A/N : Madedelay po ang IAMS7. I’ll post it later kapag po natapos ko, kapag hindi po, kapag nagka-internet na po ulit. Haha. I can really feel this ending soon. Mga three chapters na lang po or so?
“Arturo, ano bang pinag-usapan niyo ni Richard at parang nakahanap ka na ng bagong kumpare mo?” Teresita asked one Sunday afternoon. Maya and Richard just left for Manila. She noticed that her husband and Richard seemed to have bonded so much after their drinking session last Saturday night. The two cannot be separated. Wherever Arturo is, Richard is always with him. It’s like those two are up to something and Teresita couldn’t put her finger on it.
Arturo smirked, grabbed Teresita’s wrist and lead her to the veranda. He called Cristina Rose once they were there. He smiled once the whole family, except for his youngest, is on their places. He cleared his throat and said, “May son-in-law na tayo.”
Richard was silent the whole trip. Maya always starts some conversation but Richard would just return a nod, never saying anything. When Maya couldn’t take it anymore, she told Richard to stop the car.
“Why would I stop it?” he asked.
“Itigil mo na kasi!”
“We’re in the middle of the SLEX!” he exclaimed.
“Itigil mo na! Bago pa kung saan mapunta ‘tong away na ‘to!” Maya said, quite afraid. She made a promise to an angel once that whenever they are going to have an argument, she would always pull over.
With a sigh, Richard carefully switched lanes, and then finally halting on the side. Maya went outside as soon as the car stopped. Richard followed her, “What’s wrong?” he asked. “Is it your phobia? I told you to take –“
“Galit ka ba?” Maya cut him off.
“What?” he asked. “Pinatigil mo lang ako para itanong ‘yan sa’kin?”
“O-oo! Eh kasi naman, kanina ka pa hindi nasagot. How can I be sure na kapag tinanong ko sa’yo yun sasagot ka ng more than a yes or a no?”
“You could’ve just asked me.”
“Ayoko. Mamaya kasi, magsagutan pa tayo sa loob ng sasakyan, tapos maulit na naman yung aksidente. Kaya nangako ako eh!” Maya said.
Bewildered, Richard asked. “Nangakong ano?”
“Na I will pull over kapag may argument. Pero hindi ako yung nagda-drive kaya sinabihan kitang mag-pull over.” She said. Her eyes widened when she realized what she said.
“Kanino mo ipinromise ‘yan?” Richard asked.
Maya stilled. Sa’yo. Sa’yo ako nangako. “Ba-basta. Tara na –“
“Please answer.” He said, and then he gulped. Because, I can remember saying those lines. His memory just visited him again. I remembered saying those things to a person but I don’t know who she is. He waited for Maya’s answer.
Maya sighed. Sa’yo ko sinabi. Hindi mo ba talaga matandaan? “Kay .. kay Richard, okay? Tara na nga.” She said and went back inside the car, slamming the door.
Instead of recalling his memory, Richard became furious of what he heard. That Richard again? Bakit ba ang lakas ng impluwensya niya kay Maya? He sighed. I must make my move sooner.
When he returned inside, he saw Maya looking straight with an irritated look on her face. He started the engine and drove again. He kept glancing at her, her face still not changing. Knowing he’s the reason, he just sighed. He hesitantly reached for Maya’s hand held it firmly.
“I’m sorry. May iniisip lang ako.” He said. “I did not mean to not talk to you, it’s just that .. “ he trailed off. How could I not tell her that I’m thinking about her? That I’m thinking on how I will court her?
He heard Maya sigh. “Tungkol ba yan sa pinag-usapan niyo ni Tatay? Kasi napansin namin na after nung nag-inom kayo, hindi na kayo mapaghiwalay.” She said.
“Yes. It’s about that. Anyway, “ he tighten his hold of her hand, making her flush “I’m sorry. Alright, magkwento ka na, I promise to participate.” Giving her his famous smirk.
After that, Maya continued to tell him stories, his hand never leaving hers and only if he needs to change gears. Maya even told him that he needs to remove his hand so he can drive more conveniently but he insisted. Maya couldn’t help but to smile at Richard. To her, it feels like he’s making up for the months that he was gone.
They arrived at her condo a little past six in the evening. Richard quickly went out of his car and opened Maya’s door. After that he got her things from the bunker. He was taking too long so Maya went near him.
“Oy, Richard, bakit ang tagal –“
“For you.” He said, cutting her off. He’s holding this bouquet of sunflowers in his arms. Without a word, she accepted it from him. She was busy telling her heart to slow down its beating and failed to notice the nervousness in Richard’s face. Seeing that Maya’s giving no clue if she likes it or not, he dared to ask, “Do you like it? I mean if you like the uh, the flowers ‘cause I know that you love sunflowers so ..” he trailed off, trying to explain.
Maya looked up at him and said, “Thank you.” She looked at the flowers again. “Alam mo bang ikaw ang unang nagbigay sa ‘kin ng sunflowers?”
Richard smiled, “I know.” He said, trying to keep the feeling of triumph in his voice. “You told me yesterday diba? Sa garden.”
“Hmm.” She said, then looked at him again. “Kaya pala binigyan mo ko nito eh.” She decided to tease.
“No. I did not give them to you because you haven’t received sunflowers yet.” He quickly defended himself. “I gave them to you because I wanted to give them to you.”
Maya flushed again. Nakakarami na tong si singkit. “Thank you ulit. Sige na, aakyat na ko.”
“Ihahatid na kita.” He said, and left carrying her bag. “Let’s go.”
Maya was left without any choice but to follow him. Maya kept asking Richard what he and her father had been talking about on their ride inside the elevator. On the second floor, the elevator car became crowded, pushing the two of them at the back. While Richard was looking around, he saw a man whose attention is to the woman beside him. He sighed. He’s totally checking her out. Without having any second thoughts, he put his arm around Maya’s shoulders. He quickly saw the slight grimace on the man’s face. Yeah, buzz off, bozo. She’s mine. And to completely satisfy his self, he lowered his head to kiss Maya’s head.
Maya on the other hand was shocked at Richard’s sudden gestures. Yes, she felt giddy when he put his arm around her, especially when he kissed her head but she was also confused. On the fourth floor, most of the people inside left the car leaving the two of them, an old couple and a man whose eyes are on them. Maya couldn’t help but to feel quite scared as the man is really creepy looking and his eyes never left them.
Richard’s attention was shifted to Maya when he felt her stiffen. He saw her head shifted to the direction of the man he was looking at earlier. He saw her shifted her head immediately after taking a closer look at the man. Richard tightens his hold of Maya. He lowered his head to whisper at her, “Don’t mind him. Just stay close to me.” And I hope your phobia doesn’t attack.
Maya nodded. She even went closer to Richard. The man finally looked away. Maya finally calmed down until she noticed that she was in an enclosed place. She closed her eyes and repeatedly said to herself: It’s all in your mind, it’s all in your mind, it’s all in your mind.
“Are you okay?” Richard said. He started to worry when Maya did not give him any answer. “Do you want to take the stairs instead?” She answered him through shaking her head. Richard sighed, and looked at what floor they are in. They are currently on the sixth. C’mon!
He was relieved when he heard the ping of the elevator as they arrived at the eighth floor. He urged Maya to walk until they were out the car. He led her to her condo room which he knew even though he’s never been inside. Good thing Maya was already holding her keys and he just have to get it from her to open the door.
Maya sat on the couch while Richard fetched her a glass of water. He sat down with her and put his hand on her back, comforting her. Maya’s breathing finally returned to normal after a few more minutes.
“Okay ka na?” he asked.
Maya nodded. “Sorry ha.”
“I told you. You don’t need to be sorry. It’s not your fault.” How I wish I could do anything to make it go away.
She paused, then remembered the guy inside the elevator with them. “Richard, nakita mo ba yung mama kanina? Ako lang ba o nakatingin talaga siya sa’tin?”
“Yes, I saw him. He was checking you out, kaya I put my arm around you.” He said.
Ahh, kaya pala ako inakbayan. Akala ko ano na eh. “Buti nga inalis na niya yung tingin niya sa’yo eh, kung hindi, nasuntok ko na ‘yun.” Richard said, making Maya to look up.
“Ikaw? Manunutok?” she said, chuckling.
“Why yes. I don’t like people who do that.” He said. “Especially sa mga taong importante sa’kin.”
A smile crept through her face. “Importante?”
“Yes.” He smirked. “You’re important to me.”
Maya’s heart just fluttered. “Ehh.. Richard, bakit, uhmm, bakit –“
“Bakit .. bakit may kasamang kiss?” she shyly said, each word more inaudible than the others.
“I’m sorry, what?”
“Bakit may kiss?” she said, never looking at him.
“I want to piss that guy off.” He said, and then gave her a smile. “And also because I wanted to do that.”
“Gu-gusto mong gawin ‘yon?”
He nodded. “O? Bakit parang gulat na gulat ka?”
“Ehh..” she said, trying to hide the redness in her cheeks.
“Look, I’m sorry if I made you feel uncomfortable. But I’m not sorry that I kissed you.”
Maya flushed. She felt her cheeks going all red. Not knowing what to reply, she just said, “Dyan ka na nga muna. Magsasaing ako. Dito ka na mag-dinner.”
“Teka teka,” Teresita asked her husband. “an – anong son-in-law ka dyan, Arturo?”
“Oo nga Tay, bakit nagkaron agad non?” Cristina Rose said.
Arturo just laughed. “Kayo naman ang dapat kumalma eh!”
“Eh Tay naman kasi! Nakakagulat naman yang balita niyong yan.” Cris said. “Ano, sino ba yan?”
Arturo took a deep breath. “Si Richard. Si Richard ang tinutukoy ko. Nagpaalam na siya kung pwede niyang pakasalan si Maya.”
“Wow naman Tay! Ang bilis ah! Walang ligaw-ligaw. Dinaig pa niya express way eh!” his daughter said.
“Oo nga naman Arturo. Saka bakit mo agad pinayagan? Hindi mo man lang sinasabi sa’kin.” Teresita said.
“Pasensya na Teresita. Eh kasi naman ‘tong si Richard eh. Kung kailan nag-iinuman saka nag-sabi. Pero maniwala kayo, ang akala ko nung una, nagbibiro lang siya.” Then he paused, his face becoming serious. “Pero nung umaga kinabukasan, kinausap niya ‘ko. Seryoso daw siya eh. Kaya kung napapansin niyong lagi kaming magkasama, eh dahil yun sa tinitignan ko kung karapatdapat ba siya sa bunso natin. Ang dami ko ngang pinagawa sa kanya eh. Kung ano-ano na rin yung inutos sa kanya ni kumpare nung pumunta kami sa kanila, ginagawa niya lahat.” He started, his family listening to him intently.
“Saka isa pa, natandaan niyo yung naaksidente si Maya? Na ang sabi ko, gusto ko siyang ipagkasundo sa Richard na nagligtas sa kanya? Ang sabi ni Richard, gusto daw niyang maging siya yung Richard na yun. At nung huli, napatunayan niya sa’kin na karapatdapat nga siya kay Maya. At sinabi niya sa’kin na mahal niya ang anak natin.” He smiled, remembering how Richard told him how he feels.” ‘Wag kayong mag-alala, manliligaw daw muna siya.” He ended smiling.
Teresita was teary-eyed after her husband’s story. She was really glad that Richard is in love with her daughter. And seeing that Maya is completely smitten by this man makes her more than happy.
While the mother is like that, the eldest daughter is different. She was thinking after her father ended talking.
“Tay, teka lang.” She started. “Ang sabi niyo, gusto ni Richard na siya yung Richard na ipagkakasundo niyo kay Maya?”
“Oo. Kasi yung Richard na yun yung nagligtas sa kapatid mo diba? Saka –“
“Eh Tay,” she said, cutting him off. “Hindi na niya kailangang mag-effort ng todo para maging siya yun!”
“Bakit nak?” Teresita curiously asked.
“Eh Nay, Tay.” She started, smiling at her parents. “Si Richard talaga ‘yon. Siya yung nagligtas kay Maya. Siya yung gusto niyo para kay Maya.”
“Sinong nagturo sa’yon magluto?” Richard asked. Maya was washing the dishes. Richard wanted to help but Maya doesn’t want her to.
“Wala no, natural talent ‘to!” she teased. Richard just laughed at her. “Grabe ka namang tumawa!”
“I’m sorry. Ang confident mo kasi eh!”
“Fine fine! Si Tatay.” She said as she dried her hands.
“Really? Si Tatay Arturo?”
Maya nodded. “Hindi obvious no? Pero mas magaling siyang magluto kay Nanay.” Then she paused. “Richard, ano ba kasi yung pinag-usapan niyo ni Tatay?”
Richard smirked. “It’s still a secret.”
“Ang daya mo naman eh! Paano ko ba malalaman?” she asked.
Richard smirked. “There is one way.”
“Ano?” she giddily asked.
Richard chuckled at her excitement. “Well, the LAS anniversary is this Saturday right?” he gulped. “I ..
I want you to be my date.”