The atmosphere at the Dela Rosas sala that evening was festive, marked by laughter and happy chatter. Cristina Rose and Mamang arrived one after the other, early evening, and that led to more kumustahan for the Dela Rosas, and introducing Richard to the rest of the family. Like Mommy Tessie, Cristina Rose remembered Richard from the last time he was in San Nicolas. She also had a feeling then that he was the guy that made Maya run. She didn’t probe much when Maya mentioned wanting to mend her broken heart. She felt that if her sister wanted to talk, then she would have done so, and she would have been there for her, no matter what. Observing Richard and Maya now, and during the course of the famiy chatter and dinner earlier, she noticed how they looked at each other, those little touches in the hand, in the arms, and the way they sometimes finished each other’s sentence. Cristina Rose thought to herself that these two are really so in love. She is glad that her sister is so much happier now than the last time she was home.
Mamang naman was very curious about Richard and his family. She likes Maya’s young man and he is easy on the eyes too, even to an old lady like her. Que guapo na bata, she mused. Richard answered all of Mamang’s questions, even the very personal ones, patiently, respectfully, and gamely when Mamang’s questions bordered on the edge of embarassing and not. Mamang liked that about Maya’s young man. Seeing how he is with Maya and how he interacted with her family so far, and after her initial surprise at seeing him in the house, Cristina Rose warmed up to Richard too. Of course, she would really like to find out from Maya what happened and how come they are now in a relationship, if she is inclined to tell her. She respected Maya’s privacy too and doesn’t want to pry. As long as Maya is happy, then she is happy too. Ever since their father died when Maya was 15 and Cristina Rose was 17, she became the ‘man of the house’.” She looked after her family.
“Naku, lumalalim na pala ang gabi.” Mommy Tessie remarked. “Baka mas mabuting magpahinga na tayo, lalo na kayo Maya and Richard, galing pa kayo sa biyahe. Bukas na lang natin ituloy ang ating kwentuhan.”
“Sige po, magpapaalam na rin po ako.” Richard said as he stood up to say good night to the Dela Rosas. “Hanggang bukas na lang po.”
“Bakit hijo, saan ka pupunta?” Mamang asked. “Huwag mong sabihing magho-hotel ka pa. Aba eh bisita ka namin, dumito ka na. Marami namang kwarto rito.”
“Oo nga naman, Richard. Huwag ka ng mahiya, hijo. Magkakapamilya na tayo rito.” Mommy Tessie said meaningfully.
“Thank you very much po Mamang, Tita Tessie.” Richard said as he looked at Maya warmly. “I will not say no. Your house is beautiful and ngayon pa lang ako makakatulog sa ganitong Spanish-era house. Kukunin ko lang po ang mga gamit ko sa kotse!”
Richard also thought to himself, that at least, he and Maya will be sleeping under one roof tonight, even if separately! He proceeded to do that and returned to the house with his overnight bag.
“O Maya, ihatid mo na si Richard sa kwarto sa may dulo. Pina-ready ko na kanina kay Doris ang room. Then, you can stay in the room beside mine.” Maya’s mom added.
Maya and Richard proceeded to the room at the end of the long corridor from the sala, hands interwined, walking closely.
“Here you are, sweetheart. Let me know if you need anything.” Maya told Richard as she plumped up the pillows on the bed. “Good night. See you tomorrow.”
“Hey, hey, not so fast, sweetheart.” Richard said as he grabbed Maya’s arm before she can go to the door. She got surprised and lost her balance and ended up on Richard’s lap. “Where is my good night kiss?”
He proceeded to give Maya a kiss before she can even fully react. Like the previous meeting of their lips, this one started tamely and innocently, but turned much, much more. Richard started moving his hands, caressing Maya’s back and Maya doing her own caressing as their lips fused hotly.
“Maya, sweetheart, I love you, I can’t get enough of doing this.” Richard told Maya, in between kisses, with passion evident in his voice.
“Ricky, I feel the same. I can’t still believe that we are now together.” Maya said as she matched the passion of Richard’s kisses with the strength of hers. She is really getting into this, and the wonderful feeling it evoked in her.
“Ooops, sorry.” Cristina Rose said contritely as the couple broke apart from their very tight embrace and passionate kiss. “I didn’t know that Mom put you in this room, Richard. Kukunin ko lang sana iyong gitara na naiwan ko dito when one of my friends visited. May nanghihiram kasi sa akin, early tomorrow!”
Cristina Rose proceeded to get her guitar, looked at Maya with a teasing smile, saluted Richard, before she left the room. Maya, on the other hand, blushed and hid her face on Richard’s chest.
“Ikaw kasi, hayan, I will never hear the end of this from Kute.” She said to Richard as she lovingly tweaked his nose lightly and got up from his lap.
“Ha, bakit ako. Good night kiss lang naman ang hiningi ko ah.” Richard countered, pretending to be innocent, but the huge smile on his face betrayed him. He hugged Maya. “I love very much. O sige, good night na nga. Bukas na tayo magplano ng mga gagawin natin while in San Nicolas.”
“Good night, sweetheart. Sweet dreams. I love you.” Maya gave Richard a light kiss on the lips and then left the room.
Before Maya reached her room, Cristina Rose ambushed her and dragged her to her room.
“Bunso, ha, dalaga ka na, hahahahaha.” She teased Maya. She also made a juvenile and exaggerated kissing gesture.
“Kute, ha, nakakainis ka!” Maya tried to pinch Cristina Rose in the arm. “Talagang dalaga na ako. I’m almost 29 years old. Iyong iba ko nga friends, married with kids na!”
“So, ganoon, gusto mo na ring magpakasal diyan kay ‘Richard sweetheart’ mo. Di nga bunso, is he the one? Mula kasi noong nagdalaga ka, wala ka namang ibang ipinakilala sa amin nina Mom and Mamang.” Cristina Rose turned serious when she asked her sister.
“Yes, Kute, he is the one I want to spend the rest of my life with. He is the face I want to see every morning, lying on the other pillow on my bed. The one I want to grow old with. As to when, I don’t know yet. I am just enjoying what we have at the moment. We have been through a lot the past two years and I want to catch up on the lost moments.” Maya said heartfully. “Yes, kailan lang kami mag-boyfriend and girlfriend, in fact, ilang araw pa lang literally. Pero in my heart, I am bound to him since I fell in love with him just after we met. I know what my answer will be if or when he asks me. Pero, di pa nga siguro iyan ngayon. One day at a time muna kasi bago pa lang naman kami!”
“Maya, I am really happy for you, hindi ko man alam ang buong kwento, I can see how happy you are, kumpara noong last time ka nandito! Ngayon lang rin kita nakitang ganito kasaya, and iba ang aura mo, parang sobrang blooming ah.” Cristina Rose said as she embraced her sister. “Saka, ang gwapo ng ‘sweetheart’ mo ah. Kung naging totoong babae lang ako, may kalaban ka…..”
“Kuttteee, tumigil ka na nga. Tulog na tayo.” Maya said grinning as she exited Kute’s room.
Maya’s phoned beeped as she lay down on her bed. She opened a text message from Richard.
– Good night sweetheart, my angel, and the love of my life. I can’t wait until you are mine and see you beside me when I go to sleep and the face I will see first thing in the morning. I love you.
Maya felt giddy with Richard’s message. Hmmm, what does he meant by ‘can’t wait until you are mine’, she mused.
– I love you too. I can’t imagine loving anyone, being with anyone, but you. Good night. Tulog na tayo at baka hindi na tayo magising sa sobrang saya natin, hahahaha.
Richard grinned while he settled more comfortably on the big bed that would have been so much nicer if Maya is sharing it. Ah, but he can wait, soon it will happen, he mused. Maya on the other hand feels so happy, giddy, excited, and has this feeling of anticipation she can’t explain. Ricky, here in her family home, wth her, who would have thought! Richard and Maya went to bed with smiles on their faces, both looking forward to tomorrow and being with each other again.