“Yes. I have a crush on you.”
Maya was dumbfounded on what she had heard. She felt her heart beat so fast that she lifted her hands to put it on her chest. She nervously glanced at Richard and saw him smiling at her. She never thought that Richard would be so straightforward of his feelings to her and honestly, she doesn’t know what to say to him. Maya just heard Richard chuckle.
“I’m sorry, hindi ko naman intensyon na biglain ka.” He said with a smile. “I understand if you don’t want to say anything back.”
Maya nodded. Good thing Richard said that or else she would still be organizing words in her head that she must say. As they continued to walk side by side, Maya found her voice. “Richard, sigurado ka sa sinabi mo kanina?”
“Yes. I’m sure.” He said. “Wala namang masama sa crush ‘di ba?”
Maya nodded her head. “Oo. E ‘di ba paghanga lang ‘yun? So parang lowest form ng love.”
Richard laughed. “Yeah, if you put it that way. So does that mean that I’m experiencing the lowest form of love for you?” He teased.
The familiar red color of her cheeks was back. She slightly bowed just to hide it. She’s having a hard time believing all of this. The Richard Lim has a crush on her? He must’ve been out of his mind to have one.
“Maya, you’re quiet again.” Richard said when Maya was still lost in her own thoughts. He’s been dying to hear what Maya’s answer will be.
“Eh kasi naman .. H-hindi ba parang ang bilis? I mean yung pagkakaroon mo ng crush –“
“It’s not actually .. mabilis.” He said. Richard wanted to tell Maya that it was when he was inside that jeep with her did he felt something extra for her. But like before, he decided against it. Even he can’t explain how he got these feelings for her.
“Paanong hindi mabilis?” Maya asked.
“Basta.” Richard just said. He was afraid that if he told Maya the truth, she will avoid him and he doesn’t want that to happen. He really likes her and he knew he’ll die if he just lets her go.
“Basta ka dyan.” Maya said. “Ikaw ha, binobola mo lang ata ako eh.”
“No, I swear.” He said with a smile on his face. “I can’t explain it to you right now. Maybe, on our next date?”
“M-may sunod pa ‘to?” Maya asked.
“Well, yes. I was planning to.” Richard said. His heart sank with the thought that Maya wouldn’t go out with him again. “Listen, I won’t force you if you don’t want to. Pero pwede bang mamaya mo na lang sabihin kung payag ka? I just don’t want to ruin the moment.” He nervously said.
Maya nodded at him. She’s glad that Richard respects her decisions even if she hasn’t said it yet. Right now, she’s having doubts if she’ll go out with him again. And Richard is right, and the night is still young.
Richard assisted Maya to sit on one of the benches in front of the lake. The place is really beautiful and it doesn’t even look like it’s a part of the restaurant. As they were seated, the two of them kept talking. Richard never ran out of topics for them to discuss. It’s like he doesn’t want this night to end. And Maya was feeling the same.
“Richard, lagi ka bang ganito?” Maya asked as she continued to laugh at Richard’s joke.
“What do you mean by laging ganito?” He said.
“Ito! Yung laging nagjo-joke, laging masaya. Kasi ang buong akala ko sa mga CEO na katulad mo, laging trabaho, trabaho. Iba pala talaga kayo no?” She said.
“Alam naman namin kung paano magsaya. Buti nga ganito akong naabutan mo. If you met me years ago, I ‘m telling you, baka mabwisit ka lang.” He said.
“Huh? Bakit? Ano bang nangyari sa’yo?” Maya turned to face Richard with a curious face. Richard smirked at her. He truly finds her beautiful. He sighed and asked, “Do you really want to know?” Maya answered him by frantically nodding her head. “I really don’t talk about it. I find it … uncomfortable.” He said.
“Ano ba talagang nangyari? Nakulam ka ba?” Maya asked making Richard laugh.
“No! Hindi ako nakulam.” He said. “It’s .. it’s quite painful to tell and it’s already in the past so I just want to leave it there.”
“Hindi pwedeng iwan mo na lang basta yun!” Maya said. “Kasi lahat ng pundasyon ng future natin, galing sa past. Kung kakalimutan na lang natin lahat ng nanggaling sa past, edi mahihirapan tayong magdesisyon para sa future, maapektuhan yung present natin.” She completely disagreed with Richard, because to her, she treasures everything that had happened to her – especially when James came to her life.
Richard was mum at what Maya said. He realized that everything she said was true. Besides, he wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for the miracle that had happened years ago. He shrugged and raised both of his hands. “I admit defeat.” He teased. “I can’t win with that kind of statement.” He added, making Maya smile again.
“So, ano ngang nangyari?” Maya continued to ask.
Richard narrowed his eyes at her. “Sige, I’ll tell you my story. Pero gusto kapag nagkwento ako, magkukwento ka rin.”
“Tungkol naman saan?” She curiously asked.
Richard shifted on his seat to face Maya. He lifted his hand and touched the area between Maya’s eyebrows. “Kumukunot ‘to kapag may iniisip ka.” He said. “Like when you told me about the past-present-future thing. Alam kong may pinanghuhugutan ka.” He said as he removed his finger.
Maya was about to say something but she just sighed in defeat. “Sige. Magkukwento din ako, pero ikaw muna.” She said. She was still not ready to talk about James.
Richard narrowed his eyes at her. “Fine.” He said. He shifted his position to face the lake in front of them. He simply can’t tell it facing her. “I .. I was sick years ago. Di ba nasabi ko na sa’yo na may asthma ako nung bata ako? Well, that’s just one.” He said.
“M-may cancer ka?” Maya worriedly asked.
“What? No!” Richard reacted and a smile crept on his face. “Patapusin mo muna kasi ako.”
“Ay, sorry.” Maya said as she brought her hand to her lips as if sealing it. Richard just chuckled. While looking at her, he got this thought that he wants to grab that hand that was blocking those lips and just kiss her. He immediately shook his head at the thought and faced forward again. Where did that thought came from? He sighed and decided to continue his story to take his mind off of it. “During college, I had these chest pains. I just didn’t mind them at first but then it got worse, like my heart is being constricted. So Mama and Papa brought me to a doctor and he confirmed that I have a heart disease.”
Maya gasped at Richard’s revelation. “May sakit ka sa puso?” She asked, her voice barely audible.
Richard nodded without looking at her. “That’s why when I finished college, I became grumpy. Papa’s employees were all scared at me and none of them talks with me like this when I was employed there. Pati parents ko, hindi na ako makausap. It’s like I shut every one off. Mas madali kasi.”
Maya just listened to him in silence. Her heart is really swelling knowing how he was before. She never thought that a person would be like that, as compared to what he is now.
“Then Papa still let me be the CEO of LAS but he was still the one who has to face everyone. Masyado raw kasing stressful kung ako pati yung haharap. As the years passed by, my heart disease got worse and worse.”
“Hindi ba nila nalunasan? For sure di ba may treatment dun?” Maya asked.
“I refused to. Ayokong magpagamot.” He simply said and he just felt someone hit him on the back of his head. “Hey! What was that for?”
“Baliw ka pala eh! Bakit hindi ka naman nagpagamot? Kung nagpagamot ka edi sana –“
“I don’t want to, okay?” He interrupted as he massaged that part of his head. “Hindi nagana yung treatment sa’kin that time and I already gave up.” He paused before continuing. “I already gave up with my life.”
Maya was completely in awe when Richard said those words. She had this image of him inside her head crying in pain and so frustrated at his case. Richard took a glimpse at her and saw that Maya was completely still. This is what he doesn’t like when he tell his story. Unfortunately, whenever he tells his story, all of them would have the same reaction. But no one of them ever hit him. “Ang sakit naman nung pagkakabatok mo.” He said, just to change the mood in the air.
“Ay, sorry.” Maya quickly closed their gap and put her hand on his head to massage it while her other hand lies on his shoulder. “Sige na, magkwento ka pa.”
Richard closed his eyes for a second to savor Maya’s hand on his head. He finds it very comforting. After a while, he smiled and continued his story. “So that was my life before – laging nagtatrabaho. Nasa isip ko na lang ‘non na kung mamamatay lang din ako, why not make the most of it di ba? So I buried myself with work. And then one day, I had that pain in my chest again that was so painful. They rushed me to the hospital and that’s when I found out that I’m already at my worst. The doctor advised me to just stay at home and not to go to work. Mama signed me up for those who are in need of a heart donor. All we have to do is wait hanggang sa may dumating. Dapat kasi minutes before pa lang after namatay yung donor, ita-transplant na agad so that the heart would not die.”
“O tapos? Anong nangyari?” Maya anxiously asked.
Richard glanced at her and he wants to laugh at Maya’s face. “I told them that I don’t want to accept it.” He lied, earning him another hit on the head by Maya. “Gee, woman! I was just joking!”
“Eh kasi ikaw eh!” Maya exclaimed. “Wag ka na kasing mag-joke! Tinatakot mo lang ako eh.”
Richard laughed at her. “Masyado ka kasing seryoso eh.” Maya was about to hit him again when he covered his head. “No! Stop it or I won’t continue the story!” He said. Maya withdrew her hand and seated straight. She put her hand back on Richard’s head when he sat properly.
“I stayed at home until one day, I completely snapped. I told my family that I wanted to die and that I just wanted to give up. I suffered so much pain and I just couldn’t take it anymore. That was the first time that I saw my mother cry and it was like I’ve been slapped on my face when I saw her tears. I immediately said sorry pero the stress was just too much for me kaya inatake ulit ako sa puso.” He felt Maya’s hand still on his head.
“I was rushed again to a hospital and I almost died. But miraculously, God sent a heart for me. A donor’s heart replaced mine that is why I’m better. After a couple of months, I was back at LAS again. I will always be grateful to my donor. Hindi lang niya pinabuti yung kondisyon ko, I think he or she is also responsible for my behaviour. Pagkatapos kasi nung operation, madali na kong lapitan, hindi na raw ako masungit, and my employees are not scared of me, well, some of them.” He said. “So, Maya dela Rosa, that was my story, what’s your-“ He stopped when he saw Maya in tears when he shifted to gaze at her.
“Oh? Bakit ka naiyak?” He asked, smiling at her.
“Hindi ko naman kasi inakala na ganun pala yung naging buhay mo. Sorry ha, mababaw lang kasi talaga ‘tong luha ko.” She said as she wiped them.
“No need to be sorry.” He said as he lifted his hands to wipe her face. “Gawa-gawa ko lang yung kwento ko.”
“HA?” Maya shouted. Richard just laughed at her and continued to wipe her tears. “I’m kidding! It’s the truth. I promise, it was all the truth.”
Maya hit him on his arm. “Nakakainis ka. Papaiyakin mo ko tapos hindi pala totoo?”
“Hey, nakakarami ka na ng palo ha. I promised diba? You can even call my dad and ask if it is the truth.” He added. “Do you know na you’re the only person whom I told my story to? In full detail ha. Kasi ang sinasabi ko lang sa kanila, heart disease, end of story. And you’re the only one who hit me, thrice pa.”
“Sorry! Kasalanan mo rin naman kasi eh!” Maya said as she let Richard’s hands wipe her tears. “Bakit ka naman nagkasakit?”
“Sabi nila hereditary. On my mom’s side.” He said as he removed his hands.
“So, yun palang sinasabi nung mga nakasama ko sa table ng Time Airways na naoperahan daw sa puso yung CEO ng LAS, totoo pala?” Maya asked.
Richard nodded. “Usapan pa rin pala ako. We decided not to tell anyone about my operation pero somehow, meron pa rin pa lang nakaalam kaya kumalat nang ganyan. Hindi ko na lang pinapansin kasi hahaba pa yung istorya.” Richard explained.
“Buti hindi ka nagagalit na pinag-uusapan ka?” Maya giggled.
“I changed nga ‘di ba? It wasn’t really on my plan pero ganun yung nangyari eh.” He said and glanced at her smiling at him. “If you met me before, I’m sure you will understand that I really wanted to die. I suffered so much pain. May sakit na nga ako sa puso, may dumurog pa.” He said.
Maya’s brows rose. “Oh? Sino naman?”
Richard smiled at her. “You’re cheating, Maya. That’s another story and you haven’t even told me yours.” He said.
Maya nodded her head and looked at the stars above. “Richard, gabi na.”
“I know.” He said.
“Hindi! Gabi na. Kailangan ko nang umuwi.” Maya said as she gazed on her watch. “Eleven na ng gabi. Hindi pa ba magsasara ‘tong restaurant?”
“I paid them. They don’t care.” He replied.
“Sira ka ba? Pasko ngayon tapos pinagtatrabaho mo sila. Tara na, umuwi na tayo.” Maya said as she stood up and walked away from him.
“Hey! What about your story!” Richard said as ran to catch up with Maya, but Maya ran too. She beat Richard in racing him inside the restaurant and she immediately told the crew that they are now done and that they can now pack up. The crew immediately smiled when Maya told them that and when Maya turned around, she saw Richard standing behind her. He was about to say something when Maya held him by his arm and led him outside.
“Why did you tell them that?” Richard said as soon as they got outside.
“Sabi ko nga sa’yo diba, pauwiin mo na sila kasi Pasko.”
“What about your story?” Richard asked.
“Hmm.” Maya pouted her lips. “Edi sa next date.”
A huge grin crept across Richard’s face. “Next date?”
Maya nodded. “Ayaw mo ba?”
“N-no! I want to. Thank you.” He said. “Tara, ihahatid na kita.”
“Ay, hindi na. Magta-taxi ako –“
“Ihahatid na kita. Mahirap mag-taxi. Pasko nga di ba?” Richard said with a smile on his face. He walked in front of BMW and opened the passenger’s seat. Knowing Richard was right, Maya slid in and after a few seconds, Richard slid on his seat and drove off. Maya gave him directions to their condo and after a few minutes, they finally arrived at the condo building. Richard was the first one to got out and he gladly opened Maya’s door for her. And then he walked to the bunker and stayed there.
Maya went to his side when he still didn’t move. “Richard, anong ginagawa –“
“For you.” He said as he handed her a bouquet of sunflowers. He was smiling at her making Maya’s heart melt even more.
“T-thank you.” She said as she accepted them. “Tara kape ka muna sa taas.”
“It’s okay. Kailangan mo na ring magpahinga.” He said.
“Sige.” Maya said. “Ah, yung coat mo nga pala –“
“Sa’yo muna. Aabalahin pa kita sa pagtanggal eh.” He said. “Saka malamig.”
“Hindi na, hawakan mo muna ‘to –“
“I’ll get it back during our second date.” He said. Maya just nodded, knowing she couldn’t win with this one.
“Before I go,” Richard said as he looked at his watch. “It’s still Christmas. So, “he took something from his pocket and handed her a small box. “Merry Christmas, Maya. I really had fun tonight.”
Maya shyly reached for the little box. “Ito naman, nag-abala pa eh. Pero salamat sa gift, Richard. At!” She opened her pouch and handed Richard a small box as well. “Merry Christmas din! Nag-enjoy din ako ngayong gabi.”
Richard chuckled. “Thank you.” He said as he reached for the box. “Sige na, akyat ka na. I’ll keep in touch okay?”
Maya nodded and walked away from him. “Maya.” Richard called her and Maya turned around. “Bakit?” she asked.
“Answer my calls and texts, ha?” He said making Maya giggle. “Thank you again for this.” He said as he lifted his hand to show the box he’s holding.
“Yes po. Mr. Lim. Thank you rin dito.” May said back. “Merry Christmas ulit!”
Richard smiled at her. “Merry Christmas, too. Sige na pumasok ka na. Bye, Maya.”
Even if Richard told her to go inside, Maya felt like she was rooted to her spot. “Bye Richard.” She said and waited for him to drive off. When she was sure that he already left, she walked inside and rode the elevator. She was smiling as the elevator brought her to their floor. She kept reminiscing how Richard put his heart out by telling her everything. When she was finally in her room she whispered.
“Crush din kita Richard.”
A/N : Happy New Year! Naabutan niyo po ba yung Downy Passion na commercial na may masks? Ganun po yung sa masquerade ball nila though I’ve always wondered paano masusuot ni Sir Chief yun since he’s wearing eyeglasses. Haha! Lastly, meron po bang nasa medical field sa mga readers ko? Pasensya na po kung mali-mali yung details ko about Richard’s case. Wala pa po kasi siya sa mga pinag-aaralan namin. Basic biology pa lang po talaga eh.Nagbasa lang po ako ng mga material sa google, I don’t even know if everything was right. Sorry!