“Ricky, is this okay?” Maya asked from the doorway of her bedroom. Richard looked up from the game he was playing on his iPhone while waiting for his fiancée. Maya was a vision before him! She looked especially lovely in her purple lace dress cinched at the waist with an intricate ribbon belt. She was wearing minimal make-up. She also opted to wear her hair in a bun, and it showed the graceful lines of her beautiful face.
“Sweetheart, you take my breath away! You look very beautiful, as always naman.” Richard said lovingly.
Richard stood up, then went to Maya, cupped her chin, slowly caressed it with his thumb, then he lowered his lips to hers. They shared an initially sweet kiss. It turned into something much more several seconds after. The kiss became laced with the passion that has been simmering between them, close to the boiling point, actually, not just simmering, the past weeks. It was really getting harder to rein in the intense passion they were feeling for each other. Two more weeks and she will be mine, Richard thought. He took a deep breath to control the effects of his fiancee’s response to the kiss he initiated, on his poor body.
Maya and Richard slowly broke apart, catching their breaths. Maya looked very thoroughly kissed, while Richard wore the evidence of their ardent kissing on his lips.
“Sweetheart, you are full of my lipstick!” Maya exclaimed, then proceeded to wipe the lipstick off Richard’s lips with her thumb. “Ikaw naman kasi Mr. Lim, humirit ka pa kasi! Paalis na nga tayo. Baka naghihintay na ang parents mo.”
Richard grinned. “Sweetheart naman! You know naman that I can’t resist you. Two more weeks my Mrs. Lim-to-be!”
Maya blushed, getting Richard’s meaning. “Yes, two more weeks, my husband-to-be!”
The two of them shared a look full of love and promise before they left Maya’s apartment to walk to the Lim family mansion where Richard’s parents were waiting for them. Don Roberto and Donya Esmeralda arrived back in the Philippines the night before after more than ten years of living in China. Grace, however, was coming the week before the wedding as she was badly needed in the hospital where she works.
The morning after they got engaged Maya and Richard told Nanay Tessie after breakfast that they would like to get married in a month’s time. Nanay Tessie was not surprised that they wanted to get married promptly. They told her they don’t want a big wedding anyway. They want it limited to immediate family, close friends and select colleagues at both LAS and RRMA. The wedding would be in Manila for everyone’s convenience and the reception, at the Lim house and in the street where their love story started.
Nanay Tessie promised to be in Manila the following week to help Maya with the preparations. Maya told her that the wedding planner that she and Richard will hire can take care of it. However, Nanay Tessie insisted, and Maya relented. But since she needed to do something for Cristina’s before she can stay with Maya until the wedding, mother and daughter agreed that they will just see each other instead in two weeks time. Nanay Tessie will arrive the following day. Maya was looking forward to spending time with her mother before she settles down as Mrs. Richard Lim. Mrs. Richard Lim! Maya Dela Rosa-Lim! Maya feels thrilled and so happy every time she would say it in her head.
Two days after Richard and Maya returned to Manila, they informed Donya Esmeralda that they would like to get married before the end of August. Like Maya’s mother, Richard’s mother was not surprised that they would like to get married promptly. She said she and Richard’s father will make travel arrangements for their return to the Philippines several weeks before the wedding so they can settle back in and help with the wedding preparations.
Maya assured Mama Esme that they can manage. However, like Nanay Tessie, Mama Esme insisted that she would like to help too in any way she could. The day after they have returned to Manila via the flight Richard chartered, Richard got in touch with Ryan and asked if his wife Ivy can plan the wedding. That same day, they had dinner with Ryan and Ivy. Ryan teased Richard about the short engagement. Richard just grinned happily, the very picture of a man very much in love. Ivy and Maya talked about the kind of wedding she and Richard would like to have.
News of their engagement spread like wildfire both in LAS and RRMA. Lindsay squealed with delight when she saw the beautiful ring on Maya’s finger. She was not exactly quiet when she offered her congratulations to Maya. Some people overheard it. It also reached the ears of Atty. Rafa fast. He congratulated Maya when he saw her around lunch. The same week, Richard and Maya invited him to dinner and formally asked if he could be one of their ninongs. The old man was delighted to be asked.
Like Lindsay, Liza was ecstatic when she saw Maya’s ring, Tuesday, when she reported for work at LAS. The whole floor heard her congratulating Maya. Richard’s employees, happy at this turn of events, and the fact that their boss was no longer sungit, offered their congratulations too. Maya and Richard were so happy to be sharing their engagement to their colleagues and employees. Liza, when she found out that the wedding will be in several weeks time, offered to help. Maya and Richard thanked her, but assured her that it was taken care of. Maya asked Liza to be one of her bridesmaids, which touched Liza’s heart a lot, knowing that Maya considered her one of her dearest friends now, even if they have only known each other for a short time.
Here they were, two weeks before the wedding, Maya thought! Ivy is a miracle worker! So far, the preparations was proceeding smoothly, and they have finished the wedding seminar. It was a very memorable experience for Maya, with all the questions they have been asked and the sharing they did with the other couples. Some of them they became really friends with.
“I love you, sweetheart.” Maya suddenly said to Richard, stopping in the middle of Mirasol Street, looking at Richard with all the love and happiness she was feeling, caressing their clasped hands. “Thank you for making me this happy. Parang sasabog na nga ang dibdib ko sa sobrang saya ko.”
“Me too, sweetheart! I never thought I would be this happy. But with you, only you, I am, so very much.” Richard said, caressing Maya’s face. “I love you very much. More than life itself!”
The honking of a vehicle about to pass broke into the intimate moment between them, in the middle of the street that has meant so much to them. They shared a lingering smile, then walked the last several meters towards the Lim family home. Maya felt both nervous and excited to be meeting Richard’s parents as his fiancée for the first time.
During the past two weeks, she had kept constant communication with both Richard’s mom, who she was still getting used to calling Mama, and his sister Grace. Donya Esmeralda invited Maya to dinner the day after their arrival, so they can finally meet again in person. She even asked if Maya’s mom can come. But Maya told her that her mother would be delayed in Mindoro.
“Here we are, sweetheart.” Richard said while they were going up the grand staircase of the Lim family home. “I’m so looking forward to formally introducing you to my parents in person, as my wife-to-be.”
Maya smiled at Richard. “I’m looking forward to that too, sweetheart. Sure, it is okay that I’m not bringing anything, food, wine?”
“Yes, sweetheart! Don’t worry about anything. Manang Fe has taken care of that. Besides, my mother would surely like the flowers you will give her.” Richard assured Maya, gesturing to the lovely bouquet that Maya was carrying. “Those flowers are her favorites.”
When Abby saw them from where she was sitting in the living room with her grandparents, she ran to the door, something she always do when she sees Maya. The past two weeks, Maya has been having dinner most nights with father and daughter, well except for the other Saturday, one week after Richard’s proposal as Maya wanted to celebrate it by cooking Richard a special meal in her apartment. It was a night to remember as well!
Not only Richard insisted that Maya takes her meals with them, but Manang Fe also did, arguing that since Maya was alone, and busy with her work, it would be better for her to have home-cooked meals with the Lims. Manang Fe even added to bolster her argument an so that, Maya will say yes, that it will be her home too in several weeks time.
“Mommy, Mommy, you are here!” Abby said happily. She had been calling Maya Mommy since the engagement. Every time she hears Abby say that, Maya felt very happy, her heart, so full of love, for this wonderful little girl. “Hug, hug, iyong super tight, Mommy.”
“Tight enough na ba ito, sweetie!” Maya told the little girl as she hugged her tight, peppering her with kisses. “I missed you today. How was school?”
Richard looked on with love on both his daughter and his wife-to-be. Don Roberto and Donya Esmeralda were both delighted at what they are seeing. Their son had really found a wonderful woman to love. She loves not only Richard, but Abby as well.
“Hmmm, selos na si Daddy. Bakit ako walang hug.” Richard teased his daughter.
“Daddy, ikaw ang next. But we can just have a group hug first with Mommy.” The little girl said sweetly.
Richard did that, also kissed Abby on the cheek. When Maya straightened up, she saw Richard’s parents looking at them with happy smiles on their faces.
“Good evening po, Mama, Papa!” Maya said, then she went to where Richard parents’ were. “Mano po!” She then gave the beautiful floral arrangement to Donya Esmeralda.
“Maya, hija, great to finally see you again.” Donya Esmeralda said enthusiastically, her eyes lighting up upon seeing the flowers. “Thank you for this Maya. It’s so beautiful. My favorite flowers.”
Maya smiled at her future mother-in-law, happy that she liked the flowers.“Kumusta po ang flight ninyo?”
“Okay naman. Medyo ma-traffic. I don’t remember that it was like this more than ten years ago. Marami na rin talagang nagbago dito sa Maynila.” Donya Esmeralda said smiling. “But it is good to be back, Maya. It’s good to be back, especially now that our Ricky is settling down for good. I didn’t realize how much I have missed this house until I have seen it again last night! Let’s go have a seat habang hinahanda nina Fe and Sabel ang dinner natin,”
“Oo nga naman hija. Ito talagang si Esmeralda, dinaldal ka na kaagad.” Don Roberto said.
“Natutuwa rin po ako at nandito na ulit kayo ni Papa, Mama. Ricky is very happy also, di ba, sweetheart?” Maya said, then looked at Richard who was also looking on happily as Maya chatted with his parents with ease. He thought she was a bit nervous earlier. But now, seeing them like this, he is a very happy man.
“Yes, Ma, Pa, I’m really very happy that you are back in your home. It has been a log time for all of us. I’m sure Grace will feel the same when she gets here. Sayang, hindi pa siya nakasabay sa inyo.” Richard said as he led Maya to the sofa. “I hope the changes and the renovations I have had done to the house are okay with you.”
Richard sat down beside Maya Abby sat on Maya’s lap and happily listened to the adults while playing with her iPad.
“Speaking of the house, Ricky, Maya, which by the way, I like the new look ha, your Papa and I have something to tell you. This is a good enough time to say this, di ba, Roberto?” Donya Esmeralda looked at her husband and when he nodded, she proceeded. “Roberto and I would like to give this house to you and Maya, son. Regalo namin sa kasal ninyo.”
Both Richard and Maya were surprised at the elder Lims generous gesture. Richard knew how much this house means to his mother. At the back of his head, he knew that he and Maya will stay here since his parents are going back to China the following month. But he never thought that they will transfer the ownership of the house to him and Maya.
“Ma, Pa, but this is your home!” Richard said. “I know how you treasure this house Mama. Maya and I can stay here without you doing that. Or we can find a place of our own should you decide to settle back to the Philippines for good.”
Maya just looked on. She let Richard do the talking since they are his parents. She clasped Richard’s hand.
“No, son, Maya. We really would like to have it. Kami ng Mama mo, tayo, naging masaya tayo sa bahay na ito and we would like our apos to grow up here, happy like you and Grace did. We insist, son.” Don Roberto said firmly. “And we have discussed this with Grace na. She said it is not really a problem with her. She would like you to have it, lalo na raw at dito sa Mirasol Street nagsimula ang love story ninyong dalawa.”
Richard looked at Maya lovingly again. “Thank you for your generosity, Ma, Pa. We are very thankful and honored for entrusting us this house.”
“Oo nga po, Mama, Papa. Promise mo namin ni Ricky that we will take good care of this house and fill this house with laughter and love.” Maya added, touched at Richard’s parents’ gesture. She already loves this house.
“Basta, we are happy to do it for you. We love you son, and Maya, we love you also and we can’t thank you enough for making our son this happy.” Donya Esmeralda said. “Nakikita namin na hindi lang si Ricky ang mahal na mahal mo, kundi maging si Abby. We couldn’t wish for more.”
Hearing that, Maya got teary-eyed and squeezed Richard’s hand. “Thank you po ulit. Sobra rin po akong pinasasaya ng anak ninyo, and ni Abby. I’ll be always be thankful that Richard and I are together now. Para ko na rin pong anak si Abby.” She looked at the little girl on her lap, then kissed her affectionately. Abby looked up from her game and gave Maya a loving smile. She also whispered “I love you” to her, which added to her happiness.
“Mam, Sir, Ricardo, Maya, nakahanda na ang pagkain.” Manang Fe said, breaking into the contented and happy mood in the living room.
Everyone trooped to the dining room where Manang Fe and Sabel prepared a feast. It was a fun dinner where Donya Esmeralda and Don Roberto got to know their future daughter-in-law more. They have also seen the immense love that Richard and Maya felt for each other and how taken was their only apo with Maya.
The Lims and Maya took their coffee and desserts in the veranda at the back after Richard and Maya had put Abby to bed. The little girl insisted that the two of them hugged her to sleep. Seeing that her would be in-laws were getting tired, Maya said good night to them before midnight. They simply didn’t notice the time as they chatted.
Richard took Maya home. Like earlier, they walked hand in hand in then empty Mirasol Street.
“Home before midnight Cinderella.” Richard said with a big smile when they were ar Maya’s door.
“Pasok ka muna sweetheart.” Maya invited Richard as she opened the door.
“No na sweetheart, at baka hindi na ako umuwi.” Richard grinned. “Baka hindi na kita kayang i-resist if I go inside. I barely did last Saturday.”
Maya reddened remembering the fire that ignited between her and Richard after the wondeful dinner they had that Saturday. They barely managed to stop. But they both agreed that they can wait, fingers crossed, for the wedding night.
“I love you sweetheart. Two more weeks and you will be mine forever, and I’ll be yours.” Richard whispered lovingly. “Dream of me. Of us!”
“Yours, sweetheart, with my heart, my soul, and my body in two weeks!” Maya replied breathlessly. “I’ll dream of us.”
Before they turn in for the night, Richard and Maya shared a searing kiss, both thinking that it’s going to be a very long two weeks until they are together, until they don’t have to part for the night!