“Richard! Have you seen the newspaper yesterday?” James exclaimed as he opened the door of my office. I didn’t bother to look up from my draft table. Since I’ve officially handled Vanguard, he’s been visiting me too often. I know that he has a lot of work but I guess he misses talking to his friend since I left. It didn’t really bother me as long as we can do our work in time, it’s all good.
“No. I haven’t bought the newspaper. I was busy.” I replied as I continued my work. Yep. I was busy yesterday with Maya. I could still feel her presence beside me. Yesterday was a good day.
“I should’ve known. Lucky for you, Angela bought two.” He said and placed the newspaper on my table. “Look! You’re on the business page!” He exclaimed and I lifted my head to look at the paper and read the headline.
A New Leaf: Lim Visionary Vanguard’s Newest CEO
“It’s not precisely news, more of a news-feature.” James informed me. “They even mentioned that you’re one of the eligible bachelors here in Manila.”
“Psh, please.” I said as I rolled my eyes. “They can describe me all they want but we both know I’m not eligible.” I added. James opened his mouth to say something but I cut him off. “I’m broken. I’m lost. I live in a condo unit that even though I already have a house, I refuse to move in.” James sighed and took a sit in front of my desk. “Don’t you have work to do?” I asked.
“Honestly? I have a lot.” He replied. “I just went her to say thank you.”
“For what?” I replied.
James grabbed the paper and scanned the article. Then he placed the paper again on my table and pointed at a part. “See that? You mentioned us in your interview. Nung pumasok ako kanina, marami na agad client, kahit siguro dito sa Vanguard.”
I nodded. “That’s why we’re both busy. I still have a ton of plans to start. I’m betting you have the same thing to do too.”
“Yep. I really just went here to say thanks. Where were you yesterday anyway? Nakailang tawag ako sa’yo kahapon, hindi ka man lang sumasagot.” James said.
A grin flew to my face. “Ah, I was with Maya. I helped her with her photo shoot.” I casually said as I lifted my pencil to start my work again but James grabbed my arm.
“You did not.” He said with a smile on his face.
I chuckled. “Oh yes I did.” I replied that made James laugh, then he gave me a meaningful smile. “We just talked! Nothing really happened.”
“Like I’m going to believe that crap, Lim.” He said. “So, what happened? And how on Earth did you end up with her? Sunday kahapon ah. Unless you asked her out.”
“No, it’s not that. Actually, you would not really believe what happened. Namali siya ng tawag and she called me instead and asked for a lift. Since hindi ko naman talaga siya matitiis, sinundo ko siya. And that was it. She’s on her way to a photo shoot and I helped her. I spent the day with her and that’s it.” I narrated.
James gave me a smile. “I’m betting you’re on your way now bro. This is huge. The universe is practically yelling that you two are meant for each other. And I do believe. Maya has this huge effect on you. Tignan mo, you’re smiling again, very very different from the sober version of you.”
I sighed. “It’s still a long way, bro. May Simon pa siya.”
“So what? Go sweep her off her feet like you used to! Eh ano kung nandyan si Simon? You still own her heart and she owns yours but she’s too busy owning a heart she can’t carry because the space is already yours.” James said and I knew right away that he’s right. But still, I refuse to do it. Yes, I’m aching. Yes, I still love her but I have to respect her life now. She might’ve given me her life before but it’s different now. She has her own life and I don’t have any right to meddle with her choices. If she chose Simon, it’s fine. I’m just a part of the past struggling to crawl in her future.
Liza entered my office after knocking. “Sir, yung phone niyo po naiwan niyo dun sa meeting room.” She said and handed me my phone and thanked her. “May tumatawag po sa inyo Sir. Kanina pa po nagri-ring eh.” She said then she left.
I unlocked my phone and sure enough, there are five missed calls. One from James, one from Luke, one from Papa and two from Maya. Wait. From Maya? Why would she call me? Without having any doubts, I dialled her number but she didn’t answer. Once, twice, thrice. I sent her a text but she still didn’t reply. James was curiously watching me. “What’s up?” He asked.
“Maya called me but when I called her, she’s not answering.” I said. Then I stood up and went out of my office. I heard James’ following me behind. “Liza. Cancel my remaining meetings today. I need to go somewhere.” I said.
“Richard! Where are you going?” James yelled behind me.
“I have to go James. Something’s not right.” I said and rode the lift.
It might be the foolish thing to do. To run after a woman that ran away from you. It feels like I’m chasing her endlessly. Through that chase, there were times that my feet gave up and I just have to pause for a while. But I never stopped hoping. I was hoping that time will come when her feet will give up too and that I will do everything to catch her during that time.
I can feel that it’s already the time.
I rushed to my car but stopped when I realized I don’t know where she might be right now. There’s only three places that I know where she can be: Pocholo’s, Limelight or their house. I groaned and turned the key of my car.
I do hope she’s at home.
As I was driving, I was calling her phone but the operator kept receiving it. It’s either her phone’s dead or she turned it off purposely. I know that I should not jump to conclusions that easy but what if she got hurt? What if she needs help and there’s no one answering her calls? Why am I even worried like this?
I’m still in love with her.
When I reached her house, there’s a Pajero parked on the garage. I think it belongs to Kute. I nervously got out of my car. Now what? Should I just push the doorbell and just ask if she’s inside? What if she asked why I am here? What would I –
Screw those ‘what ifs’. I’m already here.
I lifted my hand to push the button but then I brought it back before I could even push it. Then I lifted it again but withdrew almost immediately. I heaved a deep breath and finally pushed the button. I glanced at my wrist watch and saw that it’s just a little after two. I wonder if she’s home.
The sound of the door opening made me lift my head up. Maya’s sister emerged outside with her brows furrowed. Crap. Is this a wrong time?
“Sino ‘yan?” She asked though her tone is quite rising up.
“Uhm, it’s .. Richard. Richard Lim.” I answered. My hands are inside my pockets gripping the cloth inside to release my nervousness.
“O, napadayo ka dito Richard. May kailangan ka ba?” She asked.
I swallowed a lump in my throat. “I-Is Maya inside?”
Her eyes narrowed at me. “Oo. Pero ayaw no’n makipag-usap. Ano bang kailangan mo?”
Crap. She’s really mad. “S-She called me earlier.” I stammered. “I was just worried –“
“Ano bang intensyon mo sa kapatid ko? Kung sasaktan mo lang din katulad ni Simon eh umalis ka na. Hindi ka welcome dito. Saka lubayan mo nga si bunso. Napapansin kong masyado kang makadikit sa kanya eh.” She exclaimed.
“What happened with her and Simon?” I dared to ask.
She chuckled but her eyes remained narrowed. “At nagbalak ka pang magtanong ha. Bakit? Ano bang paki mo kay Maya?”
I took a deep breath. “I’m in love with your sister.”
I could tell she got madder this time. She closed the gap between us and stood just a few inches before the gate. “Kayong mga lalaki kayo pare-pareho kayo. Nakilala ka lang naman niya nung isang araw ah? Tapos sasabihin mo mahal mo na agad? Kayong mayayaman, akala niyo nakukuha niyo lahat ng gusto nyo. Hindi ako papayag na madamay ‘yung kapatid ko sa kung ano mang balak –“
“I met her two years ago.” I interrupted. “I was with her when she can’t remember anything. I was with her when she got robbed before she could even fly to Japan. I was with her because I saved her.I brought her to a hospital and the doctor said that she’s suffering from amnesia. And I know that there’s this .. this span of time inside her mind that she can’t remember. I’m with her during that time, I’m a huge part of her lost memory.” I said and she was completely speechless.
Her eyes still narrowed at me. “Tigil-tigilan mo nga ako sa mga sinasabi mong ‘yan! Bakit ba kailangan mong magsinungaling –“
“I’m not lying.” I interrupted again but I can tell that she still doesn’t believe me. Proof, Richard, proof! “The camera. That Canon she’s been using. It’s old right? That camera’s already two years old. I gave it to her during her 23rd birthday when she was with me.” I said and she didn’t respond.
I reached for my wallet on my back pocket and opened it. I removed a picture that I’ve kept through these years. I flipped it on over so that she could see. “This is a photo of me and her with the Polaroid camera I gave her. It’s not photoshop-ed, edited or those other damn things you can do to make a photo look real.” I said. “This photo was during our first date, when we had dinner inside my condo. It’s when I asked her if I can court her. She took this photo when I chased her because she already has her remembrance and I don’t have one. She took a photo of us instead.” I said. The picture was a snapshot of me and Maya. We we’re wearing this huge smiles on our faces. After the photo, she gave it to me and we almost kissed, if it wasn’t for my little brother that entered.
I fished for something inside my wallet. I carefully pulled out a piece of folded tissue paper and showed it to Cris as well. “When she was with me, we kept saying sorry to the littlest things that we do. So I made up this ‘Sorry Agreement’. We both signed it.” I said and pointed at the lower part of the paper. It was a strong evidence. The date was there, our signatures are there, the ink of the pen I used is smudge and the tissue paper itself looks really old. Cris was holding both of it and I could tell by the way she’s looking at it; she’s starting to believe me. She returned the photo and the paper to me and opened the gate for me.
We reached the living room and she gestured me to sit. I did and she sat on the couch in front of me. She heaved a deep breath before she spoke. “Naging kayo ni bunso?”
I nodded. “Yes. But you don’t have to worry. I loved her with all of my life back then. She helped me with a lot of things. I hope you will not get mad but I asked her to marry me. She said yes and she had a little accident during our wedding day and she bumped her head. She remembered everything except for me. In the end, she left me. We did not get married and I spent a year trying to find her. I forgot how to live when she left. And now, after two years, she’s here again. Just please .. please give me another chance with her. I promise, I promise I will not break her heart.”
“Richard, bakit sa’kin mo sinasabi ‘to? Hindi ba dapat kay Maya? Kung mahal mo siya, dapat siya yung kinakausap mo ng ganito.” She said.
“I know, I know, believe me, I want to do that. Pero ayoko syang biglain. If I tell her all of these things, she might not believe me. She may think that everything is just made up and I’m just saying it because I like her. I want to know what she knows so that I could start from there. She also told me that she’s been dreaming about this man. I’m hoping that it’s me. Maya said that she couldn’t see his face and that could only mean that she doesn’t recognize me yet. I can’t take this huge risk yet. Kailangan ko pa ng bwelo.” I explained.
She rubbed her forehead and took a deep breath. “Well, mukhang sinuswerte ka.” She said and my eyes narrowed. “Simon is cheating on her. We just found out today. Three months na sila nung babae niya. And now, Maya is upstairs, crying. Tinawagan ka niya?”
I nodded. “Yeah. Twice but when I called back, she didn’t respond.” I replied. Cris stood up and went to the cabinet before their kitchen. She reached for a set of keys and threw it at me which I caught quickly.
“May label ‘yung susi ng kwarto ni Maya.” She said that made me shot a look at her. Does this mean .. “Naniniwala ako sa’yo Richard pero binabalaan kita. Wag na wag mong sasaktan ang kapatid ko. Alam kong masakit ‘yung ginawa niya sa’yo pero please lang, wag mo siyang bawian. Dahil yung pag-alis niyang ‘yon, hindi niya sinasadya.” She said. “Just .. make her happy kahit na hindi ka pa niya matandaan.”
I nodded frantically. “I promise. Hindi ko siya papaiyakin. You can trust me.” I said. I will. I will make her happy.
Just a little bit more.
A/N : Tadaaaaaaan! Double treat! 😉