Richard went home when Manang Fe, Liza and Luke arrived.
He needed to take a shower and change his clothes which he wore since yesterday.
He left Manang Fe to take care of Maya and Luke. He also asked Liza, the trusted secretary of his late grandfather to stay. He requested Liza to handle all doctors instructions and relay it to him if ever an emergency comes up.
Maya was asleep when Manang Fe, Luke and Liza arrived. He didn’t bother to wake her up for he knows that she badly needs a lot of sleep and rest.
Luke was left in the care of Manang Fe and Liza.
Rafi and Edz also arrived and a few minutes Maya woke up.
“Kumusta na pakiramdam mo?” Edz asked her
“Okay naman na ako. Nakakahiya sainyo, naabala ko pa kayo”
“Naku, don’t say that. Anong abala ang pinagsasabi mo.” Rafi joined in.
“Kasi may activity tapos nandito kayo.”
“Emm, don’t say that. We love you kaya kung ano man ang mangyari sa yo or kay Luke, you can count on us.”
Rafi was genuinely smiling at her that Maya felt bad for thinking about her negatively.
Edz then said…
“Pero kinilig ako kahit taranta tayong lahat kahapon kasi super aligaga si Ricky sa pagdala sa’yo sa hospital. ”
“Oo nga. You could really see the worry in his face. Aakalain mo boyfriend ni Emm kung mag-alala.” Rafi was teasing her.
Namula si Maya. She never expected Rafi to be teasing her that way. It contradicts with her belief that Rafi and Ricky might be having something.
“Grabe, wag nga kayong ganyan, nakakahiya. Baka may makarinig. Baka marinig nya.”
“Ay naku Emm, kagabi pa after we have settled you dito sa hospital at okay naman lahat, we were already teasing Ricky. Tawa lang naman ng tawa.” Rafi continued.
Mas nahiya si Maya to find out that Richard is already being teased by Edz and Rafi.
“Naku nakakatawa nga kasi sa sobrang taranta ni Ricky, nabitawan nya yun contact lens ni Rafi.”
“At pasalamat ako na di natusok yun mata ko.”
“Ah ano?”Maya was baffled.
“Kasi nga di ba, nahihirapan akong maglagay ng contact lens, kaya I asked Ricky to help me tapos hayun nagulat kami ng nagslide ka.”
“Naku sorry Rafi. Ano ba naman ako. Ang clumsy ko naman. Okay lang ba yun mata mo? yun contact lens mo nawala ba?”
“Don’t worry my dear. I have a spare naman. Basta you have to rest at may concert pa tayo remember.”
Maya was embarrassed but mostly relieved that her assumption about Rafi and Ricky weren’t accurate.
Though she can’t admit it to herself, though she has no right at all, she was really jealous to the point that she was close to not being able to handle her emotions that night.
“Okay lang Emm. Ang pinaka importante ay you’re okay. Magiingat ka na sa susunod ha. Mabuti na lang Ricky was so quick at ang galing dumiskarte. Mabilis kaming nakarating sa hospital. He decided everything on his own kasi nagkagulo na kami.” Rafi was genuinely smiling at her.
“Very decisive nga siya. He just called his secretary ata yun, then yun na umayos ng hospital. At talagang alaga ka sa hospital na to. Family friend ata nila isa sa mga doctors dito kaya grabe sila magasikaso. Naku Emm grabe ang pogi points sayang nga lang at taken na kayo pareho. ” Edz was teasing.
“Huh? You mean siya lahat nag asikaso nito?” Maya asked.
It was then that she realized that Richard had provided her with the best room of the hospital, had flowers by her table and had fruits and food as well. Then she saw Manang Fe who was seated by the sofa, smiling at her.
“Kumusta na Maya?” Manang Fe smiled at her with fondness.
Maya knew Manang Fe from way back. Manang Fe was like a mother to Richard. Maya was able to meet and even talk to Manang Fe in many occassions already. Manang Fe was even one of the last person who tried to convince her not to leave Richard. She felt guilty and embarrassed.
But Manang Fe, the ever loving person that she is, immediately dispelled whatever unpleasant feelings Maya is having.
“Mabuti naman at magaling ka na anak. Nagalala kaming lahat sa’yo. ”
“Marami pong salamat Manang. Naabala ko po kayong lahat.” She shyly replied.
“Walang anuman anak at hindi ka abala sa amin. Alam mo yan. Yun anak mo, si Luke, andun kasama ni Liza. Gusto daw kumain ng cake sa canteen. Pinayagan ko na kasi bored na dito sa kwarto.”
Her face got pale. She was tongue-tied the moment Manang Fe mentioned Luke.
“O anak magpahinga ka na muna kasi mukhang di pa masyadong ayos yun lagay mo. Wag kang mag-alala kami ang bahala sa’yo.”
“Yes Emm, tama si Manang. You should rest so that you could go home na soon.” Rafi added.
“Alam na ba ni James?” Edz suddenly asked.
“Hindi pa. Hindi naman nya kailangan malaman, magaalala lang yun.”
Manang Fe was just listening. She was happy that Ricky saw Maya again after all these years though she’s sad that they can never be together anymore.
Luke Andrew is a very charming kid, Manang Fe observed. Like his mom, he’s very polite and makwento din. Though she assumed that Luke was the reason why Maya left Richard, she can’t bring herself to have ill feelings towards the boy.
Luke spent the night at Richard’s house with Manang Fe and the entire household staff of the Lim’s. Luke played with Fely’s kids and Manang Fe closely observed him.
She felt bad with the fact that Maya left Richard and chose the kid’s father over him. She also felt sad that Maya was able to move on and have a family when it took Richard years before he eventually moved on.
She is just hoping that the recent encounter of the two wont open wounds again that took very long time to heal especially for Richard. Her ward is already happy now and at peace and Manang Fe really hoped that he wont be affected by Maya’s reappearance in his life.
The accident and the bonding at the hospital turned out beneficial to both Maya and Richard.
Maya was a bit at ease talking to him now. She’s no longer jittery and jumpy whenever Richard is around.
They worked so well together. The practice and preparations for the concert was not at all affected by any awkwardness they had before.
Richard was so proud of all the students of the school. They were able to stage a show that was well-applauded, well-received and all the kids were given their own exposure to showcase their talents.
All the parents were beaming with pride. Even the sponsors vowed to support the school even after the show. They were all impressed.
Among the kids, Luke made his mom very proud. Maya was teary eyed during Luke’s performance. The scene was poignant especially with Richard coaching Luke on the sides.
This scene was also observed by someone very significant to Richard and Maya. It was observed by the Mother Superior of the school who was in attendance with the audience, unknown to the two.
After the show ended, the energy of all the participants, parents, teachers were still very high. They were so happy with the reception of the audience.
Fr. Francis was also among those who watched.
“Congratulations!” he addressed the whole faculty of Northwest Hills Montessori.
“Naku Fr. Francis thank you so much at nandito ka.” Rafi was still full of energy.
“So pwede na kayong magshow sa archdiocese this coming feast day?” He added.
“Yes Fr. Francis. They can certainly do it.” The School Directress, Sr. Mary Ann answered.
“Basta nandito si Ricky, kayang kaya namin yan.” Rafi again said.
Richard was just smiling at them. Maya was also with the other teachers congratulating each other and happily enjoying the success of the show.
Then Fr. Francis saw the Mother Superior who was descending from the school auditorium’s balcony.
“Oh, Mother Elena, what a pleasant surprise.”
“Fr. Francis, how are you?”
“I’m good. im good. I thought you were in Rome.”
“Ah I just arrived. I came here to witness this. I’m really so proud of these kids and of course our hardworking nuns and teachers.”
Everyone was happy to hear the pride in the voice of their head, their Mother Superior. They were all grateful that she took time to grace the show.
Everyone were happy except for Richard.
The moment he saw her, Richard tried to leave the scene only to be stopped by Rafi.
“Naku Ricky, you should meet Mother Elena para maka thank you siya sa’yo for the very successful show.”
“No need na Rafi. She’s busy entertaining visitors. Some other time na lang besides I really need to go.”
“Please Ricky, few minutes lang. Hindi ako matatahimik hanggat hindi niya nakikilala ang taong responsible why the show was very successful.”
But Mother Elena and Fr. Francis were already facing them.
“Mother Elena, I want you to meet Mr. Richard Lim. He was the one who helped us with the show. Si Fr. Francis actually and nagpadala sa kanya. Very successful yun show because of him.” Rafi excitedly introduced Ricky.
Richard just coyly nodded his head trying to avert his gaze from the nun who was smiling and staring at him.
“Good evening Mother Elena.” Richard managed to say.
“Richard thank you very much. I never doubted that you will be able to successfully stage the show, as always.”
Rafi and Fr. Francis weren’t able to hear what Mother Elena said so they were oblivious to the fact that Ricky and Mother Elena already knew each other.
They were busy talking with the other guests.
“I did it for the kids Mother and of course for the school.”
“I see. I’m really glad to see you. To see what you became. ”
“Thank you.” Richard said with a bitter smile.
“Oh so you and Maya are okay now?”
Richard was taken aback by her question. She of all people had the courage to ask him. And despite his being patient, what she said hit a nerve and angered him. But he knows that he should hide whatever feelings he has.
“Yes we’re okay.” he just replied.
“I’m really glad you are. You see Maya is still the same Maya you knew way back. I’m glad to see you friends again.”
“There’s no problem anymore Mother. We both moved on and we already have our own lives. I’m grateful for the opportunity to patch things up with her and even had the honor to coach her very talented son.”
Richard was trying so hard to maintain his composure while talking to Mother Elena. They were now huddled in a corner while everyone was oblivious to what they were discussing.
“Oh yes, Luke is a great kid, very talented indeed. Polite, charming and responsible at his age. Maya is so blessed to have him.”
With the last ounce of patience, Richard replied…
“He is indeed. He obviously got it from his mom.”
“No. It’s more of from his dad. He is a great guy. I am so proud of him.”
Richard didn’t know what to say. If earlier he was elated for the success of the show he directed, what he is feeling right this very moment was anger, pain he can never remove from his system.
“O sige na Richard. I hope we could get to have a longer chat. Congratulations talaga and thank you in behalf of the school.”
He didnt have the chance to say anything anymore as Mother Elena turned and walked towards the other parents and guests who were still there.
Maya, immediately left the scene when she saw Mother Elena approaching Richard. She excused herself and stayed in the faculty room together with the other teachers who were busy preparing to go home.
“Emm nandito na pala kayo ni Luke.” Edz suddenly arrived.
“Ah inaayos ko kasi yun gamit namin. Uuwi na ba tayo?”
Before the show started, it was already arranged that Maya and Luke will ride with Edz on their way home. She can’t use her car since it is still in the repair shop.
“Yun na nga ang problema. Tumawag yun driver ko, na flat tire siya at medyo matatagalan pa daw.”
“Ha? Naku paano yan. Its late na. Mahihirapan tayong sumakay.”
“May naisip na akong solusyon. Pahatid na lang tayo kina Simon.”
Simon heard them. “O sige ba. No problem kaso mga few minutes pa kasi inaayos ko pa yun instruments.”
Rafi who has just arrived in the faculty area with Ricky suddenly joined in.
“Out of the way si Emm sa pupuntahan ni Simon. Mabuti pa si Edz na lang ang sumabay sa’yo tapos si Emm at Luke, kay Ricky na lang. Okay lang naman di ba Ricky?”
Richard was surprised at Rafi’s suggestion but he immediately replied…
“Sure no problem.”
“Ah eh wag na kasi baka may iba pang lakad si Ricky.”
“No it’s okay. It’s on my way home anyway. Atsaka medyo malayo ang byahe at least hindi ako aantukin.”
Richard smiled. Maya nodded her head.
“Okay. Maghahanda na muna kami ni Luke.”
The drive on the way home, Richard’s home takes an hour while Maya’s place is about 40 minutes.
Luke, tired from the activities of the day is now sleeping in Maya’s arms.
They are driving in silence with occasional comments on the show, the students, the weather.
Both are so careful not to discuss any sensitive issue.
If during the course of the practice, they were already at ease with each other because of the hospital incident, this time the tension, awkwardness is very present again.
Mother Superior’s appearance opened lots of bad memories especially to Richard.
He can no longer contain it and Maya sensed it as well.
“Chard are you okay?”
He glanced at her.
“Why do you ask?”
“Kasi parang iba yun mood mo eh. Parang ang tahimik mo. You should be celebrating kasi successful yun show. You made it successful.”
She shyly said.
“Ah everyone is involved, i was just the one who helped.”
“Pero bakit parang hindi naman celebratory yun mood mo?”
“Ah nothing. It’s just something Mother Elena said. ”
Maya just bowed her head. She very well knows that whatever Mother Elena said which made Richard’s mood sour is about her or anything from the past. She knows Mother Elena to always speak her mind.
“It’s nothing Maya. I was just a bit offended with what she said.”
He was offended when Mother Elena, expressed her fondness of Maya’s husband right in front of him. It hurt him coz it seemed like she was happy that Maya and him didn’t end up together.
“Bakit ano bang pinagusapan nyo? She was so proud of you naman kanina when she approached you, di ba?”
“No its not about the show. Its about something else.”
She hesitantly asked.
“About us? before?”
Richard didn’t answer her. So Maya added…
“Ricky what happened seven years ago…”
He stopped whatever she was about to say.
“Don’t worry Maya. We’re okay now and that’s more important to me.”
He was contented with the set-up they have now and he didn’t want to risk losing her friendship again.
“Ricky I’m sorry that I caused you….”
“Maya you don’t have to feel bad about what happened besides matagal na yun. Seven years is a long time already.”
His intention was to remove Maya’s feeling of guilt or remorse.
“Besides the two years we were together was just me being immature, siguro since you were my only constant companion then kaya napilitan ka to take me. I always know that you always wanted me to feel good then. Sorry nadamay pa kita. It was nothing so you dont have to bother yourself anymore.”
His intention was for her to feel good.
But what she felt was the worst feeling ever..
Unconsciously, she got teary eyed. She hugged Luke very tight.
She remained quiet for the rest of the ride until they reached her home.
“Sige Chard thank you.”
Maya was trying to wake Luke up but he was sleeping so soundly that Richard had to help her and carry Luke inside her house.
He was unaware of Maya’s sullen mood and silent tears during the rest of the ride home that when he was about to say goodbye and look at her, he was surprised that she had red eyes and nose.
“Umiyak ka? Why?”
She just stared at him and her tears are again welling in her eyes.”
She didn’t say anything but just avoided his eyes.
“Bakit Maya? Is something wrong?”
“The two years we had? That was nothing to you?”
She couldn’t contain it anymore so she asked him while her tears are now flowing.
He was taken aback by what she is openly showing him.
“No.. no it’s not that Maya, kaya lang….”
“The two years that meant nothing to you were the best two years of my life. It was very special to me. Wala lang pala sa’yo yun.”
Richard doesnt know how to react seeing her trembling lips, shoulders which are shaking while she’s trying to control her sobs.
He gathered her in his arms.
They remained in that position
“Maya, it was special to me but we can’t go back to it anymore. Alam ko naman na ayaw mo na ring balikan yun and with what we have now, you and me having our own lives already, it is inappropriate to dwell on that. I’m happy with the friendship we have now. I’m thankful that you even allow me to be close to your son despite the circumstances of our past.”
Maya just remained silent while tears are still streaming down her cheeks.
“Sige na Chard, gabi na. Thank you sa paghatid.”
She dismissed him.
“Uwi ka na Chard. It’s already late and I’m sure you are tired. I am too. Baka magising din si Luke. I need to change hi clothes pa.”
“Okay i’ll go for now but we will talk about it Maya.”
Richard left with so many questions in his mind.
The moment she closed her door, she allowed herself to cry n let out all her regret for what she did in the past.
Preview of the next chapter
She went to him, held his face with one hand then his nape with the other then gave him a kiss full of longing, kiss of all the love she has in her heart for him.
He wasn’t able to react. It was too much for him. He just stood glued to the floor, not returning her kiss.