This is a continuation to Truth and Lies – part 21.
Richard drove his car in silence with Maya at the passenger seat. The encounter with his father obviously upset him. Seeing his mood, Maya just allowed him to drive through the busy road of Shanghai until they finally reached an area at Huangpu River. She kept her thoughts to herself not wanting to aggravate his foul mood.
When he finally parked his car, Richard reached out for their jackets, which were at the back seat.
“Maya, mag-jacket ka muna. It would be chilly outside.” He instructed her. His facial expression was still serious. He then got out of his car and went around to her side to open her door.
“Ricky, anong gagawin natin dito.” She asked as she stepped out of the car. She noticed they were near the river and it was almost dusk. When the wind blew, she understood why he wanted her to wear a jacket. She felt cold.
“Well, I thought we should try the river cruise while we are here. Although the water is brown, don’t mind it and just focus on the view.” He half smiled. He still looked bothered by what transpired earlier.
Maya covered the distance between them. “Ricky, okay ka na ba? Ang init kasi ng ulo mo, eh.” She asked as she buttoned his jacket; ensuring he was sufficiently warm.
He looked at her and said. “Hmm, oo naman.” He slung his arm on her shoulder and led her towards the river cruise entrance.
“Pikon lang ako today, parang ang daming panira ng araw ko. Nasimulan kaninang umaga nung call about the dealership, then busy sa meetings, then si Dad dumagdag pa.” He heaved a sigh of frustration. Then close to her ear he said, “And the worst is, kung kelan naman gumaganda ang eksena natin at saka naman dumadating ang mga istorbo.”.
Maya laughed and said. “Aha, it’s not about them that upsets you. Alam ko na…ha,ha,ha, hindi lang natapos yung plano mo…” Her laughter was cut-off because Richard suddenly stopped walking. He gave her a quick kiss on the mouth.
“Yes at talagang nakakainis. I can’t even kiss you here properly dahil di common ang PDA sa mga locals dito.” He hugged her so tight for a minute that she wondered if that kind of hug wasn’t considered PDA.
When he was satisfied with hugging her, they continued walking.
“I hope dito sa river cruise, wala ng mga asungot.”
She was laughing when she responded. “Mr. Lim, there is a right time for everything. Sinasabi lang sa’yo, hindi pa time.”
He smirked. “Well, pag-iisipan ko yang time na ‘yan.”
They finally reached the guests’ receiving area and was ushered inside the boat. They occupied a seat at the upper deck where they could get a better view. Maya enjoyed their one hour tour where she had a scenic view of the Bund. On one side of the river, the old beautiful European building still stood while on the opposite side was the Pudong district where the modern sky crappers flourished. They took time having their photos taken with the lighted buildings on the background.
After the river cruise, Richard took her to a French restaurant that had a view of the Bund. By that time, his mood had totally lightened up.
“Babe, sorry kanina nuong nagtalo kami ni Dad in front of you. Did I scare you?” He asked in the middle of dinner.
“Medyo, kasi ang taas na nang boses n’yo tapos wala akong maiintindihan” She responded. “At saka, pwede naman kasi pag-usapan ‘yun ng kalma lang.”
“I know. I just couldn’t help but get pissed off because the subject matter has been settled before and now he is bringing it up again. He was just concerned about his name, yung commitment niya without considering my feelings.” He said in exasperation.
“Ricky, ang hindi ko lang maiintindihan eh, si Dad mo married a non-Chinese. So, why would he insist that you marry one. Di ba parang he should know better?” She curiously asked while she forked her food.
“I’m not really sure about his mindset. Mom has a Chinese blood din but she is not pure Chinese. They fell in love during one those trips of Dad in Cebu when he was just starting to build his own career. As far as I know, my grandparents didn’t approve of them until I was born. One thing mom had told me in the past was the difficulty of adjusting to the new culture. Syempre iba ang nakalakihan ni Mom and then she moved to Luohe to be with him and his family. They struggled a lot in the early years.” He explained, attempting to shed light on his father’s behavior.
“So, Maya, do you think you can adjust to my family and this culture?” His eyes scanned around before settling his eyes on her. “I lead a busy business life, I may not be always by your side.”
She smiled. “Hindi naman kailangan magkasama tayo parati. What is important is that we know that at the end of the day and despite the hardships of the day, we have each other and that we support each other.” Her eyes twinkled as she touched his hand.
Richard smiled in return. “Thank you, Babe.” They held hands for a while before they resumed their dinner.
Over dessert, Richard alarmed Maya with a gift. He took out a small box that made Maya’s eyes widen. Her hands nervously went to her chest as she asked, “Ricky, ano ‘yan?”
“For you. I got this during lunch time.” He responded. He was about to open it when Maya cut him off. She thought the events were happening fast and she didn’t expect this one at that time.
“Eh, teka, teka muna.” She delayed him while she gathered enough courage in case he popped her the big question. She had quandary of emotion of whether to yes or not yet in case he proposed.
Richard seemed to have read her mind and smiled broadly. “Babe, wag kang mag-worry d’yan. This is just a pair of earrings. This is not yet a proposal, okay?” He finally opened the small box to reveal a simple pair of round shaped diamond earring.
Maya blushed as she looked at his gift. “Ricky, it beautiful. Thank you.” She was embarrassed by her own assumption. She pressed her hand to his hand.
He moved his chair close to her and said. “Maya, I know what you were thinking. We are getting there, babe. You’ve met my family and I’d like you to see my other world.
So, pag-isipan mo ng mabuti ang isasagot mo when that time comes. I won’t take a no for an answer.” He laughed upon seeing her expression.
“Eh, wala naman palang choice kungdi Yes, so bakit mo pa ako tatanungin?” She argued.
“Hmm, for posterity? for records purposes?” His eyes twinkled in pure delight.
The Shanghai trip made Maya realize how traditional his Chinese family was with the exception of Richard and his mother. Maya had a chance to meet his grandparents when they visited his province. They flew in early morning and spent just a few hours there and decided to go back to Shanghai later the same day. Since his grandparents didn’t speak English, they only managed to smile and nod at each other.
Despite that, she felt welcomed since his grandmother offered her some food during lunch. The elderly lady also hugged her when they said goodbyes.
Richard told her when they were on the plane going back to Shanghai. “She likes you. She said you look like mom when she first arrived in their house.”
“Is that a good sign?” She asked since she wasn’t sure if that was good comment or not.
“Yes. She always found something disagreeable on the girls I dated before.” He shared.
“Really? Parang ang dami na niyang nakilala, ah. Including Li Yan?” She curiously asked; she sounded confident.
“Ahh, eh, konti lang, naman. Yannie is different. My grandparents liked her. She got along well with them. She is respectful and tolerant to the wishes of the oldies.”
Maya felt a stabbing pain in her heart. The pangs of jealousy bit her as he described his ex-girlfriend. It also sounded like that there was still a soft spot for her in his heart. She turned serious and kept silent for a while.
When Richard noticed her silence, he pulled up the armrest that was separating their seat. Then, he wrapped an arm around her pulling her towards him. “Hmm, biglang naging quiet ang babe ko. Love you.” He said softly.
She gave him a gentle slap on his face. “Ewan ko sa’yo.”
He chuckled. “Kanina ka pa nagseselos, ha. Ayaw mo lang magpahalata.” He teased.
She ignored him and just cuddled with him. She closed her eyes pretending that she will sleep for the remainder of their flight time.
Their Shanghai trip finally ended with Maya feeling exhausted but happy. After a week of flurry activities of meeting his relatives, visiting tourist spots, shopping with Lin and Richard’s work priorities, they were back in Manila.
In Richard case, he only stayed in Manila for only a day. Then, he had to fly to Germany for a meeting with his business partners. He would be away for five days.
Since Maya got used to seeing him everyday from the time they were in San Nicolas until their recent trip, she missed him already even on the first day of his travel. She realized how much he has become part of her daily life. While they’ve only been together for almost two months, it felt like they’ve known each other for years. Her heart was bursting with love for him that she cried on the second day he was away.
“Maya, are you crying?” He asked while they were connected via Skype.
“Miss lang kita Ricky.” She responded as she looked up so her tears won’t fall down.
Maya saw his lopsided smile that made heart ache some more. “Sus, 2 days pa lang, eh. Akala ko ba, okay lang na mag travel ako?”
“Oo nga sabi ko. Pero siempre, nag-a-adjust pa ako. Araw-araw kasi kita kasama dito and then suddenly, malayo ka na.” She explained her side.
“O sige, dapat pala sanayin kita na wala ako sa tabi mo araw-araw. Hmmm, I think I will extend my stay here. Makapag-tour muna para hindi sayang ang airfare ko.” He declared that made her upset.
“Mr. Lim, kung makapag biro ka. Five days lang ang travel approval mo sa akin, so uuwi ka in five days!” She answered back in serious tone.
He laughed at her and placed his face closer to his computer screen. “I miss you too, Maya. Here’s a kiss for you.” He kissed his screen.
“Yiewww, cheezzy..” She reacted as if his act was revolting to her stomach.
“Cheezzy ha, eh anong tawag sa iyakin dahil na miss lang ang boyfriend?” He countered; his brows raised.
“Ricky!! Kainis ka talaga.” She made a sign of pinching his cheeks.
“Babe, have to go. I have an afternoon meeting. Ipunin mo lang muna ang mga kiss ko at yang inis mo sa akin, I will collect them when I am back this weekend. I love you.” He winked at her.
“I love you too.” When they ended the call, she was giddy with love.