This Time – Chapter 8: We’re Engaged!

This Time
Chapter 8: We’re Engaged!

As the song near its end, Maya felt like she’s going to explode with excitement. After their dance, he will propose to her. A sudden and surprising plan of Richard which Maya, if she’s in her old self would never agreed into. However, from the moment that she accepted the fact that she likes him, she’s very willing to do whatever he wants as long as it would mean that she’ll be spending more time with him.

Even though it hurts to know that he’s in love with someone else.

She’ll deal with that later.

Richard continued to stare lovingly at her. Like she’s the most beautiful girl in the room. His eyes were glued at her face as if he’s studying her. For some reason, Maya couldn’t blame all herself on why she fell in love with this man. If he tried to keep his distance, instead of relentlessly teasing her about their pretend relationship, then she might not act like a stupid girl in love.

“it’s time, sweetheart.” He whispered as soon as the song ended. Maya ‘s knees felt weak just hearing his sweet voice. She could only nod with whatever’s coming next. She could swear that her heart will come out of her chest every step that they take while he steered her back to the table.

Richard’s friends remained seated while surreptitiously looking at them as they dance. Alexis watched them with envy. Her eyes burning with rage. Richard should only be hers alone. She knows that Richard still loves her just by observing him as he looks at her earlier. Alexis knew, he is still hers. He spent a lot of time and effort trying to win her back and it was just recently that he stopped from doing so. That is when, she guessed, is when he met Maya.

Maya is pretty, but not as gorgeous as her, Alexis thought. It is so easy to get Richard’s attention back. She fell out of love before and stood firm that she no longer loves Richard. But when she saw him with another woman, her heart was shattered into pieces. She’s so jealous. She never thought that she will feel such hurt again just by seeing Richard with someone else. And watching Maya and Richard dancing together added fuel to the fire. That should be her dancing sweetly with him and not just any ordinary woman.

Alexis smiled at Maya and Richard as they approaches their table. He smiled at everyone seated around the table while Maya’s eyes remained focus on the carpeted floor of the room. ‘Any moment now’ her mind kept on saying. Reminding her of what’s about to happen making all of her nerves shake. Biting her lower lip, she drew a sharp intake of breath as Richard shifted her body and lifted her face so she could see his beautiful face.

This is it.

He smiled ever so sweetly at her.

A classical music started playing somewhere, while other couple gathered around in the middle to dance again. She and Richard were already in front of the table. His one hand caressing her cheek, while the other is kept inside his pocket. And now, Maya knew, he will propose in front of his friends. An entertainment. A show for all of them to see.

“Sweetheart…” he pauses and grinned at her. Maya’s heart is beating so fast like as if any moment now it will leave her chest.

He slowly took her left hand, kissed it. Maya can feel Richard’s friends eyeing them. Their stares were like laser lights.

He kneeled down, lifted his eyes and stared through her soul, if that was even possible. She would definitely say yes even the question wasn’t still blurted out. She will say yes an marry this man who loves so greatly.

She knows how much love he could give. She will be the luckiest girl in the world.

But then, again… he is not in love with her.

This is just for a show.

Which she directed, somehow. And now, the producers seemed to give the project to someone else where the story line wasn’t good enough for Maya’s heart to handle. She can now foresee, this show would be the saddest story she would ever see in her entire life.

“Maya, will you marry me?” Gasps were heard from her friends, Maya could even feel some other businessmen watching them with shocked expressions. She can somehow read what’s running in their heads. This is the only time that they saw her, and now the great Richard Lim wants to marry her. She must’ve been a rare gem.

Maya blinked back the tears that ‘s about to run down her cheeks. She should be a professional actress. This is all her fault, why not go with the flow?

“Maya? Sweetheart?…” she heard Richard asks again, like as if he is scared that she’ll turn him down, or scared that she changed her mind in helping him win Alexis back.

“I know everything’s fast but it’s just that…” he tried to come up with some words that will somehow convince her into this. But Maya won’t have any of it. She doesn’t want to hear that he loves her, that he wanted to spend the rest of his life with her. Because it will hurt more hearing his lies.

That will be too much for her to handle.

Maya touched his lips with her thumb to silence him and reached his hand to make him stand up, she nodded before saying. “Yes.”

And if she could just capture this moment, his lips curving up in a huge smile, his strong arms engulfing her in a tight hug, and his fingers ever so gently slipping his engagement ring for her and sealing it with a kiss on her lips. She swear she tasted sweet and everything nice! She would definitely store this in her basin of memories. This is indeed one hell of a romantic proposal. Or so, maybe she though it was. Just because Richard had asked her. This is not as romantic as what she sees in movies or even in the internet, but whatever. She still couldn’t save a memory that is fake and a memory that whenever she remembers will surely break her heart.

For it will seemed like she was part of a fairy tale, and then she will wake up realizing that this is not real.

-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-

“Congrats, Chard!” Were thrown at him after their proposal scene earlier. His friends were hugging him, patting his back looking happy for him, even though Maya could’ve guessed that they weren’t that really happy. They are also pretending.

“Thank you, guys!” Richard smiles back at everyone looking dashingly handsome. He is very happy, as if he’d won the lottery. If everyone just knew the reason why he’s happy is because his plan worked.

Somehow, Maya knew that it worked. She’s also a woman, and she knows how a woman gets jealous. She could feel Alexis eyes burning with jealousy. If Alexis could only snatched Richard earlier and kiss him in front of everyone, Maya knows she would.

Maya wanted to hurt her more, so she stayed beside Richard the whole night, clinging onto him. She keeps their hands intertwined, her head on his shoulder. They looked like what a happy newly engaged couple should looked like. Maya could’ve kissed Richard again, but decided against it. For everything might end tonight. Alexis might get Richard back, in which Maya wasn’t ready yet. Oh heck, will she ever be ready?

“Congrats, Richard.” Maya heard Alexis sweetly told Richard before they went out of the building.

Maya is still beside Richard, their hands still intertwined. But as soon as Alexis touches Richard’s arm while she talks to him, he disengaged from her hold and smiled at Alexis. “Thank you.”

“Yeah, goodnight then.” Alexis once again said. Maya knows she’s stalling. Like as if she wanted him to talk to her more. Darn.

“um.. Where’s your driver?” they are now outside the building. Mang Lem, Richard’s driver whom he asked to go there and drive for them just arrived a few minutes ago and is waiting for them. Richard already handed the keys to him and fetches the car.

“Well, I asked my driver to leave earlier. Sasabay na lang sana ako Kay Jana, but then ayun, may biglaang lakad siya. Out of the way na din so sabi ko I will just hail a cab.” She said. Maya can’t read whether she’s lying or not, but whatever she still thinks that Alexis is lying! Great.

“what?” in just one word, Maya could clearly hear his concern for her. “in this time? No way I will let you.” And as if he remembered I am beside him, he asked. “Right, sweetheart? Pwede naman siya sumabay sa atin Di ba?”

I looked at him, his eyes were pleading. As if begging me to agree. Like as if I have the right to say no!
Alexis must have been congratulating her self now. Maya wanted to cry and curse and sulk. But she couldn’t. She just can’t.

“I mean, I know meron kang curfew so uunahin na kitang ihatid, your mom might get worried.” Maya doesn’t know if it’s a suggestion or an order. Things get worse every time she doesn’t talk.

“Nakakahiya naman, Chard. Okay lang naman ako. I will be fine. May grab a car naman para mas safe.” Good! Maya would really suggest that if only she can.

“it is really just fine, Alexis. And besides on the way na din naman yun pauwi.” Richard looks at me then back to Alexis. As if I have a choice.

She gathered all her strength before answering “okay lang, Alexis. Sabay ka na. Gabi na masyado eh.” She tried to smile at her then she reaches for Richard’s arm. “Hatid na natin siya. I also want to make sure that she will be home safely.” She said sweetly at Richard. Crushing the victory that Alexis must have known she already has. “ako na bahala magexplain Kay mommy if malelate ako ng konti.”

“okay then, it’s settled. Let’s go.”

Richard opened the passenger seat for Alexis while Maya’s door was opened by Many Lem. This wasn’t left unnoticed by Alexis. She hid a smile as she settles down inside.

Maya could feel Richard slowly fading from her side. He slips inside the car beside her. Maya took his arm, loops her arm in his and rests her head on his shoulder. She will sleep. And everything will be okay, at least in her dreams.
—————-*****************——————-

A/N: hiiii!! I am back. Haha sorry, sobrang busy lang. I will finish this story, promise. Thank you for reading and for reminding me to write. Haha!  🙂 *huuuugs*

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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. 🙂 🙂 🙂

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.
~~~

The One That Got Away Chapter 24: Leaving

Chapter 24: Leaving

Two more days were left before Maya, Abby and her parents will go back to Canada. And after Richard had talked to Maya three days ago about his disagreement on filing for an annulment, Richard had been a very constant person in their family.

At five in the morning, Richard will text her a good morning and I love you. Not only that, because at such time of the day he is already inside Maya’s house. Richard would cook their breakfast much to her surprise. Well, of course he couldn’t cook. One time he prepared an omellete and bacon for her and all were burned but still were edible.

Richard spent most of his time inside their house taking good care of Abby. She allowed him to spend most of his time with their baby because they will be separated for a long time once they headed back to Canada.

This day, however is the last day of Tom in Manila for he will be coming back in Canada a day earlier. Days after Tom and Richard had a fight, Maya asked Tom to distance himself on her first. He obeyed and didn’t visited her for the next days but still texted and called her all the time. He just keep his day busy exploring museums and theater plays around Manila.

Tom asked her out on a date before his early flight the next day. Although he will only leave her a day early, he still couldn’t help it but to miss her and to fear that someone will snatch her away from him. It scared him more that what he and Maya was, is still unclear to him. He is not assured that she indeed loves him the way that he does and he is afraid to ask because he is also scared that she might answer him with a response that he doesn’t want to hear.

Tom remained quiet after he parked his car on the side of the street outside Maya’s gate. Questions he is afraid to ask were flooding in his head.

Maya noticed how quiet Tom had been during their dinner. He is not his own self this night and she has a hunch on why he is acting like this.

“Maya…” Tom started to get Maya’s attention and cleared his throat before continuing “I… I will miss you.” He told her, his love for her is evident with just the way that he blurted those words. That is what Maya likes about him, he loves her so much that she is assured that he will never hurt her and she won’t shed a tear if she’s with him.

“Ano ka ba naman, isang araw lang naman inaga ng uwi mo sa’min.” She laughs

But his eyes remained sad, unsure if he should say those things that worries him. “But…” He sighs

Knowing that he is bothered by something, Maya touched his hand and squeezes it to encourage him to talk some more. “What is it, Tom?”

He exhaled and tightened his grip on the steering wheel before he had the courage to continue. “It is just that… Are you… Will you.. Will you really leave him for good?”

His question didn’t surprise her. She knows he is scared and she can’t blame him. She is not his and she never gave him an assurance. They are just dating, nothing more. “Tom, Richard is and forever will be part of my life. We have Abby.”

“I know, but I can be a father to Abby, too.”

“You have been a good father to Abby when we’re in Canada. You showered her with love and I thank you for that but the thing is, si Richard ang daddy nya. Hindi ko naman pwedeng ipagkait yun sa kanya.” She explained while still holding his right hand

“Pwede naman nyang dalawin yung bata, he can provide her with her needs but can’t he just stay away from you?” There he said it. He hates it when Richard is near Maya the same way how Richard hates Tom when he is with Maya.

“Yun naman talaga yung plan eh. I am here for Abby. We are talking because of Abby. Yun lang.”

“That is not how I see it, Maya. I know that he still loves you and you love him.” He stared into her eyes to see that even her eyes still mirrors her love for Richard.

“That is not true!” She looks away and sighs “Tom, hindi ako umaasa na magkakabalikan pa kami kasi desidido na ako na layuan siya. Uuwi kami ni Abby sa susunod na araw, yun na yon. Ngayon kung marami kang iniisip na iba, hindi ko na problema yun. Kung hindi mo kayang makita si Richard na part ng buhay ko dahil kay Abby at kung palagi kang magseselos, eh di wag na lang natin ituloy kung ano mang nasimulan natin. I think we are better off as friends.” She keeps her gaze back on the empty road of the village and unbuckled her seatbelt but before she can reach out for the door, Tom held her hand

“Wait. I am so sorry, I don’t want us to be just friends Maya… J-just please…” His voice is breaking. Maya settled back on her seat and turned his head to look at him. They are staring at each other before Tom asked her something which she doesn’t know if she can say.

“I want an assurance Maya… Just tell me that you love me and I will go back to Canada tomorrow morning feeling better. Yun lang just say that you love me and I will be secured.” He is close to tears because he knows that asking her to do so is very risky. No matter how much she denies it, he is sure that she is still in love with her husband. No mask can hide it.

Maya felt cold. She doesn’t know if she really loves him or even if what she feels is close to love. She likes him, all right. But still, she doesn’t know if she should tell him that she loves him just so that he could stop with this. She doesn’t want to hurt a good man who only wants to love her with all of his heart.

“I- I…” Maya started while Tom waited patiently for her to continue.

“Tom.. Y-you do know that we are still getting to know each other, right? I am still not that sure and I –”

Tom cut her off with him kissing her hand. “You don’t have to continue Maya. I already got my answer. If anything goes wrong, always remember that I will still be here for you and will still love you. OK?”

“What are you saying?” She asked, confused with his action

“It’s OK, I will be fine. It is getting late pumasok ka na sa loob baka miss ka na ni Abby.” He smiled at her before he went out of the car to open the car door for Maya. “I had a good time. I will see you soon.” He kissed her cheek before he left her standing at the side of the street staring at his car.
~~~~~~

“Ginabi ka ata?” Richard appeared from upstairs as soon as she opened the front door. She rolled her eyes at the sight of him. She is pissed at the sound of his question as if he’s mad at her for going home late. She should have remind it every single day to him that they are over.

“Ano namang problema dun?” She asked as she clutches her bag. Richard stared at her and hated her for wearing shorts and sleeveless in the evening. She could catch a cold and that monster could have feasted on her. Damn.

“Abby is waiting for you. Anong oras na siya nakatulog and I bet it is because wala ka pa.” He crossed his arms trying to keep his emotion in check as he is already boiling in anger when he saw Tom’s car outside earlier. He is jealous and he hates Maya for removing that right from him.

“Natraffic kami. Anyway, I don’t have to explain myself to you matutulog na ako. Umuwi ka na din dahil gabi na.” She said then headed upstairs to her bedroom

Richard grabbed her arm to stop her. “I am your husband! I have the right to know where you are and even the right to get jealous when you are spending the night with someone else! Tell me, kaya ka ba nalate ng uwi and hindi inintindi si Abby because dumaan pa kayo somewhere dark ni Tom?!” Richard lost his temper when Maya didn’t seem to care for his feelings. Anger and jealousy took over. He yelled at her and had said harsh words which earned a slap from Maya.

Richard instinctively touch his left cheek where Maya’s hand landed. Both stared right into each other’s eyes. “Huwag na huwag mong ibibintang sa’kin yung mga bagay na ginawa mo noon! I never confronted you before kahit na aware akong may ginagawa kang mali. Kahit masakit tiniis ko lahat. Ngayon, natatakot kang baka ginagawa ko yung ginawa mo noon?” Maya smirked “you are pathetic. And damn you to think na I don’t care for my daughter. Palagi ko siyang iniisip that is why I gave you a freaking chance na makasama siya! But I never gave you such right para pakielaman ang buhay ko! I will file an annulment and you will sign it! Leave me alone!”

“Is that what you really want?” He asked calmly, his eyes were close to tears. He is losing her again, and this time he won’t be able to get her back.

“YES! Leave me alone!” Maya shouted at him and half run upstairs leaving Richard at the foot of the stairs staring at nowhere.

He closes his eyes as he realized that he messed up again. Big time.
~~~~~

It is two in the afternoon when Maya decided to go to the mall for a last minute shopping for her co-workers in Canada. She tried so hard not to remind herself of what had happened yesterday and this alone time might help herself from forgetting.

But she’s wrong. So wrong. Because when she took a turn inside a boutique, her eyes locked with someone from her nightmares. The last woman on earth that she would want to see. It’s Sandy, standing infront of her with a surprised look but later on her lips curved up in a smile and apparent delight.

“Hi, Maya.” She greeted “how are you? It’s good to see you! Finally! Gusto sana kasi kita talaga makausap, kaso sabi ni Richard hindi ka daw niya makita.” She told her.

Maya stared at her and was shocked to know that Richard and her were still talking. “Nag-uusap kayo?” Maya asked her. She needs to know.

“Uh.. No!” She responded quickly as she sensed that she might have misinterpreted what she had said and might start another fight. Sandy doesn’t want to ruin anything, not again. “But uh.. We did talked two months ago na ata? I am not sure. Basta I called him to talk. I asked forgiveness, dun ko natanong kung nasaan ka because gusto din kita makausap to say sorry. I have ruined a relationship.” Sandy reached for her hand. Maya saw the sincerity in her eyes and at that point, the hatred that she felt for her lessened.

“You actually didn’t ruin anything. Our relationship is not founded with love. Fix marriage lang kami so I don’t think you need to say sorry.”

Sandy smiled at her and looked away. “No, Maya. Richard loves you. He really does. Kahit nung kami pa he adores you. In denial lang siya but.. Mahal ka niya. I think we have something in common at first sight, I don’t know, but yun yung pakiramdam ko.”

“The day that we met, I was crying sa coffee shop. Then one day, I asked him kung paano kayo nagkakilala and he said, you were childhood friends. You know what? He was smiling the whole time na kinwento nya na nung first day na pinakilala kayo, you were playing tea party with your dolls sa garden nyo but you were crying so hard that is why lumapit siya and joined you. He kept you company.” She pauses and shrugged “I think after hearing that story, and with the look on his face, alam ko na nung araw na nagkakilala kami, somehow he remembered the day that the two of you met. But during those times, I am so in love with him na ayoko pansinin yung nakita ko.”

Maya bowed her head and wiped away the tears that fell from her eyes. She hates it how Richard can make her feel this way. “I.. I don’t think that would change anything now Sandy. It’s over.”

Sandy squeezes her hand. “Please Maya, nung huli kong nakita si Richard he is so sad. He loves you so much. I can see that you love him, too. Give him aanother chance to prove himself. Nung araw na nakipag-usap ako sa’yo, galit na galit ako sa’yo kasi iniwasan na ako ni Richard. He left me telling me na ikaw yung mahal nya noon pa. Na he was a fool not to notice that his heart is beating only for you. Takot lang siya na masaktan nya yung babaeng pinrotektahan nya simula pagkabata but then he ended up hurting you still. He had learned his lesson Maya. Give him another chance.”
~~~~

guys, yung susunod dito would be the last chapter. Then after TOTGA, IHIP naman tatapusin ko but I will post a new story. 🙂 thank you for reading. Btw, pls pray for my daddy’s soul. And also for our Aud subj.

The One That Got Away- Chapter 17: What Happens Next

Chapter 17: What Happens Next

this is not that long and things won’t be that clear..but soon, things will be. What happened in between…

_______

He found it impossible to sleep that night. He woke up bathed in sweat even though the storm is lashing on the whole city outside.

He dozed off and woke up again several times. But the same scene inside his head endlessly repeated itself. He has been dreaming about that scene almost every night.

Maya.

Her beautiful face that anyone would be lucky to look at everyday, Her sweet smile that would melt your heart, her eyes that is like a magnet once your own eyes lay on hers attracting your whole body and even mirrors her own soul.

He couldn’t stop thinking about her. Hell! It feels like hell every single day without her since that rainy evening a year ago.

He blankly stares at the ceiling while he lazily lays on his bed, hoping that another day of misery will soon come to an end.

He never thought he could miss someone like this before. He’s been used to her being around whenever he needs her. And now she’s gone. Gone for now but he is sure, not forever.

Maya, wherever you are right now, please.. Please tell me. I miss you teribly.

He sent her a text message for the nth time. He usually does that whenever he wakes up early in the morning. Even though he was sure that she already had changed her number, he still doesn’t want to let that one last hope of his to slip away. Silently praying that she is still using the same number and is reading all of his messages every day. He imagined her face brightening up after reading his texts. He smiled with the thought as well. Hell! He’s beginning to go crazy!

He is staring at the screen of his laptop that morning without having breakfast. He’s used to it, especially after Maya left him he would spend a day without eating that much. His whole day focused in his work.

Completely ignoring the world, his mother came inside his home office after knocking, but Richard didn’t hear any of her knocks. “Son, we are leaving now.” Esmeralda sat on the chair in front of him. Behind those eyeglasses, his mother can see deep within his eyes all the pain that he’s feeling. But she cannot do anything. And for a mother like her, it hurts her like hell.

Without even looking up from his screen, Richard only gave a nod.

“Ricky, we will be back soon. 1 week lang kami sa Canada. A..alam mo naman na may inaayos kami dun na business deal di ba?” Her mother keeps on telling him this everytime she will leave him to go to Canada with his father. As if to check whether he is listening. Esmeralda, together with her husband went to Canada for the fourth time this time with the same reason.

“Yes, Ma I know. I’ll be fine.”

“If you want, Ricky, you could go with us and have a short break, you know?”

He didn’t respond right away. Sure, he also wanted to have some break. But a vacation would only give him more time to think about her. Indeed, that will only make him crazy.

He took a deep breath. Words couldn’t come out of his throat right away. “I’m fine, Ma. Don’t worry about me.” He forced a smile for his mom to see. But a mother knows you very well. She knows that he’s not okay. After all this time.. He had suffered a lot. She wanted to know what happened to them.. But he never answered her. And for the past year, all he keeps on telling her is that, he will fix things because he loves her.

And what his parents doesn’t know, is that Richard is also clueless on what is the real reason on why Maya left him that night.

Damn! One agonizing year had passed and still, no one can tell him where Maya is. He tried asking his parents, but they were clueless. Afterall, they don’t know what happened. He even asked them to call Maya’s parents, but they too can no longer be found. He’s sure that she left the country, maybe with her parents. He searched for her in the Philippines, but he couldn’t find her. How long would it take him to search the rest of the world? Someone please? Can someone just tell him how long? That could take forever. And he’s dying with the thought of that.

His mother stood up after a few minutes of silence. “Sige anak, I’ll see you after a week. Wag kang magpapagutom ha?” She kissed him on the cheek and left afterwards.
~~~~~

“Bro?”

“Chard!”

“Any good news? Have you seen her?” He asked, hope was evident in his voice. His friend, Ryan has been helping him all this year searching for his wife.

“Negative. She’s not in Cebu, nor in Palawan. Bro, aren’t you losing hope?”

“No.” Was his quick response

“Kung sana kasi nakinig ka sa’kin simula pa lang…”

“Bro!” He cut him off. “I don’t want to be reminded of what happened, okay? Now kung wala ka namang magandang ibabalita, just don’t call.” He pressed the end call button and threw his phone on his bed. Damn! He’s so exhausted.

He leans his head on the headboard of their bed and closes his eyes.
~~~~

“Mom, anong oras daw po dadating?” Maya asked her mother for the nth time. She’s sweating the whole time, although the weather is usually cold that day. Maybe it’s because she’s nervous. Yes, she sure is.

“Mga gabi na anak. Sasama ka pa ba?”

“O-opo.” She answered. Unsure whether her decision was final.

“Sigurado ka?” She checked. Alright! Her mother had noticed.

Maya turned to look at her left side and back to her mom before giving her mother a tentative smile “Yes.”

“Huwag kang kabahan anak ah? Hindi ka namin pinipilit kung ayaw mo. Kami na lang ng daddy mo ang kakausap.”

“Ma, nakapag-decide na po ako. I think tama din naman po ito di ba?”

Her mother nodded “Oo, ‘nak. Tama ‘to.”

“Yes, Ma. I think it’s time.” Maya turned to look at her left side again and smiled at what she saw. “Yes. It’s the right time. We’ll take things slow.”
~~~~

His phone rang so loud that it woke him up from his deep sleep. His eyes slowly opened as it tries to adjust from the sunlight coming from his window.

He reached for his phone on the bed side table, and without even looking who the caller was, he pressed the button and accepted the call.

“Hi.” He remembered the voice, alright. He was awake. He wasn’t dreaming. He could still remember that voice, the same voice that he wanted to hear way back then.

“Uh.. I-is th-this.. ” Somehow, her name couldn’t come out of his mouth. His tongue couldn’t pronounce her name.

“Yes, Richard.. It’s me.. This is Sandy. Remember me?” Her voice was soft..gentle, even.

Suddenly, a cold wind touches his spine even though only the air conditioning inside his room could be felt and the windows are closed. As if a ghost of his past came to visit and haunt him one more time.

“Yes, I do. Why did you called?” He had to know, but his voice was as gentle as hers because he knows that he is the one to blame with everything, not her.

They had parted ways and as long as he could remember, they didn’t end things well. It was such a dramatic night. And things didn’t went good after that. So they are not okay, why is she calling him again?

“Kamusta?” Yeah. And now she’s checking him.

“Not that good. How about you?” At least, he still should be nice.

“Same. Not that good. But hey, I have a flight. I just checked whether this is still your number. We have to talk. About things… Uh.. Just.. Uh.. I will just call you again, Chard. I will call you. Bye.” She ended the call right away without waiting for Richard to respond.

It made him more curious. What else should they talk about? Is their set up already enough? Oh yes, maybe she’ll say sorry. But he shouldn’t be. He’s the one to blame. It’s all his fault. He sighed and rubbed his temple. For sure, he will have a headache for the rest of the day.
~~~~~

“Hello, son!” Esmeralda called him later that morning.

“Hi, Ma.” His voice was a give-away that he is not feeling well.

“Hey, are you sick?”

“Oh. No. No. I’m just still sleepy. Anyway, nasa Canada na kayo?”

“Well, yes. We just arrived. I called you right away to check on you. You should have your breakfast, okay?”

“Yes, Ma. Don’t worry about me. Enjoy your business trip.” He replied while standing up to prepare for work.

“Alright. Anyway, if ever you decided to have a vacation, just tell me. I will make some arrangements. Kami na bahala ng dad mo if you’re concerned of your work..”

“Ma, I said I’m fine. I don’t need a vacation. Don’t worry. Anyway, I need to hurry, I still have a meeting. Bye.” He hung up. He knows that the conversation will take forever. His mother would always insist on giving him a break. But he doesn’t need that, all he needs is his wife.

But he doesn’t know where to find her. And again, after being reminded of being left alone, his head throbbed in pain. Too much stress would kill him!
~~~~~

“So how was he?” Roberto asked his wife as their car drove the busy streets of the country.

“He said he’s fine. But I know that he is not.” Her face has a sullen look. She’s very concerned of her son.

Roberto reaches for her hand and squeezes it. “Don’t worry, everything will soon be really fine.”

She nodded and sighed “I hope so.”

“We should hope for the best with this trip. It sure will be worth it.”

The couple then went silent as their mind went busy with their own thoughts on what will happen next. They are still hoping for the best. They believe so much of what love can do. True love can build a bridge just to connect two people wherever they are. And if that bridge just collapsed, it sure will be rebuilt again for a continuous flow of their love story.

They will cling on to that. Because indeed, there is no such thing as happily ever after but you have to keep on believing, and that will make you feel alright. Even just for a while.
~~~~~

I know, I know. Haha. I left some hints that will be figured out on the next chapters. You can decipher, I know. Most of the time you guys knows what will happen. Thank you po for reading and waiting for updates. 😀 🙂

The One That Got Away: Chapter 16: Weekend Get Away

Chapter 16: Weekend Get Away

He cancelled their date for the nth time. Sandy has that look on her face like as if she will kill someone at the moment.

She’s very upset on how things had turned out between the two of them. Richard is not like this before. He would stay with her no matter what. But these past few days, it seemed as though Richard is always busy with something. He would say that it’s work related but she feels that there is something more.

She swear, she will find out soon!
~~~

“I..I. I’m sorry.” He said, holding her arm tight not ever wanting to let go. “Y-you’ve been a wonderful wife Maya and.. I- I don’t know why.. Ev-everything just happened..”

“So hindi mo sinasadya? Ricky, alam ko naman na nung ikasal tayo, kaibigan lang ang tingin mo sa’kin eh. Pero sana sinabi mo. Sinabi mo sana na, ‘Hi Maya! Tama na, wag mo na gawing mukhang tanga ang sarili mo kasi.. Kasi.. Wala. Hindi talaga kita mamahalin kahit kailan.’ E di sana Richard nagpaubaya na ako! Sana lumayo na ako!” She broke down. She cried so hard and yelled at him. Richard’s eyes grew big, he hasn’t seen her mad like this ever. He pulled her arm and tried to embrace her but she pushed him away.

A deafening silence ensued. They just stood there facing each other. Maya is furious while Richard is apologetic.

“Maya.. Please. I’m sorry. I don’t want you to go anywhere. Okay? Let’s fix things.” He pleaded while reaching for her hand but she kept mum. For the first time, he is afraid of something. He is afraid that she’ll leave him.

“Tumawag si Mom kanina, she told me that we will use one van for our family trip to Tagaytay. I told them it’s okay… Okay lang naman di ba?” He asked. He doesn’t know how he can pacify her. He just hopes that she is still willing to go with them to their planned trip.

“It’s actually better.” She said and went upstairs. She’s right. It’s better that way. He also doesn’t want to bear the awkward silence that they will share if the two of them will be sharing one car. Also, he doesn’t want to take the risk of Maya not joining them because of their problem right now. He want to spend time with her. He’s so sorry.

When she left him standing there, he realized that she loves her even way back then. He is so stupid that his eyes didn’t see the woman of his life all this time. Something that had passed before his eyes but he was so busy to notice.
~~~

She stares at the mirror scrutinizing her face. She is still beautiful, given that her eyes were puffy from crying. She is nice to everyone. She is sweet. What did that girl of Richard have that she doesn’t have?! She started crying again with the thought of that girl. She wondered what she looked like. Is that the same girl that Liza informed her months ago?

A day before their trip to Tagaytay, they had been very civil in the house. Anyway, they never had been that sweet so it is not that hard to pretend that they’re okay.

Maya packed her things as well as Richard’s. She is still attending to his needs even though they are not okay. She is still his wife after all.

Richard has been receiving a lot of calls and messages that day but he turned his phone off, he doesn’t want to attract Maya’s attention and to add fuel to the fire.
~~~

The honking of the van outside their house indicates the arrival of their parents. As they saw their parents, they settled in. They occupied the last seats at the back of the van and off they go.

Maya wandered her eyes outside the window. Hoping that every place that they passed through would make her mind divert its attention. Somehow, she can’t breathe with Richard that close to her. Before, the reason is because she is giddy, but now, it’s because she is furious. She wondered if Richard and Sandy are still talking and the scenario last time was all just for a show. Ha! They must have been laughing at her stupidity right now!

Richard, on the other hand is gazing at Maya who is seated beside him. She seemed so far away. Cannot be reached. The impact of what he did is now affecting their relationship, as friends and as husband and wife. He knows he is in trouble.

His phone kept on ringing and beeping every now and then again. It’s Sandy, of course. He just can’t talk to her right now. He cannot give in to talking to her again, he is still not sure of how much she can affect him. So he left his phone at home instead and spend the weekend with his wife without thinking of Sandy. He knows that he should talk to her soon, but not now. Not today. Not this weekend with his family. He badly needs this chance.

“Maya, anak, saan mo ba gusto dun pumasyal muna? Dumaan na muna tayo duon bago sa hotel? Or gusto nyo muna sa hotel bago mamasyal?” Her mother asked her. But her mind is already traveling in outer space.

“Maya, sweetheart, mom’s asking you.” Richard whispered to her ear that startled her. The term sweetheart makes her insides twist. She wanted to throw up! “Ah! Ma, sorry, ano ulit yun?” She asked.

“Sabi ko, kung gusto mo muna ba mamasyal o magpahinga muna sa hotel. Tutal ikaw ang may gusto ng sa Tagaytay tayo kaya alam ko na may gusto kang puntahan.” Yes, she suggested this trip. She wanted to spend the whole weekend with Richard, share memories with him. But this time, she hates being so close to him. The heck! How ironic.

“Mamasyal na lang po tayo muna saglit Ma, tapos kain na din ng lunch sa labas.” She suggested. Duh. She doesn’t want to rest in the hotel because she knows, she will be staying the same room with Richard. She hates alone time with him.

“Okay, ‘nak. Mang Lem, sa picnic grove na muna tayo.”
~~~~

“Ma’am, sir, horse ride po? Mura lang po! For 30 minutes.” A guy approched them as soon as they set their feet on the ground of the picnic grove. The place is really refreshing with the trees and the cold weather. A good place to keep her mind off things.

“Gusto mong sumakay sa horse?” She jolted up when she heard him beside her. Crap. He is always there when she doesn’t want him to be close to her.

“Nope. I’m not a kid anymore.”

“It’s fun, Maya. And it’s not just for kids. Right, Ma?” He turned to look at his parents. Their parents are busy taking pictures and laughing at each other at the moment. He wondered when him and Maya will be like that. Great. Now he is thinking of a wonderful life with her. He should’ve realized this at the early stage of their marriage. Things won’t be this complicated then.

“Ha?” His mother asked as she was momentarily surprised with the question. She was busy taking pictures that she didn’t notice about other else’s prescence. “Oh. Yes, of course. Kami nga din we would love to ride the horse. Kaso lang medyo we are old enough for that. Kaya kayo na lang ni Maya. Go ahead.” She answered when she took a moment to realize his question.

“See? So let’s go? 30 minutes lang naman oh.”

“Opo ma’am, masaya po yun. Pagbigyan nyo na po si sir.” The man with his horse behind him added.

She would love to say no. Only if her mother didn’t pushed her to go. “Oo nga anak. Sige na. Hihintayin namin kayo ni Richard. Para naman magenjoy kayong mag-asawa.”
~~~

Minutes after she agreed to ride a horse, they were led to the place where horses are waiting for them. People are gathered there, some are riding the horse while those on the side are watching their kids and friends enjoying the ride.

They were given two horses. Maya was afraid at first because her horse is not as behave as it should be, but when Richard suggested that the two of them could take one horse so that he can help her, she immediately declined his offer.

A circular path is the only way the horses would go. It will only walk in cirlces for 30 minutes. Whenever they would pass by the side where their parents are waiting for them, their mothers would ask to take photos of them in which Richard gladly posed for some. Richard was all smiles, like a kid enjoying his first horse ride while Maya forced a smile in their pictures.

“Ma’am, Sir, kung gusto po ninyo pwede po namin kayo ipasyal sa labas sa may pineapple farm additional bayad na lang po yun.” The man who takes care of their horses asked them when the good thirty-minute ride was over.

“No thanks.” “Sure!” The two answered at the same time.

“Ano po? Oo po ba o hindi?” The man was confused as he scratches his head with their answer.

“Yes. My wife and I would love that. Just give us few minutes to inform our parents.” Richard beat her to answer the man. Maya was annoyed but she doesn’t know why she cannot argue. Maybe she’s just so tired of avoiding him and wanted to enjoy the weekend instead.
~~~

Maya couldn’t be more surprised when she found out that they will be sharing only one horse. She cannot argue when she saw her parents looking lovingly at them. This is all a bad idea, so she thought. Anyway, it’s only for thirty minutes and they won’t be alone because two guys will accompany them and will lead their way towards the farm.

However, the proximity of their bodies make her feel uneasy. His chest behind her makes her want ti hug him. Mixed emotions are bubbling up once again. She tried so hard to divert her attention to the view around them.

“Ma’am, Sir, ito po yung pineapple farm. Pwede po muna tayo magstay para magpicture kayo.”

Richard went down first and then he helped Maya. She was amazed by the number of pineapple before her eyes. She gasped as the beautiful picture perfect scene is laid for her to see. She walked towards it holding her phone to take pictures.

Richard smiled behind her, enjoying watching his wife. As she was busy walking and smiling, Richard got an idea. He talked to the men who accompanied them and went back to where Maya is.

She lifted her eyes from her phone when she felt that someone is beside her. And when she did, she saw Richard smiling at her.

“What?”

“W-what? Bakit?” He repeated

She rolled her eyes at him. When her eyes darted back on the path that they are in, she no longer saw the horses and the guys there. Great!

“Hala!! Nasaan na sila kuya tska yung mga kabayo?” She panicked.

He played innocent and started looking around as well. “I don’t know.” He shrugged

“Bakit nila tayo iniwan?! Ano ba yan!” She started walking so Richard held her hand to stop her

“Where are you going?”

“Babalik ako.”

“What? You’ll walk? Paano kung maligaw ka?”

“Let’s just stay here. Baka naglakad yung horses so they followed them” he smiled

“Wow ha! So anong gagawin natin dito?”

He paused for a while and held her hand tighter. “We’ll talk.”
~~~~~
Thursday. The night before Richard and Maya fought. After realizing that maybe Richard is really that busy that’s why he cancelled their date, Sandy tried to reach him.

She has been calling Richard’s mobile phone for the nth time. Tears were starting to form that soon enough will fall from her eyes.

He is not answering his phone. Again.
~~~~

Maya stared back at him. Oh no. This is the scene that she’s been avoiding. Alone time. She is supposed to be mad! She is still, but he has been doing things that made her walls to crash. She is just way too in love with him. Stupid even. And she has been avoiding him for she is afraid that she’ll end up believing him again. In which, she is very sure that she will.

“Kanina pa kita kinakausap ano namang dapat pag-usapan pa?” She pulled her hand away from his hold trying so hard not to give in that easy.

“Maya, I want to know how mad you are. I wanted to apologize and.. I want you to forgive me.”

“Wow.” She muttered sarcastically

“.. I swear I never did talked to her again. Although.. Of course I should still but..but just to close everything.”

“I haven’t realized how much you mean to me. Nung naging close tayo, in a romantic sense, I felt that..this marriage is not that pointless.”

He breathed deep to gain more courage. She’s staring at her feet and didn’t dare to talk but he knows that she’s listening. “I’ll be true to you, Maya. I wasn’t tempted. When I saw her I don’t know what I just felt. Love? Attraction? Honestly, I don’t know. But maybe I did felt something because I believed that you and I are not for each other. That one day, I will cross paths to someone who will make my heart flutter with so much joy and that is what I thought I felt towards Sandy. However, I didn’t realize that I’ve already known the woman God had promised me all my life.”

He gazes lovingly at her. He meant every word that he said. Tears rolled down her face but still she cannot look straight to his eyes. She is happy to know that he loves her but the fact that he did felt something to that girl hurts like hell. “Please, say something Maya. I am slowly dying with your silence. Hurt me all you want right now. But please say something.”

They were alone there. With only the wind lashing on them as their company. It would have been a romantic place. A perfect place to be with the one you love. But not fighting on something that he has done.
~~~~~

Sandy stood up from the couch inside her condo unit. Dialed Richard’s mobile again. Stupid to think that maybe his battery was low on battery and that he is saving it. Maybe he’s home now from the office and his phone might be turned on.

Stupid. Stupid! She’s so stupid to believe it.
~~~~~

Finally, she lifted her eyes and glares at him. Without any hesitation, she started pouncing on him on his chest. Crying with every throw of her fists. All her life, she wanted to be loved by this man. How could he realize everything after inflicting so much pain? Does he really have to do that? She doesn’t deserve it!

Richard accepted her punches even though it hurts him. It cannot match all the pain that he’s given her. When she’s done throwing punches at him and was left sobbing, he enveloped Maya in a tight embrace. Feeling sorry for all the painful things that he has done. “I’m so sorry.” He muttered and planted a kiss on her head. “I am really sorry..”

Maya cried harder after hearing him asking for her forgiveness. Why can’t her heart stop from loving him? Why is she that stupid? Her heart and mind were fighting on what to do. Unable to decide whether to accept him again. He has been honest to her. He even broke up with the girl. Is she that dumb if she will still accept him? What can she do? She loves him so much.
~~~~~
Sandy dialed again. She’s having that weird feeling that she cannot explain. She’s troubled.

His phone is ringing again after trying her luck another time. Hoping that he will answer this time.

And so he answered! Her heart leaped with joy!

But before she could utter a single hello, his voice roared in the line as if he’s in a hurry, as if he’s mad. As if he’s breaking up. Oh wait. He just did. “Hello. I’m breaking up on you. Bye.”

Those words struck her like a lightning. She died inside. Wait. She checked her phone, maybe she dialed a wrong number! Maybe it’s a random number that she had dialed due to annoyance and irritation brought by Richard. Maybe she’s dreaming.

She tried to call him again. Cannot be reached. A voice kept on repeating that the number she dialed can no longer be reached.

She needed to breathe. Maybe Richard is just upset over something. Maybe he didn’t know that it’s her who’s calling him. Yes. That’s it. He doesn’t know that it was her.

She’ll send him a message and try to call him again later, or tomorrow. Yes. That is the best thing to do. Stop overthinking, Sandy. You will go crazy.
~~~~~

After a few, he felt her arms slowly enveloping him in a hug. He finally released his breath that he’s been holding. “I love you, Maya. We will start over again. I will do anything for you.”

“Okay.” She answered weakly. She is so tired of getting hurt and only wanted to be enveloped in his arms that day. The only place where she feels safe.
~~~~

“Goodmorning!” Richard greeted her under the covers of their bed. He’s been awake very early and has been scrutinizing every feature of his wife. Appreciating her beauty that he was so stupid not to notice all this time. “Breakfast?” He asked her as she kisses her forehead.

She nodded weakly and smiled at him. “Hey. What happened to your tongue? Simula kahapon di ka na nagsalita… Oh! No. Wait. You did say something.. Last night, you yelled my name while we’re…”

“Shut up!! Itigil mo yan kung ayaw mong magalit ako ulit sa’yo!” She blushed profusely with the thought of what they did the night after they had patched things up. She believes that Richard will be a better husband this time. She hopes so.

He grinned and pulled her back to the bed with him. “You know what? Why skip breakfast and just make up for our wasted time?” He winked at her before kissing her full on the lips.
~~~

Sunday was spend with their family. After a Sunday mass in Pink Sisters, they went to Sky Ranch. They were unseparable much to their parents delight.

Sure enough, Maya still cannot forget what Richard did. But she is trying to do so. Because she knows that reminding herself of the wrong things that one has done, cannot make her forgive at the same time.

At the Sky Ranch, their parents enjoyed the kiddie rides where adults can also ride while Maya and Richard enjoyed the Super Vikings. Maya couldn’t help but scream all through out, much to the amusement of Richard.

At the Sky Eye ferris wheel, the three couples insisted on riding three gondolas separately so that they could have some privacy with their partners.

The peacefulness of the place surrounds them. They were seated beside each other while holding hands, enjoying the company of each other.

“Ricky,.”

“Yes?” He stares at her. Loving the way her hair rested on her shoulders. She’s beyond beautiful so he gave her a quick kiss to satisfy himself.

She smiled. She missed this side of him. After they fought, she’s secretly missing those days before that “bouquet incident” happened where Richard and her are sweet. “Ka-kailan mo sya kakausapin?” She asked. Her eyes darted towards the view of the Taal volcano up from the Sky Eye.

He gulps and kisses her hand that he’s holding. “As soon as we’re back in Manila. Don’t worry, I will tell you when. Even the place. Every single detail. And I that will be the last time that we will see each other again, I promise.”

She nodded her head and turns back to him. “I will give you my trust again Ricky. I believe in you. Just don’t even try to break it again.”

“I promise I won’t.” He cups her face, tilted her chin, and closes his eyes before he claims her lips. They kissed so slowly inside the gondola. Not minding that the ride will end soon.

With their eyes closed, Maya rested her head on his shoulder while Richard rested his head on top of her head. They stayed there and waited until the ride stops. They are contented and happy with just being beside each other. Unaware of the surprise that the two of them will be facing soon enough. A surprise that will test and might even collapse the walls of their love that they newly built together. A storm that might tear them apart.
~~~

hellooooooo!!! :)) sorry if there are any errors sa chapter na ito. Di ko na chineck and all eh. I don’t know when will be my next update. Sorry if the update takes too long. Busy as a bee na talaga. Dami kong deadlines. Haha anyway, thank you for waiting! until next chapter! This will end soon.. Not that soon but yeah, soon. Hahaha *hugs* 🙂