Maya was silent the whole time she was inside Richard’s car. Even though he can still feel his head throbbing in pain, he insisted to drive Maya home. He needs to make sure that she is safe, after all. The pain clouded his thoughts that he didn’t really paid attention to the silence that was all around them.
Richard was with Maya until she reached their condo unit. Maya was still in a pensive mood. She couldn’t help but think that Richard was just in love with her because it was what James felt before. She was afraid that the day might come where his feelings for her would just disappear. She knew to herself that Richard was the one that she fell for, and even though she still loves James, it was Richard that helped her moved on. It was him who made her forget the tragedy that torn her heart into pieces and he’s also the one that patched it up together again.
“I’ll go ahead, Maya. The Advil didn’t work. Baka kailangan ko nang itulog ‘to.” Richard said as they both stood outside the condo. “It’s good that you and Tito Frank are finally okay.”
Maya nodded. “Sige na, Richard, umuwi ka na. Baka lalo pang makasama sa’yo ‘tong nasa labas pa.”
“Okay.” Richard said with a smile and leaned in to kiss Maya on her cheek. “I love you.”
Maya felt a pang of pain inside of her. She wants to ask Richard right there and then who was saying that. Was it really him or was it James? But seeing him like he’s in too much pain, she decided to give it another time. She needed to think about it more. She figured out that if she rushed things, it would probably turn to a disaster.
“Ingat sa pagmamaneho ha.” Maya just said. Richard was aware that she didn’t say I love you back but he just brushed it off. He can’t really afford to have an argument at that time. His headache was killing him. He just nodded and made his way home.
Maya entered their condo unit with a heavy heart. She doesn’t want to doubt Richard’s love for her but she just couldn’t help it. If James hadn’t returned like what had happened earlier that day, she might not have those doubts. She felt her eye filling up with tears again and took a deep sigh. She headed straight to her bedroom and lied on her bed to sleep.
Richard was too busy the next few days. They developed a huge problem when they did maintenance with one of their airline partners. His employees would always be fixing air crafts and if they ran behind on schedule, Richard would personally fix those parts that he can do all by himself.
But even if he was so busy, he would still text Maya every time he was available. He would always check if Maya was already at the airport, if she would be on her flight or if she’s on her way home. He can’t afford to lose her now especially if everything in his life was going on smoothly. He first thought that the misunderstanding between her and Frank would be a huge issue but he was surprised that when he woke up, everything was alright between them.
Richard wanted to talk to James. He knew it was too impossible but if what Ryan said was the truth that James talked at that dinner using his body he can still that it’s quite possible. He wants to thank him so much for everything that he did to his life. And he wants to talk to him about the promise that his heart was talking about when he first talked to it when his body started rejecting James’ heart.
Maya, on the other hand, took the time without Richard to calm her nerves down. She figured out that Ryan was right. She needs to talk to Richard to find out the truth once and for all. Maya was finding it hard how to reply in his texts and what manner she has to be in when she answers his calls. She knew Richard would notice her pensive mood soon enough.
One fine Saturday morning, Richard drove up to Maya’s condo to surprise her. Their work was finally finished the night before and he is now worry-free. For now, he just wants to unwind with Maya. He felt like a little boy who’s too excited to see his crush after a weeklong vacation.
Maya opened the door and saw a smiling Richard behind it. His hands were on his back as he leaned in to give her a kiss on her head. “Happy millionth monthsary!” He happily said.
“H-ha?” Maya uttered.
“Well, we never celebrated our monthsary so I guess it’s best to start now. And I wanted to start with a million because it feels like I’ve known you all my life.” He said as he grinned at her like a foolish-boy.
Maya felt that familiar pain inside her heart. She has a gut feeling that the reason why Richard feels like that was because of James’ heart. She just smiled back at him and let him in inside their condo unit.
“Ah, before I forgot. Here.” He said and handed her the bouquet of sunflowers he was holding at his back. Maya reached for it and gestured Richard to sit on the couch. “Thank you. Teka lang, ikukuha lang kita ng kape. Nagbreakfast ka na ba?”
“Yep. Manang didn’t allow me to leave until I ate my food.” Richard amusedly said. After a few minutes, Maya came back and sat beside him with two cups of coffee with her. She handed the black mug to Richard while she put the white one on the table in front of them.
“I missed this coffee. How many times have I told you that your coffee is the best?” Richard said as he took another sip of the coffee.
“Kaya mo lang yata ‘yan gusto gawa yan ng puso mo ‘di ba?” Maya whispered.
“So ‘yun pala ang tinanong mo kay Ryan.” Richard said. Maya surprised that Richard heard her whisper. “Well, yes, in some way, the cellular memory theory is working to me.”
“Cellular memory?” Maya asked.
Richard nodded. “Yung sinasabi niya na nag-iiba yung habits ko, yung appetite ko and other stuff. You could say na it was James’ extra gift to me.”
Maya slowly nodded. She was so anxious to ask Richard about that thing that’s been bugging her since forever. She could literally feel her heart on her throat as she decided that it’s time to ask him about it. It’s now or never.
“R-Richard. Uhm, may itatanong lang sana ako sa’yo. Ayos lang ba?” Maya stammered. Richard put the mug of coffee on the table and shifted to face her. He reached for her hand and entwined it with his as he looked straight into her eyes. “Sure thing. Ano ‘yon?”
Here it goes. “Richard, mahal mo ba ko?” Maya asked.
Richard’s brows furrowed. “Oo. Mahal kita. What kind of question is that, Maya?” He asked back as he felt quite nervous about it. “Why do you ask?”
“Hindi. Sagutin mo, Richard. Mahal mo ba ako? –“
“Yes! I love you!”
“O si James ang nagpapasabi nyan?” Maya continued that made Richard stop. “Wh-what?” Richard said, his voice sounds so broken.
“Buhay pa si James, ‘di ba Richard? Nabubuhay pa siya dyan sa puso niya. Kaya mo ba ako mahal kasi ‘yun yung sabi ng puso niya?”
“No! Of course not! I love you. Ako. Mahal kita, Maya. Walang nagdigta sa’kin. Walang kahit sino. Now, if that’s what’s bothering you, I can assure you that I am the one who fell for you.” Richard assuringly said, his hand gripping Maya’s hand tightly to make her feel that what he was saying was the truth.
“Pero paano ka nakakasiguro?” Maya asked. “Paano tayo nakakasiguro na mamahalin mo ako habambuhay? Paano na lang kapag napalitan ‘yang puso mo ng iba? Ako pa rin kaya ‘yung laman?”
“Maya, you’re being absurd! I know that if I get another heart transplant, I will still love you. Even though sinasabi ko na ikaw ang laman ng puso ko, it doesn’t mean na kapag nagpatransplant ulit ako, mawawala ka na –“
“Oo, Richard, mawawala ako dahil hindi na puso ni James ‘yun.” Maya interrupted.
“So what do you want me to do? Do you want me to get another heart transplant just to prove my point? If that’s the case then I will do it. I will do it for you, Maya.” He said with his tone quite rising up. And with those words, Maya stopped from talking; she was just staring at him with teary-eyes, urging Richard to continue what he is saying. “Ikaw ang mahal ko, Maya. Ikaw lang. And it’s not James who loves you. It’s me. Richard. Wag mong isipin na dahil nasa’kin ang puso nya, kaya na nyang digtahan yung nararamdaman ko. Nagkataon lang na pareho kami ng babaeng minahal. And we’re both lucky that the woman we both love loves us back. James already had his turn. Now it’s my turn, Maya. It’s now my turn to love you and to be loved by you.”
Richard moved his right hand and put it on Maya’s cheek. “Yes, I got confused with this before. I asked Ryan about it. I asked him if it was because of my heart that I was falling fast for you. But now I know that my heart doesn’t have anything to do with it. James doesn’t have anything to do with it. I love you because you are you.” He watched Maya as his words sank to her. “Are we okay, now?”
Maya sniffed as she returned Richard’s gaze. She nodded and leaned on his chest as she tried to control her tears from flowing. Richard hugged her tight and kissed her head. “Sorry, Richard. Sorry, sorry sorry.” She kept mumbling.
“It’s okay. I understand.” Richard whispered to her. “What’s gotten into you at nag-doubt ka sa’kin?” He asked. He was trying to make the mood lighter after what just happened between them.
“Si Jeff kasi eh.” Maya replied and Richard grunted. “That kid? He’s going to pay for this.” He said. Maya knew he was kidding so she leaned back to look at the man in front of him. “Hindi pala si Jeff. Hindi naman niya alam na nabulabog niya yung isip ko.”
“Then whose fault was it?” He asked with his eyes narrowed.
“Hmm. Si Ryan.” Maya said.
Richard removed his arms around Maya. “Dito ka lang. I’m going to kill him.” He said and attempted to stand up but Maya pulled him back to sit down. “Richard!”
“What? It’s his fault. Kahit best friend ko siya, I will not forgive him if I lost you. Muntikan mo na kaya akong hiwalayan.”
Maya giggled. “Ang kulit mo. Pabayaan mo na si Ryan. Ginagawa lang niya yung trabaho niya.” She said and curled up her arms in Richard’s and rested her head on his shoulder. “Sorry. Mali yung move ko. Nag-assume na naman ako.”
Richard kissed the top of Maya’s head. “It’s okay. Maganda na rin ‘tong nangyari kasi napatunayan ko, hindi lang sa’yo, pati sa sarili ko, na mahal na mahal kita.” He used his other hand to lift up Maya’s chin and kissed her lips. “And I intend to be with you for the rest of my life.”
“Likewise, Mr. Lim.” Maya said with a smile on her face.
“Will you marry me?” Richard whispered. No doubts, just the truth that slipped out. “Alam kong wala pang singsing pero –“
Maya moved closer to him and kissed him on his lips, cutting what Richard has to say next. “Ang dami mo pang sinasabi eh. Hindi lang naman singsing ang simbolo ng engagement, pati na rin yung pagmamahalan natin. Parang .. parang love. Kahit puso yung pinakasimbolo nun, hindi ibig-sabihin na yun na lang. Marami pang iba ‘di ba?”
“S-so does that mean that ..” Richard trailed off.
Maya happily nodded. “Yes. I’ll marry you, Richard.” Richard engulfed Maya in a hug that caused them to fall back on the couch. Maya was laughing the whole time while Richard rained kisses on her face. And when he was done, he stared at her face with a smile. “I love you so much, Mrs. Lim. You made me the happiest person alive today.”
“Mahal na mahal na mahal na mahal na mahal na mahal –“ Maya said but was interrupted by Richard’s kiss. Her hands automatically landed on Richard’s nape as they fully gave in to the kiss.
“Ang dami mo pang sinasabi eh.” Richard said when he broke the kiss that made the both of them laugh. And from that moment, they both knew that no matter what happens to them, their love for each other wouldn’t die easily.
A few weeks later, Richard finally got the ring he ordered. Maya didn’t know anything about it and he kept it as a surprise. Sure the ring was weeks late for the proposal but even if Maya already said yes, he wants to make it official. He invited Maya out for a dinner that night and before he drove his car, he looked at the wallpaper of his phone. It was the picture he took the first time he saw her. And even if they’ve been together for a while now, Maya still hadn’t seen it even once.
“Girl ha, ito na ang pouch mo. Nakakaloka ang elevator dito sa condo, ang bagal! Akala ko maaabutan na tayo ni Papa Richard mo.” Emman said as he handed the pouch to Maya. He took a seat in front of her as they both waited for Richard on the lobby.
“On his way na siya, Emman.” Maya said.
“O? What’s wrong? Bakit parang namumutla ka?” Emman asked. “Ang sabi mo, hindi ka naman buntis.”
“Huy! Ano ka ba Emman!” Maya protested and then she sighed deeply. “Ewan ko ba, Emman. Parang .. parang may hindi tama. Parang .. ah ewan ko.” She said. It was true. Ever since she sat on that chair on the lobby, she felt something different. It’s like she’s having a déjà vou. She knew she’s been on that same spot countless times but this time, it’s different.
“Roomie, I’m sure, pagdating ni Papa Richard, mawawala na yang worries mo.” Emman said with a smile.
“Sana nga Emman.” She was feeling too queasy. Something is definitely not right. She took a glance at her phone and saw that it was already 6:15PM. She felt her heart thump. The time they agreed on was six in the evening. And Richard was running late. He was never late.
To release the tension she was feeling, Maya decided to stand up, and when she did, she felt that she hit something with her arm and then she heard a sound. When she looked down, she saw a glass of water that was shattered into pieces.
A/N : What do you think happened? *insert evil laugh* Happy Chinese New Year!