I felt something moving on my lap. My eyes fluttered open when I realized that I’ve fallen asleep instead of looking out for Sir Dean. I looked at the couch and was surprised that he’s gone. I quickly stood up and scanned his office. Still, he is not around.
“Asan na ‘yon?” I muttered. Sir Ryan and Ma’am Ched left earlier since they still have to continue doing the exams for their student back at their tables. But they said that they won’t be leaving yet until they accompany Ricky back home safe. I glanced at my watch and saw that it’s already six in the evening. I hurriedly walked to leave his office but before I could even open the door, it quickly opened and Ricky came into view.
He just stared at me and clenched his jaws. “I didn’t want to wake you up. I just went to the comfort room.” He said. And without waiting for my answer, he walked past me and sat on his chair. He pulled out the iPad from his bag and started scanning it.
My heart just ached from that scene. I know that it’s hard for him, yet he doesn’t want to let it out. He just buries all the ache and stores it away somewhere, untouched, so that he could maintain his strong façade. I walked until I am behind him and then I hugged him from there. Ricky froze a bit, but then I felt his hands on my arms and just held it tightly.
“Just let it all out Richard.” I whispered. And I think that did the trick. He stood up and just hugged me. I could hear him sob on my shoulder. I enclosed my arms around him and tried to make him feel better. “It’s not your fault, it’s not your fault.” I kept on saying.
“I just feel so useless.” He muttered. “I don’t think I can do this anymore.”
I sighed and took a step back. I placed my hands on either side of his face and wiped his tears with my thumbs. “It has always been my childhood dream to be a doctor. Pangarap kong magsuot ng puting lab coat tapos may stethoscope sa leeg.” I started and his eyes just stared at mine in the most confused way he can. “As I got older, my view changed. It’s not just only because of those material things but I want to be a doctor because I want to save lives. ‘Yung titignan nila ako sa mata, papasalamatan ng buong puso, tapos uuwi nang magaan ang loob, kasi alam nila na gagaling sila. At naniniwala sila sa kakayahan at kaalaman ko na lahat ng sasabihin ko sa kanila ay para sa ikabubuti nila.” I said. “And that is something money couldn’t buy.”
“But why are you ..” Ricky trailed off.
“Bat wala ako sa med school?” I finished his question and he just nodded. “Yung totoo? Financial eh. I tried getting scholarships pero kasi nga may bad record ako sa genetics ‘di ba? At first, oo, aaminin ko, disappointed ako kasi ikaw na nga ‘tong may pure na intensyon para mag-aral, ikaw pa ‘tong hindi pinalad. But I also learned that I could also help people kahit hindi ako doctor. Research can change everything just like doctors. Kung wala ‘yung research namin, hindi kayo makakapanggamot.” I continued and gave him a smile. “Ikaw? Sabi mo dati, ikaw ‘yung may gustong mag-doktor. Pinilit ka lang ni Tito mag Doctor in Philosophy.” I asked and he just nodded. “Bakit?”
Sir Dean took a deep breath and stared on the floor for a while. “It was Alex who wanted it. But because we’re close, she influenced me. She made me realize that I can make the world better. And because of our family status, everything is possible and that we must use it on the best way possible.” He started. Sir Dean looked back at the floor again. “Then .. then she died.” He said, his voice cracking up. “When she died, my whole world died with her. She was the best Ate I could ever have. So I just decided I would be a doctor, just like what she wanted.” Ricky stated. “So I took it. First year was hard but I got through. Not just because I want to continue what Alex wanted but … I found my place there. I suddenly want to be the person who would make the difference, who would stand between death and life itself. I want to be a doctor that would make Alex and my mom proud.” Sir Dean continued, his voice steadier this time. Then he looked at me. “And I want to save the mothers and Alex’s of all the families out there. But .. but it’s just like reliving everything –“
“Hindi ganon ‘yon, okay?” I interrupted and just looked at me like he just lost everything. “I know that it hurts so much pero kasi Ricky kung bibitaw ka ngayon, paano na lang ‘yung mga susunod pa? Like Alex and your mom, they need you. They need you to be strong for them. And believe me, if you understand what I’m saying, alam kong ngayon pa lang, kahit wala pang MD sa dulo ng pangalan mo, proud na proud na sa’yo si Alex at si Tita.” I explained, trying to smile at him. I do hope my message can get through. “There are still a lot of mothers and Alex’s that need saving. You can’t possibly give up now.” I added.
Ricky just stared at me and then his eyes just relaxed. He took a deep breath and nodded. Then his lips curved up a bit to give me his famous smirk. “I guess you are right.” He muttered.
I rolled my eyes at him. “Syempre, tama ako. Ako pa?” I mocked and he finally chuckled.
“What would I do without you, Maya Dela Rosa?” He said and kept on staring at me. He closed our gaps and gave me a warm embrace. “Thank you.” He muttered.
“Okay ka na ba? Kailangan mo ba ng tubig? Pagkain?” I quickly asked. Sir Dean leaned back and looked at me amusedly. “Sabi ni Tito Roberto, ihatid ka na raw namin sa bahay niyo pagkagising mo. Nasa labas lang sina Sir Ryan, si .. si Ma’am Ched –“
I abruptly stopped when I felt his lips on my forehead. It stayed there for long and it made me feel like he wants to thank me for everything that I did for him. “Okay na ko. You’ve done enough.” He said after. “So I’m assuming they canceled my class with you?” He asked and I just nodded as an answer while Ricky just laughed at me. “Pwede mo ba akong samahan?”
“S-San?” I managed to mutter.
“Sa mall. I still don’t have any gift for Inigo. The party’s already tomorrow, right?” He replied.
“P-Pero Ricky! Hindi pa pwede. Kailangan mong magpahinga! Umiiyak ka pa kanina tapos ngayon, pagkatahan mo, gagala na agad tayo? Bipolar lang? Saka sabi nga ni Tito –“
I stopped again when he leaned in to kiss the tip of my nose. “One more word and I think you already know what’s gonna happen next.” He whispered.
I swallowed the lump on my throat and managed to take a step back and nodded. “K-Kunin ko lang ‘yung bag ko.” I softly muttered and left him. I just need to get out of his office. I could feel that my whole face is red right now and I could feel my heart hammering fast.
“Maya, are you okay? Bat pulang pula ka?” Sir Ryan said as I stood there awkwardly outside Sir Dean’s office.
“H-Ha? Ah, o-okay lang ako Sir Ryan.” I managed to answer and then I forced a smile.
“Is he okay?” He asked and I just nodded. Sir Ryan stood up from his seat and made his way inside while I am still standing there. After a few seconds, my feet managed to walk to my table and took a deep breath to regain my composure.
“Maya, Maya, kumalma ka.” I muttered. When I reached my chair, my mind replayed just what happened inside the office. I could still feel Sir Dean’s lips on my forehead and on my nose and then suddenly, I squealed by the kilig that rushed through me.
Then it hit me. “Baka ‘pag hindi ako umalis ..” I muttered then I placed my hand on my lips. Maybe that would’ve happened. I quickly scanned the faculty. Good thing that there’s no one but Sir Ryan who witnessed what just happened. Then I squealed again.
The door to Sir Dean’s office bolted open. I quickly straightened in my seat and looked for my bag around. I quickly grabbed it and pretend that I was fixing things before someone could even go out of the office.
“Are you sure? Have you called Tito yet? Ako malalagutan don eh.” I heard Sir Ryan’s voice.
“I already texted him. I’m fine, Ryan. I swear.” Sir Dean’s voice followed.
Sir Ryan just sighed. “Fine. Not because I’m happy with this but I know you’re okay whenever you call me like that. And besides, may kasama ka naman pala eh.” Then went silent for a bit and when I looked up, I saw the two of them looking at me. “I’ll get going then. May last minute shopping pa kami ni Raffi. Tita Ched already went home.” He said as he went to his table and packed his things. “I’ll see you two tomorrow. 3PM ha? Have a great night.” He said and finally left.
“Do you still need a few minutes? I can wait outside.” Sir Dean said. He has his bag slung on his arm and he looks like he is ready to go.
“Okay na ko.” I said with a smile.
Sir Dean chuckled. “Okay na talaga?” He said and I guess he meant if I’m okay, considering what happened earlier.
I just smiled at him. “Okay na.” I replied. I stood up and walked just until I’m beside him.
“Tayo na?” He asked.
I bit my lower lip. There’s just something about his question that yells more. “Tara na.” I replied.
Ricky chuckled and shook his head. “Okay.” He said. Then I felt his hand near mine. When it’s already on top of it, he sneaks his fingers inside my palm and opened it, then entwined it with his. “Let’s go.” He said and I just melted with that huge smile on his face.
We arrived shortly at the mall. Ricky’s hand never let go of mine even though he is driving. It’s a good thing his car is automatic. “So what do you want to eat?” He suddenly asked. I looked at him and I looked at him strangely. “What? Hindi pa ako kumakain. And all that crying made me famished.”
“Ikaw bahala, saan mo ba gustong kumain?” I replied.
“I’m asking you that question, Maya.” He said. “Ganto na lang. What do you want to eat right now?”
I looked at him and saw that he is smiling over me. His eyes are a bit red and puffed but he still managed to give me that warm smile. “Pizza.”
Ricky’s smile just got wider and pulled me. “Let’s go then. You read my mind. Gusto ko rin ng pizza eh.” We settled inside Yellow Cab and he ordered a pizza and a Charlie chan. I spent most of our time mocking him because of his breakdown earlier. Sir Dean played along well, I don’t think that he got annoyed, even a bit.
“I’m not really good with gifts.” Sir Dean said as we strolled in the toy section of the department store. We spent too much time in eating and now we really need to buy a gift since the mall will soon close. “What should I buy? Okay lang na teddy bear?” He said as he grabbed one from the stand.
I chuckled at his suggestion. “Ricky, seven years old na si Inigo. Hindi teddy bear ang kailangan non.” I said as I grabbed the bear using my free hand and placed it back on the stand.
“How about like, xbox, or those Nintendo things?” He asked again.
“Galante.” I muttered with a smile. “Pero hindi eh. ‘Yan ang problema ng mga bata ngayon. Puro na lang iPads, cellphone, tablet, laging ganon na lang ang hawak.” I stated.
“Now you sound like a mother.” He said flatly. When I narrowed my eyes at him, he just laughed.
“May anak kasi si Kute, Ricky. Si Cho. Kaya alam ko ‘yung mga bagay na ‘yan eh. Actually, pwede na talaga akong mag-asa-“ I bit my lower lip and looked away from him.
“Again? Pwede ka na nang what?” He teased.
“Pwede na kong mang-asar.” I quickly replied and he just continued to laugh. “May bike na ba si Inigo?” I asked.
“I really don’t know. Pero I am betting na meron na. I think Molina mentioned it once that he got him a bike. Or was it his own bike?” He replied.
“You’re a horrible friend, Ricky.” I replied.
“Pero hindi horrible na boyfriend.” He said and I just looked at him with a smile. “I’m doing good so far, ‘di ba?”
“Nanliligaw ka pa lang, Ricky.” I reminded him. After a few minutes of walking, I finally saw the perfect gift for Inigo. “Ito Ricky! Feeling ko bagay na regalo!” I exclaimed. It’s one of those remote controlled drones. I grabbed one and quickly placed it back.
“O, what’s the matter, why did you put it back?” Ricky asked.
“Mahal eh.” I said.
“Yes? What is it?” He quickly said.
My brows furrowed at him. “Mahal nga.”
“Bakit nga?” He replied again and I could see the hint of amusement in his eyes.
“Ricky. Mahal.” I still said.
“Yes? Bakit?” He just went on.
“Alam mo ang kulit mo eh. Mahal nga eh.” I annoyingly said.
Ricky just chuckled. “Maya, as much as I want your endearment, akala ko ba wala pang tayo?” He said.
My eyes widened at him when I realized what he meant. “R-Ricky! ‘Yung drone ‘yung mahal! As in .. ano, e-expensive!” I defended.
He just continued to laugh. “It’s alright. I understand. I just wanted to tease you.” He said as he removed his hold in my hand and placed it on my side to give me a hug. “So, ito na ‘yung ireregalo natin?” He asked. “I’ll just share your gift kaysa magpaikot-ikot pa tayo dito.” He said.
“Bibilhin mo talaga ‘to?” I asked.
“Yes. Why not?” He asked back.
“Eh kasi seven years old lang si Inigo. May chance na masisira lang ‘yung laruan. Sayang ‘yung pera ‘di ba?” I stated.
Ricky slowly nodded as he considers my suggestion. “How about we buy those helicopter thing muna? I think it costs less, don’t you think?” He asked and I just nodded. Finally, we have our gift.
“Umuwi ka na Ricky. Pagod ka na rin eh.” I said as he stopped in front of our house and said that maybe it’s time to meet my family. “We could always do this some other time.” I said.
Ricky nodded. “Do you want some help with your thesis?” He asked.
“’Wag na, Ricky. Ang dami mo nang naitulong. Kaya ko na ‘to.” I said. “Uwi ka na ha. Magpahinga ka na. Baka hinihintay ka na rin ni Tito.”
He just smiled at me and nodded. “Opo, uuwi na.” He answered. “I had a great day, Maya. And thank you, again, for bringing me back to my senses.”
“Wala ‘yon. Sabi mo nga dati, ‘I’ll do anything for you.’ Sige na. Tatapusin ko pa ‘yung thesis ko. I had a great time, too. Goodnight.” I said.
Ricky leaned in and laid a kiss on my forehead. “Goodnight. I’ll pick you up tomorrow.” He said. I watched him sped off. After helping a bit in the chibugan, I went inside my room to finish my school works. I know I’ll finish it within the night. Ricky is enough to fuel my inspiration.
Sorry po! I’ve been trying to figure out how I’m going to run this story. Thank you po for waiting!