Chapter 4: “US”
The crowd doubled as the night wore on. Party songs were blasting on the speakers making it harder to understand each other. Richard, like a gentleman he is guided Maya inside.
They took a seat on a vacant booth and quickly eyed possible girl they can talk to. With the dim light, it is not that possible to catch a girl’s pretty face that long, or maybe Maya is not just that used to it.
“Huy! Ano may nakikita ka ba?” She pulled his sleeve and whispered on his ear so that he can hear her.
“Those girls on the bar are looking at me. They are pretty.” He whispered back then Maya glances towards the bar and true enough, she found those girls ogling at him.
“Okay, go on.. Make a move, talk to them!”
“What? Anong sasabihin ko? Like pwede ba silang makipagdate sa kaibigan ko bukas?”
“Yes! Something like that. You are indeed a genius, we make a good pair!” She grinned at him and then she tried to push him up. “Go Chardie, you can do it!” She cheered him up.
“Fine, seriously I don’t really know why I am following you.”
“Must be because of my charm” she shrugs and smiled.
Richard chuckles and pinches her nose. “You’ve gotta treat me something after this.”
“Yeah, yeah sure.”
Maya waited and watched as Richard made his way towards the girls. She saw them blush when he approached them. Richard offered them some drinks and talk some more. The girls offered their hands for a handshake which Richard gladly took.
The girl in the middle who is the prettiest of the three touched Richard’s arm and started caressing it. Maya cringed on how girls nowadays flirt. After a while, the prettiest whispered something to Richard which earned a laugh from him. Darn. What is taking him so long?
The two other girls were soon after left out. Richard and the prettiest girl chatted some more before Maya saw the two took their phones out and typed something. They must have exchanged their numbers. Few more minutes, Maya saw Richard bid goodbye while the girl planted a lingering kiss on his cheek before turning around to probably look for her friends.
“What the hell did she say?” Maya demanded an information as soon as he was back in their booth. But Richard didn’t talk and just pulled her up intending to leave the crowded place.
Inside the car, Maya asked everything that Richard and the girl (which she learned from Richard was named as Ruby) discussed about.
He said that first, Ruby liked him, which shouldn’t be doubted considering that he really could attract attention in there. Second, she asked him to go out of that place and go somewhere else which he declined but he flirted back and this is where he doesn’t want to tell Maya what he had said to her but the thing is, after some chit chat, they just exchanged numbers. So things are settled, all they have to do is to text her and make her agree with her plan.
“Good!” She exclaimed “I am thinking of just setting Simon up. The problem is where… But you have to text the girl later, okay? I will text you all the details. Basta I will plan everything smoothly para walang sabit.”
“Just make sure of that.”
“I will! Magtiwala ka lang.” She glances at him and smiles, but then that smile faded when she got conscious of the red lipstick stain on his right cheek. Without thinking about it, Maya quickly took her hanky and wipe it off his face. “Gross! You still have her lipstick.”
“You’re welcome.” He gave her an you-owe-me look “yes! I do owe you babawi ako don’t worry.”
That night after Richard drove her home, Maya took a quick shower while waiting for Richard to text her. She told him to text her as soon as he’s home so that she can tell him her plans for tomorrow.
Maya, I am home. I’m too tired can u txt me everything now?
Ok. First, text Ruby and tell him that u want to have lunch with her tom. Then u will tell her that a friend of yours likes her but was too shy to approach her last nyt. Then we will set them up for dinner. Txt Simon that u want to have a dinner with him like old friends do.
Hey, bakit parang puro ako ang kikilos?
Chill!! I will text Rafs din para magmall. Dun kayo sa mall kung saan tayo nagmeet before. Dun sa Italian Restaurant dun ko din aayain si Rafs but u have to observe and txt me para sakto na may makita si Rafi.
Like the heck what?
Talk to the girl kasi! Like make her agree sa plan natin, tell her u will date her!
What? Are u out of ur mind? Dapat naghire na lang tayo ng babae
I think the girl that u just met sa club ay ganun din naman eh
Ha. I don’t think so…or maybe ur ryt. Anyway, Simon really can attract girls, too. Bahala na.
We can do this partner!
Stop that. Goodnight, Maya. And please, if this doesn’t work let’s just be happy for them.
That was Richard’s last text for her that she didn’t texted back. She doesn’t want to give up but if her plan fails, what else can she do about it? Maybe they are indeed destined and all she can do is hope that he did already changed for the better. For Rafi.
“Hi Richard! So ano, kamusta lunch nyo?”
Today is the execution of their plan. Maya waited for Richard’s call and at two o’clock, he finally called her.
“Ruby’s with her friends after we had lunch. Sabi nya she would love to meet Simon. Actually, nakita daw nya dati si Simon sa business magazine at naging crush daw nya. But I told her that Simon hates blind dates so I make her promise not to tell Simon na ako yung nagset up sa kanila and I also told her na we will set things na parang hindi sinasadya na Ruby was there and all.”
“Yes! Ang galing mo talaga Chardie!” She happily said
“Stop calling me that!”
She pouted “fine, fine. Oh basta kita tayo mamaya. Buhhye!” She hung up
Before doing anything else that day, Maya remembered to text Rafi and ask her out.
“Rafs! Can we pls pls pls eat dinner later? I miss u already e. Please. :(” she sent her that text message and after a while, Rafi did replied.
“Ofc!! I would love to. Text me the time and place. Aalis din si Simon so I will really eat at home. :)”
With her fist up in the air, Maya shouted “YES!”
Dinner time, the mall isn’t that crowded with people considering that it is a weeknight. Maya and Rafi first stroll inside the mall to do some quick shopping. While Maya is waiting for Rafi to buy a bag, she texted Richard about their plan.
She learned that Simon is already waiting for him inside the restaurant and he already asked Ruby to go inside and talk to him.
“Rafs, dalian mo na dyan, I am hungry na.” She said trying to hide her nervousness with everything. She is starting to get panicky good thing Rafi didn’t notice it.
As soon as they were inside the restaurant, Maya steered her inside. And that was it. She saw Simon and Ruby seated on a corner talking. Ruby is whispering something in his ear and that is what Rafi caught. She stiffened beside Maya like her blood were drained out of her.
Maya closed her eyes feeling guilty all of a sudden when she felt Rafi’s shoulders start shaking, she knows she’s silently crying. Maya would stop her if she will freak out and make a scene but fortunately, she didn’t. Rafi just turned around and silently left which made Maya guiltier.
“Maya..” Richard grabbed her wrist to stop her from walking while Rafi went on ahead of her ignoring the world.
“Richard, I think it’s successful but Rafi needs me now.” He nodded
“Okay, papasok na din ako sa loob to talk to him. Ang alam nya magkikita kami at magpapakilala lang si Ruby.”
“I hate him so much!!!” Rafi already had used four boxes of tissue while she keeps on ranting inside Maya’s room where she would stay.
Maya said nothing and just be there for her, giving her water and caressing her back.
“Why are you so quiet? Come on, you can tell me your ‘I told you so’ line now.” She sniffed while wiping her tears.
Indeed, Maya always uses that line to her whenever Simon cheats on her. But she just can’t. Especially that it is her fault. But then come to think of it, Simon didn’t seem to tell Ruby to back off because he’s already engaged or something.
“Well, hindi ka din naman kasi nakikinig talaga eh.” She said truthfully
“You can talk to him about this.” Maya quickly said and she regretted saying that after
“Yes, I will. Dapat ko pa din naman malaman yung side nya di ba? It could be his friend or something.” Oh great, just great.
“Pero! Pwede ding babae nya yun. Hindi naman ito yung first time di ba.” Maya reminded her friend. She can narrate what had happened before on those four times that he had cheated her. Maya can clearly remember the place, the name of the girl and what happened when they caught him.
“Oo, kaya nga kakausapin ko siya. Don’t worry, Maya. I am old enough. I know what I am doing. Thank you for everything.” Rafi embraced Maya while tears are still falling from her eyes.
In the end, Maya knows that their plan wasn’t as successful as it should have been.
After three days or ranting, crying and endless late night conversation with Rafaela, Maya already didn’t get another call from her.
“Are u ok?”
“I am here, ok? And pls think this time.”
She had sent her messages and even tried calling her but she didn’t texted her back nor accepted her calls.
This is not good, she thought.
“Richard!!” She called Richard during lunch break feeling hopeless
“May balita ka ba kay Simon?”
“Yes, after our dinner he said that Rafi’s been mad at him and wala siyang idea kung bakit. Ayaw na din daw ni Rafi matuloy yung Civil Wedding nila two days ago. Sabi ko they need to talk. I think they did. He actually called me up kanina bago ka tumawag asking me to have dinner later with him and Rafi. Sabi nya isama daw kita. I think they have an idea that we’re dating.” He said. Maya can hear from the other line the flipping of pages and she knows that he’s busy that day with paperworks
“But.. But wala naman silang idea that we did that right? Yung set up thingy?” She asked nervous of getting caught and that maybe asking them on dinner is just not because they thought that they are dating.
“Nope. Ruby left after she saw me approaching Simon. Simon even told me na lumapit lang sa kanya yung girl at nakipagkwentuhan. Yun lang. He’d been defensive” he laughs “as if I caught him cheating. Pero yun lang naman talaga, they just talked. I don’t think this will work”
“Yun nga din yung kinakabahala ko eh, more than me being caught. Alam ko Rafi will still forgive him”
“I told you, hayaan na lang sila. I think Si would be faithful naman this time. He really loves Rafaela, I know… Siguro he can’t just resist temptation but maybe he already changed.”
“I don’t know.. Pero thanks. Oo nga pala, what time yung dinner? Rafi’s not texting me eh, I am worried.” She stood up from her chair and went to the pantry to get some cold water.
“Around eight, I still have a meeting eh. Sabay na lang tayo I will just fetch you.”
“Okay, thanks.” She stood still contemplating. Maybe she really needs to give up.
Ten minutes past eight in the evening, Maya and Richard arrived inside the restaurant in Quezon City. Rafi and Simon were already waiting for them and were done ordering food once they were seated.
“Good thing you guys are already here.” Rafi happily greeted them earlier which then Maya knew that she did forgave Simon and they already talked.
“Yeah, I was worried about you Rafs.”
“Sorry, Maya. Simon and I talked kasi and alam ko you are worried about me… But you don’t have to. Simon explained everything” she took a glance at Simon who’s seated beside her “and the reason why we invited you guys is because gusto ko din marinig from Richard kung totoo bang magkikita dapat sila and the girl just approached Simon.” Rafi stared at Richard waiting for him to talk. Maya did the same waiting on what will he say.
“Yes.” He said “I invited Simon out for dinner since matagal na din yung last time that we talked about things… Then nung pagdating ko I saw him and that.. That girl but they are just talking. Sa tingin ko the girl likes him but she left siguro Simon won’t budge.” He shrugged and anyone who had heard what he said would definitely believe him. He’s very confident and what he just stated is very clear. ‘Balimbing!’ Maya thought
That did it, Rafaela beamed. She smiles like that when she knows that she’s right and she just proved herself right. “See, Maya. You don’t have any reason to doubt Simon. I think he changed.”
“Of course I did!” Simon quickly said. “Yun lang talaga yung nangyari, and I don’t want to blow things up. I want to get married with Rafi soon. I’ve learned and grew up. Maya I promise I won’t hurt your best friend.” He stared at Maya and for a flicker of second, she believed him only if those days that he cheated won’t register in her brain. But then again, what else can she do about it?
“Yeah, I guess. If you guys are happy…” Maya can feel Richard looking at her as if he can’t believe what he’s saying. She gave him an I-will-kill-you-later look and he chuckled upon seeing her face.
Rafi noticed this and grinned “Hey, you guys.. Napapansin namin na close kayo ah. Are you guys dating?” She teased them
“What? No!” Maya quickly said while Richard just smiled
“Napakadefensive mo Maya!” Rafi studied her “you know what, maganda sana kung double wedding tayo no? Ako, ikaw, Simon, Richard.. That would be perfect!” She said dreamily
“Oo nga bro! Magpakasal na din kayo!” Simon joined Rafi in teasing them. Richard didn’t say a thing and could only smile at the two.
While Maya, oh Maya was left wondering the what ifs. She’s been quiet and Richard noticed it. “Hey?” Richard pinches her nose to get her attention. Rafi find it sweet and giggled.
“Um.. Rafs..” She finally looked at Rafi, then to Richard. Richard was puzzled on how she looked like she has an important thing to say.
“What is it?” Rafi arched an eyebrow, questioning her. She knows that reaction, and it means that whatever Maya will say is very important. She once saw Maya looking like that when she told her that she was in love for the first time. Oh no!
“Richard and I…” Richard’s eyes widen in anticipation. He had a bad feeling about what this girl is up to.
“What? Come on! Spill it out!” Rafi was smiling, oh she somehow knew what’s going on.
“We’re already a couple.” She blurted
“WHAT?” Simon, Richard and Rafi exclaimed. But then Simon and Rafi exchanged knowing looks.
“Oh we knew it!!” Rafi giggled and leans in
Maya is afraid to look at Richard because she knows he will be angry at her.
“Wait.” Simon laughs while holding his hand up in the air “bakit parang nagulat ka Chard more than us?” He eyed his surprised friend and chuckled
“Ah!” Maya quickly covered Richard’s mouth when he’s about to say something. Whatever it is Maya should prevent it. “Si sweetheart kasi is not yet ready to announce it… Kasi di ba ang awkward na bestfriends nyo kami tapos kami din nainlove.. But we will say it din naman. Kaya kanina I have to deny that we’re dating.. Pero ayoko na itago eh” She doesn’t know where she get that ‘sweetheart’ endearment thingy but, oh well she must get used to it.
“Ohhh..Sweetheart huh?! Bakit naman magiging awkward? That is really sweet. Imagine, two couples having double date!” Rafi giggled oblivious on what Richard looked right now.
“I know!” Maya beamed like she’s very happy with her announcement. “And you know what?”
“What? What? What?! Tell me!” Rafi excitedly leaned in while she rested her chin on her palm waiting for whatever her friend will say.
“We can have that double wedding plan of yours because he asked me to marry him last night!” She squealed like all of this were true.
“Maya!” Richard roared and before Rafi could jump out of excitement, Richard’s roar scared her.
“Oops! Sorry, secret pa ba yun sweetheart? We should tell them already!” Maya sweetly smiled at him but really, her lips were trembling as she tried to tame the lion. When Richard’s eyes were still as cold as an ice, Maya braced herself and leans in to kiss him on the lips. Rafi gasped while Richard’s eyes rounded in surprise. This woman can really give a hell lot of surprises in an hour!
“Sorry na, please don’t be mad. They deserve to know.” She pleaded cutely then pouted. Richard exhaled and looked away.
Simon is enjoying everything. How his friend’s face changes reactions. He shakes his head as he cracks up. “You two are funny.”
Rafi covered her mouth and blushes with too much giddiness. Finally! Her best friend is in love again. “I am so happy for you two! We can have that double wedding! Simon, babe pleaseeee. Sabay na lang wedding natin!” She pleaded her boyfriend while tugging his arm.
Simon then looked at her and kissed her forehead before lifting his hands in surrender. “Whatever you want, babe. Sure. Mas masaya nga kung sabay yung wedding natin.”
“Yes!!” Rafi literally bounced on her seat in happiness. “Oh come on, Chard. Wag ka na magalit kay Maya from spilling everything. Girls are just that excited for telling their friends that they are engaged.” She said, thrilled.
Maya could only hope and pray that Richard won’t ruin everything. This plan of hers just came up earlier when Rafi mentioned that if they are indeed a couple, they can have a double wedding. That would definitely postponed the wedding longer. Anything could happen by then. She crossed her fingers while Richard sighs. “I’m sorry that I’ve been upset. It’s just that wala pa kasi yung.. Yung engagement ring ko for her.” Rafi’s eyes directed to Maya’s ring finger and nodded “kasi nga everything happened so fast like a spur of the moment thing.. You know the idea came up with me after WE…”
All ears are on him and as he trailed off Maya saw Rafi blushed and Simon laughed. “Made Love? I knew it.” He bursted out laughing
“Kiss! We kissed!” Maya exclaimed louder than was usual which earned people to look at her. She buried her face with her hands in embarrassment. She will definitely kill Richard later!
“Sweetheart, wag mo naman ipagkalat. You’re such a kiss and tell.” Richard tried to remove her hands off her face but Maya moved a little. “Shut up!” She hissed
Rafi and Simon were enjoying just watching them. “You are so cuteee!! Such a cute couple!”
Maya could hear Richard laughing now, great he is now enjoying this act. “Okay, thanks Rafs. But I think, Richard and I needs to go. We can discuss the details tomorrow, okay? Or some other time beacause I am pissed already with my man.” Maya gave Richard a piercing look.
“Oh no! World War 3 na yan Chard. Ihatid mo na.” Simon suppressed his laughter
Rafi allowed the silence to linger a little bit longer then, said brightly “Nakakatuwa talaga kayo. Okay, Maya. We can talk some other time. You guys barely touched your food. Wag na nga kayo mag-away.” She chuckled and waved her hand as Maya stood up and started walking away.
“See you guys.” Richard then followed Maya outside.
“What was that all about? And seriously, ikaw pa yung napikon samantalang sinakyan ko lang yang trip mo?” The two were at the back of the restaurant where Richard had parked his car. Maya is standing near his car, scowling.
“Fine, sorry. And thank you.” Maya’s annoyance faded when she remembered that she doesn’t have any right to get pissed at him. “Bigla ko na lang kasi naisip.. Sorry.”
“Yeah right!” He snorted “hindi mo man lang pinag-isipan! Kahit na sabihin mong five months pa before the wedding, time flies so fast Maya. Paano yung preparations? Ha?”
“Just please, calm down.” She hushed him down when his tone is starting to rise. “I know this is a stupid idea pero nasabi ko na eh. Panindigan na lang natin. If I am part of that wedding eh di mas madali na maprolong yung kasal or ma-stop. Don’t worry, hindi naman tayo magpapakasal talaga eh. Syempre ayoko din naman makasal sa katulad mo no!”
“Wow, thanks!” He scoffs “Can we just stop this now? Pwede namang pumasok tayo ulit sa loob and tell them everything.”
“What? Hindi! That is the most stupid idea. Please, sige na naman pumayag ka na. Libre na yung flowers mo everyday na binibigay mo kung kanino man. I promise. Ako na bahala dun” she pleaded
“You think you can bribe me?” He raises his eyebrows and crossed his arms
“Please, Chardie… Sasamahan din kita whenever you feel like singing sa bar.” She smiled sweetly at him.
He heaved a sigh, hunches his shoulders as he walks a little. “I really don’t know why you are doing this. Ikaw lang din naman yung mapapahamak. But fine.”
“Really? Thank you!!” She jumped and embraced Richard in happiness. With that, Richard finally smiled back with his dimple showing.
Hey! Fyi Rafi’s bugging me abt hw u proposed and hw we fell in love. If ur asked, ang sinabi ko is that after nila tayo ipakilala, u asked for my number then nagyaya ka ng date and the rest is history.
What? I think it’s the other way around.
Shut up!!!! Basta, ok. Un yon. And kung paano ka nagpropose, a week after we became a couple, and us kissing sa car mo before ako pumasok sa bahay. (Don’t u dare laugh) u suddenly asked to marry me. End of story.
Ha ha ha. You know, pwede kang writer.
Stop. Just stop!! Nga pala, I have to tell mom kasi si Rafi eh. Nabanggit ko na hindi pa alam ni mommy. She’s been bugging me to tell mom. Pls.
What? I won’t lie to your mom! Nay Tere is nice. That’s too much.
Plsplspls. Ako na ang bahala. Just be there. Lunch next week. Please, sweetheart. I love you. Xoxoxoxo 🙂 😉
Richard could only grin while he reads her text messages. It’s been a long long time since someone texted him an ‘I love you’ even though it is not true, somehow it can brighten up a dull day. He is in a boring meeting and Maya can make it bearable. Liza, his secretary noticed the smile on his face and could only suppress a smile. Too happy that Richard is now smiling.
Tell me your thoughts 🙂