“Maya, anak, gising na, alas kwatro na ng hapon!” Manang Fe said as she knocked continuously on Maya’s door.
Maya stirred from the bed, yawning, then suddenly she remembered why she asked Manang Fe to wake her up. She wanted to be sure she will get up at 4PM as she wanted to have enough time to get ready for her and Richard’s birthday date. She didn’t want the risk of sleeping through the alarm she had set. She took a nap two hours ago as she felt very sleepy due to her late night with her staff. She wanted to be well-rested and fresh for her evening with Richard.
“Manang Fe, thank you po. See, hindi ako nagising sa alarm clock that I set.” Maya said when she opened the door to Manang Fe. She had set the alarm at quarter to 4 o’clock. She must have been still sleeping off the effects of the alcohol she consumed the night before.
“O siya, sige anak, maghanda ka na para sa lakad niyo ni Richard. Anong oras ba siya darating?” Manang Fe asked.
“Mga around 6:30PM daw po, Manang. Sige po, maghahanda na ako. Salamat po ulit.” Maya smiled at her old yaya, happiness in her eyes. From where Manang Fe was standing, she can see Maya’s excitement for the evening ahead.
Maya took a long, cool shower to wake her up. Then after that, she took out from her closet a calf-length strapless dress in deep blue with beads adorning the top and the waist area. The bodice hugged Maya’s body perfectly. The dress also showed a bit of her cleavage. She decided to dress up more than the usual since this is the first date she and Richard are having that they will not be coming directly from work. Besides, technically, this is still part of her birthday celebration. She wanted this night to be special, the first birthday she will be celebrating with the man she loves with all of her.
Maya applied minimal make-up. She just accentuated her best feature. As a finishing touch, she put on the butterfly necklace that Richard gave her the night before. She looked in the mirror and she felt like a princess on the way to a ball. She hummed ‘The Blue Danube Waltz’ as she looked for her evening bag and her pair of shoes that will go well with her dress.
Manang Fe knocked again on Maya’s door several minutes after, while she was still debating on whether to put a pair of stillettos or a pair of wedges. She opted for the wedges, then went to answer the door.
“Maya anak, nandito na si Richard.” The old lady informed Maya.
Maya opened the door, clutching a small purse. “Thank you po, Manang. Bababa na ako.”
Manang Fe touched Maya’s face lovingly. “Ang ganda naman talaga nitong alaga ko. Natutuwa ako talaga na lumaki kang hindi lang maganda sa panlabas na anyo, kundi pati ang iyong kalooban. Masayang-masaya rin ako na nakatagpo ka ng lalaking mahal na mahal ka at alam kong mahal na mahal mo rin.”
“Manang Fe, salamat po. Dahil po iyan sa inyo iyon at kay Mommy. Pero malaking parte po kayo kung ano ako ngayon dahil mula pa ng pagkabata ko kayo na ang kasa-kasama ko.” Maya said hugging her old yaya. “Wait pala, Manang. Mauna na po kayo. I think I would like my other pair of shoes for this dress. Pakisabi na lang po kay Ricky na bababa na ako. Thank you.”
Maya went back inside the room. She put on the stillettos. She looked and twirled around the mirror, grinning for no reason at all, except that she is very happy this evening for some reason she can’t explain. Several minutes after, she walked down the stairs.
Hearing the sound of Maya’s steps, Richard stood up from where he was sitting, with the intention of meeting her by the base of the stairs. When he caught sight of her, he was speechless. He just gazed at the woman he loves with all his heart.
“You are so very beautiful, Sweetheart.” Richard said, giving Maya a heated, admiring look. “You take my breath away, literally. This is the first time I have seen you like this. Hmmm, and the necklace fitted perfectly. I’m glad you are wearing it.” Then he gave her a quick kiss on the cheek.
“Thank you very much, Sweetheart. I just thought of dressing up since this is our first date that we will not be coming directly from work. About the necklace, I really love it and I will wear it always and treasure it since it was a gift from you.” Maya replied, blushing a bit with the way Richard is looking at her, then seeing his outfit, she gave Ricky a brilliant, loving and admiring smile too, “And you look more handsome this evening, Sweetheart. We are on the same wavelength, huh!”
Richard, indeed, looked dashing and dapper in a dark suit, with white dress shirt without a tie and the top button opened. He gave Maya a lopsided smile, showing the dimple on his left cheek. Maya’s heart went aflutter again, as it always does every time he smiles like that.
“Thank you too, Sweetheart. I want this evening to be extra special. Looks like we were thinking the same. By the way, these are for you.“ Richard handed Maya a huge bouquet of sunflowers, but this time, the flowers are mixed with tulips of different colours!
“Oh, they look so beautiful. Let me just put them in a vase.” Maya was about to go to the kitchen when Fely, Manang Fe’s niece saw her.
“Let me do it na lang Ate Maya, so you and Kuya Ricky can go na.” Fely offered. She met Richard before, when she and her aunt returned from Bulacan.
“Maraming salamat, Fely.” Maya handed the flowers to Fely. Richard also thanked Fely, and they went on their way. Before he started the car, Richard gave Maya a big smile again, gazing at her with so much love that Maya got a bit self-conscious and very giddy.
“Sweetheart, baka matunaw na ako.” Maya teased.
“Hmmm, masama bang tumingin sa beautiful girlfriend ko.” Richard said, giving Maya another smile, before kissing her hand.
Richard is very excited for their evening and how he hopes it would turn out to be. He hopes it will be as he envisioned. He hummed Tonight, tonight/Won’t be just any night…as he drove Maya and him towards McKinley Road.
Richard and Maya went inside the parking basement of an upscale building in BGC, an hour later. After parking the car, Richard led Maya to a private elevator. It led to the penthouse unit of the building. Maya had a pretty good idea now where they were going. Richard led Maya next to a big door on the left.
“Sweetheart! Welcome to my place.” Richard said when he opened the door, then turned on the lights.
“Sabi ko na nga ba, dito tayo pupunta!” Maya exclaimed, smiling at Richard. “Tapos na palang ayusin, Sweetheart! Have you moved back here na? Parang wala ka namang nabanggit sa akin?”
“Not yet, Sweetheart, but I hope soon! Depends on something that I’m hoping to happen.” Richard said obliquely. “Please make yourself comfortable. I will just check on our dinner.” He said leading Maya to the side of the room with a big sofa by the floor-to-ceiling window.
Maya looked around after Richard disappeared towards the direction of what she presumed is the kitchen. It was then that she noticed that the unit is sparsely furnished and decorated. Aside from the sofa she was sitting on, the only furnitures are the floor lamp on the side, then a big coffee table in front of her.
“Hmmm, mukhang hindi pa talaga tapos i-decorate ni Ricky itong unit niya.” Maya thought to herself.
Several minutes after, Richard came back. He grinned at Maya. “Come, Sweetheart, let’s eat first!”
Richard led Maya to the door he disappeared to earlier, which led not to the kitchen as she had presumed, but to a beautiful dining area, even if like the living room, it was sparsely decorated too. The table is beautifully set for two. The magnificent view from the floor-to-ceiling windows providing a nice backdrop to the table set-up.
“Wow, this is very nice! How did you accomplish this in such a short time?” Maya asked amazed, when she saw all the mouth-watering food on the table and the beautiful decorations, with a vase of sunflowers in the middle.
“Hmmm, after I left you earlier until the time I picked you up, I worked on this. My cousin Rafi helped with the food. She asked a friend who is a well-known restaurateur to make the food and her staff set it up here before we arrived.” Richard explained.
“I would like to meet that cousin of yours na soon!” Maya said happily, giving Richard a quick kiss. “She seems a very nice cousin.”
“Yes, she is. Para ko na iyong younger sister. I told her about you na. Saka noong una pa lang, alam na niya kaagad that I liked you a lot, that I love you. I’m sure she will tell you about it. Magkakasundo kayo noon.” Richard said, smiling. “Bayaan mo Sweetheart, you will meet her soon.”
Richard pulled the chair for Maya, then insisted to Maya that he will do everything that evening as part of his birthday treat to her.
“Happy birthday, Sweetheart!” Richard offered a toast to Maya with the wine that goes with their dinner before they eat. “I love you!”
“Thank you, Ricky. I’m having the best birthday ever because of you. My heart feels like it will burst from sheer happiness these days, and it is because of you.” Maya smiled and looked lovingly at her wonderful boyfriend. “I love you very much.”
Maya and Richard enjoyed their dinner very much. Rafi’s friend Rina lived up to her reputation as one of the best chef in Metro Manila. Both of them laughed and groaned at the end of their meal, as their tummies were so full they can barely move.
“Coffee and dessert, Sweetheart?’ Richard asked Maya after they finished the last of the wine. “Rina, also included her special flourless cake with the food she sent.”
“Oh, sweetheart, I can’t na, for now! Coffee na lang siguro. My stomach is groaning na from too much food. That was the best dinner I tasted.” Maya said.
“Me, too, Sweetheart! Okay, coffee is coming up. Why don’t you go to the sofa in the living room, and wait for me there.” Richard suggested. “That side of the place has a better view than this one actually! It is very relaxing. That is the reason why I put the sofa there. It is my favorite spot.”
Maya went to the sofa as Richard told her. Since it was facing the floor-to-ceiling window, Maya can see the whole city and beyond from it. Richard is right. The lights looked like fireflies twinkling in the night. Or maybe, those are fairies’ lights! She smiled at her thoughts. Maya Angela Dela Rosa, you and your flight of fancy. She just feel so happy and content at that moment. Life couldn’t have been better, so she had thought, not knowing yet what else Richard had planned for the evening.
“Wonderful view, Sweetheart, isn’t it? This was Rafi’s side of the place. Mine was the dining room side.” Richard told Maya as he put two steaming cups of coffee on the big coffee table. “Coffee!” He handed Maya a cup of coffee.
“Thank you, Sweetheart! Ikaw? “Maya asked Richard as she accepted the cup from him. “And you are right about the view,” she added.
“Here, I’m okay na!” Richard said, pointing to the cup he is holding as he sat down beside Maya.
“This is certainly a huge place, Ricky!” Maya remarked after a couple of minutes of a very companionable silence between them, enjoying the view and each other company as they sipped their coffee.
“Yes, it is!” Richard remarked. He gazed at Maya and marvels at how he loves this beautiful, wonderful lady. How lucky he is to have her love too! The moment was just right for what he had set out to do that evening. He took a big gulp of his coffee to fortify himself. “Share this place with me? Live with me, for always.” He said softly.
“W-w-what!” Maya asked, staring at Ricky with a very surprised expression, not sure what he meant by that. She also almost dropped her cup of coffee in the process.
Richard put down the cup of coffee he was holding, then gazed at Maya, the love for her all over his handsome face. He took hold of her now very cold hands, kissed them. Then, he stood up, got something from the pocket. He knelt down on one knee before her, holding a very beautiful platinum ring, intricately decorated with multi-colored gems shaped like a butterfly.
“Marry me please, Maya Angela Dela Rosa! Make this place a home, not only for the two of us, but for all the children we would have, God willing!” Richard said with all the love he was feeling at that moment. “There is no one I want to share my life with, but you.”
Maya just stared at Richard, trying to absorb what he said above the buzzing she was starting to feel, and the loud thump. thump of her now overworked heart.
“Maya…? Richard said as he continued looking at her lovingly.
“R-r-ricky!….Then she too knelt down, held his face tenderly. “Yes!” She finally managed to say.
Richard heaved a sigh of relief upon hearing her reply. He grinned. He actually felt like jumping from the sheer joy of knowing that Maya just agreed to be his wife! He slowly put the ring on Maya’s finger, then kissed her hand lovingly. “Thank you Maya. I thought you will not say yes!”
“Kasi naman ikaw, binigla mo ako! I never thought that you will propose this evening! May pinaplano ka pa lang ganito.” Maya smiled at Richard, very happy. Now she understand the feeling of unexplained excitement she was feeling earlier. Something unexpected and wonderful was going to happened pala, had happened! “This is really the best birthday ever. Thank you for this very beautiful ring. May katerno pala itong necklace na ibinigay mo akin.”
“I have been planning this for a while, Sweetheart. The ring was the reason I went to the jeweller, then I also saw the necklace. Naghihintay lang ako ng right opportunity this evening to propose to you. I got nervous kaya when you didn’t reply promptly. I thought baka nabigla ka or hindi pa ready.” Richard said happily.
Then cupping Maya’s face, Richard said, “Sweetheart, we may not know each other that long, and our relationship is still new, but there is one thing I’m sure of in that short span of time, I am sure that you are the one I want to spend the rest of my life with, the one I want to be with in filling this place with happiness and the laughter of the kids we will have. You are the only one I want to be my love for always. I love you much.”
“Oh Sweetheart, what can I say! I’m at a lost for words, for someone in Communications! What I’m feeling at the moment is indescribable. I have no words except to say that I feel the same, ever since I met you. The more I got to know you, the more I became sure that you are the only one I want to be with. Ikaw lang.” Maya replied lovingly.
“Wala naman sa haba ng pagkakilala natin iyon, kundi kung ano ang nandito.” Maya added, pointing at her heart. “I love you with all of my heart, with all of me!”
Maya and Richard looked at each other with all the love they are feeling. They angled their faces for a kiss. They sealed their engagement with a very long kiss.