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complete unabridged version of the Long-held Torch series can be read at
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Richard could not believe his ears when Maya said that she wanted to stay with him
instead of going home. It was guaranteed to obliterate his self-control into oblivion.
Despite his years of experience, he behaved like a teenager and eagerly took what
Afterwards, despite not having fully recovered, he lifted himself off for he was loathe
to crush her with his heavy weight. He immediately felt bereft of her very snug soft heat.
He couldn’t resist giving a very sleepy Maya another deep lingering kiss before he went
to lie beside her.
It was a mind-blowing experience that left him in a daze. As his tachypneic breathing slowly
decelerated to a more normal rate, his bemused gaze went over Maya’s features that were
serene in her sleep. Her lips were swollen from his kisses and her cheeks were still flushed
pink. His gaze went over her smooth and shapely length until it arrested on the blood stain
on her thighs.
Given her age and her past romantic relationships, somehow she has managed to stay virgo
intacta. How on earth was that possible? Did she hook up with one milksoppy boyfriend after
another? If she was his, he would not be able to keep his hands off her.
This clearly explains your current state, of course.
I am not like one of her milksoppy ex-boyfriends.
Hang on a minute! Who told you she had boyfriends in the first place?
No one in particular really, he answered himself. Ryan, and then recently Emman,
informed him that Maya dated a few guys.
But no one specifically told you that she had a boyfriend, eh? You made that grossly
wrong assumption all by yourself, Richard Lim!
Priding himself as a man of the world, he had told Maya that he could not care less
about her past boyfriends. But if truth be told, he has been torturing himself with
thoughts of Maya being intimate with other men when they only existed in his head.
This would explain her blushing discomfort and extreme shyness whenever they get
hot and heavy. He even subjected himself to extreme sexual frustration while he
‘exorcised’ her alleged ex-boyfriends out of her system. Yet, all this time, she has
always been tucked up in her chaste bed all by herself.
Richard felt like a bloody idiot!
Nevertheless, he was a very lucky idiot, not to mention a very jubilant idiot for Maya
chose him to be her first lover. He wondered whether she has also been waiting for
him all these years. Richard would like to think so. He is fervently hoping that this is
Smiling inwardly, he gathered her in his arms and pulled the cotton sheet over the
both of them. Maya nuzzled his shoulder before resettling back to sleep. The caress
sent jolts of pleasure through his spine but he doubted if Maya would welcome being
made love to all over again.
Smiling wryly, Richard settled down beside her and listened to her even breathing.
For the first time in years, he felt emotional contentment despite his physical
dissatisfaction. Being with the woman you love makes all the difference in the
world. In his heart and mind, what happened between them felt right.
So, how will you face Tatay Arturo and Nanay Teresita after this?
A frown marred his handsome chinito features as his conscience pricked him. Maya’s
parents have trusted him and he turned around to bed their daughter almost right
under their noses. He slowly got up so that he would not jolt Maya out of her rest. He
needed to make a few phone calls.
After almost an hour, he came back to bed. He kissed Maya’s forehead and snuggled
as close as possible to her. He smiled to himself as this would be the first time he
would literally be sleeping with a woman. No, that was not right. He had first slept
with Maya the night of the storm.
“I love you, Maya” he whispered into her hair before he closed his lids.
Richard felt her initially stirring around daybreak before resettling back to sleep. He
sleepily waited if she will wake up. When she didn’t, Richard kissed Maya’s forehead
before he slowly got up to reach for the towel hanging on the gallinera seat’s backrest.
Tucking it around his middle, he went to the alcove to carefully pick a red rose from
the thick hedge to place it on the pillow by Maya’s head.
After having a shower, he didn’t bother putting on clothes. With a wrapped towel
around his middle, he went to the kitchen. He came back with a huge oval platter of
fluffy scrambled eggs, crispy bacon, buttered wholemeal toast and a small pot of
black coffee and a tiny jug of fresh milk. There were also slices of rockmelon,
pineapple and a lakatan banana.
Richard saw that Maya was awake and was smelling the red rose. Her hair was
spread across his pillow and there was a healthy glow on her skin. Richard thought
she looked like a woman who had just been made love to. She smiled shyly as she sat
up in bed while trying to tuck the bed sheet to cover herself as another enchanting
blush was creeping up her cheeks.
Richard wolfishly smiled as he watched her movements. He mentally debated
whether to remind her of his photographic memory or just let her be. Richard
considered her hiding behind the sheet as rather futile for he had already memorized
every inch of her.
“Good morning, sweetheart” he greeted her with a deep lingering kiss as he placed
the bed tray table across her legs.
“Good morning” was her husky reply.
“We forgot about dinner last night so I am sure you are very hungry,” he stated as he sat
down on the bed beside her.
“Mmmmmnnnn” Maya appreciatively breathed in the savoury aroma as she regarded the
breakfast feast before her. Then she poured the coffee into two cups and spooned sugar into one.
Maya’s eyes rounded as Richard offered a forkful of scrambled eggs by her lips. Richard smiled
as Maya opened her mouth. Smiling sweetly as she munched, Maya picked up a crunchy bacon
strip and fed it to him.
“Marunong ka rin palang magluto,” Maya complimented as she peeled and sliced the banana to
top it on a toast.
“Of course,” Richard nodded while chewing as he placed another forkful of scrambled eggs into
her mouth and then continued “I had no choice but to learn when I lived overseas.”
“Nung nag-stay ka sa Dubai?” she asked after swallowing.
Richard nodded again and sipped his black coffee as he watched Maya eat. She mainly munched
on her ‘banana on toast’ and then the sliced fruits.
“Finish the eggs, sweetheart,” he instructed as he considered her shoulder frame. With his
connoisseur eye, Richard evaluated that Maya could do with a bit more weight. She would be
sexier, he mused as his eyes became mere slits as he recalled what happened the night before.
“I usually just have coffee first.” Richard really can not eat first thing in the morning.
He needed to work up an appetite before he could have breakfast. “I’ll be back.”
Richard disappeared into the bathroom where he had recently installed a huge corner
spa bath that could easily fit three people. He turned on the tap to fill it up with very
warm water. Then he picked up a bottle of bath oil and squirted some into the rising
Approaching the bed, he smiled at Maya who was finishing her coffee when he came
back. He put away the tray and scooped up Maya who insisted on holding onto the
sheet. He glimpsed the palm-size patch of dried blood on the bed’s fitted sheet as he
pivoted towards the bathroom.
“Are you very sore?” he asked in concern.
Richard’s knowledge with virgins was limited. The last time he made love to one was
during his college days for he avoided them like the plague. Still, he was aware that
the ‘first time’ was not a pleasurable experience for most, if not all women. And the
morning-after soreness was reputed to be even worse. Richard reckoned it would be
akin to exercising for the first time after leading a sedentary lifestyle. Every aching
muscle fibre would be protesting with every movement.
Richard noted Maya’s heightening blush as she nodded. Richard sighed as his hopes
of making love to her again were clearly dashed. It can’t be helped, Richard thought.
He needed to make more allowances for her inexperience. He was just glad they can
spend a few days together.
“Hmmmnn, well, this should ease some of the soreness off,” he told her as he gently
lowered her into the middle of the filled spa bath. He grinned when Maya had quickly
taken the sheet off and gave the bundle to him to avoid wetting it. He placed it on top
of the clothes hamper before shedding his towel. He stepped naked into the bath and
sat behind Maya, with his long limbs on either side of her. He picked up the flannel
and proceeded to wash her smooth back. He leaned forward when he went to wash
her nape which he just had to bestow a kiss.
“Richard, may kiliti ako diyan!” Maya protested giddily as she tried to move away.
He just grinned as he went to wash her. When he finally reached past her abdominal
area to wash off the dried blood on her thighs, Maya sat very still.
“How come I was your first?” he asked in a husky tone.
The ensuing silence was only disturbed by the gentle lap of water against their
“Ahhh….eh…w-wala naman kasi akong naging boyfriend bukod sayo,” she explained
Elation surged in him as he confirmed that he was her first boyfriend as well. This
could mean that she never felt any strong emotion towards any other man except him.
He vowed he would be the last man in her life as well.
“Pero bakit nga?” Richard persisted. “I mean, I am sure you had suitors and that you
“That’s right,” Maya agreed quickly “ Pero hindi naman ibig sabihin na nakipag-date
ako sa guy na magiging boyfriend ko na siya. Hindi rin ibig sabihin na nakipagdate
ako sa guy na maika-kama na niya ‘ko!”
Without meaning to, he was upsetting Maya whose head was bent. Tendrils have
escaped her hastily chignoned hair and they were getting wet.
“Look, I am sorry. I did not mean to question your morals. I would be the last person
to do that given my very chequered past. What I have been wanting to ask was and
have been botching so far—”
Maya turned her head and looked directly at him with her wary doe-eyes that he lost
his train of thoughts for a few seconds.
“Did you not feel strong attraction to the guys you have dated?”
Maya looked away, frowning slightly in silent contemplation.
“I was attracted enough to date them…but I don’t know…” Maya replied almost lost in
her own thoughts “something was preventing me to go into a relationship. And I have
been baffled at how I felt for years. I have often asked myself why I never could take
the next step. Then a few weeks ago, my question was finally answered…”
“…I was still in love with you.” Maya turned her head to look seriously at him.
“How long have you known?” he asked quietly.
Maya smiled sweetly. “Tulad ng sabi ko, matagal na.”
“Since when?” Richard insisted when Maya looked away.
“If you must know, I have always felt something for you. It was weird coz I really
disliked you when I was a kid coz you teased me a lot.”
“You were such a cute smiley kid even without your front teeth, I could not resist
making you pout. Ang haba kasi ng nguso mo kapag naka-irap.”
“Ang sama mo! Iniiyakan ko na nga nung mawala yung front teeth ko tapos tawagin
mo ba naman akong ‘Bungi’. Lakas mo kayang mang-asar!” Maya chided him
“Anyway, I did not like you very much. Or so I thought. Then I finally realised that I
feel strange whenever you are around.”
“In what way strange?” Richard ‘s eyes were lifted in query.
“It’s like having butterflies fluttering around in my stomach whenever you are near.
Then I found myself missing you. Especially when you and Kuya graduated from
your degree studies and you both became busy with your respective careers. I was
twelve when it finally dawned on me that I have a crush on you. But you stayed
away.” she finished accusingly.
“But I still came back often.” Richard claimed defensively.
“Only for short visits. You never stayed for the summer months anymore. So, I got
even angrier at you. I know it was irrational and childish but I was angry at you.”
“Kaya pala hindi ka ngumingiti sakin. Masayahin ka pero naka-irap ka pag ako na ang kaharap mo.”
“Naging protective mechanism ko yata yung magalit para hindi mo mahalata na may
crush ako sayo,” Maya explained with a giggle.
“Hmmm…ang akala ko naman, ayaw mo talaga sakin.” Richard murmured against
her nape. “Yet when I kissed you that night on the beach, I knew you were not kissing
me back but I felt your response. I thought I imagined it coz afterwards your eyes were
hating my guts. Then you ran from me crying.”
“Kasi naman first kiss ko yun. It was so momentous for me. Then you said that it was
just a demonstration of ‘the possible dangers’ that can happen to me,” Maya pouted.
“And I still stand by that. You should not walk on the beach or anywhere else for that
matter in the middle of the night, most especially when you are alone” Richard
declared and then sighed. “That night I told myself that I needed to stay away
because I knew I will not be able to keep my distance if I keep on staying under your
“Funny, that was also the night I realised that I was in love with you.” Maya smiled
sweetly at him as she turned to to kneel facing him to drape her arms around his neck.
“Although later, I tried to convince myself that I was over you. I was merely deluding
myself all these years. Because I am still crazy about you.”
Richard welcomed and deepened the kiss that Maya gave him after her confession.
His arms went round her, exulting in being able to see and hold her most intimately.
However, he can also feel his control slipping fast.
“Maya, we need to stop…” was his breathless warning when he broke off the kiss
“unless, you want to make love again.”
Maya looked dreamily at him before a look of horror replaced her expression
“Goodness, your shoulders are bleeding!”
Richard frowned and looked at his left and right shoulders where crescent-shaped
marks were bleeding again. The high temperature of the steamy water must have
loosened off the scabbed platelet plugs.
His grinned lop-sidedly as he informed her “You made those cuts last night,
Maya was even more horrified as recognition entered her eyes. “Naku, sorry hindi ko
“Don’t worry about it, Maya. I did not even feel it…” he paused as his eyes gleamed
“…at the time.”
His admission brought on another wave of colour to creep up Maya’s cheeks. He
frowned when Maya shivered. “Are you getting cold?”
At her nod, he adjusted the thermostat to a higher setting and then turned on the
jacuzzi. With eyes closed, Richard was just quite content on holding Maya as they
allowed hydrotherapy to soothe their muscles.
Afterwards, he went into his closet to put on a singlet and cotton printed shorts. He
picked up another pair of shorts and a T-shirt which Maya could wear but when he
rejoined her in the bedroom, she was already wearing his pale pink long sleeved polo
shirt which he had shed the night before. With the shirt tail reaching down her mid-
thigh, she looked very sexy.
“Don’t you want some fresh clothes on?”
Maya smilingly shook her head. “Mas gusto kong i-suot ito. Kung okey lang sayo?”
“Why should I mind if you go walking around the house half-naked with just my
shirt?” he teased “but just to be on the safe side, I think it’s best we stay mainly in the
master suite. I don’t want Tata Igme getting over-excited and suffering a heart attack
if he sees you in that get-up.”
Maya giggled. “Jealous, Richard?”
“Most definitely jealous, Maya. I don’t want any other male seeing what should be for
my eyes only.” Richard said mockingly but with a very serious undertone as he
closed the gap between them and kissed her nose. “Now what do you want to do?”
“Hmmmmmnnn” Maya looked around the bedroom and stated “I want to look at
Richard’s brows lifted again.
“The house needs curtains. I can check some websites to see the current trends for
“Okey, I will set up the laptops in the sitting room. I will also have to check my
emails for anything that urgently needs my attention.”
Richard had actually turned off his phone since yesterday afternoon for he wanted
this special time with Maya to be uninterrupted. He had only turned it on for an hour
to talk to Lisa to organise a special delivery for him. Afterwhich, he spoke lengthily
to his parents to inform them of his marriage plans and to solicit their support. His
father was relieved to hear that he was finally settling down while his mother was
ecstatic and already requesting grandchildren right away.
The idea of precocious little versions of Maya running around barefoot was making
him grin from ear to ear. Ideally, he would love three or four kids. Of course, this
would also depend on Maya. But hopefully not quite yet. He preferred to have Maya
all to himself for the first two or three years before bringing in kids to the equation.
Some things just happen, Richard. Especially, how you lost control last night. Maya
could already be pregnant.
That thought nagged him as they both worked in companionable silence with a laptop
each until Maya got up stating she was tired and getting back to bed. Richard noticed
Maya walking slowly and wincing with every step. He frowned at her retreating back,
wanting to scold her for suffering in silence. Richard got up and went to the kitchen.
He took and opened a small packet of Oreo biscuits and a milky Milo drink which he
made Maya consume to line her stomach before giving her Ibuprofen painkillers.
“Why did you not tell me you were still sore?” Richard reprimanded her as he joined
her in bed to hold her in his arms.
“Okey naman ako kanina after the spa bath, eh. Ang kaso bumibigat yung
pakiramdam ko. Para akong may sinat. Magkaka-flu yata ako.” Maya revealed.
“Oh, Maya, you are so good for my ego! I usually get fantastic reviews for my
bedroom performance.” Richard chuckled “But definitely not with you coz I actually
made you sick. Priceless!”
Maya stuck out her tongue at him which made Richard laugh even harder. He gave
her a squeeze and another peck on the nose. He was in bed again with Maya and was
thoroughly enjoying this lazy day.
Later that evening, he stood up when he heard the familiar sound of the whirring
blades of his helicopter hovering abovehead. Despite getting up from the bed
carefully, Maya stirred and asked him where he was going.
“I am just going outside for a few minutes. Stay here please.” He kissed her on the
lips before he went outside to his expansive front lawn to wait for a very special
Lisa jumped out of the chopper, followed by a couple of burly men carrying a myriad
of items. With his face split with a wide grin, Richard came forward to greet Lisa and
“Thank you, Lisa, for doing this for me.” Richard expressed his gratitude as Lisa
handed him a small package. He took the square box out of the bag and opened it.
Smiling broadly, he inspected the exquisitely-made engagement ring for the first
time. Though he never designed any jewellery before, he found himself drawing
Maya’s engagement ring one night when he got inspired by Señor DE La Rosa’s wood
“Naku, sir. It is a privilege to be able to assist you on this very special occasion. I
have the the dress you ordered. I think I have the right size.” Lisa looked around then
asked “Sir, saan po kami magse-set up?”
Richard snapped the box shut and smiled at Lisa. “We have to go to the beachfront.
Please follow me.”
An hour almost passed when Richard returned to the master’s bedroom. He went to
lie beside Maya to wake her up with kisses. She merely groaned and shifted away. He
snuggled behind her again and started kissing her neck.
“Nangingiliti ka naman, eh…” Maya moaned sleepily.
“Wake up sleepy head. We’re going out,” he announced as he straightened by the side
of the bed.
“Saan tayo pupunta?” Maya finally opened her eyes and stretched on the bed,
unknowingly enticing Richard who could only look on as the movement further
exposed her shapely legs. He watched as she got up and smiled at him before giving
him a hug and resting her head on his chest.
“It’s a surprise.” Richard replied as he enfolded her in his arms. “Got a dress for you.”
“Saan?” Maya lifted her head from him.
Richard nodded his head towards the direction of the turquoise printed maxi dress
which he had laid out over the gallinera’s backrest. He had placed a canvass slingback
sandal of the same shade by the chair’s feet.
Maya got up and measured the dress against her length. “Thank you for the surprise.”
Closing the gap between them, Richard held her round the waist and said “That
wasn’t my surprise.”
“Huh?” Maya frowned.
Richard shook his head. “Change into that so we can get out of the house.”
Maya grinned up at him and complied. Richard was buttoning up his short sleeved
polo shirt when Maya approached to fix his collar.
“Thanks, sweetheart,” he murmured before bestowing a quick kiss on her lips.
Richard then took her right hand in his left and guided her towards the main door to
the cobbled path leading to the beach. Leisurely, they walked hand in hand under the
star spangled night. A sweet fragrance was wafting from the clumps of jasmine
bushes among the rocks.
They came upon a laid-out tartan blue picnic rug in front of a bonfire. There was a
picnic basket and a bucket of ice with a bottle of Moet and Chandon champagne, a
couple of wine flutes and a few large square cushions.
“Do you remember this spot?” Richard asked.
Maya frowned and looked around. They were on the stretch of beach between the
Spanish villa and her parent’s house. No one was about except the two of them.
“It was a night like this when I kissed you eight years ago right on this spot.” Richard
looked down at her.
“Dito ba yun?”
Richard nodded wordlessly.
Maya looked at the spot with new eyes and caught the reflection of fire against a very
smooth rounded surface that was on top of the wicker basket’s lid. Maya slowly
approached it with Richard right behind her.
“It’s a compass,” Maya exclaimed as she picked it up, to touch the smooth glass face.
“Yes, it’s an antique brass compass on its top cover, and when you open the flap, it’s a
pocket watch. It was one of Señor La Rosa’s treasures that I found with the statue. I
think it was appropriate to bring it out for the occasion.”
Maya looked at him questioningly.
“A compass guides voyagers because of its attraction to the magnetic north which is
marked abovehead by Polaris. Both have guided Señor La Rosa in his journey from
his land of birth from the far side of the globe to this particular island, to follow the
woman he loves, and to ultimately make this place their home.”
Richard saw Maya’s eyes searching his and he smiled as he brought out the small
square box out of his beige slack’s right pocket.
“I am making the villa a very comfortable house but I need ‘you’ to make it a home.
You already know of my desire to make you my wife. I would like to know if this is
also what you want.” Richard paused to go down on one knee in front of Maya as he
opened the box. “I am asking you to marry me, Maya.”
“Oh, Richard…” Maya’s smiling eyes glistened with tears that gathered and was
threatening to fall.
“Make me the happiest man on earth, Maya. Say yes, sweetheart.” Richard prompted
“Yes…yes!” Maya’s tears fell down her cheeks as she looked at the beautiful ring inside the box.
Richard pulled a sigh of relief, unaware that he was holding his breath the entire time.
He got up and took the ring out of its cushion bed, placed it on Maya’s ring finger and
kissed her knuckles. Then he wiped the tears off her cheeks with the pads of his
fingers afterwhich he kissed her with a soul-searing kiss that conveyed all the
emotion that he was feeling. They were both breathless when the liplock ended, with
Maya resting her cheek against him. Richard held her around the waist, savouring the
wonderful milestone in their relationship.
Under the stars, Richard and Maya celebrated their engagement with champagne. The
picnic basket contained a square platter clubhouse-style sandwiches, fruits and a
variety of cheeses which became their supper. He hand-fed the sliced fruits to her
while Maya kept on popping different cheeses into his mouth.
When they got back to the house, Maya sat on the four-poster bed as she scrutinised
her ring under the bedside lamp. It was the intertwined rose design that pervaded the
villa. The only addition was that a one-carat brilliant-cut diamond was sitting on the
fully bloomed rose and was with its accompanying rose bud with leaves attached to
intertwined stems that formed the circle of the ring which had intricate tiny little
nodules. It was made of precious platinum metal.
“Do you like it?” Richard asked as he sat beside her on the four-poster bed.
“Like it? I love it!” Maya’s arms went round his nape and kissed him again “who
“Señor La Rosa did,” Richard quipped “well, I merely applied his intertwined roses
design into a ring.”
“It’s so beautiful” Maya said in awe “how did you know my ring size?”
Richard smiled “I took Nanay’s ring finger size. Sabi niya pareho kayo ng mga daliri.”
“Alam ni Nanay na magpo-propose ka sakin?” Maya’s head was angled at him in
“Maya, I asked Tatay and Nanay’s permission to court you.”
Maya smiled at him, touched at his gesture of sincerity. Richard touched his forehead
“I love you, Maya.”
“I love you, too.” Maya angled her face and kissed him deeply as she removed his
specs to put it on the bedside table. Richard revelled in this less inhibited Maya who
instigates kisses. However, he was a bit worried when Maya started to remove his
shirt and started to rain kisses down the column of his throat.
“Hmmmmm?” she murmured as she punctuated his Adam’s apple with a moist kiss
that had him grunting.
“Aren’t you sore?”
“I’m fine. I want to make love to you again” she admitted huskily.
“Believe me, I want to make love to you over and over and over again.” he said with
feeling “But you were very sore earlier…”
“Do I need to seduce you, Richard?” Maya asked in a sultry tone.
“Sweetheart, you can effortlessly seduce me with just a look.” Richard smiled
“Is that what happened yesterday?”
“Uhhhmmmm.” Richard nodded with a grin.
“Then I should be able to repeat the feat.” Maya declared as she proceeded to divest
him of his polo shirt…
Much later, Richard embraced Maya as she collapsed on top of him in exhaustion. He
loved the feel of her length on top of him as he continued to hold her. Before he
closed his eyes, he pulled the bedclothes over them. The temperature lowers
significantly in the very early hours of the morning and he did not want Maya getting
“I love you, Maya. You are my reason for living.” he whispered into her hair as he
kissed her temple.
That night he dreamt of being present when the Spanish villa was being built. There
were numerous skilled workers at the building site and he was supervising them. The
walls were all up and the tile roofing was almost completed. From the corner of his
eye, he saw a woman with long straight hair reaching past her waist. Traditionally
attired, she was wearing a soft sleeved kimona with a very long striped skirt that
covered her up to the soles of her feet. She was walking by the beach towards him
when she paused to dip her bare feet into the water.
Then all of a sudden, it was evening and he was alone on the beach. He was looking
at his brass pocket watch which indicated seven o’clock. He snapped it shut and
returned it to his right pocket. The dark evening sky was well-lit with countless of
stars. He could see Polaris shining brightly on the horizon. His gaze lowered as he
saw a figure slowly rising from the water directly in front of him. Then, he was once
more seeing Maya naked walking up the beach. Yet, she looked very different, with
her hair centrally-parted and falling much longer at waist length. He saw her flicking
her wet tresses with her right hand while her left hand hovered protectively over her
softly rounded stomach. Then she looked up and smiled shyly at him as he held out a
large towel which she ran into. He enfolded her in his embrace with his right hand
covering her rounded stomach and murmured against her side temple “Mis razones
Mis razones de vivir.
My reasons for living.
Richard’s eyes opened after he said the words. Maya has since shifted and was now
tucked by his left side. He slowly went to his side that caused Maya to lie on her
back. Richard lightly kissed her on the lips. His gaze warmly caressed her, from her
beautiful facial features to her neck, to her breasts until his eyes froze on her stomach
that was a bit sunken when she lies on her back. It was too soon to tell, he thought.
He took another look at her length and then sighed before gently extricating his left
arm underneath her head. He got up and padded to his walk-in wardrobe. He came
out wearing a pair of cotton shorts sans shirt. His feet took him to the alcove in front
of Señora La Rosa’s wooden likeness.
I believe you just visited me in my dream, he silently told her before his gaze lowered
to the base of the statue. He read the engraving by her feet.
Mi razon de vivir.
Under the halogen lighting, more faint indentions after the first and second word
were more visible to Richard. He went out of the alcove and went outside to the
shelves beneath the carport to pick up different solutions, a small set of sculpting
tools and rags. He returned to the alcove and knelt in front of the statue to rub out the
varnish seal over the inscriptions. He carefully sprayed WD-40 to loosen the couple
of century grime and left it for a few minutes to soak. Then, he picked up an Eckman
plastic tool with a small rounded tip and started to slowly scrape off the dirt deposit
to expose the remaining letters of the inscriptions.
Richard had been slowly scraping for almost an hour when Maya joined him in the
alcove. Garbed in his cotton waffle robe, she padded to where he was crouching and
hugged him from behind. He received a smack on his right cheek.
“Anong ginagawa mo dito ng madaling araw?” Maya asked sleepily.
“Just completing a task I started years ago,” he quipped “Are you able to read that?”
Maya peered over his shoulder and slowly read the inscription aloud “Mis razones de
Richard got up and took off the statues tapis and then placed his arms round Maya’s
waist as he said “Tell me, why do you think her left hand hovers over her stomach?”
Maya frowned and looked at how the statue’s left hand protectively spans over her
stomach. Her eyes went down to read the inscription again. “Mis razones de vivir.”
“My reasons for living,” Richard translated.
“He knew she was pregnant when he started sculpting her!” Maya stated in wonder.
Richard looked at the softly rounded lower abdomen of the statue and confirmed
“She was probably in the first couple of month’s pregnancy. That’s why she was
“Masaya siya dahil magkaka-anak na sila,” Maya guessed “So he sculpted this to
celebrate the occasion. The statue was a celebration for the new life they created.”
“Huh?” Maya looked blankly up at him.
“Why do you look so surprised? After what already happened between us,” he smiled