The night was filled with countless stars, a gentle wind was blowing, cool and refreshing, and from where a finely dressed handsome man was waiting, he can hear the gentle lapping of the waves hitting the shoreline. He opted to stand and watch the beautiful silken night instead of sitting on one of the two chairs in a makeshift gazebo, waiting for the beautiful lady who has been making his heart beat faster, and in a way so alien to him, for the past several days. He wouldn’t be able to sit still anyway, as he felt like he can hear the thumping of his heart that has never been the same since he laid eyes on her.
Ricky Lim didn’t wait long. As if attuned to the lady’s mere presence, he turned and saw a vision of loveliness walking towards him. He caught his breath. It felt like there were thousand horses pounding over his poor overworked heart. Maya Dela Rosa looked as regal as a princess in the dress he chose for her earlier from the hotel boutique. He was no expert on women’s clothes, but he was immediately drawn to the lovely violet dress, and knew that it would suit her. He just knew, when it comes to her.
Maya saw Ricky waiting for her in the gazebo, set up by the edge of the hotel’s sprawling garden, near the beach. He turned and she gasped when she caught a glimpse of him. He simply took her breath away, looking so dashing in a pale blue shirt, dark-colored dress pants. He is a handsome guy, but he looks more so that evening, especially at the way he was gazing at her. She felt like she was melting under the intensity of his gaze. She felt like all the blood in her circulatory system, pumped furiously by her fast-beating heart was traveling in only one direction, towards her brain and it was making her very dizzy, heady, with emotions she was not able to fully comprehend at that moment. It made her falter. It was a good thing, she was still wearing her slip-on sneakers, or otherwise, she would have tripped.
When Maya checked the shopping bag and didn’t find a pair of dress shoes in it, she smiled broadly, liking Ricky’s omission. She had deduced that either forgot it or that he was not well-verse in ladies clothes. She found his flaw cute at the same time, she really appreciate all of Ricky’s efforts. She decided to make do with her sneakers. The dress fitted her perfectly. She felt like a princess on her way to her very first ball, and her prince standing there, waiting for her, with eyes only for her.
Ricky saw Maya faltered, his gaze went to her feet and realized that he forgot to ask Cristina and the lady manning the hotel boutique for a pair of shoes that would go with the dress! He smiled, though, as Maya still carry herself regally, as if she was wearing a pair of dainty ladies dress shoes, instead of a pair of sneakers, with that dress, which looked like it was made especially for her. He walked towards her, keeping his gaze glued to her lovely face.
“Hi Maya!” Ricky greeted Maya, then leaned and gave her a kissed on the cheek. “You looked very lovely in that dress! But I realized I forgot to get the proper shoes for it! Sorry for that. But I hope you did like the dress.” He added with a sheepish smile.
“Hi Ricky, thank you for this lovely dress! I love it very much. Parang para sa akin talaga. It is okay with the shoes. My sneakers are more comfortable and I am not really for wearing dress shoes with heels unless I absolutely have to! They looked lovely, but it is a form of torture on us women, in my opinion!” Maya assured Ricky, giving him a beautiful smile.
“Okay, I’m glad to know. But you know, you carry your get up well. Somehow, it looks good on you. Maybe, it is you and the way you carry yourself, confident and beautiful.” Ricky remarked, guiding Maya by the elbow towards the table in the middle of the gazebo which has been beautifully set for a dinner for two.
“Thank you, Ricky.” Maya replied, blushing a bit and the giddiness she had been feeling intensified. She looked around and finally, the beautiful dinner set up, sunk into her consciousness. “This is very lovely, Ricky. Wow, you went to all this trouble and you managed to do this in a very short time!”
“I thought it is about time we have a ‘proper dinner date’!” Ricky said, gazing at Maya. “ I hope this is okay with you.”
“Of course, it is! This is so lovely. But our other dinner dates were also equally lovely, you know.” Maya realized what she had said. “I mean, our previous dinners were also very nice and enjoyable.’
“Yes, I know and I enjoyed every moment of it, especially that it was spent getting to know you and being with you, but this is different.” And with that he didn’t say anything anymore. He seated Maya and then took the seat opposite hers.
The table and the set up that looked a bit big in the distance, felt smaller with the two of them seated, gazing into each other and seemingly cocooned in a world of their own. They didn’t need words, they just looked at each and shared a smile, as if conveying their gladness to be facing each other at that beautiful place and sharing that moment.
“Wine, Maya.” Ricky asked softly after a while, gesturing to the bucket with two wine bottles chilling by the side. He had requested Cristina to just prepare everything and he and Maya will just serve themselves and would just call the staff nearby if they need anything else. He wanted to have complete privacy with Maya. “White or red?”
“White, please, Ricky.” Maya said, then remarked “There seemed to be a lot of food for just the two of us.”
“I ordered a little bit of everything.” Ricky admitted sheepishly. “So you can just choose whichever appeals to you. I can’t ask you before hand as this is part of the special evening I’m planning for you this evening.”
He poured a glass each for him and Maya. He spilled some of it, the first sign that Maya saw that Ricky was somehow nervous or not as cool and collected she thought he would be. He did look so cool and unruffled earlier while her heart was going crazy with the deluge of feelings that hit her when she caught a glimpse of him.
“Thank you, Ricky.” Maya said softly.
“To us, Maya!” Ricky said smiling. “To the best road trip and the best vacation I am having.”
“Cheers.” Maya simply said. “Yes, this has been a very wonderful road trip. Thank you for everything Ricky, for all that you have been doing. Yes, for me also, this is the best time and best vacation ever.”
“You are very much welcome, Maya. And no need to thank me, you have given me so much also in such a short time.” Ricky said, looking at Maya enigmatically, hesitating a bit, then gave Maya a brilliant smile. “Shall we sample everything that they have prepared for us?”
Maya shook her head to get out of the feeling of intense anticipation she was having hearing Ricky’s last words and the way he was looking at her. She really felt that he was going to say something more to her. She gave him a sweet smile in response. “And since you were the one who went to all the trouble in having this feast prepared for us, let me do the serving.” She also gestured to Ricky not to protest her doing so.
“Thank you, Maya.” Ricky said graciously, and watched her lovingly as she gracefully ladled their dinner plates with food, a little of everything. He would not exchange this moment for anything else. He almost blurted out to her earlier what he was planning to tell her this evening. But he stopped himself last-minute, the night was young. He was just overly excited and he needed to temper it.
The two of them enjoyed the sumptuous feast before them, eating leisurely, chatting with each other fluidly. They never seemed to run out of topics to talk of. They laughed at each other’s anecdotes, and they gazed at each other intently as they enjoyed their wine, then their coffee and dessert.
“Ricky, I’m too full with all the food you have had prepared. Thank you again for this lovely dinner. I can’t remember the last time I had a wonderful time like this. I would surely missed this when I return to my life in Manila. But this moment with you is something I will always remember.” Maya said happily, feeling a bit sad, realizing that this time will Ricky will end at some point. With the effects of two glasses of white wine hitting her system, she admitted, “ In fact, you know what, earlier, I felt like a princess about to attend her first ball, with my very handsome and dashing prince waiting for me to arrive.” Then she realized what she just blurted out! “I mean, errr…,” groping for words, her face heating up.
Ricky smiled then put his hand on top of Maya’s hand. “Thank you, Maya.” He said softly, finding the moment he had been angling for. “I’m happy to be your prince. In fact, I would like to be. Maya, I like you very much. We have known each other a short time, but in that wonderful short span of time, I have fallen in love with you.” He confessed earnestly, the words tumbling out of his mouth and amid the fast beating of his heart.
“Ricky….” Maya managed to say breathlessly. It caught her by surprise, this declaration. Yes, she felt at times that she and Ricky were on the verge of something momentous, but she was not so sure at times, and it was something that she can’t really fully comprehend since the emotions he evoked in her was something she has not felt before. “I’m…..” She started saying, collecting her scattered wits.
Ricky took hold of Maya’s hands and enveloped them in his own. “Maya, I just want you to know, please. I never felt like this before in my entire life. Let me court you please, let me show you how much I love you, here, where we are, and when we are back in Manila. I want to see where this feelings will take me, us.” Ricky said earnestly, showing Maya how serious he is, at the same unconsciously caressing her hand, as if to reassure her of everything, of his feelings. “Would it be okay to court you, to show you how much I love you?”
Maya managed to recover her equilibrium, sort of, really! “Ricky, I would like that.” She said, looking at Ricky with something akin to love in her eyes too, in Ricky’s eyes. Maya actually, really looked at Ricky with love in her eyes, but she got afraid of saying it, overwhelmed with Ricky’s declaration, the heady feeling it brought forth, and how fast things have unravelled. She needed time to absorb everything. She has not felt this way before, even if there was nothing to compare with. She knew in her heart that she loves Ricky and that in such a short time, she had fallen for him also. Didn’t she admit it to herself earlier? However, the reality of him loving her back and declaring his feelings for her this soon, that evening, was quite a surprise for her, albeit a very wonderful one!
“Thank you, Maya. That is all I’m asking for now.” Ricky said, giving Maya a reassuring smile, then cupping her chin and looking into her very soul, he half-asked softly, “Just let me love you, okay?”
Maya nodded and gave Ricky a smile that lit up her beautiful, expressive face. Ricky knew in his heart that Maya feels something very strong for him as well. But he understood her hesitation, having known that she hasn’t had any relationship before. Everything happened in a short time too. He can wait. But he can’t stand not telling her and declaring his intentions towards her. She is the one he would like to spend the rest of his life with, that early he knew in his heart for reasons he can’t fully expound on at that moment. He just need to show to Maya that he is her forever, and convince her to take the leap with him.
“Shall we walk along the beach?” Ricky asked Maya after several minutes of just enjoying the moment and the wonderful shift in their relationship.
“Sure!” Maya replied quickly, wanting to prolong that special moment with him, and at the same time, ponder and let Ricky’s declaration take root into her system. Sitting there, and with Ricky gazing at her with so much love, she felt like she was in a constant state of breathlessness. She needed oxygen! Maybe a walk along the beach was the breather she needed to take in everything, she mused.
Ricky offered his hand to Maya, which she took gently, gazing at his handsome, happy face. Maya shivered from the contact and Ricky thought it was because of the wind, and the night turning cold, so he draped his arms over her shoulders and guided her towards the beach. The beautiful, silken night enveloped them, and they were, indeed, in a world of their own.
Barefooted, they walked along the beach for quite some time, sharing little smiles, enjoying the beautiful night, intensely aware of each other and the declaration of love between them. Both of them were hoping that, that night would just be one of the countless beautiful nights they will share together.