richard looked at her questioningly as if asking her who was it? “H-hi. How are you? Bakit ngayon ka lang tumawag?” She asked the caller fidgeting as she tried to avoid Richard’s eyes

“I am so sorry, I miss you babe. Busy lang ako since naghahanda ako for tomorrow. Alam mo naman di ba? Yung proposal about Mr. Lim?” He said

She look at Richard and saw his eyebrows furrowed maybe he already had an idea who it is. “Ahh.. Yes, okay lang. I understand.”

“Anyway, kamusta ka? Kamusta naman kayo ng mga kaklase mo sa Batangas? Nasaan kayo? How’s the beach? Are you enjoying there? Maybe next time we can also go out of town to relax.” He suggested, Maya then remembered that she told him the same alibi and good thing he’s been busy because she can’t lie and lie repeatedly to him. She feels guilty.

“Uh.. Masaya naman, my friends and I were having fun.” She answered shortly trying to avoid his other questions

Richard took a deep breath

“That’s good. Sige na babe, I will just call you again later. Text me also kung pauwi na kayo ha?” He said “I love you.”

“OK, goodbye. I..” She hesitated and shifted back her eyes at Richard she saw him waiting for whatever she is to say.

“You? What? I am waiting babe.” She heard Jeffrey teased her, good thing he is in a good mood that he didn’t notice him having a hard time.

“I- I love you, too. Bye.” She hung up on him. She saw Richard frowned and stared blankly at nowhere.

Few seconds of awkwardness had passed and no one dared to say a thing.

“Ah Ricky..” She finally tried to say something but trailed off. She wasn’t sure what to say.

“I will just go out. Pack your things, we should get going.” He stood up. He didn’t sound angry, but then he wasn’t exactly happy either. His voice was without equivocation.
~~~