Happy Birthday, Sweetheart!
“Happy Birthday, Sweetheart!” Richard greeted Maya as soon as she opened the gate after he rang, the morning of her birthday, which fell on a Friday and a work day. He gave her a quick kiss on the lips, then he handed her a big bouquet of sunflowers and a box wrapped in purple paper with pink ribbons.
“Thank you very much, Sweetheart!” Maya said grinning. “Hmmm, what’s this?” She asked, shaking the box a little bit, curious as always.
“Hmmm, just something I think you would like!” Richard said happily. He hopes Maya will like his gift. He is really grateful to his cousin Rafi who is a wiz at ordering stuffs online.
“I’m sure I will like it. Galing kaya ito sa iyo, so kahit ano pa ito, I will treasure it very much.” Maya said, looking lovingly at Richard.“I will open it in the car, ha. Let’s go na after I’ve put the flowers in the house, so we have all the time to eat breakfast before our meeting with the other executives and your Papa.”
Maya went back to the house quickly and handed the flowers to Manang Fe. She was back outside after a minute or two.
“Okay, let’s go.” Richard opened the door for Maya and when she was settled in, he went to the driver’s side of the car.
Maya fastened her seat belt and when they were on their way out of the village, opened Richard’s present. She had a huge grin on her face when she saw what was inside.
“OMG, Ricky, thank you very much for this!!!” Maya was holding the latest e-book reader from Amazon, the one with the built-in light and has more advance features for easier reading. She had been meaning to get this one, but decided to wait out a little bit. “Now, I can read in the dark! How did you manage to get one so fast?”
“I have to thank Rafi for that. She ordered it online, then shipped it to a cargo forwarding company in the States, and then I picked it up from their office here.” Richard said. “I thought nga na baka hindi makaabot sa birthday mo. I know how you love to read kaya I wanted to give you one.”
“Thank you again, Sweetheart.” Maya said happily, then good thing, they were waiting for the light to turn green, she gave Richard a quick kiss on the lips. “I love you very much.” This is her first birthday that she will be celebrating with her boyfriend, with Richard the man she loves very much and she just feel so full of happiness.
“I love you too! Anything to make you happy, Maya. I will do.” Richard said sweetly.
They gazed at each other, getting lost in their world. But the honking of the cars behind them pulled them back to the real world. They have been holding the traffic for the light has already turned green several seconds ago!
Like what they have been doing the past two weeks that they have been traveling to work together, Richard and Maya chatted nonstop on the way to Ortigas from Makati. Maya gave up driving herself to work as most days, she ended up leaving her car at her parking slot in LC. Richard was very happy with her decision. He likes traveling to work with her and going home with her. Luckily, their schedules mesh. Most of the time, they ate dinner somewhere, or in some instances at Maya’s house.
Since that lunch in Richard’s office, the week before, their relationship has gotten stronger and deeper. Maya also met Donya Esmeralda and Don Roberto as their son’s girlfriend two days after that. Richard and Maya went to dinner at the Lim family house in Dasmarinas. Maya felt nervous when they arrived, but whatever nervousness and self-consciousness she was feeling was vanished by Donya Esmeralda’s exuberance. Maya was welcome very warmly, not only by Richard’s mother, but also his father, her boss. Both of them insisted that she calls them Tita Esmeralda and Tito Roberto.
When Donya Esmeralda found out that Teresita Dela Rosa was in Manila at that time, she asked for her number and the two of them went to lunch the following day, while Maya’s father was meeting with the owners of the restaurant who are interested in sourcing their fresh, organic food requirements from the Dela Rosa Farm. The two mothers had a wonderful time apparently as both Richard and Maya heard a lot about it.
The day before Maya’s parents returned to Mindoro, they invited Richard to dinner. Richard got to know Maya’s parents better. Manang Fe was also back by then, and like Maya predicted, she very happy when she found out that Richard is now Maya’s boyfriend.
Through Skype, Maya also introduced Richard to her Ate Cris, her brother-in-law Jeffrey, and their son Pocholo. Cris teased her sister about making Cho the ring bearer at her wedding. Maya blushed as Richard was beside her at that time. Richard told Cris that her son will make a very cute ring bearer. Then teased Cris about making sure her sister will say yes when he proposes. Maya elbowed him, but inside, she was thrilled with the idea of her and Richard together forever. She loves him so much. Life couldn’t be better! She is sure that Richard is the only one she wants to spend the rest of her life with.
Maya’s phone rang while they were approaching Boni.
“Maya, anak, happy, happy birthday!” Mommy Tere said. “I will put the phone on speaker ha. Wait ka lang, may iba pang maggi-greet sa iyo.”
“Thank you Mom.” Maya said smiling.
“Maya, anak, happy birhday!”….
“Bunso, happy birthday!”….
“Tita Maya, happy birthday po!”….
“Maya, happy birthday sa iyo!”….
“Wow, kumpleto kayo!” Maya said happily, looking at Richard, then she thanked her family. “Maraming salamat po, Mom, Dad, Ate Cris, cute na cute na pamangkin ko, Cho, and sa iyo rin Kuya Jeffrey.”
Richard gestured to Maya that she should say hello from him.
“Hello din daw po sa inyong lahat, sabi ni Ricky. Papasok na po kami sa office.” Maya said.
Everyone in San Nicolas said hello back to Richard. They chatted a bit, then said goodbye.
“Maya, anak, enjoy your special day ha. I’m sure you and Richard have plans.” Mommy Tere said. “Sayang, hindi na namin nahintay ng Dad mo ang birthday mo!”
“Thank you again, Mom.” Maya said. “Okay lang po iyon! Alam ko naman po na kailangan niyong bumalik ng San Nicolas kaagad.”
“O sige, enjoy anak ha. I love you. Sabihin mo kay Richard drive carefully.” Mommy Tere said.
“Bye, Mom, Dad, Ate Cris, Kuya Jeffrey and Cho! Thank you again and see you all next month!” Maya said. She going home to San Nicolas for her parents wedding anniversary. “Bye din daw po sabi ni Richard.”
When Maya finished the call, she grinned at Richard. “Sweetheart, I’m having the best birthday ever. With you here, with me celebrating it, and then my family greeting me en masse!”
“I’m glad, Sweetheart. This is will be a birthday to remember, I will make sure!” Richard remarked, but didn’t elaborate. “Uuwi ka pala sa Mindoro next month?” He asked instead.
“Yes, 35th wedding anniversary nina Mom and Dad! They will renew their vows. They were not able to do it before. Now that they are both retired, they decided it is a good time to do so, with all the blessings that came their way, and their marriage as strong as ever.” Maya said. “Would you like to go with me?”
“Wow, 35! Amazing, isn’t it? My parents did that during their 25th.” Richard said, then added, “I want something like that with you, Sweetheart, and more.” Then he took Maya’s hand and kissed it. “And yes, I would like to go with you, please.”
Maya’s heart went aflutter with that statement. It is what she wants too. She smiled at Richard, not sure how to read his statement. She decided to let it pass for now. “It will be towards the end of the next month. I will remind you na lang.”
“Great. Looking forward to seeing San Nicolas!” Richard said.
Soon, they have arrived at their office. Richard parked his car in the usual slot, then he and Maya went to the deli on the ground floor and had breakfast. One hour later, with hands intertwined, they rode the elevator to their floors. By now, everyone in LC knows that their chief lawyer and the beautiful communications officer are in a relationship. Richard carried Maya’s stuffs up to her office.
“Happy birthday Ms. Maya! Good morning Atty Lim”…..
“Happy birthday po, Ma’am! Hello, Sir Richard!”….
Maya’s staff greeted her and Richard, one after the other, when they entered her department. By this time, Richard is also a familiar sight there. Minerva and Emman being the number one fans of their ‘love team’. Maya thanked them and Richard said hello to everyone with his usual charming smile.
“I’ll see you in an hour in the boardroom, Sweetheart.” Richard said, giving Maya a quick kiss before he left.
“See you Sweetheart.” Maya said. “Thank you again.”
Maya’s phone rang again after Richard closed the door.
“Hello Tita Esmeralda, good morning po.” Maya greeted Richard’s mother.
“Good morning Maya! Happy birthday hija, from Roberto and I! I hope you will have a great celebration. I’m sure it will be with Ricky.” Donya Esmeralda said smiling.
“Thank you very much po, Tita Esmeralda.” Maya said smiling. “Baka po we will eat dinner na lang. Hindi naman po ako ma-celebrate. I will do so na lang doon sa outreach program namin nina Richard.”
“Oh, the one you mentioned over dinner. That’s a good idea actually! Basta, ask your friend if there is something our foundation can to do help ha.” Donya Esmeralda offered again.
“I will po. Thank you po again, Tita Esmeralda.”
“O sige, hija. Hindi na kita aabalahin pa. Nasa office ka na ba?”
“Yes po. More than an hour ago po kami nakarating dito ni Ricky. Kalalabas nga lang po niya ng office ko.” Maya replied. “Have a nice day po!”
Maya grinned when she finally managed to sit down on her desk. The best birthday ever! Richard is the best birthday gift ever from God! She never thought she would suddenly find herself with a boyfriend so soon after shifting careers, but being in love is the best feeling ever! Se is looking forward to her evening with Richard, celebrating her birthday with him.
Unbeknown to Maya, Richard was cooking something else for her birthday. On the way out of her department, Richard stopped by Emman’s cubicle.
“Emman, good morning!” He greeted Maya’s staff and friend with a big smile.
“Good morning, Atty. Richard!” Emman greeted. “Parang naubos na naman yata ang mga sunflower sa suking florist ni Liza ah.” He teased.
“Ikaw talaga, Emman. Hindi naman masyado, hahahaha.” Richard laughed, then asked, “Are we set for this evening?”
“Yes, Sir, okay na okay na ang lahat.” Emman said.
“Great! Thanks Emman, I want Maya to have the best birthday ever. See you later.” Richard said.
“See you, Sir Richard.” Emman said. “Thank you again, too.” Richard asked Emman to call him Richard, but he is more comfortable calling him Atty. Richard or Sir Richard, being the son of their boss, and from what he heard, the future CEO of LC. But he is very happy for him and Maya. He is so glad her friend had found true love. Hay, siya kailan? Emman mused.
Richard left Maya’s office with a big, excited grin. He is so looking forward to seeing Maya’s expression this evening. He made the plan with Emman after he overheard him and Minerva discussing their birthday treat for Maya. The two of them didn’t see him when they entered the elevator from their floor one day. He heard them talking about giving Maya a surprise birthday treat since it is her first birthday in LC, something I long the lines of her plan for the staff and her. They were discussing on how best to execute it without her knowing. Tamang-tama they said, it will be on a Friday. However, Emman mentioned that Maya may have a plan already with Atty. Lim on that day. When they got off from the elevator, he called them and offered to help if it was okay with them, sort of, part of his birthday treat to Maya too.
Thirty minutes after Richard left Maya’s office, Minerva knocked on Maya’s door.
“Ms. Maya, happy birthday po! Delivery po pala para sa inyo, galing sa mga executive!” Minerva said carrying a big arrangements of sunflowers into her office.
“Oh! Wow, how beautiful!” Maya admired the flowers and then smiled, remembering how Richard’s secretary wheedled out from Emman what her favorite flower is. “Thank you Minerva, pakilagay na lang please doon sa coffee table. But may I have the card please.”
Minerva handed Maya the card and left the office. Maya smiled and was touched with the message from Roberto Lim and the other executives, but laughed when she saw how Richard signed in his greetings. She felt warm and giddy. She hoped he was the last one to sign it. She thought, still smiling.
Maya thanked everyone when she met them at the meeting more than an hour later. Richard sat beside her when he arrived instead of his usual place apparently and they got teased a bit. They smiled at their fellow officers and gazed at each other before focusing on the meeting. After the meeting, she teased him about the way he signed the card. And yes, he told her, he was the last one to do so, but for sure the staff handling the birthday flowers saw what he had put, he addded with a grin.
The day passed like a blur. Maya had a quick lunch and coffee with Richard as both of them have urgent matters to finish that afternoon. They wanted to leave earlier than usual for their birthday date, so they cut short their lunch hour. When Maya was about to leave for her date with Richard, she noticed that there was not a single person left in her department. Strange! Normally, some stayed a little longer even if it was beyond office hours. But she shrugged it off, thinking that being a Friday night, maybe, they have gimiks.
Rchard and Maya met at the lobby as usual, then proceeded to the basement parking.
“Saan tayo pupunta, Ricky?” Maya asked as they were driving towards the direction of Pasig.
“Hmmm, diyan lang sa may Kapitolyo.” Richard said but didn’t elaborate. He just smiled at Maya.
Several minutes after, they entered the parking lot of a hotel in the area.
“Hotel? What are we going to do in a hotel? This is where we will have dinner?” Maya asked curiously.
“Basta, Maya! Ikaw talaga, ang kulit.” Richard teased her. He parked the car. But before he got out, he got something from his side of the car. “For you!” He said, handling her a long, flat box.
Maya was surprised, then asked, “What’s this? Di ba binigyan mo na ako ng birthday gift kanina?”
“Just open it Sweetheart, please.” Richard prodded.
Maya slowly opened the long velvet box and out came a beautiful necklace made of white gold and has an intricate butterfly pendant made of different colorful stones.
“You told me you like butterflies so I thought you might like this when I saw this at Mama’s friend’s jewelry shop when I was looking for a gift for you.” Richard said, then got the necklace from Maya, and put it around her neck.
“Ricky, thank you for this. This is so beautiful.” Maya said, touching the necklace. “You are spoiling me too much. I will treasure this very much!”
“Maya, this is your first birthday you are celebrating with me and I want it to be extra special.” Richard replied. “I love you and seeing you very happy makes me very happy too.”
“You are the best boyfriend ever!” Maya touched Richard’s face lovingly. “I love you.” Then she lowered her lips to his and gave him a loving kiss. Richard returned the kiss, which turned into several kisses. They were both breathless when they parted. They grinned at each other.
“Come, Sweetheart, let’s go.” Richard said after a while. He got out of the car, opened the door for Maya, then he led her to a glass door at the edge of the parking lot. The glass door opened into the reception area of a KTV Bar.
“Good evening, I have a reservation under Richard Lim.” Richard told the receptionist.
“Good evening po, Mr. Lim.” The receptionist said with a big, friendly smile. “Doon po sa dulo iyong room niyo, Sir. Samahan na po kayo ni Greg.”
“Sweetheart, ano ba talaga ang gagawin natin nito. Dalawa tayong magbi-videoke?” Maya asked.
Richard just smiled, then still holding Maya’s hand, followed the waiter, who opened the door of the room.
“HAPPY BIRTHDAY, MA’AM MAYA!”
Everyone shouted when the waiter turned on the lights.
“OMG, nandito kayong lahat! Kaya pala nawalan ng tao kaagad sa department natin!” Maya happily said as she saw all her staff inside the big KTV room decorated in different coloured-balloons and a banner greeting her happy birthday. On the tables in the middle were a lot of food and drinks.
“Siyempre naman, Sis! Matagal-tagal na rin nating pinagpla-planuhan na gawin natin ito, one time, di ba? Bonding-bonding din!” Emman said from behind the group, then went to kiss Maya. “Happy birthday, Maya!”
“Thank you, Emman.” Then looked at all her staff. “Thank you rin sa inyong lahat, Kumpleto tayo.” She said, touched and so very happy that they are all here, for her, celebrating her birthday.
“Mag-thank you ka rin kay guwapong-guwapong Atty. Richard, he is the one who made this possible!” Emman said, teasing Richard in the process.
“Really, Sweetheart!” Maya looked at Richard with a big smile, then whispered to him. “Kaya pala pa-mysterious ka kanina ha. Paano?”
“It’s a long story, Sweetheart.” Richard grinned. “This is my other gift to you. Enjoy the night with your colleagues.”
“Thank you very much, Sweetheart.” Maya gave Richard a kiss on the cheek. “Come, let’s enjoy the night with them.”
“No, Sweetheart, this is your night with them. Enjoy. Ours is tomorrow.” Richard said. “Para sa iyo at sa mga staff mo ito. Emman and Minerva said matagal niyo na itong gustong gawin. I will wait for your downstairs!”
“Stay na lang here, Sweetheart. I don’t think they will mind.” Then, Maya teased Richard. “Ayaw mo ba akong marinig kumanta.”
“Eh kaya nga ayaw kong mag-stay!” Richard bantered back, which earned him a pinch from Maya. “Ouch, Sweetheart, biro lang!”
“Sama mo, sweetheart! Maganda kaya ang boses ko.” Maya said, pouting prettily. “Baka, takot ka lang mapakanta!”
Richard laughted, then whispered to Maya, “Consider this also as part of your team building and bonding with your team! Bumawi ka na lang sa akin bukas sa dinner nating dalawa! Doon, solo na talaga kita.” He added with a teasing, mischievous smile.
“Hmmm, and what do you mean by that, Atty Lim?” Maya asked with a smile, then seriously, she said, “Okay sige, I understand what you mean about me and my staff. Thank you very much again for this. I love you. I will see you later.”
Richard said goodbye to everyone and told them to enjoy the night. He told Maya he will just be at the coffee shop near the lobby, waiting for her. He brought an iPad with him and also some work so for sure, he has plenty to do.
Maya gave him a bright, loving smile and told him that she will see him later. She and her staff, then proceeded to enjoy the night.