My Safe Refuge – 17

My Safe Refuge – 17

Richard just came from Palawan. He had been travelling to far provinces for the past three days. He joined the police in following separate leads which claimed the sighting of someone who fit the description of James.

All leads turned out to negative though and it frustrated Richard already. They followed four leads which wasted their time. He was exhausted, frustrated and feeling hopeless.

When the week passed and they weren’t able to get positive results on Maya and Luke’s whereabouts, they decided to put a bounty on James Ventura. They intensified the hunt for him since they learned that he was also in the wanted list for drugs and illegal weapons.

James Ventura’s involvement in these illegal activities aggravated Richard Lim’s fear for the safety of Maya and Luke.

“Brod, mahahanap natin sila. I’m sure of that.” Ryan was trying to allay the fears of his friend. He knew what Richard went through when Alex died and it pains him to see how helpless his friend is now that Maya and Luke are in danger.

“I really hope so Ryan. I would trade anything just to get them both safely and unharmed. Di ko alam ang gagawin ko kung may mangyaring masama kay Maya at Luke. I will never forgive myself.”

“Brod wag kang mag-isip ng ganyan. Mahahanap natin sila. Magtiwala ka lang. It wouldn’t help kapag ganyan ang iniisip mo.

======================

James, Maya and Luke were staying at a rented condo south of Metro Manila.

They actually just stayed there when James found out that he is already wanted by the authorities.

When he got Maya and Luke they’ve been staying in various hotels as James would transact his illegal activities with his clients inconspicuously in those hotels. They would easily be regarded like a family on vacation. Having Maya and Luke with him made everything easier.

But after learning from his contacts that he was already wanted by the PNP and even the NBI, James became very cautious. Being on the watch list limited his mobility and also his resources. Good thing that he had Maya and Luke with him. He could use them to bargain with the authorities in case they find him.

“Mom is having a very high fever dad! Let’s bring her to the hospital please dad!” Luke was already crying and begging for his dad to bring his mom to the hospital. After suffering under the hands of James, Maya’s body finally gave in to the pain, stress, beating and drugs forcibly given her.

“Nobody’s going to the hospital!” James yelled but this didn’t stop Luke from badgering his dad. This no longer scared the boy who felt that he is responsible for his mom.

“We have to bring mom to the hospital!” the boy shouted back. “I will never forgive you if something happens to mom!” Luke angrily answered his dad. “You are a very evil person. You got me and mom to protect yourself! I hate you! I wish you weren’t my dad! I wish you were dead!”

Instead of his usual reaction of beating Luke or lashing hurtful words, something in what his son said affected him.

James only got to say, “There’s a store at the ground floor of this condo. You can buy medicines for your mom there. Buy yourself whatever snacks you want as well but never talk to anyone. You know what would happen kapag sinuway mo ako.” He handed Luke a 500 peso bill.

When Luke was about to go out, his dad again called him and checked his
pockets for cellphone. He didn’t want the boy calling for help.

=================

“Richard you better get some sleep, you don’t look good anymore. We won’t be able to resume our search for Maya kapag nagkasakit ka.” Rafi was already concerned of Richard who hardly eats and sleeps the whole time they were patiently and helplessly waiting for any good news about Maya and Luke.

“Okay lang ako Rafi. Hindi naman ako makakatulog eh. I’ll just have coffee then I’ll be fine. Ikaw, you better go home na muna. I’m sure worried na rin yun si Charlie.”

They were staying at Richard’s Manila residence, the one he used to share with Alex. Though he never wanted to stay here for the house is filled with memories of Alex and it kept reminding him of how he neglected her, he had no choice. Besides it is the best location to wait for updates on Maya and Luke.

Rafi also lives nearby and Ryan is just a neighbor.

“Richard magagalit si Maya once she finds out that you are not taking care of yourself. Magagalit rin yun sakin once she finds out that I allowed you to neglect yourself. Pareho tayong malalagot nito.” Rafi tried to joke, wanting the very worried man in front of her to relax a bit.

Richard smiled and appreciated the attempt of Rafi to ease the tension they were all having. “Sige Rafi iidlip akong saglit kapag nakauwi ka na. Pahatid na kita kay Joma.”

===========

Luke bought paracetamol and flu medicines for his mom.

He also bought some bandages and antiseptic for her wounds which was inflicted by his dad.

He also bought his mom’s favorite fruit juice which his Tito Richard usually buys for her.

He thought of his Tito Richard and became teary eyed when he remembered the last time they saw each other.

Though he didn’t understand why his Tito Richard just allowed his dad to get him and his mom, he still prayed every single day that he would save them. He prayed that he would rescue him and his mom before something worse happens to them.

He had to do something.

Without buying snacks for himself, Luke gathered courage to approach the staff of the store. “Ate I need to call my dad. Nakalimutan ko po kasi yun phone ko. Can I borrow your phone po? Eto po I’ll just pay for the load.” He prayed that the lady would lend him her phone.

“Ano bang pangalan mo? Sige eto gamitin mo phone ko. Wag ka nang magbayad. Dun ka sa loob ng office namin kasi maingay dito.” The lady was helpful to him.

“I’m Luke po. Thank you po Ate.”

Luke dialed his Tito Richard’s number. He memorized it after the typhoon that hit their province before. It was one of the important reminders his Tito Richard had taught him – memorize numbers of important people so he could call them during emergencies even if he uses a different phone.

=================

After Rafi left, Richard had five bottles of beer instead of coffee. He needs it to be able to sleep. He was already annoyed with his mom’s incessant calls telling him to sleep.

His phone rang and he groaned knowing that it is surely his mother again. He ignored it. He didn’t want to talk to her at the state he is in now.

The phone rang again and he still ignored it. As he became annoyed of its sound, he was about to turn it off when a message came in. It was from an unknown number.

“Tito Richard help!” The moment he read the message he hurriedly called the number.

“Hello?”

“Tito Richard he’s been hurting mom. Please help mom. Please…” Luke’s voice was heard on the other line. The boy was trying his best to keep his voice low but he obviously so scared.

“Luke?”

Then he now could hear the boy’s repressed sobs on the other line. His drunkenness suddenly forgotten. The boy seemed finding a hard time to talk as he was in between controlling his sobs and repressing the sound.

He asked again.

“Luke, Tito Richard is here, where are you and your mom?”

“Hindi ko po alam. I’m just buying medicines for mom here sa baba ng condo. Kinulong po kami ni dad dito. I don’t have my cell phone. I just borrowed po from the staff here. Nandun sila ni mom sa taas. He’s forcing mom to take something tapos ng umayaw si mom, he hit her face and may dugo… and…di ko man lang matulungan si mom tapos he was…” Luke was now unable to finish as he was crying again, “now po mom has fever kaya he allowed me to buy medicines.”

“Luke, stay on the phone with Tito Richard okay? I need you to help me find your location. You have to be brave for mom. Can you hear me Luke?”

“Opo.” Luke said in his soft voice, trying to stop his sobs.

“Okay I want you to calm down. Don’t tell anyone there. If the lady who lent you the phone asks why you’re crying just tell her you missed me. I don’t want your daddy James to find out that we talked, understood?”

“Opo.”

“Okay you try to find the name of the condo and the name of the store you are in. Can you see buildings in front of it? It could help if you could describe them too.”

After being able to get the name of the condo and even the exact address from the staff who lent him the phone, Luke provided all the info to his Tito Richard.

“Very good Luke. I’m so proud of you. We can easily find you. I need you to return to your room and take care of your mommy. Just stay with her. Don’t tell her that you called me. We wouldn’t want to risk being heard by your dad.”

“Yes po. Please hurry up Tito Richard.”

“I will Luke. I promise I will.”

===============

Richard didn’t waste time. The moment he ended the call, he alerted the authorities. He called Rafi and Ryan as well.

In no time, they were on their way to the condo, which, fortunately was located in Manila. Richard could imagine what’s happening from what Luke said and he couldn’t help but blame himself for being unable to protect Maya and her son.

He was so focused on himself and the pain he felt that he was even unable to notice the fear in Maya and Luke’s eyes when they saw James in the resort. He thought they feared being found out by him. He was so selfish to even realize that the fear was for Maya’s husband.

“Sabi ko na sa’yo we will be able to find them.” Rafi who was beside him already noticed how quiet he was so she tried to strike a conversation.

He just nodded his head and smiled at Rafi.

=================

The moment the whole team arrived at the condo, they easily apprehended James Ventura.

He was handcuffed and had him arrested for kidnapping, illegal drugs and illegal possession of firearms. He would also be charged with physical abuse.

He didn’t say anything when he was led outside the unit.

The policemen also ensured that Richard Lim won’t go near James for they feared that with what they saw in the condo, he might not be able to control himself and harm James Ventura which might even complicate their case.

The unit reeked with the smell of liquor and cigarettes. There were empty cans of beer in every corner of the unit, on the dining table and on the small table of the living room. Empty boxes of pizza were also on the table and it meant that James had been feeding Maya and Luke pizza for it was the most convenient food to be ordered.

Also seen on top of the table were colorful tablets which were identified by the authorities as party drugs. Some were sealed but some were empty which meant that James Ventura could have consumed them.

Rafi and Ryan could see how furious Richard was with what they found out in the condo.

Richard then knocked and called Luke to open the room where he and his mom were staying. Earlier, he instructed Luke to just stay inside the room, lock it and never come out until he arrives. He didn’t want to risk Maya and Luke being caught in a gunfire incase James Ventura fights the police.

The moment the door opened…

“Tito Richard!” Luke jumped into his arms. The boy cried the moment he saw his Tito Richard, Tito Ryan and Tita Rafi.

Rafi smiled at the display of affection between Luke and Richard. She wasn’t surprised anymore that Luke ran to Richard first before hugging her and Ryan as well.

“Rafi, Ryan puntahan ko muna si Maya. Dito na muna sa inyo si Luke.”

“Okay Richard.”

They all allowed him and Maya some privacy and closed the door.

Richard proceeded near her bed. Maya was just blanky staring at him. She was so frail, too weak to even react. She was pale, very thin and there were bruises all over her arms, under her chin, there were dark marks on her neck and a scar near her left eye. Ever her mouth was swollen.

He couldn’t believe that Maya’s husband could do this to her in front of their son.

“Maya, I’m here… you and Luke are safe now.”

He hugged her, careful not to exert much force that could further inflict pain on her bruised body. He kissed the top of her head, her forehead, her cheeks.

She still remained quiet but she was staring at him trying her best to convey her gratitude for being saved from James Ventura. Tears were already welling in her eyes.

Richard stared deeply into her eyes as well…. “It’s all over Maya. Wala na si James. He is already arrested. Safe na kayo ni Luke. Please be brave okay? Si Luke…he’s such a brave boy. He was the one who called me that’s why we found you. Your son had the courage to do it because of you, sana ganun ka rin. These wounds will heal Maya. magiging okay rin ang lahat.” He told her lovingly.

Maya gave him a small smile then she suddenly became unconscious.

Richard called the medical team who was just outside the room. They already checked on Luke.

As Maya was wheeled on a stretcher outside the room, Richard went inside the bathroom with the intention to splash water on his face.

Inside, he saw several empty boxes of contraceptives. He was all the more enraged that he didn’t notice anymore how he clenched his fists then hit the bathroom wall.

He started throwing up as well. After a few minutes and after splashing water to his face, Richard sat on the toilet seat, his hands covering his face.

He silently sobbed for the all the pain the woman he loved had to endure.

He sobbed for his guilt of not being able to protect her and her son.

He knows that aside from the physical pain Maya suffered, a deeper emotional wound is again embedded in her being.

He just hoped that despite what he did, Maya would be able to forgive him.

He hoped that she will still allow him into her life.

========

A/N. Sorry natagalan to. Aside from being busy, it’s hard for me to write this.

Kwentong Maya & Ricky : Flowers

Kwentong Maya & Ricky : Flowers

Maya was giddily smiling while admiring the bouquet of flowers she’s holding.

The delivery guy was having a hard time looking for the delivery receipt of the said ordered flowers and it gave Maya time to appreciate the carefully arranged bouquet. “Ang ganda. Ang galing ko talagang pumili. Sabagay sa mahal ba naman dapat talaga maganda.”

Two days ago, her boss instructed her to personally choose the flowers he would be giving his girlfriend. She chose a mixture of tulips and roses which she knows were favorites of her employer’s girlfriend.

She was smiling foolishly kasi kilig na kilig sya for her boss and his girlfriend. “Hay naku ang swerte talaga ni Ma’m Stephanie. (namiss ko siya😆). San kaya ako makakahanap ng kagaya ni Ser Chief?”

“Ma’m eto na po yun resibo. Pakipirmahan na lang po dito sa duplicate.”

She signed then thanked the delivery guy. “Salamat kuya.”

She was about to enter her boss’ office when the door suddenly opened and came rushing out an angry Stephanie.

She looked so mad that she just briefly stared at Maya and the flowers she was holding then left.

Maya froze.

She didn’t know what to do.

Will she run after his boss’ girlfriend or would she go inside his office and ask if he wanted her to do anything.

She’s not used to what she witnessed for in her three years of working for Mr Richard Lim, she never encountered this kind of scenario.

“Hala anong nangyari dun?” She said to herself. “Puntahan ko kaya si Ser Chief? Ok lang kaya siya?” Maya was worried of her boss, “Kaso bako mainit ang ulo madamay pa ako. Jusko wala na ngang love life baka pati trabaho mawalan pa ako. Hintayin ko na lang kayang lumabas si Ser? Tama dito lang ako para kapag kinailangan nya ako nandito ako. Tama!”  She was talking to herself.

About three hours had passed and its now 8pm. All the other employees have left but Maya stayed to wait for her boss. She wasn’t able to notice the time for she was also busy doing some of her reports.

“What are you doing here? Gabi na ah!” She was startled to hear the loud voice of Richard Lim. He was frowning. Obviously, he’s in a bad mood.

“Ser kasi po. Ano po. Nagworry lang naman po ako. Kasi ano … Nakita ko si Ms. Stephanie kanina. Baka kako may iuutos ka… baka ipahahol mo po sakin or padalhan ng something.” She was nervously explaining to her boss whose eyes were turning into tiny slits.

She was bracing herself for her boss’ anger but was instead surprised to hear him say “It’s late Maya. You should have gone home already. It’s Valentine’s. Baka kanina pa naghihintay date mo.”

“Naku Ser ha! Wala naman akong date. Kayo talaga!” She joked but Richard Lim remained serious and not smiling at all.

“Sabi ko na nga po. Uuwi na ako.” Then she remembered the flowers, “Eto po pala yun flowers. Di naman to malalanta Ser. Pwede pa to bukas.”

“I don’t need that anymore. Itapon mo na lang yan.”

“Naku Ser sayang naman. Pwedeng akin na lang?”

“Ok. You may do whatever you want with it. Umuwi ka na Maya. Magpahatid ka na ka Joma.”

Then her boss again entered his office.

Joma was the company driver. Ayaw naman siyang abalahin ni Maya. Besides he will surely have a date with his girlfriend Liza. Liza was Richard Lim’s executive assistant before Maya took over her position. Now she is in charge of the LAS hangar in Paranaque. She was promoted.

After more than an hour Maya was still at the lobby of the building where the Lim Aviation Services office is located. She was talking to the guard on duty when Richard Lim saw her. “Maya nandito ka pa rin? It’s already late. Kanina pa kita pinauwi di ba?”

“Ay Ser ano po naghihintay ako ng taxi. Dun kasi sa labas lahat puno eh at least dito kapag may nagpahatid na pasahero madali akong makasakay.”

“Di ba I told you to ask Joma to bring you home! Atsaka sino naman ang pupunta dito at this time. Dapat sinunod mo yun sinabi ko.” He was already agitated.

“Ser Chief kalma po. Ok lang naman ako dito. Ayaw ko naman pong abalahin si kuya Joma kasi alam kong may date sila ni Ms. Liza. Atsaka safe naman dito kasi nandito si Mang Lem at nakakatuwa po makinig sa lovestory nila ng misis nya.”

Mang Lem is the guard on duty. He was an amiable old man who always had that ready smile on his face. He was a favorite at the building. Maya was so fond of him and was kilig sa stories ni Mang Lem.

Richard just shook his head but he gave a small smile. Despite not being able to go home, despite not being able to find a taxi, despite missing dinner, Maya dela Rosa never runs out of positivity. Masaya pa rin siya. This made him smile. Maya’s happy disposition is really contagious.

“Alright then, halika na. Ihahatid na lang kita.”

“Po?”

“You heard me Maya. Halika na. Sumabay ka na sa’kin.”

“Ay naku wag na po Ser. Nakakahiya naman at abala pa yun sa’yo.”

“Maya pwede. Nakakapagod yun araw ko ngayon and I’m also pissed for something I’m very sure you are aware of. Do me a favor at wag ka nang magpapilit. I’m stressed arguing with people at umiinit na ang ulo ko sa kakulitan mo.”

“Eto na nga po Ser. Sasabay na. Bye Mang Lem. Happy Valentine’s po ulit.”

=======

“Maya stop doing that!”

Nasa kotse na sila. Maya was smiling like a fool while smelling and admiring the flowers.

“Po? Ang alin Ser Chief?”

“Stop looking at those stupid flowers and stop smiling. You are distracting me.”

“Grabe ka naman po. Hindi naman stupid yun flowers. Ang ganda kaya. Atsaka wag kang bugnutin Ser. Valentine’s pa naman. Atsaka positive ako na magkakaayos naman kayo ni Mam Stephanie. Nagpapalambing lang yun.”

He sighed. Kumunot lalo yung noo. “Stop mentioning her.”

Pero mapilit ang Maya…

“Ser Chief don’t worry po. Tutulungan ko kayo. I’m sure magkakaayos kayo ni Mam.”

“Maya…”

“Ser Chief…”

“You are really annoyingly persistent.”

“Aba naman dapat po. Sayang naman yun lahat na pinagpaguran ko kung mauuwi lang sa wala.”

“Pinagpaguran?”

“Aba opo kasi di ba lahat ng mga pakilig mo kay Mam Stephanie sakin nyo inuutos. Dapat lang successful yun mga pinagpaguran ko.”

“As far as I know, you were paid to do it Maya. Inutos ko yun sa’yo during office hours so that means paid yun oras mo.” He was actually getting amused and he now enjoys bantering with her.

“Oo nga Ser Chief bayad yun oras ko pero ginagawa ko yun ng may buong pagmamalasakit at pagmamahal sa inyo ni Ma’m Stephanie. Hindi lang yun dahil sa inutos nyo lang kaya siyempre I want to witness the fruit of my labor.”

“Fruit of your what?”

“Fruit of my labor, culmination… In short po kasal nyo ni Ma’m Stephanie.”

“Excuse me?”

“You’re excused Ser Chief!” She joked but when she saw his annoyed expression, “Ser Chief biro lang. Gusto lang kitang patawanin. Pero pangako po tutulungan kita para magkabati kayo ni Ma’m Stephanie. Basta promise ka din na kapag kasal nyo invited ako ha! Pwede naman akong bridesmaid…”

Maya was talking nonstop and though he was initially annoyed, he was getting amused of her. He raised an eyebrow but still kept quiet.

When she got no reaction from him…”Wag na pong bridesmaid, mass reader na lang po…”

Still no reaction…

“Sige na nga Ser. Kahit walang role. Basta invited ako ha!”

Finally to make her stop talking… “Oo na Maya. I promise that you will be present on my wedding day. Just stop talking. Ang kulit mo and kanina pa masakit ang ulo ko.”

“Sabi ko nga po. Tatahimik na.” She acted like zipping her mouth. Then she again turned her attention to the bouquet.

“You’re really enjoying those flowers. Parang ngayon ka lang nakahawak nyan ah.”

“Hindi naman po Ser kaso ngayon lang ako nabigyan ng napakaganda at napakamahal na flowers.” She smiled at him.

“Correction Maya. Hindi ko yan binigay sa’yo. Pinapatapon ko yan kaso kinuha mo.”

“Ser Chief naman. Binanggit pa. Panira ng moment. Kunyari nga may nagbigay. Wag ka na pong kumontra.”

“Why? Di ka pa ba nakakatanggap ng flowers on Valentine’s?”

She blushed, nahiya… “Hindi pa po. Wala naman akong naging boyfriend di ba?” She whispered the last line to herself pero unfortunately narinig ni Ser Chief. He chuckled.

“Ah so wala pang nagkakamali?” He was still laughing at her.

“Grabe ka po Ser Chief. Makatawa naman po kayo wagas.”

“It’s funny. At your age wala ka pang boyfriend and worse never kang nabigyan ng flowers?”

“Sige po. Ipagdiinan nyo pa ” napikon si Maya so she just stared at her window. Tampo siya. She kept quiet.

Naguilty si SerChief. “Hey I was just joking. I didn’t mean to offend you.”

Pero tahimik lang si Maya while still hugging the flowers.

She didn’t realize that her boss parked the car at the restaurant where she actually reserved a table for her boss and his girlfriend.

“Tara na Maya. Baba ka na dyan. Tama na ang pagtatampo. Alam ko gutom lang yan.”

That’s when she realized where they are. Nagulat siya. “Ser Chief bakit nandito tayo?”

“Gutom na ako Maya. I haven’t eaten dinner yet at alam kong ikaw rin. Besides I paid for the table here di ba? Sayang naman. Tara pasok na tayo. And please leave those flowers.”

Maya left the flowers inside the car. But she was still opposed to the idea of having dinner with her boss on Valentine’s. “Ser Chief kayo na lang po pumasok. Busog po ako.”

He was sure na naiilang lang si Maya.

“Pasosolohin mo ako? Hindi pwede Maya. You should come with me.”

“Eh Ser nakapangopisina ako. Tingnan nyo naman po yun mga pumapasok. Ang sososyal ng mga suot.” She reasoned.

“Ako rin naman ah. I’m wearing my office clothes.”

“Opo Ser pero nakajacket naman kayo kaya di halata.”

“Eh di I’ll remove my jacket.” He removed it and shoved it at the backseat of his car.

“Naka suot din kayo ng long sleeves. Formal pa din tingnan.”

He smirked then folded his sleeves up to his elbows so it would look a little more casual. “There! Satisfied? Hindi ko naman to pwedeng alisin Maya and just wear my inner shirt. Baka naman di ako papasukin ng guard. Halika na. I am very hungry.”

Finally, Maya relented. She followed her boss inside.

=======

While having dinner, they were able to talk about their family, the gossips in the office, both their favorites ranging from music to politics.

Richard found out that his assistant doesn’t only possess a positive disposition. She was also very intelligent and so amusing.

He didn’t even remember about Stephanie at all.

He was enjoying listening to Maya.

He was laughing and they even enjoyed teasing each other.

She was teasing him about his tiger image in the office while he teased her about being so scared of him in the office to the point that she always looked like she’s about to cry. “Eh sino ba namang di maiiyak SerChief eh sa harap kaya ng Board of Directors ko nadelete yun files na dinidiscuss nyo. Tapos sobrang nakakatakot yun hitsura nyo, ganito po” she even imitated how he looked. Richard was laughing so hard that his eyes were already in slits. “You’re really funny Maya. Nawala yun inis ko for the day.”

“Aba Ser ginawa nyo pa akong clown.” She smiled too and she was so proud of herself for being able to let her boss temporarily forget about the bad day he had. “Pero okay lang po. Mapatawa ko lang kayo, kahit ano po gagawin ko, ikaw ata ang the best employer in the world.”

“Thank you Maya. I’m serious. From the bottom of my heart, thank you.” He sincerely told her while looking into her eyes.

Though uneasy kasi naconscious, Maya managed to say, “You’re welcome po Ser Chief.”

================

After dinner, she brought Maya to the apartment she was renting.

“Thank you po Ser Chief sa paghatid. Ingat po sa pagdrive.”

As she was about to leave the car, “Wait. Let me write something sa card dyan sa flowers.” Then he got the card before she could even react.

He wrote something then gave the card back to her. “There. So it would completely look that its really from me.”

“Si Ser Chief talaga. Di naman po kailangan sulatan yan kasi gaya ng sinabi nyo kinuha ko lang naman ang dapat na itatapon na flowers.”

“Eh di at least the card is from me at talagang para sa’yo yun message. Sige na Maya. Pasok ka na sa bahay nyo. Goodnight.”

“Sige po Ser Chief. Salamat ulit.”

The moment Maya entered her apartment she read the card and squealed. Kilig na kilig siya kasi long time crush nya actually ang employer nya.

What he wrote in the card was:

“Maya,

Thank you for keeping me company and making me smile tonight. This is the best Valentine’s day for me.

Richard 😊”

=============

As he was driving home, Richard couldn’t help but think about Maya.

Yes, she entertained him with her funny antics and kept him interested with how witty she was but there’s something in her that captivated him. He felt that already unfamiliar and long forgotten butterflies in his stomach which he last felt when he was courting his late wife, Alexandra.

He even remembered that incident just a few months ago when he overheard her talking to her officemate in the pantry…

“Alam mo girl, sa talino mong yan pwedeng pwede ka sa Singapura Lines. Mataas magpasahod dun at ang dinig ko, magbubukas sila ng office sa States. O di ba hindi lang sa Singapore ang byuti mo, may possibility din na mapadala ka sa US of A!”

“Emman di naman ako naghahanap ng malilipatan. Masaya ako dito.”

“Eh girl, executive assistant ka nga, pero in short, utusan ni Sir Richard. Gusto mo bang ganyan ka na lang habambuhay?”

“Uy Emman, promoted na nga ako di ba? Dati staff lang naman ako ng LAS tapos eto ibinigay sa akin yun position ni Ms Liza. Malaking bagay yun Emman at grabe ang pagtitiwala ni Ser sa akin.”

“Oo nga Mayabels, but you should expand your horizon, spread your wings.”

“Emman ang importante sa akin ay yung masaya ako sa trabaho ko. Grabe ang pasasalamat ko sa LAS at kay Ser kasi dahil sa kanya nakakapagpadala ako ng pera kay Nanay, napag-aral ko si Cho, napasemento ko yun bahay namin, nakapundar kami ng negosyo. Atsaka di ko naman gusto sa labas ng Pilipinas. Atsaka sinasama rin ako ni Ser sa mga byahe niya abroad. Malaking bagay sakin yun Emman.”

“Alam ko naman Mayabels na magaling na employer si Sir Richard. Ang sa akin lang ay you can reach your full potential sa other companies while working in the field where you have a degree. Dapat umaakyat ka sa career ladder.”

“Ay basta Emman, ang pinakaimportante sa akin ay yun boss na mabait, mapagmalasakit, mapagmahal sa pamilya, magaling makisama, masungit nga pero sa lugar naman, matalino…”

Then Emman continued for her…”gwapo, mabango, magaling manamit, magaling magsalita, matipuno at crush mo.”

“Uy Emman hindi ah!” She vehemently denied.

“Hindi raw pero namumula na.” Emman further teased her.

“Excuse me Emman, hindi ko crush si Ser. Unethical kaya yun. I admire him lang.”

“Naku, unethical mo dyan. Ewan ko sa’yo Maya. Pero gwapo di ba?”

“Oo…” Then she giggled. Emman joined as well.

“Pero seryoso Emman, di ko yan ipagpapalit si Ser Chief sa kahit sinong boss. Kahit na yun may-ari pa ng SM ang kumuha sa akin. Ipaglalaban ko yan si Mr. Lim at ang buong pamilya nya ng patayan. Ipagtatanggol ko yan.” She said with conviction.

“Ay feeling bodyguard? Naku Mayabels baka ugatin ka na dito at maging matandang dalaga ka na dahil ayaw mong iwanan si Sir.”

“I don’t care Emman kahit habambuhay ako dito.” She proudly told him.

“Mamaya nyan girl magaya ka kay Manang Fe.” Then tumawa si Emman. Manang Fe is the longtime nanny of their boss.

“Okay lang Emman. Ang swerte nga ni Manang kasi lagi nyang nakikita si Ser.” Then she giggled again.

“At si Manang lang malamang ang nakakakita sa body ni Sir Richard.” Emman said while giggling.

“Ssshh… Tumigil ka nga Emman. May makarinig nga sa atin.”

Yes meron nga. Narinig lahat ni Ricky. And now that he’s remembering it, kinilig siya. The feeling is new to him for he haven’t felt this in years. But right now, it made him feel vibrant and giddy as well.

He suddenly had a different outlook in life. He is now determined to pursue what makes him happy. And he promised himself to make her very happy as well.

==========

The following day….
“Uy si Maya may admirer, may flowers.” Emman teased her when they arrived at the office and saw a lovely bouquet of sunflowers on top of her desk.

Nagulat si Maya.

She smiled.

She didn’t expect anyone to be giving her flowers.

She held it and appreciated the way it was arranged. Sunflower is her favorite flower.

Then she read the card.

“Maya,

Thank you again for last night. These flowers are now intended for you from me. I chose sunflowers because aside from knowing that they’re your favorite, you are like a sunflower Maya, always making anyone’s day sunny and bright. I woke up very early para bumili nyan. I hope you like it. Have a great day my sunflower.🌻

Richard 😊”

Tinginan sila ni Emman then Emman squealed. Kinurot siya ni Maya para tumahimik but she was blushing.

“Aba Mayabels may ikukuwento ka mamaya.”

“Emman wala! Pasalamat lang to ni Ser kasi nagpasama siya kagabi.”

“Nagpasama kagabi?” Nanlaki eyes ni Emman.

But before Emman could further tease Maya, Richard called her phone. He actually eavesdropped because he was excited of Maya’s reaction on the flowers he gave.

“Maya nandyan ka na pala. Kindly bring two cups of coffee then some cupcakes na rin.”

“Opo Ser. Wait lang po.” She replied trying her best to hide her kilig.

“Ano raw Maya?”

“Nagpapatimpla ng dalawang kape. Nandyan ata si Ma’m Stephanie.”

“Awwww… Kala ko pa naman… ” si Emman.

==============

The moment she entered his office, he was alone.

“Ser Chief good morning po. Umalis na yun bisita nyo? Naku sorry medyo natagalan yun kape. Wala po kasing mainit na tubig sa pantry.”

“Bisita? Wala akong bisita Maya. That other coffee is yours. Halika samahan mo ako. Magbreakfast tayo. I asked Manang Fe to cook pancit kasi I know favorite mo yan.” He casually said.

“Po? Ah eh…”

“Don’t argue anymore. Gutom na ako. Five am ako pumunta ng florist to buy the flowers. So did you like it?” He had an excitedly expectant face.

“Opo I liked it po.” Nahihiya siya so she said it in a very low voice. “Para saan naman yun Ser Chief?”

“I want to give it to you kasi pinasaya mo ako and I want to do the same. Gusto ko din mapasaya ka.”

“Ah parang pa thank you po?”

“No! More than that. So Maya, are you free tonight? Can I invite you on a date?”

😝Lagot na Maya! Your boss is smitten😍

A/N One shot lang to. I’m enjoying the ligawan days kasi of BCWMH in JeepneyTV.

 

“The Adventures and Misadventures of Ricky, Maya and the Munings : Happy Valentine’s Day TigeRRRR Lim”

“The Adventures and Misadventures of Ricky, Maya and the Munings : Happy Valentine’s Day TigeRRRR Lim”

Maya was all smiles as she entered the mansion. The kids -Luke, Nikki, Abby, even Sky and Sunshine together with their yayas Doris and Leah all gathered around her. They were all happily welcoming the new addition to their memorial park gang – a new kitten Maya found abandoned at a gasoline station just a few hours ago.

The new kitten whom they named ‘Courage’, was introduced to the rest of the feline gang who occupies a big area of the Lim Mansion, much to the annoyance of the head of the house.

Everyone had their attention towards the round eyed, malnourished kitten that they failed to notice the chinky eyed tiger who also entered a few minutes after Maya did. He directed his gaze at everyone flocked around the kitten. He’s totally pissed.

Feeling ignored, he proceeded to the kitchen to get a glass of water. He badly needed it to cool down his temper.

“O Ricardo nandito na agad kayo? Nakabili na kayo ng mga panregalo sa mga empleyado ng LAS at LAI?”

“No Manang. Si Liza na lang papagawin ko nun.” He said in a serious voice, trying his best not to sound rude in his response to Manang Fe.

“Eh teka kala ko ba mag dadate din kayong mag-asawa? Di ba….”

“Hindi na natuloy Manang. Meron na naman kasing istorbo.” He shook his head as he imagined that cute little kitten his wife and kids were now so fond of, the cute little kitten which destroyed the special day he excitedly planned to be spending with his wife.

“Istorbo?”

He didn’t elaborate anymore. He didn’t want to say more knowing that with his temper, he might blurt out words he’ll be regretting later. “Sige po Manang. Doon lang ako sa office. I’ll just check my emails. They don’t need me anyway.” He said with bitterness in his tone then left the kitchen.

Sabel, who was just listening the whole time, afraid when she saw how upset Richard was, finally asked Manang Fe, “Manang ano po bang nangyari kay Sir Richard? Bakit parang tigre na naman yun. Ang saya saya pa lang nya kanina. Nagpaplantsa pa nga nung damit nya kasi may espesyal daw silang pupuntahan ni Mrs. Chief ngayong Valentine’s. Anyare dun?”

“Naku Sabel wag na nating pakialaman yun mag-asawa. Halika na, maghanda na lang tayo ng masarap na ulam kasi dito pala kakain sina Ricardo at Maya.”

“Ay sige po Manang. Pasasarapin ko po talaga para mabawasan ang init ng ulo…”

The Richard arrives again. Natahimik si Sabel.

“Manang si Joma po?” He asked with an angry tone.

Joma who was drinking coffee at their quarters immediately rushed to the kitchen when he heard his name.

“Nandito po ako Sir. May ipapagawa po kayo?”

“Joma bakit walang gas yun kotse kanina? Di ba it is our rule na dapat full tank yun mga sasakyan bago iparada sa bahay?” He was really mad that he needed an outlet. Joma was the convenient outlet for his outburst. Joma, for him, was the reason why they needed to stop by the gasoline station. He was the reason why they came across that kitten.

“Sir kasi po sumakit yun tiyan ni Ma’m Nikki kahapon ng pauwi na kami kaya dumeretso na agad kami sa bahay. Tapos may inutos rin po si Mrs. Chief na gawin doon sa higaan ng mga kuting kaya di ko na po napansin yun oras. Sorry po Sir.”

He couldn’t argue with Joma’s explanation especially that it was his daughter’s painful stomach which caused Joma not to drop by the gasoline station on their way home. Even if Maya didn’t ask him to do something for the kittens, it would also be very impractical for Joma to go out and drive a good 30 minutes just to have the car’s tank filled up with gasoline. It wasn’t Joma’s fault either that he chose to drive the Benz which was for the kids than his usual BMW.

After staring at the worried Joma, he just said… “Next time sasabihan mo ako kung may gas o wala yun dadalhin naming sasakyan ni Maya. Kung di sana kami nagpa gas eh di hindi sana nya mapupulot yun istorbo.” He mumbled the last line but Joma, Sabel and Manang Fe still heard him.

Then he left again.

“Galit si Sir Richard Manang? Bakit ano po bang istorbo? Huy Joma ano yung sinasabi ni Sir?”

Then Doris came in with a smile on her face. “Kacute ng bagong kuting!!! Kaso payat pa at may sugat. Naku may bago na namang dagdag sa koleksyon ng mga bata at ni Mrs. Chief.”

Joma, Manang Fe and Sabel just stared at Doris knowingly. So that’s the reason for the anger of the head of the house.

=================

“Oh my God Chard ganyan kakunot ang noo mo at ganyan ka kasungit dahil sa bagong kitten?” Rafi was laughing at her best friend. She saw him online so she took the chance to ask if the ordered chocoliquor cakes she sent already arrived.

“Wag mo akong umpisahan Rafi. I’m really pissed right now.”

“Whoah!!! Ang sungit nga! Hoy Richard Lim you should be happy that your wife and kids are animal lovers. It means they are good persons.”

“Excuse me Rafi! Do you know the meaning of overdoing things? of abusing the kindness and patience of other people?”

“At sino naman ang inaabuso nila? Ikaw? Naku kitten lang yun. Akala mo naman kung tigre ang inuwi ng asawa mo. Oh well may tigre na pala sa Lim mansion.” Then she laughed which angered Richard more.

Richard have prepared for this day. He put a lot of effort to make it extra special – dinner at her favorite restaurant, tickets to her favorite comedy bar and a room at their favorite hotel to spend the night together. He even had the room prepared for a romantic mood. Flowers, wine and even candles already await them and Liza had fixed everything for him.

He was really very excited.

He didn’t tell her all these because he wanted to surprise his wife. It is Valentine’s day and though he repeatedly told Maya that they don’t need to celebrate it as everyday was already like Valentine’s day for both of them, he wanted to make this as an exception. This year’s Valentine’s coincided with his being named businessman of the year. They were supposed to celebrate his award. It was extra special for him.

Many events happened and he and his family have gone through a lot.

He met challenges, problems after being removed as president of LAS, to singlehandedly putting up LAI to being begged to return and save LAS again.

It was something he wants to celebrate with his wife, his pillar, his support during those dark days or his career. He couldn’t have done it without the support, encouragement, trust and most of all love from his wife.

=================

“Maya pwede ba kitang makausap?” It was Manang Fe. As much as she admires Maya’s love for abandoned kittens, she couldn’t ignore the fact that it is already affecting Richard.

Manang Fe knows how excited Richard was for this day. She also knows everything Richard had Liza prepare for this special day.

Maya smiled sweetly at the elderly woman whose warmth and love had been a source of inspiration to her and to her husband.

“Ano po yun Manang?”

“Dun tayo sa veranda Maya.”

As Maya saw how serious Manang Fe looked, she immediately gave the kitten to Luke and asked Doris and Leah to watch over the twins.

==========

“Maya natuloy ba yun pagkain nyo sa labas ni Ricardo?” Manang Fe wanted to find out from Maya what really happened.

“Naku Manang hindi na po kasi hindi naman pwede yun kuting sa restaurant. Atsaka Manang okay lang naman kay Ricky na dito na lang magdinner kasi at least makakatipid kami at kasama pa namin yun mga bata. Hindi naman namin kailangan mag celebrate ng Valentine’s day kasi hindi naman mahilig si Ricky dun. Baka napipilitan nga lang siya na lumabas kami. Everyday naman valentine’s sa amin.” Then she smiled, kilig while imagining how sweet Ricky is every single day.

“Okay lang kay Ricardo?”

“Opo.” Maya was quick to reply.

“Pa’no yung mga inihanda nya? Pinakansela nya lahat kay Liza?”

“Po?”

“Maya, maliban sa Valentine’s day, espesyal kay Ricardo ang araw na to at gusto nya na ipagdiwang kasama ang pinakaespesyal na tao sa buhay nya.”

Maya wasn’t aware of it. Akala nya simple Valentine’s dinner lang ang pupuntahan nila ni Ricky. She felt bad. She felt guilty for ignoring him.

Manang Fe continued…

“Hindi ko alam kung ano ang mga inihanda ni Ricardo. Si Liza ang nakakaalam ng mga yun pero Maya nakita ko kung gaano kasaya yun asawa mo na makasama ka. Wag mo namang bigyan ng dahilan para sumama ang loob nya.”

Maya saw that Manang Fe was disappointed in her. “Manang sorry po. Babawi po ako kay Ricky. Promise po yan.”

“Sige Maya. Ikaw na bahala. Alam mo naman na kung pano alisin yun tampo ng asawa mo.”

“Sorry po talaga Manang at salamat sa pag gabay sa amin.” Then she hugged the elderly woman who’s already like a mother to her and to Ricky.

She wasted no time in calling Liza and she found out that her husband had instructed Liza to reserve a table in her favorite restaurant, buy tickets for a stand-up comedy show where they once sang an impromptu duet years ago and book them a room in one of those five star hotels near the very memorable Manila Bay.

She asked Liza if Richard had cancelled those already but found out that he didn’t.

She requested Liza not to do so once Ricky calls her to cancel everything.

She also told Liza what happened for her to understand and be a participant in whatever should happen tonight.

Maya is determined to make up for all her shortcomings to Ricky.

Babawi siya.

================

“Sweetheart?”

She found Ricky in his home office engrossed in his laptop. He didn’t even notice that she entered, or he pretended not to notice her. Galit nga talaga si Ricky.

“Sweetheart…” She called him again.

Not even sparing her a glance Ricky just replied, “What is it? I’m busy.” Then he smirked.

Maya went behind him then hugged him while her chin was atop his shoulder. “Sorry na sweetheart. Naawa at naaliw lang naman ako dun kay Courage. Pero ayun ibinilin ko na siya kay Kuya Joma. Promise hindi na ako lalapit sa kanya ngayong gabi.”

Nilalambing niya si Ricky who remained cold and unresponsive to her embrace and kisses on his cheek and even neck.

“Stop that Maya. I’m busy.”

“Busy daw. Hindi naman ah!” Then she tried to open the sites Richard was accessing in his laptop. Natawa siya. “Busy nga sa solitaire at minesweeper at ano to?” She saw a simple dart board online game where you could personalize the center with pictures of someone or something you wanted to hit. At ayun picture ng one of her previous kittens ang nakalagay. Maya already saw it before Ricky was able to hide it. Pero di siya nagalit. Natawa siya. “Naku kahit talaga sa mga munings namin nagtatampo ang napakagwapo kong asawa. Sorry na nga po from them and from me. Kausapin mo na ako ng maayos Ricky. Please…” Then he hugged him even tighter kahit nakakangawit na yun position nya behind him. “Uy… Sweetheart…”

He sighed. Maiisahan na naman siya and as usual bibigay rin naman siya. He couldn’t stay angry at Maya. Hell he’s not even angry. Nagtatampo lang siya. Nahurt yun feelings nya. “Eh ikaw eh.” He managed to say.

Maya kissed him again then moved his swivel chair so he could face her. She sat on his lap. Then she cupped his face. “Sorry na po Mr. Lim.” Then she planted a soft kiss on his lips which he readily accepted.

He commented after, “So kiss lang okay na?”

“Of course hindi kaya tumayo ka na dyan Ricky kasi itutuloy na natin yun date natin.”

===============

After the dinner and the stand up comedy show and yes after their ‘pag-uusap at you and me time the Ricky and Maya way’ they are now cuddling each other in their hotel room…

“Nakabawi na ba ako Sweetheart? Di ka na nagtatampo?”

“Hindi na pero next time para pansinin mo ako, maghahanap ako ng cat to get your attention. Mas mahal mo pa ata sila sa akin eh.” He pretended to be tampo pa rin.

“Grabe naman to! Hindi no! Maawain lang ako sa mga abandoned kittens.”

“Eh sa abandoned husband di ka naaawa?” He said this still with the matching tampo face.

“Patawa ka Ricky! Abandoned ka dyan! Pero seryoso. Di ba sabi mo to get my attention maghahanap ka ng cat. You don’t have to. Nakahanap na ako ng cat. Hindi lang simpleng cat but a Tiger and he got my full attention. Ikaw yun sweetheart!” Then she giggled unable to contain her kilig from what she said.

“If that’s the case… Rawwwrrrr Mrs. Lim!” Then he attacked his wife again ala tiger style.

A/N Ano na naman ginawa? Nag play zoo ata!🙈 Ewan ko ba dyan sa dalawa. Lahat na lang. 😂

Happy Hearts day! Kahapon to dapat kaso waley ang net sa kinaroroonan ko these days so pasulPost sulPost lang muna. 😂

Date

KwentongRicky&Maya : Memorable Date
(my version of one of Jollibee’s heart-tugging tvc shorts❤)

“Sky listen carefully. Kunin mo yun rose. Tanggalin mo yun petals tapos ikalat mo yung petals sa sahig. Lagyan mo hanggang dun sa may pinto. Yung mga lobo dapat red. Isang dosena ha! Yung chicken naman puro thigh dapat. Wag mong kakalimutan, favorite yan ni mommy.”

Sky was carefully remembering every detail his dad had told him.

It should be perfect he thought.

He carefully laid on top of the table the final touch for his date – the bouquet of Sunflowers especially made for his mom. “Yun bouquet important yan ha. Hindi kumpleto kung wala yan.”

After making sure that he had covered every detail his dad instructed, Sky texted his mom who was in her bedroom.

“Mom I need help with something. Please come here po sa veranda.” He texted his mom.

Maya who was chatting with someone on facetime got worried as Sky doesn’t normally text her when it’s not important. She immediately ended the chat and stood up to go where her 10-year old son was.

The moment she opened her bedroom door, she was surprised to see scattered rose petals on the floor. It led the way from her bedroom door towards the veranda where Sky was standing smiling at her.

She saw red balloons too which filled the high ceiling of the mansion. “Exactly how Ricky did it before” she thought.

The table at the veranda where she and her husband spend their time bonding over coffee while updating each other of the happenings of everyday was adorned with a vase filled with lovely sunflowers.

There were two plates of spaghetti, some cupcakes and chicken, yes her favorite thigh part. There were two glasses of iced-tea too.

The instrumental music of ‘the way you look tonight’ was softly playing at the background.

It was just like how Ricky did it.

Exactly how he did it years ago.

The memories of her very first Valentine’s date with her husband came back and she can’t help but get teary-eyed.

Their youngest son Sky was smiling at her and she stared lovingly at him. Sky looked a lot like Richard. He had his dad’s features. Like her husband, Sky was also charming, malambing, funny and he also got his dad’s tiger-like attitude when he’s getting grumpy. All these made her miss Richard more.

Her reminiscing was stopped when Sky approached her. She then saw the small hand of her son waiting to lead her to the dining table. He smiled at her. “Tara na po mommy.”

She allowed Sky to escort her to the not-so-far table, while she’s trying to wipe her cheeks with her other free hand.

As she sat, Sky handed her the IPad. The moment she saw her husband’s video, she couldn’t help it anymore. She cried.

“Hi sweetheart! Happy Valentine’s Day. Sorry wala ako dyan. Di ako nakahabol eh. Sweetheart sorry. Ibinilin muna kita sa mga bata. Sinabihan ko din si Sky na siya na muna ang Valentine’s date mo.”

Her tears are flowing freely now. She was so touched that Ricky, despite his absence, still made the effort to make this day very special.

Sky stood in front of her with the bouquet of Sunflowers. “Happy Valentine’s day mom!”

She gave their youngest a very tight hug then kissed both his cheeks. Sky in return tried to wipe her tears with his small hands.

Then her phone rang. She answered it.

“Sweetheart how did you like my surprise?”

She didn’t answer but just cried again.

“Hey sweetheart what’s wrong? Sorry na. Please don’t cry. Sorry that I can’t be your date on Valentine’s. I tried kaso naiwan ako ng eroplano. Hindi ko nagamit yun pagiging LAS CEO ko sa Time Airways. Di man lang nila ako hinintay. Wag ka nang magalit please.”

In between sobs she managed to say, “Hindi naman ako galit. Pero kainis ka Ricky. Pinaiyak mo na naman ako.”

“Bakit naman? Di ba dapat masaya ka? Yun mga bata naghanda nyan. Sunshine and Nikki baked the cupcakes, Abby cooked the spaghetti, si Luke naman bumili ng favorite mong Jollibee ChickenJoy thigh part. Of course our charming bunso is your escort. Did you like our surprise Sweetheart?”

“Sobra Ricky! Hindi nyo naman kailangan gawin to pero thank you talaga. Palagi nyo akong pinapasaya ng mga bata.” Then she sniffed again.

“That’s because we love you. I love you.” He said tenderly. “I miss you so much. I can’t wait to see you.”

“I miss you too Sweetheart. Ang tagal nang 7 days. Gustong gusto na kitang makasama. I love you sweetheart.” Maya was smiling while still crying.

“Bukas pauwi na ako. Stop crying na. Baka matakot ang anak natin at akalain na girls who are invited to Valentine’s dates are normally iyakin. Baka matakot na yan manligaw.” He joked.

“Ricky! Ang bata pa ni Sky! Wag ka nga! Atsaka mawawalan na tayo ng baby kapag nagbinata na to. Ang gwapo gwapo pa naman.” She had Sky sit on her lap.

“Eh di gumawa pa tayo para may new babies ulit.” Then he chuckled on the other line. “Sige na Sweetheart. Enjoy kayo ni Sky on your Valentine’s dinner. Mamaya dadating na yun mga kapatid nya baka magsungit na naman yan. Babawi ako pagdating ko. Happy Valentine’s day again. I love you so much Maya.”

“I love you so much Ricky. Mag-iingat ka dyan ha.”

“Of course. Bye.”

As they ended the call, Maya hugged Sky tighter and fixed her son’s collar. She can’t help but smile at her son’s effort to follow all his dad’s instructions for today. He also did look, dress up and even smell like his dad. “Mommy is very lucky anak. I have a very handsome date today. Tara kain na tayo.”

Then with a beaming smile, Sky kissed his mommy. He was enjoying his role as his mommy’s date while his dad is away.

 
A/N : Of course happy ending for our fave couple.

Credits to Jollibee too for some parts of this fanfic.

The Adventures and Misadventures of Ricky and Maya : Torete

The Adventures and Misadventures of Ricky and Maya : Torete

A/N : Dahil highly successful ang pagbabalik ng Be Careful With My Heart by way of their rerun sa  @JeepneyTV in SkyCable at dahil sa torete pre-ligawan scenes ang episodes nila now, here’s an AM story.

=========

“How do I look? My clothes? The color of my shirt? My hair? My cologne? Hindi kaya masyadong matapang? Baka maturn-off siya.”

“Ricky okay na. You look handsome my son. Wag ka ngang masyadong ninenerbyos at pati ako nadadamay.”

“Argh! I just want to be perfect para sa date namin. Baka di nya magustuhan tapos di na masundan. Do you think I should bring her to an expensive restaurant? I asked Liza to reserve a table for us already but baka she prefers a different place? Do I ask her first? Saan ba magandang kumain? Dapat yun hindi masyadong matao kasi baka mahiya sya na kasama ako.”

“Nakakatawa ka Ricky. You’re acting like a teenager. I bet mas swabe pa si Luke manligaw sa’yo. Maya would love kahit saan kayo kumain. Atsaka bakit naman siya mahihiya? Matutuwa yun na kasama ka nya. I am very sure of that.”

“You really think so? Eh kasi yun age gap namin. She might feel uneasy to go out with me.”

“Wag mo ngang isipin yan. Gusto nyang magkasama kayo. She agreed sa date nyo. Ibig sabihin hindi nya iniisip yang mga ikinakakaba mo. Bilisan mo na at baka mahuli pa kayo. Hindi ba siya ang pupunta dito? I know she was supposed to visit Abby.”

“No Ma because she had a meeting and ayaw ko naman na mapagod siya before our date. I also don’t want her to witness how nervous I am.”

“Oh well she would see it naman later.” Then Doña Esmeralda laughed amused at how her son acts. She is fixing his collar. “Naku Ricky kumalma ka nga. Here palitan mo na nga ang panyo mo at kanina mo pa yan ipinupunas sa pawis mo. Oh my God son mas torpe ka pa pala sa daddy mo.”

“Ma! Hindi ako torpe. I’m just not used to doing this.”

“Oo na! Sige na Ricky. You better go at baka maghintay na yun si Maya. I bet she’s as excited as you are.”

“I hope so Ma.” He kissed his mom and headed for the door. Before opening it he remembered something very important. “Ma please yun promise nyo…”

“Oh yes my son. Ako lang ang makakaalam ng date nyo. Now go.”

When he got the assurance he needed, lumabas na siya.

—————–

A knock on the door was heard.

Maya rushed to open the door.

“Ser chief? Bakit bihis na bihis  kayo? May pupuntahan ka?”

He got embarrassed. Maya didn’t seem to be aware of their date. Maybe he assumed that she knew it was a date he invited her for. Maybe in his excitement, he wasn’t able to confirm it with her.

He looked like a fool. He felt like one. He was really embarrassed.

“Ah eh….ah…. magpapasama sana akong bumili ng gift for Nikki (palusot nya. Tamang tama bday na ni Nikki next week). Are you available?”

“Bibili ka lang ng gift pero bihis na bihis at naligo kayo ng pabango?”

“Ah… I met with Ryan kasi… Ah with a client. Oo kasama ni Ryan yun client.”

Maya further teased him, “Siguro babae yun client nyo.”

“What? No!!!!” Defensive si Ricky.

“SerChief kalma. Natanong ko lang kasi ang pogi pogi nyo at ang bango bango pa, pero sabagay palagi naman. Pero oo naman. Basta kayo. Available ako. Upo muna kayo SerChief. Itimpla ko muna kayo ng kape?”

He sat on the colorful sofa of the equally colorful living room of the condo owned by Emman.”Wag na Maya. I just had one before I left home.” And mas nenerbyosin sya sa kape, he thought.

Maya was wearing a cream sleeveless blouse and a white slim jeans which highlighted her slender legs. Her hair was tied in a simple ponytail which exposed her neck and collarbones. She also smelled so nice with her cologne or lotion, he’s not sure. Her skin was glowing and he fought the urge to touch her arms.

He was fidgety, clumsy even. He bumped his knee twice on the center table of Maya and Emman’s small living room. He was even perspiring that he needed to wipe his forehead and neck a couple of times.

“Maya may gagawin ka pa ba? Or pwede mo na akong samahan? He wanted to leave because he was feeling tense already. He is not used to this kind of feeling and it embarrasses him more that he seemed to act like a teenager in front of his crush while Maya seemed okay and even unaware of their date.

“Wala naman akong gagawin na. Pero wait lang SerChief. May kukunin lang ako sa kwarto.”

“Okay.”

Then she entered her room.

The moment she closed the door she covered her mouth and screamed silently.

Kilig na kilig sya. Ang gwapo ni SerChief and yes she is not dreaming. He is actually here for their date.

Pero gagamitin nya yun best actress skills at hindi magpapahalata na pinaghandaan din nya yun date nila. She wouldnt let him know that kagabi pa eh aligaga na sya sa excitement for their date. No she must be prim and proper. Dapat demure sya.

So after screaming (silently nga) she composed herself and got her purse.

Best actress mode on, she opened the door and gave a shy smile to a fidgety Richard Lim.

==============

Inside the car,  she saw the bouquet of flowers at the backseat the moment she entered. She felt giddy. Alam nyang sa kanya yun. She cant help but smile.

SerChief noticed her. “Why are you smiling?”

“Wala po. Nagandahan lang ako sa flowers ayan sa likod.”

“Ah eh… ah eh… that one” lagot nakita ni Maya. Nahiya sya, “that’s for nikki.”

“Bakit po?”

“It’s her birthday remember.” Pinagpapawisan na sya. He’s not really good at lying.”

“Di ba SerChief next week pa naman ang bday ni Nikki? Malalanta yan.”

“Ah oo nga pala… i mean oo. I’m aware of it. I just wanted to … to…” hirap na hirap na sya magpalusot.

Maya giggled then covered her mouth.

“What’s funny?”

“SerChief sorry pero di ko na mapigilan.”

“Ang alin?”

“Akin na yun flowers. Alam ko naman na para sa akin yan. At alam ko na may date tayo ngayon. Binibiro lang kita kanina.” Then she giggled again.

“Maya naman eh. Alam mo bang I was so embarrassed kanina kasi I looked like a fool. Excited ako sa date na di ka naman pala aware. Nalungkot din ako because i thought hindi important sa’yo yun invitation ko to go out with me.” He pretended to be really hurt and tampo.

“Naku bumibest actor ka na din SerChief ha! Binibiro lang kita. Seryoso mo kasi.”

“Maya hindi ako umaakting. I’m really hurt.” He gave her his pinakasad face.

Naniwala naman ang Maya so she instinctively snaked her arms on one of his biceps para amuin sya.”Uy SerChief wag ka nang magalit at magtampo. Kinakabahan rin naman kasi ako eh kaya dinaan ko na lang sa pagbibiro.”

Syempre tuwa si Ricky. Nakaembrace ba naman si Maya ng slight sa kanya. He loved it even though it was just his right arm. Di naman sya nagpahalata na big deal yun kapit biceps ni Maya. “Eh bakit ka naman kinakabahan?” He asked her.

In a small voice, “eh first time ko kayang makipagdate. Syempre di ko alam kung ano ang ginagawa.” She shyly hid her face sa arm ng kilig na kilig na Richard Lim.

“Really?” He felt like the luckiest man alive.

She shyly glanced at him. “Uhm oo. Pero SerChief ha kahit first time ko makipagdate alam ko naman yun mga hindi dapat gawin.”

“Mga di dapat gawin? Like?”

“Alam mo na yun SerChief. Di ko na kailangan pang sabihin, ikaw talaga.”

“Eh ano naman yun mga hindi bawal?” He asked her again.

“Ano po… magkwentuhan, kumain, maglakad lakad, magvideoke…”

He was smiling and he even raised his eyebrows as he was amused with Maya’s reply.”At humawak ng pagkahigpit higpit sa arm ko?” He teased her.

Nahiya si Maya at dali daling bumitaw.

Then she added, “SerChief di pa tayo aalis? Kanina pa tayo dito.”

“We could have left kanina pa kaso di ko naman magamit yun kamay ko kasi ang higpit ng hawak mo sa arm ko.” He was still laughing. Maya is really red now.

“Sorry SerChief, di ko namalayan na nakahawak pala ako.” She tried to hide her face by looking out her window.

“Hey it’s okay Maya. Wag ka nang mahiya. Ako lang naman to.”

Pabulong ang Maya, “kaya nga nakakahiya kasi ikaw yan eh. Naku naman Maya dela Rosa umayos ka nga.”

“What was that?”

“Wala Ser Chief. Tara na po.”

===================

After their date, they were now leisurely walking towards Maya and Emman’s unit. Both of them were smiling like fools while walking hand in hand. After Maya tripped while they were strolling along Manila Bay, Richard took the opportunity to hold her hand. Initially, it was just to support her but it felt good. He loved holding her hand that he didn’t let go up to now while they’re already nearing the condo unit.

“Sige SerChief dito na po ako.” Maya said. She was in front of their unit now. She was smiling shyly still unable to wipe that dreamy look she has for being able to go out on a date with her SerChief.

“You won’t invite me in?” He said. He still wants to spend few minutes with her. He too gave a hopeful smile.

“Ah eh… pwede naman SerChief. Tara  pasok muna kayo.” She said in a low voice.

Actually nahihiya si Maya kasi  she is sure that Emman is already home. He will surely tease them but her SerChief wants to get in so she relented. Bahala na sa mga pangtetease ni Emman.

“Baka you’re already tired. Uwi na lang ako.”

“Ay hindi po. Hindi naman ako napagod sa date natin. Pasok ka na muna SerChief. Magkape muna tayo.” She now invited him for coffee.

“I would love that very much Maya.”

He let go of her hand as she fished for the keys inside her purse but the moment she opened the door…

“Andito na sina roomie tita Esmie!!!”, shrieked Emman. Yes Ricky’s mom is with Emman. Both wore excited smiles.

“Ma! What are you doing here?” Richard’s eyes grew wide upon seeing his mother with Emman.

The all gave each other hugs and beso.

“Ano pa eh di nakikibalita. So how was your date?”

Tumingin si Maya sa kanya and he couldn’t mask that ‘nabuking look’. He told her that nobody knows about the date. It would be embarrassing that Maya would find out how excited he was. Alam nya that he prepared pero yun extent of the preparation hindi naman nya sinabi. Si Maya din naman, she didn’t tell him how super excited she was. Ang sinabi nya kay Ricky, saktong excitement lang.

“O bakit? What’s with the face Ricky? You went out on a date di ba?”

Then she turned to Maya “Maya hija kumusta naman yun hitsura ng anak ko? Naku halos ilabas na nya lahat ng damit sa aparador nya sa kakapili ng isusuot sa date  nyo.”

“Ma!!! That’s it let’s go home.”

Hiyang hiya na si Ricky.

“Naku SerChief Ricky okay lang yan. Hindi lang naman ikaw yun super excited sa date nyo. Si roomie din kaya. Di na nga yan pumasok sa work para makapagbeauty rest at ang aga aga nyang nagbihis. Alas sais yun date nyo lunch pa lang bihis na yan.”

Now si Maya naman yun nahiya sa pambubuko ni Emman. “Uy Emman hindi yun lunch ha! After lunch na kaya yun. Sobra to.” She was actually blushing much to the amusement of Ricky who was relieved to learn na parehas pala sila excited.

“Uwi na nga kami ni Mama. Maya tawagan kita mamaya ha. Next time na lang yun coffee.” He said in a whisper kasi di nga naman sila makakabuwelo with the noisy and nosy roomie and mommy.

“Sige SerChief.” Pabulong din si Maya.

“Ma let’s go.”

“O bakit? It’s still early Ricky. Besides I am so excited to listen about your date.”

Ricky hugged his mom to stop her from ranting on. “Ma sa amin na lang yun ni Maya and it’s already 11. It’s past your bedtime. ” Then he kissed his mom on her forehead.

“Sige na nga Ricky. Pasensya ka na anak. First time ko kasi to experience na manligaw ka so excited din ako. O sige let’s go home na para makapagpahinga na rin sina Maya.”

Lumabas na sila ng condo unit but Ricky requested na mauna na si Emman and his mom and that he and Maya will just take the next lift. Gusto pa nyang masolo si Maya even for just a few seconds.

The moment they stepped out of the lift…

“Bakit ang tagal nyo? Nagkiss kayo roomie no?”

Maya vehemently denied. “Uy Emman hindi ah! Grabe ka!”

“Eh bakit namumula ka?” Emman teased some more.

Then Doña Esmeralda even joined. “Naku Ricky let me wipe your lips. Mukhang may lipstick pa na naiwan si Maya.” She was grinning.

Richard and Maya’s eyes widened.

“Naku di na kayo mabiro. Tara na nga Emman. Let’s go ahead. Iwanan na natin ang dalawang kj na yan.” Then Emman and Doña Esmeralda walked ahead of them much to the  relief of the two.

“Maya pasensya ka na kay Mama ha.”

“Pasensya ka na rin kay Emman SerChief.”

They smiled at each other.

“Sabagay pasalamat ako kay Emman coz  I found out that you were excited sa date natin.”

“Ikaw din kaya. At grabe ka SerChief. Kahit pagpili na isusuot kinarir mo.” She covered her mouth as she can’t stop herself from giggling.

“It’s because I want to look my best on our date. Gusto ko magmukhng gwapo para you will be proud na kasama ako.”

“Naku SerChief gwapo ka naman talaga kahit ano pang isuot mo at sobrang proud kaya ako na makasama ka. Nagenjoy ako.” She shyly admitted.

“Really?” Natuwa sya sa sinabi ni Maya.

Nashy naman ang Maya so tumango lang sya while paiwas ng tingin kay SerChief.

“So let’s do this again.” He tried to push his luck after Maya said that she enjoyed their date.

“Date ulit SerChief?”

“Yes… sana… pero i know you’re tired. Then busy ka with work. Tapos…” he thought ayaw ni Maya.

“Pumapayag ako SerChief.” She exclaimed with excitement she can’t contain that she blushed when she realized it.

Natuwa siya. “So tomorrow ulit and wag na wag na nating ipaalam sa dalawa ha?” Pabulong sya.

She again giggled. “Yes SerChief hindi natin ipapaalam kay Emman at sa Mama mo.”

Tawanan sila.

The moment they reached the parking Maya  and Emman kissed Doña Esmeralda and bid her goodbye.

“Thank you for the merienda Emman. I enjoyed all your kwento. Dalaw ka sa house minsan. Sumama ka kay Maya.”

“Sure Tita Esmie. I would love that.”

Maya also kissed Ricky’s mom.

“Bye po Doña Esmeralda. Ingat po kayo.”

“Naku Maya ha! Call me Mama. Nagdate na  kayo ng anak ko. Siyempre next is magiging boyfriend mo na siya tapos asawa kaya dapat Mama na itawag mo sa akin.”

Hiyang hiya si Maya.

“Ma let’s take one step at a time. Tinatakot mo naman si Maya nyan eh.”

“Naku sorry son. Alam mo naman ang mama mo excited.  Maya sorry ha. Pero I’m really looking forward to have you as my daughter. Forgive me ha.”

“Wala po yun.”

“Sige tita Esmie na din lang ang itawag mo sa akin for the meantime.”

“Sige po.”

Sumakay na si Doña Esmeralda sa car.

“Maya, Emman alis na kami.”

“Bye SerChief Ricky. Drive safely.”

Ricky was about to proceed to the driver’s side but tumabi ulit sya kay Maya and whispered, ” I was supposed to give you a goodbye kiss kaso nandito ang dalawang yan kaya bukas na lang.”

Namula ang Maya and she lightly slapped him  “Ikaw talaga SerChief ha!”

“Biro lang Maya. I’ll call you later pagdating namin sa bahay. Okay lang ba yun?”

“Oo naman.”

“Goodnight Maya. Thank you for today.”

“Goodnight din SerChief…”

But before she could finish Emman joined in… “Sabi na nga ba. Dapat di muna umuwi sina SerChief Ricky kasi mukhang di matapos tapos ang pagpaalamanan ninyong dalawa. Ako na lang kaya maghatid kay Tita Esmie sa mansion para makaspend kayo ng more time together.”

“Emman!” Si Maya.

“I would love to sana Emman but it’s already very late and Maya needs to rest. Sige this is really goodnight.” Then he just hugged Maya  and proceeded to his side of the car.

Seconds later he was driving home to the mansion.

He again had that foolish grin plastered on his face. He didn’t even hear what his mother was telling him. His thoughts were on Maya and their date. He enjoyed every moment of it. He loved listening to her stories, he loved watching her eat, he loved watching her blush whenever he compliments her. God she even blushes with the mere accidental touches of their hands. He knows he blushed a lot as well but he no longer cared.

Maya de la Rosa indeed brought thrill, excitement and happiness to his mundane life.