Note: This is a continuation to The Rightful Owner – part 15
After the release of her movie The Temptation, Maya’s days became more hectic as offers for new projects came along. There was one movie offer that was quite off-beat requiring some daring scenes and another TV series with love and infidelity as the theme. She declined both offers although the talent fee was tempting. She couldn’t accept any role that would require her to do any kissing, more so love scenes.
After the press conference incident, she didn’t want to upset Richard anymore. If there is one thing that she is wary of her boyfriend is his jealousy. Actually, she feels good about it because she feels loved but she doesn’t want to stretch him so far. Richard is perfect the way he is.
Maya’s phone rang. It was Richard calling her. “Hi Hon.”
“Hi Maya, when are you back coming back to Manila?”
“This Saturday. Why?” She asked.
“I’m planning to leave for the U.S. this Monday. This just came up today. I have a lot of things to attend to for L.A.S. and Time Airways. So, I’m just making sure that I’ll see you before I leave. I might be gone for a month.” Richard informed her.
“Ah ganun ba? Parang ang tagal namang trip yan. Anyway, I’ll make sure I come home by Saturday so we can spend Sunday together.” Maya’s gotten used to having him around or least within Philippines that the thought of him being away for a month gave her a depression. She will surely miss him.
Instead of Saturday, she managed to be back on Friday much to the delight of Richard. He cancelled a meeting on the afternoon she arrived at L.A.S. hangar so they could go out. They spent the whole weekend together in Tagaytay to maximize the time they have for each other. Sunday evening, they were back in Antipolo, cuddling on the sofa at Maya’s home. His flight was 6:00 a.m. the following day.
“Hmm, dapat bumalik ka kaagad pag natapos na ang business mo ‘don, ha?” She reminded him as her head remained on his chest while his arms were around her shoulders.
“Of course, hon. My target is to be done in 2 ½ weeks so please expect that I will be very busy when I am there. ‘Wag kang magtatampo kung hindi ako makakatawag araw-araw kasi nasa opposite timezone tayo.” He explained while kissing the top of her head.
“I’ll miss you. Sana’y kasi ako na nandyan ka araw-araw kahit sa phone lang.” She cuddled some more after kissing his cheek.
“Ako din…Sometimes, I think that maybe we should just stay in one place. Don’t you find it tiring na pabalik-balik tayo dito , sa condo ko sa Shang or in Tagaytay when we could just be living in one place.” He was thinking out loud and didn’t realize how it came across to Maya until she reacted.
“Ano? Mag live-in tayo? Gusto mo akong itakwil ng nanay ko? She doesn’t even know that I’ve already slept with you, tapos mag li live-in tayo? So, paano mo sasabihin kay nanay aber?” In an emotional upset, she asked the questions one after the other.
“Heyyy, one question at a time.” Richard shifted and looked at her face. “I didn’t suggest that you move in with me. Sa isip ko lang, maybe we should start thinking about settling down.” He clarified his intent and Maya suddenly felt embarrassed by her assumptions.
“Ayyy, sorry. I assumed kasi na…” She had the sheepish grin.
“Na ano? I would just settle for living together? I’d still prefer to marry you, Maya.” He declared to her that made her heart leap. She wondered whether he was going to propose to her right at that moment. She took mental notes of the projects that might be affected if she suddenly gets married.
“Naku Ricky, ‘wag ganito ang usapan ha. Kinakabahan ako sa’yo. Hindi pa tayo handa at saka may mga kontrata pa ako.” She blurted out. Richard just stared at her as he processed what she just told him. In the end, he said.
“Maya, I just want you to know that I’m taking this relationship seriously. I’m not getting any younger. I can picture ourselves getting married but you make a good point, it has to be the right time for you too. I’ll give you time to think it over, hon.” He ended their conversation with a kiss.
It’s been a week since Richard and Maya spoke on the phone. He was in his 2nd week in California. Richard paced back and forth in his hotel room waiting for her to respond to his call. He will need to leave soon to meet their L.A.S. equipment supplier but he wanted to speak to her first. It was early evening in Manila and he hoped that by then Maya was free to receive his call.
After several tries, Richard gave up. He then decided to call Joma her driver to find out the whereabouts of Maya.
“Joma, kumusta?” Richard greeted the driver.
“Sir Richard, nakabalik na kayo?” He seemed surprise to receive call from him.
“Not yet, where are you? Magkasama ba kayo ni Maya?” He started asking Joma.
“Ayy, hindi po Sir. Si Ma’m may dinner appointment. Hinatid ko lang sa may Crowne Plaza tapos pina-uwi na po ako.
“So, how will she go home? Oh, I think I know.” He paused and thought that maybe she will go his One Shangri-la place. He had given her the password to his unit and Crown Plaza and his home were just few blocks away. “Anyway, do you know who is she meeting with?”
“Ehh, Sir sa pag-kakaalam ko po, Mayor Simon Corpuz.” Joma innocently shared.
“Ok. Thanks Joma.” Richard ended the call. He wondered why she was meeting a mayor. It would probably be work and he assumed that Emman was with her as she usually goes around with him.
He decided to just wait for Maya’s call after leaving her a message. He then proceeded to his meetings. It was already 6 p.m. later that day when he realized that Maya didn’t return his call and anxiety kicked-in.
It was the following day when Maya returned his call. He was already slightly upset with her.
“Maya, why didn’t you return my call?” He didn’t even bother to greet her upon picking up the call.
“Sorry, hon, actually akala ko nawala ko ang phone yesterday. Kanina lang naming nahanap, nasa van pala naiwan ko kahapon. Pag-uwi ko naman, nakatulog kaagad ako.” She explained.
“Anyway, I called up Joma yesterday and he told me you were out on dinner yesterday with a certain mayor.”
“Yes, Ricky. Actually, childhood friend ko si Simon. Birthday n’ya kahapon so nag-imbita. Kasama ko naman si Emman, si Angie at saka ‘yung ibang kababayan naming na taga San Nicolas din na nandidito sa Manila.” She explained in details but skipped the part of her previous association with Simon. She intends to tell him about Simon but not over the phone. She will wait until Richard comes back.
“Anyway, I need to leave the hotel now Maya. I’ll talk to you later. I love you.”
“I love you too Ricky, I miss you na.” She responded. Suddenly she felt an emptiness in her heart.
“Me too. Love you.” Richard disconnected the call. He too could feel the longing to be with her.
Later that night, Richard and Maya spent several hours on face time to chat and catch-up on stories they had to tell each other since they didn’t connect for a week. After that week, the same thing happened. They were not able to speak to each other due to their conflicting schedules.
By end of the 3rd week, Richard completed all the business matters he needed to attend to. He felt excited with the thought that finally he could go back home to the Philippines. He had been missing the comfort of his own home, the food, his office and particularly Maya.
He requested Liza to rebook his ticket so he could go home. To while away his time in his hotel room, Richard decided to surf the internet for the latest news in Manila. Out of the blue, he got curious on entertainment topic and so he searched for news about Maya. He almost fell out of his seat when he saw several articles that came out five days ago covering the love of his life.
“Maya dela Rosa’s boyfriend revealed! A town mayor from the south.”; “Maya seen with a young mayor.”; “Maya and Mayor Simon Corpuz, back together?”
Included in the articles were some photos of Maya and Simon in captions.
Two of their photos were suggestive. There was one in which he was kissing her on the cheek and the other wherein they seemed to where on the table talking seriously, their faces so close together.
He felt his blood drained from his face. His heartbeats were pounding. He had to remind himself that they were just news and that Maya could explain all of these. She will need to explain to him. More than ever, he really wanted to go home.