“So, that’s how wonderful it feels!” Maya murmured to herself after she and Richard slowly broke apart, catching their breaths and equilibrium after that earth-shaking kiss. She was taken off guard by that, in a very, very nice way. She never knew it would feel like that, like her whole universe was anchored on the feeling that Richard’s soul-shattering kiss brought.
“What was that Maya?” Richard asked gently, lovingly, cupping Maya’s chin. He heard her, but he wanted to be sure that he heard her correctly. He, too, felt the earth moved with that kiss. It felt like their souls fused with that kiss.
Maya flushed, not sure whether to admit it to Richard or not, but on the other hand, she mused, this is Richard and she is comfortable with telling him such things. “Well, I never knew that a kiss would feel like that, like your whole world is centered on that kiss and the person you are sharing it with. I mean, sometimes I would imagine what it would feel like, especially when I would read about it in the romance novels I was addicted to, but still, my imagination felt way short of the real thing.” Maya finally said with a shy smile, her lips still tingling from that kiss.
It dawned on Richard then that this was Maya’s first kiss and he felt privileged and honored to be the one she had shared it with. Yes, he initiated it but Maya shared it with him. He felt it. He cupped her face, then said softly, for he too felt the difference in the kiss. “With the right person, with the person you love, it is. I felt the same Maya. It was like my first kiss as well. Kisses are not the same.”
“Really, Ricky?” Maya asked, curious to know. She thought it would be somewhat the same with Richard, sort of, as he had girlfriends before and has been married for a number of years.
“Yes, because of what I feel for you when we shared that kiss.” Then taking Maya’s hand, Richard looked deeply into her eyes. “I love you very much, Maya. I never stopped. What I felt for you ten years ago, it is still here, in my heart. It has just laid dormant while we were apart and when so many things and circumstances have kept us apart. When I saw you again, my heart jumped and beat faster. The same way it does every time I would see you years ago. I became alive again. Suddenly, my heart feels so light and I doubly look forward to each morning. When I go to sleep at night, you were my last thought. I feel this indescribable happiness when I’m with you, when I see you kahit across a conference table lang.”
“R-r-ricky,” Maya whispered, not completely believing that she is finally hearing those words from Richard’s lips. Parang feeling niya nananaginip pa rin siya. Yes, she knows he has feelings for her, otherwise, he would have not said he will court her proper this time, but hearing those words, she felt like she was transported to a place that only her and Richard exist. Then taking a deep breath, calming herself, she admitted to Richard. “I never stopped loving you too, Ricky. Wala namang ibang naging laman ang puso ko kundi ikaw. Walang ibang nagpatibok nito ng ganito, kundi ikaw. I only feel this happiness when I am with you.”
“M-maya, you mean…?” Richard asked hesitantly, thinking that he was just dreaming too, that he was not hearing those words from Maya. But he does! He hoped he would hear it from her during the course of their courtship but he was not expecting it this soon.
“Yes, Ricky, I love you too. Ikaw lang ang nandito” Maya said, pointing at her heart, then gazing at Richard with all the love that she is feeling. “And you are right, I may have not kissed anyone like that before you, but I think I would have known the difference too. I felt like it went beyond our lips fusing together. I felt it deep into my soul.”
“Maya, Maya, sweetheart, you are making me the happiest guy in the world.” Richard said, his voice suddenly unsteady! “So this means, tayo na, ha? You are my girlfriend na, finally! Sinasagot mo na ako?” He babbled.
Maya smiled, seeing the happiness and the love on Richard’s handsome face. “Opo, Mr. Lim, tayo na po. You are my boyfriend na po.” She said, touching his face lovingly. “I love you very much!”
“Maya, I’m the happiest guy in the world at the moment! Thank you. I love you very, very much, sweetheart.” Then he lowered his head to hers again and they shared another beautiful kiss.
“I love you very much, Ricky. Parang feeling ko nananaginip ako, and yet, here we are.” Maya said, touching Richard’s face lovingly. “Parang nakikita ko ang mga sarili natin 10 years younger, inside a car din after our first unofficial date. Naaalala mo iyon, noong nag-bookstore tayo. Kung alam mo lang, sobrang happy ko that night.”
“This is real, Maya. Fate made us meet again so we can continue what we started ten years ago. Not so many people have second chances like this. I promise not to waste it. I will love you until the end of my days and it will be my goal to make you happy.” Richard said eloquently. “And sobrang happy ko rin that night. For me, that was our ‘first date’.
“Thank you, Ricky. You are right. Ayaw ko na ring sayangin ang panahon. Ten years na ang nawala sa buhay natin. But you and I, we can’t regret those ten years. It made us better persons. It shaped us to be the persons we are now, and in your case, it gave you Abby pa. Tapos you found love din naman with Alexandra even if it was a different kind of love.”
“I completely agree, Maya. Let us move forward together from now on and let’s not waste our moments.” Richard said, cupping Maya’s face and giving her another kiss, this one more intense than the first kiss they have shared. Maya returned the kiss with all the feeling she has in her. “And thank you very much, Maya, for understanding that Abby is a part of my life now and that Alexandra was part of it.”
“Ricky, I do. I just want you to know. Alexandra was there for you when you needed someone and who can’t not love Abby. She is a precious girl.” Maya assured Richard. “The past is the past and we can’t do anything about it. Good thing, we have the present to build on towards our future, wherever it would lead us.”
“I love you, you know, Ms. Dela Rosa, you and your big loving heart.” Richard said, so overwhelmed at that moment. He is sure already where the present would lead them, to a future together.
“I love you too, Mr. Lim, kahit ilang lifetimes ang dumaan, ikaw pa rin ang nandito sa puso ko.” Maya whispered lovingly.
Maya and Richard stayed in the car for several minutes more, savoring the moment and the change in their relationship status. Maya’s head was pillowed on Richard’s chest as he caressed her hair slowly, interspersing it with soft little kisses.
“Halika na ihahatid na kita sa apartment mo. As much as I want to stay with you here all night, alam ko na you had a long day na rin.” Richard reluctantly said after a while.
“Halika sa itaas na nga tayo magkwentuhan. We will be more comfortable there. Don’t worry, I’m not sleepy pa naman. Besides, wala naman tayong pasok bukas. Though, oo nga pala, maglilipat pa kayo in the morning.” Maya said. She, too, was reluctant for the wonderful evening to end.
“Oh, no worries about that. Hindi naman iyan kailangang sobrang agang gawin. Kami-kami lang naman nina Manang and Abby. Besides, Sabel can help and nandoon din naman si Joma.” Richard assured Maya. “Halika, I will take you up to your place.”
Richard opened the door for her. Hands intertwined and with sweet smiles for each other they went up to Maya’s apartment.
“Coffee, juice, water?” Maya asked as she and Richard entered her apartment. She dropped her things on the table and told Richard to sit on the sofa while she gets them something to drink.
“Nothing at the moment. I just want to be with you.” Richard said softly, lovingly. Then he led Maya to the sofa. But instead of letting her sit beside him, he reeled Maya in and she ended into his lap. “I just want to cuddle with my girlfriend.” He whispered softly, lovingly.
Maya smiled, thrilled at hearing the word ‘girlfriend’ again. “Yes, boyfriend. I love saying it and hearing girlfriend from your lips. Imagine, after all these years, boyfriend na talaga kita, Ricky! Hindi pa rin ako makapaniwala.”
“Sweetheart, ako rin. We are so very, very lucky. Pagkatapos ng sampung taon at ng lahat ng nangyari sa buhay natin, tayo pa rin! You know what, sweetheart, kahit hindi tayo nagkita sa RRMA, I was really planning on looking for you pagkatapos ko lang ma-settle si Abby and the business too. Shot in the dark, pero I was determined to find you and see if I can pick up where we have stopped before. I was hoping for kahit kaunting chance lang or a closure at least if you are not free na to have me. Kaya nga nang sinabi mo na hindi ka pa taken, sobrang saya ko kaya.” Richard said, hugging Maya tight. “I’m been thanking God ever since for this second chance.”
“Talaga, sweetheart! Pero kung hindi sa RRMA, sure ako na magkikita pa rin tayo since you are moving back here at Mirasol. Imagine, pagkatapos tayong paghiwalayin ng circumstances, kahit ano pala ang gawin natin, pagtatagpuin pa rin tayo. You know, there is a part of me, that has been waiting for you. I was so reluctant to let you go and what we had started years ago. Like I have said, in all those years, wala talagang ibang pumasok dito sa puso ko. Not Jason, or the guys that have courted me while I was working as a journalist or even while at law school. Wala akong maramdaman sa kanila na katulad ng naramdaman ko sa iyo. I just wished then, that someday, I will see you again and see if the feeling is still the same, na sana we will end up together pa rin despite the odds kasi the feeling is still there or para na rin maka-move on since we didn’t have a closure if ever man na that you have moved on na rin. Pero nang makita ulit, I felt again what I felt for you ten years ago, like you, parang nabuhay ng sobra-sobra. Hindi talaga nagbago. Even when I thought that you were married and have a kid na. I fought it lang a bit since I thought you were married. Pero nang malaman ko na widower ka, my heart jumped. I’m so happy, Ricky, that we found each other again and that what we felt for each other ten years ago is still here, very much alive in our hearts.” Maya said emotionally, touching Richard’s face softly and his heart.
“I love you very much, Maya.” Richard said with all the love he is feeling. “I can’t find words to describe what I am feeling at the moment. I can’t thank God enough for still making this possible, for us ending up with each other pa rin sa hinaba-haba ng panahon.”
“I love you very much too, Ricky.” Maya replied. “Sobra-sobra.”
Maya and Richard gazed at each other with all the love they are feeling, wanting each other to know, wanting to show it in every way they could. Richard cupped Maya’s chin, caressed her lips with his thumb softly, then his lips replaced his thumb. Richard gave Maya a searing kiss which she responded wholeheartedly. His tongue sought entrance to her mouth and when she let him in, their tongues dueled and mated into a love dance.
“Ricky….” Maya whispered against Richard’s mouth, unable to put into words the effect of Richard’s kisses and caresses on her. He is driving her crazy with emotions that she was feeling for the first time. She felt like she was on fire.
“Maya, sweetheart…” Richard murmured in between kissing Maya. He can’t get enough of her. At the back of his head, he knew that things are going to get out of hand soon, if he does not put a stop to the fire that has ignited between them. But he wanted more, a couple of minutes more of this, of being with Maya like this. He deepened his kiss again. Maya responded. She also started touching him, caressing his hair, seeking what, she can’t fully explained. She just wanted to be with Ricky as close as possible.
Maya somewhat had an idea of effect of what they were doing on Richard. She can hear his shortness of breath and the evidence of his desire for her from her perch on his lap. She felt his hand moving to the underside of her breast and she waited with bated breath for that touch that she knew was coming. She didn’t wait long, as Richard cupped her left breast through the opening of the sheath dress she wore that morning. Maya gasped from the effect of his touch. She felt like she have been singed. She felt the heat traveling to her inner core. She wanted more. Her body undulated against Richard, silently begging for more.
“Maya, sweetheart, what you do to me….” Richard whispered, trying to stop the conflagration that was consuming him and Maya fast. “I love this, but we need to stop, sweetheart while we still can, while I still can.” He said in between gasping for breath.
Maya tried to get out of the haze of desire enveloping her, knowing that Richard was right, they needed to stop, for now. She wiggled and Richard groaned loudly, as if he was in pain.
“Sweetheart, don’t move like that, you are killing me.” Richard said with a pained expression, still fighting off the intense desire he was feeling for Maya.
“Oh!” Maya realized what she had done and the effect on it on Richard’s body. She flushed, realizing the full extent of Richard’s desire for her.
“You are lethal, sweetheart.” Richard said, smiling lovingly at Maya, trying to catch his breath.
Maya just smiled and hugged Richard. She should feel uncomfortable with the level of intimacy she and Richard had reached that evening, considering this was all new to her, but she was not. For her, it was perfectly okay and normal between them. She is ready to go where it would lead Richard and her. But maybe that night is not the time to take their relationship to the physical level.
“Sweetheart, are you okay?” Richard asked after a while, looking at Maya’s thoroughly kissed lips. “I’m sorry, I got carried away.”
“Ricky, sweetheart, don’t be. Dalawa naman tayo roon.” Maya assured Richard. “I maybe innocent in the physical aspect of a relationship between a man and a woman, but I know about it on a theoretical level. Sa dami ba naman ng bodice-ripper novels na nabasa ko, sweetheart,” She finished with a smile.
“Hmmm, really, those sexy poses on the cover, hanggang loob ng books? Mas intense pa?” Richard asked. “There must be something in those books, maybe I should start reading that too!” He teased after Maya nodded.
“Hahahaha, Ricky, ikaw talaga.” Maya laughed. “You don’t need to find out what women found in those. I think you are doing pretty well for yourself.”
Richard grinned. “Really, sweetheart. So kasing-level ko na ang mga bodice-ripper heroes?” He asked still teasing.
“Richard Lim, ang ego!” Maya teased, pinching Richard on the side.
“Ouchy naman, sweetheart! Kasasagot mo pa lang sa akin, battered na ako.” Richard teased, pretending to be hurt, by pouting his lips.
“Oh, poor you.” Maya said, then gave him a quick kiss on the lips. “Better?”
“So much better.” Richard grinned. “May masakit pa dito sa side ko.”
“Ha, sobra na iyan Mr. Ricky Lim ha!” She protested smiling, but still, gave him another kiss.
They shared a big smile after, then gazed deeply into each other’s eyes. They cuddled for a while, until Richard realized that Maya was not moving or saying anything anymore while he caresses her hair. He checked and saw her sleeping. Her head pillowed on his chest. He also noticed her steady breathing.
“My poor sweetheart!” Richard said affectionately, lovingly. She must have been very tired. They had a very long, but very wonderful day. He looked at the clock and realized that it was already past midnight.
With Maya still in his arms, Richard stood up slowly, then walked towards the door to the left of the living room, guessing it to be Maya’s room. He opened the door and he was right. A big bed dominated the room, with a small reading lamp by the side. The other wall was covered with a floor-to-ceiling book-case and beside it a small study table and a settee against the big wide window. It was a very nice and cozy room.
He laid down Maya gently on the bed. “Ricky….” she whispered sleepily.
“Shhhh, go back to sleep, sweetheart. I’ll let myself out.” Richard said, covering her with the comforter. He also turned on the air con unit he saw. He went back to the bed and kissed Maya on the forehead. “Good night, sweetheart. I love you.” He whispered to her now sleeping form again.
Richard slowly closed the door of Maya’s room and let himself out of the unit, making sure that Maya was tucked in safely for the night. He got out of the apartment building with a big smile on his face. The love of his life is sleeping safely for the night. In several hours, he will see her again. He can’t wait! Richard doubted if he can sleep very well that night with all the happiness in his heart,
He drove off into the night, leaving Mirasol Street one more time, then he will be back there for good! He will be with the love of his life everyday, on the street where they started! He found himself humming ‘On the Street Where You Live’ from My Fair Lady while driving home. But unlike poor Freddy Enysford-Hill with Eliza Doolittle, he has Maya’s love. He found the love he had been looking for all his life and that wonderful lady loves him back! Life is just so perfect at that moment!