This is a continuation to Truth and Lies – part 8
The moment Maya arrived at her office, she took colds medicine since her nose was stuffed when she woke up that morning. Although she wanted to take medication earlier, she deferred until she reached the office as she was worried she might get drowsy while driving.
She awoke again in Richard’s good morning message. She couldn’t help but smile when she saw his three same messages again. It was the second day he did that. Who wouldn’t feel good when you see “good morning gorgeous” in your incoming message. She just texted back, “Good morning, I’m already awake.” She sent the same response as the previous day. It felt like they were playing a game. She would have maintained that good mood, if only she didn’t have a headache.
The rest of her day was spent just in the office. She reviewed clients’ profiles and potential properties they can offer them. Normally, she doesn’t go to the office on Saturday but she was compelled because there was a lot to finish in her desk. She found herself occasionally checking her phone for any message from Richard but there was none.
At the office, Ethan commented. “Maya, why don’t you just take a day off. Mag rest ka since you seem to be sick. It is Saturday, anyway.”
“I’m okay Ethan. Kayo nga pumapasok din ng weekend. I need to finish something. Then, I’ll probably just leave early.”
“So, how is it progressing with your Mr. Lim?” Her friend suddenly inquired.
“Hmm. Okay lang.” She secretly smiled. She doesn’t want to share yet whatever she was feeling with Richard.
“Owws? Okay lang pero bakit parang may sekreto ang ngiti mo?” Ethan knows her too well that she couldn’t hide much from him. She momentarily forgot her headache.
“Well, let’s just say, I’m beginning to like him.” Eventually, she ended up telling him what happened in their dates including the chocnuts, hopias and siopao that he gave her.
Ethan was laughing by the end of her sharing. “So, this guy is really different from others. How did it feel going on a date with an ordinary man?”
“Medyo awkward at the start. Pero, overall I enjoyed it. I think it was more of being in his company than anything else.” She finally admitted.
“Good for you. Just let if flow, friend. But you’ll also need to find out how serious he is with you, basta walang sabit.” Ethan reminded her.
Sunday was the same case for Maya. She woke up with a message from Richard. She responded to it. It was the third day of the morning greetings. It felt like a routine has been established. Her colds has worsened. She already had cough and her headache is at its worse when she coughs.
The whole day went uneventful. She completed the day feeling more tired perhaps because she wasn’t really feeling very well. She managed to get her groceries done but spent most of her day indoors. There was no other message from Richard except his text in the morning. Somehow, she was missing him. It’s only been a week since they saw each other again but it felt she was used to having him around. She almost called him up but pride kept her doing it.
It’s been three days since Maya caught the colds and she was already having a fever. She couldn’t get up that morning, Monday. Her headache had turned from bad to worse. She was intermittently coughing. Earlier, she called in sick at the office.
As usual, there were messages from him. But she didn’t hear them come in on her phone. By the time she checked, there were 12. The last message was sent 2 hours ago. There were also three missed calls from him. When she looked at the clock, it was almost lunch time.
Although not feeling very well, she managed to take a quick warm shower. She was slightly dizzy and hungry when she finished dressing up. So, she planned on going to the kitchen to take some milk. On her way there, her doorbell rang. She wondered who could it be as she doesn’t normally get a visitor on a weekday.
When she checked on the peephole, she thought she saw Richard but she wasn’t sure it was him.
Finally when she opened the door, an unshaven Richard was standing in front of her. He had stubbles on his face.
“Maya, I’ve been calling you. How are you?” He sounded concerned seeing her pale color and watery eyes.
“Ricky, bakit ka nandito? I mean, bigla kang naparito?” She responded in a hoase voice. Her temples were throbbing with pain.
“Well, you didn’t respond to my morning message. When I called you up, there was no response too. I tried your office and that’s when I learned you are sick. So, hindi mo ba ako papapasukin sa loob ng bahay mo?” He asked.
“Hmm. Yeah. I’m sorry masakit kasi ulo ko.” She then opened the door wide for him to enter. “I just woke up kasi nga masama ang pakiramdam ko.”
“Maya, wala ka bang kasama dito?” He asked after observing that she seemed to be alone in her unit. The place was big and looked luxurious judging from its layout and furnishings. It was a type of a place that can be in a magazine.
“I’m alone here. Ricky, dito tayo sa may dining area. Mas malapit sa ref. Can I get you anything?” She led them towards the dining area. “May housekeeper ako that comes here three times a week. I don’t cook kasi most of the time nasa labas naman ako.”
Maya opened her refrigerator to find it full with drinks. Luckily, she went grocering that weekend to replenish her stock of beverages and breakfast items.
Richard went towards her. “You better sit down. You look pale Maya. Ako na lang kukuha ng drink dito.” He put his hand on her elbow and made her sit. “Have you taken your breakfast?” It was again his turn to ask.
“Not yet. I’ll just have a glass of milk.” She responded and pointed at the tetra pack inside the fridge.
Richard took it out and went to her kitchen, navigating his way around the counters and cabinets. He tried to find a glass. She told him where the mugs were.
“You should be having a hot milk and not this cold one. It will make you feel better.” He said as he poured milk on her mug. “Initin muna natin sa microwave.” Without waiting for her agreement, he placed the mug inside the microwave and turned it on. A minute later, she was sipping her warm milk.
“So, bakit ka nga napapunta dito?” Maya remembered that he didn’t respond to her question earlier.
“Dahil sa may sakit ka, I just wanted to make sure and see for myself that you are okay and nothing bad happened to you. I was worried you know.” He explained, a look of concern was back in his eyes.
“Well as you can see, I’m okay pa naman pero medyo may sipon at ubo lang.” Her voice unfortunately belied her true state.
“No, you are not. You look sick. You haven’t eaten anything since last night, I suppose.” He then touched her forehead and found it was burning hot. “And, you have high fever.
He then pulled her out of her seat and suddenly lifted her off her feet. “Sorry to do this, but I think you need to go back to bed to rest.” He walked carrying her in his arms. “Where’s your room?”
Surprised by his action, she couldn’t respond but just pointed the direction of her room. Within a few seconds, they were already inside it and she was being laid down her bed.
“Maya, I’m going out for a while to get us some food. In the meantime, you rest here. Where’s your medicine cabinet? Let’s have you take anti-fever medicine first. Mukhang may flu ka. And also, what’s the password for your main door? That way, you don’t have to get up to open the door when I come back.” He started moving as soon as Maya gave him the information she needed.
It must be the medicine or the effect of Richard being in her place because soon after he left, Maya fell asleep.
Her condition became worse. Even her muscles started to ache. She felt lethargic that she just wanted to lie down on her bed. She recalled that Richard woke her up later that day. He made her take some soup and medicines. She also felt it when he placed cold towel on her forehead for her fever to subside. At one point when she went to the toilet, he assisted her until she got inside. She had a change of clothes since she didn’t feel comfortable with what she was wearing. Then, she went back to her bed. She dreamt of him taking care of her.
She intermittently woke up still feeling bad and whenever her eyes opened, she would see him in the chair which was at the foot of her bed. His eyes were glued to the TV screen. He would immediately attend to her when he sees her getting up.
It must have been several hours that Maya was on the bed. When at last she opened her eyes wide and without a headache, the room was dark except for the light from the TV that was still on. Richard was on his chair but he was sleeping.
She ran her fingers thru her disheveled hair before she approached him. “Ricky… Ricky.”
She tried to wake him up. She was sure that with his sleeping position in the chair, he would have a stiff neck later. She shook him and then turned on the lights.
Richard then opened his eyes. “Maya, okay ka na?” He straightened up.
“Yes. Pasensya na. Ahhh… okay na ako. Anong oras na ba?” Then she noticed he was wearing a different shirt from the last time they spoke. He was also clean shaven.
He turned to his watch. “It’s 1:30 a.m.”
“Ha? Ang tagal ko palang natulog since dumating ka, halos half day. Pasensya na talaga. Thank you din sa asikaso.” She told him then feeling conscious that they were in her room.
“Anong halos half day. Maya, kahapon pa ‘yon. I think disoriented ka. You were sleeping since yesterday. So, technically, two nights na ako dito sa condo unit mo.” He declared to a very shocked Maya.
“Ha? You mean I was sick for two days and you were here for two days?” She just restated what he said. Her voice louder this time; gone was the hoarseness.
“Yes. And I think okay ka na nga. I was actually planning on bringing you the hospital. Anyway, let’s just to to your kitchen so we can eat. I haven’t had my dinner yet and you need food too.” Richard positioned himself at the back of Maya, placed his hands on her shoulders and pushed her outside of her room.
Moments later, Richard asked her to sit in the dining chair while he prepared their food. She just watched him with amusement.
He took out food containers in her refrigerator and placed it inside the microwave oven. Then, he set the table taking out the plates, spoons and forks and glasses from where they were stacked. It seemed that he was already very familiar with her kitchen. He looked so at home moving about in her house.
She managed to take some food although her appetite wasn’t back yet. Richard persuaded her to eat while he too only had a light meal. He was also the one who cleaned up their dishes.
They stayed in the kitchen for sometime to have some milk.
“Thank you Ricky for staying over. Napagod ka sigurado kakabantay sa akin.” She told him sincerely. “i really appreciate it.”
“Don’t mention it. I feel better that I was the one who took care of you.” He smiled at her. “Now that you are okay, pwede na kitang iwan mag-isa dito.”
“Ahhh, since it’s very late or very early in the morning na. Why don’t you just stay and sleep in one of the guest rooms. Huwag ka ng mag-drive kasi pagod ka na rin.” She volunteered.
“So, you have guest rooms.” It was more of statement that a question.
“Yes, for occasions like this.” She stated.
“Like what, for boyfriend staying over?” He teased her which caused her to blush. She knew he was joking so she bantered.
“Parang ganoon na nga.” She replied in a matter of fact tone, her eyes meeting his eyes.
“Maya, are you kidding me?” His eyes turned to tiny slits. When he mentioned the word boyfriend, he was actually referring to himself. But then again, she isn’t his girl yet, not yet, he thought. But the way she answered him, he didn’t like the idea of a boyfriend staying in her place especially since it wasn’t him.
“Ha,ha,ha. For friends, relatives and guests staying over. Ikaw naman, parang alam ko na ang iniisip mo.” She clarified. He seemed to have relax after that.
Then, he stood up and walked towards the door. “Okay, I’ll be back in a few minutes.”
“Ehh, saan ka pupunta Ricky?” Maya asked.
“Kukunin ko lang ang mga gamit ko sa car. I would need to change later.” He flashed her his lopsided smile that froze her in her seat. She didn’t say anything anymore.
Maya barely slept with the thought that Richard was just in the guest room opposite her bedroom. Actually, she could feel his presence in her room. He was there for two days and she felt giddy about it. Definitely, she feels something for him. She thought about what has happened in the past few days and everything else since she met him. She was already sure, she was falling in love with him.
At the guest room, Richard was lying comfortably in the bed in his pajamas. He wondered if she was already sleeping. In the past two nights that he stayed with her, there were moments when he stared at while she was asleep. Even if she was sick, she still looked lovely in his eyes.
He recognized that she is special to him. He defintely felt something for her. Each day he spent with her, the more drawn he was to her. However, there was still a part of him that held him back because of what he heard outside the bar. When he heard her conversation with Ethan, he felt compelled to teach her a lesson. Humility was important to him. The individual traits regardless of social status is important to him. And this is consistent to his heart’s desire, to be loved for who he is as a person.