Traces of Love 11 (Epilogue)

TRACES OF LOVE 11 (Epilogue)

“Amiel stop running! Grandpa can’t keep up with you.” Richard was trailing behind his youngest grandchild from Nikki.

The boy was giggling while holding the colorful ball he’s been playing with for hours now.

“Pa, ako na po bahala kay Amiel.” Nicolo who was watching his father-in-law and his son took charge. He carried the sweaty child who was still holding on to his ball.

His father looked tired from playing with his three younger grandchildren. He sat on the bench at their backyard to catch his breath.

Nikki and Nicolo’s eldest Lance who was now 10 years old readily gave his grandpa a glass of water.

Their two younger kids, Amiel is three and Chloe is barely 6 months old.

The two other kids were Sky and Bettina’s rambunctious twins Pocholo and Louie, who were two years old. They were just running, jumping and screaming while giggling. They were following whatever Amiel does. Their nannies, Doris and Leah were also behind them ready with the towels for the twins who didn’t stop running and jumping as they were so amused watching their cousin Amiel.

“Nicolo, pasok muna ako. I’ll take a nap. Napagod ako sa mga bata.” Richard stood up.

“Sige po Dad. Rest na muna kayo para mamaya may lakas kayo pagdating ng mga bisita. Sabi ni Sky hindi pa naman po dumating yun eroplano.” Nicolo replied.

“Oo nga. He also called me awhile ago. At least I have time to take short nap and also prepare. Kayo na muna bahala dito. Kids give grandpa a hug.”

The three younger kids scrambled towards their grandpa.

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Sky was fetching his dad’s visitor’s from the Philippines. They were some of the people he and Maya worked with before – Cris, Terry, Jeffrey, Neil and Jeany.

Jeffrey, their former Director seldom does projects now but the last one he did earned him an award in New York that’s why they were visiting. He will be receiving the award during the weekend but since it was their good friend Richard’s birthday anyway, they decided to arrive a few days before the awards night and spend their days visiting places and also celebrating Richard’s 68th birthday and Sky volunteered to drive for them.

When the former cast and crew of that unforgettable TV show were invited to their wedding by Richard and Maya 5 years ago, they all flew to the States to be part of the very special event of their most loved couple who became their friends and family already.

The show changed their lives and they were all grateful that beyond the fortune they got from its very successful run, they gained lifetime friends as well.

When Maya and Richard stopped any communication with them, they all got worried and sad but they all respected their decision. Little did they know that their two leads, had a very sad and difficult life.

When Maya called Terry, who was her mother at the series before, she was beyond happy. They spent hours on the phone and hours on Skype as well. Then eventually they got in touch with Cris, Jeany and Direk Jeffrey.

Whenever they are visiting the States, they stay at Maya and Richard’s place. Whenever the couple visits the Philippines they make it a point to have a get-together as well.

Now they were visiting and staying for a few days.

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Richard had taken a nap already and had showered and changed his clothes as well. Even at his age, he still looks very handsome, he still carries himself well, looks dapper in anything he wears and he still smells so good.

While waiting for their visitors, he just decided to stay indoors. He can’t keep up with his grandchildren and he didn’t want to look all tired and sweaty as he face their visitors.

He loved it whenever the house is filled with people. He loved the sound of the kids’ laughter, the unending stories of Nikki, Sunshine and Sky. He loved having visitors coming over.

He was by the piano playing his favorite, yet hauntingly sad song, the song which brought him wonderful memories of yesteryears.

“Faded photographs covered now with lines and creases….”

He was softly singing while his long and wrinkly fingers tried its best to put pressure on the piano keys.

As he was playing, his eyes went to their family pictures atop the piano.

Nikki and her husband with their kids, Lance, Amiel and Chloe occupied one frame.

The other one was of Sky, Bettina and their twins Pocholo and Louie.

There was a solo picture of Lance when he received a trophy for their school soccer team.

And there was a picture of Sky receiving his Masters diploma in Harvard. He was flanked by his sisters Nikki and Sunshine.

Another picture was an old one. It was a group picture of their TV family where he met the love of his life. He smiled reminiscing the wonderful memories of the show.

Another picture was their wedding. They both wore smiles of genuine happiness. Even their eyes were smiling. It was the picture that has been teased a lot by the kids. Sky would always comment that it seemed that their parents couldn’t wait for their honeymoon in that particular picture.

Richard shook his head and smiled. Their son was really funny and he could have been a good entertainer like his mom if he pursued showbiz.

There was another picture of them exchanging their wedding vows. He immediately remembered the promises they gave each other when the got married in that small church four years ago. It was a solemn private family event which was prepared by the kids. They just invited a few friends to witness the bond of their parents.

Richard remembered how his wife made him the happiest man on their wedding. They even surpassed the vows they promised each other. Life has been wonderful since the day they found each other again after being away from each other for many years.

There were pictures of the wedding of Sky and Bettina as well.

Another was a picture of him carrying the giggling twins on both his arms.

Another picture was of the ladies in his life – Maya, Nikki, Sunshine and baby Chloe. It was taken when Chloe was 3 months old.

And the last one was Sunshine’s graduation picture when the whole family attended. They were all in the picture wearing beaming smiles. It was taken the very same day his wife fainted and was rushed to the hospital.

Richard’s heart constricted as he remembered that day. His fingers stopped playing the piano as he was overcome with emotion just remembering what happened.

“Mr. Lim can I talk to you privately?” the doctor who attended to Maya requested as he saw that the patient had lots of company.

“Sure doc.” Then he addressed the kids ” Nikki just wait here. Kayo na muna bahala kina Shine at sa mga bata.”

They were all worried of their mom. She has been the healthiest in the family and they couldn’t imagine her getting sick.

“Baka naman naglilihi si Mom?” Sky tried to joke despite the worry etched in his face. He wanted to lighten the mood of his siblings.

“Kuya naman eh!” Sunshine was between upset and angry. She’s so worried of her mom and Nikki was hugging her.

After undergoing various tests, Maya have been diagnosed with colon cancer.

It was the most devastating day for the family. It was the day that Richard hates remembering.

He took the picture of their wedding vows atop the piano and caressed the picture of his wife. His eyes were now misty.

He hugged the picture tightly. “I love you so much Maya. I love you so much.” His tears were now streaming down his cheeks.

“Mommy, grandpa is crying.” 3 year old Amiel rushed to her mom Nikki.

Richard was startled. He wasn’t aware that his grandson was in the room with him. He quickly wiped his eyes and returned the picture to its place.

In a few seconds, Nikki was trailing behind Amiel who was pointing to his grandpa. Sunshine was following behind as well. They were donning aprons as they were still busy in the kitchen.

“Dad! What’s wrong?” Nikki frowned as she saw her dad’s puffy eyes.

“Nothing. I just got something in my eyes. Napuwing lang ako.”

“Grabe naman na puwing yan dad, both of your eyes are red and puffy. Ano ba kasi yun?” Nikki insisted.

“Wala nga. Don’t mind me. Sige na tapusin nyo na ang ginagawa nyo.”

Sunshine joined in. “Alam ko na Ate Nikki. I’m sure tiningnan na naman ni dad yun pictures natin.” Then Sunshine took her graduation picture.

“Ano yan Shine? What will you do with that one?” Nikki asked, puzzled as to why Sunshine suddenly took her graduation picture.

“Kasi Ate Nikki everytime dad sees this one, naiiyak siya. He remembers mom kasi.”

“Naku naman dad. Ayan na naman tayo eh. Nagsesenti na naman on your birthday.” Nikki smiled and shook her head while hugging her dad.

“Sige ka dad, you won’t look gwapo with those swollen eyes. Kasama pa naman si Tito Neil. He will surely take lots of pictures.” Sunshine joked then joined her sister in hugging their dad.

“Ay bakit nandito kayong dalawa? Inilabas ko lang yun steak at barbeque dun kay Nicolo nawala na kayo sa kitchen. Shine yun pasta baka ma overcook yun.” Maya suddenly emerged. Her hair was messy and she smelled of the food she was cooking. Her eyebrows were raised but she was trying to hide her smile.

“Oo na nga po mom, punta na kami sa kitchen. Si dad kasi nang-iistorbo.” Sunshine, who was still holding the picture frame was now about to go out of the room. Nikki followed her but still had something to say “Naku Shine let’s go at baka kung ano pa ang gustong gawin nina mom and dad. Let’s give them some privacy muna.”

“Naku mom, dad remind ko lang that the kids are around ha! Amiel might see you.” Sunshine added.

“Nikki! Sunshine! Go you two! Dun na nga kayo sa kitchen.” Richard just shook his head and smiled. He was already used to the kids’ teasing.

As soon as Nikki and Sunshine left, Maya held her husband’s face wanting to confirm that he really had been crying. He tried to hide his face.

“Sweetheart bakit? What’s wrong?”

“Nothing. Halika dito sweetheart. Sit on my lap. I just need a hug right now.”

“Chard…”

“Halika dito.”

Maya hesistantly sat on his lap. And he engulfed her in a very tight hug.

“Amoy ulam pa ako Sweetheart. Nakabihis at ligo ka na, magiging amoy kusina ka na rin nyan.”

He just shook his head and hugged her tighter.

“Bakit ba kasi? Bakit ka umiyak?”

“Nothing.”

“Chard kung tungkol na naman yan dun sa medical findings sakin, di ba we already went to different doctors at pare pareho sila ng sinabi that I don’t have cancer. Atsaka di ba yun mismong nagdiagnose sa akin ang nagsabi na nagkapalit yun results namin ng isang pasyente.”

“Yes but what if that’s true. What if talagang nagkasakit ka? Di ko kakayanin sweetheart.”

“We’ve been through a lot Chard. Marami na tayong pinagdaanan. Wala namang sigurado sa buhay pero kung ano man ang mga haharapin pa natin sa kinabukasan alam kong kakayanin natin kasi magkasama tayo. Alam kong hindi mo ako pababayaan at ganun rin naman ako.”

“I know but..” He was teary eyed again.

“Naku ang asawa ko napakasenti. Gusto mo lang atang ma offeran ng project ni Jeany mamaya eh. Alam ko may gagawin silang bagong movie at naghahanap sila ng senior actor.” Maya teased him while wiping his tear-streaked cheeks.

“Silly!” He now managed to smile. His wife had somehow calmed him and removed his worries.

Maya gave him a deep and passionate kiss. “Ayan para matahimik ka na. Paunang birthday gift ko sa’yo!”

“Pauna?”

“Oo parang preview ba, teaser, ganun kasi yun karugtong na gift hindi ko pwedeng ibigay dito. Ayokong magmadali sa oras at ayoko rin na hindi ako nakaligo or nakabihis ng maayos.” Her eyes twinkled naughtily.

Getting what she said, Richard smiled mischievously. He got excited. Despite their age, they never neglected each others needs and they always banter like kids when in the confines of their bedroom.

While Maya was still on his lap, Richard suddenly stood up, carrying her.

“Mr. Lim ibaba mo nga ako! Marami pa akong gagawin. Baka dumating na yung mga bisita natin.” She was giggling.

“Mabilis lang tayo. Kulang yun teaser eh. Di ko masyado ma-appreciate.”

They were both laughing while on their way to their bedroom, Richard still carrying the squirming Maya, tickling her when…

“Mom! Dad! Our visitors are here!” It was Sky and behind him were Jeany, Direk Jeffrey, Neil, Terry and Cris. All their eyes were on the couple who appeared to have been caught red handed. They were both blushing.

“Walanjo talaga kayong dalawa! Baka rayumahin na yan si Chard ha Maya! Pabuhat buhat pa kayo.” It was Cris.

“Si Chard kasi. Sabi na eh. Di pa tuloy ako nakaligo at bihis.” Maya blamed her husband.

“Aba Maya manisi ba. Kitang kita naman na enjoy na enjoy ka rin. Kayo talaga! ” it was Cris again.

They all had a good laugh while exchanging hugs and kisses as they welcome their visitors.

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A/N Sorry natagalan to. The twitterserye kasi! They are better than fanfics 😁 and they are eating my time.

In case you don’t know what I’m talking about, follow @IamPhilipTang , @ImCarloAsuncion and @AmorDJPowers in twitter. I don’t know if those accounts are connected sa shows nila or writers yan but they are good. Pero malay natin sila pala yan. 😝😝😝

Thank you for reading and for taking time to leave comments. I appreciate them all. Also if you have spare time, let’s help in letting the network know that we really want our fave loveteam to work together again. JSM had finished Psy and its time for another serye that would again give her the good “role-model” image she had been known for when she played the very positive character ‘Maya’.

We can do this in twitter. You can follow their personal accounts or the network’s accounts as well.

Have a great day everyone!

Traces of Love 10 (Finale)

 

“Ate is my hair okay? Yun make-up ko?” Sunshine was nervously pacing back and forth in front of the mirror. She is trying her best to calm her nerves. She had been distracting herself with anything like bringing up random topics to her Ate Nikki. Nikki was fixing Sunshine’s costume.

“Shine you look so beautiful already.” Nikki assured her.

“You’re just saying that Ate because you are my sister.”

“Yes I am your sister and I won’t allow you to look less-beautiful out there. So believe me when I say that you are very lovely Shine atsaka I was the one who put your make-up. Ang ganda kaya. It’s just very light pero your eyes and cheeks and even lips are highlighted. Di na magrereklamo si Mommy na you look pale.”

“Pero Ate Nikki hindi ko kaya makalimutan lines ko? Nakakahiya kina Mom and Dad.”

“Naku Shine, nagmana ka kaya sa kanila kaya I’m sure kasing galing ka nila in acting. Oh well, si Mom oo pero si Dad pala he easily gets distracted whenever he and mom had their scenes before.” Nikki was laughing while reminiscing those years when her dad and her new found mom were still working together. “Naalala ko tuloy when dad usually forgets his lines kapag mom stares at him. They were so cute before.”

Nikki had been close to her sister Sunshine and even to Sky. She was also very close to Maya and though Maya wasn’t her real mom, they get along so well. They share the same interests and since Maya is a very good chef, she would always share her new recipes with Nikki which would always be a hit in Nikki’s restaurants in the Philippines.

Like Nikki, Sky was also very close to Richard and they would regularly bond watching Sports, playing billiards and also talking about Sky’s girlfriend Bettina. He’s been asking tips from Richard when he was just courting Bettina.

“Nananakot ka naman Ate eh. What if I’m more like dad at makalimutan ko din lines ko?” Sunshine got more worried.

“Ay hindi po. You won’t forget your lines kasi hindi mo naman ata crush yun partner mo sa play. Naku Sunshine ha! Baka mamaya crush mo pala talaga. He is cute but you are still very young ha. Kapag you forgot your lines, iisipin ko na you get distracted because of your partner.”

“Hindi Ate ah! I don’t have a crush on him or on anyone in school. At hindi ako madidistract sa partner ko. No way!”

“Nililinaw ko lang. Kasi once I learn na may pumoporma sa’yo, I’ll tell Sky right away para bantayan ka.”

“Ate Nikki talaga.”she pouted.

“I was just kidding. O yan at least nawala yun kaba mo. Halika nga. I’ll give you a big goodluck hug.”

Then she went near Nikki for her big sisterly hug.

That was the scene when Sky entered the bedroom.

“Nandito pa kayo Ate Nikki? Sunshine?”

“Kuya!!! Dun ka na muna sa labas.” Sunshine complained. She didn’t want her Kuya to see her frantic as he would surely tease her again.

Sunshine will be starring in a play that night at the Filipino Community annual gathering in Boston, where they are now based. Her school’s Theater Arts club, which is dominated by Filipinos will be presenting a play and Sunshine, being very good in acting like her parents, was chosen for the lead role.

Richard, Maya and Sunshine are now residing in Richard’s house in Boston. Sky still stays in his own apartment near his school, which is a few minutes drive from his parents home. He just frequently visits them during the weekends or when he is not too busy with school.

Sunshine has transferred to a school nearby and is doing so well both in academics and in her chosen school club, Theater Arts, that she instantly became a lead in their school play. She definitely had her parents’ genes.

Nikki still owns and manages a chain of restaurants in the Philippines with her husband Nicolo and son Lance.

She always visits her mom and dad on every ocassion and holidays. There are also plans for her to transfer to the US to be near her parents. Nikki believes that her family is more important than her business in the Philippines. She wanted to be closer to her siblings and parents. She grew up alone most of the time since her mom Alex already had her own family and her dad was then having difficulty to travel and regularly visit her due to his condition.

Now that everything is okay, Nikki wanted to be near them and enjoy each other’s company.

Just like now, she traveled to the US just to be able to watch Sunshine perform. Her husband was left to manage their business and Lance couldn’t join as well because of school.

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“Ang tagal ng mga bata” Maya checked her watch.

They were waiting for the kids at their living room. Richard draped an arm around her and gave her a kiss on her head.

“Maybe they’re still having their girl talk.”

“Naku Sweetheart kagabi pa sila panay girl talk. Asan na ba si Sky?”

“Umakyat rin eh. Maybe he’s pestering his sisters again. Alaskador yun isang yun.” he laughed.

“Oo nga eh. Parang ikaw. Nagmana na sa’yo Sweetheart.”

“I told you. Anak ko na talaga si Sky.”

They were lovingly gazing at each other when the kids joined them.

“Ooops Mom, Dad alam ko na ang mga tinginan na yan. Later na po at baka ma late tayo sa play ni Shine tapos kapag tinanong why Sunshine is late and isasagot ni Shine ay because my parents are…”

“Sky!!!” Maya gave her son a warning look. Richard chuckled. Nikki naman lovingly pinched her brother’s side while Sunshine made a gesture of covering her ears.

“Biro lang. Kayo naman. Tara na nga at excited na akong kumain dun sa event.”

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The play was very successful and Sunshine did her part so well that she earned praises from the audience who watched.

Many of the members of the Filipino community were no longer aware that Richard and Maya were once actors in the Philippines.

But some would still remember them and would sometimes request to have some pictures taken. Maya and Richard would give in but would request for their pictures not to be posted online. They still wanted to remain private. They are no longer actors anyway.

“We are so proud of you Shine. Ang galing talaga parang si Mom.” Nikki commented as the family was driving home.

“What about me ha Nikki?” Richard jokingly protested after not being mentioned by Nikki.

Sky was driving their car while Richard was seated beside him. Maya, Nikki and Sunshine were seated at the back beside each other.

“Ay oo pala, like Dad din pala. Nakuha din ni Shine yun pagpapacute like Dad.”

“I’m not!” Sunshine wouldn’t agree.

“I’m not pacute. I’m really handsome. I don’t need to make pacute.” their dad also protested.

“O baka kung saan mapunta ang usapan.” Maya was laughing already. Richard always looked endearingly handsome whenever he gets pikon from the children’s teasing. He would be red and his eyes would turn to slits. His lopsided grin would turn into a smirk.

Sky winked at his Ate Nikki thru the car mirror. They always love it when their dad becomes pikon kasi whenever they take back whatever teasing they do to him, Richard would end up having food delivered or even treat them to an impromptu movie date. Richard was aware of the kids’ gimiks but he would play along. Maya on the other hand would always tease him for being ‘uto-uto’ but Richard still loved it. He loves his kids and he wouldn’t trade their simple bonding moments for anything else.

Maya who was seated right behind Richard caressed his shoulder. “Oo naman Sweetheart, you are handsome naman talaga. And also pacute, este cute. Kaya nga pinagkakaguluhan ka before diba, during your ‘younger years’. You were being mobbed kaya nga takot na takot kami everytime may shows tayo before kasi baka magka-stampede. ”

“You’re exaggerating!” he shook his head.

“Hindi ah! Totoo yun. Di ba Nikki remember when your dad needed to exit the backdoor of the concert venue kasi super inaabangan na siya ng audience. Tapos yun mga fans nya na may kotse talagang sinusundan pa rin kayo. The network had to hire bodyguards. Naku pang Hollywood ka talaga before Sweetheart. Walang sinabi sina Brad Pitt at Tom Cruise sa’yo”

“Oo ng Mom. Kinakailangan pa ni Dad iligaw yun mga sumusunod sa amin before kasi talagang kahit saan pumunta they would follow us. Kaya nga napa tint ni Dad yun mga cars before. ” Nikki recalled those years when her dad was still an actor and was really mobbed by fans.

“Sabi na sa’yo Sweetheart.”

“Yeah right!”

“O ano dad? San mo kami itretreat?” Sky was asking.

“Kayo where do you want.” Richard just relented so that the teasing would stop.

“Saan daw tayo?”

Then the three- Nikki, Sky and Sunshine took turns in suggesting where they could go for their dad’s treat.

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At their bedroom that night…

“Ang kulit ng tatlo. Ang saya saya ko Sweetheart. Okay naman sa’kin na tanggapin lang ni Nikki but higit pa doon yun ginawa nya.”

“Sweetheart, I’ve always told you that Nikki loves you. Paulit ulit naman tayo eh.”

“Hayaan mo na ako. Masayang masaya lang talaga ako.”

“We both have very good children who loves us dearly.” He planted a kiss on the top of her head.

“Pero Sweetheart sana mapabilis yun papers nina Nikki para dito na rin sila. Mas masaya kapag kumpleto.” Maya was really hoping that they would all live near each other and she can’t wait for Nikki and her family to be with them.

“I also hope they would be able to stay with us for good. I already talked to the engineer and Nikki’s house could be constructed in six months. Baka by Christmas kapag maayos na lahat, they would be able to spend it with us already. Nikki could go ahead of Nicolo and Lance para maayos niya yun dadatnan ng mag-ama. Lance could go to Sunshine’s school too.”

“Oo nga sweetheart dapat ata paumpisahan na natin yun bahay nila. Naku excited na ako. May pagkakaabalahan tayo.” Maya excitedly hugged him.

“Pero ang kukulit ng tatlo. I wonder what they talk about. It seems hindi matapos tapos ang kwentuhan.” Richard was really curious why the three wouldn’t run out of stories, tsismis, asaran.

“Masaya talaga kapag ganyang magkakasama sila. Hindi mo aakalain na malalaki na sila kung magbiruan eh.”

“Yes at si Sky ang pasimuno. Siguro Sweetheart you’re as rambunctious as him when you were younger?”

“Oy hindi Mr. Lim ha! Prim and proper ako noon. Very ladylike!”

“Hmmm? You? Ladylike?”

“Oo kaya.”

“Really? Show me nga how ladylike you are Mrs. Lim.”

“Mr. Lim ha you’re getting naughty. Nandyan si Nikki ha, may I remind you.”

“So? What if nandyan siya?” He said as he was already planting kisses on her shoulder.”

“Richard! Hindi pwede kasi may paguusapan pa kami ng mga bata.” She was trying to escape his kisses.

“No! You’ve been talking with them the whole day already. It’s time na ako naman ang kausapin mo. Tayo naman mag-usap, the Mr. & Mrs. Lim way.” He was wiggling his eyebrows at the giggling Maya.

“Chard ang kulit mo talaga!” She was still rying to push him but he was strong and he successfully engulfed her in his arms already.

“Chard!!!”

“Shhh quiet! … ang ingay mo Mrs. Lim!”

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A/N May epilogue pa to.

Traces of Love 9

 

“Richard…” the look of uncertainty and worry is evident on her face.

“It will be fine Maya. Nikki have always loved you.”

“Pero kahit na. Natatakot ako.”

“Hey we’ve talked about this already di ba?”

Maya and Richard were at the airport. They were waiting for Nikki’s plane to arrive. They were fetching Nikki, her husband Nicolo and son Lance who will be spending their vacation in the States with the couple.

“Iba pa rin kasi yun pinaguusapan lang kesa sa totoong pagkikita na namin. Chard baka hindi nya ako gusto.” she voiced her concern again.

“Maya, my daughter loves you. I can assure you of that. Don’t you trust me?”

“Oo kaso…”

“Stop okay. You are worrying over nothing. Nikki never disliked you. She was actually very fond of you before when we were still working together. Just like Sky, who you say likes me kahit noon, ganun din si Nikki. She had fond memories of you.”

She just stared at him, her eyes getting misty.

He continued.

“She was really supportive of me when she learned that I was madly in love with you. When her mom got married, Nikki did try to volunteer to find you Maya. My daughter knows how I was without you. She was aware how lost, angry and lonely I’ve been all these years. She knows that I was that way because you weren’t with me.”

“Chard naman…”

“It’s true. Alam ni Nikki that you gave me back my happiness. She knows that you are the reason why I am smiling again.”

“Richard ikaw rin naman eh. I am happy because you’re with me, dahil magkasama tayo.”

“Kaya nga stop worrying na. Mamaya nyan umiyak ka pa at mamugto ang mata mo, malalagot ako kay Nikki nyan.” he tried to joke

She slapped him lightly.

“Atsaka Sweetheart, nakakalakad na ako pero hindi pa kita mabubuhat incase magfaint ka so enough of worrying na. You look like you’ll pass out any minute soon.”

“Oa ka Chard hindi naman ah!”

They were bantering with each other when…

“Dad!” Nikki Grace Lim rushed to give her dad a very tight hug. She was beaming with happiness.

Then after giving her dad a very tight hug, she hugged Maya with the same intensity she gave her dad as well.

Without saying anything, Nikki gave Maya that smile of happiness, gratitude and of acceptance.

Richard, who doesn’t actually agree of having those emotional moments in public tried to divert the attention of these two women in his life. He is very much aware that Maya would cry any moment same as Nikki.

“See Maya, you’ve been worrying a lot eh mas kakampi mo pa yan si Nikki for sure. Hay ako na naman ang kawawa nito.”

“Si daddy talaga.” Nikki just shook her head and smiled.

Ricky hugged both Maya and Nikki at the same time.

“Asan si Nicolo and Lance?” Ricky asked after he realized that his son-in-law and grandson was not in sight.

“Ah nandun dad. Pasunod na yun. Dala lang kasi yun suprise namin sa inyo ni Mommy.” She shyly uttered the word which automatically made Maya tear up in an instant and look at her in awe.

“Nikki…”

“Okay lang po ba if I call you that?”

Maya stood speechless but nodded her head  while trying her best not to cry for she also didn’t want to make a scene.

She was the one who hugged Nikki  this time and while they were in that position, Nicolo arrived with Lance and trailing behind them were Sunshine and Sky.

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The kids, without the knowledge of their parents had been constantly communicating. Sky who knows Nikki was the one who initiated it. He is worried that his Mom and his Tito Richard might again waste many years before finally letting Sunshine and Nikki meet.

When Sky traveled to the Philippines to visit Sunshine, little did Maya and Richard know that he actually planned on introducing his sister to her sister.

Years ago when Maya and Richard were still working together, Sky and Nikki had been very close. They play on the set and even tag along when their parents have out – of – town or out- of – the – country work. When the tv show where their parents work together had ended, Nikki would still visit Sky and give him toys. Sky, who was a young boy then was indeed charming that Nikki really missed him when they no longer saw each other.

They lost touch when Maya disappeared and severed ties with everyone in her line of work.

Richard never understood why she did it before and his daughter was also sad to lose contact with the boy she was also so fond of. Nikki was in her teens and Sky was just around seven that time.

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Both Sky and Sunshine had beaming smiles when they finally saw their parents.

Maya and Richard had the surprised look on their faces.

“Dad? Mom?” Sunshine who was going for a hug, suddenly stopped seeing the surprise on her parents faces.

“How?”

“Paano”

Both Maya and Richard blurted  at the same time.

But without answering them, Sunshine threw herself to her dad and then mom.

Nikki was smiling while witnessing it. She was overwhelmed to have a sister and she felt so blessed to even see her dad walk again.

“Nikki you know each other? How?” Ricky asked his eldest daughter.

“Dad, yes we know each other already and we’ve bonded the past weeks. Daddy thank you for giving me a younger sister. And mom, thank you. At least hindi na malungkot to be an only child. Even may family na ako, iba pa rin yun may kapatid. I didn’t gain only one but two. May younger sister na ako and younger brother din. Thank you Daddy, Mom.” Nikki sincerely expressed how grateful she was .

“Yes mommy, daddy. Ang saya pala to have a big sister. At least may kakampi na ako for girl talk. Si kuya Sky kasi hindi naman pwede at lagi lang akong inaasar. ” Sunshine was smiling so brightly at the thought.

Maya was trying her best to stop the tears that had been flowing already.

She never expected that it would be this easy, that Nikki would readily accept Sunshine and that the kids would enjoy each other’s company and love each other like what she could see now. She was more than blessed.

She thought having Richard alone, was the ultimate blessing. She was wrong.  She’s even more blessed to see Richard’s daughter Nikki so accepting of her and Sunshine and even Sky.

Richard draped his arm on Maya’s shoulder’s for he knows that she was very emotional already.

“Come here nga, my princesses”

And with the emotional Maya, who was already being hugged by Richard, both Sunshine and Nikki proceeded to be engulfed by Richard’s embrace.

“Hep! Hep! Unfair naman ata yan? Paano naman ako?” Sky who was carrying Sunshine’s bag jokingly complained.

“Si Kuya talaga panira ng moment.”

“Of course hindi naman ako papayag na kayo lang, di ba dapat kasali din ako dyan Dad? Mom?” Sky forcibly joined in.

Sky had been calling Richard, Daddy already after that night he allowed his mom to stay with his then Tito Richard.

He was at first just joking but eventually decided to continue calling him dad. Richard had always treated him like a  son anyway.

They were a picture of a happy family then Sky interrupted again.

“Bayaw, Lance hali na kayo. Group hug tayo!”

Then just like that, Sky was able to break the rather very emotional moment.

“O tama ng akapan at nasa airport pa tayo. Naku mga Pinoy talaga akapan ng akapan sa airport.” Sky complained.

“Kuya!”

The family now proceeded to the waiting car which would bring them home.

Richard still uses a cane to support him but he could very well walk now to the surprise of Nikki.

As the kids were walking ahead of them, Maya and Richard were trailing behind, with fingers intertwined and contented smiles.

They were really blessed with their wonderful children and they were so blessed to have each other.

 

A/N Short lang muna coz we need to vote sa polls pa. I wasn’t supposed to post coz it will get in the way of voting kaso nagpromise ako sa inyo eh, so here.

Please continue voting pa rin guys ha! Thankee.

http://starcinema.abs-cbn.com/latest-news/2016/01/01/most-awaited-big-screen-reunions-for-2016?platform=hootsuite

Finale and epilogue na pala ang susunod sa chapter na to.

 

Traces of Love 8

Traces of Love 8

The moment they disengaged, Richard had that surprised look on his face while Maya had tears in her eyes overwhelmed with what she heard from Richard.

“Maya?”

But she just hugged him again tighter despite the difficulty in their position, him being on a wheelchair. She kissed the top of his head and cradled it in her arms while still sobbing. She was so happy that she didn’t care anymore how they looked.

“Sorry Chard. I assumed again. Sorry nasaktan kita. Akala ko kasi… I’m sorry. Pero hinding hindi naman kita bibitawan, hindi kita iiwan. Dumistansya lang ako kasi akala ko yun ang nararapat. Hinding hindi naman kita maaaring iwanan. All these years I’ve never forgotten you, ngayon pa kaya. Ikaw lang kaya ang pinakaespesyal na tao sa amin ng mga anak ko. I’m sorry…”

Then he saw the relief on her face and the same look she had when he saw her on the train. Gone were those evasive eyes and tentative smiles he saw in her during her last visit to him at the hospital when Sunshine was about to leave and the smiles she gave her just awhile ago.

“Maya? I don’t understand?” He was happy but surprised at her sudden change in reaction.
“Kasi naman Richard, sana sinabi mo agad para hindi na ako nagisip ng kung ano-ano…” then she was teary eyed again.
“Sinabi? Ang alin? Hey…”

“I’m sorry akala ko kasi… basta masaya ako na wala ka naman palang asawa.”

“You know very well that I’ve divorced Alex a long time ago.” He looked at her incredulously.

“Hindi. Hindi si Alex. Yun Stephanie. Akala ko…”

“What? Maya naman…” He was surprised. It never occurred to him that Maya would assume that Stephanie is his wife.

“Kasi di mo naman siya pinakilala sakin. Akala ko. Atsaka Chard, nakita ko kung gano siya kalapit sa’yo ng pumunta siya sa hospital. She was apologetic. Parang may pinag-awayan kayo at inisip ko na yun yun dahilan kung bakit hindi mo sya magawang mabanggit. Akala ko nag-away lang kayo. Ayokong makasagabal. Tapos si Sunshine narinig nya si Stephanie na kausap yun isang doctor. Sabi nya dadalawin nya ang asawa nya. Pumasok siya sa kuwarto mo. Anong iisipin ko?”

“What? Wait… so even Sunshine thinks that way?”

“Oo, pero wag kang mag-alala. Wala naman sa kanya yun. She was very happy na nakilala ka nya. Di naman siya umaasa ng kung ano pa man.”
He looked at her sadly. He was dismayed that instead of just asking him, Maya assumed and believed her assumptions.

“Kaya pala she reacted that way. Kaya pala nagtampo sakin si Sunshine. Maya sana naman pinakausap mo muna ako sa anak natin. I could have explained to her, made everything clear to her. Sana di mo na sinabi sa kanya. I’ve been thinking of a reason why she didn’t agree when I asked her permission to court you. I thought ayaw nya sa’kin because I’m sick. I thought she didn’t like me for you. Sana ipinagtanggol mo man lang ako sa anak natin.”

“Richard wala akong sinabi sa kanya. She was the one who overheard Stephanie. How could I explain that to her. Hindi ko rin naman alam kung ano yun totoo. Nahiya naman akong magtanong sa’yo. At hindi ko rin alam that you talked to her.” she shyly glanced at him to see his reaction. “I’m sorry Chard. I’m so sorry.” she can’t stop her tears from flowing again.

Sensing how bad Maya felt, Richard set aside the hurt and pain he experienced the past weeks when he thought that Maya and Sunshine didn’t want him to be part of their lives.

He gathered her close to him and sat her on his lap.

“Hey okay na. I’m glad everything is clear now. Enough na. Kain na tayo. I’m hungry. I haven’t eaten eh.” He tried to make the situation light.

She managed to smile and wiped her cheeks.

They gave each other one more tight hug then Maya stood up to set the table.

Richard realized that they have nothing to eat anymore.

“Maya padeliver na lang tayo. Pinadala ko lahat kay Sky yun pagkain. Walang natira dyan.”

“Don’t worry dala ko siya Chard. Linagay ko na sa dining table mo. Ayusin ko muna ha.”

“Let me help you.”

“Wag na. I want to do this. Makabawi man lang sa’yo.” She gave him an apologetic smile. She still can’t believe how foolish she have been assuming wrongly.

“Di mo naman kailangan bumawi. Just being here now is more than enough.”He smiled at her.

“Hayaan mo na ako Chard. I feel bad for what I did. At least mabawasan man lang ang bigat ng pakiramdam ko.”

He just smiled. He knows it’s hard to argue with her.

She went near him again and gave him a kiss on his cheek.

“Sorry na talaga Chard.”

“Stop saying sorry Maya. Okay na. What’s important is okay na tayo.”

“Yes. Okay na tayo. Thank you ha!”

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

They shared the seafood pasta and green salad Richard prepared earlier that morning.

Now they’re settled at the sofa beside each other while sharing the brownies Richard bakes so well. They were having it with coffee.

“Ang sarap mo talagang magluto Chard. I remembered when you used to bring food sa work before. Alam mo bang inaabangan namin lagi yun mga dala mo?”

“Really?”

“Oo kahit sina Direk kapag nakaschedule ka for taping noon, tuwang tuwa sila because lagi kang may food.”

“Ikaw rin naman. You feed us with your lutong bahay. Kaya nga I fell for your then.”

“Richard wag ka nga…”

“Yes it’s true. Maya we’re already old. Magkakahiyaan pa ba tayo?”

“Hindi naman sa ganun, kaso…”

“Maya we already have Sunshine, can I just skip my plan to court you and be on the next phase instead?”

Maya was getting giddy yet uncomfortable with where the conversation is leading to.

“Kinausap mo talaga si Sunshine? Nagpaalam ka?”

“Yes. I thought that was the right thing to do. Actually even Sky. But unlike Sunshine, si Sky pumayag agad. He keeps me company here kapag wala siyang pasok. Your son loves me Maya. Thank you for allowing him to come here.”

“Hindi ko alam na pumupunta siya dito. Pero Chard kahit noong bata pa si Sky favorite ka naman talaga ng anak ko. Actually pinagalitan nya ako kanina. Sinermunan ako ni Sky kung bakit daw ayaw kong pumunta dito. He insisted that I come here and I’m glad I did.”

“Sky did that? Dapat pala kay Sky ako magpasalamat.”

She just shook her head and smiled. She remembered how emotional and angry Sky was when he insisted that she visits his Tito Richard.

“Why are you smiling?”

“Wala. Naalala ko lang si Sky kanina. Parang mas kampi pa siya sa’yo kesa sa’kin.”

“Oh well, we spend more time together and he knows how much I care for you Maya. Alam nyang mahal na mahal kita and that you’re my life.”

“Chard naman eh.”

“It’s true Maya. All these years you’re the only one who could make me smile by just the mere thought of you, you’re the only one who gets me excited with just the sound of your voice. You’re the only one who made me want to see the brighter side of life again. At ikaw rin lang ang nakapagpaiyak sa’kin.”

“Ikaw rin naman eh. All these years wala namang iba. Kaya nga I was so happy na nagkita tayo. Alam mo naman kaya yun. Binuko na ako ni Sunshine sa’yo di ba?”

“Ah yes. Our daughter talks a lot like you and I’m glad she does. I learned many things about you.” He grinned teasingly.

“Naku pinagkakaisahan ninyo akong tatlo eh. Si Sky, si Sunshine tapos ikaw. Mali na ata yan ah.” She joked as well.

“I bet they were aware how lonely you were without me.”

“Ang yabang mo…” she tenderly pinched him.

“You’re denying it? Kasi ako I admit, my life had no meaning without you in it.”

“No hindi. Inaamin ko naman na I was lonely. Kaya nga dapat stop na tayo sa mga ganyan na usapin. Ang mushy mo Mr. Lim. What’s important is that we have each other now.”

“We have each other now?!?” He was surprised with what she said. He hopes he had the right understanding of what she said.

“Bakit ayaw mo? Di ba you said we’re old para magligawan pa tayo. Oh well siyempre gusto ko rin naman ma-experience yun pero sayang yun time…”

“Wait.. you mean… hindi nga? Really?… Oh my God! Talaga Maya?”

“Kung gusto mo… kasi gusto ko rin naman na eh. Hindi pa ba obvious?”

“Of course gusto ko. Oh God! You made me so happy Maya. So this means we are a couple now?” he asked her again wanting to make everything clear.

“Okay lang ba? Hindi ba parang ambilis?” Now she was tentative on whether to instantly level up their relationship or wait for a perfect moment to let that happen. She wanted it to be special.

“Maya mahigit 15 years na tayong naghihintayan, I think that’s long enough already. And wala nang bawian please. Let’s be together now. You already kissed me kanina and I’m sure you don’t go on kissing just anyone who is just a mere acquaintance. So siguro naman sign na yun na we are a couple now.”

She smiled. She blushed remembering how she kissed him awhile ago. She just hid her face on his chest.

“Sige pumapayag na ako. Matagal ko na rin namang gusto eh.”

“Me too Maya. I love you so much. I have never felt this way for anyone in my entire life.”

“Chard…” She can’t say anything anymore and she just hugged him tighter while leaning on his chest.

They just stayed in that position savoring the moment having been engulfed in each other’s embrace.

Richard repeatedly kissed Maya’s head.

He couldn’t believe how everything would turn out today.

“Chard… gabi na. I better go home now. Asan na yun kasama mo dito? What time will your nurse arrive?”

“Later Maya. He will just assist me to do my nightly rituals then uwi na rin yun.”

“Ha? You mean you don’t have anyone here pag gabi? What if there’s an emergency? What if may kailangan ka? Richard naman.”

“Sanay na ako Maya and besides malapit naman yun bahay ng nurse ko. He has a family too kaya he can’t stay here the whole night.”

“Pero delikado. You shouldn’t be left alone lalo na you are still recovering…”

“Then stay with me…”

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

“Kuya, where is mom? I can’t seem to contact her.” Sunshine was on Skype with her brother that evening.

“Ah busy lang si mom. May inaasikaso lang yun.”

“Akala ko she will sleep at your place.”

“Nasa work ata siya. Wag mo nang kulitin Shine.”

“Kuya kasi I want to ask her about her meeting with dad. Alam ko na they will see each other kanina. May news ka about that?”

“Wala Shine. Don’t ask mom na muna about your daddy. What I know is that they are okay now and getting along so well. Baka mapurnada if kulitin mo si Mom. You know naman si Mom ayaw nyang binibiro sya.”

“Kuya baka naman umasa si Mommy. I dont want her to get hurt.”

“She won’t get hurt Shine. Your dad loves her so much to hurt her. Basta let’s just trust them okay?”

“Whatever you say Kuya. Wait pala Kuya… Kwentuhan mo na ako about the girl you were mentioning.. si Bettina..”

And the inquisitive Sunshine now bothered Sky about his lovelife, totally forgetting about her parents affairs.

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

“Chard okay na yun pillows? Or do I have to add some more?”

“Okay na to Maya. Halika na dito. Let’s sleep.”

Maya decided to spend the night at Richard’s place. She got so worried after learning that he’s been spending his nights alone in his home. She called Sky and asked him to bring her things so she would have a change of clothes for the evening and the next day.

She plans to fix the schedule of his nurse so he’ll have someone with him starting tomorrow.

Sky happily brought her things and was even teasing the two when he arrived earlier. Richard pretended not to notice and Maya gave her son some warning glaring stare which just made Sky chuckle.

“Dun na lang ako sa sofa Chard. You won’t be comfortable if I’ll stay in your bed. Maliit yun bed mo.”

“No Maya. Kasya tayo dito. Halika na. Unless takot ka sa’kin.” he teased her.

“Mr. Lim of course I’m not. Atsaka I know very well na you won’t take advantage of me. We are also not drunk unlike the time we made Sunshine.” She tried to put up a brave front.

“And who said I was drunk then?”

“Richard tumigil ka nga. Usog ka na. Matulog na tayo kasi I am tired. Mahaba yun byahe ko this morning.”

“God you’re bullying me already… ”

“Tumigil ka nga.” Then she just gave him a kiss to silence him.

“Good night Mr. Lim. Sleep tight.”

Then she turned off the lights and snuggled close to him.

Richard smiled and hugged her tighter.

For the first time in many years, he would sleep with a contented heart and a genuine smile on his face.

Traces of Love 7

Traces of Love 7

Richard called Maya. He invited her to his home. He said he had some gifts he bought for Sunshine. Actually he did it to be able to see her. He was aware that she will visit Sky and was hopeful that she could spare a few hours with him.

“Sige Chard dadaan ako dyan sainyo pagpunta ko kay Sky this weekend.” She promised him.

Just that mere promise from Maya made him smile already and made him excited.

“I’m looking forward to that Maya. What do you want? Ipaghahanda kita. Do you still love adobo or do you want something else? Yun niluluto kong pasta, naalala ko that you like that one. I remember you love brownies, okay ba yun?” He excitedly asked her.

“Chard ano ka ba? Wag ka nang mag-abala. Ako na lang ang magdadala ng makakain. What do you want?”

“Wala Maya. Just be here. I missed you.”

“Oa naman to. Lagi naman tayong nag-uusap.”

“Bihira Maya. You just call me once a week.”

“Naku nagtampo ka pa. Sige na, I’ll visit you this weekend.”

“Okay Maya. Thank you.”

He ended the call with a beaming smile on his face.

He missed Maya so much.

He’s been longing for her.

She never visited him anymore after he was discharged from the hospital.

They talk on the phone but she’s been distant and she makes sure that their topics would dwell on Sunshine, his recovery and even on Sky.

Now that Maya agreed on visiting him, he won’t waste any chances of telling her what he feels for her.

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

Sky was in constant communication with Richard without his mother’s knowledge. He would visit his Tito Richard, whose home was near his school. He never stopped calling him by that name even after all these years. That’s how he called him when he still worked with his mom.

Even when he was still young and he would sometimes tag along on his mom’s tapings and shootings, Sky already developed a certain fondness of Richard.

Even when he found out that he was Sunshine’s father, Sky never harbored any hatred or anger towards his Tito Richard.

He was very happy to learn that his mom saw her greatest love on a train when she visited him.

He had been praying that his mom would find someone to take care of her, someone who would share her life with, someone who would love her. When he learned that his Tito Richard was back in her life, he believed that his prayers have been answered.

He thought everything has turned out well especially when Sunshine met her dad.

He was wrong. He wondered why his mom suddenly stopped talking about him. He also noticed that she no longer visits his Tito Richard in the hospital after Sunshine returned to the Philippines.

When his mom asked him to go to his Tito Richard’s place to get the stuff he had for Sunshine, Sky was convincing his mom to go with him but Maya was ready with her excuses.

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

This morning when Maya told him that she will pick up the stuff he had for Sunshine, he prepared for her visit.

He cooked her favorite pasta and even baked her favorite brownies. He would have cooked adobo if he had time. Maya told him that she can’t stay longer for she has to go back to New York after lunch.

He even fixed himself. With the help of his nurse, he took a longer bath and spent quite a couple of minutes choosing what to wear.

He smiled while infront of the mirror figuring out what to wear and what cologne to use.

He felt like a teenager and he can’t help but feel nervous. He just smiled at the absurdity of what he felt.

The moment a car stopped in front of his house in Boston, Richard already had that expectant happy look on his face.

He was in his wheelchair waiting for her arrival. He had the wide smile on his face which suddenly turned to a disappointed smirk, which he couldn’t help, the moment he realized that it was Sky and not Maya who will be getting the gifts for Sunshine.

He immediately recovered. He didn’t want Sky to feel bad. The boy had been very close to him. But Sky already saw how his Tito Richard’s excited, happy face suddenly turned sad and serious.

“Hi Tito.”

“Sky where’s your mom?”

“He sent me po kasi something came up. May important daw siyang gagawin. She will just call you tonight. Here po pala pinabibigay ni mom.” Sky handed him a basket of assorted pastries which Maya bought at a Filipino bakeshop in New York. They were Richard’s favorite when he was confined in the hospital.

“Thanks Sky. Let’s have lunch. I cooked. Maybe you could bring some for your mom. Yun mga gusto nya yun hinanda ko.” He tried to smile.

“You cooked po? Dapat di ka na nag-abala Tito. Napagod ka pa. I know you don’t have helpers here atsaka your nurse, hindi yan marunong magluto.” Sky laughed. He knows how Richard lives after spending most of his weekends visiting him. He also got close to his male nurse and found out that aside from caring for a patient, he doesn’t know any household chores.

“Okay lang. I was happy doing it. Basta dalhan mo ang mom mo so she can taste them too.”

They had lunch together but instead of staying longer, Sky bid goodbye to him. He needs to attend to something very important.

“Tito, I’ll be back po tomorrow. Thank you for these.”

Richard just gave Sky a fatherly hug and asked him to give his greetings to his mom.

He sighed heavily when his nurse closed his gate after Sky left.

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

Sky hurriedly went to his mom who was fixing his things in his school dorm.

“Oh anak, you saw Tito Richard already? Bakit ganyan ang hitsura mo?”

Sky was upset.

“Mom, prepare ka na. Ihatid kita kay Tito Richard. He was expecting you.”

“Sky I’m busy and we always talk to each other on the phone. I’m sure he understands. Alam naman nya yun eh.”

“Mom, he doesn’t complain but it doesn’t mean he’s not hurt.”

“Anak why would he get hurt naman. Ikaw talaga! Okay kami ni Tito Richard mo. We both know how busy my work is.” Maya was trying to downplay it but Sky was already annoyed.

“Hindi naman ikaw yun nakakita sa kanya mom. You’re not the one who saw him. You’re not the one who saw how excited he was only to be disappointed when he found out that you won’t be able to visit him. You haven’t seen how he prepared for your visit. Nagluto siya mom, despite his condition. He cooked your favorite dishes. Why can’t you even spare him even a couple of hours? That’s not too much to ask for. May ginawa ba siya sa’yo na hindi ko alam because if meron, ako mismo I won’t visit him anymore. I would stop spending my weekends with him.”

Maya was surprised by Sky’s outburst and also surprised to learn that he’s been visiting Richard.

“You visit him?”

“Yes mom. I do. I spend my free time with him. I want to get to know the father of my sister and mas gusto ko siyang makilala now na malaki na ako. He was always my favorite when I was younger and now that I have the opportunity to get closer to him, I don’t want to waste it. He always treated me like a son and I would always be grateful to him for that.”

“Sky he is really a very good person. I’m glad that you agree with me on that.”

“Yun na nga mom. He is a good person but why are you avoiding him?”

“I am not.”

“Mom, di lang ako nagsasalita but I know you are avoiding Tito Richard. I was just wondering why you became distant again all of a sudden when before you had him meet Sunshine, you were always excited to be with him. You even sacrificed your work just to be able to take care of him. Tinulungan mo siya when he was sick and obviously he was inspired and motivated to get well because you and Sunshine were by his side.”

“Sky kailangan kong bumawi sa work ko. You know that. Wala naman kaming problema. I’m just busy with work and besides we do talk on the phone.”

“But you don’t have work now and I am sure that Tito Richard is more important than fixing my room. Kaya if talagang wala kayong problem, prepare ka na mom, ihahatid kita sa kanya.”

“Sky…”

“Mom…”

“Okay para matahimik ka I’ll visit him. Just give me a few minutes to prepare.”

“Fine. I’ll be waiting outside.”

Maya knows how stubborn her son is. Actually she was surprised to learn how Sky felt towards Richard. She was more surprised to find out that her son had been visiting Richard. It was a gesture that warmed her heart. If only they could be like a real family, everything would have been perfect.

As much as she wanted to distance herself from him, she didn’t want Sky and even Sunshine to notice it. She didn’t want them to change in the way they treat Richard. She needs to visit him and act normal. She shouldn’t let her feelings of hurt or jealousy be evident. She could do it for her children.

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

Richard was at his backyard garden when Maya arrived. Sky just dropped her off. It was his nurse, who was about to home, who opened the gate.

“Ma’m Maya. Glad you’re here. I need to go home now. Sir Richard is at the garden. Its over there.”

“It’s okay Wilson, I can manage.”

Richard wasn’t aware that Maya was there that’s why he was surprised to hear her voice.

“Chard, pwede pang humabol ng lunch?” She joked but she wasn’t prepared to see the look on his face when he turned and faced her.

Richard’s eyes was so red and he obviously cried. His brows were also furrowed as he stared at her.

“Richard?”

“Maya why are you avoiding me? I thought we’re okay.”

“Avoiding you? Hindi naman kita iniiwasan Chard.” She vehemently denied.

“Then why aren’t you visiting me anymore? I bet it was Sky who convinced you to come here. Why don’t you call me like the way you used to?” There was obvious hurt in his tone.

“I’m no longer needed Chard. Magaling ka na rin naman. I need to report to work kasi baka mawalan ako ng trabaho.” She tried to reason out.

He took what she said negatively.

“So I was right all along. Kinaawaan mo lang ako. That’s the only reason why you helped me.” He couldn’t hide what he felt.

“I’m trying to make myself better para hindi ako maging pabigat. I am very much aware that I’m a burden to you. Ginagawa ko naman lahat.”

“Richard don’t say that. Ano ka ba!” She was worried hearing those words from him.

But he just continued…

“I’m even undergoing my therapy now. I want to be able to walk again for you Maya, for the kids, Sunshine and also Sky. Di ba you told me to make you a reason to want to get better. Well i did that. Ikaw ang dahilan. Konting panahon pa Maya. Please wag mo naman akong bitawan.” He could no longer take it that he was now again silently sobbing.

“Why are you saying that Richard. It doesn’t matter to me whether you walk or not. I was there hindi dahil naaawa ako sa’yo. I cared for you.”

Maya was now in front of him while he was avoiding her eyes. He was feeling so vulnerable, so useless and now embarrassed that he seemed so broken crying in front of her. He even seemed begging. She was trying to wipe his tear-stained cheeks.

He still continued despite his tears.

“Well i dont see it that way. Maybe I should make my therapy daily. I just do it thrice a week. Sinabihan ko na yun therapist ko na araw arawin para mas mabilis yun paglakad ko but di siya pumayag. Stephanie is just like her husband, my cardiologist, Dr. Madrid. I requested for an intensive therapy para mas mapadali yun paglakad ko pero hindi daw pwede kasi I just had my bypass. Maybe I should change her. I’ll find another therapist. I want to be able to walk soon so I will be the one to visit you, bring you to and from work. Kakayanin ko naman. Just don’t leave me again.…”

Maya didn’t hear the rest of what Richard has to say. Her heart was now relieved to learn that she was worrying and jealous over nothing. Sinaktan pa nya si Richard with her baseless assumptions.

“I don’t want to waste time. I’ve already done that but Maya habang hnahabol ko ang oras para gumaling agad ako, panay naman ang takbo mo papalayo. I’m already hurt. I thought we had something special. I thought you….”

But before he could say more.. Maya held his face and suddenly kissed him slowly, tenderly as if conveying whatever she wants to tell him. Richard was shocked, pleasantly so. He just closed his eyes while responding to her kiss with equal intensity.

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

Traces of Love 6

Traces of Love 6

The moment Maya and Sunshine left, Richard asked his nurse to leave him alone. He wanted to be given privacy.

He could no longer contain the pain he felt which was further intensified by his state of helplessness.

He felt so frustrated that he allowed his tears to finally fall, he allowed himself to cry all his anger and frustrations the moment his nurse closed the door. He needed to release it or else his heart won’t be able to take it.

He never expected how the events turned out. He was expecting Sunshine’s positive reaction on his plan to court her mom. He was sure that his daughter would be delighted with his plan.

He had been rehearsing what he would be saying the whole morning before his daughter arrived.

He could imagine Sunshine smiling so brightly while giving her approval.

He could even imagine their daughter helping him get closer to her mom.

He could imagine Sunshine even teasing them.

He was looking forward to that.

The moment they were introduced, Sunshine had been vocal about her love for him. She was also vocal of her wanting him to be present in her future plans, like visiting the Philippines. He was assured that all he needs was the formality of asking his daughter’s permission. He was so sure that she would say yes.

He had been wrong.

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

Maya and Sunshine were on their way home after leaving the hospital. Maya noticed that her daughter was unusually quiet. She wasn’t talking that much even when they already reached their home.

“Anak, don’t worry, kapag vacation pupunta ka ulit dito. You can spend it at your dad’s place. I’m sure both of you would love that. He lives near Kuya Sky’s school.”

“Okay lang mom. I’m not thinking about dad naman po.

Maya noticed that Sunshine stopped talking about her dad. For her whole stay in the States, she talked relentlessly about him and would always worry about his condition but now, she didn’t mention him.

“Sunshine did something happen ba with you and daddy? May sinabi ba siya?”

Sunshine stared back at her.

“Anak you can tell me.”

But Sunshine didn’t want to tell her mom that her dad wanted to court her. It is better not to do so. She wants what’s best for her mom.

She loves her dad and she is very much aware that her mom obviously loves him too.

It was the reason why she remained unattached until now. She prayed for her mom to find happiness but not the kind thaf her dad could only offer.

Her mom doesn’t deserve only a portion of that love for she was the most selfless person in the world.

“Anak no secrets remember? Did something happen? Galit ka sa daddy mo?”

“Sunshine knows that she couldn’t hide anything from her mom. She wouldn’t stop until she gets the truth from her.

“Hindi po. I’m not mad at him. Sad lang po kasi I thought we could be a family now.”

Maya’s heart constricted. She doesn’t know what made Sunshine say that. Like her daughter, she had also been hoping for it to happen.

“Anak daddy loves you and we are also okay. We are now close friends, special friends. Aren’t you happy? Para na rin tayong family.”

Sunshine just stared at her with that unmistakable sad and longing eyes.

“Anak…”

“Mom, I saw the woman who visited daddy. I also heard her while talking to a doctor saying that she was going to visit her husband. Asawa siya ni dad?”

Sunshine’s eyes were misty already. She was obviously disappointed and sad. Maya knows that she shouldn’t make her similar feelings of frustration evident. It wouldn’t be good for her daughter. She tried her best to maintain composure and mask her feelings.

“Sunshine, di ba you know that daddy has a family? I let you meet him so that you’ll know each other. Yun lang naman ang important di ba anak? All is well. Your dad and I are now very good friends. And I’m thankful that you two had the chance to know each other. We shouldn’t ask for more. Atsaka we are happy naman di ba?”

Sunshine didn’t say anything but just hugged her mom. Maya gave her the comfort her daughter needs so badly right now.

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

Sunshine together with her Uncle Carlo are now on their way to the airport. They were accompanied by Maya and Sky.

They will be returning to the Philippines.

They have dropped by the hospital to see Richard and bid goodbye.

Richard promised his daughter that he would visit her very soon.

Sunshine also promised her dad that she will regularly call him and that she will be a good girl and do well in her studies.

It was very sad for Richard and Sunshine and also Maya.

“Dad, don’t forget to regularly take your medicines. Pagaling ka po.”

Richard just nod his head and smiled sadly. He will miss his daughter. They didn’t even have the time to bond because he couldn’t leave the hospital during her visit.

“Don’t be sad na daddy kasi I will call you everyday.”

Despite her disappointment that her dad couldn’t be totally with her mom, Sunshine loves him so much. Maya brought her up making her aware of all the positive qualities of Richard.

They shared a very tight hug before Sunshine eventually left.

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

It’s been a week after Sunshine left and Maya only visited him once. She told him that she needs to make up for the days she took a leave from her work.

She still calls him everyday to remind him of his medicines but she remained distant. She would just focus on Sunshine and everytime the conversation would be lead to anything about them, she’ll veer away from it.

Richard had noticed it already but he pretended to be unaware of it. He couldn’t understand why Maya changed all of a sudden.

Everything turned out well from his surgery, to meeting his daughter, to being close to Maya again. It gave him the reason to look at life positively again. It gave him motivation, it made him feel excited to wake up everyday.

Maya and Sunshine brought back the happiness which had left him for many years now.

He wanted to give them back what they deserve and he knows he can do it by giving himself to them. He wants to be committed to them, he wants to be there for them.

But after the successful surgery, after meeting his daughter, Maya had been avoiding him.

Unlike before when she would be the one bugging him about taking his medicines, unlike those simple conversations where Maya would animatedly talk about anything whether trivial or serious, now she stopped doing it. She just stopped and would make her work as an excuse for not frequently talking to him or visiting him.

He couldn’t think of a reason why she had a change of heart. He thought they were okay.

Maybe Maya realized that he was a burden to her and her daughter.

Who would want a person who couldn’t walk anyway.

Who would want someone with a fragile heart.

He knows that with his condition, he would make things difficult for Maya and Sunshine.

That’s the only reason he could think of. Maya was just helping him because of pity.

He felt irrelevant, unimportant.

Insecurity is again creeping in his whole being.

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

He was going home now.

His sister and nurse were assisting him towards their car.

Maya called him up earlier this morning and said she was happy that he would finally go home. She said she couldn’t leave work that’s why she couldn’t be with them.

“Chard, alagaan mo ang sarili mo ha! I will visit you pag pumunta ako kay Sky. Sorry di ko talaga maiwan trabaho ko.” She made her work an excuse again. She could actually leave work and attend to him but she wanted to distance herself. She wouldn’t want to allow her heart to fall for him again. She can’t stand being hurt again.

“It would have been more special if you’re here Maya. I missed you. I haven’t seen you since our daughter left.”

“Grabe ka naman. Naguusap naman tayo lagi ah. Pagaling ka Chard.”

“Yes but it’s different from having you near me, hearing your voice while looking at you.”

There was sadness and pain in his tone but Maya dismissed it. She doesn’t want Richard to start getting clingy to her just because they had Sunshine. She wouldn’t get in the way of his relationship with Stephanie, whom she gathered, from what she heard, must be having some problems with Richard.

“Ay ang drama naman Chard. Sige na maghanda na kayo. Papasok na ako sa trabaho. Promise pupuntahan kita sa bahay mo pag bumisita ako kay Sky sa Boston.”

“Okay. Thank you Maya for helping me, for taking pity on me. Sorry if I was a burden to you. Sorry nahirapan ka sa’kin. Sorry naabala kita.”

“Richard…”

“Bye Maya.” He ended the call.

Maya could feel Richard’s frustration and she wanted him to know that she did not help him out of sympathy. She did it out of concern. She cares for him. And after all these years she still loves him. But she knows that it’s better for him not to be aware of it.

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

“What’s wrong Richard? Kanina pa di maipinta ang mukha mo?” His sister asked the moment they arrived in his house.

“Don’t mind me.”

“Di ba you should be happy and thankful that magaling ka na.”

He sighed heavily. He couldn’t hide what he’s been feeling.

“I feel so useless! I couldn’t even see Maya.”

“You can visit her once you’re fully recovered. Nakakalabas ka naman even with your wheelchair. It’s never been a problem.” His sister wanted to comfort him.

“Damn! I couldn’t even drive them to the airport! I couldn’t even run after them!”

“Hey watch your language Richard!” His sister scolded him. “Where are all these frustration coming from? Di ba dapat masaya ka at okay na kayo ni Maya and you have a daughter. That is more than enough blessings you should be thankful for. Instead of wallowing in self pity, why don’t you pursue Maya. Make everything right.”

“She doesn’t want me.”

“What? Why would you say that?”

“I’ll be a burden to them. Maybe I should talk to Stephanie now.”

“Just because Maya is avoiding you, kakausapin mo na si Stephanie?”

“She could help me. I couldn’t just sit here and wait for Maya and Sunshine to slip away. I need them.”

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

Traces of Love 5

 

A/N

It is November 28, 2015.

A year ago, our favorite show ended and until now, we’ve been trying to cope by watching our treasured BCWMH DVDs, watching those numerous videos and pictures we’ve accumulated and treasured during the 2 years and 4 months the show was on air, reading and rereading fanfics about the show and the most loved couple, and even watching the teasers which we patiently wait for every single night, when the show was still on air.

All these still gives me and maybe some of you, the same level of ‘happiness and goodvibes.’

When it ended, I felt bad just like the rest of you but I was certain that after a month or two, I would easily forget and be able to replace it with another show or another hobby. I was wrong. It’s been a year and the fondness never waned. Not one show, local or foreign had me interested. But instead, I just kept coming back to the bcwmh DVDs.

I even found myself writing stories. I never imagined myself writing fanfics. I’m bad with writing actually and I really have a hard time choosing the suitable words, making scenarios as vivid as possible in the stories I make. But surprisingly, I’ve done more than a hundred already and that was after the show ended. Thanks sa mga nagtyaga at nagbasa, hahaha! Talk about pagiging adik! 😝😁 I don’t know but I’m happy doing it. When I think of Maya and Ser Chief, many ideas would enter my head. Sila naman kasi eh! Ewan ko talaga why they have that ‘magic’!

So to reminisce my most loved show which had been a source of my positivity until now, here’s one of my treats for the day….

Good vibes everyone!

======================
The surgery of Richard turned out to be successful as his doctors expected it to be.

Maya and their daughter Sunshine was with him all throughout the procedure.

The doctors attributed Richard’s positive response to the surgery and his fast recovery to the presence of his daughter and her mom.
During his past encounters with the doctors, Richard usually gave them a hard time, but now he was all the more determined to get well for his daughter and for Maya as well.

The doctors were all hopeful that he will be in perfect condition sooner than expected.

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

Maya would usually leave Richard and Sunshine to bond.

Richard was asked by the doctors to stay in the hospital since it will be easier to follow up on his medications for his recovery. With his condition, mobility had been a problem and the doctors and even Maya suggested for him to spend few more weeks in the hospital.

“Dad I will be going home na next week. Pagaling ka agad so pwede ka nang sumama kay Mommy pag dumalaw siya sakin.” Sunshine was hopeful.

“Yes I promise I’ll go with your mom then ipapakilala kita kay Ate Nikki mo. I will miss you when you go home. Always think of daddy ha!” Richard was getting emotional now.

“Si dad ang oa! We will be seeing each other naman soon. Three months na lang vacation na namin and matagal tagal ang bonding natin for sure.”

“I just want to be with my daughter all the time. I missed seeing you growing up. Gusto ko na nasa tabi kita palagi.”

“Kaya nga dad you should follow your doctors and also mommy para gumaling ka agad. Then you could visit me agad.”

“I promise I would. Magpapagaling agad si daddy so I can be with you and your mom. Thank you Sunshine ha! And take care of mommy muna while hindi pa masyadong magaling si daddy.”

“Yes po daddy kong makulit pero hindi naman masungit gaya ng sabi ni mom.”

“Your mom said masungit ako? I’m not ha! Siya nga yun inaaway ako palagi when we were still working together. She was quite a bully then.” Richard defended himself.

“Naku dad, sabi ni mom suplado ka nga daw.”

“To others oo, pero sa kanya hindi. Takot ko kaya sa mommy mo. She was a very good and sikat na actress already when I met her. I was intimidated by her.”

“Oy oy! Ano yan! Why did I hear my name?”

Richard and Sinshine was interrupted when Maya suddenly entered with Richard’s scheduled medicines.

“Nothing! I’m just telling our daughter here that ambait bait mo sa akin sa set before.”

Sunshine was laughing. Her dad looked amusing trying to explain himself to her mom.

“Hmmm talaga lang? Iba yun narinig ko ah! May parang bully ako at masungit….”

“I was just kidding.”

“Pasalamat ka, you’re still recovering kundi lagot ka sakin Chard.”

He winked at their daughter… “See what I mean?”

“Si dad talaga!”

“O tama na yan. Chard uwi muna kami ni Sunshine. We’ll be back later. May aasikasuhin muna kami. Bibili din ng pasalubongs. You’ll be okay here? Nandyan si Ate sa baba. She’s just talking to someone. We need to go na kasi si Kuya Carlo malapit na sa baba. Baka mahirapan kumuha ng cab so papahintayin na lang daw nya yun nasakyan nya.”

“Yes Maya. I’ll be fine. Do what you have to do muna. Shine, give dad a hug muna.”

Sunshine hugged her dad.

“Ikaw mommy hindi mo man lang ako ihuhug?” He was in a teasing mood.

But instead of protesting, Maya hugged him as well.

“Oh kala mo magproprotesta ako! Ikaw talaga Mr. Lim!” Then she pinched his nose.

“Aww! Ouch partner! Sige na nga you go na at baka kung ano pa ang gawin mo sakin.”

“Ewww…You guys are cheesy and nakakakilabot. Tara na mom! Bye daddy!” Sunshine complained and went ahead of Maya to meet his Tito Carlo who already called her phone.

Richard and Maya just smiled at each other.

Maya was fixing Sunshine’s bag when his room suddenly opened…

“Oh my God Richard what are you doing here? Bakit di mo man lang ako tinawagan? I could have accompanied you.” A woman who seemed near Richard’s age barged into his hospital room. She looked pretty and sophisticated despite her age.

Maya stood speechless.

“Stephanie how did you know I’m here?”

“Pumunta ako sa bahay at si Liza sinabi sakin. Ricky are you still mad that’s why you’re not answering my calls? You know I didn’t mean what I said the last time we talked. Please don’t be mad.”

“Stephanie, please… we will talk but not now.”

“Are you okay now. Oh my God! I should have been here…”

“It’s okay. Maya took care of me. Maya halika… Maya?”

But Maya was no longer inside the room. He didn’t notice that Maya already left.

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

“Bakit ang tahimik ninyong dalawa?” Maya’s brother asked.

They were now in a cab heading towards a shopping center where they would be buying pasalubongs for the family back home.

He wasn’t used to silence when it comes to his sister and niece.

They usually had many things to say but surprisingly they seemed to be out of energy now.

“Okay lang si Richard?” He now worriedly asked.

“Oo. Okay siya. He’s recovering fast. Ilang araw lang makakauwi na yun.” Maya answered.

She realized that she musn’t let what she saw affect them.

Not now when she’s with her daughter.

She can just deal with her feelings when her daughter goes back to the Philippines.

She voluntarily cared for Richard but it doesn’t mean that they could be together.

She has to remind herself that having Sunshine doesn’t mean that they are now a family.

Indeed many years had passed and many things had happened already.

Of course Richard won’t be open about it especially now that he met their daughter.

But what she saw was enough to remind herself that she should distance herself from Richard once he’s completely recovered.

That’s the least she could do for the man she left and she hurt.

That’s what she should do for her heart as well.

Sunshine also couldn’t forget what she overheard when she saw the woman who entered her dad’s room.

The woman was talking to a doctor.

“My husband is here. I need to see him. Okay we’ll catch up later. Bye doc.”

Her young mind could only feel pain for her mom. She thought they could be a family now. She was obviously wrong.

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

Few days before Sunshine’s flight back to Manila.

“Sunshine, will it be okay if I court your mom?” Richard nervously asked the permission of their daughter who was seated at the empty space in his hospital bed. He was hopeful that she will say yes. He was so sure that their daughter will be very happy.

But he wasn’t prepared of her reaction.

Sunshine didn’t say anything but rather evaded his face, his eyes. She turned her back on him. And he noticed her trying to wipe something from her face. He heard her stifling her sobs.

He reached for her shoulder willing her to face him.

When she did, he saw the tears in her eyes which she wasn’t able to completely wipe.

“Hey… Why are you crying Sunshine? Ayaw mo ng sinabi ni daddy? You don’t want me for mom?” He was was wiping his daughter’s tears. He was hurt with Sunshine’s reaction.

In a very soft voice “Gusto po but I don’t want mommy to be hurt. She’s been through a lot already.”

“Why would you think that? I won’t hurt your mom. I love your mommy so much. I love both of you and even your Kuya Sky so much.”

Sunshine still didn’t say anything but she just cried. Richard just reached for her and engulfed her in his arms while kissing the top of her head.

“Ssshhhh… stop crying na Sunshine. Please trust daddy. I want to make it up to you and mommy. Please give me a chance. I won’t hurt you mommy. I won’t hurt you. You guys are my life. Hey stop crying….” He managed to say while hugging his daughter. He didn’t know if she was even listening to him. She just continued to cry and he could feel her trying to get away from his embrace.

They were in that position when Maya arrived. She was surprised.

“Anak? Chard?”

“Wala mom! I’ll just miss you guys and si Kuya Sky pag umuwi na ako.”

“Oh!”

“Sige na Maya. Samahan mo na muna si Sunshine. She needs to see her Kuya before she returns to the Philippines.” He suggested.

“Ha? Bakit?” Maya who wasn’t aware of what happened couldn’t understand why Sunshine was crying when her daughter was actually a very jolly, far from being sentimental, person.

Sunshine gave him a last hug then said, “We’ll get in touch na lang dad sa emails and chat. Pagaling ka po.”

Richard just gave a rather painful smile and just nod his head while still tightly hugging his daughter. He gave her a last kiss on both her cheeks.

“Tara na mommy. I promised Kuya Sky that I will visit him today.” Sunshine obviously wanted to leave right away.

“Okay anak pero please go to the nurse’s station first and call dad’s nurse.”

The moment Sunshine left…

“What happened Chard?”

“I don’t know Maya.” Richard couldn’t hide the sadness he was feeling and Maya noticed it, so instead of putting more meaning to how Sunshine was behaving, she just downplayed it. Richard just had his surgery and he definitely shouldn’t be subjected to extreme emotions yet.

“Si Sunshine talaga. Sigurado malungkot yan kasi uuwi na siya eh. Ayaw nya ng goodbyes kaya iiwas na lang yan sa’yo. ” She justified her daughter’s action.

“Yes I know. I’m also sad na she will be leaving soon. But you will still let me see her di ba Maya?”

“Of course naman Chard. Bakit naman ganyan ang tanong mo. Ikaw talaga.”

“Maybe you should spend time with Sunshine. Ipasyal mo muna. She wants to go to her kuya. Okay na ako dito. You don’t have to worry about me. Tawagan mo lang ako parati. Our daughter needs your time. Baka magtampo na yan kasi lagi na lang kayong dito sa hospital.”

“Chard masaya si Sunshine to spend time here with you. She wouldn’t have it any other way for sure. Baka malungkot lang yan kasi aalis na siya. Alam mo na. Umiiwas. She’s usually not emotional. Nagulat nga ako sa inabutan ko kanina.”

But before they could talk some more, Sunshine arrived with Richard’s male nurse.

“Sige na Maya. I’ll just call you. Baka naghihintay na sa inyo si Sky.”

Maya relented and left together with their daughter.

She just requested Richard’s other nurse to watch over him. His sister will be arriving anytime soon anyway.

Right now she needs to bond with Sunshine who was unexpectedly too emotional.

She surmised that her daughter was just sad because she will be leaving in a couple of days. Maybe this is just her way of coping.

She wasn’t aware that like her, Sunshine also saw the woman named Stephanie.

Sunshine had been brave in facing her dad.

She even remained calm during her dad’s surgery.

Maya was so proud of her. Now she would heed Richard’s advice that she really needs to spend time with her daughter. They needed it too. They needed it for themselves.

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

Preview of the Next Chapter:

Then moment Maya and Sunshine left, Richard asked his nurse to leave him alone. He wants to be given privacy.

He could no longer contain the pain he felt that he allowed himself to cry the moment his nurse closed his door.

He never expected how the events turned out. He was expectant of Sunshine’s happy approval of his plan to court her mom.

He had been rehearsing what he would be saying the whole morning before his daughter arrived.

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

He felt insecure.

“Damn! I couldn’t even move and run after them!”

“Hey watch your language Richard!” His sister scolded him.

“Maybe I should talk to Stephanie now.”

=================
PS…

If you still want to let the management know that we still want them back, you can join in our requests for their project/s next year. Check the tweets. 😊

#JoChard2016 Wishlist:
1) MMK @MMKOfficial
2) BCWMH Book 2 @GMOunit
3) Movie @StarCinema

We could hope. Maybe we still deserve to be given the same ‘good feeling’ we had when the show was still shown. A positive, value-laden show is what we deserve to see on TV.

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