Note: This is a continuation to Someone Like You – part 9
Richard decided to call up Maya after alighting from the airport taxi he rented. He’s at Terminal 3.
“Maya, where are you? I’m already at the airport.” Richard told her. He knew that Maya would be coming from Pasig area and thought she might be late due to traffic.
“Ricky, eto na ako. Nakikita na kita sa entrance. Bye.” Maya hurriedly walked towards him.
Richard turned around and saw Maya pulling a mid-size luggage. In his thoughts “Good, she made it. Now, I can make up for the lost time. Ayan kasi, babagal-bagal. Now, I have to create a way para ma-solo s’ya.”
Three days before, Richard seriously thought of ways on how Maya can be within close distance considering his work load. It was good that their all associates were tied-up and Liza can’t travel so he was able to borrow Maya from his father. He could have requested for postponement of this trip but then again, the opportunity to travel with her was so tempting that he couldn’t resist.
While waiting in line at the check-in counter, Richard stared at Maya’s luggage and asked “Maya, bakit ang laki ng luggage mo. Two nights lang tayo sa Isabela.”
“Hindi naman ito malaki ah. Tamang-tama lang sa mga gamit ko like clothes, make-up, shoes.” She reasoned out.
“So now I know. You’re like any other women. Pag nagtravel, dala ang buong bahay.” He chuckled when Maya gave him a sullen look.
Moments later, their bags were checked-in together and their seat assignments were adjacent to each other. Richard took charge of everything while Maya waited on.
The PR014 flight bound for Tuguegarao will be one hour. Then from the airport, they will use a rented car to drive to Isabela. It will take them another 1 ½ hours to reach their final destination in Ilagan. The first thing in the agenda was for Richard to meet a client.
“Maya, you’ll go with me in Ilagan tonight. I’d rather that you join me there than leave you in Tuguegarao on your own. Then, tomorrow morning, we can drive back. You’ll go to RTC while I go to the provincial hall. Magkita na lang tayo sa hapon sa hotel, okay?” Richard itemized the plan while they were on board the plane. If he didn’t do that, he knew Maya would ask him.
“Ricky, bakit ako ang pinasama ni Sir Bobby? Di ba dapat isang associate ang isinama mo?” Maya asked wondering why she was in a trip with him when she is just an EA. She only got a day’s notice about this trip with Richard.
“Ahh…Di ba kayo nag-usap ni Liza?” Richard asked in return. Maya shook her head so he had to explain.
“All associates are busy. Liza and Ryan checked and most of them have other things to do. Since yung sa RTC is just a submission of a rejoinder, then you can do that. You have the authorization. Now, if you encounter any problem while you are there, I can easily come over since I’m in the area. It just so happened that the RTC appearance and my meeting with Gov. was scheduled at the same time.”
“Ah ganuun?” Maya commented but obviously she wasn’t that convinced. Richard noticed it.
“Why are you asking, ayaw mo bang sumama? Isn’t it good to be out of the office once in a while or ayaw mo akong makasama?” He turned to her side and at the same time adjusted the window shade on her right side. It brought him closer to her that instinctively she leaned a bit backwards. Maya’s heart thumped when his face was so close to hers.
“Hindi naman. Excited nga ako. I’ve never been to north Luzon.” She responded as soon as Richard returned to his position. In her mind, “Yikees, ano ba ‘to. Pwede naman ako na lang ang nag-adjust ng bintana. Oh my gee, ang gwapo pa naman n’ya lalo pag within kissing distance. Ano ba yan Maya!”
“Good, it’s settled then.” Richard glanced at her disconcerted expression and started reading the papers he was holding.
The flight was generally smooth until the plane was descending when they felt some turbulence. When the plane suddenly dropped, the women passengers exclaimed including Maya. She felt so nervous that she held on tightly to Richard’s arm. To ally her fear, he took her hand into his and clasped it. Then, he gave her a reassuring smile. It calmed her nerves having his palm on hers. They didn’t speak again until the plane landed.
“Maya, okay ka na?” He asked while he was still holding her hand.
“Hmm, yes. Salamat Ricky, I got nervous kanina. Akala ko end na natin.”
She smiled meekly while disengaging from his hand.
“Ha,ha,ha. Parang ma-turbulent lang dito during rainy season. Anyway, we’re now safe.”
They disembarked from the plane to proceed to the arrival area where they will wait for their luggage. When their luggage were out on the conveyor belt, it was Richard who retrieved them.
“Ricky, ako na ang mag-hihila ng bag ko.” Maya attempted to get her luggage from Richard but the later decline.
“No, I can take care of this. Hindi ko lang maintindihan bakit ang bigat nito. May mga bato ba dito?” He was smiling as he made a joke.
“Wala, may extra body lang.” They both laughed as they exited the airport arrival door.
They were met by their driver. Manong Sammy is the owner and driver of the car that LOE rents when they have an appointment in Cagayan province.
The drive to Isabela was smooth with occasional light rainshowers. Richard and Maya just shared stories on what’s happening at the office all throughout the drive. When they arrived at the town proper of Ilagan, Maya noticed a row of BBQ stalls along the street.
She commented “Ay, ang daming bbq dito.”
“Maya are you hungry? We can get food when we reach the hotel.” Richard said worried that she might be famished. But, he’s not keen on eating street food.
“Okay pa naman ako. Excited lang kasi nakita ako ng isaw. Parang gusto kong kumain.”
Manong Sammy suddenly joined their conversation, “Ma’m kung gusto n’yo ng isaw, meron doon sa Centro. May alam ako doon at saka sigardong malinis. Kung gusto n’yo, sasamahan ko kayo pero mga 6 o’clock pa sila mag-bubukas.”
“Ay gusto ko ‘yan Manong Sam. Sige, mamaya na lang. Kasi may lakad pa kayo ni Atty. Lim.”
Richard raised a brow when he heard her refer to him as Atty. Lim. He had noticed that she has gotten used to switching from calling him Ricky to formal titles whenever there are other people around them.
Later that night, Richard and Maya joined their client for a dinner in one of the restaurants in Ilagan City. There were ten of them in the table with Maya as one of the two females in the group. As expected the group discussed about business. However, one of the men, Noel paid close attention to Maya. It was quite obvious he was interested in her. He even asked for her face book account so they can be friends. Although Richard was seated on the far end of the table, he occasionally checked on Maya and took mental note of what he thought was happening on her side of the table.
On the way back to the car after dinner, Richard asked a question. “Okay ka lang? Parang konti lang kinain mo during dinner.”
She responded with a smile. “Yes, I’m okay.”
When they boarded the car, she spoke to their driver, “Mang Sam, tara na. Punta na tayo sa isawan.”
Richard was surprised by her instruction. He forgot about her plan about the isaw. “What? We just had dinner. Are you going to eat again?”
The car started to move while the two people inside it continued discussing where they were headed to.
“Yes, Sir. Kaya nga konti lang ang dinner ko. I need space so I can eat isaw.” She told him in a matter-of-fact tone.
“Huh? Eh daig mo pa ang naglilihi n’yan. Kailangan kainin ang naiisipan.” He teased her although in hindsight he thought he shouldn’t have said it because she could have been offended.
Since she was good mood that night, she didn’t take offense and instead said “Excuse me Atty. Lim, NBSB po ako.”
“What’s NBSB?” He’s never heard that acronym before.
“Sir, NBSB means no boyfriend since birth.” She looked at him with her eyes twinkling.
He paused for a while to fully absord her declaration. When he realized what it meant, he couldn’t contain his joy. It meant the field is open for him to move.
He was grinning when he said close to her ear, “Really? Then, I think we should do something about it.”
Maya’s eyes widened unsure what to make out of what he said. But, before she could even respond to his statement, Manong Sammy announced their arrival at their destination. It was very near the restaurant where they had dinner.
They got out of the car and invited their driver to join them in the small stall. They each picked the barbeques they wanted for re-heating.
When Maya got her order, she offered to share with Richard. “Ricky, try mo.” Richard shook his head.
“Sige na. Just take a bite lang. If you can’t finish it, ako ang bahala umubos.” She persuaded him.
“No, I’d rather be safe. I’ll take the pork bbq instead.” Richard repeated his intention while staying away from Maya who kept on offering him isaw. She teased him about being so choosy.
Maya was insistent that eventually Richard relented. He took a bite from the stick Maya offered. After taking his bite, Maya finished the rest from the same stick. He actually liked it to the point that he asked for more
“Sabi ko sa’yo. Okay, di ba?” She was all smiles as she shared with him the rest of her order. It was a very lighthearted moment for the two as they finished off several orders of pork bbq and isaws.
Manong Sam who was observing the two in not so distant table was thinking. “Kung hindi ko alam na mag-boss ito, iisipin ko na mag-boyfriend. Dati si Atty. Lim medyo pormal pero ngayon sige ang ngiti. Tsk. Tsk. Baka naman nagliligawan ito. Hmm. Bagay naman sila.”