This is a continuation to Truth and Lies – part 6.
For four days, Maya anxiously waited for their dinner appointment. Seeing him again at the club and recognizing that she feels something different whenever he was around was causing her mixed emotions of excitement and fear. She wondered what it be like to be him on a date compared to her previous encounters with him. Would sparks still fly like the last time they kissed inside his car; like how she felt dancing with him. One thing was sure, he can make her heart beat very fast.
However, a part of her was also afraid of knowing more about him. She opened herself to the idea that they belonged to different social status but she wasn’t sure how much difference they have and how much would be acceptable to her.
On Tuesday afternoon, she received an unexpected call from Richard.
“Hi” She picked up his call although she was in a middle of a meeting.
“Naka istorbo ba ako?” His first question as he heard some people talking in the background.
“No, not at all.” She stood up and left the meeting room. “So, what’s up?”
“Wala naman. I’m just checking if we are still okay for tomorrow.”
“Yes, I am unless you have a change of plans?” She hesitated asking him that question. She silently prayed it wouldn’t be the case.
“Ha,ha,ha. Wala. Why would I have a change? Ito na yata ang chance ko after so many turn downs. “ He teased her.
“Grabe naman Richard. Parang isang beses lang akong nag-decline sa invitation mo ah.” She retorted. She knew he was just teasing her.
“Maya, it wasn’t just one time. Anyway, I just checked. So, I look forward to seeing you tomorrow Ms. Dela Rosa.” He stated in an excited tone.
“Yes, Mr. Lim. See you.” She was smiling broadly when they ended their call.
Wednesday came and Maya dressed to impress Richard. She chose to wear a figure hugging printed yellow dress that ends just above the knee. She knew she looked good in it as she received compliments from her staff when she entered their office.
“Hey, sexy. Looking good today.” Ethan greeted her that morning.
“Thank you. Please bring the folder for Lim Holdings. We’ll finalize the property proposals either in Bohol or Cebu. They want to enter into property development as soon as possible.” She instructed Ethan as she checked herself in the mirror.
Ethan noticed her excitement. “Maganda ka na. So, I guess tonight is the night with Richard?”
She nodded. “Yes.”
He then added. “I thought so. Maya, isn’t strange that you are getting surrounded by Lims?” He was smiling while his brows moved up and down. She quickly picked up the meaning of his statement.
“Hey! Si Architect Lim is already married, as in married for years. Whereas this Richard Lim is single.” She then quickly followed by, “I hope.” Maya then made a mental note to ensure she is right with her assumption. It is something she needs to confirm later.
Ethan shrugged his shoulders. “Sabi mo eh. Goodluck kay Richard Lim. Don’t mess up this time.”
He was about to leave when remembered something. “By the way, about that painting on your wall, there was an inquiry about it.” Ethan pointed at the lone painting in her office. “Art gallery called up.”
“O, what about it.” Her eyes moved to the painting. It has been there for three years now. It was a gift of her choice from Ethan on her 25th birthday.
“Well, apparently they have been tracing that painting. They want to buy it back.” He stated.
“But that is a gift from you Ethan. I don’t want to sell it. You didn’t have to tell me about this because it came from you. Why would I think of giving it up?” She thought it was preposterous idea.
“Well, I just wanted you to know. Although I paid for it, you were the one who chose that piece. You can always get a new one that suits you when you sell it. I think they are willing to pay higher than what we originally paid for it. So, okay lang sa akin.” Ethan explained.
“No, Ethan. I’d rather keep it. It’s not for disposal.” She stated firmly. While she had almost taken for granted that piece of art, she actually liked it a lot.
At 5:30 p.m., Maya’s meeting with their two property buyers was still on-going. Although, the assigned sales agent was there, the property intended for commercial use was quite large that she needed to be involved in the discussion. Since she knew that Richard may arrive soon, she just gave instructions to their office receptionist to let him wait for her at her office.
Maya walked into her office at 6:15 p.m. 15 minutes later than their agreed time. Richard was seated in her sofa staring at the painting in her room when she came in. He immediately stood up and greeted her.
“Hi Maya.” He approached her and kissed her on the cheek. He handed her a box. As usual, he was casually dressed. He wore a black collared shirt and jeans.
“Hi Richard. I’m sorry I’m late. I was held in a meeting with our clients.” She apologized as she started to fix her things to get ready for their dinner.
“What’s this?” She curiously asked, giving attention the box he gave her.
“Something to cause toothache?” He laughed at what he said. “Just joking. It’s something sweet, like you.” He winked at her. She was sure she blushed because she felt her face become warm especially when she opened it and found it to be a box of choc nuts. She smiled.
“Thanks Richard. Let me finish packing away my things and we can then be on our way.” She told him as she continued putting folders in her drawer.
“It’s fine Maya. I don’t mind waiting. I was appreciating this painting. Do you know who painted this?” Richard asked. He had curiosity written all over his face.
Maya just smiled. “Unfortunately, I don’t. I’m not into paintings actually. A friend of mine just asked me to choose a piece one time when we were in an art gallery. I chose that one. The sign on the left side of the canvass is illegible.” She responded as she looked at the painting again.
“Really, so what did you like in this particular painting?” He eyed her quizzically.
“The painting evokes happiness. Ewan ko ba, that lady seems to be happy looking at the rice fields.” She explained and turned to Richard as he sounded interested in the painting too. She noticed he kept on looking at it in between their conversation.
“Yes, the use of yellow color and lights intended to produce that lighthearted mood. The woman looking on the field radiates contentment with her unborn child and environment. Look at the lines created there, medyo bold.” He spoke as if he understood the painter’s mood in the art piece.
Maya looked at him with puzzled expression. Then, she uttered. “Huh? Is that lady there pregnant? Parang ang dami mo naman interpretation dyan sa painting na ‘yan. Are you into paintings?”
“Yes, I am.” Richard looked at her with a dreamy look.
“Do you know that today, pangalawa ka ng nag-express ng interest d’yan sa painting na ‘yan?” She began to share.
“What do you mean?” His brows furrowed.
“Sabi ni Ethan, yung gallery where we got that is interested in purchasing that back
if we are interested to sell.” She explained but Richard’s expression remained the same.
“So, are you selling this? Did they say why they wanted it back?”
“I said I am not selling. I’m not interested to know their reason.” She plainly retorted. “Anyway, Richard, shall we go? I am ready.”
He chuckled at her reaction. “Yes, I think we should go. Gamitin na lang natin yung sasakyang dala ko, if you don’t mind?”
“Okay lang. I can leave my car in the parking lot and come back for it later.” Maya answered.
Richard led her to his parked car in front of the building. Maya was a bit surprised that he was using a car instead of the pick-up he used in Baguio. The car is an old model sedan.
As she sat on the passenger seat, she inquired. “Richard, where’s your pick-up? Yung gamit mo sa Baguio?” She couldn’t help asking since she thought it was big vehicles would be more of his style than a smaller car.
“Yung Ram truck? Iniwan ko sa Baguio. Mahirap siyang gamitin dito sa Manila. It a large vehicle at sobrang traffic dito.” He responded as he started to reverse his car to exit the parking space.
“Ahhh, so ito yung ginagamit mo when you are in Manila?” She continued asking.
“Hmm, not really. It depends whatever is available sa office. Anyway, where would you like to go?”
“Ikaw na lang mag decide since you were the one who invited.” She replied. In her mind, she wondered whether he has his own vehicle or he was just borrowing from his employer.
“Hmm. Are you sure, you are letting me decide?” He checked with her again.
“Yes, I’m okay kung saan mo gusto kumain.” She assured him. She was just happy to go out with him. Earlier at the office, she saw the envious look of her staff when they left the office together. Richard is just so good looking that girls tend to swoon when they see him.
“Okay, actually, I want to eat chicken. Medyo na mi-miss ko na ang friend chicken so let’s just go the chicken house. Nakita ko na may branch sila na malapit dito.” Richard declared where they were they were going.
Maya was surprised by his choice. Although she also eats in that restaurant, she didn’t expect that he would bring her there. She expected a little more romantic or maybe an up scale restaurant as it was their first date. She couldn’t help compare to her previous dates who tried to impress her. Then, she quickly rationalized that Richard is different from them. Anyway, she kept her reaction to herself.
A few minutes later, they were in the chicken house eating fried chicken. Despite her initial disappointment, she enjoyed the time with him. He was quite attentive and funny in so me ways. They stayed for a few hours in the restaurant, as they talked a lot about different topics, some of them even inconsequential.
Maya got another surprise when Richard paid their bill in cash. It was strange because all the guys she dated before normally paid using their credit cards.
When they finished dinner, Richard asked whether she wanted to watch a movie. By then, it was raining hard but she agreed since the mall was just nearby. However, when they were inside the car, the car wouldn’t start.
“Oh..oh.. Feels like this car has an electrical issue.” Richard commented as he tried to start the engine several times.
“Ha? So, paano na?” She asked; panic in her tone. She had never experienced a problem with a car. Although she knew Richard is a car mechanic, she still felt uncomfortable sitting inside a car that doesn’t start with the rains pouring in. They were in a place where taxis seldom pass by.
“Hmm. Let’s wait a moment. Maybe nalamigan lang ang kotse. Minsan kasi nagloloko ito, eh.” Richard responded. “Sorry about this, Maya.” While he apologized, Maya sensed his calmness and control in an otherwise stressful situation for her.
Maya tried to regain her composure. “It’s fine Richard. Let’s just wait then.”
It took several more tries before the engine finally started. By that time, Richard made another proposal to Maya. “I think I better bring you home. Baka kasi magloko ulit itong car later when we go to the mall. Let’s just reschedule our movie date. What do you think?”
“Yeah. I agree.” She quickly responded.
“Good, sayang naman kasi ang ganda mo ngayon kung mag ko – commute tayo pauwi.” He glanced at her while he was smiling.
She couldn’t help but smile back. “Thank you. Kanina pa tayo magkasama ngayon mo lang napansin ang beauty ko. Anyway, can you bring me back to the office. I will pick-up my car there.” She suggested.
“Maya, it’s raining hard and it’s nighttime. It’s safer kung ihahatid na lang kita. Then, tomorrow morning, susunduin kita para ihatid sa office. Okay lang sa’yo?” He countered. There was an expression of concern on his face.
“Huh? Ehhh. Sige.” Her smile turned dry.
On the drive going to her condo, Maya was trying to connect everything that happened to their date. Except for their good conversation during dinner, everything else was unexpected. Something wasn’t quite right.
The drive to her condo unit was short. When Maya alighted Richard car, she just made a quick goodbye. “Thank you Richard. See you tomorrow at 7:30.”
“Yes, I’ll be here promptly at 7:30. Sweet dreams.” Richard bade her goodbye too.
As Richard exited the driveway, there was a wide grin on his face. “Hopefully, this evening was a memorable date for her.”