3 months after…
Richard and Maya’s tandem became phenomenal right after the pilot telecast of their teleserye entitled With Love and Happiness. Admittedly, their partnership was experimental yet their chemistry was undeniable. Fan bases expanded rapidly in different parts of the country, which also created an opportunity for all the cast members to reach out. It was a tiring yet productive Sunday for Richard and Maya and the rest of the gang, as they finished a mall tour. The two of them, including their co-actors Luke Andrew and Nikki Grace, were making their way down to the parking area.
“Grabe, ang intense ng mga tao! I wasn’t even expecting this!” Luke Andrew exclaimed while grinning from ear to ear. He just entered showbiz after being discovered at a fast food chain. In the series, he plays the role of Richard’s eldest son.
“Me too, Kuya! Super ang clamor ng fans, ano?” Nikki Grace added. Unlike Luke, Nikki entered the business when she was 4 years old. She used to appear on a noontime TV show until she decided to lie low at the age of 12. Now at 17, she made a comeback to showcase her acting skills.
“Oh, kalma lang Luke and Nikki ha? Okay pa ba kayo?” Maya asked the two teenagers while handing them two bottles of water. They were all now relaxingly seated inside the van.
“Yes, Tita Maya! Our adrenaline is super high! Oh my gee! Nakakatuwa that people still remember me!” Nikki was ecstatic. She couldn’t explain the happiness she felt when people at the mall show started screaming her name on top of their lungs.
“Of course, Niks. How could they forget the lovely face and angelic voice of yours?” Richard joined in the conversation and sat right beside Maya. He was talking to Nikki when in fact, his eyes was on Maya. The latter was busy digging in her bag looking for her lip gloss.
Nikki almost finished the bottle of water before responding to Richard. “Tito Richard talaga! You’re medyo bolero, ha.” Nikki’s comment about Richard made everyone laugh.
“Ok guys,” Perry went inside the van and continued, “sorry to interrupt you pero ngayon naman ay didiretso tayo sa studio for your photo shoot. I’m sorry talaga, alam kong pagod na kayo pero promise last na ito. Sabi ng management ay kailangan daw natin ng new picture para sa ating title card. Thank you guys!” Perry carefully closed the door and few moments after the van started moving. Not a single complaint was heard from the cast members. As a matter of fact, they were enjoying every moment together.
Since it would take them almost two to three hours to get to the studio, Maya, Luke and Nikki had a power nap. Richard, on the other hand, was busy texting Abigail. Few minutes later, the three were all ready in dreamland. The road was quite bumpy which made Maya a bit uneasy. With her eyes closed, she tried shifting positions until she finally found a cozy spot. Unknown to her, it wasn’t her pillow – it was Richard’s lean, muscular shoulders. He smiled upon seeing Maya’s head on his left shoulder and extended his arms to pull her closer to him. He placed his head against Maya’s and just after a little while, he, too, fell asleep.
Perry took a picture of Maya and Richard sleeping soundly on each others arms before waking them up. Aww, ang cute! Hindi lang pala ang characters nila ang bagay, kundi sila rin. He thought. “Ah, Maya, Richard, nandito na tayo sa location. Nikki and Luke, gising na rin kayo.”
Maya groaned while Richard tightly held her to his chest. Luke and Nikki’s eyes widened upon seeing the both of them. Nikki whispered to Perry, “Tito Perry, ang sweet nila, ano? Pero sabi nila friends lang daw sila when Kuya Luke and I were teasing them.”
Perry replied softly, “Oo nga eh! Kulang nalang maging president na ako ng fans club nila sa sobrang kilig ko talaga. Alam mo ba nung nag-taping kami ng first kiss nila three days ago, mangisay-ngisay ako sa kilig!” Perry even acted the way he felt while narrating what happened. Luke was unable control his laughter which made both Richard and Maya flinch.
The two stared at each other for a second before removing their hands around each other. Richard placed his glasses back on and cleared his throat before speaking, “Ah yeah, let’s go.”
“Tara na, sabi ko nga eh. Nikki and Maya yung dressing room niyo is on the right side while yung sa inyo Richard and Luke is on the left side. See you there.” Luke, Nikki, and Perry were staring and smirking at each other meaningfully. Luke was the first one to get off the van followed by Nikki. Maya and Richard were left inside the van. The air was filled with awkwardness.
“Ah, partner, ano… Sorry ha… Ano kasi eh…” Maya started the conversation but Richard was quick to place his finger on Maya’s lips.
“It’s ok and sorry din. Let’s go?” Richard offered his hand to Maya as they get off the van. Maya just nodded, wondering why she was speechless.
“What?! Oh my goodness! Chard! You’re the man!” Raffi was jumping out of excitement. She couldn’t believe that Richard just admitted that he was starting to like Maya and told her about the incident inside the van.
“Sshhh! Raffi! Ang ingay mo talaga. That is why I don’t want to tell you.” Richard frowned and scratched the back of his head. He thought that it was too early to tell Raffi.
Raffi pretended to be annoyed. She said, “Bahala ka, I won’t help you!”
Richard grabbed her arms, trying to stop her escape. “Hey, I’m just kidding!”
Raffi shrieked once again. “You know Chard, sa lahat ng mga babaeng na-link, niligawan, at nagustuhan mo, kay Maya lang ako boto. I’m super duper happy. Seriously!”
“Thanks Raffi. But hey, promise me, you’re not going to tell anyone about this, okay? Or else…” Richard gave Raffi the threatening look.
Raffi raised her right arm as if she was taking an oath. “Yes, yes, yes! I promise. You don’t need to tell me that. Besides, ‘yun naman talaga ang plano ko. Gusto ko kayong mag-meet pero I guess it was really fate that brought you closer together. Biruin mo ha, from that one commercial stint, who would have thought na magiging successful ‘yun at because of that, you two were given a project!”
Suddenly, the jovial expression on Richard’s face was replaced by a worried and gloomy one. “But Raffi, what about Abigail?”
Raffi sighed and replied, “Hey, I know na importante sa iyo ang anak mo. You’re one of the greatest fathers I have known who would always look after the welfare of his child. Pero, hindi pa naman kayo ni Maya, right? You’re still in the process of getting there. So, I guess, ‘yun muna ang isipin mo? I mean, hindi naman sa binabaliwala mo si Abigail, pero, I think much better na ayusin niyo muna kung ano yung nararamdaman mo for Maya. I got your back, Cuz!”
“Thank you.” Richard’s eyes started to water. He didn’t know what else to say, so he hugged Raffi.
That night, Richard was talking to Maya via text message. He was laying on his bed while snuggling with a pillow. He told Maya: Hey, partner! I am very sorry of what happened earlier inside the van.
Maya just finished slipping into her favourite pyjamas when her phone beeped. She replied: Sorry din partner ha? Akala ko kasi talaga unan yung yakap ko. Richard didn’t take a minute to respond. His message said: Sanay na ako. Ang lumbot kasi ng muscles ko, ano? Hehehe.
Maya chuckled upon his reply and she said: Ha ha ha ha. You’re. So. Funny. Antok lang yan partner. Tulog na tayo. We had a pretty looooong day.
Richard was feeling sleepy when he read Maya’s message. He replied: Yes, we better go to bed partner. Good night and sweet dreams. 😉 ❤
To Maya, it felt like something peculiar struck her heart. It thumped faster and loudly. Bakit may heart emoticon? At teka, bakit – bakit ba ako kinikilig? She tried to ask herself. However, she concluded that Richard might have accidentally pressed the heart emoticon. She sighed deeply and told herself, kalma ka lang Maya. Baka napindot lang ‘yan.