Admin Note: *Contributed Story* Please give credit and thanks to Auricel. This is a continuation of His Promise – parts 2&3.
A/N:Hello everybody! Here are the next ones. Medyo mahaba. I hope you will not be bored. Hehe. This time, let’s see how Engr. Richard Lim would do with Maya’s students. c”,)
Maya stood in front of the mirror trying to calm herself. She was already feeling nervous with no apparent reason. Well, there is one but she felt it should not be a reason to feel so uneasy.
“Ano ba Maya. Kalma lang. Ano ka ba naman? Eh ano naman kung magkikita kayo? Marami namang tao, hindi lang kayo,” she scolded herself. She had been having this conversation with herself for quite a long time already.
It was Wednesday night and James had texted them yesterday of their scheduled get-together. She has not yet recovered with their unexpected bumping into each other last Sunday. And now, Maya was preparing not just her clothes but her emotions. She then heaved a huge sigh and put on her shoes. After a few seconds, she heard a knock on her door.
“Anak, ready ka na ba?” Her mother asked her and opened the door a crack.
“Ay opo, Ma. Andyan na po si James? Sige po, bababa na ako.” Maya grabbed her bag and walked past her mother. Teresita was about to say something but Maya almost half-ran downstairs to meet her best friend.
She was in for a big surprise.
Instead of seeing James, she saw the smiling face of the chinito that she had been thinking about for the past few days.
“Hi!” Richard joyfully said. He stood up and walked toward her.
Maya gulped. “Ah, Richard. Bakit andito ka? Nasa’n si James?” Again, her heart was beating so fast as if it was in a race.
“Ah… sabi niya kasi male-late siya. So… I volunteered to fetch you instead,” Richard uttered. It wasn’t exactly a lie, but it was not the truth either. He hoped that Maya would not ask any further.
Maya was surprised. “Naku, ganun ba? Sana pala tinawagan niya na lang ako. Pwede naman akong mag-commute o kaya magpahatid kina Daddy. Naabala ka pa, Richard,” she apologized, her cheeks turning red. Bakit ba kasi ngayon pa nasira ‘yung kotse ko. At hindi man lang ako tinext ni James.
Richard smiled. He just loves it when she blushes. “No worries, Maya, ok? Ano? Let’s go? I think Rafi and Doris are there already.” Gathering the courage, he held on to Maya’s elbow and guided her out. “Alis na po kami, Tita.”
Maya almost froze when his hand touched her skin. She felt the electricity running through her veins. No matter what he does, it seems that his effect was just too much to bear.
During dinner, Maya felt so conscious of her actions. She had caught Richard looking at her several times, giving her a smile which she would return shyly. These exchanges did not escape the others.
“Naku Doris. Tingnan mo ‘yung dalawa oh. Meron ba tayong hindi nalalaman?” Sabel nudged her while observing the two.
“Sabel, kilala mo naman ‘yang si Maya. Hangga’t hindi sigurado, hindi muna sa atin sasabihin. Sige, observe observe pa tayo,” Doris replied, smiling knowingly at Sabel.
“Huy, ano binubulong-bulong niyo diyan? Share naman!” James urged the two. The two related what they had been talking about. James nodded in agreement.
“Naku, alam niyo bang tumawag sa’kin ‘yang si Richard kanina. Nag-volunteer na siya na lang ang susundo kay Maya. Nagulat nga ako eh,” he revealed to them while looking at the chinito man drinking his water.
Sabel and Doris giggled. “Confirmed! Mukhang may something na sa dalawa. Pero parang hindi pa nila alam pareho. O kaya naman, ayaw lang aminin,” Sabel whispered.
Maya noticed the three talking to each other. Rafi was explaining to her, along with Richard, Simon, and Ina, another classmate, the other details of their reunion next week. Why does she have the feeling that they were talking about her? Did they notice that there was something between her and Richard?
Meron nga ba Maya?
To this question though, she has no answer.
After dinner, the group decided to part ways. It was a weekday and they had work the next day.
“Thanks guys for coming! Buti na lang andyan kayo kundi sobrang na-homesick na ako,” Richard thankfully told them.
Simon patted him on the back. “Walang problema, pare. As long as you’re here, game kami.”
“Oo nga Richard. Alam namin super napapagod ka na sa expansion mo. Kaya magsabi ka lang.” It was Rafi.
The group made their way to the parking lot. Before going to their respective cars, Maya reminded James.
“James, huwag mong kalimutan ha. Sa Friday na ‘yung talk mo sa klase ko. Please be there by lunch para at least may time ka pa if you need to prepare. May Powerpoint presentation ka ba?”
“Yes, Teacher Maya, hindi ko po nakalimutan. Yup, I will be showing a short video and a few slides. Text kita kapag nandun na ako. Richard sige. Ikaw na maghatid kay Maya ha,” James said. Maya went to him and gave him a hug.
“Yey! Thanks ha! May utang ako sa’yo. Early dinner na lang tayo pagkatapos,” Maya said, her eyes twinkling. James grinned and waved at them.
When everyone had left and they were in the car, Richard looked questioningly at Maya.
“Career Day kasi namin sa Friday. As early as Grade 2, we expose the children to different professions and careers. Ngayon, we are talking about businessmen. Ayun, kaya nakisuyo ako kay James,” Maya explained. “Good thing James agreed to talk about their travel agency.”
Richard nodded. “Ah, okay. That sounds interesting.” Richard muttered. He then started the engine and brought Maya home. This once, he hoped that he was James so that he would be the one to give the talk and be with her.
Friday came and Maya woke up early. Career Day is always full of activities and she has a lot of things to do.
When Maya arrived in the school, there were already a lot of people. Different kiosks and small businesses were set up in the corridors for the children to visit. She became busy the whole morning facilitating the kids’ learning that it was already 12 noon when she looked at her watch. She was about to call James when she saw his name flashed on the screen.
“Hello James! Nasa’n ka na?” she asked, a little nervously. She felt that there was something wrong.
“Maya, kanina pa kita tinetext. Anyway, I have bad news. Baka hindi ako makarating today. Dad asked me to go to Clark to talk to a client. Kaninang umaga niya lang sinabi eh. Pero don’t worry. I have already requested someone to take over my place. Nandyan na siya,” James relayed.
Maya pouted. “Naku, ganun ba? Sige, sige. Teka, ano pangalan saka ano position sa company niyo?”
James hesitated. “Ah actually, hindi namin siya employee. I requested a friend to help you out. He also owns his business. Basta he knows what to do because I gave him instructions at kahahatid ko lang sa kanya. I’m sorry hindi na kita pinuntahan kasi alam kong busy ka. He’s in the classroom already.”
Maya heaved a sigh. “Ganun ba. O sige, punta na ako dun. Ingat ka and thank you!” She pressed the end button and made her way to their classroom.
When she arrived in the corridor, she was looking for someone who could be James’ “businessman friend”. Not seeing anyone outside, she decided to go inside the classroom. When she opened the door, she almost ran over a familiar figure.
“Hi Maya!” Richard greeted her.
“Ano’ng ginagawa mo dito?” Although she had a slight idea, she needed the time to reorganize her thoughts.
“James called me to be here because he said he had to go somewhere else. Sabi niya this is very important to you kaya nakiusap siya. Since you’re talking about business, he said I might as well give the talk,” Richard casually said. Actually, when James called him, he was more than willing to go there and talk about business. Of course, more than that, he wanted to see Maya.
“Richard, andami ko ng utang sa’yo. Talaga si James, parang ikaw laging napapakiusapan. Ah, ok lang ba talaga sa’yo? Baka naman busy ka,” she asked. “Sa totoo lang, nahihiya na talaga ako sa’yo. Alam ko marami kang ginagawa.”
“I know you would say that. Sabi ko naman sa’yo, no worries. But don’t worry, kaya mo namang bayaran ‘yung mga utang mo. I’ll just tell you kung kelan ako maniningil,” Richard jokingly answered. His eyebrows shot up, accompanied by the lopsided smile that Maya knew so well.
They were interrupted when kids began to come in. Maya tore his eyes away from Richard and went in front of the class. She was surprised to see that Richard had already set up the computer for his presentation. With nothing else to do, she then asked her students to sit down and get ready. Richard was watching her closely, fascinated on how she interacts with her students.
“Class, are you ready to meet our resource person for today? He is actually a very successful businessman and an engineer. Classmate ko din siya nung high school kami. Kagagaling niya lang ng Australia at nandito siya sa Philippines para magbukas ng branch nila. Ang galing ‘diba? Please welcome, Engr. Richard Lim!” Maya clapped her hands and gave Richard an encouraging smile.
Richard walked in front of the class and surprisingly felt anxious. He was used to giving speeches in front of people but this was different. There was a part of him that really wants to be on the “good side” of these children. For what, Richard? Bakit gusto mong magpa-good shot?
“Wow, napakaganda naman ng introduction. I’m flattered, Teacher Maya. Good afternoon kids. I’m Richard Lim and I’m here to tell you more about our business. To start off, panoorin muna natin itong short video about our company…”
He showed a short video about LAS as well as a few slides about the business. There were impressed “wows” and amazed reactions from the children while watching. After the presentations, he talked about how they started, problems along the way, and his experience in the company. He tried his best to explain himself simply so that the children would understand it better.
When he was done, Maya asked the students if they have any questions for Richard. The two were surprised when they saw lots of hands in the air. Richard then called one girl in front of him.
“Mr. Richard, what qualities should a businessman have?” She has glasses and was writing on her notebook since Richard started talking in front.
Richard thought for a few seconds before answering. “Hmmm, that’s a good question. For one, you should be able to like what you do. Like me, I love airplanes and knowing about their parts. So for example, if you love to cook or bake, maybe a restaurant or a bakery would be a good idea. Pero hindi nagtatapos dun. Dapat din, masipag ka,” he replied. He saw the children nodded their heads in agreement to what he said.
“Dapat din, you have to be respectful of everyone you meet. May mga mababait kang makikilala, pero meron din naman iba na masungit, minsan naninigaw, o kaya naman laging galit. Dapat lagi kang naka-smile kahit gusto mo na silang awayin,” he continued. The children chuckled at what he just said.
“Pero ang pinakaimportante sa lahat… Sa tingin ko, dapat, willing ka to take a risk,” he then looked at Maya, whose eyes widened when she heard him. “Hindi mo kasi alam kung magiging successful ba o hindi pero dapat handa kang harapin ‘yun. Kahit masaktan ka man, isipin mo na marami kang matututunan at magiging happy ka. Ganun talaga eh, hindi sigurado. Pero don’t worry, it will still be worth it,” Richard continued to stare at her, as if he was directly telling her something. Maya blushed and bowed her head for she couldn’t take it anymore. His eyes were looking at her intently.
But Richard was not yet finished. “And of course, you should remember na hindi ka nag-iisa. There are people who will be with you. At kaya niyo gawin lahat basta magkasama kayo. You can and will go through it together.” Maya looked up and again their eyes met. Richard smiled at her but his eyes were serious.
Maya and Richard were then brought back to reality when her students began clapping once again. Their faces showed that they enjoyed their time with him. Other students asked questions about the airplanes he had encountered, as well as how Australia was like. When they were done, two of Maya’s students then came to him and gave him a gift as a token of their appreciation. Another one took their picture.
“Wow! Alam ko marami kayong natutunan kay Mr. Richard! Remember what he told you okay? Pero ngayon, alam ko gutom na kayo. You can again go back to our snack table to get food. And while waiting for your fetchers, you can still go around and look at the kiosks. Okay?” Maya cheerfully reminded her students. She then ushered them to the table, making sure that everyone was doing well. Richard can’t help but smile at the sight in front of him. It was a delight seeing Maya take care of her students.
While arranging his things, he was suddenly surprised when a young girl in pigtails walked toward him and gave him snacks. “Mr. Richard, pinabibigay po ni Teacher Maya,” the girl shyly said. Before he could even say his gratitude, the girl had already left. He searched for Maya and smiled at her.
“Thank you,” he mouthed. She nodded in her own bashful way and busied herself once more with her students.
Richard then seated himself on one of the chairs and started to eat. Three little boys walked tentatively toward him and sat beside him. Richard gave a smile to them.
“Mr. Richard, pwede po magtanong?” asked one of them, a boy with fair skin and chubby cheeks.
“Sure, what is it?” Richard replied, suddenly excited to see that they seem to like him.
“May crush din po ba kayo kay Teacher Maya?” the boy inquired, with eyebrows raised.
Richard let out a cough. Is he really that obvious? “Ha? What made you say that?” He then began to sweat unexpectedly, as if in front of a jury ready to try him for a crime he was guilty of. He drank his water to calm his nerves.
The other boy, a lanky one with glasses spoke, “Eh kasi po, kanina pa kayo nakatingin sa kanya eh.”
“Ah, eh… Kasi natutuwa lang ako kasi ang galing niyang teacher. Kita niyo, ang dami niyo pero she can handle each of you well,” Richard replied. My, oh, my! Are these kids observant! “Pero teka… you said, ‘din.’ Bakit, marami bang nagkaka-crush sa Teacher Maya niyo?” He was suddenly curious. He had to know.
“Opo. Marami po,” all three boys chorused.
Richard swallowed. “Sinu-sino?” His ears perked. He had to be ready.
The three boys got nearer and whispered, “Ah, kami pong boys, crush si Teacher Maya.”
Richard had to suppress a laugh. She’s really something. Even her students admire her!
“Ok lang naman po ‘yung magka-crush sa kanya. Lilipas din po ‘yan,” this time, the third boy said. He was smiling at Richard, his eyes mere lines already. Like Richard, he was Chinese and with dimples on his cheeks.
Is this really a simple crush? What’s happening to him? Richard felt the blood rushing to his cheeks. “Wait! Grade 2 pa lang kayo! You’re supposed to be thinking only of video games, cartoons, and computers. Why do you know these things already?” He gave them a teasing smile, but raised his eyebrows, as if reprimanding them.
“Alam niyo po, ganyan din yung sinabi ni Teacher sa amin. Sabi niya, masyado pa raw po kaming bata para isipin ang mga ganyang bagay. Sabi niya rin po, pag lumaki na raw po kami, makakalimutan na namin siya kasi may makikilala na kaming iba,” this time, the second boy told him. His eyes were twinkling. Richard just shook his head and on his face was his lopsided grin.
“Pero Mr. Richard, we will tell you something too. Pero secret lang po ah,” the first boy then looked at Maya then back at him. “Sa tingin po namin may crush din si Teacher Maya sa inyo.”
His heart skipped a beat. “Really? Bakit niyo naman nasabi ‘yan? Sabi ko sa inyo, ambabata niyo pa para isipin ‘yang mga ganyan,” Richard playfully scolded the children but he was excited of their observation.
“Kasi po, nung nagsasalita rin po kayo kanina sa harap, titig na titig din po siya sa inyo eh. Yihee…” All three boys then laughed when they saw his reaction. “Uy, you’re blushing, Mr. Richard!”
Richard could not help but laugh with them. Indeed, he was blushing like a teenager. He moved his head closer to them and lowered his voice. “Ganun ba? Kayo talaga. Ok, ok. That’s our secret ha? Don’t tell anyone, lalo na kay Teacher Maya. Baka pare-pareho tayong mapagalitan.”
“Promise po, Mr. Richard! At kung magkaka-boyfriend man po si Teacher Maya, kayo na lang po! Boto po kami sa inyo!” It was the first boy. All three boys gave him the thumbs-up sign.
Richard returned their thumbs-up sign and smiled widely. At least he knows that like fairy godmothers (or god fathers), these boys got his back.
Well, well, well… Mukhang dumadamoves na si Mr. Lim. At 3 out of 3 na ah. Eh paano naman kay Maya, pasado na rin kaya?
Susunod na ang Batch Reunion! Magkaaminan na ba?
Thank you for reading! ‘Til the next one! c”,)