Note: This is a continuation to Crazy in Love – part 12.
Chapter 13 – The Ex-Deal
“No, Ma. The answer is a definite No!” Richard’s loud voice could be heard outside his bedroom. He was having a private conversation with his mother.
Richard arrived at San Nicolas early evening. It was fortunate that he was able to get a seat in the plane. Otherwise, he had reserved a chartered plane that would take him back to his hometown. His mother’s tone during the call made him heed her order for to go home immediately. It’s very rare for her to order him like that.
“Ma, I can’t do that. You can’t force me into staying in this marriage. People who are married love each other.” Richard was convincing his mother.
“Exactly Ricky, you got into this marriage in-love with each other. So, you can start all over again. There must be something left there.” She didn’t want to listen.
“Ma, that was 10 years ago. We’ve moved on. I came back here to clean up the mess I created and focus on my career. I have apologized and we agreed to get an annulment. I will be focusing on property development, you know that Ma.” Richard informed his mother about his plans.
“I’m telling you Ricardo, I am not supporting your annulment.” She gave a definite position.
“You don’t need to support it Ma. I am old enough to make the decision. It’s my life now. We are going to pursue annulment whether you agree or not.” He responded, equally holding his ground.
“Alright, since you are saying it’s your life. Then, go ahead. Tama ka naman. You are old enough. Therefore, you don’t need us to help you anymore. Isa lang request ko sa’yo, be fair to Maya. Kung mag-file ka ng justification for your annulment, own the fault. Let her come out of it clean.”
“I intend to do that Ma.” Richard responded; thinking that his mom’s ire was over.
There was a long silence before Mama Esme spoke again.
“By the way Ricardo, since you can be on your own now, I am going to pull out Lim and Tantoco Corp. as an investor in Lim Holdings, Inc. Also, I can’t guarantee I can be a good reference to the banks you’re dealing with for your capital infusions. I would like an arms length distance from your business and our family corporation.” Mama Esme dropped the bomb.
“Ma, bakit biglang nagbago ang desisyon mo to support LHI? how can you do that? You know I need you and dad. I have other partners but our family corporation is holding all of these together. These other investors will ask, if you pull-out… Ma, why are you doing this to me?” Richard run his hand on his head; frustrated with his mother.
“Di ba sabi mo, you are old enough? So, you can fend for yourself. Actually, matagal mo ng kaya. You have your own Lim and Associates” Mama Esme answered sarcastically.
“Ma, you know that property development isn’t easy. I’ve already engaged a lot of people to work with me. If I lose your support, I don’t’ have enough fund yet to keep it altogether. The banks don’t approve loans that fast.” Richard explained, frustrated with his mother.
There was a long silence before Mama Esme spoke again. She was more reconciliatory this time.
“Sige, I have an offer to you. Consider this offer as a contract co-terminus with your 1st project under LHI. I’ve seen the first project’s blueprints. You are going to build a residential resort in Bohol and it’s going to be a premiere property. Stay married with Maya for 2 years or at least when 75% of your project is sold, whichever comes first.”
Richard was appalled by his mother’s offer.
“Ma, anong klaseng contract ‘yan? You are blackmailing me!” Richard was now angry. How could his own mother do this to him.
“Call it what you want Ricardo. I believe your project is to be completed within 3 to 5 years. I am not asking for the whole 5 years. I think you can complete the whole project early if you want to and pre-sell it within 2 years. Mabilis kang magtrabaho. I’ve seen your work in the U.S. If you finish earlier, then, good for you. In exchange, I won’t pull out from LHI. And don’t bother asking your Papa’s help, you know that he will not go against me.”
“We are discussing here as if I am the only one involved. Don’t’ you think Maya has a say too? We don’t want to be involved in this blackmail. We’ve agreed to get an annulment. If we delay further, it’s going to affect both our personal lives.”
“Ricardo, you have been married for 10 years. What is 2 more years?” She stood up from where she was seated; opened the door and beckoned Maya to enter the room and join their conversation. Maya was seating at their sala watching TV as she waited for Mama Esme.
“Ma, you don’t need to tell her about this. I have my decision now. The answer is No” Richard hurriedly said as Maya sat on his bed beside his mother.
“No Ricky, she should hear this. She has a right too. I want to hear from her if she really wants an annulment.
“Maya, tell me, are you agreeing to the annulment? Do you know that it’s a long and tedious proces?” Mama Esme asked categorically although she knew Maya’s answer to it.
“Opo Tita. We’ve discussed it.” Maya confirmed.
“Alright since both of you want it, I’d like you to know that I have requested Richard to postpone the annulment for two years and keep your marriage for that duration. Before any annulment to take place, I’d like you to try being a married couple.”
“Ma, you didn’t request. You are blackmailing me.” Richard interjected.
“Whatever Ricardo.” His mother dismissed him; an eyebrow raised.
“Maya, I am asking you also to reconsider the annulment. Please stay and keep the marriage for 2 years. If it doesn’t work, then go for annulment. Both of you will have my blessing.”
“Tita, I don’t think your request is fair for both of us.” Maya looked at Richard. He was listening to her.
Mama Esme took a different tactic. “You two talk about fairness as if you were fair to your parents when you got married without telling us. We were planning for your wedding and you just took the plunge without even telling us. What hurt most is that you kept it hidden for ten years. Tanong kami ng tanong anong nangyari sa inyo, walang nagsalita kahit isa sa inyo. Do you know how we felt looking at you then na parang kayong wala sa sarili when you got separated?”
Richard and Maya looked at each other and felt uncomfortable.
“We couldn’t help you. If Tessie didn’t accidentally see your marriage certificate, I think we will die and rot without even knowing about this. So, plano nyong isekreto habang buhay? Is that fair?” Mama Esme’s said in pained voice and her eyes started to well up.
“You two discuss this further Richard. My offer stands.” Mama Esme walked out of the room.
Concerned on the reaction of Mama Esme, Maya followed suit. She was worried that the elder lady might also get a heart attack like her mother. Mama Esme saw Maya at her back.
“Maya, I can handle this situation. You better talk with Richard and discuss what the deal is about. I told you earlier, as a mother, I will make a position. I hope you change your mind. If you decide to agree with my condition, you don’t need to worry about your mother. The agreement will be a secret, our secret.”
Mama Esmeralda left Maya standing in the middle of their living room thinking the details of the deal she was referring to.
“Richard, does that mean that your 1st venture in property development will not push through?” Maya asked after Richard told her everything that his mother asked from him.
“I’m not sure about it. There are some capital investments that I am expecting from my other partners but I am not sure if it will be enough. I think I will have to check the financials. My initial sense is that I will have to re-channel some funds.”
“How about your partners, some of them might lose their contracts with you right? Kasama ba ang Andrada?” She followed up with another question.
“Andrada will be impacted. It has its own clients but those work with LHI might be put on hold until I get the funds. Again, I don’t want to think that the 1st venture will not push through.” Richard’s response.
“Your mom said consider it as a business deal. How about, you just accept it as a business deal?” Maya suddenly blurted. She was also surprised by her own suggestion.
“Maya, how can you say that as if you are not involved here?” Now, he was upset with her.
“Richard from a business perspective, it will be good for all of us. You will have the financial backings for your new venture. Everything in your plan will push through. Isipin mo yung ibang partners mo who are looking forward to this, including Andrada. At saka, pag hindi na tuloy, it may not be good for the name of your own business.” Maya all these with positive intent.
“Are you crazy? Do you realize what you are saying? We will stay married for the next 2 years. So, our personal plans will be pushed back for 2 more years.” Richard told her.
“What’s 2 more years? Ten years nga nating hindi inayos ‘to? Anyway, parang sa akin okay lang. Pero sige, pag-isipan ko uli ha. Baka nga I’m crazy kaya open ako sa idea.” That was the last piece of conversation they had that day.