Maya’s ears were ringing. All she could ever hear was the loud thumping of her own heart. Richard just asked her the most awaited question she was waiting for and she can’t seem to have the voice to answer him. She wanted to say yes so bad but sudden thoughts held her back. She thought answering his question would be easy, but it was far more complicated than that.
Richard felt like he’s going to die as he waits for Maya’s answer. There are only few situations that make him feel like this. He felt like he’s been waiting for hours but it’s been just a couple of seconds now since he dropped the question. He’s starting to get worried if he picked the right moment and the right situation for it, but he felt even more worried when reality hit him. What would they be like if Maya said no? Could they get rid of the awkwardness between them or would they forever feel that gap?
Oh, I still have my final alas.
“Maya?” Richard called. Maya just remained at her state, with her mouth gaped at him. “Can I court you?” He asked again.
Maya swallowed a lump in her throat. “R-Richard, ano eh, kumplikado kasi yung sitwasyon.”
“I know, I know.” Richard said. “But I’ll make it work. We’ll make it work, Maya. I’ll do anything. I just want to make this work with you, and hopefully, I’ll get my yes in time.” He hopefully said.
“Hindi ‘yon.” Maya replied.
Richard shifted in his sit. He will not let this argument pass by without winning. If he needs to convince her even if he will find his courtship hard, then be it. “What is it? What’s bothering you?”
“Grateful ka lang sa’kin kasi nasabihan mo ko ng problema mo.” Maya said. It was one of the things that bothered her. It wasn’t what bothered her the most but she just want to hear what Richard has to say to this.
“Yes, I’m grateful –“
“See? Hindi mo naman kailangan manligaw dahil dun.” Maya interrupted pointing a finger to make her point. Richard chuckled and reached for her hand. He smiled as he entwined his hand with hers and then he scooted closer to her. He lifted his head and looked at Maya who’s also looking at their entwined hands.
“See that?” Richard asked, pertaining to their clasped hands. Maya lifted her head and nodded slightly. “That’s enough to make my heart beat fast.” He said. “Your voice is enough to calm me down, and your smile is enough to make my day.” He said, looking straight into her eyes. “If I’m just grateful, I wouldn’t notice how I react to those things that you do. And believe me, Maya. I’m more than grateful to have you here.”
Maya went completely red. Richard really managed to defend his self well. But still she tried to yank her hand away from his but Richard held it tightly. “Is there anything that still bothers you?”
Maya groaned. “Richard naman eh. Pinapahirapan mo lang lalo ako.” She said. “Ano nga kasi? Just spit it out, it will be over before you know it.” Richard encouraged her.
“May amnesia ako ‘di ba? Paano na lang kapag bumalik yung alaala ko tapos may .. may boyfriend pala ako, o kaya may fiancé ako, or worst case, may asawa na ko. Masasaktan ka lang, masasaktan lang tayo. Kaya habang maaga pa, wag na.” She said, every word breaking her own heart.
Richard fell silent then he pulled her hand and held it with both of his. “We’ll see. Close your eyes.” He said and kissed her hand. Maya was confused but she still did it. “If you really have feelings for another man, then try to feel it inside of your heart. Kung meron, you’ll feel different about this, like you’re betraying someone or you’re feeling worried. And if not, you’ll have a different feeling.” He said.
Maya did what Richard said. She searched every space inside of heart, looking for something or probably someone that would divert her feelings for Richard.
“The mind forgets, but the heart remembers.” Richard said. He held Maya’s hand like it was his link to his life. He’s afraid that if Maya opens her eyes, she’ll turn him down. He’s hoping that Maya would have no one, no reason to say no because he wants to be that someone who will always be there for her.
Maya continued her search. With every part, she waits for someone to pop out or make her feelings guilty. But there’s only one name that her heart screams – it’s Richard. With every corner, it’s his face she would see, it’s his name that would pop out.
She opened her eyes and Richard’s eyes were the first thing that she saw. She could see that his eyes were scared, and that he’s nervous. Maya just smiled at him and pulled her hand away from his. Richard held it tighter but she insisted. In the end, Richard just let go of it and sighed. He felt defeated. Richard was about to stand up from the couch when Maya cupped his face.
“May .. may lalaki akong nakita.” She said and saw how Richard’s face fell. “It’s okay, you don’t need to explain.” He said.
“Maputi siya, matangkad, makisig,” Maya continued, teasing Richard. “Do you really have to tell me that?” Richard irritatingly asked, making Maya laugh. “Tapos sobrang gwapo, tapos singkit siya –“
“Look, if you’re just going to brag me what your husband looks like then just quit it.” He snapped. He put his hands on Maya to pull it away but Maya didn’t budge. “Tapos alam mo kung anong pangalan niya?” She asked.
Richard groaned. “Maya! I don’t want to hear it!”
Maya laughed out loud. Richard was really pissed. The familiar lines on his head as his brows furrowed. “Richard yung pangalan niya.” She said then bit her lip as she watched Richard’s reaction. He successfully removed his head from Maya’s hold and turned his back to her. “Great, we even have the same name.” He muttered.
Maya giggled and reached for his hand. Richard pulled but Maya didn’t let go of it. “Richard. Alam mo full name niya?” She asked.
“Just stop, Maya. You’re just hurting me more.” He said. Maya bit her lip to prevent the spreading smile on her face. Richard’s voice sounds really hurt and she knew it was completely her fault.
“Richard Lim. Richard Lim yung full name niya.” She said. She bent her head a bit to look at sneak a glance at what Richard’s reaction would be. “Richard?”
He was astonished. He couldn’t believe his ears. It’s him? Maya was just playing him. He slowly turned around and saw Maya smiling at him. “Richard Lim?” He asked as he narrowed his eyes at her. “After being honest with you, pinaglaruan mo lang ako?” He played along.
“O? Bat ka galit? Dapat nga matuwa ka pa kasi ikaw pala ‘yon.” Maya defended, her own smile fading away when she saw that Richard was mad at her. She felt heart thump thinking Richard he might take back his words earlier.
Richard rolled his eyes. Two can play this game, after all. “So basically what you’re saying is, payag ka nang ligawan kita?”
“H-Ha? W-Wala akong sinasabi.” Maya said but it was the actually the opposite that she wanted to say.
“Tapos lolokohin mo pa ko?” He replied, still keeping his serious look. He could see how Maya’s face fell. He doesn’t really want to make her feel bad so he spoke again. “Are you sure?” He asked and when Maya confusedly stared at him, he asked her again. “That it’s me. Are you sure that it’s me?”
Maya stared at him before she shyly nodded. “Oo. Ikaw.” She muttered. And that’s when Richard finally smiled. “Really?”
“Oo nga.” Maya replied. “Pero, wala na, useless na. Inaaway mo ko eh. Hindi nalang ako magpapaligaw.” She said. Richard’s mouth gaped. The woman is smart. But even if she said that, Richard could see that Maya didn’t mean it. So it’s time to use his trick.
“I’ll still court you at hindi ka pwedeng tumanggi.” He said.
“At bakit? Mr. Lim, pwede akong tumanggi. Freedom ko ‘yon kaya –“
“Not unless you broke one agreement.” Richard interrupted, his smile turned wider. “Anong ..” Maya trailed off, remembering something she said earlier.
“You said the‘s’ word, remember? You said it when you told me that you couldn’t understand what I’m saying and that counts because you didn’t consult me about it.” He proudly said. Maya’s mouth gaped. She completely forgot that she said that. It wasn’t intentional; it’s more like a reflex to her. If she knew Richard noticed that, she would’ve just said yes instead of going through an argument that she can’t win in the first place.
“So, I guess I should start then.” Richard declared and stood up from the couch. He left Maya for a bit and when he emerged from his room, he’s carrying a bouquet of sunflowers on his hands. He gave it to Maya when he sat on the couch again. “For you.” He said.
Maya accepted them with a wide smile on her lips. “Galing kay Luke?” She teased.
“No, silly. Well, inutusan ko si Luke na dalhin sa kwarto ko pero ako yung nagpadeliever.” He said and reached for their desert plates and gave one to Maya.
“Kasabwat mo talaga si Luke?” She amusedly asked. “Ahh, kaya pala tinapik ka pa niya sa balikat kanina bago siya umalis.”
Richard chuckled. “Napansin mo pala talaga ‘yon. Luke just helped me. Hindi madaling i-bribe ang batang katulad niya, extra allowance will do.” He said as he took a bite of the cake.
“Ang daya mo! Bribery tapos sa sarili mo pang kapatid! Grabe. You’re really a good model to him, you know that?” She sarcastically said and then laughed. “Ang bipolar natin ano? Kanina lang nag-aaway tayo tapos ngayon, nagtatawanan na ulit.”
“Well, it’s your fault.” Richard proudly said.
“Nagpapakipot ka pa kasi kanina. If I know, matagal mo na kong crush.” He said and Maya choked on the food she’s eating. Richard rushed to get up and came back with a glass of water for Maya. “Dahan-dahan kasi sa pagkain.” He said.
“Ikaw kasi eh.” Maya muttered. “Kailan mo nalamang crush kita?” She asked. Richard just stared at her, dumbfounded. “Uh, that’s actually a joke, Maya.”
Maya’s eyes widened. She just realized that she admitted that she has a crush on him. Richard just laughed at her as he watched her panic. “Hindi na pala ako mahihirapan sa panliligaw ko. Gusto mo pala ako eh.” He teased.
“Ay nako, hinde ano, joke lang din yun.” She tried to defend as Richard kept on shaking his head. “I doubt it. Just admit it, Maya. Crush mo ako.”
Maya squealed. She was not expecting this unexpected turn of events. “Okay okay. Crush kita. Ayan, masaya ka na?”
Richard nodded. “So, you already like me, and I already like you. Tayo na?”
Maya laughed. “Mr. Lim, you’re so full of yourself. And my answer is no. Manliligaw ka pa di ba?”
Richard nodded again. “Yep. And I intend to sweep you off your feet.”
Richard and Maya spent the rest of the night talking to each other. They teased each other about everything and when Maya asked Richard about his family, Richard would try to answer it but Maya would just stop him. She could see how hard it is for him to talk. Coffees came after their champagne. They spent their first date by just getting to know each other.
In the middle of their talk, Maya stood up and got her camera from her bag. She took a quick photo of their dinner and when the photo came out; she wrote the words ‘First Date’ under it. They both stared at it.
“May remembrance na ko.” Maya said.
“How about me?” Richard asked, his lips pouting. Maya answered with a shrug. “Ewan ko, maghanap ka ng sa’yo.” She said.
Richard tried to reach for the photo on Maya’s hand. “Give me that.” He said as he continued to reach for it but Maya yanked it away. “No! Akin ‘to!” She exclaimed.
Maya stood up and ran as she laughs. Richard ran after her, determined to get that piece of photo from her. When they got to the kitchen, Maya was on one side of the kitchen island while Richard was on the other side. They kept circling until Maya tricked Richard and started running again to the living room. When she got there, she turned around and saw Richard nowhere. Her excitement bubbled off when she couldn’t see Richard. She thought that he already left. She was going to clean up their mess when two arms flew to her waist and started tickling her.
“Got you!” Richard exclaimed as he kept on tickling Maya’s sides. Maya was laughing so hard but she still managed to put the photo away from Richard’s reach. When she opened her eyes, she saw Richard laughing with her. She pulled away from him and reached for her camera. She turned it the other way around and pointed the lens at them.
“Smile!” She said and then she pushed the button. She felt Richard behind him as she waited for the photo to come out. Maya smiled when she got the first look of the photo. Her gaze shifted to Richard immediately. He was smiling, from ear-to-ear and so was she.
“I thought you don’t take photos of people?” Richard asked as he catches his breath.
Maya turned around and nodded at him. “It’s a first.” She said. She turned the picture to show it to him. “Kita mo yung ngiti mo? That’s the reason why I took the photo. Yung ngiti mo, totoo, hindi peke.” She said.
Richard looked at the picture. Maya was right, he was smiling. It’s been a while since he smiled like that. In the photo, he has no worries, no problems, he’s just happy. He took the photo from her hand and Maya let go of it. She wants Richard to keep it. “It’s because of you.” Richard muttered.
And just like that, they were drifted back to that moment when Richard helped her with burning pancake. They were standing close to each other, with their faces almost touching, and both of their hearts thumping loud. When Richard shifted his gaze at her lips, Maya knew what’s going to happen next.
The unexpected cranking of the front door made them jolt. They both turned their heads to look at why they were interrupted and saw Luke enter. He looked at them with both of his brows raised up.
“It’s past nine, Kuya.” Luke said. “I thought you were done.” Richard and Maya moved away from each other, embarrassed at how Luke caught them. Luke gave a soft laugh and walked pass them. “You can continue it inside your room, Kuya. I’m going to bed.” He said.
Richard looked at Maya and saw how embarrassed she is too with her cheeks red. “I .. I think we should start cleaning up.” He said.
Maya just nodded and started picking up the plates. “Richard, you can keep the photo.” She said.
Richard nodded at her. “Thank you.” He said and joined her in cleaning up. It’s been a perfect night for both of them. It had its moments but it ended where he wanted it to be.
A/N : Pasensya na po sa naghihintay kagabi, hindi ko po siya matapos eh. Happy reading and good morning po! I’ll be back Friday evening/Saturday morning. Mag-aaral po muna ako haha.