A/N : Here’s 25! Medyo maikli lang po. Hinahabol ko po kasi yung oras. Expire na po kasi ang internet mamaya at baka hindi ko pa po ma-post.
“Pero bukod pa dun, basta, pamilyar pa rin yung Richard sa tenga ko.” Arturo further said. They resumed eating when he stopped abruptly. “Ah! Alam ko na. Maya, di ba nabanggit mo na siya dati?”
Maya’s heart started pounding. Oh no, Tay. Don’t say it!
“Hindi ba, ang sabi mo, yung nagligtas sa’yo sa aksidente mo dati, Richard ang pangalan?” He turned to Richard.
“Ikaw ba ‘yon, Richard?”..
“T-tay, ulam pa oh.” Maya stammered, lifting a dish and pouring some to her father’s plate.
“Maya, ayos na.” Arturo said, then turned to her. “Siya ba yung Richard na ‘yun?”
Maya gulped. Her heart is leaping from too much beating. This is the moment she was afraid of. She totally forgot that she told her family about the Richard who saved her from her accident. Well yes, Richard saved her but he was still an angel back then. If she told them Richard is the one, they would certainly attack him with questions and Richard would get confused. By saying that, there’s also this possibility that Richard would remember it all, or worse, he will not and he’ll just ask her endless questions.
“Bunso?” Kute asked, then turned to Richard. “Richard, ikaw yun?”
Maya closed her eyes. She’s running out of time! If Richard says yes, they will barge him with questions and who knows what he will say. And if he said no, how will she convince him in the future that it is him? Either way is a headache. So she decided to just go with the one solution in her mind.
A loud sound came from her place, as Maya slammed both of her hands on the table. When all eyes were on her, she quickly brought her arms together and started to fidget them. She lifted her head to look for one door or even a window that is closed. Relief flooded her when she saw their back door closed. She took one last sigh and did the rest.
“Y-yung .. yung pinto.” She stammered on purpose, making them realize that she’s having an attack. “T-tay.”
Panic went through their faces. Her sister ran to open the door, Teresita stood up to get her medicines that have been kept there for emergency use, Arturo went to the fridge to fetch her cold water while Richard put his arm around her and his other hand on top of hers and saying words to calm her down.
Everyone was all over the place and she was trying so hard not to laugh. On the other side, she also wanted to say sorry so badly to them but she just needs this moment, this excuse for them to forget about the whole Richard thing.
“Maya, are you okay? Are you feeling better?” Richard asked. Maya looked up for her head is on his shoulder. And he saw a worried Richard. His brows are crooked up, his jaw clenched as if he wants to punch his self. Maya became guiltier at the sight of him, so slowly, she pulled back, stood up and head outside.
“Maya. Maya!” Richard repeatedly called but Maya continued to walk out. He turned his head, looking for some help, when his and Arturo’s eyes met. “Sundan mo na Richard, nasa garden ‘yun, panigurado.” Arturo said. “Tatawag lang ako para magpalista na sa doktor.” Richard nodded and followed Maya.
He finally spotted her sitting on a bench, looking at the flowers around her. As he went nearer, he cleared his throat. “May I?” he said, gesturing a hand to the other part of the bench. He slowly sat when he saw Maya nod.
“Okay ka na?” he asked. He heard Maya sigh. “Okay na ko.”
“Uhm, Mang Arturo said he will call the hospital for your check-up.” He said. Maya replied none. “Maya, kung .. kung kailangan mo ng kausap, nandito lang ako.”
Maya sighed and turned to look at him. “Sorry ha. Eh kasi naman –“
“You don’t have to say sorry. Sakit mo yun. It always happens on the least expected time we could imagine. And don’t worry, I think your family understands you.” He said, bringing Maya to tears.
“I don’t really want to see you cry, Maya.” He reached for his hankie and dabbed it gently on her cheeks and on her eyes. “Hush. I want you to smile, Maya.” He said. But his mind somehow added a few words. I want to remember your face that way.
His repressed memory is back again, but he just shrugged it off. It’s our deal. I don’t want to break it. It’s not just for me, but, it’s also for Maya.
When Maya finally stopped crying, he smirked and said, “You know, I’ve learned this technique na whenever a person cries for a reason, the best way to make her stop is to change the topic. So,” he shifted, facing her. “Anong favorite mong flower?”
Maya chuckled. “Uhm, sunflower.”
Richard nodded. “Have you received them before?”
“A-huh. So, galing sa suitor?” he asked, holding his breath, preparing for Maya’s answer.
“Hindi no! Galing kina Tatay, nung natanggap ako sa LAS.” She said, giggling at Richard’s face.
“Ah, I see, I see.” Relief flooded him. “So, a Richard saved you from that unfaithful accident?”
Maya paused, thinking if she should answer him or not, but in the end, she nodded. How can she resist this guy who’s shown too much effort just to make her feel better?
“And I’m guessing na ..” he trailed off. “I’m guessing that this Richard guy is the one who holds a special part of your heart. You know, from the meeting, the one where Ryan and the others teased you?” he asked. He just needs to know this. He wants a confirmation.
Maya remembered that meeting which happened months ago. Even she couldn’t remember that she said something like that. He still remembers that detail? She looked at him intently and saw Richard as if he’s tensed. With a gulp, Maya gave him the confirmation he needed. “O-oo. Siya ‘yun.”
Richard felt like he’s been punched. He never thought that those words would hurt more than he thought. He nodded. “Uhm, nasaan siya ngayon? Do you know?”
Maya shook her head. Alam ko kung nasaan. Nasa harapan ko. You will always have a special place in my heart Richard at handa kitang tanggapin. Kaso hindi ka pa handa.
He nodded his head again and paused. “Mang Arturo asked if I was that Richard, di ba?” That made Maya’s heart to beat loudly. It is all what she had expected. “With all of my memories repressed, would it be possible na …” he trailed off. Then took a deep breath. “I’m sorry. Alam kong may deal tayo. So I would not press for more information.” He smirked and added. “Let’s go inside?”
“Maya, nagpalista na ko. Kailangan mo nang pumunta dun maya-maya. Kaso aalis ako gawa nang nagpapatulong si Pareng Seryo eh. Dadalhin ko rin yung sasakyan –“
“Ako na po ang bahala sa kanya, Mang Arturo.” Richard said. “Wag po kayong mag-alala, may sasakyan po ako saka hindi ko po pababayaan ang anak niyo.”
Arturo smiled and patted his shoulder. “Sige. Ingatan mo yang si Maya ha? Alamin mo na rin yung mga gamot na iinumin kung meron man para alam natin pag hindi nasunod.”
“Tay naman! Nasunod naman po ako ah!” Maya complained.
Richard chuckled. “Sige po Mang Arturo, ako po bahala.” He said.
Arturo tighted his hold on his shoulder. “Tatay Arturo na lang Richard.” He smiled and left.
Richard went with her to the hospital. The doctor even had mistaken him as Maya’s boyfriend but Maya immediately said that he is not. But deep inside, Richard likes the sound of being her boyfriend, in fact; he wants to be her boyfriend.
“So, the doctor asked you kung gusto mo ng therapy, okay? If you want I can go with you. Tapos lagi mo lang daw iisipin na –“ he said as he drives back to their place.
“It’s all in my head.” She finished Richard’s sentence. He’s been repeating this ever since they left the hospital. “Okay na po ba, Doctor Lim?” she teased.
“Fine fine. Alam mo na yung drill. Pinapaalala ko lang sa’yo okay? I don’t want you to start stammering words again saying na ganyan ganyan.” He sighed. “I’m just worried.”
Maya smiled sweetly at him. Richard just raised his brows. “Bakit?”
“Kailan ka pa naging ganyan? Parang .. parang hindi naman ganyan yung Richard Lim na nakilala mo eh? Umamin ka nga. Nasan si Richard Lim at anong ginawa mo sa kanya?”
He just chuckled. “Well, let’s just say na nag-evolve na siya. That he’s not like before.” Yes. I’m not like before ever since I met you.
It was dark when they got back. Dinner was already served but Arturo is still not home. Teresita told them that he’ll be back later that night and he already had dinner at his kumpare’s place. After dinner, Richard and Maya went back to the garden, talking about different stuffs. Somehow, the place makes him relax and reminds him of a place where he thinks is his favourite place. But as a part of their deal, he just brushes off those memories. It’ll all makes sense, soon Richard.
Arturo returned home around 9 and he brought two bottles of one litre beers. He said that it is his kumpare’s form of thanks. He was about to put them on the fridge when he spotted Richard. A smile crept on his face and got the bottles back from the fridge and said to him, “Richard, tara inom tayo.” Without waiting for his answer, he proceeded to the terrace.
Teresita was the one who turned to look at Richard. “Nak, pagpasensyahan mo na yang si Arturo. Kung pwede pagbigyan mo. Kasi wala naman yang makainuman dito sa bahay kasi puro naman kami babae.” She explained.
“Eh Nay, andyan naman si Kute ah!” Maya said.
“Wow, thank you bunso ha. Gusto mo talaga akong malasing.” Kute said. “Eh ayaw ni Tatay, masama daw sa’kin. Galing no? Concerned. Eh kahit ipilit ko, ilang minute pa lang, tumba na ko agad dyan. Iba kaya sikmura ni Tatay. Pang-magdamagan.”
“Sige na po.” Richard said. “Minsan lang naman po ito eh.”
“Naku Richard ha. Pag ikaw nalasing at kung ano pang mangyari sa’yo, baka magalit sa’kin si Tito.” Maya said.
He chuckled. “Maya, beer lang yon. I’ve drank worse ones.” Then he turned to Teresita. “Pasabi na lang po kay Tatay Arturo, susunod na po ako. Magbibihis lang po ako.”
Arturo has already drunk half of the bottle when Richard came. He already changed into his shirt and some sleeping pants. Arturo immediately offered him a seat when he saw him. He grabbed a glass and poured beer on it. After a few more glasses, the two were already tipsy, making them tell more stories to each other. He even told Arturo about his repressed memories and his deal with Maya. Teresita would sometimes approach them and give them more pulutan. She was about to leave when Richard called her.
“Nay.” He said. “Ay, uhm Aling Teresita.”
Teresita chuckled. “Ayos lang Richard. Nanay na lang, ang haba nung isa eh. Ano ba yon?”
“Uhm.” He felt shy to ask it but it seemed like the beer gave him the courage he needs. “Si .. si Maya po?”
“Ah, nasa taas, sa kwarto niya. Tawagin ko?”
“Ay, hindi na po. Pasabi na lang po sa kanya na .. na .. goodnight.” He said and smiled foolishly.
Teresita smiled at Richard. Ang katotohanan talaga, lumalabas kapag lasing na ang tao. “Sige, sasabihin ko.” And then she left.
Arturo laughed at him once Teresita was gone. “Goodnight? ‘Yun na ‘yun Richard?” he teased. “Ang daming pwedeng sabihin tapos goodnight?”
“Tay naman oh.” He answered. “What would I say? Ehh .. ehh goodnight lang naman po talaga?”
Arturo continued to laugh and when he was done, he took a sip of his beer. “Ikaw ba, nililigawan mo anak ko?”
“Hinde? Weh? Bakit ganon? Feeling ko nga kayo na eh!”
“H-hindi po.” Richard said again. “Eh may someone special naman po ‘yang anak niyo eh.”
“Yung Richard po na nagligtas sa kanya.” He said, his heart tearing apart at each word.
“Ahhh! Alam mo, sabi ko nga sa kanya eh. Kung nakilala ko yung Richard na yun, pinagkasundo ko na silang dalawa.” Arturo said.
Richard sighed. No! I don’t want her to be with someone else! “Sana ako na lang po yung Richard na ‘yun no?”
“Bakit mo naman nasabi?”
Richard waited until their eyes met. “Kasi po ..” he trailed off, building up all the courage he could have.
“I want to marry your daughter.”