This is a continuation to I’m sorry, I love you-part 7.
Maya returned to Hyderabad on Sunday evening. James suggested her to go on vacation in Manila, hoping that being away from India may change her heart. However, she was adamant in going because she still had a commitment at the plant site.
On Monday morning, there was no Richard at the hotel nor at the office. He has not returned from Singapore. For the rest of the week, he didn’t show up, which left Maya wondering what has happened to him. She completed all the scheduled trainings without hearing from him. It continued for a second week and she was going crazy thinking about him. It didn’t help that his phone was always off.
At the end of second week, she decided to go back to Manila via Singapore and purposely set a one day stop over to see him. She called up Lisa to check if Richard was at his office and was relieved to know that he was there.
Lisa sounded concerned when Maya checked on his whereabouts.
“Maya did something happen in India?”
“Why do you say that Lisa?” Maya asked, curiosity in her tone.
“Well, he’s here for two straight weeks. He is very quiet, almost reclusive. He came back suddenly and now he is requesting me to book him a flight to Australia.”
“What? When is he going there? Do you know why he is going there?” Maya asked.
“Well, I don’t exactly know the reason but he his 2 sons are there and his ex-wife too. He wants to leave as soon as possible.
“So, I’m getting a ticket for a flight tomorrow morning.” Lisa provided Maya the details which made her a little bit more confident in asking Lisa a favor.
“Lisa, can I ask for a favor please?”
“What is it?” Lisa asked.
“If you really have to get him a flight schedule, can you get for one that is a day after tomorrow? I am arriving Singapore tomorrow morning and I intend to go to your office to meet him. It’s important that I speak to him before he goes to Australia.” She was almost pleading to his secretary.
“Alright, I’ll do it. But he may not be in the office tomorrow. I will make sure though you get the chance to speak to him personally.”
Maya’s flight from Hyderabad arrived Singapore at 6:30 am. She checked-in in her hotel first and freshened up before proceeding to meet Richard. At 10:00 a.m., she was already seated in his office waiting anxiously for him. It was Lisa who confirmed her appointment with him.
Up until an hour before their meeting, Richard was having second thoughts about going to his office. He didn’t expect Maya to come over to Singapore. He wasn’t sure if he is ready to see her yet. In the end, he decided to meet her.
The moment Maya saw Richard enter his office, she lost all her confidence and got nervous. He seemed so serious, unapproachable. So, she remained seated on the visitor’s sofa, hoping that she will find her courage and address the issues she wants to settle with him.
“Hi” They greeted each other at the same time, their smiles not reaching their eyes.
“So, Maya, how were the trainings at the plant?” Richard started the conversation. He seated himself on the other end of the sofa and faced her.
“It went well. The team was actually looking for you and wondered why you haven’t been there for the last 2 weeks.” She responded, glad that he spoke first.
“There are things that I also needed to attend here. I have a business to run and I haven’t been paying attention to it since I took the Hindra project.” He responded in a matter of fact tone.
“Eh… Richard… I sent you several messages and called you several times. Did you get them?” She asked tentatively.
“Yes, I did.” He was looking at her seriously.
“So, why didn’t you even return my call or sent me a message?” She followed-up, hoping for an explanation.
“I was tied up with things. I assumed that it was related to the project. I think you are doing well on itt so I left you alone.” Richard lied. He purposely didn’t return her calls.
On the first week that he was back, he was hurting so much just by the thought that she was with James. By the second week, he was almost numb and promised himself that he can’t be hurt again. If he called her up and hear her voice, it would start all over again. So, he deliberately ignored her call with a firm resolve that he will try to forget her.
“It’s not just about the work or project, Richard. Ahh… I thought that you would have at least called me. I was used to having you around and then suddenly you were gone.” She half-smiled and felt self-conscious with the cold treatment he was giving her.
“I didn’t realize that I was functioning as a baby-sitter too.” The moment he said it, he regretted it. He saw her wince when she heard his statement.
“Of course not! It’s just that…I was expecting…” Now, tears were welling up in her eyes. He felt uncomfortable seeing her almost in tears.
“Maya, tell me, why are you here today? There must be a reason.” Richard asked, looking at her intently.
“I wanted to see you. I miss you. It felt different without you in Hyderabad. Are those enough reasons?” She looked at him directly, sincerity in her eyes. In her thoughts, “Isn’t it obvious?”
Richard’s heart skipped several beats. In his mind, she may be telling the truth but he wanted more than that. Two weeks ago, he needed an assurance or least a sign from her that she loves him; he was waiting for something significant. He didn’t want to get hurt anymore with false assumptions.
“I think you’ve developed a dependency on me. As you do more consulting work, you will need to manage your relationships such that you’re able to separate the personal and professional aspects. Otherwise, you will experience this same issue all over again.” He has rationalized her feeling as dependency towards him.
“Richard, why are you being so mean to me? You sound as if you don’t’ care about how I feel for you” She couldn’t control her tears anymore so it started to flow.
“Wait Maya, let’s be real here. I’m just being realistic with our situation. If one has a commitment, don’t you think it’s an expectation that, that commitment should be honored?” Maya knew he was referring to her relationship with James.
“Yes” her short reply.
“So, when you are committed to someone, you shouldn’t put another person hanging, right? You have to choose.”
“Richard, I needed to spend time with James and talk to him.” She explained herself.
“Yes, of course, you could have done that when he was in Hyderabad. You didn’t have to go on vacation with him.” His made another snide remark, unable to control his jealousy.
Maya caught his reaction so she asked, “Were you jealous? You could have stopped me if you wanted to.”
“Ask you? Do I have the right? If I asked you, would that change your decision? Remember, you made a choice. It was very clear to me that it was your choice and I asked you twice about it.”
“Richard, ang mahirap kasi, I am not sure where I stand with you.” She was getting frustrated with the turn of events.
“So ngayon, ako na ang hindi klaro. Has it occurred to you that I may feel the same? Come to think of it, Ano ba tayo? How much do you know about me? How much do I know about you?
Even a simple caffeine allergy, you didn’t tell me. We have a wide age gap, we come from different cultures, you’re in a relationship.” He poured out all his issues for her to ponder.
“Sa mga sinabi mo, sa dami-dami ng issues na naiisip mo, para namang nagdadahilan ka lang. Lahat naman yan pwede nating mapag-usapan, ah.” She was getting desperate in trying to make him understand her. She has purposely set out to see him , to be with him and yet, she couldn’t understand what he wants from her. Why was he being so difficult. She is there in front of him so vulnerable.
“Are you throwing me all these to discourage me or maybe you haven’t gotten over your first wife?” She asked trying to maintain her composure but failing.
“Leave Corinne, out of this! I’ve moved on.” With the mention of wife’s name, it was Maya’s turn to be jealous. By the way he responded, Maya doubted whether he has really moved on.
So she pushed some more. “I don’t think so. If you moved on, then you could been more open about her. You’ve always been secretive, not wanting to talk about your family.”
“Maya, you’re in a four year relationship with James. So, you could just tell me that it’s not that easy to leave him.” He reverted back to James as the topic.
“No, let’s not turn this around. You were in a long term relationship with Corinne, you have 2 sons. Therefore, it’s hard for you to forget her.” She said with resignation.
He didn’t respond. There was silence for a few minutes while they were still in the sofa waiting for each other to make a move until Richard’s phone rang. Lisa reminded him of his luncheon meeting.
Maya wanted to tell him that she has broken up with James but was disheartened to do so. It didn’t seem to matter anymore because she felt her feelings were not reciprocated. If he felt something for her before, he must have overcome it.
As soon as Richard stood up, Maya also got up from her seat.
“Richard, I’d better go now. I don’t want to take up any more of your time.” She was about to leave him.
“Alright…” He was in turmoil whether to stop her or not. “And, by the way, I am turning over the project lead role to Ryan. You may ask Lisa to introduce him to you. He’s going to work with you until the Hindra project is completed.” He turned his back, trying to find something on top of his table.
“Why Richard?” Her voice quivering. She felt hurt that he didn’t want to associate with her anymore.
“I don’t think we’ll be able to work together after this.” It was a short, direct to the point response from him.
Maya’s heart ached. Whatever it was, it was really over for him. It was over even before it started. She couldn’t think properly ;totally lost her sense of modesty. She walked towards him and without saying a word hugged him from behind, tears flowing in her face.
Richard was surprised by Maya’s move such that he initially froze. When he recovered, he turned around. Maya didn’t remove her arms around him. He slightly pulled away from her to allow some space between them.
“Maya…” His own emotions were at breaking point but his pride kept his stance.
She looked up to him and said, “Just this once Richard… I won’t bother you again.” Within seconds, she kissed him. It was a warm tender kiss, full of love that reached his heart.
When she took a step backward, her eyes with sadness as she said, “I’m sorry, I love you.”
She left him leaning on his table wondering if he did the right thing, allowing her to walk out of his life.
Sorry seems to be the hardest word.