Maya woke up with a start, feeling disoriented, as she realized that she was not in her own bed. The bed cover is different. The room decor, leaning towards yellow, then her lavender-hued room. She tried to shake off sleep which was very hard as she felt she just went to bed. In between sleep and wakefulness, she wanted to bury herself under the blanket until noon. She and Cristina chatted most of the night. Sheer tiredness forced them to finally go to sleep. A persistent sound woke her up. Maya tried to absorb the sound she was hearing. She realized it’s The Proclaimers’ ‘I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles), her current ringtone. She looked for her phone, finding it under her pillow. She smiled when she saw who is calling.
“Hello Ricky, my love.” She said sleepily, smiling. “Good morning. Ang aga mo ah. Are you going here na? Anong oras na ba! OMG, eight o’clock na pala!”
“Maya, my love! Good morning, Honeybun. Did I wake you up?” Richard asked. He had been awake for hours, arranging his special treat for Maya. He wanted their ‘first date’ to be the most memorable day ever and something to add to their wonderful and very unusual courtship. “I’m sorry. I thought eight o’clock is a decent enough hour to phone you.”
“It’s okay, Ricky. I needed to get up, anyway. Though, Cris and I went to bed at close to four o’clock in the morning!” Maya told Richard. “Don’t worry, Babe, coffee lang ang katapat nito.”
“Is it okay if I pick you up in an hour or so?” Richard asked. “You know for our ‘first date’, Honeybun.”
“I think it would be okay. I can manage that. Let me just get a cup of coffee and take a shower.” Maya stood up, gathered her toiletries to go to the bathroom. “Check ko rin kung gising na si Cris. Saan nga pala tayo pupunta?”
Richard smiled. He is excited. Kaya rin siguro ang aga niyang nagising. The night before pa niya sinimulang iplano ang lahat. He hopes Maya will like his surprise for her.
“It’s a surprise. I hope you will like it, para naman wala na talagang bawian iyang sweet yes mo sa akin, dear Honeybun!”
“Babe, you are still on probation kaya.” Maya teased Richard.
“Honeybun, I’m sure, pagkatapos nitong date natin na ito, permanent na ako. Permanent na ako diyan sa puso mo.” He countered, smiling.
“Naku, nagsisimula na naman ang mga corny line mo, Mr. Lim.” Maya smiled. “But you know what…..?”
“I love you very much, Babe, kahit minsan corny ang mga linya mo.” Maya told Richard. This is really a nice to wake up, she mused, very happy.
“Ganyan daw talaga kapag love mo ang isang tao. You love the person, warts and all.” Richard said. “I love you too, Honeybun.”
If people will look at them at that moment, they would see two people sporting goofy grins, and with so much love in their expressions. Maya and Richard were so happy to be reconnected. It felt like a very long night since they last talk, when it fact it was just several hours since they parted.
Richard picked up Maya as scheduled. He had another bouquet of flowers for her, this time, a very beautiful arrangement of tulips. He also brought Maya her favorite brew from Cafe M. It was in a small thermos so it was still hot.
Richard kissed her on the cheek and handed her the coffee and the flowers. “I asked Eleonor for that. She told me you always have that every morning. So, para hindi mo ma-miss, dinala ko na.”
“Thank you, Babe. You are the sweetest boyfriend. Ilang pogi points din ito sa panliligaw mo sa akin.” Maya hugged her boyfriend tight, teasing him.
“You’re welcome, my love. Basta para sa iyo, anything.” Richard said lovingly.
Maya and Richard smiled at each other, and was about to kiss when someone said ‘Oopps’….
“I’m so sorry, love birds. Nakalimutan ko na nandito nga pala kayo sa lanai. May naiwan kasi ako dito kagabi.” Cristina smiled and looked at her cousin and Maya with a teasing smile. “Naku, teka, baka wala na pala akong madaanan sa dami ng langgam sa paligid niyong dalawa!”
They both smiled at Cris. “Naku, Cousin, Maya and I will get going na nga rin. Paano, goodbye na, in the meantime.” Richard said, his hand on Maya’s back as they stood up, then the of them approached Cris.
“Bes, we will just see you, in two months.” Maya said as she hugged Cris. “Let me know if you need anything from here and I will send it promptly. We can just talk on Facetime or Skype if you have time.”
“Thank you, Bes. I will take you up on that.” Cris said, feeling both sad and happy at the same time. Happy that she will finally be with Stephen, but sad since she will be far away from her family and friends. “Lalo na about the clothes for you and the other bridesmaids who will be coming from Manila.”
“Kuya Ricky, Maya, enjoy your ‘first date.” Cris smiled. “Feeling ko talaga, baligtad ang mundo pagdating sa inyong dalawa. Para talaga kayong may sariling universe.”
“Have a safe flight, Cousin. Maya and I will see you in two months.” Richard said. “Malay mo by that time, baka hindi na lang ikaw ang ikakasal.” He gave Maya a mischievous smile.
“Babe, hep, hep, hep, teka, teka, anong wedding? Kaninong wedding?” Maya asked, though she knew Richard is teasing her, trying to get a rise out of her.
“Hmmm, kanino sa palagay mo, my dear Honeybun.” Richard touched Maya’s chin lovingly. He was actually, half-serious with that statement. Many things can happen in two months and he knew already that is where he and Maya will be heading. He had not felt this way before. He also knew that Maya wouldn’t have said yes to him, if she is not serious about their relationship, considering that he is her first boyfriend, despite the fact that a lot courted her. In fact, di ba dalawa nga ang karibal niya recently!
“Ha, bakit ang feeling ko, parang nasa warp speed ka, pagdating sa ating dalawa, Babe.” Maya teased Richard, remembering the term from watching old Star Trek films with her Dad.
“Hindi naman, Honeybun. Hindi naman ako si Captain Picard o kaya si Captain Kirk. Saka sabi ko lang naman, baka…..baka sakali, you know. Di ba, sabi nga sa hinaba-haba man ng prusisyon sa simbahan din ang tuloy!” He finished, grinning, which earned him a loving pinch from Maya. Maya’s heart also beat faster, hearing Richard mentioned a wedding between them.
“Hahahaha, kayo talagang dalawa. Third wheel na naman ang peg ko.” Cris said as she hugged Maya again, then Richard. “I will surely miss your witty and loving repartee. I love you both. I’m happy that my two favorite people ended up together.”
“Bes, awwwww, I will miss you. Basta chat chat tayo ha. Take care. Have a safe flight.” Maya was a bit teary-eyed. She really have a difficult time dealing with people leaving, to saying goodbye. But she is trying to overcome it as Cris is just moving somewhere, not dying like her Dad. And she is very happy for her best friend.
Several minutes after, Maya and Richard were on their way.
“Maya, don’t feel sad. Makikita mo pa rin naman si Cris and you can always see each other.” Richard put his hand over Maya’s as he comforted her. He sensed she is feeling sad at the moment.
“I know, Ricky.” Maya said, caressing Richard’s hand. “Thank you.” She simply said, touched by his perceptiveness.
“Saan nga pala tayo pupunta? Hint, hint, hint, please Babe.” She asked, deciding to concentrate on their ‘first date’.
“Secret!” Richard simply said, grinning. “But I do hope you will like it. Take a nap muna, Honeybun, so you have enough energy for our first date.”
“Marathon ba itong first date natin, triathlon, o kaya mountain climbing at kailangan ko ng enough energy.” Maya asked trying to trip Richard to reveal where they are going.
“Ha, ha, ha, ha, Honeybun, hwag nang makulit. Nap na please.” Richard told his love. Alam niyang hinuhuli ni Maya kung sasabihin niya kung saan sila pupunta.
Maya at first refused to take a nap. She kept trying to tease Richard into saying where they are going, but he just smiled at her, sometimes caressing her face. There was heavy traffic on the way due to a stalled car and a minor accident. Because she really had little sleep, Maya eventually dozed off.
Richard noticed that Maya became quiet and when he checked, he saw her nodding her head off. He supported her head as much as he could until they arrived at their first destination an hour later.
Richard parked the car in the basement of his company’s building. Maya was still sleeping. He looked at her beautiful sleeping form, and just like in the fairy tale, and because he can’t resist it, he woke her up with a light kiss on the lips. She slowly stirred, opened her beautiful, expressive eyes. She smiled sweetly and sleepily at him.
“Babe, where are we?” Maya, still drowsy from her nap, sat upright, and noticed that they are in a basement parking.
“In the LC, headquarters, my love.” Richard replied, touching her face gently. “Are you okay? If you are too tired, we can just have our ‘first date’ when you return from Vigan. Wala ka pa nga ring pahinga since you came from Bangkok.”
“Babe, I’m okay. Coffee lang ulit ang katapat nito.” Maya assured Richard. “Saka, I want to know what’s your surprise for me. I’m not good at not knowing.” She admitted sheepishly.
“Hmmm, so when you were a kid, you sneaked to the Christmas tree and try to find out what’s inside the gift boxes your mom and dad had for you.”
“Ha, ha, ha, hindi lang iyon Babe. My mom and dad was not able to detect din that I already opened the gift and knew what was inside. You should know na may pagka-impatient ako. Tapos, I want to know everything din.”
“Okay, okay, we better get going then, so that my Honeybun wouldn’t get impatient.” Richard smiled at his lovely girlfriend.
Richard assisted Maya out of the car, pressed the elevator up, to the topmost floor. Then he assisted her to a short flight of stairs, to a waiting…..
“Helicopter? We are going to ride a helicopter!” Maya asked, gaping at the big machine before them, complete with a waiting pilot and a co-pilot.
Richard smiled at her. “Liking my surprise, so far, Honeybun?”
Maya smiled, looking forward really Richard’s surprise. Looks like her Babe had really planned something extra special for their date. Good thing she had ridden a helicopter before, during the course of her traveling around the country and writing for various magazines. Otherwise, Richard’s surprise will be spoilt. She mentioned to Richard, during their chats while in Bangkok, about the helicopter ride somewhere North and that it was an exhilarating experience. Besides, she have tried several zip lines around the country, and even went bungee jumping once, so she is not really scared of heights.
“Good morning, Sir Richard, Ma’am.” A good looking guy in a pilot uniform greeted Richard and Maya. “Ready for our trip?”
“Good morning Captain Ventura, Captain Corpuz.” Richard greeted the two pilots. “Maya, meet our company pilots, Captain James Ventura and Captain Simon Corpuz. Gentlemen, this is my beautiful girlfriend, Maya Dela Rosa.”
“Hello, Captain Ventura, Captain Corpuz. Nice to meet you.” Maya smiled at the two pilots. They looked quite young, maybe the same age as Richard.
They both smiled at her. “Nice to meet you Ms. Dela Rosa.” They both told her, one after the other, then shook the hand she offered. Both were also thinking at the time that their boss’s girlfriend is very lovely. Mukha pang mabait. Captain Ventura even thought that she would be someone he would normally be attracted to and pursue. Sayang taken na!
Richard assisted Maya to the chopper. They settled in. Several minutes after they were off to their destination. Maya was very excited at what awaits her at the end of the trip. She and Richard held hands all throughout the flight and looked at each other lovingly. Both were very excited to reach their destination. Soon after, they descended into a helipad situated at the edge of a small island with white sandy beaches, in Occidental Mindoro.
Richard got off first, then assisted Maya out. He thanked Captain Corpuz who opened the door for them. He also handed Richard a small suitcase. Richard and Maya thanked Captain Ventura, who waved at them, before the chopper took off, and flew back towards the direction of Manila.
When everything had quieted down, and they can hear each other well, Maya asked Richard where they were.
“We are in a small island in Occidental Mindoro, which my Dad bought a long time ago, and had developed as a family vacation place. I thought it would be a good place to spend the day, for our first date, quiet, peaceful, and relaxing. The chopper will come back for us this afternoon.”
Maya looked around the beautiful place. It looks like a paradise! It is a place she can spend day after day, just lolling around. From where they were standing, she can see the outline of a beautiful house.
“This is a beautiful place.” Maya said admiring the view.
“Come, my love. Let’s walk to the main house. We have a husband and wife who take care of the place. I told them we are coming and that we will just walk to the house when we are here. We will just call them when we need them.” Richard told Maya as he held her hand while walking along a path with abundance of beautiful plants and flowers.
“Wow! What a beautiful house! ” Maya exclaimed when they rounded a corner, and saw the two-storey house white house, with a wrap-around veranda and all-glass front, both on the first floor and the second floor. At the second floor veranda, there are also very inviting lounge chairs and a hammock.
“I’m glad you like it! ” Richard smiled. “Come, let’s go inside. Manong Benito and Manang Linda prepared lunch for us at the veranda.”
The house is even more beautiful and very inviting inside. It is like all those beautiful beach houses being featured in house magazines, wherein you feel like jumping into the page, wanting to be there, in the instance you were seeing those beautiful photos.
The all-glass living room offers a wonderful view of the beach and the vast, blue sea. It has a big veranda where one can just relax, getting lulled by the sound of the ocean. The big table there was beautifully set for a lunch for two.
“Now, I’m really hungry. And all my favorites!” Maya saw an assortment of seafood on the table decorated with sunflowers. “Babe, I love this. I think this is going to be the best ‘first date’ ever. Thank you!”
“For you, Honeybun, anything. I want us to have a very memorable first date.” Richard said, giving Maya a quick kiss, then handing her a glass of white wine. “To us. I love you. I’m so glad you came into my life.”
“To us. I love you too. This is more than I dreamt of having, Babe. I’m so happy, I’m bursting with joy, being here with you, like this.” Maya said, too full of the love and happiness she is feeling.
They toasted, took a sip of their wine, then proceeded to have a very enjoyable and leisurely lunch amid the beauty around them and the tranquil ocean in a distance. The lunch was punctuated with them feeding each other little morsels, holding hands, and exchanging kisses.
“Oh my, I’m stuffed.” Maya touched her tummy. “That was the best lunch ever!”
“Me too, I haven’t eaten like that in a long time.” Richard said, replete. “I think we need to balance our lunch with a cup of coffee.” He stood up and went to the coffee maker set in the corner and poured a cup each for Maya and him. They enjoyed their coffee, looking at the view, happily enjoying each other’s company.
“Come, Honeybun, let’s go for a walk.” He told Maya after a while.
Fingers interlaced, they went out from the veranda, through the garden, and ended up at the other side of the island. This side also offers a wonderful view, with the white sandy beach, glowing in the heat of the sun, and with a cool breeze blowing, it was a perfect spot.
Richard let Maya to a big hammock, tied on two big trees. The old trees giving shade, making the place cooler.
“We can rest here, and pass the afternoon, just relaxing.” Richard said. This is his favorite part of the island, very tranquil and he always felt like he was in paradise. He told Maya so.
“It is so beautiful, Ricky. I like it very much also.” Maya said, hugging Richard.
Richard assisted Maya to the hammock, then laid beside her, cuddling her. “I can stay like this forever. You, me, in a hammock, in a paradise island.”
“Me too. I’m content. This is the best date ever, Babe. Thank you very much.” Maya embraced Richard tightly, then lightly kissed him on the lips. “I love you. You are the best Babe in town.”
“I love you too. And you are the love of my life, my Honeybun.” Richard said, as Maya laid on his chest, perfectly content.
Maya and Richard spent the whole afternoon there. In between relaxing and simply absorbing the beauty and quiet around them, they kissed, touched, and napped.
It was a perfect ‘first date’.