Admin note: This is a continuation to Wasted – Part 10
Author’s Note: Hello! Sorry at sobrang natagalan ito 😦 Maraming nangyari sa buhay ko kaya kinailangan ko ito isantabi bilang na isa ko itong libangan, isa siya sa mga kailangan ko muna bitawan nung mga nakaraang linggo. Hindi ko na idedetalye ang mga nangyari at sa halip ako ay humihingi na lamang pag-unawa. Maraming salamat.
“Ma, I can explain.” He had to stop himself from stammering. Richard felt like he was an errant little boy once more, caught sneaking out to play under the rain.
Doña Esmeralda rolled her eyes. “Sure you can, Ricky.”
Her son cleared his throat. “By the way, Ma, where’s Papa?”
“Oh you know your father when it comes to business. He just had to join a last minute meeting with a possible partner. This caused him to have to rebook his flight.” She raised her eyebrows in annoyance. “Hay bahala siya, edi nauna ako ng uwi sa kanya. Don’t change the topic Ricky, di ka makakalusot sa akin.” She tented her fingers. “Let’s begin with the identity of the mother of Anton.” She tilted her head as though thinking. “You’ve never shared anything about who you’ve been in involved with for the past years or if there ever was anyone to begin with.” She made herself comfortable on the chair. “Apparently, by the look of things, there is someone.”
Richard remained silent and instead focused on clearing up the board game that his children left.
“Why,” His mother continued her musing. “The last woman you’ve dropped hints about was Maya, Abby’s former nanny – yung naging flight attendant right? And we all know nothing came out from that.” Doña Esmeralda waved her hand in emphasis as she threw a glance at Richard, who immediately averted his gaze. “Oh-ho-ho-ho, Ricky,” Her eyes widened. “Wait a minute. Don’t tell me – is Maya the mother of Anton?”
Richard gave a terse nod.
While her co-FAs idly chatted about the turbulence that they encountered, Maya was hurriedly walking to their destination. After all, she had another flight right after the one she had came from.
“Ma’am!” Maya tapped the senior flight attendant holding a clipboard.
“Ah Ms dela Rosa,” The woman consulted the list. “It appears that you’ll be placed on reserve for now.”
“Po?” Maya asked, confused. She was sure that she had a scheduled flight.
“Yes, Ms Viray covered for you in your next flight as your earlier flight was delayed, resulting in the swapping of schedules.”
“Ah, ganun po ba,” Maya wringed her hands. “Sige po, Ma’am Clemente, I’ll just get my luggage po then I’ll wait for further announcements here.”
Minutes later found Maya twiddling her thumbs back in the same room. Unfortunately for her, the crew had been very efficient in directing her luggage to the plane of her next supposed flight upon alighting the previous one. This leaves her with waiting for a next flight, baggage-less.
Maya took out her phone and scrolled through the numbers until she landed on Anton’s (or rather, her old number). She was about to call but she caught sight of the time.
“Naku, siguro nag-siesiesta yun ngayon,” She thought. “Mahirap pa naman yun patulugin, baka mahirapan sila sa mansyon kung magising ko siya.” Anton had been staying with the Lims for the past days while she was assigned to handle international flights. His half-siblings had insisted that he stay with them during their sem break as opposed to Anton going back to San Nicolas. Maya had acquiesced, knowing that her son looked forward to spending time with his newly-found older siblings.
An hour later, Ms Clemente approached the group of FAs waiting for their schedule. One by one she called them to give them their flight details.
Maya was the last to be called.
“Ms dela Rosa, it would seem like you’re free to go for the day.” Ms Clemente smiled at the last attendant. “All the other flights have been covered and you can head on early for your rest days.”
“Ricky!” Esmeralda slammed her bejeweled hand on the table. “Why did you do that? How could you do that?” Her tone was disbelieving. “I thought you were serious with Maya, and now, look at what you did.”
Richard narrowed his eyes. “Mama, I don’t follow you – what do you mean?”
“That child is a couple of years old already,” Esmeralda’s theatric voice gained momentum. “You know how important family is to us, Ricky. Why is he or his mother not yet within the family fold?” Seeing her son’s still confused expression, she decided to put it bluntly. “You’ve told me before that Maya is important to you and your family, but then it seemed like you suddenly hid her from scrutiny and made her your mistress.”
“Ma!” Richard stood up, feeling enraged. “Is that what you think of me?”
“Then, explain it to me Ricky. Don’t keep me guessing.” Esmeralda knew that sometimes she needed to push her son into revealing things to her. “Calm down and have a sit. Let me ask for a cup of coffee or tea, if you would like. Fe!”
Richard took his seat once again, bracing himself for an overdue conversation with his mother.
Maya stood by the taxi bay, wondering what she should do now. She was not expected back at the mansion until tomorrow which gives her a window of free time. With the necessity of waiting for her luggage, Maya did not want to go and drop by Anton just yet and neither did she feel like going home.
Noticing a man standing nearby with a bouquet of flowers, an idea came into her mind. Without hesitation and armed only with her shoulder bag, she hailed a taxi.
“Saan po, Miss?” The driver eyed her through the rear view mirror as she got in and locked the doors.
“Manong, sa flower shop po tayo.”
“Ricky,” Esmeralda leaned back after taking a long sip of her tea. “I don’t know what to say.” Indeed, she does not. Words cannot express how it may feel to a parent upon learning that you have been deprived of years of your child’s existence. Esmeralda could only imagine how it would hurt her should her only child be taken from her. Despite the rough patches they have been through, Ricky is still her son and she will forever cherish him.
Richard merely toyed with the spoon and mixed the coffee in front of him. It felt as though a weight has been lifted from his chest.
“So, when do you plan on rectifying your situation?” Esmeralda questioned after regaining her composure. “What is the situation between you and Maya? Is she unattached? Do you intend to offer marriage? Fix the legalities of naming Anton as your son? What is it?”
“Mama, actually, I already asked her to marry me.” He enunciated carefully.
“Well then, when did you plan to tell me that?” Esmeralda raised her voice in excitement. “Kailangan pa ba kita pigain para makuha kung kailan niyo balak ang kasal?” It never crossed her mind that Maya had rejected her son. After all, he is a prize catch, so to speak.
“That’s just it – she rejected me.”
“Who rejected who, son?” Don Roberto Lim has arrived in Manila as well.
Maya alighted from the taxi, carrying a bouquet of flowers. She gently pushed the gate, pleased that it was unlocked. The serene atmosphere enveloped her as she carefully placed the bouquet in front of the metal letters saying ‘Alexandra S. Lim’.
Richard tried to read his father’s expression after Esmeralda retold the story about Maya and Anton. After all, he never had a close relationship with his father in his adult years. Nonetheless, he did not want any form of hostility from that end.
“You know, you could have informed your mother and I ahead about your having another child. I had to learn from Mr Tanaka.”
Richard’s eyebrows were raised. “Mr Tanaka?”
“Yes yes,” Roberto answered absent-mindedly. “You see, I met him in one of my meetings abroad. He proceeded to tell me how behaved and charming my grandson was. I responded by saying that he might follow in your footsteps, mentioning his course in college.” He looked his son with an unreadable expression. “Imagine my surprise when he said that he was talking about my other grandson, the toddler one. By anyway,” He changed the topic. “Maya, you say?” Roberto stroked his chin pensively. “Abby’s yaya who – .”
“Former nanny,” Richard cannot help but interrupt.
“Her former nanny who became instrumental in returning her voice.” Roberto continued. “She’s a flight attendant now? Of what airline?”
“Time Airways.” He sees his father nod at this.
“Then you proposed to her and got turned down?”
“Not exactly – but she had some misgivings -.”
“Did she say yes?”
“She didn’t say yes.”
“Then you got turned down.”
“Roberto.” Esmeralda felt she needed to intervene.
“I’m just stating facts, Esmeralda.”
“You didn’t have to be so blunt about it. This is Ricky we’re talking about.”
“Ma, it’s ok.” Richard placed a hand on his mother’s arm. “I didn’t present my proposal very well. But I intend to propose again when she returns from her flights.”
Before any of them can react to this statement, the Lim kids thundered down the staircase.
“Dad, I promise to take charge of all the preparations!”
“Dad, I agree with Niks that it’s a good idea.”
Their bewildered father can only get bits and pieces of what they were telling him.
“Children! One at a time, please.” Their grandmother’s voice cut through the cacophony.
Her four grandchildren silenced themselves, suddenly remembering the presence of Esmeralda and then perceiving Roberto at her side.
“Lolo!” Abby broke the sudden silence and made a move forward to make mano at her grandfather.
“Hello there hija,” Roberto smiled at her as her other siblings moved to greet him as well.
Anton hung back and tried to hide himself behind Richard.
Richard reached back and sat Anton on his lap, hugging him to comfort the child who was starting to exhibit anxiety after being with strangers.
“Hello little boy,” Roberto tried to smile at the child who was looking at him warily.
“Hello po,” Anton bit his lip in his shyness and hid his face at his father’s shoulder.
“He’s a bit shy,” Richard said by means of explanation, lest his father feel it as a sting of rejection from his grandchild. “Anton, baby,” He tried to look at his son. “This is Daddy’s daddy. Pa,” Richard directed this at his father. “This is my son, Anton.”
Anton then wriggled from Richard’s grasp and stood in front of Roberto. “Mano po.”
“Bless you, hijo.”
Esmeralda sensed a change in the atmosphere and decided to redirect the conversation. “So, Luke, what were you guys saying earlier when you so excitedly ambushed your father?”
“Ah ayun,” Luke recalled what they had gone down for. “Dad, pwede po ba kami mag-camp out sa backyard?” He asked for permission.
“Yes Dad,” Nikki seconded the motion. “We were sharing with Anton that we camped out a few years ago kasi nag-away kami ni Kuya. Then Abby had this really brilliant idea of camping out in a tent and sleeping bags with Anton.”
Abby held her father’s arm in support. “Kasi Daddy, ‘di po ba Anton will be going back to San Nicolas soon when sembreak is over? Gusto lang po namin magbonding with him.”
“Also, it would be nice for him build happy memories with his ates and kuya, right Dad?” Nikki added.
“Well,” Richard eyed his parents cautiously. “Since you put it that way…”
“Dad, if you want, text na rin namin Tita Maya to ask for her permission,” Luke assured him, thinking that maybe his dad did not want to decide without Maya, since it was about Anton.
“No need,” Richard shook his head. “It’s ok, go ahead. Plus Maya’s on a flight right now, I don’t think she’ll be able to give a response soon.” He winced as his girls gave shrieks of excitement. “Niks, Luke, make sure to take care of all the preparations.”
“Miss, miss, sino po sila?”
Maya whipped around to face an older man peering at her from the outside of the mausoleum. “Ay, hello po, ako po si Maya dela Rosa,” She placed a hand at her chest. “Um, dinadalaw ko lang po si Ma’am Alex. Dating yaya po ako ni Abby, yung anak niya.”
“Ah ganun ba, ako si Mang Elias, caretaker ako ng mga Lim dito sa sementeryo,” The man shifted the dustpan and broom to one hand to shake Maya’s hand.
“Nice to meet you po,” Maya replied with a smile.
Once the children have scattered to get the things for their camp out ready, Roberto got back to the issue at hand. He was still unsure on how to react to his son having a son out of wedlock. He also wondered about the extraordinary woman who was the mother of his grandson. Other women might have grabbed this opportunity or even gone forward to claim their rights once they learned of their pregnancy. But this woman, this Maya dela Rosa, did just the opposite of what he expected. “Ricky, I think I will reserve judgment. I don’t know her well enough – or at all – to give my opinion.”
Knowing that this is the best of which he can get from his father, “Thanks Pa.”
Esmeralda leaned forward. “When will we get to meet her? And what are these proposal plans you speak of?”
After a brief conversation with Mang Elias about her purpose in going to the Lim mausoleum and after dusting and sweeping, Maya positioned herself in front of the flowers.
“Hi Ma’am Alex, ako po si Maya dela Rosa.”
When Don Roberto excused himself to check his email and Doña Esmeralda sought the househelp to make sure that the children were ready for their camp out (“Doris, yung katol! Wag mong kalimutan yun, baka lamukin yung mga bata!”), Richard and Manang Fe headed to the guest room to prepare it for them.
“Ricardo, paano yung mga gamit nina Anton?” Manang Fe asked upon seeing the things of Anton and an emergency overnight bag of Maya in the guest room.
“We could put their things in my room for a while. Maya won’t be back until tomorrow anyway and the kids will have a sleepover outdoors.” Richard hoisted Maya’s bag on his shoulder.
“Ikaw bahala.” Manang Fe shrugged and went inside the room to pack Anton’s things for transfer.
Then they heard the doorbell ring.
“Manang, ako na ang magbubukas ng gate.” Richard called out after dropping the bag in his bedroom. He headed downstairs, knowing that the rest of his household help were being terrorized by his mother.
Roberto just got out of Richard’s office when Richard reached the front door. “Richard, I think I heard the doorbell. Were you expecting anyone?”
“No Pa,” Richard answered as he opened the gate.
“Hi Richard! Si Maya?” James Ventura cheerfully asked as way of a greeting, with Maya’s stroller bag in tow.
Maya stood outside the cemetery, feeling more certain of her decision.
“Makakabuti ito para kay Anton at pati kina Abby,” She waited patiently for a taxi or a jeep to pass by. “Hindi ko naman papalitan yung mommy nila at lalong hindi ko naman papalitan yung asawa ni Richard.” Maya wrinkled her face. Today, she will agree to Richard’s marriage proposal.
As soon as Ventura left after dropping off Maya’s baggage (and enduring small talk with his father), Richard quickly took out his phone.
Apparently, Ventura, while on preparing for a flight abroad, overheard a couple of FAs talking about Maya’s bag which was mistakenly loaded. He offered to take it off their hands as he was heading to Manila just then. Besides, he reckoned, the Lim household was on the way and Maya’s sure to have gone there first as his child was there.
“Dad, nasaan yung – what are you doing?” Luke took in his father, concentrating hard on tapping on his cellphone. He peered at the screen. “Dad, is that a phone tracker?” He reached over to tap. “You’re tracking Tita Maya!”
“Luke!” Richard covered the screen of his phone, only a tad bit ashamed that his son caught him. “I just wanted to make sure she’s ok.”
“Ok Dad.” Luke shook his head while laughing. Dad talaga, hindi ko maintindihan yung mga tactics sa panliligaw.
After Luke left his office, Richard looked at the screen again to take note of the location of Maya in consternation. Why would Maya be there? Maybe it’s a glitch or she’s just passing by. Shaking off his suspicious thoughts, he called Maya instead.
“Richard?” Came the hesitant answer.
“Maya dela Rosa, where are you? Ventura said that you arrived in Manila hours ago but you didn’t even inform me!”
“Ha? Ah, eh -.” Maya sounded surprised.
Is that guilt that I hear? Richard wondered. “I had to find out when Ventura arrives here bringing your things. You could have called and Joma or I could have fetched you.
“Richard, ok lang naman eh at abala pa yun sa schedule niyo.”
“No Maya, I will always make time for you.” Richard ran a hand through his hair in frustration. It always seemed like Maya did not find him dependable on anything. “Just – come home now.”
“Hayaan mo naka-taxi na ako, pero dadaan muna ako dyan.”
“Good, we’ll talk then.”
“Ok, bye.” Maya ended the call. Akala ko ba sinabi nya na umuwi na ako pero nung sinabi kong dadaan muna ako sa kanila, ok lang raw at mag-usap kami. Ang labo naman ni Sir Chief. Maya huffed in her seat then gave directions to the taxi driver.
“Sa tawag palang niya, mukhang ma-ooffice ako nito. Mabuti pa nga unahan ko na lang siya mamaya para walang masabi.” Maya composed herself as she stared at the gate of the Lim mansion. “Now or never, Maya.”
Just as she was about to press the doorbell, the gate opened.
“Tita Maya! Good, you’re here.” Nikki dropped the black garbage bag she was carrying and embraced Maya. “We weren’t expecting you.”
“Hi Nikki,” Maya greeted her. “Napaaga lang yung bakasyon ko. Teka, bakit ikaw naglalabas niyan?”
“Oh, this?” Nikki pointed at the black bag. “It’s just some of my abubot na sira na. We were looking for stuff at the bodega kasi -.”
“Mama!” Anton came running to them.
“Baby!” Maya knelt to her son’s level and gave him a volley of kisses. “Namiss kita.”
“Tara Mama, dun po tayo sa may pool.”
“Yes Tita, come on, we’ll show you what we’re up to.”
Maya barely got a word edgewise as the children dragged her to the poolside, eagerly showing the tents and telling her of their plans. Abby and Luke both greeted her and joined the enthusiastic discussion led by Nikki.
Maya quickly turned her head as she heard the booming voice of her son’s father.
Ngayon na, Maya. She took a deep breath and gave herself a mental pep talk.
“Ok guys, hayaan na muna natin si Dad at si Tita, I think they need to catch up.” Luke winked at Maya as he ushered his siblings to go back to their preparations for their impromptu camp out.
Since both had something on their mind that they want to say, they both blurted it out at the same time.
“Richard, Sir Chief, ready na ako.”
“Ipinakilala ko na si Anton kay Mama at Papa.”
The couple had startled expressions on their faces and began to speak simultaneously.
“Kina Doña Esmeralda at Don Roberto?”
“Ready for what?”
“Sir Chief, wala yun,” Maya waved off his question, wanting to focus on the important matter at hand. “Paano nalaman ng mama at papa mo?”
“They’re here and I’ve told them everything.” Richard held her hands and looked at them.
Maya’s face turned ashen. Andito ang magulang ni Sir Chief?
“Are you ok? You don’t look too good.”
“Ok lang ako, ok lang…Anong sabi ni Anton sa lolo’t lola niya?”
“Anton doesn’t know yet. I mean, I haven’t formally introduced them as his grandparents. I wanted to wait for you, to ask you if it’s ok.”
Maya’s breath caught at the intensity of Richard’s gaze and feeling touched at his concern. “Oo naman, lolo at lola niya yun. At isa pag, ilang taon ko rin sila pinagkaitan ng apo nila…”
“Shh.” Richard placed a finger on Maya’s lips. “Ok na ang lahat. No need to think about the past, ok?”
“Ricky? Are you there?” Doña Esmeralda and Don Roberto can be seen exiting the house to go to the pool area.
“Mama, Papa,” Richard cleared his throat and hesitantly placed a hand on the small of Maya’s back. “This is Maya, my -.”
Maya quickly cut-in. “Maya dela Rosa po, mama ni Anton,” She gave a small wave. “Hello po, Doña Esmeralda at Don Roberto.” Her eyes widened as she recognized the father of Richard.
“Hija, none of that Doña and Don business.” Esmeralda moved to hug Maya. “Call us Tita and Tito. After all, you’re the mother of our grandchild.”
Maya struggled to give a sincere smile; she really was feeling nervous.
Richard took her hand in his. “It’s ok,” He whispered in her ear. “They don’t bite.”
“Ricky, I heard that.” Esmeralda pretended to be offended. “O siya, hija, why don’t you freshen up before dinner? Naka-uniform ka pa, that’s got to be uncomfortable.”
Roberto smiled kindly at her. “Yes, after all you had a busy day, what with that turbulent flight we had earlier.”
“Ahh o-ok po,” Maya managed to say, took her leave and made her way to the stairs.
“Sir Chief?” She paused mid-way.
“Your overnight bag is in the master’s bedroom,” Richard caught up with her. “I had Mama and Papa move in the guestroom so use the bathroom en suite.”
Dinner was pleasant but far from the relaxing dinner that Richard expected to have once Maya came home. Despite Maya’s smiles poise, he knew that she was uncomfortable. Given this, he appreciated the conscious efforts of Luke and Nikki to diffuse the occasional awkward silence and at the same time put Maya in her element. Anton and Abby were none the wiser with the former reveling in having an older sibling and the latter with having a younger one.
Richard slowly inched his hand to Maya’s, which was currently placed on her lap. The woman beside him jolted in surprise and spared him a glance. He smiled at Maya and squeezed her hand. Taking courage at this, she leaned over to her son, who was seated at her other side.
“Anton, di ba kilala mo yung Mama ni Mama?”
Anton nodded eagerly. “Opo si Lola Nanay.”
“Anak,” She gestured towards Esmeralda and Roberto. “Sila naman yung Papa at Mama ni Daddy – sila ang Lolo at Lola mo.”
Her son’s face brighetened up significantly, as if Christmas day has come early. “May lolo na ako?”
Maya just nodded, feeling conscious as all the occupants of the dining table had turned their attention to their conversation.
“At nagdagdagan po yung lola ko?”
“You’re our youngest apo.” Roberto added as Anton looked at him.
“Unless magiging kuya na si Anton…” Esmeralda trailed off, looking at her son expectantly.
Luke stage-whispered. “Uy, si Dad, may naalala sa bedroom…”
Maya choked on the soup, causing Richard to run his hand on her back then lightly patting it.
“Daddy, magiging kuya na rin po si Anton?” Abby innocently asked, the notion of having a baby in the house somewhat excited her.
“Imposible yun!” Maya exclaimed with a red face.
There was a clatter of utensils as everyone stared at her.
Abby and Anton looked at Maya with wide eyes.
Luke was keeping in his laughter.
Richard’s parents were looking curiously at their son.
Nikki was making her oh-my-gee expression. “That really gave me too much information about Dad.”
Richard motioned to say something but his quick-tongued mother beat him to it.
“Abby, ang ibig sabihin lang ng Tita Maya mo ay – just not right now.” Esmeralda took a sip of water. “Wait a bit. Malay mo…” She held her son’s gaze.
“Talaga po, Lola?”
“I dare you to contradict me, Ricky.”
Roberto cleared his throat. “Well, this talk is too premature, I think.”
After dinner, the family spent time outdoors – with the katol lit, of course. They had two rounds of ungguy-ungguyan, a girls vs boys game of charades and then stargazing. When the clouds moved to cover the stars, Luke instigated scary story-telling.
At this point, the elder Lim couple made their good nights and went to their bedroom.
While preparing for bed, the couple shared thoughts about Maya.
“Roberto, I think he’s in love with her.” Esmeralda nudged her husband. Ah, young love.
Roberto looked at her. “You think? I think he’s positively smitten with her. And she doesn’t even care to give him the time of day.” He found it amusing, to see his son seemingly unable to take his eyes off this woman.
Despite finding the woman charming, Roberto feels the need to get to know her better.
Richard wanted this moment to last – enjoying a family night together as a complete unit. But he has to wake up to reality that Maya did not accept his proposal weeks ago.
While it was Nikki’s turn to tell her scary stories, Luke sat beside his father. “Dad, Tita Maya’s here early. Do we bump up the date?”
“No Luke, it’s ok. We’ll retain it.” What’s another day, anyway? Richard shrugged. “Just make sure that Niccolo can make it.”
Whatever they had planned behind closed doors, they were ready for it.
After a couple of story stories, Anton gave a large yawn which his mother noticed. “Naku, antok na ang baby ko.”
“Ok, time for bed guys.” Richard got up to help the kids.
Luke got the garbage bag from his father. “Dad, it’s ok, we got this.”
“Yes, Dad, kami na ang bahala.” Nikki stood up as well to help Luke.
Richard approached Maya, where Anton had curled up in her arms. “Do you need help in readying them?”
“Di na, Sir Chief,” Maya gave a tired smile. “Ibalato mo na lang ito sa akin, namiss ko kasi sila.”
“I’ll go ahead then,” Richard bent to kiss Anton and Abby on the cheek. “Maya, pagkatapos niyan, go to bed.” He kissed her forehead.
Richard tossed and turned. What could be taking Maya so long? He felt the left side of his bed to make sure it was empty.
He looked at his phone to see that a substantial amount of time has passed since he last left them outdoors.
Kicking off his covers, Richard got up to check on his family.
The house was quiet and dark but he did not mind. He was determined to go outdoors. He entered the tent to check on Anton. Everyone, but Luke, who was reading a book using a portable book light, was asleep. Maya was still nowhere to be found.
Realization dawned on Richard.
No she wouldn’t.
Without a word, he hurried to the living room.
Maya’s stroller bag was nowhere in sight.
Just to be sure, he checked the other rooms like the study room and the family room. Richard was sure that she would not be with Manang Fe. Ever since Joma had gotten hitched, they had converted his quarters into a storage room and had the rooms of Manang Fe and Sabel converted into one. Nonetheless, there was no space for an additional person.
Sighing, he took out his phone to call Maya.
“Maya! Where are you? What are you doing?”
“Natutulog na ako.”
“Saan?” Richard tried to tamp down his irritation; Maya did sound sleepy and tired as though he had woke her up.
“Sa kama ko, sa bahay…Sa condo.” Maya was half-asleep.
“And how did you get there? It’s past midnight! Something could have happened to you.”
“Taxi,” Maya struggled to keep awake as she curled on her bed with her pillows. “Nakarating naman ako ah, ok lang rin naman ako kaya kalma ka lang…”
Richard took a deep breath. It would not do well to argue with someone who just woke up. “Ok fine. Make sure to be ready for breakfast here tomorrow.”
The line was dropped and with a frustrated sigh, Richard went back to the tent.
“What is it Dad?” Luke was still awake.
“Do you know where Maya is?”
“Huh?” Luke furrowed his eyebrows. “Wala po ba siya sa inyo Dad? Sabi po niya magpapahinga na siya.”
“Well, Maya did but…” Richard trailed off as he saw Anton slowly open his eyes, probably hearing the voices. “Anton, go to sleep, it’s still night time.”
Anton rubbed his eyes, blinking in the dark. “Si Mama po pinag-uusapan niyo?”
“Ah yes, alam mo ba kung nasaan siya?” Richard asked carefully, hoping that the young boy would not suddenly ask for his mother to tuck him to bed.
“Opo, at home po.”
“At home.” Luke repeated.
Anton nodded. “Gusto niyo po puntahan?” Without waiting for a response, he crawled to his bag and pulled out a keychain with several keys. “Baka po kasi hindi niya kayo marinig. Ito po yung ginagamit namin minsan ni Tito James para makapasok sa bahay.”
Luke dared a glance at his father, noting the tightening of the jaw to learn that James Ventura is able to enter Maya’s abode without asking for permission.
“Good night Daddy, good night Kuya.” Anton gave them each a hug and crawled back in the sleeping bag.
“Dad, you really have to do something.” Luke felt that Maya still felt like an outsider to the Lim family.
“I know son.” Maya still did not consider their home as her home. Hopefully, in a few days time, he will be able to rectify this.
Doña Esmeralda puttered about in the kitchen, giving orders to Doris and Sabel.
“Day, akala ko malala si Manang Fe, mas malala pala ang Doña.” Doris whispered to Sabel.
Unfortunately, Manang Fe overheard her. “Umayos kayong dalawa dyan.”
As Doña Esmeralda was finalizing the menu for breakfast, Richard entered the kitchen, showered and dressed up. “Sabel, please prepare the thermos, fill it with hot water. Prepare the travel canisters for the coffee ingredients as well.”
“Ok po, sir.” Sabel handed Doris the tongs she was holding to get the thermos.
“Good morning Ricky, why are you up so early?”
“Good morning Ma,” He kisses her cheek perfunctorily. “I’m going to fetch Maya.”
Esmeralda raised her eyebrows. So she did not sleep over? That’s another point for you, Ms dela Rosa. She further observed her son looking somewhat annoyed. And another point for doing so against Ricky’s will; he could be very stubborn.
She hid a smile as Richard quickly got the bag that Sabel prepared and dashed to his car.
Ricky may have finally found his match.
The trip back to the mansion was uneventful as both occupants were lost in their thoughts.
Maya had her hands clasped tightly on her lap, hoping that today was a better day.
Richard, meanwhile, suddenly remembered something from the day before. “Maya, yesterday, when I told you about Mama and Papa, you said you were ready.”
Maya froze at Richard’s statement. Naku, bakit pa niya naalala yun?
“What were you ready for?” He stopped at a stop light which turned red.
Maya looked outside trying to buy time.
Richard reached over to turn Maya’s face to his. “Maya, what is it?”
Maya closed her eyes, gathering her thoughts. Upon opening them, she saw Richard looking at her expectantly.“Um Richard, sasabihin ko sana na ready na ako; tinatanggap ko yung alok mong pagpapakasal.”
“Bakit Richard, binabawi mo na ba yung marriage proposal mo?”
“May alam ba sa pamamanhikan yung mga Intsik?”
“You mean like a housewife?”
A/N: Tulad ng sinabi ko sa umpisa, sorry dahil natagalan ito. Thank you sa mga patuloy na nagbabasa. Aside from sana bilis-bilisan ko ang pagsusulat (haha!), what do you think about this chapter? 🙂 Shout-out sa mga nakilala ko through twitter, nice ‘meeting’ you there 🙂