Posts Tagged Crossroads

Crossroads – Epilogue

Epilogue
Honeybun and Babe (and the little munchkins)

Maya and Richard exited the busy terminal at past three o’clock in the afternoon. Richard insisted that he will take care of their luggage. Hand intertwined  with Maya’s, he led his wife to a waiting taxi by the curb. The driver helped Richard put their luggage in the compartment. Then, Richard escorted Maya to the back seat of the obviously, new taxi. As soon as they did, the driver gave them a huge smile and a very warm greeting.

“Magandang hapon po sa inyo, Sir Richard, Mam Maya. Congratulations po sa kasal ninyo.” The kindly, old driver, greeted the happy couple.

“Good afternoon din po sa inyo Mang Gener.” Richard said smiling, while Maya was puzzled at the exchange. How come the driver knows them!

“Good afternoon din po sa inyo, Mang Gener. Kilala niyo po kami, or si Ricky?” Maya asked the driver, trying to recall if she had met him before.

But before the driver can reply, Richard held Maya’s hand, brought it to his lips, then smiled at her lovingly.

“Honeybun, hindi mo ba siya naaalala?”

Maya looked at the driver again, then noticed the name of the cab they were in, then it clicked in her brain.

“Manong, ikaw iyon!!! Iyong taxi driver namin ni Ricky noong nag-agawan kami sa taxi!” She said happily. “Saan at paano po kayo nagkita ulit nitong si Ricky?”

“Mam Maya ako nga po iyon. Ang saya-saya ko nga po nang malaman kong nagkatuluyan pala kayo ni Sir!” Mang Gener told her, as he started the car and  navigated the roads going to Quezon City. “Akalain niyo, matapos kayong mag-agawan ng taxi, sa kasalan nauwi ang lahat. Sabi ko na nga po, parang bagay na bagay kayo noong sakay ko kayo pareho!”

Richard and Maya gazed at each other lovingly and smiled, both remembering their meeting. They have come a long way since that day, more than six months ago. Who would have thought.

“Pero, itong taxi niyo, paano po na “Honeybun and Babe” na ang pangalan?” Maya asked, thinking that it was not a coincidence that the cab bore hers and Richard’s endearment for each other.

“Errr, tungkol po diyan, mas mabuti po sigurong si Sir Richard na ang magsabi sa inyo.” Mang Gener smiled, thinking of the day this nice gentleman sought him out and offered him a lifeline, without him knowing it. He had saved his family. He never thought it would happen to him by taking in this very nice couple to their destination.

“My love,” Richard started, taking his cue from the taxi driver, “even though we would eventually met through Cris, even if we didn’t share a taxi ride, I felt that our journey started, and became more meaningful, colorful, and something to tell our children and grandchildren when we shared that taxi ride. That would always be special to me. The idea of seeking Mang Gener out started with the MMS you sent to Cris, which I asked from her, with the idea of thanking Mang Gener in some way, for unknowingly throwing us together.”

Maya smiled, remembering the photos she took of Mang Gener’s ID and the name of the taxi they were in, which she sent to Cris. “Yes, I remembered you telling me you want to thank him.”

“I had my assistant looked for Mang Gener. Liza found him kaagad. So, pinuntahan ko siya doon. Malapit lang naman sa office ko.”

“Opo, Mam. Noon po kasi, medyo wala po akong biyahe, kasi po iyong taxi kung saan ko kayo naisakay, nasira po. Kaya nag-aabang po ako ng pwedeng imaneho at maka-extra man lang para sa pambili ng pagkain naming mag-anak at pambaon ng anak sa eskwela.” Mang Gener narrated.

“Nagpasalamat po si Sir Richard sa akin, tapos ibinigay niya ang card niya matapos kaming magkakwentuhan. Sabi po niya kung may kailangan ako, tumawag lang doon. Akala ko po, doon na natapos ang lahat, pero pagkalipas ng mahigit isang linggo, ipinatawag niya ako sa office niya, tapos ibinigay niya po sa akin itong taxi. Hindi nga po ako makapaniwala! Pakiramdam ko noon, tumama ako sa lotto!” Mang Gener continued.

“Talaga po, Mang Gener! Mabuti po naalala niyo pa itong si Ricky nang magkita kayo sa garahe!” Maya smiled and gazed lovingly at her generous husband.

“Mam, mahirap naman po kayong makalimutan ni Sir.” The driver smiled. “Ang sweet niyo nga pong magtalo doon sa agawan niyo sa taxi. Saka wala pa po akong mga pasahero na nagkaagawan na katulad ninyo.”

Maya and Richard smiled, and looked at each other lovingly. Forgetting Mang Gener for a while, and where they were, they kissed sweetly. Maya have a lot of questions for Richard, but she would ask him later.

They chatted with Mang Gener all the way to Eastwood. Maya found out that he has two children and one of them was supposed to be in college, the other one in high school. Mang Gener said  his panganay will go back to school again since may taxi na siya and steady income. He told them that he really want his children to have a better life. Iyon na lang daw ang maipapamana nilang mag-asawa sa mga anak nila. Soon after, they arrived at their place.

“Mang Gener, thank you po sa pagsundo niyo sa amin ni Maya.” Richard told the driver as they were standing at the driveway of their building. He also gave Mang Gener an envelope.

“Naku, Sir Richard, huwag na po ito. Sobra-sobra na po ang naitulong niyo sa akin at sa pamilya ko. Dahil sa inyo makakapag-aral ulit ang anak kong panganay. Hindi niyo lang po alam kung gaano ko na katagal na pinangarap magkaroon ng sariling taxi. Dahil sa inyo, malaki na ang naiuuwi kong kita sa pamilya ko.” Mang Gener put the envelope back in Richard’s hand.

“Mang Gener, huwag niyo po sanang tanggihan, please.” Richard insisted, pressing the envelope on the kind, old man’s hand. “Gusto ko po sana talagang maging bahagi ito ng celebration ng marriage namin ni Maya. Alam ko naman po na hindi niyo sasayangin ang lahat.”

Maya also prodded Mang Gener to accept the envelope, having an inkling that this gesture is important for her generous husband. She still remember the caretakers in Mindoro that he also helped. “Mang Gener, tanggapin niyo na po. Hala kayo, malulungkot po kami. Parte po iyan ng celebration ng wedding namin ni Ricky. Malaking bahagi po kayo noon. Imagine, sa lahat po ng mangyayari sa amin sa araw na iyon, para po kaming pinagtagpo ng tadhana sa taxi ninyo!”

With husband and wife, insisting, Mang Gener accepted the envelope. He thanked them profusely, then said goodbye to this wonderful, generous couple na parang guardian angels niya. When they went inside their building, he looked inside the envelope, and felt like going out and thanking them profusely again with what were inside it. Feeling ni Mang Gener at that time, kahit isanlibong ‘thank you’ kulang para sa kabaitan ng mag-asawang Lim.

Inside the envelope, Mang Gener discovered two educational plans for his kids, already paid for, aside from a generous amount of money, for his wife to start a sari-sari store, according to the note he found in it. Mang Gener thought, hinding-hindi niya sasayangin ang oportunidad na ibinigay sa kanya ng mag-asawang Lim. Habambuhay siyang tatanaw ng utang na loob sa mga ito.

Maya and Richard, hands intertwined, rode the elevator to Maya’s old unit, their home for now, sharing a loving smile. They decided that they will just sell Richard’s unit and live in this one. It is on the same tower as Cafe M. Richard also said that it is easier for him to move as he just moved to his unit anyway. Manang Fe went back to the Lim family home. She offered to stay with the couple if they need her. Maya and Richard thanked her but told her, Donya Esemeralda also misses her and that they can fend for themselves. Tutal, they told her, may cleaning lady naman sila. They assured Manang Fe na huwag na silang intindihin at mag-relax na lang. Richard also teased Maya that if she will be the one to move to the other unit, baka ilang linggo na hindi pa sila tapos maglipat sa dami ng gamit niya. It earned him a loving pinch from Maya.

“Home sweet home, my husband!” Maya said happily, as she opened the door of their home for now. She thinks they will need another one with the coming of their baby.

“Yes, my wife.” Richard said. Then just like in Vigan, carried Maya in his arms from the door, across the living room,  to their favorite armchair by the window. He sat down and adjusted his position so Maya can sit comfortably in his lap.

“Happy, my love?” He asked, as he played with her hair.

“Of course, Babe! Sobra-sobra! I’m the happiest girl in the world, with a husband like you.” Maya lovingly said, then she reached out, cupped Richard’s face and gave him a kiss.

Richard responded, deepened the kiss, and before long, husband and wife were sharing another very hot kiss. Richard’s hand crept up inside the loose blouse Maya was wearing, and started playing with her breasts. His move drove her crazy and started touching Richard also everywhere she could.

When they can’t get enough of touching each othee through their clothes, Richard carried Maya to their bedroom, and made passionate love to her the whole afternoon. They fell aslept after. After taking a shower together, Richard and Maya, went back to the living room, cuddled together and just relaxed.

“Babe, now back to my question, how come you ended up giving Mang Gener a taxi at saka ang name pa “Honeybun and Babe”, which I liked a lot by the way. It was a very generous thing to do at hindi na ako nagtataka, knowing what you did for Manong Benito and Manang Linda, and their kids.” Maya said while she settled comfortably in between Richard’s legs and his broad chest.

Richard put his chin on his wife shoulder while his arms were around her waist, hugging her from behind. “You know, my love, I will always be grateful for you coming to my life. Like I have mentioned, I wanted to thank Mang Gener, which I did noong pinahanap ko siya. I also found out during the course of paghahanap sa kanya how good a person he is. Kilala siya lahat ng mga kasama niya and lahat sila without Liza asking volunteered na ang bait niya, mahusay makisama at matulungin kahit pangkain na lang ng pamilya.

When Liza reported back to me, I was thinking of ways to thank him. Pero at the time I met him, wala ako masyadong concrete idea pa. Sabi ko sa sarili ko I will just return. In the meantime, I left him my card. Pero noong paalis na ako ng garahe, after I found out na extra-extra na lang siya, I thought of giving him the taxi, for him to earn for his family. Tapos, I want something to remember our meeting din, so the name of the cab.” Richard happily narrated to his Honeybun.

“I just felt tha helping someone would be the best way to thank God for bringing you into my life. Then to celebrate our marriage, I want to do something more for Mang Gener and his family. I called him from Vigan and requested that he pick us up. I want you to see ‘our special taxi’. Then give him the gift.” He finished while lovingly kissing his wife’s shoulder blades.

“What was in the envelope ba, Babe?” Maya asked, loving her husband more with his unending and imaginative ways of showing her how much he loves her and how happy he is with their lives together.

Richard told her about the educational plan for the kids, and also a little puhunan for Mang Gener’s wife, Pilar. “Liza found out na matatalino ang mga bata. Honor students. Natigil lang iyong panganay kasi humina ang kita ni Mang Gener sa pagta-taxi. Tumaas daw ang boundary, mahal pa ang gas, tapos kalaban niya pa ang matinding traffic. Tapos the wife naman, earning money from sewing rags na ibinebenta sa kalye. I just thought they deserve our help naman. Di ba, mas meaningful, kaysa naman dole-out.”

“I love you, Babe.” Maya said, teary-eyed. “You are a very good person and the best husband in the whole world.”

“I love you too, my Honeybun.” Richard said, happy to see his wife happy, then hugged her tight and then caressed her tummy. “And you too, little buddy.”

The rest of the day was spent in their apartment, having a quiet time together.  They ordered dinner from a nearby restaurant. They chatted like old married couple, marked by their ‘Honeybun and Babe’ banters. The night, like all their nights since they first made love, was spent pleasuring each other, discovering each other’s body more.

The following day, Richard and Maya went to Dr. Gonzaga’s clinic. Luckily, she had a schedule that day. She confirmed that Maya was, indeed, 12 weeks pregnant. When they returned home, Maya and Richard called their families and told them of the good news.

“Son, I’m so happy. Excited na ako sa magiging apo namin ng Papa mo.” Donya Esmeralda said, while Don Roberto listened on, smiling.

“Esme, sabihin mo kina Maya and Ricky na ako na ang bahalang mag-alaga sa apo ko, paglabas.” He added. “Isasama ko sa paggo-golf ko.”

“Hay naku, Roberto, hindi pa pwede kapag baby pa.” Donya Esmeralda teased her husband, then went back to her son and daughter-in-law, “Hay naku, itong Papa niyo, volunteering to be the baby’s yaya. Isasama raw sa golf course.”

Richard and Maya laughed. They said goodbye to Richard’s parents after promising to see them after their return from Mindoro. Then they called Maya’s mom and sister. Patty activated the speaker phone.

“Maya, anak, Richard, I’m so happy to know. Magkakaapo na kami ng Dad mo!” Mommy Tessie said, teary-eyed. “I’m sure, masayang-masaya rin ang daddy mo, anak kung nabubuhay pa siya.”

“Yes!!!! Ate Maya, Kuya Ricky, magiging tita na ako!” Patty chirped in happily. “Sana kamukha ko!”

“Hay naku, Patricia, bago ikaw, ako muna.” Mommy Tessie teased her other daughter. “Saka sana, hindi maging kasing kulit mo itong pamangkin mo! O sige na mga anak, enjoy your honeymoon, ha. Tawag na lang kayo pagbalik niyo ng Maynila.”

“Sige po, Mommy Tessie. Baka po, we can have a celebration dinner for the baby, with Mama and Papa.” Richard suggested to his mother-in-law.

“Oh, that would be nice. Sige, let Patty and I know when. Ingat kayo. I love you, mga anak.”

“I love you, Mom. You took, kulit little sister. See you.” Maya can’t just helped but egged her sister.

Next they called were Cris and Stephen, who were then in Palawan. Stephen went diving, Cris said while she stayed in their cottage, resting. Pagod pa raw siya sa biyahe nila.

“Talaga namang hindi lang pala mala-tornado ang ligawan niyo, pati pala sa pagiging parents. Boston Marathon lang ang peg!” Cris teased. “Nauna pa kayong naka-finish line sa akin ha.”

“Hahahahaha, bessie. True. Ito kasing pinsan mo eh…..” Maya said.

“Ha, bakit ako. Ikaw nga itong…..” Richard countered.

“Hahahaha, kayo talagang mag-HoneyBabe, walang kakupas-kupas.” Cris laughed. “Congratulations sa baby ha. O ninang ako niyan, ha.”

“Of course, pinsan, ikaw pa.” Richard assured his cousin.

“I’m sure Stephen will be glad to know. Hayan, maiinggit pati iyon sa inyo.” Cris said smiling.

They said goodbye to Cris after chatting with her and confirming the date they will see her and Stephen before they return to the States.

The following day, Richard and Maya flew to Mindoro with Captain Ventura and Captain Corpuz who congratulated them on their marriage. The two pilots will pick them up after two weeks, and they even teased na mukhang hindi na sila ma-i-stranded this time. Richard assured them that okay na okay lang namang ma-stranded. Maya laughed and blushed.

If Manang Linda prepared a lot of food the last time they were here, that was nothing compared to what they saw on the veranda this time, parang wedding reception ulit, with matching flowers and candles pa. Manang Linda said, this is to celebrate their marriage.

“Maligayang pagbati po sa inyo Sir Richard, Mam Maya.” Manang Linda said as she led the couple to the veranda.

“Thank you very much po Manang Linda.” Maya said. “Maraming salamat po dito. Ang dami nito, saluhan niyo kami ni Ricky.”

“Oo nga po Manang. Nasaan po si Manong Benito?” Richard added.

“Naku, Mam, Sir, salamat po. Tapos na po kami ni Benny. Para po sa inyo talaga iyan. Nandoon po si Benny sa kabilang isla, bumibili ng fresh seafood para sa inyo, para po bukas.” Manang Linda explain. “Maiwan ko po muna kayo. Enjoy po sa pananghalian niyo. Nasa kusina po ako kung may kailangan kayo.”

Richard and Maya thanked Manang Linda. They enjoyed the delicious food Manang prepared. Afterwards, they went for a walk, and ended up at their hammock at the other side of the island.

“Babe, it’s so very nice to be back here. This beats having a honeymoon abroad.”  Maya said as she nuzzled Richard’s neck as she laid very comfortably on his broad chest.

“I agree 101 percent, Honeybun. Feeling ko nasa private paradise tayo, lalo na at tayong dalawa lang ang maiiwan dito.” Richard said with a naughty grin.

Maya felt Richard’s teasing and intention in the way his voice change, sounding ‘bedroomy’. She smiled. She really love this very passionate side of her husband.

They stayed in the hammock most of the afternoon. When the sun was setting, they returned to the house. The caretakers were about to leave. They will stay in their house in the main island during the night and just come back for them for several hours during the daytime, giving them privacy.

Richard and Maya decided to take a swim, and have dinner at the beach afterwards.  They went to their room to change. Richard caught his breath when he saw what his wife was wearing, a very becoming and very sexy two-piece swimsuit, much more revealing than the one she wore the last time they were here.

“Wow! I love it my Honeybun!” Richard said, looking at Maya with desire in his eyes.

Maya’s whole being reacted to Richard’s heated gaze, added by the fact that  her husband was also wearing a fitted swimming shorts, that showed the shape of his hard length a lot. She also will never get tired of looking, and touching, his muscular chest.

They moved closer to each other, then started playing and touching, removing each other’s clothes, what little of it, hurriedly. They fell to the bed, and doused the fire they have created with their heated gazes. It was already quite dark when they made it to the beach with a big mat, a blanket, and a picnic hamper.

They had dinner first, feeding each other morsels of food, that also turned into a love play. They tested each other’s threshold of passion, with a touch here and there, and with their heated kisses and gazes. They continued their love play in the water, heating the cool night with their intense passion for each other.

“Maya, my love….” Richard said, his control almost to snapping point as they stood in the shallow side, with Maya caressing Richard’s hard length vigorously, while giving him a heated kiss, their tongues dueling.

Maya was just giving back Richard, what he evoked in her when he played with her breasts, with his tongue and hands, and with it, he also assaulted her corse, making her want to fly.

“Ricky, babe…..” Maya moaned against Ricky’s mouth as he increased the pressure of his caresss on her core. She also did the same on Richard’s hard length.

Richard’s control snapped. He carried Maya to the blanket they have laid with before going to the water, then proceed to love Maya thoroughly, every inch of her. Maya did the same. Their sighs and moans mixed with the sound of the wind and surf, until their cries of fulfillment echoed strongly in the dark night.

The rest of their stay in the island was spent like that, with their passion for each other, not diminishing, but getting stronger and stronger. The more they slake their desire and passion for each other, the more they want more. They were so attuned with each other’s body that a mere heated touch or a gaze, sets their passion ablaze.

Maya and Richard returned to Manila two weeks after, happy and more and more in love with each other. They settled into their newly-married life, with Richard going to work five days a week, but cutting back on his long hours at work. Maya also cut back on her travels as her tummy got bigger, concentrated on the cafe, and found that she also have a talent writing children’s stories. She created a website for her stories, which she shared with other moms.

Six months after they got married, one beautiful Saturday evening, Maya gave birth to their first borns, Robert Arthur and Emerald Therese. They lovingly called them Sky and Sunshine for what they represent in their lives. Their joy doubled when Maya’s next ultrasound several weeks after their honeymoon to Mindoro revealed that they will have twins. They decided to name them after the grandparents who were overjoyed with the honor.

Maya and Richard soon moved to a bigger house, with Manang Fe, her niece Fely who also works for them now, and the children’s nanny Leah. They settled into the life of doting parents to their lovable, adorable and super cute babies. They don’t want to take their eyes off them, and can gaze at them for hours, and marvel at the peaceful way they sleep. Their heart skipped a beat when they bestowed them a toothless smile.

“Babe….?” Maya sat up when she realized she was alone in the bedroom, when she woke up in the middle of the night. She got out of the bed. She have a pretty good idea where her husband is. She went to the nursery and stood by the door, watching her husband lovingly.

“Sky, it’s Sunshine’s turn okay. Settle in, little buddy.” He lovingly told his boy, while he was changing Sunshine’s smelly diaper. When he was done, he had a satisfied smile on his face, as if he had closed a very lucrative business deal. “See, that was not so bad. Daddy can do it too!”

“Wow, Babe, ang galing ah. Congratulations. Bakit hindi mo na lang ako ginising or si Leah.” Maya approached her husband and hugged him from behind, looking at their now happy, sleepy babies. He usually leave the diaper-changing to her or the children’s nanny after he mangled his several attempts. He looked so cute then, when he sheepishly smiled and showed her the crooked diapers he put on their twins.

“You were sleeping so soundly, my love. Alam ko naman na you just finished feeding them.” Richard said, as he kissed his wife lightly on the cheek. “Beside I want to do it too talaga. Gusto ko rin na kasama mo akong hands on to our babies. Courage lang, Honeybun and try and try. Sorry nga pala, I got home late, and missed dinner earlier. Marami kasi kaming ni-review na contracts ni Ryan.”

“Okay lang, Babe! Kumain ka na ba?” Maya said as she and her husband walked out of the nursery, arms around each other having put their little angels to sleep.

“Yes, I did. I was about to join you in bed nga when I heard the twins making noises. Before they wake you up, I decided to check on them.” Richard said as they entered their bedroom. He then noticed his wife wearing a very nice, black, lace night gown under her wrap.

“Hmmmm, Honeybun, is that new?” He asked, liking the way his wife looks in it. His wife got more and more beautiful and alluring with each passing day. He will never get tired of looking at her like this for the rest of their lives,

“Errr, yes. I bought it this morning after I have seen Dr. Gonzaga.” Maya replied, suddenly getting a bit conscious.

Richard picked up the subtleties of his wife’s gesture and what she was subliminally saying. He grinned, went to her with a seductive voice. “You mean to say, Honeybun…..???”

Maya smiled lovingly and alluringly at her wonderful, handsome, and the best husband in the world. “Yes, Babe…..”

Richard grinned, then proceeded to carry his wife to bed, turned off the light, and loved her thoroughly, most of the night. The twins, for once, slept through the night too, as if they know their parents will give them a baby sister in nine months time, so they better be quiet and behave like little angels.

 

🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

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Crossroads – Chapter 21

Chapter 21
‘Infinite unfinished business’

“Wow!” Maya and Richard uttered when they opened the door of their room, the old room that became so special to them, with Richard carrying Maya over the threshold as per tradition. Lots and lots of rose petals of all colors were scattered all over the floor of the room, especially around the antique four-poster bed, draped with delicate lace curtains, giving the room a very romantic feel. The bed itself, was also covered with a vintage and especially-woven coverlet. The soft antique lamps around the room gave it a romantic glow, fit for a special night.

Evelyn and her wonderful sense of romance! Maya thought. But she liked what the gracious lady of the house has done to their special room. She even put a chilling bottle of champagne in a bucket on the table by the bed. Beside it was two delicate wine glasses that looked like they are heirloom pieces.

Richard put Maya on the bed gently. He gave her a long, lingering kiss, before he stood up again. He poured a glass of champagne each for Maya and him. Richard saw a note beside the glasses and handed it to Maya. It was from Evelyn, wishing them the best on their wedding day, and telling them to enjoy the night, with several winking smileys on it. Lastly, she wrote, that she hoped they will like what she and her staff did to their ‘special room’ and that the champagne and the flowers were her gift to them.

“Honeybun, to us! I love you very much, my dearest wife.”

“My Babe, I love you very much too, my dearest husband. Here’s to our wondeerful journey together!”

They toasted each other and proceeded to drink their bubbly. However, Maya only managed to drink a sip. She grimaced a bit after swallowing the first sip.

“Maya, is something wrong? Masama ba ang lasa? Di mo gusto, Honeybun?” Richard asked, puzzled.

“Babe, okay naman. I just felt a bit off drinking it. Parang may lasa siya na hindi agree sa tummy ko. Okay lang bang hindi ko ubusin?”

“Sure, Honeybun. Do you feel okay? Do you want me to get you anything?” Richard asked solicitously.

“No, thank you. I’m okay. Mauna ka na sa bathroom, Babe. Ayusin ko lang ang mga gamit natin. Nasaan na iyong suitcase mo? Nadala ba from the hotel where you stayed with Papa, Luke and John?” Maya asked, then she saw it by the other side of the bed, together with hers. She asked Patty to bring it here this evening.

She stayed in another hotel with Patty and her mom, saving this special place for the reception and their first night as husband and wife. That was where she prepared for the wedding too. She, her sister, and her mother had a wonderful bonding time on the eve of her marriage. Her sister and mom are staying there one more night, then with everyone who attended the wedding, will travel back to Manila in the morning. She and Richard will return to Manila the day after. They wanted to stay one more day in Vigan.

“Sure ka, Honeybun? You know, we can go together.” Richard said with a naughty grin.

“Babeee, ikaw talaga.” Maya was still grinning when she gave Richard his things. “Mauna ka na.”

“Thank you, my wife.” Richard said lovingly, then gave her a quick, hot kiss before sauntering off to the bathroom.

Maya smiled as she watched her husband walked to the bathroom. Husband. Wife. She felt so happy hearing those words.  She continued putting away their clothes, then when she was done, sat on the bed to wait for her husband.

Like the last time they were here, Richard took a quick shower. He noticed the tub full, and  was covered with rose petals too. He smiled, wishing he could go in it with Maya. Maybe tomorrow, he mused. It was already late. Maya might be quite tired already. Their wonderful day had started early. Prior to this, they have been very busy with finishing up pending work, and last minute stuffs. for the wedding. He hurriedly showered and came out of the bathroom wearing a white t-shirt and blue pajamas.

“It’s your turn, Honeybun.” Richard hugged Maya from behind and nuzzled her neck, while his arms found its way on her waist.

“Babe, you smell so nice.” Maya smiled and turned and lightly kissed him on the lips, then his neck. He felt his breath quickened. “Go and rest. We had a long day. Baka tired ka na.” She added while she gathered her things, which was bundled up tightly.

“No, my love. The shower refreshed me. I will wait for you.” Richard said as he settled on the bed, petals and all to wait for his wife and the possibilities the night will offer, depending on Maya. He would understand if they will just cuddle to sleep, plenty of other time to indulge in their passion for each other that has been growing stronger, the more intimate they became.

Maya, like Richard, took a quick bath. She dried herself with one of the soft towels in the bathroom, then grab her sleeping clothes, if one can call it that. It was a red negligee, with spaghetti straps, transparent bodice, and a matching barely there undies. It was a gift from Emman and Eleonor during her bridal shower. It elicited much teasing and giggling. Maya blushed then.  But at the same time, she also thought of the all the possibilities with that dress. She smiled. Her Babe will be in for a treat this evening. She wanted this night to be extra special for her husband, her very wonderful love. She put the dress on and she felt very sexy in it. Though, she also noticed that her tummy seemed bigger and her breasts fuller. But just shrugged it off. Maya opened the bathroom door and sought out her husband, who zeroed in on her and what she was wearing, then grinned.

“Wow!” For the second time that night, Richard uttered the word. However, the second time, it was with a matching gulp, quickness of breath and his whole body heating up quickly. He was gazing intently, almost speechless, at his lovely bride and the very nice ‘non-dress’ she was wearing. He loved it very much.

“Do you like it, Babe?” Maya asked, getting a bit conscious.

“Honeybun, you can wear that every evening.” Richard said smiling hugely, lovingly, as he approached Maya and cupped her face.

Richard lowered his head to kiss Maya. He nibbled on Maya’s lips, teasing it. Then he used his tongue to open the seam of her lips and gained entrance to her mouth. He explored her mouth, their tongues  started doing a mating dance.

“My love, seeing you in that dress is making me crazy with want and desire for you. I can’t think straight.”  Richard said, then he deepened the kiss, at the same time, he cupped her breast, massaging it through the thin material of her dress, and using his thumb to play with her nipple.

“Rickyyy…..”  Maya undulated against Richard, wanting more, instinctively.

Richard increased his teasing of Maya’s breast, at the same time their tongues are dueling, mating, the feelings between them getting more intense. Maya can feel the effect of what Ricky was doing up to her core. Her breasts also felt heavier, fuller. She rubbed herself against Ricky, wanting to be closer to him, wanting more. She can feel through his pajamas the burgeoning evidence of his desire for her.

Richard cupped Maya’s buttocks, and almost lost it, when instead of touching her undies, he touched flesh. He realized that Maya was wearing undies  that barely covered her. He transferred his hand to her other breast, giving it the same attention that the other got. Maya was going crazy too with what Richard was doing. She started exploring his body. Wanting to feel skin against skin, she started removing his t-shirt. Richard helped her by raising his arm and pulling the shirt off him, himself. While he was doing that, Maya started kissing his chest, zeroing on his male nipples, giving them the same pleasure he gave her by playing with hers.

“Maya. my love…..” Richard moaned. He almost failed to remove his shirt with that she was doing. “What you do to me!”

Maya continued with her assault on Richard’s senses, at the same time, she sought Richard’s hard length and starting touching it too, loving it.

“Honeybun……” Richard sighed, liking very much what she was doing to him.

“Babe, I want to make you happy this evening. Will you show me how.” She whispered, huskily, her voice heavy with desire.

Richard understood what Maya wanted. She wanted to take the lead this evening. He carried her to the bed, laid her gently on the fragrant bed of rose petals, and started wrecking havoc to her senses before he cede control to her. He kissed her forehead, her lips, down to the side of her neck, the sensitive area between her collarbones, to the valley between her breasts, at the same time, his hand slowly crept under the short hemline of her dress, to tease her thighs, until he reach her core, which already felt very hot with what he was doing, touched it, played with it, making Maya burn. Maya thought she will not be able to stand it when his lips touched her nipple and used his tongue to play with it through the flimsy material of her dress. He did the same to the other one. The twin assault to her senses was just too much.

“Rickyyyy…..” She said helplessly as she felt like flying and reaching for fulfillment. Richard increased the wonderful, loving pressure on both her nipples, and her core, until she can’t take it anymore. There was no other way, and with Richard’s encouragement and sweet, loving words, she flew to her fulfilment.

She kissed Richard’s neck, still breathing deeply, boneless from pleasure that only he could give her. She wanted to do the same to him. Maya started kissing Ricky, from his lower lip, which she lovingly touched with her tongue, then kissed him full on the lips, opening his mouth and seeking his tongue. At the same time, she started massaging his hard length. Now it was Richard’s turn to moan helplessly with the pleasure her hands and mouth were evoking. Before he lost it, Richard moved, putting Maya on top of him, guiding her to straddle him.

“Like this, Babe?” Maya asked, at the same time, getting excited about being on top. They have not done this before, but she thought she know, sort of, what do to.

Richard sat up a bit while Maya was on his lap. Then he proceeded to remove her thin covering. He also slowly and lovingly removed her remaining piece of garment until she was naked before his eyes, so beautiful. His wife. The love of his life.

“You are so beautiful, my love.” Richard lovingly said, reverently, then he started touching her breasts and using his thumbs, loved them thoroughly. Maya felt her desire reawakened and the heat she banked, getting stoke again, when he swirled his tongue around her nipples and loved her twin peaks, until she felt like she was on fire.

Richard also felt that he was just going to get consumed with the passion she was arousing in him, especially when she instinctively, unconsciously undulated on top of him.

“My love, I want to be inside you, now.” Richard said with ragged breath while he continued playing with her breasts that became more accessible with Maya on top of him. Maya nodded, but silently asked Richard to show her how.

Richard guided Maya, and then he was inside her. They started moving together until they have established a rhythm that got more and more frenzied, until they combusted, and reached fulfillment together. Their moans and sighs of pleasure filled the room.

Maya collapsed on top of Richard, too sated to move. Richard caressed her back, up and down, up to her buttocks, rhythmically.

“I love you my Honeybun. That was just awesome.” Richard said lovingly. “Thank you.”

“I love you too, Babe.” Maya grinned, too happy to say anything else.

“Hmmm, so no more energy for round two?” Richard teased, when he noticed her barely moving and was lazing like a cat on his broad chest. Maya just giggled.

Richard gathered the blanket and covered themselves. They slept like that. But several hours after, when they had  enough energy again, they made love as dawn was breaking. By morning, they were sharing the tub, in which bathing was not the only thing they did. Maya felt like Richard was torturing her already sensitive flesh with a wash cloth he used all over her body. She did the same to him and soon after, the bathroom was also filled with their moans and sighs of pleasure.

Richard and Maya managed to surface from their own sensual bliss around lunch. Maya felt queasy. Richard thought it was from lack of food. They dressed up and went to their favorite inn, as Evelyn and her family only serve breakfast, and they don’t want to bother her with lunch, considering what she has done already. The hotel was closed to other guests too, for their wedding reception and during the duration of their stay. Maya felt better after having some food in her stomach, but felt sleepy and dizzy. They went back to the hotel instead of going around, to take a nap.

Maya woke up with Richard playing with her then extra sensitive nipples. The mere touch of his hand and thumb sent them on fire. The nap turned into another bout of lovemaking. They managed to go for a walk just before dinner time to Calle Crisologo and the inn. Maya looked lovely in her halter maxi dress that hugged her curves and Richard so handsome in his khaki pants and polo shirt. They made a striking couple and it was obvious to people who noticed them that they were newly-weds and were so very much in love.

During their second night as husband and wife, they explored each other’s body again thoroughly and drove each other mad with the strength of their passion for each other. They slept with nary a stitch on, just the blanket they shared, covering their naked bodies, sated at that moment.

Richard woke up with the sound Maya was making in the bathroom. He listened carefully and realized that she sounded like she was throwing up. Without clothes on, he hurried to the bathroom. He knocked, found the door unlocked, so he just entered. He found her standing by the sink, clutching her tummy.

“Honeybun, are you okay? Kanina ka pa ba nagsusuka? Bakit hindi mo ako ginising kaagad?” Richard asked, getting worried.

“I’m okay, Babe. Wala naman ako halos inilabas! My stomach felt quesy lang.”  Maya replied still gripping the side of the sink.

“I think you should see a doctor. Baka na-food poison ka doon sa kinain natin last night. I’m sure, Evelyn knows a doctor here.” Richard suggested. He want to be sure that Maya is really okay.

“I’m okay, Babe. Kailangan ko lang sigurong uminom ng tea para mag-settle itong stomach ko.” Maya assured her husband, not wanting to disrupt their schedule and not wanting him to worry.

“Honeybun, wala namang mawawala kung magpa-check up ka please, for my peace of mind. Let’s stay here one more day. Our trip to Mindoro can wait naman. I will just call Captain Ventura.”

Maya saw that Richard was really getting worried. She would have been the same if he was the one who got a bad stomach, so she agreed to see a doctor and to stay one more day in Vigan.

Evelyn called up their family doctor. She told Maya that the doctor and his wife were also friends of her parents, and that her older sister went to school with the daughter who is also a doctor, so she knew them pretty well. An hour later, Maya and Richard were at the doctor’s clinic, more like a small hospital than a simple clinic. Dr. Lindsay Ramirez, attended to them, saying that her father got called in to the provincial hospital due to an emergency surgery. She asked Maya about her symptoms and then brought her to to the examination room to physically examine her. She had an inkling on what Maya’s condition is, but she needed to be sure. With the help of her medical staff, she asked Maya for urine and blood samples.

Richard and Maya waited for the doctor in the spacious waiting room that was already starting to get filled with other patients, holding hands. Dr. Ramirez’s assistant called them back inside the consultation room. Upon seeing them, the doctor stood up from the chart and test results she was reviewing. She was smiling.

“I guessed as much. I just needed to be sure.” The doctor told Maya and Richard, when they were all seated. “Congratulations, to both of you.” She said grinning.

Richard and Maya looked at the doctor, her words not registering at first. Then it sank in, and they both have huge smiles on their faces when they realized what she meant.

“We will have a baby!” They both blurted out. Then they hugged each other tightly, forgetting about the doctor, who looked at the couple indulgently.

“My love, dear husband, we will have a baby. I’m pregnant!” Maya said, wonder in her voice at the  same time touching her tummy reverently.

“My dear wife, my love, yes, and I’m so happy. We will be parents na!” Richard put his hands on top of Maya’s. Then he kissed her gently. They shared a touching moment, hugging tightly. Then they remembered the doctor.

“Oopps, Doctor, sorry po.” Maya said sheepishly.

Dr. Ramirez smiled. “It is okay, I’m happy for both of you. I’m both a general practitioner and an obstetrician, I’m not sure if Evelyn had mentioned. I thought that you might be pregnant when you told me what you have been feeling lately and up to this morning. May I asked, Mrs. Lim, when was the first day of your last period?”

Maya thought, but unable to remember the exact date, so she gave the doctor an estimate. “Sorry Doctor, I have always been quite irregular, and then to add to that, Ricky and I have been preoccupied with his cousin’s wedding in the States, and preparing for our own. I was not really paying attention to my cycle.”

“That’s fine. I think you are around 11 or 12 weeks pregnant.” She estimated. “Pero to be more accurate, at para mas sure, have an ultrasound done as soon as possible.”

Richard and Maya looked at each other, then smiled. Both were thinking, so our baby was ‘made’ in Vigan! They felt so. They believed so.

The doctor prescribed some vitamins for Maya, gave her instructions, and told her to see her OB when she returns to Manila. Maya said she does not really have one. Dr. Ramirez recommended one of her classmates who practices at a big hospital in Quezon City. She assured them that Maya and the baby will be in good hands with Dr. Emily Gonzaga.

Maya and Richard thanked the doctor profusely. They got of of her clinic, still in daze. They will be parents in six months time!

“Babe, you will be a Daddy and I will be a Mommy! “ Maya squeled in delight and unmindful of them being in a busy part of the city, hugged and kissed Richard, who hugged and kissed her back.

They walked back to the hotel and Evelyn was the first person who knew Maya’s condition, beside the doctor. She congratulated them, sharing their joy. They also informed her that they will be staying another night. Evelyn said it was perfectly fine as they didn’t really book anyone until the day after that.

Richard and Maya decided to save informing their parents, and immediate families, when they return from their trip to Mindoro. For their honeymoon, they decided they would like to spend it in the Lim island, another special place for them.

“Honeybun, sa palagay mo, okay pa if we take that trip to Mindoro? We can just do it another time.” Richard asked, his protective side rearing up.

“Babe, I am perfectly okay. Meron lang akong morning sickness, I think. Saka better nga doon, presko ang hangin and you will be there to take of me naman and our baby.” Maya assured Ricky.

They agreed that they will just go to Mindoro two days from their return to Manila from Vigan or after they have seen Dr. Gonzaga and have an ultrasound done. For the rest of the day, they just floated in happiness of their impending parenthood. After dinner, they walked around a quiet Calle Crisologo, the tourists were all gone for the night, the souvenir shops were closed and only the quiet of the elegant houses surrounded them. They were back where one of the most treasured moments in their live occured. They were there again, with another momentous occasion in their lives.

“I love you very much, my wife.” Richard touched his Maya’s tummy, gently, lovingly. “ I hope you are okay there my little buddy.”

Maya smiled lovingly at her husband. She know Richard will be a wonderful dad. He is already the best husband in the world. “I love you too, my husband. Life couldn’t be more perfect than this.”

Like the last time they were here, amid the ancestral homes which nurtured generation after generation, Richard and Maya shared a loving kiss, looking forward to the birth of their precious child, the product of their love for one another, in several months.

 

Note: ….and so, Honeybun and Babe, lived happily ever after with their little munchkins!  🙂

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Crossroads – Chapter 20

Chapter 20
Timeless

Situated on a hill, the Church of the Nuestra Senora dela Asuncion, or the Santa Maria Church, overlooks most of the town of Santa Maria, Ilocos Sur. Through its several centuries of existence, it has bore witness to the ebb and flow of lives of the people of the town and those that passed through it on the way to Vigan and other parts of the Ilocos provinces. The church’s centuries old walls and structures were a vital part in celebrating life and love of the people who entered it, since it was built in the 18th century.

In this beautiful Saturday afternoon, the church came alive again to unite two people who were fated, destined to cross paths, and fell in love with each other, with a love that will last a lifetime. Now, in front of their families and friends, within these old, majestic walls, they will ask God to bless their union. They will stand before God and promise to commit, love and cherish one another.

The church was bedecked with an overabundance of sunflowers, Malaysian mums, and roses of all colors. The groom wearing a powder blue suit, waited at the altar with his parents and his best man, John, his best friend in the States. Finally, Richard thought to himself. He and Maya are about to be joined in marriage. He feels nervous and emotional.

Richard never thought he would still find a love like this, but here he is, with the one and only love of his life, his Honeybun, the lady who streaked into his life like a beautiful, colorful comet, and made life richer and full of colors. In such a short time, they have experienced a lot together and managed to meld into each other’s lives. Sometimes, he thought, love is not really how long you know a person, but on how you get to really know a person, the ease you felt towards each other, and how deeply you care for each other.

He looked around at his and Maya’s families and friends present here who will witness their union. From Manang Fe, who is one of their sponsors to their bridesmaids and groomsmen – from Emman and Eleonor, to Luke and Patty, Tristan and Phailin, and Cristina Rose, Maya’s matron of honor. To their other guests, aunts, uncles, cousins, colleagues, and the people who have been part of their love story in one way or the other.

Surprisingly, Phailin ended up with Jeremy Sanderson. When Maya found out that they are now in a relationship, she invited Jeremy to their wedding too. So, that was my ‘almost competition’, Richard thought. He seemed like a nice guy, when he met him the other day. He is doubly happy that of all the guys that courted her, Maya chose him. His thoughts was interrupted by the opening strains of the wedding march, which signaled the moment he has been waiting for – the first glimpse of his lovely bride in her wedding gown. He has not seen her in almost two days!

The door of the old church slowly opened, to a radiant Maya, so very beautiful in her vintage lace gown that hugged her upper body tightly and flared from the hips down, with a long train. Her face was partially covered with the unstructured veil she chose, carrying a big bouquet of sunflowers.

Maya felt like she was floating, everything felt surreal. She took a deep breath, clutched her beautiful bouquet tightly and prepared to take the steps that would lead her to the man she loves with all her heart. Her Babe! In the sea of people who came to celebrate their marriage, she sought him, only him. She caught her breath, seeing him so handsome, with eyes only for her.  Maya though at that moment that, that’s the look she will never get tired of seeing. She felt as breathless as the first time she found out she loves him. She started gliding down the long aisle of the church, feeling a kinship to all the brides who have done this through the centuries. Do they also felt like a thousand butterflies are dancing in their stomachs as they walked down to the man they will share their lives with and vowed to love forever?

Halfway through, Maya was joined by a very teary-eyed Mommy Tessie, and her uncle whom she had asked to give her away. Tito Gabriel was touched at her gesture, with both of them smiling and getting a bit emotional, remembering her dad. Before she traveled to Ilocos for her wedding, she visited her dad alone, and laid white and red roses on his grave. She told him of the wonderful man she will marry. Maya momentarily looked up and made a silent conversation with her Dad, ‘I know you are here in spirit to witness me getting married’.  She had done that in the past with the milestones in her life. She wanted to share it with her father, the person who dreamt those with her. Then she continued walking, with eyes only for her Babe.

Richard was wiping the corner of his eye, with a handkerchief that his best man handed to him, when Tito Gabriel, Mommy Tessie and his Maya reached him. John had a pretty good idea this will happen. He met Maya when the two of them were in New York, and he knew his friend has found true love. Richard only had eyes for Maya. He was also honored that Richard asked him to be his best man. So, here he is, his first trip to the Philippines. Richard shook Tito Gabriel’s hand, then he hugged Mommy Tessie after kissing her hand, and promising to take good care of Maya for always. Finally, he joined his hand with Maya’s as they faced the priest who would solemnize their marriage.

Father Oscar, a family friend of the Lim family agreed to marry Richard and Maya despite his many responsibilities at the Vatican. He flew home for the wedding. In his homily, he spoke of finding love at the right place, at the right moment, and in God’s perfect time, like what happened to Richard and Maya. He said that not all people are lucky to do so. But if you do, you have to nurture it for it to thrive and grow. He said, parang halaman din ang relationship at ang marriage, hindi basta na lang itatanim at pababayaan na lang mabuhay na mag-isa. You have to care for it, diligan para mag-grow and magbunga. He said, he is sure that Richard and Maya will do that. He told the couple to love and cherish one another, that marriage is a two-way street and they have to meet halfway for a smooth travel to their forever, and that they must always love and trust one another.

Throughout the beautiful ceremony, Richard and Maya held hands, as if they just have to connect to feel that this is it, their moment has finally arrived. They kept giving each other loving glances also, that didn’t escape the eyes of their guests, who just sighed and felt so happy with the love they can see between these two.

Father Oscar, towards the end of the ceremony asked them if they have personal vows and the two nodded.

Richard held Maya’s hand tightly, looked deeply into Maya’s eyes with all the love he is feeling and told her of his innermost feelings, with his voice getting hoarse with emotions, at some point.

Maya, my love, my Honeybun, the love of my life. I promised to love and cherish you for always. I never knew I would find love when I accidentally shared a taxi ride with you, kahit sinupladahan mo ako sa simula. But I was so glad and forever thankful that I did. I’m so glad and ever so thankful that we crossed paths that day. For me, that ride was the start of my wonderful and unparalleled journey with you. Before I met  you, I never thought that the kind of love I found with you, existed. All my past, my experiences, faded in comparison to what we have, what you have shown me. I was just existing before you. Now I am living life to the fullest, with you. You are my life now, and the children I pray God will bless us with. I love you and I will love you until the end of our days. It will be my goal in life to make you happy for always. 

Maya sniffled, touched by Richard’s vows. They have known each other a short time, but it felt like they have known each other very long, not only in this lifetime.

Ricky, my Babe, my love, before I took that taxi ride, I was lost in my romance novels world and my last thought before I boarded that taxi was that someday, a guy especially-designed by God for me will come along. I never thought that a couple of minutes later, I will met that guy. Ganoon kabilis nag-reply si God. Life was never the same since that fateful day. As if the whole universe was aligned for our meeting. Destiny kita. I know that. I found the perfect guy for me, yes, I know, you will tell me you are not, but you are the closest to perfection I could find. I love you with everything in me, in everything I can give. I will be your partner in our wonderful journey together. I will love and cherish you. You and the children we will have will be my priority. My restless lonely traveling is over, as I have found home. You and I, and the kids, will travel together, exploring places and storing memories and experiences that will last us a lifetime. Mahal na mahal kita my Babe. 

They looked at each other, then Richard lifted Maya’s veil and kissed her thoroughly. They were so at it they forgot where they are.

“Ehemmmm, Maya, Richard.” A smiling Father Oscar interrupted them amid the laughter of those who were present, “Errrr, hindi pa ‘you may kiss the bride’ portion ng inyong pag-iisang dibdib.”

Maya and Richard looked at each other sheepishly, then Maya blushed, and hid her face on Richard’s chest upon realizing what they really did.

“Sorry po, Father.” Richard said, smiling. “Ito kasing Honeybun ko.” He said teasingly.

“Ha, bakit ako.” Maya protested, smiling. “Tayong dalawa kaya iyon.”

“Hmmm, eh kasi naman sobra akong nadala ng wedding vows mo.” Richard said as they were the only people there. “I love you.”

“I love you too,” Maya replied, touching Richard’s face.

The smiling priest teased the couple, “O, bago mauwi sa pangalawang kiss, ituloy na natin ang ceremony.”

Richard helped Maya put back her veil and they faced the priest again, still smiling at each other.

Father Oscar said the final blessing to their union and announced to the guests that he is presenting to them, Mr. Richard and Mrs. Maya Lim.

“Now, you may kiss the bride na talaga.” Father Oscar teased the newly-weds, amid the laughter and teasing of their families and friends.

Richard smiled, then proceeded to remove Maya’s veil again, gently, cupped her face, lowered his head, then gave her a tender kiss. Then they smiled and whispered ‘I love you’ to each other before facing their families and friends. The kiss was followed by another as they were egged by the guests, with matching teasing from Cris na ngayon ba pa sila mahihiya matapos ang unscheduled kiss nila. Everyone laughed, happy.

The picture-taking that followed was still marked by Richard and Maya getting teased a lot about their impromptu kissing. The last photos the photographer took became Maya’s favorites. One of them was with Richard and her, and all their guests posing at the steps that leads to the church, and the majestic church and the bell tower in the background. She particularly like the wacky shot. Her most favorite, however was her and Richard standing in front of the church, sideways, with the facade of the church, the path that lead to the fortress-like side and the bell-tower in the background. They were looking at each other, candidly as they thought the photographer was already finished with the shots. It was the best photo they had as it was clearly visible the love they felt for each other, also the bump in Maya’s stomach that they were unaware of, at that time.

The wedding party, boarded the deluxe tourist buses that Don Roberto rented for the occasion. These were the same ones that took the guests to this beautiful church from the airport. Don Roberto asked the head of Time Airways, which the family owns, to make a special flight to Laoag for his son and daughter-in-law’s wedding. For the wedding reception, Maya and Richard decided to hold it at the courtyard of the house turned into a hotel they have stayed before. They just asked the inn, where they ate most of their stay before, to do the catering for for their reception. The owner agreed, happily so, having heard from Evelyn their story. Evelyn, who was so happy to know about their marriage, promised to take care of everything from that end. It turned out, she is the daughter of the owner of the hotel.

When the wedding party arrived at the reception. They were amazed. The place was transformed. They all felt like they were transported back to the 19th century Philippines and was about to attend a lavish party being held in that era.

“Happy, my honeybun?” Richard whispered to Maya as they danced their first dance as a husband and wife

“Sobra-sobra, Babe.” She whispered back, then caressed Richard’s nape. “Thank you. I’m the happiest girl in the world at this moment.”

“Then I am the happiest guy naman. I have been like than since we met.” Richard said, gazing at Maya lovingly, as they continued dancing without a space between them, lost in their own world.

When the music ended, the host called them back in front for the traditional reception ceremonies, marked by calls for them to kiss. Jeremy caught the garter that Richard lovingly removed from Maya’s thigh, with matching naughty grins on his face and unseen loving pinch from his Honeybun. Now, Maya knew where to aim the bouquet like Cris did, though she didn’t know if Cris really deliberately have thrown it in her direction. She threw it on the direction where Phailin was. Luckily, her Thai friend caught it.

“Playing cupid, my Honeybun.” Richard whispered to his bride, before he stole a kiss, while their guests were busy watching Jeremy put the garter on a laughing, blushing Phailin.

“Slight lang, my Babe.” Maya smiled at her husband. “Malay mo di ba? Bagay naman sila. Pareho pa sila ng job so it will be easier. Minsan mahirap maging husband or wife ang isang journalist, lalo na ang isang international correspondent, palipat-lipat.”

Jeremy and Phailin approached Maya and Richard after they gave it to the teasing of the crowd and shared a gentle kiss. They were teased to kiss, like Maya and Richard after Jeremy did a victory dance as soon as he managed to put the garter on Phailin’s thigh.

“Maya, Richard, lovely wedding! Thank you for making me a part of it.” Jeremy said, still smiling. ” Now, I know why wouldn’t even give me a glimmer of hope. I didn’t really a stand a chance with Richard here. Richard, you are lucky to have Maya.”

Richard smiled at the tall British guy. One can just help, but like him. “I know. Thank you for coming to our wedding.”

“Maya, see, I’m right that I might be going to the Philippines, for your wedding, and not your birthday. Be happy, my dear friend.” Phailin said, as she embraced her dear Filipina friend. “You too, Richard. I’m so happy for both of you. Take care of Maya, of each other.”

“Thank you, Phailin. You know that you are like a sister to me too.” Then whispered to her friend. “So, invite me also to you and Jeremy’s wedding, ha.”

Phailin laughed. “Maybe, if we end up together. We are still enjoying and getting used to our relationship. But I am thankful to you. We have gotten closer after you returned to the Philippines. I think, he also sort of, saw me in a new light. Though, he needed to recover from your rejection first.” She teased.

Maya laughed, “I doubt if he really was in love with me.”

They hugged. Phailin and Jeremy went back to dancing with the rest of the guests. Maya was happy to see Emman and Eleonor having fun, so were the other staff from their cafe. They too, were invited to the wedding. Eleanor shed a tear and thanked Maya profusely when Maya asked her to be one of her bridesmaids. Maya teased her, that siya pa ba ang mawawala sa wedding, eh presidente siya ng Team Richard. There was also John, having a merry time, making Mommy Tessie and Mama Esme laughed, also the aunts with his antics. He went solo to the wedding as his current girlfriend was busy with work. Don Roberto and the uncles were on another table, inspecting cigars and comparing them.

“May isa pang love team in the making, Honeybun.” Richard remarked, while hugging Maya from behind, as they stood at the base of the azotea watching everyone having fun. Then he pointed to a chatting couple in a corner.

Maya smiled. “I will be happy if they end up together.” She said, looking at Tristan and a very lovely Evelyn this evening. Then she turned and faced her husband.

“I love you Babe. I wish everyone will be as happy as we are. That they also find love like we have.” Maya said as she intertwined her hands on Richard’s nape.

“I love you too, Honeybun. My wish also. But for me, nag-iisa ka lang talaga.” Then he was about to whisper something more, with a naughty smile on his face, when his cousin and her husband interrupted them.

“Kumusta naman ang mga langgam ngayong gabi, parang present lahat ah?” Cris teased, while Stephen looked on. “Loyal na loyal sa inyong dalawa ah. Hindi kayo iniiwan, kahit saan kayo magpunta.”

Maya and Richard laughed. “Bessie, maraming salamat ulit, also, thank you Stephen. It meant a lot to me that you were my matron of honor. That the two of you are in our wedding.”

“Basta for you, ano ka pa. What are best friends for, tapos we are cousin na rin. Di ba, Kuya Ricky?” Cris replied, hugging Maya and then Richard. “Bessie, Kuya Ricky, Stephen and I will go ahead. Medyo kulang pa kami sa tulog.”

The cousins embraced, then said goodbye for now. They promised to have dinner before Cris and Stephen return to New York.

“Sa tingin mo puwede na tayo tumakas, Honeybun, my dearest wife? I think everyone would understand na….” Richard started saying as soon as Cris and Stephen left.

“….na what, Babe.” Maya asked, smiling. She knew what her husband wanted.

“….na kailangan nating ma-inspect iyong old room natin.”

“Hahahahaha, Babe, ikaw and your para-paraan.” Maya said, riding along with Richard’s teasing.

They smiled at each other, looking forward at their first night together as husband and wife. But despite their intention to escape, they stayed a bit more and partied with their guests.

“Maya, anak, I’m really so happy for you.” Mommy Tessie said, when she and Richard approached her, Mama Esme and Papa Roberto to say good night. Most of the guests have left for the night. “I’m sure, your dad is happy too, wherever he is.”

“I know, Mom. Thank you very much also for everything. I love you.” Maya said as she hugged her mother tight and kissed her in the forehead. “Thank you rin po sa inyo Mama, Papa.” Maya then hugged and kissed Don Roberto and Donya Esmeralda.

“Maya, hija, welcome to our family, again. Paulit-ulit namin iyang sasabihin ng Papa mo.” Mama Esme said. “Ikaw naman son, you take good care of Maya ha, saka bilisan na ang unang apo namin, di ba, balae.”

The elder Lims and Mommy Tessie laughed and teased the couple that they can go up na and work on their apo. Maya blushed and Richard grinned. They thanked the parents again.

Richard and Maya waved to the remaining guests, mostly their immediate families, and amid their teasing, entered the house, climbed up the stairs, to the room where they stayed before and where they first made love, to celebrate their first night as husband and wife.

 

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Crossroads – Chapter 19

Chapter 19
‘New York, New York’

Maya sniffled as she leaned against Richard’s shoulder, holding on to his biceps. She just can’t stopped herself. The scene before her was just so sad, and at the same time, cathartic. She should be used to it by now. This is not the first time she has seen Jean Valjean’s dying moment.

“Honeybun, here.” Richard offered Maya his handkerchief and smiled indulgently at his lovely fiancee, who he discovered is a cry baby when it comes to ‘Les Miserables’.

Watching Les Miserables in Broadway was one of the treats Richard prepared for his fiancee while they are in New York. She loves this musical and have seen it several times, though not in Broadway, as this was her first time in New York. They arrived here three days ago for Cris’s wedding.

Richard’s parents have been here since two weeks ago, with his Tita Susan and Tito Rafael, Tita Pamela and Tito Danny.  Mama Esme said, she and Tita Pamela would like to help Tita Susan and Cris with the last minute things that needed to be done before the wedding. At the same time, they wanted to relax a bit. They also opted to stay with Cris’s parents at their big apartment. Most of the other relatives who will attend the wedding are billeted in hotels of their choice. Luke, on the other hand, decided to stay with an old college friend.

Richard had asked Maya whether she wanted to stay in a hotel or in his apartment. He assured her that it was not the same one, where he lived with Natalie. Maya assured him it was not an issue with her if the apartment is the same. She opted for the apartment as she feel more comfortable in it since they will be staying in the city, several days more, after the wedding.

They met Cris and her fiance for dinner as soon as they got settled in Richard spacious apartment in Fifth Avenue, the first evening after they arrived. Maya have met Stephen before when he went to visit Cris in the Philippines. Richard on the other hand, knew him from before, when he was still living in New York.

Cris teased them a lot, saying that the two of them had a tornado-like courtship sa bilis. They grinned goofily and gazed at each other lovingly, momentarily forgetting Cris and Stephen, which prompted Cris to say that they brought all the langgam in the Philippines to New York. Mabuti raw, hindi sila naharang sa airport. They all laughed, and had to explain the inside joke to Stephen.

The two best friends also had some moments, on their own, when the fiances went to the restroom, one after the other. Cris told her bestfriend that she is really very happy that she will marry her cousin. They will not be just best friends now, but cousins too! She also told Maya just to play tourist with her Kuya Ricky for the next several days as everything is set for the wedding. They will just have a rehearsal the following afternoon.

Like Cris suggested, Richard and Maya have been playing tourists the next two days after that dinner. Well, Maya was the tourist, while Richard was more of the tour guide. The first day of their adventure, together, Maya cajoled Ricky into taking one of the double-decker tour buses they saw from Times Square. That way, she said, she will be familiar with most of the New York City sights, fast. They also met the rest of Cris wedding entourage late afternoon, and other relatives, for the wedding rehearsals. Afterwards, they just walked around Central Park, the highlight of which was a romantic horse-drawn carriage ride around the park. They cuddled inside the carriage and exchanged sweet kisses.

The day after that, they took the tour boat to the Statue of Liberty. Maya was amazed at  finally seeing ‘the lady’, the symbol of freedom and the symbol of New York. They walked around Liberty Island and took a lot of photos. On the way back, they also stopped at Ellis Island, and the view of the New York skyline was just pretty amazing from there. The rest of the afternoon was spent seeing other sights on Maya’s list – from the Rockefeller Center, to the Grand Central Station to the Radio City Music Hall and so on. They saved the MoMA or the Museum of Modern Art and the Empire State Building for the days they will be there after Cris’s wedding which was the day after that. The evening was capped with this trip to the theater district to watch Les Miz.

“Thank you, Babe.” Maya said as she wiped her tears, then whispered to Richard. “Grabe, ewan ko ba, everytime I see Valjean dying, tapos dagdagan pa ng paglitaw ulit ni Fantine and ng mga namatay sa barricade, I cried talaga. Kahit doon sa movie version. Feeling ko kasi kasama ako sa struggles nilang lahat. I just love the universal theme of this musical –  love, unconditional love for that matter, redemptionm idealism, and unwavering faith.”

Richard smiled and held her hand. Maya is showing him a new perspective when it comes to this show, which he had seen before, but didn’t fully appreciate. She is showing him his old city in a new light! They both stood up with the rest of the audience when the cast made their curtain calls. They clapped enthustiastically, cheered and congratulated the wonderful cast.

Several minutes after, Maya and Richard exited the theater, holding hands.

“Babe, thank you very much again for the wonderful treat.” Maya stopped in the middle of the street, and kissed Richard lightly. “I love seeing Les Miz again and seeing Ramin Karimloo on stage was really, really the best treat. He was very good as Valjean. Guwapo also.” She became a fan after seeing him performed as the leader of the student revolutionaries Enjolras at the 25th anniversary concert of Les Miz, in which Lea Salonga was also a part of.

Richard smiled at his fiancee. “Mas guwapo pa sa akin, Honeybun?”

“Well, patingin nga.” Maya pretended to check Richard from head to foot.

“Sus, hamak namang….” She started.

“Mas guwapo siya sa akin?” Richard interrupted Maya, teasing.

“Babe, patapusin muna kasi ako.” Maya complained, smiling. “Sabi ko, hamak namang mas guwapong-guwapo ka sa kanya. Lamang na lamang ang Babe ko sa Ramin na iyon. No comparison at all. Hands down, ikaw na ang winner na winner.”

Richard laughed. “Silly! But thanks Honeybun, for being so loyal to your fiance. Halika na nga, I’m hungry na. Saan mo gustong kumain?”

“How about the restaurant that offers Chinese, Thai and Japanese cuisine we saw earlier, sa may Times Square ba iyon? One of the streets parallel to this one, di ba?” Maya suggested.

“Okay, they have good food nga there.” Richard agreed. “I think, it is this way.”

They walked several streets to the Asian restaurant Maya saw on their way to the theater. She remembered it as it was mentioned in an article she read before about going to the theater in NYC. She let Richard ordered. She was really very hungry. And Richard ordered a lot of food.

“Kaya ba natin iyang ubusin, Babe?” Maya asked, seeing plate after plate of mouth-watering food on their table.

“Hmmm, kaya iyan, Honeybun. We need all the energy later, for you know….. Richard smiled, wanting to get a rise out of his fiancee.

“Babe, one track mind ka naman.” Maya sweetly pouted.

“Hahahaha, Honeybun, di pa kasi ako tapos, assuming ka na.” Richard teased his fiancee. “I mean, energy for walking and walking later. We can walk around after our dinner. After all, this is the city that never sleeps, as they say.”

“Ikaw talaga, Babe. Aminin mo, double meaning ang statement mo.” Maya insisted.

“Hindi ah, walking lang talaga ang nasa isip ko….

“Really, really, Babe???”

“Yes, Honeybun!”

“Weh…..” Then she stuck out her tongue to him.

Richard laughed. “Let’s eat na nga.”

Like what Richard said, they walked, walked, and walked some more after dinner. They chatted most of the way and looked at the well-known landmarks they passed by. When they got tired, they took a taxi to Richard’s apartment.

“Home away from home.” Richard remarked as he turned on the lights.

“Yes, I really like this place, Ricky.” Maya said, gravitating towards the floor-to-ceiling window.”It’s a good thing you didn’t sell or sublet this apartment when you returned to the Philippines.”

“i thought of that. But I kind like this place a lot. Beside, sabi ko sa sarili ko before, I might come back here din, to visit.“ Richard said. “Well now, I’m glad that I didn’t. We can use this as our home away from home since I think someone fell in love with New York!”

Maya smiled. “Thanks, Babe! I did. I love the city, and especially the theater district. So many things to see, absorb and experience!”

“We can always take a vacation here, then travel to other nearby states like New Jersey and Pennsylvania. I think you will like Philadelphia, in particular.” Richard said, as he went the stereo system and the melody of ‘Unexpected Song’, the beautiful song from the musical ‘Song and Dance’, started filling the air.

“May I have this dance, Ms. Maya Dela Rosa, my Mrs. Lim-to-be? Ngayon may music na.” Richard asked, looking lovingly at Maya.

“Of course, my Mr. Lim.”

Maya and Richard danced to the beautiful melody and lyrics of the song.

I have never felt like this

For once I’m lost for words

Your smile has really thrown me

This is not like me at all

I never thought I’d know

The kind of love you’ve shown me

 

Now, no matter where I am

No matter what I do

I see your face appearing

Like an unexpected song

An unexpected song

That only we are hearing

“I love you very much, Maya.” Richard whispered to Maya’s ear as they danced as close as two people can be, sometimes, with his chin on her shoulder, and Maya’s cheek pillowed on Richard’s broad chest. “The song is apt. I never felt like this before. I wouldn’t tire of telling you that.”

“I love you too, Ricky. My heart is so full of love for you, it is immeasurable! You are the best thing that ever happened to me.” Maya looked at her fiance with so much love. “Thank you for loving me so much.”

Maya and Richard gazed at each other with so much love in their eyes. They sealed it with a sweet kiss. The song ended. Richard carried Maya to their bedroom and made sweet love to her. They went to sleep sated, still in a very tight embrace, as if they didn’t want to let go of each other, even while sleeping.

“Ricky. Babe, wake up na, we need to get ready na.” Maya has been trying to wake up Richard the past several minutes the following morning, late morning, or noon! They overslept. She shook him a bit on the shoulder, to no avail, so she started giving him a kiss and tickling him.

“I want to sleep some more.” Richard said sleepily. “Maaga pa naman, I think.” Then he grabbed Maya back to the bed, and started kissing her hotly.

“Babe, we will be late. I have to help Cris pa. I’m the maid of honor, baka nakakalimutan mo, Mr. Lim.” Maya protested, half-heartedly.

Richard looked at the clock and saw that it was just around before noon, then grinned naughtily, “We have plenty of time pa, Honeybun.”

They finally made it out of the house two hours later. Just in time to go to the place where all the members of the entourage will prepare for Cris’s wedding. Maya changed into her maid of honor gown.

By four o’clok that afternoon, Cris walked down the long, and beautifully-decorated aisle of the magnificent St. Patrick’s Cathedral in a lace gown made by Monique Lhuillier, to her handsome waiting groom, Stephen Roberts.

The ceremony was beautiful. While everyone’s eyes was on the bride and groom, Richard’s eyes were on his beautiful fiancee, thinking that their moment like this will come soon and he is so looking forward to it. More than a month more and it will be his and Maya’s turn. Their parents, Maya, and the wedding planner have made a lot of headway already with the preparations. His dad finished arranging the logistics of them going to Ilocos, a week after the engaegement dinner. The church was also booked. The invites have all been sent.

The wedding party travelled to the harbor from the majestic cathedral after the picture taking. For the reception, the newlyweds, chartered a yacht that would cruise along New York Harbor for five hours.

“Congratulations, again, bessie, and Stephen.” Maya hugged Cris, and then Stephen.

“Cousin, congratulations. You too, Stephen.” Richard also said, hugging Cris and shaking Stephen’s hand.

“Thank you bessie, cousin. The next one will be yours!” Cris said. “By the way, good news, Stephen and I can be there. I can be your matron of honor! We revised our honeymoon plans to include the Philippines.”

“Yes, Maya, Richard. We did. I suggested it to Cris since I know she wouldn’t want to miss your wedding. She said she felt like she played Cupid to both of you.” Stephen added, smiling. “Besides, I think I would like to see Palawan.”

“Oh, thank you so much, bessie, Stephen.” Maya was very happy that Cris can come. “This means a lot to Ricky and I. And Stephen, you will love Palawan! I can recommend a good place you can stay.”

“Thank you, Cris and Stephen, for this.” Richard added, happy for his Honeybun. He knew how much she wanted Cris to be at their wedding, but understood that she may not be able to make it due to her scheduled honeymoon in Hawaii.

They were about to chat some more when the hosts called the newlyweds for the reception ceremony. When it was time for the garter throwing, Richard, Luke and several other male Lims, and Stephen’s cousins and friends lined-up. Richard got the garter and grinned. He wish Maya will get the bouquet. Then he remembered Cris’s statement about deliberately throwing it to Maya.

Cris called all the single ladies, which included Maya and all her bridesmaids, her New York friends, some friends from the Philippines and cousins living in various parts of the US for the bouquet throwing ceremony. For this, she had another bouquet made, a replica of the one she carried in church, which she would like to preserve for posterity. Cris threw the bouquet, and landed on Maya who instinctively caught it. Everyone clapped and Richard said a loud “Yes,” which made the Philippine contingent to the wedding, laughed and ribbed him.

Richard, grinning, slowly put the garter on Maya’s leg, with matching subtle caresss on her leg that was not visible to the audience, but Maya can feel it so much. When the garter was up to her thigh, they stood up. People egged them to kiss which they did, enthusiastically.

Soon after, the dancing started, and they joined the newly-weds and a lot of the guests, including Donya Esmeralda, Don Roberto, the aunts and uncles, and Stephen’s parents, on the dance floor. It was a fantastic and fun-filled celebration.

Several dances after, Maya told Richard that she would like to catch her breath. Rchard told Maya he knew the best place for it. They went to the aft of the yacht. Maya brought with her the wedding bouquet she caught, not wanting to leave it inside.

“So, Honeybun, feeling ko naman hindi na magiging pressed flowers ang bouquet na nasalo mo since nakatagpo ka na rin ng Prince Charming and your ideal man.” Richard teased his fiancee, pointing to himself, reminding her of that conversation the first day they meet which felt like a lifetime ago.

Maya smiled, remembering that too. Teasing Richard, she said,  “Hmmm, pinag-iisipan ko pa iyong Prince Charming part.”

They both laughed.

“Yes, Babe.I did find my Prince Charming, my ideal man. You are more than what I wished for.” Then she touched his face lovingly. “I love you very much, my Babe.”

“I love you too, very very much, my Honeybun.” Richard said with all the love he is feeling.

Richard lowered his head, and give Maya a tender kiss. Amid the backdrop of the New York skyline, they affirmed their love and commitment to each other.

 

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Crossroads – Chapter 18

Chapter 18
‘Save the date’

Maya parked her car the at the alloted parking space inside the compound where this beautiful 1930s art deco house was the focal point. For the dinner with the Lims and her family, Maya suggested to Richard that they do it at this beautiful ancestral home, converted into a fine dining restaurant, she likes very much. She discovered it while doing an article on the best restaurants in the city. She fell in love with the house and the dinner presentation. It was like going back in time.

Maya opened the door for her mom, who also looked at the place with awe. Her sister Patty got of the car as soon as it stopped, very excited to see the place after reading some very interesting information about it from the restaurant’s website. Her sister, and her mom, are looking forward to meeting Richard’s family. She and Richard visited them the day after they returned from Ilocos and have dinner with them.

Richard and Maya, aside from their parents, also invited their immediate families to the dinner to formally announced and celebrate their engagement with them. From the Lims, they invited, Cris’s parents, Tita Susan and Tito Rafael, and also Luke’s parents, Tita Pamela and Tito Danny, and Luke Andrew of course. Maya invited her Tito Gabriel, her dad’s only brother and his wife, Tita Minerva. Mommy Tessie also asked her sister, Editha, to come, as well as her husband Fernando.

When Maya and her family reached the entrance of the place, they saw Richard. “Ricky, babe! O bakit nandito ka? Nasaan na ang parents mo, and also the titos and titas?” Maya asked as she gave Richard a chaste kiss on the cheek, getting conscious with her mom and sister there.

“Good evening Honeybun, good evening po, Mommy Tessie, Patty.” Richard greeted Maya’s mom and sister. “Nandoon na sila sa main dining room na pina-reserve natin. Sinamahan na sila ng staff dito. Sabi ko kina Mama and Papa, hintayin ko na kayo here. By the way, Mommy Tessie, nandito na rin po sina Tito Gabriel and his wife and also your sister, Tita Edith, and Tito Fernando. We introduced each other na rin since I saw them waiting in the living room of the house. Kamukha niyo po kasi ang sister niyo kaya, hayun, I introduced myself na rin, also my parents. They also got to meet na my aunts and uncles, and also Luke.”

“Oh good. Pasensya na at medyo late kami. Natagalan kami ng kaunti. Na-traffic kami diyan sa may Osmena Highway.” Mommy Tessie said. “O akyat na tayo. Patty halika na, mauna na tayo.”

Mommy Tessie and Patty went ahead, giving the couple a bit of privacy.

“Sa wakas!”  Richard said with a naughty grin, then kissed Maya lightly on the lips, seeing that they were the only ones by the base of the grand staircase of the house. “I missed you very much, my love.”

Maya smiled sweetly. “Ikaw talaga, Babe, missed mo na ako kaagad. Parang ang tagal nating hindi nagkikita. Kagabi nga, gabing-gabi na tayo naghiwalay ah. Tapos kanina, ang tagal pa natin sa phone. Baka nga akala ng mga employee mo, hindi na nagtatrabaho ang CEO nila.”

“Basta, I missed you pa rin.” Richard said lovingly.

“Sabagay, ako nga rin. Hindi ako masyadong makapagsulat. Naiisip kita and this dinner.” Maya admitted. “Halika na, let’s go up at baka akalain nila bigla na lang tayong nagtanan, Babe.”

“Hmmm, not a bad idea, Honeybun. That way, sure na sure na ako na Mrs. Lim ka na kaagad, instead of waiting. For sure, ang mga mother natin, would want a big wedding.” Richard said with a smile.

“Parang Las Vegas wedding lang ang peg natin, Babe.” Maya said as they continue to go up, to the main dining room of the house.

“Why not? May kakilala akong judge.” Richard remarked, as if thinking about it seriously.

“Mr. Lim, I don’t think papatawarin tayo ng mga mom natin kapag ginawa natin iyan.” Maya said, lightly pinching Richard on the cheek. “Saka may paperworks din iyon!”

“My Mrs. Lim-to-be, gusto ko lang agad-agad na maging Mrs. Lim ka na.” Richard countered, then whispered. “Malay mo, my Richard or Maya Junior na on the way. You know, we have been doing it a lot and..…..”

Before he could finished with his teasing, Maya shushed him with a finger on his lips which he promptly kissed, and pinching him lovingly. “Babe, marinig ka nila.”

Richard grinned, then turned serious, and said lovingly, “There is nothing more beautiful than seeing you big with our child, Honeybun.”

“Babe,  you know, I want it too.” Maya touched her fiance’s face lovingly. She felt happy thinking about the kids and she Richard will have. Siguro kasing cute ng Babe niya ang magiging little boy nila. Kapag girl naman, Maya hopes na kamukha niya or nila ni Ricky. Basta, healthy, super thankful na, Maya mused.

“Richard!” A beautiful lady said. She rose from the sofa in the living room of the grand house, adjacent to the main dining room that Maya and Richard reserved for their dinner party, interrupting their tender moment. “I thought it was you.”

Richard looked at the statuesque girl, who approached them. His expression a bit indifferent. He never thought that this is where they would see each other again after all this time. But he knew that at some point, their paths would have crossed anyway, since they move in the same circle.

“Oh hi, Natalie. Fancy meeting you here!” Richard greeted his ex-girlfriend politely. “ I thought you are based in New York. When did you return to Manila?”

“I returned here for good, several months ago. I opened my own fashion design company.” She explained, looking at Richard and seeing that he is as handsome as ever. “I got tired of living in New York. My heart is here rin.”

Richard pulled Maya closer to him, then intertwined their fingers.“My love, this is Natalie Tan. Natalie, this is my lovely fiancee, the love of my life, Maya Dela Rosa.”

Natalie then took a closer looked at the girl Richard was gazing at with so much love on his handsome face. She felt a tinge of sadness in her heart, a double dose of regret for what she had done, and what she had taken for granted.

“Please to meet you, Maya.” She said, trying to smile brightly. “Congratulations. to both of you.”

“Thank you, Natalie. Nice to meet you too.” Maya said politely. She knew then that this must be the Natalie that Richard mentioned before.

“My love, let’s go. Kanina pa naghihintay ang mga family natin.” Richard said. “Excuse us please, Natalie. Enjoy your dinner. Good luck on your fashion design company.”

Richard felt lighter after seeing Natalie again. It completely closed a chapter of  his life that taught him a lot of lessons. He was sincere in wishing her well. He realized that he does not even feel hurt and slighted anymore for what she did. It is because of the beautiful, loving lady he was holding hands with. His fiancee. He ushered Maya to their waiting family and completely forgot about Natalie.

Natalie returned to the sofa, where she was waiting for her friend, whom she will have dinner with, to arrive. She was looking aimlessly, earlier, when her gaze zeroed in on the beautiful couple who was exchanging a tender moment at the top of the stairs. When the man turned, her heart beat faster. It was Richard. The biggest regret of her life, her biggest mistake, was taking him for granted and orchestrating their relationship with that hidden agenda. She was so immature. If only, she had approached their relationship honestly. What she told Richard before they parted ways was true, she fell in love with him. How much, she only realized after they broke up. She regretted hurting a very wonderful man. He looked so in love and happy with his beautiful, poised fiancee. It could have been her! But it is way too late now.

“Natalie, sorry I’m late!” Maggie rushed to the living room, air kissing Natalie as she sat down to catch her breath. “Why do you look so glum?”

Maggie knew what happened in New York. After her family’s fortune dwindled down, Maggie was among the few friends who stuck with her.

“Richard is here!” She simply said. “He and his fiancee are holding an engagement dinner party for their families, I think.”

“Oh, Natalie.” Maggie touched her friend’s hand to comfort her. She also knew that one of the reasons Natalie returned to the Philippines was to find out if Richard is still single and maybe, see if he has forgiven her, enough for her to hope that she can win him back.

“It was just that, Maggie. I just have to live with everything I did, the bad decisions, the mistakes I made. Me, being blinded by maintaining the status I was born and had lived with most of my life. Besides, seeing him with his fiancee, the way he gazed at her, I don’t really think he had loved me at all.” She said in resignation. “Halika na nga, let’s have dinner and let me deal with my sorrows another time.”

Natalie looked one more time to the dining room, where she can see Richard and Maya being greeted by their families, then went to the table she reserved at the smaller dining room of the house.

“Richard, Maya, congratulations.” Donya Esmeralda, greeted the couple, as soon as she saw them entering the dining room. “Balae and I introduced each other na. Di ba, balae?” She asked Mommy Tessie, who was sitting beside Don Roberto.

“Oo nga, Maya, Richard. Bakit ang tagal ninyo?” Mommy Tessie asked. “ I thought kasunod lang namin kayo ni Patricia.”

“Naku, bayaan na natin balae, baka kailangan ng private moments nitong mga anak natin.” Donya Esmeralda said with a smile. “You know….”

Maya’s mom laughed then teased the couple. “Sabagay, para maaga tayong magkaapo.”

“Mommmm….” Maya said. “Ito kasing si Ricky, may nakitang beautiful girl diyan sa labas. Na-delay tuloy kami.”

Richard smiled. He knew Maya will be full of questions when they are alone, on whether the lady was the ‘New York Natalie’. “Selos ka, Honeybun?” He teased her.

“HIndi ah.” Maya protested.

“Hmmm, selos ka yata eh.” He teased. “Huwag kang mag-aalala, ikaw lang ang nag-iisa dito sa puso ko. Wala na akong ibang nakikita.”

The whole table oohhed and aahhed.

“Naku, ang dami ng mga langgam hindi pa man tayo nagde-dessert. Parang noong nasa bahay lang namin ang mga ito.” Tito Rafael teased.

“Talaga, balae, kwento ka naman.” Tito Gabriel said. He was glad to see his pamangkin, his dear Kuya Arturo’s eldest, settling down with a good man and marrying into a wonderful, loving family, judging by the interactions between them he had observed so far.

“Bago ang kwentuhan na iyan, let’s have dinner na muna mga balae.” Donya Esmeralda said.

When everyone was about to eat, Don Roberto tapped his fork against his wine glass.“I would like to offer a toast to my son and his lovely fiancee.” He said as he raised his wine glass.

“Richard, anak, congratulations for finding yourself a wonderful woman. Maya, welcome to our family. You are the daughter, Esmeralda and I were not able to have. Thank you for having our son. God bless your union. I’m so happy to see the two of you so in love with each other. Here’s to a long, happy, and loving life together.”

Everyone seconded Don Roberto and raised their wine glasses to Richard and Maya. Both families were very happy for the newly-engaged couple. Richard and Maya went to Don Roberto and Donya Esmeralda, and hugged and thanked them. They also embraced Mommy Tessie.

The dinner was a lively affair, with the Dela Rosas and the Lims, either by blood or marriage, chatted as they enjoyed, course after course, the lovely and mouthwatering food the staff served them.

“Do you have a date na pala, Maya, Richard, for your wedding?” Tita Susan asked while they were having coffee and dessert. “Mukhang mauuna pa kayo kay Cris sa bilis ng mga pangyayari.” She teased.

“Honeybun, ikaw na magsabi sa kanila, what we agreed on.” Richard said, touching and caressing Maya’s forearm.

Maya gazed at Richard lovingly, momentarily forgetting everyone around them. He did look very handsome in his pale blue dress shirt.

“Ehemmmm, earth to Ate Maya.” Patty teased her sister, seeing her staring at her Kuya Richard with a goofy smile. Luke elbowed her, good-naturedly. She and the youngest Lim had hit it off, finding they both love online games and photography. Besides, they automatically gravitated towards each other since they were the youngest ones in the gathering.

Maya blinked and smiled. “Ooops, sorry.” She said sheepishly.

“Ikaw naman kasi Honeybun, don’t stare at me, baka matunaw akong gaya nitong dessert natin.” Richard teased. “I know naman na guwapong-guwapo ako. Di ba, ‘Ma?”

“Ikaw talaga Ricky Lim, hayan ka naman. Maximum ang confidence level ah.”  Maya laughed. “Mama Esme, itong anak niyo po o.” She told her future-mother-in-law. The first thing Donya Esmeralda asked when she spoke to Maya after their engagement was to call her that or simply ‘Mama’, and ‘Papa’ or ‘Papa Roberto’ for Richard’s dad.

Donya Esmeralda laughed. She is getting used to the antics of her son and his wife-to-be. “Hija, guwapo naman ang anak ko. Para sa isang Mama, walang anak na pangit sa paningin. Kaya for me, si Ricky ang pinakaguwapong son.”

“Ma, so ibig sabihin, hindi talaga ako guwapo. I’m hurt.” Richard bantered, with a pretend forlorn, ‘lost little boy’ expression.

They all laughed and the older Lims talked about how Richard was when he was a baby and a child, much to Richard’s consternation and Maya’s glee. Then, Mama Esmeralda laughingly asked them to stop as her son, she said, was already red in the face.

“O hija, going back to the wedding, kailan ba ang target date niyo, so Tessie and I can help with the preparations in any way we could.”

“Mama Esme, Mom, Papa Roberto, Titos and Titas, Luke and Patty, Ricky and I decided that we will get married in three months. Paunahin na po muna namin si Cris. Para the whole family can concentrate on her wedding. Moment niya ito. Kami naman, we can wait.” Maya said, gazing lovingly at Richard.

“Oh, okay, that is good then.” Tita Susan said. “Thank you Maya and Richard. I’m sure, kahit mauna naman kayo matutuwa rin si Cris ng sobra-sobra kasi feeling niya siya ang Cupid niyong dalawa.”

“Tita Susan, para nga po siyang nasa loud speaker inside my living room when she shrieked over the phone when we told her that we are engaged.” Maya laughed, remembering Cris’s reaction when they phoned her as soon as they arrived back at her place from Ilocos.

“Saka po pala, Maya and I will have the wedding in this very beautiful church in Santa Maria, Ilocos Sur. Medyo po malayo, pero I think very doable naman.” Richard added.

“That’s fine, hijo.” Don Robero assured his son. “We can all take the company plane to Laoag, then travel by land to Vigan. I think the church is less than an hour from there.”

“Thanks ‘Pa. You have been there, po?” Richard asked curious.

“Well, how can your papa forget that church. Eh diyan siya nag-propose sa akin ng biglaan.” Donya Esmeralda added. “Di ba iyan iyong elevated, parang nasa hill.”

“Yes po.” Richard said.

“O iyon nga iyon. Remember that day, Roberto. We were going back to Manila after attending the wedding of a friend in Vigan, nag-by land lang tayo, then we stopped there kasi nga ang ganda niya even from a distance. Hayun, ang papa mo, sinurpresa ako. Pati ang mga friend namin na kasabay namin, nagulat din.”

“Oh, sabi ko na, that church is special.” Maya said, loving the story. Then whispered at Richard, “Pareho pala kayo ng Papa mo, mahilig manggulat.”

Richard smiled. It was a nice story to hear from his parents. He thought all along that his parents’ marriage was arranged between the Lim and Sy families.

“I can take care of the logistics, son. Ngayon pang retired na ako. I have all the free time to do it. I will talk to my compadre in Laoag about transportation and such, from one place to another.” Don Roberto added.

Maya and Richard thanked his dad. Donya Esmeralda and Mommy Tessie chatted about how they can help Maya and the wedding planner. The aunts and uncles offered to help too. While Patty and Luke teased them about being part of the entourage. Maya and Richard told them, they really are.

The families parted when the restaurant was about to close. Everyone had a grand time.

Later that evening, while Maya was sitting on Richard’s lap, in an armchair by her floor-to-ceiling windows, they talked about the dinner and the unexpected meeting with Natalie.

“So that was Natalie, I mean the ex-girlfriend in New York?” Maya asked. She thought the girl was very pretty and judging by her facial expression, she still have feelings for Richard.

“Yes, that’s her.” Richard lovingly said. “You know what, seeing her again, I am really, really, really thankful that I didn’t end up with her. Kasi ikaw pala ang destiny ko.”

“Babe, thank you. Ikaw rin kaya ang destiny ko. Pero you know what, parang may feelings pa nga siya sa iyo. It was the way she looked it you.” Maya remarked.

Maya was not jealous of Natalie. She believes that when you commit to someone you have to give that person you love, your complete love and trust, unless that person breaks it or give you reasons to be jealous. In Richard’s case, he has not given her any reason, nor he has done anything, that would make her doubt his love and fidelity. She told Richard so.

“Thank you for your love and trust, my love. About Natalie, I don’t know about her feeling that.” He replied. “Anyway, like I have told you before, she was part of my past na. I do wish her well. Maybe, she was not as bad I thought she was. Maybe, circumstances just made her act the way she did.”

“She seemed okay. I wish her well too. Hope she finds a love, not just my Babe.” Maya said, closing the conversation. “The dinner turned out well, di ba? We have the best families.”

“Yes, Honeybun.” Richard said as he played with Maya’s hair. “Three months and you will be my Mrs. Lim.” He ia also very happy that Maya is not the jealous kind of girl, not that he will give her reason to be. She is the only one.

Maya smiled, loving the idea of being his Mrs. Lim. Soon! “I love you, Babe. I’m looking forward to that, and us being together for always.”

“I love you too, Honeybun.” He said, then proceeded to give her a kiss, which predictably, as the case with them, turned into something more. “Let’s go to sleep.”

“Dito ka matutulog?” Maya asked surprised, not that she was complaining.

“Yes, please. I already told Manang I will not be home.” Richard said. “I want to be with you tonight, to cap our special evening.”

“Ikaw talaga, Mr. Lim ha, para-paraan lang.” Maya said smiling. “I don’t think sleep lang ang nasa mind mo.”

Richard grinned naughtily, seductively, “Bakit, ayaw mo ba, dear Honeybun?”

Maya just smiled, held out her hand to Richard and led him to her bedroom. True enough, sleep was the last thing on their minds when they hit the bed.

 

 

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Crossroads – Chapter 17

Chapter 17
‘Idyll’

Maya thought she was dreaming. Then realized, she was not. She smiled and pretended to be still sleeping. Since her back was to him, he can’t see that she was awake and that she had a giddy, dreamy smile on her face. She liked what he was doing and she wanted to know what he would do next, or how far he would he go with what he was doing.

It started with a caress on her belly, then his hand went up to the underside of her breast, softly, gently, lovingly caressing and teasing it. Then the hand moved to her breast, cupping and massaging it. He did the same to the other one. By this time, Maya was silently waiting, and wishing that he would touch her nipples next and use his thumb to drive them crazy.

Richard smiled. He heard Maya’s bated breath. So, she was awake, but pretending to be still sleeping, ha! He knew what she was waiting for. Hmmm, he thought to himself. He decided to tease her and see if she will cry uncle. Instead of touching her nipples, he moved his hand to her belly.

Maya quickly turned. “Babe!” She pouted and lovingly protested, huskily.

“What, Honeybun?” He said, grinning, teasing. “You want something?”

“Nope.” She said, wanting to tease him also. She thought, ganoon Ricky Lim ha. “Wala ah. Bakit may dapat ba akong hintayin?” She said with raised eyebrow.

“Hmmmm, really, really, Honeybun?” Richard grinned naughtily.

“Wala nga, Babe. Nada. Zilch.” Maya insisted.

“Really? How about this.” Richard grinned, then lowered his mouth to Maya’s nipple and started playing with it, swirling his tongue around it. While at it, he cupped the other breast and gave it a thorough massage.

“Oh….” was all Maya managed to say after that.

Richard surfaced from what he was doing, then said huskily, “let me show you another way of loving, my love.”

Maya nodded, wanting to know what he meant, though she had an inkling, if those blazing hot romance books are to go by.

Richard started it by kissing Maya thoroughly, with his hand continuing what he was doing earlier, then his mouth went lower, to her jaw, trailing kisses, to her neck, collarbone and back to her breasts, which he concentrated on loving, as if those were the only thing he was seeing. While Maya was losing her sanity and breath, and Richard trying to control the effects of Maya’s response on him. he moved from her breasts to her belly, planting little kisses. Then further down, kissing her inner thighs, teasing. Then he zeroed in to her core.

“Ricky.” Maya gasped in a mixture of surprise, embarassment, and excitement.

Richard loved her core, like he made love to her breasts, until Maya was incoherent with wants and needs. She just wanted relief from the intense throbbing she was feeling.

“My love, let go.” Richard encouraged her. “I’ll be here.” Then he went back to driving her to the heights of fulfillment.

Maya did, with wonder. She felt boneless and weak.

Richard caressed her face, and her hair, then kissed her thoroughly.

Maya smiled at him lovingly. Then she felt it. “How about  you, Babe?” She asked.

“I’m okay, Honeybun.” Richard smiled at Maya. He does not want to shock her so soon after her initiation to the art of making love. He is just happy that he made her happy.

“But I want to. Show me please.” Then Maya moved and started raining kisses on Richard even before he can react.

“Tell me what feels good? Does this feels good? Do you like this?” Maya asked as she proceeded to love Richard they way he had just loved her. She was going through it blindly, instinctively, and judging her actions by the responses she was eliciting from Richard. Richard can barely think with the assault his lovely and responsive fiancee was doing on his body.

He, eventually guided Maya on, telling her what to do, how and what to touch. But still, her mere touch sent him on fire anyway, until he too, can’t take it anymore. He flew to fulfillment. Maya liked driving Richard to the height of pleasure, as well, with her kisses and her heated touch.

“Maya, my love. I love you very much.” He said as soon as he managed to recover from Maya’s assault to his senses.

“I love you too, Babe.” Maya looked at Richard and cuddled to him.

In the afterglow of their morning lovemaking, they hugged and stayed in bed for they don’t know how long, until their stomachs grumbled.

“Honeybun, I think we need sustenance.” Richard smiled. “Sobra mo kasi akong pinagod.”

Maya smiled. “Ha, ako lang ba. Ikaw nga diyan….”

They laughed and tickled each other. They went to bath together which made the process of feeding their poor tummies longer. They were more concerned in satisfying a different kind of hunger. The breakfast they were supposed to have turned into lunch. They also didn’t make it to Laoag and Pagudpud that day.

Maya and Richard opted to stay in Vigan one more day, seeing the sights together. They had a wonderful time riding a calesa, cuddling even in the calesa, that took them to century old churches, houses, pottery-making and weaving places.  It was a fun day. They had dinner at the same inn. The evening was spent getting lost in their own world.

They said goodbye to Vigan the following day. Maya looked at the house where they stayed one more time before they boarded the car, as if reluctant to say goodbye to it. Richard noticed it.

“We can always come back here.” He remarked, knowing the significance of the house for them. “Or we can ask the owner if they will sell it to us.”

“Sell, wow, that’s extreme, Mr. Lim!” Maya smiled. “Thank you my generous fiance. I doubt if the owner will sell. It has been in their family for generations. Saka okay na sa akin na bumalik-balik tayo ng Vigan. This city will always be a special place for me.”

“For me, also.” Richard said. “Lalo na at dito ko lang naranasan na lumuhod sa cobblestones at mapanood ng whoever saw it, habang nagpo-propose. The most public I have gotten. But for you, Honeybun, I can do more, like mag-videoke sa plaza.”

“Hahahaha, hmmm, that’s giving me an idea. Tara, let’s stay one more night so you can do it. Otherwise, babawiin ko ang pagsagot ng oo sa engagement.” Maya teased.

“Honeybun……!” Richard, laughingly protested.

Richard insisted on driving from Vigan to Laoag. Maya agreed but insisted that it will be her turn from Vigan to Pagudpud, where they will spend the night.  The two of them decided to forgo the Cagayan Valley leg of the trip, saving it for another time.

They went around Laoag and nearby areas, saw the the sights on Maya’s list. Towards the evening, they traveled to Pagudpud. Their home for the night was the secluded beach place that Maya booked. She really had a knack of finding the best place to stay. They settled-in in their cottage, then have a lovely dinner. The place was operated by a husband and wife team and they had the best service. Maya and Richard chatted with them a bit.

“Let’s go for a walk down the beach, Babe.” Maya told Richard after their hearty dinner.

“I was going to suggest nga that Honeybun. Can we bring one of your sarongs so we can stay there and enjoy the night.” Richard asked.

Maya went back to their cottage to get one of her colorful sarongs. Richard ordered a bottle of wine, and borrowed two wine glasses while waiting for Maya to come back.

When she returned, she saw what he was holding, and smiled. Her Honeybun and wine!

“So, you will get me drunk this evening?” Maya teased Richard.

Richard smiled and said, ‘“Yes, so I can have my way with you.”

“Ha, ha, ha, Babe. You already did. May pa-unfinished, unfinished business ka pang dialogue ah. Finished na ngayon ha!” She said smiling.

“It will not be finished, Honeybun. Not as long as we live.” He said, gazing at her lovingly. “Infinite, iyon.”

Maya gazed at her wonderful fiance, lovingly. She was just so full of love for him. She is looking forward to their journey together as husband and wife. “Halika na nga, so we can the perfect spot for that ‘infinite unfinished business’.”

Hands intertwined, they walked down the beach, found the perfect spot. Maya placed the sarong on the sand, straightened it out, and asked Richard to sit down. As soon as he did, he poured them a glass of wine each.

“To my most beautiful and loving fiancee. I love you my Honeybun.” He said then clinked his glass with Maya’s.

“To us, my wonderful Babe. My one and only, fiance and husband-to-be. I love you.”

They enjoyed the wine while staring at the horizon which they can’t see anymore since it was dark already.

“My love, I think we should call the parents tomorrow and invite them to dinner, para we can tell them about our engagement. Saka para magkakilala na rin ang mga family natin ng formal.” Richard said after a while. “What do you think?”

“Okay with me, Babe.” Maya replied. “Alam na rin naman ni Mom na magpo-propose ka, di ba?”

“Yes, but not the when and how. Maybe she thought din na that this was fast.”  Richard said. “Kaya lang, I seized the day na, so to speak. Ayaw na kaya kitang pakawalan.” He said, teasing.

Maya laughed. “Ikaw talaga, Babe. Sa iyong sa iyo naman ako wala ng iba. But I really like your spontaneous proposal.”

“I really liked it too, my love.” Richard said, then moved and stretched his legs so he Maya can sit in between and lean against him. With his arms below her rib cage, they enjoyed the night, exchanging kisses in between. When the kisses got heated, they went back to their cottage and spent the night pleasuring each other.

The following day, they took the car and saw the area. The highlight of their sightseeing was the trip to the Patapat viaduct, the more than one kilometer coastal bridge that connects Ilocos Norte to Cagayan Valley.

“Isn’t this amazing?” Maya said, looking at the vast view before them.

She and Richard found a perfect spot to stop and admire the view from the viaduct. There were not much vehicles in this stretch of the road. On one side, the eyes can feast on the mountains, on the other side, the vast sea. From where they were, they can see the road that just stretches and stretches to somewhere. Maya felt she was standing on the ‘head’ of the Philippines, as was depicted in the map.

“Yes, this is beautiful. I have never been here before.” Richard said as he admired the view. He felt that he and Maya were the only people on earth while standing at that spot.

“Do you know, this is where I was planning to propose to you.” Richard said while he and Maya was sitting on a side of the bridge, looking at the beautiful, and the vast, seemingly unending sea. “I saw some beautiful photos online.”

“Really, Babe?” Maya asked, looked at her fiance.

“Yes, I just thought of the symbolism. Look at that road, all the twists and turns, the  graceful way it curves to the next bend, and the next, and the next, and add the beautiful scenery along the way. It is like our journey together, beautiful, with the twists and turns, and bends and discovering what is on the next curve. I’m pretty sure, it will be a wonderful journey.” Richard finished, holding Maya’s chin and looking at her with all the love he can show.

“Babe, awwww, that was a beautiful thing to say! I thought I’m the writer in this relationship.” Maya said, with so much love. “I’m sure it will be a wonderful journey too, the best I will be taking and what makes it the best and the most amazing is that I will take it with you.”

“I love you, Honeybun.”

“I love you Babe.”

Maya and Richard shared a kissed amid the beautiful backdrop. Soon, their gentle kiss, turned into much more. When it was getting heated, the sound of a vehicle penetrated their world. Thet broke apart a bit, and looked. The passengers of the bus bound for Laoag cheered and did good-natured catcalls, apparently, they saw them kissing. They smiled and waved at them.

They stayed there for quite sometime, soaking in all the beauty around them. They returned to their beach place and spent another evening there, loving, and loving each other.

The following day, they called the parents.

Donya Esmeralda was so happy when Richard told her that he and Maya are now engaged. She teased Richard that she is looking forward to her first apo, and that Richard and Maya better make it happen soon. Don Roberto who was listening to his wife’s conversation with their son, also had a huge smile on his face. Mother and son agreed that the dinner will be the following Saturday.

Maya’s mom, on the other hand, got a bit emotional when she found out that her daughter is, indeed, getting married. She was very happy of course. It’s just that, she knew it must be what all the moms feel when their daughters are going to enter into another chapter of their lives. She said that, of course, she will meet her future balaes. She also told her daughter that she is very happy for her and happy that she found herself a good man in Richard.

The rest of the day was spent lazing around and the evening loving each other in every way they could. Maya decided to postpone her article writing when they return to Manila. She have plenty of time to do it. She also have an outline in her head on how she will present the whole thing.

They returned to Manila on the third day. Maya told Richard they need to leave early as she would like to make a long stopover in Santa Maria, Ilocos Sur.

“Why, Honeybun?” He asked, curious.

“Basta, Babe.” Maya simply said.

They took turns driving. When they reached Santa Maria, Maya parked a car in a vacant spot near to where they were going. Then, she grabbed Richard’s hand. They went up, steps after steps, which at first, Richard thought led to nowhere, until when they were almost at the top, and an old, very beautiful church, and a majestic old bell tower came into view. He looked around, where they ascended, and saw that from where they were, they can see the whole town.

“What do you think of this?” Maya smiled at Richard and gestured at the beauty around them.

“I’m just amazed! The place looks so peaceful, and beautiful.” Richard remarked. “That church and this bell tower must be centuries old, and yet they are still here!”

“Yes, it is. The Church of Nuestra Senora dela Asuncion, or simply known as the Santa Maria Church was built in the 18th century. As you can see it is made of bricks. Come, Babe, let’s look around. I have been wanting to see this church for so long. I don’t know why, of all the churches I have seen in photos, this one calls to me.”

They went to the other side and the view of the mountains and beyond was just breathtaking. Richard and Maya also marveled at the architecture of the old church and was amazed at the people who built this monument to their times, brick by brick.

The church door was unlocked. They went to the parish office and asked if they can go in. Inside, it was just simply awesome and one can feel God’s presence. Richard and Maya knelt and prayed. Both of them thanked God for them finding each other, and asked God to bless their relationship, their union. Both promising to be true to each other.

They looked at each other after they have finished praying, as if, even without a formal ceremony, they are binding themselves to each other completely. They went out of the church hand in hand.

“Honeybun, would you like to get married here?” Richard suddenly asked while they were admiring the facade of the church one last time.

Maya was surprised at his sudden question. “Babe, isn’t it a bit far from Manila?”

“I don’t think it will be a problem. Leave the logistics to me.” He said, then cupped her face, “What’s important is, would you like to?”

“Yes, of course. I would love to.” Maya said, giving Richard a brilliant, happy smile. “Thank you, my love.” Then she hugged him tight. They stayed like that for quite sometime. If someone has taken a photo of that moment, they will see a couple, so in love, embracing each other with the centuries old church and the beautiful bell tower in the background.

Maya and Richard navigated the 86 steps down, hand intertwined, and resumed their journey home, marked with conversations that just flowed between them, teasing each other, and sharing quick kisses when they feel like stopping and taking a break from their wonderful journey together.

 

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Crossroads – Chapter 16

Chapter 16
‘Perfect night’

“May I have this dance, my beautiful fiancee?” Richard asked Maya, then held out his hand to Maya, who was still recovering from his surprised proposal and the wonderful kiss they have just shared.

“Here, Babe?” Maya blurted out, surprised! They were after all in the middle of a very popular, albeit currently a bit deserted, historic street. She and Richard were still in Calle Crisologo. “Tapos, wala pang music!”

“Why not, my love? The music will be from our hearts.” Richard said as he cajoled Maya sweetly to dance with him.

Maya smiled at her fiance. She put down the sunflowers on the sidewalk, then went into Richard’s arms, unmindful of the occasional people who passed by and looked at them. The onlookers simply ceased to exist in their own universe. The newly-engaged couple stayed like that for quite some time, swaying to the music that only them can hear and only them can feel.

“I love you very much, Maya, my Honeybun, my love.” Richard caressed Maya’s face as they danced without much of a space between them. “I’m the happiest guy in the world at the moment! Hearing you said yes, I felt like I won the lottery 100 times! Grand prize!”

Maya smiled at Richard’s choice of words.

“From a simple taxi ride, here we are, my Babe! I’m so very happy, too.” Maya tiptoed and kissed Richard on the lips, sweetly. “I love you sooo, very much.”

They looked at each other with goofy smiles on their faces.

“Halika na nga, Babe. Gumagabi na. Baka akala na ng mga tao, may mga lunatic sa gitna nitong Calle Crisologo!” Maya said after a while.

“Lunatic. Baliw sa pag-ibig.” Richard quipped.

“Ha, ha, ha, Babe, my corny fiance.” Maya laughed. “I like the sound of it, my fiance!”

“I like the sound of my fiancee, too.” Richard added. “But I like the sound of wife, better. Soon, my love.”

Maya smiled lovingly at her fiance, her soon to be husband. She likes the sound of that too, very, very much. She picked up her sunflowers from the sidewalk. In doing so, her beautiful ring caught the light. She looked at it and smiled. “Thank you for this, Babe.”

“Do you like it, my love?” Richard asked. “I opted for the colorful stones, instead of diamonds, as I feel those stones suit your personality more. Vibrant. Like a mariposa.”

“Ricky, babe, I love it very much. This is me! Thank you for picking the best engagement ring for me.” Maya told Richard. Then remarked, “Good thing, you managed to have it done in a short time!”

“I’m glad you like it. I asked Mama’s jeweler a favor last Monday.” Richard mentioned.

“Last Monday?” Maya asked, surprised. “You mean the day I left for Vigan? You were already thinking of proposing to me then?”

Richard cupped Maya’s chin. “Even before that, Honeybun. But I wanted to ask your mom’s permission first.”

Maya, then had a eureka moment. “So, that was why, you and Mom where talking so earnestly after I have been to Patty’s room, when we were there last Sunday!”

Richard grinned. “See, hindi mo nahulaan, Ms. Ex-Reporter Extraordinaire!”

“Yes, I was completely clueless, Babe. Though, before you phoned earlier, and while I was remembering that night, I was already a bit intrigued when I recalled you called Mom, ‘Mommy Tessie’ when we were leaving.”

“Yes, I slipped. Your mom asked me to call her that since I will be family na raw.”  Richard told Maya as they walked towards one of the streets parallel to Crisologo. “Basta, make sure lang daw na sasagutin mo ako.”

“Sabi ko for sure naman po, sasagutin ako ni Maya kasi patay na patay sa akin ang anak niyo.”

“Babeeee, sinabi mo iyon sa mom ko? Yabang mo ah.” Maya said, protesting to Richard.

“Hahahaha, Honeybun, joke lang.”

“Ikaw talaga, Babe!” Maya pinched Richard on his forearm. “Di nga, what did you tell my mom?”

“I asked for her permission to propose to her beautiful daughter whom I love more than life itself. I told her you are the only one I want to spend the rest of my life with. That I promise to take care of you, love and cherish you, as long as we live.” Richard said, looking Maya in the eyes.

“Babe, awwwww, sobra-sobra na ang pagpapakilig mo sa akin. I’m the happiest and the luckiest girl in the world. Thank you.” Maya kissed Richard on the lips.

Several more minutes later, they stopped at a big, majestic old house, that does not looked like a hotel at all. Maya and Richard entered the lobby, where the receptionist, Evelyn, greeted them with a huge smile, especially after seeing them with their hands interwined and Maya holding the sunflowers that Richard had with him when he arrived hours ago.

“Good evening po, Ms. Maya and Sir Richard.”

“Good evening din Evelyn.” Maya greeted with a smile. “Please add my fiance na lang to my register ha.”

“No problem po, Ms. Maya.” Evelyn assured her. “Sir Richard, pinaakyat ko na po sa room ni Ms. Maya iyong things niyo.”

“Oh, thank you very much, Evelyn.” Richard said.

Maya and Richard climbed the grand staircase of the house. Every time that Maya do so, she felt like she was about to attend one of the grand parties in houses like this, that she has seen in period movies, like the one in Oro, Plata, Mata.

“See, Honeybun, pati si Evelyn, confident din na patutuluyin mo ako.” Richard teased Maya as he assisted her up, by putting his hand on her back.

“Hahahaha, may kakampi ka nga doon sa baba, Mr. Lim. Halika na nga, doon iyong room ko, sa may side.”

Maya opened the thick double doors of the room located at the part of the house overlooking a beautiful azotea. It is the biggest room in that beautiful house. It was too big for one person, but she fell in love with the room when she saw the pictures in the hotel’s website.

“This is a very nice room, Honeybun.” Richard remarked.

The room is very inviting. While Maya was away doing her interviews, someone tidied up the room, put fresh linens and even some flower petals in a bowl. In keeping with the era, the owner put a big antique four-poster bed and wooden cabinets that looked very old in the room. The general decor kept faithfully with the era the house was built. The only concessions to modern times were the aircon which was made to blend with the ceiling, the bathroom and the big flat screen TV place inside an armario.

“I feel like a senorita during Rizal’s time when I’m inside this room.” Maya smiled at Ricky. “Heto pala ang things mo, Babe. Get what you want. Mauna ka na sa bathroom kasi mas matagal ako. I will put the rest in the closet.”

“Maya, hwag na, I can do it.” Richard said.

“No, Babe, bathroom ka na. I can do this na.” Maya insisted.

“Okay, thanks a lot.” Richard said, as he opened his suitcase, got the stuffs he needed and went to the bathroom, which he discovered also has a clawfoot tub.

Richard took a quick shower, smiling and whistling happily as he remembered his proposal to Maya and the outcome. He got a bit nervous while kneeling before her and she just looked at him, seeemingly shell-shocked. He thought for a minute that the proposal was too soon. But it felt so right, so he went with it. Now, he is very happy with the outcome. Soon, his Honeybun will be his wife, not just his fiancee! He is so looking forward to that day.

The bathroom door opened and out came Richard. Maya felt her heart fell to the floor with the sight before her. He was wearing a white, thin, cotton sleep shirt, then gray pajamas, his hair still wet from the shower. He looked so handsome, so masculine, and smelled so nice.

He gave her a lopsided smile that made her already over-excited heart, beat faster. “Honeybun, it’s your turn.”

Maya gulped, took a deep breath to calm herself. “O-okay. I wouldn’t be long.”

“Take your time, I will wait up for you, Honeybun.” He smiled, then turned down one side of the bed to recline against the headboard and wait for Maya. He did wish he can join her in the shower. Richard Lim, he told himself, take it easy!

Maya went to the bathroom that still smelled of Richard. She decided to take a quick shower instead of the long baths she had been taking the past several days in that big, lovely, whimsical tub.

Richard! Maya suddenly remembered his teasing remarks about their unfinished business and it made her feel warm, just remembering everything related to that. She finished her bath, then put on another of her favorite night clothes, a halter-dress made from the sarongs one can buy in the beaches of Mindoro. She got several of those in different colors as she liked the soft materials and it is really very comfortable to wear, especially after so many washings. The dress, with tusseled-hemline, reached mid-thigh. It hugged the curves of her body.

The door of the bathroom opened, and Richard automatically looked. He almost fell to the floor, slack-jawed. His whole body also instantly reacted to the sight of his beautiful fiancee in that slip of a dress. The dress was tied on her nape, then half of her back was exposed, her breasts like twin peaks in front and her nipples like pebbles. She looked very sexy in it. He tried to control the overwhelming desire it evoked in him.

“Maya, my love, you look sooo lovely in that dress.” He managed to say, trying to breath normally.

“This one? This is what I normally wear to sleep. Presko and very comfortable. Nakita ko sa beach, pang-suot kasi siya over swimsuits, pero I like it for more for sleeping.”

“Really, that is what you normally wear to sleep?” Richard smiled and thought that he was in for a treat every night then when they are married.

Maya noticed how Richard was looking at her. His gazed heated and it evoked a corresponding feeling in her. Suddenly her breasts felt heavier, and there was a warm feeling inside her.

“Come here, my love.” Richard asked huskily, seductively, as if caressing her verbally.

Maya approached the bed, her body responding to Richard’s seductive voice.

When Maya got nearer, Richard got out of the bed, sat on the side, then started guiding Maya to his lap. But Maya had a different idea, she asked Richard to move a bit, then she sat on his lap, straddling him. They are now face to face. They looked at each other, spoke a silent language, then their lips met for a very hot kiss.

Maya opened her lips to let Richard in. Richard seared Maya’s lips, as if he can’t get enough of her. He made love to Maya’s lips, nipping, then using his tongue to explore the recesses of her mouth. Their tongues duelled and mated.

“Ricky, babe, I feel so warm.” Maya muttered in between returning Richard’s heated kisses. She put her hands inside Richard’s shirt, then caressed his back. Richard exhaled a labored breath.

Richard planted kisses on Maya’s jaw, nipping a little bit as his lips traveled down to her neck, her collarbone, sucking on the sensitive area below her collarbone. Maya’s pulse leaped at Richard’s heated touch. Richard’s hand caressed Maya’s bare back lovingly, making her shiver with pleasure. His hands moved to the undersides of her breasts.

Maya waited breathlessly, for what she knew will come next, his hands on her breasts. She didn’t wait long. Richard cupped Maya’s breast and started playing with it through the material of her dress. Maya felt like she was going crazy with Richard’s hand on her breasts, rubbing them, playing with them. She jerked when his thumb started playing with her nipple. The friction of the dress and Richard’s thumb was too much for her senses. She wanted more. Richard, wanting to drive Maya to greater pleasure, sucked on Maya’s other nipple through her dress, while loving the other with his thumb rubbing on it, then pinching it a bit.

“Maya, my love. I love playing with these. I like their reaction to my touch.” Richard managed to say in between losing himself in the beauty of Maya’s breasts. “So beautiful, so responsive.”

“Ricky, I feel so much. I want more.” Maya muttered as she felt she was on fire. The feel of Richard’s arousal while she sat on him, was also driving her crazy. She felt her being is on fire.

“My love, leave it to me. I want to pleasure you in all the ways I could.” Richard said then proceeded to do that.

He untied Maya’s halter dress. The soft material first fell on her breasts which seemed bigger and more sensitive after the havoc Richard caused on them. The dress settled on Maya’s waist, leaving her upper body bared to Richard’s molten gaze. He felt himself swelled more with the sight of his beautiful fiancee’s body. He can’t resist it, he just have to. He cup one breast, massaging it, flicking his thumb to the now very sensitive nipple, then he lowered his head and sucked on the other. He swirled his tongue on the turgid peak. He was relentless. Maya arced backwards, giving him greater access, wanting more, wanting a relief she can’t  clearly define, verbalize in her innocence. She was getting hazy with the pleasure Richard is giving her. She can also feel its effect on her core.

“Ricky, I want to touch you too. I want our skins to touch. I don’t want any barrier between us.” She mumbled incoherently, then started removing Richard’s shirt. The sight of his muscled chest, heightened the heat that was consuming her.

In between playing with her breasts, Richard kissed Maya, heatedly, thoroughly, with Maya returning every move, every stroke, doing her own heated caressing and planting kisses on Richard’s body. They were in a conflagration and there was only one way go, slake their desire for each other, bank the fire that would surely burn between them for as long as they live.

Richard stood up, removed his pajamas and stood proud and naked before Maya, who gulped at the beautiful man in front of her. Her love. For some reason, she lost all her fears of the unknown and she just want to go where this very intense passion and desire will take her and Richard.

Richard kneeled down on the bed, removed Maya’s dress completely as he planted kisses and made little sucks on her neck, breasts, and then her tummy, at the same time, removing the only barrier left between their body. He almost tore Maya’s flimsy underwear in his haste.

Without her clothes on, Maya got a bit self-conscious, but the passion she saw in Richard’s eyes, vanished whatever lingering shyness she was feeling. She wanted to give all of her to the man she loves.

Richard continued to plant kisses on Maya’s belly, going back to her breasts which he played like a virtuoso, at the same time, his hand went lower, until it reached Maya’s core. It felt like an electric shock jolted Maya with the touch of Richard’s hand there. Her hand also did an exploring of its own and found  Richard’s hard length and started touching it instinctively, lovingly. Richard stopped her.

“My love, I don’t think I would last long if you continue to do that.” Richard said with gritted teeth, trying to have some semblance of control. Then he started kissing her, his tongue seeking entrance to her mouth, at the same time, playing with her core.

“Rickyyy…..” Maya moan. “I want….I want….”

Rchard knew that Maya was ready for him. He will not last long either. He had been exercising supreme control, wanting Maya’s first time to be special and to minimize the pain, and at that moment, that control was just like a flimsy thread, barely there.

“Me too, my love. This will hurt a bit okay.” He said, then lovingly caressed her face, hazy with desire.

Maya nodded. She just wanted him inside her.

Richard kissed Maya thoroughly, then nipped at her swollen lips, wrecked havoc again on her breasts, then when Maya felt she was exploding from the sheer passion she was feeling and with her center throbbing so much, wanting relief, Richard, positioned himself over her. He slowly entered Maya, at the same time making assurances to her about not wanting to hurt her, until he was fully inside. He gave Maya time to get used to his length and size, then started moving inside her. Maya, once she felt comfortable enough with Richard maleness inside her, started matching his moves. Before long, they were moving to the rhythm between lovers, as old as time, until they reached a frenzy, they moved urgently. They both reached the height of pleasure together. The old room was filled with the sound of their fulfillment in each other’s arms.

Richard laid on top of Maya, sated, trying to catch his breath, too tired to move from the extraordinary pleasure he experienced with the woman he loves. But he knew he needed to, as he might be crushing Maya.

“Honeybun, are you okay?” He asked Maya, his head pillowed on his hand, while the other was doing a leisurely caressed on Maya’s tummy.

Maya smiled wonderfully at Richard. She felt like she was on top of the world. “Babe, I am.”

Richard hugged Maya and put her head on his chest.

“I love you, Honeybun.”

“I love you Babe.”

They started kissing again, and before they knew it, the stirrings of desire was back. However, Richard knew Maya was stil a bit sore. Then he remembered something. He grinned. He got out of the bed.

“Honeybun, sandali lang ha.”  He went to the bathroom without a stitch on and Maya admired her fiance’s retreating form. She smiled. She never thought the consummation of the love between a man and a woman would be like this, despite all the books she have read with detailed lovemaking. But even then, she believe that physical love will be wonderful with the person you love with all your heart, mind and body.

Richard was back after ten minutes. He proceeded to carry a surprised Maya in his arms to the bathroom, and the bathtub which he filled with warm water and soothing bath salts.

“I know you are a bit sore, my love. The warm water will be good for it.” He lowered Maya to the tub, gently, then went after her. He sat on one side, leaning against it, then guided Maya to the place between his legs. He asked her to lean against him as he proceeded to rub her with the body sponge he saw earlier on the edge of the tub. The warm water and Richard back rub relaxes Maya. However, it was a different matter when he started rubbing the loofah on her breasts and inner thighs. She was starting to get warm again, and at the same, she also felt the effect of what he was doing on Richard. He was getting arouse too with the body rub he was giving her!

Maya turned around and started doing the same to Richard. But it didn’t last long. They gazed at each other again, then quickly rinsed themselves.

Richard hurriedly carried back a still dripping Maya to the bed, kicked her halter dress, that absorbed her blood from earlier,  off the bed and then they were at it again. The fire reignited and it has to burn its course.

For most of that night, the only sounds that can be heard inside that room were Richard and Maya’s moans and sighs of pleasure. They loved through the night, until tiredness hit them, then they slept in a spoon position, skin to skin. Their love, expressed in another level.

 

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