“Rickyyyy!” Maya screamed, then scrambled out of her scooter very fast, running to where Richard landed, wanting to know if he is okay.
They were almost at the resort when it happened. A car from the opposite direction, seemingly coming out of nowhere in the dark, moving too fast. Then it suddenly swerved into their lane. Maya thought it would really hit Richard. But instead, Richard managed to avoid it last-minute. It was a good thing he had good reflexes and they were not driving that fast! However, he and the scooter landed on the shoulder of the road, on a grassy embankment.
Maya saw Richard fell and thought the worst. When she reached him, she saw that he was conscious, though he was wincing a bit, his hand massaging his right shoulder. Tears rolling down her cheeks, she hugged him, then touch him everywhere, trying to check if he is okay.
“Ricky, are you okay? I’ll bring you to the hospital, let me just call for help. Where’s my phone? Where’s my phone?” Maya scrambled to find her phone.
Before she can get her phone, Richard patted Maya’s back gently to calm her down. “Shhhhh, Maya, don’t cry please. I don’t need medical help. I’m okay. The soft shoulder cushioned my fall. Shhhh, I’m okay.” Richard kept saying, wanting to calm down Maya who was visibly shaking, but bravely holding on.
“I’m so sorry, I didn’t see the two of you right away!” A guy wearing eyeglasses hurried to their side. He looked very worried and rattled. “Can I bring you to the clinic in town? I’m going there. That was why I was in a hurry. My sister needs medical help. She has been vomiting a lot. I think it was something she ate earlier. I was driving too fast. I was worried about her condition as she started feeling dizzy too. Aside from that, it is hard for me to drive at night also. I’m really, really sorry, I almost hit you. I got lucky since you got good reflexes, Mister! It could have been worst.” The guy finished, his voice breaking a bit. “I’m Rafael Reyes.”
“Oh, just go then, don’t mind me, Mr. Reyes. I’m okay. Yes, it could have been worse, but luckily it didn’t happen!” Richard assured the other guy, seeing that he looked pale as well. “Just attend to your sister, first, please. Maybe she got a bad case of food poisoning, by the sound of it. And be careful, it’s very dark now. You don’t want to have another accident. I’m Richard Lim, by the way, and this is Maya Dela Rosa.”
“Okay, but can you at least tell me where are you staying, please, Richard, Maya, so I can check on you later.” Rafael Reyes insisted. “And yes, I will. I will be extra careful. I may not get lucky next time!”
Maya told him where they were staying, and then he was off. “Thank you, Maya and Richard, if not later, I’ll see you guys first thing in the morning. I’m really sorry for what happened.”
“Ricky, sure, you are okay? You may need to be x-rayed!” Maya asked again worriedly. Richard might just be trying to be brave as she had panicked a bit earlier. It looked like he landed hard, his shoulder breaking his fall. She didn’t see him hitting his head and that was a very good thing.
“Don’t worry, sweetheart! I’m really okay!” Richard assured Maya, the term of endearment coming out naturally. “I just need to catch my breath so we can be on our way. Remember, we have our special dinner later.”
Maya heard him called her sweetheart and amid all her worries, it gave her a thrill. It has a very nice ring to it. But still, like in an endless loop, she remembered the scene earlier. “Ricky, I don’t know what I will do if something happened to you earlier. What if I lost you!” She said emotionally, her voice cracking a bit, “I-I-I can’t bear it. I can’t lose you!”
“Shhhh, Maya, don’t think about it, anymore. It didn’t happen. I’m here, alive and whole! I’m okay, sweetheart.” Richard assured Maya, hugging her tight, kissing her on the forehead and wiping her tears gently, caressing her face too, as if to assure himself that he can still do that and that he is still alive. The truth is, he also kept seeing the scene earlier in his head. He thought he was going to die! He just didn’t want to worry Maya by saying it aloud. He also feels a bit sore from his fall, but the pain is somewhat bearable. He does not want to ruin their last evening in Camiguin. “Promise, If I feel something bad, we will go to the clinic fast. Also, to put your mind at ease, I’ll have our family doctor look at me tomorrow evening when we get back to Manila.”
“Okay. Promise, ha?” Maya said softly. “Maybe, you shouldn’t ride the scooter again. It may not be safe to do so. Just ride with me and we can just explain what happened to Jeremy. He can just send someone to pick up the other scooter.”
Richard nodded. Maya helped him up. They put Richard’s scooter where it would be safe, then they hopped into her scooter. Richard put his arms around Maya’s waist, and just thinking that had he died earlier, he will not be able to do that anymore. He hugged her tighter. Maya felt it, put her hand on top of Richard’s arms encircling her waist, leaned back, then she twisted a little, facing him. She gave him a soft kiss on the lips. Richard smiled, then kissed her back, gently, then rained little kisses on her face.
Several minutes later, they were at the resort. They immediately look for Jeremy and explained what happened.
“How are you, Richard? Are you sure you are okay? I have a local friend who is a doctor. He lives nearby. I can send for him.” Jeremy offered.
“Thank you, Jeremy. There is no need. I just feel a bit sore, but I’m okay. The soft shoulder saved me. It was also a good thing that Maya and I were not driving fast.” Richard said, hand interlaced with Maya’s tightly as if he needs to be continually connected to her. “Anyway, we are going back to Manila tomorrow, and to be doubly sure, I’ll see our family doctor like I have promised Maya earlier. I was very lucky, I guess.”
“If you are sure, then okay. But should you feel differently, let me know, please. I can send for him, anytime. And don’t worry about the scooter, I’ll just send Marina’s nephew, Mario, to pick it up.“ Jeremy said, then added, “Yours was not the first accident on that part of the road. It is an accident-prone area, for some reason. Indeed, you are lucky, thank God! The last one was not, a scooter too! But let’s not dwell on that, you have enough scare for one night!”
“I guess it is not yet my time. Thank God, nothing bad happened.” Richard said, pressing Maya’s hand as if to reassure her and him, that he is lucky to be still alive. “Thank you again, Jeremy. Let me just pay for the damage to the scooter, if ever.”
“Oh, there is no need. Don’t worry about it. The important thing is you and Maya are safe. So, go and rest.”
“Okay, thanks again.” Richard offered his hand to Jeremy.” Maya and I will go ahead.”
“Thank you, Jeremy. Good night!” Maya added.
“Good night! Have a great evening, Maya, Richard! Enjoy!” Jeremy said.
Maya was a bit puzzled with Jeremy’s parting words. Have a nice evening and enjoy? Didn’t they just tell him that they had an accident and Ricky almost died! She was about to mention it to Richard, when the sight before her, stopped her on her tracks.
“Wow! So this is what you have been planning for this evening, Ricky!” Maya said, grinning, not believing what she was seeing at that moment, temporarily forgetting their ordeal on the road! Indeed, Richard was really bent on making their last night in Camiguin very, very special.
Her veranda was transformed into a fine-dining place. The small table there was replaced with an elegant one, covered with a dainty white lace cloth and scattered all over it were rose petals again, but unlike the table by the driftwood the night before, the rose petals this time were of different colors and variety. At the center, in a very beautiful crystal vase were several vibrant sunflowers. There were also candles in colorful glasses in the middle (good thing it was not so windy that night) as well on top of the veranda that ringed the bungalow! A bottle of champagne was cooling on the side, and the table set for two, with beautiful porcelain plates and intricate silver cutlery. A soft music was playing from the iPod docked at the corner!
“How on earth did you manage this by one text message, Ricky?” Maya asked in amazement, still absorbing everything, the magical setting before her.
“Well, let us thank Marina for that. I got lucky again in that. It turned out that they decided to have this set-up in their resort as I was not the only one who requested a service like this apparently. It has been used in several wedding proposals and romantic dinners for couples celebrating anniversaries in this beautiful place.” Richard explained, then smiling, happy to see Maya happy and not dwelling on their ordeal earlier. “So, I gather you like my surprise?”
“Like it? Not only like it! I love it very much!!!” Maya said, grinning happily. “Thank you very much. You are a guy after a girl’s heart! But are you sure, are you up to this? Are you feeling okay. We can just have a quiet dinner.”
“Yes, I am. But only your heart, Ms. Maya Dela Rosa. Only yours!” Richard said softly, gazing at Maya intently, heatedly.
Maya felt like she was turning into a big puddle the way Ricky was looking at her. She gave him a tremulous smile, lost for words.
“Maya, this is exactly what we need at the moment. Besides, I have been looking forward to this since we left the waterfalls. I want this moment with you.” Richard added, cupping Maya’s chin. “I really am okay, Maya. Don’t worry. No chance of losing me, you know!”
“Okay, as you said so, Mr. Lim!” Maya said smiling, not wanting to dwell on it, anymore. “Is it okay then if I change into something more appropriate for this beautiful setting and this special evening?”
“Sure Maya, we can eat in a while. I need to go to my bungalow too, to change and shower.” Richard said, smiling. “We can meet here again in half an hour. Is that okay with you?”
“Yes, Ricky! See you in a while.”
“See you, Maya!”
Maya went inside her bungalow, took out a blue-violet cocktail dress from her suitcase before going to bath. It was wrinkled, but there was nothing she can do about it. She only brought it with her when she went to Bukidnon, on the off-chance that she would be invited to a company event there. It is the only ‘dressy’ clothes she has with her, fit for her special night with Ricky. She started to get ready for their special evening. Ricky was right, she mused, they should focus and celebrate them being alive than dwelling on the accident and what could have happened.
Richard winced a bit when he removed the t-shirt he was wearing. His right shoulder was tender, but the pain was still tolerable. He decided to ignore whatever pain he was feeling! He can bear it, mind over matter. What was foremost in his mind at that time was the beautiful night, he will be having with Maya. They were lucky to be alive and they should focus on that.
Half hour later, Richard was back in Maya’s veranda, waiting for her to come out. He gazed at the beach, which was shrouded in darkness by then except for the little twinkling lights dotting the blackened landscape, probably coming from all the fishing boats out there. The scene looked tranquil, beautiful, profound and mysterious. Like love! He thought all of a sudden!
“Ricky…” Maya called out softly, seeing Richard seemingly lost in thoughts while staring into the beautiful night. Even in silhouette, he looked very handsome in the dark-colored pants and pale blue shirt he chose to wear that evening.
Richard slowly turned and looked at Maya. She never failed to take his breath away! She looked very beautiful in the blue-violet off shoulder knee-length lace cocktail dress she was wearing. She had minimal make-up on and her hair in a simple bun. “Maya, you look stunning.” He said while gazing at her with admiration, and so much more in his eyes.
“Thank you, Ricky.” Maya said simply, feeling her heart skipping a beat at the intensity of his gaze. “You don’t look so bad yourself!” She said with a big smile. “I’m searching for the word for it, wait. Oh, dashing! You look dashing!”
Richard grinned. “Thank you, Maya.” He seated Maya, then signal for Mario, who was waiting from a short distance to start serving their delicious dinner. He was actually quite hungry, and hoped that Maya will like the food he asked Marina to prepare for that evening. Maya did. Both of them did.
“I’m stuffed again!” Maya said after they have finished off their Mango Panna Cotta dessert. By then, they were sitting in the two-seater wicker chair placed at one side of her spacious veranda. When the place was constructed, Maya thought, the intent really was to take advantage of the beautiful view in front!
“Me too! That was the best meal I had in a while. I wish we can bring Marta to Manila and cook at our cafe!” Richard said, smiling, relaxed and so very happy at the moment, then looked at Maya from where she was, leaning against his chest. For some reason, they just gravitated towards each other like that. Maybe, with what happened earlier, they needed constant affirmation that both of them are alive and okay! “More wine, Maya?”
“No more for me, Ricky, I’m just finishing up my second glass. Thank you.” She said, looking up to him with a big smile. “Thank you again for this wonderful evening!”
“You’re welcome, Maya. Anything for you, and anything to make you happy, I’ll gladly do.” He said softly, unconsciously caressing her hair.
“Thank you Ricky.” Maya managed to say, overwhelmed with the onrush of emotions she was feeling, with those words. She calmed herself. “So, back to Manila tomorrow, huh! It will be a long day for both of us. By land, ferry, land again, then plane, then home!” Maya remarked.
“Yes, but it will be okay. You are with me.” Richard said with a smile. “I’ll just take you home ha. If you made an arrangement with your cousin to pick you up, please let him know that I will take you home. Can we also have dinner tomorrow night? That is if you are not too tired.”
“Dinner! We just had dinner, and you are thinking of dinner again! Are you not tired of my company, yet.” She asked, half-smiling.
“Maya, never! Just the thought of us going on separate ways tomorrow, is making me miss you already, so please have dinner with me tomorrow?”
“Of course, but we can just have dinner in my place. We can just order from the Italian restaurant near where I live. They have good food!”
“Okay. Thanks a lot, Maya. Now, let’s enjoy the rest of the night!”
Richard pulled Maya closer to him, his arms enveloping her. Maya smiled sweetly at him, snuggled closely, so very happy to be in his arms. They continued enjoying the beautiful, special night in each other’s arms.