Admin Note: *Contributed Story* Please give credit and thanks to fanfic_newbie. This is a continuation to Meant To Be – Part 12.
A/N: Hi EBU Admin : Finale .. Thanks for posting.
Richard’s face started to cloud as he remembered the start of the rocky portion of their marriage.
“That was the time it was as if you were slowly checking out. I cannot talk to you about anything else. It was just “Luke did this, Luke did that.” You were preoccupied with just domestic stuff. Everything had to be perfect at home. It was as if your whole world shrunk. Luke and I were at the center. Tapos lahat na yata ng tsimis sa village at sa artista alam mo.
Embarrassed with the memory, she covered her face with her hands.
“I missed our talks over coffee. We used to have intelligent adult conversations about current events and the latest technical innovations. You used to have an opinion.” Richard continued his side of the story.
“There was a time when you kept asking me about what I want. Even for the tiniest detail, you would consult with me. You would call me at the office several times a day. Then there were the countless text messages. You could not decide for yourself.”
“I did not want to displease you.” She had to defend herself.
“I kept pushing you to get out of your world, to take up some useful hobby. I tried so hard to reach out to you; somehow I felt I lost the Maya I first loved.”
“I can’t handle being with you when you started talking about hi- tech stuff, the interesting people you’ve met, places you’ve seen. Somehow I was jealous of you but at the same time, I wanted to create a world where I knew everything and you had to depend on me. Luke and the house were my domain.” Maya gave her side of the story.
“But I encouraged you to go back to school?”
“I lost my confidence. I was scared. Matanda na kaya ako at mommy na. Anong sasabihin ng classmates ko? And, I don’t want to lose time for Luke and you.”
“Why didn’t you tell me?”
“I was embarrassed. You know how competitive I used to be.”
“I got scared too, Maya. I felt responsible for your happiness. What if I cannot keep you happy, that was a constant worry for me. Mabigat ang feeling na iyon. ”
“Then Stephanie came into the picture. She was vibrant, happy go lucky, bright.” This was a topic long overdue.
“And don’t forget sexxxy.” Maya chimed in trying to be flippant.
“And yes, she was an attractive lady. I’ll give her that.” He had to tell the complete story even though he knew it would hurt.
“She came on to me, strong. First day ko pa lang sa office, she flirted shamelessly with me. I told her I am married and have a kid but that didn’t mean anything to her. She did not care what other people would think or say.”
“Yes Richard, you mentioned her in passing. Sabi mo, there is a crazy woman flirting with you at the office but not to be worried.”
“She had her eyes set on me. It was like I was a prize for her to be won. She was obsessed with me. A little touch here and there; sweet smiles, meaningful glances, small gifts, lavish praises for small stupid things, low cut blouses, short clingy dresses… she tried everything. The more I push her away, the more I became a challenge. Then she found my weakness, I was looking for someone to talk with. She was a great listener. She became somewhat like a confidant. Big mistake! She would use what I confide in her to break our marriage. I was so stupid. I should have seen her type a mile away. ”
Napailing si Maya at sinabing, “I used to be your confidant. You told me everything. Then we stopped talking, yun pala nakahanap ka na ng iba. I lost my best friend.”
“We drifted apart. I felt you were so far way, unreachable. I tried my best but I gave up in the end and I stopped trying to reach out to you dahil Stephanie was there to give what I needed.”
“Ang sakit kaya noon Richard, I felt like was a discarded object. Napag laruan, napagsawaan at di na gusto.”
“I am sorry Maya. I am really really sorry. There is no excuse for what I did. and I take all responsibility. ”
Napakibit balikat na lang si Maya.
But he had to continue.
“Then, I started to think that I missed out on all the fun a young single guy could have. I only had one girlfriend while my buddies at work would change girlfriends almost every week.”
“At first I was a bit guilty, going out, drinking and partying because you were not with me. Slowly, the guilt went away and I saw you as a hindrance to my happiness. It did not think that you were missing out on the fun too. You did not finish college and you were stuck at home with a kid. I messed up big time. I cannot forgive myself for the angst that I caused you.”
“I think that was when the late night meetings and weekend trips started. I was too slow to catch on what was happening. In my mind, as long as Luke and the house were perfect, everything will fall into place. I was so naïve then.” Maya shook her head in disbelief .
“Hearing all this now, how silly were we? Simple miscommunication and lots of pride cost us our marriage.”Richard tried to sum up the cause of their problems.
“When I said I was leaving, why did you let me go? Tanong ni Maya.
“I was confused. I wanted to stop you but I thought what kind of life will we have? Kung mag-usap tayo noon, we cannot see each other’s view, nauuwi sa bangayan. Kawawa si Luke kung ang laging nakikita niya nag-aaway tayo. I thought at that time, it was best if we went our separate ways, to give ourselves time to grow and mature. I will not lie, I was thrilled at first. I was free to do whatever but it did not last. I started to miss you and Luke. I realized my mistake. I buried myself in work, hoping to make something of myself.” Richard was talking slow.” I realized I was a big fool to fall in Stephanie’s claws.” Maya knew he was trying to control his feelings.
“You know, that was one of hardest things I have done, I mean, deciding to leave. My trigger was I saw Luke crying when we were arguing. I prayed then that you would stop me. Ang sakit sakit noon, Akala ko di ko makakayanan. I invested all that I have in the relationship tapos walang nangyari. Feeling ko I threw my life away. I was a single mom, hindi nakatapos, and higit sa lahat my husband did not love me.” Tears were forming in Maya’s eyes. Richard reached into his pocket and offered her his handkerchief.
A long silence followed.
“Why did you loved me?” Another difficult question from Maya.
“It is love Maya. Past tense, present tense, future tense, forever tense, if there is such a thing. My love for you transcends time.” Richard corrected her.
“Maya I love you because.. because you are intelligent, loving, caring, smart, funny, witty, playful, stubborn, sweet, sentimental, you love to do things for others ..” He kept on going, listing down one by one all her attributes that made him love her. He purposefully skipped 2 adjectives that he was sure she was looking for.
Maya cut him off and asked “Did you ever think I was beautiful and sexy?”
“You know the answer to that Maya. I was first attracted to your intelligence and your kindness. I thought, who is this girl who seems to know all the answers and did not mind helping complete strangers? You encouraged me to love engineering then you competed with me in every subject we took. Slowly, my eyes opened and saw how beautiful you are. I love your eyes most because it is like a window to what is inside. ” Richard said these words while looking at the blushing Maya. “But again, I will not lie, during that horrible time in my life, my mind and eyes were out of focus because I let myself be influenced by others. My judgment was clouded and I let others dictate what beauty is. I saw you as an enemy as a hindrance to my happiness. Bruha ang tingin ko sa iyo noon.” Natawang sabi ni Richard.
“As for sexy, it depends how sexy is used. I thought your brain is sexy, talino mo kasi! When you were pregnant with Luke, I thought you were sexy. ”
“HAH? Sexy ba yon, ang laki ng tiyan ko noon? ” Nagulat na tanong ni Maya.
“Depende nga sa pagkakagamit. Pero kung bastusing sexy, no, I don’t think you are sexy. You are too elegant to be sexy.”
“You know what I mean; I was so devastated that time, naging best friend ko si Refee” Natawa si Maya.
“Who is Refee? Tanong ni Richard.
“I used to love my friend Refee refrigerator. I think I opened the refrigerator door every 5 seconds that time, as if the contents will change. I took my frustration out on food hanggang halos magkasing laki na kami ni Refee.” Nahihiyang sinabi ni Maya.
“Not naman that big, but yeah, you were big then.”
“Ikaw ah, panay bola, may pa demo- democratic pa ang sagot, ayaw mo pang derechohin. You thought I was ugly and fat.” She wanted an answer.
“Bruha nga ang tingin ko sa iyo.” Natawang sagot ni Richard. ” Truthfully, I hated seeing you that way. You were so unhealthy. You did not take care of yourself but you made sure that Luke and I were always eating right. I was happy to see that after we separated, you gained your confidence back,loved yourself more, you finish college and made a name for yourself..”
“For the record Maya. Yes, Maya. I think you ARE beautiful and I know you are beautiful, inside and out. Your beauty emanates from within. I know where my heart lies now. I love you in any shape, size or form.” He reassured her.
“When did you decide to win me back?”
“After Paris. Hmm, actually, way before that but I wanted you to be ready too. I wanted you to experience life and for you to mature, kahit masakit at may chance na I will lose you. But in Paris, when I saw you with James, I wanted to hit him. I watched you with him the whole time. I was so jealous. When I saw you back in the hotel room, I was so relieved. I just wanted to hug and kiss you.”
“Ikaw ang nagpalit ng temperature ng kwarto?”
“Guilty” Richard said naughtily. “It was cold, hahaha, even for me, but it was all worth it dahil, we ended up snuggling.”
“When you invited me to tour Paris, I was so happy. That was a good day. When I wrote that goodbye note, I already decided to win you back.”
“Kaya pala panay ang effort mo. I loved that Christmas time when you and Luke showed up at the door. That was a fun week.”
Napangiti lang si Richard. Winner! She will not believe how many strings he had to pull for that stunt.
“When you told me about Simon, hirap na hirap ako noon. Parang dinukot ang puso ko. I felt so empty.”
“Yes, James told me.” She smiled remembering how James told her the story.
“James helped me a lot that time.” Richard smiled too.
After a long pause, Maya asked.
“How come we only had this talk now Richard?”
“Not sure. I guess life happened and we were not paying attention. We allowed ourselves to go with the flow, to our detriment, unfortunately. ”
Both remained silent for several minutes.
Then Richard sensed that it was the right time to make his move…
“Maya, I want my BFF back.”
“Kala ko ba kayo ni James ang mag-BFF?” Tanong ni Maya
“Will you be my BFFAE then ?” Sabi naman no Richard..
“Ahhh you are acknowledging that James is indeed your BFF.. hahaha . eh ano naman and BFFAE?” natawang tanong ni Maya.
Natawa din si Richard.. James had a hand in bringing her closer to him, “Ok, sige James is my BFF, I have my reasons. I bet James became your BFF too and he spilled everything to you.”
“He is my bestie, actually.” She told Richard.
“Hmm.. BFFAE? Eh di, best friend forever and ever.”
Anticipating her reaction, he looked at her. She just smiled.
He had to try again, he came this far, he will not give up easily.
“I want my wife back, I want my family back.”
Silence again. Still no response.
“Maya, if I dream, I want to dream with you. If I grow old, I want to grow old with you.”
Still silence. Few minutes went by, still not a word from Maya. Richard feared rejection once again. He knew he had to throw a Hail Mary. He knew the drill; hands together in front of his face, and an angelic face.
“Please Maya, please. Would it be so bad to be married to me? Waking up next to each other every morning; Sharing the experiences of the day; Leaning on each other for strength and comfort; Having the occasional argument, which like Simon said, the best part of which is making up; Looking forward to making passionate love every night?”
Pailing-iling si Maya. How can anyone say No to that face?
Sa wakas, hindi na makapagpigil ang ating bida.
“I want my husband back.” Maya said carefully.
Richard was so lost in thought of what to do next that he did not comprehend what Maya said. Akala niya basted ulit.
“I saaaaid.. I want my husband back.” She repeated herself, even more carefully this time.
When it finally sank in, he was beside himself in happiness. He stood up, pulled her to her feet, hugged her tightly and spun her around a couple of times and then ended his euphoric reaction with very tender kisses.
The kissing ended with him holding her at arm’s length, looking at directly at her eyes and said, “I love you Maya.”
“I love you too” sagot ni Maya.
Then he noticed she was crying. “What is it sweetie?”
“Sweetie?” Maya asked between sobs.
“Ayaw mo? O sige, Babe na lang. What is it babe?”
“BFF? Sweetie? Babe ? Who are you?” Nagulat si Maya.
“JAMES !” Sabay silang napasigaw.
“What no more honey?” She was referring to the endearment they once used with each other that unfortunately rhymed with someone’s name in the distant past.
“Honey is just for the bees now.” Richard was beaming.
“We really earned the right to be happy again. I maybe crying outside but I am very ecstatic inside.” She finally answered his question.
“Maya, I have two more questions for you.”
“What ever happened to the annulment papers?”
“Never filed it.”
“Ok. Good. In fact very good. Excellent even! ”
“I will answer the question on your mind. I did not file because .. because …” She shyly revealed.
“It is ok Maya, so we are technically still married, right?” Richard cut her off; he already had the answer he wanted and did not care what her reasons were. The important thing was they were still married.
“Yes.” Maya said sheepishly.
“Another question, what made you change your mind? You were set on your response when I asked you to take me back.”
“Because I love you. I love your intelligence, your sense of humor, confidence, understanding and perseverance; you encourage me to be a better person. And, I saw you and Luke together. You two of you were so happy. I wanted in on the happiness the two of you shared. I did not want to be the selfish bitch that prevented Luke from having a happy family because I was too scared to try again.” Sagot ni Maya.
Abot tenga ang ngiti ni Richard sa narinig na sagot. “So, we good, right?”
“Fourth question na yan pero not so fast Mr. Lim.” Maya was laughing when she corrected him.
“Is there problem, Mrs. Lim?” He was so excited to address her as his wife.
“Let’s go to the chapel.” Inaya ni Maya si Richard.
During the short walk to the chapel, they held hands and swung their arms like 2 ecstatic kids.
When they reached the chapel, they sat on the first pew.
Sabay silang nagkatinginan at nagtanong “Di pa nagbabago isip mo?” They both laughed.
“Maya, I will never change my mind. I lost you once; I will do everything not to lose you again.”
“How do you feel?” Maya asked.
“Excited because I know it will be a whole new different experience. It will be a whole lot better this time.”
“Ikaw?” Richard asked.
“Yes, I feel the excitement too but parang may kaba.”
“I am scared, that I will get hurt again and I will be too dense again to realize what is going on with our relationship. I was at fault too, I know that now.”
“Maya, I know you are taking a big chance on me. I will regret what I did to break your trust but I promise to make it up to you as long as we live. I am scared too. Scared that I might to hurt you again, scared my efforts will not be enough…”We are a couple of scaredy cats, aren’t we?” Richard joked.
“Richard, I want to start with a clean slate.”
Richard looked at her with arched brows, wondering what this wonderful woman is up to now.
“We are two intelligent people who had a misstep in our relationship. We are taking this new journey together and I want to focus on what is ahead of us and not constantly looking back and using our past mistakes as a gauge for our future. The past has served its purpose. We have learned our lesson. It is time to move on. This is how I feel Richard. If you feel that to move on, you need to make up for the past, you are most welcome to do so but I am good now.”
“Thank you. I do not know what I did to deserve you.” He kissed her hand.
Maya noticed the ring on his finger,
“Di mo tinangal ang wedding ring mo?” She asked.
“No. Even when we were going through that terrible time. Well, I lie. I tried to, once. The whole two weeks I felt I forgot something, parang may kulang. When I realized what it was, I knew I made a terrible mistake.”
Richard was alarmed when Maya started unbuttoning the first 2 buttons of her blouse.
“Huy, anong ginagawa mo? Nasa chapel tayo.”
But Maya proceeded to remove a small pouch that was pinned to her undergarment.
She removed her wedding ring inside the pouch.
“I was a bit embarrassed when you saw me still wearing it in Paris. But, I feel the same, parang may kulang kung di ko siya dala. So I put it in pouch. I kept it close to my heart waiting for this moment.”
“Will you do the honors, Mr. Lim?” Maya asked.
Richard cannot believe it; this day is just getting better and better.
Teary eyed, he took the ring from Maya, kissed it, and whispered while looking at her straight in the eyes “With this ring, I thee wed” Then he proceeded to put the ring on her finger. Maya became teary eyed too.
I love you’s, hugs and kisses were exchanged.
Maya saw a priest walk by and she had an idea..
“Richard, ok lang?”
“Ok na ok.”
“Yes?” Sagot ng pari.
After Richard gave a very brief summary of their story, Maya asked,
“Father, we want to start fresh with the right foot this time. We want to invite God to our relationship. Please bless us.”
Father did the blessing and ended with “Now days, very few couples invite God into their marriage, I am happy that you are one of them. Remember love is a decision you have to make every day. Work as a team. Communicate and respect each other. Marriage is hard work but do not forget to laugh. You need all the help you get, so call on Him for strength and to lead the way to a happy marriage. Good luck and God bless you.”
“Thank you Father.” Sabay nilang sinabi.
Pagbalik sa upuan,
“Now that we are older and hopefully lot wiser what could we have done to avoid all the heartache we have gone through?”
“Communicate and respect each other other daw sabi ni Father.” Richard commented.
“Oo nga iyon ang hindi natin nagawa the first go around.” Maya agreed.
“Do you want to list guidelines for this round so siguradong we will be successful?” Tanong ni Richard.
“Ok, I would add commit to weekly date night, tayong dalawa lang to keep the passion.” Maya started.
“Ako naman, I would add, be honest sa isa’t isa kahit na mahirap and masakit.” Sabi naman ni Richard.
“I think that is a good start then we can adjust our list as we develop our relationship. I don’t want to be constrained kasi if we stay very rigid, walang room to grow. What do you think?”
“Approve Sweetie!” Richard replied with two thumbs up.
“Ok.. We are good then.” Maya replied with two thumbs up too.
After a moment of silence, Maya reached for a paper bag that she has been lugging around
“Here!” Parang galit na inabot ni Maya ang paper bag kay Richard.
“What is that?”
Richard slowly opened the package and his eyes started to bulge. One by one he took out the pregnancy kit sticks.
“I practiced several different ways to tell you but all the words escaped me now.”
“There is only one way Maya, straight to the point.” Richard said staring at the sticks in front of him
“Oo na. It looks like you were right. We still need to go to the doctor to make sure.”
When she was preparing for the meeting, she did not know how to deliver the news. “One thing was sure;” Maya thought to herself “I do not want to make him feel trapped and responsible like the first time. I know he loves me and I him but it will be too low to use the baby as an excuse to get together again. I am more mature now; I am financially secure and fully capable of taking care of my kids. I know it will be different this time, a little apprehension is enough but Maya no water works ha!” She promised herself. “Telling him is right thing to do”
“I knew it! I knew it! Hahaha.. My swimmers are alive and well!!!.. Hahaha”
He did not want to risk saying “I told you so.” for the fear of upsetting a pregnant woman.
He shouted “YES!” and pumped his fist in the air. It was so obvious that he is very happy.
“Shhh!! Ang ingay mo, nasa chapel kaya tayo.” Maya shushed him.
“I am going to be a dad again!!” He hugged the bemused Maya.
“You are very confident na ikaw ang ama?”
“Siempre naman. First, you will not show me the pregnancy sticks if I am not the father.” Nothing can burst his bubble of happiness.
“Second, I doubt that it is James or any guy…”
“Wow ang confident!” Maya interrupted.
“Well, simple. You are a one-man woman and the man, is yours truly.” Richard made a small bowing gesture.
Maya let out a small giggle.
“And also, James made a pass at me once and eventually admitted to me that he is gay. We are so tight now.” He crossed his fingers to signify his friendship with James “We are BFFs, remember?” His smile went from ear to ear.
Maya was looking at him with amusement.
“As luck would have it, I turn him on more than you. Sorry sweetie.” Richard teased her.
“So enough fun… This is serious business. Richard. This is deja vu all over again. We went through this when we learned about Luke.”
“Yes, we will love her and take care of her, just like we did Luke.”
“HER talaga ha? Alam mo na na her si baby?”
“I am praying it is girl. She will be as smart, strong and beautiful as her mom.”
“Oh Maya” He hugged her and in between kisses he said “It is like the night is finally over for us and we are at the dawn of a new day. I feel that together, we can overcome any problem.”
Maya never imagined that it will end this way when she texted him to meet her at PUS. She sent it on a whim when she was thinking about how to tell Richard about her pregnancy.
“Mrs. Lim, I will take you home. I will ask Joma to pick up your car tomorrow.” Richard took her hand and he guided her out of the chapel.
“Oki doki Mr. Lim.”
“Hi Luke. How is my big man doing? Wait up for me. Ok? I have a big surprise for you.” She told their son, a big smile plastered on her face.
Both scared but both willing to try again. Both mature and sharpened by experience, with eyes wide open, they drove off to their second chance at a new beginning.
A/N: I hope you liked the story. Maraming maraming salamat sa lahat ng mga sumubaybay ng version na ito ng (mis)/adventures ng ating two minamahal na bida. Ito lang ang nakayanan ko. I never intended for the story to be this long but your comments and suggestions inspired me to keep on writing. I just wanted to mention Ms. Em’s suggestion of writing about Richard’s POV. Thanks Ms Em. I hope you did not mind any spelling and grammatical errors