I know I still have a week. I know that. But my decision is as final as it can be. I’m staying. I’m staying because I still believe on this future that will only happen when I’m with her. She’s my future. She’s my everything. I just can’t give her up.
“Kahit Sabado, whole day kayong bukas?” I asked as I helped Maya to tidy up the mess we created.
“Depende sa tao eh. Kapag maraming customers, buong araw kami, pero kapag ganitong madalang, half day lang. Saka wala si Emman, wala akong katulong sa shoot.” She answered.
“Nandito naman ako ah. I can help.” I said and she replied by looking at me like I’m a crazy person. “What? I can help! You saw the picture I took ‘di ba? During the jogging-slash-contest? I’m actually better than you might expect.” I said.
Maya nodded slowly. “Ahh. Oo. Yung picture na kinuha mo. Bale yung picture ko.”
I pursed my lips. I totally forgot that this may backfire. “Uhm, yeah. Your photo. The one I said that I can’t let the moment pass? That’s the –“
“Richard, ‘yung totoo. Yun talaga yung dahilan?” She answered with a huge grin on her face. I can see it in her eyes that she’s hoping for some reason worth something more.
I raised my hands and admitted defeat. “Fine. I took your photo. I thought it’ll be nice, you know, to have as a souvenir. I never thought that it’ll be quite a breathtaking photo. After that photo, wala na akong nakuha. That was the time when you fell.” I admitted. There’s no other way to her heart than the truth.
Maya smiled widely and her cheeks got redder. “Sabi ko na eh! Nagagandahan ka na sa’kin nun eh!” She exclaimed.
I chuckled. “Ang yabang mo.” I mocked.
She laughed and scrunched her nose. “Crush mo na ko non no?”
I bit my lip and nodded and Maya turned completely red but she just hided it in her laughs, while I remained normal. I just don’t have a crush on her. I’m in love with her. And that’s the most important thing that I know. Now that I’ve answered her with complete and honest truth, I do hope she does the same. “Maya, yung sunset lang ba yung tinitignan mo dun sa picture na tinitignan mo when I captured you?” I asked.
Her laugh died and was replaced by uneasiness. This is a good sign. “O-Oo, bakit mo .. ano, bakit mo tinatanong?” She stammered.
A grin flew on my lips. I know this look. It’s when she’s trying to hide something. “The truth? Please?” I said.
Maya groaned like she just lost in a huge friendly bet. “Richard naman eh! O sige na! Panalo ka na!” She exclaimed and I just raised my brows at her. “I’m waiting for your answer.” I said.
She buried her head on her hands and only her lips are visible. “Oo na. Picture mo ‘yung tinitignan ko!” She said and it’s now my turn to laugh. I saw her camera on inside the shooting room since the door is opened. And since Maya is still burying her head in his head, I sneaked in and grabbed her camera. I pushed the preview button and looked at the previous photos inside of it, hoping that my photo is still in there. “H-Hoy Richard! Anong ginagawa mo?” She said and she quickly sat beside me and tried to grab the camera in my hands.
I stood up and got away from her as I continued to browse the said photo. Gee, talk about déjà vou. We’ve done this whole chase before. I just wish Maya could remember it. I smiled so wide when I finally saw my picture. I’m down on my knee and my camera is poised on the view in front. I think this was the time when I was capturing the horizon. The camera disappeared on my hands and Maya just glared at me as she held it possessively. She punched a few buttons and placed the camera on the table. “Na-delete ko na.” She said.
“If I know, may kopya ka pa nyan sa desktop mo.” I teased, making her blush. “At sa laptop mo sa bahay.” I added, and she borrowed her face again in her hands. I just laughed. Of course it’s true! She’d done this when we were still together. She only deletes a photo in her camera if she had it printed out. “Hindi lang pala ako yung may crush, ikaw din pala.” I mocked.
“Richard! Tigilan mo na nga ako!” She exclaimed.
“Uyyy, in denial!” I continued to tease. “Aminin mo na lang kase.”
I groaned. “Nakakainis ka talagang lalaki ka! Sa lahat ng naging crush ko, ikaw yung ang kulit kulit.” She exclaimed and turned around from me.
I chuckled. She’s too cute. I closed our distance and hugged her again from behind. I placed my chin on her shoulder and whispered in her ear. “Tayo na?”
I felt her stiffen. “H-Ha?”
“Tayo na. Since you admitted that you have a crush on me. Parang sinasabi mo na rin na type mo ko, na pwedeng maging tayo. And I have a crush on you too. Everything fits.” I said.
I saw her bit her lower lip. Damn, I missed kissing those lips. It took all of my strength to shift my gaze to her eyes. “Hindi pa pwede.” Maya said.
“Why?” I asked.
“K- .. Kasi hindi pa natin mahal yung isa’t-isa. Paano kung infatuation lang lahat ‘to? Na after natin makilala ‘yung isa’t-isa, bibitaw na lang agad ‘yung isa sa’tin. Mas lalong masakit ‘yon ‘di ba?” She said.
I loosened my hold of her. “Maya, it’s not necessary that a couple would be a couple because they love each other already. Dun sa process na ‘yon, mas lalo tayong magkakakilala. And I know for a fact that we will click. Then as it goes, lalong mahuhulog ‘yung loob natin para sa isa’t-isa. Before we know it, we’re already in love. I’m already in love with you.” I watched her as I finished what I’m saying. Maybe I’m taking things too fast again. Damn it.
The bell on the door rang and an old couple entered. Maya quickly got away from my hold and talked to the couple. They quickly proceeded to a shoot and Maya busied herself to it. A family entered next and I decided to talk to them so that I could help Maya. We spent the rest of the afternoon like that – only talking because of the customers. I don’t even know what’s in her head right now.
“Thank you for coming po!” Maya said happily to the last customer of the day. It’s now around five in the afternoon and she decided to call it a day. After shutting down the whole place, I offered her a ride home. She said no at first but I insisted. So now she’s sitting beside me, still quiet.
“Maya, are you mad?” I dared to ask as I put my car to a halt when I reached their house. She looked at me and shook her head. “Then what is it? Why are you so quiet? I’m worried, Maya.” I said.
She heaved a deep breath. “Richard, nagmamadali ka ba?” She asked.
My brows furrowed. “What? Did I drive too fast?”
“Hindi ‘yun.” She said. “Ito. Itong panliligaw mo. Nagmamadali ka ba?”
“N-No. Hindi kita minamadali. Bakit?” I curiously asked.
“Eh kasi ‘yung sinabi mo kanina. Yung ayos lang kahit hindi pa natin mahal yung isa’t-isa para maging tayo. Parang nagmamadali ka kasing maging tayo.” She said. I looked back on my words and it did sound like that. “Alam kong mabilis na ‘yung panahon ngayong pero .. kasi kahapon mo lang nilinaw ‘yung intensyon mo. Hindi ba parang ang bilis?”
“Maya, I didn’t mean it like –“
“Kung hindi ka makakapaghintay para sa’kin, ayos lang. You’re still free, Richard. Hindi pa kita hawak. Pwedeng pwede ka pang –“
“Are you kidding me?” I interrupted and that made her to stop talking. She was about to say something again but I beat her to it. I reached for her hand and held it against my chest.“Only a fool would not wait for you. And I’m not a fool. I would wait for you, even if it takes years just to hear your answer. Hindi ako nagmamadali, Maya. Please forget what I said. You’re worth the wait, Maya.” I said. “Are we okay now?”
She remained mum but I know that she’s just teasing me. The redness of her cheeks is a total giveaway. “Please say yes. Baka bugbugin ako ni Kute.” I tried cheering her up. “Or worst, baka agawin ako ni Emman sa’yo.”
“Wag naman sana!” She exclaimed and laughed. “Alam mo bang ilang beses na niya akong binabataan na aagawin ka niya sa’kin? First love ka daw niya kasi tapos ang pogi pogi mo. Papa Richard nga ang tawag nun sa’yo eh.”
I chuckled. “Siguro kapag hindi mo ako sinagot, at sobrang depressed ako, baka patulan ko yang si Emman eh.”
“Richard!?” Maya exclaimed. “Kay Emman ka na nga lang –“
“O, ibibigay mo ako kay Emman ngayon? Hindi ako bola, Maya. I’m more of a dog.” I said.
“Dog?” She asked.
I happily nodded. “Forever loyal to the person who’s holding my leash. And you’re the one holding it.” I said and she blushed again. I kissed her hand. “I have to go. Kakausapin ko pa si Papa.”
She nodded. “Sige. Thank you sa araw na ‘to. Ingat ka sa pagmamaneho ha. Text mo ko kapag nakauwi ka na.”
“Aye aye Ma’am.” I said and got out from my car to open her door. “Tell Cris I said hi.”
She nodded. “Okay. Pati kay Emman?”
I chuckled. “Silly.” Then I leaned in to give her a peck on her cheeks. “Bye.”
I watched Maya as I drove away. She only got in when I was about to turn at this curve in their village. After half an hour, I arrived at our house. I parked the car beside Papa’s BMW. Good thing he’s now here. I really need to talk to him. I saw him sitting on the couch in our entertainment area. He saw me before I could even say a work.
“Ah Richard. Good timing. Malapit nang magdinner.” He said.
I nodded and sat down beside him. “Pa, the board wants to send me to New York.”
He nodded. “Well, I’m not surprised at their decision. If I’m still running that place, I would suggest the same thing.” He said.
“But I can’t, Pa –“
“Why? Because of Maya?” He finished my sentence and I just nodded. “I understand that, Richard. I know that the fruit of searching for her for two years is finally here. But I don’t want you to put this option out. I believe you will do even greater things in New York. I know that you will find it great there. It will enhance all of your skills and there are even more challenges. This will do you good, son. I promise.” He said. “This is only an option though. Louie said you asked them for a week. If you don’t want to go, then don’t. But please keep both options open.” He added, and I do think that it’s because of my sullen face. It’s good that my father is leaving this is as an option to me even if I could really feel it in his voice that he wants me to go.
“Dad, Kuya, let’s eat. I already helped in preparing the table.” Luke said as he emerged from the stairs.
After dinner, I went to my room to look up the Vanguard in New York and all of the reports about it. After hours of reviewing it, I started to feel the worry Papa and the board might be feeling. The firm is just too new to the place and it would really be a risk to send someone not too credible. If only Luke is in college now and will soon be an architect, I would not be having second thoughts about this.
I picked up my phone and called Maya, but she didn’t answer. I glanced at my clock and saw that it’s already ten in the evening. She’s probably asleep. I burrowed my face in my hands. This decision is really tearing me apart. It’s like I’m choosing between two happiness in my life and in either way, I could be contented, and truly happy, though I know the one would Maya would bring happiness nothing could replace. I lied on my bed and called it a day.
It’s already 8:30 in the morning when I woke up. I quickly looked at my phone to check at any messages but there’s only one from James saying that he’s free later this night and wants to have a drink. I replied and after that, dialled Maya’s number. She didn’t answer. After I got some brunch, I calledher again but she still didn’t answer.
What happened to her?
A/N : So sorry po for the late post. I’m trying to make another story, kaso po one shot lang. Baka makilala na po yung magnanakaw next chap!