“Out in the Open”
Maya proceeded directly to her office while Richard went to his own office when they reached the 5th floor of the hotel. All the executive offices were located on that level.
Maya’s thoughts were still with the two women who congratulated them. She wanted to check with Richard but didn’t get the chance to. He was already on the phone the moment they got out of the elevator. Before they went separate directions, he just managed to put on hold his call to say goodbye to Maya.
“I’ll see you later, honey.” He gave a quick smack on the lips and left her.
She wondered why her husband was so openly sweet to her that morning and she discovered the answer when she opened entered her office.
A large flower arrangement of red roses was waiting for her at the top of her table. There was a card that had her full name in it. It indicated Maya Dela Rosa Lim written quite visibly. And in a smaller sized script, there was Richard’s name. When she opened the card, there was a message from him. “You take my breath away. I love you.”
Maya’s blushed at the gesture of Richard. Her heart was jumping with joy seeing the flowers and the message from him. She completely forgot what she was mulling over a while ago. She just wanted to go see him instantly and give him a kiss. She was about to leave her room when her assistant came in with some papers. Mica was smiling looking very excited.
“Ms. Maya… congratulations!!! Kayo pala ni sir Richard. Oh my gee, all along akala namin you were dating different people. Yun pala kayo. Kaya pala si Sir nag-panic when you collapsed sa lobby.” Mica was evidently giddy over the turn of events.
Maya smiled at her secretary. “Thank you Mica.” Then, she remembered that people seem to know about them. “By the way, marami bang nakaka-alam?”
Mica nodded. “Yes, ma’m. It’s the latest news.”
She gave her assistant a quizzical look. “Really, when?”
“Well, this morning po nang dumating ang flowers, nagkagulo kasi nga po yung name mo may naka lagay na Lim. The flower shop confirmed that it was for you. Then, someone from HR confirmed that tama ang last name mo.” Mica explained.
“Huh? But I never…”Maya didn’t finish her statement as it all dawned on her.
Richard might have changed her record in their HR department. With that realization, she decided that she must see him.
Richard was typing in his computer when Maya came into the room. When he noticed her walking towards him, he stopped working and moved his chair away from his table. He looked at her intently trying to read her expression.
A serious looking Maya stood in front of him seconds later; there were creases on her forehead and had pouty look. He pulled her towards him such that she ended up sitting on his lap.
“I guess you got the flowers Mrs. Lim.” There was a wide grin on his face. He wrapped his arms around her. “Are you upset or what?”
Maya started to smile. “No, I am not upset my dear husband. Kaya lang, when did you change my hotel records?”
“What? Change your record? I didn’t.” He let out a soft laugh. “All I did was send you flowers. Is it a sin to send flowers to my wife.”
“Hmmm, you sent me flowers but it had my full name in it. Do you know that many of our hotel staff now know that I am married to you? So, wag ka ng palusot, you changed my status sa HR ano?” She asked him. She placed her two arms around his neck.
Richard just laughed. “Well, since pinag-iisipan mo pa kung paano i-announce sa buong mundo about our relationship, I decided to help you. Besides, I want everyone to know about us, that way wala ng aaligid-aligid sa’yo.”
“Mr. Lim, anong pinagsasabi mga aaligid-aligid sa akin. Wala naman ah. Anyway. I’m going back to my office.” She tried to stand up but Richard held her in place.
“Not so fast, Mrs. Lim. Paki-kiss muna bago ka bumalik sa office mo. Wala bang thank you kiss?” Richard puckered his lips that Maya started to laugh. She gave him a light kiss.
“O ayan na. Thank you pala. I’m going back to my office.” She was finally released.
When she was at the door, Richard told her. “Hon, I didn’t change your record. But I updated mine. Since we have group insurance and hospitalization plan, I updated my dependent list.”
Maya was surprised by the information she shared. She retraced her steps and came to him. “Hon, thank you. I didn’t realize that. Pero…hmmm, if I know talagang nagpa simple ka lang gusto mo lang talagang i-broadcast na we’re married.” She ruffled his hair.
He caught her hand and kissed it. “He,he,he, parang ganoon na nga. At least one shot deal lang, I love you.”
With love overflowing between them, Maya suddenly sat on his lap again and kissed him on the lips thoroughly that they almost fell on the floor. “Love you too.”
Maya was out with James that afternoon when her phone vibrated. There was an incoming message from Richard.
“What time should we be getting home?”
She took a deep breath. As she read the message, it was as if he was reminding her about his existence. She responded. “Will be back at the office before 5 p.m.”
After sending her message, Maya turned her attention to James who sitting on the opposite side of the table. They were in a restaurant for lunch but the lunch has extended to mid-afternoon. She chose to meet him outside their hotel to avoid potential talks about her if they see her with James.
“James, I think I should go back to the hotel. Naghihintay na sa akin si Ricky, eh.” She informed James.
There was sadness in James’s eyes. “Maya, are you really sure about Richard? Weren’t you over him years ago. The two of us are better suited.”
‘James, mag-uumpisa na naman ba tayo? Di ba na explain ko na sa’yo several times? Mahal ko si Richard. I want to stay married with him. The reason why I accepted this lunch invitation is because I want us to remain friends.” She explained to him.
“Yeah, Maya. I appreciate that you want us to stay friends. It’s just that, I thought once I am free from my marriage, from Arlene, pwede na tayo. We’ve always gotten along very well. We are a natural couple.” James justified where he was coming from.
“Dahil nga magkaibigan tayo, kaya magkasundo tayo. Magkaibang-kaiba yung feelings ko for you and Richard. With Richard, lahat ng klase ng emotion naramdaman ko and I love every moment of it. Kahit there were times I was hurt, but in the end, I feel so alive with him.” Maya’s eyes showed how much she loves her husband. Then she added. “James, I hope maka-hanap ka rin ng para sa’yo.”
“I don’t know Maya. Matagal na kasi kitang mahal but when I finally admitted it and decided to do something about it, I am already late.” James shook his head and there was defeat in his tone of voice.
“James, I can only offer friendship with you. This is the last time na e-entertain ko itong ganitong usapan. Otherwise, it will be awkward if we continue having this discussion. May asawa na ako and ikaw din.”
“Maya, I’ll always be here for you. Please remember it.” He professed to her.
“James, I think I won’t be seeing you for a while. It would be better that way para makapag-isip kang mabuti and also settle your issues with Arlene.” Those were the last statements from Maya before she finally left him. She realized she had to make that instant decision if only to make it easier to disengage from his advances.
Richard was quiet on their way back home. Maya occasionally glanced at him and wondered what was keeping him silent. In the end, she asked.
“Hon, you’re quiet. May problem?” She touched his forearm to catch his attention.
He glanced at her and shook his head. “Wala naman. Anyway, how was your lunch with James?” His eyes were on the road. He asked the question that he has been dying to ask since her return to the hotel earlier.
“Hmm, okay naman. We ate at the Chinese restaurant sa may 29th street. Okay pala doon. We should eat there one of these days.” She shared with him.
Richard glanced at her with an arched eyebrow. “Ang tagal ng lunch n’yo. The restaurant must be really good.”
She caught something in his eyes and recognized that there was jealousy there. “Ayyy, Ricky, nag-seselos ka?”
“Nag-seselos? Do I have a reason to? I trust you.” He responded. Those statements were actually contradicting in his mind.
Maya was quick to respond. “Wala po. At again, I told him how much I love you.”
Richard started to smile although he didn’t look at her. He looked at the side mirror as if checking the traffic but in reality, he just wanted to hide his smile. However, Maya know his face even the contour of it so she knew he was trying to hide his expression.
“Ohh, naka-smile na po ang husband ko. So, I think I was right to assume na nagseselos ka.” She suddenly hugged him.
It was good that Richard had a good grip on the steering wheel and their speed was slow because of the traffic that afternoon. Her sudden embrace surprised him.
“Maya, get hold of yourself. Mamaya, madisgrasya tayo.” He scolded her but he was already smiling.
“Sorry po. Na-aaliw lang po sa’yo.” She rubbed his face.
He took her hand and intertwined it with his right hand. So, he used only one hand to steer the wheel until they reached their home.
“Honey, have you completed packing our things for the Boracay trip this Wednesday?” Richard asked while they were having dinner together.
“Yeah, I am almost done. I’m excited to go. It’s been a while since I’ve been on the beach. Magagamit ko na rin saw akas yung mga swimming attire na nabili ko sa L.A. few months ago.” She sounded so excited.
“Hmmm, I hope they’re not too revealing.” Richard jested.
“Well, yung definition ng revealing is relative.” She quipped back. She sensed that her husband is somewhat conservative in that aspect. It was contrary to his playboy image.
“Now that you said that, I want to see those sets that you got. Baka we need to get you a more decent ones.” He alarmed her by that comment.
“Ricky, excuse me. My swim suits are modest.” She countered.
“Well, I’ll be the judge of it.” He arched his eyebrow. At that point, Maya didn’t want to argue anymore. She found it too trivial and she knew that whatever his view of her attire, she could get away with it later.
Then, his telephone rang. As Richard checked his phone to see who was calling, Maya caught the change in his facial expression. He placed down the phone on the side table after putting it on mute. He didn’t want to pick up the call.
“Hon, sino yung tumawag? Why didn’t you pick-up the call?” Maya got curious so she asked.
“Ahhmm, we are still having dinner. I’ll return the call later.” He responded as he started to eat the ice cream she scooped for him.
“Baka importante eh.” She pointed at the phone with her lips. She noticed the phone was still vibrating on the side table.
“I will return the call later. Come on let’s finish the ice cream, baka matunaw.” He turned their attention to their dessert. He didn’t seem to be disturbed by the phone call.
After dinner, Maya cleaned up their dining table as Richard helped her put all their used plates and glasses in the dishwasher. She eventually told him to just leave her in the kitchen since she can handle everything by herself. He did follow her request.
A few minutes later, she finished her task and returned to their living room. It was then she overhead him talking on the phone.
“I’m sorry…I’ve been busy these days.” His back was turned against the dining area so Richard didn’t see Maya was already in the living room.
His hand was akimbo while he was looking at the window as he spoke on the phone. “I know…Yes….we have to talk about it…in person… I’ll see you at your place tomorrow.”
Hearing Richard utter those words, Maya slowly retraced her steps back to the dining area, out of hearing distance. She guessed whom he was talking to on the phone. Although he had repeatedly told her he loved her, she felt threatened that the two were going to meet the following day.
She felt uneasy especially after hearing his last sentence. “Sugar… you better take food… you can’t starve yourself. Okay?” He sounded concerned about Sugar and something inside Maya ached from jealousy.