Admin Note: *Contributed Story* Please give credit and thanks to AttyMayiVR. This is a continuation to Please Be My Legal Wife – part 11.
A/N: Finally! after 100 years! Sorry for the long delay. Poor health condition and loss of a loved one crippled my imaginative mind. But it’s inevitable and life must go on, and so are my stories. Sana hindi kayo nagsawa sa kaka antay.
This is the best that I could do for now. Your comments should be able to guide me back to my writing path. 🙂
I would love to read feed backs from you. It’s been a while. I really missed all of you.
Forever grateful to EBU admin 🙂
PREVIOUSLY on Please Be My Legal Wife – Part 11
Joma: Galing talaga humirit ni Sabel, panira ka ng moment eh.
Everybody’s attention shifted to Joma when he spoke. It was at the same time that Richard entered the mansion. As if on cue, the electric power was restored.
Doris/Sabel: Sir Richard!
Manang Fe/Maya: Ricardo!/Sir Chief!
Caught by surprise with Richard’s arrival, Luke, Nikki and Maya, together with Manang Fe and the rest of the Lim household, called out almost simultaneously with fear and anxiety written all over their faces. Feeling responsible for the whole scenario, Maya courageously tests the water.
Maya: S-sir Chief! P-para pala po kayong MERALCO noh?… dala ninyo ang liwanag ng buhay! he he…. he he…he. Maya made a forced giggle.
But Richard did not respond, so nobody dared to say or do more. They just stood still, waited, and looked at Richard. And by that simple look, they knew that he heard the song and felt every word of it. Hurt and sadness can be seen in Richard’s eyes as he stayed by the main door, staring at all of them, with pain and guilt throbbing in his heart.
Maya felt for Richard. Her heart went out to him, but instead of taking any action herself, she looked at Nikki and Luke, who, after catching Maya’s eye contact, instantaneously rushed to their father and hugged him.
Luke: Glad you’re home safe Dad!
Nikki: We were all so worried. We’ve been waiting for you.
Richard welcomed the hugs and bowed his head to look at his children, then eyed Maya, with controlled breathing and moist eyes.
Maya: Ah…naku, late na….almost 9:00 na pala. Ah..eh… Nikki, kailangan nyo na matulog. Luke, paki karga na lang si Abby, sarap na kasi ng tulog oh.
Manang Fe: Ricardo, ipaghahain kita ng pagkain.
Richard: Huwag na po Manang.
Richard looked at his former nanny in the eyes then stole quick glances at Maya from his peripheral view, causing his eyes to look like thin lines.
Maya: Ah…Doris…. mag liligpit pa ata kayo sa kusina eh. Ang gas iche-check nyo pa dba. A-ako na bahala kay Abby, sundan ko na si Luke. Excuse po.
Doris: S-sige po Ma’am Maya. Halika ka na Sabel! D-dun na po kami, sige po, Sir, Manang Fe.
Quickly, Richard turned his back against them and went straight to his home office, opened his laptop and slumped onto his seat.
Richard actually didn’t know what to do. He didn’t know how to handle the situation and he definitely didn’t want anybody to see his vulnerability. He needed to control his emotions but the pain in his heart is just too heavy. After Alex died, all that he wanted to do is to make sure that he’ll be able to provide for his children’s needs and be a good father to them. After what he just witnessed, he couldn’t believe and accept that he possibly failed in that endeavor. Frustrated, Richard is now upset and angry at himself. He was busy processing everything in his mind and heart, when he was disturbed by a knock on the door, intensifying his infuriated state. He looked up and saw Maya holding a cup in her hand.
Startled with how Richard reacted, Maya began walking towards him, unsure of what to say.
Maya: Uhm…S-sir Chief…
Richard: I don’t want company. Leave me alone.
Maya: Ah…I just brought you coff –
Richard: I don’t want your coffee. Just go and stay away from me.
Maya: …O-okay po Sir Chief…
Hurt, Maya bit her lip, turned her back and rushed outside with tears in her eyes.
Richard watched Maya go and stared at a blank space after she was gone. Suddenly, he remembers his conversation with Maya during one of their recent veranda moments.
Maya: Sir Chief, are you really that workaholic?
Maya: You are practically living with work.
Richard:That is not true. I come home every day.
Maya: Oo nga po, you come home every day but you are not really here.
Richard:What do you mean?
Maya: Sir Chief, umuuwi ka nga pero what time? Kadalasan, tapos ng magdinner. Worst, tulog na po mga bata. Sa umaga, you don’t eat breakfast with them kasi ang aga mo umaalis, or if not, nasa home office ka naman facing your laptop. Mabuti pa ang laptop nyo, lagi mong kasama at kaharap.
Richard:There’s a lot of work to do. I need to do that so I can secure the future of my children.
Maya: How secure is secure to you? Hindi pa ba secure at sobrang dami pang work, kelangan 24/7? Sir Chief, I used to work in court, dun, kulang talaga ang office hours. In fact, I bring home office work too. Si Papa ganun din, he brings work at home.
Maya: Sir Chief, si Papa he makes sure he’s home for dinner kasi bonding time yun. And when he’s home, he spends time with us, kung sino na ang nasa bahay. He also stays in the study pero, watching TV lang sha kaya anytime may dumating among us, feel free kami to join him. He goes back to work dun sa study after dinner AND pag patulog na kami.
Ikaw, wala ka ng dinadatnan pag uwi. Tulog na mga bata. O kaya naman, pag maaga aga ang uwi mo, nandun ka naman sa home office mo, naka kulong.
Richard:But they’re also free to go to me in my office.
Maya: Free? Eh takot nga po mga anak nyo lumapit sa iyo, ang grouchy nyo kasi. Ang sungit, dinaig nyo pa ang babaeng may period! Minsan ka na nga lang nasa bahay, ang sungit pa, o di kaya naman, ang init ng ulo nyo.
Richard: They don’t talk to me.
Maya: Anong hindi? They do! Pero you scare them away. Dahil sa wall mo, you don’t communicate, walang connection. You make your kids jumpy. Laging takot na baka they’ll say or do something that will upset or irritate you. You are the parent, ikaw ang ama. You should reach out to them. Pero sila po yung effort na effort to reach out to you pero lagi kayong outside the coverage area.
Maya: Ang hirap nyong ma-reach!
Sir Chief, I’m sorry to say this, pero si Ma’am Alex lang ang nawala, hindi ikaw. You are still here, so be REALLY here for your kids. Break down that wall and reach out to them. Make wonderful memories with them. Lalo na si Abby, anu na lang ang childhood memories nya? Kawawa naman.
Sir Chief, money is not the best thing to spend on your children…it’s time. If you want to be IN your children’s memories tomorrow, you have to be IN their lives today. They need you to be there for them. You’re the only one they’ve got.
Richard snaps out of his recollection upon hearing the sound of his mobile phone. It was Ryan calling.
Richard: Yes brod.
Ryan: Brod, kinulit ako ni Liza, kailangan mo daw tonight yung mga memorandum of agreement, so I already emailed to you the MOAs for your review and approval.
Richard: Okay, thank you brod. I’ll work on them right away.
Ryan: Eh naman kasi brod. What is the rush anyway? You are stressing not only yourself, pati mga tao mo. Lalo na si Liza. Kahit ma finalize pa natin yang mga MOA tonight, they will not be signed tonight. So it would not make any difference kung pinagpabukas mo na lang.
Richard: Sayang oras.
Ryan: Yan, yan tama ka dyan. Sayang ang oras. Sana spend it on your children na lang. Time flies so fast brod. Baka hindi mo pa na realize, graduating na uli mga panganay natin. Ako nga hirap humabol sa mga bata, dalawa na kami ni wifey. You’re a single parent and you work too much, hanggang bahay.
Richard: Next year, may college na tayo…
Ryan: Yes! may college na tayo. Before we know it, they’ll get married and have a life of their own. Teka, maiba tayo, how’s Maya doing?
Richard: She’s fine. Her classes will start next week. That, I also need to talk to you about.
Ryan: What about it?
Richard: Next time na brod. Gabi na, go spend some quality time with Ivy!
Ryan: Hahaha! Okay just update me sa MOA…and Maya as well.
Richard: Okay brod, thanks again.
Ryan’s call magnified everything. The realization that Luke will soon be in college hurt Richard even more because it means, he was not there for Luke during the most exciting years of his teen age life, a time when there should have been lots of father-son bonding moments. Now Luke is almost over his high school years and Richard does not even know if Luke ever went to the prom last year.
Maya is right. What his kids need is more than tangible. Yes, he provided them with things for comfortable life, but he’s not there to comfort them when needed. He bought them a house but has deprived them of a home. While he has already secured their future with his numerous assets and bankable business, he failed to secure them with his love. His children yearn for his presence…more than physical presence, which he could not even provide.
What is worse, despite his shortcomings, his children and even the Lim household, manage to understand him and be by his side always. His children never failed to try to reach out to him, but he just shuns them away…..and now…it was Maya.
All of a sudden, the four corners of his home office looked smaller and seemed to be closing on him. He felt suffocated as the room reminded him of the long hours spent there, away from his children. Then, the sound of Nikki’s voice singing earlier kept on playing in his mind. Richard took a deep breath then decided to go out to control himself. He needed to get some fresh air to calm himself down, especially that his emotions are about to surge and tears close on falling.
Richard stood up and hastily walked towards the veranda. There, he saw Maya who was looking at the skyline in her silky pajamas, still bothered with what happened. Maya was about to leave the veranda. She decided to go to her room to just sleep things over. In the meantime, Richard slowed down a bit but proceeded walking until he was out in the veranda.
Just then the wind blew. Maya paused and inhaled the fresh air with closed eyes, while Richard gets consumed by her scent. With his feet glued on the floor, he stares at her back, seeing a little of her right side. At that very moment, Maya turned around and saw Richard intensely staring at her. Without looking away, Maya starts walking towards the sliding door and silently nods at Richard, as if excusing herself.
Boom! Richard lost it. It was the sight of Maya’s sad face and puffy eyes that made him succumb to his emotions. He was hurt even more and couldn’t just ignore it anymore. Using his right arm, Richard blocked Maya’s way and held her by the waist.
Richard: S-stay…please stay…
Taken by surprise, Maya stiffened and looked at Richard. He pulled her towards him and embraced her. Maya was again taken aback by what he just did but was able to regain her senses right away. In that situation however, she didn’t know what to say or do.
Maya:Sir Chief…uhm…what’s wrong?…ah…o-okay ka lang ba?
Richard did not answer. Instead, he tightened his hug, as if not wanting to let go. Maya then felt his body tremble, followed by sporadic breathing.
Without a second thought, Maya put her arms around Richard and hugged him back, and at once, she heard soft sobs from him. Thinking that he was holding back because of who he is, Maya thought it would be best to refer to him by his name to encourage him to open up.
Maya: Uhm…R-richard…okay lang yan, let it go…let it all out …don’t worry honey, there’s no one around, ako lang ‘to.
It worked. Richard crushed inside upon hearing the soothing voice and re-assuring words of Maya. Without any trace of hesitation, he cried like a little boy and poured his heart out. Maya smiled as she sensed that finally, Richard’s Great Wall of China is being torn down into pieces.
Maya felt Richard’s left hand move to rest on her nape. Later, in between sobs, she felt Richard kissing her on the head, almost near her ear. Maya did not say anything and just let him. To comfort Richard, Maya started caressing his back by moving her left hand up and down his spine while tapping his left shoulder blade with her right hand.
After a couple of minutes, Maya felt Richard calmed down. She disengaged from his embrace and looked at him. Richard’s face is wet with tears, so she immediately rubbed both of her thumbs against Richard’s cheeks to wipe them away.
Maya: Okay ka na ba?
Richard didn’t say a word but nodded his head, looking at her with tears still flowing from his eyes. Realizing that she was still in Richard’s embrace, Maya suddenly felt awkward and conscious of their physical closeness. She wanted to break the moment discreetly, fearing that Richard might feel offended. So, without stopping from wiping Richard’s tears, Maya began singing a 70’s song (You Needed Me) in her own words.
Maya: ♪ You cried the tears, I wiped them dry….♫ you were confused, you lost your mind…you poured your soul…didn’t lose your dignity…♪♪ it held you up… ♪♪ you have my sympathy…♫ somehow you needed me…
Richard gives out a smile. He released Maya partially as he moved his left hand to cover her right hand that was still on his face. Holding on to Maya’s hand, he rubbed her palm against his left cheek a few times before he moved it to his lips to kiss it. Maya looked at Richard with raised eyebrows as she shivered from the touch of his lips on her palm. Richard held on to her hand and clutched it to his chest while his right arm wrapped her, pulling her closer to his body. Richard continuously looked into Maya’s eyes, and started to talk.
Richard: Yes,I needed you and you’re here. Sometimes all you really need is just a good hug from the right person and all your uncertainties will melt away. Thank you, Maya. I feel a lot better now.
Inside her, Maya was also melting…. “melting away… kaya pala… I feel like my knees are melting…”
Maya: Ah…so o-okay ka na pala. Maya quickly snaps off.
Richard: For now, yes.
With that declaration from Richard, Maya wondered why he was still holding her. She felt uneasy as she sensed that something was different. Everything felt different. Maya became apprehensive that their emotional intimacy might peak at something physical, and now that she is aware of their faces only inches away, she fears that Richard might get carried away with the moment. This realization caused her to panic inside. With a little push, Maya swiftly pulled away from him and walked towards the kitchen.
TO BE CONTINUED………..