My Safe Refuge 16
It only took 15 minutes for Richard to reach Maya’s place. The anger he harbored the past days now turned to worry especially with what Ryan said and with Maya reminding him of their special day which she intentionally mentioned to be Nikki’s birthday. She couldn’t just erroneously mention the date if it holds no significance. There could be a reason for it. There could be a reason why she said all those things to him.
“Richard asan sina Maya? Akala ko magkasama kayo. Sinundo mo sila dito. Ipinagkatiwala ko sila sa’yo. Anong nangyari sa mag-ina?” Manang Fe bombarded Richard with questions the moment she opened the gate and saw him. The look of fear, not just worry was evident on her face.
“Manang Fe sumama si Maya sa asawa nya. Nagpakilala na siya si James Ventura. Nalilito rin po ako. Hindi ko maintindihan ang mga pangyayari. I thought he was dead. I don’t understand…”
Manang Fe led him inside the house.
“Manang Fe naglihim si Maya sa kin. Akala ko patay na yung asawa….”
“Muntik na syang mapatay ni James noon, Richard. Muntik na rin nyang mapatay si Luke…”
“Hindi ni Maya ginustong maglihim sa’yo. Hindi naman namin pinaguusapan ni Maya yun nakaraan nya ngunit alam kong hindi nya ginusto na wag sabihin sa’yo. Natatakot lang siya. Nahihiya s’ya. Kahit sinong may ganung pinagdaanan ay pipiliin na wag na lang yun balikan.”
“She could have trusted me Manang. How could I protect her if she left me in the dark in all these.”
“Richard, nabanggit sa akin ni Maya na ikaw ang pinakamagandang nangyari sa buhay nya. Palagi nyang sinasabi sa’kin na lahat ng madilim na nakaraan nila ni Luke ay nalimutan nya ng makilala ka nya. Siguro natakot si Maya na baka iwasan mo sya kapag nalaman mo yun totoo. Baka natakot siya na iwanan mo siya.”
“Manang, was she still uncertain of the love I showed her? Kulang ba yun? She didn’t trust the love I have for her? Mahal na mahal ko siya Manang. Mahal ko sila ni Luke.”
“Richard madaling sabihin yun pagtitiwala kasi hindi ikaw yun nasa sitwasyon ni Maya. Hindi ikaw yun nagkaroon ng asawa na akala nya ay proprotekta sa kanilang mag-ina ngunit yun pala ay siya pang mananakit sa kanila. Hindi ikaw yun nakaramdam ng sobrang takot at pag-aalala. Hindi ikaw yun nagtago sa bahay ng ilang buwan sa para lang di mahanap ni James. Mabait rin si James ng una silang magkakilala ni Maya. Hindi mo maaalis sa kanya na mahirapan sa pagtitiwala.”
“I’m sorry Manang. Hindi ko alam. I never realized how painful Maya’s past is. I didn’t know how to react when I saw the guy with her especially when Maya calmly told me that he was indeed her husband. I’m sorry Manang. Pero pinapangako ko, hahanapin ko sila. I love her and Luke more than my life. Hindi ko na hahayaang masaktan pa sila. I will protect them.” Richard bowed his head so ashamed of what he has done.
“Mahal na mahal ka ni Maya, Richard. Kapag nagmahal ang batang yan, iniisip nya palagi yun kapakanan ng iba, bago yun sarili nya. Iniisip nya na wag masaktan yun ibang tao. Handa nyang isakripisyo yun sarili nya alang-alang sa anak nya at sa yo na rin. Siguro inisip rin ni Maya na masasaktan ka kapag nalaman mong may asawa pa siya.”
Richard couldn’t say anything more. His mind is now filled with worry and hearing Manang Fe’s stories on how Maya and Luke suffered in the hands of James, he couldn’t help but be disturbed with possible scenarios filling his mind.
“Ang importante ngayon ay mahanap natin sila ni Luke bago pa mahuli ang lahat.”
“Opo Manang. I won’t stop until I get them back. Ibabalik ko sila ni Luke, Manang Fe. Pinapangako ko.” He promised as he hugged the woman who already became Maya and Luke’s family the moment she decided to stay with them and take care of them.
Richard wasted no time. Together with Manang Fe, they went to Maya’s former house, the one he shared with James before only to find out that it is now owned by a different person. The new owner gave them James Ventura’s contact address and number, which turned out to be nonexistent anymore.
Rafi also arrived with her husband Charlie the day after. It was Ryan who informed her of what happened. Rafi had no choice but to tell Ryan about James and Maya.
Ryan also vowed to help when he found out the real story. He understood Maya for not telling Richard about her past. He also understood what Richard felt being left blind in all these.
But those are not important at the moment. Their main concern is to find Maya and Luke and ensure their safety.
The five days of searching for their whereabouts thru common friends, business colleagues of James that Rafi knows, searching through social media links, searching in hotels, resorts and even hospitals, yielded no positive results. They were all frustrated and Richard’s worry on Maya and Luke’s condition intensified each passing minute, second.
He already reported it to the police and the NBI and they were all helping in locating Maya and Luke.
A week have passed and there were still no positive results.
James hid himself well.
He hid himself well not because he knew that someone would try to search for his wife and son. He was confident that no one would bother to search for Maya. He was sure that the phone call with Richard Lim would certainly hurt his ego and he would eventually stop pursuing Maya.
James was hiding because of his deep involvement in the illegal drug trade. He knows that he is on the watch list so he’s been roaming around using a different name which makes it even harder for Richard to find Maya.
“Son, okay na si Nikki?” Esmeralda joined Richard while he was having coffee at their veranda.
Earlier that day, Richard had to return to their province to check on his daughter who was rushed to the hospital.
“Yes ma. Bukas iuuwi ko na sya. The doctor said that she ate something in their canteen which caused her stomachache.”
“Babalik ka sa hospital?”
“Yes ma. I just took a shower and changed my clothes. Kumuha na rin ng pamalit ni Nikki. Nagkape lang din muna para makahinga ng konti.”
His eyes conveyed sadness and his mom knows that aside from his daughter, Richard is worried of Maya and Luke.
“Ricky ano nang balita….”
“Wala pa rin Ma. This is so frustrating. What if I don’t find them? What if it’s too late? What if nasaktan na nya si Maya? What if?…”
“Ricky…” Esmeralda engulfed her son in her arms knowing very well that despite his stern and strong front, he also needs comfort right now.
Richard is a total mess. He even missed shaving, he had dark circles around his eyes and he lost weight.
He barely slept, barely ate. He spent most of his time visiting people whom he thinks could help him find Maya and Luke’s whereabouts.
Roberto joined his wife and son when he saw Esmeralda embracing Ricky. He was observing the two earlier.
Richard composed himself upon hearing his father. He immediately wiped his eyes. He couldn’t help but cry and pour out all his frustrations while being hugged by his mom. Esmeralda had always been his source of strength even before when Alex died.
Roberto also patted his son’s shoulder. He knows that the fear Ricky has for Maya and Luke is further aggravated by his guilt for not being able to protect them.
“Pa, gising pa kayo?”
“Yes. I was on the phone with General Ocampo. I already asked their help Ricky. Even the Immigration people had been alerted in case Maya, Luke and James Ventura shows up. Even the local ports and domestic airports had been given instructions as well. We will find them son. We will.”
Roberto Lim had contacts in the military having served the Navy during his younger years. He maintained ties with people who are now holding high positions in the Armed Forces. He sought for their help in locating Maya and Luke as well
Richard gave his dad a sad smile. He was thankful that his parents were always there to support him, to be by his side whenever something happens to him and his kids.
Just like when Alex died, Roberto and Esmeralda Lim had always been there for him. They were patient even when Richard seemed to have lost his will to live. They never gave up on him until the time Richard realized that he has his daughters to keep him going on.
Now with the fear of losing Maya and Luke as well, Richard will again draw strength from the pillars of his life.
A/N : Pardon the errors. No time to edit. This is just a quick write while dumapo si inspiration to continue.