This is a continuation to The Rightful Owner – part 12.
It was the 2nd day of the T.A.’s AVP shoot with GEM production house when James mentioned dinner to Maya. They were in the T.A. hangar near NAIA terminal 3 where their shooting was being held. They were about to board a B737-500 but James stopped her.
“Maya, are you free for dinner tonight?” James asked. He intended it to be just a friendly dinner with her and his team.
“Ahh, James, sorry I can’t.” Maya declined the offer while fixing the belt of her T.A. flight attendant attire. That day, the concept they were shooting was Maya as a FA.
“How about tomorrow? It’s a dinner with the rest of the team, my treat. I think you will be done here by tomorrow and for your next set, ipa-pa-schedule pa lang sabi ni Bryan.” James offered an alternative day.
“Naku, James, you can go ahead with dinner with your team. Actually ‘yung free time ko kasi this week is already committed” Her facial expression somehow said that she has committed herself to someone. It was purely a speculation on his part and he needed confirmation.
“So, do you mean you have a date with someone close to your heart?” He couldn’t resist teasing her.
She smiled. “Yeah, actually. Naka book na eh.” Maya had been thinking when she could speak to James and tell him about her and Richard. She thought that time was a good opportunity. On James’s part, he was going to follow-up with another question when they noticed Richard has also arrived at the hangar.
Richard’s facial expression was unreadable as he walked towards James and Maya who were at the foot of the mobile staircase. Maya still had a smile on her face, she was surprised that he actually went there unannounced.
James greeted him. “Oh, bro. you’re here. I didn’t realize that you are interested in this work.”
Richard doesn’t normally meddle on details of their marketing activities but mostly just talk to James when he wanted something discussed or changed.
“Well, there’s always a first time. I actually wanted to see how Maya looks in our FA attire.” A smile emerged from his lips and the dimple on his right cheek was evident.
They are already on their 3rd week as boyfriend-girlfriend but still she can still feel giddy whenever Richard smiles at her. Maya returned his smile and asked. “So, what do you think Mr. Lim?” Her eyes had not left him since he arrived at the hangar.
“Hmm, you look good enough; comparable to our other FAs. Definitely, you can consider this as a backup job just in case you don’t want to be a celebrity anymore.” They all laughed at Richard’s comment. Then, they decided to go up the staircase.
Maya went ahead followed by James and Richard. Richard noticed that his brother was holding Maya’s elbow as they went up. He reminded himself there was nothing to it, that James was just assisting her but he thought he should be the one assisting her and not him. Other than Ryan and Nanay Teresita who know about their relationship, they have not actually made any formal announcement to anyone about them. He would need to tell James soon even if Maya disagrees. He assumes too that Emman knows them but beyond him, it seemed the showbiz world has not picked-up anything.
The shoot continued with Richard and James watching over them. In between takes, James noticed that Maya would glance over at Richard’s direction. He thought that he she might just be self-conscious having him around but realized that she should be used to the attention; she is an actress. Then, he remembered that Richard admitted that he had kissed her in Bali. He felt a hunch that maybe, the guy that Maya was referring to that is close to his heart is his brother. He got curious so he decided to observe the two.
Richard decided to leave the shoot after an hour with them. He just waved at Maya indicating he was leaving and said goodbye to his brother. James didn’t see anything different in how Richard acted that afternoon. In Maya’s case, other than the glances she made to Richard, she looked happy when Richard was with them.
Later that afternoon, James didn’t see that Richard’s car and Maya’s car exited their premises one after the other. He also didn’t see that on the following day, Maya arrived at the T.A. hangar in Richard’s car.
When James arrived at the hangar, he was surprised to find Richard on the set again. His elder brother must been early since he was already comfortably seated in a corner table with his computer already set-up.
He was in a position where he was least visible to people; only those who would go in that section would find him there. James saw his brother because he was looking for Maya.
James approached Richard. “Kuya, ang aga mo ‘yata. What’s that?” He pointed at Richard’s computer.
“I’m responding to an email sent by Ryan galing sa kabila, meaning LAS.” Richard answered his younger brother.
James found it weird that he was there but didn’t make any more comment. He will just observe him. Then, Maya arrived on the set in her FA attire again.
As soon as he heard Maya’s voice, James went to her to greet her. She just smiled at him as she greeted him in return. Then, James just left her alone but a few minutes later she went where Richard was.
Richard and Maya talked until the shoot was about to start. It was then Richard stood up and told her he will be going to the office. As Richard said his goodbye, James saw him kiss Maya on the cheek but what caught his attention was where his brother’s hands were. They were on her waist and he saw them lingered there.
As Richard walked past him, James saw the tenderness in Maya’s eyes as they followed him. It dawned on James that indeed, it was Richard that has Maya’s heart.
James froze with the realization that his brother won over him. Although he had given up on courting Maya, it somehow hurt as he wondered how did she end up with Richard considering his brother said he was getting out of his way.
James stayed at the shoot but his mood was very serious throughout the session. Maya must have noticed Jame’s change of mood that she went to him during a break.
“James, may problema ba?” She checked on him since he looked upset.
“Hmmm, not really. Maya, if you don’t mind my asking, what’s going on between you and Richard?” He felt he needed to ask the question; otherwise he would be uncomfortable working with her.
“Huh?” Maya was taken aback by the question. She knew eventually James will know about them but didn’t realize that it was that time she will have to tell him. “James… si Richard ‘yung sinasabi ko sa’yong mahal ko.” She said it very straightforward.
“Ahh, but you said before you weren’t sure yet if there will be progress between the two of you. But, I guess okay na kayo ngayon?” He asked her seriously.
“Yes, James. I hope you won’t be mad at us for keeping this from you. Richard wanted to tell you sooner but I stopped him since I wanted to tell you myself. It’s awkward kasi for the three of us. But please don’t get mad at him. Actually, during the time you said gusto mo akong makilala pa at manliligaw ka, Richard wasn’t making any move. Sa totoo lang, sa aming dalawa, I feel that I am more in love with him.” Maya explained to James everything as she didn’t want to be the cause of the brother’s disagreement.
James slowly smiled after hearing her side of the story. After the initial doubt and hurt, he didn’t mind that Maya is dating his brother. He actually didn’t feel anything, it could have been just pride that caused his earlier reaction.
After James’s conversation with Maya, he decided to go back to T.A. office. He immediately went to Richard’s office upon finding out that he would be spending the day in their office instead of LAS.
As soon as James entered his room, he said to brother angrily. “Kuya, you’re a sly one! How could you do that to me?”
Richard was surprised by his brother’s accusation. “James what are you talking about?” His brows furrowed.
“Ahh, so you don’t know. You just stole someone that I really liked!” James continued his angry accusation.
Richard then understood where James was coming from. So, he stood from where he was seated and faced his brother. “I’m sorry James. I tried to stay away from her but somehow there’s a force stronger than us that led us towards each other. So, if you are challenging me now, I’m sorry but I think I just have to take you up on it. I am not giving her up.” Richard’s had a stern look that anyone who heard him would know he meant every word he said.
James met his eyes but slowly, a smile emerged from his face, then he chuckled. “Ha,ha,ha, I got you.” He gave Richard a light jab on the ribs. “Hey, Kuya ‘wag magserious masyado. I’m not mad at you. I’m happy for you. I just spoke to Maya and she told me everything.”
Richard heaved a sigh of relief. He thought he’d have another episode of cold war with James but he was really prepared for it. “Are you sure?” He checked with James.
“Kuya, ni hindi nga ako naka dalawang hakbang sa panliligaw ko kay Maya, nabasted na ako. As I told you, tanggap ko naman na she never liked me. Ang hindi ko lang alam eh, sa’yo ang punta n’ya. Anyway, siguraduhin mo lang na hindi ka mag-aasawa agad ha… remember T.A. is mine.”
“James, you can be assured that this company is yours the moment you are ready to take over. Yung pag-aasawa ko, wag mo ng pakialaman at ako ang magdedecide nyan.”
The brother laughed as they ended their conversation. In Richard’s mind, James’s issue has been settled therefore he and Maya wouldn’t have to worry about him.
It’s their first monthsary and Maya was surprised to find Richard in her home very early on a Sunday morning. She was still in bed when she felt a hand on her face and a light kiss on her lips.
“Good morning Princess.” He said as he sat on the side of her bed.
Maya thought she was dreaming but when opened her eyes, she saw a smiling Richard looking down at her. “Richard, hi.” She sat up. Then, realizing her disheveled state, she quickly run her fingers on her shoulder length hair and gathered them on one side. She raised the sheet to cover her lips as she spoke. “Hey, paano ka nakarating dito?”
“Eh di umakyat ng hagdan?” Richard responded. “No need to cover yourself, as if I haven’t seen you very early morning.” He winked at her. It made her jump out of the bed and open the door. Nanay Teresita is in her home since it was her scheduled visit that week. Maya didn’t want her mother thinking badly about her by having a man in her room.
“Richard, I meant, who let you in my room?” She clarified her question.
“Si Nanay. Ako na daw ang gumising sa’yo kasi usually late kang gumising ng Sunday. So, here I am. And I am glad, I came up here. I love your sleeping attire.” He was grinning from ear to ear as he looked at her from head to foot. He appreciated seeing her long legs and chests which were exposed by her skimpy teddy that morning.
Seeing his meaningful stare, she realized that she was wearing so little so she went back to her bed and covered herself with the sheets. She noticed the glint of desire in his eyes as he continued looking at her.
“Mr. Lim.” She slightly pushed him off the bed. “Doon ka muna sa baba, I’ll get ready.” Richard didn’t budge but instead shifted closer to her.
“Richard, si Nanay nandito sa bahay. Baka biglang dumating ‘yon, binuksan ko kaya ang pinto. Ano ka ba, nakakahiya.”She pushed him again but still he wouldn’t leave her bed. He was attempting to remove the sheet so he could join her. It caused her to panic.
“Ricky… Ricky naman eh. Sige na.” She pleaded. It was the first that she called him Ricky. She had always referred to him as Richard. She found out from Ryan earlier that his family members call him Ricky and because of fear she used his nickname.
Richard stopped and laughed. “Okay, ‘wag ka ng mag-panic. I was just teasing you.” He walked towards the door. “By the way, wala ngayon si Nanay dito sa bahay. Kasama ‘yung mga alalay n’yo, hinatid ko lang kani-kanina sa chapel dahil magsisimba daw sila. So, technically we have the house all by ourselves to do whatever we want.” He winked at her.
“Ikaw talaga Richard Lim.” Her worry was replaced by anger as she threw her pillows to him. Richard caught one of them and declared happily. “Yes! Akin na ‘tong isang ito. This will take your place in my bed.”
Althoug a bit upset, Maya felt giddy with the thought of her in his bed. Richard finally left Maya as she went to the bathroom to take a bath and join him later.
Forty five minutes later, a freshly showered Maya went down the staircase and found Richard reading the Sunday paper in the living room.
“I’m here.” She declared. She was wearing a jeans and just shirt with very little make up on her face.
“Ah, finally.” Richard stood up and approached her.
Richard enveloped her in his arms and said. “Happy monthsary, Maya. You smell good.” He nuzzled her neck.
Her eyes lit up. It’s been a month since they officially entered into a relationship. She was actually thinking about their monthsary the day before but dismissed the idea of planning anything since she assumed that he wasn’t into the monthsary celebrations.
“Happy monthsary too, Ricky. Akala ko hindi ka nagcecebrate ng monthsary eh.” She explained to him to ensure that he didn’t misinterpret her reaction when he greeted her.
He looked at her. “I don’t. But for you, I am making an exception. I want to celebrate every month with you. So, today, we’ll be spending the day together as we do every Sunday but we’ll need to go a certain place.”
“Richard, where are we going? Don’t tell me we are going to your place?” She had a suspicion that he was planning to do something romantic that will lead to another thing. Since their night in his condo unit, they’ve not done anything more than kissing which at times kept her hanging as she wanted more.
“Hmmm, if you want to, I’d be glad to have in you my place. But, there is someone that I’d like you to meet.” Richard tucked the few strands of her covering her eyes behind her hear.
“Huh? Sino?” She gazed at him whose eyes were twinkling.
“Ipapakilala kita sa Mama ko. We’re going to our house in San Lorenzo.” He declared.
Maya’s hands went to her chest as if agitated. “Naku, today talaga?”
“Why not? Don’t you want to meet the rest of my family? I told her I’m bringing my girlfriend today so she is expecting you.” Richard explained.
Maya momentarily paused to think and then said, “O sige. So, teka lang, aakyat uli ako sa room.” Maya turned to leave Richard but he caught her hand.
“Oh, bakit babalik ka do’n?” He asked.
“Magbibihis ako. Kahiya naman ganito itsura ko , tapos I will meet your mother.” Although anxious to meet her mother, she wanted to make sure that she also looked best when she will meet her.
“If that will calm you down, sige you change your attire but actually it doesn’t matter dahil maganda ka kahit anong suot mo.” Richard’s comment didn’t stop Maya from changing her clothes.