A/N: Before this story ends, I’d like to thank you all for the comments and appreciation to this story. This is a continuation to I’m Sorry, I love you – part 13.
Within an hour after Richard’s call, Maya received an email from Lisa sending her ticket and hotel confirmation at Shanghai. She was supposed to fly out of Zhengzhou at 11:55 a.m. which gave her only less than an hour to pack her things. She would need at least an hour’s drive to go to the airport. “Si Richard naman, pabigla-bigla. Why didn’t he call last night, di sana kagabi pa ako naka impake.” Anyway, despite the short notice, she was very excited to see him. It’s been a month since she last saw him.
As soon as Maya came out of Pudong airport, she took a cab. When the driver asked her “Nǐ qù nǎli”, she just smiled and gave the address of JW Marriott Hotel at Huangpu area. She had found a way to travel in this country on her own by having some local folks that she works with write down in Chinese the places she would go to.
By 6:00 p.m., Maya was comfortably seated at the hotel’s lobby, playing candy crush in her ipad while waiting for Richard. Earlier, she checked with guest services if he has arrived but was informed that he has not.
She was surprised when somebody suddenly sat beside her and kissed her; greeting her “Ni hao Ma?”
It was Richard looking so handsome with his be-dimpled right cheek. Maya got so excited seeing him she responded, “Now that I’ve seen you, wo hen hao.” Then, she kissed him on the lips unmindful that other people were at the lobby.
“Hmm, you must have missed me terribly Ms. Dela Rosa.” Richard said as he took Maya’s hand.
“Not really, I’m busy. Also, I get to speak to you regularly right? Anyway, why are you here? Parang biglaan naman itong trip na ‘to.” She asked eagerly.
“Yeah. Actually, I met a prospective client earlier this week in Singapore. He invited me come over and visit his plant. Today is the only time I have vacant on my calendar. Thanks to you, I have to help Ryan in India until we find someone who can do the work you left behind.” Richard explained in an attempt to make her feel guilty.
She chuckled. “I’m sure you can find a replacement soon. I’m not that indispensable, you know.” She teased him instead.
“Oh, yeah, so how is your Chinese now?” He asked; changing the topic.
“Hmmm, ganoon pa rin. I can respond to greetings, understand the question where am I going, I can order at McDonald’s cola and hamburger. I know some words like airport, fa piao, dui bu qui, wo ai ni.”
“So, you are able to cope.” His tone becoming serious. “Anyway, let’s go. We’ll have dinner outside. We’re going somewhere near the Bund.”
Richard had booked them a table at the M at the Bund, a popular restaurant near their hotel. The restaurant is overlooking the Huangpu River. Other than a good place to see the architectural view of Shanghai buildings, Maya appreciated the food that the restaurant offered.
Over dinner, Richard & Maya updated each other about their current work.
When it was dessert time, Richard facial expression turned serious.
He pressed her hand lightly, “Maya, do you really want to work here? Why do you like it here?”
“Why Richard, so far naman I am coping.I actually like the weather here. Potentially, makakapag winter attire ako.” She laughed at herself. “Are you going to convince me again to drop this project?”
“Not really, I just want to know about your plans?” He remained serious.
“I might be here for the next 6 months. They’d like me to expand the scope of work. And, I’m considering it.”
Richard didn’t like what he heard so he didn’t respond; he was thinking. He loves her so much that he would always want to be with her and it seems that between the two of them, he becoming the clingy one.
“Maya, you know that I love you. I’d like to be with you, always. I’m having difficulty with this current set-up. The truth is that I’d like us to settle down, get married.” There, it was all out. Everything that was in his mind was finally said.
She was taken aback. He didn’t ask her if she wanted to marry him, it was a statement that he delivered.
“”Chard, I’m not sure how to respond to what you just told me.”
“Hindi naman kailangan Maya. I’m just telling you how I feel. Pag-isipan mo lang ang sinabi ko. When you are ready, we’ll discuss it again.” He gave her a reassuring look.
After dinner, they headed back to the hotel. Richard had planned for them to tour Hangzhou so they will be leaving Shanghai quite early the following day.
They walked together hand in hand until they were at the elevator to proceed to their respective rooms.
“Maya, what’s your room number?” Richard asked when they both pressed 16th floor button.
“I’m at 1616 and you?” Maya’s turn to ask.
“1618. So, we are in an adjoining room. Si Lisa, talaga” Both of them laugh at the realization.
In front of her room, they bade each other goodnight with a light kiss. Richard was tempted to do more but decided against it. She seems to be not ready for him yet.
At 6:00 a.m. the following day, they met at the lobby to leave for the Shanghai train station where they would take the fast train to Hangzhou.
By 9:00 a.m., they were at Hangzhou, enjoying the cool spring breeze of the location. A rented car with driver was already waiting for them when they came out of the train station. Their first stop was to eat at Lou Wai Lou restaurant before taking the boat tour of the West Lake. Like any other couple on vacation, Richard and Maya walked hand in hand with their fingers intertwined.
While taking the boat ride at the West Lake, they chose a spot in the boat far away from other tourists. Richard took out something from his pocket and asked Maya to open his palm.
“Ok, try to open my hand. Pag-nabuksan mo, whatever I am holding will be yours.” He said in jolly mood.
May tried but she can’t open it no matter how hard she tried and in the end, gave up. “Eh, ayaw mo naman talagang ibigay. Bakit ayaw mong buksan, kaiinis naman.” She said infrustration.
“Ha,ha,ha, I was just teasing you, ang dali mo naman mag-give up.” He was laughing seeing her expression of hopelessness. In the end, he opened his hand,
“Here, Maya, this is for you.” On his palm was a heart shaped jade pendant in a gold chain. Maya looked at him and saw him gazing at her tenderly.
“Thank you Richard, ang ganda naman.” She kissed him on the cheek as she held the necklace in her hand. He then took it from her and circled it around her neck while saying near her ear, “This means love… my love for you.”
For the rest of the boat tour, they remained seating close together with Richards arm around her keeping themselves warm.
After the West Lake cruise, they went to see the temples and six harmonies pagoda nearby. The last place they visited was the Tea village where they got different types of tea for Maya. Richard insisted on giving different varieties just in case she gets allergic reaction again. They left Hangzhou late afternoon and took the same train back to Shanghai. Before finally going back to their hotel, Richard brought her to Xintiandi for a late night dinner in one of the Italian restaurants. By the time they returned to their hotel, it was almost 1:00 a.m.
The two were still holding hands as they walked towards their respective rooms. When Maya opened her room, Richard held both her hands and closed the distance between them.
“Maya, I enjoyed our time today.” His eyes showed he was happy.
“Ako din, Richard. Pag-uwi natin, I’ll miss you again.” She looked up to him. Their eyes were sending messages of love for each other.
Instinctively, they faces moved forward until their lips met. The kiss was long and passionate. Richard steered her inside the room without any resistance from Maya. They continued kissing until they landed on the bed.
“Maya… I love you… I want you.” He whispered in her ear. She wrapped her arms around him, feeling the hardness of his body. “I love you too, ‘Chard.”
“Could you return to India or just be in Singapore with me?” He asked in between kissing her lips and neck.
Maya may have frozen because Richard stopped kissing her. She was confused; not fully understanding whether he was asking her to marry him or move in with him. She wanted to clarify this but Richard stood up.
“It’s fine if you don’t have an answer yet.” For some reason, he was afraid that she may say no. “By the way, my flight is at 10:00 a.m. tomorrow, if you’d like to see me off, I’ll check out at 8:00 a.m.” She was unable to say anything when he gave her a kiss on the cheek before leaving her room.