Note: This is a continuation to The Rightful Owner – part 18
Saturday morning, Maya’s residence, Antipolo
Saturday is usually still a working day for Maya but that particular day, she didn’t go to work. She requested that her scenes be shot the following week since she wasn’t feeling well. The week’s emotional turmoil was taking a toll on her. She barely had enough sleep. She just wanted to be alone and cry.
Since Thursday when she last saw and spoke to Richard, her heart was very heavy. She agreed to let him be on his own and now yet it felt like it was years since they’ve last been together. She was dying slowly with the thought that he might now come back.
If only she didn’t love him that much, then, she wouldn’t have picked up the phone to call him up. However, she just wanted to hear his voice, she needed to hear his voice.
She tried to reach him on his mobile phone but it was unattended. It has been unattended for almost a week since his arrival from the states. Then, she tried calling his landline in his condo, hoping he would be there. The phone rang several times until someone picked it up.
“Hello.” It was a woman’s voice.
“Hello?” Maya stammered in surprise. She knew she dialed the right number since it was showing her phone screen but how come it was a woman who picked up the phone.
“Hello” The woman said again.
“Ahh, Is Richard there?” Maya’s heartbeats were pounding. She didn’t want to think he was with another woman. He just told her he loves her 2 days ago. But what if in his frustration, he took another woman in bed? She was teary eyed, her heart was aching.
“Am sorry, may I know who’s calling?” The woman checked. Maya could sense she was also deciphering who she was.
“This is Maya.” She finally introduced herself. She was sure her voice broke when she said her name.
“Oh Maya, yes. You are Richard’s girlfriend. This is Raffi. He’s not here right now. Actually, he is on vacation. Hindi mo ba ma-contact?” It sounded strange that Maya didn’t know where Richard was.
“Hindi eh, that’s why I tried his landline.” Maya responded with a better control of her voice. She wondered why Raffi was staying in his condo unit.
“Why don’t you check with James, he might know.” Raffi told her in excited tone. She was oblivious of what’s happening between the them. “Alam mo Maya, Richard told me a lot about you. Mahal na mahal ka ni Ricky. I’m so happy for the two of you.” She continued.
Maya was momentarily taken aback. Raffi’s comment somehow alleviated her earlier fear. “Ganu’n ba? Thank you. O sige baka nakaistorbo na ako sa’yo.” Maya and Raffi said goodbyes to each other.
As soon as Maya put down the phone receiver, she had renewed hope with Richard. Regardless what Raffi’s role is in Richard life, she loves him very much and she will not give up on him. She may have agreed to give him time to sort things out, but she will not wait for him sitting down. She knew the cause of their problem and she would address the issue herself.
She called up Emman to let him know that she would like to be interviewed by ABN’s Sunday showbiz talk show. After talking about the details of the interview, she called up James to ask for his help. She was fortunate that she got thru his phone.
“Hello, sis. What’s up?” He greeted her in his usual cheerful tone.
“James, hindi na ako mahihiya ha.” was her opening line. “Alam mo ba kung nasa’n si Ricky?” She asked him, confident that he knew where his brother is.
“Saan?” James was surprised. “Naghahanapan na naman ba kayo? Akala ko nagka-ayos na kayo last Thursday? Ano ba talagang nangyayari sa inyo?” Since seeing Maya last Thursday, James knew there was something wrong with the two and it looked like his brother was the one running away from their problem. So, he couldn’t help but blurt out his observations. He remembered her gloomy face when she entered his office and then later that morning she had bright hopeful eyes when Richard told him they will talk in his room.
“James…kasi…may problem kami ngayon. So, pwede tulungan mo naman ako? Gusto ko lang malaman kung nasa’n ang kuya mo.” She sounded like she was pleading.
This is an all too familiar scenario that happened years ago for James. It was the same thing with Alex when Richard was still dating her. But instead of helping them resolve their issue, he took the opportunity to steal her away from his brother. And now, it was happening again. However this time, he will not repeat the same mistake. He has seen that the two are very much in love with each other. He will not stand in their way.
“Maya, I don’t actually know where he is right now. But I will help you. I will call you later, okay?” He promised her.
“James, thank you ha.” After her call with James, Maya dressed up for her interview later that afternoon.
The same Saturday, Glan, Sarangani Province
The sunbeams were slowly losing its intense color of orange, red, yellow as the dark hue of indigo was creeping in the sky. If the sun was scorching hot at mid afternoon, the temperature was easing up. The birds were flying over the sea returning to their nests. The sun was slowly sinking into the ocean signaling another end of a day.
After three days in his sanctuary, a beach house in Sarangani province, he had a better perspective of his feelings. More than ever, he loves her. His life is incomplete without her.
He was seated on the beach lounge watching the sunset when an elderly woman appeared on his side.
“Ricky, anak” She gently touched his shoulder.
“Manang Fe.” He turned and smiled at her. In front of him was his nanny since he was born. She practically brought him up especially when his father died when he was five years old and his mother concentrated on their family business. She later on became James’s nanny too.
“Ricky, ilang araw ka na dito. Itong uwi mo dito ngayon, halata ko na hindi pagbisita dito sa bahay mo or sa akin ang talagang sadya mo. Alam ko kung may dinaramdam ka.” She was eyeing him with gentle eyes.
“Manang, bakit ganu’n? Mahal ko s’ya at may tiwala ako sa kanya pero nasasaktan pa rin ako kahit sinabi n’yang it was just a goodbye hug and that it was over between them years ago.” He confided to Manang Fe as he let her take a seat beside him.
“Anak, nasaktan ka kasi nga mahal mo s’ya. Ganu’n ka kasi magmahal, very protective ka, ayaw mo ng kaagaw. Pero higit sa tiwala mo sa kanya, dapat pagtiwalaan mo rin ang sarili mo, Ricardo.” She shared her words of wisdom.
“Manang Fe…?” His eyes darted back to the sea, then returned to Manang Fe.
“Pagtiwalaan mo ang sarili mo na yung pagmamahal mo ay na-ipadama mo sa kanya ng husto at matibay ‘yon… na hindi ka n’ya ipagpapalit kahit na kanino.” She smiled at her ward. Even if he is a grown man, he still runs to her when he needs advise.
Richard took a moment of silence, then he uttered, “Kaya lang po, nasaktan ko na rin s’ya.”
“Sabi mo mahal mo, e di suyuin mo na lang. Sigurado ako, magkaka-ayos kayo; kailangan lang magpakumbaba ka, anak.” She lifted his spirits up as he slowly smiled after heaving a sigh of relief.
“Salamat po Manang. Bukas na bukas, babalik na po ako sa Manila.”
“Mabuti naman. Eh, teka sigurado na ‘yan ha. Baka naman katulad noong nagdaang Huwebes, umalis ka ng maaga tapos kinahatinggabihan nandidito ka na naman.” Mang Fe cautioned him.
“Ah yun po? Dumating kasi Raffi from the States that day may class reunion daw sila. I promised her that I’d see her that day. So, napilitan akong bumalik sa Manila. She’s actually staying in my condo right now since nandito naman ako.”
“Ha, naku kilala ba ni Maya si Raffi? Kung nasa condo mo eh, baka lalong lumaki ang problema n’yo ni Maya.” She further cautioned him.
“Thank you Manang sa reminder. They met but since wala ako sa sarili ko these past few days, I wasn’t able to tell Maya that Raffi is staying in my place. Sasabihin ko agad pag nagkita kami. At saka, paki sabi po kay Manong Bebot na papahatid ako sa airport tomorrow morning. So, paki check ang sasakyan for our trip tomorrow.”
Later that night, Richard called up the airlines for available tickets back to Manila. He could go via Gen. Santos City or take Davao as what he did a week ago. And another thought came to his mind, he should start thinking of opening a Manila – GSC or Manila – Davao T.A. flight.
Sunday, 6:55 a.m., Maya and James were on board PAL653 bound for Gen. Santos City. In less than two hours time, they should be arriving at the Phils.’ tuna capital and from there, they will take a land trip to the town of Glan, Sarangani.
During the flight, Maya asked James the same question she asked several times earlier. “James are you sure he is there?”
“Oo, I checked it.” She got the same response from him.
“Eh kasi, walang nabanggit sa akin si Ricky na may property sa’yo doon.” She prayed that Richard was really there.
“Sa totoo lang, I only learned about it a year ago. Doon naglalagi ang kapatid ko para mag-relax kapag sobra ang problema sa T.A. or sa Lim Aviations. Andoon ang yaya namin kaya reliable ang source of information natin. Si Manang Fe pa ang nag-arrange ng transport natin.” He tapped her hand in assurance that they would see Richard.
“Thank you. At saka thank you sa pagsama mo sa akin.” She was really grateful
“Syempre, magiging Ate kaya kita. Alangan naman I let you travel on your own to a place you’ve never been to. What if something happens to you? Eh di nalintikan ako sa Kuya kong tigre.” They both laughed.
When the plane landed, Maya’s heart began to thump. She was getting closer to seeing him again. Suddenly she felt ambivalent, what if he didn’t want to see her. What if in two days time, he realized that he didn’t want to be with her anymore and he was giving up. But she wasn’t giving up without a fight.
Even if Maya was wearing sunglasses as they disembarked from the plane and walked to the arrival area, James sensed her nervousness. “Don’t worry, he won’t turn you away. And if he does, I will be there, Sis.” He gave her a reassuring smile.
The drive to Glan, Saranggani took almost 1 ½ hours. They were in a van driven by Manong Bebot, Richard’s driver.
As Maya looked out the window to observe the scenery they passed by, she thought that Richard must like the simplicity and beauty of provincial living for him to choose a vacation in this area. It was far down southern Philippines.
Eventually, they entered an unpaved road with a gate that had a sign “Private Property.” Upon entering the property, Manong Bebot closed the gate and continued to slowly drive into the yard until they stopped in a modest two story house made of hard wood. A lot of fruit bearing trees surrounded the house and Maya saw the beach from their distance.
As soon as they got out of the car, Manang Fe met them.
“James, anak, long time no see.” Manang Fe and James hugged showing their fondness for each other.
“Manang Fe, si Maya po. Maya si Manang Fe, ang yaya namin ni Kuya, siya ang second mommy namin.” James introduced Maya.
Maya hugged her too. “Manang Fe, kamusta po kayo.”
“Mabuti naman hija. Mas maganda ka sa personal.” Manang Fe complimented Maya who only smiled at her.
“Halika na pasok na kayo. Hindi alam ni Ricky na darating kayo dahil ang request mo James, wag akong maingay.” She led them towards the house. “Nasa room n’ya si Ricardo at mainit ang ulo.”
Then, Manang Fe remembered to warn the Manong Bebot who was also walking with them carrying the luggage of Maya and James. “Ikaw pala Bebot, wag ka munang magpakita kay Ricardo at galit sa’yo. Bakit ka daw umalis eh kailangan ka n’ya kanina.”
Manong Bebot’s eyes grew big in confusion. “Manang Fe, eh ikaw ang nagpa-alis sa akin. Bakit sa akin s’ya magagalit?” He defended himself.
“Ah basta, duon ka muna sa sabungan maghapon. Ako na bahala kay Ricky. Sigurado bukas, okay na’yon.” She gave a knowing look at Maya. “Halika na hija. Duon ka muna sa guest room magpahinga.”