“James, what is the most romantic place for you and Angela?” Richard asked just as their meeting ended.
James narrowed his eyes at his friend. “Why? Are you giving up on courting Maya and do you want to court me instead?” He asked which Richard answered with a laugh.
“Well, I’m thinking of taking Maya out tonight. It’s her birthday.” He explained.
His friend nodded. “I usually take Angela to any restaurant I can find here in Manila. She’s a chef, remember? She really fancies food so much that I learn to appreciate food because of her. That’s a romantic date for us.” James said. “If you’re thinking on doing that, I would strongly disagree.”
“Why? Sa sobra mong pagka-cheesy, hindi mo ipapahiram sa’kin yung idea niyo ng date night?” Richard teased.
“It’s not that bro.” James said and patted Richard’s shoulder. “Yung ginagawa namin, it’s what she likes. Angela is different to Maya and I know that you already know that. If you’re going to take her out, just pick a place she would truly enjoy. Mamaya ma-bore lang siya kapag kumain kayo sa restaurant. It wouldn’t be romantic like what you planned.”
Richard nodded. “Thanks, bro.” He said and entered his office. James was right. He needs to pick a place Maya would truly enjoy. After knowing her for some time, he’s sure that she could just appreciate any place he would pick. But he doesn’t want her to just appreciate everything, he wants her to have fun, to hear her laugh, someplace where he could see the smile in her eyes.
“Sir, you’re done for the day. You’re scheduled po for an on-site visit on Monday.” Liza said when she entered his office.
Richard nodded but didn’t look at Liza. When his secretary was about to go out of his office, he spoke. “Liza, you and Joma have been together for more than a year right?”
Although Liza wasn’t expecting Richard’s question, she responded. “Yes Sir.”
“I hope you don’t mind me asking pero saan kayo madalas pumunta? Lalo na kung birthday ng isa sa inyo?” He asked.
“Uhm, before I answer Sir, pwede ko po bang itanong kung sino yung balak niyong dalhin sa labas?” She intriguingly asked.
She saw a small smile that her boss gave. “I’m .. I’m courting someone.” He simply answered.
Liza almost squealed in delight. It’s the first time that her boss said that he’s liking someone. Over the time she had worked for him, never did Richard mention any details about his love life. She only knew that Richard is single and he don’t bring dates in company events. His life is too private and only James knew some perks about him. For the record, this is definitely a first.
“O my Sir! Do I know this lucky girl?” She asked.
The smile on Richard’s face got wider as he nodded. “In fact, yes. Do you remember the lady who became your temporary replacement? She’s her.”
Liza finally squealed. She just couldn’t help it. Liza and Maya met. A week ago, she went to work without informing Richard and that woman didn’t let her through Richard’s office. When she introduced herself, it was then when the woman recognized her. She introduced herself as Maya.
“Sir, I’m so sorry that I forgot to call. I came here po as soon as I landed.” Liza apologetically said to Richard who’s just looking at her as he sat on his swivel chair.
“It’s really okay, Liza.” Richard replied. “Have you met Maya? She’s a .. she’s a friend of mine. And after asking her over and over again, she agreed to be your sub for the mean time.” He explained.
“Naku Liza, wag kang maniwala dyan. Nag-volunteer kaya ako.” Maya interrupted. “Itong boss mo, mayabang ano?”
“Hey, it wasn’t exactly a volunteer. Nagpumilit ka kaya.” Richard defended.
“It was your punishment! You said the ‘s’ word, remember? And it’s not exactly a punishment. Benefit pa nga ako eh. Ang gulo kaya ng schedule mo. Buti nakakayanan ni Liza.” Maya countered.
“Pero hindi yun volunteer.” Richard said as he narrowed his eyes at her. “I think you said, I quote, ‘Isama mo nga ako sa office mo. Bored na ko dito sa condo mo.’ End of quote.”
“Hindi naman ako ganon ka-demanding!” Maya said and then both of them laughed. Liza was well aware that there’s definitely some chemistry flowing between the two. Even if Richard introduced her as a friend, no friend of Richard could make him laugh just like that, especially if it’s a woman. Richard just asked her to come back on Monday since she just arrived in Manila. As she left his office, she watched the two laughed together before finally shutting the door. She kept in herself that Maya is more than a friend to Richard.
Now, her theory was finally approved. Richard is courting Maya. That’s why they always share that inside jokes whenever Maya visits him in his work. Richard would even want his schedule loose unlike before that he wants every second of it to be filled with work. Liza could already see that Maya is helping Richard to change even if they’re still in the courting stage. What more could happen if they finally become a couple?
“Sabi na Sir eh! May something kayo ni Ma’am Maya. Nung unang araw pa lang na nakilala ko siya, alam ko nang may spark!” Liza said. “Kailan po kayo nag-start manligaw?” She asked.
“Well, the night before you met her, saka pa lang ako nagsabi na manliligaw ako.” He said truthfully.
“Pero Sir! Ang pakilala niyo lang sa’kin nun, friend niyo si Ma’am Maya.” Liza said.
“She is. Hindi pa naman niya ako sinasagot eh. Hanggang ngayon. I think she’s just enjoying what’s I’m doing. Baka pinagti-tripan lang ako nun.” He said.
Liza laughed. She’s finding it amusing talking to a new version of his boss. “Naku Sir, hindi kayo pinati-tripan ni Ma’am Maya. Feeling ko may gusto rin sa inyo yun. Baka naghihintay lang ng right moment.” She said.
Richard nodded. “Yeah, I think so, too. May crush daw siya sa’kin eh.”
Liza laughed again. “Kita niyo na Sir? Eh kayo po?”
Richard smiled like a foolish boy. It was the first time that Liza saw him smile like that. She knew that her boss is totally captured by Maya. “Crush ko rin.” He said as he smiled widely.
“Alam niyo Sir, kung may camera lang ako, kinuhanan ko na kayo ng picture. Nagba-blush kayo oh. Ang pula ng pisngi niyo.” Liza amusedly said.
“If Maya was here? Sigurado ako, ginawa na niya yun. Hindi ko na pala siya dapat binili ng camera.” He said. His regret was partly true. Ever since Maya captured the smiling him during their first date, she started taking photos of him whenever he’s making a face. So far, she showed him a picture of him pouting, narrowing his eyes, smirking, pissed off and then there’s one when he was asleep. Maya said that it was a personal favourite of hers, besides from his laughing one. “Anyway Liza, so saan magandang dalhin si Maya? It’s her birthday.”
“Knowing Ma’am Maya? Parang lahat naman po ng lugar, magugustuhan niya eh.” Liza said. “Pero kayo Sir? Sa pagkakakilala niyo po kay Ma’am Maya, ano sa tingin niyo yung lugar na magugustuhan niya? Yung talagang mag-eenjoy siya. Saka siguro yung makukuhanan niya ng litrato. Mahilig po siyang mag-picture ‘di ba?”
Richard nodded and then an idea finally hit him. “I got it Liza. Thank you.”
“Glad to help Sir! And pasabi na rin po kay Ma’am Maya na happy birthday.” Liza happily said.
“Okay. Have a great weekend.” Richard greeted as he started packing his things. He got it. He finally has a place to take her out.
Maya was busy assessing what she looks like when she heard the sound of the front door open. She knew it was Richard and she almost ran to greet him. She didn’t have a chance to prepare him breakfast because she failed to wake up early. Sure enough, Richard was inside, putting his things inside his workplace.
“Hi Richard!” She said. “Saan tayo pupunta?”
Richard smiled at her. “Secret. Are you all set?” Maya responded by nodding. “I’ll just change tapos aalis na tayo.”
“Saan nga tayo pupunta? Hindi ba kasama si Luke?” Maya asked as Richard walked past her.
“Secret nga ‘di ba? And Luke’s not coming. Uuwi na raw siya eh. Sabi niya kaninang umaga.” He said.
“Sabi niya kaninang umaga? O another case of bribery na naman ‘to Mr. Lim?” She asked while crossing her arms.
Richard just laughed and went near her. He sneaked his arms around Maya’s waist and pulled her closer to him. “I did not bribe him. Kailangan na talaga niyang umuwi. And I don’t need to bribe him para masolo kita kasi alam ko, you’re already mine kahit hindi pa tayo.” He said.
Maya blushed. Her arms instinctively went to Richard’s chest. “So wala si Luke ngayong gabi?”
Richard smiled naughtily as he shook his head. “Wala. We’re all alone, Maya.”
Maya continued to blush but she still managed to say her final blow. “Okay. Dun na ulit ako tutulog sa kwarto niya. Magbihis ka na nga para makaalis na tayo.” She said as she tried to remove Richard’s arms around her but he didn’t budge.
“What? No. Dun ka pa rin matutulog sa kwarto ko. I thought we’ve settled this. You stay on your side while I stay at mine.” He said.
“Oo nga, may sari-sarili tayong sides tapos paggising sa umaga, nakayapos ka pa rin.” Maya said.
“For your information, you’re the one who’s hugging me. Nakaunan ka kaya lagi sakin tapos ang higpit ng yakap mo.” Richard defended. He’s finding this whole conversation so amusing.
“Ay hindi kaya Mr. Lim. Minsan kaya ikaw yung nakayapos. Nang-iinvade ka pa nga ng side eh. Nakatagilid ako tapos nakayapos ka sa likod.” She countered.
“Ineenjoy mo rin naman.” Richard said. Maya’s reddened cheeks proved that it was the truth.
They spent each night sleeping with each other. After their first date, Richard insisted on sleeping again on the floor but Maya said that he might have another nightmare attack so she said that he must sleep on the bed. They ended up sleeping together in bed, lying on opposite sides but both staring at each other. The next morning, they woke up finding themselves tangled up with each other. They ended up cuddling silently and they were almost late for work because of it.
“O sya, magbihis ka na. Gagabihin pa tayo.” Maya just said. Richard laughed before staring at her intently. “You never fail to amuse me.” He said and leaned in to kiss her head. “I’ll be back in a bit.”
Richard emerged from his room wearing a casual long sleeved shirt. It was one of the shirts Maya bought when they went shopping. He joined Maya in the couch and placed a box on her lap.
“Ano ‘to?” Maya asked.
“My birthday present for you.” He said. “Happy birthday, Maya.” He said and kissed her cheek. Maya’s mouth gaped. It was the first time Richard did that. She was used with his forehead kisses because he always to that after they woke up. “Open it.” He said.
Maya excitedly opened her present. She knew it’s something that Richard would notice that she wants. He’s good at that. When the wrapper was finally removed, her mouth gaped again as she looked at Richard.
“Happy birthday, Maya.” He greeted again. Maya’s arm flew to Richard’s neck and hugged him tight.
“Thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you!!! Sobrang maraming salamat!” She exclaimed. “Pero bat mo pa ako binili nito eh meron na naman ako nung Polaroid.”
Richard reached for the box and removed the camera inside it. It was a Canon EOS DSL-R Digital Camera – the one Maya was staring outside the shop. He knew it was what she wanted and Richard got motivated because of it. He wanted to earn the money so that he could buy her this on her birthday.
“You’ll need this more tonight instead of the Polaroid.” He said and stood up. “Let’s go?”
Maya nodded. “Thank you, talaga Richard.” She said.
Richard reached turned the camera on and took a picture of Maya. He turned it around and let her take a look. “It’s caption will be .. ‘The Best Birthday-Date Ever.’” He said and Maya laughed.
“San nga kasi tayo pupunta?”
Richard just reached for her hand and entwined it with his. “You’ll see. All I know is that we’re going to have fun.” He said and pulled her.
“Richard.” Maya called. Richard turned around and faced her. Maya tiptoed and kissed his cheek. “Kung makalimutan ko man mamaya, sasabihin ko na. I really had a good time tonight.”
Richard smiled at her. “Me too. I really had a great night.”
A/N : As much as I want to have a double treat, hindi ko po kaya. Masama po kasi ang pakiramdam ko. Sorry po.
Sa patuloy po na sumusubaybay sa mga kwento ko at sa mga bago pong nakadiskubre sa blog na ito, maraming-maraming salamat po!
Saan kaya ang date nila? Hihi.
P.S. Mabilis po ba ang phasing? Alam na! *Evil laugh*