A/N: This is a continuation of Crazy in Love – part 10.
Richard and Maya were seated in a restaurant having lunch. Maya checked out of the hospital early morning saying she was okay. Richard, as promised, fetched her and requested if they could talk. She agreed. They sat in a corner table so they can freely talk without other people hearing them.
Richard started their heart to heart conversation.
“Thanks Maya for agreeing to have lunch with me. I think we have a long overdue conversation. Now that I am back in the Phils., it’s about time that I also settle my personal debts to you.” He sounded sincere when he expressed his interest to speak to her.
“Okay lang Richard. Talaga naman dapat tayong mag-usap. Una, we will see each other sa office because of work. The other thing , eh yung sa atin na dapat maayos na natin.” Her response.
“Ah sorry pala on my opening greeting to you yesterday, about the husband word. Did I shock you? I didn’t mean to..”
“No, Richard. I must admit nagulat ako nakita kita but actually I was not really feeling well. Nagkasabay na lang siguro.” She explained her side.
Richard then continued, “So, I understand from Emman that you are engaged?” It was direct question that surprised Maya.
“Ha? Ito talagang si Emman ang daldal. Hindi pa.” She smiled shyly.
“Hindi pa, but that means it will be soon, right?” He asked to confirm.
“I’m not sure, besides, there’s thing between us, us being married. I just can’t accept a proposal like that. Maybe I could, but in the end I can’t get married right?” She looked at him. In her mind, “Now that you are back, I have to re-think again if I can get committed to someone else. Ten years seemed to be too short to forget you. Nalilito tuloy ako ngayon”
“Maya, I know that this is a long over due apology. But, I’d like to apologize for what happened to us in the past. I know I hurt you the last time, yung ginawa ko sa condo unit mo with Anton. For everything that followed…”
“Richard, ok na. It’s a long time ago. Bata pa tayo noon.” She smiled tentatively.
“Yes, you are right. We were young, you were very young , you were still in your teens. We were so into each other. Then, we got married.” Richard was in a pensive mood.
“Maya, if that day didn’t happen. Do you think we would still be together?” Richard suddenly asked. She was surprised by his question.
“Ahh, I don’t know. But what’s the use of talking of the what ifs now?” She suddenly felt nervous where their conversation was headed to.
“You’re right. But still I have few questions. It’s been years I know but I just want to know. Maya, if you don’t mind my asking” Then he continued,
“I sent you an email apologizing for what I did, did you get it and why didn’t you respond?” Richard’s first question.
“I didn’t get it. Actually, na-close yung account ko noon kasi I don’t do much emails that time so even the way I set up my account at that time was incomplete.” She responded.
“I called you up several times within two weeks after I left Manila, why didn’t you pick-up my calls?” his second question.
“At that time Richard, I was still upset with you. Parang nagpatong-patong, with the incident in my house, you saying you wanted to stay away from me and then your sudden trip to the U.S., At that time, I felt wala kang tiwala sa akin at bale wala ako sa’yo.” She explained while Richard just listened.
“I wanted to apologize to you that time so I kept calling you. When there was no response, I thought you didn’t want to speak to me anymore. So, I didn’t go back anymore. I had few other attempts after that but I don’t understand why we couldn’t connect. The studies, adjustment in my new environment and eventually work kept me away.” He further shared.
“If it’s any consolation to you Richard, I also tried to reach out to you. I called you up several times but you also didn’t respond. One time, there was a lady who answered and said that you were bathing. Since it was a woman and I called up early morning your time, I thought may girlfriend ka ng iba.”
“Ha,ha, Maya. I didn’t have a girlfriend at that time. I wasn’t over with you know who. Siguro it was Janie ‘yung nakausap mo. There were 4 of us staying in a house. Parang boarding house yun, lahat kami student.”
Maya’s heart skipped when he said about not being over her at that time. It was a long time ago but the effect is still the same. If they keep on this conversation, she might fall in love and hope all over again. So, she didn’t ask anymore what took him so long to come back to Philippines or what further attempts he made to reach out to her.
“Anyway, Richard, pwede wag na tayong mag- reminisce kasi ang tagal-tagal na ‘yan. Yung present ang kailangan nating ayusin. So, how about you? Is there someone in your life now?” It was her turn to ask about his current personal life.
“Hmm. Yes… and I’m trying to figure out now what to do.” He was staring at her as if he there was something running in his head.
In his thoughts, She looks like she really moved on while it took me few years. I’ve buried myself with studies and work. Somehow, knowing that there was something that was binding us made me feel safe and hoping. It was only in the last 2 years that he found someone else.
In Maya’s head, she assumed that he has. It was unlikely that he did not try to move on with his life. Even she herself had tried but it looked like he was more successful in moving on compared to her. She dated a few guys but there was always something missing. James, on the hand, is different. He is patient, fun to be with and she feels comfortable with him around. But still, she couldn’t take that extra step with him.
“So, I guess kailangan nating ipa-annul ang marriage natin, right?” She opened the annulment idea first in an attempt to keep her head in its right place.
“Yeah, I think so. Actually, I’ve done a pre-work. I requested someone to check if our marriage was even registered. Over the years, I was thinking it may not be valid because we rushed it.”
“So what did you find out?” She suddenly became curious;
“Well, we got registered. Our ninong made good with his promise. He made sure it was legal. Here’s your copy.” He handed her out a yellow paper with NSO stamp on it. They were indeed married.
“So does this mean we can’t get an annulment? We didn’t live together. We were only married in technical sense for a week.” She sounded like she really wanted to get separated from him officially.
In the end Richard, allied her fear. “Don’t worry, I’ll talk to my lawyer. We can get around this. ”
She just smiled when he gave her his reassurance. Nothing’s change, he can make her feel secure.
“And by the way, Maya about work…” Richard changed the topic.
“So, is the partnership going to happen?” She excitedly asked.
“Yes. It will. I’m about to finish setting up a holding company. The project I am planning to do is quite big and needs a lot investments. Anyway, what I’m trying to say is that I hope you and Emman can stay with the company. I know that there a few who already jumped ship thinking it was a take-over. I prefer a partnership. Andrada & Associates can still accept its own clients but there would be specific projects that will be exclusive for my company.” He openly shared to her his plan.
“So, what do you think? You’ve been with them for 5 years right? What made you stay with them that long?”
“Richard naman, ‘yung tanong mo parang interview ah.” She caught on with his line of questioning.
“Of course not, I just said I hope you will stay with the company.” He smiled emphasizing his lopsided smile.
“I’m building up my portfolio. Gusto ko sana medyo maganda mga natapos kong project as in with big clients before I eventually leave Andrada. Sana I can have my own firm. But the other thing is I actually enjoy working with them, mabait sila, para kaming family. Kaya ayan, hindi ko naiisip umalis but eventually siguro I will can be on my own.”
“Well, now that we going to be partners, you can gain more experience and exposure. It will be good for you, I am sure.”
Their lunch appointment turned to be an all afternoon tete-a-tete; full of stories about family and future business plans.