Archive for March, 2015
“Welcome to Reyes, Reyes, Molina, and Associates, Atty. Dela Rosa!” Atty. Rafael Reyes, one of the founding partners of RRMA warmly shook Maya’s hand as he personally welcomed her as the newest lawyer of the firm. “We are so looking forward to having this year’s bar topnotcher as our newest associate.”
“Thank you very much, Sir. I’m looking forward to working for you.” Maya replied warmly, not expecting that she would be personally welcome to the firm by the esteemed Atty. Rafael Reyes. It was not Atty. Reyes who interviewed her for the job, but rather his cousin and the other Reyes in RRMA, Atty. Reynaldo Reyes.
Of all the big firms that tried to recruit her after topping the bar, she chose RRMA because of its very good reputation in the legal circles and because while the firm handles diverse accounts, it specializes on corporate laws, her main interest.
“Lindsay will take you to your office.” Atty. Reyes said, introducing Maya to a lady in her 30s. “Please join me and one of the partners in the meeting with one of our new clients at 2PM in the conference room. Since you mentioned that you prefer corporate law, you can assist Attorney Ryan Molina with the LAS account. You will be one of his assisting associates. I will also introduce you around, but it has to be later. I have an emergency meeting with a client in several minutes. Please excuse me!“
“Yes, Sir! Thank you very much again.” Maya said with a smile that lit up her beautiful face. She really like Atty. Reyes. He had a very grandfatherly demeanor. But she knows that he is one of the best legal minds in the country.
From where he was standing, Rafael Reyes can see Maya’s passion and excitement for the job. She somehow reminded him of his granddaughter Eliza. A pity law is not in that child’s blood, but rather modelling is! Though, come to think of it Maya Dela Rosa can also make a career at her granddaughter’s profession as she is a very pretty girl. Rafa Reyes, as he was called by friends and close associates, was really glad that they managed to recruit Maya Dela Rosa. He has very good instincts and from what he can see, he knows she will be an asset to his firm.
“This way po, Atty. Dela Rosa!” Lindsay led Maya to a cubicle near one of the big bay windows of the place. “Welcome to RRMA. Basta po kung may kailangan kayo, tawag lang kayo sa local ko.”
“Maraming salamat, Lindsay.” Maya put her bag down, then settled into her chair. Lindsay left soon after. She was barely settled into her seat when there was someone poking his head into her cubicle.
“Hi. You must be the new lawyer! The bar topnotcher! Welcome to RRMA. I’m James Ventura!” The tall, good looking mestizo guy with a warm, teasing and friendly smile introduced himself. “We came from the same school, by the way. Pero, medyo ahead ako sa iyo ng six years, I think.”
“Please to meet you, finally, Atty. Ventura! Maya Dela Rosa.” Maya stood up and shook the friendly lawyer’s hand.
“Finally?” James asked puzzled. “And do please call me James. Masyadong pormal ang Atty. Ventura.”
“Yes, James. Your reputation preceded you. Ikaw ang isa sa idol ng mga law student sa campus.” James Ventura is considered as one of the success stories of the law school where she went to. He also happened to be in the news recently due to a controversial case he handled and won.
“Oh, those stories! Urban legends!” He said smiling. The moment he saw Maya entering the premises, he was instantly attracted to her. Good thing he has the pulse of the office rumor mills and had found out the name of the new associate beforehand. He did his research and disovered that they came from the same law school. “So, kanino ka ini-assigned ni Atty. Rafa. I hope sa akin.”
“I’m joining him and one of the partners in the afternoon sa meeting sa owner ng LAS?” Maya replied. She forgot to ask her boss or Lindsay what does LAS stands for. “I think I will be assigned to Atty. Ryan Molina.”
“Oh, you will handle the tiger’s account then.” James said obliquely.
“The tiger’s account? Maya asked, curious.
“Just between you and I, kasi mahirap daw i-please iyang si Mr. Lim, the owner of Lim Aviation Services or LAS for short. Palagi pang nakapa-tiger mode.” James said, repeating what he heard from the firm’s grapevine. “Bago lang ding client ng RRMA ang company niya. Though his dad, Lim Corporation’s owner, used to be a big client. But the elder Lim moved his company to China 10 years ago. That’s what I heard from one of the partners when we took in LAS.”
“Oh!” Maya managed to say, at the same time she suddenly felt her heart jumped when she heard the last name of their client. Pero, ang dami namang Lim dito sa Pilipinas, she mused. Hindi naman siya siguro iyon.
“But anyway, he is fair naman daw. Meticulous lang and perfectionist. Good luck, Maya.” James said. “By the way, if you want, we can go to lunch together. Diyan lang sa restaurant sa 5th floor.”
Maya had misgivings about the invitation as she just met James. But at the same time, friendly naman siya and maybe this is a way to know her colleague better. Saka naisip niya sa 5th floor lang naman, same place, same building. “Okay, sige.”
“Great! I’ll see you at lunch.” James waved, then walked back to his office, the one that has the big bay window.
Maya sighed happily after James left. Finally, she is about to work in the profession she worked so hard for. Ate Cris, I wish you can see me now. Natupad na rin ang pangarap ko. Maya whispered. It has been almost ten years since her sister passed away. She was taken away from her and her Nanay so abruptly.
Maya was on her semestral vacation, her first year in college, when her life turned upside down. They received a call from an official of the Department of Foreign Affairs informing them that her sister was among those killed in a car accident in Dubai. Her mother was distraught and inconsolable. Maya took care of everything after her sister’s body arrived back home. She had to be the strong one. She was not able to enrol for her second semester at the university. Doris was the only link to the life she abruptly left behind in Manila, which had included what she thought was her budding romance with Richard Lim.
Several months after her sister died, her mother got out of the depression she was in. Teresita Dela Rosa insisted that Maya returned to school that summer. She assured her daughter that it will be okay and they have enough to get by as her sister had some money saved and she had an insurance policy. She also insisted to Maya that she was okay and that her sister would have wanted her to pursue her dream of becoming a lawyer.
So in April 2006, Maya returned to Manila, to the apartment she and Doris was sharing in Mirasol Street. But it was not the same, the big house where Richard and his family used to live was still closed down. There was no information on where the family was. Richard left without saying goodbye. Doris said that she found out from the neighbors that the family left while they were on semestral break. There was no email or call from Richard since then! It felt like he disappeared into thin air after making her life brighter and happier.
Maya shook herself out of that particular memory. She was quite young and naive back then and crushing big time on their handsome neighbor in Mirasol Street, but as it happened on top of losing the big sister she loved very much, it made quite a mark in her. She became more determined to finish her degree. She shied away from romantic relationships. She decided to work after college while pursuing her law degree as it would have been difficult for her mother to send her to law school with the money they had then. Law school was not cheap.
She was lucky, she was hired promptly in a major daily after college as she had very good grades and writes well. She worked her way up and became the newspaper’s business reporter. She only resigned when she passed the bar exams. While reviewing for the bar, she took a leave of absence and returned to work after the exams, waited for the results. Maya was happy that she passed, and with the highest score. However, she was sad to leave her boss and mentor who supported her law studies and her colleagues.
Maya booted her computer while waiting for her boss to call her again. She might as well check her e-mails and get productive while waiting for Atty. Reyes to finish his meeting. After she had finished reading her mails, she Googled Lim Aviation Services. She ended up at the company’s webpage. She just started reading on the company’s profile when Lindsay interrupted her.
“Excuse me, Atty. Dela Rosa, tapos na po ang meeting ni Sir Rafa. Pinatatawag po niya kayo sa office niya.” LIndsay said. “Tomorrow po pala, you will have your own landline and I will issue you a mobile phone and a laptop. Tapos po Attorney, feel free to decorate your office. Hindi naman po masyadong stuffy dito sa RRMA.” Lindsay finished with a smile.
“Thank you, Lindsay. Just call me Maya.” Maya liked the friendly secretary already. She walked with Lindsay to their bosses’ office.
“Pasok na po kayo Atty. Maya.” Lindsay said. “They are waiting for you. I will call na lang po kung dumating na si Mr. Lim.”
“Good morning again, Sir!” Maya greeted her boss with a smile.
“Hi Maya. Sorry at hindi na kita na-orient kanina. It has been my tradition to personally orient new members of the firm.” Atty. Reyes told Maya. “Ryan, this is Maya. She will be with you in the LAS account. I assigned her to yo because of her background! Maya, this is Atty. Ryan Molina, our expert on corporate laws. You will learn a lot from him. I gathered you have met before. Ryan said you interviewed him before. I think it was the time I was abroad and leave from the firm.”
“Hi Maya, nice to see you again, and welcome to RRMA. I’m glad that Rafa has assigned you to me.” Ryan Molina, a guy in his late 30s to early 40s greeted Maya. “Rafa, this lady is a brilliant reporter. But Journalism’s lost is our gain.”
“Hi Atty. Molina! Good to see you again too. And thanks!” Maya was all smiles. She had interviewed Ryan Molina several times during the course of her career as a business reporter. “I’m glad to be working with you.”
Before they can chat some more, Lindsay knocked on the door. “Sir, nandito na po si Mr. Lim. Napaaga daw po siya. He said he can just wait for you daw po.”
“Oh, Richard is here then.” Rafael Reyes remarked. “We might as well meet him now. He must really be in a hurry to finish this meeting and juggle his time. Let’s go, Maya, Ryan.”
“Maya, Richard Lim asked that the meeting be moved this morning as he needed to bring his daughter somewhere later.” Ryan explained to a now silent Maya. “Atty. Rafa mentioned that he told you it would be this afternoon.”
Maya’s heart started to beat faster upon hearing the name of their client. It may be a coincidence, but she has a strong feeling that after ten years, Richard and her paths are about to cross again. “Ah yes! He told me that. Matagal na bang client ng RRMA si Richard Lim?”
“Bago lang. He just built LAS here. Sa Beijing siya naka-base dati. I know him personally. We were fraternity brods in college. Nice guy. You will like him. He has a cute little girl named Abby.” Ryan chatted on while they were walking towards the conference room.
When the three of them opened the conference room, a guy who was looking out of the window, turned and offered a big smile to Atty. Reyes. “Uncle Rafa, I’m very sorry for disrupting your schedule. But it slipped my secretary’s mind that I needed to be at my daughter’s recital this afternoon. Mabuti you agreed to an earlier schedule. Tapos heto ang aga ko pa.” The guy wearing eyeglasses and dressed smartly in a gray pants, light colored shirt, without a tie, finished.
“Richard, it’s okay.” Atty. Reyes said, tapping him on the shoulder affectionately as Richard’s father, Roberto, is one of his good friends.
“Hello, Brod.” Richard then greeted Ryan who have been a fraternity brod. He was the one who have helped him with he was a neophyte. “Good to see you again. Kumusta na si Raymond? Nakalipat na ba ng Manila.”
“Okay naman siya, Brod. Next week pa siya nandito.” Ryan replied with a big smile. “By the way, bago namin makalimutan ni Atty. Reyes, meet the newest member of RRMA, and this year’s bar topnotcher, Atty. Maya Dela Rosa. She will be my assisting associate.”
Upon hearing the name, Richard’s heart skipped several beats. Siya kaya iyon? He mused, baka kapangalan lang. He slowly took a closer look at the smartly dressed lady beside Ryan with so much anticipation. When he did, he felt like he can’t breath. He felt sucker punched. It has been ten years but he can’t forget that beautiful heart shaped face, doe-eyes fringed with long eyelashes and those pouty lips. The lovely girl he knew from Mirasol Street has grown into a beautiful, poised lady!
“Hello, Maya!” Richard managed to say. “It has been a while.”
Richard’s voice penetrated Maya’s stunned state. She had been like that since the guy who was facing the window turned and greeted Atty. Reyes. Her first thought was that, “Oh my God, it is really him, after ten long years!” He is ten years older but she will recognize that face anywhere, that lopsided smile, that built. If he was a dreamboat when he was in his early 20s, he is dashing and movie star material in his early 30s!
“H-hello, Ricky.” Maya managed to say, then pulled herself together. He is a client after all. “Nice to see you again after all these years, Mr. Lim.”
“Teka, teka, you two know each other, Brod, Maya?” Ryan asked, surprised. Atty. Reyes was also looking on, curious.
“Yes, we have known each other in Mirasol Street where my family used to live.” Richard said, then he looked at Maya intently. “That’s where Maya and I started, on the street where we lived.”
Maya looked at Richard, unable to discern what he really meant, after all these years. They just gazed at each other, forgetting for a while, the presence of the two other people in the room.
The place was packed, that evening being a Friday, as Pippa and Ethan, hands intertwined navigated the throng of people in the dimly lit inside of a popular watering hole in the rooftop of a building in Bonifacio Global City after their very nice dinner in Teacher’s Village in Quezon City.
Ethan loved the Asian fusion cuisine at the restaurant they have been to. They traveled to BGC from there to meet Ethan’s friend Werner. Pippa and Ethan agreed earlier to have a night out, so when Werner called and invited Ethan to meet him that night, he said yes and asked if he could bring Pippa too. Werner said yes and they agreed to meet at this bar in BGC.
“Ethan, someone is waving at you from the corner table.” Pippa told Ethan as her eyes caught sight of a tall guy wearing glasses, calling Ethan’s attention by briskly waving at him.
Ethan looked at the direction Pippa was pointing at, and saw Werner. He was with another guy. “That’s him! Come Pip. You will like him, promise. He is a very affable guy. That’s why we hit off, bat on the first time. We actually met at the bar at the resort. He was chatting with your cousin Belle.”
Several minutes after, and after sidestepping people who had a bit of drinks already, they reached Werner’s table.
“Mate, good to see you!” Werner said with a big smile, then looked at Pippa. “Hello, there! You must be Pippa. I’m Werner, and this is Colin!” Werner shook Pippa’s hand, and Colin, another foreigner, did the same, first with Pippa and then with Ethan.
“Hi Werner, Colin, please to meet you. Yes, I’m Pippa Montenegro, a friend of Ethan’s.” Pippa said, offering a friendly smile to Werner and Colin.
“Ethan, Colin is my partner in the software development company I have put up here.” Werner explained. “I invited him over so you two can meet each other at least, this evening. By the way, Pippa, I hope it is okay if we talk shop a bit.”
“Yes, it’s perfectly okay, Werner. That is, if it is okay that I’m here too.” Pippa said.
“Sure, sure no worries.” Werner replied. “Sorry, please have a sit.”
Ethan pulled the chair for Pippa, then took the seat beside her. “What would you like, Pip? Tanduay Ice or something else? Beer?”
“I would like Tanduay Ice, please.” Pippa replied. “Thank you, Ethan.”
Ethan signalled to the waiter. He ordered a SanMig Light for him and Pippa’s Tanduay.
“Werner, Pippa, Ethan, please excuse me. I’ll say good night then and nice meeting you two. I’m looking forward to working with you, Ethan.” Colin said. “I’m meeting my girlfriend and she just sent me an SMS. Have a nice evening!”
The three of them said goodbye to Colin.
“So Ethan, you have decided to stay in the Philippines after all!” Werner asked, sipping his beer. “I’m glad. We need a software developer with an expertise such as yours. I’m happy you changed your mind. You were not so keen the first time I mentioned the job to you.”
“No, but that was then. I had a changed of mind, recently. I do have a very compelling reason for wanting to stay in the Philippines for good, aside from the fact that I like it here.” Ethan said cryptically, looking at Pippa intently, which made her blush.
“Oh! That’s the way it is, eh!” Werner said with a teasing voice.
Ethan just grinned and Pippa smiled shyly.
“Do you also live in Mindoro, Pippa? I didn’t see you when I stayed at the wonderful beach resort near Ethan’s place.” Werner remarked.
“Sort of. My family owns the resort where you stayed. I’m glad you had a nice stay.” Pippa said with a smile. “But I live in Quezon City, where I work.”
“I’m staying with Pippa actually. She is my mom’s friend’s daughter, and my very special friend.” Ethan added, gazing at Pippa meaningfully. The two of them smiled at each other before looking at Werner again.
“I love your place! One of these days I will go back there. I also met your beautiful, charming and very nice cousin Belle. How is she?” Werner added with a smile. Pippa detected something from Werner’s voice, the way he said her cousin’s name, parang iba.
“Oh, she is doing great. Quite busy as we have a lot of guests these days, being the tourists season.” Pippa replied.
The drinks Ethan ordered arrived then. The three of them continued chatting about Mindoro and other vacation places they have been. Then the talk shifted to the job Werner wanted Ethan to do for him. They talked shop while Pippa listened on, drinking her Tanduay Ice. She limited herself to one bottle of Tanduay Ice, though, as she will be driving later on.
When they were finished discussing technical stuffs, the conversation shifted to Pippa’s job. Werner had a lot of questions. He was fascinated with her job. Sometimes, Ethan will answer for Pippa and Werner noticed the way they picked up each other’s thoughts. It didn’t escape his notice too, the way Ethan looks at Pippa. His mate is in love! But it looks like Pippa was the same. If not for Pippa introducing herself as Ethan’s friend, he would have assumed that they are in a relationship already. Well, the two of them are obviously on their way there.
Unbeknown to the three of them, Martin was also at the same bar, with Cassie. At first he wanted to approach Pippa when he saw her entered the place, surprised to see her there and the fact that she is back in Manila without him knowing. But then he noticed the good looking foreigner beside her. By the time he was going to approach them, even while Cassie was objecting, he saw them holding hands. He started to feel pissed off and he resented the fact that Pippa, this soon, had replaced him! Or maybe, he was replaced even before they broke up. His suspicious mind, cloudedd by jealousy and liquor, thought. He ignored Cassie who was sulking by then, and ordered one drink after the other.
“So, I will see you on Monday, Ethan to show you around our office.” Werner said as they were winding down the evening. “You are welcome to tag along too, Pippa.”
“Yes, I will be there. But I’m not sure about Pippa! Pip?” Ethan looked inquiringly at Pippa. They only managed to discuss their plans for until Sunday wherein they will pick up Ally from the airport.
“Oh, thanks for the invitation Werner. But I can’t. I’m flying to Palawan for work on Monday.” She told Werner apologetically. “Ethan, it slipped my mind earlier.” Pippa added, suddenly blushing, remembering how they spend the afternoon.
Ethan smiled, remembering their wonderful afternoon too before going to dinner in Teacher’s Village. Werner noticed them exchanging looks again as if they were in a silent communication. Love! He mused. He wished he would find it too. But alas, he was not as lucky as Ethan!
“Okay! It is just you, then Ethan.” Werner said, pulling himself out of his thoughts. “It was nice meeting you Pippa. Say hello to Belle from me. Ethan, until Monday!”
The three of them parted at the ground floor of the building. Ethan and Pippa offered to drop off Werner wherever he is going, but he declined as he will meet Colin and his girlfriend at the coffee shop across the street.
Pippa and Ethan walked hand in hand to the parking lot. Several minutes later, they were driving back to Pippa’s place.
“So, you will go to Palawan on Monday? How many days will you be there?” Ethan asked as they navigated the late Friday night traffic.
“Hmmm, about three days, I think. But after that, I have some free time. I can go see you and Ally in Mindoro.” Pippa started saying, then a better idea entered her head. “Or you and Ally, can come with me! I’ll be working, but the two of you can enjoy the sights and touch base. I will be free during evenings. Tapos, we can extend na lang for several days after we finish our shoot and interview with the celeb who has a house there.”
“That’s a better idea! I haven’t been to Palawan and I have been meaning to see a bit of the place at some point. That way, we can still be together.” Ethan said happily. He felt better, knowing that he and Pippa will have more time to be with each other. “Knowing my sister, she will like the place too.”
“Great then! I can also book you at the place my crew and I will be staying, and in the same flight.” Pippa said.
“Pippa, I’ll pay for it please. No arguments, okay?” Ethan said. He had a feeling that Pippa will treat him and Ally. “It is more than enough that you are letting us stay in your place here in Manila.”
Pippa knows there is no swaying Ethan on this. She was really planning on paying for it as a welcome treat to Ally. “Okay, I will bill you.”
“Thanks, Pippa.” Ethan touched Pippa’s arms. “And I’m looking forward to enjoying Palawan with you.”
“Me too, Ethan.” Pippa smiled. She and Ethan are really into this thing between them know and she feels very happy. The reason she forgot to tell him about the Palawan trip is that they got so caught with each other earlier. They just cuddled on her sofa after that sweet kiss. They have watched a movie and after that, ended up taking a nap together, without intending to, in the sofa while watching their second movie.
Soon after, they have arrived at Pippa’s building. They walked hand in hand towards the elevator, never letting go of each other’s hand as they walked to Pippa’s unit. Pippa was about to open the door, when she heard Martin’s voice from behind. She looked up in surprise.
“Kaya mo pala ako ayaw kausapin, may kapalit na pala ako agad, ha Miss-Goody-Two-Shoes, never-been-touched Pippa Montenegro.” Martin said in a loud, slurred voice. He was obviously very, very drunk.
“Martin! What are you doing here?” Pippa asked surprised. While Ethan moved closer to her, realizing who was the guy who materialised out of nowhere.
“Waiting for you, of course, my dear. Akala mo pa, palalampasin ko ang nakita ko sa bar.” Martin continued. “Ito lang bang mestisong hilaw na ito ang ipapalit mo sa akin? Bibigay ka rin pala, dito pa.” He added insultingly, not knowing that Ethan understood every word he uttered.
“Hey buddy, watch it! Dahan-dahan sa pagsasalita. No gutter language please.” Ethan said calmly, trying to diffuse the situation. “Pippa was not the one was at fault. It was you.”
“Huwag kang makialam dito. I don’t care kung naintindihan mo pala lahat ng sinabi ko. This girl is a cock-tease!” Martin continued crudely. “O baka naman hindi na. Was she good in bed? Kung sa iyo lang naman, mas mapapaligaya ko siya.” Then looking at Pippa sneeringly, he continued his tirade. “Ano bang meron iyang tisoy na iyan, ha Pippa? Halika, kaya ko ring gawin ang mga ginawa niya sa iyo.” He grabbed Pippa by the arm, roughly. Pippa managed to extricate herself fast, but she had a red mark on the arm that Martin grabbed.
With that, Ethan saw red too. He had enough of Martin and his insults and manhandling of Pippa. Before Pippa could react and ask him to ignore what Martin said and did, as it was not worth it, he punched Martin in the face and wherever he could hit him, in rapid succession. “Enough of your gutter language, you two-timing cad!”
It was the provocation Martin seemed to be waiting for. He also threw a punch on Ethan, hitting him on the mouth, then another which hit his left eye, and also his jaw.
Ethan was about to strike back again when he heard Pippa’s plea. “Ethan please, don’t. He is not worth it. Halika na pumasok na tayo. Huwag mo na siyang patulan.”
He looked at Martin one more time, threw a punch that sent him reeling and clutching his stomach, before nodding at Pippa, taking her hand, and going inside her place.
“Pippa darling, I’m sorry for doing that. I don’t like anyone insulting you like that.” Ethan said, unconsciously slipping in a term of endearment for Pippa, while touching her face gently.
“It’s okay, Ethan. Thank you for defending me. I’m over Martin and whatever he says, does not hurt me anymore. I’m thanking the stars for my lucky escape.” Pippa said. “Hayan, nasaktan ka pa tuloy. Halika, gamutin natin. Upo ka na lang muna sa sofa, I will get the first aid kit from the bathroom.”
Pippa returned several minutes after with a basin with lukewarm water, then the first aid kit. She cleaned Ethan’s split lip, gently and tenderly. “Masakit ba. Sandali na lang ito.” She said as she continue pressing a gauze on his lip to absorb the blood trickling from his wound. Pippa also iced it, so is his left eye that was already turning a bit purple, and his hand that bore the brunt of his punches to Martin.
“It is okay, Pippa. Thank you.” Ethan assured Pippa. “Pasensya ka na talaga. Ayoko lang ng binabastos ka like that. Paano pala kung wala ako and lasing siya, tapos nakita ka niya. I don’t want to think about it. I’m glad that I’m here when you saw him again.”
“I agree, Ethan. I didn’t realize that Martin could be like that. I only saw his good side when we were together. Well, not so much in the end. But I’m glad that you are here too when I faced him. Thank you.” Pippa gave Ethan a tight hug.
Ethan hugged Pippa back. “I’ll take care of you and protect you, always, Pippa.” He whispered fervently and lovingly.
“Thank you again, Ethan. Halika na let’s go to sleep. Ready na iyong room mo. Para makapagpahinga ka na rin. Let me know lang kung kailangan mo ng pain reliever ha.” Pippa said.
“Okay. But I do have one request.” Ethan looked at Pippa intently. “Can we sleep together, as in sleep only, like what we did when I had a nightmare. I just want to be with you.”
Pippa looked at Ethan. She does not want to part with him for the night too. “Okay. Let’s just go to my room, then.”
“Thank you, Pippa. I will be a gentleman, I promise.” Ethan assured Pippa as he does not want her to think that after Martin, he is the one who will try to take advantage of her.
Pippa gave him a sweet, trusting smile. “I know you will be. I trust you, Ethan.”
They walked towards Pippa’s room after getting Ethan’s bag, with their arms around each other’s waist, to settle in for the night.
“Happy New Year, Sweetheart!” Maya stood on tiptoe and gave Richard a kiss on the lips while cupping his face. “Thank you for the best ending to my 2014. I’m so looking forward to the new year with you. I’m sure it will be the best ever, and also the coming years. Looking forward to us, together!”
“Happy New Year, Sweetheart!” Richard grinned and caressed Maya’s hair lovingly. “We will have a very good one, especially now that you agreed to be my wife. I love you my Mrs. Lim to be, very, very much! You made me the happiest guy this evening! I’m looking forward to our long and happy life together, with the beautiful children that we will have.”
“Ditto, Mr. Lim! I love you very much. My heart is so full!” Maya replied lovingly with her arms around Richard’s nape, teasingly caressing him. “ And how many kids do you want Mr. Lim?”
“Hmmm, how about half a dozen, Sweetheart!” He replied, grinning.
“Kalahating dosena!!!” Maya exclaimed. “Sweetheart, parang ang dami naman yata.”
“Well, sabi nga, di ba ‘the more, the merrier’! Richard kissed Maya’s lips lightly. “Since we are both only kids, I want a big family. But of course, it depends on you too, and what God will give us.”
“I agree, Sweetheart. Malungkot ang mag-isang anak. Though, lucky rin ako since nandiyan sina Ate Cris and Lino. Basta kung saan ka, doon ako. Six kung six!” Maya said, grinning at her husband to be.
“So, Sweetheart, maybe, we should work on it now, para makarami.” Richard whispered teasingly, naughtily. “Simulan na natin.”
“Ha!” Maya said, surprised, at the same time, she blushed, getting Richard’s joke, her imagination conjuring Richard and her in a bedroom, making passionate love. “Sweetheart, ikaw talaga.” She managed to say, lovingly pinching Richard on the side.
“Welll, ang sa akin lang…” Richard said, with a huge smile on his face, teasing, loving the way, Maya is reacting to his teasing.
Maya and Richard shared a heated look, then smiled at each other lovingly. Richard hugged Maya from the back, his arms wrapped around her waist, and they both looked up at the sky and the infinite stars decorating it and felt this overwhelming happiness, looking at the future with so much joy. The fireworks joined the stars in lighting up the night as they continue celebrating their engagement, in their own private world.
When the noise from the firecrackers had died down, and only the stars decorating the night after the beautiful fireworks to celebrate their engagement, Richard and Maya, arms around each other returned to the house which had been like a real home for the two of them the past several days.
Upon reaching the veranda, Richard surprised Maya when he put his arm around her knees, then the other one on her back, and carried her across the threshold!
“Sweetheart!!!” Maya blurted out as she held on to dear life.” What is that for?”
“Well, isn’t that what the tradition says?” Richard replied with a big grin on his face.
“Yes, but that is for newly-weds! We just got engaged!” Maya smiled, looking up at Richard’s handsome face.
“Well, you know what, Sweetheart, I feel like we are this evening, that we did, with the commitment we made to each other. I’m committed to you for life. You are the only one until I die. I do want us to get married, the soonest if you will agree with me, as I want God to bless our union and share our happiness with our families and friends.” Richard said passionately as he put down Maya, then cupping her chin to look deeply into her eyes.
“Oh, Sweetheart! I feel the same way too. Yes, we can get married the soonest.” Maya assured Richard. She too does not want a long engagement as they have waited long enough to be together. She wanted to start their life together the soonest. “Is in three months time, okay with you?”
“Hmmm, how about tomorrow, or next week?” Richard countered, grinning. “Para we can start na talaga on our half a dozen kids.”
“Sweetheart! It’s too soon! Saka, ikaw ha, one track mind!” Maya pouted and protested good-naturedly. “I’m sure your Mama and my Tita Lulu will protest too if we just elope and have the wedding next week!”
“Biro lang, Sweetheart. Three months is okay with me.” Richard lightly kissed Maya. “I can wait, Maya, for everything.” He added meaningfully.
“Thank you, Ricky.” Maya replied as they walked towards their rooms. When they reached Maya’s room, she said good night to Richard.
“Sweet dreams, my love.” Maya said lovingly.
“Of course, Sweetheart! For sure, ikaw ang magiging laman ng panaginip ko.” Richard cupped Maya’s face, then lowered his lips to hers. “Soon, we don’t have to part for the night.” He said heatedly.
Maya blushed suddenly, imagining waking up with Richard beside her, and more. She smiled at him sweetly, trying to still her fast beating heart and her physical reaction to Richard’s heated gaze. “I’m so looking forward to waking up beside you, Ricky.”
They shared another searing kiss before parting for the night.
Maya looked at her engagement ring one more time, before she proceeded to take a shower. It was probably past one o’clock in the morning, but she was very much wide awake. Maya guessed it was because of hers and Richard’s unforgettable evening, coupled with the long nap she had in the afternoon.
Maya tried to sleep, but every time she relived the events of the previous night, the harder it was to sleep. After half an hour of tossing and turning, she decided to go to the kitchen and make herself a glass of warm milk. Maybe it will relax her and make her fall asleep finally.
She stopped just before she opened her bedroom door, debating whether she would change into regular clothes or just go down in her chosen sleep wear that night, a tank top and short shorts. She opted not to since it was in the middle of the night and besides it was just Richard and her there, and he is probably very much in sleep land by that time.
Maya opened her bedroom door at the same time Richard was opening his. They surprised each other at the hallway leading to the kitchen!
“Hindi ka rin makatulog?” Maya asked Richard who was only clad in pajama bottoms, his muscled chest bare to her gaze. She felt herself catching her breath. The effect of a shirtless Richard in the middle of the night was double than what she usually feel at the sight of him wearing his swim shorts!
“Hindi eh, Sweetheart! I was remembering our wonderful evening!” Richard replied, noticing that Maya was only clad in a very sexy tank top and shorts that showed off her endless legs. He also noticed that she was without a bra! Heat pooled in inside him at the sight before he can stop his reaction to the lovely view she presented to him. “Ikaw rin ba? Saan ang punta mo?”
Maya getting self-conscious with her skimpy attire and Richard’s heated gaze which he tried to mask, had to take deep breaths before she can reply. “Sa kitchen, magtitimpla sana ng milk. Hindi kasi ako antukin. Naalala ko rin ang evening natin.”
Richard smiled at his fiancee lovingly. “I’m glad, hindi pa ako nag-iisa na hindi makatulog. Halika, let’s make your milk and I will get my glass of water,” he said as he put his hand on Maya’s back to propel her to the kitchen. Maya shivered at Richard’s touch. Richard felt a jolt also, but he tried to control his body’s reaction.
Maya went straight to the kettle and filled it with water, while Richard on the other hand, poured himself a glass of water which he gulped in one go. Several minutes after, Maya was stirring her glass of milk. She put it down on the table to get herself a glass of water too. Apparently, Richard was intending to do the same. They collided. Richard steadied Maya.
“Sorry, Sweetheart!” He said, holding Maya in the arms with only a small space separating them. “Are you okay?”
“Y-yes, I’m okay.” Maya managed to say, very much aware of Richard’s proximity and the fact that he was not wearing a shirt, and her hand encounted bare flesh when she steadied herself against him. She sounded breathless.
Richard, on the other hand, was unable to take his eyes off Maya’s twin peaks, clearly outlined by the form-fitting top she was wearing.
Richard and Maya’s eyes met and the awareness of each other which has been simmering since the afternoon at the back waterfall, rose to the surface with a force they were unable to stop anymore. They looked heatedly at each other. They were overcame with a desire so strong, which they can’t fight anymore.
“Maya….” Richard whispered longingly before lowering his lips to hers.
Richard gave Maya a searing kiss, putting all the love, want and desire he was feeling for her in that one kiss. Maya opened her lips to accept Richard’s kiss. She responded in kind. Richard kissed Maya thoroughly before seeking entrance to her mouth. Their tongues sought each other and engaged into a love duel. They can’t seemed to get enought of each other. Their passion so strong, that they forgot everything else and their awareness was centered on each other.
Richard’s hand crept into the hem of Maya’s tank top and sought her twin peaks.
“Ricky….” Maya said breathlessly as Richard’s questing hand found her breast and fondled it lovingly. She felt electrocuted when his thumb found her aching peak and tweaked it. Richard gave the same loving attention to the other one. The twin assault on her mouth and her breasts was almost too much for Maya. She felt like she was on fire and her knees are going wobbly on her.
Richard too felt like he was on fire, wanting Maya very much. He too had a hard time controlling his desires as Maya caresses leave a trail of hot want in his system.
“Sweetheart, I want you very much.” He managed to say to her in his desire-laden voice. “I’m losing it. I think we better stop while we still can. I promised to wait.”
“Ricky, Sweetheart. I want you very much too.” Maya replied. “We don’t have to stop.” She managed to say, then she initiated the hot kiss that had their desires for each other spiking and sending them off to the place where they both wanted to be.
Richard gave in to the heat of the moment. He trailed hot kisses on Maya’s neck, while his hand was busy loving her breasts and teasing her maddeningly. Maya was going crazy with the assault to her senses. If not for the kitchen counter behind her, she would have been a puddle on the floor. Her knees were just about to buckle under. She caressed Richard and gave him a trail of hot kisses to on his shoulder, then mimicked what he did to her by touching him there too, which almost made him totally lose it.
With both of them wanting more, Richard carried Maya back to her bedroom. He put her gently on the bed, then looked at her well kissed mouth and breasts that were aching to be touched and be loved again and again.
“You are so beautiful and so desirable, Sweetheart.” He said lovingly, before slowly removing Maya’s top while giving her another searing kiss.
When Richard saw Maya’s perfect breasts, he looked at her with so much heat that Maya felt an answering heat that travel from her breasts to her core. Richard removed his pajama and it was Maya’s turn to gasped, loving the way her fiance is built, all muscles, so beautiful, and she too wanted to kiss that muscled chest lovingly.
Richard proceeded to love Maya after slowly removing her last piece of clothing, her shorts. He trailed kisses all over her face, neck, the valley between her breasts, her twin peaks and below, to her core. His passion driving them wilder and wilder until they both can’t take it anymore. They needed relief.
“Richard….” Maya moaned so swept away with the tide of passion she was feeling in the arms of the only man she will ever love. “I want…..”
“Maya, Sweetheart…” Richard muttered in his passion-laden voice. He understood what Maya meant but unable to verbalize. He positioned himself on top of Maya and slowly slipped into her, taking into consideration her innocence.
Maya felt the initial pain, but after she got used to Richard’s size and length, she nodded, and they moved together. It was slow at first, then it built up, until it reached a frenzy and their passion for each other became too much. They reached the peak together. Their sighs and moans where the only sound in the dark room as they flew to fulfilment, physically melding.
“Sweetheart, are you okay?” Richard asked Maya lovingly and gently after he managed to catch his breath after that soul altering experience with Maya. What he felt when they finally reached the height of pleasure together was indescribable. He caressed her hair.
“I’m okay, Sweetheart.” Maya managed to say. She too was still feeling the after effects of what she and Richard experienced moments ago. She felt like she was one with him, body and soul. She knew that both of them didn’t plan for this, but she never regret it. “Thank you for being gentle with me, my love.”
Richard smiled and looked at his future wife lovingly. “Sweetheart, I love you very much. Being with you like that, was indescribable. Only you made me feel like that.”
“The same for me, Sweetheart! I felt joined to you, body and soul.” Maya lightly kissed Richard’s lips.
Richard moved to get a better angle and gave Maya a searing kiss. Their desires for each other rekindled again. But Richard knew that it maybe to soon for Maya. He stopped, put his arms around her and then the blanket over them. They didn’t bother to put their clothes back on. They slept in each other’s arms without a stitch on.
Richard woke up before Maya. The sun was very much up. It was probably around nine o’clock in the moving. Maya was still sleeping so soundly beside him. The comforter barely covering her nakedness! They must have both kicked it off during the night. She looked so beautiful sleeping peacefully with a ghost of a smile on her lovely face.
He reclined with his head supported by his hand as he looked at his beautiful fiancee. He was very much looking forward to making love to her, but he never expected it would happened on the night thy got engaged, the happiest moment of his life so far and it got happier the physical expression of their love for each other. Indeed, it was a wonderful start to a beautiful year for him and his beloved. Waking up beside her like this is the best feeling ever.
Richard slowly caressed Maya’s cheek with the back of his hand, remembering their night together. His passionate love. He will never get enough of her and the love for her is just overflowing. Maya slowly opened her eyes and when she saw Richard, she gave him the most beautiful smile.
“Good morning, Sweetheart!” Maya said, looking at Richard with so much love. So this is how it feels, she mused. She felt like she was at the top of the world and that she can take on anything.
“Good morning, Sweetheart! How are you?” Richard asked solicitously. In th light of day, he also wants to be sure that Maya is not regretting them making beautiful love during the night.
“I’m okay, Sweetheart.” Maya replied, then realized, what was Richard’s underlying question. “And I don’t regret us making love last night. It was the most wonderful thing, to be joined to you like that. I love you and like you, I’m committed to you for life, with or without a ring. We have proven that the past seven years we were apart.”
“Oh, Sweetheart. Thank you. I love you so. I don’t want you to have regrets, thinking that what happened was too soon.” Richard cupped Maya’s face, then lowered his head to give her a kiss.
“Ricky, hindi pa ako nagto-toothbrush!” Maya suddenly became self-conscious, covering her mouth.
“I don’t care.” Richard said, smiling. Then proceded to give her a searing good morning kiss.
However, the kiss was like a match that sparked off the fire between them again. Before they knew it, they were at each other, wanting to temporarily slake off their unquenchable thirst for each other.
It was already around noon, when Maya and Richard managed to get out of bed to satisfy their hunger for food, this time. The shower took longer than usual as Richard surprised Maya by joining her there. They spent the rest of the first day of 2015 in each other’s arms, so completely lost in their own world. Indeed, it was the best new year celebration ever for the two of them.
Note: Happy Sunday to you all! Thanks for the comments! ❤ 🙂
Just a little bit more and I can post regularly like I used to. There’s just some stuffs I need to deal with until the end of the month. No worries, I’m very much okay. 🙂 It’s just that because of the stuffs I’m doing at the moment, I’m usually quite tired when I get home.
I’m writing Chapter 17 of Windblown and started the much delayed installment to Unexpected Love. Doing the chapters is just slower than usual.
Thank you for being there and for the unwavering support! Looking forward to writing full time soon! 🙂
“Wake up, my Cinderella!” Richard said softly, looking lovingly at his sleeping girlfriend, or if his heart’s fervent desire will be granted tomorrow, his fiancee. Not contented with just looking at her, he started giving her feather kisses on her brows, eyes, cheeks and finally her pouty lips.
Maya at first thought, she was dreaming, and what a very nice dream it was! She dreamt that Richard was kissing her oh so softly and lovingly after he called her his Cinderella. She mumbled, “Yes, my Prince Charming.” Then slowly, she opened her eyes and the first thing she saw was her boyfriend’s handsome face, with a big, loving smile on his lips.
“Hello, Sweetheart!” Richard said. “ I hate to wake you up when you are sleeping so peacefully, but it is getting late and it looks like it’s going to rain. The roads going down may turn muddy and slippery.”
“Hi Sweetheart! I thought I was dreaming. In my dreams I heard you called me ‘Cinderella’!” Maya said cupping Richard’s face affectionately. “That’s why I called you, Prince Charming!”
“I did. When I first met you, I thought that you were like Cinderella. You disappeared into the night after you captivated me.” Richard said, smiling. “The difference was, she left a glass slipper for her prince, and you just disappeared into thin air, as if I just imagined you! But I can’t be, since I was never the same since then.”
“Ikaw talaga, Sweetheart, grabe ka talagang magpakilig. Akala ko ba nagmamadali tayo at uulan na?” Maya kissed Richard’s lips lightly. Then looked him in the eyes with so much love. “You know what, you looked like Prince Charming too, the first time I caught a glimpse of you from the stage.”
“I love you, Maya. I thank God every day that we found each other again.” Richard said, overcame with emotions. He will never get enough of loving her and thanking God and fate that they met again and is having this second chance.
“Me too, Ricky! I love you very much.” Maya replied, touching his beloved face.
Maya and Richard shared a kiss, then another, and another, until they got lost in their world again. They only realized it when the sound of the rain interrupted their interlude.
“Naku, Ricky, inabutan na tayo ng ulan!” Maya sat up from the hammock, her lips so well-kissed.
“Okay lang, Sweetheart. Mukhang hindi naman malakas at matagal. Palipasin lang ng natin ng kaunti.” Richard laid down on the hammock more comfortably and reeled Maya back to his chest and cuddled with her.
“This is the nicest!” Richard remarked, smiling broadly. “You in my arms like this, as we watch the falling rain and in a world of our own. I can stay like this forever!”
“Forever, Sweetheart?” Maya asked suddenly, liking the idea of a forever with this wonderful guy.
“Yes, why not, Sweetheart?” Then whispered lovingly, “I want a forever with you, Maya.”
“Oh, Sweetheart! I would like that too.” Maya hugged Richard tight, then gave him a quick kiss. “I would like that too, Ricky.”
Richard grinned broadly, hearing that. His heart somersaulted with joy. He is so looking forward to the evening he had been planning for Maya and him tomorrow.
Maya and Richard stayed an hour more in the hut, contented to watch the rain with their bodies intertwined, closer not only physically, bt emotionally as they felt they have unconsciously stepped into another level of their relationship that afternoon.
It was tricky going down the mountains with the road muddied. But Richard turned out to be very skilled at navigating the tricky road. He told Maya that during his 20s, he used to do a lot of dirt bike riding with his friends from the university. Like going up, it was an exhilarating ride going down with Maya holding on to Richard’s waist tight, their thighs rubbing as they navitaged the rough road.
Richard and Maya reached the resort, both slightly wet and muddied as there was still a bit of a drizzle when they left the falls and there were puddles of water on the road which they hit quite a lot, and every time they did so, Maya laughed and shrieked happily, waiting for the splash of the muddy water. There were instances where Richard teased Maya and deliberately hit the puddles, which earned him loving pinches from her.
They were a sight. Catherine just shook her head when she saw them. She also envied their obvious happiness at how their afternoon turned out. They waved at her, then went straight to the bungalow and took a shower.
Richard was coming out of the kitchen, wearing navy blue loose cotton pants and a polo shirt, with two steaming cups of coffee when Maya went down after her refreshing shower. She was dress in a long flowing skirt with ethnic prints and a salmon coloured sleeveless blouse.
“Just what I need, Sweetheart.” Maya took the tray from Richard and brought it to the veranda. She put it on the coffee table and made a cup for Ricky. “What are our plans for this evening, Sweetheart?”
“Hmmm, I’m thinking, we can just stay in tonight. Have dinner brought here, then we can watch movies. Parang with this weather, it’s just very nice to stay indoors.” Richard sipped his coffee and enjoyed the first rush of the hot drink through his system. “Unless of course, you want to do something else.”
“Your plan is perfect Sweetheart, just what I have in mind as well.” Maya smiled. “It’s nice like this, just the two of us!”
“Great! I will just order our dinner, Sweetheart. What would you like?” Richard fished his mobile phone from his pocket.
“Hmmm, how about sinigang na hipon or anything na may sabaw. Parang masarap kainin in this weather!” Maya suggested.
“Okay, I like that as well.” Richard called the restaurant and order sinigang na hipon, as well as grilled pork with ensaladang mangga and bagoong, grilled eggplant, and calamares for their appetizer. For dessert, he ordered buco pandan.
“Kaya ba nating lahat na kainin iyan, Sweetheart?” Mara remarked smiling when Richard put his phone down.
“Kaya iyan, Sweetheart. We haven’t eaten since our picnic.” Richard sat down again and resumed drinking his coffee.
“Sabagay.” Maya said she said smiling. She also realized that she was very hungry and her tummy was grumbling a bit, just thinking of the food they will have.
More than an hour later, their dinner arrived. It was a lot of food for two people but surprisingly, they worked an appetite for everything. Maya felt like her tummy was groaning from all the delicious food she and Richard enjoyed eating as the dining room of the house overlooking Donya Esmeralda’s flower garden. They left the door opened, to let in the smell of the roses, and other flowers which she can’t identify in the dark, in bloom. The screen door served as a deterrent to small insects and mosquitoes. Maya remarked to Richard that they never gotten around to fully exploring the garden. Richard promised that they wil do so the next day.
Soon after the restaurant staff tidied up and pick up the dishes, Richard and Maya settled into the living room and watched an old movie musical, ‘Gigi’, which Richard borrowed from his mother’s collection of movies in the house. When the movie was ending, Richard noticed that Maya was not saying anything much and when he checked from where she was half-lying, on his broad chest, he realized that she had fallen asleep. Too much activities in one afternoon, plus their sumptuous dinner lulled her into sleep!
Richard smiled lovingly at his sleeping girlfriend. He carried her to the guest bedroom. Maya didn’t even stir when he put her down the bed. he made her comfortable, covered her with comforter, then gazed lovingly at his sleeping beloved before kissing her good night and closing the door softly.
Unlike Maya, Richard found it difficult to fall asleep. His mind was full of his upcoming proposal to Maya. He smiled happily, several more hours and their journey to forever will start. When he managed to fall asleep, he dreamt of two kids playing with him and Maya in the spot where they have been near the falls, a beautiful girl with mischief in her eyes and cute little boy with an angelic expression on his face as he looks at his mom.
The following morning, Maya woke up with a start. “Oh no, I slept on Ricky again!” Maya muttered, seeing that it was quite bright outside and she was still wearing the clothes she wore the night before. She got out of bed fast and took a quick shower, with the intention of making breakfast for Richard to make up for conking out on him again.
Several minutes after, she walked down towards the direction of the kitchen. The house was very quiet. She was hoping that Richard was still in bed. However, when she walked into the kitchen she noticed the coffee being brewed in the coffee maker in the corner. But no signs of Richard. She walked towards the opened sliding doors that led to Donya Esmeralda’s flower garden and that’s where she saw him, putting finishing touches on the breakfast he had been putting on the table.
“Good morning, Sweetheart! Glad that you are up! I was about to get you.” Richard smiled at Maya as he put forks and spoons on the placemats he had put on the table.
Maya walked briskly towards Richard, gave her a hug. “Sweetheart, tinulugan na naman pala kita. I’m so sorry.” She said in a contrite tone. Then proceed to help him.
“It’s completely okay, Maya. You must have been tired from our outing at the falls.” Richard caressed her face. “Besides, I like putting you to bed like that.”
“Sobrang swerte ko naman talaga sa iyo, Sweetheart. I love you so.” Maya said. “I feel so love and cherished. Thank you.”
“Sabi ko naman sa ito, Maya, for you, anything.” Richard said lovingly. “Halika na breakfast na tayo. I had the restaurant staff cooked us champorado and tuyo for breakfast! Parang masarap din this morning!”
“I agree with you. Medyo matagal na rin akong hindi nakakain ng mga ito.” Maya thanked Richard as he seated her on the chair facing Donya Esmeralda’s magnifiicent garden. “Wow, your mom’s garden is really very beautiful! I can spend hours here. Who maintains it when she is not here?”
“Mama hired a very good gardener who tends it lovingly. We got lucky with Mang Jaime.” Richard sipped the coffee Maya made for him, savouring the taste. Maya really has a knack for making it better. “I thought the best time to see this place is in the morning , when the sun is just coming out from that direction, so I had breakfast set up here.”
“Thank you, Sweetheart.” Maya said simply, lovingly, putting her hand on top of Richard’s. “You are making me so very, very, happy everyday.”
“You don’t have to thank me all the time, Sweetheart. It makes me so happy to see you happy. I love making you happy.” Richard put his other hand on top of his and Maya’s clasped hands. “I will be happy to do it for the rest of our lives.” Richard added obliquely, looking at Maya intently as if looking deep into her soul.
Maya’s heart made a lurch. This is not the first time Richard hinted of a forever between them. Her heart sang. She smiled at him lovingly. “And I the same, Richard! I would like to make you happy too!”
“You are, Maya! You are! You don’t know how much.” Richard lowered his lips to Maya and gave her a sweet kiss.
They resumed eating several long moments later. After the breakfast that they had enjoyed so much, Richard and Maya opted to stay in the bungalow, just lazing around. After lunch, Richard told Maya that he will just meet someone again. Maya said to go ahead as she would just read a book.
Richard went to the main resort to talk to Catherine and Aldrich and to check if everything is in place for his special evening with Maya. His two co-conspirators were beside themselves in excitement with what is about to take place that evening. There is even an added kilig on Catherine’s part. Richard smiled at them. His happiness was overflowing!
When Richard returned to the house, he found Maya in the day bed in the garden, her half-read book lying on her chest. She was napping. He gave her a quick kiss, then joined her there. They had a very restful nap amid Donya Esmeralda’s flowers and the centuries old trees that shelter the bed and made the place cooler.
They were woken up from their nap by the loud sound of a firecracker going off. That early, someone was already welcoming the new year. Maya realized that it was already twilight.
“Ricky, Sweetheart! Grabe, ang haba ng tulog natin!” Maya exclaimed. “Pagabi na pala.”
“It’s so nice here with you, Sweetheart. I slept like a babe.” Richard stretched his muscular arms upwards, shaking off sleep.
“We forgot to talk earlier about our plans this evening. I assumed that we will just go the resort to welcome the new year, with the other guests?” Maya asked. “Or do you have another plan in mind?”
Richard gave her a mysterious smile, then looked discreetly at his watch. “Just get ready, Sweetheart. I’ll see you in an hour or so.” Before Maya could ask more questions, he took hold of her hand and led her inside the house. He deposited her in front of her room and with a big smile left her there, whistling a line from West Side Story, “Tonight, tonight/ It all began tonight/ I saw you and the world went away….”
“What happened kaya kay Ricky? Parang nagmamadali at sobrang excited!” Maya mused, but shrugged it off. She too felt very excited for this evening for some unexplainable reason. Maybe, because this will be hers and Richard’s first new year’s celebration together.
Maya took a bath. She was at a lost on how to dress for dinner as she forgot to ask Richardif they need to dress up. Come to think of it, she mused, he was a bit evasive! Since it was New Year’s Eve, Maya decided to dress up a bit. Good thing, she always brings a more dressy outfit every time she goes somewhere as she never knows what will happen. She likes being prepared and that help during this trip, when Richard and her decided to extend! This time, she packed a violet cocktail dress that reached to her knees and hugged her curves. The dress is sleeveless and classically cut, with a deep V neckline.
When she had finished dressing up, Maya went out of the room and looked for Richard. His room was opened, and yet no sign of Richard. He was not in any of their usual meeting places. When she reached the front porch, she noticed the big bouquet of sunflowers on the hammock there. Attached to the beautiful flowers was a note from Richard that they will have dinner by the beach, and that he would be waiting for her there.
Maya took the flowers with her. She walked down the path leading to the beach. By then, she had realized that she was in for another surprise treat from Richard. What it was she had no clue, but is looking forward at finding out! The path was lit by candles in colourful glasses. When Maya was nearing the beach, she saw a table, inside a tent festooned with capiz lanterns, beautifully set for two, with flowers of all variety decorating the middle. The table also sat on a big platform with red carpet. When she reached it, she asaw a group of musicians by the far side of the tent. She was about to check where Richard is, when he came behind the musicians. He was dressed in jeans, shirt and a sports jacket, similar to what he wore the first time they saw each other in San Nicolas all those years ago. He had a big smile on his face.
“Ricky, this is so beautiful!” Maya remarked, looking around with wonder, placing the flowers she was carrying on the table. “What a wonderful surprise! Thank you, Sweetheart.”
“I’m glad you like it.” Richard gazed at Maya, lovingly. “May I dance with you, Ms. Maya Dela Rosa!” He held out his hand to her.
“Here, Sweetheart?” Maya said smiling, with her heart beating so fast.
“Yes!” Richard simply said, and waited for her to take his hand.
When Maya did, the musicians started playing the melody from ‘Love Has Come of Age!
“Oh , Sweetheart, I so love that song! We will dance to our song!” Maya went into Richard’s arms and they danced to the beautiful music being sang by the two singers in the group, as close as two people could be, cheek to cheek, body to body and heart to heart.
“You know, if this was seven years ago and this was the main room of the San Nicolas Golf and Country Club, this was the first thing I would have done the first opportunity I got, ask you to dance with me.” Richard murmured softly to Maya as he savoured this moment with her, caressing her hair.
“Really!” Maya looked up at Richard’s handsome face. “And if you did, I would have said yes, to the exclusion of anyone else there.”
“I would have danced the night away with you,” Richard continued. “Then I would have asked if I could take you home, and see you again, and again until we got to know each other better. Then, I would court you and declare my feelings for you. Then if you had agreed to be my girlfriend, I would have proposed to you and ask you to be with me for always.”
“Oh Ricky….” By this time, Maya’s heart was galloping from the emotions she was feeling, waiting on what he would say next and where this would lead.
“Then if you had said yes, we would have been married and probably have several kids now.” Richard continued saying in his voice, full of love for Maya. “It didn’t happen seven years ago, but as we are meant to be, what we have started seven years ago, came to fulfilment this time. We are having another opportunity for that love that didn’t come to a culmination the first time around. I’m so glad to have a second chance with you, Maya.”
Richard then let go of Maya, knelt on one knee before her, got something from his pocket, and asked her with all the love he is feeling what he had been wanting to ask her fervently, “Marry me, please. Let’s not waste our second chance. I want a forever with you, Maya.”
Maya felt tears in her eyes from sheer happiness. She had difficulty breathing from the loud thumping of her heart. Here it is the promise of forever with Richard. She didn’t have inkling that Richard is planning a proposal, this evening. But the night is so perfect for this, the moment so right. Filled with emotion, she knelt before him too, touched his beloved face, then softly said,”Yes!”
Richard grinned, so very happy that Maya agreed to be his wife! He gently put the beautiful platinum ring on her finger, kissed her hand, then guided her up. He caressed her face, then lowered his lips to her. They shared their first kiss as an engaged couple, with all the love they are feeling, as the singers where singing the most beautiful part of the song. ‘I never knew that I could feel such wonder/I never dreamed that love could be like this/Yet in this rapture I’m swept away/Lost in your eyes/For tonight, Love has come of age….”
“I love very much my beautiful fiancee.” Richard whispered lovingly, so full of love for his Cinderella.
“I love you very much too, my husband to be.” Maya whispered back. She felt like she was floating on air. She felt like she was dreaming, but seeing Richard’s handsome face so full of love for her, she knows that this is real.
Richard led Maya to the table, while the musicians quietly faded away into the night. Richard prepared a feast for his proposal dinner, including a bottle of the best champagne that Donya Esmeralda could get hold of. While they were eating, Maya asked Richard how did he pull the proposal in such a short time. Richard told her that he had help from his mother and told her of James’s special trip to Mindoro the day before for all the things he needed for this.
“Sweetheart, you are the best ever when it comes to surprises.” Maya said as she and Richard were enjoying their dessert. “I’m looking forward to meeting your mother, I mean meeting her as your fiancee, and thanking her too!” Maya felt very happy saying the word, fiancee! She and Richard are now engaged and it fills her with so much happiness.
“She is looking forward to meeting you too, Sweetheart. She told me, I better bring you to the house as my fiancee.” Richard said smiling.
Richad and Maya walked down the beach barefooted, enjoying the cool breeze after their long and leisurely dinner. They also brought the rest of the champagne with them, and a mat. They laid down on the mat when they found the perfect spot, and watched the countless stars, waiting for the coming of the new year, in their own private world. At midnight, the sky was lit by a thousand fireworks. Richard told Catherine and Aldrich to make it extra special that evening as they will not be just be welcoming the new year, but celebrating his and Maya’s engagement as well, if everything went according to plan, which it did, beautifully.
“To us, Sweetheart!” Richard said, hugging Maya tight and kissing her hair.
“To us, Sweetheart.” Maya replied lovingly, giving Richard a quick kiss too.
Richard and Maya toasted each other. Both of them grinning goofily. Then they shared a long, heated kiss, so full of love they have for each other, as the old year gave way to the new one, and with it, the start of their beautiful life together, finally!
Note: And finally, I’m back! 🙂
Hello all! I hope all of you are doing good! My apologies for the lack of updates. It’s taking me a bit longer to update these days. Just bear with me for a couple of days more, then I’ll be back on track. Hopefully, shorter than that, depending on stuffs. Just got very busy in the real world.
Good vibes always and have a good evening or morning. 🙂
Richard woke up early the following morning and just like what he did Sunday morning, he made breakfast for Maya. He could have ordered something from the resort’s restaurant, but he likes doing these little touches for the love of his life. This time, he made pancakes for her. When it was done, he put everything in a tray, including a long stemmed red rose that he cut from the garden at the side of the house.
“Come in, Ricky!” Maya said after Richard’s third knock on her door. She has an idea that Richard is bringing her breakfast in bed again. She planned on doing it for him again that morning, but it seems her sweetheart beat her to it.
Richard entered the room with a big smile for Maya. He just feels to happy, seeing her like this, with him. Maya also had a big smile for Richard. She loves his thoughtfulness and them being together like this, enjoying their special moments.
“Good morning, Sweetheart!” Maya greeted Richard, still in bed and she had obviously just woken up. She looks very beautiful to Richard with her hair all tousled from sleep. “Wow, breakfast in bed again! Hanap-hanapin ko ito pagbalik natin ng Maynila.”
“Hmmm, I can go to your place every morning.” Richard said, grinning. He likes that idea very much.
“Ikaw na talaga, Sweetheart ang the best boyfriend in the world!” Maya replied, getting out of the bed to help Richard with the tray. “Thank you very much. I love you very much, Ricky.”
“I love you more, Maya, Sweetheart.” Richard replied lovingly. “Halika na at ng matikman mo na ang pinakamasarap na pancake na matitikman mo.” He said in jest.
“Hmmm, I’m pretty sure, iyan nga ang pinakamasarap na pancake na matitikman ko kasi ikaw kaya ang may gawa niyan.” Maya said, giving Richard a quick kiss on the cheek.
Instead of the bed, they opted to have breakfast that morning at the coffee table by the window.
“Maya, would it be okay if I leave you here for an hour? I just need to meet someone at 9 o’clock. Siguro, it will take me an hour or less. Then when I come back, I’m yours!” Richard said as he and Maya were enjoying their coffee after finishing their breakfast. “May gusto ka bang puntahan in particular today?”
“Sure, Ricky, take your time. I will just read a book while waiting for you. I will make us lunch.” Maya suggested. “Wala naman akong ibang gustong puntahan or plans maliban doon sa trip natin sa San Nicolas the other day.”
“Okay, good. About lunch, don’t cook na. I think I know where we could spend the day.” Richard said smiling.
“Saan?” Maya asked, curious.
“Basta, Sweetheart! It’s a surprise. Just get ready. I’ll be back around 10 o’clock. Wear comfortable clothes and put your swimsuit under.” Richard told Maya. “You will like the place.”
“Okay, just surprise me.” Maya said smiling. She is getting used now to Richard’s spontaneous gestures and surprises for her. “I’ll take care of the dishes and tidying up the kitchen. Get going na at baka ma-late ka pa sa kausap mo.”
Richard looked at his watch. “Hmmm, maaga pa naman. I’ll help you.”
“Ricky, let me do it na lang.” Maya insisted.
“Okay, sige. I’ll just go take a shower.” Richard said. “Thank you, Sweetheart. Oh, by the way, sorry the kitchen is a bit of a mess. Hindi ko na masyadong na-tidy up.” Richard said apologetically.
“I’ll take care of it. It’s not a problem.” Maya assured him.
Maya and Richard left the bedroom together. Richard went back to his room to get ready. James is arriving at 9 o’clock with the ring and other things he had requested from his mother.
When Maya went to the kitchen, she understood what Richard meant. The kitchen counter was covered with the stuffs he used in making the pancakes. She buckled down to work.
Several minutes after, Richard sought Maya to say goodbye. From the doorway leading to the kitchen, he saw her so concentrated in washing the dishes while singing the song he played to her last Saturday. She had taken an instant liking to it and told him that it will be their ‘theme song’.
He slowly approach, then gently put his arm around her waist from behind, then nuzzled her hair lovingly. “You sound very happy belting out our ‘theme song’.” He said softly.
“Ricky! Yes I like it a lot.” Maya said smiling, tilting her head to look at Richard. “Are you going na?”
“Yes, I’ll see you in an hour or so. Bye, I love you.” Richard said as he gave Maya a quick kiss on the lips.
Maya continued with the household chores with a very happy heart. With this time in Mindoro, she felt that she and Richard are like a husband and wife having a wonderful moment together.
Richard was also whistling a happy tune as he drove to the helipad to meet James and Andy. He passed by the main resort and took Aldrich with him to meet the pilots. They didn’t wait long, as several minutes, they heard the sound of the chopper.
“Good morning, Richard!” James greeted after the chopper has settled in. “Your mother said you and Maya are staying longer. Here are the stuffs Mrs. Lim sent for you. Iyung iba ibababa na ni Andy.” James handed Richard a small bag.
“Thank you for this James.” Richard said, getting the bag. Yes, it is here! He thought to himself, excited to see the ring, and for his proposal to Maya the following day.
Then Andy approached them with another bag.“Thank you, Andy. Aldrich can handle that.” He told Aldrich who was standing by his side to help Andy with the other things he requested from his mother.
“No worries, Richard.” James smiled. “How’s Maya?”
“Oh, she is okay, very happy to be back in Mindoro after so many years. I left her in the house.” Richard replied. “Last Sunday, we went to San Nicolas to visit her Mamang’s grave and walked around the poblacion.”
“That’s nice! I still remember her Mamang, a jolly woman and thought the world of Maya.” James said. “Please say hello to Maya from me.”
“I will.” Richard said. He then shook both pilots hands and thanked them again.
“Sir Richard, Sir James, excuse po, nailagay ko na po lahat sa kotse iyong mga ibinigay ni Sir Andy.” Aldrich said.
“Thanks, Aldrich. O paano James, I will go back to the resort na.” Richard said. “Hindi ka ba uuwi ng San Nicolas this holiday?”
“No, sa Manila kami sasalubong sa new year. My parents are staying at our house there. Doon na lang kami magkikita ng mga sister ko.” James replied. “O paano, Andy and I will go back to Manila na. We will just pick you up on January 3?”
“Yes, that’s correct. Thanks a lot again and Happy New Year to both of you. Enjoy the celebration” Richard said.
Richard and Aldrich went back to the main resort as James and Andy were taking off.
“Please give these to Catherine, Aldrich.” Richard told Aldrich when he dropped him off at the resort’s office, pointing to the stuffs from the chopper. “She knows already what she would do with those.”
“Okay po Sir Richard.” Aldrich said as he got most of the stuffs from the back seat of the car. “By the way Sir, nag-text po si Robert, okay na raw po iyong pinagagawa niyo sa kanya.” Aldrich said, referring to his cousin who also works at Emerald.
“That’s great! Please thank him for me.” Richard said, grinning. He is looking forward to seeing Maya’s expression when she sees his next treat to her.
Before he drove off, Richard opened the small bag that James gave him. He rummaged inside and look for the small velvet box that he knew would be there. He slowly opened it when he found it, excited at seeing the engagement ring for Maya that he asked his mother to buy. He smiled when he saw the beautiful platinum engagement ring for the love of his life. His mother really knows his taste. Richard put it back in the box and in the bag and drove off, humming ‘Love has come of age’!
Several minutes after, Richard arrived back at the house. He put the bag in his room and changed into jeans and a t-shirt before he looked for Maya. He found her at the back veranda, reading a book. Like that morning, he greeted her by nuzzling on her neck.
“I’m back, Sweetheart,” Richard said with a smile, hugging her from behind. “Nainip ka ba?”
“Hi Sweetheart, hindi naman. Inihanda ko pa ang things natin. I gather we will go swimming somewhere so I have towels for us and a change of clothes. Nasaan na ang mga gamit mo, I will put it in my bag.” Maya said, giving her boyfriend a kiss on the cheek. “Are we leaving na ba?”
“Yes, Sweetheart. Halika na.” Richard helped Maya up from the wicker chair where she was sitting. “Thanks, Sweetheart. Here. Pakilagay na lang ang mga ito.” He handed her his change of clothes.
Maya and Richard left the bungalow hand in hand. They stopped at the resort’s garage. Ricky asked Maya to wait for him outside and when he came out, he was riding a motorcycle. He looked like Tom Cruise in ‘Top Gun’ in his jeans, shirt and helmet!
“Wow, Sweetheart, magmo-motor tayo!” Maya asked, smiling. “I haven’t ridden one in a very long time.”
“Yes, we are going to a waterfall up in the mountains st the other side of the resort. Ito lang ang makakaakyat doon. Put this on please.” Richard said as handed Maya a helmet.
Maya climbed behind Richard after putting on the helmet. She held on tight to his waist and they were on their way. It was an exhilarating ride up the rough road that lead to the base of the mountain. Richard liked the feel of Maya’s arms around him. Maya felt the same, so very close to Richard.
They left the motorcycle at the entrance of the place. Richard opened the gate and after a short trek, they arrived at the base of a beautiful waterfall. Before the rocks that surround the edge of the falls, Maya saw a picnic table laden with food. It even has a checkered blue and yellow table cloth and a vase of flowers in the middle.
“May picnic pa tayo!” Maya exclaimed, surprised at the treat before her.
“Yes, pinahanda ko ang mga iyan sa cousin ni Aldrich na staff din sa resort kanina. We can spend the day here, just relaxing, communing with nature and being with each other, alone. Off limits pa ang place na ito kasi hindi pa naaayos ang mga railing. Baka kasi may mga batang guests na hindi mapansin, dumiretso doon sa tubig.” Richard pointed to the side, ringed with slippery rocks.
“That’s a good idea! Pero this place will be a nice place for picnics nga and the water looks so cool and inviting.” Maya said. “Swimming muna tayo before eating? Hungry ka na ba?”
“Not yet. I was about to suggest that.” Richard said. “Suot mo na ba ang swimsuit mo?”
“Errr, yes.” Maya said, suddenly feeling shy about disrobing in front of Richard, even if it just meant removing her shorts and the loose top she was wearing over her swim wear, that is on second thought, but too late now, seems skimpy, and too sexy. Richard noticed Maya’s hesitation. He smiled.
“Hayan, sige, tatalikod na ako.” Richard simply said, smiling. He also started removing his shirt, then his jeans until he was only clad in a swimming trunks that fitted him so well.
Maya turned and saw him. She gulped. She should be used to his bare chest by now. But this is the first time she had seen him in a skimpy swimming trunks. Richard did the same when he saw Maya in her two-piece swimwear, the top tied at the back of her neck and the bottoms held together with ribbons!
“Let’s go.” He managed to say, trying to control his reaction to his sexy girlfriend’s body. He held Maya’s hand and led her to the steps built on the side. He went into the cold water first then assisted Maya down.
“Brrr, it’s cold!” Maya gasped. The shock of the cool water from the falls hitting her body full blast.
“You will get warm soon, Sweetheart. Just submerge yourself.” Richard assured Maya. “Let’s swim up to the ledge behind the falls.”
“Sure, is it safe to do so?” Maya looked nervously at the strong curtain of water falling from several feet above.
“I’m sure, Sweetheart! Don’t worry, I will take care of you. I have been there several times. The feeling is incredible. It is like you are in a world of your own.”
Richard then swam towards the curtain of water, with Maya in tow. He was gently gliding along, keeping escort to her. He led her to an opening where the water was not so strong. When they were behind the curtain of water, he went up the ledge and assisted Maya up. They sat on the ledge, feet dangling, and their arms around each other, marvelling at the beauty of the nature around them.
“Ricky, this is so beautiful!” Maya remarked. She can’t see beyond the falling water, but it was like being cocoon in a private world.
Richard grinned at her, so happy to see the wonder and amazement in her face. “I told you, Sweetheart.”
Richard and Maya keep still for several seconds, just enjoying the sound of the falling water and the quiet between them.
“Thank you for bringing me here.” Maya said after a while. “Thank you for this wonderful trip.”
“The best is yet to come, Sweetheart.” Richard said enigmatically, cupping her chin and rubbing his thumb along the seams of her lips.
Maya felt breathless, all of a sudden. Her senses suddenly reacted to that soft touch, coupled with his heated gaze. “The best? And what do you mean by that, Mr. Lim?” Maya asked, fighting the sensation she is starting to feel. She also realized that she and Ricky are barely clothed and here they were in a very romantic, secluded place. It felt like they were in a paradise of their own.
Richard gave her a lopsided smile. “Secret!”
“But….”Maya started to say, protesting, wanting to know.
Before Maya could finish asking and making kulit, Richard lowered his lips to hers, then shut her up with a searing kiss. He too, had been fighting the sensation it evokes in him, seeing Maya clad only in skimpy swimwear, with her nipples outlined by the wet swimsuit that clung lovingly to her beautiful body.
Maya returned Richard’s kiss and yielded to the sensation she was feeling. Richard sought entrance into Maya’s mouth. Maya let Richard in. He explored the inside of her mouth, caressing it with his tongue. His tongue sought hers, and their tongues duelled heatedly, passionately. At the same, Richard hand found its way on Maya’s skimpily clad breasts and started caressing one.
“Ricky….” Maya gasped at the feeling he was evoking in her. She felt like a current went through her. She started caressing Richard’s back and all the exposed skin she can touch.
“Maya, Sweetheart……” Richard’s lips left Maya’s mouth and trailed kisses to her neck, nipping here and there. It reached the valley between her breasts and like a heat seeking missile, zeroed in on a pebbled nipple.
“Oh, Sweetheart, that feels so….” Maya suddenly was at a lost for words and just drowned in the sensation of Richard lips and tongue on her already sensitized nipple. His seeking mouth moved to her other breast and nipple, and gave them the same loving, maddening attention.
Richard felt like he was going to explode from the sheer reaction his body is experiencing from Maya’s touch and kisses. He took a deep breath and try to control his raging desire. He knows that this is not the place and the time to initiate Maya into the physical expression of their love for each other. He wanted to wait.
“Maya, Sweetheart, I think we should stop. I’m barely holding on to my control.” Richard managed to say, trying to breath normally and stopping himself from touching Maya’s delectable thoroughly kissed lips and her beautiful breasts that seem to be begging for his touch.
Maya looked at Richard with dazed expression too, trying to control her fast beating heart and her body’s reaction to Richard’s heated touch. She too, knows, that this is not the place and the time for taking their relationship to the physical level.
Richard hugged Maya to him, kissed her hair, then caressed her arm gently and slowly as they tried to fight the intense desire they are feeling for each other. Then they shared a loving smile.
“Let’s go cool off.” Richard said, smiling lovingly at Maya. “Nature’s version of a cold shower!”
Maya laughed at that, then said ruefully, teasingly, “Okay. I think I also need one.”
Richard and Maya dove into the cold water from the side of the waterfall. They swam to the middle, then floated, relaxing as they looked at the blue skies above. They also played like children, dunking each other, then when they can’t help it, shared kisses.
When Richard and Maya got tired of swimming, they went up and ate their delicious lunch. Robert also packed a thermos of coffee for them, which they enjoyed very much having after their delicious lunch. They sipped their coffee companionably while enjoying the sound of the water falling from several feet above.
Their swimsuits were almost dry after they have finished with their coffee. Richard put on a pair of shorts and another white t-shirt. Maya on the other hand, wrapped herself with a sarong loosely tied around her neck, like a halter dress.
“Come, I will show you something.” Richard took hold of Maya’s hand and led her to a clearing at the other side of the waterfall. In it, Maya saw an open hut with a hammock in the middle.
“It looks so inviting!” Maya remarked, seeing that the hut is in the middle of a small garden and overlooking the falls from another angle.
“I thought of putting several of these all over the place for relaxing. This is the first one.” Richard said. He then led Maya to the hammock. He climbed after her. “Now, we can have a very nice siesta!”
Maya hugged Richard and laid her head on his chest. Richard put his arms around Maya, cushioning her. “I love you very much, Sweetheart.” He said softly as he made the hammock swayed a bit. He just felt so happy with Maya in his arms like this.
“I love you very much too, Ricky.” Maya said, caressing him, getting lulled by the very relaxing place and with Richard’s arms around her.
“Go nap.” Richard told her. “We have the whole afternoon pa here if you want.”
“Okay, I feel sleepy nga.” Maya replied yawning. “Ikaw?”
“I will too. It is so nice, with you in my arms like this.” He said, smiling, then kissing the top of her head.
Richard and Maya fell asleep soon after, with their arms around each other, savouring the bliss in the little paradise they have found that Tuesday afternoon, very, very happy.
Unbeknown to Maya, her happiness will be doubled the following evening, with the best of all of Richard’s surprises for her.
Ethan boarded the ferry at the Puerto Galera Pier bright and early Friday morning. Unlike when Pippa took it four days ago, the ferry is going to sail to Batangas on schedule this day. He decided to sit out in the open area of the ferry as he always like looking at the beautiful view of Puerto Galera from the sea. The first time he saw it like that as his ferry approached, seems like ages ago, he fell in love with the place. Besides, in a cool morning like this, it is nice to sit out there.
Several minutes after Ethan settled down on his seat at the back of the rows of seats in that part of the boat, two giggling girls approached him.
“Hello there! Are these seats taken?” The girl wearing very short shorts asked him, pointing to the seats beside his.
Ethan looked up from the book he was about to read while waiting for the ferry to get moving. “No, the seats are free.” Ethan politely said.
“Thank you!” The two girls plopped themselves down beside him. Then they started to chat him up. Ethan knew then what they were up to, and he was not interested. He answered them politely in the beginning, but when they started speaking in Filipino about him, not so nicely, objectifyng him, he stood up.
“Pwedeng dadaan lang ako. Parang mas gusto ko na lang doon sa kabilang side nitong boat.” He said politely, but pointedly.
The two girls blushed to the roots of their dyed hair, realizing that he understood all the words they have spoken in Filipino. They mumbled a sorry to him. They were the ones who offered to move as far away from him as they could.
Ethan heaved a sigh of relief. He never thought of himself as a particularly good looking guy. But what the girls did is not new to him. It has happened several times while he is here, also in Thailand. He decided to send Pippa an SMS while waiting, informing her that he is already in the ferry and is about to leave Puerto Galera. She replied promptly, wishing him a good trip and that she will be waiting at the bus terminal when he gets to Manila.
Ethan felt very happy, and is very much looking forward to seeing Pippa again. Even the thought of what is Claudia’s diary failed to dampen his happiness in seeing Pippa again. He is prepared with whatever he will discover in that diary. It is time for him to move on and thanks a lot to Pippa, he is on that way already!
The past three days seemed longer with no Pippa around. Even the book he was reading before she arrived in his life was not as interesting as he thought it would be. He gets distracted with the thoughts of Pippa. He just would find himself smiling, the book forgotten. He always looked forward to the evenings and their nightly phone calls. Now in several hours, he will see her. The boat started moving and Ethan watched the receding Mindoro coastlines.
Pippa, at that time was busy cleaning her apartment. She had already prepared the room where Ethan will stay. When Ally comes, then she would have to share her room. Pippa hopes it would be okay with Ethan’s sister. She only has one guest room. She was humming while she mops her living room. She hopes Ethan will like her place. She find it a bit strange that it is important to her that he does. With Martin, she didn’t care much.
It has been a very hectic three days for Pippa. She had worked for 10 hours straight, putting the final plans for the production of her new magazine show, which will be launched the following month. It is earlier than schedule, but not the two weeks time her boss was initially told last Friday. Now, they have ample time to produce episodes.
The pilot episode of Pippa’s show would be about celebrities and their beautiful vacation houses around the country. Luckily, a well-known actress and a singer agreed to have their houses in Batangas and Palawan featured in their first episode. While the third one, that of a popular teen star, they are still negotiating, but it looks like the teener and his mom will agree. Pippa and her team, together with the host of the show, the well-known blogger and beauty queen Isabela Montes, are flying to Palawan next week for it. The Batangas one will be handled by one of the segment producers, with Isabela joining the team also, before the Palawan trip.
When Pippa finished cleaning the apartment, she went to the nearby supermarket to buy supplies for the house. She was thinking of cooking steak and mashed potatoes for Ethan that evening, if he wants to stay in. Otherwise, they can just go to one of the restaurants in Teachers Village in Quezon City or in Kapitolyo in Pasig for dinner. She also had a quick brunch in a nearby restaurant.
Having done that, Pippa returned to her condo. She was about to park her car, when she caught a glimpse of Martin and Cassie going up the elevator. She checked if she felt something, hurt or whatever, with the sight she saw, but there was none. In fact, she felt relieved. She smiled. Her heart felt so much lighter now! While she knew in her heart that she never really loved Martin, she also thought that it may be different when she sees him again. Thank God, she is so totally over him, and she got a lucky escape!
Pippa grabbed her keys after taking a shower. Ethan had just sent her a message to tell her that he was in the Camp Aguinaldo area. He even said, he knew because of the huge signage at the gate. Pippa replied that she will go to the terminal in Kamuning to wait for him.
Pippa was already waiting at the entrance of the bus terminal when Ethan’s bus arrived. Since she was double parked at the side, she called Ethan to let him know where she is and the color and make of her car. Several minutes after, Ethan opened the passenger’s seat of Pippa’s red Honda City.
“Hi Pippa, so nice to see you again.” Ethan said with a huge grin, then he gave Pippa a big hug, bags and all, just so very happy to see her again.
“Hello Ethan, so happy to see you too!” Pippa replied, with an equally big grin. Let’s get moving, baka paalisin na ako rito.”
Pippa drove back to her condo unit. She parked her car at her usual spot, then she and Ethan took the elevator to her unit on the 20th floor of the building.
“Here it is, home away from home. Welcome to my place, Ethan.” Pippa said smiling at Ethan.
Ethan looked around and he likes how Pippa decorated her flat. It looks cozy and very laid back. He also noticed her bookshelf and DVD collection in the living room. “This is a very nice place, Pippa.”
“Thank you, Ethan, would you like something to drink? To eat? I’m sure you must be hungry. We can order your fast food fix?” Pippa asked as she gestured for Ethan to sit on the couch.
“Oh, just Coke, Pippa if you have. We can just eat together later.” Ethan said.
“Okay, one Coke in can coming right up.” Pippa said smiling, then went to the fridge to get Ethan’s Coke. She also put some chips and dip on the tray she brought back to the living room. “Here you go, with something to tide you over.”
“Thank you very much Pippa. You are the best!” Ethan said smiling.
Pippa sat beside Ethan on the couch. She is happy to see him in her place. She feels that he belongs here with none of the awkwardness she felt when Martin comes for his one of rare visits. Normally, they just meet each other in restaurants or if he comes picking her up, they only stayed in her place for several minutes.
“I’m glad you are finally here, Ethan.” Pippa remarked, while she drinks the coffee she made for herself.
“I’m happy to be here too, Pippa! I really, really missed you a lot.” Ethan said while drinking his Coke. “Good thing we have been ringing each other every evening.”
“I missed you a lot too. Our nightly calls helped me relieved the tiredness I was feeling at the end of each work day. Thank God, everything is in order na with work so we can relax na completely.” Pippa said. “What would you like to do later? We can stay in the house and I will cook, or we can go out to have dinner?”
“Hmmm, how about supper somewhere you like very much, a place you haven’t tried or a place you like going to a lot? That way, you don’t have to cook.” Ethan suggested. “I’m good with any cuisine. Huwag mo lang ako pakakainin ng balut.”
“Ha, you don’t eat balut?” Pippa asked, smiling.
“I’m sorry, but no. Just imagining the duck embryo inside is enough to send me to the opposite direction.” Ethan said, smiling.
“Okay, no balut.” Pippa said. “By the way, what time will Ally arrive on Sunday?”
“I think around lunchtime.” Ethan said.
“Okay, we can just leave for the airport around 9AM. Traffic should be okay around that time since it is a Sunday.” Pippa suggested.
“Pippa, speaking of my sister, I want to tell you something.” Ethan said, then taking a deep breath, plunged in. “Ally will be bringing with her Claudia’s diary that the new tenant of our flat found recently while having the loose boards repaired.”
“Ethan, isn’t it good news?” Pippa said. “It might shed light on why she did what she did.”
“True, I thought of that too. I’m hopeful and at the same time, dreading what is in there. But I think it is better to know. Whatever it is.” Ethan said, then gazed at Pippa meaningfully. “I’m ready to move on. Thanks to you!”
“Ha, thanks to me, Ethan?” Pippa asked surprised, at the same time, she felt her heart skipped a beat with what he said, the way he said it and the way he is gazing at her.
“Yes, despite the fact that we have known each other a short time, you have helped me deal with it. I feel like you are a kindred spirit. I feel at ease with you in such a short time.” Ethan said, then continued, “And please don’t get me wrong, as this maybe too soon for you, the truth is, I’m starting to feel something for you.”
“Ethan…..” Pippa whispered. “You mean….?” She managed to say against the loud beating of her heart.
“Yes, Pippa, I like you, very, very much. I know it is too soon as you yourself just got out of a bad relationship, but we can take it one day at a time, please.” Ethan appealed. “Just give me a chance to prove to you that not all guys are cads!”
Pippa gazed at Ethan, saw his earnestness. “Ethan, I saw Martin earlier, going to his condo with Cassie, the girl I caught him with, and I felt nothing, Ethan! I was so happy. I think I’m over him and that it was not love really. But there is a part of me that is afraid, of getting hurt again. I know you are not like him, but still, the feeling of being betrayed like that lingers.”
“That’s a perfectly normal feeling, Pippa! Just take your time.” Ethan said, putting his hand on top of Pippa’s to comfort her. “I will just be here. I’m not going anywhere. I’m actually planning to stay in the Philippines for good.”
“Thank you, Ethan.” Pippa said, then cupping his face, she said candidly, “I like you a lot too, Ethan. In such a short time, you became someone very important to me. Yes, like you, I’m starting to feel something for you. But let us take it one day at a time, please.”
“Pippa, thank you! I’m so happy to know that. Of course, we could, we would.” Ethan said, touching Pippa’s face too. “All I want is a chance with you. I know we could have something very beautiful. We can take our time. One day at a time! As long as you are willing and open, then I’m happy.”
Pippa and Ethan gazed at each other. Then as if they can’t help it, their lips met for a searing kiss. They broke apart after several long seconds, with faces flushed. They looked at each other lovingly. Ethan put his arms around Pippa and laced their fingers. Pippa put her head on Ethan’s chest, the two of them savoring the moment that wonderful Friday afternoon.