Admin Note: *Contributed Story* Please give credit and thanks to CorUnum. This is a continuation to Maya’s Music – parts 9-11.
MAYA’S MUSIC 12:
COURTING — HANG-OVER
They were riding at the back seat of the very same car Richard rented that brought Maya to the Batangas Cultural Center. The lovers were comfortably cuddled with each other — Richard enveloping Maya in a tender embrace and Maya contentedly placing her head on Richard’s chest (A/N: Oh, that feels like heaven!). They were whispering sweet words to each other.
And then, Richard felt it was time to start carrying out his next plan. He was nervous, really. He felt his throat go dry. “Ahmm… Ma’am Chief?” “Ano ‘yun Ser Chief?” “Pwede kayang mag-division of labor tayo sa panliligaw ko sa pamilya mo?” “Ha? Liligawan mo pati pamilya ko?” Maya didn’t know if she was more surprised or delighted. No, really… Kinikilig ako sa’yo Ser Chief!!! “Oo… kaya nga tayo pupunta ‘dun. But I’d be needing your help.” “Eh paano naman kita matutulungan?” “I want you to order good food for them. May dala akong budget for that. Mag-order ka ng mga favorite foods ng family mo. Tapos habang ginagawa mo ‘yun, mauuna na ako sa flower shop n’yo.” “Ano?!? Mauuna ka sa flower shop? Eh hindi pa nga nila alam na boyfriend kita tapos darating ka ‘dun ng nag-iisa?” The surprise was very evident in Maya’s face. She was so astounded that she tried to move away from Richard’s embrace, but Richard held her tightly to him. “Relax, Ma’am Chief. Ako ang bahala. I know what I’m doing. I’ve planned about this.” “Naku, anong plano ba ‘yan Ser Chief? Parang kinakabahan ako. Hindi naman pwedeng basta ka na lang pumasok sa Flower Shop namin at sabihin kay Nanay na: ‘Good afternoon po. Ako po si Richard Lim at liligawan ko po kayo dahil girlfriend ko na po ang anak n’yong si Maya!’” Richard laughed. His Ma’am Chief never fails to make him laugh.
“Well, that seems like a good idea… that would be really daring. Pero iba ang plano ko. Trust me on this one, ako ang bahala. No need for you to worry.” “Eh ano nga ba kasing gagawin mo, Ser Chief?” “I’m not telling you now. Malalaman mo rin.” “Ikaw ha, pa-suspense ka! Aatakihin ako sa kaba nito eh!” Naku, Maya… ano ba? Magagalit ka ba d’yan sa poging singkit na ‘yan o kikiligin ka??? As if reading Maya’s mind, Richard kissed Maya on both hands. OK… kinikilig ka na talaga, Maya dela Rosa. Albeit the kilig, Maya still was apprehensive. “Ser Chief…” “Trust me on this one, Maya.” Nonetheless Maya couldn’t approve. Looking deep into Maya’s eyes, Richard said: “I love you, Maya. Please trust me.” “OK…” Maya could only say OK. Naku, Maya. Ayan ka nanaman! Nadala ka nanaman sa I love you ng Ser Chief mo! “I love you too.” Maya added.
Maya was about to be dropped off at Café Elite. “The driver will just take me to your family’s flower shop and then he’ll be back for you. Hintayin mo text ko as go signal na pwede ka nang sumunod sa flower shop. At ‘pag dumating ka na ‘dun with all the food, I hope I’ve already made your family fall for me.” Richard said and smiled (the smile that can take women’s breath away). “Hay naku, Ser Chief… kung hindi lang kita mahal… pero basta, ‘wag mo silang gugulatin ha? Naku, baka atakihin si Mamang kahit wala s’yang sakit sa puso. Hinay-hinay lang Ser Chief OK?” Richard cupped Maya’s face. “Don’t worry. I’ve planned about this. I know what I’m doing. (Do you really, Richard Lim???) I won’t go blurting out to them about us just like that. I’d woo them, Maya.” To this, Maya had to smile. It melted Richard’s heart. He kissed her full on the lips. After their kiss, “I love you” she said to him. “I love you too” he said to her.
Maya watched as the car drove to the direction of their flower shop. She breathed a sigh and entered the café.
At Dela Rosa’s Flower Shop
“Nak, aakyat muna ako ha? Si nanay kasi kanina pang tawag ng tawag.” It was Aling Teresita, speaking to Kute, who was busy making the inventories. “Sige po. Ako muna bahala dito.” After about ten minutes, a man entered the flower shop and Kute just kind of stared at him for about ten seconds. “Ang gwapo naman nito. Sana ganito rin ako ka-gwapo.Teka, parang nakita ko na s’ya… Saan kaya?” Kute thought. The guy was obviously chinito and was very well built.
Richard recognized Kute based on Maya’s stories about her from earlier chats. Richard smiled. Naku, muntik nang magpaka-babae si Cristina Rose dahil sa ngiti ng poging singkit! “Good afternoon.” After recovering from her surprise of seeing such a handsome and well-dressed man entering their humble flower shop, Kute said: “G-good afternoon po Sir. Ah, ano pong maipaglilingkod ko?” “I’d like sana to buy four bouquets of flowers. Apat na tig-one dozen red roses at isang one dozen din ng sunflowers.” Ah, sige Sir. OK po. Ahm, paano pong arrangement ang gusto ninyo?” “What do you suggest?” “Eh, Sir depende po. Para kanino po ba ang mga bulaklak?” As Kute asked him, she wondered why he’d order four bouquets. Naku, palikero ata itong si mamang pogi. Mukhang apat ang girl friends… o baka naman apat ang asawa? “Para sa nililigawan ko.”
“Apat po nililigawan n’yo?” Kute asked. Richard just looked at Kute and did not answer. “N-naku, Sir sorry po. N-nalito lang naman po ako… pasensya na po sa tanong ko. Medyo napabigla lang po ako.” Kute after all, did not want to lose a customer. Business wasn’t too good. It was a good thing for the family that Maya got her new job as piano teacher which paid better. “It’s fine. Just make the bouquets extra special OK?” Richard said, smiling again. “Opo Sir, apat na magagandang bouquets coming up.” Kute answered, thankful that he didn’t get angry but more thankful that he did not change his mind about buying. Richard sat on a bench for the customers. He scanned the place and decided it looked really cosy. He smiled at the thought of being part of the dela Rosa family. Maya dela Rosa-Lim. Richard felt elated at the thought of Maya having his surname… and then having his kids… their kids… Stop it, Richard!
“Sir OK na po ‘yung bouquets niyo. Bale Php450 per bouquet. Ah, gusto n’yo po ba lagyan ng dedication card?” It was Kute. She showed Richard the bouquets. “Wow. Very good job, Ms…?” “Cristina Rose po. Cristina Rose dela Rosa.” Richard paid and put out his hand to shake Kute’s. When she did take his hand, he said to her: “I’m Richard Lim. Pleased to meet you, Cristina Rose.” Kute’s eyes went round like saucers. “Richard Lim?! Kaya pala parang nakita na kita! Ikaw ‘yung… naku kayo ‘yung nasa TV… kayo din ‘yung nasa diyaryo, may-ari ng Lim Aviation ba ‘yun? Nabasa na rin kayo ni Mamang sa magazine — kasama kayo sa top ten richest Chinoys!” Richard could only smile. He was quite uncomfortable, being branded by his (hopefully) future sister-in-law as among the richest Chinoys. “Guilty as charged,” he said. And before he could say more, Kute was already calling her mother, grandmother and son.
“Cristina Rose, ano bang nangyayari sa’yo?” It was Nanay Teresita. “Nanay OK ka lang po ba?” Cho asked, concern obvious in his voice. “Oo nga! Kung maka-sigaw ka d’yan parang babaeng-babae ka ah! Sino bang nandyan?” It was Mamang. Seeing Richard, Mamang stopped on her tracks and pulled Nanay Teresita and Cho towards her. “Teresita!” “’Nay? Anong nangyayari sa’yo?” “Hindi mo ba s’ya nakikilala?” Mamang said, motioning to where Richard was standing. Teresita looked at him and then said to her mother. “Pamilyar s’ya ‘nay.” “Anong pamilyar? ‘Yan si Richard Lim! S’ya ‘yung nasa top ten richest Chinoys!” Mamang answered excitedly.
“Teka, naalala ko lang…” Kute cut in. “Ibig pong sabihin, kayo po ang boss ni Maya, ‘yung kapatid ko? Kasi naikwento n’ya po sa akin na sa inyo s’ya nagtatrabaho. Sobrang excited nga po s’yang tumawag sa’ken noong first day of work n’ya.” Richard smiled again. Thank God, na-mention din ang connection ko kay Maya! Richard said to himself. He prayed it would go well all throughout. “You are correct Cristina Rose. (Pero kulang pa kasi I’m now her boy friend.)” “Naku! Cristina Rose, tawagan mo si Maya dali! Sabihin mo nandito sa atin ang boss n’ya!” Mamang said. “Actually po there’s no need to tell her. She knows that I’m here. And actually, she’s the reason why I’m here.”Richard said and his heart was thumping hard against his chest. Everybody gave him puzzled looks. For a moment, everyone was silent. It was Nanay Teresita who broke the silence: “Ah, eh, Sir Richard, kasama n’yo po ba si Maya?” Richard nodded. “Nasaan po s’ya?” “May dinaanan lang po.” He answered.
“Ha? Si bunso may dinaanan pa? Eh bakit hindi po kayo nagsabay na lang papunta dito?” Kute asked. This is it, Richard! He thought to himself. “There’s an explanation why we didn’t go here together, Cristina Rose. And please don’t worry about her. I made sure she’s OK. I told her to stay at the Café Elite before coming here.” “Bakit po?”, asked Nanay Teresita. “I just need to tell you something very, very important before she comes,” was Richard’s reply. This earned him even more puzzled looks from them. Sensing that he needed to do something before anything went wrong, he made his speech which he had rehearsed so many times before today.
“You know that I am Richard Lim, CEO and owner of Lim Aviation Services and among the richest Chinoys. You are also aware that I am Maya’s employer. And I could say you know that I am a widower of the late actress Alexandra Lim. But there are things you do not know about me. I was Richard, the broken man. When I lost my late wife, my world crumbled down before my very eyes. My children and I were estranged. I had a terrible life. And then, Maya — your sister (looking at Kute), daughter (looking at Nanay Teresita), grand-daughter (looking at Mamang) and Tita Ninang (looking at Cho) — came into my life. She brought music and meaning back into my life. Most importantly, she mended our broken hearts. He mended my heart and my children’s hearts too with her music, her tender, loving care and positivism.”
Nanay Teresita noticed that Richard’s voice was cracking. “Maya and I became friends after my youngest, Abby started talking again — thanks to what I call Maya-magic. And from there, I just…” Richard had to stop and catch his breath. He was nervous. He didn’t know what their reaction would be. But then, this was the point of no return for him. It was a case of now or never. “There’s just something so sweet and so special about her. My day is bright and complete when she’s around me and it goes to hell if she’s not. I found myself being drawn to her. Until it became very clear to me that I’M IN LOVE WITH HER.” By their looks, Richard could tell they were shocked. Richard swallowed hard and sighed.
“I’m in love with Maya.” His voice was kind of shaky. He felt really scared. But he bravely went on. Anything for Maya. He thought to himself. “At gusto ko po kayong ligawan. I’d like to ask for your blessing to be Maya’s boyfriend.” One by one, he handed Nanay Teresita, Kute, and Mamang each a dozen of red roses he just bought from them. For what seemed an eternity for Richard, nobody spoke and made a move. For the first time, he was unsure of the efficacy of what he did. And then, Nanay Teresita spoke: “Mahal n’yo ba talaga ang anak ko Sir Richard?” “Opo. Mahal na mahal ko po s’ya.” To Richard’s relief, Nanay Teresita smiled at him while tears flowed down her cheeks. And to his greatest surprise, Nanay Teresita hugged him. “Pero nakakagulat kayo ha. Tsaka grabe Sir kayo dumiskarte. At dito mo pa talga binili ang mga bulaklak na ibibigay n’yo sa’min.” Kute said, giggling. As he untangled himself from Nanay Teresita’s embrace, Richard said: “Well, I guess I have a lot of explaining to do.” And he prepared himself to narrate everything to them.
At the Café Elite
“Naku, ang tagal namang mag-text ni Ser Chief! Kanina pa ako tapos mag-order.” Maya said, checking her phone again. Just when she was about to call him, she received the most-awaited text message— From Ser Chief <3: You may come Maya. Ingat ka. I LOVE YOU! Maya breathed a sigh of relief and asked the driver to help her with the items. While they were on their way to the flower shop, Maya prayed that everything went well with Richard and her family.
When they finally arrived, she saw Richard standing just outside the flower shop and holding a bouquet of sunflowers. Maya smiled. He opened the door for her. She kissed him lightly on the lips. He offered her the flowers. “I thought of giving you roses. But I think this suits you more.” “Thank you Ser Chief. I love you.” “I love you too.” Maya’s smile suddenly faded. “Teka, bakit ka nandito sa labas? Ano bang nangyari? Ser Chief, anong sabi nila?”
“Relax, Maya. Let’s go inside and you’ll know everything.” Together, hand in hand, they entered the flower shop. Maya was surprised to see Nanay Teresita, Mamang ang Kute each holding a bouquet of red roses. Kute said to her: “Ikaw bunso ha? Luma-love life ka na pala, hindi ka man lang nagsasabi!” Her family’s smile said it all. All went well.
“Richard, dito na kayo maghapunan ni Maya.” Nanay Teresita invited them. “Tamang-tama po, nag-order po kami ni Maya ng mga pagkain at desserts para po sa inyo.” Richard said, as the driver brought in the foods. “Nanay si Richard po ang nakaisip nito lahat. Liligawan n’ya raw kayong lahat, eh.” Maya said triumphantly. “Naku apo! Sinasagot ka na namin!” Mamang exclaimed to which everybody laughed.
While everybody was eating heartily, Richard whispered to Maya: “You have no idea how scared I was kanina.” “Ikaw ang may idea nito Ser Chief. Nag-alala rin ako para sa’yo.” “It’s all worth it Maya. I’m so glad they accept me… they accept us.” Hayan nanaman ang makamandag na ngiti ng poging singkit na nagpapakilig kay Maya! “Ser Chief, quotang-quota ka na sa pagpapakilig sa’kin! Ikaw na! Ikaw ang hari ng damoves… kaya mahal na mahal kita!” Maya said happily. “Masanay ka na. May mga susunod pa,” this was Richard’s promise which made Maya blush again.
Next Chapter: THE MAYA MAGIC