I couldn’t seem to wipe this huge smile on my face. I’m now courting Maya again. And I couldn’t resist her earlier that’s why I left her a kiss on her temple. I owe this all to Luke. He’s really a great kid. He’s the one who I run to when Maya told me to back off. It just felt that heaven closed on me. I thought I had everything on my plate, then Maya’s sudden move torn me. I decided to stay inside my car and told Luke to just go there when the prom is all over.
I never expected him to be bringing Maya back with him. I can’t believe that the reason why she shut me off is that she thought I was still in love with Sunshine. Of course I’m still in love with Sunshine. It is her after all!
“Luke, I owe you. Thank you.” I said to him as he opened the door to his room.
My little brother smirked. “It’s nothing, Kuya. I know that time will come where I would also need Ate Maya. And besides, I don’t want to see my brother sad. You’ve been there for me for a lot of reasons and now, I want to be here for you. Goodnight, Kuya.” He said.
I got near Luke and gave him a hug. “Thank you bro. I’m really glad that you’re a more mature thinker than me. I’m proud to call you my brother.” I said and let go of him. “Goodnight Luke.”
I opened the door to my room in Papa’s house and sat on my bed. I really am proud of what Luke has done and I know that no material thing can repay it. When we were little, I would always help him in simple things like home works and to the serious things like his bullies. I know he’s feeling that gratitude that is not necessary to repay but I am glad that he helped me this way.
I reached for my phone inside my pocket and dialled for Maya’s number. She was speechless when I left her but I let her be. From the days that I’ve known Maya, she would just get speechless whenever she felt this kilig inside of her. When she’s mad, that’s when she becomes so talkative.
On the fourth ring, she picked up. “Hi Maya.” I greeted with a smile on my face. Gee! I sound like a teenager!
“Hi Richard.” She greeted back and the smile on my face just got even wider.
“Are you home?” I asked.
“Oo. Ikaw?” She replied.
“Yes. I’m here in Papa’s house.” I answered.
“Bakit – Ahh. May condo ka nga pala.” She said. Silence loomed between us, but unlike before, it’s not awkwardness. Both of us are just glad that the other one is listening to us on the other line. It’s our comfortable silence.
“So, do you have any plans tomorrow?” I asked.
“Hmm. Sa studio lang siguro ako buong araw. Sina Ruby at Kyle na raw ‘yung magko-cover nung isang shoot sa Laguna. Kami lang ni Emman sa studio.”
“Great. I’ll be there during lunch –“
“No buts, Maya. Nanliligaw ako ‘di ba? How can I show you if you’re not going to allow me?” I countered and she felt silent. “Hello? Maya? Are you still there?”
“Ah, o-oo, n-nandito pa ko.” She stammered. “Eh kasi .. ano, Richard, seryoso ka ba? Yang mga sinasabi mo, totoo ba yan? Kasi .. parang nung natapos yung kay Simon, ayoko na ulit masaktan.”
I nodded as if she could see it. “I’m serious, Maya. I meant every word that I said. Saka pareho lang tayo. Ayoko na ulit masaktan.” I truthfully said. “It’s getting late. Uhm, matulog ka na.”
“Okay. Ikaw din. Papasok ka pa bukas? Sabado ah.” She said.
A smirk flew on my face. “Concerned ka na agad sa’kin?” I teased and then she fell silent again. I chuckled. “Yes, I have to go to the firm tomorrow. May meeting lang. Anyway, matulog ka na.” I said.
“Dream of me.” I said and disconnected the phone. I was smiling again. I changed clothes and settled on to my bed. I know I will sleep well tonight.
The next morning, I stopped by my condo to change clothes and to get the box of Maya’s things. I decided to stay in Papa’s house for now and I need to bring my important things with me. I placed the box on the trunk of my car and drove to Vanguard. When I got inside the meeting room, Tito Louie and the others are already there. I settled in my seat on the end of the table and the meeting started.
“Richard, we already have the profiles of the candidates for the CEO position in Vanguard New York. You can take a look at it but I do think that none of them are qualified.” Tito Louie said.
“How come none of them? What’s the reason?” I asked.
“Most of the candidates are good architects but if we’re going to compare them to you and your father’s achievements, none of them met the line.” Fernand said, he’s one of the board members. “What I and the board suggest is that you run the Vanguard in New York.”
“Me?” I asked.
All of them nodded. “Project New York is just too big. We can’t just risk who will handle it. Your father and you wants this to be successful and to make it like that, we need someone capable of running the firm. Someone who already knows what he is doing. And we do think that that someone is you, Richard.” Jojo said.
I pursed my lips and slowly nodded. “I can’t. For now I just can’t go to New York.” I softly answered. Then the faces of the board fell. I really can’t just mix work with my own personal life. “Gaano pa katagal bago magbukas ang sa New York?” I asked.
“Around two weeks.” Tito Louie said.
I nodded. “Give me a week to decide. As for those candidates, kailangan tuloy pa rin ang pagsasala, just in case.” I said. The room was filled with agreement and then the meeting went on, tackling the other jobs of the firm.
A week to decide huh.
The meeting ended around noon and I sank on my chair inside my office as the realization of the decision I just made sank in my own head. I have a week to decide. A week is not enough. If I go to New York, my life will have another start. It would’ve been fine if I still haven’t met Maya again. If I didn’t come across her, I would accept the offer without any doubt, but now, I’m all filled with doubt.
My phone rang and I picked it up. “Sir, tumatawag po yung security. Kanina pa po.” Liza said.
“I was in the meeting. I left my phone here and went straight into the meeting room.” I said. “What’s the news?”
“Sir, may nagnanakaw daw po sa sasakyan niyo –“
“WHAT?!” I exclaimed.
“H-Hindi po nanakaw ‘yung sasakyan niyo Sir. Bukas po yung trunk niyo tapos nag-aalarm po –“
“I’m going down.” I said and quickly rode the elevator to get to the parking lot. When I got down, Liza and three police are already standing near my car.
“What the hell happened in here?!” I asked, my tone rising up.
“Good morning Sir, I’m Luigi Perez po from Manila Police. Your security guard called me earlier when he saw your car.” The police said. “Nung iniwan niyo po ba yung sasakyan niyo, naka-lock?”
“Of course I locked it!” I exclaimed. I looked at my car and sure enough, the trunk is opened. “Na-check niyo na yung CCTV cameras?” I asked.
“Yes Sir. Pero hindi po nakuhanan yung scene. Sinira po ang CCTV niyo bago nagkaroon ng nakawan –“
“How about the other two?” I asked.
“Lahat po sila Sir, may damage. Mukhang pinag-aralan po nung culprit yung space niyo.” Luigi continued.
I groaned. I opened my car and saw that everything inside is still on its place. I checked the compartment on my dashboard and saw that the credit cart I left there for emergencies is not stolen. I got out and checked the trunk again. The bag of my clothes is still there except for the box where Maya’s things are. It’s like it’s the only target of the culprit.
“Ano pong laman ng trunk niyo Sir?” Luigi asked.
“There’s this box. A bunch of pictures are inside. A Polaroid camera and photo albums.” I answered.
“Ano pa pong importante?”
“That’s the only thing missing. My bags are here. I’m taking them to my father’s house.” I said.
“May kakilala po ba kayong pwedeng gumawa nito?”
Someone who would take a bunch of pictures without going for the money and my car? “No. I know none.” I answered.
The officer nodded. “Makikiiwanan po muna nag kotse niyo Sir. Magra-run lang po kami ng tests na pwedeng makapagturo sa’min ng kung sino ang suspect.” He said.
I nodded my head and gave them my keys. I grabbed my bag and the other things inside my car and instructed Liza to send someone to keep their eyes on my car. I hailed a cab outside and gave the address to Papa’s house.
Damn it! Who could possibly do that? This really ruined my plans. Now, I cannot send those envelopes daily to her. I reached for my phone and called the admin of my old condo. I told them to put extra security in my unit and I don’t care if I have to pay for it. I just want it secured.
If this someone is after Maya, then he or she would come to my old condo soon.
“O, Ricardo, magtatanghalian ka dito? Nasaan ang sasakyan mo?” Manange Fe asked as she opened the front door for me.
“I’m just here to drop my things.” I said as I quickly took the stairs and dropped my bags on my bed. When I got down, Manang Fe is waiting for me. “Manang, nandito pa ho ba yung extrang sasakyan ni Papa?”
She nodded. “Oo. Yung isang itim ang dinala ng Papa mo nung pinuntahan niya yung kumpare niya.” She said, pertaining to Papa’s Mercedes. “Kukunin ko ang susi. Bakit? Nasaan ang sasakyan mo?” She curiously asked as she got the keys near the living room.
“Mamaya ko na lang ho ikukwento. Nagmamadali po kasi ako eh.” I said as I took the keys from her hands and glanced at my watch. 12;15PM. Damn it, I’m late.
“Hindi ka ba kakain?” She asked.
“May kasabay po akong maglunch. Uuna na ho ako Manang. I’ll call Papa to tell him that I have his car. By e Manang.” I quickly said and went to the garage where Papa’s black Audi is parked. I quickly got in and drove to Maya’s studio.
It’s already quarter to one yet I’m just halfway there. Damn traffic. I decided to call her and she immediately picked up. “Maya, I’m running late. Something came up. Kumain ka na ba?” I asked.
“Hindi pa. Hinihintay kita eh. Anong nangyari?” She asked back.
“It’s a long story. I’ll tell you when I get there. Should I order a takeout? Traffic kasi eh.” I said.
“Ako na mag-oorder. Pumunta ka na lang. Drive carefully, okay?” She said.
A smile flew on my face after the hours of frowning because of what happened to my car. She’s really the only one who can calm me down. “I miss you, Maya.” I said.
“Naandito ka na mamaya eh! Tigilan mo nga ako.” Maya said but I knew that she’s feeling giddy about it.
“So? Your answer?” I pressed. I need her to calm me down. It’s been a shitty day and I just want her to light up the rest of my day.
“Okay, since you’re doing all this effort, I might just tell the truth.” She said and I waited for her answer. “Gutom na ko! Dalian mo na!” She said and laughed. “See you soon Richard!” She added and disconnected the call.
I chuckled and continued to drive. It’s a good thing that after the things that happened today, there’s still one person that can truly turn my day around and make me look at the positive things of this day that is still yet to come.
A/N : The who si magnanakaw? Any guess?