Archive for October, 2014

Crossroads – Chapter 15

Chapter 15
Journey together

Maya took a sip of her brewed coffee, while enjoying the peace and quiet, sitting at one of the outdoor tables in a cafe in Calle Crisologo in Vigan, soaking in the atmosphere. With the cobblestones street, the many calesas taking in and unloading tourists as it was the only mode of transport allowed in that particular street, and the rows of beautiful old houses, she felt like she was transported back in time, to the Spanish colonial period in the country.

The coffee she was drinking was not as good as the one at Cafe M’s, but it was good enough, and it was a balm to her tired body. She and her team had just finished another whole day shoot, the last one, and interviews with several owners of the ancestral houses in Vigan that will be featured in the lifestyle magazine that commissioned her to do the article. Her photographer and his driver opted to return to Manila, instead of resting there one more day, as soon as the shoot was finished. She told them earlier that she will stay behind, then take several days vacation.

Finally, she is finished this assignment! She sighed and mentally stretched her arms and back. It’s a good feeling to finish the hard part of the job. As for writing the whole thing, she always find it the easiest aspect of her work. And since she can work anywhere, with a laptop and an internet connection, she decided to stay in the area for several more days, just taking leisurely trips. She can do the writing in the evening, maybe in a beach place. Tonight she will stay there and rest, then she is planning a road trip that would take her to Laoag, Pagudpud and if she still feels like it, to Cagayan Valley. This is for her blog and also a travel book she would like to publish. That is the reason she decided to drive herself to Ilocos Sur instead of taking the service vehicle provided for by the magazine.  Maya opted not fly, either, as she enjoyed traveling by land more. That way, she can stop anytime, explore a bit, take pictures.

Maya knew the trip to Ilocos Norte and Cagayan Valley will take her several more days away from Ricky. But like he had told her, he insisted that he completely understands the nature of her work and her need to travel. He assured her that it is perfectly okay with him, even if he will miss her a lot. Maya is grateful she found herself a very understanding, very supportive, and loving boyfriend.

It has been more three days since she last seen Richard. She missed him a lot. But the trip around Ilocos was something she had planned even before she met him. She just wished that like the island trip, he was here to share the beauty of the Ilocos Region with her. Maybe, she can just cut short the Cagayan Valley leg of her trip. She will see if it is enough just to go up to Patapat viaduct.

Maya thought of calling Richard, but then she remembered that he told her during their nightly talk that he has a meeting today that would last from two o’clock until five o’clock in the afternoon. Maybe, it would be better to talk to him in the evening. He needed to catch up on work after their wonderful trip to Mindoro and their dinner with her family.

She smiled remembering that evening.

She and Richard arrived at her family home at around seven o’clock in the evening. She put her hand on top of Richard’s when he parked the car in their driveway. They smiled sweetly at each other. He opened the door for her, then got the flowers and the chocolate from the back seat of the car.

“So, Babe, ready to meet my mom, and also my makulit na sister?” She asked Richard as she held on to his forearm while they walked to the house from the driveway.

“Of  course, Honeybun, I want to meet her and thank her for her beautiful, loving, and sweet daughter.” Richard tipped her head lovingly, then gave her a quick kiss.

“Awww, grabe ka talagang magpakilig, Babe.” Maya said as they entered her family home.

“Maya, anak, nandiyan ka na pala.” Mommy Tessie greeted her daughter, then at the same time, looked at the tall, handsome guy who was holding her daughter’s hand.

“Mom, good to see you. Sorry, na-delay na ang pagbisita ko sa inyo.” Maya hugged her mom and kissed her. “Mom, this is my boyfriend, Richard Lim. Ricky, this is my beautiful mom, Teresita Dela Rosa. Tessie for short.”

“Good evening po, Mrs. Dela Rosa.” Richard said politely. “I’m glad to finally meet you. For you po, and also for Patricia.” Richard gave Maya’s mom the flowers and the chocolates.

“Good evening din, Richard. Welcome to our home ” Mommy Tessie greeted the man who finally made her daughter fell in love. He seems lke a very nice young man, polite too, and thoughtful! “Please call me, Tita Tessie. Thank you for these. The flowers are lovely. Paborito ko ang  white and red roses! Did Maya tell you that?”

Richard smiled at Maya’s mom. “Mano po pala.” He got Maya’s mom’s hand. “Talaga po? Hindi po. Just a lucky guess.”

“Hi Ate, sa wakas, nakadalaw ka na rin. Nasaan na ang pasalubong ko?” A teenager, greeted Maya exuberantly. “Ooops, we have a guest pala. Hello!”

“Ricky, this big rascal, is my sister Patty.” Maya said as she hugged her sister and tweaked her ponytail.

“Big sis, ouchy. Di na ako, bata, don’t do that.” Patty complained, as she hugged Maya back.

“Basta, you will always be my little sister.” Maya said. “Patty, this my boyfriend, Ricky.”

“Hello Patty, nice to meet you.” Richard smiled at Maya’s sibling.

“You have a boyfriend na, Ate Maya! Sa wakas!” She blurted out, happily. “Hello, Kuya Ricky. Buti na lang napasagot mo na si Ate Maya. Now, wala ng excuse si Mom para hindi ako payagang magka-boyfriend!”

“Patricia Bettina Dela Rosa, not until you are 25 years old, at least!” Mommy Tessie told her youngest daughter, trying to be stern.

“Mommmm, that’s soo ancient already. No offense meant, Ate, hahahaha!” Patty said irreverently.

Mommy Tessie laughed. She knew her youngest is as level-headed as her eldest daughter.

“Naku, Patricia, tama na nga iyan. I’m sure you will be sensible when the time comes. Let’s go eat dinner.

They had a wonderful dinner. Maya saw her mom looking at her and Richard several times, smiling happily. She even raised her eyebrow, as if asking a question, when she heard them saying ‘Honeybun’ and ‘Babe’ to each other.

The whole family had dessert and coffee at the veranda. While they were there, Patty asked Maya if she could to her room and check the clothes she will wear for a school event. Maya excused herself from her mom and Richard.

When they were in Patty’s room, her sister ribbed her about how handsome her boyfriend is, and that her ‘Kuya Ricky’ seems very nice.

“Ate, ang sweet niyo ni Kuya Ricky ah. Sana ganyan din ang mahanap kong boyfriend.” Patty exclaimed.

“Yes, I’m so lucky with your Kuya Ricky. Kaya ikaw, piliin mong mabuti, and believe that the right guy will come for you, at the right time.” Maya stressed to her sister.

“I will, Ate! Alam mo naman na wala pa iyan sa akin. I want to concentrate on my studies muna. I was just trying to pull Mom’s leg earlier.” Patty assured her sister, as she got a lavender gown from her closet. “What do you think? Okay na kaya ito?”

The sisters inspected the gown. Maya asked Patty to put it on and they discussed what kind of accessories will best go with it.

Maya returned to the veranda 30 minutes after, to find her mom and Richard in earnest conversation. Her mom had a happy, teary smile on her face and her Babe was smiling very happily. When she asked them what she missed, they assured them they were just chatting about stuffs.

Mommy Tessie, then went to Maya, hugged her tight and told her she loves her very much. She also told her be happy. She was a bit puzzled. But she thought that maybe Richard and her were just talking about her Dad.

They said goodbye to her family at around 10PM, went home, and parted sweetly at her door as she will leave early the following morning. Richard, at first, had misgivings about her driving alone, but she assured him, that she had done it before. She also promised to send him a text message every stop she makes.

Maya sipped her coffee, remembering the scene between her mom and Richard at the veranda, starting to analyze it, coupled with Richard calling her mother, ‘Mommy Tessie’, when they were leaving. She thought it was just a slip in his part. Before her brain can latch on something concrete, out of the nebulous thoughts in her head, her phone rang.

“Hi Babe! Done na meeting mo? I was about to call you nga earlier then I remembered you told me you will be in a meeting this afternoon. Mamayang gabi na lang sana ako tatawag.” Maya greeted her boyfriend happily.

“Hi Honeybun! Where are you?” He asked.

“I’m here at Vigan Coffee Blends in Calle Crisologo, drinking coffee, as usual, and relaxing a bit. We are done with the shoot, as scheduled. Nakakapagod pero happy naman ako sa outcome.” Maya said, in between sipping coffee. “How about you? How’s your day?”

There was silence at the end of the line, then Richard said, “Honeybun, something came up. I will be in touch soon.” He ended the call before Maya can say something more.

Maya was puzzled why Richard abruptly ended the call. But she shrugged it off, and thought he was just very busy.

She continued her coffee time, watched people passed by, and when she got tired of doing that, she went online and checked her favorite blog sites. She was engrossed in reading a riveting post, when suddenly, someone hugged her from behind and kissed her on the lips.

She jerked up and got the surprise of her life.

“Ricky, what are you doing here, Babe?!”

“Surprise, Honeybun???!!!!” He grinned. Then gave her a huge bouquet of sunflowers.

“Sus, sobra-sobra!!! Kamuntik na nga kitang nagamitan ng karate chops ko!” Maya said, teasingly, her heart still beating so fast from Richard’s surprise.”Kanina lang kausap kita sa phone. Di ba, may meeting ka? Paano ka nakarating kaagad dito? Kanina ka pa ba?”

“Woooohoo, my love!!! Kalma lang. Isa-isa lang ang tanong.” Richard said, still grinning, putting up his hands.

Maya laughed. “Oo nga. Sobra mo kasi akong ginulat and at the same time I’m so happy that you are here.” She then stood up, hugged Richard tight and gave him a sweet kiss.

Richard sat down on the chair beside Maya’s and then held and caressed her hand.

“Well, I kinda missed you a lot. So, yesterday, I started toying with the idea of following you here and going with you on that road trip kasi ilang araw pa ulit bago kita makita. I checked with Liza if I have a anything urgent and she told me, not much, and it can be postponed naman. I had her cleared my schedule, so I can be with you until Sunday!” Richard happily said. “I took a flight to Laoag, then traveled by land to Vigan. I asked a friend if one of his company cars can take me here. So here I am.”

“Awwww, Babe, I’m so happy naman that you decided to follow me. I was thinking nga of cutting my trip to Cagayan short, so I can go back earlier. I also wished you were here. Now that you are, I’m so happy! “Maya touched Richard’s face lovingly. “Saan ka pala naka-check in?”

“Well, with you.” He grinned. “We have some unfinished business din di ba. You know….”

Maya blushed. “Ha, at iyon kaagad ang naisip mo?” She teased.

“That and more.” He simply said and looked at her heatedly. “So can I stay with you, Ms. Dela Rosa? Otherwise, dito ako sa kalye matutulog.”

“Ha, pa-konsensya ka pa, Mr. Lim. Mabuti na lang I booked a big room in a very beautiful ancestral home that has been turned into a hotel.” Maya said smiling. “Nasaan pala ang mga things mo?”

“Nandoon na! I left it sa reception, saying that I will just look for you.” Richard said. “Mabuti nga, hindi mo ako nahalata when I asked you last night what is the name of your hotel and the address!”

“Babe, talagang ang confidence level na patutuluyin kita ah.” Maya retorted. “Mabuti, naniwala sa iyo ang reception na magkakilala tayo.”

“Honeybun, alam ko namang hindi mo ako matitiis. Naniwala sila kasi I described you, told them this tall, beautiful lady, with bambi eyes” Richard said. “I told them I want to surprise you. I assured them, I’m not going to your room, but asked them if I could leave my things there. I think the receptionist found the whole thing romantic! Saka mukha naman akong trustworthy, ah.” He finished, teasing.

Maya smiled. Well, if she was the receptionist, she will find the whole thing romantic too! In fact it is in the super ‘kilig’ levels since sinundan pa siya rito ni Ricky, just to be with her, with matching flowers pa. She smiled at him lovingly.

“I love you.” He said and then kissed her again lightly.

“I love you, too.” Maya said, so very happy that her Babe was there.

They stayed in the coffee shop until twilight. There was a nice breeze blowing, and it was very relaxing just to sit there. There were not so many people at that time of the day since it was a weekday and it was not the height of the tourist season. When it got dark, they went to an inn where one can find the best food in Vigan.

“Grabe, Honeybun! Tama ka, the food here is the best!” Richard remarked after they have eaten dinner. “I love the best iyong may small shrimps.”

“The best talaga iyon. Saka seasonal lang nila sa menu. We got lucky, meron ngayon.” Maya added. “Coffee and dessert?”

“I don’t think I can, anymore. I’m too full. Let’s go for a walk na lang before we go back to our hotel.”

Maya and Richard walked to the plaza, then to the church, to the side streets, then through the length of Calle Crisologo, hands intertwined, Maya still holding on to her beautiful flowers, marveling at the beautiful, old houses that had withstood the test of time. They still stand proud, speaking from the past, as if telling about the generation after generation that had lived and loved in these houses.

Richard touched the small box in his pocket as they walked around the Spanish-era houses. He mused, love and marriage, something that have remained constant through the centuries, something tangible that lived on from one generation to another. His and Maya’s will be a part of that journey through time, to the future. He had been looking for the perfect moment, and even thought of another place to do this, but for him, there was no other perfect moment than this. It just felt so right to do it there.

“Maya, I love you very much.” Richard said, stopping Maya in the middle of the now deserted cobblestones street, with the street lamps, casting a warm glow on everything around them, making the place magical and special. He knelt before her. “Maya will you marry me. I want to spend the rest of my life with you.”

Compared to his sudden appearance this afternoon, this one, for Maya, was the mother of all surprises. She never thought, she never had any inkling that Richard will do this, so soon. But as she looked at his hopeful face, so full of love for her. She knew what her answer would be. Her subconscious had known what her answered would be, so soon after meeting Richard. She has never been so sure in her life.

“Yes, Ricky, my love, my Babe, I will marry you.”  Maya said emotionally, her voice breaking a bit from the overwhelming emotion she was feeling at that moment. She is completely unaware of her surroundings, except for the man kneeling before her. “I love you very much! I want to spend the rest of my life with you, too.”

Richard stood up, put the beautiful platinum ring with colorful stones on her finger, then kissed it lovingly. He interlaced their fingers, then, he looked at her with so much love. Amid the beautiful, graceful houses that have witnessed, sheltered, and nurtured love through the centuries, they kissed to seal their promise to each other.

 

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Crossroads – Chapter 14

Chapter 14
‘The morning after’

“The man I want to wake up with, for the rest of my life,” Maya remarked to herself as she looked lovingly at a still sleeping Richard. She is so full of love for this wonderful guy. Her Ricky. Her Babe. Her love.

Maya has been awake for quite a while. She woke up when she felt an arm wrapped tightly around her middle, unconsciously caressing her belly. At first she was disoriented, then realized whose arm it was. She and Richard were sleeping in a spoon position before she woke up. They must have moved during the night. Her last thought was how broad Richard’s chest was when her head was pillowed on it. Maya turned and looked at Richard, sleeping so peacefully, with a hint of a smile on his handsome face. The wonderful events that transpired yesterday came flooding back to her. She smiled, happily, giddily.

She never thought she will sleep deeply as she was not use to sleeping with someone, let alone a guy. Richard was the first man she ever shared a bed with, and he  will be the only one. She mused, it must be the lack of sleep and rest, catching up, for her to conk out like that. There was that girl talk with Cris that had lasted until dawn, when she hadn’t really rested from her Bangkok trip, and the excitement of Richard’s wonderful surprise for her. She didn’t really have an inkling that their ‘first date’ will be one for the books.

Richard must be very tired too. He went home late from his cousin’s house past midnight yesterday. Then added to that, he was busy preparing this wonderful treat for her. Maya couldn’t wish or ask for a better boyfriend. She never thought she will find her ‘ideal guy’ without really looking. She can see her and him spending the rest of their lives together, with the beautiful children they will have. She wished so. She hopes so.

Maya had a dreamy expression on her face when Richard opened his eyes. His heart danced as she was the first thing he saw. She looked so beautiful, with a ghost of a smile on her face, with little make-up on, her hair tousled from sleep. He would like this everyday, he mused, for the rest of his life.

“Good morning, my love.” Richard greeted Maya with a huge grinned, very happy to wake up with her beside him. He gazed at her lovingly, his head supported by his hand as he half-reclined sideways, looking at her.

“Good morning, Babe! Gising ka na! Did I wake you up?” Maya asked, her heart skipping a beat with the way Richard was looking at her.

“No, I just woke up. Maybe, I just sensed someone admiring my handsome face and my muscled body.” Richard teased Maya. “Then I thought, time to wake up Prince Charming, the princess is waiting.”

“Ha, Babe, sobra yata ang nakain mong crabs last night. Hindi lang high blood pressure ang naging effect. To the roof ang confidence level natin this morning ah.” Maya retorted.

They laughed. Richard noticed that the sun was already very bright, indicating that it was mid-morning.

“Wow, we really slept a long time! Morning na morning na!” Richard remarked. “It must be because you were in my arms.” He added with a naughty grin. “But sayang naman the night. Natulog lang tayo na parang mantika. You know, you were not able to take advantage of me pala! Willing pa naman ako to be taken advantage of.”

Maya laughed, then she grabbed a pillow and hit him with it. “Honeybun, hahahaha, ikaw talaga! How can I take advantage, you conked out nga agad. Ikaw kaya ang naunang na-low batt.”

“Ha, so you had evil plans pala on me, last night?” Richard said in mock seriousness. Then ruined it by saying, “Sayang, had I known I would have stayed awake and waited.”

They both laughed and gazed at each other, meaningfully, then something shifted, as if realizing they are on a bed, quite intimately, with Richard in night clothes and Maya, braless. Richard can see the outline of Maya breasts, not to mention her nipples, which were like twin points on her white, thin shirt.

Maya on the other hand, suddenly can’t take her eyes off Richard’s muscled chest, clearly outlined on the white form-fitting v-neck t-shirt he was wearing, the broad chest where she slept like a baby due to her tiredness very prominent. Now, she looked at it and felt warm all over, coupled with remembering what transpired between them in the veranda.

Both caught their breath. And as if they couldn’t help it, Richard and Maya moved towards each other. Richard grabbed Maya by the waist and put her on his lap. Maya felt the evidence of his passion for her as soon as she made contact with Richard’s thighs. Her body, made it known to her, its response to Richard’s evident desire for her. She felt the heat from her core to her breasts.

Richard lowered his lips and captured Maya’s mouth in a searing kiss that spoke of the strong passion and desire he had for her. Maya opened her mouth to let Richard in. It was the invitation that Richard was waiting for, he deepened the kiss, exploring the inside of her mouth. Before long, their tongues were mating.

“My love, I want you very much.” Richard muttered, while he kissed Maya thoroughly.

“Rickyyyy, I want you very much, too.” Maya said incoherently, so caught up in the fire that ignited between them.

“Honeybun, are you sure?” Richard asked.

“Yes….” Maya simply said.

Richard shifted their position and started trailing kisses down Maya’s neck, gently sucking as he went along. He slowly lifted Maya’s shirt, put his hand under and caressed her belly, up to the undersides of her breasts, then he cupped one perfect globe in his hand, and started playing with it.

Maya felt like a bolt of electricity traveled through her with that touch. She felt her body’s instantaneous reaction to Richard’s touch. She moved closer to Richard, rubbing her body against his, as if she can’t get enough of everything she was feeling, of the things Richard was making her feel.

“Rickyyy, babe, that feels so good.” She managed to say. She felt so much at that moment. She wanted to touch him all over also. She moved to lift Richard’s shirt off him. Richard accomodated her. She became breathless and got hit by a very strong desire, and want, when she saw Richard’s bare, muscled upper body.

She caressed his chest lovingly. Then started trailing kisses on his muscled chest. Richard expelled a harsh, labored breath, trying to control himself. The mere contact of Maya’s lips on his skin caused his desire for her to escalate. It almost sent him on a tailspin. He had to slow down as he knows that Maya is innocent.

“My love, Maya…..” He managed to say. “That feel’s so good, but we need to slow down a bit or this would be over soon, with the things you do to me. I may not be able to make things last, or hold on. Let me love you first.”

“Oh….” Maya looked innocently at Richard, then got what he meant, especially when she saw the evidence of his desire when she looked at his lower body. She blushed, at the same time, felt happy that she can evoke this passion from him. She wanted to give back to him what he is giving her at that moment. But she let Richard took the lead.

Richard proceeded to remove Maya t-shirt. He almost lost it, though, when he  saw Maya’s beautiful, perfect breasts that seemed to beg for his touch. He trailed kisses from her mouth, to her neck, then her collar bone, down to the undersides of her breasts, skipped the breasts at first, then planted little kisses on her belly, going up slowly.

“Rickyyy….” Maya wanted more, something she can’t verbalize, but knows that Richard can give it to her.

He lovingly rained kisses on her breasts. Maya knew then what she craves for. She wanted him to do more. She wanted relief. As if he read her mind, he continued kissing one breast, licking it, kneading the other, then his mouth finally latched on her nipple, sucking, laving, loving it so thoroughly. While he was doing that, his hand was wrecking havoc on her other one, flicking it, and caressing it maddeningly with his thumb.

Maya felt like she was growing crazy. She had read about this in the romance novels she enjoyed reading, but the graphic written words and her imaginings paled in comparison to the real thing, paled in comparison to the desire and passion Richard is arousing from her. She felt like she was on fire.

Richard wanted to show Maya how much he loves her, and wanted her. He wanted to give her all the pleasure she could take.

He was about to show her more, do more, when they heard a knock on the door.

“Sir Richard?…..” They heard Manang Linda’s voice. She sounded unsure and tentative.

Richard wanted to ignore it at first, hoping that the caretaker will go away if he don’t answer. But then he also heard the ringing of his mobile phone.

“Yes, Manang Linda.” Richard said, still trying to let his desire for Maya subside a bit, trying hard to control his passion.

Maya on the other hand, silently protested. She wanted to shout a big ‘No’. But after the fog of her desire cleared a bit, she realized it must be important for Manang Linda to wake up her employer. She also tried to control her raging desire. It was very difficult, it was a struggle, as Richard’s hand was still cupping one of her breasts and playing with it.

“Sir Richard, pasensya na po.” Manang Linda said from the other side of the door. “Ito po kasing phone niyo, naiwan niyo na naman. Kanina pa po may tumatawag. Heto po, meron ulit. Sabi po dito, Captain Ventura daw po.”

Richard completely forgot about their pick-up! He checked the time, and realized that it was already almost ten o’clock in the morning. He put on his t-shirt, went to the door ,and opened it a bit to get the phone from Manang Linda. He closed the door again after thanking the caretaker.

“Good morning, Sir Richard.” The pilot greeted when Richard picked up the call. “Good news po, the weather is clear. Captain Corpuz and I can pick you up as scheduled. Paalis na po kami.”

Richard felt like wringing the good captain’s neck out of sheer frustration. Bakit pa kasi hindi na lang lumipad papunta rito, bakit pa tumawag, he mused. He took a deep breath to calm himself. “Eh kasi naman bakit ko pa sinabing keep me updated!” He muttered.

“Sir Richard….?”  Captain Ventura asked, a bit puzzled why his boss was a bit silent.

“Eh, ah, okay Captain Ventura.” Richard managed to say. “We will see you then at noon.”

“Okay, Sir. See you.” The pilot said, puzzled why his boss who always is a bit more chatty than this only said a few words. Kahapon nga, he even asked about his family. In fact, he sounded curt! Maybe, I woke him up, he concluded.

Richard put the phone down, then went back to the bed. He saw that Maya had put her t-shirt back on, as she reclined against the headboard, waiting for him. He sat down, cupped her face, kissed her lips, gently.

“My love, are you okay?” He asked gently, thinking that now that Maya had time to think, maybe this was too fast for her.

Maya smiled at Richard. She also knew what he was asking her. “Yes, my Babe, I’m okay. And alam ko ang iniisip mo. Don’t worry, this is not too fast for me. I maybe, innocent, but I knew what was going to happen if we were not interrupted. I said yes, di ba?”

Richard smiled, relieved. “I’m glad. I want you to be sure. I love you very much and as much as I want to express our love this way, I don’t want you to do it because of the heat of the moment.”He finished seriously, then added with a smile, teasing Maya, “Kaya ko pa namang magtiis at magtimpi pa.”

“Ha, parang hindi naman.” Maya teased him back. “Timpi ba iyon?”

“Kaya ko kaya.” Richard bantered. Then sighed, his frustration at their interrupted lovemaking, showing. “Ito kasing si Captain Ventura, panira.”

“See, sinisi mo ba si Captain Ventura.” Maya said smiling, caressing him with her eyes.

Maya and Richard  gazed at each other heatedly. They knew the pilot’s call  just interrupted what is going to be inevitable for them. The fire between them has just been banked for the moment. It is simmering below the surface and would ignite again.

“Come here,” Richard said and opened his arms for Maya.

Maya went to his arms and hugged him tight.

“I love you very much, Honeybun.” Richard lovingly said, caressing Maya’s hair, then kissed her on the forehead.

“I love you very much, Babe. You make me feel so much, so alive!” Maya said, touching Richard’s face.

They shared a sweet kiss.

“Honeybun, let’s go and get ready. We might start something and again, and I have the feeling someone will ruin it again. Next time, I will just bring you to a deserted island, where it is going to be just the two us,  where no one will interrupt us.” Richard said, smiling at Maya.

Maya laughed at that. She also felt frustrated too that they got interrupted. Her being was still throbbing a bit from Richard’s touch and she felt unfulfilled. But she also believe that there must be a perfect time and place for everything, a perfect moment, and maybe this is not it.

“Halika na nga. Baka madagdagan pa iyang frustration mo.” She said teasingly, as she got out of the bed, dragged Richard off it too.

“Hmmm, I think I will have a very cold shower.” Richard remarked, smiling at Maya.

“Talaga Babe! Kagabi ba you did?” Maya asked.

“Super cold, Honeybun”. He replied.

“Hmmm, do you think a cold shower will work for women too?” She asked.

“Honeybun…..” Richard said. “Don’t start…..We will not be able to go home. I might as well call Captain Ventura now to cancel the pick-up.”

“Babe….nakalipad na kaya ang mga iyon. Sayang ang fuel.”

“I don’t care” Richard teased.

“Babe….” Maya said. “Timing, you know…”

“Okay, Honeybun.” Then he added naughtily, “I can go to shower with you.”

“Ha, for sure, hindi shower ang mangyayari sa atin sa loob ng banyo”…..She said.

“But, at least I can take care of you, ease your frustration, by you know….” He said naughtily.

Maya blushed, getting it.

“Babeeeee, stop na.” She was both shy and excited with what he was suggesting. Another time. She wants to know about too.

“Okay, next time, I will turn off both our phones, locked the door…..” He started.

“Soundproofed the room and throw away the key….” Maya finished.

Maya and Richard both laughed at their crazy ideas.

More than an hour later, they were in the lower veranda again, eating brunch. While they were drinking coffee, they heard the sound of the helicopter. They gathered their things, said goodbye to Manang Linda and Manong Benito and then proceeded to the helipad.

“Hi Sir Richard, Ma’am Maya! Finally, we get to pick you up.” Captain Corpuz greeted them cheerfully.

“I hope you had a nice stay. At least the weather here was better.” Captain Ventura said chattily, unaware of what he caused. “Akala ko hindi pa namin kayo masusundo kasi hanggang kaninang madaling-araw, malakas pa rin ang ulan. Mabuti, nag-clear noong umaga, kaya I phoned you na.”

Richard and Maya, looked at each other meaningfully, tried hard to hold control their mirth, both were thinking, “Kung alam mo lang Captain Ventura kung ano ang na-interrupt mo.”

Maya and Richard, with hands intertwined, took one more looked at the island, which already holds wonderful memories for them, before the chopper flew towards the direction of Manila.They smiled, shared a loving look and a light kiss.

The pilots dropped them off at the LC building. It was just less than 24 hours ago, since the last time they were her, and it felt like so many things had happened. Several milestones were surely added to their wonderful relationship with their stay in the island. Richard drove them home and they agreed to meet at five o’clock in the afternoon to go to Maya’s family home in Makati.

Manang Fe was surprised to see Richard about to leave again, before five o’clock, when he just got home several hours ago. He was also carrying a big bouquet of red and white roses, another bouquet of purple Malaysian mums and sunflowers and two big boxes of Royce’ Chocolate, which he got from the nearest mall, after he dropped off Maya to her unit.

“O Ricardo, saan ang punta mo? Kadarating mo lang ah?” Manang Fe asked, puzzled.

“Manang Fe, aalis po muna kami ni Maya. I will meet my future mother-in-law and my future sister-in-law!” Richard told his old nanny happily.

“Ha, nobya mo na si Maya, kailan pa?” Manang remembered Richard telling her several days ago that he wished that Maya will be his girlfriend. Ngayon, nobya na pala. Nakapagtataka nga rin na hindi ito umuwi kagabi. Pero matanda na naman ang alaga niya para malaman niya ang lahat ng pinupuntahan nito.

Richard held Manang Fe affectionately on both her shoulders, then smiled at her happily. “Yes Manang, sinagot na po niya ako last Saturday. Nalaman na rin nina Mama and Papa dahil nagkita-kita kami sa dinner kina Cris last Saturday night. Di ba, I told you po that I will go there. Manang  I’m so happy. She is the one for me, the woman I want to spend my life with.”

“Ricardo, siyanga! Natutuwa naman ako. Hijo, kailan ko naman makikilala si Maya?” Manang Fe touched Richard’s face affectionately. “Natutuwa ako at sa wakas nakatagpo ka na rin ng babaeng mamahalin at magmamahal sa iyo ng tunay. Batay sa mga kwento mo sa akin, karapat-dapat si Maya sa pagmamahal mo.”

“Manang, I’m also so lucky to have her.” Richard said, simply, so full of love for his Honeybun. “O paano, Manang aalis na po muna ako. Susunduin ko pa si Maya diyan sa kabilang tower. Huwag niyo na po akong hintayin, baka gabihin kami.”

“Good luck. Siguro naman akong magugustuhan ka ng mama ni Maya at ng kapatid niya. Sa bait ba naman at napakaresponsable nitong alaga ko.”

“Thanks for the vote of confidence, Manang Fe.” Richard sauntered off, whistling, carrying the flowers and the chocolates on both hands.

Several minutes after, he was knocking on Maya’s door. She changed into another sheath dress, this one the color of plum, and very becoming.

“You look so beautiful, my love. For you.” Richard greeted Maya with a lopsided smile. He gave her the bouquet of Malaysian mums and sunflowers, and one of the boxes of chocolate.

“Wow, thank you Ricky! They are beautiful. Saka may pampa-sweet pa ah.” Maya smelled the flowers and looked at the chocolates. “Di ba pa enough ang sweetness ko? Wala na nga raw langgam sa ibang lugar, nahakot na natin.” She teased.

“Hmmm, pag-iisipan ko, Honeybun. Parang hindi. Kulang pa sa sweetness.” He teased back. “Kailangan ko pa ng proof, beyond reasonable doubt.”

“Grabe ka Richard Lim, baka kung mas maging mas sweet pa ako, pati mga langgam sa China, mag-migrate na rito sa Pilipinas.” Then she smiled at him sweetly. “Hayan, kasing corny mo na talaga ako. Halika na nga at my mom is dying to meet you na. By the way, para kanino iyang mga flowers and chocolate?”

“For your mom and your sister.” Richard said while they walked towards the elevator. “Siyempre, kailangan maging good ang impression sa akin ng future mother-in-law and sister-in-law ko.” He said half-serious, half-teasing, as if testing the waters.

Maya’s heart somersaulted with that declaration. She felt that Richard really meant it, but she didn’t want to assume. But she felt very happy. The taking on a lighter vein, she said, “Ha, mamamanhikan ka na ba?”

He grinned, and gave her a very loving smile. “Gusto mo ba, Honeybun?”

Maya blushed to the roots of her hair. Feeling giddy. “Ricky Lim, ikaw talaga, biro ka ng biro. Halika na nga.” She smiled. She know what her answer would be.

Unknown to Maya, Richard, if the opportunity is right, is really planning on asking Maya’s mom’s permission if he can propose to her daughter. He grinned. He intertwined his fingers with Maya’s, as they rode the elevator to the basement parking, looking forward to meeting his future in-laws!

 

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Crossroads – Chapter 13

Chapter 13
‘First night’

The night has gotten darker, the wind stronger, making the night cooler. But Richard and Maya felt very warm because of the passionate kiss they just shared.

Maya’s lips was swollen from Richard’s kiss. Richard gently caressed the lips he had kissed thoroughly, with his thumb.

“I love you.” Richard said. Every time he looks at Maya, he is filled this overwhelming love for her. “I will never get tired of saying that you, my love.”

“Babe, I will never get tired of hearing it.” Maya touched Richard’s face. “I love you too. All my journeys paled in comparison to the journey I’m having with you.”

They shared a loving smile.

“Come, let’s go back to the house. Baka akala nina Manong at Manang kung napaano na tayo rito.” And because he can’t resist teasing her, he said with a naughty smile. “O kaya, baka akala nila kung ano na ang ginagawa natin dito. You know…..”

“Rickyyyy, anong you know….?” Maya, laughed and blushed at the same time, remembering their passionate kiss. “Halika na nga, dinner na tayo. I need to wash pa my clothes from earlier.”

They walked back to the house, their arms around each other’s waist.

“Sir Richard, Ma’am Maya, ready na po ang dinner niyo.”  Manang Linda greeted them. “Doon ko po inilagay sa veranda sa itaas. Mas maganda po roon kapag ganitong gabi, presko pa. Mukha naman pong hindi uulan.”

“Maraming salamat po, Manang Linda. You are the best talaga.” Richard told the caretaker. “Magpahinga na po kayo ni Manong Benito. Kami na po ang bahala ni Maya sa mga sarili namin.”

“Oo nga po, Manang Linda. Kaya na po namin ito. Maghapon niyo na po kaming pinagsisilbihan.” Maya added. “Maraming salamat po sa lahat.”

“Kayo po ang bahala, Sir, Ma’am. Maraming salamat din po. Sige po uuwi na kami ni Benny.” Manang Linda said with a smile. “Enjoy po. Sana po magustuhan niyo ang inihanda kong hapunan. Text na lang po kayo o kaya tawag kung may kailangan kayo.”

“By the way Manang, kamuntik ko ng makalimutan. May alam po ba kayo kung may naiwan si Mama rito na extra clothes or stuffs na pwedeng magamit ni Maya kasi wala na siyang extra clothes?” Richard asked the caretaker. “Ako po, okay lang kasi I have old clothes in my room here.”

“Pagkakaalam ko po, meron, Sir Richard.” Manang Linda replied. “Baka po nandoon sa room na ginagamit nila ni Sir Roberto. Alam niyo na naman po ang Mama niyo, parating may pa-sobra sa lahat ng bagay at lahat ng emergencies gustong paghandaan.”

“Okay po, check na lang namin ni Maya pagkatapos naming mag-dinner. Thank you very much po, Manang Linda.”

The caretakers left soon after. Maya and Richard went to the second floor veranda where a feast awaits them.

“Grabe na ito! Feeling ko tataba na ako ng husto! Hindi na yata kaya ng powers ko ang mga ito, Babe!” Maya remarked upon seeing boiled crabs and halabos na prawns on the table, mussels soup and grilled fish with soya, sili and calamansi dip.

“Well, no matter what, you are still my sexy Honeybun.” Richard teased Maya. “Feeling ko ikaw na ang bagong paborito ni Manang Linda, hindi ako.” Then he pretended to pout like a child. “Lahat ng ito, paborito mo di ba. What about me?”

“Hahahaha, Babe, di bagay.” Maya laughed at Richard’s antics. “Salamat din sa bola.”

“Hindi kaya bola iyon, Honeybun.” Richard smiled, then guided Maya to the table. Manang Linda was right, the view here is much better in the evening. “Pero, paborito ko rin naman ang mga ito. Halika na nga, kain na tayo.”

Richard poured Maya and him a glass of white wine each.

“Cheers, my Honeybun. Here’s to the best first date ever and the best ‘stranded’ moment ever.” Richard said.

“Cheers, my Babe.” Maya smiled. “Ngayon lang ako sobrang happy na ma-stranded!”

They gazed at each other and smiled meaningfully.

Maya and Richard had a leisurely dinner, punctuated by happy laughter, and sweet sharing of food. Maya taught Richard how to eat with his hands. While his technique of peeling shells of the prawns with a knife and a fork was, sort of, effective, it was a slow process, so Maya suggested that Richard just use his own hands and showed him how to eat rice that way too.

“That was very good.” Richard said, once again, replete. “Hindi lang yata ikaw ang lolobo dito sa food dito, ako rin.”

Maya smiled. “Di bale, Babe, guwapo ka pa rin naman.”

“Thanks my love.” Richard toasted his Honeybun, then kissed her lightly on the lips.

Maya and Richard brought the dishes downstairs and cleaned, in sync, like an old married couple.

When they were done tidying up, they went to the room that Donya Esmeralda and Don Roberto use when they stay here. Inside one of the closets, Richard found t-shirts of different sizes, leggings, jogging pants, socks, toiletries and other stuffs. Maya and him also found undies for both sexes. The clothes are sealed in vacuum packs to protect them.

“Wow, I know Mama is OC, but this is too much yata! But I’m so glad that she is.” Richard remarked. “You don’t even have to wash the clothes you have worn on the way here. Just get whatever you need from here.”

“Oo nga. Okay na sa akin itong two loose t-shirts and two pairs of leggings.” Maya was happy to find clothes she can wear for the night and for going home. When she got stranded in Batad several years ago, she just washed her clothes and at times, wore her pants twice, to conserve on clothes.

Richard and Maya got the clothes, put them in the room that Maya will use for the night. Since it was still early and they don’t want yet to turn in for the night, they returned to the veranda with their wine glasses. They half-reclined on the day bed, with Maya leaning against Richard. They gazed at the stars, listened to the sound of the waves crashing to the shore, sipping their wine, and enjoying the quiet surroundings. The night envelope them in a cocoon of sorts.

“Imagine, who would have thought we would find each other here after tayong magkaagawan ng taxi.” Maya remarked, remembering their remarkable and funny first meeting.

Richard smiled. “Oo nga. I asked nga Cris for a copy of the MMS you sent her.”

“Talaga! What for?” Maya asked puzzled.

“Wala lang, for remembrance.” Richard smiled. “Malay mo, makita natin ulit si Manong Driver para mapasalamatan.”

“Babe, awwww, may pagka-sentimental ka rin pala. But I like it very much.” Maya took Richard’s hand and intertwined it with hers.

“Can I ask you something?” Maya said.

‘Sure, my love, just ask anything.” Richard assured Maya. He had an idea what she will ask him. Tama siya.

“In all those time, hindi ka pa talaga na-in love, maliban sa akin?”

“No. What I had before, or thought I had before, lalo na kay Natalie, paled in comparison to what I feel for you, wala nga sa one percent! Walang katulad ang feelings ko sa iyo, my love.” Richard shifted position, then cupped Maya’s face and looked her in the eyes. “I love you more than life itself. Ikaw lang. I know this early na hindi na ako magmamahal ng iba, maliban sa iyo.”

“Babe…..” was all Maya managed to say. Her heart so overwhelmed with the love Richard is feeling for her. She was the same. She took a deep breath.

“Ricky, my love, I feel the same. Kahit tanging ikaw lang ang naging boyfriend ko. Ikaw lang din. Wala nang iba, until I die.”

“Thank you, my love, for your love.” Richard smiled. “Pero kinabahan talaga ako diyan sa Tristan mo, Honeybun. Tapos nasundan pa ng Jeremy na iyan.” He teased Maya. “Baka may sumunod pa ha. Sabihin mo sa kanila taken na taken ka na, please.

“Ha, ha, ha, Babe. Kung sa kanila lang naman, mas guwapong-guwapo itong Babe ko.” Maya smiled, then cuddled to Ricky. “Hindi ko nga sila ‘nakita’, tanging ikaw lang. Saka oo naman. I can even wear a shirt that’s says, ‘I’m taken. Sorry na lang!'”

“Silly! Nahahawa ka na yata sa pagiging corny ko.” Richard laughed, then asked seriously, “Di nga, Honeybun, hindi ka na-tempt magka-boyfriend before me?”

“Hmmm, hindi talaga. The guys who courted me, they never made my heart skipped a beat like you do. Saka parang may kulang.” Maya said, turning serious. “Sa iyo, dumadagundong talaga, lalo na when you kissed me at the airport. Saka the way you make me feel, so full of love. Ngayon ko lang talaga naramdaman iyon.”

“Honeybun, my love….” Richard lowered his mouth to Maya and kissed her with all that he was feeling at the moment.

Maya opened her lips for Richard. He deepened the kiss. It ignited the simmering passion between them. They angled their faces to share a scorching kiss, and  as if they have a life of their own, their hands started moving, to caress each other’s body.

“Maya, my love…..” Richard moaned in Maya’s mouth. “The way you make me feel. I’m barely holding on….”

“Ricky….” was all Maya managed to said. She felt warm all over. Her body was singing for Richard and his touch…..”Oh, I feel so much, my love….”

Richard seared Maya’s lips with another scorching kiss, then moved lower to trail kisses on her neck, her collar bone, then the valley between her breasts.

Maya felt, and shivered at, every kiss Richard made. She felt its effect to her core. She made known to Richard that she liked what he was doing with the little sounds she unconsciously made.

Richard’s hand found its way inside Maya’s blouse. He cupped Maya’s breast through the thin material of her bra. He played with it, massaging it. Maya moaned as Richard’s touch electrified her. She likes what he was doing. Her other breast received the same treatment. They swelled from his touch. Maya felt very hot.

She wanted to return the pleasure he is giving her, so Maya started touching Richard under the shirt he was wearing. She caressed his back, planted little kisses on his neck, bit it a little, unconsciously, innocently, because she can’t help it. Richard’s reaction was immediate. He sucked in air. The thin control he was holding on was close to breaking.

But before it did, nature intervened Richard and Maya suddenly felt giant splats on their heads. It is going to rain.

They looked at each other, grinned sheepishly, trying to control their barely bridled passion for each other. Their foreheads touched, hearing each other deep breaths, then looked up and felt the rain coming in stronger before they had time to really recover.

“Come, my love. Ligo tayo sa ulan.” Maya said the first thing that came to her head. She dragged Richard to the end of the veranda after they pushed the daybed where it will not get very wet.

Richard felt like scratching his head. He grinned wide, and went with Maya. He might as well take the nature’s version of a cold shower!

They had fun frolicking in the rain. However, Richard’s breath got caught in his throat when he noticed the effect of the rain water on Maya’s blouse. He can clearly see the outline of her breast, and despite being drenched, he was starting to react to it. Maya noticed Richard’s heated gazed and it evoked a corresponding response in hers. She felt it from her core up to her breasts.

Maya and Richard stood without a space within them and amid the pouring rain, shared another mind blowing kiss. Richard also started playing with Maya’s nipple, already pebbled from the cold rain, and because of his heated gaze, with his thumb, through her blouse that was plastered on her body like a second skin. He caressed it one after the other, giving it equal attention, while they kissed, tongues dueling, as if they can’t get enough of each other.

“My love, I think we need to stop soon.” Richard barely managed to say. “I promised to be a gentleman….”

“Rickyyy….” was all Maya managed to say in response, so overwhelmed with the passion she was feeling.

Richard gave Maya one more heated kiss, then try to temper down their passion for each other. Maya equally fought for control. They hugged, catching their breaths. When they thought they have some semblance of control, they loosen their embrace.

“Honeybun, what you do to me! You are lethal” Richard said, smiling lovingly at Maya.

Maya just smiled at Richard, blushed and buried her face on his chest. She likes what she tasted so far of passion. But maybe, it is better to slow down. Things has already progressed too fast between her and Richard, as if they can’t help it but go with what they feel. She know that had Richard and she didn’t stop, she would have given herself to him, and not regret it, because she loves and trusts him. But maybe, this is not the time for it.

Shivering, they went inside the house and went straight to shower. Richard, to a very cold one.

Maya dressed in one of the pairs of t-shirt and leggings she got from Donya Esmeralda’s room.  She heard a knock in her room when she was combing her hair.

“Yes, Babe.” She asked Richard when she opened the door. She gulped. He looked so hot in his white v-neck t-shirt and gray checkered pajama. He smelled so nice too.

“I just want to say good night, Honeybun.” Richard said after he caught his breath, looking at Maya who was wearing a loose t-shirt, without a bra and her face, freshly scrubbed and still pinkish from the shower. She looked so beautiful.

“Good night, Babe.” She gave him a sweet and loving smile, then a quick kiss. They both turned to go inside their respective rooms, then turned again….

“Maya……?”

“Ricky……?”

They laughed.

“Go ahead, Honeybun.” Richard said smiling.

“Ikaw na, Babe.” Maya said. “Ano ba iyon?”

“Well,I was just gonna ask if you would like to sleep in my bed. Kasi I missed you already.” He started, grinned sheepishly, and lovingly. “Kung okay lang naman sa iyo. Promise, I will be a good boy. I just want to cuddle with you to sleep. I like having you beside me.”

Maya smiled. “Okay!”

“Okay, as in okay?” Richard said, glad, not believing at first that he heard correctly.

“Oo na nga, Babe. Kulit mo.” Maya pinched his nose lovingly.

“Thank you, Honeybun. Promise, I will behave, unless of course, ikaw ang mauna.” He teased Maya.

“Rickyyy….!!! Do you want me sleep in your bed or not?” Maya retorted, smiling.

“Okay, titigil na nga.” Richard grinned, then remembered. “O ano nga pala ang sasabihin mo?”

Maya blushed a bit. “Ah, eh, iyon din sana. That I don’t think I want to sleep alone. Pero, sleep lang talaga, ha.” She smiled. Richard grinned. Both happy that they were thinking of the same thing.

Richard led Maya to his much bigger bedroom, pulled down the comforter and asked Maya to choose which side she would like to sleep in. He turn off the lamp, then went to the bed. Maya cuddled up to him. Maya and Richard went to sleep with her head pillowed on his chest and his arms around her.

 

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Crossroads – Chapter 12

Chapter 12
‘Staying the night’

Maya and Richard went on their separate ways to shower and change when they returned to the house. They still have time as Captain Ventura has not called again since the last time Richard talked to him. Richard was not worried as they still have a window to fly back. He does not like flying when it is already too dark. He led Maya to the room she used earlier, then went to his bedroom.

Inside the shopping bag that Richard gave her earlier, Maya found a printed maxi skirt, a purple baby tee, and a change of undies. Like the swimsuit, this set of clothes fitted Maya perfectly.

She took a quick shower in the big bathroom. When she was finished dressing up and packing her dirty clothes and wet swimsuit, she went down, and looked for Richard.

“Ma’am Maya, kain po muna kayo ni Sir Richard bago kayo bumiyahe. Nakahanda na po ang merienda ninyo sa veranda.” Manang Linda told Maya when she saw her going down the stairs.

“Naku, salamat po talaga ng marami sa inyo ni Manong Benito, Manang Linda.” Maya thanked the nice old lady. “Hanapin ko lang po si Richard.”

“I’m here, my love.” Richard said, coming from the direction of the veranda. “Halika, you will like what Manang prepared.”

“Manang Linda, thank you po ulit.” Richard smiled at the old lady.

“Wala pong anuman, Sir Richard.” Manang Linda told her employer. “Balik na po ako sa kusina. Tawagin ninyo lang po ako kung may kailangan kayo.”

Richard and Maya went to the veranda. Maya saw her favorite Filipino merienda food – pancit with a lot of toppings, lumpiang toge with vinegar dip, tokwa’t baboy and pati her favorite dessert, ginataang bilo-bilo with ube, sago, langka, kamote and saging.

“Wow, Babe! Heto lahat ang inihanda ni Manang? Sobrang dami naman and lahat favorite ko.” Maya exclaimed. “Thank you. Ikaw, hindi ka nagpahanda ng favorite food mo?”

“Makita lang kitang masaya at enjoy sa pagkain ng mga iyan, Honeybun, busog na ako.” Richard said, teasing Maya.

“Babeeee, di na iyan corny, uber sa pagka-cheesy lang ang peg!” Maya laughed.

Richard laughed. “I like those food too. When you were telling me about it several days ago, I realized I haven’t eaten those in a long time. I knew someone who makes them very good, si Manang Linda. Kaya hayan, I asked her to prepare those.“

Maya and Richard enjoyed their merienda. When they were about  to eat the ginataan, Richard’s phone rang.

“Yes, Captain Ventura?” He asked when picked up the call.

“I’m so sorry, Sir Richard. Hindi na po namin kayo mapi-pick-up diyan ni Captain Corpuz. Lalo pa pong lumakas ang ulan, zero visibility, and nag-warning na rin ang PAGASA of intense and very heavy rains for the next three hours.” The pilot explained apologetically.

“Oh, ganoon ba? How’s the city? Baha na rin ba sa maraming areas.” Richard asked.

“Yes, Sir Richard.” Captain Ventura said. “May areas na that people are being evacuated. Sobrang traffic na nga rin kasi the vehicles on the street are not moving na dahil sa baha. Marami na ring stranded.”

“Oh, that is bad. I hope the rain will stop soon and the situation will not turn into another ‘Ondoy’ or the bad monsoon rains we experienced the last two years.” Richard told the pilot. “Better stay put and be safe then, Captain. Okay lang naman kami rito ni Maya.”

“Sige po, Sir Richard. We will pick you up na lang din first thing in the morning as soon as the weather clears. Or kayo po, mga anong oras ninyo kami gustong bumalik diyan.” Captain Ventura asked Richard.

“Hmmm, let me see. I’ll ask Maya first if she has something scheduled tomorrow.” He looked at Maya who was listening intently to his conversation with the pilot.

“I’m good, Babe. Wala naman akong schedule tomorrow. Magpe-prepare lang sana ng gamit for my trip to Vigan. But I can do that fast naman. We can be picked up late morning or after lunch. That way I still have time to see my mother and sister.” Maya said.

“Okay, Honeybun.” Richard said, then went back to Captain Ventura. “Please pick us up na lang around noon, para rin hindi masyadong maaga for us and for you rin.”

“Copy, Sir Richard. Captain Corpuz and I will be there at noon. Have a nice afternoon, Sir.” Captain Ventura said. “And enjoy your unexpected stay in the island. Mabuti diyan, maganda ang panahon.”

“We will. Stay safe, Captain, and I do hope your family are also safe and sound.”  Richard told the pilot.

“Okay naman po sila. Hindi naman binabaha sa lugar namin. Until tomorrow po.” Captain Ventura ended the call.

Richard put his phone at the side table and went back to where he and Maya were eating their merienda.

“Sobrang bad ng weather sa Metro Manila, Babe?” Maya asked.

“Yes. Sabi ni Captain Ventura, marami ng areas na baha, and the weather bureau has warned of more rains for the next three hours. Are your mom and Patty okay where they are?” Richard asked.

“Oh, they are okay. Our place is on the high part of the city. Which reminds me, Babe. Excuse me. I will just call my mom to let her know that I can’t see her this evening.”

Maya walked inside the house and got her phone from where she left it. She has not checked it since they arrived here. She just completely forgot about it, not that she is expecting a call or an important message. Gone were the days where she needed to be glued on her mobile phone because of her work.

“Hi Mom, how are you and Patty? I heard the weather is bad in Manila at the moment.” Maya said when her mom finally answered her call. Mommy Tessie has a habit of forgetting where her phone is.

“Maya, anak. Good to hear from you. Nasaan ka ba?” Mommy Tessie asked. She thought of giving her daughter a call because of the bad weather. But knowing her daughter, she knows that she is okay. And knowing Maya, she will surely give her a call at some point. Malaki na naman and of age ang anak niya, mabait and responsible, kaya hindi masyadong nag-aalala si Mommy Tessie.

“Nandito ako sa Occidental Mindoro, Mom.” Maya told her, as she settled more comfortably in the armchair in the living room. “Dapat pupunta kami diyan ngayong gabi, pero heto na-stranded kami dito.”

“Kami…..?”” That did catch Mommy Tessie’s attention. Parang iba, when her daughter spoke the word. Saka, kasama pagpunta sa kanila. Maya rarely brings home guests. Si Cris lang ang madalas na pumunta sa kanila, also Emman.

Maya then realized that she needed to tell her mom on the phone about Richard. She wanted to do it in person sana, but maybe she can make an intro on the phone. Tutal, like before at madalas, nadulas na naman siya.

“Mom, I wanted to tell you this in person pero since nabanggit ko na rin lang. I will tell you na.” She took a deep breath and told her mother. “Mom, I have a boyfriend na po. He is the most wonderful guy in the world. Gusto ko nga po siyang ipakilala sa inyo in person and gusto niya kayong makilala ng formal. Na-meet ko na rin kasi ang parents niya.”

“Na-meet mo na agad ang parents niya? “Mommy Tessie asked, surprised dahil since last week, wala namang nababanggit ang anak niya na regarding this. Wala pa nga itong nagiging boyfriend sa pagkakaalam niya. For sure naman kung meron, sasabihin ni Maya sa kanya before dahil hindi naman ito malihim pagdating sa mga ganitong bagay.

“Yes Mom. Kasi Richard is a cousin of Cris.” Maya explained.” Last night I attended their family dinner since wala ng time si Cris na i-meet ako before she leaves for the States tonight. Saka di ba parang second parents ko na rin sina Tita Susan and Tito Rafael.”

“Oh, okay. Iyong cousin niya na head na ng company nila and where you also freelances?” Mommy Tessie made the connection. She knows Cris very well since she and Maya were the best of friends all throughout their late teens, into adulthood. She likes her daughter’s friend a lot, parang anak na rin niya.

“Yes, Mom. Mom, I know that this a surprise for you and all seemed so sudden. But Mom, I have never been so sure of something in my life, than this. You will love Richard when you get to meet him.” Maya told her mother passionately. “He is the best boyfriend. I love him very much. I just fell, so deeply and completely in love with him in such a short time! Para ngang feeling ko sobrang tagal na naming magkakilala.”

Mommy Tessie believed her daughter. Besides, she trust her to make the best decision for herself. Maya is a sensible girl and she was also getting worried that at almost 28 years old, her daughter seems to be untouched by love. Hindi niya alam kung may kaugnayan dito ang pagkamatay ng Dad niya, her dear Arturo.

“Maya, anak. Hindi ko man alam ang buong kwento. Kahit mabilis ang mga pangyayari, I’m very happy for you. May tiwala ako sa iyo and I know that this must mean the world to you to make that quick decision.” Mommy Tessie assured her daughter.

“Minsan, anak, may mga bagay na dumarating sa atin kapag hindi natin inaasahan. Saka ang love, wala rin iyan sa tagal ng pagkakilala niyo sa isa’t-isa. You met someone that just make your heart beat so fast, then you connected instantly na parang kahit kakikilala ninyo pa lang, parang ang tagal mo na siyang kilala. Tapos, parang ayaw niyo nang maghiwalay after that initial meeting. Then the more you get to know the person, the more you love him. You just connected and that’s it. You just accept the person, no matter what. Kahit minsan, he is not your idea of the perfect guy. Wala naman kasi talagang perfect or sobrang ideal na guy. You just love that person as he is.”

“Mom, bakit mo alam?” Maya was surprised hearing her mother described what she experienced upon meeting and loving Richard.

“Our circumstances and experiences are different, anak, pero parang ganyan din ang nangyari sa akin pagdating sa Dad mo.” Mommy Tessie, smiled at the other end of the line, remembering her beloved husband. The pain and the sadness linger, but she has accepted that her husband is gone and she is just thankful for the love and the wonderful memories they have shared kahit sa maikling panahon. She thought that they will grow old together, pero it was not meant to be.

“Talaga, Mom. I know you love each other very much. Kita namin namin ni Patty iyon, pero siyempre not the details on how you fell in love with each other.” Maya missed her Dad at that instance.

“O basta, pagbalik mo rito, ipakilala mo sa akin ang lalaking finally nakapagpatibok diyan sa pihikan mong puso.” Mommy Tessie. “Aba eh, kailangan kong makilatis ang magiging manugang ko, at kung deserve niya ang dalaga ko.”

“Mommmm….!!!! Wala pa naman kami diyan.” Maya protested, smiling, happy.

Mother and daughter laughed. Mommy Tessie decide not to tease her daughter about it. But she have a strong inkling, that this is it, for her wanderlust daughter.

“Kailan pa pala kayo sa Mindoro?” Mommy Tessie asked.

“Kanina lang po, Mom. Nandito kami sa island nina Ricky. Pabalik na sana kami ngayon, but the chopper can’t pick us up. Hindi makalipad from Manila kasi masama ang weather.”

“Balikan lang kayo?” Mommy Tessie was surprised to hear that. Akala niya nagbabakasyon doon ang anak niya.

“Yes, Mom. Surprise ni Babe, errr, I mean, ni Ricky for our ‘first date’?” Maya explained.

“First date?” Maya’s mom suddenly got confused. “Eh di ba, mag-boyfriend na kayo?”

“Mom, hahahaha, it is a long story. Huwag kang mag-aalala, hindi lang ikaw ang nahihilo sa amin ni Ricky, pati na rin si Cris.” Maya laughed.

“O sige, hindi na ako magtatanong.” Mommy Tessie laughed. “Pero, Maya, anak, chopper trip to an island for a first date?”

“Yes, Mom.” Maya replied smiling.

Welll…..anak, kinikilig kahit ako!!!” Mommy Tessie teased her daughter.

“Mommmmm….” Maya said, groaning, and laughing. She can’t imagine her very proper mom na kinikilig!

Mother and daughter laughed, then said their goodbyes, with Maya promising to see her mother, with Richard then they return to Manila the following day.

Maya was still smiling when she returned to the veranda. Richard looked up and gave her a lopsided smile that never fails to make her heart skipped a beat.

“O Honeybun, ang laki ng ngiti mo.” He greeted. “Is everything okay in your house in Manila?”

“Yes. And I’m smiling kasi Mom was teasing me about us, and our unusual courtship, told her kasi na nandito tayo on our first date. Nahilo rin siya, like Cris.”

Richard smiled. “You told your mom about me, already?” He asked, happy.

“Of course, Babe. Nadulas kasi ako. Bukas pa sana since I want to tell it to her in person. But at hindi rin ako makahintay. I want to tell her that I found myself a wonderful guy, and that I’m so happy at the moment.” Maya smiled at Ricky and caressed his arm. “Siyempre, na-build na kita. Sabi ko, she will love you when she meets you kasi you are the best boyfriend.”

“Thank you, Honeybun.” Richard told Maya, lovingly. “I’m looking forward to meeting your mother and your sister.”

Maya smiled sweetly at Richard. “Babe, prepare na makilatis ha. My mom said she will check kung sino ang nakapagpasagot sa wakas sa dalaga niya.”

“For sure, Honeybun, papasa ako. Sa bait kong ito, pasensyoso sa makulit na girlfriend, at maasikaso pa na boyfriend.” He teased Maya. “Saka sabi ng mom ko, guwapong-guwapo naman ako.”

“Ha, ha, ha, hayan ka na naman, Honeybun.” Maya laughed. “I’m sure, papasa ka sa mom ko, otherwise, hindi kita sinagot agad-agad.”

“Honeybun, thank you. I love you.” Richard kissed Maya lightly on the lips.

“I love you too, my Babe.”

“Come, let’s go. Since we have all the time in this island now.” Richard said, holding out his hand to Maya.

“Let’s go for a walk and watch the sunset. Inform lang natin sina Manang Linda at Manong Benito na we will be staying the night.”

Richard and Maya informed the caretakers that they will stay for the evening. Manang Linda told them that she will prepare a nice dinner for them and prepare the rooms. She also gave them a mat they can sit on. They brought with them a bottle of wine.

“Babe, where do they live?” Maya asked as Richard assisted her down the path leading to the beach. “I mean, Manong Benito and Manang Linda. Just thinking na since we are staying, then they can’t go home also for the night.”

“Here also. They have a cottage at the other side of the island. They also have a small boat that they use to visit their kids and get supplies from the town, around thirty minutes from here. From there also, one can take a trip by land to other parts of Occidental Mindoro.” Richard said. “They like staying here in the island. Tahimik daw kasi and saka sabi nila mabuti na iyong merong 24 hours na bantay.

“I know you don’t have any more change of clothes pala, Honeybun. But we can check one of the rooms, baka Cris has left something the last time she was here. But I think my mom has some supplies here. May pagka-OC iyon, always having something extra, just in case a family member forgot to bring something.”

“Oh, that is good. I have basic toiletries in my bag. I think I just need something to sleep in. I can just wash the clothes I was wearing earlier. Don’t worry about it, Honeybun. I’m used to all the unexpected kinks while traveling and also bring the basics, like toothbrush, everywhere I go.” Maya assured Richard.

The island is really beautiful, with an overabundance of trees and all kinds of plants and flowers. One part of it, looks like it is still a forest, untouched. The beach is unspoiled, the sand perfectly fine white, and inviting. Richard and Maya found the best vantage point to watch the setting sun. They spread the mat they got from Manang Linda. Then put the bottle of wine and wine glasses beside it.

“Wow, this is the best ever.” Maya sighed contently while leaning against Richard, sitting in between his legs. He was hugging her from behind, with his chin on her shoulder. “The best island experience ever, my love.”

“For me, too, my love.” Richard simply said, very happy to feel Maya in his arms. “Would you like some wine, my love?”

“Yes, please.” Maya said.

Maya and Richard sipped wine as they watched the setting sun. Everything was just beautiful.

“In all my years of traveling, there couldn’t be any more perfect trip than this.” Maya remarked.

“I’m glad, my love. For me too.” Richard said. When they grow and old, this moment will be part of the wonderful memories they will reminisce, something to tell their children and grandchildren. Yes, he want a future with Maya. He wants a forever with this wonderful woman.

“Have you always wanted to travel, like what you have been doing the past years? I sensed that something triggered it. It all seemed to happen after your father died.” Richard asked after a while, lying on the mat at that instance, his head pillowed on Maya’s lap. He knew that traveling and moving around is a big part of Maya’s life and he wouldn’t want to curtail or change that. He loves her to much to restrain her like that, or make her feel that she needed to cut back on those because of him.

Maya looked at the horizon, then settled more comfortably, caressed Richard’s head, then started talking.

“Yes. But I only decided to do it fully when my Dad died. Before that I didn’t really have time because of my demanding work. I barely had rest days. I was so busy establishing a career. I didn’t have time for my family. Then one day, Dad just suddenly collapsed while I was having one of my rare dinner with my family.  Mom and I rushed him to the hospital. He had a heart attack. Imagine that. A heart attack in his 40s! He was too young, Before he died, he told me to live my life the way I want it. Enjoy it to the fullest. At that point, I realized that while I love the written words, being a reporter was not what I really wanted. Dad wanted to be one, it was one of his unfulfilled dreams, and I think without him knowing, his telling me about it, influenced my choice. I thought that I loved it too.

My Dad’s death made me re-examine everything. To deal with my grief, I went on my own to Sagada, stayed there for several days, talking long walks, sitting for hours in a boulder in Echo Valley, communing with nature, and thinking amid the beauty and quiet of the place. I realized that is what I wanted to do, travel and write about it. Not that it would bring me a lot of money or make a real living out it in the beginning. But I’m luckier than most, and I know I have the means to do it, since I have the family wealth to fall back to. But I don’t want to be dependent on the money we have. I did use it a means to achieve my dream, including the cafe. I feel so free when I travel and my heart sings, seeing the beauty around me. I mean the beauty beyond the usual tourist attractions or picture perfect sceneries. I mean seeing people live. I love the people I meet. Sometimes, I’m amazed and how happy people are in the countryside, even if they have so little.”

Maya took a deep breath. “Sorry, got carried away. This is something I feel passionately about.”

“My love, you don’t have to apologize. I know traveling is a vital part of you. I can sensed in the way you write, even before I met you that there is a depth to you that spoke beyond what you have written. I was also drawn to it. You have a wonderful gift for storytelling. For visualizing for people what you see. Something like what a great photographer see through the lense of his camera or a gifted filmmaker manages to transport to our screen, and that made us feel like we are there with the characters, celebrating their victories, cheering them overcoming odds, and feeling sad with them when they are.” Richard said lenghtily.

Maya looked at Ricky with so much love. How did she get lucky to find a wonderful guy like him! “Ricky, my love. I’m astounded at your perceptiveness. I’m so happy you understood me and what I do. Thank you. I love you very, very, very much.”

“I love you with all my heart too, so I want to support you in everything you do. I know there will be moments where we will be apart because of your trips. I just want you to know that you don’t have to worry about me feeling neglected. I perfectly understand what you need to do. Maybe, I can even join you in some of your trips. You are not alone anymore. I want to be a part of your journey, too.”

Maya cupped Ricky’s face. Look deeply in the eyes. “Babe, of course I would love you to be a part of it. My journeys would be more wonderful and more colorful with you beside me. Thank you for being with me, for loving me.” Then she lowered her lips and kissed Richard with all the happiness and love she was feeling at that moment.

Richard returned the kiss, wanting to show Maya through the kiss, how much he loves and treasures her.

With the sound of the waves hitting shore and the stillness of the night, they shared a very passionate kiss, silently promising forever to each other.

 

 

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Crossroads – Chapter 11

Chapter 11
‘Stranded’

Maya and Richard returned to the house more than an hour before the agreed pick-up time with Captain Ventura and Captain Corpuz. They walked through the garden with Maya’s arms around Richard’s waist.

“I feel energized, my love, after that lovely nap. I slept like a baby, in your arms.” Maya said, smiling at Richard. “Thank you. Now, I understand why you like that spot of all the places in this beautiful island.”

“We can always go back here and stay longer, especially there.” Richard hugged Maya and kissed her forehead. “It was also very nice to sleep, with you in my arms, Honeybun.

The two of them, shared giddy smiles, just very happy the way their ‘first date’ turned out.

“Sayang, hindi tayo nakapag-swimming at nakapag-snorkel. Feeling ko, magaganda ang coral reefs sa lugar na ito, kasi, malapit lang din dito ang Apo Reef.” Maya remarked. She loves swimming and snorkeling. She also would like to take a scuba-diving course.

“Sabagay, wala rin naman pala akong dalang swimsuit and snorkeling gear dahil sa sobrang surprise mo sa akin, Babe. But I like your surprise very much kahit wala akong nabitbit, maliban sa sarili ko.” Maya smiled. “Talagang dinidibdib mo ang panliligaw sa akin, ha.”

“Siyempre naman, Honeybun.” Richard said. “Baka mabawi pa ang matamis mong oo. Kaya nga, heto handa kong akyatin ang pitong bundok para sa iyo. Tawirin ang lahat ng ilog at sungkitin ang mga bituin para sa iyo.”

“Ha, ha, ha, Mr. Lim. Hinahanap na nung hiniraman mo ng lines ang mga linya niya. Sabi niya kasi, itinapon na raw niya ang mga iyan sa sobrang corny, pinulot mo pa!” Maya laughed and teased Richard. “I never thought you had that in you, Babe. Makata ka pala, with a slight American twang.”

“Effective ba? Kung hindi, maghahanap pa ako ng ibang lines online, courtesy ni Mr. Google.” Richard grinned. “Kailangan kasi sure na sure ako na wala ka nang kawala Ms. Dela Rosa.”

“Babe, huwag kang mag-aalala, hindi ako tatakas. Wala rin naman akong balak tumakbo, pero kailangan kong makita na magsibak ka ng kahoy at mag-igib ng tubig.” Maya teased Richard.

“Ha, kailangan pa ba iyon, Honeybun? Electric at gas na ang lahat ng gamit ngayon sa kitchen. Tapos, you know may faucet na rin. Kung wala namang tubig sa gripo, we can just buy mineral water sa supermarket o magparasyon.” Richard said, pretending to be serious, in deep thoughts, and analyzing Maya’s challenge to him . “But for you, I will do it. Sabihin mo lang kung nasaan ang palakol at pang-igib. Para sa pagsuyo ko sa iyo, gagawin ko ang lahat.”

Maya laughed. “Ikaw talaga, Babe. Hindi ka nauubusan ng supply ng pang-counter sa akin. Halika na nga, let’s go and freshen up bago dumating ang sundo natin.”

They continued walking along the path, hand in hand, laughing and teasing each other outrageously.

“Sir Richard, Sir Richard! Mawalang-galang na po. Kanina pa po tumutunog itong cellphone na naiwan niyo sa veranda. Katutunog lang po ulit, kaya nagdesisyon na akong hanapin na kayo.” A middle-aged guy, rushed towards them from the direction of the house, when they rounded a corner, holding Richard’s cellphone.

“Ganoon po ba, Manong Benito. Salamat po. Tatawagan ko na lang po iyong tumatawag. Maya, this is Manong Benito.” Richard introduced the caretaker to Maya. “Manong Benito, si Maya po, nobya ko.”

“Ikinagagalak ko po kayong makilala, Ma’am Maya.”  Manong Benito offered Maya a shy, friendly smile.

“Ganoon din po ako, Manong Benito.” Maya liked the caretaker. “Maraming salamat po pala sa inihanda niyong lunch sa amin ni Richard. Ang sarap po, lalo na ang mga seafood. Fresh na fresh.”

“Wala pong anuman, Ma’am Maya. Basta para kay Sir Richard. Pagkalaki-laki po ng utang na loob ng pamilya namin sa kanya.” Manong Benito said.

“Naku, wala po iyon Manong. Basta para sa inyo ni Manang at sa mga anak niyo.” Richard simply said.

“Sir, nang dahil po sa inyo, nakapagtapos ng pag-aaral ang dalawa naming anak at maganda na ang kanilang mga buhay. Para po sa aming mga magulang dito sa probinsya, iyon lang po ang matinding hangarin namin sa buhay, ang maisaayos ang mga anak namin.”

Richard smiled at Manong Benito. “Mabubuti po kayong tao ni Manang Linda at saka matatalino ang mga anak nito. Okay na po iyon sa akin. Para ko na rin kayong pamilya rito.”

The caretaker smiled at his boss. “Salamat po ulit, Sir at di pa rin po ako magsasawang sabihin iyan. Sige po, mauuna na ako at kailangan ko lang i-check iyong generator natin dito sa isla.”

Maya looked at Richard with so much love. “My generous, humble, and kindhearted, Babe.” Then she kissed him lightly on the lips.

Richard smiled at Maya, caressed her lower lip. “I just gave back a bit, Honeybun. They are good people. Masikap, masinop sa buhay, very trustworthy at saka sobrang loyal sa family namin. Enough na nga, I’m getting embarassed na. Teka tawagan ko lang si Captain Ventura, siya pala ang tumatawag and 10 na ang missed calls niya.”

“Yes, Captain Ventura?” Richard said, when the pilot picked up his call.

“Sir Richard, I just want you to know that Captain Corpuz and I might be delayed in picking you and Ms. Maya. We are still in Manila. Hindi kami makalipad kasi kanina pa masama ang panahon dito. It’s been raining the whole afternoon.” The pilot told Richard.

“Oh, ganoon ba.” Richard said. “No worries. Maya and I are okay here. Maganda naman ang weather dito. Make sure lang na it is safe na for you to fly when you leave Manila. Kung hindi talaga kaya, and medyo alanganin ka, don’t. We can manage here. Keep me updated, please.”

“Yes, Sir Richard. I will.” Captain Ventura assured Richard. “Hopefully, in the next hour, it will be okay na ang weather kasi ang tagal na rin namang umuulan.”

Richard said goodbye to the pilot.

“My love, we can’t leave yet. Hindi kasi makalipad sina Captain Ventura from Manila. Sobrang maulan daw doon.” He told Maya.

“Oh! Mabuti rito maganda ang panahon! Good thing na rin they delayed na lang the pick-up kasi mas importante na safe silang lumipad.”

“Now, we have some time to swim and snorkel a bit.” Richard said.

“Naku, paano? Wala naman tayong dalang damit and gear.” Maya asked.

“Hmmm, actually, part iyan talaga ng surprise ko for you today. Remember the suitcase that Captain Corpuz handed to me? Swimming clothes and a change of clothes for you and me ang laman noon. Plus snorkeling gears.” Richard said.

“I forgot about it earlier. Saka, when I remembered, we were in the hammock na, and mas gusto ko naman iyon kaysa mag-snorkel. I preferred you in my arms.” He said, smiling.

Maya smiled sweetly at Richard. “Pero grabeng planning talaga ang ginawa mo rito sa most memorable ‘first date’ natin, Babe ha. Thank you and I love you.” Maya said, feeling very happy and touched at Richard’s gesture.

“Let’s go, have a swim na, kahit one hour lang.” Richard put his hand on Maya’s back, propelling her inside the house. ‘If ever naman, makikita natin kung parating na sina Captain Ventura.”

When they entered the house, a middle-aged woman greeted them. “Magandang hapon po, Sir Richard, Ma’am.”

“Hello po, Manang Linda. Magandang hapon din po.” Richard smiled at Manang Linda. “Maya, ito si Manang Linda, asawa niya si Manong Benito, para ko na silang mga magulang dito kasi dito ako parating pumupunta dati kapag gusto kong mag-unwind o to let out steam. Mga 20 years na namin silang caretaker dito sa isla. Tama, Manang, di ba?”

“Opo, Sir Richard.” Then she smiled at Maya. “Ikinagagalak ko po kayong makilala Ma’am Maya. Ngayon nga lang po pumunta si Sir Richard dito ng may kasamang nobya.” Manang unintentionally revealed, and Maya’s heart skipped a beat. “Sige po, maiwan ko muna kayo at nang maipaghanda ko kayo ng merienda.”

Manang Linda excused herself and went to the kitchen. She is glad that her Sir Richard finally brought a girlfriend here. First time, talaga. Private talaga kasi para sa Sir niya ang lugar na ito. Mukhang mabait pa at ang ganda ng nobya ng Sir, Manang thought. Parang in love na in love nga ito. Masaya siya para rito.

“What she said is true, Maya. I haven’t brought anyone here, except you.” He admitted, gazing at Maya lovingly. “Para ko kasi itong sanctuary and I promised myself that I will only bring here the woman I love very much, the most precious person in my life.”

“Oh, Babe! Grabe ka nang magpakilig ha.” Maya touched Richard’s arm and caressed it. “Sobra, sobra, sobrang memorable na talaga ng araw na ito.”

“Like I have said, earlier. Anything for you, Honeybun.” Richard kissed the tip of Maya’s nose. “Halika na nga. Nandoon sa sala iyong suitcase kanina.”

The suitcase was no longer in the living room, so Richard and Maya went to the bedroom that Richard usually uses when he stays here. It was on the side of the bed. Richard opened it and handed Maya a shopping bag.

“I hope that is okay. I just asked my secretary Liza to get that for you. I just described you to her.” Richard said.

“Hmmm, and how did you describe me to your secretary, Babe.” Maya teased.

“Well, I told her you are very beautiful. Mas maganda ka pa kaysa kay Megan Young. Then I told her, for size, that you are on the sexy side, tall and slim.” Richard said, smiling, remembering hearing his secretary sighed after he was finished describing Maya. She remarked that he must be in love. Richard laughed and said yes. Liza is also a friend, so he didn’t mind her commenting on his personal life.

“O bakit ka napapangiti, Babe.” Maya asked, as she started opening the shopping bag.”Saka salamat sa description ha. Todo-build pala ako. Hindi naman ako mas maganda kay Megan Young, kasing ganda lang.” Maya joked.

“Silly!” Richard laughed. “Mas maganda ka kaya. No arguments there. Saka for a man in love, siyempre wala naman talagang mas gaganda pa sa kanya kundi ang minamahal niya. My secretary also remarked about me being so in love with you. She said she sensed it by the way I described you. Napangiti ako kasi naalala ko ang remark ni Liza when I asked her to buy you the swimsuit.”

“Babe, awwwww, talagang unlimited supply na iyang pampakilig na iyan. Sabi nga ni Cris, colonies of ants na ang nasa paligid. Thank you.”

Maya smiled at Ricky and looked at the swimsuit she got out of the bag. Richard on the other hand, took out another shopping bag from the suitcase.

“Ekkkk, Babe.” She shrieked. “I don’t think I can wear this!!!”

Richard looked up, in time to see Maya waving a skimpy two-piece swimsuit at him. Richard smiled at her reaction and Liza’s mischievousness. “Patingin nga. Come here.”

Maya gave him the little pieces of clothing. Parang retaso lang ang dating sa liliit!

“Yes, it is on the skimpy side. But I think you can wear it naman. Tayong dalawa lang naman ang nandito, saka sina Manong at Manang. I don’t think they will check on us or look. Promise, I will not stare….” He smiled and teased her, “much!”….

“Ricky!!!!” Maya protested, then smiled, realizing she is making a bit of a fuss. Confidence lang ang kailangan diyan, Maya Dela Rosa, she told herself, kaya mo iyang suutin. “Sus, halika na nga. Kasi naman sobra yata ang description mo sa secretary mo. Baka ang description mo sa akin, pang-cover ng FHM.” Maya teased.

“Honeybun, I will not do that. Cross my heart, cub scout at boy scout ako noong maliit at gentleman naman ng lumaki na.” Richard said, smiling.

They both laughed, finding humor in the situation.

Maya changed into the swimsuit. It fitted her perfectly. In fairness to Richard’s secretary, she chose well, in terms of size and comfort. Iyon nga lang, skimpier ang suit and very revealing than what she normally wear na medyo on the conservative and sporty side.

When she finished checking what she was wearing,  Maya went out of the room that Richard earlier brought her, when she asked where she could change. She went looking for him. He was not in his room so she went down.

Maya found him on the lower veranda, gazing at the sea, holding their snorkeling gears, waiting for her. She gulped when she noticed what he was wearing. The swim shorts was not that revealing but it hugged his lower body perfectly.

“Wow”, was all she managed to say to herself. Not only her boyfriend is very handsome, he is very well-built, and has a body to die for. She felt like swooning. Daig pa ng Babe niya ang mga actor at model na rumarampa sa mga underwear show!

Richard heard Maya made a sound. He turned, with a smile on his face that got frozen when he saw her standing by the door leading to the veranda. His breath got caught in his throat.

Richard gaped and was speechless for several seconds. His girlfriend is so beautiful and very sexy. Those long legs and curvaceous body! It elicited a reaction in him, which he immediately tried to control. He does not want Maya to feel uncomfortable. Her near-transparent wrap, revealed, more than hid, her beautiful shape.

“Wow.” He uttered. Then told himself, Richard, you need all the control you can master to survive this swimming trip. “You are very beautiful and very sexy, Honeybun! I like Liza’s taste na pala.” He said, teasing Maya a bit.

Maya blushed. “Babe, don’t look at me like that. Nako-conscious ako.”

“Honeybun, I can’t help it. You are so beautiful and very sexy talaga.” He replied. “But I promised to be a gentleman so I will stop. Let’s go.”

Richard held Maya’s hand as they walk towards the water. They went a bit farther than the house. Richard told Maya that it is the best place to snorkel, and he was right. They swam side by side and marveled at the beauty they saw underwater.

When they got tired, they just swam near the shore. Despite Richard’s promise to have more control, he was not able to resist kissing Maya passionately, when they were emerging from the water. She also kissed him back.

“Honeybun, I think we need to stop. I’m having difficulty controlling myself.” Richard said, his voice thick with desire.

Maya was also having difficulty controlling her body’s response to Richard’s kiss and touch. “Me too. Let’s go take a quick dip again, and go back to the house to shower and change. Baka dumating na rin ang sundo natin.”

They swam playfully for several minutes, dunking each other, then hugging and kissing a bit when they can’t help, but give in, to the intense emotions they were feeling.

Maya and Richard were smiling at each other, as they walked back to the house , marked by short stops to share, quick, sweet kisses along the way, just very happy the way their day turned out, even with the delay in their return to Manila.

“Babe, this is the best day talaga. I love you.” Maya said.

“I agree, my love.” Richard said, cupping Maya’s face. “I love you, too.”

They shared one more kiss before they went inside the house, fingers interlaced.

 

Note: Doube treat, abot pa, sa ‘third monthsary’ ng My Sunflower World. Thank you for the support and appreciation my co-adiks! 🙂 🙂 🙂

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Crossroads – Chapter 10

Chapter 10
‘First date’

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…..?”

“What, Honeybun?”

“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’.

 

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Crossroads – Chapter 9

Chapter 9
‘Family dinner’

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. 🙂

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