“Are you really for real?” I asked and Maya turned her head up to meet my gaze.
“Oo no. Ang kulit mo eh.” She said with a smile and placed her head back on my shoulder. Paul continues to drive us to the hotel where James and Angela are staying. My eyes shifted at our entwined hands lying on my lap. I kissed her head and placed my own above hers. I can’t really believe that she’s here. And she’s finally mine.
“I love you.” I whispered so that she could only hear it. Especially that those three words are only reserved to her.
“I love you, too.” She whispered back. I couldn’t help but to smile. After two long years, we’re here again. I once let go of her, and I’m never going to let her go again. “Richard, would you mind if you loosen your hold a bit? Ang higpit na eh.” I heard Maya whisper.
I chuckle and kissed her head again. “Was that too tight?” I asked as I loosened my hold on her hand. “I’m sorry. I just don’t want to let you go again.”
“I thought you said that it’s completely your plan to let me go?” She asked, moving her head so she could look at me.
“Yep.” I said as I nodded my head. “But you stubbornly followed me here in New York. So I guess I have no choice but to claim you back.” I teased.
Maya scowled in front of me. “You’re so conceited, Mr. Lim.” She said and gave a soft laugh. “Uuwi na nga ako sa Pilipinas.” She said as she removed her hand on mine.
I chuckled and held her hand with mine while I put my other arm around hers. “You’re not going anywhere Miss. You’re here in New York and the only place where you can go is where I will go.” I said with a smile on my face.
“Like? If you jump, I jump, ganon?” She asked with full of amusement in her eyes.
“Silly. Don’t quote something from Titanic!” I exclaimed, making her laugh even more. “As much as I would like to do something like that, feeling ko wala nang binatbat sa’kin si Jack sa pagiging romantic.” I said.
Maya slapped me lightly on my shoulder. “Ang yabang mo eh!” She exclaimed and we both laughed. Then I fell silent. “O? Why?” She asked, noticing my sudden change of mood.
I smiled as I placed my hands on either side of her face. I leaned in to kiss her on the lips, and then I stared directly into her eyes. “If this is a dream, I don’t really want to wake up.” I said.
Maya leaned in and gave me a kiss. “You’re not dreaming, okay? I’m really here. This .. everything that is happening is real. Remove that doubt inside of you, okay?” She replied.
I nodded. I was going to lean in for a kiss when I felt the car stop. I looked outside and saw that we already reached our destination. “Sir, Ma’am, we’re already at the hotel.” Paul said, looking at us through the mirror.
“Thank you, Paul.” I replied. “You can go now. We’ll just take a cab on our way home.”
He nodded. “Okay, Mr. Lim. I’ll just park this car on your space, and then I’ll get going. Have a good night Sir, Ma’am.”
I grabbed Maya’s hand but stopped when I felt her not moving. “Ah, Paul, I’m sorry if Richard and I are noisy here at the back. I hope you didn’t get annoyed.” Maya apologetically said. I just smirked. This is one of the things I like about her – she has respect for every person, no matter what their statuses are.
“It’s okay Ms. Maya.” Paul replied. “It’s nice to see and hear Mr. Lim smile and laugh. Ever since I started working for him, he seldom does. And I do think that now that you are here, he will always have that smile on his face.” He said, making me smile. I never knew that Paul observed that. “Have a good night, Miss.”
“Thank you, Paul.” Maya said and held my hand and smiled at me. We took the elevator and walked until we reached James’ room, while our hands are still entwined. Angela was the one who opened the door and immediately shrieked when she saw that our hands are like that.
“Jaaames!! They’re here!!” Angela yelled inside the room. “Come in you two!” She said.
“Richard!” James exclaimed when he saw me. “And of course, Maya. I’m not really surprised that you two found each other.” He said as he put an arm around Angela. “So Maya, I told you. Sa Central Park mo lang mahahanap ‘tong si Richard.” He mocked.
“Bakit ka ba nasa Central Park, Richard?” Angela asked.
I sighed. “It’s where I could think, okay? After all the rush at work, I just need some space.” I answered.
“Asuus, namimiss mo lang si Maya eh.” James teased.
I raised both of my hands and sighed. “Fine, fine, you got me.” I said, making them laugh. “Where’s Gelo, by the way?”
“He’s back home, with Mom.” Angela answered. “Ayaw ni Mom na pasamahin ang apo niya, mamimiss daw niya. Kaya eto, kami lang ni James.”
“Saan niyo balak pumunta?” Maya asked.
“Well, I was thinking that we will just spend the day here since we’re jetlagged. Maybe you can set up some activities for us Richard since you’re already a New Yorker.” James said.
“Alright. Since we’re in New York, we might as well watch something on Broadway. Tickets are on me, don’t worry.” I said.
“What are we watching?” Maya asked.
“Secret. You’ll find out tomorrow.” I replied and gave her a peck on her lips.
“Yun o!” James yelled, making us laugh.
“Come on, let’s go to the restaurant near this hotel so we can all have dinner together.” Angela said and we all obliged. We spent the good two hours just by eating our dinner and catching up on the things I missed back home. It turns out that Maya wanted to call me when she fully recovered her memory. It was James’ plan to delay it all.
“You’re gonna pay for this, James.” I said after I found out the truth.
My best friend just laughed at me. “Why would I? C’mon, Richard, just admit it. If it wasn’t for me, Maya wouldn’t be on your side right now.” He said and when I looked at Maya, she was smiling while she was engaged in a conversation with Angela. I leaned a bit and whispered in her ear. “I love you.”
Maya turned her head at me and pinched my nose. “Ano na naman ‘yang hirit mo?” She said with a smile and I could also see the faint red on her cheeks.
“Hindi ba pwedeng gusto ko lang maglambing?” I replied and pouted.
She chuckled. “Natatakot ako sa paglalambing mo. Sobra-sobra eh, baka maubos.” She said.
My eyes widened, filled with amusement. “What’s make you think of that? Fyi, Maya Dela Rosa. After years of searching for you, and now that you’ve come back, I’m not letting you go, never. I’m just going to do something to your name.” I said making her brows furrow out of curiosity. “Iiisod lang natin ng kaunti ‘yung apelyido mo, tapos ilalagay natin ‘yung akin sa pangalan mo. Maya Dela Rosa-Lim. See? Much much better.” I said making them laugh.
“Alright, we get it, Richard, wedding bells are ringing. And please make sure that this will be a real one. I don’t really want to see any sad faces. It’s about time that you guys have your happy ending!” Angela giddily said.
We got up again on their room and I grabbed Maya’s luggage since I insisted that she should stay with me, and also for a fact that I know James and Angela are planning to do something tonight. I just don’t want to interrupt them. It’s already around 10 in the evening when we got home and Tito Louie is already asleep. The only room that is vacant is mine.
“It’s not like we haven’t slept together.” I said as I grabbed Maya’s hand to get her up on the couch. She’s been insisting that she’ll just take the couch and I’ll take the bed. “My bed’s big enough for the two of us.”
“Richard –“ Maya started but before she could even continued, I lifted her up and brought her to bed. She started squealing and hitting me on my shoulder but she continued laughing. “Richard! Ibaba mo ko!” She exclaimed.
“Shhh! Magigising si Tito Louie!” I replied, making her laugh even more. I finally put her down on the side of the bed and sat beside her. “Ang bigat mo.” I teased.
“Eh ikaw eh!” She exclaimed.
“Ikaw kaya!” I replied and we continued to laugh. “Seriously, Maya, I want to sleep beside you. I missed that. And don’t tell me you didn’t miss it, too.” I said and she just answered me with a smile. I kissed her forehead and looked at her. “I’ll be outside. I need to make some calls. I’ll be back after.” I said and she nodded.
I got in the living room and took my laptop out. I typed in the website to buy the tickets for the show we’re going to watch tomorrow. The show will be tomorrow at 7PM. After making the call, I changed my clothes and went inside my room. I found Maya sleeping peacefully on her side of the bed. A smile tugged on my lips. I really need to snap back in reality and make myself believe that she’s here. And that we’re going to continue the things that were postponed before.
I was the first one to wake up. Maya is cuddled close to me, still asleep. It must be because of her body clock. I lifted my hand and brushed my knuckled on her cheek. I really missed waking up and gazing at her face like this. I leaned in and kissed her lips and her eyes fluttered open.
“Good morning.” I whispered.
“Good morning!” She greeted and tightened her hold of me. “Finally! You’re real! Nasa panaginip lang kita dati eh at alam mo bang ayaw ko nang gumising ‘pag dinadalaw mo ko dun? Ngayon naman ayoko nang bumangon.” She said making me chuckle.
“We have to get up. We’re going to watch something on Broadway remember?” I said.
She nodded her head. “Anong papanoorin natin?” She asked, opening an eye to look at me.
“I told you that it’s a secret, ‘di ba?” I said. “Mamaya pa namang 7 in the evening. Do you want to tour around New York first?” I asked.
She nodded happily. “How about James and Angela?”
“James has been to New York before. I bet he knew where to take Angela. I’ll just call them to inform about the show. So, should we get up or we’re just going to spend the whole day cuddled up like this?” I asked.
Maya hugged me tight again and pouted. She looked at me and kissed my nose. “Tara na nga!” She said and quickly got up.
We decided to visit the local sights here in New York. Even if it’s already my nth time to be there, it all felt different with Maya. It still felt like the first time, especially after seeing the huge smile on her face. I know for sure that I’m not letting her go now. If she wants me to propose again, I will do it. I will always do everything for her.
At nearly 7PM, we’re already inside the venue. Maya is seated beside me on my right while Angela is beside her with James. The curtains were still closed but I can already see the anticipation in Maya’s eyes.
“Richard, napanood mo na ba ‘to?” Maya whispered near my ear.
I shook my head. “No. Though I already watched the film.”
“There’s a film version of this? What is this musical about?” She eagerly asked.
“Yes, there’s a movie. But I do think that the musical is much better. The story revolves around these two musicians that dealt with this pain inside of them. They eventually found each other by means of music. Since this show is live, I think that the feelings of the music will be delivered with so much power and emotion by the actors.” I told her.
“Like when Edward took Vivian to watch La Traviata on Pretty Woman?” She asked and I found myself smiling. She really loves that film. I just nodded my head. Before I could even reply, the room dimmed and the show goes into play.
‘Once’ was a movie first before it was made into a musical. Like the movie, the storyline is about ‘Guy’ whose still in love with his girlfriend that left him for another man. He’s living with his father and is doing a living by fixing vacuum cleaners. He’s an aspiring musician and plays guitar for tips and also in bars, mostly performing the songs he originally wrote. Because of his music, ‘Girl’ is drawn to him, which is also a musician. She asked him to fix her vacuum cleaner and in exchange, she’ll accompany Guy with his music, by playing the piano and harmonizing with him.
The music was so powerful in this play that I felt Maya’s arm looped around mine as she watched. Her eyes were glued on the stage as Guy and Girl performed their first solo that showed the developing feelings they have for each other. The Guy found out later on that Girl is already married and has a daughter, but her relationship with her husband is not going well.
“Richard, what did the girl said when the guy asked her if she still loves her husband.” Maya asked when that scene happened.
“Miluju tebe. It’s in Czech.” I answered.
“What does it mean?” She continued to ask.
I smirked. “It is you who I love.” I answered.
The story goes on, the Girl helped the Guy do his recordings so that he could make a demo of his songs since he’s going to London for him to pursue his career. Guy asked Girl to come with him in London, but Girl didn’t agree. She spent the next days avoiding Guy until the day that he needs to leave arrived. Girl still didn’t show up and so Guy went to the piano store and bought her a gift he promised.
Girl arrived home and saw a piano with a ribbon on it. Guy is already in London to reconcile with his girlfriend while Girl’s husband came home for their daughter. They went on separate ways but their love for each other still remains. Finally, they performed the first song they sang together, even if their already away from each other.
“Richard, ang lungkot naman ng ending nito.” I heard Maya said as she sobbed beside me as the actors continued to sing ‘Falling Slowly’. I placed a kiss on her head and rubbed her arm.
“I know.” I said. “I personally don’t like the ending. They obviously have feelings for each other but the time just doesn’t allow them to be together. Some endings are better without them being on the aisle together but instead, being on the aisle with the person they were meant to be.” I answered. “This song is perfect for us, you know? The first line says ‘I don’t know you, but I want you, all the more for that.’ Do you have any idea that it’s already like that when we first met?” I shifted in my seat and wiped Maya’s tears on her face. “’You can only find the right person, Once.’ That’s what this musical says. You’re my ‘Once’, Maya. And I promise you that we will never be apart again. I love you.”
Finally, she smiled, knowing what I truly mean. “You’re my ‘Once’, too Richard.” She replied and gave me a kiss on my lips. “I love you, too.”
A/N : Nadelay ng isang chapter ang ending due to public demand! Sorry po tlaga at hindi na po ako daily mag-update. Lagi po kasi akong wala sa bahay haha. Ending will be next.
P.S. I do recommend the movie ‘Once’ for you to watch. The songs in it are so good, that they’re still stuck in my head until this day. Matagal ko na po siyang napanood, nung isang araw ko lang po nalaman ko lang po na may broadway version pala siya. The storyline that I wrote here is based on the movie itself. I think they improved the storyline on the musical. Can someone watch it for me? Tapos makikivideo po, lol pirata lang, o kaya ipadala niyo na lang po ako sa New York hahahahaha. Feeling ko po kasi ang ganda nung broadway version. Enough of my obsession. Thank you for reading! God bless!