Meeting the Parents
Maya and Richard broke apart. Smiled lovingly at each other. Richard caressed Maya’s face gently. Maya did the same. There was wonder in both their expressions as if they can’t believe that they are doing this, that they are officially in a relationship, that they have been lucky enough to find each other, to love each other.
“Goodnight, Sweetheart! I’ll see you bright and early tomorrow. Don’t cook too much. I will bring pandesal and cream cheese again. We have never gotten around to eating those this morning.” Richard said.
“Okay. Good night! Drive carefully and text me when you get home.” Maya replied. “I love you.”
“I will. I love you too.” Richard gave Maya a quick kiss on the lips, and then he was off towards the direction of Dasmarinas Village.
Maya entered the house humming one of her favourite songs from My Fair Lady… “I could have danced all night, I could have danced all night…” She felt like she was floating from sheer happiness, as exhilarated and as giddy as Eliza Doolittle had been after Professor Higgins danced with her.
Manang Fe didn’t wait up for Maya this time as she had remembered to text her earlier before she went to the lobby of LC. She informed her old nanny that she will have dinner with Richard. She opened the fridge and check what she can cook for Richard the following morning. She also left a note for Manang Fe saying that she will be the one to cook breakfast.
Her phone beeped when she was putting all her stuffs on the study table in her room.
Richard: Home now, Sweetheart. Good night! I’ll dream of you.
Maya: Good night my Sweetheart! I hope it will be a good one!
Richard: I’m sure it will be!
Maya: Love you!
Richard: Love you more!
Maya and Richard had the best sleep that night.
The following morning, Donya Esmeralda was surprised to see her son going down the stairs very early again. Now, she will bet her collection of porcelain tea sets that it is not work that made her son get up very early two mornings in a row.
“Going to Maya’s again, son?” She asked as she took another sip of her morning tea while reading the newspapers.
“Errr, yes Ma! We went out to dinner last night. Kinulit ko si Maya na iwan na lang iyong car niya ulit sa LC. I drove her home.” Richard said, then kissed his mother on the cheek. “Ma, she is my girlfriend na. Sinagot na niya ako kahapon.” Richard added with a big grin.
“Oh my, oh my! Really son! I’m so happy! See, I told you, sasagutin ka ni Maya.” Donya Esmeralda was all smiles as she stood up and hugged her son. She is very happy to see Richard like this.
Donya Esmeralda never thought she will see her son this happy. Yes, Richard had relationships before and he never told her much about those. This is the first time that he was quite opened with her and had openly declared to her his love for someone. She knew then, that this is it for her son. Of course, she knew about Natasha as she is the daughter of a family friend. But that girl was bad news and she was glad that Richard didn’t end up with her.
“O kailan mo iimbitahan for dinner dito sa house si Maya, para naman makilala namin siya ng husto ng Papa mo.”
“Ma, kilala mo naman siya, more or less, and especially Papa!”
“I mean, son, as your girlfriend and my future daughter-in-law, di ba?” Donya Esmeralda said.
“Future daughter-in-law kaagad, Mama! Kasasagot nga lang sa akin!” Richard sat down beside his mother, grinning.
“Hay naku, knowing you son, I know this relationship is for keeps. Ngayon lang kaya kita nakitang ganito! And you will not tell me about it kung fling fling lang yan, and if you are not serious about this relationship. Aber, kailan ka huling nagkwento sa akin ng ganito? Never di ba?”
“Hahahaha, ikaw talaga Ma. But yes, you are right. I never felt like this before. And this is it for me and this is for keeps.I would never have told you about it if I’m not serious about this, if I’m not head over heels in love with Maya. But for now, I want Maya and I to enjoy our relationship first. Get to know each other more. Just do what couples do.” Richard said, then added, “About the dinner, I will ask her, okay.”
“Sure, son! Have you mentioned something about this to your Papa?”
“Mention something to me about what….?” Don Roberto asked from the doorway, a steaming cup of coffee in his hand, his briefcase in his other hand.
“Maaga ka rin sa office today, Roberto?” Donya Esmeralda asked as she gave her husband a kiss on the cheek.
“Yes, I need to meet with some people from our subsidiary that is having a problem. Ricky knows about this. James Ventura will be with me in this meeting.” Don Roberto said as he sat down beside his wife. “What were you supposed to tell me, Ricky?”
“Go son, tell your father your wonderful news.” Donya Esmeralda prodded Richard.
“Pa, I was just telling Mama that I have a girlfriend na again. I’m in love with the best girl in the world, and you know her.” Richard said, a bit nervous actually. Sometimes, his father could be unpredictable. Besides, his father didn’t like Natasha for him even if she is the daughter of one his closest friends. “It is Maya.”
“Si Maya Dela Rosa, iyong Head ng CCD?” Don Roberto asked. “Iyong anak ni Arturo Dela Rosa?
“Yes, Pa.” Richard confirmed. “Mama mentioned nga that her father was your old banker.”
“Yes, yes, he was! A very nice and straighforward fellow, no bullshits and very trustworthy. Congratulations, son! Finally! So does it means you are settling down now? You are not getting any younger you know. Ilang taon ka na ba, 35, di ba. Your Mama and I want apos also while we can still play with them!” Don Roberto said, grinning. “Mahirap naman naka-wheel chair na kami pagdating ng mga apo namin.”
“Pa, you are just like Mama! Kasasagot nga lang sa akin ni Maya. Darating tayo diyan. And Papa, Mama, thank you.” Richard breath a sigh of relief! While he will love Maya to the end even if his parents are against her, it is wonderful that they like her.
“I like her son. Hindi katulad noong naging girlfriend mo na anak ni Probo. Maya seems like a very level-headed lady, intelligent, beautiful and well-liked in LC. Hindi nagkamali ang Uncle Patrick mo sa pag-hire sa kanya. Now I remember! You were quite taken with her at your welcome party to LC. Di ba siya iyong kausap mo ng matagal bago kita ipinakilala sa ibang executives?” Don Roberto finished.
“Pa, pati iyon, na-observe mo!” Richard said laughing. “Saka Pa, like I have told Mama, let’s leave Natasha in the past.”
“Of course son! Nabanggit lang. You know, hindi naman magiging magaling na businessman itong Papa mo kung hindi ako observant. I had an inkling that you were interested in her.” Don Roberto said, smiling. “Why don’t you bring her to dinner one evening!”
“Iyan din ang sabi ni Mama, Pa. Okay I will. Tanungin ko lang si Maya on when she can come dinner. For sure, she would say yes. But is any day of the week okay with you two?”
Donya Esmeralda and Don Roberto said that Maya can come to dinner any day during the week or even during the weekend.
“Papasok ka na ba sa office? Let’s leave together. We can chat along the way. Sumabay ka na sa akin and magpa-drive ka na lang kay Lem mamayang gabi kung mauuna kang umuwi sa akin!” Don Roberto asked as he stood up and gave his wife a kiss on the cheek. “Aalis na ako Esmeralda.”
“Okay, Roberto.” Donya Esmeralda said. “Have a great day!”
“Pa, mauna ka na po. I have to pick up Maya pa.” Richard said, getting up too.
“Oh, okay then. Hello to Arturo and Teresita. I haven’t heard from him or about him since he retired from the bank.” Don Robero suddenly remembered Maya’s father, and mother.
“Maya said her parents are based in Mindoro now since her dad retired. He has an organic farm. Di ba ganoon din ang gusto mong gawin?”
“Really! So, itinuloy pala niya. He talked about it before. He wanted to retire while he is still strong and healthy raw.” Don Roberto remarked. “Anyway, let’s talk about this some more. Baka maabutan na ako ng traffic bago ako makalabas ng Makati. Bye son and hello to Maya.”
“Mama, I’ll get going na rin.” Richard said.
“Bye, son and don’t forget to text me on when is Maya coming to dinner para mapahanda ko ng husto sina Doris and Lea.” Donya Esmeralda said as she accompanied her husband and son to their garage.
“I will Ma.”
Father and son left the house one after the other. Richard arrived at Maya’s place less than an hour later.
“Good morning, Sweetheart! Did you sleep well?” Maya greeted Richard with a brilliant smile when she opened the gate. She was already dress for work. She looks very lovely in another plain maxi skirt and printed top.
“Good morning, Sweetheart! Of course, ikaw yata ang laman ng panaginip ko.” Richard said grinning.
“Sweetheart, kasing cheesy na naman nitong dala mong cream cheese ang lines mo. Halika na nga. Breakfast na tayo,” Maya said as she closed the gate and they started walking back to the house.
“Wait! “ Richard suddenly said as he reeled in Maya to him gently. “Where’s my good morning kiss?”
“Sweetheart, ikaw talaga!” Maya said smiling. “Heto!” Then she kissed on him the cheek.
“Hmmm, that was not a kiss.” He teased.
They looked at each other lovingly. Then Maya tiptoed and kiss him on the lips.
“That’s more liked it!” Richard said grinning. “I love you.”
“I love you too!” Maya said. “Halika na. I haven’t told Manang Fe pala about us, pero for sure, matutuwa iyon. She and Fely left the house early to go to Bulacan. She left a note na lang para raw huwag na akong gisingin ng maaga. Inatake raw sa puso iyong Tatay ni Fely. I haven’t heard from them. I hope Tiyo Rene is okay.
“I hope too that Manang’s brother is okay. Ask her if there is something we can do to help if ever. By the way my parents know na about us. Mama is asking nga when can you come to dinner.”
“Really, you told them? Pati ang Papa mo? Anong reaction nila?”
“Yes. They are very happy for us, if course. They say hello to you and your parents din.”
“Oh!” Maya suddenly shy, at the same time, felt relieved. She was not so sure how will Don Roberto react to his son courting and being in a relationship with an employee of LC. “I’m glad they took it well.”
“Why not?” Richard asked, frowning, puzzled.
“Well, maybe, they wanted you to be in a relationship with a Filipino-Chinese girl and not with an employee of your company.” Maya shrugged. “Just a thought!”
“My parents are not like that, especially Mama. Papa naman let me be rin! Besides, I love you very much. Even if they will be against our relationship, I will still love you and will stand by you.”
“Oh, thank you Sweetheart. Sobra mo naman ang akong pinapakilig. I love you very much and I’m willing to fight for that love too no matter what. Pero siyempre, mas maganda that everyone is happy about our relationship di ba? I’m really, really so happy, Ricky, with how things are. And about the dinner, please tell your mother, anytime.” Maya said, touching Richard’s forearm and leading him to the dining room. “Halika na. Kain na tayo, I cooked Spanish omelette for you.”
“Tamang-tama sa dala kong pandesal.” Richard put down the paper bag he was carrying. Maya started transferring the still hot pandesals in a serving dish, together with the herb cream cheese that Richard bought at the same bakery he got the pandesal.
“What would you like to drink. Coffee or juice?” Maya asked.
“Hmmm, coffee please. Sa sobrang excitement ko na sabihin kay Mama, tapos dumating pa si Papa, I forgot to make myself a cup of coffee before I left. Thank you, sweetheart.”
“Okay, coffee coming up.” Maya stood up and went to the coffee maker in the corner. She poured a cup each for her and Richard. She stirred in sugar after asking Richard how much he would like to have in his coffee.
She returned to the table, then they started eating.
“Wow, this is really delicious Maya!”
“Thank you Ricky.”
“Do you like to cook?”
“Yes, kapag may time. Aside from gardening, iyan ang stress reliever. I can handle omelettes and other simple dishes, pasta, mga ganoon, pero hindi ang mga complicated and fancy dishes. I’m more into baking.”
“Talaga! I’m sure you are good at it, judging by this omelette and the champorado yesterday.”
They continued chatting about they usually like to do to relieve stress, home cooked meals versus restaurant food, and other topics they found themselves talking about as they enjoyed their breakfast like an old, married couple, so very comfortable with each other.
“That was a very good breakfast, Sweetheart. I can get use to this everyday.” Richard remarked, gazing at Maya.
Maya smiled back. “Me too!”
Then, as if there was a magnet pulling them, they moved closer towards each other. They were about to kiss, when a sound made them looked at the door.
“Mom! Dad!” Maya blurted, seeing her parents looking at her and Richard, very, very curious. and were very very surprised at seeing their daughter and the good looking, chinito guy beside her, about to kiss.
Richard stood up. “Good morning po!” He politely said.
“Mom, Dad, I didn’t know you are coming today! Biglaan ba ang luwas niyo ng Manila? May nangyari ba?” Maya said surprised to see her parents, then went to kiss them. Se returned to Richard’s side, then hold on to his forearm and introduced him to her parents. “Mom, Dad, si Ricky po, Richard Lim, my boyfriend. Ricky, my parents, Arturo and Teresita Dela Rosa.”
Richard moved forward. “I’m glad to meet you po Mr. and Mrs. Dela Rosa.”
“Lim? By any chance, are you related to Roberto Lim of Lim Corporation?” Arturo Dela Rosa asked.
“He is my father po, Mr. Dela Rosa. I work at LC rin po like Maya.” Richard replied. “Nabanggit nga po ni Papa na kilala na kayo. In fact, Mama and him told me to say hello to you and Mrs. Dela Rosa. They didn’t know that you are now based in Mindoro.”
“Really, you are Esmeralda’s son! Kumusta na siya?” Teresita Dela Rosa asked. While she has a lot of questions for her daughter, she already liked Maya’s young man. The Lims are good people. Despite their wealth, their feet remained firmly planted on the ground. And, Esmeralda Lim is a fun person to be with. Nagtataka lang siya at ang aga, nasa house na nila agad si Richard Lim. But on the other hand, as far as she could remember, the Lims live nearby.
“Okay naman po siya, Mrs. Dela Rosa. Hayun po, busy sa charities niya.”
“Mom, Dad, please join Ricky and I for breakfast. Marami naman ang niluto ko. May dala pang pandesal and cream cheese si Ricky. Umalis nga po pala si Manang Fe. Inatake iyong kapatid niya. Iyon pong tatay ni Fely.” Maya told her parents.
“Oh, I hope Rene gets better and that it is not a serious atake. Kaya siguro Manang Fe forgot to tell you anak that we are coming. Tumawag ako sa kanya kagabi, to tell her that we are staying for a few days kasi may business meeting itong Dad mo sa ilang restaurants dito sa Makati who are interested in ordering organic vegetables and other produce from our farm.” Maya’s mom said. “We ate na rin pala before we left Mindoro.”
“Oh, okay po! I will just tidy up and put away everything, then Ricky and I will go to work na.” Maya said.
“I’ll help you.” Maya’s mom said. “Arturo, why don’t you and Richard get some air in Maya’s garden.” She suggested, subtly, brooking no arguments. She silently gestured to her husband to go along with her.
‘Okay. Richard. Halika, doon muna tayo.” Maya’s father said, then ushered Richard to a door at the left of the dining room.
When the two men were out of hearing, Maya hugged her mother. “Mom, ikaw ha, gusto mo lang akong i-interrogate kaya mo sila pinalayo. Sasabihin ko rin naman sa iyo. And bago ka magtanong, heto na nga po, kahapon ko lang naging boyfriend si Ricky.”
“ikaw talagang bata ka, hahahaha. Kabisado mo ako ah. Sige you are forgiven na. You know what, for a while when I saw you with Richard earlier, akala ko nag-asawa ka na nang hindi namin alam! Sobrang cozy kaya ngayong dalawa. Sweet niyo anak.” Teresita Dela Rosa, half-teased, half-chided her daughter good-naturedly. “Tapos ang aga-aga pa niya rito. Akala ko tuloy dito na siya natutulog. Kahit naman of age ka na, siyempre ikaw pa rin ang nag-iisa kong bunsoy.”
“Mommmm…..” Maya said. “We went to dinner last night. Iniwan namin iyong car ko sa LC and he brought me home. Sabay kaming papasok, so I told him to have breakfast here again.”
“Ha, o eh di ba, the other week lang lang kita kausap ah. Wala ka namang nababanggit na may nanliligaw sa iyo.” Mommy Tere hugged her daughter affectionately. “And ‘again’ ha, so this is not the first time, Richard had breakfast here.”
“Ganito kasi iyon, Mom…..”
Then Maya proceeded to tell her mother a summary of her and Richard’s courtship. All the while she was doing it, Mommy Tere can see that her daughter is indeed in love for the very first time in her life. Her face looks so animated, so full of life and her eyes are shining with love while speaking about hers and Richard unusual, short but nakakakilig na courtship.
“Maya, you are a Dela Paz nga. You fell in love like every Dela Paz women. It happened to your Mamang, to me with your Papa, and Cristina with Jeff. We just seemed to do it this way. I don’t know. Maybe, it is recognizing the one and only for you instinctively, as if there is an irrisistable force tugging you towards that person. Then you get to know him, and realized that indeed, that intuition and instinct were right. The important thing is that, you are sure of what you feel, of what he feels and his intentions towards you, and that you very happy. I just asked, pero I can say from the way you talk naman that you are happy and very much in love.”
“Talaga, Mom!!” Maya remarked. “Mom, I’m super, super happy. Walang pagsidlan. I’m praying that this is for keeps. I love Ricky with all my heart. It may happened so fast, but in my heart and in my mind, this is it. This is my forever, my happily ever after.”
“Then, your Dad and I are very happy for you too.” Mommy Tere said. She kissed her daughter’s cheek affectionately. Mother and daughter stayed like that for a while.
In the lanai, a similar conversation was going on. Richard knew that he will be ‘grilled’ by Maya’s Dad.
“Kumusta naman po ang flight niyo, Mr. Dela Rosa?” He asked as an opener.
“Okay naman. Mabuti hindi na-delay.” Arturo Dela Rosa replied. “Kailan pa kayo ng anak ko?” He asked pointblank.
“Kahapon lang po niya ako sinagot.” Richard replied. Then he decided to be frank also and lay Maya’s Dad’s concerns to rest, whatever those are. “Sir, Mr. Dela Rosa, I love your daughter very much and I was the happiest person in the world when she said yes to being my girlfriend. Makakaasa po kayo that I will cherish her and hinding-hindi ko siya bibigyan ng reason to cry because of me.” He said with conviction and with utmost sincerity.
Maya’s father looked at Richard, then realized that he really likes Maya’s young man, and that he and his daughter will suit very well. He can also see that Richard loves his daughter very much. In all his years in the banking industry, he considered himself a pretty good judge of character.
“Thank you for that Richard. I will hold you on to that. All we want is for our daughter to be happy. In the past, even if we would have wanted her to choose a career other than Journalism, we supported her with her choice because we want her to live her dreams. But that was nothing compared to this. This is her affair of the heart and we know it had taken her long to find and choose someone. She chose you, to give her love!” Arturo Dela Rosa added. “Tere and I are happy for you and our daughter, and please call me Tito Arturo.”
When Maya’s Dad said that, Richard breath a sigh of relief! From then on, the topic shifted to him asking about his Papa. Soon after, Maya and her mother, peeked and checked on them.
“Naku, Arturo, baka ma-late na itong mga bata. O Maya, Richard, pasok na kayo. Don’t worry about me and your Dad. We can manage.” Mommy Tere said.
“Okay po, Mom and Dad. I will see you later.” Maya kissed her parents.
“Sige po. Mrs. Dela Rosa, Mr. Dela Rosa. I’m so glad to have finally met you.” Richard said.
“Richard, di ba sabi ko Tito Arturo na lang. Ito namang si Tere, Tita Tere na lang.” Arturo Dela Rosa said. “Di ba, Tere.”
“Oo nga naman, Richard.” Teresita Dela Rosa added.
“Sige po, Tito Arturo and Tita Tere. Papasok na po kami ni Maya.”
“Ingat kayo.” Maya’s parents told them, one after the other.
When they were in the car and Maya’s parents went back inside, Maya teased Richard.
“Parang pumasa ka naman with flying colors ah.”
“Saan?” Richard asked deadpan.
“Saan pa, eh di sa interrogation ni Dad.” Maya said smiling. “You should have seen their expression, especially Mom when she saw us, about, errr, to kiss. Sabi niya akala niya raw nag-asawa na ako kasi ang aga mo pati sa bahay, hahahaha.”
Richard laughed. “Parang alam ko na kung kanino ka nagmana.” He teased.
Maya laughed too. “Ha, Atty. Lim, I will never live down all my bloopers ba.”
“Well, that is one of the reasons why I love so rin.” Richard said lovingly. “Saka kahit Spanish Inquisition pa I will face for you.”
“Awww, Sweetheart. Ikaw talaga. Rapunzel na Rapunzel na talaga ang feeling ko.”
“Rapunzel na Rapunzel, the princess with the long hair?” He asked puzzled. “What’s the connection!”
“Hahahaha! Oh! I have to teach you the modern lingo one of these days, Atty. Lim. You’ll never know the term may end up in courts too. Halika na, baka ma-late na tayo!”
Life will never be dull with Maya. Richard thought, very, very happy. “Sure Ms. Dela Rosa and bago tayo bumiyahe, I need a dose of vitamins.” Richard suddenly said, grinning. “Parang fading na ang bisa noong nauna eh!”
“Ha, you forgot to take one this morning? What is it ba? Baka meron sa house. Let me go and check.” She was about to get out of the car when Richard stopped her by holding on to her forearm.
“I’m not speaking about a pill. I mean this.” Then Richard lowered his lips to Maya’s and gave her a kiss. Maya responded and before long, they were sharing a searing kiss in full view of whoever is passing by Maya’s street.
“I love you, Maya.” Richard said after they broke apart, faces flushed, catching their breaths, with Richard still tracing Maya’s lips with his thumb.
“ I love you too, Sweetheart Ricky.”
Maya and Richard gazed at each other, their hands intertwined. A honk sounded. Richard moved. He kissed Maya’s hand before letting it go to drive to work.
Both of them, at that moment, feel that everything around them is richer in colors and that with each other, and the love they have, they can tackle whatever challenges the day will bring.