Archive for December, 2014
Richard looked around the busy lobby of Lim Corporation. He is trying to find Maya. They agreed earlier that they will meet each other here, then go to his car in the basement parking, together. It seems like, he was early. He checked the time, and indeed, he is early by 10 minutes. He was about to go to the lobby’s waiting area to wait for Maya when someone called his name.
“Richard Lim,” a husky feminine voice called Richard from the direction of the coffee shop. “I knew you are back in the country but this is the first time, I’m seeing you. Good thing, I decided to have coffee here before heading back to Makati.”
“Hello Ghie! Nice to see you!” Richard greeted the lady, who was wearing a business outfit, carrying her laptop bag, and a cup of coffee. “Did you have a meeting somewhere in LC?”
“No, not in LC. Otherwise, it would have been with you. Congratulations! I heard you are back here for good as LC’s chief lawyer. I had a meeting in the other building.” Ghie replied as took a sip of her coffee. “How about you, where are you going now? Are you free? Can we have dinner? Catch up?”
“Thank you Ghie. Yes, I’m here for good. About dinner, I’m so sorry I can’t! I’m going somewhere special this evening.” Richard said, letting Ghie down. “I already have plans.”
Ghie had been quite blatant, even in Law School in letting in know that she likes him a lot, and a mere encouragement from him, she will surely grab. Luckily, he also saw Maya coming out of the elevator with her secretary and other people from her department, he presumed, as she said goodbye to them with a big wave and some good-natured banter. She was walking gracefully across the marble floor, looking for him, at the same time. She does look lovely in her crimson shift dress. He waved at her, then gave her a blinding, lopsided smile.
Maya saw Richard talking to a tall, poised, polished woman sipping coffee, as she approached the area near the entrance of the building. After her misconception earlier, she is not about to jump to another conclusion this time. Besides, she does trust Richard. She does not have a basis to blindly trust him as they are in the getting to know each other stage, but instinctively, she does. She have the impression that he is a very upfront person. She decided to go with her instinct and her blossoming feeling for this wonderful guy. Besides, the way Richard was gazing at her at that moment, she felt like she is the most beautiful woman in the world. Just like Emman said, feeling mas mahaba pa kay Rapunzel ang hair.
“Hi Ricky!” Maya said brightly and cheerfully as she neared, gazing at him too. She also included the lady with him in her greetings. “Hello! Ricky, I’m sorry, I’m a bit late. I approved pa the press release for our renewable energy project in Ilocos Norte.”
“No worries, Maya. I was just early. By the way, Maya, this is Atty. Josephine Evangelista, a law school classmate. Ghie, this very special lady is Maya Dela Rosa, LC’s Head of Corporate Communications.”
Maya’s heart skipped a beat when she heard Richard referred to her as a very special lady. “I’m please to meet you Atty. Evangelista!”
Ghie, on the other hand, was startled with what Richard said. Coupled with his earlier remark that he will be having a very special night, meeting this beautiful woman whom it is obvious that Richard likes a lot, she felt defeated. She would have love to have something more with Richard, but no matter what she does, he just treats her like this, an acquaintance. She put on a bright smile, then replied to Maya. “Please to meet you too, Maya.”
She is not admitting defeat, though. Far from it! She did a parting dig before she left them. “I’ll go ahead, Maya, Richard. And Ricky, please let me know when we will have that dinner.”
Oh-oh, Richard thought. It seems like the lady is out to make trouble for him and Maya.
Maya saw Richard’s very surprised expression at Ghie’s statement.
“Errr, Maya, what she meant….” Richard was uncomfortable, trying to find words to explain to Maya that it was all Ghie who wanted to have dinner with him. He wants Maya to know that he had declined. Besides, He is ‘Richard’ to Ghie, not ‘Ricky’. Only special people in his life calls him ‘Ricky’!
“Ricky, no need to explain please. I think I get it. She was inviting you to dinner and you declined.” Maya said, smiling. “Kaso, she saw me, and said that.”
“Yes, but how did you guess?” Richard asked surprised at her perception.
“Well, you had this open-mouthed expression when she said that. It looked she blindsided you. She was also pretty transparent when you introduced me to her. Her expression changed. Did you say something else to her?”
“Hmmm, I did tell her I have a special evening planned tonight.” Richard said, grinning and relieved. “But kudos talaga diyan sa past job mo. Grabe ang power of observation mo.”
“Thank you. Pero this afternoon, it didn’t work well. I jumped to conclusion!” Maya said, laughing, remembering her blunder.
“Oh, that one, I was happy you made that one.” Richard remarked again cryptically. “Thank you Maya.”
Maya knew what Richard meant. She smiled at him. In the middle of the lobby, they shared a meaningful gaze. Then as if realising what they were doing, they smiled at each other again, breaking the gaze, then Richard guided Maya to the waiting elevator by holding on to her elbow.
“I hope you will like the place where we are going.” Richard remarked when they were on their way to Makati. “I discovered it by accident.”
“Hmmm, where are we going?” Maya asked, very curious.
Richard smiled. “Surprise. I don’t want to describe it to you. I want you to see it.”
“Okay, though I’m not very good at surprises and not knowing. I want to find out about everything.”
“Useful trait, if you are a journalist.” Richard remarked as he navigated the early evening rush hour. “How long were you a journalist? I mean, I think you still are at heart. I mean, before you switched careers. And this is not a job interview,” he teased, “I sincerely want to know. It seems like a fascinating career and I want to know you better like I have said.”
“I think about seven years. I took up Journalism and ended up working for Philippine Daily News.” Maya said naming the number one daily in the country. “Into my second year there, I was recruited as a correspondent for a Japanese news agency. Then after that I moved to the American one where I resigned last year.”
Richard felt like there was a whole lot of things that happened with the way Maya said it. He was thinking of a careful way of asking why she left a career that she worked hard to be in, when Maya spoke again.
“I left it because I didn’t think I can be a hardened journalist anymore. I lost the edge. Did you know that my last assignment was covering the most descructive typhoon to hit the country last year?” She asked rhetorically, then continued. “I was in Tacloban when the gigantic storm surges hit.”
“Oh Maya!” Richard said, recalling the sad, terrible images he had seen on TV.
“Yes, I was among the lucky ones who survived at the place where I stayed with my two-man crew. They died.” Maya said, pain still in her voice. “I watched them getting swept away and there was nothing I could do. I saw other people getting swept away. By some miracle, I survived. I thought I have died too, but only to wake up in a living nightmare after. I felt so helpless. But I forged on and did my job, but took me a while to overcome my trauma. I had nightmares. I mean, I have seen bad things before in the course of my career, but nothing can compare to that one. I left the job.
“Maya, I can’t even imagine what you went through. It is too hard to think.” Richard said as he got hold of Maya’s hand and put his on top to comfort her. “You are a very strong person to have survived that and rebuilt your life.”
“I guess, I’m still trying.” Maya said, trying to calm herself. “I tried not to dwell on the sadness and the what ifs. One thing I realised after that is to pick up the pieces, then live for the present. Life can be gone in an instant, with so many unrealized dreams, so many things unsavoured, and love and feelings remaining unuttered, thinking that you have all the time in the world. James told me of the opening at Lim Corporation when I was exploring my options. I applied and here I am. I’m very happy with what I am doing. And I am not saying that because you are the son of my boss.” Maya said, trying to lighten up the mood.
Richard smiled at that, then turned serious. “I’m sorry for what you went through Maya. The good thing is you still stayed positive. Good thing James also pointed you to the right direction to what you needed at that time you needed a direction.”
“Yes, he is a very good friend, true and true. We have another very close friend, who told me the same, but she is not working in LC. She is a doctor and when I am not working, I go with her when she does her outreach programs.”
“Really! That sounds interesting. What do you usually do in there?” Richard asked, wanting to know. Doing that has been what he was mulling on doing to. He just didn’t know how. He has his reasons too, for wanting to reach out.
“Well, since I am not a doctor, I usually act as a receptionist or do work that I can do as a non-medical professional. Oh by the way, they have lawyers too in the group, mostly volunteers who give legal advice to people who can’t afford lawyers.”
“Oh really! Can I join you guys? It has been something I want to do for quite sometime. You know to give back a bit, aside from the pro bono work I did on the side before I left for the States.”
“Of course, you may. I’m sure Diana and her group mates will be glad to have a high-caliber lawyer like you with them. I’ll give her a call and check the next schedule.”
“Oh, good! Also I get to spend more time with you.” Richard said, seemingly out of nowhere.
Maya looked at him. But before she can react fully. They have arrived at a parking lot. Richard parked the car, then went to Maya’s side and opened the door for her.
“We need to walk a little bit.” Richard said as he guided Maya by holding on to her elbow. “But I promise, it is worth it.
“I’m looking forward to where we are going Ricky. Lead on.” Maya said with a smile.
Several minutes after, they turned into a corner, then to an opened gate, to a beautiful garden restaurant.
“Wow.” Maya was amazed at this beautiful place in the middle of the city, with buses, thousands of cars and a train line pass by, with people unaware that there is a treasure like this at the other side of the tall fence that separated them.
“I told you. Di ba, words can’t describe it. The food is also marvelous.” Richard said grinning, happy to know that Maya likes the place. He wants their first date to be a very memorable one.
“Good evening po, Sir Richard, Ma’am Maya!” The headwaiter of the restaurant greeted Maya. “This way po, Sir, Ma’am.”
“Thank you Paulo!” Richard said after the headwaiter seated Maya, then pulled the sit for him. “We would like your specials and the works, and a bottle of your best vintage in the cellar. Is white okay with you, Maya or would you rather have red wine?”
“I prefer white wine. Thank you.” Maya replied, really liking the ambiance of the restaurant. It felt like she and Richard was in a secluded garden in the middle of nowhere, instead of the busy metropolis.
“Okay, white it is then, Paulo.” Richard said to the waiter.
Paulo excused himself, then returned several minutes after with the wine, which he had Richard tasted first, before pouring a glass each for him and Maya. Paulo excused himself again to start serving the first of their several-course dinner that evening.
“To us, and first dates! May this be the start of countless ones!” Richard said, offering Maya a toast, while gazing at her.
Maya blushed and her heart skipped a beat with that statement. She can’t help but feel the kilig. “To dates.” She managed to say.
They drank to that. Then just stared at each other. Their private moment was interrupted by Paulo bringing in their appetizer. They proceeded to enjoy their dinner and in between got to know each other more.
“Do you always want to be a lawyer?” Maya asked Richard as they were enjoying their main course. “Isn’t it a business course better since your family owns LC?”
“I guess I did. I was not easy since I had to buck family tradition. My father, of course, would have wanted me to study business and learn the ins and outs of running the business. I did try to please him by becoming a CPA. But the call of the law was stronger. I enrolled in Law school after trying the business for two years. I practiced here actually, some criminal cases, but majority were corporate ones. I decided to take up LLM in the States, after a while then stayed there, first because of a girl whom I thought I would end up with, but didn’t. Then, eventually, because I like living there. I felt like I have my own identity aside from being the son of business magnate Roberto Lim. But in recent months, Papa has been cajoling me to come home, and with the push from my Mama too, I said yes. So here, I am. I’m glad though, aside from the fact that I like the work, I got to meet you.” Richard ended, gazing at Maya.
“Oh!”Maya took a gulp of her wine, flattered at Richard’s interest, at the same time, curious about the girl in the States. But on the other hand, she thought, it was all in the past.
“Maya, I have been vocal in saying that I like you a lot. The fact is I think I’m falling in love with you.” He said seriously, putting his hand on top of Maya’s as he looked at her earnestly.
“Ricky….” Maya felt heady with that statement.
“Maya, I just want you to know. Let me show it to you. Would that be okay?”
Maya just nodded before taking another gulp of her third glass of wine, she thinks. Richard gave her his bone-melting lopsided smile.
“Thank you.” He simply said. “May I asked you something though, if it is okay kasi it is personal?”
“S-sure, I don’t mind.” Maya managed to say with a sweet smile.
“You blurted out that day that you sent me a wrong text that you don’t have a boyfriend and you haven’t had one. How come? You are very beautiful, intelligent, very nice and have a great sense of humor.”
“Oh God, you remember that!” Maya said, trying to cover her face, embarrassed.
“Hahahaha, I did. That made my day kaya. You know what, I have been wanting to find out since I met you, pero I was afraid to us someone dahil baka hindi pa man ako nanliligaw, alam na ng buong LC. Not that I mind that they know, baka lang kasi ma-conscious ka.” Richard admitted.
“Really?” Maya said, grinning, happy what she is hearing.
“Really, really!” He said witha big grin too.
“On not having one. Before there was no one kasi who caught my attention enough to say yes to. Before, no one made my heart beat faster and all the blood surging to my head with just a look, no one made me think of him all the time.”
“Before? You mean now there is….?” Richard probed, he just can’t help it, he wants to know.
Maybe, it was the wine, she was not sure afterwards what made her say it, but Maya suddenly blurted out as if she can’t help herself, “Ikaw.” Then she realized what she just said and covered her face. “OMG!”
Richard grinned, as if he won the lotto. He gazed at Maya lovingly, then softly said, “I’m so glad.”
Maya was still staring at the closed door, with a goofy smile, when someone knocked on it. “Come in!” Maya said with a big smile, for whoever was behind the door. She was just so happy, nothing or no one can ruin her already very beautiful day!
The door opened and Emman came in with a curious expression on his face. “Maya Dela Rosa, parang napapadalas yata ang dalaw dito sa office mo ng handsome chief lawyer natin ha.” He teased as he sat in front of Maya’s desk holding several sheets of papers.
“Ikaw, Emman Castro, speaking of which, may hindi ka sinasabi sa akin!” Maya said, looking at her friend with accusatory, but teasing expression. “Ikaw iyong nagsabi sa secretary ni Ricky, errrr, ni Atty. Lim, na sunflowers ang paborito kong flowers di ba?
“OMG, so siya nga! Tama ang hula ko! Si guwapong-guwapong Attorney Richard nga ang secret admirer mo! “ Emman shrieked happily.
“Shhhh, Emman. Kalma lang. Marinig ka ng mga tao sa labas. Akala nila kung napapaano ka na diyan.” Maya said with a smile. “Errr, yes, umamin na siya na siya ang nagpapadala ng mga ito.”
“Oh my, oh my, oh my! Kinikilig ako sis! Feeling ko nanonood ako ng movie nina John Lloyd at Sarah o kaya nina John Lloyd at Bea!” Emman said. “Basta, lahat na ng romcom na napanood ko, kabog ng blossoming lovelife mo.”
“Pero Mayabels, hindi ko naman intensyong itago sa iyo iyon. I suspected it when you mentioned that the card with the flowers was not signed and about only a handful of people here know you like sunflowers. I was not so sure. I thought, baka nagkataon lang din. Kasi naman itong si Liza, kaswal na kaswal lang ang tanong sa akin matapos akong tsikahin. Para raw kasi sa birthday mo. Then later on ko na lang na-realized na bakit nga ba siya nagtatanong samantalang hindi naman siya ang nagha-handle ng flowers for the company officers na nagbi-birthday. Di ba tayo iyon? Si Annie ang in-charge doon di ba?”
“I know Emman. Hindi rin naman alam ni Ricky, errr, ni Atty. Lim na ikaw ang tinanong ni Liza.” Maya said. “But then I realized it was you since friend mo si Liza di ba?”
“Yes, I know her since before she resigned the first time to take care of her kids. She is very nice and I’m glad she is back. Sayang ang skills niya and medyo malalaki na naman ang kiddos niya. Pero, Mayabels, Ricky, kung Ricky, okay lang iyon. Tayong dalawa lang naman dito.” Emman said with a smile. “Hay nakakakilig naman talaga! So, paanong umamin na si Attorney Richard sa iyo?”
“Hahahaha, that’s the funny part. Kahapon ko pa alam na siya. Nahuli ko kasi na pareho ang handwriting noong documents na galing sa Legal at nung nasa card. I compared. Then I decided to flush Ricky out.” Maya said with a big smile,then proceeded to tell Emman how she turned the tables on Richard.
“OMG, that was so funny!” Emman said smiling. “Mabuti hindi nagselos kay guwapong-guwapo ring Sir James.”
“Well, I think, hindi naman siguro. Pero I have to thank James talaga, effective ang pagsakay niya sa gusto kong mangyari yesterday, kahit dense na dense ang reaction niya noong una.” Maya replied, still smiling.
“Ikaw na sis, ang haba ng hair, dinaig pa si Rapunzel. May Sir James na, may Atty. Richard pa.” Emman teased. “Pero I must say, I switched side. Team Richard na ako. Sorry, Sir James.”
“Hahahaha, Emman. Ikaw talaga. Alam mo namang friends lang talaga kami ni James. Well, as for Ricky, I like him.” Maya admitted with a blush, her eyes sparkling.
“Sis, ang mga mata, nagniningning. Pero, in fairness, parang mutual naman ang liking na iyan.”
“I do hope so. I just want to take things slowly. Alam mo naman, after what I have gone through, I just want to do things slowly. Live for the moment. Savor it.” Maya said. She was happy, but she suddenly turned pensive, remembering the catalyst for her switching careers.
“O siya, tama na nga iyan. It’s all in the past. There is nothing you can do about it.” Emman said.
“Oo nga. Heto na ba ang proofs ng next edition ng newsletter natin?” Maya asked, checkng the papers Emman gave her and Richard’s face was the first thing she saw when she inspected the first sheet of paper. Ang guwapo talaga! She just remembered that he is will be on the cover of the latest newsletter. Emman wrote the piece on him, mostly about his professional background, nothing much on the personal side, except that he is the only son of the owner of Lim Corporation. It also said that he finished Law at the Ateneo Law School and took up LLM in the States.
“Yes, pa-check na lang kung may kailangan pang baguhin.” Emman said, then teased Maya. “May mahigpit lang akong reminder, 10 pages iyan ha. Baka ma-stuck ka sa first page.
“Hahahaha, ikaw talaga, Emman.” Maya laughed. “Pero ang guwapo niya di ba?”
Emman said he agrees 101 percent. The two friends shared a laugh. Then, Emman returned to his workplace. Maya checked the lay-out of each page and finding everything in order, signed the copy so her staff can send it to the printers for those who want a hard copy of the newsletter. The morning passed like a blur. Maya’s concentration was broken by the ringing of her mobile phone around noon.
“College BFF, lunch tayo?” James asked as soon as Maya said hello. “You owe me for yesterday!”
Maya laughed. “Ikaw talaga, walang pinapalampas! O sige na nga. Okay lang ba na doon na lang sa restaurant sa 9th floor, instead of going out of the building?”
“Sure. I’ll see you there in 15 minutes. Ako na bahalang mag-order. I know your favorite from there!”
“Thanks, James. Sige, I’ll just freshen up and get my purse.”
Several minutes later, Maya entered the busy restaurant where most of the executives of LC dine, especially if they want a quick lunch. She was looking for James when she saw a familiar figure dining out with a beautiful girl in a corner table. Her heart skipped a beat when he smiled at her, but seeing him with a beautiful woman, felt like someone just pinched her heart.
She didn’t know how to react except to offer him a tentative smile. His companion looked at her too, curiously, and Maya noticed that she is very beautiful in a model kind of way. The girl offered Maya a smile, which she returned automatically.
Richard was about to stand up and go to her, when James called Maya from the left side of the restaurant. Maya grabbed at the opportunity to deflect Richard until she can think straight. She waved at Richard, smiled a bit forcefully, then went to James, with a brave, brilliant smile plastered on her face.
Richard saw who Maya was dining with and frowned. Hmmmm, what gives? Do I have a karibal in James? He mused.
“Chard, hoy Chard?” The lady called Richard several times before he reacted. “Who is the girl? Iyon ba si Maya? Friend pala sila ng COO niyo.”
Richard looked at his cousin Rafi. “How did you guess that it is her?”
“Sus naman cuz, kung makatingin ka sa kanya, wagas kaya. Saka ang laki kaya ng smile mo nang makita mo siyang pumapasok.”
Richard smiled at that. “Got me! That’s her. Kaya lang, mabigat ang karibal ko yata sa kanya.”
“Naku, lamang ka naman doon ng 20 times na paligo.” Rafi said loyally. “Saka, I haven’t seen you this unsure with a girl. Nasaan na lang ang Richard Lim’s famous and unshakeable confidence!”
“Yes, it is still here. But Rafi, I want this so much, kaya I’m nervous. That is what is different this time. She is different.”
“Oh my, oh my! Has my mighty and unattainable cousin fallen at last? I would think, big time. I never thought I would see the day!” Raf said gleefully.
“Shhhh, Rafaella Alcantara, ang boses mo. Marinig ka ni Maya.” Richard said, checking if Maya heard his cousin.
“Cuz, tingin ko may pag-asa ka naman. Parang nag-iba ang smile niya nang makita niyang may kasama ka.” Rafi remarked.
“Hmmm, parang hindi naman.” Richard retorted, not believing his cousin, though he wanted to, very much.
“Well, sometimes, it takes another girl to know also. Trust me. Kapag mali ako, hindi mo na kailagang palitan ang kinuha mong mga DVD kong ‘Before Sunrise’, ‘Before Sunset’ and ‘Before Midnight’. Lucky you, hindi ko pa nabubuksan ang mga iyon. But as it is to aid your panliligaw, I didn’t mind.” She finished, teasing her cousin whom she hasn’t in this state before.
“I hope you are right, Rafi, and thank you again for those.” Richard said, glancing one more time at a very chatty Maya. He can’t help but feel a pinch in his heart also, the way James and her were conversing. Their gestures indicated that they are very much at ease with each other, as if they have known each other for a long time. All he knew is that James was the one who recruited Maya to LC. Maybe, he should find out more about the dynamics between Maya and him.
“O bakit nga pala napasugod sa LC. Hindi ka ba busy sa atelier mo?” Richard asked, trying not to stare in Maya and James’s direction, trying to focus on his cousin, instead, who showed up at his office around lunchtime, asking if he has time for her.
“Well, I do need to pick your brain for a business I want to start in Makati.” Rafi said, then proceeded to tell her cousin about her plan to have a coffee and pastry shop beside the atelier she wanted to open there, aside from the one she has in Alabang. The two cousins talked about it in detail. Then afterwards, they talked about the antics of Rafi’s daughter Abby.
The cousins laughed so hard at an anecdote Rafi was telling about Abby refusing to eat vegetables, arguing that those are too healthy for her. Rafi teased Richard that her daughter is like her uncle, trying to get the best of an argument. For sure, she said, they will have another lawyer in the family in Abby. They laughed a bit louder than usual and Maya who was trying not to look at them, can’t help herself, as if something was pulling her against her better judgement.
“Maya Dela Rosa, are you with me this afternoon? Kanina ka pa distracted!” James remarked. Then he looked at the direction where she was gazing. “Ha, I know it! What gives? May hindi talaga ako alam. Kanina mo ba ako hindi sinasagot sa mga pangyayari yesterday. May kinalaman ba ang lahat ng ito kay Attorney Richard Lim?”
“Shhhh, James, madinig ka ni Richard saka noong girlfriend niya.” Maya remarked, the words painful to spit out. Though, she was not so sure if the girl is Richard’s girlfriend talaga. Pero sobrang at ease sila with each other, she argued in her head.
“Hahahaha, Maya, selos ka ba?” James said, as Maya tried to shush him. “College BFF hindi niya girlfriend iyan! In fact….”
James was not able to finish what he was saying, as Fred, the new lawyer whom James know personally before he work for LC, interrupted him. Fred asked if he could sit with them as the place was full. Most people didn’t go out to have lunch outside the building as it turned out, it was raining. Whatever James what about to say, was lost. Maya dared not ask him in front of Fred, though she was dying to know what was he was about to say earlier.
They ate companionably with Fred, or rather James did. Maya was very distracted. She can’t wait for lunch to be over. She can’t think. She was so aware of Richard and his companion and she knew the exact time they stood up and walked towards the exit to the restaurant. She refused to look at them, fearing she would see them very sweet with each other and worse, holding hands.
She, James and Fred finished their lunch soon after. They walked back towards the elevator that would take them to their offices.
Maya settled down on her chair and just stared into space. She was at a lost. Should she cancel the dinner with Richard? There is a part of her that believes that he would not go to such length to get her attention and wouldn’t have invited her if he is sweet to another girl. But who is that girl? It is maddening for Maya not to know!
Her phone beep, distracting her from her dark thoughts. She checked and saw it was from Richard.
Had good lunch, Maya?
Yes I did! And you?
Yes, it was nice to see Rafi again! So, see you at 7PM?
Hmmm, about that, should you have dinner with the girl you had lunch with, instead?
Maya pressed send before she could really think about that reply. OMG, she sounded like a harpy! She wished cellphones have a ‘recall text’ button!
Maya got doubly nervous when Richard didn’t reply anymore.
Unbeknown to her, Richard was grinning after reading her last text. So Rafi was right! Maya sounded jealous. He likes it very much. That means she cares for him and likes him din, di ba? He asked himself. He stood up from his desk, very happy with this turn of events.
“Liza, I will be out lang for 30 minutes or so.” He told his secretary. “Ilagay mo na lang sa mesa ang legal briefs na pinagawa ko kina Fred and Aldrin. Thanks Liza.” Then he was gone before his secretary could react further.
Richard went down to the lobby, bought two cups of coffee and some desserts, then rode to Maya’s floor. Her secretary spotted him on right away.
Nandito na naman si Sir Richard. Dito na yata gustong mag-office sa floor namin, Minerva thought! The others were not back from lunch yet, so it was just Minerva, Maya and Emman in this section of the office. Emman didn’t notice Richard as he was busy checking the powerpoint presentation he was making. Richard told Minerva not to announce him.
He knocked, then when he heard Maya said ‘come in’, he opened the door and he saw a distracted Maya looking at her phone as if wishing it to ring of beep.
“Coffee and dessert? I noticed you didn’t have any earlier!” He offered with a big smile to a surprised and blushing Maya.
“Ricky!….” She stood up, but then Richard motioned for her to sit down again, then put the steaming cup in front of her. “You don’t have to, but thank you! Ikaw talaga, baka sobrang nakakaabala na ako sa iyo.”
“Like I said before, hindi ka abala kahit kailan. Saka I want to talk to you in person, instead of texting.” He said smiling, still holding his coffee and dessert. “Hmmm, and why would you think that I would want to have dinner with my cousin Rafi, instead of you?” Richard asked meaningfully.
“Oh!….” was all Maya managed to say before she blushed big time.
“Yes, oh!, Ms. Maya Dela Rosa.” Richard said still smiling. “Didn’t your special friend James tell you about Rafi. He had seen her before in a company gathering. He also knows her dad, though I don’t think Rafi and him were formally introduced.”
“Errrr, he was about to tell me something when he got interrupted by Fred.” Maya said, smiling now. “Sorry for the wrong assumption. I don’t have a right naman to say that talaga.” She finished sheepishly.
“Well, I’m so glad you did.” He replied meaningfully, at the same time, he was waiting for her to say something more about James. But with her action, he sort of believe, that they were just very good friends, though there is still a lingering question in his mind. But he will deal with it another time. The important thing is, he managed to say to Maya that Rafi is not someone special in a romantic way. “I’ll see you later.”
“Yes, I will.” Maya said softly, melting under Richard’s warm gaze.
“I’m so looking forward to that, Maya.” Richard said, gazing at Maya meaningfully. And with that, he said goodbye.
Maya stared after him, grinning. All is right in her world again.
Note: Merry Christmas my fellow adiks!!!! I’m not sure If I can make another post before Christmas day, but I will try. But anyways, enjoy the holidays with your loved ones! 🙂 🙂 Sorry pala if I have typos, will check again in the morning. Just want to post this before heading off to dreamland. 🙂 🙂
Now and for always
There wasn’t a dry eye in the church after the bride and groom exchanged their vows. Everyone felt the tremendous love they have for each other. They all knew it is love that has remained true despite the obstacles, the distance, and the years that separated the couple who spoke of commitment and undying love for each other in front of God and before them who were fortunate enough to witness this blessed union of two people who were lucky to find a great love in their lifetime.
When the priest presented the newly-weds to all those who were present, there was a deafening cheer. Everyone stood up and clapped. When Father Tommy told the groom he can now kiss his bride, the groom obliged promptly, even before the priest finished saying that, which made everyone laughed. He gave her the longest kiss ever witnessed in all the marriages that has been celebrated at the majestic and magnificent Cathedral Basilica of the Sacred Heart in Newark, New Jersey.
The priest, once again presented the newly-weds who were, by then, being teased mercilessly by their families, friends and other guests who cannot contained their happiness in finally seeing these two at the altar.
“Mr. Richard and Mrs. Maya Lim, once again, ladies and gentlemen!” Father Tommy said with a big smile.
Maya, resplendent in an Alexander McQueen wedding gown, gave her husband a brilliant, loving smile before she faced and waved to hers and Richard’s cheering families and friends. Richard held his wife’s hand tightly, then in front of everyone reeled her gently to him and gave her another lingering kiss.
“Buddy, the honeymoon is for later!” Timothy shouted to an unrepentant Richard, who just grinned at him, and all the guests, so very happy that Maya is finally his! Tim is Richard’s best man.
Maya blushed, then with mischief in her eyes, gave her groom a kiss too. Everyone clapped and shouted for more. The couple obliged, then hugged each other. Her cousin Cristina Rose took that opportunity to arrange Maya’s dress train for the picture taking. She is Maya’s matron of honor.
The wedding coordinator called on the families and friends of the bride and groom for the picture taking. It was a merry moment as everyone mugged it for the camera, happy for the newly-weds.
On Maya’s side, those present at the wedding, aside from Mommy Tessie and Daddy Mark, were the entire Dela Paz family from Mindoro, from Mamang to Cristina Rose, Pocholo who was the ring bearer, then Jeff, Simon who was also a part of the entourage and now only has eyes for Emman’s cousin, Edselyn, who was his partner. Maya’s Tito Jose and Pilar were also there. Luke and Nikki were part of the entourage as well, together with Emman. A cousin of Maya’s father, her Uncle Romulo, who lives in Boston was also at the wedding, with his wife, Aunt Elena and her cousins Marina and Joseph. They have recently reestablished contacts with Mommy Tessie, thanks to the wonders of social media.
On Richard’s side, aside from a very happy Donya Esmeralda, Rafi and her family, with her daughter Abby being the flower girl, attended. His Uncle Patrick, his dad’s brother and also his family were at the wedding, as well as three cousins, daughters of his Uncle Peter, the one who died of stroke a decade ago. Manang Fe also traveled to New York with the Lims and was touched when Richard and Maya asked her to be one of their wedding sponsors.
Richard’s closest colleagues from the LHI office in New York were also invited to the wedding, as well as some of Maya’s UN friends who happened to be in New York at that time, and her close friends from the hotel, including Doris, and her old boss, Mrs. Catherine Roberts.
Rafael also made it to the wedding. So were Uncle Bobby, and his daughters Carolina and Isabela. Maya also brought Sabel with her to the States, much to her delight as it was her first ever trip abroad. She was part of the entourage too.
“I love you very much, my Mrs. Lim.” Richard whispered to Maya as the photographer and his assistant were preparing for their shot. “You are the most beautiful bride in the world. You also made me cry, seeing you walking down the aisle like that, towards me.”
“I love you very much too, my Mr. Lim.” Maya replied, touching her husband’s face. “While I was walking down that aisle, there was only you I was seeing. You were so handsome, so loving, waiting for me. I felt like I was floating to you.”
They shared a look, lost in their own world. The photographer had to call their attention twice before they reacted. They got teased again by their families and friends. They just gave them sheepish, loving smiles.
Soon after, everyone proceeded to the two charter buses Richard and Maya hired for the occasion. It will take everyone to La Signora where the reception will be.
Richard guided Maya to the waiting limo. As soon as they have settled in and was on way to Manhattan, Richard opened the bottle of champagne nestled in a bucket of ice by the side, poured him and Maya a glass each of the bubbly and offered a toast.
“To my beautiful wife! To our wonderful journey! I love you very much, now and for always! ”
“To my handsome and wonderful husband! I love you very much too, beyond forever!”
They looked at each other with so much love, then clinked their glasses. Then sealed their toast with a lingering kiss. They settled more comfortably into the plush seat of the car and looked back at their wonderful one month, culminating at the moment that they have waited for, for more than eight years!
Richard and Maya, one week after they became engaged, told Donya Esmeralda that they would like to marry in New Jersey where Maya’s family is. They have already talked to Mommy Tessie about it and she assured them that it is doable, even if there were only three weeks left to plan it. She told them to leave everything to her. They got lucky at the cathedral since a couple cancelled and they got the slot. Mommy Tessie promised to do all the preliminary preparations.
They told Donya Esmeralda that they wanted a small, private wedding, anyway, not a society circus, with only families and friends present. Richard’s mother did not have any objection to that. In fact, she suggested that the following week, they should go to New York so that they have ample time to prepare. At the same time, she wanted to meet and get to know her balaes.
Maya requested and was granted a month’s leave of absence from her work. While Richard, on the other hand, delegated most of his work to Atty. Ryan Molina, who knows the operations of LHI from the inside out. In the meantime, he will just work from the New York office again while they were preparing for the wedding.
The Lims, with Manang Fe, and Maya with Sabel traveled to the US. Richard, Donya Esmeralda and Manang Fe opened the Lim family apartment in Fifth Avenue, a place Don Roberto purchased five years before he died. Maya and Sabel stayed with the Winters in Newark. Not only it would be easier for Maya and Mommy Tessie to plan the wedding that way, Maya wanted to spend time with her family too.
Despite their busy schedules, Maya and Richard made sure they spend quality time together, reacquainting themselves to the New York that they loved so much – from picnics and carriage rides at Central Park, shows at Broadways, and Maya’s favorite – walking around the city, especially around the Times Square area.
One week before the wedding, and when most of the Manila-based family members on both sides were in either New York or New Jersey, Richard and Maya, in lieu of a stag party for Richard and a bachelorette party for Maya, organized an excursion and a dinner for everyone. They hired one of the New York tour buses to take everyone around the city, with a trip to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, and in the evening, they rented a yacht that took them on a night cruise around the New York Harbor. Everyone had fun.
It was something Maya experienced while attending a friend’s wedding in Europe. Bridgette asked Maya to attend even if she was not family as she is one of her dearest friends. Maya thought that it was nice as everyone got to know each other better, instead of meeting on the day of the wedding itself. When she mentioned this to Richard, he readily agreed and had his secretary arranged everything.
Mommy Tessie, joined by Mama Esme, later on, poured all her energies in arranging the most beautiful wedding for her daughter and son-in-law to be. She and Mama Esme have hit it off right away and were inseparable since they got introduced by Maya and Richard in a dinner in the Winters home the night after they have arrived in the States.
It was a beautiful wedding, indeed, fitting for his queen, Richard thought. He will never forget the sight, of seeing Maya, so very beautiful in her gown, holding a bouquet of red roses, gliding towards him, looking at him with so much love. At last, he thought, here we are! He got emotional, remembering their long and complicated journey to forever, coupled with all the love he was feeling at that moment. He just realized that tears were flowing from the corners of his eyes. His mother who was standing beside him, silently handed him a handkerchief.
When the strains of the wedding march started, which served as Maya’s cue to walk towards Richard, she felt lightheaded. Finally, she will walk towards the only man she ever love, their union to be blessed by God, in front of their families and friends who became and integral part of their journey. The faces of the their families and friends who were there to witness her and Richard’s coming together, blurred in Maya’s head and only the image of Richard waiting for her at the end of the long aisle of the church, bedecked with all kinds of flowers, burnt in her consciousness. She was overcame by emotions too, and tears of happiness started flowing. Her mother and Daddy Mark whom she both asked to give her away, smiled at her, teary-eyed with happiness for their daughter.
The ceremony was just so beautiful that it moved not only their guests, but them. Their vows spoke of their journey, love and commitment to each other until death, and even beyond death.
Maya and Richard were jolted back to the present when the limo stopped in front of La Signora. The driver opened the door for them. Richard then escorted Maya to their waiting families and friends who will be celebrating their union with them that very special evening.
The only words to describe the reception was that it was fun, fun, fun. There were a lot of merriment as their friends and families celebrated with them. Edselyn got the flowers, and Simon the garter, so there were a lot of teasing that way too.
The bride and the groom shared a very sweet dance and they got lost in the music and in a world of their own.
The owner of the La Signora, Uncle Bobby’s cousin Francesca made an appearance and Uncle Bobby threw all his energies in making the place something out of a princess book, as a gift to Maya and Richard.
Now, several hours later, Richard opened the door of the place where they will spend their first night as husband and wife. It was the room at the hotel where he and Maya met, where they have started. They agreed that they want to spend their first night in that very special place for them. They will fly to Europe several days after for their first vacation there together.
“Wow!….” was all Maya managed to say, as the room was softly lit and was beautifully decorated for the night, courtesy of Mrs. Roberts, a closet romantic. She was very happy to know that Maya got to live her happily every after.
Richard carried Maya from the door to the big couch by the window. Maya saw a chilling bottle of champagne there and a bouquet of long stemmed red roses. She found a card.
For my beautiful bride, Maya Dela Rosa-Lim, with all my love!
Yours now and for always,
“Ricky, this is just like our early courtship days here.” Maya said happily, remembering those giddy moments when she would spot the rose and the note on the table, when she went cleaning the room. She gave her husband a kiss on the lips.
“For you, my love, my wife. Every day will be a courtship day, for the rest of our lives.” He said lovingly as he returned her kiss.
They also toasted to that promise. They danced, with the music in their heads. They stayed like that for a while, until Maya whispered to Richard that they should get ready for bed. She told Richard he could go ahead if he wants to shower first as she needed to unpack their stuffs.
Richard did that. He came out of the bathroom several minutes later, wearing only a thin white t-shirt and a pajama bottom. Maya looked at him, admiring her handsome husband’s physique.
“Hmmm, ang guwapo naman talaga ng husband ko.” Maya teased him, smiling.
Richard grinned, then gave her a light lingering kiss, caressing her a bit, then said softly, “bathroom is yours now, my love.”
Maya gathered her stuffs. “Thanks, my love. I will not be long.” She said as she lightly caressed Richard’s arms and cheeks.
“I will be waiting.” He said with a heated gazed.
Richard settled against the headboard of the bed, waiting for Maya, smiling as he remembered the first time he met her while lying on the same bed. As always, he thanked God that they ended up at the same place at the same time, met, loved, and found each other again.
Less than an hour later, the door of the bathroom opened and the light from inside spilled into the hall, signalling to Richard that Maya was finished with getting ready for bed. He was starting to smile, about to teased her, when his smile turned into a slack-jawed admiration when he saw his wife.
Maya came out of the bathroom wearing a long, red, sleeveless night gown that hugged all her curves and her delectable body was very much visible to Richard’s heated gaze. The dress has a lace v-neck neckline, trimmed with lace, which also adorned its cups and Maya’s breasts and her beautiful peaks.
“Maya, my love, my wife, so you are so beautiful. I love what you are wearing.” Richard said huskily as he stood up from the bed and started caressing Maya’s face.
“For you….” Maya simply said.
With that, Richard lowered his lips to Maya and started plundering her mouth, his tongue dancing with hers. He gave her lips little nips, at the same time, his hand moved to her breast, cupping it through the lace. The effect on Maya was exquisite, as if a bolt of lightning traveled from her breast to her very core, making her want more. Truth is, it does not take much to ignite her when Richard touches her.
“Ricky, my husband, you make me feel so good….” She said huskily, her voice unrecognizable with desire, as Richard laid her down on the bed.
“Me too, Maya, my wife, you always make me crazy with want….” Richard muttered as his hand continued its maddening assault on Maya’s breasts, flicking and lovingly pinching her twin peaks, and his lips moving from her mouth down to her neck, leaving a trail of hot kisses, until it hovered on her breasts.
Maya waited with bated breath, knowing what to come. Se didn’t wait long. Richard lowered his lips to Maya’s waiting peak through the thin lace and it completely consumed Maya. Not content with that, he swirled his tongue around the peak. He did the same to her other breast, at the same time, his other hand was slowly going under the hem of her long night gown, up to her thighs, to her very hot core, then touched her there.
“Ricky…..” Maya said incoherently as she caressed Richard wherever she could touch, until her hand found his hard length.
“Maya…..” It was Richard’s turn to go completely crazy. He was already loving the sound she made as he touched her and her reaction to his touch. But her touch to his hard length, sent him off.
Richard quickly removed all his clothes, until his beautiful body was bared to Maya’s heated gaze. Then he did the same to Maya, slowly removed her dress from the hem up, his lips following his hand, leaving a trail of molten kisses on her already inflamed body.
When they can’t endured the heat between them, Richard reversed their positions and put Maya on top of him, straddling him. They shared a look, then Richard answered Maya’s silent question, with a nod and gently guided her on what to do. This was a first for Maya. Then, when she was settled in on top of Richard, she instinctively move. They established a rhythm, moving towards a frenzy, pleasuring each other, reaching the heights together. Maya collapsed on top of Richard, who gently caressed her while trying to catch his breath. They stayed like that for a while until sleep claim them.
Several hours later, Maya was woken up with a caress on her bare breasts. She slowly opened her eyes. She saw Richard smiling at her with so much love, mixed with desire, on his face, gently caressing her with one of the long-stemmed roses he gave her the night before. They shared a loving look, which turned to a very heated one as Richard continued his maddening feathered caress with the rose. He did this all over Maya’s body, making her crazy and her reaction, on other hand, made Richard crazy with desire too.
“Rickyy….” Maya said, her insatiable desire for her husband, needing to be slake again.
Richard obliged and both of them loved each for the second time that night, and a third time, before sleep claimed them. They fell asleep intertwined. Before they did so, they teased each other that for sure with that, they surely have made a ‘honeymoon’ baby. They both prayed that they did.
Unbeknown to them, two heartbeats were already beating inside Maya’s womb. Their first borns, Sky and Sunshine, were born eight months after their parents’ marriage.
Note: ….and that ends Only Love, another fanfic I enjoyed writing, especially with your comments thrown in after every chapter. Thank you everyone for reading and liking. 🙂 🙂 🙂
Maya and Richard were still trying to catch their breath as the plane that would take them back to Manila was taxiing off the runway of San Nicolas Airport. They were the last passengers to board, and Mang Caloy had to drive like a race car driver to get them to the airport. This was the last flight for the day and if they didn’t make it, they would have to stay in the vacation house one more day. While both of them like that idea very much, Richard has very important commitments the following day. Maya, on the other hand, needs to finish the report for Richard’s mother and for her immediate superior.
“Ikaw kasi, Ms. Maya Dela Rosa, soon-to-be Mrs. Lim!” Richard teased Maya, grinning at her.
“Ha, anong ako, Mr. Lim!” Maya retorted, smiling. “Eh ikaw kaya ang dahilan kung bakit kamuntik na tayong maiwan ng eroplano.”
“Hmmm, ako lang ba?” Richard shot back, with a naughty smile. “Parang dalawa naman tayo doon.”
“Well, errr, hindi nga lang ikaw.” Maya admitted, blushing a bit, but with a goofy smile on her face, remembering her part in the whole thing.
They gazed at each other lovingly, then grinned like co-conspirators, remembering what delayed them.
They fell asleep again after making love again that morning. When they woke up, both felt very hungry as they missed breakfast. They kissed heatedly, then reluctantly got out of the bed. Instead of putting her dress back on which she can’t find anyway, Maya borrowed Richard’s shirt, as it was more handy. Richard, on the other hand, went shirtless since it was just the two of them in the place.
Richard asked Maya to sit at the veranda, where he had proposed to her the night before, while he heats up the breakfast he made earlier in the microwave, and brew some coffee. He said, this is her chance to see the great view from there during daytime. Like the night before, Richard refused any help from Maya, wanting to pamper her.
Maya breathed in the beautiful scenery before her as she waited for Richard, wearing only his shirt that reached her mid-thigh. It felt cool on her body with a faint smell of Richard in it, which she likes a lot. She grinned, so very happy remembering their night and morning together. And Richard was right, this side of the house has the best view ever. She looked down and saw the beautiful garden with a profusion of ornamental plants, flowers, mostly roses and bougainvilleas, below.
“Ricky, the view from here is really lovely.” Maya said, turning and looking at Richard with a big smile when she sensed him coming to the veranda. “Tama ka!”
“I told you. But at the moment, I have a better view!” Richard remarked, standing by the sliding glass door leading to the veranda, carrying a tray. He was looking at Maya heatedly and not the scenery.
Unbeknown to Maya, the late morning sunlight was making the shirt she was wearing near transparent. Richard can see from where he was standing, Maya’s beautiful body, her breasts, her pebbled nipples, her small waist and the rest of her which he had loved so thoroughly the whole night and this morning.
Maya noticed where Ricky was looking and blushed, at the same time, felt the heat he was sending her way.
“Oh…..” was all she managed to say, heat pooling inside her in response.
Their eyes met, made a silent communication, understanding each other. The hunger for food forgotten. It was superseded again by a different kind of hunger they needed to satisfy urgently. Richard put the tray down and then carried Maya back to the bedroom where they sated their hunger for each other the second time that morning. The food had to be reheated once more.
While they were having a leisurely late lunch, Mang Caloy arrived. Only then did it occured to them, and realized that they have a flight to catch! They scrambled to pack their things and jumped into the car. The place was a bit far from the province’s main airport in San Nicolas. It was a good thing, Mang Caloy is a good driver, and they made it! Now in less than an hour, they will be back in Manila.
Richard raised the armrest between him and Maya when the plane was on its way, cruising from Mindoro to Manila. He hugged Maya from the side and used his shoulder to pillow Maya’s head on it, then he started caressing Maya’s hair. “Happy, my love?” He asked softly, lovingly.
“Of course, I’m very, very happy! Who wouldn’t be! I feel like I am the luckiest girl in the world with you as my fiance!” Maya said lovingly.” I love our weekend together.”
Richard grinned at that. “Me too, Maya, met too. I’m so happy! I don’t want to go home yet, but we have to. Pero, promise, babalik tayo doon as often as we could. By the way, can we have dinner with my mother this evening if you are not too tired from our trip? I promised her kasi that I will bring you to dinner after I have proposed to you. Knowing Mama, alam mo namang number one fan ng love team nating dalawa iyon!”
“Tita Esmeralda knew you will propose to me?” Maya asked, looking at Ricky from his chest where she was reclining comfortably.
“Yes, I told her the day after our dinner with her. I also asked her to put in a good word for me with her jeweller friend. Normally her friend has a lot of orders. Tita Rebecca managed to squeeze me in.” Richard said. “Oh, by the way, not only Mama knew I will propose to you, also your parents and Mamang. I asked for their blessings. Siyempre, gusto ko namang magbigay-galang sa kanila.”
“Really, Ricky! You did that?” Maya said, touched at Richard’s gesture. Then she remembered the tail end of his conversation with Mamang. “So iyon ang dahilan kung bakit nagte-thank you sa iyo si Mamang!”
“Errrr, yes!” Richard said smiling. “Kamuntik mo na ngang madinig. Tapos kahapon ng umaga, kamuntik pang madulas si Mamang when she mentioned wanting to meet Mama. Your parents told me that they will be happy for me to be a part of the family basta sasagutin mo ako. Luckily, you did.” He finished with a huge grin.
“I love you! You are really the best fiance in the whole world!” Maya said happily. “Kaya pala you wanted to call my mother! Of course I will be happy to have dinner with your Mama so we can tell her the best news ever. But I would like to go home first if it is okay with you, to freshen up. We can just meet in Makati later.”
“No Maya, I will pick you up. Hwag ka mag-commute!” Richard insisted. “I have a better suggestion. Why don’t we go to my unit in BGC, instead, to freshen up since it is near Mama’s place. Then from there, punta na tayo kay Mama. I need to visit my daughter’s grave lang in Heritage since we will be in the area. Bibisitahin ko na rin si Papa. Would that be okay? You can stay in the car. I won’t be long. It’s just that I haven’t been there to visit Gabrielle since I returned. Saka I want to visit Papa’s grave too, especially now that the past has been cleared.”
“That’s fine with me. But would it be okay if I accompany you when you go to their graves?” Maya asked, somehow she wants to ‘meet’ Richard’s little angel. In a way, she would like to pay her respects too, to his father despite what happened. He did try to redeem himself in the end, though it was too late.
“Of course. I think my Gabrielle would like to ‘meet’ the very special lady who is making her Daddy very happy.” Richard said.
They shared a smile, then spent the rest of the flight discussing possible dates for their wedding, as for sure, Richard said, it would be the first thing his mother will ask the two of them. They agreed on a date. Both of them don’t want a long engagement. They have waited long enough to be together.
Soon after, their plane landed at the NAIA Terminal 2. Donya Esmeralda’s driver Joma picked them up from the airport, or rather, he handed Richard the key to his car and said goodbye to them. He took that opportunity to visit his sister in Paranaque as Richard told him earlier on the phone that he can drive himself and Maya around.
One hour later, Richard parked his car in front of the Lim Family mausoleum in Heritage Park. Maya told Richard she would carry the flowers they bought for Gabrielle, sunflowers and Malaysian mums, on the way there. Richard carried the flowers for Don Roberto.
“Gabby, sweetheart, I have your Tita Maya with me. She just made me very, very happy by agreeing to be my wife. I’m sure, if you had lived, she would have loved you like her own. Daddy loves her very, very much.” Richard told his daughter as he put the flowers at the head of his daughter’s grave, then touched her tombstone affectionately.
Maya felt tears in her eyes hearing what Richard said. “Yes, Gabrielle, I would have loved you as my own. I love your father very, very much and I will take good care of him. You are very lucky to have him as your father. Someday, I hope you will have a brother and sister and we will bring them here so you can meet them too. I’m sure, they would be happy to meet their elder sister too.”
Richard, hearing this, felt very happy to have Maya again in his life. In his head, he can picture a little girl, cute as button who looks like Maya, and a boy who is his spitting image. He intertwined his fingers with Maya’s, and both of them spent several minutes silently looking at Gabrielle’s grave.
They did the same to Don Roberto’s grave. Richard looked solemnly at his father’s tombstone and offered a silent communication to him, saying to his father that he forgiven him for the past. He also said that he and Maya are together again and for sure, he is happy for them. Maya offered a prayer for the man whom she never gotten to meet, promising to make his son happy. They said goodbyes, hearts feeling lighter, promising to visit them again.
Less than an one hour later, they arrived at Richard’s condominium building in BGC. They took the elevator to his penthouse unit.
“Maya, welcome to my home! Our home soon, should we decide to live here.” Richard said as he led Maya to the living room, with its floor-to-ceiling windows which Maya liked instantly.
“Thank you, Ricky. I love your view. Your place is lovely.” Maya replied as she walked towards the window. “I don’t think I will get tired of looking at this.”
Richard walked towards Maya after dropping their bags on the floor and turning on the unit’s airconditioning. He stood behind Maya and put his arms around her. “You know, lately, since we got back together, I have been imagining you here, us sharing a night staring at the view before we go to bed, chatting how our day have been. Also cuddling and doing what couples do, making love and more…”
“Really Ricky.” Maya smiled, then turned to face Richard. “I love you. I like the picture you painted, very, very much.”
Then Maya tiptoed and gave him a sweet kiss. Richard responded and the kiss turned into something more. Richard started caressing Maya’s back as he seared her lips with molten kisses, wanting her to know of his intense desire for her which flared up again just by the touch of her lips against his, and the sweet caresses she was giving back to him.
“Maya, my love…..I want you again….I can’t get enough of you.” Richard muttered, his mind getting hazy with desire again.
“I want you too, Ricky, very much.” Maya responded breathlessly.
They looked at each other with desires in their eyes. Then without a word, Richard carried Maya to his bed. He laid her gently into his big bed, then spent the rest of the afternoon, making sweet love to her. Their moans and sighs were the only sounds that can be heard inside the room as they showed each other how much they love and desire the other. They also whispered to each other what gives them the most pleasure. It was another intense encounter that barely sated their desires. Soon after, they showered together, which took twice as long, then got ready to see Donya Esmeralda.
Richard’s mother was waiting for them at the entrance of the grand family home. She was so excited that Richard is bringing back Maya to the house so soon, which means, in her book that he had proposed to her.
“Ricky son, Maya! I’m so happy to see both of you.” She greeted them as soon as she saw them walking towards her with their hands interlaced. She hugged Richard, then proceeded to hug and kiss Maya. “Come, inside the house. I think you have good news for me.”
“Ma, ikaw talaga, hahahaha. Walang nakakaligtas sa iyo.” Richard said as he put his arm around his mother’s shoulder affectionately. “Since alam kong hindi ka mapapakali, yes, Maya and I are engaged. She said yes to me.” He said with a grin that lit up his whole face and reflected the intense happiness he was feeling at the moment.
“Oh my, oh my!!! Sabi na nga ba!!! This is wonderful news!!!” Donya Esmeralda said with a big smile for her son, then for Maya. “Maya, welcome to our family. I would be more than happy to have you as my daughter-in-law. Please call me Mama from now on.” She said happily, giving Maya a big embrace.
“Thank you po, Tita….este, Mama!” Maya said emotionally. “I’m glad that you will be my second mom.”
“Oh hija, I’m honored to be.” Donya Esmeralda said, teary-eyed. “Son, you chose the most wonderful girl as your life partner.” She told her son, giving her a kiss and a big hug too. “Let’s go to the dining room and share the wonderful news with Fe.”
Richard approached Manang Fe, then gave her a kiss on the cheek, embraced her, then told her of their good news. The old lady got teary-eyed, knowing that her old ward has finaly found love and happiness at last.
“Ricardo, Maya, masayang-masaya ako para sa inyo. Walang pagsidlan. Sa kabila ng mga pinagdaanan niyo, heto kayo at mag-iisang dibdib na.” Manang Fe finished emotionally. Both Maya and Richard went to her and gave her a hug.
The four of them had another festive dinner. Richard and Maya told Donya Esmeralda and Manang Fe that they would like to get married the following month. Both old ladies agreed that they have waited long enough to be together. They also told them they haven’t made up their mind on the venue, but would finalize it after they called Maya’s mother. Donya Esmeralda also said she would like to meet her balae. An idea started forming in Richard’s, and in Maya’s mind, on how to achieve that.
Maya ended up staying at Richard’s place that evening. Sabel was unable to go home from her trip to Baguio with a friend. She had asked Maya before she left for Mindoro if she could take a vacation too, to celebrate her coming birthday. Richard teased Maya that he was so happy that Sabel missed her bus back to Manila, which earned him a loving pinch from Maya.
They called Maya’s family in New Jersey who were all overjoyed to hear the news of their engagement and their upcoming marriage. Mommy Tessie got very emotional, and Daddy Mark too, as both were very happy that their eldest daughter has found happiness at last and about to start another stage of her life, her forever, with a wonderful guy.
Richard and Maya cuddled for a bit by the big window, drinking wine, just enjoying the moment before they went to Richard’s room, where they expressed their love for each other physically again, the desires and the emotions they feel for each other as intense as ever.
While sated, in the meantime, and waiting for sleep to come, they have talked about their wedding and how they will merge their lives together, both are very excited and happy. Finally, they will be together for always, to spend every day loving each other for the rest of their lives. They fell asleep very, very happy, as close as two person could be, skin to skin, sharing a blanket that barely covered their nakedness.
The beeping of her mobile phone woke up Maya. She ignored it at first. But then her alarm beeped so she decided to check who sent her a message so early in the morning. Well, not so early after all when she realized the time! All the sleepiness left her system and was replaced by excitement and anticipation when she saw who texted her. The text message was from Richard!
Good morning Maya! What time will you be at work today?
She typed a reply.
Good morning Ricky! I think around 8 o’clock. Why?
Maya received a response even before she can put her phone down to start getting ready for work.
Don’t buy coffee and breakfast. I have everything taken care of.
Hmmmm, ang sweet naman nitong si crush na crush ko, Maya thought, giggling to herself.
Okay. Thanks a lot Ricky. Araw-araw mo na akong nililibre ng coffee ah!
No worries, Maya. Malapit na akong maging stockholder ng Starbucks dahil sa kaka-coffee doon! 🙂
Maya smiled at his joke.
See you, Ricky!
See you, Maya!
Yes, tagumpay! Richard thought to himself as gets ready for work too. Before he left the house he made a call to Mang Tony, his trusted LC security personnel to check if he has already put the new floral arrangement and his box of gift in Maya’s office. Mang Tony has been doing it for him the past several days before he ends his shift at six o’clock in the morning.
“Mang Tony, good morning po. Okay na po ba? Dumating ba ang delivery on time? How about the box I left for you at the security office, nakuha niyo po ba? Iyon pong card, baka nalaglag.”
“Sir Richard, areglado na po ang lahat. Wala po kayong dapat ipag-aalala. Nailagay ko na po lahat sa office ni Ma’am Maya.” The old man assured Richard that everything has been done. At the same time, he is also wondering why his boss double-checked everything today, when he didn’t do so the first two days he has been doing it. Ano kayang espesyal sa araw na ito? The old man, mused.
“Thank you very much po, Mang Tony.” Richard said, happy to know that everything is in place. “The best talaga kayo.”
“Walang anuman po, Sir Richard. Basta, para sa iyo. Sana po sagutin na kayo.” Mang Tony said, smiling, teasing Richard. He knew he can do so. He have known Richard since he was a teenager.
“Hahahaha, kayo talaga, Mang Tony. Baka nga ho, magalit pa sa akin kapag nalaman niya itong pinaggagawa ko.” Richard said. He was hoping, though, that Maya’s reaction to his action would be positive. Baka napikon na sa akin, Richard thought also.
Richard drove to work happily. He had wished that there would be no traffic as he still needs to buy breakfast and coffee for Maya. He got lucky. He reached LC less than hour after he left his parents’ house. He has enough time to execute everything. He parked his car, then proceeded to the Starbucks on the ground floor of the building and the deli beside it.
Several minutes after, he arrived at Maya’s office.
“Good morning, Minerva!” He greeted Maya’s secretary. Liza told her that Maya’s secretary, according to her friend Emman, is usually the first person to arrive at her department.
“G-good morning po, Sir Richard! “ Minerva was so surprised to see one of their bosses so bright and early, and in front of her desk, carrying two brown bags and a tray containing two tumblers of coffee. “What can I do for you Sir? Wala pa po si Ma’am Maya.”
“I know she is not here yet. She is coming around 8 o’clock.” Richard said, smiling. “May I wait at her office?”
“Okay po, Sir Richard, no problem.” Minerva quickly said, and then she started to stand up to escort Richard to Maya’s office.
“No need to escort me, Minerva. I know where it is.” He said, then gave Minerva a charming smile.”By the way, please don’t tell Maya I’m at her office when she arrives. I want to surprise her.”
“Sige po Sir.” Minerva said, smiling too. She felt like swooning. He is so guapo. Ang swerte naman ni Ma’am Maya! At alam pa kung anong oras talaga darating ang boss ko ha. Parang may GPS when it comes to my boss!.
Richard entered Maya’s neat office. The latest bunch of sunflowers he sent sitting in the middle of her desk. Beside it, is another rectangular box with a card. He sat and made himself comfortable with a feeling of anticipation and excitement. At the same time, he was also a bit nervous about Maya’s reaction.
Maya, at that time, was parking her car in the basement. After she had done so, she looked around hoping to see a glimpse of Richard. She realized that he didn’t exactly say if they will meet for breakfast. She took the elevator to the ground floor, thinking that maybe he meant that they should meet there. But there was no sign of Richard. She shrugged, then decided to go to her office. Maybe, he will text.
“Good morning, Ma’am Maya!” Minerva greeted her with a big smile, happy smile on her face.
“Good morning, Minerva! Parang ang saya ng gising mo ngayon ah. Anong meron?” Maya asked, smiling back.
“Ha, wala po Ma’am. Feeling ko lang in love din ako. Hay, nakakakilig talaga.” Minerva said before she could stop herself. “Errr, wala po ito Ma’am. Nasobrahan yata ako sa kape, hahaha. Sige po, punta na kayo sa office niyo!”
Maya did that. She was not aware nor prepared that she was in for a double surprise when she opened her office door.
“Good morning, Maya!” Richard greeted Maya with big, happy smile. He stood up at the same time, still carrying the sandwich bags, while the coffee tray was perched at the edge of Maya’s desk.
“Good morning Ricky!” Maya said a bit breathlessly, trying to regain her composure. She was not really expecting that he will lay in wait inside her office when he said he has breakfast for her! But she is very happy to see him, so handsome, and looking so nice another of his pale-colored dress shirt and slacks. Unlike the other lawyers in the company, she noticed, he is not much into wearing ties. “Fancy seeing you here! Have you been here long?”
“Hmmm, not naman! Di ba, I promised you breakfast and coffee. Heto na. I also bought for myself para we can have breakfast together. Would that be okay?” Richard asked, gazing at her intently.
“Sure, of course. Let me just put down my stuffs and clear my table.” Maya said, her gaze focusing on the new bunch of sunflowers on her desk and the gift box beside it. She saw the card and wonders what would be written there this time.
“Hmmm, flowers for you, and a gift.” Richard remarked, seeing her looking intently at the flowers and the box. “Why don’t you open it first. I can just set up our breakfast at your coffee table.” He suggested, seeing she has a small coffee table in the corner of her room.
Maya looked at Richard. So, does that mean that he is not yet admitting that it is him? She smiled, mischief in her eyes.
“Oh, mamaya na lang. I’m sure, wala na namang nakalagay kung kanino galing iyan.” She said, deadpan. “Saka I think alam ko na rin naman kung sino talaga ang nagpapadala niyan.”
“Really…..” Richard asked, curious, wanting to check if she still believes that those were from James.
“Yes. I think it is James sending me these.” Maya said looking at Richard closely, checking his reaction, checking if he will rise to her bait.
“Ha, bakit mo naman nasabing si James. Nanliligaw ba siya sa iyo?” Richard asked before he could stop himself, realizing that what he asked was personal and he and Maya just met! “Oh sorry, that seems like prying into your affairs of the heart.” He said sheepishly.
“Basta, I know who and it is….” Maya said, an imp seems to have possessed her.
“Maya, why don’t you just open it? Hindi kay James galing iyan for sure.” Richard insisted before Maya could finish what she was saying. He actually wanted Maya to open the card attached to the box so she would know it is really him, and not James! He wanted to come clean now, and he wanted to be with her with he does, and when she finds out.
“Hmmm, at paano ka naman nakasiguro na hindi kay James ito galing?” Maya egged Richard on.
“Maya, open it please.” He pleaded, nearing the end of his strings.
Maya thought she had teased Richard enough for one morning. Besides, maybe it is better to wait until he comes clean and admit it is him. She got the card from the box and checked what he has written this time.
The more I get to know you, the more I like you.
May I know you more?
Forgive me please for not signing my first two cards?
She gulped when she saw that there is now a signature in the bottom, unlike the previous ones she had received.
“Ricky….! You signed it this time!!!!” Maya blurted out, very surprised. She felt breathless. She was not prepared to discover it today, and with Richard with her in the room. She found Richard gazing at her meaningfully and with anticipation.
“Yes, Maya I did! I decided to tell you when I heard you speculating that probably it was James sending you all these. I don’t know what came over me for not signing the card the first time. To tease you perhaps since we started that way with the wrong text message or maybe, like the text message, I want to test the waters first, kasi bago pa lang tayo magkakilala. And yet, here I am, pursuing you. Forgive me please?” He asked, then what Maya said earlier sank it. “Wait, what do you mean ‘you signed it this time’?”
“Errrr, I already know it is you!” Maya admitted, getting red in the face, her heart beating faster.
It was Richard’s turn to be surprised. “You know it was me? Since when? But, but you told James yesterday you thought it is him. Tapos kanina rin.”
“Ricky, please forgive me too.” Maya said sheepishly. “I want to tease you also like you did with me with the wrong send text message. I don’t know what possessed me yesterday, I decided to force your hand to admit it. Pinaringgan talaga kita. Forgive me.” Maya said, beseeching him, with a mischievous smile.
“Hahahaha, Maya, good thing you are not a lawyer, I don’t want to face you in court! You will be a formidable opponent.” Richard said, smiling seeing how the tables was turned against him. “Pero paano mo nga nalaman na ako?”
“Eh kasi po, Atty. Richard Lim, very distinct kasi ang handwriting mo. Sa susunod na magpapa-mysterious effect ka, ipasulat mo sa iba or i-print mo. I found out that it is you by accident, actually. Remember the document we have you reviewed? You had marginal notes on it. I got it yesterday finally!” Maya finished with a smile. “Tapos I noticed, magkapareho ng handwriting doon sa card!”
“Oh, that one! I thought it was here already several days ago. So you caught me with that! Maya, you are brilliant and very, very observant.” Richard said with admiration. “Hats off to you, my Sherlock Holmes.”
Maya smiled and teased him. “Atty. Lim, baka nakakalimutan mo na ace journalist ako bago ako nag-switch ng career.”
Richard smiled at Maya, then said meaningfully. “Nothing get passed you ha. For sure, life with you in it will not be dull!” He finished chuckling.
“Nope!” Maya said, smiling back, then she proceeded to open the box. In it, she saw three DVDs again, this time, of movies based on the so-called Millenium Trilogy books by Stieg Larsson. “Ricky, thank you for these. Meron na palang movies on all three. I thought isa pa lang?”
“Eh di ba you mentioned that you enjoyed all three books, and have seen the movie with Daniel Craig. Those ones I got for you are in Swedish, but there is an English subtitle.” Richard explained. “All three books were made into movies already in that part of the world.”
“Thank you, very much. I really would really like to have seen those books in film. I love Lisbeth Salander! Mikael Blomkvist too!” Maya said. “By the way, how did you manage to sneak in all these without anyone noticing? Nagkakasabay pa tayo sa ibaba, and yet when I get here, nandito na ang mga ito!”
“Oh, I have help. Mang Tony, the night guard is like an uncle to me. I have known him since I was a teenager.” Richard said, smiling. “In short, may kakutsaba ako.”
“Wow, you went to all the trouble. Thank you.” Maya remarked and the same time felt flattered he would go to such length for her.“Halika na breakfast na tayo. Malamig na siguro ang coffee natin.”
The two of them proceeded to have breakfast on Maya’s coffee table, sitting close together as the space where it is, is very cramp. From time to time, Maya will find Richard gazing her intently, making her self-conscious. His nearness is also making her breathless. She can barely swallow her sandwich. She is very much aware that Richard likes her, the way she was wishing and the way she was imagining. She never thought that it would turn out real!
Richard was just very happy that Maya now know that it is him and not James, and that she didn’t get mad. He had been thinking of coming clean at some point. It was just that her turning the tables on him, made it faster! In fact, when he remembers how she flushed him out, he smiles. Indeed, life will not be boring with Maya in it!
They chatted about stuffs while eating, partly to lessen the intense awareness of each other they were feeling at that moment.
When they were finished, Richard helped Maya put away the empty wrappers and coffee cups.
“I should get going, Maya.” Richard said reluctantly. “Baka may kailangan ka nang gawin na urgent.”
“Hmmm, wala naman Ricky. Ikaw, wala ka bang hearing today or board meeting? Malapit na kasi ang stockholders meeting ng LC, di ba?” Maya asked as stood with Richard in the middle of her room. “Thank you for everything. By the way, one more thing, how did you know that sunflower is my favorite flower? Not so many people in this company know that!”
“Maluwag naman ang schedule ko today. About the sunflowers, I have my ways.” He said, smiling, then admitted, “I had my secretary Liza asked discreetly to find out. She said she asked her source at hindi naman daw nakahalata.”
“Hmmmm, parang alam ko na kung sino ang source niya. Isang tao lang sa department na ito ang close friend ng secretary mo.” Maya said smiling. Emman, gotcha too!
“Before I get going Maya, there is something you haven’t answered yet.” Richard said, gazing at her.
“What is that?” Maya asked, a bit puzzled.
“Just like what I have written in the card, may I get to know you more?” Richard said softly, meaningfully, looking at Maya with love.
Maya blushed, getting his meaning. She felt like all the blood went to her face. She felt lightheaded with the way Richard is gazing at her. She tried to still her crazily beating heart.
“Of course, Richard. I would like to know you better too.” She replied with a shy, smile.
Richard smiled happily upon hearing her reply. “I’m glad. Thank you, Maya! How about dinner later?”
“Okay.” Maya managed to say. OMG, this feeling!
“Great! I’ll pick you up from here at seven o’clock?” Richard said.
“Oh, I can just meet you at the place where we will have the dinner. I drove to work.” Maya suggested, gathering her wits.
“We can just take my car, then I can bring you home, then pick you up in the morning. We live in the same area naman. The restaurant we will go to is in Makati.” Richard suggested. “Please….” He finished with a cajoling smile.
“Ikaw talaga, Ricky. You are trying to get your way with that smile. Okay, if it is not too much abala to you to pick me up also tomorrow morning.” Maya said smiling, liking the idea that she will see Richard again tomorrow, and that they will share a car ride.
“Maya, I will be happy to. And kahit kailan hindi ka magiging abala sa akin.” Richard said, looking at Maya again with that look!
“Okay, thanks, Ricky.” Maya said, her heart skipping a beat. “I’ll see you later. Have a nice day!”
“I’m looking forward to that!” Richard said, then said softly, as his parting words, “And I’m already having a great day, Maya.”
With that, he left Maya’s office. Maya sank on her office chair, expelled her breath, then just stared at the door where Richard disappeared, with a happy, goofy smile on her face. Just great! I feel like twirling around until I’m dizzy! Ganito pala ang pakiramdam!
Richard had the same happy expression on his face when he navigated the now busy office area. He was unaware of the stares and the speculative looks he was getting from Maya’s staff. Twice in a row, they have seen the handsome lawyer with their beautiful boss.
Richard rode the elevator to his floor, wanting to count the minutes until he will see Maya again. He has the best morning ever! He is looking forward to a great night with Maya, happy with the thoughts that he will see her again soon and that he will take her to work tomorrow.
Note: This is my 100th post! Amazing! It is a milestone for me. It has already been a wonderful five months with you my fellow adiks. Thank you for the kind words, the encouragement and for the feedbacks that you enjoyed my stories! It is reward enough for me to know that I make you all happy with what I write. Muchas gracias from the bottom of my fan girl heart for the unforgettable Richard Lim and Maya Dela Rosa and to the BCWMH universe. Because of you, I am writing fiction! You will be forever in my heart. Good vibes always everyone! 🙂
Richard called Maya as she was about to walk to the elevator going up the offices after parking her car in her spot in the basement parking of Lim Corporation. She was running late due to an accident between a bus and a motorcycle near Boni, which delayed her travel for almost an hour. The accident caused a gridlock. She recognized the voice of the person who called her even without looking back to check.
“Ricky!” She said, smiling at Richard with her smile that lit up her whole face. She was very happy to see him. “Good morning! Did you also get caught in the traffic in Boni?” And what a beautiful morning it is kahit late dahil sa nangyari, as she is starting another day with Richard, Maya thought!
“Good morning, Maya! Yes, I did. Ikaw din pala! It took me around an hour to get passed the accident site! I think what compounded the whole thing were motorists slowing down when they reached it and trying to see what had happened. I guess, it is a pretty normal human reaction. By the look of it, mabuti, no one was got hurt seriously.” Richard said as he pressed the elevator button going up. Silently, he was thinking that despite being caught in a gridlock, this day is turning to be a very good one, with him seeing Maya again bright and early! “Have you had coffee yet?”
“Not yet! I usually just get it from the Starbucks here in the building.” Maya replied as she leaned against the elevator wall, carrying her laptop bag.
“Good! Me too! Come let’s get some coffee to perk us up.” Richard said, pressing the button for the ground floor instead of their floors after escorting Maya into the elevator. “I badly need a caffeine fix too.”
“Late night?” Maya asked before she can stopped herself, she sounded probing. And what if he had a late night Maya Angela Dela Rosa, it is his business! Then Maya found a a way out. She remembered him mentioning dinner with his parents. “How was the dinner with your parents?”
Richard shrugged. “It was okay. It was just our usual family dinner. I’m staying with them for now. I had to go out, though afterwards, for an urgent matter.”
“Oh….! Maya said, but at the back of her mind, she was curious on what was that urgent matter. The way he said it, he sounded mysterious.
Richard didn’t elaborate, though! He just grinned at Maya as if he was happy with the outcome of his late night errand as he opened the door of the coffee shop for her.
“Maya, just have a seat, please, while we are waiting. I can get us the coffee. What would you like, the same as the one I got for you the other day?” Richard asked with a big grin, remembering that day.
Maya blushed a bit, remembering it again. “Ah errr, yes, thank you pala for that coffee. You left my office before I could thank you.”
“You’re welcome, Maya! That was the highlight of my day that day, your text message and bringing you coffee.” He said with a teasing smile.
“Ricky, ikaw talaga. Hahahaha. I’m super embarrassed na nga!” Maya said, smiling. “Kung alam mo lang, I was wishing for the floor to swallow me. Normally, I don’t do mistakes like that.”
“Well, I’m glad you did!” Richard remarked, gazing at her meaningfully, then gave her a lopsided smile before falling in line to order their coffee.
Several minutes after, with two steaming tumblers of grande caffe americano and a sandwich bag for Maya, they left Starbucks. Unbeknown to them, some employees have seen them and has started wondering if their chief lawyer, the LC heir-apparent and the lovely Corporate Communications officer are an item now. The two of them looked so sweet with each other and they looked good together.
Richard and Maya chatted on the way up as there were just the two of them in the elevator. When the elevator stopped at Maya’s floor, Richard went with her again, just like the day before, escorting her up to her office.
“Have a nice day, Maya!” Richard said with a big smile when they reached the door to Maya’s department.
“You too, Ricky! Thank you again for the coffee and the sandwich.” Maya said.
“You’re welcome, Maya. See you!” He said, then went back towards the direction of the elevator. “Have a wonderful, sunny day!”
Like the previous day, Maya felt very happy when she entered her work area.
“Good morning, Ma’am Maya!” Minerva greeted her with a smile.
“Good morning, Minerva! Beautiful morning isn’t it?” She said with a big, goofy smile on her face that raised Minerva’s eyebrow a bit. It looks like her boss is having a beautiful morning, indeed. She saw who accompanied her up to the entrance of their department.
Maya entered her office and saw that she was in for another surprise that day!
On Maya’s table, another beautiful arrangement of sunflowers awaited her. This one was more beautiful that the one she got yesterday. Plus, today, there is a beautiful rectangular box beside it.
Maya slowly put down her coffee and her breakfast to inspect the new gifts. She found a small card attached to the box.
Music is good for the soul. I must have read that somewhere. I think it is true, as the lyrics, melodies and rhythm of a piece of music, or a song in particular, express a whole gamut of human emotions – sadness, longing, happiness, and most of all love. The last one was so very true of the songs I have included in what you will find in the box.
I hope you will like the gifts. Have a wonderful day.
“Hindi na naman signed!” Maya remarked, getting more and more curious with her mysterious admirer.
Maya, her brows knitted, opened the box and found nestled in the middle was the latest model of iPod Touch. When she opened it and checked, she saw several songs loaded into the music player. Most of the songs have either ‘fallen, fallin’, and falling in love’ in the title. What caught her attention were two of the songs she likes, ‘Fallin’’ from the musical ‘They’re Playing Our Song’ and Elvis Presley’s ‘Can’t Help Falling In Love’.
Maya’s heart beat faster, getting the meaning behind the songs selection. Does this mean….? Who could be sending this ‘message’ to her. Aside from that, in the box also were also three DVD of her favorite movies, and a pack of Snickers chocolate, a weakness of her. She really like eating Snickers while she drinks her favorite brew. Is Richard sending this? He was the last person whom she had mentioned her love for Snickers, and they did discuss those movies in the car the night before!
Maya went back to the card again and like the one she received yesterday, the message was handwritten in a very distinct masculine way. She was still inspecting it, trying to decipher who could have sent it, when Minerva knocked on her door.
“Ma’am Maya, heto na po iyong…..” Minerva stopped midway with what she was supposed to say. “Wow, mas bongga ngayon!” Minerva blurted out.
“Oo nga, pero unsigned pa rin ang note, Minerva! Were all of these here when you arrived this morning?” Maya asked.
“Hmmm, I think so, Ma’am Maya since I was the earliest one here again and wala namang nagpa-receive sa akin ng mga iyan.” Minerva replied.
“Thanks, Minerva! Hmmm, malalaman din natin kung sino ang nagpapadala nito in the future. For now, mystery siya at kung paano nailalagay ang mga ito sa desk ko ng walang nakakakita.” Maya finished. “Ano nga pala iyang ibibigay mo sa akin?”
“Oh, ito pong mga document na pina-review natin sa Legal at ipapa-sign kay Sir Richard. Dinala na po ng messenger. Ms. Liza also called, iyong secretary ni Sir Richard. Nag-apologize kasi several days ago pa po pala iyan natapos i-review ni Sir Richard, then he put marginal notes dahil dapat ibabalik sa atin for the adjustments, pero natabunan sa desk ni Sir Fred, iyong bagong lawyer nila! Palagay na lang daw po ng iba pang details, na nasa marginal notes, then ibalik natin sa kanila.”
“Okay, I’ll go over it. I guess dito na lang si Atty. Lim sa hard copy nag-correct instead of the copy we e-mailed din. Or baka hindi rin kaya nakita ni Atty. Fred sa inbox niya.” Maya commented, more to herself, as she sat on her desk. “Anyways, sige, Minerva, I will send it to you na lang kapag natapos ko na so you can print out the corrected copy. Thanks a lot.”
Maya was about to drink her coffee before checking on what was needed to be done when the handwritting on the marginal notes caught her eyes. She checked twice, then looked again. They looked the same as the…..! She scrambled to find the card from this morning and the one from yesterday! She put them side by side and confirmed that they looked like to have been written by the same person! Richard! She is 100 percent sure now that it is him who have been sending these stuffs to her. Everything fall into pieces, especially with his mentioned that he did an errand last night. Saka sobra naman ngang coincidence ng movies and the chocolates.
With the knowledge that Richard is her mysterious gift-sender, Maya’s heart somersaulted and she felt weak in the knees. She felt like she is floating. So it is him! OMG, she thought. But bakit pa-mysterious effect pa siya? Nagkikita naman sila everyday? Then Maya smiled, an element of mischief entered her head too. Two can play at this, hmmm. Could she do it? Yes, she could. She would ‘flush’ Richard out. It would be fun, and something they can laugh about in the future, for sure. She just wanted to tease him a bit too for not signing the cards.
With that in mind, Maya worked happily, with a feeling of anticipation. Everytime she looked at the flowers, she smiled goofily. She also enjoyed eating two of the chocolate bars. It was a heady feeling, knowing that your ‘crush’ likes you too! She still have a half-smile on her face when she answered her phone around lunch. She just didn’t notice the time, working through her paperworks, very, very inspired. It was James’s secretary Desiree who called, telling Maya that James will just meet her in the lobby in 15 minutes for their meeting in a nearby restaurant inside a hotel near Mega Mall.
Maya was striding through the lobby when she noticed Richard talking to the other LC lawyers. He saw her at the same time she saw James. She pretended not to notice Richard. Maya found an opportunity to start teasing Richard! She grabbed James arms and whispered to him to play along with what she will say.
“James , ikaw ha, I think you are the one sending me the flowers and the gifts!” She said. “Thank you, they are very lovely and I like it very much. Saka iyong Snickers, dalawa na ang nakain ko.”
“Ha bakit mo naman nasabing ako!” James asked, forgetting that he was supposed to play along! But Maya, thought to herself, his answer was just perfect!
“Eh sino pa ba naman ang nakakaalam na favorite ko ang sunflowers, Snickers at saka iyong ‘Before Sunrise’, ‘Before Sunset’ and ‘Before Midnight’ na movies. Saan mo nabili iyong third? I don’t think it was release here! Ang tagal ko ng naghahanap noon.”
Before James can react, Richard had reached them. He, of course, heard Maya’s side of the conversation. He thought, she really thought it’s James whose sending the gifts and the flowers? Nanliligaw din kaya si James sa kanya, he thought, the notion unsettling him a bit. “Hello Maya, James? Out for lunch?” He asked, curious and very much wanting to find out.
“Hi Richard!” James said. “Maya and I will go to EDSA Plaza Hotel for a meeting with the Chua Group of Companies for our joint venture. I’m bringing along Maya since we need to write releases on this as well.”
“Oh, okay. Yes, Maya mentioned nga that she has a meeting today. Ito pala iyon, Maya?” Richard remarked, relieved. Not really aware that his statement got James very curious, looking now very closely at his friend and his boss’s son.
“Errr, yes, Atty. Lim. Ito nga iyon. James and I will go ahead. Baka ma-traffic pa kami. Enjoy your lunch.” She said, gave Richard a smile and dragged a flabbergasted James towards the elevator going down They will take her car as James’s is on coding today. She got a bit self-conscious with the way he asked that question, is if they were the only persons in the lobby. Coupled with her knowledge that is is him, her poor heart skipped several beats.
“Maya Dela Rosa, I smell something! Umamin ka sa akin. Kailan pa kayo naging super cozy ng bagong-bagong chief lawyer natin? Ang alam ko nagkakilala lang kayo last week, when I introduced you two.” James probed. “May hindi ba ako alam, hmmmm, ha, college best friend?”
“Ha, wala iyon.” Maya said evasively, everything was too new to her to share even with her one of her closest friends. “Instant friends lang kami.”
“Instant friends!” James exclaimed. “Ano iyon, parang instant coffee at instant noodles lang ang peg! Parang ngayon ko lang narinig ang term na niyan, Maya. Saka what is this talk about sunflowers, chocolates and movies? Hindi ako ang nagpapadala noon.”
“I know, kaya nga sabi ko sumakay ka lang, di ba.” Maya said, blushing.
“So, may pinatatamaan ka noong statement na iyon. Mysterious admirer? Walang sign ang card? Tama ba ang guess ko? Eh ang lumapit lang namin sa atin si….” James said, putting two and two together. “Oh, don’t tell me???”
“James, college BFF, sshhhhh, basta, saka na lang ako magkukuwento!! No more questions please. Halika na naghihintay na ang mga kausap natin.” Maya pleaded.
“Okay, okay, for the sake of 12 years of friendship, I will shut up for now.” James said as they got into Maya’s car and they drove to their meeting.
While Maya and James were on their way, Richard was still puzzled how his overtures is backfiring on him. And why would Maya thinks it’s James? He thought, he gave enough hint with the latest one that it is him, especially with the chocolates and the movies. Maybe, he should do more so Maya knows it’s him. Kasi naman, ano ba ang naisipan niya when he decided not to sign the card. But, hmmm, he just know what do to rectify that. Richard smiled, happy again.
“I love you very much, Ricky!”
“I love you very much too, Maya!”
Richard held Maya’s chin, then lowered his lips again to hers, giving her a lingering kiss this time, while they were still as closed as two persons could be. Maya was getting weak in the knees with the kiss Richard was giving her. They were both breathing hard after that searing kiss.
“Maya, my love, let’s sit again and get more comfortable. You are making me weak in the knees.” Richard said with a loving, teasing smile, as he got hold of Maya’s hand, and led her to the rattan chairs where they sat earlier.
However, when they got there, Richard sat first, and then gently reeled Maya in, until she was sitting on his lap. Maya made herself comfortable, fitting perfectly into Richard’s lap. Like Richard, she wanted to stay as close to him as possible to savor their very special moment.
“Happy, my love?” Richard asked Maya softly, caressing her hair while she half-reclined against him and her head was pillowed on his chest, her arms around him, and his around hers.
“Sobra-sobra, Ricky, I feel like my heart will burst from sheer happiness! I was not really expecting that you will propose to me this evening. But it was a wonderful surprise. Ikaw ha, grand production pa. I loved it very much. I love my ring. It’s so beautiful.” Maya said, happy, gazing at Ricky with a big smile.
“Siyempre naman, eight years in the making ang proposal ko sa iyo. Pero, I must admit, I felt nervous while doing it. Kasi, what if nabigla ka, or ayaw mo pa akong sagutin kasi we just got back together.” He confessed, as he tightened his embrace and started caressing her arm, rhythmically.
“Ricky, even if I was so surprised, there was only one answer in my head and my heart, and that was yes. Like what you have said, eight years without each other was long enough. Eight years with you, was a lifetime to me too. Besides, you are the only one I want to spend the rest of my life with. I love you, I love you, a million times.” Maya said as she started raining kisses on Richard’s face. “I will marry you in as many churches as we could, in this lifetime and in the next, and in the next pa. I’m sure we will find each other there also.”
“Maya, Maya, my heart is so full.” Richard said softly. “The feeling in my heart right now, it is indescribable.”
“Me too, Ricky! Me too.” Maya said as she embraced Richard tighter, as not wanting to let go. this is very, very real. They are really here, engaged, commiting to each other for the rest of their lives.
They stayed liked that for quite sometime, just enjoying the moment. After a while, Richard thought of asking Maya if she would like to have dinner with his mother the following day, when they return to Manila, to formally tell her of their engagement and plan the wedding. However he was met with silence when he asked, and that was when he noticed her steady breathing. Just like in New York, Maya slept on him again!
Richard looked at his fiancee with an indulgent smile. It must have been the wine and the cool, relaxing breeze, he thought that lulled his love to sleep. He decided to carry Maya to her bed where she would be more comfortable. He gently put his right arm under her ankles and pillowed her head on the other one so as not to wake her up. She didn’t! She just burrowed closely and deeply into his chest.
When he reached the guest room, he gently laid her down on the bed. But when he was about to pull his arms from under her, she slowly woke up.
“Ricky….?” She asked, a bit disoriented.
“Sshhhh, go back to sleep. You are in your bed now.” Richard said softly.
“Oh, sorry for doing that on you again, just like New York, huh!” Maya sat up on the bed, a sheepish smile on her face. “It must be the wine, the gentle breeze and your chest, feeling ko nasa duyan ako. My last thought was that I like very much where I was.”
Richard gave Maya a lopsided smile. “No worries, my love! Baka you needed the rest din. Magpahinga ka na!”
“Okay!” Maya said, realizing that she and Richard are on the same bed in the middle of the night, just like in his apartment in New York. Suddenly, she felt very much aware of him. Richard was the same. A different awareness of Maya kicked in. He felt it earlier, but fought it, but now, in the dimmed lights of the bedroom, he was having a hard time doing so. He wants her, but just like before, he wanted to be gentleman and wait.
“Good night, Maya!” Richard forced himself to stand up from the edge of the bed where he ended up sitting. He needed to do this while he still can. He just realized how very sexy Maya is in that flowing dress that hugged her all curves.
“Good night, Ricky!” Maya stood up from the bed, intending to give Richard a chaste kiss.
However, as soon as their lips met, it became more. It felt like it was like the match that ignited the flame between them. Maya ended up sitting on Richard’s lap again as their lips fused hotly and they seemed to can’t get enough of each other. They touched everywhere, their lips very hungry for each other.
They muttered as their lips fused into another smoldering kiss. Richard’s tongue seeked entrance into Maya’s mouth. She opened her mouth to let him in. His tongue explored and seeked out her tongue and invited it to a hot duel. Maya’s breasts grew heavy with wants, and the need to be touched badly. Richard felt like all the blood was pooling on his hard member. Maya can feel the effect of Richard’s desire for her.
“Maya, my love, I think we better stop while we still can….” Richard said in between labored breathing and giving Maya searing kisses, his hands, like they have a life of their own, stroking her gently, up and down the slope of her buttocks. The thin material of Maya’s dress not really providing a protection against the heat generated by Richard’s caress.
Maya was so lost in the sensations she was feeling, that at first she didn’t hear Richard. She looked at his desire-laced eyes, seeing the control he wanted to exert, and made a decision.
“We don’t have to stop, Ricky. I want to belong to you completely this evening.” Maya said, her voice husky with desire and resolve.
“Maya, my love, are you sure?” Richard just have to ask her one more time, while he still can.
“Yes, my love. I have never been more sure in my life. I want to give you all of me.”
“Oh Maya….” Richard said huskily, caressing her face lovingly, then giving her another searing kiss.
Maya responded fervently to Richard’s kiss, nibbling on his lips as he did to hers. Richard’s hand starting moving towards the underside of Maya’s breast, leaving a trail of hot touch, then he moved to cup her breast through her dress, at the same time leaving little kisses from her face to her neck and collarbone. He play with her breast thoroughly, making Maya want more, something that she can’t fully define. She felt she was on fire. Richard was trying to slow down a bit. He knows Maya is innocent.
“Ricky, the way you make me feel…..”
“Maya, my love I’m on fire for you too. I want you very much.”
“Take me, Ricky, all of me, I’m yours.” Maya said breathlessly, desire and love for Richard making her lost for words.
Richard and Maya looked at each other like they want to devour each other, all the desire, wants and love they feel for each other on display on their faces. Then Maya, started touching Richard too, half-sitting on his lap, straddling him.
Richard, on the other hand, gave Maya’s other breast the attention he was giving the other earlier. Maya unbuttoned the rest of Richard’s shirt, wanting to touch him, skin to skin. She was guided by instinct. Richard started untying Maya’s dress from her nape, until it momentarily lodged on her breasts, then pooled at her waist. Maya’s beautiful breasts, nipples hard, were now bared to Richard gaze as the bra he thought she was wearing was built-in into the dress. He gasped, not expecting it. He almost lost total control.
“Maya, my love, you are so beautiful….” He said heatedly, admiringly.
“Ricky…..” Maya felt she would melt the way Richard is looking at her. She forgot to be self-conscious, even if for the first time, she was bared before a man, for the man she loves with all of her.
It was Maya’s turn to gasp, with heat pooling up to her feminine core, when Richard’s hand touched her bare breasts. He started kneading one, his thumb, flicking the nipple. He did the same to the other one until they became pebbled hard and Maya felt like she is boneless. But Richard was not content with that. He lowered his mouth to one breast, then use his tongue to play with it, paying extra attention to her hardened nipple. Richard did the same to her other breast.
“Oh Ricky, that feels so good….I’m going crazy….I want more….” Maya muttered incoherently, at the same time, blindly seeking Richard’s body, touching him, then raining kisses on his neck and whatever part of his bared, muscled upper body she could touch and torched with her heated kisses.
“Maya, you make me feel so much also. I’m crazy with want to. I want you like I haven’t wanted. I love you very much with all of me.” Richard said, fighting for control, and losing the battle. He gently removed Maya’s dress until she was only in her black, skimpy underwear. Richard swallowed hard. He fully laid her gently on the bed, then proceeded to remove his shirt, then the rest of his clothes, until he was completely naked before Maya, her eyes feasting on his magnificent physique. And him on her beautiful body.
Richard approached the bed, looked at Maya with so much love and desire. At that moment, he had a hard time believing that finally, they were there about to bring their love for each other on another level. He touched Maya’s face gently, gave her another smoldering kiss, then he moved towards her neck, her collarbone, and her breasts again, wrecking havoc, at the same starting caressing her thighs, moving maddeningly slow, removing her last piece of clothing in the process. Maya waited with bated breath on what was to come, at the same time, she was caressing Richard’s back, wrecking havoc of her own. Then she gasped as Richard’s hand touched her feminine core, at the same time, his lips swooped down on hers again. Coupled with Richard hardened length pressing on her side, the twin assault to her senses was too much for Maya.
“Ricky, I want to touch you too,” Maya said, her voice breathless.
Richard felt like there was a conflagration inside him when he felt Maya’ first tentative touch on his hardened length.
But when she started moving her hand instinctively, he put his on top of hers to stop her.
“Maya, I don’t think I can take that now. I wouldn’t last long, my love. Let me just love you first.” He said with difficulty.
“Oh….” What he wanted to convey dawned on Maya, making her feel glad that there was no one else for him too.
Richard gave her a loving smile, then resumed his attack on her senses.
“Ricky, pleaseee….I want….I want….” was all she managed to say, but Richard understood.
He looked at Maya tenderly. “My love, I will be gentle. I need to be inside you now. I don’t think I will last long.”
Richard poised himself over Maya and slowly, and gently entered her. Maya accommodated him and after an initial pain, she and Richard moved to the rhythm between a man and a woman, as old as time, both wanting to reach the heights, with Richard the experienced one between them, driving the pace, guiding her. And they flew together to fulfillment.
Richard lovingly and gently wiped the sweat off Maya’s face and caressed her hair several minutes after they came down to earth.
“My love, are you okay?” He asked tenderly, gently touching her lips with his thumb. “I love you very much.”
“Ricky, I’m okay. I’m so happy.” Maya said smiling, gazing at Richard with so much love. What she was feeling at that moment was beyond words. Finally, she and Richard became one. “What I feel right now, I can’t put into words. I’m just so full and so very very happy.”
“Me too, I’m beyond words. Thank you, my dearest love for the gift of you.” Richard said with too much emotion on his voice, then kissed her tenderly again.
They stayed liked that for a while, skin to skin, no barrier between them, savoring their moment. When sleep came, they slept like babes, their bodies still interwined. They both woke up, suddenly, at dawn. They gazed at each other, igniting again the fire between them, making the night hotter.
The following morning, Maya woke up with someone raining feathery kisses on her. She slowly opened her eyes with a smile for her loving fiance. She felt a bit sore, but wonderfully so. There was not an inch of ther that escaped Richard’s touch and lips and she felt so well and thoroughly loved throughout the night.
“Good morning, my love, my beautiful wife-to-be.” Richard said with a big grin on his handsome face, offering her a single, long-stemmed red rose.
“Good morning, my handsome husband-to-be. I love you very much.” Maya said as she half-reclined on the bed, accepting the rose, and with only the thin white blanket covering her and her nakedness. That did not escape the gaze of her fiance.
They looked at each other, then just like that, the fire was reignited. The breakfast Richard prepared got eaten at lunch. They had other priorities. They both gave way to satisfying a different kind of hunger the whole morning. Maya and Richard just can’t get enough of each other. Their love for each other throughly expressed again on the physical level that lovely morning.
Richard and Maya almost missed their flight back to Manila.
Richard led Maya to the veranda of the beautiful vacation house. The place was lit by candles in small glass containers. The table there was beautifully set for two, with long stemmed red roses in a glass vase in the middle, and beside it, there was a cooling bottle of wine in a bucket. The food was placed on a smaller table at the side. The place has a very romantic feel, fit for the special evening Richard has planned for Maya.
Maya was dressed in a long, flowing dress that fitted her beautifully, making her look very ladylike. She had brought that very pretty dress on this trip on impulse. She didn’t exactly know where Richard would take her after visiting her Mamang so she thought it was better to be prepared for any eventuality. She was glad she did, as the dress fitted perfectly into this special occasion.
Richard looked at Maya admiringly, telling her she is so beautiful, when he picked her up, earlier, from the guest room where he led her after the wonderful kiss they have shared as soon as they have arrived at this place. He told her she can rest in there while he prepares something special for her. He refused Maya’s offer of help. Maya acquiesced in what he wanted, and stayed in the guest room. Surprisingly, she managed to nap. She must have been very tired from her trips the past several days, coupled with the late nights with her cousins Friday night, then with Richard and her family the night after that. She took a shower as soon as she woke up from her nap. She was just putting her white dainty sandals on, when Richard knocked on her door.
Richard took Maya’s breath away too when she saw him standing outside her door, dressed in loose, cotton pants and a matching shirt, unbuttoned at the chest, wearing sandals, looking very, very handsome. He gave her a heated, loving look, before taking her hand, interlacing their fingers, then leading her to the veranda and this special treat. From the veranda, Maya can see the twinkling lights dotting the other islands, and the sea beyond, sparkling into the night.
“Thank you, Ricky.” Maya said after Richard seated her. She was so very happy, overwhelmed, and was feeling a bit of anticipation for something she can’t put a name to yet. She love the table setting and all the trouble he went to for her and their special night together. “This is really beautiful. Ikaw ang nag-prepare nito lahat?”
Richard smiled at Maya, very glad to see her happy. It also took the edge off his nervousness. “Yes, I did, except for the food, those I had to order especially. I want our night, my love, to be something extraordinary. It is just the two of us here. Normally, when I stay here, I stayed alone. Mang Caloy just gets me the supply I need and then I just call him if I needed additional stuffs.”
“Oh! Actually, it’s really nice to be alone here, come to think of it. Tahimik and sure na walang istorbo.” Maya innocently remarked, which earned her a naughty and teasing grin from Richard. Maya blushed. “I mean, the peace and quiet is nice. Walang ibang sound, kundi nature! Masarap magmuni-muni. Rickyyyyyy, ikaw talaga.”
“Hahahaha, bakit, wala naman akong sinasabi, ha.” Richard said, happily teasing Maya.
“Wala ka ngang ibang sinasabi, pero ang ngiti and look mo Mr.Lim, wagas ah.” Maya teased back.
“Hahahaha, Masarap naman talagang maging alone dito. Imagine, after eight years, nasolo rin kita. Okay, okay, I will stop.” Richard said, still laughing. “Come, let’s eat na nga. I hope you will like everything I had prepared for dinner.”
Richard removed the covers of the food on the table. Upon seeing the mouthwatering feast before her, Maya was reminded of something. She looked at Richard. “Ricky, parang kamukha noong…..?”
“Yes, the food were the same ones we had on our first date in La Signora. I also bought the same wine. I want our night here to be something we will both remember until we are old and gray! Aside from meeting each other in the hotel, that dinner was how we really started.” Richard said enigmatically, then got the bottle, popped the cork, then poured Maya and him a glass each.”
“To us and our happy ever after!” Richard said as he offered a meaningful toast to her. “You are mine, and I am yours forever.”
“My love, to us, and finding each other again.” Maya replied, looking at Richard with so much love in her eyes. “Thank you for this very memorable date!”
Richard and Maya clinked their glasses, drank the wine, gazed at each other happily, lovingly. Then, Richard started serving Maya their first course. She offered to do it, but he insisted that he would like to do everything for her this evening. They had a leisurely dinner, punctuated with loving glances. By the time, they were finished the night has gotten cooler, nicer, and wonderfully so.
“More wine, my love?” Richard asked Maya after they finished the pasta. Richard told Maya earlier that he persuaded the chef at the mountain resort nearby to prepare this evening’s meal.
“No, thanks, Ricky. I think I have enough after two glasses.” Maya said smiling. She is actually feeling the effects of it. While she was not yet drunk, she was definitely getting tipsy.
“Okay, how about coffee and dessert?” Richard asked. “I have a strawberry cake cooling in the fridge.”
“That’t would be great! And that one reminds me of our dinner at your company restaurant.” Maya remarked, smiling. She stood up, then went to Richard, gave him a kiss on the lips and sniffed at him. “Thank you my guwapong boyfriend for this treat. Ang bango-bango mo, talaga.”
“Hahahaha, Maya, my love are you drunk? “ Richard laughed. He thinks Maya is not yet, but she is definitely getting tipsy.
“Nope, but I must admit, I think I’m tipsy.” Maya said sheepishly. “Maybe, coffee and cold water will sober me up. A lot of it will do me good. The cool night air will also help.”
Richard grinned. Maya is very cute in this state.
“Coming right up. Why don’t you go to the other side of this veranda and wait for me there.” Richard said, then pointed Maya to the direction leading to the left side. “The breeze is coming from that direction.”
“Okay.” Maya said.
Richard gave her a quick kiss, then went to the kitchen to get the coffee, the cake and a pitcher of cold water.
When Richard left, Maya walked towards the direction he indicated. When she rounded the corner, she was in for another surprise. The place looked like her patio. Only instead of a cocoon swing chair, what were in there were round chairs made of rattan and lined with cushioned canvas covers. They looked like giant flowers. In the middle was a coffee table with a tall glass vase filled with long-stemmed red roses.
“Coffee, water and cake for the love of my life.” Richard greeted, carrying a tray, which he put down on the coffee table.
“Thank you, Ricky. Wow, that looks delicious. May kakumpetensya na si Chef John.” Like before, Maya automatically made the coffee for Ricky, stirring it well, then handed it to him.
“Thank you, my love! That I can’t do, make coffee as good as you does.” He said smiling, settling into the chair on Maya’s right.
They quietly enjoyed the first rush of hot coffee into their system.
“I like this side of the house, better. The chairs are very comfortable and inviting. I think if I stay here with a book, I don’t want to leave!” Maya remarked after several sips that has a sobering effect on her, coupled with the water she drank.
“I like this side too. It has an unobstructed view of the sea and the mountains on the side, then also the garden below. I will give you a tour tomorrow morning.” Richard replied.
“Ricky, this is really a very good idea. This trip! I really love your ‘fortress’ too! “Maya said.
“I’m so happy too, Maya! I never thought that one day, you will be with me here, us like this.” Richard said. “This is where I spent time when I was missing you too much. This is the place I ran to when thinking of you and what could have been was too much for me. This is also where I remember all our good times, which where the best times of my life.”
“Oh, Ricky…..” Maya said, her heart, going out to him.
“This place seemed to calm me. I would just look at the wonder of nature around me. God created all the beauty around for a reason. When I see that, I thought then, that things might have happened for a reason too, and like the changing of the season, you’ll never know what the next one will bring. So many seasons after, here we are. I was led to you again, and we have our seconc chance a love that was not able to fully bloomed the first time. I will never let this chance pass again.” Richard said emotionally.
Richard. then, put his coffee cup down. He took a deep breath to calm himself, for suddenly he felt nervous for what he was about to do. He stood up, got the tallest of the red roses from the vase, and also the most beautiful and vibrant one among the lot. He walked towards Maya, then holding the rose, he knelt on one knee.
“Maya, we loved with all our hearts and being when we were younger, then we lost each other for like an eternity, then by God’s grace, we found each other again, with our feelings for each other as strong as the first time we have loved. Not so many people are blessed and lucky like that. I have never loved anyone before you, I have never loved another when circumstances separated us, and I will never will, only you. For me, it will be you forever. Will you share that forever with me? Will you do me the honor of marrying me? Share the rest of your life with me. Be mine as I will be yours forever.” Richard said with all the love he is feeling for this wonderful woman, the love of his life. He offered Maya the rose, with a platinum engagement ring attached to the red ribbon decorating it.
Maya swallowed hard. She was completely surprised. She was not really expecting a proposal from him this evening. Richard’s proposal sobered her up faster than several glasses of water and cups of coffee can do. Her heart was beating loudly, the blood going to her head. It started from the moment he knelt before her. Then with tears glistening in her eyes, she also knelt, cupped Richard’s face, looking at him with all the love she feels.
“Ricky, my love, like you I will never love another. I have only one love, and that is you. You are my fate, you are my destiny, and even if we had taken the long road to arrive at this moment, it was worth it. I will continue to love you until the end of my breath. I love you very much. Yes I would life to share the rest of my life with you, grow old with you, make a family with you. Be with you for always. Yes, I will be yours as you will be mine. Yes, I will marry you.” Maya said, her voice breaking. “I love you with all of me.”
Richard grinned happily upon hearing Maya’s declaration. He also heaved a sigh of relief. Yes, this was not the first time he had proposed, but this is so much different, this is the only time that it mattered. The emotions he was feeling at that moment was so overwhelming, and he was fervently hoping that the love of his life will say yes to spending a lifetime with him. She did!
“Maya, I love you very much. Thank you, my love. You made me the happiest guy in the world. I promised to love and cherish you for always. Finally, we will be together. Eight years is too much, my love, to be without you.”
Richard then untied the red ribbon, slipped the ring encrusted with little diamonds out of it, then lovingly put it on Maya’s finger. Richard brought Maya’s hand to lips and kissed it very tenderly. He stood up, assisting Maya. He hugged her very tight as if he will never let her go. They stayed like that for a while, just absorbing this very special moment and a milestone in their lives. They also swayed a little bit as if dancing to the sweet music in their heads.
They kissed tenderly, lovingly with nary a space between them, their first kiss as a newly engaged couple, sealing their commitment to each other, to a lifetime together and loving each other.
Please call me Ricky
Maya, coffee tumbler in hand, ran briskly towards the closing elevator. She got in, then looked up to thank the person who held up the doors button for her, with her usual friendly smile, and find herself looking at the guy that invaded her thoughts the night before, and which caused her to buy a venti americano today to perk her up from her almost sleepless night. She was unable to sleep because of him!
“Good morning, Maya!” Richard Lim greeted her with a big, happy smile from the right side of the elevator. The other employees inside looked at them curiously as Mr. Lim didn’t greet them that way when he got into the elevator with them moments ago.
“Good morning, Sir Richard! Errr, Attorney Lim!” Maya replied, getting confused on what title to use for him, giving him a smile with a bit of a blush, remembering her embarrassing moments yesterday. Be still my heart, May silently said, but what a nice morning this is turning to be!
They settled into the elevator which was a bit crowded at that time. Maya was squeezed in beside Richard.
Wow, ang super nice smelling naman talaga ni Sir Richard, Maya thought.
When the elevator stopped at Maya’s floor, Richard gestured for Maya to get out first. Then he also got out of the elevator after her. Maya was surprised as she knows that Richard’s office is two floors up from hers.
“You have a meeting on this floor, Atty. Lim?” Maya asked conversationally after she noticed him walking beside her towards the direction of her office. She shares the floor with another department so she thought he has a meeting there.
“No, I don’t have any. I just want to accompany you to your office, if it is okay?” He remarked, smiling and gazing at her intently.
Maya’s heart beat faster, hearing that. It felt like a current went through her for some reason she can’t explain. All the blood went to her face too, making her blush. She, the poised one, is acting like a gauche teenager with this magnetic man.
“Oh!” was all she managed to utter at first. Then regaining her poise, she looked at Richard, then thanked him. “Thank you, Sir Richard, errr, Atty. Lim.”
“Please call me Ricky, Maya! I’m not your boss naman.” He said, gazing at her, then said enigmatically, “I’m glad.”
Maya just smiled at him, not really knowing how to react.
When they reached the entrance to Maya’s department, Richard gave Maya another of his lopsided smiles, then wished her a very nice day. She wished him a very nice day too. And they both parted ways, Richard with a big happy smile on his face, and Maya with her heart beating fast, as it if it jumping with joy.
But still, Maya does not know what to think of that encounter. She has a puzzled looked on her face when she opened her office door, and saw another surprise for the day! There is a big bouquet of sunflowers on her desk.
Maya felt that at that moment that there is something at work that she is still unaware of. She can’t think off hand who would send her sunflowers. While she had admirers at work before, none of them did this. Besides, only a handful of people knows that sunflower is her favorite flower.
She walked faster towards her desk, checked the floral arrangement for a card. She found it and she hastily opened it, an effort to find out fast who sent her the beautiful floral arrangement. However, while there is a message, it was not signed.
Have a great day! I hope you like the flowers.
The first thing that entered Maya’s mind when she thought of who could have sent it, is Richard Lim! She does not know why! He was just the first person that entered her head. But that’s impossible! He couldn’t be interested in her! As part of her job, she reads newspapers and magazines and she knows that he is considered as one of Manila’s most eligible bachelors, with socialites running after him, not that he pays them much attention, that’s according to Emman. Besides, he was with her in the elevator so he couldn’t have not been the one who sent it! Baka ipina-deliver. But really, why would he? However, before she can stop it, her heart jumped with the thought, that he might like her too, the way she likes him, a lot! But, Maya, she told herself, huwag assuming. Baka naman kasi crush na crush mo lang kaya naiisip mo na baka siya! Huwag mag-ilusyon, Maya Angela Dela Rosa.
Maya poked her head out of her door, checking if Minerva, her secretary is around. Seeing her, she called her to her office.
“Yes, Ms. Maya?” Minerva asked when she reached her desk. “May kailangan po kayo?”
“Minerva, anong oras ka pumasok today? Would you know kung sino ang naglagay nitong flowers sa office ko?” Maya asked.
“Naku, Ma’am, I was here around 7 o’clock, pero nandiyan na po ang flowers na iyan. Ako po ang unang pumasok sa department natin.” Minerva answered.
“Very puzzling talaga.” Maya said, almost to herself.
“Ma’am, meron po kayong secret admirer? Nakakatuwa naman po. In fairness, bongga ha. Nakakakilig pati.” Minerva said, smiling. “For sure, Ma’am, taga-LC lang din iyang pa-mysterious mong secret admirer. Sino ba ang may access sa building nang ganito kaaga. When we left home, wala naman iyan.”
“Hmmmm, you have a point there, Minerva. Thank you. I will figure it out, eventually.” Maya said. “Please make a follow-up na lang with Legal the documents we sent them for review last week, baka tapos na nila. Thank you.”
Maya looked at the card again after Minerva went back to her cubicle. It was written in a very distinct, ‘masculine’ way. Who could have send her the flowers?
She put the card in her drawer and tried to concentrate on her work. She found it difficult to do so. Aside from thinking who could have sent her the flowers, Richard also sneaked into her thoughts from time to time. She was puzzled actually by her instant attraction to him. She was drawn to him from the beginning. She had met other handsome guys, some even courted her, but none of them made her heart beat faster with just a look at a smile, like Richard does. There is something about his chinito good looks that is pulling her in, very strongly towards him.
The first time she saw Richard in person, his back was to the door. She was late for the party to welcome him to LC as she was talking to a business reporter of a major daily about LC’s upcoming stockholders meeting and the interview took a while. Richard suddenly turned when she was about to go to James Ventura, one of her good friends and the Chief Operating Officer of LC. He was actually the one who recruited her as LC’s Communications Manager several months ago. She was working for one of foreign news wire services in the country at that time. She felt she needed the change, and the job sounds interesting, so she accepted.
When Richard turned and focused her gaze on her, she literally stopped on her tracks. They shared a look, and she thought she saw something in that, but it was so fleeting that she thought she had imagined it. Then James called her, brought her to where Richard was, and introduced them. They chatted, at first with James, then just the two of them when someone called James across the room. They mostly talked about company stuffs and how long she had been with LC, and a bit about her old job. Before they can go into the details of their professional backgrounds, and other stuffs, Roberto Lim came and said he will borrow Richard. Richard told his father he would be along shortly. He gave her his business card before he went after his father.
They didn’t get talk again for the rest of the night as Roberto Lim went around the room with Richard in tow, formally introducing his son around. Even if Richard was just to assume the Chief Legal Counsel position then, everyone in the room that night knew he is being groomed as the next CEO of LC. Maya, on the other hand, was drawn into pocket conversations by the other executives and officers of the company.
From that night, Maya will just caught a glimpse of Richard here and there the past week, but they haven’t really saw each other face to face and interacted again until yesterday when she had mistakenly sent him the text.
Emman’s knock interrupted Maya’s introspection.“Hi Maya, hindi ka pa ba magla-lunch? Sabay na tayo?”
“Ha, lunch na ba, Emman?” Maya asked, surprised, looked at the clock and noticing that it was already past 12 noon.
“Oo naman, Ms. Maya Dela Rosa! Parang space out ka today, ah. Stress ba? Kalalabas pa lang naman natin ng newsletter for the week ah. Uy, sunflowers, ang ganda naman! Bonggang manliligaw ah.” Emman remarked, noticing the sunflowers.
“Beautiful, di ba? Kaso hindi ko alam kung sino ang nag-send.” Maya said as she grabbed her purse and cellphone. “Pagpasok ko nakita ko na sa table ko. When I asked Minerva naman, she told me na nandito na rin pagpasok niya, considering na siya ang pinakamaagang dumating sa department natin. Bayaan mo na nga, kung ayaw niyang magpakilala, eh di ayaw, di ba?”
Emman, stopped a bit at that, remembered Liza, one his other long-time LC friends calling him yesterday, chatting a bit, asking him what is Maya’s favorite flower. She said the company will send Maya some flowers for her birthday, which is in two weeks and she does not know what kind to get her. Nagtaka rin siya when she asked since it was not her who handles those for the company, but he got busy and forgot about it. If Liza asked, and Liza now works for…..
“OMG!” He muttered. He was torn between telling Maya who could have sent it. But what if he is wrong and it is just a mere coincidence? Saka, if ever man na si Sir Richard ang nag-send, mawawalan naman ng thrill kung sasabihin niya, di ba? Emman did this mental debate for a couple of seconds more, then decided not to tell Maya of his suspicion.
“Halika na nga. Ikain na lang natin iyan.” Emman just said.
Maya and Emman enjoyed their lunch, joined by their friends in LC, Edselyn and Jonah. The lunch put Maya in a better frame of mind. She has decided that she will just go with the flow. She is sure that whoever her secret admirer is will one day reveal himself. Why go to all the trouble if he wouldn’t?
With that resolution, she was able to concentrate on what she was doing. The rest of the day flew fast, and before Maya knew it, it was already past 6 o’clock in the evening. Emman has left already for the day. She gathered her things and went down to the lobby of LC, then walk to the street corner to get a taxi. A tall order at that time of the night, but she didn’t have any other choice. Maya was not able to use her car that day as it was her number coding day. She had been standing there for 10 minutes with taxis passing by, full, when a car stopped in front of her. The driver got out. It was Richard! OMG!
“Hi Maya, are you waiting for a taxi?” Richard greeted her as he walked towards her.
“Errrr, yes Atty. Lim.” Maya replied. OMG, ang guwapo talaga with his eyeglasses, pale blue dress shirt!
“Ricky, please, di ba I told you to call me that na lang.” Richard corrected and reminded her with a smile. “Where do you live? Come, I will take you home. It’s difficult to find a cab at this time of the night in this area.”
“Naku, Atty….errr…Ricky, baka my area is out of your way, I live in Makati.” Maya said, not wanting to bother him. Besides, three quarters of an hour with him the car, she might just melt and turn into a puddle like the wicked witch in the Wizard of Oz!
“Perfect then! I also live in Makati. at least in the meantime. I’m going to our family home in Dasmarinas Village. Where exactly do you live?” Richard asked as a horn blew loudly. “Come na, Maya, please, at baka ma-tow pa itong car ko. Nakakaabala na yata ako sa flow ng traffic!”
Maya agreed then. “Okay, thank you, Ricky.”
Richard opened the passenger door for Maya before going to the driver’s side of the car. Then when on their way, Richard asked Maya again where he will take her.
“Oh sorry, about that! I live in Bel-Air.” Maya replied.
Richard and Maya fall into an easy chatter throughout their journey from Ortigas Center to Makati. Maya forgot about getting self-conscious as Richard put her at ease. Before long, they were chatting like they have known each other long. She found him very easy to talk to.
From general topics, they shifted to talking about their favorite movies after getting distracted by a huge billboard in EDSA advertising the latest instalment to the Marvel Universe’s movies. Maya found out that Richard is a Marvel Comics avid fan and likes all the movies that were release under the so-called ‘Marvel Universe’. She also likes those, as well as romantic comedies, period movies, and movies based on literary works. Richard teased her about preferring chick flick and intellectual films. But admitted in the end, laughing, that he also watch those. From there, they moved to books they like, and other interests. They also started talking a little more about themselves. Maya, of course, know more about Richard than he about her.
Before they knew it, they were already approaching Buendia. They turned right, then drove into Maya’s village. Maya directed Richard to a beautiful two-storey house with a low fence, painted mostly in white and has a big garden in front.
“Ricky, thank you for taking me home. Would you like to go in, and have dinner, or coffee before you go home?” Maya offered when she and Richard were standing by the curve, in front of the gate.
“Thank you, Maya. Next time I will take you up on that. My parents are waiting for me. I told them I will be home for dinner. Knowing Mama, she will wait for me.” Richard said regretfully. He wanted to spend more time with Maya, but he had already said yes to his mother, to him being home for dinner. He forgot to cancel.
“Oh, okay then. Good night and thank you very much again for taking me home.” Maya said warmly, giving Richard a brilliant smile that lit up her whole face. “Baka kung hindi, naghihintay pa rin ako ng taxi.”
“No worries, Maya. If you want, I can also pick you up in the morning. Sabay na tayo pumasok.” Richard offered.
“Thank you, Ricky. My car is okay na tomorrow. Besides, I have a meeting outside the office so better if I have a ride.” Maya said, touched by his gesture.
“Okay, just let me know if you need a ride home again.I would be happy to take you.” Richard said. “I’ll go ahead. Good night Maya. I enjoyed the ride with you.” He finished soflty.
They shared a look, then as if they both realized what they were doing, both got a bit flustered. They said good night one more time.
Maya went inside the house, thinking that this turned out to be a very wonderful day, not only she saw the object of her affection, she shared a ride home with him.
Richard felt the same. When he saw Maya earlier waiting for a taxi, he can’t believe his luck, so he seized the opportunity to be with her. Now, he still has one thing to do that night, and he hopes Maya will like it.
Richard quickly exited from the San Nicolas Airport as soon as he got hold of his luggage. He is excited to see Maya. He misses her a lot. Time passed slowly in the more than two days they have been separated. The last glimpse of her he had, was when he took her to the airport Wednesday morning for her flight. The night before that, they had dinner at her house after he took her home. But he didn’t stay long as she needed to pack and get ready for her trip.
He was about to scan the terminal for the sight of his lovely girlfriend when he noticed her waving at him from the right side of the building. He walked towards her with a big grin on his face.
“Maya…..” He said lovingly. He hugged her tight, then proceeded to give her a quick kiss, then hugged her tight again. “I missed you so very much.”
“I missed you very much too, my Ricky.” Maya replied, very happy to see Richard again. He occupied her thoughts a lot the past two days. Yes, they have chatted on the phone in the evening, but that does not compare to seeing him, being with him. She has gotten used to seeing and being with him everyday. She hugged him tight back.
They stayed like that for a while, then Maya suddenly remembered her cousin.
“Ooops, I forgot. Sorry, Simon”. She said as she got out of Richard’s embrace, smiled sheepishly, then introduced the two. “Ricky, this is my cousin Simon Dela Paz. Simon, si Richard Lim, boyfriend ko.”
“Richard, ikinagagalak kitang makilala.” Simon offered to shake Richard’s hand. Sa wakas nakilala rin niya ang boyfriend ng pinsan niya. He and Maya talked about Richard last night, with Cristina Rose, after their dinner with Mamang. Just liked with Emman and the parents, Maya gave her cousins and childhood friends, and her Mamang this morning, a condensed version of hers and Richard’s love story.
“The same here, Simon. Madalas kang makwento ni Maya sa akin, pati na rin si Cristina Rose, kahit noong una pa kaming nagkakilala.” Richard shook Maya’s cousin’s hand, at the same time giving him a friendly smile.
“Mamaya, you will meet din Cris. Sinamahan lang si Cho sa school, may activity sila ngayon.” Simon said.
“I’m looking forward to that, also meeting Cho, and also her husband, Jeff, di ba?” Richard added.
“Wow, Ricky, you still remember, even Ate Cris’s husband’s name!” Maya exclaimed.
“Of course, my love. Lahat ng may kinalaman sa iyo, naaalala ko lahat.” He said lovingly.
“Ehemmm, ehemmm, dumarami yata ang mga langgam dito sa San Nicolas, Maya, parang imported, galing Maynila.” Simon teased his cousin and her boyfriend.
Both Maya and Richard shared a loving smile and a sheepish look.
“Oo na, Simon, titigil na kami, hahahahaha.” Maya told her cousin. “Halika na nga, punta na tayo kay Mamang at for sure, inip na inip iyon. Excited nang makilala itong si Ricky.”
They all trooped to the parking lot where Simon’s owner-type jeep was waiting for them.
“Richard, pagpasensyahan mo na itong jeep ko.” Simon said apologetically.
“Naku, Simon, okay lang.” Richard assured Maya’s cousin.
Maya insisted that Richard sit in front with Simon while she went to the back of the jeep. Richard assisted her in climbing in. Soon after they were in their way to the poblacion, where Mamang lives in the ancestral house of the Dela Pazes, Mommy Tessie’s side of the family. Simon stopped the jeep in front of the beautiful, well-preserved Spanish-era house.
“Wow, this is really beautiful!” Richard remarked as he looked at the two-storey house with capiz windows, ventanillas which make the house cooler especially in hot summer nights, intricate trimmings and in the tradition of old Filipino bahay na bato, the living area is on the second floor. They went inside through the front gate, up to the beautiful stairs made of old hardwood.
“Mamang, nandito na po kami!” Maya called from the base of the stairs, then indicated to Richard that they should ascend. Richard put his hand on Maya’s back to assist her. Simon followed, liking Richard’s solicitousness towards his cousin.
Mamang rushed to greet them from the top of the stairs. She came from the direction of the kitchen.
“Maya, apo, naku, panhik na kayo. Pasensya na at hindi ko kayo nasalubong kaagad.”
“Magandang hapon po, Mrs. Dela Paz.” Richard greeted Mamang formally and respectfully, when they reached the top of the stairs.
“Mamang, heto po ang nobyo ko si Richard.” Maya said to her grandmother as she gazed at Ricky lovingly. “Richard, heto naman ang maganda at mabait kong Mamang.”
“Please to meet you po, Mrs. Dela Paz.” Richard gave Maya’s grandmother a warm smile, then took her hand. “Mano, po.”
“Naku, kaawaan ka ng Diyos, anak. Mamang na rin lang ang itawag mo sa akin. Masyado namang pormal iyang Mrs. Dela Paz.” Mamang said, looking closely at Maya’s boyfriend. Kagwapo naman pala at mukhang mabait itong nobyo ng apo ko, she thought. “Natutuwa ako Richard at sa wakas nakilala na rin kita. Halina, parine tayo sala at doon mas masarap magkwentuhan.”
“Mamang, uuwi po muna ako sa amin.” Simon said. “Babalik na lang po ako, mamaya.”
“O sige, Simon, sama-sama tayong maghahapunan mamaya ha. Paki-remind mo rin sina Cristina Rose, Jeff at Pocholo at ang mga magulang mo na dito tayong lahat mamayang alas siyete ng gabi. Pa-welcome natin dito kay Richard.” Mamang told Simon.
“Opo, Mamang. Sasabihin ko po sa kanila. Excited nga rin po ang mga iyon na makilala itong si Richard.” Simon replied. “Richard, Maya, maiwan ko muna kayo.”
“Sige, Simon. Salamat ha. Mamayang gabi na lang.” Maya told her cousin. Richard also thanked Simon.
Mamang led Richard and Maya to a grand living room, full of antique furnitures and filled with framed black and white and sepia photos of several generations of Dela Pazes. They sat on the small sitting room on the side of the room.
“O maupo na muna kayo at magpapahanda ako ng merienda.” Mamang said, moving towards the direction of the kitchen.
“Naku, Mamang, ako na lang po. Puntahan ko si Manang Narcisa. Magpahinga ka na rin. Knowing you, ‘Mang, nakialam ka naman sa pagluluto ng mga putahe para sa dinner natin.” Maya gently assisted her grandmother to her favorite solihiya chair. Then she indicated that Richard should sit on the big one beside it.
“Kumusta naman ang flight mo, Richard?” Mamang asked when they were both seated and Maya disappeared to the direction of the kitchen. “Mabuti rin at nakasama ka rito kay Maya sa amin.”
“Maayos naman po, Mamang. On time naman ang flight.” Richard replied, realizing that this an opportunity for him to talk to Maya’s grandmother. “I asked Maya po if it is okay to go with her when she visits you pagkatapos ng meeting niya sa community kung saan sila may project kasi gusto ko po kayong makilala. Matagal na po niya kayong nakukwento sa akin, noong nasa New York pa kami. Nabanggit po ba niya ang tungkol sa amin?”
“Oo, anak. Nagkakwentuhan kami ng husto nitong apo ko kaninang umaga, pagkagising namin at habang nagkakape. Kagabi kasi, nagkasiyahan silang magpipinsan. Medyo matagal na hindi nagkita-kita ang mga iyon. Natutuwa ako na sa kabila ng lahat, kayo pa rin nitong apo ko. Mahalin mo siya ng husto ha, iyan lang ang hiling ko sa iyo.” Mamang said.
“Makakaasa po kayo, Mamang.” Richard said, then taking a deep breath, he forged on. “Sa katunayan, may isa pa po akong dahilan sa pagpunta rito. Gusto ko rin po kasi sanang magpaalam sa inyo.”
“Magpaalam para sa saan?” Mamang asked, though like Mommy Tessie, she has an inkling on what it will be.
“Matapos po kina Mommy Tessie at Mark, also my Mama, magpapaalam din po sana ako sa niyo na mag-propose kay Maya. Gusto ko na po sana siyang yayaing magpakasal, if she will have me.” Richard finished in one rush.
Mamang smiled, then put her hand on her chest, happy for her apo and the man she loves. “Oh my! May idea ba ang apo ko na may pinaplano kang ganito, Richard?”
“Wala po.” Richard said.
“Masaya ako para sa inyo. Of course, si Maya pa rin ang sasagot sa iyo, pero for me, welcome na welcome ka sa pamilya namin. Alam ko namang mahal na mahal na mahal ka ng apo.” Mamang finished, then stood up and hugged Richard. “Salamat sa paggalang, Richard.”
“Mamang, ako nga po ang dapat magpasalamat sa inyo, sa pagtanggap.” Richard said as he hugged the old lady back.
“Salamat saan?…..” Maya said from the doorway, carrying a tray of drinks, followed by Manang Narcisa, with several servings of mouthwatering rice cakes, before Mamang can ask Richard when is he planning to propose.
“Wala, sabi lang ni Richard, salamat sa pagtanggap dito sa bahay natin.” Mamang replied, smiling conspiratorially at Richard. Richard smiled back, silently thanking Mamang and her discretion in not spoiling his big surprise for his love. “O kain na nga tayo.”
They chatted while having merienda. Maya told Richard and her grandmother that everything is set for her and Donya Esmeralda’s project in a remote village, more than an hour away from San Nicolas. She told them that the people there were very nice and are looking forward to the literacy program, especially the kids who really want to learn.
While Maya was chatting, Richard’s gaze never left her face, looking at her with so much love. She looked at him with the same expression on her face. Mamang was happy looking at the two and the overflowing of love between them. She is happy that her apo had finally found someone to share her life with. Richard looks like a very responsible and a very nice young man. Ma-respeto pa.
They were winding down their merienda session when Manang Narcisa interrupted them, saying that one of Mamang’s katiwala is looking for her.
“Maya, apo, pagpahingahin mo na muna itong si Richard doon sa kwarto na inihanda natin for him. Kailangan ko lang kausapin itong si Berto tungkol diyan sa mga tanim natin sa Barangay San Antonio.” Mamang suggested. “Richard, excuse me. Kailangan ko lang bumaba.”
“Sige po Mamang.” Maya said. “Halka, my love, ilagay na natin iyong mga gamit mo doon sa room mo.”
“Thank you po, Mamang sa pagpapatuloy niyo sa akin.” Richard respectfully.
“Naku, wala iyon Richard. Welcome na welcome ka rito sa bahay ko. Kapamilya ka na rin namin since nobyo ka nitong apo ko.” She said smiling.
Maya led Richard to a corridor then to a room towards the side of the house.
“Here it is! This one used to be my Tito Jose’s room, and I’m having Mom’s old room at the opposite side of this, beside Mamang’s room.” Maya said as she opened the door to a big airy room, with a big antique four-poster bed in the middle. “The bathroom is over there.”
Richard just gazed at Maya while she was showing him everything. When she was about to move to show him something more, he got hold of her arm, and gently reeled her to him.
“I missed you very much.” He softly said, and before she can react, he lowered his lips to hers and gave her a searing kiss.
Maya responded to Richard’s kiss. Before long, they were sharing hot kisses, while slowly moving towards the bed. Richard broke the kiss to sit on the bed, then put Maya in his lap. Then he resumed kissing her. He ran his tongue on the rim of her lips, silently asking entry. Maya opened her mouth to let Richard’s tongue in. Their tongues duelled and mated, sharing searing kisses that inflamed their senses and their desire for each other.
The afternoon suddenly felt so hot. Richard’s hand soon started wandering, caressing Maya’s back, moving to the hem of her blouse, then to the underside of her breast. He left a trail of heat, igniting May’s senses more. His wandering hand finally reached Maya’s breast. Richard cupped her breast on top of her bra, caressing it maddeningly making Maya hot to her core. He did the same to other one. In the process, he discovered that Maya’s bra has a front closure. He flipped it open, then his hand was free to roam and play with Maya’s breasts.
Maya started caressing Richard too as they shared another bone-melting kiss. Richard trailed kissed on Maya’s neck, her collarbone, the valley between her breasts. While he was raining hot kisses on her, he continued playing with her breasts. Maya on the other hand, caressed his nape, his hair, and everything she could touch. From where she was sitting, she can feel the evidence of Richard’d desire for her.
“Maya, my love, you are making me crazy with want. I want you very much, but I think we need to stop soon.” He said with difficulty. “Your grandmother might come looking for you soon.”
“Oh….” Maya looked at Richard with her desire-glazed eyes, that made it harder for Richard to stop what they were doing. But they needed to, he made the supreme effort, knowing that he is the experienced one and should have more control. They both tried to catch their breaths.
“You are lethal, Ms. Dela Rosa.” Richard said, grinning at Maya and caressing her face.
Maya just smiled at him, blushing a bit, realizing that they were in a very intimate position. She can still feel the imprint of Richard’s maddening touch on her breasts.
“I better leave you here, so you can rest.” Maya said, getting up from Richard’s lap after fixing her dress with trembling hands and shortness of breath.
“Maya, I don’t need to rest. I would rather spend the rest of the afternoon with you.” Richard said. “Why don’t you tour me around this house, please! Then, is there a place we can just chill out and chat? Have coffee you know, and cuddle!” He added with a naughty grin.
“Ricky…..” Maya said smiling. “Hmmm, I think I just know the place. Come.”
Maya toured Ricky around the magnificent ancestral home. Then she led Richard to an azotea, which has a coffee table and some chairs.
“Wait here, I will get us some coffee.” Maya said, giving Richard a quick kiss before heading towards the direction of the kitchen.
Maya came back with two steaming cups of coffee. She and Richard had a wonderful time in the azotea ringed by bougainvilleas and all kinds of ornamental plants. They only returned inside when it was getting dark. They got ready for the dinner Mamang is hosting for Richard.
Simon and his family arrived together around 15 minutes before seven o’clock and the house suddenly burst into a happy chatter. Maya introduced Richard to her Tito Jose, Tita Pilar, then to her Ate Cris, her Kuya Jeff, and Pocholo.
Richard felt overwhelmed and very happy with the warm welcome he received from Maya’s family. Dinner was a very lively affair. Mamang and Manang Narcisa prepared a feast. After everyone’s stomach was full, they moved to the living room to have coffee and dessert.
The party broke out at around midnight. Cho fell asleep in Mamang’s room while the adults where having coffee and chatting in the living room so Cristina Rose and her family opted to stay there as well. Richard and Maya after saying good night to everyone shared a chaste kiss in front of her room before retiring for the night.
When Maya woke up the following day, Richard was already up and having coffee with Mamang in the dining room. Cris and her family had left to go to church.
“Good morning, Mamang! Good morning Ricky!” She went to kiss Mamang on the cheek, then move to Ricky giving him a quick kiss on the cheek too. Richard stood up and pull a chair for her. “Did you sleep well?”
Richard smiled at her mischievously. “I did. I slept like a baby and had the most wonderful dream.”
Maya sensed something in Richard’s statement, but she better ask Richard about it when they are alone.
“Maya, apo, kain na!” Mamang started bustling in and serving Maya all kinds of food.
“Mamang, fiesta ulit.” Maya said smiling. “Thank you po. Mamang, bibiyahe na nga po pala kami ni Ricky before lunch, di ba Ricky? May dadaanan pa kami. Saan na nga iyon Ricky?”
“Yes nga po pala, Mamang. May dadaanan po kami diyan sa San Quentin.” Richard replied.
“Ganoon ba? Di bale, malapit lang naman iyon dito. Pahatid na kayo kay Simon.” Mamang said.
Maya and Richard told her that they have already made arrangements with Simon for a pick up at around 11 o’clock. The three of them spent most of the morning chatting with their overly long breakfast. Then, Maya and Richard excused themselves to get ready to leave. Soon after, they were at the gate, saying goodbye to Mamang,
“Maya apo, Richard, dalas-dalasan niyo ang pagdalaw dito ha.” Mamang said, getting teary-eyed.
“Opo Mamang. Mas mapapadalas ako rito kasi may project kami diyan sa San Manuel na baka six months din ang abutin.” Maya said. “Baka nga po, minsan, pagdaan ko rito, kasama ko pa ang Mama ni Ricky.”
“Oo nga, isama mo nga rito nang makilala ko ang magiging…” Oops, good thing Mamang was able to stop herself. Kamuntik na siyang madulas. “….ang magiging katuwang mo diyan sa maganda mong project,” she finished.
Richard heaved a sigh of relief! He thought Mamang would say ‘ang magiging biyenan mo’, and more.
“Mamang, maraming salamat po ulit sa lahat.” He said, then hugged the old lady. He does miss having a grandmother. Hindi na niya nakilala ang grandparents niya dahil maagang namatay.
Simon arrived while they were saying goodbye. They loaded everything into the jeep and waved to Mamang as they were leaving.
More than an hour after, Simon stopped the jeep at the base of a road that goes up to the mountains.
“Hanggang dito na lang ba kayo, Richard?” He asked. “Kaya naman siguro ng jeep ko ang paakyat.”
“Maraming salamat, Simon. Sobra-sobra na ang pang-aabala namin sa iyo.” Richard said. “Okay na, I have made arrangements na, parating na rin siguro si Mang Caloy. Napaaga lang tayo ng kaunti sa pinag-usapan naming oras.”
From a distance, they saw an oncoming pick-up truck. It stopped and out came an old guy.
“Sir Richard, pasensya na po at naghintay pa kayo.” Mang Caloy said, then looked at Maya and Simon. “Magandang hapon po sa inyo, Ma’am, Sir.”
“Magandang hapon din po.” Maya and Simon said, one after the other.
“Maya, Simon si Mang Caloy, caretaker ng vacation house ng family namin diyan sa may taas ng bundok.” Richard said. “Mang Caloy, si Maya Dela Rosa po, girlfriend ko and ito naman si Simon Dela Paz, pinsan niya na taga-San Nicolas.”
“Ikinagagalak ko po kayong makilala. Mga apo ba kayo ni Donya Conching?” Mang Caloy asked.
“Opo Kilala niyo po pala si Mamang?” Maya asked.
“Opo, Ma’am Maya, Sir Simon. Pinsan ko po si Berto na caretaker niya sa Barangay San Antonio.” He said.
Maya and Simon smiled at the old guy and told them they are happy to meet a relative of Mang Berto.
Soon after Richard and Maya said goodbye to Simon and boarded the pick-up truck that took them through scenic, but rough roads and curves going up to the mountain. When they reached the top, Maya found the view breathtaking. She can see the whole of the island and the water that surrounds it.
Mang Caloy stopped the vehicle in front of a big house. The best way to described it, is that it is like a bahay kubo na mansyon. The house has cogon roof, made of wood, with a wrap-around balcony, and when Maya and Richard got inside, she discovered that it has floor-to-ceiling windows that offer a breathtaking view of the mountains and the sea way below.
“What a marvelous place! Is this your family’s, Ricky?” Maya asked as she moved towards the big window. “Parang wala ka namang nabanggit na may relative ka rin dito sa Mindoro.”
“Wala kaming relative dito. This house was offered to Papa by one of his friends who have been building vacation houses in the area several years ago. Nagustuhan naman niya, and also ni Mama. Madalang lang din silang magpunta dito. Ako ang medyo madalas, before I left for the States in 2009, especially when I needed to be alone and want to have a quiet time. If Superman has his ‘Fortress of Solitude’, this is mine. This is a special place for me.” Richard said as he stood behind Maya and hugged her from the back, his arms around her waist and his chin on this shoulder. “And you are the only one I have brought here.” Richard said softly.
Maya’s heart skipped a beat, touched. “Thank you, Ricky. I love yo very much.”
“I love you more, Maya, now and forever.” Richard said as he moved a bit so he can kiss her.
Their lips touched and they shared a gentle, loving kiss, in the place that would become more special to them.