Catherine was still in bed when her phone rang.
“Hello. Sino no?”
“Cath! Si Gie! Nakausap ko yan si Richard kanina. So ano kiss and make-up na ba? Baitaan mo ako girl. Asan kayo ngayon?”
“Ha?! Wala naman si Richard dito. Bakit pupunta raw ba?”
“Ay akala ko nandyan kasi nagmamadli yun umalis after ko naikwento yun sa LAS party. Baka naghahanda yun. Ikaw asan ka ba?”
“You woke me up. Nasa condo lang ako.”
“Naku girl you better prepare. Ayaw mo namang abutan ng ganyan ni Richard. Oh well. pwede rin naman pala para…” then she giggled.
“Oo nga, mas okay yun ganito para deretso na di ba?” then she Catherine giggled as well.
For the past days, Maya busied herself with work. She needs to keep her mind off Richard.
After her visit to his office, she had been expecting him to text her, call her or even visit her but he didn’t do any of those.
“Maya kain na muna tayo. Di ka na naman nagbreakfast sa bahay.” Edz was calling Maya who was busy cleaning the tables.
They have fewer customers today as it was holiday and there were no employees from the nearby offices.
“Sige na Edz, di naman ako nagugutom.” she was still busy wiping the table that she didn’t see Edz’ reaction to the person who just entered the restaurant.
“So you’re not eating regularly again.” Richard’s voice made Maya stop what she’s doing and stand frozen to where she was.
Her heart was beating fast, she was suddenly relieved that after days of not visiting or even calling, Richard was here. Maya was excited, her hands were cold and only her pride kept her from turning and giving Richard the hug she’s been longing to give.
“Uy Maya ayan na yun hinahanap mo ng mga nakaraang araw.” Lino who entered with the tray of glasses had that teasing look on his face.
Maya glared at him.
“Good morning Maya. Di ka man lang ba haharap sakin? Here I have flowers for you.” Richard after seeing Edz and Lino’s face totally got the whole picture and he was beyond happy to learn that Maya had missed him too.
“Ah eh. Good morning Richard. Napadalaw ka. Teka tapusin ko muna to. Salamat sa flowers. Mamaya ko na kunin.” She was still avoiding his gaze.
James who was seated at the counter was just observing them and was amused by everything he saw. He then joined in…
“Sige na Maya, I’m giving you your day off today. Alam ko namang namiss mong masyado si Mr. Lim. Aba eh namiss namin yun mga ngiti mo at masayahin mong mukha ng mga nakaraang araw so sige sumama ka na sa kanya para naman pagbalik mo yun masayahing Maya ka na ulit.”
“At para hindi ka na iyak ng iyak gabi-gabi.” teased Lino more.
Maya’s eyes grew wide. She was blushing already from all the teasing she got from Lino and now even her boss, James even joined in the teasing as well.
She just helplessly stared at Edz who was also grinning.
“Your boss already allowed you to go, tara na Maya. Get your things. May pupuntahan tayo.” It was Richard who downplayed the whole teasing now for he was very much aware that Maya is already uncomfortable. He was amused but he didn’t want it at her expense.
“Ah eh sige. Kunin ko muna sa loob yun gamit ko.” She hurriedly left without even staring at him and Richard was left still holding the flowers.
Richard just smiled and shook his head. If during the past days, he thought that Maya didn’t even care and that he wasn’t even important to her. Today confirmed that he was wrong. Maya was also obviously affected by his absence. It made him very happy.
The two friends spent the day having lunch and he even brought Maya to the hangar in Clark where he just checked the engineers for a few minutes and spent the rest of the day visiting places with Maya.
“Ang ganda pala dito Richard.” He brought Maya to Nayong Pilipino and some of the parks at Clark. They enjoyed strolling while catching up on the days they haven’t seen each other.
“I was really sad ng hindi kita nakita for the past days, weeks na nga pala. I can’t even concentrate sa work.” He said as they were on their ride back to Manila.
“Huh? Mukhang di naman eh.”
“I was and I’m also unable to eat properly. Sabi nga ni Mama nangayayat daw ako.”
“So kasalanan ko pa kung bakit nangayayat ka at hindi kumain ng maayos?” Due to her guilt, naluluha na siya. Richard was quick to notice.
“No! Hindi! Kasalanan ko. It’s my fault kasi pinatagal ko pa to. It’s my fault kasi tiniis kita when all I wanted was to see you everyday.
“Eh sorry din. Di ko naman talaga alam na yun Jeff na yun pala yung ano… basta!”
“Yes Jeff Macavinta was a friend and business colleague pero he did something unethical sa negosyo. I won’t discuss it na kasi it’s not important to waste our time on him. Yes siya din yun fiancé ng former girlfriend ko na si Catherine, the one you saw at the LAS party. But if you ask me if I’m still affected by what they did, yes I am, kasi it was such an insult that he replaced me with a friend who also happened to be the same person who betrayed LAS. It was more on the betrayal that still pisses me off. But about Catherine, if you ask me if I still miss her or think of her, I would say no, I don’t. I honestly don’t even think of her anymore. It surprises even me kasi we’ve been together ng matagal pero I don’t know. Bigla na lang nawala lahat ng naramdaman ko sa kanya, even the memories. Come to think of it, wala naman akong maalala na maganda at masasayang memories with her. Maybe it’s because we really didn’t have any.”
She just stared at him, unable to say anything from everything she heard.
He noticed her silence so his free hand searched for hers and held it. She just allowed him.
“Let’s not talk about her na lang. Ikaw what kept you busy the past weeks?”
Then Maya started telling him about her friends and how she spent her time at work…
When they arrived from Clark they still had dinner that night. Richard really missed her that he didn’t want the night to end.
“Ang dami nating nakain Richard! Hindi natin nahalata kasi grabe yun kuwentuhan natin.”
Maya couldn’t believe that they were able to eat that much. They have been eating, talking, laughing, having fun the whole day.
“Ah oo nga and its late. Midnight na pala. Halika na I’ll bring you home. Grabe we really missed doing this. O bukas I’ll bring you to work ulit ha. Antayin mo ako. Then dun na tayo magbreakfast sa restaurant nyo.”
“Naku wag na dun. Ipagluluto na lang kita. Dun na lang tayo sa amin kumain. Aalaskahin na naman kasi nila ako. Kahit si Sir James sumasali na rin. Nakakainis talaga ang mga yun.”
“Naaaliw lang sila sa’yo. Honestly I like your friends. Sana maging friends ko din sila. Even your boss is quite cool.”
“Ay oo masaya talaga yun samahan namin sa restaurant. Si Sir James mula ng magumpisa ng negosyo hanggang ngayon hinding hindi namin iniwan kasi napakabait nyang tao.”
“I could see that. Eh ako Maya, hindi mo rin ba ako iiwan?”
“Huh? Anong klaseng tanong yan?”
“It’s a serious question Maya.” He was staring at her intently that Maya got conscious already.
“Kapag mabait ka, hindi kita iiwan. Eto kung ano anong pinagsasabi. Huy bakit nakatulala ka dyan? Hala naimpatso na ata sa dami ng kinain.” She joked just to break the tension that was suddenly caused by Richard’s stare.
He was actually nervous too but he needs to ask her now. He wouldn’t want to waste anymore of their time.
“Can i court you Maya?” Richard tried to calm his nerves, his beating heart when he asked her.
Maya’s doe-shaped eyes questioningly stared at him. She couldn’t speak.
“Huy Maya? Are you okay?”
“Ah eh… Anong sabi mo?” Aligaga na siya. Her hands were cold and fidgety. She wasn’t expecting him to say it.
Richard held both of her hands while looking into her eyes.
“Sabi ko, can I court you?” His eyes bore into hers.
All she could say was “Nagbibiro ka ba? Wag mo nga akong niloloko Richard. Naparami ka lang ng kinain kung ano ano na ang sinasabi mo.” She was self-conscious already and was affected by his stare.
“Do I look like nagbibiro? I’m serious Maya. I’ve always serious when it comes to you.”
“Eh… Richard… ano.. anong… kainis naman to..”
Knowing that he made her uncomfortable, Richard said in a soft voice, “Hey sagutin mo lang yun question ko. Can I court you? Okay lang ba?”
She was already blushing and trying her best to calm her heart and steady her hands.
“Ayaw mo ba?”
“Siyempre gusto!” She said in a louder than normal voice.
“Ang tagal tagal ko na kayang hinihintay na tanungin mo yan sakin.” She was embarrassed at what she just said. Di nya napigilan, nahiya siya and turned really red.
Richard’s eyes grew wide.
“Really? Oh my God Maya!!! Ang tagal ko nang gustong itanong yan. I was just so scared that you would get mad, na akalain mo that I’m taking advantage of your kindness. You made me so happy today!!!”
Then he proceeded to engulf her in a very tight hug.
Maya was caught off guard and couldn’t react and when Richard realized that he may have angered her, he instantly released her.
“Sorry. Sorry Maya. I just got carried away. Naku baka ma-flying kick mo na naman ako.”
“Sira! Halika nga dito.” And it was her who now hugged the very happy Richard.