Plans in motion
“Maya Sweetheart, what do you think of us staying here at the resort until after the New Year!” Richard suddenly asked while he and Maya were lying on a beach mat, and enjoying that nice, sunny and breezy Monday afternoon at the beach in front of their bungalow.
“Ha, why did you think of that all of sudden?” Maya asked, getting into a half-reclining position to better look at Richard, even if both of them were wearing sunnies at that time.
“Well, I just thought na parang bitin ang trip natin. I like here it here, very relaxing. I want to spend more time with you like this.” Richard said, as he too looked at Maya from he was lying down, with her his arms. Truth to tell, he had a hard time concentrating on the view with her looking so sexy in her swimsuit. “Di ba sa January, both of us will be busy na with work, lalo na at malapit nang mag-open iyong hotel sa BGC.”
“Hmmm, you may have a point there. I’m enjoying our time here too, very, very much.” Maya replied, then thinking out aloud, she said, “Sabagay, we have spent Christmas with our families na naman. Tita Lulu and Tito Mario are planning to celebrate the New Year in Tagaytay pero wala pang definite, sabi ni Tita Lulu kanina. Tapos, di ba your Mom and Dad are going abroad for the New Year?”
“Yes, Mama and Papa are spending the New Year in Hong Kong with some of my aunts and uncles. Seniors lakad daw so excuse kami ng mga cousin ko.” Richard said smiling.
“Okay, sige.” Maya said smiling. “I would like us to welcome the New Year together, our first as boyfriend and girlfriend.”
“Thank you, Sweetheart!” Richard grinning, hugging Maya tight in his happiness! “Yes, masosolo pa kita ng ilang araw!”
“Hahahaha, Sweetheart, solong-solo mo naman ako parati. Hindi na nga tayo naghihiwalay mula ng magkita tayo ulit.” Maya said laughing, so very happy to be spending more time with Richard in that wonderful place.
“Hmmm, bakit ayaw mo ba Sweetheart! Basta promise ko dati sa sarili ko, kapag nakita kita ulit and both of us feel the same, hindi na kita pakakawalan.” Richard said, helf-jesting, half-serious.
“Really, Ricky! You thought of that!” Maya amazed. She really thought that she had heard everything Ricky said to say about the times they were apart.
“Oo naman! Why not? Ikaw kasi eh.” Richard said.
“Ha, bakit ako?” Maya asked puzzled.
“Unang kita ko palang sa iyo, you have put me under your spell.” Richard said, smiling.
“Hahahaha, witch pa ang peg ko, Sweetheart. Parang habang papalapit ang paglubog ng araw pang, chumi-cheesy ang paligid.” Maya said grinning, feeling giddy with what she is still finding out from Richard. “But I love you very much, you know.”
“I love you very much too, Sweetheart.” Richard said, gazing at Maya with love in his eyes, then he lowered his lips to hers.
Maya and Richard broke apart several long seconds after. It is getting harder and harder to control the way their bodies reacted every time they kissed heatedly. Richard would like to wait as much as he could before he and Maya express their love physically. Despite her being everywhere abroad, he knew that Maya is innocent in the ways of love, and he wants to take it slow with her.
Maya, on the other hand, felt like she is on fire every time Richard kissed her like that. She wanted more, though there is a part of her that is afraid of the unknown. But she knows, with Richard with her, she can overcome that.
“Should we go back? I saw you shivered.” Richard asked Maya solicitously.
“No, I’m okay Ricky. Can we stay here some more, until the sun sets! I like it here.” Maya said.
“Pero, hindi ka pa ba giniginaw?” Richard asked.
“I’m okay. It is not because of that I shivered, but because of your effects on my senses when you kissed me like that.” Maya admitted blushing.
“Oh!” Richard grinned naughtily. “Hmmm, I have that effect, huh!”
Maya smiled. “Errr, yes!”
“Sweetheart, don’t blush. Ganyan din ang effect mo sa akin. Minsan nga, kahit your nearness lang.” Richard said cupping Maya’s chin. “Kung alam mo lang, the control I’m exerting. What we are feeling are normal since we love each other and we are in tune to each other physically as well.”
“Really, ikaw rin?” Maya asked.
“Yes, but expressing our love that way, can wait. Especially, when you are ready.” Richard assured Maya. “Come here.”
Richard sat up, then gestured for Maya to sit between his legs, then hugged her waist from behind, putting his chin on her shoulder. “This is the way I want to watch the setting sun with you. Are you okay? Are you comfortable, Sweetheart? Lean against me para mas comfortable ka.”
Maya was very much aware of Richard’s strong and muscled arms, and bare chest around her as she sat before him, stretching her legs too and leaning against him as he instructed. She felt safe and so very much loved. “Yes, I’m very much okay, Sweetheart.” Maya said half-looking at Richard, and smiling.
Maya and Richard settled in on their mat, enjoying the cool breeze and the beauty around them. So far, like Richard had said earlier, it has been a very wonderful two days. After they have visited Mamang’s grave the day before, Richard and Maya walked around town, holding hands. They smiled when they reached the town’s covered gym where their paths first crossed seven years ago.
“You were really so beautiful that night in that violet dress. You took my breath away.” Richard said as they stared at the structure reminiscing about the fateful night that changed the course of their lives, into what they have at that moment.
“While you, my Sweetheart, looked so handsome in that sports jacket, dress shirt and jeans.” Maya said, equally smiling, remembering her first glimpse of Richard.
They smiled at each other, then continued strolling through Maya’s town. Maya showed Richard the private school where she and James graduated high school. Then they reached a quiet residential part of the town where the ancestral house of the Dela Paz’s still stands. It is a beautiful art deco house.
“Wow!” Richard managed to say, admiring the architecture of the house. “This is where you grew up? Amazing house!”
“It is, isn’t it! That was Mamang’s pride and joy!” Maya said smiling. “I had the happiest memories in that house. For some, it may looked like a museum, but that house was a very homey home for me and Mamang. “I would have asked you to come in, but I forgot to ask the caretaker to meet us here. Maybe, we can return tomorrow?”
“It’s okay Maya, we can go back some other time. I would like to see the inside. It looked well-preserved from the outside, considering na seven years na nang may last tumira dito, di ba?”
“Yes, since Mamang died and I moved to Manila, wala nang tumira dito. But Tita Lulu made sure that the house is well maintained para raw kapag naisipan kong bumalik dito sa Mindoro at mag-stay, intact pa ang house. She told me she knows how important the house is to me.”
“You really have the best family, Maya!” Richard said.
“Yes, and she even told me that she is glad that her mother has left the house to me! Imagine, happy siya for me, considering na siya ang anak ni Mamang, di ba?” Maya told Richard.
“I agree, you’re Tita Lulu is a very nice person, and you are lucky.” Richard said.
“Maybe the next time we found ourselves in Mindoro, we can stay in the house, not that I don’t like your house in the resort. But I know the house will appeal to the architect in you.” Maya told Richard, gazing at him.
“I would like that. Imagine the sense of history too, in a house like that, Sweetheart. Generations after generations of your family lived there. Thank you!” Richard said.
From the Dela Paz ancestral home, Maya and Richard traveled to one of the outlaying barangays of San Nicolas to look at Mamang’s vacant land by the beach. The place is actually situated at the base of the mountain, sloping down the beach with the whitest sand.
“Maya, you have a very nice place here. It fitted on some of the preliminary sketches I had made after I offered to help you.” Richard remarked, looking around the beautiful nature around them. They were standing at the gate of the property.
“Really, I would like to see it please when we return to Manila.” Maya said. Then she opened the wooden gate by typing in the combination in the padlock that her Tita Lulu gave her. “Sabi ni Tita Lulu, nandito lang nakatira sina Manong Larry at Manang Vilma. Halika hanapin na lang natin. Hindi ko ma-contact iyong cellphone number na ibinigay sa akin ni Tita Lulu.”
Maya and Richard walked a little bit, until they saw a small house at the next turn. Maya called from the wooden fence.
“Maya, Ineng, bakit hindi ka nagpasabi na paparine ka.” Manong Larry greeted Maya with a big smile. “Kumusta na. Pitong taon din tayong hindi nagkita ah.”
“Manong Larry, kumusta na po kayo? Nasaan mo si Manang Vilma at saka sina Simon at Sabel?” Maya greeted their old caretaker. “Hindi na nga po ako nakatawag pa na ngayon kami paparito. Pero bago po kami umalis kanina ng San Bartolome, I tried calling your cellphone number na ibinigay ni Tita Lulu.”
“Ikaw pala iyon, Maya. Mangyari, naiwan ko ang cellphone sa bahay nang pumunta ako sa gawing dalampasigan. Pagbalik ko, may tawag nga ako. Hindi ko naman matanong kung sino ang tumawag kasi wala na pala akong load. Wala pa si Sabel eh, nasa school. Magpapapasa load sana ako.”
“Nasa school po si Sabel? Nag-aaral pa pala siya?” Maya asked surprised. She and Sabel are the same age.
“Hindi na Ineng. Nagtuturo siya diyan sa elementary school.” Manong Larry said, smiling.
“Oh, ganoon po ba.Nakakatuwa naman na malaman na natupad niya ang pangarap niyang maging teacher. Manong Larry, si Richard nga po pala, nobyo ko.” Maya said, introducing Richard who was just listening to her conversation with the old caretaker. “Ricky, ito si Manong Larry, caretaker ng properties ni Mamang dito.”
“Magandang hapon po, Sir Richard. Pasensya na kayo at napakwento na kami ng husto nitong si Maya. Matagal ko na kasing hindi nakikita. Sigurado po ako na kapag nalaman ni Sabel na nandito siya, matutuwa iyon. Magkalaro po sila noong mga bata sila.” Manong Larry said.
“Nice meeting iyo po, Manong Larry. Okay lang po iyon. Kaya nga po nagpunta rito si Maya, para bumisita.” Richard assured the old guy.
“Tuloy nga po, pala kayo rito sa bahay. Ay at hindi ko man lang kayo naimbitihang pumasok. Nandiyan ang Manang Vilma mo, Maya, nasa likod at naglalaba.” Manong Larry said as he ushered his guests inside the house.
Manang Villma was also very happy to see Maya. She and Richard spent the afternoon with the Vasquez couple. Sabel arrived from school, followed by Simon, the youngest son who is in his last year of college, and the visit got extended to dinner. Maya told Manong Larry of her plans with the beach property, and assured them that they will still have a place in the property as she is only touching the side connected to the beach. Manong Larry was happy to know that. They said goodbye to the whole family after eight o’clock in the evening, arriving back at the resort close to 9 o’clock. They decided to call it a night. After several kisses they managed to part for the night.
This morning, Maya woke up early and it made Richard breakfast. Like he did, she served it in his bedroom, much to his delight. They had a leisurely breakfast sitting on Richard’s bed. After breakfast, Richard told Maya he needed to meet with Catherine and the guy in charge of the maintenance of the resort. He asked Maya if she would like to come. Maya told him she will just stay in the house and said they can just meet for lunch and if he is free, maybe they can go for a swim.
While Richard was away, Maya called her Ate Cris, who happened to be with her Tita Lulu. She told them that Richard is now her boyfriend and that she is very happy.
“Little sis, sabi ko na nga ba! Sure na sure ako na diyan kayong dalawa papunta. I’m happy for you.” Cris said. “I like Richard.”
“Thank you Ate Cris. Grabe ang saya-saya ko.” Maya replied. “Saka na lang ang buong kwento pagbalik ko ha.”
“I will hold you to that, little sis. Pero talagang kinikilig ako diyan sa lovelife mo, parang movie lang ang peg.” Cris said. “Heto pala ulit si Mom.”
“Maya, congratulations, anak! I’m so happy for you. I like Richard too. Boto kami ng Tito Mario mo sa kanya. I’m sure kung nabubuhay ang Mamang mo, ganoon din siya.” Lulu told her niece.
“Thank you po Tita Lulu. I’m so happy. I never expected to find a love like this, but here it is. I know Richard will always make me happy, no matter what.” Maya told her aunt. “Dinalaw nga po namin ni Ricky si Mamang kahapon. Ipinakilala ko si Ricky sa kanya.”
“Talaga. I’m sure natutuwa niyan si Mamang, kung nasaan man siya.” Lulu said. “O siya sige, Maya anak, hello na lang kay Richard and please say welcome to our family from us.”
“Thanks po, Tita Lulu. I will. Magkikita kami in a short while. May tinapos lang po siyang trabaho. Bibisita po kami pagkabalik natin. We haven’t plan pa pala where we will be going for the New Year.” Maya said. The whole family decided to put it off after Christmas as they can’t decide whether to go to Baguio or Tagaytay.
“Well, about that. Loose naman ang plans natin. Di bale, kung saan natin maisipan. But I think Baguio is out though kasi ang dami raw umaakyat and the travel and the traffic may not be good for your Ate Cris. Baka sa Tagaytay na lang tayo if ever.”
“Okay po, Tita Lulu. I’m okay anywhere.” Maya assured her aunt. “Sige po, goodbye for now na.”
Maya met Richard at the resort restaurant for lunch. During lunch, Maya told Richard that she had told her family about them, and what her aunt said. Richard told her, his Mama also told him the same and that he better bring Maya to the house as soon as they return to Manila. They were both very happy that their families are very happy with the development in their relationship.
They returned to the house after their leisurely lunch, and then changed into their beach gears. Maya into a swimsuit that looks conservative but shows off her curves, and endless legs. Richard gulped when he saw her. Maya was the same, when she saw Richard bare chested and clad only in board shorts.
Hand in hand, they walked towards their private beach. They sat on the mat as they took turns in putting sunscreen on each other. They swam like kids, playing in the water, and at times, when they can’t help it, kissed each other heatedly. When they were both reaching the end of their controls, they would stop. They also snorkelled and had laid in the mat to watch the setting sun when they got tired.
“Sweetheart, maybe we should head back the house.” Richard suggested when the sun was just a small disc in the horizon, kissing Maya’s hair.
“Oo nga. Medyo malamig na rin. Let’s go.” Maya said, untangling herself from her cozy place between Richard’s legs. “I will call Tita Lulu pa pala to inform her of our change of plans.”
“I need to call Mama also.” Richard remarked, not saying anything else.
Richard and Maya walked back to the house with their arms around each other’s waist. Maya said she will just take a shower and will meet Richard in the living room after an hour.
When she got into the room, she called her aunt and told her of the change in her plans. Tita Lulu assured her that it is perfectly okay as they are still not sure about the Tagaytay trip. Maya said goodbye to her aunt and then proceeded to take a shower.
Richard finished his shower faster than Maya. He decided to sit out in the veranda while he waits for her, and while he calls his Mama. Donya Esmeralda answered on the second ring.
“Hi Mama, good evening!” Richard greeted his mother. “How are you and Papa?”
“Son, mabuti tumawag ka! Your Papa and I are doing good. He said congratulations. Natutuwa ang Papa mo na meron ka nang girlfriend. Finally raw, may napili ka na rin. Of course, hindi ko pa sinabi sa kanya iyong request mo and your other plan, as you requested.” Donya Esmeralda said, the excitement evident on her voice. “Oh ano, matutuloy ba ang plano mo?”
“Yes, Mama!” Richard happily said. “We are staying here until after the New Year. I will propose to Maya on New Year’s eve!”
“Son, I’m really so happy with that news! I can’t wait to meet Maya. By the way, I found the ring along the description you have given me this morning. I called Patricia. She has a design like that. And you are lucky, it is in Maya’s size.”
“Great, Mama! I’m so happy to know. Can you send it with James tomorrow?” Richard asked his mother.
“Sure, son! I will call him after this and tell him that you will stay longer in Mindoro but he still needs to go to the resort as I need to send some stuffs for you.” Donya Esmeralda said, getting into the thick of her son’s plan to propose to the woman he loves.
“Thank you very much, Mama! You are the best.” Richard told his mother. “I love you very much.”
“I love you too, son! I’m so happy for you.” Donya Esmeralda said. “Saka, aba, may vested interest ako dito. Gusto ko na yata ng mga apo!”
“Ma! Hahahaha, magpo-propose pa nga lang.” Richard said laughing. “O sige na, Mama. We will see after the New Year. Enjoy your trip to Hong Kong.”
“See you and Maya, son. Enjoy your stay in Mindoro and good luck on your proposal.” Donya Esmeralda said before ending the call.
Several minutes after he finished his call with his mother, Richard was still smiling goofily, excited about the proposal he is planning. Unbeknown to Maya, he called her cousin earlier. Luckily, he and Jeff managed to exchange numbers when he picked up Maya from the Franciscos before Christmas. He had asked Cristina Rose what is Maya’s ring size. She shrieked in delight upon hearing his request. Richard requested her to keep it a secret. Cris happily assured him that she will. She also told him he is lucky as she and Maya have the same ring size. Cris wished him luck and even called him littlle bro before they ended their phone call!
Richard then called his mother and aside from telling her that Maya is now his girifriend, he told her of his plan to propose to Maya, and asked for her help. Donya Esmeralda was ecstatic and told him that she will take care of everything. Her jeweller, Patricia can work her magic, she assured her son. She asked Richard what kind of ring he wants. Richard told her and his mother assured him, it will be in Mindoro in time for his proposal. They agreed to talk again if he managed to talk Maya into staying in the resort until after the New Year celebration. Luckily, he did. And now, everything is set, more or less, for his proposal. He grinned.
There was still a hint of a smile on Richard’s face when Maya found him sitting at the porch.
“Ricky, sorry, it took me a while.” Maya said, smiling and looking so lovely, without make-up on in another of her maxi dresses. “Shall we get going?”
“It is okay, Maya. I chatted with Mama rin!” Richard said, smiling at his lovely girlfriend and hopefully, his fiancee in two days time! “Let’s go.”
With laced fingers, Maya and Richard walked towards the direction of the resort’s restaurant for their dinner. On the way, Richard lightly caressed Maya’s ring finger. Two more days! He smiled in the dark, very, very happy and excited.