For the first time in many years, Maya felt genuinely happy and at peace.
When she left the hospital, she dropped by the chapel she frequently visits to be thankful for the unexpected blessings and answered prayers.
Not only did she see Richard again but she was even able to tell him about Sunshine and he accepted it without anger, without hatred.
On her way home Maya can’t control her tears. Unlike before when she would silently sob due to her lonely and isolated life while on a subway, on a cab, she was now silently crying due to immense joy.
Richard agreed to have his surgery. Her daughter will meet her dad very soon and maybe, they both could start living like a real family. She was excited and hopeful that it could happen. Maybe they will be given their second chance.
Richard was absent-mindedly smiling when his sister entered the hospital room.
“O, Chard mukhang tuwang tuwa ka dyan ah! Finally I see you smile like that. Kayo na ni Maya?” Its the only reason she could think of.
Everyone in the family knows how devastated Richard was when Maya just disappeared from his life.
“No. Hindi kami. I’m just happy right now. Atsaka don’t say that kapag nandito siya. Its embarrassing. Baka may family siya or a boyfriend or asawa. I’m happy just seeing her again. That’s more than enough for me. She also made me very happy with the very good news she told me.”
“Good news? Care to share it?”
“Wag na muna. I’ll tell you soon.”
“Sige whatever that is. Im glad that you’re happy. Atsaka Chard I don’t think Maya has a husband or a boyfriend. She wouldn’t spend her time here if she does. And honestly, I think she cares for you. Didn’t you notice it?”
“Maya is a very caring person even to her friends. I don’t want to assume. Whatever it is she wants, whether us being friends, its okay with me. God I never even thought I would see her again.”
“Okay, at least I’m glad you’re having a positive disposition now as compared to before. And please stop grinning like a fool. Matulog ka na. The doctors will run some tests pa tomorrow. You need energy.”
“Okay goodnight and thank you. I really appreciate everything you do for me.” He lovingly told his sister.
“Naku you’re getting mushy. Alam ko naman yun and basta please cooperate with the doctors para gumaling ka na.”
“Promise I will.”
Maya decided that her daughter Sunshine should meet her dad as soon as possible.
“Anak Uncle Carlo will accompany you. I told him to talk to your teachers. Mga 1 week lang tutal you never had any absences naman di ba?”
“Yes mommy. Intrams lang naman namin. I could go there. I’m excited. Makikita ko kayo ni Kuya Sky earlier than Christmas.”
Sunshine immediately agreed to the early visit to the States her mom suggested.
Maya didn’t tell her about her dad yet. She wanted to surprise her daughter.
Her brother Carlo, who was Sunshine’s guardian while she was still finishing her studies in the Philippines also didn’t know the real reason why Maya wanted Sunshine to be there. He presumed that his sister missed her daughter.
Maya couldn’t wait for Sunshine to finally meet her dad. She doesn’t want to waste time anymore.
Since she became the private nurse of Richard, Maya would take care of all his needs, food, medicine, clothes.
She was strict that Richard had no choice but follow what she says and be a good patient.
He also had a male nurse to assist him when he needs to go to the bathroom or needs to be transferred for some tests.
“Maya what are you doing?”
He saw her with a basin, washcloth and liquid soap. Then she locked the door.
“I’ll be giving you a sponge bath. Dapat kanina ka pa kasi naligo kaso ang tagal mo namang magising kaya sponge bath na lang para mas mabilis.”
Then she proceeded to his bedside and began her task.
“Wag na Maya. Tawagin mo na lang ang male nurse ko. Mas gusto ko dun sa bathroom.
But she was already reaching for his hospital clothes. She was insistent.
“Wag na. Ako na. Atsaka kailangan nating bilisan kasi may mga bisita ka daw sabi ng kapatid mo.” She was already starting giving him a sponge bath despite his protests.
“You’re bullying me!”
“You’re such a baby Mr. Lim!”
He was vehemently opposing what she was doing.
“Maya please. I’m not comfortable. Nahihiya ako sa’yo.” Richard whispered.
“Naku Richard, I’m a nurse sanay na sanay na ako sa ganito. Atsaka I’ve seen you naman na before kaya wala ng problema sakin.”
Her remark made him laugh.
“So inaalala mo? Naalala mo even once mo lang nakita?” He chuckled.
She smirked. She wasn’t game with his teasing because she really needs to finish giving him a sponge bath. His visitors will be arriving soon.
“Naku Richard not now. Wala tayong time magbiro.”
“Hindi naman ako nagbibiro. I’m asking a serious question. Atsaka why do you seem uncomfortable at nagblublush ka eh di ba sabi mo nga you’re a nurse.”
“Mr. Lim I’m not uncomfortable and I’m not blushing. Ikaw nga dyan ang maarte. Nagdadahilan ka lang para di kita mapaliguan. Takot ka ata sa tubig eh. At oo sige… I will also give you my serious answer. Naalala ko naman siyempre kasi that night gave us Sunshine. Pero hindi naman vivid details. O ayan happy with my answer?”
“Very happy Ms. Dela Rosa. And for that not so vivid details, we can address that. Pwede nating gawing vivid.” He teased while wiggling his eyebrows.
“Mr. Lim wag ka ngang mayabang. In your condition you’re still not up for it. Kaya nga dapat magpagaling ka na so you could do the things you normally do.”
“Eh if gumaling ako, ikaw are you up for it?”
“Mr. Lim ang kulit. You’re harassing your nurse. I’ll file a complaint.” She joked while continuing what she was doing.
“They won’t believe you because I’ll tell them that we have a daughter. And in my condition, it unlikely that I’ll be the one harassing you. Baka ikaw.”
“Naku ang kulit talaga. Cooperate ka na para matapos na tayo.”
These simple banters reminded Maya of how they were before. She couldn’t help but smile at the memory of the friendship they shared and the level of comfortability they had when they were still working together.
Maya had been constanly checking her watch.
Her daughter should have arrived already but she and her uncle were stuck in the heavy New York traffic.
She glanced at Richard. He was now sleeping. She couldn’t help but admire his handsome features.
He still looked very good despite his age.
All the years of denying her feelings for him seemed futile. She never acknowledged it to herself that she loves him, but she does.
It was the very reason why she wholeheartedly gave herself to him that night in Subic.
When they were alone in that room and Richard started kissing her, she chose not to think anymore. For once, she wanted to be with him, to have herself engulfed in his arms. The alcohol made her more courageous, it removed any remaining inhibitions or uncertainties she had.
The many years that they’ve worked together and they’ve done some intimate scenes, she always wondered what it felt like to be with him for real even just for a night.
In the heat of the moment, Richard came to his senses and tried to control himself but Maya took charge and Richard readily surrendered.
When she became sober and woke up, She saw him beside her. Fear, shame and regret crept in. She hurriedly took a shower, dressed up and readied her things. She left the resort very early in the morning while most of her companions were still asleep. She left Ricky in her room and vowed not to show herself to him again.
He was the only man who captured her heart but she can’t bear the thought of destroying the perfect, ideal life he has with Alex.
When she left the Philippines after learning that she’s pregnant, she had been regularly following any news about Richard until she learned that he quit showbiz too and like her, he also remained private and shied away from the limelight.
Her musings were interrupted by Richard’s voice.
“Maya are you okay? Wala pa ba yun hinihintay natin? Pahinga ka na muna.”
He noticed that she was excited yet tense and anxious.
“Ah baka natraffic lang. Do you need something?”
Ricky wasn’t aware that it was their daughter whom they were expecting.
“Wala. I don’t need anything. Halika dito.”
He sat upright and asked her to sit at the space beside him. She relented.
“Hey you look tense. Is something wrong?”
“Wala. Wala naman.”
He reached for her and gently massaged her shoulders.
“Anong ginagawa mo? Mabinat ka nyan eh.”
“Maya malakas naman ang kamay ko and I’m not sick. I’m here lang kasi inaantay natin yun surgery ko. I’ll massage you kasi you look tense and stressed. May problema ka ba? Baka I can help.”
She stood up.
Then suddenly a knock was heard.
Maya hurriedly opened the door and revealed her brother and her daughter who both looked worried because they were instructed by Maya to proceed to the hospital.
“Mommy!” The teenager hugged her mom.
Richard was unable to speak. He just stared at his daughter who was hugging her mom. He couldn’t believe that she’s really here, that Maya actually made true her promise to let them meet.
When Sunshine directed her gaze at him, she was surprised to see Richard.
“Dad…” she softly uttered.
When he heard Sunshine mention ‘dad’, Richard lost it. He finally let go of the tears that had been threatening to fall from the moment he saw his daughter enter the hospital room.
He opened his arms wanting Sunshine to go to him.
“Anak go to your daddy now.”
Without hesitation, Sunshine hugged her dad so tight. She was also crying now.
“You look so pretty like your mom.” He managed to say while wiping his daughter’s tears.
Sunshine just smiled and glanced at her mom who was standing beside her brother.
“Maya thank you so much. Carlo thank you for bringing her here.”
“No problem Richard. It’s good to see you. Nagkita na pala kayo ni Maya.”
“We accidentally saw each other days ago.I’m really thankful that we were given this chance. And I promise I will make things right this time. I’ll take good care of them.”
“I know you will do what is right Richard. So why are you here? Anong sakit mo?”
Maya interrupted her brother. He could be intrusive like her too and Maya knows that Richard doesn’t like that.
“Ah kuya, samahan mo muna ako. I have to go talk to someone.”
“Sige. Iwan muna natin sila?”
“Oo kuya. Shine stay with daddy na muna. Richard bahala ka na.”
Richard nod his head. Sunshine who was still sitting at the space in her daddy’s bed was okay with it as well.
As soon as Maya and her brother left the room, Richard wasted no time to know his daughter.
Surprisingly Sunshine seemed familiar with him and she was also excited like her dad with the sudden meeting they had.
There was no trace of hatred, grudge or animosity from her and Richard appreciated how Maya raised their daughter.
“Vacation nyo na sa school?” It was the only topic that came to his mind to break the tension he’s feeling. He doesn’t know how to deal with what’s happening. He was overwhelmed with so much happiness.
“Not yet dad. Mom called me and asked uncle Carlo to bring me here. We’re having our Intramurals in school so okay lang that I won’t attend. Wala naman po akong mamimiss na classes. I already talked to my teachers and they’re okay with it.” Sunshine talks a lot like her mom, Richard observed and he was rather amused by it.
“Grabe si mom, this is a really wonderful surprise. Did you meet Kuya Sky na din po? Sana he’s here din. Ikaw dad, why are you here? Anong sakit mo? I’m sure mommy will take care of you. She is a very good nurse but she’s very strict.” Sunshine giggled.
It was like music to his ears. He enjoys listening to her. He’s smiling while his daughter is telling him stories nonstop. It seemed like she’s at ease with him.
“Mommy is right. Tipid pala talaga kayong magsalita. Or bawal po kayo magsalitang masyado?” She was suddenly worried that he might get tired and that he doesn’t need unnecessary stress because he’s sick.
“No I’m okay. I’m just enjoying watching you and listening to you. You just don’t know how happy I am right now Sunshine.” Then he’s teary-eyed again.
“Naku I thought si mommy lang ang iyakin. Ikaw din po pala.” She was laughing at him.
“Silly! Of course these are tears of joy. Come give daddy a hug again.”
While hugging each other he kissed her daughter’s forehead and whispered…
“I’m so sorry. I’m sorry that I wasn’t with you when you grew up. But I’ll make things okay now. I love you and your mommy so much. We will be together from now on. You will get to know me better.”
Sunshine smiled widely.
“Don’t say sorry dad. I know that it was mommy who left. She told me everything already even when I was still young. I know po that you are my dad. Mommy has lots of your pictures at home. We also used to pass by your former house when she visits the Philippines. Sometimes I also visit Ate Nikki’s restaurant there. Malapit kasi yun school namin dun. Hindi nga lang nya alam who I am. Pero one time when I was with my classmates, she approached me and told me na kamukha ko siya.” She again giggled like everything was really okay and she was cool with it, with their setup.
“You did? And your mom passes by our house?”
“Yes dad. Before, when she visits the Philippines, dinadaanan namin house nyo even though we knew you don’t live there anymore. Stalker yan si mommy.” She joked.
Sunshine really talks a lot just like her mom.
Maya was unaware that their daughter already revealed a lot to her dad.
Preview of the Next Chapter:
“Oh my God Richard what are you doing here? Bakit di mo man lang ako tinawagan? I could have accompanied you.” A woman who seemed near Richard’s age barged into his hospital room. She looked pretty and sophisticated despite her age.
Maya stood speechless.
“Stephanie how did you know I’m here?”