Can We Start Over Again 11

Can We Start Over Again 11

Maya dela Rosa’s career continued to flourish  and she became one of the highest-paid, most sought-after singer-actress in the entertainment industry.

Richard Lim on the other hand was also able to land a high paying job in New York and is now starting to build a name for himself. He is currently handling a very big project in the architectural firm he’s working for.

They would still communicate but not as often as before.

This saddened their parents who have always been praying that their children would end up together. Roberto and Esmeralda Lim and Arturo and Teresita dela Rosa never meddled with their children’s affairs. They just continue to hope and pray that someday it would happen.

Maya who’s now 22 had been linked to famous actors, singers and also some famous bachelors in the Philippines. It was expected since she’s a very famous actress now. She just ignored all talks linking her to them. She believes that it comes with her being in the entertainment industry.

Richard also dated classmates and some colleagues at work. He had a few share of girlfriends as well but the relationships he had never went beyond 6 months. His longest was with his colleague at work Rafi Alcantara. It didn’t last because they just decided to just be friends. Rafi loves her former classmate Charlie and she also knows that only one person occupies Richard’s heart and that is Maya dela Rosa. Rafi and Richard remained very good friends and she would even encourage him to pursue Maya.

“Ang bagal mo Lim!” She would always tell him.

===========

“Maya you need to do a final rehearsal with Darren.” The concert’s director informed her at the backstage of The Theatre in Solaire.

“Okay po Direk. Susunod na po ako.”

Maya is celebrating her 10th year anniversary with a thanksgiving concert. It was her way of giving back to her fans and supporters.

She will be singing her top 15 songs from her various albums. Special guests will be joining her.  James Ventura, who still remained her friend despite not being her love team anymore is also  part of her concert.  They will do a funny dance number.

For her finale, she will be singing a song of Coach Leah with Darren who was still Maya’s idol. Darren eventually turned out to be a very good friend to her too.

Coach Leah will also attend the event. She remained one of Maya’s mentors and defender against the cruel world of the entertainment industry.

Maya was excited and very nervous at the same time.

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

As they were rehearsing, the moment Darren sang the first line of Ms. Saigon’s ‘Last Night of the World’, Maya couldn’t help but be nostalgic, be emotional. The other Ms. Saigon song ‘Sun and Moon’ was her and Richard’s audition piece in The Voice Duets. That show opened lots of opportunities for her.

She remembered him and it made her think of the many what ifs – what if Richard also pursued a singing career with her? Would they still be a duo? Would they be more than friends now? What if she chose her simple life back then? Would she be happier?

“Sorry Darren!” She was apologetic to her partner when she wasn’t able to sing her part well as her voice was already shaking.

“Okay lang Maya. Meaningful kasi yung song sa’yo. Ako rin I tend to cry kapag ganyan.” Darren was always patient with her. He’s always been a source of inspiration and he would always tell Maya words of encouragement every time they chance upon each other.

“Ang iyakin ko kasi. Sorry talaga.”

“Ano ka ba? Atsaka abswelto ka today kasi araw mo to.” Darren even joked.

Coach Leah’s song had been instrumental in what she had achieved in her life. Coach Leah’s song was her audition piece with the person whom she still considers her best partner ever.

It brought back the memories of yesteryears. They have grown apart already and she’s missing him. He played a major part in her career as well and she wanted to show him how grateful she was for everything he did for her.

She missed Richard Lim.

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

The two hour concert of Maya dela Rosa is about to end. Every number she did was applauded. They even gave her standing ovations in many of her productions numbers.

She’s now at the backstage while her final production number was being set-up. Her song with Darren will be her final number.

“Ok ka na Maya?” her partner asked.

“Oo na. Naiiyak ko na kanina. Atsaka nasa audience si Coach Leah. Matatakot yun mga luha ko sa kanya. Aatras sila.” She even managed to joke.

“Baliw ka talaga. Naalala mo na yun blocking natin ha?”

“Oo naman. Pero ang arte ni Direk. Mala Phantom of the Opera ang design ng stage eh Miss Saigon yun song.” Maya laughed as she commented.

“Hayaan mo na. May identity crisis si Direk. Jusko baka marinig tayong dalawa eh mawalan tayo ng trabaho.” Darren also added. They were having a light moment backstage when they were called for the final number.

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

“In a place that won’t let us feel

In a life where nothing seems real

I have found you

I have found you”,  her partner began to sing.

She knows that voice and it’s definitely not Darren.

It made her turn around though she was instructed during rehearsal that she would just face her partner when she starts singing her line.

She turned and indeed there he was. Richard Lim was smiling while slowly approaching her.

Maya stood surprised. She could no longer sing her lines as she was already overcome by emotion upon seeing him. She felt her eyes getting misty then unable to control it, her tears made its way to her pink cheeks.

Richard continued to slowly walk towards her. Every step making both of them excited.

He was overwhelmed with joy to see her. She’s stunning as always but the way she looked at him, the way her eyes told him that she missed him, that she’s happy to see him made him want to run to her and engulf her in his arms.

The crowd felt the emotional reunion of the original loveteam. Some of them even shed tears as well.

As soon as he was in front of her, they were only able to utter each other’s name then Richard held Maya in his arms. She allowed herself to feel his arms around her. It felt so good. It felt like home. She was sobbing silently while Richard was slowly swaying their bodies as Coach Lea and Darren started to sing the song again.

In front of the crowd, with their mentor Coach Lea and Maya’s idol and now friend, Darren singing ‘Last Night of the World.’, Maya and Richard were lovingly engulfed in each others’ embrace while slowly dancing to the song.

“I missed you so much Maya.” He whispered.

“I missed you too Ricky.” She whispered as well.

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

When the song ended Maya was wiping her eyes with the handkerchief Richard gave her.

They exchanged only a few words but clearly shy in front of each other. Maybe it’s because they’re no longer the young Ricky and Maya who last saw each other during Richard’s last visit to the Philippines before Maya’s 18th birthday.

“O ano kayong dalawa? Magtitinginan na lang kayo? I know you guys missed each other bigtime. Go on give each other another big hug, wag nang mahiya. Kami lang and your 1,700 plus fans na pumuno dito sa Soliare ang nanonood. Go on hug each other more.” Coach Leah was teasing them as she knows that both Maya and Richard were emotional upon seeing each other.

When both just shyly gave each other a light hug, she even added “Oh my God yun lang? Go ahead guys kiss already!” Ms. Leah even joked. “If you won’t do that Maya, I’ll be the one to kiss this gentleman beside you. Ang gwapo mo na Richard Lim. Napakaswerte ng Team Leah. Guys when did you grow up? I feel like a lola already.” She exaggeratedly commented.

The two just smiled.

“Ten years ago, I turned my chair in our singing contest ‘The Voice Kids’ for these two. Actually all three coaches turned but they chose me. I am very proud of what Maya became in the entertainment industry and of course of what Richard is now. He’s a big shot engineer in the States. And ladies he’s still single.” Coach Lea joked some more.

Maya’s heart skipped a beat when she heard that Richard is still single. She thought that he was already serious with Rafi.

Coach Lea continued, “When we first interviewed these two, I told them that I could see that spark, that chemistry in them. Syempre bata pa sila then 12 and 15 so malay naman nila sa pinagsasabi ko. Now that you guys are grown ups, was I right?” Coach Lea continued to tease them while the crowd was joining the cheers and teasing as well.

“Basta if ever… ninang nyo ako ha!” was her parting words.

Maya and Richard then sang their original TVD piece ‘Sun and Moon’ upon the crowd’s request. Both were seriously contemplating what Coach Lea said. Both were now very much affected with each other’s presence.

Maya hopes that Richard would see her more than just his childhood friend.

Richard hopes that Maya would see him more than her childhood friend as well.

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

Preview:

“Anak totoo ba?” Teresita asked the moment Maya answered her call. She was surprised to learn that Maya already talked to her management. She already retired from showbiz.  Auntie Fe informed Teresita.

“Opo Nay. Uuwi na ako dyan. Gusto ko na kayong makasama ni Tatay. Babawi rin ako kina Tito Roberto at kay Tita Esmie. Magkakasama na po tayo” She said.

She was very excited.

“Anak napakasaya nang balita na to. Namiss ka na namin dito.”

“Kayo din nay miss na miss ko. Pati na rin sina Tito at Tita.” Nay Tere already noticed that for the second time Maya failed to mention Richard.

“Teka kanina ka pa. Kami lang talaga ang namiss mo at gusto mong makasama?” her Nanay teased. She knows her daughter so well.

“Siyempre si Ricky po. Si Nanay talaga.” She was shy all of a sudden. “Uuwi na po ako sa isang linggo pero wag nyo na po munang sabihin kila Ricky. Gusto ko silang sorpresahin.”

 

Can We Start Over Again 10

Can We Start Over Again 10

Richard busied himself with school as he was about to graduate. It also helped him keep his mind off Maya.

She has been calling him but Richard would always find an excuse not to talk to her.

He seldom stays home too and spent time finding part time jobs while he was in his last year in school.

“Tita Esmie wala pa po ba si Ricky? Hindi ko kasi siya macontact. Medyo ilang linggo ko na rin pong hindi makausap. Okay lang po ba siya?”

“Wala siya dito Maya. He is busy kasi he is going to graduate na. Okay lang si Ricky.”

“Pakisabi na lang po na tumawag ako. Sige po Tita. Magiingat po kayo ni Tito Roberto. Sana po makadalo kayo ni Tito at ni Ricky sa birthday ko.” Mama Esmeralda could hear Maya’s sad voice.

He was actually in front of his mom but he was avoiding Maya. He pleaded his mom to tell Maya that he was not around. He refused to talk to her.

“And what was that son? Bakit mo iniiwasan si Maya? May problema kayo?” His mom was upset.

“No Ma. Wala. I’m just tired. Kapag nagumpisa na kaming mag-usap, I won’t be able to finish my school work.”

“Is that the only reason? Kasi parang may problema kayo eh. She sounded sad on the phone.”

“Ma you’re imagining things. We’re okay. Busy lang ako.”

“Wala talaga? Then why aren’t you attending her debut? You are invited at expected ka nina Tere na sasama ka sa kanila papunta ng Pilipinas.”

“Ma busy ako. I’m graduating remember? And I’m sure she wouldn’t notice my absence. Marami naman siyang visitors on that day. The network will even throw a big party for her. Makakaistorbo lang ako dun. I’ll just send her my gift.”

“But son, your presence is the best gift you could give her. Alam mo namang you are her bestfriend and you very well know that Maya isn’t fond of material things. Mas gusto ng batang yun na bisitahin siya.”

“Ma she has a boyfriend already. Ang pangit naman to still be there. Baka magkaisyu pa because of me.”

“I don’t understand you Ricky. Bahala ka kung kaya mong tiisin na wag pumunta sa special day ni Maya. Kung pwede lang kami ng daddy mo, kami na lang ang pupunta.” Then his mother left him, obviously disappointed with him.

He was also annoyed at himself. He should be blaming himself and not Maya. It wasn’t her fault that he’s such a coward to admit what he feels for her. It was his fault that he’s falling for his best friend.

It shouldn’t be happening.

He has nothing to offer her yet.

Maya has everything right now. A great career, fame, the support of her countless followers from all over the globe and an equally-famous and accomplished boyfriend.

He shouldn’t get in the way.

Maybe things won’t last between James and Maya. For sure they will break up and Maya would come running back to his arms.

He’s hopeful that it would happen.

But for now, he is determined to make a name for himself first to be worthy of her.

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

“Anak dapat masaya ka. Debut mo na ngayon. Ganap ng nasa legal na edad na ang dalaga ko. Sobrang proud kami ng nanay mo sa’yo.” Tay Arturo hugged his only daughter while they were preparing for the big event.

They were staying at their hotel suite where Maya’s 18th birthday party will be held.

“Masaya naman po ako tay.” She hugged her tatay tightly. “Mauna na po kayo sa baba. Tatawagan ko na lang po yung PA kapag ready na ako. Isang oras pa naman po bago magumpisa yun party.”

“Sige anak. Smile ka na. Dapat happy.  Her dad said before closing the door behind him.

Her nanay was busy talking to visitors already but Maya requested for a few minutes to stay in her room.

She was so grateful to everyone who made her feel very special today. There were greetings from the management, her team, her fans, her colleagues in showbiz, from James, from her parents, from Aunt Fe and from her Tita Esmie and Tito Roberto. There were gifts from everyone as well. Even her sponsors sent her gifts and cakes.

She felt so blessed

She’s happy.

She should be happy but she isn’t completely happy.

Not when Richard failed to greet her on her special day. Not when she felt that she’s not that important to him.

He’s been avoiding her for weeks already but she still hoped that he would at least greet her today.

She invited him to attend her debut but he turned her down. She couldn’t understand why he suddenly turned aloof and uncaring when they were still okay when he visited her a few months ago.

Maya has been waiting Richard’s greeting since this morning.

She was already crying silently and she was already mad at him for making her feel that way. She was about to call him when her phone rang. His name was flashing on her phone.

“Happy Birthday Maya! I’m sorry di ako nakapunta dyan. I’m sure you’re having a wonderful time. Enjoy with nanay, tatay and your friends.” He greeted her.

She sniffed but she tried her best not to let him know that she’s crying.

“Are you okay?” He heard her.

“Oo naman,” She kept her voice devoid of emotion.”Sinisipon lang kasi ang lamig dito.” She lied.

“You should drink medicine kasi for sure you will be very busy later.”

Then when he heard no reply from her, he added, “Sige na Maya. You enjoy your party. Ayaw ko namang makaistorbo pa sa’yo. I’m sure you have lots of visitors who want to greet you. Papasok na rin ako sa school.”

She just answered with a simple, “Thank you Ricky.” then ended the call.

She wiped her eyes and tried to appear okay. She had visitors to attend to anyway.

Richard felt the lack of excitement in Maya’s voice when she answered him. He’s worried that she seemed sick. He sent her a message. “Maya if you’re not feeling well, wag mong pilitin sarili mo. You rest.”

She now smiled at his message. At least he still cared enough to worry  that she’s sick. Medyo nabawasan tampo nya. She also texted him. “Don’t worry, okay lang ako. Salamat sa concern.”

Then she prepared herself to face her visitors.

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

Back in the States, Richard made sure that he would be very busy on the same day as Maya’s 18th birthday. He couldn’t stand the thought that she would be dancing with James Ventura. He wouldn’t want to imagine her smiling at James Ventura while she was being engulfed in his arms. He needs to keep himself busy or else jealousy would be eating him up.

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

Preview:

“Maya you need to do a final rehearsal with Darren.” Her manager informed her at the backstage of The Theatre in Solaire.

Maya is having her 10th year anniversary thanksgiving concert. It was her way of thanking her fans and supporters.

She will be singing a song of Coach Leah with Darren who was once just her idol but eventually turned out to be a very good friend to her.

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

As they were starting the rehearsal, the moment the first line was sang by Darren, Maya couldn’t help but be emotional.

Coach Leah’s song had been instrumental in what she had achieved in her life. Coach Leah’s song was her audition piece with the person whom she still considers her best partner ever.

It brought back the memories of yesteryears. They have grown apart already and she’s missing him. He played a major part in her career as well and she wanted to show him how grateful she was for everything he did for her.

She missed Richard Lim.

 

 

Can We Start Over Again 9

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.”

“Kaya nga.”

“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.

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

Preview:

“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.”

 

Can We Start Over Again 8

Can We Start Over Again 8

Maya struggled in the first year of her showbiz career. Since she was sort of given a special offer by none other than Mr. M. to be part of the roster of talents, some envious artists and their managers took this negatively and believed that Maya dela Rosa was given very special, yet undeserved, attention by the network.

They tried to destroy Maya’s promising career by means of negative propaganda and rumors. Some would even say that it was her partner, Richard Lim, who was the real favorite of many who voted for them in The Voice Duets. Though this was partly true, no one could deny that Maya is very talented too.

Maya was subject to intrigues and bashings. She would just ignore them.

She focused her energy and time on the numerous acting workshops, voice, dance and even hosting lessons and personality development classes given by the network to their new artists.

Maya took every lesson by heart. She wanted to hone her talents. She wanted to be the best in her craft. She wanted to prove all her detractors wrong.

She wanted to show her parents that she made the right decision. She wanted them to be proud of her. She wanted her very special bestfriend, Richard to be proud of her.

What kept her going on were her parents, the Lims and especially Richard. Unknown to them Maya already wanted to give up many times but it was Richard who encouraged her to go on and not waste all her efforts, all that she have started, everything that she have worked hard for.

Though she would still cry at night when alone in her room, Richard would always ease her homesickness with their daily calls and frequent communication in any way possible.

He would always encourage her, would always assure her of her worth.

She didn’t expect that her chosen career was really difficult, but she was determined to make it big.

Richard would always tell her that she is the only person he knows with a very big talent and a very big heart.

Maya would always look forward to their calls for it served as a motivation for her to face the day ahead. Ricky gave her comfort, made her feel special, he would also be honest and criticize her to make her a better person when he notices some bad decisions she makes. He’s even more strict then her parents when it comes to what Maya is wearing on her guestings, how thick her make up is and many little details.

He would always assure her that he is taking good care of her Nanay Teresita and Tatay Arturo to at least remove her worries about her parents. Richard always makes her day worth looking-forward to.

Maya didn’t have a stellar career in her first year in showbiz for it was hard to compete with singers her age who have more experience in showbiz. But despite that, she managed to always be in the limelight. Her work ethics, her talent and her genuine kindness were slowly noticed that people who didn’t believe her before now admired her. Some would even want to work with her.

It was hard to be solo artist especially when she came from a very famous duo. It was expected that everybody would be looking for her partner Richard Lim.

The management found it very hard to establish Maya as a solo singer and actress for there are already many singers and artistas out there. Despite this, everything paid off. On her second year,  Maya was offered a role in a daily teleserye. It was just a small role but she would be seen daily on TV and that is already a big break for her. She will be given the opportunity to showcase her acting talents too.

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

“Ricky asan ka na? bilis na!!!!” She was calling him while their laptops were on Skype. Richard, though already online couldn’t be seen in the monitor yet.

“Ssshhh ang lakas ng boses mo. Naririnig ko dun sa kusina.” He was exaggerating. He actually just had breakfast and was preparing to go to school. Their daily calls and Skype sessions were already part of their schedule. Richard adjusted his schedule so he could talk to her before he leaves for school.

“Ang OA mo! May good news kasi ako Ricky! Pero hi muna kina Tita at Tito!”

“Sige sasabihin ko mamaya. Ano ba yung good news?”

Then Maya shared the very good news to Richard. He was so happy for her. He was also excited that he would get to watch her in TFC daily. He was so proud of Maya.

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

The serye went on for years. She was very blessed to be part of the group who also handled the phenomenal series of the network. Maya’s role evolved from being just a support  to one of the characters with the important role in the story. This meant more hours taping and lesser hours talking to her parents and Richard.

The daily calls would become twice a week until it became mere text messages. Richard understood the difficulty of Maya’s schedule. He assured her that she could just call him anytime she’s not busy.

Maya became successful. She had numerous projects already. She starred in numerous teleseryes and joined various concerts. In all her achievements, her parents, the Lims and of course Richard were all very proud of her.

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

Richard Lim is on his way to the Kia Theatre to attend a very special occasion. He was very excited and nervous as well. Maya dela Rosa, will be receiving a best actress award in one of the indie films she starred in.

Richard asked permission from Maya’s parents to be the one to attend the said event. He wanted to surprise her.

They never had the opportunity to have a lengthy conversation in years when Maya became busy with her showbiz career.

Richard also focused on his studies. He will be on his final year in his Engineering course.

Before his classes resume, he decided to visit Maya.

He wanted to see Maya and celebrate her  success.

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

Richard was seated at the back row not wanting to show himself to Maya yet. He was with Maya’s Auntie Fe. He tried to remain inconspicuous  as not to draw attention. Some people might still recognize him from their TVD before. He didn’t want that to happen. It was Maya’s night anyway.

“…our Best Actress… Maya dela Rosa!” Maya’s name was announced and the loud applause reverberated at the venue.

The crowd gave her a standing ovation. She did very well in the critically acclaimed movie which earned her the award.

The camera was focused on Maya as she stood up to receive her award. She looked so lovely that Richard’s heartbeats raced at the mere sight of her.

He wanted to go near her and give her a very tight hug.

Then he witnessed it. Maya was smiling sweetly and was hugged tightly and kissed on both cheeks by another actor he recognized as James Ventura.

James Ventura was Maya’s loveteam on some of her movies and teleseryes.

He knew that he was just her partner in work. What he didn’t understand was their meaningful gazes towards other.

Maya had that very happy smile as she was escorted by James Ventura towards the stage.

The crowd were cheering, mostly were teasing the love team.

Richard’s heart was being stabbed to pieces at what he was witnessing. Maybe being here was a bad idea. He was supposed to surprise her but he was the who got the surprise of his life, and it was not pleasant at all.

He still maintained his composure though he already was nursing a very unpleasant feeling. He didn’t want to taint her occasion.

“Maraming salamat po sa lahat ng nagtiwala sa akin. Sa manager ko, kay Mr. M. Sa mga kasama ko sa pelikula, kay Direk…. ” She mentioned a long list of people she wanted to thank.

Then as she was finally mentioning her PA, her parents, she scanned the audience for her Aunt Fe, the only family she had with her in the Philippines.  There she saw him, the person who is very special to her. He looked so handsome in his suit. He still had glasses on, a clean cut hair and he gave her his lopsided smile. Her heart raced as well. Then as she could no longer contain her happiness for seeing him, Maya cried. She had a hard time finishing her speech already. “… maraming salamat sa pagpunta dito ng pinakamamahal kong kaibigan. Kung hindi sa kanya wala rin ako dito.”

The crowd assumed it was James Ventura she was pertaining to.

She didn’t mention Richard’s name for she was instructed by her management to never mention him.

Her contract even specified that she should avoid being linked or seen or even mention Richard Lim for their chemistry was so strong that any other actor paired with Maya always falls short of the chemistry that could only be seen when she’s with her former The Voice Duets partner.

Only James Ventura was accepted by the fans. Though their following is not as strong as the one of hers and Richard’s, the network used every means to promote and hype them. They always say that they have the power to fake ratings and hype love teams anyway

Of course Maya was an obedient artist. She followed everything they asked her to do as long as it didn’t jeopardize  her values and ideals.

Erasing Richard Lim from her showbiz life is easy.

He would always be part of her real  life back home in the States anyway.

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

 

 

Can We Start Over Again 7

Can We Start Over Again 7

A/N : Scheduled posts muna po while I’m away. Don’t worry. Sunod sunod yan. Si WP na bahala magpost.

========

After discussing with both parents, they had decided that Maya would accept Mr. M.’s offer to be a contract artist of the network.

Richard on the other hand declined despite his parents’ assurance that they were okay if he would join Maya. He preferred to return to his normal life with his family. Both parents supported the decision of the two.

Maya was happy that she would finally pursue her ultimate dream but also very sad that she would have to face the new chapter of her life alone. She would have been happier and less-scared if Richard was with her. He used to be her strength. He used to be the one who would encourage her when she feels that she’s not capable of doing something. But now she had to do everything on her own.

The other half of their partnership could no longer be with her. She had to be strong to be successful in the path she had chosen.

“Maya you take good care of yourself there. Kapag may time ka, lagi kang tatawag sa amin ha and kapag may problema, tell us.” It was her Tita Esmeralda during their despedida lunch for Maya. The Lims treated the dela Rosas for lunch. She will be leaving in two days. Her mother Teresita will accompany her and stay with her for a week until she has adjusted to her new life in Manila.

“Opo Tita. Mamimiss ko po kayo.” She was really sad.

“Naku Maya you are going to reach for your dreams. Iwanan mo na yun lungkot lungkot na ganyan. You can do it. You are very talented, very smart atsaka ang ganda ganda mo pa. Walang sinabi si Anne Curtis sa’yo lalo na sa boses mo. Tito Roberto and Tita Esmie are very proud like your mom and dad. Kayang kaya mo yan.” Tito Roberto tried to make everything seem okay. He was also sad but he didn’t want that to be the mood before Maya leaves. He wanted her to leave with happy memories and with the thought that she had their 100% support back home.

“Salamat po Tito.” She managed to say. She was thankful that Richard’s parents were supportive of her decision. At least, though Richard failed to show the support she needed, his parents still gave her their blessings on what she chose.

Richard remained quiet during lunch. He couldn’t mask his disappointment that Maya chose her career over her parents. He would just answer questions asked of him but never join in their conversation. Maya already noticed his indifference but she just ignored it. She didn’t want them to argue like the last time they talked.

“Ricky kapag free time mo don’t forget to call Maya ha. At least hindi siya masyadong malulungkot kapag makakausap ka nya.” Nanay Teresita requested.

“Opo Nay Tere.” It was the only reply he could give.

“Naku kayo ha! Maghihiwalay na nga kayo tapos nagtatampuhan pa kayo. You guys should enjoy your last days together. Malay nyo, the next time you see each other eh binata at dalaga na kayo. Baka mas magkahiyaan pa kayo nyan.” Esmeralda couldn’t help but notice how the two avoided talking to each other.

Maya just bowed her head. She felt like crying already because Richard was really ignoring her and when Tita Esmie voiced what she observed, her tears automatically made way to the surface. Maya didn’t want them seeing her crying so she excused herself to go to the restroom.

The moment Maya left…

“Anak pwede ba isantabi mo na muna yun tampuhan ninyo ni Maya. Aba mahirap ang gagawin nya. Kailangan nya mag-adjust sa bagong buhay nya sa Manila. Hindi man natin nakikita pero sigurado akong kinakabahan siya. Wag mo nang dagdagan.” His mom couldn’t help but scold him even in front of Teresita and Arturo.

“Sorry po. I’m just sad na ipagpapatuloy pa rin nya. Alam naman nya how uncertain  showbusiness is.” He was able to tell them.

“Ricky, anak dalawang taon lang naman yun. Atsaka kung hindi ni Maya magustuhan o kaya kung hindi naman maganda ang kalalabasan ng desisyon nya, pwede naman natin siyang pauwiin dito. Malungkot na malungkot yan at hindi ka nya makakasama. Pero sana kahit magkalayo kayo, manatili pa rin yun pagkakaibigan nyo. Para na kayong magkapatid para masira lang ng pangyayaring to.” Nanay Teresita understands Ricky’s apprehension for she was with them when they stayed in Manila after they won The Voice Duets. She understands when Ricky talked about the cruel world of showbiz, the unhealthy hours, the insincere people they had to deal with, the tiring travels, the bashers, the competition among the stars themselves and their managers. She knows that Ricky is just concerned with Maya’s welfare and she actually appreciates it.

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

“You take care of yourself there Maya.” Ricky was telling his bestfriend when he and his parents accompanied the dela Rosas to the airport. Their parents were fixing their luggage while Maya and Richard were talking at a corner.

“Ricky mag-iingat ka rin dito ha. Magchat tayo palagi. Yun facebook mo lagi mong bubuksan kasi lagi kitang papadalhan ng message.”

“Yes I will do that. Be careful with the people you deal with and always ask your nanay and tatay sa mga decisions mo ha. Don’t let the managers or the showbiz people decide for you.” He reminded her.

“Oo naman Ricky. Mag-iingat ako doon. Ikaw mag-aral ka ha. Baka mamaya nyan palagi ka na lang magbabasketball kasi wala na ako. Atsaka baka lagi ka na lang magvideo games.”

“Of course mag-aaral akong mabuti. I’m aiming to be top of the class di ba?”

“Ricky wag ka munang mag gigirlfriend ha. Kung meron kang gustong girl, dapat kilalanin ko muna.” She didn’t know what made her say it but she really meant it. Worried siya that the girls who were stalking Ricky would be more aggressive now that she’s no longer with him.

He laughed at what she said. He even joked. “Huy Maya I’m just fifteen. Eto kung ano ano ang iniisip. Atsaka daig mo pa sina mama. Siguro tama lang na we’re parting ways temporarily kasi natatakot sa’yo yun mga girls na may crush sa akin. Ang higpit mo raw kasi.”

But she was serious. She would always be possessive of him. “Basta mag promise ka na lahat ikukuwento mo sa akin ha?”

“Oo na. ikaw talaga. O here, you listen to the songs here kapag mag-isa ka so that you won’t miss me.” He handed her an ipod with all their favorite songs. Some were their duets and some were his solo songs he recorded a few days ago.

“Ano to?”

“Mga duets natin, favorite songs natin and some are my solo numbers para wag mong mamiss yun napakaganda kong boses. Pabaon ko sa’yo. You get to keep the ipod.” He was smiling at her.

Out of so much happiness because of his thoughtfulness, Maya hugged him very tight. He was surprised but he hugged her back as well. Not yet being able to recover from the hug, Maya kissed his cheek too. She was smiling “Thank you talaga best friend. Sobra talaga kitang mamimiss.”

Maya may have kissed and hugged him innocently but what she did made his heart leap and made him feel that same feeling he kept and tried his best to ignore.

He wasn’t able to say much anymore until Maya and her mom boarded their plane.

He was affected by what she did.

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

Mr. M. was disappointed that it was only Maya who accepted his offer. When they considered them to be part of their roster of talents, they already had plans of launching Richard and Maya as a love team. The intense chemistry they had was the major consideration for the offer. Now that it was only Maya who accepted the offer, they had no choice but adjust. Mr. M. had to change their plans for Maya.  They now had to launch her as a solo artist.

The moment she arrived, Maya became so busy that she momentarily forgot her loneliness of being away from home. Her Nanay Teresita stayed with her for a week but she had to leave Maya under the care of her Auntie Fe.

Weeks have passed.

If Maya seemed so happy in TV, she wears a different mask when inside her room after the day’s busy work. She would cry herself to sleep for she missed her family and friends so much already.

Richard just called her a few times and he would always make excuses as to why he couldn’t call her. He would always text her that he was busy. He intentionally didn’t want to talk to her after that incident at the airport.

He also saw Maya on her TV interviews and some shows where she guested. These were shown in TFC. She seemed okay to him so he decided that he should lessen their communication so she could be more independent. He also needs space to assess what he felt. He got scared. For him what he felt was wrong. He wouldn’t want to ruin the great relationship their families had by acknowledging Maya’s effect on him. They were still very young, Maya now 13 and him 15. It’s best for him to avoid her. She seemed so happy with her new life anyway.

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

It’s been two months since Maya left.

Nanay Teresita was visiting Esmeralda when Richard arrived from school. He heard snippets of what the mothers were talking about.

“Ayun gabi gabi umiiyak si Maya. Alam mo naman yung batang yun. Malakas ang loob nun kaso wala naman siyang masabihan ng mga pangyayari sa kanya. Medyo naglilihim na rin sa akin. Siguro ayaw nya lang na mag-alala kami ng tatay nya. Ewan ko nga Mare. Dapat ata hindi ako pumayag sa gusto nya. Sinabihan ko nga na wag nang ituloy yun karera nya doon. Ibabalik na lang naming yun lahat nang nagastos nila kay Maya.”

“Akala ko okay siya. Kinumusta nga kami ng Tito Roberto nya sa Skype kahapon. Mukhang masaya naman siya kaya akala ko well-adjusted na si Maya. Sayang nga at wala si Ricky. Ewan ko ba sa dalawang yun at hindi ata masyadong nag-uusap. Nag-iiwasan. Siguro nalulungkot na nagkalayo sila.” Esmeralda was surprised to learn about how Maya finds it hard to adjust to her new life in the Philippines. She thought that Maya was having the time of her life. Her TV interviews and TV guestings showed her happy side, her bubbly side. They thought she was happy.

“Sabi nya sa amin ng tatay nya, masaya siya pero Mare alam kong hindi. Tuwing kinakausap ko laging umiiyak pero sinasabi lang na miss na daw nya tayo. Totoo yun pero sa tingin ko hindi lang sobrang homesickness yun.” Teresita was really worried.

“Naku mahirap yan, wala pa naman siyang masyadong kaclose doon.”

“Yun nga ang ikinakabahala namin kasi wala naman kaming kamag-anak doon na medyo malapit sa edad ni Maya. Si Auntie Fe  hindi naman nun maiintindihan yun bata atsaka hindi rin naman ipinapakita ni Maya sa ibang tao na malungkot siya.”

“Mahirap yan Mare. Dapat ata pauwiin mo na lang.”

“Oo nga atsaka alam mo naman yun batang yun, ayaw nyang mag-alala ang mga tao sa paligid nya. Kapag humaharap sa mga tao, pinipilit nyang magmukhang masaya pero kapag nasa bahay na, ayun tatawag na sa amin at iiyak.”Nanay Teresita  continued to share to her friend.

Richard felt very guilty. He avoided Maya. He even ignored her Facebook messages. He would just send her short messages of good mornings or goodnights. He seldom called her.

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

Like her normal day, Maya would go home to her condo after work. Her mom decided to just sell the house she won and buy a condo near the network so that Maya won’t have to travel to and from work. It would be safer for her. Auntie Fe lives with her already and the network also provided a PA for her when she goes to work.

She just finished talking to her nanay and tatay and was about to listen to the songs Ricky recorded for her, like she used to do so she could sleep.

Her phone rang.

She instantly got teary eyed  when she saw his name flashing on her phone.

Richard was calling.

She didn’t know why he ignored her for two months when they were okay when she left. Yes he sends her messages but she expected more from him. She wanted to frequently hear his voice, talk to him about her experiences, ask his advice on things just like the way they used to do before.

She received the call. With a trembling voice, “Ricky…” then she couldn’t say anything else. She just cried. Namiss nya yun bestfriend nya. They haven’t talked to each other and she really missed him.

“Hi Maya. Kumusta na?” Was all he could say. He was also gauging if she’s mad at him.

She couldn’t speak for she could no longer control her sobs.

“Ssshhhh Maya are you crying? Hey don’t cry. Tumawag lang ako umiiyak ka na. Ang iyakin mo naman.”

“Ikaw kasi eh. Inaway mo ako. Di mo na nga ako sinamahan dito tapos di mo pa ako kinakausap. Akala ko ba okay tayo. Okay naman tayo nung umalis ako di ba?

“Maya I was just busy and I did it para makaadjust ka agad. You need time to familiarize yourself with the people there. I decided that it’s the best thing to do.” He tried to make excuses.

“Nakakainis ka Ricky. Ang sama kaya sa loob na paulit ulit kitang tinatawagan tapos ni isa wala ka man lang sinagot. Feeling ko hindi na ako importante sa’yo.”

“Of course you are very important.”

“Hindi ko naman yun naramdaman.”

“Sorry na Maya.”

“Nahihirapan na ako dito Ricky. Ang lungkot pala. Kapag ganitong gabi na,  ang sobrang lungkot. Ang hirap makatulog.”

He could feel her loneliness.

“You want me to sing for you so you could sleep?” He used to do this when they were together back home and when their parents would leave them alone to attend an event.

“Okay lang? Baka naman mahuli ka na sa school. May pasok ka na di ba?”

“Mamaya pa naman yun. Sige na kakantahan kita para makatulog ka at makabawi ako.”

Then he started singing…

“I was not so happy being lonely
Living without you
So I prayed so hard for your love
In my heart I needed you
Then I looked up in the sky
And I’m thinking why oh why
These are all the many changes in my life”

“Ricky?” she interrupted him.

“Yes?”

“Bakit  naman yan ang kanta mo?” Maya was always particular with song messages and lyrics.

“Ah eh… wala naman.  Pinapraktis ko lang. I’ll be singing that in a school program.” He lied. He really meant what he sang to her. But he would never admit that.

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

Preview:

“So Maya kumusta naman kayo ni James Ventura?” The host asked her. She just finished shooting a film with her loveteam.

“Okay naman kami.” She shyly smiled.

“Ang mga ngiti ba na yan ay may ibig sabihin?” The host teased.

“Masaya naman kami. Special naman siya sa akin.” She was careful with her answers as she was instructed by the management to act sweet with James for the sake of their movie.

“So does this mean that he will be your escort in your coming debut?”

She didn’t answer it anymore for she wanted someone else to be her escort in that very special day of her life.

Can We Start Over Again 6

Can We Start Over Again 6

The supposedly very good news  had a bittersweet effect on both Maya and Richard.

After their meeting with Mr. M. both of them remained quiet for the rest of the day.

Even during lunch, both tried their best not to discuss about Mr. M’s offer.

Their mothers noticed how it affected them and suggested that they would just discuss about it once they get back home in the States. They had to discuss it with their husbands.

They left the Philippines to go back home to the States.

Until their last days in the Philippines, the network took good care of them and they really appreciated it.

Both Maya and Richard felt that they were very special.

It should have been easier to accept the offer as they already felt the warmth, love and concern for them of the management, their new workmates, their supporters.

But they also know that the life-changing decision of accepting the opportunity to have a career in the Philippines will definitely change not only their lives but their parents’ lives as well.

They will certainly leave the peaceful, uneventful yet very happy lives they have with their parents and friends in the States.

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

Maya and Richard together with their parents and their music mentor in the States, coach Jeffrey, his wife and two kids, enjoyed the travel for ten to the Asian countries that Maya and Richard won.

They visited Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia.

They enjoyed the place, food and culture of every country they visited.

They all enjoyed the wonderful experience each country had offered them. Every memory was worth treasuring especially that they experienced all these things with the very special people in their lives.

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

They were having lunch at the Enchanted Garden Restaurant in HongKong Disneyland, which was the last country they visited.

“You are so blessed Richard and Maya. When I started teaching you when you were still small alam kong malayo ang mararating nyo. I am so proud of you. Thank you too for including me, my wife and kids in this unforgettable adventure. The kids are so happy.” Coach Jeffrey commented.

“Siyempre naman Coach Jeff. Love na love ka kaya namin. Kung hindi sa inyo hindi naman kami mananalo.” Maya hugged their mentor who was also like a big kuya to her and Richard.

“And everything we know, we learned from you Coach.” Richard added.

“Hep hep paano naman kami? We are also your mentors atsaka yung talent nyo sa amin nyo nakuha.” Roberto Lim jokingly protested.

“Naku Roberto wag ka na ngang makisali. Kapag ikaw yun nagtuturo kay Ricky eh wala naman yang ibang kinakanta kundi yun mga makaluma mong mga kanta. They won’t win with those songs.” Esmeralda teased her husband.

“Oo nga kumpare, hindi ipapanalo nang mga bata yun paborito mong My Way.”

They were all laughing.

“But seriously, we would like to thank you Jeffrey. You have taught Maya and Ricky not only the technical side of singing but yun mas importante na discipline and dedication in what they are doing.”

“Wala po yun Tito Art.  Ang dalawang to ang pinakamasayang turuan  sa mga estudyante ko. Nakakalungkot lang na hindi ko na pala makikita ang dalawang paborito ko. You will be expanding your horizon na Maya and Ricky? Dadalaw pa rin kayo ha?” Coach Jeffrey sadly expressed what he felt.

Maya and Richard just stared at each other. They know that Coach Jeffrey was talking about the offer they got from the Philippines. They were just surprised that their coach assumed that they already accepted the offer.

“O bakit ganyan ang reaction nyo? I already know it kasi kinausap rin ako ni Mr. M when I was in Manila. He asked about the set-up we have here. Maybe he was concerned if may kontrata tayo. I gladly told them that wala naman. You kids don’t have to worry. You have my 100% support.” Coach Jeff added.

“Thank you Coach Jeff. Dalawin nyo kami sa Manila ha.”

“Hindi naman kami pumayag Coach.”

They said at the same time then stared at each other again after hearing what the other said.

“Ayaw mo?” Maya asked Richard.

“Pumapayag ka?” Richard asked Maya.

“Akala ko gusto mo.”

“We haven’t talked about it yet di ba?”

“Eh paano naman natin paguusapan eh umiiwas ka na pagusapan natin.”

“Because we decided to enjoy the trip and not stress ourselves with it. Pero bakit you seemed so sure na tatanggapin mo yun offer?” Richard was surprised with what he heard from Maya.

Nanay Teresita interrupted the argument of the kids. “Wag na munang pag-usapan yan dito. Magenjoy na muna at sayang naman kung dito pa kayo magdidiskusyon sa Disneyland.

Both kept quiet but avoided each other even in the succeeding rides they tried. Maya was always with Coach Jeff’s kids while Richard busied himself taking pictures.

“Tere mukhang may samaan ng loob ang mga bata.” Arturo dela Rosa voiced his concern.

“Oo nga eh.  Nakakalungkot naman na pagmumulan pa ng di pagkakaunawaan yun offer sa kanila.” Teresita was sad at the turn of events.

“Pinagusapan nyo na ba yun offer sa mga bata?” Roberto Lim asked his friends.

“Hindi eh. Iniwasan naming pagusapan kasi medyo mahirap yun gagawing desisyon. Gusto sana naman na enjoyin muna yun bakasyon natin.

Coach Jeffrey joined them. “Malaking opportunity po yung mabigyan ng offer sa ABS. Sikat na company sila at marami na silang napasikat na artista, singers, dancers, celebrities. Many are doing everything just to be part of the network. Sayang naman po.”

“We just leave it to the kids to decide Jeffrey. Kung ano ang pangarap ni Maya, we will support her. Gagabayan lang namin siya pero we will allow her to do what she wants, kung tumuloy man siya sa career sa Pilipinas or manatili sa dati nyang buhay.” Nanay Teresita and her husband always supports their only daughter in her dreams.

“Kami rin, we will let Ricky decide on his own. Fourteen na si Ricky. Though he’s still young he can already decide for himself. We will just guide him in whatever decision he makes.” Roberto and Esmeralda Lim also supports their son in whatever he does.

Though both parents know the weight of the decision they will be making, they didn’t want their kids to see the stress they are also going through while pondering about it.

Whatever decision the kids make, it will still make them sad. If they accept the offer, they will definitely have to leave them and stay in the Philippines for two years. It would be a major adjustment for all of them.

If they decline the offer, it would mean turning their backs on the big opportunity that would help them grow, improve in their craft, and make them successful like the other singers and celebrities of the network. It would mean saying no to something that many people dreamt of.

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

It was their last night in HongKong .

Maya and Richard were left inside their hotel unit while their parents were doing the last minute shopping with Coach Jeffrey and his family.

They were watching a concert on TV.

Richard was seriously watching while Maya was already restless. She wanted to talk to her best friend about her decision.

“Ricky pag-usapan na natin.”

Richard just glanced at her then resumed watching TV again.

But Maya is determined to talk to him about it. She wants to change his mind and convince him to accept the offer. She wanted to accept the opportunity given them. She knows that Ricky doesn’t seem interested so she wants to make him see why they should accept it.

“Ricky maganda namang subukan di ba? Atsaka hindi na tayo dumaan sa maraming proseso. Hindi rin tayo ang lumapit at nagmakaawa para makasali sa ABS. Marami dyan namumuhunan ng pagod, pera, nagsasakripisyo, nagmamakaawa para lang bigyan ng project pero tayo ayun marami na agad silang projects for us, may movie, tv show, recording contract. Masaya naman yun Ricky di ba? Napakaimportante natin sa kanila.” She tried to make him see how favorable the offer is for them.

“Maya I know that and I am grateful that they considered us. Pero Maya our family is far more important than having a career while being far from them. I could see all that we could gain by saying yes to the offer pero Maya it would mean leaving our parents. Hindi naman pwede yun. It was the reason why we joined the contest in the first place. Naalala mo? We joined kasi kapag nanalo tayo hindi na kakailanganin ni Papa na tanggapin yun trabaho sa Australia. It would be ironic na tayo naman ang aalis para iwanan sila.”

“Two years lang naman Ricky atsaka pwede naman tayong bumisita palagi o kaya sila ang bumisita sa atin. Sayang naman Ricky. Ayaw mo ba nun? Sabay naman tayo eh.”

“Maya it’s not that. Kung sa gusto, I want it for us as well. We’ve been through a lot already with our singing, with our friendship. We’re practically family and yun contract that they offered us would be perfect to grow as a person, to hone our talents, to earn for our family. Gusto ko rin yun especilaly that we will be doing it together. Hirap din ako to decide Maya pero I really can’t have the same decision as yours. Mas priority ko sina Mama at Papa.”

“Ricky naman eh.” She was already desperate.

“Sorry Maya but I really can’t.”

“Pasosolohin mo ako?” She was already teary-eyed that despite her attempts to convince him, Richard already made up his mind.

“Maya what if ikaw naman ang kumbinsihin ko to decline the offer and just go back to the States. We were happy there. We have friends, we do well in school, nabibili naman natin ang gusto natin, we may not be able to enjoy travelling like this pero being with our family is priceless Maya.”

Maya didn’t say anything. She just went inside her room and left Richard at the small living room or their hotel unit.

 

Preview:

She automatically teared up when she saw his name flashing on her phone.

With a trembling voice, “Ricky…” then she couldn’t say anything else. She just cried. Namiss nya yun bestfriend nya. They haven’t talked to each other for two months.

“Ssshhhh Maya, don’t cry. Ang iyakin mo naman.”

“Ikaw kasi eh. Inaway mo ako. Di mo na nga ako sinamahan dito tapos di mo pa ako kinakausap.”

“Sorry na…”

Can We Start Over Again 5

Can We Start Over Again 5

Maya dela Rosa and Richard Lim were on their way to the office of Mr. M. They were called for a meeting together with their parents.

“O bakit parang ang saya mo naman Ricky?”

Maya noticed how happy he was. Richard and Maya were seated at the last row of the van the network sent to fetch them.

“I’m just happy. At last natapos na rin yun mga commitments natin. Makakauwi na tayo. Miss ko na si  papa at yun mga kaibigan natin.”

They just finished all their commitments as winners of The Voice Duets. They will be going home after two days.

“Ako din. Miss ko na si tatay at si Tito Roberto. Makikita ko na rin sina Edz, Ruby at Emman. Marami kaming pagkukuwentuhan.” Maya was very happy as well.

“I miss my friends too. Nakakamiss maglaro ng basketball with them. Kagabi nga tinawagan ako ni Ryan. Magpapaparty daw sila for us pagdating natin. Even our teachers are missing us na rin.”

“Nakakatuwa naman sila Ricky. Naku kung hindi lang sobrang mahal yun plane ticket papunta dito, gustong gusto ko silang ipasyal dito. Ang saya siguro no?”

“Oo nga eh. I’m sure they would have enjoyed yun mga pamamasyal natin sa mga beaches at dun sa Baguio, they would have loved it there.  Pero you know what? Pumunta tayo sa mga souvenir shops. Bilhan natin sila ng pasalubong.” Richard suggested.

“Sige ba. Gusto ko yan Ricky. Pero gawin na lang natin yan sa travel natin sa ibang bansa. Yun tour package we won. Dun na lang tayo mamili. Kapag dito kasi wala na tayong privacy. Sina nanay at Tita Esmie na lang ang bahala bumili ng pasalubongs na gawa dito. Actually ang dami nang nabili ni Nanay.”

“That’s a better idea. Ilang countries din yun pupuntahan natin di ba? Doon na lang tayo mamili. I’m also not so comfortable kapag may lumalapit sa atin while sa malls here in Manila. Nakakahiya and I don’t know how to react sa kanila. It’s so embarrassing.” He voiced his concern.

“Suplado ka kasi talaga.” Maya teased.

“Of course not! I’m just shy around people. Imagine they spend time and money just to be able to see us. I don’t feel worthy. Kumakanta lang naman tayo pero grabe sila.”

“Ricky kasi napapasaya natin sila. Di ba sabi nga ni Coach Lea yun mga supporters natin they love us and most are very loyal pero we should work hard din to make them happy. Dapat we give our 100 % in all our performances. Dapat we make them feel special and kahit pagod na pagod tayo, we should never make them feel that mababa na ang energy natin.” Maya remembered the advice of their Coach Lea.

“Yes I know that. We owe them everything that we reached now. Kaya nga nahihiya ako kasi hindi ko mabigay sa kanila yun kagaya ng ginagawa mo.”

“Ginagawa ko?”

“Yes. Yun nakikipagbiruan ka sa kanila. You can easily talk to them. You can easily mingle with people.”

“Naku Ricky makulit at madaldal naman kasi talaga ako. Atsaka pangit naman if ikaw yun madaldal. Hindi bagay.” Then she laughed. “Mas okay sa’yo yun ganyan na image. Pamysterious. Pagwapo.”

“Oy excuse me Maya dela Rosa! Gwapo talaga ako at hindi pa-gwapo.” He protested.

“Pikon talaga to. Alam ko naman yun. Binibiro lang kita. Pero seryoso Ricky. Excited na akong umuwi. Ang saya saya ko talaga! We will go home na successful tayo sa competition, we met new friends at marami tayong new adventures na mababaon pauwi.”

“Me too Maya. I will never forget this experience. It was extra special pa kasi I get to do all of it with you.”

“Ako din kaya! Alam mo kahit na sumpungin ka Ricky, hinding hindi kita ipagpapalit kahit kanino. Hindi rin magiging kasing saya yun lahat ng naranasan ko dito sa Philippines kung mag-isa lang ako or kung iba yun kasama ko.”

“Really?”

“Oo naman! Nakakatuwa kaya kapag tinitopak ka.” She laughed at him.

Their banters were interrupted when they reached their destination.

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

Maya dela Rosa, Richard Lim and their mothers Esmeralda Lim and Teresita de la Rosa were inside the office of Mr. M, the head of Star Magic.

“Mrs. Lim, Mrs. Dela Rosa I want to congratulate you again for the success of Richard and Maya. I commend you also for raising these very talented kids. They’re very polite, courteous even if sa US sila lumaki. They’re also dedicated sa work and they’re even more professional than the old celebrities. Maganda yun work ethics and halos lahat ng mga nakasama nila parehas lang yun feedback – napakabait daw at madaling katrabaho ang dalawang to. Everybody enjoyed working with them.” Mr. M was really impressed with the kids.

“Naku salamat po Mr. M. Nakakataba naman po ng puso yun sinabi nyo. Proud na proud naman talaga kami sa mga bata.” Teresita dela Rosa was very thankful for Mr. M’s kind words about the kids.

“Thank you Mr. M. I’m also happy that everything went so well. I’m also thankful that Ricky and Maya would leave good memories to people they’ve encountered. More than what they’ve won, pinakamasarap pong marinig na minahal yun mga bata dahil sa magandang pakikisama nila. Happy memories po ang babaunin ni Maya at Ricky paguwi namin.” Esmeralda Lim was also very proud.

“Mrs. Lim, Mrs. Dela Rosa that’s what I want to discuss in this special meeting we have. I know the kids are excited to go home and return to their normal lives. Alam kong marami silang achievements way back home as well. I know everything about how they excel in school, how they are also active members of their choral groups back in the States. I have watched the interviews prior to their audition in The Voice Duets.”

Richard, Maya and their mothers suddenly got curious of what Mr. M was leading to.

“I know that what I will be proposing would require a major change in the lives of Richard and Maya and also of your families. I don’t expect an outright decision kasi kailangan nyong pagisipan muna.” He then paused. “I would like to offer Maya and Richard a two year exclusive contract with our network.”

Maya and Richard were surprised. They didn’t say anything. They can’t believe what Mr. M. was saying. Even their mothers weren’t able to react as well. Being offered an exclusive contract of the top network of the Philippines is like hitting a jackpot for many aspiring artistas, singers, performers.

“I know many factors should be considered but Mrs. Lim, Mrs. Dela Rosa what these kids attained now is something anyone would pray and hope for. This is a major opportunity for them. The contract includes many projects, TV seryes, movies, concerts, worldwide tours and recording contracts aside from the one they won. I am sure that you know the track record of ABS on how we take care of our artists. Like how we took care of these kids during the last two months, ganun pa rin and makakasama na yun education nila. We will be the one to coordinate with their schools. Yun sa tirahan, sasakyan, assistants, everything else will be discussed in the contract but I am sure that you are already aware how we could make your kids big stars.”

Maya was already imagining what they could become once they decide to sign the contract. It was her long time dream to be a singer, an artista like her idol, Darren.

Richard on the other hand thought of the school he will be leaving, his parents, his friends.

There are many things to be considered.

“Mr. M. we are so honored that you are offering Maya and Richard a contract na alam naming napakahirap makuha ng basta kung sino lang. Salamat po sa pagtitiwala pero hindi ako makakapagdesisyon na hindi kasama ang tatay ni Maya. Sana po bigyan nyo kami ng konting panahon para pagisipan ang bagay na to.” Nanay Teresita voiced her concern.

“Yes Mr. M. Like Teresita, I also need to talk to my husband. Even ang dalawang to, kailangan ng masinsinang usapan kung ano man ang magiging desisyon namin. Maraming salamat sa pagtitiwala.” It was Esmeralda Lim this time.

“I know that. You go home first sa States. Then di ba may tour pa kayo as part of your prize? You enjoy everything first then talk as a family.  In a month’s time, papatawag ko ulit kayo for your decision. Whatever decision you would have, I will respect it. Pagisipan nyong mabuti.”

Mr. M was really an amiable figure of the kapamilya network. He is like a tatay to every celebrity under his care.

Esmeralda and Teresita didn’t have any problem entrusting their kids to him. They just couldn’t easily do it because it would be a life-changing decision for them.

===========

If the ride to Mr. M’s office were full of banters, their ride back to their hotel was quiet.

Maya and Richard each looked outside their widows as their van traversed the busy streets of Manila. The offer of Mr. M, which should have been a happy news for them, made Maya and Richard feel excitement, sadness, anxiety, dread and uncertainty as well.

Whatever they choose would definitely have an impact in their lives.

If they choose to sign the contract, their lives would suddenly change, they would be in the limelight, very far from the laid back simple life they had in the States.

If they choose not to sign it, they would forever regret turning their backs on the great opportunity offered exclusively to them.

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

Preview:

“Sorry Maya pero I really can’t.”

“Pasosolohin mo ako?”