Note: This is a continuation of The Art of Letting Go 24.
A/N: If you could spare some time to click on the word “song” below for a better reading experience. Haha! God bless everyone!
“.. Do not arouse or awaken love until it so desires.. ” Song of Songs 2:7
As the song finally came to an end, they still have their eyes locked on each other. Richard then took both of Maya’s hands and planted a kiss. Tenderness and love reflected in his expression. Looking at her eyes once again he said with utmost affection and sincerity, “I love you Maya.”
Maya just stared back at Richard, surprise written all over her face. “Did I hear him right? Ma-mahal din ako ni Richard??” she thought. Earlier that day, she already thought that Richard still hasn’t gotten over his late wife yet and almost got herself resigned to the idea of completely accepting their fate of just being friends, and now, she couldn’t believe her ears when Richard said he loves her.
Richard saw the shock on her face. He simply smiled at her in return. Still holding her hands tight, “I love you Maya. I love you not because you are my best friend, but because I am completely in love with you. I don’t know how and when it happened. I just realized that I’m already in love with you. And now, all I want to do is tell you and show you how much I feel for you.” As he moved closer to Maya, gently he caressed her face. With so much tenderness and affection in his eyes, “I’m sorry if I left you for four weeks. You don’t know the agony I had to suffer and how hard I tried to keep myself from running back to you. If there’s one thing that I ever so wanted to give you, it’s the complete me, the whole me. You deserve to only have the best my Angel. I want to make sure of myself that you wouldn’t be treated as second best. Alex will always have a special place in my heart.” Gently, he guided Maya’s hand to his heart, “But now, you are the one holding the best place here.”
As she listened to every word and saw the love, tenderness, affection, and care on his face, Maya’s heart swelled with overwhelming emotion that brought tears in her eyes. As the realization of his words fully sank in, tears started flowing freely down her cheeks.
Richard was startled to see the tears flowing on Maya’s face. Worried about her, he gently brushed off the tears from her face. With so much assurance in his eyes and voice, he smiled at her and said, “Please don’t cry my angel. I don’t expect you to love me back the way that I love you. If friendship is the only thing that you can provide me, I’m completely fine with it. Just don’t let me stop from loving you.”
No longer able to control herself, sobs started escaping her lips, she threw herself immediately in his arms and hugged him tight. “I love you too Richard!” she said. Eyes going wide, he held her shoulders and pushed her gently to see her face. Looking at her eyes, “Tama ba Angel ko? Mahal mo din ako?” he asked. Tears still flowing, she nodded in response and further said, “Yes. Mahal din kita Richard,” and she hugged him once more, while Richard hugging her tightly in return. “I love you so much Angel ko! You just don’t know how happy I am!” said an already teary-eyed Richard.
Maya managed to chuckle in between tears. As she released Richard from the hug, the latter held her shoulders once more, searching for assurance from Maya, “So this means tayo na? Girlfriend na kita?” smiling expectantly at her. Maya chuckled, giving him a warm smile, nodded in confirmation.
With an intense overwhelming joy, Richard started to jump and shout. “Yes! Yes!! Mahal din ako ng Angel ko! Yes!!!”shouted Richard, his voice reverberated around the house. Maya suddenly became conscious that someone might hear Richard. She got up to her feet and went in front of him. “Richard! Baka madinig ka nila Manang Fe,” reprimanded Maya but chuckled at the thought. “I’m just so happy my Angel! I’m just so happy!” With that, he immediately gathered Maya in his arms, lifted her up and started spinning her around. “Ay! Richard! Ibaba mo na ako! Ano ka ba!” she said but she’s laughing the whole time. Both of them laughing as overwhelming joy filled their hearts.
As Richard finally stopped and put her down on her feet, he placed his hands on her face while Maya’s hands are on his waist. Gazing tenderly at each other’s eyes, “I love you so much my angel.” “I love you so much Richard.” Eyes locked at each other, Richard started moving his face slowly down to hers. “May I?” he asked. Maya simply gave her a nod. Slowly his face moved to meet hers. As their lips were only a couple of inches apart, they both instinctively closed their eyes. And after one breathtaking moment, his lips finally met hers. Their love and confession to one another has been sealed by a long lingering kiss that’s full of love and tenderness.
Richard walked Maya to her room, hands entwined. As they were at the door, “Are you sure you’ll be able to sleep peacefully? Baka gusto mo ng kasama? I can always sleep with you,” grinned Richard. “Nako wormy ha! Kung anu-ano yang iniisip mo! Ikaw talaga!” she said, playfully pinching his nose. Richard let out a laugh. “Nagbibiro lang naman ako. Now that boyfriend mo na ako, pwede bang iba naman ang itawag mo sa akin? Pwede bang wag ng wormy?” said Richard with a pleading look.
“Hmm. Ok sige. I’ll think of something,” smiled Maya. Smiling back, “O sige matulog ka na. You sleep tight ok?” he said. Maya hugged him once more, “Good night! I love you!” Hugging back, “Good night my Angel! I love you too!” he said. And as they broke off from their embrace, Richard planted a kiss on Maya’s forehead before finally letting her go.
Maya found it hard to sleep that night. The day’s events kept flashing back on her mind like a broken video tape. The words of Richard, his confessions of love for her kept reverberating inside her head. The kiss that they shared brings her back to 7th heaven. Her very first kiss, she thought. Placing a pillow on her face, she let out a scream that has been continuously nagging her all this time. Uncontainable giddiness consumed her every being.
“Alam ko na! Tatawagan ko si Kute!” she thought excitedly. But as soon as she got her phone and saw the time, she immediately restrained herself and opted to give her a call by morning. Once again, she grabbed a pillow, placed it on her face, and started screaming. She then lay down herself on the bed with a wide grin plastered on her face.
On the other hand, Richard found it hard to sleep that night as well. Just like Maya, her confessions of love for him, and the sweet tender kiss that they just shared had never left his consciousness. Also, the thought that Maya is sleeping on the same house, added up to his adrenaline rush. “Our first kiss as a couple. My Angel’s first kiss,” he thought. He knew fairly well that it was Maya’s very first kiss and he was thoroughly glad about it. With so much joy and gladness in his heart, Richard got out of bed and fell down on his knees to pray. For the longest time, he’s learned to thank the Lord once again.
Richard woke up early the next day. He wanted to personally prepare a breakfast for him and Maya. As he walked towards the kitchen, he saw Manang Fe coming from the door. “Good morning Manang Fe!” greeted happily by Richard as he gave her a tight hug. Surprised by his sudden hug, Manang Fe smiled, “Mukhang maganda ang gising mo Ricardo ah,” she said. Richard simply smiled at her. “Sinagot ka na ni Maya ano?” smiled Manang Fe. With a surprised confused look on his face, “How did you know?” he asked. Smiling warmly at him, “Ganyang ganyan din ang ngiti mo noon nung sinagot ka ni Alex.” Richard simply smiled and said, “I really won’t be able to hide anything from you can I?”
Manang Fe simply smiled at him in return. “Masayang masaya ako para sa iyo Ricardo,” said a misty eyed Manang Fe as she gently caress his face. Touching the hand caressing his face, “Salamat po Manang.” He then told Manang Fe of his plan to personally cook breakfast for him and Maya which the latter encouraged gladly. Richard prepared pancakes, omelets, hotdogs, and toasted breads, placed them on a plate together with a spoon, fork, and a bread knife. He also made two cups of coffee. After carefully placing everything on a tray, he then proceeded to the guest room where Maya was sleeping.
Wanting to give her a surprise, he decided to simply walk in right away instead of knocking first. As he entered the room, he saw Maya still sleeping soundly. Silently, he walked towards the empty side of the bed and placed the tray on top then he immediately went on the other side where Maya was. He gazed lovingly at her sleeping form, in awe of her beauty, peacefulness, and innocence. Carefully, he sat himself beside her and started caressing her cheek.
Maya stirred in her sleep as she felt soft gentle hand caressing her face. As she opened her eyes, she saw Richard’s loving gaze on her which made her smile in an instant. “Good morning,” she said sleepily. “Good morning my angel!” greeted back Richard, then bent down and gave Maya a quick soft kiss on the lips. Maya immediately covered her lips after the kiss with eyes going wide. Richard couldn’t help but laugh at her reaction.
“What?” he asked. “Eh hindi pa ako nagsisipilyo eh!” she said shyly. Richard laughed some more. “If it’s any consolation for you, hindi parin naman ako nagsisipilyo eh,” grinned Richard. Maya immediately sat up on bed, got near Richard and tried to smell his breath. “Anong hindi? Eh amoy na amoy mint nga yang bibig mo o!” said Maya. “You’re so silly my angel,” laughed Richard. “Ikaw naman kasi eh! Teka lang ha. Pupunta lang ako sa banyo para magsipilyo ok?” Maya immediately got out of bed and proceeded to the bathroom to brush her teeth leaving an amused Richard behind.
As she got out of the bathroom, she immediately went back to bed leaning her back on the headboard, stretching out her legs. Richard got up and took the tray on the other side and placed it atop of Maya’s legs. “I made this especially for you!” he said proudly. “Ikaw nagluto lahat nito??” surprised by the idea. “Uh-huh!” grinned Richard. “Eh bakit parang ang dami naman?” “Because we will be sharing this breakfast.” “Eh bakit iisa lang ang plato? Yung kutsara, tinidor, at bread knife iisa lang?” “Oo. Share lang tayo,” he said. “Mag-share tayo ng spoon and fork??” asked by an utterly surprised Maya.
Wiping the smile on his face, “Ayaw mo?” he said with a sad look. Scratching her head, “Hindi naman sa ayaw. Siyempre naaasiwa lang ako,” she said shyly. Grinning back at Maya, “Masanay ka na Angel ko cause we’ll be doing more of this from now on! Let’s eat!” he said encouragingly. Maya then took small portions of each food and started tasting them one after the other. “Hmm. Masarap ka naman palang magluto ha. Pwede na! Pasado ka na!” she said. “I’m glad you liked it,” smiled Richard.
As Maya took a couple of bites more, she noticed that Richard is simply staring back at her. “O bakit di ka pa kumakain? Kala ko ba share tayo?” she asked. “Oo nga. Eh hindi mo naman ako sinusubuan eh,” he said. “Ha?? At bakit naman kita susubuan?” handing him the fork, “o eto kumain ka,” she said. “Mas gusto ko kung susubuan mo ako,” grinned Richard. “Ayun! Kaya iisang kutsara at tinidor ang dinala, magpapasubo ka pala sa akin!” “Eh ipinagluto naman kita Angel ko. Sige na. Subuan mo na ako,” pleaded Richard.
“Ayoko nga!” teased Maya. “Angel, matitiis mo ba akong magutom?” Maya thought for a while then said, “Oo!” Richard simply gave him a sad look and let out a sigh. “Sabi ko na nga ba. Hindi mo talaga ako mahal,” he said. Maya simply laughed and said, “Ang drama mo talaga!” then she cupped his face and said, “Mahal na mahal kita!” Richard simply grinned back at her and immediately gave her a quick kiss on the lips.
“O yang daya mo ah! Nakakadami ka na!” she said. “Ikaw kasi eh. Ayaw mo pa akong subuan!” chuckled Richard. Shaking her head, “Sige na. Eto na at susubuan na kita. Ikaw talaga!” both of them laughing at their apparent sweetness for each other.