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Crossroads – Chapter 6

Chapter 6
Back roads and detours

Richard was sitting at the lanai in his parents’ house, enjoying the quiet of the night. Dinner was finished more than two hours ago. His parents had retired for the evening as they needed to wake up early the following day for their trip to Cebu. He was waiting for Sabel and Doris, their two long time housemaids, to finish packing the stuffs he needed to bring with him, the books he promised Maya. In the meantime, he thought of passing the time in the lanai where it was very cool and quiet.

He wondered how Maya is doing in Bangkok. She has arrived there several hours earlier. Thailand is one hour behind the Philippines, so she and her friend were probably still eating dinner by that time of the night. He hoped she is having fun.

“Ricardo, heto ang kape mo.” Manang Fe, Richard’s long time nanny, handed him a steaming cup of coffee to and put a serving of his favorite rice cake on the table. “Pinabili ko ito kanina kay Lem kasi alam kong dito ka maghahapunan.”

“Maraming salamat po, Manang Fe. The best talaga kayo. Hindi niyo nakakalimutan ang paborito ko.” Richard said smiling. “Sama na po kaya kayo sa akin doon sa condo ko nang may nag-aasikaso sa akin. Medyo settled na ako doon sa nilipatan ko.”

“Sa akin hijo, walang problema. Sabihin mo sa Mama mo.” Manang Fe told Richard.  She does not mind moving and taking care of him. Richard is like a son to her since hindi na rin naman siya nakapag-asawa.

“Talaga po, Manang! I will tell Mama, ha.” Richard is happy and touched that his long time nanny is willing to move, for him. “Manang wala nang bawian ha. Susunduin kita next week ha. I’m sure papayag si Mama.”

“Oo. Ikaw talagang bata ka. Pumayag na nga ako, di ba? “ Manang Fe smiled at her old alaga. Hindi pa rin nagbabago ang batang ito, malambing pa rin. “Matatapos na nga pala sina Doris at Sabel sa paglalagay sa mga box ng mga libro mo. Saan mo ba dadalhin ang mga iyon?”

“Ibibigay ko po kay Maya, for her coffee shop sa building namin. May small library siya sa cafe, to promote reading.” Richard replied, not knowing that the mere mention of Maya’s name, triggered his nanny’s curiosity.

“Maya? Parang ngayon ko lang narinig ang pangalang iyan sa iyo. Nobya mo?” Manang Fe asked. “Ikatutuwa ko ng husto kung nobya mo na siya.”

“Naku, Manang. I wish! Pero, I just met her.” Richard said smiling. “Best friend siya ni Cristina. I went to Cris’s despedida party for her friends yesterday and that was where I ‘officially’ met Maya. Officially, kasi Manang, nagkaagawan kami ng taxi sa harap ng tinitirhan naming building. Tapos iisang house pala ang pupuntahan namin. We got along pretty well when we found out na siya ang best friend ni Cris na ikinukwento sa akin at ako naman ang cousin na madalas ding ikwento sa kanya. Tapos it turned out,  we live in the same building pa pala.”

Richard smiled while telling his nanny his adventures with Maya yesterday. Manang Fe noticed something different in her alaga. He sounded very happy when he was speaking about this girl. Mabuti naman, she thought. She knew that something must have hurt Ricardo a lot while in the US. She knew her ward and he looked sad, very serious, and rarely smiled, like he used to, when he moved back to the Philippines after his Papa requested him to. Alam niya na hindi naman ang paghawak ng mga negosyo nila ang sanhi ng kalungkutan nito. Sabi sa kanya ni Donya Esmeralda, hindi naman pinilit ni Don Roberto si Richard na umuwi at pamahalaan ang mga negosyo. Hiniling lang niya kay Richard ito kasi nga gusto na nitong magretiro.

“Nakakatuwa naman. Sadya kayong pinagtagpo ng tadhana.” Manang Fe told Richard. “Kailan ko naman makikilala si Maya at ng masuri ko kung karapat-dapat dito sa guwapo kong alaga ko.” She teased Richard.

“Manang Fe, I’m sure, 101 percent, magugustuhan mo siya.” Richard smiled at his old nanny. “Bayaan mo, when you move in with me, makikilala mo siya. She is in Bangkok at the moment. Inihatid ko nga siya sa airport.”

“Ricardo, natutuwa ako. Ngayon lang kita ulit nakitang ganito kasaya, hijo. Noong bagong dating ka kasi dito, hindi ka man nagsasalita, bakas ko ang lungkot mo.” Manang Fe told Richard. “Hindi na ako magtatanong kung ano man iyon at mukha namang okay na okay ka na.”

“Salamat po, Manang Fe.” Richard said. “Tapos na po ang chapter na iyon sa buhay ko. I never thought I would be like this again, that I would believe in love again, pero, biglang heto, suddenly, I do.”

Manang Fe smiled at Richard and touched his hand, to give comfort. “Talagang ganyan, Ricardo. Minsan ang pag-ibig, dumarating kapag hindi natin inaasahan, at wala ring pinipiling lugar at panahon. Saka kung kapalaran mo talaga, pagtatagpuin kayo ng tadhana kahit anong mangyari. Kung minsan nga lang, nakakaranas din tayo ng sakit bago natin matagpuan ang talagang para sa atin. Minsan, marami rin tayong kailangang daanan at pagdaanan, bago tayo makarating sa ating paroroonan. Bahagi iyan ng buhay natin.” The old lady told Richard.

“I know that now, Manang.” Richard said thoughtfully. “I have learned a lot from a very bad experience. But in a way, I don’t want that to completely colored and affect my life, in the long run. I’m glad that I am finally being able to move on and be happy again.”

“Tama iyon hijo. May tamang panahon para sa lahat ng bagay. Ang importante, maging bukas ang puso at isipan natin sa lahat ng mga maaaring mangyari.” Manang Fe added. “Samahan mo rin ng panalangin sa nasa itaas.”

“Sir Richard, Manang Fe, excuse po, okay na po naming ilagay sa mga box iyung mga libro.” Doris said, interrupting their conversation, followed by Sabel who was holding some coffee table books.

“Sama pa po ba ang mga ito, Sir Richard?” She asked.

“Yes, please.” Richard replied. “Pakisabi na lang kay Mang Lem, ilagay sa kotse iyong mga box. Then, I will bring those coffee table books, Sabel. Thank you sa inyo ni Doris.”

Doris and Sabel smiled at their amo. Guwapo na, mabango pa, at sobrang bait sa kanila kahit medyo tahimik noong unang dumating kaya inakala nilang suplado. Kaswerte naman talaga nitong mamahalin ni Sir Richard, they both thought.

“Manang Fe, aalis na po ako.” Richard kissed his old nanny on the forehead.”Next week po ha, susunduin ko kayo. And thank you po for the words of wisdom.”

“Naku, bata ka, walang anuman. Ingat sa pagmamaneho.” The old lady accompanied Richard up to his car.

Richard parked his car in front of the coffee shop, more than an hour later. He went inside and saw Emman and another barista.

“Hi Emman, good evening.” He greeted them, carrying the coffee table books.

“Hi guwapong friend ni Maya, este Richard pala.” Emman said. “Mabuti, napadaan ka. Maya is in Bangkok.”

“I know Emman. I took her to the airport this afternoon.” Richard said conversationally. “Books pala for the cafe. I promised Maya I will bring these.”

“Inihatid mo si Mayabels sa airport?” Emman was surprised. Wow, parang tama ang kutob niya sa dalawang ito. He took the books from Richard.

“Yes. She was going to take a cab kasi so I insisted that I will just bring her to the airport.” Richard replied. “I have several boxes of books pa in the car. Maybe, someone can help me unload, kasi I’m double parked in front of the cafe.”

Emman, shook himself out of his thoughts of Maya and Richard, and the something that he is sure is blossoming between them, to attend to the task at hand. “Of course, of course. Thank you for these Richard ha. Malaking tulong sa cafe and our campaign. Allen, Dane, please help Richard.” He told the barista he was talking to earlier and another guy in the counter. “I will just put these books in the shelf.”

Richard parked his car in his slot, then took the elevator to his penthouse unit, after he and the cafe employees unloaded all the books. He told Emman one of their messengers will bring the magazines from his company the following day.

He got himself a can of beer from the fridge and went to his window seat, his favorite place in his living room, to relax a bit. Normally, he likes the solitude but suddenly, he felt lonely. He looked at the dark penthouse unit across his, and felt lonelier, missing Maya. He never thought he would missed someone like this, especially after Natalie. His conversation with Manang Fe made him remember the woman whom he thought would be the one he would share his life with. He couldn’t be more wrong.

He met Natalie through his American friend John, in a gallery opening he managed to drag him to. Natalie is Filipino-Chinese like him, beautiful, poise and classy. She was studying fashion design at that time. Her family was based in Cebu. They got along okay on first meeting. However, he didn’t think of her as someone he was really attracted to. She was just someone he met, a friend of a friend.

The following day, he got a call from Natalie, inviting him to dinner.  At loose ends at that time, he agreed. They seemed to have many things in common, aside from them being both Filipino-Chinese, when they got to chat longer. At that time, he was also tired of the casual dates he had, of women more interested in what he could give them and how good they look together in parties they like to frequent. He thought that Natalie was different. After that night, they started dating. By the third month, they were living together in his apartment in Fifth Avenue. While it was not all-consuming love, he was content and happy since Natalie’s life seemed to revolved around him. He thought he loved her in his own way. He also thought she loved him. They were compatible in bed, too. He thought those were enough and that all-consuming love probably just existed in books, in romance novels, and in the imagination of Hollywood scriptwriters.

By the sixth month of living together, he was ready to make his and Natalie’s arrangement more permanent. He thought that it was about time he settle down. He thought that her being a Filipino-Chinese would sit well with his parents, too. Not that they were compelling him to marry one. After his business trip to Washington, he was planning to propose to her. He was home one day early and it proved to be fortuitous. He heard Natalie talking to someone in the patio of the apartment. He overheard her telling the other person, who turned out to be her sister, that she would live like a queen when Richard finally propose to her and she becomes Mrs. Richard Lim. She told her sister she felt he would ask her to marry him soon, that she got him hooked and can’t escape. She even told her sister that Richard being very good looking was a big bonus, and that made up for him being serious and a bit boring, in her book as he was not much into parties and hitting the clubs. However, Richard’s main attraction for her, and the only thing that mattered, was the fact that he is the heir to the Lim fortune in the Philippines. He felt like the rug he was standing on was forcefully pulled out all of a sudden, and he fell without any support. He never thought that he had been played.

Natalie saw him from the doorway and she lost all the color from her face. She asked him what he has heard and whatever it was, she didn’t mean it. He told her he heard enough. She pleaded with him, up to the point of saying that it all started like that, but that she had grown to love him in the process. That she loved him very much. He found that hard to believe, and told her it would be better if she pack her bags.

He drown his sorrows in alcohol. But when he managed to think things through, he realized that he was more hurt that he was duped, that he was that gullible, that he had let his guard down to someone he thought he loved, than being so brokenhearted. He went back to their time together and he remembered signs that she was not being true to him. But in his infatuation with Natalie, blinded by her beauty and the charm she had shown him, among others, he failed to see those at that time. Besides, she was very good at hiding things.

He learned from John later on, that Natalie asked specifically to be introduced to him. John thought that Natalie was just attracted to Richard. She was a friend of John’s then girlfriend. John also learned from his girlfriend, who admitted it to him because she felt guilty to being a party to the whole thing, that he was a ‘project’ to Natalie. She wanted a rich husband so that she can continue the lifestyle she got used to and to continue to be a part of the Philippine social set in New York and in Manila. Her family in the Philippines lost their fortune in a series of bad investments. She ‘studied’ him, his likes and dislikes and what made him tick. He was targeted to fall for her, which he did.

Since that incident, he shied away from serious romantic entanglements. He doubted his ability to love, find real love and thought that true love didn’t exist really. He went back to his casual relationships. He was pretty straightforward with the women he dated that he was not into something permanent. But after a while, that too, bored him. He was reaching a state of ennui, when his father visited their offices in New York and talked to him. He told him he had plans of retiring and maybe it was about time he took over the reins of the company from him. He agreed promptly and returned to the Philippines. Still, he shied away from the dating scene and romantic entanglements. He had stopped looking for love, until he met Maya.

Maya is like a breath of fresh air to his staid and colorless life. Cris mentioned her several times, but he didn’t really pay attention in the beginning until he came across an article Maya had written for one of his company’s magazines. He found her prose very engaging, full of life and fun. Then he got to read her blog and learned a bit about her and her way of thinking. He also knew there is more depth to Maya than what was coming across her writing. He started asking Cris a bit about her, like where they met, what course she took in college and what was she like as a friend.

When he was riding with Maya in the taxi, there was an instant awareness, which strengthened as he spent more time with her. He likes her a lot. And as if there is a strong force drawing him to her. In all his relationships, including the one with Natalie, he has not felt this way, especially with someone he just met. Maya was fun to be with, especially when they did the ‘Babe’ and ‘Honeybun’ act! She made him smile again and he felt his old, laid back self, coming out to the fore . He also admitted to himself that he is starting to have feelings for her, strong ones. He was serious about courting her, of finding out, if they have something to build on. Despite his experience with Natalie, he is ready to take a chance again. Maya is different, he believe so. He feels so. There was an instant connection between them that he very much wanted to explore and pursue so that they will end up together. He can and wants to take things slowly this time.

Richard’s quiet introspection was disrupted by the beeping of his phone. A text message from Maya, which he read promptly.

> Good night, Ricky Got here safe. Just finished dinner with Phailin and some of her friends. Having fun. Hope the dinner with your parents was okay. 

Richard smiled, a smile that lit up his whole face. He typed a reply.

> Nice to hear from you, Honeybun. I’m glad you are having fun. Dinner with the parents was okay, just the usual Sunday night family dinner. Nice to see Papa and Mama. Now, drinking alone at home. 😦

The reply from Maya came promptly.

> Oh. 😦 Di bale, pagbalik ko diyan, sasamahan kita sa pag-inom para hindi ka na alone, Babe. 🙂

Hmmm, he likes the sound of it.

> I will hold you on that, Ms. Maya Dela Rosa. Got the books for you pala. Dropped the boxes at the cafe.

Maya smiled.

> Thanks a lot, Ricky. See you in several days, Babe. 🙂

Richard just can’t resist adding it.

> See you. Enjoy your vacation. Missing you a lot, my dearest Honeybun.

Maya grinned and blushed, and as her friend Phailin will tell her later, she looked like a woman in love at that moment.

> And I’m NOT missing you at all, Babe! [ wink, wink]    🙂 

Richard grinned. He is going to bed happy. Maya is still grinning when she put her phone down.

 

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  1. #1 by rowenamaila25 on September 28, 2014 - 2:01 PM

    Hi miss Antigone, ang sarap naman ng kulitan ni Babe n Honeybun……giving us the kilig that only Richard and Maya can give……thank you for this feel good chapter, like Richard and Maya I m going to bed with a smile pasted on my face……thank u again and God bless

    Liked by 1 person

  2. #3 by Alpha on September 28, 2014 - 12:46 AM

    Nakakatuwa naman ang development sa dalawang ito. Hindi pa man sila officially in a relationship, sobra na ang show of affection. Sana patuloy lang until maging sila na. Thank you for giving some background, clearing some things & establishing the direction of your plot, and just like the previous stories, I’m glad for the light & full of good vibes scenes you’re taking. 😉 Antigone, we really appreciate your continuing the happiness BCWMH has started through your wonderful stories of our fave Maya dela Rosa & Richard Lim. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • #4 by Antigone on September 28, 2014 - 11:34 AM

      Thank you very much too Alpha to you and all those who read my blog for the support. Kapit-bisig sa saya, kapit-bisig sa lungkot, kapit-bisig sa good vibes. Life is not without conflicts and ‘stressors’, pero better to look at the brighter side of things, kahit mahirap minsang gawin. Di ba, mas okay ang GV always. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. #5 by Virgie on September 28, 2014 - 12:10 AM

    Love is in the air…oh my I thought heartache is coming, but nothing pala. Thanks sa update ms writer, looking forward when Maya is coming back from her vacation, to continue their pending GV together. Hoping so soon, adiks talaga…😃

    Liked by 1 person

  4. #7 by ayeth on September 27, 2014 - 9:28 PM

    feeling so giddy naman sa exchange ng text messages nila….parang sila na talaga kulang na lang yung sincere na ‘i love you- han’ nila…thank you ms.antigone for this update! wag nyo pong itigil pagsusulat ng maya-richard FF…kapit bisig po tayong lahat sa pambangon at pag-asang meron maganda pa rin kapalit ang BCWMH upang mabuhay muli ang ating beloved love-team JoChard!

    Liked by 1 person

    • #8 by Antigone on September 28, 2014 - 11:23 AM

      Kapit-bisig, Ayeth. I’m maintaining this blog which was primarily created talaga to support my ‘BCWMH adik-syon’. 🙂 Hanggang nakakasulat at may maisusulat na Maya-Richard FF, I will. Good vibes always. 🙂

      Like

  5. #9 by Marian Navarro Yip on September 27, 2014 - 7:37 PM

    Hi Antigone, thank you sa update. Naku I feel so happy kasi sa weekend I have read something na may kilig. Now we know na kung sino itong si Natalie at sana hindi ito manggulo later on. Ngayon kailangan lang na bumalik si Maya sa Pinas para tuloy tuloy na ang pagkakaibigan nila Richard. Abangan ang susunod na kabanata… cheers!

    Liked by 1 person

    • #10 by Antigone on September 28, 2014 - 11:39 AM

      Thanks a lot din Marian, as always. The susunod na kabanata is coming up. Nag-aliw-aliw muna ako yesterday with some friends. 🙂

      Like

  6. #11 by jan1000 on September 27, 2014 - 12:57 PM

    So sweet.. Sarap talaga ma-inlove… Thanks!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. #13 by MsKino on September 27, 2014 - 12:10 PM

    O kay sarap ma buhay lalo na at may lambingan…….O ayan Honeybun miss na miss ka na ng Babe mo. Ms. Antigone thanks for this sweet feeling story after the heart breaking news sana we will be able to get over this sad feeling….

    Liked by 1 person

    • #14 by Antigone on September 28, 2014 - 11:41 AM

      I think we all need a dose of happiness, pang-aliw kahit kaunti, to deal with the sadness. Thanks for the feedback as before MsKino. 🙂

      Like

  8. #15 by Aries on September 27, 2014 - 11:51 AM

    Nakakakilig ang TOE nila sa isa’t isa… Hay sarap ma in-love!
    Thankie Ms. Antigone…

    Liked by 1 person

  9. #17 by eden1214 on September 27, 2014 - 11:50 AM

    Hay kinilig ako… Nakakabawas sa bigat ng dibdib ko dahil sa bcwmh na malapit ng mag end…

    Liked by 1 person

    • #18 by Antigone on September 28, 2014 - 11:43 AM

      Glad that nakabawas ng sadness kahit paano itong chapter Eden.

      Like

  10. #19 by Batiboj on September 27, 2014 - 11:10 AM

    Thank you Miss Antigone, I’m in love 😍😍

    Liked by 1 person

    • #20 by Antigone on September 28, 2014 - 11:43 AM

      Wonderful feeling 🙂 Thanks too Batiboj! 🙂

      Like

  11. #21 by ims218 on September 27, 2014 - 11:02 AM

    miss na nila ang isat isa. totohanan na feelings nila. Thanks sa update. god bless…

    Liked by 1 person

  12. #23 by eyelashes16 on September 27, 2014 - 10:57 AM

    Thanks for this ms antigone.. just like what richard said this too is like a breath of fresh air for us after hearing the sad news…

    Liked by 1 person

    • #24 by Antigone on September 28, 2014 - 11:45 AM

      Thank you too eyelashes16. 🙂 Glad na kahit paano nakatulong maibsan ang sadness.

      Like

  13. #25 by saintjude on September 27, 2014 - 10:06 AM

    Thanks sa updates,,,

    Liked by 1 person

  14. #27 by anne on September 27, 2014 - 9:50 AM

    salamat ms. writer, kakaloka ang exchange ng texts nila, kinilig ako ng todo 😀 naku Babe, wag ng pakawalan ang Honeybun mo at siguradong sasaya ka na ng tunay … be careful of each other’s heart

    Liked by 1 person

    • #28 by Antigone on September 27, 2014 - 10:06 AM

      I feel like I’m falling in love all over again, writing this story. 🙂 Thanks Anne, as always.

      Liked by 1 person

      • #29 by anne on September 27, 2014 - 10:10 AM

        YW … same feelings here, ang sarap ma inlove lalong lalo na sa isang Richard Lim 😛 😛 😛

        Like

  15. #30 by floe on September 27, 2014 - 9:33 AM

    Wawa nman pala si ricky boy dati pero ok lang yan, may babe ka na ngaun nko excited na ako sa pag return ni mayabels.. Medjo late ang update ms.antigone ha. Hope may double treat..

    Liked by 1 person

    • #31 by Antigone on September 27, 2014 - 10:04 AM

      I will try Floe! 🙂 If not late tonight, baka tomorrow ha. Going out with some friends. 🙂 Thanks for the support as always.

      Like

  16. #32 by xeedys on September 27, 2014 - 9:26 AM

    bigla ako kinabhan sa title, buti na lang hindi pala pang heart attack ang chapter na ito hehehehehe
    thanks for the update!

    Liked by 1 person

    • #33 by Antigone on September 27, 2014 - 10:05 AM

      🙂 Ayoko ng dagdagan ang lungkot na nararamdaman ng lahat. GV lang. 🙂 Thanks Xeedys.

      Liked by 1 person

      • #34 by xeedys on September 27, 2014 - 10:31 AM

        thanks! itong mga sulat na kwento ang nagbibigay saya =)

        Like

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