Their very special way
The honking of cars and the merry chatter of families and friends reuniting, and happily greeting each other, finally penetrated Richard and Maya’s world. They slowly broke apart. Richard looked at Maya with so much love. He gently touched Maya’s lips with his thumb. Maya, a bit dazed, blushing, heart skipping a beat, just gazed at Richard, giving him a shy smile.
“Welcome home, Honeybun. I really missed you a lot.” Richard gave Maya the full wattage of his lopsided smile. “I hope you are not mad at me for doing that.”
“Thank you, Babe. I missed you, too.” Maya said, suddenly feeling shy. After all it was her first kiss, and it happened in a busy airport, to boot. She was not mad. She actually felt swept off her feet with that kiss. Parang iyong sa mga romance novel lang na binabasa niya. But she teased Richard a bit. “Hmmm, and what would you do If I’m mad pala?”
“Well, I will just say sorry for doing it too soon, and for surprising you with it, but I am not and I will not be sorry that I kissed you.” Ricky said seriously, gazing at Maya meaningfully, at the same time holding her chin, looking deep into her eyes.
“Don’t be, Ricky. I’m not sorry too that it happened. Yes, it was a spur of the moment thing, but I don’t regret it either. It takes two to kiss and dalawa naman tayo doon. I kissed you back.” Maya said, straightforward, putting her hand on Richard’s forearm.“Let’s go home na nga. Baka mapagkamalan na tayo ritong sina Miggy Montenegro at Laida Magtalas.”
“Who are they?” Richard asked, apparently clueless on local movies and pop culture.
“Iyung mga character nina John Lloyd Cruz at Sarah Geronimo sa trilogy nilang movies. Doon kasi sa last one nila, iyong super kilig scene, sa airport din.” Maya explained, smiling. Emman dragged her to see those movies, as he is a big fan of John Lloyd and Sarah. Maya enjoyed watching those movies too.
“So kilig pala ang pag-kiss ko sa iyo? Parang movie you mean, Honeybun?” Richard teased Maya.
“Hmmm, I’m not sure, Babe. Pag-iisipan ko.” Maya laughed.
“Gusto mo ng another one, para you can decide better.” Richard bantered. “Importante ang pagiging informed sa decision-making.”
“Ricky Lim, ikaw talaga, nagsisimula ka na naman,” Maya laughed, then dragged Richard by the arm affectionately. “Halika na nga, uwi na tayo. Saan ka ba nag-park?”
They shared a smile. Richard got hold of Maya’s hand and intertwined their fingers as they proceeded to the parking lot. Maya let it be. She liked the feeling of their hands touching. She knew that they have a lot of things to talk about, but it can wait until they get home. The kiss changed things between them for sure.
Richard was also thinking what Maya was thinking. He felt that this is the right time for him to declare his feelings for her. He is very, very sure of what he is feeling. Maya, being away for several days, and only several days at that, made him realized how important she had become in his life.
Richard and Maya chatted on the way to Eastwood, as if they have not been talking every evening on the phone. However, there was a tacit agreement between them not to discuss the kiss they have shared until they are in a more private place. Instead, they discussed their work and other stuffs.
Maya asked Richard how were things at Lim Corporation and how’s Manang Fe. He mentioned in one of their phone calls that his mother agreed to have Manang Fe move with him. Richard told Maya that Manang Fe is settling in well in his place. She moved earlier than their agreed period para raw may mag-asikaso na sa kanya. Richard also told Maya of his company’s plan of expanding its shipping operation to include a local cruise line. Maya, on the other hand, mentioned to Richard her next assignment for a lifestyle magazine that would take her to Vigan for a week, two days from that Saturday.
When they reached Eastwood, they decided to go to Maya’s office at Cafe M first to check on how things are, and so that they can have coffee and talk.
“Ricky, please go ahead to my office. I will just get us coffee and touch base with Eleonor.” Maya told Richard as soon as they entered the busy cafe. Maya can see several of their regulars, who waved at her. “The usual for you, Ricky?”
“Yes please. Thanks.” Richard said.
Maya waited until Eleonor was free before asking her how things were while she was away. Eleonor told her that everything went well. They had a lot of customers as always. Emman was at the cafe everyday also, except today, as he needed to do some research on the book he is trying to write. Maya asked Eleonor to prepare hers and Richard’s favorite brew while they talked and touched base. Eleonor pointed to Maya where they put all the books and magazines that Richard donated to the cafe. Maya was amazed. Richard brought a lot of books and judging by the titles, they will be big hits with their ‘bookworms’.
Maya thanked the barista and carried the coffee to her office. Ricky stood up, when he saw Maya, got the tray from her and put their coffee on the table by the window. He seated Maya, then went back to where he was sitting. They looked at each other, and the atmosphere changed. Maya felt herself blushing, getting a bit conscious, her heart beating faster. Richard felt a bit nervous, but he is determined to tell Maya what he feels. This is it, their moment of truth, after that kiss that shifted their relationship to the next level.
Maya and Richard uttered at the same time. They laughed, nervously, and suddenly, both feeling self-conscious. Then Richard told Maya to go ahead with what she was about to say. Maya insisted that Richard should talk first. But instead of talking right away, Richard put his hand on top of Maya’s.
“Maya, I know the kiss at the airport was a spur of the moment thing on our part, but I meant every feeling I put in that kiss. I just felt this overwhelming desire to connect to you when I saw you coming to me, with that smile that lit up your whole face and made you so beautiful in my eyes. I missed you. I was just glad to finally see you, instead of talking to you on the phone.” He started, took a sip of his coffee, gathering his thoughts, then he took a deep breath and plunged in.
“I know we haven’t known each other very long, and I have not properly courted you, but I want you know that I have fallen for you, very hard. I love you Maya.” Richard said gazing at Maya with all the love he felt.
Maya’s heart somersaulted upon hearing those words from Richard. “Ricky…..”
“Maya, I just want you to know how I feel. You don’t have to say anything right away. Let me court you properly. As I have told you the evening we met, I would like to do that. Let me show you how much I love you.” He said earnestly to a still dazed Maya, trying to recover from finally hearing Richard declared his feelings for her. “I know you just got back and it maybe too much to take. Take your time. We have all the time in the world.”
Maya put her hand on top of Richard’s too, then looked at him deeply. “Ricky, I’m so happy to know that you have feelings for me, that you love me. Despite all the romance books I have read and got addicted to, I never thought that love would happen to me so sudden, so unexpectedly. I never imagine it would be like this. Yes, I also have feelings for you. I have fallen for you hard. I love you, too.”
Richard, at first, thought that he misheard Maya. Then what she said sank in. He smiled, a smile so big. “You love me too?” He asked incoherently.
“Yes po. I love you, Babe!” Maya said, looking at Richard lovingly. “And I don’t need time to think about it. One thing I learned from my Dad’s death, is that life is too short, and too uncertain, not to enjoy it every moment we could. Live! Seize the day! Love! Of course, with love, you don’t know when it will come. But I know, this is it, for me. And I don’t want to waste time not telling you that I love you, because I do. Then we can journey together, ‘discovering’ each other along the way.”
“Really, really, really, Honeybun.” Richard said, with a goofy smile on his handsome face, still having a hard time believing that Maya said yes and that she loves him too.
“Oo na nga. Yes. Si.” Maya replied. “Hayan, ilang languages na iyan, Babe. Pero, I want to be courted pa rin.” She added, smiling.
“Honeybun, you made me the happiest guy. Promise, manliligaw pa rin ako. Susuyuin pa rin kita. Be ready, Ms. Maya Dela Rosa. I want to show you how much I love you.” Richard promised Maya, turning serious as he lifted her hand to his lips and kissed it tenderly.
“Dapat lang, Babe. Kung hindi, babawiin ko iyang ‘oo’ ko. Saka, I will check pa my list and see kung pasadong-pasado ka na sa criteria ko.” Maya said, teasing Richard. The truth is, all she had on her ‘list’, all she wanted and prayed for, is a guy who will love her more than life itself, who will cherish her, who will be her friend as well as her love, who will always be there for her, to make her laugh and hold her hand when she is sad, and someone to share wonderful memories with. And even if she just started her journey with Richard, she know in her heart that he is the one.
“Hmmmm, since tayo na, dapat yata palitan na natin ang TOE natin. Parang pang comedy act iyong ‘Babe’ and ‘Honeybun’ natin.” Maya told Richard they as smiled at each other lovingly.
“Hmmm, do we have to? I kinda like it. Parang kakaiba and we have built a memory na around ‘Babe’ and ‘Honeybun’. But you are the boss, Ms. Maya Dela Rosa. Kahit ano pa iyan, agree ako.”
Maya smiled. “Kahit tawagin kitang ‘Munchkin’, ‘Pumpkin’, ‘Babykins’, ‘Honeykins’?
“Errr, wait. Sabi ko sa iyo, doon na lang tayo sa ‘Honeybun’ and ‘Babe’.” Richard said, laughing.
“Pag-iisipan ko, Babykins. Kind of nice, yata ito.” Maya said, teasing Richard.
Richard just looked at Maya, happily. “I love you, Honeybun.”
“I love you too, Babe.”
Maya and Richard just sat there, enjoying their wonderful moment, gazing at each other in between sipping their coffee and sharing a cheese cake.
“Maya, thank you for loving me back. I never thought I would still find love. I was on the verge of not believing in it, thinking that there is no such thing as enduring and all-consuming love.” Richard said after a while. He wanted Maya to know about Natalie upfront and early on in their relationship so they can start with a clean slate. “It was such an elusive and abstract concept for me, until you.”
“Bakit naman? May kinalaman ba ito sa muntik ng pagkadulas ni Luke doon sa party ni Cris?” Maya asked, remembering Luke’s slip and something Richard hinted on when they were talking about his move to the Philippines from the US. “Though, you don’t have to tell me about it. I think it was in the past na naman.”
“No, Maya. I want you to know.” Richard replied. “Meeting you was like a breath of fresh air in my life. I have never been happier since I met you. I have smiled more the past week, than in all the months since I came back. I turned serious then and I guess, very disillusioned after my bad experience with someone I thought I love, or at least cared about. Even at the beginning, I was not convinced that it was love. I was willing to settle for less.”
Richard told Maya about Natalie and their failed relationship. He told Maya that he was glad that he discovered Natalie’s scheme as if he did not, he would have been tied to a loveless marriage. He said, now he know that there is such thing as wonderful, all-consuming love, and that what he is feeling for her.
“Oh Ricky.” Maya said, then she stood up, went to Richard’s side and hugged him tight. “I’m so glad that you never closed yourself off love, that we found each other. But are you really sure? We haven’t known each other long.” She just needed to ask, as that moment felt like a very sweet and wonderful dream she might wake up from.
Richard stood up and hugged Maya back. “Maya, I have never been so sure of things than at this moment. At my age, and since I had past relationships, I know when it was just infatuation, attraction or real love. Real love, I haven’t felt before, until you, Maya. I know what I feel for you is the real thing. I never felt like this before.” Richard told Maya, cupping her face.
Maya can see the love and sincerity in his eyes. At that moment, Maya was completely sure, she had found the love that is especially for her. Without really looking, she found what she dreamt of, never thinking that it will actually happened this soon. She touched Richard’s face too. They looked at each other deeply, lovingly and because they can’t help what they were feeling, they kissed. They poured all their feelings in that kiss. Maya opened her mouth to let Richard in. Their lips locked heatedly. Richard moved his lips and started kissing Maya on the neck. Maya put her hands on Richard’s nape and caressed it.
“Maya, what you do to me.”….He muttered.
They would never know where the heated kisses would have led if they were not interrupted by the ringing of Maya’s phone.
“Ignore it.” Ricky said, still dazed with passion.
“I can’t.” Maya said, breathlessly, fighting off the fog of passion, remembering Cris and their scheduled meeting. “I think that’s your cousin. Remember I’m supposed to see her later.”
Richard let Maya go, then tried to rein in his emotion and raging desire. Maya looked for her phone inside her bag. She was still catching her breath when she found it.
“Maya! Are you back?” Cris said. “O bakit parang you are catching your breath. Tinakbo mo ba iyong phone?”
“Errr, hindi naman. Yes, kadarating ko lang.” Maya replied. “What time are we meeting?”
“Is 7PM okay? Tapos change of plan pala. Can you just go to my house. There is a family dinner, with Mom, Dad, Tito Roberto and Tita Esmeralda, and Kuya Ricky, plus Luke and his parents. Hindi na kasi namin na-schedule ito. I’ve been pretty busy the past days.” Cris requested. “Kilala mo naman na silang lahat, except for Tito Roberto, di ba?”
Maya looked at Richard and he mouthed ‘what’, when Maya creased her forehead, thinking. She mouthed, ‘later’ to him . “Okay, sige, I will just go to your house, then.”
“Thank you Maya. You aret the best. Dito na ka rin matulog, please, since last night na nating makakapag-girl talk.” Cris requested her friend.
“Okay, for you Bes. Basta ikaw, ang lakas mo sa akin eh.” Maya agreed. “See you later.”
Maya put her phone down and smiled at Ricky.
“O anong sabi ng cousin ko?” He said, hugging Maya.
“Well, she asked me to join the dinner with the family later since wala na siyang time na i-meet ako. She also told me to stay the night since last girl talk na namin ito.”
“Oh good, we can go there together. You can also meet Papa.” Richard said, smiling. His cousin’s plan is working his way, except that he would have to leave Maya there. “Hmmm, parang alam ko na kung sino ang topic sa girl talk na iyan.”
“Sino sa palagay mo, Mr. Lim?”
“Eh di ako, Honeybun.”
“Ha, ha, ha, marami pa kayang topic maliban sa iyo, Babe.”
“For sure, Maya Dela Rosa, ang guwapo, mabait at mapagmahal mong boyfriend ang topic niyo ng pinsan ko.”
Maya laughed. “Hay naku, kapag nasamid ka, ikaw na nga siguro ang topic. Saka boyfriend na ba kita, hindi ka pa nanliligaw ah. Sabi ko lang I love you.”
“Maya Dela Rosa!”
“Okay, okay, fine Mr. Lim. Halika na nga so we can rest pa before the dinner. Saka, baka better pala na huwag mo muna akong ipakilalang girlfriend mo sa Mama and Papa mo. Baka mabigla.”
“Naku, they will be glad pa. Baka nga may mother will ask you na when is our wedding!”
“Wedding! Speedy naman yata iyan ng sobra-sobra.”
“Ricky, let us enjoy this relationship first. Besides, manligaw ka nga muna.” Maya said, back to teasing him, as she opened the door of her office. “Saka mo na lang ako ipakilala sa kanila as your girlfriend.”
“Okay, okay. Bagong-bagong sa relationship, ‘yes’ boyfriend na agad ako. Let’s just have dinner with my parents before you leave for Vigan so I can introduce to them my lovely, wonderful, and the best girlfriend in the world.”
“Hmmm, thank you sa build up, my love.” Maya smiled at Richard lovingly. “Okay. I will also introduce to you Mom and Patty, pagbalik ko.”
Richard grabbed Maya’s hand and held it with his while walking the length of the cafe, waving at a gaping Eleonor.
“OMG!!!!” Eleonor uttered a silent scream. Sila na! And her heart melted at the sight of her boss and her handsome boyfriend (she is very sure of that now) passing by. She sighed and wished that she will also find a love like that.
Richard didn’t go of Maya’s hand while they rode the elevator with Maya’s things, to her floor.
“I’ll pick you up at 6PM?” Richard said while standing at Maya’s door. He told Maya he will not go in dahil baka hindi na siya umalis, which earned him a loving pinch from her.
“Okay.” Maya nodded.
They looked at each other, smiled, and kissed one more time before they parted, temporarily.
Maya plopped on her bed, fully-clothed with a huge smile on her face. She doubt she can rest much. She was so full of wonder at what an extraordinary homecoming she had. Richard loves her! He is her boyfriend now. Richard rode the elevator whistling ‘Can’t take my eyes off you’, counting the hours until he will see his love again.