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.”
“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
“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.