Admin Note: This is a continuation to Restless – Chapter 12.
Author’s Note: Gong Xi Fa Cai. Happy new year everyone.
Chapter 13 – Favor
Richard was in a meeting with the board of directors when he received a message from an unknown no.
“I’m returning the pearl pendant – sorry I cannot accept it. Please let me know the address to send, and the person to receive it – Maya.”
The message hit Richard like a slap in the face. Most women would have been happy with what he’s offering. Jewelries always works its charms, but not Maya.
He tried to concentrate on the business at hand but images of her kept hovering on his mind, He was distracted, and his attention span was short during the meeting. It was a good thing that the meeting was adjourned earlier than expected for his mind was already occupied, making plans on what to do with her.
She had reduced him into an obsessive, possessive freak that even his wedded bliss to his work cannot hold him back. She’s been driving him insane for the past weeks, unable to get through her. He felt like a big brat who’s in a tantrum because someone took his favorite toy.
For the past weeks, he wondered what she’s doing and whether she spends her time with her boyfriend, imagining her with him, holding her, kissing her, and making love to her. Every time he goes into that line of thought, he felt anger and a wild urge to smash things or hit someone.
He paced around his office, while looking at her text message. He paused each time to draft his response only to delete it again. After several minutes, he made up his mind.
At the end of the day, Maya was the one worried and confused when she did not received any response from Richard on where to send the pendant. She could easily look him up for his office address and send it by mail but she was worried that it might get lost by mail. Her plan was either to go there personally and hand it over to the contact person, or asked Emman to do it for her.
She was tempted to call him, but was too fainthearted to talk to him – she doesn’t want to be in the position when her emotions will be dragged out in the open. Her feelings for him are still raw, and just drifting that it could explode once he applied his charms to her. She shook her head at the possibilities. Please, I wish I won’t see him for awhile until I’m stronger.
Maya got her wish as one week passed by without a word from him. She told herself that she felt relieved to not live in frantic expectation on seeing Richard or hearing from him, but neither was she able to relax.
She existed in tense oblivion, suspended between a past she refused to think about and a present that is so volatile. She realized that she unconsciously tends to look at business magazines, newspapers, looking for his name or check if he’s on her flight.
She missed him with an awful stabbing ache that grew as days goes by. I must be mad! Utterly mad. I’m actually pinning for the man who deceived me. She thought furiously.
An incoming call from her cell phone made her jump. Nervously, she looked at the screen, and was relieved that it was James.
“Maya? – “
“James, what’s up?”
“Now is a good time to act as my girlfriend. I need a favor… I mean huge favor…”
“Oh no! Not again James.”
“Please?….” She heard James begged from the other line. She can already imagine him looking puppy eyed with his charming smile.
“I get nervous every time you say that.”
“This is not so bad. Hear me out first before you say no.”
Maya sighed, expecting the worst and most outrageous favor that James will be requesting with him pre-empting it with words like ‘huge’, ‘favor’ and ‘please’.
“Actually, my dad and mom asked me… ok. Scratched that… Not asked but demanded that I attend this party at Baguio Country Club this weekend.
“What’s the occasion?”
“No occasion…just that it falls on my birth day.“ He replied with hesitation and embarrassment. “Imagine my surprise when my mom arranged a social gathering for dad’s business friends, only to find out that they also want to have my birthday celebrated in the said event.”
“Really? Happy birthday then.” Maya told him so ready to hang up the phone. “You’re a grown man – you can always asked them not to push through with the birthday bash.”
“Easier said than done. Unfortunately, I can’t. My mom will skewered me if I don’t attend.”
“So what does it have to do with me?”
“I need reinforcement… Not that I cannot manage, but you’re expected since you’re supposed to be my girlfriend.
“Oh my geeee! I thought you already told your parents that we’re not an item.”
“I did, but the people who’ll be attending doesn’t know about our arrangement.”
“Can you just tell them that I’m sick or something, or that we broke up?”
“I can’t…. not just yet, until I leave for US.”
“Great! Now, how am I supposed to respond to that…?”
“You could say ‘yes, babe, I’ll go with you.’”
“Ikaw, talaga James! Pasaway!
“Please?… pretty please.”
“I’ll think it over first. Give me time.”
“Time? I don’t have that luxury. In fact, I’m downstairs in your condo, and we’re supposed leave today for a long drive. We can passed by the shop in Makati for our attire.”
“What? Are you kidding me?”
“Nope. I’m coming up, okay while you pack your weekend bag?”
“What about our scheduled flight on Sunday?”
“Don’t worry about that. We’ll leave at dawn in time for our flight.” When Maya remained quiet on the other line, he persisted. “Please… If you could only see me now, you’ll see that I’m on my knees begging, and looking pitiful.”
Maya laughed at his last quip. He can’t imagine James looking pitiful. “Okay, come up, and don’t rush me if I’ll take my time to pack my bags.”
“Maya, I could give you a tight bear hug right now. Thank you.”
“Never mind the bear hug. Just assure me that I’ll come out alive from your kind.”
“I promise… cross my heart, but not to die…”
They arrived in Baguio past midnight, and were checked in on separate rooms adjacent to each other at the exclusive floors in Baguio Country Club.
During their 6-hour long drive, they discussed in details on how they will behave, and what is expected of her up to the minor details as to who’s doing her make-up. James seems to have arranged everything even before he called her.
She was exhausted, and informed James not to expect her at breakfast, and that she’ll stay in her room the whole day to sleep which he agreed without questions.
“Richard, good morning. Mind if we join you?” He heard from behind while engrossed in reading the newspaper. He turned around to see his host – Mr. and Mrs. Ventura.
“Good morning.” Richard stood up to greet them.
“How are you? And you’re dad and mom?” Mr. Ventura asked a he shook Richard’s hands.
“I’m good. My dad and mom are still in their room. They should be coming down anytime soon.”
“Great. I’ve got a lot to catch up with Roberto. With my son going back to US in a month’s time, I’ll have to consult him on some business proposal in US.”
“Speaking of our son, I haven’t heard from him since yesterday, didn’t even bother to tell us if he’s already here.” Mrs. Ventura told her husband while sipping her tea.
“Don’t worry about him. They arrived past midnight. He sent me a text message at dawn, and informed me that they won’t join us for breakfast. I guessed they’re planning to sleep through the whole morning.”
Richard paused from sipping his coffee upon hearing that bit of information from Mr. Ventura. An uneasy feeling crept inside him at the mention of ‘they’, and somehow he had a gut feel that James brought along his girlfriend for the weekend party.
Maya. Here? With James? He tensed, his mind locked in anger at the idea of James and Maya travelling together, and sharing the same room. Bile rose up in his throat, suffocating him as he slowly stood up. With a stance like that of a man who was being stretched on the rack, he excused himself from his host.
Mr. and Mrs. Ventura looked at each other in taut silence, and watched in curiosity as Richard turned and walked away.
In angry silence, Richard walked towards his room as he thought of the last several days. After he received her text message last week, he did not bother to respond to her with every expectation that she’ll call back. His strategy had been to wait patiently, knowing that with her character, she will eventually find a way to return back his gift – either she goes to his office directly or call him to meet up.
As the week passed, she remained silent to the point that he was beginning to doubt his notion about her. Perhaps, she changed her mind, and decided to keep his gift after all. He’s not usually a patient man, but he was also giving her the space and time to forgive him.
He waited on her while working on a great many unpleasant things including breaking up with Hana who accepted the news with sophistication; and finally dealing with her irate father who infuriated him with his bargain to stay with her daughter for business continuity. Richard had declined any discussion as soon as it even began.
After he’d finished that repugnant ordeal, he went out of the country to personally meet with a known jeweler for an extravagant purchase, and came back only to be coerced by his mom and dad to attend this event.
So much for patiently waiting. He scowled at having wasted valuable time, contemplating on whether to look for her now or surprise her later with his presence.