A/N: This is a continuation to Crazy in Love – part 7.
While on the plane bound for San Nicolas for the Christmas holidays, the two were busy whispering sweet nothings to each other.
“So, who do you think we should tell first? Will it be my mom or your mom?” Richard asked.
“Ha?” Suddenly, Maya felt nervous. She doesn’t know how her mother will react. The boyfriend discussion in their home has always been a joke so she can only second guess the reaction of her mother.
“Bakit, kailangan na bang sabihin?” She asked, seemingly suggesting they delay the announcement to their family.
“At bakit, wala kang balak? Ms. Dela Rosa, I don’t agree to that. If you’re my girlfriend, you have to be properly introduced to my parents.” Richard pointed out.
“Teka, girlfriend na nga ba?” She started to question him. “Come to think of it, nanligaw ka ba? Parang wala akong natatandaan, ah. Di bang nung isang araw friend lang tayo?” She was teasing him.
“Rigthly said! You didn’t give me a chance to properly court you.” Richard laughed. He signaled her to keep her voice down.
“Ah gano’n? Madali naman akong kausap. Sige, bigyan kita ng chance. Manligaw ka muna at pag-iisipan ko kung sasagutin kita.” She pouted.
“Ha,ha,ha. Nope that’s not unacceptable, Babe. The moment you kissed me, you forfeited the right.” He whispered; His eyes turning more chinito when he smiled at her.
Her face suddenly turned serious that prompted him to ask “What?” He worried that the teasing may have gone out of hand.
“Wala. Hmmm so Babe ang tawag mo sa akin?” She asked sweetly.
“Ikaw, anong gusto mo? Sweetie pie, sweetheart, baby, love, darling?” All the options he gave her made her cringe.
“Yikes. Sige, pwede na rin. Babe” She accepted the term of endearment as she held his hand tightly.
“Anyway, Babe, let me handle the announcement to our family. You don’t have to worry.” Richard’s assurance made Maya relax.
The following day, the Lim and Dela Rosa family saw each other at the San Nicolas church to attend the traditional Simbang Gabi. They chose to seat in the same pew. Richard and Maya sat in the middle; in between their respective families.
During the sign of peace part, they kissed their respective mothers. After that, Richard and Maya kissed each other on the cheek. Both mothers was slightly surprised, it was the first time they’ve seen the two seemingly becoming close.
Then, Richard made a sudden declaration to his mother while Maya was giving respects to her. “Ma, si Maya ang girlfriend ko.” He whispered then made a sign of peace to his mom.
Mama Esme momentarily had a confused smile on her face. Then, her facial expression changed eventually to joy and excitement. But she tried to control her reaction in as much as they were still inside the church. But she managed to say, “Hija, Am so glad. I am so glad. Finally, ang pangarap ko, welcome to our family Hija.” She reached for Maya and hugged her. Her friend, Mama Teresita, just looked on wondering what her friend meant.
During family breakfast at the request of Mama Esme, it was Mama Teresita’s turn to be informed.
“Hmmm. Tita” Richard started the conversation after he asked if he could talk to her privately.
“Yes, Richard, ano ‘yun anak.” Mama Teresita waited in anticipation. He never attempted to talk to her privately in the past.
“Ahh… Hindi ko po pahahabain ang sasabin ko. I know po na hindi pa kayo nakakapag-usap ni Maya about her having a boyfriend. Gusto lang pong sabihin sa inyo na malinis po ang intens’yon ko sa anak n’yo.” Richard started his prepared speech.
As Mama Teresita listened to him, she thought that Richard was asking her permission to court her daughter. She appreciated the respect Richard was giving to her and Maya. He looked nervous as he was speaking to her. So, she made it easier for him.
“Salamat Richard sa pagsasabi mo. Okay lang naman sa akin na ligawan mo si Maya. Matagal ng magkaibigan ang pamilya natin so wala akong tutol.” She gave him her assurance.
“Thank you po, Tita” Richard caught on that she assumed that he is still courting Maya. So, he continued to correct her understanding, “Ah Tita, actually po, girlfriend ko na si Maya. Ako na pong nagsasabi sa inyo to assure you that I love your daughter very much. Sana po, ‘wag n’yong kagalitan si Maya. ” He looked so sincere as he said those words.
Mama Teresita was shocked. She kept quiet and just stared at him. In her mind, she couldn’t discount the courage of the young man in front of her.
In the end, she just shrugged her shoulder and said, “So, okay na pala kayo ng anak ko. Ito talagang si Maya malihim. Ano pa ba ang magagawa ko.” She smiled “Basta, wag mong paiyakin ang anak ko ha?”
Richard was about to reply when they heard an exclaiming Cristina Rose on the other side of the room.
“Anooo? Paanong nangyari bunso?” Kute’s words were heard by everyone. Maya had just told her about her and Richard.
“Kute, ano ka ba. Nanligaw and then sinagot ko.” Maya said skipping details.
Kute could only murmur “Itong Richard na’to ang bilis pala. Last month ko lang binigyan ng tip, may action and result agad.” She could only shake her head.
The Christmas vacation at San Nicolas was one of the happiest in Maya’s life as their families celebrated it together.
It was mid-January when Richard received a letter from Stanford University in the U.S. After months of waiting, he finally received an official communication from the graduate school. He applied in their masters in engineering scholarship program and that day he received the confirmation that he got accepted.
He immediately called his mother to inform her of the good news. His celebratory mood was suddenly cut when his mom asked.
“So ano anak, nasabi mo na ba kay Maya? Does she know that you’ll be going to the states?”
“Ma, hindi pa. I wasn’t sure if I’d get it so I didn’t tell her. But now I have no choice, she will have to know.”
“Good luck anak, I know how important this is to you. Going for your dream is not bad, you’ve worked hard for that. Maya will understand, I’m sure”. Mama Esme’s words of encouragement lifted her son’s mood.
Richard’s was not surprised on Maya’s reaction when he told her personally the news.
“Ano? Ibig sabihin you’ll be away? Gaano katagal? Hindi ba pwede ‘yan dito sa Philippines na lang?” The questions came out one after the other. Richard just waited for her to stop before responding.
“Maya, it will just be three years. With the technology these days, we can still connect with each other as often as we want to. I’m sorry I didn’t tell you earlier because I wasn’t sure I would be granted the scholarship so I didn’t want to make you worry. This school is one of the best in U.S., I’ve dreamt of going to this school and pursuing my masters. This will be good for us, for our future.” Richard patiently explained to the tearful Maya.
Richard couldn’t leave Maya’s side until she stopped crying. When she finally stopped, her eyes were all puffed and red.
For the whole week since Maya found about Richard’s plan, she looked very gloomy. Although she understood and supported Richard, it was more of separation anxiety that was attacking her. Richard on his part was also experiencing the same. So, he thought of a solution that might at least lessen their pain.
“Maya, what worries you most with my being away?” He asked while they were having dessert after dinner in her condo unit. They were seated in the sofa watching TV.
“Hmm, ‘yung makalimutan mo ako. You might meet someone there while you’re away. What if, you get tempted or you fall in love with someone else” Her eyes started to get misty as the thought came across to her.
“Should I say the same? Ikaw pa naman, popular ka sa mga boys dito sa school. Yung what ifs mo, eh, what ifs ko rin.” He looked at her intently. As they gazed at each other, Maya began sobbing and buried her face in his chest.
“No, that won’t happen, Richard.” She said in between sob.
“Maya, I don’t know how you’ll take this but how about we get married before I leave for the U.S.? We can seek permission from our parents.” He said close to her ear.
Maya immediately reacted. “Naku, my mom will not approve. I’m still a freshman. Kailangan ko pang magtapos.”
“We’ll talk to them. We are just going to get married but we will not start a family yet. We can both study but at least, we’d feel more secure. What do you think?” He was attempting to make sense of out of his proposal. It didn’t matter, the bottom line is, he loves her.
Richard and Maya went home to San Nicolas for a weekend to talk to their parents. Seeking permission from their parents proved to be difficult particularly from Maya’s family. Mama Esme and Papa Roberto were more lenient since their son was already of legal age and would be graduating college in two months time.
On Maya’s side, there was an initial confusion when they told them. Richard brought his mother to Maya’s house for the needed support.
“Anak, magsabi ka ng totoo, buntis ka ba?” A visibly very upset Mama Teresita asked her daughter.
“Maaa. Ano bang tanung ‘yan.” Maya and Richard both had red face when the question came up.
It was her friend Mama Esme who answered for the two. “Tessie, mag hunos dili ka. Hindi gagawin ng anak ko yan sa anak mo. May mga pangarap ang mga bata at kasama sa pangarap nila ‘yung makasal sila.”
“Eh, bakit nagmamadali kayo” Her attention returned to Richard and Maya. “Kung talagang kayo, maghintay muna sana kayo. Richard, ikaw 22 na si Maya 18 pa lang. Pwede pagkatapos ni Maya ng college. Kung gusto nyo pag baba ng stage after graduation, mag pakasal kayo. Pero ngayon, napakaaga pa mga anak.”
“Tita, may point po kayo. Ang sa amin lang po, sana mapayagan n’yo kami. I’ll be leaving for the States after graduation and it would make us feel more assured if we can marry before I leave.” Richard explained; trying to convince his future mother-in-law.
By the end of the evening, Mama Teresita could only commit that she will think about it further. When the mother and daughter were left on their own, Maya asked.
“Ma, ‘wag ka magagalit ha. Kung buntis ba ako papayagan mo akong pakasal?”
“Maya!!” Mama Teresita exclaimed. Maya made a point.
“Sige na Ma. Payagan mo na ako.” She pleaded to her mother.
The following day, Richard got a message from Maya. “Babe, punta ka daw dito later. Parang papayag na.”
When Richard and Maya returned to Manila, they got their parents’ permission. The plan is to have a quiet wedding in Manila with just family members in attendance. The wedding will be in the summer after Richard’s graduation. In the meantime, their family will start processing the documentary requirements in San Nicolas and finalize them in Manila.
After the marriage plan and U.S. school issues were handled, Richard and Maya focused on their studies. The days went fast as the school year was about to end. After the finals, Maya’s friends decided to have a trip in Baguio for the Lenten holidays. It was a way for the group to relax and enjoy. Maya wanted to go but made sure that Richard was included in the trip. As Richard have completed his clearances and all, he decided to go with them. He has a family friend in Baguio, in fact, his godparent was living there. It was good opportunity to visit him and reconnect.
The trip to Baguio was joyous activity for the group. They visited a lot of places and had so much fun as friends. Richard got on well with Maya’s group. By the end of the trip, Richard told the group that he and Maya will stay for another day or two because they were visiting his godfather who lives in Baguio.
The trip in Baguio intensified Richard and Maya’s feelings for each other. It must have been the climate or the spirits of the mountains that made them feel so enamored with each other. In Baguio, they sealed their commitment to each other, bound to love each other forever.
Call it fate or destiny, that bind was tested a week after their return to Manila. The day after Richard’s graduation ceremony, the road they walked on forked and they took different paths.