10

After All: Chapter 5

A/N: HELLO WORLD! Hehe! It has been more than a year since my last post. Nakalimutan ko na atang mag-sulat, hehe! First of all, I would like to apologize to all my followers (wow, kung meron man, hehe) for not posting anything. I experienced writer’s block and at the same time, a lot has been going on in my personal life. I hope you understand. Since, matagal-tagal na din akong hindi nakapag-sulat, please forgive me if there are any grammar lapses or anything, hehe. Medyo pai-ikliin ko na ang story na ‘to so I can finish *hopefully* right away. So, without further ado, enjoy reading! 🙂

Love,
Miles ❤

~~~~~

The hangar launch was a success and it was all over the headlines. Richard, along with his co-investors, were extremely pleased with the outcome. It was also the day where Richard and Simon unexpectedly met – the day Richard was dreading for.

Simon noticed him veer directions when he saw him approaching. He quickly followed and grabbed his arm.

“Pinaglalaruan mo ba ako?” Simon looked at Richard furiously with his fist clenched.

Richard took a deep breath and responded, “Of course not! Why would you think of that?”

Simon smirked. “Come on Richard. Don’t act like you’re innocent. I know you’re doing this para makaganti ka sa akin. You are purposely placing me at different sites para mabawasan ang oras ko sa pamilya ko nang sa ganoon ay mapalapit ka kay Maya.”

“Excuse me?” Richard took a step forward. “Kung sino man ang lamang sa atin, ikaw ‘yon! Dahil ikaw ang asawa ni Maya at ikaw ang pinili niya.”

Then, there was deafening silence.

Simon glared at Richard. “What do you want Mr. Lim? Tell me. Asawa ko ba? Ayos naman ang visitation rights mo kay Thea, ah? What more do you want?”

“Simon, calm down. First of all, I know nothing that you got hired by my co-investors. Secondly, wala akong habol sa asawa mo dahil tapos na kami. I am only after Thea. You know how much I love my daughter and I am willing to do anything to make her happy. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I still have to entertain my guests.” Richard fixed his tie before walking away.

Simon stood in silence.

Bakit nga ba sobrang apektado parin ako sa tuwing naiisip ko si Maya at Richard? Shouldn’t I be nice to him? So that in the future…

Simon’s thoughts were interrupted by Ryan asking to join him for a drink.

~~~~~

Maya spent the whole afternoon cleaning the attic. She took the opportunity to de-clutter while Thea is away with Doña Esmeralda and Sean is sleeping soundly.

“Doris, paki-abot nga yung walis.”

Doris hurriedly climbed up to the attic and handed Maya the broom. “Eto na po, Ma’am. Kailangan niyo po ba ng tulong?”

Maya happily refused. “Hindi na Doris, kaya ko na ‘to. Bantayan mo nalang si Sean kapag nagising.”

“Sige po Ma’am.”

A blue box caught her attention while sweeping. Ano ‘to? She thought. She opened the box and was pleasantly surprised about seeing the contents inside. Ah, pictures of her and Richard. Her heart skipped a beat as she sorted out the contents of the box. There, she found the first flower he had given her which was completely wilted and dry, birthday cards, movie tickets, theme park passes, even the wrapper of the first chocolate he gave her.

I never thought that I still have this. I thought I burned all of it.

FLASHBACK

Maya and Richard have been together for 5 years before they called it quits. She was a newly hired flight attendant while Richard has been starting to make a name in the business empire his father has built. He frequently flies with Time Airways so some of the flight attendants, and even the pilots know him very well. One day, his flight to Hong Kong got delayed. He decided to spend his time at the coffee shop, where Maya and her colleagues love to snack and hang out.

Richard noticed Maya and approached her from behind. “Hi! Ms. Dela Rosa, right?”

Maya was startled but kept her cool since she recognized the voice. “Ay, hello po Mr. Lim. Yes, Maya Dela Rosa po.”

“Call me Richard.” He smiled. “So, may flight ka today?”

Maya grabbed her coffee and turned towards him. “Ah, yes. Actually kakatapos lang.”

Richard was obviously interested about her. “Really? Where?”

“Japan.” She sipped her coffee leaving a lip stick stain on the lid. “Ikaw, where are you heading to?”

Richard motioned Maya to sit. “My flight is delayed. I am heading to Hong Kong for some business matters.”

Maya was amazed. Little did Richard know, she has a little crush on him. She could not believe that she was talking to him. “Ah, talaga? Oo nga, I heard may problem daw ng kaunti sa maintenance. But it would be just a minor fix. No biggie.”

“Ms. Dela Rosa, tinatakot mo naman ata ako niyan eh.” Richard massaged his chest, pretending to be scared.

Maya chuckled. “Maya nalang please. And, hindi ‘no. The truth is, late kasi yung nag-me-maintenance ng plane kaya delayed ‘yung flight, kaya ayun. No worries, I think they’ll be done in an hour.”

“It seems like I have lots of time to kill.” He winked at her.

“I bet you do, Mr. Lim.” She let out a flirtatious smile.

Then of course, they went out on a lot of dates and one thing led after another. Their relationship was sweet and sincere, but it was undeniably passionate and intense. One morning, after their sensual love making, Maya confessed a thing to Richard.

“Babe, I think I’m pregnant.”

Richard didn’t know how to respond. He stared at her for few seconds before responding. “Are you sure babe?”

Maya bit her lips. “Hindi pa pero, three weeks na akong delayed. I’ve been nauseous lately and, ayaw ko yung pancit na niluto ni Nanay. Eh, paborito ko ‘yun eh.”

Richard faced her and cupped her face. “Honey, I’m here for you, okay? We need to find out soon.”

Maya stood up and rummaged through her bag. “Actually, we can find out now.” She held up a pregnancy test kit.

Richard’s heart was pounding. “Let’s test it.”

It was the longest two minutes of Maya and Richard’s life. They stood in the bathroom waiting for the result.

POSITIVE.

Maya didn’t know how to feel upon seeing the result. She was happy that she is carrying Richard’s child but at the same time she was afraid of all the responsibilities that would come along with it. Not to mention that she got pregnant out of wedlock – Nanay Teresita will be furious if she finds out. All hell will break loose.

Richard caressingly rubbed Maya’s back. “Hey, baby. It’s okay.” He hugged her tight. “We’ll talk to Nanay and Cristina Rose, ok? Everything will be all right.”

Sure, everything went well. Of course, at the beginning, it was hard for Nanay Teresita to grasp everything that happened. The Lims on the other hand were elated to find out about the news. Months after, Maya moved in with Richard. They seemed like a perfect couple, however, a lot of people were wondering why Maya and Richard could not seal the deal.

It turned out that Richard still has to fulfill his dreams and move to Dubai. Maya rejected the idea and insisted that she and Thea will be staying in the Philippines. The conversation turned into a heated argument until Maya decided to break up with Richard. It wasn’t easy but she had to. She also knew that she wasn’t ready to be tied up with Richard as she has her own aspirations, too.

The break up did not end well. Richard and Maya did not speak for years. It was only Doña Esmeralda and Nanay Teresita who were talking for the sake of Thea. Maya never faced Doña Esmeralda after the break up. For Maya, her almost-mother-in-law reminds her of the precious memories that she and Richard shared together. Another side of her was angry at Doña Esmeralda for not stopping her son to go to Dubai and start a business venture with Don Roberto. However, over the years, Maya did not stop thinking about the things that could have been if she ended up with Richard.

END OF FLASHBACK

17

After All: Chapter 4

A/N: Thank you for your sweet messages regarding my last post. It means a lot to me. Special thanks to Ate Han – my inspiration for writing JoChard fanfics. 🙂

Love,
Miles ❤

~~~~~

Simon surprised Maya and the kids by going home on a Friday evening. He was given the weekend off by his boss as a reward for all his hard work. Thea climbed onto him and gave him a warm hug.

“Papa! I missed you!” exclaimed Thea.

Simon kissed Maya before turning to Thea. “I miss you too, baby. Ay, di ka na pala baby. You’re a big girl na, eh!” He picked Thea up and twirled her around before peeking to Sean’s crib.

“What a pleasant surprise on a Friday evening! May ganyan ka nang nalalaman ah.” Maya placed her left arm on Simon’s waist. “Have you eaten?”

Simon kissed Maya’s forehead. “I missed you babe. No worries, I ate dinner already before I left the site. But guess what, I have another surprise.”

“What is it Daddy?” asked Thea while she helping Maya put away the dishes. Simon then placed a box on the counter top. “Ice cream cake! Yehey!”

Simon, Maya and Thea happily ate the dessert while catching up.

~~~~~

Richard was watching a documentary while comfortably lying down in his bed when his cellphone rang. He was not expecting a call from someone, not unless there it is about an urgent matter. “Hello?”

“Pare, sorry, na-istorbo ba kita?” Ryan was on the other line.

Richard chuckled. “Ikaw lang pala. Akala ko naman kung sino. What’s up?”

“Pare, you wouldn’t believe who I worked with in the last few weeks.” Ryan seemed ecstatic over the line.

Richard just shook his head, expecting that his best friend would just tell nonsense. “Let me guess, may kursunadahan ka nanaman?”

“No, no, no. Pare, let me remind you na stick to one na ako, ah! Well, let me get this straight. You know, I’ve been dying to tell you pero I managed to control myself. Anyway, I am working with Engineer Simon Gabriel Corpuz…”

Richard felt quite uncomfortable upon hearing his name. “What about him?”

“As what I am saying, I am currently working with him on a project. At itong project na ‘to ay hindi basta-basta… This project I’m talking about is our project.” Ryan was carefully uttering each word for Richard to fully understand. He knew that Richard feels a bit off when the topic is about Maya and Simon.

“Does he know that he is working for me and my co-investors?” Richard sounded surprisingly calm.

“Not yet. Well, I was planning to tell him on the day of unveiling the hangar. Pero ikaw parin ang bahala, if you personally want to meet the other engineers na rin.”

“Thank you Ryan for letting me know. Who hired him?” Richard was beginning to open up.

Ryan opened his laptop and continued talking to Richard. “He was referred by Engineer Reyes. I first thought of you before hiring him but since kulang na tayo sa engineers and we needed to start right away, I gave him a shot. After looking through his records, it seems that his works are all of high quality and his expertise would definitely help us speed up the construction of the hangar. No worries, he has only been with us for a month so if you have other concerns, pwede ko naman siyang i-refer sa ibang site or rather, company.”

Richard heaved out a deep sigh. “No, Ryan. Keep him. He has a family to feed. Anyway, I am not planning to visit the site as of the moment. Baka nga sa unveiling nalang ako pumunta. I am enjoying my vacation and my time with Thea.”

“Wow, you sound so different compared to, uhm, what? Months ago? Years ago? Aba, nag-bago na ata ang ihip ng hangin. And let me contradict what you just said. Yes, he has a family to feed but you give a child support kay Thea, well, more than what you guys have agreed upon in court.” Ryan couldn’t believe how Richard sounded. Does that mean that he has accepted the fact that Simon and Maya ended up together?

Richard massaged his temple. “Ryan, please… Don’t start it.”

“Okay, okay. I’m sorry, Mr. Lim. Ang akin lang, nakita ko ang lahat ng pag-hihirap mo. You endured all these in the name of love. Anyway, let’s call it a night.”

“Good night Ryan.” Richard placed his phone on the side table. As he pull up the sheets, he couldn’t help but to reminisce of the past.

~~~~~

Chatters in different corners of Northwest Hills were heard while everyone was busy preparing for the school’s family day. The parents were placing their share of food on the table, which was placed around the school quadrangle. Everyone, including the faculty and staff, is encouraged to bring their families with them. Since Simon was not able to join, it was only Maya who was present at the said event. However, Thea did not tell her that she was up to something. 20 minutes after their arrival, someone familiar was approaching them.

“Hi baby!” Richard smiled at Thea as he walked towards her. He first didn’t notice Maya, who was talking to another parent. Thea smiled back at him and she told him to sit and wait for her because she was playing with her friends.

While Richard was about to take a seat, Maya stepped back and unintentionally bumped Richard. “Ay naku po, sorry–” She didn’t know what to say next as she was extremely surprised upon seeing Richard. “Nako, sorry.”

“No worries, Maya. I’m fine.”

Dang it. She thought. Why is he looking extra handsome today? Did he have a haircut? Was there any difference in his clothing? Maya! Stop! What are you thinking?

“Ah, Maya?” Richard was waving in front of her.

“Ay, oo. No, I mean. Yeah? You need something?” Maya was unconsciously fixing herself.

Richard finds it cute when Maya feels tensed with something. “Nothing.” Good job, Richard. Come on, start a nice conversation. He thought. “Ah, Family Day nga pala ngayon, ano? Akala ko walang kasama si Thea. I mean, I knew you would come pero pumunta na rin ako just in case.”

Maya just nodded. Silence. Then she made an excuse. “Ah, Chard, punta lang ako sa ladies’ room ah. Hanapin ko na din si Thea. Diyan ka lang.”

Did she just call me Chard? Wow. I haven’t heard that in years. It’s nice to see that she’s finally warming up. “Yeah, sure. I’ll always be here.”

Maya smiled at him, wondering if there’s a meaning behind what he just said. When she finally saw Thea, she called her and spoke to her in the corner. “Baby, you didn’t tell me that your Daddy is coming.”

Thea’s face went from happy to sad. “I’m sorry, Mama. I should have told you. Naisip ko lang po kasi na it would be nice for us to bond and ever since, Daddy wasn’t able to attend any of my school activities so I thought it would be nice to invite him. I’m sorry again, Mama.”

Maya both felt guilty and sorry for her daughter. It wasn’t Thea’s fault that she wanted to spend some time with her real Daddy. “It’s okay, Thea. I understand. But please, next time, inform me of what your plans are, okay?”

“Yes, Mama. I promise.” Thea then hugged Maya.

17

After All: Chapter 2

“I haven’t stopped loving you. I haven’t stopped wanting you. I haven’t stopped hoping that you feel the same way too. I haven’t stopped dreaming. I haven’t stopped wishing. I haven’t stopped thinking that you’re thinking of me too. I haven’t stop loving you…”
– Janno Gibbs

“Maya, I’m sorry. Di ba, I already told you na may aasikasuhin kami ni Lindsay.”

Lino, on the other line, was making his way to Lindsay’s place to pick her up because they have an important meeting with a client. Maya forgot that Lino had already told her that he wouldn’t be able to bring Thea to Lim’s residence. Her forehead was wrinkled upon thinking who could bring Thea to the Lims.

“Sorry din Lino sa istorbo. Sige, di bale nalang. Gagawan ko nalang ng paraan.”

Lino sighed. “Cuz, bakit ba kasi naman hindi nalang ikaw ang mag-dala duon kay Thea? Ihahatid mo lang naman. Yun lang. Pwede mo namang sabihing busy ka para hindi na hahaba pa ang usapan.”

Maya reached over the countertop to hand Sean’s warmed up baby bottle to Doris. “Bahala na. Sige Lino, I have to go. Ingat kayo ni Lindsay. Bye.”

“Ma’am Maya, anong oras daw po pala susunduin ni Sir Lino si Thea? Para po maihanda ko na ‘yung gamit ni Thea.” Doris handed Sean to Maya.

“Hindi maihahatid ni Lino si Thea. Nakalimutan ko na may lakad pala sila ni Lindsay.” Maya said as she was rubbing Sean’s back.

“Ha, naku po. Eh paano na po ‘yon Ma’am? Wala pa naman si Sir Simon at si Mang Lem para mag-drive. Eh, Ma’am, mag-taxi nalang po kaya ni Thea?” Doris suggested although she felt that Maya wouldn’t agree with the idea.

“Hindi na Doris.” It took Maya a while before she spoke again. “Ako nalang ang mag-hahatid sa kanya.”

This surprised Doris. Normally, someone other than Maya and Simon would send Thea to the Lim residence. “Si..sigurado po kayo Ma’am?”

“Eh ano pa nga ba ang magagawa ko? Ang asawa ko wala tapos si Mang Lem naman, napaaga ang day-off. Wala namang pwedeng ibang mag-drive kundi ako.” Maya handed Sean back to Doris while she checked Thea upstairs. “Anak, are you ready?”

Thea was carrying her blue polka dot tote while smiling at Maya. “What do you think Mama?”

Maya giggled upon seeing her daughter all dressed up. “You’re so cute, anak!”

“Thank you Mama. Papunta na po ba si Tito Lino dito, Mama?” The little girl couldn’t hide her excitement.

Maya sat down on Thea’s bed. “Anak, Tito Lino wouldn’t be able to pick you up.” She saw how Thea’s face changed from jolly to gloomy. “But, don’t worry. I’ll bring you kila Granny Esme.”

“Yehey! Thank you Mama!” Thea hugged and kissed Maya on the cheeks. “Akala ko po, hindi mo na ako papasamahin kina Daddy. Excited pa naman po ako mag-swimming.”

“Gano’n ba? Mag-su-swimming daw kayo ng Daddy mo?” Maya felt excited, too.

“Opo Mama.” Thea checked what time it was. “Mama, I think dapat alis na po tayo.”

“Sige, anak. I’ll just quickly change my clothes and then, alis na tayo. Okay?”

Few minutes after, Maya and Thea were all set to leave. As they were pulling out the driveway, Maya’s phone rang so they stopped for a while to check who it was.

“Simon?”

“Hi Babe. Kamusta kayo diyan? I miss you all. Si Thea nga pala, umalis na ba siya?” Simon was out-of-town and will be staying there until further notice. He and his other engineer colleagues were working on a huge project.

“Eto, ihahatid ko nga si Thea eh. Hindi kasi pwede si Lino.”

Simon was a bit bothered. “Ha? Ano? Bakit hindi mo nalang pauwin si Mang Lem?”

“Babe, alam mo naman na may emergency sa pamilya ni Mang Lem. Isa pa, kaya ko naman ‘to eh. Ihahatid ko lang naman si Thea. I’ll be alright.” Maya sounded so confident but she was feeling the opposite.

“Are you sure?” Simon didn’t like the idea of Maya driving Thea to the Lims. “Gusto mo, tawagan nalang natin si Emman or Edz. Pakiusapan natin sila na mag-hatid kay Thea.”

“Simon, wag na. Abala pa ‘yon eh. Saka gusto kong makita na safe ang anak ko.” said Maya.

“Sige ha. Mag-ingat kayo. Call me kapag naihatid mo na si Thea or di kaya call me when you get home.”

~~~~~

Maya and Thea arrived at the Lim residence an hour after. As she was walking towards the main entrance, she couldn’t help but to feel nostalgic. It has been quite a while since the last time she has set her foot in the house. To her, the place was so familiar that she still even remembered the sweet aromatic smell that surrounded the area. A vast amount of coconut trees were also seen not far from where the house was.

“Sige anak, you can go inside na. Mama won’t stay that long…” Even before Maya finished instructing Thea, a loud yet another familiar voice was heard metres away from them.

“Maya! Thea!” Even the long, peach flowy blouse and a while slacks that the old woman was wearing was familiar to Maya. “My baby girl Thea!” She exclaimed as she kissed Thea’s cheeks. “How are you, apo?” Then she motioned Thea to go inside.

“Mrs. Lim, good afternoon po. Pasensya na kayo, na-late si Thea.” Maya shook Doña Esmeralda’s hands.

“Hija, that’s nonsense.” Then Doña Esmeralda kissed Maya’s cheeks as well.

Maya thought that she said something wrong. “Po?”

“Walang problema sa akin because you are just in time. At pwede ba, don’t call me Mrs. Lim. Please call me Mama. Just how you used to before. Di ba, Mama na ulit ang tawag mo sa akin sa text?” Doña Esmeralda was very happy to see Maya again for the very first time after years. “Maya, namiss kita! It’s been so long since huli kitang nakita. How have you been, anak?”

Maya was feeling a bit awkward and shy at the same time. “Ah, eto po. Mabuti naman…”

“That’s good. Maigi naman na ikaw ang naghatid kay Thea ngayon. Parati nalang si Lino or di kaya si Teresita.” Doña Esmeralda was hoping that Maya could do it next time.

“Ah, pasensya na po kayo. Kapapanganak ko lang po kasi three months ago and hindi ko po maiwan ‘yung baby.”

“I feel you. Naku, nung maliit pa rin si Ricky ko, hindi ko rin maiwan. Panay ang travel ni Roberto nuon na pilit niya akong sinasama kaso nga hindi ko maiwanan si Ricky.” While reminiscing, Doña Esmeralda sensed that Maya wouldn’t want to talk about Richard or anything that involved him. But, she thought an idea. After all, it wouldn’t hurt to ask. “Ah, Maya, halika sa loob. Why don’t you have your lunch here?”

Maya politely declined the offer. “Pasensya na po kayo Mrs. Lim, ay, Mama pala. Si Doris lang po ang naiwan ko sa bahay kaya kinakailangan ko din pong bumalik agad. Thank you for your invitation though.”

Doña Esmeralda pouted and squeezed Maya’s arms. “Maya, sige na. Ngayon lang naman. Tayo lang.”

“I would really love to join you Mrs. Lim but I’m sorry, I really need to go. Paki-sabi nalang po kay Thea na magpakabait siya.” Maya started walking towards her car.

“Naku, hindi na nga kita mapipigilan. Ilang beses na kitang inaaya, pero parati kang tumatanggi. Di bale, marami pang next time at kukulitin kita. At ‘wag kang mag-alala sa anak mo, mabait ‘yon.” Doña Esmeralda waved goodbye to Maya.

From afar, Richard was vigilantly observing his Mom and his old flame exchange words. Nothing has changed Maya, I still love you no matter what. Our love was right, however, the timing was wrong.

“Daddy!” Thea poked him from behind.

“Nagulat naman ako du’n baby!” Richard grabbed Thea and kissed her forehead.

“You’re looking at Mama po, ano?”

“Ha? Ako? Hindi ah! Hinahanap ko lang kung saan napunta si Gus.” Richard denied because he doesn’t want Thea to be confused.

“Daddy, nasa likod na si Gus. He is eating his merienda.”

“Merienda? Anong merienda? Kumain si Gus ng ice cream?” joked Richard. He was also trying to change the topic.

Thea giggled. “Of course not, Daddy! He is eating cat food po.”

While walking towards the living room, Richard thought of asking Thea questions about her life with Simon and Maya. “Baby, kamusta naman sa bahay niyo?”

“Okay lang naman po Daddy. Masaya po kasi I have a baby brother.”

There was a painful stab on Richard’s heart. “Talaga? What is his name?”

“Sean Gavin po. Sabi ni Papa Simon, sana Sean Marcus nalang po daw sana para letter S and letter M po ‘yung initials. Kaso po sabi naman ni Mama, mas maganda kung isunod nalang sa initials ni Papa.”

Another stab on Richard’s heart. “I see.” He was planning to ask more questions but Thea went to the kitchen to grab something to drink. Simon must have been making you a happy wife, Maya. It was supposed to be me.

18

After All: Chapter 1

A/N: Helloooo 🙂 It has been a while! Namiss ko ang pagsusulat, hehe! Another story na sana abangan niyo and promise hindi na ‘to masyadong sad. Haha! Take care and enjoy reading…

Love,
Miles ❤

~~~~~

“Kay tagal mo nang nawala, babalik ka rin, babalik ka rin…”
– Gary Valenciano

“Congratulations po, Mr. and Mrs. Lim! What a very smart child you have!” Althea’s class adviser, Ms. Rebecca, cheerfully congratulated Maya and Simon.

Simon had a sour face and looked away while Maya smiled awkwardly and explained, “Ah, naku po, hindi po ako si Mrs. Lim. Please call me Mrs. Maya Corpuz and this is my husband, Simon Gabriel Corpuz.”

Ms. Rebecca felt embarrassed so she didn’t speak further about the matter. “Sige po, mauna na po ako sa inyo.” Maya waved goodbye to her while Simon just nodded.

“Mama, can I just say goodbye to my other teachers as well?” Althea, or Thea to her family and friends, sweetly asked for Maya’s permission in which she agreed upon. Maya also told Thea not to wander around too much for they will be leaving soon.

LIM, ALTHEA LOUISE DELA ROSA

Simon carefully stared at the letters written on Thea’s recognition certificate. How he wished that Thea was carrying his last name. “Sabi ko naman kasi sa’yo eh. Bakit hindi pa kasi natin palitan ang apelido ni Thea?”

Maya pressed her lips against each other. “Simon, di ba napag-usapan na natin ito?”

“Okay, okay. I already know the reason and you don’t have to repeat it over again. Ang akin lang naman, hindi ka naman si Mrs. Lim. Pag may mga letters from school, parati nalang nakalagay na to Mr. and Mrs. Lim.” Simon reasoned out.

Maya scratched the back of her head. “Eh, hayaan mo na. I’ll inform them again this coming school year.”

Thea was rushing back to Maya and Simon while carrying a paper bag with her. “Mama, Papa, look! My best friend Ella gave a present to me. Ang sweet niya po ano?”

Simon knelt in front of Thea and brushed her hair. “Ang galing-galing talaga ng baby ko!” Then he kissed her forehead. “Where do you want to eat?”

“Papa, how about baby Sean? Hindi po natin siya isasama?” Sean is Thea’s half-brother and Maya and Simon’s first born.

“He will be staying muna kila Lola-Nanay, anak. For now, tayo muna ni Papa ang kakain. What do you think about that?” replied Maya.

“Sige po. Ako muna ang baby niyo for today.” Thea’s heart was leaping for joy upon hearing that her brother will be staying with Lola-Nanay for the meantime. Oh how she missed being the only child.

~~~~~

Thea was putting away her laptop when Maya entered her bedroom. At seven, she already knew how to be independent and responsible. It was only her and Maya who lived together until Simon came into the picture. Thea first thought that Simon was only her Mama’s friend, but she felt that it was something more. Maya never had a hard time explaining the situation to her for Thea acts maturely at her age.

“Mama, aren’t you sleepy yet?” Thea climbed onto her bed after she placed her laptop on the table.

Maya sat beside her. “Hindi pa eh. I just want to check on you. May kausap ka ba kanina sa laptop?”

“Yes, Mama. It was Daddy.” Thea fixed her pillows and placed her favourite teddy bear onto her left.

Maya pursued her lips and slowly nodded. “Talaga?” She wanted to know what Thea and her dad talked about but she opted not to ask.

“Mama, Daddy said he is coming home to see me. Pero, sabi niya po, mag-paalam daw po muna ako sa inyo kung papayag kayo ni Papa.” It was evident that Thea was excited to see her Daddy since their last meeting has been almost a year.

“Oo naman, anak. It’ll be alright. Ask your Daddy first when and where your meeting would be so we can set it up with Granny Esme.” Maya felt a bit giddy but she tried to keep calm as she talked to Thea.

“Okay Mama. Thank you po.” Maya was about to speak when Thea butted in. “Mama, I have a question.”

“Ano ‘yun anak?”

“Mama, bakit po Lim ang apelido ko? I mean, lahat po kayo dito sa bahay, Corpuz yung apelido. Pero ako, naiiba.” There was a tinge of sadness on her tone.

“Anak, di ba, you know that Papa Simon is not your real Papa?” Thea nodded and Maya continued, “Kasi, since you are living with Mama and Papa, si Daddy Richard, hiningi niya na sana ‘wag kong palitan yung apelido mo.” Maya tried her best to explain her point without confusing Thea.

Thea was smart. She exactly knew the reasons why she has to carry a different surname. “Mama, I know all that. What I meant was, bakit hindi po si Daddy ang Papa ko?” Thea meant why didn’t Maya and Richard end up together.

Maya wasn’t sure if she was going to laugh or to hide herself. “I guess we weren’t meant to be, anak.”

Thankfully, Thea yawned which signaled Maya to stand up and tuck her in. “Good night, Mama. I love you.”

“I love you too, Thea.” Maya kissed her forehead and turned off the lights as she walked out of the door. Few moments after, her phone beeped. It was a message from Mrs. Esmeralda Lim.

Good evening, Maya. Si Mama Esme ito. I just want to inform you in advance that Richard will be coming home next week, baka pwede naming mahiram si Thea tutal summer break naman na. Thank you anak.

Maya quickly sent a reply to the old lady.

Good evening din po, Ma. Of course, that wouldn’t be a problem. I’ll send Thea there, baka with my cousin Lino this time po Ma, kasi wala po si Yaya Doris next week. Thank you po for the information.

24

My Greatest Love: Chapter 10 (Finale)

A/N: Wag niyo po akong bugbugin. Mahal ko po kayo. :))

Love,
Miles ❤

~~~~~

“Somethin’ happened along the way, what used to be happy was sad. Somethin’ happened along the way and yesterday was all we had. And oh, after the love has gone…”
– Earth Wind and Fire

“Maya…”

Upon seeing Richard, Maya tried to escape but she failed. His hands were firmly gripped on to her arms and he wouldn’t let him go. Tears were forming in Maya’s eyes, although she tried to hide it. She heaved a deep sigh before facing him. He let go of her right arm and moved closer to her.

“Anong ginagawa mo dito?” It has been a emotional roller coaster for Maya. She felt giddy upon seeing him again after a long time, then sadness enveloped her for she remembered how Richard badly crushed her feelings. Anguish, disgust, anger, relief – were all trying to engulf her completely. But she waited for his response.

Richard licked his lips. “Maya… I am here to say sorry.” Tears were streaming down his cheeks. “I am sorry for everything. You don’t deserve all those things. I’m so sorry. Maya, please, give me another chance. I hope it still isn’t too late.”

Maya was sternly staring at him as he spoke. “Sorry? Marunong ka pala n’on?! I wasn’t informed. Sa tingin mo, may magagawa ‘yang sorry mo? Sa tingin mo, maibabalik pa natin ang nakaraan?” Maya gulped and expelled a sigh. “I was there. I tried to be with you when you needed me. Dadating naman ako, eh. Kailangan mo lang akong antayin. Pero anong ginawa mo? Ibinaling mo ang atensyon mo sa iba. Hanggang sa nakalimutan mo na ang kung ano man ang meron tayo. Akala ko ba wala nang iwanan? The irony. Iniwan mo parin ako sa ere. Do you know what I did? I tried to forget everything even if I knew I was just fooling myself. I waited for you to say sorry. I waited for you until the very end because I want you to know that I will always be right there whenever you need me. I waited and waited. Until one day, I realized that I was waiting for nothing.”

Some time few years back then, Richard’s grandfather, who was extremely close to him, suffered from a terminal illness. He was depressed so he called Maya and asked her to fly to Manila and accompany him. Unfortunately, Maya was unable to book a flight immediately for she has prior and important commitments. It took her weeks to arrive to Manila. At that time, Richard’s favourite Lolo already passed on. Maya arrived on the last day of the wake and to her surprise, Richard was leaning on Stephanie’s arms, his ex-girlfriend. Stephanie, on the other hand, was seen stroking Richard’s hair and kissing his forehead. Since Maya thought that it wouldn’t be proper to confront Richard, she decided to stay behind them all through the evening without his knowledge. Few days later, Maya, thanks to the help of a friend, was able to track where Richard was. He was at a nightclub – with Stephanie. His arms coiled around Stephanie in which the latter seemed to enjoy.

That evening, Maya went straight to Richard’s condominium and waited for him. Richard carefully unlocked the door. “Suprise.” said Maya. Richard was completely puzzled then he started to become irate, asking why Maya was there. Maya tried to explain her side but Richard just wasn’t listening. Richard then started turning the tables by putting the blame on her why he looked for another company. Maya slapped Richard as hard as she slammed the door behind her. From then on, Maya never said a word to Richard.

Richard held Maya’s shoulders. “Maya, kaya nga ako nandito, di ba? Para ayusin kung ano man ‘yung mga naging pagkukulang ko sa’yo. You don’t know how much I regret what I did every single day. It still haunts me. I realized na ikaw ‘yung babaeng mahal ko, ‘yung babaeng pakakasalan ko at ‘yung babaeng hinding-hindi ako magsisising mahalin. Don’t give up on us, please? I won’t promise anything because they said that it is all meant to be broken. But I assure you, I will do everything I can and as much as I could just to win you back.”

Maya shrugged to disengage from Richard. “No. You can’t win me back. You will never win me back. Dahil tapos na tayo. Matagal na tayong tapos, Richard.”

“You’re saying that because you still haven’t forgiven me.” countered Richard.

“Matagal na kitang pinatawad. Kung alam mo lang kung gaano karami ang iniluha ko para lang mailabas ko ang lahat ng sama ng loob ko sa’yo.” Maya narrated in between sobs. “Tapos na tayo. Wala nang tayo. At kahit kailan, hindi na magiging tayo.”

“Why are you saying that, Maya? Why?” Richard was crying like a baby.

“Kasi…” Maya held out her left hand. “…ikakasal na ako.”

Richard seemed to be trapped in between heaven and earth. He thought that he was only dreaming. No, it can’t be. He wiped his tears and shook his head in disbelief. “This isn’t happening, Maya. You’re kidding. No. This is not true, right? Say it, please.” He placed his hands on her face. “Maya, say this isn’t true.”

Maya held his hands. “Richard, believe me when I say you’re forgiven. Believe me when I say I have no regrets about us – our relationship, even if it didn’t last long. Believe me when I say no one has ever given me butterflies the way you do. I felt that our love was right, however the time, and even the place, weren’t just right.”

Richard spoke softly. “Come back to me, Maya, please. You still have time.”

Maya hushed him. “I won’t even if I can.”

“Why?” Richard was continuously shedding tears.

Maya closely held Richard’s face while wiping all the tears. “Richard, I want you to understand that I already made a choice. And that is, to marry Jerome. I know how it is love someone significantly where you wouldn’t afford to lose that person. Because if you lose him or her, it would definitely drive you insane. My conscience will haunt me forever.”

“You don’t love him, do you?” Richard was still trying his best.

Maya smiled. “He did a lot of things for me that are beyond my imagination. Things I wished you did, but you didn’t. I guess you didn’t have the opportunity. I learned to love him eventually. “

“Maya, now is the opportunity.” He insisted.

“No, Richard. You had a chance but you took it for granted.” Maya once again grasped Richard’s hand but this time it was tighter. “If there is one thing I would like to leave you, that would be a lesson. Love has two categories: true love and greatest love. True love happens when the love and timing is right. It is the sincerest love one could ever feel. Greatest love, on the other hand, may or may not happen in the right time. It could also be sincere, but its intensity isn’t the same with true love. Richard, you may not be my one true love but I want you to know that you are my one greatest love. I wouldn’t and haven’t loved anybody the way I loved you.”

Richard embraced Maya. “Please, don’t go. Stay with me, Maya, please. Let’s give us a try again. I’ll do everything you want, please, just trust me. There’s no harm in doing that, right? I love you Maya and forever I will.”

Maya disengaged from Richard. “Hush, Richard.” She paused. “You will always have a special place in my heart. Makakahanap ka din ng babaeng para sa’yo. Your one true love. Please don’t be too hard on yourself. Promise me that after this, babalik ka na ng Pilipinas. Never dare to see me again. By doing so, you would find it easy to move on.” She fixed Richard’s disoriented neck tie and continued. “Kaya mo ‘yan. Ikaw pa ba? I just cannot afford to hurt someone the way you did to me. Take care, Richard.”

Richard watched as Maya walked away together with what they shared. Rain started pouring on his head but he didn’t try to move. Not even planning to. Maya, oh my dear Maya, my greatest love. How could I forget you?

~~~~~

May mga tao talaga sa buhay natin na tumatagal at dumadaan lang. Yung mga tumatagal ay yung mga pang-habang buhay na dapat nating bigyan ng sapat na halaga. Meron din namang mga dumadaan lang… Dumadaan to give spice in our lives. Pero, hindi ibig sabihn na magtatagal sila. Ganoon talaga. We should learn who to prioritize. Always remember na ang pagsisisi ay parating nasa huli. Tumagal o dumaan man sila, we need to remember to take good care of our fragile hearts too. So that in the end, walang talo. 🙂 – Miles

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.