Maya gave up. It has been more than an hour since she went to bed after her wonderful evening with Richard, and yet she was unable to sleep! She did everything, from reading a book, to listening to some music, to remembering their wonderful evening, but still, she failed to catch that elusive sleep. In the quiet of the night, when her mind was at rest, she can’t get the accident out of her head. She kept seeing in her head the split second where Richard was almost hit by the speeding car. What if he was and he ended up in the hospital, gravely injured? What if he died on the spot? She also suddenly remembered all the motorcycle accidents that she had seen in the evening news. What if Richard is gone forever!
She sat up on the bed, shaking her head, trying to shake off the image from her head! She can’t bear the thought of losing him, of not seeing him again, not seeing his bone-melting smiles, not experiencing the effects of his heated gazes and intense kisses! Strange, she had known him in such a short time and she was feeling like that! Does it means that she has already fallen in love with him? That love just happened to her like that! That despite her caution, she had done what she was shying away from, for years, afraid of getting hurt again?
She is very much attracted to him physically, and she likes him a lot as person. What is not to like? He is funny, caring, sincere, honest and a gentleman. They get along pretty well! But is it love? The deep down one that speaks of forever and happily ever after, something she had been wary of for five years, something she swore not to believe anymore. Something she thought is overrated? If ever that she has fallen for Ricky, already, it is really such a big step for her after her experience with James. And what happened to the baby steps that she and Ricky was supposed to be taking! Thrown to the wind!
Maya knows instinctively, and base on what she had seen so far, that Richard is not like James, but still, she only have known him such a short time, and James, she had known for a long time, and yet she was betrayed by him. Yes, she had known Richard a short time, and yet, she seemed to trust him more than ex fiancé. There was also this overwhelming attraction between them. She never felt like that with James, and there, lies the problem with what went wrong with their relationship. With Richard it’s different. She feels she will not recover if it is Richard who will betray and hurt her! Just the thought of losing him or being betrayed by him, is sending her to a sleepless night. She believes Richard will not do to her what James did, but she had been burned once, and while she had healed, she was still carrying the scar from that relationship.
Since she can’t sleep, anyway, with all the thoughts crowding her head and agitating her, she might as well go for a walk, just in front of her bungalow, to her favourite driftwood. Maybe the cool night air will clear her head. At the back of her mind, she knows that she is just probably having a delayed reaction to the accident. But nevertheless, she wanted to think about things and usually, that place is a happy place for her.
Earlier, Maya was able to put the accident at the back of her mind, with Richard’s wonderful surprise for her, making their last evening in Camiguin a truly memorable one. They spent more than an hour cuddling and enjoying the cool breeze in the quiet of the night before they turned in. Richard waited until she was inside before going to his bungalow. It took a while before they parted as just like the night before, they were reluctant to part and go on their on way for the night. They spent several minutes saying good night, with a lot of heated kisses in it.
Maya walked to where her suitcase was, and got a shawl. She wrap it around her shoulders and over her thin sleep shirt. At that time of the night, she was sure that she would be the only one out, so she didn’t bother changing into street clothes. Besides, it was just Richard and her at that side of the resort. It was one of the reasons why she picked that bungalow. Not only does it has the nicest view, it, together with the one Richard was occupying, is away from the main cluster of bungalows. For sure, Richard was in deep sleep by now, she mused. He looked sleepy earlier when they said good night. She also had a feeling that Richard’s shoulder was acting up, and he was just trying to bear it so as they will have the best evening. She thought he really needed a rest after what happened.
Maya was wrong. She wasn’t the only one who was unable to sleep that night. Richard tried reading a book, and playing a game on his iPhone, but to no avail. What had almost happened set it! Despite all his efforts to divert his attention, he kept reliving in his head the moment where he first saw the intense headlights of the oncoming car, and thought that it was his end. Until then, he does not know how he managed to avoid the car! He was stunned when he realized that he did, and that he was still alive. Then Maya rushed to his side, crying and at the same time, trying to be brave. He called her ‘sweetheart’! It was so right, especially at that moment. He realized that his feelings for her went deeper. The initial intense attraction has turned into so much more.
He has fallen in love with her! He loves Maya. It was what he was thinking while he was staring out in the blackened night and watching the twinkling lights. Suddenly, love happened to him, it snuck on to him when he was not looking and not thinking of it anymore. Beautiful, wonderful Maya, happened! He almost told her while they were snuggled together, but stopped himself, barely. Maya had enough of a shock to her system for one night. It can wait. Besides, they agreed to take baby steps, and him declaring his love like that, is, surely one giant leap! Maybe, she is not ready to hear it. He did promise her that they will take it one step at a time. He just decided that he will show it to her in every way he could. Maybe, that would allay her fears and the scars he thinks she has, inflicted by the guy who left her at the altar.
Richard got out of bed. Since, he can’t sleep, he might as well, walk a bit, to tire himself out and maybe the fresh air will make him sleep better. He wished, though, that Maya was there to walk beside him, and chat a bit. Had she had been beside him at that moment, for sure, he would not need the walk, though! He would just be content to look at her. But Maya needed her rest. He saw how rattled she was earlier. He smiled, remembering their protracted good night, laced with all those wonderful kisses.
Richard ventured into the night. His feet led him to the driftwood where he had that memorable first dinner with Maya the other night, and that was where he saw her! She was sitting on the fallen wood that has been fashioned into a beautiful bench for two, arms around her knees, gazing in the night. His heart beat double, seeing her, all the love he is feeling for her, rushing into his system!
“Maya…” Richard called softly. “It’s me, Ricky!” He added so as not to alarm her.
“Ricky!” Maya looked at Richard, surprised to him up and about that time of the night. “I thought you would be asleep by now. Are you in pain?” She asked worriedly.
“No, Maya, I’m okay. I just can’t sleep so I decided to go for a walk.” Richard said as he sat down beside Maya. “How about you? Why are you here? You should have woken me. It may not be safe for you to be alone here at this time of the night. How long have you been here?”
“Oh, I’m only had been here for half an hour. I can’t sleep also. I think I was having a delayed reaction to the accident. Like a song on a loop, it kept playing and playing in my head while I was trying to sleep! I can’t help it. So, to clear my head, I decided to go for a walk!” Maya said, hesitating a bit in telling Richard about the other reason why she was unable to sleep.
“Maya, don’t think about it anymore, please. Just think of happy thoughts.” Richard said, putting his arms around Maya and hugging her tight. “We are okay. Just think of that and the continuation of our adventures. You know, we still have a lot of those baby steps to take! “ He teased her. Then remembering his thoughts earlier, he mused, at least not on his side.
“Okay, Ricky. I feel better now, with you by my side! ” Maya smiled. “How about you, why can’t you sleep?”
“Well, like you, I also thought of the accident and what could have happened.” Then taking a deep breath, he forged on, life could be so fleeting, so he will say this since he was given another chance. Holding Maya’s hand, he said. “The thing is with what happened on the road, I also realized something, Maya, that is, that I have fallen in love with you. Love happened to me. I think I have done so when we met each other again last week!”
“R-ricky…! Maya was so surprised by Richard’s admission, that she was unable to form a coherent reply right away.
Richard continued on, touching Maya’s face with both his hands and looking deep into her soul.
“Maya, I was not actually planning on telling it this evening. I thought you had enough of a shock, but then I saw you here, and I realized that what happened shook the two of us more than what we let on. For me, I realized that life is fleeting and it could be gone in a snap, just like that, by the road, without you having any say in it. I have this moment with you, so I would like to take, make good use of that moment fate gave me to tell you how I feel about you. I’ll show you how much I love you. I know you have fears, I’ll be here, I’ll wait until all your fears are gone. I, too, had fears before, but my love for you is stronger than those fears! I love you very much, Maya!”
Maya felt tears in her eyes, and her heart pounding double time with each word that coming from Richard’s lips. They vowed completely honesty, everything laid down, so she made a decision too. With her hand on Richard’s face as well, she told him what was in heart.
“Ricky, the reason why I can’t get off the accident from my head, and why I can’t sleep, was the thought of losing you! I can’t bear it, thinking that I could have lost you there by the road. It opened a floodgate of strong feelings. Suddenly you became the most important person in my life right now. You awaken dead emotions and the thought of not seeing you again forever was driving me crazy. Is that love? Have I fallen in love with you? My answer is yes, I think I have fallen in love with you. That is also making me afraid. I have been hurt before. In such a short time, what I am feeling for you is much more than I have felt for my ex fiancé in all the years we have been together, and we grew up together. That was young love. What I am feeling right now for you does not compare to that. So yes, I am very afraid because you can hurt me in a way that James was not able to do!”
“Maya, sweetheart! I understand your fears. I will never knowingly hurt you. I will do my best to make you happy. I know what it is to be hurt also. We will conquer your fears together. We are in this together. I’m so happy to know that you have fallen in love with me. Let me just you, how much I love you and how good we are together in every way I could. Can you give me that?” Richard asked gently.
“Sure, Ricky! I can do that. Thank you for being so understanding. If there is someone whom I would take the final leap, Ricky, it would be you.”
“Maya, that is more than enough for me, for now. Thank you. Let us enjoy our journey together to wherever this would lead us.”
Maya nodded and then for the second time that night, snuggled closely to Richard, contented. Richard was also very much happy with the unexpected turn of events. He vowed to conquer all of Maya’s fears! He was surprised at himself. He too should have been wary, but with her, he does not feel any fear at all. He believes that they can hurdle every obstacles towards their happily ever after, with the love they are feeling for each other.