A/N: This is a continuation to The Art of Letting Go – part 37.
Maya spent the rest of the afternoon at Richard’s mansion. Both Esmeralda and Rafi wasted no time and started planning on how they’ll execute Maya’s bridal shower, thus, tying Maya up with them as they got essential info necessary for the event that they’re planning to organize for her. Roberto on the other hand chose to let pass the rest of the afternoon and just stayed at their room to rest while Richard worked at his home office.
As dinner came, Esmeralda and Rafi never stopped from talking about how the bridal shower should go but careful enough not to spill vital information that would ruin the very essence of the said event.
“So you two are very keen about this whole bridal showering thing eh?” mocked Don Roberto.
“And what is it to you, Roberto? Afraid na matatalbugan ka namin ni Rafi?” countered Esmeralda, earning a chuckle from Rafi.
“Why should I? I already have everything under control.”
“Really now darling. If I know, you haven’t started anything yet as you’re busy snoring in our room.”
“Ha! Just wait and see darling. Just wait and see,” answered Don Roberto coolly.
Richard and Maya could only shake their heads hearing the banters of the former’s parents.
Shortly after dinner, Richard decided to drive Maya back to the condo. As they reached the condo, Richard stayed there for a while to have coffee with Maya.
“Honey do you think okay lang sila Papa at Mama?” asked Maya in a concerned tone.
“What do you mean?” he asked as he took a sip of his coffee.
Scratching her head, “eh kasi, tignan mo naman kanina, parang kulang nalang mag-away sila eh. Seryoso ba talaga sila sa gusto nilang mangyari?”
Richard chuckled. “So you mean to say until now you still doubt na itutuloy nila ang mga pinaplano nila?”
“Eh hindi naman sa ganun. Pero talaga bang magpapaligsahan pa sila?”
Richard laughed in amusement.
“Honey nakakainis ka. Tumatawa ka pa jan. Nag-aalala na nga ako sa kanila eh.” Maya pouted her lips.
Richard controlled his laughter. Placing his cup down, he faced Maya and took her hands. “Ok I’m sorry. Nakakatuwa ka kasi eh.”
Maya glared at him.
“Ok hindi na. Sorry.” Richard moved closer and wrapped his arms around her and rested his chin on top of her shoulder. “Look angel, you don’t have to worry about Papa and Mama.”
Softening up, “Are you sure? Kanina kasi akala ko talaga mag-aaway na sila eh.”
Richard chuckled. “Ganun lang talaga sila Papa at Mama. Believe me, they may seem too caught up in a heated argument but at the end of the day, they’re still together like nothing happened. Parang wala silang pinagtalunan.”
“Really?” she asked in amusement.
“Mm-hmm. I think that’s one of the reasons kaya naging successful ang marriage nila. They don’t let any argument last long.”
“Eh di ba nga tinuro din sa atin yun sa seminar. Na kung meron mang di pagkakaunawaan, huwag ito hayaang magtagal at wag hayaan na pride ang mangibabaw,” said Maya.
Silence filled the air for a moment.
“Do you think magiging ganun din tayo honey?”
“Like Papa and Mama?”
“Oo. Na kahit anong argument pa o kahit gaano pa ka-intense ang diskusyunan, at the end of the day, okay parin sila. Hindi pinagtatagal ang ano mang tampuhan o di pagkakaunawaan,” said Maya.
“I believe so.” Richard smiled at the thought.
“Talaga? Sure na sure ka honey ah,” chuckled Maya.
As Richard held her tighter, he placed a kiss on her temple. “After everything I’ve been through and after everything’s that happened to me, I’ve learned that life should be treasured, the people we truly love should be treasured. Life is too short to be wasted to petty quarrels or misunderstanding. Gaya nila Papa at Mama, what’s important is not winning an argument, what’s important is continuously winning your partner’s heart.”
“So ibig bang sabihin nun hindi mo ako aawayin kahit kalian at lagi akong mananalo sa’yo sa kahit anong arguments?” Maya smiled mischievously.
Richard threw his head back and laughed. “Fine. Kahit kailan naman yata talagang hindi na ako mananalo pa sa’yo eh.”
“Nagrereklamo ka ba?” teased Maya.
“No! Of course not!” answered Richard defensively. “Kahit ilang beses pa akong matalo sa’yo, ok lang. It’s your heart that I aim to continuously win after all.”
“Promise,” replied Richard. “Pero baka naman awayin mo nalang ako ng awayin lagi ah.”
Maya laughed at his insinuation. Wrapping her arms around his waist, “Magagawa ko ba namang awayin ang ever so sweet, ever so thoughtful, at ang pinakamamahal kong honey ko? Syempre alam ko naman na sa isang relasyon, dapat give and take. Hindi pwedeng bigay ka nalang ng bigay at ako naman tanggap nalang ng tanggap. Basta honey, promise ko din sa’yo, hindi kita aawayin nalang ng basta basta. Syempre may mga oras at pagkakataon na hindi natin maiiwasan na magagalit tayo, maiinis, o may hindi mapagkakasunduan. Pero gaya nga ng sabi mo, hindi importante kung sino ang mananalo. Ang importante ay yung taong mahal mo at ang pagsasama niyo.”
Two weeks before the big day. Everyone’s getting more and more excited with each passing day but Roberto and Esmeralda seemed to be more excited with the bachelor’s party and the bridal shower that they have planned for the couple, respectively.
Richard, Maya, and the rest of the household never heard the end of it. Whenever Roberto and Esmeralda are on the same place with them, they never stopped bragging about how everything’s already perfectly laid out up to the last details.
That same week, the whole dela Rosa clan flew to Manila for the fitting of their outfit and will be staying there until Saturday to attend the respective party of Richard and Maya. Their arrival added more to the chaotic excitement inside the Lim mansion especially Richard as Maya was once again will be staying in the mansion for her family. Furthermore, Mamang and Kute backed Esmeralda in her bridal shower plans for Maya. Roberto on the other hand, found additional apprentices in the form of Jeff and Simon.
Though everything’s already set and well-planned out, the two groups were occasionally seen huddling anywhere inside the mansion, talking among themselves.
Thursday evening came. Rafi was at the veranda unwinding when she received a phone call from Emman.
“Rafi girl! May problema tayo!” exclaimed Emman in a troubled tone.
“Hey kalma ka lang. What happened? Ano bang problema?”
“Eh girl. Yung mga friends ko na dapat ay surprise number sa bridal shower ni roomie, hindi na daw sila pwede. Apparently, nagka-emergency yung dalawa kaya ayun, nag back-out na lahat.”
“What??” exclaimed Rafi. “Now that really is a problem. Naku paano ba ito. For sure, Tita Esmeralda wouldn’t appreciate the news. Excited pa naman siya about the whole thing.”
“Oo nga eh,” said Emman in an upset tone. “Eh ngayon wala na akong maisip pang ibang alternative.”
Rafi heaved a sigh. “Well, sayang naman talaga but what can we possibly do? Hindi naman pwedeng hindi matuloy ang party dahil lang sa nag-cancel sila. I’m sure magiging bongga parin ang party even without the surprise.”
“Hay. Well I guess you’re right girl. Nakakahinayang lang talaga.”
Rafi chuckled. “That’s ok Emmy. Some things really are beyond our control.”
“Oh well. Osha girl, baka naaabala ko na ang beauty mo. In-inform lang naman kita sa last minute changes.”
“Thanks Emmy. Don’t worry about it too much okay? Bye.”
As Rafi put down the phone, she heaved out a deep sigh. Though trying to be optimistic, she still cannot help but regret the idea that there’ll be no big surprise on Maya’s bridal shower. Unknown to her, someone had been watching her and even got a glimpse of her conversation with Emman.
Rafi jumped in surprise upon hearing Richard’s voice at her back. As she turned around, she let out a sigh of relief. “Chard! You’ll give me a heart attack!”
Richard smirked and walked towards the coffee table, sitting opposite to Rafi. “So what’s up? I kinda heard you on the phone talking to –“
“Chard! You’re eavesdropping??!!” glared Rafi.
“Hey! Hindi ko sinasadyang madinig ang pinag-uusapan niyo. I was on my way here when I heard you. Hindi ko naman sinasadya.”
“Whatever Chard! Hindi ko akalain na may pagka-chismoso ka pala!” accused Rafi.
Richard simply shook his head. “Hindi ko talaga sinasadya.”
“Whatever!” Rafi slumped her back on the chair and let herself be lost in her thoughts once more.
“Okay, obviously you guys have a problem. Come on, tell me? Ano bang problema? Baka makatulong pa ako,” said Richard.
“And why would I do that?? Malay ko ba kung spy ka ni Tito Roberto! Siguro sinadya mo talagang making kanina para may ma-report ka kay Tito Roberto noh?” accused Rafi. “Well for your info Chard, everything’s okay at wala kaming problema.”
Richard laughed. “You’re taking Papa and Mama’s competition too seriously Rafi. And now you’re accusing me of spying for Papa? Why would I even do that?”
“Aba malay ko! Maybe to sabotage us girls! Hay nako if I know.”
“Don’t be silly Rafi,” smirked Richard.
A moment’s silence filled them then Rafi sighed once more.
Shaking his head, “You know your sighs won’t resolve anything.”
“Fine. Something came up and I don’t think everything will go out as initially planned.”
“Will it ruin the party?” he asked.
“Not necessarily. But..” Rafi bit her lip unsure if she can continue on.
“But??” said Richard, waiting expectantly for Rafi to continue on.
“Forget it Chard. Basta. It won’t ruin the party naman.”
“It won’t ruin but it’s an essential part, right?” smiled Richard.
Rafi groaned. “Ay nako Chard! If any of this conversation reaches Tito Roberto, I swear, I’ll definitely tear you apart!”
Richard chuckled at her exaggeration. “Fine. I promise, this will not reach Papa. My lips are sealed.”
With a sigh, Rafi disclosed their plans for Maya’s bridal shower and the apparent dilemma they’re facing. After she’s done, she noticed the look of disbelief on Richard’s face.
“What??” she asked.
“You really planned that??” said Richard with a mixture of disbelief and frustration.
“What’s wrong with that? That’s how a bridal shower is normally held. Besides, para namang sa mga bachelor’s party walang ganon ano,” replied Rafi in her defense.
“Well I’m not sure kila Papa but I don’t think –“
Oh come on Chard!” butted Rafi. “It’s not like we’re born yesterday! If I know ganyan din naman ang nangyari nung last bachelor’s party mo.”
Richard got mum.
“See! Besides, as I’ve mentioned earlier, they’re really not guys as in real guys. They’re gays,” said Rafi.
“Kahit na. It doesn’t change the fact na mga lalaki parin sila. Men whom you plan on parading in front of Maya!” said Richard irritably.
“See! This is one of the reasons why I don’t want to disclose this matter to you. You’re exaggerating the whole thing! It’s not like we’ll do something that would harm Maya in any way and add up to it, me and Tita Esmeralda are both there so we’re pretty sure nothing nasty is ever gonna happen!” Rafi shakes her head in frustration.
Richard fell silent for a moment. “Does Maya know about this plan of yours?”
“Of course not! This is supposed to be a surprise for her. And now, there goes our surprise for her. I guess you can now relax in peace knowing wala ng mga lalaking paparada sa harap ni Maya. Happy?” asked Rafi sarcastically.
Richard sighed. “Ok. I’m sorry. I overreacted. Sorry.” Richard smiled apologetically at Rafi.
“I’m sorry for snapping out as well. Nakaka-frustrate lang kasi na hindi mangyayari ng ayon sa una naming plano. Sayang talaga.” Rafi sighed. “Anyway, what’s important is matutuloy parin naman ang party namin for Maya. Basta Chard ha, wala dapat makaalam ng tungkol sa pinag-usapan natin.”
“I’m good at keeping promises right?”
Rafi smiled. “O siya. I’m going ahead at inaantok narin ako. Ikaw? Di ka pa matutulog? Si Maya ba tulog na?”
“Yup! She’s sleeping already. Napagod sa flight niya eh. I’ll stay here for a couple of minutes more then retire to my room.”
With that, Rafi retired to her room leaving Richard behind.
Richard pondered on the conversation that he had with Rafi. He was uneasy with the idea of men being paraded and dancing in front of Maya. He knew this was a norm and that he shouldn’t be bothered at all considering that his own mother and bestfriend are both there and the fact they went for gay men to do those things. But with Maya, he couldn’t help but feel uneasy about the whole idea.
Trying to further rationalize things, he was grateful that that part of the plan had been cancelled out but in a way, he also feel sorry for Rafi and Esmeralda. He also somewhat feels sorry for his very own Maya for missing out this part of a typical bridal shower.
He was deep in his thoughts when an idea hit him. Taking in all possibilities, he got out his phone and made some random calls.
The night of Richard’s bachelor party and Maya’s bridal shower finally came. Richard requested for last minute changes to his father by adjusting the start time an hour earlier from what’s initially planned. Richard, together with his father and the rest of the men in their household left the mansion first and proceeded to where their party is held. Half an hour later, the women went their way and proceeded to Maya’s bridal shower.
As Richard had already expected, Roberto rented a luxurious club in BGC and made sure that all men present are going to have a good time. As they entered, the blasting music filled the air, booze is flowing everywhere, and they were served by hot, gorgeous ladies. Richard also noticed the stage with a pole in the middle.
Minutes later, guests started coming in, mostly Richard’s employees and engineers. Jeff, James, and Simon are all present as well. As the three got in, they were immediately joined by Richard and all stayed at one table.
As everyone were having a good time, Roberto approached Richard. “Having a good time son?”
“Yes pa! Thank you! Pero hindi kaya magalit si Mama pag nalaman niya kung anong meron dito?” asked Richard.
Roberto waved a dismissive hand. “Don’t mind her. I’m sure she’ll understand. Besides, minsan minsan lang naman to. It’s not as if we’re being unfaithful to them.” Roberto noticed that Richard and the his companions are not drinking alcohol, hence, he noticed that they’re drinking iced tea. “What’s this?” he asked as he pointed out to what they’re drinking.
“Iced tea pa,” replied Richard.
“I can see that. Bakit yan lang ang iniinom niyo? We’re supposed to have fun. Bakit di kayo umiinom?”
“Don’t worry about us Pa. Okay na kami dito,” assured Richard.
Richard placed a hand on Roberto’s shoulder. “We’re really fine Pa. Don’t worry about us. You go and enjoy yourself too.”
Roberto shrugged his shoulders. “Ok, if you say so. Sige iikot muna ako and see if may iba pang kailangan ang ibang guests mo.”
As Roberto left their table, Richard, Jeff, James, and Simon huddled up once more, talking among themselves.
Half an hour later, Richard got up to the stage and thanked everyone who came to his party and urged them to enjoy the event, earning him a couple of shouts and cheers from all his guests who were obviously having the time of their lives. As he got off, he immediately approached Joma and gave instructions to keep an eye on his father and make sure that they get home safe. Good thing, Joma isn’t really a drinker so he’s assured that they’ll get home safely.
After giving his last minute instructions to Joma, Richard no longer bothered approach his father as he’s sure that his father wouldn’t agree that he leave right away and would not stop on questioning him. Avoiding his father, Richard, together with Jeff, James, and Simon, stealthily left the club.