Love sweet love
“Richard drive carefully, hijo.” Maya’s mom, Tessie Dela Rosa-Winters, told Richard as he and Maya were about to get into the car to drive back to New York that Saturday after spending Thanksgiving with them. Richard and Maya arrived at the Winters family home Wednesday afternoon.
“Maya anak, ingat ha, and update me, please if possible on Monday evening. I want to know how’s your first day at work. Tapos if they will assign you somewhere soon, let me know also kaagad. I know it would not be like you being in the Philippines lang. I just want to know and prepare na there is a possibility na matagal kitang hindi makikita at baka nga mahirap ang communication sa lugar na pupuntahan mo. Good luck ulit anak and congratulations. I’m so proud of you.”
“Yes Mom, I will.” Maya promised her mother as she hugged her one more time. “Thank you for everything. Daddy Mark, than you very much also.” She went to her stepfather and gave him a tight hug too. She really owes this wonderful man a lot.
“Yes, Mrs. Winters, I will be careful po.” Richard promised Maya’s mom. “Thank you again for having me. Mr. Winters,” Richard shook Daddy Mark’s hand, who not only shook his hand in return, but gave him a pat in the back.
“It was nice meeting and having you, Richard. Take care of our daughter.” Maya’s stepfather told Richard. “Maya, honey, you take care okay and wow those diplomats at the UN with your skills.”
“Please see us again, ha.” Mommy Tessie told Richard. She was happy to meet Maya’s boyfriend, her daughter’s first. She was surprised when Maya called up several days before she came for a visit to ask if she could bring with her, her boyfriend. Mommy Tessie had no idea that her daughter already had a boyfriend. But she knew that Maya is of age and has been pretty independent and responsible most of her adult life. She didn’t give her any grief. She also knew that her daughter is not the type to rush into something she hasn’t thought about very well.
“We will, Mom, Daddy Mark. Pakisabi na lang kina Luke and Nikki na umalis na kami” Maya told her mother. Her siblings were still sleeping. All of them had a late night last night. They had a very nice family bonding time. They chatted, played cards and board games, had midnight snacks, and teased each other mercilessly, especially the kids. Richard fitted well in into their family dynamics. He also spent quite some time chatting with Maya’s stepfather.
Maya, on the other hand, during the visit, had an opportunity to talk to her mom alone about Richard and the circumstances of their meeting, and how they became a couple. She told her mother that she and Richard had been inseparable since they met each other and especially so, when they became boyfriend and girlfriend more than a week before the Thanksgiving week. Maya assured her mother that Richard is the nicest guy and a gentleman, who always takes care of her, and a very loving boyfriend. Mommy Tessie told her daughter that she is happy for her, and she will always be there for her if she needs advice. She also told Maya that she trusts her judgment and she is old enough, anyway, to forge her way through life. All she can do for her from then on, is to be there for her if she needs her.
“Did you have a wonderful time, my love?” Maya asked Richard after a while. She invited Richard to celebrate Thanksgiving with her family after she found out that he will be alone on that day. She wanted to from the beginning, but Richard might have made some plans already even before they became a couple. She was really glad that he said yes.
“Of course I did. I was very happy to meet your family. I like your parents, and Luke and Nikki are a joy. Tama ka ang kukulit nila. Pero at the same time, good kids. Maayos ang pagpapalaki ng Mom and Dad mo sa kanila.”
“True. Nakaka-miss nga rin sila.” Maya said. “But anyway, I will still see them from time to time. Hindi naman malayo ang New Jersey sa New York.”
“What are your plans for tomorrow, Maya?” Richard asked as tomorrow would be Maya’s last day before she started working for the UN.
“Wala naman. I’m planning to stay at home, rest before I report for work.” Maya replied as she settled more comfortable into her seat. Bakit pala?”
“Hmmm, baka you want to spend it with me since baka last day na natin ito to be together ng medyo matagal. From what I heard, baka you will have long hours din in your new job.” Richard suggested as he want to spend more time with Maya before both of them get very busy again. “How about a picnic at Central Park?”
“Great idea, Mr. Lim. Tara, sige. I will prepare everything na lang.” Maya suggested. “What would you like to eat?”
“No Maya, rest ka na lang. Di ba dapat relax ka nga lang. I will take care of everything. I will order a picnic basket at the deli near LHI.” Richard said. “This is my treat for my brilliant and beautiful girlfriend.”
“Thank you, my love. Ikaw talaga ang number one cheering squad ko.” Maya grinned. “Okay, if that is more convenient. I would need to go pa nga to the shop when we return if I will prepare the food. I’m looking forward to spending more time with you rin. Parang bitin ang three days natin with my family. I’m glad, though, that we got to spend those days with them.”
Most of the trip back, they just chatted about their visit to her family. Richard was touched when Maya asked him if he would like to go with her to New Jersey. He wanted really to spend Thanskgiving with her and her family, but was waiting for Maya to issue the invitation as her family might have a plan already for this occasion. He wanted to meet her family and got to know them. He knew that Maya is just starting her life, younger by five years, and still have a lot of goals and dreams to achieve, but in the long run, he wanted a life with her. He can wait. They are both young. He needed to forge his way within LHI too, but he, sort of, know know already where he will be and what he needs to do for the next couple of years.
Richard parked his car at the usual spot when they reached Maya’s apartment. He took out her bag and accompanied her to the front door.
“Dinner later?” He asked all of a sudden. “I will cook for you. Di ba, nasa Philadelphia pa si Emman. Wala kang kasama.”
“Really! Masarap ka bang magluto Mr. Lim?” She asked teasingly. “Or mali yata ang tanong, dapat ang tanong, marunong ka bang magluto?”
“Ha, ha, ha, of course I know how. Sayang naman ang mga itinuro sa akin ni Manang Fe.” Richard said, grinning
Maya grinned back. “Okay, pero don’t fetch me na. I need to go back to the hotel one last time din this evening to give something to Doris. I will walk to your place from there.”
“Hmmm, sure it would be safe to do so, on your own?” Richard asked. He got used to walking with Maya all the time.
“Naku, safe na safe, Mr Lim, hwag kang mag-aalala. I have been walking on my own, often, before I met you.” Maya assured her protective boyfriend.
“Okay, I will see you later. Bye, my love.” Richard said then kissed Maya lightly on the lips. “I love you.”
“See you. Ingat sa pagmamaneho.” Maya said. “I love you too.”
Richard waited until Maya was inside the apartment building before he drove off towards the direction of his apartment. As soon as he entered his unit, after parking his car at his slot, he inspected the place and was glad that it is very tidy. The cleaning lady did a thorough job of cleaning the apartment while he was away with Maya. This will be the first time that Maya will see his place and he is looking forward to that. He had been meaning to invite her here, but she was busy since she submitted her letter of resignation to the hotel.
More than an hour later, Richard was finished with the pasta sauce he cooked. He let it simmered while he took a shower, then changed into a polo shirt and a pair of jeans that suits him very well. He set the table. He wanted everything to be special. Several minutes after he was done, the doorbell rang. He had left intstructions with the doorman to let Maya in, so this must be her.
“Hi my love, welcome to my home away from home.” He happily greeted Maya, then gave her a quick kiss on the lips. “You look very lovely, my love as always.” Maya was wearing another sheath dress, violet this time, that hugged her curves and reached above the knee, showing her shapely legs.
“Hi my love. Thank you.” Maya said as she returned Richard’s kiss and gave him the flowers she was carrying and the beautiful vase that goes with it. “My ‘welome back home’ gift to you.”
“Thank you, it’s lovely, just want this place needs, some flowers to brighten things up, aside from your presence.” Richard smiled and gaze at Maya lovingly. He put the flowers on the console table. “Come, let’s eat na. Are you hungry? What would you like to drink, red wine, white wine or soda?”
“Hmmm, white wine please.” Maya said as Richard led her to the dining room of his spacious apartment. She saw that the dining table was beautifully set for two, with fine china and candles. “Wow, mukhang pinaghandaan mo ang dinner natin. Lovely table setting. Ricky. Saka parang ang sarap ng food. Kahit hindi ko pa natitkman, naniniwala na ako, that Manang Fe taught you well!”
“For my the most special lady in my life, maganda dapat parati ang lahat.” He said as he cupped her chin, then kissed her. They shared a sweet kiss. “Have a seat, my love. I will just get your drink.” Richard told Maya as he pulled a chair for her, then opened the fridge to get a chilled bottle of white wine. He poured a glass each for Maya and him.
“To our first dinner here, my love. I hope you will consider this place as your home away from home too.” Richard said as he looked lovingly at Maya.
“Thank you, Ricky. To our first dinner here. Thank you for being the best boyfriend in the world!” Maya felt so happy at that moment. It was just so perfect. She felt like she was seeing a glimpse of what life would be like if she and Richard end up together. She was wishing then, and praying, that he will be the one she will spend the rest of her life with, no matter how far into the future would that be. She can’t think of another one, only him.
Richard and Maya had a lovely dinner, marked by their normal chatter and loving gazes. They got wrapped up in their own world again. After dinner, Maya offered to help Richard clean. At first, he told her to just relax, but she insisted, saying that they will finish the task faster if they work together. They went to the living room after they have started the dishwasher.
Richard carried with him, his and Maya’s wine glasses, then asked her to sit down in one of the armchairs by the window. He sat on the other one. He also opened the curtain and what was revelead was a breathtaking view of Manhattan at night. Maya loved it very much. They enjoyed their wine while chatting.
“This is a very nice place Ricky.” Maya remarked. “How long have you had this place?”
“I think, around three years. I fell in love with the location. Hindi lang kita masyado ngayon, pero this place as an incredible view of Central Park. Dapat the next time you are here, araw.” He said, in between sipping his wine and caressing Maya’s hand.
“Come, I will give you a tour.” Richard stood up and held out his hand to Maya, intertwining their fingers, he led her to the guest rooms of the house, then to his study, and finally his bedroom. It was huge, occupying half of the house, and decorated in masculine tones. “There is a terrace on one side of the bedroom, that corner, and the view there is very nice too.” He said as he pointed to the left side of the room.
Maya liked the whole place. Everything just flowed, uncluttered. “Thank you for the tour. I really like your place.” She said after their return to the living room, which she now notice has floor-to-ceiling windows.
“Well, my love, like I have told you earlier. Consider this your home too, In fact, here….” Richard gave Maya a key he got from his jeans’ pocket.
Maya was startled. “What for?” Her heart skipped a beat.
“Mi casa es su casa, my love.” Richard said as he closed Maya’s hand with the key, then lifted it to his lips and kissed it. “My house is yours. Just come and go.”
“Ricky…..” She started to protest.
“Uh oh, no arguments please.” Richard put his index finger on Maya’s lips, then started caressing it. Maya caught her breath and looked at Richard.
Seeing the expression on Maya’s beautiful, expressive face, Richard lowered his lips to Maya’s and kissed her. Before long, they were exchanging heated kisses.
“Maya I love you very much.” Richard muttered in between driving Maya senseless with his kisses.
“I love you very much too, Ricky, so very much, that sometimes, it is making me afraid.” She said.
Richard stopped kissing Maya, and gently cupped her chin. “Why is that, my love?”
Maya took a deep breath and said, “The feeling I have for you is so intense. Minsan, I feel like my heart will burst from sheer happiness. In such a short time, you became the center of my universe. I guess, I’m overwhelmed, sometimes. Ngayon ko lang kasi ito naramdaman. My youthful crushes was nothing, not even a speck, of what I am feeling for you. Sometimes, I had a hard time believing you are in my life, parang feeling ko panaginip ang lahat.”
“I’m real, Maya, you and I, what we have, it’s not a dream. We are real. Don’t be overwhelmed. I feel the same. I’m so happy and so very, very thankful that you came into my life, that we met in the most unexpected place and in a unique circumstance. You made me so happy. Trust me on this, my love. I had relationships and those were nothing compared to what we have, to what we feel for each other. I’m so happy to know that I’m loved by you. I know you still have a lot of dreams and we still have a lot to face, but I want a future with you, no matter how long it takes.”
“Oh Ricky….” Maya said with so much emotion, then hugged Richard tight.
They hugged each other tight, and they stayed like that for quite some time. Then Richard loosen his embrace to kiss her gently on the forehead and said, “I love you.”
“I love you too.” Maya told him with a tremulous smile, and a look that conveyed all the love she is feeling.
“Dance with me.” Richard asked after while. “You know, it is something we haven’t done.”
“Now, without music?” Maya said, smiling.
“Madali lang iyan, wait here.” He went to the corner, powered up his iPod, and soon after the beautiful melody and lyrics of one of Richard’s favorite songs, Only Love floated into the speakers discreetly placed in the living room. He first heard of this song through his mother.
“May I have this dance, Ms. Maya Dela Rosa?”
“Of course, Mr. Richard Lim.”
Richard and Maya swayed to the beautiful music, savoring their special moment together. They danced as close as two person could be. Richard’s cheek, against Maya’s, and from time to time they exchanged sweet kisses too.
“Maya, will you please stay the night?” Richard asked softly, still not letting go of Maya. “Promise, I will be a gentleman. I just want to spend every moment I could with you. I don’t know, there is this feeling that I have to hold on to whatever we have, to enjoy every moment I could with you.” He said all of a sudden. “Maybe it is beause you might be assigned to a far-flung corner of the world.”
“Yes Ricky, I will.” Maya replied as she touched Richard’s face lovingly as if committing everything to memory. Maya also felt the unexplained need to seize every moment with Richard. She attributed it to the big change in her professional life.
“Thank you, Maya. It means a lot to me.”
Richard kissed Maya tenderly, before taking hold of her hand, leading her to the terrace adjacent to his bedroom. They cuddled and watched the New York night lights from there, enjoying their quiet time together, declaring their love for each other from time to time with sweet kisses, heated looks, and caresses.