Maya’s heart jumped when she caught a glimpse of Richard. He was standing at the lobby of her building, holding a cup of coffee and talking to someone on the phone. He looked so handsome in a lavender dress shirt, which he paired with dark jeans and a coat. He moved around the lobby as he discussed something to whoever he was talking to. She was so happy to see him.
Richard texted Maya earlier and told her that he will just wait for her at the coffee shop at the lobby of her building. He also told her not to hurry on his account as he got there early. Surprisingly, traffic was light from his office in Makati to her office in Ortigas Center. However, Maya can’t concetrate anymore since receiving his message. She packed her things and get ready for her dinner with Richard. She was glad she wore a nice dress for her first day of work. She was not able to resist buying the black sheath dress she was wearing, when she saw it in Paris.
Richard gazed around the lobby while he was talking to Sonny, not really looking as he knew he was way early. Then he caught sight of Maya, from his peripheral vision, standing near the coffee shop waiting for him, carrying the sunflowers he gave her and her laptop bag. She looked so lovely in that dress. Their eyes met and she broke into a smile that transformed her already lovely face. Richard felt his heart skipped a beat. He finished his conversation promptly and walked towards her.
“Maya, great to see you.” Richard said and gave Maya a lopsided smile. Then he hugged Maya and gave her a peck on the cheek. “Were you waiting long? Sorry, I didn’t notice you right away. You should have called my attention. I was just giving Sonny some additional instructions for tomorrow.”
“No, Ricky. I was just early.” Maya smiled sweetly at Richard. “Great to see you too.”
Richard gazed at Maya, just very happy to see her. They chatted while they walked towards where his car was parked. Maya saw Emman and Ruby while they were walking and waved at them.
Richard asked Maya if it was okay he made a reservation at a private garden restaurant. The area where the restaurant is, it turned out was near Maya’s home. Maya told Richard that it is perfectly fine with her what he had arranged. They chatted animatedly while driving to Quezon City from Ortigas, mostly about Maya’s Paris trip and the places she had been. Sometimes, they would just glance at each other, and smiled.
Soon after, they entered what looked like a private driveway in a quiet part of the city, then a beautiful garden, and then there was the restaurant, bathe in soft light, very inviting, and it looks very relaxing. Richard opened the car door for Maya, assisted her to the short flight of stairs, and seated her solicitiously in a quiet and secluded part of the lovely, romantic place
Richard asked Maya what she would like to have and she told him she will just choose from the ala carte menu, instead of the degustation menu. Richard did the same, and ordered also the best wine for their food.
While waiting for their food, Maya and Richard continued chatting and catching up from their last exchange of e-mails.
“Maya, thank you again for the e-mails and photos that you have sent. They surely brightened and lightened up my busy and hectic days.” Richard said. “I love the way you have captured Paris. I wanted to go back there, and be there with you, when I saw your photos.”
“Thank you, Ricky. Since we toured Copenhagen, I wanted to share with you the places I have been to. It was so much fun when I had you to share my appreciation of places.” Maya smiled. “Kumusta, pagbalik mo dito? How were things at work? You also told me that you will have dinner with your parents.”
“Well, work was busy as always. I will propose to the board that we expand our shipping operation, so Sonny and I have been working on that since I returned. Dinner with my parents was nice. As usual, Dad and I talked about business, then Mom said no business on her dinner table. She asked me instead when will I settle down. And then Dad told her, no bugging me about that again.” Richard smilled at the recollection of that dinner. “They were really cute when they do that. I told Mom and Dad about my last trip and our unexpected but wonderful meeting in Denmark. I can see my mom had twinkle in her eyes. I told her to stop it as she might scare you off, when you get to finally meet her, with her ‘matchmaking mama’ mode.”
Maya laughed at Richard’s loving description of his mother. She sounds like a fun person, like her mom.
“I like your parents’ interaction, they sounded so loving. I also told Mom about our meeting. She asked me kasi who was the friend I mentioned that gave me the flower key ring.” Maya told Richard as the food they ordered was being served.
“Really! You told your mom about me?” Richard asked, happy to hear it.
“Of course, why not?”, was Maya’s short reply.
When the server left, Richard took his wine glass and offered Maya a toast.
“Welcome back, Maya. I’m happy that you are here, having dinner with me.”
“Me too, Ricky, glad to be home, and to see you again.” Maya said.
They toasted and proceeded with their dinner while chatting in between courses. Richard asked Maya about her first day of work. She told him, it went well. Her boss, Ms. Zenaida Belmonte, briefed her on her new responsibilities as head buyer for her division. She still need to go on buying trips, but her main job now is managing all the buyers, directing them on products that are in demand and products which would sell well in their stores. Richard congratulated Maya. The conversation between them just flowed and the only lull in the concversation, aside from eating their delicious dinner, was their gazes for each other, as if they can’t help it.
“Richard, that was the best dinner, ever. I’m so full.” Maya said as they were eating their dessert and having coffee. “Thank you for bringing me to this very nice restaurant. I just love this place.”
“I’m glad you like the dinner, Maya. The restaurat was recommended by a friend. He said, if I have a special occassion to celebrate or just want to spend quality time with a special someone, this is the place to go.” Richard said meaningfully.
“You mean, you have not been here before?” Maya asked, suddenly, her heart is beating faster.
“No, this is the first time.” Richard smiled meaningfully. “I didn’t have that special someone to take with me here, before.”
“Errr, Ricky, you mentioned before that your mom was asking when are you settling down. I hope my question is not too personal. You were not tempted before…I mean…?” Maya said, a bit rattled, unable to finish her question.
Richard looked at Maya, and smiled. “Hmmm, are you asking about my lovelife Ms. Maya Dela Rosa?”
Maya blushed, stammered….”Errr, you know, since we are friends and….” Then she started making a nervous hand gesture.
“Maya, Maya, I’m just teasing you. I don’t mind answering your question.” Richard said with a grin, then put his hand on top of hers, unconsciously, as if to assure her. “I’m completely unattached at the moment. Yes, I dated in the past a bit. I also had several girlfriends before, but nothing worked out. It was because, either they just liked the idea of me or there was something missing in the relationship. There was this something I was looking for, can’t really defined it then, that I didn’t find, so I stopped looking. But, sometimes, when you stopped looking, that is when you find it, unexpectedly, wonderfully so.”
Richard didn’t elaborate anymore, just took a sip of coffee, and gazed at Maya, meaningfully. Maya felt very conscious of that look. But since Richard didn’t say anything much, she just took a sip of her coffee too, and decided not to dwell on it.
“Thank you for telling me, Ricky” Maya said, smiled at Richard.
“Just ask away, anything, and I will answer.” Richard promised Maya.
Soon after, they left the restaurant. Richard took Maya home. Just like in the restaurant and in previous instances, he was the perfect gentleman, opening the door for Maya, assisting her solicitiously.
“Now, I know where you live! I’ll go ahead Maya. Thank you for a wonderful evening. Let’s have dinner again soon.” Richard said while they were standing at the gate of the house, which Maya already opened, with her key. Richard also saw that Maya is using the key ring he gave her. He smiled, glad that he found something she really liked.
“Would you like to come in, have another cup of coffee or soda?” Maya offered.
“No, I better not. Thank you. It is late. I do want to meet your mom, sister and the niece you were telling me about, but next time na lang. Nakakahiya naman sa kanila.” Richard said as he declined Maya’s offer. “Kailangan mo na ring mag-rest. You just got back from your trip, then you had a long day pa today.”
“Maya. hija, is that you?” Someone said from the direction of the garden and several minutes after, Mommy Tessie was at the gate. “Oh, you have company! Sorry. Hello.”
“Good evening po.” Richard politely and respectfully said to the graceful lady, who he knew right away, is Maya’s mom. She is an older version of Maya.
“Mom, it is okay. Ricky and I are just saying goodbye. Mom, please meet my friend Richard Lim. Ricky, please meet my mom, Mrs. Teresita Dela Rosa.”
“Hello, Richard, I’m glad to meet you. Maya mentioned you last night. Thank you for taking care of my daughter in Denmark.” Mommy Tessie said as she looked closely at the young man. Technically, he is the first young man Maya introduced to her as he was the only one she allowed to take her home.
“Im very glad to meet you din po, Mrs. Dela Rosa.” Richard said. “Meeting your daughter was the the best thing that happened to me while in Copenhagen.”
“O pasok na muna tayo, have coffee. I was having one when I heard a car stopped by infront of our gate. Maya mentioned earlier that she will be home late.” Mommy Tessie asked, taking note of Richard’s statement. Hmmm, so that is the way the wind is blowing. She thought to herself.
“Thank you, Mrs. Dela Rosa. I will take you on that offer, next time. Late na rin po, for you and Maya to have a guest. I’ll go ahead.”
“O sige, come to dinner one evening ha.” Mommy Tessie issued the invitation, to Maya’s surprise.
“I will po. Thank you very much for the invitation.” Richard said, happy at the turn of events.
Mommy Tessie excused herself, went in, so Richard and her daughter can say a proper goodbye.
“Maya, I will go ahead. I will see you soon?” Richard hugged Maya and gave her another kiss on the cheek.
“Okay, just text me. And text me when you get home, okay. Drive carefully.” Maya patted Richard on the arm affectionately.
They smiled sweetly at one another, then Richard waved before getting into his car, and drriving off. Maya waited until she can’t see the car anymore before going in. She headed to the garden.
“Mom, bakit late ka na matulog?” She asked her mother conversationally. “May tinatapos ka ba?’
“Yes, itong financial reports ng bookstores. I was reviewing the figures. I needed a break so I went here to unwind a bit.” Mommy Tessie said as she gestured for her daughter to sit. “I like your young man. Polite and mukhang nice. Guwapo pa.”
“Mommmm, we are just friends.” Maya protested with a blush. “I was surprised nga that you invited him to dinner, eh ngayon mo lang siya na-meet.”
“Why not. He is your friend, di ba? Siya nga lang ang nakatuntong sa gate ng bahay natin. He must be special.” Mommy Tessie smiled, and teased her daughter.
Mother and daughter smiled at each other and chatted. Maya told her mom about her first day of work and her new job as head buyer for her division in the company. Mommy Tessie asked Maya for suggestion about new stuffs they can get for the bookstores. While they were doing so, Maya’s phoned beep.
I’m home now Ms. Maya Dela Rosa, texting you as promised. I drove carefully ha. I had a great evening. Iba talaga kapag ikaw ang kasama ko. Good night. Sweet dreams. 🙂
Maya smiled, a smile that lit up her whole face, forgetting that she was not alone. Her mother, who saw her expression, was happy. It looks like her daughter is falling in love. Maya typed her reply, and sent it with a goofy smile on her face.
I’m glad that you got home in one piece. 🙂 Thank you for a wonderful evening too. That was the nicest ‘welcome back’ I had. Sweet dreams. Take care. 🙂
Richard, who was climbing the stairs when his phone beeped, smiled, and whistled happily after reading Maya’s message. It was the best night for him too. He can’t wait to begin his campaign to win her heart.