Admin Note: *Contributed Story* Please give credit and thanks to CorUnum. This is a continuation to Maya’s Music – part 13.
A/N: Pasensya na po readers at natagalan. Naging super busy lang po ako! Anyway, sa chapter pong ito ay may selosang magaganap! Mag-aaway kaya sina Ser Chief at Maya o nakakakilig pa rin ang selosan nila? =D
THE GREEN-EYED MONSTER
“Abby’s going to have her piano recital, Ma. I’m hoping you and Papa could come.” Richard sounded hopeful. “Well Ricky, we do have a very hectic schedule. But don’t you worry, I’ll come up with something. We wouldn’t miss Abby’s recital for the world!” Dona Esmeralda was very glad. Her son seemed happier than the last time she talked with him. There was something in Richard’s voice that resounded color — something that went missing for a while. Now it was back. Dona Esmeralda sighed. “Ma? Are you OK?”
“Yes, son I’m OK. It’s just that… I’m so happy for you. I was quite surprised when you told me that Abby will be having her piano recital. I mean, the last time I remember you called telling me about her selective mutism. And now… Oh, Ricky! I don’t know what happened to you and your kids, but you seem to be happier than when…” Dona Esmeralda held her tongue. She knew how much mentioning Alex’s name could hurt Richard. But then, “Yes Ma. We’re a lot happier than when we lost Alex. I thought we’d never be happy again. But something happened… Someone came along.”
Dona Esmeralda raised her eyebrows. The mention of someone did not escape her. “Someone?” A pregnant silence, which she broke. “Ricky, is there something or rather someone I should know about?” This time, it was Richard who sighed. “Yes, there is someone you should meet. She’s wonderful. She’s very instrumental in making Abby talk. She helped me patch things up with Luke. And she’s Nikki’s confidant.” He said this and couldn’t help but smile. Again, another long pause. “Ma?” “Ricky… I’m so happy for you. I’m so excited to meet her.” Dona Esmeralda’s voice broke as tears welled from her eyes. “Thanks Ma. You’ll meet her during the recital. She’s Abby’s piano teacher.” Richard said proudly. “May I know her name?” Richard was about to say Maya but decided against it. “I want to surprise you, Ma. Sa recital ko na lang sasabihin sa iyo ang pangalan n’ya.” “Oh, come on Ricky! Nakakabitin ka.” “This is my way of making sure you’re going to Abby’s recital.” “OK, OK, you got me there! Sige na. Tinatawag na ako ng papa mo. We’ll see you this Saturday. And you better introduce her to me, understood?” Richard chuckled. “Yes, Ma!” “Bye son.” “Bye Ma.”
At the music room, Maya was guiding Abby in practicing her main piece, Strebbog’s Little Fairy Waltz. Maya was amazed at how flexible and lithe Abby’s fingers had become after such a short while. She could feel her heart contracting as she watched her student play the piano. It has been wonderful. Everything had been great. She did not expect this love… her heart was filled with love for the Lims — the kids Luke, Nikki and Abby. But what was more unexpected was that she and Richard fell in love. Until now, Maya felt like being her Ser Chief’s Ma’am Chief was nothing short of a fairy tale.
“Ang galing mo baby!” Maya exclaimed when Abby finished playing. The little girl gave her a tight hug and she hugged back, kissing Abby’s head as she did so. “I love you Tita Maya!” Abby said. Maya’s tears threatened to shed again. “I love you too Abby!” Unknown to them, a pair of chinito eyes were watching them. “Ehem.” Richard said and both Maya and Abby looked at him. Both of them smiled at him sweetly. He smiled back (that famous bedimpled, lop-sided grin). “Well, it seems the young pianist is ready!” “Yes, daddy I’m ready po! Tita Maya said ang galing ko raw po.” Abby happily said. Richard approached his two angels. “Yes, baby. I heard you play at talagang magaling ka.” Abby hugged him. “Tapos na ba ang session ninyo?” He asked Maya, then kissed her lightly on the cheek. “Oo Ser Chief. Ang galing kasi ni baby, kaya ayan. Tapos na kami agad.” “That’s great! We’re all eating out!” “Talaga daddy? Kasama po ba sina Ate Nikki at Kuya Luke?” “Of course baby.” “Yehey!”
They ate at the Royale Restaurant. The place was significant for both Richard and Maya. It was where they first met personally. “Really dad? Dito kayo unang nagkita ni Tita Maya?” Nikki asked excitedly. “Yes, Niks.” “Oh my gee! That’s super nakakakilig!” “Ang arte mo Niks!” Luke said. “Whatever kuya, with a capital W!” “Actually Nikki, business ang pinag-usapan namin ng Daddy n’yo that time. Dito n’ya ako na-hire as Abby’s music teacher.” Maya clarified. “Wow, Tita. Special pala po ang place na ito. Buti na lang na-hire ka dito ni Daddy. That’s why you became my piano teacher!” Abby chimed in. Just then, a very well-dressed woman appeared out of nowhere. “Richard!” She said and planted a kiss on Richard’s right cheek. Maya stared in disbelief as Richard smiled at the woman and said “Hi Gie!” Maya fought the urge of slapping “Gie” in the face. Instead, she plastered a fake smile on hers. “Kids, Maya, this is Atty. Josephine Sandoval. She used to be a legal adviser of Lim Aviation.” “Oh, well, I’m quite sure I was more than just a legal adviser.” Gie said looking meaningfully at Richard. The latter just raised his eyebrows. The kids exchanged puzzled looks. Maya was gritting her teeth. Richard noticed this and although uncomfortable with what Gie said, he felt quite amused upon seeing Maya so jealous.
“I mean, we’re friends, right Richard?” Gie went on. Oh how Maya would love to mess Gie’s perfectly made up hair. “Ah, yes…” Richard said uneasily. “Ah, Gee. I’d like you to meet my kids. This is Luke, my eldest. Nikki, the second and of course, Abby. “Hi kids.” Gie smiled at the kids and gave Maya a questioning look. Maya glared at Richard. He inwardly smiled. Oh, she’s still beautiful when she’s jealous! “Gie, I’d like you to meet Maya dela Rosa. She’s my girlfriend.” Richard took hold of Maya’s hand at the mention of the word girlfriend. Maya looked at Gie and smiled triumphantly (‘yung ngiti ng tagumpay!). Gie winced. Richard held back a laugh. “Hello Atty. Gie.”Maya said proudly. “Hi.” Gie answered coldly. “Well, I better be going then. It was nice to see you Richard… and of course the kids.” Gie said and Maya shifted from her seat. Richard squeezed Maya’s hand. “It was nice to see you too, Gie.” And then Atty. Gie was gone. But the green-eyed monster of jealousy wasn’t. It was all too present in Maya’s heart. She stabbed the broccoli in her plate. This didn’t go unnoticed.
“Maya.” “Bakit Ser Chief?” “Kalma.” Kalmado ako Ser Chief.” “Weh, hindi nga?” “Kalmado nga ako.” And Maya tried her best to smile. “You’re both funny!” Abby chuckled to which Nikki and Luke laughed. After their dinner, they took Maya to her apartment. When they arrived, Richard told the kids to wait in the car as he was accompany Maya to her apartment unit. “Yes, Daddy!”
Upon reaching her apartment door, Richard kissed Maya on the cheek. “Good night, Ma’am Chief.” “Good night.” Maya wasn’t even smiling. Richard laughed lightly which earned him a pained look from Maya. “You know, you’re beautiful when you’re jealous.” “Excuse me, Ser Chief. Hindi ako nagseselos.” “Really? Eh why are you being that cold?” “Eh kasi naman ‘yang si Atty. Gie! Ang epal lang.” “See? You’re jealous!” “Naman Ser Chief!” “Maya, look at me.” Richard said and looked deeply into Maya’s doe-eyes. Oh, how Maya gets lost in his eyes!
“Maya, kahit pa ilang Atty. Gie ang dumating, hindi ka dapat magselos. Ikaw lang ang Ma’am Chief ko.” Maya was fighting the urge to scream and jump with joy. What she couldn’t control was her blushing. “Talaga?” She asked. “Talagang talaga.” “Kahit na abogada s’ya?” “Kahit na abogada s’ya.” “Kahit na mas sosyal s’yang manamit kesa sa’kin?” “Kahit mas sosyal s’yang manamit.” “Kahit na mas maganda s’ya kesa sa’kin?” “Maya… there’s no comparison between you and Gie or with any other woman. Pwedeng maraming babae ang mas maganda, mas sexy, mas sophisticated kesa sa’yo. But I’m not looking for a drop-dead gorgeous, take-my-breath-away kind of woman. All I want is the clumsy, noisy, juvenile, musical, creative, determined, caring, loving you. It’s you who take my breath away.”
Maya’s bitter expression softened and Richard noticed this. He breathed a sigh of relief and kissed her on the lips. Then, Maya smiled sweetly at him. Oh, Richard! There goes that smile again! “I love you.” He whispered. “I love you too.” She whispered back.
Guests were already starting to come. “Tita Maya?” “Yes, Abby?” “Ahmmm…. Can we postpone the recital na lang?” “Ha? Bakit? Masama ba ang pakiramdam mo? May masakit ba sa’yo?” “No Tita… pero I feel very nervous po…” Abby’s expression was a mix of sadness and apprehension.
“Naku, baby… relax ka lang OK? Andito lang kami nina Daddy, Ate Nikki and Kuya Luke for you. Pati nga sina Yaya Melinda, Manang Fe, Doris, Sabel at Kuya Joma kapit-bisig para sa recital mo.” Seeing that Abby was still nervous, Maya gave her a reassuring hug. “Abby, basta gawin mo ang best mo… Tapos kapag nagkamali ka, walang problema. Love na love ka pa rin naming lahat kahit hindi perfect.” Abby then smiled. “Thank you Tita Maya!”
“Abby, Tita Maya, we’re all ready na. Come na sa hall, Dad’s already waiting for us.” It was Nikki. She looked radiant in her baby pink ruffled dress. Luke, beside her, wore a yellow long-sleeved polo which matched his maroon necktie perfectly. He looked like a true gentleman. “Sige Nikki, Luke. Baby halika na.” When they arrived at the hall, Richard was on the phone. “Yes, Ma. See you.”
“Was that lola, Dad?” Nikki asked. “Yes, Niks.” “Darating po ba sila?” Luke said. “Yes.” A trio of “yehey” filled the hall. “OK guys, calm down. Malapit na raw sila.” “Wow, Daddy! Lalo ko po gagalingan kasi nandito sina lolo at lola.” Abby said happily. Everybody was happy, except for Maya. She was scared. Richard noticed Maya’s troubled expression. But he had to smile because he also noticed how radiant and beautiful she looked, wearing a black laced dress that hugged her body perfectly, thus accentuating her perfect figure. “Is there something wrong, Ma’am Chief?” “W-wala naman Ser Chief.” “Naku, Tita Maya… if you’re apprehensive about meeting lolo and lola, don’t be. They’re super-duper bait.” Nikki sounded reassuring. “Oo nga, Tita Maya. Relax ka lang.” Luke added. “I think they will be happy po to meet you, Tita.” Abby further said. To this, Maya had to smile. “Sige na nga! Hindi na ako mag-aalala. Kasi ang dami kong supporters! Salamat ha?”
Then suddenly, Luke said: “Dad, ‘yun na po sina lolo at lola!” Maya turned to see an elderly man who undoubtedly was her Ser Chief’s father. Beside him was a beautiful woman — of course, Ser Chief’s mother. Despite her promise to the kids, Maya felt the thumping of her heart against her chest, a clear indication that she was apprehensive. “Kalma lang, Ma’am Chief. We’re in this together.” Ser Chief said. “S-ser Chief, pwede bang pumunta muna akong comfort room?” “Kabado ka eh.” “Oo Ser Chief… kakalmahin ko lang ang sarili ko… Tsaka kelangan ko na talagang mag-CR.” “Sige. But don’t take too long OK? I will introduce you to Mama and Papa.” Richard said to which Maya nodded. She went ahead. Richard and his kids approached Don Roberto and Donya Esmeralda. “Ma, Pa.” Richard said, planting a light kiss on his mother’s cheek and shaking his father’s hand. The kids simultaneously greeted their grandparents. “Oh, hello you guys! We missed you!” Donya Esmeralda exclaimed. “Naku, ke-lalaki na ng mga apo ko! Etong si Luke, mas matangkad pa sa akin.” Don Roberto added, smiling. “Ricky…” Donya Esmeralda said while giving Richard a knowing look. Richard caught its meaning. “She just went to the ladies’ room, Ma. But you will eventually meet her.” “Hmmm, ano ba yan… lalong tumatagal ang suspense!” Donya Esmeralda exclaimed and exaggerated a shudder. Everybody laughed. “And son, speaking of meeting people, your Mama and I brought with us a violinist. Si James. Anak s’ya ni Tito Alberto mo. We thought it would be nice to bring along a musician kasi excited kaming marinig tumugtog si Abby.” Don Roberto explained.
“That’s a good idea, Pa. Where is he then?” “He left something in the car. Pero he’ll be here any minute…” “Ayan na pala s’ya!” Donya Esmeralda said, motioning to a good-looking guy in a tuxedo, carrying a violin. For some reason, Richard found himself straightening out his tie. As the guy got nearer, he smiled. “Sorry, Tito Roberto, Tita Esmeralda. I just forgot my rosin.” “It’s OK James. By the way, meet my son, Richard and his kids, Luke, Nikki and of course the young pianist, Abby.” “Pleased to meet you.” James said, extending a hand to shake Richard’s. The latter shook it. “Same here.” Richard said. “Hi Luke. Hi Nikki. And hello, pianist Abby! I’m very glad to meet you!” Abby chuckled while the two teen-age Lims smiled. “By the way, forgive me but I have to ask you a favor, Richard. Pwede ba itono ko itong violin ko using your piano?” “Of course. The piano is over there. Guys, samahan n’yo si Tito James ninyo.” Richard instructed. “Yes, dad.”
When James left with the kids, Maya came. “S-ser Chief?” Maya asked, her voice a pitch higher. Richard’s broad smile and the young woman’s flustered appearance told Donya Esmeralda that she’s the girl. “Mama, Papa, I want you to meet Maya dela Rosa. She’s Abby’s piano teacher. But more importantly… she’s my girlfriend.” Richard said proudly as he took Maya’s hand in his. “Maya, they’re my parents.” He continued, squeezing Maya’s hand. “Good evening po. I’m very happy po to finally meet you.” Maya said and was shakily smiling. Maya, kalma lang…kalma lang… What happened next surprised her. Instead of shaking her hand or kissing her cheek, Donya Esmeralda embraced her. “I’m so glad to meet you, Maya.”
The heart-warming meeting was interrupted by Liza. “Ahm, good evening po. Ah, Sir Richard, Maya… the people are now settled and we’re ready when you are.” “Sige, Liza. Maya, Abby’s there sa may piano. Puntahan mo na s’ya.” “Sige, Ser Chief.” Richard led his parents to sit while Maya went to Abby.
“Baby!” Maya called upon seeing Abby. The latter was with her siblings and a good-looking guy. “Tita Maya!” Abby said happily. “Tita, this is Tito James. Nag-va-violin s’ya. Tito James this is Tita Maya. She’s the one who taught me how to play the piano.” Abby went on. “Hi. Pleased to meet you, Maya…?” “Maya dela Rosa. Pleased to meet you too, James…?” “James Ventura.” They shook hands. James held Maya’s hand longer than usual, which made Maya uncomfortable. “A-ahhmmm, sige na. Magsisimula na ang recital ni Abby. Luke, Nikki, upo na kayo. Abby, sit na sa piano chair.”
Liza was the emcee. “Good evening ladies and gentlemen. I am very happy to welcome you all to Abby Ruth Lim’s first piano recital. Let’s give her a round of applause!” Everybody applauded. When the applause died down, Abby looked at Maya who was sitting on a chair near her. Maya gave her a sweet smile and two thumbs up. Abby nodded. She started playing Little Fairy Waltz. Maya was truly nervous for Abby! Her stomach felt knotted. But Abby did very well and everybody was asking for an encore. Maya stood up, went to the podium and said: “Good evening po. For our encore, Abby and I will play a duet for you. It’s called Blue Moon. It’s our favorite piece because we get to play this together.”
Richard was all-smiles as Maya and Abby started playing. Para na silang mag-mommy. He thought to himself and allowed himself to briefly picture out himself proposing to Maya. He imagined how she would react. He imagined her in a wedding gown… But his sweet reverie was cut short when suddenly, he heard a sound, which clearly wasn’t the sound of a piano but that of a violin. He then saw James playing the violin, making interesting variations to what Maya and Abby were playing. Worst, he noticed that James wasn’t taking his eyes off Maya. And Maya, smiled at James before looking at the piano keys again. Richard’s blood boiled. The audience was all smiling as they liked what they were hearing. But Richard’s chinito pair reduced to even thinner slits that could have sent daggers to the unsuspecting James. He felt only he had the right to look at Maya that way. It’s a good think Maya didn’t seem to notice James’ stare.
After the encore, Maya and Abby bowed. Maya directed a hand to James’ direction, as though acknowledging his ‘participation’. Richard felt let out a breath for he was now extremely jealous. “Ricky, they’re both great!” Donya Esmeralda said. “At ‘nung nag-violin din si James it was even better.” Don Roberto said, not knowing that his son was seething and envious. Richard didn’t say a word. He wanted to talk to Maya. He needed to talk to her. He stopped on his tracks when he saw she was talking with James. “Thank you.” She was saying. She was smiling at James. Richard would have loved that smile if it was directed to him. But as the case wasn’t that, it further angered him. “Daddy!” Abby noticed him and called him. He tried to smile as he approached them.
“Did I miss something?” He asked looking at Maya more sternly that he meant to. “Ha?” was Maya’s puzzled reply. “I take it you already met James Ventura.” “Ah, oo Ser Chief. Sabi nga n’ya…” Maya was not able to continue for Richard cut in. “James, it’s good you’ve met Maya, my girlfriend.” At the mention of the world girlfriend, he draped a possessive arm over Maya’s shoulder. “Oh…” was James’ reaction. Richard saw the disappointment in his face. Yes, she’s mine so back off! Richard mentally said as he smiled. Maya felt the tension between the two men. She needed to say something. “Ah, S-ser Chief ang galing ni Abby ‘di’ba?” “Yes. Anyway, let’s go. Luke and Nikki are waiting for us. Kasama nila sina Mama at Papa.” “OK… Sige, James. Mauuna na kami. Salamat ulit.” Maya said and Richard suddenly pulled her closer to himself.
All evening, Richard was silent. At about 10 in the evening, Maya bid goodbye to Don Roberto and Donya Esmeralda. Richard took Maya to her apartment. While they were at the car, Richard was still silent. He just nodded and said ‘yes’ when Maya tried to have a conversation with him. Finally, when they reached her apartment, she asked: “Ser Chief may problema ba tayo?” Richard gave Maya a pained look. “Anong problema Ser Chief?” Maya asked worriedly. Richard sighed. “Si James.” “Ha? Anong problema kay James eh ang bait nga n’ya.” “Come on Maya! Don’t you see? Kaya s’ya mabait sa’yo is because he likes you!” Maya didn’t know if she would laugh or get angry. She decided against both. “Ano?” was all she could say. “You heard me. May gusto sa’yo ang James na ‘yan!” “At nagseselos ka?” “Well… no… Actually yes… no! I’m not jealous! I’ve never been jealous! Ngayon lang.” This time, Maya couldn’t help it. She let out a laugh. “Ikaw naman Ser Chief. Selos ka na agad eh ngayon ko lang naman nakilala ‘yung si James. I’m sure guni-guni mo lang na may gusto sa’kin ‘yun.” “No Maya. Lalaki ako. Alam ko kung paano tingnan ng isang lalaki ang babaeng gusto n’ya. Kanina when he was looking at you I had to fight the urge of punching him in the face!” “Manununtok agad, Ser Chief?” “Yes! Because he shouldn’t look at you that way! Ako lang ang dapat tumingin sa’yo ng ganun!” Richard sounded exasperated. But his angst seemed to evaporate when he saw Maya smiling at him sweetly. “Ser Chief, kumalma ka nga. Kahit pa paano ako tingnan ni James o ng ibang lalaki, wala akong pakialam. Kasi hindi naman sila ang mahal ko. Ikaw lang ang mahal ko kaya ikaw lang ang nakakapagpakaba at nakakapagpatorete sa akin tuwing titingnan mo ako.” Maya said. Richard sighed. He did feel calmer because of her words. As if to prove her point, Maya kissed him on the cheek. Richard had another idea. “Ako lang ang pwedeng gumawa nito sa’yo ha?” He said and suddenly kissed Maya full on the lips.
Up next: TO DREAM OR NOT TO DREAM