Admin note: This is a continuation to Wasted – Part 12
Author’s Note: Sorry, ang dami lang nangyari sa buhay ko sa mga nakaraang buwan (may naospital, may sakuna, may balikbayan, may sakit, may trabahong mabigat, atbp.) Salamat po sa patuloy na pagsubaybay at pagbabasa. Paumanhin muli sa matagal na paghihintay. 😦 Without further ado, here’s part 13 and happy new year to everyone! 🙂
Disclaimer: Song lyrics, musical pieces and links in the post below belong to their respective composers and singers. Click the links for a more complete experience 😉
Wasted – Part 13
Maya waved good-bye to Diana as the car pulled away from the training center of Time Airways.
“Kuya Joma,” Maya directed her greeting to the trusted driver and friend of the Lims. “Nasaan na sila Anton?”
“Ah Maya, nauna na sila sa venue ng play ni Nikki.” Joma caught her eye. “Baka raw kasi magipit kaya nauna na sila habang sinusundo kita. Andyan rin nga pala sa likod yung damit mo; ipinadala na lang nila.”
“Ha?” She twisted her body to pull out the box from the floor. “Kailangan ko pa magbihis?”
Joma just shrugged, with a smile playing on his lips as though with a secret. “Opening show raw kasi kaya special.”
“Naku, ano ba yan, kaya dapat hindi na ako pumasok eh. Para nakapag-ayos pa ako.” Maya pouted. “Pero ano ba laban ko sa mga Lim?”
Joma laughed as he maneuvered through the traffic. Maya sat back, lost in thought as she recalled how she came into the current situation.
“Ahh Ms Diana, I’m sorry. I think I won’t be able to come in today to the training center. You see,” Maya snuck a glance at Richard, seeing him perk up at this. “There are several family commitments today that I have to attend to.” Richard signaled her to give him the phone and she shook her head vigorously.
Richard shook his own head and covered her hand holding the phone with his. “Hello, Diana right? This is Richard Lim.” He occasionally paused, listening to the other end of the line. “Yes, yes, I understand. What would the training center duty entail? Okay. What would be the office hours? Noted on this. I’ll talk to Maya. Yes, we’ll call again. Thank you.” Richard ended the call without giving Maya a chance to speak.
“Richard, ano yun?” Maya felt annoyed. She was preparing herself for heartbreak that morning and now it seemed like Richard did not even bother to pay attention to her emotional well-being. Baka mamaya luhaan na nga ako, papapasukin pa ako nito sa trabaho. She frowned at her thoughts.
“Maya, it seemed like they really do need help.” He handed her the cellphone. “Also, don’t you think this is a wonderful opportunity for you to be exposed to the other side of TA training?” Richard’s face was obliging, willing her to agree with him.
“Siyempre, ok na opportunity yun.” Maya conceded. “Pero, Richard, tulad ng dati, pamilya pa rin ang mauuna sa akin.” Seeing the usually stern face soften, Maya continued. “Oo nga at kailangan ko magtrabaho pero ‘di ko hahayaan na kainin nito yung oras ko kina Anton.” Maya was taken aback when Richard suddenly pulled her to himself in a hug.
“And that’s why you’re such a special woman, Maya.” She felt him drop a kiss on her head. “But still,” He pushed back, looking at her face. “Go for it, take this opportunity.”
Maya shook herself out of her momentary shock. “Hep, tingnan muna natin ang sasabihin ng Mama at Papa mo.” Maya was confident that Richard’s parents (or his mother, at least) would back her on this. After all, Esmeralda had hinted on her preference for Maya to be a housewife. The Lim matriarch is sure to frown at Maya suddenly being called away for work. Little did Maya know that she was gravely mistaken.
Richard brought up the topic with his parents once the children have left for their respective activities for that day.
“Why, that’s a lovely chance, Maya.” Esmeralda’s enthusiastic response effectively crushed Maya’s hope that she would not be leaving the side of her son that day.
“Yes I agree.” Her usually quiet husband concurred. “I think this is something that you shouldn’t miss. It’s not every day that you get a call from the training center, I gather. Now, if it were a call regarding a double leg flight, my dear, that’s a different bucket altogether.” Don Roberto built his case. “Also, it’s not every day that you can count on Esmeralda and I to spend quality time with our grandson Anton.” At hearing his name, Anton jumped up and rushed to his grandfather’s welcoming arms. “We’re leaving for China soon and I hope you don’t mind if we spend today spoiling Anton?”
Maya could only nod and smile weakly while Richard placed an arm around her shoulders as he dialed the number of the Time Airways training center.
How, indeed, would one Maya dela Rosa fare against the combined charm of the Lims?
“Maya, andito na tayo,” Joma parked near the entrance of the theater building of Nikki’s school. “Pwede ka raw magbihis sa dressing/comfort room sa kabilang wing.” He locked the car after assisting Maya by taking the dress box and several paper bags.
Maya just nodded, clutching her purse and her make-up kit, hoping that she will look presentable enough for the night. Joma took her arm as he hurried her into the corridors, instilling in her a sense of urgency that she thought was brought about by the impending curtain call.
Unknown to her, Joma was merely hurrying her to keep her from pausing to question the quietness of the event and the seeming lack of people at the lobby.
After all but shoving Maya into the empty and well-lighted dressing room with her dress and accessories, with instructions to wear the dress and the shoes, Joma took out his phone.
From Joma to Babe: Pakisabi kay sir, the mission has commenced. Dressing room na kami.
And with the reading aloud of that short text message, a hush came over the theater in the opposite wing.
Liza clapped her hands. “Places everyone! It will begin in a few minutes!”
“Kuya Joma,” Maya’s timid voice called out to him as the door opened. “Ok lang ba yung ganito? Baka sobra naman?”
Joma looked up from reading a text message from his wife and gave a grin. “Perfect yan, Maya.”
As they approached the large doors of the theater, Maya stopped. “Kuya Joma, yung tickets natin?”
“Tickets?” Joma’s face furrowed.
“Oo tickets sa play, parang wala naman kasi naibigay sa akin si Nikki.” Maya was starting to panic. Naku, baka hindi pa pala kami nito papasukin.
“Ah tickets.” Joma sighed in relief. Muntik pa ako nito maboljak. “Habang nagbibihis ka, binigay ko na kanina para sigurado na may seats tayo at di pagsaraduhan.” Hindi nagmamake sense pero sana wag niya tanungin.
“Ah, okay.” Maya seemed somewhat confused but brushed it off as possible perks as guests of the director of the play.
An usherette came forward to help as they entered the theater. The lights were already dimmed, making it impossible for either of them to recognize any one seated. The usherette led Maya into her seat while Joma begged off, saying that he will just return the dress box and things to the car. Maya told him to be quick, not knowing that he will just place the things backstage.
“Ah miss, sigurado ka na dito ako?” Maya felt awkward as she was led to possibly the best seats in the house without anyone seated near her, as though she was given a wide berth from other audience members. She peered into the darkness of the other rows, trying to find the Lims and her son. “Parang nahiwalay kasi ako sa mga kasamahan ko.”
The young lady tilted her head. “Kayo po si Ms dela Rosa, right?”
“Oo, pero -.”
“Dito nga po kayo nakaassign na seat.” The girl smiled and sensed that Maya was about to counter her again. “Sige po Ma’am, malapit na po magcurtain call. Hope you enjoy the show.”
Maya was left with no other choice but to sit back with only her thoughts as her company. Naku, nasaan na kaya si Anton? Nasaan na rin kaya sina Sir Chief, magulang niya, Abby, Luke…
Maya nervously fiddled with her dress. For the life of her, she cannot fathom the reason why Abby and Nikki saw fit for her to wear such an elegant dress. It was a dark blue outfit with lacy butterfly sleeves and a taffeta skirt that ended just above her knees. All in all, she felt somewhat overdressed as she sat alone in her row.
Just then, the opening bars of Jim Chappell’s Mr Noodles piano instrumental can be heard. Pushing back her misgivings, Maya sat up straight to enjoy the show.
“Noong unang panahon,” A familiar cheery voice floated from the sound system.
Parang si Abby yun ah… Maya thought.
“May isang mahal na prinsesa na ubod ng ganda, saya at daldal na naglalakbay,” The narrator who sounded like Abby proceeded with the introduction as Nikki, dressed up in a simple dress with a small crown on her head and carrying a bayong, walked from stage right. She enthusiastically waved to the audience as the spotlight shown on her.
“Umabot siya sa isang lugar kung saan naghahari ang isang masungit pero gwapong lalaki, ang mahal na hari.” The voice over continued. Another spotlight appeared as Nicolo, wearing stately attire complete with glasses and a crown, popped from stage left. He sauntered with his arms crossed as he frowned at the audience.
Still facing and waving at the audience, Nikki accidentally bumped against Nicolo’s back, causing the former to drop the bayong and the latter to suddenly face her in annoyance.
“Ang hindi nila alam, mag-krukrus ang kanilang landas at mababago na ang takbo ng kanilang buhay.” Nicolo and Nikki both scrambled to pick up the bottle of what Maya supposed was bagoong. Their hands grazed each other’s and they had a moment looking at each other’s eyes while the background music turned mellow.
“Naku, sorry po…” Nikki as the princess trailed off, seemingly at a loss for words upon seeing Nicolo. She affected Maya’s tulala face with her mouth slightly open.
The music suddenly stopped and the sound of a scratching disk was heard. “Watch where you’re going!” Nicolo as the king growled and shoved the bottle to Nikki.
The music then turned into an upbeat soundtrack as Nikki pulled a face and began a repartee with the king, unfazed. “Ito na nga sorry na nga di ‘ba, sa iyo ba yung gubat na ito?”
Ano ba itong si Nikki, sana nagbigay ng warning na ganito yung story para hindi naman nakakabigla. Maya gripped the arm rests as the story progressed more or less in a way she expected it to do so. Once more she tried to search for familiar faces around her but it was still too dark for her to recognize anyone.
As the play went on to show the integration of the Mahal na Prinsesa in the kingdom of the Mahal na Hari, more characters joined the cast. Two of which are played by Nikki’s friends, Megan and Stacy, as two visiting princesses from nearby kingdoms – the Princess with Bangs and the Princess with a Hairnet. Maya and the audience laughed at the antics of the stage versions of Doris and Sabel.
Abby came out as well as the mute little princess and the narration ceased, confirming Maya’s suspicions that Abby is the narrator.
Several scenes played out to show the development of the dynamics of the relationship of the king, the little princess and the princess. They even included a cover of the song Mahal Kita Kasi in a production number which concluded with the little princess saying her first word. Maya shed tears at this part, remembering when Abby herself began to speak.
Eventually, the tone of the play shifted as the lights dimmed as Nikki and Nicolo abruptly turned their back from each other and the king slowly walked off-stage.
“Dumating ang panahon na kinailangan ng mahal na prinsesa na maglakbay muli.” Abby walked to the side of the stage to resume her narrator duties. “Nakarating sa isang bagong kaharian ang mahal na prinsesa. Laking tuwa niya ng makita niya ang prinsipeng may wings, isa niyang matalik na kaibigan.”
Maya gave a burst of laughter as Luke entered the stage, strutting in a pilot uniform with a pair of wings attached to his back. His wide grin and big gestures could only mean that he was caricaturing the boisterous and confident Captain James Ventura.
The backdrop and props constantly moved as the pair pretended to fly and travel. Then one of the rocks swiveled and out came a waving Anton, just in time for Abby’s introduction of the “Munting Prinsipe”.
Maya’s eyes widened. “Anak!” She was unable to stop herself and so she covered her mouth in surprise.
Seasons changed and quick costume changes showed that time passed as well.
“Sa tulong ng prinsipeng may wings, bumalik rin ang mahal na prinsesa sa kaharian ng mahal na hari kasama ang munting prinsipe.”
A short dance number and backdrop change with the various characters signaled the next phase of the story and the reunion of the Mahal na Prinsesa and Mahal na Hari.
“Ang hindi alam ng mahal na prinsesa, mahal na mahal siya ng mahal na hari. Isang gabi ay inimbitahan ng mahal na hari ang mahal na prinsesa sa kanilang hardin at nag-alay ng isang kanta.”
Maya placed her chin on her palm, thinking that this is where the story diverts from reality. After all, what are the odds that Richard Lim would fall for Maya dela Rosa? The next scene has got to be dramatized to fit the taste of the theatergoers, she concluded. Nikki would know this as she is an expert in storytelling.
Nikki, in a new princess gown, sat on a bench in the middle of the stage with Anton beside her. Nicolo, as the king, cleared his throat and picked up a guitar conveniently placed by the propsman (who was actually Joma in black).The Mahal na Prinesa made herself comfortable bench while the king faced her.
The Mahal na Hari started to strum the guitar and the opening acoustic riffs of the Boyce Avenue’s rendition of Katy Perry’s “Teenage Dream” floated.
I think you’re pretty without any makeup on
I think you’re funny when you tell the punch line wrong
I knew you got me so you let your walls come down, down
Before you met me I was alright but things were kinda heavy
You brought me to life
Now every February you’ll be my Valentine, Valentine
Let’s just talk all through the night
There’s no need to rush
We can dance until we die
You and I will be young forever
The audience cooed and gave noises of approval as the Mahal na Hari placed down the guitar and extended his hand to the Mahal na Prinsesa, inviting her for a dance. Anton lightly pushed Nikki to join Nicolo and the musicians took over the accompaniment while Nicolo continued to sing the refrain and the next parts.
You, you make me feel like I’m living a teenage dream
The way you turn me on
I can’t sleep
Let’s run away and don’t ever look back, don’t ever look back
When you’re around me, life’s like a movie scene
I wasn’t happy until you became my queen
At this line, Nicolo replaced Nikki’s crown with a bigger one. Bagay sila ah, Maya thought to herself as the couple ended their dance routine and they sat back down on the bench, with Nicolo still singing.
I finally found you, my missing puzzle piece
I’mma get your heart racing if that’s what you need
In this teenage dream tonight
Let you rest your head on me if that’s what you need
In this teenage dream tonight, tonight, tonight, tonight
The sequence ended with Nikki, Anton and Nicolo on the bench and Anton pretending to sleep on Nicolo’s lap with a smile on his face.
The audience applauded and Maya looked at the scene with a soft smile on her face, thinking that maybe her son inherited the flair for performing from the Lim side.
“Nagtaka ang mahal ng prinsesa, hindi siya sigurado sa kung ano ibigsabihin ng hari,” Abby began narrating again while Nicolo hoisted Anton up and carried him. “Buong akala niya ay ito ay paraan lang ng hari para mahele ang kanilang munting prinsipe.” Nikki stood up as well following in their wake as Nicolo proceeded backstage. “Dahil dito, nag-handa ang hari ng isang pagtitipon upang mas mabigyan ng pansin ng mahal na prinsesa ang kanyang intension dito. Pinatawag ng mahal na hari ang iba’t ibang mga mamamayan ng mga kaharian upang maging malinaw ang lahat.” Abby looked straight at Maya. Right after their eye contact, all lights shut and Maya gasped in surprise.
A spotlight opened directly overhead Maya. She partially shielded her eyes as they tried to get accustomed to the brightness. Maya squinted at the stage as another spotlight moved towards the curtains.
The last person she expected to come out of the stage strode out with poise. Richard Lim, wearing a dark gray suit, pushed back the curtains and adjusted his lapel. He gazed directly into her eyes while the introduction to Josh Groban’s In Her Eyes started to play.
“Nakuuuu…” was the only word that escaped Maya.
She stares through my shadow
She sees something more
Believes there’s a light in me
She is sure
And her truth makes me stronger
Does she realize
I awake every morning
With her strength by my side
Richard’s strong voice echoed in the theater. Sa mga Lim nga nakuha ni Anton ang performance genes, Maya concluded numbly as she watched Anton’s father belt out the song with a full voice and never lost eye contact with her.
I am not a hero
I am not an angel
I am just a man
Man who’s trying to love her
Unlike any other
In her eyes, I am
The real Mahal na Hari began to climb down the stage steps with the spotlight following him as he sang. Softer lights glow on the seats he approached along the way, revealing the various people seated around them. Maya could only cover her mouth in shock.
This world keeps on spinning
Only she stills my heart
From the first row of the theater, Mamang blows her a kiss and her Nanay Teresita gives her a watery smile as she tried to keep her tears in check. Both handed Richard each a stem of tulips.
She’s my inspiration
She’s my northern star
The opposite row showed Don Roberto and Donya Esmeralda, both with smiles on their faces, wave at her and they each hand Richard a stem of roses.
I don’t count my possessions
All I call mine
Emman, Edselyn and several of her Time Airways colleagues, majority still in uniform, exaggeratedly raised their arms as they handed over multicolored gerberas.
I will give her completely
‘Til the end of all time
The next set surprised Maya as her former bosses and trainers, Ms Belmonte, Ms Ruiz-White, and Ms Romeo shed their usually stern personas participated happily in providing Richard with carnations.
I am not a hero
I am not an angel
Doris and Sabel held each other and made shaking movement to denote that they were trying to contain their kilig, giving almost crushed stems of calla lilies to their boss. Joma grinned as he placed his hand on his wife’s waist while Liza brandished their two stems of calla lilies. Manang Fe appeared to be teary-eyed as well as she slowly handed her calla lily to their former ward and clasped his hand briefly.
I am just a man
Man who’s trying to love her
Unlike any other
In her eyes I am
By now, Richard was at the aisle of the row where Maya was. The lights revealed two men standing in attention.
Simon quickly passed off four stems of amaryllis to Richard and bashfully held up an iPad with Kute, Jeff and Cho peering at a Skype session. James Ventura, in his full pilot regalia, saluted Richard and winked at Maya before handing over the amaryllis he held.
In her eyes I see the sky and all I’ll ever need
In her eyes time passes by and she is with me
As Richard approached her with the bouquet of flowers, Maya’s heart skipped a beat as hands suddenly came at her from behind her, pulling her into a partial hug.
Luke, Nikki, Abby and Anton had joined her and presented her each with sunflowers. Maya decided to let her tears fall now as she stood up to hug her family.
I am not a hero
Richard was now beside the woman he loves and his children gave them space. He handed her the bouquet of flowers.
I am not an angel
He tilted her chin to face him and sang the next lines, still maintaining eye contact with Maya.
I am just a man
Man who’s trying to love her
Trembling, Maya drops the bouquet to the seat beside her.
Unlike any other
In her eyes I am
Richard takes Maya’s hand and gives it a kiss.
In her eyes I am.
The lights of the whole theater then brightens as the audience (all of whom are family and friends of the dela Rosas and Lims) stands up while applauding. Some were hooting, some were crying, and some were cheering.
Maya did not pay any heed to any of the cacophony around them as she savored the feeling of being enveloped in the warmth of the arms of the man she loves.
“So, has she signed a pre-nuptial agreement?”
“No, I won’t allow it. Hindi sila titira doon!”
Author’s note: It’s shorter than the previous chapter but I hope you liked it 🙂 Let me know what you think. This isn’t the last chapter yet, by the way.