This is a continuation to Someone Like You – part 26
On board the plane, Maya couldn’t shake off the memory of Richard’s expression when he said that if she leaves, there is a possibility that he can’t have her back. She knew the risk of going to Cebu but she had to be sure. She needed to be fair to Joey with whom she has a relationship. He had done nothing wrong to her. Joey has been supportive of her and Abby since they met. It was the first time he made a request to her and although she was hesitant about this trip, she had faith that everything will turn out right.
Looking out the window of the plane, Maya thought about her previous night’s conversation with Emman. As usual, she confided in him her problems.
“Bes, eto na naman tayo. Akala ko graduate ka na sa future ex-boyfriend na naging ex-boyfriend mo. Mukhang gusto mo naman tanggalin ang ex ngayon so he can become a boyfriend again.” Emman was in his nagtataray mode. He couldn’t hide his dismay over Maya’s issues with Richard. Not that he was against Richard, he was actually pro-Richard.
“Emman naman. Kaya nga kita kinukunsulta kasi ikaw ang may alam ng buong story. From college up to now, you know everything. Medyo magulo kasi ang isip ko ngayon. Lately, I feel different pag nandyan si Richard.” Maya opened up to her friend hoping to see the light.
“Hayyy, dear. Maliwanag pa sa tirik ng araw na in-love ka pa rin dyan sa tatay ng anak mo. At kagaya ng sabi mo, binabalikan ka. Therefore, we are just wasting our post-paid minutes dito discussing about your problem because quite frankly, you don’t have a problem.” Emman was so straightforward that Maya was silent for a while. Emman worried that he might have offended his friend backtracked.
“Ehh, Bes. Sorry ha, nasagasaan ba kita ng diretso? Other than wanting you back, may offer of marriage na ba si Ricky? Baka naman kasi mauna pa ang kasunod ni Abby kesa sa kasalan. Pero, girl, excited na akong maging maid-of-honor kung sakali.” He sounded giddy.
“Emman, ikaw talaga.” She was smiling on the end of the phone. “Thank you pala for listening to me. Hindi ko alam ang gagawin ko kung wala ka.” She told her best friend.
“Weehh. What will you do without me? Didn’t you make a decision to have a boyfriend without consulting me. Ayan tuloy ang gulo ng isip mo. So, ano pupunta ka pa rin sa Cebu?” Emman checked with her.
“Oo. I need to be sure Emman. I think it would be the best way to really determine kung sino sa kanila ang matimbang.”
“Ay ewan ko! Basta kay Richard ako.” He disconnected the call. Although Emman cried with Maya during their break-up two years ago, his heart also went out to him when later on he found out about Richard’s version of their story thru Maya. They were too much in love but fate tested them. He really wished that they reconciled.
Joey was at the lobby waiting for Maya when she entered the hotel. Upon seeing her, he immediately greeted her with a kiss on the cheek and invited her to have lunch. He actually waited for her so they could the meal together.
They chose the Filipino restaurant to have lunch. As they were reading the menu, Maya suddenly asked Joey. “Joey, may champorado dito sa menu. Kumakain ka ba ng champorado with tuyo?”
“Yes, I eat champorado but I don’t eat tuyo. Some people like with milk, but for me I prefer it to be just plain.” Joey continued checking the menu. He was looking at the main entrée section in search for a pork dish.
“How about kare-kare? Parang gusto ko ng kare-kare?” Maya shifted her eyes to the beef selection.
“If you like that, you can order one Maya. I’ll order another dish. I don’t eat bagoong kasi.” He smiled apologetically.
As she sat beside Joey observing him, she unknowingly started comparing him and Richard. All the foods that she mentioned are her favorites. Joey seemed more picky with his food. Richard was also like that in the past but she was excited to teach him to get accustomed to those she loved to eat. However, in Joey’s case, it didn’t matter to her what his dislikes were.
While they were eating lunch, Joey kept on chattering about how their convention went. He seemed to have enjoyed the summit as he spoke of new friendships that he had developed. She noticed that there was one name that kept on popping up in his stories, a certain Aileen. Had it been Richard who mentioned about another woman’s name, she knew she would be jealous. But in this case, she didn’t mind. As she listened to more stories from him, she was secretly evaluating her feelings for him.
Eventually, Joey stopped and held her hand. “Babe, am glad that you’re here.”
As he touched and caressed her hand, Maya looked at him. Then, her eyes shifted on his hand that was touching her. Their fingers were now intertwined but Maya didn’t feel any instantaneous reaction from the physical contact they have. It was unlike with Richard when even his gaze can make her heart flutter.
Maya tried to hide her realization but when she thought that Joey was going to kiss her as she saw his face coming closer to her, she leaned backwards to avoid him.
Joey immediately sensed her rejection. “Maya, I wasn’t going to kiss you. Para ka kasing tulala. I was just teasing you but obviously, you don’t want to be kissed. So, I think I will have to get you a separate room for tonight.” He finished his juice and signaled the waiter for their bill. Maya had long finished her food while he kept on talking.
“Ha? You planned us sharing a room tonight?” Maya quickly asked, her heartbeats suddenly racing with the panic within her. She couldn’t’ stay in one room with him. She will not do it. Richard’s face suddenly flashed in her imagination. She suddenly wanted to run to him. If there’s one person she’d like to spend her time with, it was Richard. At that moment, she couldn’t imagine any other man that she’d like to be with except him.
“Yes. I assumed that you would agree once you are here but seems I am wrong. Anyway, I have a back-up reservation for you.” Joey explained while trying to still her hands that had become fidgety.
She pulled them away from him and almost teary eyed, told him her innermost feelings. “Joey, I’m sorry. I’m sorry to even be here just to tell you this. I don’t think I can continue this relationship with you. It would be unfair for me to stay and lead you on when I know that I can’t go the level where you want us to be. Hanggang dito lang ako Joey.”
Her tears started to flow. She felt guilty as well as relieved as she finally told him what was in her heart. Finally, she accepted the truth that Emman was telling her. She is in love with Richard.
Joey kept mum for a while. He unable to believe what Maya had just told him. He thought she felt the same way for her but apparently he was mistaken.
“Maya, are you sure? I can wait. We don’t have to rush into a decision. We can learn more about each other but you don’t give up that easily.” He tried to hold on to her.
“I’m sorry but I don’t think may mahinhintay ka sa akin. I want to be fair to you and to us. Masasayang lang ang effort natin dahil…” Maya was unable to finish because Joey finished it for her.
“Dahil, you are in love with Richard? It hurts Maya since I somehow knew that you still have feelings for him, I sensed it the moment he came back to your life. I don’t even think you’ve forgotten about him. You just buried him in your heart.” He spoke so softly that she could hardly hear him.
“Joey, I’m sorry. I hope you forgive me.” They sat there for a while both silent until Maya spoke again.
“So, I think there’s no reason for me stay here in Cebu, uuwi na ako sa Manila.” She stood up but Joey held on to her hand.
“Maya, why don’t you just stay as originally planned. You can have your own room and we can still go out tomorrow with the rest of the group, as friends. Yung ticket mo is for tomorrow pa naman.” Joey suggested hoping for a miracle that her feeling will change within 24 hours.
“No Joey, kailangan umuwi ako ngayon. Hindi pwedeng hindi ako umuwi sa Manila tonight. Sige mauuna na ako.” Maya almost running going out of the hotel with her overnight luggage rolling behind her.
Maya arrived at home by 10:30 p.m. Although there were several flights from Cebu to Manila, all of them were fully booked because of other travelers who attended the convention. She was only able to get the 7:30 p.m. flight after being on the waitlist of the three other earlier flights.
As soon as she got in the house, a surprised Manang Fe met her at the living room.
“Aba, Maya akala ko bukas pa ng gabi ang uwi mo?” Manang had a curious look on her face.
“Akala ko rin Manang. Anyway, si Abby po? Kasama po ni Ricky?” She wanted to see him right away so he would know that she was back.
“Ha? Eh… si Abby tulog na kasama si Doris. Si Ricardo, umalis kanina pang hapon. Hinihintay ko nga kasi nagtext na nakalimutan daw nya ang susi n’ya.” Manang Fe explained.
“O sige po Manang Fe, ako na lang ang maghihintay kay Ricky. Matulog na po kayo.” Manang Fe was about to turn in when the two women suddenly heard a loud screeching sound on their gate. Then, a loud bang followed. Both of them run outside the house to check what happened. When they got out, they saw their main gate dented after being hit a vehicle. It was Richard who crashed his car on the gate.
Richard got out of his black BMW car and inspected the damage. The bumper was damaged and hood protruded from its original position. The gate’s hinges gave way too. He seemed drunk by the way he walked. His face was red all over very evident that he was indeed intoxicated.
Manang Fe quickly ran to her ward. “Richard, ano ito? Bakit mo binangga ang gate natin?”
Maya stood frozen a few feet away from them. She was so shocked and almost tearful. He could have been seriously hurt.
“Hi Manang Fe. Hik, hik, Sorry… I’ll get that fixed tomorrow. I’m going in now. Si Abby tulog na? Hik, hik.”
“Oo tulog na. At saka, bakit ka lasing? Paano kung naka-aksidente ka sa labas? Paano kung maabutan ka ni Abigail na ganyan? Baka matakot sa’yo ang bata.” Manang started to scold him like he was a little boy as they entered the yard. Richard walked past by Maya without acknowledging her; as if he didn’t see her.
“Hindi ako lashing, Manang. Nakainom lang ng konti. Hik, hik. I just needed something so I can sleep tonight.” Richard explained as he continued walking in a semi zigzag fashion.
“Ricky” Maya touched his arm to let him know she was there. Tears were already falling down her face. They have just entered the main house.
He turned and looked at her; his eyes red and glassy. “Oh, yeah, you’re right Manang Fe. I must be drunk. Now, I am seeing Maya when she is supposed to be in Cebu. Hik, Hik.” He turned around to proceed to his room but almost tripped in the carpet rug.
“Ayyy” Both Manang Fe and Maya exclaimed as they both reached out to Richard. He didn’t fall but he was quite heavy for the two of them. However, they managed to support him and bring him to his room.
When he landed on the bed, he kept on bubbling something about Maya that she had to cover his mouth to stop him from talking too much. “Ricky, stop it. Sobra ka na ha.” Maya warned him. Her tears have stopped as she realized she had the task of making him sober.
Manang Fe was rattled by Richard’s behavior since she had never seen him like that before.
“Maya, ano bang nangyayari? Nag-away ba kayong dalawa at parang galit sa’yo si Ricardo?” The elder lady finally asked. She was worried.
“Hindi po Manang. Sige na po. Ako ng bahala dito.” Richard sat up and started removing his shirt as he was feeling hot. Maya immediately turned on the air conditioner and got his pajamas for his use.
Then, Manang Fe observed that Richard was hugging Maya a lot saying “I love you, honey. Why do you keep on hurting me?” An embarrassed Maya could only smile shyly to Manang Fe. The elder lady started to get amused by the situation; gone was her worry.
“Sigurado ka Maya? Lashing ‘yan si Richard baka anong mangyari sa inyo?” Manang Fe started to tease as she observed the discomfort of Maya as Richard kept on pulling her towards him.
“Manang Fe. Don’t worry. Parang alam ko po bakit naglasing ‘tong alaga n’yo. Maayos po ‘to.” Maya assured the elder lady.
In the end, Manang Fe left them behind. On her way out, she was shaking her head as she locked their door. Then, she was humming her favorite love song.