“O bunso, kararating mo lang, malungkot na agad ‘yang mukha mo? Nandito naman ako ah.” Kute said trying to cheer up her sister. Maya just smiled back at her sister. Even if everything about their home was too sad for her, seeing her sister still makes it feel like home for her. “Sobrang na-miss kita Kute!” Maya exclaimed as she engulfed Kute in a big hug.
“Bunso, bunso! Hindi ako makahinga!” Kute said as she tried to remove Maya’s arms around her. “I miss you rin bunso!” She said. Kute was just so over the moon to see her sister back at their hometown again. Six years felt like hundred years to her. Her life is simply incomplete without Maya.
Richard was also smiling at the two. He can clearly see just by how they act that they really missed each other. It was a good thing that he insisted that Maya must join him on this trip. He knew Maya misses her family but she doesn’t really show it. “Uhm, Maya. Should I get your things?” He said.
The two Dela Rosa turned to look at him when he spoke. He suddenly felt shy when they did so he gave them a smile. “M-magandang hapon po.”
Kute immediately turned to Maya with widened eyes and furrowed brows. “Pst. Sino ‘yan bunso?”
“Ah, Kute, ‘di ba nag-text ako sa’yo kagabi na ang sabi ko kaya ako uuwi kasi may sasamahan akong kaibigan. Siya ‘yun.” She said as she wiggled her eyebrows. “Teka lang Kute ah.”
Maya walked back to the car and opened the bunker to get her things. Richard immediately helped her the moment he saw her opening the bunker. He insisted to bring her luggage for her as they entered the house.
Maya was so amazed by how their house looks now. She was so used to just seeing old walls and old furniture but now, everything was new. The living room greeted them when they entered the house. Maya can clearly see the dining area and the kitchen on its right and because of Maya’s curiosity, she took the stairs that she saw at the end of the room leaving Kute and Richard alone.
“Uhm, Iiwan ko na lang yung gamit ni Maya rito. I have to go.” Richard said and then he turned to leave.
“Ay teka lang ano.” Kute called him back. “Uy ikaw na kasama ni Maya, teka lang.” Richard stopped after hearing that. “Si Maya kasi hindi ka pinapakilala eh. Cristina Rose nga pala. Kuyang Ate ni Maya.” She said and laid out her hand for a shake.
Richard gladly accepted it. “Richard Lim.” He replied shortly. “I’ll go ahead. It’s getting dark.”
“San ka tutuloy? May bahay ka dito?” Cris continued to ask.
“Nagpa-book lang ako sa hotel, I think not far from here.” He replied.
“Edi dito ka na tumuloy.” Cris said. “Apat yung kwartong pinagawa nina Nanay eh. Hindi naman nagagamit yung isa pang kwarto.”
“No, no. Sa hotel na lang ako.” Richard replied.
“Sigurado ka?” She asked and Richard answered it with a nod. He was about to say goodbye again when Maya emerged from the stairs.
“Kute, pwede bang dito na lang natin patulugin sina Richard? Ang dami palang kwarto sa taas eh.” Maya said, oblivious to what the two were just talking about. Kute chuckled while Richard just sighed as he shook his head. “Bakit?” Maya continued. “Ayos lang naman Kute ‘di ba?”
Cris turned to Richard. “Sige na Richard. Kuhanin mo na yung gamit mo. Dito ka na matulog. Hindi ka mananalo dyan kay Bunso.”
Richard chuckled. “I know.” He said. “But are you sure that it’ll be okay? Parang nakakahiya eh.”
Before Cris could answer, Maya already spoke. “Oo naman. Para even tayo. Pinatulog mo ako sa inyo no’ng New Year, ikaw naman ang matutulog ngayon dito.” She said. “Kunin mo na yung gamit mo Richard.”
“Oo, bunso.” Cris replied. She then turned her attention to Richard who just sighed at the situation they are in.
“Guess I have no choice.” Richard said. “Sige na, kukunin ko lang yung gamit ko.” He said and left. The moment Cris saw that Richard was gone; she turned to Maya and gave her a meaningful smile.
“Bakit Kute?” Maya asked.
Cris gave a soft laugh. “Under pala sa’yo yung boyfriend mo eh.”
“Kute! Hindi ko siya boyfriend!” Maya said with reddened cheeks.
“Asuus. Hindi raw. Tigilan mo ko Maya. Ganyan ka dati kay James. Sige na’t iiwan na kita dito. Ako na’ng mag-aayos nung kwarto ni Richard para hindi abala sa inyong dalawa.” She teased.
Maya just pouted her lips at her sister. Sobrang obvious ko na ba?
Richard came back with his things and Maya led him to his room. It was a little bit smaller than his room but he knew he can manage. Once he was settled, Maya left his room to let him rest. She went to the kitchen to help Kute to prepare dinner. It was their usual routine before. After their class, they would immediately go to the kitchen to cook. They would usually produce burned dishes before since no one really thought them. It was the only thing that made the two closer to each other. Even if everything around them were wrong, just having each other made it feel right to them.
“Cho, paabot naman nung plato dun sa lagayan.” Maya said. Cho, Kute’s son, happily obliged and handed Maya the plate. “Thank you, Cho.”
“Tita Ninang, kayo na po ba talaga ‘yan? Kasi nung huling beses po na nandito kayo, maliit pa lang po ako di ba?” Cho asked. “Bakit po ba hindi na kayo umuwi?”
Maya chuckled. “Basta, Cho. Masyado ka pang bata para maintindihan ang dahilan ko.” She said. She was so thankful that Cho grew up to be a very obedient and disciplined kid. He did not even bombard Maya questions.
As they were busy preparing the dining table, Richard came down from the stairs. He was surprised when he saw that he already slept for three hours. He’s been so busy with the company and with fetching Maya that he doesn’t get enough sleep.
“O, Richard. Buti gising ka na. Upo ka na dito.” Cris said when she spotted Richard. He nodded with a smirk and sat down on a chair in front of a little boy. “Ah, si Cho nga pala, anak ko. Cho, si Richard, boyfriend ng Tita Ninang mo.”
“Hello po Tito Rich –“
“Kute! Hindi ko nga boyfriend eh!” Maya exclaimed as she put the bowl of rice on the table and took a seat beside Richard. Her face was so red that made the others laugh.
“Sige na sige na. Manliligaw?” Kute tested and when she didn’t get any reactions from Maya, she nodded at Richard. “Manliligaw ka pala ni bunso eh.” Richard smiled back. “Pasensya ka na sa kapatid ko, pinahihirapan ka pa ata.”
“Kute!” Maya exclaimed.
The dinner went on like this. Kute kept teasing Maya about Richard. Everyone at the table was always laughing because of it. Richard was really comfortable during dinner. He got the confirmation that Maya’s older sister is not against him in courting her.
“Richard, bakit ka nga pala pumunta ng Mindoro?” Kute inquired.
“I’m planning to visit a land that I bought.” He said as he took a sip of coffee that Maya made earlier.
“May napapabalita nga ditong may bumili raw ng lupa nung si Mr. Rodriguez, yun ba ‘yun?”
“If you’re talking about Danilo Rodriguez, then yes, ako yung bumili.” He casually said. Kute on the other hand choked with Richard’s answer.
“Oh Kute, ayos ka lang?” Maya said as she poured water on her glass which Kute immediately drank.
“Eh bunso, ang laki kayang lupa nung binili nitong si Richard. Matagal nang pinagbibili ‘yun kaso walang nabili gawa ng mahal. Kahit sina Nanay hindi mabili ‘yun.” She said. “Aanhin niyo yung lupa, Richard?”
“Para sa extension ng company namin.” He simply said without dropping any hints on who he really is.
“Ang laki namang lupa!” Kute continued to exclaim while Maya just smiled at her sister. “Saan ka ba nagtatrabaho Richard? Saka bakit ikaw yung bumibisita dito?”
“I work for an Aviation Company. Nautusan lang akong pumunta dito para tignan yung lupa.” He said with a smile on his face. And when he glanced at Maya, she was also smiling like she really wants to laugh at the confusion on the face of her sister. Maya finally burst out laughing when she couldn’t contain it anymore. Richard even joined her.
“O? Bakit kayo natawa?” Kute asked the both of them.
“Eh kasi naman Kute, nakakatawa yung itsura mo. Litong-lito ka kasi!” Maya said as she tried to control her laughter. “Pero Kute, seryosong usapan, CEO si Richard. Sila yung may-ari ng Lim Aviation sa Maynila.” She explained.
“Talaga?” Kute explained with her eyes widened. They continued to laugh when she continued to ask Richard questions. Their laughter died down when they heard the sound of the front door opening.
“Teresita, yung kita sa Chibugan, dineposito ko na sa bangko. Pati dun sa grocery store natin.” A voice said.
“Sige sige.” Another voice said. “Hay nako, Arturo. Kung naandito lang si Maya edi sana siya na yung may hawak ng karamihan sa business natin. Yung bata kasing yun, sumuway pa sa gusto natin -” They abruptly stopped as they saw them at the dining area. It was a middle-aged couple. Richard can feel that they are Maya’s parents.
“Good evening po.” Richard said with a smile. The couple turned to look at him with a shocked face.
“Nay, Tay, si Richard po, kaibigan po ni Maya. Siya po yung nakabili nung lupa ni Mr. Rodriguez. Eh, dito na po namin pinatuloy ni Maya tutal may isa pa naman pong kwarto sa taas.” Kute said. Richard was aware that Maya was just looking at her plate and not to her parents.
“M-maya, nak? Ikaw na ba ‘yan?” Her mother said as she made her way to them but Maya stood up, startling them.
“Dun na po ako sa kwarto ko.” She said. “Kute, pwedeng ikaw muna yung magligpit? Mag-aayos lang ako ng gamit.” And then she left leaving them in silence.
Richard also stood up. “Ah, susundan ko lang po si Maya.” He said and strode towards the stairs but a hand on his arm stopped him. It was Maya’s father.
“Boyfriend ka ni Maya?” He asked.
Richard gulped before he answered. “H-Hindi po.” He nervously answered. He knew he should’ve said that he’s courting her daughter but he decided not to.
The man nodded at him and laid out his hand. “Arturo. Tatay ni Maya.” He said. Richard accepted his hand and nodded at him. “Richard po.” He said. “Si Teresita yung kasama ko. Nanay ni Maya.”
Richard shifted his gaze to the woman and gave her a smile. “Magandang gabi po.” Teresita just gave him a small smile. He can easily see that something is bothering her. “Susundan ko lang po si Maya.” He said and took the stairs. He was aware of the exchange of looks that Maya’s parents did.
Richard was surprised to see Maya’s door standing ajar. He stood just outside of it and heard sobs coming from inside. He slowly pushed the door to open it and saw Maya with her face buried on a pillow. The sound of her sobs became so audible inside that he rushed to her side.
“Are you okay, Maya?” He worriedly asked. To his surprise, Maya moved and hugged him. Richard just put his arms around her and rubbed her back. She was really crying hard. “Shh. Stop crying.” He said. He wanted to ask her what’s really up with them but he knew that time could wait. After a while, Maya finally stopped crying. And when Richard turned to look at her, he saw that she already fell asleep. He lied her down again and pulled up her blanket. He brushed off the remaining tears on her face and kissed her head.
“Good night, Maya.”
A/N : Sorry po kung sobrang bitin! Susubukan ko po ang ACOH19 mamaya kaso maeexpire na po kasi si internet.
So! Can you guess what’s the issue between Maya and her parents?”