Maya and Richard arrived at Cristina Rose’s house just in time for the dinner she had organized for her immediate family. Richard and Maya cut it too close. Maya earlier called Richard to suggest that they leave at five o’clock, instead of the six o’clock they agreed on, that day, being Saturday again. They were too caught up with each other, and their declaration of love earlier, that they completely forgot that fact! Maya said that Cristina will tease them a lot if they are late again! Especially so, when she finds out that they are a couple now.
“Ikaw kasi, hayan tuloy, kamuntik na tayong ma-late.” Maya teasingly told Richard as he helped her out of the car.
“Ha, bakit ako lang! Ikaw din kaya.” Richard smiled at his girlfriend.
“Eh, sino ba ang nagsimula ng lahat.” Maya retorted. “Tell me, tell me, Babe. Ergo, it is your kasalanan!”
“Eh ako lang ba ang involved doon. Dalawa kaya tayo!” Richard grinned, remembering the heated kisses they shared, that caused their long delay in leaving Maya’s place. Mabuti na lang, traffic was not as heavy as they expected.
Richard was not able to resist kissing Maya when he saw her looking so lovely in her simple, figure-hugging crimson sheath dress. She looked at him with her expressive eyes, and gave him a beautiful smile as soon as she opened the door to her place and saw him standing there carrying a bouquet of sunflowers. His heart felt so full, knowing this beautiful lady loves him. The single kiss, turned into several. Both of them reveling in their feelings for each other.
Maya’s heart sang when she saw Richard standing outside her door, looking so handsome in his blue dress shirt and jeans, carrying the big bouquet for her. She was amazed he managed to find those flowers in such a short time. When he started kissing her, she had this need to show him, in deed, how much she loves him and appreciated his ‘courting’ gesture.
Maya and Richard looked at each other, grinned, fingers still intertwined. Here they go again! It seems like eons, they were bantering like this, outside Cristina’s house, when it fact it was just a week ago! Amazing. It felt like they have known each other forever.
“Kuya Ricky, Maya! Sabay kayo ulit?” Cris asked, a bit surprised and got more surprised, seeing their interlaced fingers.
“OMG, talagang may hindi na ako alam! Kayo na???!!! She shrieked happily. Then, she asked them questions in rapid succession, wanting to know everything. “Paano nangyari? Kailan pa? OMG, OMG, I feel like I’m Cupid.” She hugged Maya tight, then Ricky.
“Cousin, kalma lang! Maya and I will tell you about it.” Richard said smiling, very happy. He looked at Maya lovingly. “I’m sure exempted naman itong pinsan ko at bestfriend mo sa ‘don’t-tell-it-yet-to-them’ rule mo.”
“May ganoong rule si Maya? Kanino bawal munang sabihin?” Cris asked.
“Itong Honeybun ko, kasasagot lang sa akin kanina, embarrassed nang ipakilala ako.” Richard teased Maya.
“Ha, ha, ha, very funny, Babe.” Maya slapped his arm affectionately.
“O hindi ba?” He grinned at her, really loving their banters.
“Ehemmm, ehemm, feeling deja vu talaga ako sa inyong dalawa. Nandito po ako. Hello, I’m Cris Uy, pinsan mo, Richard Lim, and your bestfriend, Maya Dela Rosa!”
Maya and Richard looked at each other sheepishly and both said, “Sorry, Cris” at the same time.
“O Honeybun, ipaliwanag mo na nga sa pinsan ko kung bakit ayaw mong ipasabi.” Richard lovingly asked Maya.
“Well, it’s like this, kailangan munang tapusin nitong cousin mo ang panliligaw niya sa akin.” Maya told her bestfriend, smiling.
“Ligaw pa lang? Eh di ba kayo na? Explain, explain, parang na-twilight zone ako sa statement na iyon ah.” Cris said, her brows knitted. Nahilo siya ng kaunti sa statement ng best friend niya.
“Kasi sabi ni Maya, Cris, kahit sinagot na niya ako, kailangan ko pa rin siyang ligawan, kundi babawiin niya raw ang sweet yes niya.” Ricky smiled, remembering that.
“Ito kasing pinsan mo, parang tornado, swept me off na lang bigla and agad-agad.” Maya smiled, teasing Richard. “Hayun, napa-oo tuloy ako kahit hindi pa siya tapos manligaw.”
“Ha, dear Honeybun, ikaw kaya….”
“Ha, anong ako, Babe….”
“Ikaw kaya, kasi, you were so beautiful, I was not able to resist you.” Richard cupped Maya’s face, then caressed it. “Hayun, kahit gusto kong maghinay-hinay, hindi ko na kinaya.”
“Oh my God, limang colony na ang mga langgam sa tabi ko, all of a sudden!” Cris jested, happy seeing her cousin and her best friend like this, so happy and so in love. “Naku, pasok na nga tayo at naghihintay na ang mga parent. You two owe me a lot of kwento, lalo ka na, Bes. Tamang-tama ang girl talk natin.”
“Sabi ko na nga ba, ako ang subject sa girl talk na iyan.” Richard said as they walked towards the lanai where dinner was set. “Cris, no mention pala muna sa parents, as per my girlfriend’s request. ha. We will have dinner with Mama and Papa bago umalis ulit itong lagalag kong Honeybun.”
“Okay, promise, promise. Basta you will stay longer din, Kuya Ricky, ha, and tell me the complete kwento on how ‘Honeybun’ and ‘Babe’ ended up together.” Cris insisted. Kinikilig talaga siya sa love story ng pinsan niya at best friend! Sabi na nga ba, she mused.
“By the way, alam mo ba, Maya and I live pala in the same building?” Richard remembered that he was planning to tell his cousin that.
“Really, Kuya Ricky, Maya! So, kaya pala kayo nagkaagawan ng taxi. Ayyyy, this must be fate at work talaga.” Cris said, smiling, feeling kilig. “Imagine, talagang pinagtagpo kayo. Maya, I’m sure, taob lahat ng mga romance novel mo sa real life love story mo.”
Maya smiled at her friend, then teased Richard. “Hmmm, tingnan natin. I haven’t check kung pasado na sa criteria ko ng ideal man itong si Babe ko.”
“Ha, Honeybun, I’m sure, kung job application iyan, over qualified pa ako.” He teased.
“Babe, ang confidence level, di naman masyadong mataas ah.” Maya pinched Richard’s cheek affectionately.
They continued to tease each other, while Cristina Rose was just happy to observe them. She never thought her Kuya Ricky can be like this, so carefree and happy, and she never thought that Maya will be so at ease with someone like this, and in such a short time. Sometimes, there is an innate shyness in Maya that not many people know, seeing only her outwardly very confident self.
The three of them were still smiling when they reached the lanai. Several pairs of eyes looked at them when they entered. They all smiled and greeted Richard and Maya.
“Everyone, kilala niyo na namang lahat si Maya, except si Tito Roberto. Tito Roberto, this is my best friend Maya Dela Rosa. I invited her to join our family dinner since I don’t have time to meet her separately this evening. Saka, para ko na rin itong sister. We go a long way back.” Cristina told Richard’s dad. “She also writes articles for some of the magazines that LC is publishing, among other things that she is doing.”
“Hello, hija, I’m please to meet you.” Roberto Lim stood up from where he was sitting and then offered to shake Maya’s hand. “Yes, I know you by name. Mula ng mag-retire ako, I have more time na to read and to do other stuffs. I enjoyed reading your travel articles.”
“Good evening po, Mr. Lim. Please to meet you rin po.Thank you po. I’m glad you liked my articles.” She shook Richard’s dad hand, then greeted everyone. “Good evening po sa inyong lahat. Pasensya na po at kasama pa ako sa family dinner niyo.”
“Hija, ano ka ba. Hindi mo kailangang humingi ng dispensa. Pamilya ka na rin.” Mama Esmeralda said. She likes Cristina Rose’s friend, magalang, mabait, matalino, maganda, and she was fun to be with when she took them to the Sunday market in Makati.
“P-p-po? Family?” Maya asked, surprised, thinking that Richard’s mom, for some reason, already knew that she is her son’s girlfriend. She looked at Richard meaningfully.
Mama Esmeralda noticed the look her son and Maya shared. Hmmm, there is something there, she thought and smiled inwardly, happy, if her guess is true, she would be the happiest mother. About time that son of hers finds love and settles down, she wants apo, lots of it.
“Family ka na, since best friend ka nitong si Cristina Rose.” Donya Esmeralda clarified, though she can sense that Maya is more than that now, judging by the way her son is looking at this beautiful and very nice young lady. “Di ba mula college pa kayo magkaibigan nitong si Cristina Rose?”
“Tama ka diyan Ate Esmeralda.” Cristina Rose’s mom said. “Para ko na ring anak itong si Maya since wala namang kapatid itong si Cristina Rose. Saka, pagkabait-bait na bata! Maganda pa at saka matalino.”
“Errrr, oo nga po. Thank you po, Mrs. Lim.” Maya said shyly. “Thank you po, Tita Susan. Alam niyo naman para ko na rin kayong parents ni Tito Rafael, since my family was in Mindoro while Cris and I were in college, then, especially rin po after Dad died.”
“Naku, Tita Esmeralda na lang.” Richard’s mom insisted. “Saka itong si Roberto, Tito Roberto na lang. Hindi ba, sweetheart?” She asked her husband.
“Yes, yes, hija.” Don Roberto added. “Call me Tito na lang. Feeling ko nasa opisina pa rin ako when you say, Mr. Lim. Retired na ako, retired na.” He added, smiling.
“Oo nga naman Maya, hija. You’ve met Luke’s parents na rin, di ba? Tita Pamela and Tito Danny.” Tita Susan said. “O have a seat na, kids. Let’s have dinner.”
“Thank you po, Tita Esmeralda, Tito Roberto, and Tita Susan. Hello po ulit, Tita Pamela and Tito Danny, Luke Andrew.”
Richard was quick to seat Maya, then sat beside her, which strengthened his mom’s suspicion that she is someone special to her son. Interesting, she thought. And if it is true, she will be very, very happy. Looks like her Ricky has finally found love!
“Hi Ate Maya.” Luke greeted his cousin’s friend, after he sat down on her other side. He also noticed his Kuya Ricky’s special attention to Maya.
“Hello Luke, kumusta na? Nakuha mo na ang car mo sa casa?” Maya asked the youngest Lim.
“Yes, Ate Maya, kaya hindi ko na itatakas ang car ni Kuya Ricky, hahaha. Well, until next time. Pero feeling ko the last time I did, happy pa nga siya sa ginawa ko.” Luke said with mischief in his voice.
“Luke Andrew Lim.” Richard said, then smiling at his cousin. “Forgiven ka na sa ginawa mo. Huwag na lang uulitin ha.”
“Okay, okay, stop na ako Kuya. Peace!” Luke made the peace sign, still grinning at his cousin. His Kuya Ricky is really the best and the coolest cousin! Looks like, he will always be smiling from now on, especially after his bad experience with that Natalie. He was in the States when it happened. One drunken evening, the cousins talked about it. Luke wished then that his cousin will find the best girl for him, and he thinks his Kuya Ricky found her in his Ate Maya. He is very happy for them.
“Enough na iyan, kids. Let’s eat.” Tita Susan said as their mayordoma, Ibing and her assistant, Ginny started serving dinner.
Everyone chatted happily while eating dinner, mostly about Cristina’s wedding in New York in two months. The Lim clan will all fly there. Maya, Richard and Luke will be part of the wedding entourage. The family is also planning a quick vacation while there.
“Maya, is there anything else, I can get you?” Richard whispered to Maya while the elders were reminiscing about family vacations when their kids were very young. “Do you want more wine? Coffee?”
“No more na Babe, I’m good. Thank you.” Maya said and there was silence at the dining table after that statement as she spoke a bit louder than she intended to. Everyone looked at Maya and then at Richard. Maya realized what she said. Oppps!!! OMG. OMG, she muttered, blushing. She can’t really blame her slip on the wine since she hasn’t even finished the one Richard got for her earlier.
Richard grinned at Maya. Sometimes the best laid plans go awry, for the best! He rescued her. “Since the cat is out of the bag, so to speak! Everyone, Maya is not just Cristina’s best friend now, she is also my dearest girlfriend. Kasasagot lang niya sa akin. Sorry, for not telling everyone earlier.” He smiled at Maya and then took her hand, kissed it in front of his family, causing her to blush some more.
“Mama, Papa, we were planning to tell you first in a dinner with you sana the day after tomorrow.” Richard added.
Donya Esmeralda went to Maya, and hugged her, very happy. “Sabi ko na nga ba eh. Iba ang kutob ko ng makita ko kayo kanina! Tama ako. I’m glad Maya na ikaw ang girlfriend nitong si Ricky. He is a lucky guy to have you. Kahit prior to this, isang beses pa lang kita nakasama ng matagal, sobrang gaan ng loob ko sa iyo, hija.”
“Talaga, Mama.” Richard said and then teased his mother affectionately. “Para ka palang psychic ‘Ma. Na-sense mo agad. Sabagay when I was growing up, wala akong maitago sa iyo, nade-detect mo agad.”
Don Roberto also went to Maya all smiles, then hugged her. The other Lims and the Uys, did the same. Maya was overwhelmed with their warm reception to hers and Richard’s relationship. She felt very happy. She and Richard shared a looked that silently communicated their love for each other.
“Thank you po sa inyong lahat, lalo na po sa inyo Tita Esmeralda, Tito Roberto.” Maya simply said as Richard held her cold hand. “Thank you po sa pagtanggap. I’m so touched and happy.”
“Don’t be nervous na, Honeybun.” Richard whispered.
Maya nodded and then pressed his hand, as if to let him know how much she appreciated his moral support, and his love.
“See, Ate Maya, iyan ang dahilan kung bakit hindi nagalit masyado si Kuya Ricky when I failed to returned the car.” Luke said, grinning, teasing his older cousin. “Imagine, dahil doon, nagkakilala kayo.”
“Ikaw talaga, Luke Andrew!” Richard grinned at his cousin, very happy with the turn of events.
The elders asked what Luke was talking about, so Maya and Richard, with Cristina Rose, recounted to the family how they met.
“How romantic naman! Parang tayo lang noon, Roberto.” Donya Esmeralda sighed.
“Oo nga Esmeralda. Ganyan ka rin noon. Sinupladahan mo ako. Noon pala gustong-gusto mo rin ako.” Don Roberto teased his wife.
“Parang mali yata ang alala mo sweetheart. Ikaw yata ang may gustong-gusto sa akin agad, sa simula pa lang.” His wife insisted.
Richard’s parents continue to tease each other, recounting their courtship, which made everyone laughed. At that instance, Maya missed her dad. Her parents used to do that as well. Richard noticed it.
“You’re missing your Dad?” He asked Maya, seeing the way she was looking at his parents.
“Yes, a bit. But it was good memories naman so I am not sad.” Maya smiled and assured him. Her Ricky is really very perceptive.
They gazed at each other, as if it was just the two of them there, forgetting for a while that they were not alone.
The family looked on happily. Richard’s family was happy he found the girl for him. Based on their story earlier, it looked like they had a whirlwind courtship. But those who were there that evening believed that their love was for keeps. Their love for each other was palpable to all of them.
The Lims, Uy,s and Maya moved to the living room after their dinner and continued chatting. At about close to midnight, Richard’s parents called it a night. Donya Esmeralda and Don Roberto bid everyone good night. Donya Esmeralda gave Maya a big hug and invited her to the Lim family dinner when she returns from Vigan. Soon after, Luke and his parents, did the same. The elder Uys also retired for the night.
“Ha, ha, ha, akala ko ba hindi niyo pa sasabihin.” Cristina teased the couple when it was just the three of them, sitting in the lanai again, having coffee.
“Eh paano, nadulas itong Honeybun ko, hahahaha.” Richard said, teasing Maya.
“Talagang, mahirap sa ating dalawa ang pinagpaplanuhan ang lahat. See, what happened.” He added, still smiling and happy at the turn of events. Kasi, if it was up to him, the moment they arrived, he will introduce her as his girlfriend. He would like to shout it out to the world, so to speak!
Maya laughed. “Ewan ko ba, ako naman ang biglang nadulas. So, Ricky, Babe, even na tayo ha.” She said, remembering Ricky’s slip when she was about to sing at the impromptu videoke session, last weekend.
They all laughed. Then Cris told her cousin and her best friend, on with their kwento on how they became boyfriend and girlfriend. Richard and Maya told her that it just happened when he picked her from the airport.
Cristina Rose was smiling, all the time they were taking turns telling her their unusual courtship, as the two of them were at their lively repartee while doing the kwento. She is really very happy that the two people she cared deeply about ended up with each other. Now she know, in whose direction she will deliberately throw her bridal bouquet. She smiled inwardly.
Past midnight, Richard said he will say good night so the two friends can finally have their girl talk! Cristina Rose, excused herself on the pretext that she will just check the room Maya will use. When in fact, she wanted to give the couple a private moment.
“Good night, Babe. I love you. I’m so happy.” Maya lovingly told Richard, with her arms around his neck. “Text me when you arrive home ha. Drive safely.”
“Good night, Honeybun. I love you too.” Then he cupped Maya’s face and gave her a long kiss. “I’ll miss you.”
“Sus, Babe, we will see each other pa for two days before I leave ulit. Unless you are busy, of course.” Maya told Richard as she caressed his nape.
“For you, my love, I will have time for you no matter what.” Richard assured her. “I will pick you up tomorrow. No arguments please. And since it is Sunday, can we spend the day together? Our first ‘date’.”
“Yes. I’m looking forward to our ‘first date’! Ang weird natin’ no. Or, if not weird, unusual.” Maya said smiling. “In the evening, would it be okay if we see my Mom and say hello?” Maya asked, remembering her promised to her mother that she will see her and Patty after she return from Bangkok.
“Of course, my love. I want to meet your family too, very much.” Richard said, gazing at Maya with so much love. “I’m looking forward to that.”
Maya and Richard embraced tight and kissed one more time, and one more time, and one more time….
It took them a while to say goodbye and part for the night. Both were looking forward to being with each other again the following day.
Note : My apologies for the typos! Ayay, I was more tired than I thought. 🙂