Time Will Reveal (One-shot Story)

Admin Note: *Contributed Story* Please give credit and thanks to Mary Poppins. 


A/N: Good day! This is my first story, unang try. I dont have any background in writing stories though, but the stories in EB somehow inspires me to write one. In my imagination, it went perfect, but I had a hard time, translating it into words… sorry for the grammatical errors…enjoy!……. Mary Poppins

 

Author: Mary Poppins

 

~*~

 

 

February 7, Calamba, Laguna…

 

“You heard me right Ricky, mas mabuti pa break na tayo”.

Ricky looked at her in disbelief, “No, you can’t do this to me Steff, tell me, you’re just joking. “

“I’ve never been more serious in my life Ricky…’

“You know how much I love you Steff, sasayangin mo ba ang seven years relationship natin? “

“That’s the point Ricky, seven long years and yet ano? Wala pa rin, ang mga plano mo sa buhay drawing pa rin. I know how much you love me… I still love you… It hurts, but I made my decision”

“Why? Is there someone else?”

“Wala Ricky, it’s just that I’ve reached this point na boring na, wala na yung excitement” Nakatulala si Ricky, he just could not accept the fact that the only girl he loved can do this to him, no maybe he was just having a bad dream. He stood still for a long time hoping he will wake up, but it was real…He pleaded, “Steff, forgive me, for whatever I did or did not do, but please give me a chance, let’s talk again tomorrow ..”

“Ricky, it’s over. Please don’t make it hard on both of us.”

Ricky pleaded, begged but it seemed Steff was unmoved. With a heavy heart, he started to leave.

 

Steff watched Ricky leave… It’s lucky, his 1994 Model Toyota Corolla started its engine on the first try. The engine roared loudly as he accelerated down the road until he’s out of her sight. She loved Ricky, but she made a decision. Ricky kailangan natin ito, hindi tayo pwedeng mabuhay ng komportable ng puro pag-ibig lang, kailangang mag-focus ka kung paano ka aasenso sa buhay, malay natin darating ang araw baka tayo pa rin… Oo naawa sya at nasasaktan, pero kailangan nyang gawin ito. At twenty seven, she’s not getting any younger. The realization dawned to her when she attended their high school reunion. Her friends were already happily married to the man of their dreams, living a comfortable life, she could not imagine it with Ricky. He could not even offer her marriage because she knew, he could not afford her dream wedding. Yes Ricky was good-looking kindhearted and ambitious, but aside from that– nothing. She couldn’t wait anymore. She wasted so much time. She was one of the prettiest face back in high school. When she met Ricky, she was blinded by his good looks. He was her first serious relationship. Her life revolved only with Ricky for seven years, now she realized she missed a great deal out of life. There are other men who would like to win her attention, as handsome as Ricky but rich guys. Why not give herself a chance to choose? For the first time in seven years, she felt free.

 

Ricky went straight to his room when he reached home, he could not explain the pain he felt right now. Why love gave him so much happiness and so much hurt. He will not give up on Steff this easy. He knew she will come to her senses and regret her decision. He tried to call Steff’s number several times but she only rejected his calls until he gave up. He texted her but she did not reply. He could not sleep until he consumed a bottle of wine.

 

When he woke up the next morning, he had a terrible headache, from the wine mixed with broken heart.

During breakfast, her mother must have sensed something wrong with him, she asked him. “Anak, ok ka lang ba?”

“Break na po kami ni Steff Ma” she told her mother. “Ok lang po ako ma, wala po ito”

Her mother said nothing, she just looked at him with an expression of relief. Her mother may not admit it but he knew she doesn’t like Steff for him. Ricky wondered what side her mother see in Steff that he didn’t see to dislike her like that. Maybe her mother just didn’t know her well enough.

“Anak, I’m sorry to hear that, pero hindi pa naman katapusan ng daigdig di ba? Anong malay mo baka meron diyang ibang babae na nakalaan sayo, yung nakahihigit pa kay Steff. Isipin mo na lang ito bilang bagong simula sa buhay mo, lalo na ngayon, mag uumpisa na ang business nyo ni Simon.”

 

New beginning–this was not the beginning he dreamed about, not without Steff by his side. He planned to tell the big news to Steff to surprise her but instead it was he was who received the biggest shock of his life.

He needs focus, it was a bad timing to feel so down in time for the opening of their new business. He and his best friend Simon were about to start a business next week. They were both civil engineers, it was their dream since college to become business partners. Actually they were into small time construction business years ago and now they saved enough resources to start bigtime. They bought a 500 square meters foreclosed property along the highway, just outside the gate of the subdivision where they live. They renovated the existing building where they will establish RS Construction Supplies and Hardware Store. On the second level of the building will be their RS Construction Office. In addition, they were about to start a big project next week. They won a contract to build a hotel and resort just three kilometers away from their place. Everything was falling into place, he thought it was his lucky year but he was wrong, he may be lucky in business but not when it comes to love.

 

Although Ricky was busy in their new business, he’s still hoping that Steff will come to her senses and eventually they will be back in each other’s arms, her thoughts still occupy his mind, He misses her a lot, The last time he saw her was when she personally delivered him a box containing all the gifts he gave her. “Kumusta na kaya siya?” He said aloud while he was scrutinizing the house design he created in autocad.

“Huli ka bestfriend, kausap mo na naman ang sarili mo” said Simon who was secretly observing him.

“Wala eh bestfriend, ganito na ako ngayon.dapat masanay ka na.” Ricky said sadly.

“You know friend, I think you should move on and leave the past behind. Nagiging stalker ka na ha, akala mo ba di ko napapansin na palagi mong tinitingnan ang profile sa FB ng ex mo? Ayokong maawa sa’yo sa gwapo mong yan, tiyak pag nalaman nila na available ka na ulit, maraming matutuwang mga chikababes, becky at matrona dyan sa tabi-tabi. Lalo na ngayon yayaman ka na…. Gwapo at mayaman, deadly combination yan. And mark my words, pagdating ng panahon, si Steff na mismo ang magmamakaawa na balikan mo siya..” Simon laughed out loud.

“Ikaw talaga, puro ka kalokohan.” Ricky smiled

“See, napangiti din kita, kidding aside bro, really I’m serious… hindi mo ba naiisip, she dumped you, that means she doesn’t want you in her life, and despite the efforts you are exerting to win her back…” Simon clicked his music player, “…I did my best, but I guess my best wasn’t good enough, coz here we are back where we were before…seems nothing ever changes…”

 

“Andito na pinadeliver na pizza, yuhooo, stop muna ang pag-emote” Kristina Rose entered the office carrying a box of pizza. “Wow, ganda na ng office ah, at astig ang computer, widesreen, sarap manood ng sine jan.”

“Kailangan namin yan sa paggawa ng building plans eh…at nakikita mo pa yung malaking printer na yan, yan ang plotter, diyan namin ipprint ang mga plano, hindi na kailangan ang drawing board…” boasted his elder brother, Simon “Sobrang hi-tech naman” Kris noticed how organized the office was,. That reflects his brother who wanted everything in its proper places and Ricky must have possessed the same quality too, maybe that’s why they clicked. The two were board mates and classmates back in college days, since then, they bacame the best of friends. Six years ago, Ricky’s family bought a house in the same subdivision where they lived, just a few blocks away from their house. And since he was his brother’s best friend, they treat him as one of the family.

“Kris, kain ka na”.. Ricky offered.

“Mamaya mo na hangaan yan…lahat ng space dito functional, pati yang ilalim ng sofa na yan…”

“Mga engineers talaga kayo…nice” Kris said while devouring her share of pizza.

“Eh maiba ako sis, kumusta naman ang tindahan natin sa ibaba?” Asked Simon.

“Naku, tumawag ulit ako dun sa supplier natin ng semento para di tau, kulangin sa stocks. At alam mo kuya, nag advertise na rin ako sa social media” Kris excitedly updated the two.

“Ganun? Eh kumusta, effective ba naman?,” Asked Ricky and Simon in unison.

“Mukhang effective, kasi yung pinsan ng kaklase ng anak ni aling Tekla ay sa atin namili ng materyales para sa ipapagawa nyang dog house, nakita daw nya kasi sa facebook nung ni like ng kaibigan nya yung page natin na ginawa ko. O di ba?.” They all laughed.

“Basta sis ha, hindi pwedeng mag stock ng maraming semento at baka tumigas. Inventory ka lang palagi ng stocks, para malaman agad kung kailangan ng mag padeliver ulit.”

 

Their new recruits Ryan and Frank, were still undergoing training, both were fresh graduates. They hoped that the following week would be smoother

 

Ricky came home late from work due to the many things that he needs to attend to. His mother was waiting for him. “Ma sabi ko naman, gagabihin ako, sana po kumain na kayo.”

“Ok lang anak nagmeryenda naman ako eh, kumusta na kayo ni Simon?” His mother was extra nice to him these days since she learned of the break-up.

Ricky updated her mother about how busy his day was in the office. “Sige anak pahinga ka na, alam kong pagod na pagod ka” He kissed her mother. “Good night Ma.”

In his room, he immediately freshened up and changed his clothes. He laid on his bed hoping that his tired body would put him to sleep, but he had a hard time sleeping, just like the previous nights. He reached out for his ipad on his bedside table. He checked Steff’s FB profile, there were newly uploaded pictures of Steff together with his high school batch mates. He recognized the scenery in Baguio city, they were very happy, It seems Steff was very happy with her freedom. She’s having fun while I’m grieving over her. Life isn’t fair...hindi mo ba naiisip, she dumped you, that means she doesn’t want you in her life… Siguro nga dapat ko nang simulang kalimutan sya. He removed Steff in his FB friend list, he removed all her traces in his FB and in his phone. He took a deep breath, and prayed until his exhaustion took over and he fell in deep sleep.

 

He woke up early feeling a bit refreshed he prepared himself for work and decided to leave early. His car was still in the repair shop, it would take him at least 15 minutes’ walk to reach their office. It’s a good thing the weather is fine. While walking, he passed by a neighbor’s house playing 80s music on his stereo. …I used to walk along the streets you used to walk along with me…and every step I take reminds me of just how we used to be…so how can I forget you girl, when there is always something there to remind me..

Ricky was first to arrive, when Kris and Simon came, Ricky was already finished cleaning the office.

“Good morning tol, aga mo ah!” Simon greeted him.

“Inagapan ko na, naglakad pa ako eh, nasa talyer pa rin ang karag karag ko. Nanghihingi na talaga ng kapalit pare. ” “Hayaan mo darating din tayo dyan. Palagay ko kaya nakipagbreak sayo si Steff eh, dahil sa auto mo, bawas pogi points.” Simon said laughing.

“Malamang hahaha!” Kris agreed.

“Kayo talagang magkapatid umagang umaga inaasar nyo ako. Mabuti pa magkape muna tayo, may dala akong puto medyo mainit pa.” Offered Ricky.

They went to the dining area cum kitchen to eat. “Next time bro kung magdadala ka ng ganito, magtetext ka muna para hindi nakakadalawang almusal itong si Kris.”

“Ako talaga, eh ikaw kaya? ” Kris said pretending to be pissed off with his brother. Then she turned to Ricky, “Oo nga pala Ricky, mamaya darating yung hinire kong accountant para iguide tayo sa financial matters. Remind ko lang sayo ha, dalaga pa yun…”

“Bro hulaan mo kung sino siya, Kilala mo yun at balita ko may crush daw sayo.” Simon added.

“Kuya, kailangan ba talaga ibisto…dati yun, matagal na.”

“Single and available yun, at pwede mong maligawan.”

“Alam mo bro, I’m not planning to court any other girl this time, magiging unfair lang sa kanya if ever…and I dont want to use any other girl just to get over Steff.”

“Well you have a point there. Mabait ka talaga bro.”

“Anong oras ba darating si Maya?” Ricky asked.

Kris looked at Ricky “Nahulaan mo?

“Sus, eh kapitbahay ko yun, natanaw ko nga yung car nya kanina eh. Akala ko nagwowork sya sa Manila?”

“Nagsawa na daw, nagresign na. Actually nag aaply yun sa St. Michael’s. Mga lunchtime ang dating nya.”

 

As promised Maya came at their office at lunch time. She was welcomed by Kris and led her upstairs to the office. “Wow ang ganda naman ng office nyo…Hi Simon, hi Ricky!” When Ricky smiled at her she felt her heart beat faster upon seeing him again up close.

“Before we go down to business, mabuti pa eh kumain muna tayo ng lunch.” Simon offered.

“Nakakahiya naman kuya.” said Maya with both hands on her cheeks.

“Asuus, ikaw ba yan.”

“Echos lang yun kuya hehehe.”

During lunch, Maya was seated next to Kris and across Ricky and Simon.

“Maya, mataba ka ata ngayon…” observed Simon.

“Mataba talaga Simon, hindi ba pwedeng tumaba lang.”

“Oo nga naman, magkaiba ang meaning nun bro. Ok lang Maya bagay naman sayo. ” Ricky said smiling.

“Ganun ba? Kris, isang platong kanin pa nga.”

From across the table, Ricky watched Maya, she may look simple at first glance, but the more he looked at her , the more she become beautiful in his eyes.. she exudes beauty from within… Simon, kasalanan mo ito, kung ano ano kasi ang itinatanim mo sa utak ko…

After the happy lunch, they rest for a while and watched a noontime show. At one o clock, Maya shared with them basic pointers on business accounting and how to handle financial matters. Afterwards she copied a file to Kris pc. A spreadsheet with formulas where Kris will encode all their financial activities. Maya custom made it especially for their business. She demonstrated to them how it works and said. Madali lang naman di ba? Kung meron kayong gustong ipadadagdag, just contact me.

“Salamat bff, hulog ka talaga ng langit.” Kris hugged Maya.

“Kris ako ba si bossing para ihulog ng langit?

They all broke into laughter.

“They cannot thank Maya enough for her big help in their business. Maya refused their payment and said jokingly, “You cannot afford my PF.”

“Ok guys, I gotta go. I’ll just drop by here every now and then, pag may time… “

From then on, Maya has been a constant visitor of their office, she was a great help when it comes to managing their finances, and they owed her a lot. She was happy to help them and she must admit it made her happy just seeing Ricky, though most of the times Ricky appeared to be aloof but secretly throwing glances at her when Maya’s not looking at his direction. To Maya, he’s simply the supladong mama that she used to know, and like Ricky, pasulyap sulyap din cya pag may time. The attraction is still there but she’s not expecting anything, she’s just happy to admire him from a distance. Anyway that’s her secret and she liked to keep it that way. (Yan ang akala mo Maya…)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Six months has quickly passed, their routine never changed, except that their workload tripled. They hired additional workforce to meet the growing needs of their clients. Business was doing very well, and they can foresee an early return of investment. Even Kristina Rose strategy was working, because some clients contacted them via social media.

One Saturday evening, Ricky came to the office from fieldwork in time for dinner. He was surprised to see many foods layed on the table. “Inihaw na tilapia, sisig, karekare, inihaw na talong, spareribs, sinigang na hipon, ensaladang kamatis na may manga …wow parang fiesta ah.” “Guys what’s the occasion?

“Inauguration of our newly constructed nipa hut there in our backyard. Hahaha! Nahirapan akong magdesign nyan sa autocad. Tara at sampolan na natin.” Simon joked.

“Hayy, nothing beats a good old nipa hut…” Kris sighed.

“At presko talaga dito, masarap ding magsiesta dito. Maginhawa talaga, buti na lang at hindi napaputol itong punong mangga na ito….Ok na ba ang mesa, Baldo? Halina kayo at sabay sabay na tayong kumain, ah Kris, si Maya ba papunta dito?

“Ay syanga pala kuya Ricky, bising bisi yung babaeng yun ngayon eh, hindi na nga makakaattend sa kasal ng pinsan nya sa Quezon. “

“Ah ganun ba, kaya pala lately eh hindi ko nakikita.”

Uy namimiss nya Kris was tempted.to voice out her thoughts. “Ah mabuti pa uwian mo ma lang nitong mga paborito nyang ulam at pakicheck na rin yung kaibigan ko ha, baka kasi wala syang kasama ngayon sa bahay nila.”

“Oh eh san si Sir Arturo at Mam Teresita?” (Maya’ parents, HS principal and HS teacher repectively)

“Di ba nga mag attend ng kasalan sa San Nicolas tapos eto namang kasambahay nyang si Doris ay namatayan ng lola”

“Ganun ba? ok, I’ll check on her”

“Salamat Ricky…”

 

After dinner, Ricky left the office with a bag in one hand containing the foods that Kris set aside for her friend. It’s a good thing, his car was in running condition again, he’s considering of buying an AUV soon. Sooner ay mapapalitan ko na rin ang aking karag-karag, sorry ha, matakaw ka na kasi sa maintenance, at nakakahiya ka na rin iporma, ewan kung mabenta ka pa, siguro pakakapitan na lang kita ng talaba at nang may pakinabang ka naman hehehe. Rickysaid to his car as if it can hear him. Now he can afford to buy a new car, and like Simon said, “We are representing our business, we have to impress our clients”

When he got home, he immediately freshen up and changed his clothes. “Ma, ihahatid ko lang ito sa kabila, kina Maya. Ewan kung napansin ni Ricky ang makahulugang ngiti ni Aling Esmeralda. Lately his mother noticed that his son was back to his old self again. She hoped Maya has something to do with it.

Ricky pushed the bell outside Maya’s gate, after several tries, he saw Maya peeked through the window, and she let him in. Mayas house was their closest neighbor, since their houses was only separated by a fence, Maya’s house was on the corner lot facing east while their house was on the left side. Her dog, Cooper only wiggled his tail upon seeing him, as a sign of recognition.

“Ricky, tuloy ka. Sorry ha muntik na kitang hindi pagbuksan wala kasi ako ineexpect na bisita eh.” Her voice sound hoarse.

“Tama lang yan lalo na at nagsosolo ka lang.”

“Bakit mo alam?”

“Kris told me, at eto pinadalhan ka nya ng food.”

“Thank you. Hindi pa nga ako naghahapunan eh.”

Ricky gave her a long stare and asked “Maya, are you sick? Malamlam kasi ang mata mo eh. At namamalat ka pa.”

“Ah, wala ito Ricky, mamaya lang ok na ako, pahinga lang siguro.”

“Sige aalis na ako para makapagpahinga ka na, pero kumain ka muna, sandali lang painitin muna natin itong sinigang.”

“Ako na Ricky nakakahiya naman sa’yo.” But Ricky ignored her, while he was heating the food in the Microwave oven, Maya started to prepare the table, she set two plates and said “Kumain ka na rin.”

“No tapos na ako, coffee na lang siguro.”

Maya prepared Ricky a cup of coffee. While she was eating, Ricky was drinking Maya’s coffee. Ricky sat across her on the table. She noticed a strange smile on Ricky’s face. Hmmm.. bakit kaya, eh wala namang nakakatawa.

Maya ate only a little, the food looked delicious but she had no appetite, her eyes and nose felt hot, and her throat felt sore. She only sipped the soup because it relieved the soreness of her throat. Ricky looked at her with concern, he felt her face and neck with the back of his hands. “Ang taas pala ng lagnat mo ah. Nakainom ka na ba ng gamot?”

“Hindi pa nga, naubos na pala ang stock ni mama.”

“Teka lang”, Ricky was on the phone talking to someone.”Kuya Jomma, asan ka? … Ahh mabuti… punta kami dyan ngayon ha….sasamahan ko lang ang kaibigan ko, sige, papunta na kami diyan, thank you.,”

 

They went to Jomma’s house, his cousin was a doctor by profession. After the examination… “You have a viral infection in your throat, heto ang reseta ko sayo, for seven days kailangan mong inumin ito, kahit na wala ka nang lagnat ha, and after 3 days at persistent pa rin ang fever, kailangang pumunta ka na sa lab for a blood test, meanwhile heto mga meds, kumpleto na yan lahat.“

“Salamat dok, eh magkano po ba ang charge?”

“Ah wala, i-cha charge ko na lang dyan sa account ng pinsan ko, hahaha!, besides yan namang mga gamot ay bigay lang ng mga sponsors ko na pharmaceutical companies”

“Sige, kuya Jomms salamat, aalis na kami at ng makapagpahinga na rin si Maya.”

“Salamat dok Jomma..”

You’re welcome, ingat kayo pag uwi.”

 

Jomma’s house was only ten minutes’ drive away from their house. They used Maya’s car, a Honda Civic model 2012. It was a comfortable car with a scent of a lady. He did not linger at Maya’s house, After Maya took her medication, he waited until her temperature go down   “I’m leaving, para maka rest ka na na, pag may problema tawagan mo lang ako ha. He dialed Maya’s phone “Save my number”

“Salamat Ricky.”

“No problem, kahit naman sino ay gagawin ang ginawa ko, nagkataon lang na ako yun.”

Oh my Gee How can I ignore this feeling kung ganyan ka. Alam ko naman na imposibleng maging tayo dahil may ibang laman yang puso mo, siguro umaasa ka pa rin na magkakabalikan kayo ni Steff.

 

Maya woke up the next morning from the sound of her phone. There’s a text from Ricky…” Good Morning! Don’t forget to take your meds…”

Ok, thank u!”

“Good girl, how are you feeling now?”

Better

“Nag breakfast ka na? “

Hindi pa, paiinitin ko pa yung ko yung arrozcaldo na binili mo kagabi”

“Good! punta ako dyan mamaya before lunch dalhan kita ng tinola ni mama sasamahan ko na rin ng kanin kaya wag ka nang magluto, nag aalala din siya sayo”

Pakisabi kay tita, salamat ha”

“Sure”

 

From Kris: “How are you BFF?”

“Im sick, ty sa padala mong foods ha.”

“May sakit ka? Gusto mo puntahan kita jan?”

“Kris wag ka mag alala, ok ako promise, nagpacheck-up na ako, sabi ng doktor viral infection, kailangan ko lang ubusin itong mga gamot ko and I need plenty of rest”

“ok, dalawin na lang kita mamaya, tinutulungan ko lang si Mommy pag aayos nitong bahay, baka mamaya pang mga four pm ako makakapunta dyan ha,”

“Ok”

At eleven thirty, Ricky came as promised.

“Bakit napakadami mo namang dalang food?”

“Kasi, dito ito rin ako mag lulunch, para naman may kasalo ka. Native chicken yan kaya malinamnam, damihan mo ang sabaw, kailangan mo ng maraming fluids sa katawan.”

Paano ba namang hindi ako gagaling nito kung ganito kagwapo ang, nag aasikaso…. Hayy Maya… enjoy it while it lasts.

“Ako na maghugas ng dishes.”

“Naku wag na, abuso na ako nyan…”

“Ako na, magbihis ka at pinagpapawisan ka na, ok.”

“Sige na nga. Naku marami na akong utang ako sayo…,”

“Ayoko namang magkasakit para lang makabayad ka… Di ba meron kang med na pang 12 noon.”

“Oo etong antibiotic, yung para sa lagnat, nainom ko na kanina kasi on and off pa rin fever ko.”

“Sige kung mamayang gabi ay may fever ka pa rin, magpa blood test ka na tomorrow.”

“Ang sabi ni Doc, three days daw, pag persistent pa ang fever, magpapalab na”

“Ok sinabi mo eh.”

“Ang bait ni Dok Jomma ano? At guapo pa. Binata pa yun di ba?”

“Hmmm. Taken na yun.”

“So, hindi naman ako interesado eh. Syempre naman at his age, and looks hindi nakakapagtaka yun.”

“Eh bakit ako, may looks din naman hahaha…”

“At least ikaw naman, may chance pang magkabalikan kayo.”

“I prayed for something like that to happen, but now, I think accepted ko na… na hindi talaga kami…bahala na si Lord sa love life ko …ha ha ha”

“Sorry, I dont mean to pry.”

“It’s okay, you need to rest, just ignore my presence, dito lang ako, manonood na lang ng HBO.”

 

Maya woke up at around three pm feeling better. There was a wet towel on her forehead. She couldn’t remember putting it, Ricky did, who else. She got up and decided to freshen up. She gazed at her reflection in the mirror, hmmm, sinong magsasabing, maysakit ako, wag lang aamuyin at baka mahalata na di pa naliligo.

 

She came out from her room to look for Ricky, but he wasn’t there. The TV was turned off. She checked her cellphone for some messages…From Ricky, “Alis muna ako magsisimba lang kami ni Mama.”

“Thank you Ricky for the concern, I’m feeling better, also give my thanks to tita Esmeralda”

 

Her doorbell rang, it was Kris. “Kumusta? Oh magaling ka na pala eh fresh na fresh ang hitsura mo. At ang bahay mukhang bagong linis, madudulas ang mga langaw dito eh.

Kanina hindi ito ganito, naglinis si Ricky?

“Syanga pala, may pasalubong ako sayong fruits…”

They talked almost endlessly, about work, business, chismis etc, except about Ricky, ewan but she did not feel like sharing it at the moment, for sure kantyaw ang aabutin nya mula kay Kris. She texted Ricky to tell him na andun si Kris. Hindi na siguro babalik si Ricky. Siguro ayaw din nya na malaman ni Kris at baka mabigyan pa ng Ibang meaning ang pagtulong nito sa kanya.

It was late at night when Kris left. She cooked her dinner and made sure that she had eaten properly and taken her medications before she decided to leave. She was about to sleep when her cellphone rang. It was Ricky.

“Hello Maya”

“Ricky”

“Kumain ka na ba? Yung meds mo nainom mo na ba?”

“Oo pinagluto ako ni Kris. At maganda na pakiramdam ko, mukhang tuloy tuloy na ito.”

“Good, basta if you need me I’m just a text away ok. Now go to sleep.”

Ok. Thank you.” And he hung up.

What if I need you?.

 

After Maya has recovered, he saw very little of Ricky, he spent most of his time at the construction site due to the many projects that he had to supervise. On the other hand Maya has started to work at St Michaels Corporation, Calamba branch as an accountant. Twice a month, she had to report at their Ortigas main office. She was still on the transition period, thus she had to work overtime most of the times. It was also seldom that she and Kris saw each, however if Kris needed her advice she entertained her over the phone or on facebook, she was glad that her friend was a fast learner. They also called each other about trivial matters if they have time. She was expecting Kris to tease her about Ricky, but it seemed she didn’t know anything. She was disappointed in a way that Ricky didn’t want others to know that he took care of her when she was sick. So kung big deal sa akin ang nangyari, kay Ricky wala lang. He just helped a damsel in distress, that’s all.

It’s not that she and Ricky had no communication at all, in fact Ricky texted her from time to time like some forwarded messages and jokes (teka, hindi na uso yun ah). It was always followed by her reply like “amen”, “Thank you” or “hehehe” Yun bang feeling na todo ang kabog ng dibdib mo dahil nagtext si crush, tapos forwarded message lang pala :)

Work hard na lang ang peg ni Maya, impress na ang mga boss nya, move on pa siya sa kabaliwan sa isang one sided love affair, siguro lost cause na talaga sila. Hmmm, meron naman syang bagong office mate na nagpapacute sa kanya, kaya lang twenty five years old lang, mas matanda siya ng two years. Well, age doesn’t matter as long as the matter doesn’t age.

 

 

 

 

 

First Saturday na ng November, tomorrow birthday na ni Kris, so its mall day, she decided to treat herself, pag open pa lang ng mall andun na sya, daan muna sya sa Ricky Reyes from head to toe she pampered herself, wow!gandang hindi inakala. Next stop, gift for Kris, then mamimili na sya ng mga bagong gamit Pero teka one pm na pala, kain muna ako ng lunch. Nakapila na siya sa McDonalds, at the same time patingin tingin sya kung may vacant na table, sa left side nakita nya si Ricky, medyo nakatalikod ito sa kanya kaya di sya nito nakita, yes! makikishare na lang ako ng table… pero pagsulyap nya ulit may ka share na sa table ni Ricky, si Steff, masaya silang nag-uusap. Lipat na lang ako sa KFC, mas masarap ang gravy dun.

After nyang matapos sa kanyang shopping galore, umuwi na sya, salamat na lang at hindi na muling nag krus ang mga landas nila.

For sure curious kayo kung bakit magkasama at ano ang pinag-uusapan nina Ricky at Steff, Ganito yun…

Sumaglit si Ricky sa mall para bumili ng gift sa birthday ni Kris, pero dahil nagugutom na siya, minabuti nya na kumain muna sa fastfood, tyempo naman na nakakuha agad sya ng table.

“Hi pwedeng makishare” sabi ng familiar voice.

“Steff, hi! Uhhm…sure, wala naman akong kasama.”

Hindi pa rin nagbabago si Steff, anyway nine months pa lang naman ang nakalipas since nung time na umiiyak syang nagmamakaawa dito, ilang gabi rin ba na napuyat sya sa kakaisip sa kanya…at ngayon andito sya sa harap ko, Ano bang nararamdaman ko? Ano bang dapat kong maramdaman?..

“Ricky…tititigan mo na lang ba ako? “

“Uhhm, kumusta ka na? Ano kasi, nagulat lang ako, hindi ko kasi ineexpect na magkikita tayo.”

“Ako rin, I’m happy to see you Ricky, I’m happy to know that you’re on your road to success. And I’m sorry for the hurt I caused you. I really am. I understand kung magagalit ka sa akin…”

“No, hindi ako galit, I’m happy to see you too.”

“Ahhm, how are you? I mean did you already found someone…?”

“If you mean girlfriend…wala pa. And if ever I’ll be in a relationship again I want it to last a lifetime, I want to get married before I’m thirty-two… What about you?”

“Ahh wala na kami ni Adrian…siguro nga narealize ko, nothing compares to what we had before.”

“So let’s eat, lalamig ang pagkain…” said Ricky to avoid the topic.

“San ka pupunta after this” Tanong ni Steff.

“Meron akong site inspection, may binili lang ako kaya ako pumunta dito. Ok, I’ll go ahead, It’s nice to see you again.”

“Ricky, I still have the same number.”

 

Meanwhile., Maya decided go home, initially, she planned to stay longer at the mall, but after seeing them together…ewan kung bakit ganito ang pakiramdam ko, hindi naman ako nag eexpect diba? Pero bakit ganito ang sakit sakit na makita ko silang magkasama ulit…Maya tigilan mo na ito, mag-entertain ka na kasi ng suitor twenty eight ka na sa January.

She locked her room, turned on the TV but she couldn’t concentrate on the show. She had to make her mind busy about other things, so she played candy crush until her eyes got tired and eventually fall asleep.

Ginising na lang sya ni Mama Teresita before dinner time, “Nak halika na sabay sabay na tayong kumain ng papa mo, nak masama ba pakiramdam mo?”

“Hindi po ma, napagod lang po ako. Sandali po check ko lang messages ko sa cp ko.”

From Kris…”Maaga tayo bukas Maya ha, before six dapat andito ka na…”

From Ricky… “I’ll pick you up at 5:30 am tomorrow,”

 

Exactly 5:30 am, when Ricky beeped his horn to announce his arrival. She noticed that the engine sounded different. Outside she saw a brand new black Misubishi Montero.

“Ma, paalis na po kami” Ricky opened the car’s door for her “Ingat kayo anak, ingat mag drive Ricky”

“Salamat po Mama Tess.”

Mama Tess? At kelan mo pa naging nanay ang nanay ko?

Pagdating nila kina Kris..

“Happy birthday bff. Namiss kita” Sabay yakap kaibigan.”

“Wow muntik na kitang hindi makilala ah, sobrang ganda mo ngayon promise”

“Salamat… nagpagupit lang naman ako eh”

“Iba ang arrive mo eh, in love ka ba? Pinaglilihiman mo na ako ha.”

“Ewan ko sa yo”

“Eh, mabuti pa, kumain muna kayo.”

“Kumain na ako, Ewan ko itong si Ricky.”

“Ok na rin ako”

“Sige ikakarga lang namin itong mga baon natin at ng makaalis na tayo.”

“Wow ganda ng mga wheels nyo ah, nahiya naman ang kotse ko nyan…” Ang kay Simon naman ay isang Toyota Fortuner.

“Dito ba tayo sa fortuner? Tabi na lang tayo Kris ha.”

“Hindi, dun ka sasakay sa Montero, syempre break-in ito kaya dapat long drive, Sa Lucban Quezon tayo mag lulunch…o eto ang mga baon nyong snacks para di kayo magutom.

Awkward moment ito, hayy, kung hindi lang birthday mo Kris, hindi na ako sasama.

“Naninibago pa ako, mas sanay ako dun sa karag karag ko.”

Maya just smiled at him, gusto nyang sabihin na… nakita ko kayo ni Steff sa mall kahapon. Pero ayaw din naman nyang marinig ang isasagot nito na… Yes nagkabalikan na kami. Kakaiba ang saya ni Ricky, may sparkle ang mga mata nito. Siguro nga dahil masaya na naman ang lovelife nito.

“Maya, are you ok? Ang tahimik mo kasi, hindi ako sanay.”

“Ah ok lang ako may iniisip lang ako about.. work, yun lang.”

“Kumusta naman ang bago mong work?”

“Ok naman, medyo smooth sailing na.”

“At maganda ang pay…”

“Ok na rin…gaano ba katagal travel natin?”

“Two and a half hours if there’s no traffic, the problem is, there are many road reblocking nowadays kasi maraming roads na under repair.”

“Kung gusto mo matulog ka muna…”

“Ok lang?”

“Ok lang…pag inantok naman ako eh ikaw naman ang magdadrive hahaha.”

“Pwede rin…”

Maya pretended to be asleep, ang totoo, hindi sya komportable na sila lang dalawa ang magkasama.

Nagpatugtog na lang ng music si Ricky mga love songs galing sa kanyang flash drive….

I’ve known you for so long

You are a friend of mine

But is this all we’d ever be?

I’ve loved you ever since

You are a friend of mine

And babe is this all we ever could be?

(Friend of mine by Odette Quezada)

———

I can’t fight this feeling any longer

And yet I’m still afraid to let it flow

What started out as friendship has grown stronger

I only wish I had the strength to let it show

I tell myself that I can’t hold out forever

I said there is no reason for my fear

Cause I feel so secure when were together

You gave my life direction

You made everything so clear…

(I can’t fight this feeling-

————-

 

At dahil hindi naman talaga natutulog si maya, nag enjoy lang sya sa mga music, ok ang playlist mo Ricky, wish ko lang para sa akin ang mga yan.

Nag stop sila sa gas station sa San Pablo, para magpa gas at mag rest na rin.

“Oh parang kilala ko kayo ah”, joke ni Ricky kay Simon at Kris

“Hahaha…Napapansin ko sayo bro kahapon ka pa masaya, kakaiba ang aura mo, I wonder why?”

“Secret! Sige guys restroom muna ako.”

When Ricky was at a safe distance away from them….

“I knew why guys, I saw him with Steff sa mall yesterday.”

“Oh, I knew it. Babalikan lang sya ni Steff pag umaasenso na sya.”

“Kuya Simon I thought you like that girl for your friend?”

“Hey seryosong usapan yata yan ah!”

“Hahaha, wala ito, pinag uusapan lang namin ang bagong suitor ni Maya…”

A grim expression crossed Ricky’s face, or was it just her imagination. “Tara na! Maya, guys, medyo malayo pa trip natin.”

Sa second part ng trip nila, tahimik na rin si Ricky na offend kaya sya dahil sa seryosong usapan nila, or baka naman nasense nya na sya ang topic. Nagpatugtog ito ng mga folk songs, si Maya naman nagpretend ulit na natutulog hanggang sa totoong nakatulog na siya.

Nine thirty na nga nakarating sila sa Kamay ni Jesus Shrine sa Lucban, Quezon, nagulat si Maya ng hinawakan sya sa kamay ni ricky para gisingin.

“Wake up Maya, were already here…”

Bakit sa kamay, pwede namang sa braso lang, hmm wala naman sigurong malisya yun, masyado lang akong assuming…

 

“Wow Ricky, ang ganda pala dito at ang daming tao.”

“Mas madaming tao dito pag lenten season. Next time punta tayo dito pag lent, mahirap nga lang daw ang parking kaya mas ok kung stay tayo sa resort dyan lang daw sa tapat nitong shrine, kailangan lang advanced booking. “

” Ahh… asan na ba yung magkapatid? Iniwan na tayo.”

“Umuna na sila dun sa church, halika, kakaumpisa pa lang daw ng mass.”

 

As expected puno na ang simbahan, Ayun pala ang kaibigan nya nakaupo na. Ewan ba naman itong si Kris at hinayaan na lang siya kay Ricky, kakausapin kita pag uwi natin, akala mo hindi ko nahahalata… Tumayo na lang sila sa bandang likod.

Thankfully, somebody offered them a seat, “Miss dito ka na lang kayo maupo, malikot ang anak ko eh, dun na lang kami sa labas.”

“Thank you po,”

When Maya was seated, Ricky squeezed himself to a space next to Maya, hmm masyadong close. Maya concentrate ka lang sa mass…sorry po Lord, promise po iiwasan ko na ang mga ganitong moment.

After the mass they proceeded to a nearby kamayan restaurant for a sumptous lunch.

Maganda ang ambiance, dun sila kumain sa floating raft, sariwa ang mga isda at gulay, at malamig ang simoy ng hangin.

“Siguro masarap tumira dito… parang nawawala ang mga problema… ang gaan gaan ng feeling.”

“Korek ka d’yan Maya, pag umuwi si Jeff, babalik tayo dito” (Tama kayo, si Jeff ay boyfriend ni Kris, isang seaman)

“Pag free time si Liza isasama ko sya dito…ng kami lang.” (Si Liza naman, girlfriend ni Simon, isang doktor palaging busy sa work)

“Simon, tuloy na ba wedding nyo next year? ” Ask ni Ricky

“Oo sana, pero baka later part pa next year.”

“Naku, dalian nyo baka maunahan pa namin kayo nyan.”

“Balak mo na rin magpakasal, bakit pumayag na ba?”

“Hindi ko pa nasasabi, pinaghahandaan ko pa eh, nag iisip pa ako ng right words to say, para hindi sya tatanggi.”

“Yun lamang hahaha, sige go, at nang meron na kaming makatulong sa shop, magaling ba sya sa business?”

“Busy yun eh, gawin na lang nating Supervisor mo Kris.”

“Ganun boss ko agad, hindi ba pwedeng assistant ko muna.? Ipagdadasal ko na wag sanang pumayag.”

“Eh may plan B naman ako pag di sya pumayag– kikidnapin ko sya, dadalhin ko sya sa isang island na kami lang ang tao for one week.”

“Ganun? Siraulo! Tara na nga, bumalik na tayo dun sa Kamay ni Jesus, akyat tayo dun sa risen Christ.”

Nakikinig lang si Maya sa usapan ng tatlo. Ayaw nyang makisali, Naglaro na lang sya ng candy crush sa kanyang phone, as if she’s so engrossed with the game and didn’t hear them talking. Ano ka ba naman Ricky, kung kelan ko naeexperience ang closeness mo, saka naman ganito…sana aware ka na nasasaktan ako, kaya lang tanggap ko na hindi magiging tayo, dapat lang talaga na umiwas na ako sayo.

 

Sa sasakyan ni Simon…

Alam mo Kris, hindi ko maintindihan yang si Ricky one moment I have a feeling that she’s referring to Maya. Pero kung nakita sila ni Maya na magkasamang nag mall, ibig sabihin lang nun, all this time, hinahabol pa rin ni Ricky si Steff?”

“Ewan ko ba kuya, kayo ang mag bestfriend eh.”

“Oo nga mag bestfriends kami, pero hindi ko sya pwedeng pakialaman lalo na sa lovelife, kasi kahit ako, ayokong pinakikialaman ako ng iba. Isa pa I’ve done my part, pinayuhan ko na sya noon pa na kalimutan na si Steff, akala ko nga nakapag move-on na sya… yun pala nag lie low lang, tsk tsk tsk… sa tingin mo ba affected si Maya?”

“Ewan ko kuya, parang hindi naman kasi nababaliw sa candy crush eh. Ang alam ko dati may feelings si Maya kay Ricky pero pano ba naman magkakagustuhan yang dalawang yan eh bahagya na nga magpansinan, kwento nga ni Ricky eh natulog lang sa byahe si Maya, sa tingin ko parang hindi sila komportable sa isa’t isa.”

“Ako man gusto ko si Maya para kay Ricky, minsan ko na ring nasabi sa kanya na ligawan nya si Maya, pero sabi nya unfair daw kung manliligaw siya para lang maka move on. Mabait talaga ang kaibigan ko kaya lang…medyo tanga hahaha.”

“Kuya, mahirap talagang kalimutan ang seven years, kaya tigilan na natin ang pagma match sa kanila.”

“Anong ako, eh ikaw lang naman ang makulit.

 

Itinuloy na lang ni Maya ang nilalaro nitong candy crush habang pabalik sila ng Kamay ni Jesus, malapit lang naman ang byahe nila pero iwas mode talaga siya kay Ricky, mabuti na lang at hindi ito nag attempt magbukas ng conversation. In fairness nakakaadik pala ang larong ito. Na stuck na sya sa level 33 at ubos na rin ang life.

Si Kris ang kasama nya pag akyat sa bundok, stations of the cross ang mga naglalakihang images, simula sa last supper at ang pinaka ituktok ay may higanteng statue ng Risen Christ, nag aalay sila ng dasal sa bawat stations hanggang makarating sa itaas. sa pinaka itaas ay merong mini park, naroon na yung dalawa ni Simon at namamahinga na sa mga upuan doon. Nag picture taking muna sila syempre pang facebook. Maganda ang view mula sa itaas. Sa ibaba, nandun ang images from old testament, mula kay adam and eve, moses, at building na style Noahs arc. Meron ding mga burol na mga mysteries naman ng holy rosary ang nakakagay.

Pagkatapos nilang maglibot, nagshopping na sila sa mga souvenir shops, nalibang sa paglilibot si Maya, di nya napansin na nahiwalay na sya sa grupo, Patay! Lowbat nga pala cp ko kakalaro ng Candy Crush, power off na ito ngayon.

“Maya! ” Boses yun ni Ricky. “Kanina ka pa namin hinahanap, hindi ka naman namin ma call?”

“Sorry, Na lowbat kasi cp ko, paalis na ba tayo?

“Hindi pa naman, pahinga muna tayo, hindi ka ba napagod, may nirent na kubo si Kris

.”

“Wait lang picturan ko muna yung pond na yun ang ganda, para maipakita ko sa mga officemates ko.”

“You know what? Mas maganda yan pag me tao…excuse me…brod! Paki kuhanan naman kami ng picture. “

“Sige po Sir, lumapit po kayo ng konti, ayan…one..two..three.”

“Nagulat si Maya ng bigla syang akbayan ni Ricky.”

“Salamat brod ha.”

“Kung ipost ko kaya ito sa fb…?”

“Maraming matutuwa… I’m sure”

“Tara na nga, san ba yung kubo…”

Samantalahin mo na lang kaya Maya ang sweetness ni Ricky, anyway, starting tomorrow ay iiwasan mo na sya, at least you have something to remember him by.

 

Nag stay sila sa kubo for more than an hour, nagmeryenda, nagpahinga at natulog. Around 5 pm sila umalis ng Lucban.

Maya tried to be at ease with Ricky, She sat in silence and continued to play her candy crush game. Mabuti na lang nakapag charge sya kanina.

“Kausapin mo naman ako para hindi ako antukin.”

“Eh ano naman pag-uusapan natin.”

“Sabi ni Mama pag first time mo daw makarating sa isang church dapat daw mag wiwish ka , ikaw ba ay nag wish?” Ricky asked her.

“Oo naman”

“Eh ano namang winish mo?”

“Peace on earth.”

“Hahaha pang beauty pageant… hindi mo man lang ba winish na sana mahal ka rin nung mahal mo?”

“Eh ikaw ano naman wish mo?” Maya answered Ricky’s question with question.”

“Ang wish ko sana ay matuloy na yung wedding plans ko next year. Ikaw ba, kelan mo balak mag settle down?”

“Nothing definite pero sana before I’m 30… “

“And you are 28 on your coming birthday so pwede na next year… If you don’t mind me asking, are you in a relationship?”

“Showbiz ka ha… hindi ka naman kalbo at hindi ka naman siguro bading… wala po Tito Boy.”

“How come? ibig mong sabihin sa ganda mong yan..but you’ve had bf in the past?”

“Meron naman, dati kong classmate nung college… guapo, sweet, gentleman…but we only lasted for two years.”

“Eh bakit kayo nag break?”

“Would you believe… bakla siya. Ginawa lang nya akong front sa family nya. Nung na meet nya ang kanyang true love hayun nagladlad ang hitad at iniwan akong nakanganga”

Laugh trip si Ricky…

“Since then, cautious na ako.”

“Matagal na tayong magkakilala, in fact were neighbors, your close friends are my close friends pero ngayon lang tayo nagkaron chance na mag usap on a personal level…I hope we can do it again.”

“Suplado ka kasi…dati.” Maya reminded him.

“Eh ikaw nga ang hindi namamansin eh, anyway that’s water under the bridge. What matters is now. What we have now.”

 

Speechless si Maya, gustuhin man nyang bigyan ng meaning ang mga kilos at sinasabi ni Ricky, hindi talaga tumutugma sa katotohanan na iba ang laman ng puso nito. At kung ikakasal na nga siya next year alam nya, masasaktan siya, kailangan nya itong paghandaan.

Suddenly, they are both silent, thanks to the music playing in the background…

I look at her and have to smile

As we go driving for a while

Her hair blowing in the open window of my car

And as we go the see the lights

Watch them glimmer in her eyes

In the darkness of the evening

And I’ve got all that I need

Right here in the passenger seat

Oh and I can’t keep my eyes on the road

Knowing that she’s inches from me

We stop to get something to drink

My mind pounds and I can’t think

Scared to death to say I love her

Then a moon peeks from the clouds

Hear my heart that beats so loud

Try to tell her simply

That I’ve got all that I need

Right here in the passenger seat

And I can’t keep my eyes on the road

Knowing that she’s inches from me… (song: Passenger Seat by Stephen Speaks)  

 

Ricky broke the silence” May nakisakay na angel? Or nakatulog ka na naman…ang daya mo, Inaantok ako pag tahimik ka eh. If you;re uncomfortable about personal issues, pwede naman tayong magshift sa ibang topic.”

“Umm Ricky…pwede mo ba lagyan ng songs yung iPod shuffle ko?”

“Sure, dala mo ba?”

“Yes, here.”

They talked about trivial matters, until they got home, Maya was thankful that somehow they did not touch the topic about Steff, she did not dare to open the topic, maybe because she did not want to hear Ricky confirming that they were back in each others arms.

 

Ricky opened the car’s door for Maya…

“Thanks Maya for the company, I……I….. really enjoyed it. Sana maulit pa ito next time…

“Sige Ricky salamat, nag enjoy din naman ako. O pano papasok na ako. Bye…”

 

Sinalubong sya ng Mama nya. “Nak, kumusta ang byahe nyo?

“Ang ganda po ng lugar Ma, Punta tayo nina papa dun sa Birthday mo…masarap ang pagkain at meron nga pala akong pasalubong, naku patay, naiwan ko sa sasakyan ni Ricky.”

“Di bale na anak, bukas na lang nakakahiya naman kay Ricky. Maiba ako anak, si Ricky ba ay pumoporma sa yo?”

“Naku hindi po ma…bakit po?”

“May napapansin kasi akong kakaiba eh.”

“Wala po ma…”

“Anak naglilihim ka na sa akin ngayon, yung totoo??”

 

“Ma ang totoo… I’m falling for him, kaya nga po plano ko na simula bukas iiwasan ko na siya, to save myself from further heartaches Ma, It’s still Steff, I have no place in his heart.”

Mama Teresita hugged her tightly..as a mother she felt more hurt than Maya..she cannot stand her daughter crying over unrequited love…”Anak andito lang si mama, andito lang kami ng papa mo.”

 

“Salamat po ma, I’ll be ok, I’ll get over him.”

“Sige anak magpahinga ka na, napagod ka sa byahe.”

Maya went into the bathroom and took a hot bath she dipped into the hot tub longer to relax her tired muscles while in her mind she kept on replaying what transpired during their trip, if only she didn’t see them together yesterday at the mall, then maybe she would assume that she’s the girl that Ricky was referring to … considering that Ricky was so attentive to her the whole time …so sweet… so caring…so playful…oh Maya you’re going crazy.

While she was preparing herself to bed, she checked her phone, she got a text and 3 missed calls, all from Ricky. She decided to return the call, “Hello Ricky. “

Maya I thought youre already sleeping.”

“No Ricky I just got out from the bathroom”

Nakalimutan mo sa car yung mga pasalubong mo…Gusto mo dalahin ko diyan now.”

“No Ricky, Its alright, ipapakuha ko na lang kay Doris tomorrow, salamat. Matutulog na rin ako eh, maaga ako aalis bukas, flat tire pala ako, hindi na check agad ni papa, bukas pa ni papa ipapapagawa after ng school

What time are you leaving”

“About six thirty…”

Well then, matulog ka na, sweet dreams!

The next Morning, Maya was all set to leave earlier than six thirty am, she will take a tricycle to the terminal, then one jeepney ride, a bus ride, and another jeepney ride to reach her office.Normally her travel time takes thirty minutes including the traffic– that is if she’s using her own car.

 

“Maya anak, kumain ka muna”

“Sa fastfood na lang po papa baka po abutin ako ng heavy traffic.”

“Sorry anak ha gabi na ng ma check ko ang car mo”

“Ok lang pa, maexperience ko ulit ang mag commute for a change…Bye Ma, Pa..”

“Mag ingat ka anak, sunduin na lang kita mamayang hapon. “

“Magtetext na lang po ako papa kung magpapasundo ako.”

Maya hurriedly opened the gate only to find that Ricky’s outside waiting for her. “Come on, hop in” He motioned to the opened door of his car.

“Ricky salamat, sige makikisakay ako hanggang dun sa terminal. ” So this is the first day of my avoiding him, how successful.

Ricky did not take her to the terminal.”Ricky dun ang terminal…san ka pupunta?”

“Im taking you to your office” said Ricky seriously.

“You dont have to, “

“Why not? Isa pa I love driving my new car around.”

So yun pala ang dahilan, ang akala ko pa naman…

 

Before six thirty nasa vicinity na sila ng office ni Maya. “Ricky thanks, breakfast muna tayo, maaga pa naman eh. San mo gustong kumain? “

“Kahit saan, ikaw ang bahala.”

” KFC na lang? ” suggest ni Maya.

“Ok”…pumila na si Ricky. “Ano gusto mo? “

Pancakes and hot choco ang inorder ni Maya, fried rice, egg and corned beef with brewed coffee naman kay Ricky.

“Ricky ako ang taya ha.”

“No ako na.” Hindi tinanggap ni Ricky ang 500 peso bill na iniaabot ni Maya.

“Hindi pwede, abuso na ako nyan.” Maya insisted

“Ok, ganito na lang utang mo sa akin ito, one one of these days, sisingilin kita.”

‘Sige na nga, salamat, hanap na lang ako ng place.” Ang nakuha ni Maya ay isang maliit na table for two. “Pasensya ka na ito na lang naabutan ko eh.”

“Ok lang.”

Kay Maya ay hindi ok, nako-concious sya pag ganitong magkaharap sila ni Ricky, hindi sya masyadong makakain, hindi nya tuloy naubos ang pancakes nya.

“O ayaw mo na? Siguro hindi masarap…”

“Nabusog na ako ng hot choco eh” at nabusog na rin mga mata ko sa presence mo.

“Tikman ko nga…ok naman ah, inubos ni Ricky ang tira nyang pancake.”

Ibang level na talaga ang closeness namin, pati tira kong food kinakain na niya.

 

“Tara na sa office mo ihahatid kita, mabigat din itong laptop mo.”

‘Ricky, you don’t have to…”

“Stop arguing Maya…ok lang, dagdag na lang sa charge ok.”

Everyone in the office looked curiously at Ricky. Parang ngayon lang nakakita ng gwapo.

“Good morning po Maam sya po ba ang boyfriend mo?” Her secretary greeted her.

Sumagot si Ricky, “Ako ang bago nyang driver.”

“Ay mam, may nagdeliver nga po pala nitong flowers para sa inyo daw.” Sabay abot ng flowers kay Maya. One dozen pink roses na may kasamang favorite chocolate nya. Alam nya ang favorite ko? or nakatsamba lang. Hinanap ni Maya ang card, Maria Fatima dela Rosa…you are the reason behind my smiles. walang sender. Puzzled sya, sino kaya ang secret admirer nya.

Hmmm, from an admirer I assume…Ricky looked at her with amusement. ” I think

I gotta go. “

Inihatid ni Maya si Ricky sa exit. “Salamat ulit Ricky ha.”

“All the time Maya , basta ikaw….”Ricky smiled at her with his dimples showing.

“Paano mamaya pag uwi mo?”

“Si Papa na ang bahala.”

 

After that , Maya didn’t have a hard time avoiding Ricky, since they were both busy at work. Recently, RS Construction Just signed a contract to design houses with the developer of a middle class subdivision adjacent to their place. Most of the time Ricky, Simon and their team are out to inspect the progress of the project. There are occasions na kailangan ni Kris ang tulong nya pero sinisigurado nyang hindi siya maaabutan ni Ricky. One time their paths crossed when she dropped by their office, she just nodded to him and pretended to be discussing something important with Kris. But to her surprise, Steff suddenly appeared looking for Ricky, she looks pretty as ever. Apparently, she needs Ricky’s help in the renovation of their kitchen. She heard Ricky promised her that he will drop by Steffs place tomorrow to estimate the cost of the proposed renovation. They really looked good together. She suddenly felt the urge to leave immediately or else she will break down in tears if she will stay for another minute, she hurriedly said goodbye. “Kris, I need to go, may importante nga pala akong lakad.”

 

 

 

 

 

God knows how much she missed Ricky, mabigat sa dibdib pero, kailangan nyang umiwas…if only she can share her problem with Kris like she used to, kaya lang nag-iingat sya ayaw nyang makarating ito kay Ricky baka kaawaan lang sya nito, ayaw naman nya ng ganoon.

She found herself headed for the mall, kailangan niyang mag unwind. Sa mall nagpalakad lakad lang sya, without definite destination when she literally bumped into someone she knew. “Fatima” walang ibang tumatawag sa kanya noon kungdi si… “James!” Nagbeso beso sila.

“It’s nice to see you James” Guapo pa rin si James, walang mag-aakala na bading sya sa hitsura at tindig nya.

“Akala ko galit ka pa rin sa akin.”

“Ay oo nga pala nakalimutan kong galit ako sayo. Dyan ka na nga.”

“Sorry na. Fatima…”

“Joke lang…nalimutan ko na yun, naiintindihan naman kita eh. “

“Eh kumusta ka na, alam mo ang ganda ganda mo ngayon sobra…”

“Talaga? Thank you ha, thats exactly what I need.”

“May pinagdadaanan ka…..I can see it in your eyes.”

“James are you free? pwede ba tayong mag usap?”

“Tamang-tama kaka off ko lang, pero huwag dito sa mall…maingay eh. Dun tayo sa park meron dung cozy na restaurant.”

Ang pinuntahan nilang restaurant ay garden ang theme. They found a place in one corner of the garden, they ordered a light meal. It helped that James is here now, her mood suddenly changed, she’s now back in her old happy self. She found out later that James works in the mall as an accountant. It’s lucky for her that she met him again when she needs someone to talk to, when she needs a shoulder to cry on. If other people would see them now, they would probably think that they were lovers out on a date. They updated each other about the highlights of their lives since the time they separated. Maya told her all about Ricky, and how confused and hurt she was. While they were talking, Maya leaned her head on James shoulders, and James arm rested on Maya’s shoulders.

This scene was what Ricky witnessed when he came to the restaurant to buy something. He hurriedly left without buying anything. Maya didn’t noticed that Ricky came and left.

“Bhe, as James fondly called her before, I think that Ricky guy loves you. He’s just as confused as you..”

“James, dont give me false hopes.”

“I’m serious bhe. If I will rely on the things you told me that would be my conclusion.”

“But what about Steff? What about the seven years they had before? I saw him shattered into pieces when they parted ways. I do love him, but I’m not sure if he feels the same. “

“In that case, you need my help, kailangan lang nating pagselosin yang mokong na yan para magising siya sa katotohanan. In the meantime, just chillax do not stress yourself too much.”

“Thanks James, I feel better now. What time ka darating sa bahay tomorrow?”

“Nine thirty am, ok lang sa yo? Well visit that hot spring resort owned by Korean Nationals”

“Hmm…Korean foods? I would love that. We’ll maximize this long week end to relax and unwind. I’ll ask Kris to join us.”

“Sure. Mag eenjoy kayo, bale recreational spa yung resort na yun, masarap magbabad sa swimming pool kasi galing sa hot spring ang tubig”

“Thanks James…excited na ako promise”

 

Maya arrived home at around 8 pm. Meeting James again has saved her day, she realized that he still hold a soft spot in her heart. Maya’s thoughts drifted back to the time when they were still together, she almost forgot the hurt that she has gone through when they separated. Her reminiscing was interrupted when her phone rang. It was Ricky. “Hello maya, asan ka na ? “

Kakauwi ko lang. Why? “

“Good, I just wanna give you your iPod, naloadan ko na ng songs.”

“Sige lalabas lang ako sandali.”

She found Ricky standing on the other side of the fence. “Here’s your ipod, konti pa lang ang songs dyan, kung meron ka gusto ipa add, just tell me. “

“Salamat, papasok na ako ako ha. Good night.”

“Goodnight Maya, hope you like the songs. “

Maya went inside, her parents are in the living room watching TV, normally Maya would join them to watch teleserye but this time she excused herself, “Ma, Pa matutulog na po ako ha, antok na po ako eh.” The truth is, gusto lang nyang mapag-isa at excited na rin siyang mapakinggan mga songs sa kanyang ipod.

 

She connected her mini speaker to her iPod and started to play the music. She thought the music would put her to sleep but on the contrary, it made her awake all night. It’s as if Ricky is pouring his feelings for her through songs. Or was it just her imagination?

 

Never could understand

What I’m going through,

Must be a plan that led me to you,

Because the hurt just disappears,

In every moment that you are near,

Just like an answered prayer,

You make the loneliness easy to bear…

(Fixing a broken heart by Richard Marx)

——————-

 

Cause our hearts never lie

They just feel the love

Tried so hard to deny

There’s no reason to act like we don’t care

When the truth is always there.

(Hearts never lie- Tiffany)

———————

 

For the way you’re something

That I never choose,

But at the same time

Something I don’t wanna lose

And never wanna be without ever again.

You’re the best thing I never knew I needed…

(Never knew I needed – Neyo)

———————

 

Mary you don’t know

How much I care for you

If you did I know you wouldn’t make

Me hurt this way

(One sided love affair- Ray Parker Jr.)

—————

 

I guess you think you really know me,

I keep all the secrets you told me,

We’re such good friends,

That’s where it ends,

But it’s not when I’m dreaming you hold me

(Show me the way to your heart -Scott Grimes)

—————-

Was it just a coincidence or Ricky chose each song to convey a message to her. She felt all the more confused, she couldn’t figure out what’s going on inside Ricky’s mind (or heart) Stop assuming, those are just songs. She slept just before dawn and woke up at the sound of her alarm telling her it’s already eight in the morning. James will pick her up at nine thirty am, she must prepare herself.

 

At around nine thirty am, James came to fetch her. He stayed for a while to ask her parents’ permission properly. Her parents did not know the real reason why they separated. And now that James back in her life, she could not blame them from thinking that they are back in each other’s arms. They never interfere with her decisions and that includes her love life.

She saw Ricky in the corner of her eye watching them leave. Their plan went perfect, it was part of their plan to let Ricky see them happy together. She may win Ricky or lose him forever.

The day went by fast, they made up for the lost times, she still love James but on a different level. James said he still love her, but said he did not deserve her. “If I’m gonna get married I want it to be you, or at least someone like you Fatima, pero mahirap makakita ng katulad mo kasi nag iisa ka lang.”

“James, seryoso ka? Let’s talk about that again when I’m forty.”

“Hahaha forty talaga, hindi ba pwedeng sa araw ng kasal ni Ricky sa iba?”

Nalungkot si Maya, hindi sya prepared sa sinabi ni James.

“Uy, affected sya…Hayaan mo, it’s his loss, not yours. So what’s your next move.?”

“Nothing, come to think of it, hindi naman talaga ako dapat mag expect, nag assume lang ako dahil sa ipinapakita nyang extra attention sa akin, siguro nga natural lang sa kanya yun. Nilalagyan ko lang na malisya ha ha ha.”

They both laughed.

“Siguro ganito ang nangyayari sa mga tumatandang dalaga, naiinlove sa mga maling tao.”

“Ouch” Kunwari, nagtampo si James.

“Sorry na, eto naman nagtatampo agad” Inakbayan nya si James.

“Ito siguro ang purpose kung bakit nagkita ulit tayo, basta if your down and lonely, Im just a text away.”

“Thanks James…”

 

The next day, Sunday, Maya’s woke up early, her parents had already left to attend a whole day activity for the Couples for Christ. “Doris, ok lang ba kung tulungan mo ako mag general cleaning. May binili akong bagong kurtina, ikakabit natin, tapos i-rearrange natin yung living room then ikabit na rin natin yung mga christmas decors.”

“Ay like ko yan Maya, sasabihin ko nga dapat sayo naunahan mo lang ako.”

“Mabuti pa magbreakfast na muna tayo para maka start tayo.”

After three hours, halos tapos na sila ni

“Wow Maya, ang ganda ng bahay, malamang magugulat si Sir Arturo at Mam Teresita pagdating nila. Ang ganda ng curtain…pangmayaman.”

“Ok na Doris, konting walis na lang at mop, matatapos na din tayo.”

“Kaya ko na yan Maya, magpahinga ka na. Yung cp mo o, kanina pa yun nag riring”

Maya found five misscalls and one text, all from Ricky. “Maya, I dont feel well, I think Im sick.”

“Doris teka lang ha, may iche-check lang ako dun sa kabila.” Maya left in a hurry.

“Maya, teka, hindi ka ba muna magbibihis. … ay hindi na narinig, bakit kaya?”

 

Maya did not have a hard time to enter Ricky’s house because the gate was not locked, his dog was tied away from the entrance. She knocked, the door was left ajar, “Ricky?” she called. She found him in the kitchen, looking fresh, and his hair still damp, and he smells like he just had a bath. Maya realized how disheveled she looks, her shirt still damp from perspiration, and she’s only clad in short shorts and spaghetti strap tops, her hair was tied in a bun but strands started to fall over her shoulders, oh my she feels so ugly and smelly. She turned away to leave, but Ricky caught her arm.

 

“Sorry, it was meant to be a joke, promise do ko na uulitin.” Ricky apologized.

“Masamang biro yun ha, at hindi nakakatawa, akala ko kung anong emergency na, kahiya tuloy itong ayos ko.”

“Cute ka nga eh, ngayon lang kita nakitang ganyan.”

Concious tuloy si Maya kasi nahuli nya ang mata ni Ricky, sa direction ng kanyang legs.

 

“Eh bakit ba pinapunta mo ako dito?”

“Namiss lang kita, iniiwasan mo ba ako?”

“Hindi ah, bakit ko naman gagawin yun?

Ricky, aalis na ako, baka hinihintay na ako ni Doris, nag gegeneral cleaning kami.”

“Wait, kain muna tayo ng inorder ko na pizza, upo ka muna, kukuha lang ako ng drinks. Wala akong kasalo eh, Si Mama kakaalis lang papuntang singapore. Excited kasi sa apo nya kay Nikki. Inunahan pa talaga ako ng baby sister ko na magkaanak. Hot sauce gusto mo pa?”

“No thanks. Naku sana umuwi sila this Christmas.” Her tone changed, she was really happy for nikki.

“Umm… baka hindi kasi baby pa masyado, baka dun na ibaptize. Sabi ni Nikki, ikaw daw ang ninang, kaya ayusin mo na schedule at passport mo, baka expired na. Siguro February ang binyag, after ng Chinese New Year. Kailangan ayusin ko na din sked ko kasi ako ang ninong.”

Ding-dong…

Ricky may tao yata.

Ok, wait lang ha. Tingnan ko lang kung sino.

Maya was startled to hear a womans voice. It was Steff and it seems she didn’t notice her. “Ricky, my uncle sent me, si Uncle Dave yung retired US navy, balak kasi nyang magpatayo ng house ASAP, dun sa vacant lot na malapit lang sa house namin. Three hundred Square meters ang lot, 10 million pesos ang budget nya, gusto kasi nya pag uwi nya sa March dun na sya tutuloy, Ako na lang daw ang bahalang mag manage in his behalf.”

Maya couldn’t explain how she feels that moment, she needs to escape. “Ricky, uwi na ako ha, salamat sa snack.”

“Oh Maya it’s you, I thought bagong maid nina Ricky, kaw naman kasi, bakit ganyan ang ayos mo.” Steff made the insult sound sweet.

Maya gave them a half smile, and left. Her cheeks feels hot, from embarrassment or from jealousy? Maybe both.

When she reached home, she noticed that Doris finished the cleaning and now doing the laundry. She went straight to her bedroom and found her phone lying on her bed, maybe doris put it there, she could not recall earlier where she left her phone when she left hastily to check on Ricky. She found a message from Ricky saying “Maya, Im sorry, I have no idea she’s coming over. I’ll call you later.” She replied, “It’s alright” No it isn’t…

She laid on her bed closed her eyes and breathed deeply. Ricky ganyan ka ba talaga ka-sweet sa friend ayoko ng ganyan, namimiss interpret ko. Pano naman kita iiwasan eh ang kulit kulit mo…

She played her iPod to lighten up her mood..

 

I can’t fight this feeling any longer

And yet I’m still afraid to let it flow

What started out as friendship has grown stronger

I only wish I had the strength to let it show

I tell myself that I can’t hold out forever

I said there is no reason for my fear

Cause I feel so secure when were together

You gave my life direction

You made everything so clear…

 

Ahhhhhhh……….she turned it off again.

She dialed James number….”James….”

“Bhe what’s the matter? Any updates?”

Maya told him everything. “Alam mo ba kung nakita mo lang ako kanina nagmukha akong losyang katabi ni Steff. Nakita tuloy ni Ricky ang contrast between us.”

“Fatima, stop that, kahit magsuot ka pa ng basahan, youre still beautiful, inside and out. Bear that in mind. And you have an edge compared to that woman…”

What is that? Maya asked.

“Ang haba ng hair mo, kahit gay na-iin love sa’yo”

“Haha James ikaw na! Ikaw na talaga ang taong nakakapagpasaya sa akin. “

“So ok ka na?”

“Ok na…thank you ha.”

 

 

Maya couldn’t help but admire their “masterpiece”. They had the furnitures rearranged to give some space to the seven foot Christmas tree decorated in a blue and silver theme she visualized where to put the other decorations to complete their Christmas atmosphere. Her new curtain with a combination of blue and silver also draped their windows. She couldn’t wait to see the surprised expressions on her parents faces once they saw the new look of their favorite place in the house. She lied down in the sofa to feel the spirit of Christmas in their living room, feeling tired she fell asleep.

Maya woke up with a strange feeling that someone has been watching her, she thought she was dreaming because she saw Ricky sitting right there in their living room. She rubbed her eyes, maybe it’s just a figment of her imagination, but it was not.. . “Ricky?”

“Sorry nagising kita. Anyway it’s already three pm, I thought you’re attending the four thirty mass. Since sisimba din naman ako, much better na sabay na tayo, wala rin akong kasama eh.

“Three pm na!? teka kailangan ko na palang maligo, sandali lang ha.”Maya still wore the same shorts, except the tops, she changed in a loose fitting sleeveless shirt, but just the same, she still feel close to naked in front of Ricky.

“Ok, I’ll be back in thirty minutes.” Said Ricky before he turned to leave.

Dumbfounded, Maya nodded in agreement. After Ricky left, she hurried into her room.

When Maya emerged from her room after thirty minutes, her parents were already there laughing with Ricky.

“Anak, akala namin maling bahay ang napasukan namin eh. “

“Si Papa talaga…Maganda po ba? Oo naman anak, bagay na bagay sayo ang damit mo, teka nag usap ba kayo ni Ricky na pareho kayong mag bu-blue. Maya noticed Ricky wearing an expensive royal blue polo shirt, and a pair of levis pants, while she was wearing a simple but expensive above the knee royal blue dress with black trimmings and matching wedge sandals.

“Papa, naki motiff lang po kami sa kurtina…ang tinatanong ko po ay ang makeover namin ni Doris ng sala kung maganda po ba?” “Syempre naman anak. Pwede ka nang mag side line bilang interior decorator. Sya sige mamaya na lang tayo magkwentuhan, umalis na kayo at, matrapik papuntang simbahan.”

“Sige po pa, ma…”

“Mauna na po ako sa labas, start ko na po ang car” said Ricky smiling strangely. “Sige anak, mag-ingat kayo” papa Arturo told Ricky.

Anak talaga papa, baka kung anong isipin ni Ricky nyan.

Maya tried to act natural, she hoped that Ricky wouldn’t feel the mixture of emotions that she experienced right now. She felt happy being with the man she loved but a part of her felt sad knowing he belonged to someone else.

Ricky was just being a kind and friendly neighbor, that’s all. What would Ricky think if he found out what I was thinking?

The church was already packed with people when they arrived. However they managed to squeeze in one on the pews near the front. Maya was thankful because it was on the left side where she usually sat. She sat so close to Ricky that she prayed the Holy Spirit to give her the gift of concentration she needed right now, she imagined that she was seated next to a stranger, somehow it worked.

The mass has ended after an hour and a half. Maya felt relieved that at last it’s time to go home. She felt a little hungry because she had only eaten sandwich for lunch. But it seemed Ricky has other things in mind.

Maya, is it ok kung didiretso muna tayo sa mall. Meron lang ako kailangang bilhin.

Ok Ricky, magpapaalam lang ako kay mama. She dialed her mother’s number Ma, medyo mamaya pa po kami, makakauwi may bibilhin lang po kami sa mall.

Sige anak, mabuti at tumawag ka may ipapabili din ako, ok lang ba? Text ko na lang sayo ha.

Sige po Ma.

Anong sabi? Ricky asked her.

Natuwa pa, meron daw siyang ipapabili sa mall, itetext na lang daw nya.

Good. So, let’s go. The way to the mall was congested with vehicles as always, so it took them more or less twenty minutes to finally reach their destination. Thankfully Ricky suggested that they will eat first before buying anything. “San mo nga pala gustong kumain? Kung saan merong chicken barbecue with unli rice, gutom na gutom na ako eh.

Haha, pareho tayo ng iniisip, ok unli rice, here we come…

They both ordered chicken barbeque, as usual Ricky paid the bill. The waiter led them to a table for two in one corner of the fast-food. They ate in awkward silence as if they didn’t want to contribute to the noise surrounding them. As they ate their dessert, Ricky broke the silence… Maya, napapansin ko lang lately, gumaganda ka, I mean more lady-like.. Inspired or in love?

Maya was taken by surprise, she didn’t expect the question. “Thank you but being inspired is not a reason for me to look good but looking good gives me all the confidence that I need in my job.”

I see, but I miss the old Maya– the happy one. Where is she?

“Ricky?”

“Maya I don’t know, maybe it’s just me and my imagination but I feel you don’t really like me. Iniiwasan mo ako, if you have the opportunity. “

Maya remained silent. You will never understand Ricky.

“Sorry, I’m just saying. You don’t need to explain. I’m just wondering what I did wrong.”

“Ricky, bakit mo ako pinapunta sa inyo kaninang umaga? Was it because Steff will come, and you want her to get jealous or something? Sorry, but you didn’t succeed, narinig mo naman diba?, napagkamalan nya akong maid.”

“I’m sorry for that, siguro nasabi nya yun dahil insecure sya. And I want to clarify that I didn’t do that on purpose, you can ask Kris, she can attest that she came to the office first. And besides its just business and…

“No need to explain as well.” Maya cut him. “Tara na umuwi na tayo.” Stop that Maya, you sound like a jealous girlfriend.

“Maya, may bibilhin pa tayo, remember?” Ricky reminded her.

“Sabi ko nga, mag go-grocery pa tayo.”

The supermarket was situated on the other end of the Mall, Maya kept an arms distance from Ricky as they walk. Suddenly, Ricky closed the gap between them, he put his arms on Maya’s shoulder, pulled her close to him and said “Sorry na po, Miss pikon”

Maya was surprised, but she felt   heaven being close to him like that. Until she found the words and said proudly…”Ricky, your arms, you’re not my boyfriend!”

“Ok. Sorry!” Ricky apologized.

 

When they finally got home, Ricky helped Maya carry the grocery bags inside their house. She thanked her coldly. She felt a little guilty for treating him like that after all the kindness he showed her, she thought it would be for the best. When Ricky said goodbye, her father asked him to stay for a while to join him for a drink. Ricky obliged. Maya excused herself and went to her room.

 

Maya had a busy week, she spent her whole week in Cebu attending a work related seminar/workshop. Somehow she’s relieved that she will not be seeing him for a few days, but a part of her missed him. If only things were different between them, if only Ricky loved her.

Maya was grateful for the chance to be away from him, it gave her more time to evaluate her dilemma, she could not go on feeling like this forever, she had to do something, she had to get rid of this feeling or else she would go crazy. She had no other option but to talk to him make him understand her animosity towards him. She would try to be clear and straightforward, devoid of the drama and emotions. She rehearsed each lines carefully, choosing every word. She must do it the sooner the better. Ricky…I’m not being suplada, I’m not angry with you, you did nothing wrong…. It’s me, I can’t help it, but…. I fell in love with you…that’s the reason I’m keeping my distance. Don’t worry, I know my place, I won’t bother you anymore. Thanks for the friendship and the concern…Goodbye.

Sheplayed the scene over and over in her mind until she fell asleep.

When she was back home by weekend, she went to see Kris to give her pasalubong from Cebu. Kris was very happy to see her. “Bff, long time no see, akala ko nakalimutan mo na kami eh, salamat sa pasalubong, dami naman nito.”

Maya smiled and hugged Kris. “Pwede ba naman yun, naging busy lang talaga ako lately eh. Ikaw na bahala magdistribute nyan sa kanila ha. Asan nga pala sina Simon? ” she really meant to ask where was Ricky.

“Si kuya naka off, si Ricky naman busy sa bagong project. “

She knew what that project was, she felt something pricked her heart. “Yan ba yung sa kabilang subdivision?” Maya probed.

“Ah oo, yung sa uncle ni Steff. ” Kris confirmed.

Maya changed the topic, “Congrats nga pala sa inyo, dami na ninyong projects at marami na in kayong nagegenerate na job, mahusay kayo sa business Kris. Actually mayaman na kayo…at umpisa pa lang yan, at this rate ng asenso nyo, paano pa kaya kung naka five years na kayo sa business.

“Malaki ang utang na loob namin sayo Maya, sa guidance mo when it comes to money matters.” “Hayaan mo makakabawi din ako sayo, ihahanap kita ng boyfriend na mayaman at yung tunay na lalaki.”

Why not? Maya thought. “Sige, gusto ko yan Kris…hahaha.”

“Kung bakit ba naman kasi, yung gusto ko sana para sayo… ay ewan… wala tayong aasahan dun. Tapos yung isa naman na nagbabalik… mas ewan hahaha” Maya knew she’s referring to Ricky and James.

It felt good to laugh her heart out. She really missed these moments with Kris, It seemed to lighten the burden in her heart.

Paano Kris, uwi na ako, tine text na ako ni mama, wala pa daw yung patatas na pinabili nya sa akin. Akalain mo ngayon ko lang naalala, mapapagalitan na ako nun.

Patay ka hahaha! Basta usapang matino ha, sa Saturday wag kang mawawala sa christmas party, magtatampo na talaga ako sa yo promise yan. Lunch to sawa tayo ok!

Ok, promise!

The week has passed and Maya did not have a chance to see Ricky. It’s been two weeks, he did not even bother to text her, not even forwarded messages. Kris said he’s too busy working on a project, and she knew that the project involves seeing Steff in a regular basis. Maybe, by now they have patched-up their differences and officially back with each other. She can’t wait for the weekend to come, she hoped Ricky could spare her a minute to listen to her, and after that she could move on. Ricky was a good friend and somehow she owed it to him at least to know why she’s trying to ignore him most of the times lately.

The day before the party, she went to the mall for some Christmas shopping. She spent three hours inside the mall, and when she was back to the parking lot, she was shocked to find a huge dent on her car door on the driver’s side. Whoever did this to her car fled and nowhere to be seen. Luckily she found a CCTV installed nearby, before she left, she reported the incident to the security and they promised that they will review the recordings in the CCTV, she left her number and drove home. She cursed the whoever bastard for the inconvenience it had caused her. To her relief, her father volunteered to take her car to the repair shop. It would mean she will have no car for a week or so.

The following day she was a little excited to attend the party, she felt jitters inside her stomach, she would see Ricky for the first time in two weeks, and as planned, she would talk to Ricky before this day ends.

At five minutes before twelve she arrived the two storey building of RS construction, she noticed that the Hardware store was now closed. She made her way to the rear side of the building. The long table was already filled with foods being set up by the caterer. The employees of the RS construction and their family were on their best clothes. There were mountain of gifts in one table. Indeed Christmas was just around the corner. She saw Ricky Simon and Kris together in one table waving her to join them.

 

Kris being an emcee formally opened the event, said grace and they started eating lunch. When the lunch is over Baldo approached her saying that a man driving a BMW would like to see her. Maya frowned, she didn’t expect anyone. She reluctantly went to the gate to see the visitor. Kris, Ricky and Simon curiously followed her but kept their distance.

 

The man alighted from the vehicle as soon as she saw Maya coming. He fitted perfectly the description of tall, dark and handsome. He extended a hand towards Maya. “Hi, I’m Matthew Rodriguez and you must be Maria Fatima de la Rosa?”

“Yes Sir, what can I do for you? Maya accepted the handshake.

” I came to your house first, your mom told me I could find you here… I’m here in lieu of my brother Gabriel, the one who bumped your car at the parking lot yesterday…”

“Oh I see.”

“I’m very sorry miss dela Rosa, I know it caused you a lot of trouble, here’s my calling card, I promise to shoulder all the expenses…May I have your number too.”

“Oh yes,” Maya gave Matthew her number.

“Thanks Miss dela Rosa or should I say Maya, your mom told me you are better known as Maya” He offered his hand again for another handshake. “I gotta go”

“Thanks for coming Mr…”

“Just Matthew, please call me Matthew.” “Thanks Matthew”

Maya went back to the table. Only Kris were there, Simon and Ricky were busy mingling with other groups. The party lasts until dinner. There were parlor games, dancing and singing and the much awaited raffle. The last part of the program was the exchange gift, where there was an agreement that nobody could not claim the gift without singing first. Kris was the first to sing and so on. It turned out to be fun. When it’s Maya’s turn she’s ready with a song she chose earlier, everybody cheered,

 

She chose One Last Cry (Nina’s version)….

 

My shattered dreams and broken
Heart are mending on the shelf.
I saw you holding hands

standing so close to someone else.
Now I sit all alone,

wishing all my feeling was gone.
I’d give my best to you
Nothing for me to do
But have one last cry.
One last cry
Before I leave it all behind
I’ve gotta put you out of my mind,

this time Stop living a lie.
I guess I’m down to one last cry


I was here,you were there.
Guess we never could agree.
While the sun shines on you,
I need some love to rain on me.
Still, I sit all alone,
Wishing all my feelings were gone.
Gotta get over you.
Nothing for me to do
But have one last cry.
I know I gotta be strong,
But ’round me
Life goes on and on and on, and on
I’m gonna dry my eyes
Right after I have my one last cry.

 

Maya noticed that Ricky’s eyes were fixed on her while she was singing, well, that’s not a big deal…almost everybody did.

The last to sing was Ricky and he sang Christian Bautista’s version of “Trying to Get the Feeling Again”

At any moment she’ll be walking

through that door
But she won’t find me behind it
‘Cause the feelin’ is gone p

and just won’t come back anymore
I worked so hard to find it

I’ve been up, down,

trying to get the feeling again
All around tryin’ to get the feeling again
The one that made me shiver
Makes my knees start to quiver

every time she walks in

I’ve look high, low, everywhere I

possibly can But there’s just no

tryin’ to gt the feeling again
It seemed to disappear

as fast as it came

Read every book, looked

for every meditation and poem
Just to bring home that

old sweet sensation
But it ain’t no use to me

to try to get the feeling again

Where did it run to

I thought I’d done all that I could
Just to keep the love light burnin’
But whatever I’ve done

I just haven’t done it too good
Coz all that’s left is yearnin’
Could you help me rediscover

the way to re-be her lover once again

Read every book,

looked for every meditation and poem
Just to bring home

that old sweet sensation
But it ain’t no use to me to

try to get the feeling
I want to get that feeling again

 

 

At last the party was over but jitters on her stomach were back, she thought she was ready– in truth she was nervous. Maya needed something hot to calm her stomach, she went to the kitchen to make a cup of coffee. When she was about to pour hot water on her cup, she saw Ricky entering the kitchen. “Hi Maya, sabay na tayo umuwi?”

“Sige kung hindi makakaabala..”

“Of course not, kailan ka ba naging abala sa akin?”

“Magkakape ka din? Ipagtimpla kita…” Maya offered

“No please, no, ako na lang ang magtitimpla ng kape natin. ” Ricky insisted. “To tell you the truth, yung kape mo ang pinaka unforgettable na kapeng natikman ko sa buong buhay ko. I will show you what the real coffee tastes like…”

“Ibig mong sabihin, pangit ang lasa ng kape ko, ang sama mo ha!”

Ricky laughed “Ikaw ang may sabi nyan ha…” He began teaching Maya how to make coffee. “Coffee 101 , first you have to make sure that the water is hot, yung bagong kulo. In your cup, put about a teaspoon of coffee, sugar and creamer to taste, dapat yung creamer hindi matalo ang lasa ng kape and vice versa. Yung sugar, to taste depende sa preference mo. Pour the hot water and stir. Now here’s your coffee…”

Maya slowly sipped the coffee. “Mmmmm…ang init, pero tama ka, masarap nga! “

“I dont really go for 3in 1, mas gusto ko pa rin yung tinitimpla.”

“Ganon ba talaga kapangit lasa ng kape ko? “Now you know..hahaha…

“Eh bakit hindi ka nagreklamo, naubos mo pa nga eh.”

“Syempre I dont want to be rude, kaya pinagtyagaan ko na lang, pero ngayon ini share ko na sayo secret na timpla ko, para everytime na ipagtitimpla mo ako ng coffee ganito na kasarap. Ricky drank the rest of his coffee, then he fixed his gaze to her.

Silence…Maya cannot find a word to say. She kept staring to her half-filled coffee cup, it was still hot.

Ricky broke the silence. “Uhurrrm” he cleared his throat.

Maya drank her coffee.

“Maya…ahhmm…”Ricky stammered. “Maya, will you….will you marry me?

Maya coughed, she nearly choked.

Ricky gave her a glass of water and rubbed her back gently, until Maya’s coughing slowly faded…”Sorry, did I starle you?

They heard Kris and Simon coming to the kitchen.

Their moment was interrupted.

“Pare, may bisita tayo sa labas, wrong timing pero kailangan nating ientertain, sya yung Mr Hidalgo na gustong magpatayo ng resort, kailangan ma-impress natin para tayo ang mapili nyang contractor, malaking project ito pag nagkataon.”

Ricky glanced at her, “Maya can you wait, baka matagalan ang meeting namin.”

“Ok lang, Good luck sa inyong dalawa, pagbutihan nyo ha”

“Salamat, pasensya ka na ha.” Ricky apologized.

“Ihahatid ko na lang si Maya, Nakakahiya naman kay Tito Arturo at Tita Tess.” Kris offered. “Tara Maya, “Maiwan na namin kayo ha, good luck guys!”

Maya was still in disbelief, she was quiet during her short trip home, Kris thought she was just sleepy and tired. “Maya, andito na tayo…, mukhang antok na antok ka ah, hindi ba umepek yung kapeng ininom mo kanina?”

“Hindi tumalab Kris, salamat ha. Ingat ka.”

Maya knew sleep will evade her. Of all the unromantic proposal in the history of mankind, over coffee and of all places…in the kitchen. Was she really not that important to him? Was Ricky out of his mind? Who cares, this is what I dreamt of and it’s coming true at hindi ko dapat palampasin ang chance na makasama sya habang buhay.” She heard two contradicting voices–her mind and her heart.

Somehow Maya fall asleep, but her mind was still busy with thoughts of Ricky, she dreamt of her wedding day…. she was late to arrive the church and when she was able to make it to the church, it was too late. There stood in the altar was Ricky and Steff saying their vows. Maya woke up crying.

It was just a dream but it seemed so real, it was interrupted when her phone rang.

There was one miscall and a text from Ricky. “Good morning sleepy head, we had a successful meeting with Mr. Hidalgo last night……Please be ready, we’ll attend the nine am mass, and I’ll pick u up @ 8:30. <3″

Maya did not reply but got herself ready. The truth is she didn’t know what to say. Will you marry me? Her heart would like to say yes, but her mind of her would like to say no.

Her parents left earlier to attend the 6am mass, its unusual, but her mother didn’t wake her up so that she could join them.

On the way to the church and back, Ricky was very lively and talkative, while she’s the opposite. But it seemed Ricky doesn’t mind it at all. All the while she waited for him to bring out the topic about his big question left hanging since last night, but he never did until they reached home. She felt a little disappointed. Maybe he changed his mind.

She found her parents in the kitchen, she noticed that the table was set with four plates, the foods looked delicious, she was certain it wasn’t cooked by her mother. It was arranged perfectly just like what it was in a fine dining restaurant. It was not unusual for her parents to entertain some visitors, but this visitor, whoever he is must be someone special. She wondered to whom the fourth plate belong. “Mano po, Pa, Ma…dami naman pong food.”

Ding-dong! “Andyan na siguro siya.” Her father hurried to the door.

Maya was surprised to know that the visitor was Ricky, he bowed to her parents, they placed their palm to Ricky’s head as a gesture of blessing.

Ricky approached the dumbfounded Maya. He raised her hand to kiss it. “Maya, I came here to formally ask your hand in marriage, will you marry me?

 

Maya stared at him blankly. Things are happening so fast. Alam ko mahal ko sya, pero sapat na ba yon? Paano kung may mahal pa siyang iba? Kaya ko bang tanggapin na maaring hindi buo ang pagmamahal na ibibigay nya sa akin? “Sandali lang..” Maya turned around and started to leave.

“Maya…? ” called her mother.

“I’ll be back ma, sandali lang po.” Maya assured her mother.

In her room, Maya paced back and forth, she have to make a decision– a life changing decision. What if she disagreed? Would she regret it for life? And if she agreed? All her life she dreamt to find a man as responsible and loving as her father. Her mother was her father’s true love and vice versa. What made Ricky choose her over Steff, who obviously wants Ricky back? What made him decide in a hurry? Questions kept popping on her mind. Agree or disagree? Yes or no? She made a decision.

After making a decision, she went to her bathroom to freshen up then changed her clothes to a more comfortable one, a sleeveless floral pastel colored dress that fits her just right. She checked her light make up, and dabbed a little powder to take away the oiliness of her face.

When she emerged from her room, the three looked at her with an expression of relief.

She smiled at them, “Sorry to keep you waiting, let’s eat!

Maya, I’m waiting for your answer… Ricky pleaded.

“The answer is yes, yes Ricky I will marry you” Ricky slipped a ring onto her finger, a diamond solitaire, a ring given to him by his mother when she found out that he wanted to propose to Maya.

Ricky held her in a tight embrace and whispered to her. “Thank you Maya, I love you very much.” He released her. “Let’s eat”

“Maya anak, salamat.” It was Ricky’s mom live via skype.

“Tita kanina pa po kayo dyan?”

“Yes ate Maya, Thank you ha, you made our family super happy.”

“Hi Nikki! How’s the baby and Nicolo?”

The camera focused on Nicolo and the baby. “Hi ate Maya, ninang ka ha!” Nicolo reminded her.

“Sure, ang cute naman ni baby.”

Sige mga anak, mamaya na ulit, kakain muna sila, interrupted by Ricky’s mom.

After the lunch was over they set the tentative date of the church wedding. They agreed on the last week of March when the new moon appears. They said, January’s too soon, February’s not a lucky month for wedding, so it has to be March. They gave their parents the honor to choose the date however Ricky insisted that they have to get married first in civil rites, if possible in a weeks time. Majority voted in favor of Ricky’s request, except Maya but she didnt protest. So all was settled.

“Ah mga anak, magpapahinga muna kami ni Papa nyo, kung gusto nyo mag usap muna kayo, mukhang marami kayong dapat pag usapan.”

“Salamat po ma…”

“Ricky, behave ha!”

Maya’s father laughed. “Tere, mabait na bata yang mamanugangin natin.”

When they were left alone, Ricky looked at Maya with teasing eyes “Narinig mo yun, mag-usap daw tayo.”

They sat on the sofa. Ricky was the first to talk.

“Pinakaba mo ako. Akala ko hindi ka papayag.”

“Eh pano pala kung tumanggi ako?”

Ricky held Maya’s hand. “Kung tumanggi ka? Hindi ako aalis dito, dito na muna ako titira hanggang di ka pumapayag.”

“Ricky, why are you in a hurry, I mean, why didn’t you court me first.”

“Eh hindi mo kaya ako pinapansin, I feel you’re always trying to avoid me if you had the chance. Kaya sina Papa at Mama na lang muna ang niligawan ko.”

“Ibig mong sabihin magka connive kayong tatlo? Pano mo nabola sina Mama at Papa?”

“Balak ko naman sana na manligaw kaya lang nandyan si James, tapos meron na namang balak magpa cute sayo, yung brother nung naka accident sa car mo.”

“Nainsecure ka kay James? Eh alam mo naman na bading yun.”

“Kahit na lalaki pa rin yun… forgive me, I didnt mean to pressure you. Nagmadali lang kasi ako para di na maunahan ng iba dyan. Tapos youre avoiding me.

“Ricky, I’m avoiding you because I love you…because I want to get rid of the feeling…   because I don’t want to get hurt…knowing that Steff was back in your life… you don’t know how hard my struggle was.”

Ricky stole a light kiss on her lips, he pulled her closer to him. “Maya did you know when was the first time I realized that I love you? It was that moment when I sat with you across that table drinking your coffee. You were sick then, remember?”

“And you took care of me… how can I forget? Maybe that’s when I began to feel deeply for you. After that, I tried to avoid you. And when I saw you and Steff together in the mall, the day before Kris birthday, I knew I did the right thing, I have to get rid of the feeling, though it’s hard. And I failed.”

“You see, I’m that irresistible.” Ricky winked. Do you remember that time when I saw you in the office, while I am nursing a broken heart? That’s when the time when you pushed Steff out of my mind and my heart. Hindi kita niligawan kasi you might misunderstood my intention. Kaya dinaan ko na lang sa music, remember the songs in your iPod?… What about this one…?” he played one selection from his phone..

What can I do to make you feel secure,

remove all your doubts

So that you’ll know for sure that you’re

the apple of my eye girl

Fulfillment of my dreams, time,

will show the value

Of just what you mean to me

 

More precious than silver,

more precious than diamond rings

Or anything that I can give you,

It wouldn’t mean a thing

If you didn’t have my love beside you there

to guide you through

But it is good to know you do

 

I know just how you feel

But this time love’s for real

In time it will reveal

That special love that’s deep inside of us

will all reveal in time…….

 

“Hindi ka pa ba nakahalata dito? ” Ricky asked her.

“Medyo… but then, ayokong mag assume.”

 

Richard continued…”When I saw Steff again for the first time after we broke up, I was happy because I knew that what I felt for her before has gone… completely. I loved her then but haven’t asked her to marry me, maybe thats part of the reason why she broke up with me then. And now shes making every effort to come back into my life. That’s why I want us to get married ASAP, baka kasi mapikot pa ako.”

“Yabang nito…Alam mo ba Ricky…na nagugutom na ako, konti lng kaya nakain ko kanina.”

“The feeling is mutual” Ricky said. They both laughed.

Maya prepared the table. “Teka, mas masarap ito kung may…coffee!” They said in unison. “Ok lang ba kung ipagtimpa kita?” She asked Ricky.

“It’s my pleasure sweetheart.” Ricky agreed sweetly.

Mmmm, ngayon ko lang nalasahan ang foods.

“Masarap ba? Nag hire pa ako ng chef ha.”

“Of course, sabi ko na di yan luto ni mama eh. Nag effort ka pa talaga ha. Mabuti pa dalhan natin si Kris at Simon ng foods mamaya, ang dami pa nito eh”

“Why not, sige, punta tayo dun mamaya.”

“And how’s my coffee?” Maya asked.

“Very good, it’s just a little bit sweet for me, otherwise it’s perfect. And yes I know what’s the perfect give-away for our guests on our wedding? A personalized coffee cup…because it was a reminder of our love. I realized I love you, when I was drinking your coffee. And we were drinking coffee that time I first asked to you to marry me.

“And when we give each other coffee, it’s like saying I love you.” Maya added.

“Right, Maya you made me the happiest man on earth. I love you. You may not be my first love, but your my true love, you are my present and my future, were destined for each other.”

“I love you too Ricky, I always do.”

 

Ding-dong..”Sandali lang Ricky ha, tingnan ko lang kung sino.”

“Flowers po para kay Miss Maria Fatima dela Rosa.”

Thank you, Maya received the flowers and read the card…. You are the reason behind my smiles…I love you with all my heart… Ricky

So, ikaw pala yung parating nagpapadala sa akin ng flowers sa office..

 

Ricky smiled ang kissed her gently once more…he whispered to her ear… “Maya, I cant wait til were married.”

Maya in turn pinched him on his side.

 

Kris and Simon was surprised to see them together. They noticed Rickys arm on Maya’s shoulder. “Uhurrm…uhurrm… paki explain nga, parang meron kaming kailangang malaman…” Asked Kristina Rose.

 

Ricky showed them the ringed finger of Maya. “Were getting married” He announced.

“Agad-agad? Teka hindi ko nabalitang in a relationship kayo tapos ngayon…kelan pa? Maya, akala ko ba bestfriends tayo?”

“Hahaha…I knew it, I can feel it. Sabi ko na nga ba, there’s something going on between the two of you. Salamat naman at narealize nyo din” Simon broke.

“It’s a long story…I proposed to her last night, then you two came and broke our moment. I skipped the courtship period because I can no longer wait, I realized I wasted a lot of time. Anyway we have a lifetime to spend for courting.”

“Aba naman, this calls for a celebration! Ilabas ang lechon! Ilabas ang alak! Kris yelled.

 

Happy Ending…

 

 

 

The Guardian Angel – Prologue

Author: princemackaroo

 

~*~

 

“I love you Maya!” said Richard as I tucked him in bed. He was smiling sweetly at me as he said those words. “Can you be mine forever?”

I smiled back at him as I gently sit down on the edge of his bed. Caressing his hair ever so softly, I looked at his innocent eyes as I try to explain why I can’t stay by his side forever. “Richard, di ba nasabi ko naman na sa’yo, time will come when you eventually grow, you’ll no longer need me but another kid will. When that time comes, I will have to leave and look after another child.”

Richard’s cute little brows furrowed the way I know he’s trying to ponder on the things that I’ve been telling him. Richard’s a smart little kid which makes it easier to talk to him. Despite his age, he talks and thinks like a matured teenage boy though he’s only nine years old. “Then I’d always need you! If that happens you’ll never leave me, right?”

I let out a chuckle. This boy never really fails to amuse me no matter what. “Pero di ba sabi mo you’re already a young man now? Young men are independent and can do things by themselves.”

“I know. But I don’t want to be a young man anymore. I just want to be a boy so you’ll never leave me.”

This does not always happen. Truth be told, this is not supposed to happen in the first place. As a guardian angel, we were supposed to protect children and keep them from harm’s length and not let them brokenhearted and vulnerable. I’ve been doing this task for centuries and haven’t failed, not even once. I’ve never, not even once during my existence ever broken our code: Never to show ourselves to humans and get attached with them. And now, that’s exactly what I did. For the first time in my existence, I never found the need to put my guards up whenever I’m with Richard. I knew the dangers of it all and what it could possibly do to the both of us. I knew it was reckless and irresponsible of me, but there’s just something about the boy that I simply can’t afford to miss even if it meant my vulnerability. And now, I’m starting to reap the consequences of my own selfish actions. Who knows how much I still need to reap.

I took his little hands and held them against mine. I looked at him in his eyes as I further explain myself to him. “You can’t always be a boy, Richard. You’ll grow up and become a fine man. You’ll finish school, find a job, fall in love and have your own family.”

Okay, I guess that had been a mouthful as his brows furrowed once more, but I know he understands where I’m getting at. “Can’t you stay with me then and be someone I’ll fall in love with?”

“As much as I’d love to, I simply can’t. You know that I’m a guardian angel right? And what I do is look at children and guard them the best way I can so they won’t be harmed. But once they grow up and can already stand on their own, I already have to leave them and take care of other children.”

“But why? Can’t you do anything so you’ll just stay with me forever?”

This is one of the reasons why letting your guard down is never advisable. You can easily feel helpless and defenseless. Feel the pain of parting with someone you’re already used to having around. And before I could utter another word, I noticed the tears starting to well up in his small chinky eyes.

“Richard –“

He threw the cover off his body and in one swift move, threw himself to me and hugged me tight, wrapping his short arms around my neck. “I love you Maya! Please don’t ever leave me,” he said as he sobbed at my shoulder.

I closed my eyes as I try to control my emotions. I hugged him back and rub his back as I try to give him comfort. “Ssshh.. Don’t cry Richard. Di ba big boy ka na? And big boys are strong and can handle themselves already.”

“But I don’t want to be a big boy anymore!” he replied stubbornly. “I only want to be a young boy! A young boy who will always have a guardian angel by his side! Who would always have you by my side!”

I took a deep breath and composed myself the best way I can. I pulled him gently away from me so I can look him directly in his eyes. With my thumbs, I wiped the tears and held his face with my hands. “Richard, please listen to me okay?”

Richard nodded his head and I smiled at him once again.

“You can’t always be a boy. You’ll continue to grow and become a man. Gustuhin ko man na lagi nalang manatili sa tabi mo, hindi pwede. Paano nalang yung ibang mga bata na mangangilangan ng tulong ko?”

“Pero. . .”

“Richard di ba hindi magandang maging selfish?”

Richard nodded his head once more.

“Di ba mas maganda kung nakakatulong ka sa kapwa mo? Alam mo ba, pag lumaki ka na, nakakatulong ka sa ibang mga bata kasi magkakaroon na sila ng guardian angel na titingin at mag-aalaga sa kanila. O di ba mas maganda yun?”

“But I will be sad and I will miss you,” said Richard in a resigned tone.

“And I will miss you too. But these things have to happen. It may not make sense now, but eventually it will,” I smiled reassuringly at him though I know the reassurance is intended for me as well.

His tears flowed anew. “But I will never see you again, right?”

I nodded my head in confirmation. “You may never see me again, but I will always be here.” I placed my heart on his left chest, to where his heart is.

And I was surprised when he did the same to me. With his small little hand, he placed it on my left chest. “Will I always be here as well?”

“Always.”

After hugging and comforting him, he finally slept in my arms. Gently, I laid him back in bed and placed the duvet up to his chest. I watched him sleep and waited until the clock struck twelve and I knew it was already time. I bent down and placed a soft kiss on his forehead. “Happy birthday Richard! I will never ever forget you. You’ll always be in my heart. I love you.” With one last glance, I whispered my goodbye before I disappeared and went back to heaven.

 

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Happy Father’s Day

Admin Note: *Contributed Story* Please give credit and thanks to tickler004


A/N: Humugot ng panyo para sa mga iyakin hahaha. HAPPY FATHER’s DAY

Author: tickler004
~*~

They were driving for 20 minutes in silence.

Everyone is thinking for the right words to say.

Suddenly the car stops.

“Nandito na tayo”. Joma says

Everyone stepped out, feeling as if their feet are getting heavy.

Sky and Sunshine both took each of Maya’s hands and gave her a reassuring smile.

She smiled back at them, feeling grateful for her twins. THEIR twins.

Luke, Nikki, and Abby were the first to enter. Leaving Maya and the twins outside.

Minutes passed but they were still talking. There must be a lot to tell.

Luke is managing the company, Nikki having a good career in fashion business and Abby’s high school life.

Everything was going smoothly, she should be happy but she’s not.

“Mommy ba’t po parang ang sad mo?” Sky asked,

“Oo nga po, Mommy, dapat po happy lang kayo, bawal ang sad maba-block ang blessings,” Sunshine agreed.

She smiles. She really was like her, having the same positive vibes. “Little Maya” 

She then chuckled, remembering Richard’s remark.

“Tita Mommy, tapos na po kami”. Luke said.

She replied with a nod. She took a step tugging the twins with her.

Why did it have to be so hard?

One day everything was going perfectly the next day everything turn grey to black.

 

“Richard Lim”. A stoic man. Everything about them was surreal, him falling for her. Him, accepting everything about her.

It was fairytale-like.

Like Heaven and Earth.  Water and Fire.  Yin and Yang. Richard and Maya.

Two opposite people tied by the string of fate.

Hi, sigurado ko nakwento na nila Luke, Nikki, and Abby ‘yung tungkol sa kanila, kami nila Sky and Sunshine okay din naman, they’re both accelerating sa school, mana talaga sila satin, parehong matalino, haha!”,

Maya took a deep breath looking upward feeling that all to familiar urge to cry.

“Ang laki na nila ‘no? Sobrang kulit pa nitong si Sunshine, mana sayo, hahahaha!”

“Sayo po kaya ako nag-mana Mama, kuya Luke said so” Sunshine retorted with a pout

.

“Hahaha! Pati ata pagka-madaldal niya, sakin niya nakuha” Maya said, agreeing with her daughter.

“Eto namang si Sky, ang bata-bata pa ang dami na nagkakagusto, manang-mana sa’yo sa pagkagwapo.”

Sky just smile knowing it was all true.

“Miss na kita, miss ka na naming lahat.” Maya says it welcoming the tears threatening to shed in her eyes.

“Ang daya mo naman kasi ba’t ka agad nang iwan” she said it with a joking manner.

“Pero alam ko naman na kung papipiliin ka, hindi mo kami iiwan ee. . . .

 Mahal na mahal mo kaya kami. . . ”

Maya reached out, tracing the engraved name on the grave, “Richard  Lim”

“. . at mahal na mahal ka din namin, mahal na mahal kita. . .

. .  may oras na akala ko di ko kakayanin nung nawala ka, pero di naman ako pedeng sumuko diba? para sa pamilya naten, para sa anak natin”.

“Kailangan kong maging matatag para sa kanila, nawala ka na nga pati ba naman ako mawawala pa”

 

“Ang hirap pala maging single parent ‘no?”, amazement was evident in her voice.

 

“yung sinabi mo sakin dati . . .  na kung makakita ako ng lalaking makakapagpa-ibig sakin.. . . ” Maya swallowed.

“. . . tingin ko hindi na ako makakahanap nun, kasi para sakin ikaw lang yung minahal, minamahal at mamahalin ko, wala nako makikitang lalaki na makakatumbas sayo. Ikaw na kasi yung best daddy at best husband para sakin sa buong mundo”

The twins run leaving Maya some privacy.

“Di ko alam kung bat ayaw ka nila kausapin dito . . . pero minsan nakikita ko sila na yakap yung picture mo pag natutulog sila, siguro nahihiya silang umiyak sa harap ko. . . baka iniisip nila na mahawa ako hahaha”

“Tita Mommy!! Nagtatanong napo si Lola Nanay kung pauwi na tayo” she heard Luke called outside the mausoleum.

“Hinahanap na kami ni Nanay, alam mo naman yun kung pano mag-alala, first time kasi to na di ka namin kasama sa gantong okasyon..

A chilling wind blew sending a shiver in her.  He must be here.

“Happy Father’s Day sayo sweetheart. I love you and I always will”

Restless – Chapter 17

Admin Note: This is a continuation to Restless – Chapter 16.


Author: Ricci 

Author’s Note: No excuse for taking so long to post this…  just that the busyness of work has a way of making me stay away from my writing.  Cheers :D

~*~

Chapter 17 – Pearl Earring

They arrived in Tokyo last night, and today was her day off. If not for her grumbling stomach, she wouldn’t have bothered to get up, but then realized she doesn’t want to waste a perfectly good day.

She headed at the reception floor lobby with a plan to get a quick late lunch, after which lounge at the pool area, and explore later. She never gets tired of Tokyo even though she’d been here several times.

“Maya Dela Rosa san, Ohayo gozaimasu. There’s a package for you here.” She heard the hotel staff greeted and called on her when she came out of the lift, Monday afternoon.

She went to the reception, and thanked the staff in nihonggo with a usual polite bow. By now, the hotel staffs are now familiar with them as guest for they usually stay in this same hotel during their scheduled flight.

Maya looked at the pretty paper bag with her name on it but without any information of the sender. She slowly opened the package, and saw a sort of jewelry box inside. “I wonder who sent this?” She muttered as she opened the box.

Maya drew a deep breath; her eyes widened for nothing prepared her for what she saw. In the box sits the other half of her pearl earring. She was stunned, and amazed that after a year, her lost earring found its way home.

She hurriedly took the folded note that was tucked away inside the box, and quietly read it.

“It was harder than I thought to pretend that I didn’t know you a year ago. – Richard”

Oh my God! How is it possible?” She whispered, breathing too fast as she lurched in a spasm of astonishment, and wondered if fate was playing a game with her. There’s only one Richard that she knows of, and she left him in Baguio yesterday.

She could not breathe, couldn’t move – a threat of tear stung the back of her eyes as a lump of emotion surge in her heart for the man she fell deeply in love, but couldn’t have.

Somehow, Maya knows that he’s here. She let her eyes drift past the crowd in the lobby, looking from side to side with wildly searching gaze while the throb of her own heartbeat muffled the crowd’s noise…until…her heart gave a leap, missed a beat as her gaze touched a pair of penetrating eyes looking straight into hers. Richard… in the crowd, his left hand shoved into his pants pocket. He stood there patiently, his gaze intent, ensnaring her with a steady gaze.

Paralyzed, she saw a glimmer of emotion in his eyes looking at her in a way he had never looked at her before as if he was humbly offering himself to her, as if he loves her… It can’t be.

Dragging air into her constricted lungs, she lowered her eyes from him. He’s indeed here. He followed her all the way from Baguio, she thought wildly. The same man who found her earring was, impossibly, “Richard”, the man who had held and kissed her yesterday.

“Richard –“ Her heart screamed out, a mere whisper, and yet it seemed to resound across the crowd as if beckoning him to come to her.

Richard couldn’t bring himself to stay far away from her any longer. He strolled towards her, and felt that the distance of going to her seems so far as he wend his way amidst crowd in the lobby until he was standing only an inch across her.

“I’m crazy about you.”

The shattering emotion of the words sent a jolting tremor up Maya’s spine. She swayed a little, her knees locked and shaking. She scarcely recognized his voice; it was raw with emotion, a yearning whisper.

Richard waited as seconds ticked by, and made no move to touch her. He saw her stiffened, and for one moment, feared that she’ll flung back his declaration to his face but then she took an imperceptible step forward, and very lightly, leaned her bent head on his chest. His breath froze at the exquisite pleasure of her body close to him. He placed his arms around her waist, drawing her closer to him.

Maya lifted her hands and spread her fingers over his pounding heart and stood quietly in his embrace as if being in his arms was the only place in the world she wished to be.

Richard took an unsteady breath, and drew back slightly to look at her. Her head bent, eyes lowered, hidden from him, until he tipped her chin up to face him. Finally, he saw her eyes lifted to his, and the raw emotion in their melting depths nearly buckled his knees. He wanted to drown himself into her eyes, to carry her somewhere private, and kiss her senseless. Even with the unspoken words, he knew – she loves him.

With a joyous sigh of relief, he tightened his hold on her, possessively molding her body into his and placed a kiss on the side of her neck. He would have done more if they’re not in a public place, and so with much reluctance, he released her, and instead took her hand, and interlaced his fingers with hers.

“Richard –“ Maya finally found her voice, her upturned face overwhelmed and at the same time, mirroring puzzlement. “The package … how did you happen to have my earring from a year ago?”

“Maya. –“ He began with mischief sparkled in his eyes. “Later… in private. I just came in all the way from Baguio, and haven’t had a decent sleep. Would you mind if we take a nap first, and talk later.”

“I’m not sure if that’s a good idea – you might take advantage.” Maya told him with a glint in her eyes

“Don’t you trust me yet? I was a good boy the last time we slept together.”

Maya can’t help but smile. “You stole a kiss while I was asleep.”

“I can’t help myself when I’m with you. And besides, you took advantage too by kissing me back.”

“Then you sleep in your room, and I’ll wait for you here while you have your nap.”

“Not a chance. I’m not letting you out of my sight. You’ve already broken the world record of running away and eluding me.” Richard informed her, and rallied. “I’ll behave. Just let me hold you while I sleep.”

Maya arched her eyebrow, suspicious at the lazy smile that touched his lips.

“Please. It’s been one crazy day for me, and seriously, I‘m exhausted from the long distance travel.

True to his word, Richard did sleep but not after ravishing her with his kisses the moment they step into his suite. He slept with his arms behind her shoulders, holding her close to his chest that every time she shifted in her position, he tightened his hold on her as if even in his dreams, he doesn’t want to let go.

 

//

The Art of Letting Go – part 45

A/N: This is a continuation to The Art of Letting Go – part 44.

 I really thought that I could just end this series with the previous chapter and simply provide you with an Epilogue but there are some who requested reading about Maya’s pregnancy and how they’ll deal with it as a couple, and most specifically, how Richard will deal with it. So here it is – the start of their “after happily ever after.” God bless everyone!  :D

Author: princemackaroo

~*~

“Welcome home angel!” Richard greeted Maya as they got back to their mansion. Joma had just picked them up from the airport and brought them to their home. He got out of the car and took out the luggage of the couple, leaving some privacy for the two.

Richard leaned closely to his wife and gave her a kiss. “Just stay here.”

“Huh?”

Richard simply smiled at her in return and immediately got out of the car and went to the other side. He opened the backseat door for his wife. As he bent down and tried to scoop and carry his wife out of the vehicle, Maya placed a hand on Richard’s shoulder and leaned back away from him.

“Honey, anong ginagawa mo?” she asked in amusement.

“What do you think am doing?” asked Richard as he smile back at his wife. “I’m going to carry my wife.” He once again attempted to scoop Maya up but the latter is adamant in her stance.

“Honey!! Ano ka ba! Hindi mo na ako kailangang buhatin pa.”

Richard tried to ignore her but Maya just leaned back more, pushing herself away from her husband.

“Honey ano ba! Kaya ko namang lumabas mag-isa! Hindi mo na ako kailangang buhatin pa!!” Maya was laughing while she tries to admonish her husband. “Honey!!”

“Angel, halika na. Nag-aantay na sa atin sa loob sila Papa at Mama at ang init init dito sa labas o. Tignan mo nga at pinagpapawisan na ako sa init. Come on. Sumama ka na sa akin at ng makapasok na tayo sa loob.”

“O kaya nga honey. Kaya ang mabuti pa huwag mo na akong buhatin pa para hindi ka na mahirapan pa at hindi ka na lalong pawisan pa.”

“No! I will carry you kaya makisama ka nalang,” grinned Richard.

Maya laughed even more. “Ano ba honey! Sabing wag na.”

Richard already had his left arm under Maya’s knees but can’t place his right arm around her shoulders as Maya kept pushing him.

“Honey!!” squealed Maya. “Ano ka ba! Hindi ka ba talaga titigil ha?” laughed Maya.

“No, kaya makisama ka nalang okay.”

Seeing the determination of her husband, Maya thought of tickling him and escape his hold. She successfully tickled Richard but the latter eventually got hold of her hands.

“Yan pala ang gusto mo ha?” remarked Richard as he give Maya a mischievous look.

Easily picking up what his look meant, Maya tried to free her hands from his hold. “Honey. . . Yang binabalak mo ha. Itigil mo yan. Kailangan na nating pumasok sa loob at –“

Before Maya could even finish her sentence, Richard already had his hands at Maya’s sides, tickling her relentlessly.

“Honey!!!!” squealed Maya. “Tama na! Tama naaa!!” laughed Maya as Richard’s unforgiving fingers continue to tickle her.

Richard was laughing hard as well as he continued to torture his wife.

As their laughter filled the air, the two were oblivious of the audience that gathered in front of the main door, watching them.

“Kaya naman pala hindi pa nakakapasok sa loob hanggang ngayon. Naghaharutan pa pala ang lovebirds sa loob ng sasakyan,” said Kute loudly but was surprised that Richard and Maya did not seem to have heard her. She together with rest of the group giggled at what just happened.

Mamang motioned for everyone to keep quiet. She stealthily walked towards the car’s opened door and stood behind Richard, whose half body is still inside the car. “Hoy mga apo!! Ano bang pinagkaka-abalahan niyo diyan ha!!” bellowed Mamang.

The couples were both startled and surprised at the same time when they heard Mamang’s voice. Richard stood up straight and saw Mamang beaming at him.

“Mano po Mamang.” Richard took Mamang’s right hand and pressed it on his forehead.

“Kaawaan ka apo.”

Maya scrambled to get out of the car. “Mamang!!” she greeted and immediately threw her arms around Mamang and hugged her tight. “Kumusta ka na Mamang?” Maya asked as she detangled herself.

“Mabuti naman ako apo. Kayo kumusta naman ang pulot-gata niyong mag-asawa?” Mamang held Maya at arm’s length and seemingly examined her fully. “Aba apo! Mukhang lalo kang gumaganda ah!”

Maya just giggled in response.

“Ehem! Ehem! Bunso! Richard! Nandito din kami!! Baka gusto niyo naman kaming pansinin,” called out Kute.

Maya and Richard swiftly pivoted around to see the smiling faces of Kute, Teresita, Roberto, and Esmeralda.

“Kute!! Nay!!” exclaimed Maya. She ran towards the two and engulfed them in a hug. As they broke free, “Bakit kayo nandito? Anong ginagawa niyo dito?” she asked.

“Wow bunso! After niyong mawala at magpakasaya ng isang buwan yan lang ang ibubungad mo sa amin? Hindi niyo na nga kami nakasama ng pasko at bagong taon ganyan nalang ang pagbati mo sa amin? Nakaka-hurt ka naman ng feelings bunso!” joked Kute.

“Sira ka talaga Kute!” chuckled Maya. “Syempre nagulat lang ako na makita kayo dito noh! Miss na miss ko na kaya kayo!”

“Assuuu!!! Totoo ba yan? Eh mukhang nakalimutan mo na nga kami eh!”

Maya simply laughed at her sister. “Pwede ba namang mangyari yun. Pwede ko ba namang makalimutan ang aking pinakamamahal at best sister in town?”

“Nambola pa si bunso!” Kute paused for a while and looked at her sister. “Pero na-miss kita bunso.”

“Awww. Na-miss din kita Kute!” They once again shared an embrace.

Teresita deliberately cleared her throat. “Paano naman ako nak?”

Maya looked at her mother. “Aaawww!! Nay syempre na-miss ko din po kayo!!” From Kute, Maya went to Teresita and hugged her tight.

“Na-miss din kita nak.” Same as Mamang, Teresita held Maya at arm’s length and examined her. “Tama si Mamang, lalo kang gumaganda nak. Blooming na blooming ka. Alagang alaga ka ni Richard noh?”

Maya nodded her head and smiled bashfully at her mother.

“O eh paano naman kami ng Papa Roberto mo hija, hindi mo man lang ba kami na-miss?”

Maya looked over Teresita’s shoulder and saw Esmeralda pouting dramatically at her. She chuckled at the sight and went to them. “Pwede po ba namang hindi ko kayo ma-miss ni Papa? Siyempre na-miss ko rin po kayo!” said Maya as she went over them and gave them both a hug as well.

Richard also greeted the rest of the family and hugged each and every one of them.

“I think it’s better if we all get inside. Doon nalang tayo mag-kumustahan sa loob at ng makakain narin tayong lahat,” said Esmeralda then turned to Richard and Maya. “Hindi niyo naitatanong, both Conchita and Teresita prepared a sumptuous lunch for all of us.”

“Talaga po Ma?” beamed Maya.

“Oh yes hija! They prepared the dish na paborito niyong pareho ni Ricky.”

“Kare-kare!” Richard and Maya blurted out in unison.

“Yes!” chuckled Esmeralda. “Kaya let’s all get inside para makakain na tayong lahat at makapag-pahinga narin kayong dalawa. I know it’s been a long and tiring travel.”

As everyone made their way inside the mansion, Richard held Maya back. “Angel wait. May sasabihin lang ako.”

“Ano yun?”

As soon as the last person entered the mansion, Richard scooted down and carried Maya in his arms.

Maya let out a surprise gasp with what Richard did. “Honey!”

“I told you I wanted to carry you,” grinned Richard.

Before Maya could react any further, Richard started walking and carried her all the way inside the mansion. Soon after the door closed behind them, teasing and cheers were heard.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

“Mmm.. The best talaga itong kare-kare niyo Mamang at Nay! Ang sarap talaga!” Maya said with utter appreciation as she eats her food with so much gusto. “Timpla niyo rin po itong bagoong di po ba?”

“Ang nanay mo ang nagtimpla niyang bagoong apo,” replied Mamang. “Talagang sarap na sarap ka sa luto namin ng nanay mo ah. Mukhang na-miss mo talaga ito ng husto.”

“Sinabi niyo pa Mamang! Ang sarap lang po talaga! Di ba honey?”

“Yup! The best parin po talaga ang kare-kare dish niyo Nay and Mamang,” agreed Richard.

“At itong bagoong Nay masarap po sanang iterno sa manggang hilaw,” said Maya.

“Ay tama ka bunso!” said Kute. “Naalala mo dati, pag magluluto na sila ng Nanay ng kare-kare, dali-dali tayong pumupunta sa taniman ni Ninong Ramon at mangunguha ng mangga?”

“Oo. Mamimitas na agad tayo nun tas iuuwi sa bahay para ma-iterno sa bagoong na gawa ni Nanay!”

“Tas naalala mo nung minsang sumakit ang tiyan mo dahil kumain ka agad ng mangga ng walang laman ang tiyan mo tas uminom ka agad ng maraming tubig?” mused Kute.

Maya laughed as she remembered that incident. “Paano ko naman makakalimutan yun Kute eh sumobra kaya sakit ng tiyan ko noon! Kulang nalang talaga madala ako sa pagkain ng mangga dahil dun eh!”

The rest of the household joined in her laughter.

“Parang natatakam din ako sa mangga ah,” said Esmeralda. “Fe, meron ba tayong green mangoes sa fridge?”

Manang Fe went to the dining area. “Wala po ma’am eh.”

“Oh. Sayang naman,” she said then thought for a while. “Do you think the supermarket has some?”

Manang Fe smiled. “Ipapa-check ko nalang po kila Sabel.”

“Oh please do Fe. Gusto lang kasi talaga naming kumain ng green mangoes,” gushed Esmeralda.

“Sige po mam.” Manang Fe smiled and turned around to leave.

“Esmeralda, daig mo pa ang naglilihi sa paghanap mo ng green mangoes,” said Roberto.

Esmeralda waved a dismissive hand. “Nonsense Roberto. Minsan nalang din naman akong makakain at maghanap ng green mangoes. If not for the stories that Cristina Rose and Maya shared I would never have thought of looking for such. Saka tama sila, it’s a perfect partner for this bagoong.”

“Whatever you say Esmeralda,” said Roberto.

As they continued to eat, Teresita noticed Maya getting another ample serving of rice. “Nak! Hinay-hinay lang sa pagkain. Baka ma-impacho ka niyan,” remarked Teresita.

Maya chuckled. “Hindi po nay. Kaya pa naman po ng tiyan ko. Ang sarap lang po kasi talaga nitong niluto niyo at na-miss ko lang po talaga ito ng sobra.”

“Oo nga naman Teresita. Hayaan mo lang kumain ng kumain yang apo natin. Isang buwan din silang nawala kaya normal lang na ma-miss niya ang mga ganitong lutuin dito,” defended Mamang. “Sige lang apo at kumain ka lang ng kumain hangga’t gusto mo. Ikaw Richard apo. Kumain ka lang din ng kumain ha. Talagang niluto namin yan para sa inyong dalawa at alam naming paboritong paborito niyo yan.”

“Salamat po Mamang,” smiled Richard.

“Make sure to have room for dessert ha?” said Esmeralda. “I’ve made fruit salad and leche flan for you guys.”

“Wow! Talagang hinanda niyo ang mga gusto namin ha,” said Richard.

“But of course hijo. We wanted the both of you to have a really good homecoming.”

“Thanks Ma!”

“May Durian po ba Ma?” asked Maya out of the blue. Everyone around the table paused from eating and turned to look at her.

“Durian nak?” clarified Teresita.

Maya nodded her head. “Bigla ko lang pong naisip. Na-miss ko rin po yata.”

“Oh.” Esmeralda looked at Maya apologetically. “I’m sorry hija pero hindi ako nakapagpabili ng Durian. Ricky never mentioned you have such fondness for that fruit. Pero kung gusto mo we can ask Sabel –”

Though a bit disappointed, Maya chose to ignore her craving for the said fruit. “Naku Ma! Ok lang po. Next time nalang po siguro.”

“Are you sure? Pwede naman tayong magpahanap kung gusto mo talaga?”

Maya gave Esmeralda a reassuring smile. “Ok lang po talaga Ma.”

“Naka naman ang trip mo bunso!” teased Kute. “Una manggang hilaw, tas ngayon naman Durian? At kelan ka pa nahilig sa Durian?”

“Bigla ko lang namang naalala Kute, kasi nung napunta kami nila Emman at James sa Bangkok ang sarap nung Durian na nakain namin doon eh. Na-miss ko lang,” said Maya.

“Oh yes! They do have good tasting Durians. Almost the same as what Davao has,” agreed Roberto. “Parang ako naman ngayon ang nahawa sa cravings ni Maya.”

Everyone laughed at Roberto’s remark.

After they finished off their food, Esmeralda had the desserts served. Everyone got their own serving of both desserts but Maya seemed to have lost her appetite at the sight. For some reason, she can’t get her mind off the green mangoes and the Durian. As everyone is digging in their own share of desserts, Maya just played with hers.

“Angel, are you okay?” Richard asked.

“Huh? Oo naman. Bakit?”

“Hindi mo kasi ginagalaw yang dessert mo eh. Di ba paborito mo rin ang mga yan?”

Maya just smiled at Richard. “Busog lang siguro ako honey. Ang dami kong nakaing kare-kare eh.”

Richard smiled back. “Well I guess I would be more surprised if you still had the appetite to eat all these desserts. Baka maniwala na akong may mga alaga ka talaga diyan sa tiyan mo.”

Maya pinched Richard’s side. “Alam mo ikaw puro ka talaga kalokohan!”

Richard caught Maya’s hand as he laughed and pressed it to his lips for a kiss.

“Tita Esme pasensya na po kayo ha, pero para pong tumabang itong salad at leche flan. Nadaig po ng ka-sweetan nitong dalawa dito.” Kute pointed her thumb at Richard and Maya and grinned at them.

Everyone howled in laughter once more.

“Ikaw talaga Kute!” said Maya.

As they finished off their meal, they all went to the living room to rest for a while. Richard and Maya took the opportunity to distribute the presents they bought for each and everyone. After about an hour, everyone went to their respective rooms, except for Richard and Maya, to have their afternoon siesta and also to give room for the couple to rest. The newlyweds decided to stay at the verandah for a while before they retire to their room.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

“Cristina Rose, may napansin ka ba kanina sa kapatid mo?” Teresita asked, as they have settled inside their room to rest for a while.

Kute looked at Teresita with a confused look on her face. “Napansin Nay?” She thought for a while before she answered her mother further. “Umm.. Napansin kong mas glowing si bunso. Eh pero normal lang naman yun lalo’t bagong kasal at alagang alaga ng asawa. Tsaka, mukhang na-miss niya ang husto ang mga luto niyo ni Mamang.” Her face lit up as she tried to prove her point further. “Tama! Na-miss niya yung luto niyo Nay!” Kute chuckled. “Kita mo nga kanina, ang lakas kumain! Kung nakailang lagay ng kanin sa plato! At naalala pa ang mangga na dati naming kinukuha sa tuwing may bagoong ka at hindi lang yun, ngayon naman pati Durian! Naghahanap narin siya ng Durian!” Kute shakes her head in amusement.

“Yun na nga anak. Yan din ang mga napansin ko sa kapatid mo kanina. Sumobra ang gana niya sa pagkain. At nagulat din nga ako na pati Durian, naghahanap siya. Hindi ko naman alam na nahilig ang kapatid mo sa prutas na iyon,” said Teresita.

“Eh di ba Nay, sabi naman niya kanina na nakatikim siya ng prutas na yun sa Bangkok? Baka nahiligan niya nang matikman niyang masarap pala. Saka sabi naman niya naalala lang daw niya kaya na-miss niya. Siguro na-miss ng husto yung luto niyo at nasarapan ng husto kaya napakain ng marami at naalala yung ibang mga pagkain na natikman niyang masarap,” explained Kute.

Teresita thought for a while. “Pero iba ang tingin ko nak eh. Tingin ko iba ang sanhi sa maganang pagkain ng kapatid mo kanina at pati narin sa paghahanap niya ng Durian,” said Teresita with a hint of excitement.

Kute simply looked at her in oblivion.

“Nak, tingin ko nag-da-dalang tao na ang kapatid mo,” smiled Teresita.

“Sa tingin mo nay?”

“Oo nak, pero hinuha ko lang naman yun. Pwede namang nagkakamali lang ako at posible ngang na-miss lang niya ang mga luto ni Nanay kaya ganun nalang ang gana niya sa pagkain. Pero kasi iba ang kutob ko nak eh.” Teresita paused and thought for a while. “Teka at matanong nga si Nanay.”

Kute chuckled. “Nay, pano niyo pa matatanong yang si Mamang. Tignan mo nga o. Paglapat palang ng likod sa kama ayan at plakda na, naghihihilik na!”

“Ikaw talaga Cristina Rose! Kung alaskahin mo yang Mamang mo ha,” reprimanded Teresita.

“Eh kasi naman nay, tignan mo, tulog agad,” chuckled Kute. “Pero nay, siguro kung ano man yung napansin natin kay bunso kanina, hayaan nalang muna natin. Tutal kanina palang natin siya nakita na ganun. Pakiramdaman nalang din siguro natin sa mga susunod na araw para narin hindi tayo ma-hopia sa huli.”

Teresita sighed. “Tama ka nga nak. Pero lam mo nak, sigurado ako, pag nagka-anak yang mag-asawa na yan, pihadong gwapo at magaganda sila.”

Kute smirked. “Eh sigurado na yun nay! Sa pamilya palang natin, puro tayo mga gwapo’t magaganda. Tas ang napangasawa pa ni bunso, lahi din ng mga gwapo’t magaganda. O di ba? Wala kang itulak kabigin!”

Terestita laughed. “Oo nga nak! Kaya mas lalo akong na-e-excite na magka-apo ulit,” mused Teresita, then faced Kute. “Ikaw naman kasi nak. Kung noon palang sinagot mo na si Jeff at nagpakasal, eh di sana nadagdagan pa ang apo ko.”

Kute waved her hands frantically in an attempt to stop her mother. “Wow! Wow lang ha! Wow lang nay!” she mocked. “Yang mga ganyang hirit niyo eh noh? Nay, uulitin ko lang ha. Kailan man ay hindi nanligaw sa akin si Jeff at lalong hindi nagyaya ng kasal kaya malabong talaga yang iniilusyon niyo. Kaya please, please lang. Tigil na okay?” pleaded Kute.

Teresita smiled and gave her daughter a knowing smile. “Eh di kung sakali palang manligaw at magyaya si Jeff ng kasal nak –“

“Nay!!” groaned Kute. She stomped her foot and scratched her head with both hands in frustration. “Itigil niyo na nay okay? Itigil niyo na yang ilusyon niyo tungkol sa amin ni Jeff. Dahil hinding hindi mangyayari yan. Hindi talaga. Hindi.”

Teresita laughed and moved close to Kute and hugged her. “Ito talagang anak ko napaka-pikon.”

“Ikaw naman kasi nay eh! Kakilakilabot naman kasi yang mga pinagsasasabi niyo eh!”

Teresita simply laughed even more.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

For the next three days, Richard and Maya are still having trouble adjusting their body clocks to the local time zone. Their bodies got too accustomed to the European time. They found themselves staying up until the wee hours and would normally wake up late in the morning, thus they were not able to join their respective families for breakfast. Aside from this, Maya had been battling with nausea for two consecutive days now which usually attacks early morning. She kept it unknown from Richard, not wanting him to get worried as she assumed that it will eventually go away as soon as her body gets fully recovered from the time zone disparity.

One morning, a wave of nausea struck Maya once more. She hastily got out of bed, recklessly detangling herself from Richard as she can no longer stop the bile from rising up her throat. She ran to the bathroom and threw up at the toilet. In just a few seconds, a panicked Richard came rushing by her side.

“Angel!” Richard gathered his wife’s hair, held it up and gently rubbed her back. He can feel how Maya’s stomach contracts as she empty all its contents in a couple of deep blows.

As Maya’s stomach finally calmed down and her breathing already even, she went to the sink and rinsed her mouth with water. Richard reached for the towel as Maya was already about to straight up. He gently dabbed her lips and the corners of it dry.

“Thank you,” muttered Maya as she smiled gratefully at her husband.

“Are you okay?” Richard asked with the worried look still on his face.

Maya nodded her head. “Okay lang ako honey. Medyo nahilo lang ako.”

“Are you sure?” Placing the towel aside, Richard touched Maya’s forehead with the back of his hand and touched her neck as he try to check her temperature.

“Honey,” chuckled Maya. “Nahilo lang talaga ako pero wala akong sakit o ano man.”

Richard still continued to examine her. “You really don’t look that good to me. Para ngang medyo namumutla ka eh.”

“Dahil lang siguro sa puyat honey. Di ba ilang araw narin tayong hindi agad agad nakakatulog sa gabi? Masyado atang nasanay yung katawan natin sa European time kaya medyo nahirapan tayong mag-adjust ngayon. I’m sure pag naitulog ko ito, mawawala din ito,” said Maya.

Richard still looked at her unconvinced. “Are you sure?”

“Sure na sure honey,” she said smiling reassuringly at Richard. She then closed their gap and hugged her husband. “Sorry honey ha.”

“Huh? What are you sorry for?”

“Eh kasi na-istorbo kita sa pagtulog mo eh. Nung mga nakaraang araw naman hindi naman ganoon kalakas yung hilo ko pero kanina –“

Richard immediately held her on both shoulders and pushed her a little so he can look straight at her eyes. “You mean this isn’t the first time na nagsusuka ka?”

Maya bit her lip in hesitation.

“Angel please tell me the truth. I want to know the truth. I need to know the truth. How long has this been going on?” asked Richard.

“Eh kasi honey. . . May two days narin. Bigla nalang akong magigising sa umaga dahil nga sumasama yung sikmura ko. Nung una hindi naman ganun kasama. Pero kanina, ewan ko ba. Hindi ko na talaga nakayanan kaya kahit magising pa kita, ginawa ko na umabot lang ako sa banyo,” explained Maya.

“Why didn’t you tell me??!” Richard asked in exasperation.

“Dahil ayaw kong mag-alala ka. Pagtapos ko naman kasing magsuka, okay na. Babalik lang ako sa kama tas nakakatulog na ulit ako. Alam ko namang sa puyat lang ito eh. Mawawala din agad ito once maka-adjust na yung body clock ko.”

Richard sighed. “Get dressed.”

“Huh?”

“Get dressed. Aalis tayo.” Richard moved to the walk-in closet and started rummaging through his and Maya’s clothes.

Maya looked at Richard with uncertainty. “Honey, pasado alas sais palang ng umaga. Saan naman tayo pupunta ng ganito kaaga?”

“Sa hospital. We’re going to the hospital to have you checked.”

“Ha?? Honey ano ka ba! Sabi ko naman sa’yo okay lang ako. Wala akong sakit o ano man. Nahilo lang ako dahil sa puyat. Pero –“

“Pero ilang araw narin na nagsusuka ka sa umaga. Kung talagang dahil lang sa puyat yan, then well and good. But we’ll still go to the hospital to have you checked.”

“Pero honey, ok nga lang ako. Itutulog ko nalang ulit ito.”

“We can always go back to bed to sleep once we get back to the hospital,” insisted Richard.

Maya still wanted to stand her ground. “Richard. . .”

Richard sighed. He faced Maya and cupped her face, his eyes mirroring what he truly feels, anxiety. “Angel. Please. . . Just do this for me, hmm? For my own peace of mind. Wala namang masama if ipa-check natin what’s really causing all this. What I won’t be able to bear is the thought na there’s something deeper behind this all and we chose to simply ignore it.”

Maya sighed in defeat. “Ok sige, payag na ako. Pero bumalik rin tayo agad ha? Ayoko namang sila Nanay at sila Mama ang mag-alala.”

“Okay.” Richard smiled and kissed Maya’s forehead.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

“Fe, bumangon na ba yung mag-asawa? Bakit parang hindi ko pa sila napansing bumaba?” asked Esmeralda. She already got used to the newlyweds routine of going out from their room at around 10AM or so. But it was already 11:30 and she still hasn’t seen the two. She’s been busily preparing their lunch for that day, together with Teresita and Conchita and they hadn’t noticed either Richard or Maya nor noticed any of their house helper get some food to be brought to the couple.

“Hindi ko parin sila nakikita mula kanina mam pero ang sabi ni Joma, maaga daw umalis yung mag-asawa,” said Manang Fe.

“Umalis daw sila Manang? Sinabi daw ba kung saan sila pupunta?” asked Teresita.

“Hindi daw nasabi kay Joma kung saan sila pupunta eh. Ang sabi lang ni Joma, mukha daw nagmamadali itong si Ricardo,” explained Manang Fe.

“Ah ganoon po ba? Saan naman kaya nagpunta yung mga batang yun?” Teresita thought out loud.

“Baka naman nagpahangin lang sa labas yung mag-asawa. Napansin kong, mula ng bumalik sila mula sa Europa, parang nag-iba ang takbo ng pangangatawan nila. Siguro ay nag-a-adjust parin sa oras at klima natin dito sa Pilipinas,” said Mamang.

“That’s true Mare. Kahit ako ay nararanasan ko din ang magka-ganyan. Siguro nga ay lumabas lang yung dalawa saglit.”

A couple of seconds later, a car horn being blown is heard.

“O baka yan na sila,” said Esmeralda.

Not so long, Richard and Maya walked inside carrying a plastic bag of fruits and other items they bought from the grocery. They went to the kitchen to place the bags on top of the kitchen top.

“Hi Ma! Mamang! Nanay!” the couple greeted as they kissed each one.

“O mga nak? Lumabas kayo para mag-grocery?” asked Teresita.

Richard and Maya looked at each other and smiled secretly.

“At bakit kayo pang dalawa ang lumabas? Pwede namang iniutos niyo nalang kila Sabel yan para hindi na kayo naabala pa sa pahinga niyo. Alam naman naming hindi parin kayo nakakatulog ng maayos sa gabi,” said Esmeralda.

“Okay lang po yun Ma saka wala naman po kaming ginagawa ni Richard kaya kami nalang po ang dumaan sa grocery,” explained Maya.

“So what do you have for lunch for us Ma?” asked Richard.

“Well, eto at nagluluto kami ngayon ng chicken and pork adobo. Naglambing kasi ang Papa mo. Lutuin ko naman daw yun for him,” said Esmeralda.

Richard simply nodded his head. “Would that be okay with you angel?” he whispered to Maya.

Maya nodded her head enthusiastically.

Richard smiled widely at her and kissed her temple. “Ma, akyat lang po kami sa taas saglit.”

“Okay son. We’ll just call you once lunch is ready,” said Esmeralda.

Richard smiled. “Thanks Ma.” Hand in hand, he and Maya walked back to their bedroom.

“Nakakatuwa talaga yang anak mo balae. Wala na talaga akong mahihiling pa para sa anak ko,” remarked Teresita.

“He really loves Maya so much. At nakikita ko naman na mahal na mahal din ni Maya ang anak ko kaya masayang masaya ako para sa kanilang dalawa,” replied Esmeralda.

“Pero ang anak mo balae, sobrang maalaga at maaalalahanin. Talagang inalam pa niya kay Maya kung okay sa kanya ang niluluto mong ulam,” smiled Teresita.

Esmeralda chuckled. “Parang Papa niya. Ganyan din si Roberto kaya pag naglalambing tulad ngayon, hindi ko mahindian.”

As their mothers and grandmother are busy preparing their meals in the kitchen, Richard and Maya were resting on their bed. Maya had her back rested on the headboard with her legs are stretched out in front of her while Richard was lying on his stomach, gently caressing Maya’s tummy with a permanent grin on his face.

Maya just watch her husband in thorough amusement. She caresses his hair as she smile fondly at him.

“Hello little buddy! You know what? I can no longer wait to see you. You never know how much you made me and your mom so happy! We love you so much. Just hang in there and stay strong ha? So that when you finally come out, we can start playing and go places and –“

Richard was cut off by Maya’s laughter. He immediately shifted his gaze to his wife. “What?”

“Honey, unang-una, hindi ka pa niya naiintindihan. Wala pang nadidinig yan. Pangalawa, play and go places agad agad pag labas ng baby natin?” laughed Maya once more.

“You’re making fun of me Mrs. Lim,” grinned Richard. “Pero okay lang. If laughing at my expense is what will make you and baby happy, I’ll let it be. Basta maging masaya lang kayo ni baby palagi.”

Once again, Richard successfully melted Maya’s heart as he always does. She reached out for his face and caressed it gently. Richard held her hand and kissed her palm.

“I love you honey.”

Richard got up on his hands and knees and crawled towards Maya. As their faces were only a few inches apart, “I love you too. I love you so much,” he muttered and sealed her lips with his for a kiss.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

As everyone gathered around the dining table to have their lunch, Richard asked for everyone’s attention first and asked them to wait for a while as he went to the kitchen. He got a couple of wine glasses and a bottle of red wine. As he got back to the dining area, he distributed the glasses and poured wine on each and every one, except for Maya.

“Are we celebrating something? Sa makalawa pa naman ang alis namin ah? Ito na ba ang padespedida mo sa aming lahat son?” asked Roberto.

Richard chuckled at his father’s question. “No Pa. Hindi ito padespedida para sa inyo. But yes, we are celebrating something.”

“Oh! Kaya pala nanghingi ka pa ng confirmation kay Maya kanina kung okay lang ba yung ulam na ni-prepare namin. Dapat pala sinabi niyo agad sa amin para hindi lang adobo ang na-prepare. We could’ve prepared something more,” said Esmeralda.

Richard and Maya softly chuckled at Esmeralda’s thoughtfulness. “Ok lang po Ma. This is already enough. Thank you po,” smiled Maya.

“O eh mga apo, ano nga ba ang sine-celebrate natin ngayon?” asked Mamang as she was no longer able to contain her curiousity.

Richard held Maya’s left hand as they looked at each other and smiled. They stood together. “Everyone we have an announcement to make.” Richard glanced at Maya first and the latter nodded back at him. “Maya and I. We’re four weeks pregnant.”

Surprised faces and gasps were seen and heard around the table.

“Is that true Ricky? Magkaka-apo na kami?” clarified an utterly surprised Esmeralda.

“Yes Ma. You’ll soon become grandparents. Magkaka-baby na kami ni Maya,” said Richard proudly.

Teresita, who already had her hands around her mouth and already at the verge of tears when she heard the news, abruptly stood up. She went to Maya and hugged her tight as tears freely flow down her face. “Masayang masaya ako para sa inyo anak. Masayang masaya ako.”

“Salamat po Nay,” said an already teary-eyed Maya.

As they broke off, Teresita caressed her daughter’s face before moving on to Richard and giving him a hug. “Congratulations Nak.”

“Salamat po Nay.”

It was then Richard’s parents to approach the two and congratulate the couple.

“Congratulations hija! I’m so happy for the both of you!” said Esmeralda as she hugged Maya.

“Thank you po Ma!”

“Maya hija?” called Roberto as he opened his arms for a hug.

Maya eagerly went up to him and hugged him.

“I am very very happy for the both of you hija. Very happy. Congratulations to the both of you.”

‘Thank you po Papa!”

The two then turned to Richard and congratulated him in the same manner as well.

“Hijo! I am so happy! Magkaka-apo narin kami sa wakas!”

Richard laughed at Esmeralda’s excitement. “I’m so happy as well Ma. Maya and I both are.”

“I can no longer wait to see my apo!” gushed Roberto.

“Me too Pa!” exclaimed Richard.

Mamang on the other hand gingerly got up from her seat as she dab the corners of her eyes. She walked towards the couple and congratulated them. “Maya. Richard. Mga apo. Masayang masaya ako para sa inyong dalawa. Congratulations!” With that, she gathered them both for a hug.

“Thank you Mamang!”

As they disengaged from the hug, Kute was standing beside Mamang and beaming at the couple.

“Yun o! Magkaka-pamangkin narin ako!! Congrats bunso!” greeted Kute as she hugged Maya.

“Salamat Kute!”

Shortly after, Kute went to Richard and gave him a bro hug. “Congrats bayaw! Talagang bull’s eye agad ha!”

Richard laughed at Kute’s quip. “I wouldn’t want  to let you guys down.”

“Yan naman ang gusto ko sa’yo bayaw eh! Marunong kang tuparin ang request namin!” joked Kute further earning another laugh from Richard.

As everyone is still reeling with excitement about the news, Richard got his glass and with the use of his fork, tapped on it a couple of times as he tried to get everyone’s attention. “Okay, everyone. As we celebrate this new blessing that’s given to us, I’d like to commence a toast. A toast to my very beautiful and lovely wife, whom I love so much and whom I’ll never cease to love until my last breath. Angel, I love you and I can never thank you enough for loving me back.” Raising his glass, “To Maya.”

Everyone followed and raised their glass for a toast. “To Maya!”

“And of course, the other reason for my being. The new blessing and bundle of joy that had come our way. Our new source of joy and happiness. A toast for our baby!”

“Cheers!”

After everyone took a sip of their wine, Roberto took the opportunity to offer a toast for the couple. “First of all, I’d like to congratulate once again my beloved children, Richard & Maya. Alam niyo, just the mere sight of the both of you, happy and overflowing with love for each another, already overwhelms my heart with so much joy and gladness. I can see in full clarity how you two truly love each other. It’s no wonder and there is not a slightest doubt that you two are perfectly made for each other. May you continue to love one another, no matter what. Be there for one another thru thick and thin. And now, as you are already starting your own family, may you continue to be blessed individually, as a couple, and as a family, as you guys continue to be a blessing to those people around you. And of course, a toast to my soon to be apo. May he or she stay healthy inside her mother’s  womb until the day he or she is born into this world and may he or she continue to  feel the love that the whole family has for him or her.” With that, Roberto raised his glass. “To Richard & Maya. To the new bundle of joy that has come our way. And to our family – the dela Rosa and Lim. Cheers!”

“Cheers!”

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

It was past 2PM when the whole family had finished their lunch. Richard and Maya once again retired to their room to rest and catch up on their lack of sleep. As they lay on bed, cuddled in each other’s arms, they continued to muse on the day’s events.

“I never really thought that anyone can experience this much happiness,” muttered Richard. “I really can’t ask for anything more. Basta maging okay, healthy and safe lang kayo ng baby natin, it’s all more than enough for me.”

“Ako rin honey.Wala ring pagsidlan ang kaligayahan na meron ako ngayon.” With so much joy and gladness, tears started to form in her eyes as her heart is overwhelmed with so much emotion.

Richard noticed the tears in his wife’s eyes. “Are you crying?”

Maya let out a chuckle. “Na-overwhelm lang ako. Sobrang saya ko lang talaga. This may have come as a surprise, but it’s a very much welcomed surprise. This is by far the best gift, the best blessing that we could ever have as a couple.”

Richard smiled and kissed his wife’s forehead tenderly. After a beat, his ringing phone broke the silence. Richard reached for his phone and checked the caller. “Si Rafi.”

“Sagutin mo then i-speaker phone mo para makausap ko din,” suggested Maya.

Richard obliged with his wife’s idea. He answered the call, placing it on speaker phone and held it in between him and Maya. “Hi Rafi!”

“Richard Lim!!!” roared Rafi on the other end of the line.

Richard raised a brow while Maya tried to stifle a laugh. “You really are so sweet Rafi! I’m fine thanks for asking.”

“Ha! Ha! Very funny Richard!!”

Richard smirked in response. “Ikaw naman kasi, nakasigaw ka agad sa akin. What’s up and why are you calling at this hour? Shouldn’t you still be in bed right now? Anong oras palang diyan ah.”

“I just a finished a couple of important documents and was already about to go to bed when Tita Esmeralda called me,” said Rafi, annoyance still evident in her voice.

“And because Mama disturbed your supposed sleeping time, you chose to pour your outrage on me? You really are so sweet and kind to your best friend Raf.”

“At naaalala mo pa palang best friend mo ako! Ha!”

“Okay. Okay. Chill will you,” chuckled Richard. “Alright, what have I done wrong again this time?” Richard glanced at Maya who was just listening in amusement at their exchange.

“What have you done wrong?? Tinatanong mo pa! Goodness Chard! Kung hindi pa ako tinawagan ni Tita Esme, hindi ko pa malalaman ang tungkol sa magandang balita!!”

Richard motioned for Maya not to speak yet. “Ah so nakarating na pala sa’yo ang balita?”

“Yes!! At buti pa si Tita Esme, naisipang balitaan ako unlike yung tinuring kong best friend, hindi man lang ako naisipang balitaan!” whined Rafi further.

Richard laughed. “Okay. I’m sorry alright. It came as a surprise to everyone lalo na sa akin. Who would’ve thought that at my age, magkakaroon pa ako ng kapatid?”

“What??!” exclaimed Rafi in disbelief.

“Di ba yun yung news na binalita sa’yo ni Mama? That she’s pregnant and I’ll soon become a kuya?”

“Richard!! Ikaw –“ Rafi stopped as she heard fits of laughter on the other end of the line. “Wait is that Maya?”

“Hi Rafi!” greeted Maya. “Kumusta ka na?”

“Oh my god Maya! I’m good! Ikaw? Ikaw ang kumusta? Teka teka. Kanina ka pa ba nakikinig diyan?”

“Umm.. Yes. Guilty as charged,” admitted Maya.

“Tsk tsk. Kayong mag-asawa ha. Maya nahahawa ka na sa mga kalokohan niyang si Chard!”

“Me? I’m such a good boy kaya! Si Angel nga ang nanghahawa sa akin ng mga kalokohan niya eh!” said Richard.

Maya playfully slapped her husband’s arm. “Ikaw honey. Ang kapal mo talaga kahit kalian!”

Rafi chuckled. “Okay mamaya na kayo maglambingan diyan. You two still have lots of explaining to do! Bakit hindi niyo ako sinabihan agad na magkaka-baby na pala kayo huh? Buti pa talaga si Tita Esme at naalala ako!”

“Raf, kanina lang namin nalaman ni Maya ang tungkol dito. Besides, we do intend to share the news with you, pero ayan at naunahan lang kami ni Mama,” explained Richard.

“Oo nga Rafi. Balak naman talaga namin na masabihan ka agad. Supposedly later this evening para siguradong maabutan ka namin sa umaga,” backed Maya.

“Okay fine! Abswelto na kayong dalawa. So guys tell me, how is it? What are you guys feeling?” asked Rafi excitedly.

“Very happy Rafi. More than words could ever describe. It’s overwhelming,” shared Richard.

“Nakaka-excite siya ng sobra Rafi. Ito ngang si Richard hindi na maka-antay na lumabas yung baby at ng makalaro na daw niya ito at maipasyal,” chuckled Maya.

Rafi laughed. “Oh my God Chard! Hindi mo agad agad magagawa yun paglabas na paglabas ng baby mo noh!”

“I know! But am just excited!”

“Para kang si Tita Esme. Hindi rin ma-contain ang excitement niya.”

“Obviously. Kaya tignan mo, naunahan niya talaga kami sa pagbalita sa’yo,” said Richard.

“Hayaan mo na Chard. First apo eh, kaya excited lang talaga. Matatawa ka nga kasi parang nag-aagawan pa sila ng phone ni Tito Roberto at nag-uunahan sa pagsabi sa akin,” laughed Rafi.

Richard shakes his head in amusement.

“Nakakatuwa naman sila Papa at Mama,” remarked Maya.

“Sinabi mo pa Maya. Ngayon palang excited na silang talaga sa pagdating ng apo nila. Naku! You guys should ready yourselves. I have a feeling na mai-ispoil ang anak niyo sa mga lolo at lola nila,” said Rafi.

“Malamang nga Rafi,” agreed Richard.

“O pano guys? I’ll talk to you some other time. I’ll hit the bed na at magpahinga.”

“Ok Rafi. By the way, send my regards to Charlie okay?”

Rafi sighed on the other end of the line. “Okay I will.”

“Hey. What’s with the sigh? Don’t tell me may tampuhan na naman kayo?” probed Richard.

“No, we’re okay. Wala lang kasi siya dito ngayon. He needs to finish a project in Singapore kaya 1 week din siya don,” explained Rafi.

“Now that explains why you’re so grumpy!” pointed Richard.

“Am not grumpy Chard!! I’m just tired from work and missing my fiancée that’s all.”

Richard and Maya laughed. “Whatever you say Rafi. Sige na, matulog ka na at magpahinga kang mabuti para mawala ang pagod mo.”

“I will. Congratulations to you guys! Basta kailangan Ninang ako niyan ha?”

“Ayoko nga! Ano nalang values ang makukuha ng anak ko sa’yo?” teased Richard.

“Richard!!”

The couple laughed once more. “I was just teasing!” admitted Richard. “Sige na, magpahinga ka na. Talk to you soon.”

“Alright. You guys take care ha. Congratulations once again.”

“Thanks Rafi. Bye.”

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

The festive mood inside the mansion continued on until evening. As the couple went down from their bedroom to join their family for dinner, they were surprised by the amount of dishes prepared.

“Wow! Ang dami naman yatang naka-handang food for tonight,” remarked Richard.

“Oo nga. Parang may handaan or fiesta lang,” said Maya.

Esmerlada chuckled. “It’s because we’re still in a festive mood. We all are.”

“Oo nga apo. Hayaan niyo na kami at kami ay lubos lamang na nagagalak sa magandang balita na binahagi niyo sa amin,” said Mamang.

With that, the family once again shared an evening of thanksgiving and laughter. And just like what happened over lunch, their dinner extended for more than two hours. As everyone left the dining table, Richard asked Maya that they stay at the verandah for a while. Maya then decided to prepare a cup of coffee for her husband and a glass of warm milk for her.

As they were finishing up their drinks, Richard’s phone beeped, indicating that a text has been received. He opened the message and secretly smiled. After typing a reply, he gazed back at his wife. “Gusto mo na bang bumalik sa kwarto?”

“Umm.. Di pa naman ako inaantok honey. Bakit inaantok ka na ba?”

“Eh, parang gusto ko na ngang magpahinga sana.”

Maya smiled tenderly at her husband. “Ok. Tara, balik na tayo sa kwarto.”

“Ok lang sa’yo? Baka kasi gusto mo pang magpahangin pa ng ilang sandali dito?”

Maya stood up and reached for Richard’s hand and entiwined it with hers. “Honey okay lang. Saka gabi narin naman na. Tara na.”

Richard stood up and hugged his wife. He draped his arm around her as they walked back to their bedroom. As they reached their room, Richard opened the door for her wife and let her in first.

Maya gasped at the sight of scented candles everywhere, rose petals scattered all over the floor and all over their bed, thus providing a romantic sensual atmosphere across the room.

Richard snuck up behind her, wrapped his arms around her waist and planted a kiss on her shoulder. “Do you like it?”

“Pa-paano mo nagawa ito?”

Richard smiled. “A couple of people lend me a hand to execute this properly.”

Maya turned around from his hold. “Sino naman?”

“Well I asked Kute’s help, Doris and Sabel as well.”

“Pero para saan ang lahat ng ito?” smiled Maya.

Richard gave her a quick kiss on her lips. “We’re celebrating aren’t we? Hindi man lang kasi ako nakagawa ng something special for you or take you out somewhere to celebrate kaya ito nalang ang naisip ko.”

Maya wrapped her arms around her husband’s neck. “Honey. Hindi mo naman na kailangan pang gumawa ng anything special o ang dalhin pa ako sa kung saan. Enough na sa akin ang makita kang masaya about sa balita. At yung mga ginawa nila Mama kanina, sobra sobra na ang mga yun. Wala na akong mahihilang pa.”

“But still, I wanted to make up with you. I wanted us to always remember this day, how specially significant this day is for us.”

Maya pulled Richard for a hug. “Thanks honey. And I will never ever forget this day.”

Richard planted a kiss on Maya’s head. “So do you want to use the bathroom first?”

Maya pulled back from the hug and raised a brow at Richard.

“What?” he asked trying to sound innocent.

“Akala ko ba gusto mo ng magpahinga?”

“I’m just asking if you wanted to use the bathroom first,” chuckled Richard. “May kailangan din kasi akong kuhanin sa labas kaya sige na, mauna ka ng gumamit ng bathroom.”

Maya stared at his husband. Seeing nothing mischievous in his features, she eventually relented and went to the bathroom for her evening shower. But as soon as she entered the bathroom, Richard gathered his PJs hidden behind the armrest of the sofa and ran to the bathroom of the spare room and had a quick shower there, making sure that he’ll finish up before Maya does. Once done, he immediately went back to their bedroom wearing nothing but only his Pajama bottom. Maya’s still nowhere in sight. He opened the bathroom door slightly and heard the cascading water coming from the shower. He then decided to lay on top of their bed and wait patiently for her to come out.

Maya on the other hand remained oblivious to the rest of the surprise that her husband had prepared beforehand. Finishing off her shower, she turned the faucet off and dried herself up. She proceeded to the walk-in closet and was about to get a pair of PJs when something caught her eye. She saw a note attached to a red silk lingerie that’s hanging inside. She took the note and read it:

I really love seeing you in this. Could you wear it tonight, please?  :)

Maya shake her head in amusement. She took the lingerie out of the closet. She then remembered the first time she gave herself to him. That first night in Santorini Greece. She smiled at the memory of that very special night. She then wore the said lingerie but unlike the first time she wore it, she no longer found the need to conceal it with a bathrobe. She bravely went out of the bathroom and padded on their bedroom, surprised to see her husband half-naked, with his back leaning against the headboard and legs stretched out.

“Wow!”

Maya smiled bashfully as she saw the admiration in his eyes.

Richard got out of bed and moved towards Maya. With a flick on a remote, music started to fill their room. He knelt on one knee and held out his hand to Maya. “May I have this dance Mrs. Lim?”

Maya chuckled and placed her hand to his. “With much pleasure Mr. Lim.”

Richard stood and gathered Maya in his arms. He directed her hands around his nape as he wrapped his arms around her waist and started to sway to the beat of the music.

“Akala ko ba gusto mo ng magpahinga?”

“I only said that para umakyat na tayo dito and makita mo what I have prepared for you. Besides, the night is still young.”

“The night is still young huh?” reiterated Maya.

“Uh-huh. The night is still young.” He leaned closer to his wife and whispered to her ear. “And I am hot.”

Maya laughed. “Alam mo ikaw honey kung anu-ano mga napupulot mong kalokohan!”

Richard laughed with her. “Bakit? Totoo naman ang sinasabi ko ah.”

“Fine. Hot ka na kung hot.”

As their laughter died and continued to dance, Maya wrapped her arms around Richard’s torso as she leaned her cheeks against his chest. Richard on the other hand hugged her tighter and rested his cheek on top of her head. Their eyes closed as they savoured each other’s presence and warmth. Letting their hearts speak for themselves.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~