A/N: This is a continuation of Heart’s True Desire – part 21.
Maya’s eyes squinted as she slowly opened her eyes. She was lying on her left side facing the window of her room. It was a Sunday morning and she was at San Nicolas. She went home to her ancestral home alone on Saturday. As expected, Richard didn’t join her since he other plans that weekend. It was good her parents and her grandmother didn’t probe deeper about Richard’s absence. Otherwise, she may have been forced to lie.
She spent her Saturday mostly in the farm where she could get fresh air. She didn’t even go to La Esperanza hotel, as she knew she would end up working. She wanted time to be alone to think about her situation.
She was slowly warming up to Emman’s suggestion. Maybe, he was right, she thought. She would need to fight her battle soonest. She can’t be crying forever. If he likes playing the field, then it will be up to her to tow him line.
She fell asleep that night praying and thinking about him. She knew she dreamt of him again because she was hugging him in bed. When she woke up in the middle of the night, she was alone. She went back to sleep hoping to resume her dream.
With the sunray directly hitting her eyes, Maya turned her back so she could lie on her right side. She just wanted to shift her position but her eyes popped open in surprise. Her heart thumped loudly because beside her on the bed was Richard’s sleeping figure. In fact, his face was just few inches away from her. He was in deep slumber.
Although initially surprised, Maya’s heart began to celebrate. It couldn’t be a dream because when she pinched herself, she felt pain. He was there in San Nicolas. Waking up beside him was like a morning gift to her. She had longed to be close to him and it was a fortunate moment at that time.
Then, Maya saw his eyelids move as he stirred. So, she immediately closed her eyes to pretend she was still asleep. Her heart beat fast while she waited for his next movement.
Then, she felt his lips on her forehead and heard him whisper. “Good morning.”
She felt his weight leave the bed which meant he was really up. She knew he went to the bathroom because she heard him close the door. Maya couldn’t contain her giddiness with his gesture that morning. Regardless of what it meant, her morning was very good, full of promises. Prayers indeed work, she thought. She closed her eyes again to savor the moment.
“Maya, Maya.” She heard his voice. When she opened her eyes, a freshly showered Richard was seating on the side of the bed.
“Ricky, nandito ka?” She asked. She pretended it was the first time she realized he was there.
“Yeah, I arrived last night. I didn’t wake you up anymore. Besides, mahirap kang gisingin pag himbing ka.” He chuckled at the memory of the previous occasion when they slept together in his room.
“I thought you weren’t coming here.” Maya sat up, ready to leave the bed.
“Natapos ko na yung inaasikaso ko. Anyway, let’s go for breakfast. It’s already 9:00 a.m., they might be waiting for us.” He looked at his watched as if to confirm the time.
“O sige. Mauna ka na sa labas. Maliligo lang ako.” She finally stood up and went to her closet to get fresh clothes.
Richard and Maya were having breakfast while her parents and grandmother sat with them at the dining table. They were done with breakfast when the young couple joined them.
“Ehhh, mga anak, kaylan kaya tayo magkakaroon ng maliliit na tsikiting dito sa bahay? Napaka tagal ng walang maingay dito sa bahay. Naka-miss din lalo na pag ako lang ang nasa bahay.” Mamang asked the controversial question. It was the question that their respective parents have been talking about behind their back.
Richard choked on the rice and danggit he was eating while Maya seemed to have missed the question. She was busy putting eggs on Richard’s plate and pouring orange juice on his glass.
Richard coughed several times that Maya had to pat his back while she gave him water to drink.
“Ricky, okay ka lang?” She checked with him since his face was all red.
He nodded as he stopped her hand from massaging his back. “I’m okay, Maya. Thank you.”
Mamang and her parents were all smiling as they observed the two. “Awww, how sweet.”
Mamang further commented. “Ricky, bakit nasamid ka naman. Ang tanong ko lang eh kung kelan ako magkaka-apo sa tuhod. Sigurado ako ang Lolo mo nagtatanong na rin.”
“Okay lang po Mamang. It’s not about your question. May sumabit lang po danggit sa lalamunan ko talaga.” Richard responded. He has fully recovered and glanced at Maya who finally heard the question.
“So ano nga ang sagot? Wala pa ba?” This time it was Mama Teresita who asked the question.
Maya responded without hesitation. “Wala po, Ma. Don’t worry po, pag meron unang-una kayong makaka-alam.” She glanced at Richard who was observing her as she responded. He had a blank expression on his face.
“Naku eh, bilis-bilisan ninyo. Hindi kayo makakarami niyan. Mahirap ang isa lang ang anak, malungkot.” Mama Teresita added.
Richard had picked up on the conversation and did his share. “Bata pa naman po kami.”
“Anong bata? Ikaw Richard ay 30 na at si Maya 26. Ngayon ang magandang time na magka baby, para habang lumalaki ang mga anak n’yo para lang kayong barkada.” Mamang emphasized her point.
Knowing her parents and grandmother, Maya knew that the conversation will drag on. So, she uttered what they wanted to hear. “Sige po, mag-do-double time kami sa pag-gawa ng apo n’yo.”
Richard seemed to think her statement was funny since he chuckled.
Maya glared at him. “What? Bakit parang tawang-tawa ka dyan?” She didn’t mind the olds observing them.
“Parang totoo ah. Convincing!” He chuckled some more. He really couldn’t help but get amused at her facial expression. It looked real in his eyes.
It turned out that Richard and Papa Arturo had a business meeting at La Esperanza that day. As such, the two men spent most of the day at the hotel’s conference room with their some of their managers. It was a Sunday and yet they maximized the presence of Richard that day.
Maya, on the other hand, chose to stay at home in the morning. But after lunch, she went out to visit one of the children’s foundation that she used to support and visit at least once a month. She enjoyed her time there and momentarily forgot Richard.
She returned to their house at around 5:30 p.m., which was the same time that her father and Richard went back home too. Papa Arturo went immediately to the main house while the two walked slowly. It was as if they were waiting for the other to start the conversation.
“So, how was your day?” He asked. They stopped walking as they reached the foot of the stairs leading to the main door of the mansion.
“Okay lang. Nanggaling ako sa hospisyo kanina. Dinalaw ko lang ang mga bata.” She responded with a smile on her face.
He looked at her intently. “So, you like kids?”
She nodded as her eyes brightened. “Yeah, actually. Nakakatuwa sila especially yung mga ages between 2 to 5. Ang sarap na nila kausap.”
“Hmm, so I assume that you’d want to have your own kids in the future?” He smiled but the smile didn’t reach his eyes.
“Yeah. Hopefully.” Then, her eyes became sad. “Ricky…” She was to add something more when her phone rang. When she checked, it was James calling her up.
“James, bakit napatawag ka?” She didn’t expect his call.
“I’m just checking Maya. Arnold confirmed that from Wednesay until the weekend, we’re booked in your hotel. So, tuloy pala ang grupo. Will you be there? You’re in San Nicolas, kasama mo ba si Richard?” James asked his questions.
“James, Yes. Andito si Ricky.” Richard eyebrows arched as he heard his name mentioned. They were still standing in front of each other. Maya thought that the call was somehow business related.
“Anyway, Na-free up yung ilang room so we can accommodate 15 rooms as requested by Arnold. I understand yung flights were also confirmed so I think your group is good to go…. Yeah, I will most likely be there…. Mag-uusap lang muna kami ni Richard.” She and Richard glanced at each other.
“Anyway, if you are going then we can have time together. Baka pwedeng mag-extend ka ng one or two days, I mean no commitment, no pressure.” James requested from the other end.
“Huh?” Maya’s facial expression turned serious. She couldn’t respond to his request with Richard within hearing distance.
“Excuse me Ricky.” She walked away from him. Richard stared at her back as she returned to the lawn area. Not waiting for her to turn around, he entered the house.
“James, I’m sorry. I can’t entertain that proposal. I’m married.” She told him directly. When Maya turned around, she saw Richard’s back as he closed the door. She heaved a sigh of regret.
“But the circumstances that you got married…”James countered but Maya cut him off.
“The circumstance of my getting married is different to my choice of staying married. James, I don’t have to explain pa siguro why the reason kasi nasabi ko na sa’yo.” She a little irritated. She and Richard were doing well in their conversation until she picked up the call of James.
Maya and James spoke for a few more minutes until the call ended with the latter still hoping that Maya would give him an equal chance. He was bent on pursuing her.
Papa Arturo and Richard were in the living room of the 2nd floor of the Dela Rosa mansion having a drink. After dinner, all the women have excused themselves to go to their respective rooms leaving the two men to talk about business, as usual.
At the Dela Rosa mansion, the 2nd floor living room was where they usually congregate as a family. Everyone feels comfortable there including Richard who is the latest member of her family. Around the living room are the bedrooms including Maya’s room.
As the two men drank alcohol, their conversation topic shifted to Richard’s relationship with Maya.
“So, ano bata, parang ang hina natin ah. Wala pa ba talaga?” Arturo asked his son-in-law whose face was already red with all the alcohol they’ve consumed.
“Pa…” Richard shook his head. There was sadness in his response.
“Kaya ko nga kayo pina-uwi dito so I can see for myself what you were telling me. Ehh, mukhang okay naman kayo, ah.” Arturo continued. “Marunong na ngang sumabay sa usapan ang anak ko. Di ba sabi n’ya, you’ll work double time so you can give us grandchildren.”
Richard smiled as he shook his head again. His eyes were red and were tiny slits. “Papa, sa totoo lang, I was amused by her comment but she was just joking. There is no progress in our relationship.” Richard declared as his face turned serious.
“Ano? Ilang buwan na? Akala ko binibiro mo lang ako noong magkwento ka sa akin. So talagang wala?” Arturo couldn’t believe what he was hearing. His daughter was conservative but Richard, as far as he knew, had a way with women and so he wondered what was wrong with them.
“Pa, mahirap ligawan ang anak n’yo. It was like when I took a step forward, the following day, it would result to two steps backward. Hindi ko siya mabasa. I practically asked her directly and I was turned down.” Richard confided to his father in law but choosing not to disclose his agreement with Maya. He was confiding how he was turned down.
“Aba… ang alam ko lang…kaya nag-aalangan ang anak ko sa’yo ay dahil diyan sa mga ex-girlfriends mo. Niligawan mo na pala, wala pa ring effect.” Arturo shook his head.
“Wala, Pa eh.” Richard drank some more.
“Hmm, eto ang payo ko sa’yo ‘no. Dahil parang anak na rin kita at saka gusto ko naman maging maayos kayo, bakit kaya hindi mo daanin sa santong paspasan?”
Richard found the suggestion preposterous especially as it was coming from Maya’s father. “Papa!” Richard’s voice raised in response.
“Uy, wag kang magalit. Hindi ko naman nakakalimutan kung sino sa inyo ang anak ko. Pero kasi sa pagka-alam ko, noong araw ay patay na patay sa’yo yang batang yan. Kaya taking-taka ako at bakit hindi mo mahuli ngayon.” Arturo’s facial expression evidently showed his confusion.
Hearing his father-in-law’s statement, Richard slowly smiled. Somehow the mention that Maya used to be head over heels with him was flattering. He needed a boost to his already bruised ego. He thought that he had tried everything with her even flaunting in front of her his girlfriends but he didn’t get any reaction from her. She had not shown any emotion that she even cared.
Maya was so different with the other women he had dated before. More than conservative, she kept her feelings well hidden. So, when she repeatedly told him that their relationship was purely business, he believed her. He had to because he would go insane if he kept on hoping they have a future. And so, moving on was his final recourse.
The in-laws continued their drinking when Richard heard a thud coming from Maya’s bedroom. While he was outside, subconsciously, his mind was with Maya. His senses were attuned to her and so, he heard her faint voice calling his name.
Richard stood up. “Pa, excuse lang po at parang tumawag si Maya.” He immediately went to their room.
Moments earlier, Maya was in the bedroom waiting for Richard. She wondered what the two men were discussing about. She thought that she’d have a chance to spend time with Richard alone in their bedroom but her father was monopolizing his time. In the end, Maya decided to take a shower and get ready for bed.
She continued mulling over what to do with Richard as she took her shower. It was the first time that they will sleep in the same bed together. In the past occasions when they slept together, she was the one who slept first and she would wake up finding him in bed. She wondered if she could sleep that evening knowing that he will join her.
After a few minutes under the warm bath that calmed her nerves, she was ready to dry herself. As she stepped out of the shower area, she lost her balance as the floor was slippery.
As she was about to fall and with nothing to hold on to break her her fall, she yelped. “Rickyyyyy!!!!” His name came out of her mouth naturally because she was thinking of him.
Seconds later, she found herself on the floor, butt first followed by her upper torso. “Awwww…. Awww…god…” She whimpered in pain. She was wanted to rise up but she couldn’t move.
It was then Maya heard Richard’s voice outside the bedroom. “Maya? Maya?” He knocked.
She suddenly felt panic and attempted to stand up again but she still couldn’t. She whimpered his name. “Ricky…” She wanted to tell him not she was okay but the door suddenly opened.
Richard’s eyes grew big when he found Maya sprawled on the bathroom floor without any clothes on.
“Honey, what happened?” He asked as he immediately went to her side. “Are you okay?” He looked at her full body and noticed her face was very red. Without waiting for her response, he instantly scooped her in his arms.
“Nadulas ako. Hindi ako makatayo.” She replied. Although embarrassed, she can’t do anything about her situation.
She was still dripping with water when he settled her on the bed. He covered her with the comforter that was on top of their bed. She slowly adjusted herself in bed so she could sit upright. She rested her back on the headboard and could feel a slight pain in her behind.
“Maya, could you be a little bit more careful next time?” Richard looked at her intently. “You seem to be getting into little accidents lately. It’s a good thing I’m around. What if…” He was getting upset with scenarios running in his head.
Maya’s eyes started to water as she felt she was being scolded. She wanted to lash back but she couldn’t. How could she tell him that the two recent accidents she had was because her mind has been so preoccupied with the thoughts of him. How could she tell him that she loves him? Her bruised butt and pride made it hard for her to tell him the truth.
When Richard saw Maya’s eyes turned teary, he calmed down. He suddenly felt guilt for almost scolding her.
He sat down on the bed beside her. “Maya, I’m sorry. I was just concerned.” He looked at her directly in her eyes.
She nodded. “Thank you sa concern mo.” It hurt a bit but she managed a weak smile.
As they spoke, they were looking at each other intently. Slowly their expressions changed and their faces started to move forward to each other. Seconds later, their lips touched as their eyes closed at the same time.