Archive for category Sir Chief & Maya Stories
Richard called Maya as she was about to walk to the elevator going up the offices after parking her car in her spot in the basement parking of Lim Corporation. She was running late due to an accident between a bus and a motorcycle near Boni, which delayed her travel for almost an hour. The accident caused a gridlock. She recognized the voice of the person who called her even without looking back to check.
“Ricky!” She said, smiling at Richard with her smile that lit up her whole face. She was very happy to see him. “Good morning! Did you also get caught in the traffic in Boni?” And what a beautiful morning it is kahit late dahil sa nangyari, as she is starting another day with Richard, Maya thought!
“Good morning, Maya! Yes, I did. Ikaw din pala! It took me around an hour to get passed the accident site! I think what compounded the whole thing were motorists slowing down when they reached it and trying to see what had happened. I guess, it is a pretty normal human reaction. By the look of it, mabuti, no one was got hurt seriously.” Richard said as he pressed the elevator button going up. Silently, he was thinking that despite being caught in a gridlock, this day is turning to be a very good one, with him seeing Maya again bright and early! “Have you had coffee yet?”
“Not yet! I usually just get it from the Starbucks here in the building.” Maya replied as she leaned against the elevator wall, carrying her laptop bag.
“Good! Me too! Come let’s get some coffee to perk us up.” Richard said, pressing the button for the ground floor instead of their floors after escorting Maya into the elevator. “I badly need a caffeine fix too.”
“Late night?” Maya asked before she can stopped herself, she sounded probing. And what if he had a late night Maya Angela Dela Rosa, it is his business! Then Maya found a a way out. She remembered him mentioning dinner with his parents. “How was the dinner with your parents?”
Richard shrugged. “It was okay. It was just our usual family dinner. I’m staying with them for now. I had to go out, though afterwards, for an urgent matter.”
“Oh….! Maya said, but at the back of her mind, she was curious on what was that urgent matter. The way he said it, he sounded mysterious.
Richard didn’t elaborate, though! He just grinned at Maya as if he was happy with the outcome of his late night errand as he opened the door of the coffee shop for her.
“Maya, just have a seat, please, while we are waiting. I can get us the coffee. What would you like, the same as the one I got for you the other day?” Richard asked with a big grin, remembering that day.
Maya blushed a bit, remembering it again. “Ah errr, yes, thank you pala for that coffee. You left my office before I could thank you.”
“You’re welcome, Maya! That was the highlight of my day that day, your text message and bringing you coffee.” He said with a teasing smile.
“Ricky, ikaw talaga. Hahahaha. I’m super embarrassed na nga!” Maya said, smiling. “Kung alam mo lang, I was wishing for the floor to swallow me. Normally, I don’t do mistakes like that.”
“Well, I’m glad you did!” Richard remarked, gazing at her meaningfully, then gave her a lopsided smile before falling in line to order their coffee.
Several minutes after, with two steaming tumblers of grande caffe americano and a sandwich bag for Maya, they left Starbucks. Unbeknown to them, some employees have seen them and has started wondering if their chief lawyer, the LC heir-apparent and the lovely Corporate Communications officer are an item now. The two of them looked so sweet with each other and they looked good together.
Richard and Maya chatted on the way up as there were just the two of them in the elevator. When the elevator stopped at Maya’s floor, Richard went with her again, just like the day before, escorting her up to her office.
“Have a nice day, Maya!” Richard said with a big smile when they reached the door to Maya’s department.
“You too, Ricky! Thank you again for the coffee and the sandwich.” Maya said.
“You’re welcome, Maya. See you!” He said, then went back towards the direction of the elevator. “Have a wonderful, sunny day!”
Like the previous day, Maya felt very happy when she entered her work area.
“Good morning, Ma’am Maya!” Minerva greeted her with a smile.
“Good morning, Minerva! Beautiful morning isn’t it?” She said with a big, goofy smile on her face that raised Minerva’s eyebrow a bit. It looks like her boss is having a beautiful morning, indeed. She saw who accompanied her up to the entrance of their department.
Maya entered her office and saw that she was in for another surprise that day!
On Maya’s table, another beautiful arrangement of sunflowers awaited her. This one was more beautiful that the one she got yesterday. Plus, today, there is a beautiful rectangular box beside it.
Maya slowly put down her coffee and her breakfast to inspect the new gifts. She found a small card attached to the box.
Music is good for the soul. I must have read that somewhere. I think it is true, as the lyrics, melodies and rhythm of a piece of music, or a song in particular, express a whole gamut of human emotions – sadness, longing, happiness, and most of all love. The last one was so very true of the songs I have included in what you will find in the box.
I hope you will like the gifts. Have a wonderful day.
“Hindi na naman signed!” Maya remarked, getting more and more curious with her mysterious admirer.
Maya, her brows knitted, opened the box and found nestled in the middle was the latest model of iPod Touch. When she opened it and checked, she saw several songs loaded into the music player. Most of the songs have either ‘fallen, fallin’, and falling in love’ in the title. What caught her attention were two of the songs she likes, ‘Fallin’’ from the musical ‘They’re Playing Our Song’ and Elvis Presley’s ‘Can’t Help Falling In Love’.
Maya’s heart beat faster, getting the meaning behind the songs selection. Does this mean….? Who could be sending this ‘message’ to her. Aside from that, in the box also were also three DVD of her favorite movies, and a pack of Snickers chocolate, a weakness of her. She really like eating Snickers while she drinks her favorite brew. Is Richard sending this? He was the last person whom she had mentioned her love for Snickers, and they did discuss those movies in the car the night before!
Maya went back to the card again and like the one she received yesterday, the message was handwritten in a very distinct masculine way. She was still inspecting it, trying to decipher who could have sent it, when Minerva knocked on her door.
“Ma’am Maya, heto na po iyong…..” Minerva stopped midway with what she was supposed to say. “Wow, mas bongga ngayon!” Minerva blurted out.
“Oo nga, pero unsigned pa rin ang note, Minerva! Were all of these here when you arrived this morning?” Maya asked.
“Hmmm, I think so, Ma’am Maya since I was the earliest one here again and wala namang nagpa-receive sa akin ng mga iyan.” Minerva replied.
“Thanks, Minerva! Hmmm, malalaman din natin kung sino ang nagpapadala nito in the future. For now, mystery siya at kung paano nailalagay ang mga ito sa desk ko ng walang nakakakita.” Maya finished. “Ano nga pala iyang ibibigay mo sa akin?”
“Oh, ito pong mga document na pina-review natin sa Legal at ipapa-sign kay Sir Richard. Dinala na po ng messenger. Ms. Liza also called, iyong secretary ni Sir Richard. Nag-apologize kasi several days ago pa po pala iyan natapos i-review ni Sir Richard, then he put marginal notes dahil dapat ibabalik sa atin for the adjustments, pero natabunan sa desk ni Sir Fred, iyong bagong lawyer nila! Palagay na lang daw po ng iba pang details, na nasa marginal notes, then ibalik natin sa kanila.”
“Okay, I’ll go over it. I guess dito na lang si Atty. Lim sa hard copy nag-correct instead of the copy we e-mailed din. Or baka hindi rin kaya nakita ni Atty. Fred sa inbox niya.” Maya commented, more to herself, as she sat on her desk. “Anyways, sige, Minerva, I will send it to you na lang kapag natapos ko na so you can print out the corrected copy. Thanks a lot.”
Maya was about to drink her coffee before checking on what was needed to be done when the handwritting on the marginal notes caught her eyes. She checked twice, then looked again. They looked the same as the…..! She scrambled to find the card from this morning and the one from yesterday! She put them side by side and confirmed that they looked like to have been written by the same person! Richard! She is 100 percent sure now that it is him who have been sending these stuffs to her. Everything fall into pieces, especially with his mentioned that he did an errand last night. Saka sobra naman ngang coincidence ng movies and the chocolates.
With the knowledge that Richard is her mysterious gift-sender, Maya’s heart somersaulted and she felt weak in the knees. She felt like she is floating. So it is him! OMG, she thought. But bakit pa-mysterious effect pa siya? Nagkikita naman sila everyday? Then Maya smiled, an element of mischief entered her head too. Two can play at this, hmmm. Could she do it? Yes, she could. She would ‘flush’ Richard out. It would be fun, and something they can laugh about in the future, for sure. She just wanted to tease him a bit too for not signing the cards.
With that in mind, Maya worked happily, with a feeling of anticipation. Everytime she looked at the flowers, she smiled goofily. She also enjoyed eating two of the chocolate bars. It was a heady feeling, knowing that your ‘crush’ likes you too! She still have a half-smile on her face when she answered her phone around lunch. She just didn’t notice the time, working through her paperworks, very, very inspired. It was James’s secretary Desiree who called, telling Maya that James will just meet her in the lobby in 15 minutes for their meeting in a nearby restaurant inside a hotel near Mega Mall.
Maya was striding through the lobby when she noticed Richard talking to the other LC lawyers. He saw her at the same time she saw James. She pretended not to notice Richard. Maya found an opportunity to start teasing Richard! She grabbed James arms and whispered to him to play along with what she will say.
“James , ikaw ha, I think you are the one sending me the flowers and the gifts!” She said. “Thank you, they are very lovely and I like it very much. Saka iyong Snickers, dalawa na ang nakain ko.”
“Ha bakit mo naman nasabing ako!” James asked, forgetting that he was supposed to play along! But Maya, thought to herself, his answer was just perfect!
“Eh sino pa ba naman ang nakakaalam na favorite ko ang sunflowers, Snickers at saka iyong ‘Before Sunrise’, ‘Before Sunset’ and ‘Before Midnight’ na movies. Saan mo nabili iyong third? I don’t think it was release here! Ang tagal ko ng naghahanap noon.”
Before James can react, Richard had reached them. He, of course, heard Maya’s side of the conversation. He thought, she really thought it’s James whose sending the gifts and the flowers? Nanliligaw din kaya si James sa kanya, he thought, the notion unsettling him a bit. “Hello Maya, James? Out for lunch?” He asked, curious and very much wanting to find out.
“Hi Richard!” James said. “Maya and I will go to EDSA Plaza Hotel for a meeting with the Chua Group of Companies for our joint venture. I’m bringing along Maya since we need to write releases on this as well.”
“Oh, okay. Yes, Maya mentioned nga that she has a meeting today. Ito pala iyon, Maya?” Richard remarked, relieved. Not really aware that his statement got James very curious, looking now very closely at his friend and his boss’s son.
“Errr, yes, Atty. Lim. Ito nga iyon. James and I will go ahead. Baka ma-traffic pa kami. Enjoy your lunch.” She said, gave Richard a smile and dragged a flabbergasted James towards the elevator going down They will take her car as James’s is on coding today. She got a bit self-conscious with the way he asked that question, is if they were the only persons in the lobby. Coupled with her knowledge that is is him, her poor heart skipped several beats.
“Maya Dela Rosa, I smell something! Umamin ka sa akin. Kailan pa kayo naging super cozy ng bagong-bagong chief lawyer natin? Ang alam ko nagkakilala lang kayo last week, when I introduced you two.” James probed. “May hindi ba ako alam, hmmmm, ha, college best friend?”
“Ha, wala iyon.” Maya said evasively, everything was too new to her to share even with her one of her closest friends. “Instant friends lang kami.”
“Instant friends!” James exclaimed. “Ano iyon, parang instant coffee at instant noodles lang ang peg! Parang ngayon ko lang narinig ang term na niyan, Maya. Saka what is this talk about sunflowers, chocolates and movies? Hindi ako ang nagpapadala noon.”
“I know, kaya nga sabi ko sumakay ka lang, di ba.” Maya said, blushing.
“So, may pinatatamaan ka noong statement na iyon. Mysterious admirer? Walang sign ang card? Tama ba ang guess ko? Eh ang lumapit lang namin sa atin si….” James said, putting two and two together. “Oh, don’t tell me???”
“James, college BFF, sshhhhh, basta, saka na lang ako magkukuwento!! No more questions please. Halika na naghihintay na ang mga kausap natin.” Maya pleaded.
“Okay, okay, for the sake of 12 years of friendship, I will shut up for now.” James said as they got into Maya’s car and they drove to their meeting.
While Maya and James were on their way, Richard was still puzzled how his overtures is backfiring on him. And why would Maya thinks it’s James? He thought, he gave enough hint with the latest one that it is him, especially with the chocolates and the movies. Maybe, he should do more so Maya knows it’s him. Kasi naman, ano ba ang naisipan niya when he decided not to sign the card. But, hmmm, he just know what do to rectify that. Richard smiled, happy again.
“I love you very much, Ricky!”
“I love you very much too, Maya!”
Richard held Maya’s chin, then lowered his lips again to hers, giving her a lingering kiss this time, while they were still as closed as two persons could be. Maya was getting weak in the knees with the kiss Richard was giving her. They were both breathing hard after that searing kiss.
“Maya, my love, let’s sit again and get more comfortable. You are making me weak in the knees.” Richard said with a loving, teasing smile, as he got hold of Maya’s hand, and led her to the rattan chairs where they sat earlier.
However, when they got there, Richard sat first, and then gently reeled Maya in, until she was sitting on his lap. Maya made herself comfortable, fitting perfectly into Richard’s lap. Like Richard, she wanted to stay as close to him as possible to savor their very special moment.
“Happy, my love?” Richard asked Maya softly, caressing her hair while she half-reclined against him and her head was pillowed on his chest, her arms around him, and his around hers.
“Sobra-sobra, Ricky, I feel like my heart will burst from sheer happiness! I was not really expecting that you will propose to me this evening. But it was a wonderful surprise. Ikaw ha, grand production pa. I loved it very much. I love my ring. It’s so beautiful.” Maya said, happy, gazing at Ricky with a big smile.
“Siyempre naman, eight years in the making ang proposal ko sa iyo. Pero, I must admit, I felt nervous while doing it. Kasi, what if nabigla ka, or ayaw mo pa akong sagutin kasi we just got back together.” He confessed, as he tightened his embrace and started caressing her arm, rhythmically.
“Ricky, even if I was so surprised, there was only one answer in my head and my heart, and that was yes. Like what you have said, eight years without each other was long enough. Eight years with you, was a lifetime to me too. Besides, you are the only one I want to spend the rest of my life with. I love you, I love you, a million times.” Maya said as she started raining kisses on Richard’s face. “I will marry you in as many churches as we could, in this lifetime and in the next, and in the next pa. I’m sure we will find each other there also.”
“Maya, Maya, my heart is so full.” Richard said softly. “The feeling in my heart right now, it is indescribable.”
“Me too, Ricky! Me too.” Maya said as she embraced Richard tighter, as not wanting to let go. this is very, very real. They are really here, engaged, commiting to each other for the rest of their lives.
They stayed liked that for quite sometime, just enjoying the moment. After a while, Richard thought of asking Maya if she would like to have dinner with his mother the following day, when they return to Manila, to formally tell her of their engagement and plan the wedding. However he was met with silence when he asked, and that was when he noticed her steady breathing. Just like in New York, Maya slept on him again!
Richard looked at his fiancee with an indulgent smile. It must have been the wine and the cool, relaxing breeze, he thought that lulled his love to sleep. He decided to carry Maya to her bed where she would be more comfortable. He gently put his right arm under her ankles and pillowed her head on the other one so as not to wake her up. She didn’t! She just burrowed closely and deeply into his chest.
When he reached the guest room, he gently laid her down on the bed. But when he was about to pull his arms from under her, she slowly woke up.
“Ricky….?” She asked, a bit disoriented.
“Sshhhh, go back to sleep. You are in your bed now.” Richard said softly.
“Oh, sorry for doing that on you again, just like New York, huh!” Maya sat up on the bed, a sheepish smile on her face. “It must be the wine, the gentle breeze and your chest, feeling ko nasa duyan ako. My last thought was that I like very much where I was.”
Richard gave Maya a lopsided smile. “No worries, my love! Baka you needed the rest din. Magpahinga ka na!”
“Okay!” Maya said, realizing that she and Richard are on the same bed in the middle of the night, just like in his apartment in New York. Suddenly, she felt very much aware of him. Richard was the same. A different awareness of Maya kicked in. He felt it earlier, but fought it, but now, in the dimmed lights of the bedroom, he was having a hard time doing so. He wants her, but just like before, he wanted to be gentleman and wait.
“Good night, Maya!” Richard forced himself to stand up from the edge of the bed where he ended up sitting. He needed to do this while he still can. He just realized how very sexy Maya is in that flowing dress that hugged her all curves.
“Good night, Ricky!” Maya stood up from the bed, intending to give Richard a chaste kiss.
However, as soon as their lips met, it became more. It felt like it was like the match that ignited the flame between them. Maya ended up sitting on Richard’s lap again as their lips fused hotly and they seemed to can’t get enough of each other. They touched everywhere, their lips very hungry for each other.
They muttered as their lips fused into another smoldering kiss. Richard’s tongue seeked entrance into Maya’s mouth. She opened her mouth to let him in. His tongue explored and seeked out her tongue and invited it to a hot duel. Maya’s breasts grew heavy with wants, and the need to be touched badly. Richard felt like all the blood was pooling on his hard member. Maya can feel the effect of Richard’s desire for her.
“Maya, my love, I think we better stop while we still can….” Richard said in between labored breathing and giving Maya searing kisses, his hands, like they have a life of their own, stroking her gently, up and down the slope of her buttocks. The thin material of Maya’s dress not really providing a protection against the heat generated by Richard’s caress.
Maya was so lost in the sensations she was feeling, that at first she didn’t hear Richard. She looked at his desire-laced eyes, seeing the control he wanted to exert, and made a decision.
“We don’t have to stop, Ricky. I want to belong to you completely this evening.” Maya said, her voice husky with desire and resolve.
“Maya, my love, are you sure?” Richard just have to ask her one more time, while he still can.
“Yes, my love. I have never been more sure in my life. I want to give you all of me.”
“Oh Maya….” Richard said huskily, caressing her face lovingly, then giving her another searing kiss.
Maya responded fervently to Richard’s kiss, nibbling on his lips as he did to hers. Richard’s hand starting moving towards the underside of Maya’s breast, leaving a trail of hot touch, then he moved to cup her breast through her dress, at the same time leaving little kisses from her face to her neck and collarbone. He play with her breast thoroughly, making Maya want more, something that she can’t fully define. She felt she was on fire. Richard was trying to slow down a bit. He knows Maya is innocent.
“Ricky, the way you make me feel…..”
“Maya, my love I’m on fire for you too. I want you very much.”
“Take me, Ricky, all of me, I’m yours.” Maya said breathlessly, desire and love for Richard making her lost for words.
Richard and Maya looked at each other like they want to devour each other, all the desire, wants and love they feel for each other on display on their faces. Then Maya, started touching Richard too, half-sitting on his lap, straddling him.
Richard, on the other hand, gave Maya’s other breast the attention he was giving the other earlier. Maya unbuttoned the rest of Richard’s shirt, wanting to touch him, skin to skin. She was guided by instinct. Richard started untying Maya’s dress from her nape, until it momentarily lodged on her breasts, then pooled at her waist. Maya’s beautiful breasts, nipples hard, were now bared to Richard gaze as the bra he thought she was wearing was built-in into the dress. He gasped, not expecting it. He almost lost total control.
“Maya, my love, you are so beautiful….” He said heatedly, admiringly.
“Ricky…..” Maya felt she would melt the way Richard is looking at her. She forgot to be self-conscious, even if for the first time, she was bared before a man, for the man she loves with all of her.
It was Maya’s turn to gasp, with heat pooling up to her feminine core, when Richard’s hand touched her bare breasts. He started kneading one, his thumb, flicking the nipple. He did the same to the other one until they became pebbled hard and Maya felt like she is boneless. But Richard was not content with that. He lowered his mouth to one breast, then use his tongue to play with it, paying extra attention to her hardened nipple. Richard did the same to her other breast.
“Oh Ricky, that feels so good….I’m going crazy….I want more….” Maya muttered incoherently, at the same time, blindly seeking Richard’s body, touching him, then raining kisses on his neck and whatever part of his bared, muscled upper body she could touch and torched with her heated kisses.
“Maya, you make me feel so much also. I’m crazy with want to. I want you like I haven’t wanted. I love you very much with all of me.” Richard said, fighting for control, and losing the battle. He gently removed Maya’s dress until she was only in her black, skimpy underwear. Richard swallowed hard. He fully laid her gently on the bed, then proceeded to remove his shirt, then the rest of his clothes, until he was completely naked before Maya, her eyes feasting on his magnificent physique. And him on her beautiful body.
Richard approached the bed, looked at Maya with so much love and desire. At that moment, he had a hard time believing that finally, they were there about to bring their love for each other on another level. He touched Maya’s face gently, gave her another smoldering kiss, then he moved towards her neck, her collarbone, and her breasts again, wrecking havoc, at the same starting caressing her thighs, moving maddeningly slow, removing her last piece of clothing in the process. Maya waited with bated breath on what was to come, at the same time, she was caressing Richard’s back, wrecking havoc of her own. Then she gasped as Richard’s hand touched her feminine core, at the same time, his lips swooped down on hers again. Coupled with Richard hardened length pressing on her side, the twin assault to her senses was too much for Maya.
“Ricky, I want to touch you too,” Maya said, her voice breathless.
Richard felt like there was a conflagration inside him when he felt Maya’ first tentative touch on his hardened length.
But when she started moving her hand instinctively, he put his on top of hers to stop her.
“Maya, I don’t think I can take that now. I wouldn’t last long, my love. Let me just love you first.” He said with difficulty.
“Oh….” What he wanted to convey dawned on Maya, making her feel glad that there was no one else for him too.
Richard gave her a loving smile, then resumed his attack on her senses.
“Ricky, pleaseee….I want….I want….” was all she managed to say, but Richard understood.
He looked at Maya tenderly. “My love, I will be gentle. I need to be inside you now. I don’t think I will last long.”
Richard poised himself over Maya and slowly, and gently entered her. Maya accommodated him and after an initial pain, she and Richard moved to the rhythm between a man and a woman, as old as time, both wanting to reach the heights, with Richard the experienced one between them, driving the pace, guiding her. And they flew together to fulfillment.
Richard lovingly and gently wiped the sweat off Maya’s face and caressed her hair several minutes after they came down to earth.
“My love, are you okay?” He asked tenderly, gently touching her lips with his thumb. “I love you very much.”
“Ricky, I’m okay. I’m so happy.” Maya said smiling, gazing at Richard with so much love. What she was feeling at that moment was beyond words. Finally, she and Richard became one. “What I feel right now, I can’t put into words. I’m just so full and so very very happy.”
“Me too, I’m beyond words. Thank you, my dearest love for the gift of you.” Richard said with too much emotion on his voice, then kissed her tenderly again.
They stayed liked that for a while, skin to skin, no barrier between them, savoring their moment. When sleep came, they slept like babes, their bodies still interwined. They both woke up, suddenly, at dawn. They gazed at each other, igniting again the fire between them, making the night hotter.
The following morning, Maya woke up with someone raining feathery kisses on her. She slowly opened her eyes with a smile for her loving fiance. She felt a bit sore, but wonderfully so. There was not an inch of ther that escaped Richard’s touch and lips and she felt so well and thoroughly loved throughout the night.
“Good morning, my love, my beautiful wife-to-be.” Richard said with a big grin on his handsome face, offering her a single, long-stemmed red rose.
“Good morning, my handsome husband-to-be. I love you very much.” Maya said as she half-reclined on the bed, accepting the rose, and with only the thin white blanket covering her and her nakedness. That did not escape the gaze of her fiance.
They looked at each other, then just like that, the fire was reignited. The breakfast Richard prepared got eaten at lunch. They had other priorities. They both gave way to satisfying a different kind of hunger the whole morning. Maya and Richard just can’t get enough of each other. Their love for each other throughly expressed again on the physical level that lovely morning.
Richard and Maya almost missed their flight back to Manila.
Richard led Maya to the veranda of the beautiful vacation house. The place was lit by candles in small glass containers. The table there was beautifully set for two, with long stemmed red roses in a glass vase in the middle, and beside it, there was a cooling bottle of wine in a bucket. The food was placed on a smaller table at the side. The place has a very romantic feel, fit for the special evening Richard has planned for Maya.
Maya was dressed in a long, flowing dress that fitted her beautifully, making her look very ladylike. She had brought that very pretty dress on this trip on impulse. She didn’t exactly know where Richard would take her after visiting her Mamang so she thought it was better to be prepared for any eventuality. She was glad she did, as the dress fitted perfectly into this special occasion.
Richard looked at Maya admiringly, telling her she is so beautiful, when he picked her up, earlier, from the guest room where he led her after the wonderful kiss they have shared as soon as they have arrived at this place. He told her she can rest in there while he prepares something special for her. He refused Maya’s offer of help. Maya acquiesced in what he wanted, and stayed in the guest room. Surprisingly, she managed to nap. She must have been very tired from her trips the past several days, coupled with the late nights with her cousins Friday night, then with Richard and her family the night after that. She took a shower as soon as she woke up from her nap. She was just putting her white dainty sandals on, when Richard knocked on her door.
Richard took Maya’s breath away too when she saw him standing outside her door, dressed in loose, cotton pants and a matching shirt, unbuttoned at the chest, wearing sandals, looking very, very handsome. He gave her a heated, loving look, before taking her hand, interlacing their fingers, then leading her to the veranda and this special treat. From the veranda, Maya can see the twinkling lights dotting the other islands, and the sea beyond, sparkling into the night.
“Thank you, Ricky.” Maya said after Richard seated her. She was so very happy, overwhelmed, and was feeling a bit of anticipation for something she can’t put a name to yet. She love the table setting and all the trouble he went to for her and their special night together. “This is really beautiful. Ikaw ang nag-prepare nito lahat?”
Richard smiled at Maya, very glad to see her happy. It also took the edge off his nervousness. “Yes, I did, except for the food, those I had to order especially. I want our night, my love, to be something extraordinary. It is just the two of us here. Normally, when I stay here, I stayed alone. Mang Caloy just gets me the supply I need and then I just call him if I needed additional stuffs.”
“Oh! Actually, it’s really nice to be alone here, come to think of it. Tahimik and sure na walang istorbo.” Maya innocently remarked, which earned her a naughty and teasing grin from Richard. Maya blushed. “I mean, the peace and quiet is nice. Walang ibang sound, kundi nature! Masarap magmuni-muni. Rickyyyyyy, ikaw talaga.”
“Hahahaha, bakit, wala naman akong sinasabi, ha.” Richard said, happily teasing Maya.
“Wala ka ngang ibang sinasabi, pero ang ngiti and look mo Mr.Lim, wagas ah.” Maya teased back.
“Hahahaha, Masarap naman talagang maging alone dito. Imagine, after eight years, nasolo rin kita. Okay, okay, I will stop.” Richard said, still laughing. “Come, let’s eat na nga. I hope you will like everything I had prepared for dinner.”
Richard removed the covers of the food on the table. Upon seeing the mouthwatering feast before her, Maya was reminded of something. She looked at Richard. “Ricky, parang kamukha noong…..?”
“Yes, the food were the same ones we had on our first date in La Signora. I also bought the same wine. I want our night here to be something we will both remember until we are old and gray! Aside from meeting each other in the hotel, that dinner was how we really started.” Richard said enigmatically, then got the bottle, popped the cork, then poured Maya and him a glass each.”
“To us and our happy ever after!” Richard said as he offered a meaningful toast to her. “You are mine, and I am yours forever.”
“My love, to us, and finding each other again.” Maya replied, looking at Richard with so much love in her eyes. “Thank you for this very memorable date!”
Richard and Maya clinked their glasses, drank the wine, gazed at each other happily, lovingly. Then, Richard started serving Maya their first course. She offered to do it, but he insisted that he would like to do everything for her this evening. They had a leisurely dinner, punctuated with loving glances. By the time, they were finished the night has gotten cooler, nicer, and wonderfully so.
“More wine, my love?” Richard asked Maya after they finished the pasta. Richard told Maya earlier that he persuaded the chef at the mountain resort nearby to prepare this evening’s meal.
“No, thanks, Ricky. I think I have enough after two glasses.” Maya said smiling. She is actually feeling the effects of it. While she was not yet drunk, she was definitely getting tipsy.
“Okay, how about coffee and dessert?” Richard asked. “I have a strawberry cake cooling in the fridge.”
“That’t would be great! And that one reminds me of our dinner at your company restaurant.” Maya remarked, smiling. She stood up, then went to Richard, gave him a kiss on the lips and sniffed at him. “Thank you my guwapong boyfriend for this treat. Ang bango-bango mo, talaga.”
“Hahahaha, Maya, my love are you drunk? “ Richard laughed. He thinks Maya is not yet, but she is definitely getting tipsy.
“Nope, but I must admit, I think I’m tipsy.” Maya said sheepishly. “Maybe, coffee and cold water will sober me up. A lot of it will do me good. The cool night air will also help.”
Richard grinned. Maya is very cute in this state.
“Coming right up. Why don’t you go to the other side of this veranda and wait for me there.” Richard said, then pointed Maya to the direction leading to the left side. “The breeze is coming from that direction.”
“Okay.” Maya said.
Richard gave her a quick kiss, then went to the kitchen to get the coffee, the cake and a pitcher of cold water.
When Richard left, Maya walked towards the direction he indicated. When she rounded the corner, she was in for another surprise. The place looked like her patio. Only instead of a cocoon swing chair, what were in there were round chairs made of rattan and lined with cushioned canvas covers. They looked like giant flowers. In the middle was a coffee table with a tall glass vase filled with long-stemmed red roses.
“Coffee, water and cake for the love of my life.” Richard greeted, carrying a tray, which he put down on the coffee table.
“Thank you, Ricky. Wow, that looks delicious. May kakumpetensya na si Chef John.” Like before, Maya automatically made the coffee for Ricky, stirring it well, then handed it to him.
“Thank you, my love! That I can’t do, make coffee as good as you does.” He said smiling, settling into the chair on Maya’s right.
They quietly enjoyed the first rush of hot coffee into their system.
“I like this side of the house, better. The chairs are very comfortable and inviting. I think if I stay here with a book, I don’t want to leave!” Maya remarked after several sips that has a sobering effect on her, coupled with the water she drank.
“I like this side too. It has an unobstructed view of the sea and the mountains on the side, then also the garden below. I will give you a tour tomorrow morning.” Richard replied.
“Ricky, this is really a very good idea. This trip! I really love your ‘fortress’ too! “Maya said.
“I’m so happy too, Maya! I never thought that one day, you will be with me here, us like this.” Richard said. “This is where I spent time when I was missing you too much. This is the place I ran to when thinking of you and what could have been was too much for me. This is also where I remember all our good times, which where the best times of my life.”
“Oh, Ricky…..” Maya said, her heart, going out to him.
“This place seemed to calm me. I would just look at the wonder of nature around me. God created all the beauty around for a reason. When I see that, I thought then, that things might have happened for a reason too, and like the changing of the season, you’ll never know what the next one will bring. So many seasons after, here we are. I was led to you again, and we have our seconc chance a love that was not able to fully bloomed the first time. I will never let this chance pass again.” Richard said emotionally.
Richard. then, put his coffee cup down. He took a deep breath to calm himself, for suddenly he felt nervous for what he was about to do. He stood up, got the tallest of the red roses from the vase, and also the most beautiful and vibrant one among the lot. He walked towards Maya, then holding the rose, he knelt on one knee.
“Maya, we loved with all our hearts and being when we were younger, then we lost each other for like an eternity, then by God’s grace, we found each other again, with our feelings for each other as strong as the first time we have loved. Not so many people are blessed and lucky like that. I have never loved anyone before you, I have never loved another when circumstances separated us, and I will never will, only you. For me, it will be you forever. Will you share that forever with me? Will you do me the honor of marrying me? Share the rest of your life with me. Be mine as I will be yours forever.” Richard said with all the love he is feeling for this wonderful woman, the love of his life. He offered Maya the rose, with a platinum engagement ring attached to the red ribbon decorating it.
Maya swallowed hard. She was completely surprised. She was not really expecting a proposal from him this evening. Richard’s proposal sobered her up faster than several glasses of water and cups of coffee can do. Her heart was beating loudly, the blood going to her head. It started from the moment he knelt before her. Then with tears glistening in her eyes, she also knelt, cupped Richard’s face, looking at him with all the love she feels.
“Ricky, my love, like you I will never love another. I have only one love, and that is you. You are my fate, you are my destiny, and even if we had taken the long road to arrive at this moment, it was worth it. I will continue to love you until the end of my breath. I love you very much. Yes I would life to share the rest of my life with you, grow old with you, make a family with you. Be with you for always. Yes, I will be yours as you will be mine. Yes, I will marry you.” Maya said, her voice breaking. “I love you with all of me.”
Richard grinned happily upon hearing Maya’s declaration. He also heaved a sigh of relief. Yes, this was not the first time he had proposed, but this is so much different, this is the only time that it mattered. The emotions he was feeling at that moment was so overwhelming, and he was fervently hoping that the love of his life will say yes to spending a lifetime with him. She did!
“Maya, I love you very much. Thank you, my love. You made me the happiest guy in the world. I promised to love and cherish you for always. Finally, we will be together. Eight years is too much, my love, to be without you.”
Richard then untied the red ribbon, slipped the ring encrusted with little diamonds out of it, then lovingly put it on Maya’s finger. Richard brought Maya’s hand to lips and kissed it very tenderly. He stood up, assisting Maya. He hugged her very tight as if he will never let her go. They stayed like that for a while, just absorbing this very special moment and a milestone in their lives. They also swayed a little bit as if dancing to the sweet music in their heads.
They kissed tenderly, lovingly with nary a space between them, their first kiss as a newly engaged couple, sealing their commitment to each other, to a lifetime together and loving each other.
Please call me Ricky
Maya, coffee tumbler in hand, ran briskly towards the closing elevator. She got in, then looked up to thank the person who held up the doors button for her, with her usual friendly smile, and find herself looking at the guy that invaded her thoughts the night before, and which caused her to buy a venti americano today to perk her up from her almost sleepless night. She was unable to sleep because of him!
“Good morning, Maya!” Richard Lim greeted her with a big, happy smile from the right side of the elevator. The other employees inside looked at them curiously as Mr. Lim didn’t greet them that way when he got into the elevator with them moments ago.
“Good morning, Sir Richard! Errr, Attorney Lim!” Maya replied, getting confused on what title to use for him, giving him a smile with a bit of a blush, remembering her embarrassing moments yesterday. Be still my heart, May silently said, but what a nice morning this is turning to be!
They settled into the elevator which was a bit crowded at that time. Maya was squeezed in beside Richard.
Wow, ang super nice smelling naman talaga ni Sir Richard, Maya thought.
When the elevator stopped at Maya’s floor, Richard gestured for Maya to get out first. Then he also got out of the elevator after her. Maya was surprised as she knows that Richard’s office is two floors up from hers.
“You have a meeting on this floor, Atty. Lim?” Maya asked conversationally after she noticed him walking beside her towards the direction of her office. She shares the floor with another department so she thought he has a meeting there.
“No, I don’t have any. I just want to accompany you to your office, if it is okay?” He remarked, smiling and gazing at her intently.
Maya’s heart beat faster, hearing that. It felt like a current went through her for some reason she can’t explain. All the blood went to her face too, making her blush. She, the poised one, is acting like a gauche teenager with this magnetic man.
“Oh!” was all she managed to utter at first. Then regaining her poise, she looked at Richard, then thanked him. “Thank you, Sir Richard, errr, Atty. Lim.”
“Please call me Ricky, Maya! I’m not your boss naman.” He said, gazing at her, then said enigmatically, “I’m glad.”
Maya just smiled at him, not really knowing how to react.
When they reached the entrance to Maya’s department, Richard gave Maya another of his lopsided smiles, then wished her a very nice day. She wished him a very nice day too. And they both parted ways, Richard with a big happy smile on his face, and Maya with her heart beating fast, as it if it jumping with joy.
But still, Maya does not know what to think of that encounter. She has a puzzled looked on her face when she opened her office door, and saw another surprise for the day! There is a big bouquet of sunflowers on her desk.
Maya felt that at that moment that there is something at work that she is still unaware of. She can’t think off hand who would send her sunflowers. While she had admirers at work before, none of them did this. Besides, only a handful of people knows that sunflower is her favorite flower.
She walked faster towards her desk, checked the floral arrangement for a card. She found it and she hastily opened it, an effort to find out fast who sent her the beautiful floral arrangement. However, while there is a message, it was not signed.
Have a great day! I hope you like the flowers.
The first thing that entered Maya’s mind when she thought of who could have sent it, is Richard Lim! She does not know why! He was just the first person that entered her head. But that’s impossible! He couldn’t be interested in her! As part of her job, she reads newspapers and magazines and she knows that he is considered as one of Manila’s most eligible bachelors, with socialites running after him, not that he pays them much attention, that’s according to Emman. Besides, he was with her in the elevator so he couldn’t have not been the one who sent it! Baka ipina-deliver. But really, why would he? However, before she can stop it, her heart jumped with the thought, that he might like her too, the way she likes him, a lot! But, Maya, she told herself, huwag assuming. Baka naman kasi crush na crush mo lang kaya naiisip mo na baka siya! Huwag mag-ilusyon, Maya Angela Dela Rosa.
Maya poked her head out of her door, checking if Minerva, her secretary is around. Seeing her, she called her to her office.
“Yes, Ms. Maya?” Minerva asked when she reached her desk. “May kailangan po kayo?”
“Minerva, anong oras ka pumasok today? Would you know kung sino ang naglagay nitong flowers sa office ko?” Maya asked.
“Naku, Ma’am, I was here around 7 o’clock, pero nandiyan na po ang flowers na iyan. Ako po ang unang pumasok sa department natin.” Minerva answered.
“Very puzzling talaga.” Maya said, almost to herself.
“Ma’am, meron po kayong secret admirer? Nakakatuwa naman po. In fairness, bongga ha. Nakakakilig pati.” Minerva said, smiling. “For sure, Ma’am, taga-LC lang din iyang pa-mysterious mong secret admirer. Sino ba ang may access sa building nang ganito kaaga. When we left home, wala naman iyan.”
“Hmmmm, you have a point there, Minerva. Thank you. I will figure it out, eventually.” Maya said. “Please make a follow-up na lang with Legal the documents we sent them for review last week, baka tapos na nila. Thank you.”
Maya looked at the card again after Minerva went back to her cubicle. It was written in a very distinct, ‘masculine’ way. Who could have send her the flowers?
She put the card in her drawer and tried to concentrate on her work. She found it difficult to do so. Aside from thinking who could have sent her the flowers, Richard also sneaked into her thoughts from time to time. She was puzzled actually by her instant attraction to him. She was drawn to him from the beginning. She had met other handsome guys, some even courted her, but none of them made her heart beat faster with just a look at a smile, like Richard does. There is something about his chinito good looks that is pulling her in, very strongly towards him.
The first time she saw Richard in person, his back was to the door. She was late for the party to welcome him to LC as she was talking to a business reporter of a major daily about LC’s upcoming stockholders meeting and the interview took a while. Richard suddenly turned when she was about to go to James Ventura, one of her good friends and the Chief Operating Officer of LC. He was actually the one who recruited her as LC’s Communications Manager several months ago. She was working for one of foreign news wire services in the country at that time. She felt she needed the change, and the job sounds interesting, so she accepted.
When Richard turned and focused her gaze on her, she literally stopped on her tracks. They shared a look, and she thought she saw something in that, but it was so fleeting that she thought she had imagined it. Then James called her, brought her to where Richard was, and introduced them. They chatted, at first with James, then just the two of them when someone called James across the room. They mostly talked about company stuffs and how long she had been with LC, and a bit about her old job. Before they can go into the details of their professional backgrounds, and other stuffs, Roberto Lim came and said he will borrow Richard. Richard told his father he would be along shortly. He gave her his business card before he went after his father.
They didn’t get talk again for the rest of the night as Roberto Lim went around the room with Richard in tow, formally introducing his son around. Even if Richard was just to assume the Chief Legal Counsel position then, everyone in the room that night knew he is being groomed as the next CEO of LC. Maya, on the other hand, was drawn into pocket conversations by the other executives and officers of the company.
From that night, Maya will just caught a glimpse of Richard here and there the past week, but they haven’t really saw each other face to face and interacted again until yesterday when she had mistakenly sent him the text.
Emman’s knock interrupted Maya’s introspection.“Hi Maya, hindi ka pa ba magla-lunch? Sabay na tayo?”
“Ha, lunch na ba, Emman?” Maya asked, surprised, looked at the clock and noticing that it was already past 12 noon.
“Oo naman, Ms. Maya Dela Rosa! Parang space out ka today, ah. Stress ba? Kalalabas pa lang naman natin ng newsletter for the week ah. Uy, sunflowers, ang ganda naman! Bonggang manliligaw ah.” Emman remarked, noticing the sunflowers.
“Beautiful, di ba? Kaso hindi ko alam kung sino ang nag-send.” Maya said as she grabbed her purse and cellphone. “Pagpasok ko nakita ko na sa table ko. When I asked Minerva naman, she told me na nandito na rin pagpasok niya, considering na siya ang pinakamaagang dumating sa department natin. Bayaan mo na nga, kung ayaw niyang magpakilala, eh di ayaw, di ba?”
Emman, stopped a bit at that, remembered Liza, one his other long-time LC friends calling him yesterday, chatting a bit, asking him what is Maya’s favorite flower. She said the company will send Maya some flowers for her birthday, which is in two weeks and she does not know what kind to get her. Nagtaka rin siya when she asked since it was not her who handles those for the company, but he got busy and forgot about it. If Liza asked, and Liza now works for…..
“OMG!” He muttered. He was torn between telling Maya who could have sent it. But what if he is wrong and it is just a mere coincidence? Saka, if ever man na si Sir Richard ang nag-send, mawawalan naman ng thrill kung sasabihin niya, di ba? Emman did this mental debate for a couple of seconds more, then decided not to tell Maya of his suspicion.
“Halika na nga. Ikain na lang natin iyan.” Emman just said.
Maya and Emman enjoyed their lunch, joined by their friends in LC, Edselyn and Jonah. The lunch put Maya in a better frame of mind. She has decided that she will just go with the flow. She is sure that whoever her secret admirer is will one day reveal himself. Why go to all the trouble if he wouldn’t?
With that resolution, she was able to concentrate on what she was doing. The rest of the day flew fast, and before Maya knew it, it was already past 6 o’clock in the evening. Emman has left already for the day. She gathered her things and went down to the lobby of LC, then walk to the street corner to get a taxi. A tall order at that time of the night, but she didn’t have any other choice. Maya was not able to use her car that day as it was her number coding day. She had been standing there for 10 minutes with taxis passing by, full, when a car stopped in front of her. The driver got out. It was Richard! OMG!
“Hi Maya, are you waiting for a taxi?” Richard greeted her as he walked towards her.
“Errrr, yes Atty. Lim.” Maya replied. OMG, ang guwapo talaga with his eyeglasses, pale blue dress shirt!
“Ricky, please, di ba I told you to call me that na lang.” Richard corrected and reminded her with a smile. “Where do you live? Come, I will take you home. It’s difficult to find a cab at this time of the night in this area.”
“Naku, Atty….errr…Ricky, baka my area is out of your way, I live in Makati.” Maya said, not wanting to bother him. Besides, three quarters of an hour with him the car, she might just melt and turn into a puddle like the wicked witch in the Wizard of Oz!
“Perfect then! I also live in Makati. at least in the meantime. I’m going to our family home in Dasmarinas Village. Where exactly do you live?” Richard asked as a horn blew loudly. “Come na, Maya, please, at baka ma-tow pa itong car ko. Nakakaabala na yata ako sa flow ng traffic!”
Maya agreed then. “Okay, thank you, Ricky.”
Richard opened the passenger door for Maya before going to the driver’s side of the car. Then when on their way, Richard asked Maya again where he will take her.
“Oh sorry, about that! I live in Bel-Air.” Maya replied.
Richard and Maya fall into an easy chatter throughout their journey from Ortigas Center to Makati. Maya forgot about getting self-conscious as Richard put her at ease. Before long, they were chatting like they have known each other long. She found him very easy to talk to.
From general topics, they shifted to talking about their favorite movies after getting distracted by a huge billboard in EDSA advertising the latest instalment to the Marvel Universe’s movies. Maya found out that Richard is a Marvel Comics avid fan and likes all the movies that were release under the so-called ‘Marvel Universe’. She also likes those, as well as romantic comedies, period movies, and movies based on literary works. Richard teased her about preferring chick flick and intellectual films. But admitted in the end, laughing, that he also watch those. From there, they moved to books they like, and other interests. They also started talking a little more about themselves. Maya, of course, know more about Richard than he about her.
Before they knew it, they were already approaching Buendia. They turned right, then drove into Maya’s village. Maya directed Richard to a beautiful two-storey house with a low fence, painted mostly in white and has a big garden in front.
“Ricky, thank you for taking me home. Would you like to go in, and have dinner, or coffee before you go home?” Maya offered when she and Richard were standing by the curve, in front of the gate.
“Thank you, Maya. Next time I will take you up on that. My parents are waiting for me. I told them I will be home for dinner. Knowing Mama, she will wait for me.” Richard said regretfully. He wanted to spend more time with Maya, but he had already said yes to his mother, to him being home for dinner. He forgot to cancel.
“Oh, okay then. Good night and thank you very much again for taking me home.” Maya said warmly, giving Richard a brilliant smile that lit up her whole face. “Baka kung hindi, naghihintay pa rin ako ng taxi.”
“No worries, Maya. If you want, I can also pick you up in the morning. Sabay na tayo pumasok.” Richard offered.
“Thank you, Ricky. My car is okay na tomorrow. Besides, I have a meeting outside the office so better if I have a ride.” Maya said, touched by his gesture.
“Okay, just let me know if you need a ride home again.I would be happy to take you.” Richard said. “I’ll go ahead. Good night Maya. I enjoyed the ride with you.” He finished soflty.
They shared a look, then as if they both realized what they were doing, both got a bit flustered. They said good night one more time.
Maya went inside the house, thinking that this turned out to be a very wonderful day, not only she saw the object of her affection, she shared a ride home with him.
Richard felt the same. When he saw Maya earlier waiting for a taxi, he can’t believe his luck, so he seized the opportunity to be with her. Now, he still has one thing to do that night, and he hopes Maya will like it.
Richard quickly exited from the San Nicolas Airport as soon as he got hold of his luggage. He is excited to see Maya. He misses her a lot. Time passed slowly in the more than two days they have been separated. The last glimpse of her he had, was when he took her to the airport Wednesday morning for her flight. The night before that, they had dinner at her house after he took her home. But he didn’t stay long as she needed to pack and get ready for her trip.
He was about to scan the terminal for the sight of his lovely girlfriend when he noticed her waving at him from the right side of the building. He walked towards her with a big grin on his face.
“Maya…..” He said lovingly. He hugged her tight, then proceeded to give her a quick kiss, then hugged her tight again. “I missed you so very much.”
“I missed you very much too, my Ricky.” Maya replied, very happy to see Richard again. He occupied her thoughts a lot the past two days. Yes, they have chatted on the phone in the evening, but that does not compare to seeing him, being with him. She has gotten used to seeing and being with him everyday. She hugged him tight back.
They stayed like that for a while, then Maya suddenly remembered her cousin.
“Ooops, I forgot. Sorry, Simon”. She said as she got out of Richard’s embrace, smiled sheepishly, then introduced the two. “Ricky, this is my cousin Simon Dela Paz. Simon, si Richard Lim, boyfriend ko.”
“Richard, ikinagagalak kitang makilala.” Simon offered to shake Richard’s hand. Sa wakas nakilala rin niya ang boyfriend ng pinsan niya. He and Maya talked about Richard last night, with Cristina Rose, after their dinner with Mamang. Just liked with Emman and the parents, Maya gave her cousins and childhood friends, and her Mamang this morning, a condensed version of hers and Richard’s love story.
“The same here, Simon. Madalas kang makwento ni Maya sa akin, pati na rin si Cristina Rose, kahit noong una pa kaming nagkakilala.” Richard shook Maya’s cousin’s hand, at the same time giving him a friendly smile.
“Mamaya, you will meet din Cris. Sinamahan lang si Cho sa school, may activity sila ngayon.” Simon said.
“I’m looking forward to that, also meeting Cho, and also her husband, Jeff, di ba?” Richard added.
“Wow, Ricky, you still remember, even Ate Cris’s husband’s name!” Maya exclaimed.
“Of course, my love. Lahat ng may kinalaman sa iyo, naaalala ko lahat.” He said lovingly.
“Ehemmm, ehemmm, dumarami yata ang mga langgam dito sa San Nicolas, Maya, parang imported, galing Maynila.” Simon teased his cousin and her boyfriend.
Both Maya and Richard shared a loving smile and a sheepish look.
“Oo na, Simon, titigil na kami, hahahahaha.” Maya told her cousin. “Halika na nga, punta na tayo kay Mamang at for sure, inip na inip iyon. Excited nang makilala itong si Ricky.”
They all trooped to the parking lot where Simon’s owner-type jeep was waiting for them.
“Richard, pagpasensyahan mo na itong jeep ko.” Simon said apologetically.
“Naku, Simon, okay lang.” Richard assured Maya’s cousin.
Maya insisted that Richard sit in front with Simon while she went to the back of the jeep. Richard assisted her in climbing in. Soon after they were in their way to the poblacion, where Mamang lives in the ancestral house of the Dela Pazes, Mommy Tessie’s side of the family. Simon stopped the jeep in front of the beautiful, well-preserved Spanish-era house.
“Wow, this is really beautiful!” Richard remarked as he looked at the two-storey house with capiz windows, ventanillas which make the house cooler especially in hot summer nights, intricate trimmings and in the tradition of old Filipino bahay na bato, the living area is on the second floor. They went inside through the front gate, up to the beautiful stairs made of old hardwood.
“Mamang, nandito na po kami!” Maya called from the base of the stairs, then indicated to Richard that they should ascend. Richard put his hand on Maya’s back to assist her. Simon followed, liking Richard’s solicitousness towards his cousin.
Mamang rushed to greet them from the top of the stairs. She came from the direction of the kitchen.
“Maya, apo, naku, panhik na kayo. Pasensya na at hindi ko kayo nasalubong kaagad.”
“Magandang hapon po, Mrs. Dela Paz.” Richard greeted Mamang formally and respectfully, when they reached the top of the stairs.
“Mamang, heto po ang nobyo ko si Richard.” Maya said to her grandmother as she gazed at Ricky lovingly. “Richard, heto naman ang maganda at mabait kong Mamang.”
“Please to meet you po, Mrs. Dela Paz.” Richard gave Maya’s grandmother a warm smile, then took her hand. “Mano, po.”
“Naku, kaawaan ka ng Diyos, anak. Mamang na rin lang ang itawag mo sa akin. Masyado namang pormal iyang Mrs. Dela Paz.” Mamang said, looking closely at Maya’s boyfriend. Kagwapo naman pala at mukhang mabait itong nobyo ng apo ko, she thought. “Natutuwa ako Richard at sa wakas nakilala na rin kita. Halina, parine tayo sala at doon mas masarap magkwentuhan.”
“Mamang, uuwi po muna ako sa amin.” Simon said. “Babalik na lang po ako, mamaya.”
“O sige, Simon, sama-sama tayong maghahapunan mamaya ha. Paki-remind mo rin sina Cristina Rose, Jeff at Pocholo at ang mga magulang mo na dito tayong lahat mamayang alas siyete ng gabi. Pa-welcome natin dito kay Richard.” Mamang told Simon.
“Opo, Mamang. Sasabihin ko po sa kanila. Excited nga rin po ang mga iyon na makilala itong si Richard.” Simon replied. “Richard, Maya, maiwan ko muna kayo.”
“Sige, Simon. Salamat ha. Mamayang gabi na lang.” Maya told her cousin. Richard also thanked Simon.
Mamang led Richard and Maya to a grand living room, full of antique furnitures and filled with framed black and white and sepia photos of several generations of Dela Pazes. They sat on the small sitting room on the side of the room.
“O maupo na muna kayo at magpapahanda ako ng merienda.” Mamang said, moving towards the direction of the kitchen.
“Naku, Mamang, ako na lang po. Puntahan ko si Manang Narcisa. Magpahinga ka na rin. Knowing you, ‘Mang, nakialam ka naman sa pagluluto ng mga putahe para sa dinner natin.” Maya gently assisted her grandmother to her favorite solihiya chair. Then she indicated that Richard should sit on the big one beside it.
“Kumusta naman ang flight mo, Richard?” Mamang asked when they were both seated and Maya disappeared to the direction of the kitchen. “Mabuti rin at nakasama ka rito kay Maya sa amin.”
“Maayos naman po, Mamang. On time naman ang flight.” Richard replied, realizing that this an opportunity for him to talk to Maya’s grandmother. “I asked Maya po if it is okay to go with her when she visits you pagkatapos ng meeting niya sa community kung saan sila may project kasi gusto ko po kayong makilala. Matagal na po niya kayong nakukwento sa akin, noong nasa New York pa kami. Nabanggit po ba niya ang tungkol sa amin?”
“Oo, anak. Nagkakwentuhan kami ng husto nitong apo ko kaninang umaga, pagkagising namin at habang nagkakape. Kagabi kasi, nagkasiyahan silang magpipinsan. Medyo matagal na hindi nagkita-kita ang mga iyon. Natutuwa ako na sa kabila ng lahat, kayo pa rin nitong apo ko. Mahalin mo siya ng husto ha, iyan lang ang hiling ko sa iyo.” Mamang said.
“Makakaasa po kayo, Mamang.” Richard said, then taking a deep breath, he forged on. “Sa katunayan, may isa pa po akong dahilan sa pagpunta rito. Gusto ko rin po kasi sanang magpaalam sa inyo.”
“Magpaalam para sa saan?” Mamang asked, though like Mommy Tessie, she has an inkling on what it will be.
“Matapos po kina Mommy Tessie at Mark, also my Mama, magpapaalam din po sana ako sa niyo na mag-propose kay Maya. Gusto ko na po sana siyang yayaing magpakasal, if she will have me.” Richard finished in one rush.
Mamang smiled, then put her hand on her chest, happy for her apo and the man she loves. “Oh my! May idea ba ang apo ko na may pinaplano kang ganito, Richard?”
“Wala po.” Richard said.
“Masaya ako para sa inyo. Of course, si Maya pa rin ang sasagot sa iyo, pero for me, welcome na welcome ka sa pamilya namin. Alam ko namang mahal na mahal na mahal ka ng apo.” Mamang finished, then stood up and hugged Richard. “Salamat sa paggalang, Richard.”
“Mamang, ako nga po ang dapat magpasalamat sa inyo, sa pagtanggap.” Richard said as he hugged the old lady back.
“Salamat saan?…..” Maya said from the doorway, carrying a tray of drinks, followed by Manang Narcisa, with several servings of mouthwatering rice cakes, before Mamang can ask Richard when is he planning to propose.
“Wala, sabi lang ni Richard, salamat sa pagtanggap dito sa bahay natin.” Mamang replied, smiling conspiratorially at Richard. Richard smiled back, silently thanking Mamang and her discretion in not spoiling his big surprise for his love. “O kain na nga tayo.”
They chatted while having merienda. Maya told Richard and her grandmother that everything is set for her and Donya Esmeralda’s project in a remote village, more than an hour away from San Nicolas. She told them that the people there were very nice and are looking forward to the literacy program, especially the kids who really want to learn.
While Maya was chatting, Richard’s gaze never left her face, looking at her with so much love. She looked at him with the same expression on her face. Mamang was happy looking at the two and the overflowing of love between them. She is happy that her apo had finally found someone to share her life with. Richard looks like a very responsible and a very nice young man. Ma-respeto pa.
They were winding down their merienda session when Manang Narcisa interrupted them, saying that one of Mamang’s katiwala is looking for her.
“Maya, apo, pagpahingahin mo na muna itong si Richard doon sa kwarto na inihanda natin for him. Kailangan ko lang kausapin itong si Berto tungkol diyan sa mga tanim natin sa Barangay San Antonio.” Mamang suggested. “Richard, excuse me. Kailangan ko lang bumaba.”
“Sige po Mamang.” Maya said. “Halka, my love, ilagay na natin iyong mga gamit mo doon sa room mo.”
“Thank you po, Mamang sa pagpapatuloy niyo sa akin.” Richard respectfully.
“Naku, wala iyon Richard. Welcome na welcome ka rito sa bahay ko. Kapamilya ka na rin namin since nobyo ka nitong apo ko.” She said smiling.
Maya led Richard to a corridor then to a room towards the side of the house.
“Here it is! This one used to be my Tito Jose’s room, and I’m having Mom’s old room at the opposite side of this, beside Mamang’s room.” Maya said as she opened the door to a big airy room, with a big antique four-poster bed in the middle. “The bathroom is over there.”
Richard just gazed at Maya while she was showing him everything. When she was about to move to show him something more, he got hold of her arm, and gently reeled her to him.
“I missed you very much.” He softly said, and before she can react, he lowered his lips to hers and gave her a searing kiss.
Maya responded to Richard’s kiss. Before long, they were sharing hot kisses, while slowly moving towards the bed. Richard broke the kiss to sit on the bed, then put Maya in his lap. Then he resumed kissing her. He ran his tongue on the rim of her lips, silently asking entry. Maya opened her mouth to let Richard’s tongue in. Their tongues duelled and mated, sharing searing kisses that inflamed their senses and their desire for each other.
The afternoon suddenly felt so hot. Richard’s hand soon started wandering, caressing Maya’s back, moving to the hem of her blouse, then to the underside of her breast. He left a trail of heat, igniting May’s senses more. His wandering hand finally reached Maya’s breast. Richard cupped her breast on top of her bra, caressing it maddeningly making Maya hot to her core. He did the same to other one. In the process, he discovered that Maya’s bra has a front closure. He flipped it open, then his hand was free to roam and play with Maya’s breasts.
Maya started caressing Richard too as they shared another bone-melting kiss. Richard trailed kissed on Maya’s neck, her collarbone, the valley between her breasts. While he was raining hot kisses on her, he continued playing with her breasts. Maya on the other hand, caressed his nape, his hair, and everything she could touch. From where she was sitting, she can feel the evidence of Richard’d desire for her.
“Maya, my love, you are making me crazy with want. I want you very much, but I think we need to stop soon.” He said with difficulty. “Your grandmother might come looking for you soon.”
“Oh….” Maya looked at Richard with her desire-glazed eyes, that made it harder for Richard to stop what they were doing. But they needed to, he made the supreme effort, knowing that he is the experienced one and should have more control. They both tried to catch their breaths.
“You are lethal, Ms. Dela Rosa.” Richard said, grinning at Maya and caressing her face.
Maya just smiled at him, blushing a bit, realizing that they were in a very intimate position. She can still feel the imprint of Richard’s maddening touch on her breasts.
“I better leave you here, so you can rest.” Maya said, getting up from Richard’s lap after fixing her dress with trembling hands and shortness of breath.
“Maya, I don’t need to rest. I would rather spend the rest of the afternoon with you.” Richard said. “Why don’t you tour me around this house, please! Then, is there a place we can just chill out and chat? Have coffee you know, and cuddle!” He added with a naughty grin.
“Ricky…..” Maya said smiling. “Hmmm, I think I just know the place. Come.”
Maya toured Ricky around the magnificent ancestral home. Then she led Richard to an azotea, which has a coffee table and some chairs.
“Wait here, I will get us some coffee.” Maya said, giving Richard a quick kiss before heading towards the direction of the kitchen.
Maya came back with two steaming cups of coffee. She and Richard had a wonderful time in the azotea ringed by bougainvilleas and all kinds of ornamental plants. They only returned inside when it was getting dark. They got ready for the dinner Mamang is hosting for Richard.
Simon and his family arrived together around 15 minutes before seven o’clock and the house suddenly burst into a happy chatter. Maya introduced Richard to her Tito Jose, Tita Pilar, then to her Ate Cris, her Kuya Jeff, and Pocholo.
Richard felt overwhelmed and very happy with the warm welcome he received from Maya’s family. Dinner was a very lively affair. Mamang and Manang Narcisa prepared a feast. After everyone’s stomach was full, they moved to the living room to have coffee and dessert.
The party broke out at around midnight. Cho fell asleep in Mamang’s room while the adults where having coffee and chatting in the living room so Cristina Rose and her family opted to stay there as well. Richard and Maya after saying good night to everyone shared a chaste kiss in front of her room before retiring for the night.
When Maya woke up the following day, Richard was already up and having coffee with Mamang in the dining room. Cris and her family had left to go to church.
“Good morning, Mamang! Good morning Ricky!” She went to kiss Mamang on the cheek, then move to Ricky giving him a quick kiss on the cheek too. Richard stood up and pull a chair for her. “Did you sleep well?”
Richard smiled at her mischievously. “I did. I slept like a baby and had the most wonderful dream.”
Maya sensed something in Richard’s statement, but she better ask Richard about it when they are alone.
“Maya, apo, kain na!” Mamang started bustling in and serving Maya all kinds of food.
“Mamang, fiesta ulit.” Maya said smiling. “Thank you po. Mamang, bibiyahe na nga po pala kami ni Ricky before lunch, di ba Ricky? May dadaanan pa kami. Saan na nga iyon Ricky?”
“Yes nga po pala, Mamang. May dadaanan po kami diyan sa San Quentin.” Richard replied.
“Ganoon ba? Di bale, malapit lang naman iyon dito. Pahatid na kayo kay Simon.” Mamang said.
Maya and Richard told her that they have already made arrangements with Simon for a pick up at around 11 o’clock. The three of them spent most of the morning chatting with their overly long breakfast. Then, Maya and Richard excused themselves to get ready to leave. Soon after, they were at the gate, saying goodbye to Mamang,
“Maya apo, Richard, dalas-dalasan niyo ang pagdalaw dito ha.” Mamang said, getting teary-eyed.
“Opo Mamang. Mas mapapadalas ako rito kasi may project kami diyan sa San Manuel na baka six months din ang abutin.” Maya said. “Baka nga po, minsan, pagdaan ko rito, kasama ko pa ang Mama ni Ricky.”
“Oo nga, isama mo nga rito nang makilala ko ang magiging…” Oops, good thing Mamang was able to stop herself. Kamuntik na siyang madulas. “….ang magiging katuwang mo diyan sa maganda mong project,” she finished.
Richard heaved a sigh of relief! He thought Mamang would say ‘ang magiging biyenan mo’, and more.
“Mamang, maraming salamat po ulit sa lahat.” He said, then hugged the old lady. He does miss having a grandmother. Hindi na niya nakilala ang grandparents niya dahil maagang namatay.
Simon arrived while they were saying goodbye. They loaded everything into the jeep and waved to Mamang as they were leaving.
More than an hour after, Simon stopped the jeep at the base of a road that goes up to the mountains.
“Hanggang dito na lang ba kayo, Richard?” He asked. “Kaya naman siguro ng jeep ko ang paakyat.”
“Maraming salamat, Simon. Sobra-sobra na ang pang-aabala namin sa iyo.” Richard said. “Okay na, I have made arrangements na, parating na rin siguro si Mang Caloy. Napaaga lang tayo ng kaunti sa pinag-usapan naming oras.”
From a distance, they saw an oncoming pick-up truck. It stopped and out came an old guy.
“Sir Richard, pasensya na po at naghintay pa kayo.” Mang Caloy said, then looked at Maya and Simon. “Magandang hapon po sa inyo, Ma’am, Sir.”
“Magandang hapon din po.” Maya and Simon said, one after the other.
“Maya, Simon si Mang Caloy, caretaker ng vacation house ng family namin diyan sa may taas ng bundok.” Richard said. “Mang Caloy, si Maya Dela Rosa po, girlfriend ko and ito naman si Simon Dela Paz, pinsan niya na taga-San Nicolas.”
“Ikinagagalak ko po kayong makilala. Mga apo ba kayo ni Donya Conching?” Mang Caloy asked.
“Opo Kilala niyo po pala si Mamang?” Maya asked.
“Opo, Ma’am Maya, Sir Simon. Pinsan ko po si Berto na caretaker niya sa Barangay San Antonio.” He said.
Maya and Simon smiled at the old guy and told them they are happy to meet a relative of Mang Berto.
Soon after Richard and Maya said goodbye to Simon and boarded the pick-up truck that took them through scenic, but rough roads and curves going up to the mountain. When they reached the top, Maya found the view breathtaking. She can see the whole of the island and the water that surrounds it.
Mang Caloy stopped the vehicle in front of a big house. The best way to described it, is that it is like a bahay kubo na mansyon. The house has cogon roof, made of wood, with a wrap-around balcony, and when Maya and Richard got inside, she discovered that it has floor-to-ceiling windows that offer a breathtaking view of the mountains and the sea way below.
“What a marvelous place! Is this your family’s, Ricky?” Maya asked as she moved towards the big window. “Parang wala ka namang nabanggit na may relative ka rin dito sa Mindoro.”
“Wala kaming relative dito. This house was offered to Papa by one of his friends who have been building vacation houses in the area several years ago. Nagustuhan naman niya, and also ni Mama. Madalang lang din silang magpunta dito. Ako ang medyo madalas, before I left for the States in 2009, especially when I needed to be alone and want to have a quiet time. If Superman has his ‘Fortress of Solitude’, this is mine. This is a special place for me.” Richard said as he stood behind Maya and hugged her from the back, his arms around her waist and his chin on this shoulder. “And you are the only one I have brought here.” Richard said softly.
Maya’s heart skipped a beat, touched. “Thank you, Ricky. I love yo very much.”
“I love you more, Maya, now and forever.” Richard said as he moved a bit so he can kiss her.
Their lips touched and they shared a gentle, loving kiss, in the place that would become more special to them.
Oopps, wrong send
Maya heard the commotion while she was busy editing and rewriting one of the company’s press releases that one of the writers had sent to her for approval. She continued with what she was doing, ignoring the sudden buzzing outside her office, thinking it was just her staff getting overexcited again about something or about someone! She allows this to a certain degree as it is a way for them to let out steam from time to time, a breaker from their load.
“Good morning, Maya, you want to see me?” Richard Lim, the new Chief Legal Counsel of Lim Corporation, greeted Maya from the door of her office, a big lopsided and mischievous smile on his face. He walked towards Maya, and put a Starbucks tumbler on her desk. “And here’s your coffee!”
Maya was so surprised to see Richard Lim, son of their big boss, one of Manila’s most eligible bachelors, and the object of her daydreams standing just inside her office, some of her staff were looking in, trying to be inconspicuous, but they were failing, big time! Most of them had heard of their handsome new chief lawyer, but they haven’t seen him in person. They were very curious on what he is doing on their floor, especially in their Ms. Maya’s office!
“S-s-sir Richard, what are you doing here?” Maya blurted out before she could really think of a better way to ask what he was doing in her office. They don’t have a meeting scheduled, and besides, if they do, it is probably be her who will go to the executive offices, not him going here.
Richard smiled, enjoying this, seeing their beautiful, intelligent and very, very poise Corporate Communications Manager flustered, blushing a bit.
“Well, I just am here as per your request.” He replied.
“But Sir, what request po?” Maya said confused.
“You sent me a text message saying I should see you.” Richard answered, a mischievous smile still playing on his lips.
“Ha!” Maya dove for her phone which got buried under the papers on her desk, finding it, she checked her messages, and she felt like sinking to the floor in her embarrassment! She had indeed sent a message to Richard Lim!
Punta ka sa office ko please. I need you to do some stuffs for me. And please bring me a tall caffe americano from Starbucks. Pakibilisan. Thanks a lot.
“Oh, oh, oh! OMG. I’m so sorry, Sir Richard.” Maya was beside herself in embarrassment, her face red. “The message was not for you, but for Richard Lazaro, our messenger!”
Richard grinned. He knew that the message was not for him, but an imp seemed to have possessed him when he saw the message. He just can’t resist doing this. He wanted to see her, actually, and this is the perfect excuse, and a fun one too.
He is drawn to Maya ever since they got introduced last week when he came on board LC. They chatted a bit and aside from her beauty, he was attracted to her intellect and her grace. She looked him in the eyes and gave intelligent insights when she was asked on her opinion about some company matters that they were discussing that time.
Maya seemed to possess a good sense of humor, judging by the banter between her and some of the other officers, and well-liked, judging by the number of people who gravitated towards her in that small party the company had thrown to welcome him to LC after years of living and working in the States. Before they parted, he gave Maya his business card and it seemed she had saved his mobile number promptly, not realizing that there are now two ‘Richards’ in her phone book.
“Be careful, next time, Maya.” He said in mock seriousness, but actually, he was fishing shamelessly, and teasing her. “Hindi naman siguro ‘R’ ang start ng pangalan ng boyfriend mo, at baka sa susunod message for him na ang ma-send mo sa akin.”
‘Naku Sir, wala pa po akong boyfriend. Hindi pa nga ako nagkaka-boyfriend!” Maya blurted out again. Then realized that she just admitted to her boss in a way, a guy she has been crushing on terribly that she is loveless! Floor, swallow me now! I’m dying of embarrassment, she muttered, feeling like her face is turning to be like the color of a boiled lobster!
The day just got better and better, Richard thought to himself. Not only he got to see Maya, he also found out what he had been dying to know since last week, that is, if she is still unattached. He dared not ask around as it would surely become fodder for the office gossip, him taking an interest in someone, before he even can make headway with it.
Richard felt he had teased Maya enough for the day. He just gave her another of his lopsided smile, which unknown to him, makes Maya’s heart jumps, then decided to leave her in peace, for now.
“Okay, if it is not me pala you want to see. I will get going. Have a nice day. Enjoy your coffee. Oh and the barista has already put three sachets of brown sugar in that after finding out that it’s for you.”
Then, just like that, before Maya even managed to thank him, he was gone from her office. Maya blinked, trying to absorb what had just happened.
“What was that, sis? Di ba, si Atty. Richard Lim iyon? You know him personally? May dala pang coffee for you?” Emman, her friend and ever curious senior writer asked Maya rapidly. “Hindi ba he just got on board? Magkakilala na kayo before?”
“Emmannnnn, halos mamatay na ako sa hiya kanina.” Maya told her friend, covering her face. “OMG! And hindi ko siya kilala before. Last week ko lang siya na-meet.”
“Bakit, ano ba ang nangyari?” Emman asked, very very curious, as it was uncharacteristic of Maya to be flustered. Normally, she takes things in stride and she does not panic, even if there is a crisis she needs to deal with.
“Eh kasi naman, na-send ko sa kanya iyong message ko for Richard, iyong messenger natin na nagpapabili ako ng kape! Saka doon sa message, pinapapunta ko rin sana rito si Richard after kasi ipapa-route ko itong hard copies ng newsletter natin sa mga excutive na ayaw ng online version!”
“Ha, ha, ha, ha, you mean to say, ‘Richard Lim’ ang napindot mo sa halip na ‘Lazaro’. Eh una naman ang Lazaro sa Lim ah.” Emman said, then smiled. “Uy, laman ng isip mo. Crush mo ‘no?”
“Emman!!!! Baka may makarinig sa iyo.” Maya protested, then thought of not telling him anymore her second embarrassing moment of the day, when she admitted to Richard that she does not have a boyfriend yet.
“Hmmm, sige na nga. Titigil na ako.” Emman said, then can’t resist playing cupid. “By the way, according to the secretarial pool, he is very much single at the moment, as in walang girlfriend. Though, come to think it, paano kaya nila nalaman, misteryo talaga sa akin since he just got back from the States. Malay ba naman nila na may naiwan pala siya doon. Sa guwapo pa namang iyan ni Mr. Lim, rich pa and mukhang ang bango-bango!”
“Emman, enough na, baka may makarinig pa sa atin na nag-speculate sa lovelife ni Mr. Lim. Hala, back to your cubicle na. Mag-e-edit pa ako ng entries sa phone book ko.” Maya shooed out Emman good-naturedly.
“O saang kategorya na mapupunta si Handsome Atty. Lim, under “Crush” ba?” Emman said cheekily before he quickly escaped Maya’s office, laughing. In fairness, bagay na bagay sila, he thought.
Maya laughed at that, seeing the humor of the situation. She must really edit his name in her phone para hindi na siya magkamali ulit. She was about to do so, when it beeped and out came a message from Richard Lim.
Just use Ricky Lim for me in your phone book! 😉
Maya’s heart skipped a beat. She grinned.
Thank you for that suggestion, Sir.
Maya did just that, and to be super safe, put the word Messenger before Richard Lazaro’s name. She went back to work happily. She saw the coffee Richard brought her, took a sip, looked at the tumbler then remarked, “Bakit mas masarap ka ngayong umaga!”
Richard reached his floor several minutes after he left Maya’s office, which was actually two floors down than the executive offices where he has a window office, just across his father’s. When he got Maya’s message earlier, he told his secretary he will just be away for a couple of minutes. Before she can react, he went down to Starbucks, bought the coffee and went to Maya’s office.
“Did someone look for me, Liza?” Richard asked when he reached his secretary’s desk, still feeling chirpy.
“Wala naman Sir Richard, but I put all the contracts for your review on your desk.” Liza said, noticing that her boss was very happy. Nawala lang sandali, nawala na ang kunot ng ulo, she muttered. Earlier, Richard was annoyed with one of the junior lawyers who made a huge mistake in one of the contracts he drafted.
“Okay, I will give it back those back to you in 15 minutes or so, I will be finished by then.” He said then, asked her something suddenly, sheepishly, smiling. “Errr, Liza, I know I can trust you on this. Would you please find out what is Maya Dela Rosa’s favorite flower? Discreetly please, Liza at baka hindi pa man, mapagtsismisan na kami.”
He had decided to trust Liza on this. He had known her for years, even before he left for the States several years ago. She was actually his father’s old secretary. She stopped working to take care of the kids. Now that the kids are older, he persuaded her to work for him when he knew he was going back to the Philippines and work for LC.
“Oh!” Liza said with a big smile. So, that is where the wind is blowing, she thought. “I will take care of that for you, Sir.”
Richard went to his office whistling, plowed through the contracts. He was about to call Liza to pick up the papers after he was finished but before he was able to do so, there was a knock on the door, and it was her with a big smile on her face.
“Oh, good timing. I’m done with these.” He said as he handed Liza the contracts.
“Mission accomplished, Sir. Her favorite flower is sunflower.” Liza said smiling.
“Thanks Liza, ang bilis mo ah.” Richard said happily.
“I have my sources, Sir, and I have been discreet. Hindi nahalata ng pinagtanungan ko.” Liza replied. “Would you like me to order those for you? I know a florist who makes beautiful arrangements.”
“Just give me please the name and the address of the florist and I will take care of everything.” Richard said.
“Okay, I will just get it for you, then.” Liza got out of the room and returned with the florist’s name and address.
Richard smiled happily after his secretary left, a plan forming in his head.
Note: My new story, I hope you will like it just like the others I have written. I just thought of posting something new para maaliw tayo. I’ll finish Only Love pa rin, of course, lapit na ang proposal ni Ricky doon. Good vibes pa rin sa kabila ng lahat! 🙂
Richard was in a very happy mood when he entered his place, the penthouse unit of one of the upscale high-rises in Bonifacio Global City, remembering his and Maya’s heated moment earlier that night. He opened the lights and took a sweeping look at his place. Will Maya like it here, he asked himself? The place suits him, even if it is too big for one person. He likes the view and the fact that he can just come and go. He does not need to cook as there are a lot of restaurants in the area and a cleaning lady comes daily to tidy up the place and takes care of his laundry. If he craves for a home cooked meal, all he need to do is drive himself to his mother’s house, and for sure, Manang Fe has his favorite food waiting for him when he arrives.
However, ever since he and Maya got back together, he is imagining her there, in his place, them sharing it, having a quiet and enjoyable time together every evening, sitting in the big sofa by the floor-to-ceiling window that offers a wonderful view of the city, talking how their day have been, cuddling and doing what couples do, spending the night together and waking up beside each other in the morning.
Richard went to the fridge, took a cold can of San Mig light, took a sip, then while half-staring at the quiet night, initiated a call to a long remembered but unused number. He took a deep breath and told himself, this is it. He was glad that Maya laid the groundwork for this call, thought she was completely unaware on why he really wanted to call on her mother.
Richard did not have to wait long. The call was picked up after three rings.
“Hello good afternoon, Tessie Winters here.” Maya’s mother automatically said when she picked up the phone. She was about to make herself a cup of coffee when it rang.
“Hello po, Mrs. Winters, good afternoon, this is Richard Lim, calling from Manila.” Richard greeted Maya’s mother formally.
“Richard, kumusta ka na anak!” Mommy Tessie warmly greeted Richard. “Masyado ka namang formal. Di ba, I told you to call me Tita Tessie the last time you were here. Maya mentioned nga last night that you will call me.”
“I’m good po, Tita Tessie. I’m actually more than good, the best po, especially now that Maya and I are back together. I couldn’t be happier that she has given me a second chance and that we are back together! I think she mentioned it the rin po sa inyo last night.”
“Yes, she did. Tumawag nga siya and we chatted for an hour, I think.” Mommy Tessie said, then took a deep breath and plunged in. “Richard, I will speak frankly na ha.”
“Yes po, Tita Tessie, please go ahead.” Richard said, knowing what is coming, he had prepared for it.
“Thank you, anak. I want you to know that I’m very, very happy for you and Maya. You two deserve to be happy after what you have been through. However, I don’t want Maya to be hurt like the last time, please. I know you have gone through your own hell in what happened, pero siyempre bilang ina ayaw ko rin namang nakikitang masaktan, or in this case, nalaman na nasaktan ng husto ang anak ko. The extent of what she endured I only found out last night.”
“Ipinapangako po sa inyo, hinding-hindi ko na po sasaktan si Maya. I have learned from the past. Saka, hindi po lahat ng tao, nabibigyan ng ganitong chance ulit gaya ko, namin, kaya hindi ko po ito sasayangin. Kaya nga po ako tumawag sa inyo, to assure you that I will not hurt her again and it will be my goal in life to make her happy for the rest of our lives.” Richard finished passionately and with so much conviction that Maya’s mom readily believed his sincerity and intention towards her daughter. She was not wrong with her first impression of Richard years ago.
“You mean….?” Mommy Tessie asked, though she has an inkling what Richard meant with that statement.
“I want to marry Maya po, Tita Tessie if she will have me. I love her very much and she is my life now. She is the one and only woman I have ever love. Iyon din po ang main reason why I decided to give you a call. I wish I can be there in New Jersey at the moment to ask you this in person, kaso po kababalik ko palang po kasi ng Pilipinas. Hihingi po sana ako sa inyo ng permission to propose to your daughter. Pangako ko po sa inyo, I will cherish and love Maya.”
Even if she knew it was coming, Mommy Tessie still got very emotional with what Richard said. “Richard, anak, thank you for asking my permission, even if you don’t have to. Of course, for me welcome ka sa pamilya namin. I know that you are a good person and that you love my daughter very much, and that she loves you very much too, for her to let go of what happened and take another chance with love, with you. But of course, si Maya pa rin ang makakapagdesisyon diyan.”
“Thank you po, Tita Tessie. Importante po sa akin ang blessings niyo. I will do my best so Maya will say yes to a future with me. I know we just got back together, but we have already have wasted eight years, ayaw ko na pong marami pa kaming masayang na sandali. We have waited long enough to be together.”
“Kailan mo balak mag-propose kay Maya?” Mommy Tessie asked, teary-eyed, very happy for her daughter.
“Pagkagaling po sana naming bumisita sa San Nicolas. I want to meet your mother first and ask her also for her blessings since she is also a very important person in Maya’s life.”
“Pati si Nanay!” Mommy Tessie smiled at that. “Richard, anak, kapag hindi ka pa naman sinagot ng anak ko sa gagawin mong iyan, ewan ko na lang. Saka kapag ganoon ang nangyari, ako na ang magiging padrina mo.” She teased.
Richard smiled at that, and finally, he can breath. He admitted, he was very nervous when he made the phone call.
“Thank you po, basta asahan ko po ang back-up niyo kapag hindi nag-yes ang anak niyo kaagad.” Richard bantered back.
“Sure, anak!” Mommy Tessie laughed. “Kailan pala kayo pupunta sa Mindoro? Maya forgot to mention that in our chat last night.”
“Maya will travel po to Mindoro on Wednesday for the project she is working on with my mother, then I will follow her on Saturday. She is finished with that, by then so we can both see and visit her Mamang. I really wanted to meet din po your mother since Maya mentioned her a lot before.” Richard said.
“Naku, I’m sure matutuwa sa iyo si Nanay, and for sure papasa ka doon, anak.” Mommy Tessie said smiling. Her mother, for sure, will like Maya’s handsome, young man.
“Tita Tessie, may I speak din po with Mr. Winters. Nabanggit niyo na rin po ba sa kanya na kami na ulit ni Maya?” Richard asked tentatively, “That is, if he is not busy.”
“Oo, I did, kagabi noong dumating siya. Maya requested me to tell him. He is very happy that Maya is happy. Para na rin kasing anak ni Mark iyang si Maya. He also said that he had a good first impression of you, and since you are Maya’s only boyfriend as far as he know, you must be a very wonderful guy. He said, he trust Maya’s choices and instinct and that couldn’t be wrong if she still loves you after all the years that have passed.” Mommy Tessie said, recalling some of what her husband said upon learning that Maya is with Richard again. “Sandali lang ha, I will call him.”
Richard waited for a minute or two, then the line was picked up again.
“Hello Richard! Glad to hear from you. How are you? Tessie said you wanted to talk to me?” Mark Winters said as he settled in the couch vacated by his wife. “Oh, and I’m happy to hear that you and Maya are back together.”
“Yes Sir, I wanted to talk to you as well, not only to Maya’s mom.” Richard started, then forged on. “The reason I called your wife was to ask her permission to marry Maya. I would like also to ask yours as well as you are Maya’s dad now.”
“Oh, thank you for asking me too, Richard. It is a very nice thing to do, and I’m so very glad. But like Tessie has surely said to you, it is up to Maya. But I’m happy for both of you and I do wish she will say yes to you. I will of course, would gladly welcome you to our family. I may not know what happened to separate you two in the past, but all I want is Maya’s happiness. She is like a real daughter to me.”
“Like what I have promised Tita Tessie, Mr. Winters, I will love and cherish Maya for the rest of our lives. I will take care of her until we are old and grey.” Richard promised Maya’s stepdad.
“That’s very good to hear, Richard. And please do call me Mark.” Maya’s stepfather offered. “Good luck on your proposal.”
“Thank you, Mr….errr, Mark.” Richard said, happily.
“No worries, Richard.” Mark Winters said. “Would you like me to hand the phone to Tessie again?”
“Yes, please, and thank you.” Richard said. He heard Mark talking a bit to Tita Tessie and then she came back on the line.
“Tita Tessie, thank you very much po to you and Mark.” Richard said gratefully, happily.
“Richard, wala iyon. Masaya kami na magiging bahagi a ng pamilya namin. I know you will love and cherish Maya. Saka, knowing my daughter, hindi iyan pipili ng hindi niya mahal ng buong-buo. Di ba pa nga sa tinagal-tagal na nagkahiwalay kayo, hindi nakuha or napilit ang sarili niya na magmahal ng iba. I wish you both all the happiness in this world. Basta last payo lang Richard, open communication ha, importante talaga iyan sa isang couple. Huwag mong i-shield si Maya to protect her if the going gets tough. Give her a choice in the matter.” Tita Tessie said, not able to stop herself from saying that. “Sorry ha, napahaba na ang advice ko.”
“Thank you po, Tita Tessie, very welcome po sa akin iyan. I know po and I will do that.” Richard said. “Good night po.”
“Good night and good luck, anak.” Maya’s mother ended the phone call, cradling it after Richard had said goodbye, a happy smile on her face. “My Maya getting married soon,” she said. She does not have any doubt that her daughter will say yes to Richard.
Richard, on the other hand, let up a whooping sound after he put the phone down. He felt very happy at that moment. One more very important person in Maya’s life to talk to and he can propose to her. He know just the place to do that, the place to ask her to be with him forever.
The following morning, the day before Maya leaves for her trip, Richard woke up early. He prepared for another day at work. But before he left the house to pick up Maya, he made another phone call.
“Ricky, son, napatawag ka. Ang aga pa ah.” Donya Esmeralda greeted her unico hijo. “Thank you nga pala for bringing Maya to dinner. Then sa good news niyong dalawa. I’m so happy to know na kayo na. Im so looking forward to all my apos!”
“Ma! Ikaw talaga, advance na advance ah.” Richard said, laughing.
“O, eh doon naman iyon papunta. Sa tinagal-tagal pa naman ng hinintay niyong dalawa.” Donya Esmeralda pointed out.
“Well, Ma, kaya nga po ako tumawag sa inyo this morning, I would like you to know that I would like to settle down with Maya soon. I’m planning to propose to her po.” Richard said happily.
“Oh my, that’s a wonderful news son! It’s about time. Kailan mo balak?” Donya Esmeralda couldn’t be happier.
“Basta, Ma, secret. Malalaman mo soon after.” Richard said. “I know just the place to do it.”
“O siya, siya, hindi na ako mangungulit. Good luck, son!” Donya Esmeralda said. “Bring Maya again to dinner after she had said yes. I’m sure she will.”
“Thank you, Ma.” Richard replied. “By the way, Ma, di ba you have a friend who designs engagement and wedding rings. Can I have her contact number and can you put in a word for me, kasi this is going to be a rush job.”
“Oh my, oh my. That soon, son! I’m so excited!!” Donya Esmeralda said, very happy at that moment. “Sige, I will send you her number after this, and then I will call her for you too. Of course, sasabihin ko na i-prioritize niya ang aking only son.”
“Thank you, thank you again, Ma.” Richard told his mom. “I love you. You are the best.”
“Son, I’m just so very very happy for you and Maya. You deserved to be happy after all that had happened. My first apo, Gabrielle, must really be your little angel in heaven. She sent happiness your way.” She finished, suddenly remembering the baby, her first grandchild, they have mourned a lot.
Rchard smiled at that, remembering his beautiful angel. It is not so sad and painful now to think of his little girl. Speaking of, he would like to visit her before his trip to Mindoro. He has not visited her grave since he got back.
Mother and son said goodbye. Richard left his place to pick up the love of his life. Donya Esmeralda, on the other hand, went to her room, held the framed photo of her husband that she keeps there.”Roberto, our son has found the happiness that has eluded him years ago. He is happy now. I hope you will find your peace too, my husband.” She said teary-eyed, then kissed the photo before getting ready to go to Lim Foundation.
Richard arrived at Maya’s house before seven o’clock, just like the previous days. Soon after, they were on their way to Makati. While they were were cuddling in the back seat of the car, Richard asked Maya if she can take a vacation leave that coming Monday.
“I guess, I could. I haven’t had a leave this year. ” Maya said after Richard asked her. “Why?’
“Well, I want to stay one more day in Mindoro. May dadaanan lang tayo before we go back to Manila. Would it be okay to go there Sunday afternoon, after we visited your Mamang, then we return to Manila on Monday afternoon?” Richard asked, his plan firmed in his head. “Malapit lang actually iyong lugar na iyon sa San Nicolas.”
“Okay, with me.” Maya asked, getting a bit puzzled, but thought that they might be just visiting a friend of Richard’s. “How about you? Okay ka lang bang mag-leave ka, so just got back, di ba? I know you are the boss, pero for sure, marami kang work.”
“Hmmm, I think I can take one day off. I will just ask Liza to reschedule all my meetings to Tuesday onwards.” Richard assured Maya. “By the way, I called your mother last night.”
“Really, you did na? O anong sabi ni Mom sa iyo?” Maya asked, as she moved a bit so she can look at Richard fully.
“She said she is happy for us. She also told me not to hurt you again, and I assured her that I will not do so. I promised her to love and cherish you for the rest of our lives.” Richard finished with a loving, secretive smile.
Hearing those words, which strongly hints of a forever between them, made Maya’s heart jumped with joy. “Thank you for making the effort, Ricky. Mom, may have been living in the States a long time, but she is still a Filipino at heart. For sure, she really appreciates your gesture.”
“Maya, my love, lahat ng importante sa buhay mo, importante na rin sa akin. Lahat ng mahal mo, mamahalin ko rin.” Richard said as he hugged Maya closer to him. “I also chatted a bit with your Daddy Mark, and he is also happy for us, too.”
“Oh, that is good to know! I told Mom nga to tell him.” Maya said, then teased Richard, “Para kang magko-courtesy call sa parents ko, ha.”
Richard grinned at that. Maya, my love, if you only know, Richard thought, so looking forward to Sunday. But all he said to Maya with a heated gaze was that he loves her very, very much, then gave her a kiss on the forehead. Just like the previous days, Maya went to work, very, very happy, like she is on top of the world. Unknown to her at that time, the happy ever after that had entered her consciousness lately will materialize sooner than she ever expected.