Maya slowly opened her eyes and looked around her, trying to shake off the remnants of sleep in her system. Like a clockwork, she woke up at 7 o’clock that morning. She saw Ricky still sleeping soundly in his bed, tucked cozily in his comforter. He looked at peace, as compared to the state he was in, when he was in the throes of his very bad dream. She decided that she will let him sleep some more. They are not in a hurry to go anywhere. Besides, she has yet to do her ‘morning ritual’! She feels better and ready to face the world after she does that.
She got her iPad from where she had left it the night before, the bedside table on her right. She likes going online, while lying in her bed, before getting up. She starts her day by checking her social media accounts, read the news from the sites she had put in her favorites folder, and checks if the bloggers that she following have updates. When those are done, of there are not much updates, she just reads a chapter or two of the books she bought or downloaded into her Kindle app or iBooks.
Maya was deep into reading the update on one of the fan fictions that she was following, when a low buzzing sound broke her concentration. She looked around, checked where the sound was coming from, and saw Ricky’s phone blinking and moving around the night table between their beds. She stared at it, torn whether she will wake up Ricky or let him sleep, and just ignorr the call. By the look if it, it was not the first time the phone rang that morning. However, since the phone was on silent mode, she presumed that Ricky was not really waiting for any call. On the other hand, he might have put it on silent mode while they were in the church, and forgot to change his phone settings before they went to sleep.
While Maya was contemplating on what to do, the phone fell on the hardwood floor with a loud thud. Maya tried to grabbed it but she was not so fast. She hoped that the racket didn’t wake up Ricky. He did move. The phone was still ringing when she retrieved it on the floor, and since it fell with the screen facing upwards, she saw the name of the person who was trying to reach Ricky. ‘Lorraine Tan’! What is she to Ricky, she mused. Baka importante talaga ang phone calls nitong si Lorraine Tan. Kanina pa yata ito tumatawag. Baka ito rin ang tawag ng tawag kay Ricky before.
“Maya….?” Ricky sat up on his bed, trying to shake off sleep. The thud did wake him up. He looked at Maya, still crouched in between their beds. “What happened? I heard a loud thud. Are you okay? Nahulog ka ba?”
Maya stood up, then gave Ricky his phone. “Good morning, Ricky! I’m okay. Hindi naman ako ang nahulog. Itong phone mo mo ang nahulog. Nag-ring kasi and on vibrate mode. Sa dami yata ng calls, nahulog na. Sorry, hindi ko na nasalo bago bumagsak. Here, baka importante ang mga call. Feeling ko kanina pa iyan ring ng ring.”
“Good morning, Maya. Thank you. I was not expecting any calls naman. I ironed out everything na yesterday while we were in the church.” Ricky looked at who was calling, and saw that he had several missed calls from Lorraine. He sighed. He wished then that she would stop calling or texting him, they have nothing to talk about, especially after the last time. It was the last straw for him. She knew that. He really tried to make the relationship work, maybe out of all the years they have been together. But it turned out it was not enough and now he realized, that he was shortchanging himself if he was willing to settle for that kind of relationship for the rest of his life. Now, he just wanted to have a very wonderful time with Maya and find out where this intense atraction to her, and what he was starting to feel, will take him, and her!. He shut down his phone.
Maya saw what Ricky did, surprised. But she didn’t say anything. She does not want to pry. But of course, she was very curious. Come to think of it, despite all that they have chatted about the past days, he was a bit reticent about his personal life. He never ventured something very personal about relationships and stuffs. Come to think if it, he spoke of it in the most generic terms.
“Breakfast?” Ricky asked, breaking into Maya’s thoughts. He can sense Maya’s curiousity at his action, and even his previous actions. But he was procrastinating. He does not want to deal with it at the moment. He will tell her about it, but not at the moment! “Allen said breakfast is served at the garden restautant of this hotel.”
“Sure, let me just take a bath first, and get ready.” Maya said, then looked at him, a bit self-consciously. “Mauna na akong mag-banyo?”
“Sure, Maya, please go ahead.” Ricky said, smiling at her.
Maya gathered her things and went to the bathroom. Ricky, on the other hand, leaned against the headboard of his bed and was about to switched on the TV to watch the news on CNN when he remembered that he needed to make a phone call. He opened his phone and hoped that there would not be text messages from Lorraine. He heaved a sigh of relief when there was none. Maybe, she had given up. He hoped she did. He scrolled down his phone book, and smiling, he pressed the number he needed.
“Ricky, hi! Kumusta pare?” Miguel Lorenzo greeted Ricky heartily when he picked up the call. “Napatawag ka! It has been a while!
“Oo nga, pare. Busy lang. Di bala pagbalik ko ng Manila, magkita tayo nina Vince and Sam, pati na rin si Ryan.” Ricky said, mentioning their three other barkadas. The five of them were classmates in the university, forged a friendshp, and that friendship endured even after that. Though, lately, they have not see each other much due to their busy schedules and with Vince and Sam, being family men now. Of course, Ryan, the fifth member of their barkada works for his family’s company and he was the one whom he had left the running of Lim Corporation for the duration of his unscheduled trip to Ilocos.
“Bakit pare, nasaan ka ba ngayon?” Miguel asked, curiously. “Work ba ito? I will be surprised and happy talaga kung bakasyon kasi I know you have not taken a vacation in long time.”
“Nandito ako sa Ilocos. Actually, kaya nga ako tumawag ngayon, I need a favor. I need to borrow your beach house in Pagudpud, if it is okay, and the offer still stands.”
“So bakasyon nga! Oo nga pala, your family has a beach house there. Iyung nabanggit mo dati na sa lolo mo.” Miguel said, remembering Ricky telling him that in passing. “Of course, pare, you can stay in our beach house in Pagudpud. Maganda doon. Sabi ko naman sa iyo, feel free to use it anytime. Ikaw lang itong sobrang busy sa work. Mabuti naman you are taking a break. Hmmm, why do I have a feeling na hindi pa nag-iisa ngayon.” He added teasingly. “How’s Lorraine?”
“Hahahaha, pare, ikaw talaga. I’m sure she is okay.” Ricky said, but didn’t offer any explanation. “But thank you, very much for letting me borrow your vacation home. I need it for two days, starting tomorrow, please.”
“Sure pare, no worries. I will just call our caretakers para mapaayos iyong place. It has been a while too since I have been in that place, but our caretakers there are the best. You two enjoy the place. The view is really incredible from there. Mabuti my father found the place.”
Ricky didn’t correct Miguel’s assumption that he was with Lorraine. It would take a lot of explanation, one that he doesn’t want to do over the phone. However, before he can end the call, Maya came out of the bathroom, dressed in ripped shorts and a simple body fit blouse that flatters her figure.
“Ricky, it’s your turn.” Maya said smiling. “Sorry, natagalan…..oops, sorry.” She mouthed seeing that Ricky is on the phone. Hmmm, so he returned ‘her’ call, after all, was the first thing in Maya’s mind, assuming that Ricky was talking to that Lorraine Tan.
Ricky nodded to let her know that he heard her, then on the phone, he can hear Miggy’s teasing voice.
“Sabi ko na nga ba. O siya, hindi na kita aabalahin pa. Enjoy your stay in Pagudpud. If there is anything you need, let me know. Pero I’m sure you are in good hands kina Manong David at Manang Marcela. O sige, you two, enjoy your vacation ha. Kailan na nga pala ang kasal?”
“Thank you again. Saka na lang natin iyan pag-usapan. I’ll cal you when I get back. Magkita tayo.” Ricky said evasively.
“Sorry about that, Maya! Are you ready na? If you want to wait for me at the cafe instead, para makapag-coffee ka na. Sandali lang naman ako.” Ricky said after he had shut down his phone, which did not escape Maya’s notice.
“ Sige lang, Ricky, I will wait for you. Remember wala naman tayong hinahabol na oras. I will just continue my morning ritual while waiting for you.” Maya said, then smiling she said, “Actually, na-interrupt ng morning phone call mo ang ‘ritual’ ko.”
“Oh sorry, about that! But what’s your morning ritual, Maya. Sorry if I ask. You got me curious there?” Ricky said with a smile.
“Nothing much, Ricky. I just want to connect to the world as soon as I wake up. I usually go online while trying to wake myself up. Mula ng mauso ang iPad, I can do that in bed. See, mabuti I grabbed this too, when we went to the house yesterday.” Maya showed Ricky the iPad she had dropped on her bed earlier while trying to catch Ricky’s phone.
“Oh, that’s nice! Ako rin, I read muna before I get up and start my day. E-books I downloaded into my Kindle or my Kindle app. That was what I did nga before I fell asleep and had that bad dream.”
“Speaking of that! How are you? Did you sleep okay? Wala ka namang naging bad dream? When I looked at you earlier, you look so peaceful naman. Kaya nga sana ayaw sana kitang magising ng phone call mo, kaso nalaglag naman sa floor.”
“Yes, I did actually. Thank you again, Maya.” Ricky said, then remembering his very nice dream, he gazed at Maya, intently and smiled. “I actually had a very nice dream, Maya.”
Maya got self-conscious with the way Ricky was looking at her. Taking a deep breath, she managed to say, “I’m glad na okay ka na. And judging by your smile, mukhang you had a sweet dream nga.” She finished with a smile.
Ricky grinned. “I did, Maya. I did. One of these days, I will tell it to you.” He finished, then with another smile at Maya, he was off to the bathroom.
Maya felt herself flushing and she was still when she grabbed her iPad and tried to concentrate on the sites she usually goes to, and not think of Ricky in the bathroom. It was hard enough to fall asleep the night before with Ricky at the other bed. She really forced her brain think of other things so that she will fall asleep and not think of him at the other bed. He looked so handsome pa naman in his white shirt, and blue pajama and freshly showered. And the smile he gave her after they have said good night, it almost send her to a toss-and-turn-the-whole-night state. Arrgh, Maya Dela Rosa, stop, stop. See, may kausap nga sa phone, may tumatawag pang Lorraine. Temper down that intense attraction and whatever you are starting to feel for him! She admonished herself.
However, Maya was failed miserably with her effort to divert her attention by reading her favorite blogs, and showbiz chismis online so she gave up. She was idly going through her apps, when she accidentally pressed the iBooks icon and remembered the PDF file of the journal that she had saved there. She clicked on the file, and rapidly searched on the part of the journal which Ricky dreamed of. True enough, it was as he dreamed of! Strange, really, really strange as he has not reached that part of the journal yet. She will show Ricky the entry, but maybe not that day as he might still feel the lingering effects of his dream. Baka gusto na rin naman muna niyang makalimutan ang sad dream niya, especially, that it was what really happened to their grandparents.
The door of the bathroom opened while Maya was about to close the file. She looked up, with a smile on her face, and almost dropped her iPad in the process. Ricky emerged from the bathroom, freshly shaven and smelling so nice, and clad only in his towel! OMG!
“Maya, I’m sorry.” Ricky said, smiling sheepishly, seeing that Maya was staring at him. “I forgot to bring my clothes to the bathroom.”
Maya gulped and took a deep breath and blurted out the first words she could think of. “It’s okay, Ricky. Do you need any help?” Then realizing what she said, she got flustered. “Errrr, I mean, do you want me to get your clothes for you. I can just give it to you, para hindi ka na maghalukay. Balik ka na sa banyo.”
“Oh, thank you, Maya. I can manage, I think.” He said. Ricky only realized that he left his clothes outside after he had finished shaving. He had no other recourse except to come out like that, with only a towel wrapped around his waist. “I’ll be back in a jiffy.”
Maya stared hard on her iPad screen without really seeing anything, as Ricky rummaged through his shopping bags. She heaved a sigh of relief when he returned to the bathroom. He emerged several minutes later, clad in a violet polo shirt and khaki shorts, taking her breath away still.
“Shall we?” Maya asked, wanting to be out of the room fast. It suddenly looked very small for the two of them. She needed space, lots of space, and air, lots of air, as she felt out of breath! It felt like the oxygen level in the room got thinner that morning!
“Okay. Let me just grab my things, para dire-diretso na tayo sa labas.”
Several minutes after, they were at the hotel’s garden restaurant eating Vigan longanisa, with achara and egg, paired with steaming hot brewed coffee.
“So, what is our plan for today, Maya?” Ricky asked after a while, while they were enjoying their second cups of coffee.
“How about we take a calesa tour of the city and the nearby areas?” Maya suggested.
“Sounds great! That way, makikita natin lahat in one go. Basta if you want to take pictures and may inspiration kang nakita for your painting and such, take your time. Hindi naman tayo nagmamadali. We can also stop along the way and try the food at the interesting restaurants that we would see.
“Okay, thanks for this Ricky. I’m having a wonderful time.”
“You’re welcome, Maya. Pero you don’t have to thank me. Ako rin naman, I’m enjoying our unplanned vacation and road trip, very much!”
The of them left the hotel half an hour later and flagged the first calesa they saw, and start their adventure for the day, looking forward to being with each other again.