Archive for January 24th, 2015
“Martin, I already told you, we have nothing to talk about. Hindi pa ba sapat ang nasaksihan ko! I hope this would be the last time you will call. Please lang, kung may natitira ka pang respeto sa akin, leave me in peace!” Pippa calmly said.
Martin knew then that Pippa is at her most angriest. She had been like that since he had known her, the angrier she is, the more soft spoken she becomes, as if it is her way of controlling her emotions.
“But, Pippa, Honey, please listen to me. Sabi ko naman sa iyo, wala lang iyon, di ba?” Martin said, trying to convince his girlfriend of six months. “Siya naman kasi ang lapit ng lapit.”
“Wala lang iyon Martin! Sa akin, hindi.” Pippa said, trying to hold on to her temper. “There’s nothing we can say to each other that would change the situation, what I saw with my two eyes! Let us part civilly, Martin. Alalahanin na lang natin whatever it was na maganda sa relationship natin.”
“Pippa, I love you!” Martin insisted. He does love her very much in his very own way. Yes, he had strayed, but he justified it in his mind, insisting that it was nothing serious. It is still Pippa he loves.
“You should have thought of that when you went to bed with someone else.” Pippa said. “Good bye, Martin!” Then she pressed the off button of her phone. She is not expecting any calls or text anyway. Luckily, she had finished her current project and her team is just about to plan the next one.
Like a scene from the movies she had seen, and in the romance books she sometimes read, she literally had caught Martin with someone else in his condo the night before. He was with the model who starred with him in his latest commercial for a beer company. They have not seen each other much the past month as she was busy. To make it up to him, she wanted to treat him to dinner the night before, finding herself with some free time, finally as they have finished editing the episode for their last week of airing. When he was not answering her phone, she decided to go to his place since it is in the same condominium complex where she lives. She knew he was home as he texted her earlier saying that he will just stay at home because she is not free to go out with him.
Pippa pressed the bell at the door of the unit. No one replied. It was then she noticed that the door to Martin’s unit was ajar. Fearing the worst, even if it is a secure condominium, she pushed it gently. It was then that she noticed the scattered clothes all over the living room. She felt nervous, dreading what she would discover, though she knew already. When she neared the bedroom, she heard sounds coming through it. She stepped backwards in surprise and crashed into Martin’s stationary bike. She howled in pain. In the process, she accidentally kicked his mountain bike which crashed loudly to the floor. It seems it was enough for the occupants of the room to stop what they were obviously doing. Martin opened the door with just his boxers on. He was followed by Cassandra Ledesma, wearing his discarded shirt.
“Pippa…..” Martin, blurted out, so surprise to see her. “It is not what you think.” He said, trying to placate her.
“I don’t think we have anything to talk about. I already told you that there is one thing I can’t tolerate in a relationship, you being unfaithful to me!” Pippa said, looking Martin in the eyes. She refused to look at Cassandra. It takes two to do this and not just one person. For now, her concern is Martin and what he had just done to her and their relationship.
“But this is nothing! This is just a fling! She had been coming on to me since we did the commercial.” Martin insisted.
Pippa was about to say something to Martin when Cassandra beat her to it. “So wala lang din ito sa iyo! After I made you happy, more than what your girlfriend can do, as you told me earlier. What was the term you used, that she is a cold fish!” She said insultingly. “Wala namang pilitang nangyari kanina matapos nating magkita sa bar. In fact, we ended up in your place and had so much fun inside.”
“Cassie, stop.” Martin shouted. “You know that you have been sending me all these signals. What can a guy do!”
Pippa looked at the two of them. She decided then that she had given her love to the wrong person. The way she and Martin started, she thought, it was for keeps as he pursued her relentlessly until she had said yes. At that time, she felt flattered by the attention he showered her, his attentiveness, him making her the center of his world. Now, she is wondering if Martin just felt challenged so he pursued her, and when in the end he was not able to get what he wanted, at the time he wanted it, he got bored.
“I guess you two have something to sort out. I’m out of it, out of this place and out of your life, Martin! Good bye! I hope in the future, you will find a person you will truly love at hindi mo pagtataksilan!” Then Pippa walked out of the apartment, still holding her tears at bay, her head held high.
She ran back to the elevator and hoped that it would come soon. She can hear Martin calling her, telling her to wait up for him. Luckily, the elevator opened. She ran back to her condominium unit, which is a building away from Martin’s as they found that they live in the same condomiinium complex the day he invited her to dinner. Only then that she gave way to tears!
Pippa, with tears blinding her, went inside her unit, hastily packed her bags and took a taxi to Cubao where she can take a bus going to Batangas Port. She ignored the calls Martin was making. She shut down her phone and dropped it into the bottom of her bag.
“Pippa, are you alright?” Ethan called from the sliding door that leads to the veranda, jolting her back to the present and away from the painful memories of a love affair gone bad and betrayal from a person she trusted very much with her heart. The light from the kitchen illuminated his tall frame and from what she could see, he is quite concern. “You were in there so long, so I thought I would check on you.”
“I’m okay, Ethan. I just need to collect my bearings. I’m okay. I should be okay. It’s not worth it to be not okay!” Pippa said. “Sorry if I’m not making sense. Thank you for the concern, but I’m handling this.” Pippa was tempted to tell him, but stopped herself as she is not yet prepared to share what happened with anyone, even with her Mom. She just want to be here where all her happy memories were and where she feels comforted.
“It is okay, Pippa. And if you need to unburden yourself, sorry I can’t help but overhearing a bit of your phone call, just before you went out, I’m just here to listen. Sometimes, it helps.” Ethan offered, though saying that, he feels like a fraud as he was also unable to do that after what happened to Claudia.
“Thanks, Ethan!” Pippa said, grateful for the offer. But she also feels that Ethan has his own demons to fight. Ayaw na niyang dagdagan pa. “Since maaga pa and I doubt if I could sleep after the long nap I took, I think I will just walk down the next beach and help my cousin Belinda at the bar.”
“Oh, but it is dark already!” Ethan protested, thinking of the dark, probably deserted road Pippa will take to go there.
“I’ll be okay. I grew up here, remember. People knows me.” Pippa insisted.
“But do the drunk and unruly tourists you might encounter know you too? I have seen a bit of them here since I came. Come, I will walk you there. And I insist, no arguments please.” He stressed, smiling at Pippa winningly. “Come on, let me play Sir Galahad since ayaw mo ng tulong ko sa ibang bagay.”
Pippa smiled, and Ethan was happy to see her doing so, unlike the forlorn sight he saw when she was sitting alone in the dark earlier. He saw her expression before she can masked it, when he opened the door and the light from inside spilt i to where she was sitting.
“O sige na nga!” Pippa smiled.
They got a flashlight each, then walked towards the road, off to the next beach. The gate of the house by beach just led only to the beach as there was a hill separating the two places, which was a good thing as it make the Montenegro beach a bit private, so they can’t go through that direction.
Ethan held Pippa’s hand while there were walking so as to be sure that she does not trip and fall. The road could be tricky at night, base on his experience. Pippa, at first startled when he did so. Ethan, then explained about the road. She nodded and allowed him to continue holdng her hand. It has a nice feeling to it. She felt safe and cared for. They walked in companionable silence.
Several minutes later, they entered the brightly-lit bar made of native materials. It was fronting the beach, and behind it are the cottages the Montenegros are renting out to tourists. Pippa’s mother insisted on retaining the cottages made of native materials even if other places beside theirs opted to ‘modernize’ and built concrete structures, which she had said were ugly. Marianne Montenegro said, yes maintaining the native huts are more costly but they look so much better and it is in keeping with the atmosphere of the beach place.
Pippa’s cousin Belinda was busy serving quite a number of customers when they arrived. When she looked up, she noticed Pippa and her friend Ethan, walking towards her.
“Pippa! I didn’t know that you are home! Kailan pa dumating?” Belinda greeted her cousin as she gave a Caucasian guy the beer he just ordered. “Nandiyan ka rin pala, Superman!” She added with a big smile, teasing Ethan.
“Hi Belle! Kumusta, parang ang daming customer this evening! Kanina lang ako dumating.” Pippa said. “And why are you calling Ethan, Superman?”
“Pippa, don’t mind your cousin. Belle has been teasing me since I arrived.” Ethan said with a smile. “Belle, stop that na, please.” He good-naturedly pleaded.
“Hahahaha, why should I. Kasi, Pippa, di ba kamukha niya si Henry Cavill, kaya Superman ang tawag ko sa kanya.”
“Belle!…..” Ethan suddenly felt embarrassed and self-conscious with Pippa looking at him intently as if she is checking if there is really a resemblance between him and the English actor.
“Oh, hindi naman Belle. Kamukha niya kaya si Matthew Goode!” Pippa said, teasing Ethan, seeing him getting uncomfortable, she stopped. “Sorry, Ethan! Belle tama na nga, cousin.”
Seeing the humor also, and seeing that it made Pippa smiled and animated, he joined the teasing. “O sige na nga, kamukha ko silang dalawa. Gusto niyo ng autograph. Kayo talagang magpinsan.”
“Sure!” Pippa said.
The three of them laughed. Then another customer called Belle’s attention.
“Pippa, what would you like to drink, my treat! It’s the least I could do after you cooked me dinner.” Ethan asked. “We can sit at the log table by the beach. It just got vacant.”
“Oh!” Pippa looked at the direction Ethan indicated and then looked at Belle. The spot does look inviting. Maybe, she should just forget all her troubles and have fun for once that evening.
“Go Pippa, I don’t need help.” Belle said, seeing her cousin indecisive. “I can manage. Nandito naman sila Andy and Melissa.” pointing to their two employees. “Saka feeling ko, paunti na ang mga customer. Kanina mas marami. You know how it is kapag long weekend, maraming nagpupunta dito. Nasabayan pa ng peak season ng foreign tourists. Go lang, cousin, I can manage talaga.” Belinda also sensed that Pippa might be going through something. Tita Marianne has not mentioned at all that Pippa is coming home. It is not also her usual time to be home too. So, baka kailangan talagang mag-unwind ng pinsan niya.
“Okay, I will have a Tanduay Ice please.” Pippa said. “Thank you Ethan!”
“Just go and save our space. I will take care of the drinks.” Ethan said.
Pippa did as he told. She sat on the bench facing the beach. While she can’t see anymore beyond the water lapping the shore as it was very dark already, she still find the place soothing and beautiful. She feels her body relaxing, and her spirits slowly lifting up.
“Thanks Belle.” Ethan said as Belle handed him a San Mig Light and a Tanduay Ice.
“No worries, Ethan. Take care of my cousin. You, two seemed to have hit if off right away, ha!” She remarked. “If not for the fact that I know you just met her today, I would say that you’ve known each other long.”
“Well, Pippa is nice. She cooked pa nga dinner for the two of us when she saw me eating a peanut butter sandwich.” Ethan simply said. He does not want to analyze this feeling of wanting to be in Pippa’s company despite the fact that he was still reeling from the aftermath of his relationship with Claudia and the unresolved issues in his life.
Belle let it be. She has a feeling that Ethan and her cousin would be good for each other. She hopes Tristan and her will be like that to! But for so long, it is only Pippa that Tristan sees.
“Here you go!” Ethan handed Pippa her drink.
“Thank you Ethan.” Pippa said. “Nice to be out here, di ba? Nakaka-relax at nakakatanggal ng worries.” She remarked.
“Yes, that’s why stayed and no plans of moving yet.” Ethan said, then before Pippa can ask for more details, he said, “Cheers!”
“Cheers, Ethan!” Pippa said smiling. Maybe, they should just enjoy each other company and the evening, enough of all her questions. Maybe, one day, he will trusts her with his secrets, in the same manner that she will, maybe, find herself confiding in him. For a while, she got tempted earlier, but it was just for a split second.
Ethan and Pippa gazed at each other, smiled, then both reach for their drinks, and started enjoying the evening with each other, setting aside all their worries and the unresolved issues in their personal lives.
“Sige na Ate Cris, I have to go na.” Maya told her cousin who called up as she was about to get ready for her dinner with Richard. His text woke her up that Saturday morning. He said he just wanted to greet her good morning and that he will see her later. The text made her morning. She found herself with a silly grin as she cleaned her condo, humming Oh, what a beautiful mornin’/And oh, what a beautiful day/I’ve got a wonderful feelin’/Every thing’s goin’ my way….from one of the old musicals she likes, Oklahoma!
“Hmmmm, may date ka ano! Kaya ka nagmamadali!” Cris told Maya, teasing her. “Feeling ko oo ka lang ng oo sa akin.”
“Uy, Ate Cris, nakikinig kaya ako sa sinasabi mo.” Maya insisted, smiling. “Saka hindi naman ako talaga nagmamadali, slight lang, hahahaha!”
Cris decided to test and tease her cousin further. She already detected with the way Maya was answering that her attention was not completely with her. She called up to ask her cousin if there is a special food she would like her and her Mom to prepare for tomorrow’s dinner.
“So, siya, siya, paano na, Mom and I will prepare morcon, embutido and grilled fish for our dinner tomorrow.” Cris said.
“Sure, masarap lahat ng iyon.” Maya replied, cellphone on speaker while trying to check what she could wear for the dinner with Richard from her opened closet.
“Hahahaha, huli ka, little sis! Sabi ko na nga ba, hindi ka nakikinig!” Cris laughed.
“Ha, di ba, iyan naman ang pinag-uusapan nating mga food kanina.” Maya said, trying to recall what they agreed on earlier.
“Cousin, we agreed on grilled fish, kaldereta and menudo.” Cris said, still laughing.
“Hahahahaha, busted. Sorry naman Ate Cris.” Maya said sheepishly.
“So, may date ka nga? Parang alam ko na kung sino. Ito ba eh nagngangalang Richard Lim!” Jeff told her that Maya and Richard, the guy who rescued Cho know each other and seemed to be happy to have met again. Her husband also confided in her that there seemed to be something more between the two, but he is sure the two of them are unaware of it yet.
“Ha, anong sinabi ni Kuya Jeff sa iyo about Ricky!” Maya asked, curious to know how Jeff read her meeting Richard again.
“Wala naman, maliban na lang na siya ang nag-rescue kay Cho sa S & R last weekend. Saka sabi niya magkakilala kayo. Sabi ng husband ko, aminado siya na mas guwapo raw sa kanya si Richard. Hahahahaha.” Cris said, at the same time thinking, so it’s Ricky, huh, and not Richard, indicating that her cousin and the guy who rescued Cho are not just casual acquiantances.
“Si Kuya Jeff talaga!” Maya said smiling, then admitted to her cousin that she is going out with Richard. “Yes, Ate Cris, Ricky invited me to dinner this evening.”
“Sabi na nga ba, eh! How long have you known him? Saan mo nakilala? Parang wala ka namang nakwento sa akin.” Cris asked, just wanting to know as it was from Jeff that she first heard about Richard and not from Maya. Pero baka rin naman sa abroad niya nakilala si Richard.
“It’s a long story, Ate Cris. Bayaan mo I will tell you about it tomorrow evening kung may pagkakataon.” Maya said. “Basta, I’m so happy that Ricky and I met again and that was through Cho ha.”
“Okay, hindi na ako magtatanong at baka ma-late ka pa sa date niyo ni Richard.” Cris said. She can feel her cousin’s happiness by the tone of her voice. She looks like she is on the way to falling in love for the first time in her life. She is glad. Maya has so much love to give and the guy whom she will finally decided to give her love will be a very lucky one.
“Thanks Ate Cris. Hindi ito date, dinner lang. Sa totoo lang, I’m a bit nervous! Paano if after all these years and all the anticipation….” She said almost to herself and not to her cousin.
“Maya, whatever it is, set it aside. Just enjoy the moment. I haven’t seen you this giddy and aligaga about something. Savor the feeling. Iyon bang anticipation and sobrang kabog ng dibdib mo sa saya kasi makikita mo siya. Yes, I don’t know the whole story, but I kinda think that it is that way. Tama ba ako?” Cris told her younger cousin.
“Tama ka, Ate Cris. Thank you. I will. O sige, I really have to go na. Baka sa kahahanap ko ng isusuot eh buong closet na ang mahalukay ko.” Maya said, smiling. “See you tomorrow.”
“See you and enjoy your night with your Chinito Prince Charming, na sabi mo eh hindi date!” Cris said, teasing her cousin one more time to ease up her nervousness, before she ended the call.
Maya was still smiling when she put down the phone. She checked the time and found that she still have ample time to get ready. She took out a lace classically cut dress from the closet. The dress has a Sabrina neckline and a fitted bodice and an A-line skirt that reach above the knee. It is one of her favorite cocktail dresses, not too dressy. It reminded her of the jade green dress who used to belong to Audrey Hepburn she saw online while she was looking for old articles on her, so she readily bought it when she saw it in a boutique store in Macau.
Maya got ready. Wearing the midnight purple dress she check herself in the mirror, thirty minutes later. Then she smiled. This is it! After seven long years! She got her evening bag and decided to wait for Richard in the living room. She was a bit early. To calm her nerves, she decided to continue watching Hepburn’s Roman Holiday.
Richard at that moment was also getting ready for his date, errr dinner with Maya. Like her, he was a bit nervous. The meeting and getting to know each other is seven years in the making, after all. Earlier, Donya Esmeralda asked Richard if he would like to have dinner with her and some relatives, but he declined. Just like Maya with Cristina Rose, he, too, was unable to concentrate on what his mother was saying.
Donya Esmeralda noticed his inability to concentrate which was not like Richard at all. Her son has always been successful in compartmentalizing everything. It must have been the architect and engineer in him. He is also known for his cool and a bit of aloofness. So, she told her son, his thought might be filled with a woman he really, really likes this time. His mother’s insight startled Richard and his mother just laughed at the end of the line when he asked her why would think that. Unbeknown to Richard, Donya Esmeralda also know that he made a reservation at the Lim family’s special place. She found out by accident when she was asking their hotel manager to prepare the place for the dinner she was planning for this evening.
Wearing a pair of dark jeans, pale blue shirt, and a matching sports coat, Richard boarded his car for the short ride to Maya’s place after promising his mother that he will make it up to her. He also said that they have other stuffs to discuss. He is going to tell her about Maya Dela Rosa.
Several minutes after, Maya’s intercom rang. The building reception told Maya that she has a guest. She told the girl who sounded breathless on the phone to send Mr. Lim up. Her door bell chimed several minutes after.
“Hi Ricky!” Maya said with a big smile when she opened the door, trying to control her fast beating heart. Richard looks so handsome with the big lopsided smile he is giving her.
“Hello Maya!” Then he handed Maya a big arrangement of sunflowers and roses. He just guessed what flowers she might like. “For you!” He was also gazing at her with admiration. She looks very lovely in that dress she is wearing, and also because of the smile she bestowed him that lit up her whole face.
“Oh, thank you very much for this, Ricky. They are lovely. Sunflower is my favorite flower!” Maya said happily, at the same time getting a bit self-conscious. “Come in please.”
Richard entered Maya’s spacious but still quite bare unit. He can see boxes still piled in the corner, with only her book case in order in that side of the room, together with the nice looking sofa and a big flat screen television.
“This is home. Medyo magulo pa!” Maya remarked. “Would you like something to drink before we leave?” She asked Richard.
“No, thank you, Maya. I’m good.” Richard replied.
“Okay, let me just put these flowers in a jar in the kitchen so we could get going.” Maya excused herself, trying to remember if she has a jar that would fit the flowers. She definitely didn’t have a vase in the house.
Richard gravitated towards the bookshelf while waiting for Maya to return. Judging by the books, and DVDs, on the shelves, he deduced that they have the similar tastes in reading materials and also movies, except that Maya seems to love the classics.
“I’m a pack rat when it comes to books. Hayan, wala na tuloy akong mapaglagyan.” Maya remarked when she returned to the living room and saw Richard checking the titles of the books in her collection. “Kasama ang mga iyan sa paglipat ko ng mga bahay.”
“Really. But that is nice! Hindi ka mahilig sa e-books?” Richard asked.
“I do rin, mas convenient kasi, pero only when I’m traveling or kung hindi ko makita ang title na hinahanap ko sa book shop. But if I have a choice, I still prefer ‘real books’. I like the feel of the pages in my hand and the ‘smell’, so to speak.”
“I agree with you. Well, can have the best of both worlds, courtesy of modern technology. I have also read some of the books in your shelf.” Richard remarked.
“Really! Which ones?” Maya said as she grab her bag. “Shall we get going?”
“Offhand, P.D. James and Philip Kerr.” Richard replied as he opened the door for Maya.
“They are two of my favorite authors!” Maya said as they walked towards the elevator chatting about the books, and also the movies they both like. As if by tacit agreement, they reserve the more serious discussion over dinner, one was planning to tell the other.
Maya wants to tell Richard that she will be working in his company and Richard on the other hand, wanted to tell Maya that he knew about her job application before they talk about the past seven years fate seemed to have conspired to keep them apart. But now that they met again, fate is forgiven!
“Where are we having dinner?” Maya asked as she was fastening her seatbelt after Richard escorted her to a dark blue BMW parked at the building guests’ parking.
“I know of a very nice place fronting Manila Bay. Would that be okay as it requires a bit of a travel?” Richard asked.
“Sure, anywhere is okay. I have been out of the country for four years so I’m sure there are a lot of new places that I don’t know of.” Maya remarked. Then she can’t wait until they get there, she decided to mention to Richard about her new job. “Do you know that I got interviewed by your company for a job? Actually I got hired and will start after the New Year.”
Richard was glad that Maya opened this line of conversation. He was about to do so himself since they will have a bit of a travel from BGC to Roxas Boulevard. He replied as he navigated the Saturday evening traffic from Taguig. “I was about to tell you about it. Yes, I have seen your application. I called for a meeting kasi of our HR officers since my mother who is handling the operations side of Emerald went on leave. Diana told me that among the three sent by our headhunter, one stood out because of that person’s credentials. I got very curious and asked for the folder and when I opened it, I was suprised to see that it is you. I didn’t tell our HR that I know you. I thought that it is better that way. I know naman that you will get the job because of your impressive credentials.“ Richard said.
“Oh, so you saw my CV and such. Only when I was told by my recruiter that I have a job interview with Emerald did I check your complete company profile. I was also surprised to see you listed as one of the officers. About not telling them, I agree with you.” Maya said. “Thank you, Ricky for the vote of confidence. I’m happy to be working in your company and in the Philippines na rin. It’s good to be back home!” Maya added.
“I agree, and I’m glad that you are home too. See, nagkita ulit tayo after that beauty pageant ages ago.” Richard smiled. “I thought I would see you next in Binibining Pilipinas or Miss World Philippines or Miss Earth.” He said, smiling. “How was it working in Macau? Sa Macau ka lang ba nag-stay all throughout na umalis ka ng Pilipinas?
“Talaga! That pageant was a one night deal for me. It’s a long story why I joined. About Macau, yes, iyon ang naging base ko, pero I sometimes travel to the other hotels in the region that my company owns. Then minsan, I got sent to trainings in Europe and the States!” Maya narrated. She enjoyed going places. “Working in Macau was great. Marami rin kasing Pilipino doon. Except for missing my family and our food, okay naman doon. Hayun I also learned how to speak Mandarin and Portuguese.”
“Really, so we can converse in Chinese!” Richard said, smiling.
“Well, I guess, basta don’t speak too fast and too accented ha. Kapag kasi sobra ng bilis magsalita ang isang Chinese native, nahihirapan na akong sundan.” Maya said smiling, teasing Richard.
The rest of the trip to Manila, they chatted about working and staying in different parts of the globe, learning and absorbing languages and cultures in the process, meeting new and interesting people. Soon, they have arrived in front of the Emerald Hotel fronting Roxas Boulevard. Richard ushered Maya in after he handed his car key to the valet who greeted him familiarly. Richard explained to Maya that the valet, Edwin, is a long time Lim employee.
Maya thought Richard and her will dine at one of the hotel’s two dining rooms. But instead of going to the either of the directions indicated at the lobby, Richard ushered her inside a waiting elevator. The elevator took them to the topmost floor, into a private door which he opened using his key card. As soon as he did, a beautiful garden came into view. In the gazebo, in the middle of the garden, a table was beautifully set for two.
“Wow, what a beautiful place!” Maya remarked.
Richard smiled. “My mother thought of putting this on top to take advantage of the magnificent view. The view of the Manila Bay sunset from here is incredible. She, however, limited the access to this place to our family and for special occasions only.”
“Your mother has a great idea.” Maya said, liking what Mrs. Lim did to the place. “Speaking of your mother, I met her yesterday. She interviewed me too, just a short one.”
“She usually does that for employee candidates that already passed Diana and Ina’s hiring process.” Richard explained. He then led Maya to the table already set for a sumptuous dinner for two. Richard seated Maya and then he moved and sat across her.
“Wine, Maya?” He asked. “Red or white?”
“White, please Ricky and thank you very much!” Maya replied, settling more comfortably into her chair. She also noticed the attention to details that Richard did for this evening’s dinner.
“Okay, white it is.” Richard opened the bottle of white wine cooling in a big bucket at the side of the table, poured Maya a glass and handed it to her. He also poured one for himself.
“Here’s to meeting finally, after all these years!” Richard said as he offered Maya a toast.
“Here’s to meeting again!” Maya replied, smiled at Ricky. Then realized that he had said, ‘finally’, instead of ‘again’. “Ricky, how come you said ‘finally’! We have met nga seven years ago, di ba?”
“Maya, yes. But this is our first actual meeting. We just saw each other and interacted in the pageant itself. Remember you missed the party afterwards because of your grandmother.” Richard gazed at Maya meaningfully, before saying, “We have several missed meetings actually. Now, looking at you, sitting there, about to have dinner with me, I never imagined it would finally happen!”
“Really, when, where? Ilang beses na?” Maya asked, surprised, then she remembered something. “I remember seeing you in Macau, I think! That was you, di ba, with a guy and a lady with a short hair, walking through the shops connecting the luxury hotels in Cotai?”
Now, it was Richard’s turned to be surprised. “You saw me in Macau with Ivy and Ryan?”
“Yes. I thought it was you. I was walking around the shops, as I can’t sleep after taking my cousin and her family back to the hotel where I work and where they are staying. I thought I saw you. Then you disappeared from my line of sight. I followed, but I can’t find you anymore.” Then she admitted, “It bothered me, not knowing if it was you, so when I was checking out my cousin and her family I asked our front desk personnel, a Filipina rin, if someone with your name is a guest. She confirmed that you were and that you have checked out already.”
“Oh Maya! Fate really teased us a lot, huh!” Richard said with a big smile. His heart is also beating fast, because if his reading Maya’s statement is correcct, it seems like he was not the only one who was unable to forget that pageant a long time ago, that, that night made quite a mark on both of them. “I also saw you in Macau, taking a gondola ride with Cho and Jeff. I thought Jeff is your husband and Cho is your son.” He admitted.
“Oh!” Maya exclaimed! “Really, akala mo husband ko si Kuya Jeff and anak ko si Cho! I guess medyo hawig nga ng mga Dela Paz, my mother’s side of the family, iyang si Cho. My cousin Cris was with us then. But she was feeling sickly due to her early stage of pregnancy so she waited for us in one of the restaurants. Sana, you wave at me, para nagkita tayo doon pa lang.”
“Errrr, I thought you were with your family kaya I didn’t bother you na.” Richard said, then looked at Maya meaningfully. Maya felt her heart skipped a beat with that look. It seems like Richard is telegraphing a subliminal message to her that she can’t fully grasp at the moment.
“Hindi lang doon tayo kamuntik na nagkita!” Richard continued. “Pati sa airport sa Singapore, four years ago! I think we were on the same flight that evening.”
“Ha, pati doon?” Maya said getting more and more surprised with their missed meetings. Remembering that she also thought of Richard while in the plane, especially after that foreigner chatted her up. “I was there for several days, visiting a friend, before I went to Macau to work there.”
“Oh, that’s why! I saw you at the travelator pero bigla kang nawala sa maraming tao. Kaya pala hindi na nakita, you exited the terminal!”
“Hindi nakita? You mean, you looked for me?” Maya asked, her heart now is definitely beating faster with each of his revelations.
“Yes, I did, until I boarded the flight to Frankfurt that night.” Richard admitted, gazing at Maya. He decided to leave out the fact that he also looked for her in Mindoro. He will tell her about it at some point in the future. For now, they are still in the getting to know each other stage. When he is more sure of everything, of what he feels and what she feels.
“It’s amazing, we have several missed meeting! But I too, was glad that we bumped into each other at S & R. I just volunteered to go with Kuya Jeff and Cho since Ate Cris was not feeling well. Tapos baka marami pang tao, mahirap makipagsiksikan for a buntis like her.” Maya said.
“Really, me too. Wala akong planong pumunta roon. Hinila lang ako ni Mama kasi umalis iyong driver niya at mga kasambahay.” Richard said, smiling.
“See, to meeting finally.” Richard said, raising his wine glass again.
“I agree, to finally meeting again!:” Maya replied, smiling. Happy that fate made them met finally.
Richard and Maya proceeded to have a very wonderful dinner amid the beauty and quiet of the Manila sky, full of stars that night and with a cool breeze was blowing from the direction of the bay. Throught the evening, they got to know more about each other, unmindful of the passing of hours, making up for seven long years.
Note: Happy weekend. 🙂 I will see if I can do pa today the next installment of Unexpected Love, para triple treat, of sorts!