Note: This is a continuation of The Art of Letting Go 30.
The next day, Maya got up early to prepare breakfast. She was too busy cooking that she didn’t notice Richard snuck up behind her and immediately wrapped his arms around her waist.
“Ay kabayo!” exclaimed by a startled Maya which earned a chuckle from Richard. “Honey naman! Nanggugulat ka nalang bigla!”
Richard rested his head on Maya’s right shoulder. “Napaka-magugulatin namang talaga ng Angel ko. So what’s for breakfast?”
“Eggs, corned beef & fried rice. Mabuti pa, tulungan mo nalang akong i-set yung lamesa para maka-kain narin tayo. Patapos narin ito.”
“Ok,” obliged Richard then kissed Maya on her cheek before proceeding to the dining table.
As the two were having their breakfast, they discussed their supposed itinerary for the day. “Saan tayo mamamasyal ngayon honey?” asked Maya.
“Siguro after nating kumain, let’s go to Camp John Hay. We’ll do some outdoor adventure,” said Richard proudly.
“Yes. They have zipline, trekking, sky walk, tree drop.. Those kind of stuff. You’ll surely love it.”
“Hmm. Mukha ngang masaya ah. So gagawin natin lahat ng yun?”
“We can if you like,” suggested Richard.
“Really? Excited na ako!” replied Maya happily. Richard could only smile seeing her overt happiness.
Shortly after breakfast, the two went to their respective rooms to prepare for the adventure ahead of them. After prepping up, Maya got out of her room and went to Richard’s room with a black shirt at hand. She gave the door three knocks before entering. As she got inside, he saw Richard wearing a pair of jeans and t-shirt, placing his wrist watch in place. As Richard lifted his gaze to Maya, a smile spread across his face as soon as she noticed what she’s wearing.
Seeing the appreciative look on his face, “Maganda ba?” she asked.
Richard smiled and closed the gap between them. “I love it. It speaks for me.” He gave her a warm hug which Maya returned earnestly. “So it’s very much clear to you that you’re solely mine?” he asked.
Maya let out a soft giggle. “Mr. Richard Lim, iyong iyo lang si Maya dela Rosa. Sa iyo lang, wala ng iba pa. Ikaw lang naman ang meron pang Stephanie eh.”
Richard heaved out a sigh. “Can we not talk about her anymore. I told you angel, I have no interest in her nor will I have any interest with other girls apart from you. Ikaw lang. Kahit ilang Stephanie pa ang lumapit sa akin, wala paring dadaig sa nag-iisang anghel ng buhay ko.”
Richard moved and gazed intently at her eyes, “My eyes are only set for you my angel. And I am yours, solely and completely yours.”
Maya felt her cheeks go aflame. No matter how hard she tries, she still cannot get accustomed to Richard’s melting stares and his overt cheesiness. She knows that she may never ever get used to it but she loves the feeling all the same.
Richard, on the other hand, loves seeing her blush, seeing her get uncomfortable with his stares and with his love lines for her. He loves seeing the effect that he has for her and will never get tired of making her blush for him or make her all giddy for him.
As soon as Maya got back to her senses, she suddenly remembered what she came for. With a grin on her face, “If that’s the case, you’ll have to change your shirt and wear this!” she said, spreading the shirt in front of Richard.
Richard gave a hearty laugh. “With pleasure my angel. I’ll just go to the bathroom and change my shirt not unless you want me to undress here, right in front of your eyes?” he asked naughtily as he was already holding the hem of his shirt, threatening to lift it up.
“Oy honey ha! Sige na. Pumunta ka na ng bathroom at doon ka magpalit ng shirt! Sige na! Ikaw talaga!” replied Maya as she pushes Richard towards the bathroom making Richard laugh even more.
A couple of seconds later, Richard emerged from the bathroom wearing the shirt that Maya bought for him with a huge grin on his face.
Smiling back, “Tignan lang natin kung may Stephanie pang lumapit sa iyo!” she said.
Richard simply shook his head. Smiling, “Let’s go?” holding out his hand to Maya which the latter took gladly. Richard intertwined and laced his fingers around Maya’s. The two went out and proceeded to the car.
As soon as they reached Camp John Hay, they immediately went to the Tree Top Adventure. A short briefing was held before they were ushered to the starting point. As promised, Richard got them Package H which holds the complete set of activities. They embarked in all activities that it was already 3PM when they’re finally done.
On their way back to the car, “Did you have fun?” he asked.
“Sobra! Lalo na yung tree drop! Kung pwede lang bumalik balik dun!”
“Hindi ka natakot dun? Hindi ka nalula sa taas non?” asked Richard in an amused tone.
“Hindi. Ang sarap kaya! Wag mong sabihing nalula ka don? Nalula ka doon ano?” teased Maya.
Shaking his head, “Of course not! Silly! I enjoyed it as much as you did.” Checking on his time, “I guess we’ll be having a really late lunch.” Hand in hand, they went to the car and proceeded to Rose Bowl Restaurant.
After having their lunch, they then proceeded to Burnham Park. Once at Burnham Park, they went to the boat operator and rented one. For 30 minutes, they moved around the man-made lake. Once done, they rented bikes and strolled around the park. By 6PM, they decided to call it a day and went back to the rest house giving them ample time to prepare for dinner.
“May gusto ka bang kainin for dinner?” asked Maya as soon as they reached the house.
Richard thought for a while. “Let’s have veggies. Either pinakbet or chopsuey. Medyo busog parin naman ako because of our late lunch.”
“Kung sabagay nga,” replied Maya. “Saka ok din yun. Ma-take advantage yung fresh veggies here in Baguio.”
“Exactly my thoughts,” answered Richard. As Maya was moving around the kitchen to prepare the necessary ingredients, Richard moved closer to her and wrapped his arms on her waist from behind. Resting his head on her left shoulder, “Can I help you with anything?” he asked.
Smiling back, “Hmm. Mabuti pa nga at ng madaling matapos. Buti pa, tulungan mo akong maghiwa nitong mga gulay.”
Richard looked at the vegetables, “Ok,” he said. Releasing Maya, he got himself an apron, a knife and a chopping board. He took the cabbage, carrots, and sayote. Staring at the veggies at hand, “Err. How do I slice these?” asked Richard smiling sheepishly.
Maya tried to suppress a chuckle. “Ganito. Yung repolyo, pag apatin mo muna. Pag napag-apat mo na, slice mo sila ng kahit half an inch thick. Yung sayote, babalatan mo, pag-apatin mo din tas slice mo ng manipis. Yung carrots, babalatan then slice mo lang din ng maninipis.”
“Ok, got it,” smiled Richard.
After less than an hour, they’re already done cooking chopsuey. As they were having dinner, “Mmm. The veggies here are simply succulent. You know what my angel, every time na pumupunta kami dito nila mama, I always ask them to cook chopsuey or pinakbet. Dito ko lang kasi sobrang na-e-enjoy ang freshness ng mga vegetables, especially the bell peppers. They have this sweet and succulent taste that we rarely have in the metro.”
“Tama ka honey. Ang sarap ng mga veggies dito. Saka fresh na fresh,” added Maya.
The two spent their dinner enjoying the home cooked meal and chatting with one another, needless to say, simply enjoying each other’s company.
Once again, Richard helped Maya clear the table and wash the dishes. Shortly after, Maya prepared two cups of coffee and the two proceeded to the loft located on the upper level of the house.
As they reached the loft, they sat comfortably on one of the queen sleeper sofa. Richard held Maya closer to him, placing his arm on her shoulders. Maya in return rested her head on the crook of Richard’s neck while bending her knees and settling her feet on her left side. They sat comfortably in silence while enjoying the view, the night sky and the cool fresh breeze enveloping them.
“Hindi ka ba nilalamig?” asked Richard as he caress her arm gently.
“Hindi naman,” replied Maya as she squeezed herself more on Richard’s side. Richard simply smiled and planted a kiss on the crown of her head.
“This feels right. It’s perfect,” said Richard.
Bewildered, “Huh?” she asked.
“This. Us. Together. Sitting side by side. Simply enjoying each other’s company. I want to do this everyday, for the rest of our lives.”
“Huh? Dito na tayo titira sa Baguio?” teased Maya.
Richard let out a laugh. “Why not! As long as ikaw ang kasama ko. I’m willing to live anywhere as long as you’re beside me. Gusto mo wag na tayong bumalik ng Manila bukas. Dito nalang tayo. I’m willing to stay like this forever with you,” he said.
Maya pinched his side. “Puro ka talaga kalokohan!” she said.
Laughing, Richard caught the hand that pinched him, placed it on his lips and planted a kiss. “You started it,” he said.
“Next week na ang dating ng parents mo, right?”
“Yup! They’re arriving on Wednesday and papa promised that they’ll stay here for two months. I can’t wait for them to finally meet you,” said Richard excitedly.
Maya simply tilted her head and looked up at him. Sensing her thoughts, Richard smiled warmly at her and held her chin using his fingers. “You don’t have to worry about them. They’ll like you,” he said reassuringly.
Maya smiled back at him and simply nodded her head. “Honey, can I ask you something?”
“Sure. What is it?”
“Sabi mo kagabi, you’re parents initially were against Alex. You think magiging ganun din sila ngayon?”
“Well I don’t think so. I don’t think they’ll repeat it again. They didn’t win the first time, so I know they finally accepted that they cannot meddle with my personal relationships.”
“You really think so?”
“Positive.” Richard held her chin and tilted her head up, coaxing her to meet his gaze before he continued. “How can I ever assure you that my parents aren’t going to be a problem in our relationship? Don’t you trust me?”
“Eh hindi naman sa ganun. Kaya lang –“
Richard placed a finger on Maya’s lips causing her to halt. “No more buts my angel. Just trust me with this ok?” he said. Maya simply nodded in response.
As they held each other’s gaze, Richard once again felt the pull that he felt last night. Staring at her eyes places him under a spell, a spell that battles the rationality out of him. As his rationality is slowly pushed aside, he slowly lowered his gaze down to the luscious lips laid in front of him. The sweet soft lips that he can never get enough of, a drug that had become his addiction.
As he brought his gaze back to her eyes, he saw Maya looking at a different part of him. He caught her looking at his own lips and saw her lick her own lower lip causing the last of his reins to be thrown out the window.
Slowly, he moved his face closer to Maya, placing his lips on top of hers, brushing it ever so softly against hers until he sealed her mouth with his. Gently, he kissed her, letting his lips play with hers for a moment, letting his tongue taste her sweetness.
On its own volition, Maya parted her lips causing Richard to dip his tongue inside her warm luscious mouth, tasting her in long leisurely licks. Out of instinct, Maya’s hands were on his hair, pulling on the silky strands, using them to direct his mouth over hers. Richard growled, deepening the kiss, stroking her tongue with lush slides of his own. As their bodies were pulled closer together, they felt their hearts against their chests, beating wildly.
As they were both lost in each other’s arms, Richard broke off the kiss and ran his lips across her cheek, setting them to her ear, taking the soft lobe between his teeth and biting gently, sending waves of pleasure across Maya’s body, causing her to moan helplessly.
He once again went back to her lips, claiming her mouth once more, nibbling her lower lip gently. Slowly he moved downward and nuzzled her neck. He heard Maya gasp as he touched a sensitive part of her neck.
Richard continued to gently nibble her throat when they heard a ringing sound. As the sound continued to travel in the stillness of the night, as if taken out from a trance, the two immediately break away and straightened up. Both looking flushed and breathing heavily.
Maya tried to compose herself, reached for her phone and answered the call. “He-Hello? Emman?…. Ube & Strawberry Jam? Ok…. Si James ganun din plus peanut brittle?…. Ok sige….. Oo bukas balik namin… Ok sige, kita nalang tayo bukas….. Sige Emman, bye,” said Maya then hung up the phone.
The atmosphere is suddenly filled with thick awkwardness. Both not knowing what to say or how to even start. Both are just repeatedly stealing glances at one another. Finally, Richard found the courage to break the awkwardness that enveloped them.
“Ah Angel, maganda siguro matulog na tayo. Gabi narin kasing masyado and we still have to go to Good Shepherd’s to buy pasalubong.”
“Alam mo honey, tama ka. Mabuti pa nga matulog na nga tayo. Inaantok narin ako eh,” said Maya, trying to sound enthused and unaffected by what just transpired between them.
Both immediately got up and reached for the cups at the same time. When the sudden awareness of their closeness kicked in, they both back out from one another. “Ah honey. Ako na ang bahala dito. Sige na. Ako ng magdadala nito sa loob,” said Maya.
“Ok sige,” said Richard. He watched Maya gather the cups, waited for her before coming back inside the house.
As they went back inside, Maya went straight to the kitchen and placed the cups on the sink, Richard following a few steps behind. Maya turned around to face him. “Honey sige na. Punta ka na sa kwarto mo at matulog ka na. Ako na ang bahala dito.”
Richard could feel Maya’s discomfort in his presence. “Are you sure?” he asked.
“Yes. Ok lang ako dito. Tapusin ko lang ito then matutulog narin ako,” smiling positively at him.
Smiling back, “Ok sige.” For a moment, he hesitated to move closer to Maya. Trying to look casual, he dragged his feet and moved closer to Maya. He held her arms and planted a kiss on her forehead.
Maya fell stiff and held her breath with his touch and kiss. Holding her still, she heard Richard greet her good night before turning around to leave. As soon as he was already out of sight, she let out the breath that she held back and immediately placed her hands above her pounding heart.
Maya covered her mouth. “Eeeeeeiiii!” shrieked softly by her. “Maya kalma ka lang. Kalma ka lang. Nadala lang kayo ng pagkakataon. Tama nadala lang kami. Bakit ba kasi tumawag pa si Emman eh!” she thought irritatingly.
“Eeeeeiiii!!” she shrieked softly once more, “Maya! Ano ba ang iniisip mo! Kung hindi tumawag si Emman, baka kung ano na ang nangyari! Baka kung..” Shaking her head, “Hindi hindi hindi Maya! Erase! Erase! Erase! Hindi gagawin ni Richard sayo yun. Hindi ka niya i-te-take advantage. Kalma ka lang ha. Kalma lang,” she thought.
Maya’s thoughts were running wild but she tried to focus on rinsing the cups on the sink. She tried so hard to push aside the thoughts of everything that transpired at the loft. As soon as she’s done cleaning up the cups, she immediately went to her room and prepped up for bed. As she lay herself to bed, she found it hard to sleep. She tossed and turned to no avail as her thoughts didn’t seem to want to rest.
On the other hand, as soon as Richard got to the confides of his room, he immediately ran his hands across his hair out of frustration. “What the hell was that?? Damn it Richard Lim! You’re not supposed to lose control! You’re supposed to take it slow with her! You’re supposed to take her properly!”
Richard let the thoughts of that evening linger in his head. He clearly recalled the sweet soft lips, her warm luscious mouth, her sweet fragrant feminine scent, and her sweet erotic moan that rang continuously inside his head.
“Kung bakit ba kasi tumawag pa si Emman eh! Wait! Wait! Damn it! I’m not even supposed to be entertaining these thoughts! What the hell Richard! Hold your reins! You obviously lost your control and should be thankful that a phone call saved you!” he scolded himself.
With all the frustration that built inside him, he grabbed his towel and went to the bathroom. Unmindful of the cold weather and the cold water that will come out of the shower, Richard didn’t use the heater and just let the cold raw water from the shower run through his heated body.
The next day, Richard once again found Maya in the kitchen, cooking breakfast. Decided to brush off last night’s thought and act casually, he moved closer to her and wrapped his arms around her. He felt Maya startle and fell stiff with his hug. Resting his head on her left shoulder, “Good morning angel,” he greeted.
“Goo-good morning din honey!” squeaked Maya as she unconsciously held her breath.
Richard sensed the discomfort still lingering inside her. Gently, he turned her around to face him. “Angel,” he said, tilting his head up and coaxing her to meet his gaze. “I’m sorry about last night. I know I shouldn’t have done that to you,” said Richard apologetically.
Maya didn’t know what to feel or how to respond. She doesn’t know if she was supposed to be happy that he’s sorry for kissing her the way that he did last night or if she was supposed to be alarmed that he regretted everything that happened.
Seeing her confusion, Richard took the initiative to continue and explain his side. “Angel, I’m not sorry that I kissed you. It’s one thing that I’ll never get tired of. I love the feel of your lips on mine. I love how it plays against mine. I love how your tongue entwines with mine.”
Maya’s cheeks went aflame hearing these words from Richard but he continued to hold her gaze. “Your sweet lips is like a drug that makes me addicted, making me want for more. I’m not sorry that I kissed you nor do I regret it but I can no longer let it happen again. I cannot let myself lose control the way I did last night. I love you too much to ever take advantage of you.”
Hearing these words from Richard, a sense of relief flowed through her being. After a moment, a smile finally spread across her lips. Closing the gap between them, she gave Richard a tight hug. “Thank you honey ko ha.”
Richard planted a kiss on top of her head. “I promised to take things slow and properly with you right? I have no plans of breaking that promise. I can wait. I will wait for the right time to come.”
“I love you honey ko!”
“I love you too my angel. C’mon let’s have our breakfast na.”
“Roomie!!” greeted Emman enthusiastically as soon as she saw Maya entered the condo with Richard behind her bringing her belongings. “Hi Richard!”
“Hi Emman!” greeted Richard & Maya in unison.
“Awww! Ang cute niyo talaga! Sabay pa kayo,” said Emman sweetly which made Richard & Maya giggle.
“Sige Emman, I’ll go ahead na. Hinatid ko lang ang angel ko.” Turning to Maya, “I’ll see you tomorrow, ok?”
“Ok. Ingat ka sa pag drive ha. Text mo ako pag nakauwi ka na,” she reminded.
“I will. I love you!” he said.
“I love you too!” she replied.
Richard bent down and gave Maya a peck on the lips before turning around to leave. As soon as Richard is already out, Emman finally let out the shriek he’s trying to suppress.
“Eeeeeiii!! Roomie!! Oh my god roomie! Hihimatayin ako s aka-sweetan niyong dalawa! Ikaw na talaga roomie! Ikaw na! Waging wagi ka talaga!”
“Grabe ka naman Emman!”
“By the way, kumain ka na ba? May pagkain pa namang natira.”
“Ok na Emman. Nag-dinner na kami ni Richard sa labas.”
“So. Kumusta naman ang Baguio getaway niyo? Nag-enjoy ka naman ba?” he inquired.
“Oo! Maganda pala sa Baguio noh! Nag outdoor adventure nga kami dun sa Tree Top sa may Camp John Hay eh.”
“Uy! Masarap nga doon! Sinubukan mob a lahat?”
“Oo naman!” replied Maya giving him a thumbs up.
“Saan nga pala kayo tumuloy dun? May iba ba kayong kasama?” Emman further inquired.
“May rest house si Richard doon. Doon kami tumuloy na dalawa,” explained Maya.
“Kayong dalawa? Ibig sabihin kayong dalawa ni Richard ang magkasama sa Baguio?” asked Emman in a startled tone.
“Oo. Kaming dalawa lang,” answered Maya innocently.
Emman giving Maya a knowing look, “Hmm.. Roomie. Umamin ka nga sa akin. Sigurado ka bang sa Tree Top lang kayo nag-adventure?”
Bewildered by his question, “Huh? Bakit? May iba pa bang nag-o-offer ng outdoor adventure doon?” she asked.
“Outdoor adventure, wala na. Indoor adventure, meron. At mukhang isa na yang rest house ni Richard doon.”
“Indoor adventure?” asked Maya in a confused tone then her face suddenly lit up. “Ah oo!” Emman could only gasp at her response then Maya continued. “May billiard table doon sa bahay, may mga swing, TV and dvds kaso hindi naman naming nagamit mga yun dahil busy kami sa pamamasyal.”
Emman’s face fell in disappointment. “Yun lang? Yun lang ang adventure na ginawa niyo? Wala ng iba?”
Still confused as to where Emman is hitting at, “Huh? Ano pa bang ibang adventure ang hinahanap mo?” she asked.
“Eh ano pa! Eh di yung adventure na commonly ginagawa ng mga lovers lalo na pag silang dalawa lang sa ilang lugar. At take note, kayong dalawa lang sa loob ng isang bahay sa loob ng 3 araw. Wala man lang bang ibang action o adventure na nangyari sa inyo doon?” probed Emman further.
Maya suddenly felt uneasy at Emman’s questions. As the realization of his questions hit her, recollection of everything that happened the last two nights resurfaced making her cheeks blush profusely which didn’t escape Emman’s scrutinizing eyes.
Eyes going wide, “OMG! Roomie! Don’t tell me!! OMG! Eeeeeeiiiii!!! So may nangyari na nga sa inyo??? Eeeeiiii!!” shrieked Emman.
“Huy Emman! Wag ka namang tumili jan!” reprimanded Maya.
“Eh kasi naman roomie! OMG! So ano? Kumusta? How does it feel? Masarap ba? Magaling ba?” he asked.
“Emman! Ano ka ba!” reprimanded Maya, slapping him on his arm. “Walang nangyari sa amin noh!”
Emman’s face fell once more. “Wala?? Wala talaga? As in?” he asked giving Maya an incredulous look.
“Wala nga,” she confirmed but continued to blush uncontrollably.
“Hmm. Kung walang nangyari. Eh bakit namumula ka ng husto? Teka, don’t tell me muntik ng may mangyari at hindi lang natuloy?”
Uneasy with Emman’s barrage of questions, “Eh Emman, Wag na nating pag-usapan yun. Mabuti pa matulog na tayo. Sige na,” she said.
“Roomie! Alam mo namang hindi ka mananalo sa akin di ba? Hinding-hindi ka makakatakas sa akin. Mabuti pa umamin ka na.”
“Eh Emman. Can we just let this pass?” pleaded Maya.
“Hindi pwede! Sige na. Magsalita ka na.”
Emman stood his ground and remained a pain in the neck. Heaving out a sigh, “Ok. Kagabi, medyo nawala nga kami sa sarili. Nawalan kami ng control. Pero mabuti na nga lang at hindi natuloy. Ayaw ni Richard ng ganon. Gusto niyang antayin yung tamang panahon. Pag kasal na kami. Ganun,” explained Maya.
“Awww. Ang sweet talaga ng boyfriend mo Maya at sobrang gentleman. Waging wagi ka na talaga! So ibig sabihin nagawa niyang pigilan ang sarili niya?”
“Ah eh, hindi. May ibang pumigil.”
“Ha? Panong ibang pumigil? Kala ko ba kayo lang tao doon?”
“Oo nga. Kaso bigla kang tumawag eh kaya hindi natuloy. Pero ok narin yun Emman at least walang nangyari sa amin,” smiled Maya.
As soon as she saw the shocked dumbfounded expression on his face, “Emman? Ok ka lang ba?” Emman only nodded in response. “O sige Emman, pasok na ako sa kwarto ko at magpapahinga na ako. Good night,” said Maya. Once again, Emman could only nod in response.
Emman was left outside, shocked, dumbfounded, and planted on the ground.