Maya knocked on Luke’s door and as she waits for him to open it, she saw Richard enter the room behind, opposite Luke’s. She could see that Richard feels awkward about the situation too. Well, who will not be? They have to share a room together because Richard’s brother came and demanded that he wants to spend quality time with his bed.
Richard thought he can talk with Luke about it but the younger Lim kept his stubborn request. What Richard could do is just to accept the fact that he’ll be sleeping there. Stubbornness really runs in their family and if someone wants something so bad, no one can do anything about it.
“Ate Maya, what can I do for you?” Luke asked as he opened his door. Maya smiled at him before she spoke. “Hi Luke. May kukunin lang sana akong damit sa loob. Okay lang ba?”
Luke nodded. “Sure thing.” He said then he moved outside his room. “I’ll be at the living room.” He said. Maya was actually surprised by what he did. She wasn’t expecting that Luke would go out and let her do her thing inside. For a young kid like him, he’s already a gentleman.
Maya went inside the room and saw the bed filled with books. She smiled as she realized that Luke must be studying at this hour. She opened the cabinet and got some of her sleeping clothes and arranged some of it, so Luke can put his clothes on the other half of the cabinet. She went inside the bathroom and changed.
Before leaving Luke’s room, Maya wondered if she should get some clothes for tomorrow too. She knew Liza would still be absent tomorrow since she called Richard earlier at work. She knew Richard would need a secretary again tomorrow. So without thinking further, she opened her cabinet and got some clothes they bought that would suit office work.
After gathering her things, Maya walked outside the room and saw Luke sitting on the couch reading his notes on his notebook. “Luke, tapos na ko. Inayos ko na rin yung cabinet para malagay mo yung damit mo dun sa isang side. Thank you.”
Luke turned when he heard her voice and smiled back at Maya. “You’re welcome Ate Maya. Thank you rin.” He said and stood up. “I’ll be going back to my room. Exam ko kasi bukas.”
Maya nodded as she smiles. “Goodluck! If you ever have problems, I’m sure Richard would help you. Close na close kayo eh. Pwede rin naman ako, basta wag lang math.” She said making them laugh.
“Kuya Richard’s really good at Math and he doesn’t really like arts even though his work revolves around it.” Luke said. “Yes, close kami. Pero mukhang mas close kayo eh.”
“Hindi no.” Maya immediately replied, making Luke laugh. “Saka Luke, lilinawin ko lang. Hindi naman ako girlfriend ng Kuya mo eh. Magkaibigan lang kami.”
“Really?” Luke asked, quite surprised at what he heard. “Pero I doubt talaga Ate Maya. Ikaw lang kaya yung pinayagan ni Kuya na pumasok dun sa workplace niya. Kahit ata langgam hindi niya pinapadaan don. Ikaw lang talaga.”
Maya felt her cheeks warm. Luke might be young but his sense of observation is really too mature for his age. “Pinagalitan din kaya ako no’n nung una akong nakapasok dun sa workplace niyang ‘yun. Tapos natapunan ko pa ng kape yung house plan niya. Ayun, buong magdamag siyang gising. Dinamayan ko, pero nakatulog din ako.”
Luke’s face was filled with amusement; his mouth gaped like he does not believe every word Maya said. “What happened the next day?”
“Nung nagising ako, pumasok na siya. Pero bandang tanghali, dinala siya dito ni James kasi antok na antok na daw. Pagdating niya dito, dinala siya ni James sa kama niya tapos nakatulog agad siya.” She said, reminiscing what just happened the other day. She didn’t even tell Luke that when she woke up, she’s already in her bed and doesn’t know how she ended up there, and how she fell asleep again in Richard’s arms. “Tapos paggising niya, nagyaya siyang mag-mall. Treat daw niya kasi nakuha niya yung deal.”
“See? That’s what I’m talking about, Ate Maya.” Luke exclaimed. “When Kuya Richard was still living in our house, he has this project when he was still in college and I accidentally spilled juice on it. He was so mad at me that he didn’t talk to me for a week. Pero with you, parang walang nangyari eh. He even treated you out the next day!” He happily stated.
“Hindi ka niya pinansin for a week?” Maya asked, not believing what Luke said.
Luke nodded frantically. “Yes. Ask him.” He said. “So don’t tell me that you’re not his girlfriend, Ate Maya. Well, if you really are not, then maybe you could question his actions, because from what I see, Kuya Richard is a different person around you. What you’re describing? He’s not my Kuya.”
Maya was speechless. Was Richard really different when she’s around? But how could she know if she hasn’t met him before her incident? Maybe the reason why Luke’s there is to answer her questions that even Richard wouldn’t answer. Maybe.
“Sige na Ate Maya. Magrereview pa ako. You better get some sleep.” Luke said and walked pass Maya. But before entering his room, Luke turned around and faced Maya. “I’m glad you’re here, Ate Maya whatever the reason is. If there’s anything I could believe in? It’ll be you making Kuya Richard happy.” After saying that, he opened his door and locked it. Maya was left there alone in the living room, absorbing what Luke just said.
After calming down, she entered Richard’s room. The bed is empty and Maya could see Richard feet on the floor, on the other side of the bed. With her heart thumping loud, she put her clothes on the edge of the bed and carefully sat on the bed. She could feel her heart thumping faster as she lied down on the bed although she’s wondering why Richard hadn’t even spoke since she entered the room. She slowly peeked on him and when her head was sticking out, she saw him lying on his back with his eyes closed. He was softly snoring but Maya found it cute. Her heartbeat slowly returned to normal as she watched him sleep.
Maya knew that he was tired from work. Even if it was just meetings, everything was so exhausting. This was the first time that Maya had the chance to look at Richard’s face closely. Even up close, Maya would not change the fact that he’s handsome. Some lines can be seen on his face but nevertheless, he still captures Maya’s heart.
Maya was about to go to sleep when she heard Richard groaning in his sleep. She thought it was just normal to him but it went louder as time passed by. Maya quickly peeked on him again and was surprised when she saw like he was in pain and his hands were curled up on his blanket. Maya rushed out of bed and went to Richard’s side to wake him up. She knew he was having a nightmare.
“Richard, Richard, gising!” Maya said as she shook Richard. “Richard!” After a few more tugs, Richard’s eyes flew open and met Maya’s. He was breathing heavily, while Maya’s eyes tear up. He slowly sat up and Maya just watched him as her tears flow from her face.
“Ayos ka lang ba?” Maya muttered. Richard just nodded and lifted his hands to wipe Maya’s tears. “It’s just a nightmare.” He whispered. Maya held his hands that were on either side of his face. “Dun ka na matulog sa kama. Dito na lang ako sa baba.” She said.
Without answering, Richard stood up as he held Maya’s hand in his. He made her sit at one side of the bed while he’s on the other side. “Haharangan ko na lang ng unan sa gitna.” He said.
Maya nodded, but when Richard lied down, she didn’t. She was still watching him as his eyes wander at the ceiling. She could see in his eyes that he’s thinking about something. Maya was so scared that her tears kept flowing. She thought she would lose Richard earlier and now, after that, he still remained silent.
“Richard, kung gusto mo ng kausap, nandito lang ako.” Maya softly said. “Kung .. kung ayaw mo sa’kin, nandyan si Luke basta .. basta magkwento ka lang, makikinig kami.” She said. Richard’s gaze remained at the ceiling, saying nothing but silence. When his answer became clear to Maya, she just nodded and lied down on the bed with her back facing him.
She was about to sleep when she heard his voice.
“I .. I dreamt about my mom. It was the last day that I saw her before she died.” Richard softly said. Maya turned around so she could see Richard’s face. The pillow that he put between them was just between their bodies, making her see his face across it.
“I was only sixteen. And .. and she was leaving me. I asked her if .. if the reason why she’s leaving is because .. she doesn’t love me. And she told me no. She told me that .. that it’s because of her and my father.
“I was crying so hard back then. It was always because of my stupid father. Kinain na siya nung pagkasikat niya. I hated him back then and I still hate him until now. I don’t care if I’m an architect like him. I want to be better than him. I want to show him that I can be successful like him without throwing his family away.”
Maya just listened to Richard the whole time he spoke. She can see that his eyes are welling up and one started to fall from his eye.
“My mom told me that time that she has cancer. A few months later, she died. And do you know what my father said? He told me that my mother’s already dead to him the moment she left home. And from that moment on, I totally forgot that I have a father. I can’t even accept the fact that he’s my father.” He said as his tears finally flowed. For the first time, Richard spoke to someone, for the first time he cried in front of another person.
Richard thought that Maya would scold him or would give him a piece of her mind but he was surprised when he felt her curl up beside him. “Kaya ba hindi ka nauwi sa inyo?” She softly asked.
“Yes.” Richard muttered. “Ayoko nang bumalik sa bahay namin. Naaalala ko lang si Mama. Then I would always remember what my father said. I had nightmares whenever I sleep inside my room, that’s why as early as college freshman, I moved out.”
Maya remained silent. She doesn’t know what to say. All she knew is that Richard needs her. As she expected, he was carrying a lot of baggage in his back and she hoped that somehow, this conversation helped him.
“Wag mo nang isipin ‘yon, Richard. Alam kong sobrang proud sa’yo ngayon ang Mama mo. Ang layo na ng narating mo no. Tapos ikaw lang mag-isa yung nagsikap.” She just said, trying to comfort Richard. “Matulog ka na. Ang isipin mo na lang, yung mga happy moments na kasama mo yung Mama mo.”
Richard closed his eyes and thought of something that made him happy. He thought he lost all of them when he remembered that one time when it was his mother’s birthday. Richard was still around eight but he kept seeing his mother looking at a necklace with a locket as its pendant, in a jewellery store. Richard saved all of his money back then, sometimes never eating just to have enough money to buy it. The day before his mother’s birthday, he counted his money and discovered that his still a few hundred short. He ran to his father and asked him to loan him some money but his father bought it anyway and gave it to little Richard. He was so happy back then that he proudly gave it to his mother. Instead of saying that he’s the one who bought it, he told her that it was his father who did, and that he only gave it to her. That was the first time that Richard saw his mom cry because of happiness. It was the only time he’d seen her smile like that.
When Richard opened his eyes, he saw Maya staring at him. A smile crept on his face as he watched her eyes look at his concernedly. “Thank you, Maya.” He muttered.
Maya smiled back at him and pulled away from his side. “Okay ka na?” She asked.
“Yes.” Richard assured. “Thank you so much. You have no idea how you helped me.”
“Sige na. Maaga ka pa bukas. Goodnight.” She said.
Richard smiled at her. “Goodnight.”
Maya turned around and her back was at him again. Her heart might be swelling because of how Richard’s past was but she was also happy that he decided to give her a glimpse of his past. Maya closed her eyes and waited for the sandman to come but before he do, she jolted when she felt someone’s arm around her waist. She shifted her head a little and saw that it was Richard.
“Goodnight, Maya.” He muttered and he drifted off to sleep.
Maya’s heart started thumping loud. She knew that she doesn’t have any chance of getting out of his hold so she just let Richard hug her as he sleeps. If this is a way to help him, then she would do it, just for him.
That night was truly full of firsts for them both.
And for the first time, the two of them finally realized what each other meant in their lives.
A/N : Abot pa po ba ako? Hihi.