I thought being with Richard after the photo shoot will be awkward. At first, it was but after he offered the cake, I figured out that I should just forget everything that happened because he’s a really nice person. If I’d known that Emman’s cake has raisins, I would’ve refused to the exchange. I really hate those. I don’t even know why. Richard’s cake was mocha flavoured that reminded me of coffee. If a raisin is at the top of my most hated things to intake, coffee will be number one on my most favourite.
I could say that Richard is still hurting because of that altar tragedy. I don’t know how long it had been but the way he said that he doesn’t want to talk about it makes me feel sad. He must’ve gone through so much heartache and pain that no person should be allowed to feel.
I was a little bit surprised when we found Richard and James on my sister’s restaurant, especially that they are seated beside us. I was even surprised when Richard turned around. The angle where he was seated reminds me of someone. I only realized that it’s almost like the man in my dreams.
The first person I’ve told about it was Richard, just a few days ago. I can’t seem to trust anyone to tell about it, even Simon. Alright, let’s skip for a bit. Let’s talk about Simon, first. I’m officially mad at him. I’ve received no calls, no texts; no messages from him since he left the photo shoot, and it’s been two days! Oh, I did get one. He said that he’s in Cebu now, doing some news about something. He’s not like this! The Simon I know is not like this! Simon would always find the time to come over here even if his work doesn’t allow him to. But now, it looks like his work is now more important than me.
And now it’s a Sunday and I’m stuck in the middle of nowhere. I’m supposed to be in this photo shoot at the address Emman gave me. He can’t drive me since he’s spending time with his family and I just said that I’ll take a cab. Apparently, the driver dropped me at a wrong place and I don’t even know where I am. My Manila instinct hasn’t come back yet.
I looked at my wrist watch and saw that I’m running a bit late. I groaned. What a great day. I fished for my phone and saw that my client said a text saying that they really don’t mind waiting because their daughter is having fun playing at the park. I quickly went to my contacts and searched for Ruby’s number. She can give me a lift. I placed my phone on my ear and spoke once the she picked up.
“Uy, favour naman o, pwede ka ba ngayon? Naliligaw ata ako eh. Mali yung pinagbabaan sa’kin nung driver eh. Baka magalit na yung client natin kasi late ako.” I said without waiting for her to respond. I’m really worried about my client. I gave her the landmarks of where I am, hoping she could really find me. “Pasensya na Ruby ha, nagmamadali lang talaga kasi ako. Hintayin na lang kita dito kung pwede. Thank you! Bye!” I said and quickly put the phone down. I know that I should’ve waited for her to reply. I sighed again and sat on one of the huge tree pots.
After waiting for a good five minutes, a familiar grey BMW stopped in front of me. My brows furrowed as I looked at who’s inside of it. The engine died and a man got out from the car. It’s Richard. He’s wearing a white polo shirt and maong pants, very different from the all too formal Richard Lim I met a couple of days ago. He tried to give me a smile at his best and I managed to stifle my laughter. He’s really trying hard to put a smile on his face, I could say that. “Shall we go?” He said.
“Ha?” I only uttered. “Anong ginagawa mo dito?”
I saw him hesitate for a bit. “You .. you called me. Ang sabi mo puntahan kita dito.” He said.
“Ha? Hinde .. si Ruby ‘yung ..” I trailed off when I saw him bit his lower lip. I grabbed my phone again and looked at the call logs in my phone. My eyes widened when I saw that it was Richard whom I called and not Ruby. It was an accident since Richard’s name is just before Ruby’s. I can still remember that he was hesitant when he asked for my number when he dropped me off home. I didn’t think twice and immediately gave it to him. “Ay, naku, Richard, sorry! Si Ruby kasi ‘yung tatawgan ko. Naistorbo ba kita?”
“It’s okay. I’m not busy anyway. Before we argue, sumakay ka na so that we can go to the venue of your photo shoot.” Richard said as he opened the passenger’s door for me. I don’t have any other choice but to go inside since I’m already late. I couldn’t help but feel embarrassed of the whole situation. It was clearly a mistake yet he still came to fetch me.
“Richard, sorry talaga ha. Magkadikit kasi yung pangalan niyo ni Ruby dun sa phone ko. Ikaw pala yung natawagan ko.” I said as he drove off.
“I told you, its okay. Malapit lang naman ‘yung tinitirhan ko dito. Wala namang hassle.” He just said. I gave him the address of the place where I’ll do the photo shoot. “So, what happened to you?” He asked.
“Naka-schedule kasi kami ni Emman ngayon, eh si Emman, may lakad, edi nag-taxi na lang ako. Tapos si manong mali pa yung lugar na pinagbabaan ko. Nung nakababa na ko, wala na pala siya. Sayang ‘yung bayad ko eh.” I stated.
“He’s just after the money then. I strongly recommend that you buy a car. Kahit second hand lang.” He suggested.
I scrunched my nose. “Wag na. Dagdag lang ng gastos. Saka na.” I said. “May sasakyan naman si Kute kaso busy siya sa resto eh.” I said as my eyes lingered inside the car. It looks so familiar.
“Where’s Simon?” Richard asked and I gave him a sad smile.
His question stopped me from what I’m doing. “Pwede bang no comment muna?” I said making him smile a bit. “Ganito, if I tell you about Simon, would you share what happened to you and to her?” I asked and he heaved a breath. I know I shouldn’t pry but I think that he’s going to explode if he doesn’t talk about it.
“And here I thought I was the businessman.” He said making me smile. “I’ll think about it. Happy?” He asked and I just smiled at him. A few minutes after, we arrived at this play ground. A few children are playing on the park while the adults were watching with smiles on their faces. I approached Ms. Canicosa.
“Good morning po, Ma’am. Ako po si Maya Dela Rosa, from Limelight Photography po. Sorry po ulit.” I apologized and she just gave me a smile.
“Its okay, Maya. Please call me Gie. There’s my little girl over there, si Hanna. Siya yung kukuhanan mo ng picture for her 7th birthday. You see, single mom kasi ako and I want my daughter to have everything that I can give her.” She said. I saw Hanna as she played with the other kids. She has a huge smile on her face and I’m sure I will not have any trouble working with her.
Gie called her daughter and introduced her to me. She’s such a sweet kid. I grabbed the things I’ve brought in my bag and I was surprised to see a hand reaching for the materials too. When I looked up, Richard was looking back at me. “I thought you need help.” He said.
“Ah, hindi na Richard. Kaya ko na ‘to. Sobrang laki na nga ng utang ko sa’yo eh. I can manage.” I said and I almost dropped the tripod I was holding in my arms.
“Maya, it’s okay, really. You can thank me later. For the mean time, simulan mo na ‘yung shoot bago pa mainip ‘yung bata.” He said and left with a couple of stands for the lights. I smiled as I watched him set it up near the bridge of the park. He’s right. I can’t do this alone.
Richard is really a big help. After an hour, we’re close to wrapping things up. Hanna just needs a few more solo pictures with her pink princess costume. Richard is the reason why I saved more time. He’s been acting as my assistant for today. He’s been moving things and getting things from my bag with just a word from me. I really am in huge debt. I owe him.
“Maya, here, I bought a little snack for you and for him. Take a break muna.” Gie said as she handed me a paper bag.
“Thank you.” I said. “Richard, snacks muna oh.” I called him.
He nodded at me. “I’ll just get the other reflector from your bag.” He said.
I joined Gie on the bench she was sitting on as I watched Richard move. “Gaano na kayo katagal ni Richard?” She asked.
“Po?” I confusedly asked.
“He’s your boyfriend right?” She asked again and my eyes grew wider. “Ay, hindi ba? I’m so sorry! It’s just that, the way you two look at each other, parang may malalim kasing meaning.” She said.
I gave her a smile. “He’s a friend. Saka may boyfriend po ako.”
Gie nodded. “Eh bakit si Richard ang nandito? Don’t tell me that he works for you because he is clearly lost in the things you’re asking him to do. Hindi niya nga alam kung paano gumagana yung lights mo eh.”
I chuckled but I frowned when I remembered her question. She’s right. Simon should be here if he really cares for me. I was brought back from my reverie when Richard sat beside me and opened the paper bag I placed on my side. He reached for the bottle of water, opened it and gave it to me and did the same to his. I saw Gie smile at us before she left the two of us. I looked back at Richard and saw that he already removed the paper of the burger and gave it to me. He did the same to his and started eating.
“Nakakapagod pala ‘tong trabaho mo.” He said as he munched down his burger. “I thought you were going to scold me earlier nung hindi ko ma-gets yung sinasabi mo.”
“Ano ka ba, bakit naman kita sisigawan? Ikaw na nga ‘tong ang laki ng tulong sa’kin eh.” I said as I started eating too “Pero Richard, seriously, you don’t have to do this. Pwede mo na nga akong iwan eh.”
“Ngayon pa kita iiwanan kung kailan patapos na?” He said. “Besides, this is like an ice breaker to me. Ngayon lang ako nakaranas magtrabaho para sa isang shoot.”
“Pero thank you talaga. Sobrang laking tulong mo Richard.” I said.
“You’re welcome. I’m just here if you need me.” He said. “You know, muntikan na kitang hindi sunduin. You were speaking so fast that I couldn’t say that you’re calling me and not Ruby. Pero iniisip ko, kung hindi kita sisiputin, magagalit naman yung client mo. I’ll be the one to blame.”
“Nakakahiya talaga! Isipin mo, isang CEO, kinaon ako dahil namali ako ng tawag, inuutus-utusan ko kanina tapos eto, ngayon, kumakain ng burger sa park! Richard, hindi na tama ‘tong pinapagawa ko sa’yo!” I exclaimed.
I saw him grin. A lopsided one, that made my heart stop. “Even if I’m a CEO now, it doesn’t mean that I need to stop doing simple things like this. Hindi ko naman dapat igive-up yung lifestyle ko and force myself to a lifestyle I do not like. My position just changed, that’s it.” He said and looked straight into my eyes. “I’m still me, Maya.”
My heart pounded. Why do I always have this feeling inside of me when I’m with him? Why is everything so right? Why am I so comfortable with him? That everything seems to scream home and everything is familiar and I’m just too confused to give a thought about it? He gave me that smile again and my breath hitched. He reached for a tissue paper and wiped something beside my lips.
“You have .. uhm.” He muttered. I can see his eyes drifting on my lips. I felt his thumb linger on my lower lip before he removed them. Suddenly, I’m yearning for his touch.
“Richard, why are you doing this?”I muttered.
“The photo shoot?” He asked back but I couldn’t answer. He looked at me and shrugged. “I guess I just want you to know that I’m here.” He said and looked back at me in the eyes like he wants to tell something deep to my soul. “I’m still here.”
Why is he being like this? I felt my heart flutter. It can’t be. Why am I feeling this way to someone whom I just met a few days ago? When I’m with him, I feel like I’m making a lot of mistakes. But those mistakes are not that you-will-regret-it type but those mistakes that are worth doing. I feel like I’m betraying Simon but .. my heart says that it doesn’t care.
“May I ask you a question?” Richard asked and I just nodded. “A couple of days ago, you said that you’ve been dreaming about this man. Well, what if, one day, he goes in front of you out of the blue and introduced himself, say that he’s in love with you and you knew right there and then that he is that man. What would you do?” He asked and paused, holding my gaze. “Would you turn him down because of different reasons? Or would you take the risk of saying I love you back because for once in your life, you want to be happy, just like in your dreams?” He asked and I swear I could see longing in his eyes.
I weighted his options. I told Richard that I’m really waiting for him and I do believe that he is true. The problem is I can’t figure out what he looks like. Would my heart recognize him even if I don’t know his name or what he looks like? Before I could even answer, Gie came in front of us and spoke.
“Maya,I was wondering if you guys could continue the shoot? Nagyayaya na kasing umuwi si Hanna. I think she’s tired.” She said.
I gave her a polite smile but I couldn’t utter a word. My mind is still occupied with thoughts. “We’ll continue in a bit.” I heard Richard’s voice say. Gie smiled at him back and left us.
“Let’s go?” Richard asked and when I gave him a nod, he stood up to check the set we prepared earlier.
What would I do?
Would I run away?
Or would I run away with him?
A/N : Tadaaaan. Day off po eh. Bukas, busy po ulit. Kung kayo po ang nasa posisyon ni Maya, what would you do?