A/N : Please listen to the music on the widget while reading. Danke!
The cool air was breezing that evening. The fireflies were everywhere, lighting up the whole balcony. Under the stars, there are two lone shadows talking to each other. The music was coming from the inside but enough to be heard at the balcony. One shadow has his hand laid out to the other one. His face full was of hope even if it is hidden behind his white mask.
“May I have this last dance, M?” He repeated.
The lady let out a chuckle and said, “R, hindi ka ba nagsasawa? Kanina pa kaya tayo nasayaw sa loob.” Maya couldn’t explain why but she felt all giddy when the man asked her for another dance. They’ve been together since the dance but still, neither of them knew each other, even their names and even how they look. All they know was their first-letter names with some random facts about each other.
Richard rolled his eyes and without waiting for Maya to answer, he moved closer to her, reached for her hands and draped it on his shoulders and settled his hands on her waist. “I’ll never get tired of dancing. Basta ikaw ang kasayaw ko.” He said as he moved.
Maya giggled as she moved with Richard. The place was dim that hides her reddened cheeks. The two of them continued to gaze at each other. Richard lifted her right hand to tuck in the lose strands of Maya’s hair. His fingers lingered longer than he intended to. As he brought his hand back on her waist, Maya leaned in and settled her head on Richard’s chest. She doesn’t know why, but for some reason, she trusted him.
Richard, on the other hand, momentarily stopped breathing when Maya leaned in. A huge smile crept on his face as he tightened his hold on her. He leaned his head on Maya’s and savoured each step they make. His heart seems to flutter every time his partner was close. And right now, at that very moment, his heart seems to jump from joy. He’s been acting strange, he knew that. But he was ready to set aside those thoughts just to spend more time with the lady he’s with.
“R.” Her voice brought Richard back from his reverie. “Hmm?” He answered.
“Anong surname mo?” Maya asked.
Richard was about to answer when he abruptly stopped. “You’re trying to trick me, aren’t you?” he said and heard Maya laugh. “Hindi kaya. Tinatanong ko lang kung anong apelyido mo. Masama ba?” she asked. “Silly. If I told you my surname, makikilala mo na ko. Ang kulit mo talaga.” He said as he laughed with her.
Maya continued to laugh as she leaned on Richard’s chest. “May pet ka nung bata ka?” She asked.
“Yes. I had a dog. His name is George.” Richard answered. Maya chuckled. “Bakit George?”
“I don’t know. I can’t remember. Ipinangalan ko ata sa pinsan kong lagi akong inaaway.” Richard said as he reminisced his childhood days. Maya stayed silent as if waiting for Richard to continue his story. “Anyway, my parents gave him away months after they gave it to me.”
“Oh? Binawi nila agad? Bakit daw?” Maya asked as she leaned back to observe Richard’s masked face.
Richard gave her a small smile. “George was a hyper dog. Hindi daw siya fit sa’kin sabi ng parents ko.” Maya raised her brows. “George always runs around, and I would always run after him. Hindi ako pwedeng hapuin ng sobra.”
“Bakit?” she asked.
“Hanggang kailan ba ‘yang bakit mo at parang hindi natatapos?” Richard teased.
“Eh ikwento mo kasi ng maayos.” Maya answered.
“Fine. May asthma ako nung bata ako and .. and it’s dangerous kung aatakihin ako ng hika ko.” He said. “And if you asked why again, I’m afraid I can’t answer it anymore.”
“Ay, madaya.” Maya said as she pouted. Richard just chuckled. “I’m sorry pero personal na. How ‘bout you? Did you have a pet?” Richard felt Maya nod. “Kaso opposite tayo. Cat person ako eh. Si Muning yung pusa ko dati.”
Richard chuckled. “Are all cat names like that? Muning?”
“Hindi naman no!” Maya exclaimed. “Eh maliit kasi siya kaya Muning.”
“So?” Richard continued to press.
Maya slapped him on his chest. “Ang sama mo!” Then they both laughed. “Basta, si Muning yung pusa ko –“
“Let me guess, mahal ka niya at mahal mo rin siya? Or was it the other way around?” Richard continued to tease.
“Naman R eh!” Maya said as she smiled foolishly. “Sa aso naman yung tulang ‘yun. Hindi naman applicable sa pusa!” Richard laughed even more at her answer. “It is still applicable! Pet din sya kaya counted.”
Maya pouted and loosened her hold on Richard. “Ayoko na nga.” She muttered as she tried to leave Richard’s arms. But she was shocked when Richard caught her again and held her tighter, almost like he’s embracing her. Maya felt her heart flutter. “I’m sorry.” She heard him whisper on her ear. “Ituloy mo na yung kwento mo kay Muning.”
Even though Maya was still shocked, she managed to find her voice. “Nirescue namin siya ni Kute nung bata kami. Nasa kanal kasi siya eh. Pagkakuha namin sa kanya, inuwi namin sa bahay. Pero tinaboy din siya nina Tatay nung nalaman nilang may pusa kami.”
“And why is that?” Richard asked.
“Uhm, kasi, basta. May kinalaman kasi sa business ng magulang ko kaya hindi ko pwedeng sabihin. Sabi mo nga, personal.” She said.
Richard sighed. “Fine.” They stayed silent for a while as they continued to dance to the music. “Do you have a boyfriend, M?” He asked, anxious to hear for her response.
Maya shook her head. “Wala.” She said as the familiar wounds in her heart ache again. Even if James and I didn’t have a formal break up, our relationship is already over, right? “Ikaw, R?”
While Maya is saddened by the question, Richard felt joy when he heard her answer. “I’m married. I have three wives and we have thirty children.” He teased. “Life is hard, but every time I see the look in their eyes, I always think how lucky I am. Sometimes I wonder –“ His teasing was stopped when Maya slapped him on his arm. “What?”
“R naman eh!” She said.
“Tss. Why do you always caught me with my jokes?” He sighed. “I’m single. Is that what you want to hear?”
Maya just smiled with Richard’s question. She finally realized why she trusts this man even if they just met earlier. It’s because R and James have the same character. James always teases her and always tells her jokes, just like what R is doing. That’s why she felt so close to him. That’s why she felt very comfortable having him around.
“Name one event in your life that you’ll never forget.” Richard’s voice brought Maya back from her reverie.
She gulped before she answered. “Nung .. nung natupad ang pangarap ko. “ she whispered. Yes, it was an event in her life that she would never forget. But Maya knew that the event she will remember always was when James proposed to her. And next to it was the day she lost him. “Ikaw R?”
Richard took a deep breath. “When I was healed.” He simply said. He waited for M to ask why but he smirked when he didn’t hear her. He knew she’s just following their no-personal-questions thing and he was also relieved because he doesn’t really want to talk about what happened to him.
The two of them kept swaying under the music. Both of them were lost in their own thoughts, but neither one of them wants to let that moment to just go away.
“R?” Maya said, barely audible.
“Ano nang mangyayari kapag natapos ‘tong Summit na ‘to? Magkikita pa ba tayo?” She asked. Richard stayed silent for a while and then he looked straight into Maya’s eyes.
“Gusto mo?” He asked.
A smile slowly crept on Maya’s face. She nodded. She really wants to see what’s behind R’s mask and also because she doesn’t want everything to end this night. Strangely, she wants to spend more time with him.
Richard smirked and leaned in again. “Then we will, M. I’ll find a way. But promise me that we’ll not ask for each other’s names. We’ll find each other without it.”
Maya tightened her hold around Richard’s neck. “I promise, R.” Having him near reminded her of James. There was no man that was able to match James when he died. Even if men started courting her again when they heard that Maya is available again, Maya just brushed them off and entertained none of them. To her, there will just be James. But she felt like she was being proven wrong when she met R today.
Maya knew that her heart is telling her that she’s feeling something for him, but she’s ignoring it. She’s afraid that if she fell for a man again, she would get heartbroken again. And she kept telling herself that it’s been barely a day to declare that she’s in love with this man she barely knows. But for now, she is letting her heart steer the wheel for her. And that is to be with R tonight.
Richard was feeling too much joy as he held Maya close. He never felt like this before even when he was still with Alex. Everything was strange, but everything felt right. He was just scared of one thing. He knew that his heart is telling him what he should do and what he should feel. But he knew all too well that his heart is not completely his.
But even if he’s scared, Richard is willing to throw it all away, just for the lady he’s dancing with.
When Richard felt like he already gathered his courage, he shifted a little so he could move his right hand. Maya shifted when he felt Richard move. As she moved, her gaze drifted to Richard’s eyes and her whole world just stopped. She’s completely mesmerized in them. Richard lifted his hand and put it on Maya’s cheek to caress it. Maya’s heart was stammering the whole time and because she was near, she can also feel Richard’s heart beating fast.
It was then when Maya noticed Richard’s eyes looking at her lips. Without hesitation, she closed her eyes and felt Richard moving towards her.
They were both waiting patiently for that feel of their lips on each other.
But it didn’t happen.
“Excuse me.” A voice not far from the two interrupted them. “I’m sorry to disturb but I really need to speak with you –“
“Tito Frank.” Richard said when he found his voice. He knew he had to interrupt before Frank mention his name.
Maya froze when she heard the name Richard said. Maya immediately left Richard’s embrace and faced the man who interrupted them. It was the moment she was not looking forward to. She was actually near James’ father.
“Excuse me.” Maya said and walked away.
“M. M!” Richard called her, but she did not look back. Richard turned to the Ventura and said, “Excuse me for a minute, Tito.” Then he ran after her.
When Richard got inside the venue, he kept turning his head to look for Maya. Even if there are a lot of people inside, he will never forget what she looks like. He immediately ran when he saw her near the entrance of the venue, with a man on her side. Richard paced up as he saw that M is like in a hurry to leave.
“Dalian mo Emman!” Maya said as she pulled Emman with her.
“Teka lang girl! Ano ba kasing problema at nagmamadali ka? Buti na lang at pinakuha ko na yung kotse ko kanina. Ang instinct ko nga naman. Pero roomie, anong meron?” Emman said as they went down the stairs to reach Emman’s car.
Maya was about to speak when she heard a voice calling her.
When Maya looked back, she saw her white-masked Prince taking the stairs two at the time just to keep up with them. “Hold on!” he said.
“Roomie! Si Mr. –“
“Emman tara na!” Maya said and pulled Emman towards the car. As they threaded the last few steps of the stairs, Maya’s right shoe went lose. When they finally reached the car, Maya saw that her right shoe was not on her foot and when she looked back, the shoe was on one of the stair’s steps. She was about to go back for it but she saw that Richard is already near them.
“Roomie! Akala ko ba tara na?” Emman exclaimed.
Maya was left with no choice but to enter Emman’s car and soon enough, they were on their way home. She was just afraid that Richard would catch her and he would introduce her to the others. And she doesn’t want it to happen, especially if he introduced her to Frank. She knew that she should’ve just told him about James but she can’t. She can’t because of their agreement.
“Damn it!” Richard exclaimed when he saw that the car sped off. He run his hand through his hair and sighed in disappointment. He was about to get back inside when he saw a shoe lying on the stairs. He bent down and reached for it. And he knew that it belongs to M.
I’ll find you, M. I’ll find you.
A/N : Lakas maka-Cinderella nung kwento haha. ❤