Maiba ulit. Wala kasi akong matapos-tapos sa mga inumpisahan kong post bcwmh series na short stories, e, hehe.
The muted sounds of laughter and music drifted from downstairs as Maya made her way out to the wide balcony overlooking the garden, glad to find the area deserted. He was here, the person she wanted, but dreaded to see at the same time; her former boss, Richard Lim. She had been avoiding him, but knew that sooner or later, they should meet.There were things between them that needed to cleared but she did not know how to start. She willed herself to be calm. Kaya mo to, Maya. After taking a deep breath, she counted to ten, then let it all out in a whoosh. Kaya ko to.
“I knew you’d be here.” She jumped at the familiar voice, turning around as Richard stepped out of the shadowed doorway. “Hey,” he said softly. She gave a small smile. He stood beside her and they admired the view quietly for a few minutes. “Iniiwasan mo nanaman ba ako?” He asked at last.
“Bakit mo naman naisip yan?”
“Nothing…It’s just, I haven’t seen you for a week.”
She gave a little laugh. “Kailangan ba talaga natin magkita araw-araw? May mga ginagawa din naman akong iba.”
“I know,” he said, looking at her, “but I want to see you just the same.”
She pursed her lips to suppress a sigh, but could not contain the sudden rush of kilig. Ayan nanaman siya, she thought, her eyebrows meeting in a frown, not knowing how to respond. A familiar melody began to play; it was the song at Luke’s prom.
He held out his hand. “Shall we?”
She hesitated, then stepped into his arms, pressing her cheek against his shoulder as he pulled her near. She closed her eyes as he swayed her gently.
“Are you free tomorrow? There’s a new restaurant I want to try,” he began.
“Kasama mga bata?”
“No, just the two of us.”
“Bakit hindi natin kasama ang mga bata?”
“I just want to spend time with you na tayong dalawa lang.” He paused. “Naiilang ka nanaman ba? I thought we’ve been over this.”
“Eh, kasi, puede namang sumama ang mga bata.”
He leaned back to see her face, his expression confused. “Maya…”
“Ricky, ano ba ito? Parte ba ito ng pagiging friends natin na iba? Hindi ko na kasi maintindihan kung anong patutunguhan nito, e. Bakit hindi na lang tayo maging ordinary friends, period. Nakakalito na kasi,” Maya averted her head, horrified that her voice had cracked. She pushed away from him and he dropped his arms. The silence stretched between them.
Richard bit his lip. “I’m sorry,’ he said quietly, “I should have made my intentions clear from the start. Matagal ko na kasing hindi ginagawa.” She remained silent. He gave a rueful smile, “I’m not really confident when courting a girl.” Taking a deep breath, he began; “how i feel…Maya, I wanted to give you time to get used to our situation first. For a long time, I was your boss. You were my employee. Ikaw pa nga yung naiilang sa pagkakaibigan natin, di ba? I had to convince you to call me by my first name. Gusto kitang ligawan ng tama but I wasn’t sure how. I was so afraid of making a wrong move and give you a reason para iwasan ako.” He sighed then lifted a hand to cup her cheek, gently forcing her to look at him, “but believe me, everything i did, I did because I wanted to show you how I felt. Kaya nga iba kasi, mahal na kita,” he said, looking straight into her eyes, “I love you, Maya,” he said earnestly.
Maya bowed her head, suddenly overwhelmed.
“Please say something.”
She looked up with a tremulous smile. “Wala akong maisip na sabihin. Nakakabigla naman kasi.”
He smiled back. “Hindi pa ba ako masyadong obvious?
“Ayoko lang kasing mag-assume.”
“I’m sorry. I was just waiting for the right time. I know you have a lot on your mind right now. Ka-ka-graduate mo lang and just starting your career. I don’t want to pressure you. I’m willing to wait until you’re ready.”
“Hindi ako makapaniwalang mahal mo nga ako.”
“Well I do,” he said gently, “and I’m glad you know now.”
He held up a hand. “Don’t think too much, Maya. I already said i’m willing to wait, di ba? Whatever your worries, we will face them one by one, but only when you’re ready. I don’t want you troubling yourself over this, Ok?”
She nodded. “Ok….Salamat, Ricky, ha?” She gazed shyly up at him. Another familiar song played and they both laughed as they recognized it. It was an instrumental version of Be Careful With My Heart. “Sinasadya ba ito ni Rafi?” She wondered.
“I wouldn’t be surprised,” he smirked, “she had been nagging me to confess to you already.”
“Si Rafi talaga,” Maya shook her head. “Tayo na nga,” she said briskly, “baka ano pa isipin nun, tuksuhin pa tayo,” unwittingly taking his hand, surprising him.
“Maya?” He tightened his hold, making her stop. She looked questioningly at him. He waited for her to notice. “Nothing,” he said after a few seconds, his smile wide. She shook her head; then hand in hand, they went back inside.