A/N: This is a continuation to Foolish Hearts – part 13
Chapter 14 – Signs
“What about your dream Maya?” He asked while he started to slow down to pull over to the side of the road. Richard was grinning.
“So, yung dream ko kagabi wasn’t a dream?… ikaw talaga yung…” She couldn’t finish off her sentence as she tried to recall every detail of her dream. It was slowly dawning on her, it wasn’t a dream!
Richard finally stopped the car so he could fully face her. Looking very serious, he asked, “So, do you want to get married now?”
Maya found herself staring back at Richard in disbelief. There were many questions running inside her head but one thing she was sure of and it was her response. “No, I don’t want to get married yet.
Richard expression became blank and even his tone was expressionless. “So, you are quite definite with your answer.”
She wasn’t sure if he was disappointed or not but she felt the need to explain. “Richard, clarify ko lang. Three days pa lang naman tayong mag boyfriend. Di ba, napag-usapan na natin ‘to sa simbahan.” Her brows furrowed.
“We don’t have to hurry… kahit may nangyari na sa atin.” Her tone of hesitation was very obvious. “Pero sa totoo lang, hindi ko ma-recall yung lahat lahat kagabi” She started to blush at the mere mention of her dream.
Seeing her discomfort, he sighed.“Kung ano man ang na-alala mo, yun lang ang nangyari Maya. All we did was just kiss and a little bit of touching, nothing more. ” Richard turned back his attention to the car and restarted driving.
They was silence in the car for a few minutes before Maya spoke again.
“Richard, I hope you understand. Hindi ko naman sinasabing outright, I don’t want to marry you. ‘Yung lang madalian ang medyo alangan ako. I still need to finish my M.A. and then may priorities din sa work ko.” She explained again.
“It’s fine.” He glanced at her with a smile on his face but the smile didn’t reach his eyes. “We’ll discuss this some other time.” He decided to let go of the subject matter.
“Ricky… ‘love you.” Maya took his hand from the stirring wheel to hold it. She wanted him to smile genuinely.
“Love you too.” When he heard her say, she loves him, a true smile emerged from his lips. “Akala ko ba unsafe ang holding hands while driving?” He beamed while pressing her hand.
“Hmmm, sa puso ko.” She gave him a kiss on the cheeks quite close to his lips that caused his smile to widen some more.
“Maya….yan kiss na yan ang distraction and can be unsafe for driving. Wait until we get home.” His eyes turned to tiny slips in happiness as their handclasp tightened.
The rest of their trip back to Manila was spent in a lighter mood.
Richard and Maya spent their Christmas vacation at San Nicolas. Two weeks after the fiesta, they were welcomed back by her grandmothers with excitement. During that second trip, there were no misunderstandings and the celebration went very well.
For the new year’s celebration, Richard chose to introduce Maya to his parents. They had planned on spending the day together but Richard thought it was the best time to introduce her to his family. After all, his parents spend most of their time in China where they have other businesses. So, he wanted to take the opportunity for them to meet her. He brought her to his home in Quezon City to have lunch with them.
“Ma, Pa, si Maya po, ang girlfriend ko.” Richard’s hand was on Maya’s shoulder when he introduced her to his parents.
“Good morning po” Maya greeted Roberto and Esmeralda Lim with a smile on her face.
“Welcome to our family, Maya. Our son has told us about you, Hija.”
Roberto greeted Maya with a peck on her cheek. Esmeralda did the same.
She was ushered inside their home and motioned to sit in the living room. After saying their pleasantries, Roberto and Richard moved to the library as they needed to talk something about their family business. So, Maya was left with Esmeralda who was spoken so little since they have met.
“Maya, hija, let’s go to the garden. I want you to see my orchids.” Esmeralda stood up and led the way. When outside the house, they sat on the garden chairs beside the flowers.
“So, Hija, saan nga kayo nag meet ni Ricky?” Esmeralda turned to Maya after examining her flowers.
“Sa school po. Actually, naging professor ko po sa’ya sa strategic planning class ko.” She responded shyly. She wasn’t sure how to react to the elder lady.
“Really?” Esmeralda was surprised but it was quickly replaced by a smile. “Ha,ha,ha, ‘tong anak ko parang naging cradle snatcher na.”
“Ay hindi naman po.” She defended Richard. “Ang terror nga po ni Ricky when I was in his class.”
They both laughed at Maya’s comment and that made the two women feel more comfortable with each other. Soon, they began to share more stories about Richard. To Maya’s delight, she was getting along with his mother and hoped that latter thought so too.
After a while, Esmerald turned serious. “Hija, I hope you don’t mind as to what I am about to tell you. I hope you are the one for my son. Sana, you take care of him. I don’t want to see him hurt again. Parang kailan lang kasi nakita ko pa s’yang malungkot and it hurt me as his mother. Pero ngayon, I see that he is happy again.” Esmeralda aired her concern.
“Tita, mabait po ang anak n’yo. I don’t have a reason to hurt him. Besides, mahal ko po s’ya.” She assured Richard’s mother although her heart thumped with her own admittance. It was like she was making her pledge to his mother.
“Salamat anak. He is not getting any younger. Ang hiling namin sa kanya ay mag-asawa na. Pero..” Esmeralda was interrupted by the arrival of the father and son.
“Oh, Esme… parang ang serious n’yo naman ni Maya.” Roberto commented as his eyes observed the faces of the two women.
“Wala ‘to Bob. So, ano natapos n’yo na ang discussion n’yo ni Ricky? Bakit ba tuwing magkikita kayong mag-ama puro trabaho ang pinag-uusapan n’yo? Di ba ang bilin ko sa inyo bawal ang usapang negosyo sa bahay ko?” Esmeralda started scolding the two men.
Upon hearing his mother’s words, Richard took Maya’s hand. “Let’s go.” He pulled her towards him prompting her to stand up from where she was seated. She hesitated and signaled that his parents are speaking.
“Let’s go to my room, mahaba ‘yang sermon na ‘yan. You wouldn’t want to hear it.” He smiled at his mother who suddenly stopped talking. He then said to his mother. “Ma, duon muna kami ni Maya sa room ko. Pag-lunch na just call us, okay?”
“Alright Ricky.” Esmeralda smiled and agreed. She then added. “Ipahanda mo na rin kay Fe ‘yung isang guest room for Maya later.”
“Po?” Maya and Richard chorused, unsure if they heard Esmeralda correctly.
“Yes, hija. Dito ka na matulog ngayong gabi. Sigurado mamayang gabi maraming firecrackers sa labas. It will be unsafe to drive and besides you will be alone in your condo unit, di ba? So, why don’t you just sleep over here? You are part of the family, anyway.” Esmeralda’s offer warmed Maya’s heart.
“Thank you po, Tita.” She replied. She wasn’t sure if she would accept. However, seeing Richard’s hopeful expression encouraged her to agree.
When, they were out of his parents’ earshot, Richard to Maya. “Congratulations. You passed my mother’s screening.”
Maya just gave him a quizzical look.
Later that evening, Richard and Maya were cuddled in his bed watching marathon of NCIS. It turned out that both of them were interested in the same TV series and so they decided to watch it while they were waiting for the media noche feast later. Earlier that afternoon, they went back to Maya’s condo to pick-up some clothes as she was going to spend the night in his residence.
In the middle of the episode they were watching, Maya’s suddenly asked Richard. “Ricky, bakit mo nasabi na I passed your mother’s screening, meron bang ganuon?”
“Yes.” His response but his eyes remained focused on the TV.
“Paanong screening?” She followed-up his answer with another question but this time touching his face so he could face her and look at her in the eye. “Ricky…., huy…”
“Hmmm, she asked you to stay over.” Richard’s matter-of-fact reply. “Never pa ‘yan nag-offer na mag-stay over sa ibang naging girlfriends ko. So, I guess, she likes you.” He absentmindedly told Maya.
“Girlfriends?” Her curiosity got triggered when she remembered Richard’s mother telling her about him being hurt just recently. “Ricky… before mo ako niligawan, how long were you single? I mean how long since you last broke up with your ex-girlfriend?’
The question got Richard’s attention such that he stared at her. “Why are you asking?” He wondered what got into her since she never asked about his previous relationship until that time.
“Wala lang. Naiisip ko lang. Kasi nabanggit mo about girlfriends.” She made a face which he ignored. ‘’I’m just curious. Sige na, tell me.” She explained but she couldn’t understand her own emotion in anticipation of his response.
“Okay. I was single for 6 months before I courted you.” He replied to her question.
Maya became quiet as she seemed to be thinking for a moment and then said, “So, nuong June when we met in school, you just broke up with your ex-girlfriend?”
“Maya..” He was going to say something more but he stopped. Then, he corrected her. “I broke up with her in March. No more questions, please.”
“Okay. I hear you. Iinteresado lang naman ako on why you broke up with her, eh.” She finally admitted.
“I knew it! Maya, she is history. So, please don’t ask anymore. I know you girls tend to be jealous when it comes to exes.” He kissed her lips lightly before turning to the TV again.
A few seconds later, he kissed her on the cheek and jumped out of the bed. “I forgot to check the guest room where you will stay, dito ka muna. I will be back shortly.”
As he turned to leave the room, Maya felt that Richard ran away from her so she couldn’t probe deeper.
When they were having the conversation earlier, she realized she doesn’t know anything about his previous relationship. Although he was right to say his ex-gf is history and she may not have the right to ask about them, still she wondered how hurt he was considering his mother’s concern for him.
She recalled their first meeting when he was different, as if he didn’t care how he looked for the rest of the world. His eyes were sad at that time. With that realization, Maya’s heart ached. The tiny stabs of jealousy pierced thru her heart knowing that he loved someone else before her.