Archive for July, 2014
‘The day has come’
Richard is already at the cafe, one hour before his and Maya’s agreed upon time. He chose the most secluded part of the cafe. He was too excited and too nervous to concentrate on his job so he decided to leave early after giving his secretary Liza the last contract he managed to review after several tries. He forgot to get Maya or Emman’s mobile number last Monday, but even so, he know deep in his heart that Maya will show up. He has a good feeling that after two years of despair, his life will be full of colors again.
Every time the door opens, Richard looks up, expecting Maya, though he knows he is too early for their meeting! To calm his nerves, he ordered his favorite coffee. But even his favorite brew failed to calm him. He tried distracting himself with the new game on his iPad, but he can’t concentrate on it, either.
The door opened again, and finally, it’s Maya. She is wearing a purple, sleeveless, classically cut, dress. She looks lovelier than the last time I saw her, Richard thought!
“Hi Richard! Have you been waiting long?” She greeted her with a smile that transformed her already lovely and serene face. “Ang aga mo. I thought, maaga na ako. Mas maaga ka pa pala sa akin!”
“Hi, Maya, good to see you! I can’t cocentrate na on work, kaya heto, I am early. Kumusta ka na, nakapagpahinga ka na ba ng maayos?” Richard said, as he stood up with a huge grin on his face. He is just so happy that she is finally here. “What would you like to have, still the same, americano? How about something to go with your coffee?”
“Yes, naku, nagtulog the past two days, iyan ang ginawa ko. Nagbabawi talaga sa pagod and whacked out body clock. And yes, it is still americano, and just that, no pastries, please. Thank you very much.” Maya replied as she tried to overcome her sudden nervousness. This is it, their moment of truth. Good thing the coffee shop is not full and most of the customers are glued to their gadgets as they sipped their favorite brew.
“Have a seat here, please.” Richard said as he pulled the chair opposite his for Maya. “Sandali lang, I will get your coffee, and a new one for me, as well.”
Richard returned after a couple of minutes with their steaming cups of coffee. Maya noticed that like her, his favorite has not changed, still americano. At first, they both quietly sipped their coffee. Richard broke the silence.
“Maya, how have you been the past two years?” He started as he look at her intently. “There was no news about your whereabouts. Even our classmates at the graduate school who also knew you quite well, and your old colleagues, I have talked to in my desperation, had no idea where you have been.”
“I’m okay Richard. I’m good. So much better than that day we last saw each other, and I guess, wiser and more mature. I have been to places I never thought I would see. I experienced things I never thought I would ever experience in my life. These places, and the people I met helped me grow and deal with the fact that you are not mine to have and that I should be thankful instead for the time we have spent together, of the special friendship. Some people never experiene it all. I know that now and I accepted that you belong to Alexandra.” Maya told Richard earnestly while unconsciously touching his arm.
“But Maya, there is something you should now, I’m not married! The wedding didn’t push through!” Richard revealed to Maya. He wanted her to know right away. He had been dying to tell her. “I wanted to tell you at the airport. But I felt that it is not something I should just blurt out, and it requires a lot of explanation. The airport was not the place to do so.”
“W-w-what, you’re not!!!!” Maya blurted out. At first she had hard time processing what Richard said as her heart jumped upon hearing the words that he is not married! “What happened?”
“I cant! After our meeting at the coffee shop, I just can’t go through it. But, you were already miles away when I realized it.” Richard said as he looked at Maya with an expression that made her heart beat faster and made her dizzy with feelings of anticipation she can’t fully described.
“Richard!” Maya said with so much feelings.”Why, what, how, please tell me?”
Richard took a deep breath, sipped his coffee to gather his thoughts while staring at Maya. Maya on the other hand, told Richard to go on and she will listen, unlike the last time they were together in this coffee shop.
“Maya, bear with me on this ha, please, mahaba-haba ito. I think I better start at the beginning and I just hope that you will understand and forgive my actions. First, the fact that I failed to tell you about Alexandra in all the time we have known each other. I did mention her but only in the context of being one of my long time friends. Remember me mentioning Alex and Jeff, one or two times? Well, you see, ‘Alex’ is short for Alexandra!” He continued and started to tell her things she thought she wouldn’t have a chance to hear anymore when they parted two years ago.
“Rafi and I knew Alex and her brother Jeff since we were kids. We were neighbors in Makati. We were inseparable during our childhood. My parents, Rafi’s mom and dad, Tito Patrick and Tita Helen, and the Trinidads were very good friends, and also business partners. As we grew up, us kids, remained the best of friends. We all went to the same grade school and high school. Jeff is same age as me and Rafi and Alex, a year younger than us. After we finished college, Jeff entered the seminary. He always wanted to be a priest and he prevailed over his parents’ objections – him being the only son that will carry the family name and the one who will run their business eventually. Jeff is now a priest, based in Cagayan de Oro City.
During college, Alex and I were thrown together a lot as she and I both went to the same university. Rafi went to a different one since she wanted to take up architecture. Jeff went to a university run by the religious order he wanted to join. Since Alex is a bit younger than me, I also look after her in school. Madalas din, we just carpooled. She wanted to take up law and took A.B. Political Science as her pre-law. Me, I was still stuck in the business course my father wanted for me. She knew I wanted to go to law school and encouraged me to pursue my dream of being a lawyer din. I did, in the end,, like I told you before. Alex and I developed feelings for each other, which at that time, we thought was romantic love. We have been together since my last year of law school. I thought that she and I are destined to be together. We thought we were in love and ready to settle down as we also have our law careers in common. Life, I thought was perfect, until one afternoon when this beautiful lady approached me and Ryan! And since then, my life shifted to a different, wonderful direction.”
Richard paused and took a sip of his coffee, while gauging Maya’s reaction to his explanation so far. She seems to be taking it well, he observed.
While Richard was saying his piece, Maya was listening intently to what Richard is unraveling to her, her coffee getting cold without her noticing it. For her, the pieces of the puzzle are starting to fit, but still not enough yet to get the whole picture of what really happened after she left to years ago.
“Maya,” Richard continued, “I was drawn to you from the start. You made my heart beat faster from the moment you smiled at me when we met, when you asked if the seat beside me was taken and introduced yourself. Then, when we were at the cafe after class, there were just times, without you noticing, but I think Ryan did, that I just stared at you and watched the emotions fleeting from your very expressive face, as you talked. You were so beautful, full of life, and innocent with your doe-shaped eyes and ready smile that reached your eyes and lit up your face! I didn’t want the day, and the night to end. I didn’t sleep well that night, at hindi dahil sa dami ng kapeng nainom natin!
“My feelings for you grew in the weeks that followed! At first, I tried to ignore it, deny it, and fight it as I know I already had an understanding with someone else, but it was stronger than my will. I found myself thinking about you even when I am busy with work. I looked forward to Saturdays and graduate school. Ryan knew, I think, but even if we are close friends, he didn’t ask me, probably he was waiting for the time I will tell him. Then suddenly, I realized I am in love you, hopelessly in love with you! It hit me when you were telling me a story about your very interesting interview with this old movie queen and the love of her life. Your face was so caught in their extraordinary love story, you glowed, your face animated, and it seemed like you ‘fell in love’ with their story too. I was so captivated by you!”
Maya is getting overwhelmed with emotions as she heard Richard’s confession. Richard loved her too! But she didn’t want to interrupt him. She wants to know eveything. She is also starting to hope that after this, there is a future for them.
“The day we went to the arcade? Remember that? I was struggling with my feelings, confused on what to do, but I just wanted to be with you, so I went to your house out of the blue. And the song I sang, I wanted to convey to you the state of my heart. I was so happy that afternoon with you, and then sa iba pa nating moments together. Iba talaga kapag ikaw ang kasama ko.
You see, even when Alex and I’s relationship is doing good, smooth sailing, there was something missing. It felt like we were the most compatible couple, but there was no spark! It felt like we were the best of friends instead of two people in a romantic relationship. Coupled with this, we got so busy with our successful careers, that we barely see each other. She flew to Mindanao and the Visayas regularly to see clients as her firm has offices there and also to visit Jeff. And me, I got so engrossed with my cases too. Still, we started planning for our wedding which our families approved of, expected of. For once, I wanted to do something my father will approve of. He is old and I didn’t want to upset the status quo. There were many times, I was really torn. I wanted to tell you but I can’t find the courage and the opportunity. I was also afraid that you might just think of me as a very good friend, anyway! I had those self-doubts! I was afraid to risk and find out if you feel the same for me, and what I can do about the complicated situation I was in. Me, who had taken risks with my professional life, didn’t want to take one with my personal life! I decided to escape my reality, buried myself in the sand, so to speak and just be with you in whatever capacity, sort of a parallel universe with you. I decided to hide my feelings and tried very hard to act as just a very good friend to you. I feel this is the least I could do as I don’t have anything to offer you. I didn’t want to take advantage of you. At the same time, I didn’t to be unfair to Alex too, and then, there’s my family. I just wanted to be with you. I am always very happy when I’m with you, so that’s what I did. I knew that there were moments that my feelings showed and you might have noticed, or maybe the people with us, sometimes, like Emman. I think, like Ryan, he knew what was happening. Please forgive me! I know I have not been fair to you, and to Alex too. I have been selfish and indecisive, and it boomeranged at me in the end.”
Richard stopped for a while, took a sip of his now cold coffee and continued, wanting to finish pouring his heart out to Maya, and hoping that they can still take it from there. Judging by Maya’s bare hands, she seems still unattached, like him. He really, really hope that they can have a future together after this.
“My heart was breaking when I brought you that save the date wedding card, wishing I could talk to you and we can deal with this together and that you can give me signs, answers, whatever that would just end the desolation I was feeling. When I looked at that invitation, I felt hemmed in and I needed to get out while I still can. Of course, you were not in your house, hence my call to you while in Camiguin, and everything went downhill from there.”
Note: Happy ‘weeksary’ to My Sunflower World yesterday! 🙂 Thank you very much again for reading my first story!
Maya looked at the lady who interrupted their conversation. She is lovely, classically beautiful. She has a face that will grow more beautiful as she ages. Maya assumed that this is Alexandra, Richard’s wife.
“Hi. Yes, I’m Maya Dela Rosa, I’m please to meet you, finally, Alexandra.” Maya offered her hand, trying to sound normal, and hide the mixed of emotions she is feeling at the moment.
“Oh, no, no, no, you got it wrong. I’m not Alexandra.” The lady corrected Maya. “I’m…..
“Maya, this Rafaella Alcantara, my cousin. The one I told you who moved to the States the year before we met.And yes, Rafi, this is Maya!” Richard finished the introduction. “Why didn’t you call me, para hindi ka na naghanap.”
“Chard, my phone died when I was about to board the plane in Singapore. Since I know you will be in the area we agreed on, I decided to look around na lang. Hi Maya, I am really glad we meet, finally! Call me Rafi, family and friends do.” Rafi said as she hugged Maya tightly as if she had known her a long time.
”I would like to get to know you better. If you have some free time when you are settled in, maybe we can have coffee?” Rafi added as she looked at Maya happily.
“Nice to meet you Rafi. S-s-sure, let’s have coffee soon.” Maya said uncertainly. It looked like Rafi knows a lot about her, judging by her seemingly familiarity with her, considering that they just met. Richard did talk about Rafi, a bit, when they were hanging out. They were very close as not only they are cousins, they are very good friends, barkada, and they have been classmates since grade school until high school. There were two other childhood friends Richard mentioned in passing, Alex and Jeff.
“Okay, then.” Rafi said brightly as Richard observed the interaction between his very bubbly cousin and the woman who have been haunting his thoughts and dreams since she dispappeared from his life. He knew that they will click right away when they finally meet, and not only because he had told Rafi so much about Maya, but because they have similar traits.
“Maya, I will see you soon.” He said as he looked at Maya meaningfully, as if he does not want her to be out of his sight again.
“Okay, Richard. Looking forward to seeing you again.” Maya said breathlessly. Ah, only him can do this to her, even if there can’t be anything more anymore. She does have a lot of questions for Richard, to clear the air and move on. “l’ll go ahead. Baka paalisin na si Emman doon sa temporary parking space and para makaalis na rin kayo ni Rafi. Nice to meet you Rafi. Ingat kayo. Bye.”
Maya proceeded to where Emman is. She waved at Richard as she got into Emman’s car. On the way to his condo, Emman was full of questions.
“Girl, ano naman ang napag-usapan niyo ni Atty. Richard? Imagine after all these years, nagkita ulit kayo at sa mismong araw pa ng muling pagtuntong ng mga lagalag mong paa dito sa Pinas! This must be fate! Itinadhana talaga kayo!”
“Huwag ka ngang ganyan, Emman. You know naman that Richard is married na. Di ba he was getting married two years ago. Kaya nga ako lumayo. Nakalimutan mo na ba!” Maya reminded Emman.
“Ha, ah eh, hindi mo nga pala alam! At hindi ko rin nasabi sa iyo dahil ayaw mong pag-usapan ang mga nangyari noong bigla ka na lang nag-alsa balutan. Sosyal ha, bessie, abroad ka agad-agad. Oh well, bahala na si Atty. Richard na magsabi sa iyo. For sure, magkikita kayo niyan. The way he was looking at you sa airport, mukhang sobrang inlababo pa rin sa iyo si Mr. Heartthrob Lawyer!” Emman said as he navigated the traffic from the airport to his condo in Ortigas.
“In love? At talagang hanggang ngayon, iyan pa rin ang posisyon mo ha? Ayaw mo lang yatang papinturahan ng blue iyang pink walls mo!” Maya half-jested, though she is very curious why Emman still believes that Richard has feelings for her beyond friendship, after all that had happened.
“Mayabels, Mayabels, nang mag-disappear ka, courtesy of your mana from your Papa Arturo, marami kang hindi nalaman. Basta, bahala na nga si Atty. Richard na magsabi. Kailan nga kayo magkikita? Sa tagal ng moment na ibinigay ko sa inyo sa airport, I am sure, nakapag-arrange na kayo ng date!”
“Date? Grabe ka naman. Hindi ah. Paano namang naging date eh married na siya, di ba? But yes, we will see each other on Wednesday, pero just to talk.” Maya confirmed. She really wanted to ask Emman what he knows, but decided to wait unti she sees Richard. She wanted closure, but she still need to gain her equilibrium after unexpectedly seeing Richard at the airport. Baka too much to take na rin, hilo pa siya sa biyahe and the time zones. Saka, she would rather know everything from Richard. Ah, two more days! She is nervous, and the same time, excited in seeing him again.
Rafi and Richard are having a similar conversation to what Emman and Maya were having while on the road, with Rafi dominating the conversation.
“Chardddd, she is here!!! Di ba fate na rin ito, nagkita kayo ulit! Pagkakataon mo nang sabihin sa kanya ang mga gusto mong sabihin! Not so many people have second chances!” Rafi talked so fast and excitedly, while Richard tried to concentrate on finding the best route to Rafi’s place!
“Rafi, Rafi, calm down. Easy lang. Yes, I know. I am planning to do that when we see each other.” Richard said with a big grin. “I just hope she is not yet committed to someone else!”
“Hmmm, tama ka diyan. I have a feeling, though, that she is still single. Call it a woman’s intuition.” Rafi told him with conviction. She really hopes that Richard will find the happiness that eluded him two years ago.
“I hope so Rafi. We will see each other on Wednesday.” Richard happily told her.
“Oh good, then you can finally have it out, my dear cousin. Huwag mong sayangin ang pagkakataon. Keep me updated, ha.” Rafi said as they neared her condo unit in Makati.
When she got off the car, Rafi is thinking that finally, she can sleep in her own bed after working in Singapore for a month. She moved back the Philippines almost two years ago, partly to be with Richard in his time of need, and because she got tired of the fast-paced life in New York.
Richard, on the other hand, while driving home, is still dealing with the fact that he finally saw Maya after two long years! He is counting the minutes until they see each other again. He has so much to tell her!
Note: Happy second anniversary Be Careful With My Heart!:-)
Two years later
Maya felt the full blast of Manila’s scorching summer temperature as she stepped out of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport. She was glad to be back home after two years and the heartache she was not courageous enough to face here. Yes, for some, maybe she took the coward’s way out by bailing out and going as far away as she could, but it was the way she was able to cope with everything.
But, it is also true that time heals all wounds, and the heart recovers no matter how painful it had endured. Maya is more confident now, at peace, and ready to face Richard. Perhaps, she needed to to get full closure and maybe, she can still be friends with him again. She still have feelings for him. But she had accepted the fact that he belongs to someone else. It took more than a year of living and working in Afghanistan to do that. There, she had seen first hand how fleeting life was, realized there are worse things than suffering from a broken heart. Maya also learned that you can love without being loved back, to love unconditionally, painful as it maybe. She believed that Richard loved her in his own way, not just the way she wanted or envisioned it to be.
“Mayabels, Mayabels, Bessieee!!!! I’m here!!!!” Emman waved at her excitedly near the coffee shop. Seeing that coffee shop, her mind went back to that point in time where she was seeing Richard there, suprising her and her Emman after that unforgettable and eventful vacation in Camiguin in 2012. There is still a bittersweet feeling in her heart, but the pain of remembering all the sad things that had happened since that day, had ebbed.
“Emman, good to see you!” Maya’s face lit up as she hugged her best friend. ‘Na-miss naman kita ng sobra-sobra. Grabe!”
While Maya and Emman were hugging each other, a guy was finding his way to the seat at the coffee shop that Emman vacated. He was about to sit down when he noticed the two persons happily and noisily hugging each other at the edge of the terminal that borders the coffee shop.
“Maya???” He blurted out as he looked closely. His heart beat faster and a very overwhelming feeling of joy enveloped him as he confirmed that is indeed, Maya, the girl who had been haunting his thoughts for the past two years!
Richad slowly approached Maya and Emman. He is not sure whether he will be received well, all he is sure of is that he can’t let this moment pass.
“Maya, Emman. Hi. I saw you guys from the coffee shop. Nice to you again Emman and I’m very happy to see you, Maya. I thought I will never see you again. It has been two very long years!!” He said nervously and excitedly.
“Hi Atty Richard, long time no see ah. Kumusta ka na? Ah, eh Mayabels, dito ka na lang catch up with Atty. Richard, kunin ko na lang iyong car and pick you from here.” Emman said as he quickly escaped before Maya could react.
Emman knew that the two have a lot to talk about. He can still remember that evening six months after Maya was gone and he found himself having a drink with Richard. At that time, even he, don’t know where Maya disappeared to after resigning from her job at the magazine. He thought she just went home to San Nicolas. However, when he called Maya’s sister, she just said that Maya was out of the country and that she was not sure when she will return. Maya only contacted him after that chance encounter with Richard. She requested that they don’t discuss her abrupt departure when she phoned him as she wanted to move on. So, he didn’t tell her about that night when he saw Richard drowning his sorrows in a bar he frequented.
Maya was so surprised to see Richard so soon after she landed, what Emman said did not register in her brain. At first she didn’t know what to say to Richard after two long years, but she recovered quickly.
“Hi, Richard, kumusta? How have you been?” Maya greeted Richard warmly, with the sunny smile he remembered so well.
“Maya, I’m really, really so happy to see you! You don’t know how much. Where have you been?” Richard asked as he looked intently at Maya.
“I’m glad to see you too, Richard. I flew from Singapore. Before that I was in Kabul, Afghanistan, where I have been working. I have been traveling for more than 24 hours na I think.” Maya said, as she looked closely at Richard. “And you, how are you?”
”I was okay lang before, but heto, I’m happier now that I’ve finally seen you again. I have been trying to find you, Maya, you don’t know how hard. I went to your place several days after we met at that coffee shop by the bay, but another person was occupaying the unit. She can’t tell me anything about you. Look, can we talk, please, really talk? This is not really the best place for the things I want to say to you. May I see you as soon as you get settled?” He asked her earnestly.
Maya took a deep breath to calm herself a bit. “Of course, Richard. I am really going to look you up after I have rested from my flight. Eh, tiyempo naman, heto pagtuntong ko ng Pilipinas after two long years, here we are.”
“It is good to know that you were going to do that. I’m glad that I decided to go here myself instead of sending my driver. Please let me know when can we see each other. Do get settled first. Pahinga ka muna. I can wait. I know you just got back and all. Where are you staying?” He asked as he continued to stare at Maya, as if memorizing her face.
“I will stay with Emman for several days, before heading to San Nicolas. My mother and Cristina Rose do not know yet that I am home. I was not so sure of the date I can leave Kabul, so I decided I will just surprise them. Saka ilang beses na ring na-postpone itong uwi ko eh.” Maya replied as she observed that Richard is still as good looking as ever, though a bit thinner, and while there is a sadness that she sensed in him, he is still the same Richard that she was drawn to from the beginning. “Can we see each other two days from now, at same coffee shop where we last saw each other? Is it still there? Doon ko na lang din ikukwento sa iyo ang lahat”
Richard was surprised at her choice of place for their heart to heart talk. He thought that she wouldn’t want to be at that place again as it was the place where he experienced the happiest and the saddest day of his life. Happy to find out that Maya loved him, and sad that she ran away from him and that at that instance, there was nothing he can do, except to let her go. If only he reacted quickly after. Ah, but that is all in the past, and he can’t undo it anymore, the important thing is, she is here again and he will have his chance.
“Yes, it is still there. I will see you there at 3PM, Wednesday? He asked, as he observed how beautiful Maya still is, with her very expressive eyes.
It just occured to Maya, then, to ask why Richard is at the terminal. But before she could do so, someone called Richard.
“Chard, Chard, you are there pala. I have been looking for you doon sa cafe. Sabi mo doon tayo magkita.” The beautiful lady said to Richard as she approached, towing a big trolley bag.
“Oh, hi, nandito ka na pala. Sorry. Errr, Maya, this is….” Richard was interrupted before he can finish the introduction.
“Maya??? You are Maya dela Rosa????” The lady blurted out.
Note: Thank you for taking the time to read my work!:-)
Maya and Emman’s plane landed at the NAIA Terminal 2 at 3PM. Spirits weary, bone-tired and sleep-deprived, Maya wished she could just crawl into her bed and sleep for 48 hours. It has been a long and gruelling day, not only emotionally but physically. They barely made it to the Cagayan de Oro Airport for their flight back to Manila. Their ferry left Camiguin one hour after it was scheduled to sail due to some mechanical problems.
“Mayabels, OMG, nakikita mo ba ang nakikita ko?” Emman asked excitedly as they were exiting the terminal. “Si Atty. Richard, at the coffee shop!”
“Ha? Naku Emman, parang hindi pa ako ready na makita siya. Tara, doon na lang natin sa kabilang bay abangan si Belle.” Maya started dragging Emman to the other side of the terminal.
One of her realizations during her long, sleepless night, though not the best course of action, is that she will just avoid Richard in the meantime, so her broken heart can recover before she face him and accept the situation that the two of them cannot be. However, she was too late. Richard saw her and Emman.
“Maya, Emman, there you are! How’s your vacation?” He asked while giving Maya his lopsided smile that never failed to make her heart beat faster.
“O-ookay naman”. Maya stuttered as she tried to keep her voice normal. “Nag-enjoy kami ni Emman. O bakit nandito ka? May susunduin ka?”
“Kayo ni Emman. I know that you guys need a ride. I asked Manang Fe about your flight back to Manila. I wanted to surprise you.” Richard explained as he tried to help Maya with her luggage.
“Naku, Atty. Richard, thank you pero hindi na ako sasabay sa inyo ni bessie. Susunduin ako ni Belle at idadaan ko nga sana itong si Mayabels sa kanila. Pero since nandito ka na, mauuna na ako. Take good care of my bessie ha. Oh, there’s may sundo na pala. Bye, Maya, call, call na lang tayo laters.” He said as he leaned and whispered to Maya. “Maybe, about time you two talk. Good luck.”
“Tara na, Maya. Doon ako naka-park sa may bandang dulo.” Richard told Maya, who haven’t fully recovered from seeing him so soon. Maya allowed herself to be steered towards Richard’s car.
She didn’t say much during the ride to her townhouse. Richard looked at her from time to time, unused to seeing her quiet, having gotten used to her bubbly self, her never ending chatter and plenty of kwento. He thought she is just tired from her trip so he let her rest.
Richard parked his car in front of the townshouse and was about to get off the car to open the door for Maya and help her with her things, when she stopped him by holding on to his arm.
“Richard, don’t get off na. I can manage. Thank you for picking me up.” She hurriedly said, got her things, waved abruptly at Richard and went inside.
“What was that? What happened?” Richard was puzzled at how Maya acted, as it was so unlike her. “Hindi man lang ako niyaya sa loob like she always do kapag inihahatid ko siya!?”
For the next several days, Maya avoided Richard. She refused to answer his text messages and when he invited her to have coffee or dinner, she politely declined. Richard can’t take it anymore so one afternoon, he surprised Maya at her magazine’s office. He asked the receptionist not to call Maya and don’t let her know that he is here. The girl agreed since he is already known in Manila Beat. Maya had been constantly teased by her colleagues on her very handsome, almost-boyfriend!
“Guess who?” Richard said after he covered Maya’s eyes with his two hands.
Maya was so surprised to hear Richard’s voice and felt the touch of his hands. Her heart raced and she caught her breath.
“Hi Richard, what are you doing here?” Maya stuttered as she faced him, realizing she really missed this wonderful guy, but she needed to be strong. Better do it abrupt, even if the pain is too intense, than slowly die every time she sees him and be constantly reminded of his wedding date getting nearer and nearer.
“Maya, what is wrong? Suddenly, you are avoiding me. I thought that you’re just busy. You didn’t reply to my texts. You declined my invitations! Parang hindi na ikaw ang Maya na kilala ko. What happened Maya? Emman said wala naman kayo deadline kasi kaka-out lang nung latest issue niyo. May nagawa ba ako?” Richard asked, obviously frustrated and hurt at what is happening between them.
Maya upon hearing this made a decision to have it out with him. Better to be honest and make a clean break so she can still try to pick up the pieces. What is left to salvage, anyway.
“Let us talk somewhere, not here. There is a newly-opened coffee shop near the bay, you wouldn’t miss it. Meet me there in half and hour, please.” She told him.
Richard was already into his second cup of coffee when Maya arrived. He alternately took a sip, stared blankly at the view, and tapped his fingers on the table.
“Sorry for keeping you waiting. Let me just order a cup of coffee.” Maya didn’t even wait for Ricky to stand up as he offered to get the coffee for her.
She needed to move and calm herself down so that she will have the courage to do what has to be done. She ordered her usual americano coffee, put three sachets of sugar, stirred it slowly, to give her a couple of minutes, marshalling her thoughts. When she felt she had some sort of control over her emotions, she returned to the table, sat on the vacant seat in front of Richard. Took a deep breath and started talking without even asking him how he had been.
“Okay, here it is, Richard. You are my dearest friend, you know that. You are the only guy I got so comfortable and at ease with. I’m always happy when we are together and do what we usually do. But now that you are getting married, which came as a big surprise to me, though there is no rule naman that we have to tell each other every details of our personal lives, I think maybe it is best if we stop seeing each other, even as friends.” She said with conviction as she looked at Richard sadly.
“What? And why is that? Is it because I didn’t tell you right away about Alexandra?” Richard said, surprised at Maya’s pronouncement. “If you only know how many times I wanted to tell you about her and my predicament! Look, I didn’t tell you because….”
“Richard, enough na please. Mabuti na rin ito. Cut our ties completely.” Maya insisted. “I’m not sure I want to know. Baka mas lalo pa ako masaktan.”
“Why, please tell me why, and why are you doing this? Maya please talk to me. Listen to me.” Richard asked earnestly.
“Richard, please….I can’t take this anymore, I can’t be friends with you anymore… because…..because, I have feelings for you…I love you. Hindi ko kaya na makita kang magpakasal sa iba.” Maya blurted out. Then she grabbed her bag and ran out of the coffee shop.
Unmindful of the people around her, tears flowing freely, Maya flagged the first taxi she saw. She caught sight of Richard’s sad face as he ran after her, until she can’t see him anymore.
Waiting for nothing
“Bessie, bessie, hoy bessie!” Emman tried to get Maya’s attention when he saw her with a faraway look, lost in thoughts.
“Girrrrrllll, Maya dela Rosaaaaa, saan ka na naman ba nakarating diyan sa head mo na hindi na yata nagpapahinga sa kaiisip!!!! Lost in your own world ka na naman!”
“Emman!!” Maya exclaimed when she finally realized that Emman is calling her. She started crying hard. “Emman, he is getting married na! Sakit-sakit naman!” She sobbed as she got off the hammock and hugged Emman.
“Bessie, bessie, kalma lang. Ano ba ang nangyari? Umalis lang ako sandali ah! Nagkaganito ka na! I swear di ko ma-gets, and lumalakas na ang dug dug dug sound nitong puso ko!” Emman said as he tried to calm down Maya.
“Emmann, Richard called. He told me he is getting married and invited me to the wedding! Getting married, Emman! I didn’t even know na may girlfriend siya.” Maya said sadly.
“I know we are just good friends but still….I thought….I mean, di ba….?” Maya trailed off, not finding the right words to say.
Emman is silent. He also thought that Richard does not have a girlfriend. He thought Richard and Maya are ‘MU’! Paano naman Richard acted like he was courting Maya. He is a constant presence in Maya’s life since she met him. He picks Maya from work from time to time, having dinner with her, and even accompanied Maya to the mall when she is stressing out and he can’t go with her, even if Richard does not like malling. Retail therapy is Maya’s coping mechanism, sometimes!
The two also have phone conversations that lasted until the wee hours, base as kwento sa kanya ng kanyang bessie. Though, Maya did tell Emman na nothing overtly personal naman ang pinag-uusapan nila ni Richard. Maya said Richard never asked her about love stuffs and never tell the same. Mostly, they talked about their common interests and how their day went, and whatever topic they find themselves discussing.
However, hindi rin iilang beses na nahuli ni Emman si Richard na nakatitig lang kay Maya kapag magkakasama sila. Richard look at Maya with an expression akin to love. Feeling niya, kulang na lang ang palitan ng ‘I love you’ para maging formal ang relationship ng dalawang ito. He was also puzzled on what is holding back Richard from declaring his feelings to Maya. Obvious naman talaga to him that Maya is more than a friend to Richard! Papipinturahan niya ng blue ang pink walls niya, kapag mali siya! He tried encouraging Maya to at least let Richard know how she feels, kasi he believes that knowing where you stand is better than second-guessing or assuming, but Maya refused. Emman knew he half- managed to convince Maya to do so the other evening. But now with this latest development, even he, does not know what to advise his friend.
“Bessie, frankly, I don’t know what to say! I am in shock too down to my pink toes! I thought the two of you will end up together and I will be the maid of honor in your wedding and the fairy godmother to your firstborn!” Emman quipped lightly in order to make Maya smile despite the heartache he know Maya is feeling. His heart is also breaking for his bestfriend.
“So, what are your plans now?” Emman asked Maya. “Pupunta ka ba sa wedding?”
“Hindi ko alam Emman, magulo pa ang utak ko.” Maya replied with tears in her eyes. She then excused herself to go to her room to pack as they are leaving early tomorrow.
“God, why does it hurt so much. Did I waste too much time not letting him know how I feel for him? Did I get too comfortable staying happily in my limbo?” Maya mumbled to herself while taking comfort in her favorite small purple bunny, a gift from Richard, the first time he invited her out. She takes it with her everywhere she goes, sort of a lucky charm.
“Maya, anak, may bisita ka,” Manang Fe told Maya as she knocks on her bedroom door, one Sunday morning.
“Arrrgghhh, who could that be, I wanted to sleep some more,” she muttered. “Sino daw po Manang?” She asked the kindly old lady who has been her nanny since she was a little girl. When she moved to Manila, her mom insisted that she brought Manang Fe with her. She also bought a townhouse for Maya so she does not have to live in a dormitory.
“Richard Lim daw ang pangalan niya,” Manang replied as she impatiently tapped on Maya’s door again.
“Ha, si Richard!!!! Ano ginagawa niya rito, Linggong-Linggo, wala naman siyang nabanggit kagabi na pupunta siya! Manang, pakisabi lang po na sandali lang.” Maya, in her aligaga mode, told her nanay-nanayan.
Maya is wondering what Richard is doing in her house so early and so out of the blue. While he had dropped her off several times, he always declined her invitation to go inside and have coffee. Nevertheless, she hurriedly took a bath, checked in the mirror how she looks and with her heart beating so fastly and excitedly she went down to see the guy she has been crushing on since she met him. He has also been the star of her lovestruck dreams and the face now of every hero of her romantic novels. Before she proceeded to the living room, Maya made a cup of coffee for Richard.
“Hi Richard, what a nice surprise!” She greeted him warmly. “What brings you here?”
“Oh, I was just in the area. Thought of bringing you these.” He explained as he showed her several Jane Austen novels she mentioned that she has ‘lost’ to friends who borrowed them but never returned, in one of their nightly conversations. “Yayain na rin sana kita lumabas kung wala kang gagawin.”
“Naku, maraming salamat. Ikaw talaga. So happy naman to have these.” Maya said, touched that he remembered her telling him about the Austen novels. “Wala naman ako gagawin, tapos na ang deadline ko. Sige, I will just get ready ha.”
“Saan ba tayo pupunta pala?” Maya asked Richard as she puts on her seatbelt.
“Secret!” He said smiling as he started the car.
They parked in one of the parking areas of the mall, took the elevator up to the 4th floor to the big arcade there.
“Arcade! Dito tayo?” Maya asked in a very surprised voice. She never imagined Richard in an arcade!
“Yup,” he said, smiling like a little boy. “I have been meaning to go here but I can’t seem to find the time and the right company to do so! Come, we will try all the games! I kind of miss this It would be fun!” He cajoled Maya, took hold of her left hand and started dragging her inside. Maya likes the feeling of Richard’s hand in hers. Fine, she said to herself. This is fun anyway, basta kasama siya.
Maya and Richard bought cards, let loose the inner child in them and tried most of the games in the arcade. Richard also talked Maya into trying their luck at the claw machine full of colorful stuffed toys. After so many crazy tries, he got her a purple bunny. Maya thought it would have been cheaper to buy the bunny from the nearby toy shop wtith the amount of money he spent just to grab it! She laughed so hard when he handed it to her with a big grin. Richard asked why she was laughing and she told him he looked like Spongebob. She told him of the episode of the cartoon she caught one morning where Spongebob acted crazily, wasting a lot of money just to get a stuffed toy from a claw machine. When she saw Richard holding the toy with a triumphant smile, he looked so adorable! She is also touched with the bunny gift.
The most unforgettable part of the afternoon was when they ended inside the videoke booth. She dared Richard to try. Maya knows that Richard can sing as he would teasingly sing to her, her favorite show tunes and movie soundtracks during their phone conversations, but he hates doing it in public! She was a bit surprised when he readily agreed.
“O ano, what are we going to sing?” She asked him as she looked at the selections.
“How about this?” He pointed at ‘Getting to know each other’ as he looked at her meaningfully.
“Okay. Ready ka na ba Mr. Lim?” Maya said, with a question in her head with Richard’s choice of song.
“Ready na Ms. Dela Rosa. This is for you!” He said as he looked at her intently.
I call you and you call me
It’s funny how we get on so easily
We’re just friends aren’t we
You’ve got yours, I’ve got mine
And friends are all we ever could be
(But) We’re getting to know each other
A little too well
(Getting to know each other)
(A little too well)
We’re starting to show our feelings
And people can tell
(Ooh, people can tell)
Ev’ry time that your eyes meet mine
I light up like a neon sign
Yes, We’re getting to know each other
A little too well…
(Getting to know each other)
(A little too well…)
We have lunch ev’ry now and then
And I find myself humming love songs
Again and again…
Too many nights I’m workin’ ’till ten
And I hope that you know
That It’s hopeless to go on when…
“Wow, ang galing-galing mo naman Richard!” Maya said as she bowed teasingly. “Saludo ako sa singing prowess mo, Attorney!”
“Ikaw talaga!” Richard said, laughing. He gave the mic to Maya.”O ikaw naman. Iparinig mo na ang Sarah G mong boses!”
Begin at the beginning
Two hours after Richard’s phone call, Maya still lies in the hammock, swaying aimlessly, staring at the ceiling, unmindful now of the beauty around her, tears falling slowly, trying to digest the fact that the man she loves belongs to someone else, and that he is about to bind himself forever to another person.
She sighed. What else can she do anyway. In the scheme of things, they are just friends. Yes, their friendship is ‘iba’ but still, he never hinted to her that he feels more for her despite the signs she is seeing. Or maybe, she is just looking for meanings she wants when there are none, assuming! He never took advantage. Richard is the perfect gentleman. One of the reasons she fell deeply in love with him. Maybe she is really just a friend to him!
Life has a way of taking an unexpected turn, sometimes when you least expect it. It could happen in minutes, in days, in months, in years or with a single event that triggers the change. In this instance, with a phone call Maya’s world took a different shift, the same way it did two years ago when she decided to take up graduate studies. Maya never thought that she would meet someone that would make her life richer and brighter, by finally pursuing one of her goals – to be in the diplomatic service.
Maya is in a hurry. She is late for her first class in at the PUS Graduate School. She overslept. Her fault din naman as she have this habit of reading books, especially romance novels until the wee hours of the morning.
“Arrrgh, of all days, bakit ba kasi wala akong self-discipline when it comes to those happily ever after books,” she chided herself.
She arrived at the designated room for her class , which is open to several other majors, including hers, since it is a general subject. She need to complete two general subjects for her masteral and this is what is being offered this semester.
Maya looked around and saw an empty chair in the front row. As much as she does not want to sit in front, she gets self-conscious as she is a tall girl. However, she does not have a choice, it is the only remaining sit since she was late. She approached the two guys sitting nearest the only empty chair.
“Hi, is this seat taken?” She asked them.
The guy wearing glasses, gave her a warm smile, and told her that the seat is vacant.
“Hi, I’m Richard Lim.” He said and offered Maya his hand.
Maya looked at the guy who was kind enough to offer her the seat and realized that he is one handsome chinito guy, with a lopsided smile. He looks like he is in his early 30s, to her 25.
“Hi, I am Maya dela Rosa, taking up Philippine Studies.” She said with a bright smile, without being aware that her smile lit up her whole face and makes her look more attractive to the chinito guy who can’t help but stare at her beautiful face. “Nice to meet you Richard. What is your major?” She asked as she offered her hand in return.
“Oh, I am taking up LLM, so is my friend here, Ryan Molino,” he replied.
Maya looked at the other guy and saw a friendly-faced middle age man. Ryan said hello to her as well.
Before they could talk further, their professor arrived. He gave them the course outline and also grouped them into three for the report they have to do as part of classroom requirements. Maya ended up being grouped with Ryan and Richard. For some reason she can’t explained yet, she feels happy that she will have more interaction with Richard.
When class was over, Richard, Ryan and Maya decided to go to the nearest cafe to discuss their topic and how they would split the work among themselves.
“So, Maya, where do you work?” Ryan asked as soon as they sat down with americano for Richard and Maya, and mocha frappe for Ryan.
“I work for The Manila Beat. I am one of their staff writers/reporters,” Maya explained. “How about you and Richard, what law firms are you connected with?”
“Well, I am actually a trial court judge in Batangas, and Richard here is a partner in a law firm in Makati.” Ryan named the firm and Maya is duly impressed as it is one of the biggest and most prestigious firms in the country.
“Oh really, your profession sounds very interesting!”, Maya exclaimed. She has been fascinated with law, mainly due to the books and legal television series she likes very much. She also thought of going to law school at some point.
“Not really,” Richard replied. “Yours is much for interesting. I think, I now know why your name sounds familiar. You are the journalist who wrote that funny, irreverent but very insightful piece on that controversial cabinet secretary, di ba? Most of my colleagues talked about that brilliant piece for days!”
Maya smiled sheepishly. She asked Ryan and Richard how long they have known each other and they told her that they were classmates and friends in law school.
The three continued getting to know each other after they have agreed on a plan on how to do their report. Maya thought the two lawyers are easy to get along to and are very down to earth. Richard, on the other hand, finds Maya very witty and a complete opposite of the girls who are pretty conscious of themselves with him, wanting to attract his attention.
Maya seems oblivious to Richard’s good looks that has been known to turn heads everywhere he goes. He smells good, he is very nice, a gentleman and very intelligent.
However, Maya, unknown to Richard was trying hard to stop her kilig, every time she loooks at him- the way his eyes disappeared into a very thin line when he laughs softly. She is also attracted to his intellect, not just his looks. She likes guys who are very articulate, without sounding pompous, and good conversationalists.
Two hours later, Ryan asked to be excused as he has a long travel to Batangas, being a Saturday.
Maya and Richard opted to stay and chatted some more. Both felt like they have known each other a long time. The chatter of the coffee shop got lost in the background as they seem to be in their own world. Like they are in a hurry to find out everything they could about each other.
Maya learned that Richard is the only son of Filipino-Chinese businessman Roberto Lim who is into property developments, and Esmeralda Lim, a well-known supporter of aspiring but brilliant performing artists. Richard is the first Lim not to join the family business and took up law instead. Richard told Maya that he tried in the beginning, by majoring in business and accountancy, then becoming a CPA, but after passing the board, decided to enter their alma mater’s law school. Now, with his background, he is his firm’s specialist in corporate laws.
On the other hand, Richard learned that Maya is the youngest daughter of Teresita Dela Rosa, a well-known potter, based in San Nicolas, Mindoro. She has a sister, Cristina Rose who she fondly calls “Kute”. Cristina helps their mom in the shop/restaurant/gallery they opened up to make her mother’s art more accessible. He learned that Maya thought of becoming a flight attendant while in college, but the lure of the written words was stronger. She took up Mass Communication and ended up in the prestigious Manila Beat after finishing university.
“Naku, it is getting late na pala talaga Richard! I better head home.” Maya noticed that they were the only customers of the coffee shop.
“I didn’t notice the time too. You are so easy to talk to, Maya.” Richard stood up and waited for Maya. “I will take you home.”
“Thank you Richard, hwag na baka maabala ka pa. Medyo late na.” Maya demurred, but at the back of her mind, she does not want the evening to end yet.
“Maya, I insist. Late na and your place is not out of the way. Nadadaanan ko nga iyong village niyo every day eh.” Richard insisted.
Maya thought that Richard is a gentleman for doing this and agreed to be driven home. While in the car going to Quezon City, they continously chatted about their interests – from books, to movies, music, and even politics where they had heated but good-natured exchange of points of view.
“Thank you Richard for taking me home and for a wonderful Saturday evening.” Maya said as she stand in front of a townhouse inside a village near Commonwealth Avenue. “Pasok ka muna and have coffee. I would like to introduce you to my nanay-nanayan, si Manang Fe, iyong yaya ko noong maliit pa ako na nabanggit ko kanina!”
“Maya, next time na lang. Nakakahiya naman sa kanya, medyo gabi. Thank you very much for a wonderful evening also and I am so glad you ended up sitting beside Ryan and I in class.” Richard said while gazing at Maya warmly and giving her his best lopsided smile. “See you next Saturday.”
Note: Welcome to my first ever fiction! My favorite characters and the wonderful Maya and SC fan fiction I enjoyed reading inspired me to write one too! Hats off to you my fellow adiks and hats off to the wonderful BCWMH team who created such memorable characters and a unique ‘serye’! I hope you will like this story!
Not mine to have
Maya was lying in a hammock, the tranquil view of the sea, the gentle breeze blowing, and the quiet surroundings, lulling her to a world of her own. In that instance, her escape from reality mode was getting lost in her favorite author’s latest novel while on vacation in Camiguin. She and Emman really lucked out when they found this resort and it has lived up to its online photos and blurb. Some don’t! The ringing of her mobile phone interrupted her tranquil moment. She checked who was calling and was quite surprised when she saw the name.
“Hello, Richard, napatawag ka!” She said as she tried to still her fast beating heart! Ah, the kilig she feels whenever she thinks of this wonderful guy who had so captured her heart!
“Hi Maya, where are you? I passed by your house and Manang Fe mentioned that you are on vacation?” Richard asked, seemingly surprised that Maya took a vacation without letting him know.
“Yes I am. Emman and I decided to take a breather from work. Masyado ng stressful ang mga pangyayari sa work namin lately. We impulsively booked a flight to Cagayan de Oro and ended up in this wonderful resort in Camiguin.” Maya explained as she tries to settle more comfortably in the hammock. “Sorry hindi na kita nasabihan.”
Unknown to Richard, he was one of the reasons why Maya went on vacation. She needed to think about their ‘situation’ – and whether she will finally tell him her feelings. It was a major decision to make and their lives will surely change, for the better, she hopes, with what she was going to do. She just can’t go on like this. She decided to ask Richard kung ano ba talaga sila. She can’t stand anymore not knowing. Maya pulled her self out of her reverie and asked Richard why he called.
“Oh well, iiwan ko sana itong save the date card for you. Kasi, emmm, I am getting married.” Richard carefully said, though, he knew he just dropped a bombshell on Maya. “I wanted to give it to you in person and not through a courier service like most of the cards. To follow na lang ha iyong formal invitation.”
“What, you are getting married???? When, where and who is the lucky girl???” She asked in rapid succession, caught very very surprised by what Richard said. Maya does not even know that Richard, her best friend and long time crush, has a girlfriend, and now is getting married!
“Well, it is a long story. But I can tell you about it the next time I see you. Her name is Alexandra Trinidad and I have known her since we were kids.” Richard explained with a heavy heart. He was not the picture of a happy groom.
But Maya did not catch the nuances or the sadness and resignation in Richard’s voice. All she felt at that moment is pain. It felt like a giant hand has wrung her heart and hung it dry. It hurts so much. For two years, she has longed for Richard’s love, afraid to to show him what she feels, thinking that it will destroy or change their friendship in a way she can’t control. Added to this, she haven’t had any boyfriend and she was already 27, unlike most of her friends, not even an MU! Many have courted her, but no one really made her heart beat faster and kilig, until Richard! Maya does not know really how to act in a situation like this. Her sister, who is her closest friend is of no help. She is not just not into guys!
Maya was brought back from her painful thoughts with Richard’s voice. “Maya, are you still there?” Richard wonders how is she taking all of this. He knows what he had said is a huge surprise to Maya, and that he had kept this part of himself from her despite the years of friendship. It is just too complicated to explain. Richard also know he himself had refused to face reality and now he does not have any choice but to face the music.
“Yes, I am still here.” She replied trying to keep a steady grip on her emotions. “When is the wedding?”
“It is going to be in June. Will you come, please?” He asked, as he knew that the three months leading to the wedding will feel like dying slowly.
“Of course, of course, I will. I wouldn’t miss it for the world. But you have to tell me about her. I have known you for a long time and you haven’t mentioned having a girlfriend.” Maya tried to tease her friend while at the same time indirectly chiding him for not telling her. She will not cry, her voice will not break. She has to to keep her pride intact. These, she told herself, while gripping the phone hard.
“Kailan ka ba babalik ng Manila? Let’s have coffee and I wil tell you all about her.” Richard said with a sad tone as he ended his call with a heavy heart. If Maya only knows, he thought to himself.