This is a continuation to Someone Like You – part 13.
It was 5:15 p.m. when Richard’s office finally opened. Maya was in the hallway on her way to check with Liza when she saw a woman leave his room. The lady was about the same height and has shoulder length hair like her. From a distance, she noticed that the woman was pretty. Then, she had the full view of her face when she turned around to retrace her steps. The lady approached Richard who was standing by the doorway. Maya saw her give Richard a kiss on the cheek before she left with Liza.
A trigger was pulled in her heart; it must be woman’s instinct. Maya felt her heart pound when she saw the kiss; she thought it lingered. She had a hunch that the meeting was more personal than business.
With that feeling, her initial reaction was to talk to Richard. She was upset. She was about to go when she was called by her boss.
“Maya, Hija, halika lang sandali.” Atty. Bobby motioned her to come over.
“Po?” She followed him to his room.
“Hija, ‘tong SMC papers, paki kumpleto mo ha. I’ve written down all the needed attachments ‘yung secretary’s certificate, paki check mo sa office ni Ryan if it has been notarized.”
“Sige po, Sir. Yung lang po?” She checked although her mind was on the scene she earlier saw.
“Wala na. Parang balisa ka. May problem ba?” He looked concerned.
“Wala po Sir.” She tried to smile. “Excited lang po, may dinner date po ako.”
“Ah, yes, the suitor or boyfriend na ba whom I’ve not met. When are you going to introduce me to him?” Atty. Bobby teased her.
“Sir Bob naman… Sige po, malapit na.” Maya thought that it may be appropriate to let her boss know about her relationship with his son.
Richard and Maya have discussed that subject matter in the past and it was she who put the formal introduction on hold. He didn’t insist too.
As soon as they were done, Maya was on her way again to Richard’s office. She was in the hallway nearing his room when fast-walking Ryan overtook her.
“Excuse me, Maya, I’m just in a hurry.” He smiled at her as headed for Richard’s room.
As soon as it opened, Ryan blurted. “Bro! The love of your life is back, is that true?” He sounded incredulous. It was too loud that Maya heard it.
Maya froze; her feet glued on the floor. Her heart started to pound loudly that she could hear them drumming in her ears too. The love of Richard’s life is back reverberated in her head. The love of his life is back.
“Divorce? Congratulations! So, what’s next?” Again, it was Ryan speaking but this time the door closed so she didn’t hear Richard’s response.
Maya’s head was spinning as she connected the words from Ryan’s trail of questions. The woman with whom he had a closed door meeting, with whom he can’t be disturbed and possibly the reason he wasn’t picking up his phone, is the love of his life. This must be the woman who married his friend and is now divorced. She felt stabbing pains in her heart.
For the past month they’ve been in a relationship, she had poured her love and attention to him. She was happy with him. He hasn’t even told her he loves her. However, knowing about the existence of the love of his life was painful. When finally she was able to lift her feet, she hurriedly returned to her desk to calm herself.
She heard the sound of a message received on her phone. “We’ll leave at 6:30 p.m. Just tidying up.” Richard finally sent her a reply.
After buckling up, Richard started the car. “So, Maya, where is dinner?” He glanced at her and noted her somber mood.
“I don’t know. I wasn’t able to make a reservation.” Her eyes was staring at the dashboard; she was in a turmoil whether to confront him or not.
“Hmmm. Okay, I’ll decide then. Let’s go to Shang. There’s a new Japanese restaurant there. Let’s try that one.” He drove the car out of the parking lot.
At the restaurant, it was Richard who ordered their food. Maya was unusually quiet that he finally asked. “Maya, why are you so quiet today?” An eyebrow raised as he held her hand.
“Wala lang…Ah… bakit pala you didn’t respond to my messages kanina?” She wanted him to explain. She kept a calm tone while brushing off his hand.
“Ah, yun? I was meeting with a client.” She’d like to give him the benefit of the doubt.
“So, client pala ‘yung kausap mo. Parang ang tagal naman ng usapan n’yo, buong hapon. Sabi ni Liza, bawal ang istorbo kanina.” She eyed him carefully. She hoped he’d give her an acceptable answer.
She sensed his discomfort. “Yeah, I gave that instruction. The client, Alexandra, was consulting with me on her divorce plans. I didn’t want distractions during the process.”
Maya took it all in. So far, his reasoning made sense; if only she keeps emotions out of it. But deep within her, there were nagging questions that needed answers. The pain she earlier felt is still there.
“Divorce, wala namang divorce dito sa Pilipinas. Bakit dito s’ya nagkukunsulta.” She knew she entered a sensitive zone when she saw his face turn red.
“She’s a close friend of mine.” He averted his eyes on her. “Di ba, you know I can practice law in New York.”
“Hmm, I didn’t even realize that you’re an expert in U.S. family law.” It was a statement that Richard didn’t contest nor downplayed. Instead, he changed the topic.
“So, what do you want to do after dinner? Do you want to watch a movie?”
She ignored his questions and pursued the topic of Alex. “Can you tell me more about your friend? Marami ka ng nakwento except s’ya.
I’m interested to know more about this friend.” She emphasized the word friend. She tried to control her voice which was starting to quiver.
Sensing Maya’s determination to stay on the subject matter, Richard gave in.
“She’s a friend from way back when Ryan and I were still reviewing for the bar exams. Then, when she got married, she moved to the states with her husband. I’ve not seen her in five years.,I was actually surprised she came to see me this afternoon.” She tried to read any emotions from his face but his face was expressionless. She thought, he is hiding it. He’s good at it based on his years of training.
Listening to him, her suspicion that Alex is the same ex-girlfriend that married his friend grew stronger. She wanted that confirmation but part of her was also afraid that Richard will admit it.
“Maya… are you on to something?” Richard began to suspect she was may be jealous. “Hey… whatever it is in your head, stop it. Okay? So let change the topic, what do you want to do next?”
“Wala. Uuwi na lang tayo after dinner.” If she was excited earlier in the day because of their first monthsary, she has totally lost interest in it. She wanted to go home so she could think things through.
“Ha? Uuwi? Di ba kahapon ka pa kulit ng kulit that we should be going out today. May celebration, you said. So, why the change of plans?”
She just realized that Richard doesn’t seem to remember about their monthsary although she hinted it to him a week before.
“Basta, umuwi na lang tayo. I changed my mind.” She insisted.
Their dinner was completed in silence. Because Maya didn’t seem to be interested in having a conversation with him, Richard chose to keep quiet all throughout dinner.
In Maya’s head, she was telling herself. “Hindi man lang naalala na one month na kami. Paalala ko pa ba sa kanya, eh, parang ako lang ang interested.”
On their way back to the car, Richard attempted again to lighten up Maya’s mood.
Placing his hand around her waist, he drew her closer to him while they were walking. “Honey, do you really want to go home? How about staying for a few hours in my place?” He whispered in her ear.
She looked at him with angry eyes. “No Ricky. Uuwi na ako.”
“Come on Hon, you’ve not been to my place since our trip last month.” Still he didn’t have any recollection or didn’t establish the connection with the celebration plans of Maya. It compounded to her pain and annoyance.
“Ricardo, uuwi ako. If you don’t want to bring me home, I can take a taxi.” She said in a cold tone to mask what she truly felt.
“Okay, okay, sige uuwi ka na. You are upset with something. Let’s talk about it tomorrow.”
Except for the music that was playing on Richard’s car stereo, neither of them spoke until they reached the gate of Maya’s house.
Maya was about to remove her seatbelt when Richard stopped her.
He turned to her side and leaned towards her. He was gazing at her. “Maya, Sorry, you’re upset today.”
She rolled her eyes but she was caught off guard when he suddenly held her face and kissed her. Initially, she didn’t respond but her love for him can’t be denied. She kissed him back. This encouraged him to further deepen their kiss. Seconds later, they paused to catch their breath.
Clouded by her pure emotions, she uttered when she opened her eyes. “I love you Ricky.”
Richard was dumbfounded. She saw it in eyes and it hurt her. It was as if he never expected those words. He didn’t say anything but just stared at her. She got off the car and left him without looking back.