This is a continuation to Truth and Lies – part 19.
“Li Cha!! Huānyíng huí jiā” (Richard, welcome home). The new entrant threw her arms around Richard and kissed him on both cheeks.
Richard was too shocked to comment and stood by the door motionless. A second later, he managed to say “Li Yan, why are you here?”
Maya who saw the greeting stood frozen; the shock numbed her senses.
Li Yan responded excitedly in English. “Of course, I am here. It’s been ages since we last saw each other.” She entered the house with a roller bag in tow. It was then she noticed Maya standing in the middle of the living room watching them. She eyed the latter carefully.
“Tā shì shuí” (who is she?) Li Yan turned to Richard with questioning eyes.
Tā shì wǒ de nǚ péng yǒu (She’s my girlfriend). He immediately responded and went past her to go Maya’s side.
“?Shénme (what)” Li Yan didn’t seem to understand what he said. Her beautiful face had creases on her forehead.
“Tā shì wǒ de nǚ péng yǒu, tā jiào Maya (She’s my girlfriend, her name is Maya).” He repeated and reached for Maya’s hand.
“Babe, this is in a old friend, Li Yan.” Richard introduced Maya to Li Yan. He appeared calm while Maya slowly came to her senses. If she felt nothing seconds earlier, at that point turmoil was starting within her. She reminded herself to keep her emotion in check. She shouldn’t jump to conclusion.
“Hello, how are you.” Maya managed to smile as she offered her hand for a handshake.
Li Yan smiled warmly in return and accepted Maya’s hand. “Hen hao.” (very good).
Then, her eyes shifted to Richard and gave him a sullen pout. “Tā shì hěn piàoliang! (she is very beautiful) Tián xīn (sweetheart), so you really found someone new.”
The last phrase that Li Yan uttered was in English. Richard’s face turned red and then chuckled. “Yes, she is the one.” His hand went around Maya’s waist as he gazed at her with loving eyes. Maya figured that she must been given a compliment judging by the reaction of Richard.
It was difficult for Maya to read Li Yan facial expression because she only met her that night. Li Yan seemed to be in control of her own demeanor, as if taking everything in a stride. If she was upset about meeting Maya, she did a very good job of hiding it. In Maya’s case, she was struggling to keep her composure.
It was then Lin arrived in the condo unit. Lin surprised facial expression was one for the books when she saw Li Yan, Maya and Richard in the living room facing each other. Her eyes were rounded and her mouth was open in shock.
“Gege!” She exclaimed and then greeted Li Yan. “Jiějiě (elder sister)” Lin embraced her.
Lin glanced at Maya as if apologizing to her. Maya just nodded and smiled back. After that greeting, Lin moved to Maya’s side and clung an arm to her. Maya felt she had one ally in the room.
With all them standing at the living room area, Li Yan declared in English. “I think I should get going. I’ll see you around Li Cha.” She turned her back heading for the door.
Richard followed her. “Where are you staying in Shanghai?” He asked sounding concerned.
“I’ll just stay in the nearest hotel, maybe at Marriott or Crowne Plaza. I don’t think I have a space here anymore and besides it wouldn’t look good with us here together.” Li Yan glanced at Maya who heard everything.
“I’ll drive you to the hotel, then. It’s hard to get a taxi in this area.” Richard offered.
“Ohh, Xiexie.” Li Yan smiled at Richard. “Zài jiàn” She bade Maya and Lin goodbye.
“Babe, sandali lang ako, ha. Malapit lang naman ang hotel dito.” He kissed Maya on the cheek before taking Li Yan’s roller bag.
Dinner between the three was quiet. Except for the occasional chattering of Lin about their shopping, Maya didn’t contribute much to their conversation. Richard on the other hand seemed to have his mind somewhere else.
After dinner and clearing away the table and dishes, Lin announced that she’d be in her room.
Richard also announced his plan. “Babe, I just have an audio call with our European partners about the arrival of the new cars in Manila. One hour lang ‘yon.”
Maya replied. “Ricky, sige lang. I’ll just be in my room.”
Richard wrapped his arms around her. “I want to spend time with you tonight. So, I’ll finish off the call as soon as I can.” He kissed her on the lips before going to his room where he planned to have his meeting.
There were three knocks on the door before Lin entered Maya’s bedroom.
“Maya, you are staying here and not Gege’s room?” There was curiosity in her eyes when she found her seated on her bed with her back on the headboard holding a book.
“Yes. Why do you ask?” Maya’s brows furrowed.
“Nothing. I hope you are not staying here because the two of you are fighting. You were both quiet over dinner and I am worried that you had an argument because of Li Yan.” Lin sat on the bed beside Maya.
“No, Lin. We are not fighting. I’ve been staying here since we arrived.” Maya assured Lin.
“But I admit that too much has happened today. When I came to Shanghai, I didn’t know anything about Li Yan. His father came this morning to tell me about her and then in this evening she just suddenly appeared in our doorstep.” She shared with Lin.
“Ohh, Maya, I’m sorry. Sometimes Gege can take things for granted. Maybe he didn’t think it would bother you. I know it is tough to be in this family. I can feel the pressure since my parents also wants me to date only Chinese men. But I envy Gege because he can do what he wants. He can stand on his own and I know he loves you.” Lin reassured her while hugging her for comfort.
“Thank you, Lin. You’re so good to me.” She hugged her back.
“You’re welcome, cousin. When it’s my turn, I hope you support me too.” Lin laughed at what she said. She doesn’t have a boyfriend yet and didn’t also want to date the Chinese men that her family was choosing for her.
After waiting for two hours, Maya fell asleep. Although she tried finishing the book she brought for their trip, she found herself mostly thinking about Richard and Li Yan. She had a lot of questions in her mind. She wanted to give him the benefit of doubt; she trusts him. However, his one hour call seemed to have extended. As sleep crept into her, she couldn’t help but feel alone that night.
Richard went to the guestroom to check on Maya two and half hours later. When his knocks were unanswered, he opened the door to find her sleeping. As usual, she was wearing her mickey mouse pajamas that made him chuckle. He had seen her in that sleeping attire when she got sick. She looked cute in it. But when he studied her closely, he noticed a tear in the corner of her eye. His heart went out to her.
Without waking her up, Richard scooped her into her arms. She was sound asleep so she was unaware that he was moving her to his bedroom.
Maya stirred in her sleep when she felt someone breathe on her neck. She also felt a heavy arm across her waist. With the familiar scent so close to her, she knew it was Richard. She opened her eyes wide and found herself in his bedroom. She immediately recognized the room as it had a different feel compared to the guest room. She wondered how she got there.
Richard was lying on his left side facing her with his head on her shoulder. Maya shifted her position to take a look at him but his hand quickly moved upwards and positioned itself on her chest.
He said in an almost inaudible voice. “Don’t leave me Babe. Love you. Dito ka lang sa tabi ko.”
Maya knew he was referring to her because he spoke in Tagalog. Seconds later, she felt his steady breathing indicating he was sleeping. She kissed his hair and decided to lay still beside him until she fell asleep again.
Maya woke up when she felt him nuzzling her neck. When she touched his face to let him know she was awake, he stopped and greeted her. “Good morning gorgeous.” His eyes were tiny slits that she wondered if he was really awake and could see her.
“Zǎo.(morning)” She answered. She glanced at the window and noticed that it must be morning as the sky was starting to brighten up.
Richard propped himself beside her. “So, you plan on learning Chinese?” There was a sign of amusement in his expression.
“Duì (right)” She answered. “So, I would know what’s happening around me. How do I know you’re not selling me?” She teased him.
“Hmm, that’s a good idea. I never thought about that.” He picked up the joke. He sat up and shifted so his back was against the headboard. Then, she adjusted herself so she could cuddle with him. He enveloped her in his arms and kissed her hair. When, she looked up to him, their eyes met and their nose bumped. He gave her a light kiss.
“So, let’s start the lesson, then. If I say, wǒ ài nǐ (I love you), anong ibig sabihin no’n?” His fingertips were tracing a line in her arm that was causing her goose pimples.
“Hey, kakiliti ka naman.” She brushed his hand away.
“You haven’t answered by question.” He stated firmly as he pressed her closer to him.
She took a deep sigh and said. “Yan, madali lang yan. I’d respond, I love you too, Ricky. Mahal na mahal kita.” She gazed straight into his eyes. He smiled in satisfaction and kissed her again. The second kiss was deeper and more passionate.
“Ricky, di pa tayo nag to-toothbrush.” She pushed him gently. She felt his breathing change while her own cheeks was becoming warm too.
“Hmm, I don’t care, babe.” He resumed kissing her. He repositioned himself such that Maya ended up lying on the bed with his upper body on top of her.
“Ricky… may office ka pa.” She reminded him. Both her arms were against his chest while she cupped his face with her two hands. She could feel his heart thumping loudly.
“The office can wait.” He responded as he swooped down to reclaim her lips. His hands started to roam from her waist going up to her lower chest until he found her breast. .
“Wǒ ài nǐ ,babe. Wǒ yào nǐ” He whispered as his lips travelled to her earlobe.
“Huh?” Maya was getting dizzy with the emotion he was evoking in her while at the same trying to figure out what he was telling her.
“Ricky…ano?” She asked again in a soft voice.
He didn’t bother to translate but continued kissing downwards to the base of her neck. He started to unbutton her pajama top. When it finally, opened, she gasped. He looked at her appreciatively. In a husky voice, he said “hěn piàoliang…..wǒ xiǎng hé nǐ zuò’ài…. wǒ yào nǐ…wǒ yào jià gěi nǐ.” It felt like her skin burned in his touches. Maya gave up deciphering his words as she wrapped her hands around his nape.
Then his phone suddenly rang loudly, that startled and brought him back his English skills. “Damn that phone!”