Long-held Torch – Part 16

Author’s Note: This was a rather difficult chapter to write which was why this update took a long while.  As it is, I have only skimmed over Maya’s strength of character and I guess I still need to delve deeper.

Thank you very much to  Ms Alpha Grace, Ms Liza and Ms Dianne for generously giving their time to critique and proofread this chapter.  Thank you to my dear readers for patiently (or impatiently) waiting for the next installment of my series.  Please don’t be shy to leave a comment or to hit the like button. God bless🙂

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With Maya’s condition remaining critical for days, she was slipping in and out of consciousness while her uterine haemorrhage continued.  Her elevated body temperature caused by infection  was also making Maya delirious at some point.  With glazed eyes, she  would try to say something but her words were coming out incoherently. Agitation was getting the better of her when no one could understand what she was saying.

Intuitively, Richard knew she was asking about their baby.

“Everything is okay, Maya”  his tone was soothing  as he held her hand “Everything  will be alright.  Just rest, sweetheart.”

Maya’s deep frown cleared  as she settled down. After a few minutes, she  closed her eyes after Richard’s  reassurance.  Her bleeding had significantly lessened on the third day,  effectively taking her out of immediate danger.   Her fever had also abated on the fourth day.  However, Dr de Guzman was still monitoring Maya very closely. Since the human body has a tendency to overcompensate for trauma, the ICU team were on high alert for signs of hypercoagulation, another life-threatening  condition.

However, when Maya finally woke up,  tears filmed over her eyes.  Without anyone telling her,  she knew that she had lost the baby. She did not have to see Richard’s sombre expression to know. Her hand went to her flat abdomen and felt nothing.  Tears started falling  silently at first and then  she was sobbing. It was so heart-wrenching for anyone within earshot.  Even the very  experienced  ICU nurses’ eyes  were getting watery.

Dr. de Guzman was notified that the patient was conscious. The elderly doctor tried to do some tests but could not do so with Maya’s state of mind.   She was inconsolable as sobs racked her supine form.  In the end, Maya was sedated again so that she can continue to heal within a state of  induced sleep.

As Maya’s lids became heavy,  the last thing she heard was Richard saying he was sorry.  The next time she regained consciousness,  Maya could still feel Richard’s presence even though  he was not by her bedside.  Maya  could hear a variety of monitors beeping monotonously. She turned her head and she could see  that she was last in a row of beds.

A nurse in light blue scrubs approached and was smiling at her.  Maya underwent a series of tests in the next hour and was kept in the ICU for the next three days.  Her family had been alternately staying with her for long periods and they would normally wave at her through the partition glass. Maya never saw Richard  until  the very early  morning of the next  day.

Maya had woken up when  her  IV  monitor alarmed.  Her assigned nurse had quickly silenced the beep but she was already awake  despite keeping her eyes closed.  This was when she felt his presence again.  She could feel him by her bedside standing quietly while she continued to feign sleep.  With eyes kept closed, Maya waited anxiously for what he would do next. Maya did not wish to speak to him.

Then, she felt his fingers lightly sweeping the strands of hair from her face. A small frown  creased between Maya’s closed lids at this unwelcome caress. Involuntarily, she turned her head away to avoid his touch.

Maya heard Richard pull a deep sigh. Then her senses felt him come much closer.  So close that she could smell his clean musky scent.  Maya’s airways felt constricted  when she felt his warm breath fanning the side of her face.

“Pagaling ka,” Richard murmured  before lightly kissing her temple and then moving away. And as quietly he came, he also left just as quietly.

Maya’s  lips wobbled.  She squeezed her lids in a vain effort to keep the tears at bay but they still came.   Maya wished that she could also shed the pain. But even after the tears subsided, the pain remained.

The day came when she was transferred to a private room. Maya had glimpsed Richard speaking with Dr. de Guzman when she was wheeled out of the inner sanctum of the ICU but he did not follow.  It was Nanay Teresita who  was with her during  the transfer and helped her settle in. Mamang,  Tatay Arturo and Kute arrived a few hours later. Her Kuya Ryan promised to pass by later.   Everyone was very thankful that she had pulled through.

Maya tried to smile at them but she just couldn’t.

“Pasensiya na po.  Medyo pagod na po ako,” she apologised as she closed her eyes.  She could hear their muted conversation but she did not have the energy nor the inclination to join in.  She feigned sleep until sleep truly reclaimed her.

When she lifted her lids again, the room was in darkness except for the singular subdued  wall light. Her eyes adjusted and her gaze scanned the private room that was resembling a  hotel room  and was just as impersonal.  There  was a big bowl of fruits  and a couple of magazines on her bedside table. On her other bedside table was a huge bouquet of red roses which made her frown. She was still connected to an IV drip  but  she was blessedly alone.

Maya  wanted  to be alone.

Her hand went to her flat stomach and felt  deep sadness and regret for she will never have the opportunity to see her first baby.  Tears welled in her eyes as she wondered if it was a boy or a girl. She will never know anymore.

Her gaze started to go blurry with tears again.  She bit her lip, vainly trying to control herself. But the pain  was reverberating  through her soul.  Then, she felt a movement in the dark and knew that he was with her.  Straining her eyes, Maya tried  to see the whole room. When she could not, she braced her elbows to sit up.

“Please don’t get up!” his familiar deep throaty  voice pleaded anxiously.

“Anong ginagawa mo dito?”  Maya asked, anger in her tone.

From the darkest corner of the room, the lazy boy springs and hinges creaked as Richard unfolded the leg rest to get up. “You are not supposed to sit up on your own yet.  It might re-trigger  your bleeding.”

“I don’t really care!  I have lost my baby! And nothing matters anymore!” Maya shouted in a shrill voice.

“Maya, you need to lie down again,”  Richard gently instructed as he approached Maya to  place his hands on her shoulders.

However, this seemed to further anger Maya  as she slapped his hands away.

“Huwag mo kong hawakan!”  Maya hissed  at him as Richard’s hands  lowered  to her upper arms in his attempt to lie her down the bed.

“Calm down, Maya—”

“Sabi kong bitiwan mo ko!!!” Maya yelled at the top of her lungs as she started beating his chest.  Each close-fisted punch conveying the pain that was tearing at her heart. And Richard just took all her punishing blows.

“Maya—”

“Hindi mo ba ko narinig? Ayaw kitang makita!!!” Maya was getting hysterical as she kept on hitting him.

“Maya, please!  You really need to lie down—!”  Richard was getting more worried for Maya was moving jerkily.  In frustration, he reached for the bell and pressed  for a nurse who came immediately.

“Sir?” asked a third voice from the door.

Distracted, Maya turned her head. “Please, paalisin mo siya!!!”  she half-pleaded and half-demanded from the uniformed nurse who was standing uncertainly by the door.

The nurse took the scene at a glance and  requested for Richard to leave.   Richard took a few steps from the bed but remained  in the room, beyond Maya’s line of vision.  With Maya’s agitation escalating, she was sedated again. Tears were still streaming down her cheeks when she felt the calmative effect of the drug course through her bloodstream once more.

“I-I am very sorry for what happened, Maya—” Richard whispered almost inaudibly.

Unfortunately, Maya heard the words.

“Umalis ka na. Ayaw na kitang makita…”  was her dull response while silent tears kept on flowing.

“Maya—”

Then, sleep claimed her once more.

The next several days  went by slowly.  While Maya  was constantly in the company of her parents, siblings  or her grandmother, she was feeling restless. She was on edge, half-expecting Richard to arrive anytime. Digging her own nails into her palms, Maya clenched her fists at the memory of their last encounter.  Maya’s anger was boiling over.

However, ever since she found out about her ‘insufficient cervix’ condition,  she realised she can not entirely heap the blame on Richard’s head.  Dr. de Guzman had patiently explained that the condition was likely genetic as evidenced by her family history.  With such condition, it was said that when a woman gets pregnant, the cervix weakens, opens and expels the fetus. This occurs from the very early stages of pregnancy wherein  the fetus  will likely have no  chance for  survival.  Hence, a miscarriage occurs.  Dr. de Guzman offered that  the same may have happened to many of her paternal female relatives.

Maya would have lost her baby regardless of what Richard did.

This was echoing in her head when Richard’s parents arrived.  Maya’s smile was strained while her mind was at loggerheads with herself. Part of her wanted to ask where Richard was while another part wanted nothing more to do with him.   Instead, they exchanged the usual pleasantries.

“Nag-usap na ba kayo ni Richard, Maya?”  Esmeralda Lim asked  when  Roberto Lim excused himself to leave the room to answer an overseas  phone call.

Maya shook her head wordlessly, unwilling to discuss the matter.

Esmeralda Lim sighed deeply.

“Look, Maya. I know you two were fighting before you were rushed to the hospital—-”

Maya’s eyes rounded as she refocused her attention back to the older woman.

“Sinabi niya sa inyo?” Maya asked incredulously.   Maya has not breathed a word to anyone what events transpired before she got rushed to the hospital. Maya could not believe that Richard actually owned up to what he did to her.

“Well, actually Ricky did not tell me much. He did not even tell me what you were fighting about.  But all relationships go through rough patches, Maya.”

Maya closed her eyes.  She thought it was best that she should not enlighten Esmeralda Lim what her son did.

“Richard told me that there won’t be a wedding anymore. Of course, with you being very sick and getting hospitalised, a postponement is understandable. But to cancel the wedding altogether—?” the older lady’s voice was questioning.

Silence stretched for several minutes. The older lady pulled another deep sigh.

“Maya, hindi mo na ba mahal si Richard?” Esmeralda Lim asked point blank.

Maya asked herself that same question. In all honesty, she did not know how to answer the older lady.

“Maya—?”

“Tita Esme, naguguluhan po ako. Hindi ko na po alam…” she replied uncertainly while tears silently rolled down her cheeks.

“I see.”  Esmeralda Lim’s face went very serious. “Well, I know for a fact that my son loves you very much. He was beside himself when you became critically ill. He never left the ICU and stayed awake for days while you were in there.”

Maya bent her head as more tears fell.

“I know you are still grieving, Maya.  Believe me, I know how you feel.” The older lady reached out and covered Maya’s right hand with her slightly gnarled hands.

Maya looked up,  the unspoken question in her eyes.

“Yes, Maya.  I have lost a child as well.” Informed the older lady with sad eyes.  “I miscarried a baby girl when Richard was just about two years old. It was a very traumatic experience for me.”

“D-does  the pain ever go away?” Maya almost choked on the question.

“I can not speak for every mother, of course. But I have never really gotten over it.  The pain lessens through the years until it just becomes a dull ache. But  with each year, I acquired the maturity to consciously choose to be happy and to count my blessings.”

Count my blessings.

A simple enough task but difficult to do while grieving.  Esmeralda Lim recognised this and did not press Maya further.   Maya silently  cried herself to sleep hours after the older lady left.

Days passed and Maya’s mood  became silently despondent. Her flatmate Emman has visited twice. Her fellow TA flight attendant Edzelyn and Capt James  Ventura  arrived one afternoon to deliver flowers from Time Airways  but  Maya could not even  muster a smile.  Even  when her nephew Luke  and nieces Nikki Grace and baby Abby  visited,  Maya  remained  a forlorn figure with a faraway look on her face.

“Maya,  kumain ka muna,”  her Ate Celine, her  Kuya Ryan’s wife encouraged.

Silence.

“Nangayayat ka na ng  husto.  Baka hindi na magkasya ang wedding dress mo.”

It does not matter anymore for there won’t be a wedding anyway.  

 

Maya was responding in her head but remained outwardly  incommunicative. Maya’s mood slightly altered when her Kuya Ryan arrived that afternoon. She was in the shower cubicle but could hear the muffled conversation beyond the door.

“Nay, asan si Maya?” asked Kuya Ryan.

“Nasa banyo naliligo.”

“Nagpunta  ho ba si Richard dito?”

“Hinde. Simula ng malipat dito sa private room ang kapatid mo, hindi ko na nakita si Richard.  Nag-away yata silang dalawa dahil umiiwas ang kapatid mo kapag si Richard na ang pinag-uusapan.”

“Malamang nga nag-away sila kung hindi nagagawi si Richard dito.”  Ryan mused almost to himself.

“Bakit?  Ano bang problema? At pwede bang maupo ka at nahihilo ako sa kalalakad mo.”  Nanay Teresita ordered her older child “Bakit ba hindi ka mapakali, Ryan?”

Maya turned off the shower so that she could better hear the conversation outside the door. She grabbed her towel to quickly dry herself. Rivulets of water were still streaming down from her hair as she pressed her ear against the wooden panel.

“Tumawag sakin si Tita Esmeralda kanina. Umiiyak sa pag-aalala. Halos dalawang linggo nang hindi nauwi sa kanila si Richard.   Hindi rin sumasagot sa phone. Ang buong akala namin dito siya naglalagi sa ospital—”

“Gaya ng sabi ko sayo, nandito si Richard nung unang lingo, nung nasa ICU si Maya pero nung naging maayos yung kalagayan niya, umuwi  na si Richard.” reiterated the older woman.

“Pero, Nay, hindi pa ho nauwi si Richard sa kanila. Hindi rin pumapasok sa opisina. Tumawag din ako kay Lino para tingnan kung nasa lumang bahay si Richard pero sabi daw ni Tata Igme  wala daw duon si Richard.”

“Naku, baka napaano na si Richard. Sana naman walang masamang nangyari sa batang yun,”  Nanay Teresita commented, worry in her voice. “Susubukan kong tawagan. Nagbilin kasi yun na tawagan siya kung magkakaproblema sa lagay ni Maya.”

Maya’s elbow accidentally nudged the bottle of lotion that was on the tiny vanity shelf. It clattered on the small ceramic basin  as she moved away from the door.  She sat down on the closed toilet seat to retrieve and replace  the bottle back on the vanity.

“Maya, anak? Anong nangyari?”  Nanay Teresita asked through the door.

“Wala ho, Nay. May natabig lang po ako.”  Maya replied.

“Sigurado ka anak? Baka kailangan mo ng tulong?”

“Hindi po, Nay. Okey lang po ako.”

What Maya  said may have been true physically but her emotional state was another matter.   Her feelings for Richard were ambiguous at the moment but the fact remained that she was getting worried.  She could not help but feel worried.

Where could Richard be?

That night, Maya had a different visitor.  She glided through the room and touched her hand. Maya languorously opened her eyes to look at a face that was very much her own. It was like looking at her own reflection in the mirror.  The lady had an ethereal quality about her as she moved with a very refined feminine grace. She was smiling serenely while her hand was beckoning for Maya to get up.

As if in a trance, Maya followed the lady whose centrally parted long hair went beyond her waist.  She was wearing a traditional kimona top and a long black and white full skirt that brushes the ground as the wearer walked. Maya smiled when she glimpsed that the lady was barefoot.

After awhile,  Maya looked around her and saw that she was on the private beach in front of the Spanish villa. Tiny grains of warm sand was squeezing between her toes. She frowned in confusion. How did she get back to San Nicholas?

Then, the lady turned to see if she was still following her. Despite her confusion, Maya crossed the distance between them.  She went through the door like she has done countless of times before. It was the same Spanish villa that she loved  yet it was not the same at all.  The shiny wooden floorboards were lighter in shade. Everything was gleaming like new. Even the furniture was different.

They were going through the hallway towards  the master suite. With each step, the sound of women wailing were getting louder.   There were a few people in the alcove. Maya could see a couple of women huddled together crying while trying to comfort one another. One was carrying a bundle in her arms.

The lady with her features  finally stopped just behind the man who was crouched down.  The profile that Maya saw was that of an elderly gentleman with a full beard, dressed in a grey suit. To get a better look,  Maya had to sidestep to avoid stepping on bottles. And there were countless of  bottles of  liquor   scattered around. Her nose crinkled as the place was reeking of alcohol.

Then she saw that the crouching man was actually trying to wake up an individual who was lying on the ground. Maya could not properly see the face of the sleeping man.  All she could see that he was wearing a pair of dark grey baggy pants  and a long sleeved white muslin shirt. And judging from the colour of his hand, the man lying motionless was very fair.

“Lo siento. Soy demasiado tarde,”  the elderly gentleman declared as he sighed deeply.

Lo siento. Soy demasiado tarde. I am sorry. I am too late.

Then the elderly gentleman straightened to remove his hat, a gesture indicating that he was paying his respects. Then it hit her. The man lying on the ground was dead.  And she was afraid to  look at his face, fearing it was someone she knew.

In the background, the women’s wailing went louder, almost drowning the sound of a newborn baby’s very faint  mewling.  Distracted, Maya  looked up to see that the bundle in the woman’s arm was actually a  baby aged a few days at the most, judging from its tiny scrawny fist that escaped from its swaddling.

Involuntarily, her gaze returned to the man on the ground. Her gaze travelled over his length and then  stopped at the ruffled front of his muslin white shirt. Unhurriedly,  her gaze went over his unshaven jaw and hawkish  nose. Then finally, Maya saw his closed deep set eyes and Maya shuddered with  relief. It was the face of a stranger, yet his features were familiarly dear.  He was a very fair version of her paternal grandfather.  Maya was just a toddler when her paternal grandfather passed away but she still remembered his face each time she looked through the old family photo albums.

Then, right before her eyes, the features changed. Slowly the features morphed into another face.  Lips became thinner, nose acquired a finer straight bridge, his lids took on the epicanthic fold and his eyes became mere slits as they remained closed. His entire body remained motionless on the ground.

Maya’s breathing hitched. She almost doubled over in pain. Maya can clearly see Richard lying lifeless by her feet  but refused to accept what her senses were perceiving. Then she heard someone sobbing as the vision turned hazy.

Sea breeze drifted in through the rose bushes enclosing the alcove. It teased her long hair causing a lock of hair  to fall over her face. She brushed it aside and felt that her cheeks were wet.  Her chest shuddered and realised that the sobbing she heard was her own.

“Maya…”

Maya bit her lip to control her sobs.

“Maya…”

She felt someone tapping her cheeks and she frowned.

“Maya, gising anak,” her mother urged “binabangungot ka.”

Then she opened her eyes.  She was back in her private hospital room. And her Nanay Teresita was worriedly looking down at her.

Maya gulped down her sobs as she sat up.  Her mother raised the upper portion of the bed so that Maya can comfortably lean back in a semi-sitting position. Nanay Teresita gave her a glass of water which she gratefully took. Maya felt much calmer as she gave the half-empty tumbler back to Nanay Teresita.

“Okey ka na ba, anak?”

Maya nodded. But she really wasn’t feeling right.

“Gusto mong pag-usapan natin yung panaginip mo?”

Maya shook her head. Nanay sighed but refrained from pressing her youngest daughter who was still reeling from the shocking vision. Remembering Richard lying deathly still on the ground was enough to let another  shiver run through her core.  It left her with a feeling of dread.

“Nay, dumaan na po ba si…”  Maya was unable to finish her question. She felt silly worrying about him because of a bad dream.

Nanay Teresita smiled understandingly at her daughter. In turn, Maya was turning pink with embarrassment.

“Hindi pa anak,” her mother replied “Gusto mo tawagan ko si Richard?”

Maya wanted to know whether Richard was fine but declined her mother’s offer. “Huwag na po.”

“Sigurado ka?” her mother probed “Sinasagot niya ang tawag ko.”

Maya tried to avoid her mother’s observant gaze. She was not ready to answer questions. The important thing was that Richard was okey.

“Maya, kahit hindi mo sabihin sakin, alam ko meron kayong problema ni Richard…”

“Nay—”

“Anak,  hindi ko alam kung ano ang pinag-awayan ninyong dalawa. Pero dapat mag-usap muna kayo ng maayos. Diba nga kahit kriminal binibigyan ng pagkakataon na i-depensa ang sarili nila sa husgado bago parusahan?”

Maya merely nodded her head, choosing not to speak at all.  She chose to let the matter be. Richard is a grown man. He should be able to take care of himself. Her bad dream was just that — a bad dream.

Later that same day, however, she could no longer  suppress her concern when Richard’s mother  called and spoke to Nanay Teresita.  Richard’s mother was beside herself with worry. Richard was still incommunicado. He was not answering his phone nor answering his emails.  Esmeralda Lim also said that Lisa, Richard’s secretary, was also  in a panic because there was a major accident at the tunnel site.  And the respective families of the affected employees were threatening  a class action against Lim Infrastructure Inc.  It was imperative that they get hold of Richard.

“Hayaan nyo po susubukan ko pong tawagan si Richard. Baka sakaling sagutin nya ulit yung tawag ko.” Nanay Teresita promised before ending the call.

Maya watched her mother ring Richard’s number but the call was no longer connecting.  Nanay Teresita tried for almost twenty minutes before finally giving up.  A worried frown was etched into the older lady’s features when she broached the subject with her youngest daughter.

“Naku, Maya” Nanay Teresita fretted “hindi na sinasagot ni Richard yung phone niya.”

The feeling of dread has been multiplying the last twenty minutes.  Each time her mother’s call failed to connect, the vision of Richard lying deathly still on the ground became more and more of a possibility. Maya hugged her middle in the effort to calm her nerves.

Richard has to be alright!  For all they know, he could be in an exotic location where wireless communication was difficult.

What if he wasn’t?  What if he ends up like Senor La Rosa?  He was found lifeless on the ground, dead at the prime of his life…

Nooooooo!

Maya took a minute to normalise her breathing pattern. She looked up to check the time from the wall clock.  It was already mid-afternoon. She made a mental calculation  and finally made a decision.  She  sat up and took the cotton blanket off  to put on her slippers.  She got up and opened the bedside cabinet to bring out her bag of clothes. She was fishing out a pair of jeans when her mother questioned her movements.

“Anong balak mo, Maya?”

“Hahanapin ko ho si Richard.” Maya needed to know that Richard was okey. Maya was unsure if she still loves him but she knows that she cares for him. She still cares a lot.

“Pero hindi ka pa discharged dito sa ospital. Di ba meron ka pang mga tests na naka-schedule bukas?”

“Pakitawagan po yung nurse. Magpapa-discharge na ako, Nay. Pwede naman po akong bumalik para sa mga tests.” Maya  replied  “kailangan na ho naming mag-usap ni Richard.”

“Mainam  naman,” her Nanay Teresita smiled at her daughter’s bent head “Sige kakausapin ko yung nurse mo.”

The nurse had to refer the matter to the duty medical officer who did not want to discharge Maya.  But Maya was insistent that she was feeling fine. In the end, Dr. de Guzman also had to be consulted in the process.  Maya was then released on the proviso that she returns as an outpatient the  next day for various tests. Nanay Teresita also found that they do not have any bill to settle  since Richard already made payments and left strict instructions that any outstanding bill will be sent to him.

When the doctor left her room,  Maya took her phone out to ring Lisa. She needed a big favour from Richard’s secretary. In any case, what she intends to do is in the interest of both Lim Infrastructure Inc and herself. Lisa needed to speak with her boss while Maya’s private conversation  with Richard was long overdue.

Despite not liking helicopter rides, she needed the quick transport this time. Still, her nerves were thoroughly rattled by the time she reached San Nicholas.  Her mother was insisting to accompany her but Maya adamantly refused. She really needed to do this alone.

When they touched down on the expansive green lawn of the Spanish villa, it was almost twilight with the horizon taking on orange and purple hues.  Maya thanked Capt. Lem profusely before disboarding.  She waited for the helicopter to lift-off before turning her attention to the villa.  There were  no visible movements inside. And everything was in darkness.

Maya went round the house to check the beachfront side. There was no one about. It certainly looked as if no one was home.

“He must be here…” Maya said to herself.

Walking up the steps, Maya crossed the veranda to try the lever-type door handle of the front engraved wooden door. It was locked. She went back to the side  to see if she can have access through the kitchen door.  The door was closed but when she tried the door knob, it readily turned and opened the heavy panel door.

Maya stepped inside and waited a minute before her pupils adjusted to the darkness inside. Her hand groped along the walls until she found the light switch. It illuminated the kitchen area and the family room. No one was about.

As she went through, she opened wall lights on the hallway.  She saw that all renovations have finished.  The family room was carpeted with a gleaming new billiard table and a plush L-shaped couch already installed.   Even the dining room had a 10-seater glass-topped oval mahogany dining table with hand-carved chairs.  Her fingers traced the entwined roses detail  on the back rest.  It was the perfect match for the mural wall of the room. Maya peered into the huge ballroom and saw that except for the gleaming baby grand piano in one corner, it was empty.  The same was the case of the three bedrooms  that remained unfurnished.

Maya knows she was just delaying the moment as she took her time noting all the changes since she last visited.   Maya sighed as she walked towards the master suite of rooms.  The sun has properly set as she went through the villa so everything was in darkness when she finally reached the sitting room. She flicked the lights on. Richard was nowhere in sight.  She crossed  the sitting room to search his bedroom. His bed was in disarray but the room was likewise empty.  For good measure, she checked the ensuite bathroom which was also unoccupied.

Maya sighed as she sat on the four-poster bed.  She was so sure he was here. It seems she was mistaken.

Where could Richard be?

After a few minutes, Maya got up and left the master suite.  She went out of the house again and was making her way back to her parents’ house when she decided to retrace her steps and check the carport.  She wanted to check if the Land Cruiser was where it was normally parked. If it wasn’t, then Richard may have gone out.

The Land Cruiser was there. And right beside it was Richard’s navy blue BMW!

So, she was right! Richard has been holed-up  in the Spanish villa. He must have taken his car on the RORO or the roll-on/roll-off ferry.  And judging from the film of dust on the navy blue paintwork, it has been parked there for several days.

Richard must be inside the house.  But she has searched every room.

Except for the alcove. You never checked the alcove for some reason. Afraid?

Petrified!  Maya was scared of what she would find in the alcove.

With a feeling of impending doom, Maya slowly retraced her steps back into the house. She crossed the sitting room to open the bi-fold doors. As she stepped on the cobbled pavement, Maya’s foot nudged a bottle of alcohol. With a feeling of déjà vu, she picked it up and saw that it was a bottle of Scotch. She picked up another and then another.

Then, she caught a glimpse of Richard lying motionless on the ground. Maya froze in dread. She waited for him to move but he didn’t. With her breathing uneven, she placed the bottles against the wall. Then, her unsteady hand searched  the wall nearest the bi-fold doors until she found  the switch of  the spotlights.

“Arrgggh!  Shit! Turn off the bloody lights!” Richard moaned from the ground.

Maya closed her eyes as she released a shaky breath of relief  that her bad dream did not become reality.  She never thought she would gladly hear him yell profanity. But in this rare instance, she did.

Maya saw that Richard was actually lying by the foot of the statue. He was wearing black jeans with a half-buttoned shirt. And he had crossed his arm across his eyes to protect himself from the spotlight’s glare.  He also had  a beige-coloured cloth  spread over his face to cover  his eyes.

Now that Maya has found him. She was unsure what to do next. For several minutes, she just stood there looking down at him. Slowly, Maya went down to kneel beside him and got a good whiff of alcohol mixed with sweat.  Her hand shook his shoulder tentatively.

“Richard, get up!”

When he wouldn’t budge, she pried the beige cloth off his face. It took a couple of tugs  for he was clutching it between his fingers.  Maya frowned for the beige cloth had a little white bow that looked very familiar. She held it up to unfold it. It was her beige singlet,   the same piece of clothing she could not find the last time she was at the villa!  He must have found it in his bedroom.

And Richard had been grasping it. He even had it spread across his face. The significance of his actions tugged at her heartstrings. Maya dampened down the feeling and shook him again by the shoulders. Harder this time.

Then, Richard opened his blood shot eyes and looked up at her. Groaning, he shut his eyes once more. “Not again! Can you not leave me alone?”

Well, that was not exactly a warm reception!

With firm resolve, Maya leaned over again and strongly shook his arm with both her hands. Richard groaned but captured one hand that was shaking him. He took the beige singlet off her hand and looked up at her. His arm reached out and slowly touched her face.

“You are really here…” he said in wonder.

“Uhmmmnn” Maya confirmed  while she quickly straightened to put some distance between the two of them. To say that she was ill-at-ease was putting it mildly.

Richard slowly shook his head as if to clear it.  He continued to stare at her, following her movements with his bleary eyes. Richard slowly sat up while Maya stood up to collect more alcohol bottles to avoid tripping over them. She was already regretting coming over to find him. She was unsure if she was ready for this post mortem.

“Siguro dapat maligo ka muna. Magluluto lang ako ng makakain.” Maya went towards the sitting room but had to look back to see Richard remaining sitting on the ground staring at her with a dazed look on his face. “Richard?”

As response, he just continued to stare at her.  This made Maya very uncomfortable, making her  shift her weight from one foot to another.

“Richard?” she prompted again.

“Yeah, I will. Just give me a second. Everything’s spinning.”

Maya heard him stifle a groan of pain as she turned her back to walk towards the hallway. She reckoned  he must have a monster of a headache with all the amount of alcohol he has been imbibing. Serves him right, she thought unsympathetically.

Maya retraced her steps back to the kitchen area where she looked into the pantry. There were frozen meat in the freezer but she was hoping to cook something fast like scrambled eggs.  There weren’t any. There was also no bread either.

In the end, she decided to fetch some supplies from her parent’s house.  Thinking that Richard was still in the shower, she left the villa without letting him know.  She should be back before he even becomes aware that she had been gone.

At her parents’ home,   Kute was very surprised to see her back in San Nicholas.  She quickly explained  the situation before going into the kitchen. There was pork adobo and rice kept warm in the rice cooker. She decided that taking cooked  food would be a much faster option instead of cooking from scratch.  Her sister offered to walk her back to the villa but she declined, needing the quiet time to gather her chaotic thoughts.

Maya admitted to herself that she was very much troubled by how Richard looked. He looked very pale and thin. He was obviously neglecting himself.

When she got back to the villa, she set the plates and cutlery on the breakfast bar.  She heated up the pork adobo in the microwave and set off to fetch Richard from the bedroom.

Maya peered  into the sitting room and heard sounds from the alcove.

Damn Richard for being difficult!  She has been gone awhile and he still did not make a move. She crossed the distance and  would have told off Richard for not taking a shower  but she saw that he was no longer on the ground.  She also noticed that Richard’s hair was damp and was wearing a  different shirt and pair of slacks. He was sitting on the round daybed with his bent head in his hands. His shoulders were shaking and he was  sobbing!

This was a sight she never envisaged to see. And Maya’s heart went out to him.  She quickly went to his side and her arms went round his very thin frame. Maya was now very sure of one thing.  Despite everything that has happened, Maya still cares very deeply for Richard.

“Richard, what’s wrong?”

to be continued…

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55 responses to “Long-held Torch – Part 16”

  1. chuwie966 says :

    I can’t stop crying while I read the story …..my heart goes to both of them they”ve suffer so much now that they could finally sit and talk it out whatever they need to discussed and will find in their hearts ESP Maya to forgive him and I hope Richard will be on how toes ASAP and faced all the problems he had with Maya and his company I’m so happy of how the story went sana magkaayos na sila they deserved happy and I hope malagpasan nila ito at and would make their relationship more stronger than ever….thank you soooo much Ms Cyndi for this beautiful story it was all worth the wait nabasa ko nga ulit ang whole chapter few days ago started on tuesday and done reading Thursday and will never get tired reading it over again….once again thank you and have a nice weekend I know I willl……….

  2. rambler2013 says :

    always worth the wait =)….

  3. savi says :

    biiiiiiiiitttttttiiiinnnnnn po!!! i waited so long for this pero waaaaahhh torture po talaga grabe ……. mag aaaaaannnntaayyyyy na naman po ulit huhuhu….. despite all of my complaint i still and will visit your site for updates everday as i usually do before sleeping ……. before i forget thank you po sa chapter na ito

  4. banana08 says :

    i guess Richard thought that she left him again. prepare for more heartbreaking scenes, i guess. thanks for this!

  5. liwayw says :

    haist medyo gumaan ng kunti ang sakit. may galit pa rin ako kay singkit sana todong bawi at paliwanag ang gawin nya. salamat at sana may update agad

  6. srepotente says :

    So intense and emotionally draining…..worth the wait Cyndi. Thanks and God bless!

  7. Virgie says :

    What a weekend treat indeed…it’s really worth waiting…I know I’m one of the impatient…can’t blame me I love LHT indeed. I know it will take a while to heal the wounds, that they encountered as long as Love for both still there…and this time will be stronger…thanks for this chapter Ms Cindy, it’s so sad, got tears in my eyes, felt what Maya went through…hope there is happiness at the end of the tunnel..will be here waiting patiently for next chapter…😄

  8. sherrlagneeeeee says :

    my heart goes out to both of them.😦

  9. flevents says :

    Wow! This was a very emotional yet beautiful chapter. I hope you don’t take too long before updating. LHT is a great story.

  10. Mitzi says :

    Dearest Cyndi,
    I did not like being an addict to something. It took a while but I finally weaned myself off from the need of watching bcwmh and from reading its fanfics. Well, weaned off except three or four authors that I still check out from time to time in case merong bagong chapter.Afterall, who can easily let go of something like LHT and Cyndiresti?
    I must admit,Chapter 15 was not a very enjoyable chapter for me. My hero turns out to be…not simply flawed, he was sick and a psychotic rapist. I stopped liking him there and was thinking,how in the world are you gonna pull that off with such an ugly twist of his character like that! Then comes Chapter16 after almost two months of waiting..I was afraid to read it but by the time I was in the last few paragraphs,I found that like Maya,I am still in love with Richard and was ready to forgive all his sins.
    Oh dear talented writer! You play with our emotions too well. Thank you again!
    Mitzi

    • Cyndi Resti says :

      Hello Mitzi, I had an inkling that you felt this way after what my Richard had done…coz you kept quiet😊 But I am glad you still decided to read what happened next. It is truly amazing what a woman can forgive and what is even more amazing is what a man is prepared to do…he can even change…all in the name of love❤️

  11. donutella says :

    so heartbreaking. yet the last scene opens the road to forgiveness.

  12. Batiboj says :

    Ooooooohhhhhh what a very touching story, tears and chest pain are the names for this story… You, the writer , my hats off to you! Thank you, hopefully the next chapter will come soon? Thanks again!

  13. SEY says :

    Ms cyndi, you really made me cry, every words and every scenes made me feel that I was really there in the story. As if I’m Maya in the story …the pain, worry and love for Richard are exactly within me. Thank you for sharing your wonderful master piece with us. Hope the next chapter will come soon as everyday I can’t stop thinking about them as to what will happen next. I’m so in love with LHT!!!!

  14. AKOITO says :

    SO LOVED IT THOUGH MY HEART WAS CRYING … ANTICIPATING FOR THE 17 SOON PLEASE!

  15. enfumiao30 says :

    so heart wrenching..so magkaayos na sila..

  16. rom23316 says :

    Ms. Cyndi, this is really a beautiful story, so touchy and honestly I cannot control my tears while I’m reading it. It’s always worth the long wait but hopefully the update will not be that long.. sorry if I sound impatient, it’s just, we’re so eager what will be the flow of the story.

  17. jan1000 says :

    Richard is blaming himself for losing his child.. Hope Maya will embrace him and forgive him.. Next chPter asap pls.. Thanks!

  18. rss9485 says :

    This is hard. This is really hard. I know he loves her and all but hurting her in that way just to prove that she’s his is just wrong. Now though ndi lang si Maya ang nasasaktan, pati sya, and I think his pain is twice more painful. Must admit I kind of liked the last part. Sadistic maybe but… I don’t know, parang he deserves it too much. Believing that Maya was there then he came out and found her gone. My way of thinking might sound crazy pero parang significant yung scene na yun sa usapan nilang dalawa.

    I’m still hoping though na maging maayos ang lahat and that some day they will have a baby, or two😀 . Sana their story will have a better ending than their predecessors. It will be a hard journey for both of them pero hopefully they’ll get to their destination with far more wisdom than when they began.

    Ms. Cyndi, this is worth the wait. I’m sure natagalan ka dito because of the depth of what happened in the previous chapter but still, with this, one I think they’re on their way to the healing part.

    Thanks for this!😀

  19. ayeth says :

    OMG! Ms.Cyndi…you did it again….cliffhanger na naman…but owww that was so sweet & caring of Maya & for her to realize na mahal pa rin nya si Richard inspite of what happened…& to Richard – you really love Maya as in obsessed with her ….words are not enough how grateful I am Ms.Cyndi for giving us such a very very very beautiful love story (to the highest level)! …worth all the wait…thank you so much!

  20. princemackaroo says :

    This is yet another heart wrenching and moving chapter. First off, we saw the reality of things. From Maya’s anger towards Richard to Richard’s remorse over his actions. The natural reaction we’d really expect from the offended party to the offending side. I know it’ll be hard for Maya to take everything that happened especially the lost of her child. Given that it’s already explained to her the exact reason for her miscarriage, but at times like this, it is easier to put the blame on someone else’s shoulder, one of the common coping mechanism of a person. Lucky for Maya, she was surrounded by people who not only loves her, but understands what she’s going through. With the help of these people, Maya will eventually get to her senses and find the courage to forgive Richard completely.

    Moving on to Richard, he acted out of irrationality and jealousy and is now reaping the consequences of his inexcusable actions. Whatever happened to Maya, however painful it may be, gave way for the couple to better know themselves. Now we see Richard’s remorse but it should not just stop there. He should act on it and make a firm resolve to have a better version of himself. I remember my friend telling us that nothing could ever move her more than see a man crying, of course those crying real tears and not just crocodile tears.🙂

    I’m quite positive and I believe that the writer has something good up her sleeves especially in the coming chapters (as always. :D) I also am looking forward to the time when Maya will be brave enough to forgive Richard completely. Bravery isn’t really being able to pull up a cold front and punish those who trespassed against you severely. I believe that true courage and bravery is when you overcome the consumption of anger and be able to forgive those who sinned against you. It does not necessarily mean that the offender can easily get away with his sins, cause one way or another his action will have its just consequences. To be consumed by anger is easy especially if they hurt you severely but to look beyond the hurt, the frustration, fear, and anger, takes a lot of firm resolve, strength and courage to do so.

    This challenge that the couple is facing right now, if faced and looked at, with the right and proper perspective, will definitely make them a better person and make their relationship stronger.😀

  21. genesis499a says :

    Sa Wakas after 10yrs my update n uli salamat po hehe!kkdurog ng puso, can’t wait for chapter 17🙂

  22. mzabel315 says :

    Thanks for the update. Nicely laid out sequences from heavy stuff to subtle moments..nice interjecting the dream related to the history of the carvings & their ancestors.. keep it up.will wait for the next one

  23. vemmelin says :

    I guess am one of those who was impatiently waiting for this update, but when it came, it took me several hours before finding the courage to read it – preparing myself to avoid the same “distress” Chapter 15 caused me when I found myself “un-loving” the character of Richard who I fell in love with in the first 14 installments. Ang galing mo talaga magsulat, Ms Cyndi – this chapter is so intense and full of emotions… anger, pain, grief, regret, gloom, longing, repentance, anxiety, fear, restlessness, confusion, love, forgiveness, etc. At the end of this chapter, I more clearly understand that one can truly love a person with all the imperfections, and hopefully Richard will be able to prove to Maya that he can truly change in the name of love and that he will be given the chance. Chapter 16 is indeed worth the wait, and the next installment is even more craving for. More power and God bless.

  24. floe says :

    Heartbreaking chapter though mas okey na sa huli at least Maya knows deep inside that she’s still in love with richard …. ms.Cyndi hintay b na nman kme ng 2 months for the next chapter… Sana magkaayos n tlaga cla..

  25. rocsan888 says :

    cyndi…. this is sooo engaging. made me cry. hard. i feel their pain. but all relationship really go through a lot of bumps. that will be their ingredient for better and stronger relationship. they will get over it. they will survive. this one moved me. hope the next one will follow soon. worth the wait. kudos to your imagination.

  26. raxmyworld says :

    so intense ang chapter na ito…..pang MMK na ang kalibre ng LHT …kahit na natatagalan ang next updates hindi basta pwedeng bitawan ng readers. Thankie for sharing Ms. Cyndi !

  27. jeiah says :

    sobrang heartbreaking ‘tong charter na ‘to..😦
    thank you sa update.🙂

  28. gianni96950 says :

    I’d been waiting for this update but when I finally saw it, took me long to have the courage to read it…I know it will be heart wrenching at di nga ako nagkamali. I hope Maya will have the heart to forgive Richard…ang sakit sa dibdib. Thank you very much!!!!

  29. binky says :

    i’m an avid follower of yours.. please keep posting..

  30. eden1214 says :

    I cant help but feel so sad after reading this chapter.. I just cant see this two people who love passionately love each other being drifted apart… Im hoping maya will open her heart for richard.. He on the other hand will learn how to trust maya will all his heart.. Ms.. Cyndi next chapter na.. The agony of this chapter plus the long wait is too much to bear… Grabe sa kdramahan

  31. mariajpc says :

    thank you for the update🙂 it was worth the wait. Can’t wait for the next chapter🙂

  32. goldstreaks7 says :

    owwww…na-try nyo na bang maubusan ng luha dahil sa kakaiyak..kung hindi pa, try nyo kaya basahin to LOL looking forward to the next chapter…thanks!

  33. ladyflorblog says :

    i admit ms. cyndi, sobrang nainis ako kay Richard sa mga walang katuturang pagseselos nya… and i feel na dapat lang na maghiwalay na sila ni Maya para matauhan sya na mali ang ginawa nya… sabi ko it deserves him… though seeing his pain and agony sobrang naawa din naman ako sa kanya lalo na nung nalaman nya na buntis si Maya and she had a miscarriage and she might die because of the profuse bleeding… i could feel his fear… the fear of loosing his one true love, because of his actions… sa chapter na ito, sobrang nahabag ako kay Maya, lalo na nung nalaman nyang nawala na yung baby nya… pero after realizing that it is bound to happen, naawa ako sa kanilang dalawa… i wish they could talk to each other, I could feel their love for each other… pero Richard knows it would hurt Maya more kung makikita lang siya nito, lagi lang maipaaalala nito na nawala ang baby nila dahil sa kanya at yung mga masasamang ginawa nya… na kahit alam nyang hindi nya kakayanin, pinili nyang hindi magpakita kay Maya… at araw araw na sisihin ang sarili nya sa mga nangyayari.. sana magkaroon na ng kaliwanagan sa mga susunod na chapter… thanks for the update..

  34. joyfulmejoyce says :

    Well, they’ve said it all.. and once again! Superb mixed of emotions, heavy, brilliant, Bloody hell!. Pinukaw mo lang naman ang bato kong puso (chos!) Hahaha. I mean, what more could you ask for? This story is one of my most favourites here mainly because of its unique plot and writing style of the author ms.Cyndi! super thank you! Think I better get my hanky ready for the next chapter. This chap may have rend my heart, but who knows, baka may tears of joy naman.. Thanks & Godbless you always ms. Cindy!

    • Cyndi Resti says :

      Thank you for all your comments. These are busy months at work and I am usually mentally exhausted when I get home. BUT rest assured that I will conclude LHT. God bless😊

  35. alexatherese says :

    wow! oh em. tis is heartbreaking. please next chapter na.😦

  36. nance says :

    ms. cyndi, like all of your addict fanfic fans, i would like to have a happy ending,, pero masyado pa rin akong nasaktan at galit pa rin ako kay RL sa ginawa nya sa chapter 15… pwede ba ilabas mo rin ang matinding agony nya during the time na galit si maya sa kanya? makabawi man lang..para maging karapat dapat naman sya sa kapatawaran ni mayabels… bago sila mag kiss and make up…. suggestion lang naman… hehehe..

  37. Esther says :

    Another obra maestra Ms. Cyndi itong chapter na to that I can’t wait for the next one. Thank you for sharing your talent in writing with us. How the story was delivered eh dekalidad talaga. Thank you and we your fans will be waiting kung kelan lalabas ang ch 17.

  38. yumi says :

    Hello Ms.Cyndi I would like to thank you for writing & sharing your amazing talent with us…I’m an avid fan! I’ve read all your beautiful stories & LHT is my favorite.Every chapter is brilliantly written…an awesome story indeed!..My heart was crushed and practically crying with what happened to them.It’s beyond sad… huhuhu!….I’m so looking forward on what will Richard do for Maya to forgive him and to win her back…can’t wait for the next chapter.Thanks again & more power!:)

  39. rbbtotoy says :

    Masakit sa dibdib.

  40. rachel says :

    Hi Ms.Cyndi,
    So far, this is the best fanfic that I’ve read about richard and maya; I’ve been reading and re reading the chapters lest I forget the story and Iwon’t be able to relate to the present chapter because of the length of time of posting in between chapters; been waiting and waiting for the next update,but I know that the long wait has always been worth it.Thanks so much for such a riveting love story where the reader experiences all the emotions there is to be felt;just love it.

  41. rocsan888 says :

    cyndi. when kaya ang next? thanks

  42. Cyndi Resti says :

    Sorry, Rocsan. I am just halfway on the next chapter. I am just too busy at work. Got a case study that I need to present. So, that is taking priority at the moment.

  43. Rea says :

    update!!! Every part makes me cry…nice story Cyndi Resti!!! Love it!

  44. chuwie966 says :

    Hello Ms Cyndi !!! Just wanna say hi and of course checking any updates about favorite story !!! Jst got back from my vacation back home ( Philippines ) and had to buy the wifi on board so I could read during the flight and my flight even though it was long parang wala lang bec I have all of these beautiful stories that I read during the flight di na nga ako natulog same on my return well I’m actually in Osaka right now waiting for my connecting flt to SFO and I decided to go to your site again and see how we doing on our next chapter …anyway will be here like always will patiently wait till it comes out anyway I hope you had a quiet Holy week ….

    • Cyndi Resti says :

      Hello Chuwie, so we an now have WIFI on board a plane. That’s new to me…well, WIFI is relatively new to me. period.😝😝😝. And thank you for your patience.

  45. Mizwa8888 says :

    Sana May pa Easter chapter pleaseeeee….

  46. anesthadah says :

    Hi ms cyndi. Hope you are doing well with your case report preparation…miss your update na

  47. cvemmelin says :

    Happy Easter to you and your family, Ms Cyndi!

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