Richard got home around eight in the evening. It turned out that finding the perfect ring for Maya took longer than he expected, even James got into a little bit of trouble in choosing one for Angela. Everything happened too fast. Richard just needs to go to Aero a day last week to get some of the files he left but ended up having a drink with him that night. Of course, Maya knew. He even called her since it’s already his protocol.
Richard was the first one who mentioned that he’s been thinking of buying a ring for Maya. He told his best friend that he already wants to settle down. James almost choked his beer when Richard said that. After coughing hardly, he exclaimed that it’s the exact thing he wants to do, with Angela of course. Without wasting another minute, James called this ring designer that he’s been talking to. He’s been talking to her for a few days since the lady was always busy. He just told her to call them anytime she’s free.
Drunk was beyond their condition. They just don’t want to delay everything anymore. The two men couldn’t feel any regrets and guilt that they are finally doing this. James called Richard up earlier when he was still checking their house. He said that they might just get their awaited appointment and Richard must be willing to jump out from any meetings he might have if he wants to finally do this. Richard was just beyond happy, enough for him to almost not let Maya go when she visited him in his new office.
During the meeting of the board of directors, Richard got a text message from James saying he has to go to the mall and meet him at Starbucks pronto. Ina and her assistant Patty are already on their way there and they must meet her right away. That explained why Richard almost sprinted out of the meeting room. He was planning to avoid Maya and just send her a text instead, but when she entered the room, he just wanted to disappear. He knew she would never buy his alibi and he just hoped that his father would cover up for him.
As Richard made his way out of the office, James called him. He was describing what Ina looked like. From the background, Richard could hear Angela’s voice. He knew that his friend was also busted. He silently said a prayer inside his head, wishing that the two important women in their lives wouldn’t get that suspicious about them.
He thought he was already out of the hook, but then Maya kept texting him about his whereabouts. And for the first time, he lied to her. Richard said that he was in Makati but the truth was he was just at a mall near Aero. Though there was a text that he can’t respond to. It was her last text. He realized that it was a hard question for him to just answer with a lie. Richard decided not to respond. He might as well just say that his battery drained. Everything was a white lie of course. He could feel the guild inside of him. It was the first time that he lied and even if it’s all for her still he couldn’t feel better.
And then James told him that he was texting with Angela, just like Richard, as their meeting went on. The only difference was James was saying the truth, while Richard was telling lies. James was also feeling uncomfortable because he has a gut feeling that Angela might already be tracking them down. His girlfriend is just always up for some adventure.
Richard was so anxious to go home. He’s been missing Maya though he knew she might be mad at him. When he turned the knob, he was welcomed by silence. He placed his bag and the bouquet of sunflowers on his home office and searched for the familiar face he wanted to see. Richard first went to the kitchen to get something to drink. When he opened the fridge, the same contents that he saw that morning were still the only things that were inside.
“I thought Maya did the grocery.” He murmured. After drinking, he went to his bedroom only to see the bed empty. His heart began to race. Maya was nowhere to be found considering his small unit. “Maya?” He called but there was no response. “Shit.”
Richard quickly reached for his phone but before he could even dial Maya’s number, his phone rang. It was James.
“Is Maya with you? Angela’s not answering her phone.” James’ worried voice said.
“Maya’s not with me. Heck, I don’t even know if she’s home.” Richard said as he paced from the rooms inside his condo. “Do you think they got out?”
“No. I called Angela’s home number. Their maid said she’s already home but she didn’t even greet them and just went to her room. Ang sabi pa niya, mukha raw naiyak si Angela.” James said.
Richard groaned. He should’ve known his lying would take its toll on him. He was about to sprint outside when he noticed that the door on Luke’s door is locked. He also noticed that its key was missing. He ran his hand on his hair and sighed. “God. Maya’s here James. She locked herself inside Luke’s room.” He sighed again as he sat on the couch.
“Damn. I think we’re screwed.” James said on the other line.
“C’mon now, James. You think they knew about the engagement rings? But how could they? Ni hindi nga tayo nagpadala ng catalogues ‘di ba? We told her to just put the designs in her iPad.” Richard asked. Rage was boiling inside of him.
“No, tingin ko hindi nila alam yung tungkol sa singsing.” James said. “Isipin mo. They should be ecstatic about it, hindi yung .. hindi yung ganitong nagkukulong sila sa kwarto. I think they misinterpret what they saw if they did saw us.”
Richard sighed. “I guess you’re right. Damn, masyado kasi tayong suspicious nung paalis eh. And I kept telling lies just to not get busted. Pwede bang ipa-rush yung singsing?”
“Hindi pwedeng ipa-rush ‘yon. The ring will lose its beauty! Come to think of it, maybe Angela overheard our conversation before I left. Yung pinapahanap ko na sa’yo si Ina? Baka naghinala na sya. Eh nagmamadali pa man din akong umalis non.” James said. “Lim, good luck sa pagsuyo mo dyan kay Maya.”
“You too, Ventura, kay Angela.” Richard said. “We have to try everything okay? There’s no turning back. May singsing na’t lahat. The only thing missing is their yeses.”
“Fingers’ crossed, my friend.” James said and disconnected the call. Richard tried to calm himself down. He doesn’t know if what James said was true but what he knows is that their relationship is now rocky at its current state. Who knows? Maybe his proposal would not even pull through. “No! I will not let that happen!” He muttered. He called Maya’s number, just to be sure, as he stood outside Luke’s door. Richard was hoping to hear her ringtone on the other side of the room, but Maya’s phone was turned off. He sighed in defeat and finally lied on his bed. He alarmed his phone to 3AM and before finally closing his eyes, he made a mental note that he really needs to be awake by that time.
Maya woke up with her eyes heavy. It was five in the morning as her clock said. She was not surprised when she saw 20 missed calls in her phone. Before sleeping, she set it up in blocking mode. She just wants to be alone. She thought she cried out all the pain that was inside but when she got up, all of the pain shot right back in her heart.
Lies. Betrayal. Pain.
After dressing up, she composed herself before getting out. It was still before six, and she knew Richard was still asleep by that time. She doesn’t need to prepare breakfast. That would just prolong her stay. Her plan is to get out of that room, head straight to the doors, hail a cab and wait for Vanguard to open. She can’t face him yet. Everything will be ruined although it’s already ruined. I’m ruined.
Maya almost fell back when she saw Richard standing in front of the door with the bouquet in his arms. He’s wearing a weak smile on his face and dark bags were also shown under his eyes. She knew he did not sleep well. Alam na siguro niya.
“Good morning, Maya.” Richard muttered. The two could sense tension between them. Definitely, something’s not right. “For you.” He said as he gave her the flowers.
Maya could feel her eyes welling up. “Excuse me, Richard, I have to go to work.” She answered without looking at his eyes.
Crap. ”What’s wrong, Maya? It’s still too early to go to work.” He asked.
Maya just shook her head. “I don’t want to talk about it. Masakit pa.” She muttered. Richard felt his heart sank. What James said was true. Without having much thought, he threw the bouquet on the floor and hugged Maya tightly. Maya, as what he expected, tried so hard to remove his arms but Richard was just too strong for her. In the end, her tears flowed on her face.
Richard, on the other hand, felt so much guilt inside of him. He knew that Maya’s tears were for him. There’s no doubt about it. “If you saw me and James yesterday, I swear, it’s not what you think it is. I promise, Maya, I promise.” He muttered.
“Paano pa ko maniniwala sa’yo kung lahat ng sinasabi mo sa’kin kahapon, lahat kasinungalingan?” Maya said in between sobs. “Alam mo tama si Angela eh. Honesty ang kailangan sa isang relasyon –“
“And so is forgiveness.” Richard butted in. He leaned back but still kept his arms tight around her. “I promise I can explain.”
“Sino yung kasama mo kahapon?” Maya asked. “A client.” Richard replied shortly. Maya remained silent, as if waiting for him to justify his answer but he doesn’t want to lie anymore. So he didn’t add anything to it.
“Bakit sinabi mong nasa Makati ka saka hindi mo kasama si James, eh kitang-kita naman namin na nasa Starbucks kayo kahapon ni James at may kasama pang dalawang babae?” Maya continued to ask. Richard swallowed a lump in his throat. He suddenly regret saying that he can explain everything because literally, he can’t. He can’t just tell another lie, let alone say that he’s going to propose. There’s really no way out. “The truth, Richard.” Maya added.
Richard breathed in deep. He hugged Maya again and kissed her head. “I can’t really tell you, Maya. I’m sorry, but I promise you, I will. I –“
“Kita mo na? May tinatago ka eh! Alam mo, kung makikipaghiwalay ka lang din, sabihin mo na! Hindi ‘yang unti-unti mo pa kong dudurugin! Akala ko ba mahal mo ko? –“
“I do love you!” Richard interrupted. “So much, Maya. But I just can’t tell you this. Please.”
“Bakit kasi! Anong nangyari sa trust? Pinagkakatiwalaan kita ng buo tapos ikaw ‘tong hindi makapagsalita. Eh paano ako maniniwala na hindi niyo babae ni James yung mga ‘yon kung hindi mo naman sinasabi yung dahilan kung bakit mo nagawang magsinungaling sa’kin?” Maya exclaimed. She was so furious, Richard could tell that. If only Maya knew what she’s getting mad at, I bet she’ll laugh at her own foolishness.
“I have complete trust in you! But .. but ..” Richard groaned. He have can’t just say nothing! Maya was slowly slipping from his hands. He wanted to keep holding on to her but he can’t find any way to do so. Then, an idea hit him on the face. “James is proposing. H-He’s proposing to Angela. The women you saw yesterday were ring designers.” Richard spitted out, making Maya’s mouth gaped.
Richard could see that her rage is slowly boiling down. “He’s getting an engagement ring for Angela. He asked me to go with him. James doesn’t want anyone to know because he’s keeping everything as a secret. He .. He –“
“Magpo-propose na siya kay Angela?” Maya whispered.
Richard gave a nod. “Yes. Kaya .. kaya hindi ko sinabi sa’yo kasi ayaw din niyang malaman mo. You and Angela seemed to build a bond and James was afraid na baka mabanggit mo bigla. You know, Freudian Slip?”
“Richard! Dapat sinabi mo!” Maya exclaimed as she wiped her tears. He lifted a hand to help her wipe them, while the other one remained on its place, afraid to let Maya go. And when Maya chuckled, it was like music to his ears. Richard sighed in relief. He can finally say that he’s now safe. “Hindi ko naman sasabihin kay Angela eh! I don’t want to ruin everything. Saka kung sinabi mo, edi sana hindi nako nag-iiyak kagabi.”
“Bakit ka ba umiyak?” Richard asked, a hint of smile splayed across his lips.
“Akala ko nambababae ka na eh!” Maya said.
Richard leaned in and kissed Maya’s head. “Sa ganda ng girlfriend ko, mambababae pa ko? Sinong niloko ko?” He teased. “I’m really sorry. I should’ve told you from the start. So, are we okay now?” He hopefully asked.
Maya nodded. “Okay na tayo.” She said.
Richard heaved a breath of relief and kissed her. God, he missed this woman. Good thing James was there and using him is not really a lie. He just chose to not tell her that he also got a ring for her. It would’ve been a riot. Richard hugged her tight. For a second, he thought Maya was slipping from his fingers, good thing he chose not to let her go that easily. He would never let go of his future wife that easy.
A/N: Ayos po ba? 😉