“Ate is my hair okay? Yun make-up ko?” Sunshine was nervously pacing back and forth in front of the mirror. She is trying her best to calm her nerves. She had been distracting herself with anything like bringing up random topics to her Ate Nikki. Nikki was fixing Sunshine’s costume.
“Shine you look so beautiful already.” Nikki assured her.
“You’re just saying that Ate because you are my sister.”
“Yes I am your sister and I won’t allow you to look less-beautiful out there. So believe me when I say that you are very lovely Shine atsaka I was the one who put your make-up. Ang ganda kaya. It’s just very light pero your eyes and cheeks and even lips are highlighted. Di na magrereklamo si Mommy na you look pale.”
“Pero Ate Nikki hindi ko kaya makalimutan lines ko? Nakakahiya kina Mom and Dad.”
“Naku Shine, nagmana ka kaya sa kanila kaya I’m sure kasing galing ka nila in acting. Oh well, si Mom oo pero si Dad pala he easily gets distracted whenever he and mom had their scenes before.” Nikki was laughing while reminiscing those years when her dad and her new found mom were still working together. “Naalala ko tuloy when dad usually forgets his lines kapag mom stares at him. They were so cute before.”
Nikki had been close to her sister Sunshine and even to Sky. She was also very close to Maya and though Maya wasn’t her real mom, they get along so well. They share the same interests and since Maya is a very good chef, she would always share her new recipes with Nikki which would always be a hit in Nikki’s restaurants in the Philippines.
Like Nikki, Sky was also very close to Richard and they would regularly bond watching Sports, playing billiards and also talking about Sky’s girlfriend Bettina. He’s been asking tips from Richard when he was just courting Bettina.
“Nananakot ka naman Ate eh. What if I’m more like dad at makalimutan ko din lines ko?” Sunshine got more worried.
“Ay hindi po. You won’t forget your lines kasi hindi mo naman ata crush yun partner mo sa play. Naku Sunshine ha! Baka mamaya crush mo pala talaga. He is cute but you are still very young ha. Kapag you forgot your lines, iisipin ko na you get distracted because of your partner.”
“Hindi Ate ah! I don’t have a crush on him or on anyone in school. At hindi ako madidistract sa partner ko. No way!”
“Nililinaw ko lang. Kasi once I learn na may pumoporma sa’yo, I’ll tell Sky right away para bantayan ka.”
“Ate Nikki talaga.”she pouted.
“I was just kidding. O yan at least nawala yun kaba mo. Halika nga. I’ll give you a big goodluck hug.”
Then she went near Nikki for her big sisterly hug.
That was the scene when Sky entered the bedroom.
“Nandito pa kayo Ate Nikki? Sunshine?”
“Kuya!!! Dun ka na muna sa labas.” Sunshine complained. She didn’t want her Kuya to see her frantic as he would surely tease her again.
Sunshine will be starring in a play that night at the Filipino Community annual gathering in Boston, where they are now based. Her school’s Theater Arts club, which is dominated by Filipinos will be presenting a play and Sunshine, being very good in acting like her parents, was chosen for the lead role.
Richard, Maya and Sunshine are now residing in Richard’s house in Boston. Sky still stays in his own apartment near his school, which is a few minutes drive from his parents home. He just frequently visits them during the weekends or when he is not too busy with school.
Sunshine has transferred to a school nearby and is doing so well both in academics and in her chosen school club, Theater Arts, that she instantly became a lead in their school play. She definitely had her parents’ genes.
Nikki still owns and manages a chain of restaurants in the Philippines with her husband Nicolo and son Lance.
She always visits her mom and dad on every ocassion and holidays. There are also plans for her to transfer to the US to be near her parents. Nikki believes that her family is more important than her business in the Philippines. She wanted to be closer to her siblings and parents. She grew up alone most of the time since her mom Alex already had her own family and her dad was then having difficulty to travel and regularly visit her due to his condition.
Now that everything is okay, Nikki wanted to be near them and enjoy each other’s company.
Just like now, she traveled to the US just to be able to watch Sunshine perform. Her husband was left to manage their business and Lance couldn’t join as well because of school.
“Ang tagal ng mga bata” Maya checked her watch.
They were waiting for the kids at their living room. Richard draped an arm around her and gave her a kiss on her head.
“Maybe they’re still having their girl talk.”
“Naku Sweetheart kagabi pa sila panay girl talk. Asan na ba si Sky?”
“Umakyat rin eh. Maybe he’s pestering his sisters again. Alaskador yun isang yun.” he laughed.
“Oo nga eh. Parang ikaw. Nagmana na sa’yo Sweetheart.”
“I told you. Anak ko na talaga si Sky.”
They were lovingly gazing at each other when the kids joined them.
“Ooops Mom, Dad alam ko na ang mga tinginan na yan. Later na po at baka ma late tayo sa play ni Shine tapos kapag tinanong why Sunshine is late and isasagot ni Shine ay because my parents are…”
“Sky!!!” Maya gave her son a warning look. Richard chuckled. Nikki naman lovingly pinched her brother’s side while Sunshine made a gesture of covering her ears.
“Biro lang. Kayo naman. Tara na nga at excited na akong kumain dun sa event.”
The play was very successful and Sunshine did her part so well that she earned praises from the audience who watched.
Many of the members of the Filipino community were no longer aware that Richard and Maya were once actors in the Philippines.
But some would still remember them and would sometimes request to have some pictures taken. Maya and Richard would give in but would request for their pictures not to be posted online. They still wanted to remain private. They are no longer actors anyway.
“We are so proud of you Shine. Ang galing talaga parang si Mom.” Nikki commented as the family was driving home.
“What about me ha Nikki?” Richard jokingly protested after not being mentioned by Nikki.
Sky was driving their car while Richard was seated beside him. Maya, Nikki and Sunshine were seated at the back beside each other.
“Ay oo pala, like Dad din pala. Nakuha din ni Shine yun pagpapacute like Dad.”
“I’m not!” Sunshine wouldn’t agree.
“I’m not pacute. I’m really handsome. I don’t need to make pacute.” their dad also protested.
“O baka kung saan mapunta ang usapan.” Maya was laughing already. Richard always looked endearingly handsome whenever he gets pikon from the children’s teasing. He would be red and his eyes would turn to slits. His lopsided grin would turn into a smirk.
Sky winked at his Ate Nikki thru the car mirror. They always love it when their dad becomes pikon kasi whenever they take back whatever teasing they do to him, Richard would end up having food delivered or even treat them to an impromptu movie date. Richard was aware of the kids’ gimiks but he would play along. Maya on the other hand would always tease him for being ‘uto-uto’ but Richard still loved it. He loves his kids and he wouldn’t trade their simple bonding moments for anything else.
Maya who was seated right behind Richard caressed his shoulder. “Oo naman Sweetheart, you are handsome naman talaga. And also pacute, este cute. Kaya nga pinagkakaguluhan ka before diba, during your ‘younger years’. You were being mobbed kaya nga takot na takot kami everytime may shows tayo before kasi baka magka-stampede. ”
“You’re exaggerating!” he shook his head.
“Hindi ah! Totoo yun. Di ba Nikki remember when your dad needed to exit the backdoor of the concert venue kasi super inaabangan na siya ng audience. Tapos yun mga fans nya na may kotse talagang sinusundan pa rin kayo. The network had to hire bodyguards. Naku pang Hollywood ka talaga before Sweetheart. Walang sinabi sina Brad Pitt at Tom Cruise sa’yo”
“Oo ng Mom. Kinakailangan pa ni Dad iligaw yun mga sumusunod sa amin before kasi talagang kahit saan pumunta they would follow us. Kaya nga napa tint ni Dad yun mga cars before. ” Nikki recalled those years when her dad was still an actor and was really mobbed by fans.
“Sabi na sa’yo Sweetheart.”
“O ano dad? San mo kami itretreat?” Sky was asking.
“Kayo where do you want.” Richard just relented so that the teasing would stop.
“Saan daw tayo?”
Then the three- Nikki, Sky and Sunshine took turns in suggesting where they could go for their dad’s treat.
At their bedroom that night…
“Ang kulit ng tatlo. Ang saya saya ko Sweetheart. Okay naman sa’kin na tanggapin lang ni Nikki but higit pa doon yun ginawa nya.”
“Sweetheart, I’ve always told you that Nikki loves you. Paulit ulit naman tayo eh.”
“Hayaan mo na ako. Masayang masaya lang talaga ako.”
“We both have very good children who loves us dearly.” He planted a kiss on the top of her head.
“Pero Sweetheart sana mapabilis yun papers nina Nikki para dito na rin sila. Mas masaya kapag kumpleto.” Maya was really hoping that they would all live near each other and she can’t wait for Nikki and her family to be with them.
“I also hope they would be able to stay with us for good. I already talked to the engineer and Nikki’s house could be constructed in six months. Baka by Christmas kapag maayos na lahat, they would be able to spend it with us already. Nikki could go ahead of Nicolo and Lance para maayos niya yun dadatnan ng mag-ama. Lance could go to Sunshine’s school too.”
“Oo nga sweetheart dapat ata paumpisahan na natin yun bahay nila. Naku excited na ako. May pagkakaabalahan tayo.” Maya excitedly hugged him.
“Pero ang kukulit ng tatlo. I wonder what they talk about. It seems hindi matapos tapos ang kwentuhan.” Richard was really curious why the three wouldn’t run out of stories, tsismis, asaran.
“Masaya talaga kapag ganyang magkakasama sila. Hindi mo aakalain na malalaki na sila kung magbiruan eh.”
“Yes at si Sky ang pasimuno. Siguro Sweetheart you’re as rambunctious as him when you were younger?”
“Oy hindi Mr. Lim ha! Prim and proper ako noon. Very ladylike!”
“Hmmm? You? Ladylike?”
“Really? Show me nga how ladylike you are Mrs. Lim.”
“Mr. Lim ha you’re getting naughty. Nandyan si Nikki ha, may I remind you.”
“So? What if nandyan siya?” He said as he was already planting kisses on her shoulder.”
“Richard! Hindi pwede kasi may paguusapan pa kami ng mga bata.” She was trying to escape his kisses.
“No! You’ve been talking with them the whole day already. It’s time na ako naman ang kausapin mo. Tayo naman mag-usap, the Mr. & Mrs. Lim way.” He was wiggling his eyebrows at the giggling Maya.
“Chard ang kulit mo talaga!” She was still rying to push him but he was strong and he successfully engulfed her in his arms already.
“Shhh quiet! … ang ingay mo Mrs. Lim!”
A/N May epilogue pa to.