Mr. and Mrs. Stag – Part 2

Admin Note: *Contributed Story* Please give credit and thanks to AttyMayiVR.  This is a continuation to Mr. and Mrs. Stag – part 1 .


A/N:   Finally after 300 years!  I hope you’ll like this one. :-)

Author: AttyMayiVR

 

~*~
 
 
  Previously in Chapter ONE
 Maya: Batchmates? Kaya naman pala… so Atty. Lim and Atty. Molina, I was right all along. You were just accommodating Atty. Reyes!
 
 Angelo: You’ve met them, Mai?
 
 Maya: Naku Tito, sila yung mga lawyers na pinagalitan ng judge kasi mga sinungaling! If they could lie to the judge with a straight face, I’m sure they lie to their wives as well!
 
           Tito, I’m sorry, will you excuse me? I see some friends waving at me. Dan, Mitch… looks at Ivy too ….. Atty. Molina, and Atty. Lim, excuse me, dun muna ako, see you around.
 
 **********
 
Continuation…
 Chapter  TWO
Revelations
 Mitch: Kasali ka dun Dan?
 
 Dan: Hindi ah.
 
Ivy: Hon, siya ba yung kinwento mo sa akin before?
 
Ryan: Yes Hon, wala akong kasalanan dun.
 
Ivy: She looks nice. Mitch, let’s get some food?
 
Mitch: Sige. What about you, boys?
 
Dan: Mauna na kayo, maganda ang usapan dito.
 
Angelo: So, what was that all about?
 
Richard: She’s your niece?
 
Angelo: Yes she is! My most favorite in fact.
 
Ryan: Naku, favorite niece daw Stag!  What a revelation!
 
Angelo: So? Anyone? She sounded upset and disappointed.
 
Ryan: Ito kasing si Richard, binwisit yang pamangkin mo sa isang maritime case. Kami nila Anthony ang mga kalaban nya. Anthony wasn’t ready for trial so nag papa reset. Then itong si Stag, kada suggested date for next hearing, nag imbento na may hearing kung saan saan kaya hindi raw siya available.
 
 
          Richard didn’t want to admit that he felt slighted and provoked by Maya’s frankness and straightforward statements made in open court, embarrassing him in front of other lawyers and litigants. It was actually his first. With his good looks and charm, Richard always found his way to make things work to his advantage. But with a young lady lawyer like Maya not being smitten by his chinito charisma, Richard not only felt frustrated but that he got a big slap on his ego.
 
 
Richard: Hindi ko siya binwisit. Come on, that usually happens in court. Ginagawa nyo rin yun.
 
 Ryan: Grabe naman din pala yang pamangkin mo, madetalye! When Richard said he has a conflict of schedule in another court, she asked which court may conflict.
 
            Eh sa lahat ba naman ng korte, Quezon City Court ang naisip nito, at sa lahat ng branch ha, yung sa mother ni Atty. Dela Rosa pa ang ang dinahilan. Hayun, buking, napagalitan tuloy kami nung judge. Mabuti na lang hindi kami na contempt at na-sanction eh.
 
 Richard: I didn’t mean to offend her. I just didn’t find postponing the trial of the case a big deal. It’s very typical, normal nangyayari sa korte. She just assumed we were accommodating Anthony.
 
 Dan: Eh hindi nga ba?
 
 Ryan: Yeah right. Dinamay pa nya ako. Eto pa, ang yabang pa mag-suggest ng date nitong si Stag, June 19, Linggo pala! Hahahahaha!
 
 Richard: Sige, ilaglag mo ako, eh sumagot ka naman! Sabi mo “I’m not available.” Hahahaha!
 
 Ryan: Mabuti na lang hindi nila napansin.
 
 Angelo: Hahaha! Mga gago pala kayo eh, kaya napikon yung pamangkin ko.
 
 Ryan:  So, Angelo, is she really like that? I mean, it’s been about 6 months and she still remembers it?
 
 Angelo: I’m sure wala na yun sa kanya pero now that it all came back to her memory, nainis lang siguro kasi nalaman nya na magkakabatch kayo at pinagkaisahan nyo siya.
 
           She does not have any chips on her shoulder. She is such a nice person.
 
 Richard: Brod, I did not mean to instigate na pinagkaisahan siya. I just did not like the idea of going to Manila for trial during the rainy season. It’s so hard, ang trafik, lalo na binabaha. Don’t you agree with me?
 
 Ryan: I get your point pare. Pero sabi nga, the end does not justify the means. Pati tuloy sa akin nagalit pamangkin nito.
 
 Angelo: She’s just upset. Hindi galit yun. Give her some time, maya maya lang wala na yun.
 
 Dan:So what happened to the case?
 
 Ryan: She got what she wanted, the trial was reset to June 21, pero hindi lang din natuloy because the Mayor declared suspension of work sa Manila kasi baha na sa konting buhos ng ulan. Tama nga itong si Richard.
 
 Richard: See? Is it not annoying? You go to court prepared tapos i-rereset lang dahil baha. Eh di lalo lang nag cause ng delay.
 
 Angelo: At talagang annoyed ka rin up to now ha.
 
 Richard: ‘Tol hindi naman. I just remembered what happened that time. Kasi, the judge already warned the three of us. Remember, we were accused of coming to court unprepared, so, we made sure that we’ll be in his court ahead of time prepared on that next trial date.
 
 Ryan: Lunch pa lang magkakasama na kaming tatlo nila Anthony. At take note ha, lahat kami, naka suit! Hahaha! Para talagang obvious na pinaghandaan namin ang kaso.
 
 Dan: Saang branch ba yung kaso?
 
 Ryan: Sa Branch 38, kay Judge Vicente Cruz.
 
Richard: Hahaha! We decided to have lunch somewhere near para siguradong hindi kami male-late. Pero nagtalo muna kami where to eat kasi nga we were in suits.
 
 Ryan: Eh sa NAPOCOR Building yung Branch 38 diba, sa Bonifacio Drive, sa port area lang.
 
 Richard: Kaya we ended up at Manila Hotel kasi nga mga naka suit kami.
 
              Nakakatawa kasi when we entered the lobby, we were being ushered to this wedding reception.
 
 Ryan: Sabi agad nung lobby attendant kay Stag “To the Yap-Sta. Maria wedding reception sir? This way to the Maynila Ballroom.”
 
 Richard: Tawa kami ng tawa nun. Ito kasing si Anthony ang kulit eh. Sagot nya, “Thank you!” sabay hatak sa amin sa gilid.
 
 Ryan: Sira ulo nga, pagka gilid namin, sabay sabi kay Stag “May wedding pala eh. Stag, papasa kang relative nung groom! Let’s go! Lauriat yun!”
 Angelo: Hanggang ngayon trip pa rin ni Anthony ang mag gate crash?
 
 Ryan: Don’t worry, we still ended up at Café Ilang Ilang. Yun nga lang while enjoying lunch, biglang umulan. Buhos ha!
 
 Richard: Buti na lang sa may likod lang ng Manila Hotel yung court.
 
 Ryan: Nagtalo na naman kami. Which car to take. Lahat kami may dala eh.
 
 Dan: Hirap pa naman ng parking dun.
 
 Richard: Exactly….at umuulan pa.
 
 Ryan: We ended up taking a cab. Kontrata, ang lapit lang ng tatakbuhin eh.
 
 Angelo: I thought hindi natuloy yung trial?
 
 Ryan: We got there at about 1:30. Then after a while, lumabas sa court room yung Branch Clerk of Court, sabi baka ma reset ang trial.
 
 Dan:Pero ready ba naman kayo with your witnesses?
 
 Ryan: Ready! Pinapunta ko dun ng 1:00 pm kaya when we got there, nasa court room na sila pareho.
 
 Richard: Parusa yung suit, ang init! Nag brown at pare!
 
 Ryan: Likot mo kasi! You kept on looking back at the door behind us, inaabangan mo yung kalaban.
 
 Richard: I was making sure walang makaka kontra sa resetting ng hearing.
 
 Ryan: Maya-maya, dumating na nga ang kalaban…yung pamangkin mo. We were expecting yung handling lawyer talaga na si Atty. Villacorta.
 
 Dan:Anung nangyari? Inisahan nyo uli?
 
 Ryan: Anung uli? Hindi naman kami naka isa sa kanya nung una diba? Siya nga ang naka isa sa amin eh.
 
 Angelo:Let me guess, binwisit uli ni Richard?
 
 Richard:No! I behaved the entire time.
 
 Ryan: Hahaha! Tahimik nga yan the whole time, wala ng imik from the time na dumating si Atty. dela Rosa at tumabi sa kanya.
 Richard:Pare walang laglagan.
 
 Ryan: Hahaha! Can’t forget that face, she really looked disappointed.
 
 Angelo:Why?
 
 Richard:Kasi nga na postpone lang yung trial.
 
 
FLASHBACK
 
           Richard, Ryan and Anthony were waiting at the lawyer’s table in the court room. The two witnesses of Anthony were seated at the front row just behind them. After a while, Atty. Santos, the Branch Clerk of Court went inside. “Naku mga attorney, ma re-reset ang hearing.”
 
           “What?” Richard asked in an upset tone.
           Ryan followed and asked “Why? Readying ready pa naman kami. Ang aga nga namin eh.”
 
           Anthony confirmed by saying “Yes, my witnesses are ready. Nandito na sila kanina pa.”
 
           “Baha na po kasi. We’re just waiting for the announcement by the executive judge. He is still confirming if the Mayor really declared suspension of classes and work here in Manila.”
 
           Annoyed, Richard blurted out “Ayan na nga ba ang sinasabi ko eh! Such a waste of time.”
 
           “Lalabas pa ba si Judge? Or we do the resetting now?” Anthony inquired from the Branch Clerk of Court.
           “Wala pa po yung confirmation of suspension Atty. Reyes eh. Paki intay lang po ng kaunti. Anyway, wala pa namang 2:00 pm.”
 
           “You’ll make us wait until 2:00?” Richard was getting impatient.
           “Atty. Lim, we’re still waiting for the confirmation. Ganun din naman po, if wala naman palang suspension, then matutuloy ang hearing and your case will still be called at 2:00 p.m. Besides, baka parating na rin yung plaintiff’s counsel, better para you can all agree on the resetting date.”
 
           Within seconds, power was out. “Naku, ayan brown out na. Don’t worry, in a while ma restore ang power pero generator lang. Sige po, paki intay po, pasok muna ako sa staff room at tatawag sa executive judge para alamin.”
 
           “Bad trip!” Ryan said. “Sayang yung suits, napagastos pa tayo sa lunch. Buti na lang may mga appearance fee tayo at bawi dun.”
 
           Richard did not have plans of waiting for long. “Pare pag wala pa si Atty. Villacorta by 2:00 let’s insist on resetting right away, even without her.”
 
           “Ayan ka na naman pare, conspiracy na naman yan eh.”
 
           “Tama si Stag Ryan. We can’t wait beyond 2:00 p.m. We need to go back to Manila Hotel and get our cars, baka tumaas yung tubig, will get stuck in Manila.”
 
           After a while, the Branch Clerk of Court went back and informed them that the Mayor has indeed suspended classes and work in the area but the Judge requested that they wait at least until 2:00 p.m. since it was just 15 minutes away.
          Richard was really getting bored and impatient. Then, he recalled what happened during the last hearing which is his first court encounter with Maya, when the judge admonished him, Ryan and Anthony. Court proceedings were already on going for another case and the lady lawyer beside him was obviously attracted to him with how she smiled and looked after every question thrown at the witness. Richard was just glad that the lady lawyer has remained standing as she bombarded the witness with questions in an exaggerated tone, making it obvious that she was trying to impress him.   This gave him visual access to Maya who was sitting next to the lady lawyer.
             So, while he was waiting for his case to be called, he pleased himself by stealing glances at her while she remained focused on the mobile phone she was holding.   Unmindful of his surroundings, he was surprised when Maya moved beside him after the lady lawyer left. His thundering heartbeats have not yet subsided when finally his case was called and Maya almost simultaneously stood with him. He got very excited to be in the same case with her though in opposite positions. Then all of a sudden he was in the middle of an awkward situation and she embarrassed him.
          Coming back to reality, the possibility of Maya appearing that afternoon for the scheduled trial entered his mind, making him anxious. Ryan noticed that Richard kept on glancing at the door behind them looking uneasy. “Pare, okay ka lang? Kanina ka pa tingin ng tingin. May inaantay ka ba?”
 
           “Huh? Uhm…because we were asked to wait until 2:00, so I’m hoping she comes in right now so we can reset and leave.”
 
          “Ahh…pa ra ka kasing kiti kiti diyan eh…” Ryan informed him of his behavior, then turned his head to glance at the door. “Naku, pare! Nagdilang anghel ka, plaintiff’s counsel is here…pero si Atty. dela Rosa.”
 
 
          Richard immediately turned his head and saw Maya just entered the court room. He watched her place her things on the bench nearest to the entrance and remove her khaki trench coat that appeared with traces of rain drops. She looked so elegant in her black pants paired with a double breasted black blazer. Richard hurriedly looked away when he saw her gather back her things together with the coat and was about to approach the lawyer’s table.
          “Hi, work suspended na daw?” Maya made her general inquiry as she approached the three other lawyers.
          Anthony was quick to answer. “Oo eh, actually reset na tayo, we were just waiting for you for the resetting date. Wait, tawagin ko lang yung Branch Clerk.”
 
 
          Richard looked at Ryan who moved his eyes telling him to offer the space next to him. It was the only space left.   Richard glanced at Maya then moved to his right, giving her space to sit on. “Thank you.” she said without looking. Richard’s heart was pounding faster than usual. He smelled her perfume and felt her arm brush his when she moved a little to look at Atty. Santos and Anthony who just walked in.
          “Reset na daw Atty. Santos?” she immediately asked. “Oo eh, nagsuspend na si Mayor baha na kasi sa maraming area ng Manila.”
 
          “Sayang naman, nandito pa naman ata ang mga witnesses?” she looked at Anthony.
          “Oh yes! They’re here since 1:00 p.m. actually.” Anthony proudly answered.
          “Can we not proceed with trial? We’re all here anyway, para hindi naman masayang yung pagpunta natin dito sa court. Sandali lang naman yung re-cross ko eh. Besides, traffic naman na rin sa labas.”
 
          Richard looked at Ryan with creased brows but kept mum. The two other male lawyers did not say a word too. Then she went further. “Atty. Santos, can you ask if okay kay Judge?”
 
           “O sige po, kaya lang baka hindi pumayag yung stenographer. Itanung ko lang po muna.”
 
           Maya smiled and gracefully said “Okay, thank you.” She swung her body to her left and got something from her bag. Then she leaned back with her right shoulder overlapping Richard’s.   After composing a text message, she sent it right away. Richard stayed still even when Ryan kept on nudging him. He painstakingly took out his phone from his pocket and starts to type a message.
 Richard’s Text: STOP nudging me, she might think I’m pushing her, sampalin ako!
 
 Ryan’s Text: Hahaha! Bakit wala kang imik diyan? Tinabihan ka lang umurung na dila mo. Since when did you behave like that with a woman around? Are you even breathing? You look frozen.
 
           Upon reading the message,Richard nudged Ryan back and was about to reply to his message when the Branch Clerk of Court entered the court room.   “Atty. dela Rosa, sabi po ni Judge reset na kasi kawawa naman yung staff na maiiwan, baka mabaha pauwi.”
 
              
              She heaved in frustration but conceded. “Okay Atty. Santos, reset na natin so we can all go home.”
          
                “Anong date po? Wag lang po sa July kasi inventory period, puno na ang calendar ng court.”
          
              “May I say something.” Anthony interrupted.
                The Branch Clerk of Court accommodated Anthony right away. “Yes Atty. Reyes?”
 
           “Yung witnesses ko kasi hindi available for the next coming months of the year.”
 
           “Both witnesses po?” The Branch Clerk politely asked.
           “Yes, yung witness for re-cross dapat today is bound for US this August for operation sa knee cap nya and will be back November na depending on his progress sa therapy after. Yung next witness from PPA naman may special assignment sa Cebu for the second semester, so January na ang balik nya sa PPA Manila.”
 
           “We went here prepared for anything, so I have here medical certificate and personal order. Here, I have copies for everyone.” Anthony distributes the documents.
      Maya wanted to clarify and so she asked “Are you telling us that we cannot have the resetting this year?” Richard glanced at her unnoticeably.  
 
          “Yes at least for my witness from PPA. Yung for re-cross, we can have a setting mid-November but I cannot guarantee his attendance kasi nga its contingent.”
 
           “Don’t you have any other witness to present?” Maya asked further, sounding really frustrated.
           “Wala na eh…in fact I was also prepared to make my formal offer orally kung natapos din sana today yung last witness ko.”
 
           “The best option I can suggest is to have 3 settings for this case. One in November, another in December and the last in February. We blocked January for inventory and forfeitable leave ni Judge.”
 
           “I’m okay with that. May judicial affidavit naman eh. If we’re done with the witnesses by December, I’ll make my formal offer right away and we will not even need the February setting.”
 
           “What about you Atty. Molina?”
 
           “Okay with me.” Ryan answered.
          “Anything goes for me as well.” Richard volunteered before stealing another glance at Maya.
           “Atty. dela Rosa?”
 
           Maya was looking at the calendar on the wall. “Kung one setting na lang sa February, can you give us at least 2 hours?”
 
           “Pwede naman po. Wala pa naman masyado naka schedule sa Feb next year so I can block off the entire morning or afternoon of the date chosen.”
 
PRESENT
 
 Dan: So kalian na reset yung
 
Ryan: February next year!
 
 Angelo:Si Maya talaga…kaya pala
 
 Richard:Why?
 
 Angelo:Naalala ko na. That was June 21 right?
 
Richard:Yes, why?
 
 Angelo:Well, there was this one time that she called me saying she’s stuck in Manila at nagpaturo how to reach QC court riding the LRT. I remember it was a few days before Manila day, so yan yung time na yun.
 
 Richard:What happened to her?
 
 Angelo:Coding kasi si Maya pag Tuesday so she parked her car sa QC Court then took the cab. Sabi nya kinontrata nya yung cab kaya the driver was asked to wait. Pag labas daw nya ng Manila RTC, wala na yung cab. Wala na raw gusto tumanggap na cab to QC kasi baha na so ang option nya mag LRT.
 
           Gabi na nakarating sa Quezon City at sinundo ko na sa Kamuning station sa EDSA. Pagod na pagod at nabasa pa sa ulan. Nilakad pala from NAPOCOR Building to UN Avenue, the nearest LRT station tapos naglakad uli from EDSA Taft to transfer to MRT. She was sleeping like a baby in the car when I brought her home.
 
 Ryan:Buti na lang pala naka kuha agad ng taxi itong si Stag!
 
 Richard:Ahh…uhm, Manila Hotel lang naman kasi tayo eh.
 
           Richard was feeling guilty as he recalled how he convinced the taxi driver to bring them to Manila Hotel.
 
 
FLASHBACK
 
           Richard saw the cab parked near the entrance of the building where a number of Regional Trial Courts are housed. He approached the cab and opened the front door.
 Richard:Boss sa Manila Hotel lang kami.
 
 Driver: Ay boss, pasensha na po, may pasahero po ako sa loob, inaantay ko lang. Kontrata po kasi ako
 
Richard: Ahh…ganun ba? Kanina pa ba pumasok?
 
 Driver:Wala pa pong kinse minutos eh. Pasensha na po, sa iba na lang kayo.
 
 Richard:Bago pa lang naman siya pumasok eh, so matagal pa yun sa loob. Sa Manila Hotel lang naman kami, yung berdeng building sa tabi.
 
 Driver:Baka bigla po lumabas yung pasahero ko, kawawa po ang bait pa naman.
 
 Richard:Sandali lang naman, Manila Hotel lang, wala pa namang limang minuto yun eh. Balikan mo siya agad. Limang daan para sa limang minuto, ayaw mo pa? Mas malaki pa yun kesa diyan sa pinatak ng metro mo eh.
 
 Driver:Sige na nga po, bilisan na po natin.
 
PRESENT
 
          The program was just concluded with the raffle of prizes to some lucky attendees. Couples, including Ryan, Dan and their wives, are now on the dance floor enjoying the music.   Left at the table by himself, Richard decided to get some drink. When he reached the bar, he saw Judge Teresita dela Rosa at the dessert table. He approached her and gave his courtesy.
 
Richard: Good evening Judge.
 
 Teresita: O, Atty. Lim! Hello! It’s nice to see you here.
 
 Richard: Brod ko po si Angelo and he is really a good friend of mine.
 
 Teresita: Really? Kaya pala ang gaan ng loob ko sa iyo, you’re good friends with my youngest brother.
 
 Richard: Angelo is your youngest brother Judge?
 
 Teresita: Yes…oh well, it’s a complicated story. He’s the son of my mother sa second husband nya…of course after my father died. Teka, if you’re good friends with Angelo, how come I have never seen you before with him?
 
 Richard: Si Angelo po ang madalas tumambay sa bahay. When we were younger, madalas po sila mag over night sa amin…I’m an only child and my mother was over protective of me.
 
 Teresita: I understand. Nanay rin ako eh. Ganyan din ako ka protective sa mga anak ko, lalo na kay Maya. She’s also a lawyer.
 Richard: Opo, I already met her Judge.
 
 
          Coincidentally, Maya was walking towards the door with the intention of making a phone call outside, away from the noise.
 
 
Teresita: Maya! Anak, halika rito sandali.
 
 Maya: Yes Ma, you need something?
 
 Teresita: Nakilala mo na pala itong si Atty. Lim.
 
 Maya: Opo, ahh…he’s the one I told you before, yung ginawamg excuse yung court nyo…
 
 Richard: That was really an awkward and embarrassing moment. I’m sorry about that. ah…nakakataranta po kasi anak nyo eh…para akong na corner sa cross-examination.   I admit, sa panic ko po, it was your branch that first came to my mind, I guess kasi madalas po ako dun.
 
 Teresita: Ikaw Atty. Lim ha, pilyo ka…
 
 Richard: I’m really sorry. Hindi naman po umubra sa anak nyo eh…
 
 Teresita: ‘Nak, itong si Atty. Lim madalas kasi sa korte ko. You know, family court eh, yung isang mabigat na kaso, minor yung akusado and siya yung abogado. Halos every 3 weeks may bista siya sa amin.
 
 Maya: Ah…ganun po ba…
 
 Teresita: Pag wala yung PAO lawyer ko, siya ang ina-appoint kong counsel de oficio ng mga akusado na i-a-arraign. Mabait ito eh, may mga akusado na hindi na nya binitawan kaya siya na humawak pero libre.
 
 Maya: Such a revelation, Atty. Lim.
 
 Teresita: O, papunta rito si Angelo.
 
 Angelo: Ate, pahiram muna itong pamangkin ko. Isasayaw ko muna. Brod, excuse ha.
 
 
                Angelo took Maya’s hand and led her to the dance floor.
Teresita: Si Maya talaga…ikaw pala yung binuking nya…hahaha…don’t worry, wala yun sa akin. Sige, dun muna ako sa mga retired judges.

 Richard: Sige po Judge.
 
 
          Richard walked back to the bar station and finally got his drink. He stood there and watched Maya and Angelo dance.  After a while he looked at his watch then hurriedly went outside.
           After making an important call, Richard settled himself on one of the sofas at the spacious lobby of sports club. His friends were still on the dance floor and he was feeling bored by himself at the table. He also wanted to avoid crossing paths with some lady guests of Angelo as he was not in the mood to socialize with anyone else inside the function room.
          A familiar scent caught his attention. There she was, just passed by where he was sitting, and stopped at a particular spot at the lobby, holding her mobile phone. Again with her around, his heart began to beat faster and louder. He stared at her back as he straightened up and waited for her next move. Within seconds after Maya put the phone to her ear, he heard her speak.
           “Hi honey! How are you? … Aaawww, I miss you too baby. Are you not sleeping yet?….Okay…well I’m still here at the party…yes, and Mama is here too…..later pa eh……don’t wait up for me na……before you know it, nasa tabi mo na ako, okay? Yes, I promise…….I love you too.”
 
           Maya turned around with head facing down. She was composing a text message while slowly walking. She looked up momentarily then looked down again as she heard her phone give an alert tone. She reads the message then smiled. She was to walk back inside the function room when Richard stood up from his seat and approached her.
           “Hi!” He greeted her warmly with a loving smile showing his dimple. Maya looked up and saw Richard smiling at her. She smiled back and replied. “Oh hi! Ingay sa loob noh?”
 
           Relieved that she responded positively, he nodded and said “Yeah, I just made a phone call too.” His smile faded and his face turned serious and apologetic then said   “Uhm….look, I’m really sorry for what happened at the trial…I mean the first time that we encou -… when I made those stupid excuses…I didn’t mean to offend you or be unethical. It’s just that I was used to lawyers being okay with resetting the hearing. It was actually the first time I’ve encountered one who objected vigorously to resetting.”
 
           “Vigorously?…such a strong word…”
 
           “I mean…well..” Richard struggled for words to say.
           “Hahaha! Totoo naman eh, vigorously nga. I’m sorry too for being difficult at that time. Muntik pa kayo ma-contempt because of me. Pasensha na ha, I was just doing my job. S-sorry na rin for my behavior kanina.”
 
          “So, are we okay now? I mean, hindi ka na galit? Angelo is a very good friend of mine and you are his favorite niece.”
 
           “Yes, wala naman na yun eh, nainis lang talaga ako kanina kasi nalala ko bigla pinagkaisahan nyo akong tatlo. We’re okay.” Maya assured him.
           “Good! So, hi! I’m Richard Lim.” Richard removed his right hand that was resting inside his pocket and offered it to Maya.
           Maya looked at his hand then took it for a shake. “Hi! I’m Maya dela Rosa.  I see you are a very good friend of my favorite uncle.”
 
             “Yeah…we’ve been friends since grade school!”
 
               “Wow! Ganon na katagal?  You are both luck to have good friends.”
 
                “Uhm…Maya?”
 
                 “Yes?”
 
             “This may really make you angry and make your blood boil, but I have to reveal something to you because I do not want you to doubt later the sincerity of my apologies.”
 
            Maya looked at him intently with creased forehead and said  “So it’s not like you have any other choice, right?”  Richard nods at her full of anxiety.
 
             “Then why don’t you say it now?”
 
            “I didn’t know that uhm…well…I did not mean to steal…I was only borrowing…and I – “

              “We’re both lawyers, so stop going around the bushes.”  Maya calmly said.
              “We took your cab.”  Richard finally released the information.
              “My cab?….”  Maya confusingly asked.  “Oh!  You mean that cab?!”  she continued with an incredulous tone.
              Richard panicked and held Maya’s crossed forearm  “Maya I’m sorry.  I was tasked to talk to the driver.  He said he was waiting for his rider but I didn’t know it was you.  I only asked him to drive us to Manila Hotel which will only take about 5 minutes.  I convinced him because I said  makakabalik agad siya in and wait again for his rider.  Of course if I had the slightest idea that it was you, i would not have  done that.”  Realizing he was holding on to Maya, Richard hurriedly removed his hand. “When Angelo casually told us earlier what happened to you, I really felt so guilty.  I still do, that is why I am explaining and apologizing to you.”
 
               Maya kept silent for a moment while still looking at Richard.  Then she took a deep breath and said  “Thank you Richard for being honest even if you didn’t need to.  You didn’t have to but you did anyway.  That was a long time ago I have forgotten about it.  But you made an effort to explain and apologize.  For that, I have to be honest too.  Its very much appreciated.  Kaya let’s move on…anyway, nakauwi rinnaman ako unharmed and full of learning experience.
 
                 Richard felt very relieved.  “Really?  Your not mad at all?  Thank you.”
 
                 “As I have said, tapos na yun.  There is no point of getting mad about it.  Besides, as I’ve said, dami kong learning experience.”
 
                    Richard smiled and said  “Like riding the LRT and MRT?”
 
                    “Yes!  at hindi lang yun.  I learned the importance of giving more value to myself than work at pati na rin ang bawasan ang kakulitan ko.”  Maya proudly shared.  “O sige na Richard, mauna na ako sa loob ha. I need to talk to my mom eh.”
 
           “O-of course! You go ahead, Maya…and thank you.” Richard watched her go smiling.  He raised his eyebrows and shook his head once. He sat back on the sofa and heaved a sigh of relief.  He was busy with his thoughts when he felt someone sat beside him.
          “Why are you alone here outside? Ang daming tao sa loob.” Angelo asked. He took a cigarette stick and offered it to Richard.
           “Ingay so loob pare, I had to make a phone call.” Richard explained as he took the stick and secured it to his lips. He took the lighter from Angelo and started puffing.
           “How will you meet someone if you will not mingle?”
 
           “Brod, I came here to show support for your candidacy, not to find someone.”
 
           “Ang suplado naman! Kaya pala, hindi mo pinansin yung mga babae kanina! Buti na lang hindi sila botante. They’re from IBP Mandaluyong, just in case you are interested to know.”
 
           Richard chuckled and shook his head. “Don’t tell me isa duon yung sinasabi mong ipapakilala mo sa akin.” He puffed some smoke again then asked.  “Seriously brod, you want me to be with someone like them?”
 
           It was Angelo’s turn to chuckle and shake his head. “Pare, you thought I was just hooking you up with a girl? I’m getting married soon. Ikaw na lang sa barkada ang matitira. I actually wanted you to meet someone special. Malayong malayo naman dun so klase nung mga sinupladuhan mong girls kanina.”
 
           Richard took a lungful from the half cigarette stick before putting it off on the ashtray. “Okay, that’s clear enough. So, where is this special someone that you want me to meet? Kailan mo ipapakilala sa akin?”
 
           “Hindi na pare.” Angelo answered as he tapped off the cigarette ash of the stick he was still smoking.
            Richard looked at him with raised eyebrows. “But why?”
 
           “Hindi na kita kailangan ipakilala. You’ve met her already.” Angelo said in as-a-matter-of-fact tone.  Then he continued. “I wanted you to meet Maya.”
 
           “W-whaaat? Si Maya?” Richard asked incredulously.

 

Please Be My Legal Wife – Part 17

Admin Note: *Contributed Story* Please give credit and thanks to AttyMayiVR. This is a continuation to Please Be My Legal Wife – part 16.


A/N:  As promised po… may next part na agad para lahat ng stories ko may double treat  :-)  :-)

At the latter part of this update, you’ll see a video link from you tube. Please, just please play it before you read on the remaining paragraphs …. It’s  the best video that I could find.   May konting glitch so just go on…
Atty: AttyMayiVR
~*~
PREVIOUSLY on Please Be My Legal Wife – Part 16

Liza’s text: Okay, looking forward sa ipapadala mo.Thanks! Good luck, he’s on his way now!
Maya’s text: Thanks din Liza  :)  Siguradong matutuwa ang mga bata nito, I won’t tell them na pauwi na ang daddy nila para surprise  :)

***************
 Continuation…..
 
 
 Lim Mansion 7:15 p.m.
      Table set and food served. Kare-Kare with home made bagoong on the side and toasted Chicken-Pork Adobo with Chicharon to compliment it. The Lim kids were about to start eating. Maya was putting food on Abby’s plate when she saw Richard enter the front door and walked towards them, still carrying his laptop and some folders. Out of excitement, Maya momentarily forgets the memory of last night.
Maya: Look who’s here!
    
Nikki / Luke: Daddy?!/Dad! 
 
Maya: Abby, go bilis!
 
 
               Abby runs to Richard to do the mano, gave him a bear hug and yummy kiss! She was followed by Nikki.Luke was just so happy. He hugged Richard so tight. Maya gave her courtesy without looking at him.
Nikki: Dad! I made it to the theatre club! Tita Maya prepared all these for a little celebration. 
 
Richard: Congratulations Nikki! Expected naman na natin na makakapasok ka eh. 
 
Maya: Good evening po.
 
 
                   Maya’s evasive eyes didn’t escape Richard. He noticed too that Abby is the one sitting to the chair nearest to his right, instead of Maya.
 
 
Richard: Hi, Maya. Thank you for all these.
 
Nikki: Yeah, thanks again Tita Maya.
 
 
          Maya continued putting food on Abby’s plate, purposely doing it so slow to make an excuse for not looking up. She also didn’t directly respond to Richard.
 
Maya: Welcome. So ano, GAME! Kain na!
 
 Richard: You go ahead. I’ll just put these in the office and wash my hands.
 
 
            When Richard returned, the kids were already eating. He noticed though, that Maya was just sitting on the seat next to Abby chatting with Nikki.
 
Maya: So the list was posted just before club time?
 
 Nikki: Basta when we were dismissed, nandun na po yung list, naka post na sa bulletin board. Since club day, may note rin for us to attend.
 
            Dad! You try the Adobo, the best I’ve tasted so far! I’m sure if Lolo’s here, he will devour this!
 
Luke: Masarap yung Kare-Kare, the sauce is really smooth at lasang lasa yung peanuts, tignan mo si Abby, binahog talaga sa kanin nya.
 
 Richard: Okay, I’ll eat Kare-Kare first, kasi ito talaga ang mas paborito ko. Maya, bakit hindi ka kumakain?
 
 
        Without looking directly at Richard, Maya faced his direction so that the kids wouldn’t notice anything. But Richard was watching every detail of her actions.
 
Maya: Ah, nabusog na po kasi ako Sir sa katitikim kanina while cooking.
 
 
           She immediately faced Nikki again and continued with their conversation. So Nikki, kasama na agad kayo sa first club meeting of the year?
 
 
Nikki: Yes! Pero sandali lang po yung meeting, para lang i-welcome yung new members and a little talk, kaya maaga kami naka uwi. Oh my gee! They welcomed us one by one. And when it was my turn, may intro na “and the one who will most likely get the lead role…”
 
 Luke: Akala ko “the most maarte of all…” hahaha!
 
 Nikki: Kuya ha! It was actually Ate Joey who said that intro!
 
 
          Richard was just observing them while enjoying the feast prepared by Maya. After a while, Manang Fe came to refill the rice and bagoong.
 
 
Manang Fe: Buti naka uwi ka ng maaga Ricardo. Tamang tama, pareho pala kayo ng paboritong ulam ni Maya. Masarap ba?
 
 Richard: Yes…really good. Masarap rin yung bagoong Manang, saan nyo binili?
 
 Manang Fe: Si Maya lahat nag luto nyan, pati bagoong. Espesyal para kay Nikki.
 
 Richard: Really? Wow, ang galing mo pala magluto Maya.
 
 Maya: Thank you po Sir.
 
 
             “That’s the second time” Richard said to himself with creased forehead. It felt weird hearing Maya refer to him as plain “Sir” without the “Chief” after it.
         
Luke: Sarap nung Kare-Kare. Pero masarap rin nga itong Adobo!

 Maya: Thank you Luke. Pero mas masarap siya kainin with Chicharon. Try it! Look at Abby, enjoy na enjoy sa chicharon.
 
 Nikki: Oh! Kaya pala may chicharon here!
 
 
        Abby gave them an OK sign while chewing her food. So Luke and Nikki tried it too.
 
Luke/Nikki: Sarap nga! / Perfect combination!
 
 Maya: You may want to go further, lagyan mo pa ng konting sukang Ilocos yang Adobo meat and rice bago mo isubo, heaven, promise!
 
 
             Maya was putting some more food on Abby’s plate when Manang Fe spoke.
 
 
Manang Fe: Maya, bakit hindi ka kumakain?
 
 Maya: Eh…nabusog na po ako sa katitikim kanina habang nagluluto eh. Ah…sabay na lang siguro po ako sa inyo mamya.
 
 
            Richard was quick to react and said with a victorious smile “Manang Fe, tawagin nyo na po sila Sabel, sumabay na kayo sa amin. Let’s all celebrate and eat together.”
 
 
Manang Fe: Siya sige, tawagin ko sila sandali.
 
             Ah…Maya siguro lumipat ka na lang sa tabi ni Ricardo para dito na kami tabi-tabi nila Doris.
 
 
            Maya was sure that she’s not ready to rub elbows with Richard again, much more to be sitting beside him during meal. So in panic, Maya diverted the food she took for Abby to her plate and made an excuse.
Maya: Ay Manang Fe, kayo na lang sa tabi ni Sir. Hindi na po ako pwede oh, may pagkain na po ako sa plato eh…bawal po diba? Sige kayo, baka dalawa pa maging asawa ko.
 
             “Third…” Richard said to himself again.   “…and she’s still not looking at me.”
 
 
             Without warning, Manang Fe took Maya’s plate together with the placemat and utensils.
 
Manang Fe: Tama yan KUNG naka subo ka na. Hindi pa naman eh, kaya ililipat ko na ang mga ito sa tabi ni Ricardo. Tumayo ka na diyan at si Doris na ang tatabi kay Abby. Ricardo umurong ka na at pang dalawahan naman ang upuan sa mag-kabilaang kabisera.
 
 
                 Richard looks at Manang Fe with his lopsided smile, showing not only his dimple but his delight and approval as well.
Richard: Sure Manang!
 
Maya: Manang Fe, hindi po ba dapat yung mga nakatatanda yung nasa kabisera?

 
              Since Richard is very much aware now that Maya is trying to avoid him, he does not get a bit affected about his age or being referred to as a senior member of the family.   Instead he decides to mess around with her.
 
Richard: Exactly Maya, dito ako at duon sa kabilang kabisera si Manang Fe. Kaya halika na dito sa tabi ko para maka kain ka na rin.
 
         
              As she reached the end of the road, Maya had no choice but to bite the bullet. So, she stood up and gracefully sat on the empty space beside Richard. “Abby,magkatabi pa rin tayo oh.” she said to hide her irritation. Not satisfied though, Richard teases her some more by purposely moving closer to her, making their arms touch. When Maya moved away her left arm to get Kare-Kare, Richard followed and took the serving spoon as well, covering Maya’s left hand.
 
 
Maya: Ay! Sorry po, sige mauna na po kayo kumuha.
 
 
          Optimistic that Maya will do a repeat of how she attended to his breakfast yesterday, Richard yielded.
 
Richard: No, go ahead Maya. Paki lagyan mo na lang din ako sa plate ko please.
 
 Maya: Eh kayo na lang po mauna, senior first. Besides, baka sumobra po lagay ko eh.
 
 
          Maya forced a smile then scooped some bagoong on her plate instead. Richard had an idea and helped himself with a grin.
Richard: Okay then.
 
 
               After putting some Kare-Kare on his plate, he scooped some more and carefully served them on Maya’s plate.
 
  
Richard: Here, this is the best part of Kare-Kare, segments of the ox tail. You know, the sauce is really good! This must be your specialty.
 
 
          Surprised with his gesture, Maya felt a little uneasy but happy because the tail part is what she really likes in Kare-Kare.
 
 
Maya: Thank you po.
 
 
             After a little while, Manang Fe came and sat at the left side of the other kabisera, then Joma sat beside her. Doris followed and sat beside Abby while Sabel positioned herself beside Nikki.
 
 
              In the middle of the dinner, torrential rain poured. In due course power outage followed. Almost everyone shrieked in surprise, including Maya “Ay! Sir Chief!” Unconsciously, she clinged to the arm of Richard making the latter smile especially after hearing her speak spontaneously.
 
 
Sabel: Waaah! Brown out! Naku, kabilugan pa naman ng buwan, tapos nasa kabundukan tayo Manang  Fe!
 
 
            Richard noticed that Maya tightened her grip on his arm and instinctively shoved herself closer to his body after hearing what Sabel said. He noticed too that Maya was not moving a bit while listening to the ongoing conversation.
 
 
Joma: Anu naman ngayon kung nasa kabundukan tayo, ha Sabel? Feeling mo papansinin ka ng mga multo at engkanto rito? Sila kaya matatakot sayo!
 
 Doris: Ang yabang ng kambing na to!
 
 Manang Fe: Magsi-tigil nga kayong tatlo! Ang iingay ninyo! Nabulabog na ang mga yun sa ingay nyo eh!
 
 Doris/Sabel: Waaah! Manang Fe naman eh!
 
 Manang Fe: Panay kasi kayo kalokohan diyan! Hala sige, tayo na at kuhanin ninyo ang mga lamp.
 
 Joma: Ayan ang napapala nyo! Hahaha!
 
 Manang Fe: Samahan mo na sila Joma para hindi na matagalan pa.
 
 Doris: Ayun! Bilis ng karma no?! Halika na!
 
 Sabel: Let’s go sago! Bilis! Tayo na diyan, mabibitin naman sila Sir sa pagkain.
 
Joma: Kailangan talaga nakayakap kayo sa akin?
 
Doris/Sabel: Oo!
 
Luke: Nakakatawa talaga sila. Naniniwala sa mga ganun.
 
Nikki: I agree!
 
               Richard took advantage of the darkness and loud banterings of Sabel and the others. So, while it was going on, he moved closer to Maya and leaned to her left ear to tease her.
Richard: Ikaw rin Maya, ang higpit ng kapit mo dyan. Naduduwag ka rin pala despite that strong personality. Sumiksik ka pa talaga.
 
 
          Coming back to her senses, Maya released her grip at once without saying anything. She moved away from Richard but the latter immediately retrieved Maya’s arm and softly said“Wait! I was just teasing. It’s okay to be scared.”
 
 
              However, Maya still didn’t say a thing and jerked her arm from Richard. She stood up without warning. Impulseively, Richard pulled her back down to the chair but said her name so loud for everybody to hear.
 
 
Richard: Maya! Uhm…where are you going? Sige ka, baka may masalubong kang halimaw diyan, tangayin ka.
 
 Nikki: Dad! You’re scaring me!
 
Manang Fe: Ricardo! Sumali ka pa sa kalokohan nung tatlo, pati mga bata tinatakot mo.
 
 Richard: I was just joking around!
 
 Luke: Joke po yun?
 
 Maya: Hindi kasi marunong mag joke ang Daddy nyo Luke kaya corny.
 
 Richard: Eh saan ka ba kasi pupunta, ang dilim dilim nga?
 
 Maya: Tatabihan ko lang po sana si Abby Sir, baka natakot kina Sabel eh.
 
 Richard: Abby, come here. Sit with us ni Tita Maya mo para hindi kayo masikip dalawa riyan sa upuan mo.
 
 
                Abby did as told, forcing Maya to sit down again to welcome Abby who sat on her lap. Maya moved and purposely positioned herself near the edge of the chair to make a gap between her and Richard.
Maya: Are you scared Abby?
 
 
              Abby nodded, took Maya’s arms and wrapped them around her. To close the gap between him and Maya, Richard put his right arm around her from behind and slipped his hand down to her right hip, surprising Maya “Ay!”   He looked at Maya and shoved her back towards his body while saying“Don’t be scared now baby,come here closer to me, so you’ll feel more secured.”
 
Nikki: Aawww, so sweet of Daddy, don’t be scared now baby.
 
 Luke: Yes Abby, andiyan na sila Ate Doris oh, may mga candle ng bitbit.
 
 Manang Fe: Asaan ang mga emergency lamp? Ba’t panay kandila bitbit nyo?
 
 Joma: Mga wala pong karga eh.
 
 Richard: Since it’s already the rainy season, you better charge all of them for times like this. Now let’s go back to dinner.
 
 
              Richard leaned and whispered to Abby.   “Abby, baby can you go back to your seat now so you and Tita Maya can finish eating?”
           Abby nodded, kissed Maya on the cheek then went back to her seat. Maya immediately moved away from Richard causing him to shake his head while chuckling.
Nikki: This is nice…it’s like were having dinner in a fancy restaurant…it’s so romantic!
 
 Sabel: Ay! Oo nga Ma’am Nikki! Ganito pala yun?!
 
Joma: Alam mo Sabel, para ka palang kandila, ang ganda mo tignan sa dilim. Sana lagi na lang madilim.
 
Sabel: Ah ganun ha, sana kandila ka din Joma para isang ihip ko lang sa ‘yo, siguradong pat –
 
Maya: papalakpak lahat.   Hindi ba Sabel? Naririnig ka ni Abby oh.
 
Sabel: Ehehe, yes Ma’am, papalakpak ng todong todo. Hindi ba Abby noh? Pag nag blow ng birthday candle pumapalakpak lahat? Saya diba?
 
 Manang Fe: Mabuti na lang malamig ang hangin sa labas, hindi mainit kahit brown out.
 
 Doris: Ang ginaw na nga po Manang eh, humangin pa sa labas.
 
 Joma: At giniginaw ka talaga Doris?
 Doris: Oo Joma, giniginaw ako, kasi kahit walang kuryente, nag yeyelo yang ngipin mo!
 
 
             Everybody laughed, including Richard who took advantage of the moment and moved his body closer to Maya, leaning over to make it obvious to her.
Nikki: They’re so funny!
 
 Sabel: Waaaa! Sapol ka dyan!
 
 Doris: Nag yo-yosi ka noh?
 
 Richard: Nag yo-yosi ka Joma?
 
 Joma: Hindi po sir! Ikaw Doris ha, ipapahamak mo pa ako.
 
 Sabel: Ay Sir Richard, in fairness naman, sa sobrang kape nya po nakuha yan.
 
 Doris: Ay onga po Sir, lakas ni Joma sa kape kaya naninilaw ang mga ngipin. Siya nga po taga ubos ng kape eh.
 
 Manang Fe: Hay naku, sana transistor radio na lang kayong tatlo.
 
 Joma/Doris/Sabel: Po?/Bakit po?/Bakit naman po?
 
 Manang Fe: Para isang tanggal ko lang ng baterya, mananahimik na kayo!
 
 Maya: Hahaha! Ang cute nyo naman po Manang Fe, pati kayo humirit ng pick up line!
 
 Sabel: Pang asar na pick up line pa! Cool na cool talaga ‘tong si Manang Fe oh.
 
 Nikki: Eh kayo po Tita Maya, may alam rin kayong pick up line?
 
 Maya: Oo naman!
 
 Ricahrd: I can attest to that! Champion si Tita Maya mo humirit ng mga ganyan.
 
 Luke: Talaga po Tita Maya? Sige nga, isang hirit naman po diyan.
 
 Sabel: Onga po Ma’am, para madagdagan ang alam naming pick up lines.
 
 Maya: O sige na nga, ito original pa ito ha.
 
               Para ka palang Mighty Bond, kasi soooobrang dikit mo, ang hirap humiwalay sa iyo!
 
Doris: Waaaah! BFF sobrang dikit daw! Yun na, alam mo na! Nakaka kilig talaga!
 
 Sabel: Onga BFF! Pero Ma’am Maya, bakit hiwalay naman ang gusto mo, ang sweet nga eh. Sobrang dikit, ayaw mahiwalay sayo. Kaya dapat po ganito ang linya nyo: Para ka palang Mighty Bond kasi sobrang dikit mo sa aking puso, ang hirap mo pang tanggalin sa isip ko!
 
 Sabel/Doris: Ayeeee!
 
 Nikki: Oh my gee! That is sooo cheesy!
 
 Luke: Okay yun Sabel ah! What about you Dad, alam mo rin bang mag pick up line?
 
 Maya: Naman Luke, joke nga hindi marunong, pick up line pa.
 
 Richard: Are you challenging me, Maya? Si Manang Fe nga marunong eh, ako pa. At hindi lang ikaw ang may original, yung sa akin original rin.
 
Nikki: Talaga Dad? This I have to hear!
 
 Richard: You sound like you don’t believe what I said.  Okay, listen to this.  Para ka palang internet connection, kasi naiinis ako at umiinit ang ulo ko kapag nawawala ka…lalo na kung matagal pa.
 
 
                  While Maya appeared unaffected, the girls shrieked in delight.
 
Doris/Sabel: Ayeeee! Nakakakilig! Nikki: Eeeeeeeee! That is oh so nakakakilig!
 
 Luke: Wow Dad, mukhang patok yan sa girls! Pwede ka ng manligaw uli.
 
 Manang Fe: Kilig na kilig naman kayo.
 

          Doris consciously leaned towards Manang Fe and said in private “Ow my G Manang! Yung alaga nyo, ayaw mahiwalay! Gusto lagi sila magkasama! This is it pansit!”
 
 
              Excited with what her ward has become, Manang Fe joined the fun and dropped her share.
 
 
Manang Fe: Kaya ba bigla ang init ng ulo mo kagabi Ricardo? Dahil ang tagal niyang nawala?
 
 
             Caught insurprise, Richard looked at Manang Fe who had a meaningful grin and raised eyebrows. But before he could react, Luke spoke, saving him from the confrontation.
 
Luke: Ay Dad FYI lang, hanggang ngayon wala pa rin pong internet connection. Kahapon pa nga daw po nawala.
 
 Manang Fe:Malakas ang kidlat at kulog kahapon eh baka yun ang dahilan.
 
 Luke: Akala po namin ni Niks, you just turned off the wi-fi when you came home early kasi nga it’s a school day. Nainis rin pala kayo kagabi?
 
 Manang Fe:Inis na inis, hindi ba Ricardo?
 
 Richard: Ah…don’t worry Luke, I will check with the network provider soon after the power is restored. You use it for school, so I will not cut it off just like that. I trust you guys on proper internet use.
 
 
             Within seconds, power was restored to everybody’s relief.
Doris/Sabel: Haaay salamat!
 
 Nikki: Finally!
 
Luke: Naman Niks, ang bilis nga lang eh.
 
 Manang Fe:Nag-dilang anghel ka Ricardo.
 
 
          Maya was relieved as well and finally spoke.“Tamang tama, dessert time na! Abby, let’s get it!”
 
 
Nikki: Oh this is the best part!
 
 
              Maya and Abby stood up and went to the kitchen.
Manang Fe:Doris, Sabel, itabi nyo na ang mga plato at magpasok kayo dito ng mga platito. Tulungan nyo na rin sila Maya sa kusina.
 
 Joma:Excuse me lang po, tignan ko lang po muna ang mga ilaw at pinto sa labas at sa baba, may mga nakabukas pa po kasi kanina nung nag brown out eh.
 
 Richard:Sige Joma, ikaw na bahala. Pati na rin yung pool. Make sure that the drains are working baka mag over flow because of the rain fall.
 
 Joma:Opo Sir.
 
 
           Sabel and Doris came back carrying the mango cream pie and ultimate chocolate cake Maya and the girls baked earlier. Maya and Abby trailed behind with Abby holding a bottle of cramel syrup while Maya carried the gallon of vanilla ice cream.
Luke:Wow! Ang dami naman nyan!
 
 Richard:San galing mga yan?
 
 
          Maya ignored the question and without answering, she began slicing the mango cream pie.
Nikki: She baked them Dad. Abby and I helped. You should try them both! Grabe, ang saraaap. But try the mango cream pie first kasi sabi ni Tita Maya, it might taste different na if you eat the chocolate cake first.
 
 
               Maya put a slice on one side of a dessert plate then followed it with a slice of the chocolate cake.
 
 
Nikki: Tita Maya I’ll help with the ice cream.
 
Maya:Sure Nikki! But let Abby put the syrup ha.
 
 Nikki:Of course!
 

               Richard focused his attention to Maya but glanced at his daughters too. Nikki put a scoop of ice cream on top of the sliced chocolate cake. Abby completed it by swirling with caramel syrup. Then Maya took the first complete dessert plate and placed it in front of Richard.
          “Thank you.” Richard said while smiling at Maya. He didn’t get any response from her again. He released a sigh after Maya ignored him and proceeded with plating the other plates. Richard went on and complimented Abby  “Wow Abby! Ang galing naman, you made a perfect design on top of the ice cream. Abby ran to him and hugged him tight.
Richard:  So, can I go ahead of you guys and try these now?
 
Nikki: Sure Dad! And please do remember that Abby and I helped in making them ha.
 
 Luke:Okay Nikki, we won’t forget that.
 
 
                 Richard winked at Luke then said“Ang galing galing naman mag bake ng mga babies ko! Patikim nga…”
 
 
Luke:Niks, pwede paki bilisan with the ice cream so I can have my dessert plate too?
 
 Richard: Mmmmm…this is really good! The mangoes are perfectly sweet and the cream is just right. The crunch of the crust adds texture to it. Maya, you can make money out of this.
 
Nikki:Oh Dad, wait ‘til you try her chocolate cake. It’s really the ultimate one. You know your favorite chocolate cake that you always order in the restaurant? It’s no match to her chocolate cake. I swear!
 
 
            Hearing Nikki reveal the information that Richard has a favorite chocolate cake made Maya apprehensive that he might not like her version. She stole glances and saw that Richard has almost consumed the mango cream pie.
Luke:Dad ang bilis ah! Parang natapon lang?
 
 Manang Fe:Excited kasi kainin yung chocolate cake. Yan ang gusting gusto nya mula pa nung bata pa siya.
 
            When Richard was about to taste the chocolate cake, Maya busied herself so as not to appear worried. She continued putting her creations on each dessert plate so that everyone else could eat.
Richard: Mmmmmmm….mmm…this is delectable…you’ll keep asking for more…wicked because you can’t stop…really really the ultimate one. How did you make the ganache so gooey chocolatey yet not sweet? Wow, there are even chocolate bits in the filling…mmm…it complements the vanilla ice cream and the sweetness of the caramel syrup is a nice finish…this is simply divine Maya.
 
        Maya was very glad Richard liked her chocolate cake but pretended not to be paying attention to him. On the other hand, Richard has gotten offended by Maya’s continued disregard of him. Nevertheless, he still sought her attention and called her name so that she’ll at least look at him. “Maya…Maya…”
 
               “Po?” She responded as if she heard him talk the first time. She looked at him and saw his disturbed facial expression.
 
 
                 Finally got Maya’s attention, Richard half smiled at her and spoke at once “I said your mango cream pie is really good and your chocolate cake is really the ultimate one…it’s a divine dessert.”
 
 
               Maya just nods at him and said “Thank you po, Sir.” Maya hurriedly looked away. She was certain that she saw sadness in his eyes even as he smiled at her. She tried to look unaffected and invited the others while quickly glancing at him. She saw Richard looked down on his plate and heaved a sigh.
 
                             
Maya: Sabel, Doris, halina kayo para mag dessert. Manang Fe ito po ang sa inyo, niliitan ko talaga ang portions para hindi kayo magreklamo.
 
 Luke: Grabe Tita Maya, super sarap!
 
           “Talaga Luke, masarap?! I’m so glad you liked it. Bihira kasi sa guys ang maka appreciate ng dessert eh” Maya reacted at once while smiling at Luke.
Nikki: Kuya, kasama kami ni Abby diyan.
 
Joma: Wow! Ang sosyal sosyal naman tignan.
 
Maya: Naku, nasa style lang ng paglalagay sa plate yan.
 
 
            Richard frowned. This time, he was as he noted the difference on how Maya conversed with the others. It was full of life and enthusiasm, in contrast to how she responded to him. It easly confirmed that Maya was not only avoiding him. She is disregarding him as well. So, he stopped pushing his efforts in trying to make a conversation with her and instead kept quiet while finishing his dessert.
 
            Maya noticed the sudden change in Richard’s mood. Gone were the playful tone in his voice, the teasing gestures and mischievous smiles he exhibited earlier. He suddenly became quiet and appeared very upset.
 
 
Sabel: Naku Ma’am Maya, para ka palang Smart Communications…
 
 Nikki: Smart Communications? Why naman?
 
 Sabel: Because she’s simply amazing! Oh ha! Bago yun ha!
 
 Doris: Ow my G Ma’am Maya super sarap nito. It’s you na talaga! ♫Nese eyo ne♪ eng lahat♪! Para ka palang…
 
 Luke: Alam ko na kasunod ng pick up line na yan…Kathryn Bernardo?
 
 Doris: Hindi Sir Luke. Para ka lang SM ShoeMart Ma’am Maya, kasi you’ve got it all!   Pwedeng pwede ka na mag-asawa! You’re perfect!
 
Maya: Hahaha! Ayan na naman kayo sa pick up lines ha. At asawa agad? Eh boyfriend nga wala pa.
 
Manang Fe: Bata ka pa naman eh, tapusin mo muna pag-aaral mo at tuparin ang pangarap mo. Yung mapapangasawa mo, nandiyan lang sa tabi-tabi yun. Huwag mong pakinggan ang dalawang yan. Palibhasa matatandang dalaga na eh.
 
 Doris: Wow, Manang ha, talagang kami ang matandang dalaga?
 
 Isabel: Parang kayo lang yun eh…may pag-asa pa kaya kami.
 
 Joma: Asa pa talaga…
 
 
             Feeling on the edge, Richard suddenly stood up.
Manang Fe: O Ricardo, ba’t bigla kang tumayo, san ka pupunta?
 
Richard: Magpapahangin lang po sa veranda. Magpapababa ng kinain. I’m really full.
 
 
               Without looking at anyone, Richard took his water goblet then said “Excuse me everyone.”  
 
 
               Everyone kept mum as they watched Richard walk towards the veranda. Sabel couldn’t help but ask.
Isabel: Anyare kay Sir Richard? Biglang tumahimik?
 
Joma: Ingay mo kasi, lakas ng boses mo eh. Baka narindi.
 
Doris: BFF, parang alam ko kung bakit. Halika dito bilis! Ibubulong ko sa i –…
 
Nikki: Ay Ate Doris it’s rude to whisper. You have to share it with everyone.
 
Doris: P-po?
 
Nikki: Anu yung alam mo?
 
Joma: Ayan, ang daldal kasi…yan ang napapala ng mga tsimosa.
 
 
Doris: Eh wala po, haka-haka lang naman po eh. Huwag na lang po at baka magalit po –
 
Nikki: No, walang magagalit. So, wnu yung alam mo?
 
Manang Fe: Doris, mag ingat ka sa salita mo ha.
 
 
        Manang Fe knew what Doris is about to say because she also has the same idea in her mind. Doris understood why Manang Fe warned her. She became jittery and played with her hands as she tried to think of another thing to say for the satisfaction of Nikki. Maya remained silent and waited for Doris to answer.
 
 
Doris: Eh…ano po…kasi po…ano….ah! Baka po sa sobrang kabusugan sumakit ang tiyan at na-uutot! Kaya nag sungit-sungitan na lang para makasimple makalayo sa veranda.
 
 
                 Everyone laughed at Doris. “Naku huwag masyado malakas, baka marinig naman ni Sir, lagot ako! Doriswarned.
 
 
Nikki: That theory is so funny Ate Doris!
 
 Luke: Hahaha! At nag sungit-sungitan pa talaga si Dad, ha Ate Doris?
 
 Doris: “Naku naman, ulit-ulitin ba ang pangalan ko. Maka alis na nga dito. Akin na nga mga ito, ako na maghuhugas nito Sabel. Ay, Abby, kay Teacher Maya ka muna ha, tutal may bedtime story pa kayo diba? Babay!”
 
         Doris then sped to the dirty kitchen with the dishes.
 
 
         Before retiring to bed, Luke and Nikki went to the veranda to bid Richard good night.
         “Good night Dad!” Nikki said as she kissed Richard. “Thank you for coming home early, it was a wonderful dinner.”
 
 
        “Yes it was, Nikki. I had a wonderful time myself. But you should say thank you to Maya again. It was her idea after all. The dinner was for you.” Richard reminded Nikki.
         “I know Dad…she is such an angel…she makes me happy….she makes everyone happy, especially Abby!” Nikki declared and pointed to Maya and Abby who were left alone in the dining area. “Uhm, are you feeling okay, Dad? Do you want me to prepare tea for you?” Nikki asked.
 
Richard:  Tea? Why?
 
  Nikki: Ah… kasi you were feeling full kanina, diba? I just thought you might want some tea to aid in the digestion?
 
 Richard: No, I’m okay Niks.
 
 Luke: Sige na Niks, mauna ka na sa loob so you can say thank you to Tita Maya.
 
 Nikki: Okee-dokee! G’night Dad!
 
               Luke went to his dad and hugged him tight. “Thank you Dad…It was really a wonderful night because you’re here with us…I hope we can do this more often…we really miss you…”  Luke pulled away and said “Good night po” then kissed Richard.
Richard: Good night son, don’t worry I’ll fix my schedule.
 
 Luke: Okay Dad. No pressure. I’m already happy with how things are going. Pero FYI lang Dad, hindi pa naman po ako matutulog at baka mabangungot po ako sa sobrang kabusugan. I’ll just be in my room papalipas muna ng oras. Baka kasi po hindi ka patulugin nung nasa isip mo eh.
 
 Richard: W-what?
 
 Luke: Dad, what Im trying to say is, mahirap po magmukmok mag-isa…hindi ka patutulugin. So, if you need someone to talk to, I’ll just be in my room.
 
             Richard gave a soft laugh and shook his head.
Richard: Okay son, your information is noted. By the way, I talked to the network provider just kanina. They’re looking into their system now and promised restoration of connection by tonight. So just check on it once in a while habang nagpapalipas ka ng oras. But don’t stay up late, okay?
 
Luke: Okay Dad, thanks po.
 
               Luke went inside the dining area to where Maya is and kissed her. She was still talking to Nikki.
Luke: Thanks Tita Maya, it was the best family dinner after a long time.
 
 Nikki: Yes, as I was saying, if not for your ideas and efforts, we wouldn’t have dinner like this with Dad.
 
 Maya: Kayo talaga…sabi ko nga, kulang lang kayo ng little push. Nikki, ikaw na magsabi kay Luke ng plans for Sunday…tuloy na tuloy na yun ha.
 
 Luke: Really? Tuloy tayo? Kasama ka siyempre Tita Maya!
 
 Nikki: Shhhhh! Kuya naman, Dad might hear you!
 
 Luke: Sorry naman, na excite lang. Eh di tara na sa taas so we can talk!
 
 Nikki: Oh no, Dad is approaching! Tara na kuya bilis!
 
 
                 Abby tugs on Maya’s blouse, telling her that she also wants to go upstairs to her room. “Napagod ka na ano? Gusto mo na rin umakyat? Okay, let’s go.” Maya gladly said as there was another reason to avoid Richard.   She swiftly turned to the direction of the stairs and took Abby’s left hand but Richard called her name.
                “Maya wait…” he said softly.   Maya stopped but bowed her head and checked on Abby’s back to avoid looking at Richard who went in front of her and said in a pleading voice “Can we talk?”
 
              Maya knew what facial expression came with that pleading voice.   So, she continued looking down at Abby to avoid seeing Richard’s face and answered “Naku Sir basang-basa na po ng pawis si Abby eh. She needs to change clothes.”
 
 
                Richard persisted and desperately said “But we need to talk. So why don’t you let Doris do her job. You’re Abby’s tutor, not her yaya.”
 
 
               When memories of Richard bellowing invectives at her flashed her mind, Maya felt pain in her heart and became more unyielding. So, she finally looked at him in the eyes and adamantly said “But Sir, I am just doing my job because I promised her a bedtime story for doing well in our hands on learning when she helped in the kitchen earlier.   I want to keep and fulfill that promise Sir, so please let me do my job too.”
 
 
               Richard was also hurting as he incredulously listened to what Maya was saying. As pain crushed him, he uncontrollably heaved a deep sigh. He pursed his lips and swallowed hard. He nodded once then in a conceding tone, almost whispered “Okay then, Maya…if that’s what you want.”   He leaned down at Abby and kissed her on the forehead. “You were great Abby and Daddy is very proud of you…now enjoy that bedtime story with Tita Maya… Good night baby.”
 
 
               Richard stood straight and looked at Maya once more without saying anything. Then, he hurriedly walked towards his home office. Maya closed her eyes and breathed deeply, inhaling the traces of his scent.
              Maya purposely stayed in Abby’s room longer even after the little girl has fallen asleep to make sure she avoids Richard. She knows that her efforts to elude Richard have become obvious to him and she is not ready with his confrontation. She opened the door and took a peek of the surroundings. She crept outside, then carefully closed the door behind her. Sure that no one was around, she quickly ran down the stairs. Feeling relieved that the home office and the study were empty, she confidently walked to her room and took a shower.
             Moments later, Maya kept tossing and turning, trying to fall asleep. As her attempts were futile, she sat up, took her phone and browsed the web. After a couple of minutes, she went to the kitchen to make herself a cup of warm milk.
 
 
            When she came back, she turned on the TV and looked for an interesting show to watch while sipping her milk. Finding nothing, she slumped herself onto the sofa and opened a novel. “Anu ba naman, naubos na ang gatas hindi pa rin ako tamaan ng antok. Maya, para ka ng si Kung Fu Panda sa itim ng mata mo!”  She looked up and thought of what else to do. “Maybe I need to unload my pent up emotions. Ah, tawagan ko si Emman.”
 
 
              Maya went out of the room to take the empty cup to the kitchen before calling her best friend. However, she was lured by the sight of the baby grand piano so she went to it instead. She placed the empty cup on the console table near the piano then opened its cover, pulled the chair and began to strike the keys.
             Unknown to Maya, Richard was in the kitchen, drinking water.   When he heard the sound of the piano, he knew it was Maya. In a fast pace, he slithered his way to the piano area and settled himself at the lounge chair aganst the wall just outside Maya’s room. It was the better spot than the sofa at the adjacent sala. Maya would definitely sense his presence if he sits at the sofa. He listened to the song Maya was playing. He was sure that it’s Invisible War by Julia Fordham. When Maya stopped in the middle of the song, Richard froze anticipating her next move.
               Seconds later, Maya started playing the theme from Love Affair. She played it beautifully and so well, anyone would feel the emotion of the song. Richard was no exception. The music moved him. It sounded so full of love and passion it put Richard in a reverie. Suddenly memories of the wonderful moments with Maya flashed in his mind.  He recalled when Maya sent him coffee with sandwich and mints  for his Clark trip, the time she put so much effort in endearing him to calm him down after getting upset at her summer dress, the time she made him laugh with the ant and the elephant story,  the time she wiped the catsup from his mouth,  and finally the time when she  audaciously brought Abby to LAS and the lunch out at pancake house.  He closed his eyes and took a deep breath, careful not to make any sound.
              Then Maya started humming the melody as she played the song in the piano. He visualized the night he became emotional after hearing Nikki sing, the moments she attended to his children’s needs, the natural high he felt when she attended to his breakfast as well, and of course, their coffee moments together at the veranda. He wanted to go near her and hold her. He stood up and walked towards her.  He momentarily stops…then he walked further  until he was right behind her.  No longer able to hold back, he finally said her name and touched her shoulder. “Maya…”
 
               Just like in the movie, the music ended unceremoniously with the unpleasant sound of the piano keys smacked by the hands of a very surprised Maya.

 

Please Be My Legal Wife – Part 16

Admin Note: *Contributed Story* Please give credit and thanks to AttyMayiVR. This is a continuation to Please Be My Legal Wife – part 15.


A/N: Inabot na naman ng isang buwan…thank you for your understanding, patience and support…. :)

Author: AttyMayiVR
~*~
PREVIOUSLY on Please Be My Legal Wife – Part 15
 
Maya: Good evening Sir Chief!
 
                   Without moving his head from reading position, Richard took a deep breath then looked at Maya. His flushed face and wrathful eyes gave away his enraged state, causing Maya’s enthusiasm and sincere smile to fade away.   This time, it was Maya who took a deep breath and felt pain deep inside. She bowed down and braced herself for all possibilities, then spoke once more.
Maya: Sige po, mauna na po ako.Excuse me po.
 
               When Maya turned and started to walk away, Richard lost his control. He stood up and bellowed at Maya.
Richard: So, that’s it? You act as if it’s nothing? You seem so nonchalant! How dare you Maya!
 
           Maya stopped and faced Richard.
 *********
 
Continuation………
 
             Maya stood still and looked at Richard in the eyes. It was then she realized that he was not just in another enraged state. He’s very much angry and that anger is directed at her. For what ever reason, she doesn’t exactly know. All the same, she resolved to handle the situation in a very calm manner even when she’s hurting inside, something she’s not accustomed to when being confronted and reprimanded by her Sir Chief.
                    Since she was not certain on how to take his accusatory remarks, all she could say was“S-sir Chief?”
 
Richard: Bakit ngayon ka lang umuwi?! Where have you been?
 
Maya: Po? Sir Chief, 8:30 pa lang po. Maaga pa naman po, dba?
 
Richard: You’re under my employ and you’re my responsibility! So I have the right to know your whereabouts! 
 
 
            For a moment, Maya stared at Richard while breathing sporadically and without saying anything. She had seen him unleash his fury and heard him shout his lungs out so many times in the past, even threw offensive words at her but she didn’t get affected. In fact, she just dismissed them all.   However, seeing him now in that infuriated state and hearing him say those words to her, surprisingly hurt this time.
Maya: Sir Chief, hindi ko naman po nakakalimutan na empleyado nyo po ako. Nagsabi naman po ako earlier, nag text po ako sa inyo that I’ll be buying books. You said K, and I thougth it was really okay. 
 
 
             Richard knew Maya felt affronted as he saw the transition in her facial expression and heard the crack in her voice, a reaction that he never expected from her.  He has gotten used to Maya retorting at him with so much confidence and conviction, taking him lightly when he’s in that mood, giving him maximum tolerance, making efforts to endear him to calm him down, and even initiating an apology even if not at fault just to buy peace and get good vibes. Richard took a deep breath, controlled his temper and tried to speak in a composed manner.
 Richard: Maya, I didn’t mean it that way. You are more than Abby’s tutor… you’re very much treated like family and you know it!    But you left early afternoon and you’ve been gone for more than 6 hours!
 
 Maya: Sir Chief, I didn’t mean to be abusive of your kindess and consideration. Hindi naman po ako dapat puputa today as I was scheduled to go this Sunday with my mom. Kaya lang po may biglaan lang pong important event that I need to supervise for some special people this Sunday and wala na po akong ibang time that is why I was constrained to go today.
 
           I am very sorry if I went overboard and my work was compromised. I-vacation leave ko na lang po today but I’ll make up for the lost time on a Saturday. Pasensha na po, hindi na po mauulit Sir Ch –
 
             Feeling uncomfortable with Maya’s unusual reaction, Richard got a little annoyed with her poignant statements and cut her off.
Richard: Oh don’t be so sensitive! I am not particular with your working hours and you very well know it too!
 
           But seriously Maya,you spent more than 5 hours in the bookstore?! You certainly owe me an explanation and that is the whole point of this conversation!                                               
                   
Maya: Sir Chief, majority po ng law books that I need are not found in an ordinary bookstore in the mall. Sa Rex Bookstore lang po. The nearest branch in this area is in Shopwise, Cubao. Ang traffic po going to Cubao. Tapos nag transfer na pala ang Rex Bookstore ng location. Hinanap pa namin ni Sir James – 
 
                 The sound of Maya saying the name of James irritated Richard and caused his temper to rise once more.
Richard: Yeah right!
 
            Maya was getting frustrated because Richard refused to listen, but continued with her explanation.
Maya: When we found the bookstore, alanganin pala po yung new location nya and walang parking sa area. So we had to drive around and park in Gateway, walk and cross some streets para balikan yung bookstore. Then we had to wait kasi there was a long queue,  marami na po nauna na customer and matagal din ang pa-engrave ng name sa mga codal and mga hardbound books, add to that, may kasama na rin kasi na pag plastic cover sa service nila kaya–
 
               Richard was visualizing what Maya was saying and pictured James walking so close to her side by side, holding on to her when they crossed the street and enjoying every moment with her.
 
Richard: But the fact that you were with your former professor will not justify your inadvertence, Maya! You should have informed me…the people in this house, kung nasan ka na, kung anung oras ka uuwi!
 
 Maya: Ang bilis namn po kasi ng oras, hindi ko na po namalayan na ala–
 
           Richard assumed, from the words of Maya, that she enjoyed the company of James, that they enjoyed their moment together and lost track of the time. These frustrated and exasperated Richard because he went home early expecting Maya to be there. He was looking forward to her company and spending time with her and the kids, but he ended up eating dinner alone.
Richard: Maya, while you were enjoying someone’s company, merong naghihintay sa iyo sa bahay na ito!
 
Maya: Po?
 
           Richard thought that it would be risky to drop hints but was certian that it’s too early for him to make admissions, more so that he resolved to act as normal as he could to ensure that he’ll keep their friendship secured. Besides, he wasn’t really ready to lay down his cards on the table especially not after Maya went out with James earlier. His pride helped him in keeping the truth to himself.
 Richard: Si Manang Fe! She couldn’t go to sleep kasi she was waiting for you!
 
            Ni hindi ka nag text or tumawag! Hindi mo man lang ba naisip na may mga nag aalala dito?! Tapos dadating ka and act as if okay lang? Bale wala lang? We’ve talked about this! Bakit hindi ka na naman nag text o tumawag?!
 
Maya: Sir Chief drained na po yung batt –
 
           For the nth time, Richard did not let Maya finish her explanation. He lost control of his temper. He smacked the table and even let out a line of invective.
 Richard: Oh shit Maya! What a LAME alibi! It is so UNACCEPTABLE especially coming from you! Such a disgraceful act of falsehood!
 
           The invectives hurled against her felt like stabs in her heart. Maya wanted to run away from Richard but stood still and stared at him without blinking. However, the tears that have pooled in her eyes already gushed down her cheeks as she breathed unevenly trying to control her silent sobs.
           But sensible that she is, Maya just absorbed everying with open mind. In fact even in that predicament, she had the urge to give Richard a lecture on alibi, but knew that it isn’t the appropriate time. Besides, she was ready to acceptdefeat. Richard was not ready to listen so there was no point in going further with her explanation.
          Then too, she thought that Richard was right. There is really no excuse for not texting or calling. She realized early evening that she doesn’t know the contact numbers of anyone in the Lim family by memory, not even Liza’s. She should not have relied on her phone’s contact list and memorized at least the land line of the Lim Mansion. James tried to help. Unfortunately, his card case where he put the calling card of Richard was in his other car which he did not use because of the color coding scheme.
         She swallowed, took a deep breath and pushed words out of her mouth with hope that she would say everything without breaking down.
 
 
Maya:  O-okay po Sir Chief…pagpasenshahan nyo na lang po ako for my inadequacies… Sorry po for being inconsiderate and negligent.
 
                  Richard looked away from a tearful Maya and sat down. Then he spoke sternly with an upset face.
 Richard: Sige na Maya, you’re excused. Just go and proceed with what you want to do. We’re done talking here.
             Even if he wasn’t looking, Maya nodded to acknowledge his directives. Then, she rushed to her room and immediately placed everything she held in her arms on the study table. She took a very deep breath to stop herself from crying then went to the bathroom to wash her face with cold water. After drying it with towel, she rushed outside her room without looking at her reflection in the mirror. She quietly ran to the front door and discreetly went out to get the eco bag which she left earlier.
             After being able to drag the eco bag inside the house, she slowly locked the front door, careful not to make any noise that would catch Richard’s attention. She doesn’t want to deal with him once more as she’s very sure that she wouldn’t be able to endure any hurtful words that he might throw at her again.
                Maya inhaled deelply then squat down to lift the ego full of books and ran with it to her room. Richard was still in a reading position but saw her in his peripheral view. He is still a little puzzled at how Maya reacted, on how she easily succumbed to his fury without her usual smart and quick responses.
           Still catching her breath, Maya wasted no time and headed downstairs to Manang Fe’s room.
 
 Manang Fe: Maya, nakarating ka na pala.
 
Maya: Opo Manang Fe, mga 8:30 po ako naka uwi. Pasensya na po, na-abala ko pala kayo sa paghintay sa akin.
 
              Maya went on to tell her journey to the bookstore and explained in detail why she decided to go earlier instead of the weekend, and why she failed to make a call or to send a text message to inform them of her whereabouts.
Manang Fe: Maya, huwag kang mag-alala, patulog pa lang naman ako eh. Hindi ka naka abala. Kailan man ay hindi ka magiging abala iha. Bakit namumula ka? Ang ilong mo, pulang pula.
 
Maya: Po? Ah…eh…b-baka po sunburn? Kasi nga po naglakad-lakad po kami sa Cubao ng nakatirik pa ang araw.
 
 Manang Fe: Eh bakit pati mata mo namumula? Umiyak ka ba?
 
Maya: Ah…eh sa paglalakad po, pakiramdam ko nga po lahat ng dumi at alikabok ng Edsa Cubao at Aurora Cubao eh nagsalubong sa magkabila kong pisngi, ang lagkit at makati sa pakiramdam. Kaya po pinang-gigilan ko po ang paghilamos, nalagyan po ng sabon yung mata ko, kaya po ganyan.
 
           Maya hesistantly answered with a lie. She had to do it to avoid further inquiry from Manang Fe if she finds out she cried, but she really felt guilty and uncomfortable not being honest at all.
 Manang Fe: Ganun ba? Eh, nag-kita na ba kayo ni Ricardo? Hinahanap ka sa akin kanina eh.
 
Maya: Opo, Manang Fe, nagkausap na po kami. Ay magpapa alam na rin po ako ngayon. Mas mahuhuli po ang pagbalik ko bukas ng umaga mula sa misa, Miyerkules kasi, may novena po yung misa eh.
 
Manang Fe: Sige, sa hapon na lang ako.
 
                   Maya sensed that Richard was still in his home office when she came back from Manang Fe. So, she locked herself in the room and focused her attention to her purchases instead of dwelling on what transpired earlied. She was highlighting some words in the latest Revised Penal Code she purchased when her mobile phone rang.
Maya: Hello, Emman.
 
Emman: Bestie! I’m here in the beautiful Flower Island in Taytay Palawan!   Na-miss kita!
 
 Maya: Eh kasama mo naman yung balik-bayan best friend mo diyan eh, kaya nga hindi ka na makaka nood ng VG concert diba.
 
Emman: Huwag ka naman na mag tampo. You know, overflowing ang South Sea Pearls dito, you’re favorite jewel! Naalala nga kita eh and I really miss you!
 
 Maya: Buti naman naalala mo ako. Truth is, I really wanted to call you ayaw ko lang maka istorbo sa vacation mo. Wala kasi ako maka usap eh.
 
 Emman: Naku, Maya ha, don’t tell me krung krung at prem prem matter ito.
 
 Maya: Sinigawan na naman ako kanina, at ang sakit ng mga sinabi nya.
 
 Emman: Nasa liking each other palang LQ agad? At talagang affected ka ha. Baka hindi na yan just liking, baka nahulog ka na nga at love na yan…
 
 Maya: Emman, how can you not be affected, ang sakit talaga ng mga binitawan na salita. Tagos sa dibdib, masakit.
 
 Emman: Tagos talaga? As in, it penetrated your rib cage and it pierced your pink heart?
 
 Maya: Oo, na-iyak ako sa sakit…ayoko na –
 
 Emman: Ha? Ayaw na? I thought you’re looking forward to the days ahead and what the future lies for the two of you? Tapos break na agad hindi pa nga kayo? So ano, ex-future na lang ngayon si krung krung, ganun?
 
 Maya: Emman, I was about to say ayoko na muna siya makita at makausap kasi na-iyak na nga ako kanina, ayoko na uli umiyak sa harap niya! Besides, baka hindi ko na kayanin ang mga sasabihin pa nya.
 
 Emman: Dahil you shed tears for him, alam ko na ipapasalubong ko sa iyo! I’m sure it will make you happy! Kaya nga pala ako tumawag kasi I wanted to know ano ang gusto mo na pasalubong!
 
 Maya: Ah…ganun? Sige, I really really like the golden south sea pearls…
 
 Emman: You mean the most rare and most exquisite of all pearls from anywhere in the world?
 
 Maya: Yes…because it is completely natural and the most difficult to produce. Sa Pilipinas lang –
 
 Emman: Oh this is the one declared by President Ramos as the National Jewel!
 
 Maya: Yes…and as I was saying, it’s only produced there in Palawan sa Jewelmer Golden Pearl Farms.
 
 Emman: Yes, that’s very near this island resort! Ang ganda rin dito, it’s such a beauty like us! Okay, sige yun ang pasalubong mo.
 
 Maya: Emman, dehamak na mura siya diyan compared to the retail stores here in the Philippines at lalo na around the world, pero mahal pa rin siya. I was just joking, kinagat mo naman. Kahit wala naman okay lang. Hindi ko tatanggapin kung ibibili mo ako.
 
Emman: Okay, sige na. I’ll just get you pearls of the other kind. I already have something in mind. Pero huwag ka na sad ha…I’ll see you on Monday na kasi gabi na kami makaka uwi sa Metro Manila.
 
          Kalma lang at…palipasin mo na yan, I’m sure nabigla lang yang si Sir Chief mo at inataki lang nag pagka krung krung kaya wag na rin magpaka premprem diyan, okay?
 
Maya: Sige Emman, mag-enjoy ka na diyan. See you Monday.
 
 
                 The next morning, Manang Fe was already helping Sabel clean up the table when Richard came.
Manang Fe: O Ricardo, nahuli ka ata ng gising. Kanina pa naka alis mga bata. Gusto mo ba ipainit ko ang almusal?
 
 Richard: Nagbawi lang po ng tulog sa nakaraan na puyat. Sa office na lang po ako kakain. May meeting naman po ako ngayong umaga, and Liza will surely prepare something for everyone to eat.
 
                Richard purposely went down late to skip breakfast. He didn’t know how things will be with Maya after what happened the night before, but what he is certain of is that there will be some awkwardness between the two of them and he didn’t want anybody to notice anything, especially the kids.
             Richard is not aware that Maya leaves the house early morning everyday to attend the daily masses at the nearby chapel because she’s home before 6:00 a.m. Today though, Maya planned to stay on even after the novena to find serenity and to avoid crossing paths with Richard. She didn’t know how she will act with Richard around after what happened, but what she is certain of is that she will probably continue avoiding him and she didn’t want anybody to notice anything.
                  Inside the chapel there were still a few people left inside after the novena mass. Maya transferred to the courtyard and sat on one of the rot iron benches. She looked around and enjoyed the green grass, the bamboo trees and other ornamental plants. The sound of the birds chirping relaxed her. She watched the people busy lighting candles in one corner while thoughts were running in her mind. “Maya, kahit saang anggulo mo tignan, may fault ka talaga.” “Pero still, hindi naman din justified yung mga binitawan nyang salita, lalo na he didn’t let you finish your explanation.”
          
                Maya recalled everything that happened from the text message informing Richard about her trip to the bookstore, until she came home at about 8:30 in the evening. “Kung ayaw maraming dahilan, kung gusto maraming paraan. Did you really exhaust everthing Maya?”   “No.” she admitted to herself when she realized that there was another way to reach Richard, that is, through James’ dad, Jaime Eduardo Ventura. Richard knows him and had business transactions with him in the past. That was enough reason to ask James to try asking his dad for Richard’s contact number. But she didn’t.
            “Pero they know where I went. Besides, it was still early and so I thought it’s no big deal para ihingi ng pabor yun kay Sir James at tawagan pa yung dad nya eh pauwi naman na rin kami.” Maya rationalized. “But still, you should have done so just the same. It’s what a prudent person would do.”
 
              Admittedly, she failed to walk an extra mile. “Kaya Maya, palabasin mo na sa kabilang tenga yung mga binitawan na mga salita ni Sir Chief, at paliparin mo na sa langit.” “Palampasin mo na ang lahat at kalimutan ang sama ng loob mo. Then move on…and bear in mind that he is your boss more than a friend.”
 
LAS – Richard’s Office at around 8:30 a.m.
                 Richard arrived with a straight face.  He was just in time before the start of the scheduled morning meeting that day.
Liza: Good morning, Sir! Ready to start the meeting at your call.
 
Richard: Good morning Liza. I’m a bit hungry so please tell Minerva to serve the snacks right away. Mauna ka na sa taas, susunod na ako.
 
Liza: Okay, Sir.
 
                It was a very busy day for LAS and Richard worked quietly in his office after the morning meeting. He skipped lunch because work kept him preoccupied. By 2:00 p.m. Liza thought that he might already be hungry but probably has no appetite for a regular lunch so she asked Minerva to buy gourmet sandwhich and brewed coffee at a nearby coffee shop.
              Richard was reading some documents when Minerva came with the food tray which she placed on the upper left corner of the table, the only area that is clear from clutter. He didn’t notice her until she spoke.
Minerva: Sir, dito ko na po nilagay ang lunch nyo, pinabili po ni Ma’am Liza. Pina-serve na po dito at busy po kayo.
 
 Richard: Okay, thank you.
 
           Richard could not resist the coffee as the aroma filled the room.  He took a sip and remembered Maya.   He took a bite of the sandwich and finally recognized his hunger. Then he vividly recalled the night Maya prepared coffee and sandwich for him. He unconsciously smiles but the image of Maya coming home last night with James came to mind and the smile faded away. He was still upset. What’s more, it’s already past 2:00 o’clock in the afternoon and he has not received any text message from her. Even without his directives, she would send him text messages everyday during tutorial sessions to let him know how Abby was doing. Today there was none. He felt frustrated, so he decides to call the house.
Manang Fe: Ricardo.
 
Richard: Kamusta po si Abby.
 
 Manang Fe: Marami nakain kaninang tanghali. Masigla at masaya. Nandun na sa kwarto ni Maya. Pero palabas na rin sila mayamaya lang, magme-merienda si Abby eh. Magbonding daw silang dalawa at simula sa Lunes mababawasan na ang oras na magkasama sila eh.
 
 Richard: That’s right Manang, may pasok na kasi si Maya. Baka pati sa hapunan hindi na siya makakasabay kasi night class po eh.
 
Manang Fe: Bakit baka? Hindi mo pa ba alam ang schedule ng mga klase ni Maya?
 
 Richard: Hindi pa po namin napag usapan. May nabanggit ba sa inyo?
 
 Manang Fe: Wala pa naman. Hindi masyado naimik kanina eh. Tahimik.
 
 Richard: Sige na po Manang, I need to go back to work now.
 
               Richard suddenly became very eager to know the class schedule of Maya. So he sends Ryan a text message requesting him to secure it from the lawschool and email it to him ASAP.
             Later in the Lim mansion, Maya is busy sorting out the items she requested Sabel to buy from the market earlier. She thought of cooking dinner since Nikki will most probably get accepted in the theatre club. She was also craving for her comfort foods and decided to cook Kare-Kare and Adobo.
            It  was past 4:00 o’clock when Maya and Abby finished preparing what are needed for cooking. While waiting for Abby change her clothes, Maya thought of Richard. She wanted to know if he’ll be able to come home early and join the mini celebration for Nikki. It would have been easy for her to ask Richard if last night didn’t happen. But it did and she is simply hesitant to ask.   She was staring at the message compose box, contemplating on whether to text, and how to word her question but accidentally pressed the send button in the touch screen.
Maya: Ay! Naman Maya! Arrrgggghhh! Naku, sana nasa meeting at naka silent mode para hindi mapansin!
 
 
             Richard’s phone gives off an alert tone indicating that he received a text message. Richard pulled out his phone from his pocket and when he saw that it was from Maya, he became anxious with his heart beating so loud. So, when he saw the message box empty, he got a little peeved. He sent her back a message.
Maya: Patay! Ayan na nga ba sinasabi ko Maya eh! Siguradong mahabang interrogation na naman ito. Anu ngayon ang sasabihin mo?
 
Richard’s Text: What was that Maya?
 
Maya: Ayan na nga ang mga tanung.
 
Maya’s Text: Pasensha po sa istorbo, na press agad ang send, wala pang message.
 
Richard’s Text: Okay. So?
 
Maya’s Text: Busy pa po kayo?
 
Maya: Hala ang bilis naman sumagot!
 
Richard’s Text: Why?
 
Maya’s Text: I needed to ask a question.
 
Richard’s Text: What?
 
Maya: Naman hindi ako maka isip! Ang bilis ha.
 
Maya’s Text: Hindi na po kayo busy?
 
Richard’s Text: That’s your question?
 
Maya’s Text: Hindi po. So, hindi po ba kayo busy at pwede na po ako magtanong?
 
           Annoyed, Richard frowns. But because he’s too proud to call, he types his reply.
Richard’s Text: Maya, it doesn’t matter if I’m busy or not, I’m actually replying to your texts!
 
 Maya’s Text: Ah, okay…
 
 Richard’s Text: So what’s the question?!
 
                  He doesn’t get a reply from Maya. He goes back to what he’s doing while he waits.
  Maya: What’s the question daw. At may exclamation point pa talaga! Anu nga ba Maya? At ang sungit talaga ha! Ah…teka, ma text na nga lang si Liza.
 
 Maya’s Text: Hi Liza, quiet lang pls., kasama mo si SC? Would you know what time siya uuwi?
 
 Liza’s Text: Hello! Yes, we’re in the same room right now, may ka-usap. Have no idea at all what time he will go home. He’s been working quietly since morning at parang wala sa mood  :(   Ayan, naka kunot ang nuo. May ka text ata eh.
 
 Maya’s Text: Ahhh…na krung krung na naman pala dahil sa akin. Ako kasi ang ka- text eh, hahaha!   :)    Ang sungit nga sa text kaya ikaw na lang tinext ko.
 
 Liza’s Text: Hahaha! Nakakatawa ka.  :)  What’s up, importante ba?
 
 Maya’s Text: Kasi today ang release ng results ng audition ni Nikki sa theatre club. Eh most likely naman pasok siya. So I thought of having a mini celebration for her para ma enganyo. Abby and I are preparing na sa kitchen. I was wondering lang if makaka uwi si SC ng maaga or mag o-OT kayo.
 
 Liza’s Text: You’re so sweet Maya! I’m sure Nikki will appreciate it. Sana umuwi ng maaga para hindi kami OT! Ganito, I’ll text you once malaman ko his plans.  :)
 
 Maya’s Text: Super thanks Liza!
 
 Liza’s Text: Anything for you and for my inaanak.  :)
 
 Maya’s text: Really? Inaanak mo si Nikki? Cool!
 
         Several minutes passed and Richard was done with the meeting. He was left in the room with Liza and checked his phone but there was still no reply from Maya, so he calls her. Little did he know that Maya was purposely not answering his calls. He texts her again instead.
Richard’s Text: Maya?
 
 Maya’s Text: Po?
 
 Richard’s Text: Your question?
 
 Maya’s Text: Wait lang po.
 
 Richard: Unbelievable!
 
                 Liza was startled as she placed some documents on top of Richard’s desk.
 Liza:May problema ba, Chief?
 
 Richard: Si Maya, she can really be annoying. Ang kulit. Here, read the thread. Liza takes the phone from him and reads the message. Liza laughs.
 Liza:Chief? How’s everything in your house with Maya around, riot siguro. Richardjust shakes his head. Liza was about to finish reading when his phone receives another message. Ay! Sorry Chief, nag text uli si Maya, what time ka daw uuwi? Liza gave Richard a meaningful look and smile as she hands him over his phone.
 Richard: And why would she ask that?
 
 Liza: Why don’t you just go home early and find out, baka importante pala. Naku Chief ha, nakakakilig na yan. Parang husband-wife lang ang dating ninyong dalawa! Liza said as she exits his room while Richard makes a call to Maya.
 
              At the same time at the mansion, Nikki and Luke arrived from school. While Luke headed upstairs, Nikki went to the kitchen to look for Maya.
Nikki: Tita Maya! Tita Maya! We’re home! Tita Mayaaaaa! I made it! I’m so in!
 
 Maya: Congratulations! Expected naman na natin yun eh, kaya nga eto we’re cooking. There is a mini celebration for you!
 
 Nikki: Aaaaaww, that is so sweet of you Tita Maya! Thankee! I’ll help!
 
 Maya: Sure! Palit ka muna ng damit.
 
 
             It was this time that Maya’s phone began ringing. When she saw who was calling, Maya immediately grabbed the meat for Adobo and started mixing it with garlic and soy sauce using both of her hands.
Nikki: Tita Maya Dad’s calling! Is he coming home for dinner?!
 
 Maya: Actually I wanted to ask him nga, kaya ikaw na lang sumagot, madumi na kamay ko oh. Basta dinner will be served at around 7:00.
 
 Nikki: Okee-dokee!
 
           Nikki swipes Maya’s phone and placed it against her ear.
 Richard: Why are you asking me kung anong oras ako uuwi?! You plan on going out again?!
 
 Nikki: Ah…Dad! This is Nikki, madumi po kasi yung hands ni Tita Maya eh. She’s cooking dinner. Abby and I will help her.
 
 Richard: Oh hi Nikki, so why is she asking?
 
 Nikki: Ah…she wanted to know lang if maaga ka makakauwi kasi it means makakasama ka mag dinner, in that case, we’ll wait for you. If late as usual, hindi na po namin kayo aantayin. Kakain na po kami at 7:00.
 
            Richard heard the noise in the background.
 
Luke: Wow! Kare-Kare ang ulam later? Uy! May Adobo rin? Bigla naman ako nagutom!
 
 Manang Fe: Handa ni Maya para kay Nikki kasi matatanggap daw sa acting club ba yun?
 
 Doris: At tsaka nagke-crave daw po si Ma’am Maya ng comforts zone nya.
 
 Sabel: Hoy Doris! Anung comforts zone? Comfort foods!
 
 Doris: Comforts zone, comforts food, comforts room, isama mo pati na comforts women, pare pareho lang naman sila ng silbe, it comforts you! Nagpapagaan ng loob diba? Yung pikakahuli nga lang sobrang gaan, ililipad ka sa langit! Hahaha!
 
 Sabel: Hahahaha! Tumpak BFF! May tama ka! Yung lola nga ng kapit bahay namin sa probinsya naging comforts woman eh.
 
 Manang Fe: Kayong dalawa tumahimik diyan. Ihanda niyo na lang ang mesa at mabawasan ang kaguluhan dito sa kusina.
 
 Maya: Ay! Naku Baby, wait lang. What’s that? Gusto mo na mag bake? Okay sandali ha intayin natin si Ate Nikki mo so she can help us with the dessert.
 
Nikki: Dad, I have to go, I think Tita Maya needs me na eh… Ingat na lang po pauwi! She hangs up.
           Richard is thrilled. He looks at his watch, and then calls for Liza via the intercom.
 
Richard: Liza.
 
 Liza: Sir?
 
 Richard: Are these all the papers that need to be signed?
 
 Liza: Yes, Sir.
 
                After 15 minutes, Richard goes out of his office.
 
Liza: You’re going home, Sir?
 
 Richard: Yes, the kids are preparing dinner.
 
 Liza: REA-lly! Oh I’m sure, pakana ni Maya yan!
 
 Richard: You may go home too, Liza. Bilinan mo na lang uli si Minerva.
 
 Liza: Really?! Wow! I am so liking the changes in you Chief.
 
 Richard: Okay, I’ll go ahead. Bye!
 
           Richard immediately walked away and headed towards the elevator.
 Liza: YES! Si Maya lang pala makakapag hinto kay Sir mag over time eh!
 
 Richard: I heard that Liza!
 
 Liza: Enjoy your dinner Chief!
 
           Liza immediately sends a text message to Maya.
Liza’s text: Maya, SC just left the office! And I was told to go home too :) Wow! No more OT na, early off pa for me… Thanks to your oplan-dinner! Nawala ang kunot-nuo! What did you tell him at nagbago ang mood?
 
Maya’s text: Hindi ko nga sinasagot ang text ang sungit kasi. Tumawag! Eh I am not in the mood to deal with his kasungitan at hindi ko naman magagawang i-talk-to-the-hand sha. Si Nikki pinasagot ko! Hahaha!
 
 Liza’s text: He looked excited.   :)
 
Maya’s text: Baka naamoy yung niluluto ko? Hahaha!
 
 Liza’s text: Nakakatawa ka talaga! What are you cooking anyway?
 
 Maya’s text: My favorite, Kare-Kare and Adobo.
 
 Liza’s text: Talaga ha? FYI, pareho kayo! Lalo na yung Kare-Kare.
 
 Maya’s text: Naku, na pressure naman ako bigla. Baka my cooking will fall sort of his expectation magsungit lalo. Sige Liza, tutukan ko muna niluluto ko.
 
 Liza’s text: Sure! Sarapan mo ha :)
 
 Maya’s text: Will make sure to send some to you tomorrow :)  Then you tell me.
 
 Liza’s text: Okay, looking forward sa ipapadala mo.Thanks! Good luck, he’s on his way now!
 
 Maya’s text: Thanks din Liza :) Siguradong matutuwa ang mga bata nito, I won’t tell them na pauwi na ang daddy nila para surprise ;)
 

 

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.

 

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