Maya’s eyes automatically welled with tears upon seeing Ricky.
“Who knows how long I’ve loved you
You know I love you still
Will I wait a lonely lifetime
If you want me to, I will
For if I ever saw you
I didn’t catch your name
But it never really mattered
I will always feel the same
Love you forever and forever
Love you with all my heart
Love you whenever we’re together
Love you when we’re apart
And when at last I find you
Your song will fill the air
Sing it loud so I can hear you
Make it easy to be near you
For the things you do endear you to me
Oh, you know I will
Ricky was singing while playing the piano.
She never knew that he could sing and play and she never imagined that he would do it for her in front of many people.
He was staring at her lovingly that Maya had to fight the urge to run to him and wrap her arms around him and give him a kiss.
They were in the middle of the stage and many parents were there.
When the song ended, Ricky stood up and approached Maya.
The kids started singing the song again while he was now in front of Maya.
Even some of the parents in the audience joined in singing as they were moved by what was happening before their very eyes.
Ricky held Maya’s hands and guided her to stand.
“Ricky… paano mo nagawa to?”
He just smiled at her then fished something out of his pocket before kneeling.
Maya’s heart was beating fast in anticipation of what was happening.
The moment Ricky kneeled, she was already sure of what’s going on.
“Maya the first time I ever laid my eyes on you, I am already sure that you are very special, that you will have a very important role in my life. You have captured my heart the moment I saw you and Luke. Years have passed and my love for you remained the same, stronger even. I want to be with you forever, to build a life together. I am praying that you want that too.”
Ricky was also nervous while doing this. He had been practicing the most important speech of his life. He had revised it many times but ended up deciding that he will just go with what he feels. He would just pour his heart out.
“Maya, will you marry me?”
Maya was so overwhelmed that she was unable to speak.
She couldn’t believe that her Richard, her Ricky followed her. And he was kneeling in front of her and proposing.
It took her a few seconds before giving her reply.
With tears already flowing down her cheeks…
“Yes Ricky I will marry you. Yes. I want to be your wife.”
The crowd were all cheering, some of the parents and co-workers of Maya were even teary eyed.
Then Ricky slowly stood up. He held her face tenderly the kissed her forehead, the tip of her nose and was about to kiss her lips when Maya shyly whispered to him…
“Ricky may mga bata.”
He anticipated this already and was ready for it.
Then on cue all the kids covered their eyes while their parents were laughing at their synchronized gesture.
Right that moment, Ricky took the chance to kiss Maya on her lips.
As they broke the kiss, everyone stood up and applauded the couple. They were clapping their hands and shouting their best wishes to the couple.
That was when Maya realized that seated together with Emman were her Ate Cris, Kuya Jeff, Cho and she was so surprised to see Ricky’s parents Roberto and Esmeralda and also best friends Celeste and Ryan. Even his secretary Liza was there.
She was so happy that she hugged Ricky and cried on his chest.
“Ricky naman. Sobra sobra naman tong ginawa mo.”
“Hey mababasa na shirt ko. Dapat pala nagdala ako ng towel. Ang iyakin mo talaga.”
She pinched him slightly and whispered while still in his arms.
“Ikaw kasi eh. Grabe ka magpakilig. At grabe naman ang paghahanda mo.”
“Of course I want what’s best for you.”
Then while still embracing her, he took the opportunity to thank everyone involved in his elaborate proposal.
“Thank you Inah, thank you Cris, Jeff, Cho, Emman, Celeste, Ryan, Liza, Ma, Pa and to all the parents and school staff here. Thank you kids for helping Tito Ricky in singing for your Teacher Maya.”
Maya wasn’t aware that after their 2nd Skype session, Ricky already planned on following her.
It meant that during all their succeeding online chats, he was actually already in Dubai and was preparing for his proposal.
With the help of Jeff, who was friends with some of Maya’s coworkers, they were able to practice with the kids without Maya’s knowledge.
It was easy because the kids loved Maya so much and they also wanted to surprise her.
After the proposal, Ricky and Maya joined the celebration of the kids and teachers which they usually do during the closing ceremony of the school year.
They stayed for a few minutes. Ricky got a glimpse of how everyone loved Maya especially the kids. Even the parents knew her and loved her.
Maya was very good with kids. This was one of her qualities that endeared her to him.
The couple said their goodbyes after a few minutes. They will be joining their families and friends.
Their friends, Ryan, Celeste and Emman already went ahead of the couple together with Liza, Ricky’s parents and Maya’s family.
They proceeded to the restaurant at the hotel they’ve been using for the past few days that they were in Dubai.
Ricky asked Liza to arrange everything from the accommodations and plane tickets for their stay in Dubai.
Liza had reserved a table for them at the restaurant where they will be having lunch after the proposal.
When Ricky shared with them his intention of following Maya and proposing to her, they all knew that it would make Maya very happy and feel very special.
Everyone was excited and happy for Ricky and Maya and they easily agreed to accompany Ricky to Dubai as he was about to propose to the woman he loves so much.
Doc Ryan and Doc Celeste and even Emman readily took a leave from their work just to be able to celebrate this very special moment with the couple.
Roberto and Esmeralda Lim were so supportive that they even shouldered all expenses for the accommodations and plane tickets even Ricky didn’t ask them to. They coordinated with Liza on this.
The couple arrived shortly and joined them for lunch.
“Ricky, I must admit but you beat your papa in what you did right there. Aba! I didn’t even know you could sing at maganda pala boses mo.”
“Ma, you’re embarrassing me.”
“No. It’s true di ba Maya? Atsaka dagdag, what do they call that? Ah pogi points. Am I right Maya?”
“Ah eh opo. Sobrang nadagdagan ng kumanta at tumugtog siya.”
“See what I meant son?”
They were all laughing at mama Esmeralda’s quips at Ricky’s expense.
“Alam mo Bessie, I was literally jumping with joy ng tumawag si Doc Ricky and he shared his plans. Ang saya saya ko for both of you. Alam nyo naman. Ako ang earliest witness sa pagmahahalan ng dalawang to. I knew it. Mahal na mahal ni Doc Ricky si Bessie noon pa man.”
Richard just smiled as he remembered his earlier encounters with Maya and her son Luke.
“Tama ka Emman. At eto si Ricky, aba halos matulog na sa hospital noon para lang makasama palagi sina Maya.” Ryan added.
“Nothing beats this. Ricky actually stood me up sa isang dinner with a friend he set up for me. He was supposed to be my chaperon. Aba hindi sumipot at pinagsolo ba naman ako at yun pala was the time he first met Maya and Luke accidentally.”
Maya was surprised learning these things.
“Yun sa taxi ba yun Ricky?” Maya asked.
He smiled at her and admitted it.
“Naku Maya before he met you lagi lang yan nakahospital attire or yun kanyang boring wardrobe. When he met you akalain mo naglevel up yun damit ni Ricky. Maporma. Oh well gwapo at maporma naman talaga tong kaibigan ko kahit na anong isuot nya but he took effort to really look good. Nagpasalon pa nga yan.” Ryan was teasing his friend.
“Hey brod, you’re exaggerating. Di ako pumupunta sa salon.”
“Yan naman si Maya, kaya pala hindi pinapansin kung sino sino na ang ipakilala namin. Ayun naman pala, si Doc Ricky ang very special person sa puso nya.”
“Ate Cris. Wala namang laglagan.” Maya pleaded.
“Naku bunso eh totoo naman yun sinasabi ko. Atsaka may lagi kang pinaghahandaan na araw, magluluto ka, magsisimba tapos magkukulong sa kwarto. Ewan ko kung ano ang ginagawa mo sa kwarto. Birthday pala ni Doc Ricky yun mga araw na yun.”
Ricky was so amused and happy to learn that Maya didnt forget him too.
Sumabat si Emman.
“My God Bessie! Alam kong may picture ka ni Doc Ricky tapos nagkukulong ka sa kwarto? Siguro you’re fantasizing about him. Yiiiiiii!!!!”
Namula si Maya.
Ricky gathered a very embarrassed, blushing Maya in his arms.
“Hey guys tama na at baka mapikon si Maya magbackout pa to.” Ricky asked them to stop teasing her.
“Naku hinding hindi yan magbabackout Doc Ricky. She wouldn’t do that. Crush na crush ka rin kaya nyan ni Bessie kahit nung earlier days pa lang. Kilig na kilig kapag bumibisita ka sa kwarto ni Luke.” Emman added.
“Really Maya?” Ricky asked Maya who was still blushing but trying to maintain a cool, brave, unaffected front.
“Lahat naman may crush sa’yo sa hospital. Normal lang yun.”
“Anong normal Mayabels eh halos matanggal na yun arms ko sa kakahila mo tuwing dumadalaw si Doc sa apartment. My poor arms! Biktima ng kilig ni Bessie. Pasalamat ka doctor ang love of your life at madali nya akong mabibigyan ng prosthetic arms if ever naputol nga yun arms ko.”
“Emman I hate you. Akala ko best friend kita.”
“I love you Bessie!”
Mas inasar pa nya lalo si Maya.
Cho who was just listening to all of their banters blurted out.
“Tita Maya, si Tito Ricky pala yun nasa story mo? Yun doctor na gumamot sa heart ng mommy ng nawala yun baby nya? Yun sinasabi mong mukhang prince na singkit na doctor?” Cho innocently asked.
Maya couldn’t speak.
She could deny what Emman was saying but never what Cho said. Hiyang hiya na siya to the amusement of Ricky.
“Uy bunso sagutin mo si Cho.”
“Ah eh… oo Cho. Si Tito Ricky nga yun.” She answered as she buried her face in Ricky’s chest in embarrassment.
“Hey guys enough na talaga.” Ricky requested with finality.
“Nakakakilig naman kayong dalawa. Naku Ricky ang swerte swerte mo. Nakakainggit kayo.” Celeste joined in.
“Don’t worry Celeste. Bukas mamamasyal tayo dito sa Dubai.” Si Ryan.
“Sabi ko na nga ba, kayong dalawa rin naman sa huli.” Ricky teased his best friends, relieved that the attention was on them now.
“Hoy Richard! Kung biro man yan, hindi ka nakakatuwa!” Celeste replied.
“Hindi ko naman yan idadate Ricky. Mamamasyal kami sa Dubai para maghanap ng possible lovelife nya. Akala nyo ako? No way!”
“Isa pa Ryan ha!”
They all enjoyed their lunch as they celebrated the couple.
Richard’s parents Roberto and Esmeralda, Ryan, Celeste and even Liza already went back to the Philippines after a week of stay in Dubai.
Emman returned to Canada as well.
They visited famous tourist destinations in the area after Richard’s proposal with Maya as their tour guide.
They wanted to stay longer but they have work and they also wanted to give the couple time for themselves.
Maya was very happy to learn that Ricky extended their stay for a month.
He knows that Maya would love to stay longer for her family and friends. He, on the other hand also wanted to enjoy their time together, far from work.
They were now at Maya’s house watching TV after a tiring day visiting famous places.
“You mean hindi mo pa napupuntahan ang mga lugar na yun?”
“Hindi. Wala naman akong time. Atsaka wala naman akong hilig sa mga pasyal pasyal.”
“Really? Alam ko you love travelling. O baka naman ayaw mo kasi hindi mo ako kasama?”
“Ay ang yabang mo Ricky! Pero sige, tama ka naman. Mas masaya mamasyal kapag kasama ka.”
“Siyempre masaya gawin ang lahat ng bagay kapag kasama ka.”
“Yun ganito, kahit simpleng panonood ng TV, simpleng kwentuhan. Masaya kapag kasama kita Ricky.”
She stared at him lovingly.
Ricky smiled and held her face, slowly laying his lips on hers, kissing her slowly, tenderly. Maya responded by following his lead.
Then their kisses turned urgent and demanding. Maya’s body vibrated with heat and anticipation from what Ricky is doing to her.
His lips are now travelling down her collarbone and shoulders and Maya was lost.
She allowed him. She was his. He was about to unbutton her blouse when they heard her Kuya Jeff’s car.
Her sister’s family arrived from their appointment with the doctor.
Maya and Ricky quickly fixed themselves while trying to recover from the kisses they shared.
“Sorry Maya. I got carried away. Sorry.”
Ricky was still breathing heavily.
She held his face and gave her a swift yet tender kiss on his lips.
“Ano ka ba! Bakit nagsosorry ka? Di naman ako galit. Parehas naman tayong nadala eh. Okay lang yun Ricky. I love you.”
“I love you so much Maya.”
Then he gave her another kiss on her lips which started to turn passionate again as the front door opened and they quickly disengaged from each other.
“Oh bunso nandito pala kayo ni Ricky? Kumain na kayo? Oh bakit ganyan ang hitsura nyong dalawa?”
“Ah eh nanonood kasi kami ng horror film.”
“Aynaku bunso magpapalusot ka pa. Matanda na kayo at hindi naman ako nanay na magbabawal sa inyo. Atsaka wag ka ngang pademure dyan. May anak ka na no! Binata na nga dapat si Luke. Eto talaga!”
Ricky was amused with the way Cris talks to Maya.
She’s very frank and very realistic too.
But he has to leave and allow Maya to spend her last few days in Dubai with her family.
He will have her for himself anyway when they return to the Philippines.