Archive for February, 2015

Windblown – Chapter 10

Dinner Date

Maya hummed with the music she selected from her iTunes album while cleaning and tidying up her place the following day. She woke up late, but greeted Monday with a big smile and a very happy disposition. She had an egg salad sandwich and instant coffee for breakfast. Soon after, she started doing her household chores. She likes having music in the background when she is doing chores, cooking and also while driving. It makes her feel better, not that she needed that this morning with the overdose of kilig she got from Richard the day before.

Be still my heart/Lately its mind is on its own/

It would go far and wide/Just to be near you

Even the stars/Shine a bit bright I’ve noticed/

When you’ re close to me

Still it remains a mystery…

Maya had a big, goofy smile on her face as she cleaned shelves, rearranged the living room furniture, and hung two frames – a print of Vincent van Gogh’s Sunflowers and a poster of a ballerina in motion she found in one of her trips to Holland for a training.

Anyone who’s seen us/Knows what’s going on between us/

It doesn’t take a genius/To read between the lines…

The song says exactly what she feels at that moment. She was remembering the kiss she and Richard unexpectedly shared the night before. She does not know what it really meant, but she does not regret it. It fact, it made her very happy and felt very giddy.

And it’s not just wishful thinking/Or only me who’s dreaming/

I know what these are symptoms of/

We could be in love….

“‘We could be in love, we could be’….” Maya continued singing happily, at the top of her voice as she put in the shelf the books from the last box parked at her living room.

“Now that’s done, the supermarket next!” She told herself. It is almost lunch and she has plenty of time to prepare for the dinner with Richard. She is excited about it and is looking forward to another beautiful and wonderful moment with Richard.

Maya is planning to cook for Richard her fettuccine carbonara, pork kebab with sour cream dip for the main course and a refrigerated cake for dessert. As for starters, she is going to make avocado salad with boiled shrimps, boiled eggs and mayonnaise. She hopes she can find very good avocados for the salad, one of her special dishes.

Maya hit the nearby supermarket after taking a quick shower and eating a light lunch. She was lucky. She found everything she needed for the dinner. It was only when she arrived back home, two hours later, that she remembered that she forgot to buy a bottle of wine. She decided to just go out again later for that.

While Maya was busy preparing for her and Richard’s dinner, Richard was out buying something for Maya. Like Maya, Richard felt like he was on top of the world that morning, remembering their wonderful day and the kiss he initiated before they parted for the night. He woke up late too, had a leisurely brunch. He checked with his secretary if there is something he needed to attend to urgently. When there was none, he went to his study, sat in front of his drawing board, and started making a plan for the place Maya wants to convert into a small private resort or vacation house for rent in Mindoro. He also made some calls and went out to get the stuffs he would bring for the dinner with Maya.

Happy with everything, Richard went back to his place, intending to spend the afternoon working. However, it was quite difficult to concentrate, thoughts of seeing Maya again crowding his head, making him smile goofily. He stopped and just rested on the sofa, thinking of how best to say to Maya what he wanted to say to her that evening.

Maya’s phone rang as she was preparing all the ingredients she needed for the pasta she will be cooking. Good thing, she had already made the refrigerated cake and have put the pork pieces for the kebab in barbecue marinade.

“Hello, Ate Cris! Happy Monday!” Maya greeted her cousin happily. “Napatawag ka?”

“Hi Maya? Are you busy? Mangungumusta lang sana ako.” Cris said. “Mag-isa kasi ako sa bahay. Pumasok pa si Jeff. Si Cho naman isinama nila Mommy and Daddy sa Star City. Matagal na kasing gustong pumunta roon ni Cho. Hindi na nila ako isinama kasi maraming tao, baka raw mahirapan pa ako. Tama naman si Mom. Kaya heto, home alone ako. Naisip kita bigla.”

“Okay naman ako, Ate Cris.” Maya replied. “Magluluto lang ako.”

“Magluluto, hindi ba medyo maaga pa for that. Pasado alas dos pa lang ng hapon. Saka di ba you usually eat out?” Cris asked.

“Errrr, may bisita kasi ako later.” Maya said smiling giddily, and blushing.

“Hmmm, sino? Pero wait, parang alam ko na kung sino!” Cris teased. “Tama ako, di ba, si Rchard ang bisita mo?”

“Yes, I invited him to dinner, pa-thank you ko sa pagsama niya sa akin sa shopping yesterday and paghahatid-sundo sa akin.” Maya said.

“Talaga naman, parang hindi na kayo naghihiwalay niyang would be boyfriend mo ah.” Cris remarked.

“Ha, Ate Cris, would be boyfriend! Hindi pa nga nanliligaw!” Maya protested, smiling.

“Hindi pa pala nanliligaw nang lagay na iyon si Richard ha, eh para mo nang boyfriend kagabi, lalo na kung makatitig sa iyo, little sis. Tapos hatid-sundo ka na, may pa-chopper ride pa hanggang Mindoro!” Cris said. “Ikaw na little sis! Paano na lang kaya kapag nanligaw na iyan sa iyo, baka himatayin ka na lang sa kilig. Heto nga akong may asawa ng tao, kinikilig na sa mga da moves niyang would be sweetheart mo!”

“Hahahaha, ikaw talaga Ate Cris!” Maya said happily.

“Teka, maalala ko, may utang ka pang kwento sa akin tungkol kay Richard. Hindi tayo nakapagkwentuhan kagabi.” Cris said. “So what’s the story behind you two? Pagpasensyahan mo na itong nosy cousin mo, hahahaha.”

Maya smiled. Aside from loving her Ate Cris like a sister, she is also her best friend, so she started confiding in her, just like her cousin did when she fell in love with her Kuya Jeff and when she got pregnant with Cho even before the two of them got married. “Well, you all know how we met. What you didn’t know was how I felt when I saw him.”

Maya settled in into the sofa and told her cousin of her and Richard’s ‘journey’ the past seven years.

“Wow, talaga, little sis! Ilang beses pala kayong kamuntik na magkita! So funny naman na napagkamalan niya kayong happy family nila Jeff sa Macau! “Cris said. “Pero in fairness, hindi mo naman siya masisisi kasi sino ba naman ang hindi mag-aakala eh mukha kayong family sa gondola. May mommy, may mukhang daddy and then added to that kamukha mo pa si Cho!”

“So true, Ate Cris. Pero iyang si Cho, guardian angel namin. Imagine ng dahil sa kanya nagkita kami ni Ricky ulit!” Maya said smiling.

“Tadhana iyan, Maya. Kung talagang para kayo sa isa’t isa and by the looks of it, mukhang papunta kayo diyan, you will see each other again and sabi nga nga sa hinaba-haba ng prusisyon, sa simbahan din ang tuloy.” Maya’s cousin told her.

“Hahahaha, Ate Cris, iyan na yata ang pinaka-advance sa lahat ng advance! Simbahan kaagad!” Maya smiled at the thought.

“Eh, how do you feel naman about him? Mahal mo na ba?” Cris asked her cousin directly.

“I don’t know, Ate Cris. Hindi pa kasi ako na-in love eh.” Maya replied honestly. “Basta ang alam ko lang ang lakas ng tibok ng puso at kabog ng dibdib ko tuwing makikita ko siya kahit noong simula palang, iyong noong sa Mindoro, and when he smiles at me. Tapos ang saya-saya ko kapag kasama ko siya. Saka kahit hindi kami nagkita ng seven years, hindi rin siya nawala sa isip ko. I looked for him in every guy I met or dated. Strange di ba, considering na iyong question and answer lang sa pageant ang conversation namin!”

“Ganyan talaga iyan, Maya. I guess there this is an instant connection between you two! But little sis, congratulations. Kasama ka na sa bilang ng mga in love.” Cris said, smiling as she found a more comfortable position as her baby just kicked. “Parang agree din itong baby ko sa love life mo sis, sumipa.” She told her cousin.

Then Cris continued, “Basta, Maya kung hindi pa naman love iyan eh wala na akong ibang masasabi pa. But do enjoy it lang. Wala nang kasing heady ang feeling, kundi ang feeling ng in love. Mukha namang mabait, responsable and matinong tao si Richard. And I do think the feeling is mutual.’

“Talaga, Ate Cris!” Maya said, feeling giddy and very happy. She almost confessed to her cousin then that she and Richard already kissed. But she hesitated as it was a private, tender moment between the two of them, for the two of them. “Thank you.”

“O sige, magluto ka na at baka maagang dumating si Prince Charming.” Cris said. “I’m happy for you, Maya.”

“Bye, Ate Cris. Kisses to Cho!” Maya told her cousin, smiling at her use of the word. Prince Charming! And she is Cinderella, huh!

With a smile, she grabbed a can of Coke from the fridge and started preparing the kebab, alternating meat and veggies in skewers. When she had made ten, she put the skewered meat and veggies in the oven, then grated the cucumber, chopped garlic finely for the sour cream dip. Having mixed the dip, she started working on the pasta. When the sauce was simmering on the stove, and the kebab was done, just keeping it warm it in the oven, she took a bath.

Maya looked at the clock, when she came out of the bathroom and smiled. She is on schedule. She took out a sleeveless cream cotton dress from her cabinet. She looked herself in the mirror and having checked that she looks okay, she went back to the living room, deciding not to put any make up on.

Maya was about to start the movie she started watching the other night, when her house phone rang. She looked at the clock again and saw that it was just half past five o’clock in the afternoon! Richard is early, or maybe, that is not him yet! But she was not expecting anyone else. She pressed the pause button of her player, then answered the call.

“Yes po!” She greeted the girl at the reception.

“Ma’am Maya, nandito na po si Mr. Lim.” The girl said.

“Okay, pakipaakyat na lang please. Thank you.” Maya said, the feeling of anticipation started building again.

Several minutes after, Richard rang Maya’s door bell.

“Hi Maya, sorry I’m a bit early.” Richard said as soon as Maya opened the door, giving her a big smile, then gave her a kiss on the cheek, which made Maya felt warmer. He was also holding a huge arrangement of flowers of all kinds with a big sunflower in the middle, and a big eco bag.

“Hi Ricky! It is okay! I did tell you that you can come early, di ba?” Maya replied with a big smile too. “Please come in.”

Richard entered Maya’s place and noticed the changes. “You have been busy! But I like the changes you have made.” He remarked. “These are for you.” He handed Maya the flowers and the bag.

“I just  thought of making some changes, making this place more of a home than like a warehouse with all the boxes! Thank you for the flowers.” Then Maya looked inside the bag and saw a bottle of white wine, then several DVDs. “Oh, you got me some old movies! Thank you for these, and the wine too. I forgot nga to buy earlier.”

“I hope wala ka pa ng mga movie na nandiyan or you haven’t seen them. I noticed you had a lot.” Richard said, gesturing towards Maya’s shelves.

“Hmmm, ‘Casablanca’ and ‘Sabrina’, I have seen these, but I lost my copies of these movies. May friend na nanghiram then forgot to return na before she left Macau too. Now I have them again! I like watching these movies again and again. Tapos ito namang ‘An Affair to Remember’, I haven’t seen and have been planning to. Pati na rin itong ‘Breakfast at Tiffany’s’! Thank you very much for these Ricky. You’ve made my old movie buff heart very happy!” Maya told Richard happily.

“Would you like something to drink? Coffee? Juice? We can eat na also. Tamang-tama actually ang dating mo, katatapos ko lang magluto. Sana magustuhan mo.” Maya asked.

“Hmmm, since it is still early, a cup of coffee please.” Richard said. ‘I’m sure I will like what you cooked!”

“Okay, coffee, coming up.” Maya replied. “Please have a seat. Doon na lang muna tayo sa living room.” She then went to the kitchen to make coffee for her and Richard and also to chill the wine.

“Here you go, Ricky. Sorry it is instant ha.” Maya said when she returned to the living room, holding two mugs of coffee.

Richard thanked Maya and then took a sip of  the coffee. “Parang brewed ah. Masarap ang timpla mo.” He said, liking Maya’s timpla.

“Thank you!” Maya said simply.

“You were going to watch a movie before I arrived?” Richard asked seeing Maya’s DVD player and TV in pause mode. “What were you going to watch? Maybe, we can watch together.”

“Well, I started watching ‘Roman Holiday’, with Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck. Sure we can watch it. Okay lang ba sa iyo na manood ng old film?” Maya asked.

“Okay lang. I would like to see it too. My Mama loves old movies too, especially Hepburn’s films. I sometimes, watched with her when I visit the house. Though, I don’t remember seeing this one with her.” Richard said.

“Really, your mother likes old movies!” Maya remarked. “Kumusta pala ang dinner mo sa kanila? I forgot to ask you last night.”

“It was okay. Kami lang ni Mama ang nag-dinner. Si Papa didn’t make it. Doon na siya nag-dinnner sa friend niya na dinalaw. Kalalabas lang kasi sa hospital ni Tito Probo.” Richard replied. “By the way, she wants me to bring you to dinner one of these days!”

Maya was surprised to hear that. “She is inviting me to dinner! But why? Hindi naman niya ako kilala except as a new employee, and bago lang rin tayong nagkita ulit.”

Richard smiled and gazed at Maya meaningfully. “Well, because I told her about you.” He simply said. “She wants to meet you not as an employee.”

“Really! And Mr. Richard Lim, what did you exactly tell your mother about me?” Maya asked, very, very curious!

“Secret!” Richard said, not elaborating.

“Rickyyyy! Ang daya mo.” Maya replied, pouting.

“Basta, let me know when you are free ha! How about Friday night, after Christmas?” He asked, smiling.

“Hmmmmp, maybe, I will not go until you tell me what you told your Mama.” Maya said, teasing Richard.

“Maya naman, you are not playing fair!” Richard complained good-naturedly!

“Ha, at bakit ikaw ba, playing fair Mr. Lim? May pa-secret secret ka pa diyan.” Maya said, not giving in.

“Okay, okay, since I do want you to meet my parents, I will tell na.” Richard said, finding the opening for what he wanted to ask Maya this evening.

“I told Mama that we knew each other from seven years ago. I also told her of our missed meetings through the years.” Richard said, then took a deep breath, here it is. This is it Richard Lim. “She also asked me directly if I like you, you know, and if I am planning to court you. Maybe because she sensed something from my tone of voice when I was speaking of you.”

Maya waited with bated breath for the rest of Richard’s words. Her heart starting to beat fast!

Richard looked at Maya intently then said softly, “And I told her that I like you very, very much and that I’m not just planning to court you, I will  court you.”

“R-ricky…..” Maya said breathlessly.

“May I court you formally, Ms. Maya Dela Rosa?” Richard asked as he gazed lovingly at Maya.

Maya felt like there was a ringing sound in her ear and she felt like she can’t hear her thoughts anymore because her heart galloped at what he said, and all the blood rushed to her brain and her face. She looked at Ricky and read something in his expression that made her feel so very, very exhilarated.

Maya found herself, uttering the words, softly. ‘Yes, you may!” She suddenly felt self-conscious.

Richard gave Maya a brilliant, loving smile. “Thank you, Maya!”

Richard and Maya gazed at each other, the movie and the dinner forgotten. They felt like they were at the edge of a precipice, about to jump together towards something very, very wonderful!

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Unexpected Love – Chapter 8

Chapter 8

“Pippa, Ethan, mabuti nandiyan na kayo! Ipapasundo ko na nga sana kayo kay Doray.” Mommy Marianne told Pippa and Ethan when she saw them entered the house through the back veranda. She also noticed the two of them holding hands. Pippa was also wearing Ethan’s shirt it seemed since he was shirtless! Pippa realized that she forgot to return Ethan’s shirt when she noticed where her mother was looking.

“Oh, here’s your shirt, Ethan!” Pippa said, removing the shirt and handing it to him. “Hindi na ako nilalamig. Thank you very much again.”

“No worries, Pippa.” Ethan said, putting back the shirt that Pippa wore. “Sorry for taking so long, Tita Marianne. Pippa and I forgot the time. It was so very nice out there at the beach.”

“Oo nga, Mom. Sorry po. Sana po tinawagan ninyo na lang kami sa phone. I brought my phone with me naman.” Pippa said.

“Okay lang, Ethan, Pippa. Hindi pa rin naman ready ang food earlier. You are just in time,” Marianne assured her daughter and their guest. “Let’s eat na. I cooked your favorite, Pippa, adobo sa gata. Paborito rin iyan ni Ethan! Doray halika na, sumabay ka na sa amin!”

“Sige po Ate Marianne, mamaya na lang ako. Busog pa ako. Nag-merienda ako kaninang medyo hapon na.” Manang Doray said from the doorway leading to the kitchen. “Magpapahangin lang muna ako sa beach.”

“O siya, sige, bahala ka. Mauuna na kami.” Marianne said.

“Wow, thank you for this, Mom!” Pippa said happily as her mother passed her the serving dish with the mouthwatering adobo. Pippa got a portion then passed the dish to Ethan.

“Oopps, sorry Ethan!”

“It is okay, Pippa.”

The two of them shared a smile since Pippa almost dropped the dish and Ethan caught it, their hands touching.

“Pippa anak, tumawag pala ulit si Tristan, hindi na raw talaga siya makakabalik this evening kasi kailangan nilang i-monitor iyong patients nila, lalo na iyong driver.” Marianne said as they were eating. “He will try na lang daw to be back tomorrow afternoon.”

“Oh, okay po. Sayang naman. Pupuntahan pa naman namin sana si Belle sa resort ngayong gabi. Di bale, bukas na lang po.” Pippa said. “If ever naman na nakabalik si Tris this evening, for sure he is very tired na. Iyon nga lang, sayang he missed your adobo.”

“Oo nga.” Mommy Marianne said. “Di bale, padadalhan ko na lang siya kay Doray sa clinic sa susunod na mamalengke siya sa bayan. By the way, Ethan, inilagay na ni Doray sa cottage iyong laundry mo. Ako na ang nagtanggal sa dryer.” She told Ethan. Mommy Marianne has inkling that Ethan completely forgot about his laundry.

“Oh, golly! I forgot all about that, Tita Marianne!” Ethan said. “Thank you very much for doing it for me. Please send my thanks also to Manang Doray.”

“Okay lang iyon, Ethan. Maliit na bagay lang. Saka, wala naman akong ginagawa kanina habang nasa beach kayo ni Pippa.” Marianne said. “Hindi  pa masyadong malakas ang alon? Usually, maalon talaga since mahangin, bukod pa sa medyo malamig, around this time of the year.”

“Hindi naman, Mom. Super nice nga eh. Iyon nga lang, malamig! Mabuti pinahiram ako ni Ethan ng t-shirt niya. Nakalimutan ko na malamig nga pala kapag ganitong panahon when I followed him there,” Pippa said. “Ito kasing si Ethan, for sure, sanay na sanay sa lamig. Ako, as you know, madaling lamigin.”

“Our weather here now is like late spring lang sa England.” Ethan smiled. “This can’t even be considered cold in my side of the world!”

The three of them then chatted about the seasons and best way to adapt to them, especially, winter. Pippa told her mother and Ethan that if she will go to Europe it has to be during spring or summertime, since parang depressing ang winter. Ethan said spring and summer are the best seasons talaga pero winter has its beauty too. Their conversation shifted to traveling and other things, mostly it was Ethan and Pippa alternately talking, while Mommy Marianne just listened to them, marvelling at the ease her daughter and Ethan were chatting, parang matagal na silang magkakilala.

When they have finished eating, Pippa and Ethan told Mommy Marianne that they will just take care of tidying up and putting the leftover in the fridge, also doing the dishes and cleaning the kitchen.

“Mom, kami na po ang bahala ni Ethan. Do you want coffee or a drink sa veranda? Parang masyado pang maaga to go to sleep. I’m not into watching TV rin naman while I’m here.” Pippa said. “Coke po?”

“Hmmm, that’s a good idea! Tara doon na lang natin ituloy ang kwentuhan natin.” Marianne said. “How about you Ethan? Would you like to join Pippa and I?”

“Hmmmm, sure, it is okay to do so, Tita Marianne? Baka you and Pippa would like to have a mother and daughter time?” Ethan asked, hesitating. He does not want to overstay his welcome. Besides, he knew it that it is not very often that Pippa is home like this.

“No, we had chatted na this afternoon, di ba Mom? I told Mom na about Martin!” Pippa said smiling. Remembering her conversation with her mom earlier! “If you don’t have anything else to do, we can just chat there.”

“Okay. I would like to. Coffee, Pip?” Ethan asked, shortening her name further and she kinda like it. So, Pippa told her Mum about Martin! He mused.

“Sure, thanks a lot, Ethan.” Pippa said with a big smile.

Hearing their conversation, Mommy Marianne also thought, so Pippa had told Ethan about Martin! Did Ethan tell her daughter too what caused him to ran as far away as possible from home? She had a feeling that he did. It looks like her daughter has really found her prince among the frogs, but does not know it yet! Besides, with the way things are, their happy ever after would probably be not as easy as in the fairy tale, so to speak. Maybe, that’s better as their relationship, if ever, will be stronger and more long lasting, and meaningful.

Marianne went to the veranda ahead of her daughter and Ethan. They tidied up the kitchen and then followed Pippa’s mom there after 15 minutes or so, with Ethan carrying the tray with two cups of steaming hot coffee and a cold Coke in can for Marianne, as well as some leftover rice cakes from lunch for the three of them.

“Here you go, Mom.” Pippa said. She was about to say something more when her phone rang. She thought at first that it’s Martin again. Ethan thought so too. But when Pippa checked her phone’s screen, she saw that it’s her boss, Tina Peralta. Pippa excused herself, mouthing to Ethan and her mother that it’s her boss calling.

“Good evening Mam Tina! Napatawag po kayo?” Pippa asked, moving towards the end of the veranda.

“Pippa, good evening! Pasensya na for the call ha. I know I have allowed you to go on vacation leave, pero I’m afraid I need to recall that or you need to postpone it for several days since I really need you in Manila ASAP sana!” Tina told Pippa, apologetically. “Pwede ka bang  bumalik muna tomorrow?”

“Bakit, what happened po?” Pippa said. Her immediate superior is very nice and very accommodating as always when she asked for the leave earlier. She immediately granted her leave even if it was on  a short notice. She didn’t pry also when she told her that she needed time to deal with something. Tina just told Pippa that if there is anything she could do to help, don’t hesitate to ask. Pippa appreciated that very much. Now it seems, her boss needs her. She know that her boss will not interrupt her vacation if it is not really very important and urgent.

“Last Friday kasi I got a call from our boss that the new program you will produce will be launched earlier than we were told in our last production meeting. Noong nagpaalam ka sa akin for your several days of vacation, I thought kakayanin naman. But after our phone call and until this evening when I double checked the timeline, I realized na baka kapusin tayo sa oras. Lalo na at our business head wants us to do a presentation the day after tomorrow for possible sponsorships.” Tina explained, and she sounded stress out.

“I needed you sana Pippa for several days, just to set up everything, do the presentation, and then after we distributed the materials to the writers and researchers, then you can take your vacation na. Kailangan lang nating makapagsimula muna with everything”

“I made some pre-work na po on our new program.” Pippa told her boss. “Saka I produced a presentation na rin. I did it noong patapos na iyong isang program that we produced. Kailangan ko na lang i-finalize. Sayang I didn’t bring my laptop with me here. Biglaan kasi ag uwi ko.”

“Okay, that’s very good! So, please come back for two to three days, then after you have set it up, you can take your vacation na. Would that be okay?” Tina asked anxiously.

“Yes, Ma’am Tina, okay lang. I’m just here at our place in Mindoro. Okay nga rin po if I will return to work na, since I have seen my Mom na.” Pippa assured her boss. Maybe, work will take her mind of what happened to her and Martin, put things in perspective, now that she is in a better frame of mind! At the same time, maybe, she and Ethan need some distance. Yes, she enjoys his company, but maybe, she should stick to her resolve not to have another relationship so soon. Besides, she knows Ethan has to deal with some unresolved issues too. She is starting to like Ethan too much! She is also a bit afraid to love again so soon.

“That would be even better! I’ll see you at the office the day after tomorrow then? Around 9AM.” Tina asked. She feels better now that Pippa is coming back.

“Sure po! Kapag nakasakay po ako sa unang boat bukas, then I can go directly to the office after lunch.” Pippa offered. She likes traveling early mornings to avoid the rush and the traffic along the way, going back to Quezon City.

“Naku, magpahinga ka na muna bukas. Mahaba-haba rin ang biyahe mo. Okay lang naman the next day, specially now that you have cancelled your vacation.” Tina said.

Pippa said goodbye to her boss, then returned to her mother and Ethan.

“Mom, I need to cut short my vacation, or rather I need to cancel my vacation! That was my boss, kailangan na niya ako sa work. Sabi niya mapapaaga ang launching noong bago namin show na ako rin ang producer.” Pippa explained.

“Ganoon ba anak! Too bad naman, ngayon pa nga lang kita makakasama ng mas matagal-tagal.” Marianne said, a bit disppointed at the development, but she knows her job is very important to her daughter. “Di bale, next time, habaan mo na lang ang vacation ha.”

“Promise, Mom, I will!” Pippa said.

“When are you leaving Pippa?” Ethan asked. He felt a tinge of sadness at Pippa’s news. In such a short time, Pippa became a very important part of his life. He really enjoys her company.

“First thing in the morning! May mga kailangan pa kasi akong tapusin bukas pagdating ko regarding that project. I think mas maaga ang ferry sa bayan, doon na lang ako sasakay kaysa diyan sa katabi nating beach.” Pippa said. Since her Dad died she had an aversion too at taking small boats to Batangas and Mindoro.

“I can take you there in Manong Ben’s motorcycle.” Ethan offered. “Hindi pa yata siya nakakabalik from Calapan.”

“Yes, tumawag nga si Ben kanina, bukas na raw siya babalik dito.” Marianne said. “Better nga Ethan if you could take Pippa to the pier. Please get the motorcycle key na lang sa lalagyan ng mga susi sa kitchen.”

“Thanks Tita Marianne. No worries. I will deliver Pippa to her waiting ferry, safe and sound.” He said smiling.

“Oo naman hijo. Alam ko namang maingat kang mag-drive.” Marianne said. “Tungkol pala saan iyong bago mong show Pippa?”

“It’s a magazine show, Mom.”  Pippa asked. “Quite interesting actually!”

‘Talaga. Good luck anak. Hihintayin ko na lang sa TV, anak. I’m sure you will do another very good one.”

“Thanks Mom!” Pippa said, hugging her mother.

“O siya, sige, I will say good night to the two of you. Medyo inaantok na ako. Hindi ako masyadong nakatulog sa Calapan. Namahay yata ako.” Mommy Marianne said. “Ethan, good night! Pippa wake me up before you leave ha.”

“Yes, Mom! Good night!” Pippa said, kissing her mother good night.

“Good night, Tita Marianne! Have a good sleep.” Ethan said.

Marianne went inside the house leaving Ethan and Pippa at the veranda, drinking their coffee and enjoying the sudden silence. Ethan was the one who broke it. “So, you will be back to Manila for good, Pippa? “ Ethan asked. “I mean, there is no chance that you will be back here soon?”

“Im not sure, Ethan! I want to stay more but I don’t think I will be able to concentrate, anyway, with our airing date being advanced. Saka, maybe, I should talk to Martin and close that chapter of my life completely para hindi na rin siya tawag ng tawag.” Pippa said. “Ikaw, what are your plans?”

“Well, I’m thinking of staying here another month, then heading home to find answers. Tapos, I might come back here and see if I can set up something more permanent.” Ethan replied, the idea getting more and more attractive. He can work anywhere, anyway, as long as there is an internet connection.

“What do you mean? Stay here in Mindoro for good?” Pippa asked, surprised.

“Here in Mindoro, or in Manila, or anywhere in the Philippines. I like it here so, might as well see if I could live here” Ethan said, shrugging. The truth is, Ethan does not need to work at all. He can ‘retire’ for life, at 32, as he had made enough money in the dot com boom and with a game program he made and sold to a company especializing in online games.

“Really, that would be great!” Pippa said, smiling, really liking the idea of seeing more of Ethan, and more importantly, he will be in same country!

Ethan smiled, gazing at Pippa. “Let’s see, Pip! Who knows, what tomorrow will bring.” He finished obliquely.

“So true! Que sera, sera!” Pippa said. “O paano, sleep na tayo at maaga pa ang gising natin bukas.”

“Okay. I’ll see you at 5AM.” Ethan said, smiling “Good night, Pip! Pleasant dreams!”

“Good night, Ethan.” Pippa replied. “Sweet dreams. I hope the nightmare is gone. But if you can’t sleep, just knock on my door. I’ll keep you company.” Pippa said, despite her resolve to keep a little distance from Ethan.

“Pippa, that’s so sweet of you.Thank you very much.” Ethan said, giving Pippa a big smile. “I think I will be okay.”

With a final wave, Ethan disappeared into the night to go to his cottage. Pippa locked up and went to bed soon after packing her things. She slept well that night. It was the same with Ethan, as the dreaded nightmare didn’t come. In fact, he dreamt of Pippa!

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Crushing On You – Chapter 19

Love Me Tender

“Welcome to our home, Mrs. Lim!” Richard said with a big smile as he put down Maya in the living room of their home in BGC early Sunday evening, the day after their beautiful wedding in Mindoro. He carried her across the threshold as per tradition as soon as he placed their suitcases at the entrance of their new home.

Maya and Richard returned to Manila, together with their Manila-based wedding guests in the LC private plane late that afternoon. They were the last one to board the plane which earned them a lot of teasing.

“Thank you, my dearest husband!” Maya smiled at Richard.

They gaze at each other lovingly and then shared their first kiss in the house that Maya has transformed into a lovely and comfortable home for her and Richard and the kids they will have, while preparing for the wedding of their dreams.

“Maya, I love you very much, Sweetheart.” Richard told his wife as he caressed her face. “Sometimes, I still can’t believe that here we are, about to start our lives as husband and wife. That finally, I’m sharing this place with you.”

“I love you very much too, Ricky.” Maya replied, giving her husband feathery kisses. Then smiling she said, “Parang kailan lang nagkamali ako ng send ng message sa iyo. Kaiisip ko yata sa iyo iyon at that time. Naalala ko na ikaw ang star sa mga panaginip ko simula ng makilala kita.”

Richard grinned. “So, sa simula pa lang pala may pagnanasa ka na sa akin.” He teased his wife.

“Hahahaha, bakit ikaw ba, hindi? Grabe nga ang ginawa mong pagpaparamdam sa akin.” Maya bantered back.

They laughed, reminiscing.

“Sweetheart, what would you like for dinner?” Maya asked after a while, her stomach grumbling a bit.

“Mrs. Lim, I have taken care of that. Come with me, please.” Richard took hold of his wife’s hand, interlaced it with his, then led her to the beautiful dining room, now decorated with flowers and plants. Maya transformed the place into, some sort of indoor garden, taking advantage of the light coming from the floor-to-ceiling windows.

The dining table was beautifully set for two, just like the evening Richard proposed to Maya. A wide array of mouthwatering dishes are on the table that is decorated with yellow and blue candles and a big arrangement of sunflowers in the middle.

“Wow, how did you manage this, Sweetheart?” Maya asked surprised. It looks like her husband will not run out of surprises for her throughout their married life as well.

“I requested Rina to do this even before the wedding.” Richard explained.”I want our first evening in our new home very special, Sweetheart.”

“Oh, Ricky! Grabe mo pa rin akong pakiligin. The best husband ka talaga, Sweetheart.” Maya tiptoed, put her arms around her husband’s nape, then give him a long sweet kiss.

“Sweetheart…..” Richard muttered, returning the kiss. “We better stop at baka hindi na tayo makapag-dinner!” He said. He is barely holding his control and to do that, he does not want to think yet of the evening ahead, or else, he will lose it totally.

“Oh….” Maya said, looking at her husband, seeing the passion he is trying to control. He had been very gentle and patient with her already.

Husband and wife, shared a loving smile, then Richard pulled the seat  for Maya. Then went to the side table to pour him and Maya a glass of champagne each.

“To our first dinner as husband and wife in our home, Sweetheart.” Richard said. “Finally, the day has come for us to share this house.”

“To us my dearest husband.” Maya said. “I’ll always make this place a home for us and the children we will have!”

They toasted each other, shared another kiss, then started their dinner. Dinner was punctuated by their usual chatter, mostly about the wedding and the reception and Manang Fe knocking at their door around noon, saying that they needed to get going as the plane that would take them back to Manila is leaving at 3PM. They realized they overslept! They must have been very tired from the wonderful long day and night they had the day before.

Richard and Maya quickly showered, with Maya laying out Richard’s clothes and packing their stuffs while he took a shower. Richard finished the rest of the packing when it was Maya’s turned to shower. When they were both dressed and about to leave the guest cottage, Richard looked at his beautiful wife, devoid of any make up, and the feeling just overwhelmed him. He reeled her towards him and gave her a searing kiss.

“I love very much, Mrs. Lim.” Richard said lovingly. “Soon!” He added.

Maya knew what he meant. She blushed but is looking forward to that to. She smiled. “Not soon, but later, my dearest Mr. Lim! I love you too.”

Richard and Maya had lunch with her parents and Manang Fe who is staying in the meantime in San Nicolas. She will returned to Manila several days after. Maya’s parents opted to maintain the house in Bel-Air even if Maya and Richard will not live there. They said it will be their home in Manila still. Besides, it is also a place where everyone can gather, her mom said. Mommy Tere also told Maya that she better maintain the gardens she started there. Maya smiled and promised her mom, she will.  The newly-weds didn’t notice the time and before they knew it, it was time to leave for Manila. They hurried, but still the last ones to board the plane, which earned them the teasing and the ribbing.

“Sweetheart, I knew why we got teased.” Maya said, sipping her second glass of champagne as she and Richard moved to the living room after their very nice dinner, cuddling and relaxing with the wonderful view before them. “If they only knew, the thing they were thinking about didn’t happen in Mindoro.”

Richard grinned. “Sweetheart, I never really know where I drew the willpower last night. You were so beautiful, so very desirable. I hope you have another of that night gown you were wearing last night.”

“I know where, my Sweetheart, from your immense love for me and your overflowing consideration of me and my feelings.” Maya said smiling, remembering last night. “And yes, I have several of those night gowns.” She grinned impishly. “They are a gift from Rafi during my bridal shower.” Maya added. She hopes her husband will like the other one she is planning to wear on their very special night this evening. She wanted to make it up to him for being very considerate and gentle with her on their first night as husband and wife.

When they entered the bedroom of the cottage, beautifully bathe in soft lights coming from the candles placed on the side tables, and flower petals scattered all over the floor and the bed, last night, Richard slowly put Maya down, then gave her another searing kiss, which turned into several kisses.

“Ricky, maybe we should get ready for bed.” Maya suggested, fighting the desire clouding her brain with the way Richard is touching and kissing her. “Let’s go shower first. I think whoever made this room very beautiful as a special treat for us have put your clothes with mine in that closet.”

“Okay, Sweetheart!” Richard said. He had an inkling that Maya needed to do this first. “Later!” He said before going to the bathroom, giving his wife a heated look.

Several minutes, after, Richard came out of the bathroom, smelling so nice, wearing blue pajamas and a white v-neck t-shirt that showed off his physique. He looked so handsome in Maya’s eyes. He gave her one of his heart melting, lopsided smile. “The bathroom is yours, my wife.”

“Okay, I’ll be along.” Maya said clutching the clothes she will wear tightly, then turned to go to the bathroom.

“Wait, Maya, Sweetheart, do you need help with your dress?” Richard asked, seeing that the dress has a lot of pearl buttons in the back.

“Oh, yes, please Ricky.” Maya said, forgetting that she wanted Richard’s help with the buttons. “Thank you.” Then she turned so Richard has better access to the buttons.

Richard started unbuttoning Maya’s wedding gown’s around 50 pearl buttons adorning it. Slowly, Maya’s beautiful back, was exposed to Richard gaze. He caught his breath and tried to rein the effect it was having on him. He thought, he was the only one getting affected by what is turning to be an erotic task, until he heard Maya caught her breath too. Several long minutes after, all the buttons were undone. Richard gave Maya’s back a light caress, which made her shiver.

“Done now, Sweetheart! “ He said softly. “Now off you go.”

Maya gave her husband a sweet smile. “Thank you, Sweethert.” Then she went to the bathroom clutching her opened gown. Unknown to her, she was presenting a very sexy picture to her waiting husband.

Richard settled on the bed, waiting for Maya. An hour later, his wife came out of the bathroom, wearing a diaphanous white night gown. He gulped and tried to control his fast beating heart, and the heat that traveled like a bolt of lightning through his body so fast.

“Wow, you looked so lovely, Sweetheart.” He managed to say.

“T-thank you, Sweetheart.” Maya said, taking a deep breath, trying to calm herself from the sudden nervousness she is feeling at that moment. Her hands suddenly became clammy. Now that the moment she and Richard have been waiting for, aside from the beautiful wedding they had, she is having a sudden attack of nerves. She knows about this, she had read about it, but she thought she will not have it as she and Richard have indulged in heavy kissing and heated caresses during their three-month engagement. Besides, she is innocent but she had seen enough movies and enough books to know what happens between a man and a woman in the privacy of the bedroom or out of it in some of the books she has read! But still, despite knowing that in an intellectual level, she is still having wedding night jitters!

Richard sat up, then walk towards his bride. He held out his hand to hers to guide her to bed, and discovered her hand is very cold.

“Sweetheart, is everything okay? Are you nervous?” He asked Maya solicitously. He had an idea that she might be, despite getting used to each other the past several months, as she has not done this before.

“Ricky, I’m okay.” Maya tried to assure her husband, then decided to tell him about what she was feeling at the moment. They have been very open with each other and she wanted to continue being like that in their married life. “I think I’m having wedding night jitters. Kasi, what if I don’t please you, what if I can’t do what you expect. I don’t have any experience at all on this despite what we have been doing before we got married.” Maya was getting a bit agitated without meaning to, trying to explain to Richard.

Richard understood completely what is going on through his wife’s head, especially because this is the first time for her. He knew that sometimes, no matter how much you prepare intellectually and mentally for something, reality is different.

“Oh my dearest Sweetheart, please don’t worry on that aspect! You will always make me happy, no matter what. Besides I’ll be here to guide you and be with you on this all the way. I love you very much and don’t doubt about the physical aspect of our relationship. This is going to be a physical expression of the love we feel for each other, so it can’t go wrong. I know, physically, you will experience pain when I finally join us and unite us in the closest possible way the two us can be united, but if there is a way I can spare you from that, I will.” Richard said, while cupping his wife’s face and looking at her deeply, intently, assuring her that everything will be okay. “Besides, we don’t have to do it this evening. Come with me please.”

Richard led his wife to the waiting bed, turned down the comforter, then laid her gently on the bed. He went after her, then put his arms around her, then he started caressing her hair gently, wanting to relax her, soothing her. After a while, he heard her steady breathing and when he looked, her eyes were closing. Before she did so, she gave him a loving smile, then a soft sigh of thank you came from her lips before she closed her eyes and sleep.

Richard also realized then that aside from the jitters, his wife was very tired from the long and emotion-filled day they had. He settled in to sleep beside her, content to be just with her, finally in his arms, even if it was just to sleep. Several minutes after, he too went to sleep with his wife securely ensconced in his arms.

Maya woke at dawn, with Richard’s arms still around her. She looked at her sleeping husband. If it was possible to fall in love again to the one person who you are already are very much in love with forever, she had done it last night with Richard’s gentleness and understanding. That also removed whatever jitters she had been feeling. With the thought of making it up to her husband, Maya burrowed deep into his muscular arms, gave him a gentle kiss, then went back to sleep. She and Richard fell into a deep sleep until noon. Good thing, Manang Fe woke them.

“Thank you again, for not only the best husband in the world, but for being the most understanding and the gentlest.” Maya said to Richard, kissing him, then putting her wine glass down, and standing up. “Come, Sweetheart!”

Richard smiled indulgently at his wife as she led him to their bedroom. But he has another idea, he stopped his wife, gave her a searing kiss and then carried her again across the threshold. He had an inkling that by taking the initiative, Maya managed to conquer the jitters she was having the night before.

“Ricky!” Maya shrieked, surprised, then she held on to her husband’s neck, feeling pampered.

Like the night before, Richard slowly put down Maya inside the bedroom, their bodies touching in every possible way as she glided down. They looked at each other heatedly, then Richard lowered his lips to Maya and they shared a very hot kiss, lips fusing as one, tongues duelling, wanting everything.

They surfaced from that very hot kiss, smiling lovingly and looking at each other heatedly.

“Sweetheart, I will just get ready for bed.” Maya said softly, blushing a bit.

Richard grinned and looked at his wife. Looks like she is planning something, he thought, and he is very much looking forward to that. “Go ahead, Sweetheart, take your time, I will be waiting. I will also take a quick shower in one of the guest rooms.”

Maya went to their shared closet, having moved most of her things there one week before the wedding, then got something, then gave her husband a big smile and she was off to the bathroom to get ready for the very special night with Richard.

Richard returned to the bedroom several minutes after, freshly showered and wearing another v-neck shirt and a checkered blue drawstring pajamas this time. Seeing that Maya is still in the bathroom, he settled on the bed to wait for her, thinking of the moment at dawn, this morning, when he woke up and just gazed at his sleeping wife’s form. He is so full of love for her, preparing to wait, no matter how long it takes, to consummate their marriage, to make them as one in every sense of the word.

Richard didn’t wait long. The bathroom door opened and out come his beloved wife dressed in another beautiful diaphanous night gown, this one in crimson red. If his heart beat faster seeing her in her white one last night, this one sent desire skyrocketing through his system. She looks so very, very beautiful and alluring, sexy, seductive, in this one. The gown is floor length, it was almost transparent, Richard can see his wife beautiful body and he gulped when he noticed the fine details of the gown, lace cupped his wife’s breasts lovingly, showing everything to him.

“Do you like this better, Sweetheart?” Maya asked in a sultry voice, the nervousness of  the night before gone from her voice and demeanor as she approached the bed and her handsome husband who was having a hard time controlling his raging desire, confidently this time.

“Sweetheart, you look so very, very beautiful! I love you very much and the dress you are wearing.” Richard said, sitting up, then when his wife was in front of her, pulled her gently into his lap. “Sweetheart, I promise to be gentle and we are in this together, remember, all the way!”

Maya touched Richard’s face lovingly. “I know, Ricky. I’m ready. Thank you for your gentleness and understanding last night. I would like to belong to you completely. I love you, very, very much!”

With hat, Richard lowered his lips to Maya and gave her a searing kiss, playing with the seam of her lips, seeking entrance. Maya let him in. Their tongues sought each other and duelled. Maya put her hands around Richard’s nape and answered kiss after kiss with her searing ones too. Richard’s hand slowly sought Maya’s breast, cupping it through the lace of her dress, playing with it, one after the other, driving Maya to the heights beyond her imagination. The more he touch, the more she wanted more. Then Richard flicked and tweaked her nipples and the sensation was too much for Maya. She gasped, feeling the electricity traveling from her breasts to her very core. She started doing some touching of her own. Richard felt electrified too from her touch and kisses. From where she was sitting, Maya can feel the evidence of Richard’s desire for her,

From her breasts and nipples, that felt heavier now and more sensitive, Richard’s hand moved to the hem of Maya’s hiked gown, caressing her thighs, moving upwards, making Maya held her breath with a feeling of anticipation on what is about to happen next. She gasped when Richard’s roving hand reached her core, touched her through the thin material of her panties, then setting it aside, touched her very core. Oh, the exquisite pleasure she was feeling was getting to much, she wanted relief, fast, soon!

Richard had reached his limit too. He removed Maya’s night gown completely until his wife was naked before him, and so very beautiful. He then removed every stitch of clothes he was wearing, until he too, was naked before his wife who looked admiringly at his body.

He laid his wife gently on the bed, then proceeded to kiss her from her lips, down to her neck, nipping a little here and there, until he reached the valley between her breasts, rained kisses around it, with Maya panting with anticipation, wanting more. He gave in after, as his lips enclosed one engorged nipple, and played with it with his tongue, at the same time touching her other breast. When his seeking lips and tongue moved to the other nipple, his hand, moved lower, until he found her core again and started the twin assault to all her senses.

“Ricky…..” was all Maya managed to mutter from the overwhelming passion enveloping her, while her hand sought and find Richard’s hard length and started touching it tentatively, then more confidently.

“Maya….” It was Ricky’s turn to be incoherent with the passion he was feeling. Sensing that Maya is ready for him, he made his move.

Richard positioned himself on top of Maya, and Maya seeing her husband silent plea for permission nodded. Richard slowly drove himself inside Maya, assuring her while doing so that he will try not to make it hurt so much. Maya assured her husband that it will be okay. When he was completely buried in her, Richard waited several seconds before moving again so she will be accustomed to him. Maya encouraged him, assuring him that she is okay and it was not so painful. It was only then that Richard started moving, at the same time, kissing her and touching her everywhere he could. Maya did the same. The only sound inside the room were they sighs of pleasure, until it became too much for them, the movement became more frenzied until they both shouted for completion. They flew and soared together, becoming one, uniting to their very souls.

“Sweetheart, are you okay?” Richard asked Maya, caressing her face, several minutes after, still trying to recover from the heights they flew together. He has no words to describe that experience with his beautiful wife, the love of his life.

Maya smiled lovingly at her husband. She still recovering from the wonder it. She never thought it could be like this. She has no words to describe the physical union with her husband. “I’m more than okay, Sweetheart. I feel so very, very wonderful! Thank you my dear husband. I love you so very much.”

“I love you very, very much too, my dearest wife, my partner for life and beyond.” Richard said, gazing at his wife with all the love he is feeling. Maya was the same. She was just so full of love for this wonderful man, her life partner!

Richard kissed his wife one more time, then pulled the comforter over them, covering their naked, sated bodies. Sleep overtook them, but not for long. They woke up at dawn and made love again several times.

Throughout the next couple of days they have stayed in their place, in a world of their own, they made love every opportunity they could. They can’t get enough of each other, trying to discover each other’s body in every way they could.

One week after the wedding, Maya and Richard left for their honeymoon in Europe. Their first stop was Paris, then Rome, Venice and an island in Greece where they stayed the longest before returning to the Philippines and their respective jobs at Lim Corporation.

“Sweetheart, Maya, wake up na.” Richard kissed his sleeping wife on the cheek, trying to wake her up. It has been two months since they got married and a month since they returned from their month-long honeymoon. “Baka ma-late na tayo sa office!”

Maya slowly opened her eyes, then seeing her husband, gave him a loving smile. “Sweetheart, anong oras na ba?”

“It is already past 7AM!” Richard replied, caressing her face. “Are you okay, Sweetheart?”

“Sweetheart, actually I’m not feeling so good again.” Maya replied, finding it hard to get out of bed. “Magkaka-flu yata talaga ako!”

“Sweetheart, let me just call Liza, I will take you to the doctor.” Richard said. “Ilang araw ng masama ang pakiramdam mo. Kahapon nga nagsuka ka pa.”

“Sweetheart…..”Maya started protesting, when she felt her stomach getting quesy again. She ran to the bathroom. Her stomach heaved while she was at the sink but nothing came out.

“That’s it, I will take you to Dr. Montalvo.” Richard said, gently patting Maya in the back to help her feel better.

Maya nodded.

More than an hour later, they were at the clinic of the Lims family doctor. Maya was examined by the doctor and was asked several questions. Included in his question was when was the last time she had her period. He then told his nurse and medical technologist to collect urine and blood samples from Maya. He asked Richard and Maya to stay  in the lounge of the clinic as they wait for the results of the test.

“Maya, wala kang flu and there is nothing wrong with you.” Dr. Adan Montalvo told the couple with a big smile, later. “You are pregnant, seven to eight weeks, I think. Congratulations to both of you!”

Richard and Maya just looked at the doctor after he said that, then what he said sank in to them. They looked at each other lovingly, then hugged each other tight.

“We will have a baby na….” Maya whispered to Richard, in awe. “I’m going to be a mom, Sweetheart!”

“Sweetheart, yes you are, a very beautiful and loving mom, and I’m going to be a dad! Yessss!”  Richard happily said.

They kissed, got lost in each their world. Then they remembered the doctor and where they are. “Thank you Dr. Montalvo,” they said grinning.

Richard and Maya went back to their place after making arrangements to see Dr. Montalvo’s wife,  Grace, who is an OB-GYNE in two days time as she was in a medical conference in Davao.

Richard twirled Maya around, when they reached their home, and the two of them danced like crazy, celebrating the fact that they will be parents in several months.

“We made a honeymoon baby, Sweetheart!” Richard said smiling.

He is pretty sure the baby was conceived the first time they made love. Maya thinks the same. “I’m thinking what you are thinking.” She smiled at her husband lovingly.

They shared a look, and just like before, they understood each other. Richard carried Maya to their bedroom. They slowly undressed each other. Richard kissed Maya’s tummy reverently, lovingly, before proceeding to make love to her the whole afternoon!

Seven months later, Sky and Sunshine were born to their very happy parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins.


Note:  And with that, Crushing On You, drew to a close. Thank you for being with me in this Richard and Maya love story/journey which I enjoyed writing and sharing with you!  🙂 🙂 🙂

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Windblown – Chapter 9


Richard arrived at the Francisco residence less than an hour after he left his parents’ house in La Vista Village in Quezon City. He parked his car beside Jeff’s Honda then took a deep breath and rang the bell. Maya opened the gate several minutes after. Richard gave her a heart melting smile, very happy to see her again.

“Ricky, I’m glad you are back na. You are just time for coffee and dessert!” Maya greeted Richard with a big smile too. In such a short time, she realized she had missed his company and had been watching the clock since he texted, the minutes seemed longer before he arrived! That is why when the door bell rang, she jumped a bit, earning her a teasing look from her cousin Cris.

“Hi Maya!” Richard said, then gave Maya another peck on the cheek, making Maya self-conscious. Wow, bakit iba ang pakiramdam ng simpleng social kiss pagdating sa kanya. Maya mused.

“Sure, it is okay that I join you and your family? Kasi di ba, family celebration ito for you?” Richard broke into Maya’s thoughts and kilig. “I can just wait for you outside. No worries.”

“Of course, Ricky. Ano ka ba! Don’t worry. Besides, they want to meet you to thank you for helping Cho.” Maya assured Richard. “Besides, they want to meet a friend of mine.”

“Okay, then, let’s go.” Richard said, smiling. “I’m also looking forward to meeting the rest of your family.”

They walked towards the main house, then from the living room, crossed to the dining room, with Richard’s hand on Maya’s back, until they reached the back veranda where everyone is. Before Maya can introduce Richard, Cho ran to them.

“Tito Richard, Tito Richard!” The boy then gave Richard a big hug.

“Cho, buddy! Kumusta ka na? Mabuti naabutan pa kitang gising.” Richard said, smiling fondly at the little boy, at the same time ruffling his hair. Then he looked at Maya’s family. “Good evening po sa inyo.”

“Okay naman po ako Tito Richard. Malapit na po akong maging Kuya! Talaga pong hinintay ko kayong dumating bago ako matulog, di ba Daddy and Mommy?” Cho then looked at the pregnant woman with short hair beside Jeff.

Cristina Rose stood up with Jeff’s help. “Hi I’m Cris, nanay niyang si Cho and cousin ni Maya. Maraming salamat for helping our little boy last Sunday.” Cris told the handsome chinito guy before her. Now she understand why her cousin got torete yesterday when they were chatting on the phone.

“I’m please to meet you Cris!” Richard said, giving Cris a big smile. Hmmm, ka-guwapo naman pala talaga nitong special friend ni little cousin, lalo na kapag nag-smile, she thought to herself, and mukhang ang bait-bait. Kung na-meet niya si Richard habang naglilihi siya, baka napaglihian niya!

“Ricky, let me introduce you to the rest of the family.” Maya said, guiding Richard by the arm into the other side of the veranda. “Tita Lulu, Tito Mario, Lino and Lindsay, my friend Richard Lim! Ricky, my aunt and uncle, Lourdes and Mario Francisco na like I have told you, para ko na ring mga magulang. Ito naman si Lino eh parang kapatid ko nang bunso, and ang wife niya na si Lindsay. Then you know Jeff na naman and hayan nag-self introduce na si Ate Cris na my ate in every sense of the word!”

“Good evening po ulit, Mr. and Mrs. Francisco. Lino and Lindsay, Cris and Jeff. I’m pleased to meet Maya’s family. “ Richard said smiling at everyone. “Thank you for inviting me in. Sabi ko nga po kay Maya baka I’m intruding na on a family get together.”

“Naku hijo, dapat nga dito ka na nag-dinner!” Lulu said. “Please have a seat. Thank you very much for helping Cho! Gusto ka rin naming ma-meet para mapasalamatan in person.”

“Naku, I’m glad to have helped Cho po. Saka because of him nagkita kami ulit ni Maya after seven long years.” Richard said. “Nabanggit niya po ba na ako iyong isa sa judge sa sinalihan niyang beauty pageant sa Mindoro?”

“Really! Maya said nga na nagkakilala kayo years ago. She never gotten around to mentioning that” Lulu said, curious as Maya only managed to mention earlier that she met Richard from way back. Lulu handed Richard a serving of buco pandan. Then said, “Di ba iyon, Maya iyong pageant before namatay si Mamang. You really made her very happy that evening, when you won.”

“Thank you very much po Mrs. Francisco.” Richard said, getting the dessert from Lulu.”Yes, that is where we met po, I was one my Mama’s proxy since she got sick that night.”

“Naku, please call me Tita Lulu and Mario, Tito Mario since you are a friend of Maya.” Lulu told Richard, liking Maya’s young man instantly. This is actually the first time her niece introduced a guy to them. Hmmm, parang magkaka-boyfriend na ang pamangkin ko ah. Then she decided to test a bit if her intuition is right on. “You are the first male friend pati Maya introduced to us.” She remarked offhand.

Richard grinned, liking Lulu’s revelation. While Maya on the other hand, turned crimson, which Lulu saw. Hmmm, I’m correct!

“Okay po, Tita Lulu.” Richard smiled at Maya’s aunt, liking her instantly. He had an inkling that Maya’s aunt was, sort of, fishing. She probably sensed something and he is happy to rise to her bait.

“Ricky, coffee?” Maya asked, then poured Richard a cup, then put two teaspoons of brown sugar, trying to regain her composure and hoping that she is not as red as she feels at the moment, getting self-conscious.

“Thanks a lot, Maya.” Richard gave Maya another of his bone-melting smiles. They shared a look, gazing at each other until Lulu broke into it before they completely cross over into their own private world.

“Im glad naman that you and Maya saw each other after all these years.” Lulu remarked. “Nakakatuwa naman.”

“I’m so happy nga po to have finally see her again last Sunday.” Richard replied, leaving out the missed connections between Maya and him through the years. He is leaving it to Maya to tell it to her family. Baka she gets very conscious na, lalo na at feeling niya, Lulu knows that something more than friendship is brewing between him and her niece.

Maya and Richard had a wonderful after dinner time with the Franciscos. Tito Mario and Lino asked Richard about building resorts and which one would he considers the best place he had built on. Richard told him it was Palawan and also Mindoro. Lino is an Electronics and Communications Engineer so the conversation also shifted from resorts to technology. Lindsay just listened on while the two chatted or sometimes, she, Maya, Cris and Tita Lulu talked about other stuffs on the side. Jeff also joined the conversation while holding a sleeping Cho in his arms. Like Lino, he is an ECE.

“Jeff, mabuti yata dalhin na natin si Cho sa guest room.” Cris suggested after a while.

Maya looked at the time then. “Naku, almost midnight na pala! Baka bedtime mo na rin Ate Cris and ni baby girl pamangkin. Dito pala kayo matutulog.”

“Yes, we decided to stay the night na kasi wala namang pasok na si Cho. In fact, speaking of, dito na kami hanggang Christmas!” Cris said as she stood up. “O paano, I think Jeff and I will say good night na and put our little boy to sleep.”

“Okay, Ate Cris. Richard and I will get going na rin.” Maya said. “Good night.” Then she went on to hug her cousin.

“You still owe me kwento, little sis.” Cris whispered to Maya when they hugged each other. “In fairness, I like your boyfriend-to-be!” Cris teased her cousin.

“Ikaw Ate Cris, ha.” Maya smiling.

Cris smiled, then looked at Richard, whom she caught looking at Maya with something akin to love in his eyes. “Richard nice meeting you! Thanks again and good night.”

Richard smiled at Maya’s cousin and the same time, got curious what the cousins have whispered about that cause Maya’s face to turn red. Hmmm, something to find out later. “Good night Cris, Jeff.”

Maya and Richard also said goodbye then to her aunt, uncle and Lino and Lindsay who will go home to their house beside the Franciscos. Tita Lulu told Richard to come to dinner next time. She also said Richard can come with Maya to their Christmas dinner if he is free. Richard thanked the gracious, old lady and told her, he would have taken her up in if  he does not have a dinner too with his parents. Richard thanked Maya’s whole family for inviting him as well.

Maya hugged her family, so happy that evening and thanked them again for the wonderful treat for her. Soon after they were on their way home too.

“I like your family, Maya. You are lucky to have such a big one!” Richard said as he navigated the late evening traffic on the way back to BGC. “Kami, tatlo lang nina Mama and Papa. I have cousins pero nasa abroad most of them.”

“Yes, I feel so blessed that I have them.” Maya replied, sighing contently against the seat. “Mom and Dad must have been watching over me from above, giving me a wonderful family pa rin kahit wala na sila.”

“Saan pala sila nakalibing?” Richard asked.

“Sa Himlayang Pilipino sa may Tandang Sora. We used to live in Quezon City. Noong namatay sila, of course, Mamang brought me home to Mindoro.” Maya said. “I’m planning to visit their graves sa Friday. Mamang saved all our family photos para raw hindi ko sila makalimutan since they died when I was very young.”

“You really had the best grandmother, Maya.” Richard said. His heart really goes out to Maya for the lost she had experienced while so young. Mabuti she has the best family to support and they love her very much. He saw that this evening.

“I do. I’m so very grateful for that.” Maya said, then noticed that they are almost at her place. “Ricky, thank you again for today. Sa lahat-lahat!” Maya said when they stopped in front of her building. “Sobrang wonderful ng araw na ito for me, I mean ng Sunday ko pala. I think Monday na dahil past midnight.”

“I also had a wonderful time because of you, Maya. The best Sunday for me also.” Richard said, smiling at Maya. “Come, I will take you up to your unit.”

“Naku, huwag na at gabi na. May pasok ka pa mamaya. Safe na naman ako rito. Hayun, nandoon naman si Manong Guard.” Maya said.

“Maya, I’ll feel better, knowing that I delivered you right at your door, please.” Richard insisted. “Wait ka lang and I will park the car by the side.”

“Okay, if you insists!” Maya smiled at Richard. No use arguing with him on this. She actually likes the fact that Richard is the epitome of a gentleman. She also likes the attention he is showering her, a lot. Laglag na yata ang puso niya, kung hindi pa. She sighed happily.

Several minutes after, the two of them are at the elevator going to Maya’s floor.

“Wala naman akong pasok tomorrow, Maya.” Richard said while they were walking towards her unit. “Last Friday na iyong last day of work ko sa Emerald before Christmas.”

“So, what are your plans for tomorrow?” Maya asked, an idea percolating in her brain.

“Just stay at home, I think. Sleep,  wake up late, relax or work from home, do some plans for a new resort or something.” Richard said. “Just very loose. Why? Do you want to go somewhere? I can take you.”

“Oh, thank you, Ricky. I do need to buy a car. But I don’t think it is a good idea to do that before Christmas.” Maya took a deep breath and said,  “Errrr, I’m thinking of, maybe I can ask you to have dinner here tomorrow night. Pambawi ko sa iyo?” She finished, looking at Richard, blushing a bit as it is the first time, she invited a guy like that. Normally, they do the asking and she just met her occasional dates in restaurants.

Richard smiled. He is very happy with her invitation. He wants to see her tomorrow too. But felt that maybe, Maya wants some space since maghapon na silang magkasama ng Sunday and most of the evening before that. Ayaw naman niyang i-crowd si Maya ng presence niya.

“I would like that.” Richard said, then added softly, “very much!”

“Really, you will have dinner here tomorrow!” Maya is happy to know also. By that time, they have arrived at her front door. “Great! I’ll see you around 6PM. Or if you want to, come earlier than that. I’ll just be at home too.”

“Okay!” Richard said, grinning. “I’m looking forward to our dinner tomorrow. Good night Maya! Thank you again for a very wonderful day.”

“Thank you too, Ricky for a very great day and for being a sport with my family.” Maya said. “Good night!”

Maya and Richard, it seems, both reluctant to part for the night, gazed at each other, hearts beating faster and just felt very happy. Before he can stop himself, Richard lowered his lips to Maya’s. Maya knew what was coming. She saw it on Richard’s gaze and intent. Helpless to fight the emotions she was feeling at the moment, she angled her mouth to received Richard’s kiss. They shared a quick, gentle exploratory kiss, then slowly parted, wonder in their eyes!

“Good night, Maya. Sweet dreams!” Richard said, gazing at Maya intently.

Maya felt like she was woken again from a wonderful dream.”Good night Ricky.” She replied so very softly, still recovering from the effect of the kiss she shared with Richard.

Richard waited until Maya was inside before leaving. Maya fumbled with the key, and Richard helped her, putting his hand over hers. Then with a  bone-melting smile, he said good night to her, again.

“OMG, paano kaya ako makakatulog nito! Para akong lumulutang!” Maya said to herself after she has closed the door and with weak knees collapsed on the sofa, touching the lips that Richard has kissed.

Richard felt like he was on top of the world. He stopped in front of the elevator with a goofy grin, forgetting to press the elevator button going down, realizing it only when the numbers changed and it passed by the floor he was in. This feeling of overwhelming joy is enveloping him. The kiss he and Maya shared still very much in his senses.

Both Maya and Richard had a hard time sleeping that night. Both of them remembered their wonderful day and how it ended, and too excited to see and experience where the blossoming feelings between them will take them next.


Note: As requested! Happy Saturday everyone!   🙂 

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Windblown – Chapter 8


Richard parked his dark blue BMW in front of Maya’s building less than an hour after they have parted that afternoon. He just went home to leave his laptop and papers and take a shower. He changed into another pair of jeans and blue t-shirt with collar this time. He texted Maya to inform her that he will be along in a couple of minutes. Instead of him looking for a parking space and going up to her unit, Maya told him that she will just wait for him at the lobby. Maya was not yet there. Richard realized that he was quite early when he checked the time.

However, Richard didn’t wait long. Maya, looking very lovely in skinny jeans and sleeveless top, got out of the elevator several minutes after he arrived, carrying the bags of chocolates for her family and the books for Cho.

“Hi again Maya,” Richard greeted Maya with his lopsided smile which makes her heart skip a beat every time he bestowed that smile on her. “Dapat pala, iniwan mo na lang ang mga ito sa car kanina para hindi ka na nagbitbit!” Richard told Maya as he helped her with the paper bags.

“Hi Ricky! Thank you.” Maya replied, giving him a smile that lit up her whole face. Richard felt his heart beat faster. “Hindi naman mabigat ang mga ito. Saka the chocolates would have melted I think, though hindi naman nga matagal na maiiwan sa car. Saka di ba you helped me with those naman earlier.”

Earlier! And with that word, they gazed at each other, both remembered what transpired earlier. Maya smiled shyly, then blushed. Richard smiled happily. Both got a bit self-conscious, then shared an extra sweet smile.

“Halika na Ricky.” Maya said, trying to calm her fast beating heart. “Ikaw nga ang pupunta pa sa Quezon City after dropping me off.” She thought of inviting him to the dinner, but hesitated since baka he has plans na, and he does nga.

Richard opened the car door for Maya, then closed it when she got settled in. He went to the driver’s side and several minutes after they were navigating the early evening traffic for the short ride to Maya’s family’s home.

“Nakatawag ka pala sa Mom mo? Okay lang sa kanya na medyo late ka?” Maya asked Richard.

“Yes, and she told me I owe her an explanation kung bakit ako late.” Richard said smiling. “I think I will be grilled.”

“Grilled? Why?” Maya asked.

“Eh, she told me, that the person I’m probably with must be very important to me since I haven’t really not arrive early at my parents’ house on Sundays even if our schedule for dinner is, sort of, on the laid back side.” Richard narrated, smiling. “She also said a similar thing to me yesterday when I told her I can’t go to dinner she will have with some relatives.”

“Oh, you mean, you cancelled on your Mom na kagabi so that we can have dinner?” Maya exclaimed.

“No, no, last night was really ours. It was really slated for our special night, as it was our first dinner, seven years in the making nga, di ba. I have planned it since before I went to the Visayas and Bicol. My mom’s dinner plans was the last minute one.” Richard told Maya.

Maya smiled at Richard, hearing what she heard. He is really making her Sunday the best one ever. “I really enjoyed our dinner.” Maya said softly.

“Then let’s do it regularly, please.” Richard said, good thing he was at a stop light. He gazed at Maya intently.

“Sure, no problem!” Maya said. OMG, malapit na yata akong malunod sa kilig, she mused. “Just let me know lang when you are free.”

“Thanks a lot Maya. I’m really looking forward to that!” Richard replied happily. “Hmmm, about Mama, I’m planning to tell her naman about you this evening.”

“You will tell her about me?” Maya asked, wanting to know very much. “What about me?”

“Yes, that I knew you from seven years ago, and that we met each other again last Sunday at S & R, among others.” Richard said, smiling, not elaborating much. He is actually planning to tell his mother a lot about Maya. But he has an inkling his Mama knows that he is very much interested in someone as he is acting differently. He never told her much about the women he dated, even Linda.

“Oh, okay!” Maya simply remarked, but she is very curious to know what exactly will Richard tell his mother about her.

“By the way, Maya, let me know what time will you be finished with the dinner so I can also pick you up. Para hindi ka na mag-taxi or ihatid pa ng uncle or cousin mo.” Richard said.

“Ricky, thank you! Pero, I can hitch a ride na with Ate Cris and Kuya Jeff later.” Maya said. As much as she wanted to spend all her time with Richard, she feels that she might be inconveniencing him already. “Sobra-sobra na ang ginagawa mo for me.”

“Maya, please. I’m happy to do this. Di ba, we agreed to making up for the seven lost years.” Richard cajoled Maya.

Maya smiled. “O sige na nga! Thank you.”

“Great!” Richard replied as they entered the gate of the village and Maya told the guards where they are going. One of them recognised her.

“Good evening po, Ma’am Maya?” Manong Franklin greeted Maya.

“Good evening, Manong Franklin! Dinner lang po ako sa house nina Tita Lulu and Tito Mario.” Maya said with a smile.

“Okay po Ma’am. Kumusta na lang po kay Sir Mario.”  The old guard said.

“Sige po.” Maya said.

Several minutes after, they arrived in front of a two storey house with a low gate at the end of the street where Maya directed Richard. As they were parking, another car, a Honda CRV, was also about to park in front of the house.

Richard helped Maya out of the car, by holding out his hand for her to take, so she can balance herself up.

“Thank you, Ricky.” Maya said. She and Richard still holding hands. “Pasok ka muna, so you can meet the family. If not for your dinner with your parents I would have asked you to join us. I’m sure it will be okay with my family.”

Before Richard can reply, someone called Maya’s name.

“Maya!” Her Kuya Jeff called Maya. It was him who was parking the Honda CRV. “Nagkasabay pa tayo. Sorry, hindi ka namin nadaanan ni Cris kanina.” Then he noticed Richard, and his cousin and him still holding hands. He smiled. “Richard, nice to see you again!”

“Hello, Jeff. Inihatid ko lang si Maya. Marami kasing dala.” Richard said, smiling at the other guy. “Maya, I’ll just get your stuffs, then I will get going na rin.” He told Maya and also Jeff.

“Oh, why don’t you join us?” Jeff asked Richard. “The dinner is for Maya. So, you can also meet my wife and she can thank you in person for helping Cho last weekend. And for sure, Cho will be happy to see you again. Kwento nga iyon ng kwento about you! Thanks to you, hindi naging traumatic sa kanya ang experience na mawala sa crowd.” What Jeff didn’t say is that he has an idea that Maya would like that too.

“Thank you very much Jeff. Maya said the same earlier. But I’m expected at my parents house rin in Quezon City. Nasabi ko na kasi kay Mama na papunta na ako.” Richard said regretfully. “Next time, I will take you on that. I want to see Cho also and meet Maya’s family as well. I will pick her up later na lang. Text me na lang Maya kung babalikan na kita.”

Meet my family! Maya thought, feeling giddy, even if Richard said it in the most innocent context.

“Okay. But since you are coming back, join just for dessert and coffee later. I’m sure Mom and Dad will be so happy to meet a friend of Maya, finally.” Jeff asked again.

“Oh, okay, I will. Thank you.”  Richard said smiling. “Maya I will get going. Jeff. Enjoy your dinner.” He shook Jeff’s hand and then gave Maya a peck on the cheek, which didn’t escape Jeff’s notice.

The cousins watched Richard drove off. But before he did, he gave Maya one of his lopsided smiles and a wave to Jeff.

Jeff started humming love, sweet love again.

“Kuya Jeff, ikaw ha, nanunukso ka na naman.” Maya laughed.

“Eh ang sweet naman kasi!” Jeff said, not asking Maya for details. Hanggang tukso na lang siya kasi baka naman ma-conscious na si Maya. But he is glad that his cousin-in-law is very much interested in someone. If his reading is correct, these two are falling for each other na if they haven’t fallen yet. Para ngang mag-boyfriend sila kanina! Hindi pa nga ba? He is curious to know, but refrained from asking.

“Nagkita kasi kami kaninang umaga. Hayun, we bought stuffs na lang diyan sa shopping street sa BGC, tapos he offered to drive me na kasi di ba, hindi pa tayo nakakabili ng car.” Maya chatted on, leaving out the giddy moments that happened on that unscheduled meeting, which made her Sunday the best ever.

“Oo nga pala. Let’s do it after Christmas. Gusto mo next Sunday!”  Jeff offered as they walked towards the house. He opened the gate with his key, then gestured for Maya to enter first. He was also carrying the stuffs she bought. “Libre ako noon.”

“Naku Kuya Jeff, sayang, ako naman ang hindi pwede. Pupunta kami ni Ricky sa Mindoro sa Saturday.” Maya blurted out without thinking.

“Kayo ni Richard?” Jeff asked surprised.

“Oh, not way I think you are thinking, Kuya Jeff! Hahahaha. It came out like that ba.” Maya laughed seeing Jeff’s surprised expression. “I’m going to San Nicolas kasi, which I’m planning to tell the family this evening, sa Sabado. Richard said I can hitch a ride na lang sa company chopper nila kasi pupunta rin siya ng Mindoro to inspect their resort there na malapit sa San Nicolas.”

“Oh, okay!” Jeff said, smiling big. Hmmmm, ibang klase rin ang da moves nitong suitor ng pinsan ko ah, he thought. “So nice of him naman, little sis.”

“Oo nga eh. He insisted, para raw hindi na ako makipagsiksikan sa Batangas Port sa Sabado.” Maya added.

“Basta, little sis, hindi pa man, botong-botong na ako diyan kay Richard.” Jeff teased Maya.

“Kuya Jeff…..” Maya said, blushing.

“O ano na naman iyang pinagtutuksuhan niyong magpinsan.” Tita Lulu greeted Jeff and Maya from the entrance of the Francisco family home.

“Hi Tita Lulu!” Maya hugged her aunt tight. “Ito pong si Kuya Jeff, tinutukso ako doon sa friend ko. Mano po, and chocolates po pala para sa inyo.”

“Hmmm, sino naman itong friend na ito?” Tita Lulu said. “If ever, mabuti naman kung magkaka-boyfriend ka na. Thank you pala dito sa chocolates.”

“Tita Lulu, friend ko lang po iyon.” Maya replied with a smile. “Dadaan mo siya mamaya rito para sunduin ako.”

“Oh, good, so we can meet him. Sana imbitahan mong mag-coffee and dessert man lang dito.” Lulu said.

“Mom, naunahan na kita. Naimbitahan ko na si Richard. Di pa nabanggit nitong si Maya na iyong ‘friend’ niya ang tumulong kay Cho last Sunday.” Jeff said.

“Really! Bakit hindi niyo pa inimbitahang pumasok para nakapag-thank you kami, also si Cris!” Tita Lulu remarked.

“May pupuntahan po si Ricky, Tita Lulu. May dinner din siya sa parents niya.” Maya explained.

“Oh, okay, di bale later, papasukin mo Maya, ha.” Lulu said. “Halika na kayong dalawa at nang makapag-dinner na tayo. Pinahanda ko ang lahat ng mga paborito mo Maya.” Lulu said as she led her one and only niece to the dining table.

“Congratulations, Maya and welcome back to the Philippines!!!” Cristina Rose and Lino greeted their cousins.

“Maya hija, congratulations and I’m glad that you are back for good na talaga!” Tito Mario said.

“Tita Ninang, congratulations po sa new job!” Cho added, then went to Maya to give her  a big hug.

“Maya, congratulations!” Lindsay, Lino’s wife added.

“Naku, touched na touched naman ako. Thank you sa inyong lahat ha. Ate Cris, Lino, Lindsay, cute na cute kong inaanak na Cho and to you Tito Mario.” Maya said, touched by her family’s joy at her new job and return to the country. “Mano po, Tito.”

“Masayang-masaya talaga kami at nandito ka na ulit, Maya. Na-miss ka kaya namin ng husto.” Tita Lulu said. “O everyone, kain na tayo.”

“Wow, ang daming food!” Maya exclaimed happily. Aside from the grilled fish, kaldereta and menudo that Cris and Maya have agreed on, the Franciscos cook also made ensaladang talong with mango, onions and bagoong, halabos na shrimps and chili crabs and for dessert, she made buco pandan.

“Well, for sure, na-miss mong lahat iyan cousin, so ginawa lahat ni Manang Adela iyong mga favorite mo.” Cris said. “Kain na tayo. Gutom na itong baby girl sa tummy ko.”

“Thank you, thank you talaga!” Maya said, very happy. “By the way, Cho, I have books for you. Here. We can look at them pagkatapos nating kumain.”

“Thank you po, Tita Ninang.” Cho said, giving Maya a hug.

Everyone sat down to eat. The whole family chatted while eating at leisure. They talked about Maya’s new job, her upcoming trip to Mindoro. With Tita Lulu and Tito Mario saying that they are glad that Maya is doing something now with the land Mamang left behind. They also found that she is hitching a ride with Richard and that earned her some good-natured teasing from Cris and Lino as well. Maya said she wants her cousins assurance that they will not tease her and Richard when he comes back later. The conversation also shifted to Cris and her little girl who is due to be born in three months or so time and the possible names for her.

While the Franciscos are having dinner, Richard arrived at his parents’ house. Luckily, traffic was light despite the fact that it was nearing Christmas. Maybe because it was on a Sunday night and many people might have taken vacations for the holidays even if there are two work days left, he mused.

“Son, glad that you can still make it.” Donya Esmeralda told Richard as soon as she saw him entering the house, carrying several bags from the chocolate shop she likes. “Wow, and may treat ka pa sa akin. Thank you.”

“I know you like these Mama! Nagpunta kasi kami ni Maya sa favorite shop mo!” Richard replied, not realizing that he made mentioned of Maya’s name.

“Maya?” Donya Esmeralda asked, very, very curious. There is only one Maya she knows and that is their new operations manager. But Richard was not around when she was interviewed by Ina, Diana and then her. Magkakilala kaya sila?

“Ah yes, Mama! I waited for this dinner to tell you about her.” Richard said as he and Donya Esmeralda walked towards the direction of the dining room. “Where’s Papa?”

“Your Papa will be home shortly.” Donya Esmeralda said as she gestured for her son to sit while they waited for Don Roberto. “What about Maya? Do I know her? Isa lang kasing Maya ang kilala ko, iyong bago nating manager.” Donya Esmeralda said.

“One and the same person, Mama!” Richard said smiling.

“You know her even before we hired her?” Donya Esmeralda asked, surprised and curious. “Bakit wala kang nabanggit sa akin? Maya also didn’t mention that she knows you, though wala naman, of course, sa mga tinanong ko kung may kilala siya sa Emerald. Saka hindi rin kasama sa hiring natin ang questions na iyon.”

“Baka Maya didn’t feel na appropriate naman on a job interview na sabihin niya na kakilala niya ako on a personal level. Lalo na at wala namang opportunity. Saka, we just saw each other again recently.” Richard said. “I didn’t tell Diana or Ina that I know her when I saw her resume. Maya also didn’t tell me that she has interview with us, until our dinner last night, when she was hired na.”

“Oh, she was the one you had dinner with last night? Siya rin ang dahilan kung bakit you told me na you will arrive later than usual this evening? Magkasama rin kayo kanina?” Donya Esmeralda said. This is really getting very interesting, she mused. “And how did you know Maya?”

Richard smiled, remembering. “Well Ma, you know, ikaw ang dahilan kung bakit kami nagkakilala.” Richard started.

“Me? How son?” Now, that she would like to know rin, very much.

“Well, remember the beauty pageant in Mindoro where you were supposed to be the judge? The one where your friend, the governor, invited you seven years ago? Nung nagka-stomach flu ka and ako ang pinapunta mo? Doon ko siya nakilala, sort of!”

Donya Esmeralda smiled, remembering that evening. “You mean, she was there? Pero bakit ngayon ko lang nalaman, after seven years! Son, kwento ng buo please.”

Richard narrated his and Maya’s first meeting, omitting the fact that she made his heart beat faster on that meeting. It is something better left private between him and Maya. He told his mother about the missed meetings through the years and finally meeting her again at S & R the other Sunday, when he helped her nephew Cho!

“Oh my, oh my son! You mean to say, last Sunday lang kayo nagkita after those years! “Donya Esmeralda exclaimed. “Kaya pala you were thanking me for dragging you to  S & R! That must be fate at work. Imagine, after all those years, bigla pa rin kayong pinagtagpo!”

“Well, I was so happy to finally see her again. I invited her to dinner last night so we can catch up. This morning naman, I bumped into her sa coffee shop malapit sa place ko. Two buildings away rin lang ang place niya from me, would you believe, Ma?”

“Son, when fate decided that you two would meet again, pinaglapit na talaga kayo ng todo-todo!” Donya Esmeralda said, smiling. “May I ask something personal?” When Richard nodded, Donya Esmeralda asked what she had been dying to ask since she detected something from the tone of her son’s voice. Besides, why would such a short meeting have a very strong and long lasting impact on Richard if it didn’t mean anything. “Do you like her? Plano mo ba siyang ligawan?”

Richard grinned at his mother’s questions. He knew they were coming.  “Yes, Ma I like her, very, very much. And I am not just planning to court her, I will court her.” Richard said and his mother, judging by the way he spoke of Maya, was thinking that her son does not only like her, he is on his way to falling in love with her, that is if he is not yet in love with her. Her son sounds so different. He sounds like a man in love!

“Oh my, son! Does that mean, finally, magkakaroon na ako ng daughter-in-law?” Donya Esmeralda said excitedly.

“Ma, hindi pa nga ako nanliligaw! Advance na advance ka ah.” Richard smiling.

“Hay naku, son, masama bang mag-hope, eh 35 years old ka na, wala pa kaming apo ng Papa mo.” Donya Esmeralda said.

“Well no, naman Mama. Let’s see.” Richard said. “Nasaan na ba si Papa?” He suddenly asked.

Just then Donya Esmeralda’s phone rang. It was Don Roberto saying that he can’t make it to dinner since naipit siya sa bahay ng friend niyang si Probo.

“Hay naku, let’s eat na. Hindi na raw makakaabot sa dinner ang Papa mo. Maghe-hello lang sana kina Probo and Norma, since kalalabas lang ni Probo sa hospital. Hayun doon na raw magdi-dinner.”

Mother and son proceeded to eat dinner. They chatted more about Maya, also the opening of the hotel in BGC where Maya would be the operations manager. After they had finished dinner, Donya Esmeralda asked if Richard would like to have some dessert.  Before he could reply, his phone beeped. He told his mom he will just check on his message. He smiled when he saw who texted him.

“What is it son? Good news? Ang laki ng smile mo!” Donya Esmeralda asked, though she had a pretty good idea on who sent the message.

“It is from Maya, Ma. She told me lang to come back anytime I’m free to her family’s home since her aunt, uncle and cousins would like to meet me too.” Richard said. “I took her there kasi, tapos they were inviting me to that dinner rin na treat nila kay Maya for her new job and pa-welcome back to the country na rin!”

“Oh, that is nice of them.” Donya Esmeralda said. “Okay, you are excused son. I know you want to go there now. Tulong ko na iyan sa panliligaw mo!”

“Hahaha! Thanks Ma.” Richard said, laughing. ”I’ll make it up to you.”

“Well, there is one way you can do that. Bring her to dinner one evening. I want to meet her not as an employee but as your special friend or maybe girlfriend by then?” Donya Esmeralda teased!

“Ma, ikaw talaga. Minamadali ako! Saka depende iyon kay Maya. Malay mo, hindi ako sagutin.” Richard said, smiling.

“Sa hinaba-haba ba naman ng pinagdaanan ninyong dalawa, kapag hindi pa naman kayo para sa isa’t-isa niyan, ewan ko na lang.” Donya Esmeralda said confidently. “Saka, you my son, is a good catch naman, guwapo, mabait na anak, responsable and masipag. For sure, pasok ka sa mga qualification ni Maya!”

“Thanks a lot for the vote of confidence Ma.” Richard said, then kissing his mother on the cheek, he said, “I’ll get going na.”

“O sige, ingat, ka Ricky.” Donya Esmeralda said as she accompanied her son to his car.

Before Ricky drove off from the village where his parents live, he sent a text message to Maya, saying he was on the way back to Makati and hope to see her in less than an hour as traffic was, luckily, light at that time. Even so, at that moment, Richard wished he can just beam himself up to Makati, like they do in Star Trek, wanting to be there very fast!

Maya smiled when she received Richard’s message while the family was about to finish their prolonged dinner. Richard would be back there in time for dessert. She is looking forward to introducing Richard to her family and spending time with him again.

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Crushing On You – Chapter 18

For Always

“Now, it is our pleasure to present to you, Mr. and Mrs. Richard and Maya Lim!!!!”

Emman and Liza happily announced to families and friends of Richard and Maya who were waiting for the entrance of the bride and groom in the beautifully and magically decorated garden of the Dela Rosa Farm for their reception.

The following day after Teresita and Arturo Dela Rosa’s renewal of vows, Richard and Maya told their parents that instead of looking for another place in San Nicolas, they would like to have their reception at the farm’s garden. Richard just requested his future in-laws, if possible that the place be filled with all the flowers that Maya likes, especially sunflowers as he noticed she likes flowers a lot, judging by the garden at the Dela Rosa house in Manila, as a special treat to his bride. Arturo and Teresita Dela Rosa assured him that it will be done in time for the wedding. Richard also said he could help with the florist where he bought all the flowers for Maya. However, Daddy Arturo and Mommy Tere insisted that they will take care of it and they have worked magic to achieve it that very evening of their reception.

Richard holding his bride hand tight, grinned at the assembled guests, half of them came all the way from Metro Manila for the wedding, courtesy of Don Roberto Lim and the company’s private plane. Even before everyone can tap their fork or spoon against their wine glasses, Richard gave his wife a big, searing kiss on the lips, making Maya blushed as their guests clapped and cheered.

Maya and Richard even heard James shouted, “Way to go Bro!” While the LC guests shouted ‘more, more’! Maya grinned happily at her husband. Wow, the word is like music to her ears, finally, husband, and she is Ricky’s wife! Wife!

“Ikaw talaga, Sweetheart, advance na advance! Hindi pa nga nagbibigay ng cue ang mga guest natin, wagas kaagad ang kiss.” Maya whispered lovingly to her husband as they walked towards the gazebo that was especially constructed at her parents’ garden for the reception.

“Hmmm, ayaw mo iyon, Sweetheart, para makarami. I need something to tide me over until our honeymoon.” He whispered with a naughty, teasing undertone, which made his bride blushed some more, her imagination also kicking in. While they have indulged in heavy kisses and very heated touches the past weeks, they stopped at that, wanting to wait until their wedding night. It was difficult to stop but they managed to, barely, in the last two months they have been preparing for this very special day in their lives.

Dinner started after Richard and Maya sat. While everyone was enjoying the mouthwatering menu prepared by Rina, whom they asked to cater for the wedding all the way from Manila, the wedding singers, friends of Rafi who are theatre actors started singing Richard and Maya’s favourite songs, including the songs that Richard included in the iPod touch he gave her in the early days of their courtship.

Hearing those songs, Richard and Maya smiled at each other lovingly remembering their unusual and wonderful courtship. Now here they are, married finally, in a beautiful and very moving ceremony at the San Nicolas Church that beautiful Saturday afternoon.

Richard can’t helped but got teary-eyed when he caught sight of his beautiful bride walking towards him in a long, flowing sleeveless vintage lace wedding gown, wearing a long veil and carrying a big bouquet sunflowers and roses. Finally, the moment they have been looking forward to, has come. His happiness at that moment was indescribable. He felt like soaring high up in the skies like an eagle. His heart beat so loudly and he wondered why no one heard it doing so.

Maya, on the other hand, sought Richard as soon as the door of the church opened, the wedding march started playing, and she started walking towards the man she loves with all of her. Her hands were very cold, but she felt so very happy. She only saw Richard, looking at her with so much love that her heart was filled to the brim. Her heart was so full too of the emotions she feels for this wonderful guy whom she will spend forever with. Maya didn’t even notice when her father started walking with her towards Richard, who was looking so very handsome in a powder blue suit, tie and white dress shirt. After it seemed like an eternity, she and her dad reached Richard. Richard shook her Dad’s hand then he led her to the altar where Father Ronaldo was waiting to bind them together in marriage in front of God and their loving families and friends.

For the wedding vows, without talking about it before hand, they alternately told their families and friends about their unusual courtship, which had them smiling in happiness with them, laughing at times. Then they spoke of their commitment to each other for as long as they live and until the day they die and it has everyone teary-eyed as they also felt the overflowing love that they feel for each other. Richard touched Maya’s face lovingly as he professed his undying love for her. Maya cupped Richard’s face with both her hands, looked into his very soul as she committed to him for the rest of their lives.

When Father Ronaldo told Richard that he can kiss his bride, he did so with so much gusto. He lowered his lips to her and gave her a very long and searing kiss, making the guests teased them a lot. James and Emman even asked if tthey are vying for the Guinness Book of World Records for the longest kiss ever. They broke apart grinning, looked at each other lovingly and kissed two more times before they faced their cheering guests.

During the picture taking, Richard and Maya were teased a lot about their kisses. They smiled good-naturedly and Richard even said that he has an unlimited supply of kisses for Maya, making her blushed the way he said it.

Now as the wedding singers  started singing ‘Fallin’, Maya was smiling, remembering those kisses, when Richard whispered to her. “Parang alam ko na kung bakit ganyan ang smile mo, you were remembering our kisses at the church.”

“Ha, paano mo naman naisip na iyon nga ang iniisip ko.” Maya whispered back, at the same time, looking at her and her husband’s interlaced fingers.

“Because, I’m also thinking of it, dear wife and our beautiful wedding earlier.” Richard whispered again, then raised her hand to his lips for a lingering kiss. “I love you very, very much, Mrs. Maya Lim.”

“I love you very much, too, Ricky, my dearest husband.” Maya replied lovingly. She loves the sound of Mrs. Maya Lim and calling Richard her husband, finally!

“Ehemmm, ehemmm, Mr. and Mrs. Lim, nandito po ang mga guest niyo.” Emman teased them, smiling indulgently at the newly-weds. “Reception ceremony pa lang po at hindi pa honeymoon.”

Only then that Maya and Richard realized that Emman and Liza, whom they requested to host their reception, had called them twice already for the cake cutting and wine ceremony. They grinned goofily at each other, stood up. But before they can proceed, kissed again as the guests have tapped their spoons, forks and knives against their wine glasses.

Done with the cake cutting, wine toasting, Richard accompanied Maya back at the gazebo, which was put in the middle of the garden and the tables for the guests around it, for the bouquet throwing. All the single ladies gathered in front led by Maya’s maid of honour, Diana and her bridesmaids, her secretary Minerva, her journalists friends Evelyn and Mary. All her single staff also join the merriment, as well as Emman!

The flowers landed on Diana, and she caught it instinctively. James then started wishing then he will get the garter that Richard was slowly removing from Maya’s legs amid hoots and cheering from the guests.

Richard grinned when he managed to remove the garter from Maya, giving her another kiss before he threw it to the waiting single guys which included his best man Ryan, who is his best friend from Law School, his lawyer staff Fred and Aldrin, some cousins from his mom’s side of the family, and James.

James got his wish. He shouted a triumphant yes when the garter landed on his waiting hands. Diana blushed when James was putting the garter on her leg while looking at her with so much love.

“Sweetheart, parang alam ko na kung sino ang ikakasal after us.” Maya whispered to Richard.

“Mrs. Lim, never say die ka pa rin diyan sa two best friends mo.” Richard said to his wife lovingly. “Pero parang tama ka.”

“See, sabi ko na sa iyo Mr. Lim.” Maya said. “Teka, hayan na ulit sina Emman at Liza, baka matukso na naman tayong hindi nakikinig or not paying attention.”

Liza and Emman called on, first Maya’s parents, for their messages for the newly-weds, then followed by Richard’s parents. Roberto and Esmeralda Lim, and Arturo and Teresita Dela Rosa after advising their son and daughter that they should always be there for each other, of not letting arguments to pester, of compromising and meeting each other halfway, both set of parents told them  that they need to work fast for their first grandchild from them.

“Mama, Papa, Mom and Dad, thank you very much for all the love.” Maya said, teary-eyed with happiness with their parents touching message.

“Huwag po kayong mag-aalala, Maya and I will work double time para sa hiling ninyong apo.” Richard said, then teasing his wife, he said, to their parents, “Right after the reception po.” It earned him a loving pinch from his blushing bride and laughters and hoots from the guests, so very happy to be sharing this moment with this beautiful couple. The guests then tap their glasses again and then all stood up to toast the newlyweds. Richard and Maya acknowledged the toast and shared another kiss. They looked happily again at all the people who shared that special day with them.

Then the first strains of the melody of Irving Berlin’s ‘Always’, started filling the air, which signals Richard and Maya’s first dance as husband and wife.

Richard led his wife to the dance floor as Michael Guevarra, a theater actor and singer who is a personal friend of Rafi started singing the beautiful lyrics of that very old song Maya and Richard discovered, they both  like very much.

I’ll be loving you always/With a love that’s true always/When the things you’ve planned/Need a helping hand/I will understand always

Always/Days may not be fair always/That’s when I’ll be there always/Not for just an hour/Not for just a day/Not for just a year/But always….

“Happy, my sweetheart?” Richard whispered to his bride as the melody and the lyrics of the song filled them, like their promise to each other, to be there for always.

“Very, very happy my sweetheart, walang pagsidlan!” Maya replied, caressing her husband nape and looking at him lovingly.

“I love you very much, Mrs. Lim, forever and beyond.”

I Love you very much Mr. Lim, for always.”

They danced like they were the only people in that beautiful garden. So lost were they with each other that at first they didn’t notice that the song has ended and Michael and the other singers have switched to a faster music, with the band they also hired for the evening, and all their guests dancing around them. When they noticed, they smiled and join the merriment. The party lasted until midnight.

Rafi and her family returned to the hotel an hour before the party ended, so were Cristina Rose and Jeffrey to their home, as both Abby and Cho were very sleepy already. At the close of the party, Mama Esme, Papa Roberto also returned to the hotel with the rest of the guests. Mommy Tere and Daddy Arturo were the last one to say good night to the newly-weds who will stay at the guest cottage of the Dela Rosas for the night.

When they reached the entrance of the cottage, Richard carried Maya over the threshold. Then he put her down at the living room bathe in soft light coming from the two floor-to-ceiling lamps. The place is also filled with Maya’s favorite flowers and a bottle of champagne was chilling in the corner table.

“Wow, our mothers really thought of everything!” Maya remarked, seeing that everything was made cozy for her and Richard’s stay in the cottage.

“I agree, Sweetheart.” Richard said as he popped the champagne and poured Maya and him a glass each.

“To us, Mrs. Lim.” Richard said, gazing at his beautiful bride lovingly. “Finally we are married! I love you very much.”

“To us Mr. Lim.” Maya replied, with all the love she felt for her husband in her eyes. “You made me the happiest girl in the world. I love so very, very much.”

They shared a kiss after their toast. Then grinned at each other, their foreheads and noses touching. Then they kissed again, just so very happy that finally they are husband and wife.

“Dance with me, my lovely wife.” Richard asked Maya softly, lovingly.

“Ha, Sweetheart, walang music.” Maya said, then looking around to see if there is a music player.

“I’ll sing for you.” Richard said, holding Maya tight and very close to him, then he started crooning something from the concept album of the musical Jekyll and Hyde that they ended chatting about one morning on their way to work. They both agreed that the song, ‘Till You Came Into My Life’ is very beautiful, especially since it was sang by Colm Wilkinson.

‘All my life I’ve been building walls around me/In my world safe where no one has ever found me/Never knowing what could be/What was there inside of me/I never let those feelings in/Then upon a summer’s night/You gently changed my life/I would never be the same

Till you came into my life/Till I heard you call my name/I was living in a world of gray each day/Just like the one before

You have given me my eyes/You have taught me how to see/And now I see a brand new world/I never dreamed could be/Till you came into my life

In your eyes I could lose myself forever/In your eyes there’s excitement, there is wonder/Like a ship adrift at sea/I had wandered endlessly, searching for a shelter/Like a sweet imagined dream/You were heaven sent to me/You gave my heart a home….’

“I love you very much, Maya.” Richard said  softly, touching his wife’s face lovingly.

” I love you very much too, Ricky. You are the best thing that happened to me. You are my life now. And just like what you said through that song, you have given my heart a home too.” Maya then cupped her husband’s face and initiated the searing kiss that they shared before Richard carried her off to the bedroom for their first night as husband and wife.

, , , , ,


Unexpected Love – Chapter 7

Chapter 7

“Ethan?” Pippa called from the entrance of the cottage where Ethan staying. She forgot to ask him whether they will meet there or the beach. Since the cottage is on the way, she decided to check there first. The cottage looks empty. The door was not locked so she took a peek inside. She called again and when she got no reply she walked back to the path beside the main house that leads to the beach.

Pippa passed by her mother’s beautifully-tended garden, then walked downwards until she reached a wooden gate wtih an archway adorned by all kinds of bougainvilleas. The view she can see from there is picture-perfect! She wished she had a camera with her. Then she remembered her iPhone. She put down the picnic basket she was carrying and took several pictures.

She saw Ethan right away after she opened the gate. He was lying on a beach mat, wearing only a pair of board shorts, his t-shirt discarded on the mat. He was also wearing shades while glued to the book he was reading. He looked like he was posing for the summer edition of a fashion magazine!

“Hi Ethan! I brought snacks.” Pippa said by way of a greeting, trying to control her physical reaction to Ethan’s male beauty.

Ethan looked at Pippa from his shades and admired the picture she presents. Pippa is wearing a thin halter maxi dress over her swimsuit. She looks very lovely. The dress showed in silhouette her long shapely legs and curves.

“Hi Pippa, great that you made it!” Ethan said with a big smile, sitting up, then inviting Pippa to sit with him on the mat.

Pippa handed Ethan a cold can of Coke, then opened one for herself too. “Sandwich? Manang Doray prepared it.”

“Oh, yes please! I’m famished. Thanks a million, Pippa.” Ethan said, smiling.

They ate while chatting about books that they have read, movies that they have seen, and places they have been to.

“So, when did you exactly leave home?” Pippa asked after a while.

“I left England about six months ago. I have been to Bali and stayed for a while in Ubod, then I moved on to Vietnam and Cambodia, took a trip to Singapore too, crossed to Malaysia, then off to Beijing, Macau, Hongkong, then moved around Thailand a bit then here in Puerto Galera more than a month ago. I stopped traveling na since I felt like I have found a home here.”

“Wow, so many different places in six months!” Pippa exclaimed, wondering if there was more then seeing those places that compelled Ethan to move around that much in such a short time. “But I’m glad you feel at home here at Puerto Galera.”

“Yes, I needed to keep myself occupied so I traveled a lot. I moved when I got restless.” Ethan simply said, sipping his Coke and looking at the horizon. “I needed to forget too.” He whispered, almost to himself.

“What did you say, Ethan?” Pippa asked, puzzled and she was not sure if she heard correctly.

“Wala, Pippa.” Ethan said, then change the direction of the conversation. “If you don’t have this book yet, you can have them after I finish. Iwan ko na lang sa iyo, and my other books na baka you would like to read din. I can just carry my Kindle around.”

“Oh, are you planning on leaving soon? I thought you will stay pa?” Pippa asked, surprised at the same time, for some reason she can’t explain, she feels sad and lost already with just the thought of Ethan leaving.

“Not in the near future! Wala pa naman akong plans. I like it here, really. I found peace. Pero siguro para makumpleto iyon, I need to go back to England and confront the past.” Ethan said all of a sudden.

Pippa was quiet. She wanted to ask Ethan for details. But maybe, it is better to let him tell her about it. But she wants to comfort him somehow without really prying into his affairs, so she decided to say something to him.

“Ethan, all I know is what you told me that Claudia died seven months ago. I don’t know what happened and what it is that is haunting you, and you don’t have to tell me if you don’t want to or if you are not ready to share it, pero all I can say is sometimes, the only way we can move on with our lives is to accept that things had happened, maybe for a reason we can accept, maybe not, or maybe we will never know at all. Hindi na rin natin kasi maibabalik ang mga nangyari na. The only way to go is to live in the present and move towards the future.” Pippa said eloquently. “Have a closure of some sort, and move on!”

“I realized that too, Pippa. But thank you for telling me too, put things in perspective somehow.” Ethan said, looking at Pippa.”I want to lay the past to rest and at some point I have to do it. I think I needed to go back to where it all started when I’m ready. Baka enough na ang six months of running away from it!”

“Minsan, masakit tanggapin when you lost a loved one, pero there’s nothing we can do about it eh. It is beyond our control. Wala naman tayong magagawa kundi tanggapin ang mga pangyayari and live with it.” Pippa continued. “It happened when I lost my Dad suddenly five years ago. He was so young to be taken away from Mom and I, but we can’t do anything about it.”

“Tita Marianne told me that your father died at sea while saving some kids.” Ethan said, realizing that Pippa have known lost too and at a younger age. He can’t imagine losing his Mum or Dad like that, so abruptly.

“Yes, after that, there was a time that I didn’t want to see Puerto Galera at all. I didn’t want to take the boat to go here since it reminded me of my lost.” Pippa said. “But eventually, you learned how to accept that the person you love is gone and it is better to just remember the wonderful memories you had with them.”

“Pippa, but how do you move on when you not only lost someone dear to you but that her passing left a lot of unanswered questions.” Ethan suddenly said, deciding to tell Pippa more of what happened to Claudia.

“What do you mean, Ethan?” Pippa asked looking at Ethan closely. She can see his pain. He was tapping on the empty can of Coke he was holding, unconsciously.

“Pippa, Claudia killed herself and our baby.” Ethan finally said. “She committed suicide. I found out after she died that she was pregnant.”

“What? Why?” Pippa was so surprised at Ethan’s revelation. “How far along was she when she died?”

“She was two months pregnant. On why did she do it, that I don’t know Pippa. She didn’t leave a suicide note. So I don’t have answers. I have been searching for those before I left. I was going crazy so I decided to just travel as far away from England as I could.” Ethan said pensively. “Did I drive her to it like her parents are accusing me!”

“Why would they believe that?” Pippa asked. Yes, she had known Ethan for a short time, but she feels like he is not capable of that. Why would he get affected this way if he was?

“I don’t know. But I have been thinking lately, that maybe, I have not search enough for answers.” Ethan said. “One of these days, I will go and see what I could find so I can finally move on. I have reasons to move on. Sorry, that is all I can tell for now.”

“Thank you for telling me Ethan and that is the spirit!” Pippa said, touching Ethan’s arm to comfort him. “I’m just here if you need someone to talk to.”

“Thank you, Pippa.” Ethan said, feeling lighter now by just talking to Pippa about it. She was able to do what his Mum and Ally were not able to do, him talking about his feelings. He  just wished he can also tell Pippa about the guilt that has been eating him. Maybe, Claudia’s parents were right, he was also to blame for Claudia’s suicide to a certain extent!

Pippa and Ethan both stared at the horizon and watched the setting sun in companionable silence. Both were comforted by the other’s presence as they got lost in their own thoughts.

“By the way, I forgot to mention earlier, Tris called before I left the house.” Pippa said after a while. “He said all the passengers are safe, may mga injury pero hindi naman grabe. Iyong sa driver lang ang medyo grabe pero out of danger na rin siya.”

“That’s good to know.” Ethan said. “So makakabalik na si Tristan sa house later?”

“Hindi pa siya sure eh!” Pippa replied. “Sayang nga. Matutuwa pa naman ng husto si Belle kapag nakita si Tristan. Feeling ko may crush ang pinsan ko sa kanya.”

Ethan smiled and then remarked,  “I think he likes you, though!”

“Ha, what do you mean?” Pippa asked, looking at Ethan closely. “Tris like me, as in like?”

“Errrr, yes, kasi I also noticed the way he was looking at you when you are not looking.” Ethan replied. “He likes you, you know a lot.”

“Naku, Ethan, for me, Tris is like the big brother I haven’t had. Growing up, siya ang protector namin ni Belle.” Pippa said. “Hanggang doon lang talaga ang feelings ko sa kanya. Saka, I’m off relationship muna.”

“Off relationship? And why is that, if I may ask?” Ethan said. “You know, I’m also  just here if you want to unburden yourself. Sometimes, it is not so bad when you talk about it with someone.”

“I have a question for you, sige, since you are a guy.” Pippa said, deciding to find answers of her own. Questions that she can’t ask her mother. “Why do guys cheat? Why can’t they stay faithful? I mean, if they are not happy in a relationship, then bow out before they hook up with another person. And last question, do you guys think of sex all the time? Go to the first girl who is willing to give it to you?”

“Hmmm, I think I now have an idea what happened with that Martin guy. Sorry, I overheard you calling him by name when you answered the phone last night.” Ethan said, then thinking a bit before he replied.

“Number one, Pippa, you will not cheat if you really love the other person and you are committed to that relationship. You will not even think about it. My personal view is that if you are not happy in your relationship, then make a clean break before you hook up with someone else. It is a coward’s way to try to have both worlds. Not all guys cheat. Many don’t. Some are just born cads.”

Then he continues, “Well as for the last question, well yes, men were set up like that or wired that way by nature. We react physically when we see a beautiful woman that attracts us very, very much, for instance. But it does not mean you will act on it all the time. We are humans and not animals. And there is such thing as control and reason. Also, if you really love a person, you will wait until that other person is ready, and not pressure her into doing something she is not ready.”

“Wow, you really hit things right in the eye. Are sure you are computer geek and not a psychologist.” Pippa said, smiling. “Thanks a lot Ethan.”

“Hahaha, I wish I am. Hindi sana, I’m done with my issues na.” Ethan said giving Pippa an answering smile. He really feels so happy being with her, chatting like this. He forgot all his troubles.

“Thank you, talaga, Ethan.” Pippa said. “And fair is fair, since you told me a bit about Claudia. Yes, Martin was my boyfriend who cheated on me. I caught him with another girl the other night. Come to think of it, the other night lang pala iyon, parang a lifetime ago na. So after I saw what I saw, I broke up with him and packed my bags. And here I am. He had been calling and texting me asking for my forgiveness dahil wala lang raw iyong nakita ko, would you believe!”

“Oh Pippa, someday, you will find a guy who deserves your love. I gathered also that he was pressuring you to go to bed with him?” Ethan asked directly.

“Yes, he did try to talk me into it, several times. But to be honest, Ethan, it is not that I’m waiting for a ring on my finger before making love to someone I love very much. It is just that, I was not ready, I was not so sure I want to do it with him.” Pippa replied honestly. “I didn’t feel with him the feelings I imagine I will feel when we kiss, that sort thing, you know.”

“Then don’t do it, when you are not ready Pippa. You should make love with the guy you love when you are sure and not because you want to please him or is feeling pressured. It should be something beautiful, a physical expression of your love for each other.” Ethan said, gathering that Pippa is innocent in the ways of love even if she had a boyfriend already.“You will know when you are ready. And you are talking about passion, which you apparently didn’t feel with him. With the right person, you will. And yes, for guys it could be less than that, but after a while, meaningless sex is just like that, meaningless.”

“Hmmm, about knowing when the time comes, that’s similar to what Mom told me earlier, when I asked her how would I know when I find the one for me.” Pippa smiled.  “She said I will know. Same meaning, different context, huh!”

“I think your Mum is right.” Ethan replied. “The mysteries of love and how it moves us, difficult to fathom, isn’t it?”

“So true. Thank you again, Ethan for listening.” Pippa said, giving Ethan a smile that lit up her beautiful face.

“You’re welcome, Pippa, anytime. Thank you very much as well for your insights and for listening.” Ethan gave Pippa a big smile too.

Pippa and Ethan gazed at each other, a silent communion and communication between them. It was broken when there was a gush of strong wind and Pippa shivered.

“Pippa, you are cold again.” Ethan remarked. “Come, put this on.” He said, giving Pippa his shirt which was lying on the mat beside him. “I’m good.”

“Thanks, Ethan. Yes, I’m a bit cold. But it is nice out here.” Pippa said, putting Ethan’s shirt which smelled a bit of him, mixed with the soap he uses.

Ethan also moved a little bit, then put his arms around Pippa to keep her warm fast. Pippa let him as it felt nice, very nice. They stayed liked that for a while, chatting about all kinds of stuffs and enjoying the beautiful view before them until it got very dark to see anything. Only then, they returned to the house, hand in hand.

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Unexpected Love – Chapter 6

Chapter 6

“That was a lovely meal, Tita Marianne! Thank you very much. To you too, Manang Doray! “ Ethan said, smiling, after they have finished eating lunch.

“You’re welcome, Ethan.” Marianne replied, smiling at the young man who was very solicitous to her daughter all throughout the meal. She also noticed Tristan looking at the two of them often. Hmmm, what do I have here, she mused.

Marianne decided to let be. It is the kids business, anyway. “Doray, pakilabas na iyong dessert na binili natin sa bayan kanina.”

“Mom, what did you buy?” Pippa asked excitedly, hoping her mother bought her favorite rice cakes.

“Eh di ang mga paborito mong kakanin.” Marianne told her daughter. “Mabuti, naabutan pa namin ni Doray si Aling Bining. Alam mo naman kung gaano kabilis maubos ang mga tinda niyang kakanin.”

“Yes!!!” Pippa said gleefully. “Tulungan ko na si Manang Doray. Coffee, Ethan, Tris? “

“None for me, Pippa.” Tristan said. “Thank you.”

“How about you, Ethan?”  Pippa asked.

“Yes, but I will go with you. I’ll make the coffee.” Ethan said, then stood up to go with Pippa to the kitchen. They smiled at each other and then disappeared through the doorway.

“Pippa, what are your plans for today?” Ethan asked.

“Just a chat with Mom, since I haven’t seen her for quite a while.” Pippa replied. “How about you?”

“Oh, I’m going to read a book by the beach. That is after I finish doing my laundry.” Ethan said.

“Bakit hindi mo na lang ipagawa kay Manang Doray iyan.” Pippa suggested. “I’m sure she wouldn’t mind.”

“Oo nga naman, Ethan. Sabi ko naman sa iyo, ilang beses na,ilagay mo na lang sa laundry room ang mga marurumi mong damit.” Manang Doray added while preparing the dessert, overhearing Pippa and Ethan’s discussion.

“Thank po, Manang Doray, Pippa. I would rather do it myself. Sobra-sobra na ng ginagawa ninyo for me, Manang Doray. Kayo ni Tita Marianne. Feeding me meals. Kaya ko naman. Remember I’m used to being on my own and doing those stuffs since unlike here, wala naman kaming kasambahay. Saka, I will just load the clothes lang naman sa washing machine, and that’s it.”

“Oh, okay then.” Pippa said. “Bahala ka. Manang Doray, ako na po ang magdadala ng dessert natin. Balik na po kayo kay Mom. Hintayin ko lang si Ethan na mag-prepare ng coffee.”

“O siya, sige Pippa. Salamat, anak.” Manang Doray said. “Dalhin ko na lang itong Coke ni Ate Marianne. Alam mo naman ang Mom mo, ito talaga ang paboritong inumin pagkatapos kumain.”

Several minutes after, Pippa and Ethan returned with coffee and desserts. Pippa served everyone.

“Thanks, Pippa. Ano pala ang plano mo after lunch?” Tristan asked, just like Ethan did.

“Hmmm, wala naman. Makikipagkwentuhan lang ako kay Mom.” Pippa replied. “Ikaw, gusto mo later puntahan natin si Belle sa resort?  For sure matutuwa iyon na nandito ka.”

“Oh, sure!” Tristan replied. He was actually hoping that he and Pippa can spend time together, just the two of them. But with Belle is okay. For sure, they can find time alone since Belle will be working.

“You and Tristan can go after dessert na Pippa. We can chat naman later.” Pippa’s mom told her and Tristan.

However, before they can finalize the plans for the afternoon, Tristan’s mobile phone rang.

“Excuse me Tita Marianne, Pippa, Ethan, I just have to take this.” Tristan said as he stood up and move a little away. “Yes, Josh! What? How bad? Oh, okay, I’ll be there in 30 minutes or less.”

“What’s wrong Tris?” Pippa asked. Listening to his side of the conversation, it does seemed that something bad had happened.

“Tita Marianne, Pippa, Ethan, Manang, kailangan ko pong bumalik sa clinic. May passenger jeep po na nag-turn turtle diyan sa may dangerous curve malapit sa bayan. Puno daw po ng mga pasahero. Kailangan nila ang lahat ng doctors na available sa area.” Tristan said.

“Oh, hijo, sana naman walang grabe.” Marianne said. Se knows how bad it could get as she had her share of vehicular injuries in her stint in the hospitals in Manila and there in Puerto Galera. “Can I help?”

“Sana nga po, Tita Marianne. Okay na po, we can manage. Thank you. Nasa clinic naman sina Susan and Marita.” Tristan said, referring to their two nurses.“Sige po, bibiyahe na ako. Iwan ko na lang ang mga gamit ko, though not sure what time ako makakabalik. Bye sa inyong lahat.”

“Bye Tris, ingat.” Pippa said.

“Let us know if we could be of help.” Ethan said. “I hope the situation is not so bad.”

“Okay, just be back kung kailan ka libre and let us know kung ano ang development kapag hindi na kayo busy nina Josh.” Marianne said. “Ingat ka Tristan.”

“Doc Tristam, pasabi ka lang kung pabalik na ka na ha, para maipaghanda kita ng food.” Manang Doray added. “Isama mo na rin si Doc Josh.”

Tristan then drove off, leaving Pippa and Ethan at the dining table, with Mommy Marianne and Manang Doray.

“I hope no one dies. Saka hindi grabe ang injuries ng mga pasahero at nung driver.” Pippa remarked. She is not very good at dealing with dying, having to deal with the death of the father she adored, five years ago. It was still painful to remember even if her father died saving people.

Doc Tommy died saving two kids when the boat he took one December morning developed engine trouble, then pummelled by strong waves capsized, while on the way to Batangas. He was hit on the head by the boat’s broken outrigger. A wave suddenly hit the boat after he managed to put the kids into the other boat that was trying to help the passengers of the capsized boat.

Ethan seeing Pippa’s expression also got silent. His circumstance is different, but her statement made him remember seeing Claudia on their bed, with an empty bottle of sleeping pills beside her. He rushed her to the hospital but she was pronounced dead. He vaguely remember how he managed to bring her there. It turned out, she had been dead for a while, even before he arrived home that evening. He found out that she was pregnant when she committed suicide.

Marianne broke into the thoughts she was not aware of that her daughter and her guest were having. “So, what are your plans this afternoon na, Pippa, Ethan, now that Tris is not here?”

“I will just do my laundry and read by the beach, Tita Marianne.” Ethan replied, still shaking off the bad memory.

“Ethan, di ba sabi ko naman sa iyo ilagay mo na lang iyong marurumi mong damit mo diyan sa laundry room. Doray can take care of it.” Marianne told their guests.

“Many thanks, Tita Marianne  I can do it naman. I owe you a lot already. Speaking of which, since I have stayed more than I should have, I would like to pay please for the stay in the cottage and the food.” Ethan offered. For him it is the least he could do for this very nice lady. Besides he is used to paying his way and being independent.

“That I will not hear of, anymore, Ethan and that’s final. You can stay as long as you want. Bisita ka namin. It is the least I could do for your mother, who have been the most wonderful person to me when we were in college.” Marianne told her friend’s son firmly. “Saka, you are doing all the guy’s work na nga dito sa bahay and that is enough. Okay? No more talk about paying.”

“Oo nga naman, Ethan, masanay ka na dito sa Pilipinas, lalo na kay Mom.” Pippa added. “Just enjoy your vacation. Stay as long as you want. Mas kampante nga ako na nandito ka kasi may kasama na sina Mom and Manang Doray. Para hindi rin ako nag-aalala pagbalik ko sa Maynila.”

“Okay, thank you so much, Tita Marianne and Pippa.” Ethan said, smiling. “Are you going back to Manila soon, Pippa?”

“Hmmmm, I’m not sure yet. I’m in between projects at the moment. Speaking of which, I need to call my production manager to ask if I can start with the new one next week, so I’ll have several more days here.” Pippa said.

“Okay, I’ll see you later then?” Ethan said. “Join me at the beach?”

“Sure. See you, around 4 o’clock? Would that be okay?” Pippa asked.

“Lovely! See you Pippa. Tita Marianne, I’m off with the laundry. Many thanks again.” Ethan said, then gave Pippa’s mom a kiss on the cheek.

“See you, Ethan.” Marianne said smiling, and getting more and more curious at how close really Ethan and her daughter has become.

Ethan left, leaving Marianne and Pippa alone at the table, as Manang Doray also excused herself to go to the kitchen and start washing dishes.

“Mukhang magkasundong-magkasundo kaagad kayo ni Ethan, ah.” Marianne remarked to her daughter while sipping her Coke.

“Yes, Mom! Ethan is fun and a wonderful guy. Magaan ang loob ko kaagad sa kanya.” Pippa said. “Napagkamalan ko nga siyang magnanakaw kagabi kasi may nakita akong ilaw sa kitchen. Eh ang alam ko mag-isa ako dito.”

“Hahahaha, really Pippa! Hindi na kasi tayo masyadong nakapag-usap kahapon. I forgot to tell you na dito kumakain si Ethan. Binilin kasi sa akin iyan ng Mommy niya.” Marianne said.

Her friend Virgie didn’t tell her the whole story behind Ethan leaving his job and taking a trip to Asia six months ago, just to ask her if he could stay with her for a while. Virgie has mentioned to her son about Marianne and her resort in Mindoro so Ethan was planning to go there, she said, after his trips to Vietnam, Thailand and Indonesia. Virgie just mentioned that Ethan is going through something rough. Marianne didn’t ask for details anymore, just assured her friend that she will take care of her son.

“Binilin po sa inyo ni Tita Virgie si Ethan? Bakit po?” Pippa asked, wanting to know, and maybe it has something to do with Ethan having nightmares about his dead girlfriend. Though on second thought, it is Ethan’s business and his story to tell, maybe when he is ready. “Oh, never mind, Mom, basta let him stay as long as he wants.”

“Oo naman. I like having him around too. Para akong nagkaanak ng lalaki.”  Marianne said. “Mabait na bata naman iyang si Ethan. Masipag pa. O bakit ka nga pala napauwi anak? I’m glad to see you but I think there is a reason why you are home all of a sudden.”

“Mom, di ba pwedeng, I missed you lang.” Pippa said, buying time, though she knows her Mom’s question is coming.

“I know you anak! Sabihin mo na at baka makatulong ako.” Marianne said. “May problema ka ba, Pippa?”

“Mom, ikaw talaga, you know me so well.” Pippa said, sipping her coffee and taking a deep breath. “Mom, wala na po kami ni Martin.” Pippa blurted out, maybe it is better to do this in one tell so she can move on.

“Oh! What happened, anak?” Marianne asked. Though she was not so surprised. The two times she had met Martin when she was in Manila, visiting Pippa and buying supplies for the resort, there was something about Pippa’s young man that rubbed her wrong. She didn’t say anything to her daughter because it is her life. Ayaw naman niyang makialam.

“The other night po. Mom, I caught him with another girl in his apartment. They were obviously doing more than talking in his bedroom. Yayain ko lang sana siyang mag-dinner kasi I was feeling guilty na hindi ko siya masyadong naasikaso lately dahil sa work.” Pippa gave her mother the condense version of what happened. She does not one to dwell on the whole ugly incident.

“Oh anak!” Marianne said and then went to her daughter and hugged her. She must be hurting a lot.

“Okay lang ako, Mom. I’m dealing with it. Alam naman po ni Martin na iyan ang hindi ko kayang i-tolerate sa isang relationship, him cheating on me.” Pippa said. “Huwag po kayong mag-aalala, I will recover. Wala naman yatang namatay sa broken heart.”

“Pippa, anak, I never said anything when you introduced him to me, pero broken heart nga ba? Do you love him with all your heart to the exclusion of everything? Look deep inside you.” Marianne told her daughter gently. Call it mother’s intuition, but maybe, Martin is not really the one for her daughter. She feels so.

“You know, Mom. I thought of that also on the way to Batangas from Manila and while waiting for the first boat to Puerto sa pier kahapon ng umaga. Bigla na lang kasi akong nag-alsa balutan after I found him out. Hindi ko lang masyadong ma-process dahil sa galit and hurt, magulo ang mind ko, pero kagabi bago ako natulog, naisip ko na rin iyan.” Pippa said. “It was hard  lang talaga taking in betrayal of our love.”

Then continued, “You have a point din with your question naman, Mom. Siguro I have loved him in my own way, but naitanong ko rin sa sarili ko na is that the kind of love that lasts? Parang hindi naman kasi dahil bakit nagkaganoon. Tapos what I feel at the moment was more of the hurt at his betrayal. There is a part of me rin that was disappointed kasi I fell for the wrong person again. Bakit hindi ko nakita iyon when I said yes to loving him. Paano ko ba talaga malalaman kung iyon na iyon? The great love of my life, I mean?”

“Pippa anak, you will know.” Marianne said with a smile. “Kung hindi ka sure na si Martin iyon, then when the time comes, you will know. Iyon naman kay Gerard, college ka pa noon, maybe too young to know love really. Sometimes talaga, you have to search among several frogs to find your prince.”

“Mom, ikinumpara mo pa sina Martin at Gerard sa frogs, hahahaha.” Pippa said smiling. “But I do get your point. You know what, I’m off relationship at the moment. Pero don’t worry, I’m not closing my heart or turning bitter or cynical, I just want to be sure next time. When I love again, I want to be sure that he is the one for me. Sabi mo nga, prince na at hindi na frog, hahahaha.”

“That’s the spirit anak!” Marianne told her daughter. “Sometimes, love comes knocking when you are not looking and when you are not expecting it.” She added meaningfully. “The important thing is when it does, be sure of what you feel. Also, you will know. Tell me when it happens and tell me if I’m wrong.”

“Thank you, Mom. Kayo ni Daddy, di ba you hit right off when you met at the hospital kung saan siya doctor at newly-hired nurse ka?” Pippa said. She never gets tired of hearing her parents’ love story.

Marianne smiled remembering meeting her husband, the great love of her life, at a time when love was the last thing in her mind also.

Mother and daughter talked the whole afternoon, until Pippa noticed the time.

“Oh, Mom, we have been talking for a while!  Hindi ko namalayan ang oras. I promised to meet Ethan at the beach at 4PM. Mag-aalas kwatro na pala.” Pippa said. “I need to change pa. I think I have left a swimsuit here.”

“Go ahead, anak.” Marianne said. “We can chat again later. I need to talk to Doray also about dinner. Hindi pa rin tumatawag si Tris ah, baka kaya maraming injured.”

“I hope not, Mom. Baka busy lang ng husto.” Pippa assured her mother. “Sige po, aakyat lang ako sa room ko.”

Marianne watched her daughter’s departing figure, took a sip of her lukewarm Coke, and smiled. She had a feeling that her daughter will find the kind of love she had been wishing for and unable to find, soon.

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