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.

 

 

Kwentong Maya & Ricky : Tipsy


Kwentong Maya & Ricky : Tipsy

“Wag ka na nga Ser Chief. Nakakahiya!” She was covering her face.

Richard and Maya were having snacks in a small coffee shop in front of Time Airways. He was teasing her about the wine tasting activity the TA Training School had a few days ago, where Maya got drunk and did silly things in front of the other FAs and their mentors.

Ser Chief, who again fetched her that day, wasn’t spared from Maya’s antics as well. He’s been pinched on both cheeks, sniffed then she even removed his glasses then tried it on. “Bakit ganito ang salamin mo Ser Chief?”

“Bakit? What’s wrong with my glasses?”

She giggled. “Mas lalo ka kasing gumwapo sa paningin ko eh.” Then she giggled again.

Richard exerted every ounce of control and patience that day. He was already affected by his crushmate’s touchy moves. Maya was very talkative and uninhibited. She’s been telling him how good looking he was, how he makes her feel so kilig whenever he sends her messages or whenever she hears his voice, how her heart leaps whenever he fetches her. In short nasabi ni Maya lahat. Kasi nga she was drunk and unaware. She even leaned on his shoulder then even leaned on his chest. She possessively held his arms too.

Of course sobrang happy si Ricky. Very wide yun smile nya. He felt like he was the luckiest man alive. He even hoped that may part two yung wine tasting activity nila Maya.

“Ser Chief naman eh. Iniimagine mo na naman yun mga pinagagawa ko nung araw na yun. Erase na kasi.” Tampo na si Maya. Medyo napipikon na.

“How could I forget? You were so funny. At you were also extra sweet.” Then he grinned again.

Nagpanic ang Maya. “Sweet? Bakit ano bay un ginawa ko?”

Of course hindi naman ni Ser Chief sinabi kay Maya kung ano yun mga pinagagawa niya. He didn’t want to embarrass her and of course he didn’t want na mahiya sa kanya si Maya at iwasan siya. “Nothing. You were just extra talkative and you were malambing. No harm done.”

“Talaga? Naku nakakahiya! Hindi naman kita sinukahan?”

“No. You did it sa labas ng kotse.”

“Naku sumuka nga ako. Hindi naman nangamoy Ser Chief?” She was already worried na baka nagkalat sya.

“No you didn’t. Pina-gargle kita ng tubig after kang sumuka. Atsaka you don’t have to worry. Hindi naman kita pinabayaan.”

“Yun na nga ang mas nakakahiya. Sa harap mo pa talaga ako nagkalat. Naku nakakaturn-off.” Cover ulit siya ng face niya si Maya.

Tawa pa rin ng tawa si Ser Chief. “Hey stop covering your face. Never akong matuturn-off sa’yo. In fact I enjoyed it. You were so funny. I saw another side of you din.”

“Ha? Another side? Anong another side?”

“Hey don’t worry. Ako lang naman yun nakakita.” Hala mali yun phrasing niya. Baka mamisinterpret ni Maya.

“Ser Chief!!! Anong nakita???” Lagot na.

“Ah eh… nothing. You were just extra talkative, extra funny. Yun lang.” Of course di nya pwedeng sabihin that she was extra touchy, that she even removed her outer blazer kasi naiinitan siya. Buti na lang gentleman si Ser Chief that he never took advantage of the situation. He even used Maya’s scarf to cover her front blouse which she also tried to unbutton kasi nga mainit. Promise never sya tumingin.

“Sigurado? Yun lang talaga ginawa ko?” Gusto nyang malinaw.

“Yes. Yun lang nga. Stop worrying about it. Ako yun kasama ko so you are in very safe hands. Hindi naman kita papabayaan.”

Kumalma na si Maya. “Next time sana ikaw naman ang malasing Ser Chief para makabawi naman ako.” She wanted to take care of him too when he gets drunk.

“I don’t get drunk Maya.

“Weh? Talaga? Kahit marami kang iniinom?”

“I don’t drink. Well konti lang. Kapag may occasions lang so yan, you would never see me drunk.”

Sad ang Maya. Di sya makakabawi.

Ayaw ni Ser Chief na sad siya so an idea hit him.

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

Two days after, on a weekend.

Maya was surprised to see Joma, instead of Ser Chief fetching her.

“Kuya Joma?”

“Maya halika na?”

“Ah eh bakit ka nandito?”

“Kasama ko si Ser Richard kaso ayun sa kotse. Medyo nakainom kasi.”

Worried agad ang Maya. “Hala lasing si Ser Chief? Inuwi mo na sana sa mansion Kuya Joma.”

“Walang tao sa mansion Maya. Lahat sila nandun sa bahay nila Don Roberto at Dona Esmeralda. Pupunta kasi ng beach bukas kaya dun na sila matutulog. Si Ser nagpaiwan kasi may kameeting pa kanina kaso hayun niyayang uminom eh hindi naman si Ser umiinom kaya nalasing agad.”

“Naku paano yan? Kawawa naman si Ser Chief. Halika na kuya Joma.”

She hurriedly followed Joma who insisted on carrying her bag.

She saw her Ser Chief at the backseat of the car. His eyes were closed.

“Maya tabihan mo na si Ser dyan. Dito ko na lang sa harap ang bag mo.” Kuya Joma suggested.

“Sige Kuya Joma. Tapos dahan dahan ka lang sa pagmaneho kasi baka mas mahilo si Ser Chief.” Super worried si Maya. She sat beside her Ser Chief. He smells alcohol nga pero mabango pa rin. Namumula rin face nya pero gwapo pa rin. “Naku Maya tama na muna ang pagkabighani sa face ng crush mo” She told herself.

Hindi rin nya alam ang gagawin. “Kuya Joma anong gagawin ko?” Aligaga siya.

Joma was laughing. Amused kay Maya. “Tulog naman si Ser hayaan mo lang.”

“Pero Kuya Joma mukhang naiinitan si Ser Chief. Pakilakasan ang aircon.” She requested.

“Maya wala nang ilalakas ang aircon. Buti pa buksan mo na lang yun polo ni Ser.”

Panic ang Maya. “Naku ayaw ko nga Kuya Joma!” Namula na rin si Maya.

“Huy bakit namumula ka na? Ang oa naman ng reaksyon mo. Buksan mo yun polo ni Ser kasi naiinitan ang mga taong nakainom. Para mapreskuhan lang si Ser. Atsaka naka tshirt naman yan sa ilalim. Ikaw talaga Maya.”

“Eh Kuya Joma…”

“Sige na Maya. Atsaka mukhang matratraffic pa tayo. Kawawa naman yan si Ser. Wala naman yang malay kaya okay lang yan.”

She followed what Joma told her. She opened the top three buttons of her Ser Chief’s polo. Para siyang kinukuryente. Kilig na kilig kasi.

Kung sa tingin nyo tulog si Ser Chief. You are all wrong. Di ba nga Maya wanted to experience na alagaan din siya kapag he’s drunk para makabawi? So ayan he’s just pretending he’s drunk and pretending to sleep din. Even si Joma walang malay sa lahat. Richard had a few drinks pero he is not drunk. Pero sa suggestion ni Joma, mukhang dapat panindigan nya na drunk sya. Pasaway naman kasi si Joma.

“Kuya Joma nabuksan ko na!” Then she covered her face.

“Nakakatawa ka Maya. Para yan lang pulang pula ka na. Si Ser Richard lang naman yan. Hindi naman yan si Piolo.” (Naku Joma kung alam mo lang. Mas bet ng marami si Ser Chief kesa k Piolo).

“Eeeehhh Kuya Joma mas nakakahiya nga kasi si Ser Chief. Atsaka first time ko kayang magbukas ng polo na ganyan. Kuya Joma nakakahiya!”

“Shhhh ang ingay mo Maya. Baka magising yan si Ser.”

Naku gising si Ser Chief at aliw na aliw sa reaction ni crush nya.  All throughout the trip, Maya remained quiet na. She would check on him once in a while pero malayo sa kanya. Shy si Maya na masyadong dumikit kay Ser Chief.

Ser Chief felt naughty that night at may plano na sya kung ano ang gagawin when they arrive sa mansion. Alam nyang walang tao sa mansion. (Huy not those naughty plans sa minds nyo! Gentleman kaya si Ser Chief!)

Ayun na nga dumating na sila.

They both assisted the nakainom-and-pretending-to-be-drunk na Ser Chief. Of course he acted convincingly or else malalagot sya kay Maya.

Joma and Maya laid him sa sofa sa living room.

“Dito na lang siya magpahinga Maya tutal wala namang tao. Sasamahan ko na lang. Pakihanda na lang pamalit na damit ni Ser. Ako na lang magpapalit sa kanya. Tapos tulungan mo na lang ako na punasan sya. Baka naman kasi mahiya ka ulit dyan.” Joma suggested.

And of course asar na asar yun pretending-na-lasing na Ser Chief. Panira si Joma sa diskarte nya. He should have instructed Joma to stay with the kids.

Of course prepare naman si Maya ng clothes ni Ser Chief. Yun shirt lang syempre. Alangan naman palitan ni Joma ng pambaba si Ser Chief. Maya also prepared a basin with warm water and a small towel to wipe his face.

She was about to wipe his face and arms and Joma was removing his polo when Joma’s phone rang. Sinagot muna nya.

After a few minutes….

“Naku Maya, nakalimutan ko pala yun pinapabili ni Don Roberto na gagawing barbeque. Ihahanda na kasi yun mamaya ni Sabel para sa outing bukas. Okay lang ban a iwanan muna kita dito? Pagising nyan ni Ser itimpla mo lang ng sobrang tapang na kape. Ikaw na rin bahala magpalit ng damit nya kasi baka masarahan ako ng grocery.”

“Okay lang Kuya Joma. Sige na ako na ang bahala dito. Kayang kaya ko na to.” Volunteer agad ang  Maya.

Naku super happy yun pretending-to-be-drunk na SC.

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

Joma left.

Maya was left with Ser Chief.

Plan would commence now.

Pakonti konti na gigising kunwari.

He needs to act mala-drunk.

Dumilat na yun eyes. He acted na unaware sa mga nangyayari. He smiled with his pamatay na smile with dimples.

“What are you doing here very lovely lady?”

Nagulat ang Maya. She was still wiping his arms. “Ser Chief gising na kayo? Anong nararamdaman nyo?”

Pacute na smile ulit. At tunog lasing ulit “I feel good. I feel happy. I feel lucky that there’s a very pretty lady in front of me. You look like Maya dela Rosa, the woman of my dreams. You are very lovely.”

“Ser Chief!!!” Pulang pula na si Maya sa mga hirit ni Ser Chief.

He was smiling. Magaling umakting na drunk and he’s enjoying na kilig na kilig si Maya sa mga sinasabi nya.

Dinagdagan pa…

“You look like my crush… wait I’ll rephrase that… you look like the woman whom I want to be my girlfriend… my partner… you even smile like her…ambango mo rin.”

Nanlaki eyes ni Maya. Lumakas heartbeat. “Gusto nya akong maging girlfriend?” She said to herself.

“Ser Chief wag na kayong maingay. Pupunasan ko muna kayo kasi ampula nyo na.” She needs to stop him from talking or else baka himatayin siya sa kilig.

Syempre Ser Chief won’t miss the chance of simpleng innocent touches like yun pagpupunas sa arms. Hindi naman yun bad, he justified. Atsaka arms lang naman at neck, if he gets luckier.

So para maipagpatuloy ni Maya, he closed his eyes again.

Maya wiped his arms ulit.

At he became luckier nga. Maya was wiping his neck na rin with the warm cloth and was about to even wipe his chest when…

“Maya ako na dyan.”  It was Manang Fe. Bumalik pala siya sa mansion.

Nakahinga si Maya, pero slightly disappointed rin.

Nahopia si Ser Chief. Hindi pa nga nya nagagawa yun mga ginawa rin sa kanya ni Maya when she was drunk. Kakastart lang nya.

Then Manang Fe got the warm washcloth from Maya. “Sige na Maya. Maghapunan ka na muna tapos magpahinga. May gamit ka naman kaya dito ka na matulog para may kasama ako sa kwarto.”

“Sige po Manang Fe.”

As Maya left…

Manang Fe pinched Richard’s side. “Gumising ka na nga dyan. Ang pilyo pilyo mo Ricardo!”

“Manang I am drunk.” He complained. Pikit pa rin yun eyes.

“Hindi mo ako maloloko. Lumang gimik mo na yan kahit noon. Lagi mo yang ginagamit sa mga babae noong college ka. Pati si Maya idadamay mo.  Kung may gusto kang sabihin kay Maya sabihin mo nang diretso hindi yun magpapanggap ka pang lasing.”

“Manang lasing nga ako.”

“Lasing talaga ha! Sige ako na magbibihis sa’yo.”

Scared na gawin nga yun ni Manang Fe, he immediately sat. Lasing act forgotten.

 

A/N : Kasi naman Ricardo! Pumaparaang #crushmates nga naman

 

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.”

 

The Adventures and Misadventures of Ricky, Maya and Atty Ryan : Gym Bodies? Gym Buddies?

The Adventures and Misadventures of Ricky, Maya and Atty Ryan : Gym Bodies? Gym Buddies?

A/N : Namiss ko si Atty. Ryan.

In Ricky’s home office aka principal’s office:

“Brod samahan mo na ako. Makakatipid kasi if dalawa tayong magsisign-up. The second person gets to pay only 50% of the registration fee.” Atty Ryan was convincing Ricky to join him. He wanted to be a member of the newly opened gym near LAS. His panyero owns it kaso nahihiya siya to go there alone that’s why he’s inviting Richard.

“Brod I don’t need to go to the gym. I’m a busy person.” Ricky doesn’t want to.

“Brod at our age, we need to be more fit. We need to burn more calories kasi bumabagal na yun metabolism natin. Atsaka you don’t exercise. I bet you don’t even jog or walk. Yun pool nyo nga nilulumot na  ata kasi ayaw mo man lang lumangoy. Ang alam mo lang eh bahay – kotse – office. You need to be more active brod.” Makulit si Ryan.

“And who says I’m not active. Brod for your information, I get to burn lots of calories daily! And I do it with a more enjoyable and may i add extremely pleasurable activity with my wife. I don’t need to pay those high gym fees.” Ricky bragged.

“May gym equipment kayo dito?” Atty. Ryan got curious. He wanted one for their home din kasi. Papatulong siya sa brod nya bumili.

“Wala. Who needs gym equipment. Kami lang ni Maya. We do our exclusive-for-the-bedroom exercise daily. As in walang palya. That’s the reason why I’m fit, very healthy, very happy, very agile. Same goes for my wife. She’s also very healthy, glowing, very happy. No gym equipment needed just ourselves, just our own equipment.” Then he grinned. Natawa sa pinagsasabi nya. “Ikaw ata ang fragile ngayon Brod.” He couldn’t stop grinning. He teased his friend.

“Whoah nahiya naman ako sa inyo ni Maya brod! At nang-inggit ka pa talaga. Alam mo namang  two months wala si Ivy sa bahay. Iba ka Mr. Richard Lim. Nagpakasal ka lang aba yumabang ka na. Tsk!” Ryan pretended to be annoyed.

Ricky was still laughing. Naisahan nya si Ryan now. Between the two of them kasi, Ryan is the arrogant one, the sweet talker, more outgoing, the sociable one. Ryan would always be the one teasing him kaya he felt good to be able to do it to his friend for a change.

“Kaya naman pala gusto mong maggym kasi wala si Ivy. Naku brod you really need a release.” Dagdag pa ni Ricky.

“Naku brod nilalayo mo yun usapan. Basta isasali kita dun sa gym.  Ako na lang magbabayad kung ayaw mong mabawasan yun laman ng wallet mo. Alam ko naman kuripot ka, nagpapalusot ka lang na you don’t want to go to the gym.”

“Bahala ka. Basta I don’t need to go there ha. Atsaka baka magalit si Maya kapag pumunta ako sa gym. Alam mo na. Maraming mga girls na nagpapapansin sa mga lugar na ganyan.”

“Ano naman akala mo sa sarili mo brod? Yuppie at pagkakaguluhan? Hoy Engineer Richard Lim may I remind you that we’re both middle aged men who would just go to the gym to be able to keep up with our activities with our wives. Pampalakas resistensya para di tayo mapahiya sa mga misis natin. Yun lang yun.”

“Speak for yourself Ryan.” He was still grinning, having a blast with their conversation. Confident siya kasi naman he really feels good and feels strong despite his age. Effective talaga yun daily exercise nila ni Maya.

Nagpipilitan pa sila when Maya arrived.

She kissed Ricky even in front of Ryan. They were already comfortable being sweet in front of their close friends, Ryan included.

She also gave Ryan her customary beso.

“Sweetheart you’re early. I was supposed to fetch you in an hour pa ah.”

“Naku Sweetheart pinauwi na kami ni Ms. Calandra kasi cancelled yun mga flights this afternoon. May sira daw kasi yun runway kaya closed muna. Kahit tuloy yun dapat meeting namin eh cancelled na rin. Bukas daw resumption ng flights. Ayun nagkakagulo na sila sa airport.”

Ryan commented“Naku grabe ang perwisyo nyan. Pero buti na lang Maya nandito ka na. Ikaw na lang magkumbinsi dito sa asawa mo. Ang hirap kasing mapa-oo.”

Ricky was just smiling. He’s very confident that Ryan won’t be able to convince Maya as well.

“Para sa ano yan Ryan? Umoo saan?”

“May bagong gym kasi yun kaibigan ko na malapit sa LAS. Iniimbitahan ko sana si Ricky na sumali para naman may kasama ako at para na rin sa health nya. Okay yun di ba Maya?” Ryan was hopeful.

Ricky was just shaking his head at his friend’s persistence. Natutuwa sya that even si Maya kinoconvice nya when he very well knows that Maya wouldn’t agree because she’s not fond of having workout sa mga gym.

Or so he thought….

“Maganda yan Ryan. Ricky sumali ka na. Makakatulong yan para mas maging fit ka. Para na rin sa resistensya mo. Bagay yan kay Ricky, Atty Ryan. Hingalin kasi to tapos mabilis pa makatulog kapag gabi. Sige na Sweetheart tutal  kasama naman si Atty. Ryan. Ako nga gusto ko rin kung papaya si Ricky na sumali rin ako.” Maya was talking nonstop, oblivious to her now tahimik at mas lalong sumingkit sa inis na husband.

Then Maya needed to leave to answer  a phone call…

“Agile pala, very healthy, very fit brod ha!” It was now Ryan who was teasing him.

“Oo na sasali na ako sa gym mo na yan, tigilan mo lang ako.” Seryoso na si Ricky. Pikon na agad siya.

“Okay okay. Wala naman akong sinasabi.” He stopped na kasi pikon na si Ricky.

“Goodbye Ryan. I would have a word with my wife now to remind her of what she was saying kanina. Bye.”

“Aba at talagang sapilitan mo akong pinapauwi.” Ryan was really about to leave pero natawa pa rin sya with how Ricky acts whenever he’s pikon.

“Magkita na lang tayo sa LAS bukas.”

“O siya. Ingat brod ha. Baka marupok na yan.” He was grinning as he still commented before he left.

Ricky smirked. Asar sya at naisahan na naman siya ni Ryan.

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

That night…

Sa bedroom…

“O bakit ganyan ang mukha mo sweetheart?” Maya was smiling sweetly at her husband, unaware that her husband was angry with what she told Ryan.

“Wala. Let’s sleep.”

“Ha? Sleep na agad?”

“Oo kasi di ba yun ang sabi mo kay Ryan. Di ba sabi mo hingalin ako at antukin. Well I’ll prove na tama ka so halika na let’s sleep.”

“Sweetheart nagtampo ka sa sinabi ko kanina? Uy sorry na. Hindi ko naman sinasadya yun eh. Atsaka honest lang naman ako.” She was hugging her husband from behind.  Nilalambing ang masungit na Ricky. She’s even burying her face sa side ng neck ni Ricky.

Pero hindi effective. He just stared at her then sighed.

“Ricky naman eh. Sorry na. Nakakainis naman to. Para yun lang.”

“Huy Maya, hindi yun ‘yun lang’. You hurt my ego. Ipinahiya mo ako kay Ryan. Baka akalain nya eh I’m a failure in that aspect.”

“Failure saan?” clueless na naman si Maya.

“Failure in my duties to make you a very happy woman inside our bedroom.” Seryoso si Ricky. Nagtampo talaga siya.

Maya on the other hand, got shy with what her husband said. She blushed. Then while avoiding his gaze kasi hiya sya. “Hindi ka failure Sweetheart. Very happy nga ako. Ikaw ang best sa ganun in the whole world.” She covered her face with a pillow which Ricky removed.

“How would you know na ako yun best eh ako lang naman ang asawa mo? You’re just saying that para mabawasan atraso mo. Binobola mo lang ako.” Pakipot pa si Ricky.

“Hindi ah. Hindi ako marunong mambola atsaka the best ka kasi nga lagi akong excited kapag malapit nang gumabi.” Shy at kilig ang Maya.

Naalert ears ni Ricky. “You mean you’re looking forward to it din?”

“Oo kaya halika na start na tayo?” Si Maya talaga oo!

Napalunok na lang si Ricky. Feisty pala si Maya.

He really needs to go to the gym to keep up with his wife. Maybe they should really go together.

Naku ang magsweethearts na to.

Who wants to join them? (sa gym ha!)

Anyone?

 

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.

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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.

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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.