A/N: This is a continuation to Heart’s True Desire – part 4
Heart’s True Desire – 5
Maya tossed and turned in her bed , thinking about her options. She weighed the pros and cons and then she thought of a plan, a plan that she would offer to Richard.
So before she finally slept, she sent him a text message. “Richard, if we are agreeing to this arranged marriage, can we make it a contractual agreement?”
So three days later, they were back in the same restaurant where they had dinner together. After receiving the text message from her, Richard called her up and arranged for another meeting. He argued that it would be difficult to agree on her suggestion without a thorough discussion.
“So, what do you mean by contractual agreement?” He started the moment she arrived at the restaurant.
“Well, the primary reasons for our marriage is business. So, I suggest that we keep it at that level.” She responded plainly; a very straightforward manner.
“Meaning?” He looked at the menu while he asked the question.
“If you become successful in making La Esperanza profitable again and you gain L.H.R., then, let’s terminate the marriage.”
“What?” Richard closed the menu while eyes widened . He didn’t understand where she was coming from.
“I propose a marriage that is co-terminus with the success of La Esperanza. I believe in marriage that is bound by love. Obviously, we are not the case. I don’t want to be bound in a loveless marriage so, I want an option out when the right time comes.” She explained her side. Richard realized that she is a normal girl; she believes is romance.
“Maya, so you are really discounting that we may fall in love with each other.” He smiled in a meaningful way. He picked up the menu again.
She smirked at him. “I don’t know Richard. I just want an option out.”
“Is that all?” He clarified. “I am assuming there are other sub-items to this contract.”
“Yes, like no emotional and physical attachments.” She declared.
“Hmmm, there seems to no fun in this agreement.” He raised his brows. “Why do I sense that you don’t like me Maya? That you’re not even giving a chance that we can fall in love or this arrangement can be permanent.”
Maya felt self-conscious. “Richard, it’s not that. As I told you I still believe in love and so…”
“Okay, I get your point. I was thinking that your decision has something to do with our history in college.” His expression slightly changed; he had a lazy teasing smile on his face as he gazed at her
“History? We don’t have a history, Richard. We had an event, an unfortunate misunderstanding. Let’s not discuss that anymore.” It was her turn to clarify. He was bringing up something was technically history. She maintained a formal demeanor although Richard was trying to tease her.
Maya ignored him for as she made an order of food. Richard ordered his choice too after which he seemed to be contemplating on her proposal. After a few minutes, he spoke again.
“Alright! Just to make sure. Since we are talking about no emotional and physical attachments, you are practically saying we can have our own personal life. We can pursue our personal interest. Tama?” It was a short conclusion for him.
“Hmm, Yes.” She responded but added. “However, I hope we can keep this arrangement to ourselves. I don’t want to unnecessarily alarm the family about this.”
“Maya, do you know that your proposal sounds ridiculous to me? You are making this complicated than what it really is.” Richard sounded exasperated.
“Richard, it is not complicated. It will be complicated if we are stuck in a marriage that we don’t want.” She sounded really convinced in her plan.
At the end of their meeting, Richard and Maya still didn’t reach an agreement.
Two weeks later
Maya woke up in the middle of the night with the sound of her phone ringing loudly. She forgot to put it on mute. She had a jet lag and was still adjusting to the U.S. time that day only to be woken up by her phone.
When she picked it up, she immediately recognized Richard’s voice.
“Maya, finally, you picked up my call. I’ve been trying to call you since Monday and it’s already Wednesday.” He complained.
“Oh really? Well, your calls didn’t register on my phone.” She replied then realized that she might have been on the flight when he was calling. “Maybe siguro nasa travel pa ako.”
“Naka travel ka? Anyway, I have a counter-proposal for you. How about we meet later over dinner? Let’s meet around 6:30 p.m.” He asked. He was the type who preferred a face-to-face discussion versus the telephone.
“Am sorry. I can’t do that. I’m not in the Phils. nasa L.A. ako ngayon.” She finally disclosed her location.
“What? Why didn’t anyone tell me that?” He sounded upset.
“Well… dapat ba malaman mo?” She challenged him. She wasn’t in the mood for a discussion because she was sleepy.
“I am your fiancée, in case you have forgotten.” He reminded her.
“Richard, we have not agreed on the my proposal.” She retorted.
“As far as our families are concerned, we are engaged. Therefore, I am your fiancée. Do you even think that you get away from their plan? Ang hindi lang pa natin napag-kasunduan ay yung internal plans natin.” Again, he had to remind her of their situation.
“Okay, okay. Bakit ka napatawag? It’s almost midnight here.” Maya asked. Her yawn was heard on the other line.
He chuckled. “Talagang antok ka na nga. Anyway, I’ve thought about your proposal and I agree subject a condition. Ahh, correction two conditions. A thought just crossed my mind.”
“What? Bakit may conditions pa?”
“Alangan naman ikaw lang ang may condition. But I tell you mine is not as difficult as difficult as yours. One condition is that you will work for me.” He finally declared.
“Huh? Yun ang condition? Eh, nagwo-work na ako sa hotel namin.” She wondered what was going to be different with his proposal.
“I know and I don’t think you are in the right position. You aren’t even at the management level because you’ve no interest in it or because you’ve not been exposed to it. So, I’d like to give you a chance to learn more about hotel management. In case our agreement ends, then, you are equipped to manage a hotel.” He explained.
“Hmmm. It makes sense.” She responded. And since she was really very sleepy and the proposal seemed simple, she finally agreed. “Okay. I agree.”
“So agree ka na ha. You will work for me.” Richard reiterated.
“Oo nga.” She repeated her answer.
Then Richard told her his next condition. Again, it was easier to do and it made sense. They will get married in Vegas.
Maya and Emman were having breakfast at the hotel’s restaurant when Maya shared with Emman her conversation with Richard the previous night.
“Ha?? Pumayag ka na girl?” Emman eyes were rounded. It was obvious that he was surprised that she had struck a deal with Richard.
“Yes.” She smiled as if her worries were gone. She and Emman went to the States to have a short vacation. It was bonding time and to reflect on her fate. If she would get married, she needed a time away for herself. Her parents agreed to the vacation thinking that she would eventually relent to their plan for her.
“Ohh, ohh, that’s exciting.” Emman was obviously enthused about her news. “So meant to be kayo.”
“Emman, this is an arranged marriage and nothing else. Don’t put too much meaning to it.” She cautioned her friend.
“Ikaw naman, excited lang ako for you. You really agreed with conditions, etc.” He found it strange that the two would have special conditions but nonetheless he was excited for them.
“Oo naman. It makes sense naman ang condition niya.” She defended herself.
“Ayy ewan ko sa inyo. Hindi pa man nag-uumpisa may exit clause kaagad. So, what if hindi niya ma-turn around ang La Esperanza? Paano yun? You will be stuck with him.” Emman played the devils advocate. He was actually teasing her based on his facial expression.
Maya shrugged as she shook her head. “No. I have confidence he will be successful, kasi sabi ni Papa, okay daw ang naging work niya when he was here in the U.S. He is also hungry for success. He will make it work.”
“Uyyy, may trust and confidence na s’ya sa kanyang future hubby.” Emman playfully tugged her shirt while he continued eating his pancakes.
“Emman ha. Don’t tease me when he is around. Baka akalain noon tuwang-tuwa ako sa kasal namin.”
“Eh, hindi nga ba? As if naman I don’t know that in college….” Emman raised a brow.
“Hindi nga. Ano ba ‘yan , eight years ago na naalala pa. Ngayon parang nag-sisi ako bakit ko nga naikwento sa’yo. She made a face at Emman.
“Excuse me girl, if I wasn’t there sino ang pwede mong pagsabihan ng story mo? Si Yna na sister ni James?” He pretended to have been offended.
Maya began to smile. “Uyy, nagtampo ang best friend. Okay. I was just joking earlier.” Maya touched his arm. “Ikaw lang naman talaga ang pinaka-trusted friend ko.”
“Well.” Emman straightened up as if he is proud of himself.
“Well…kaya nga, you will be a witness of our wedding here in the U.S.” She disclosed to him finally.
“What? Dito pa talaga kayo magpapakasal?”
“Oo Emman. It’s better na dito. If we do it in our country, maraming preparation, magulo, and if will be difficult to disengage later.” She further disclosed. “Dito, madali ang divorce.”
“Naku talagang ibang klase kayong dalawa. Pero, girl.. I believe in destiny. You might be each other’s destiny… ayaw nyo pa lang tanggapin.” Emman giggled as he finished his food. “Anyway, when is he arriving?”
“Sabi niya as soon as possible. He’ll check if he can get a flight.” As she realized that her pending marriage was going to happen sooner than expected, she became nervous.
Two days later, Maya came back at the hotel with Emman in tow after a day’s shopping activity. As they entered the hotel, she was advised there was something for her at the concierge section after she got her room key. When she went the concierge service, a smiling hotel staff informed her. “This came in just this afternoon Ms. Dela Rosa.” The staff handed her a bouquet of peach roses.
Emmnan and Maya looked at each other wondering who could have sent her flowers. She quickly checked the card that came with it and read the note.
“I’m already at the hotel. How about a dinner together, Mrs. Lim? 7:30 p.m. at the lobby.”
With that message, Maya already knew that Richard had arrived in Los Angeles.