Maya opened her laptop, then logged on to her Skype account. She is in luck! Her mother is online. She was not so sure as she had mentioned several days ago that she will be busy working on their back garden. Mommy Tessie loves to garden and it’s from her that Maya got her love of getting her hands dirty and puttering in the yard, then happily watch what she had planted grow. She prefers to plant flowers and ornamental plants, though. Her mom, on the other hand, prefers all kinds of herbs and vegetables.
“Hello Maya anak!” Mommy Tessie greeted her eldest daughter. “Kumusta ka na? Gabing-gabi na diyan, bakit gising ka pa?”
“Hi Mom! Mabuti naman po ako. I’m glad that I caught you. I thought you would be out gardening.”
“Naku, medyo napagod na ako. Heto nagpapahinga muna. Saka, malapit na rin namang matapos. I can do it tomorrow.” Mommy Tessie said as she moved a bit to make herself more comfortable. “Heto habang nagpapahinga, nagbayad ako ng bills online and was about to check a gerdening website when you called.”
“Mom, rest din ikaw. Hinay-hinay ha.” Maya said. “I called up po pala kasi may sasabihin po sana ako sa inyo.”
Mommy Tessie suddenly felt that what her daughter will say is something very important to her, she looks so serious and nervous. “Oh, sure, ano ba iyon, Maya anak? May problema ka ba? Sabihin mo lang kung anong maitutulong ko.”
“Mom, thanks a lot. But I don’t have a problem. In fact, ang saya-saya ko nga po! Mom, kami na po ulit ni Ricky.” She said happily.
“Ricky? You mean si Richard, iyong boyfriend mo dati? Ha, paanong nangyari ‘nak eh you suddenly stopped mentioning him nga to us shortly before you left for Kabul eight years ago. You know, he visited me after you left. But that is a story I want to tell after you tell me how you and Richard ended up together again. Though, I must say, I’m not surprised it happened, just that why did it take this long for it to happen! We just chatted last week. Wala ka namang nabanggit about this.”
Over the next hour Maya told Mommy Tessie how she and Richard became boyfriend and girlfriend again. At times, Maya got teary-eyed in her narrative. Her mother also cried, especially when Maya told her that Richard’s baby died, and for what her daughter went through.
“Maya, anak, I’m so happy that despite everything you and Richard went through, you still found each other again.” Mommy Tessie said, drying the tears from the corners of her eyes. “Para talaga kayo sa isa’t isa. You know what. I told Richard when he poured his heart to me that if something is meant to be, it will be. Ganyan talaga, anak kapag destiny mo and kapag talagang love mo.”
Mommy Tessie took a deep breath and continued. “I never told you about Richard’s visit because I was waiting for you to say something about whatever you were going through that time. Noong wala kang sinasabi sa mga e-mail mo at tawag, naisip ko na baka gusto mo na rin lang kalimutan ang lahat and makasama pa kapag inungkat ko. Ayaw ko nang masaktan ka pa.”
“Mom, sorry for just keeping everything to myself at that time. I thought that was for the best. Kung alam mo lang, Mom, the pain I felt when I read online that Ricky got married, tapos ang layo-layo ko pa sa inyo.” Maya said. “Pero after ilang years, my heart healed and I, sort of, move on, pero hindi pa rin nawala ang feelings ko for him.”
“Ganyan talaga, anak when love is true. It endures.” Maya’s mom told her.
“I know, Mom. I love Ricky very much and he said he will make it up to me.” Maya added, and her mother can see the love for Richard shining in her eyes. “By the way, Mom, Ricky said he will give you call tomorrow. Would that be okay?”
“Of course, I want to hear from him also. Kailangan niyang i-promise sa akin na hindi ka niya sasaktan ulit!” Mommy Tessie told Maya, half-jesting, half-serious.
“You know what, Mom. That is one of the reasons he told me why he wants to give you a call.”
“Talaga, anak! Nakakatuwa naman.” Mommy Tessie smiled, then asked, “Teka, sabi mo reasons,’nak, may iba pa daw ba siyang dahilan sa pagtawag?”
“Oh, I don’t know about the others, kasi sabi niya ‘among other things’ lang, Mom.” Maya replied.
By then, Mommy Tessie’s motherly intuition kicked in and she has a pretty good idea on why Richard wants to call her. Looks like, he is really making up for lost time, fast!
“Okay, anak! I will just wait for Richard’s call.” Mommy Tessie said.
“How’s Nikki and Luke, Mom?” Maya’s siblings are both in high school. Luke is in his senior year.
“They are okay. They are doing good. I hope you can be here for Luke’s graduation ha.”
“I will try, Mom. Alam niyo naman po itong work ko. Minsan kung saan-saan na lang ako nakakarating. Saka, we have this project with Mrs. Lim, di ba?”
“Hpw’s Richard’s mother nga pala Maya? I read that his father just died recently.”
“Mrs. Lim is a very nice lady. I forgot to tell you earlier. The reason why Ricky and I met sooner than we expected was because of her talaga. I think she wanted to matchmake between us. Speaking of which, I forgot. I don’t think alam na niya na kami na ulit ni Ricky. Mom, iyong expression niya nang malaman niyang magkakilala kami ni Ricky, priceless!”
“Talaga, anak. Mukhang magkasundo naman pala kayo ni Mrs. Lim. I’m glad.” Mommy Tessie said cryptically.
“Yes, Mom. We do. Nakakatuwa and nakaka-amaze minsan ang mga idea ni Mrs. Lim for her charities. Saka hands-on talaga, especially after Ricky’s dad died.” Maya answered. “Mom, I have to go. Super late na. I need to wake up earlier than usual kasi Ricky will pick me up again tomorrow.”
“Sinusundo ka ni Richard? Eh di ba sabi mo earlier sa BGC siya nakatira and their office is in Ortigas and you work in Makati. Okay lang ba sa kanya, anak? Hindi ba nakakapagod, considering CEO na siya ngayon!”
“I told him about that already, Mom pero makulit and mapilit. He has a driver naman. Saka, alam mo Mom the first time he invited me to dinner, he did it by sending almost 3,000 roses to the house, para raw sa bawat araw ng mga taon na hindi niya ako nabigyan noong roses na ibinibigay niya sa akin na nagsimula noong nagtatrabaho pa ako sa hotel.”
“Oh my! Maya anak. grabeng bumawi sa iyo si Richard ha. I have to say this, anak, kinikilig ako.” Maya’s mom told her happily, and teasingly. “Sabihin ko nga sa Daddy Mark mo at ng magka-hint matagal-tagal na akong hindi nakakatanggap ng flowers from him, hahahaha.”
Maya laughed. “Oh by the way, Mom. You can tell this to Daddy Mark. I’m sure he will be happy for us too. Kasi, I think he liked Ricky a lot when I brought him home for that Thanksgiving dinner!”
“Okay I will. O matulog ka na. Good night anak. I love you.”
“I love you, Mom. Hugs and kisses to Nikki, Luke and Daddy Mark.”
Mother and daughter signed off. On the way to the bathroom, Maya saw her phone blinking. There was a message from Ricky. Good thing it was just sent several minutes ago.
Good night, my love! See you in several hours. I love you!
Good night, my Ricky. Sorry for the delayed reply. I just finished talking to Mom. More on this tomorrow! I love you too, very much. Sleep well.
Richard was at Maya’s house several minutes before seven o’clock the following day. Upon seeing him waiting for her by the car again, Maya thought that she will never get tired of looking at her handsome boyfriend like this.
When Maya was walking towards him, Richard thanked his lucky stars again that he has been given a second chance at this, looking at his beautiful girlfriend with a loving and sweet smile for him every morning.
They exchanged a sweet good morning kiss.
While inside the car, Maya told Ricky that she mentioned to her mom that he will give her a call. Maya suggested that the best time probably is in the evening. Anyway, she said, her mother will just be home today. So is her Dad who just got back from a business trip.
“Oh good! I’m looking forward to that. Thank you, Maya.” Richard said, happy at the turn of events! “By the way, is it okay if we have dinner this evening sa family home namin?”
Maya was surprised at his request. “Oh, is there a special occasion? Birthday ba ni Mrs. Lim? Or baka naman family dinner iyon, Ricky! You don’t have to include me. I can just take a cab home.”
Richard smiled at Maya, then cupped her chin lovngly! “No, my love. I want to us to have dinner with Mama, only her, so we can tell her we are in a relationship na ulit.”
“Oh!” Maya’s eyes rounded and she felt her heart skipped a beat in hearing that. Then smiled sweetly, a bit shyly at Ricky. “Would that be okay? We just started again.”
“Maya, I’m 101 percent sure that it will be okay. Besides, my mother is probably dying to know what happened after she left us in BGC, but is waiting for me to say anything. Actually, I think she will be ecstatic. Don’t you have the feeling that she was trying to match us up together? I’m also thankful to Mama, if not for her, probably we would have not seen each other yet dahil hahanapin pa lang kita sana.”
“Or maybe, yes we would, since I knew you are her son and I was determined to have a closure.” Maya said smiling. “But I ‘m really thankful to your mother.”
“So, it is a go? I wil give her a call to say that we are coming for dinner, okay?”
Maya nodded, and they spend the ride chatting about the stuffs they needed to do for the day. Like yesterday, Richard gave Maya a paper bag when she got off the car.
“Thank you! I love you! Have a great day, Ricky!” Maya said then gave him a quick kiss on the lips.
Richard grinned. “With that to fortify me for the day, I surely will. Can I have one more, please!”
Maya giggled, but gave him another kiss. She entered her building, still smiling.
“PDA kung PDA lang ex-roomie!” Emman greeted.
“Emman!!!! What are you doing here? This is a nice surprise!” Maya ran to her friend and gave him a big hug.
“Bessie, two weeks ago lang tayo huling nagkita ah. Parang miss na miss mo na ako kaagad.” Emman remarked. “May client meeting ako sa building mo, pero mamaya pa. Na-move kasi. I was informed when I was on my way here. Hayun, I was about to text you, when I saw you got off the car and kissed that guwapong-guwapong guy na parang hindi naman si Rafa! Nag-wish ka ng boyfriend sa fairy godmother mo and granted agad-agad! The last time, I know you were still pining for you-know-who’ kahit hindi mo sinasabi sa akin!”
Maya grinned at Emman. “But Emman, bes, that was ‘you-know-who’ I was kissing earlier!!!!”
“Sino…..si….si…Richard iyon? Boyfriend mo na ulit siya? Ayieeeeee!” Emman screamed. People started looking at them. Emman noticed, turned red and said, “Sorry, sobrang kilig lang po. Pero, Mayabels, paano nangyari? Kailan? Saan? Di ba na-hurt ka niya ng husto? Hindi mo man sinabi sa akin ang nangyari. I knew that you must be kasi ni ayaw mong pag-usapan and hindi mo binabanggit ang name. Tapos ang mga nanliligaw sa iyo, dedma, pati na rin si el hombre muy guapo Rafa!”
“Emman, it’s a long story. Halika since na-move ang meeting mo. Late’s share the coffee and pandesal that I’m sure are inside this paper bag. Doon na lang tayo sa office ko,” Maya said as they walked towards the elevator banks.
Maya greeted her colleagues who were as early as she was when they entered their area. Then she and Emman proceeded to her office.
“Emman, could you please take out what’s inside. I will just get an extra mug for you.” Maya said as she directed Emman to the small coffee table she has by the corner of her office.
Emman did that and said, “Oh wow” as soon as he opened the paper bag. He saw the beautiful rose with the note. He also saw a coffee tumbler and as Maya guessed several pandesal.
“Heto, ang note. Hindi ko binuksan ha.” Emman said as he handed Maya the note and the rose. “Talagang iyang Prince Charming mo, wagas. After eight years, mahilig pa ring magbigay ng notes and roses sa iyo. Sa kanya galing ang mga ito, di ba?”
Maya smiled. She forgot about the rose and the note. She put the rose in the vase on her table, joining the other one from yesterday! “Yes, he is.” Then she opened the note and smiled goofily.
My beautiful love. Huwag magpagutom! I love you!
“Hay, ang in love nga naman. Ang ngiti raw nakakapunit din ng labi.” He teased.
The two friends laughed. While drinking their coffee and eating the four pandesal with cream cheese that Richard gave Maya today, Maya gave Emman a condensed version of how she and Richard met again and now having their second chance at love. She left out the things that only Ricky and her should know.
“Grabe roomie. Iyon na pala ang pinagdadaanan mo noon, hindi mo man lang binanggit sa akin nang nadamayan kita.” Emman said as he touched Maya’s hand as if to comfort her. “Pati rin pala ang mga pinagdaanan ni Richard noon, grabe. You two, deserve to be together again. I’m so happy for the two of you.”
“Sorry Emman, ang gulo kasi ng lahat noon. Saka sinarili ko talaga. Even Mom didn’t know.”
“Oh! Pero ngayon nasabi mo na rin ang lahat ng ito kay Tita Tessie? Alam na niyang boyfriend mo na ulit si Richard?”
“Yes, I did. I chatted with her on Skype last night. She also told me that Ricky visited her after I left.” Maya then told Emman what her mom told her of Richard’s visit.
“Hay ex-roomie, sa dami talaga ng pinagdaanan niyo niyang Prince Charming, isa lang ang patutunguhan niyan, happy ever after!”
“Sobra ka naman, Emman, kaka-start pa lang namin ulit.” Maya protested, but at the back of her mind, she wants her and Richard to end up together for the rest of their lives.
“Hay naku, basta, dapat bridesmaid ako ha.” Emman finished with a raised eyebrow and a bridesmaid pose. “Saka dapat ang partner ko si El Guapo Rafa ha.”
“Ikaw talaga, Emman.” Maya laughed.
“O siya, siya, bessie. Chika tayo ulit. Bababa na ako at malapit na rin naman ang meeting ko.” He gave her a beso. “Hello to Richard.”
Maya worked on the project proposal for Richard’s mom after Emman left. It took her until lunch to finish it the draft. With the other paperworks that she attended to after that, the rest of the day passed like a blur. Richard picked her up at past six o’clock in the evening. Soon after, Mang Lem parked the car in front of a stately home in one of the posh villages in Makati.
Richard opened the door for Maya and assisted her out.
“Is this where you grew up Ricky?” Maya said as she took a closer look at the elegant house.
“Yes. It has been in my family since before I was born. Papa inherited it from my grandparents.”
They walked towards the massive front door, which suddenly opened and they were welcome warmly by Donya Esmeralda.
“Maya, welcome to our home. I was very happy to know, when Ricky told me that you and him are coming to dinner.” Donya Esmeralda said as she gave Maya a beso.
“Good evening po, Mrs. Lim. Thank you for having us, kahit short notice.” Maya said formally.
“Hija, no more Mrs. Lim. Di ba sabi ko naman sa iyo noon na Tita Esmeralda na lang. Lalo na siguro ngayon. Feeling ko may sasabihin kayo sa akin ni Ricky.”
“Ma, ikaw talaga. Paupuin mo muna kami ni Maya.” Richard laughing.
Donya Esmeralda laughed. “Ay oo nga, son. Sorry Maya, excited lang. “Come, let’s have dinner na nga muna. Naka-ready na.”
“Sige na nga, Ma, sasabihin na namin ni Maya at baka hindi ka makakain ng maayos sa anticipation.” Richard teased his mother.
Richard held Maya’s hand, intertwined it with his. “Ma, kami na po ulit ni Maya.” He said then looked at Maya lovingly.
“Oh my, oh my, really!!! Sabi ko na nga ba! Maya hija, Ricky son, I’m so very very happy. Sabi ko na nga, unang kita ko palang dito kay Maya, alam kong bagay kayo. Little did I know na pinagtagpo na pala kayo ng tadhana before.” Donya Esmeralda hugged Maya then her son.
“We will tell you about it Ma after dinner. Gutom na ako. Let’s eat na.” Richard said smiling.
“O siya, siya. Let’s eat na muna.” Donya Esmeralda said, still with a big smile on her face. She led her son and Maya to the dining room. “Fe, ready na ba ang lahat. Fe, heto nga pala si Maya, girlfriend ni Ricky. Maya, itong si Fe ang yaya ni Ricky noong bata siya.”
“Kumusta po, Ma’am?” Manang Fe greeted Maya.
“Maya na lang po, Manang Fe.” Maya smiled at the old lady. “Finally, na-meet ko kayo. Madalas po kayong ikwento sa akin ni Ricky noong nasa New York pa kami.”
“Dati? New York?” Manang Fe asked before she can stop herself.
“Opo, doon po kasi kami nagkakilala nitong si Ricky, eight years ago.” Maya answered.
“Manang, doon ko unang naging girlfriend si Maya. Mahabang kwento po. After dinner, Maya and I will tell you and Mama what happened kung bakit hindi kami nagkatuluyan the first time. Sabay na po kayo sa amin.” Richard invited his old nanny, to sit beside him and Maya.
“Oo nga naman Fe. Huwag ulit tatanggi. Special occasion ito.” Donya Esmeralda added, and patted the chair beside her. “Dito ka na ng makapagkwentuhan tayo ng maayos lahat habang kumakain.”
“Sige po. Thank you.” Manang Fe agreed as she wanted to get to know better the woman her alaga loves a lot. Ito siguro ang dahllan kung bakit malungkot si Ricardo, ang paghihiwalay nila ni Maya noon at ang hindi nawawalang pagmamahal dito, she thought.
Richard regalled his mother and Manang Fe of his and Maya’s adventures in New York the first time they met while they were having dinner. He also told them how the two of them met. He looked at Maya , from time to time, with a very loving expression as they reminisced their wonderful time together in New York, before everything turned bad.
They moved to the lanai for their coffee and dessert and that was where Richard and Maya told them what happened to their beautiful love affair in New York. They just left out the details that was just for the two of them. Manang Fe and Donya Esmeralda were both teary-eyed after they were finished telling their story.
“Oh my, Ricky, Maya. what you two went through! I’m so happy that you managed to overcome that and still ended up together. You two are really meant for each other.” Donya Esmeralda said as she stood up and hugged, first Maya and then her son. “Now I understand completely what your Papa was trying to tell me on this deathbed. He was asking for your forgiveness, you know. Hindi ko lang masyadong maintindihan and in my grief, nawala na isip ko. Naalala ko lang when you told me doon sa lunch natin sa BGC that Maya was your girlfriend in New York.”
“Talaga po, Ma. He also wrote to me, pero when I found the courage to reply to it, wala na si Papa.” Richard finished.
“Maya, Ricardo, masayang-masaya ako para sa inyo.” Manang Fe also said. “Ganyan talaga mga anak ang tunay na pag-ibig. Pagyamanin niyo na at huwag niyo nang papayagang muli kayong mahiwalay sa isa’t-isa.”
“Opo Manang. Hinding-hindi ko na talaga pakakawalan itong si Maya.” Richard said as he gazed lovingly and meaningfully to Maya, who turned crimson and self-conscious with his statement.
“Ricky ikaw talaga…..” Maya said looking at Richard lovingly.
” O di ba, tama ang instinct ko sa inyong dalawa.” Donya Esmeralda said.
“Ma admit it, tama ang hula namin ni Maya, di ba. Nagma-matchmake ka sa amin noong isinama mo ako sa lunch mo with her. Kaso hayun nag-backfire sa iyo, ikaw ang na-surprise.” Richard said with a big teasing grin to his mother.
“Hahahaha, guilty son!” Donya Esmeralda said. “I’m so happy for both of you. And son, you really deserve to be happy. Ikaw rin Maya. Pasalamat ka rin Ricky at walang nakitang kapalit mo itong si Maya.”
“Mahirap yata ang akong palitan, Ma.” Richard said, jesting, which earned him a loving pinch from Maya. “Owww, masakit Maya. Biro lang, my love.”
They all laughed. Their little merry group broke out at around 10 o’clock in the evening. Richard told his mother and Manang Fe that he needed to take Maya home as they have work tomorrow. Besides, he wants to be sure that he will catch Maya’s mom at home.
“Thank you po ulit, Mrs…errr, Tita Esmeralda for the dinner.” Maya said when they were leaving.
“Maya hija, thank you for giving my son another chance.” Donya Esmeralda said. “Saka dalasan mo ang pagpunta rito, hija. Iba naman iyong mga meeting natin sa project ha.”
“Sige po, I will. Good night po. Sa inyo rin po Manang Fe.” Maya went to Richard’s old nanny and gave her a big hug too.
“Mag-iingat kayo, Maya, Ricardo. Magandang gabi.” She said.
Richard drove Maya home himself, having sent Mang Lem home earlier, and Joma, the Lims’ other driver is on vacation.
When they were in front of Maya’s house, Richard took hold of Maya’s hand, then kissed it lightly. “I love you, you are the best, the most beautiful and the most loving girlfriend in the whole world.”
“Thank you my love, you are, too, the most wonderful boyfriend in the world.” Maya replied. then asked, “And what brought this on, Mr. Lim?”
“Wala lang, I’m just so, so very, very happy.” Richard said gazing at Maya with so much love. “Everything is coming together and us together, is simply amazing!”
They shared a loving look, then they both moved, angled their faces for a kiss. As soon as Richard’s lips touched Maya’s, they both felt the fire, they kissed hotly. Maya opened her lips to let Richard’s tongue in. Richard explored Maya’s mouth, kissing her thoroughly, hotly. Maya responded and before they knew it, they were at each other, touching, kissing and exploring.
“Maya, my love….” Richard muttered as he dove into Maya’s mouth again, at the same time touching the underside of her breast.
Maya felt that she was on fire too. “Ricky, you make me feel so good….”
They continued kissing, until a sound from a car, backfiring, and then a headlight interrupted them. They looked sheepishly each other, catching their breaths and at the same time they realized where they were.
“Good night, Maya.” Richard said softly, caressing Maya’s face. “I love you.”
Good night, Ricky. Drive carefully.” Maya replied, her lips thoroughly kissed, her hair in disarray, and her blouse untucked! “I love you too.”
Seeing her like this, all mussed up and the evidence of passion still visible in her face, Richard thought, she is the most beautiful girl in the world and she is his as he is hers. Hopefully, together forever soon.