Admin Note: *Contributed Story* Please give credit and thanks to AttyMayiVR. This is a continuation to Please Be My Legal Wife – part 3.
Maya: Yes, if it is still open. Uhm, I also wanted to talk about the contract.
Richard: Yes, of course. Are you free this afternoon? Around 5? Maybe we can talk about it in the house? Para na rin makita mo where your second home will be. Ikaw na gumawa ng kontrata, and if you’ll see the house, it will help you draft the contract better especially if you have concerns pertaining to your room, amenities, and the like. I’m giving you the liberty to draft the contract and I’ll sign it. I believe you are a reasonable and righteous person.
Maya: That’s a good idea. I do not have any scheduled meeting this afternoon. So I’ll see you later then, Mr. Lim.
Richard: It’s Richard. And yes, I’ll see you later. Thank you Maya. Thank you for reconsidering.
The Journey Begins
After talking to Maya, Richard immediately got his phone and dialled Ryan’s number to share the good news.
Richard: Brod! Thanks for the help. Tumawag na. She’ll be in the house this afternoon to discuss the contract.
Ryan: Really? But I was not able to do anything, remember? Sinisimulan ko pa lang eh na cross-exam na ako ni attorney eh! Sablay tuloy agad, hahahaha!
Richard: Hahaha! Hindi ka lang magaling mag sinungaling, brod!
Ryan: Sira! Hahahaha! Matinik lang talaga yang si Maya. Seriously, she’ll make a good lawyer. Kaka intimidating nga kung minsan eh, kaya nga yung boys sa campus, nahihirapan manligaw sa kanya. Heart throb kaya yan! Hahaha! This is interesting, hhmmm….I wonder how will the two of you deal with each other, parehong kayong intimidating.
Richard: Parehong intimidating? Eh hindi nga na intimidate sa akin eh. Hindi nga ba, she scolded at me and maligned me in front of my employees, in my territory! Hahahaha!
Well, thanks uli. I still owe you. She looks up to you and that mattered because to her, you’re credible. You vouched for me, she trusted you, malaking bagay yun. That was a factor she considered for sure.
Ryan: O sige, if you insist na may nagawa ako, fine. Saka na lang ako maniningil! Hahahaha! Good luck brod!
Richard: With a big smile on his face, Richard went outside his office and talked to Liza. Liza I need to go home early today. Ms. Dela Rosa will be meeting up with me sa house para sa contract. I need to prepare Abby and everybody else. Just call me if something comes up.
Liza: With a mischievous grin, Liza answers her boss. Okay, sir. No problem.
Richard: Raises his eyebrows. And why are you smiling like that?
Liza: Wala naman, sir. Yung ngiti nyo kasi oh, wagas! Naisip ko lang, tama si Maya, you look more handsome and younger when you smile. I know you’re very happy kasi matutuwa si Abby nyan. Does she know already?
Richard: Still smiling. No, not yet. That’s why I want to go home early.
Liza: Well, wala naman na kayong meeting scheduled for this afternoon. I just need you to sign some more papers, sir. Give me about fifteen minutes and the papers will be on your table for your signature.
Richard: Okay, I’ll just wait in my office then.
Maya was travelling along Sumulong Highway mid-afternoon towards Antipolo Cathedral. She decided to visit Our Lady of Peace and Good Voyage before going to the Lim residence. After all, she’s on another journey in her life. She was introduced to the Lady of Good Voyage by Emman who was with her when she received the news that she got accepted in Time Airways. They were at the First Pacific Leadership Academy which was then, still called MMLDC or Meralco Development Center for an event they organized and supervising. Since then, it has become symbolic for her to visit the cathedral every time she embarks on a new journey like when she was accelerated to international flights, when she entered law school, when she worked as court legal researcher, when she decided to resign and look for another job, and now, as a private tutor.
As she heads back to Sumulong Highway going down Antipolo Hills, she decides to pull over and buy some suman, cashew nuts, fresh fruits and other delicacies for her family and some friends. When she found the Lim residence, it was still early for her 5 o’clock appointment.
Ring Ring Ring
Maya: Hello, Emman! Napatawag ka?
Emman: Bestie! Where are you na? I know you’re on your way to Antipolo, I’m just calling to remind you to buy me suman and apas! Don’t forget dear!
Maya: Nabili ko na po yung suman mo and apas. May bonus ka pang coco jam for sawsawan. Okay na ba yun?
Emman: Really? Oh my pink gosh! Kailangan, magkita tayo agad, naku super craving na ako to eat suman! So, for sure, nakadaan ka na sa cathedral para dumalaw kay Mama Voyage?
Maya: Correct! In fact I’m here na outside Lim residence.
Emman: You’re there na? Anu, liblib ba na lugar? Sa tuktuk ba ng bundok ng Antipolo yan? Hindi ka ba nahirapan hanapin? Malayo ba sa kabihasnan?
Maya: Bestie! You know this place. Nadadaanan natin ito lagi when we go to Valley Golf and Country Club. D ba from Sumulong you turn right? Pag lampas mo ng guard house ng subdivision, a few meters lang, yun na, it’s near the Dome.
Emman: Ohhh! Perfect! Malapit sa kabihasnan! Madali ka makakatawag ng saklolo pag kinakailangan!
Maya: Ewan ko sayo. Panay ka kalokohan.
Emman: Eh anu pa ginagawa mo jan sa labas ng bahay? Scared Maya dela Rosa?
Maya: Of course not! It’s still early kasi eh. Baka naman sabihin ni Mr. Chopsticks excited ako masyado noh. May pride naman ako bestie.
Emman: Okay, whatever! Good luck bestie! Ingat sa pag drive pauwi ha. Call me!
Maya: Thank you! Bye Emman. Tawagan kita later.
Maya checks the time. It’s still early. It’s only 4:30 p.m. She decides to wait for another 10 minutes before ringing the doorbell.
Inside the LIM MANSION
Manang Fe: Ricardo, sigurado ka bang dadating si Maya ng alas singko? Ihahanda ko na kasi sana ang merienda.
Richard: Yes, Manang. 5 this afternoon po ang usapan namin.
Manang Fe: Hindi kaya sha maligaw? Sana sinundo mo na lang.
Richard: It’s okay po. She said she’s familiar with our area. Madalas daw siya dito sa Antipolo. Events organizer din po kasi siya at marami na daw po silang clients na dito sa Antipolo ang napiling venue. Nakahanda na po ba ang magiging kwarto nya?
Manang Fe: Oo nakahanda na. Sana magugustuhan nya ang magiging kwarto nya. Tignan mo ang anak mo o, kanina pa yan nakatayo sa may pintuan. Gusto talaga niya si Maya.
Richard: Yes, she’s so happy Manang.
Manang Fe: Ako din Ricardo. Masayang masaya dahil ngayon ko lang nakita umaliwalas ang magandang mukha ni Abby, at pati na ang mukha mo. Ihanda ko na muna ang merienda.
Richard: Sige po, salama –
DING DONG DING DONG
Abby gets frantically excited. She looks at Richard but even before he could say something, Abby immediately goes outside.
Manang Fe: Hayan na ata si Maya! Pero maaga pa ah. Teka sandali Abby!
Richard: Abby, wait!
Manang Fe was quick enough able to get hold of Abby.
Manang Fe: Abby, dito ka lang ha. Puntahan ko ang gate.
Richard: Abby, stay with Daddy.
Manang Fe immediately opened the service gate upon seeing Maya’s face through the peephole.
Manang Fe: Maya!
Maya: Good afternoon po, Manag Fe! Nanjan na po ba yung masungit na Daddy ni Abby?
Manang Fe: Ha? Ah si Ricardo, oo andun o. Points to Richard who is at the front door of the mansion. Upon seeing Maya, Abby ran to Maya and hugged her tight.
Maya: Ah! Baby! Ang sweet sweet mo naman, may power hug kaagad ako? ……mmmm…..wow! may unli kiss pa!…..uhm, good afternoon po, Mr. Lim.
Richard: Richard nods. Good afternoon Ms. Dela Rosa. You’re early.
Maya: Oh, naku, Sir Chief, I’m sorry po if I’m early. My parents are both lawyers kasi, kaya I was trained to be early. I’m never late Mr. Lim.
Richard: It’s Richard. Did I sound like I was complaining?
Maya: Hindi po ba?
Richard: I was just acknowledging. Anyway, how did you get here? Did your Dad drive you here? Is anyone with you?
Maya: Ay hindi po. I brought my car. I came here alone.
The main gate automatically opened and the blue Mercedes Benz entered the garage. Nikki and Luke got down from the car.
Nikki: D-dad? You’re home early today! Hi baby!
Richard: Hi Niks, Luke. Luke just nods then looks away. Uhm, I’d like you to meet Ms. Maya dela Rosa, Abby’s new tutor. She’s the one I mentioned to you last time.
Nikki: Oh my gee! Oh my gee! You’re Ms. Maya Dad was telling us about? Is it you? Ms. Maya? It is you! Kuya! It’s her, Ms. Maya, remember?! Nikki goes to Maya and hugs her.
Maya: Hi Nikki! Hello Luke! You still remember me? Naku, ang tatangkad nyo na!
Luke: He goes to Maya and hugs her too. Oo naman Ms. Maya! How can we forget? Ikaw lang kaya ang nakapagpa-kalma kay Abby at Nikki sa eroplano. Stress na stress na kaya ako nun, buti dumating ka. And you were with us all the way kahit na labas na sa duties mo. He messes with Abby’s hair. Kaya pala masaya ang baby sister ko eh!
Nikki: Oh my gee! You’ll be Abby’s private tutor? Maya nods. Which means, you’ll be staying with us here sa house?
Richard: Yes, she will. So, can you show her around the house? Just go change into house clothes first. Niks, paki palitan na rin si Abby pinagpawisan na kasi kanina pa nag aabang dito sa may door. Uhm, Ms. Dela Rosa, where is your car?
Nikki: Yes, Dad. Welcome to the family Ms. Maya!
Maya: Thank you Nikki! Ah…Sir, I parked it just outside your house.
Richard: Joma, please park her car here inside. Can I have your keys Maya?
Maya: M-my k-kiss?
Richard: Yes, your car keys? Joma will park your car here inside.
Maya: Ah….sige po, here. Maya hands over her car keys and acts cool, but deep inside her, she was embarrassed. In her mind, she was scolding herself: Maya, nakakahiya ka! Talagang naisip mo kiss instead of keys? She forces a smile to Richard. Thank you po, Mr. Lim.
Richard: Can we do away with the formalities? It’s Richard. Let’s go inside.
Richard and Maya walk through the huge front door of the mansion. Maya immediately gets impressed with the house. The Zen/Asian inspired interiors gave her the relaxed homey feel right away. Manang Fe was there to welcome her again.
Manang Fe: Maligayang pagdating, Maya. Hindi na kita nabati kanina eh.
Maya: Hello po uli, Manag Fe! Wow! Sir…Chief, You have an impressive house. Mansion! Ang ganda.
Richard: Thank you. Feel at home. This will be your second home.
Joma enters the house, carrying some paper bags of things bought by Nikki and Luke from the mall. He hands over the car keys to Maya.
Richard: Okay na Joma?
Joma: Opo Sir, naka park na po sa loob yung sasakyan ni Ma’am.
Maya: Salamat Kuya.
Joma: Welcome po. Mahilig pala kayo Ma’am sa suman, dami po nyo binili.
Maya: Ah oo. Paborito kasi nila Mama ko eh. Pasalubong ko sa kanila.
Manang Fe: Talaga Maya, mahilig kayo sa kakanin? Ang dami nyan dito sa Antipolo.
Maya: Ay opo Manang. Pati nga po si Tita Bel, yung matagal ng staff ni Papa, paborito ang suman kaya dinamihan ko bili. Matutuwa po yun, para ko na siyang second mom eh. Dadalawin ko siya sa Sandiganbayan para ibigay ang suman. Feeling tickled and thrilled, she whispers to her tapos baka makita ko pa yung crush ko dun!
Manang Fe: Nakakatuwa ka naman Maya.
Richard: He frowns at the outspokenness of Maya, talking about hoping to see her crush somewhere. Would you like to check out where your room will be? Matatagalan pa ata sina Nikki eh.
At that moment, Nikki was descending the stairs with Abby.
Nikki: Dad! I’m here na. Abby and I will tour Ms. Maya na.
Richard: Okay, where’s Luke?
Nikki: Uhm, he’s in his room, resting……uhm, napagod kasi nag ikot po kami sa mall kanina.
Richard: Okay. Niks, show Maya around then proceed to my office.
Nikki: Okay Dad. Let’s go Ms. Maya! We’ll show you the second floor muna, nandun yung rooms namin.
Maya: Okay! Come Abby! She holds Abby’s hand.
After the tour at the second floor, the three girls head to the stairs. As they go down, Maya remembers that she wanted to ask about the baby grand piano just below the staircase.
Maya: Ah, Nikki, I noticed the baby grand piano, hindi na ba ginagamit? Aside kasi sa cover keys, pati yung lid naka baba.
Nikki: Shhhh. Points to Richard who is inside his home office, busy working on his laptop. She whispers to Maya. Bawal kasi mag ingay.
Nikki: I’ll tell you later. Come, let’s go check the study.
As they reached the ground floor, Richard looks up and nods at them to acknowledge. Maya smiles and nods back.
Nikki: That is Dad’s home office. There beside it naman is the study. The two rooms are actually one big room but separated by sliding doors hidden behind the curtains on each room. Dun si Dad, and kami, dun sa study. Come, let’s go inside. Madalas, sa kanya kanyang rooms na kami nag aaral, hindi dito. Si Abby, dito sila ng mga naging tutors nya before. So dito rin kayo when home school starts.
Maya: Nice interiors. In fairness, conducive mag-aral dito ha. Pwede rin ba ako mag-aral dito?
Nikki: Of course naman! But you have your own study area sa room mo, right Abby? Abby nods, and while smiling at Maya, pulls her by the hand towards the door just across the study. Come, we’ll show you. It’s there lang across, that door just beside the hall leading to the powder room, that is your room. Ready na yan. You can sleep there na even tonight!
Maya was speechless. Her assigned room is much much bigger than her own room in her house in Makati. She has her own private bath, a huge one, complete with tub, spacious walk-in closet and a well-lit dresser. One side of the room has bookshelves from ceiling down to the edge of the built in study table against the wall. A breakfast table sits at one corner of the room and just beside it is a mini living room set. It has a big LED TV mounted on the wall, split type air conditioning unit, Asian inspired ceiling fan, a huge bed full of fluffy pillows and with a lounge sofa at the foot side.
Maya: Th-this is going to be m-my room?
Nikki: Yeah, you like it?
Maya: Like it? I love it! Eh pang prinsesa na ito eh! Nakakahiya naman. Mas malaki at mas maganda pa sa mga rooms nyo. Mansion ang bahay nyo, so I’m sure there are other available rooms here, dun na lang ako.
Nikki: This is actually the master’s bedroom. All the rooms upstairs, except for the family room, were meant for the children. Kasi, sabi nung architect, when he designed the house, he had a big family in mind. He didn’t expect na a family like ours will be the one buying his property. Dad chose to stay in the biggest bedroom upstairs instead, kasi he’s alone naman. You know, when we moved here months ago, ang dami naming iniwan na gamit sa old house. Pero yung baby grand piano, dinala talaga ni Dad dito.
Maya: Months ago?
Nikki: Actually, mag 1 year na rin halos. It was lola’s pangungulit that made Dad buy this house na. Kasi sabi ni Lola, mas mahihirapan kami mag move-on from the death of mommy if we still stay sa old house.
Maya: Ahhh, ganun ba. Sino na ang nakatira sa old house nyo?
Nikki: It was leased. Somebody is renting it. But you know what? Si Dad lang naman ata ang hindi pa naka move-on, and so is Abby. Kami nila Kuya, naka move on na. Tanggap na namin. Ever since mom died, naging ganyan na si Dad and (she pointed to, and mouthed Abby).
Maya: Naging ganyan?
Nikki: Masungit, indifferent, laging mainit ang ulo and irritable. Kaya nga bawal. Bawal mag-ingay. Bawal ang radio, not even the piano or guitar. Kaya lalo sila nagkakalayo ni Kuya eh. They always have misunderstanding. Halos sirain na ni Kuya yung guitar nya out of frustration. Lagi kasi napupuna ni Dad. Kaya ako, when I want to play the piano, I do it when he is not here na lang.
Maya: Intindihin nyo na lang, baka nga may pinag dadaanan pa ang Daddy nyo. Mas lalo tuloy nakaka-ilang gamitin ang room na ito. Wala na ba ibang room na pwede ko magamit?
Nikki: Actually the guest rooms are really downstairs. We have 3 and they’re quite big rin.
Nikki: Yes, may isa pang downstairs. At may isa pa after nun! Hahaha, come na lang, I’ll show you. Pero you’ll still stay here. Sabi naman ni Dad, you’re a princess in your house daw eh. So, bagay ka dito sa room na ito. Nasa baba kasi yung pool and game area. May outdoor kitchen at mini bar din dun. Kaya dun nilagay ng architect yung guest rooms. Another level down naman is the basketball court.
Maya: As they passed by the main kitchen, Maya couldn’t help her excitement. Wow! Super like ko ang kitchen nyo! Hanep! Super dream kitchen. Parang sa magazines lang! At may aircon din dito?!
Nikki: You think so too? That was exactly my reaction when I saw this. It came with everything. The built in oven, the stove top in this kitchen island, all these! Pati yung Kitchen Aide mixer, blender, microwave, ALL! Ganda ng faucets no?
Maya: Yeah! Kitchen is my favorite part of the house! I love to cook! I bake too!
Nikki: Oh my geee! Me too! Abby helps me when I bake! Oh, this is sooooo exciting! When are you moving in ba?
Maya: Hahaha! Move in agad agad? Wait lang muna, hindi pa nga kami nagkaka pirmahan ng kontrata ng Dad mo eh.
Nikki: Oh, I can’t wait! How about you, baby? You want Ms. Maya to sleep here na sa house? Abby gives her 2 thumbs up. You see, pati si Abby! Let’s go see the pool!
After the tour of the house, Maya was overwhelmed. For her, everything is perfect! It really feels like she was home. While she finds the pool in her house more inviting to the senses, nothing can beat the panoramic view of the lush Antipolo Hills. As they reach the veranda just outside the dining room, the three girls were greeted by Manang Fe.
Manang Fe: Tapos na ba kayo umikot sa bahay? Mag merienda muna kayo bago mo dalhin si Maya sa Daddy mo. Ay, siya nga pala, Maya, ito si Doris at Sabel, mga kasamahan ko dito sa bahay.
Doris & Sabel: Hello po, Teacher Maya.
Sabel: Ma’am snacks po muna.
Maya: Hello, Salamat!
Doris: Eh….Ma’am Maya, kalian naman po kayo mag simula? Kailan po kayo lilipat dito?
Maya: Ha? Eh hindi ko pa alam. Hindi pa namin napag-uusapan ni Mr. Lim.
Nikki: Let’s have some snacks muna. Then you can go to Dad’s office so you can finalize everything. Para we’ll know na when you’ll start sleeping here. Oh my gee! I’m really so excited!
They had snacks while chit chatting. Manang Fe, Doris and Sabel joined the three girls and as early as that moment, they loved Maya. She was adorable and funny and so humble. As they were getting comfortable, their conversation and laughter were getting louder without them noticing, but it caught the ire of the man of the house, Richard, who was waiting for Maya to finally sign the employment contract. He could not stand waiting. He wanted to make sure that Maya will no longer back out. He stood up and proceeded immediately to the veranda where the boisterous sounds were coming from.
Richard: What’s this all about?!
Doris: Ay, Sir, sorry po, napalakas lang. Sabel kasi ang ingay mo eh!
Nikki: Uhm….D-dad…..we….we….w-were just making k-kwento. S-sorry if we disturbed you.
Manang Fe: Ricardo, pasensha na. Napasarap lamang ang kwentuhan namin. Nakakatuwa kasing magkwento si Maya eh.
Seeing Maya’s face, Richard immediately calms down.
Richard: It’s okay Manang. Uhm….Maya, when you’re done just proceed to my office.
Maya: Ah….patapos na po kami, Mr. Lim. I’ll be there in a minute po. Richard turns around and starts to walk back to his office. Maya then whispers. Manang Fe! Hayan, tinopak na naman si Daddy sungit oh! Sige na ha, salamat sa merienda, mauna na po ako dun, parang tiger mode na si Mr. Lim eh!
Nikki: Oh you’re so funny talaga! Daddy sungit?
Maya: Shhhhhh! Baka lalong magalit! Lagot tayo. O, pano, Abby, punta muna ako kay Daddy mo ha? Abby nods.
Nikki: Ah…Ms. Maya, is it okay if I call you Tita Maya na lang? Ms. Maya is so formal eh.
Maya: Ha? Ikaw, kahit ano, kahit Teacher Maya, or Ate Maya, okay lang. Tanung mo muna Daddy mo, baka hindi nya gusto na tawagin mo akong Tita, mag tiger mode yun. Hindi pa nga nagsisimula ang home school namin ni Abby, ma principal’s office ako agad. Hahaha!
Nikki: Uhm….okay. Will ask him. Pero, I’ll call you Tita Maya na ha. Sige na, go na Tita….you need to finalize everything with Dad. He can really be impatient sometimes and that’s causing his pagiging masungit. Baka na iinip na ang tagal na kasi natin eh. Sige na, go na.
Maya: Okay! Abby, kay Ate Nikki ka muna ha. Usap muna kami ni Daddy mo about lessons mo, okay? Abby gives her thumbs up and kisses Maya on both cheeks.
They walk together towards the living room. Outside Richard’s office, Nikki coaxes Maya to go inside.
Nikki: Sige na Tita Maya, go inside na. Basta smile lang ha. Kasi kanina, I saw Dad’s face change from inis to kalma, just because he saw you smile.
Maya: Talaga? Abby and Nikki nod their head in unison. O sige, good luck to me!
Richard sensed that someone was staring at him, and so he looked up and saw Maya just outside his office door.
Richard: Come in Maya. Maya walks slowly towards the office table where Richard is sitting behind. She clings to her hand bag and a small brown file envelope where she placed the draft of the contract. Please sit down, Maya. I’d rather call you Maya, is it okay? Ms. Dela Rosa is just too long and formal.
Maya: Sits down on the visitor’s chair and looks at Richard with a smile on her face. Maya will do, Mr. Lim.
Richard: It’s Richard, Maya. As I have said, let’s do away with formalities.
Maya: Uhm…. eh Sir Chief, parang ang awkward po. Richard raises his eyebrows. Mr. Lim, in a while, you’ll be my boss, and I’ll be your employee. It’s not right. It would be unethical to be calling my boss by his first name. That would be rude, Sir. Besides, that’s not the way to address someone senior with that stature in life. My parents wouldn’t like that.
Richard: He was left dumbfounded. It was like a slap on his face. He just stares at her for a moment, trying to calm himself through deep breathes. In his thoughts: Did she just question my manners and right conduct? Did she just point out that I am way older than she is?
Maya: Uhm….Sir Chief, I –
Richard: Senior, Maya? So do I look that old to you? Why? How old do you think am I?
Maya: Mr. Lim, I said senior with stature in life. I was not pertaining to physical age, senior in terms of achievements and what you have become.
For the second time, he was outwitted. He remains staring at her, trying to figure out how and what to reply to her statement. But before he could say anything, Maya continues to talk.
Maya: With the intention to tease Richard, Maya declares her statement with conviction. Fifty! Tingin ko po Sir Chief, fifty!
Richard: Whaaaat? Fifty?!
Maya: Ay, I changed my mind, Fifty Five na po!
Richard: What fifty five?
Maya: Eh kasi naman nakasimangot na naman kayo eh, high blood agad mag react, ayan lukot ang mukha nyo kaya 50, eh mas lukot na ngayon kaya 55 years old na po ang hitsura nyo. Pero if I recall the last time I saw you smile, mga 35 years old po.
Richard: Raises his eyebrows again. Are you making fun of me Maya?
Maya: Oy hindi po ah! Hindi po ba, the last time we talked sa office nyo, sabi ko, you look more younger when you smile. So based form my recollection that time, you look like you’re around 35, when you’re smiling. Ayiieeee, ngingiti na yan!
Richard: Stop that Maya! Okay. If you prefer to address me as your boss with all formalities, then fine. Call me however you like. So, do we need to discuss anything? Salary, schedule, anything in particular?
Maya: There’s no issue on the salary and other benefits. The schedule, well, I understand since you know that I go to law school, the schedule will be adjusted accordingly. My concern as of the moment is my room.
Richard: What about your room? Just tell me what you need and I’ll provide it.
Maya: I don’t feel comfortable with the idea na dun po ako sa room na yon. It’s too much. I can stay in another room, smaller and more simple.
Richard: Maya, you’ll be staying with us for almost the entire week. Practically, you’ll be living with us your entire life. Well at least during the lifetime of your contract. So that makes this your second home. You should be well provided for your comfort, especially that you’ll be working while studying. I know you have the best of both worlds, Maya. I’m sure that room is very much similar to your room in your house.
Maya: Actually not. Malayo po siya. That room is beyond ordinary. It’s for a queen. I’m no queen Mr. Lim.
Richard: But I was told you are a princess in your kingdom. It’s now Maya’s turn to raise her eyebrows. Youngest daughter ka. I know, you’re everybody’s girl in the family. A princess should be treated with royalty, right? Baka magalit ang parents mo nyan, ipakulong ako. Besides, you’re here for Abby, my little princess. So, that’s part of royal treatment for my daughter.
Maya: But Sir Chi –
Richard: No buts, Maya. You insist on addressing me with formality. Then I insist on that room for you. End of argument.
Richard: He smiles with that victory. So, do you need to finalize the contract? There’s a computer and printer in the other room. Can we do this now? So you can start soon? By the way when can you start?
Maya: Start? It’s only almost middle of May, Mr. Lim. Maybe I can start on June 1?
Richard: Yes, but as soon as you can start, the better. You need to adjust, Abby needs to adjust. Para when school starts, both of you are adjusted. Is that okay?
Maya: She was convinced right away. Okay, I can start on May 16 then? Pero may mga ilan lang po akong dapat gawin kasi may mga meetings po ako and mag enrol –
Richard: Feeling relieved, Richard cuts her. That’s fine, Maya. As I have said, the schedule is flexible. Do you need assistance in moving in and bringing your things here? You can do it at your most convenient time. I’ll give you a duplicate key for the service gate and a remote control for the main gate. If you bring your car, park it inside the garage. But, we can have the driver pick you up instead and drive for you.
Maya: Ay, hindi na po, I can manage. Thank you.
Since May 16, 2012 is a Wednesday, Maya decided to just go to the Lim mansion in the afternoon of May 15 with a big luggage of clothes, and 2 large plastic boxes full of law books and reading materials. Because it’s a weekday, her parents let her go by herself and promised to take her to the Lim residence next time.
When she arrived at the Lim mansion late afternoon, everyone got excited. Nikki and Abby helped Maya unpack her clothes, and put all her books on the shelves. They stayed with her in the room where they played unggoy unggoyan. Abby had so much fun. She kept on hugging and kissing Maya. Nikki was so happy to see her like that after years of being lonely and quiet. Since they got used to eating dinner without Richard who always stayed late in LAS, the Lim kids had early dinner with Maya.
At the dining table, Maya noticed how different Luke was when Richard was around. There was so much gusto when he talked about his plan on trying out for the varsity team of his school come June. Nikki kept on teasing him and the exchange of mockeries between the two was hilarious. Abby and Maya, as well as Manag Fe, Doris and Sabel, kept on laughing.
Doris: Manang, tignan mo yung magkapatid oh, ngayon ko lang sila nakitang magbiruan ng ganyan.
Sabel: Oo nga, Manang, relax yung magkapatid no? Hindi nagkaka pikunan kahit anung tuksuhan nila o. Eh, kalian lang nag away sila dahil sa tukso tukso na ganyan.
Manang Fe: Nadadala siguro ng saya ni Abby. Kaya hindi nila makuha mag-away. Bawal kay Abby ang ma-stress hindi ba?
Doris: At Manang, pasimuno rin naman kasi yang si Teacher Maya. Nakakatuwa siya no? Ang gaan gaan ng dating nya.
Sabel: Tumpak BFF. Sana magtagal siya kay Abby.
After dinner, Nikki and Luke both excused themselves to prepare for bed. Abby expectedly stayed with Maya. She did not want to go with Doris to prepare for bed. She wanted to be with Maya. So, Maya volunteered to bring Abby to her room and prepare her for bed. It was at that time that Richard arrived from work.
Manang Fe: Ricardo, nandyan ka na pala. Kumain ka na ba? Ipaghahanda kita ng pagkain.
Richard: Hindi na po Manang. Kumain na po ako. Mga bata po?
Manang Fe: Si Nikki at Luke, nasa kwarto nila, natutulog na ata. Si Abby pinapatulog pa ni Maya, nandun sila sa kwarto ni Abby.
Richard: Maya’s here? She’s actually here already?
Manang Fe: Hindi mo ba alam? Bukas na ang simula nya diba, de sisais?
Richard: Oh yeah. That would be tomorrow. Kamusta po?
Manang Fe: Magmula ng dumating siya kaninang mga alas kwatro, hindi na nilubayan ng mga bata. Si Abby, ayaw ng humiwalay sa kanya. Ayaw sumama kay Doris kaya hayun, nagboluntaryo si Maya na siya ang mag handa kay Abby sa pagtulog. Nag papakwento pa, kaya nandun pa sa taas.
Ricardo, parang makakabuti si Maya hindi lang kay Abby, pero pati kay Luke at Nikki.
Richard: Sana nga po, Manang. Sige na po, magpahinga na po kayo. Na-ilock ko na po ang mga pinto.
Manang Fe: O siya, sige. Manang Fe turns her back against her former ward smiling. She’s optimistic that there will be a lot of changes in the Lim residence.
After resting for about an hour watching TV in his room, Richard takes a quick shower, changed into his pajamas and went to bed. After 30 minutes of tossing and turning, Richard got up and went down to the kitchen to get a glass of water. He couldn’t sleep. After a long tiring day in the office, his adrenalin is still up. Nikki was in the kitchen, finishing a glass of milk.
Richard: O Nikki, bakit gising ka pa?
Nikki: Dad! I got hungry eh. We ate early dinner kasi kanina. I’m just finishing this cookie and my milk. You, Dad, are you hungry?
Richard: No, I’m just thirsty. You brush your teeth before sleeping, okay? Nikki nods. Richard leans forward to plant a kiss on her forehead. Good night Niks.
Nikki: Good night, Dad. Tita – Teacher Maya’s here na.….Richard nods. It’s so amazing. Sa dinami ng tao sa mundo, she found us, we found her. Abby’s so happy Dad.
Richard: Yeah I heard. She wanted to stay with her nga daw.
Nikki: Nods and smiles at the thought. Yeah…well, good night Dad.
Richard was lured to go to the veranda as he felt the cool breeze coming through the screen of the sliding door. He puts down the half empty glass of water on the kitchen counter and proceeds to the veranda. He saw Maya at the poolside, standing barefoot. She dips her left foot to feel the water. She looks to her left then the right, then peeks through her neckline to check on her bra, and without warning, reaches for the back zipper of her summer dress and pulls it down, then releases her body from it exposing herself in nude panty and bra top.
Richard: What the hell is she thinking?!
Nikki: Dad?! What is it? Nikki came out to the veranda rushing as she heard her dad bellowed, which was immediately followed by a splash sound.
Richard: Unbelievable! He runs down the stairs, grabs a towel from the utility cabinet near the shower room and heads to the poolside. Maya! Maya!
Maya could not hear Richard yelling her name. She moved her body down to the pool floor, swam like a janitor fish, rushed up to get some air then down into the water again. She does hand stand, exposing her nude underwear that blended with her smooth creamy wet legs that she held straight up in the air. Then another splash! is heard as she heavily released her legs onto the water. In a couple of seconds, Maya went up to the surface, and slowly did some freestyle. It was then that she realized that someone was calling her name. Maya! Maya! She stopped, stood up and there she saw Richard fuming mad with a towel in his hand.
Richard: What the hell are you doing?!
Maya: Huh?! Nag swi-swimming po.
Richard: In the nude?!
Maya: How did you know? Naninilip ka noh?
Richard: Hell NO! Did it ever occur to you na may mga lalaki sa bahay na ito, and that you can be seen from the veranda of this house as well as our neighbors? Look at them! They’re feasting on you!
Maya: Huh? Tries to act cool to hide her embarrassment. For the record Sir Chief, I’m not swimming in the nude. I’m wearing something.
Richard: Yeah right, nude panty and bra! Well FYI, from their perspective up there in their verandas, it looks like you’re wearing nothing, and who knows what they are imagining this very minute! Get out of the pool right now!
Maya: But I am wearing something. Anu naman po ang pinag kaiba nito sa two piece swimsuit? Wala. So what’s the big deal, Mr. Lim? It’s not as if they would charge me with grave scandal under the penal laws.
Richard: Well, you are IN my house and in THIS house, RULES are to be followed! Don’t try MY patience Maya! Now, get out of that pool and put this towel on!
Maya: Eh bakit ba kayo sigaw ng sigaw sa akin? Kayo ang makakasuhan ng alarm and scandal eh! She is trying to figure out how to get out of the pool now that she is aware that she looks naked with her wet nude undies.
Richard: Eh kasi ang kulit mo. Ang tigas ng ulo mo eh. Can you please stop arguing with me. Stop being a brat and just follow what I say!
Maya: Fine! Eto na nga po o, aahon na po. She stops. Eeeeee! Huwag kang titingin ha!
Richard: At ngayon ka pa nahiya? Maya, if I wanted to take advantage of the situation, I would not have rushed here to warn you and get you out of the pool. Sinabayan ko na lang sila na pag pyestahan at pag pantasyahan ka.
Maya: She gets out of the water and awkwardly walks to Richard with baby steps while trying hard to cover her front body with her hands, then quickly slips into the beach white towel Richard was holding. As he wraps her gently, Maya shyly looks into Richard’s eyes and apologized for her behavior. S-sorry na po…eh maninit din po kasi eh kaya I was not able to resist plunging in the pool.
Richard: He calms down upon seeing her apologetic face and teary eyes. He heaves a sigh. O, what now, Maya? Nasan na yung tapang mo kanina? Huwag mo ako dadaanin sa iyak, it does not have any effect on me, so it won’t work.
He picked up Maya’s dress that was sprawled on the Bermuda grass and leads her to the stairs going to the veranda where Nikki was watching. With her is Luke, who came from the study to get a book. As they ascend the stairs, Richard was holding the towel at the back of Maya to secure it.
Nikki: Kuya! Look at them o, they look so nice together dba?! They’re so bagay! It’s so nakaka kilig!
Luke: Looks like nakahanap ng katapat si Dad! This is interesting. Niks, keep me posted, okay?
Nikki: Sureness! Oh my gee, they’re coming up na. Let’s go na Kuya! Let’s go!
Maya: Sorry na nga po. Hindi kasi ako makatulog, parang namamahay po ako eh. So I went out to watch the stars, catch some fresh air. Eh the water was so inviting kaya hayun, napatalon po ako.
Richard: (In a very calm tone) Uhhm……By the way Maya, I would like to thank you for taking care of Abby today. Sabi ni Manang Fe hindi ka na raw nilubayan ng mga bata lalo na si Abby. Thank you for tucking her in and telling her a bedtime story.
Maya: Okay lang po yun, nag enjoy naman po ako. Masaya silang kasama, lalo na po si Abby. Uhm….Sir Chief, sorry po uli, hindi ko naman po kasi alam na bawal po pala magswimming eh.
Richard: Hindi naman bawal mag swimming. You should have at least changed into a swim wear instead of just wearing those….uhm …undies.
They’re now at the door of Maya’s room, Maya held on to the towel with her left hand, and swiftly took her dress from Richard’s arm as she answers Richard in a frustrated tone.
Maya: Eh it was a spur of the moment nga po, ang kulit nyo po naman o. Then, she faced Richard with a wide smile plastered on her face and says, Sorry po uli Sir Chief……and thank you din po sa concern. Good night po! Buh-bye!
With that, Maya turned around and entered her bedroom without looking back and shut the door behind her immediately, leaving Richard outside still stoned to the ground with amazement. Her wits, guts and spontaneity simply surprised him. She doesn’t seem to be intimidated by him, even in an infuriated state and despite his wrathful conduct.
Maya: S-sir Chief?!
Maya: Huh?! Si Mr. Lim! Naku, patay!
James: Atty. James Ventura.
Richard: Engr. Richard Lim.
Doris: Manang Fe ha, yang alaga mo, napapansin ko lang, napapadalas ang uwi ng maaga dito sa bahay. Anung meron, ha?