“More wine, sweetheart?” Richard asked Maya, seeing that her glass was near-empty. They were sitting in a two-person garden swing at the back veranda of the Lim family home, an hour after they have put Abby to sleep and half an hour after they have finished their wonderful dinner – Manang Fe’s very delicious binagoongan, and Sabel’s pinakbet with bagnet. They were simply stuffed with the rich dinner they had.
Richard asked Maya if she was already sleepy, and she told him she was not yet. Grinning she even told him, “Remember I was the queen of puyatan while I was in law school.” So they ended up at the back veranda, with the white wine they started drinking during dinner, toasting Richard and Abby’s return to Mirasol Street. They had a glass each during dinner and the ones they brought to the veranda was their second.
“No more na, sweetheart, just this one! Baka hindi na ako magising ng maaga bukas. Madi-disappoint ang mga bata.” Maya said, smiling. “I will just finish this one, then I will go home.”
“I wish you are not going home, that you don’t have to go home at all!” Richard said all of a sudden, half-teasingly.
“Ricky,” Maya protested, flushing a bit with the thought! Well, liking it too, she must admit! “I do have a house.”
“Just saying…” Richard said, gazing at Maya lovingly, then grinning, he teased, “But since uuwi ka, I can wake you up tomorrow morning, I can drop by bright and early and wake you up with kisses. I’m sure by my 100th kiss you will be very much awake.”
“Hahahaha, sure ka ba, sweetheart, baka lalo akong hindi magising.” Maya bantered back, riding along Richard’s playful mood.
“I’m sure, sweetheart. Eh si Princess Aurora nga isang kiss lang ni Prince Philip, nagising na kaagad. Iyon pa kayang 100 special kisses ng prince charming mo, sweetheart.” Richard grinned at his joke. It must be the wine or just the sheer happiness at the moment!
“Hahahaha, corny mo talaga, sweetheart! Pataas ng pataas ang corny meter mo.” Maya said laughing. “Pero, kahit ikaw pa ang pinaka-corny na boyfriend, super love pa rin kita. Saka in fairness, sweetheart, you know your Disney princesses ha.”
“That comes with the territory kapag may little girl ka, hahahaha. Pati nga si Dora the Explorer, and her cousin Diego, also Phineas and Ferb, and of course, SpongeBob and Patrick!” Richard said, smiling. Being a parent, he had taken a crash course in the current children’s cartoons so he can watch them with Abby, and understand what they are watching! “Pero siyempre, number one ang Disney Princesses kay Abby!”
“So true. I also did that with Lance. Since I take care of him from time to time, I have to know what kids like to watch these days and to see if they are suitable for his age.” Maya then faced Richard, then cupped his face, lovingly. “You know what, sa lahat ng sinabi mo earlier, may isa roon na hindi corny, pero baka this will sound cheesy naman, hahahaha.”
“Hmmmm, ano? Let me be the judge if it is cheesy or not.” Richard smiled at Maya indulgently.
“Iyong prince charming part. You are my prince charming, Mr. Richard Lim, you know, and just like what happened to Sleeping Beauty, you came back into my life, and woke me up.” Maya said, blushing a bit. “Sabi ko sa iyo, medyo cheesy eh. Basta, since we are talking about fairy tales, why not!”
“Maya, sweetheart, what a beautiful thing to say! Not cheesy at all, slight lang hahaha.” Richard put his glass down, cupped Maya’s face too, then caressed it a bit with his thumb. “I love very much, Attorney Maya Dela Rosa!” Then he added teasingly, “Kahit ikaw pa ang pinaka-cheesy na girlfriend sa buong mundo.”
“I love you very much too, Mr. Richard Lim.” Maya looked at Richard with all the love she is feeling, so very happy at that moment.
Richard lowered his lips to Maya and they shared a kiss. They broke apart after a while, and grinned at each other, very happy to be with each other in such a romantic setting. The Lim household had settled in for the night. The weather was cool, a breeze was blowing and it was very quiet in where they were. They opted not to switch on the lights as the moonlight was enough to illuminate the place, giving it a warm, romantic glow.
“I really like your place, Ricky, it’s so peaceful, especially this veranda! This moment is just perfect. Lahat naman ng moments ko with you, but this is especially so. I just feel very, very content at the moment.” Maya looked around the veranda and all the beautiful flowers that encloses it. Being there, she felt that she and Richard are in into a world of their own.
With that statement, suddenly Richard saw an opportunity to test the water and to let Maya get use to the idea. “Can you see yourself living here, sweetheart? With me and Abby?” He asked all of a sudden.
Maya was startled at Richard’s question. Yes, she had told Doris that she is ready where her relationship with Richard will take her, but hearing this question, she was still surprised. “Ha, why are you asking that, all of a sudden?” She prevaricated as she would like to gather her thoughts first. Saying it to Doris with conviction was way so different from hearing the actual thing, the near actual thing, all of a sudden!
“Because my beautiful and loving sweetheart, me, I can see you living here, with my daughter, our daughter, and the children we will have when the time comes.” Richard got hold of Maya’s now cold hands, and interlaced it with his, then said softly, looking deep into her eyes. “I want a future with you, Maya when the time comes!” Then he kissed her hand gently. “Get use to the idea, sweetheart.”
Maya touched Richard’s beloved face, gently, lovingly, then said softly, “I want a future with you, sweetheart, when the time comes. There is nothing I would rather be, than be where you and Abby are.”
Richard grinned broadly. “Thank you, my sweetheart. You and Abby are my life now.” He put his arm on Maya’s shoulder, then reeled him towards him. Maya leaned against his broad chest, and the two of them enjoyed the night, sharing thoughts, hopes and dreams, talking about the past and their experiences, catching up some more on the time that they were not only apart, but it different countries, at the same time, when they can’t help it, they exchanged sweet kisses.
“You know, parang ang tagal na pero nung Tuesday lang pala nang gabi, when we went here the first time.” Richard said after several minutes of companionable silence. “When I came back to this house after I took you home, I sat in my old room, then nagmuni-muni. It was then that I realized that I feel the same for you. That my love for you is unchanged. It had just laid dormant the past decade. That evening, I vowed that I will court you earnestly and with all of me, until you say yes. I don’t want to waste my second chance with you.”
“Talaga, sweetheart.” Maya was smiling as she listened to Richard narrating this. “So, kahit sinagot na kita, ligawan mo pa rin ako ha.” She teased.
“Of course, sweetheart, never-ending naman iyan eh. As long as we live.” Richard promised, and they have sealed that promise with another kiss.
Richard took Maya home a little past midnight. They didn’t notice the passing of time as they chatted on. Maya asked Richard if he would like to go in when they reached her door. Richard declined, teasing Maya that maybe he wouldn’t want to go home, if he comes in. Maya gave him a big, sleepy smile. They exchanged a good night kiss before retiring to their own beds for the night, for now, as Richard had said. Maya felt into a very nice, dreamless sleep and Richard was the same, considering that he has not sleep in the old house since the night they hastily left for China.
Richard was woken up by the ringing of his mobile phone the following morning. At first, he wanted to ignore it as when he checked the time, it was just 6 o’clock! However, it may be important so he got out of the bed and retrieved his phone from where he dropped it.
“Ma, good morning!” Richard greeted his mother, trying to shake off remnants of sleep from his system. “Napatawag ka po.”
“Good morning, son! Did I wake you up? I thought I had calculated the time correctly! Anong oras na ba diyan?” Donya Esmeralda Lim asked her son, noticing that he sounded sleepy on the phone.
“Ma, di ba pareho lang po tayo ng timezone!” Richard said, puzzled.
“Son, you forgot. Di ba I told you two weeks ago that your Papa and I are flying to San Francisco to visit some of his cousins.” Donya Esmeralda reminded her son. “Sobrang subsob ka naman yata diyan sa work mo, you forgot na!”
“Oh, yes, I remember! Kumusta naman po sina Tito Carlos and Tita Bella?” Richard asked, remembering that particular conversation with his mother. As usual, that time, Donya Esmeralda nagged her only son about getting married again and having someone to take care of him, someone who will love him and Abby. She also made mentioned of Maya out of the blue, telling him to check on her so he can move on. He was surprised at his mother’s statement and asked her why she thought of that out of the blue. She said, why not, mukha naman daw si Maya pa rin ang mahal niya. Since nasa Pilipinas na siya, maybe he can check and malay niya, single pa rin si Maya and available.
“Okay naman sila. Heto, relax-relax lang muna kami sa bahay nila, we are about to have snacks.” Donya Esmeralda asked. I called since I want to know how’s the move? Hindi pa kanina kayo lumipat ni Abby diyan sa bahay sa Mirasol.”
“Kahapon, Ma, Sunday morning na po rito.” Richard corrected his mother.
“Oo nga pala! Bakit ba laki kong nakakalimutan! May jet lag pa yata talaga ako. I haven’t been sleeping well since we got here. But don’t worry, son, it will pass.” Donya Esmeralda said. “O, back to the move? Okay lang ba kayo diyan nina Abby, Fe, and Sabel, and your new driver?”
“Okay na okay lang kami rito, Ma. Abby slept through the night. Otherwise, tumakbo na iyon dito sa room ko.” Richard replied. “Sina Manang and Sabel naman, of course, tuwang-tuwa na nakabalik na kami rito. You know them, ayaw ng mga iyon sa service apartment, lalo na si Manang Fe, para raw siyang nakakakulong. Manang Fe even cooked her specialty binagoongan for Maya and I last night. Tapos si Sabel naman….”
“Maya??? Wait, is she?….” Donya Esmeralda cut whatever Richard was saying next upon hearing the name.
Richard realized that hearing Maya’s name would certainly piqued his mother’s attention. He had been meaning to ease Maya and them being in a relationship now into the conversation at a certain point, but he had unconsciously mentioned her already, preempting himself! “Yes, Mama, the one and the same. She is now my girlfriend. And tama ka nagdilang-anghel ka, I found her again and she is still single. Instead na closure and moving on, we are continuing what we had started 10 yerars ago.”
“Really, son! Saan at paano kayo nagkita ulit ni Maya? Kailan mo siya naging girlfriend? Kasi di ba magkausap pa lang tayo the other week. Pero, son, hindi naman ako magtataka na kayo na, lalo pa at nalaman mo na single pa siya. I have a feeling naman kahit noon pa na siya ang one true love mo. Mabait si Alexandra and all, pero hindi ko nakita sa kanya ang spark and the chemistry na nakita ko noon nang magkasama kayo ni Maya.” Donya Esmeralda said lengthily, while Don Roberto was signalling to her, and asking what was it all about, seeing her with a big smile on her face. Donya Esmeralda signalled to her husband that she will tell him about it later.
“Really, Ma, bakit ngayon mo lang sinasabi sa akin ito?” Richard was surprised by his mother’s revelation. “I never thought you had an idea on how I felt about Maya ten years ago! The other week, out of the blue you started mentioning her.”
“I did son, I do, pero ayaw ko namang makialam sa love life mo before. Then when we were in China, I didn’t talk about it anymore since you already had a new life there by the time I got okay. I felt sad that the first time we were there, hindi man lang kita ma-comfort.” Donya Esmeralda said. “But all these years son, after Alexandra died, I wished and I have prayed constantly na makahanap ka ng happiness and find your true love again.”
“Thank you, Ma. Okay naman po ako. Ang importante naging okay ka after that terrible ordeal. And in the end I still I found Maya and the love that you were wishing for me. I’m so blessed and lucky. I’m so very, very happy with her in my life again for good!” Richard told his mother. “Not all people gets this lucky Ma! I never thought that I would find her again, even if I had plans on searching for her as soon as I get Abby settled here, especially in our house in Mirasol. Ma, not only did I find her, so unexpectedly, we finally have a chance in continuing the relationship we started ten years ago.”
Richard then told his mother how he and Maya met again, and then how he realized how much he still loves her, how he courted her again and how Maya agreed to be his girlfriend the other night.
“Would you believe it Ma, after all these years, walang naging ibang boyfriend si Maya! She told me wala raw kasing ibang nakapagpatibok ng puso niya maliban sa akin!” Richard said. “I have been thanking God Ma, and fate na pinagtagpo pa rin kami ni Maya! Gaano karaming tao ang nagkakaroon ng ganitong chance di ba?”
“I’m happy for you, and Maya, son. I’m sure naman in Maya’s heart, wala ang mga naging karibal mo. Sure ako na marami, sa ganda at talino pa naman na iyon ni Maya. Ricky, you are indeed very, very lucky son. Imagine mo, meeting her all of a sudden like that, and she is still single! Ganyan talaga ang true love. Minsan, there is really one person for us. That no matter what you do or wherever you go, sometimes di mo malimutan iyong taong iyon. Natutuwa rin ako to know that Maya has achieved her dream, and the same time felt sad on the passing of her sister. Pareho pala kayong may pinagdaaan na matindi that year.” Donya Esmeralda said, happy for her son, at the same, she remembered that hellish time in their family’s life. But the good thing is they are all okay, and her son is on his way to his forever with the woman he loves. “And how is my apo Abby taking all of these?”
“Surprisingly well, Ma. I think it was instant love between Maya and Abby. Maya is used to taking care of a special needs child too, kasi iyong inaanak nga niya na classmate ni Abby, ganoon din ang condition.” Richard told his mother about Abby’s question to Maya the day before, when they finally met.
“Hahahaha, ang bright and bibo naman talaga ng apo ko. Akalain mo iyon!” Donya Esmeralda laughed. “So kailan nga ba magiging bagong mommy ni Abby si Maya, son? Sabihin mo lang kung kailan at ng makauwi kami lahat diyan sa Pilipinas. It is about time na rin naman na bumalik kami diyan after ten years.”
“Really, Mama? Is Papa okay with it already? What do you think his reaction would be if he finds out that Maya is my girlfriend, not that it matters much? I respect Papa of course, and I would like him to like Maya and be happy for us, but if not, then so be it. I love Maya and this time I will stand by her no matter what.” Richard vowed.
“Yes, napag-usapan na namin ng Papa mo ang pag-uwi at some point. We are thinking of Christmas. Gusto ko na rin na bumalik diyan. Matagal na naman iyong nangyari. Iba na ang panahon ngayon.” Donya Esmeralda said. “As for you having Maya as a girlfriend, I think okay na okay naman ang Papa mo roon. Yes, I must admit, he was against you having a relationship with her ten years ago. But it is nothing personal to Maya. Ayaw ka lang niya talagang magka-girlfriend at that time. Ewan ko ba sa Papa mo, sabi ko naman noon na pabayaan ka na lang sa love life mo! Nakikita niya kasi na iba ang feelings mo for Maya. I’m sure kung ibang girl iyon and he sees that you love that person a lot, ganoon din ang reaction niya. Anyway, I will tell him about you and Maya pagkatapos nating mag-usap. Nagtatanong na nga kung ano ang pinag-uusapan natin.”
“Good to know, Ma. I hope everything is okay with Papa also. I just want to share our happiness with him as well. Let me know lang po kung mapapaaga ang pag-uwi niyo.” Richard said.
“Well, it depends on you, son. When are you planning to propose to her and when are you planning to get married? For sure, we will be there.” Donya Esmeralda asked.
“I’m planning to propose pa lang Ma. Sana pag-uwi namin sa Mindoro. I want to meet her mother first.” Richard smiled, thinking that ten years ago, he was also planning to go to Mindoro to court Maya. “Baka po in the next couple of weeks. The soonest I can arrange the trip the better.”
“Good luck, son, and the earlier the better, para naman madagdagan na ang apo ko!” Donya Esmeralda said.”Ito kasing si Grace, ayaw pang mag-asawa. I’m really happy for you son. O siya sige, please hug and kiss my apo for me.”
“Nasaan po pala si Papa, Ma? Baka pwede rin ako mag-hello.” Richard asked as an afterthought.
“Naku, lumabas kasama ng uncle mo. Baka tiningnan iyong gini-grill.” Donya Esmeralda replied. “Di bale, I will just tell him you said hello. Ako na bahala sa Papa mo. Please send my regards to Maya also. I hope to meet her again really soon. Call your sister din ha. I’m sure she will be happy for you rin. Balitaan mo ako kung kailan ang wedding!”
“Ma, well, pray that she will say yes sa proposal ko. And yes, Ma, I will call Grace this evening. In a while kasi pa-Tagaytay kami nina Maya, Abby and Maya’s inaanak. Ipapasyal namin doon sa amusement park doon. I love you Ma, Enjoy your vacation.”
“That’s very nice. I’m sure Abby will like that. Thanks son, we will. I love you too. Bye.”
Richard looked at the clock after he and his mother ended the phone call. It was almost 7 o’clock in the morning! They are planning to leave at 8 o’clock. He still have time. He grinned and typed a message for Maya.
Good morning, sweetheart. Rise and shine! 🙂
It took Maya several minutes before she replied.
OMG sweetheart, good thing you texted, I overslept! Tanghali na pala! Good morning!
Richard smiled at that.
Sabi ko naman sa iyo, I should have come over and woke you up with 100 kisses! 😉
Maya replied teasingly.
Hmmmm, maybe I should go back to sleep! 😉
Maybe you should. I can be there to wake you up in several minutes.
Several seconds later.
Naku Mr. Richard Lim, baka hindi na tayo makapuntang Tagaytay niyan. I’ll see you in 30 minutes. I love you!
Richard pretended to be disappointed.
😦 😦 Oh well, better luck next time, Richard Lim. 🙂 I love you too sweetheart! See you.
Maya replied with smileys.
🙂 🙂 🙂
Both of them grinned after they have put their phones down, looking forward to spending the whole day with each other and the kids. Both of them were thinking that it would be like this always when they are married!
Note: My apologies for not updating the past days!