“What are you doing here?”
Richard ask Catherine, eyes widen in surprise . Freeing himself from her hand that’s holding his arm. Catherine grinning at him, making Liza raise an eyebrow. Richard saw this and he suddenly feels uneasy.
“Liza, you go ahead. Just wait for me inside. I need to talk to my friend here.”
“Okay, Sir..I’ll just wait for you inside.”
Liza, still raising her eyebrow and looking at Catherne with stern eyes, showing disgust over her misdemeanor, walk past through Catherine, eyes fixed to the entrance of the hotel.
“What are you doing here? I thought that we agreed about our setup? No one is supposed to see us together, remember?”
“I know, but I’m here for work..oh well not just work because you are here..”
Catherine answered him, still grinning from ear to ear not even bothered over Richard getting irritated by her presence already.
He is trying his best not to shout at her but the tone of his voice clearly indicates that he is not happy to see her there.
“Are you mad? Look, I’m sorry if I didn’t tell you about this. But , you know that the head office in New York sent me in Manila because of the expansion right? Fortunately, your hotel is our first client. ”
“What do you mean?”
“Our company was chosen to do the interior decorating, I was also chosen to supervise our company’s employees now that the opening is near. ”
“You should have told me then and not just surprise me like this. I’m so clueless!”
Richard is still upset with her and the whole setup.
“Hey! I said I’m sorry. And beside if you just visited me the other night, I could have told you about this earlier. Oh! About that by the way..you lied to me!”
“You said you will be flying here yesterday, that’s why I book a flight right away but found out that your are scheduled to arrive here on Monday. How cool is that, huh?”
Richard remember his white lie. He told her he will be flying to Cebu the next day as an excuse to not to see her yesterday. He really planned just to stay at home and relax..be with Maya perhaps, which he didn’t regret at all since he really enjoyed it.
“Oh that..oh well, I forgot about my flight schedule. It was only yesterday morning, when I called Liza that I confirmed my flight .”
“Oh really? I hope that’s true.. I am starting to doubt your feelings for me Richard.”
“Stop it Catherine, somebody might hear you..look, if you are here to work, then be it. Just..just keep your distance..okay? I hope you understand why..hmm?”
Richard trying to sound apologetic this time. Catherine nodded in agreement, making Richard sigh in relief.
“Okay..let’s start working. ”
“Wait..can you come to my room later? Please?”
Richard wanted to refuse as he has alot of things in mind but when he saw her pleading eyes, he found himself nodding slowly. Catherine’s face lit up with happiness.
Maya has just arrive home from school. As soon as entered their bedroom and saw their bed, she realize that she will be sleeping alone in their room for the next two weeks and she suddenly feels lonely and sad.
I wonder kung ano yung ginagawa niya tonight. Since tumawag siya kaninang umaga, di na siya tumawag ulit. Nakakamiss din pala ang chinitong yon?
After changing, she decided to go down and join the rest who are having fun at the kitchen. Seeing her walking towards them, Manang Fe and the rest keep quiet, afraid that she might get mad at them for being so noisy.
“Hello po, Manang Fe..Doris..Sabel..Kuya Joma!”
Greeting them cheerfully, hoping that somehow they would feel comfortable when she’s around. This is the first time that she will be joining them in a conversation and she wants to make a good impression on them.
“Maya, kakain ka na?”
The elderly woman asks her, while the others are starting to leave the kitchen.
“Hindi na po…Teka..teka..saan kayo pupunta?Dumating lang ako nagsi-alisan na kayo..”
“Eh, kasi po ano..may gagawin pa po ako dun sa likod..maglalaba pa po ako.”
Doris reasoned out quickly, looking so tense.
“Gabi na po ate Doris..bukas ka na po maglaba.”
“Oo nga naman Doris, bukas na..”
Sabel said in agreement to Maya, she is hiding behind Doris as if afraid to show herself to Maya.
“Ano ba kayo..di po ako nangangagat kaya huwag kayo mag-alala. Gusto ko lang po makipag-kwentuhan sa inyo.”
“Ayun naman pala eh!”
Doris and Sabel said in unison, then both return to their places next to where Manang Fe is sitting.
“Upo ka na po Ma’am Maya.”
Joma offered Maya his seat while he move to the other chair next to Sabel.
Maya enjoyed the time she spent talking with the three. Doris and Sabel shared funny stories and their frequent bickering makes her laugh so hard that her tummy aches. She didn’t regret her decision to join them, instead of just staying in her room and think about useless stuffs.
Later on, it was only Maya and Manang Fe left in the kitchen when the three decided to go to their respective rooms to rest. It’s time for some serious talk, Maya can sense it.
“Maya alam mo naman siguro na matagal na akong naninilbihan kina Ricardo hindi ba?”
“Opo Manang..sabi nga ni Richard kung wala daw ang lolo at lola niya, ikaw daw ang nag-aalaga sa kanya mula bata ka pa.”
“Tama..kabisado ko rin ang ugali niyan. At alam ko na mula ng dumating ka dito, unti-unting bumalik ang dating Richard na nakilala ko noon.”
“Ano pong ibig sabihin nyo po Manang?”
“Naranasan mo naman siguro ang pagsusungit niya mula nung una kayong nagsama di ba?”
“Opo..hanggang ngayon din po, masungit pa rin siya sa akin.”
Maya said matter-of-factly. That made Manang Fe laugh.
“Pero sa nakikita ko,unti-unti ng nawawala na yon..at di na niya gaanog sinusubsob ang sarili sa trabaho..yung pagsusuplado niya? Nag-aalala lang yon sa’yo ..di lang talaga marunong mag express kung ano ang tunay niyang nararamdaman. O baka ayaw lang niya ipaalam sa’yo.”
“Palagay nyo po Manang?”
Maya asked, not sure whether to believe Manang Fe or just ignore it. But deep inside, she is hoping that what she is telling her right now is true.
“Hayaan mo na lang yon pag sinusungitan ka minsan. Dahil narin kasi matagal na panahon ding sila na lang ng lolo niya ang magkasama, parehong mga lalake eh kaya pagdating sa’yo masyadong overprotective .”
“Manang, ano po ba ang nangyari sa parents ni Richard? Sorry po kung sa’yo ko na itatanong kasi parang ayaw po pag-usapan nina lolo at ni Richard.”
“Namatay sa aksidente, galing sa isang business trip ang mag-asawa. Siguro nasa pitong taong gulang pa si Ricardo nun, nang mangyari ang aksidente. Simula noon sina Don Roberto at si Doña Rosie na ang nag-alaga sa kanya. Buti na lang at full-time na maybahay lang ang lola ni Richard kaya kailanman di siya nangulila sa mga magulang niya. Pero nung namatay ang lola niya 20 years na ang nakalipas talagang nalungkot siya. Nung nagka girlfriend siya, saka ko na siya ulit nakitang masaya..”
“Si Catherine po?”
“Oo..yon lang naman ang naging girlfriend niya eh, magpapakasal na nga sana yung dalawa kung di lang pumunta ang babae sa America..di ko na alam kung ano pa ang nangyari basta naging masungit na si Ricardo. Lagi na lang siya napagsasabihan ng lolo niya kasi madaming nagrereklamo sa ugali niya.”
“Naikwento nga yan ni lolo sa akin.. kawawa naman pala si Richard.”
Maya can’t help but feel sad for Richard. Lolo Roberto is right, he needs someone that would make him feel he is love and assured that no matter what, he will not be left alone again. Maybe that might help him change, if he find that right person. But could she be the right person for him, just like what lolo Roberto believe? She could only sigh..
Bahala na si Batman.
Richard is in Catherine’s hotel room that night. If he didn’t promise her earlier, he could have been resting in his own hotel room by now. It was clear to him, the way Catherine is flirtatiously caressing his arm while talking to him and the frequent kisses she gave him that she wants to make out. But Richard is not in the mood to do it. Trying his best to resist the temptation, he told her he will leave early because he still needs to check on his email before he will rest.
“Honey, you can check you email using my laptop.”
Catherine is convincing him to stay for the night.
“No..I also need to read some files which is in my room”
“You can just get it there then read it here. Please..”
“No..I can’t..maybe some other time? I really need to go..”
Dismayed over Richard’s lack of interest. She give up.
“Wait… let’s make this clear, once and for all! It seems that you are avoiding me these past few days. Tell me the truth Richard!”
Catherine blurted out. It was a something that Richard expected already. He knows that he is being unfair to Catherine but there’s nothing else that he can do. He’s been thinking on things lately and realize that something has change. He finally convince himself when he was able to spend time yesterday with Maya, and today with her.
With Maya he feels comfortable, he finds her easy to get along well despite their constant disagreement. Her simplicity and cheerfulness is what he needs to keep himself calm amidst his busy and sometimes messy world. Catherine, however in so many ways, like him. Ambitious and daring, traits that got him into trouble alot of times.
Now that the time has come, he needs to tell Catherine the truth.
“I’m sorry .. but yes.. You can hate me for what I’m going to say to you tonight but yes..I am .”
“You mean, you change your mind..ayaw mo ng makipagbalikan sa akin?”
Catherine is on the verge of tears. Looking at him straight in his eyes, asking for explanation.
“Because .. I just realize that we’ve grown apart! You changed.. I’ve changed..and so does my heart!”