Can We Start Over Again – 12

Can We Start Over Again – 12

The concert celebrated the career of Maya dela Rosa.

Amidst the loud cheers of the audience and her fans, amidst the praise and accolades she got from her management and bosses, Maya dela Rosa’s was happiest because Richard was there.

She didn’t feel the exhaustion from the rehearsals, she no longer felt the pressure of trying to outdo all her other performances because performing in front of the person she considered her pillar, her constant supporter and adviser, everything seemed easy for Maya.

And Richard Lim was the proudest that night.

He had witnessed every single performance of his bestfriend in concerts, movies, TV series, endorsements and all other possible projects. Without her knowledge, Richard would always watch all her projects through DVDs or livestreaming or any way possible. He even had a DVD compilation of all her works and CD collection of all her songs.

And tonight he have seen and experienced the reason why the network needed to celebrate the career of the illustrious Maya dela Rosa.

Maya’s family was not able to attend but she didn’t feel alone because Richard was with her.

He loved watching how Maya was with everybody.

It is indeed difficult not to love this lady whom his heart beats for.

Despite what she had attained, she’s still funny and still very simple. She charms everybody with the way she is.

She’s close to her fans and she’s comfortable mingling with them.

She’s also very respectful to her bosses even if she reached the status she has now.

Richard witnessed all of it and he admired her more.

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At the ‘After Concert Party’ Richard was chatting with Maya’s manager Buboy when she sat beside him.

“Nak successful yun concert mo!” Her manager proudly declared while hugging his alaga.

“Oo nga Mother Buboy! Nairaos natin yun show. Naku thank you talaga. Napakasaya ko.”

“Hmmm masaya ba dahil sa show or dahil dyan sa katabi mo.” He even teased her.

“Intrigera ka Mother ha! Pero oo naman masaya ako dahil dumalaw to si original partner at bestfriend ko. Thanks Ricky ha!”

Richard just smiled. He was beginning to like Maya’s circle of friends. They weren’t that bad after all.

“O mabuti pa mauna na kayong umuwi Maya. Mukhang gagabihin pa tong mga kasamahan natin. Ako na ang bahala. Magpahinga na kayo.”

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

On their way home to her newly built mansion, Maya and Richard were at the backseat of her car. She was leaning on his shoulder.

“Ikaw ha pasurprise surprise ka pa! Pinaiyak mo ako sa harap ng mga tao. Nakakahiya!!!”

“I wanted to be here on your special day. Atsaka ikaw rin naman pinaiyak mo rin ako.” He wasn’t even ashamed to admit it to her.

“Naku Ricky ang iyakin natin pareho.” She giggled.

“Pero wag na wag nating mabanggit kina mama.” He added.

“Ay naku oo wag na wag nating babanggitin at hindi naman yun titigil sa pang-aasar.” She agreed.

They were just enjoying being in each other’s arms that night.

Everything felt right. This is what she wanted. She doesn’t need fame and wealth anymore. She wants to be happy. Being here with him is what makes her so happy.

“Maya?”

“Hmmm?”

“Would you consider coming home with me? I mean trying a life dun sa atin?”

“Oo naman. Nandun kayong lahat eh. Nandun lahat ng importanteng tao sa buhay ko.”

“Really?”

“Oo Ricky. Matagal ko nang gusto kaso alam mo na habang padami ng padami yun mga offers na projects sa akin, mas nahirapan akong tumanggi.”

“Well you should think of yourself too. I hope you would consider going back home.”

She stared at him, nodded her head, smiled then resumed leaning on his chest now. She even had her arms encircled on his waist.

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

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

“Si Auntie Fe talaga! Gusto ko sana kayong sorpresahin eh. Pero opo Nay. Uuwi na ako dyan. Gusto ko na kayong makasama ni Tatay. Babawi rin ako kina Tito Roberto at kay Tita Esmie. Magkakasama na po tayo.” She happily said.

She was very excited.

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

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

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

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

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

Maya was impressed to find out about Richard’s work in New York.

He works for a famous architectural firm whose portfolio brags of many successful projects with prominent personalities including celebrities.

She was so proud to find out that Richard is part of the company.

“Ms. Dela Rosa, Mr. Lim just went out for lunch. He will be here shortly. Can I offer you something?” Richard’s secretary Liza escorted her inside Richard’s vast office at the topmost floor of their building.

She knows that Maya is very close to her Boss.

She would always hear about her from her Boss’ and his parents’ conversation.

Sometimes Richard would even instruct Liza to buy a magazine, DVDs, CDs or record a show with Maya in it.

She’s already a big fan of Maya back then but admired her more when she came face to face with her.

Liza was surprised when she met Maya in Richard Lim’s office. She looked far from being a famous celebrity. She dressed simply in jeans, white shirt, sneakers and a backback. She also had a ready smile on her face.

Liza instantly liked her. She now knows the reason why Richard loved this lady so much.

“Ah no. Kumain na ako. Thank you na lang Ms. Liza. And just call me Maya.” She smiled at the very welcoming secretary.

“Ay hindi po pwede. I’ll just call you na lang po nang Ms. Maya pero call me naman pong Liza.”

“O sige na nga. Go back to what you’re doing na Liza. I’ll just wait for Richard here.”

Since she had work to do, Liza left Maya inside Richard’s office but made sure that she had magazines to read to keep her entertained.

Thirty minutes have passed but Richard hasn’t returned yet. Liza checked on Maya.

“Naku Ms. Maya wala pa si Mr. Lim.  Hindi rin sinasagot yun phone nya.”

“Okay lang Liza. Hindi naman ako naiinip kasi ang dam mong nilabas na magazines.” She was smiling.

Liza worriedly asked. “Ms. Maya is it okay that I leave you muna? Maglulunch lang muna ako sa baba. My husband kasi is waiting for me to have lunch with him. I can’t call him to cancel kasi naiwan na naman ata nya yun phone nya sa office. He just works nearby too kaso we make it a point to spend lunch together.”

“Oh yes Liza. No problem. I’ll just stay here. Go ahead have your lunch.”

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

The moment Liza left, Maya settled herself on one of the couches outside Richard’s office. She preferred to wait for him there as it would be a bit intrusive to stay inside his office without his knowledge.

She started reading a magazine then she overheard people talking.

“I bet your boss is very excited with the house already. The team will do the interiors next week.” a blonde guy was talking to a group of employees who were still gathered together. They seemed to have just finished having lunch.

“Yes Mr. Smith. Mr. Lim is very satisfied with it. I was with him when he visited.” Another guy, also an American answered.

“He spent a fortune on it, the McKenzie team is really the best. Mr. Lim instructed me to assign the best people from our group to do his house.”

“He is very impressed Sir.”

The moment the guy arrived, the employees huddled together began talking.

“What is Mr. Smith talking about Colin?” A girl employee who seemed Latina asked.

“It’s a big secret so no one should know about it.” The guy Colin replied.

“Hey we’re a team here. We’re just curious because Mr. Lim had been so focused with that house lately.” The lady prodded.

“Okay but please keep this among yourselves and please no teasing. Don’t tease Mr. Lim about it.”

“Spill it already Colin.”

“Okay okay… Mr. Lim is building a house for his fiancée. Ladies don’t let this out or I might lose my job. He said it’s a surprise. He gave instructions never to tell anyone especially in the office.”

Maya’s heart was beating fast when she heard it. This could mean that Richard is really planning a future for both of them.

Then another lady replied. “Oh my God! Ms. Rafaela is one lucky woman.”

“She really is.” The guy Colin affirmed what the lady said.“Oh my God we will indeed witness a wedding very soon! I better begin to work on my diet. I’m sure Mr. Lim will invite all of us.” Another lady joined in.

“I’m sure he will.” Colin replied again.

The Latina lady added, “Oh that’s why they’re been frequently going out together. I bet they’re busy with the wedding preparations as well.”

“Sure they are. I chatted with Mr. Lim’s driver and he mentioned that Mr. Lim will be showing Ms. Rafi a very special surprise today. That may be the house.” The girl sounded giddy.

“Oh my God I am so excited. Mr. Lim deserves nothing but the best and Ms. Rafi is the best for him.” Another girl joined.

Then Colin spoke again, “Yes they are a perfect match. They look so good together and they obviously enjoy each other’s company.”

“Isn’t it cool, Mr. Lim once mentioned that Ms. Rafi have beaten him in school almost every year but now it is his heart that beats for her.” Colin added.

“Oh my God Colin, you’re being cheesy.” Then the employees went on teasing each other and went on talking about other topics in the office.

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

Maya didn’t realize that her cheeks were already wet. She had been crying silently.

She knows Rafi Alcantara as Richard have told her everything about his former classmate who also works in the same firm with him. She knows that he is fond of her but she wasn’t aware that Richard likes Rafi romantically.

Maybe it was Rafi he wanted.

Maybe she just assumed that he likes her.

Maybe he just treats her like a sister, like family and what he said about asking her to come home and be with them just meant coming home to her family.

She needs to leave now.

She can’t face him right now.

She might say things she might regret and might ruin their friendship.

She needed to clear her mind.

Maya stood up and grabbed her backpack. She just got the pasalubong she brought for him inside her backpack and laid it on his table.

Wearing her dark shades, trying her best to smile at everyone she meets and trying her best to act unaffected, Maya dela Rosa quietly left the office of Richard Lim with a very heavy heart.

Can We Start Over Again 11

Can We Start Over Again 11

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

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

They would still communicate but not as often as before.

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

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

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

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

===========

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

“Okay po Direk. Susunod na po ako.”

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

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

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

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

Maya was excited and very nervous at the same time.

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

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

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

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

“Ang iyakin ko kasi. Sorry talaga.”

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

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

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

She missed Richard Lim.

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

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

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

“Ok ka na Maya?” her partner asked.

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

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

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

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

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“In a place that won’t let us feel

In a life where nothing seems real

I have found you

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The two just smiled.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Preview:

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

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

She was very excited.

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

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

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

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

 

Can We Start Over Again 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.

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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.

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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.

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In the Lim living room, while watching that said interview in TFC, Esmeralda Lim couldn’t help but react.

“Boyfriend na ni Maya yun mayabang na lalaking yun? I don’t want him for her. I need to talk to Teresita.” She was clearly upset.

“He seems okay and Maya knows what she’s doing. Hayaan mo na.” Roberto tried to pacify his wife.

Richard didn’t say anything. He was surprised that Maya admitted her relationship with James on TV.

He felt sad.

He is also mad at himself.

He felt so helpless.

He likes her but he still had nothing to offer her.

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

Preview:

“Tita Esmie wala pa po ba si Ricky? Hindi ko kasi siya macontact.”

“Wala siya dito Maya. He is busy.”

“Pakisabi na lang po na tumawag ako.”

He was actually in front of his mom but he is avoiding Maya.

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

“No Ma. Wala.”

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

“Ma busy ako sa work on that day. I’ll just send her my gift.”

“But son, your presence is the best gift you could give her.”

 

Can We Start Over Again 8

Can We Start Over Again 8

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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“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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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