Posts Tagged Crushing On You
Love Me Tender
“Welcome to our home, Mrs. Lim!” Richard said with a big smile as he put down Maya in the living room of their home in BGC early Sunday evening, the day after their beautiful wedding in Mindoro. He carried her across the threshold as per tradition as soon as he placed their suitcases at the entrance of their new home.
Maya and Richard returned to Manila, together with their Manila-based wedding guests in the LC private plane late that afternoon. They were the last one to board the plane which earned them a lot of teasing.
“Thank you, my dearest husband!” Maya smiled at Richard.
They gaze at each other lovingly and then shared their first kiss in the house that Maya has transformed into a lovely and comfortable home for her and Richard and the kids they will have, while preparing for the wedding of their dreams.
“Maya, I love you very much, Sweetheart.” Richard told his wife as he caressed her face. “Sometimes, I still can’t believe that here we are, about to start our lives as husband and wife. That finally, I’m sharing this place with you.”
“I love you very much too, Ricky.” Maya replied, giving her husband feathery kisses. Then smiling she said, “Parang kailan lang nagkamali ako ng send ng message sa iyo. Kaiisip ko yata sa iyo iyon at that time. Naalala ko na ikaw ang star sa mga panaginip ko simula ng makilala kita.”
Richard grinned. “So, sa simula pa lang pala may pagnanasa ka na sa akin.” He teased his wife.
“Hahahaha, bakit ikaw ba, hindi? Grabe nga ang ginawa mong pagpaparamdam sa akin.” Maya bantered back.
They laughed, reminiscing.
“Sweetheart, what would you like for dinner?” Maya asked after a while, her stomach grumbling a bit.
“Mrs. Lim, I have taken care of that. Come with me, please.” Richard took hold of his wife’s hand, interlaced it with his, then led her to the beautiful dining room, now decorated with flowers and plants. Maya transformed the place into, some sort of indoor garden, taking advantage of the light coming from the floor-to-ceiling windows.
The dining table was beautifully set for two, just like the evening Richard proposed to Maya. A wide array of mouthwatering dishes are on the table that is decorated with yellow and blue candles and a big arrangement of sunflowers in the middle.
“Wow, how did you manage this, Sweetheart?” Maya asked surprised. It looks like her husband will not run out of surprises for her throughout their married life as well.
“I requested Rina to do this even before the wedding.” Richard explained.”I want our first evening in our new home very special, Sweetheart.”
“Oh, Ricky! Grabe mo pa rin akong pakiligin. The best husband ka talaga, Sweetheart.” Maya tiptoed, put her arms around her husband’s nape, then give him a long sweet kiss.
“Sweetheart…..” Richard muttered, returning the kiss. “We better stop at baka hindi na tayo makapag-dinner!” He said. He is barely holding his control and to do that, he does not want to think yet of the evening ahead, or else, he will lose it totally.
“Oh….” Maya said, looking at her husband, seeing the passion he is trying to control. He had been very gentle and patient with her already.
Husband and wife, shared a loving smile, then Richard pulled the seat for Maya. Then went to the side table to pour him and Maya a glass of champagne each.
“To our first dinner as husband and wife in our home, Sweetheart.” Richard said. “Finally, the day has come for us to share this house.”
“To us my dearest husband.” Maya said. “I’ll always make this place a home for us and the children we will have!”
They toasted each other, shared another kiss, then started their dinner. Dinner was punctuated by their usual chatter, mostly about the wedding and the reception and Manang Fe knocking at their door around noon, saying that they needed to get going as the plane that would take them back to Manila is leaving at 3PM. They realized they overslept! They must have been very tired from the wonderful long day and night they had the day before.
Richard and Maya quickly showered, with Maya laying out Richard’s clothes and packing their stuffs while he took a shower. Richard finished the rest of the packing when it was Maya’s turned to shower. When they were both dressed and about to leave the guest cottage, Richard looked at his beautiful wife, devoid of any make up, and the feeling just overwhelmed him. He reeled her towards him and gave her a searing kiss.
“I love very much, Mrs. Lim.” Richard said lovingly. “Soon!” He added.
Maya knew what he meant. She blushed but is looking forward to that to. She smiled. “Not soon, but later, my dearest Mr. Lim! I love you too.”
Richard and Maya had lunch with her parents and Manang Fe who is staying in the meantime in San Nicolas. She will returned to Manila several days after. Maya’s parents opted to maintain the house in Bel-Air even if Maya and Richard will not live there. They said it will be their home in Manila still. Besides, it is also a place where everyone can gather, her mom said. Mommy Tere also told Maya that she better maintain the gardens she started there. Maya smiled and promised her mom, she will. The newly-weds didn’t notice the time and before they knew it, it was time to leave for Manila. They hurried, but still the last ones to board the plane, which earned them the teasing and the ribbing.
“Sweetheart, I knew why we got teased.” Maya said, sipping her second glass of champagne as she and Richard moved to the living room after their very nice dinner, cuddling and relaxing with the wonderful view before them. “If they only knew, the thing they were thinking about didn’t happen in Mindoro.”
Richard grinned. “Sweetheart, I never really know where I drew the willpower last night. You were so beautiful, so very desirable. I hope you have another of that night gown you were wearing last night.”
“I know where, my Sweetheart, from your immense love for me and your overflowing consideration of me and my feelings.” Maya said smiling, remembering last night. “And yes, I have several of those night gowns.” She grinned impishly. “They are a gift from Rafi during my bridal shower.” Maya added. She hopes her husband will like the other one she is planning to wear on their very special night this evening. She wanted to make it up to him for being very considerate and gentle with her on their first night as husband and wife.
When they entered the bedroom of the cottage, beautifully bathe in soft lights coming from the candles placed on the side tables, and flower petals scattered all over the floor and the bed, last night, Richard slowly put Maya down, then gave her another searing kiss, which turned into several kisses.
“Ricky, maybe we should get ready for bed.” Maya suggested, fighting the desire clouding her brain with the way Richard is touching and kissing her. “Let’s go shower first. I think whoever made this room very beautiful as a special treat for us have put your clothes with mine in that closet.”
“Okay, Sweetheart!” Richard said. He had an inkling that Maya needed to do this first. “Later!” He said before going to the bathroom, giving his wife a heated look.
Several minutes, after, Richard came out of the bathroom, smelling so nice, wearing blue pajamas and a white v-neck t-shirt that showed off his physique. He looked so handsome in Maya’s eyes. He gave her one of his heart melting, lopsided smile. “The bathroom is yours, my wife.”
“Okay, I’ll be along.” Maya said clutching the clothes she will wear tightly, then turned to go to the bathroom.
“Wait, Maya, Sweetheart, do you need help with your dress?” Richard asked, seeing that the dress has a lot of pearl buttons in the back.
“Oh, yes, please Ricky.” Maya said, forgetting that she wanted Richard’s help with the buttons. “Thank you.” Then she turned so Richard has better access to the buttons.
Richard started unbuttoning Maya’s wedding gown’s around 50 pearl buttons adorning it. Slowly, Maya’s beautiful back, was exposed to Richard gaze. He caught his breath and tried to rein the effect it was having on him. He thought, he was the only one getting affected by what is turning to be an erotic task, until he heard Maya caught her breath too. Several long minutes after, all the buttons were undone. Richard gave Maya’s back a light caress, which made her shiver.
“Done now, Sweetheart! “ He said softly. “Now off you go.”
Maya gave her husband a sweet smile. “Thank you, Sweethert.” Then she went to the bathroom clutching her opened gown. Unknown to her, she was presenting a very sexy picture to her waiting husband.
Richard settled on the bed, waiting for Maya. An hour later, his wife came out of the bathroom, wearing a diaphanous white night gown. He gulped and tried to control his fast beating heart, and the heat that traveled like a bolt of lightning through his body so fast.
“Wow, you looked so lovely, Sweetheart.” He managed to say.
“T-thank you, Sweetheart.” Maya said, taking a deep breath, trying to calm herself from the sudden nervousness she is feeling at that moment. Her hands suddenly became clammy. Now that the moment she and Richard have been waiting for, aside from the beautiful wedding they had, she is having a sudden attack of nerves. She knows about this, she had read about it, but she thought she will not have it as she and Richard have indulged in heavy kissing and heated caresses during their three-month engagement. Besides, she is innocent but she had seen enough movies and enough books to know what happens between a man and a woman in the privacy of the bedroom or out of it in some of the books she has read! But still, despite knowing that in an intellectual level, she is still having wedding night jitters!
Richard sat up, then walk towards his bride. He held out his hand to hers to guide her to bed, and discovered her hand is very cold.
“Sweetheart, is everything okay? Are you nervous?” He asked Maya solicitously. He had an idea that she might be, despite getting used to each other the past several months, as she has not done this before.
“Ricky, I’m okay.” Maya tried to assure her husband, then decided to tell him about what she was feeling at the moment. They have been very open with each other and she wanted to continue being like that in their married life. “I think I’m having wedding night jitters. Kasi, what if I don’t please you, what if I can’t do what you expect. I don’t have any experience at all on this despite what we have been doing before we got married.” Maya was getting a bit agitated without meaning to, trying to explain to Richard.
Richard understood completely what is going on through his wife’s head, especially because this is the first time for her. He knew that sometimes, no matter how much you prepare intellectually and mentally for something, reality is different.
“Oh my dearest Sweetheart, please don’t worry on that aspect! You will always make me happy, no matter what. Besides I’ll be here to guide you and be with you on this all the way. I love you very much and don’t doubt about the physical aspect of our relationship. This is going to be a physical expression of the love we feel for each other, so it can’t go wrong. I know, physically, you will experience pain when I finally join us and unite us in the closest possible way the two us can be united, but if there is a way I can spare you from that, I will.” Richard said, while cupping his wife’s face and looking at her deeply, intently, assuring her that everything will be okay. “Besides, we don’t have to do it this evening. Come with me please.”
Richard led his wife to the waiting bed, turned down the comforter, then laid her gently on the bed. He went after her, then put his arms around her, then he started caressing her hair gently, wanting to relax her, soothing her. After a while, he heard her steady breathing and when he looked, her eyes were closing. Before she did so, she gave him a loving smile, then a soft sigh of thank you came from her lips before she closed her eyes and sleep.
Richard also realized then that aside from the jitters, his wife was very tired from the long and emotion-filled day they had. He settled in to sleep beside her, content to be just with her, finally in his arms, even if it was just to sleep. Several minutes after, he too went to sleep with his wife securely ensconced in his arms.
Maya woke at dawn, with Richard’s arms still around her. She looked at her sleeping husband. If it was possible to fall in love again to the one person who you are already are very much in love with forever, she had done it last night with Richard’s gentleness and understanding. That also removed whatever jitters she had been feeling. With the thought of making it up to her husband, Maya burrowed deep into his muscular arms, gave him a gentle kiss, then went back to sleep. She and Richard fell into a deep sleep until noon. Good thing, Manang Fe woke them.
“Thank you again, for not only the best husband in the world, but for being the most understanding and the gentlest.” Maya said to Richard, kissing him, then putting her wine glass down, and standing up. “Come, Sweetheart!”
Richard smiled indulgently at his wife as she led him to their bedroom. But he has another idea, he stopped his wife, gave her a searing kiss and then carried her again across the threshold. He had an inkling that by taking the initiative, Maya managed to conquer the jitters she was having the night before.
“Ricky!” Maya shrieked, surprised, then she held on to her husband’s neck, feeling pampered.
Like the night before, Richard slowly put down Maya inside the bedroom, their bodies touching in every possible way as she glided down. They looked at each other heatedly, then Richard lowered his lips to Maya and they shared a very hot kiss, lips fusing as one, tongues duelling, wanting everything.
They surfaced from that very hot kiss, smiling lovingly and looking at each other heatedly.
“Sweetheart, I will just get ready for bed.” Maya said softly, blushing a bit.
Richard grinned and looked at his wife. Looks like she is planning something, he thought, and he is very much looking forward to that. “Go ahead, Sweetheart, take your time, I will be waiting. I will also take a quick shower in one of the guest rooms.”
Maya went to their shared closet, having moved most of her things there one week before the wedding, then got something, then gave her husband a big smile and she was off to the bathroom to get ready for the very special night with Richard.
Richard returned to the bedroom several minutes after, freshly showered and wearing another v-neck shirt and a checkered blue drawstring pajamas this time. Seeing that Maya is still in the bathroom, he settled on the bed to wait for her, thinking of the moment at dawn, this morning, when he woke up and just gazed at his sleeping wife’s form. He is so full of love for her, preparing to wait, no matter how long it takes, to consummate their marriage, to make them as one in every sense of the word.
Richard didn’t wait long. The bathroom door opened and out come his beloved wife dressed in another beautiful diaphanous night gown, this one in crimson red. If his heart beat faster seeing her in her white one last night, this one sent desire skyrocketing through his system. She looks so very, very beautiful and alluring, sexy, seductive, in this one. The gown is floor length, it was almost transparent, Richard can see his wife beautiful body and he gulped when he noticed the fine details of the gown, lace cupped his wife’s breasts lovingly, showing everything to him.
“Do you like this better, Sweetheart?” Maya asked in a sultry voice, the nervousness of the night before gone from her voice and demeanor as she approached the bed and her handsome husband who was having a hard time controlling his raging desire, confidently this time.
“Sweetheart, you look so very, very beautiful! I love you very much and the dress you are wearing.” Richard said, sitting up, then when his wife was in front of her, pulled her gently into his lap. “Sweetheart, I promise to be gentle and we are in this together, remember, all the way!”
Maya touched Richard’s face lovingly. “I know, Ricky. I’m ready. Thank you for your gentleness and understanding last night. I would like to belong to you completely. I love you, very, very much!”
With hat, Richard lowered his lips to Maya and gave her a searing kiss, playing with the seam of her lips, seeking entrance. Maya let him in. Their tongues sought each other and duelled. Maya put her hands around Richard’s nape and answered kiss after kiss with her searing ones too. Richard’s hand slowly sought Maya’s breast, cupping it through the lace of her dress, playing with it, one after the other, driving Maya to the heights beyond her imagination. The more he touch, the more she wanted more. Then Richard flicked and tweaked her nipples and the sensation was too much for Maya. She gasped, feeling the electricity traveling from her breasts to her very core. She started doing some touching of her own. Richard felt electrified too from her touch and kisses. From where she was sitting, Maya can feel the evidence of Richard’s desire for her,
From her breasts and nipples, that felt heavier now and more sensitive, Richard’s hand moved to the hem of Maya’s hiked gown, caressing her thighs, moving upwards, making Maya held her breath with a feeling of anticipation on what is about to happen next. She gasped when Richard’s roving hand reached her core, touched her through the thin material of her panties, then setting it aside, touched her very core. Oh, the exquisite pleasure she was feeling was getting to much, she wanted relief, fast, soon!
Richard had reached his limit too. He removed Maya’s night gown completely until his wife was naked before him, and so very beautiful. He then removed every stitch of clothes he was wearing, until he too, was naked before his wife who looked admiringly at his body.
He laid his wife gently on the bed, then proceeded to kiss her from her lips, down to her neck, nipping a little here and there, until he reached the valley between her breasts, rained kisses around it, with Maya panting with anticipation, wanting more. He gave in after, as his lips enclosed one engorged nipple, and played with it with his tongue, at the same time touching her other breast. When his seeking lips and tongue moved to the other nipple, his hand, moved lower, until he found her core again and started the twin assault to all her senses.
“Ricky…..” was all Maya managed to mutter from the overwhelming passion enveloping her, while her hand sought and find Richard’s hard length and started touching it tentatively, then more confidently.
“Maya….” It was Ricky’s turn to be incoherent with the passion he was feeling. Sensing that Maya is ready for him, he made his move.
Richard positioned himself on top of Maya, and Maya seeing her husband silent plea for permission nodded. Richard slowly drove himself inside Maya, assuring her while doing so that he will try not to make it hurt so much. Maya assured her husband that it will be okay. When he was completely buried in her, Richard waited several seconds before moving again so she will be accustomed to him. Maya encouraged him, assuring him that she is okay and it was not so painful. It was only then that Richard started moving, at the same time, kissing her and touching her everywhere he could. Maya did the same. The only sound inside the room were they sighs of pleasure, until it became too much for them, the movement became more frenzied until they both shouted for completion. They flew and soared together, becoming one, uniting to their very souls.
“Sweetheart, are you okay?” Richard asked Maya, caressing her face, several minutes after, still trying to recover from the heights they flew together. He has no words to describe that experience with his beautiful wife, the love of his life.
Maya smiled lovingly at her husband. She still recovering from the wonder it. She never thought it could be like this. She has no words to describe the physical union with her husband. “I’m more than okay, Sweetheart. I feel so very, very wonderful! Thank you my dear husband. I love you so very much.”
“I love you very, very much too, my dearest wife, my partner for life and beyond.” Richard said, gazing at his wife with all the love he is feeling. Maya was the same. She was just so full of love for this wonderful man, her life partner!
Richard kissed his wife one more time, then pulled the comforter over them, covering their naked, sated bodies. Sleep overtook them, but not for long. They woke up at dawn and made love again several times.
Throughout the next couple of days they have stayed in their place, in a world of their own, they made love every opportunity they could. They can’t get enough of each other, trying to discover each other’s body in every way they could.
One week after the wedding, Maya and Richard left for their honeymoon in Europe. Their first stop was Paris, then Rome, Venice and an island in Greece where they stayed the longest before returning to the Philippines and their respective jobs at Lim Corporation.
“Sweetheart, Maya, wake up na.” Richard kissed his sleeping wife on the cheek, trying to wake her up. It has been two months since they got married and a month since they returned from their month-long honeymoon. “Baka ma-late na tayo sa office!”
Maya slowly opened her eyes, then seeing her husband, gave him a loving smile. “Sweetheart, anong oras na ba?”
“It is already past 7AM!” Richard replied, caressing her face. “Are you okay, Sweetheart?”
“Sweetheart, actually I’m not feeling so good again.” Maya replied, finding it hard to get out of bed. “Magkaka-flu yata talaga ako!”
“Sweetheart, let me just call Liza, I will take you to the doctor.” Richard said. “Ilang araw ng masama ang pakiramdam mo. Kahapon nga nagsuka ka pa.”
“Sweetheart…..”Maya started protesting, when she felt her stomach getting quesy again. She ran to the bathroom. Her stomach heaved while she was at the sink but nothing came out.
“That’s it, I will take you to Dr. Montalvo.” Richard said, gently patting Maya in the back to help her feel better.
More than an hour later, they were at the clinic of the Lims family doctor. Maya was examined by the doctor and was asked several questions. Included in his question was when was the last time she had her period. He then told his nurse and medical technologist to collect urine and blood samples from Maya. He asked Richard and Maya to stay in the lounge of the clinic as they wait for the results of the test.
“Maya, wala kang flu and there is nothing wrong with you.” Dr. Adan Montalvo told the couple with a big smile, later. “You are pregnant, seven to eight weeks, I think. Congratulations to both of you!”
Richard and Maya just looked at the doctor after he said that, then what he said sank in to them. They looked at each other lovingly, then hugged each other tight.
“We will have a baby na….” Maya whispered to Richard, in awe. “I’m going to be a mom, Sweetheart!”
“Sweetheart, yes you are, a very beautiful and loving mom, and I’m going to be a dad! Yessss!” Richard happily said.
They kissed, got lost in each their world. Then they remembered the doctor and where they are. “Thank you Dr. Montalvo,” they said grinning.
Richard and Maya went back to their place after making arrangements to see Dr. Montalvo’s wife, Grace, who is an OB-GYNE in two days time as she was in a medical conference in Davao.
Richard twirled Maya around, when they reached their home, and the two of them danced like crazy, celebrating the fact that they will be parents in several months.
“We made a honeymoon baby, Sweetheart!” Richard said smiling.
He is pretty sure the baby was conceived the first time they made love. Maya thinks the same. “I’m thinking what you are thinking.” She smiled at her husband lovingly.
They shared a look, and just like before, they understood each other. Richard carried Maya to their bedroom. They slowly undressed each other. Richard kissed Maya’s tummy reverently, lovingly, before proceeding to make love to her the whole afternoon!
Seven months later, Sky and Sunshine were born to their very happy parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins.
Note: And with that, Crushing On You, drew to a close. Thank you for being with me in this Richard and Maya love story/journey which I enjoyed writing and sharing with you! 🙂 🙂 🙂
“Now, it is our pleasure to present to you, Mr. and Mrs. Richard and Maya Lim!!!!”
Emman and Liza happily announced to families and friends of Richard and Maya who were waiting for the entrance of the bride and groom in the beautifully and magically decorated garden of the Dela Rosa Farm for their reception.
The following day after Teresita and Arturo Dela Rosa’s renewal of vows, Richard and Maya told their parents that instead of looking for another place in San Nicolas, they would like to have their reception at the farm’s garden. Richard just requested his future in-laws, if possible that the place be filled with all the flowers that Maya likes, especially sunflowers as he noticed she likes flowers a lot, judging by the garden at the Dela Rosa house in Manila, as a special treat to his bride. Arturo and Teresita Dela Rosa assured him that it will be done in time for the wedding. Richard also said he could help with the florist where he bought all the flowers for Maya. However, Daddy Arturo and Mommy Tere insisted that they will take care of it and they have worked magic to achieve it that very evening of their reception.
Richard holding his bride hand tight, grinned at the assembled guests, half of them came all the way from Metro Manila for the wedding, courtesy of Don Roberto Lim and the company’s private plane. Even before everyone can tap their fork or spoon against their wine glasses, Richard gave his wife a big, searing kiss on the lips, making Maya blushed as their guests clapped and cheered.
Maya and Richard even heard James shouted, “Way to go Bro!” While the LC guests shouted ‘more, more’! Maya grinned happily at her husband. Wow, the word is like music to her ears, finally, husband, and she is Ricky’s wife! Wife!
“Ikaw talaga, Sweetheart, advance na advance! Hindi pa nga nagbibigay ng cue ang mga guest natin, wagas kaagad ang kiss.” Maya whispered lovingly to her husband as they walked towards the gazebo that was especially constructed at her parents’ garden for the reception.
“Hmmm, ayaw mo iyon, Sweetheart, para makarami. I need something to tide me over until our honeymoon.” He whispered with a naughty, teasing undertone, which made his bride blushed some more, her imagination also kicking in. While they have indulged in heavy kisses and very heated touches the past weeks, they stopped at that, wanting to wait until their wedding night. It was difficult to stop but they managed to, barely, in the last two months they have been preparing for this very special day in their lives.
Dinner started after Richard and Maya sat. While everyone was enjoying the mouthwatering menu prepared by Rina, whom they asked to cater for the wedding all the way from Manila, the wedding singers, friends of Rafi who are theatre actors started singing Richard and Maya’s favourite songs, including the songs that Richard included in the iPod touch he gave her in the early days of their courtship.
Hearing those songs, Richard and Maya smiled at each other lovingly remembering their unusual and wonderful courtship. Now here they are, married finally, in a beautiful and very moving ceremony at the San Nicolas Church that beautiful Saturday afternoon.
Richard can’t helped but got teary-eyed when he caught sight of his beautiful bride walking towards him in a long, flowing sleeveless vintage lace wedding gown, wearing a long veil and carrying a big bouquet sunflowers and roses. Finally, the moment they have been looking forward to, has come. His happiness at that moment was indescribable. He felt like soaring high up in the skies like an eagle. His heart beat so loudly and he wondered why no one heard it doing so.
Maya, on the other hand, sought Richard as soon as the door of the church opened, the wedding march started playing, and she started walking towards the man she loves with all of her. Her hands were very cold, but she felt so very happy. She only saw Richard, looking at her with so much love that her heart was filled to the brim. Her heart was so full too of the emotions she feels for this wonderful guy whom she will spend forever with. Maya didn’t even notice when her father started walking with her towards Richard, who was looking so very handsome in a powder blue suit, tie and white dress shirt. After it seemed like an eternity, she and her dad reached Richard. Richard shook her Dad’s hand then he led her to the altar where Father Ronaldo was waiting to bind them together in marriage in front of God and their loving families and friends.
For the wedding vows, without talking about it before hand, they alternately told their families and friends about their unusual courtship, which had them smiling in happiness with them, laughing at times. Then they spoke of their commitment to each other for as long as they live and until the day they die and it has everyone teary-eyed as they also felt the overflowing love that they feel for each other. Richard touched Maya’s face lovingly as he professed his undying love for her. Maya cupped Richard’s face with both her hands, looked into his very soul as she committed to him for the rest of their lives.
When Father Ronaldo told Richard that he can kiss his bride, he did so with so much gusto. He lowered his lips to her and gave her a very long and searing kiss, making the guests teased them a lot. James and Emman even asked if tthey are vying for the Guinness Book of World Records for the longest kiss ever. They broke apart grinning, looked at each other lovingly and kissed two more times before they faced their cheering guests.
During the picture taking, Richard and Maya were teased a lot about their kisses. They smiled good-naturedly and Richard even said that he has an unlimited supply of kisses for Maya, making her blushed the way he said it.
Now as the wedding singers started singing ‘Fallin’, Maya was smiling, remembering those kisses, when Richard whispered to her. “Parang alam ko na kung bakit ganyan ang smile mo, you were remembering our kisses at the church.”
“Ha, paano mo naman naisip na iyon nga ang iniisip ko.” Maya whispered back, at the same time, looking at her and her husband’s interlaced fingers.
“Because, I’m also thinking of it, dear wife and our beautiful wedding earlier.” Richard whispered again, then raised her hand to his lips for a lingering kiss. “I love you very, very much, Mrs. Maya Lim.”
“I love you very much, too, Ricky, my dearest husband.” Maya replied lovingly. She loves the sound of Mrs. Maya Lim and calling Richard her husband, finally!
“Ehemmm, ehemmm, Mr. and Mrs. Lim, nandito po ang mga guest niyo.” Emman teased them, smiling indulgently at the newly-weds. “Reception ceremony pa lang po at hindi pa honeymoon.”
Only then that Maya and Richard realized that Emman and Liza, whom they requested to host their reception, had called them twice already for the cake cutting and wine ceremony. They grinned goofily at each other, stood up. But before they can proceed, kissed again as the guests have tapped their spoons, forks and knives against their wine glasses.
Done with the cake cutting, wine toasting, Richard accompanied Maya back at the gazebo, which was put in the middle of the garden and the tables for the guests around it, for the bouquet throwing. All the single ladies gathered in front led by Maya’s maid of honour, Diana and her bridesmaids, her secretary Minerva, her journalists friends Evelyn and Mary. All her single staff also join the merriment, as well as Emman!
The flowers landed on Diana, and she caught it instinctively. James then started wishing then he will get the garter that Richard was slowly removing from Maya’s legs amid hoots and cheering from the guests.
Richard grinned when he managed to remove the garter from Maya, giving her another kiss before he threw it to the waiting single guys which included his best man Ryan, who is his best friend from Law School, his lawyer staff Fred and Aldrin, some cousins from his mom’s side of the family, and James.
James got his wish. He shouted a triumphant yes when the garter landed on his waiting hands. Diana blushed when James was putting the garter on her leg while looking at her with so much love.
“Sweetheart, parang alam ko na kung sino ang ikakasal after us.” Maya whispered to Richard.
“Mrs. Lim, never say die ka pa rin diyan sa two best friends mo.” Richard said to his wife lovingly. “Pero parang tama ka.”
“See, sabi ko na sa iyo Mr. Lim.” Maya said. “Teka, hayan na ulit sina Emman at Liza, baka matukso na naman tayong hindi nakikinig or not paying attention.”
Liza and Emman called on, first Maya’s parents, for their messages for the newly-weds, then followed by Richard’s parents. Roberto and Esmeralda Lim, and Arturo and Teresita Dela Rosa after advising their son and daughter that they should always be there for each other, of not letting arguments to pester, of compromising and meeting each other halfway, both set of parents told them that they need to work fast for their first grandchild from them.
“Mama, Papa, Mom and Dad, thank you very much for all the love.” Maya said, teary-eyed with happiness with their parents touching message.
“Huwag po kayong mag-aalala, Maya and I will work double time para sa hiling ninyong apo.” Richard said, then teasing his wife, he said, to their parents, “Right after the reception po.” It earned him a loving pinch from his blushing bride and laughters and hoots from the guests, so very happy to be sharing this moment with this beautiful couple. The guests then tap their glasses again and then all stood up to toast the newlyweds. Richard and Maya acknowledged the toast and shared another kiss. They looked happily again at all the people who shared that special day with them.
Then the first strains of the melody of Irving Berlin’s ‘Always’, started filling the air, which signals Richard and Maya’s first dance as husband and wife.
Richard led his wife to the dance floor as Michael Guevarra, a theater actor and singer who is a personal friend of Rafi started singing the beautiful lyrics of that very old song Maya and Richard discovered, they both like very much.
I’ll be loving you always/With a love that’s true always/When the things you’ve planned/Need a helping hand/I will understand always
Always/Days may not be fair always/That’s when I’ll be there always/Not for just an hour/Not for just a day/Not for just a year/But always….
“Happy, my sweetheart?” Richard whispered to his bride as the melody and the lyrics of the song filled them, like their promise to each other, to be there for always.
“Very, very happy my sweetheart, walang pagsidlan!” Maya replied, caressing her husband nape and looking at him lovingly.
“I love you very much, Mrs. Lim, forever and beyond.”
I Love you very much Mr. Lim, for always.”
They danced like they were the only people in that beautiful garden. So lost were they with each other that at first they didn’t notice that the song has ended and Michael and the other singers have switched to a faster music, with the band they also hired for the evening, and all their guests dancing around them. When they noticed, they smiled and join the merriment. The party lasted until midnight.
Rafi and her family returned to the hotel an hour before the party ended, so were Cristina Rose and Jeffrey to their home, as both Abby and Cho were very sleepy already. At the close of the party, Mama Esme, Papa Roberto also returned to the hotel with the rest of the guests. Mommy Tere and Daddy Arturo were the last one to say good night to the newly-weds who will stay at the guest cottage of the Dela Rosas for the night.
When they reached the entrance of the cottage, Richard carried Maya over the threshold. Then he put her down at the living room bathe in soft light coming from the two floor-to-ceiling lamps. The place is also filled with Maya’s favorite flowers and a bottle of champagne was chilling in the corner table.
“Wow, our mothers really thought of everything!” Maya remarked, seeing that everything was made cozy for her and Richard’s stay in the cottage.
“I agree, Sweetheart.” Richard said as he popped the champagne and poured Maya and him a glass each.
“To us, Mrs. Lim.” Richard said, gazing at his beautiful bride lovingly. “Finally we are married! I love you very much.”
“To us Mr. Lim.” Maya replied, with all the love she felt for her husband in her eyes. “You made me the happiest girl in the world. I love so very, very much.”
They shared a kiss after their toast. Then grinned at each other, their foreheads and noses touching. Then they kissed again, just so very happy that finally they are husband and wife.
“Dance with me, my lovely wife.” Richard asked Maya softly, lovingly.
“Ha, Sweetheart, walang music.” Maya said, then looking around to see if there is a music player.
“I’ll sing for you.” Richard said, holding Maya tight and very close to him, then he started crooning something from the concept album of the musical Jekyll and Hyde that they ended chatting about one morning on their way to work. They both agreed that the song, ‘Till You Came Into My Life’ is very beautiful, especially since it was sang by Colm Wilkinson.
‘All my life I’ve been building walls around me/In my world safe where no one has ever found me/Never knowing what could be/What was there inside of me/I never let those feelings in/Then upon a summer’s night/You gently changed my life/I would never be the same
Till you came into my life/Till I heard you call my name/I was living in a world of gray each day/Just like the one before
You have given me my eyes/You have taught me how to see/And now I see a brand new world/I never dreamed could be/Till you came into my life
In your eyes I could lose myself forever/In your eyes there’s excitement, there is wonder/Like a ship adrift at sea/I had wandered endlessly, searching for a shelter/Like a sweet imagined dream/You were heaven sent to me/You gave my heart a home….’
“I love you very much, Maya.” Richard said softly, touching his wife’s face lovingly.
” I love you very much too, Ricky. You are the best thing that happened to me. You are my life now. And just like what you said through that song, you have given my heart a home too.” Maya then cupped her husband’s face and initiated the searing kiss that they shared before Richard carried her off to the bedroom for their first night as husband and wife.
“Sweetheart, is this the place?” Richard asked as he slowed down at the gate of a sports complex in Quezon City, around four o’clock in the morning, the following Saturday, a week after they got engaged.
“Yes, I think this is the place Diana told us. Dito raw ang assembly ng convoy natin, di ba.” Maya replied. “Drive ka na sa loob, Sweetheart, then I will call Diana na lang to ask kung nasaan sila, exactly.”
“Hello Diana! I’m here na with Ricky. Nasaan kayo?” Maya asked her doctor friend when she picked up the phone. “Okay, sige, doon na lang tayo magkita. Bye.”
“Sweetheart, nandoon daw sila sa may left side. Hayan, turn ka lang diyan, please.” Maya told Richard.
Richard and Maya saw more than 10 vehicles of varying models parked at the place where Diana indicated. There were also two mobile clinics. Richard found a parking slot behind a Toyota Fortuner. The car looks familiar and he managed to confirm who it belongs to when the owner stepped out of his vehicle at that moment.
“James!” He greeted LC’s COO and Maya’s friend. “Sabi ko na nga ba, sa iyo ito. Maya mentioned that you are joining this outreach program also.”
“Richard! Maya!” James greeted them with a big smile. “Ito kasing si Maya, pina-guilty ako. Birthday gift ko na raw sa kanya. Feeling ko naman hindi na niya kailangan at wala nang makakatumbas sa birthday gift mo sa kanya, Richard, di ba college BFF?”
“James, ikaw talaga. A promise is a promise, di ba. Saka, pagkakataon mo na itong magpakitang-gilas with you-know-who.” Maya teased her friend.
“Hahahaha, Ms. Maya Dela Rosa soon-to-be Mrs. Richard Lim, ganyan ba talaga ang mga in love at newly-engaged, gusto niyo lahat ng tao ganoon din.” James teased them.
“Siyempre naman, di ba, Sweetheart?” Maya said, then turning to Richard for affirmation.
“Of course! Being in love is the most wonderful feeling, James!” Richard told James, grinning.
“Hahahaha, Atty. Lim, nahawa ka na talaga rito sa college BFF ko.” James said, laughing, teasing them. “Let’s go, papakapehin ko na lang muna kayong dalawa habang hinihintay natin iyong isa pang lawyer na sasama sa atin sa outreach program na ito.”
The three of them proceeded to the small canteen inside the complex.
James found out about Richard and Maya’s engagement as soon as he had arrived from work that Monday after Richard proposed to Maya. He found Maya waiting for him at his office. She had a big grin on her face. Then she showed him her ring, telling him that she got engaged with Richard. At the same time, she asked if she would be part of her wedding entourage. He readily agreed and congraulated her.
“Have you set a date for your wedding?” James asked the couple while they were walking towards the direction of the canteen.
“In three month’s time.” Maya replied. “Iaayos pa namin with Mom and Dad and Ricky’s parents pag-uwi namin sa Mindoro next month. Hindi ka ba talaga makakasama sa amin?”
“Maya, Richard, I would like to. Pero I need to fly to Singapore on that weekend.” James said regretfully. “Sayang, I would like to be there sana talaga when Tito Arturo and Tita Tere renew their vows. Please tell them I’ll make it up to them.”
“O sige na nga, ha. Basta sa wedding namin ni Ricky, kapag nawala ka, I will not forgive you.” Maya said, teasing James.
“Hahahaha, as if, I will. Takot ko lang sa iyo. Heto nga oh, nandito ako sa outreach na ito para sa iyo.” James retorted.
“Ha, James Ventura, you are not really here for me.” Maya teased. “Mabuti nga kinulit kita.”
“Maya naman…..” James protested.
“Sweetheart, tigilan mo na nga itong si James o, namumula na.” Richard said smiling, then added, “Baka naman, lalong hindi makapanligaw iyan, Sweetheart.”
“Richard! Pareho na talaga kayo!” James said smiling. “Ano bang sinabi nitong si Maya sa iyo?”
“Wala naman, but I have eyes. I saw where you were looking earlier before you told us that you will treat us to coffee. I just put two and two together.” Richard said. “Good luck, Pare.”
“In that regard, match na match talaga kayo ni college BFF!” James replied, smiling. “But thank you, and wish me all the luck. Nakakahawa talaga kayong dalawa!”
The three of them shared a laugh. Richard and James became closer since he and Maya became a couple. The morning after James found out his and Maya’s engagement, James sought him out and offered his congratulations. He also told him to take care of his college best friend and admonished him not to make Maya cry or he will answer to him.
Richard told James that he is glad that Maya has a good friend in him. He said to him that Maya is the great love of his life and he will strive to make her happy always. In the end, James told Richard that he wish he will find a love like theirs also.
The three of them were about to order coffee when one of Diana’s doctor friends, Michelle told them they will leave now as the last member of the group is already there.
“James, sumabay ka na lang kaya sa amin ni Maya. Mag-isa ka lang ba? Balikan na lang natin ang car mo dito mamaya.” Richard offered.
“Thanks Richard, I’m good. Iiwan ko lang naman talaga iyang sasakyan ko dito. Sasabay ako kay Diana at doon sa ibang doctors sa van para tipid sa gas.” James said.
“Really!” Maya asked, her eyes round as saucers and with a teasing glint on it.
“Maya Dela Rosa, stop that, hahahahaha. I know that look.” James said, putting his hands up.
Soon after everyone left the compound one after the other. Each group or vehicle was issued a map and a detailed direction of the place where they will do their community service.
Maya and Richard were the only one who rode in the 4 x 4 pick-up truck that Richard decided to use for the occasion. There was not much space anyway, as the vehicle was filled with books, toys, and food for the little children of the barangay in Aurora they will go to. Diana’s group is going there on the request of one of their members who is from the area. Richard thought it would be a nice treat to the kids so he sent Liza to organize those.
Earlier, when Richard picked up Maya, and she saw the stuffs inside the pick-up, all she managed to say was wow. Richard asked if the stuffs are okay. Maya cupped his face and told him, it would be great and that he is a very wonderful and giving fiance.
Throughout the trip, Richard and Maya chatted about their upcoming wedding and remembered the week they had since their families, friends and colleagues found out that they got engaged.
Liza and Emman squealed with delight and hugged each other when they noticed Maya wearing a beautiful engagement ring. Richard and Maya chanced upon the two when they boarded the elevator at the ground floor of LC after having breakfast. Both felt they had a big hand in their bosses love story. When Minerva found out naman, in her delight, she hugged Maya and Richard tight and got teary-eyed. She told them she was just very happy as she saw their love story unfolding before her very eyes.
Since the news of their engagement spread like a wildfire at LC, it was difficult to concentrate at work that day. A lot congratulated them, from the officers of the company to Richard’s and Maya’s staff. Since Richard was so happy, he treated his whole department to pizza, pasta and drinks, as well as Maya’s employees. They went home very happy that night. They dined at Maya’s home as Manang Fe prepared a sumptuous dinner for them, galing daw sa kanila ni Fely, pakiki-celebrate sa engagement ng alaga niya at ni Richard.
The following day, a Tuesday, Maya finally met Richard’s cousin, Rafi, her husband Charlie and their cute daughter Abby.
“Chard, hello. Hi Maya, at last we have finally met!” Rafi greetd them effusively, giving Richard, and then Maya, a big hug, as soon as she saw them walking towards the main house from the driveway of the Lim family home. Mama Esme asked Maya to dinner that evening to meet Richard’s closest cousins, aunts and uncles.
“Rafi, good to have finally met you too! Though, I have seen you having lunch with Richard one time.” Maya said, smiling at Richard’s exuberant cousin.
“Hmmm, about that! I have been meaning to find out something. I hope you don’t mind me asking ha.” Rafi said, looking at Maya and then Richard with mischief in her eyes.
“Sure!” Maya said. “Ask away.”
“Oh no, Rafaella. I know what you will ask.” Richard said.
“Chard, let me na. Sabi ni Maya okay lang. Di ba, Maya?” Rafi said.
“Okay, okay, fine.” Richard said smiling, remembering that day.
“Maya, were you jealous of me that day? I didn’t think you know Chard was having lunch with a cousin.” Rafi asked. “Sabi ko kasi sa kanya parang nagselos ka sa akin.”
Maya laughed, remembering that day too, the text message she sent to Richard and the outcome. She looked lovingly at Richard, then looked back at Rafi. “Ah errr, yes, a bit!” She admitted, turning a bit red, then giving Richard a loving smile, which he returned. They forgot Rafi for a while, remembering that afternoon.
Rafi looked at her cousin and Maya. Hmmm, there is a story there that I don’tknow yet pero parang nakakakiilig, she mused. “See I’m right, Chard?”
Now it is Maya’s turn to get puzzled. “Bakit ka tama, Rafi?”
“Come, Maya, let me tell you about it. That is after you tell me too what happened after that lunch.” She got hold of Maya’s hand and dragged her inside the house, chatting along the way.
However, it took a while before Maya and Rafi had that chat, as when they got inside the aunts and uncles asked to be introduced to Richard’s beautiful fiancee. At the end of the evening, Rafi also had her cousin and Maya’s promise that Abby will be the flower girl at their wedding.
Rafi was also very touched when Maya asked if she could design her wedding gown. She already like her soon-to-be cousin-in-law very much. Natasha is not even a fourth of the person Maya is. She is very happy for her cousin, she told Richard so, the day after that dinner.
Maya smiled remembering Rafi and her whirlwind-like personality. The rest of the week passed by like a blur for the two of them.
Diana called mid-week and reminded Maya about their outreach program. She checked if Maya will be able to join. Maya told her that not only she is joining, but James too. Diana was surprised to know as she never thought James would be interested in activities like this. She got a bit flustered too and that is when Maya confirmed that maybe, there is a romance in the offing for her two best friends.
Maya also took that opportunity to invited Diana to a dinner with her and Richard and asked her to be her maid of honor. Diana said yes and she and Richard clicked right away. They also got to discuss the outreach program and where they will meet.
“Sweetheart, nasaan na tayo?” Maya asked when they reached a long bridge after exiting SCTEX towards the direction of Nueva Ecija.
“I think we are in Santa Rosa, Nueva Ecija.” Richard said. “Then we will just go straight and take the road through Fort Magsaysay, according to the direction Diana gave us.”
More than an hour after that, they have entered the beautiful, mountainous town of Dingalan and from the road that goes up and up, Maya caught a glimpse of the sea from the distance. The place reminded her of Bukidnon. Thirty minutes more and they have arrived at the barangay where they will have the outreach program.
The covered court of the barangay was teeming with people, checking out the services available to them. Each booth has a sign on it. Richard and Maya approached the booth with the sign Legal Services. There was already a lawyer sitting at one of the two desks there, writing something. She looked up when they approached.
“Richard, fancy seeing you here!” Josephine greeted Richard with a big smile, happy to see him. Her smiled dimmed a bit when she saw Maya beside Richard.
“Ghie! Nandito ka rin.” Richard politely said. He had a feeling that Ghie was the last member of the group they were waiting for earlier. He didn’t see her beforehand. He also remembered that James said they were waiting for a lawyer pa. That must be her. “You remember, Maya? My fiancee!” He added.
Josephine thought she heard wrong. “Fiancee?”
“Yes, Maya and I will get married in three months.” Richard said, then looked lovingly at Maya.
“Oh!” Josephine managed to say, then swallowing hard, she tried to regain her composure. He is getting married! “Congratulations then to the two you! I guess we better work. There is a line forming in front of us.” She said abruptly.
“Sweetheart, I will see you at lunch.” Maya said, smiling sweetly at Richard. “I will just assist Diana. Nice seeing you again, Atty. Ghie!” Maya politely added. She kissed Richard on the cheek and then she was off.
Josephine’s gaze followed Maya. Lucky girl, she thought. “Member ka rin pala ng group nina Diana and Michelle? I have not seen you with them before. Pero I have not joined them for quite sometime na rin. Ngayon nga lang ulit ako nakasama.”
“Not really! Diana is Maya’s college bestfriend, together with James Ventura. When I heard that they do this, I volunteered to go. Friend ka rin pala ni Diana?”
“No, ni Michelle, iyong isa pang founder nitong group. Friends kami since our high school days.” Josephine said, then she excused herself and attended to their first client.
By lunchtime, Richard and Josephine managed to help quite a number of residents with their legal problems, mostly involving properties and land dispute. Richard spent a lot of time with Mang Boni who needed help with the land dispute between him and his siblings. Richard’s heart went out to the older guy since he seemed to be too kindhearted to be saddled with that kind of problem. He gave Mang Boni his card, just in case he needed more help. Soon after, Maya returned.
“Sweetheart, lunch time na! May tent doon sa may likod for the lunch. Then afterwards pala, we can distribute the food, toys and books for the children. The barangay captain is gathering all the small kids.” Maya said. “Iniayos na namin ni Diana kanina habang busy kayo ni Atty. Ghie here!”
“Thanks Sweetheart.” Richard said smiling. He is really happy to be here and to be helping people in his little way. He had been meaning to continue doing this when he returned to the Philippines. He wanted to, somehow, made good of his vow to help people in legal troubles after he was unable to help Abraham, an old guy he knew in the States, because the tides was against him at that time. It was the reason he missed his dad’s 58th birthday party.
“You two, go ahead. I will wait for Michelle.” Ghie said.
Maya and Richard went to the food tent. Then after lunch, they met the kids. They did a storytelling, then distributed the books, toys and food to them. One of the little girls hugged Richard tight and asked to be carried by him. He looked at the older woman who was with her.
“Naku, Attorney, okay lang po ba na kargahin niyo iyang apo kong si Anne. Nakakapagtaka nga po, kasi mahiyain ang batang iyan.”
“Wala pong problema. Di ba, Anne. Halika, kargahin ka ni Tito Richard. Since tapos na naman tayo, gusto mo bang makita iyong office ko dito?” Richard said. “Okay lang po, ‘Nay?…..”
“Milagring po. Mister ko po iyong isa sa humingi ng tulong sa inyo kanina tungkol doon sa lupang pinagtatalunan ng mga kapatid niya.”
“Oh, kayo po pala ang maybahay ni Mang Boni. Sana nga po, maayos na. Mahirap po kasi iyang nag-aaway-away ang mga magkakapatid nang dahil lang sa lupa. Basta po kung kailangan niyo pa po ng tulong, may iniwan po akong contact information sa card na ibinigay ko sa kanya. Inilagay ko rin po roon ang personal cellphone number ko.”
“Maraming salamat po ulit sa iyo Attorney. Malaking tulong po kayo sa amin.” The old woman told Richard gratefully.
“Wala po iyon, basta makakatulong.” Richard, then looked at Maya. “Sweetheart, gusto mo kaming samahan ni Anne sa pag-ikot. Baka kailangan pa ni Ghie ng tulong.”
“Sure, tayo na po ‘Nay Milagring.” Maya said. She can’t help but imagine Richard with their own little girl, seeing him like this, so caring for the cute little girl who seemed to trust him instinctively. He will surely be a good father to their children. She is also seeing another facet of Richard’s wonderful, caring personality today. She is very happy to be sharing this part of her life with him too.
They all went back to Ghie who was only attending to handful of people. She assured them that she can handle the rest. The thing is Ghie was not so sure, she can concentrate with Richard and Maya beside her. It reminds her of what could have been. Well, what she wished could have been!
The outreach project closed at around 4 o’clock in the afternoon. Everyone trooped back to their vehicles, with James riding again with Diana. They were inseparable earlier. James became Diana’s ‘receptionist’ and unofficial patients’ ‘entertainer’. He made the people waiting laughed with his antics and his jokes.
On the way back, Maya asked Richard how was his first outreach program. He told her it was very fulfilling and that he would like to do it, if their schedule permits, as often as they could. Richard also told Maya about that Abraham, his case that somehow left a mark on him. On how he was unable to help him no matter how he tried. Maya told him, he had surely helped others a lot and he should just think of those instead. Then she held his hand to her cheek, comforting him. Richard told her, she is right of course. Then they shared a loving smile. Richard mouthed a ‘thank you’ lovingly to her.
Several hours later, they arrived back at the Dela Rosa residence.
“Sweetheart, would you like to come in? Have coffee before you go home.” Maya asked, while unfastening her seat belt.
“No na, Sweetheart. I will just pick you up for our lunch with Mama and Papa and our meeting with the wedding planner tomorrow afternoon. Doon na rin daw pupunta iyong friend ni Mama na gagawa ng wedding rings natin.” Richard said, then he too, unfastened his seatbelt, went out of the car, to Maya’s side.
“Come, I will walk you up to the garden.” Richard said as he assisted Maya out of the car.
“Okay!” Maya was puzzled why he wanted to accompany her up to the garden, as usually either he went inside or up to the gate only if he is not coming in.
When they reached the garden, Richard stopped. “I have been wanting to do this the whole day and I want some privacy to do this, finally.” He said, then cupped Maya’s chin, lowered his lips to hers and gave her a long and tender kiss. They kissed and kissed amid Maya’s beautiful flowers.
“I love you very much, Sweetheart. Thank you for today. I will never get tired of saying that you are the best that happened to me. Soon mine, and I, yours, my wife-to-be!”
Maya smiled brightly. Her fiance really never fails to make her feel so loved and so giddy with happiness. She touched her beloved’s face. “And you are the best that happened to me too. I’m so lucky and so blessed to be getting married to a very wonderful guy! I love you very much too, husband-to-be. Soon!”
Richard told Maya to go in and that he will lock after himself. They gazed at each other lovingly one more time, then parted for the night.
“Sweetheart, I love you. I’m so very happy! I’m really, really glad that you agreed to marry me!” Richard whispered to Maya as they broke apart from their very long kiss. “I’m looking forward to us finally sharing our lives, for always.”
“I should be the one saying that.” Maya said softly. “I love you much. I’m the happiest girl tonight! And I, is looking forward to being with you. Hindi pa rin ako makapaniwala.”
“Believe, Sweetheart!” Richard kissed Maya one more time, then he led her back to the sofa. “Sweetheart, do you think you can live in this place kahit walang garden dito, unlike in your house in Bel-Air!” Richard asked as he sat, and Maya sat automatically on his lap. Richard leaned back against the sofa and Maya put her head on Richard’s broad shoulders and made herself comfortable.
“Of course, my Sweetheart. Kahit saan, basta kasama kita, masaya na ako, and I’m sure magiging masaya always.” Maya said. “We can always make any house a home with our love for each other.”
“Sweetheart, please free to decorate this place the way you want it. I left it like this after the contractors have finished as I want you to have a free hand in making this place a home.” Richard admitted with a grin. “It is like a vacant canvas for you to work on, anyway you want it, whatever you want to do with it.”
Maya smiled and teased him. “So ganoon ka pala kasigurado, Sweetheart, na sasagutin kita kapag nag-propose ka. Confident much ka yata this evening!”
Richard chuckled. “Slight lang. Actually Sweetheart, I was more into keeping my fingers crossed. Siyempre, I was wishing and hoping that you will say yes. But if not, I am willing to wait. Di ba sabi ko depende sa mga pangyayari ang paglipat ko sa bahay na ito. Depende sa iyo kasi ikaw lang naman ang gusto kong makasama dito wala nang iba. Kung hindi mo pa ako sinagot ngayong gabi, I will just wait, and continue living with my parents. I’m sure matutuwa pa sina Mama and Papa kasi ang tagal ko ring nawala.”
“Sweetheart, touched na touched naman talaga ako sa iyo. Hihintayin mo talaga ako! Kahit hindi ka makalipat kaagad. I’m sure even if you like staying at your parents, you want your own space too. You are that willing to wait! Sobra and grabe mo na akong pakiligin. Kaya pala the house was barely decorated and furnished.” Maya hugged Richard and gave him a quick kiss on the lips. Well she intended it to be quick. However, Richard had another idea.
Richard moved a little, making Maya sunk deeper into his lap, then he returned the kiss, deepening it. He seeked entrance to Maya’s mouth by playing with the seam of her lips. Maya let Richard’s tongue in and finding each other, their tongues duelled and mated into a love dance that generated an electric response in both their bodies.
Maya moved closer to Richard, caressing his hair, returning his heated kiss, making the temperature in the room hotter. She felt the evidence of Richard’s reaction to their molten kiss and it evoked a corresponding reaction to her very core. Her breasts feel heavier, aching to be touched. She wanted….. “Ricky…..” Maya muttered as she moved a little from where she was sitting, wanting more, but unable to verbalize exactly what she wants to happen.
“Maya….” Richard groaned as his hard length reacted to Maya’s movement. “Sweetheart, what you do to me!” His hand started moving upwards, groping for the zipper of her dress, finding it, he slowly pulled it down until her breasts were exposed to his heated gaze. He cupped her breast through her thin, lace bra, started playing with it, and at the same time, he started raining kisses on her neck, then to the valley between her breasts, his lips hovered on her twin peaks.
“Ricky….” Maya said. It felt like a current went through her, electrifying her senses more. She moved closer to him, seeking his heated touch.
Richard transferred his hand to Maya’’s other breast, giving it the same attention as the other one. Maya felt like she was burning. The feeling was very intense. Richard’s control on the other hand was barely there. He tried to fight through the fog of desire which is starting to envelope his whole being. He took a deep breath. He kew that he needed to stop, otherwise he and Maya will reach the point of no return. While he want it very much, he know that their making love should not be because they got carried away with the heat of the moment. His lips returned to Maya’s and gave her a searing kiss, before letting go.
“Sweetheart, I think we better stop. I’m barely holding it.” Richard said ruefully, caressing Maya’s face, trying to rein in his raging desire for the woman he loves. At the same time, he zipped up Maya’s dress again.
“Oh….” was all Maya managed to say, realizing that she and Richard almost made love there in the living room. She blushed. “Ikaw, kasi.”
“Ha, anong ako….”
“Ikaw kasi when you kissed me and touched me like that, it’s all I can think about.” Maya said artlessly.
Richard smiled lovingly at his fiancee, touched her face. “I feel the same, Sweetheart. You make me forget everything. But I want our first time together very special, I can wait.”
“But this is a special night naman ah…..” Maya stopped herself, blushed. She sounded like she is protesting that they stopped. “Errr, you know……”
Richard grinned. “I know Sweetheart. I want our making love for the first time very, very special, especially for you” He added softly, meaningfully, lovingly. “It will happen. I want you to think about it and be very ready for it. I love you and I want our love expressed in every way possible.”
“I want the same, Ricky.” Maya said, understanding what he meant.
They gazed at each other, so very happy, their desire for each other, barely banked, though. They both know that they will make love, soon. Maya sighed contently as she settled more comfortable in Richard’s chest. Richard put his arms around Maya, kissed her hair and they settled in, enjoying each other’s company while they watched the evening sky contently.
“So, when do you want to get married, Sweetheart?” Richard asked after a while.
“Hmmm, I don’t know yet. Maybe after Mom and Dad’s wedding anniversary? Would that be okay?” Maya asked. “Say, in three months?”
“Whatever you want, Sweetheart. It’s okay with me! For sure our mothers would want to help planning the wedding.” Richard smiled. The news of his engagement would surely throw his mother in a very happy, tizzy mode! “I can imagine Mama’s reaction when we tell her the news.”
“Hahahaha, I think my mother will be the same!” Maya said, agreeing to Richard’s reading of their mother. “When do we tell them?”
“How about we have lunch with my parents tomorrow? I think Papa and Mama will both be home.” Richard suggested. “Then before we leave your house, we can talk to your parents through Facetime or Skype!”
“Okay. Sounds like a good plan, Sweetheart.” Maya smiled at Richard.
They stayed for an hour more in Richard’s place. Richard gave Maya a tour of the 5-bedroom place, with that beautiful living room and dining room, a big kitchen. Richard also asked Maya to pick the room she would like for the two of them. Maya blushed anew, thinking of the time that she and Richard will share that room as husband and wife. Richard is looking forward too to sharing that room with Maya, seeing her beside him as soon as he opens his eyes in the morning. Going to bed with her beside him, sharing the night. He hopes three months is now!
“Sweetheart, this is the super best birthday talaga and the most wonderful night of my life.” Maya said as she and Richard stood in front of the Dela Rosa gate more than an hour later. “Thank you for everything, thank you for coming into my life.”
“For you, Sweetheart, anything! I’m so happy too! Being loved by you is the best thing that happened to me. I can’t wait to call you, wife!” Richard said lovingly, cupping Maya’s face. “I should get going na. Otherwise, I will not be able to go home. Sleep tight my love and dream of us together. I wish I am sharing that bed with you tonight.” He added with a naughty grin.
Maya blushed and pinched Richard lovingly. “Hmmmm, I will just imagine that you are there with me.” She teased, though.
Richard chuckled. “You do, and imagine what could have happened!” He teased.” I’ll get going na, bago mo pa ako makurot ulit. I will pick you up at 11 o’clock for our lunch with Mama and Papa.”
“Okay. Drive carefully, husband-to-be, okay!” Maya said, giving Richard a light kiss on the lips. “I love you!”
“I will, my wife-to-be.” Richard promised. “I love you too! Good night.”
Maya went inside the house and only when she did, did Richard drive off to go home to his parents’ house.
When Maya entered the house, she saw Manang Fe in the kitchen, she was surprised as Manang Fe is usually asleep at this time of the night. “Manang Fe, good evening po. Bakit po gising pa kayo?”
“Maya, anak, ikaw na pala iyan. Nakalimutan ko kasing uminom ng gamot. Naalimpungatan ako at bigla kong naalala.” Manang Fe said. “O kumusta ang dinner niyo ni Richard?”
“Manang Fe……!!!!” Maya suddenly said which surprised the old lady. “I’m so happy, Manang! Ricky and I are getting married. Nag-propose po siya sa akin this evening. Manang Fe, this is the best birthday ever! Tingnan niyo po, ang ganda-ganda ng ring ko.”
“Siyanga anak! Congratulations! Sobrang saya ko rin para sa iyo! Alam ko naman na si Richard ang gusto mong makasama na sa buhay! Anak, alam kong magiging maligaya ka sa piling ni Richard.” Manang Fe said, smiling and the same time, hugging her old alaga, teary-eyed. “Nasabi mo na ba sa Mommy at Daddy mo?”
“Hindi pa po, Manang Fe. Medyo gabi na po. Bukas po, paparito si Richard dahil magla-lunch kami sa bahay nila para sabihin kina Tita Esmeralda at Tito Roberto. Tatawag po kami kina Mom and Dad before kami umalis.” Maya told Manang Fe.
“Naku, sigurado akong matutuwa ang mga iyon. Boto naman sila kay Richard. Masaya nga ang Mommy mo nakatagpo ka ng lalaking katulad niya at saka finally raw, nagmahal ka na.” Manang Fe said. “Kailan niyo pala balak magpakasal? Napagkasunduan niyo na ba?”
“Baka po in three months time, Manang. Papatapusin po muna namin iyong wedding anniversary nina Mom and Dad.”
“Oo nga pala. O basta sabihin mo lang sa akin, hija kung ano ang maitutulong ko sa paghahanda.” The old lady told Maya.
“Maraming salamat po, Manang Fe.” Maya said, giving her old nanny another hug and a kiss on the forehead. “Aakyat na po ako. Good night po.”
“Good night, Maya.” Manang Fe said.
Maya went upstairs and Manang Fe went back to her room with a big smile on her face. She is very happy that Maya is finally settling down and will start a family of her own. She knows that Maya will be a very good wife to Richard and will be the best mother to their children. Maayos na lumaki ang alaga niya. Nagpapasalamat din siya sa Diyos na nakatagpo si Maya ng karapatdapat na lalaki para sa kanya.
The following day, at 10 o’clock, Manang Fe opened the gate to Richard. “Richard, hijo, pasok ka. Nasa banyo lang si Maya. Napaaga ka yata. Sabi niya, mga alas onse ka pa raw darating.”
“Good morning, Manang Fe. Opo. Pero inagahan ko na po kasi para mahaba-haba ang maging kwentuhan ni Maya and ng parents niya. Tatawag po kasi kami sa kanila para ipaalam na magpapakasal na kami.” Richard told the old lady as they walked back towards the house. “Nabanggit na po ba niya sa inyo?”
Manang Fe stopped, so did Richard. “Oo, kagabi kasi naabutan niya pa akong gising. Richard, anak, masayang-masaya ako para sa inyo ng alaga ko. Alam ko naman na mamahalin mo siya ng husto. Ngayon pa lang nakikita ko iyan. Huwag sanang magbago iyon anak.”
“Ipinapangako ko po, Manang Fe. Mamahalin ko po si Maya habambuhay and her happiness will be my number one priority.” Richard looked earnestly at the old lady who is like a second mother to Maya and made the promised.
“Maraming salamat, anak.” Manang Fe said affectionately. “O halika na sa loob at bakit ba tayo napatigil dito sa garden.”
Manang Fe ushered Richard into the living room and after serving him coffee, she told him that Maya will be down shortly. She also went back to the kitchen to check on something, leaving Richard alone in the living room, but not for long. Wearing a tight-fitting red blouse, paired with a white maxi skirt, Maya swept down into the living room with a smile that lit up her whole face.
“Ricky, Sweetheart, good morning!”
“Good morning, Sweetheart! You look lovelier this morning!” Richard greeted his fiancee with a big smile and a loving kiss. “Did you sleep well?”
“I had the best sleep. It was a bit hard to fall asleep though because of the excitement you gave me last night!” Maya said with a grin. “Ikaw?”
“The same, Sweetheart. I stared at the ceiling, grinning, remembering our evening together.” Richard said.
They smiled at each other.
“Halika, tawagan na natin sina Mom and Dad.” Maya said, opening her laptop.
Soon after, they were chatting not only with Maya’s parents but with her sister and her family who were there eating brunch with the parents after they all have been to church. Teresita Dela Rosa was teary-eyed with joy when they finally told her, and Maya’s dad that they are getting married.
“Maya, Richard, mga anak. I’m so happy.” Maya’s mother told them, holding on to her husband’s hand to steady herself.
“Mom, heto po ang panyo!” Cristina Rose teased in the background, making Maya’s mother laughed. “Pero Richard, bunso, congratulations ha. Richard iyong pangako mo na ring bearer si Cho ha!”
“Richard, welcome to our family, anak! “Arturo Dela Rosa told Richard.
“Thank you po, Tito Arturo and Tita Tere!” Richard said grinning. “Thank you rin Cris and Jeff! Of course, ring bear si Cho.”
“Mom, uuwi po pala kami ni Ricky sa wedding anniversary niyo and then we can talk more about the wedding.” Maya chimed in.
“O sige, Maya anak, Richard, asahan ko iyan ha.” Mommy Tere said.
They said goodbye to Maya’s parents after that. Richard intertwined their hands, then raised it to his lips. “Sweetheart, malapit ka nang maging Mrs. Lim.” He said lovingly.
Maya gave her fiance a big smile, liking the sound of being Mrs. Lim. Richard’s forever.
More than an hour later, Richard and Maya were the living room of the Lim family home and being embraced by first, Donya Esmeralda and then Don Roberto. Richard’s mother, as he had predicted, was ecstatic to know that they are finally settling down.
“Oh my, oh my, I’m so happy son, Maya! Finally magkaka-daughter-in-law na rin ako.” Esmeralda Lim kept on saying as she hugged Richard and Maya.
“Son, congratulations. I’m happy for the two of you. Maya, hija, welcome to our family.” Roberto Lim said with a big smile, tapping his son’s shoulder affectionately and giving Maya a hug.
The four of them moved to the dining room where they had a lively lunch, talking about the upcoming wedding. When Richard’s parents found out that they will go to Mindoro the following month to talk about the details of the wedding with Maya’s family, they asked if they could go also, as a sort of pamamanhikan. Even before she talks about it to her parents, Maya told the elder Lims that it would be okay. In fact, she assured them that her parents would be happy to host the Lims in their farm.
Later that afternoon, while the elder Lims were having their siesta, Richard and Maya were on Richard’s bed, watching DVDs, and just relaxing.
“Happy, Sweetheart?” Richard asked, giving Maya a kiss on the forehead, his arms around her, after they have finished watching the first movie.
Maya looked at her fiance from where she was, half-lying across his chest.”Of course, Sweetheart. So very, very, very happy.”
They exchanged I love yous and several heated kisses throughout the afternoon as they relaxed and enjoyed each other’s company, both thinking that in three months time, they will be like this everyday, and for always.
“Maya, anak, gising na, alas kwatro na ng hapon!” Manang Fe said as she knocked continuously on Maya’s door.
Maya stirred from the bed, yawning, then suddenly she remembered why she asked Manang Fe to wake her up. She wanted to be sure she will get up at 4PM as she wanted to have enough time to get ready for her and Richard’s birthday date. She didn’t want the risk of sleeping through the alarm she had set. She took a nap two hours ago as she felt very sleepy due to her late night with her staff. She wanted to be well-rested and fresh for her evening with Richard.
“Manang Fe, thank you po. See, hindi ako nagising sa alarm clock that I set.” Maya said when she opened the door to Manang Fe. She had set the alarm at quarter to 4 o’clock. She must have been still sleeping off the effects of the alcohol she consumed the night before.
“O siya, sige anak, maghanda ka na para sa lakad niyo ni Richard. Anong oras ba siya darating?” Manang Fe asked.
“Mga around 6:30PM daw po, Manang. Sige po, maghahanda na ako. Salamat po ulit.” Maya smiled at her old yaya, happiness in her eyes. From where Manang Fe was standing, she can see Maya’s excitement for the evening ahead.
Maya took a long, cool shower to wake her up. Then after that, she took out from her closet a calf-length strapless dress in deep blue with beads adorning the top and the waist area. The bodice hugged Maya’s body perfectly. The dress also showed a bit of her cleavage. She decided to dress up more than the usual since this is the first date she and Richard are having that they will not be coming directly from work. Besides, technically, this is still part of her birthday celebration. She wanted this night to be special, the first birthday she will be celebrating with the man she loves with all of her.
Maya applied minimal make-up. She just accentuated her best feature. As a finishing touch, she put on the butterfly necklace that Richard gave her the night before. She looked in the mirror and she felt like a princess on the way to a ball. She hummed ‘The Blue Danube Waltz’ as she looked for her evening bag and her pair of shoes that will go well with her dress.
Manang Fe knocked again on Maya’s door several minutes after, while she was still debating on whether to put a pair of stillettos or a pair of wedges. She opted for the wedges, then went to answer the door.
“Maya anak, nandito na si Richard.” The old lady informed Maya.
Maya opened the door, clutching a small purse. “Thank you po, Manang. Bababa na ako.”
Manang Fe touched Maya’s face lovingly. “Ang ganda naman talaga nitong alaga ko. Natutuwa ako talaga na lumaki kang hindi lang maganda sa panlabas na anyo, kundi pati ang iyong kalooban. Masayang-masaya rin ako na nakatagpo ka ng lalaking mahal na mahal ka at alam kong mahal na mahal mo rin.”
“Manang Fe, salamat po. Dahil po iyan sa inyo iyon at kay Mommy. Pero malaking parte po kayo kung ano ako ngayon dahil mula pa ng pagkabata ko kayo na ang kasa-kasama ko.” Maya said hugging her old yaya. “Wait pala, Manang. Mauna na po kayo. I think I would like my other pair of shoes for this dress. Pakisabi na lang po kay Ricky na bababa na ako. Thank you.”
Maya went back inside the room. She put on the stillettos. She looked and twirled around the mirror, grinning for no reason at all, except that she is very happy this evening for some reason she can’t explain. Several minutes after, she walked down the stairs.
Hearing the sound of Maya’s steps, Richard stood up from where he was sitting, with the intention of meeting her by the base of the stairs. When he caught sight of her, he was speechless. He just gazed at the woman he loves with all his heart.
“You are so very beautiful, Sweetheart.” Richard said, giving Maya a heated, admiring look. “You take my breath away, literally. This is the first time I have seen you like this. Hmmm, and the necklace fitted perfectly. I’m glad you are wearing it.” Then he gave her a quick kiss on the cheek.
“Thank you very much, Sweetheart. I just thought of dressing up since this is our first date that we will not be coming directly from work. About the necklace, I really love it and I will wear it always and treasure it since it was a gift from you.” Maya replied, blushing a bit with the way Richard is looking at her, then seeing his outfit, she gave Ricky a brilliant, loving and admiring smile too, “And you look more handsome this evening, Sweetheart. We are on the same wavelength, huh!”
Richard, indeed, looked dashing and dapper in a dark suit, with white dress shirt without a tie and the top button opened. He gave Maya a lopsided smile, showing the dimple on his left cheek. Maya’s heart went aflutter again, as it always does every time he smiles like that.
“Thank you too, Sweetheart. I want this evening to be extra special. Looks like we were thinking the same. By the way, these are for you.“ Richard handed Maya a huge bouquet of sunflowers, but this time, the flowers are mixed with tulips of different colours!
“Oh, they look so beautiful. Let me just put them in a vase.” Maya was about to go to the kitchen when Fely, Manang Fe’s niece saw her.
“Let me do it na lang Ate Maya, so you and Kuya Ricky can go na.” Fely offered. She met Richard before, when she and her aunt returned from Bulacan.
“Maraming salamat, Fely.” Maya handed the flowers to Fely. Richard also thanked Fely, and they went on their way. Before he started the car, Richard gave Maya a big smile again, gazing at her with so much love that Maya got a bit self-conscious and very giddy.
“Sweetheart, baka matunaw na ako.” Maya teased.
“Hmmm, masama bang tumingin sa beautiful girlfriend ko.” Richard said, giving Maya another smile, before kissing her hand.
Richard is very excited for their evening and how he hopes it would turn out to be. He hopes it will be as he envisioned. He hummed Tonight, tonight/Won’t be just any night…as he drove Maya and him towards McKinley Road.
Richard and Maya went inside the parking basement of an upscale building in BGC, an hour later. After parking the car, Richard led Maya to a private elevator. It led to the penthouse unit of the building. Maya had a pretty good idea now where they were going. Richard led Maya next to a big door on the left.
“Sweetheart! Welcome to my place.” Richard said when he opened the door, then turned on the lights.
“Sabi ko na nga ba, dito tayo pupunta!” Maya exclaimed, smiling at Richard. “Tapos na palang ayusin, Sweetheart! Have you moved back here na? Parang wala ka namang nabanggit sa akin?”
“Not yet, Sweetheart, but I hope soon! Depends on something that I’m hoping to happen.” Richard said obliquely. “Please make yourself comfortable. I will just check on our dinner.” He said leading Maya to the side of the room with a big sofa by the floor-to-ceiling window.
Maya looked around after Richard disappeared towards the direction of what she presumed is the kitchen. It was then that she noticed that the unit is sparsely furnished and decorated. Aside from the sofa she was sitting on, the only furnitures are the floor lamp on the side, then a big coffee table in front of her.
“Hmmm, mukhang hindi pa talaga tapos i-decorate ni Ricky itong unit niya.” Maya thought to herself.
Several minutes after, Richard came back. He grinned at Maya. “Come, Sweetheart, let’s eat first!”
Richard led Maya to the door he disappeared to earlier, which led not to the kitchen as she had presumed, but to a beautiful dining area, even if like the living room, it was sparsely decorated too. The table is beautifully set for two. The magnificent view from the floor-to-ceiling windows providing a nice backdrop to the table set-up.
“Wow, this is very nice! How did you accomplish this in such a short time?” Maya asked amazed, when she saw all the mouth-watering food on the table and the beautiful decorations, with a vase of sunflowers in the middle.
“Hmmm, after I left you earlier until the time I picked you up, I worked on this. My cousin Rafi helped with the food. She asked a friend who is a well-known restaurateur to make the food and her staff set it up here before we arrived.” Richard explained.
“I would like to meet that cousin of yours na soon!” Maya said happily, giving Richard a quick kiss. “She seems a very nice cousin.”
“Yes, she is. Para ko na iyong younger sister. I told her about you na. Saka noong una pa lang, alam na niya kaagad that I liked you a lot, that I love you. I’m sure she will tell you about it. Magkakasundo kayo noon.” Richard said, smiling. “Bayaan mo Sweetheart, you will meet her soon.”
Richard pulled the chair for Maya, then insisted to Maya that he will do everything that evening as part of his birthday treat to her.
“Happy birthday, Sweetheart!” Richard offered a toast to Maya with the wine that goes with their dinner before they eat. “I love you!”
“Thank you, Ricky. I’m having the best birthday ever because of you. My heart feels like it will burst from sheer happiness these days, and it is because of you.” Maya smiled and looked lovingly at her wonderful boyfriend. “I love you very much.”
Maya and Richard enjoyed their dinner very much. Rafi’s friend Rina lived up to her reputation as one of the best chef in Metro Manila. Both of them laughed and groaned at the end of their meal, as their tummies were so full they can barely move.
“Coffee and dessert, Sweetheart?’ Richard asked Maya after they finished the last of the wine. “Rina, also included her special flourless cake with the food she sent.”
“Oh, sweetheart, I can’t na, for now! Coffee na lang siguro. My stomach is groaning na from too much food. That was the best dinner I tasted.” Maya said.
“Me, too, Sweetheart! Okay, coffee is coming up. Why don’t you go to the sofa in the living room, and wait for me there.” Richard suggested. “That side of the place has a better view than this one actually! It is very relaxing. That is the reason why I put the sofa there. It is my favorite spot.”
Maya went to the sofa as Richard told her. Since it was facing the floor-to-ceiling window, Maya can see the whole city and beyond from it. Richard is right. The lights looked like fireflies twinkling in the night. Or maybe, those are fairies’ lights! She smiled at her thoughts. Maya Angela Dela Rosa, you and your flight of fancy. She just feel so happy and content at that moment. Life couldn’t have been better, so she had thought, not knowing yet what else Richard had planned for the evening.
“Wonderful view, Sweetheart, isn’t it? This was Rafi’s side of the place. Mine was the dining room side.” Richard told Maya as he put two steaming cups of coffee on the big coffee table. “Coffee!” He handed Maya a cup of coffee.
“Thank you, Sweetheart! Ikaw? “Maya asked Richard as she accepted the cup from him. “And you are right about the view,” she added.
“Here, I’m okay na!” Richard said, pointing to the cup he is holding as he sat down beside Maya.
“This is certainly a huge place, Ricky!” Maya remarked after a couple of minutes of a very companionable silence between them, enjoying the view and each other company as they sipped their coffee.
“Yes, it is!” Richard remarked. He gazed at Maya and marvels at how he loves this beautiful, wonderful lady. How lucky he is to have her love too! The moment was just right for what he had set out to do that evening. He took a big gulp of his coffee to fortify himself. “Share this place with me? Live with me, for always.” He said softly.
“W-w-what!” Maya asked, staring at Ricky with a very surprised expression, not sure what he meant by that. She also almost dropped her cup of coffee in the process.
Richard put down the cup of coffee he was holding, then gazed at Maya, the love for her all over his handsome face. He took hold of her now very cold hands, kissed them. Then, he stood up, got something from the pocket. He knelt down on one knee before her, holding a very beautiful platinum ring, intricately decorated with multi-colored gems shaped like a butterfly.
“Marry me please, Maya Angela Dela Rosa! Make this place a home, not only for the two of us, but for all the children we would have, God willing!” Richard said with all the love he was feeling at that moment. “There is no one I want to share my life with, but you.”
Maya just stared at Richard, trying to absorb what he said above the buzzing she was starting to feel, and the loud thump. thump of her now overworked heart.
“Maya…? Richard said as he continued looking at her lovingly.
“R-r-ricky!….Then she too knelt down, held his face tenderly. “Yes!” She finally managed to say.
Richard heaved a sigh of relief upon hearing her reply. He grinned. He actually felt like jumping from the sheer joy of knowing that Maya just agreed to be his wife! He slowly put the ring on Maya’s finger, then kissed her hand lovingly. “Thank you Maya. I thought you will not say yes!”
“Kasi naman ikaw, binigla mo ako! I never thought that you will propose this evening! May pinaplano ka pa lang ganito.” Maya smiled at Richard, very happy. Now she understand the feeling of unexplained excitement she was feeling earlier. Something unexpected and wonderful was going to happened pala, had happened! “This is really the best birthday ever. Thank you for this very beautiful ring. May katerno pala itong necklace na ibinigay mo akin.”
“I have been planning this for a while, Sweetheart. The ring was the reason I went to the jeweller, then I also saw the necklace. Naghihintay lang ako ng right opportunity this evening to propose to you. I got nervous kaya when you didn’t reply promptly. I thought baka nabigla ka or hindi pa ready.” Richard said happily.
Then cupping Maya’s face, Richard said, “Sweetheart, we may not know each other that long, and our relationship is still new, but there is one thing I’m sure of in that short span of time, I am sure that you are the one I want to spend the rest of my life with, the one I want to be with in filling this place with happiness and the laughter of the kids we will have. You are the only one I want to be my love for always. I love you much.”
“Oh Sweetheart, what can I say! I’m at a lost for words, for someone in Communications! What I’m feeling at the moment is indescribable. I have no words except to say that I feel the same, ever since I met you. The more I got to know you, the more I became sure that you are the only one I want to be with. Ikaw lang.” Maya replied lovingly.
“Wala naman sa haba ng pagkakilala natin iyon, kundi kung ano ang nandito.” Maya added, pointing at her heart. “I love you with all of my heart, with all of me!”
Maya and Richard looked at each other with all the love they are feeling. They angled their faces for a kiss. They sealed their engagement with a very long kiss.
‘I did it my wayyyyy’
“Wow, iba na talaga ang in loveeee!” Emman teased Maya after she finished her second love song for the evening. “Feel na feel ang mga love song!”
“Hahahaha, ikaw talaga Emman.” Maya laughed, then handed the microphone to Emman. “Here, it’s your turn na. Kantahin mo na ang national anthem mo!”
Emman started belting out his favorite song ‘I Will Survive’ with matching dance moves. He was followed by Minerva and her ‘Dancing Queen’ anthem, Annie with her ‘Girl On Fire’, then Wilson, Jenny, Melanie, Jason, Francis, Annie and the others, followed soon, one after the other, sometimes in duets. Richard the messenger whom Richard asked Emman to invite sang ‘My Way’, with Emman teasing him about that song being ‘deadly’ as it has been known to cause videoke brawls!
Everyone was having fun and getting merrier because of the beer, other alcoholic drinks, and cocktails they started drinking after their dinner. Maya’s cocktail of choice was Long Island Iced Tea. She noticed Emman drinking it. She sipped a taste, liking it better instead of the SanMig Light and Tanduay Ice on the table, ordered it too. By the their third and final hour in the KTV Bar, Maya was into her third glass of Long Island Iced Tea. It tasted so good, as it tasted like real iced tea! She never noticed that she has already down two and into her third one by the close of the night.
Before the evening ended, she got the microphone, and asked her staff to sing ‘Top of the World’ with her. Since everyone was tipsy, they had a rousing rendition of the song.
I’m on the top of the world lookin’ down on creation
And the only explanation I can find
Is the love that I’ve found ever since you’ve been around
Your love’s put me at the top of the world
“Thank you guys for the best birthday ever!” May said after they hit the last note, everyone shouting it out in merriment. Then she saw Richard standing by the door of the room, clapping at them. “And thank you, my dearest Sweetheart for this unforgettable birthday! I love you very much, you know!”
“Thank you Atty. Richard! We love you too!” Everyone chorused after Maya.
Richard grinned at them. It looked like everyone is tipsy, well probably close to being drunk, including his lovely girlfriend! He was glad that they had so much fun. He came up several minutes before Maya and her colleagues’ allotted time was finished to settle the bill, and see how they are.
“I’m glad you had fun everyone. Now, the coaster will take you all home. Just tell the driver where you live.” Richard said, which surprised Maya, at how thoughtful, generous and considerate Richard have been, all for her birthday, and for the love of her. He even thought of a transportation for her staff. She was very touched and feel so loved by him.
“Sweetheart, you are the best!” Maya whispered at Richard while they were waving goodbye to her colleagues, feeling so overwhelmed with the love she was feeling for this wonderful guy, hugging him by the side.
Richard just smiled. Then he led back Maya to the car. As soon as Maya sat and was about to fasten her seatbelt, the effects of three glasses of Long Island Iced Tea kicked in. She leaned against the headrest.
“Ricky, I feel very dizzy!” Maya told Richard, trying to fight off the dizziness that hit her all of a sudden.
“Oh, Sweetheart! Maybe, you had too much to drink. Did you eat a lot before you started drinking? Did you drink water in between, and lastly, what did you drink and how much?” Richard asked, one question after the other, touching Maya’s face at the same time.
“I ate some of the pica-pica food and that’s it. I was not very hungry so I didn’t eat a full dinner like everyone did. Oh, and I didn’t drink water. I forgot in all the fun. I just took sips of my Long Island Iced Tea!” Maya said as she closed her eyes a bit. “I had three of that, I think. It tasted so good, parang iced tea lang. What’s in it na nga ba?”
“Sweetheart, the fact that you can’t taste all the alcohol mixtures, means it is very good and very strong since to tend to drink more of it. It has gin, rum, vodka, triple sec, tequila, sour mix, and cola normally! And you had three with no water to dilute the effect in between!” Richard said. No wonder, Maya is feeling very dizzy. Coupled with her low tolerance for alcohol, like the time they went to dinner and she blurted out that he was the one making her heart beat faster. Richard smiled, remembering that.
“Basta, Sweetheart, masarap siya!” It was all Maya managed to say. “Arrggh, everything is swirling around.”
“Sweetheart, okay, don’t panic. You will be okay. Just focus on something. Wait here, I will get you a bottle of water.” Richard went back to the KTV and bought Maya two big bottles of water. He gave it to her and ask her to drink slowly.
“Okay, I will drive carefully.” Richard promised. “Just rest and focus, okay.”
Maya just nodded. The next time Richard checked on Maya, she was sleeping. Since she looked okay that way, he just let her sleep.
“Maya, sweetheart, we are here.” Richard said when they arrived at Maya’s gate. He tried to rouse her, but she didn’t wake up. He was reluctant to ring the bell as it was already around one o’clock in the morning. “Where are your house keys?”
Maya just muttered, “bag pocket” and then burrowed more into her corner of the car.
Richard looked for the keys in Maya’s bag. Thank God, Maya is very organized! He found them in the pocket of her bag. He opened the gate, then decided to carry a sleeping Maya inside the house. He locked his car, then the gate after him. He had a hard time opening the front door, but eventually he managed to do it.
“Sweetheart, where is your room?” Richard asked when he saw that there are four rooms on the second floor of the house.
Maya finally opened her still sleepy eyes, then pointed to the room at the end of the house. Then she closed her eyes again.
Richard opened the door to Maya’s room and placed her on the bed. He removed her shoes to make her more comfortable. He was debating whether to call Manang Fe, when Maya groaned from the bed and complained that she is feeling very dizzy. Richard gave her water.
“Ricky, don’t leave me please. The room is spinning.” Maya moaned, waking up a bit.
“Okay, keep calm, Sweetheart. You just need to ride the effect of the alcohol. Drink more water, here.” Richard held Maya’s head as he guided her to the water bottle.
“I want to sleep. So sleepy, Sweetheart! I don’t want to puke.” Maya said half-coherently. “Don’t leave me, please. Stay with me.”
“Okay, Sweetheart. I will just be here.” Richard promised. He also made Maya more comfortable by loosening her clothes, pulled the comforter over them, then cradled her in his arms, until he heard her light snoring. “My poor, Sweetheart!” He gave her a light kiss on the forehead, then gently combed her hair using his fingers, which seemed to relax her, and made her settled more into sleep.
Richard made himself comfortable by removing his dress shirt, placing it on the nearby chair he saw. He went back to bed, checked on Maya and when he heard that she was snoring lightly, he settled in for the night. At the back of his mind, he is planning to wake up early so he can let Manang Fe know that he stayed the night because Maya got sick. Several hours later, he woke up with a start.
Maya also started moving, then she opened her eyes and saw him on the bed with her!
“Ricky, what are you doing here?” Maya asked surprised. She sat up, and felt the pounding of her head! “Owww…..”
“Good morning, Sweetheart!” Richard grinned. “I will not ask if you are okay. Wait I will get you something to relieve the hangover you are probably feeling.”
“You slept here? What happened?” Maya asked. She had a vague recollection of what happened, like she just dreamt it. She looked at Richard and herself, and saw that they are both still wearing the clothes they had when they went to work the day before. Well, sort of. Her clothes were loosen up. While Richard, on the other hand, was just wearing his white inner t-shirt, and his dress shirt was on the back of the chair near her study stable. He was wearing his khaki pants, though.
Richard saw what Maya did and grinned, guessing the direction of her thoughts. “Sweetheart, nothing happened! You didn’t take advantage of me last night.” He teased her.
Maya blushed.”Ha, wala naman akong sinasabi ah.”
“Ha, Maya Dela Rosa, I saw you checking kaya. See, heto pa rin ang suot nating clothes. Saka, my Sweetheart, when it happens, we will both know it.” He teased again.
“Rickyyyyy, enough na kaya!” Maya said turning bright red. “Ano ba talaga ang nangyari? May ginawa ba akong super embarassing?”
Richard smiled, then cupped Maya’s chin. “Wala naman, Ms. Maya Dela Rosa. I just think you just had too much to drink. Sabi mo sa akin kagabi, nakailang Long Island Iced Tea ka. Tapos you felt dizzy and ayaw mo na iwan kita. Not that I would leave you naman in that condition. How’s your head? Sandali, I will get my sure cure for hangover from the car.”
“Sorry for that Sweetheart! My head is pounding and my stomach feels queasy.” Maya said, still embarrassed. “Thank you for staying with me. I kinda remember everything now.”
“Don’t be, Sweetheart. The important thing is you had fun on our birthday!” Richard lovingly! “Dito ka na lang muna. Ako na ang bahala also na mag-explain kay Manang Fe. I’m sure she had seen my car parked outside.”
“Oh!” Maya just remembered Manang Fe. “Okay. Thank you again, Sweetheart. You are the best.”
Richard smiled, gave her a quick kiss on the lips, then, he went down to the kitchen.
“Good morning, Manang Fe!” He greeted the old lady, who was then preparing breakfast.
“Good morning Richard!” Manang Fe asked. She had seen Richard’s car outside but she thought that Richard just arrived early. “Nasaan si Maya? Hindi ko na nga namalayang dumating ang batang iyon.”
“Manang, nasa room pa po siya. Medyo nalasing po siya from the party last night. Kukuha nga po ako ng gamot sa car for her.” Richard said. He was about to say to Manang Fe that he stayed the night, when the old lady suddenly asked.
“Dito ka ba natulog, Richard?” Manang Fe asked as she finally noticed his crumpled clothes.
“Yes po, Manang Fe. Binantayan ko po si Maya kasi she felt very dizzy last night. Hindi ko na po kayo ginising kasi medyo gabi na. Don’t worry po, Manang, binantayan ko lang siya talaga.”
“Hijo, tiwala naman ako sa iyo.” Manang Fe assured Richard, getting what he meant.”O siya, kunin mo na ang gamot. Maghahanda rin ako ng breakfast for you and Maya. Maluluto na ito.”
“Maraming salamat po sa tiwala, Manang Fe. Kung pwede po, juice, toast bread and water po ang ihanda niyo for Maya.” Richard suggested. “Kunin ko lang po ang baking soda ko sa car.”
“Baking soda? Meron noon dito sa kusina!” Manang Fe said.
Richard smiled. “Tablets po ito, Manang. Sodium bicarbonate tablet po ito. Inirekomenda sa akin ito dati ng friend ko nang minsan nagkainuman kami at maraming nainom. Ako na nga po pala ang magdadala ng breakfast ni Maya.”
Richard got the medicine, then took the tray that Manang Fe handed to him when he returned to the house. He knocked on Maya’s door, and a freshly showered Maya opened the door. She looks so lovely even devoid of make-up.
“Sweetheart, wow! Pati breakfast! Thank you very much. You are so sweet. The best boyfriend ever.” Maya said smiling, then ushered Richard in, taking the tray from him.
“Of course naman, Sweetheart. Eat ka na and then take two of these. Quesy pa ba ang tummy mo?” Richard asked.
“Slight na lang. Nakatulong ang shower. Halika, mag-breakfast na tayo.” Maya said. Manang Fe, included food not only for Maya, but for Richard in the tray.
Maya led Richard to a side door in her room, that led to a back veranda, overlooking a bigger garden than the one in front of the house, this one not visible from the road side. She put the tray on the coffee table in the veranda. Richard pulled the seat for Maya and she started serving breakfast.
“It’s so quiet and nice here.” Richard remarked. “I really like your gardens. Manang Fe told me that you did most of the gardening.”
“Yes, I like doing it during my free time. Nakakatanggal ng stress!” Maya said as she poured a cup of coffee for Richard. “What’s our plan for later?”
Richard smiled mysteriously and mischievously. “Hmmm, secret.”
“Ricky, surprise again! Isang buong araw akong hindi mapapakali niyan.” Maya pouted prettily.
“Basta, Maya. Huwag na kasing makulit, Sweetheart.” Richard said. “Kain na lang tayo.”
“Okay, sige na nga, surprise me.” Maya finally said. She know Richard will not tell her, anyway.
The two of them had a leisurely and very enjoyable breakfast. Maya took the baking soda and Ricky was right. It relieved her upset stomach after a while.
“Maya, I’ll get going na. I’ll pick you up, later, Sweetheart.” Richard said as he and Maya stood up in front of the Dela Rosa’s gate.
“Okay, Sweatheart! See you later. Looking forward to our evening together.” Maya said then gave Richard a quick kiss on the lips. “I love you. Drive carefully!”
“I love you too. I hope you will like my surprise!” Richard said, smiling happily at Maya. He made a final wave, then drove off, leaving Maya puzzling what it could be, but knowing Richard, she know that he is planning something she will not forget.
Maya was right, Richard is planning something extra special that night. When he arrived home, he just took a quick shower, said a quick hello to Donya Esmeralda and then set off again as he still have a couple of things to do for his and Maya’s special evening.
Happy Birthday, Sweetheart!
“Happy Birthday, Sweetheart!” Richard greeted Maya as soon as she opened the gate after he rang, the morning of her birthday, which fell on a Friday and a work day. He gave her a quick kiss on the lips, then he handed her a big bouquet of sunflowers and a box wrapped in purple paper with pink ribbons.
“Thank you very much, Sweetheart!” Maya said grinning. “Hmmm, what’s this?” She asked, shaking the box a little bit, curious as always.
“Hmmm, just something I think you would like!” Richard said happily. He hopes Maya will like his gift. He is really grateful to his cousin Rafi who is a wiz at ordering stuffs online.
“I’m sure I will like it. Galing kaya ito sa iyo, so kahit ano pa ito, I will treasure it very much.” Maya said, looking lovingly at Richard.“I will open it in the car, ha. Let’s go na after I’ve put the flowers in the house, so we have all the time to eat breakfast before our meeting with the other executives and your Papa.”
Maya went back to the house quickly and handed the flowers to Manang Fe. She was back outside after a minute or two.
“Okay, let’s go.” Richard opened the door for Maya and when she was settled in, he went to the driver’s side of the car.
Maya fastened her seat belt and when they were on their way out of the village, opened Richard’s present. She had a huge grin on her face when she saw what was inside.
“OMG, Ricky, thank you very much for this!!!” Maya was holding the latest e-book reader from Amazon, the one with the built-in light and has more advance features for easier reading. She had been meaning to get this one, but decided to wait out a little bit. “Now, I can read in the dark! How did you manage to get one so fast?”
“I have to thank Rafi for that. She ordered it online, then shipped it to a cargo forwarding company in the States, and then I picked it up from their office here.” Richard said. “I thought nga na baka hindi makaabot sa birthday mo. I know how you love to read kaya I wanted to give you one.”
“Thank you again, Sweetheart.” Maya said happily, then good thing, they were waiting for the light to turn green, she gave Richard a quick kiss on the lips. “I love you very much.” This is her first birthday that she will be celebrating with her boyfriend, with Richard the man she loves very much and she just feel so full of happiness.
“I love you too! Anything to make you happy, Maya. I will do.” Richard said sweetly.
They gazed at each other, getting lost in their world. But the honking of the cars behind them pulled them back to the real world. They have been holding the traffic for the light has already turned green several seconds ago!
Like what they have been doing the past two weeks that they have been traveling to work together, Richard and Maya chatted nonstop on the way to Ortigas from Makati. Maya gave up driving herself to work as most days, she ended up leaving her car at her parking slot in LC. Richard was very happy with her decision. He likes traveling to work with her and going home with her. Luckily, their schedules mesh. Most of the time, they ate dinner somewhere, or in some instances at Maya’s house.
Since that lunch in Richard’s office, the week before, their relationship has gotten stronger and deeper. Maya also met Donya Esmeralda and Don Roberto as their son’s girlfriend two days after that. Richard and Maya went to dinner at the Lim family house in Dasmarinas. Maya felt nervous when they arrived, but whatever nervousness and self-consciousness she was feeling was vanished by Donya Esmeralda’s exuberance. Maya was welcome very warmly, not only by Richard’s mother, but also his father, her boss. Both of them insisted that she calls them Tita Esmeralda and Tito Roberto.
When Donya Esmeralda found out that Teresita Dela Rosa was in Manila at that time, she asked for her number and the two of them went to lunch the following day, while Maya’s father was meeting with the owners of the restaurant who are interested in sourcing their fresh, organic food requirements from the Dela Rosa Farm. The two mothers had a wonderful time apparently as both Richard and Maya heard a lot about it.
The day before Maya’s parents returned to Mindoro, they invited Richard to dinner. Richard got to know Maya’s parents better. Manang Fe was also back by then, and like Maya predicted, she very happy when she found out that Richard is now Maya’s boyfriend.
Through Skype, Maya also introduced Richard to her Ate Cris, her brother-in-law Jeffrey, and their son Pocholo. Cris teased her sister about making Cho the ring bearer at her wedding. Maya blushed as Richard was beside her at that time. Richard told Cris that her son will make a very cute ring bearer. Then teased Cris about making sure her sister will say yes when he proposes. Maya elbowed him, but inside, she was thrilled with the idea of her and Richard together forever. She loves him so much. Life couldn’t be better! She is sure that Richard is the only one she wants to spend the rest of her life with.
Maya’s phone rang while they were approaching Boni.
“Maya, anak, happy, happy birthday!” Mommy Tere said. “I will put the phone on speaker ha. Wait ka lang, may iba pang maggi-greet sa iyo.”
“Thank you Mom.” Maya said smiling.
“Maya, anak, happy birhday!”….
“Bunso, happy birthday!”….
“Tita Maya, happy birthday po!”….
“Maya, happy birthday sa iyo!”….
“Wow, kumpleto kayo!” Maya said happily, looking at Richard, then she thanked her family. “Maraming salamat po, Mom, Dad, Ate Cris, cute na cute na pamangkin ko, Cho, and sa iyo rin Kuya Jeffrey.”
Richard gestured to Maya that she should say hello from him.
“Hello din daw po sa inyong lahat, sabi ni Ricky. Papasok na po kami sa office.” Maya said.
Everyone in San Nicolas said hello back to Richard. They chatted a bit, then said goodbye.
“Maya, anak, enjoy your special day ha. I’m sure you and Richard have plans.” Mommy Tere said. “Sayang, hindi na namin nahintay ng Dad mo ang birthday mo!”
“Thank you again, Mom.” Maya said. “Okay lang po iyon! Alam ko naman po na kailangan niyong bumalik ng San Nicolas kaagad.”
“O sige, enjoy anak ha. I love you. Sabihin mo kay Richard drive carefully.” Mommy Tere said.
“Bye, Mom, Dad, Ate Cris, Kuya Jeffrey and Cho! Thank you again and see you all next month!” Maya said. She going home to San Nicolas for her parents wedding anniversary. “Bye din daw po sabi ni Richard.”
When Maya finished the call, she grinned at Richard. “Sweetheart, I’m having the best birthday ever. With you here, with me celebrating it, and then my family greeting me en masse!”
“I’m glad, Sweetheart. This is will be a birthday to remember, I will make sure!” Richard remarked, but didn’t elaborate. “Uuwi ka pala sa Mindoro next month?” He asked instead.
“Yes, 35th wedding anniversary nina Mom and Dad! They will renew their vows. They were not able to do it before. Now that they are both retired, they decided it is a good time to do so, with all the blessings that came their way, and their marriage as strong as ever.” Maya said. “Would you like to go with me?”
“Wow, 35! Amazing, isn’t it? My parents did that during their 25th.” Richard said, then added, “I want something like that with you, Sweetheart, and more.” Then he took Maya’s hand and kissed it. “And yes, I would like to go with you, please.”
Maya’s heart went aflutter with that statement. It is what she wants too. She smiled at Richard, not sure how to read his statement. She decided to let it pass for now. “It will be towards the end of the next month. I will remind you na lang.”
“Great. Looking forward to seeing San Nicolas!” Richard said.
Soon, they have arrived at their office. Richard parked his car in the usual slot, then he and Maya went to the deli on the ground floor and had breakfast. One hour later, with hands intertwined, they rode the elevator to their floors. By now, everyone in LC knows that their chief lawyer and the beautiful communications officer are in a relationship. Richard carried Maya’s stuffs up to her office.
“Happy birthday Ms. Maya! Good morning Atty Lim”…..
“Happy birthday po, Ma’am! Hello, Sir Richard!”….
Maya’s staff greeted her and Richard, one after the other, when they entered her department. By this time, Richard is also a familiar sight there. Minerva and Emman being the number one fans of their ‘love team’. Maya thanked them and Richard said hello to everyone with his usual charming smile.
“I’ll see you in an hour in the boardroom, Sweetheart.” Richard said, giving Maya a quick kiss before he left.
“See you Sweetheart.” Maya said. “Thank you again.”
Maya’s phone rang again after Richard closed the door.
“Hello Tita Esmeralda, good morning po.” Maya greeted Richard’s mother.
“Good morning Maya! Happy birthday hija, from Roberto and I! I hope you will have a great celebration. I’m sure it will be with Ricky.” Donya Esmeralda said smiling.
“Thank you very much po, Tita Esmeralda.” Maya said smiling. “Baka po we will eat dinner na lang. Hindi naman po ako ma-celebrate. I will do so na lang doon sa outreach program namin nina Richard.”
“Oh, the one you mentioned over dinner. That’s a good idea actually! Basta, ask your friend if there is something our foundation can to do help ha.” Donya Esmeralda offered again.
“I will po. Thank you po again, Tita Esmeralda.”
“O sige, hija. Hindi na kita aabalahin pa. Nasa office ka na ba?”
“Yes po. More than an hour ago po kami nakarating dito ni Ricky. Kalalabas nga lang po niya ng office ko.” Maya replied. “Have a nice day po!”
Maya grinned when she finally managed to sit down on her desk. The best birthday ever! Richard is the best birthday gift ever from God! She never thought she would suddenly find herself with a boyfriend so soon after shifting careers, but being in love is the best feeling ever! Se is looking forward to her evening with Richard, celebrating her birthday with him.
Unbeknown to Maya, Richard was cooking something else for her birthday. On the way out of her department, Richard stopped by Emman’s cubicle.
“Emman, good morning!” He greeted Maya’s staff and friend with a big smile.
“Good morning, Atty. Richard!” Emman greeted. “Parang naubos na naman yata ang mga sunflower sa suking florist ni Liza ah.” He teased.
“Ikaw talaga, Emman. Hindi naman masyado, hahahaha.” Richard laughed, then asked, “Are we set for this evening?”
“Yes, Sir, okay na okay na ang lahat.” Emman said.
“Great! Thanks Emman, I want Maya to have the best birthday ever. See you later.” Richard said.
“See you, Sir Richard.” Emman said. “Thank you again, too.” Richard asked Emman to call him Richard, but he is more comfortable calling him Atty. Richard or Sir Richard, being the son of their boss, and from what he heard, the future CEO of LC. But he is very happy for him and Maya. He is so glad her friend had found true love. Hay, siya kailan? Emman mused.
Richard left Maya’s office with a big, excited grin. He is so looking forward to seeing Maya’s expression this evening. He made the plan with Emman after he overheard him and Minerva discussing their birthday treat for Maya. The two of them didn’t see him when they entered the elevator from their floor one day. He heard them talking about giving Maya a surprise birthday treat since it is her first birthday in LC, something I long the lines of her plan for the staff and her. They were discussing on how best to execute it without her knowing. Tamang-tama they said, it will be on a Friday. However, Emman mentioned that Maya may have a plan already with Atty. Lim on that day. When they got off from the elevator, he called them and offered to help if it was okay with them, sort of, part of his birthday treat to Maya too.
Thirty minutes after Richard left Maya’s office, Minerva knocked on Maya’s door.
“Ms. Maya, happy birthday po! Delivery po pala para sa inyo, galing sa mga executive!” Minerva said carrying a big arrangements of sunflowers into her office.
“Oh! Wow, how beautiful!” Maya admired the flowers and then smiled, remembering how Richard’s secretary wheedled out from Emman what her favorite flower is. “Thank you Minerva, pakilagay na lang please doon sa coffee table. But may I have the card please.”
Minerva handed Maya the card and left the office. Maya smiled and was touched with the message from Roberto Lim and the other executives, but laughed when she saw how Richard signed in his greetings. She felt warm and giddy. She hoped he was the last one to sign it. She thought, still smiling.
Maya thanked everyone when she met them at the meeting more than an hour later. Richard sat beside her when he arrived instead of his usual place apparently and they got teased a bit. They smiled at their fellow officers and gazed at each other before focusing on the meeting. After the meeting, she teased him about the way he signed the card. And yes, he told her, he was the last one to do so, but for sure the staff handling the birthday flowers saw what he had put, he addded with a grin.
The day passed like a blur. Maya had a quick lunch and coffee with Richard as both of them have urgent matters to finish that afternoon. They wanted to leave earlier than usual for their birthday date, so they cut short their lunch hour. When Maya was about to leave for her date with Richard, she noticed that there was not a single person left in her department. Strange! Normally, some stayed a little longer even if it was beyond office hours. But she shrugged it off, thinking that being a Friday night, maybe, they have gimiks.
Rchard and Maya met at the lobby as usual, then proceeded to the basement parking.
“Saan tayo pupunta, Ricky?” Maya asked as they were driving towards the direction of Pasig.
“Hmmm, diyan lang sa may Kapitolyo.” Richard said but didn’t elaborate. He just smiled at Maya.
Several minutes after, they entered the parking lot of a hotel in the area.
“Hotel? What are we going to do in a hotel? This is where we will have dinner?” Maya asked curiously.
“Basta, Maya! Ikaw talaga, ang kulit.” Richard teased her. He parked the car. But before he got out, he got something from his side of the car. “For you!” He said, handling her a long, flat box.
Maya was surprised, then asked, “What’s this? Di ba binigyan mo na ako ng birthday gift kanina?”
“Just open it Sweetheart, please.” Richard prodded.
Maya slowly opened the long velvet box and out came a beautiful necklace made of white gold and has an intricate butterfly pendant made of different colorful stones.
“You told me you like butterflies so I thought you might like this when I saw this at Mama’s friend’s jewelry shop when I was looking for a gift for you.” Richard said, then got the necklace from Maya, and put it around her neck.
“Ricky, thank you for this. This is so beautiful.” Maya said, touching the necklace. “You are spoiling me too much. I will treasure this very much!”
“Maya, this is your first birthday you are celebrating with me and I want it to be extra special.” Richard replied. “I love you and seeing you very happy makes me very happy too.”
“You are the best boyfriend ever!” Maya touched Richard’s face lovingly. “I love you.” Then she lowered her lips to his and gave him a loving kiss. Richard returned the kiss, which turned into several kisses. They were both breathless when they parted. They grinned at each other.
“Come, Sweetheart, let’s go.” Richard said after a while. He got out of the car, opened the door for Maya, then he led her to a glass door at the edge of the parking lot. The glass door opened into the reception area of a KTV Bar.
“Good evening, I have a reservation under Richard Lim.” Richard told the receptionist.
“Good evening po, Mr. Lim.” The receptionist said with a big, friendly smile. “Doon po sa dulo iyong room niyo, Sir. Samahan na po kayo ni Greg.”
“Sweetheart, ano ba talaga ang gagawin natin nito. Dalawa tayong magbi-videoke?” Maya asked.
Richard just smiled, then still holding Maya’s hand, followed the waiter, who opened the door of the room.
“HAPPY BIRTHDAY, MA’AM MAYA!”
Everyone shouted when the waiter turned on the lights.
“OMG, nandito kayong lahat! Kaya pala nawalan ng tao kaagad sa department natin!” Maya happily said as she saw all her staff inside the big KTV room decorated in different coloured-balloons and a banner greeting her happy birthday. On the tables in the middle were a lot of food and drinks.
“Siyempre naman, Sis! Matagal-tagal na rin nating pinagpla-planuhan na gawin natin ito, one time, di ba? Bonding-bonding din!” Emman said from behind the group, then went to kiss Maya. “Happy birthday, Maya!”
“Thank you, Emman.” Then looked at all her staff. “Thank you rin sa inyong lahat, Kumpleto tayo.” She said, touched and so very happy that they are all here, for her, celebrating her birthday.
“Mag-thank you ka rin kay guwapong-guwapong Atty. Richard, he is the one who made this possible!” Emman said, teasing Richard in the process.
“Really, Sweetheart!” Maya looked at Richard with a big smile, then whispered to him. “Kaya pala pa-mysterious ka kanina ha. Paano?”
“It’s a long story, Sweetheart.” Richard grinned. “This is my other gift to you. Enjoy the night with your colleagues.”
“Thank you very much, Sweetheart.” Maya gave Richard a kiss on the cheek. “Come, let’s enjoy the night with them.”
“No, Sweetheart, this is your night with them. Enjoy. Ours is tomorrow.” Richard said. “Para sa iyo at sa mga staff mo ito. Emman and Minerva said matagal niyo na itong gustong gawin. I will wait for your downstairs!”
“Stay na lang here, Sweetheart. I don’t think they will mind.” Then, Maya teased Richard. “Ayaw mo ba akong marinig kumanta.”
“Eh kaya nga ayaw kong mag-stay!” Richard bantered back, which earned him a pinch from Maya. “Ouch, Sweetheart, biro lang!”
“Sama mo, sweetheart! Maganda kaya ang boses ko.” Maya said, pouting prettily. “Baka, takot ka lang mapakanta!”
Richard laughted, then whispered to Maya, “Consider this also as part of your team building and bonding with your team! Bumawi ka na lang sa akin bukas sa dinner nating dalawa! Doon, solo na talaga kita.” He added with a teasing, mischievous smile.
“Hmmm, and what do you mean by that, Atty Lim?” Maya asked with a smile, then seriously, she said, “Okay sige, I understand what you mean about me and my staff. Thank you very much again for this. I love you. I will see you later.”
Richard said goodbye to everyone and told them to enjoy the night. He told Maya he will just be at the coffee shop near the lobby, waiting for her. He brought an iPad with him and also some work so for sure, he has plenty to do.
Maya gave him a bright, loving smile and told him that she will see him later. She and her staff, then proceeded to enjoy the night.
“Good morning Sir Richard!” Liza greeted Richard with a big smile, as soon as he entered his office after dropping Maya off at the entrance of her office two floors below.
“Good morning Liza! Do I have anything urgent this morning?” Richard inquired, smiling and feeling at the top of the world that morning.
“Wala naman po, Sir.” Liza replied, but handed Richard a big card. “You just need to sign this birthday card. Kayo na lang po ang hindi pa nakaka-sign!”
“Sinong may birthday Liza?” It has been a tradition in LC for the executives to sign the birthday card for whoever executive or company officer has a birthday. It is included in the flowers that is sent to the birthday celebrators.
“Sir! Si Ms. Maya kaya! Even if I know, for sure, you have plans for her birthday, please sign the card na rin para kumpleto na kayong mga executive.” Liza said, smiling. She saw her boss and Maya, earlier holding hands while they walked to the elevators. She was behind them. She almost squealed with delight upon seeing them so sweet towards each other. She concluded na sila na talaga!
“Yes! She did mention that her birthday is coming up when I asked kung kailan. Give me the card.” Richard got the pen that Liza gave him, then signed his name too, together with the other executives, except that he put a heart and a smiley beside his name.
Liza laughed when she saw it. “Sir Richard, ikaw talaga. High school lang ang peg, hahahaha. Pero it’s cute naman!”
Richard laughed too, then went inside his office to start his work day. He was humming a line from a song from the ‘The King and I’…..To kiss in the sunlight/And say to the sky/“Behold and believe what you see/Behold how my lover loves me”…. when he sat on his desk to tackle his paperworks.
More than an hour later, a tall lady dressed in a figure-hugging sheath dress, parked herself in front of Liza’s desk.
“Good morning Ma’am, may I help you?” Liza inquired politely. There is something familiar with the lady which she can’t place.
“I would like to see Ricky Lim, please. Tito Patrick said this is his office now.” The lady asked, her demeanor, a bit haughty for Liza’s taste.
“I don’t recall him having an appointment with you Ms…..” Liza asked.
“I don’t have. But I’m sure, he will see me. Just tell him, Natasha Melendrez.” Natasha said, brooking no argument.
“Sandali lang po.” Liza stood up, then knocked on Richard’s door, instead of calling. While she was doing so, Liza also realized why the lady looks familiar. She is the daughter of Probo and Norma Melendrez, a close friends of the Lims, and an ex-girlfriend of Richard Lim, if what she overheard before was true.
“O Liza, bakit hindi ka na lang tumawag sa intercom.” Richard asked, seeing that Liza was not there to bring documents to him.
“Sir may naghahanap po sa inyo sa labas. Wala po siyang appointment. Si Mr. Patrick Lim daw po ang nagturo sa kanya ng office niyo.” Liza said, hesitantly.
“”Sino raw siya, Liza?” Richard asked. His uncle didn’t mention sending anyone to him when he saw him just before he entered the Legal Department.
“Ms. Natasha Melendrez daw po, Sir!” Liza said.
“Oh…” was all Richard said. He thought for a second, then said, “I guess, just send her in if I don’t have any other appointment that would get affected by it.” His Uncle Patrick has always had a soft spot, rather a blind spot, for Natasha, not knowing her true character!
“Okay po, Sir.” Liza went out of Richard’s office again and returned to Natasha Melendrez to accompany her to Richard Lim’s office.
Richard settled into his seat again, tapping his fingers on the desk, thinking what could bring Natasha to his office, five years after they parted ways. He was also wondering why she had given her maiden name when the last time he heard, it was already Ortiz. She had married one of his ex-closest friends, Nathaniel Ortiz.
“Ricky, so nice to see you.” Natasha said with a big smile when Liza ushered her into Richard’s office. She proceeded to where Richard is, then tried to give him a kiss on the lips. He deflected it, so it landed on his left cheek.
“Please have a seat Natasha.” Richard politely said, gesturing towards one of the two visitor chairs in front of his desk.
“Can we sit in the couch over there?” Natasha requested. “It is more intimate. Sitting on that visitor’s chair, I feel like I’m on a job interview.”
“Why are you here, Natasha?” Richard said, ignoring her request. He decided to cut through her phoney cheerfulness and solicitousness as if nothing bad had happened between them. “After all the things that have happened, I thought we don’t have anything else to talk about.”
“Richard, come on, Honey, you haven’t moved on from that? I regretted what I did. Isn’t it enough? Besides, Nate and I are not together anymore. Our divorce became final two months ago.”
“Please don’t call me ‘Honey’, Natasha. I haven’t been since I caught you in bed with one of my best friends, in our own bed!” Richard said calmly. “I have moved on. I don’t feel a thing anymore. I don’t care whether you and Nate are still together or not.”
“Richard, that can’t be true. You loved me. You were even willing to live in the States permanently for me. You chose me over having a place in your father’s company.” Natasha insisted. She had high hopes for this meeting. What she said was true, she regretted being unfaithful to Richard. Nate is not the person Richard is. She wants to have a second chance with Richard.
“Natasha, please! Let’s not rehash the past. I may say things you will not like to hear and which I don’t like to say to you either. Let’s just remember the happy times. The past is over and done with. Let’s leave it at that. I’m in love for the first time in my life and for me that’s what matters now.” Richard said before he could stop himself, wanting only to convince Natasha that there is no going back for them. “Besides, I did continue living in the States after we broke up and you married Nate. So, it was just not you. I’m sorry, we were not just meant to be, a big part of that was your own making.”
“Ricky…..” Natasha started, but seeing Richard’s firmed and unmoving expression, she stopped. In a way, she knew, deep inside herself that this is a futile effort anyway. She had hurt Richard in the past a lot. She was that immature and selfish. She had her chance. She just thought that she would just have another when she heard from Tito Patrick that Richard is still single and does not seem to have a girlfriend at the moment.
Natasha returned to the Philippines after her divorce became final to start anew. If not for the fact that she was pregnant with Nate’s baby, she would have not married him. Her parents insisted and rather than lose the good life she had, which her parents threatened to do, she did it. They also told her she made a big mistake when she chose Nate, by having an affair with him, over Richard. They were right. She didn’t understand why she stayed in the marriage even after she lost the baby.
Richard and Natasha stared at each other silently. Natasha, at a lost on what do to next. Richard, hoping that Natasha will leave. They had nothing to say to each other.
The door suddenly opened.
“Ricky, sweetheart, dumiretso na ako. Wala si Liza sa post niya. Sabi mo naman…..” Maya stopped when she realized that Richard is not alone. “Oh, I’m so sorry. You have a meeting. I thought it was just you since I didn’t hear a sound when I was approaching.” Maya looked at the lady sitting at Richard’s visitor’s chair. “Hello.”
Maya was about to excuse herself, when Richard got out of his chair, approached her and gave her a kiss on the lips. “Don’t go, Sweetheart. Please meet, Natasha Melendrez, daughter of Tito Probo and Tita Norma, friends of my parents.” He said by way of introduction. “Natasha, please meet my girlfriend, Maya Dela Rosa. Maya is also LC’s Head of Corporate Communications.”
Natasha took a closer look at Richard’s girlfriend. What she saw made her feel more defeated. For she saw before her a beautiful, poised her girl, her eyes shining with intelligence, looking at her with a sincere friendly expression, and looking at Richard with so much love. She swallowed hard.
“Nice to meet you, Maya.” She simply said, then to Richard, “Ricky, I will get going. Mom and I will meet for lunch. Hello to Tito Roberto and Tita Esmeralda.”
“I will, Natasha, and good luck. I hope you will find happiness too.” Richard simply said. He realized he felt tons lighter at that moment. He had forgiven Natasha a long time ago. In fact, he considered himself to have a lucky escape. Doubly so now, that he found Maya.
Maya and Richard watched Natasha walked towards the door and then closed it gently.
“Maya, let’s have an early lunch! Here at my office, if it is okay with you? I will send Liza out for food.” Richard asked. While Maya didn’t ask who Natasha is, he wanted to tell her, to clear the past completely, so to speak.
“Sure, Sweetheart! I’m free na. I just want to give this sana to you.” Maya said, then gave Ricky his favorite brew from Starbucks. “Nagpabili ako kasi kay Richard, the messenger. I didn’t realize na almost lunchtime na pala.”
They both smiled at that, remembering Maya’s wrong text message.
“Palagay ko dapat nating pasalamatan iyang si Richard Lazaro sa progress ng love story natin.” Richard teased Maya.
“Hahahaha, Sweetheart, sa palagay ko rin.” Maya said. “Teka, let me call Minerva lang to tell her I will have an early lunch. May I use your phone?”
“Sure, go I head. I will just go and see if Liza is back. I will ask her if she could order lunch for us from the restaurant downstairs.” Richard said. “What would you like?”
“Just the pasta carbonara that they have there with roast beef on the side, salad and a can of regular Coke.” Maya said. “Thank you, Sweetheart.”
Maya made her call while Richard peeked out to check if Liza is there. She saw him doing so. “Sir, may kailangan po kayo? I had to dash out earlier while you had a visitor.” Liza explained.
“Yes, sana Liza. Would you please call the restaurant downstairs and have them deliver lunch to my office for Maya and I.” Richard then told Liza what Maya wanted and told her what he would like.
“No problem, Sir! Nandiyan pala si Ms. Maya!” She remarked. At the back of her head, she realized that Maya and Natasha must have met each other if she had arrived at her boss’s office while she was away. She shrugged, thinking that it must have been okay. “Dalhin ko na lang po sa office niyo Sir, pagdating. I will just tell the restaurant manager to put it in your tab again.”
“Thanks Liza! I’m on a break na ha.” Richard said. He didn’t want to be interrupted for the next hour or so, while he talk to Maya about Natasha.
“Noted, Sir.” Liza assured her boss.
Richard returned to his office and saw Maya looking out at the view outside while waiting for him. She smiled brightly when she saw him.
“Have I told you lately that I love you very much.” Richard said as he cupped Maya’s chin and looked deep in her eyes.
Maya smiled. “Not in the last couple of hours, Atty. Lim! And I love you too.”
They shared a loving smile, then Richard lowered his lips to Maya and gave her a gentle kiss.
“Come, Sweetheart, before I get totally lost in your very kissable lips, let’s sit on the couch. I have something to tell you.” Richard took hold of Maya’s hand, interlaced it with his and gently pulled her to the couch.
“Hmmm, parang alam ko na kung tungkol saan. Is it about Natasha?” Maya asked she settled down in the crook of Richard’s right arm. “Your ex-girlfriend?”
‘“Yes, and I’m right, I was pretty sure that you will read the situation correctly.” Richard said. “How come you didn’t ask me about her as soon as she had left?”
“Well, I want you to tell me yourself.” Maya replied. “While I admit, I was curious at her sudden appearance, I also know naman that she was from your past na. Otherwise, you would have not courted me like that. I also trust you and you have not given me any reason to doubt that and the feelings you have for me.”
Richard’s heart swelled. He is so lucky to have her. He loves her so very much “Thank you for your trust, Sweetheart. I’m so lucky to have you. Despite having girlfriends before, Natasha being the most serious one from my past since I entertained the thought of marrying her, you are the only whom I feel like this, the only one I ever love.”
“Thank you for that, Ricky.” Maya cupped Richard’s face and kissed him gently. “I love you. I love you. I love you.”
Richard gazed at Maya lovingly. “And I the same! But I don’t want anything between us so I would like to tell you about Natasha.” Maya nodded. Richard took a deep breath and started speaking of the past.
“I shared an apartment with Natasha and my cousin Rafi while studying in the States. They were friends and studying designs. Both of them wanted to be fashion designers. When Rafi met Charlie and moved in with him, they eventually marry of course, Natasha and I were thrown together. Before we knew it, we were living together in the real sense of the word. She was a fun person, and that was the problem, she was like an overgrown child. She was also a party girl, refusing to grow up and accept responsibilities. While me, on the other hand, had to spend long hours studying and then finding my way in corporate America. My plan was to stay there for her as she didn’t want to live in the Philippines. I also entertained the thought of us marrying in the beginning, but was not so sure afterwards because of the way she was and me, realizing that I was not sure then if I really love her.
She used my long hours of working hard to establish a future for us, as an excuse later on, when I caught her in bed with one of my best friends who also moved to the States to study for a post graduate degree. She told me that I neglected her, and I was so caught up in my career. We parted ways and her parents, from what I heard from Mama, afterwards, pressured her to marry Nate when they found out she was pregnant with his child. Now, she came here to tell me that their divorced was final two months ago.”
“She wanted to see if she could pick up the pieces and have another chance with you!” Maya concluded on her own, understanding the situation she barged in earlier, better.
“Yes, but I told her there is no chance of that, as I already have a girlfriend and for the first time in my life, I’m in love.” Richard said looking at Maya lovingly. “There was an uneasy silence between us after that. I was hoping she would leave. Out of politeness and respect to her parents, I didn’t want to be rude, then you came in, like an angel.”
“Ricky, sweetheart, thank you for telling me. I appreciate it very much. It made me love you more. You know what? What is important to me is us, our present, and our future together if we are so lucky to have it. The past stays in the past.” Maya said.
“Sweetheart, we will have a future together. We will work on it.” Richard vowed. “We will be together in everything. Thank you for being so wonderful, for being so understanding and for trusting and believing in me.”
Richard and Maya gazed at each other with so much love on their faces, in their eyes. They both felt that their hearts will burst from too much emotions and feelings at that moment, and because they can’t help themselves, they shared another kiss. There was this overwhelming feeling to connect physically. It started as a tame one, but that was not the case several minutes after, as they were kissing heatedly, tongues duelling and mating, their faces flushed.
Before the situation completely got out of hand, the sound of a knock on the door penetrated their world. They broke apart suddenly. Richard remembered that Liza was supposed to bring in their food! Richard and Maya both tried hard to catch their breaths fast. It took Richard several minutes before he managed to open the door for Liza.
Richard and Maya had a leisurely lunch, both were very much aware that their relationship shifted to another level. It just got deeper and more wonderful! They found every excuse to touch each other, feed each other morsels of food or share a quick kiss while having lunch.
Meeting the Parents
Maya and Richard broke apart. Smiled lovingly at each other. Richard caressed Maya’s face gently. Maya did the same. There was wonder in both their expressions as if they can’t believe that they are doing this, that they are officially in a relationship, that they have been lucky enough to find each other, to love each other.
“Goodnight, Sweetheart! I’ll see you bright and early tomorrow. Don’t cook too much. I will bring pandesal and cream cheese again. We have never gotten around to eating those this morning.” Richard said.
“Okay. Good night! Drive carefully and text me when you get home.” Maya replied. “I love you.”
“I will. I love you too.” Richard gave Maya a quick kiss on the lips, and then he was off towards the direction of Dasmarinas Village.
Maya entered the house humming one of her favourite songs from My Fair Lady… “I could have danced all night, I could have danced all night…” She felt like she was floating from sheer happiness, as exhilarated and as giddy as Eliza Doolittle had been after Professor Higgins danced with her.
Manang Fe didn’t wait up for Maya this time as she had remembered to text her earlier before she went to the lobby of LC. She informed her old nanny that she will have dinner with Richard. She opened the fridge and check what she can cook for Richard the following morning. She also left a note for Manang Fe saying that she will be the one to cook breakfast.
Her phone beeped when she was putting all her stuffs on the study table in her room.
Richard: Home now, Sweetheart. Good night! I’ll dream of you.
Maya: Good night my Sweetheart! I hope it will be a good one!
Richard: I’m sure it will be!
Maya: Love you!
Richard: Love you more!
Maya and Richard had the best sleep that night.
The following morning, Donya Esmeralda was surprised to see her son going down the stairs very early again. Now, she will bet her collection of porcelain tea sets that it is not work that made her son get up very early two mornings in a row.
“Going to Maya’s again, son?” She asked as she took another sip of her morning tea while reading the newspapers.
“Errr, yes Ma! We went out to dinner last night. Kinulit ko si Maya na iwan na lang iyong car niya ulit sa LC. I drove her home.” Richard said, then kissed his mother on the cheek. “Ma, she is my girlfriend na. Sinagot na niya ako kahapon.” Richard added with a big grin.
“Oh my, oh my! Really son! I’m so happy! See, I told you, sasagutin ka ni Maya.” Donya Esmeralda was all smiles as she stood up and hugged her son. She is very happy to see Richard like this.
Donya Esmeralda never thought she will see her son this happy. Yes, Richard had relationships before and he never told her much about those. This is the first time that he was quite opened with her and had openly declared to her his love for someone. She knew then, that this is it for her son. Of course, she knew about Natasha as she is the daughter of a family friend. But that girl was bad news and she was glad that Richard didn’t end up with her.
“O kailan mo iimbitahan for dinner dito sa house si Maya, para naman makilala namin siya ng husto ng Papa mo.”
“Ma, kilala mo naman siya, more or less, and especially Papa!”
“I mean, son, as your girlfriend and my future daughter-in-law, di ba?” Donya Esmeralda said.
“Future daughter-in-law kaagad, Mama! Kasasagot nga lang sa akin!” Richard sat down beside his mother, grinning.
“Hay naku, knowing you son, I know this relationship is for keeps. Ngayon lang kaya kita nakitang ganito! And you will not tell me about it kung fling fling lang yan, and if you are not serious about this relationship. Aber, kailan ka huling nagkwento sa akin ng ganito? Never di ba?”
“Hahahaha, ikaw talaga Ma. But yes, you are right. I never felt like this before. And this is it for me and this is for keeps.I would never have told you about it if I’m not serious about this, if I’m not head over heels in love with Maya. But for now, I want Maya and I to enjoy our relationship first. Get to know each other more. Just do what couples do.” Richard said, then added, “About the dinner, I will ask her, okay.”
“Sure, son! Have you mentioned something about this to your Papa?”
“Mention something to me about what….?” Don Roberto asked from the doorway, a steaming cup of coffee in his hand, his briefcase in his other hand.
“Maaga ka rin sa office today, Roberto?” Donya Esmeralda asked as she gave her husband a kiss on the cheek.
“Yes, I need to meet with some people from our subsidiary that is having a problem. Ricky knows about this. James Ventura will be with me in this meeting.” Don Roberto said as he sat down beside his wife. “What were you supposed to tell me, Ricky?”
“Go son, tell your father your wonderful news.” Donya Esmeralda prodded Richard.
“Pa, I was just telling Mama that I have a girlfriend na again. I’m in love with the best girl in the world, and you know her.” Richard said, a bit nervous actually. Sometimes, his father could be unpredictable. Besides, his father didn’t like Natasha for him even if she is the daughter of one his closest friends. “It is Maya.”
“Si Maya Dela Rosa, iyong Head ng CCD?” Don Roberto asked. “Iyong anak ni Arturo Dela Rosa?
“Yes, Pa.” Richard confirmed. “Mama mentioned nga that her father was your old banker.”
“Yes, yes, he was! A very nice and straighforward fellow, no bullshits and very trustworthy. Congratulations, son! Finally! So does it means you are settling down now? You are not getting any younger you know. Ilang taon ka na ba, 35, di ba. Your Mama and I want apos also while we can still play with them!” Don Roberto said, grinning. “Mahirap naman naka-wheel chair na kami pagdating ng mga apo namin.”
“Pa, you are just like Mama! Kasasagot nga lang sa akin ni Maya. Darating tayo diyan. And Papa, Mama, thank you.” Richard breath a sigh of relief! While he will love Maya to the end even if his parents are against her, it is wonderful that they like her.
“I like her son. Hindi katulad noong naging girlfriend mo na anak ni Probo. Maya seems like a very level-headed lady, intelligent, beautiful and well-liked in LC. Hindi nagkamali ang Uncle Patrick mo sa pag-hire sa kanya. Now I remember! You were quite taken with her at your welcome party to LC. Di ba siya iyong kausap mo ng matagal bago kita ipinakilala sa ibang executives?” Don Roberto finished.
“Pa, pati iyon, na-observe mo!” Richard said laughing. “Saka Pa, like I have told Mama, let’s leave Natasha in the past.”
“Of course son! Nabanggit lang. You know, hindi naman magiging magaling na businessman itong Papa mo kung hindi ako observant. I had an inkling that you were interested in her.” Don Roberto said, smiling. “Why don’t you bring her to dinner one evening!”
“Iyan din ang sabi ni Mama, Pa. Okay I will. Tanungin ko lang si Maya on when she can come dinner. For sure, she would say yes. But is any day of the week okay with you two?”
Donya Esmeralda and Don Roberto said that Maya can come to dinner any day during the week or even during the weekend.
“Papasok ka na ba sa office? Let’s leave together. We can chat along the way. Sumabay ka na sa akin and magpa-drive ka na lang kay Lem mamayang gabi kung mauuna kang umuwi sa akin!” Don Roberto asked as he stood up and gave his wife a kiss on the cheek. “Aalis na ako Esmeralda.”
“Okay, Roberto.” Donya Esmeralda said. “Have a great day!”
“Pa, mauna ka na po. I have to pick up Maya pa.” Richard said, getting up too.
“Oh, okay then. Hello to Arturo and Teresita. I haven’t heard from him or about him since he retired from the bank.” Don Robero suddenly remembered Maya’s father, and mother.
“Maya said her parents are based in Mindoro now since her dad retired. He has an organic farm. Di ba ganoon din ang gusto mong gawin?”
“Really! So, itinuloy pala niya. He talked about it before. He wanted to retire while he is still strong and healthy raw.” Don Roberto remarked. “Anyway, let’s talk about this some more. Baka maabutan na ako ng traffic bago ako makalabas ng Makati. Bye son and hello to Maya.”
“Mama, I’ll get going na rin.” Richard said.
“Bye, son and don’t forget to text me on when is Maya coming to dinner para mapahanda ko ng husto sina Doris and Lea.” Donya Esmeralda said as she accompanied her husband and son to their garage.
“I will Ma.”
Father and son left the house one after the other. Richard arrived at Maya’s place less than an hour later.
“Good morning, Sweetheart! Did you sleep well?” Maya greeted Richard with a brilliant smile when she opened the gate. She was already dress for work. She looks very lovely in another plain maxi skirt and printed top.
“Good morning, Sweetheart! Of course, ikaw yata ang laman ng panaginip ko.” Richard said grinning.
“Sweetheart, kasing cheesy na naman nitong dala mong cream cheese ang lines mo. Halika na nga. Breakfast na tayo,” Maya said as she closed the gate and they started walking back to the house.
“Wait! “ Richard suddenly said as he reeled in Maya to him gently. “Where’s my good morning kiss?”
“Sweetheart, ikaw talaga!” Maya said smiling. “Heto!” Then she kissed on him the cheek.
“Hmmm, that was not a kiss.” He teased.
They looked at each other lovingly. Then Maya tiptoed and kiss him on the lips.
“That’s more liked it!” Richard said grinning. “I love you.”
“I love you too!” Maya said. “Halika na. I haven’t told Manang Fe pala about us, pero for sure, matutuwa iyon. She and Fely left the house early to go to Bulacan. She left a note na lang para raw huwag na akong gisingin ng maaga. Inatake raw sa puso iyong Tatay ni Fely. I haven’t heard from them. I hope Tiyo Rene is okay.
“I hope too that Manang’s brother is okay. Ask her if there is something we can do to help if ever. By the way my parents know na about us. Mama is asking nga when can you come to dinner.”
“Really, you told them? Pati ang Papa mo? Anong reaction nila?”
“Yes. They are very happy for us, if course. They say hello to you and your parents din.”
“Oh!” Maya suddenly shy, at the same time, felt relieved. She was not so sure how will Don Roberto react to his son courting and being in a relationship with an employee of LC. “I’m glad they took it well.”
“Why not?” Richard asked, frowning, puzzled.
“Well, maybe, they wanted you to be in a relationship with a Filipino-Chinese girl and not with an employee of your company.” Maya shrugged. “Just a thought!”
“My parents are not like that, especially Mama. Papa naman let me be rin! Besides, I love you very much. Even if they will be against our relationship, I will still love you and will stand by you.”
“Oh, thank you Sweetheart. Sobra mo naman ang akong pinapakilig. I love you very much and I’m willing to fight for that love too no matter what. Pero siyempre, mas maganda that everyone is happy about our relationship di ba? I’m really, really so happy, Ricky, with how things are. And about the dinner, please tell your mother, anytime.” Maya said, touching Richard’s forearm and leading him to the dining room. “Halika na. Kain na tayo, I cooked Spanish omelette for you.”
“Tamang-tama sa dala kong pandesal.” Richard put down the paper bag he was carrying. Maya started transferring the still hot pandesals in a serving dish, together with the herb cream cheese that Richard bought at the same bakery he got the pandesal.
“What would you like to drink. Coffee or juice?” Maya asked.
“Hmmm, coffee please. Sa sobrang excitement ko na sabihin kay Mama, tapos dumating pa si Papa, I forgot to make myself a cup of coffee before I left. Thank you, sweetheart.”
“Okay, coffee coming up.” Maya stood up and went to the coffee maker in the corner. She poured a cup each for her and Richard. She stirred in sugar after asking Richard how much he would like to have in his coffee.
She returned to the table, then they started eating.
“Wow, this is really delicious Maya!”
“Thank you Ricky.”
“Do you like to cook?”
“Yes, kapag may time. Aside from gardening, iyan ang stress reliever. I can handle omelettes and other simple dishes, pasta, mga ganoon, pero hindi ang mga complicated and fancy dishes. I’m more into baking.”
“Talaga! I’m sure you are good at it, judging by this omelette and the champorado yesterday.”
They continued chatting about they usually like to do to relieve stress, home cooked meals versus restaurant food, and other topics they found themselves talking about as they enjoyed their breakfast like an old, married couple, so very comfortable with each other.
“That was a very good breakfast, Sweetheart. I can get use to this everyday.” Richard remarked, gazing at Maya.
Maya smiled back. “Me too!”
Then, as if there was a magnet pulling them, they moved closer towards each other. They were about to kiss, when a sound made them looked at the door.
“Mom! Dad!” Maya blurted, seeing her parents looking at her and Richard, very, very curious. and were very very surprised at seeing their daughter and the good looking, chinito guy beside her, about to kiss.
Richard stood up. “Good morning po!” He politely said.
“Mom, Dad, I didn’t know you are coming today! Biglaan ba ang luwas niyo ng Manila? May nangyari ba?” Maya said surprised to see her parents, then went to kiss them. Se returned to Richard’s side, then hold on to his forearm and introduced him to her parents. “Mom, Dad, si Ricky po, Richard Lim, my boyfriend. Ricky, my parents, Arturo and Teresita Dela Rosa.”
Richard moved forward. “I’m glad to meet you po Mr. and Mrs. Dela Rosa.”
“Lim? By any chance, are you related to Roberto Lim of Lim Corporation?” Arturo Dela Rosa asked.
“He is my father po, Mr. Dela Rosa. I work at LC rin po like Maya.” Richard replied. “Nabanggit nga po ni Papa na kilala na kayo. In fact, Mama and him told me to say hello to you and Mrs. Dela Rosa. They didn’t know that you are now based in Mindoro.”
“Really, you are Esmeralda’s son! Kumusta na siya?” Teresita Dela Rosa asked. While she has a lot of questions for her daughter, she already liked Maya’s young man. The Lims are good people. Despite their wealth, their feet remained firmly planted on the ground. And, Esmeralda Lim is a fun person to be with. Nagtataka lang siya at ang aga, nasa house na nila agad si Richard Lim. But on the other hand, as far as she could remember, the Lims live nearby.
“Okay naman po siya, Mrs. Dela Rosa. Hayun po, busy sa charities niya.”
“Mom, Dad, please join Ricky and I for breakfast. Marami naman ang niluto ko. May dala pang pandesal and cream cheese si Ricky. Umalis nga po pala si Manang Fe. Inatake iyong kapatid niya. Iyon pong tatay ni Fely.” Maya told her parents.
“Oh, I hope Rene gets better and that it is not a serious atake. Kaya siguro Manang Fe forgot to tell you anak that we are coming. Tumawag ako sa kanya kagabi, to tell her that we are staying for a few days kasi may business meeting itong Dad mo sa ilang restaurants dito sa Makati who are interested in ordering organic vegetables and other produce from our farm.” Maya’s mom said. “We ate na rin pala before we left Mindoro.”
“Oh, okay po! I will just tidy up and put away everything, then Ricky and I will go to work na.” Maya said.
“I’ll help you.” Maya’s mom said. “Arturo, why don’t you and Richard get some air in Maya’s garden.” She suggested, subtly, brooking no arguments. She silently gestured to her husband to go along with her.
‘Okay. Richard. Halika, doon muna tayo.” Maya’s father said, then ushered Richard to a door at the left of the dining room.
When the two men were out of hearing, Maya hugged her mother. “Mom, ikaw ha, gusto mo lang akong i-interrogate kaya mo sila pinalayo. Sasabihin ko rin naman sa iyo. And bago ka magtanong, heto na nga po, kahapon ko lang naging boyfriend si Ricky.”
“ikaw talagang bata ka, hahahaha. Kabisado mo ako ah. Sige you are forgiven na. You know what, for a while when I saw you with Richard earlier, akala ko nag-asawa ka na nang hindi namin alam! Sobrang cozy kaya ngayong dalawa. Sweet niyo anak.” Teresita Dela Rosa, half-teased, half-chided her daughter good-naturedly. “Tapos ang aga-aga pa niya rito. Akala ko tuloy dito na siya natutulog. Kahit naman of age ka na, siyempre ikaw pa rin ang nag-iisa kong bunsoy.”
“Mommmm…..” Maya said. “We went to dinner last night. Iniwan namin iyong car ko sa LC and he brought me home. Sabay kaming papasok, so I told him to have breakfast here again.”
“Ha, o eh di ba, the other week lang lang kita kausap ah. Wala ka namang nababanggit na may nanliligaw sa iyo.” Mommy Tere hugged her daughter affectionately. “And ‘again’ ha, so this is not the first time, Richard had breakfast here.”
“Ganito kasi iyon, Mom…..”
Then Maya proceeded to tell her mother a summary of her and Richard’s courtship. All the while she was doing it, Mommy Tere can see that her daughter is indeed in love for the very first time in her life. Her face looks so animated, so full of life and her eyes are shining with love while speaking about hers and Richard unusual, short but nakakakilig na courtship.
“Maya, you are a Dela Paz nga. You fell in love like every Dela Paz women. It happened to your Mamang, to me with your Papa, and Cristina with Jeff. We just seemed to do it this way. I don’t know. Maybe, it is recognizing the one and only for you instinctively, as if there is an irrisistable force tugging you towards that person. Then you get to know him, and realized that indeed, that intuition and instinct were right. The important thing is that, you are sure of what you feel, of what he feels and his intentions towards you, and that you very happy. I just asked, pero I can say from the way you talk naman that you are happy and very much in love.”
“Talaga, Mom!!” Maya remarked. “Mom, I’m super, super happy. Walang pagsidlan. I’m praying that this is for keeps. I love Ricky with all my heart. It may happened so fast, but in my heart and in my mind, this is it. This is my forever, my happily ever after.”
“Then, your Dad and I are very happy for you too.” Mommy Tere said. She kissed her daughter’s cheek affectionately. Mother and daughter stayed like that for a while.
In the lanai, a similar conversation was going on. Richard knew that he will be ‘grilled’ by Maya’s Dad.
“Kumusta naman po ang flight niyo, Mr. Dela Rosa?” He asked as an opener.
“Okay naman. Mabuti hindi na-delay.” Arturo Dela Rosa replied. “Kailan pa kayo ng anak ko?” He asked pointblank.
“Kahapon lang po niya ako sinagot.” Richard replied. Then he decided to be frank also and lay Maya’s Dad’s concerns to rest, whatever those are. “Sir, Mr. Dela Rosa, I love your daughter very much and I was the happiest person in the world when she said yes to being my girlfriend. Makakaasa po kayo that I will cherish her and hinding-hindi ko siya bibigyan ng reason to cry because of me.” He said with conviction and with utmost sincerity.
Maya’s father looked at Richard, then realized that he really likes Maya’s young man, and that he and his daughter will suit very well. He can also see that Richard loves his daughter very much. In all his years in the banking industry, he considered himself a pretty good judge of character.
“Thank you for that Richard. I will hold you on to that. All we want is for our daughter to be happy. In the past, even if we would have wanted her to choose a career other than Journalism, we supported her with her choice because we want her to live her dreams. But that was nothing compared to this. This is her affair of the heart and we know it had taken her long to find and choose someone. She chose you, to give her love!” Arturo Dela Rosa added. “Tere and I are happy for you and our daughter, and please call me Tito Arturo.”
When Maya’s Dad said that, Richard breath a sigh of relief! From then on, the topic shifted to him asking about his Papa. Soon after, Maya and her mother, peeked and checked on them.
“Naku, Arturo, baka ma-late na itong mga bata. O Maya, Richard, pasok na kayo. Don’t worry about me and your Dad. We can manage.” Mommy Tere said.
“Okay po, Mom and Dad. I will see you later.” Maya kissed her parents.
“Sige po. Mrs. Dela Rosa, Mr. Dela Rosa. I’m so glad to have finally met you.” Richard said.
“Richard, di ba sabi ko Tito Arturo na lang. Ito namang si Tere, Tita Tere na lang.” Arturo Dela Rosa said. “Di ba, Tere.”
“Oo nga naman, Richard.” Teresita Dela Rosa added.
“Sige po, Tito Arturo and Tita Tere. Papasok na po kami ni Maya.”
“Ingat kayo.” Maya’s parents told them, one after the other.
When they were in the car and Maya’s parents went back inside, Maya teased Richard.
“Parang pumasa ka naman with flying colors ah.”
“Saan?” Richard asked deadpan.
“Saan pa, eh di sa interrogation ni Dad.” Maya said smiling. “You should have seen their expression, especially Mom when she saw us, about, errr, to kiss. Sabi niya akala niya raw nag-asawa na ako kasi ang aga mo pati sa bahay, hahahaha.”
Richard laughed. “Parang alam ko na kung kanino ka nagmana.” He teased.
Maya laughed too. “Ha, Atty. Lim, I will never live down all my bloopers ba.”
“Well, that is one of the reasons why I love so rin.” Richard said lovingly. “Saka kahit Spanish Inquisition pa I will face for you.”
“Awww, Sweetheart. Ikaw talaga. Rapunzel na Rapunzel na talaga ang feeling ko.”
“Rapunzel na Rapunzel, the princess with the long hair?” He asked puzzled. “What’s the connection!”
“Hahahaha! Oh! I have to teach you the modern lingo one of these days, Atty. Lim. You’ll never know the term may end up in courts too. Halika na, baka ma-late na tayo!”
Life will never be dull with Maya. Richard thought, very, very happy. “Sure Ms. Dela Rosa and bago tayo bumiyahe, I need a dose of vitamins.” Richard suddenly said, grinning. “Parang fading na ang bisa noong nauna eh!”
“Ha, you forgot to take one this morning? What is it ba? Baka meron sa house. Let me go and check.” She was about to get out of the car when Richard stopped her by holding on to her forearm.
“I’m not speaking about a pill. I mean this.” Then Richard lowered his lips to Maya’s and gave her a kiss. Maya responded and before long, they were sharing a searing kiss in full view of whoever is passing by Maya’s street.
“I love you, Maya.” Richard said after they broke apart, faces flushed, catching their breaths, with Richard still tracing Maya’s lips with his thumb.
“ I love you too, Sweetheart Ricky.”
Maya and Richard gazed at each other, their hands intertwined. A honk sounded. Richard moved. He kissed Maya’s hand before letting it go to drive to work.
Both of them, at that moment, feel that everything around them is richer in colors and that with each other, and the love they have, they can tackle whatever challenges the day will bring.
Richard returned to his office late afternoon, tired and was not in a very good mood. He had been in a meeting with his father and the LC Board of Directors which lasted the whole morning and most of the afternoon. It was a difficult, gruelling, meeting as the board and his father have very diverse positions in addressing the problem that one of their subsidiaries is facing. To top it all, he missed the morning coffee break with Maya. He was really looking forward to that.
His father’s secretary called Liza to inform him of the urgent meeting less than an hour after he had settled down in his desk to check on the briefs he asked Fred and his three other lawyers to work on.
Before he left his office for the meeting, he called Maya and informed her that he had to cancel on their coffee break. She already knew the reason why, after he said he will attend an urgent meeting of the board. As the Head of Lim Corporation’s CCD, she knows the flow of information within the company. She said, they can do it some other time, no worries, and that he can just give the pandesal and cream cheese to Liza, which he did.
“Liza, how are things?” He asked his secretary as soon as he sat down on his desk, massaging his forehead.
“Okay naman po, Sir. Here are the contracts that you need to finish reviewing today.” Liza put a thick pile of documents on Richard’s desk. “Sige po, Sir, babalik na ako sa station ko. Let me know if you need anything.”
“I’m okay, Liza, I better work on these papers so I can go home early. Oh by the way, there is one thing you can do for me, can you reserve a table for two at that revolving restaurant in Libis for say, 7-7:30PM?” Richard said, thinking of inviting Maya to have dinner with him to make up for their missed coffee break. If she can’t, he will just cancel the reservation. It would not be much fun without her. He ought to call her first, he knows, but he just want to catch his breath first.
“Yes Sir, right away po. Do you want me to request a romantic dinner set-up?” Liza asked with a big smile.
Richard laughed at that. “Ikaw, Liza, ha! Sure, and many thanks! Ipagdasal mo lang na libre si Maya.”
Liza smiled back and left her boss. She came knocking back several minutes after. Richard thought it has something to do with the reservation he had asked her to do.
“Yes, Liza? Okay na ba ang reservation?” He asked when she was approaching.
“Okay na Sir. I was about to text you na nga about it, when this arrived for you.” Liza placed a big brown Starbucks paper bag on his desk.
Richard looked at it, having an inkling from whom it came from. Now, he has a big, goofy smile on his face, which is a much better improvement on the scowl he had when he went back to his office earlier. “Oh, thank you Liza.”
“No problem, Sir. Sabi ko na nga ba, it will make you happy.” Liza teased before turning back to go her work station again. Unbeknown to Richard, Maya has called Liza earlier, asking her if she can text her when Richard is back at his office, which she did as soon as she saw him approaching. So, that was why Ms. Maya wanted to know, Liza mused. Ang sweet naman nilang dalawa. Sila na kaya? She asked herself.
Richard looked inside the bag as soon as Liza left. In it, was a coffee tumbler filled with his favorite brew and a slice of blueberry cheesecake. He also found a note, tucked into the side of the tumbler.
I heard the meeting was a very intense one. Just want to cheer you up a bit. Sorry, I can’t deliver this in person as I have scheduled a staff meeting this afternoon.
Maya (yes po, your girlfriend now 🙂 )
Richard almost dropped the coffee tumbler he was about to take a sip from upon reading Maya’s note. He read it again, wanting to be sure. The words were the same. “YES!!!!” He shouted.
It was so loud, that Liza came running to his office to check. “Sir, is something the matter? Ano po ang nangyari?”
“Ha, ah, errrr, wala Liza. May natanggap lang akong very, very good news.” Richard said grinning, blushing a bit. Come on Richard Lim, you are acting like a teenager instead of a well-respected lawyer, he said to himself!
“Oh, okay!” Liza said smiling, and shaking her head when she returned to her work station again.
When Liza left, Richard grabbed his phone, intending to call Maya, but then he realized she is in a staff meeting. He just decided to sent her a short message.
Thank you for the coffee and the cake, my beautiful girlfriend! 🙂 🙂 🙂 The best coffee delivery ever! Dinner later?
Maya was listening and checking on Emman’s presentation when her phone vibrated. She jumped a bit. She already was having a hard time concentrating, waiting to hear from him. She discreetly checked her message. However, upon reading it, she was not able to hide the big smile on her face. She blushed. Good thing the room was dimmed for Emman’s presentation. She typed in a quick reply.
Great, so very looking forward to our first dinner as a couple ; -) I love you.
I love you too. Magtrabaho muna tayo, baka masisante na ako! 🙂
Both of them have huge smiles and flushed faces when they put their phone down. It became more difficult to concentrate with work the rest of the day, with that major development in their relationship.
“That concluded my presentation!” Emman said, and Maya was jolted back to the meeting.
“Okay. Good presentation, Emman. Please email everyone a copy of your presentation for reference. If there are no other concerns, our meeting is adjourned.”
Everyone started getting out of the conference room, having no more concerns that needed to be tabled for that week, leaving Maya and Emman alone.
“So, kumusta naman si guwapong-guwapong Atty. Richard?” Emman asked as he started putting the projector in its case.
“Okay naman. Bakit mo naman biglang naitanong?” Maya asked.
“Eh kasi naman, sis, ang ngiti mo kanina. For sure, siya iyon. Nasa direct line of vision kaya kita kahit na busy ang beauty ko sa presentation ko, sight na sight ko.”
“Ikaw talaga, Emman. Walang nakakaligtas sa iyo.” Maya smiled. “Since ikaw ang super bestfriend ko dito sa department natin and you know about this, and since you and Liza played a role in this, sige na nga. Kami na ni Ricky!” Maya admitted to Emman. She was just so happy. She wanted to shout it to the world.
“Kami, as in…..?????” Emman almost dropped the projector. “OMG!!! Talaga, Kailan pa? Grabe naman pala ang tumama sa iyo, parang pana ni Hawkeye ang peg, bull’s eye na bull’s eye! At ito namang si Atty. Richard parang si Superman sa bilis ah.”
“Parang wrong universe yata ang mga superhero sa allusion mo, Emman!” Maya teased Emman. “Parang hindi naman taga-Marvel si Superman!”
“Whatever sis, basta, pareho silang mabilis. Pero one thing I’m sure of, hindi mo naman ibibigay ang matamis mong oo ng hindi ka sure diyan sa nararamdaman mo, and sa intentions ni Mr. Handsome Lawyer. I’m happy for you. Welcome to the land of ‘in a relationship’ status sa FB! Finally! Poor Sir James!”
“Thank you, Emman. Don’t worry about James, friends lang kami talaga noon. Imagine, sa tagal ba naman naming nagkakilala, wala naman kaming ibang naramdaman sa isa’t isa, maliban sa friendship. Feeling ko rin si Diana ang long-time love noon, hindi lang makaporma.” Maya said. “You know me, after what happened to me and seeing that life is too short to dawdle, to waste time, I would rather take things in stride kapag sure na ako. This time, I’m very, very sure. Bakit ko pa patatagalin? I haven’t felt this way before. My mind and my heart are telling me, this is it. It has taken me this long to find that special someone that makes my heart beat faster, that makes me happy with just the thought of him and fill me with so much emotion every time I think of him!”
“Wow, sis, so right and so eloquently put! I’m so happy for you. Wishing you and Atty. Guwapo the best. Teka parang pang-wedding na ang wishes ko.” Emman smiled, then hugged Maya. They both returned to their work stations with happy smiles.
“Ma’am Maya, may naghihintay po sa inyo sa office niyo.” Minerva said as soon as Maya stopped in front of her cubicle.
“Ha sino? May appoinment ba ako?” It can’t be Richard as they will see each other later. Pero you’ll never know, she mused.
“Si Sir James po.” Minerva added. Hmmm, lately, dumadalas ang mga guwapo sa department namin ah, Minerva thought.
“Oh, okay. Thanks Minerva.” Maya said, a puzzled look on her face as James does not normally go to her office. They usually meet outside for socials, and if it is about office matters, they meet at one of the conference rooms near his office.
“James, hello! Sorry, I didn’t know you are here. I had a staff meeting earlier.” Maya greeted her friend.
“Hi Maya! Sorry if I dropped by unscheduled! I just needed to stretch my legs after the gruelling meeting with the board, earlier. Coffee and Snickers for you! Here! I hope it is okay if I have my coffee break na rin with you.” He said with a big, lost little boy smile.
“Of course!” Unlike that coffee time with Richard, Maya sat on her desk, while James sat on the visitor’s chair while they have their coffee. Maya was about to grab a bite of the Snickers when she was reminded of the time Richard gave her Snickers too. She smiled, lost in thoughts.
“Ehemmmm, Earth to Maya Dela Rosa! Saan ka naman nakarating?”
“Errrr, James, wala. I’m just so happy.”
“Come on, this is your college BFF you are talking to. What gives?”
Maya smiled at that. She did tell Emman and mabuti nang sa kanya na malaman ni James ang balita dahil for sure, magtatampo ito sa kanya ng husto.
“James, I’m in love! Kami na ni Ricky.” She blurted out.
“In love? Ricky?” James asked, then the realization. “Oh you mean, si Richard Lim! Oh my, parang ang bilis naman ng mga pangyayari ah. Ilang araw lang tayong hindi nagkausap ng husto. Kailan pa?”
“Today lang!” Maya said with a smile that lit up her whole face.
Seeing this, James knows that one of his long-time and treasured friends has truly found love and is very much in love. Ngayon lang niya nakitang ganito ka-giddy si Maya!
“Seeing you this happy, what can I say, except that I’m very happy for you, too. Richard is a very lucky guy.” James said, then went to Maya’s side to give her a hug. “Truly, I’m so happy for you, college BFF. Richard is a good guy naman.” Then he added, jesting. “Ikaw ha, ako ang tagal na kitang kilala, hindi ganyan ang hitsura mo kapag ako ang kasama mo.”
“James!!! Ikaw talaga. You know, and I know, you consider me a sister and not a girlfriend material. Ganoon din naman ako since I don’t have a brother!”
“Hahahaha, joke lang.” James said, with a big smile.
“Kasi naman, sa ginuwapo-guwapo mong iyan, stable pa, responsible pa, pero torpe naman. Bakit hindi mo kaya subukan. Malay mo.” Ganoon yata talaga kapag in love, gusto mo rin lahat ng tao ma-in love and maramdaman ang wonderful feeling ng in love, Maya mused.
“Maya naman…..” James protested, scratching his head.
“Ha, anong Maya naman! Hindi ka ba nagtataka kung bakit single pa rin siya hanggang ngayon.”
“Eh bakit, ikaw? Ngayon ka lang naman din nagka-boyfriend ah.”
“Basta, bakit di mo kaya subukan. Tamang-tama, may outreach program ulit si Diana and her group next week. Sasama kami ni Ricky talaga doon, why don’t you join? Birthday gift mo na sa akin.”
“Sige na nga!” James smiled at his makulit na friend. He was really, really glad to have the old Maya back. He does not want to see her like in the state she was in after what she experienced in the Visayas.
The two of them said goodbye after 30 minutes. Maya finally had time to make inroads of the papers on her desk. The beeping of her phone interrupted her after a while.
Hi my lovely girlfriend, see you at the lobby in 15 minutes?
Maya looked at the time and realized that it is now almost six o’clock.
Hi my handsome boyfriend! I can just meet you at the restaurant. I have my car with me, di ba?
Please, let’s go together. You can take your car tomorrow.
Okay. Sige na nga. See you.
Richard immediately saw Maya when he got into the lobby of LC at 6:15. She was chatting with James. She saw him and waved, at the same time giving him a loving smile.
“Hi. Kanina ka pa ba?” Richard said softly, then gave Maya a kiss in the cheek, gazing at her lovingly.
She was also all smiles for him, as if they were the only two people in the busy lobby.
“Ehemmmm, ehemmm again, Earth again to Maya and now Earth to you too, Richard Lim. Nandito po ako.” James said with a grin.
Maya and Richard looked at each other, then grinned, and were still grinning when they faced James.
“Hmmm, and yes, Maya told me na. Congratulations, Richard! You are one lucky guy, ikaw lang, tanging ikaw lang ang nakapagpasagot dito sa BFF ko. Hwag sanang umiyak itong bestfriend ko ha.” James gave Richard a friendly warning as he patted him in the back.
“Of course, makakaasa ka James. Thank you.” Richard said shaking the other guy’s hand.
“O sige, baka ma-late na kayo sa dinner date niyo! I’ll get going na rin!” James said with a smile. “Enjoy your night.”
Maya and Richard said goodbye to him, then walked towards the elevator banks.
“Let’s go Maya. I will take you home again this evening, please. Promise tomorrow, you can drive na ulit. Would that be okay?” Richard cajoled sweetly. “I really like us sharing a ride.”
“Okay.” Maya said smiling.
They continued walking towards the elevator with hands intertwined. Maya is getting used to Richard being a touchy-feely person, and she likes the feel of their hands interlaced. The sight didn’t escape the notice of the employees who rode with them to the three-level basement parking. When they got off the level reserved for executives, two of the female employees talked about what they saw.
“Sila na ba?” A girl from Accounting asked her colleague.
“I think so. Tingnan mo naman, sobrang sweet. Hayyyy, kinikilig ako.” Her colleague replied.
“Ikaw naman kung maka-react wagas. Bakit ikaw ba ang niligawan ni Atty. Lim!”
“Hindi nga, pero I’m a sucker for romantic stories. Para silang sa pocketbooks lang na binabasa ko. Hay, sana ako rin makatagpo! Ang swerte naman ni Ms. Maya!”
“Ipagdasal mo kaya sa Quiapo tuwing Biyernes!” Her colleague teased her as the two of them got off on the third level. She continued, “Bakit, swerte rin naman si Atty. Lim kay Ms. Maya. Minerva, her secretary only has good words for her. Saka tingnan mo naman ang beauty-beauty kaya niya. Matalino pa. Dati nga iyang kilalang journalist di ba? Mula nga ng pumasok iyan dito, ngayon ko lang nakitang may kasamang ganyan, so sweet pa.”
By that time, Richard and Maya was about to exit the parking area. Richard drove towards the direction of Libis.
“Hmmm, opposite direction yata tayo ng Makati! Where are we going?” Maya asked, Richard still not letting go of her hand. “Saka, wait, Ricky, pahiram muna ang kamay ko, concentrate ka sa driving.”
“Okay.” Richard said grinning, but before letting go of it, he raised it to his lips. Maya felt a tingle of excitement with that gesture.
“Let’s try the revolving restaurant sa may Libis. I heard masarap ang food doon and the view daw the best kasi nasa top floor.” Richard replied as he navigated the, hopefully, short ride to the place.
They arrived at the building where the restaurant is a little past 7PM due to the traffic. Good thing he had asked Liza to book the place between 7PM to 7:30PM. They took the elevator to the highest floor and when they reached the restaurant, they were led to a table set for a romantic dinner for two, facing the magnificent view of the metro and beyond.
“This is amazing!” Maya said as Richard seated her, then took the seat beside hers.
When their waiter approached, both of them agreed in ordering the chef’s special dishes and a bottle of the restaurant’s best wine vintage that would complement the food. When the wine arrived, Richard poured a glass each for Maya.
“To us! I love you very much, Maya. Thank you for saying yes. You made me the happiest guy today.”
To us, Ricky. I love you very much too, and you made me the happiest girl too.”
They gazed at each other with so much love, the other people in the restaurant just faded away.
The moment was broken when the waiter returned with the first of the food they ordered.
Like their previous meals together, they chatted and enjoyed each other company while enjoying their food, but this time, their heated gazes were added to the mix. Sometimes, they would look at the view while sipping their wine and Richard’s hands on top of Maya’s. They felt like they were alone in a secluded place, at the top of the world.
Three hours later, after their wonderful dinner, and very enjoyable car ride to Makati, Maya and Richard arrived at Maya’s gate. Richard solicitous as always, opened the door for her.
“Would you like to come in, Ricky?” Maya asked.
“No na, Maya. You need to rest na rin. It is late. I will pick you up tomorrow.”
“Okay, have breakfast here again, please.”
“I’ll like that.”
“Thank you for a wonderful evening.”
“I should be the one saying that. Today has been the most wonderful day of my life dahil sinagot mo ako. I love you, Sweetheart.”
Hearing the endearment, Maya’s heart somersaulted. At that moment she felt so full of love and happiness and it is because of this wonderful guy.
“Me to Ricky. I’m so happy. I love you very much too, my Sweetheart. I never expected to find love like this, so fast, so unexpected. I never felt like this before.”
They gazed at each other, reluctant to part for the night.
Richard cupped Maya’s chin. “I never felt like this either.” Then he lowered his lips to hers, and they shared a very sweet kiss, their first.