17

My Greatest Love: Chapter 9

“Darlin’ I’m still in love. As long as this old heart keeps beating, I’ll be loving you. Every breath I take repeating that I’m still in love with you…”
– David Gates

~~~~~

Samantha was hysterically crying while continuously slapping Richard’s arm. He decided to break up with her. “How could you do this to me? Why, Richard, why? Have I done something wrong to deserve all these?” Samantha said in between sobs.

While in Canada, Richard has meticulously thought about calling off his engagement with Samantha. He felt that he was marrying her for wrong reasons. However, he failed to find Maya because Edz refused to give Maya’s address. “Samantha, I’m really sorry. I really am. Believe me.”

Tears were overflowing on Samantha’s pearly white face. “Richard, please. Don’t leave me. I’m begging you.” She knelt down. “What you’re feeling is just wedding jitters, right? Please, Richard. I’ll do everything just don’t leave me. I can’t live without you. You do love me, don’t you?”

Richard pulled Samantha up and wiped her knees. “Samantha, I’m sorry. I’m sorry for being dishonest. I’m sorry for being a jerk. I’m sorry for everything. I do not want to hurt you any further that is why I am ending this as early as now.”

Samantha gathered strength before speaking. “But why all of a sudden? It hurts…so bad.”

“I’m sorry.” That was all Richard could afford to say.

Few weeks after, Richard talked to all the people involved, including their respective families, and apologized for the big mess he has done. As a consequence, Samantha’s father pulled out his shares and ended his business partnership with Richard and his company. It was admittedly quite a big loss, but he couldn’t afford to break someone’s fragile heart again.

~~~~~

Jerome decided to surprise Maya on their first anniversary as a couple. He was planning to take her to Revolving Restaurant located in the heart of Downtown Vancouver. When he saw Maya approaching his car, he immediately ran towards her. “Happy anniversary, love.”

Maya was taken aback. “Wow!” She didn’t know what to say.

“Surprised?” Jerome was grinning from ear to ear.

Maya chuckled as she entered the car. “Of course!” She placed her seat belt on. “Mukhang may pasabog tayo ngayon ah. Akala ko nakalimutan mo.”

Jerome planted a kiss on her temple. “How can I forget? Nung sinagot mo ako was one of the happiest moments in my life.”

“Hmmm. Bola!” Maya joked but deep inside she was feeling giddy.

“As I always say… Kelan ba kita binola?” Jerome started the engine and carefully pulled out of the driveway.

It took them roughly 30 minutes to reach their destination. The ambiance of the restaurant was so romantic, just what Jerome had in mind. They ordered their food and while waiting, they had a serious conversation.

“Paano mo naman naisipan na sagutin ako? Di ba, I mean, basted na nga ako di ba?” He candidly asked.

Maya took a sip of wine before responding. “Eh kasi nga, ang kulit mo di ba? Hindi mo ako tinantanan.”

Jerome raised his eyebrows. “So, nakulitan ka lang kaya mo ako sinagot?”

Her face turned serious. “Oo.” Jerome pouted and started having doubts. Then she took back what she said. “Joke lang! Eto naman, di mabiro.”

He smiled in relief. “Akala ko totoo na eh. But seriously, what made you say yes?”

She held his hands and looked straight to his eyes. “Kasi… Never kang sumuko. You were always there whenever I need you. You became my confidante, my best friend, even my driver! Name it all. And Jerome, I want to thank you for that. I really appreciate all the things you’ve done for me. Feeling ko nga, ang unfair ko. I cannot reciprocate the love that you’ve been giving me.”

Jerome felt this was the right time. “Maya, do you really love me?” She nodded. “Well, because, I really love you so. And I can’t wait so spend the rest of my lifetime with you.” Jerome knelt down on his knees and took out the ring from his pocket. “Maya, will you marry me?”

Customers inside the restaurant wasn’t able to contain their emotions. They started to cheer and clap their hands. Maya shouted, “Yes! I’ll marry you, Jerome!”

~~~~~

Just landed. Thank you Eds, I owe you one.

After months of persuasion, Eds finally gave Maya’s contact number to Richard. It was a long and tiring 12 hour flight from Manila. He is back in Canada just what he intended to. As soon as he entered his hotel room, where he will be staying for a couple of days, he immediately went to bed. It is going to be a tough yet beautiful day tomorrow, he claimed.

The next day, he went to the hospital where Maya works. He looked for her but unfortunately she was in sick leave. Instead of losing hope, it gave Richard more enthusiasm to find and talk to Maya. Since he didn’t want to surprise her by calling or by suddenly appearing in front of her doorsteps, he decided to go to the place where Maya said to be her usual hang out place.

The cool autumn breeze was enveloping his whole body. Across from where he was sitting were a pair of lovely couples. One was probably in mid-20s while the other was probably in their 60s. Suddenly, all the good things that he and Maya shared when they were still together kept replaying in his mind. Yes, they had a short-lived romance, which unfortunately didn’t last long. And now that he is back, he was planning to win her heart again, hoping that he still has a chance. How could I be a total jerk?

He tried to held back his tears but he wasn’t able to. He wiped his misty eyes with his fingers and looked at a different direction. There is nothing to do here, I should go back to the hotel. Richard was about to stand up when he saw something peculiar in his peripheral view. He then turned sideways to see who or what it was. It took him a minute or two before realizing who the familiar figure was.

It was Maya.

20

My Greatest Love: Chapter 8

A/N: Helloooo! May tao pa ba? Haha, sorry! Quite busy with my life, hehe. Medyo malapit na din matapos ‘tong story na ‘to kasi masyadong masakit (relate much? haha) and may naisip nanaman akong bago. Hope that you’ll watch out for it. Take care!

Love,
Miles ❤

~~~~~

“I never thought she’d say goodbye and I’ll never understand the reasons why…”
– Bobby Caldwell

Things were going pretty steady between Maya and Richard, so to speak. During Maya’s short stay in the Philippines, he never failed to catch up with her by visiting her every other day, not to mention that he has been showering her with gifts. Maya didn’t like the idea since it seemed that he was courting her so she told him that his presence was enough. Richard asked Maya to go out to watch a movie since she was about to leave in three days. At first, Maya was protecting her heart but thought that spending a day with him wouldn’t hurt since she survived the previous days without feeling anything. Edz was caught by surprise when she saw the two giggling upon exiting the movie theatre so immediately, she texted her best friend.

Pssst! Let’s meet. Andito ako sa mall.

“Ang ganda nung movie, ano?” Richard tried to grabbed her hands but she budged.

Maya looked tensed. “Ah, Chard… Nagtext ‘yung Tita ko. I need to meet her somewhere.” She lied.

Richard wasn’t expecting that Maya planned to leave early. “Ah, talaga? Sige hatid na kita.”

“Naku, wag na. It’s okay. I can manage. Thanks for the treat.” she smiled.

There must be something going on. He thought. “Well then. See you on the day of your flight.”

She met Edz at a restaurant near the mall’s entrance. Good thing Richard texted her that he was about to leave the mall.

Edz, with slightly raised eyebrows, confronted Maya. “Ano’yon?”

Maya was perplexed. “Ang alin?”

“Bakit kayo magkasama?” Edz continued.

“Ha? What are you talking about?” Maya was starting to hint that Edz saw them earlier but she didn’t want to presume.

“Kayo. Kayo ni Richard. Nakita ko kayo kanina palabas ng cinema. Ano ‘yon? Anong meron kayo?”

“Wala. Wala ‘yon.” was Maya’s plain reply.

After expelling a deep sigh, Edz stretched her arms towards Maya. “Sigurado ka? Kahit kaunti? Ayaw kitang masaktan.”

At that moment, millions of thoughts were running through Maya’s mind. Half of her was telling her that there was really something budding between the two of them, while the other half was still convincing herself that she has moved on. However, at that same time, her heart was also speaking to her. Why would her heart somersault when their eyes meet? Why is she feeling butterflies in her stomach whenever he is around? Why is she feeling at ease when she is with him? Why is she this happy? Maya asked herself: is it really over?

As soon as Maya’s eyes closed, tears streamed down her rosy cheeks. “Hindi ko alam, Edz. Mahal ko talaga siya. I’ve tried so many times, but I feel that there is no way of getting over him.”

“Eh, anong plano mo? Babalik ka na sa Canada, di ba? Tapos ano? Masasaktan ka nanaman. You were hurt once and that’s enough.” Edz was trying to comfort her friend. She knew this was coming.

Maya sniffed. “I know. Mahirap diktahan ang puso kung ano ang dapat gawin. Hindi ko alam, pero, sa tingin ko, may sariling isip ‘yung puso ko na kahit anong pagpupumilit ang gawin ko, hindi ko parin siya makalimutan.”

“You must really love him.” Edz paused. “But please, be careful. You don’t know where would these things lead to.”

Richard and Maya, as usual, maintained a regular communication after the latter went back to Canada. But as they say, the only constant in this world is change. Again, the inevitable happened.

~~~~~

Jerome smiled as he was pulling into the driveway. “Hey beautiful.”

“Hmm, bola.” Maya was waiting for Jerome to fetch and drop her off to work.

He kissed her cheeks and opened the passenger’s door. “How many times would I have to tell you na kahit kailan di kita binola?”

She chuckled. “Thank you.” Maya went inside the car, fixed her things, and placed her seat belt. “Sige na nga, sabi mo eh.”

“So, what time ka uuwi mamaya?” Jerome started the engine and pulled out of the driveway afterwards.

Maya re-positioned herself. “Hindi pa nga nakakapasok, uwian na agad?”

“Kasi, gusto ulit kita makita.” He stared at her endearingly.

Maya’s eyes twinkled as she melted like an ice cream under the sun. “Seven in the evening ang off ko.”

Jerome cheered with his clenched fists up in the air. “Yun! So, date tayo mamaya ah?” Maya grinned as she found it funny every time her boyfriend celebrates whenever she agrees to have a date night with him.

~~~~~

 “So, honey, do you like this colour?” Samantha sweetly asked Richard.

Richard plainly smiled. “It’s up to you. Whatever makes you happy.”

Samantha and Richard has been in a relationship for two years before the two decided to tie the knot. Well, it seemed that Richard had so many pressures from his and his girlfriend’s party. Like, urging him to settle down already because the time is running out. Samantha Rivera was one of his clients who he frequently worked with. Aside from that, they have a lot of common friends so it wasn’t hard for them to get along easily. Richard thought that it was the right time to move on since his relationship with Maya never really blossomed into something, which was the opposite of what he really hoped for. Distance was always an issue and it seemed that things wasn’t just falling into their right places. That day, Richard and Samantha were meeting with their wedding coordinator to finalize the design they wanted for the invitation.

“That is a great colour combination, Sam. I like it.” Corrine turned to Richard. “Mr. Lim, do you want to add anything?”

Richard raised his eyebrows and leaned against the chair. “I think Samantha has chosen the best ones.”

Corrine carefully packed her things. “Okay then. Hopefully by next week or the week after that, invitations will be printed out. You have only a hundred guests so it wouldn’t be a hassle. Please do not hesitate to call me if there are any further changes or any matter that concerns you.”

“Thank you Corrine for being efficient.” said Samantha.

Corrine stood up and shook hands with Samantha and Richard. “No worries. I love working with the both of you. I have to go. Take care!”

When Corrine left, Samantha’s face turned serious. “What’s happening to you? You were unusually quiet today. Is something bothering you?”

“No, there’s none. Baka pagod lang ‘to.” replied Richard. That was a lie. He has been skeptical about the wedding.

“That’s what I’m saying. You’ve been exhausting yourself in the past few days. Are you sure you’re okay?” Samantha was starting to worry.

Before Richard was able to respond, his phone rang. “Hello?” Samantha left her seat and motioned to Richard that she was just going to the powder room. “Yes, Mr. Reyes, it’s me, Richard speaking…” Richard nodded to Samantha. “Next week? Are you serious?” There was a long pause. “Okay, Mr. Reyes, I understand. Thank you. I’ll see you. Bye.”

“Who was that?” Samantha returned to her seat and sipped her cup of orange pekoe tea.

“It was an emergency call from Mr. Reyes.” Richard didn’t want to detail his conversation with Mr. Reyes. He thought that Samantha would oppose to the idea.

“About what?” She was trying to persuade him.

Richard sighed. “Uh, well. About business.” He didn’t want to continue but Samantha was giving him the “look” so he was forced to. “He wants me to fly to Canada next week and we will be staying there for two or three days. It is really urgent. One of his trusted engineers had an important family matter to attend to so he thought he could bring me along.”

Samantha had a confused and sour look on her face. “What? Aren’t we supposed to meet up with our ninongs and ninangs next week? Why are you making plans all of a sudden?”

Richard tried to pacify Samantha. “Calm down, Sam. I didn’t plan this just so you know. This is an urgent one and I really need to attend to my client. Please understand.” Samantha didn’t respond, instead, she walked out on him. He couldn’t help but to heave a deep sigh. What have I gotten myself into? He asked himself. Few minutes after, he received an SMS from Mr. Reyes.

Hi Richard, our flight is booked. We will be leaving Manila on Wednesday, 8 in the evening and we’ll be arriving Vancouver 9 in the evening of the same day. Kindly check your email for further information regarding our flight. I apologize for interrupting you and your fianceé. This matter is just really urgent and I know you’re the best person who could help me solve the issue. Thanks again.

Richard’s face brightened up and instantly thought of Maya. Will I see her again? Oh boy. What are you thinking? You’re engaged! And do you think Maya would want to see you? Of course not! Though he was starting to be pessimistic, he felt that something good is about to happen.

13

One Shot: Match

She had a pretty long day. She was badly missing him so she decided to sleep in their love nest that evening. Upon unlocking the bedroom, she saw a familiar figure standing on the bedroom deck, just behind the curtains and the sliding glass door. He was holding a glass of wine while gazing at the stars.

Her: I didn’t know you’re here.

He felt giddy upon hearing her voice. He turned to her with his signature loop-sided smile.

Him: You’re home, darling.

He inched towards her and kissed her neck.

Him: You smell lovely as ever. You want some wine?

She kissed his lips tenderly.

Her: No, sorry. I’ll pass on tonight. I am very tired.

Him: Do you have work tomorrow?

Her: Yes, in the evening. I have to attend a corporate event with co-workers.

He felt a pang of jealousy, so he didn’t reply. He placed his wine glass on the side table and sat on their king sized bed. Meanwhile, she slipped on her red laced negligee, one of his favourites.

Her: Like it?

Still no response from him. She climbed on the bed and went on top of him.

Her: Better?

Him: Much better.

Her: I smell trouble in the paradise. What seems to be bothering you?

She trailed kisses from his biceps up to his neck.

Him: I miss you.

Her: Uhm, nope. That’s not what I feel.

He pulled her closer and kissed her deeply.

Him: Really? So, what do you think it is?

Her: You’re jealous.

He smirked.

Him: You know me too well.

Her: Kaya nga eto na po, bumabawi na di ba?

Him: Thanks for rocking my world.

~~~~~

They were still in bed, sated after hours and hours of love making. She heard her phone rang.

Her: What? Are you serious? After lunch? But I’m still here in—

She groaned. He turned to her and asked who it was.

Her: My handler. She told me that I needed to be at the venue by lunch time. I have to go, sweetheart.

Him: What time should you be there?

Her: Uhm, 1 o’clock. What time is it?

Him: Sweetheart, hindi ka aabot. It’s 11:45 am and mind you, it’s quite traffic today.

Her: What? No! I should better be going.

She stood up and saw his gray shirt lying on the ground. She picked it up and put it on.

Him: I think I should join you in taking a bath.

She didn’t hear what he said because she was busy checking her bag.

Him: You seemed to look puzzled. What’s the matter?

Her: Yung gown ko. Naiwan ko sa bahay.

He opened the closet.

Him: Why don’t you use this instead?

He handed the her the gown she used during their wedding reception.

Her: But why, sweetheart? I thought you’re feeling jealous. Why would you let me wear this? Isn’t this dress special for both of us?

He shrugged.

Him: Just like what you said, the dress is special. Therefore, it will be a reminder of how deep my love is for you. I know you’ll miss me. For the meantime, imagine I am the dress. I’ll be hugging and keeping you company for the rest of the evening.

She giggled sweetly. He kissed her temple.

Her: ‘Yun lang ba talaga?

Him: Let’s just say that it will also remind your partner that you’re mine.

Her: I knew it!

She proceeded to the bathroom and he followed.

Him: Hey, sweetheart. Don’t put the gray shirt in the hamper.

Her: Why?

Him: I’ll wear it.

Her: Huh? Why?

Him: ‘Cause you wore it.

Her: Aren’t you supposed to wash it first before wearing it again?

Him: Nope.

Her: You’re crazy.

Him: Yes. Crazy over you.

Few hours later, he sent her a picture of him wearing the gray shirt under a costume.

Her: Did you wear that on your way to work?

Him: The costume? No. The gray shirt? Yes.

Her: Seriously? Hindi ba pantulog mo ‘yan?

Him: Nah. It looks good on me.

Her: You always look good. Especially when you’re with me.

Him: You’re always in my heart and mind, you know that. The shirt does not only have your smell in it, but also your lipstick. Buti nalang, no one noticed it. I saw the kiss mark you left while I was putting the costume on.

Her: I did it on purpose, sweetheart. It will remind girls to stop chasing after you. And also, it will help you remember how well we spent the night together. Love you.

Him: Love you. Always and forever.

12

One Shot: Absence

Hello dear readers,

Wala lang. Trip ko lang mag-one shot. HAHAHA. Namiss ko kasi yung sa parallel universe eh. Forgive me if there are any grammar lapses. I did this for only 10 minutes. Haha. Anyway, enjoy.

Love,
Miles

~~~~~

The feeling is uncontainable and indescribable. His heart is overflowing. At last, after months, he will be able to see her again. He is busy prepping with his co-workers for a production number.  Beside him is a bouquet of red roses and a box of Hermes bag – his monthsary gift for her. Though his eyes are a bit puffy since he just came from a location shoot that morning, still, his eyes are twinkling alongside with his signature loop sided smile. However, few minutes later, she informed him that she is not feeling well. Thus, the latter decided to stay at home.

Him: Sweetie, didn’t you know that I am very eager to see you? I miss you a lot.

Her: I miss you too, beloved. You see, I’ve been working non-stop. My body was already complaining since last week but I didn’t pay attention to it. Now I’m suffering.

Him: I’m coming. Right now.

Her: What? Right now? Are you serious?

Him: Yep! Why? Don’t you want to see me?

Her: You don’t know how I badly want to hug and kiss you. You still have a commitment though. Plus, I want to see you dancing, my dear. Show me your moves! : P

Him: My moves? What kind? I have many… I can show you one…later. ; )

Her: Hahaha, you silly!

Him: Got to go sweetheart. It is our turn. I dedicate this number for you.

Her: Hmp, bolero! : p Seriously, I’m kind a bit of jealous.

Him: Don’t be. Remember, I am yours.

Her: Love you. And oh, I have a surprise for you. See you later, my darling.

After the number, he immediately rushed to the parking area. To his surprise, he saw her waiting for him inside his car. She is seating at the passenger’s seat.

Him: What are you doing here?

Her: Don’t you like it?

Him: I do, of course. I thought you were very sick? Anyway, happy monthsary. Here is my gift to you.

Her: Hmm, feeling quite better now, actually. Especially now that you’re in front of me. You don’t have to bother buying me gifts. But anyway, thank you.

He kissed her with hunger and burning passion.

Her: Sweetheart! Why did you do that? Baka mahawa ka.

Him: I don’t care.

Of course, the rest is history.

15

Hello!

¡Hola mi amigas!

May tao pa ba? Sorry for not being able to update. Kinain na ako ng real world. Haha, chazz. For the meantime, click the link below and enjoy these videos I made. This is for all my followers na hindi ako na-fo-follow sa Twitter and such, hehe. Enjoy! Comment your violent reactions, if there are any! Haha!

Click here (view on HD for better results) –> Video 1 and Video 2

Lots of love,
Miles

PS. My Greatest Love Chapter 8 is on the works. Again, sorry for the inconvenience. 🙂

21

My Greatest Love: Chapter 7

“You’re still the one I want for life. You’re still the one that I love, the only one I dream of…”
Shania Twain

~~~~~

Maya tried her best to fight against her feelings, if there was any left, for Richard. She drowned herself into an immense amount of workload to the extent of exhausting herself. Her parents, who has no slightest idea what she was going through, tried to stop her but she didn’t budge. They only thought that she has been obsessed with work. True enough, she was able to get over her late night thoughts about Richard and resumed to her old, usual self. It was a rainy Thursday afternoon and an oh-so-called urgent meeting was held for resident nurses.

“Good afternoon everyone. I am very sorry for the late notice. Don’t worry, I am just going to hold you for few minutes and then you’re free to go.” started Mary, one of the head nurses. She continued, “I am just here to inform some of our nurses about the medical mission our hospital has been planning to conduct in the Philippines. Just to give you guys a heads up, everything has been settled and the trip will be pushed through by the end of the month.”

Bakit ba nila ko pinatawag, eh hindi naman ako kasali sa trip? Maya was wondering why her presence was needed in the said meeting. She wanted to go home badly and watch her teleseryes all ready.

“However,” Mary glanced at Maya, “there are some problems that we still need to solve. Well, we only have one, to be honest.” Mary sat down on the side table. “One of our Filipino nurses, Kristina, who is supposed to join the trip, will not be able to make it due to some family matters she needs to attend in Edmonton. So, our team has decided to have Maya join us instead. Will that be all right with you, Maya?”

Maya was completely surprised. “Me? Really?” She couldn’t find words to say.

Mary smiled. “Yes, Maya, it’s you. You’re still fluent in Tagalog, right? You need not to worry. Your shifts will be covered by Kristine as soon as she gets back from Edmonton.”

“But you said, Kristine will be back. So, would it hurt if you will wait for her?” Maya wasn’t prepared for this.

Mary explained, “Well, you see, the trip will be on Wednesday morning next week. Kristine will leave for Edmonton tomorrow evening and will be back on Tuesday evening. However, it would be so tiring for her and we understand how her family needs her right now.” Maya wasn’t able to respond so Mary asked her, “Why Maya? Is there seems to be a problem? You know if you can’t maybe we could—“

“No, no, Mary. It’s all right. I am going to go with you. I understand.” Maya paused. “It’s just that…”

“What, Maya?” Mary was starting to get concern about Maya.

“….it’s just… Surprising.” that was all she could afford to say.

~~~~~

Sizzams!!! Sabi ko na eh!! Uuwi ka rin! Di mo kami matiis, ano? Hihihi! Ang tagal na rin ah… Anyway, I’m excited to see you! Reunion ba ulit tayo? Love yah!

Maya imagined hearing Edselyn’s voice while reading the messages she sent her. She informed only her three bestfriends – Emman, Edz, and Liza – that she was part of the medical mission team to be sent to the Philippines. It was a great news for Maya’s cousins and relatives as well for they will be seeing her again years after. Maya thought it was also a good opportunity to seize for her to relax and unwind after the medical mission. The team was given two weeks to complete the task together with some non-government and religious organizations.

Maya’s team was assigned in some remote areas in the north and in public schools in Metro Manila. The line ups for general check-ups, child vaccinations, and consultations were non-stop. Despite of that, Maya has not shown any signs of fatigue and irritability. She continued to serve patients until she was replaced by another nurse to take a lunch break. As she was getting closer to the tent where the lunch was served, she was approached by one of the organizers.

“Ma’am Maya!” A lady in her late teens approached her. “Buti naman at naabutan kita.”

Maya smiled even though she could hear her stomach grumbling. “Ay, hello, Camille. Kumain ka na ba?”

Camille escorted Maya inside the tent. “Ay, opo, Ma’am Maya. Kakain na po ba kayo?”

Maya chuckled. “Naku, Camille. ‘Wag mo na nga akong tawaging Ma’am. Ate Maya nalang.” Maya was about to open the styrofoam food container she took when Camille stopped her.

“Ate Maya, duon ka nalang daw po kumain sa bahay nila Pastor. Duon din po pinakain ‘yung iba niyong mga kasama. Masarap po yung luto ng asawa ni Pastor. Tara, Ate Maya!” Camille tagged Maya along in which the latter wasn’t able to resist.

Not only Maya’s stomach was full but also her heart and her eyes. She was able to exchange stories with the Pastor and his wife. With that, she found out that the church coordinated with some Filipinos at the hospital she works. From there, the plans for medical mission started. Maya was also touched when a lot of the locals thanked her and her team for allotting time and effort for doing some charity works. After lunch, she bid goodbye and was escorted back by Camille to the basketball court where the medical mission was being held.

While walking, Maya and Camille continued to talk. “Ate Maya, sana po babalik ka ulit dito sa amin ha? Nag-enjoy po kasi kitang kasama eh. Kahit na four days lang tayo nagsasamasama, feeling ko close na tayo, hihihi.”

Maya held Camille closer. “Oo naman, babalik ako. Sobrang nakakatuwa nga kayong mga youth sa church. Very active kayo sa ministry. Pagpatuloy niyo lang ‘yan ha?” Maya was suddenly called by a colleague. “Ay, Camille, dito muna ako ha?”

“Sige po Ate Maya.” Camille was fixing the chairs when she saw a familiar figure. “Kuya Richard!”

“Oh! Camille!” Richard placed his phone inside his pocket. “Nandito ka rin pala?”

Camille was obviously excited to see Richard. “Si Kuya Richard talaga. Siyempre, naman. Eh, ikaw po pala? Bakit ka andito Kuya? Wala ka bang pasok? Kumain ka na po ba?”

Richard held his hands up. “Kalma ka lang, mahina ang kalaban.” They both laughed. “Maaga ako natapos sa site kaya napadaan ako dito. Papunta pa nga lang ako kila Pastor, para makikain eh. Samahan mo ko?”

“Naman! Ikaw pa ba?” Camille placed her hands over Richard’s shoulder.

“Ang tangkad mo na Camille! Akalain mo ‘yun, dati bulinggit ka lang sa church, ngayon, ang laking bulas mo na.” Richard commented. He noticed that Camille was looking for somebody. “Sino hinahanap mo?”

Camille continued walking. “Si Ate Maya, tinignan ko lang kung nakabalik na siya dun sa may court. Yung nurse na Pinay, sabi ko sa’yo, Kuya.”

Richard’s brow arched. “Maya?”

They finally went inside Pastor’s house. “Opo, Kuya. Yung sabi ko sayo di ba, may mga nurses na galing ng Canada.”

“Canada?” Richard wanted to know more.

“Ay, si Kuya. Paulit-ulit.” Camille notified the Pastor and his wife that Richard has arrived. “Kain ka na nga Kuya, gutom na ‘yan.”

Andito si Maya? Richard couldn’t stop thinking about what Camille told him. It took him an hour to finish his rice and menudo.

~~~~~

Richard excused himself after early dinner and decided to go to the basketball court to see what was happening. It was all ready forty five minutes past five and still the line ups were long. He looked around but he did not see a sight of Maya as he was expecting. Little did he know, she was inches away and was all ready chit-chatting with Camille.

“Ate Maya, pagod ka na ba?” Camille asked.

Unexpectedly, Maya yawned. “Ay, sorry.” She giggled. “Uhm, medyo. Kaunti lang naman.”

“Di bale, Ate Maya. Malapit na mag-six thirty. Uwian na!” Camille tried to wake Maya’s senses up. “Ate Maya, thank you po ulit sa pakikipag-partner sa church namin ah. Sa susunod po ulit ha?”

The wind was blowing Maya’s hair to her face so she tried to fix it. “No worries. I love what I do, Camille. Sana ikaw din, one day, makahanap ka ng trabaho na hindi lang makakapagpasaya sa’yo kundi nakakatulong ka pa.”

“Opo, Ate. Tatandaan ko po ‘yan.” Camille hugged Maya. “Alam niyo po, blessing po ang lahat ng ito. Sino po bang mag-a-akala na natugunan ‘yung request namin na sana may mga nurses abroad na mag-medical mission dito, saka po, may mga tao pong nag-laan ng pondo para po maisagawa ang lahat ng ‘to. Kilala niyo po ba si Engineer Richard Lim? Ka-churchmate ko po siya and isa po siya sa mga sponsors ng medical mission. Sobrang blessed po si Kuya Richard ngayon eh.”

“Richard Lim?” Maya said in disbelief.

“Opo, Richard Lim po ‘yung pangalan niya.” Camille confirmed. “May kakilala po kayo?”

“Camille! Tawag ka nung mga choir members, papatulong daw sa’yo.” Iza, one of the youth members and Camille’s bestfriend, interrupted their conversation. She turned to Maya to apologize. “Ate Maya, sorry po, ah. Pinapatawag po si Camille eh.”

Maya smiled upon the young girl’s acknowledgement. “Sige lang, gawin niyo lang gagawin niyo. Okay lang ako dito.”

Richard, meanwhile, waited for Camille to inch forward the court’s entrance. He wanted to make sure that it was really Maya that Camille was talking to. When he finally got a hold of her, he screamed her name.

“Kuya!” Camille was startled. “Makatawag naman po, parang nasa kabilang bundok.”

“Ay, sorry.” Richard expelled a deep breath. “Sino ‘yung babaeng kausap mo?”

“Ah, ‘yung kanina? Si Ate Maya po. Andun po siya oh, sa may table sa tabi ng ring. Sige, Kuya, wait lang po ah.” Camille ran off immediately.

So, si Maya nga. He said. He wanted to approach her but there was an weird feeling that crawled inside his chest. Seconds after, he found himself striding towards Maya’s direction. She was talking to some patients and assisting their needs. There, he finally stood behind her. When she felt that someone was behind her, she turned around and meticulously placed the stack of papers on the table without looking who the next patient was.

Maya was slowly lifting her head up. “Saglit lang po ah, may isusulat lang po—“

“Maya…” “Uy!” They both said in chorus.

Her hands started to tremble and her feet to feel cold. “Ikaw pala.” Good thing the line up was over. He was the last patient. “Gusto mo magpatingin?”

Richard was loss for words. “Ah…” He was stuttering. “Uh.. O-oo, ba. Sige. Patingin lang ako ng blood pressure ko.”

Maya was looking at him closely. “Sige, ba. Pati blood sugar mo titignan ko na din ha?” Richard’s eyes was all over Maya while she was taking his vital signs. It was the longest check-up he had in his entire life. He kept on asking himself: Bakit ba parang kakaiba? Para akong kinukuryente.

Maya was busy jotting down the information. “Well, Mr. Lim, ay este, Engineer Lim. Very good naman ang blood pressure mo, 120 over 79, ‘yung heart rate mo, 61, okay naman ‘yun… ‘Yung blood sugar mo naman, ay 7.0, okay lang ‘yun since you just had your dinner, and ‘yung oxygen rate mo naman according to our pulse oximeter, 100% naman. So, very good ka ngayon.” **

Richard couldn’t help but to stare at her. “Thank you.” was all he could say.

“Sige, ipasa na kita kay Doc–” Maya was about to give the sheet of paper, where she wrote Richard’s information, to the resident doctor.

“Ah, no need na Maya.” He brushed his fingers against her arms. “Gusto ko lang naman malaman kung ano ‘yung blood pressure ko.” He reasoned out.

“Sigurado ka?” She got confused.

“Ah, oo. Sige, just finish what you have to do. I’ll wait for you outside.” Richard left her with his signature loop-sided smile.

Soon enough, the day was all ready over. The tents, chairs, tables and all equipment used were properly folded and stored. Maya’s colleagues went ahead to the hotel for they were all tired from the day’s activities. It was all ready 7:30 in the evening and Maya and Richard bade goodbye to the Pastor, his wife, and church members.

“Nako, Maya, salamat sa inyo ng iyong team. You don’t know how much you helped our community.” The pastor’s wife was full of gratitude.

“No problem, Mrs. Evanghelista. We are doing this because we love our job.” replied Maya.

“Akalain mo naman oh, small world. Magkakilala pala kayo ni Richard.” Pastor Perry commented.

“Ah, opo. High school classmates po kami ni Maya. After so many years, nagkita po ulit kami.” He looked at Maya so dearly.

“Sige na, baka gabihin pa kayo. Mag-iingat sa pagda-drive, Richard ha? Ingat, Maya!” The couple waved back at Maya and Richard.

While inside the car, Maya’s curiosity was starting to eat her up so she decided to ask Richard where were they going. “Saan tayo pupunta? I mean, wala ka bang gagawin?”

Richard stopped at the red light. “Wala naman.” He paused then looked at her again. “I just want us to have coffee. Bakit? Gusto mo na bang umuwi? Ihahatid na kita.”

Maya was quite disappointed upon hearing his reply. “Ah, hindi naman…”

“Edi, coffee muna tayo ha? Ang tagal na kaya nating di nagkwentuhan.” Richard proceeded on driving.

Shivers were sent down to her spine. How long has it been since she felt giddy? Maya sighed. “Oo nga eh.” Deep inside she kept on reminding herself: Maya, please, ‘wag kang aasa. Friendly coffee date lang ito!

On that night, Maya wanted to prove to herself that she has completely moved on with Richard. She thought that their romance was “so high school” and dismissed about the idea of rekindling it. However, as the night deepened, she found the answers she has been trying to figure out all along: Richard is still and will only be the one.

~~~
* A/N: If there are any discrepancies regarding the vital signs I typed, please let me know. I just googled these things, hehehe. 🙂

10

My Greatest Love: Chapter 6

“Is it over, are you really over him? Is it over, or will you take him back again? If it’s over, you can let his memory in. ”
Ronnie Milsap

~~~~~

Richard waited patiently for Alex to arrive at the airport. He was carrying a bouquet of red roses to surprise the apple of his eye. When Alex was informed that Richard was there, she took a different path with her co-flight attendants. Unfortunately, Richard got a hold of her.

“Hey.” Richard reached her elbows. “I was waiting for you, kanina pa.”

Alex didn’t know whether to be glad to see him or not. “Sorry, we are in a rush.” She lied. They still have 3 hours to prepare for the flight.

Richard knew what Alex’s flight schedule was so he was sure she was lying. Nonetheless, he shrugged the idea and handed her the roses. “For you.”

Alex slightly smiled. “Thank you.” She sighed and looked at Richard seriously before pulling him aside. “Look, Richard. I really appreciate your efforts. Grabe, wala naman talaga akong masabi. But, hindi ba malinaw sa’yo?”

“Malinaw ang alin?” Richard frowned.

“Na… Hindi naman kita gusto.” There, she finally said it. “You see, I am sorry. I apologize for getting your hopes up. Believe me, it wasn’t really my intention. Akala ko kasi, gusto mo lang makipagkaibigan, given na close talaga kami ng kapatid mo. Saka, we’ve been classmates since elementary, so, akala ko talaga, wala kang ibang intention. But I am really sorry. I really am.”

Richard looked down and closed his eyes to breathe. “I see. Kaya pala, parang hangin lang ako sa’yo. Even though I know that I have been exerting a lot of effort, wala parin. Hindi parin kita mapasagot.”

“It is because I believe in the rules of femininity…” Alex replied.

“Rules?” Richard felt confused. “Anong rules?”

“Sa mga babae, hindi bino-boyfriend ang mga naging crush or past ng isang kaibigan. Bilang respeto, of course. And, I am sorry, kailangan kong ulitin, hindi talaga kita type. Sige. Sabihin na natin na, Carol, Sarah and I, we admired you during our high school days kasi ang galing mong mag-play ng musical instruments. Pero, hanggang duon na lang talaga ‘yon. Ika nga, no more, no less.”

Richard shook his head. “I still don’t get what you mean.”

Alex placed her hands over his shoulders. “Sabihin nalang natin na, may isang tao na nagmamahal sa’yo ng todo. And that person really means a lot to me. We’re more than best friends. In fact, she is my sister from another mother. No other woman is going to love you more than she ever does.” Alex paused. “It is for me to know and for you to find out, Chard.”

What is she talking about? I mean, who? Millions of questions were raised inside Richard’s head. Alex was quick to say goodbye that was why he wasn’t able to ask further questions. Who could that be?

~~~~~

Jerome was Maya’s persistent and loyal suitor. They met through common friends and their closeness was undeniable. There were times that Jerome would pick up Maya from work even if it was around ungodly hours. He does not mind. On the other hand, Maya kept on reiterating to Jerome that they couldn’t be more than friends. The latter, however, does not know the word ‘give up’.

“Hey, Maya. I brought you coffee.” Jerome never failed to show Maya how gentleman he is. He unlocked his car and let Maya in.

“Thank you, Jerome.” Upon entering the car, Maya noticed that it was just the two of them. “Nasaan nga pala sila Paul, Adrian, and Jenissa? Bakit hindi natin sila kasabay?”

“Nauna na sila.” was Jerome’s plain reply.

“Talaga? Akala ko ba sasabay sila?” Maya asked.

Jerome looked at Maya intently, then held her hands. “Hindi ko muna sila pinasabay sa atin ngayon.”

Maya glared at him. “Ha? Bakit? Anong meron?”

“Because I want to talk to you.” Jerome’s voice turned more serious.

Maya pouted. “About what?”

Jerome expelled a deep breath. “About us.” He paused. “Maya, I know, I keep on asking you this. Pero, you see, and I know that you feel how I treat you with extra care. How special and dear you are to me. Maya, will you be my girlfriend?”

Maya placed the coffee inside the black drink holder for car. “Jerome… Alam mo naman di ba…”

Jerome didn’t let Maya to finish her sentence. “What is your alibi again? Sige, noong una, sabi mo bata ka pa. Yes, totoo ‘yon, five, six, seven years ago… Pero, Maya, you are now in the right age to be in a relationship. Tapos, yung second reason mo, yung family mo. Maya, from what I can see, Tita Teresita and Tito Arturo are fine with you having a boyfriend. Then, yung career mo as a nurse. In that case, I would let you do anything you want. Hindi ako magiging hinder sa mga pangarap mo…”

“That’s not the issue, Jerome.” Maya was getting impatient. “I know that I have been clear with what my feelings are for you right from the very beginning. I did not send any wrong signals or whatever just to make you feel there is a chance between the two of us. I told you that we couldn’t be more than friends because I can never reciprocate the love you have for me. I am grateful to have met you, but I think you deserve someone who would love you unconditionally. Someone who would treat you right. Someone that you could lean on. I am not that person, Jerome. All I can offer is a genuine friendship. I am sorry.”

Jerome has nothing to say. Instead, he hugged her tight. “Ang kulit ko kasi, ano? Ayan tuloy, na-soplak ako.”

Maya slightly slapped his arms. “Jerome, ‘di ba, pinaliwanag ko naman na sa’yo… Friends lang talaga tayo.”

“Alam ko naman ‘yun, makulit lang talaga ako.” Jerome was feeling quite embarrassed.

Maya cleared her throat. “Ah, Jerome. May isa lang akong paki-usap sa’yo.”

“Sure, why not? Nag-bago na isip mo?” He said in jerk.

“Huwag mo na akong susunduin. ‘Wag mo na rin ako bibilhan ng kape. ‘Wag mo na akong tatawagan or kahit i-te-text. ‘Wag ka nang gagawa ng mga bagay na nagpapa-alala sa’yo sa akin. Divert your attention to somebody else.” It seemed like Maya was relentlessly giving him orders, not requests.

Jerome was perplexed, amazed, and shocked at the same time. “Ano? Grabe ‘to. Di ba pwedeng maging at ease tayo? I mean, kagaya ng dati before I confessed my feelings for you.”

“At kailan pa naging uso ang pagiging at ease with someone you used to like? Sige nga. How can you move on?” Maya raised an eyebrow. “I’m just being realistic.”

“Ang yabang naman nito. Akala mo naman di ako makaka-move on sa’yo.” Jerome started the engine. “Hatid na nga kita. Hindi na rin kita bibigyan ng kape, kasi hindi ka naman kinakabahan sa mga sinasabi mo.”

“Bakit, makaka-move on ka ba talaga?” She was trying to persuade and annoy him. Purposely.

Jerome became quiet. Moments later, he responded. “Ewan ko. Ang lakas kasi talaga ng tama ko sa’yo. Pero, sige. Whatever makes you feel comfortable. I am willing to do your orders, Madam.”

Maya laughed. “Mahahanap mo rin ang the one for you.”

With all sincerity, Jerome smiled. “Ayan, tumatawa ka na. At least, alam ko na, magiging okay tayo. Sure, may awkwardness, pero alam ko na mabait kang tao, Maya. Totoo nga, may mga tao na ginagawang boyfriend or girlfriend at meron din namang hanggang friends lang.”

Maya nodded. “Agree.”

“Friends lang talaga? Wala nang bawian? As in? Forever na ito? Friends lang?” Jerome was trying to annoy her in return.

“Ay, ang kulit.” Maya was playing around, too.

“May iba ba? Kilala ko ba? Nandito ba or nasa Pilipinas?” He was trying to squeeze something out of her.

Maya kept quiet and Jerome took it as an affirmation that someone definitely captured Maya’s heart, devotion, and attention. She noticed that Jerome was staring at her. “Sige ka, pag na-annoy ako sa’yo…”

“Hindi na, hindi na. Promise.” They both shared a good, friendly laugh.

~~~~~

That night, Maya couldn’t sleep so she grabbed some books to read. Few minutes after starting a new book, her mind wandered somewhere else. She couldn’t go a day without thinking about Richard and Alex. Oh, how lucky is she to be in that place. Yes, she couldn’t forget that Alex posted a picture with Richard and his sister and Alex’s frequent exchanges of tweets and wall-to-wall conversations. She browsed on Alex’s profile to find out that she has deleted that said photo. Why would she delete it? She wondered.

All of a sudden, she received a message from Alex.

Hi, Maya. How are you? It has been ages since we last talked. Alam mo ba, sobrang saya ko. FA na ako! Finally! Isa ka sa mga naisip ko na pag-share-an ng mga bagay na ganito kasi since mga bata pa tayo, alam na natin ang aspirations and goals natin sa buhay. I miss you Maya. Sana, umuwi ka ulit. Reunion tayo ha? I love you!

Maya was glad and relieved to hear from Alex. It has been a while. Friends are forever, boys are whatever. She thought.

Alexandra!!! You don’t know how happy and excited I am for you. We did it! Di ba, parang kailan lang naglalaro pa tayo sa school at kung ano-ano lang ‘yung mga pinag-uusapan natin, pero here we are, we are finally chasing our dreams. Na-miss na kita! Super!

Maya and Alex continuously exchanged messages every single day. They never ceased to update each other even in trivial matters. Until one day, their topic was about Richard. Alex was the first one to brought it up.

Buti na-mention mo si Richard. I’ve been waiting to tell you this, kaso, I don’t know how. First of all, we are not an item. Hindi ko naman siya gusto eh. And of course, alam ko ‘yung rules of femininity. To tell you honestly, hindi parin ako maka-move on kay Leo. First year high school palang tayo, alam mo na ‘yan. Kagaya din ng situation mo, hindi ko rin siya makalimutan. I am sorry kasi nag-post pa ako ng photo. Nung nilagay ko nga ‘yon, naisip kita. Inisip ko kung tama ba… I am really sorry, Maya, kung na-hurt kita… Please believe me when I say na hindi ko talaga siya gusto. Pushy lang talaga si Raffi, kaya ganoon. I have cut my communications with the both of them para wala nang aasa. I don’t want to hurt anyone further.

Maya knew her beloved childhood friend would never betray her. Once she said she never likes someone, it is true.

Wala ‘yon. Hindi naman natin mapipigilan ‘yung mga damdamin ng mga bawat tao. Saka, ang layo-layo ko kaya. Wala akong magagawa kung magkaroon siya ng feelings for you. I just want you to know that whatever happens, I am giving my blessing. Take good care of him. Please, love him more than I did. Ayoko naman maging sagabal sa kung ano man ‘yung mga possibilities. I am not closing my doors either. For now, let us just focus on what’s ahead of us. Thank you din for being honest.

Even though Maya was trying her very best to convince herself to move forward, she just couldn’t. There is some formidable force that engulfs her of Richard’s memories everywhere she goes and whatever she does. It all boils down to one question: Is she really over him?