“Roomie, sure ka ba na dito ka na lang bukas? Paskong pasko, maiiwan ka lang sa condo. Pwede ka namang sumama sa Canada eh.” Emman told Maya as they walked through the streets. The two of them agreed to just meet at Starbucks since Emman went to the mall for to buy extra gifts for his family.
“Hindi na, Emman. Dito na lang ako saka reunion ng family mo yun. Enjoy na lang, ha?” Maya said. Emman has been offering her to come to the States with him but she always refuse. She hasn’t even told him that she’ll be meeting with R the next day.
“Eh saan ka magpapasko? Don’t tell me na uuwi ka sa inyo eh ayaw mo nga ng nauwi di ba?”
Maya nodded. Well, Emman was right. She doesn’t really want to go home because of her issues with them. And she doesn’t want to spend Christmas feeling sad or mad. “Eh, oo.”
“So? San ka magpapasko? At kung sasabihin mong sa condo lang, ay nako, bibili na agad ako ng isa pang ticket.”
“Hindi naman sa condo eh.” Maya said. “May .. may kasama ako sa pasko.”
“Sino naman ito?” Emman asked when he saw Maya scratch her head like she doesn’t want to say who she will be with. “Uy roomie, sino?”
“Si .. ano .. kasama ko si R.” Maya finally admitted making Emman squeal. “Huy Emman! Ganyan na lang ba lagi ang reaksyon mo kapag babanggitin ko si R? Saka ang daming tao dito!” Maya said oblivious to the looks given by the people walking along with them.
“Eh kasi naman roomie eh! Teka, so magkikita na kayo? Saan daw?” Emman inquired.
“May tinext sya saking lugar eh. Magtataxi na lang ako papunta dun.” Maya answered.
“OMG! So tama nga ako? Date nga sya?”
Maya just nodded her head, making Emman squeal again. Maya was completely red. Emman’s teasing always made her feel that way.
“Teka girl. Magta-taxi ka? Hindi ka daw nya kakaunin?”
“Nag-offer naman siya na ipapakaon daw ako eh sabi ko wag na.”
“Hay nako, girl. Kung hindi lang talaga ako aalis, ihahatid kita. Ay! May isusuot ka na ba? Wag kakalimutang magmake up ha?”
Maya just laughed at Emman’s last minute advice. She’s really looking forward to Christmas day. Meeting R for real would surely change her. She has this gut feeling that this will be the best Christmas she’ll ever have.
“Roomie, balik nga tayong Starbucks. Dapat pala nagpabili na ko sa’yo ng frappe eh.” Emman requested.
Richard woke up as his alarm rang off. He reached for his glasses with a smile on his face. Finally, it’s Christmas day. He couldn’t wait for this day to come. He will finally see M again. He got up from his bed and quickly took a bath. He simply couldn’t wait for it to be evening. He reached for his phone and texted M.
Good morning! I hope you had a good sleep. I can’t wait to see you.
He sent it with a smile on his face. After a few minutes, he heard his phone beep.
Same here. Good mornong, R!
His smile got even wider when he read the text message. It just shows that M is feeling the same, too. He went downstairs to have his breakfast. The smile on his face was noticeable by the members of his household and whenever they’ll ask him what’s up, he’ll just say that it’s Christmas.
“Ricky, anong oras ba ang alis mo?” Roberto asked.
“Mamaya pa, Pa. Around seven in the evening.”
“Mamaya pa pala eh. Would you like to join us? Sisimba lang kami.” Esmeralda butted in.
“Sure, Ma. I’ll just go upstairs to change.” He said.
“Roomie, ayos ka na, ha. Yung make up mo, ha. Re-touch na lang ang kailangan nyan, tapos yung dress mong yan ha. Buti na lang talaga, namili na tayo agad before Christmas!” Emman said as they walked inside the airport.
“Don’t worry, Emman. Natatandaan ko lahat ng sinabi mo.” Maya replied. “Lakad ka na, baka ma-late ka pa sa flight mo.”
Emman frowned. “Bye Rooomie! Mamimiss kita! Basta kapag tinawagan kita ha, ikukwento mo lahat ng mangyayari sa date niyo ha?”
“Bahala na Emman. Kinakabahan pa rin ako eh. Sige na. Merry Christmas!” Maya said and then she hugged her friend.
“Bye Roomie! Merry Christmas din!” And then Emman left, leaving Maya alone. Maya left the airport and hailed a cab to go back to their condo. She headed to her room and quickly changed. As Maya see herself getting ready, she’s also becoming more nervous.
Maya decided to hear the mass before heading to her and R’s date. She sat near the end of the church and listened to the priest’s words from there. Maya was unaware that a pair of eyes was watching her from afar.
Richard was seated four chairs behind Maya. He was just silently listening when his gaze flew to that lady. And that was the start of him being distracted inside the church. He wanted so bad to stand up and went by her side and just greet her but he couldn’t. What he just did was to stare at her from afar until the mass ends.
When the mass ended, the people inside were heading to the direction of the doors all at once. And along with them was the lady. It was like getting a branch of a tree on a live river and he couldn’t get a hold of it.
“Ricky, may inaantay ka ba?” Esmeralda asked as she saw his son looking from afar. “Nandito ba si Ryan?”
“Ah, no, Ma.” He said and then he sighed. “I .. I just thought I saw a familiar face.”
“Let’s go? We don’t want you to be late.” Roberto said and then turned to join the flow of people leaving the church.
As Richard reached outside, his head kept turning and still looking for that lady. He just sighed in defeat when he didn’t see her anywhere.
It’s the second time, yet I haven’t introduced myself.
Before going to the venue, Richard drove his parent home. They both bid him their good luck and their greetings before Richard went off. It was already 6:30PM when he arrived. He immediately checked if the crew is ready and everything is set. When he was sure everything is, he took a deep breath and stood near the lake.
I just have to wait.
He took his white mask from his pocket and put it on.
Naku, Maya! Kapag minamalas ka nga naman.
Maya was caught up in traffic. She doesn’t even know if she can make it in time. Apparently, the driver of the cab misheard what Maya said and turned on the wrong curve. All Maya wanted at that moment is a miracle that she will make it in time.
Thankfully, the car came to a halt after a few minutes. Maya hurriedly paid the driver and went outside. Her mouth gaped as she saw the place Richard told her to go. The whole restaurant was closed but she can see from the glass windows that a table for two was neatly set up inside. Maya slowly walked to the entrance and talked to the crew waiting for her.
“Uhm, good evening. May I ask if this place is reserved by R?” She shyly asked. She doesn’t know if the crew would even consider her question since the name she was asking for is just a letter.
“Yes, Ma’am.” The crew answered. “May I ask the first-letter of your name?” He asked making Maya smile. She’s now sure that this is the place.
“M.” She answered. The crew smiled at her and said, “Please put your mask on, Ms. M. You’re only allowed to go inside after you put it on.”
Maya nodded and opened her pouch where her black mask lies. She reached for it and she put it on. When the crew was satisfied, he opened the doors and instructed Maya to go in. Her heart was on her throat as she got closer to a very familiar man. His back was to hers but Maya was certain that it is him.
“She’s here, Sir.” The crew said and then he left.
Richard’s heart was pounding so fast as he heard the crew’s words. He took a few breaths but he can’t still bring himself to turn around. He was nervous, way too nervous.
“Sorry late ako.” Maya said when Richard still didn’t turn around. “Traffic kasi eh.”
A smile crept on Richard’s face as Maya said those words. After she spoke, he finally turned around. In front of him was the same lady he met during the Summit. This time, she was wearing a black dress that matches her mask. Her hair is still tied up in a bun, making her look beautiful in his eyes.
“Hi.” Richard said when he finally found his voice. Maya was thankful that the mask can hide the redness of her cheeks. Richard was just able to let go of a one-syllable word but his smile was the one that made Maya’s heart leap. Just as before, his smile just melts everything in her. He is still the same white-masked man, but this time, he’s just wearing a red long-sleeved-polo.
“Hi.” Maya managed to say. “Merry Christmas!”
Richard chuckled. “Merry Christmas to you, too.” He took a deep breath and laid out his hand. “I .. I’m Richard. Richard Lim.” He nervously said.
Maya’s mouth gaped when she heard him say his name. She can’t believe it. The white-masked man is the Richard Lim – the great owner of the well-known Lim Aviation Services. Sure, she hasn’t seen him in pictures or so but she just knew that this man is big. Now, she finally knows why Emman always squeals every time she tells him about R.
“Uhm, M?” Richard said when Maya failed to reply.
“Ah, I’m Maya dela Rosa.” She said and took his hand for a shake but to her surprise, Richard pulled her hand and brought it to his lips and kissed it lightly. Maya flushed at Richard’s gesture and she withdrew her hand quickly when she saw that it is over.
“Shall we have dinner?” He asked and when Maya nodded, he ushered her to their table in the middle of the restaurant. Even if Richard is so happy that he finally knew her name, he was aware that Maya somehow felt awkward after their formal meeting.
Richard assisted Maya in her seat before sitting on his. The crews served them their food and they silently eat.
“So, your name is Maya.” Richard broke the silence. “It suits you.”
The lady in front of him just nodded her head. Richard sighed when he witnessed her answer. He actually thought that there was something more. “Maya, I .. I’m sorry but .. why do I have this feeling na naiilang ka?”
Maya bit her lip before opening her mouth to speak. “Eh.. kasi .. hindi ko naman kasi ine-expect na ikaw si Richard Lim.”
Richard smirked. “And so?”
“Syempre, nakakailang. Alam kaya ng lahat kung sino ka. Saka for sure, kapag narinig nila yung pangalan mo, baka magkakaparehas lang kami ng reaksyon.” She explained.
“Is that so?” Richard said. “Well, for starters, Maya. You should’ve expected na ganito yung makakadate mo ngayon. I’m wearing a white mask during the Summit diba?” he said with a smile.
“Eh kasi naman, nung nakasayaw kita, parang wala naman akong pakielam kung anong kulay ng mask mo.” She said as she pouted.
Richard smiled warmly at her. “That’s what I like about you. You don’t even care who I am.” Maya flushed when she heard him say the word ‘like.’ “And to tell you honestly, ikaw nga lang ata ang hindi nakakilala sa’kin nung gabing ‘yon.”
Maya buried her face with her hands. “Sinabi rin yan sa’kin nung friend ko! Bakit ka ba kasi nila nakilala eh hindi ko nga nahalata na ikaw ‘yan eh.”
Richard chuckled. Finally, the M he knew was back. “I take it that you haven’t seen any pictures of me?” Maya shyly nodded, making Richard laugh more. “Well, thankful na rin ako. Kung kilala mo siguro ako, wala akong ka-date ngayong Christmas.” He said.
Maya’s cheeks went red again. She can’t believe that she’s actually having a date with Richard Lim. Even if his face is still behind the mask, Maya knew that this guy would have a very handsome face.
“O? Tumahimik ka na naman. I’m not used to it, Maya.” Richard said with his smile wide when he mentioned her name. He wants to believe that he just saw her blush. And he actually found it very cute.
Maya giggled. “Na-starstruck kasi ako eh.” Maya said, making Richard laugh. “Ang sama mo. Kanina mo pa ako tinatawanan.”
“I’m sorry, I just couldn’t help it.” He said. “You don’t need to be too formal with me, Maya. Ask me anything you want, I’ll answer them.”
Maya smiled. “Sige. Ilang taon mo nang hawak ang LAS, Richard?” She asked. She actually felt giddy when she mentioned his name.
“Eight years as of this year.” He said. “What’s your job? Na-curious ako nung sinabi mong busy ka sa trabaho mo eh.”
Maya giggled. “I’m a flight attendant.”
“Sabi na eh.” Richard exclaimed. “Pretty women like you are really do belong to those ranks.”
“Pretty?” Maya asked.
Richard nodded his head. “Yes. You are pretty.”
“Weh? Hindi mo pa nga nakikita yung mukha ko eh.” Maya said. “Paano kung may scar ako sa mukha?”
“You’re still pretty.” Richard said.
“May malaking ilong.” She said as she giggled.
“Paano kung –“
“You’re still pretty, no matter what.” Richard assured her with a smile.
“Asuus! Ang confident. Por que gwapo eh.” Maya teased. She finally felt that same feeling of being comfortable whenever she’s with him.
“Well, I don’t really consider myself as ‘gwapo’ but most people say so, but I still don’t know.” He said as he shrugged his shoulders. And then he laughed at her. He’s really having fun at their conversation.
Maya put her utensils on her plate and moved her chair next to Richard’s. “Gusto mo tanggalin na natin yang mask mo?”
“Maya, I have plans for that later. And why would I remove this mask now?” He said, grinning.
“Para malaman natin kung gwapo ka nga.” Maya said as she lifted her hands to taunt him.
“No. Later na.” He said as he held her wrists.
“Sige na. Ngayon na.” Maya pouted.
Richard sighed in defeat. He has this feeling that he can’t win against her. “Fine. But if you’re going to remove mine, then I have to remove yours. Deal?”
Maya smiled at him. “Deal!” She exclaimed. She felt Richard’s hands loosen their grip on her wrists. She tried to lift it and when Richard did not made any move to stop her; she slowly reached for his white mask. Her heart was really pounding when she’s already holding his mask. After a few beats, she dragged it upward to reveal his face.
Maya’s lips produced a smile as Richard’s face was revealed. A faint blush was also on her cheeks. Richard’s face is everything she hoped it to be but it seeing it was better. Richard’s eyes are almost like slits as he was smiling at her. His smile was even more heart-melting now that his face is revealed. Although Maya was giddy about Richard, she has this feeling that she has seen him before.
Richard’s hands moving upward brought Maya back from her reverie. Her heart was pounding again just like Richard’s. When Richard was finally holding her mask, he said, “You are pretty, Maya.” And then he lifted it upward. Unlike Maya, Richard was shocked at first before a huge smile crept on his face. He was not really expecting it but it turned out that the woman he was looking for was already the woman he’s been dying to see.
“It’s you.” He softly said.
A/N : MERRY CHRISTMAAAAS! Pansamantala ko po muna kayong bibitinin hihi.