Admin Note: *Contributed Story* Please give credit and thanks to CorUnum. This is a continuation to Maya’s Music – part 8.
MAYA’S MUSIC 9:
Hello readers! In the next chapters of Maya’s Music, you’ll see how different Ser Chief is from the original character of BCWMH… kasi imbes na kilos pagong, e super bilis dumamoves dito ng poging singkit. Kumbaga kung may “tiger mode” si Ricardo, meron ‘din s’yang “tiger moves”. Ganun kabilis! Hope you enjoy ang simula ng sunod-sunod at nakakakilig na tiger moves ni Ser Chief (I really hope na kiligin kayo… ‘di kasi ako expert sa pagpapakilig, mahilig lang ako kiligin!) =D Pasensya na rin po kung mahaba… na-inspire po kasi ako ‘nung nanood ako ng Che Che Lazaro Presents: Si Ser Chief, Si Maya at ang Teleserye… Feel ko lang pong maki-creative writer kunwari.
Ever since their first kiss at the music room, Maya and Richard had settled into a loving, sugary, endearing, and almost affectionate bearing towards each other. They thought that nobody really noticed what was going on between the two of them but they were mistaken.
Doris and Sabel were in the kitchen, chatting with each other. They had just seen Richard and Maya laughing like teenagers in the porch, having their cup of coffee chat.
“Sabel! Naku, ako talaga may napapansin na ako d’yan kina Sir Richard at kay Maya.”
“Tumpak! Nakita mo ba sila ‘dun sa porch? Parang may something fishy!”
“Ang lagkit ng tinginan nila sa isa’t-isa di’ba?”
“Tumpak ulit. At in fairness Doris, ha… etong si Maya ang haba ng hair! Kung makatitig itong si Sir Richard sa kanya parang in love lang ang peg! Labas ang dimples, kung makangiti wagas!”
“Oo nga… tsaka alam mo ba Sabel na hindi na raw ipinagtitimpla ni Manang Fe ng kape si Sir kasi ang gusto nitong si Sir eh kapeng si Maya ang nagtimpla.”
“Ganon? Sa palagay mo, sila na ba?”
“Hindi ko sigurado, Sabel… pero sa ikinikilos nila, kung hindi pa man sila ngayon, pakiramdam ko ay magiging sila rin.” At this point, Joma came in and heard Doris’ last assertion.
“Sino ang magiging sila?” He asked, genuinely curious.
“Si Sir Richard at si Maya!” The two chorused.
“Shhh!!! Ang lakas ng boses n’yo!” Joma chastised the two. “Pero alam n’yo, sa totoo lang, may napapansin nga rin ako ‘dun sa dalawang ‘yun.” He continued.
“Ano Joma?” Doris asked.
“Si Sir Richard kasi. Dati-rati naman nagco-commute si Maya pag umuuwi s’ya. Ngayon, inihahatid na ni Sir sa apartment n’ya.”
“Naku tingnan mo na! Sinasabi ko na nga ba may fishy!”
“Ang taray naman ni Maya! Ipinagda-drive pa talaga ng poging-pogi, machong-macho, pagkabango-bango at super yamang si Sir Richard!”
“Teka nga kayong dalawa. Bukod sa mga bagay na ‘yan, napansin n’yo ba na mula nang dumating si Maya dito sa mansyon ay hindi na tiger mode si Sir?” Joma said.
“Tama ka d’yan Joma eh…” Sabel said and went on asking: “Sa tingin mo ba sina Sir Richard at Maya na?”
At the porch…
“Ser Chief… tayo na ba?” Maya asked and Richard couldn’t help but lightly laugh.
“Anong nakakatawa?” Maya asked again, this time, she was blushing. Oh, how Richard loves it when she blushes… or she smiles… or laughs… or yawns… or just talks… her voice was so melodious to his ears.
“Natutuwa lang ako sa tanong mo, Maya. We’ve kissed. I’ve told you I love you and you said I love you back… so, ano pa ba ang ibig sabihin ‘nun?”
“Hindi ko alam Ser Chief… kasi…” Maya stopped, finding it hard to find the proper words.
“Kasi hindi mo pa naman ako nililigawan. Basta ka na lang pumasok sa Music Room. Tapos nagtanong ka kung bakit ako umiiwas. Tapos kiss agad (A/N: Take note readers, sa lips ang first kiss nila). Tapos ayun I love you na ang kasunod. Hindi ko man lang naranasang ligawan.”
“Hindi ka pa naliligawan?” Richard was surprised. With her looks and disposition, he couldn’t believe she hasn’t been courted yet. What were other guys thinking?
“Naligawan na ako… Ni Simon. Pero iba ‘yun.” “Simon?” “Oo Ser Chief, si Simon. Kababata ko s’ya sa Batangas.” “What happened?” “Wala.” “Wala?” “E kasi po kaibigan ang tingin ko kay Simon…” Maya said and Richard breathed a sigh of relief. “NBSB kasi ako Ser Chief.” “NBSB?” “No boyfriend since birth.”
“I see… so that means… I’m… I’m also your first kiss?” Richard sounded hopeful. He didn’t really know why, but he felt it was some sort of achievement to have been Maya’s first kiss. And deep inside, he wished he’d also be the last.
“Oo, Ser Chief.” Maya said and blushed again. For a moment, both were silent. It was Richard who broke the silence.
“Oo, Maya.” “Ha?” “Oo… at least for me. I mean, as far as I’m concerned, tayo na… that’s if it’s OK with you.”
“Ha? Hindi ko alam Ser Chief eh…” Maya sounded unsure. Richard was puzzled.
“Hindi mo alam? We kissed ‘di’ba? And then we said I love you.” “Oo, Ser Chief. Pero para kasing… parang ang easy-to-get ko kasi diba nga hindi ka naman nanligaw. Tapos ayun.. tayo na?!?” Richard smiled and looked deeply into Maya’s eyes. Maya, preno-preno sa kilig… nakakatunaw tumitig ang poging singkit na kaharap mo!
To her surprise (and kilig for that matter), Ser Chief took her hand in his. “Maya, aside from the fact that I love you, I also respect you. And I regard you highly. Kahit kalian, hindi naging mababa ang tingin ko sa’yo. Hindi ka easy to get Maya. It’s just that you swept me off my feet. Noong una, I didn’t feel anything for you. I was an ogre then, remember? But then as time went by, I have found myself being drawn to you… and eventually, falling in love with you… hanggang sa I couldn’t contain it anymore… that’s why it was this fast.”
Maya could only nod. She felt that her heart would burst out of happiness. “So does that mean tayo na?” Ser Chief asked. It was weird because although she already told him she loves him, he was kind of apprehensive that she would turn him down. Again, Maya could only nod. Richard was sure he loves her and he was sure that the nod meant she was saying yes. But still, he wasn’t satisfied. He wanted to make sure that she was sure of her decision to be with him — no doubts or hang-ups. “Don’t worry, Maya… Liligawan kita.” He assured her. She chuckled at the thought. “Ser Chief… parang… ang weird… naunang maging tayo tapos tsaka ka manliligaw?” Richard lightly kissed her on the cheek. “Ayaw mo ‘nun? Special tayo. We’re Richard and Maya… ang couple na naunang maging tayo bago ang ligawan. We could be making history, you know.” Richard said and both of them heartily laughed.
MAYA’S MUSIC 10:
After he took Maya to her apartment, kissed her lightly on the cheek, said ‘I love you’ and gave her a hug, Richard drove back home. Upon reaching his abode, he said good night to his kids and went to his own room to wash up and change. He sat up in bed and replayed their conversation in his mind. Again, memories of her made him smile and feel all perked-up inside. But then, something in Maya’s innocence tugged at his heart. Was he really being too fast for her? This, of course, is her first romance. What if she realizes that she was just taken by surprise because he got so straight forward about his feelings for her?
Richard raised his eyebrows. He was surprised with himself. He was not a spit-fire kind of person. He wasn’t impulsive. And most of all, he wasn’t a player. He never played around with women’s feelings. It’s his rule not to say ‘I love you’ to a woman, unless he was really, really sure about how he felt and he meant it a hundred and one per cent. Richard sighed… What just happened? I fell in love with her, and unlike before, I couldn’t contain my feelings. It’s like… well… how is it like? It’s a shot of lightning. It’s a sort of thing that I just know in my heart. Richard thought… Richard??? What the…? Was that his conscience talking to him? OK, that’s weird. You’re in love! Yes, I am aware of that. Are you sure? Positive! Would you like to understand why it’s this fast? Yes, I’d love that… I mean… I’d love to understand myself. Heck, that’s a bizarre thought!
And just like a teleserye, everything flashed back in Richard’s mind. The day he saw Maya, he was the Ice King. His heart was as hard as stone. He was angry. He was even annoyed with her… And yes, Richard remembered how he flared up like an active volcano when he heard that Maya was telling everybody he was scary. And then, when they were at the Principal’s Office (as what she calls his office), he intended to scold the heck out of her. Yet, she bravely expressed her thoughts. From then on, it’s like Maya cracked open something in his heart. From that moment on, he became interested in her thoughts and what she had to say. And then, Abby talked! Abby talked! Nobody was ever able to make Abby feel secured to the point of talking again… nobody until Maya came along, singing and playing the piano and being patient and loving Abby…
And then, Richard remembered Luke… when Richard started to make it up to his kids, Luke was so sceptical about it. It took the young man a long while to believe that his father (whom he hated) meant well. And then all of a sudden, Richard noticed the change in Luke. One morning during breakfast, Richard almost choked at Luke’s greeting. “Good morning, Dad.” He said, and Luke was smiling! “G-good morning, Luke…” “Ahmm, Dad… can I ask you something?” Richard could only nod. He was still so shocked. What’s gotten into my kid? He was asking himself. “Pwede po ba mamaya, if you are free, can you teach me about guitar chords? I know you taught me that before pero kasi Dad sa tagal na ng panahon, I sort of forgot about it.” To this, Richard had to smile. “Of course son!” He said and gave Luke a light slap on the back. He then looked at Nikki, who was smiling, eyes wide with surprise and happiness. “Oh my gee! Like this family is being so musical na… Abby is playing the piano and you guys are gonna play the guitar… I think I’ll ask Teacher Maya to teach me how to sing!” She said excitedly. “Of course, Ate! Teacher Maya can make you sing! Ang galing n’yang kumanta eh.” Abby quipped. “Naku baby, kahit yata si Teacher Maya, mahihirapan turuan ‘tong si Niks kumanta. Sintunado ito eh!” Luke said, suppressing a laugh. “You’re so G-R-R-R kuya!” And the ice broken, everybody laughed.
At first, Richard didn’t really know what made Luke change his stance towards him. And so one day, he plucked up the courage to ask him. “Luke?” “Yes, dad?” Luke was studying some guitar tabs. “Can I ask you something?” “Of course dad. Ano po ‘yun?” “I’m… I’m so glad we’re OK now… But we weren’t always like this di’ba? I mean, it’s my fault and…” “Dad… OK na po tayo. Hindi na po natin kailangang balikan ‘yun.” “Yes, but…I just want to know… What made you change your mind? I mean, dati you weren’t even talking to me… and when I said I’d make it up to you, you were always sceptical. And then bigla kang nagbago… what happened, son?”
Luke smiled at Richard. “Si Teacher Maya po.” “Maya?” Richard was quite surprised…Oh, the Maya-magic! “Yes, dad. She spoke with me. One time kasi, nakita n’ya ako while fiddling with my guitar — you know, the one you gave me? And then…” Luke went on and this, according to him, was his and Maya’s conversation:
“Luke, naggigitara ka pala?” “Not really Teacher Maya.” “Nakita ko eh. D-A-G ‘yung chord pattern na ginamit mo.” “Marunong po kayong maggitara?” “Konti lang. Mas kumportable ako sa piano.”
“Sino po nagturo sa inyong mag-piano?” “Si Sr. Fe… boss ko s’ya noon. Nagturo ako ng music sa Sta. Catalina College dati.” “Ahhh… astig!” “Astig ka rin naman eh.” Maya said, smiling at him.
And then she went on: “Sinong nagturo sa’yong mag-gitara?” Luke only looked down. Maya understood. “Sorry Luke. Mali ata ang tanong ko.” “Si Dad po…” “Ha?” “Si Dad po ang nagturo sa’kin mag-gitara.” Maya just smiled at Luke. After a bit of silence, Maya spoke. “Maswerte ka sa Daddy mo Luke.” Luke could only give Maya a pained look. “Alam kong nasaktan ka sa ginawa ng daddy mo noon. Nasaktan din naman s’ya eh. Sa sobrang sakit nga ng nararamdaman n’ya, hindi n’ya naramdaman ‘yung sakit n’yong magkakapatid…” Maya paused. She was testing the waters. Maybe Luke didn’t want to talk about it. “Mali ‘yung ginawa n’ya, Teacher Maya. Parang… para kasing hindi n’ya kami pinahalagahan.” Luke said, indicating that he was willing to speak with Maya.
Maya sighed. “Alam mo Luke, ‘nung nawala ‘yung tatay ko, sobrang nasaktan si nanay. Naaalala ko noon, naririnig namin ni Kute na umiiyak s’ya gabi-gabi. ‘Yun ang naging coping mechanism ni nanay — ang umiyak ng umiyak. ‘Yung daddy mo naman, noong nawala ang mommy mo, sigurado akong nasaktan din s’ya. ‘Yun nga lang, ang naging coping mechanism n’ya, imbes na umiyak gabi-gabi, pinatigas na lang n’ya ang puso n’ya… kaya s’ya masungit… Tapos, ibinaon n’ya ang sarili n’ya sa trabaho para makalimutan n’yang masakit… at ‘yung hindi n’ya pagpansin sa inyo, para ‘din ‘yun maiwasan n’yang maalala sa inyo ang mommy n’yo. Alam kong mali ang coping mechanism na ginamit n’ya… Pero kasi, kapag masyadong masakit, minsan nakakalimutan natin mag-isip ng tama at mali.” Maya stopped for by this time, Luke was crying.
“Sorry, Teacher Maya… hindi ko po mapigilang umiyak. Ang sakit po eh.” Luke said, as he angrily wiped a tear. “Ang tunay na lalaki, umiiyak. Katapangan ang harapin ang nararamdaman, Luke.” “Teacher Maya, I’m confused. Galit ako kay dad… he’s wrong… pero…” “Pero mahal mo s’ya?” Luke did not answer. “Luke, nakita mo naman ‘di’ba? Sinusubukan ng daddy mo na magbago. Bakit hindi mo s’ya bigyan ng pagkakataong maipakita sa iyo — sa inyong magkakapatid — na mahal n’ya kayo? Tsaka isa pa, nakaka-stress ang magalit. Hindi ka ba nahihirapan? Ang bigat n’yan sa loob eh. Baka magka-wrinkles ka. Luke, bawal ang bad vibes… baka ma-block ang blessings!”
To this, Luke gave out a laugh. “Thank you, Teacher Maya… Teacher?” “Ano ‘yun Luke?” “Thank you ulit… it’s like… it’s like having a mom again.” Maya could only smile. She cried… and felt awkward. “Sorry, Luke ha? Kasi na-touch ako.”
Upon learning about Luke and Maya’s conversation, Richard felt so much love for Maya he literally wished she was with him right now.
And then, he remembered one time when he was about to go inside the Music Room. It was after Maya and Abby’s session. He was waiting for Maya in the veranda, but what he saw made him fall in love with Maya even more.
“Sige, Nikki, hinga ka ng maayos. Relax ka lang. Inhale, exhale.” “Am I doing OK, Teacher Maya?” “Oo naman, Nikki. ‘Yun lang, i-improve natin ang breathing mo. Importante ‘yun sa pagkanta. Kapag nag-inhale ka, dapat hindi iibo ang chest area mo. Dapat ang mag-i-inflate ay ang tummy mo.” “Oh my gee! Papalakihin ko ang tummy ko? Isn’t that like, so ewww???” Maya, instead of being irritated, smiled sweetly at Richard’s middle child and said: “Sa pagkanta, hindi tinitingnan ang hitsura. Pinapakinggan ang boses. Tsaka Nikki, kahit naman palakihin mo ang t’yan mo sa pagkanta, maganda ka pa rin.” “Thanks, Teacher Maya. You’re so kind.” And for some reason, Nikki’s expression saddened. “Oh bakit Nikki?” Maya asked, her tone full of concern. “It’s just… I’m glad you’re here. It’s been a while since I did something that I enjoy with somebody. Dad and kuya are like so galit with each other dati kaya ang hirap mag-ask sa kanila… si Abby naman is still too young, tsaka she wasn’t speaking before. I felt so lonely and hurt. It feels good to have you around.” Richard felt his heart contract. He wanted to hug Nikki right then and there. But he stopped himself, not wanting his daughter to feel awkward. “Anytime, Nikki. Kapag kailangan mo ng kausap, ka-chikahan, kakantahan, nandito lang ako.” Maya’s words did not escape Richard. He wondered why God would send him an angel like her.
Richard couldn’t sleep. How could he? In his mind, Maya had been running around in circles. He went down to the kitchen and poured himself a glass of water. And then…
“Ricardo?” It was Manang Fe. “Manang…” “Hindi ka pa natutulog?” “Hindi po ako makatulog eh.” “May problema ka ba?” Richard could only look down and smile. He didn’t have a problem. In fact, he was extremely happy. Manang Fe chuckled. “Sinasabi ko na nga ba eh.” “Po?” “Iniisip mo s’ya ano?” “Po?” Richard tried to sound unaffected. But alas, Manang Fe knew him too well.
Richard smiled. “Opo.” “Naku, ikaw na bata ka. Paglilihiman mo pa ako eh halatang-halata ka naman.” “Am I that obvious Manang?” Richard felt cold sweat dot his forehead. “Wala namang masama kung iibig ka muli. At isa pa, gusto ko si Maya para sa iyo.”
“Gusto n’yo si Maya para sa akin?” Richard asked, smiling. “Oo naman. Mabait s’ya. At nakita ko kung gaano n’ya kamahal ang mga anak mo. At alam kong mahal ka n’ya.” “How did you know Manang, that she loves me?” “Aba, kitang-kita naman sa kilos n’ya eh. Mahal ka n’ya kahit noon pa.” Richard gave Manang Fe a puzzled look. “Isang araw, nakita ko si Maya na nagtitimpla ng kape mo.” Manang Fe went on relating to Richard their tête-à-tête.
“Maya, para kay Ricardo ba ‘yan?” “Ay, opo Manang Fe.” “Mukhang gustong-gusto ni Ricardo ang timpla mo ng kape ah.” “Naku, hindi naman po masyado.” Maya said as she blushed. “Salamat Maya. Natutuwa ako para sa inyo ni Ricardo.” Upon hearing this, Maya almost spilled coffee in the counter. “P-po?” Manang Fe smiled. “Oh, bakit? Natutuwa ako dahil magkasundo kayong dalawa. Bihira kasing may makasundo ‘yang si Ricardo. Mula ‘nung mawala si Alex, parang nagalit na s’ya sa lahat ng tao sa mundo. Natutuwa ako dahil masaya s’ya. Natutuwa akong napalapit na s’ya sa mga anak n’ya ulit.” “Manang Fe, hindi naman po ako ang dahilan noon. Siguro po nagkataon lang.” Maya’s heart was beating rapidly. Manang Fe shook her head. “Hindi ‘yun nagkataon lang Maya. Nakita ko kung paano mo pahalagahan si Ricardo at ang mga anak n’ya.” “Manang Fe…” Maya’s voice trailed off.
“Hindi naman mali kung may maramdaman ka para kay Ricardo, Maya. Bukod sa gwapo ‘yang batang ‘yan eh mabait naman ‘yan kapag hindi nagsusungit.” “P-pero Manang… Kasi si Ser Chief… parang mahirap abutin. S’ya kasi ang the best daddy, the best engineer, the best amo at the best crush in the world. Parang ang taas-taas n’ya para sa isang Maya dela Rosa.” “Ano ka bang bata ka? Ano bang pinagsasasabi mo?” “Eh kasi si Ser Chief, iba ang estado namin sa buhay. Langit s’ya, lupa ako. Sigurado po akong maraming mas bagay na babae sa kanya. Ako po kasi, simpleng babae lang. ‘Ni hindi ko pa po naabot ang mga pangarap ko sa buhay. S’ya ang dami na n’yang na-attain…” Manang Fe was touched by Maya’s humility. “Maya.” Manang Fe tenderly looked at Maya. “Wala sa estado sa buhay ang pagiging karapat-dapat sa pagmamahal. Tandaan mong kamahal-mahal ka, anak… ‘Wag mong kakalimutan ‘yan.” “Salamat po, Manang Fe.”
With what he heard, Richard felt like his heart would be bursting with joy. “What did I do to deserve her love, Manang?” Richard asked like a child. He felt so happy upon learning that Maya indeed loves her genuinely. Hindi s’ya nadala lang sa ninja moves ko. “Mabuti kang tao, Ricardo. ‘Wag kang magtaka kung may magmamahal sa’yo.”
That night, Richard slept with his heart full and in high spirits. He prayed a thanksgiving prayer to God for giving him another chance to be happy in life. He was sure of his feelings. He now understood why it was a bolt of lightning for him to fall for Maya. She’s the one.
MAYA’S MUSIC 11:
He painstakingly thought and planned about this. But he felt that even his best efforts weren’t enough to express to Maya how much he loves her. And so, he decided to enlist everybody’s help… and yes, he meant everybody — Abby, Luke, Nikki, Manang Fe, Doris, Sabel, Melinda, Joma, Liza, his best buddy Ryan (who gave him some great and some crazy ideas) and even the help of a special person — Sr. Fe. A man with purpose, Richard woke up early. He asked Manang Fe to call everybody to the Family Room.
“What’s this about kaya, Kuya?” “Hindi ko rin alam, Niks.” “Ang aga naman po magpatawag ng meeting ni Daddy.” Abby said, still yawning. “Day, ano kayang nakain nitong si Sir Richard at lahat tayo ay kailangang present dito?” It was Sabel. “Ewan ko ba. Pero eto ha, kinukutuban ako… kakaiba kasi eh… parang gaya ng sabi mo… may something fishy.” Their conversation was cut short when Richard entered. He was talking to Liza on his cellphone.
“Thanks Liza. I owe you.” He said, grinning from ear to ear. Everybody settled down, and looked intently at Richard. “Handa na kaming makinig sa kung anumang sasabihin mo, Ricardo.” Manang Fe said. Richard took a deep breath. This is it Richard. I hope we sweep Maya off her feet with our collaborative effort… WHAT A BIZARRE COURTSHIP! He thought to himself and smiled. Seeing his smile, everybody sort of figured out what this was about.
“Guys… I have three things to tell you. First is that I know you’ve noticed the great change in me which brought about a big change in this household. I’m glad about that change, especially because I became closer to my kids… Second, the reason why I’ve changed is because… I’m in love…” He paused for a while. He heard lots of murmuring. “Naku, sinasabi ko na nga ba Sabel!” “Anong ikaw? Ako kaya ang may sabi.” “Oh my gee kuya! This is like sooo nakaka-kilig… I mean, I never thought dad could be so romantic… and I think I know who she is!” “Wag ka maingay Niks!”
“And third, I’d like to ask for your help because I want to sweep her off her feet.” This time, he heard shrieks from Doris, Sabel, Melinda and Nikki. “Oh my gee!!!!! This is so like the nakakakilig na movies… no this is even better! Oh, dad you’re so romantic!” “Astig ka dad!” The last to speak was Luke. Abby, too young and too sleepy to understand asked: “Ano pong meron ate, kuya?” “Baby, daddy’s in love with Teacher Maya and he’s asking us for help para ligawan s’ya!” Richard jerked forward upon hearing Nikki. “WHAT?!!?!” Richard was by now palpitating. “Oh, come on dad. Don’t tell me it’s not Teacher Maya. I mean, sorry for ruining the suspense but I think it’s pretty obvious that you’re in love with her.” For a moment, everybody thought Richard would scold Nikki. But then, he just sheepishly smiled. “So I’m that obvious?” “Yes!” “Oo!” “Opo!” “Sobra po!” “Mismo!” These were the simultaneous replies of everybody. To the amusement of all, Richard turned red. “OK, OK. It’s her. It’s Maya… so here’s my plan. I already told Liza I won’t be going to the office today, until Wednesday. I plan to take Maya to her hometown in Batangas… pero hindi n’ya alam na ako ang may pakana…” “Ha? Paano ‘yun dad?” “I’ll explain to you everything by and by… Pero are you all willing to help me?” As expected, everybody agreed to help him. Everybody laughed when Richard suddenly blurted out: “Great! KAPIT-BISIG!”
“Hello Sr. Fe? Bakit po kayo napatawag? OK lang po ba kayo? May nangyari po ba?” Maya was really concerned for her nun friend and former boss. It was the fact that it was only five in the morning when Sr. Fe called that worried Maya. “Ikaw talaga, Maya…wala namang masamang nangyari sa akin. Medyo nagkaroon lang ng kaunting problema dito sa kumbento. Iniisip ko kung pwede mo sana kaming tulungan.” “Oo naman po, Sr. Fe. Ano po ba ang maitutulong ko?” “Kasi Maya, mayroon kaming package na hinihintay galing sa Batangas. Mga song books ‘yun na gagamitin for the school’s Centennial Mass. Dapat sana kahapon pa iyon dumating. Kaya lang nade-delay. Ang sabi nung magde-deliver sana, nagka-problema sila sa shipping. Nagka-problema daw sa coordination ng team nila. Gusto ko sanang ako na ang pumuntang Batangas kaya lang hindi ako pinayagan ng doktor ko dahil nirarayuma nanaman ako. Pwede bang ikaw na lang ang mag-pick up?”
Naku lagot na Maya! “Naku, Sr. Fe… gustuhin ko man po ay hindi po pwede. May piano lesson po kami ni Abby, anak po ni Mr. Lim.” “Maya, hindi ka kaya pwedeng mag-absent kahit isang araw lang? Pasensya ka na ha? Kailangang-kailangan lang talaga ‘yung package. Hayaan mo, babayaran ko na lang ‘yung isang araw mong absent kay Mr. Lim.” “Naku, hindi na po kailangang bayaran n’yo pa ako, Sister… sige, kung importante po talaga ‘yun, magpapaalam na po ako kay Ser Chief… ay Sir Richard pala kung OK lang po ako mag-absent. Tetext po ako sa inyo Sister kapag pumayag s’ya.” Right after ending her conversation with Sr. Fe, Maya dialled Richard’s number.
“Hello Ser Chief?” “Yes, mahal?” “Mahal?” Maya was dumb-founded. “Oh bakit? Hindi ko ba pwedeng tawaging mahal ang girl friend ko?” Richard asked teasingly. “Ah eh… p-pwede naman Ser Chief… n-nagulat lang ako…” “Sige, para hindi ka magulat at para pantay tayo… Bakit ka napatawag, Ma’am Chief?” Maya couldn’t help but chuckle. “Ser Chief naman eh!” “Kinikilig ka ano?” “Hindi ah!” “Kinikilig ka eh.” “Hindi kaya!” “Sus, halata sa boses mong kinikilig ka.” “Tsk! Sige na nga… kinikilig ako Ser Chief…” “OK lang Ma’am Chief… kinikilig din naman ako.” After the two recovered from their kilig, Maya told Richard that Sr. Fe called. Unknown to her, Richard was grinning from ear to ear. He knew this was coming. So phase one was a success! He silently thanked both God and Sr. Fe.
“Aabsent ka? Sige, Ma’am Chief. I will miss you terribly today, but since it’s important, go ahead.” “Thank you Ser Chief!” “I love you, Ma’am Chief. Ingat ka papuntang Batangas.” “I love you too Ser Chief. Ingat ka rin papuntang work.” After their conversation, Maya prepared for her trip to Batangas. Upon arriving at the bus station, she was surprised to see Joma.
“Kuya Joma?” “Oh, Maya, nandito ka pala.” “Oo. Papunta kasi akong Batangas. May kailangan akong gawin doon.” “Ganoon ba? Sabay na kaya tayo?” “Papunta ka ring Batangas?” Maya was both delighted and surprised. “Oo. May bibisitahin akong kamag-anak.” “Taga-Batangas ka rin pala?” “Ha? Eh, hindi… kaso may isa akong tiyahin na taga-roon.” “Saan sa Batangas?” “Ha? S-sa… sa Batangas.” Joma was caught off guard. Maya laughed. “Oo nga Kuya. Pero saan ‘dun sa Batangas? Malawak kaya ang Batangas.” “S-sa… sa Batangas… sa Batangas City.” Joma wiped sweat off his forehead. “Naku, Kuya Joma, tamang-tama! Doon din ang punta ko! Sige, sabay na tayo!” Maya said happily. Joma breathed a sigh of relief. When both were settled in the bus, Joma texted Richard. “Sir nakasakay na po kami ni Maya sa bus. Ite-text ko po kayo kapag malapit na kami.” Richard replied: “Thank you Joma. Take care of her OK? =) (A/N: In fairness, nakiki-smiley face ang poging singkit). Unknown to Maya, Richard was already in Batangas.
“Anong lakad mo sa Batangas, Maya?” Joma tried to look really curious. “Tumawag kasi sa akin ‘yung dati kong boss na madre. Kailangan daw nila ‘yung package from Batangas, kaya lang hindi mai-deliver sa kanila… Eh eto kasing si Sr. Fe, ako ang inaasahang kumuha kaya ayun… andito ako ngayon. Buti nga pumayag si Ser Chief… ibig kong sabihin si Sir Richard.” Maya was already blushing at the mention of her Ser Chief’s name. Joma smiled. He remembered how love-struck Richard looked at home. He noticed how Maya too, gets so smitten like him. ‘Naku, Maya… humanda ka sa mga pasabog ni Ser Chief mo.’ “Bakit ganyan ka makangiti, Kuya Joma?” “Ha? Ah, eh… wala naman. May naalala lang ako.”
The trip was relatively both fast and smooth, thanks to the express way. Joma helped Maya alight the bus. ‘Ingatan daw, sabi ni Sir Richard… mahirap na, baka pag nagasgasan si Maya, mag-tiger mode si Sir.’
“Nandito na tayo, Kuya Joma! Sabi ni Sr. Fe, may susundo raw sa akin. Nagtataka nga ako kung bakit kailangan pa akong sunduin eh Batanguena ako, siyempre alam ko na ang pasikut-sikot dito.” “Baka naman gusto lang makasiguro ng madre na makakarating ka ng maayos sa dapat mong puntahan.” Joma answered, with a tinge of conspiracy in his voice. “Ikaw, Kuya Joma? May susundo ba sa’yo?” “Ha? Ah, oo… ‘yung pinsan ko…” “Sige, Kuya Joma… Bah-bye!” “Ah, hihintayin ko na ‘yung susundo sa’yo, Maya. Tutal wala pa naman ang sundo ko.” “Kuya Joma ano ka ba? OK na ako. Kayang-kaya ko ito.” Maya said, bewilderment evident in her voice. ‘Ang weird na ha… si Sr. Fe may pasundo-sundo pang nalalaman. Tapos ito namang si Kuya Joma ayaw ako iwan mag-isa. Hindi na naman ako bata!’ “Teka, yan na yata ‘yung sundo mo.” Joma said, ignoring Maya’s protests. A middle-aged man was holding a placard: MAYA DELA ROSA. “Brad, ikaw ba ang susundo dito kay Maya?” Joma asked, being extra protective of Maya. “Opo Sir. Pinadala po ako ni Sr. Luz. Para raw ma-pick up ‘yung package para kay Sr. Fe sa Manila.” “Ay Kuya Joma s’ya na nga ‘yun!” Maya said brightly. The man got Maya’s things and put them in the trunk. “Oh, Kuya Joma ingat ka ha?” “Oo Maya, salamat. Ingat ka rin… Good luck!” Joma grinned. ‘Good luck?’ Maya wondered as she boarded the car.
“Kuya, saan po ba tayo pupunta?” “Ah, Ma’am sa Batangas Cultural Center po.” (A/N: Ala eh, kunwari may Cultural Center na dine sa Batangas). “Ha? Bakit ‘dun? Akala ko ba kukunin ko ‘yung package?” “Nandun po ‘yung package Ma’am.” The driver said and Maya found it hard to interpret his smile. “Ah, OK.” Maya couldn’t explain why but somehow, she was feeling strange. Something wasn’t quite right. She just couldn’t dip her finger into it. And then, her phone rang. ‘Ser Chief ❤ calling…’
“Hello Ser Chief?” “How are you, Ma’am Chief?” “OK lang naman ako. Eto nasa Batangas na. On the way ako papuntang Batangas Cultural Center.” “Really?” Richard stifled a laugh. He was at the moment, at the Batangas Cultural Center. “Oo, Ser Chief. Sa totoo lang, ang weird nga eh. Para package lang, may sumundo pa sa akin. Tapos akala ko sa kumbento kami didiretso, ‘yun pala sa Cultural Center… Tsaka nga pala Ser Chief, nakasabay ko sa bus si Kuya Joma. May tita pala s’ya dito.” “Ah, yes. Nagpaalam sa akin si Joma that he has to visit a relative there. Malapit ka na ba?” “Ha?” “I mean, malapit ka na sa Cultural Center?” “Ah, oo Ser Chief.” “Sige, mag-ingat ka.” “Salamat!” “I love you.” “I love you too!”
When they finally arrived at BCC, the guard immediately informed Richard through a call. Everything set, Richard breathed a sigh. “This is it!”
“Excuse me po, Manong Guard… ahmmm…. Ako po si Maya dela Rosa. May ipinakukuha pong package sa akin ang Divine Mercy Sisters.” “Yes, Ma’am. Punta na po kayo sa Roberto Enriquez Hall.” “Ah. OK…” Again, this was too weird for Maya… ‘Ano bang meron ang package na ito at talaga namang nasa Roberto Enriquez Hall pa???” Maya made her way to the hall. And when she finally entered, she was surprised to find the great hall empty but the stage was lighted dimly.
“Anong meron?” She got her phone to call Sr. Fe when suddenly, she heard the piano play. Curious, she went near the stage. As she got closer, she could make out a young lad who, Maya thought, was just a teenager, playing the piano. Maya realized he was playing “And I Love You So”. Forgetting about the package and being impressed, she was about to applaud him when she heard a voice singing to the piano’s tune… ‘And I love you so… the people ask me how. How I lived ‘til now. I tell them I don’t know… I guess they understand how lonely life has been. But life began again the day you took my hand…’ Maya gaped. It was Richard, singing and slowly making his way to Maya. At this point, he stopped singing, but the teenage pianist went on playing. Richard spoke to Maya, who’s still mesmerized. “My dear, sweet Maya… my Ma’am Chief… I was a goner before you came into my life. I was a broken man…” Richard said this while still approaching Maya. “I thought I’d never be whole again. I thought I’d never be happy again. And then, heaven sent you to me…” Richard’s voice broke. Maya was already crying. Finally, he reached her. And holding her hand tenderly, he went on: “Maya… I love you so much. Please allow me to give you the courtship that you deserve…” Maya could only nod between sobs. “Tahan na, Ma’am Chief. Mahal na mahal ka ng Ser Chief mo.” Richard said, and kissed her lips lightly. They hugged. “Maya, please sing with me.” The piano made a crescendo, and while lovingly looking at each other, Richard and Maya sang together — their voice beautifully blending. ‘And yes I know how lonely life can be. The shadows follow me and the night won’t set me free. But I don’t let the evening get me down, now that you’re around me. And then, Maya sang her part: And you love me too. Your thoughts are just for me. You set my spirit free. I’m happy that you do. With a smile, Richard sang his: The book of life is brief, and once a page is read all but love is dead that is my belief.
Together, they sang the chorus again. Their voices were full of emotions. Both eyes were glued on each other. Both felt extremely happy. When they finished singing, Maya chuckled. “Are you happy?” Richard asked as he held Maya. “Very happy… Salamat.” “No, Maya… It’s me who should thank you.” “I love you, Ser Chief.” “I love you too.”
“Paano nangyari ito?” Maya finally asked. Richard laughed. “I pulled some strings. First I got in touch with Sr. Fe…” “Si Sr. Fe? So ibig sabihin, ‘yung package…” “Yes, Maya. There’s no package.” “Ikaw talaga! Pati madre dinamay mo.” “Actually it’s a collaborative effort. Lahat kami nagkapit-bisig.” “Lahat?” “Yes. I asked Liza to make arrangements dito sa Batangas Cultural Center. Si Joma, inutusan ko talagang sabayan ka papunta dito sa Batangas. Sina Manang Fe, Doris, Sabel, Melinda and the kids have something prepared for you too.” “Kasama sila? Ibig mong sabihin ALAM NA NILA?!?” Maya got panicky. “Relax… They already knew before I even told them.” “Paano?” “Halata na raw kasi talaga. And they are happy about it.” Maya could only smile. Her heart was full.
“Ma’am Chief?” “Ano ‘yun?” “Tara sa inyo.” “Ha? Sa amin? As in sa bahay namin?” “Oo… I want to meet your family.” Maya grinned. “Ibang klase ka Ser Chief. One-of-a-kind kang manligaw. Tiger moves!” They both laughed.
Next Chapter: COURTING… HANG-OVER (Kasi hindi pa raw tapos mag-da-moves si Ser Chief, pagbalik nilang Manila, may part 2 pa ang pasabog n’ya kay Maya). =D