NOTE: This is a continuation to Crazy in Love – part 18
Like the previous day, Richard spent most of his working hours in Maya’s department. The only time he left their work area was when he had another meeting with one of his partners who came in for a progress meeting. It was late afternoon when the meeting finished. He was on his way to check on Maya so they could go home together when heard her conversation with one of the staff.
“Maya, may bisita ka na naman.” Libby excited announced to Maya.
“Sino?” She asked while peeking on the glass partition to see who was at the lobby. It was James. “Oh no, dumadalas na talaga ang punta n’ya dito. Kailangan na talaga ng heart to heart talk sa kanya.” Maya’s thoughts running in her head.
“Uyyy, ang gwapo naman ng sundo mo, girl. Boyfriend mo?” Libby asked.
Maya gave her a dry smile. She was conscious that Richard was just around.
“Aiyee… kaya pala wala kang pinapansin mga guys dito. May boyfriend ka na pala.” Libby continued chattering. “May crush pa naman sa’yo yang si Edwin at Rowell. Hindi pa nag-uumpisa basted na, ha,ha,ha,”
Maya felt uncomfortable with the conversation. She knew that Richard was within hearing distance. When she glanced at his direction, he was reading a paper. She immediately packed her things and proceeded to the lobby.
Unknown to her, Richard was following her every movement. He could see her at the lobby from glass partition.
“Hi Maya, surprise!” James greeted her with a hug and kissed her on the cheek. The hug seemed to be quite long for a customary greeting, Richard thought.
“Hi James, why didn’t you send me a text message before you came here? Paano kung wala ako dito, eh di nasayang ang effort mo?” She asked him while holding his hand.
“Well, then the surprise is on me. Let’s go.” He placed his hand on her waist as he ushered Maya out of their office lobby.
Richard looked on as he saw them leave. He felt a tiny stab in his chest. She didn’t even say goodbye to him. He was upset but knew he shouldn’t.
As James and Maya were walking towards the parking lot and holding hands, James noticed the gold band that she was wearing in her ring finger. Out of curiosity, he brought up her hand and stared at the ring closely and looked at her quizzically.
“Maya, what’s the meaning of that?” He asked as soon as they buckled up inside his car. James was referring to the ring.
“Ahh…James, we need to talk.” Was all she could say while James looked at her intently. With her realization about her feelings for Richard, it was time to let go of James.
James drove the car out of the parking lot and didn’t speak until they reached their destination. They were supposed to have dinner in an Italian restaurant in Fort Bonifacio area.
“So, Maya what is it?” James asked her the moment they settled in their table.
“James, we’ve been together for almost 2 years but I haven’t exactly told you everything about me.” She started to share her story. James keenly listened to her; everything she wanted to let him know came out naturally for her. As she told him, his expressions changed from blank to pain and she felt bad about it.
In the end she told him, “James, I’m sorry to have kept this from you. But since you have offered marriage, you deserve to know. I don’t expect you to accept me after this. ” Tears starting to well-up in her eyes.
“Isa lang ang tanong ko Maya, are you in-love with him?” That was a tough question to ask but he needed to know.
She remained mum. It was James who provided the response “ I guess the answer is yes.”
“So, when you agreed on this arrangement with him, you were already in love with him? Does he feel the same towards you?”
“No… hindi ko alam. There are many reasons why were are together. One is Mama, she almost died because of me and her disappointment with me.”
“Lahat ng sinabi mo sa akin ngayon Maya, ang sakit-sakit. I didn’t expect that we are in this kind of situation. Now, everything is falling into place. Kaya pala, you’ve never, not once entertained the idea about marrying me. Kaya pala, you’ve always been hesitant when it comes to intimacy. But I’ve always respected you.”
“I’m sorry, I should have told you earlier. Plano ko talagang sabihin sa ‘yo noon pa but I didn’t know how. Now, you know everything. Forget about me James, I’m not worthy of your time, your love.” She placed her hand over his arm. “I’m so sorry James.” Then, she left him in the restaurant.
James sat there with a pained look in his eyes as he watched her walk out. He loves her very much but there was too much in what he learned that he can’t process everything yet.
She went to Emman’s condo after she broke up with James. She needed someone to talk to; to confirm that she made the right decision. Emman, as usual, was very supportive of her but cautioned her about getting hurt again. His exact words, “Girl, ang puso ay alagaan dahil isa lang ‘yan. The last time you got really broke your heart, you got crazy. Hindi ka kumain, hindi ka natulog to the point you became anorexi. Let’s not go through that again, ha?”
Maya went home past 10:00 p.m. Richard was in the living room, in front of his computer, when she entered the house.
When he saw her, he asked. “Have you eaten?” He tried to control his tone although deep inside he was anxious about her whereabouts.
She shook her head. “I’ll just have a glass of milk.” She had a somber facial expression.
Maya went to the kitchen and had some milk. Richard followed her in the kitchen. She was washing the glass she used when he asked her “Where have you been? Sina Mama were waiting for you earlier and I didn’t where you were.” He asked.
She turned and told him “no asking of personal question.” She left him standing in the kitchen feeling upset by her answer. With her response, he already knew where or who she was with. The green eyed monster in him that has been in slumber for many years was awakened.
Richard entered their room and got ready for bed while she was in the bathroom performing her usual beauty routine. It took her long before she came out. She was thinking about her conversation with Emman and the break up with James. The break-up didn’t hurt but she had mixed feelings of guilt and relief that her secret has been out. She reflecting on Emman’s caution to her.
When she came out of the bathroom, she found Richard on his side of the bed. He seemed to be sleeping. As she joined him, she covered him with his comforter and made sure she had her own. She turned to her side of the bed.
But, Richard wasn’t sleeping yet. When he felt Maya beside him, he turned and placed his arm over her waist. He pulled her slightly towards him. Maya froze, unsure how to react. She wasn’t sure how to interpret his move just now.
“Maya… do you regret agreeing to our current set-up? I mean the contract with Mama?” He asked.
“Hmmm, ewan ko.” As she responded, she gently removed his arm from her body and covered herself up to the neck. She had to do it otherwise if it lingered there, she might not be able to control herself and something might happen. She doesn’t know what his real feelings for her. She was afraid of getting hurt again.
Richard took her response as a confirmation of her regret over their situation. And by removing his arm from her body, it was a sign of rejection to his advances. He did make a conscious move to let know her he wanted her; even just hold her closer. It hurt realizing she wasn’t interested in him. He got up from the bed and left the room.
It was already dawn when he returned. He couldn’t stay any longer in the living room since anytime soon either Mama Esme or Mama Tessie will be coming out to prepare their breakfast. When he entered the room, he found her sleeping on her side of the bed; exactly how he left her.
When he laid down on the bed, she moved and turned to face him. With her face so close to him, he gazed at her lovingly. She looked so lovely even in her sleep. She has that aura that makes his heart beat fast. It was that old familiar feeling. He was jealous when he saw her with another man. He was jealous last night. It was at that point that he finally accepted the truth, he has fallen in love with her again.
His heart was almost bursting with love for the woman who was sleeping beside him; the woman who rejected him few hours ago. Looking at her lips, he was tempted to kiss her. Unable to control the longing, he gently moved his face closer to hers and lightly kissed her. The fleeting kiss was followed by another one until Maya stirred. Not wanting to be rejected again, he moved away from her.