This is a continuation to Heart’s True Desire – part 9.
Heart’s True Desire – 10
Maya and Emman were at the hotel’s main restaurant for their buffet breakfast when Richard joined them.
“Good morning, ladies.” He announced as he stood behind Maya’s chair.
Maya’s heart thumped loudly as she felt Richard’s presence just behind her. She could smell his cologne. She became very familiar with his scent since yesterday. She felt uneasy as if she wanted to hide away from him. She was confused and embarrassed by her behavior hours earlier. She barely slept.
Emman, being referred as a lady, smiled ear to ear. “Good morning, Richard. It’s good you can join us.”
“Thank you for leaving a message on my room’s phone.” He responded. He smiled back.
“Ehh, di ko kasi alam what time would the two of you wake up. So, I just left you both a message. And walahhh, here we are.” Emman gaily said.
Richard was about to sit on the chair beside her when she looked up to acknowledge his presence. He smiled at her in meaningful way. Then, he swooped down and gave her a smack on the lips. “Did you sleep well, honey?” He asked a very surprised Maya. She didn’t expect he would kiss her in public.
Emman’s reaction was epic. “Oh my ghee!!!! Honey na ang tawagan n’yo? What an evening together can do!” The giddiness in his expression was unmistakable. His eyes were very round with excitement.
Richard just laughed as he placed an arm at the back of Maya’s chair. He pulled his chair closer to her. “So, hon, aren’t you going to ask me if I slept well?” He continued in a flirty mode.
Maya glared at him. She didn’t find anything funny nor appreciated his teasing.
“Ricky, umayos ka. Baka akalain ni Emman kung anong nangyari.” She warned him.
“Ayy, may nangyari ba? Shucckks, anong nangyari? Pwede pa-kwento ? or it’s honeymoon SPG?” Emman wouldn’t let up. His curious eyes went back and forth between the two. He noticed their contradictory facial expressions; one was enjoying the moment while the other one was angry.
“Emman! Walang nangyari.” She told her friend; her face was serious. “Why would you think something happened?”
Emman heaved a sigh of disappointment. “Well, ang defensive mo naman. Anyway, kung wala eh di wala. I’ll go to the egg station.” He left to escape Maya’s angry stare.
Alone with Richard, she barked at him. “At ikaw naman, why are you insinuating may nangyari kagabi? I thought we are going to be friends. So, why are you embarrassing me in front of my best friend.” She accused him.
“Ooopps, Maya. Let’s get this straight. I didn’t insinuate anything. I was just teasing you. At saka, nakakatuwa yung expression ni Emman, eh. ” He responded but he saw that Maya was still upset. “Okay, okay, I didn’t mean to insinuate something. I’m sorry.” He apologized and returned his chair to its original position.
Maya was still serious as she continued with eating her breakfast. Richard looked at her; she ignored him. He was uncomfortable with the cold treatment she was giving him.
“Hon, I’m sorry.” He apologized again. “Nagtanong lang ako…kasi… I didn’t sleep well last night or should I say this morning.”
Maya glanced at him and saw the sadness in his eyes. She blushed at the memory of the almost consummation of their marriage.
“Kainis kasi yung phone call na’yon.” He verbalized his disappointment. “But it was an important business call. Anyway, sorry uli.” He explained.
Maya, sensing his sincerity began to lighten up. “Hmmm. Okay, breakfast ka na.”
“So, hindi ka na galit?” His spirit came alive.
“Okay na nga. Just take your breakfast. Malapit na magsara ang breakfast service.” She reminded him.
Richard got up from his chair when Emman returned with his new plate of food.
Emman eyed Maya carefully as he took his seat. “Ikaw Ms. Dela , err, Mrs. Lim, ang sungit mo d’yan sa asawa mo. Even from afar, I saw na sinusungitan mo yong tao.”
“Emman, hindi ako masungit sa kanya ‘noh.” Maya defended herself.
“Wehhh? Bakit kung makatingin ka ganoon na lang. May mga mata ako ‘no. Bakit mo ba inaaway? Ang aga aga, eh. At saka, I thought you’d like to be friends with him.”
“Yes, I want to be friends with him. Kaya lang, may style talaga siyang makulit, may pagka flirt or palabiro ba.” She explained.
“Ay Maya, yung nga ang cute sa kanya ‘no. Hindi siya boring. Masaya s’ya kasama, unlike someone I know…” Emman’s brows went up but he didn’t pinpoint who he was referring to.
“O, si James na naman? Silang dalawa ay opposite and there is no point of comparison. James is my friend.” Maya filled in the information for him.
“Ay ewan! Sa kanilang dalawa, I prefer Richard for you. Besides, he is already you husband. If you remember in college, ang daming humahabol d’yan. Ilang baldeng luha ba ang naubos mo sa kanya everytime na may bagong girlfriend s’ya noon?” Emman continued.
“Shhh, Emman, stop it. Pabalik na si Ricky.” She cautioned her friend as she saw him returning to their table with his food. He was carrying two plates.
“Hon, I got fruits, share tayo.” Richard offered as he placed down the plates he was carrying. “Syempre, ikaw din Emman.” He turned to Emman who was observing them.
“Thank you.” Maya gave him a half smile. “By the way Ricky, mamamasyal kami ni Emman today. Do you want to go with us?” She took the initiative to invite him if only to prove to Emman that she was being friendly with Richard.
Richard turned serious. “Maya, I’m sorry I can’t join you. Actually, I was going to tell you that I will have to go to Chicago this evening. I have a business appointment with some people on historical hotels tomorrow.”
“Ahh ganoon? So, we’ll just see each other in Manila? Kasi ang flight namin ni Emman is tomorrow na rin. Paano ‘yung kina Papa?” Somehow, she felt disappointed that he wasn’t joining them. Additionally, she worried on when they will deliver their news to their parents.
“Yes, sa Manila na lang. Also, per our agreement, we’ll announce our marriage to our family when we are both back there. It means, you’ll have to wait for me. My return flight is on Friday.” Richard’s tone was reassuring.
“So, Maya, it means you have four days to ready yourself.” Emman interjected in their conversation. “Don’t worry, I don’t think you will have problems with your parents. Baka nga matuwa pa ang mga iyon dahil na fast-forward ang kasalan.”
Two weeks later
Richard’s visit to Chicago for a week extended to another week. In short, he returned to Manila almost two weeks after Maya’s return. During the two weeks period, they only communicated twice. The first time he called her up, it was to tell her that his trip would be extended for another week. It was business related that she didn’t dare ask details about. The second call was to `inform her that his secretary named Susan will be calling her to get her decision on the menu for the family lunch they were organizing that coming Sunday. Richard was going to arrive Saturday midnight.
Both calls were short and civil. It was as if they were back to their pre-marriage attitude towards each other.
On the two weeks waiting period, Maya reported at La Esperanza in Alabang as usual. She worked in the administration department and didn’t give any clue even to her family that her status had changed.
As expected, Maya got a call from Susan to ask what food restrictions did her family have. They discussed several dishes and in the end chose the healthy options in consideration of the elders. She found his secretary amiable on the phone.
Sunday noon time, the Lims arrived at Maya’s residence. Both families excitedly greeted each other. It was like a pamanhikan with the Lims bringing food to the bride’s home. However, whenever a family member opened the topic on the details of the wedding, Richard would interject and say, “we’ll talk about the plan later.”
After the main course was over and they were about to have dessert, Richard then prepared to break the news. He approached Maya as a signal that they will announce their marriage to them. Considering the excitement of their family about the forthcoming wedding, they expected they would be ecstatic when they deliver their announcement. They couldn’t be more wrong with their assumption.
“Excuse us, our dear grand parents, parents and sibling.” Richard got the attention of their family members. Richard and Maya stood beside each other at the end of the long table.
“We know you will be surprised but we’d like to make an announcement to all of you. We know you all be happy with this.” Richard’s hand went around Maya’s waist and everyone noticed his moved. They all waited for his next sentence.
“As you all know, Maya went to the States and I also went there. We actually met in L.A..” Everyone on the table shifted their positions in anticipation of his news.
“When we were there, we discussed about this arranged marriage of ours and we have both agreed that we will go ahead with it. In short, the arrangement is acceptable to us. In fact, it was fine with us that we decided to immediately get married. So, we went to Las Vegas over two weeks ago and we are now married.” He finally declared to a shocked audience. If they were excited earlier, conflicting reactions surfaced.
Richard’s brother Joseph was the first to react. “Congratulations, bro. and to you Maya. So, you are now a Lim.” Joseph walked towards the couple. He hugged Richard and then kissed Maya’s cheek.
“Thank you, kuya.” Richard tapped his brother’s shoulder. He has a very good relationship with his brother and has always been supportive of him. However, his interest wasn’t in the hotel business. Joseph’s business is manufacturing of toys.
Maya nudged Richard’s arm as she observed the contorted faces of their mothers. Their fathers looked okay though.
Mamang, although shocked, managed to say. “Okay, lumipat nga muna tayo ng upuan. Doon tayo sa sala mag-usap. Gusto kong maintindihan ang mga pangyayari.”
“Richard, Maya, hindi naman sa galit ako. Alam n’yo naman na talagang gusto naming kayong makasal, pero bakit sa Las Vegas kayo nagpakasal?” It is Lolo Liwen who asked the first question.
“Pops, it was a spur of the moment. We thought that since we already agreed, why not do it there?” He reasoned out.
“Pero, hindi n’yo ba naiisip na kaming pamilya nyo ay bahagi din ng kasalan na ‘yan?” Papa Arturo asked.
“Hindi n’yo man lang iniisip kung kasiyahan namin na ‘makita naming ang kasal n’yo. We were preparing for the wedding, di ba Balae.” Mama Esme turned to Mama Teresita for the needed support and emphasis.
“Tama si Balae. AT saka, nag-iisa ka naming anak, Maya. Ni hindi ka man lang naming naihatid sa altar.” Mama Teresita started to cry.
Richard and Maya didn’t anticipate those reactions from their parents. All along, they were thinking of their internal agreement and how they could escape from their parents’ wishes. And so, seeing them upset over their Vegas wedding, it felt like they committed a big sin.
Maya was more affected seeing their reactions because she was the one who was openly resisting their marriage. She was teary eyed as she apologized.
“Sorry po. We didn’t realize that you’ll be hurt by our decision. We thought you’ll be happy kasi we got married and that was more important.” She explained.
“Maya! You should have at least told us.” Papa Arturo raised his voiced.
Richard hearing his father-in-law raised his voice on Maya came into the rescue. “Papa, ‘wag nyo ng pagalitan si Maya. It was my idea to get married right away and in Vegas. So, kung pwede po sa akin n’yo lahat ibuhos ang sama ng loob n’yo.” Richard defended her. He took her hand and intertwined their fingers.
Liwen Lim who was observing the two secretly smiled. “Teka nga pala. How do we know that you two really got married there?” The question of the Lim patriarch caused everyone to pause and all eyes focused on Richard and Maya.
“Ahh, Pops, we have documentation.” Richard stood up. “Hon, sandali lang at may kukunin ako sa kotse.” He told Maya before excusing himself to the rest of their family members.
“Hmm, Hon pa ang tawag. Parang ang bilis naman nag-iba ang ihip ng hangin sa dalawang ito. Two months ago, ayaw pakasal. Tapos ngayon kasal, ora-orada.” Mamang made a side comment.
“Mang…” Maya gave a pleading look at her grandmother.
Moments later, Richard came back with his computer bag and took out their so-called evidences. He took out the video and a photo album.
“Ricky! You got the video and album natin?” Maya was excited as she took the album’s box.
“Yes. I had it sent to Chicago. Actually, I waited for that to be delivered that’s why I extended 1 day more. Di ba they said 1 week ang processing?” He told her the story. The two were talking as if the others were not there.
“Papa, pwede pa play po ng video?” Richard asked Papa Arturo who seemed to have calmed down after Richard protected Maya from his scolding. He realized that his new son-in-law can be protective of his daughter and it was good enough for him to let go of their minor offense.
Papa Arturo inserted the disk in the DVD player and set-up the play mode for everyone to watch their video. When the wedding opening credits came out of the screen, everyone’s attention was focused on the TV.
The whole video was a 45 minutes, which included both the ceremony and the photo session. Maya occasionally glanced at Richard. He looked contented as if he was really happy watching their wedding video. The first kiss after the minister’s blessing brought out sighs of giddiness to the mothers.
When the photo session part came on, Maya cringed. She saw herself as a blushing bride especially when Richard gave him her necklace. If she didn’t know any better, they looked like they were in love with each other. Instinctively, she touched the necklace that she was wearing that day.
After the video, the photo album started to go around. By that time, the mothers and Mamang were already crying. If they were upset earlier, they were crying in happiness this time. They liked the wedding and were convinced that the two married voluntarily. Their fathers were smiling too.
Then, Robert Lim, asked all of a sudden. “Which reminds me, mga anak, did you get your marriage certificate?”
“Po? It’s not available yet…. Dad.” It was Maya who responded to Richard’s father. She felt a little shy calling him Dad but thought it was appropriate considering Richard had started calling her parents Papa and Mama too.
“Ohh ganoon ba? Pag-dumating na dito sa Pilipinas. Make sure that you get those registered dito sa atin? Okay? That way, your marriage is also recognized here in the Phils.” Dad Robert reminded them.
Richard and Maya looked at each other. They didn’t plan on registering their wedding in the Phils.
Then, Lolo Liwen made a new announcement. “Okay, since kasal na kayo sa Vegas, okay na rin. Pero, sa tingin ko dapat makasal pa rin kayo dito sa Pilipinas. That way, the rest of our relatives and friends will know about our formal tie-up as a family. So ang suggestion ko, ituloy pa rin natin ang plano ng kasal sa simbahan.”
Both the mothers nodded in agreement. “Tama!”