Excuse me.” Maya said as she quickly made her way to the comfort room. She’s having a hard time absorbing what just happened.
He’s back. He’s back. He’s back. He’s back. Those were the words that she repeatedly hears from her brain.
And worse, Maya, he’s Alex’s boyfriend.
Minutes later, someone knocked at the door.
“Maya? Are you okay?” It’s Richard. He’s been so worried when Maya did not come back.
“O-oo, Chard.” She said, trying to convince him. But the tone of her voice betrayed her.
“Can I com e in?” he asked.
Maya slowly opened the door. Richard went in quickly.
“Hindi ka naman ok eh.” He said, his hands on her shoulders. “Namumutla ka. What’s wrong, Maya?”
Maya couldn’t say a word.
“You can tell me, Maya. Diba sabi ko sa’yo, nandito lang ako.”
Maya looked at the man standing in front of her. She’s in awe of Richard. She wants to say it to him, but she couldn’t.
“Do you want to go home?” he asked when he did not hear any response from Maya.
She just nodded.
“Tito Papa!” the twins shouted when they saw Richard with Maya.
Richard bent down to give the boys a hug. He felt really close to them these past months.
“Kumusta kayo?” he asked them. Siya namang sari-sariling kwento sina Luke at Nicolo. They missed their Tito Papa even though it was just a few nights since he last visited them.
Maya was touched by what she is seeing. She’s not the only one who loves Richard, also her kids, which makes everything better. Secretly, she would imagine Richard as his husband. She couldn’t think of anyone else better than him.
Nandyan si James. A tiny voice from her head said.
Maya grimaced on what she thought. Hindi, kalimutan mo na si James, Maya. Tapos na lahat para sa kanya.
Her kids suddenly went near her, grabbed her hand and made her sit on the couch. Luke removed her sandals while Nicolo arrived while holding her slippers. Then Richard emerged from the kitchen, bringing her a cup of coffee.
Richard sat beside her and gave her the cup of coffee.
“Pang-relax mo. Kumalma ka lang kasi.” He said.
Maya turned her attention to her sons. “Kasali kayo dito?”
The two boys nodded. “Tito Papa said that you don’t feel well, Mama.” Luke said.
“That’s why we agreed to help!” said Nicolo.
“Ang babait naman ng mga boys ko!” Maya said as she kissed their heads.
“Pano ako?” Richard said.
Maya smiled. “Ikaw ha, naglalambing ka lagi.”
“What? I have every right to do so.”
Maya also kissed Richard on his head. “Ayan, masaya ka na?”
He frowned. “Para namang napilitan ka lang eh.” He teased.
Maya laughed. Then she gave a smack to Richard’s lips. “I love you.”
Richard finally smiled. “I love you, too.”
“Yieeeeeee!!” the twins said in unison.
They both laughed.
“I should go.” He turned to the kids. “Take care of your mama, ha? Kung may mangyari, just call me, okay?”
“Opo! Ingat po Tito Papa!” the kids said.
“Goodnight.” He said to Maya, and then he kissed her head.
“Goodnight. Ingat sa pagda-drive.”
Richard made his way outside. As he walks, the twins are also walking a little behind him. When he finally noticed them, he bent down to give them a hug and said goodbye. Then, they returned to Maya and to cuddle with their mother.
Maya was almost close to tears at that moment. She doesn’t want that time to come where she’s not going to be with her kids again.
“Alex is inviting you for dinner. Can you make it?”
Maya received Richard’s text when she turned on her phone. She just arrived from Cebu and is free from work for the rest of the day.
“Tayong tatlo lang?” she replied.
“No. Kasama si Abbie at si James.”
Oo o hindi, Maya? Para kay Richard ‘to saka kay Alex. Pero .. nandun si James eh. Pero … argh! si James nga eh!
Her phone rang.
“So, pupunta ka?”
“Uhm .. Ano, hindi kasi ako pwede. Gawa ng .. gawa ni ano, ni Doris! Aalis kasi siya,kaya .. kaya walang magbabantay sa mga bata.” She said nervously.
“Edi bring them here.”
Nako. Mas lalong ayoko. “Ay, hindi na Chard. Makakaistorbo ako eh. Next time na lang, ha?”
Richard could sense that Maya is not telling something to him. “Sige.” But in the end, he decided to let it go.
“Can I come over later sa condo?”
“Richard, pagod ka na.”
“Edi I’ll cancel the dinner with Alex.”
“Ay nako, Richard, ‘yan ang ‘wag mong gawin. Ilang taon mong hindi nakasama ‘yung kapatid mo tapos iiwan mo pa.”
“I don’t think she’ll mind. She’s quite occupied with James.”
Maya felt a stab in her heart. “Ehh. Kahit na. Basta, ituloy mo yung dinner ha.”
She heard him sigh on the other line. “Fine. Basta pupunta ako mamaya, ok?”
“Sige na po. Babay na, uuwi na ko.”
“Sige, ingat ka. Maya?”
He smirked before letting go of these words. “I love you.”
She found herself smiling foolishly from what she heard. “I love you, too.”
Maya received a text after Richard called. It was from an unknown number.
“Maya”. It said.
“Sino ka?” She replied.
“Can we talk?”
“Sino ka nga.”
“Sasabihin ko kung sino ako ‘pag pumayag kang makipag-usap.”
“Bakit ako papayag eh hindi nga kita kilala. Mamaya mapahamak pa ako.”
“Hindi ka pa rin talaga nagbabago, sweety.”
Maya froze when she read the word ‘sweety.’
There’s only one person who calls her that.
Later that night, Richard did came to her condo. Even though Maya is not in the mood to entertain anybody, she made sure that Richard didn’t notice it. Richard, on the other hand, did notice it. He would always see Maya lost in her thoughts.
“Ay, Maya. Pasensya ka na, Chard ha – “
“Uwi na ako.” He said abruptly.
“Oh? Sige, pero kararating mo lang ah.”
He looked at her. “Para naman kasing wala yung dahilan ng ipinunta ko dito. Sige.” Then he stood up and quickly went away.
“Chard!” It took a second for her to absorb what just happened and now she’s almost running just to catch him.
“Richard! Hoy! Richard naman eh!”
He finally halted, sighed deeply and turned around to look at her. Maya could see the sadness in him.
Maya took his hand and led him back to her unit. Maya thought that Richard will disagree, but he obliged.
They were seated back to the couch, Maya facing him while Richard is looking straight ahead.
“Huy, Richard. Sorry na.” She curled herself into his arm. “Alam kong kasalanan ko. Sorry na talaga.”
“Ano ba kasing problema, Maya?” he said, still not looking at her. “I don’t mean to pry. It’s just that I hate seeing us like this.”
He felt her arms loosen. “Kung ayaw mong i-kwento, ayos lang sa’kin. But could you please just give me a hint or something?”
“Ano kasi .. uhmm .. basta Chard. Hindi pa ako ready na sabihin lahat ‘to. Pero promise ko, one day sasabihin ko rin lahat sa’yo. Please ‘wag ka nang magalit.”
Richard took a deep breath. “Fine. Basta keep your promise ok?”
Richard let out another sigh. “I really need to go, Maya. I’ll see you again tomorrow, ok?”
“Ok. Ingat ka.”
He gave a small grin. “Goodnight. I love you.”
“Goodnight.” Richard stared at her for a moment before he got up and head outside.
Maya didn’t say I love you back. And that was then that he knew that something is wrong.
Maya looked at her watch. It’s the exact time that they’ve agreed to meet. She’s now seated in a restaurant, waiting for him. She thinks that this is all too ironic. That she was the one who’s been avoiding him before and now, the tables have turned.
She’s looking out the window when she heard a familiar voice.