This is a continuation to Truth and Lies – part 12.
It was almost dark when they decided to head back to Manila. Before leaving the
restaurant, Maya excused herself and went to the ladies room. She was there for a few minutes and when she came out, Richard wasn’t in the restaurant anymore. Thinking that he might have gone ahead to the lobby, she decided to check if he was there.
She didn’t find him at the lobby and the place was empty except for her. She tried calling his mobile phone but he wasn’t picking up. Unsure what to do next, she chose to sit in one of the sofas trusting that he will return for her.
While she waited for Richard, she was thinking about him and the happiness she felt that day. However, her reverie was distracted when she heard voices coming from the main entrance of the country club. She saw two young women standing there and there seems to be a third person with them. One of the women was talking was animatedly to someone whom she couldn’t see because there was a big post blocking her view. With nothing else to do, she observed them.
Maya couldn’t decipher what the woman was saying because she was speaking in bilingual language, Chinese and English. And when the woman turned sideways, Maya recognized her. She was the same person she saw at the art gallery at power plant mall the previous night. It felt strange for Maya to see her again.
A few seconds later, Maya heard a man’s laughter which made her heart constrict. It was Richard’s voice, she was sure of it. Followed by the certainty that she heard Richard, it dawned on her that the women were with Richard. Maya was very surprised.
“Lin, Helena, I have to go. I’m with someone. Enjoy your stay here.” Maya heard him say to the ladies.
“Gege, you said you’ll spend time with me when I’m in Manila but why is it that you seem to be busy?” The woman named Lin complained in childish tone. She was slightly tugging Richard’s shirt and Maya saw it because she leaned forward to get a better view of them.
Maya actually didn’t have to move because he stepped forward and hugged Lin. He said something in Chinese.
“Lin, I have a lot of things on my plate right now. Okay? Promise, I’ll take you to Baguio to show you my current work.” This time, Richard was speaking in English. Then, Richard kissed Lin on the cheek.
“Okay, I hope you keep your promise. Otherwise, I will tell on your Mom or I will reveal your secret.” Maya clearly heard what Lin told Richard.
Maya remained on her seat unable to move. Her heart ached when she saw him kiss the other woman. She knew she shouldn’t jump to conclusion but somehow, a part of her wasn’t thinking logically.
Hearing their conversation, questions circled in her mind. She wondered whom he was talking to. They looked good together. She just found out that he speaks Chinese. What was the secret the woman was talking about?
She remembered what he said earlier, there were still a lot to learn about each other. How much does she know about Richard? She also recalled her questions about him; the inconsistencies in him. She only knows and believes the things he told her about himself and she never questioned him.
Richard called out her name the moment he saw her sitting at the lobby area. He looked surprised to find her there.
“Maya! “ Kanina ka pa d’yan?” He asked as he approached her.
She hesitated to confront him as she was still processing her observations. She only managed to reply, “Ricky, kanina pa.”
Oblivious of Maya’s inner turmoil, he went on to explain his absence. “I checked on the club’s shuttle service that’s why I left. Sandali lang sana ako but I got stuck here at the lobby.”
“Tinawagan kita sa phone but you weren’t answering.” She told him coldly.
“Ah, I left the phone on the car. Anyway, let’s go. We’ll be able to reach Manila early. Doon na lang tayo mag dinner, if its fine with you.” He took her hand as he pulled her up. He led her to the shuttle service that will take them back to the sports center where their vehicle was parked.
Later on board the car, Maya was very quiet; her mind was far away. Richard noticed from his peripheral vision that she either glanced at him or stared at him; her eyes seemed to be appraising him.
“Maya, is there something wrong?” Finally, he asked. They were already at Sta. Rosa area when he broke the silence.
She didn’t respond but just kept her eyes focused on the highway they were traversing.
“Maya…is there something wrong?” He asked again sounding more concerned.
She turned to face him blankly. “Ricky, mag drive ka muna. We’ll talk pag dating sa bahay.”
She closed her eyes and pretended to sleep. In reality, she just wanted to clear her head. Her thoughts were centered around how much she knows about him. Who was the woman and what was the secret.
She recalled the scene she saw earlier. At one point, the woman’s hand was in Richard’s forearm while they conversed. From the tone of their voices, there was a level of familiarity between the two. She didn’t have to understand their language to know that they’ve known each other for some time. And when she heard him promise the other woman to take her to Baguio, she felt tiny stabs in her heart. She felt betrayed.
As Maya kept on replaying these thoughts in her mind, she was getting more upset. By the time they reached Manila and Richard parked his car in her condo building, she was almost teary eyed. Her jealousy was eating her up but she couldn’t admit it.
“Maya, what’s bothering you?” He was persistent. He took her hands in his and felt them very cold.
“Sa taas na lang tayo mag-usap, Ricky.” She didn’t wait for his response as she quickly got out of the car and proceeded to the elevator.
Richard literally ran after her. When he joined her in the lift, he stood close to her. She ignored him. She didn’t even react when he moved her to stand in front of him so he could hug her from behind; his arms around her waist.
“Maya…you’re quiet kanina pa. You’re making me nervous.” He whispered in her ear.
Again, he didn’t get a response because the moment the elevator door opened Maya disengaged from his hold and left him.
Few minutes later, they were standing in her living room. They haven’t managed to sit down as both of them wanted things settled.
“Ricky” “Maya” They said simultaneously. She rolled her eyes and Richard then realized she was upset with him.
“Richard, sino yung kausap mo sa may entrance ng country club kanina?” The icy tone of her voice sent chills to his body. Somehow, he sensed what was coming.
“You mean the driver ng shuttle service?” He actually spoke to three people at the country club.
“Hindi!” She finally lost her self control. “Yung babae na naka pink, yung nakahawak sa braso mo habang nag-uusap kayo. Mayroon pang kasamang isang girl. Yung kausap mo ng chinese.” The tone of her voice was an octave higher.
It became clear to Richard that she saw him with Lin and her friend. She might have heard his conversation with them. He suddenly got worried since he sensed that she had misinterpreted the scene with Lin.
“Maya…she’s Lin.” He admitted to her. “At kung tama ang assumption ko about what you are thinking, then, mali ka. It was nothing, we were just talking. She’s my first cousin.” He explained.
Maya stared at him in disbelief. She didn’t expect him to say that they were related. She felt they were more than that. “Pinsan? Are you sure or do you mean cousin-tahan? Eh, bakit hindi mo ako pinakilala?” She countered.
“Kasi, I didn’t know that you were already at the lobby. I just bumped into them.” He explained.
“What a lame excuse.” She said. Obviously, she wasn’t buying it.
“I’m sorry Maya. Hindi ko naisip ‘yon kanina.” He looked apologetic.
“Alam mo Richard, narealize ko, how little I know about you. So marunong ka palang mag Chinese? Kung tutuusin, maliit na bagay lang naman ‘yon. Kaya lang, marami din kasi akong napansin na hindi tugma tugma pag dating sa’yo. At nang banggitin nung si Lin about your secret, kinabahan ako. Is your secret something to do with me? Hindi kaya niloloko mo lang ako?” There was anger and pain in her eyes.
“Of course not! Why are you accusing me of that?” He covered the distance between them and tried to pacify her anger by holding her hand. She quickly brushed his hand away and took steps backwards.
“I’ll give you a chance now. Sabihin mo sa akin sino yung Lin and ano yung secret” She demanded firmly.
Richard ran his fingers on his hair in a sign of frustration. “Maya, si Lin is my first cousin. I can introduce you to her if you want.” He paused first before he continued.
“About the secret Maya… there is no secret. She knows that I am courting a non-chinese, you. She likes to think that I am keeping it a secret from our family which is not true.”
“So, ano namang issue yun? Are you saying you belong to a traditional Chinese family?” She questioned him.
“Yes, Maya. Sa family namin we only marry yung kapwa namin chinese. So, we are discouraged to even court or date a non-chinese dahil walang patutunguhan. However, in your case, I am breaking the family tradition.” He took a deep breath before he continued.
“Maya… about my work and my family… there’s something that I must let you know. I’ve been wanting to tell you today but somehow I’ve been overtaken by events. Either may tatawag sa phone or I was enjoying too much with you that I delayed this. So now, I am banking on your statement that it doesn’t matter if I am rich or poor because you love me.”
“So? What are you trying to say?” Her eyes widened in anticipation. Her heart started to beat fast.
“Maya.. my family and I are not different from you. Ibig kong sabihin, kahit papaano may kaya rin kami sa buhay.” There it was out in the open; he finally revealed to her.
“So you are saying hindi ka mekaniko? Na mayaman ka?” She sounded stupid asking those questions but she needed clarity.
“If fixing cars is your definition of a mechanic, I am a mechanic Maya. I am an engineer by profession. But I also own a business and into other interests too.”
Maya head spun trying to connect everything, the cars, the bars, Tagaytay highlands, dates in a simple restaurants, simple gifts of hopia, siopao, chocnuts, the painting, the art gallery. They were making sense now. Half of her believed him and the other half didn’t want to.
“Ricky, if you are telling the truth. So, bakit mo ako pinapaniwalang isang simpleng mekaniko ka lang?” She looked at him intently; brows furrowed. She suspected there was more to his story.
Richard couldn’t look in her eyes as he suddenly felt uncomfortable admitting his earlier plan. He realized it may confirm her accusation that he played a trick on her. However, he had no choice but to come out clean at that moment.
“Noong nagkita tayo sa bar few weeks ago, I heard you and Ethan talking at the parking lot. It was three months after we met in Baguio. I heard my name mentioned and that’s when I found out why you avoided me; the real reason why you didn’t want to associate with me. I am below your league, I am just a mechanic. So, I didn’t correct your assumption and courted you just like how an ordinary man would.”
By the time Richard finished, Maya tears streamed down her face. “So, you wanted to prove that you as a mechanic can make me fall in love with you.” She finally deduced his intention.
Wiping the tears from her eyes. “So, nang sabihin kong mahal kita kahit mahirap ka, were you happy?” She gave him a challenging look.
“Maya, I am happy that you love me, period. I’m sorry if I didn’t tell you sooner and I lead you on to believe something that wasn’t completely true. But, it doesn’t change the fact that I love you.” He went near her again. This time he was able to hold her hand.
Maya looked down, staring at her hands that was clasped by Richard. For the first time since she met him, she felt nothing; gone was the excitement of having him near her. She didn’t feel anything for him.
She looked straight in his eyes; her expression blank. “Sa iyo Richard walang change but I couldn’t say the same for me. You presented someone that wasn’t you, yung simpleng tao ang nanligaw sa akin, yung simpleng tao rin ang sinagot ko. So ngayon, hindi ko kilala kung sino ang nasa harap ko.”
Richard realized the gravity of his offense. He didn’t intend it to be that way. He never intended to hurt her. He wanted to teach her humility at the start but he truly loved her.
“Maya, ako pa rin ‘to. Simple lang akong tao. I just wanted to be loved for who I am.” He told her in a sad voice.
“I don’t know you Richard. You know your way out.” After saying that, Maya walked away. She went to her bedroom leaving Richard standing in the middle of her living room.