“Pa dito lang kayo sa building. You will be safe from the typhoon here. Lino and Bugoy secured the house already. They are now setting up the generator set. Medyo nagkamdali na naman ng forecast yun PAGASA and according to the foreign weather agencies, we will be directly hit.”
“Really son? But the local weather bureau said… Oh teka, yun trucks at mga sasakyan? Yung mga empleyado natin? Nasara na ba yun bodega?” Roberto was worried.
“Okay na lahat pa. Yun mga bata at si mama nandun na sa taas. Yung mga employees okay na rin.”
The top floor of their building is actually comprised of rooms for the family whenever they want or need to stay at their business establishment. It is a convenient floor with everything they need.
Richard had the whole floor converted into a four-bedroom condo-type residence for him, his parents and his kids. It had a kitchen, entertainment area and even a mini-gym which he uses for his daily exercise needs.
Initially, he planned on living there but his father didn’t like the idea of his granddaughters not being able to stay in a normal house so Richard relented and lived in their ancestral house which is only a few minutes away from their building.
They just use the rooms at the building for emergencies and just like now, everytime there is a typhoon.
Typhoons in their province are usually strong.
PAGASA forecasted that the typhoon will hit the neighboring province in five hours but Richard checked the foreign weather bureaus and the Joint Typhoon Warning Center and the Japan Meteorological Agency both pointed out that the outer bands of the typhoon is expected any moment soon and the eye will directly pass over Mindoro, where San Nicolas and San Vicente are located.
Since the typhoon had been raised to a Category 5, it is expected to be extremely damaging.
San Vicente, the town where Richard and his family lives is the most elevated part of the province while the other towns of Sta. Clara, San Marcelino and San Nicolas are low-lying areas prone to flooding.
Richard had all his employees and their families secured in their building. This is a common practice by the Lim family.
Their building and warehouse are very safe from very strong winds that’s why everytime a typhoon hits their province everyone who works for them, together with their families, stays at the building of the Lim’s.
The whole morning, Richard had been supervising his employees in their preparation for the typhoon.
He’s been communicating with Maya regarding the preparation for the typhoon. He even suggested that they get a hotel room so that she, Luke, Lola Fe and Leah would be safe.
The last time they talked was 30 minutes ago while Maya together with Luke, Lola Fe and Leah were in a cab on the way to the Nicolas Tower, the lone hotel in San Nicolas.
He is now worried. She isn’t answering his call. He wasn’t sure if they were able to get a room. With the fear and anxiety creeping in, he made some swift decisions.
“Joma, pakihanda yun pick up. Pakisabihan sina Lino at Bugoy na maghanda ng mga pantakip sa bintana. Padala na din ng lubid.”
“Ser sa bahay nyo po ba? Kasi inayos na nila yun kanina? Natakpan na rin yun mga salamin ng grocery.”
“Ah hindi Joma. Pupuntahan natin sina Mrs. Dela Rosa. Delikado sa San Nicolas kasi mas malapit sila sa dagat. Please call Lino and Bugoy. Kailangan natin sila para mabilis yun pagtrabaho sa bahay nina Maya.”
“Son you will go to San Nicolas?”
“Yes pa. Hindi sumasagot si Maya. Lahat sila babae dun and Luke is only a kid. Si Maya and Leah lang ang able bodied if magkaroon ng emergency. They’re not used to calamities yet.”
“But son, malakas na yun hangin. It isn’t safe. Just call her.”
“She doesn’t answer her phone Pa. I’m worried. Di bale, I’m bringing the pick-up and magpapasama ako kina Joma, Lino at Bugoy. Magdadala na rin kami ng mga gamit to secure Maya’s house. Simon will stay here with you. Bahala na sila ni Liza. I’ll be back soon. I just need to be sure that they’re safe.”
Then suddenly Esmeralda who has been listening to them suggested…
“Son dalhin nyo pa yung isang pickup kasi mas safe kung dadalhin mo na lang sina Maya dito. Hindi kayo magkakasya dun sa sasakyan mo. It’s safer here. Baka bumaha dun sa kanila.”
“Okay lang kaya yun ma? Isn’t it improper?”
“Oh don’t try to be cute Ricky, this is considered an emergency. You set aside whatever attraction you feel towards Maya first para makapagisip ka ng matino.”
“Sige na! You better get going while more than an hour away pa yun bagyo. Be safe ha! And please update us. Ayoko yun feeling na magwoworry kami dito because we can’t reach you.” His mom demanded.
“Sige na Joma, samahan nyo na si Sir ninyo. Yun isang sasakyan dalhin mo.” Roberto added as well.
“Opo Sir.” Joma replied while hiding a smile. Liza was right. His boss is indeed attracted to the mom of Nikki’s classmate.
“Mommy I’m scared!”
“Anak dito lang tayo sa room. Safe tayo dito.”
Maya tried to calm Luke. She too was scared but she needs to show a brave front to Luke and also Lola Fe.
They weren’t able to secure a hotel room for it was fully booked already.
They opted to just stay home knowing very well that their roof and walls are sturdy enough to withstand even the very strong winds.
They were huddled in their second floor entertainment room which was soundproofed and also without windows. They covered the windows of their bedrooms and living room with heavy cabinets but she knows it’s safer to stay in a windowless room. The wind was howling outside and it will definitely scare Luke.
“Maya ang lakas lakas na ng hangin! Bumukas na yun gate.” Lola Fe was so worried. She came from the first floor of the house.
“Hayaan na lang po natin Manang kasi delikado na pong lumabas. Okay lang na masira yun kesa lumabas pa tayo para ayusin. Dito po muna kayo kay Luke at samahan ko si Leah na icheck sa baba.”
Maya was now worried of the floods and of the fact that their town is near the sea. She tried to hide it. She must not show any sign of weakness to Luke, Lola Fe and Leah.
Their front door was already being battered by the strong winds and there is no trace of Luke’s tree house anymore. Even her garden set and benches were easily blown by the strong wind.
Maya was getting teary eyed already, afraid of what still could happen. Its been a little over 30 minutes of strong winds yet significant damage was already felt. The news said that this is a slow-moving typhoon at 8kph and it will bring extreme danger.
She was scared and also mad at her husband for putting her through this situation. She felt helpless. She sat on their staircase not wanting Luke and her companions to see her.
She was crying already but her sobs were drowned by the howling winds outside.
She heard that their front door was even forced open. She thought flood waters caused it until she heard him…
“Maya! Luke! Are you guys okay?”
Maya hurriedly rushed to the first floor and saw Richard Lim in boots and heavy duty raincoat and sturdy hat. He had three companions as well.
“Richard! Ang lakas ng hangin! Hindi kami nakakuha ng kwarto sa hotel.”
Richard was sure that Maya had been crying and was really scared but he pretended not to notice it. There are more pressing concerns to attend to and time may be running out.
The winds on their way to Maya’s house was very strong and small vehicles could no longer withstand the wind. There’s zero visibility too and only tall military trucks ready to evacuate victims and residents are roaming the streets.
Their pickup trucks could maneuver the wind and rain and shallow floods but they will have a problem with flashfloods so they better move fast.
“Maya tatakpan nila Lino ng kahoy yung mga bintana at pinto ninyo. We brought materials already. Tapos better prepare your emergency bags. You guys will go with me. Asan sina Luke?”
She couldn’t react at once. Richard was taking charge and was swift in his decisions. She willingly obliged. Her son’s safety is her foremost concern right now.
“Nakahanda na yun bags namin. Even our important documents and records.”
“Sige I’ll help you carry them to the car. Even Luke’s school things dalhin na natin. Bilisan natin.” Richard suggested.
Maya led the way to the entertainment room while Joma, Lino and Bugoy proceeded to secure the windows and doors of Maya’s house.
After ten minutes, they are now on their way out of San Nicolas and driving towards Richard’s building.
Luke was obviously scared of the flying branches and roof and of the uprooted trees. Luke and Maya were seated at the backseat of Richard’s pickup together with Lola Fe and Leah.
“Luke were going on an adventure. This would be fun!” He tried to calm the boy.
“Oo nga Luke. At magaling to si Tito Richard magdrive. Parang tayong nag rarafting. At masaya umilag ilag sa mga puno.” Lino joined which earned a smirk and a shake of the head from Richard.
“Lino tinakot mo pa yun bata.”
“Ay sorry Sir. Ang ibig kong sabihin Luke eh masaya to.” At loss with other encouraging words to say he again added…”Basta masaya to.”
Maya was just hugging Luke sheltering him from the strong winds they can hear and feel battering Richard’s car. She also shielded Luke’s view of the flying branches and trees.
She was scared but her heart melted at the concern Richard Lim had for them.
He just met him three times.. when he brought Luke home when their classes were cancelled, when Nikki stayed at their home to play with Luke and the last time was when he dropped by and brought them cake claiming that he just happened to be in the area so he decided to drop by. He’s been sending messages at times to check on Luke’s assignments in school saying that Nikki needed Luke’s help.
She never thought that he would go out of his way to rescue them.
He didn’t mind going through the danger of driving just to get them despite the very strong winds and floods. Her eyes were getting misty as she was touched with what he is doing for her and for her son. She couldn’t imagine what could be happening to them at their house now had he not fetched them.
Joma and Bugoy were trailing behind with Maya’s things. Richard told her to bring all the important stuff they need including those electronic stuff for he was scared that a flashflood could happen. Their pickup truck is big enough anyway.
“Okay lang kayo dyan?” He asked when he noticed that his passengers were all very quiet.
“Okay lang Richard. Salamat talaga ha!” Maya replied.
“Naku wala to. Who would help each other kundi tayo tayo din. And Ryan told me to take care of you guys. Takot siya kasi siya gumawa ng bahay nyo.” He lied. He never mentioned about meeting Maya dela Rosa already to Ryan.
“Ah si Ryan talaga.” She managed to say.
After few more minutes, they safely arrived at Richard’s building.
The steel gates were opened and Richard together with Joma safely parked both the pickup trucks at the ground floor of the building.
They helped in bringing Maya’s things to the topmost floor of the building where the guest room had already been prepared by Sabel and Doris. Esmeralda asked them to prepare the room the moment Richard left to fetch Maya and Luke.
“Dito na muna kayo Maya. Complete naman yun room, may bathroom dito and the kitchen is at the far end of this floor. Sabihin mo na lang kay Doris what you need.”
Luke was already being toured by Nikki. The kids were excited to be spending time together.
Maya was relieved to see Luke relax now. Her son had been through a lot already and she’s glad that the typhoon won’t be an addition to he son’s list of traumatic experiences.
“Sige Richard. Kami na bahala. Pakisabi na lang kina Mr and Mrs Lim na salamat. This means a lot to me.” Then she was teary eyed.
“Hey… we’ll be fine. Dadaan lang to then everything will be back to normal.” He tried to lighten what she is feeling.
He’s aware that Maya was worried of their house and their belongings and he hopes that the typhoon won’t bring severe damage to San Nicolas.
She just nod her head and was able to prevent her tears to finally fall. It would be embarrassing to be crying in front of Richard so he mustered all self control so she won’t cry.
Ricky gave a soft tap on her shoulder to make her feel better.
While the strong winds were battering the province of Mindoro, they were all safely sheltered at that building of the Lim family.
They were having dinner of arroz caldo and bread for the grown ups and spaghetti and chicken, which was a special request by the kids Nikki and Luke.
Roberto was in charge of joking around. He was more fun loving than his son Richard. They were all laughing at Roberto’s jokes and Richard who was just quiet the whole time, had been observing Maya who was very appreciative and engaging to his father’s rather corny jokes. His stolen glances to Maya wasn’t missed by his mom Esmeralda.
Maya on the other hand, could also sense those glances Richard throws her way and she tried her best not to spare him a glance too.
She didn’t want to feel awkward, not now while they were at his place, not now when she’s starting to admire the qualities Richard Lim has.
As much as possible she didn’t want to acknowledge the fast beat of her heart whenever he’s near her. She didn’t want to complicate things. Her life is complicated enough already.
“Di ka makatulog?”
She was startled to hear Richard’s voice.
Maya was getting a glass of water at the kitchen when Richard suddenly appeared.
“Hindi eh. Iinom lang ako ng tubig. Hindi kasi ako makalma.”
Richard also got a glass of water for himself then they both settled on the chairs at the kitchen.
“Why? You guys are safe here.”
“Oo pero yun bahay. Nag-aalala ako. Sana walang masamang mangyari.”
“Whatever happens, what’s important is safe kayo ni Luke dito. Your house can easily be repaired. What matters is wala kayo ni Luke to experience the typhoon there. Traumatic sa bata. That’s the reason why we stay here kapag may typhoon. Sa bahay kasi, kahit takpan mo pa yun windows, you still get to hear the strong winds. Yun parang galit yun hangin.” Then he chuckled and added..” Ano kaya ang sinisigaw ng hangin no?”
Maya replied… “Sabi ata nya, hoy putol kasi kayo ng putol ng kahoy.”
“But siya rin naman napuputol nya yun trees sa lakas nya.” Richard countered.
“Hindi daw pwedeng tao lang, siya din daw.” Maya said while laughing. Richard laughed as well.
Then suddenly her mood changed.
“Seriously Richard, I don’t know how to thank you for letting us stay here. We owe you our lives. Maraming salamat ha.” She was saying this while staring right into his eyes.
Richard felt a lump in his throat. He couldn’t react to what she was saying for he was so affected by Maya’s doe-shaped eyes staring at him.
“Atsaka yun magulang mo, ambait nila. We’ve known each other for a few weeks pa lang but my son and I, we feel na welcome kaming masyado dito. Maraming salamat.” She even tried to hold his hand to reaffirm the gratitude she was converying.
Richard felt a jolt of electricity upon the contact of her hand on his. He managed to act unaffected.
“Our kids are friends Maya. Mag bestfriend na nga yun dalawa. I hope we can be like them too.”
“Maging bata din?” She joked.
“You’re funny Maya. I mean maging friends din tayo. Wala naman akong kaibigan dito eh.”
“Sure Richard. Hindi ko aayawan yan. It’s a privilege to be a friend of someone as kind as you.”
“Yan pa lang naman ang trait na napapansin ko eh. Ay wait…dagdagan ko.. matapang, maalalahanin, responsible na daddy… Yun! Marami na yan ha!” Then she giggled.
Inside that building, in the small kitchen, while the angry winds were roaring outside, a raging turmoil was also felt by the suddenly restless hearts of Richard Lim and Maya dela Rosa.
A/N Let’s take it slow lang muna ha… 😊
Preview for the Next Chapter:
“Natouch naman ako sayo Ryan. Ibinilin mo pa talaga kami ni Luke kay Richard.”
“Kilala mo na si Richard Lim? Bakit wala man lang siyang nabanggit sa’kin?”
Maya was surprised. All the while she knew that Richard was giving them extra attention because she was a friend of Ryan.
Ryan hid his smile. He gathered that his friend had been making progress with Maya and was making him as an excuse to be near her.
He was planning on introducing the two but was pleasantly surprised to learn that they’ve already met.
He needs to see Richard Lim. He is looking forward to teasing his friend.