Amor brought Carlo to their attic and showed him the picture of Richard Lim.
Carlo was holding the photograph with trembling fingers. It had the same message in Nanay Fe’s picture of Maya dela Rosa.
He stared at Amor with eyes full or worry and fear. Amor’s eyes also mirrored the same apprehension he has.
He gathered her in his arms.
“I wasn’t even aware that picture has been here for the longest time Carlo. The day I saw you at the bank, I was led here by a force I don’t even know. That’s when I realized that the face occupying my dreams really existed before. May Richard Lim pala talaga and hindi ko alam kung bakit nasa ancestors ko ang picture na yan.”
Carlo even hugged her tighter, afraid that Amor might also suddenly fade like Maya dela Rosa in his dreams.
“Amor, may picture din si Nanay. Picture naman ni Maya dela Rosa.”
“Carlo anong nangyayari? Why do we look like them? Sino sila?”
“Hindi ko rin alam Amor pero si Nanay, pwede kong tanungin si Nanay. Ikaw? Bakit may photograph ni Richard Lim na nakatago sa mga gamit nyo? Is he related to your family?”
The moment he mentioned about the possibility of Amor being related to Richard Lim, Amor recoiled, a sense of guilt engulfed her.
It may be possible that she was indeed related to the man in the picture. Just a couple of minutes ago, she made love to the person who looked exactly like him.
She extricated herself from Carlo’s embrace but sensing her worries, he didn’t let go. He engulfed her tighter in his arms and kissed her forehead.
“I know what you’re thinking Amor. Whoever Richard and Maya was, they lived during the 1800s. They were long gone more than a century ago. They couldn’t dictate what we’re feeling towards each other so please let’s stop worrying.”
“Pero Carlo pano kung kamag-anak nga natin sila? Oh my God! We even slept together!”
“Hey… There’s nothing wrong with what we did.”
Amor was now worried.
“To shed light to this mystery, I will ask Nanay about the picture. She may know something about Maya dela Rosa. But Amor, whatever she would reveal, it won’t change what i feel for you.”
“Carlo natatakot ako. What if we’re related? What if attracted lang tayo sa isa’t isa dahil kina Richard at Maya? What if they are just guiding us to feel what we are feeling now? Paano if bigla na tayong magising at hindi na natin kilala ang isa’t isa? Or wala naman pala tayong gusto sa isa’t isa bilang tayo? Paano kung bawal….”
He stopped what she was about to say.
“If that happens, which I doubt it would, let’s just stare into each other’s eyes because deep inside I am sure we will find ourselves and deep in our hearts we will find what we truly feel for each other. Let’s trust each other.”
“But Carlo we don’t even know what we have. Ano bang meron tayo? We just spent a night together. Maybe we’re just emotional awhile ago, maybe nadala lang tayo ng pagkakataon. Baka…”
“No! Don’t say that. When you accompanied me when my father died, I got to know you more. That’s when I felt that you’re special. I even told you that I want to know you better.”
She just nodded her head.
Carlo, having felt the eerieness in that attic, held Amor’s hand and led her back to the bedroom.
They just laid beside each other. Both of them are in deep thoughts of what mystery lies ahead.
Both of them are hoping that they are indeed free to love each other as Carlo and Amor.
Two days after…
Amor was hosting a dinner party at her home for the orphanage she was supporting.
She invited Carlo but he went home to Benguet. He wanted to visit his mother and ask her about their connection to Maya dela Rosa. He told her that he needed to clear things once and for all for them to freely love each other.
As the dinner party progressed, Amor got to meet the other benefactors of the orphanage.
She got to meet Leandro Natividad who is the head of an accounting firm based in Manila who was also planning to put up a firm in Punta Verde. The guy made sure to be invited to the dinner party for he wants to meet the very famous and influential, Amor Powers who will definitely be of great help in his future plans in Punta Verde.
Also at the dinner party were the brothers, Eduardo and Diego Buenavista, who, despite Amor’s obvious efforts to avoid them, were still relentless in pursuing her for their own political and business gains.
Amor was getting bored pretending to enjoy the party with these people. She knows they only wanted to be affiliated with her for her influence, money and power.
The kids of the orphanage, which made Amor enjoy the party have gone home already and now she was forced to pretend to be having fun with these people she considers hypocrites and users.
She also misses Carlo so much and couldn’t wait any longer to talk to him even on the phone so she asked to be excused from the party for a few minutes. She told her guests that she needs to make an important phone call.
She successfully got away from the party and chose to make the call at the garden where few people from catering were still busy cleaning the area. This was where the kids enjoyed the food and games few hours ago.
“Hi Amor. Kumusta naman yung party? I miss you.”
“Carlo, it was fun and the kids were great. The grown-ups are those I can’t stand.”
He chuckled on the other line. He was aware of what she meant.
“Hey be a good host, okay? Besides ginagawa mo to para sa mga bata.”
“Yes I know but I am bored here and I really miss you already.”
“I miss you too. Uuwi na rin naman ako in 3 days. I guess Nanay will already agree in moving there.”
“Oh that’s great. Have you asked her about the photo already?”
“Hindi pa. Humahanap pa ako ng tyempo. She was very emotional the past days and baka magtampo siya sakin. But don’t worry. I will get to the bottom of this.”
“Okay Carlo. You take care of yourself there.”
“Yes Amor. Sayang sana nandito ka. Ang lamig pa naman dito. I could use a hug right now.”
“Ikaw talaga. We had much hugging already before you left. Kulang pa ba yun?”
“It will never be enough when it comes to you Amor. I can’t get enough of you.”
“Stop that Carlo! I’m already feeling uneasy here and I still have many guests waiting for me inside.”
He chuckled and she shyly smiled like she was really in front of him.
She vividly remembered the night they shared and the day after that.
They can’t seem to want to be apart that both ended up cancelling all their appointments the following day after their first night together.
Amor even instructed her staff to leave her alone at home that day. She wanted to be be free that day. She wanted to enjoy every minute of it with the man she already fell in love with, Carlo.
She was still remembering the things that she and Carlo did when she was jolted back to the phone conversation they were having.
“Bakit natahimik ka Amor? Is anything wrong?”
“Ah nothing. I just remembered our time together days ago.” She absentmindedly blurted out and felt embarrassed all of a sudden.
She was usually a very calculated and cerebral person but with Carlo, her heart seemed more dominant.
He grinned at the other line. His thoughts were also suddenly brought back to the night and day she was talking about. He felt hot all over imagining the things they did.
“God Amor! You really make me want to run to you and have more of those moments.”
“Let’s end this conversation now Carlo. I think I look flushed just talking about it. This is not the appropriate place pa naman. Mamaya na lang when I’m already in bed ituloy natin ang ganitong usapan.”
“Amor! You’re such a tease. You’re making me suffer here.”
Before he could say anything more, she ended the call.
Amor couldn’t wipe the silly grin off her face and Carlo needs a very cold shower despite the very cold weather of Benguet.
On her way back to her guests, Amor met the person in charge of the catering. She was accompanied by Amor’s friend, Betty Mae.
“Amor teka lang. May gusto akong ipakilala sa’yo.”
Amor was still playing her conversation with Carlo on her mind that she didn’t notice Betty Mae at once.
“Huy Amor! At sino naman ang iniisip natin at hindi matanggal ang mga ngiti sa labi mo?” Then she whispered close to her ear.. “Si Eduardo yan no?”
“Of course not!” She countered in a higher-than-usual voice.
“Hey wagas ka naman kung makareact!”
“He is the least of my concerns Betty Mae. And please stop teasing me to him. We are over years ago already. At hinding hindi ko na gugustuhing balikan pa ang nakaraan.” She was clearly upset.
“O sige I’m sorry. Di na kita tutuksuhin sa kanya. Gusto ko lang ipakilala sa’yo yun head ng catering na nagpakain sa nating lahat ng sobrang masasarap na putahe.”
She calmed down and gave the woman, who was quietly waiting to be noticed, an appreciative smile.
“Amor meet Cecilia Macaraeg. She owns the canteen and catering business sa bayan.”
“Magandang gabi po Miss Powers. Maraming salamat po at nabigyan kami ng pagkakataon na magcater dito sa inyo. Napakalaking bagay po nito sa negosyo namin.”
“Oh Ms. Macaraeg. Napakasarap ng mga inihanda nyo. Maraming salamat din at nabusog kaming lahat lalo na yung mga bata.”
“Salamat po at nagustuhan nyo yun naihanda namin.”
“Oo naman. Masarap kang magluto at hindi tipid sa mga sangkap. Dati rin kasi akong nagluluto kaya alam ko. Well, sasabihin ko yun secretary ko na kayo na rin ang kunin sa mga susunod pang mga parties at ano pa mang mga salo-salo na gagawin dito.”
“Naku maraming salamat po Miss Powers.”
Cecilia was even teary-eyed when presented with the opportunity. Her new catering business really needed it.
“O sige Ms. Macaraeg. Maraming salamat ulit. I need to go back to my visitors.”
Betty Mae accompanied Cecilia while Amor went back to her visitors.
It was already 2 in the morning when Amor finally got ready for bed. She just finished her shower and was now under her thick comforter. She was about to sleep when her phone rang. Upon seeing Carlo’s name, she smiled and took the call.
“Carlo umaga na ah. Gising ka pa rin?”
“Hindi ako makatulog eh. Kasi di ba sabi mo itutuloy natin ang usapan natin kanina.”
“Carlo ano ka ba!” She was giddy and really affected already even by just the mere mention by Carlo of what she promised a few hours ago.
He also smiled at the other line. He was also in bed, about to sleep but he couldn’t help but think of Amor.
“So Amor, where were we?” He teasingly asked…
“Carlo ano ka ba!!!”
Then both their rooms at the separate locations they are in, became witness of their naughty conversations with ocassional giggles, groans, moans, some cussing and laughter.
They indeed can’t get enough of each other.
Si Carlo at Amor yan ha! Not Ricky and Maya.
CarMor … when you want them to do the things Ricky and Maya shouldn’t or couldn’t do, hahaha!