The News

It’s past 2 in the morning. RJ is about to lie down in his bed when his phone suddenly rings. He gets his phone to check it. He sees Maine’s name on the screen.

“O Maine, bakit biglang — ” his sentence was cut upon hearing Maine’s loud sobbing. There was a hint of panic in her voice. He can’t catch up with what she’s trying to say.

“Listen, okay? Kalma ka muna. I’ll be there quick.” Both RJ and Maine are living now in the same condominium tower. RJ’s unit is only a few floors above Maine’s. RJ arrives at Maine’s unit in no time. In just two presses on the doorbell, Maine immediately opens the door for him. The moment RJ enters inside, Maine quickly throws her arms around his neck, squeezing him into a tight hug. She was still sobbing. He returns the hug, snaking her arms around his waist.

“Ssh, please stop crying. Please…” RJ whispers with a few light kisses on her ear. “What’s the problem?” She doesn’t answer.

RJ convinces her to go inside the mini living room for them to talk there instead. They sit on the sofa. RJ waits for Maine to calm down a little bit first. He runs his fingers through her hair then tucks it behind her ears. She just looks down, avoiding his eyes. “Meng, ano ba talaga problema? Nag-aalala na ako e.”

She slowly turns her head to his direction. Finally, she looks in his eyes. And right there, he saw it — everything. Her eyes say it all. Everything she was feeling in that moment. His immediate reaction is to pull her into a hug again, his arms around her, her head on his chest, his chin placed on her head.

“RJ…” He doesn’t respond. He just waits for her to continue. Her shoulders start shaking. She bursts into tears again. “RJ I’m pregnant.” Despite the sobbing, RJ heard it. Loud and clear. But he needs to hear it again to confirm it.

“Ano ulit, Maine?” He asks with a soft voice.

She removes his arms around her then sits straight. She looks directly at him, returning the same intensity of his gaze. “I’m pregnant. You hear me? I’m pregnant!” More tears fall. “And I freaking don’t know what to feel and what to do! I’m not yet ready to be a mother, RJ. At kahit hindi mo sabihin, alam kong ikaw din hindi pa ready!”

He’s frozen in his seat. Upon hearing that, his stomach flips and his face, hands, and feet turn ice cold. He doesn’t know what to feel. He’s amused, scared, excited, happy, nervous; it’s like feeling all kinds of feelings in that exact moment. He can’t distinguish what feeling dominates all. He’s happy at the same time not. Though maybe happiness overpowers the unhappy feeling. But Maine’s right; they’re both not yet ready.

It’s only two years and three months after AlDub happened. They’re now on the peak of their careers. Their schedules are full, still being showered with a lot of projects. But this happened. Maine being suddenly pregnant. RJ and Maine truly loves each other of course. They’re willing to wait for the right time until they can finally build their own family. But definitely not yet. Not now. Not this year or next year or next, next year. Not. She can imagine how everyone will be disappointed, including her family once they know.

Meanwhile, RJ starts to get emotional as well. He stands up, hands on his waist, then takes a really, really deep breath. He looks up, trying to prevent his tears but they just keep falling. “Huy, ano na? Ano nang plano mo?” Asks Maine with an irritated tone. “Teka, I… I need to gather my thoughts first.” Maine has calmed down while Alden is still in shock.

After a few minutes of trying to get his senses back, he turns his body to her direction then slowly kneels in front of her, holding onto her knees, meeting her eyes. “Natatakot din ako, sa totoo lang. Natatakot ako sa magiging reaksyon ng mga tao… ng mga pamilya natin. But I’m happy kasi you’re going to be the mother of my child at — ”

“Are you serious? Masaya ka? Dammit I’m not ready for this yet, okay? I’m just 23! I don’t know how to be a mother.” She starts sobbing again. “I’d love to build a family with you, RJ, but not now. In a few years, maybe yes. But please, hindi pa ngayon.” RJ pushes the back of her head until it reaches the crook of his neck. He lets her cry there while he’s stroking her hair, trying to comfort her.

He doesn’t mind her little punches on his chest. “Of course I’m not also ready to be a father yet. Pero papanindigan ko ang baby natin. Kakayanin natin to hangga’t walang bibitaw. We’re going to stay strong for our baby, Maine. We’re a team, remember? But this time, hindi na lang ikaw at ako ‘to. Kasi makakasama na natin siya. Ikaw, ako at siya — tayong tatlo; Team tayo.” His voice is calm but he can’t help but show more enthusiasm in saying the latter part. He’s getting excited more than anything else. The thought of him being a father to his and Maine’s child makes him feel giddy. “Mahal kita, alam mo yan. Always.” She pulls away from his hug then lightly pushes him.

She frowns at him but RJ finds it cute. It doesn’t scare him at all. A grin wants to escape. She punches him at his chest, this time with more force, but it doesn’t hurt him even a bit. “Ikaw kasing RJ ka e. Binuntis mo ko!”

He chuckles at her. God, she’s so cute, he thought. He cups her face then kisses her forehead then looks at her eyes, his face only an inch apart or two, their noses touching. “I wasn’t alone. You were there with me. We made him. And if that doesn’t make you feel better, just remember that our baby was made out of real love, not pure lust or alcohol or anything else. Just love.” He plants a feather light kiss on her nose. He sits beside her again. He nudges her, “tama na muna yang iyak. We should be happy that we’re going to have a baby. Sige ka, magtatampo na sayo yan.”

Her frown slowly fades. A smile cracks. “Kaya ba talaga natin? Pano yung career natin? Baka mawala lang lahat ng pinaghirapan natin RJ.”

“Ssh, ‘wag mo muna alalahanin yan. Just trust me the way you trusted me that night. I’ll do everything to give you both the best things in life.” He smiles, “I love you.”

He then kisses her stomach. “At syempre, love love love ka din ni Daddy RJ, baby. Daddy RJ’s really excited to see you,” he whispers. A tear escapes his eye. “Daddy RJ and Mommy Meng loves you. Kunwari lang yang si Mommy na ayaw niya pero love love love ka din niya. Trust Daddy, okay?” he baby talks, making Maine laugh. RJ’s with him, and that makes everything better. She doesn’t worry that much anymore. He’ll be a good dad for sure.

Now he kisses her shoulder, then her cheek, then her lips. “I love you. I’ll be a good father, I promise. I’ll love you both until my last breath,” he whispers in between their kisses. “We’re a team. We’ll stay strong for each other, yes?” She nods and kisses him more. “I promise.” She stops kissing him. “I love you, Daddy RJ.”

Oh God, I didn’t know it feels this good to be a dad. “I love you too, Mommy Meng.”

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(Photo grabbed from @tisoylovemeng)

______

Posted: January 9, 2016 | Medium

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Birthday Message for Alden

 Richard

 Faulkerson

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Jr.,

I haven’t met you in person yet but I can say that you’re one of the best people I’ve known— ever. You’re too kind, too humble, too selfless, and too much of all the other good traits. You’re such a beautiful person inside and out, and sometimes it would amuse me that it’s possible for a celebrity like you. You may not believe this but you somehow left a big impact on my life. You inspired me keep my faith in Him (even motivate me to read the bible sometimes) and you taught me how to wait in patience because good things will come to those who deserve it. You also taught me that hard work pays off but it will not come instantly — only in the right time/tamang panahon, just like how you patiently waited for five years until your time to shine in that industry finally comes.

Some people might not understand why I love you this much. They might think that it’s only because I admire your pretty face. Little did they know that it’s more than that. I love you for your beautiful soul. I’ve read a lot of stories from people outside showbiz who had met you saying that you don’t easily forget. You remember almost everyone. From the parents of your highschool classmates to some lucky fans who were lucky enough to get a chance to talk to you. I believed them. I believed you. I believe in all the good things people tell about you.

Your life story always inspire me. I’ve read Reeza’s blog post about you. Your determination to achieve your goals is something else. So this second sem, I’ll try do better in my acads. I’ll try to be as determined as you. I’ll persevere to be a DL. If at some point, I’ll be close to quitting, I’ll just remember you. Then I will try again. This is how you influence me, RJ.

I know you’ll have a handful of other messages to read but I’m really hoping that you’d be able to read the one I e-mailed to Eat Bulaga (well, EB was the first to encourage people to e-mail letters anyway). There’s like only 0.01% chance that you’ll read that but I’m willing to bet. All for the love. I love you so much, RJ. And I’ll continue loving you until the time comes that you won’t be as famous as you are now. Please, please take care of your health. Learn how to say no sometimes. We’ll understand. We’ll always be here for you. Thank you so much. Happiest birthday to you!

— Shynne

(Posted: January 2, 2016)

He knew your hands were cold. The moment you were beside him on that stage, he immediately reached for it. His hands were probably warm. He held your hand for you to feel it — the warmth of his. He was caressing the back of your hand as if assuring you of something — something that only the two of you can understand. Or maybe he just missed you. Though you were with him yesterday after almost two weeks of not seeing each other, he still missed you. He missed you so much that he couldn’t wait to grab your hand. Or maybe he just simply wanted to hold your hand in front of everyone. In front of every guys probably crushing on you. He wanted to show that you’re his. He’s kind of possessive, I guess. Or maybe there’s really no other reason. He just wanted to close the distance between you two. He likes you. And you probably felt that by the way he stared at you while singing that beautiful song for him. He probably knew that you’re badly feeling shy and nervous so he kind of distracted you, ie. Jokingly asking “kelan ka pa naging singer?” But maybe he wasn’t really distracting you. He was discreetly trying to help you ease the nervousness. And by the time you were telling him your birthday message, I bet he wasn’t really listening. He was distracted. He was distracted looking at your beautiful face. That face was usually seen with funny expressions. But this time you were serious; your face was calm. The beauty of your features was more evident. He was probably torn between listening to your heartfelt message or studying your features. That boy looks really in love, you know. Or maybe not yet. Maybe it’s too early for that. It’s still hard to identify his feelings. But that’s it. He has feelings for you (though it’s still unknown what exactly are those). Only for you.

Posted: January 2, 2016 | Medium

Not Enough

It’s the month of June; Alden and Maine are getting busier preparing for their first anniversary in KS next month. Maine’s character, Divina Ursula, is also set to give her sweet yes to KS Alden in the same month as their anniversary. It will be a really big event, almost a Tamang Panahon part II. They have been rehearsing a lot of production numbers for the upcoming event. Their characters are almost a step closer to being an official couple — reel getting ahead of the real. Few months after Tamang Panahon, many assumed and speculated that Alden and Maine are already a couple but were just keeping things private. The speculations became much stronger since the month of March. A day after the Maine Event, everyone especially Maine got shocked when Alden followed her in Boracay. He even rented a private plane just to surprise her.

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After the short but sweet beach date in Boracay, the two seemed to have gotten more comfortable with each other’s company. Little did people know, it was just a sneak peak of more of their sweet moments especially the off-cam ones.
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But the real score between them is actually otherwise the sweet speculations. They’re good friends but definitely not more than that.

And it’s all because of a past who came back.

**

It was a long day for Alden and Maine. They just finished rehearsing for their productions numbers. Jenny finally called it a day and told the two that they can finally go home. The two did good but Jenny sensed that something was off between them. She wanted to ask but she remained silent instead. Meanwhile, Alden offered Maine to take her home; she agreed. Jenny started allowing the two to do things like that after getting sick of some fans who kept on bashing her because of her alleged restrictions to them in real life. That was around March.

For the the first 10 minutes of the ride, no one was talking. Both were waiting for the other to initiate a conversation. They used to have endless stories to share when they’re together. They would usually go in a corner and talk about just anything under the sun. Until that day. The day when Maine started to get a little distant. One day she avoided talking with anybody. She’d just stare at her phone all the time. At first he thought she was just busy reading some tweets or looking at her IG tagged photos. But no. It seemed that she was texting somebody. Sometimes someone would call her and she’d excuse herself from everyone. Alden couldn’t help but be suspicious. He didn’t want to mind it but he realized that they started to talk less and he wasn’t in favor of this. He knew something was up and he had to clear things with Maine. He needed to confirm his speculations. He was about to tell Maine that he wanted to talk to her when he received a message. It was unexpectedly a message that broke almost everything — his heart, his hopes, his dreams for the two of them… Everything. It was so sudden; he didn’t know how to react. He was speechless. He couldn’t sleep that night. He couldn’t wait to talk to Maine regarding her message. He needed to exactly know why. Details, yes. He needed to know the details.

Alden took three deep breaths before starting the conversation that he has been waiting for since that morning. “Okay. So ayun na nga, you sent me a message last night. At alam mong kailangan natin pag-usapan yun. Kasi ang unfair kung hindi.” Alden’s grip on the steering wheel tightens. “Okay. Itabi mo na lang muna yung kotse para mas makapag-usap tayong maayos,” said Maine, not even glancing at Alden. He parked the car in front of a convenience store.

He started by reaching for her hands to get her attention, “Maine tumingin ka sakin.” She turned her head to his direction but still looking down, not having an eye contact with Alden. “Maine,” his voice broke, “ano yung message mo sakin kagabi? Ano yun? Bakit biglang pinapatigil mo na akong manligaw sa’yo?”

“Alden kasi…”

“Hindi naman kita minamadali diba? Sabi ko sa’yo handa akong maghintay. Kahit next year pa yan o next, next year. Kahit kailan pa — basta maghihintay ako. Eh ano to?” He puts her hands to his cheek, his head leaning onto it, his tears falling at the back of her hand. “Mahal kita Maine eh. Alam mo yun, di ba? Please wag mo naman gawin ‘to.”

She was trying her best not to cry in front of him but her tears were threatening to fall. It pained her to see him begging but she knew she had to do this. “I love you too, pero hindi pa buong-buo. Hindi pa sapat. Hindi pa kasing tindi ng sayo. I love you as a special friend yet. Akala ko din papunta na ko dun — dun sa mahal na kita nang buo. Pero hindi pa pala. Na-realize kong hindi when Miggy started texting and calling me again. Last week we secretly met, at dun ko na nafeel na nandito pa rin pala siya,” said Maine pointing to her chest. That moment Alden sobbed harder, he kept shaking his head, refusing to take in everything she said. “Maine naman eh. Bawiin mo yan. Kunwari wala kang sinabi. Basta bawiin mo lang. Kakalimutan ko lahat ng ‘to.” He sobbed as he was planting light kisses on her hand. “I don’t deserve your heart, Alden. It’s better na as early as now, tapusin na natin. I don’t want you to keep hoping and waiting while someone else is still in my heart. You don’t deserve that agony. You’re really special to me. Siguro subukan mo munang maghanap ng ibang babae. Yung mas dapat sayo. Yung di ka sasaktan gaya ng ginagawa ko sayo ngayon.”

Alden finally let go of her hand and wiped his tears then placed his forehead on the steering wheel. “Tangina,” he said ,  almost a whisper. “Ang sakit naman nito. Nag ‘I love you too’ ka tas biglang sasabihin mo mahal mo pa rin siya. Tas sa huli hihirit ka pa ng ‘you’re really special to me’. Tas gusto mo pa maghanap ako ng iba. Gaguhan lang. Diba nga, I deserve you more than any other girl. Ikaw lang… Ikaw lang.” He bursts into tears again. He stayed like that for a few seconds then he finally sat up. After he has composed himself, he ignited the car’s engine. He took a deep breath before saying “Sige. Gusto mo yan eh. Susuportahan na lang kita.”

“I’m sorry.” Maine said, almost inaudible. She was pinching her fingers really hard. She was trying not to cry. Not now.

It got really awkward but he still had to drive her home; he wouldn’t let her take a cab or anything else. He still wanted her to arrive home safe. 45 minutes felt like hours. The silence was deafening. No one dared utter a word.

Maine was wearing a sleeveless top. She was suddenly feeling cold. She didn’t know if it was because of the air conditioning or because of Alden’s sudden cold aura. She started hugging herself while rubbing her arms. Alden kept his attention on the road but he still noticed Maine’s struggle. When the traffic light flashed red, he immediately grabbed his jacket in the backseat and silently placed it on Maine’s lap. Of course he would do that. He was hurt but he still cares for her. He will always care. Always.

Only the two of them and their families knew about Alden’s courtship. His secret official courtship started around April. He knew he had to do it already. They’d usually act like a couple; sometimes even them would doubt their real relationship status. They knew they’re friends but sometimes they’d also feel that it’s more than that. At some point, Alden would want to label their relationship already. He wanted them to be official. But he didn’t want it to be public if ever. Only their families and trusted friends should know. He already had a lot of plans. He only needed her yes. That’s when he finally took the courage to court her secretly. He had his hopes high. But now, everything fell apart. Now he was thinking how he would tell his dad that things between them have ended before anything could even start. His dad has always been very supportive. He wanted her for his son. But in one snap, all their dreams turned to ashes.

They finally arrived Mendoza residence. Alden immediately went out of the car to open the door for her. But he stayed there, blocking Maine’s way. She looked at him, waiting for him to move but he didn’t. “Nasaktan ako. Oo. Pero hindi pa rin magbabago ang trato ko sayo. Ikaw pa rin si Nicomaine Dei Mendoza — ang parating nilalaman nito,” he said pointing to his head, “at lalong-lalo na nito,” then to his chest. He forced a sad smile. A smile that didn’t reach his eyes unlike what it usually does. “Tandaan mo Meng, ikaw pa rin ang better half ko. Team pa rin tayo. Ikaw at ako. Kakampi mo pa rin ako. Pag sinaktan ka niya ulit, ako resbak mo.”

He cupped her cheeks then kissed her forehead. He bit his lips so hard it could get swollen. He was trying to prevent himself from bursting into tears again. She closed her eyes as she felt his lips touch her skin. Alden didn’t move. He was now almost hugging her head. He whispered to her ears, with emphasis on every phrase, “Mahal kita. I love you. Always… Promise.” His voice broke again, his tears streaming down his cheeks. “Pag dumating yung panahon na wala na talaga para sa kanya, sabihan mo lang sakin. Magsisimula ulit ako sa umpisa. Susuyuin ulit kita na parang walang nangyari. Pero sa ngayon, mamahalin na lang kita … nang mag-isa, nang walang hinihintay na pabalik.” He finally stepped back. She was now able to get out of the car. But Alden remained standing in front of her. She wanted to escape him; she wanted to get inside their house immediately but she just remained standing in front of him, too. She was unsure if she’d say goodbye, or good night at least. He reached for her hand then rubbed the back of it using his thumb. He kissed them. One long kiss. Was is like a goodbye kiss? Maybe. It lasted for a few seconds. She didn’t say anything. She just stood there waiting for his next move.

He finally dropped her hand and said, “Good night, Meng.” Then he returned to his car and drove away.

She loved him but it was still not enough. Not enough to ask him to stay. Someone else is still in her heart. And she knew Alden didn’t deserve that. She had to let him go.