A/N: This is a continuation to Heart’s True Desire – part 19.
Maya paced back and forth in their living room arguing with herself whether she would call Richard or not. It has been two nights since he came back from San Nicolas but he has not returned to their condo. She didn’t get enough sleep in last two days.
She saw him in the office but his busy schedule kept her from having a solo time with him. She wanted to ask him where he was sleeping at night. His back-to-back meetings didn’t even allow her to update him about the operations of their boutique hotels. The layer in between them, his father who is her immediate supervisor, added the wall since all her work must pass thru him.
It also bothered her that for the last two days, Stephanie was coming regularly at their hotel. She had seen the two leave together in the afternoon. She had mixed emotions whenever she thought of Richard.
Deep inside, she was jealous. It was her pride that held her from unleashing her anger. At the same time, she was convincing herself that probably there wasn’t anything going between the two. Additionally, she doesn’t have the right to meddle in his affairs, just like what she told him not to meddle in hers.
Then, she heard the clicking sound of their door. Richard has arrived. He was even surprised to find her standing in the middle of the living room.
“Hi! You are still up?” Richard spoke to her as he placed his computer bag on top of table beside the main door. He removed his shoes and placed them in the shoe cabinet.
“Yes….Uhmmm… papasok na sana ako sa room ko ng dumating ka.” She responded. “Ahhh, kumain ka na?” Her spirits slightly went up.
“Yeah, I just had dinner.” He smiled and walked towards the direction of his room.
“Ehhh, Ricky.” She called out his name.
“Yes, Maya?” He turned around and gave her a quizzical look.
“Two days ka kasi di ka umuwi dito sa condo? If you don’t mind, saan ka natulog?” She finally asked. After she asked the question, she realized that she might get ignored or worst, he might get mad at her for snooping in his personal time.
“Hindi sa nakiki-alam ako, ha. It’s just that I was alone here. Nagtataka lang ako.” She added an alibi for asking.
Richard smirked. “I’m sorry hindi kita nasabihan. I thought you wouldn’t be interested. Anyway, I needed to go be alone. I also thought it would be good to give each other the space. I think you are right; I was being presumptuous about us. But you don’t have to worry now, okay na ako. I won’t bother you again.”
Richard response to her question was worst than she anticipated. She realized that he practically told her that he was moving on. It tore her heart to pieces. It dawned on her that despite everything and her doubts, she cared and she wanted him. She realized that she could see herself going to the distance with him. But now, it seemed she had lost him.
She couldn’t respond because of the overwhelming emotions within her. Additionally, her pride kept her mum but she wanted to cry.
“Alright, Maya. I’m going in my room. By the way, tomorrow, we’ll have a meeting with the marketing team. They’ll present the plans for La Esperanza. I think their proposal is great and I believe you’d be excited to hear how LE can get back to its feet.” He sounded excited as he informed her of the meeting.
Maya’s heart sank further. When La Esperanza is back on its feet, she knew their marriage contract would need to end.
Richard, Maya, the group VP for marketing of Lim Hotel &Resorts, the marketing managers of La Esperanza and LHR, 2 other operations officers were all gathered in the conference room the following day. They have just ended the meeting pertaining to the revival of La Esperanza hotel.
They will start a marketing campaign to position it as a heritage hotel, a hotel that survived through the years and tied with the history of San Nicolas. With that plan, they will need to tie up with the tourism department, local travel agents which also had international connection. The work and projected revenue got everyone excited except for Maya. While there was a permanent smile plastered on her face, the smile didn’t reach her eyes. She was distracted.
She kept on glancing at Richard and Stephanie. Stephanie was also in the meeting together with her team of two staff. It turned out that she was the consultant that worked with LHR’s marketing team. She felt more jealous realizing that Stephanie wasn’t just a body but also had brains and capabilities of her own. She knew more about the hospitality business than her.
As everyone started to leave the conference room, she saw how Stephanie tried to get close to Richard, which the latter seemed to have gently avoided.
“Richard, I’m going. Are you sure you wouldn’t want to go and have a drinks with me?” Stephanie used her flirty tone.
“No, Steph. It’s still too early for that. I still have meetings to attend to.” He declined her offer.
“Okay. But in case you change your mind, you know where to find me.” She patted Richard’s face. Then, she turned to Maya whom she noticed was watching them. “Ahh, Ms. Dela Rosa, thank you for the support in our proposal. I didn’t realize you are the granddaughter of the La Esperanza family until today. Anyway, I better get going.”
When Stephanie exited, Richard and Maya were left in the conference room.
“So, are you excited with the plans?” Richard asked her with a smile on his face.
“Ahh, Oo naman Ricky.” She responded while she tried to smile. She was about to say more when his phone rang.
Ricky took the call. “Hi, sugar….what? Uhmmm, alright if you are in the vicinity… sure, of course I’d want you to come over.” Then, Richard just signaled to her that he was going ahead leaving her alone in the conference room. There was a big smile on his face.
As Maya unintentionally listened to his phone conversation, her heart began to thud loudly again. Creases started to come out of her forehead as she tried to decipher whether she heard him right. He referred to the caller as Sugar. Was there anyone other than Stephanie? Was it the same sugar that disrupted their wedding night in what seemed to be like ages ago?
Maya got the answer to her question when she was at the main lobby of the hotel fifteen minutes later. She was checking on something at the front desk section when a beautiful woman arrived at their lobby. The woman went straight to the information counter and asked.
“Hi, good morning. I’m here to see Richard Lim. Could you please tell me where his office is? He is expecting me.” The tone of her voice indicated she was well mannered. Maya can’t help but get curious with the woman.
“Ma’m may I know your name please? I’ll inform Mr. Lim’s secretary so she could assist you.” The front desk responded. Maya thought their staff handled her well considering they shouldn’t just allow anyone to come to their offices without properly checking.
But out of nowhere, Richard appeared. “That won’t be necessary, Glenn.” He said to the hotel staff.
The woman turned and saw Richard’s smiling face. “Ricky… babe. You came down.” She wrapped her arms around his neck as she kissed him on the lips. It was light kiss that Richard received.
“Of course I did. I waited for you. What took you long?” Richard draped an arm around her waist. He was about to guide his visitor towards his office when he noticed Maya at the front desk counter. Their eyes met and locked.
Maya upon being caught observing the two suddenly dropped the key she was holding. As she was in frantic mode trying to hide her emotion, she immediately bent down to pick-up her key. Unfortunately, the speed of her motion and miscalculation caused her to bump her forehead on the corner counter just below the main counter. The impact resulted to her fall where she literally saw the world around her spin.
“Ma’m Maya!!” Those were the last words she heard before the lights went out.
Maya felt someone touched her cheek. Slowly, she opened her eyes to find James seating beside her bed. She looked around and realized she was in a hospital bed. She gave him a half smile.
“Hi” James touched her hand. “How are you feeling?”
“Hmm, okay lang.” She was to lift her left hand but James held on to it. She noticed that James’s eyes widened as he looked at her ring finger. She was wearing her wedding ring that day. She hasn’t removed her ring for the past few days.
“What happened? Bakit ako nandito?” She asked.
“Well, you hit your head in the counter and passed out. Nasa emergency section tayo.” James responded.
“Ahh, Oo nga pala. Naalala ko na.” She smiled as she released her left hand from his hold. She touched her forehead.
Then, the curtain at the entrance door opened and Richard went in.
“Hi sleepyhead, so you are awake.” Richard went towards her and touched her forehead too.
“Yes. Pasensya na ha kung naabala ko ang schedules n’yo. Pareho pa kayong nandito ngayon.” She responded apologetically.
“It’s nothing. And next time, be careful.” He touched her hair before turning to James. “So, bro. thanks for coming over. Mukhang okay na ang patient.” He told him.
James responded with a chuckle. “Oh yeah. I just got worried about her.” As James looked at her and Richard’s hand on her hair, he noticed that their rings were identical.
His expression changed to a look of confusion. Immediately, he suspected that something was going on between the two. However, their behavior towards each other was contrary to his suspicion.
“You have identical rings. Is that coincidental?” He asked with wonder in his eyes. He tried to allay his fear.
Maya’s face turned pale while Richard’s expression turned serious. Richard realized that the ring was something that he has to take off if he really was moving on. He couldn’t respond immediately.
O, parang natuka kayo ng ahas?” James tried to lighten up the mood.
It was then Richard responded. “Oh, this ring? Well, I think Maya can better explain this to you. Mas maganda if the whole story comes from her. But one thing bro that I can assure you, I respect her.” With James query, he thought that it would be better to have Maya explain their situation than him.
Maya looked at Richard. She appreciated his expression of respect for her. “Thank you Richard. James, I’ll tell you the story later, pwede?”
“Alright. I guess I better check with the doctor what’s your condition.” James stood up.
Richard stopped him from leaving. “James naka-usap ko na ang doctor. It was just a bump, bukol lang in short. Medyo nabigla lang kaya nag-collapse si Maya. Also, it seemed she lacked sleep so she was just actually sleeping in the last 3 hours. So, wag ka ng mag-worry.” He turned to Maya and gave her a smile of reassurance.
Maya blushed when Richard smiled at her. She couldn’t help feeling giddy and yet embarrassment crept into her too. She lost sleep because she waited for him on the nights he didn’t go home.
“By the way, you just need your clearance from the doctor. I’ve settled the bill. So, mauuna na ako.” He added as he bid them goodbye.
“Bro, you didn’t have to. I could settle the hospital bill.” James volunteered as if he had the right to take care her bills.
Richard smirked. “No, James. Maya is my responsibility.” Then, he left the two of them.
“It’s okay James. Tama siya. I was in our hotel premises when the incident happened. We can always claim sa medical insurance naman.” She told James.
Later when the nurse came with the release clearance, Maya smiled from ear to ear. It wasn’t because she was being released from the hospital but because of what was written in her medical record.
Middle Name: Dela Rosa
Civil Status: Married
Aside from her marriage contract, this was the second document that reflected her relationship with Richard. She secretly hoped they could make it real.