Richard Lim was on a six months vacation in the Philippines. It was the first time in seven years that he decided to spend more time in his country especially his province San Nicolas.
For seven years , Richard tried to stay away and build his new life outside the country.
He actually was just supposed to attend the wedding of his two former classmates and close friends but he decided to stay and spend his vacation here.
He also needed to check on the properties his grandfather left.
He also missed the people who took care of him when his grandfather died. He considers them as family.
The moment the plane landed in the province of San Nicolas, Richard cant help but feel excited and also nostalgic.
This was the place that gave him very good memories and also the place that seized all the happiness in him.
He can’t help but have a feeling of uncertainty of whether to continue with his plan of spending his 6 months break here.
He alighted the plane and after a few minutes, he saw their trusted driver Joma.
Ricky excitedly hugged Joma much to the surprise of the latter.
“Joma kumusta kayo? Sina Manang?”
“Okay kaming lahat Sir Richard. Ayun naghanda sina Manang.
Lahat tuwang tuwa nang malaman na magtatagal po kayo dito.”
“Natutuwa rin ako Joma. Namiss ko kayong lahat.”
They drove to the house exchanging stories. Joma was updating Richard of the new developments in their province and also of some gossips and juicy news.
Richard was amused that he momentarily forgot his apprehensions.
Maya dela Rosa Ventura aka Maya, Emm (she used this nickname after her years of self isolation from her work, her collegues and friends) have just been reinstated a year ago to work at Northwest Hills Montessori.
For the past years after she got married to James and had Luke, she worked as a non-teaching staff at the Rizal Campus of Northwest Hills. She was assigned there by the Mother Superior.
She was already settled and at peace with her family life until James got hired by a big airline company in London, where his parents were based.
It was an opportunity of a lifetime which he couldn’t refuse. Maya understood it and vowed to follow James after a couple of years.
With James in London, Maya decided to return home to her province.
She wanted to be where her mom lives and where her friends were.
It would be a perfect environment for Luke.
She vowed to let go of the past and reconnect with the people she knew.
She sought the help of the Mother Superior and was again brought back to work at Northwest Hills Montessori.
She opted not to mention to anyone that she already worked at Northwest Hills before. It was better that way, she thought.
So here she is working at Northwest Hills Montessori again with her son, Luke. They have already adjusted after a year of stay.
She was living with her mom and she has settled with the routine of going to school with Luke then coming home in the afternoon to her mom. She doesn’t mind the seemingly boring state of her life now. It wasn’t boring seven years ago anyway.
But her world was about to be rocked again at the mere presence of Richard Lim.
Richard was inside the music room. He was very early that he came ahead of the other teachers.
He was already provided with keys to the music room the day before so he easily entered without asking permission from anyone else. He just informed the guard.
He was busy arranging songs for the kids to work on when Rafi entered.
“Naku Ricky, you’re here na pala. Good morning”
“Good Morning too. Oo maaga ako kasi I have nothing to do naman. At least I could prepare for the practice later.”
“Wow naman, you’re so dedicated naman sa work. Maprepressure kami nito.”
“Oh well, if we wanted a perfect show, dapat talaga we practice hard. Strict ako sa practice and time. Pero dont be scared… ill be a bit lenient pag yun faculty na. Takot ko lang kay Fr. Francis.” He joked.
“Oh well, salamat pala kami kay Fr francis. But kidding aside, I assure you na the faulty members here are all professional with regards to work ethics. Hindi ka naman mahihirapan. Atsaka very strict si Mother Superior, yun pinakahead namin, sa punctuality, sa perfection so malamang hindi naman magkakaproblema.”
Rafi gave him the assurance.
After a couple of minutes Simon, Lino, Edz and Maya arrived.
They greeted each other while Maya was just at the back of Edz and she tentatively smiled at Ricky.
He smiled back and nodded his head at her.
They were discussing the songs, flow of the program when Jeff arrived with a lovely bouquet of flowers.
“Good morning! Kakatapos ko lang ng classes. So what have I missed?”
Jeff saw Maya, who was busy (or acted busy to keep herself from being affected by Richard’s presence)
“Emm dumating to kanina.” He handed her the flowers.
“Naku Emm ang ganda ng flowers!” Rafi was so excited.
“Kanino ba yan galing?” Simon asked.
Maya checked the card. She wasn’t expecting flowers from anyone. She only receives some from a few students but this one was obviously expensive and not bought at the local florist.
She half expected it to be from Ricky but she of course was certain that Ricky would never make that move anymore.
They were all eyeing her as if asking who sent the flowers.
“Galing kay James.” she sheepishly smiled after reading the card.
James sent Maya flowers. How he did it in a short span of time, she didnt know. But one of James’ trait was his unending surprises and sweetness.
“Malaki siguro ang kasalanan ni James ngayon ah kaya sobra kung bumawi. Mahal yan ganyang flowers.” Eds interjected.
“Romatic naman talaga si James kaya eto si Emm miss na miss na siya.” Simon joined in.
“Kelan ba kasi uuwi para masundan nyo na si Luke?” Jeff kidded.
Maya’s work colleagues already met James when he came in for a short visit. They all liked his personality and admired him for his dedication in his work and his love for Maya and Luke.
Ricky was just listening while Maya was just smiling.
She felt awkward talking about James in front of Richard but she needs to act normal.
Ricky was unconsciously clenching his fists that were above the piano keys. His eyes turned to tiny slits.
He stood up, excused himself and went out of the music room to calm his nerves.
Preview of the Next Chapter:
“Hey, why are you crying? May masakit ba? Wait, ill call the doctor.”
“No walang masakit. Ok na ako.”
“Ba’t ka umiiyak? Hey tingnan mo nga ako.” She was still avoiding his eyes.
“Wala. Natakot lang ako for Luke.”