It’s already around nine in the evening when I saw Cris’ car arrive. I got out from my car and approached her as she got out from her own. Her face was surprised when she spotted me.
“O Richard, bakit ka nasa labas?” Cris asked her brows furrowed.
“Maya’s mad at me.” I said.
“Ha? Bakit naman siya magagalit sa’yo?” Cris asked almost immediately.
“I honestly don’t know why. She just snapped. Then she told me to go home. Since you told me that you’ll be home late, I just stayed inside my car just to assure that nothing bad happens.” I said. I also did it so if she ever screams, I’ll just be outside to help her.
“Ganon? Ano na naman kayang problema non? May nasabi ka ba?” She asked.
“I don’t know. Though she asked me why I’m finding it hard to move on -“
“Move on .. kanino? Sa kanya?” She interrupted.
I nodded. “Pero ang alam nya, I’m still in love with this woman named Sunshine. I still haven’t told her that it’s her.” I said and Cris reached and pinched my ear. “Hey! Ouch! What was that for?”
“Ikaw! Bakit hindi mo pa kasi sinabi na siya yun? Ano ba talagang balak mo, Richard?” Cris exclaimed.
“Hindi pa tamang oras -“
“Is there such thing as perfect timing? Isn’t it a risk you have to take?” Cris asked me and I went silent.
“I will take that risk. Pero ayoko ng babastahin ko lang. I’ll do whatever it takes for this risk to be perfect. I promise.” I assured Maya’s older sister.
Cris scratched her head. “Alam mo, Richard, pasalamat ka’t inalagaan mo si Maya sa loob ng ilang buwan. Kungdi, nasuntok na kita ngayon.”
“Thank you. I promise I won’t let anything go to waste.” I said with a huge grin on my face. At least I still have her as my back up.
“Sige na, umuwi ka na. Kakausapin ko na lang si Maya.” She said as she opened their gates.
I nodded. “Thank you so much. Alam kong kahit ano pang sabihin ni Maya, alam mo kung anong side ko.”
Cris nodded back. “Ingat sa pagmamaneho. Saka salamat din Richard. Hindi mo talaga pinababayaan si bunso.” She said and I turned around to get inside my car again. I drove to my old condo to get the box I’m hiding inside my closet and to bring it in my new place so I could avoid all the hassle.
Over the next days, I kept sending her some of her photos. I don’t even know if she opens them. All I know is that I have to keep on doing it. She doesn’t even reply to my texts.
Cris said that I don’t need to worry. When I asked her why, she would just reply basta with a smiley face. If she only knew that not hearing from Maya already makes me nuts.
Then I saw her looking so stunning as she was looking at the students having their picture taken during Luke’s prom. I should’ve known that this is the event she was talking about with Jerry. Her back was to me but when I saw Luke giving her a smile, I was so sure that it’s really her.
“Maya?” I nervously called her name. She went still for a bit but when she turned around, I found myself completely under her spell. She looks so beautiful tonight.
“Richard.” She whispered. Damn, I missed the way she calls my name. I just missed her so much that I could just burst. “A-Anong ginagawa mo dito?” She abruptly asked.
I was taken aback by her question. We’re still.not good. Damn. What the hell did I really do? “Uhm, I’m, I’m chaperoning my brother Luke.” I said as I nodded to the photo booth where he’s standing beside Aira. “His name is Luke.” I said, testing if his name rings any bell. And I’m not surprised when it didn’t. She just stood in front of me, staring back like what I’m doing. “I can see that you’re busy. I’ll let you be.” I sadly said with a tight smile on my face. “I guess I’ll see you.” I said and built up all ny will to walk and leave.
The venue is getting packed as the minutes passed. I was watching Luke as he mingled with his classmates. It was amusing to be watching him. He has this huge smile on his face. I still remember when I was in his place. I almost didn’t attend our prom if it wasn’t for James. That part of my life has always been dark because of my problem with my father and my mother’s death. I’m glad that Luke’s prom moments are really different from mine.
When Luke’s eyes stopped at me, a huge smile crept on his face and excused himself from his friends. I was watching him as he strode to our table. “Kuya! Kuya Richard!” He kept yelling as he got closer. The other chaperones turned their heads to look at whose shouting. This is just so Luke. We’re really opposite. “Kuya! Kuya! Why are you not responding?”
“Gee, Luke, calm down!” I said and turned to the other adults in our table to apologize. “What is it?”
“Kuya! Ate Maya is here! And don’t tell me that you didn’t see her! I saw you talking to her! So?” He excitedly said.
I raised both of my brows. “So what?” I replied. Luke’s mouth gaped and he occupied the chair beside me. “Hey, that chair is occupied -“
“I will only leave once you tell me what happened.” He stubbornly declared.
“Luke, your prom is about to start -“
“Yeah. I know. And if you don’t tell me sooner, then I’m going to miss this once in a lifetime event in my life and when I get older, I will just remember it as the night I spent sitting beside my brother, asking him about this girl that he can’t get over with and -“
“Fine, fine! You don’t have to make me feel so guilty about it!” I finally said and I heard him chuckle. I sighed. “I already saw her a week ago. We’re already talking and she’s the reason why I borrowed your camera. She has this activity going on the next day and I want to join to impress her.” I explained.
“Ahhhh. So that’s why when I woke up, Manang said you already left. And then and then? Kayo na ba ulit?”
I groaned. “Far from it.”
“Huh? Why?” Luke replied.
“Remember that your Tita Angela said that Maya bumped her head? Well, because of that, she regained her memory and forgot the span of tome she spent with us. So no, she has no idea who I am. I’m just a mere stranger.” I said.
“Hmm. Right, right. And I do bet that if you tell her that you’re her fiancé, she wouldn’t believe it.” My little brother said as he soothed his chin like he actually has a beard.
“Why can’t everybody be like you? I’ve told them over and over that it wouldn’t work and yet they still insist that I should do it.” I exclaimed. My eyes found her as she was talking to her other female co-worker. “Besides, I’ve loved her long enough. Maybe it’s finally the time that I should I just set her free, to let her go once in for all.” I said and felt a slap on the side of my head. “What the – little man, that’s not a really nice thing to do with your older brother- “
“Half older brother. Do I have to remind you about it? So yeah, I still have the right to do that -“
“Kuya, listen.” Luke interrupted and I just groaned. He can really be annoying. “You’re giving up? Jesus. And what, spent your whole life watching her from afar? You’re not Spiderman, Kuya Richard.” He stubbornly said.
“I’m the one who’s older here -“
“Yeah. And I’m the one who can only see how pained you are.” He said and that shut me off. “Look, Kuya, what I’m saying is you should just court her. Again. Maybe that’s what you really need – do over with her. And this time, make sure that you’re not going to let her go. Forget the fact about the past. This is a one in a lifetime chance for you to rewrite everything! If I were you, I would happily court her because I know that she’s the only one for me.” Luke said. Wow. Just wow. Where did he get his wisdom from? “And of all the women you dated? For the record? Ate Maya’s the only one that I like.”
The emcee started talking over the microphone and Luke stood up. “I’m right, aren’t I Kuya?” He asked with a smile on his face. Then he patted my shoulder and sprinted back to his place. I can’t believe it. My little brother outsmarted me. And the topic is about love where I should be the one who’s more experienced. But I guess when you have a sober brother like me, you’ll learn a lot from him.
The program carried on and Luke was selected as the King of the Night, together with her Queen, a sweet girl named Nikki. Maya took a photo of them and I watched as she does so. Luke is really right. I need to court her. Then maybe, when we’re finally together, my hand holding hers will trigger something, my hugs will make her feel like home and my kisses will make her remember that I’m the man she loved before until now.
“Good evening everyone! The floor is now yours! This is finally the opportunity boys! Don’t be afraid to ask her! And the floor is not just for our students but for our chaperons as well. If you like, please do. Enjoy the rest of the evening!” The emcee said and after waiting for a few beats, I stood up from my seat and searched for her. I spotted Maya as she was doing snapshots of the boys courageously asking the girls for a dance. She took some steps backwards and her heel landed on te side of my shoe making her unsteady for a bit so I quickly put my hands on her arms to steady her.
Maya quickly turned around and got stunned when she saw me. A smile flew on my face. “Be careful, okay? We don’t want your sprained ankle to be back.” I teased.
“Richard, I . . I’m sorry for the other day. I didn’t really mean the things that I said. I’m really really really-“
“It’s okay. Forget it.” I cut her off. I already knew she’s sorry. Besides, it doesn’t really matter.
“Hindi eh. If there’ s anything that I can do for you, kahit ano, gagawin kk, makabawi lang. I’m really sorry.” She went on.
The smile on my face stayed. “Well, there is one thing that you can do.” I replied.
Her eyes got wide in anticipation to what I’m going to say next. “Ano ‘yon?” She asked.
I smirked and laid out my palm in front of me. “Maya Dela Rosa, may I have this dance?” I sweetly asked.
Maya hesitated for a bit and then she raised her camera a bit. “I’m sorry pero may trabaho pa ko eh.”
I pouted as I nodded. Then I saw a familiar face passing through. “Emman!” I called. He quickly turned and almost sprinted before us.
“Yes, Papa Richard? Ay, Mr. Lim po pala.” He said.
I took a.step closer to Maya and lifted the steap off of her neck. When I already have it, I gave it to Emman. “Could you please hold this for awhile?” I said and Emman gladly took it. I turned my attention back to Maya though I was aware that Emman’s lenses are pointed at us. “Now that your ‘work’ ran off, may I ask you to dance, Ms. Dela Rosa?” I asked with a charming smile on my face.
I saw the familiar red blush on her cheeks and then she smiled back. “Yes.” She muttered and accepted my hand. We settled near the edge of the dance floor since the whole area was occupied by the students. I held her hand in mine, while her other hand fell on my shoulder, and mine was on her waist. I looked directly into her eyes and started to move.
“Richard, sorry talaga ha. Siguro pagod lang ako kaya ako tinopak –“
“Hanggang ngayon, ‘yan pa rin ang sinasabi mo? Can’t we move on?” I coyly asked. “But since you brought the topic, I want to know the reason why you snapped at me. It’s obviously something I said and impossible that it was something I did because as far as I can remember it, I was just sitting on the couch.”
Maya bowed her head down. “Akala ko ba moving on na? Bawal nang magtanong!” She exclaimed.
I pouted my lips. “Ang daya. But okay fine, baka magalit ka na naman sakin eh.” I teased and we both laughed.
“Why did you ask me to dance?” She asked.
I smirk flew on my face. “I’m like a camera. I don’t want to let these precious moments pass by. I would always want to take a souvenir so that I will always remember what it’s like during this moment.” I honestly said.
“And what is it like during this moment?” Maya continued to ask.
I stared into her eyes before I answered. “Everything’s .. right. Just right.” I said and we continued to sway through the tune of the music in each other’s arms. I can’t wait for what this night will continue to give.
A/N : Sorry po sa pambibitin! Hahaba po kasi. Sad news lang po. I’ll be gone for awhile. Baka po Sunday na ako makabalik. I have to attend this camping po for our Diocese. Ako po kasi yung napiling representative. I’ll try to write during the night pero I cannot guarantee it. Thank you for your kind consideration. Chos. Thank you po! God bless!