If there’s one thing Richard did forget, it was the whole concept of love. He’s been under the power of hatred for years that he doesn’t have time to seek for it. He had several relationships in the past but whenever their relationship ends, Richard’s hatred would just continue to grow. But this time with Maya feels different. The women he courted before doesn’t have any idea what his issues are. In fact, it was the main reason why his relationships don’t last. Whenever his girlfriend asks him about his family, he would just remain quiet, never answering any questions about it. Then the girl would get mad saying that Richard doesn’t trust her enough to tell her about it and then after some time, the girl would end their relationship. This time, he wants it to be different.
Maya was not like any other women he’d met. Whenever he’s around them, would always be stiff and proper. It’s what they expect him to be. But when he’s around Maya, he could be just Richard. He doesn’t have to pretend because she knows who he really is. She’s the only woman who can see the sadness in Richard’s eyes. A girl like her doesn’t come too often in Richard’s life. That’s why he doesn’t want to let her just walk past him.
They shared comfortable silence as Richard drove to the firm. Luke was left in his condo since his exam schedule is still in the afternoon. Richard didn’t make any move to break the silence. He was trying to measure if what he said during their breakfast had some effect to Maya. Surely, her silence is a response to it but what he doesn’t know if it’s a positive or negative sign.
Maya could feel her cheeks burning. Even if she’s facing straight, she was aware on how often Richard glances at her. She thought she would feel happy about the sign that was given her but it only made him feel more awkward. Even if Richard dropped a hint, she doesn’t know if what he’s trying to say is what she really wants him to. For now, she doesn’t want to assume, not until Richard talks about it.
The still didn’t spoke until they reached the firm. Maya would just speak whenever she’s going to inform Richard about his schedule and nothing more. Richard wanted to talk to her so bad if it wasn’t for his meetings. James also noticed the gap between them. Yesterday, they look like they can’t be separated, but now; they look like they wanted the separation happening between them.
Richard’s schedule for today was not that hectic as it was yesterday and he can spend two hours of vacancy for his lunch break. He was about to ask Maya out when James entered his office.
“Richard, can I speak with you?” James asked. His gaze shifted from Richard and to Maya, who was scribbling something on a piece of paper.
“Can’t it wait? We’re just about to go for lunch.” Richard answered and James’s saw Maya’s head bolt up.
“I don’t think it can.” James insisted. “Maya, if you like, sumama ka muna kay Minerva. She’s my secretary. Nagpapabili ako ng lunch. Baka matagalan yung usapan namin ni Richard eh.” He said.
Maya just gave a short nod and left the two of them. James was just watching Richard as Maya left. He watched her go, never letting his eyes shift somewhere other than her. When she was finally gone, that was when Richard acknowledged his friend.
“Anong meron James?” Richard asked. James made himself comfortable at the chair in front of his desk. “Let me ask you that question, Richard.” James said. “Anong meron Richard?”
Richard’s eyes narrowed. “What are you talking about?”
James shrugged. “I don’t know, maybe you can answer that. I just noticed na parang kahapon lang, halos subuan mo na si Maya nung kumain tayo and I know that she will not turn you down. Pero bakit ngayong parang ni pag-uusap hindi niyo magawa?” James asked with a teasing smile. “Let me repeat my question. Anong meron, Richard?”
Richard sighed. As expected, James noticed. He doesn’t really want to talk about it because he doesn’t want James to be involved in his shenanigans. But he’s already breaking his rules because of Maya. And right now, he really wants to talk to someone who can understand him. “I like her, James.” He said.
James nodded. “Yeah, I already know that. What really is –“
“I like Maya James. I like her, like I want to spend most of my time with her, I want to hear her laugh, I want to be with her. Those kind of likes.” He explained.
James’ reaction remained the same. “Richard, alam ko nang gusto mo si Maya. I noticed it since yesterday.” He said and leaned on Richard’s table. “Ano ngang meron, Richard?”
Richard groaned. “Fine. I will tell you.” He said. “Luke came last night, said that he’ll be sleeping in my condo. And since his room is occupied, because of Maya, he told me that Maya and I can share my bed while he spends quality time with his own. I tried to talk him through it but he didn’t give in. Luke even accused Maya as my girlfriend.
“Then I had my nightmare, last night and Maya was sleeping on my bed while I was on the floor. She woke me up and I was surprised to see her waking me up with tears in her eyes. She told me to sleep on my bed and I obliged. We lie down on opposite sides and before she slept, she told me that if ever I want someone to talk to, she will listen. And then .. and then I told her the story of my mom.”
“Sinabi mo?” James asked. His face so shocked. As Richard’s friend, he’s a living testimony of how discreet he can be with his family. Never in years did he hear Richard talk about his father, or even his mother. The things he knew all came from Luke.
Richard nodded. “It’s as if she was the therapy I need. I told her how mom left me and what happened after. Then after that, she told me to forget about it and just think of those moments when we’re all happy, and surprisingly, it worked on me.”
“Wow, just wow.” James said. “So if that’s the whole story, then why are you avoiding each other?”
“Well ..” Richard started, shifting in his chair like it’s the most uncomfortable place in the world. “I sort of talked to her this morning and I kind of dropped a hint that I’m starting to like her.”
“And then what happened?” James asked.
“That was it. After that, hindi na niya ako kinakausap.” Richard answered.
“Richard, tingin mo nakuha niya yung hint mo? O baka mali yung intindi niya don?” James wondered. “Siguro kaya ka hindi kinakausap ay dahil naiilang siya sa sitwasyon niyo.”
“You think so?” Richard asked.
James nodded. “Actions speak louder than words but if there are no words involved, it would forever remain an action. Bakit hindi ka magsalita then at the same time, act on it? Baka sakaling mas effective.” He said.
Richard realized that James was right. Maya was probably confused by the sweet words that suddenly came from his mouth. He even cornered her without even explaining why he did that. Maya must be confused as hell. “You’re right. Thank you James.”
“You’re very welcome my friend.” James said and gave a soft laugh. “Who would’ve thought that I’d be giving you advice for love? But seriously speaking Richard, I don’t want you to let go of Maya that easy. I think she’s doing you good especially that it’s the first time you talked about your family.”
“Don’t worry, James. I don’t want to let her go either.” Richard said.
The rest of the day passed. Maya still avoided talking to him and Richard just let it pass. He’s saving something for later. He knew it’s quite a risk since it could get more awkward later but he’s willing to do it. With Maya, he’s ready to risk it all.
Before Maya could even turn the knob of Richard’s condo, Luke already opened it and bolted outside. He quickly waved at Maya and went near his brother. Luke just gave Richard a pat on his shoulder. Maya curiously watched them especially that Luke left after that.
“Let’s go in?” Richard said when Maya still didn’t make any move to enter the unit. She just nodded at Richard and entered. She came into a halt just before she made it at the center of the living room. The room’s lights were dimmed and few candles were on the table in front of the couch. A bottle of champagne was inside a bucket and plates were on the table as well with different dishes. Maya turned around to look at Richard who was just smiling at her.
Richard put his hand on Maya’s arm, like he was assisting her when she was still injured. Maya was completely mum, still shocked at what she was seeing. Richard sat beside her and reached for the champagne to pop it open, poured it on the glasses on the table and then handed one to Maya as he held his in his hand.
“R-Richard, anong meron?” Maya dared to ask. Richard gave her a smile. “Before anything else, could I ask what’s up with you? Buong araw tayong hindi nag-uusap eh.” He asked. When Maya shifted her gaze to something else, he added. “Was it because of what I told you last night? I .. I just thought that –“
“No, no, it’s not about that.” Maya immediately said. “Hindi yun tungkol sa sinabi mo kagabi. In fact, natutuwa pa nga ako kasi nag-open up ka sa’kin.” She said.
“Then what is it?” Richard further asked. He saw Maya’s hesitation to talk. “You can tell me anything. Ikaw na nga ‘tong nagsabi sa’kin na pwede akong magkwento sa’yo yet you’re not saying anything to me.”
Maya looked at him and took a deep breath. “Richard, we’re friends, right?”
Richard nodded. “Yeah.” He shortly answered. Though I want to change it. “We’re friends.”
Maya sighed. Finally Richard confirmed it. They’re friends and it would remain at that level. What happened that morning doesn’t really mean anything. They’re just friends. “Should I say sorry?” She asked.
Richard slowly nodded. “I think so. Buong araw kaya akong walang kausap.” He said. Maya giggled. “Sorry, Richard.”
“Apology accepted.” He said. “Let’s eat? I’m hungry and tired.” He continued as he reached for two plates and gave the other one to Maya. “Main course. Then we’ll have desert.”
“Saan pumunta si Luke?” She asked as she started eating. “May group review daw sila. He’ll be back around nine.” Richard casually answered.
“Siya yung naghanda nito?” She continued to ask. Richard nodded. “Kind of. Tinawagan ko siya kanina eh.”
“Bakit pa? Eh pwede naman akong magluto?” She continued. Richard stopped from eating and reached for his champagne. He emptied the glass like he was thirsty for it. And then he turned to Maya.
“Uhm, Maya, about what I said during breakfast ..” He started. “I .. I meant it. I meant every word.”
Maya almost choked so she reached for her champagne as well. “H-Ha?”
Richard straightened his body and took a deep breath. “James talked to me during lunch. He told me that what I did was not enough unless I finally say what my intention is.”
Maya’s brows furrowed but her heart started thumping fast. “Ha? Richard, sorry, pero hindi kita maintindihan.”
Richard’s smile got wider. “Maya, wala ka bang naramadaman nung .. nung nayakap kita kagabi sa pagtulog? Nung na-corner kita kaninang umaga saka nung may sinabi ako sa’yo?” He nervously asked. “Kasi ako, meron eh.”
Maya’s heart was on her throat. All the words she learned seemed to bid their farewell to her and her heart seems to keep beating faster and faster like her whole body were yearning for it. It got even more worse when she heard Richard’s next words.
“Maya, pwede ba kitang ligawan?”
A/N : Pansamantala po muna akong mangbibitin 🙂