Maya and Richard, hands still interwined, decided to take a walk along the bay after they got out of the cafe. Maya felt her heart jumped at the contact, felt the kilig, when Richard interwined their hands earlier! She felt so connected to him.
“So what are your plans now that you’re back?” Richard asked while he continues to hold Maya’s hand tight as if letting go would mean Maya puffing up in thin air.
“Well, I am planning to go home first, see Mom, Kute and Mamang, then back here in Manila to work. I already have a job lined up. I will work for the WHO here!” Maya excitedly told him.
“Wow, that’s good! Congratulations. I’m sure your aid work in Afghanistan will be of good use, after the calamities we had last year, also with all the health concerns and issues facing us!” Richard is proud of Maya and so happy that she is staying for good.
“Oo nga eh. I’m also excited to be working here again and somewhat in the field that I have grown to love. I have taken some correspondence courses on the side while working abroad, para mas marami akong knowledge na ma-apply sa line of work na ito!” Maya told Richard as they reached the end of the bay.
“Where are you going to live pala? May nakatira pa bang iba doon sa townhouse mo?” Richard asked. “Saka, di ba that’s a bit far to the WHO office?”
“The tenant will move out na rin next month. Nagkataon na she is migrating na to Canada.” Maya explained. “So, I will just wait until she leaves, have some renovations done and in the meantime, stay with Emman. He offered naman.”
“Okay, but if you need a place to stay, you can also stay with me or my cousin Rafi. I’m sure she would love to have you.” Richard offered. “Pero for sure, she will grill you about us if you stay with her.”
Since it is now cooler and the view is lovely, with the sun setting, Maya and Richard decided to sit by the seawall and chatted some more while eating street food that Maya missed a lot while working abroad.
“Maya, may I go with you to Mindoro? That is, if is okay. I know that this is the first time you will see your family after two years.” Richard asked after a while, not really sure if Maya will agree or if it really a good idea since this is the first time Maya is going home. But, he wants to go with her, very much.
“Ha, eh, of course, but why?” Maya knows she, kind of, not making sense with that statement, but she was surprised by Richard’s request.
“Well, I want to formally introduce myself to your family as your boyfriend and for them to get to know me better, much better than the last time I was there, acting like a lovesick fool!”
“Boyfriend agad, ang bilis naman yata Atty. Richard Lim, we just saw each other again ah!” Maya teasingly told Richard.
“Eh di ba tayo na, tayo na di ba? Maya naman I have been telling you I love you the whole afternoon and you told me you love me always, tapos heto holding hands na nga tayo!” Richard asked, not noticing that Maya is just teasing him, and instead tried pa to marshall his arguments to make her say a definite yes and confirm their status. “We have wasted so much time na. Isn’t two years apart not enough?”
“Ikaw naman, Atty. Lim, asus, di na mabiro. Kalma lang. Oo, Ricky, tayo na, kanina pa di ba? I love you very much kaya!” Maya said as she looked lovingly at Richard.
“Ha, so ganito na ito. You will tease your poor boyfriend mercilessly from now on.” He said, happy seeing his teasing, very playful Maya again. Then, he turned serious.
“Maya, I love so you very much too. Promise, I will spend my life making so happy.” He pledged earnestly. The moment is just too perfect for Richard to pass, and with the famous Manila Bay sunset as the backdrop, he kissed Maya tenderly.
Their moment together was interrupted by hoots and good-natured catcalls of those who witnessed their tender moment. Someone even teased them na parang sa movie lang ang scene. Another said parang sina Ser Chief at Maya lang sa Be Careful ah. Richard and Maya slowly broke apart, with huge, loving smiles on their faces. And still holding hands, they smiled at their audience, just so very happy to be in love.
“Come on, I will take you home! Doon tayo sa mas private, so I can kiss you properly!” Richard teased Maya as they slowly walk back to the parking lot where he parked his car.
“Ha, Mr. Lawyer, hindi pa ba proper iyon!” Maya protested good-naturedly, but got tickled-pink with the thought.
“Hmmm, tell me the next time I kiss you.” He said in jest, which earned him a pinch in the nose from Maya. “By the way, I like you calling me Ricky, bakit iba kapag ikaw ang tumatawag sa akin ng nickname ko. My heart beats faster!”
Maya just smiled sweetly at Richard.
On the way to Emman’s condo, Richard and Maya talked non-stop, trying to make up for lost time. Richard told Maya that he is now working at his family’s company as the CEO. His father retired so he took over. He left his active law career behind and went back to his business roots. He said he didn’t regret his decision as it made his dad happy and he still practices law, only for Lim Properties. Maya told Richard her experience as an aid worker, the adjustments she made, the people she met and made friends with, the other countries she visited aside from Afghanistan because of her work.
“So, wala naman akong naging karibal doon?” Richard asked teasingly, but meaningfully. Suddenly, he is curious!
“Marami, Atty. Lim, pila sila. Sa ganda ko ba namang ito!” Maya teased back and struck a haughty beauty queen pose. “But, seriously, there were some, the most persistent was this British military officer. But sadly, he is not you!”
“I’m glad to know, Maya”. Richard grinned, relieved, and put his hand on top of Maya’s. He just needed the contact.
Richard parked his car at the entrance of Emman’s condo and insisted on taking Maya to his unit on the sixth floor.
“Thank you Ricky, I never expected that I would be this happy. I really thought I would just meet you to have a closure at least, if we can’t be friends anymore. I love you with all my heart!” Maya said as she looked at Richard lovingly.
“I should be the one thanking God, thanking you. I never thought this moment will come. It was the longest two years of my life, waiting, hoping, despairing and in the end, hoping against hope that my love for you will bring you back to me. Now, here we are, together. I love you more than life itself, Maya. And even with several lifetimes together, it will not change!” Richard said tenderly as he cupped Maya’s face. He kissed her tenderly at first, but it turned out differently, hungrily, passionately. They were so into their passionate kiss that at first, they didn’t hear it.
“Ehemmm, ehemmm again, ten times na ang ehemmm ehemmm ko! Mayabels, Atty. Richard, baka gusto niyo pumasok at sa loob na ituloy iyan. Kasi baka makita kayo ng neighbors ko, eh mamatay pa sila sa inggit.” Emman said in jest.
Maya and Richard looked at each other sheepishly and smiled at Emman. Emman thought these two are so in love that their faces lit up with their smiles.
“Maya, I will go ahead. Let me know when are we leaving for Mindoro. Bye, Emman.” Richard then took his leave.
“Mindoro! Kasama mo si Richard na uuwi sa inyo! Ibang level na ito, bessie ah”. Emman remarked as he opened the door, though not so surprised at the quick turn of events.
“Yes, Emman, gusto niya kasi makilala ng husto sina Mom, Kute and Mamang. Saka para raw maipakilala na niya ang sarili niya bilang boyfriend ko” Maya said happily. “Sama ka rin!”
“Wow, boyfriend na talaga bessie ha! Congratulatons, and I am not surprised. Sabi na nga ba eh. Nakaligtas na sa blue paint makeover itong pink walls ko.” Emman said in his distinct Emman way that never failed to make Maya laugh. “Thanks for asking me, pero next time na lang siguro, moment mo iyan with Atty. Richard and your family, saka may deadline kasi ako. Eh alam mo naman si Ms. Belmonte, may pagka-slave driver na editor! I’m so happy for you bessie. O di ba sabi ko marami kang hindi alam! Kwento-kwento tayo pag may time, pero right now, magpapalit lang ako, nasa baba si Belle, may lakad kami. Iwan muna kita dito ha!”
That evening, Maya can’t sleep, remembering her wonderful afternoon with Richard, remembering the feel of his kisses. “So, that’s how it feels!” Maya mused as she hugged her pillow tightly and let out her kilig.
Richard also had difficulty sleeping. He was too wired up, too happy, too in love. He never thought that this day would turned out to be the best day of his life. He can’t wait for morning to come, so he can see Maya again.