Anywhere The Heart Goes by Henry Mancini is one of my most-loved piano pieces. It is also known as Thorn Bird’s ‘Meggie’s Theme’.
Coincidentally, Jose Mari Chan has his own version too. I always think of bcwmh, jochard when i see or hear JMC. It’s just like they also have this great chemistry – the singer JMC and the actors JSM and RY.
So here’s Anywhere The Heart Goes by Jose Mari Chan.
The Adventures and Misadventures of Ricky, Maya, Rafi & Friends: Independence Day?
“So what are you guys doing this June 12?” Rafi asked Ricky and Maya while they were having their breakfast near the airport. Ricky and Rafi who came to visit the Lims decided to fetch Maya from her early morning flight.
“Are we supposed to do something?”
“Aba oo naman. It’s Independence day. It’s another reason to celebrate.”
“So? Ano naman ngayon if it’s Independence day? How will we celebrate? Pupunta kami ng Luneta to sing Lupang Hinirang?” Ricky sarcastically replied.
Maya was just observing her husband and his best friend. She’s always amused whenever they try to annoy each other.
“Ano ka ba Chard. Ang corny mo talaga! I bet nahihiya na si Maya sa mga sinaunang jokes mo. I mean celebrate… kayo ni Maya. Kami kasi ni Chard, my very own mabait at sobrang gwapong Chard, we have this independence day celebration. Yun independent kami from each other, magkahiwalay kami ng lakad every June 12. Like last year, he went out with his dad to play golf, kami naman ni mommy nya went out to shop. This year I’m planning to have my spa day with my friends then he will have a karaoke night out with his sessionista friends. It feels great and liberating. Try nyo.”
“We don’t need it Rafi. I’m sure Maya prefers to stay with me on that day. There are surely more fun activities to do ‘together’on independence day. Right Sweetheart?” He stressed on the word together then he winked at his wife who was, unfortunately for Ricky, actually considering Rafi’s suggestion.
“Alam mo, mukhang maganda nga yan sweetheart. Try natin. Magkanya kanya tayong lakad sa independence day.”
“What? No! Hindi pwede!”
“Ang oa mo Chard! It’s not like buong araw kayong hindi magkikita ni Maya. Atsaka it’s healthy for a married couple’s relationship. You give each other space and time to breathe.”
“Rafi it is healthy for your relationship with your husband kasi palagi mong inaaway yun tao. He needs freedom from you kahit isang araw lang. I bet he prays that everyday should be independence day.” Then he laughed.
“Of course I don’t! I am a very loving wife and we have a very harmonious relationship. Atsaka wag ka ngang kontrabida Richard Lim. Maya wants it so pagbigyan mo na. Right Maya?”
“You think so? You really like it? Mas masaya if magkasama tayo on that day.” Ricky was not happy at all with Rafi’s suggestion. He was so looking forward to a special day with his wife on Independence day. He planned to take her out and have a movie date since they both have no work. The kids have no classes as well so they could stay with Sky and Sunshine. He had everything planned already until his best-friend/ beast friend suggested her silly way of ‘Independence day’ celebration to Maya.
“Subukan lang natin Ricky. Sige na please.”
Rafi was grinning. She knows Ricky would give in to Maya’s wish.
While shaking his head, smirking ang giving his sharp stare at Rafi, Ricky sighed deeply and agreed. “Okay fine!”
“Yes! Thank you sweetheart!” Then she stood up from her seat and hugged her husband unmindful of the stares of the customers who were also having their breakfast.
Both were preparing for their ‘separate’ dates. Maya was fixing her husband’s collar.
“Sweetheart bakit doon kayo pupunta nina Emman? Why don’t you just have dinner somewhere else then spend the night na lang talking to each other.” He suggested because the idea that Maya will be spending her evening with Emman, Josh, Edz, Ruby and her other FA friends at a karaoke bar didn’t sit well with him.
Maya promised him that she’s just excited for the karaoke part and that she wont take any alcoholic beverages because of what happened to her during that ‘wine-tasting’ mishap years ago. Ricky can’t help but still get worried of the possible dangers inside any bar.
“Ang boring naman nun sweetheart atsaka di ba walang pakialamanan? Promise hindi naman ako iinom at si Emman di rin naman yun umiinom. I will be safe.”
“Why did we even listen to Rafi.” He sighed again.
“Hep hep! Gusto ko to atsaka tama si Rafi. Healthy to sa relationship ng mga mag-asawa.”
“Our relationship is very healthy and we don’t need this.”
“Sssshhh… reklamo reklamo. Tara na at baka malate na tayo.” Then Maya dragged her poor husband out of their bedroom.
Ricky accompanied her to the said karaoke bar and didn’t leave until Maya shooed him away.
“O sige na sweetheart okay na kami dito. Punta ka na sa gimik mo with friends. Matraffic pa naman baka mahuli ka.”
“Ah no. I’ll just be at the sports bar dyan sa tabi nito. Nandun na sina Ryan. We will play darts.”
“Ano??? Sweetheart naman. Di ba sabi natin kanya kanya.”
“Oo nga kanya kanya. I will be with Ryan and you will be with Emman. Atsaka hindi naman ako makakampante so that’s my decision and it’s final.”
“Okay pero promise hindi mo kami pupuntahan dito ha at wag kang mangungulit sa phone.”
“Promise. O Emman ikaw na bahala dito kay Maya. Josh, Edz, Ruby aalis na ako. Enjoy your night guys.” He kissed Maya’s forehead and stood up to leave.
“Bye Mr. Lim!”
An hour later, Maya got distracted after checking her phone. Engineer Yamagutchi just posted several photos of the LAS engineers playing darts. One of the pictures unintentionally showed Ricky at the background talking with an obviously drunk Stephanie.
“Uy roomie okay ka lang? Ikaw na ang kakanta o!”
“Ah eh… Emman pwedeng samahan mo muna ako?”
“Ha? Saan? Magrerestroom ka? Naku Maya hindi ako pwede sa girls restroom kahit prettier pa ako than most girls dyan.”
But Maya wasn’t laughing. In fact she didn’t even hear what Emman said.
“O ano bakit ganyan ang hitsura mo?”
Without explaining it to Emman, she stood up and excused herself and Emman from their companions.
She dragged him towards the sports bar where Ricky and the LAS engineers were spending their night. She spotted a corner table where she could clearly see Ricky but where he won’t be able to see her because of the dim lights of the bar. They sat and ordered soda.
“Roomie nakakahiya yun ginagawa natin. Tara na. Magagalit si Sir Chief Ricky nito eh.”
“Wag ka ngang maingay Emman. Samahan mo lang ako. Atska wala siyang karapatang magalit. Kung may pwedeng magalit, ako yun!”
“Naku roomie unreasonable ka na. Atsaka look behave naman si sweetheart mo.”
They could see Richard talking to Atty. Ryan now. Kalmado na sana si Maya when she saw Stephanie approaching Richard again. She’s holding a wine glass and was staggering towards Richard and Ryan. She was really drunk. She even tripped and was lucky that Richard was fast enough to catch her. Oh well if Stephanie was lucky, Richard clearly isn’t if we base it on Maya’s reaction. Her brows were furrowed, her face red with anger. “Roomie relax. Hindi naman kasalanan ni Sir Richard yun.” But Maya wasn’t listening to Emman. She was about to approach her husband when she saw him stand up and assist Stephanie. Then he led the drunk woman outside the bar.
Maya and Emman just stared at each other.
“Roomie baka naman papasakayin lang ni Sir Richard sa taxi. Kalma ka muna ha. Hintayin na lang natin si Sir Richard dito.”
Maya just kept quiet. She also didn’t want to make a scene. She decided to wait for her husband.
“Atty Ryan asan Chief?” Maya and Emman could hear the Engineer Yamaguchi.
“Hinatid na muna si Stephanie kasi medyo lasing na.”
“Naku lagot si Chief.” It was Sonny this time.
“Nandun naman si Fred sa parking. Ihahatid lang ni Chief kay Fred.” Atty Ryan replied but Maya didn’t hear it anymore for she already stood up and hurriedly left the bar.
Emman followed her.
“Roomie kalma ka lang please.”
“Emman iuwi mo na ako.”
“Roomie magagalit si Sir Richard nyan eh. Halika na balik na tayo kina Edz tapos tawagan mo na lang si Sir Richard.” Emman suggested.
When Maya stared back she already had nanlilisik na eyes and was evidently very angry. “Emman uuwi na ako. Kung hindi mo ako ihahatid, ako na lang uuwing mag-isa.”
Emman didn’t have any choice but to give in to his roomie’s request to be brought home. She even turned off her phone and requested Emman to do the same after he informed Edz, Josh and Ruby that he needs to bring Maya home because of an emergency.
After assisting Stephanie to Fred’s car at the parking, he returned to the bar and enjoyed playing darts with the engineers. He called Maya but wasn’t able to contact her for her phone was turned off. He thought that she turned her phone off because she wanted to enjoy her night. Not wanting to disturb his wife, Ricky decided to just enjoy his bonding with the LAS guys and just wait for his wife’s call once she decides to go home.
It was already 3 am and he already texted her several times without getting any reply so he decided to fetch her from the bar where he left her. He was surprised when he was informed that the group already left as early as 12:30 am.
Worried that something might have happened to his wife, Richard frantically called Emman’s phone which he also didn’t answer. He couldn’t contact Maya as well.
He finally called home and was relieved to learn that his wife was already home. He was unaware of why she left him and went home ahead of him. He thought that she just wanted him to enjoy his night.
It was already 3:30 in the morning when Ricky arrived.
The house was dark and quiet. Everyone was asleep.
Though he didn’t enjoy the day much, he was still happy for allowing his wife to enjoy with her friends.
He was very tired as well and he’s looking forward to being with his wife. Their simple cuddles would be enough to remove the stress of the day.
He opened their bedroom door but was surprised to find it locked. He tried it again but it was still locked. Maya never locks their bedroom.
Ricky scratched his head. He thought that maybe Maya accidentally locked it.
He softly knocked.
She didn’t open the door.
He knocked again, a little louder this time. “Sweetheart I’m home.”
She still didn’t open it but sent him a message. “Wag kang papasok dito. Ayan yung unan at kumot sa labas. Sa labas ka matulog. Ayaw kitang makita.”
He was surprised at her message.
He knocked again but she still didn’t open the door.
Then he even saw the pillow and blanket.
He’s totally clueless of any wrongdoing to might have caused his wife’s anger.
But he’s not angry at her. He’s not annoyed even though she went home ahead of him. He’s not upset even though he’s tired and he badly needed to rest now.
He suspects that something might have happened.
He got the pillow and blanket and laid them on the floor just outside their bedroom.
Then using his phone he took his picture with his puppy dog eyes while hugging the pillow and sent it to her. “Goodnight sweetheart. I love you.”
Of course naguilty ang Maya when she saw the picture. She also got worried na makita ng mga bata yun daddy nila.
She opened the door.
Ngiting successful naman si Ricky. He knows that di sya matitiis ni Maya but uh oh she looked so upset.
“Wag mo akong masweetheart sweetheart Ricardo!”
Naku hindi lang upset si Maya. She’s mad! She’s actually ballistic whenever she calls him by that name.
“Why are you mad? What did I do?”
“At nagtanong ka pa talaga!”
“Of course kasi wala naman akong alam na reason why you should get mad at me. Ako nga dapat yun magtampo kasi iniwan mo ako sa bar.” He calmly told her.
“Dapat ka talagang iwanan dun kasi mukhang sobrang busy ka sa pag-akbay akbay dun sa Stephanie. At sinamahan mo pa talaga. Siguro kung saan pa kayo pumunta.” She is getting teary-eyed now out of anger and he’s also getting upset with what she’s accusing him of.
“Hey hindi ko siya inakbayan because I wanted to. I did it because she was drunk and she even tripped.”
Tama naman. She saw how Stephanie tripped and was luckily caught by her husband.
Pero tahimik pa rin siya. She just stared at him.
“Atsaka hinatid ko lang siya kay Fred who was waiting for her at the parking area. He wasn’t able to go inside the bar anymore because naka-hazard lang yun kotse nya. He couldn’t find a parking slot.”
She continued to stare at him but her tears are threatening to fall now.
Upset na rin si Ricky at her accusations but when he saw her trying her best not to cry naawa na siya kay Maya.
“Sweetheart do you think magagawa ko yun sa’yo?”
Naku umiyak na nga ang Maya.
“Hey stop crying. Wala namang reason to cry. Wala naman akong ginawa. I was just being helpful there kasi ako lang yun hindi uminom sa kanila. Ako lang yun pwedeng tumulong kay Stephanie. Dapat nga proud ka sa’kin kasi I was being a gentleman there. Don’t cry na Maya.” He then engulfed her in his embrace which she allowed.
Maya had mixed feelings of jealousy, anger at herself for how she acted and also embarrassment at what she did to her poor husband. She hugged him tighter but was still silently sobbing.
“Hey look at me.” He held her face. “Okay na tayo ha? I’m sorry if I made you upset with what I did kanina. I promise lalayuan ko na siya.”
Then in a very small voice kasi she’s embarrassed nga of how she acted, “Sorry din Sweetheart. Kasi naman eh….”
“Hey enough na. Okay na tayo. It’s not my fault and it’s not yours as well.” He assured her to remove her guilt.
“I’ll just take a shower and change. Okay na tayo ha!”
She just nod her head. Then proceeded to their bed.
After a few minutes Ricky joined her donning his pajama. They cuddled.
“Next time I would never agree to spending June 12 separately.”
“Ako rin Sweetheart. Sorry ulit.”
“Don’t say sorry. Hindi nga tayong dalawa ang may kasalanan for what happened today.”
“Eh sino naman?”
‘Sino pa eh di si Rafi!”
And for the first time, Maya agreed with what Ricky said about his best friend. “Tama sweetheart, si Rafi nga ang may kasalanan ng lahat!”
“Let’s not talk about her anymore sweetheart. Let’s celebrate now, the Mr. and Mrs Lim style. Let’s celebrate ‘dependence’ day.” He naughtily winked at her.
“Mas gusto ko yan sweetheart!”
Then he covered themselves with their big brown comforter which perfectly covered both of them but unfortunately wasn’t able to drown his wife’s giggles and whatever noise he would elicit from her later.
Richard had no choice but to bring Sunshine to his office at the Lim Aviation Services building.
He was carrying the little girl atop his shoulders and everyone they met greeted them.
They loved seeing Richard with his daughter. They knew that despite being separated from his wife, Richard Lim is a very good father to Sunshine and that her daughter adores her dad so much.
“Good morning Sunshine! Good morning Sir!” Liza, Richard’s assistant greeted them as soon as they entered his office.
“Good morning Liza!”
“Good morning Tita Liza. Look at Gus. She has a new ribbon.” Sunshine proudly showed her stuffed kitty’s pink ribbon.
“Oh wow that’s so pretty Sunshine. You can play with Gus at your dad’s big chair. You want something to eat?”
“No Tita Liza. We just had breakfast a while ago that’s why we were late for the field trip.”
“Oh today yun field trip Sir? Hindi kayo umabot?”
“Unfortunately nahuli kami Liza that’s why Sunshine will be staying with us her today.”
“That would be great. I’ll take care of Sunshine Sir.”
“No need Liza. I have her toys here in her backpack. Sunshine can just play here. Right Princess?”
“Yes daddy. I will just play with Gus.”
When Sunshine started bringing out her toys and settled at his big sofa inside his office, Richard went behind his desk to check on his schedule.
“Liza si papa nandyan pa ba?”
“Naku Sir he already left. Galit yun kanina kasi wala ka pero when I informed him that you brought Sunshine to her school, ayun kumalma rin. He’s on his way to the airport for his 10 am flight to HongKong.”
“Ah okay. Thank you for bailing me out Liza. Hindi ko naman kasi alam na hindi ako aabot sa meeting kanina. Kindly corrdinate na lang with Eng Yamaguchi about the new Time Airways planes for repair sa Clark Hangar and please clear my schedule today. I will stay here but I want to bond with my daughter.”
“Okay Sir. I’ll also bring your coffee in a while and a chocolate drink for Sunshine.”
“Thank you Liza.”
The moment Liza left, Atty Ryan entered. Sunshine gave him a kiss.
“Oh the pretty little Princess is here. Kaya naman pala wala ka kanina brod. “
“Obviously yes. She’s supposed to have her field trip kaso nahuli kami. There’s this parent ng classmate ni Sushine kasi who got late. Ayun nadamay tuloy kami.”
“Sino naman? Babae ba yan? Yan ba yun dahilan for that phone call?”
“Oo! Gusto ko lang bwisitin. Ang sungit kasi at ang ingay.”
“Aba at binigyan mo pa ng pansin by making up a fake phone conversation. Sobra ka naman atang apektado. Maganda ba?”
He didn’t answer but Sunshine, who heard her Tito Ryan replied. “She is very beautiful po Tito Ryan. Her eyes is like the eyes of Gus.”
“Oh she’s beautiful pala at doe-eyed… hmmm…”
“Naku Ryan whatever it is you’re thinking stop. Hindi ako maaattract sa ganun.”
“Napakadefensive mo brod. I wasn’t saying anything.”
“You were about to.”
“Hindi no. O baka saan pa mapunta ang usapan. Hinintay lang kita to give you this. Yan yun documents for the lot we purchased beside the Paranaque hangar. Aalis na rin ako kasi I have a hearing after lunch.”
“Ah sige brod. Salamat.”
His phone rang and he immediately answered it.
“Maya apo hindi ko pwedeng bantayan si Sky. It is my spa day today. Dapat sinabihan mo kasi ako ng maaga.” The voice on the other line was unfamiliar.
“Hello who is this?”
“Who are you? Bakit hawak mo ang telefono ng apo ko?
He was surprised so he checked his phone and found out that it was Maya dela Rosa’s phone.
“Ah eh. I am Richard Lim. I am…”
But before he could say more the voice on the other line got excited.
“Oh Richard Lim, the poster boy of Lim Aviation? Ikaw yung nasa malaking billboard sa EDSA, sa SLEX, NLEX at sa NAIA?”
“Yes mam, unfortunately that’s me. You see my dad wants to save money so he made me pose instead of getting celebrities to do it.”
“Oh my God you look so handsome in it. At ang ganda rin ng boses mo. (bumabawi bumabawi! hahaha!) Lahat nang nakakita ng billboards mo mukhang gustong bumili ng eroplano para lang may maparepair sa Lim Aviation.”
He chuckled at what the lady at the other line said.
“O bakit ka tumatawa? Seryoso ako. Magaling yun tatay mo at ikaw ang pinagpose sa ads niyo. At napakagwapo mo iho. Pwede kang magartista.”
“Hahahaha!!! I’m really flattered po Mam…?”
“I’m Conchita, apo ko si Maya. But ikaw you can call me Connie. Teka are you dating my apo? Wag mo siyang pababayaan ha? Moody yan at masungit pero mapagmahal. Si Sky naman mabait na bata kahit makulit kung minsan. Yun tatay nya rakista kasi kaya hayun naghiwalay sila ni Maya. Pero wala namang problema yun kasi annulled na sila. Richard mamahalin mo si Maya ha at wag na wag mong paiiyakin. Atsaka bagay kayo.”
“Ma’m Connie, I’m not dating Maya po. Classmates po yung anak namin but we’re not that close. Kanina lang kami nagkita and ayun nagkainisan pa kasi our kids weren’t able to join the field trip kasi nahuli kami. And now nagkapalit pa kami ng phone.”
“Oh! Oh! I’m sorry. Naku nakakahiya naman sa’yo Richard. Akala ko nagdadate kayo. Kaya pala ganun yun text ni Maya kanina. Hindi ko pa naman nasagot yun tawag nya kasi I was preparing for my spa day. Naku baka iwanan nya si Sky sa daycare sa Buendia kasi walang mag-aalaga sa bata. Sige sabihan mo na lang na ihatid nya sa akin dito si Sky.”
“Oo where the Makati workers drop their kids. Ayaw ko kasing iniiwan nya si Sky doon kasi nabubully yung bata. Sabihan mo na lang si Maya na ihatid dito sa QC si Sky. I can’t travel na kasi to get him. Medyo hindi ko kinakaya ang traffic.”
Richard had to make a quick decision.
“Don’t worry po Ma’m Connie. I’ll take care of it. You go ahead with your spa day. Ako na ang bahala kay Sky.”
“Really? Hindi ba makakaabala sa’yo?”
“Hindi po and my daughter is also with me now. At least may kalaro siya.”
“Oh my God! Thank you Richard. Promise kapag naisipan mong ligawan ang apo ko, may 100 plus pogi points ka na agad..”
He laughed then ended the call.
Another call came in…
“Naku Maya nasaan ka na? Nandito na sa board room si Sir Jaime at Captain James. Si Ma’m Ina kanina ka pa hinahanap. Maya naman. Ngayon ka pa talaga malalate. Mawawalan ka nang trabaho nito eh.” A very worried voice was heard at the other line.
“Wait… this is not Maya. This is her phone pero mukhang nagkapalit kami when we were bringing our kids to school kanina. This is Ricky Lim. Classmate yun kids namin. May I know where Maya is working?” He purposely used his nickname as he didn’t want to be recognized like what happened with Maya’s grandma.
Emman was surprised as well. “Naku kaya naman pala hindi tumatawag. Sa Time Airways po ito Mr. Lim. I am Emman Castro, his officemate. She was supposed to give her presentation with the management. Wala pa po siya.”
“Okay Emman, Maya will be there shortly. Can you just tell her boss that she’s doing her best to be on time. Nahuli kasi mga kids namin so she had her son with her. Alam mo naman how kids are. Kindly tell your boss. I’m sure she’ll understand. “
“Sinabihan ko na po but of course nakakahiya pa rin. Please tell her na lang po Mr. Lim na naghihintay na kami dito just incase she calls her phone which you have right now.”
“I will do that Emman.”
The moment he ended the call, he dialed a number using his office landline.
“Hello Ina. This is Richard. I have a favor to ask…”
Sky was grumpily following her mom towards the Time Airways office. She was already rushing as she’s already late for her presentation. On their way to her office they met a mishap when Sky accidentally spilled his orange juice on his mom’s blouse. Maya had to return to their house to change.
It also didn’t help that she was unable to contact her officemate Emman. She accidentally swapped her phone with her most hated person of the day.
“O Maya what happened to you? And bakit ganyan ang hitsura nyo ni Sky? Nagkaproblema ba?” A concerned Ms. Ina met her.
Maya was apologetic and very embarrassed to have disappointed her boss and mentor Ina. “Ma’m Ina sorry po. Sky has a field trip kanina and hinatid ko siya kaso hindi kami umabot. Ang daming disgrasya na nangyari this morning tapos yun tatay pa nung classmate ni Sunshine na dapat ihahatid ko sa school nagpasaway pa kaya nahuli kami. Pero Ma’m Ina handa po ako sa presentation. Actually kagabi ko pa po pinaghandaan yun at nagusap kami ni Emman na maaga akong pupunta kanina kaso eto nga…” She was already near crying. Her job is very important to her and Ms. Ina had been instrumental in helping her reach the position she has now. She never wanted to let her down.
“Hey Maya kumalma ka nga. Tingnan mo kahit si Sky natatakot na sa’yo. Alam ko na lahat yun. Emman informed me already and I know naman that hindi mo pinababayaan trabaho mo and you wouldn’t be late if it’s not an emergency. Relax ka lang. I moved the meeting to 11 am. You can prepare first or asikasuhin mo muna si Sky. Kalma ka na Maya.”
She was teary-eyed while profusely thanking her boss.
Maya decided to bring Sky to the daycare center where she usually brings Sky when no one would be able to watch him.
It is her son’s most hated place but Maya had to convince Sky. She only needs to leave him for two hours so she would be able to do her presentation. The Time Airways office had no area for kids and Sky will surely be bored.
“Sige na anak. I promise we will eat ice cream and spaghetti after my work. Basta behave ka lang doon and tell Ms. Ruby when big boys tease you.”
“Yes mommy.” Sky sadly agreed.
At the daycare center…
“Here’s Mr. Potato…”
“Oh hi Mr. Potato, can my daughter join your games?”
“What is her name?”
“Her name is Sunshine. She wants to play too.”
Maya decided to leave Sky at a local daycare. They arrived while there was an ongoing puppet show where the performer was hidden. Only his puppet covered hands can be seen by his eager audience.
Maya was so impressed that she was clapping her hands when the short show ended.
The performer suddenly emerged.
It was Richard Lim.
“Oh Ms dela Rosa.”
“What are you doing here Mr. Lim?” Maya was beginning to get agitated again upon seeing him.
“Oh Sunshine got bored at the office so heto dinala ko siya dito. Nakakatuwa pala yun puppet show. Maybe I can make myself useful by doing it regularly here. Are you leaving Sky as well?”
He was nice so she had no choice but be nice as well even though he despised him so much for messing up her day.
“Yes iiwanan ko kasi walang place for kids sa office. Actually ayaw nya kaso napilit naman when I promised his favorites mamaya.”
“Ah eh.. Maya, I know I was a jerk kanina pero I want to make up for it. Let me make up for it. Ako na lang magbabantay kay Sky while you do whatever it is you need to do in your office.”
She stared at him incredulously. “Seryoso ka?”
“Yes. I can take care of the kids you know. And you don’t have to worry leaving Sky here alone. Isasama namin siya ni Sunshine.”
She’s contemplating and had a worried look on her face.
“I promise he will be unharmed at buong buo mong makikita ang anak mo mamaya.” He tried to joke.
“Alam ko naman yun kaso baka mahirapan ka kay Sky.”
“Hindi yan.” Then he asked Sky, “Little buddy do you want to go with Tito Ricky and Sunshine?”
The little boy gave a beaming smile. “Yes po!”
“See mommy! Your son trusts me.” He also gave her his bedimpled smile.
“Sige na nga. Pero please don’t let him eat chocolates kasi nagiging hyper sya. Not too much sweets din, then don’t let him play sa sandboxes dyan sa park kasi di natin alam yun mga tinatapon ng mga tao dyan atsaka….”
“I get it. Don’t worry. I’ll take good care of your son. Sige na baka mahuli ka pa sa work.”
“Thank you.” She sincerely said this time. She gave him her very first smile.
Richard also smiled then remembered their phones.
“Teka before i forget, here’s your phone. Nagkapalit pala tayo.”
Maya got hers then with some final reminders again about Sky, she left Richard and the kids.
Richard couldn’t remove his eyes from her retreating form.
He found her interesting and his heart unexpectedly reacted in a way he only felt years ago when he was still courting his ex-wife.
“Alam ko na where to celebrate your birthday brod. Pumunta na lang tayo sa bar. Isama natin yun mga engineers.” Atty. Ryan suggested.
“What? No! I won’t go to a bar to celebrate my birthday!” He said in a louder than normal voice, upset at his friend’s suggestion.
“Mabuti naman at pinansin mo na rin ako.”Atty Ryan was actually just trying to get the attention of his friend, whose mind seemed to be drifting elsewhere. “Kanina pa ako nagsasalita dito. I’ve been talking for about 15 minutes already brod and you were totally ignoring me. You’re hurting the feelings of your friend who cleared his schedule just to visit you on your birthday.” He even exaggeratedly remarked.
“Oh stop it Ryan!” He was really in a foul mood and he couldn’t even hide it.
“Brod bakit ba kasi? It’s your birthday tapos nagsusungit ka? Even yun mga nagsurprise sa’yo sa office kanina mukhang natakot sa’yo.”
“And why would they be scared? I even thanked them.”
“You thanked them nga pero halata naman na aburido ka. Siyempre takot yun mga empleyado mo.”
He just smirked and shook his head.
“Bakit nga? May problema ba brod? Si Maya ba?” Atty. Ryan asked again.
He sighed. Sadness and disappointment evident on his face.
“Aha! So si Maya nga ang dahilan. LQ ba kayo brod?” Ryan pried some more
“Lover’s quarrel! Don’t tell me hindi mo alam yan. Naku dapat aralin mo ang mga terms na yan brod at yun mga millennial terms na malamang kabisado ni Maya.”
“We’re not lovers! She’s not even my girlfriend yet.”
“Hindi ba? Hindi pa? Akala ko ba nililigawan mo siya? Hindi ka sinagot? Nabasted ka?” Atty. Ryan was surprised that Maya is not his friend’s girlfriend yet. He knows Richard’s been courting Maya for more than a year now.
“Ryan watch your term! Anong nabasted? Of course not!”
“Eh ang tagal mo nang nanliligaw hindi ka pa rin sinasagot? Aba bro ang hina natin ha! Baka naman ayaw lang ni Maya na masaktan ka kaya hindi ka nya magawang ibasted.” He teased again the already infuriated Richard who stared sharply at him. Galit na siya.
“Biro lang brod. Eto naman ang seryoso. Will you loosen up. Birthday mo pa naman.”
“Ikaw eh. Mainit na nga ulo ko sumasabay ka pa!”
“Oh so mainit nga ang ulo mo! And why is that?”
He shook his head. No sure whether to open up to his friend.”
“Brod promise hindi na kita aasarin. Now tell me bakit inis na inis ka sa mismong birthday mo? Did something happen?”
“Si Maya kasi. I was expecting her to be here today kaso ayun pa sa San Nicolas. I even celebrated with the kids yesterday and left them dun kina papa at mama so we could spend time by ourselves today pero I found out na hindi pala siya sumabay sa flight today.”
Richard was trying his best not to show his annoyance but he couldn’t control himself. He was very disappointed that everything he had planned for today was all for nothing.
What incensed him more is that she didn’t even call to greet him this morning.
He was expecting Maya to be the very first person to greet him knowing how thoughtful she was.
“Brod baka naman may dahilan kung bakit hindi siya nakabalik today. Tinanong mo sana.”
If he saw Richard upset awhile ago, Ryan could now see the sadness in his friend’s face.
“She didn’t even call.” Was all he could say.
Atty. Ryan couldn’t believe it as well. He knows Maya and it’s so unlike her to totally forget Richard’s birthday. “Brod baka naman may surprise. Baka pag-uwi mo eh nakahanda na sa bedroom mo yung…” Ryan tried to joke but was instead met by Richard’s angry stare again.
“That’s not funny at all Ryan! Maya is a decent woman.”
“Wait brod! That’s not what I meant. Ibig kong sabihin eh baka she’s preparing a surprise like a cake or handa dun sa bahay nyo. Of course mas surprise kung sa kwarto mo. Brod sorry, honestly hindi yun ang ibig kong sabihin. I really meant her decorating your room. Yun lang talaga kaso pinutol mo yun sinasabi ko. I know that Maya is a decent woman.”
“Mabuti na ang malinaw.”
“As I was saying, maybe she has a surprise. You better go home at baka naghihintay na siya dun.”
“You think so?” Richard was suddenly hopeful.
“Well oo. Pwede! Sentimental si Maya. Maybe she prepared something special. Pero if hindi naman, I’m sure may dahilan siya.”
Richard’s face suddenly lit up.
Maybe Ryan was right.
Maybe there was a surprise waiting for him at home.
“Kumusta na siya?” Manang Fe was talking to someone on the phone when he arrived.
“Ayun Manang tulog pa rin. Nagpupumilit na bumiyahe kaso napagalitan na ni Nanay. Pinainom na namin ng gamot. Nataranta kami ng nahimatay eh.” It was Kute whom Manang Fe was talking to on the landline.
“Hesusmaryosep na bata yan! Ano raw ang dahilan bakit siya nahimatay? Sigurado nagpakapagod na naman yan si Maya.” Manang Fe sounded worried.
This was what Richard heard the moment he entered the house. He rushed to get the phone from Manang Fe when he heard Maya’s name. He got it even before Manang was able to inform Kute that she’ll be handing the phone over to Richard.
Kute was still talking at the other line “…okay naman siya kahapon. Sobra ngang excited makabalik dyan. Umaga pa lang nakahanda na. Tapos may pinuntahan sa palengke. Namili ata ng pasalubong. Ayun bigla kaming tinawagan ng suki ni nanay sa palengke. Nahimatay daw si bunso.”
“What? How is she now? Did you bring her to the hospital? What did the doctor say?” Richard blurted nonstop. He was so worried.
Kute who thought she was still talking to Manang Fe, was surprised to hear Richard Lim’s voice.
She was also touched by the sound of his voice which meant that he was very much concerned of Maya. Maya already told Kute of her dates with her Ser Chief and she already told her of how he takes care of her even after she stopped being Abby’s nanny. The daily trips to and from Time Airways, the food deliveries at Maya and Emman’s condo, how he took care of her when she got drunk from the Wine Tasting activity –Kute was aware of all these. She thought that Maya was just exaggerating it because of her ‘crush’ on Richard Lim. Hearing how worried he is confirmed what Maya had been telling her. She can’t help but smile.
“Ah eh Sir Richard kalma lang po. Okay na po si bunso. Medyo nahilo lang kahapon kasi nakipagsabayan sa maraming tao sa palengke eh hindi pa nag-almusal. Pinacheck-up namin eh sabi ng doctor over fatigue daw kaya ayun pinagpahinga na muna sya. Tumawag lang naman ako kasi alalang alala si bunso na hindi siya makabalik dyan eh birthday nyo daw po. Happy Birthday nga po pala.”
“Thank you Cris and just call me Richard. Please stop calling me Sir. How is Maya now? Kumakain ba siya? Does she drink her medicine? Sinong kasama niya.” He was frantic again.
“Sir este Richard okay na si bunso. Konting araw lang na pahinga siguradong babalik na yun sigla nya. Si nanay po ang nagbabantay sa kanya sa kwarto at pinapagalitan siya kapag hindi kumakain.”
He sighed, relieved to know that Maya is well-taken cared of. “I am just so worried. Alam ko naman that she is in good hands lalo na at kayo ang kasama nya. Thank you for informing me Cris. I was already worried when she didn’t reply to my messages and I couldn’t even reach her phone.”
“Yun nga po ang dahilan kung bakit ako tumawag. Sobrang alala kasi ni bunso na hindi ka man lang niya mabati ngayong kaarawan mo. Nung nahimatay kasi siya nawala yun cellphone nya sa palengke. Nahulog yata. Sana yun nakapulot eh ibalik pa sa kanya. Pero ayun hindi ka nya matawagan kasi hindi nya kabisado yun number mo. Ang saulo nya eh etong landline ng mansion.”
“Tell her not to worry about not being able to greet me. Pakisabi na magpagaling siya. I’ll see her in a few days. Please tell her too na wag pabayaan sarili nya at kumain ng mabuti. And please give her my number or kahit save mo na muna sa phone mo so I can talk to her there.”
“Ah sige Richard. Kunin ko na yun number mo at ipapaabot ko kay Maya lahat ng sinabi mo.”
“Thank you so much Cris. Pakisabi na rin kay Aling Teresita na salamat.”
“Salamat din Richard sa pagaalala mo kay Maya at sa lahat ng pagaasikaso mo at pagaalalay sa kanya dyan sa Manila.”
“Your sister is very important to me Cris. She is very special too.”
“Halata nga. Salamat at happy birthday ulit.”
The moment they ended the call, Richard still couldn’t seem to calm down. He was still worried of Maya and he felt helpless being far from her.
“Nay bakit ka ganyan makatingin?” Maya woke up to see her Nanay Teresita adoringly staring at her.
“Wala lang. Ang bunso ko kasi dalaga na. May naiinlove na.” She teased.
“Nay naman eh. 25 na po ako hindi na dalaga. Atsaka kung si Simon na naman yan…” She gets upset every time her family teases her to her childhood friend Simon who had been very vocal of wanting to court her.
Nanay Teresita ignored her. “Kumusta na pakiramdam mo? Nakahanda na yun dinner mo sa labas or gusto mo dito na lang. Kaya mo na bang tumayo?”
“Nay hindi naman ako lumpo. Kaya ko na po atsaka buong araw na po akong tulog.” Then she suddenly remembered something. “Nay si Kute po tinawagan na po ba nya si Ser Chief? Binati na po ba nya? Naku sasama ang loob nun sa akin.” She was worried now.
“Maya natawagan na ni Kute. Wag ka nang magalala dyan. Atsaka alam kong maiintindihan naman yun ni Sir Richard mo.”
“Kasi naman nay nung birthday ko masyado nyang ginawang espesyal tapos ako ngayon…”
“Maya nagkasakit ka. Mas magagalit si Sir Richard kung nagpumilit kang bumalik sa Manila.”
“Kahit na nay. Ang dami namang araw na magkakasakit eh kung bakit sa kaarawan pa ni Ser Chief.”
She didn’t notice Kute joining them. She also had a teasing look. “Baka naman kasi bunso sobra kang excited sa kaarawan ni Ser Chief mo kaya hayun nagkalovenat ka tuloy.”
“Uy Kute hindi ah! Kaasar to!”
“Hindi pero namumula na. Naku Maya umayos ka nga. At mag-ayos ka ng buhok mo. Ayun binigay ni Ser Chief mo yun number nya. Tawagan mo na para masabihan mo na nang I love you, este Happy Birthday pala.”
“Kute ano ba!” Pikon na si Maya. “Pahiram na muna nga ng phone mo.”
Nanay Teresita enjoyed watching her daughters.
“Naku mag-ayos ka na muna Maya tapos lumabas ka na muna para kumain na tayo. Mamaya mo na tawagan si Sir Richard.” Her nanay said with finality then left the room.
“O bunso magpaganda ka na para naman magtunog kang maganda sa phone.” She teased some more.
“Excuse me Kute maganda talaga ako!”
“O siya sabi mo eh! Bilisan mo na para makakain na tayo at para makausap mo na si Ser Chief mo. Para na rin matanggal yang lovenat mo kapag nakausap mo si crushmate.”
“Kute!!!! Marinig ka naman ni Nanay! Tayong tatlo lang ni Ser Chief ang may alam dyan eh. Nakakainis ka!”
“Oo hindi na! Kaya mo na ba talaga ha? Hindi ka na nahihilo?”
“Hindi na Kute. Okay na ako. Sige na mauna ka na dun at wag mo akong bibiruin sa harap ni Nanay. Kahiya!”
After fixing her hair and changing her clothes which she had been wearing since last night, Maya went out her room and proceeded to their dining table. She was surprised to see what her nanay and sister prepared. All her favorite dishes were on the table.
“So how are you feeling Maya?”
The gentle voice that she missed so much startled her and gave her goosebumps. Even Richard Lim’s voice never fails to make her feel giddy.
Maya turned around slowly. She thought her ears were playing tricks on her.
The moment her eyes met his, she was unable to control herself, he flung her arms around him for an embrace. “Nandito ka Ser Chief! Happy Birthday!”
She was beyond happy to see him.
Though a bit embarrassed that Maya hugged him in front of her parents, Richard hugged her tightly in return. He even kissed her forehead. “You overworked yourself again kaya ka nagkasakit. You made me worry. ” He tenderly told her in a voice that made her knees wobble with kilig.
Also in a whisper she replied. “Sorry na. Kala ko naman kasi kaya ko eh.” They were still in an embrace while talking to each other. They occasionally look into each other’s eyes while doing so.
“Ehem ehem… ang dami nang langgam… yun pagkain.”
The two suddenly broke the embrace, both blushing.
Richard sheepishly smiled. While Maya pouted and gave her pikon glare at Kute.
“Ano Maya? Bakit ganyan ka makatingin? Huy bunso may basbas naman na ni Nanay yan so okay lang. Go lang kayo.” She joked.
Nanay Teresita was just observing them but she was happy to witness Richard’s concern for her daughter.
“Anong basbas? Anong pinagsasabi mo Kute?”
Richard interjected, “Ah eh, Maya kanina I already made my intention clear to Aling Teresita and Cristina Rose. I asked their permission to court you and they gave me their blessings.”
If she was already blushing awhile ago, Maya even turned redder this time. She was shy all of a sudden especially as to where the conversation was leading to.
Richard was quick to notice how she became uncomfortable. “Hey what’s wrong?” He even tucked her errant hair in her ear.
She was really shy. “Ah eh wala! Wala naman.”
“Maya I asked permission so that your nanay and sister would know that my intentions are clean. I also promised them that I’ll take care of you and won’t give them any reason to worry. This is the right thing to do Maya and gusto ko na alam nila that I’m sincere when I say that you are very special to me. I also want them to know that I would always support you and never get in the way of your dreams kahit, hopefully, maging tayo na. I also want to assure them that I would always protect you, never give you a reason to be sad or upset or mad. And most of all I would take care of you and always be careful with your feelings, with your heart.”
“Eeeehhhh! Nagpapakilig ka nang masyado baka himatayin ulit ako nyan.”
“Silly!” Then he hugged her again and kissed her forehead leaving both Nanay Teresita and Kute in awe of the man who flew all the way to San Nicolas just to make sure that their daughter is okay.
He even gave both the dela Rosa women flowers and asked the local restaurant to prepare food to celebrate his birthday with Maya and her family.
“Ehem ehem sabi ko nga di ba ang dami na pong langgam ng pagkain…”
“Yes let’s eat now.”
After a hearty meal shared by the family and even their neighbors, Maya and Ricky were now seated at the small sofa in the dela Rosa living room. Kute and Nanay Teresita were at the Chibugan. They wanted to give Richard and Maya privacy so they left them alone.
“Ser Chief salamat ha!”
“Nagpunta ka pa talaga dito. Kawawa naman yung mga bata.”
“No. I already celebrated my birthday with them yesterday and nandun sila kina mama at papa. I cleared my schedule today kasi nga I have plans to celebrate my birthday with you. Kaso yun nga nagkasakit ka.”
“Nagalit ka ba nang hindi kita natawagan at nabati?”
“No. Of course not!”
“Hindi ka affected?” Sad sya to learn na wala naman kay Ser Chief na hindi siya nabati.
“Syempre affected. I was expecting to hear your voice the moment I woke up eh to greet me. Pero hindi ako galit. Tampo is more like it. But when I found out you got sick it’s more of worry. I had to ask Captain James to fly me here.”
“Si Ser James? Seryoso? Akala ko naiinis ka dun.”
“No hindi ako naiinis. Nagseselos ng konti siguro. But that was before. Now alam ko that there’s nothing to be jealous of.” Then he gave her his confident smile.
“Bakit do I need to be jealous of him?”
“Siyempre wala. Pero dapat hindi ka na nagpunta. Pwede naman na akong lumuwas bukas.”
“No. We’re staying here for three days. Ipinagpaalam na kita sa Time Airways and I already asked Liza and Atty Ryan to take care of LAS matters.”
“Ser Chief hindi naman kailangan eh. Mas kailangan ka sa LAS.”
“But I want it here. I want to take care of you. I also want to experience what it’s like to live here in the province kahit three days lang. I’ll make sure na magpapagaling ka.”
“Magaling na nga ako Ser Chief. Ang kulit.”
“Shhh stop arguing with the birthday celebrant.”
“Ay teka Ser Chief may surprise ako sa’yo.”
“A kiss?” he teased.
Namula si Maya and she lovingly slapped him. “Ano ka ba! Hindi! Ikaw talaga!”
He made a pout.
She just giggled at how cute he looked.
Then she stood up and got something from her room. “Regalo ko to na pinagawa ko sa palengke kahapon.”
It was a shirt with his face on it
In front it showed
At the back…
She gave the shirt to him and hid her face while giggling at what she had printed on it.
He chuckled, amused at her. Maya never fails to make him smile.
“Nagustuhan mo?” She asked him.
“Of course. What’s in this shirt is true. I only began to smile when I met you.”
“Pakilig ka na naman eh.”
“I love the shirt but of course it would be better to have a birthday kiss too.”
She was blushing again.
“Bakit bawal ba?”
“Ah eh… hindi naman pero…”
But before finishing what she was saying Richard already captured her lips with his and gave he a gentle kiss which made Maya close her eyes and hold on to Richard’s nape.
A/N: No hindi pa sila pero pwede naman ata yun kiss. Birthday naman ni Serchief Ricky eh.