A/N: This is a continuation to The Art of Letting Go – part 43.
It was their fourth day on the island. 7AM. Richard gingerly got up, careful not to wake the sleeping beauty beside him. After all, he was the one who caused her sleepless nights. Nights that are full of bliss, passion, and love. As he successfully detangled himself from Maya and got off the bed without waking her up, Richard immediately went to the bathroom to take a shower. About half an hour later, he came out wearing a white polo shirt paired with khaki pants. He checked on his wife and found her lying on her tummy, sleeping peacefully still, with only a blanket covering her lower back, exposing half of her upper back and her long shapely legs.
Richard went to the other side of the room where a small wooden table is located. He opened its drawer and took out a piece of paper and a pen. After writing a short note, he went back to the bed and sat carefully on it. He placed the paper on top of the bedside table on Maya’s side. He turned and looked at his wife. He smiled at the sight of her and gently caressed her hair. He noticed that during the course of their stay in Santorini, Maya was no longer able to wake up earlier than 11AM, but he knows fairly well what caused this.
Since the day they set foot on Santorini, they only afforded to get out of the hotel and explore the place once. They’ve mostly stayed indoors, locked in each other’s arms. He then remembered how she tried to convince him yesterday to go out of the hotel and explore the place.
9AM and Richard woke up ahead of Maya once more. He opened his eyes and saw how his wife is tucked closely beside him. He smiled and remembered her instruction to wake her up once he’s already up. He turned to his side, perked up his left hand and leaned his head on it. He looked at her and watched her sleep for a while. She looked so beautiful and peaceful in her sleep that he simply could not afford to let himself bring disturbance to her tranquility.
He then lifted his right hand and with the use of his index finger, he subtly caressed the length of her nose. He watched closely as it wrinkled up in response. He chuckled at himself and repeated the process. After a while, he saw her eyes flutter open.
“Good morning angel!” he greeted and kissed her on her lips.
“Good morning honey!” She stretched her arms and let her body acclimatize to her woken state. “What time is it?”
“Fifteen minutes past nine.”
“Naku tanghali na naman pala!” She then eyed her husband suspiciously. “Sabi ko sa’yo gisingin mo ako agad pagka-gising mo eh. Ang daya mo talaga!” She said and pouted her lips dramatically.
Richard laughed softly at his wife and gave her a peck on her lips.”Angel, kakagising ko lang din.”
Maya simply gave him a disbelieving stare.
“What?? You don’t believe me?” Richard chuckled. “Angel, am really flattered that you think highly of me but after everything we did last night, my energy was spent once again kaya hindi ako nagising ng maaga. Iniisip ko nga na magseryoso talaga sa pagwo-work out ko to further increase my stamina para narin makasabay ako sa’yo at ma-fulfill ko ang insatiable desire mo sa body ko.”
Maya immediately slapped his chest as she felt her face turned beet red at his insinuation.”Ang kapal mo talaga honey! Ako pa ngayon ang may insatiable desire sa body mo??”
Richard laughed at her discomfort. She may have already lost her physical innocence but some things never change and that’s something Richard thoroughly loves about her. “Bakit? Hindi ba?” he said and wiggled his brows to tease her even more.
Maya glared at him. “Ang yabang mo talaga! Bahala ka na nga!” Maya got up and pulled the blanket with her. She tried to get out of the bed but Richard stopped her by holding her right arm.
“Hey where are you going?” grinned Richard.
Maya ignored him, pretending to be angry and tried to break free from his hold but Richard held her arm firmly.
Richard sighed dramatically. “Sinunod ko na nga ang bilin mo na gisingin ka pero tatakasan mo lang pala ulit ako.”
Maya bit her lip to stifle a laugh. “Ewan ko sa’yo! Bitiwan mo na nga ako,” she countered with her back still against him. She tried to free herself from his hold once more but Richard is adamant to stop her.
“Ayoko nga.” Without releasing her, he sat up straight and moved closer to her, embraced her from behind and rested his chin on her shoulder. “Gusto ko dito ka lang sa tabi ko,” he said, making sure that his tone is irresistibly sweet.
Maya was no longer able to prevent it so a soft chuckle escaped her lips. “Honey, sa bathroom lang ako pupunta. Mag-sho-shower lang ako para makapamasyal na ulit tayo.”
“Huh? Mamamasyal tayo?” asked Richard.
Maya giggled and turned to face her husband. “Honey, may mga lugar pa dito na hindi pa natin napupuntahan, remember?”
Richard simply shrugged his shoulders in a carefree fashion and resumed hugging his wife while resting his chin on her shoulder.
“Honey, di ba sabi mo initial stop lang natin itong Greece at may iba pa tayong mga lugar na pupuntahan? Eh di magandang ma-explore na natin itong Santorini para mapuntahan na natin yung ibang lugar na nasa itinerary.”
“Eh. Wag na angel. Nakapamasyal naman na tayo nung first day natin dito di ba?”
“Pero honey, sabi nila marami pa daw magagandang lugar ang dapat pa nating –“
“Sabi lang nila yung Angel,” interrupted Richard. “Besides, mayroong mas maganda pa sa lugar na ito ang pwede mong i-explore.”
“Huh? Saan naman yun?”
“Ako.” Richard whispered softly on Maya’s ear.
Maya laughed out loud. “Honey ano ka ba! Seryoso ako! Sige na, mauna na akong mag-shower then ikaw naman para ma-explore na natin ang mga magagandang lugar dito.”
“Ayoko,” Richard answered stubbornly. “Ako nalang ang i-explore mo angel. Sigurado akong hindi mo pagsisisihan ang pag-explore mo sa akin.”
“Honey ano ka ba!” laughed Maya. “Tatlong araw at gabi na natin ginagawa yang sinasabi mo at dapat mamasyal na tayo hangga’t hindi pa tayo umaalis dito.”
“So nagsawa ka na sa katawan ko ganoon ba?”
Maya pivoted around and pinched Richard’s side. “Puro ka kalokohan!”
“Aaaah!” Richard winced but laughed at the same time. “Ganyan ka Mrs. Lim. Matapos mong pagsawaan ang matipuno kong pangangatawan, isasantabi at bubugbugin mo lang pala ako.”
“Ang OA mo honey!” laughed Maya, thoroughly amused at her husband’s playful demeanor. “Sino ba may sabing napagsawaan ko na yang sinasabi mong matipuno mong pangangatawan?” Maya said with all confidence she could muster, completely ignoring the heating of her cheeks.
Richard smiled naughtily at her. “Hindi mo pa pinagsasawaan? Ibig sabihin ako nalang ang i-e-explore mo? Gusto mo tulungan kita sa pag-explore mo sa akin.”
Maya was laughing once more. “Honey! Kahit na gaano pa ka-enticing ang offer mo, hindi parin magbabago ang isip ko. Kaya ang mabuti pa, hayaan mo na muna akong magpunta sa bathroom para makapag-shower or kung gusto mo, ikaw na ang mauna.”
Richard stood his ground and still would not let her go.
“Honey. . .” plead Maya sweetly but Richard still wouldn’t budge. “Sige ganito nalang. Babawi nalang ako pagbalik natin, promise.”
A ghost of a smile etched his lips but he’s still not letting her go.
“Honey. . .”
“Okay sige, payag na ako,” chuckled Richard. He immediately got out of bed, completely naked and stood beside his wife. “Tara shower na tayo.” He took her hand and tried to pull her with him.
“Ha? Honey, sige na mauna ka ng mag-shower kung gusto mo ng mag-shower. Antayin nalang kitang matapos.”
“No. Sabay tayong magsho-shower.”
Maya was a bit startled with the idea of them showering together. “Honey, hindi na. Hindi naman ako masyadong nagmamadali kaya mauna ka na at aantayin nalang kitang matapos.”
“No. Pumayag na ako sa gusto mo kaya this time, ako naman ang masusunod.” He urged Maya to stand up but she wouldn’t move.
“Honey, okay lang talaga. Mauna ka ng maligo at – Aaaaaayy!! Honey!!!” squealed Maya.
Richard scooted down and carried Maya.
“Honey!! Ibaba mo ako! Ano ka ba! Mauna ka ng mag-shower! Honeeeeyy!!” Maya was squealing and laughing at the same time.
Richard turned a deaf ear and carried her all the way to the bathroom.
Richard was pulled out from his own reverie when he heard his wife mumble something incoherent. He looked at her but saw that she was still deep in her sleep. Richard had never heard his wife talk in her sleep before but he was not bothered seeing the smile on her lips.
As much as he wanted to carry her back to the bathroom the way they did yesterday, Richard reined his desires with the help of the angelic sleeping form of his wife. He kissed her temple lightly. “I’ll be right back,” he whispered before getting out of the bed and walked out of the door.
Past 12 in the afternoon, Maya woke up from her slumber and found her husband sleeping with his back rested on the headboard and his legs stretched forward. She also noticed how he was fully dressed. She sat up straight and was about to get out of bed when she saw the note on her bedside table.
I just went out for a bit but I’ll be right back. I love you.
Maya glanced back at his husband and smiled. She then took the opportunity to go to the bathroom and freshen up. As she was about to dress up, she noticed that her things are already packed up. She assumed that they are already to leave the place. She then dressed up and called for room service and ordered lunch.
While waiting for room service, Maya thought of waking Richard up. Leaning close to him, she used the tip of her hair to brush across the length of his nose. She didn’t fail with her objective as she noticed his nose wrinkled up. She repeated the process and Richard not only wrinkled his nose but waved his hand and scratched his nose. Maya covered her mouth trying so hard not to let him hear her laugh. Still sleeping, she leaned closer again and tickled his nose. Richard once again wrinkled his nose but this time, he opened his eyes only to find his wife giggling at him.
“Hey sleepyhead!” she greeted.
Richard smiled lovingly at his wife. “Hi angel. Kanina ka pa gising?”
“Mm-hmm,” grinned Maya.
Richard reached for her and pulled her close to him letting her lean her back against him as he wrap her arms around her. “You’ve been tickling my nose aren’t you?”
Maya let out a soft giggle.
“Found it amusing angel?”
“Ang cute mo kasing tignan habang kinikiliti ko yung ilong mo,” chuckled Maya.
“You looked cute too.”
The doorbell rang. Richard got to it. A hotel employee came in delivering the food that Maya called for.
As they were eating lunch, Maya thought of asking Richard about his whereabouts earlier that day. “Nakita ko yung note mo honey. San ka galing kanina?”
“I just went out to make some arrangements. I’ve got a surprise for you.”
“Huh? Hindi parin ba tapos yang mga surprises mo na yan?”
“Angel, I told you, this honeymoon is a gift to us by Mama & Papa, so technically, surprise nila ito for us. But I’ve arranged something that will make everything extra special and para ako naman ang may surprise para sa’yo.”
“Eh pero honey –“
Richard took her hand and held it. “Angel, just let me do this for you. I’m happy doing this for you.”
“Eh pero kasi honey, ikaw nalang lagi ang nag-iisip at gumagawa ng surprises para sa akin. Hindi ko na alam paano pa ako makakabawi sa lahat ng ginawa at ginagawa mo para sa akin.”
“Angel, I wasn’t asking for anything in return. As I’ve said, I love doing all these for you.”
“Sobra sobra na kasi yung ginagawa at binibigay mo sa akin honey eh,” said Maya, already teary-eyed.
“That’s because your love meant so much to me more than you’ll ever know.” Richard caressed her face then held her hand with both of his hands and kissed it. “Just love me. That’s the only thing I’ll ever ask of you.”
Maya chuckled remembering their wedding song. “You no longer have to ask honey. I will love you, always and forever.” Maya reached out and caressed his face. “Ikaw lang.”
Shortly after having their lunch, they checked out of the hotel and went to their rented car. As they were nearing their destination, Richard placed a blindfold on Maya so she would be kept surprised.
“Alright angel konti nalang,” Richard said as he assisted her out of the car.
“Okay pero saan ba talaga tayo pupunta honey?” She felt the sand under her feet. “Nasa beach ba tayo?”
Richard just chuckled. “You’ll see.”
A couple of steps more and Richard finally stopped. “We’re here,” he said. “Ready?”
Maya simply nodded her head.
Richard stood behind her back and removed the blindfold. “Open your eyes now angel.”
Maya slowly opened her eyes, letting herself adjust to the light. As her vision cleared, she saw a yacht docked near the shore.
Richard hugged her from behind, wrapping his arms around her waist. “That’s what we’ll be using for the rest of our stay here in Europe.”
Maya gasped in disbelief and faced her husband. “Diyan sa yate na yan?”
“Yup! I thought it would be easier and mas romantic if we’ll cruise around the Mediterranean as we go from one place to the other kaya I looked for a yacht we could rent for the duration of our stay here in Europe. Para narin mas ma-enjoy mo yung ganda ng dagat,” explained Richard.
This isn’t the first time that Richard had arranged such thing for her. Maya then recalled how he followed her in Paris where he also rented a yacht so they can cruise the Seine River together. Her heart swelled at the recollection. Far from all the extravagance that he’s showering her with, it was his efforts and thoughtfulness that touches her the most, deep to her very soul. And just like how he promised to give her reasons to make her fall in love with him over and over again, Maya is helplessly falling deeper in love with her husband over and over again with each passing day that they share.
Maya threw her arms around her husband’s neck as she let her tears fall from her eyes.
“Hey. Why are you crying?” Richard asked as he felt the tears touch his shoulder.
“Ikaw naman kasi honey eh. Yung mga surprises mo, yung mga ginagawa mo para sa akin.”
Richard chuckled. “Are we having this discussion again? I told you, I love you. So much that if only I can hand heaven and earth to you, I’d gladly do so.”
Maya let out a soft laugh. “Thank you. Thank you sa lahat and for loving me this much.” She broke off, cupped his face and looked straight into his eyes. “I love you so much.” She then tiptoed and pulled his face closer to hers as she reached for his lips and kissed him with so much love and adoration that Richard eagerly reciprocated.
The next couple of days were complete bliss for the newlyweds. As they started out their own private Mediterranean Cruise, they visited the remaining attractions in Greece before moving to the other nearby countries. They usually stay at the yacht when nothing much is to be explored at the city that they’re in and would occasionally check in at a hotel if they felt staying at the place longer. Apart from sightseeing and exploring the different cities that they visit, they’d occasionally laze under the sun on some of the beautiful beaches that they have gone to, but during the times that they don’t feel like going out, they just stayed onboard, enjoying the view, cuddled in each other’s arms.
Everything had been going out smoothly, exactly as Richard had planned and envisioned, until they reached Portofino Italy, the place which has historical association with celebrity visitors and which also houses rich and famous designers.
After going to a couple of shops to buy some souvenirs and anything they fancy buying for themselves, they went to a restaurant to have their lunch. The restaurant that they chose is considerably packed but luckily for them, it still has a free table for two. They were then ushered to their table and Richard was already about to take his seat when he heard Maya speak.
“Oh. My. God.”
Richard’s head shot up and noticed the shocked look on Maya’s face as she looked at something or someone on the other side of the restaurant.
“Angel what’s wrong?” he asked but Maya did not seem to hear him as her gaze was still locked on the thing or person she’s looking at without changing her expression. Richard then touched her shoulder and shook her a little. “Angel? Are you okay?”
Recovering her senses back, she looked back at Richard. “Oh my God honey!!” she exclaimed giddily.
Richard looked at her with utter confusion. “What? What is it? What happened?”
“Honey!!” shrieked Maya softly as she was still aware that there are a lot of people around and she does not want to make any scene. “Yung crush ko!! Andito siya!! Andito siya honey!!!”
“What??!” Richard’s brows instantly furrowed and eyes turned to slits as her words sank in.
“Oo honey!! Yung crush ko ayun sa kabilang side!! Oh my God honey!! Nakita ko na naman siya! Nakita ko na naman!!” Maya continued excitedly, oblivious of her husband’s reaction.
“Nakita mo na naman? What do you mean nakita mo na naman? Madalas mo bang makita yan?” he asked no longer able to mask the irritation in his tone.
“Yun na nga honey! Hindi ko naman pwedeng laging makita yan cause sa London siya naka-base. Nakita ko lang siya nung 2009 nang mag-concert sila sa Pilipinas at hindi ko lang sila basta basta napanood noon! Na-meet ko pa sila backstage!!”
“So you mean artist yang crush mo na sinasabi mo?”
“Christian artist honey. Grabe! Ang galing galing lang niyang kumanta at ang ganda ganda pa ng boses niya!!”
Richard saw the excitement and giddiness that her wife feels upon seeing her said crush. He saw how her cheeks blush for her crush as well. He knows it would be completely irrational to be irritated or angry at Maya’s gestures. She was just having a crush on a celebrity after all. But no matter how hard he tried, he can’t help but feel jealous with the guy.
The waiter came and handed them the menu. Richard browsed on the items and checked on his wife. “Anong gusto mong kainin angel?”
He heard no response from her only to find that her eyes were still fixed on her supposed crush. He then nudged her a bit to get her attention. “Angel.”
“Ay honey ano yun?” smiled Maya.
Richard sighed. “What would you like to eat?”
Maya simply raked her eyes on the menu and looked back at her crush once more only to find them preparing to leave the place. In a scurry, she borrowed the camera strapped around Richard’s neck. “Honey ikaw na ang bahala. Kung ano yung sa’yo yun nalang din ang akin okay? Magpapa-picture lang ako kila Martin and Stu G okay? Thank you!” Maya smiled at her husband and hurried off to approach Martin Smith and Stu Garrard for some pictures. She no longer waited for her husband’s response.
Richard watched in disbelief as his wife scurried off from their table to the other side of the restaurant. He saw how she approached the two gents and how they exchanged pleasantries with her. He was observing them closely when the waiter called back his attention.
“Sir? Are you ready to place your orders?”
“Oh yes, I’m sorry.” Richard then placed an order for him and for his wife. After the waiter took them and left, Richard once again looked at his wife who he now saw, asking the help of one of the waiters to take a picture of her together with the two gents. He saw how she placed herself in between the two, with her arms around each one’s waist, while the other two leaned closely to her with an arm from each wrapped around her shoulders. Richard clenched his jaw at the sight but reprimanded himself reminding him that they’re just being friendly with their fans. But when he thought it was already over, Richard noticed his wife asking for another picture but this time with only one companion. Once again, her wife’s right arm was wrapped around the guy’s waist while the guy was leaning close to her with his left arm draped across her shoulders. Richard mustered all will and effort not to go to the other side and snatch his wife away from the guy. Good thing, after that last photo op, Maya no longer asked for more and got the camera from the waiter. He watched her examine the shots and saw her smile at what she’s seeing. A couple of seconds later, he saw his wife shake hands with the two gents before they went about their way.
“Akala ko wala ka ng balak balikan ako dito eh,” said Richard dryly.
Maya didn’t notice his tone as she was too busy checking the photos taken and was still reeling from the whole experience. “Bakit naman hindi ako babalik?” she asked absentmindedly. “Honey tignan mo ang ganda nung kuha o.” Maya showed Richard the shots that were taken with Martin and Stu G.
Richard glanced at it with much disinterest. “Uh-huh.”
“Grabe honey! Hindi ko akalain na makikita ko sila dito at makitang magkasama sila! Nakakatuwa lang na kahit wala na yung banda, magkaibigan parin sila,” shared Maya animatedly.
“So wala na yung banda nila?” Richard asked.
“Wala na honey. Yung kasing si Martin umalis na sa banda. Gusto daw kasi niyang mag-focus sa family niya. Magkaroon ng mas maraming time para sa asawa’t mga anak niya.”
“Seems like a loving husband and a responsible father.”
“He is!” exclaimed Maya. “Tas ang bait bait pa niya. Buti na nga lang at hindi niya tuluyang iniwan ang singing career niya. At least, may mga albums and concerts parin siya na maaabangan ko!”
“You seem to know so much about the guy?” Richard asked as he can’t help but feel jealous about the fact that Maya holds so much interest about Martin.
“Hindi naman. Yun lang yung mga nababasa ko sa mga articles, sa social media, at sa mga interviews niya.”
“I see,” Richard answered simply.
Finally the waiter came with the food that Richard ordered. As they were eating, Maya noticed that her husband is barely touching his food.
“Honey, bakit parang hindi mo ginagalaw yung pagkain mo? Hindi ka ba nagugutom?” Maya asked.
Richard simply shrugged his shoulders. “I guess am just not hungry. Parang wala akong gana.”
“Huh? Bakit? Masama ba ang pakiramdam mo?” Maya asked worriedly.
“No okay lang ako. I feel fine. Just finish your food.”
“Are you sure? Kung gusto mo bumalik na tayo sa yate para makapagpahinga ka na.”
“No need. I’m fine really. Just finish your food.”
Maya conceded and finished off her meal, still oblivious of her husband’s pensive mood.
After their lunch, they continued exploring the rest of the village, taking pictures here and there as usual and a couple of selfies. They had their dinner on one of the local restaurants and Richard barely touched his food once more. As they got back to the yacht, Richard’s mood hadn’t changed.
“Ah honey, gusto mo ba mauna ka ng mag-shower para makapagpahinga ka na agad?” Maya noticed how her husband had been quiet and not in the mood for anything. She had mistaken that he must be tired and just needed to rest.
“Sige na mauna ka na. I’ll just wait for you to finish.”
“Are you sure?”
“Yes. Sige na, una ka na.”
Reluctantly, Maya followed and entered the bathroom to take a bath. Somehow, she can feel that something’s not right. Normally, he’d tease her for a couple of minutes before one of them could even proceed to the shower or the both of them going in. His normal sweet, playful and naughty demeanor is somewhat nowhere to be found. But Maya immediately shrugged the idea that something isn’t right as she can’t think of anything that may cause any disturbance between them.
As Maya finished off her shower, she called her husband to inform him that she’s already done. Richard then proceeded to the bathroom and had his shower, while Maya sat on top of the bed, reading a book they bought earlier. When Richard emerged from the bathroom, he was already wearing his shirt and pajamas and went straight to his side of the bed. He kissed Maya’s temple and bid her goodnight before lying on his side with his back against her.
Maya was completely surprised by her husband’s sudden change of behavior. This was the first time that he tried to sleep before her, more so, have his back against her. Once again, the nagging feeling that something’s not right came back up.
“Honey? Ok ka lang ba talaga?”
“Mm-hmm,” Richard answered without looking at her.
Maya put down her book at the bedside table and touched Richard’s shoulder. “Are you sure? Kanina ka pa parang wala sa mood eh. May problema ba?”
“Wala. I’m just tired I guess. Kailangan ko lang sigurong itulog ito.” Once again, he answered her without looking at her.
Maya knew that something really is wrong. He may deny it but the fact that he doesn’t look at her when he answers her only proved the other. She then lay down beside his husband, hugged him from behind and rested her chin on his shoulder. “Sorry na honey.”
“What are you sorry for?”
“Kung ano man ang nagawa ko na nagpa-upset sa’yo.”
“Ano bang ginawa mo?”
“Umm.. Ano nga bang nagawa ko?” asked Maya innocently.
Richard heaved out a sigh. “Wala. Sige na matulog na tayo,” answered Richard, annoyed with his wife’s oblivion.
“Honey,” cajoled Maya. “Sige na. Usap muna tayo. Ano ba ang nagawa ko?”
“Wala nga. Sige na tulog na tayo.”
“Ayoko. Hindi rin naman ako makakatulog hangga’t alam kong galit ka sa akin.”
Richard faced his wife. “Hindi ako galit sa’yo okay. Sige na tulog ka na.”
“Hindi ka nga galit. Eh ano inis ka lang? Ganun din yun. Hindi parin ako makakatulog nun hangga’t alam kong may sama ka ng loob sa akin at hindi ko man lang alam kung ano ang nagawa ko para mainis ka,” said Maya and dramatically pouted her lips.
Seeing his wife that way made him feel guilty. Left with no other choice, he sighed and sat up straight. Maya followed suit.
“Ikaw kasi eh,” Richard started.
“Ako? Bakit ano bang nagawa ko honey?”
“Nagtatanong ka pa.”
Maya just stared at him in confusion.
Richard sighed once more. “Simula kasi ng makita mo yung Martin na yun, wala ka ng ibang bukang bibig kung hindi siya. Mula ng nakita mo siya parang nakalimutan mo na ako.”
Maya just stared at him for a while, trying to absorb her husband’s statement. “So yun ang kinaiinis mo?”
“Yes,” he answered simply.
Maya looked at him for a couple of second before breaking in fits of laughter.
Richard got annoyed even more seeing his wife laughing her heart out at his own expense. He then decided to simply lay back and just drift off to sleep but Maya held her arm.
“Honey teka lang,” she said as she tried hard to compose herself, struggling as her laughter still try to escape from her lips.
“Gisingin mo nalang ako pag tapos ka ng tumawa ng tumawa,” said Richard annoyingly.
“Teka lang honey,” she said, still not letting go of his arm. She hastily wiped the tears that formed in her eyes from laughing so hard. “Okay na ako honey. Okay na, hindi na ako tatawa.”
Richard simply stared at her in disbelief.
“Okay, so naiinis ka dahil kay Martin?”
“Eh pero honey sabi ko naman sa’yo crush ko lang naman yun.”
“Exactly my point angel!” said Richard in exasperation. “Dahil crush mo kailangan mo pang ipangalandakan sa akin na crush mo siya at ano ang mga nakita mo at naging crush mo siya! Puro siya nalang ng siya ang nadinig ko sa’yo buong maghapon.”
“Oy honey ah! Nung time lang na kumakain tayo ng lunch, noon ko lang naikwento sa’yo si Martin. After naman kasi non ang tahimik mo na at parang wala sa mood kaya nanahimik nalang din ako. Kaya hindi totoo yang sinasabi mong sa mag-hapon siya nalang ang bukang bibig ko,” defended Maya.
“At namimilosopo ka pa? Eh sino ba naman kasi ang hindi mananahimik sa ginawa mo. Nakita mo na nga’t lahat, nilapitan pa. At hindi lang basta nilapitan, humawak pa sa bewang at nagpa-akbay ka pa sa kanya. Tapos babalik ka sa table natin at puro siya nalang ng siya ang iku-kwento mo. Parang nabalewala na ako dahil nakita mo lang siya.”
“Ha?” chuckled Maya. “Honey, nagpa-picture lang ako kanina. Siyempre minsan ko lang sila makita kaya tinake ko na yung opportunity na magpaka-FC sa kanila!”
“Magpaka-feeling close! Kaya humawak ako sa bewang niya para okay din yung kuha sa camera. At si Martin, kahit i-check mo pa yung ibang mga photo ops niya sa iba niyang mga fans, ganon lang talaga siya. Wala namang malisya yung ginawa niya. Friendly gesture lang niya yun. Saka ano ka, pamilyadong tao yun!”
“Kahit na! I still don’t like it. Ayokong basta basta humahawak ka nalang sa baywang ng kung sinu-sino mang lalaki o aakbayan ka nalang basta basta ng kung sinu-sino mang lalaki. Ako lang dapat yun!” pressed Richard.
Maya smiled in amusement of her husband. “So nagseselos ka kay Martin?”
Richard took a deep breath before answering. “Eh sino ba naman kasing hindi magseselos. Ikaw ba namang makita ang asawa mo na kilig na kilig, na kulang nalang himatayin sa kilig dahil nakita niya ang crush niya. Tapos babalewalain ka nalang ng basta dahil nakaharap ang crush niya.”
Maya laughed at her husband once again but immediately stopped as she saw him glare at her. She smiled at her husband and offered a peace sign. Richard simply shook his head, still annoyed.
“Okay, sorry sa nangyari kanina. Sorry kung feeling mo nabalewala kita. Nagulat lang talaga ako ng makita ko sila dito kanina. Siyempre unexpected yun,” explained Maya.
“Yeah right,” Richard answered dryly.
Maya moved closer to Richard and hugged him from his side. “Honey, sorry na. Hindi ko naman talaga sinasadya eh.”
“Kung kiligin ka kanina at kung magpaka-FC ka sa kanila.”
Maya chuckled once more. “Kaya nga sorry na. Ikaw ba naman ang makita ang crush mo hindi ka ba kikiligin? Tapos kung celebrity pa yun hindi mo ba i-g-grab yung opportunity na magpaka-FC sa kanila?”
“Well wala akong celebrity crush kaya hindi ko kailangang magpaka-FC kanino man,” muttered Richard.
“Okay sige, ako na ang mali sa ginawa ko. Sorry na honey. Tsaka crush lang naman yun, humanga lang ako sa kanya kasi ang galing niyang front man at mas humanga ako sa faith na meron siya at kung paano niya i-prioritize ang family niya.”
“If I know kaya mo naging crush yun dahil gwapo at maganda ang boses.”
Maya grinned naughtily. “Well gwapo naman siyang talaga at lalo na honey pag nakita mo siyang ngumiti! Mawawala ka sa –“ Maya stopped whatever she’s saying when Richard attempted to lay down on bed once more but she hugged him tighter to stop him from doing so. She laughed a little. “Honey joke lang!”
“Naiinis na nga ako lalo mo pa akong binubwisit eh!”
“Okay hindi na. Hindi na talaga promise.”
Richard looked at her and Maya offered him a reassuring smile. Richard sighed once more and listened to his wife once again.
“Okay, gaya nga ng sabi ko kanina honey, sorry kung nainis ka dahil sa mga nangyari. Maaaring crush ko nga siya, at siguro nga naging crush ko din siya dahil gwapo siya. Pero honey, paghanga lang yun, hanggang dun lang yun kaya hindi ka dapat magselos sa kanya.”
Richard still remained mum.
“Alam mo honey, gwapo man siya, maganda man ang boses niya, may pananampalataya sa Diyos, dedicated man siya sa asawa’at anak niya, may kilala ako na kayang higitan yung mga qualities niyang yun.”
Richard tentatively looked at her and raised a brow, urging her to continue.
“Si Papa Roberto,” she blurted out.
Richard rolled her eyes.
With a laugh, Maya continued. “At syempre yung pinakamamahal kong asawa.”
Richard looked at Maya for a moment. “Binobola mo lang ako.”
“Oy hindi honey ha! Hindi kita binobola at hindi naman ako marunong non! Totoo yung mga sinabi kong yun ah! At alam mo bang may isa kang katangian na nahigit mo kay Martin.”
“Ano naman yun?”
“Mas mabango ka sa kanya!”
“Silly!” chuckled Richard. He then wrapped his left arm around her shoulders and pulled her closer to him.
“So okay na tayo honey? Hindi ka na galit o inis man sa akin?” beamed Maya.
“Kaya ko ba namang tiisin ang angel ko?” Richard pinched her nose playfully.
Maya smiled widely and hugged him tighter as she rested her cheek on his chest. “Thank you honey. Sorry ulit.”
“Well, I’m sorry as well. Sorry for being irrational. Hindi ko lang talaga napigil ang sarili ko na magselos. Sorry din angel.”
Maya giggled. “Okay lang honey. Alam ko naman na may pagka-seloso ka eh pero hindi ko akalain na pati celebrity pagseselosan mo.”
“Well, when it comes to you, kahit celebrity pa siya. Kasi siya crush mo pero ako hindi,” whined Richard.
“Honey, crush ko nga siya pero ikaw naman ang mahal ko. At sino may sabing hindi kita crush?”
Richard beamed. “Really? Crush mo rin ako?”
“Oo naman! Ikaw pa. Eh ikaw kaya ang the best sa lahat ng bagay. Ang best friend, best boyfriend, best fiancée, and best husband. Lahat na yata ng best kinuha mo na eh.”
Richard chuckled. “It’s because I’m with the best as well.”
“Thank you honey. Kaya wag ka ng magseselos pa kay Martin okay? Dahil matagal narin kitang crush. At di kagaya niya, ikaw unang kita ko palang, naging crush ko na,” blurted Maya.
“You mean to say the first time we’ve met crush mo na ako agad?”
Maya realized what she had just admitted but could no longer take the words back anymore. “Ha? Ano honey. Alam mo tulog na tayo. Ako naman ngayon ang inaantok na eh. Di ba inaantok ka narin? Tara tulog na tayo.”
This time, it was Richard who prevented her from lying on their bed. “Nope. Hindi pa tayo matutulog hangga’t hindi ka umaamin sa akin. Sabi mo crush mo na ako nung unang araw palang na magkita tayo? That was when Rafi set the both of us on a date right?”
Maya felt her cheeks grew warm. She immediately covered her face and buried it on Richard’s chest.
Richard laughed in amusement. “So totoo nga! Crush mo na ako even then?”
“Eh honey naman eh!” Maya groaned in frustration. “Fine! Oo crush na kita even then. Kahit na hindi maganda ang pinakita mo noon. Eh sino ba naman ang hindi magkaka-crush sa’yo. Ang gwapo gwapo mo, matangkad, matipuno ang pangangatawan, magandang magdala ng damit, mabango, pati boses maganda, o sino ba namang hindi magkaka-crush sa ganun.”
“So ibig sabihin gusto mo na ako non?”
Maya’s head shot up. “Oy honey! Ang kapal ha! Sabi ko crush lang. Maaaring nagka-crush na ako sa’yo noon palang pero hindi ako nagkagusto sa’yo ng mga oras na yun. Ang sama kaya ng ugali mo noon kaya nasiguro ko sa sarili ko na hinding hindi kita magugustuhan.”
“But everything changed. You fell in love with me,” smiled Richard.
“Honey ikaw ha. Gusto mo lang yatang ipa-isa isa sa aking lahat ng mga magagandang qualities mo. Kung bakit ako nagka-crush sa’yo hanggang sa bakit ako na-in love sa’yo.”
“Bumabawi lang ako angel kasi yung qualities ni Martin inisa-isa mo kanina.”
Maya giggled. “Alam mo honey, kung iisa-isahin ko lahat ng qualities mo, baka umagahin na tayo at lahat, hindi parin ako natatapos.”
They both laughed at what Maya said. And as the laughter died out, they went silent for a while.
“I think crush narin kita noon,” Richard admitted.
“The first time I met you, I already found you beautiful and found your eyes simply. . . interesting. There’s just something about your eyes that can easily draw someone’s interest. And later that evening, when you stood your ground and placed me on my proper place, I was just stunned. I know I was humiliated but a part of me admired your courage and wit. Back then, I’m still not over Alex kaya hindi ko magawang aminin sa sarili ko na you were something. That you captured my interest,” admitted Richard.
“You did. Even back then, hinding-hindi ko maikakaila sa sarili ko na you were something, that you’re extra-ordinary and special. All the more reasons for me to be annoyed kasi feeling ko noon am destroying Alex’s memory. And then we met sa summit. Kahit sa London, we met once again and still had the same encounter. Parang mga aso’t pusa lang. But then you humbled yourself and apologized. And that’s when it all started, I asked you out on a date.”
“Speaking of which, sincere ba yung pagyaya mo ng date noon o gusto mo lang gumanti sa akin noon?”
Richard chuckled. “Honestly, am not sure as well. I don’t know what went to my head at yun ang nasabi ko. But after what I said and left, I knew I can no longer take it back. I knew I had the option of not meeting you up or man up and face you. I was still undecided until the day we set came kaya siguro ako nagkasakit noon. Instead of making up any excuse, binigyan nalang ako ng valid reason para hindi humarap sa’yo.”
“So yun pala yun! Ayan kasi! Ang sama sama ng ugali back then!!” pointed out Maya.
Richard laughed. “I know. Kaya nga looking back, mas naniniwala ako na everything really happens for a reason. Kung bakit tayo nagkita, kung bakit nagkasakit ako. . . Everything. Ang galing nga eh. You’d really be amazed how the Master Creator works behind everything.”
“Oo nga honey eh. Sino ang mag-aakala ano, na after those series of frightful encounters, tayo parin pala sa huli,” mused Maya.
Richard smiled. “Yes, who would really have thought? Destiny really has its way of entwining our lives and re-arranging everything, like us. Though we started off with a series of frightful encounters but look at us right now, very much happy in each other’s arms, and starting our journey to forever.” Richard looked intently at his wife’s eyes. “And I would always and forever be grateful that God made us for one another.”
“I am too honey. Isa yan sa lagi kong ipinagpapasalamat sa kanya at alam kong patuloy at patuloy ko pang ipagpapasalamat. I love you honey.”
“I love you too angel.”
“So hindi ka na nagseselos pa kay Martin?” she teased.
Richard laughed. “Nope. Hindi na. Ngayon pa na nalaman kong mas lamang ako sa kanya.”
“Oi honey ha! Lumalaki na yang ulo mo!”
Richard laughed some more and kissed his wife. “Nope. Am just happy. Very very happy.”
With that, they slept peacefully that night cuddled in each other’s arms.
A/N: As I was typing the latter parts of this chapter, specifically when they were reminiscing their first encounters, it dawned on me that the story could already end here. Whenever I write a story, I don’t really write the whole of it in one sitting, from beginning to end. I deal with it one chapter at a time. And with this story, I don’t really know when to end it. Some followers of this story had already voiced out not to end the story yet , one even said not to end it at all (which I know, if possible, would be a total burden), and personally, I know I’ll have a hard time putting an end on this particular story. It’s one of the stories that really endeared to me. But as they say, everything has an end. Am not sure if this is already a goodbye for this particular story, but I don’t think it would cause us any harm if we’d assume so. 😀 This being said, I’d like to thank first the EBU admins for sparing me some of their space on this site, where I can freely post a pigment of my craziness and share it to each and everyone who can tolerate it. This site really encouraged me to tap my inner crazy self and channel it out through writing. 🙂 And of course, I’d like to thank each and every single follower of this story. Those who read, those who were touched, those who appreciated, those who left some kind words, those who criticized my work, to each and everyone of you – THANK YOU! This story would not have gone this far if not for all you folks, so thank you. God bless everyone! 😀