Note: This is a continuation to Someone Like You – part 10
As early at 6:00 a.m., Richard and Maya were already on their way back to Tuguegarao City for their respective itineraries. The weather was threatening and they found out in the morning radio news that a weather disturbance was going to hit the province in the next 2 days. Although there were light rain showers on their trip, they reached their destination safely and on time.
Maya was dropped off at the RTC office first to wait for it to open. Richard then proceeded to the provincial office of Cagayan to meet with the officials there. The whole day was uneventful for the two from a business perspective.
They agreed to meet at their hotel’s restaurant that evening. Maya was looking forward to their dinner together.
The previous night, she fell asleep thinking about him. She kept on reminding herself to stop having a crush on him because he is their boss. But she already knew it was more than crush she was feeling for him. When she forgave him for his earlier mistake, she forgot everything negative about him. There is something in Richard that makes him so attractive. If it is love, then, she must be in love with him.
She arrived early at the restaurant. While waiting, she decided to play candy crush on her iPad. As she was engrossed in multi-tasking of playing the game and thinking about him, Maya didn’t notice Richard’s arrival to join her.
When a chair was pulled beside her, she turned to see a fresh looking Richard smiling at her; dimple on his right cheek emphasized. He was seated only a few inches away and she could smell his cologne, as if he just came out of the shower. He was wearing a casual V-neck white shirt that emphasized his chest and biceps. Her heart danced as she wondered how it would feel like to be enveloped in his arms.
She was trying to recall how it was like to be kissed by him when he asked a question. “Matagal kang naghintay?”
Maya interpreted his question differently. For her, it meant if she has been waiting for him long in a romantic sense. She answered. “Yes, matagal na.” she had that dreamy expression.
“Really?” He paused; stared at her as if deciphering something.
“Anong time ka bumalik sa hotel? and how long have you been in this restaurant?” Richard asked questions one after the other. She didn’t respond. Richard had to re-phrase his query.
“Maya, I said what time ka pa dito sa restaurant?”
It was only then that his message registered in her brain. “Ha? Around 6:00 p.m.”
“It’s not that long pala. Di ba usapan natin 6:30. Anyway, are you hungry? Have you ordered anything?”
“Wala, pa… Teka.. teka parang ang dami mong tanong.” Maya said finally recovering from her composure. She waved at the waiter to get the menu to distract Richard’s attention.
Although each of them had a menu in front of them, their minds were not into it. Maya hoped that Richard couldn’t sense her giddiness having him close beside her.
In Richard’s head, he was thinking of what he saw in her eyes. Those doe-eye shaped eyes told him that she was attracted to him. He could sense it but he needs to be careful otherwise, he may scare her away. She’s where he wanted her to be, close to him.
In the end, Richard allowed Maya to choose the dishes as he really couldn’t concentrate on the menu. Richard moved to a chair in front of Maya to get ready for dinner.
Eventually, both of them relaxed and started to talk about work. They were comfortable with each other as they shared stories about their experiences. With their increased level of openness, Maya started to ask personal matters to Richard. She asked why he chose law as profession and about his family background. He was candid with his answers.
Then, it was his turn to ask her question and it was about being NBSB.
“So, if I may ask, how come NBSB ka pa up to now? I assume you have suitors right?” He needed to know how much competition is there in the field.
“Hmmm, meron. Pero, wala eh.” She answered.
“Anung meron tapos wala. What’s that supposed to mean.” He curiously asked; looking directly into her eyes.
“I meant, meron nanliligaw, pero wala akong magustuhan.” She clarified.
She started to get self-conscious with his eyes fixed on her.
“Wala? Why? What is it that you’re looking for?” He was half-smiling. In his thoughts “Yes! Big chance.”
“Huh? eh….” Someone like you, was in Maya thoughts. His eyes were still glued on her that she was starting to blush. She lowered her eyes and tried to focus on her food.
“Maya… I’m waiting.” He pursued; he was really interested in her response.
“Alright.” Maya looked up. “Someone with self-confidence but not arrogant, tahimik pero hindi suplado, goal-driven, sensitive to the needs of others, family oriented, and finally who loves me with all his heart. The other traits secret na, okay?” She was actually describing him, if he only knew. One trait that she purposely skipped is a trait that only she can feel and inadequately describe. “She’d like someone who causes her heart to flutter wildly and make her feel melting like an ice cream; someone who can make her day bright just being with him.” She kept this to herself.
Then, it was Maya’s turn to ask, “So, how about you Atty. Lim, why are you still single up to now?”
“Hmm, I’m still looking for someone.” He said pensively. All the qualities that Maya mentioned earlier, he thought he could match it except for the last one. To love her with all his heart, he still need to search deep within himself.
“Ha? If you don’t mind my asking, but siguro naman you had somebody you really, really liked in the past?” She was fishing for more information that she knew could possibly hurt her.
“Yes, there was someone in the past; around 5 years ago.” He was still serious thinking about Maya’s requirements.
“Really, so what happened?” She wasn’t sure if she could take the answer but she did ask the question.
Absentmindedly he responded, “She married one of my friends.”
Maya was dumbstruck by his revelation. She didn’t know how to continue except to say, “Oh, I’m sorry to hear that.”
“It’s fine Maya.” He smiled at her as if it was nothing.
They continued on with the dinner and their conversation. However, Richard stirred them to a more neutral subject matter.
Later that night, Maya could hardly sleep. There was a nagging pain in her heart with the belief that Richard could be still carrying a torch for someone else. It hurt knowing that and tears started to fall from her eyes. The heavy rains that started to fall in the middle of the night help muffled her soft sobs until she fell asleep.
Maya panicked the following day when she learned they could not fly out of Tuguegarao because the flight was cancelled. The plane didn’t leave Manila as it will be able to land due to heavy rains. So, they will need to stay one more day. The Cebu Pacific flight was also cancelled.
Additionally, there was a possibility that there won’t be a flight the next day if the weather doesn’t improve. There was also no guarantee if they could get a seat to the next flight because it was fully booked.
So, they were stranded in the city. Richard quickly called up Ryan for the backup plan in his court appearance at Makati scheduled the following day. He knew he will not be able to make it. Maya, on her part, called up Liza to let her know that they will be staying for one more day due to flight cancellation. After the calls, they returned to their hotel.
They realized their day wasn’t going well for them when the hotel staff informed them that there was no more room available that day. Due to flight cancellations, the other passengers coming from other cities have also booked hotel rooms where they could stay for a night.
Maya’s facial expression can’t be painted. She was in a panic mode thinking there was a storm and they had no hotel room. Seeing her reaction, the hotel staff volunteered to refer them to another hotel.
“Sir, eto po ‘yung taga Plaza Holiday. Kayo po ang kumausap.” The guest services lady handed the phone to Richard who was calm all throughout.
“Hello. Yes, miss. This is Richard Lim. Do you still have available room?” Richard listened to the response of the lady on the end.
“We need two rooms… Yes… ahh…. Ganuun? Okay, can you hold that for me. Yes. Richard Lim. I’m coming from Esperanza hotel.” He put down the phone and looked at Maya seriously who figuring out the phone conversation.
“Ano daw, Ricky?” In panicky mode.
Richard lead Maya out of earshot of the hotel staff and told her the news.
“Maya, the hotel has only 1 room available. It’s a family room with 2 beds.”
“Ano? Ayoko nga!” She exclaimed. She immediately knew what that meant and it was not acceptable to her. How could she sleep with him in the same room?
“You heard it.” Richard was amused by her reaction. Thinking of their situation, he was seeing the positive repercussion of the bad weather.
However, Maya looked like she wasn’t going to be convinced. So, he gave her an option.
“Alright, here’s what we can do. Option 1, we check-in at Holiday Plaza and wait for the flight tomorrow. It will mean we will sleep in one room, 2 separate beds tonight. There are very few hotel here.”
Maya couldn’t wait for the next option that she interjected, “So ano ang option 2.”
“Eto na nga. I’m explaining to you. Kunot-kunot na ang noo mo.” He paused to gently massage her forehead that had creases on them.
“Option 2. We will drive southward back to Isabela then to Baguio. We will sleep in Baguio and from there I can arrange for another transport. We will not be able to use Dalton pass during heavy rains so we can’t go straight back to Manila. The way to Baguio will be a winding road. I think it be relatively safe. We can hire Manong Sammy to drive us there. So, there are your options. You decide.”