The sound of a door opening and people talking penetrated Maya’s consciousness. The first thought that registered in her sleep-clogged brain was that, the resort have more guests that day as compared to the days she had been there, and those who arrived the day before! She looked at the clock and saw that it was still quite early, well early for the vacation standard time she had set for herself. Since she was still very sleepy because of the night of drinking she had, she dove back under the blanket to catch a couple of hours more of precious sleep.
Her grumbling stomach woke Maya several hours later. She checked the time and saw that it was already lunchtime! She hastily got out of bed, but stumbled back abruptly, as her head hurt awfully. Awww, awww, she really had drunk more than she should, way beyond the limit she usually set for herself! Her tummy was also very queasy. Too bad, she forgot to bring antacids!
Maya never planned on drinking that much, but she felt like it the night before. It seemed like a good idea. Richard and hers exchanged of text messages unsettled her more and going around the island, enjoying the view and chatting with people she got to know the past several days didn’t cure her or alleviate the listlessness she was feeling, like she was on the verge of something she can’t control nor fight.
When she returned to the resort late afternoon, she saw Scott, Jeremy and two of their assistants setting up tables by the beach. When Jeremy saw her, he invited her to the party they will be having for their friends and friends of their friends who had arrived from Cagayan de Oro that afternoon. The resort seemed more alive actually, when she returned. Maya thought of declining as she really doesn’t want to encourage Jeremy, but he was also adamant in her joining the party, and he asked her in his very charming way. She gave in. It was not really Jeremy’s fault that she doesn’t feel anything romantic for him. Anyway, he is a fun guy and she would like him to be her friend too. Besides, maybe the party was what she needed to get out of the funk she was feeling!
Maya was surprised that she had fun. The friends and the friends of friends turned out to be a mixture of foreigners of different nationalities, mostly Europeans, and their Filipino friends based in CDO, and they were not all guys. Maya made friends with two ladies from Australia, Claire and Linda. Scott’s wife Laura and her were already friends. She was the one who introduced her to the others ladies.
Jeremy, Maya discovered is indeed, a very nice guy, indeed. He was solicitous towards her, but not pushy. He is a very good conversationalist and has a depth in him, she discovered. But still, she does not feel a spark of attraction for him. She was only planning on staying for an hour, just to appease Jeremy, but she found herself staying until the party started winding down at two o’clock in the morning. Jeremy also watched out for Maya, when he saw that she was getting way drunk, he gave her a glass of iced water. He also chatted her up and they discovered that they like the same movies, and the same British detective novels authors. He took her to her bungalow when she told everyone that she had her limits. He said good night like the gentleman that she discovered he is.
Maya sighed. For a while, she forgot Richard and the confusing and conflicting emotions she was feeling. Though, at times, especially when there was lull in the conversation, he would crept back into her thoughts. Maya Dela Rosa, stop this! She admonished herself. Maybe, you should eat lunch. She yawned, took a deep breath, then slowly got out of the bed, keeping her fingers crossed that she will not feel dizzy. She decided to order a light lunch by the veranda, instead of going to the resort’s restaurant. She needed a bit of time to be fully back to the land of the living.
Having ordered a big pot of coffee, some toasts and fresh fruits, the only food she felt her stomach can tolerate at that moment, she took a quick shower. She had just finished dressing up when there was a knock on her door. When she opened it, she was surprised to see Jeremy arranging her food on the table, instead of Marina or her sister Marta.
“Good morning, my lovely Maya! Or should I say, good afternoon to you, sleepy-head!” Jeremy greeted Maya with a big smile. He does not look hung-over! “I told Marina that I will just bring your food. They are busy at the restaurant. we have quite a lunch crowd today. I hope it is okay that I share a cup of coffee with you as well.”
“Thank you, Jeremy.” Maya said. “Sure, it’s okay. But I’m not a very good company at the moment.”
“That’s okay. How are you and how’s the head?” Jeremy asked as he sat down after pulling the chair for Maya.
“Okay, I guess. I have a bit of hangover and have a queasy tummy. But I’ll live.” Maya assured Jeremy. “And you? You don’t like you are feeling the effects of all the alcohol we consumed last night. What time did the party end?”
“I guess as much, that you might be feeling the effects of all the white wines and cocktails you had! The party ended at about 3AM and no worries, I’m used to drinking like that. That was tame, actually, compared the drinking sprees we had while in university. I also have a sure cure for your hangover.” Jeremy took hold of a tall glass, which Maya didn’t notice at first, with a green-looking smoothie inside. “Here, drink this. I’m 100 percent sure you will feel better in a jiffy! Just hold your breath and drink it straight!”
“Sure about this….????” Maya asked tentatively, staring at the alien-looking drink.
Jeremy smiled. “Maya, trust me on this, please.”
“O-o-okay….” Maya took a deep breath, then took a sip of the green liquid. She almost spat it out. “Arrgggg, what is this foul thing?”
Jeremy told her what was in the concoction and cajoled Maya to just close her eyes and drink it straight. He stood up, took hold of the glass and gently guided it to her lips, at the same time, he gently patted her back to assure her that it is okay to drink his hangover cure.
It was this scene that Richard saw when he got out his bungalow after taking a nap, and a quick shower afterwards, while waiting for Maya to wake up. He was told by the chatty Marina that the lady who was staying at the bungalow beside his would probably be waking up late today as there was a party that lasted until dawn at the resort. She was the sole welcoming committee to him when he arrived early that morning.
Seeing Maya, so beautiful in her maxi dress and her hair loose, her very long hair, it turned out, took his breath away! The last two times he had seen Maya, her hair was in a chignon. It looked like she was really cozying up to that good-looking foreigner and it was too much for his sleep-deprived state and tired body to take. So, she was here after all with a guy! What will he do next?
Richard felt like a giant hand squeezed his heart and he felt an emotion so alien to him. He felt like going over to her veranda and staking his claim, telling the other guy that Maya is his, and no one else’s. But of course, he does not have that right! If Maya sees him here, she might even feel that he is stalking her. She told him in few words that him following her here is not really a good idea. But he can’t help himself. He was unable to concentrate since their exchange of text messages the day before ended. He also kept hearing in his head one word – ‘Jeremy’! In the afternoon, he gave up. He told Liza to clear his schedule the next couple of days as he will be taking a short vacation. He realized afterwards that he gave Liza a shock. He just got back and now he was taking another vacation without prior notice. She must have been very curious as he also asked her to book a flight for him to Cagayan de Oro that same afternoon. Luckily, and through her contacts, she found him a seat on the last flight for the day. He also told her to book a hotel in Cagayan de Oro as when he looked online, he discovered that there was no more ferry going to Camiguin that day.
That was the easy part of this spur-of-the-moment thing that he did! The difficult and the tricky part was finding out where Maya was staying. She didn’t tell him. He was at a lost on how to go about it, when he thought of giving Maya’s cousin a call. Emman Castro knows him after all, and he still has his number. Emman was surprised and curious to have heard from him after six months. They chatted for a bit. Then as there was no way go about it, he asked Emman if he knows where Maya is staying in Camiguin. Emman was surprised that he even knew that Maya was in Camiguin as she only told him and his Mom where she would be! Richard mentioned that Maya and him texted each other that morning. To his surprise, Emman didn’t ask questions, and just gave him the name of the place where his cousin was staying. But before they ended the phone call, he wished Richard good luck!
Maya’s laughter brought Richard back to the present. She was laughing at what that guy was telling her. She also thanked him for the green looking drink he was helping her drink, and he distinctly heard her calling him Jeremy. So, that’s Jeremy! Richard assessed his ‘rival’. They seemed to be of the same age. He didn’t like the fact that the guy has his hand on Maya’s back. He scowled and his eyes turned into tiny slits.
It was that moment that Maya looked beyond Jeremy and saw a guy from across the veranda. He looks like….he looks like, but that can be, but he looks like….Richard Lim! She blinked, thinking that she was still experiencing the effects of too much alcohol in her system. Also, maybe, she was thinking too much of him and is now conjuring his image somehow. But after several blinks, he was still there.
“Ricky….! Maya blurted out, surprised.
Richard waved and smiled at her, overcoming whatever negative emotions he was feeling, seeing Maya with another guy. The die is cast, so to speak, he told himself, he is here, and he better find out the lay of the land.
Jeremy also turned and looked at where she was staring. “Oh, you know him, Maya! A friend of yours? Marina told me that there was a new guest who arrived early this morning, and that she had put him in the bungalow beside yours.”
“Yes, I know him.” Maya said, looking at Richard, still not fully believing that he is here, in Camiguin with her. She is completely sober now. She was not completely sure if it was because of Jeremy’s concoction or the fact that Richard is here!
Before she could say more, Maya saw Richard going down the steps, then walking towards her and Jeremy, so good-looking in his faded jeans and navy blue shirt. He carries himself well and walks with confidence.
“Hi Maya, good afternoon!” Richard greeted Maya cordially, gazing at her intensely for several seconds, then he looked at Jeremy, and simply said. “Hi! I’m Richard Lim.”
“Hello Richard, welcome to Mimosa, I’m Jeremy Edwards. My friend Scott Talbot and I own this little paradise in Camiguin.” Jeremy introduced himself before Maya could. He offered his hand to Richard. “I’m also a friend of Maya’s.” Looking at Maya and giving her a big smile.
“Nice to meet you Jeremy! Thank you. You have a beautiful place here.” Richard said more amiably, especially after hearing that Jeremy is the owner of this place and he introduced himself as Maya’s friend, not as her boyfriend as he had feared! Reading between the lines, the situation he barged in seemed to be not as serious as he had thought. He still believes, though, that Jeremy is very much interested in Maya.
“Richard, I didn’t expect to see you here!” Maya finally managed to say after she told her fast beating heart to calm down. “When did you leave Manila?”
“Well, I just thought I needed a vacation, too.” He said, trying to be nonchalant. “I left Manila late yesterday afternoon and I stayed the night at Cagayan de Oro. Then this morning, I took the first ferry going here.”
“How did you find out where I am staying?” Maya asked directly for she does not think that Richard ended up in Mimosa by coincidence, even if he said that he just needed a vacation. Why of all places, he would choose Camiguin? Besides, he just got back from his long vacation abroad!
Richard looked at Jeremy who was looking at them with too much interest, though he pretended not to. There were things he wants to say to Maya in private, very private. He does not want an audience.
“I better get going, Maya.” Jeremy suddenly said, standing up, taking with him his untouched, and now cold, coffee cup. “May I get you something, Richard, breakfast like Maya’s or drinks?”
“Oh, yes, a cup of coffee, if it is not too much trouble.” Richard replied.
“Okay, coming right up.” Jeremy said. “I guess, no more scooter trip today, Maya?” He remarked and then look at Maya inquiringly. They have agreed to explore some inner parts of the island, near Mount Hibok-Hibok that day.
“Yes, we can still go. How about we meet in two hours?” Maya said, grabbing at the lifeline Jeremy extended to her. Anyway, they did agree to explore, and she can’t just drop it because Richard arrived there unexpectedly. She felt that also needed that excursion especially now that Richard is there.
“If you are sure?” Jeremy just had to ask one more time.
Maya nodded. So he said okay and then he was gone. He wanted to give her and Richard some privacy. There was something going on here that he does not know about. Jeremy was sure of that. He felt himself de trop. He was sensing a strong undercurrent, so to speak, between Maya and this good-looking Filipino-Chinese guy. He likes Maya a lot, but it looks like he was not the only one!
Both Maya and Richard stared at Jeremy’s departing figure with different thoughts in mind. Maya was actually thinking about Richard and his unexpected presence there. Richard, on the other hand, felt a mixed of emotions. He thought he had a good reading of the situation, and yet, Maya and Jeremy are still going on a ‘date’ later even with him here! But what can he expect anyway, he just barged in, come to think of it. But he was there, and he needed to find out. It was then, or never.
Three days seemed like a lifetime while he was in Manila, so here he was, with the beautiful woman who had taken over his thoughts! Either things will get clearer or muddier after their stay in that beautiful island!
Note: And Richard listened to you, guys! 🙂 He followed Maya to Camiguin! 🙂 Actually, I was not really planning on them meeting in Camiguin next, but as most of you wished it, there it is. Pardon the typos and such. I’ll go over the chapter again later. I need a break from my laptop for a bit. The next chapter is almost done (and that was after drinking several cups of coffee and tea earlier!) I write better with some ‘background noise’, so the past two days I have been camping out at the coffee shop near where I live! I’ll just polish it and upload it, probably, tomorrow! Have a nice evening! 🙂