Richard basked in the warmth of the hug his son gave him. He held him tighter. His son’s small arms tried to embrace him too.
“Luke daddy loves you so much. I hope its okay with you that I’m your dad”, he said while still embracing Luke.
He felt his son nodding his head.
Then as he disengaged from the embrace he stared at his son’s teary face.
“Luke don’t get mad at daddy and mommy. We love you so much. I’m so happy right now holding you like this.”
He wiped his son’s tears then Luke wiped his tears too in return.
“Hindi naman po ako galit.” The boy said in his small voice.
“But you’re sad kaya mom and dad is worried.”
“Baka po you won’t like me.” Luke’s eyes which was like his mom’s stared at him.
“Luke don’t say that. I already liked and loved you even when I was just Tito Ricky. All the more now that I found out that you are my son. I love you so much and daddy is very proud of you.”
The merry-making continued but Luke was still quiet. He would laugh at jokes by Joma and would play with the other kids but he would avoid Richard.
“Chard ipasok ko na si Luke. Patulugin ko na muna.”
“Okay Maya.” He felt dejected by Luke’s reaction.
Inside the room, Luke was still quiet but he was extra clingy to his mom. He requested for his mom to stay in the room and not leave while he’ll be taking a shower.
Maya had prepared his pajamas while Luke was inside the bathroom to clean up and brush his teeth.
As Luke was getting ready for bed, Maya took the chance to talk to her son.
“Anak, galit ka sa akin?”
“I’m sorry. Mommy wasn’t brave to tell Tito Ricky that you are his son before. I’m sorry anak. I was scared din to tell you.”
“Mommy what if he doesn’t like me?”
“Anak he loves you. He was so happy when he found out.”
“Paano si daddy James?”
“Si daddy James ang nagsabi kay Tito Ricky. He wants you to be happy. He wants you to have a daddy who will always be here.”
“Hindi na po aalis si Tito Ricky?”
“No anak, he will stay with us if okay sa’yo.”
“Mommy you love him?”
“Sobra Luke and he loves me too, he loves you. Mabait siya and hindi nya kasalanan na hindi nya alam. It is mommy’s fault.”
The boy gave a small smile.
“Mom anong itatawag ko sa kanya? Dad or papa?”
Maya hugged her son knowing that he finally showed some acceptance.
“You can call him dad or even papa, its up to you.”
“Eh si daddy James po?”
“Daddy James will always be a dad to you. O di ba nadagdagan pa siya. Dalawa na ang daddy mo.” She tried to make the mood light.
Luke slept with his mom hugging him.
But as soon as Maya slept, the boy sneaked out of his room to call his daddy James.
Luke didn’t want to disturb his mom so he decided to make a call outside the room. He knows everyone was sleeping already.
When he wasn’t able to call his daddy James, Luke stayed in the cottage and cried.
He loved his Tito Ricky but he doesn’t know him. He was just a new friend to him.
He stayed there until his dad saw him.
Maya woke up very early but Luke was no longer beside her. She wasn’t aware that her son went out last night at actually slept with his dad.
She hurried to seek for Luke worried on where he must be.
When she went out of their room, she heard the most beautiful sound she never gets tired of hearing, her son’s giggles and chuckles.
She saw Richard and Luke together with Joma and Fely’s kids playing patintero by the beach. They seemed so happy. It warmed her heart knowing that they are okay now.
“Maya halika join us.” Richard called her.
After a few more minutes of playing, they were called by Manang Fe to have their breakfast.
Richard and Luke went to wash their hands. Maya was surprised at the sudden closeness of Luke to his dad.
Richard caught her expression and he just winked at her.
Before starting breakfast, Richard led the prayer then gave his message to the very special people with him at the moment.
“Thank your for the warm welcome. Thank you at hindi nyo pinabayaan ang bahay at mga negosyo ni lolo, natin. Wala man akong pamilya, madami namang naging kapalit. Nandyan kayong lahat. Manang Fe salamat sa pagaruga, pagalaga, pangungunsumi at pagtyaga sakin, Mang Anastacio at Mang Lem salamat at tumayo kayong parang tatay ko. Liza, I can’t thank you enough for keeping everything in order. Joma, Sabel, Doris salamat sa pagaalalay nyo kina Manang Fe. Maraming salamat sa inyo. At dito din sa despedida na naging welcome party nyo.”
They all approached to hug him.
“Ngayon naman, may surprise din ako sainyo. Gusto kong ipakilala si Maya bilang future wife ko.”
She was beside him and his arms were draped on her shoulders while Luke was on his other side. She blushed and felt embarrassed at his announcement.
A lot of teasing and congratulatory messages followed.
At ipapakilala ko din, ang aking anak, anak namin ni Maya, si Luke.
Everyone was surprised. Manang Fe immediately hugged the little boy. She was overwhelmed.
“Sinasabi ko na nga ba. Tama yun hinala ko.” She said while in tears.
Everybody was happy. Luke finally accepted his dad. They even got a call from James who was dying for updates from them. James promised to come home to settle the annulment so Maya and Richard could get married the soonest time possible.
After the weekend together, Richard brought Maya and Luke to Father Francis.
She didn’t like the idea at first. She was apprehensive on how he would react but Richard assured her that everything will be okay.
It was Richard who first entered Father Francis’ room at the convent. Maya and Luke stayed at the visitors area. Visitors especially ladies can’t be allowed to enter the priest’s private quarters.
“Ricky you’re really back!”
Father Francis gave him a big welcoming hug.
“So naasikaso mo na?”
“Opo Father. Maayos naman pong lahat.”
“Ano na ang balak mo? Akala ko you will still stay there in Rome at di lang tutuloy sa ordination.”
“Father may sudden changes sa plan eh. I found out that the son was mine and her husband even suggested annulment.”
He was beaming.
Father Francis on the other hand was surprised.
“What? So you’ll pursue her? You’ll marry her?”
“Yes Father. And kayo ang napili namin to officiate our wedding. In fact kasama ko sila. Ipapakilala ko po. I’m really very happy.”
Father Francis couldn’t react anymore. He was also excited to meet this woman who turned Richard Lim’s life around.
He was just by the door when he saw Maya and Luke.
“Oh my God! Si Maya and Luke?”
He gathered both in his arms.
“I don’t know what to say. Kanina may agam agam pa ako when you said you’re getting married. Pero ngayon naku, I’m accepting the invitation to officiate it.”
“Salamat po Father.” was all Maya could say.
“Luke, kaya pala ang galing ng batang to manang mana sa daddy nya.”
“I’m happy for you Richard. I’m now assured that you’ll be in good hands.”
“Si Father talaga.”
“So kelan ang kasal? Ay teka, kailangan muna ang masinsinang usapan. Since I’ll be your wedding priest, you need to have a one on one seminar under me. Para naman masermonan ko kayong dalawa.” He was joking but he indeed would love to hear the story of the two and give them his advice and guidance as well.