This is a continuation to Truth and Lies – part 11.
Maya was in cloud nine while they walked hand in hand towards the car. Richard’s face had a smile plastered on his face. The occasional glances they threw each other were full of meaning and love for each other. They were like teenagers on their first official date.
She was in the moment of enjoying their new status that she didn’t notice where Richard’s driving was headed. He drove for several minutes until they reached the gate of Tagaytay Highlands. When the vehicle slowed down, it was only then Maya noticed where they were. She turned to him with questioning eyes.
“We’ll go bowling sa sports center.” He told her. His happy mood was very evident.
“Ehh, why didn’t you stop for security check? Is this car registered here? How can we play here, hindi ba exclusive for members dito?” She asked questions one after the other.
His smile became wider. “The car has the sticker. Let’s just say, I am a member here.” He told her with one eyebrow raised.
“Ricky, nagbibiro ka ‘no?” She didn’t believe him.
“Maya, how else can we play here, then?” He glanced at her while he negotiated the rolling Belleview drive towards the sports center. Maya was quiet for a while thinking.
“Ahh, you have a sponsor here and you have a guest card.” She answered her own question. She was convinced that was the answer.
He smirked at her then sighed. “Well, that’s possible. Anyway, let’s just enjoy the afternoon. It doesn’t really matter whether I am member here or not, right? After all, sinagot mo na ako?” His eyes twinkled when he faced her after he stopped the car at the parking area.
“Sinagot? Bakit may tanong ka ba? Hindi ba ako ang nagtatanong sa’yo pagpasok natin sa gate nitong Highlands?” She feigned innocence.
Richard’s face turned serious. “Maya, ‘wag kang magbiro ng ganyan.” He unbuckled his seatbelt and leaned towards her. “I’m tempted to remind you about what happened at the chapel earlier.” His eyes looked at her lips. She laughed.
“Ikaw naman, pikon!” Maya gave him smack on the lips. “Let’s go.” She was about to open the door when Richard quickly pulled her back.
“Not so fast, babe.” He held her nape with one of his hands while his free hand encircled her body. Then, he kissed her. If his earlier kiss was light and sweet, this time it was harder and more passionate. She responded to him automatically. When they stopped to catch their breath, Richard said huskily. “I love you Maya.”
“I love you too Ricky.” She responded with another kiss.
They had fun playing bowling that afternoon. After two rounds, Maya decided to give up since Richard was scoring over hundreds per set while her score never reached 80. She sucked at playing bowling. She attributed her poor performance to Richard’s display of public affection. Although they were at the last lane, she was giddy at the same time conscious of the people looking at them.
Richard didn’t seem to mind the onlookers as he occasionally hugged her in between their turns to bowl. He kidded that he deserved a kiss every time he scored a strike. He made several strikes and he did claim his kisses fortunately they were just on the cheeks. Otherwise, Maya would have died of giddiness.
“Ricky, ikaw lang ang masaya sa bowling natin ah.” She complained as they were walking on the bridge way from the sports center leading to the country club. Richard caught her pouting her lips.
Richard slung an arm around her shoulder. “I can’t deny I enjoyed it very much. More than the score, I enjoyed the rewards that I got. So, are you complaining about not getting a proper kiss.” He stopped as he turned her to face him.
She laughed guessing what he intended to do. “Mr. Lim ha, nakakarami ka na talaga.” She turned away his face from her.
“Maya, you can get even if you want to. I’m more than willing to pay back.” He retorted. He wrapped his arms around her. “O, ngayon na ang chance mo, bumawi ka na. I’m waiting.” He puckered up his lips waiting for her kiss. He had that naughty look in his eyes.
“Alam mo ‘yang suggestion mo puro in your favor. Let’s go. Gutom na ako.” She smiled and then disengaged from his embrace. She left as she resumed walking towards the country club.
Richard quickly joined her. He took her hand and intertwined as they slowly walked. “Maya, you love me right? Why?”
“Bakit, bakit Ricky? Bakit ayaw mo?” She eyed him curiously.
“Syempre gusto, masaya nga ako eh. Pero, I’m curious. We haven’t known each other long, we may have a lot of differences and come from backgrounds. For some people, it takes a long time for them to fall in love or realize they are in love with someone.” He released her hand only to drape an arm on her shoulder. They took several more steps before Maya stopped to respond to him.
“Ricky, I can’t explain to you. Basta alam ko mahal kita. And if you are concerned about our status in life, hindi importante sa akin ‘yun. Pwede naman kasi ma bridge yung whatever difference we have. Ang importante sa akin yung mahal ko at mahal din ako. ” She responded to him while she looked straight into his eyes.
“So, would it matter if I am poor or rich?” He clarified; his eyes slightly squinted.
“It doesn’t matter. Mas importante ang pagkatao mo.” She assured him.
“Ehh, ikaw Ricky ang tanungin ko, why do you love me?” She deflected his question.
His face became serious. “Hmmm. I don’t know.”
Maya’s brows furrowed, she seemed unsatisfied with his answer. His heart went out to her with the thought she might be upset. He hugged her and said near her ear.
“Maya, I love you. The first time I saw you, you were so angelic and then you had those funny expressions while you were eating alone. You were so pretty. Tuwing nakikita kita, there is a bright aura around you, as if you bring the sunshine in my day. You caused me sleepless nights. Words in the dictionary and languages that I know are not enough to describe the love I feel for you. I could only show it to you. I could only paint it for you, Babe.”
Maya was overwhelmed by Richards words. His declaration was music to her ears.
It was just them at the bridge way surrounded by the lush plants and trees that it made everything very romantic for her. She was almost teary eyed and Richard noticed it.
“Heyy, am I making you cry?” He asked. He pulled out a handkerchief from his pocket and offered it to her.
“Hindi no!” She responded as she hit him lightly on the chest. “Ang cheezy mo… nakakaiyak. Wag mo na ulitin okay?” She chuckled after taking his hanky.
“Cheezzy, ha. If I know, kilig na kilig ka diyan.” He teased her after kissing her forehead. They gazed at each other lovingly.
“Konti lang naman….I love you Richard Lim.” She kissed the tip of his nose. Then, they were locked in a loving embrace.
Richard heart felt contented having her in his arms. And in that romantic moment, he felt compelled to tell her more about himself.
“Maya…about me and my family. Hindi ko pa nasabi sa’yo lahat about my family.” Richard started. She looked at him waiting for his next sentence when her phone suddenly rang. It was Ethan calling.
As it kept on ringing, Maya had no choice but to pick up the call. While Maya spoke on the phone, they continued taking steps towards the country club.
“Ethan, why?” She asked her friend on the other end of the phone.
“Tanong ko lang if you are attending the open house of Vista tomorrow? They’ve invited us.” Ethan
“Ammm, I’m not sure Ethan. I may have plans tomorrow. Also, I don’t feel like doing business with Vista so maybe we can review first yung projects nila.” She focused on her work while Richard just listened to her. “Anyway, nasa Tagaytay pala ako, is there something you want that I can get you?”
“Kahit ano na lang ang pasalubong mo. Pero teka sino kasama mo? Is it Richard Lim?” Ethan pried.
“Yes, si Ricky.” She smiled as she glanced at Richard at the same confirming Ethan’s guess. A few seconds later, their call ended.
Richard understood the flow of Maya and Ethan’s conversation. He was actually curious on the other guy’s role in Maya’s life. He recalled the encounters he had with him the past.
“So, how are you close with Ethan?”
“Ethan is my bestfriend. We work closely in the office, being my assistant too. ” Maya disclosed.
“Hmm, I remember that he called you babe once. Were you in a relationship with him?” His facial expression slightly changed to being serious.
“Ha? Nope, never.” It seemed like an absurd idea. “Sometimes lang he comes to the rescue if there are men who try to pick-up me up. Just like what you did in Baguio.” She started to laugh as she recalled their encounter at the bar.
“So, your relationship with him is purely friendship?” He repeated again.
“Yes” She quickly responded and then a thought entered her mind. “Hhmm, are you one of those guys na seloso?”
“Nope, I’m not Maya. But I just wanted to understand his part in your life.” He explained. “Anyway, dapat pala ibahin ko na lang ang tawag ko sa’yo. Hindi na original ang Babe.”
Maya laughed at his last statement. “Bahala ka, Mr. Lim.”
At the country club, Richard and Maya continued to be sweet to each other. They shared their food and even their drink just like an old couple. Richard decided he will tell her about his true identity later. It would be ill timed to do that at the restaurant.
“Maya, I love you.” He uttered for the fourth time that day. Maya had been counting it and she loved his way of saying it.
“Love you too, Ricky.” She responded and leaned on his shoulder. They were seated on the corner table at the balcony overlooking the pool area. They stayed in that position for a while as they watched the other guests swimming.