A/N: This is a continuation to Crazy in love – part 6.
Chapter 7 – Crazy little thing called Love
Since their first dinner, Richard and Maya became good friends. If they don’t see each other during the day, they would communicate via mobile phone. A day will not be complete without either of them checking on the other. They discuss everything and anything under the sun except their love life or lack of it. He didn’t ask about Anton and neither did she ask anything about his girlfriend or girlfriends. Both were afraid that asking personal questions might put their new found friendship in an awkward situation. They wanted their situation the way it is, whatever term it can be called.
The last day of school prior to the Christmas break was a turning point of their friendship.
Maya was with her friends at the cafeteria when Anton joined them. He had a gift for Maya that he handed to her while greeting her Merry Christmas. In greeting her, he kissed her on the cheek and she which she also reciprocated. The scene was seen by Richard who was about to enter the cafeteria that time. He felt a stab in his chest as he saw them embraced. Feeling hurt, he turned back and left the cafeteria.
Later, he got a message from Maya. “Where are you? Do you want to have lunch?”
“Am here at the Engineering study lounge. Thanks but won’t be able to join.” Was his reply.
When she received the message, she was curious why he would be in the study lounge when it was the last day of school. She decided to check on him.
“Richard, why are you here? Let’s go for lunch.” She invited him as soon as she found him.
“Wag na. I don’t want to impose on you guys.” The green-eyed monster was eating his heart. It was Christmas week; he was in agony thinking that Maya has a boyfriend. He never felt so bad being a member of SMP (Samahang Malalamig ang Pasko) until that day.
“Anong impose? We’re just having lunch. Anyway, if you don’t want to join us, how about coming to my house later. Let’s have dinner together.” She said with excitement. She had prepared a Christmas gift for him that she wanted to give to him that night. He agreed.
Maya’s lunch with her friends extended up to the afternoon. Their group have not gone out for several weeks, so they got engrossed in updating each other of their whereabouts. By late afternoon, they’ve decided to have an impromptu drinking party. Since Maya has her own place, the group decided to have the party there. Maya agreed, forgetting that she had invited Richard to come over that evening.
Ding. Dong. Ding. Dong
A tipsy Maya opened the door. Richard was surprised to see her flushed face and hear the singing in the background.
“Hi Richard. Please come in. Nandito silang lahat.” She stepped aside to let him walk past her.
“Hi guys.” He smiled at Maya’s friends. He looked around and found there were nine of them (Emman, Edcel, Jona, Gina, Jon-jay, Wilson, Amy, Nico, Edward). He felt disappointed realizing that he wouldn’t have Maya by himself that night. He thought that the invitation was just for him.
“Hi Richard. Thanks for joining us. Halika, pili ka na ng kanta mo dito.” Emman invited him to sit on the sofa beside him and passed him a song book. The group was in the middle of videoke session.
“Ha,ha,ha, puro 80s pala ang favorite nyo.” Richard commented as he browsed thru the list.
“Anong favorite? Walang choice ‘no. Ito kasing si Jona, hindi dinala yung mga bagong chips. Anyway, okay na rin, meron din ibang years dyan.” Emman responded gaily.
Maya came back with a plate of food for Richard. “Richard, kain ka muna.”
“Thank you.” He just smiled as he took the plate from her. Although initially disappointed, he decided to just enjoy the time with them.
Since he was already there, Richard selected his song and had a drink too. When it was his turn, he took the microphone and gamely sang Crazy Little Thing Called Love. It was supposed to liven up his spirit.
Because Maya’s friends made him feel comfortable, he got on well with them. He began to join in telling stories and jokes with them. Maya was seated across him and could see that she was enjoying too.
Ding. Dong. Ding. Dong. The doorbell rang again.
“Ay sigurado ko si Anton na ‘yan” Maya spoke as she stood up to open the door. She was correct. Anton entered the house carrying two plastic bags.
“Hey guys, I’m back.” He said as he proceeded to the dining area.
“Bro, bakit ang tagal mo? Akala naming umuwi ka na.” Edward asked.
“Bro, out-of-stock ng tubed ice d’yan sa 7-eleven. Pumunta pa kaya ako sa grocery ‘no.” Anton joined them in front of the videoke. “Hi Richard, good you’re here too. O Maya, kumpleto na mga close friends mo ha.” He commented.
Maya agreed. “Yes. So I’m happy that my first Christmas celebration dito sa Manila is with all my friends. So, let’s drink to that.”
“Cheers” Everyone raised their glasses with merriment. Then, the singing resumed with Anton taking his turn.
Richard stole a glance at Maya. If he was getting comfortable before Anton arrived, his green eyed monster side is getting agitated again. Maya was sitting so close to Anton. He sat there observing the two; feeling very jealous but unable to do anything.
Later, Anton stood up and took Maya’s hand to bring her to the dining area, away from the group.
“Hey, bakit?” Maya asked as soon as they were out of the group’s earshot.
“I just wanted to check with you, why is Richard here?” It was question that was in Anton’s head for a while now. He has been observing them and noticed that the two were stealing glances at each other.
“Wala, I invited him this evening. We were supposed to have dinner together. Kaya lang, nagkaroon nga tayo ng impromptu party. Kaya, eto, nandito tayong lahat.” She explained but knew that Anton wanted to find out more.
“Ganoon lang? Ano nililigawan ka n’yan ‘no?” He began to tease her; his eyes directed to where Richard was seated.
“Hindi, ah” but she couldn’t help smiling. She felth giddy with just the thought that Richard was courting her. It must be the alcohol affecting her.
“Hindi? Kaya pala kilig na kilig ka dyan. Pusta ko ‘yan yung secret love mo.” He teased her once more but this time tickling her side. She parried the tickling motions from him.
“Hoy, grabe, kung makapang bisto ka. Balik na tayo doon.” She shooed him away.
Anton and Maya returned to the group. Richard’s mood had obviously changed after observing how the two were behaving at the dining area. His heart constricted with jealousy; his eyes turning to tiny slits.
“Hey guys, madilim na. Shouldn’t we start going? May dinner date pa ‘tong friend natin.” Anton announced suddenly. Richard missed out the emphasis on word “friend”.
“Ay, teka muna. May request pa akong song from Richard. Hindi ako uuwi hanggat hindi n’ya nakakanta sa akin.” Emman voiced out his request. “Chard, paki kanta naman ‘tong favorite ko, please.” Emman handed him the microphone.
“Eh, Emman I might not know the song” Richard was about to argue but Emman was insistent.
“Naku alam mo ‘yan for sure. If not, tutulungan kita, duet tayo.” Kilig na kilig si Emman as the song started.
Emman added, “This song is dedicated to…. secret.” The group all laughed thinking it was for one of his crushes in school and that included Richard.
Richard knew the song and started to sing.
There’s a light
A certain kind of light .
That never shone on me
I want my life to be, lived with you
As he sang the 4th line, he was already into the song. He was thinking of Maya. He turned to glance at her and caught her staring at him. He got distracted a bit but managed to be within tune.
When it came to the “to love somebody, the way I love you”, part his eyes were fixed on her. It was as if the song was really meant for her.
In Maya’s head, “Shocks, bakit ganito naman maka tingin ‘to? Is it me or effect ng nainom ko? Tipsy lang pero okay naman ako. Baka s’ya. Anyway, kakilig naman. Lord, eto na ba ang Christmas gift mo?”
After Richard’s song, Emman did a final number. Eventually, it was Anton who insisted that they all go back home. Richard and Maya were left alone in her condo.
“Sandali lang, ha, may kukunin ako sa loob” Maya left him to get something in her room.
Richard remained standing in the sala waiting for her and at the same in dilemma what to do next. “Should I go home? Should I declare my love for her? She is in a relationship.” His heart constricted again. “But if she is, why did he leave us alone?” These were the questions running in his head.
Maya came back with gift and handed it to him “Richard, Merry Christmas.”
Maya moved close to him in an attempt to give him a peck on the cheek. Richard, not expecting her intention, slightly turned his face. With that slight movement, her lips landed on his lips.
It was an accidental kiss but both were surprised. Maya blushed and stuttered, “Ay sorry… gumalaw ka kasi.” She looked down, feeling embarrassed with what just happened.
At that moment, Richard forgot about his dilemma and placed his finger under her chin and tilted it upwards so he could see her face. Their eyes locked; they were gauging each other’s emotions. Swiftly, Richard pressed his lips on Maya’s. At first, it was tentative; waiting for her reaction but there was none. He was about to kiss her again when he suddenly remembered.
“Maya, you have a boyfriend, right?” He whispered; his lips just a two inches away from hers. He placed his hand on her arm ready to distance himself; sense of propriety taking over his body.
“Sino?” Maya responded in a whisper too. She wasn’t thinking properly.
“Si Anton? Di ba sabi mo si Anton ang boyfriend mo?” His heartbeat was racing. She was too close to him that he’s having an inner struggle whether to follow his head or his heart. As he looked at her red lips, he was very much tempted to kiss her again.
“Dati, but we’re just friends now.” Out of her own volition, she made a bold move and kissed him. When her lips touched his, he abandoned his self-control and responded to her ardently. His hands which were on her arms started to move to her back and embraced her tightly. On her part, Maya’s hands found its way to his neck and encircled it. Their kissed deepened as if they’ve just been liberated. After the breath taking kiss, they uttered at the same time.
“I love you, Maya.” “I love you Ricky.”