Can We Start Over Again 9
Maya requested from her management that she be allowed to celebrate with her family. She would skip the dinner sponsored by the network. She didn’t mention that what she meant by family is her bestfriend, Richard Lim.
They thought her parents arrived. No one noticed Richard Lim for he tried his best to be discreet when he attended the awards night. It was dark where he was seated anyway.
Before the ceremony ended, he already left and just texted Maya that he will be staying at a hotel and he would just meet her when she’s no longer busy.
Maya texted him back and opposed the idea. She told him to proceed to her unit as her Auntie Fe was already headed there anyway. She wanted to see him and celebrate with him that night.
Maya even requested her trusted personal PA (the one who’s not provided by the network) to buy food for dinner. She wanted to celebrate home.
The moment she arrived at her condo, she ran towards Richard and flung her arms around him. She was already crying. “Ricky namiss kita! Namiss kita!”
She was hugging him tightly, not wanting to let go. He hugged her tighter in return. “I missed you too… so much.”
He was trying to let her go but she still didn’t want to end the hug. She even cried harder. “Hey stop crying. Nakakuha ka na ng award. You don’t have to be a best actress anymore.” He joked.
She slapped his chest lightly after she disengaged from the hug. “Nakakainis ka. Totoong iyak kaya to. Siyempre sobra kitang namiss eh.”
He just smiled as he wiped her tears with his hand. He then stared lovingly at her. “I am so proud of you. You were great when your were giving your speech back there.” then he paused, took a deep breath and continued. “You are so lovely Maya. You know that?”
She got affected by what he said, by the look he was giving her. “Alam ko. Gusto mo lang atang sabihin kong gwapo ka eh. Pumaparaan ka Ricky ha!” She joked because she doesn’t know how to handle what she’s feeling now that he’s in front of her.
He is no longer her 15 year old friend way back then. Richard Lim is now a very handsome, dashing, confident and very attractive man.
She’s also no longer the 13 year old Maya dela Rosa when she last saw him. If she was cute and adorable back then, Maya is now a very stunning, breathtaking and absolutely a very sexy and confident young lady.
Richard Lim spent a week in the Philippines. Maya asked for a week off from her showbiz engagements. She brought Richard to various resorts in the Philippines. She knows that he loves the sea.
For the first time, they were able to travel on their own without their nosy yet loving parents.
They visited Boracay, Subic and even Baguio. Auntie Fe was with them. They would frequently call their parents to show them the places they were visiting.
Back home, both their parents were happy that their children finally had time to bond after long years of not seeing each other. If they had it their way, they wished that their kids would end up together. That would make them very happy.
Richard enjoyed being with Maya. He learned more about the grown-up version of his best friend and he loved everything about her – her sophistication yet childlike ways, her decisiveness, her eloquence, her wit and humor, and most especially her being kindhearted and simplicity despite the stature she has now.
Maya would be attentive of him. She wanted Richard to enjoy his vacation in the Philippines. She took really good care of him.
He momentarily forgot the painful scene he witnessed during the awards night. They never talked about it for Maya requested not to mention anything about her showbiz career.
This was the reason why she chose private places for their vacation. She arranged everything so that they would have minimal interaction with crowd. She wants to enjoy their vacation.
At their rented villa in Baguio, the two were left by themselves at the couch by the fireplace. It was a chilly night that Auntie Fe went to bed early.
Both were having mugs of hot chocolate while watching an old cartoon series in the local cable. This was their favorite pastime when they were young.
“Ricky sana ganito palagi. Sana ganito kasimple yun buhay no?”
“Maya it’s a choice. You could choose a simple life. You could always return home. You have proven yourself already. Matutuwa sina Nanay at Tatay mo, sina mama at papa at lalo na ako kapag umuwi ka. ”
“Alam ko naman yun Ricky. Kaso kakapirma ko lang ng bagong kontrata. May mga pelikula pa akong gagawin May pinagiipunan pa kasi ako. Kapag natapos ko na lahat uuwi na ako sa atin.”
“But Maya remember that time is very important. Baka sa kakaipon mo, you’re not aware that you’re wasting the precious time you should have been spending with people who matter, with your parents, siyempre kasali rin ako. I matter to you naman di ba?”
She stared at him and saw the sadness in his eyes. He will be leaving tomorrow night and they both don’t know when they will be seeing each other again. She was very sad as well. “Siyempre naman. You matter a lot to me. Sobra sobra. At napakasaya ko kasi dinalaw mo ako dito. Salamat ha!” Then she moved closer to him and leaned on his chest. He just allowed it. They both seeked comfort from each other.
Though sad that they would be parting ways again, Maya and Richard had wonderful memories to cherish and always remember from the week-long bonding they had.
Maya was reprimanded by her management after pictures of her and Richard Lim taken by some fan in Boracay, made it’s way to the social media. Many of their former fans became active again requesting the network to bring back the original The Voice Duets partners they loved.
The PR group of the network worked double time to cover the issue by either downplaying it or even to the point of maligning Richard Lim by way of tabloid articles.
Maya who knew about it informed Richard and she assured him that whatever is written in the papers and shown on TV regarding him were just part of the network’s PR moves. She didn’t want Richard to feel bad. She even talked to his parents. She was apologetic to them.
“Maya don’t worry about me. Atsaka hindi naman ako kilala eh. What’s important is your image, your career. Let your management handle everything. Sorry ha. Dahil sa pagbisita ko, nagkaroon ka tuloy ng problema.”
“Ricky wag na wag kang magsorry na pumunta ka dito. Alam mo ba na yun pagdalaw mo ay yun pinakamasayang mga araw ko. Wag mo namang sabihing nagsisisi ka na dumalaw ka.”
“Hey I’m not. Hindi ko naman iniisip yan. Those were also the happiest days for me.”
“As i was saying, concerned lang naman ako sa career mo.”
“I can handle that Ricky, wag na nating pagusapan please.”
“Sige. Hindi na. O i have to end this call na muna. You take care of yourself there okay? Baka hindi muna kita matawagan kasi I will be attending a convention for a week. Sina papa at mama muna tawagan mo.” He calmly told her. He knows she was upset.
“Okay lang. May out-of-town shooting rin naman kami para sa movie. Mga ilang linggo rin yun. Mag-iingat ka rin dyan Ricky. Regards kina tito at tita.”
“Shooting? What movie?”
“Yun movie namin ni James. The one we will shoot in Bali.”
“Kayo lang?” He couldn’t help but feel upset learning that Maya will be with James Ventura in a movie.
“Oo kasi siya yun kaloveteam ko. Romantic drama yun gagawin naming movie. Excited na rin nga ako kasi sa Bali yun shooting. Ang ganda dun Ricky.”
“Great.” His bland reply. “Sige na Maya I have to go. Bye.”
“Okay Ricky. Bye.”
The moment he ended the call, lots of scenarios entered his mind. He already saw James Ventura and he doesn’t trust the guy at all. He searched about him already and found out that he is older than Maya. He has a reputation of being a ladies man. He had series of girlfriends and he tends to court ladies who are at the top of their careers then leaves them when projects are already scarce. Richard couldn’t help but assume that James could also do that to Maya.
“Son are you okay?” His deep thought was interrupted by his father.
“Okay naman pa. Maya says hi pala.”
“Oh you talked to her?”
“Yes pa. Kakatapos lang namin.”
“Is that why you look upset? Is something troubling you?” Roberto sat in front of Ricky. He was just finishing his cup of coffee before he leaves for work.
“Wala naman pa.” He denied it.
“Son, I have seen you and Maya grow up together. And you know me. I don’t meddle in any of your business with her or with any of your friends. But let me tell you this, si Maya parang anak na rin namin yan ng mama mo. I hope that whatever the future holds for both of you, you would still look after each other. Alagaan mo siya even if you both have families of your own, even if wala na kami ng mama mo or wala na rin sina Tere at Art.”
“Pa! ang advance naman ng pagiisip nyo. Of course I will take care of her even if you don’t tell me to.”
“I’m just telling you son. Well with that future family of yours… i hope it’s with Maya.” Then his papa stood up and left Richard thinking seriously about what his father said.
Maya and Richard didn’t have the opportunity to talk again. Maya focused on her movie while Richard focused on his studies.
Richard would just check the news about Maya and unfortunately he would always see articles about her and James Ventura. Though he gets upset with it, he tells himself that it’s all for show. It’s to entice the fans to watch their movie.
He couldn’t ask Maya about it.
He doesn’t even know if what he feels for her is right.
It may risk their friendship.
That is one thing he won’t allow to happen.
Maya is a guest in one of the talk shows to promote her new single.
“Sana po you would support my album. It has original songs written by Mr. Ryan Cayabyab. It is for a good cause din. Half of the proceeds will go to Bantay Bata as part of their Anniversary.” She excitedly announced.
“So Maya kumusta naman kayo ni James Ventura?” The host asked her. It wasn’t part of the script but the host asked her anyway. She just finished shooting the film with her loveteam.
“Okay naman kami.” She shyly smiled. She knows James is in the audience. They will be dubbing for the movie’s OST after her interview.
“Ang mga ngiti ba na yan ay may ibig sabihin?” The host asked again.
“Masaya naman kami. Special naman siya sa akin.” She was careful in her answers as she was instructed by the management to act sweet with James and pretend that they have something special for the sake of their movie.
“So does this mean that he will be your escort in your coming debut?”
She will be celebrating her 18th birthday in two months.
She didn’t answer it anymore for she wanted someone else to be her escort in that very special day of her life so she just smiled.
“Hmmmm makahulugan talaga ang mga ngiti na yan. I bet it means yes. Kayo naman na di ba?”
The audience were cheering and the host was waiting for Maya’s answer.
Then she saw her manager seated with the audience. She needs to do what is asked of her for her movie.
“Ano po, we’re more than friends.” She shyly admitted but she was avoiding the camera. She didn’t want to lie but she was instructed to.
“Ayun. Ikaw talaga Maya. Isa lang ibig sabihin nun. It means kayo na at nahihiya ka lang umamin. So it’s expected naman na si James ang escort mo.” Then the camera focused on the grinning James with the audience.
Maya didn’t say anything anymore. She was thinking of her family and Richard back home.
In the Lim living room, while watching that said interview in TFC, Esmeralda Lim couldn’t help but react.
“Boyfriend na ni Maya yun mayabang na lalaking yun? I don’t want him for her. I need to talk to Teresita.” She was clearly upset.
“He seems okay and Maya knows what she’s doing. Hayaan mo na.” Roberto tried to pacify his wife.
Richard didn’t say anything. He was surprised that Maya admitted her relationship with James on TV.
He felt sad.
He is also mad at himself.
He felt so helpless.
He likes her but he still had nothing to offer her.
“Tita Esmie wala pa po ba si Ricky? Hindi ko kasi siya macontact.”
“Wala siya dito Maya. He is busy.”
“Pakisabi na lang po na tumawag ako.”
He was actually in front of his mom but he is avoiding Maya.
“And what was that son? Bakit mo iniiwasan si Maya? May problema kayo?”
“No Ma. Wala.”
“Then why aren’t you attending her debut? You are invited at expected nina Tere na sasama ka sa kanila papunta ng Pilipinas.”
“Ma busy ako sa work on that day. I’ll just send her my gift.”
“But son, your presence is the best gift you could give her.”