Richard and Maya both spoke at the same time. They gazed at each other, then without words, as if they were in a trance moved towards each other and hugged each other tight after their emotional talk, as if both of them wanted to feel the need to connect physically, to fully feel that it was real, that they have met again after all those years apart, of sadness and loneliness, and that they managed to not only to clear the past, but bridged it to the present so they can both move forward, perhaps towards a future together. How long it will take and where they are going exactly, they are not sure yet. The only thing that Maya and Richard were sure of at that moment is that they still love the other very much.
“Maya, thank you again for giving me another chance.” Richard said after a while, gazing at Maya as he can’t believe that they did it, they found each other again after eight long years.
“Ricky, we are giving each other another chance.” Maya smiled at the love of her life. “This is a new beginning for us. Now, we can go from here.”
Maya may have not say it yet, but Richard is getting more optimistic of a future with the only woman for him. Surely, after what they have been through, they deserve to be happy. At that moment, Richard was completely at peace. Maya felt the same as if the dark clouds that has been in her life for so long was replaced by a rainbow.
Richard loosened his embrace, stood up and went to the kitchen after telling Maya that he will just get something. Maya nodded. When he returned, he was carrying two flutes of champagne. He handed Maya one and offered another toast.
“To second chances. To us!” Richard said, gazing with Maya with all the love he was feeling.
“To us, and new beginnings!” Maya replied, looking at Richard and feeling warm all over with the heat of his gaze at her.
Richard and Maya drank to that, then settled comfortably on the sofa, at first content to watch the twinkling lights, and enjoy each other’s company. After a while, they continued chatting until it was already the wee hours of the morning. The quiet night and the empty restaurant became a backdrop to the chat that flowed freely between then. They felt like they needed to catch up on eight years they have been apart in a single night!
Maya accidentally noticed the time during a break in their conversation. “Oh! Ricky it’s already very late! How about Mang Mario and your chef? Napuyat na rin sila ng dahil sa atin!”
“No worries, Maya, I sent them home earlier, when I went to the kitchen to get the champagne. It is just the two of us here.”
“Oh, good!” Then realized what she said, that her reaction could be construed for something else.
“What I mean, errr, good that they don’t have to wait for us to…..” She trailed off, her complexion, turning red. Her loose tongue, must be the wine or just the fact that she is with Richard again. She felt intoxicated and unable to think clearly beyond him and his presence!
Richard grinned at Maya. She really looks cute flustered. He is glad to know that Maya has remained unchanged this way through the years. How he missed her and their moments like this.
“Huwag kang mag-aalala, I will be a gentleman.” He teased a bit.
“Ricky, I know naman.” Maya replied, pouting a bit prettily at his teasing.
“Saka, manunuyo pa ako. Liligawan kaya kita ulit.” There he said it.
“Really!” She grinned.
“Yes naman, Ms. Maya Dela Rosa. So be ready for Ricky’s courtship 2014 edition.” He bantered.
“Ha, Mr. Lim, that I have to see.” Maya quipped getting into the mood of the moment. “Eh what moves naman kaya will you make that you haven’t shown me before!”
“That’s for me to know and you to find out and see, Ms. Dela Rosa.” He grinned happily and little naughtily.
They smiled at each other, then Maya, unable to help it, yawned.
“Oh, you are sleepy na! Sorry to keep you up until the wee hours of the morning, Maya!”
“It is okay, Ricky. I’m glad for this evening, and this moment. I never thought this will not happen na. All the times, I envisioned seeing you again, it never occurred to me that it could be like this.”
“Me, too, Maya. Me too. Come, I will take you home.” Richard stood up and held out his hand to Maya.
The two of them turned off all the lights in the restaurant, put their coffee cups and the flutes in the kitchen, then headed towards the elevator, holding hands. Going down to the basement, they sometime shared a look, and a sweet smile towards each other. Maya’s heart was aflutter.
More than an hour later, they were at the gate of Maya’s house.
“I will see you inside.” Richard said as he unbuckled his seatbelt and was out of the car before Maya can say that she can manage from there. He opened the door for her.
“Thank you, Ricky. I will be okay from here.” Maya said. “Sobrang late na rin. Ilang oras na lang, umaga na.”
“I’ll wait until you are inside before I drive off.” Richard insisted.
Maya fished her keys from her bag, then opened the gate. “Good night Ricky. Drive carefully.”
“Good night, Maya. Thank you again for this evening.” He smiled, then moved forward, lowered his lips and gave Maya a gentle kiss on the cheek like he used to. “Go inside na. Sweet dreams.”
Maya looked at him. Her senses reacted to that light kiss. It has been too long. Then she went inside, floating with the wonderful feeling she was experiencing at that moment.
Sabel left a light for her, and a note, saying that she didn’t wait up for her since she was with her Prince Charming. Reading the words, Maya was reminded of Emman and his use of the same while they were sharing an apartment in New York. Emman, bes, if you only know what happened to me this evening, she mused!
She went through her nightly rituals and was about to get into her bed, when her phone beeped.
Home safe and sound, Ms. Dela Rosa. Good night again. Sweet dreams, my one and only love of my life.
Maya grinned happily and her heart skipped a beat, well skipped several beats with that statement.
Good night, Mr. Lim. Sweet dreams too. Not bad for a start. Looking forward to more of Ricky Lim’s moves [wink, wink, wink!]
Richard was chuckling as he walked through the darkened living room of his condo unit, having read Maya’s reply to his text message. He didn’t bother turning on the light as he knew he can find his way to his room on the second level of the unit. He was so very happy. He felt so alive again.
Both of them went to bed very happy that dawn, looking forward to their next meeting.
It was the beeping of her phone that woke Maya up after several hours. She groped for her phone groggily, disoriented.
“Grabe, ang aga naman nito.” Maya grumbled. She tried to focus and read the message. It was from Richard. Suddenly, she felt very much awake.
Rise and shine, sleepyhead. Sayang ang araw. Spend the afternoon with me please. Tomorrow we have work na.
“Ha, kakahiwalay lang namin ah.” Maya smiled goofily at his message.
Okay! See you. Saan tayo magkikita?
Instead of a message alert tone, Maya’s phone suddenly rang.
“Good morning Ricky!”
“Good afternoon, Maya!”
“Ha, afternoon? Bakit anong oras na ba?” Maya asked, then checked the time. “Oh my God, 12:30PM na pala! Ang haba ng tulog ko!”
“Hahahaha, true, me too. One of the best sleeps I had in years. Must be because of the wonderful night I had.” Richard said. “Kagigising ko lang din. This is what I did first! Haven’t had my coffee fix yet.”
Maya smiled at that, her heart melted. “Ako rin, Ricky, I slept like a babe. Teka, I better get moving na pala. Hindi na nga tayo nakapag-breakfast, late pa tayo makakapag-lunch. Saan tayo magkikita?”
“I will pick you up in an hour or so! Would that be okay?”
“Yes, but can you give me an idea where we are going so I know what to wear.” Maya said.
“Hmmm, I don’t have anything in mind, I just want to be with you.” He simply said. “How about lunch in one of the restaurants in the Timog area and then we take it from there? I have something in mind after that, something I’m sure you and I haven’t done in a long time. Just wear comfortable clothes!”
“Okay, I’ll see you.” Maya said, getting excited with her trip with Richard.
Maya went down more half an hour later, dressed in casual clothes that still looks lovely on her despite its simplicity.
“Ma’am Maya, good morning, este, good afternoon na pala!” Sabel greeted her when she saw her going down the stairs. “Hindi na kita ginising agad. Parang feeling ko, sobrang late ka na nakauwi. Sandali po at ipaghahain na kita. Iinitin ko lang itong breakfast mo na tanghalian na ngayon! Coffee?”
“Sabel, coffee lang and pandesal, please.”
“Ha, diet ka Ma’am? Ala una na ah!” Sabel asked, surprised.
“Naku, hindi. I’m waiting for Ricky kasi. We will go out.” Maya said.
“Labas ulit?” Sabel asked. “Kayo na ulit ni ex-boyfriend?” Sabel asked before she can stopped herself. “Ooppps sorry….,” then she grinned sheepishly at Maya.
“Hahahaha, Sabel, I know you! You are dying to know.”
Sabel scratched her head, “Ma’am Maya naman, suspense pa talaga, ganon.”
“Well…..” Before Maya can finished whatever she wanted to say the doorbell rang.
“Naku, ito namang si Sir Richard, wrong timing.” Sabel said jokingly. “Sandali nga, Ma’am, pagbuksan ko na si Prince Charming.”
Sabel opened the gate. Ang guwapo talaga, she thought. Richard was wearing a white casual, dress shirt, sleeves folded a bit, and a well-worn pair of jeans.
“Good afternoon po, Sir. Tuloy po kayo. Nasa sala na po si Ma’am Maya.”
“Good afternoon din, Sabel. Thank you.” Richard said, then followed Sabel to the living room.
“Hi Ricky! Ang bilis and ang aga mo. Wala pang an hour.” Maya greeted Richard with a big smile, while Sabel on the other hand, excused herself and went to the kitchen.
“Hi Maya! Yes, wala kasing masyadong traffic, being a Sunday and medyo alanganing oras pa for malling.” Richard said as he leaned forward and gave Maya another kiss on the cheek.
Like the kiss last night, or this morning, Maya was startled with this one as it also brought back wonderful memories. She felt herself colored a bit.
“By the way, for you.” Richard said as he handed Maya one long-stemmed red rose, with a note.
“Ha, another one, not that I am complaining. Heto pa ang mga rose na ibinigay mo kahapon. Hindi ko na nga mabilang.” Maya made a sweeping gesture.”If it is okay with you, except for some, Sabel and I would like to donate it to the village church.”
“Sure. Those were for the eight years I have not given you one, like I used to!” Richard said looking at Maya lovingly, then teasingly said, “Hmmm, let’s see, 8 years multiplied by 365 days more or less, maliban sa may leap year, then you get the number of roses. And this new one is for today.”
“Oh, Ricky!” Maya was suddenly felt overwhelmed with emotion. “It is a very nice, grand gesture. Thank you.”
“For you, Maya, because I love you still, you know.” Richard suddenly said, suddenly needing to say it again. “Hindi na ulit kita pakakawalan, Ms. Dela Rosa!”
“Ricky….”Maya started, then took a deep breath, but before she can say anything anymore, Richard stopped her for some reason.
“Maya, like I have said last night I just want you to know, no pressure, no hurry. I will never get tired of saying it to you, though, and proving it to you.” Richard said as he put his finger on Maya’s lips to silence her. “Come on, I’m getting very hungry. It looked like, you haven’t managed to drink your cup of coffee yet, because of me.”
Maya set aside whatever she wanted to say for another time. She is getting hungry too. The perfect time will come.
Thirty minutes after, Richard parked his car in front of an old house in a quiet street in the Timog area that has been converted into a restaurant offering very nice food, according to his secretary Liza. He called her earlier to ask for a nice place in Quezon City where they could eat.
Richard and Maya opted to dine at one of the nooks of the house-turned-restaurant upstairs. Richard helped Maya up with a hand on her elbow. The friendly waiter led them to a room which looked like the living room of a house, complete with comfortable sofas and a coffee table in the middle. The place was partly lit by the glass opening in the ceiling and it looked so relaxing. They had a wonderful lunch.
Maya and Richard were on the road again after having coffee and dessert to finish their very filling lunch. Liza was correct. The restaurant was the best. They went towards the direction of Commonwealth Avenue, and after driving a while, they arrived at their destination.
“La Mesa Ecopark!” Maya said. Richard never fail to surprise her in all the time she had known him. She never thought that they would end up here today. But she likes this a lot. It reminded her of their trips to Central Park.
“Yes, I hope you might like this, than strolling through the shops and restaurants in Bonifacio High Street.” Richard said with a smile. “I have been meaning to check this park ever since Ryan mentioned it.”
“I agree. This is so much nicer.” Maya said excitedly, getting out of the car without waiting for Richard to open the door.
They went inside with a map of the park and chose which side of it they would like to explore first. The place is cool with all the big trees around. It sooths the senses and one’s weary spirit. They decided to rent bikes after a while and went around in those, chatting, and then looking around, just enjoying nature. When they got tired, they rested against the trunk of a big tree.
“Does this remind you of something?” Maya asked while leaning against Richard’s chest, in between his legs as he supports the two of them by reclining against the tree.
“Hmmm, Central Park? Our first picnic.” Richard smiled, remembering their wonderful time.
“Yes. This is really nice.” Maya remarked, then turned and looked Richard in the eyes. She just felt that the moment is right. “Ricky….” she started, heart beating fast.
“Yes, Maya.” He said, giving her his lopsided smile she loves.
“Ricky, I want you to know that I love you still, too.” Maya said simply. “I never stopped.”
“M-maya….” He stuttered, surprised at her declaration, his heart somersaulting hearing the words. Then he smiled in wonder. “Oh Maya! I love you, I love you very much!” He managed to say, overwhelmed!
Richard hugged Maya tight, then loosened his embrace to gaze at her lovingly, caressing her face. Then he lowered his lips to hers, and they shared a sweet, gentle kiss.