Journey to forever
Richard picked up Maya bright and early, Saturday, one week after the dinner with the Dela Rosas, for their trip to Tagaytay. This is their first trip out of town since they became a couple. Finally, they managed to do it. Richard and Maya have talked about going somewhere one weekend, but their schedules didn’t permit it, especially Richard’s. As the the new CEO, there was a lot of demand on his time. Maya understood this and supported him in every way she could. Good thing, they had their coffee breaks, drives together, and dinners. But now, they managed to squeeze in a weekend trip!
Maya had no inkling that Richard purposely arranged for this trip as this is the weekend he is going to propose to her. Richard hopes Maya will like his surprise. He smiled to himself. He felt very happy as he navigated the road to Tagaytay.
“Sweetheart, why are you smiling?” Maya asked him after she noticed that he had this secretive smile, even if they were just listening to some music. “Parang sobrang happy ka today, ah.”
Richard gave Maya his lopsided smile and caressed her arm. “Wala, sweetheart. I’m just happy to be with you. I’m glad that, finally, we will have a weekend together.”
Maya looked at her boyfriend and smiled sweetly. “Me too, sweetheart. I’m really looking forward to this. Hindi nga ako masyadong nakatulog dahil sa excitement. Mom asked me nga this morning bakit parang puyat ako!”
Richard said hello to Maya’s parents when he picked her up. While waiting for Maya to come down, he also confirmed with them the details of his plan. They assured him that everything is going to be okay. He really like Maya’s parents. His mother was also very happy when he told her of his plan to propose to Maya. Mama Esmeralda even told him, it’s about time! She also said she is looking forward to meeting Maya’s parents and seeing the culmination of what he had planned.
Maya and Richard chatted, listened to the music, teased each other, and exchanged sweet nothings while on the road, and before they knew it, they reached their destination – the Lims family home in Tagaytay. They entered a tall gate, which opened to a long, winding driveway, filled with all kinds of plants and flowers. The property is big, and it felt like one is an oasis, a world of its own. They took another curve, and a two-storey all glass house in white came into view. Maya ‘fell in love’ with it. The house looks so inviting, restful, and it just calls to her.
“Ricky, this is such a beautiful house.” Maya said, amazed. She likes the fact that the house is all planes and angles, no fancy designs that would distract from the beauty of the place. It reminded Maya of Scandinavian houses she had seen, so simple and sometimes, looked so small when viewed from the outside, but quite beautiful, spacious and very functional inside. Beauty in simplicity, she thought.
“I’m glad you like it sweetheart. It’s not fancy, like some of the mansions here in the area, but it was how Mama liked it. Papa told the architect to do it the way Mama wanted. We have a lot of wonderful family vacations here when we were kids. It was just really when I was all grown up that Papa had too much expections on me and wanted me to follow the narrow path he wanted.” Richard said. “Come, let’s go in.”
“Magandang umaga po, Sir Richard, Mam Maya!” Tatay Andres, the Lims longtime caretaker greeted the couple. Richard called up several days ago to tell him that he will stay at the place this wekened with his girlfriend. “Pasok na po kayo. Ibing, parine ka, nandito na sina Sir Richard.”
Suddenly, a lady with a big built and a sunny smile came running to them. “Good morning Sir Richard, Mam Maya. Naku, pasensya na kayo at hindi ko kayo nasalubong kaagad, hindi ko maiwan ang niluluto ko. Maghahain na po ako ng breakfast niyo. Sigurado po akong sa aga ng biyahe niyo, hindi na kayo nakakain bago umalis ng Maynila.”
“Tatay Andres, Nanay Ibing, good to see both of you po. Oo nga po and looking forward to your masarap na luto, Nanay Ibing. ”Richard said with a big smile. ”Maya sweetheart, this Tatay Andres and si Nanay Ibing, mga bata pa kami ni Rafi, caretaker na namin sila dito. Tatay, Nanay, si Maya po, ang maganda ko at mabait kong girlfriend!”
“Nice to meet you po, Tatay Andres and Nanay Ibing. I hope okay lang na iyon na rin ang tawag ko sa inyo.” Maya told them as she shook their hands.
“Opo naman, Mam Maya. Welcome po dito sa bahay nina Sir sa Tagaytay.” Nanay Ibing said, liking Maya on the spot. “Sir Richard, ang ganda-ganda naman nga po talaga ni Mam Maya, bagay na bagay kayo.”
“Thank you po Nanay Ibing.” Richard smiled at the old lady. “Tatay Andres, iakyat ko lang po ang mga gamit namin ni Maya before we eat breakfast.”
“Eh ako na diyan Sir Richard, pahinga na lang kayo ni Mam Maya. Ibing, aling room ba ang inihanda mo para kay Mam Maya?” Tatay Andres asked his wife as he took hold of Maya and Richard’s overnight bags.
“Iyong katabi ng kay Sir Richard para pwede silang magpahangin sa shared veranda sa gabi.” Nanay Ibing replied. “Mam Maya, magugustuhan mo roon, pagbukas mo ng pintuan pa-veranda, pagkaganda-gandang view ng Taal Lake ang makikita mo.”
“Salamat po, Nanay, Tatay. Mabuti po yata, sama na ako sa inyo Tatay Andres, para makapag-freshen up and unpack iyong things namin ni Ricky.” Maya said.
“Sige na, Tatay Andres, balik na lang po kayo sa ginagawa niyo. Nagdidilig po yata kayo ng mga halaman. Kami na po ni Maya ang mag-aakyat ng mga gamit namin, then bababa po kami after several minutes para makapag-breakfast na.” Richard insisted. He wanted to escort Maya to her room and at the same time, he wanted to unpack his things himself since nasa bag niya ang engagement ring for Maya. “Let’s go sweetheart.”
Richard and Maya went up several flights of stairs, walked along a long corridor, until they reached the rooms at the side of the house facing the lake. He opened the door to the room at the end and ushered Maya in.
“Here we are sweetheart.” Richard said as he put Maya’s bag on the day bed by the window.
“Wow, what a great room Ricky, and with that view parang ayoko ng umalis dito sa house! I just want to be very laid back and do nothing but stare at the view!” Maya said as she looked around the room, then the amazing view outside. Three sides of the house have tall glass windows that offer an unobstructed view of the lake, the garden, and the forrested area on another side. The house is a secluded so there is no danger of people intruding on their privacy.
“Hmmm, magandang idea iyan sweetheart.” Richard said, half-jesting. “We can just cuddle here, and do stuffs.”
“’Do stuffs’? Why do I think that those were loaded words Mr. Ricky Lim.” Maya said smiling at Richard.
“Ha, ang inosente nga ng statement ko ah.” Richard said trying to act innocent.
“Ikaw talaga, sweetheart, hayan ka na naman.” Maya said playfully while standing infront of one of the tall windows.
Richard smiled at Maya, walked to her and gave her a backhug, then caressed her arms, and gave her air kisses on her neck. “Pero, admit it sweetheart, my idea has merits, di ba?”
“Hmmmm, I’ll think about it!” Maya said smiling, distracted with what he was doing. She turned around and put her head on Richard’s shoulder, hugging him. Then she looked up at Richard with so much love.
The moment was just too perfect for Richard to let pass without a kiss. He lowered his lips to Maya. Their lips fused into a hot kiss, that became hotter, and hotter. They also started caressing each other, went up for air, and then kissed again with abandon. Richard started working on the buttons of Maya’s blouse, when she stopped him.
“Sweetheart, breakfast. Tatay Andres, Nanay Ibing.” She managed to say, as she also fought for control, thinking that there are people waiting for them, whom they told they will just go up for a couple of minutes.
“Hmmm, later. Wait lang please. Dito muna tayo.” Richard said as he tried to kiss Maya again.
“Sweetheartttt.” Maya protested, then gave Richard one last kiss before she started buttoning her blouse and checking her appearance. “Kain na nga muna tayo. Laters na lang.”
“I like the sound of that ‘laters’, sweetheart.” Richard teased Maya, who then pinched him again. “Sweetheart, malapit na akong maging abused boyfriend sa kaka-pinch mo.”
“Ha, ha, ha. Let’s go na nga sweetheart.” Maya said as she held on to Richard’s arms.
The two of them went down with hands intertwined, and the Lim caretakers saw first hand how in love Richard is with his Maya, and she was the same to him. Tatay Andres and Nanay Ibing are very happy that Richard found a girl who loves him with all her heart. Maya is the only girl he brought here, and introduced to them. They also looking forward to this evening, as they had a hand in the proposal that is about to happen.
Richard and Maya had coffee at their private veranda, with the breathtaking view as the backdrop. They spent the whole morning there, just chatting and relaxing. Before lunch, they decided to explore a bit of Tagaytay, even if both of them have been there years ago. Mostly, they just drove around, ended up having lunch at Sonya’s Garden. They went back to Taal Vista Hotel to have coffee and just rest while looking at the view of the lake and the volcano, and all the people posing by the viewing deck there. Later in the afternoon, they decided to go to Caleruega. Richard and Maya explored the beautiful and very extensive grounds of the place. Their last stop was the church there. Richard and Maya held hands while inside the church and offered prayers, absorbing the peaceful and the holiness of their surroundings.
“Sweetheart, what do you want to do next?” Richard asked as they exited the church. He assisted Maya on the steps going down.
“Ikaw, up to you, sweetheart. I’m just basically going with the flow since bakasyon natin ito.” Maya said, happy to just to spend time with Richard. She does not really have any particular thing that she wish to do, or a particular place she wanted to see this trip.
“Hmmm, okay. How about we have dinner in a very nice place I know?” Richard suggested.
“Okay, sweetheart. Let us go back the house to freshen up and change.” Maya said, looking forward to a nice, quiet dinner with Richard.
They went to their separate rooms to change. Maya opened her bag, and took out a crimson lace dress, with uneven hemline, and with hook-and-eye closures in the back that she bought in Sweden. She fell in love with the dress, bought it right away, with no idea then where she will wear it, just thought that it would be a nice dress to wear for something very special. Indeed, it will be worn on a special night with her love – a relaxing dinner date, so she had thought. Good thing, she brought it with her on this trip. The dress fits her perfectly and hugged her curves. She applied light make-up, then put up her hair in a half-bun.
Richard, dressed handsomely in a suit, was already waiting for Maya when she went down the stairs. He just stared at his lovely fiancee-to-be.
“Maya, sweetheart, you look so lovely.” He said, with lopsided smile that never failed to make Maya’s heart beat faster. He kissed her hand, then gave her the sunflowers he was holding.
“Thank you, Ricky. You look very guapo rin, sweetheart.” Maya said admiringly, as she touched Richard’s tie and shirt, as if to arrange or straighten out something. “Super special naman yata ang night natin na ito ah.”
“Indeed, it is, sweetheart.” Richard said, as he ushered Maya outside the house through a side terrace. Maya thought that this was where he parked the car. But instead of going to the car, hands intertwined with hers, Richard took her to a path at the side of the house. The path was lined with all sorts of glass lanterns, and the trees were festooned with capiz lanterns, that helped illuminate the place. The whole area was also decorated with a profusion of flowers in pots of all shapes and sizes.
“Ricky, sweetheart, where are we going?” Maya asked, puzzled, at the same time, felt her heart beating faster, feeling the anticipation of something she can’t explain yet, happening.
“We are almost there, sweetheart.” It was all what Richard said until they arrived at the greenhouse at the back of the house which Maya didn’t notice earlier. It was a bit hidden from the main path.
Richard guided Maya inside. When she noticed her surroundings, she was speechless. She just gaped.
“Do you like it?” Richard asked softly.
“Of course, sweetheart, it’s so, so, so beautiful.” That was all Maya managed to say by way of description.
The greenhouse was transformed into a Scandinavian garden, similar to the botanical garden they have been to in Stockholm, the place where they realized their love for each other. The place was filled with all kinds of plants, flowers and herbs. One one side is a bench where two people can sit cozily, among bougainvilleas, sunflowers, and other flowers Maya can’t name anymore, while on another side, there is a coffee table with two chairs, and in the middle of the garden, a table, beautifully set for two.
While Maya was still recovering from the assault to her senses, from what she is seeing, and Richard’s grand gesture, a famiiar melody, started filling the air, coming from a corner of the garden, one of her favorite songs, which when she told Richard about it, said that the song fits them perfectly.
“For you, sweetheart.” Richard said as he held out his hand, which Maya took, then they half-embraced and half-dance to the music. When it ended, Richard brought Maya to the garden bench, then kneeled infront of her.
“Maya, will you marry me.” Richard said with so much emotion, and with all his love for Maya in his eyes, as he offered her a platinum ring, encrusted with small diamonds. Beautiful ring in its simplicity. “Be my love for always. Share my life as I share yours.”
Maya, at first, just stared at Richard, the ring, then back to Richard, then her eyes glistened with tears, then with voice breaking, said the words Richard was dying to hear.
“Yes, yes, yes, Ricky, I will marry you.”
Richard stood up, then put the ring on Maya’s finger, kissed it, then looked at her lovingly, and gave her a sweet, very long, kiss. Then they embraced and stayed like that for quite sometime, savoring the moment.
“Sweetheart, I love you very much.” Maya whispered to Richard’s ears. “Thank you for all of these.” She gestured to the garden, getting the significance of the all out preparations he did.
“I love you more than life itself, sweetheart. I vow to make you happy always.” Richard said as he tightened his embrace.
Richard and Maya gazed lovingly at each other, both looking forward to their journey to their forever. They kissed again under the moonlight, and amid the beauty around them, they got lost in their own private world.