“Please have a seat, Ricky!” Maya said softly, breaking into Richard’s turbulent thoughts, gesturing for him to sit where Jeremy sat earlier.
Maya was unsure on how to proceed after Jeremy departed unexpectedly. He served as a sort of buffer between them, but now it was just Richard and her, standing a bit awkwardly at her veranda. Her heart was beating so fast. There was a part of her that still can’t believe that this was happening, that Richard was actually there and it felt like she was standing at the edge of a precipice.
“Thank you, Maya.” Richard said, sitting down after pulling her chair and seating her first. He gazed at her for a while, then seemingly arriving at a decision, he then took a deep breath, and plunged on.
“Maya, I’m sorry for following you, when you told me not to. Yes, I did get that you were reluctant for me to do so by the way you phrased your message. I asked your cousin Emman for information on your whereabouts.” He admitted, looking at Maya with a sheepish and a hopeful expression.
“Oh, and he told you, right there and then where I am?” Maya asked, very much surprised. Normally, her cousin will not give out that kind of information about her. Yes, he is a flamboyant but he can be reticent and discreet in giving out information, especially concerning her. Emman has some answering to do when she returns to Manila or as soon as she gets hold of him!
“Yes, he did. I was also surprised that he told me, but of course, very happy that he did. He does know me, of course, as he was the one from your company who met with me and my parents for the wedding. We also meet some times at some of the social gatherings I attended.” Richard told Maya, still trying to gauge her reaction to his unexpected presence and, sort of, crashing into her vacation like this.
“Oh, okay.” Maya simply said, then gave Richard a fleeting smile. “Yes, I remember that you know each other well. But still, you must have made quite an impression to my cousin, and he must have like you a lot, to disclose where I am. Not that where I am is a secret.”
“So, Maya…” Richard broached again, wanting to be completely sure that she is not mad before proceeding. It felt like this was the best idea when he was in Manila, but maybe not. He could have waited. He was not so sure if Maya did really offer him a smile. It was so fleeting that if he was not looking so closely, he would have missed it. “I hope you are not that mad that I followed you here?” He added charmingly.
“Well, you are here now, so that question is moot and academic.” Maya said, deadpan, wanting to pull Richard’s leg a little bit more. Serves him right for following her there, Maya thought! But at the same time, she felt flattered that he did. Not just flattered, her heart hasn’t been all right since she caught a glimpse of him, earlier. Okay, okay, she will admit, she feels extremely giddy. Rapunzel levels, to borrow Emman’s term, in describing the very romantic gestures a hero would do for the heroine in the rom-com movies he drags her to from time to time.
Richard looked at Maya, unable to read her expression clearly. Truth to tell, he was getting nervous. So, to show her how contrite he was and to plead his case more, he took hold of her hand, in between his, then gazing intensely at Maya, he said, “Forgive me please, Maya. I just want to see you. Be with you. I can’t wait until you return to Manila.”
Maya’s heart rates increased tenfold, hearing Richard’s words. But still, she tried to be as calm as she could before asking directly, as she realized a long time ago, that for one to get answers, one have to seek it. She does not like living in the dark and in uncertainties after her experience with James. “What is it that you want to discuss with me that can’t wait until I return to Manila? Why did you follow me here, really, Ricky?”
Before Richard could reply, Marina arrived with Richard’s coffee, a big plate of cold cuts, as well as bread and jams in a small basket. “Excuse me, Ma’am Maya, Sir Richard, here’s your coffee. Sir Jeremy told me to give this to you also, from him, on the house. Welcome to Mimosa, Sir Richard.”
“Oh, that was nice of him. Actually, I realized I’m very hungry.” Richard said. “Please thank him for us, Marina.”
“Yes, please thank him for us, Ate Marina.” Maya told the older lady with a big smile. “Suddenly, my appetite is back.”
Marina left them after several minutes. Maya and Richard gazed at each other after she left, both thinking on how to proceed as the moment earlier was broken. It was Maya who took matters into her hands.
“Maybe, we should eat first, Ricky. I’m actually famished. My last meal was at six o’clock last night. There was a party here last night and I only had drinks since then.” Maya said as she handed Richard a plate. “Plenty of time to chat, later on. How long are you staying?”
“Okay, later, then.” Richard said with a big relieved smile. At least, she is not mad, he thought! “ Well, the same length as you are, two more days here. I have another admission, actually. I also asked Emman about your return flight, and I’ll be taking the same.” He said while giving Maya a charming, lopsided smile.
“Oh…!” It was all Maya managed to say. Then she took a big sip of her now cooling coffee to steady herself. The longer time she spends with Ricky, the harder, it is to breathe normally. “Let’s eat first!” She said nervously.
Richard gazed at Maya and he know he had unsettled her enough for the moment with his unexpected presence. As she said, they have two days to talk and he will maximize this time with her.
The two of them eat in companionable silence, gazing at each other from time to time and sharing smiles. An hour later, their tummies full, they both admired the beautiful view before them while sipping their coffee. Both felt quite content.
“It’s really beautiful here, Maya, and very restful. You are so correct, I like it here very much.” Richard remarked, and the way he said, and the way he was looking at her, it seemed that he was not just speaking of the view. “How did you find this place? Through Jeremy?” There, he found the opening he needed. Richard thought to himself.
“Oh, I just found it through Google, actually. Then I checked the reviews. Mimosa has very good reviews with the top travel websites I checked, as well as, in some of the blogs I have stumbled upon so I took my chances. I’m glad that the reviews were all right on!” Maya said. “I only met Jeremy here. I gathered it was just Marina who assisted you earlier. You should meet Scott, too, Jeremy’s friend and his partner in this resort, together with his wife, Laura. Most of us went to bed at dawn because of the party.”
“Really? It must have been fun!” Richard remarked, at the same time, foremost in his mind was the fact that Jeremy, it seems, is just a new acquaintance of Maya. But still, they looked so cozy and too familiar with each other earlier.
“It was, very much, considering that I initially declined Jeremy’s invitation. But I’m glad I joined the party. I had fun, met new friends and it turned out, what I really needed to relax and not think about stuffs I have been thinking about the past several days.” Maya finished, gazing at the beach, then shrugging, trying to be nonchalant. “Well, yes, that was it! Anyway, I’m sure you would have enjoyed it too, had you been there. It’s a pity, you missed it by a day.”
Richard latched on to what Maya had said. Stuffs to think about? Could it be that she is also as unsettled as I am? But nah, maybe, it is about her work or other personal issues, Richard Lim, don’t flatter yourself, and don’t assume too much! He admonished himself. “It is okay, Maya. But I’m glad you had fun.” He smiled at her. “You know what, I’m just happy to be here, and to see you. It was my only reason for coming to this beautiful island.”
Oh my, this is it! Maya thought to herself. She took another sip of coffee nervously while waiting with bated breath on what Richard will say next. She gazed at him.
Richard gazed back at Maya’s beautiful, doe-shaped eyes, eyes that he can stare at for hours. Then told himself, this is it, Richard Lim, and he dropped his bomb after taking a deep breath! “The thing is Maya, I followed you because I can’t stop thinking about you since we last saw each other, no matter how I tried. I can’t stand waiting for three more days, so here I am!”
Maya, at first, just stared at Richard. He can’t stop thinking about her! So, she was not the only one!
Taking hold of Maya’s hand again, he continued. ”Maya, I don’t really know what is happening. I found myself very much attracted to you, drawn to you in a way I can’t fully explain. You are making me feel feelings I haven’t felt before, and I don’t know where this is going, but I would like to know. I just want to know what we could have. Sorry, this is the best I could do. I have stopped believing in love a long time ago. But I found myself in this situation with you. I don’t know what this is, but I would like to know, and I would like to find out where it would lead us.”
Maya liked the fact that Richard was being direct with her. The least she could be, would be to lay things in the open to. Honesty is one of the foremost thing she appreciates after her experience with the duplicitous James Madrigal. She put her hand on top of Richard’s.
“Ricky, thank you very much for being honest with me like that. I really appreciate it.” She started, then forged on. “The thing is, you are the main reason why I’m here in Camiguin, taking this vacation.”
“Me…?” Richard blurted out in surprise before he could stop himself. Now, he was the one who took a gulp of his now cold coffee!
“Yes, you! You see, Ricky you are not the only one who got unsettled by our meeting again several days ago. You have been in my mind too, even if I try not to think of you. You are making me feel emotions that I haven’t felt, that I don’t want to feel after I got jilted at the altar. Aside from the fact that, technically we just met each other!” Maya said frankly. “I don’t like the feeling. I’m afraid of the emotions you are making me feel. I don’t want to get hurt again. Like you, I have stopped believing in love, in happily ever after, and forever, a long time ago. I needed to think and get you out of my head, hence this vacation. But here you are. Here we are! Where do we go from here?”
“Maya, oh Maya, thank you for being candid too. I’m glad that I’m not the only one!” Richard said earnestly, relieved. “Honestly, I don’t know either, but I would like to explore this strong feeling I’m having for you, we have for each other in such a short time we have known each other. Can we take it one day at a time? Let’s take the baby steps together? Would that be okay with you?”
Maya looked at Richard and his earnest expression. Right there, and then, she would like to take the leap of faith with him, but there was a tiny part of her that refused to jump into the unknown. James really did a number on her! “Ricky, I want to, I really do. But can you give me time to think about it?”
Richard looked at Maya and her pleading expression. He very much wanted to persuade her to take the leap, but he understands how difficult it must be for her to do so. She might also feeling very much overwhelmed at the moment. “Sure, Maya, take your time please. I understand, especially as both of us are on unchartered waters here.”
“Thank you, Ricky.” Maya said softly. “I appreciate it very much. I just needed to work things out in my head.”
Both of them were silent after that, as if absorbing everything that had unravelled between them so quickly that afternoon. Both of them felt their world has shifted, and they were not standing on firmed grounds anymore.
“What time do you need to leave with Jeremy?” Richard reluctantly asked after a while. Now that Maya has admitted to feeling something for him as well, his animosity and ambivalence towards Jeremy has decreased a bit. But he still believes that Jeremy likes Maya a lot. He would like to ask her what is Jeremy to her, just to be sure, but he really does not have the right and maybe, he can do it later. There is a part of him that does not want her to go out with Jeremy, but he was trying to rein in that negative emotion. He promised to give Maya time.
Maya checked the time. “In an hour or so! I better get ready! Would you be okay on your own here, Ricky?”
“Of course, Maya. Don’t worry about me. Just continue enjoying your vacation. You don’t have to babysit me, you know!” Richard said, smiling. “I’ll enjoy the view. Read a book and wait until you return. I just have one request, please.”
“What is it, Ricky?” Maya asked, smiling back. She likes the fact that Richard is letting her have some space to breath after their intense moment.
“Will you have dinner with me, please?” Richard asked softly, gazing at Maya intently.
“Sure, Ricky. Though I’m not sure what time will we be back. Would that be okay?” Maya said. “And where will we have dinner?”
“Not a problem! Just send me a text when you are on your way back.” Richard assured Maya. “Dinner is a surprise. Just get back safe and sound. I’ll take care of everything.”
“Okay. I’ll see you later.” Maya said, curious at the same time, feeling excited at what Richard is planning. “And I’ll just bring the dishes to the restaurant on my way out. Please go and rest. You must be tired from all the traveling.”
“Thank you, Maya. I’m not tired anymore. I did take nap while waiting for you to wake up. Enjoy your trip. Be safe and I will see you later. I’m looking forward to our dinner.”
With a wave, Richard was off. However, before he entered his bungalow, he looked at Maya one more time, and gave her a bone-melting smile. Maya answered it with a smile that lit up her whole face.
Both of them entered their bungalows with silly grins on their flushed faces!
Note: Happy Sunday, everyone! ❤ Sorry for the delay. Got sick (low-grade fever, sore throat, the works!), but I’m better now! As always, thank you very much for the likes, comments and for reading! 🙂