Chapter 7: Who’s That Girl?
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Once Richard and Maya entered the lobby of the five star hotel, few businessmen with their respective partners were talking in a corner. Some turned their heads toward Richard, acknowledging his presence. He only nodded in return while keeping his hand at the small back of Maya.
Maya took a deep breath she is not used in situation like this. She is not really the partying type especially if rich businessmen are approaching them trying to engage her in a conversation that she lacks knowledge of.
Good thing, Richard kept his promise of staying beside her and asking questions that were thrown at him confidently.
Before they can even find a table, a certain man appproached Richard. Maya smiled at the man and only nodded when asked simple questions answerable by yes and no. Richard and the man continue with their conversation about a possible partnership that is when Maya allowed her mind to think things through.
Maybe Richard would give her the ring later after this event. Then they would kiss goodnight. Wait. Hell no. Where did that thought came from? Maya bit her lip and tried to shake off that thought away.
She can’t like him. But how is that possible when he is this good looking every single day? Ugh. She needs to try. She can’t complicate things more than it already is.
“Yes, she’s my girlfriend.” Maya heard Richard said. She was startled since she never heard the question as her mind wander off.
She look up at him and to the mid-40’s businessman in a white suit in front of them who has a huge grin on his face.
“Oh, I see. So the rumors about you pursuing-”
“It is up to you if you want to believe it.” Richard quickly cut him off. Maya fidgeted as she became uncomfortable with the amused expression on the man in front of them directed at her. As if he was surprised that she is Richard’s girlfriend.
Richard suddenly held her hand noticing her discomfort. She glances at him and gave her a small smile.
“If you’ll excuse us Mr. Castro.”. He nodded at the man in front of them and steered Maya around the room until they find a table at the corner. There are three people already seated and Richard smiled at them.
“Hey guys.” He greeted them quite cheerfully so Maya assumed that these people are somehow his friends.
“Hi Chard! Finally dumating ka din akala namin di ka na dadating eh.” The girl wearing a red dress said. Smile never leaving her face.
He raises an eyebrow “kanina pa ako nandito hinarang lang ako ng mga partners and CEOs.”
“Oh. Anyway, sino siya?” The guy who is also in the table asked him. Maya smiled nervously at them. All eyes are directed on her.
“Oh! Yes. She’s Maya. Maya, this is Janine, Greg and Reyes. Guys, this is Maya, my girlfriend.” He smiled at them, his hand still on her back. Maya stiffened but still manage to give a smile.
Surprised was an understatement on how the three reacted at this. Why is it that hard to believe it? “Ah.. Hi.” The three waved at her giving an awkward smile. “Upo na kayo.”
She took a seat beside Richard and remained quiet just listening to the conversation of the four.
They talked about work and personal lives that Maya doesn’t know anything about. She started feeling left out when suddenly they were curious about her and Richard’s relationship.
“So, since when pa naging kayo Chard?” Janine asked Richard before taking a sip of her wine.
“Just a few weeks ago”
“So bago lang pala..”
“Yes. We just met, we have a common friend who introduced us and the rest is history.” Richard explained as short as possible. All the while his friends were staring at Maya, as if examining her.
“Oh. Kaya pala we never met her before..” The other guy, Reyes spoke softly. His eyes scanning her.
“Yes.” Richard nodded. “Wait, sweetheart.” He turned his attention to Maya. Before she could turn her eyes at him, she saw Janine raises an eyebrow. Maya tried to brush it off but can sense that they don’t like her at all.
“Uh.. Bakit?” She asked, almost in a whisper. Her self confidence was taken away from her.
“I will get us some food, I am starving. Just stay here, okay?”
Maya, too is hungry but she won’t allow him to leave her with a group of people she barely knew and who hates her already. “Uh.. No, sama ako.” She murmurs. Her hands tagging his arm.
He chuckled a bit. “No, just stay here. Dun lang naman ako.” He pointed at the buffet table “I will be back.” He smiled at her before leaving. She swear she could feel the stares of the people of the table with her
They kept quiet and the only sound could be heard is the soft music playing somewhere.
Maya tried to smile at them and focused on her phone, playing some random app that she forgot about its existence there.
She could hear Richard’s friends talking again about work, totally ignoring her.
All of a sudden, laughters and chats died out. Their table became quiet. She wasn’t exactly sure on the reason why the conversation died down.
So she sets her phone down and looked at them only to find them staring at something behind her.
Slowly, Maya turned her head and saw what they are seeing.
Richard. With a very beautiful woman.
Beautiful is even an understatement on how to desribe her.
She’s talking to him. They are few inches apart. He is smiling at her and that smile reaches his eyes.
Maya’s heart started to ache. That familiar pain that she’s feeling whenever Richard seems not to care so much about her. And tonight the pain is worse.
“Alexis is here.” Reyes said
“She’s gorgeous, no wonder why Richard is so captured.”
“Hey. Shh someone might hear.”
Maya heard them loud and clear. They might have intended for her to hear it.
Maya tore her gaze away from them for she can no longer bear it. What is happening to her? And who is Alexis?
And why the heck does she cares?!
This is too much.
“Excuse me.” Maya stood up and walks her way to the comfort room. She doesn’t care what will they think of her. She just needs to breathe.
She inhale a calming breath
Her eyes lifted from the sink up to face her own reflection on the mirror. She’s been very confident on how she looks earlier, but now she’s been very insecure.
Too many questions she wanted to throw at him. But who is she anyway? She’s not even his real girlfriend.
Beep. A message.
She fishes out her phone out of her pouch and reads the message from Richard.
Maya, nasan ka?
And another one.
May ipapakilala ako s’yo.
Although she really doesn’t want to go out and see him. She can’t stay there forever. And who cares on who he wanted her to meet?!
She sighs heavily and checks her face again before leaving the rest room.
Her eyes instantly met his. He’s smiling at her once he saw her approaching him and his friends.
She didn’t even notice Alexis standing beside Richard until he introduced her.
“Sweetheart, this is Alexis a good friend of ours. We are all friends since college.” He said, his hand resting on her back.
Maya forced a fake smile before extending her hand to Alexis. “Nice to meet you. I’m Maya.”
“Same here, Maya. Finally I’ve met you. Richard’s been telling me about you.” Alexis gave her a warm smile. And did Maya mentioned that she looks like an Angel? She even notice Richard staring at her. Crap.
Richard and his friends told her about their college life. How close they were. And she hates it even more that Alexis and Richard would often remember stories in the past about them. Like how she secretly slides in a book in his bag which belongs to the library and on how the sort of alarm came ringing when he’s about to go out of the library without checking out the book.
“Imagine how shocked he was! Hahaha!” Alexis was laughing together with everyone.
“I was really shocked! I mean, why would I even check out a cheesy book?! And even steal it?”
“Hahaha! You two are really funny.” Says Janine.
The banter went on like forever. Of course she doesn’t care, she hates Richard for bringing her here. She feels so left out. The only thing that calms her is Richard’s hand that is still holding her close. But she still hates him!
As the laughter died down, a sweet music started playing and couples are gathering in the middle of the room swaying to the music.
Richard reaches for Maya’s hand and looks at her before redirecting his attention back to his friends. “Excuse us, guys. I need some alone time with my girl. We will go and dance for a while. Enjoy the evening.” He nodded at them and stirs Maya out of the group and in to the middle of the room.
With Richard’s hands resting on her waist, and hers on his shoulders, they sway to the beautiful music for a bit before Richard broke the wonderful dream Maya is having.
“You ask me once what will I gain for helping you…”
Maya spaced out trying to remember that day.
“Well, I introduced you to her… You are actually helping me to win her back. Thank you.”
He leaned in to the point that his lips were close to her ears. Those words shattered her heart into pieces and now she admitted to herself that she fell in love with Richard. She fell so hard and he didn’t catch her.
“Now, after our dance I will propose to you. In front of her and our friends. You will say yes.”
HOW DARE HE COMMAND ME!
I DON’T WANT TO.
But that would also mean there would be sweet moments with him.
Everything is fake. Her feelings are real. This is Karma. Ano ba itong pinasok mo, Maya!
She wanted to cry, but she can’t.
She can’t look weak.
“Then, I am asking you for a kiss. Just one, don’t worry I won’t take advantage of you. But it’s okay if ayaw mo.”
He looks at her expectantly.
“It’s okay.” She said before thinking about it. Damn feelings. Her heart started to beat fast, like it’s excited for that kiss.
“Thank you, Maya.” He stares at her and gives her a grateful smile.
“You really love her. Siya ba yung pinapadalhan mo ng flowers?” She asks after a beat. She regretted the question once it escapes her mouth for she already knew the answer and she doesn’t want to hear it anymore.
“Yes. I’ll explain everything to you after this night, sweetheart.” He laughs and winks at her.
She laughs, a forced and fake laugh. This will be the best night of her life!
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