It is just an ordinary day. I’ve been telling that to myself a thousand times even though my heart refuses to slow down its beating rate. I might even be suffering high blood pressure. “Maya, ang kulit mo.” I muttered. The day passed so quickly and I’m now on my way to teach my last class. The next one would be the most awaited class that I accidentally agreed to substitute.
My students are just going to take their long quiz and they could go afterwards. I don’t really need to do any lectures. So while they answer their papers, I’m sitting in front, reading my notes for my own long test in Sir Dean’s class. It’s funny though. In every topic that I read, I could almost hear Sir Dean’s voice in my head as if he’s having his own lecture there. I even told this to Kute last night when she went inside my room to bring me coffee. And guess what she said?
Masyado mo kasi siyang iniisip, bunso.
Am I? Am I really thinking about him that much? Well, I guess. But mostly it’s because of what he revealed last night. He asked for coexistence of us existing as friends without this student-teacher relationship. I do respect that. But what I cannot forget is when he said that he is not going to court me, yet. Am I ready to have another relationship? I know that Sir Dean is a busy man. What if our relationship ends up just like what I had with Simon? And am I allowed to date our Dean? Let alone my own Professor?
“Ma’am, may I ask a question?” A voice brought me back from my thoughts. I was actually glad that someone did. I thought my head was going to explode from all of those thoughts. I looked around the room and saw that it’s Edward, the boy who has an unusual liking to me.
“Yes?” I asked back.
“Break na po ba kayo ng boyfriend niyo?” He suddenly asked. The whole class turned their heads at me and then all of them laughed. “What? I am curious!” He added.
“Alright, settle down please.” I said and when the laughter died down I added, “Only questions about the exam, please.”
“Ma’am, sagutin niyo na rin.” A student said.
I rolled my eyes at them. “Ano bang makukuha niyo sa love life ko? Maisasagot niyo ba ‘yan sa exam?” I asked and I just got a soft laughter as my reply. I kept on observing since I think this is a way for me be distracted so that students will be able to cheat. “I’ll answer sa next class natin. For now please focus muna on your exam, and eyes on your own paper please.” I loudly said as I saw a few kids at the back asking each other for answers. Good thing that they stopped after that.
I made my way to Ms. Belmonte’s class right away since I don’t have any breaks after my previous class. It’s in the first floor, just beside my room in Sir Dean’s class. I made my way to the table and placed my things. “This is BIO31?” I asked the class and some nodded. “Ms. Belmonte is on leave, so I will be the substitute teacher for today in Genetics.” I said and I could clearly hear my heart hammer.
I took a deep breath as the students opened their notebooks and grabbed their pens. Just remember the way you told the lecture last night to Ricky. I told myself. My cellphone beeped and even though we’re not able to use cellphones during class, I took it out for a peek. It’s from Sir Dean.
Good luck on your lecture! Kaya mo ‘yan. Kwentuhan mo ako mamaya.
A smile flew across my face. I took a deep breath again and opened the lid of my marker. “So let’s start.” I said and I just rolled with it.
“That’s it for today. Thank you for listening.” I said with a smile as the students started packing up. I did well, I think. I was asked a few questions but I was able to answer with full confidence. I don’t know why but during my lecture, I could almost hear Sir Dean in my head.
“Ma’am thank you po sa lecture.” A student said. “Sana po kayo na lang ‘yung prof namin for genetics.” She kindly said. “Ano po bang schedule niyo? Baka po pwede kaming mag-sit in.”
“Ay thank you rin. Pero believe it or not, this is actually the first time that I taught genetics. Sana may naintindihan kayo. Feeling ko kasi ang gulo ng turo ko.” I kindly replied.
“Nako Ma’am, naintindihan po namin nang sobra.” Her friend butted in. “Si Ma’am Zenaida po kasi mabilis magturo. Naiintindihan naman po namin, kaso ang hirap pong maabsorb agad. ‘Yung sa inyo po sakto eh.” She said.
“Ganon ba?” I asked with a smile. “Pero alam ko namang kaya niyo ‘yan. Tamang intindi lang ‘yan at review.” I replied. They said thanks again and bid their farewell. I sighed in relief. I couldn’t be happier in hearing their comments.
“Ma’am Maya!” A familiar voice said. “Ang galing niyo pong magturo ah!”
“Niccolo!” I replied with a smile. He approached me with three guys behind him. I think they’re his friends. “Estudyante pala kita. Hindi ko napansin.”
“Syempre Ma’am, behave ‘to kapag nasa class.” He said with a huge smile. “Pero seryoso, Ma’am Maya. Naintindihan ko talaga lahat.” He said. “Pero ‘yung tropa ko medyo hindi nila nagets eh.”
“Ha? Bakit naman? May gusto ba silang itanong? Ayos lang. May time pa naman ako.” I said to him and to his friends.
“Masyado atang nagandahan sa’yo Ma’am eh.” Niccolo said and his friends quickly covered his mouth and pulled him away from me. I couldn’t help but laugh. “Nako Ma’am, ngumiti pa kayo, lalong maiin-love -” He added but got interrupted by his friends again. “Guys, kumalma tayo. Okay na. Wala na kong ibabanat.” He announced.
“Ma’am, pagpasensyahan niyo na ‘tong si Niccolo. May sayad talaga ‘to eh.” His friend said.
“I’m well aware sa kakulitan niyan.” I replied.
“Sabi sa’yo close kami ni Ma’am Maya eh.” Niccolo replied. “Ma’am Maya, may lakad ka mamaya? Libre kita sa amin.” He said.
“Ay pwedeng next time muna? May .. may lakad kami ng Kuya Ricky mo eh.” I replied.
“Ang bilis talaga ni Kuya Richard. Sige Ma’am, pinapaubaya na kita kay Kuya.” He said with a huge smile. “Pero sure ako, kung nakita ka lang niya kanina na nagtuturo? Lalong maiinlove ‘yon.” He said. “Tara na guys. Wala kayong pag-asa dyan kay Ma’am Maya. Ang papangit niyo kasi.” He said and ran outside followed by his friends.
I made my way to the faculty to get my things and went back to the classroom for Sir Dean’s class. I’m still a bit early so I laid my head on my table and closed my eyes. It’s been a long day. A few minutes later, my classmates entered the room. Eds sat beside me and we just chatted until Sir Dean entered the room. He was carrying a stack of papers which contains our exam.
“If you’re finished, you may go.” He announced as he distributed the papers. When his eyes found mine, I lifted my hand a bit and gave him a thumbs up. He suddenly smiled and I could feel my heart hammer again.
“Maya, ang gwapo talaga ni Sir Santelices.” Eds muttered beside me. I found myself smiling. Well for starters, he is handsome.
The exams were done after two hours. Sir Dean left while most of us are still chatting on how hard the exams were. It was really complicated. But I managed to answer all of them. i just wished I don’t fail.
“Maya, we’re having dinner. Gusto mong sumama?” Eds asked.
“Pass muna ako Eds. May lakad din kasi ako eh.” I informed her.
“Ay Maya! Sorry kung out of the blue pero kaya ba ‘yung tutorial?” Emman asked with a worried face. “Hindi kasi talaga kinaya ng beauty ko itong exam na ‘to.”
“Update ko kayo, okay? I’ll just ask him later. Magkikita naman kami.” I just said.
“So siya ang kasama mo mamaya.” Eds slowly said with a teasing smile.
“And take note Eds, ‘him’ ang gamit ni Maya.” Emman added. The two of them exchanged looks and chuckled. “Tara na nga, Eds, baka makaistorbo pa tayo sa date ni Mayabells.” And before they could even protest, they quickly got outside the room.
I just sighed. Is this really a date?
I made my way to the faculty and saw Sir Ryan sitting on my desk. “There you are!” He said when he saw me. “Here’s the invitation for my son’s birthday. It’ll be on Saturday, Maya. I hope you can come. Raffi’s excited to meet you.” He said with a smile. I thanked Sir Ryan for the invitation then he gave me another envelope. “Kay Lim.” He said. “Pakibigay na lang.”
“Ha? Eh Sir nandyan lang naman si Sir Dean eh. Pwede namang kayo na lang ang -“
“Let’s go?” A voice said and Sir Dean emerged from his office. I was surprised by what he said then I noticed that we’re the only ones in the faculty.
“Lim told me you two have a date.” Sir Ryan said. “And I need to go. See you. And Lim, ihatid mo si Maya sa kanila ha?” He said and left.
“What’s up with him?” Sir Dean muttered as he stood beside me.
“Ay pinabibigay niya.” I said and handed him the invitation.
“Are you going?” He asked as he opened the envelope and read what’s inside.
“Malalaman pa.” I replied. I don’t really know if I should go. I am afraid that I will know no one there.
“Well, if .. if you’re not going, then I’m not going.” Sir Dean said and I just gave him a confused look. “Wala naman akong kilala don eh. Sure, Ryan and Raffi but they’ll be preoccupied. I have no one to talk to.”
I laughed at him after I heard him speak. “Alam mo, Ricky, ‘yan din ang iniisip ko eh.” I said.
“O ‘di ba?” He replied with a smile. “Pupunta ka na?” He asked.
“Okay. I’ll go.” I replied.
“Great. I’ll pick you up sa bahay niyo.” He replied.”Ah, no buts, Ms. Dela Rosa.” He quickly said and I just sighed.
“You’re the boss.” I replied.
“Boss na ginagamit mo.” He muttered. My jaw dropped and I lifted both of my hands to hit him. Sir Dean stopped it by holding both of my hands with his.
What happened next was a blur.
I don’t know what happened. In just a matter of seconds, my hands were around his torso and his arms are around me, just below my neck and I could feel his chin rested on my head. I could feel him tighten his embrace around me and I did the same. It was just so comfortable to be in his arms.
“Congratulations on your success earlier.” He whispered. “Pwede mo na ba akong palitan as a professor?”
I chuckled softly. “Thank you. Pero hindi pa. I still have a long way to go.” I muttered back. We just hugged each other in comfortable silence until I decided to let go. We smiled at each other foolishly before I spoke, “Tara na.” Ricky just gave me a smile as a response. “I was thinking na dun na lang tayo-“
“Ah, I already have a plan.” Ricky interrupted. “I hope you don’t mind.”
“Ricky, bakit .. bakit tayo nasa sementeryo?” I asked. I have complete faith in him in our celebration but I am horrified when we entered the gates of a cemetery. “Maggo-ghost hunting ba tayo?” I asked when he opened the passenger’s door for me.
“No, silly.” He replied and then sighed. “I know this is not the ideal place for a first date but .. you’ll see.” He said. I just nodded and got out of his car.
Sir Dean went to his car’s trunk and took out three bouquets. He walked a bit and reached two tombstones and placed the flower in each. I went beside him and that’s when I saw the names engraved on them.
Esmeralda S. Lim and Alexandria S. Lim
“Hi Mom. Hey Alex.” Ricky muttered. “I brought a friend. Well, she’s sort of a special friend. Her name is Maya. She’s a student and a colleague of mine.” He said. I could feel the tears welling up my eyes. “Here, these are for you.” He said and when I looked at him, he is handing me the other bouquet. This one is different. The one he placed on the tombstones were roses and mine are sunflowers. “Stay here.” Sir Dean said and he went back to the trunk of his car and grabbed a duff-el bag and a basket. He opened the bag and grabbed a picnic blanket and laid it on the ground. He patted on the area beside him so I sat down. We shared silence for a bit until he spoke again.
“It’s my mother and my sister.” He said. “They died ten years ago.” He simply said. I could feel his voice trembling so I wrapped my arm around his and he looked at me with a smile. “I know this is unusual, Maya. But .. like I said, I just really want you to know me.”
“I understand.” I replied. For once, I can see how vulnerable Sir Dean is. Even after ten years, I could still feel the hurt that has built up inside him. “Ah, Tita Esmeralda, nice to meet you po. And to you too, Alex. Salamat sa pagpapahiram mo sa’kin ng damit nung nakatulog ako kina Ricky. Sana nakilala kita dati. Feeling ko magkakasundo tayo sa fashion eh.” I said and I heard Ricky chuckle.
“Yes. Magkakasundo kayo ni Alex.” He replied and then I heard him took a deep breath. He reached for the basket and took out containers of food. “I asked Manang to prepare this for us. And I want to tell you that she is very happy to oblige.” He said.
I chuckled and grabbed the paper plates and start putting food in it. I gave it to Ricky. “Kain ka na. Feeling ko nagugutom ka na kaya ang drama mo bigla eh.” I teased and he just shook his head with a smile.
“If Alex was here? Magkakaisa kayo sa pang aasar sa’kin.” He replied.
I was finished putting food in my plate when I looked at the tombstones again. “Ricky, paano sila ..” I trailed off. I was really not in the position to ask questions about it but I was surprised that he replied.
“Car crash. Well, actually, someone shot them before that.” Ricky replied. “My .. my Dad, he was involved in some issue before. That’s when Alex and I decided to use my Mom’s maiden name to ensure our safety. We all received death threats. But then one night I received the news that changed my life. Alex was driving that night with my Mom. They’re on their way home and then someone shot the two of them and then the car crashed. They were declared dead on arrival and up until now, hindi pa rin nahuhuli ‘yung pumatay sa kanila.” Ricky explained. “After that, I shut everyone out of my life. I only talk to those who I trusted. And I know that you can see how I treat everyone around me.”
Ricky was just looking at the tombstones the whole time he told me the story. I know that he can’t still accept the fact that his family was broken apart by a man who is still out there. My heart cringed. He is doing all of this for me and I don’t really deserve it. I placed my plate on the ground and moved myself closer to him. I wrapped my arm around him again. “I’m sorry. Alam kong ginagawa mo ‘to para ipakilala sa’kin kung sino ka. I appreciate all of it. But I don’t think I deserve it when it’s giving you too much heartache.” I replied.
“It’s okay. Gusto kong gawin ‘to. And thank you for being here with me tonight.” He replied and I felt his head on top of mine. “I want to do it for you.” He said and I felt him kiss the top of my head. “Enough about me. How was your day?”
I couldn’t help but smile because of what he did. “Believe it or not, my students actually prefer me than Ms. Belmonte.” I replied.
“Really? I am actually surprised na naintindihan nila ‘yung mga pinagsasasabi mo. At naniwala pa sila ha.” Sir Dean replied.
“Ang sama mo talaga.” I replied with a smile. “Syempre, magaling ‘yung nagturo eh.”
“And who could that be, I wonder.” He replied.
I leaned back to get a good look at his face. “Sino pa? Edi ‘yung poging pogi kong Sir Dean!” I replied as I pinched his cheek.
“Aw, Maya! Stop that!” He replied with a huge smile on his face. I smiled back. That’s just what I wanted to see. “Thank you. For .. for everything.”
Sir Dean nodded. “You’re welcome. Kumain na tayo.” He replied. “Anyway, tell me more! ‘Yun lang? Wala bang bloopers para marinig ni Mom and ni Alex kung gaano ka ka-clumsy?” He comically asked.
“Tita, Alex, I’m proud to say na wala akong clumsy moment ngayong araw na ‘to.” I said with a smile. “Ah, si Niccolo pala, student ko sya kanina!” I exclaimed. “Kilala ba nila si Niccolo?” Sir Dean just smiled at me and nodded. “Alam niyo po, kahit si Niccolo, nagalingan sa’kin. Pwedeng pwede na raw akong maging professor sa genetics!” I said then I looked back at Sir Dean. He is still smiling back at me. I felt my heart flutter. I do hope we can always be like this.
I’m sorry po kung ngayon lang yet I said na Monday ako babalik. My laptop got infected by trojan horsies and I sadly need to reformat everything. And my phone is also broken so buhay bundok ngayong bakasyon. Salamat po sa paghihintaaaay!