Tender loving care
Maya was leisurely drinking a cup of coffee and reading the newspaper in the veranda while waiting for Richard, early Monday morning. She woke up a bit earlier than usual. It was the start of another work week so she decided to get up and have an early start on things. She told Richard she will just drive herself to work but he insisted on picking her up as they didn’t see each other the previous day. He was feeling a bit under the weather. He assured Maya that he was okay and she must not worry. He just needed to rest, take paracetamol and lots of fluids. When Maya called up in the evening to check on him, Richard assured her that he was getting better and didn’t seem to have a fever anymore. He went to bed early to rest fully.
“Maya anak, hindi ka pa ba papasok?” Mommy Tessie asked her daughter. She was already dressed for work. She will do branch inspections that day. “Is Richard picking you up?”
“Yes, Mom, hinihintay ko lang siya.” Maya gave her mom a kiss in the cheek. “Maaga pa naman po. Have a nice day. Hello to Ninang Maggie. Please tell her, Mom, that we would like her to be one of our ninangs. Ricky and I will ask her formally in a dinner soon. Thanks a lot pala, Mom. You are the best, also Mommy Esme, for all the stuffs you are doing for my wedding.”
Maggie is her mom’s long time assistant and her godmother. She love the old lady. She is like a sister to her mother, had been with her through thick and thin.
“Of course, I will. Parati ka ngang kinukumusta nun, tinatanong sa akin kung kailan daw niya makikilala ang guwapong fiance mo. She will be happy that she will be a ninang at your wedding also. Double ninang mo na siya kapag nagkataon. Enjoy naman kami ni Esme sa pagtulong sa paghahanda sa kasal niyo ni Richard and your wedding planner is a joy to work with. Tama ang recommendation ni Esme diyan kay Corrinne. Sige, mauna na ako, Maya. Say hello to Richard from me.”
“Take care, Mom. I will. Parating na siguro iyon.” Maya said as she waved goodbye to her mom.
Maya went back to her coffee, and newspaper. When she finished reading, she decided to check her e-mails. Might as well work while waiting for Richard. While she does not have any meeting or anything urgent today, she thought it would be better to plow through all the e-mails she needed to read and reply to. Before she knew it, she got engrossed at what she was doing and didn’t notice the passing of time, until she received a call from her ninang.
“Maya, congratulations! Tessie told me that you are getting married na soon and I’m a ninang!” She said happily. “I’m honored naman hija. Thank you.”
“Good morning po Ninang Maggie. Siyempre naman, number one ka sa list ko ng mga gusto kong maging ninang sa wedding namin ni Ricky. Thank you for accepting and I am very happy that you agreed.” Maya told the old lady, glad to hear from her. She was really planning to give her a call in the evening to set the dinner with her. “Let’s have dinner po, so you can meet na my fiance. Sabi ni Mom, tinatanong mo raw po kung kailan niyo makikilala si Ricky. When are you free po?”
“How about this Friday, 7pm?” Ninang Maggie said. “Of course, I want to meet the man who made my pihikang inaanak said yes. I heard many good things about him from Tessie. I’m really happy for you, Maya. Let me know na lang kung saan tayo magkikita.”
“Thank you po Ninang. I will call na lang for the venue. See you po.”
Maya and her godmother said their goodbyes and only then that she fully realized that Ricky was more than an hour late already! Maya got worried, thinking that something might have happened to him on the way to her house. She decided to give him a call. The phone just kept ringing the first time she called. She tried again.
“Hello, sweetheart.” Richard croaked on the phone.
“Ricky sweetheart, why do you sound like that? What happened.?” Maya asked worriedly.
“Sweetheart, don’t worry. I think I have flu. I feel very tired, have muscle pains, and I feel very hot.” He said.
“I will go there. I will just call my office.” Maya said hurriedly as she gathered her things to go back to her room and pack a bag.
“Maya, it is okay. You have work. I will just call Mang Lem to buy me some flu medicines and other stuffs I will need. Besides, I can also also ask the cleaning lady to cook soup for me.” Richard weakly protested. “I need rest lang, I think.”
“No, Ricky. I will go there. I want to take care of you. I will take care of you. No objection please.” Maya insisted as she started packing clothes. “Huwag nang matigas ang ulo mo, please, sweetheart.”
“Okay, you win. Thank you, sweetheart. I love you.” Richard said. “Drive carefully. Don’t worry. Just let yourself in. Use the keys and the elevator access card I gave you.”
“I love you. I will. See you in a while.” Maya checked for the keys and the card which she had put in one of her drawers.
Richard gave the keys and elevator access card to Maya a week ago, saying that he would like her to have it so she can come and go at his place. Besides, he said, it will be her home too, soon. He even teased her that is part of his negotiation with her. Maya laughed and pinched him lovingly. Then Richard cupped her chin and said seriously that he respect her wishes if she wanted to wait until their wedding night to resume the physical aspect of their relationship. He said he is willing to wait. He does not want her to feel any kind of pressure. Maya smiled lovingly at him, then thanked him for being the most considerate fiance, at the same time, she had a secret smile on her face. She even teased him that he didn’t even try negotiating, he surrendered na agad. Richard said when it comes to her, he will always wave the white flag. They embraced and kissed each other sweetly.
Maya called her mom before she left the house and told her that she needed to stay with Richard for several days, or so, since he is sick. She also called her office and asked her boss if she can take several days leave, explaining the situation. She also informed Ms. Belmonte that she can work a bit from home if there is something urgent she needed. Her boss allowed her as she has not really taken a vacation or a leave in months.
Maya found Richard sleeping on his bed, tightly wrapped in his comforter as if he felt very cold. She touched his forehead and found it to be very hot. She went to the medicine cabinet and got a digital thermometer. His temperature was very high and that worried her. He woke up while she was touching his forehead.
“Sweetheart, you are here.” Richard sleepily said, holding Maya’s hand and placing it on his cheek. “I took medicines na before you arrived so bababa na siguro ang temperature ko.”
“Shouldn’t we call your family doctor, sweetheart?” Maya asked. “Sobrang init mo, ah.”
“No need, I think flu lang talaga ito. Saka nandito ka na to take care of me. I’m sure I will get better fast.” Richard said, smiling then he closed his eyes and started drifting back to sleep. He just felt so lethargic. But he was happy that Maya was there to take care of him.
Maya watched over Richard, checked his temperature from time to time. She also gave him a sponge bath with alcohol and water, despite Richard’s protest. However, it made him feel so much better after Maya rubbed his whole body with a wet face towel. It was also nice to change into new clothes which Maya helped him put on. She made soup for him and cajoled him to eat.
The following day, Richard alternated between having a fever after the effect of the medicine was gone and back to normal temperature after he has taken medicine. His fluctuating temperature worried Maya so she decided to call the Lims’ family doctor through Mommy Esme. Dr. Montalvo told Maya to bring Richard to a hospital for a blood test if his temperature has not gone stable the following morning.
By afternoon, Richard’s temperature has returned to normal, but still Maya monitored it closely.
“Sweetheart, thank you for taking care of me.” Richard said holding Maya’s hand. “My beautiful nurse!”
“Ricky, sweetheart, of course I will always take care of you. Saka malapit ka na ngang gumaling, nambobola ka na eh.” Maya smiled lovingly at Richard.
“Hindi kaya iyan bola, sweetheart. Ikaw ang the most beautiful and the most loving fiancee in the world.” Richard said. “Sayang I can’t kiss you. Baka mahawa ka ng virus ko.”
Maya cupped Richard’s face and kissed him gently on the lips. “Hay naku, malakas resistance ko at saka kung mahawa, di damay na damay na tayo. Hayan ang magic kiss ko para tuluyan ka nang gumaling.”
They lovingly smiled at each other. Their tender moment was interrupted by the sound of the door bell. Maya went down to check who was visiting, though she have an idea, it is Richard’s mom.
“Mommy Esme! Nice to see you po.” Maya said as she gave her future mother-in-law a kiss. ”Pasok po kayo.”
“Maya hija, kumusta na si Ricky? Heto nagdala ako ng fruits and sopas na ipinaluto ko kay Fe. Paborito ito ni Ricky nung maliit pa siya kapag may sakit.” Mommy Esme said.
“Okay na po ang temperature niya. Normal na, pero inoobserbahan ko pa rin po. Sabi po ni Doc kapag hanggang bukas meron pa rin siyang fever, kailangan na niyang magpa-blood test to rule out dengue or a more serious viral infection.” Maya explained as she put the food and fruits in the kitchen. “Mauna na po kayong umakyat Mom. Ihahanda ko lang itong mga dala niyo so Ricky can eat.”
“O sige. Thank you Maya, for this and for taking care of my son. Okay ka lang bang mag-absent?” Mommy Esme asked.
“Hindi niyo na po kailangang mag-thank you, Mom. I love your son and he is my priority. Di po ba magsasama kami sa hirap and ginhawa and in sickness and in health kapag ikinasal kami. For me, since we became a couple, committed na ako sa kanya.” Maya told Ricky’s mom a bit emotionally, the worry she felt while Richard was running a temperature, setting in a bit. “Okay din naman po ang schedule ko sa work. Saka hindi rin po ako mapapakali sa work kapag ganitong may sakit si Ricky.”
Donya Esmeralda embraced Maya tight. “My son is lucky to have you, Maya. I’m glad ikaw ang magiging daughter-in law ko, and magiging pangalawang daughter ko.”
“Awww, Mommy Esme, thank you po.” Maya was touched at Richard’s mom’s approval of her. “Tayo na po, sabay na tayong umakyat kay Ricky.
Maya and Mommy Esme chatted a bit as they went to Richard’s room.
“Mom! Napadalaw ka! I’m okay na. Ang galing kaya ng nurse ko.” Richard greeted his mother as he reclined against the headboard of his bed.
“I was worried, Ricky. Hindi na yata maaalis iyan sa mga mom, kahit gaano katanda na ang isang anak. Maya, you will understand this kapag may anak na kayo ni Ricky.” Donya Esmeralda said, as her son and his fiancee looked at each other meaningfully. “ Though, kampante naman ako that you are in good hands and you are being taken care of, lovingly, with Maya here. I also brought you your favorite sopas that Fe cooked.”
“Wow, really Mom. Thank you.” Richard said as Maya put the tray she was carrying on his lap, together with the medicines he needed to take.
Donya Esmeralda stayed for an hour, then said good bye, saying, she will just go see her amigas, now that she know that Richard is on his way to getting well. She also called Don Roberto before she left Richard’s place to tell him that their son is okay now, and that Maya is taking very good care of him.
Richard and Maya just spent the rest of the day on his bed, watching movies. Maya continuously monitored Richard’s temperature and she was happy to note that he seemed to be really okay now.
“Sweetheart, what would you like for dinner?” Maya asked as they finished watching ‘Roman Holiday’. “Meron pa iyong sopas na dala ni Mom. I can heat that or I can cook something else.”
“Hmmm, I’m craving for fast food. Let us order pizza and burger.” Richard suggested.
Maya ordered the food, got it when it arrived. Richard took a shower while waiting for Maya to return.
“Sweetheart, okay ka na bang maligo?” Maya asked when Richard emerged from the bathroom wrapped only in a towel, still dripping from the shower he took.
“I feel better actually.” Richard said, smiling at her, before disappearing to his dressing room. He came out dressed in another white t-shirt and blue pajamas.
They ended up eating their fast food fix at the table by the window.
Later in the evening, Richard asked Maya if she can just sleep beside him instead of the guest room as he seemed to be okay now. He said he wanted to cuddle with her, and to wake up with her.
“Promise, sweetheart. I’ll be good, cross my heart.” Richard grinned at Maya.
“Hmmm, hindi kaya part iyan ng strategy mo sweetheart?” Maya teased.
“Ha, ha, ha, I promised you, di ba, that I can wait, that I will wait. Unless of course, ikaw ang hindi makahintay sa wedding night natin .” Richard bantered back, grinning mischievously. “Of course, you are very much welcome to take advantage of me any time in the night.”
Maya laughed and pinched Richard on the side.“Hay naku, ikaw talaga , sweetheart. Tulog na nga tayo.” Maya said hugging Richard and putting the comforter over them. “I love you, sweetheart. Good night.”
“I love you too, Mrs. Lim-to-be. Reminder lang my love, feel free to take advantage even while I’m sleeping,” was his last words, grinning, before he pulled Maya closer to him, then gave her a searing good night kiss. Maya was still smiling when she finally succumbed to sleep in Richard’s arms.