“Maya, what are you talking about?” Richard asked though he clearly understands what Maya meant. His temper cooled off and was replaced by sudden nervousness. His stiff shoulders slumped down, his face showed fear.
“Kapag hindi mo kinausap ‘yung Papa mo, aalis na ko dito.” Maya said her bluff. “Tatapusin natin kung ano mang meron tayo.” She could feel her heart pounding. She was praying inside that Richard would just agree with her. It was never in her list to break up with Richard. She doesn’t even want to leave his side, especially through times like this. But Maya knew that the only way to make Richard better is for him to talk to his father.
Richard ran a hand through his hair. “Is this what you want?” He asked his voice breaking. “Do you really want to leave?”
Maya shook her head frantically. “Hindi. Ayoko nito. Pero Richard, kailangan mong makausap yung Papa mo.” She said. Maya went in front of Richard and cupped his face. Richard leaned on it and looked at her with his worried eyes. “Pumunta ka mamaya. Wala namang masama eh. Mag-uusap lang kayo.”
“Don’t you get it, Maya? I don’t want to talk to him. Every time I see him, all I could remember was what he said to me when my mom died.” He said. “I can’t. I’m sorry. I just can’t.” He said, almost a whisper.
Maya could see how pained Richard was. She couldn’t really see the furious Richard and all she could see was the scared one. She moved closer and just hugged him. Richard hugged back. “Mas makakabuti kung kakausapin mo siya, Richard. Kung kailangan mo ng kasama, sasama ako.”
“Why are you doing this, Maya?” He asked.
“Gusto kong bumuti ka na.” She said as he looked at him. “Alam kong sasabihin mong okay ka lang pero alam ko at alam mo na hindi totoo ‘yon. I want to see you smiling without holding anything back. I want you to live without that hatred inside your heart. “
“But I got you, wala na kong gusto pa.” He replied and kissed Maya’s head. “I’m already contented with my life. I’m already contented with it even if he’s not in the picture. All I care about is you.”
“Aww.” Maya said, unable to suppress her feelings. “Alam mo bang nagiging sweet ka ng sobra kapag gusto mong lumusot?”
Richard groaned. “Maya, hindi ako nalusot. I’m serious. I don’t want to talk to him and I don’t want you to go. Hindi ba pwedeng gano’n na lang?”
Maya gave him a small smile as she shook her head. “Hindi eh. You need to choose. It’s either you’ll lose the chance to talk to your father and I will be gone from your life or you’ll have both.” She said and hugged Richard tight. “I don’t want to lose you, Richard, but if you make the wrong decision, you’ll have none.”
Richard heaved a deep breath. He knew Maya was just blackmailing him but he couldn’t say no to her. He’s worried that if he did say no and Maya leaves, she will have no place to go to, and her amnesia just makes her vulnerable to danger. Richard just can’t afford to lose her but the thought of talking to his father just makes him sick.
“You’ll be there the whole time I talk to him?” Richard whispered in her ear. Maya leaned back to look at his face. “Oo. Sasama ako. Payag ka na?”
Richard sighed. “Yes. But I’m doing this for you and not for him. No arguments.”
A smile quickly spread on Maya’s face and leaned in to give Richard a kiss on his cheek. “Okay. Thank you for this Richard. I know it’s hard on your part but it’s a huge step in forgiving him.” She said and pulled Richard to sit so that he could eat.
“I agreed on meeting up with him, and not in forgiving him. Those are two very different things. Believe me, Maya, wala sa plano ko ‘yan.” He coldly said and started to eat.
Maya hide a frown. If Richard is not open to the idea of forgiving his father, she knew that he would never even think about it and he would completely forget about it. She sighed. For now she just needs to make this work. She doesn’t need to rush after all. Making Richard go is already a start. She just needs to make Richard see that he doesn’t have to end all sentences with a period. Sometimes, a comma is need, just like in their case.
As the day slowly end, Richard got more and more anxious on what will be happening. After avoiding his father for ten years, here he is, waiting for a certain time when he’ll be meeting him. He doesn’t know what he’s going to do of their eyes met; he doesn’t even know what to say to him. Luke would usually tell him how their father is but Richard would just pretend that he’s listening. Right when his father said those words about his mother, Richard considered himself as an orphan, burying his memories of his father along the death of his mother.
It was six in the evening when he decided to get out of his home office. Richard was about to proceed to his room when he saw Maya standing just outside the comfort room and looking at herself through the mirror. Unlike Richard, Maya was all set. Richard felt like Maya was the one who’s looking forward to the meet up with his father.
He went near her and hugged her from behind. “You look beautiful.” He whispered and kissed her head. Maya immediately smiled and leaned back on his chest. “Magbihis ka na. Baka ma-late tayo.” She said.
Richard sighed. “Pwede bang dito na lang ako? Ikaw na lang yung pumunta. Just tell him I’m sick or something.” He said.
Maya narrowed her eyes at him. “Gusto mong pag umalis ako, hindi na ko babalik?” She sarcastically said.
“Sabi ko nga, sasama na ko.” He said, making Maya laugh. He tightened his hold of her. “If there’s only one thing that’s right about tonight, it’ll be you. I love you, Maya.” He said.
“I love you, too.” She replied. “Sige na, magbihis ka na. Lakad na.”
Maya could feel that Richard was so tensed as he parked his car. His face remained stern and his hands were clenched into fists. He was completely silent the whole ride even if Maya tried to open up any topic. Still being the gentleman that he is, Richard opened up Maya’s door and put his hand on the small of her back as they went inside the restaurant.
As soon as they entered, Maya kept turning her face to look for an old man, probably who looks just like Richard, but older. Before she could figure out where his father is, Richard ushered her to a direction and stopped at a table at the far end of the restaurant.
An old man, probably past his sixties, stood up when he saw them coming. Despite of the white hair, Maya could easily tell that it is Richard’s father. His eyes looks just like Richard, they are chinky and cold, like he’s also suffered from pain and agony through the years. Maya felt Richard’s hand on her back curl. When she looked at him, she saw that his jaw is clenched. No one dared to talk. The father and son just stared at each other, like sizing each one up.
“Ah, good evening po.” Maya dared to speak, her voice quite shaking. The old Lim shifted his gaze at her and gave her a small smile. “Good evening too, hija.” He replied. Somehow, Maya was relieved to see the smile that he gave so she returned one. She was about to say something when Richard spoke.
“This is Maya. She’s the one whom you spoke to when you called.” Richard said in a cold tone. “Maya, he’s my father, Roberto Lim.”
“Well, hello then, Maya. It’s actually the first time that I’m meeting one of Richard’s women.” Roberto said. Maya saw Richard glared at his father. “She’s not one of my women. Maya’s my girlfriend and I expect you to respect her the way she respects you.”
Roberto’s eyes widened after witnessing how his son flinched at him. He chuckled and shook his head. “Please, take your seats.” He said.
Richard assisted Maya first before he sat on his own chair. This didn’t escape from Roberto’s eyes. He smiled at them but Richard bets that it wasn’t because he was happy about them.
“So, Maya told me you have a business proposal.” Richard started. “Let’s see it.”
Roberto sighed. “After being away for so long, you want to get down to business immediately? Don’t you think we have some catching up to do?”
“As far as I know, you wanted to meet me because of your project. I believe you told Maya that. The whole father-son talk is nowhere to be found. Para saan pa?” Richard replied.
Maya felt like she was trapped between two large boulders that kept tackling one another. She was caught in surprise by the way Richard talks to his father. She knew that it was really rude but knowing how he suffered makes every piece of the puzzle fit though Maya couldn’t help but feel sorry for Roberto. If he really wants to apologize to his son, he has to do something better, something that is really sincere.
“Richard, tama yung papa mo. Ang tagal niyong hindi nagkita, bakit hindi muna kayo magkammustahan?” Maya asked, but only got a glare from Richard as his answer.
“It’ll be more convenient if we proceed to business right away. I don’t want to keep you for too long. I know that you’re busy. Ah, too busy right? You didn’t even have time for us back then. Do you still remember that?” Richard asked with smirk on his face.
Roberto shifted uncomfortably in his seat. Richard knew he hit a nerve but he doesn’t care. He actually felt good about it. He’s wanted to do that for so long and just seeing that arrogant smile on his father’s face disappear made him feel like he’s on top of everything.
“Right, right.” Roberto muttered. “I guess you never did forget about that part, huh?”
“Of course. But I don’t want to discuss the million reasons why. As I’ve said, business is more important to you so I’m simply helping you.” Richard coldly replied.
Roberto nodded and placed a piece of paper on the table with a drawing of a house. Maya was surprised by how his and Richard’s sketches look alike. The sketch was a two-story house with glass as its walls. A part of the interior of the house can be seen because of it, particularly the stairs that leads to the second floor. The house was really beautiful, and Maya was so amazed by it. But when she looked at Richard, she saw that his anger that he has earlier was now replaced by a pained one.
“Do you still remember this house?” Roberto asked. “It’s the house where you grew up. I kept it even if you moved out and Luke and I found a new home near my firm.”
Richard’s jaw clenched. His anger was now back. “Why? Are you finally going to sell it that’s why you wanted to renovate?”
Roberto shook his head. “I want to renovate it because I don’t want it to grow old. Our memories are still inside there and I don’t want to throw it away.”
“What memories? The one where you’re always home late and would rather spend your day inside your office instead of spending time with your son? Is that the memory that you don’t want to throw away?” Richard snapped. Maya put her hand on Richard’s hand, wanting to calm him down.
“It’s not that, Ricky –“
“Don’t you ever call me that. The only person who has the right to call me that was my mother.” Richard exclaimed. “Go on then. What’s the real reason why you still have that house and now you want to renovate it?”
Roberto sighed and for the first time, looked at his son with so much pain. “Before Esmeralda died .. she .. she made me promise one thing. She asked me to renovate the house with you, when you finally became an architect.” He said.
“And you’re telling me this now?” Richard said and then he mocked a laugh. “And you expect me to believe this shit knowing that you told me that my mom’s already dead to you? You’re really unbelievable, you know that?”
“Richard, please do this. Do it for Esmeralda.” Roberto said.
“Don’t you use her name for your fame! Kahit pala wala na siya, ginagamit mo pa rin siya. You know what I think you’re doing? I believe that you just want me to collaborate so people could say that you’re doing some work with your son. It’s a perfect plan! You’ll get the publicity you always have. More work, more money. I hate to break it to you but my answer is no.” Richard exclaimed and stood up. “Maya, let’s go.”
Maya slowly stood up. Before turning to leave, she took a final glance at Roberto. Gone was the cocky smile on his face and his face fell, like he was slapped with the reality of his relationship with his son. Maya’s heart went out for the old man. She felt like Richard’s words were just too much for him to take, especially now that he’s old. Maya felt the urge to hug Richard’s father and tell him what Richard went through but when she felt a hand on her arm, pulling her away, she was left with no choice but to stay mum.
A/N : Mawawala po muna ako pansamantala. Babalik po ako next week. Papalipasin ko lang po ang finals.