“So, how’s your island experience, so far, Ricky?” Maya asked Richard while they were drinking coffee after eating the delicious lunch that Marina had prepared for them. They were sitting at one of the picnic benches facing the majestic Katibawasan Falls, which at that time, they had to themselves. There were other tourists when they arrived there, a family, but after they have taken some pictures, they left for their next destination. Maya unpacked their picnic lunch. Ricky helped. After everything was spread out on the table, they proceeded to have their late lunch. It was just what they needed after all the sightseeing they did since they left the resort that morning.
They travelled northwards from the resort, stopping at the beautiful Station of the Cross built uphill. It was quite a climb up but the view from the top was worth it. They stayed there for half an hour, then journeyed on to their next stop, which was the sunken cemetery, marked by a big cross in the bay. Beside it was the ruins of an old church.
Richard and Maya walked hand in hand on the grounds of the church ruins and admired the centuries-old tree still standing there. They even had a selfie before the really huge and very old tree. They checked the hot and cold springs along the way, but didn’t take a dip in any of it, and the place where all the giant clams are being cultivated. The beach leading to it was beautiful and has white sand, as compared to the blackish ones in other parts of the island. They sat for a while by the beach, soaking in the beauty nature has endowed on that place.
Maya mentioned to Richard that they can also take a boat tour to White Island, which is something like an atoll with white sand and nothing much, no structures there, and it’s something one can explore in a minute. The view from the island is also incredible. She was there the day after she arrived in Camiguin and it was quite an experience. Richard said that it might take too much of their time if they will have to go there by boat. They agreed to forego that one until next time. Richard told Maya that he does not think it will be their last trip to Camiguin.
Instead, they just cruised around in their scooters, enjoying the wind, and the beautiful scenery they passed along the way, beautiful sea, under an intense and bright sunshine, and of course, most important of all, each other’s company. Sometimes, they waved at the kids who curiously looked when they passed by. They circled the island in no time at all, until they reached the Katibawasan Falls after lunch. They were still full from their breakfast so they decided to have a late lunch, and a dip in the cool water of the falls to cap their day.
“Great, Maya! This place is simply very beautiful, and I’m really glad that I took the chance, and followed you here.” Richard said with a grin. Then gazing at Maya, intently, he said softly, “But of course, it is just a bonus, it is beautiful to me because of you. Because you are here!”
Maya smiled at that, her heart jumped at what Richard that said. “Thank you for that, Mr. Lim.” She said, simply, then she teased him, “And what would you have done had I not said you can join me in my vacation?”
“Well, I would have probably camp at your veranda until you say yes!” Richard said with a smile. “Honestly, Maya, all I thought was following you and being with you. I never get pass by that stage when I impulsively left Manila to follow you! I never really thought of a fall back plan, which was so unlike me. I think I have shocked Liza when I asked her to book me a flight here out of the blue! And I guess, I would have just return to Manila the same day if you have turned me away.” He finished with a smile. “Lucky me, you are not that cruel. Had you said no, at least, I have tried to be with you. Then, I’ll just wait then until you return and our dinner. So thank you, really, for letting me join you in your vacation!”
“Oh…!” Maya felt giddy hearing that Richard acted out of character for her! “Thank you, Ricky. I’m glad you took the chance, you know.” She added softly.
“I’m glad too, Maya! I am so very glad that I took the chance.” Richard said, taking Maya’s hand, then raising it to his lips and kissing it gently. He caressed her hand then he put it back on her lap. “This is worth everything.”
Maya put her hand on top of Richard’s. They shared a meaningful gaze and stayed like that for several minutes, enjoying their beautiful moment and the wonder and tranquility around them.
“So, how about a dip into that inviting water to complete my Camiguin experience?” Richard asked after a while.
“Okay, and to complete my experience of Camiguin as well!” Maya replied, standing up from the bench. “I haven’t taken a dip in that water.”
“Really! I thought you did when you and Jeremy were here yesterday!” Richard said, liking the idea that it would be shared first time experience for him and Maya.
“No, we just stopped here to chat and rest after going around the island.” Maya said. “You know already what we have discussed here mostly.”
Richard smiled. “Ah yes, and it completely changed him, in my book, so to speak.”
Maya smiled back, remembering what transpired that morning. “I’ll just go and change.”
“Okay, I’ll just change here.” Richard said. “I already have my swim shorts on.”
Maya went to the toilet and removed her blouse and shorts. Even if she was already wearing her swimsuit underneath, she was conscious of removing her clothes by the waterfalls, even if she knows that Richard will not watch her do it. She just felt self-conscious disrobing like that. She went down to where Richard was, after several minutes, carrying her street clothes and the towel she brought with her.
Hearing Maya’s footsteps, Richard looked up. He caught his breath. Maya was wearing what can be construed as a modest swimsuit on initial look. But on a closer look, Richard can see that it maybe a modest one piece swimsuit but it flatters her body. It concealed and yet it also revealed to him Maya’s beautiful form.
Maya got self-conscious at Richard’s heated gaze. She blushed. She took a look closer at Richard, and it was her turn to lose breath for several seconds. His swimming shorts was on the modest side too, but he was shirtless. She gulped and took a deep breath to calm herself.
“Maya, you look very lovely in that.” Richard managed to say after barely being able to control his reaction to seeing Maya in that swimsuit. “Shall we take a deep!” At that moment, he felt like he would welcome the coldest water he could immerse himself into.
Maya nodded. They walked towards the stone steps that led to the natural pool by the waterfalls. Richard went in first.
“Wow, this is quite cold! But refreshing!” He said grinning, then he held out his hand to Maya. “Come, Maya. Just go down slowly, the rocks are a bit slippery.”
Maya slowly went into the water, holding on to Richard’s hand. But despite Richard’s warning, she slipped and ended up in his arms. She thought there was one more rock, but there was none!
“I got you, Maya.” Richard assured Maya, embracing her tight so she stays upright.
“Thanks a lot, Ricky. Sorry I slipped. I thought there was one more rock before my feet touch the bottom.” Maya said, still holding on to Richard.
Richard smiled. “No worries, Maya. It happens. The important thing is, I got you.”
The two of them smiled at each other, then realized how intimate their position was, with nary a space between them, and there was just Maya’s swimsuit, serving as a thin barrier between their upper bodies! Richard’s eyes darkened with passion he can’t help but feel at that moment. Before he can stop or control himself, his body had reacted to Maya’s nearness. He heard her gasped as well. So, he was not the only one!
They shared a heated gaze, passion and desire in both their eyes. Richard lowered his head, aimed for Maya’s lips. Hers opened readily to receive his. Their lips met and melted into the very heated and intense kiss that followed.
The kiss just went on and on. They were not aware of their surroundings anymore nor the cold water enveloping them and the little waves that the water from the falls created. Richard kept them afloat by bracing himself against the edge of the natural pool. They were only jolted out of the passion that enveloped them completely when a noise penetrated the haze they were in. A noisy group was going down the steps leading to the waterfalls. They broke apart a bit, both catching their breath and reining in the passion that ignited between them.
They shared a beautiful smile. Then Ricky gestured for Maya to take a swim with him towards the deeper side of the falls until the evidence of their desire for each other subsided. Maya followed and for the next several minutes they cooled down their heated bodies while watching the group, mostly teenagers posing for pictures. They swam around for half an hour more, just enjoying the cool water. However, at the back of both of their minds was the earthshaking kiss they have shared.
The intense attraction has always been between them. Richard had felt in from the start, even before he got to know Maya better. Maya on the other hand, knew that she was intensely drawn to Richard and he evoked a very strong physical response from her from the start. She just tried to ignore it. Maybe this is the reason, why they just flare up like that, so fast and so intense every time their lips meet. She was just so very much aware of him all the time. Ricky was thinking the same. He can’t even keep his eyes off her and concentrate while she was doing that presentation!
“Maya, are you okay?” Richard asked after a while. Both of them were floating on their backs aimlessly, relaxing, soaking the rays of the sun that found its way into the almost secluded place where they were, and thinking about the passionate kiss that they shared, their second one now!
Maya looked at Richard and smiled at him. “Yes, I am. Don’t worry.” She said. She knew what Richard was asking even if he didn’t elaborate.
Richard gave her a relieved smile. He also touched her lips gently. Maya did the same, smiling at him, assuring him that she is okay with everything. At that moment, a silent mutual understanding was forged between them.
They got out of the water when Maya started to shiver from the cooling temperature, with the sun slowly getting lower in the horizon. They went back to where they have put their things.
“Coffee, Ricky, why we are waiting for our swimsuits to dry?” Maya asked, sitting on the concrete table, and her feet on the bench she had sat on earlier, patting herself with the towel she brought with her.
“Sure, Maya! That would be great! Thank you very much.” Richard said, getting a towel from his backpack and started drying himself.
Maya who was going to pour coffee from the thermos was transfixed at the sight before her for several long seconds. She forgot to pour the coffee into the styrofoam cup! OMG! She muttered, wanting to fan herself. Then realising what she was doing, she pulled herself and concentrated on making the coffee like it is a very important chemistry experiment.
When Richard looked at her, after putting on the shirt that he had on earlier, Maya was the epitome of calm and innocence. She handed Richard his coffee cup.
“Thank you very much, Maya.” He grinned at her. Unknown to Maya, Richard saw her reaction to him drying himself, from his peripheral vision. She is really cute when flustered, and how he likes her the more! “You?”
“Here, I got one too.”
Richard said beside Maya on the concrete table and both enjoyed their coffee while waiting for their clothes to dry.
“So, dinner at the resort this evening?” Richard asked, in between enjoying Maya’s delicious coffee. She has a way of making it that he likes very much.
“Yes, I would rather we have dinner there, our last night there.” Maya replied, then sighed. “Back to city and reality tomorrow.”
“Okay. I would love that as well. Let me take care of it.” Richard said, then he fished out his phone and send a text message to Marina.
“Who did you text?” Maya asked, curious.
“Marina! I’m not sure what would you like to do, so I told her I will text her if we will have dinner there. I want our last night here in Camiguin to be very special.” He said, grinning boyishly, excited for his treat to Maya again. He loves making her happy and planning special treats for her.
Maya just smiled and shook her head. “Why do I have the feeling that I’m in for a special treat again!”
“Hmmmmm…!” Richard smiled and then took a sip of his coffee and refused to say anything else.
Maya didn’t ask anymore. She was just looking forward to seeing what Richard has had prepared for their last evening in Camiguin. She will never forget this place!
“Let’s have another selfie before we hit the road.” Maya said after she had finished her coffee.
“Okay, for the photo, but we are leaving?” Richard asked, looking at the time. “It is still is early for dinner.”
“Yes, but don’t you want to see the rest of the sights we will pass by on the way back to the resort since we are leaving tomorrow for Cagayan de Oro?”
“Well, I would rather we stay here a bit longer, Maya. It is so nice and quiet. We can always go back, you know to this place, anytime. Like I have told you earlier, this will not be our last time here. I love being here and I will never forget this place and the memories we have here.”
“I was just thinking the same, Ricky.” Maya grinned. “Okay, we stay here longer.”
Maya dug into the picnic basket and found some fruits. She offered a banana to Richard and she got an apple for herself. They enjoyed watching the water from high above falling loudly into the pool below in companionable silence. Still, very aware of each other and the intense attraction between them. Aside from the teenagers who were there earlier for just about 15 minutes or so, no other tourists came. They had the falls to themselves. It was like they were in their own private paradise. Both of them were reluctant to leave that place.
However, when it got a bit dark, hands interlaced, they walked back to where the scooters were parked, looking forward to celebrating their last night in Camiguin. Indeed, that night was a night to remember, in a way they both didn’t foresee, plan for, or expect!