Posts Tagged Only Love
Now and for always
There wasn’t a dry eye in the church after the bride and groom exchanged their vows. Everyone felt the tremendous love they have for each other. They all knew it is love that has remained true despite the obstacles, the distance, and the years that separated the couple who spoke of commitment and undying love for each other in front of God and before them who were fortunate enough to witness this blessed union of two people who were lucky to find a great love in their lifetime.
When the priest presented the newly-weds to all those who were present, there was a deafening cheer. Everyone stood up and clapped. When Father Tommy told the groom he can now kiss his bride, the groom obliged promptly, even before the priest finished saying that, which made everyone laughed. He gave her the longest kiss ever witnessed in all the marriages that has been celebrated at the majestic and magnificent Cathedral Basilica of the Sacred Heart in Newark, New Jersey.
The priest, once again presented the newly-weds who were, by then, being teased mercilessly by their families, friends and other guests who cannot contained their happiness in finally seeing these two at the altar.
“Mr. Richard and Mrs. Maya Lim, once again, ladies and gentlemen!” Father Tommy said with a big smile.
Maya, resplendent in an Alexander McQueen wedding gown, gave her husband a brilliant, loving smile before she faced and waved to hers and Richard’s cheering families and friends. Richard held his wife’s hand tightly, then in front of everyone reeled her gently to him and gave her another lingering kiss.
“Buddy, the honeymoon is for later!” Timothy shouted to an unrepentant Richard, who just grinned at him, and all the guests, so very happy that Maya is finally his! Tim is Richard’s best man.
Maya blushed, then with mischief in her eyes, gave her groom a kiss too. Everyone clapped and shouted for more. The couple obliged, then hugged each other. Her cousin Cristina Rose took that opportunity to arrange Maya’s dress train for the picture taking. She is Maya’s matron of honor.
The wedding coordinator called on the families and friends of the bride and groom for the picture taking. It was a merry moment as everyone mugged it for the camera, happy for the newly-weds.
On Maya’s side, those present at the wedding, aside from Mommy Tessie and Daddy Mark, were the entire Dela Paz family from Mindoro, from Mamang to Cristina Rose, Pocholo who was the ring bearer, then Jeff, Simon who was also a part of the entourage and now only has eyes for Emman’s cousin, Edselyn, who was his partner. Maya’s Tito Jose and Pilar were also there. Luke and Nikki were part of the entourage as well, together with Emman. A cousin of Maya’s father, her Uncle Romulo, who lives in Boston was also at the wedding, with his wife, Aunt Elena and her cousins Marina and Joseph. They have recently reestablished contacts with Mommy Tessie, thanks to the wonders of social media.
On Richard’s side, aside from a very happy Donya Esmeralda, Rafi and her family, with her daughter Abby being the flower girl, attended. His Uncle Patrick, his dad’s brother and also his family were at the wedding, as well as three cousins, daughters of his Uncle Peter, the one who died of stroke a decade ago. Manang Fe also traveled to New York with the Lims and was touched when Richard and Maya asked her to be one of their wedding sponsors.
Richard’s closest colleagues from the LHI office in New York were also invited to the wedding, as well as some of Maya’s UN friends who happened to be in New York at that time, and her close friends from the hotel, including Doris, and her old boss, Mrs. Catherine Roberts.
Rafael also made it to the wedding. So were Uncle Bobby, and his daughters Carolina and Isabela. Maya also brought Sabel with her to the States, much to her delight as it was her first ever trip abroad. She was part of the entourage too.
“I love you very much, my Mrs. Lim.” Richard whispered to Maya as the photographer and his assistant were preparing for their shot. “You are the most beautiful bride in the world. You also made me cry, seeing you walking down the aisle like that, towards me.”
“I love you very much too, my Mr. Lim.” Maya replied, touching her husband’s face. “While I was walking down that aisle, there was only you I was seeing. You were so handsome, so loving, waiting for me. I felt like I was floating to you.”
They shared a look, lost in their own world. The photographer had to call their attention twice before they reacted. They got teased again by their families and friends. They just gave them sheepish, loving smiles.
Soon after, everyone proceeded to the two charter buses Richard and Maya hired for the occasion. It will take everyone to La Signora where the reception will be.
Richard guided Maya to the waiting limo. As soon as they have settled in and was on way to Manhattan, Richard opened the bottle of champagne nestled in a bucket of ice by the side, poured him and Maya a glass each of the bubbly and offered a toast.
“To my beautiful wife! To our wonderful journey! I love you very much, now and for always! ”
“To my handsome and wonderful husband! I love you very much too, beyond forever!”
They looked at each other with so much love, then clinked their glasses. Then sealed their toast with a lingering kiss. They settled more comfortably into the plush seat of the car and looked back at their wonderful one month, culminating at the moment that they have waited for, for more than eight years!
Richard and Maya, one week after they became engaged, told Donya Esmeralda that they would like to marry in New Jersey where Maya’s family is. They have already talked to Mommy Tessie about it and she assured them that it is doable, even if there were only three weeks left to plan it. She told them to leave everything to her. They got lucky at the cathedral since a couple cancelled and they got the slot. Mommy Tessie promised to do all the preliminary preparations.
They told Donya Esmeralda that they wanted a small, private wedding, anyway, not a society circus, with only families and friends present. Richard’s mother did not have any objection to that. In fact, she suggested that the following week, they should go to New York so that they have ample time to prepare. At the same time, she wanted to meet and get to know her balaes.
Maya requested and was granted a month’s leave of absence from her work. While Richard, on the other hand, delegated most of his work to Atty. Ryan Molina, who knows the operations of LHI from the inside out. In the meantime, he will just work from the New York office again while they were preparing for the wedding.
The Lims, with Manang Fe, and Maya with Sabel traveled to the US. Richard, Donya Esmeralda and Manang Fe opened the Lim family apartment in Fifth Avenue, a place Don Roberto purchased five years before he died. Maya and Sabel stayed with the Winters in Newark. Not only it would be easier for Maya and Mommy Tessie to plan the wedding that way, Maya wanted to spend time with her family too.
Despite their busy schedules, Maya and Richard made sure they spend quality time together, reacquainting themselves to the New York that they loved so much – from picnics and carriage rides at Central Park, shows at Broadways, and Maya’s favorite – walking around the city, especially around the Times Square area.
One week before the wedding, and when most of the Manila-based family members on both sides were in either New York or New Jersey, Richard and Maya, in lieu of a stag party for Richard and a bachelorette party for Maya, organized an excursion and a dinner for everyone. They hired one of the New York tour buses to take everyone around the city, with a trip to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, and in the evening, they rented a yacht that took them on a night cruise around the New York Harbor. Everyone had fun.
It was something Maya experienced while attending a friend’s wedding in Europe. Bridgette asked Maya to attend even if she was not family as she is one of her dearest friends. Maya thought that it was nice as everyone got to know each other better, instead of meeting on the day of the wedding itself. When she mentioned this to Richard, he readily agreed and had his secretary arranged everything.
Mommy Tessie, joined by Mama Esme, later on, poured all her energies in arranging the most beautiful wedding for her daughter and son-in-law to be. She and Mama Esme have hit it off right away and were inseparable since they got introduced by Maya and Richard in a dinner in the Winters home the night after they have arrived in the States.
It was a beautiful wedding, indeed, fitting for his queen, Richard thought. He will never forget the sight, of seeing Maya, so very beautiful in her gown, holding a bouquet of red roses, gliding towards him, looking at him with so much love. At last, he thought, here we are! He got emotional, remembering their long and complicated journey to forever, coupled with all the love he was feeling at that moment. He just realized that tears were flowing from the corners of his eyes. His mother who was standing beside him, silently handed him a handkerchief.
When the strains of the wedding march started, which served as Maya’s cue to walk towards Richard, she felt lightheaded. Finally, she will walk towards the only man she ever love, their union to be blessed by God, in front of their families and friends who became and integral part of their journey. The faces of the their families and friends who were there to witness her and Richard’s coming together, blurred in Maya’s head and only the image of Richard waiting for her at the end of the long aisle of the church, bedecked with all kinds of flowers, burnt in her consciousness. She was overcame by emotions too, and tears of happiness started flowing. Her mother and Daddy Mark whom she both asked to give her away, smiled at her, teary-eyed with happiness for their daughter.
The ceremony was just so beautiful that it moved not only their guests, but them. Their vows spoke of their journey, love and commitment to each other until death, and even beyond death.
Maya and Richard were jolted back to the present when the limo stopped in front of La Signora. The driver opened the door for them. Richard then escorted Maya to their waiting families and friends who will be celebrating their union with them that very special evening.
The only words to describe the reception was that it was fun, fun, fun. There were a lot of merriment as their friends and families celebrated with them. Edselyn got the flowers, and Simon the garter, so there were a lot of teasing that way too.
The bride and the groom shared a very sweet dance and they got lost in the music and in a world of their own.
The owner of the La Signora, Uncle Bobby’s cousin Francesca made an appearance and Uncle Bobby threw all his energies in making the place something out of a princess book, as a gift to Maya and Richard.
Now, several hours later, Richard opened the door of the place where they will spend their first night as husband and wife. It was the room at the hotel where he and Maya met, where they have started. They agreed that they want to spend their first night in that very special place for them. They will fly to Europe several days after for their first vacation there together.
“Wow!….” was all Maya managed to say, as the room was softly lit and was beautifully decorated for the night, courtesy of Mrs. Roberts, a closet romantic. She was very happy to know that Maya got to live her happily every after.
Richard carried Maya from the door to the big couch by the window. Maya saw a chilling bottle of champagne there and a bouquet of long stemmed red roses. She found a card.
For my beautiful bride, Maya Dela Rosa-Lim, with all my love!
Yours now and for always,
“Ricky, this is just like our early courtship days here.” Maya said happily, remembering those giddy moments when she would spot the rose and the note on the table, when she went cleaning the room. She gave her husband a kiss on the lips.
“For you, my love, my wife. Every day will be a courtship day, for the rest of our lives.” He said lovingly as he returned her kiss.
They also toasted to that promise. They danced, with the music in their heads. They stayed like that for a while, until Maya whispered to Richard that they should get ready for bed. She told Richard he could go ahead if he wants to shower first as she needed to unpack their stuffs.
Richard did that. He came out of the bathroom several minutes later, wearing only a thin white t-shirt and a pajama bottom. Maya looked at him, admiring her handsome husband’s physique.
“Hmmm, ang guwapo naman talaga ng husband ko.” Maya teased him, smiling.
Richard grinned, then gave her a light lingering kiss, caressing her a bit, then said softly, “bathroom is yours now, my love.”
Maya gathered her stuffs. “Thanks, my love. I will not be long.” She said as she lightly caressed Richard’s arms and cheeks.
“I will be waiting.” He said with a heated gazed.
Richard settled against the headboard of the bed, waiting for Maya, smiling as he remembered the first time he met her while lying on the same bed. As always, he thanked God that they ended up at the same place at the same time, met, loved, and found each other again.
Less than an hour later, the door of the bathroom opened and the light from inside spilled into the hall, signalling to Richard that Maya was finished with getting ready for bed. He was starting to smile, about to teased her, when his smile turned into a slack-jawed admiration when he saw his wife.
Maya came out of the bathroom wearing a long, red, sleeveless night gown that hugged all her curves and her delectable body was very much visible to Richard’s heated gaze. The dress has a lace v-neck neckline, trimmed with lace, which also adorned its cups and Maya’s breasts and her beautiful peaks.
“Maya, my love, my wife, so you are so beautiful. I love what you are wearing.” Richard said huskily as he stood up from the bed and started caressing Maya’s face.
“For you….” Maya simply said.
With that, Richard lowered his lips to Maya and started plundering her mouth, his tongue dancing with hers. He gave her lips little nips, at the same time, his hand moved to her breast, cupping it through the lace. The effect on Maya was exquisite, as if a bolt of lightning traveled from her breast to her very core, making her want more. Truth is, it does not take much to ignite her when Richard touches her.
“Ricky, my husband, you make me feel so good….” She said huskily, her voice unrecognizable with desire, as Richard laid her down on the bed.
“Me too, Maya, my wife, you always make me crazy with want….” Richard muttered as his hand continued its maddening assault on Maya’s breasts, flicking and lovingly pinching her twin peaks, and his lips moving from her mouth down to her neck, leaving a trail of hot kisses, until it hovered on her breasts.
Maya waited with bated breath, knowing what to come. Se didn’t wait long. Richard lowered his lips to Maya’s waiting peak through the thin lace and it completely consumed Maya. Not content with that, he swirled his tongue around the peak. He did the same to her other breast, at the same time, his other hand was slowly going under the hem of her long night gown, up to her thighs, to her very hot core, then touched her there.
“Ricky…..” Maya said incoherently as she caressed Richard wherever she could touch, until her hand found his hard length.
“Maya…..” It was Richard’s turn to go completely crazy. He was already loving the sound she made as he touched her and her reaction to his touch. But her touch to his hard length, sent him off.
Richard quickly removed all his clothes, until his beautiful body was bared to Maya’s heated gaze. Then he did the same to Maya, slowly removed her dress from the hem up, his lips following his hand, leaving a trail of molten kisses on her already inflamed body.
When they can’t endured the heat between them, Richard reversed their positions and put Maya on top of him, straddling him. They shared a look, then Richard answered Maya’s silent question, with a nod and gently guided her on what to do. This was a first for Maya. Then, when she was settled in on top of Richard, she instinctively move. They established a rhythm, moving towards a frenzy, pleasuring each other, reaching the heights together. Maya collapsed on top of Richard, who gently caressed her while trying to catch his breath. They stayed like that for a while until sleep claim them.
Several hours later, Maya was woken up with a caress on her bare breasts. She slowly opened her eyes. She saw Richard smiling at her with so much love, mixed with desire, on his face, gently caressing her with one of the long-stemmed roses he gave her the night before. They shared a loving look, which turned to a very heated one as Richard continued his maddening feathered caress with the rose. He did this all over Maya’s body, making her crazy and her reaction, on other hand, made Richard crazy with desire too.
“Rickyy….” Maya said, her insatiable desire for her husband, needing to be slake again.
Richard obliged and both of them loved each for the second time that night, and a third time, before sleep claimed them. They fell asleep intertwined. Before they did so, they teased each other that for sure with that, they surely have made a ‘honeymoon’ baby. They both prayed that they did.
Unbeknown to them, two heartbeats were already beating inside Maya’s womb. Their first borns, Sky and Sunshine, were born eight months after their parents’ marriage.
Note: ….and that ends Only Love, another fanfic I enjoyed writing, especially with your comments thrown in after every chapter. Thank you everyone for reading and liking. 🙂 🙂 🙂
Maya and Richard were still trying to catch their breath as the plane that would take them back to Manila was taxiing off the runway of San Nicolas Airport. They were the last passengers to board, and Mang Caloy had to drive like a race car driver to get them to the airport. This was the last flight for the day and if they didn’t make it, they would have to stay in the vacation house one more day. While both of them like that idea very much, Richard has very important commitments the following day. Maya, on the other hand, needs to finish the report for Richard’s mother and for her immediate superior.
“Ikaw kasi, Ms. Maya Dela Rosa, soon-to-be Mrs. Lim!” Richard teased Maya, grinning at her.
“Ha, anong ako, Mr. Lim!” Maya retorted, smiling. “Eh ikaw kaya ang dahilan kung bakit kamuntik na tayong maiwan ng eroplano.”
“Hmmm, ako lang ba?” Richard shot back, with a naughty smile. “Parang dalawa naman tayo doon.”
“Well, errr, hindi nga lang ikaw.” Maya admitted, blushing a bit, but with a goofy smile on her face, remembering her part in the whole thing.
They gazed at each other lovingly, then grinned like co-conspirators, remembering what delayed them.
They fell asleep again after making love again that morning. When they woke up, both felt very hungry as they missed breakfast. They kissed heatedly, then reluctantly got out of the bed. Instead of putting her dress back on which she can’t find anyway, Maya borrowed Richard’s shirt, as it was more handy. Richard, on the other hand, went shirtless since it was just the two of them in the place.
Richard asked Maya to sit at the veranda, where he had proposed to her the night before, while he heats up the breakfast he made earlier in the microwave, and brew some coffee. He said, this is her chance to see the great view from there during daytime. Like the night before, Richard refused any help from Maya, wanting to pamper her.
Maya breathed in the beautiful scenery before her as she waited for Richard, wearing only his shirt that reached her mid-thigh. It felt cool on her body with a faint smell of Richard in it, which she likes a lot. She grinned, so very happy remembering their night and morning together. And Richard was right, this side of the house has the best view ever. She looked down and saw the beautiful garden with a profusion of ornamental plants, flowers, mostly roses and bougainvilleas, below.
“Ricky, the view from here is really lovely.” Maya said, turning and looking at Richard with a big smile when she sensed him coming to the veranda. “Tama ka!”
“I told you. But at the moment, I have a better view!” Richard remarked, standing by the sliding glass door leading to the veranda, carrying a tray. He was looking at Maya heatedly and not the scenery.
Unbeknown to Maya, the late morning sunlight was making the shirt she was wearing near transparent. Richard can see from where he was standing, Maya’s beautiful body, her breasts, her pebbled nipples, her small waist and the rest of her which he had loved so thoroughly the whole night and this morning.
Maya noticed where Ricky was looking and blushed, at the same time, felt the heat he was sending her way.
“Oh…..” was all she managed to say, heat pooling inside her in response.
Their eyes met, made a silent communication, understanding each other. The hunger for food forgotten. It was superseded again by a different kind of hunger they needed to satisfy urgently. Richard put the tray down and then carried Maya back to the bedroom where they sated their hunger for each other the second time that morning. The food had to be reheated once more.
While they were having a leisurely late lunch, Mang Caloy arrived. Only then did it occured to them, and realized that they have a flight to catch! They scrambled to pack their things and jumped into the car. The place was a bit far from the province’s main airport in San Nicolas. It was a good thing, Mang Caloy is a good driver, and they made it! Now in less than an hour, they will be back in Manila.
Richard raised the armrest between him and Maya when the plane was on its way, cruising from Mindoro to Manila. He hugged Maya from the side and used his shoulder to pillow Maya’s head on it, then he started caressing Maya’s hair. “Happy, my love?” He asked softly, lovingly.
“Of course, I’m very, very happy! Who wouldn’t be! I feel like I am the luckiest girl in the world with you as my fiance!” Maya said lovingly.” I love our weekend together.”
Richard grinned at that. “Me too, Maya, met too. I’m so happy! I don’t want to go home yet, but we have to. Pero, promise, babalik tayo doon as often as we could. By the way, can we have dinner with my mother this evening if you are not too tired from our trip? I promised her kasi that I will bring you to dinner after I have proposed to you. Knowing Mama, alam mo namang number one fan ng love team nating dalawa iyon!”
“Tita Esmeralda knew you will propose to me?” Maya asked, looking at Ricky from his chest where she was reclining comfortably.
“Yes, I told her the day after our dinner with her. I also asked her to put in a good word for me with her jeweller friend. Normally her friend has a lot of orders. Tita Rebecca managed to squeeze me in.” Richard said. “Oh, by the way, not only Mama knew I will propose to you, also your parents and Mamang. I asked for their blessings. Siyempre, gusto ko namang magbigay-galang sa kanila.”
“Really, Ricky! You did that?” Maya said, touched at Richard’s gesture. Then she remembered the tail end of his conversation with Mamang. “So iyon ang dahilan kung bakit nagte-thank you sa iyo si Mamang!”
“Errrr, yes!” Richard said smiling. “Kamuntik mo na ngang madinig. Tapos kahapon ng umaga, kamuntik pang madulas si Mamang when she mentioned wanting to meet Mama. Your parents told me that they will be happy for me to be a part of the family basta sasagutin mo ako. Luckily, you did.” He finished with a huge grin.
“I love you! You are really the best fiance in the whole world!” Maya said happily. “Kaya pala you wanted to call my mother! Of course I will be happy to have dinner with your Mama so we can tell her the best news ever. But I would like to go home first if it is okay with you, to freshen up. We can just meet in Makati later.”
“No Maya, I will pick you up. Hwag ka mag-commute!” Richard insisted. “I have a better suggestion. Why don’t we go to my unit in BGC, instead, to freshen up since it is near Mama’s place. Then from there, punta na tayo kay Mama. I need to visit my daughter’s grave lang in Heritage since we will be in the area. Bibisitahin ko na rin si Papa. Would that be okay? You can stay in the car. I won’t be long. It’s just that I haven’t been there to visit Gabrielle since I returned. Saka I want to visit Papa’s grave too, especially now that the past has been cleared.”
“That’s fine with me. But would it be okay if I accompany you when you go to their graves?” Maya asked, somehow she wants to ‘meet’ Richard’s little angel. In a way, she would like to pay her respects too, to his father despite what happened. He did try to redeem himself in the end, though it was too late.
“Of course. I think my Gabrielle would like to ‘meet’ the very special lady who is making her Daddy very happy.” Richard said.
They shared a smile, then spent the rest of the flight discussing possible dates for their wedding, as for sure, Richard said, it would be the first thing his mother will ask the two of them. They agreed on a date. Both of them don’t want a long engagement. They have waited long enough to be together.
Soon after, their plane landed at the NAIA Terminal 2. Donya Esmeralda’s driver Joma picked them up from the airport, or rather, he handed Richard the key to his car and said goodbye to them. He took that opportunity to visit his sister in Paranaque as Richard told him earlier on the phone that he can drive himself and Maya around.
One hour later, Richard parked his car in front of the Lim Family mausoleum in Heritage Park. Maya told Richard she would carry the flowers they bought for Gabrielle, sunflowers and Malaysian mums, on the way there. Richard carried the flowers for Don Roberto.
“Gabby, sweetheart, I have your Tita Maya with me. She just made me very, very happy by agreeing to be my wife. I’m sure, if you had lived, she would have loved you like her own. Daddy loves her very, very much.” Richard told his daughter as he put the flowers at the head of his daughter’s grave, then touched her tombstone affectionately.
Maya felt tears in her eyes hearing what Richard said. “Yes, Gabrielle, I would have loved you as my own. I love your father very, very much and I will take good care of him. You are very lucky to have him as your father. Someday, I hope you will have a brother and sister and we will bring them here so you can meet them too. I’m sure, they would be happy to meet their elder sister too.”
Richard, hearing this, felt very happy to have Maya again in his life. In his head, he can picture a little girl, cute as button who looks like Maya, and a boy who is his spitting image. He intertwined his fingers with Maya’s, and both of them spent several minutes silently looking at Gabrielle’s grave.
They did the same to Don Roberto’s grave. Richard looked solemnly at his father’s tombstone and offered a silent communication to him, saying to his father that he forgiven him for the past. He also said that he and Maya are together again and for sure, he is happy for them. Maya offered a prayer for the man whom she never gotten to meet, promising to make his son happy. They said goodbyes, hearts feeling lighter, promising to visit them again.
Less than an one hour later, they arrived at Richard’s condominium building in BGC. They took the elevator to his penthouse unit.
“Maya, welcome to my home! Our home soon, should we decide to live here.” Richard said as he led Maya to the living room, with its floor-to-ceiling windows which Maya liked instantly.
“Thank you, Ricky. I love your view. Your place is lovely.” Maya replied as she walked towards the window. “I don’t think I will get tired of looking at this.”
Richard walked towards Maya after dropping their bags on the floor and turning on the unit’s airconditioning. He stood behind Maya and put his arms around her. “You know, lately, since we got back together, I have been imagining you here, us sharing a night staring at the view before we go to bed, chatting how our day have been. Also cuddling and doing what couples do, making love and more…”
“Really Ricky.” Maya smiled, then turned to face Richard. “I love you. I like the picture you painted, very, very much.”
Then Maya tiptoed and gave him a sweet kiss. Richard responded and the kiss turned into something more. Richard started caressing Maya’s back as he seared her lips with molten kisses, wanting her to know of his intense desire for her which flared up again just by the touch of her lips against his, and the sweet caresses she was giving back to him.
“Maya, my love…..I want you again….I can’t get enough of you.” Richard muttered, his mind getting hazy with desire again.
“I want you too, Ricky, very much.” Maya responded breathlessly.
They looked at each other with desires in their eyes. Then without a word, Richard carried Maya to his bed. He laid her gently into his big bed, then spent the rest of the afternoon, making sweet love to her. Their moans and sighs were the only sounds that can be heard inside the room as they showed each other how much they love and desire the other. They also whispered to each other what gives them the most pleasure. It was another intense encounter that barely sated their desires. Soon after, they showered together, which took twice as long, then got ready to see Donya Esmeralda.
Richard’s mother was waiting for them at the entrance of the grand family home. She was so excited that Richard is bringing back Maya to the house so soon, which means, in her book that he had proposed to her.
“Ricky son, Maya! I’m so happy to see both of you.” She greeted them as soon as she saw them walking towards her with their hands interlaced. She hugged Richard, then proceeded to hug and kiss Maya. “Come, inside the house. I think you have good news for me.”
“Ma, ikaw talaga, hahahaha. Walang nakakaligtas sa iyo.” Richard said as he put his arm around his mother’s shoulder affectionately. “Since alam kong hindi ka mapapakali, yes, Maya and I are engaged. She said yes to me.” He said with a grin that lit up his whole face and reflected the intense happiness he was feeling at the moment.
“Oh my, oh my!!! Sabi na nga ba!!! This is wonderful news!!!” Donya Esmeralda said with a big smile for her son, then for Maya. “Maya, welcome to our family. I would be more than happy to have you as my daughter-in-law. Please call me Mama from now on.” She said happily, giving Maya a big embrace.
“Thank you po, Tita….este, Mama!” Maya said emotionally. “I’m glad that you will be my second mom.”
“Oh hija, I’m honored to be.” Donya Esmeralda said, teary-eyed. “Son, you chose the most wonderful girl as your life partner.” She told her son, giving her a kiss and a big hug too. “Let’s go to the dining room and share the wonderful news with Fe.”
Richard approached Manang Fe, then gave her a kiss on the cheek, embraced her, then told her of their good news. The old lady got teary-eyed, knowing that her old ward has finaly found love and happiness at last.
“Ricardo, Maya, masayang-masaya ako para sa inyo. Walang pagsidlan. Sa kabila ng mga pinagdaanan niyo, heto kayo at mag-iisang dibdib na.” Manang Fe finished emotionally. Both Maya and Richard went to her and gave her a hug.
The four of them had another festive dinner. Richard and Maya told Donya Esmeralda and Manang Fe that they would like to get married the following month. Both old ladies agreed that they have waited long enough to be together. They also told them they haven’t made up their mind on the venue, but would finalize it after they called Maya’s mother. Donya Esmeralda also said she would like to meet her balae. An idea started forming in Richard’s, and in Maya’s mind, on how to achieve that.
Maya ended up staying at Richard’s place that evening. Sabel was unable to go home from her trip to Baguio with a friend. She had asked Maya before she left for Mindoro if she could take a vacation too, to celebrate her coming birthday. Richard teased Maya that he was so happy that Sabel missed her bus back to Manila, which earned him a loving pinch from Maya.
They called Maya’s family in New Jersey who were all overjoyed to hear the news of their engagement and their upcoming marriage. Mommy Tessie got very emotional, and Daddy Mark too, as both were very happy that their eldest daughter has found happiness at last and about to start another stage of her life, her forever, with a wonderful guy.
Richard and Maya cuddled for a bit by the big window, drinking wine, just enjoying the moment before they went to Richard’s room, where they expressed their love for each other physically again, the desires and the emotions they feel for each other as intense as ever.
While sated, in the meantime, and waiting for sleep to come, they have talked about their wedding and how they will merge their lives together, both are very excited and happy. Finally, they will be together for always, to spend every day loving each other for the rest of their lives. They fell asleep very, very happy, as close as two person could be, skin to skin, sharing a blanket that barely covered their nakedness.
“I love you very much, Ricky!”
“I love you very much too, Maya!”
Richard held Maya’s chin, then lowered his lips again to hers, giving her a lingering kiss this time, while they were still as closed as two persons could be. Maya was getting weak in the knees with the kiss Richard was giving her. They were both breathing hard after that searing kiss.
“Maya, my love, let’s sit again and get more comfortable. You are making me weak in the knees.” Richard said with a loving, teasing smile, as he got hold of Maya’s hand, and led her to the rattan chairs where they sat earlier.
However, when they got there, Richard sat first, and then gently reeled Maya in, until she was sitting on his lap. Maya made herself comfortable, fitting perfectly into Richard’s lap. Like Richard, she wanted to stay as close to him as possible to savor their very special moment.
“Happy, my love?” Richard asked Maya softly, caressing her hair while she half-reclined against him and her head was pillowed on his chest, her arms around him, and his around hers.
“Sobra-sobra, Ricky, I feel like my heart will burst from sheer happiness! I was not really expecting that you will propose to me this evening. But it was a wonderful surprise. Ikaw ha, grand production pa. I loved it very much. I love my ring. It’s so beautiful.” Maya said, happy, gazing at Ricky with a big smile.
“Siyempre naman, eight years in the making ang proposal ko sa iyo. Pero, I must admit, I felt nervous while doing it. Kasi, what if nabigla ka, or ayaw mo pa akong sagutin kasi we just got back together.” He confessed, as he tightened his embrace and started caressing her arm, rhythmically.
“Ricky, even if I was so surprised, there was only one answer in my head and my heart, and that was yes. Like what you have said, eight years without each other was long enough. Eight years with you, was a lifetime to me too. Besides, you are the only one I want to spend the rest of my life with. I love you, I love you, a million times.” Maya said as she started raining kisses on Richard’s face. “I will marry you in as many churches as we could, in this lifetime and in the next, and in the next pa. I’m sure we will find each other there also.”
“Maya, Maya, my heart is so full.” Richard said softly. “The feeling in my heart right now, it is indescribable.”
“Me too, Ricky! Me too.” Maya said as she embraced Richard tighter, as not wanting to let go. this is very, very real. They are really here, engaged, commiting to each other for the rest of their lives.
They stayed liked that for quite sometime, just enjoying the moment. After a while, Richard thought of asking Maya if she would like to have dinner with his mother the following day, when they return to Manila, to formally tell her of their engagement and plan the wedding. However he was met with silence when he asked, and that was when he noticed her steady breathing. Just like in New York, Maya slept on him again!
Richard looked at his fiancee with an indulgent smile. It must have been the wine and the cool, relaxing breeze, he thought that lulled his love to sleep. He decided to carry Maya to her bed where she would be more comfortable. He gently put his right arm under her ankles and pillowed her head on the other one so as not to wake her up. She didn’t! She just burrowed closely and deeply into his chest.
When he reached the guest room, he gently laid her down on the bed. But when he was about to pull his arms from under her, she slowly woke up.
“Ricky….?” She asked, a bit disoriented.
“Sshhhh, go back to sleep. You are in your bed now.” Richard said softly.
“Oh, sorry for doing that on you again, just like New York, huh!” Maya sat up on the bed, a sheepish smile on her face. “It must be the wine, the gentle breeze and your chest, feeling ko nasa duyan ako. My last thought was that I like very much where I was.”
Richard gave Maya a lopsided smile. “No worries, my love! Baka you needed the rest din. Magpahinga ka na!”
“Okay!” Maya said, realizing that she and Richard are on the same bed in the middle of the night, just like in his apartment in New York. Suddenly, she felt very much aware of him. Richard was the same. A different awareness of Maya kicked in. He felt it earlier, but fought it, but now, in the dimmed lights of the bedroom, he was having a hard time doing so. He wants her, but just like before, he wanted to be gentleman and wait.
“Good night, Maya!” Richard forced himself to stand up from the edge of the bed where he ended up sitting. He needed to do this while he still can. He just realized how very sexy Maya is in that flowing dress that hugged her all curves.
“Good night, Ricky!” Maya stood up from the bed, intending to give Richard a chaste kiss.
However, as soon as their lips met, it became more. It felt like it was like the match that ignited the flame between them. Maya ended up sitting on Richard’s lap again as their lips fused hotly and they seemed to can’t get enough of each other. They touched everywhere, their lips very hungry for each other.
They muttered as their lips fused into another smoldering kiss. Richard’s tongue seeked entrance into Maya’s mouth. She opened her mouth to let him in. His tongue explored and seeked out her tongue and invited it to a hot duel. Maya’s breasts grew heavy with wants, and the need to be touched badly. Richard felt like all the blood was pooling on his hard member. Maya can feel the effect of Richard’s desire for her.
“Maya, my love, I think we better stop while we still can….” Richard said in between labored breathing and giving Maya searing kisses, his hands, like they have a life of their own, stroking her gently, up and down the slope of her buttocks. The thin material of Maya’s dress not really providing a protection against the heat generated by Richard’s caress.
Maya was so lost in the sensations she was feeling, that at first she didn’t hear Richard. She looked at his desire-laced eyes, seeing the control he wanted to exert, and made a decision.
“We don’t have to stop, Ricky. I want to belong to you completely this evening.” Maya said, her voice husky with desire and resolve.
“Maya, my love, are you sure?” Richard just have to ask her one more time, while he still can.
“Yes, my love. I have never been more sure in my life. I want to give you all of me.”
“Oh Maya….” Richard said huskily, caressing her face lovingly, then giving her another searing kiss.
Maya responded fervently to Richard’s kiss, nibbling on his lips as he did to hers. Richard’s hand starting moving towards the underside of Maya’s breast, leaving a trail of hot touch, then he moved to cup her breast through her dress, at the same time leaving little kisses from her face to her neck and collarbone. He play with her breast thoroughly, making Maya want more, something that she can’t fully define. She felt she was on fire. Richard was trying to slow down a bit. He knows Maya is innocent.
“Ricky, the way you make me feel…..”
“Maya, my love I’m on fire for you too. I want you very much.”
“Take me, Ricky, all of me, I’m yours.” Maya said breathlessly, desire and love for Richard making her lost for words.
Richard and Maya looked at each other like they want to devour each other, all the desire, wants and love they feel for each other on display on their faces. Then Maya, started touching Richard too, half-sitting on his lap, straddling him.
Richard, on the other hand, gave Maya’s other breast the attention he was giving the other earlier. Maya unbuttoned the rest of Richard’s shirt, wanting to touch him, skin to skin. She was guided by instinct. Richard started untying Maya’s dress from her nape, until it momentarily lodged on her breasts, then pooled at her waist. Maya’s beautiful breasts, nipples hard, were now bared to Richard gaze as the bra he thought she was wearing was built-in into the dress. He gasped, not expecting it. He almost lost total control.
“Maya, my love, you are so beautiful….” He said heatedly, admiringly.
“Ricky…..” Maya felt she would melt the way Richard is looking at her. She forgot to be self-conscious, even if for the first time, she was bared before a man, for the man she loves with all of her.
It was Maya’s turn to gasp, with heat pooling up to her feminine core, when Richard’s hand touched her bare breasts. He started kneading one, his thumb, flicking the nipple. He did the same to the other one until they became pebbled hard and Maya felt like she is boneless. But Richard was not content with that. He lowered his mouth to one breast, then use his tongue to play with it, paying extra attention to her hardened nipple. Richard did the same to her other breast.
“Oh Ricky, that feels so good….I’m going crazy….I want more….” Maya muttered incoherently, at the same time, blindly seeking Richard’s body, touching him, then raining kisses on his neck and whatever part of his bared, muscled upper body she could touch and torched with her heated kisses.
“Maya, you make me feel so much also. I’m crazy with want to. I want you like I haven’t wanted. I love you very much with all of me.” Richard said, fighting for control, and losing the battle. He gently removed Maya’s dress until she was only in her black, skimpy underwear. Richard swallowed hard. He fully laid her gently on the bed, then proceeded to remove his shirt, then the rest of his clothes, until he was completely naked before Maya, her eyes feasting on his magnificent physique. And him on her beautiful body.
Richard approached the bed, looked at Maya with so much love and desire. At that moment, he had a hard time believing that finally, they were there about to bring their love for each other on another level. He touched Maya’s face gently, gave her another smoldering kiss, then he moved towards her neck, her collarbone, and her breasts again, wrecking havoc, at the same starting caressing her thighs, moving maddeningly slow, removing her last piece of clothing in the process. Maya waited with bated breath on what was to come, at the same time, she was caressing Richard’s back, wrecking havoc of her own. Then she gasped as Richard’s hand touched her feminine core, at the same time, his lips swooped down on hers again. Coupled with Richard hardened length pressing on her side, the twin assault to her senses was too much for Maya.
“Ricky, I want to touch you too,” Maya said, her voice breathless.
Richard felt like there was a conflagration inside him when he felt Maya’ first tentative touch on his hardened length.
But when she started moving her hand instinctively, he put his on top of hers to stop her.
“Maya, I don’t think I can take that now. I wouldn’t last long, my love. Let me just love you first.” He said with difficulty.
“Oh….” What he wanted to convey dawned on Maya, making her feel glad that there was no one else for him too.
Richard gave her a loving smile, then resumed his attack on her senses.
“Ricky, pleaseee….I want….I want….” was all she managed to say, but Richard understood.
He looked at Maya tenderly. “My love, I will be gentle. I need to be inside you now. I don’t think I will last long.”
Richard poised himself over Maya and slowly, and gently entered her. Maya accommodated him and after an initial pain, she and Richard moved to the rhythm between a man and a woman, as old as time, both wanting to reach the heights, with Richard the experienced one between them, driving the pace, guiding her. And they flew together to fulfillment.
Richard lovingly and gently wiped the sweat off Maya’s face and caressed her hair several minutes after they came down to earth.
“My love, are you okay?” He asked tenderly, gently touching her lips with his thumb. “I love you very much.”
“Ricky, I’m okay. I’m so happy.” Maya said smiling, gazing at Richard with so much love. What she was feeling at that moment was beyond words. Finally, she and Richard became one. “What I feel right now, I can’t put into words. I’m just so full and so very very happy.”
“Me too, I’m beyond words. Thank you, my dearest love for the gift of you.” Richard said with too much emotion on his voice, then kissed her tenderly again.
They stayed liked that for a while, skin to skin, no barrier between them, savoring their moment. When sleep came, they slept like babes, their bodies still interwined. They both woke up, suddenly, at dawn. They gazed at each other, igniting again the fire between them, making the night hotter.
The following morning, Maya woke up with someone raining feathery kisses on her. She slowly opened her eyes with a smile for her loving fiance. She felt a bit sore, but wonderfully so. There was not an inch of ther that escaped Richard’s touch and lips and she felt so well and thoroughly loved throughout the night.
“Good morning, my love, my beautiful wife-to-be.” Richard said with a big grin on his handsome face, offering her a single, long-stemmed red rose.
“Good morning, my handsome husband-to-be. I love you very much.” Maya said as she half-reclined on the bed, accepting the rose, and with only the thin white blanket covering her and her nakedness. That did not escape the gaze of her fiance.
They looked at each other, then just like that, the fire was reignited. The breakfast Richard prepared got eaten at lunch. They had other priorities. They both gave way to satisfying a different kind of hunger the whole morning. Maya and Richard just can’t get enough of each other. Their love for each other throughly expressed again on the physical level that lovely morning.
Richard and Maya almost missed their flight back to Manila.
Richard led Maya to the veranda of the beautiful vacation house. The place was lit by candles in small glass containers. The table there was beautifully set for two, with long stemmed red roses in a glass vase in the middle, and beside it, there was a cooling bottle of wine in a bucket. The food was placed on a smaller table at the side. The place has a very romantic feel, fit for the special evening Richard has planned for Maya.
Maya was dressed in a long, flowing dress that fitted her beautifully, making her look very ladylike. She had brought that very pretty dress on this trip on impulse. She didn’t exactly know where Richard would take her after visiting her Mamang so she thought it was better to be prepared for any eventuality. She was glad she did, as the dress fitted perfectly into this special occasion.
Richard looked at Maya admiringly, telling her she is so beautiful, when he picked her up, earlier, from the guest room where he led her after the wonderful kiss they have shared as soon as they have arrived at this place. He told her she can rest in there while he prepares something special for her. He refused Maya’s offer of help. Maya acquiesced in what he wanted, and stayed in the guest room. Surprisingly, she managed to nap. She must have been very tired from her trips the past several days, coupled with the late nights with her cousins Friday night, then with Richard and her family the night after that. She took a shower as soon as she woke up from her nap. She was just putting her white dainty sandals on, when Richard knocked on her door.
Richard took Maya’s breath away too when she saw him standing outside her door, dressed in loose, cotton pants and a matching shirt, unbuttoned at the chest, wearing sandals, looking very, very handsome. He gave her a heated, loving look, before taking her hand, interlacing their fingers, then leading her to the veranda and this special treat. From the veranda, Maya can see the twinkling lights dotting the other islands, and the sea beyond, sparkling into the night.
“Thank you, Ricky.” Maya said after Richard seated her. She was so very happy, overwhelmed, and was feeling a bit of anticipation for something she can’t put a name to yet. She love the table setting and all the trouble he went to for her and their special night together. “This is really beautiful. Ikaw ang nag-prepare nito lahat?”
Richard smiled at Maya, very glad to see her happy. It also took the edge off his nervousness. “Yes, I did, except for the food, those I had to order especially. I want our night, my love, to be something extraordinary. It is just the two of us here. Normally, when I stay here, I stayed alone. Mang Caloy just gets me the supply I need and then I just call him if I needed additional stuffs.”
“Oh! Actually, it’s really nice to be alone here, come to think of it. Tahimik and sure na walang istorbo.” Maya innocently remarked, which earned her a naughty and teasing grin from Richard. Maya blushed. “I mean, the peace and quiet is nice. Walang ibang sound, kundi nature! Masarap magmuni-muni. Rickyyyyyy, ikaw talaga.”
“Hahahaha, bakit, wala naman akong sinasabi, ha.” Richard said, happily teasing Maya.
“Wala ka ngang ibang sinasabi, pero ang ngiti and look mo Mr.Lim, wagas ah.” Maya teased back.
“Hahahaha, Masarap naman talagang maging alone dito. Imagine, after eight years, nasolo rin kita. Okay, okay, I will stop.” Richard said, still laughing. “Come, let’s eat na nga. I hope you will like everything I had prepared for dinner.”
Richard removed the covers of the food on the table. Upon seeing the mouthwatering feast before her, Maya was reminded of something. She looked at Richard. “Ricky, parang kamukha noong…..?”
“Yes, the food were the same ones we had on our first date in La Signora. I also bought the same wine. I want our night here to be something we will both remember until we are old and gray! Aside from meeting each other in the hotel, that dinner was how we really started.” Richard said enigmatically, then got the bottle, popped the cork, then poured Maya and him a glass each.”
“To us and our happy ever after!” Richard said as he offered a meaningful toast to her. “You are mine, and I am yours forever.”
“My love, to us, and finding each other again.” Maya replied, looking at Richard with so much love in her eyes. “Thank you for this very memorable date!”
Richard and Maya clinked their glasses, drank the wine, gazed at each other happily, lovingly. Then, Richard started serving Maya their first course. She offered to do it, but he insisted that he would like to do everything for her this evening. They had a leisurely dinner, punctuated with loving glances. By the time, they were finished the night has gotten cooler, nicer, and wonderfully so.
“More wine, my love?” Richard asked Maya after they finished the pasta. Richard told Maya earlier that he persuaded the chef at the mountain resort nearby to prepare this evening’s meal.
“No, thanks, Ricky. I think I have enough after two glasses.” Maya said smiling. She is actually feeling the effects of it. While she was not yet drunk, she was definitely getting tipsy.
“Okay, how about coffee and dessert?” Richard asked. “I have a strawberry cake cooling in the fridge.”
“That’t would be great! And that one reminds me of our dinner at your company restaurant.” Maya remarked, smiling. She stood up, then went to Richard, gave him a kiss on the lips and sniffed at him. “Thank you my guwapong boyfriend for this treat. Ang bango-bango mo, talaga.”
“Hahahaha, Maya, my love are you drunk? “ Richard laughed. He thinks Maya is not yet, but she is definitely getting tipsy.
“Nope, but I must admit, I think I’m tipsy.” Maya said sheepishly. “Maybe, coffee and cold water will sober me up. A lot of it will do me good. The cool night air will also help.”
Richard grinned. Maya is very cute in this state.
“Coming right up. Why don’t you go to the other side of this veranda and wait for me there.” Richard said, then pointed Maya to the direction leading to the left side. “The breeze is coming from that direction.”
“Okay.” Maya said.
Richard gave her a quick kiss, then went to the kitchen to get the coffee, the cake and a pitcher of cold water.
When Richard left, Maya walked towards the direction he indicated. When she rounded the corner, she was in for another surprise. The place looked like her patio. Only instead of a cocoon swing chair, what were in there were round chairs made of rattan and lined with cushioned canvas covers. They looked like giant flowers. In the middle was a coffee table with a tall glass vase filled with long-stemmed red roses.
“Coffee, water and cake for the love of my life.” Richard greeted, carrying a tray, which he put down on the coffee table.
“Thank you, Ricky. Wow, that looks delicious. May kakumpetensya na si Chef John.” Like before, Maya automatically made the coffee for Ricky, stirring it well, then handed it to him.
“Thank you, my love! That I can’t do, make coffee as good as you does.” He said smiling, settling into the chair on Maya’s right.
They quietly enjoyed the first rush of hot coffee into their system.
“I like this side of the house, better. The chairs are very comfortable and inviting. I think if I stay here with a book, I don’t want to leave!” Maya remarked after several sips that has a sobering effect on her, coupled with the water she drank.
“I like this side too. It has an unobstructed view of the sea and the mountains on the side, then also the garden below. I will give you a tour tomorrow morning.” Richard replied.
“Ricky, this is really a very good idea. This trip! I really love your ‘fortress’ too! “Maya said.
“I’m so happy too, Maya! I never thought that one day, you will be with me here, us like this.” Richard said. “This is where I spent time when I was missing you too much. This is the place I ran to when thinking of you and what could have been was too much for me. This is also where I remember all our good times, which where the best times of my life.”
“Oh, Ricky…..” Maya said, her heart, going out to him.
“This place seemed to calm me. I would just look at the wonder of nature around me. God created all the beauty around for a reason. When I see that, I thought then, that things might have happened for a reason too, and like the changing of the season, you’ll never know what the next one will bring. So many seasons after, here we are. I was led to you again, and we have our seconc chance a love that was not able to fully bloomed the first time. I will never let this chance pass again.” Richard said emotionally.
Richard. then, put his coffee cup down. He took a deep breath to calm himself, for suddenly he felt nervous for what he was about to do. He stood up, got the tallest of the red roses from the vase, and also the most beautiful and vibrant one among the lot. He walked towards Maya, then holding the rose, he knelt on one knee.
“Maya, we loved with all our hearts and being when we were younger, then we lost each other for like an eternity, then by God’s grace, we found each other again, with our feelings for each other as strong as the first time we have loved. Not so many people are blessed and lucky like that. I have never loved anyone before you, I have never loved another when circumstances separated us, and I will never will, only you. For me, it will be you forever. Will you share that forever with me? Will you do me the honor of marrying me? Share the rest of your life with me. Be mine as I will be yours forever.” Richard said with all the love he is feeling for this wonderful woman, the love of his life. He offered Maya the rose, with a platinum engagement ring attached to the red ribbon decorating it.
Maya swallowed hard. She was completely surprised. She was not really expecting a proposal from him this evening. Richard’s proposal sobered her up faster than several glasses of water and cups of coffee can do. Her heart was beating loudly, the blood going to her head. It started from the moment he knelt before her. Then with tears glistening in her eyes, she also knelt, cupped Richard’s face, looking at him with all the love she feels.
“Ricky, my love, like you I will never love another. I have only one love, and that is you. You are my fate, you are my destiny, and even if we had taken the long road to arrive at this moment, it was worth it. I will continue to love you until the end of my breath. I love you very much. Yes I would life to share the rest of my life with you, grow old with you, make a family with you. Be with you for always. Yes, I will be yours as you will be mine. Yes, I will marry you.” Maya said, her voice breaking. “I love you with all of me.”
Richard grinned happily upon hearing Maya’s declaration. He also heaved a sigh of relief. Yes, this was not the first time he had proposed, but this is so much different, this is the only time that it mattered. The emotions he was feeling at that moment was so overwhelming, and he was fervently hoping that the love of his life will say yes to spending a lifetime with him. She did!
“Maya, I love you very much. Thank you, my love. You made me the happiest guy in the world. I promised to love and cherish you for always. Finally, we will be together. Eight years is too much, my love, to be without you.”
Richard then untied the red ribbon, slipped the ring encrusted with little diamonds out of it, then lovingly put it on Maya’s finger. Richard brought Maya’s hand to lips and kissed it very tenderly. He stood up, assisting Maya. He hugged her very tight as if he will never let her go. They stayed like that for a while, just absorbing this very special moment and a milestone in their lives. They also swayed a little bit as if dancing to the sweet music in their heads.
They kissed tenderly, lovingly with nary a space between them, their first kiss as a newly engaged couple, sealing their commitment to each other, to a lifetime together and loving each other.
Please call me Ricky
Maya, coffee tumbler in hand, ran briskly towards the closing elevator. She got in, then looked up to thank the person who held up the doors button for her, with her usual friendly smile, and find herself looking at the guy that invaded her thoughts the night before, and which caused her to buy a venti americano today to perk her up from her almost sleepless night. She was unable to sleep because of him!
“Good morning, Maya!” Richard Lim greeted her with a big, happy smile from the right side of the elevator. The other employees inside looked at them curiously as Mr. Lim didn’t greet them that way when he got into the elevator with them moments ago.
“Good morning, Sir Richard! Errr, Attorney Lim!” Maya replied, getting confused on what title to use for him, giving him a smile with a bit of a blush, remembering her embarrassing moments yesterday. Be still my heart, May silently said, but what a nice morning this is turning to be!
They settled into the elevator which was a bit crowded at that time. Maya was squeezed in beside Richard.
Wow, ang super nice smelling naman talaga ni Sir Richard, Maya thought.
When the elevator stopped at Maya’s floor, Richard gestured for Maya to get out first. Then he also got out of the elevator after her. Maya was surprised as she knows that Richard’s office is two floors up from hers.
“You have a meeting on this floor, Atty. Lim?” Maya asked conversationally after she noticed him walking beside her towards the direction of her office. She shares the floor with another department so she thought he has a meeting there.
“No, I don’t have any. I just want to accompany you to your office, if it is okay?” He remarked, smiling and gazing at her intently.
Maya’s heart beat faster, hearing that. It felt like a current went through her for some reason she can’t explain. All the blood went to her face too, making her blush. She, the poised one, is acting like a gauche teenager with this magnetic man.
“Oh!” was all she managed to utter at first. Then regaining her poise, she looked at Richard, then thanked him. “Thank you, Sir Richard, errr, Atty. Lim.”
“Please call me Ricky, Maya! I’m not your boss naman.” He said, gazing at her, then said enigmatically, “I’m glad.”
Maya just smiled at him, not really knowing how to react.
When they reached the entrance to Maya’s department, Richard gave Maya another of his lopsided smiles, then wished her a very nice day. She wished him a very nice day too. And they both parted ways, Richard with a big happy smile on his face, and Maya with her heart beating fast, as it if it jumping with joy.
But still, Maya does not know what to think of that encounter. She has a puzzled looked on her face when she opened her office door, and saw another surprise for the day! There is a big bouquet of sunflowers on her desk.
Maya felt that at that moment that there is something at work that she is still unaware of. She can’t think off hand who would send her sunflowers. While she had admirers at work before, none of them did this. Besides, only a handful of people knows that sunflower is her favorite flower.
She walked faster towards her desk, checked the floral arrangement for a card. She found it and she hastily opened it, an effort to find out fast who sent her the beautiful floral arrangement. However, while there is a message, it was not signed.
Have a great day! I hope you like the flowers.
The first thing that entered Maya’s mind when she thought of who could have sent it, is Richard Lim! She does not know why! He was just the first person that entered her head. But that’s impossible! He couldn’t be interested in her! As part of her job, she reads newspapers and magazines and she knows that he is considered as one of Manila’s most eligible bachelors, with socialites running after him, not that he pays them much attention, that’s according to Emman. Besides, he was with her in the elevator so he couldn’t have not been the one who sent it! Baka ipina-deliver. But really, why would he? However, before she can stop it, her heart jumped with the thought, that he might like her too, the way she likes him, a lot! But, Maya, she told herself, huwag assuming. Baka naman kasi crush na crush mo lang kaya naiisip mo na baka siya! Huwag mag-ilusyon, Maya Angela Dela Rosa.
Maya poked her head out of her door, checking if Minerva, her secretary is around. Seeing her, she called her to her office.
“Yes, Ms. Maya?” Minerva asked when she reached her desk. “May kailangan po kayo?”
“Minerva, anong oras ka pumasok today? Would you know kung sino ang naglagay nitong flowers sa office ko?” Maya asked.
“Naku, Ma’am, I was here around 7 o’clock, pero nandiyan na po ang flowers na iyan. Ako po ang unang pumasok sa department natin.” Minerva answered.
“Very puzzling talaga.” Maya said, almost to herself.
“Ma’am, meron po kayong secret admirer? Nakakatuwa naman po. In fairness, bongga ha. Nakakakilig pati.” Minerva said, smiling. “For sure, Ma’am, taga-LC lang din iyang pa-mysterious mong secret admirer. Sino ba ang may access sa building nang ganito kaaga. When we left home, wala naman iyan.”
“Hmmmm, you have a point there, Minerva. Thank you. I will figure it out, eventually.” Maya said. “Please make a follow-up na lang with Legal the documents we sent them for review last week, baka tapos na nila. Thank you.”
Maya looked at the card again after Minerva went back to her cubicle. It was written in a very distinct, ‘masculine’ way. Who could have send her the flowers?
She put the card in her drawer and tried to concentrate on her work. She found it difficult to do so. Aside from thinking who could have sent her the flowers, Richard also sneaked into her thoughts from time to time. She was puzzled actually by her instant attraction to him. She was drawn to him from the beginning. She had met other handsome guys, some even courted her, but none of them made her heart beat faster with just a look at a smile, like Richard does. There is something about his chinito good looks that is pulling her in, very strongly towards him.
The first time she saw Richard in person, his back was to the door. She was late for the party to welcome him to LC as she was talking to a business reporter of a major daily about LC’s upcoming stockholders meeting and the interview took a while. Richard suddenly turned when she was about to go to James Ventura, one of her good friends and the Chief Operating Officer of LC. He was actually the one who recruited her as LC’s Communications Manager several months ago. She was working for one of foreign news wire services in the country at that time. She felt she needed the change, and the job sounds interesting, so she accepted.
When Richard turned and focused her gaze on her, she literally stopped on her tracks. They shared a look, and she thought she saw something in that, but it was so fleeting that she thought she had imagined it. Then James called her, brought her to where Richard was, and introduced them. They chatted, at first with James, then just the two of them when someone called James across the room. They mostly talked about company stuffs and how long she had been with LC, and a bit about her old job. Before they can go into the details of their professional backgrounds, and other stuffs, Roberto Lim came and said he will borrow Richard. Richard told his father he would be along shortly. He gave her his business card before he went after his father.
They didn’t get talk again for the rest of the night as Roberto Lim went around the room with Richard in tow, formally introducing his son around. Even if Richard was just to assume the Chief Legal Counsel position then, everyone in the room that night knew he is being groomed as the next CEO of LC. Maya, on the other hand, was drawn into pocket conversations by the other executives and officers of the company.
From that night, Maya will just caught a glimpse of Richard here and there the past week, but they haven’t really saw each other face to face and interacted again until yesterday when she had mistakenly sent him the text.
Emman’s knock interrupted Maya’s introspection.“Hi Maya, hindi ka pa ba magla-lunch? Sabay na tayo?”
“Ha, lunch na ba, Emman?” Maya asked, surprised, looked at the clock and noticing that it was already past 12 noon.
“Oo naman, Ms. Maya Dela Rosa! Parang space out ka today, ah. Stress ba? Kalalabas pa lang naman natin ng newsletter for the week ah. Uy, sunflowers, ang ganda naman! Bonggang manliligaw ah.” Emman remarked, noticing the sunflowers.
“Beautiful, di ba? Kaso hindi ko alam kung sino ang nag-send.” Maya said as she grabbed her purse and cellphone. “Pagpasok ko nakita ko na sa table ko. When I asked Minerva naman, she told me na nandito na rin pagpasok niya, considering na siya ang pinakamaagang dumating sa department natin. Bayaan mo na nga, kung ayaw niyang magpakilala, eh di ayaw, di ba?”
Emman, stopped a bit at that, remembered Liza, one his other long-time LC friends calling him yesterday, chatting a bit, asking him what is Maya’s favorite flower. She said the company will send Maya some flowers for her birthday, which is in two weeks and she does not know what kind to get her. Nagtaka rin siya when she asked since it was not her who handles those for the company, but he got busy and forgot about it. If Liza asked, and Liza now works for…..
“OMG!” He muttered. He was torn between telling Maya who could have sent it. But what if he is wrong and it is just a mere coincidence? Saka, if ever man na si Sir Richard ang nag-send, mawawalan naman ng thrill kung sasabihin niya, di ba? Emman did this mental debate for a couple of seconds more, then decided not to tell Maya of his suspicion.
“Halika na nga. Ikain na lang natin iyan.” Emman just said.
Maya and Emman enjoyed their lunch, joined by their friends in LC, Edselyn and Jonah. The lunch put Maya in a better frame of mind. She has decided that she will just go with the flow. She is sure that whoever her secret admirer is will one day reveal himself. Why go to all the trouble if he wouldn’t?
With that resolution, she was able to concentrate on what she was doing. The rest of the day flew fast, and before Maya knew it, it was already past 6 o’clock in the evening. Emman has left already for the day. She gathered her things and went down to the lobby of LC, then walk to the street corner to get a taxi. A tall order at that time of the night, but she didn’t have any other choice. Maya was not able to use her car that day as it was her number coding day. She had been standing there for 10 minutes with taxis passing by, full, when a car stopped in front of her. The driver got out. It was Richard! OMG!
“Hi Maya, are you waiting for a taxi?” Richard greeted her as he walked towards her.
“Errrr, yes Atty. Lim.” Maya replied. OMG, ang guwapo talaga with his eyeglasses, pale blue dress shirt!
“Ricky, please, di ba I told you to call me that na lang.” Richard corrected and reminded her with a smile. “Where do you live? Come, I will take you home. It’s difficult to find a cab at this time of the night in this area.”
“Naku, Atty….errr…Ricky, baka my area is out of your way, I live in Makati.” Maya said, not wanting to bother him. Besides, three quarters of an hour with him the car, she might just melt and turn into a puddle like the wicked witch in the Wizard of Oz!
“Perfect then! I also live in Makati. at least in the meantime. I’m going to our family home in Dasmarinas Village. Where exactly do you live?” Richard asked as a horn blew loudly. “Come na, Maya, please, at baka ma-tow pa itong car ko. Nakakaabala na yata ako sa flow ng traffic!”
Maya agreed then. “Okay, thank you, Ricky.”
Richard opened the passenger door for Maya before going to the driver’s side of the car. Then when on their way, Richard asked Maya again where he will take her.
“Oh sorry, about that! I live in Bel-Air.” Maya replied.
Richard and Maya fall into an easy chatter throughout their journey from Ortigas Center to Makati. Maya forgot about getting self-conscious as Richard put her at ease. Before long, they were chatting like they have known each other long. She found him very easy to talk to.
From general topics, they shifted to talking about their favorite movies after getting distracted by a huge billboard in EDSA advertising the latest instalment to the Marvel Universe’s movies. Maya found out that Richard is a Marvel Comics avid fan and likes all the movies that were release under the so-called ‘Marvel Universe’. She also likes those, as well as romantic comedies, period movies, and movies based on literary works. Richard teased her about preferring chick flick and intellectual films. But admitted in the end, laughing, that he also watch those. From there, they moved to books they like, and other interests. They also started talking a little more about themselves. Maya, of course, know more about Richard than he about her.
Before they knew it, they were already approaching Buendia. They turned right, then drove into Maya’s village. Maya directed Richard to a beautiful two-storey house with a low fence, painted mostly in white and has a big garden in front.
“Ricky, thank you for taking me home. Would you like to go in, and have dinner, or coffee before you go home?” Maya offered when she and Richard were standing by the curve, in front of the gate.
“Thank you, Maya. Next time I will take you up on that. My parents are waiting for me. I told them I will be home for dinner. Knowing Mama, she will wait for me.” Richard said regretfully. He wanted to spend more time with Maya, but he had already said yes to his mother, to him being home for dinner. He forgot to cancel.
“Oh, okay then. Good night and thank you very much again for taking me home.” Maya said warmly, giving Richard a brilliant smile that lit up her whole face. “Baka kung hindi, naghihintay pa rin ako ng taxi.”
“No worries, Maya. If you want, I can also pick you up in the morning. Sabay na tayo pumasok.” Richard offered.
“Thank you, Ricky. My car is okay na tomorrow. Besides, I have a meeting outside the office so better if I have a ride.” Maya said, touched by his gesture.
“Okay, just let me know if you need a ride home again.I would be happy to take you.” Richard said. “I’ll go ahead. Good night Maya. I enjoyed the ride with you.” He finished soflty.
They shared a look, then as if they both realized what they were doing, both got a bit flustered. They said good night one more time.
Maya went inside the house, thinking that this turned out to be a very wonderful day, not only she saw the object of her affection, she shared a ride home with him.
Richard felt the same. When he saw Maya earlier waiting for a taxi, he can’t believe his luck, so he seized the opportunity to be with her. Now, he still has one thing to do that night, and he hopes Maya will like it.
Richard quickly exited from the San Nicolas Airport as soon as he got hold of his luggage. He is excited to see Maya. He misses her a lot. Time passed slowly in the more than two days they have been separated. The last glimpse of her he had, was when he took her to the airport Wednesday morning for her flight. The night before that, they had dinner at her house after he took her home. But he didn’t stay long as she needed to pack and get ready for her trip.
He was about to scan the terminal for the sight of his lovely girlfriend when he noticed her waving at him from the right side of the building. He walked towards her with a big grin on his face.
“Maya…..” He said lovingly. He hugged her tight, then proceeded to give her a quick kiss, then hugged her tight again. “I missed you so very much.”
“I missed you very much too, my Ricky.” Maya replied, very happy to see Richard again. He occupied her thoughts a lot the past two days. Yes, they have chatted on the phone in the evening, but that does not compare to seeing him, being with him. She has gotten used to seeing and being with him everyday. She hugged him tight back.
They stayed like that for a while, then Maya suddenly remembered her cousin.
“Ooops, I forgot. Sorry, Simon”. She said as she got out of Richard’s embrace, smiled sheepishly, then introduced the two. “Ricky, this is my cousin Simon Dela Paz. Simon, si Richard Lim, boyfriend ko.”
“Richard, ikinagagalak kitang makilala.” Simon offered to shake Richard’s hand. Sa wakas nakilala rin niya ang boyfriend ng pinsan niya. He and Maya talked about Richard last night, with Cristina Rose, after their dinner with Mamang. Just liked with Emman and the parents, Maya gave her cousins and childhood friends, and her Mamang this morning, a condensed version of hers and Richard’s love story.
“The same here, Simon. Madalas kang makwento ni Maya sa akin, pati na rin si Cristina Rose, kahit noong una pa kaming nagkakilala.” Richard shook Maya’s cousin’s hand, at the same time giving him a friendly smile.
“Mamaya, you will meet din Cris. Sinamahan lang si Cho sa school, may activity sila ngayon.” Simon said.
“I’m looking forward to that, also meeting Cho, and also her husband, Jeff, di ba?” Richard added.
“Wow, Ricky, you still remember, even Ate Cris’s husband’s name!” Maya exclaimed.
“Of course, my love. Lahat ng may kinalaman sa iyo, naaalala ko lahat.” He said lovingly.
“Ehemmm, ehemmm, dumarami yata ang mga langgam dito sa San Nicolas, Maya, parang imported, galing Maynila.” Simon teased his cousin and her boyfriend.
Both Maya and Richard shared a loving smile and a sheepish look.
“Oo na, Simon, titigil na kami, hahahahaha.” Maya told her cousin. “Halika na nga, punta na tayo kay Mamang at for sure, inip na inip iyon. Excited nang makilala itong si Ricky.”
They all trooped to the parking lot where Simon’s owner-type jeep was waiting for them.
“Richard, pagpasensyahan mo na itong jeep ko.” Simon said apologetically.
“Naku, Simon, okay lang.” Richard assured Maya’s cousin.
Maya insisted that Richard sit in front with Simon while she went to the back of the jeep. Richard assisted her in climbing in. Soon after they were in their way to the poblacion, where Mamang lives in the ancestral house of the Dela Pazes, Mommy Tessie’s side of the family. Simon stopped the jeep in front of the beautiful, well-preserved Spanish-era house.
“Wow, this is really beautiful!” Richard remarked as he looked at the two-storey house with capiz windows, ventanillas which make the house cooler especially in hot summer nights, intricate trimmings and in the tradition of old Filipino bahay na bato, the living area is on the second floor. They went inside through the front gate, up to the beautiful stairs made of old hardwood.
“Mamang, nandito na po kami!” Maya called from the base of the stairs, then indicated to Richard that they should ascend. Richard put his hand on Maya’s back to assist her. Simon followed, liking Richard’s solicitousness towards his cousin.
Mamang rushed to greet them from the top of the stairs. She came from the direction of the kitchen.
“Maya, apo, naku, panhik na kayo. Pasensya na at hindi ko kayo nasalubong kaagad.”
“Magandang hapon po, Mrs. Dela Paz.” Richard greeted Mamang formally and respectfully, when they reached the top of the stairs.
“Mamang, heto po ang nobyo ko si Richard.” Maya said to her grandmother as she gazed at Ricky lovingly. “Richard, heto naman ang maganda at mabait kong Mamang.”
“Please to meet you po, Mrs. Dela Paz.” Richard gave Maya’s grandmother a warm smile, then took her hand. “Mano, po.”
“Naku, kaawaan ka ng Diyos, anak. Mamang na rin lang ang itawag mo sa akin. Masyado namang pormal iyang Mrs. Dela Paz.” Mamang said, looking closely at Maya’s boyfriend. Kagwapo naman pala at mukhang mabait itong nobyo ng apo ko, she thought. “Natutuwa ako Richard at sa wakas nakilala na rin kita. Halina, parine tayo sala at doon mas masarap magkwentuhan.”
“Mamang, uuwi po muna ako sa amin.” Simon said. “Babalik na lang po ako, mamaya.”
“O sige, Simon, sama-sama tayong maghahapunan mamaya ha. Paki-remind mo rin sina Cristina Rose, Jeff at Pocholo at ang mga magulang mo na dito tayong lahat mamayang alas siyete ng gabi. Pa-welcome natin dito kay Richard.” Mamang told Simon.
“Opo, Mamang. Sasabihin ko po sa kanila. Excited nga rin po ang mga iyon na makilala itong si Richard.” Simon replied. “Richard, Maya, maiwan ko muna kayo.”
“Sige, Simon. Salamat ha. Mamayang gabi na lang.” Maya told her cousin. Richard also thanked Simon.
Mamang led Richard and Maya to a grand living room, full of antique furnitures and filled with framed black and white and sepia photos of several generations of Dela Pazes. They sat on the small sitting room on the side of the room.
“O maupo na muna kayo at magpapahanda ako ng merienda.” Mamang said, moving towards the direction of the kitchen.
“Naku, Mamang, ako na lang po. Puntahan ko si Manang Narcisa. Magpahinga ka na rin. Knowing you, ‘Mang, nakialam ka naman sa pagluluto ng mga putahe para sa dinner natin.” Maya gently assisted her grandmother to her favorite solihiya chair. Then she indicated that Richard should sit on the big one beside it.
“Kumusta naman ang flight mo, Richard?” Mamang asked when they were both seated and Maya disappeared to the direction of the kitchen. “Mabuti rin at nakasama ka rito kay Maya sa amin.”
“Maayos naman po, Mamang. On time naman ang flight.” Richard replied, realizing that this an opportunity for him to talk to Maya’s grandmother. “I asked Maya po if it is okay to go with her when she visits you pagkatapos ng meeting niya sa community kung saan sila may project kasi gusto ko po kayong makilala. Matagal na po niya kayong nakukwento sa akin, noong nasa New York pa kami. Nabanggit po ba niya ang tungkol sa amin?”
“Oo, anak. Nagkakwentuhan kami ng husto nitong apo ko kaninang umaga, pagkagising namin at habang nagkakape. Kagabi kasi, nagkasiyahan silang magpipinsan. Medyo matagal na hindi nagkita-kita ang mga iyon. Natutuwa ako na sa kabila ng lahat, kayo pa rin nitong apo ko. Mahalin mo siya ng husto ha, iyan lang ang hiling ko sa iyo.” Mamang said.
“Makakaasa po kayo, Mamang.” Richard said, then taking a deep breath, he forged on. “Sa katunayan, may isa pa po akong dahilan sa pagpunta rito. Gusto ko rin po kasi sanang magpaalam sa inyo.”
“Magpaalam para sa saan?” Mamang asked, though like Mommy Tessie, she has an inkling on what it will be.
“Matapos po kina Mommy Tessie at Mark, also my Mama, magpapaalam din po sana ako sa niyo na mag-propose kay Maya. Gusto ko na po sana siyang yayaing magpakasal, if she will have me.” Richard finished in one rush.
Mamang smiled, then put her hand on her chest, happy for her apo and the man she loves. “Oh my! May idea ba ang apo ko na may pinaplano kang ganito, Richard?”
“Wala po.” Richard said.
“Masaya ako para sa inyo. Of course, si Maya pa rin ang sasagot sa iyo, pero for me, welcome na welcome ka sa pamilya namin. Alam ko namang mahal na mahal na mahal ka ng apo.” Mamang finished, then stood up and hugged Richard. “Salamat sa paggalang, Richard.”
“Mamang, ako nga po ang dapat magpasalamat sa inyo, sa pagtanggap.” Richard said as he hugged the old lady back.
“Salamat saan?…..” Maya said from the doorway, carrying a tray of drinks, followed by Manang Narcisa, with several servings of mouthwatering rice cakes, before Mamang can ask Richard when is he planning to propose.
“Wala, sabi lang ni Richard, salamat sa pagtanggap dito sa bahay natin.” Mamang replied, smiling conspiratorially at Richard. Richard smiled back, silently thanking Mamang and her discretion in not spoiling his big surprise for his love. “O kain na nga tayo.”
They chatted while having merienda. Maya told Richard and her grandmother that everything is set for her and Donya Esmeralda’s project in a remote village, more than an hour away from San Nicolas. She told them that the people there were very nice and are looking forward to the literacy program, especially the kids who really want to learn.
While Maya was chatting, Richard’s gaze never left her face, looking at her with so much love. She looked at him with the same expression on her face. Mamang was happy looking at the two and the overflowing of love between them. She is happy that her apo had finally found someone to share her life with. Richard looks like a very responsible and a very nice young man. Ma-respeto pa.
They were winding down their merienda session when Manang Narcisa interrupted them, saying that one of Mamang’s katiwala is looking for her.
“Maya, apo, pagpahingahin mo na muna itong si Richard doon sa kwarto na inihanda natin for him. Kailangan ko lang kausapin itong si Berto tungkol diyan sa mga tanim natin sa Barangay San Antonio.” Mamang suggested. “Richard, excuse me. Kailangan ko lang bumaba.”
“Sige po Mamang.” Maya said. “Halka, my love, ilagay na natin iyong mga gamit mo doon sa room mo.”
“Thank you po, Mamang sa pagpapatuloy niyo sa akin.” Richard respectfully.
“Naku, wala iyon Richard. Welcome na welcome ka rito sa bahay ko. Kapamilya ka na rin namin since nobyo ka nitong apo ko.” She said smiling.
Maya led Richard to a corridor then to a room towards the side of the house.
“Here it is! This one used to be my Tito Jose’s room, and I’m having Mom’s old room at the opposite side of this, beside Mamang’s room.” Maya said as she opened the door to a big airy room, with a big antique four-poster bed in the middle. “The bathroom is over there.”
Richard just gazed at Maya while she was showing him everything. When she was about to move to show him something more, he got hold of her arm, and gently reeled her to him.
“I missed you very much.” He softly said, and before she can react, he lowered his lips to hers and gave her a searing kiss.
Maya responded to Richard’s kiss. Before long, they were sharing hot kisses, while slowly moving towards the bed. Richard broke the kiss to sit on the bed, then put Maya in his lap. Then he resumed kissing her. He ran his tongue on the rim of her lips, silently asking entry. Maya opened her mouth to let Richard’s tongue in. Their tongues duelled and mated, sharing searing kisses that inflamed their senses and their desire for each other.
The afternoon suddenly felt so hot. Richard’s hand soon started wandering, caressing Maya’s back, moving to the hem of her blouse, then to the underside of her breast. He left a trail of heat, igniting May’s senses more. His wandering hand finally reached Maya’s breast. Richard cupped her breast on top of her bra, caressing it maddeningly making Maya hot to her core. He did the same to other one. In the process, he discovered that Maya’s bra has a front closure. He flipped it open, then his hand was free to roam and play with Maya’s breasts.
Maya started caressing Richard too as they shared another bone-melting kiss. Richard trailed kissed on Maya’s neck, her collarbone, the valley between her breasts. While he was raining hot kisses on her, he continued playing with her breasts. Maya on the other hand, caressed his nape, his hair, and everything she could touch. From where she was sitting, she can feel the evidence of Richard’d desire for her.
“Maya, my love, you are making me crazy with want. I want you very much, but I think we need to stop soon.” He said with difficulty. “Your grandmother might come looking for you soon.”
“Oh….” Maya looked at Richard with her desire-glazed eyes, that made it harder for Richard to stop what they were doing. But they needed to, he made the supreme effort, knowing that he is the experienced one and should have more control. They both tried to catch their breaths.
“You are lethal, Ms. Dela Rosa.” Richard said, grinning at Maya and caressing her face.
Maya just smiled at him, blushing a bit, realizing that they were in a very intimate position. She can still feel the imprint of Richard’s maddening touch on her breasts.
“I better leave you here, so you can rest.” Maya said, getting up from Richard’s lap after fixing her dress with trembling hands and shortness of breath.
“Maya, I don’t need to rest. I would rather spend the rest of the afternoon with you.” Richard said. “Why don’t you tour me around this house, please! Then, is there a place we can just chill out and chat? Have coffee you know, and cuddle!” He added with a naughty grin.
“Ricky…..” Maya said smiling. “Hmmm, I think I just know the place. Come.”
Maya toured Ricky around the magnificent ancestral home. Then she led Richard to an azotea, which has a coffee table and some chairs.
“Wait here, I will get us some coffee.” Maya said, giving Richard a quick kiss before heading towards the direction of the kitchen.
Maya came back with two steaming cups of coffee. She and Richard had a wonderful time in the azotea ringed by bougainvilleas and all kinds of ornamental plants. They only returned inside when it was getting dark. They got ready for the dinner Mamang is hosting for Richard.
Simon and his family arrived together around 15 minutes before seven o’clock and the house suddenly burst into a happy chatter. Maya introduced Richard to her Tito Jose, Tita Pilar, then to her Ate Cris, her Kuya Jeff, and Pocholo.
Richard felt overwhelmed and very happy with the warm welcome he received from Maya’s family. Dinner was a very lively affair. Mamang and Manang Narcisa prepared a feast. After everyone’s stomach was full, they moved to the living room to have coffee and dessert.
The party broke out at around midnight. Cho fell asleep in Mamang’s room while the adults where having coffee and chatting in the living room so Cristina Rose and her family opted to stay there as well. Richard and Maya after saying good night to everyone shared a chaste kiss in front of her room before retiring for the night.
When Maya woke up the following day, Richard was already up and having coffee with Mamang in the dining room. Cris and her family had left to go to church.
“Good morning, Mamang! Good morning Ricky!” She went to kiss Mamang on the cheek, then move to Ricky giving him a quick kiss on the cheek too. Richard stood up and pull a chair for her. “Did you sleep well?”
Richard smiled at her mischievously. “I did. I slept like a baby and had the most wonderful dream.”
Maya sensed something in Richard’s statement, but she better ask Richard about it when they are alone.
“Maya, apo, kain na!” Mamang started bustling in and serving Maya all kinds of food.
“Mamang, fiesta ulit.” Maya said smiling. “Thank you po. Mamang, bibiyahe na nga po pala kami ni Ricky before lunch, di ba Ricky? May dadaanan pa kami. Saan na nga iyon Ricky?”
“Yes nga po pala, Mamang. May dadaanan po kami diyan sa San Quentin.” Richard replied.
“Ganoon ba? Di bale, malapit lang naman iyon dito. Pahatid na kayo kay Simon.” Mamang said.
Maya and Richard told her that they have already made arrangements with Simon for a pick up at around 11 o’clock. The three of them spent most of the morning chatting with their overly long breakfast. Then, Maya and Richard excused themselves to get ready to leave. Soon after, they were at the gate, saying goodbye to Mamang,
“Maya apo, Richard, dalas-dalasan niyo ang pagdalaw dito ha.” Mamang said, getting teary-eyed.
“Opo Mamang. Mas mapapadalas ako rito kasi may project kami diyan sa San Manuel na baka six months din ang abutin.” Maya said. “Baka nga po, minsan, pagdaan ko rito, kasama ko pa ang Mama ni Ricky.”
“Oo nga, isama mo nga rito nang makilala ko ang magiging…” Oops, good thing Mamang was able to stop herself. Kamuntik na siyang madulas. “….ang magiging katuwang mo diyan sa maganda mong project,” she finished.
Richard heaved a sigh of relief! He thought Mamang would say ‘ang magiging biyenan mo’, and more.
“Mamang, maraming salamat po ulit sa lahat.” He said, then hugged the old lady. He does miss having a grandmother. Hindi na niya nakilala ang grandparents niya dahil maagang namatay.
Simon arrived while they were saying goodbye. They loaded everything into the jeep and waved to Mamang as they were leaving.
More than an hour after, Simon stopped the jeep at the base of a road that goes up to the mountains.
“Hanggang dito na lang ba kayo, Richard?” He asked. “Kaya naman siguro ng jeep ko ang paakyat.”
“Maraming salamat, Simon. Sobra-sobra na ang pang-aabala namin sa iyo.” Richard said. “Okay na, I have made arrangements na, parating na rin siguro si Mang Caloy. Napaaga lang tayo ng kaunti sa pinag-usapan naming oras.”
From a distance, they saw an oncoming pick-up truck. It stopped and out came an old guy.
“Sir Richard, pasensya na po at naghintay pa kayo.” Mang Caloy said, then looked at Maya and Simon. “Magandang hapon po sa inyo, Ma’am, Sir.”
“Magandang hapon din po.” Maya and Simon said, one after the other.
“Maya, Simon si Mang Caloy, caretaker ng vacation house ng family namin diyan sa may taas ng bundok.” Richard said. “Mang Caloy, si Maya Dela Rosa po, girlfriend ko and ito naman si Simon Dela Paz, pinsan niya na taga-San Nicolas.”
“Ikinagagalak ko po kayong makilala. Mga apo ba kayo ni Donya Conching?” Mang Caloy asked.
“Opo Kilala niyo po pala si Mamang?” Maya asked.
“Opo, Ma’am Maya, Sir Simon. Pinsan ko po si Berto na caretaker niya sa Barangay San Antonio.” He said.
Maya and Simon smiled at the old guy and told them they are happy to meet a relative of Mang Berto.
Soon after Richard and Maya said goodbye to Simon and boarded the pick-up truck that took them through scenic, but rough roads and curves going up to the mountain. When they reached the top, Maya found the view breathtaking. She can see the whole of the island and the water that surrounds it.
Mang Caloy stopped the vehicle in front of a big house. The best way to described it, is that it is like a bahay kubo na mansyon. The house has cogon roof, made of wood, with a wrap-around balcony, and when Maya and Richard got inside, she discovered that it has floor-to-ceiling windows that offer a breathtaking view of the mountains and the sea way below.
“What a marvelous place! Is this your family’s, Ricky?” Maya asked as she moved towards the big window. “Parang wala ka namang nabanggit na may relative ka rin dito sa Mindoro.”
“Wala kaming relative dito. This house was offered to Papa by one of his friends who have been building vacation houses in the area several years ago. Nagustuhan naman niya, and also ni Mama. Madalang lang din silang magpunta dito. Ako ang medyo madalas, before I left for the States in 2009, especially when I needed to be alone and want to have a quiet time. If Superman has his ‘Fortress of Solitude’, this is mine. This is a special place for me.” Richard said as he stood behind Maya and hugged her from the back, his arms around her waist and his chin on this shoulder. “And you are the only one I have brought here.” Richard said softly.
Maya’s heart skipped a beat, touched. “Thank you, Ricky. I love yo very much.”
“I love you more, Maya, now and forever.” Richard said as he moved a bit so he can kiss her.
Their lips touched and they shared a gentle, loving kiss, in the place that would become more special to them.
Richard was in a very happy mood when he entered his place, the penthouse unit of one of the upscale high-rises in Bonifacio Global City, remembering his and Maya’s heated moment earlier that night. He opened the lights and took a sweeping look at his place. Will Maya like it here, he asked himself? The place suits him, even if it is too big for one person. He likes the view and the fact that he can just come and go. He does not need to cook as there are a lot of restaurants in the area and a cleaning lady comes daily to tidy up the place and takes care of his laundry. If he craves for a home cooked meal, all he need to do is drive himself to his mother’s house, and for sure, Manang Fe has his favorite food waiting for him when he arrives.
However, ever since he and Maya got back together, he is imagining her there, in his place, them sharing it, having a quiet and enjoyable time together every evening, sitting in the big sofa by the floor-to-ceiling window that offers a wonderful view of the city, talking how their day have been, cuddling and doing what couples do, spending the night together and waking up beside each other in the morning.
Richard went to the fridge, took a cold can of San Mig light, took a sip, then while half-staring at the quiet night, initiated a call to a long remembered but unused number. He took a deep breath and told himself, this is it. He was glad that Maya laid the groundwork for this call, thought she was completely unaware on why he really wanted to call on her mother.
Richard did not have to wait long. The call was picked up after three rings.
“Hello good afternoon, Tessie Winters here.” Maya’s mother automatically said when she picked up the phone. She was about to make herself a cup of coffee when it rang.
“Hello po, Mrs. Winters, good afternoon, this is Richard Lim, calling from Manila.” Richard greeted Maya’s mother formally.
“Richard, kumusta ka na anak!” Mommy Tessie warmly greeted Richard. “Masyado ka namang formal. Di ba, I told you to call me Tita Tessie the last time you were here. Maya mentioned nga last night that you will call me.”
“I’m good po, Tita Tessie. I’m actually more than good, the best po, especially now that Maya and I are back together. I couldn’t be happier that she has given me a second chance and that we are back together! I think she mentioned it the rin po sa inyo last night.”
“Yes, she did. Tumawag nga siya and we chatted for an hour, I think.” Mommy Tessie said, then took a deep breath and plunged in. “Richard, I will speak frankly na ha.”
“Yes po, Tita Tessie, please go ahead.” Richard said, knowing what is coming, he had prepared for it.
“Thank you, anak. I want you to know that I’m very, very happy for you and Maya. You two deserve to be happy after what you have been through. However, I don’t want Maya to be hurt like the last time, please. I know you have gone through your own hell in what happened, pero siyempre bilang ina ayaw ko rin namang nakikitang masaktan, or in this case, nalaman na nasaktan ng husto ang anak ko. The extent of what she endured I only found out last night.”
“Ipinapangako po sa inyo, hinding-hindi ko na po sasaktan si Maya. I have learned from the past. Saka, hindi po lahat ng tao, nabibigyan ng ganitong chance ulit gaya ko, namin, kaya hindi ko po ito sasayangin. Kaya nga po ako tumawag sa inyo, to assure you that I will not hurt her again and it will be my goal in life to make her happy for the rest of our lives.” Richard finished passionately and with so much conviction that Maya’s mom readily believed his sincerity and intention towards her daughter. She was not wrong with her first impression of Richard years ago.
“You mean….?” Mommy Tessie asked, though she has an inkling what Richard meant with that statement.
“I want to marry Maya po, Tita Tessie if she will have me. I love her very much and she is my life now. She is the one and only woman I have ever love. Iyon din po ang main reason why I decided to give you a call. I wish I can be there in New Jersey at the moment to ask you this in person, kaso po kababalik ko palang po kasi ng Pilipinas. Hihingi po sana ako sa inyo ng permission to propose to your daughter. Pangako ko po sa inyo, I will cherish and love Maya.”
Even if she knew it was coming, Mommy Tessie still got very emotional with what Richard said. “Richard, anak, thank you for asking my permission, even if you don’t have to. Of course, for me welcome ka sa pamilya namin. I know that you are a good person and that you love my daughter very much, and that she loves you very much too, for her to let go of what happened and take another chance with love, with you. But of course, si Maya pa rin ang makakapagdesisyon diyan.”
“Thank you po, Tita Tessie. Importante po sa akin ang blessings niyo. I will do my best so Maya will say yes to a future with me. I know we just got back together, but we have already have wasted eight years, ayaw ko na pong marami pa kaming masayang na sandali. We have waited long enough to be together.”
“Kailan mo balak mag-propose kay Maya?” Mommy Tessie asked, teary-eyed, very happy for her daughter.
“Pagkagaling po sana naming bumisita sa San Nicolas. I want to meet your mother first and ask her also for her blessings since she is also a very important person in Maya’s life.”
“Pati si Nanay!” Mommy Tessie smiled at that. “Richard, anak, kapag hindi ka pa naman sinagot ng anak ko sa gagawin mong iyan, ewan ko na lang. Saka kapag ganoon ang nangyari, ako na ang magiging padrina mo.” She teased.
Richard smiled at that, and finally, he can breath. He admitted, he was very nervous when he made the phone call.
“Thank you po, basta asahan ko po ang back-up niyo kapag hindi nag-yes ang anak niyo kaagad.” Richard bantered back.
“Sure, anak!” Mommy Tessie laughed. “Kailan pala kayo pupunta sa Mindoro? Maya forgot to mention that in our chat last night.”
“Maya will travel po to Mindoro on Wednesday for the project she is working on with my mother, then I will follow her on Saturday. She is finished with that, by then so we can both see and visit her Mamang. I really wanted to meet din po your mother since Maya mentioned her a lot before.” Richard said.
“Naku, I’m sure matutuwa sa iyo si Nanay, and for sure papasa ka doon, anak.” Mommy Tessie said smiling. Her mother, for sure, will like Maya’s handsome, young man.
“Tita Tessie, may I speak din po with Mr. Winters. Nabanggit niyo na rin po ba sa kanya na kami na ulit ni Maya?” Richard asked tentatively, “That is, if he is not busy.”
“Oo, I did, kagabi noong dumating siya. Maya requested me to tell him. He is very happy that Maya is happy. Para na rin kasing anak ni Mark iyang si Maya. He also said that he had a good first impression of you, and since you are Maya’s only boyfriend as far as he know, you must be a very wonderful guy. He said, he trust Maya’s choices and instinct and that couldn’t be wrong if she still loves you after all the years that have passed.” Mommy Tessie said, recalling some of what her husband said upon learning that Maya is with Richard again. “Sandali lang ha, I will call him.”
Richard waited for a minute or two, then the line was picked up again.
“Hello Richard! Glad to hear from you. How are you? Tessie said you wanted to talk to me?” Mark Winters said as he settled in the couch vacated by his wife. “Oh, and I’m happy to hear that you and Maya are back together.”
“Yes Sir, I wanted to talk to you as well, not only to Maya’s mom.” Richard started, then forged on. “The reason I called your wife was to ask her permission to marry Maya. I would like also to ask yours as well as you are Maya’s dad now.”
“Oh, thank you for asking me too, Richard. It is a very nice thing to do, and I’m so very glad. But like Tessie has surely said to you, it is up to Maya. But I’m happy for both of you and I do wish she will say yes to you. I will of course, would gladly welcome you to our family. I may not know what happened to separate you two in the past, but all I want is Maya’s happiness. She is like a real daughter to me.”
“Like what I have promised Tita Tessie, Mr. Winters, I will love and cherish Maya for the rest of our lives. I will take care of her until we are old and grey.” Richard promised Maya’s stepdad.
“That’s very good to hear, Richard. And please do call me Mark.” Maya’s stepfather offered. “Good luck on your proposal.”
“Thank you, Mr….errr, Mark.” Richard said, happily.
“No worries, Richard.” Mark Winters said. “Would you like me to hand the phone to Tessie again?”
“Yes, please, and thank you.” Richard said. He heard Mark talking a bit to Tita Tessie and then she came back on the line.
“Tita Tessie, thank you very much po to you and Mark.” Richard said gratefully, happily.
“Richard, wala iyon. Masaya kami na magiging bahagi a ng pamilya namin. I know you will love and cherish Maya. Saka, knowing my daughter, hindi iyan pipili ng hindi niya mahal ng buong-buo. Di ba pa nga sa tinagal-tagal na nagkahiwalay kayo, hindi nakuha or napilit ang sarili niya na magmahal ng iba. I wish you both all the happiness in this world. Basta last payo lang Richard, open communication ha, importante talaga iyan sa isang couple. Huwag mong i-shield si Maya to protect her if the going gets tough. Give her a choice in the matter.” Tita Tessie said, not able to stop herself from saying that. “Sorry ha, napahaba na ang advice ko.”
“Thank you po, Tita Tessie, very welcome po sa akin iyan. I know po and I will do that.” Richard said. “Good night po.”
“Good night and good luck, anak.” Maya’s mother ended the phone call, cradling it after Richard had said goodbye, a happy smile on her face. “My Maya getting married soon,” she said. She does not have any doubt that her daughter will say yes to Richard.
Richard, on the other hand, let up a whooping sound after he put the phone down. He felt very happy at that moment. One more very important person in Maya’s life to talk to and he can propose to her. He know just the place to do that, the place to ask her to be with him forever.
The following morning, the day before Maya leaves for her trip, Richard woke up early. He prepared for another day at work. But before he left the house to pick up Maya, he made another phone call.
“Ricky, son, napatawag ka. Ang aga pa ah.” Donya Esmeralda greeted her unico hijo. “Thank you nga pala for bringing Maya to dinner. Then sa good news niyong dalawa. I’m so happy to know na kayo na. Im so looking forward to all my apos!”
“Ma! Ikaw talaga, advance na advance ah.” Richard said, laughing.
“O, eh doon naman iyon papunta. Sa tinagal-tagal pa naman ng hinintay niyong dalawa.” Donya Esmeralda pointed out.
“Well, Ma, kaya nga po ako tumawag sa inyo this morning, I would like you to know that I would like to settle down with Maya soon. I’m planning to propose to her po.” Richard said happily.
“Oh my, that’s a wonderful news son! It’s about time. Kailan mo balak?” Donya Esmeralda couldn’t be happier.
“Basta, Ma, secret. Malalaman mo soon after.” Richard said. “I know just the place to do it.”
“O siya, siya, hindi na ako mangungulit. Good luck, son!” Donya Esmeralda said. “Bring Maya again to dinner after she had said yes. I’m sure she will.”
“Thank you, Ma.” Richard replied. “By the way, Ma, di ba you have a friend who designs engagement and wedding rings. Can I have her contact number and can you put in a word for me, kasi this is going to be a rush job.”
“Oh my, oh my. That soon, son! I’m so excited!!” Donya Esmeralda said, very happy at that moment. “Sige, I will send you her number after this, and then I will call her for you too. Of course, sasabihin ko na i-prioritize niya ang aking only son.”
“Thank you, thank you again, Ma.” Richard told his mom. “I love you. You are the best.”
“Son, I’m just so very very happy for you and Maya. You deserved to be happy after all that had happened. My first apo, Gabrielle, must really be your little angel in heaven. She sent happiness your way.” She finished, suddenly remembering the baby, her first grandchild, they have mourned a lot.
Rchard smiled at that, remembering his beautiful angel. It is not so sad and painful now to think of his little girl. Speaking of, he would like to visit her before his trip to Mindoro. He has not visited her grave since he got back.
Mother and son said goodbye. Richard left his place to pick up the love of his life. Donya Esmeralda, on the other hand, went to her room, held the framed photo of her husband that she keeps there.”Roberto, our son has found the happiness that has eluded him years ago. He is happy now. I hope you will find your peace too, my husband.” She said teary-eyed, then kissed the photo before getting ready to go to Lim Foundation.
Richard arrived at Maya’s house before seven o’clock, just like the previous days. Soon after, they were on their way to Makati. While they were were cuddling in the back seat of the car, Richard asked Maya if she can take a vacation leave that coming Monday.
“I guess, I could. I haven’t had a leave this year. ” Maya said after Richard asked her. “Why?’
“Well, I want to stay one more day in Mindoro. May dadaanan lang tayo before we go back to Manila. Would it be okay to go there Sunday afternoon, after we visited your Mamang, then we return to Manila on Monday afternoon?” Richard asked, his plan firmed in his head. “Malapit lang actually iyong lugar na iyon sa San Nicolas.”
“Okay, with me.” Maya asked, getting a bit puzzled, but thought that they might be just visiting a friend of Richard’s. “How about you? Okay ka lang bang mag-leave ka, so just got back, di ba? I know you are the boss, pero for sure, marami kang work.”
“Hmmm, I think I can take one day off. I will just ask Liza to reschedule all my meetings to Tuesday onwards.” Richard assured Maya. “By the way, I called your mother last night.”
“Really, you did na? O anong sabi ni Mom sa iyo?” Maya asked, as she moved a bit so she can look at Richard fully.
“She said she is happy for us. She also told me not to hurt you again, and I assured her that I will not do so. I promised her to love and cherish you for the rest of our lives.” Richard finished with a loving, secretive smile.
Hearing those words, which strongly hints of a forever between them, made Maya’s heart jumped with joy. “Thank you for making the effort, Ricky. Mom, may have been living in the States a long time, but she is still a Filipino at heart. For sure, she really appreciates your gesture.”
“Maya, my love, lahat ng importante sa buhay mo, importante na rin sa akin. Lahat ng mahal mo, mamahalin ko rin.” Richard said as he hugged Maya closer to him. “I also chatted a bit with your Daddy Mark, and he is also happy for us, too.”
“Oh, that is good to know! I told Mom nga to tell him.” Maya said, then teased Richard, “Para kang magko-courtesy call sa parents ko, ha.”
Richard grinned at that. Maya, my love, if you only know, Richard thought, so looking forward to Sunday. But all he said to Maya with a heated gaze was that he loves her very, very much, then gave her a kiss on the forehead. Just like the previous days, Maya went to work, very, very happy, like she is on top of the world. Unknown to her at that time, the happy ever after that had entered her consciousness lately will materialize sooner than she ever expected.
Maya opened her laptop, then logged on to her Skype account. She is in luck! Her mother is online. She was not so sure as she had mentioned several days ago that she will be busy working on their back garden. Mommy Tessie loves to garden and it’s from her that Maya got her love of getting her hands dirty and puttering in the yard, then happily watch what she had planted grow. She prefers to plant flowers and ornamental plants, though. Her mom, on the other hand, prefers all kinds of herbs and vegetables.
“Hello Maya anak!” Mommy Tessie greeted her eldest daughter. “Kumusta ka na? Gabing-gabi na diyan, bakit gising ka pa?”
“Hi Mom! Mabuti naman po ako. I’m glad that I caught you. I thought you would be out gardening.”
“Naku, medyo napagod na ako. Heto nagpapahinga muna. Saka, malapit na rin namang matapos. I can do it tomorrow.” Mommy Tessie said as she moved a bit to make herself more comfortable. “Heto habang nagpapahinga, nagbayad ako ng bills online and was about to check a gerdening website when you called.”
“Mom, rest din ikaw. Hinay-hinay ha.” Maya said. “I called up po pala kasi may sasabihin po sana ako sa inyo.”
Mommy Tessie suddenly felt that what her daughter will say is something very important to her, she looks so serious and nervous. “Oh, sure, ano ba iyon, Maya anak? May problema ka ba? Sabihin mo lang kung anong maitutulong ko.”
“Mom, thanks a lot. But I don’t have a problem. In fact, ang saya-saya ko nga po! Mom, kami na po ulit ni Ricky.” She said happily.
“Ricky? You mean si Richard, iyong boyfriend mo dati? Ha, paanong nangyari ‘nak eh you suddenly stopped mentioning him nga to us shortly before you left for Kabul eight years ago. You know, he visited me after you left. But that is a story I want to tell after you tell me how you and Richard ended up together again. Though, I must say, I’m not surprised it happened, just that why did it take this long for it to happen! We just chatted last week. Wala ka namang nabanggit about this.”
Over the next hour Maya told Mommy Tessie how she and Richard became boyfriend and girlfriend again. At times, Maya got teary-eyed in her narrative. Her mother also cried, especially when Maya told her that Richard’s baby died, and for what her daughter went through.
“Maya, anak, I’m so happy that despite everything you and Richard went through, you still found each other again.” Mommy Tessie said, drying the tears from the corners of her eyes. “Para talaga kayo sa isa’t isa. You know what. I told Richard when he poured his heart to me that if something is meant to be, it will be. Ganyan talaga, anak kapag destiny mo and kapag talagang love mo.”
Mommy Tessie took a deep breath and continued. “I never told you about Richard’s visit because I was waiting for you to say something about whatever you were going through that time. Noong wala kang sinasabi sa mga e-mail mo at tawag, naisip ko na baka gusto mo na rin lang kalimutan ang lahat and makasama pa kapag inungkat ko. Ayaw ko nang masaktan ka pa.”
“Mom, sorry for just keeping everything to myself at that time. I thought that was for the best. Kung alam mo lang, Mom, the pain I felt when I read online that Ricky got married, tapos ang layo-layo ko pa sa inyo.” Maya said. “Pero after ilang years, my heart healed and I, sort of, move on, pero hindi pa rin nawala ang feelings ko for him.”
“Ganyan talaga, anak when love is true. It endures.” Maya’s mom told her.
“I know, Mom. I love Ricky very much and he said he will make it up to me.” Maya added, and her mother can see the love for Richard shining in her eyes. “By the way, Mom, Ricky said he will give you call tomorrow. Would that be okay?”
“Of course, I want to hear from him also. Kailangan niyang i-promise sa akin na hindi ka niya sasaktan ulit!” Mommy Tessie told Maya, half-jesting, half-serious.
“You know what, Mom. That is one of the reasons he told me why he wants to give you a call.”
“Talaga, anak! Nakakatuwa naman.” Mommy Tessie smiled, then asked, “Teka, sabi mo reasons,’nak, may iba pa daw ba siyang dahilan sa pagtawag?”
“Oh, I don’t know about the others, kasi sabi niya ‘among other things’ lang, Mom.” Maya replied.
By then, Mommy Tessie’s motherly intuition kicked in and she has a pretty good idea on why Richard wants to call her. Looks like, he is really making up for lost time, fast!
“Okay, anak! I will just wait for Richard’s call.” Mommy Tessie said.
“How’s Nikki and Luke, Mom?” Maya’s siblings are both in high school. Luke is in his senior year.
“They are okay. They are doing good. I hope you can be here for Luke’s graduation ha.”
“I will try, Mom. Alam niyo naman po itong work ko. Minsan kung saan-saan na lang ako nakakarating. Saka, we have this project with Mrs. Lim, di ba?”
“Hpw’s Richard’s mother nga pala Maya? I read that his father just died recently.”
“Mrs. Lim is a very nice lady. I forgot to tell you earlier. The reason why Ricky and I met sooner than we expected was because of her talaga. I think she wanted to matchmake between us. Speaking of which, I forgot. I don’t think alam na niya na kami na ulit ni Ricky. Mom, iyong expression niya nang malaman niyang magkakilala kami ni Ricky, priceless!”
“Talaga, anak. Mukhang magkasundo naman pala kayo ni Mrs. Lim. I’m glad.” Mommy Tessie said cryptically.
“Yes, Mom. We do. Nakakatuwa and nakaka-amaze minsan ang mga idea ni Mrs. Lim for her charities. Saka hands-on talaga, especially after Ricky’s dad died.” Maya answered. “Mom, I have to go. Super late na. I need to wake up earlier than usual kasi Ricky will pick me up again tomorrow.”
“Sinusundo ka ni Richard? Eh di ba sabi mo earlier sa BGC siya nakatira and their office is in Ortigas and you work in Makati. Okay lang ba sa kanya, anak? Hindi ba nakakapagod, considering CEO na siya ngayon!”
“I told him about that already, Mom pero makulit and mapilit. He has a driver naman. Saka, alam mo Mom the first time he invited me to dinner, he did it by sending almost 3,000 roses to the house, para raw sa bawat araw ng mga taon na hindi niya ako nabigyan noong roses na ibinibigay niya sa akin na nagsimula noong nagtatrabaho pa ako sa hotel.”
“Oh my! Maya anak. grabeng bumawi sa iyo si Richard ha. I have to say this, anak, kinikilig ako.” Maya’s mom told her happily, and teasingly. “Sabihin ko nga sa Daddy Mark mo at ng magka-hint matagal-tagal na akong hindi nakakatanggap ng flowers from him, hahahaha.”
Maya laughed. “Oh by the way, Mom. You can tell this to Daddy Mark. I’m sure he will be happy for us too. Kasi, I think he liked Ricky a lot when I brought him home for that Thanksgiving dinner!”
“Okay I will. O matulog ka na. Good night anak. I love you.”
“I love you, Mom. Hugs and kisses to Nikki, Luke and Daddy Mark.”
Mother and daughter signed off. On the way to the bathroom, Maya saw her phone blinking. There was a message from Ricky. Good thing it was just sent several minutes ago.
Good night, my love! See you in several hours. I love you!
Good night, my Ricky. Sorry for the delayed reply. I just finished talking to Mom. More on this tomorrow! I love you too, very much. Sleep well.
Richard was at Maya’s house several minutes before seven o’clock the following day. Upon seeing him waiting for her by the car again, Maya thought that she will never get tired of looking at her handsome boyfriend like this.
When Maya was walking towards him, Richard thanked his lucky stars again that he has been given a second chance at this, looking at his beautiful girlfriend with a loving and sweet smile for him every morning.
They exchanged a sweet good morning kiss.
While inside the car, Maya told Ricky that she mentioned to her mom that he will give her a call. Maya suggested that the best time probably is in the evening. Anyway, she said, her mother will just be home today. So is her Dad who just got back from a business trip.
“Oh good! I’m looking forward to that. Thank you, Maya.” Richard said, happy at the turn of events! “By the way, is it okay if we have dinner this evening sa family home namin?”
Maya was surprised at his request. “Oh, is there a special occasion? Birthday ba ni Mrs. Lim? Or baka naman family dinner iyon, Ricky! You don’t have to include me. I can just take a cab home.”
Richard smiled at Maya, then cupped her chin lovngly! “No, my love. I want to us to have dinner with Mama, only her, so we can tell her we are in a relationship na ulit.”
“Oh!” Maya’s eyes rounded and she felt her heart skipped a beat in hearing that. Then smiled sweetly, a bit shyly at Ricky. “Would that be okay? We just started again.”
“Maya, I’m 101 percent sure that it will be okay. Besides, my mother is probably dying to know what happened after she left us in BGC, but is waiting for me to say anything. Actually, I think she will be ecstatic. Don’t you have the feeling that she was trying to match us up together? I’m also thankful to Mama, if not for her, probably we would have not seen each other yet dahil hahanapin pa lang kita sana.”
“Or maybe, yes we would, since I knew you are her son and I was determined to have a closure.” Maya said smiling. “But I ‘m really thankful to your mother.”
“So, it is a go? I wil give her a call to say that we are coming for dinner, okay?”
Maya nodded, and they spend the ride chatting about the stuffs they needed to do for the day. Like yesterday, Richard gave Maya a paper bag when she got off the car.
“Thank you! I love you! Have a great day, Ricky!” Maya said then gave him a quick kiss on the lips.
Richard grinned. “With that to fortify me for the day, I surely will. Can I have one more, please!”
Maya giggled, but gave him another kiss. She entered her building, still smiling.
“PDA kung PDA lang ex-roomie!” Emman greeted.
“Emman!!!! What are you doing here? This is a nice surprise!” Maya ran to her friend and gave him a big hug.
“Bessie, two weeks ago lang tayo huling nagkita ah. Parang miss na miss mo na ako kaagad.” Emman remarked. “May client meeting ako sa building mo, pero mamaya pa. Na-move kasi. I was informed when I was on my way here. Hayun, I was about to text you, when I saw you got off the car and kissed that guwapong-guwapong guy na parang hindi naman si Rafa! Nag-wish ka ng boyfriend sa fairy godmother mo and granted agad-agad! The last time, I know you were still pining for you-know-who’ kahit hindi mo sinasabi sa akin!”
Maya grinned at Emman. “But Emman, bes, that was ‘you-know-who’ I was kissing earlier!!!!”
“Sino…..si….si…Richard iyon? Boyfriend mo na ulit siya? Ayieeeeee!” Emman screamed. People started looking at them. Emman noticed, turned red and said, “Sorry, sobrang kilig lang po. Pero, Mayabels, paano nangyari? Kailan? Saan? Di ba na-hurt ka niya ng husto? Hindi mo man sinabi sa akin ang nangyari. I knew that you must be kasi ni ayaw mong pag-usapan and hindi mo binabanggit ang name. Tapos ang mga nanliligaw sa iyo, dedma, pati na rin si el hombre muy guapo Rafa!”
“Emman, it’s a long story. Halika since na-move ang meeting mo. Late’s share the coffee and pandesal that I’m sure are inside this paper bag. Doon na lang tayo sa office ko,” Maya said as they walked towards the elevator banks.
Maya greeted her colleagues who were as early as she was when they entered their area. Then she and Emman proceeded to her office.
“Emman, could you please take out what’s inside. I will just get an extra mug for you.” Maya said as she directed Emman to the small coffee table she has by the corner of her office.
Emman did that and said, “Oh wow” as soon as he opened the paper bag. He saw the beautiful rose with the note. He also saw a coffee tumbler and as Maya guessed several pandesal.
“Heto, ang note. Hindi ko binuksan ha.” Emman said as he handed Maya the note and the rose. “Talagang iyang Prince Charming mo, wagas. After eight years, mahilig pa ring magbigay ng notes and roses sa iyo. Sa kanya galing ang mga ito, di ba?”
Maya smiled. She forgot about the rose and the note. She put the rose in the vase on her table, joining the other one from yesterday! “Yes, he is.” Then she opened the note and smiled goofily.
My beautiful love. Huwag magpagutom! I love you!
“Hay, ang in love nga naman. Ang ngiti raw nakakapunit din ng labi.” He teased.
The two friends laughed. While drinking their coffee and eating the four pandesal with cream cheese that Richard gave Maya today, Maya gave Emman a condensed version of how she and Richard met again and now having their second chance at love. She left out the things that only Ricky and her should know.
“Grabe roomie. Iyon na pala ang pinagdadaanan mo noon, hindi mo man lang binanggit sa akin nang nadamayan kita.” Emman said as he touched Maya’s hand as if to comfort her. “Pati rin pala ang mga pinagdaanan ni Richard noon, grabe. You two, deserve to be together again. I’m so happy for the two of you.”
“Sorry Emman, ang gulo kasi ng lahat noon. Saka sinarili ko talaga. Even Mom didn’t know.”
“Oh! Pero ngayon nasabi mo na rin ang lahat ng ito kay Tita Tessie? Alam na niyang boyfriend mo na ulit si Richard?”
“Yes, I did. I chatted with her on Skype last night. She also told me that Ricky visited her after I left.” Maya then told Emman what her mom told her of Richard’s visit.
“Hay ex-roomie, sa dami talaga ng pinagdaanan niyo niyang Prince Charming, isa lang ang patutunguhan niyan, happy ever after!”
“Sobra ka naman, Emman, kaka-start pa lang namin ulit.” Maya protested, but at the back of her mind, she wants her and Richard to end up together for the rest of their lives.
“Hay naku, basta, dapat bridesmaid ako ha.” Emman finished with a raised eyebrow and a bridesmaid pose. “Saka dapat ang partner ko si El Guapo Rafa ha.”
“Ikaw talaga, Emman.” Maya laughed.
“O siya, siya, bessie. Chika tayo ulit. Bababa na ako at malapit na rin naman ang meeting ko.” He gave her a beso. “Hello to Richard.”
Maya worked on the project proposal for Richard’s mom after Emman left. It took her until lunch to finish it the draft. With the other paperworks that she attended to after that, the rest of the day passed like a blur. Richard picked her up at past six o’clock in the evening. Soon after, Mang Lem parked the car in front of a stately home in one of the posh villages in Makati.
Richard opened the door for Maya and assisted her out.
“Is this where you grew up Ricky?” Maya said as she took a closer look at the elegant house.
“Yes. It has been in my family since before I was born. Papa inherited it from my grandparents.”
They walked towards the massive front door, which suddenly opened and they were welcome warmly by Donya Esmeralda.
“Maya, welcome to our home. I was very happy to know, when Ricky told me that you and him are coming to dinner.” Donya Esmeralda said as she gave Maya a beso.
“Good evening po, Mrs. Lim. Thank you for having us, kahit short notice.” Maya said formally.
“Hija, no more Mrs. Lim. Di ba sabi ko naman sa iyo noon na Tita Esmeralda na lang. Lalo na siguro ngayon. Feeling ko may sasabihin kayo sa akin ni Ricky.”
“Ma, ikaw talaga. Paupuin mo muna kami ni Maya.” Richard laughing.
Donya Esmeralda laughed. “Ay oo nga, son. Sorry Maya, excited lang. “Come, let’s have dinner na nga muna. Naka-ready na.”
“Sige na nga, Ma, sasabihin na namin ni Maya at baka hindi ka makakain ng maayos sa anticipation.” Richard teased his mother.
Richard held Maya’s hand, intertwined it with his. “Ma, kami na po ulit ni Maya.” He said then looked at Maya lovingly.
“Oh my, oh my, really!!! Sabi ko na nga ba! Maya hija, Ricky son, I’m so very very happy. Sabi ko na nga, unang kita ko palang dito kay Maya, alam kong bagay kayo. Little did I know na pinagtagpo na pala kayo ng tadhana before.” Donya Esmeralda hugged Maya then her son.
“We will tell you about it Ma after dinner. Gutom na ako. Let’s eat na.” Richard said smiling.
“O siya, siya. Let’s eat na muna.” Donya Esmeralda said, still with a big smile on her face. She led her son and Maya to the dining room. “Fe, ready na ba ang lahat. Fe, heto nga pala si Maya, girlfriend ni Ricky. Maya, itong si Fe ang yaya ni Ricky noong bata siya.”
“Kumusta po, Ma’am?” Manang Fe greeted Maya.
“Maya na lang po, Manang Fe.” Maya smiled at the old lady. “Finally, na-meet ko kayo. Madalas po kayong ikwento sa akin ni Ricky noong nasa New York pa kami.”
“Dati? New York?” Manang Fe asked before she can stop herself.
“Opo, doon po kasi kami nagkakilala nitong si Ricky, eight years ago.” Maya answered.
“Manang, doon ko unang naging girlfriend si Maya. Mahabang kwento po. After dinner, Maya and I will tell you and Mama what happened kung bakit hindi kami nagkatuluyan the first time. Sabay na po kayo sa amin.” Richard invited his old nanny, to sit beside him and Maya.
“Oo nga naman Fe. Huwag ulit tatanggi. Special occasion ito.” Donya Esmeralda added, and patted the chair beside her. “Dito ka na ng makapagkwentuhan tayo ng maayos lahat habang kumakain.”
“Sige po. Thank you.” Manang Fe agreed as she wanted to get to know better the woman her alaga loves a lot. Ito siguro ang dahllan kung bakit malungkot si Ricardo, ang paghihiwalay nila ni Maya noon at ang hindi nawawalang pagmamahal dito, she thought.
Richard regalled his mother and Manang Fe of his and Maya’s adventures in New York the first time they met while they were having dinner. He also told them how the two of them met. He looked at Maya , from time to time, with a very loving expression as they reminisced their wonderful time together in New York, before everything turned bad.
They moved to the lanai for their coffee and dessert and that was where Richard and Maya told them what happened to their beautiful love affair in New York. They just left out the details that was just for the two of them. Manang Fe and Donya Esmeralda were both teary-eyed after they were finished telling their story.
“Oh my, Ricky, Maya. what you two went through! I’m so happy that you managed to overcome that and still ended up together. You two are really meant for each other.” Donya Esmeralda said as she stood up and hugged, first Maya and then her son. “Now I understand completely what your Papa was trying to tell me on this deathbed. He was asking for your forgiveness, you know. Hindi ko lang masyadong maintindihan and in my grief, nawala na isip ko. Naalala ko lang when you told me doon sa lunch natin sa BGC that Maya was your girlfriend in New York.”
“Talaga po, Ma. He also wrote to me, pero when I found the courage to reply to it, wala na si Papa.” Richard finished.
“Maya, Ricardo, masayang-masaya ako para sa inyo.” Manang Fe also said. “Ganyan talaga mga anak ang tunay na pag-ibig. Pagyamanin niyo na at huwag niyo nang papayagang muli kayong mahiwalay sa isa’t-isa.”
“Opo Manang. Hinding-hindi ko na talaga pakakawalan itong si Maya.” Richard said as he gazed lovingly and meaningfully to Maya, who turned crimson and self-conscious with his statement.
“Ricky ikaw talaga…..” Maya said looking at Richard lovingly.
” O di ba, tama ang instinct ko sa inyong dalawa.” Donya Esmeralda said.
“Ma admit it, tama ang hula namin ni Maya, di ba. Nagma-matchmake ka sa amin noong isinama mo ako sa lunch mo with her. Kaso hayun nag-backfire sa iyo, ikaw ang na-surprise.” Richard said with a big teasing grin to his mother.
“Hahahaha, guilty son!” Donya Esmeralda said. “I’m so happy for both of you. And son, you really deserve to be happy. Ikaw rin Maya. Pasalamat ka rin Ricky at walang nakitang kapalit mo itong si Maya.”
“Mahirap yata ang akong palitan, Ma.” Richard said, jesting, which earned him a loving pinch from Maya. “Owww, masakit Maya. Biro lang, my love.”
They all laughed. Their little merry group broke out at around 10 o’clock in the evening. Richard told his mother and Manang Fe that he needed to take Maya home as they have work tomorrow. Besides, he wants to be sure that he will catch Maya’s mom at home.
“Thank you po ulit, Mrs…errr, Tita Esmeralda for the dinner.” Maya said when they were leaving.
“Maya hija, thank you for giving my son another chance.” Donya Esmeralda said. “Saka dalasan mo ang pagpunta rito, hija. Iba naman iyong mga meeting natin sa project ha.”
“Sige po, I will. Good night po. Sa inyo rin po Manang Fe.” Maya went to Richard’s old nanny and gave her a big hug too.
“Mag-iingat kayo, Maya, Ricardo. Magandang gabi.” She said.
Richard drove Maya home himself, having sent Mang Lem home earlier, and Joma, the Lims’ other driver is on vacation.
When they were in front of Maya’s house, Richard took hold of Maya’s hand, then kissed it lightly. “I love you, you are the best, the most beautiful and the most loving girlfriend in the whole world.”
“Thank you my love, you are, too, the most wonderful boyfriend in the world.” Maya replied. then asked, “And what brought this on, Mr. Lim?”
“Wala lang, I’m just so, so very, very happy.” Richard said gazing at Maya with so much love. “Everything is coming together and us together, is simply amazing!”
They shared a loving look, then they both moved, angled their faces for a kiss. As soon as Richard’s lips touched Maya’s, they both felt the fire, they kissed hotly. Maya opened her lips to let Richard’s tongue in. Richard explored Maya’s mouth, kissing her thoroughly, hotly. Maya responded and before they knew it, they were at each other, touching, kissing and exploring.
“Maya, my love….” Richard muttered as he dove into Maya’s mouth again, at the same time touching the underside of her breast.
Maya felt that she was on fire too. “Ricky, you make me feel so good….”
They continued kissing, until a sound from a car, backfiring, and then a headlight interrupted them. They looked sheepishly each other, catching their breaths and at the same time they realized where they were.
“Good night, Maya.” Richard said softly, caressing Maya’s face. “I love you.”
Good night, Ricky. Drive carefully.” Maya replied, her lips thoroughly kissed, her hair in disarray, and her blouse untucked! “I love you too.”
Seeing her like this, all mussed up and the evidence of passion still visible in her face, Richard thought, she is the most beautiful girl in the world and she is his as he is hers. Hopefully, together forever soon.
Ricky’s courtship version 2014
Maya was about to go up to her room after her and Ricky’s prolonged farewell for the night when she noticed the long-stemmed rose he gave her earlier and the note attached to it. She forgot to open that. She backtracked, grabbed the rose, smelled it, then brought it with her to her room. She sat on the bed, happy with the way her day turned out. Then, she opened the note.
This is to mark day one of being with you again. I will always be grateful and thankful for you coming back to my life. I can’t wish for anything anymore!
I love you very much! I will show you how much, everyday of our lives from here on.
Maya’s heart melted anew with that message. She kissed the note and put it in her tin can. She stood up with the intention of taking a shower, but before she could do so, her phone beeped.
Home, my love! I forgot to ask you earlier if you have a ride tomorrow. I can pick you up. What time do you usually go to work?
Ricky, thank you very much pero huwag na. I can manage. Nandiyan naman ang MRT. Your office is in Ortigas, mine is in Makati and I live in Quezon City. It’s too much for you! You have a lot of responsibilities pa at work. Since I have never gotten around to learning how to drive, I’m used to taking cabs and the train.
Maya, don’t commute please. I will worry about you. I have seen on the news na ang hirap mag-MRT ngayon. Mahaba ang lines. Besides, I have a driver at my disposal. If you will just commute, I will pick you up Is 7AM okay? Say yes, pretty please! Besides, it will be our ‘Ricky and Maya time’ too.
Maya didn’t have the heart to say no, when he put it like that.
Okay, okay, Mr. Lim, you won. Seven o’clock is okay. Thank you very much.
Yes!!! Good night my love. See you tomorrow.
Good night, my Ricky. Sweet dreams!
Of course, since I will dream of you! Love you! 🙂 😉 😉
Ditto, my Ricky ! 🙂 🙂 🙂
Maya put down her phone smiling.
The following morning, Maya was up bright and early. Dressed in a wrap blouse tucked in a pencil skirt, adorned with a skinny waist belt, and wearing her favorite pumps, she went down to have coffee and pandesal fifteen minutes before Richard’s arrival.
“Good morning Ma’am Maya. Ang ganda naman ng outfit of the day natin ngayon! Iba na talaga ang in loveeeee!”
“Ikaw talaga, Sabel! Ang aga-aga, nang-aalaska!” Maya laughingly scolded her irreverent househelp.
“Ma’am Maya, masaya lang po ako talaga for you. Kitang-kita ko kasi ang mga kislap sa mga mata mo ngayon. Kaya pala parang malungkot ka dati dahil kay Sir Richard.” Sabel said seriously, giving Maya an analysis of her own love life! “I’m glad talaga na nagkatagpo ulit kayo ni Sir Richard. Tadhana lang talaga ang peg!” Then she added, “Hay, sana ako rin! Kami sana ni Jerry magkatagpo pa rin!”
“Sabel, may boyfriend ka rin dati? Jerry ang pangalan?”
“Naku, wala Ma’am. Naisip ko lang magandang pangalan ng magiging boyfriend ko ang Jerry. Malay mo Ma’am, tadhana ko rin!”
“Ha, ha, ha, Sabel! Ikaw talaga, wagas!” Maya said smiling, then seriously she said, “Pero malay mo nga rin naman, Sabel, di ba? Basta wait for the right guy for you. Iyong mahal na mahal ka talaga at mahal mo rin. Darating iyan kapag nakaukol. By the way, maiba ako, I’m going to Mindoro on Thursday, may bilin ka ba for your Nanay and Tatay!”
“Talaga, Ma’am Maya! Tamang-tama! Okay lang po bang may ipakidala ako sa inyo na gift ko sa pamangkin ko, birthday niya kasi sa susunod na linggo.”
“Oo naman. Sige, ilagay mo na lang sa room ko para kapag nag-empake ako maisama ko na agad.”
“Naku, thank you po.”
Maya was about to take another sip of coffee when the doorbell rang.
“Ooops, si Ricky na iyan. Sabel, I will get going. Pakidala na pala sa church itong mga rose. Itira mo lang ang nasa coffee table. I-donate natin, sayang naman. Alam na rin ni Ricky. I can’t keep them all. Teka pala, I will take photos lang, souvenir.”
Maya took out her phone, took several photos of the roses, looking very beautiful in her living room, hastily said goodbye to Sabel, then walked very fast to the gate.
“Wow!” Was all she managed to say, when she caught sight of Ricky, leaning against a shiny BMW. Her heart beat faster, seeing him so handsome with big smile only for her. He was wearing a pale blue business suit, with a white shirt inside and a maroon tie.
“Good morning, Maya!” He greeted Maya with his lopsided smile, followed by a light kiss on her lips. “How are you this morning, my love?”
“Good morning, my Ricky. Sorry it took me a while to come out. May last minute pa akong ibinilin kay Sabel. I’m good. I slept well again!”
“No worries, Maya! Maaga pa naman. My first meeting is at 10AM,” Richard said as he opened the door for Maya. He followed her in and sat beside her.
“Maya, this is Mang Lem, longtime driver ni Papa sa office.” Ricky said, introducing the kind, older guy in polo barong sitting on the driver’s seat. “Mang Lem, si Maya po, girlriend ko.” He said by way of introduction.
Maya felt the kilig, hearing Ricky said that. “Good morning po, Mang Lem.”
“Good morning po Ma’am Maya!” The driver greeted Maya.
“Mang Lem, doon po muna tayo sa office ni Maya sa Makati. Maya please tell Mang Lem na lang the exact address.”
Mang Lem nodded, when Maya told him the address, indicating he was familiar with the area, and then, they were on their way. Richard and Maya sat close, held hands on the way to Makati and chatted. They also made plans for their trip to Mindoro. Before they reached Maya’s office, Richard extracted a promise to Maya that they will have dinner that night.
“Maya, this is for you.” Richard gave Maya a paper bag when she got off the car. “Have a great day! Love you very much.”
“Thank you, Ricky. Ikaw talaga, everyday may ganito.” Maya smiled. From what she could see, there is another long-stemmed red rose inside the bag.
“Of course, di ba sabi ko manliligaw ako.” Richard grinned,”Part iyan ng Ricky’s courtship version 2014!”
They smiled and exchanged a quick kiss before parting for the day. Maya felt she can do anything that day. She felt like dancing in the middle of Ayala Avenue from sheer happiness! Richard felt the same, despite his heavy workload. He was on the phone all the time from Makati to Ortigas. He also opened his laptop so he can make headway of what he needed to do that day. The earlier he finishes everything the better, so he is sure to make it on time for his dinner with Maya.
When she reached her office, Maya opened the paper bag. In it, aside from the rose, she found a coffee tumbler from a popular coffee shop, with her favorite brew and several pieces of pandesal. She checked for the note, found it attached to the rose.
For my one and only! You need to fortify yourself. Breakfast is the most important meal of the dayI asked Sabel what do you usually have for breakfast! Have a wonderful day. Love you a million times!
Maya was touched by his thoughtfulness. She sent him a message to thank him again. Then she sighed happily. Life could really change for the better when you least expect it. She still have a hard time believing that this is happening. But she better be! This is as real as it could get! She shook herself from her daydreaming, took sips of the coffee, ate the bread and proceeded to made headway on the work she needed to finish today.
The day flew fast and then it was already evening. Richard arrived at Maya’s office at seven o’clock. They opted to have dinner in one of the restaurants in Greenbelt 5. They had a wonderful dinner, catching up on how their day have been, in between courses and drinking the wine they ordered with their food. They both agreed that it was like New York all over again.
Maya and Richard were walking near the park, with Maya holding on to Richard’s forearm, when someone called Maya from one of the outdoor tables.
“Maya, Maya….” She looked, then checked ,and saw Rafa waving at her, trying to call her attention.
“Rafa, nice to see you here! I thought you will be in Bangkok!” Maya exclaimed happily. “Ricky, this is my very good friend Rafa, Rafael Rodriguez. Rafa, Richard Lim, my boyfriend!” Maya made the introduction, not realizing that she just dropped a bomb on Rafa, as he didn’t know about Richard.
Rafa swallowed hard, then schooled his features, offered to shake hand with Richard. “Hello Richard, please to meet you.”
Richard smiled at the other man. He saw his initial reaction when Maya mentioned that he is her boyfriend. If his heart skipped a beat when she mentioned the word ‘boyfriend’, Rafa’s must have gotten kicked hard, judging by his expression.
“Please to meet you too, Rafael.” Richard simply said.
“Rafa, who are you with?” Maya asked, looking around.
“Oh, I was just with some fellow Spanish expats, having some drinks before we go home. My flight was moved to tomorrow afternoon.” Rafa replied looking at Maya, wanting to ask her when all of these happened, that she has a boyfriend. But in the scheme of things he is just a friend and he does not want to pry also. Besides, she already asked him if they could just be friends. But still, there was a part of him that was hoping she would change her mind.
Maya also realized that she just blurted out to Rafa about Richard being her boyfriend. He didn’t know that Richard was the same person whom she had told him about one December evening. The situation was getting awkward. Maya promised to herself that she will call Rafa as soon as she gets home. Well, not only Rafa, her mother too. In all her excitement about being with Richard again, she just forgot!
“Oh, sorry for this.” Richard said, as his phone rang while Maya was trying to find a way to say goodbye to Rafa. “I’m just expecting a very important call. I forgot about it, Maya. So, sorry! Excuse me please, Maya, Rafa.” Richard moved to a secluded and quieter part of the place to answer his phone call.
Rafael and Maya both said at the same time. They looked at each other, and smiled.
“Go ahead, Maya, please.”
“Rafa, sorry for just blurting out to you about Richard.” Maya started after taking a deep breath. “It happened very fast and I still feel I’m dreaming that he is back in my life and that we are together again. He is the love of life. No matter how hard I tried to forget about him after getting hurt. Ricky and I had a long talk the other night and have cleared all the unfinished business from our past.”
“Oh, so I am right in thinking earlier, that he was the guy you told me about one December evening!” Rafael remarked. “No worries, Maya. I was just surprised. I’m happy for you. I know you loved this guy very much in the past. And you two, lucky to find each other again. Yes, I have feelings for you and you know that, but I also know that you don’t love me that way.”
“Oh, Rafa. I wish I could! You are a very good person and a very good friend.” Maya said, touching his arm. “Friends, still, mi amigo?”
“Of course, Maya!” He, then proceeded to give Maya a big hug. “Be happy, okay. And if he hurt you again, he will answer to me. Tell him that.”
Maya smiled and gave Rafa a friendly hug too. “Thank you, I value your friendship too much too loose you. I’m very happy, Rafa. I wish you will also find a love like this.”
The two friends hugged each other one more time. Richard saw all of this as his phone call ended a couple of minutes ago. He purposely delayed his return so they can talk. He walked towards them. Rafa saw him and extricated himself from Maya’s embrace. They looked at each other man to man and had some sort of silent communication. He nodded.
“Maya, Richard, I will get going.’ Rafa said, then shaking Richard’s hand said, “Please take good care of Maya. She is a very precious lady!” He conveyed, as if saying to Richard not to hurt her again.
“I know, and I will. I promise you that, too! Thank you for being a very good friend to Maya. I hope we can be friends too!” Richard offered Rafa the olive branch as if wanting to assure him that he is still welcome in Maya’s life, in their lives.”
The Spanish guy smiled, appreciating the gesture. ”Of course, and I better be one of the godfathers of your firstborn.” He teased. “Call me Rafa too. All my friends do.”
“Rafa!” Maya, laughed, protested, blushing a bit. “Ricky and I are just starting again.”
“Well, I’m just saying, so two know when the time comes.” He said with emphasis. “Bye you two.”
Maya and Richard said goodbye to Rafa and wished him a safe flight. They walked hand in hand to the place where they asked Mang Lem to pick them up.
“So, that was my karibal!” Richard remarked when they were inside the car, teasing Maya, then putting his arms around her.
“Nagselos ka ba?” Maya asked, smiling, knowing that Richard is not like that, but she never know, he might have been.
“Welllll, not this evening, pero kung una ko nakita ang picture niya sa wall mo, yes. I thought baka too late na ako para suyuin ka ulit.” Richard admitted candidly. “Noong kausap mo siya sa phone, I felt a pinch my heart. But I believe in our love, in us so, I set it aside. This evening, knowing how lucky I am to have your love and I feel bad for Rafa, I delayed my return so you two can talk. I sensed it kasi by his initial reaction when you introduced me as your boyfriend.”
“Yes, I forgot that he didn’t know. Ikaw kasi.”
“Ha, bakit ako?”
“Mula nang magkita tayo ulit, wala na akong ibang naiisip.” Maya said, then pinched him lovingly. “Hindi ko pa nga pala nasasabi kina Mom and Dad na tayo na ulit. I will do it this evening.”
“Pareho lang naman tayo, my love. Hindi nga ako maka-concentrate sa mga meeting ko. Buti na lang super efficient ang secretary ko.” Richard said. “But I’m glad that you will tell your mom. I would like to call her tomorrow, if it is okay with you?”
“Of course, sure. But why?” Maya asked, curious.
“Wala naman. I just want to talk to her myself, para naman I can assure her that I will not hurt her daughter again, among other things.” Richard said seriously. Of course, he has another reason for wanting to call Maya’s mom.
“Oh Ricky. Thank you. I think my mother would like that too. Thank you also for extending the olive branch to Rafa. He is one of my good friends!” Maya said, touched by Richard’s gestures. “You are the best boyfriend in the whole world!”
“Silly.” He said smiling. “Anything to make you happy, Maya, I will do. I love you very much!”
“I love you very much, too, Ricky. I’m so happy!” Maya said as she leaned against Richard’s chest to get more comfortable and closer to him.
They cuddled in the car, quietly enjoyed their moment all the way to Maya’s house. When they reached Maya’s gate, Richard declined to come in as it was already late. He and Maya agreed on the pick-up time for the following day. They shared another sweet kiss before temporarily parting for the night.
Note: My therapy!
Richard and Maya slowly and reluctantly broke apart after the sweet and gentle kiss that they just shared under the big tree. The sound of other people, mostly families, having a fun time at the park penetrated their senses. They gazed each other with all the feelings they have for each other.
“I love you very much, Maya!” Richard repeated as he caressed Maya’s face gently with the back of his right hand.
“I love you very much too, Ricky.” Maya said softly, lovingly, with the sweetest smile on her face.
“So, my love, does this means, tayo na ulit? You are my girlfriend again?” Richard asked Maya with a big smile, just like a kid who can’t believe that he got his most fervent wish from Santa Claus.
Maya smiled at the love of her life, “Hmmmm, may isa pa yata akong condition!”
“My love, kahit ano pa iyan and even though I haven’t heard it yet, yes, yes, yes and a thousand yes na kaagad ang sagot ko.” Richard said promptly. He felt he can do anything as long as he and Maya are a couple again.
“Rickyyyy, ikaw talaga. Yes agad-agad!!!Hindi mo pa nga naririnig ang kondisyon ko. Paano pala kung ang condition ko, maglangoy ka ng ilang laps diyan sa La Mesa Dam o kaya i-try mo iyong giant trampoline at kailangan maka-one thousand bounce ka.” Maya teased Richard.
“Maya, my love, anything. Basta I know that you love me and tayo na, kakayanin kong lahat iyan.” Richard said lovingly, unfazed. “But I know you love me and I know you will not subject me to a penitensya kind of kondisyon naman.”
“Well, tama ka naman diyan, Mr. Lim.” Maya said, smiling. “All I want is manligaw ka pa rin ulit. Gusto ko talagang makita iyang ang Ricky’s courtship version 2014.”
Richard grinned. “Sure na sure, Ms. Dela Rosa. That I have promised you already even before you said you love me still. Be ready to be captivated by my charms and my moves.” He finished teasingly.
“Confident much, Mr Lim! Siguraduhin mong makaka-captivate ako ng charms and ‘the moves’ na iyan.” Maya bantered back.
“Fasten your seatbelt and enjoy the ride, Ms. Maya Dela Rosa, the one and only love of my life. You are in for the ride that would last a lifetime. Promise, cross my heart!”
“Ha. ha, ha, ha, parang bordering on the cheesy na ang lines na iyan ha.” Maya quipped, just happy.
They shared a laugh, then hugged each other again, before sharing another kiss. The loud sound of a thunder from a distance interrupted their moment.
“Oh no, I think it is going to rain soon!” Maya remarked, looking up. “Maybe, it is better if we head home now.”
Richard agreed with Maya’s assessment. He also noticed that the wind got a bit stronger, making the huge trees sway more than the usual. They walked with hands intertwined to the parking lot.
More than an hour later, they were in front of Maya’s house. By then the sky had gotten darker.
“Ricky, would you like to come in for coffee and some cookies since we didn’t have snacks in the park.” Maya asked Richard as soon as the car stopped.
“Okay. That would be great. Besides, I want to spend more time with my girlfriend!” Richard said smiling, teasingly.
Maya teased him back, “Mr. Ricky Lim, remember my condition for that to happen.”
They ran, laughing, to the house as big droplets of rain started to hit them, when Maya was unlocking the gate. They barely made it inside. Then, the deluge started as soon as they closed the front door, leaning against it, their faces with droplets of rain on it.
“Saved!” Maya said happily, wiping her face with her hand, then Richard’s. “Come Ricky, please have a seat first. I will just ask Sabel to make coffee for us.”
Maya lead Richard to the living room, then proceeded to the kitchen to look for Sabel. The house seemed unusually quiet to Maya. When she entered the kitchen, she noticed a note pinned on the refrigerator door. It was from Sabel, saying that she went to the supermarket. She said the kasambahay at their neighbor and the driver were going, so she hitched a ride since they needed some stuffs too. She smiled at Sabel’s last line saying that she didn’t text her anymore at baka maabala niya pa raw ang date nila ni ex-ex boyfriend.
Maya put some ground beans in the coffee maker, started it, then looked for the cookies that Sabel made the day before. She arranged everything in a tray and when it was ready, returned to where she left Richard. He was not there. She noticed the opened door that leads to the covered patio.
“Nice place to watch the rain, di ba?” Maya said by way of announcing her presence. Richard’s back was to her and he seemed to be so engrossed in watching the rain steadily falling on the plants in her garden.
Richard turned and gave her his lopsided smile. “I agree. I always like to watch the rain as it hits the ground. I find it relaxing.” He helped Maya with the tray.
“Me, too! Very peaceful din, di ba?” Maya said smiling. She led Richard to the wicker chairs in the corner. They sat side by side on the big one. She gave him a steaming cup of coffee and offered the cookies.
“Thank you, Maya. This is perfect for a rainy afternoon.” Richard said. “I like your patio a lot! It is very inviting, with a wonderful view of your garden pa.”
“This is my favorite place to do my rain watching. This is also the one place where I do my ‘Maya time’! That is, when I just wanted to relax, read or when I am mulling about something. It’s very inviting kasi, di ba, with the view and the plants. That’s my favorite spot naman to do it.” Maya pointed out to a cocoon wicker rattan swing chair/hammock with purple soft cushion in the corner of the patio.
“I agree wholeheartedly. It does look inviting.” Richard said as he took sips of his coffee and ate some of Sabel’s delicious cookies.
When they were done with their coffee and snacks, Maya stood up and held out her hand to Richard. “Come, let’s go to my favorite spot to watch the rain and continue our kwentuhan. Dali, baka it will stop na soon, ma-miss ko ang moment.”
“Okay, my love. May pagka-impatient ka rin pala like this.” He teased. “Teka, kaya ba tayo niyan?” Richard asked after noticing that only a big hook is holding the wicker swing to a suspension stand.
“Have faith, Mr. Lim, matibay iyan. Na-try na namin iyan ni Nikki noong bumisita sila nina Mom dito after I got the house.”
“S-sure? Eh mas magaan sa akin si Nikki!” He quipped.
“Sure na sure ako, Mr. Lim.” Maya smiled, sat on the cocoon swing, then patted the space beside her and motion for Richard to sit down. After he did, she made the swing moved, laughing.
Richard fell backwards, but then laughed at her playful teasing. They settled more comfortably in the chair as they silently watched the falling rain amid the beautiful garden planted with all kinds of flowers.
“You really have made a home in this house, Maya. This is so nice.” Richard remarked after a while. “How long have you had this house?”
“Yes, this is really home. I have been living here since I moved back to the country permanently in 2009. I mean, when I decided that I want the Philippines to be my home base. I still travel a lot for my work. But I want a house to go home to. Nakakapagod din ang parang nomadic existence after a while. Dito, after every assignment, I have my house to come home to, to recharge my batteries, so to speak, and breath.”
“Good for you! I’m glad you did and that you made the Philippines your base. Nagkita tuloy tayo ng mas maaga! Before we saw each other, that lunch with my mother, I was really planning on looking you up, kahit saang panig pa ng mundo ako umabot! Actually I should have done that a long time go. See, so many years have passed and got wasted!”
“Ricky, I’m glad to know that. And no dwelling na in the past na negative, please. We found each other and here we are, iyon naman ang mas importante.” Maya admonished lightly. “Di bagay sa iyo ang mala-Heathcliff na character. Papangit ka. Guwapo ka pa naman. That’s something that didn’t change through the years, Mr. Lim. Pang-GQ pa rin!” She finished wanting to make him smile again.
Richard smiled hugely at that. He knew Maya was trying to lift his spirits. “Thank you, my love. You never fail to make me smile. You know what? I will really be forever thankful that we found each other again and to you, for all your wisdom and forgiveness. Okay, no more dwelling on the past like that. Let’s enjoy the rain and our moment.”
Richard put his arms around Maya and they half-reclined on the cocoon swing as they made it sway gently. They were perfectly content to do that. Maya sighed, content. Richard moved a bit and gazed at her lovingly.
“This is so perfect. I love you,” he said.
“The best, my Ricky!” She simply said. “I love you too.”
They moved towards each other. Their lips met for a kiss that started innocently but became much more.
They sighed against each other’s mouths before their lips fused into another hot kiss, followed by caresses as they moved closer to each other in the cozy confines of the swing, as if the fire they have banked for eight years suddenly erupted.
Sabel was about to enter the patio when she noticed the couple in the swing. She retreated abruptly. In the process, she banged her shoulder against the door.
“Ay, aray!” She muttered to herself, trying to stop herself from complaining about the pain, hoping that she didn’t disturb them. She tiptoed back into the living room, then to the kitchen.
Lucky for Sabel, the rain drowned out the sound she made. However, soon after, Maya and Richard slowly and reluctantly broke apart, but not before giving each other a quick kiss again. They knew Sabel might come home soon. They both tried to catch their breaths after those kisses.
Then Maya, all of a sudden, pinched Richard lovingly in the face.
“What was that for, my love?” Richard said smiling.
“Wala lang, baka kasi nanaginip pa rin ako!” Maya said cheekily.
Richard chuckled at that, but he too, would sometime feel like blinking and shaking his head to check if he is not dreaming, that Maya is really back in his life. “I feel like that, sometimes, too.” Then teasingly, “I think I want my proof another way!” He then gave Maya a short, quick, but very hot kiss that left them breathless.
“Well, I guess, we both are not dreaming! I surely felt that!” Maya said lovingly, her lips now showing signs of being thoroughly kissed.
The ringing of Maya’s phone interrupted their idyll. Maya ignored it at first since she was not expecting any call. But it rang again.
“Maya, better answer it na. Baka importante.” Richard prodded Maya.
“Oh, sayang ang moment!” She complained teasingly, but even before Richard said that, she was thinking of picking up the call, baka nga importante.
Richard assisted her out of the swing. She went back to where she dropped of her bag in the living room, got the phone and all Richard heard, was that, her, saying hello to Rafa!
Rafa again, he thought! Who is that guy really in Maya’s life? Richard does not think Maya will say that she still love him and allow these ‘dates’ they are having, if she is committed to another person. But still he felt another pinch in his heart, having an inkling that Rafa is also someone important in Maya’s life. The guy is even going with her to visit her Mamang.
Maya was gone for around 10 minutes and Richard patiently waited for her, looking pensive while he was staring at the garden, newly-invigorated by the rain.
“Ricky, I got us coffee again!” Maya said when she returned carrying two fresh cups. “Sabel was back na pala. Hindi na raw niya tayo inabala when she arrived, kasi busy tayo. I think she saw us kissing in the swing.” Maya said, coloring a bit, but smiling.
Looking at her, so lovely and with a loving gaze only for him, he decided to concentrate on what they have, and forget about Rafa and his place in Maya’s life.
“Thank you, Maya! Remind me to thank Sabel too, for not interrupting us earlier.” He said naughtily, teasingly.
“Ikaw, talaga, Ricky Lim!” Maya pinched him on the side, lovingly. Then she sat beside him. “That was my friend Rafa pala. He told me he can’t go with me to Mindoro with me this coming week kasi he needs to fly to Bangkok for a meeting.”
“Oh!” Richard said, but inwardly, he was glad that Rafa is not going with Maya to Mindoro. Then gathering his thoughts while taking a sip of his coffee, finding the opportunity, he asked Maya about Rafa, trying to appear nonchalant about the whole thing. He just want to know, he insisted to himself. “How long have you known Rafa?”
Maya knew this question is coming as she noticed him looking closely at her and Rafa’s photo in her small gallery before they went out to dinner the night before. As soon as she had finished her conversation with Rafa, she decided to tell Richard about her friend, not that she really need to, as Rafa is just a friend, but she wants to assure and make it clear to Richard that he is the only man in her life. Hence, the new cups of coffee.
“Let’s see.” Maya started as she too, took sips of her coffee. “I have known him for more than five years, I think, maybe close to six years. We met in Geneva. He is from Barcelona and is a doctor working for WHO. We would see each other from time to time, here and there. through the years Then when I moved back here, he also lobbied for an assignment here. He is one of my closest friends. Rafa knows there was someone very special in my past. I sort of, started telling him about you, not by name, one December evening when I was feeling so sad and had a bit of wine.”
“Maya……” Richard felt guilty anew.
“Ricky, don’t feel guilty, please. I’m just telling this to you so that everything is clear between us.” Maya said, then continued.
“Rafa started courting me over a year ago. I thought of saying yes to him several times, but there was something stopping me. I realized later that it was my feelings for you. Despite what happened, I still love you and even if we parted ways and a lot of years had passed, I can’t seem to commit to another person. It felt disloyal to you to do that and at the same time, I felt like I will be short changing Rafa as I can’t give him my 100 percent, not even a quarter of me, actually. Like you, I purposely did not try to find out anything about you, in the beginning, as I was afraid that what I would discover, like your wedding, that will hurt me again. I wanted to move on. But as the years passed, my heart and my hurt healed and I was able to look at our time together and remembered the good times.
I tried to forget you, really, with work too, but ayaw ka talagang mawala dito sa puso ko. That feeling was reinforced when I read the article that you were coming back to the country, and there’s your mom nga and our project. Even before we met each other again, I already told Rafa that it is best if we remain friends. And yes, Rafa was the guy in the picture you were looking at yesterday.”
“Maya, my love. Thank you, thank you. I love you very much. Promise, it will be my life’s goal to make you happy, and I will not make you cry you anymore.” Richard promised fervently and wholeheartedly.
“Ricky, I love you very much. You are worth everything. This is worth it. Maybe what happened, happened for a reason. Maybe, we needed that to be stronger, to build a more lasting relationship. Let’s just move forward.” Maya said.
“Yes, we will Maya. I promised you that. I want a forever with you this time.” Richard said as he cupped Maya’s face, and gave her another kiss.
They stayed in the covered patio until it got very dark. Afterwards, they had a very enjoyable dinner. It was a mere coincidence that Sabel cooked kare-kare again. Maya told Richard of remembering him, when Sabel cooked that dinner the day she arrived back from Bangkok. Richard told Maya, that he had the same feeling when he went to dinner at his mother’s house, that same evening. They realized then that they were at the airport at the same time!
“See, as if fate is really working on making us meet, after all those years!” Richard remarked happily as they went back to the patio, just to continue chatting as they had too much coffee already.
“I agree!” Maya replied.
“My love, I have something to ask.” Richard said. “When are you exactly going to Mindoro?”
“Well, I’m planning to leave Manila on Thursday, then meet with the community leaders on Friday, the whole day. Then on Saturday, I’m going to Mamang.” Maya said, then asked, “Why are you asking pala?”
“Well, would it be okay, if I join you in visiting your Mamang? I want to meet her. She is your family here and you have told me a lot about her naman.” Richard answered. “I can leave Manila early Saturday morning and be in San Nicolas before lunch. I want to join you nga rin sana sa community na pupuntahan mo, but I just returned and LHI is demanding too much of my time these days. But I can manage the weekend. I want to, very much!”
“Sure, that wouldn’t be a problem. It would be wonderful. Pero unahin mo na muna ang LHI. I’m sure, marami kang kailangang ayusin and your officers are also looking to you for direction now that you are the CEO.” Maya replied. Her heart actually beat faster with the way Richard was looking at her when he asked if he could go to Mindoro with her. She felt happy with the thought that he wants to meet her grandmother, and they will finally meet. “Simon and I will just pick you up from the airport para hindi ka na maghanap ng bahay ni Mamang.”
“Great. Thank you very much, my love.” Richard said, then he stood up. “I think I better get going. May pasok ka pa bukas.”
“Ikaw din. Halika, ihahatid na kita sa labas,” Maya started walking towards the front door.
“Dito na lang, Maya. I will just lock after myself.” Richard stopped Maya by touching her arm. “Thank you for today. The best day ever. I love you, Maya, so very much.”
“I love you very much too, Ricky. You have made me so happy again.” Maya said as she touched Richard’s cheek, then wrap her hands around his nape, tiptoeing, she gave him a sweet kiss. Richard returned the kiss, and it took a while before they stopped.
Note: Feeling sad, sigh! I really made the effort to finish this, hoping to lift the spirit! Sorry if I have typos. I will check it again after posting.