A/N: Thank you for patiently waiting! The best kayo. 🙂 This is quite loooong. Hehe, anyway, enjoy!
Love, Miles ❤
“What do you want to eat for lunch, partner?” Richard pulled the chair for Maya to sit on. She mouthed “thank you”, then she opened the menu.
“Uhm, since I always eat their steak, mind you na super favourite ko talaga, mag-iiba naman ako ng kakainin this time. Maybe, I’ll try their grilled scallops with creamy mushroom sauce and sautéed asparagus.” Maya is a regular customer in the restaurant where she and Richard decided to have lunch. It was him who insisted Maya to pick whatever restaurant she wished to go to.
“Sounds delicious. I’ll have that too. For drinks? No wine tayo, ha?” Richard motioned to the server and ordered their meals, not even forgetting to tease Maya about wine.
“Ikaw talaga, Richard!” She shifted position before turning to Richard. “Ah, Chard. Are you sure na okay lang talagang mag-lunch tayo? Kasi…” She slightly rubbed the side of her temples when was cut off by Richard.
He looked at her in the eyes without blinking and said, “It’s really okay, Maya. Besides, I’m glad that you met Abigail.”
Richard and Maya both dropped off Abigail at Leilani’s home. The latter was busy talking to someone on the phone that is why she failed to notice Maya inside the car, who was sitting on the passenger’s seat. Maya suddenly felt shy to see Leilani from afar. Fortunately, his car was tinted so she will not be seen from the inside. Abigail kissed her father back and waved good bye at Maya too. Leilani partially removed the phone on her ears to thank Richard and guided Abigail towards the house.
Maya wasn’t focusing on Richard. Instead, her thoughts were repleted with the almost near encounter with Leilani.
“Maya…” Richard called her name again.
“Ay, Chard. Sorry. Ah eh, I’ll just use the powder room. Excuse me.” She stood up and went towards the bathroom.
Richard sensed something isn’t right. In spite of his gut feeling, he smiled back at her and told her to be back immediately for their food was about to be served.
Maya faced the mirror in the bathroom like the way she does at home. She recollected herself and let out a small sigh. “Ano ka ba naman Maya, anong nangyayari sa’yo? Bakit ka ba tensed? Kanina ka pa, ha. Relax, okay? Wala namang masama sa ginagawa niyo ni Richard because you’re friends, right? Relax, Maya. Relax.” It took her another minute to decide to return to their table. She grinned back at Richard as she sat on her chair.
As usual, the lunch went well. Maya, of course, didn’t ran out of things to say in which Richard was very fond about. During the course of their lunch, they mostly talked about Abigail and their work experiences. Then, out of nowhere, they started talking about their personal lives.
“You are one amazing woman, Maya. I mean, like what I told you before, there was never a dull moment kapag kasama kita. I am sorry but I have to ask you this, what happened between you and Patrick? Well, I am not forcing you to answer… I will respect whatever you say.” Richard asked as he finished his meal.
Maya never talked about Patrick to anyone, including her closest friends and even her parents. In no particular reason at all, she was being evasive about the topic. This time, however, was different. She chose to share her thoughts with Richard without even having any hesitations.
“No worries, Richard. I have completely moved on. It’s time para ilabas at pag-usapan. Alam mo, tanong ko rin ‘yan sa sarili ko dati. Stable naman kaming pareho on our chosen career paths. Our parents were getting along very well, to the extent that in-laws na ang trato nila sa isa’t-isa. I thought we were doing perfectly fine. I even remember one time, a good friend of mine in college, Emman, had told me that Patrick and I were inseparable. Perfect combination talaga. But you know, sometimes, you are bound to get hurt to realize that there is someone far better off ahead. We were together for 7 years! Just imagine how I managed moved on and I’m telling you, I wasn’t easy. It took me quite some time to regain everything I lost and to finally accept the fact that I won’t be Mrs. Patrick Lucena. Up until now, I do not have any idea why we broke up. Siguro, totoo nga ‘yung sinasabi nilang 7-year itch at ‘yung falling out of love. Well, on his part, I guess.” Maya narrated. She felt wonderful after confiding everything to Richard.
“Wow, I could hardly imagine what you’ve been through. What a very strong woman you are! You see, kung ako siguro yung nasa position mo, I wouldn’t know how to move on.” Richard stared at Maya without blinking.
Maya ate the last piece of scallop, before turning to Richard. She chuckled and said, “Ako rin. Akala ko mababaliw na ako. Kaya ko naman pala.”
“Yes, you’re right! Di ba nga ang motto ng vitamin commercial mo, was ‘I can do this!’ Ang galing nila mamili ng endorser, huh?” Richard replied and winked at her.
“Ayan ka nanaman, ha, binobola mo nanaman ako!” Maya pouted her lips.
“Just kididng Maya. Anyway, back to our topic, after Patrick, I saw sa TV na kayo daw nung anak ng isang business tycoon, si Raphael Jimenez, Jr…” Richard was about to ask her a question regarding their relationship but she interrupted him.
“Break na kami. Matagal na actually. Hindi ko nga alam kung bakit hindi niya parin matanggap na wala na kami. Hindi ko rin alam kung bakit ayaw niyang ipasabi na wala na kami, eh obvious naman na, because we were never seen together in the past months. Unahan na kita, Chard. Alam ko na itatanong mo.”
“Ikaw talaga, Maya. Sige, fire!” Richard said in a jest.
Maya smiled then continued, “Raph and I were friends even before Patrick and I got together. I would definitely say that we were really good friends, until he confessed that he likes me. Eh that time, Patrick was wooing me so I didn’t pay any attention to him. Actually, I stayed away from him kasi ang kulit niya, sinabi ko na nga na kami na ni Patrick, pero hindi siya naniwala. So ayun, nag-sorry naman siya and then we became friends again, but not like the way we were before. Then, ayun, Patrick and my wedding was called off, tapos Raph came into the picture again. He became my shoulder to cry on tapos, eventually, we developed feelings for each other. Although in my part, hindi pa naman ako nag-hahanap ng boyfriend kaagad, pero he announced it sa press na kami na. Since I wanted to take a revenge on Patrick, hindi ko na pinigilan si Raph. But I was completely wrong about that, at sobra kong pinag-sisisihan iyon. He is so self-centered where it came to the point of desperately asking me to become their product endorser even though si Sir Sergio and the whole CoCo company was eyeing on me as their new brand ambassador. It turned out na pinilit niya yung manager ko na ‘yung product nalang nila Raph and i-endorse ko. Ayun, for two years, wala akong nagawa. Kaya sobrang saya ko talaga nung nag-expire ang contract at agad akong lumipat sa CoCo the day after. College friends din kasi yung parents namin that is why kahit anong gawin ko, he will never be out of my sight. I am smarter this time, deadma na talaga ako. Maski lumuha pa siya ng dugo.”
Richard pretended to clap as Maya finished her statements. “Ay, ang galing talaga. Bravo! Effective ka talaga maging kontrabida at kahit bida. Bilib na ako sa’yo, partner!”
Maya couldn’t resist her laughter. After a minute, she said, “Ikaw talaga! Maging comedienne ka nalang kaya, ano? Anyway, it’s your turn partner. Eh, how about you? I hope you won’t mind, kasi parang fresh pa ang lahat, but, what happened between you and Leilani? You know what, naalala ko na ang lahat. Kasi, when Raffi and I were talking about you being cousins, I was lightheaded! Kaya parang hindi ko naalala. Then, as we proceed sa kwentuhan, ayon, it hit me. Hahaha! Ang weird ko, ano?”
Richard likes it when Maya inserts funny antics in between serious conversations. “Hahaha, naalala ko nga ‘yon. Anyway, Leilani and I were childhood friends. Although, I was 6 years older than she is, I could say that we got along pretty well. Like your parents, mag-balae na ang turingan ng parents namin even we were still young. I wouldn’t say na arranged marriage ang nangyari sa amin because at one point in our lives, we loved each other. After all, we had Abigail. Well, we loved each other more like siblings. She has a boyfriend and I also have a girlfriend…” He was so into telling his story when Maya cut him off.
“Wait, Chard. At that time, yung girlfriend mo ba ay si Miss Zairah Dy? Yung fashion model turned actress?” She asked with her hands clasped together.
“Ah, yes! Naalala mo pa?” Richard smirked in disbelief. After so many years, he and Zairah have maintained a good relationship as friends despite of what happened between the two of them.
“Grabe! Alam mo ba kinikilig ako inyo ‘nun! Naalala ko na talaga!” Maya’s pointing finger was up, as if she was a child raising her hands to ask a question. “Ay, sorry Chard. Tuloy mo na.” She slightly shrugged her shoulder as she told Richard to proceed.
“Now, Maya, where was I? Ah, yeah. After a year, Leilani and I met at a restaurant in Makati. That night, we were both mending our broken hearts so we decided to go to a club and have some fun. That continued for weeks, until we felt that there was sparks between us. Medyo corny, pero alam mo ‘yun? Kinikilig ka, tapos masaya kayo together. I took that as a sign to court her not long after. Both our parents were pleased to know that we are together. I was 27 and she was 21. Even though I was quite significantly older than she is, her parents approved of our relationship and even told us that they were giving their blessings to us in case we, you know, can’t hold it and get married eventually. We were having the time of our lives. She opened a restaurant while my career as an actor was soaring high like a bird. Until, I got her pregnant. We were scared not only of our parents but also for our careers. What would happen if the public finds out about Leilani’s pregnancy? It would really damage my career, everything that I worked hard for years! I first didn’t know what to do, so I told my father about it. Surprisingly, he gave me his blessing and told me to man up and to own up my responsibility. So yeah, Leilani and I got married. Sadly, we lost the baby a month after our wedding.” Richard’s eyes were getting misty as he tells Maya the part about the misfortune of his unborn child.
“I’m sorry Chard.” Maya softly said since she couldn’t think of anything else to say.
Richard placed his hands over Maya’s. He smiled at her and said, “It’s fine Maya. Everything happens for a reason. I should continue, shouldn’t I? Our first three years together was smooth sailing. Until one day, parang bigla kaming nanlamig sa isa’t-isa. It seemed that we’re drifting away from each other. On our fourth year of marriage, we had this huge fight over a petty thing which made me think to end our marriage. I found her immature. Siguro nga kasi, she’s younger than I am. She loves to go out with her friends even though we were all ready married. There was even one time she was out on a party and totally had forgotten that we were supposed to have dinner with our parents. Then unexpectedly, on our fifth year, when we patched things up and Abigail came to be. Our daughter changed our lives and we decided to stop fighting. One year ding naging peaceful ang pag-sasama namin ni Leilani. Then few days after Abigail’s first birthday and our sixth wedding anniversary, may mga lumabas na rumours about Leilani seeing her ex-boyfriend. I was fuming mad at her. Muntik ko na siyang palayasin. I even doubted if Abigail was mine. She came clean to me and said na nagkaroon sila ng short-lived affair nung ex-boyfriend niya, but she assured me that Abigail was mine. We didn’t tell anyone about the truth up unto this day. I forgave her and we decided to start over again for the sake of our beloved Abigail. Unfortunately, after four years, hindi na talaga namin kinaya, so we decided to separate. We had a rough ending, Maya. It was really, really rough. I didn’t stop blaming myself for what happened between us. The good thing is, we are slowly trying to be friends again for Abigail. Happy na rin ako na nakakapag-usap na kami without raising our voices.”
Maya looked intently at Richard with her signature warm lopsided smile and told him, “Now it’s my turn to tell you that you are a one tough man, Richard. Hindi biro ang mga pinagdaanan mo. All the things I endured are nothing compared to yours, and I really admire your strength and courage after braving all those things.”
“Thank you Maya. I really appreciate your nice words, especially your company. Hindi natin namamalayan ang oras.” Richard replied with full honesty.
“Aba, oo nga partner, inabot na ang lunch natin ng 3pm. Imagine, kanina pa tayong 12 noon dito. Hahaha! Buti nalang, ang bagal nating kumain.” Maya giggled.
“That’s fine Maya. I have a friend who’s co-managing this restaurant. When you told me na dito tayo kakain, I texted him and he said, he’s going to give us a discount!” Richard waved at their server and pulled his wallet out.
“Ay nako, ang kuripot talaga ng kasama ko!” Maya’s eye turned into tiny slits and pretended to be annoyed.
“I’m just kidding sa discount part, Maya. But yeah, Levi Saavedra is my friend.” Richard said as he smiled at the server who placed the bill on their table.
“Really? Small world! Levi is also my friend!” Maya’s eyes widened.
“I know right!” He winked at her before returning the bill to the server.