“So, where do you want to go next?” Richard asked as they walked. His hand was still entwined around Maya’s, afraid to lose her. He’s now starting to feel tired. Too much work took its toll on him even if he managed to have just half of his usual meetings. He’s now starting to believe that his name is getting bigger in the architecture industry. His clients seemed to grow bigger and bigger in number as the weeks passed by.
“Dun tayo sa Swan Lake!” Maya exclaimed and pulled Richard’s with her as she shifted their direction. Richard just sighed. Seeing Maya smile takes away his tiredness. Her smile lit up her face, and even his world. Richard couldn’t simply think of any other person who could keep smiling just like her.
The line in the Swan Lake was just short and after just a few minutes, it’s already their turn. One of the crews gave them directions on how to run the swan. They started pedalling and when they got far from the shore, they agreed to rest their legs. Maya was laughing because she never thought that pedalling would be quite tiring.
When she turned to look at Richard, she saw him resting his head on the back of his seat with his eyes closed. It was just then when Maya realized that he’s tired from the day’s work. He went straight here with her from work without even taking an hour inside the condo to rest. Her heart swelled for him again. It’s another way of him in showing his feelings for her.
Maya’s heart started thumping fast. Is this the right moment she was waiting for? She’s sure of her answer but is the time finally right? With her heart beating loud, she reached for Richard’s hand. She lifted it and entwined it with hers. She looked at him and saw that he still hadn’t moved.
She was about to call him when she heard him snore softly. Maya smiled immediately. Richard fell asleep. She lifted her camera and took a quick photo of him. Then she carefully leaned in and pressed a kiss on his cheek, and then snapped another photo again.
The flash of the camera went off, startling Richard. He jolted awake and saw Maya smiling while she’s looking at a photo in her camera. “Maya, delete it.” He said. “Alam kong ako ‘yan.”
Maya pouted. “Ayoko. Ang cute kaya natin dito.” She said and turned the camera around to let him see. He was leaning back while Maya’s lips are pressed to his cheek. Her eyes are closed but he could easily say that she is smiling. “O kita mo? Daig pa natin yung ibang mag-boyfriend sa picture na ‘yan!”
Richard’s mouth gaped. Are his ears deceiving him or he actually heard Maya drop a hint about their relationship? “Yung ibang mag-boyfriend?” He dared to ask.
A faint red color emerged from Maya’s cheeks. “Richard! Ferris wheel yung next natin please. Mukhang masaya eh. Kaso ang haba lang ng pila pero kapag bumalik na tayo, baka makapila pa tayo habang maikli pa lang.” She said. It doesn’t feel like it’s that time yet for her. She looked at Richard and saw that he somewhat understands her. He just nodded. “Start pedalling then. Ang bigat mo kaya.” He said.
Maya laughed. She was really enjoying the Richard she’s with. He’s so fun to have around and would always make her laugh by saying witty things like this. “Ikaw kaya yung mabigat!” She defended as the swan started moving. “Dapat pala naghiwalay na lang tayo ng swan eh.”
Richard shook his head. “There are things you can’t do unless you have someone with you. Parang sa swan na ‘to. Mahihirapan ka kapag mag-isa ka lang.” He said and reached for her hand. “At mahihirapan din ako kapag wala ka.”
Maya blushed instantly. It’s also a new characteristic of Richard. He’s a natural charmer. Those sweet words seem to just come out of his mouth in the least moment she expects. She started pushing the pedal with his feet as Richard did too. After a few minutes, they were back to the dock and started walking.
As they walked, Richard suddenly shifted and tugged Maya’s hand. They stopped in front of a vendor and within just seconds, Richard handed Maya a cotton candy. Maya’s face beamed instantly. She picked a piece and put it in her mouth. Then she picked out a piece again and shoved it in Richard’s mouth.
Maya laughed when Richard wiped his mouth to remove the bits of the cotton candy. Richard just smiled back and put his arm around Maya, pulling her closer as they walked. Even though it was Friday night, the line for the Ferris wheel was still long.
“Maya, hindi tayo aabot sa cut-off.” Richard said, pertaining to the ride.
Maya shook her head. “Aabot yan. Pustahan tayo.” She said. “Anong oras na ba?”
Richard took a glance at his wrist watch. “It’s past ten. Baka last ride na ‘to.” He said. “If you like, we can make this fun.”
“Fun? Ikaw, Richard Lim, fun?” Maya asked as she stifled her laughter.
“I can be fun. Bakit? Hindi ba masaya ‘tong birthday celebration mo?” He asked.
“Masaya.” She said. “Totoo yan ha. Feeling ko ito yung best birthday ever ko.”
Richard smiled. He was glad that Maya was having fun. All he ever wanted was to hear her laugh and just to let her have fun. He knew his day wouldn’t be complete without seeing her like that. He looked at her and saw that she’s taking photos of random things again, and when she looked at it, she smiled. Richard’s breath hitched. There’s just something in her smile that makes him feel like that. That’s when he knew, that he will do anything just to make her happy.
“Let’s do a bet. Kapag hindi tayo umabot, panalo ako, ikaw kapag nakaabot tayo.” He said.
“Sige ba! Pero dapat may parusa dun sa matatalo.” She demanded. Richard put his arm around Maya’s waist pulled her with him as they took a step closer in the line. “Fine.” He said.
The line started moving, and both of them were excited to know who will win. When they were finally the next, Maya had a huge smile on her face. She’s so sure that they will be going inside but then, one of the crews halted them in line and said that they did not make it.
“Paano ba yan? It seemed like luck was on my side.” Richard proudly said. Maya pouted and sighed. “Kailangan ko pa bang magsabi ng congratulations? Dali na Richard, ano nang parusa.” She said.
A thousand thoughts went inside Richard’s head. He could take this as an opportunity to level up their relationship but brushed that thought off immediately. He wants to get his answer when Maya is sure, and not by some consequence like this. He was busy thinking when one of the crew went near them and opened the steel gate.
“Ma’am, Sir, pwede pa po ang isa. Magkasama po pala yung pinapasok kong huli kanina.” She said. Maya’s face beamed and pulled Richard with her as she thanked the lady. When they were finally settled inside the ferris wheel, Richard spoke.
“I guess you won, huh.” He said. Maya nodded frantically. “Oo! Akala mo ikaw ano?”
Richard sighed. “Akala ko talaga ako na eh. What’s your punishment, anyway?”
Maya shrugged. “Ewan ko. Mamaya na lang.” She said and stared outside. The Ferris wheel started moving slowly and as they made their way to the top, Maya kept taking photos of the scenery. The whole area outside was filled with lights, just like stars.
“Richard! Tignan mo oh! Ang ganda!” Maya exclaimed and took photos one after the other. Richard didn’t mind the view. All he ever watched was Maya as she did her thing. He knew he’s falling for her, and spending every single moment of the day with her really helped in letting him fall deeper.
“Yes. It’s beautiful.” He said, never taking his eyes off of her. Maya glanced at him and he shifted his gaze outside immediately. He didn’t really appreciate the view. His eyes were looking outside but his thoughts are on the woman in front of him.
Without permission, Maya snapped a photo of Richard. His face was serious but there’s a glint of smile on his lips. The place was a little bit dark, giving him a silhouette-like photo. Maya loved every part of it, especially the subject of the photo.
“I’ve always wondered, sa tagal mong nawawala, wala man lang naghahanap sa’yo o kaya nakakilala sa’yo. If I were your boyfriend and you went missing? Baka wala pa akong tulog kakahanap sa’yo.” Richard said.
Maya shrugged. “Naiisip ko rin yan minsan. Pero hindi ko talaga alam eh. I don’t even know if I’m really from Manila.”
“Maybe you’re here for a job? There’s a possibility that you’re from a province. But there’s still a huge chance that – Hey, are you okay?” Richard said and noticed that her hand was holding his tightly.
“Richard, takot ata ako sa heights.” She muttered. Richard chuckled. He looked down and saw that they’re almost at the top of the whole thing. “You’re afraid of heights? Akala ko ba gusto mo sa Ferris wheel?”
Maya nodded. “Gusto ko kaso ano .. nalulula ako.” She said. Richard shifted in his seat and moved closer to her. “Don’t look down. Just enjoy what’s out there. It’s the feeling of suspension that’s scaring you. Just focus your attention to something else.” He said.
Maya gulped and shifted her gaze outside again, but she didn’t dare to look down. She looked at the sky and saw the stars twinkling in the darkness. She unconsciously rested her head on Richard’s shoulder.
“Richard, paano na lang kapag isang araw, nagising ako tapos naaalala ko na lahat?” Maya muttered.
“Then life would be good. Hindi na tayo mangangapa kung sino ka talaga.” He replied.
“Eh paano kung naalala ko lahat, pero hindi ko matandaan kung anong meron tayo? O baka kahit ikaw, hindi ko na maalala?” She said.
Richard felt his heart sank. Maya was right – what if that happened? What would he do? He just sighed deeply. “Then I guess we have to keep having souvenirs for our dates. Para kapag nangyari ‘yon, may proof ako.” He said. “But Maya, I really don’t want that to happen.” He said, almost whispering to her, enough for Maya to feel the hurt in his tone. “It would break me.”
Maya frowned. “I don’t want it to happen either. But I’m scared that it will.” She muttered. She felt Richard’s arm tighten around her and then she felt him kiss her head. “I don’t know what I’ll do if that happens. I don’t want to lose you..” He said. Then after a few beats, he finally said the words that he wants her to hear. “I’m deeply falling in love with you, Maya.”
Maya shifted and looked at Richard, her heart beating fast. “A-ano?” She muttered. She couldn’t believe her ears. Richard finally confessed his feelings and Maya doesn’t know if it was what she heard.
“I .. I’m in love with you, Maya.” He said, his heart thumping fast too. Maya’s reaction was something that he was not expecting. It felt like it was a negative thing since she asked him what he said. But positive or negative, Richard wanted to say it again. It felt right. And he knew he would burst to find another moment like this to say his feelings for her.
A smile slowly crept on Maya’s face as her cheeks reddened. Her ears were not deceiving her –Richard does love her. She was about to speak when Richard talked again. “It might be fast since we just knew each other for just weeks but I know that what I said is true. Hindi kita mamadaliin, you know that. You can even turn me down if you want to. All I wanted is to let you hear it because .. because that’ s what my heart is screaming.”
“Richard, may punishment na ko sa’yo.” She said. Richard narrowed his eyes. “Is this really the right time to – okay, what is it?” He bewilderedly asked.
“Kaso mahirap ‘to. Kasi kailangan mong mag-commit. Mahihirapan ka kasi ang alam mo lang ay yung mga bagay na nakikita mo sa bawat araw na lumipas.” Maya started, Richard’s furrowed brows indicated that he couldn’t really understand what she was saying. “Mahihirapan ka kasi hindi mo talaga ako kilala, at kahit ako hindi ko kilala kung sino ako. Mahirap ang sitwasyon, pero nasasayo kung tatanggapin mo.” She said.
“And what is it?” He asked. He was so anxious as he had a thought on what Maya was talking about.
“Boyfriend ko.” She said with a smile. Richard’s face suddenly lit up and hugged Maya tight. “That’s not even a punishment! Does that mean na sinasagot mo na ako?” He said.
Maya laughed and nodded as she hugged him back. “Oo. Girlfriend mo na ko. Pero mahirap din kaya ‘to.” She said.
“I don’t care. We’ll make it work. I promise.” He said and cupped her face to kiss her forehead. “I love you.” He whispered.
“Richard.” Maya called. His gaze flew to her eyes and just looked at her, urging her to speak. “I love you, too.”
They both had smiles on their face after that, cuddling as a couple for the first time. Maya took some selfies in her camera while Richard took one in his phone. The Ferris wheel continued to turn, now going down and so was their feelings, they continued to fall deeper and deeper in love with each other.
A/N : Sorry po kung nalelate ako minsan. Ang dami po kasing project ngayong finals. Salamat po sa patuloy na pagsubaybay sa stories ko!