Admin Note: *Contributed Story* Please give credit and thanks to AttyMayiVR.
This is a continuation to Mr. and Mrs. Stag – part 1 .
A/N: Finally after 300 years! I hope you’ll like this one. :-)
Previously in Chapter ONE
Maya: Batchmates? Kaya naman pala… so Atty. Lim and Atty. Molina, I was right all along. You were just accommodating Atty. Reyes!
Angelo: You’ve met them, Mai?
Maya: Naku Tito, sila yung mga lawyers na pinagalitan ng judge kasi mga sinungaling! If they could lie to the judge with a straight face, I’m sure they lie to their wives as well!
Tito, I’m sorry, will you excuse me? I see some friends waving at me. Dan, Mitch… looks at Ivy too ….. Atty. Molina, and Atty. Lim, excuse me, dun muna ako, see you around.
Mitch: Kasali ka dun Dan?
Dan: Hindi ah.
Ivy: Hon, siya ba yung kinwento mo sa akin before?
Ryan: Yes Hon, wala akong kasalanan dun.
Ivy: She looks nice. Mitch, let’s get some food?
Mitch: Sige. What about you, boys?
Dan: Mauna na kayo, maganda ang usapan dito.
Angelo: So, what was that all about?
Richard: She’s your niece?
Angelo: Yes she is! My most favorite in fact.
Ryan: Naku, favorite niece daw Stag! What a revelation!
Angelo: So? Anyone? She sounded upset and disappointed.
Ryan: Ito kasing si Richard, binwisit yang pamangkin mo sa isang maritime case. Kami nila Anthony ang mga kalaban nya. Anthony wasn’t ready for trial so nag papa reset. Then itong si Stag, kada suggested date for next hearing, nag imbento na may hearing kung saan saan kaya hindi raw siya available.
Richard didn’t want to admit that he felt slighted and provoked by Maya’s frankness and straightforward statements made in open court, embarrassing him in front of other lawyers and litigants. It was actually his first. With his good looks and charm, Richard always found his way to make things work to his advantage. But with a young lady lawyer like Maya not being smitten by his chinito charisma, Richard not only felt frustrated but that he got a big slap on his ego.
Richard: Hindi ko siya binwisit. Come on, that usually happens in court. Ginagawa nyo rin yun.
Ryan: Grabe naman din pala yang pamangkin mo, madetalye! When Richard said he has a conflict of schedule in another court, she asked which court may conflict.
Eh sa lahat ba naman ng korte, Quezon City Court ang naisip nito, at sa lahat ng branch ha, yung sa mother ni Atty. Dela Rosa pa ang ang dinahilan. Hayun, buking, napagalitan tuloy kami nung judge. Mabuti na lang hindi kami na contempt at na-sanction eh.
Richard: I didn’t mean to offend her. I just didn’t find postponing the trial of the case a big deal. It’s very typical, normal nangyayari sa korte. She just assumed we were accommodating Anthony.
Dan: Eh hindi nga ba?
Ryan: Yeah right. Dinamay pa nya ako. Eto pa, ang yabang pa mag-suggest ng date nitong si Stag, June 19, Linggo pala! Hahahahaha!
Richard: Sige, ilaglag mo ako, eh sumagot ka naman! Sabi mo “I’m not available.” Hahahaha!
Ryan: Mabuti na lang hindi nila napansin.
Angelo: Hahaha! Mga gago pala kayo eh, kaya napikon yung pamangkin ko.
Ryan: So, Angelo, is she really like that? I mean, it’s been about 6 months and she still remembers it?
Angelo: I’m sure wala na yun sa kanya pero now that it all came back to her memory, nainis lang siguro kasi nalaman nya na magkakabatch kayo at pinagkaisahan nyo siya.
She does not have any chips on her shoulder. She is such a nice person.
Richard: Brod, I did not mean to instigate na pinagkaisahan siya. I just did not like the idea of going to Manila for trial during the rainy season. It’s so hard, ang trafik, lalo na binabaha. Don’t you agree with me?
Ryan: I get your point pare. Pero sabi nga, the end does not justify the means. Pati tuloy sa akin nagalit pamangkin nito.
Angelo: She’s just upset. Hindi galit yun. Give her some time, maya maya lang wala na yun.
Dan:So what happened to the case?
Ryan: She got what she wanted, the trial was reset to June 21, pero hindi lang din natuloy because the Mayor declared suspension of work sa Manila kasi baha na sa konting buhos ng ulan. Tama nga itong si Richard.
Richard: See? Is it not annoying? You go to court prepared tapos i-rereset lang dahil baha. Eh di lalo lang nag cause ng delay.
Angelo: At talagang annoyed ka rin up to now ha.
Richard: ‘Tol hindi naman. I just remembered what happened that time. Kasi, the judge already warned the three of us. Remember, we were accused of coming to court unprepared, so, we made sure that we’ll be in his court ahead of time prepared on that next trial date.
Ryan: Lunch pa lang magkakasama na kaming tatlo nila Anthony. At take note ha, lahat kami, naka suit! Hahaha! Para talagang obvious na pinaghandaan namin ang kaso.
Dan: Saang branch ba yung kaso?
Ryan: Sa Branch 38, kay Judge Vicente Cruz.
Richard: Hahaha! We decided to have lunch somewhere near para siguradong hindi kami male-late. Pero nagtalo muna kami where to eat kasi nga we were in suits.
Ryan: Eh sa NAPOCOR Building yung Branch 38 diba, sa Bonifacio Drive, sa port area lang.
Richard: Kaya we ended up at Manila Hotel kasi nga mga naka suit kami.
Nakakatawa kasi when we entered the lobby, we were being ushered to this wedding reception.
Ryan: Sabi agad nung lobby attendant kay Stag “To the Yap-Sta. Maria wedding reception sir? This way to the Maynila Ballroom.”
Richard: Tawa kami ng tawa nun. Ito kasing si Anthony ang kulit eh. Sagot nya, “Thank you!” sabay hatak sa amin sa gilid.
Ryan: Sira ulo nga, pagka gilid namin, sabay sabi kay Stag “May wedding pala eh. Stag, papasa kang relative nung groom! Let’s go! Lauriat yun!”
Angelo: Hanggang ngayon trip pa rin ni Anthony ang mag gate crash?
Ryan: Don’t worry, we still ended up at Café Ilang Ilang. Yun nga lang while enjoying lunch, biglang umulan. Buhos ha!
Richard: Buti na lang sa may likod lang ng Manila Hotel yung court.
Ryan: Nagtalo na naman kami. Which car to take. Lahat kami may dala eh.
Dan: Hirap pa naman ng parking dun.
Richard: Exactly….at umuulan pa.
Ryan: We ended up taking a cab. Kontrata, ang lapit lang ng tatakbuhin eh.
Angelo: I thought hindi natuloy yung trial?
Ryan: We got there at about 1:30. Then after a while, lumabas sa court room yung Branch Clerk of Court, sabi baka ma reset ang trial.
Dan:Pero ready ba naman kayo with your witnesses?
Ryan: Ready! Pinapunta ko dun ng 1:00 pm kaya when we got there, nasa court room na sila pareho.
Richard: Parusa yung suit, ang init! Nag brown at pare!
Ryan: Likot mo kasi! You kept on looking back at the door behind us, inaabangan mo yung kalaban.
Richard: I was making sure walang makaka kontra sa resetting ng hearing.
Ryan: Maya-maya, dumating na nga ang kalaban…yung pamangkin mo. We were expecting yung handling lawyer talaga na si Atty. Villacorta.
Dan:Anung nangyari? Inisahan nyo uli?
Ryan: Anung uli? Hindi naman kami naka isa sa kanya nung una diba? Siya nga ang naka isa sa amin eh.
Angelo:Let me guess, binwisit uli ni Richard?
Richard:No! I behaved the entire time.
Ryan: Hahaha! Tahimik nga yan the whole time, wala ng imik from the time na dumating si Atty. dela Rosa at tumabi sa kanya.
Richard:Pare walang laglagan.
Ryan: Hahaha! Can’t forget that face, she really looked disappointed.
Richard:Kasi nga na postpone lang yung trial.
Richard, Ryan and Anthony were waiting at the lawyer’s table in the court room. The two witnesses of Anthony were seated at the front row just behind them. After a while, Atty. Santos, the Branch Clerk of Court went inside. “Naku mga attorney, ma re-reset ang hearing.”
“What?” Richard asked in an upset tone.
Ryan followed and asked “Why? Readying ready pa naman kami. Ang aga nga namin eh.”
Anthony confirmed by saying “Yes, my witnesses are ready. Nandito na sila kanina pa.”
“Baha na po kasi. We’re just waiting for the announcement by the executive judge. He is still confirming if the Mayor really declared suspension of classes and work here in Manila.”
Annoyed, Richard blurted out “Ayan na nga ba ang sinasabi ko eh! Such a waste of time.”
“Lalabas pa ba si Judge? Or we do the resetting now?” Anthony inquired from the Branch Clerk of Court.
“Wala pa po yung confirmation of suspension Atty. Reyes eh. Paki intay lang po ng kaunti. Anyway, wala pa namang 2:00 pm.”
“You’ll make us wait until 2:00?” Richard was getting impatient.
“Atty. Lim, we’re still waiting for the confirmation. Ganun din naman po, if wala naman palang suspension, then matutuloy ang hearing and your case will still be called at 2:00 p.m. Besides, baka parating na rin yung plaintiff’s counsel, better para you can all agree on the resetting date.”
Within seconds, power was out. “Naku, ayan brown out na. Don’t worry, in a while ma restore ang power pero generator lang. Sige po, paki intay po, pasok muna ako sa staff room at tatawag sa executive judge para alamin.”
“Bad trip!” Ryan said. “Sayang yung suits, napagastos pa tayo sa lunch. Buti na lang may mga appearance fee tayo at bawi dun.”
Richard did not have plans of waiting for long. “Pare pag wala pa si Atty. Villacorta by 2:00 let’s insist on resetting right away, even without her.”
“Ayan ka na naman pare, conspiracy na naman yan eh.”
“Tama si Stag Ryan. We can’t wait beyond 2:00 p.m. We need to go back to Manila Hotel and get our cars, baka tumaas yung tubig, will get stuck in Manila.”
After a while, the Branch Clerk of Court went back and informed them that the Mayor has indeed suspended classes and work in the area but the Judge requested that they wait at least until 2:00 p.m. since it was just 15 minutes away.
Richard was really getting bored and impatient. Then, he recalled what happened during the last hearing which is his first court encounter with Maya, when the judge admonished him, Ryan and Anthony. Court proceedings were already on going for another case and the lady lawyer beside him was obviously attracted to him with how she smiled and looked after every question thrown at the witness. Richard was just glad that the lady lawyer has remained standing as she bombarded the witness with questions in an exaggerated tone, making it obvious that she was trying to impress him. This gave him visual access to Maya who was sitting next to the lady lawyer.
So, while he was waiting for his case to be called, he pleased himself by stealing glances at her while she remained focused on the mobile phone she was holding. Unmindful of his surroundings, he was surprised when Maya moved beside him after the lady lawyer left. His thundering heartbeats have not yet subsided when finally his case was called and Maya almost simultaneously stood with him. He got very excited to be in the same case with her though in opposite positions. Then all of a sudden he was in the middle of an awkward situation and she embarrassed him.
Coming back to reality, the possibility of Maya appearing that afternoon for the scheduled trial entered his mind, making him anxious. Ryan noticed that Richard kept on glancing at the door behind them looking uneasy. “Pare, okay ka lang? Kanina ka pa tingin ng tingin. May inaantay ka ba?”
“Huh? Uhm…because we were asked to wait until 2:00, so I’m hoping she comes in right now so we can reset and leave.”
“Ahh…pa ra ka kasing kiti kiti diyan eh…” Ryan informed him of his behavior, then turned his head to glance at the door. “Naku, pare! Nagdilang anghel ka, plaintiff’s counsel is here…pero si Atty. dela Rosa.”
Richard immediately turned his head and saw Maya just entered the court room. He watched her place her things on the bench nearest to the entrance and remove her khaki trench coat that appeared with traces of rain drops. She looked so elegant in her black pants paired with a double breasted black blazer. Richard hurriedly looked away when he saw her gather back her things together with the coat and was about to approach the lawyer’s table.
“Hi, work suspended na daw?” Maya made her general inquiry as she approached the three other lawyers.
Anthony was quick to answer. “Oo eh, actually reset na tayo, we were just waiting for you for the resetting date. Wait, tawagin ko lang yung Branch Clerk.”
Richard looked at Ryan who moved his eyes telling him to offer the space next to him. It was the only space left. Richard glanced at Maya then moved to his right, giving her space to sit on. “Thank you.” she said without looking. Richard’s heart was pounding faster than usual. He smelled her perfume and felt her arm brush his when she moved a little to look at Atty. Santos and Anthony who just walked in.
“Reset na daw Atty. Santos?” she immediately asked. “Oo eh, nagsuspend na si Mayor baha na kasi sa maraming area ng Manila.”
“Sayang naman, nandito pa naman ata ang mga witnesses?” she looked at Anthony.
“Oh yes! They’re here since 1:00 p.m. actually.” Anthony proudly answered.
“Can we not proceed with trial? We’re all here anyway, para hindi naman masayang yung pagpunta natin dito sa court. Sandali lang naman yung re-cross ko eh. Besides, traffic naman na rin sa labas.”
Richard looked at Ryan with creased brows but kept mum. The two other male lawyers did not say a word too. Then she went further. “Atty. Santos, can you ask if okay kay Judge?”
“O sige po, kaya lang baka hindi pumayag yung stenographer. Itanung ko lang po muna.”
Maya smiled and gracefully said “Okay, thank you.” She swung her body to her left and got something from her bag. Then she leaned back with her right shoulder overlapping Richard’s. After composing a text message, she sent it right away. Richard stayed still even when Ryan kept on nudging him. He painstakingly took out his phone from his pocket and starts to type a message.
Richard’s Text: STOP nudging me, she might think I’m pushing her, sampalin ako!
Ryan’s Text: Hahaha! Bakit wala kang imik diyan? Tinabihan ka lang umurung na dila mo. Since when did you behave like that with a woman around? Are you even breathing? You look frozen.
Upon reading the message,Richard nudged Ryan back and was about to reply to his message when the Branch Clerk of Court entered the court room. “Atty. dela Rosa, sabi po ni Judge reset na kasi kawawa naman yung staff na maiiwan, baka mabaha pauwi.”
She heaved in frustration but conceded. “Okay Atty. Santos, reset na natin so we can all go home.”
“Anong date po? Wag lang po sa July kasi inventory period, puno na ang calendar ng court.”
“May I say something.” Anthony interrupted.
The Branch Clerk of Court accommodated Anthony right away. “Yes Atty. Reyes?”
“Yung witnesses ko kasi hindi available for the next coming months of the year.”
“Both witnesses po?” The Branch Clerk politely asked.
“Yes, yung witness for re-cross dapat today is bound for US this August for operation sa knee cap nya and will be back November na depending on his progress sa therapy after. Yung next witness from PPA naman may special assignment sa Cebu for the second semester, so January na ang balik nya sa PPA Manila.”
“We went here prepared for anything, so I have here medical certificate and personal order. Here, I have copies for everyone.” Anthony distributes the documents.
Maya wanted to clarify and so she asked “Are you telling us that we cannot have the resetting this year?” Richard glanced at her unnoticeably.
“Yes at least for my witness from PPA. Yung for re-cross, we can have a setting mid-November but I cannot guarantee his attendance kasi nga its contingent.”
“Don’t you have any other witness to present?” Maya asked further, sounding really frustrated.
“Wala na eh…in fact I was also prepared to make my formal offer orally kung natapos din sana today yung last witness ko.”
“The best option I can suggest is to have 3 settings for this case. One in November, another in December and the last in February. We blocked January for inventory and forfeitable leave ni Judge.”
“I’m okay with that. May judicial affidavit naman eh. If we’re done with the witnesses by December, I’ll make my formal offer right away and we will not even need the February setting.”
“What about you Atty. Molina?”
“Okay with me.” Ryan answered.
“Anything goes for me as well.” Richard volunteered before stealing another glance at Maya.
“Atty. dela Rosa?”
Maya was looking at the calendar on the wall. “Kung one setting na lang sa February, can you give us at least 2 hours?”
“Pwede naman po. Wala pa naman masyado naka schedule sa Feb next year so I can block off the entire morning or afternoon of the date chosen.”
Dan: So kalian na reset yung
Ryan: February next year!
Angelo:Si Maya talaga…kaya pala
Angelo:Naalala ko na. That was June 21 right?
Angelo:Well, there was this one time that she called me saying she’s stuck in Manila at nagpaturo how to reach QC court riding the LRT. I remember it was a few days before Manila day, so yan yung time na yun.
Richard:What happened to her?
Angelo:Coding kasi si Maya pag Tuesday so she parked her car sa QC Court then took the cab. Sabi nya kinontrata nya yung cab kaya the driver was asked to wait. Pag labas daw nya ng Manila RTC, wala na yung cab. Wala na raw gusto tumanggap na cab to QC kasi baha na so ang option nya mag LRT.
Gabi na nakarating sa Quezon City at sinundo ko na sa Kamuning station sa EDSA. Pagod na pagod at nabasa pa sa ulan. Nilakad pala from NAPOCOR Building to UN Avenue, the nearest LRT station tapos naglakad uli from EDSA Taft to transfer to MRT. She was sleeping like a baby in the car when I brought her home.
Ryan:Buti na lang pala naka kuha agad ng taxi itong si Stag!
Richard:Ahh…uhm, Manila Hotel lang naman kasi tayo eh.
Richard was feeling guilty as he recalled how he convinced the taxi driver to bring them to Manila Hotel.
Richard saw the cab parked near the entrance of the building where a number of Regional Trial Courts are housed. He approached the cab and opened the front door.
Richard:Boss sa Manila Hotel lang kami.
Driver: Ay boss, pasensha na po, may pasahero po ako sa loob, inaantay ko lang. Kontrata po kasi ako
Richard: Ahh…ganun ba? Kanina pa ba pumasok?
Driver:Wala pa pong kinse minutos eh. Pasensha na po, sa iba na lang kayo.
Richard:Bago pa lang naman siya pumasok eh, so matagal pa yun sa loob. Sa Manila Hotel lang naman kami, yung berdeng building sa tabi.
Driver:Baka bigla po lumabas yung pasahero ko, kawawa po ang bait pa naman.
Richard:Sandali lang naman, Manila Hotel lang, wala pa namang limang minuto yun eh. Balikan mo siya agad. Limang daan para sa limang minuto, ayaw mo pa? Mas malaki pa yun kesa diyan sa pinatak ng metro mo eh.
Driver:Sige na nga po, bilisan na po natin.
The program was just concluded with the raffle of prizes to some lucky attendees. Couples, including Ryan, Dan and their wives, are now on the dance floor enjoying the music. Left at the table by himself, Richard decided to get some drink. When he reached the bar, he saw Judge Teresita dela Rosa at the dessert table. He approached her and gave his courtesy.
Richard: Good evening Judge.
Teresita: O, Atty. Lim! Hello! It’s nice to see you here.
Richard: Brod ko po si Angelo and he is really a good friend of mine.
Teresita: Really? Kaya pala ang gaan ng loob ko sa iyo, you’re good friends with my youngest brother.
Richard: Angelo is your youngest brother Judge?
Teresita: Yes…oh well, it’s a complicated story. He’s the son of my mother sa second husband nya…of course after my father died. Teka, if you’re good friends with Angelo, how come I have never seen you before with him?
Richard: Si Angelo po ang madalas tumambay sa bahay. When we were younger, madalas po sila mag over night sa amin…I’m an only child and my mother was over protective of me.
Teresita: I understand. Nanay rin ako eh. Ganyan din ako ka protective sa mga anak ko, lalo na kay Maya. She’s also a lawyer.
Richard: Opo, I already met her Judge.
Coincidentally, Maya was walking towards the door with the intention of making a phone call outside, away from the noise.
Teresita: Maya! Anak, halika rito sandali.
Maya: Yes Ma, you need something?
Teresita: Nakilala mo na pala itong si Atty. Lim.
Maya: Opo, ahh…he’s the one I told you before, yung ginawamg excuse yung court nyo…
Richard: That was really an awkward and embarrassing moment. I’m sorry about that. ah…nakakataranta po kasi anak nyo eh…para akong na corner sa cross-examination. I admit, sa panic ko po, it was your branch that first came to my mind, I guess kasi madalas po ako dun.
Teresita: Ikaw Atty. Lim ha, pilyo ka…
Richard: I’m really sorry. Hindi naman po umubra sa anak nyo eh…
Teresita: ‘Nak, itong si Atty. Lim madalas kasi sa korte ko. You know, family court eh, yung isang mabigat na kaso, minor yung akusado and siya yung abogado. Halos every 3 weeks may bista siya sa amin.
Maya: Ah…ganun po ba…
Teresita: Pag wala yung PAO lawyer ko, siya ang ina-appoint kong counsel de oficio ng mga akusado na i-a-arraign. Mabait ito eh, may mga akusado na hindi na nya binitawan kaya siya na humawak pero libre.
Maya: Such a revelation, Atty. Lim.
Teresita: O, papunta rito si Angelo.
Angelo: Ate, pahiram muna itong pamangkin ko. Isasayaw ko muna. Brod, excuse ha.
Angelo took Maya’s hand and led her to the dance floor.
Teresita: Si Maya talaga…ikaw pala yung binuking nya…hahaha…don’t worry, wala yun sa akin. Sige, dun muna ako sa mga retired judges.
Richard: Sige po Judge.
Richard walked back to the bar station and finally got his drink. He stood there and watched Maya and Angelo dance. After a while he looked at his watch then hurriedly went outside.
After making an important call, Richard settled himself on one of the sofas at the spacious lobby of sports club. His friends were still on the dance floor and he was feeling bored by himself at the table. He also wanted to avoid crossing paths with some lady guests of Angelo as he was not in the mood to socialize with anyone else inside the function room.
A familiar scent caught his attention. There she was, just passed by where he was sitting, and stopped at a particular spot at the lobby, holding her mobile phone. Again with her around, his heart began to beat faster and louder. He stared at her back as he straightened up and waited for her next move. Within seconds after Maya put the phone to her ear, he heard her speak.
“Hi honey! How are you? … Aaawww, I miss you too baby. Are you not sleeping yet?….Okay…well I’m still here at the party…yes, and Mama is here too…..later pa eh……don’t wait up for me na……before you know it, nasa tabi mo na ako, okay? Yes, I promise…….I love you too.”
Maya turned around with head facing down. She was composing a text message while slowly walking. She looked up momentarily then looked down again as she heard her phone give an alert tone. She reads the message then smiled. She was to walk back inside the function room when Richard stood up from his seat and approached her.
“Hi!” He greeted her warmly with a loving smile showing his dimple. Maya looked up and saw Richard smiling at her. She smiled back and replied. “Oh hi! Ingay sa loob noh?”
Relieved that she responded positively, he nodded and said “Yeah, I just made a phone call too.” His smile faded and his face turned serious and apologetic then said “Uhm….look, I’m really sorry for what happened at the trial…I mean the first time that we encou -… when I made those stupid excuses…I didn’t mean to offend you or be unethical. It’s just that I was used to lawyers being okay with resetting the hearing. It was actually the first time I’ve encountered one who objected vigorously to resetting.”
“Vigorously?…such a strong word…”
“I mean…well..” Richard struggled for words to say.
“Hahaha! Totoo naman eh, vigorously nga. I’m sorry too for being difficult at that time. Muntik pa kayo ma-contempt because of me. Pasensha na ha, I was just doing my job. S-sorry na rin for my behavior kanina.”
“So, are we okay now? I mean, hindi ka na galit? Angelo is a very good friend of mine and you are his favorite niece.”
“Yes, wala naman na yun eh, nainis lang talaga ako kanina kasi nalala ko bigla pinagkaisahan nyo akong tatlo. We’re okay.” Maya assured him.
“Good! So, hi! I’m Richard Lim.” Richard removed his right hand that was resting inside his pocket and offered it to Maya.
Maya looked at his hand then took it for a shake. “Hi! I’m Maya dela Rosa. I see you are a very good friend of my favorite uncle.”
“Yeah…we’ve been friends since grade school!”
“Wow! Ganon na katagal? You are both luck to have good friends.”
“This may really make you angry and make your blood boil, but I have to reveal something to you because I do not want you to doubt later the sincerity of my apologies.”
Maya looked at him intently with creased forehead and said “So it’s not like you have any other choice, right?” Richard nods at her full of anxiety.
“Then why don’t you say it now?”
“I didn’t know that uhm…well…I did not mean to steal…I was only borrowing…and I – “
“We’re both lawyers, so stop going around the bushes.” Maya calmly said.
“We took your cab.” Richard finally released the information.
“My cab?….” Maya confusingly asked. “Oh! You mean that cab?!” she continued with an incredulous tone.
Richard panicked and held Maya’s crossed forearm “Maya I’m sorry. I was tasked to talk to the driver. He said he was waiting for his rider but I didn’t know it was you. I only asked him to drive us to Manila Hotel which will only take about 5 minutes. I convinced him because I said makakabalik agad siya in and wait again for his rider. Of course if I had the slightest idea that it was you, i would not have done that.” Realizing he was holding on to Maya, Richard hurriedly removed his hand. “When Angelo casually told us earlier what happened to you, I really felt so guilty. I still do, that is why I am explaining and apologizing to you.”
Maya kept silent for a moment while still looking at Richard. Then she took a deep breath and said “Thank you Richard for being honest even if you didn’t need to. You didn’t have to but you did anyway. That was a long time ago I have forgotten about it. But you made an effort to explain and apologize. For that, I have to be honest too. Its very much appreciated. Kaya let’s move on…anyway, nakauwi rinnaman ako unharmed and full of learning experience.
Richard felt very relieved. “Really? Your not mad at all? Thank you.”
“As I have said, tapos na yun. There is no point of getting mad about it. Besides, as I’ve said, dami kong learning experience.”
Richard smiled and said “Like riding the LRT and MRT?”
“Yes! at hindi lang yun. I learned the importance of giving more value to myself than work at pati na rin ang bawasan ang kakulitan ko.” Maya proudly shared. “O sige na Richard, mauna na ako sa loob ha. I need to talk to my mom eh.”
“O-of course! You go ahead, Maya…and thank you.” Richard watched her go smiling. He raised his eyebrows and shook his head once. He sat back on the sofa and heaved a sigh of relief. He was busy with his thoughts when he felt someone sat beside him.
“Why are you alone here outside? Ang daming tao sa loob.” Angelo asked. He took a cigarette stick and offered it to Richard.
“Ingay so loob pare, I had to make a phone call.” Richard explained as he took the stick and secured it to his lips. He took the lighter from Angelo and started puffing.
“How will you meet someone if you will not mingle?”
“Brod, I came here to show support for your candidacy, not to find someone.”
“Ang suplado naman! Kaya pala, hindi mo pinansin yung mga babae kanina! Buti na lang hindi sila botante. They’re from IBP Mandaluyong, just in case you are interested to know.”
Richard chuckled and shook his head. “Don’t tell me isa duon yung sinasabi mong ipapakilala mo sa akin.” He puffed some smoke again then asked. “Seriously brod, you want me to be with someone like them?”
It was Angelo’s turn to chuckle and shake his head. “Pare, you thought I was just hooking you up with a girl? I’m getting married soon. Ikaw na lang sa barkada ang matitira. I actually wanted you to meet someone special. Malayong malayo naman dun so klase nung mga sinupladuhan mong girls kanina.”
Richard took a lungful from the half cigarette stick before putting it off on the ashtray. “Okay, that’s clear enough. So, where is this special someone that you want me to meet? Kailan mo ipapakilala sa akin?”
“Hindi na pare.” Angelo answered as he tapped off the cigarette ash of the stick he was still smoking.
Richard looked at him with raised eyebrows. “But why?”
“Hindi na kita kailangan ipakilala. You’ve met her already.” Angelo said in as-a-matter-of-fact tone. Then he continued. “I wanted you to meet Maya.”
“W-whaaat? Si Maya?” Richard asked incredulously.