This is a continuation to Truth and Lies – part 17.
Two weeks later
On board PR336 bound for Shanghai, Maya took a window seat while Richard had the aisle seat. After placing their hand carried bags on the overhead compartment, he settled beside her.
“Excited?” He asked close to her ear as he fixed her seatbelt. He stole a kiss on her cheek.
“Hmm, yes at little. I think I am more nervous than excited.” She replied as she tried to hold hands with him. There was tentativeness in her smile.
“Don’t be. I’ll be there. Para maalis ang apprehension mo, think of this trip as a courtesy trip, a sign of respect to my parents, after all they will become your parents too.” He declared while pressing her hand.
Her heart jumped loudly when he said they would become her parents. She realized that he was thinking of a long-term relationship. She became more nervous with the thought that he might propose to her soon. It felt things were happening fast and she wasn’t sure if it was her, her family or him who was driving it.
“Maya…what are you thinking? Nag-space out ka na.” Richard leaned on her side. He turned her face towards him so she could look at him. “Maya.” He called her again after noticing that her eyes were blank. It woke her from her deep thought.
“Ricky…wala lang, sabi ko nga medyo worried lang ako.” She leaned her head on his shoulder.
Their conversation was interrupted when the captain announced for all passengers to ready for their take-off. Throughout their flight, they didn’t speak anymore. Richard slept for almost 3 hours while Maya just read the book she had with her.
Maya had never been to Richard’s home in Manila so she had nothing to compare with his condominium unit in Shanghai. If there was one word that she could utter when she saw it, it was only “Wow!”
It was the appropriate word for luxury that was presented to her. His place occupied half of 25th floor of the building. The lightings were voice activated and the place where filled with the latest model of furniture, home appliances and everything else. The interior design evidenced that a very successful man occupied the place. It was ultramodern.
“Babe, we will have dinner outside. Ipasyal muna kita sa Nanjing Road and then we can have dinner there. I have a favorite Sichuan restaurant in that place. And if you want to start shopping, you’ll find a lot of good shops there.” He excitedly told her as he placed their luggage in the receiving area.
“Do you like this place?” He draped an arm on her shoulder as he started showing her the house.
“Yeah. But this must be expensive.” She couldn’t help but make that side comment.
“Ahh, expensive to maintain especially when most of the time, I am in the Phils. This place needs a permanent resident.” He responded, he continued leading her to another area of the house.
“Then, why don’t you hire a housekeeper then.” She quipped. “That way, laging may tao dito.”
“Maya, that’s not what I meant.” He turned to look at her. He seemed serious.
“Ikaw naman, di mabiro.” She gave him a sweet smile. Then, they stopped in front of two doors.
“These are the guest rooms, dalawa ‘to.” He opened the doors for them to take a peek. They were also luxuriously furbished. “And at that far end is my room, let’s go.” He brought her to his room.
The room was unmistakably Richard’s with its theme of black and white. There were two modern paintings and vehicle themed sculptures too. She walked towards the glass window and opened the white curtain. She had a view of a park and another two condo buildings.
“So, what do you think of this room?” He asked in a low voice as he hugged her from behind. Suddenly, Maya heartbeats changed with the thought that they were alone in his room and his scent invading her senses.
“Ahhumm.” She nodded unable to find words. She turned around to face him. “I like it.”
“Good! I’ll give you an option. We can use this room or we can stay in one of the guest rooms while we are here.” She saw something in his eyes that made her heartbeats race faster. He also had that sexy smile on his lips. She tried to diffuse the situation.
“We? Either here or the guest room, we? Tama ba ang dinig ko Ricky, we? So room choice lang ang option?” She asked with an eyebrow raised.
He laughed; his mood changed a bit. “Ang bilis mo, ah. I thought makakalusot. Okay, the choice is stay here with me or you may choose to be in one of the guest rooms. I’m not forcing you.”
She heaved a sigh of relief. “Good, at least we are clear on that. Remember, Lin is coming over to join us in two days.” She reminded him.
“Lin is not naïve, babe. She wouldn’t be surprised if she finds out we are room sharing.” He was subtly being persistent.
“Hayy, naku Mr. Lim, I don’t think she would be surprised? Yes, I agree. I think she knows you too well. But it’s my reputation I’m protecting.” She countered.
“Okay, okay, you choose where you want to stay. I’m getting worried where this conversation will lead to. Akala ko pa naman, may part 2 na ang verandah scene natin.” He said mischievously as he hugged Maya and lifted her off her feet. Their bodies pressed so tightly together.
“Eiiee. Baba mo ako, Richard.” She exclaimed as she wriggled out of his arms. “Ikaw talaga!”
When Richard placed her down on the floor, she reminded him. “Halika na. Sabi mo ipapasyal mo ako.” She moved to leave the room but he spun her around to face him again.
“Bakit, if we stay here…alam mo na…” He winked at her. “Para ka na ring namasyal sa… langit ng…” He wasn’t able to finish because Maya quicky covered his mouth with her hand.
“Richard, tantanan mo na.” She warned him. Her face started to get red following his train of thought.
When she removed her hand over his mouth, he had one last thing to say. “Hmm, parang may memory lapse ang Babe ko ah. Sa pagkatanda ko, it was you who wanted more kisses from me.” He was really having fun teasing her.
In the end, Maya almost ran out of his room. “Ewan ko sa’yo, Richard.”
An hour later, they were comfortably seated in the Sichuan restaurant that Richard had chosen for their dinner place. He took care of selecting food on the menu after checking her appetite for spicy food.
After dinner, they walked around Nanjing road and visited some shops where Maya already found some souvenir for her office staff. She got a lot of shawls that prompted him to ask if was going to put up a store in Manila to sell the items she got. They also got an additional gift for his mother there.
Sunday, Richard and Maya were once again in his black Mercedes SLK 350 on the way to his parents home. They were to attend the family gathering organized to celebrate his mother’s birthday.
“So, Ricky, when you are here in Shanghai, you use a sports car?” She commented as she noticed the speed of his driving. It was different when he is Manila.
“Yes. Dito I can use a smaller but faster car but in Manila, ma traffic kasi.” He explained. “Besides, I have to be consistent with my business, here. It would look strange if I use another brand.”
She went mum after that short conversation especially after they entered a gated community. They passed by several modern mansions before pulling off in a big two story abode.
“So, ready to meet my parents?” He turned to her and asked.
“I guess so, walang choice di ba?” She nervously responded.
“I told you, don’t worry. I will be with you. Just be yourself. Mom is Filipina so she can relate to you. Most of my cousins are English speakers so you shouldn’t have problem conversing with them.” He allayed her fear.
Maya never realized how good-looking Richard’s family were until she saw them a few minutes later. She made a side comment to him as they walked hand in hand. “Ricky, bawal ba ang pangit sa inyo?”
“Huh? What do you mean?” He curiously asked.
“I meant, walang pangit sa inyo. Puro gwapo at maganda ang pinsan mo.” She smiled at him.
He chuckled at her comment. “Well, you definitely belong here then.”
The response of Richard made her relax. Then, an older woman, a Filipina mestiza, greeted them. She immediately knew she was his mother.
“Ricky, welcome home son.” She greeted her son and kissed him on both cheeks. “I missed you so much. You don’t even call me that often anymore.” From her facial expression, it showed how much she missed him.
“Ma, Happy Birthday.” He kissed her forehead. Then introduced Maya to her, “Ma, this is Maya, your future daughter-in-law.”
Richard’s reference to her as the future in-law caught Maya and his mother by surprise. Maya blushed as she felt his mother evaluating her.
Maya was the first one to recover by quickly greeting the birthday celebrant. “Happy birthday day, Mrs. Lim.” She smiled hesitantly to Mrs. Lim.
“Thank you, hija. So, you are the girlfriend of my son in Manila. Marunong talagang tumingin ng beauty ang anak ko. You may call me, Tita Esme.” It was then Tita Esme took Maya in her arm and kissed her cheek which made Maya feel better.
Minutes later, Maya was caught in flurry of meeting the rest of his relatives. She met all five male cousins whom she thought would make headlines if they decide to enter showbiz in the Phils. The three female cousins were the same. Each cousin was in-charge of a family business. Three of them actually were in business reporting relationship with Richard being their group VP. They all seemed to be happy to see meet her. However, his father remained a bit elusive.
After Richard introduced Maya to his father, Robert Lim immediately excused himself after his telephone rang. After that, Maya didn’t have an opportunity to speak to his father one on one.
Maya survived the party in his parents residence. Except for his father, she somehow felt welcomed by his relatives. They tried to make her feel at home by talking in English so she would be able to join in their conversation. Even his mother was solicitous to her, asking what she needed or preferred.
When they were about to leave his parents place, Maya overheard Richard and his father talk at the front yard. She couldn’t understand what they were talking about but from the tones of their voices, they seemed to be arguing.
When Richard noticed Maya approaching them, he turned his back on his father and took her in his hand.
“Wǒ lèile, wǒmen zǒu ba” He blurted and saw her brows furrowed. It was only then he realized he speaking to her in Mandarin.
“I’m sorry babe, I said I’m tired, let’s go.” He gave her a half smile but there were creases on his forehead and was red faced.
Maya just slightly nodded her head to his father signaling that they were leaving. In the car, Richard was very quiet. He remained very serious until they reached his condo unit. She wanted to check what happened but he was evasive managing only to give short responses to her queries. In the end, she stopped asking to allow him time to think.