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.
It felt like the time stood still for Maya. He still looks the same – the same person she used to love.
She just nodded at him.
He sat on the chair opposite of her. He’s wearing this slight grin on his face and he looks collected, but Maya can sense that he’s also nervous.
She suddenly remembered their exchange of text messages.
“I’m glad you still remember me, Maya. I can’t believe that I would see you again.”
“Lubayan mo ko! That’ll be our last encounter!”
“I won’t let that happen, sweety. Lalo na’t you have my sons.”
“At kailan ka pa nagkaroon ng pakialam sa mga anak ko? Pwede ba James, tumigil ka na?”
“Anong matagal na?”
“I never stopped searching for you, Maya. I realized that our twins are indeed a gift. Hinanap kita for the past seven years, pero anong nangyari? ‘Di ba you always shut me off? So I never get the chance to be with you.”
“Huli na lahat, James. Tapos na ‘yan. Iwan mo na kami ng mga anak ko.”
“I won’t let that happen, Maya. Please, give me another chance. I still love you.”
“I don’t believe you. Tumigil ka na James.”
“Alam mo kung bakit hindi ka naniniwala? It’s because you never gave me another chance to talk to you again. I beg you, please Maya. I want us to have dinner. Let’s talk”
That conversation is the reason why she and Richard almost fought the other night. She thought about it again and again. It was only when Richard left that she agreed for them to meet.
“How are you?”, he started.
“Ayos lang.”, she replied blankly.
“Maya, alam kong galit ka sa’kin –“
“Buti alam mo James.”, she cut him off. “Matapos mo kong iwan noon, babalik ka na lang basta ngayon? Pitong taon na yung lumipas – “
“Exactly. It has been seven years. Seven long years! Hindi ba dapat pinapatawad mo na ko?”
“Hindi ko tatanggapin basta-basta ang sorry mo.”
“I know. That’s why I’m going to make it up to you.”
Maya became confused. Babawi siya? Pero ..
“Listen.” He spoke again. “I owe you an explanation.” He looked away as if searching for the right words.
“Remember when you told me that you were pregnant? I – I’m sorry if I acted that way, but even though I said those things, deep down, I know that I am happy that I’m going to be a father. And I’m happy that you’re the one who’s going to carry my child – “
“Happy, James? Halos ipagtabuyan mo na ako noon eh! Happy ka dyan.”, she replied sarcastically.
He looked at her. “Totoo ‘to, Maya. Kaya ko nasabi ‘yon is because I knew that my parents were going to kill me. Only child ako diba? They have high expectations for me and they would be so mad at me if they knew na nakabuntis ako.”
“Bakit? Akala mo ba natuwa sina Nanay nung nalaman nilang buntis ako? Hindi lang naman ikaw James eh! Nagdusa rin ako. At ‘wag mong sasabihin na nahirapan ka noon kasi wala ‘yan sa paghihirap ko dati.”
He sighed. “I know. I really am sorry.” At that point, Maya could see his sincerity. “I had a plan back then. Ang sabi ko sa sarili ko, tutulungan ko kayo hanggang sa buong-buo akong bumalik sa inyo. Kahit financially, I want to help. ‘Yun din ‘yung pakiusap ni Kute diba? Since that day, nag-ipon ako. I didn’t mean to brag pero malaki yung naipon ko, especially when I learned that we’re having twins. Then, nalugi sina Dad sa negosyo. Nabalitaan mo naman siguro ‘yon diba? I had no choice but to lend them my money. Kaya wala akong nabigay sa inyo. I’m really sorry, Maya. I should’ve told you my plan earlier. I tried to reach you but you always shut me off. And now, I don’t want this opportunity pass by. I still love you, Maya.”
It felt like Maya has been slapped on the face as she heard James’ confession.
He did care. He did, Maya. He did!
Maya felt her spirits being lifted up, but then she remembered two persons who are important in her life.
“Pe – pero .. paano si Alex?”
“After I saw you, I knew that my love for you is greater than hers. I’m willing to end things with her if you’re willing to start everything with me again.”
Say yes, Maya! Ito na ‘yung matagal mong hinihintay!
NO! Pano na lang si Richard?
“ .. No. Masasaktan lang si Alex. Pati .. pati na rin si Richard.”
“Si Richard huh? Mahal mo ba talaga siya, Maya?”
“Ano bang tanong ‘yan James? Syempre, oo!”
“Oo nga ba talaga? O naghanap ka lang ng pwedeng pamalit sa’kin?”
Tama ba ang sinabi ni James, Maya?
He reached for her hand. “Think about it, Maya. Think about us, our family. Please.”
Maya and James had been secretly seeing each other for a week. James would often go to Maya’s condo late at night after he knew that Richard is gone. He even saw his sons, but he hadn’t met them because they were always asleep when he visits Maya.
Maya on the other hand was glad on what’s happening, but her conscience is also eating her. She knew that what they’re doing is bad, especially that she has Richard. The man would always fetch her from work no matter what time she arrives. He would always tell her about his day and his bond with her kids is still strong. He also told her about Alex who’s been lonely since last week. He knew it was because of James but he doesn’t want to tell it to Maya. He himself feels like there’s something wrong with the woman he loves. He would always catch her blankly staring at something and is always deep in thought.
“O, bakit ang dami mong niluto?”, Richard asked one time when he spent dinner time at Maya’s condo.
“Ahh .. Ano kasi .. Para kay ano, kay Doris. Kasi .. ahh .. namimiss na daw niya yung luto sa probinsya eh kaya yan dinamihan ko na.”, Maya stuttered. Pasensya ka na, Doris.
Richard could smell something fishy about this, but he just nodded.
“Is everything all right, Maya?”
“Ha? Oo naman. Ano bang tanong ‘yan Richard?”, she replied nervously.
There’s something off.
“Uwi na ako. Thanks for the dinner.” He said after staying for a few more minutes.
“Ahh, sige. Ingat ka, ha?”
Richard attempted to kiss her on her lips but Maya avoided, making his lips land on her cheek instead.
“Goodnight. I love you.”
Richard felt a pinch on his heart. It’s been weeks since he heard Maya said I love you back.
Something’s wrong, I can sense it. I need to get to the bottom of this.
Richard stayed at his car after he said goodbye to Maya. He just had to go with his gut. He has this feeling that something’s happening after he leaves.
And he’s right.
A silver Toyota Camry parked on the other side of the lot, making him unseen. A figure of a man emerged from inside holding a bouquet of flowers. He couldn’t see his face for it was dark. The man continued to walk, and when he passed at the lamp post, he already knew who he is.
Si James. But why? Sino naman ang –
And then it hit him.
Si James at Maya.
He couldn’t think of any more reason why James will be the same condominium at that time of the day. And worse, he has flowers with him making him unfaithful to his relationship with Alex.
He tried to calm his nerves for now. He’s still not sure if his hunch is right.
Richard waited patiently after James went inside. Thirty minutes became an hour, still no sign of them.
He’s almost on the verge of going home then he saw two lone figures going to the Toyota Camry. The two figures stopped outside, like they’re talking. Richard silently got out of his car.
A few seconds later, James’ shadow closed the gap between the other shadow, giving her a kiss.
That triggered Richard’s anger.
He suddenly lunged at James at punched him on his face.
“How could you do this to Alex?! You lowlife! Niloloko mo lang ang kapatid ko!” he shouted angrily.
“Ri – Richard”, James stuttered.
“Get a life! Make up your mind, damn it! Pero sa susunod, ‘wag mong idadamay si Alex! I don’t want you anywhere near her! Do you fucking understand?!”
He then turned to the woman beside her. He was about to give her a piece of his mind when he saw who it is.
“ . . Maya?” he whispered. Tears were suddenly forming in his eyes.
“.. Chard – “ she said. Richard can now see tears flowing from her eyes.
“Just stop, Maya.”, he paused as if trying to absorb all of this. “I should’ve known. I should’ve fucking known! Damn it! I’m such an idiot! Sabi na eh! Sabi na may nangyayari! Pero sana man lang sinabi mo na sakin nung una. Like when I asked you what’s wrong, you should’ve fucking told me that you two are having an affair! Dapat sinabi mo na lang para hindi ako nasasaktan ng ganito! How could you, Maya?” he said at the top of his lungs. Anger is the only thing you can see from his face.
“Si .. si James. Siya yung . . sya yung tatay ni Luke at Niccolo.” She said.
“So that’s why. So that’s why you entertain him even though we’re in a relationship! And even better, you two are doing it behind our backs. If the two of you are trying to break me and my sister’s heart, well, congratulations! You succeeded! You did so fucking well kasi durog na durog ako!” tears are suddenly flowing from Richard’s eyes.
He looked at James, then at Maya.
“Magsama kayong dalawa.” Then he left.
Maya went after him, grabbing his arms and trying to stop him from walking out, but Richard won’t budge. He simply got on his car and drove off.
A/N : affected ako sa sinulat ko. hahaha.