Long-held Torch – Part 6

Author’s Note:  I would like to extend my appreciation to Ms Chuchy who always take the time to proofread my work prior to submission.

 

Maya’s brows knitted together  when she could not move. Along with the very heavy weight across her legs, there was another weight just below her breasts.  Both were effectively pinning her  down against the mattress. A moist warmth  was  trailing down  the side  of her neck as she felt something fondling her breast.  She involuntarily gasped as her nipple hardened  with deliberate strokes.  At the intense pleasurable sensations shooting down to her feminine core, Maya’s eyelids fluttered open while her hands instinctively  moved to still the cause. What she encountered was an arm, a rather muscular masculine arm!

Maya shrieked in alarm.

Then, she saw a head lifting  from the side of her neck.  And his chinito eyes were now peering down at her drowsily!  Her eyes rounded like saucers as she realised that it was Richard lying in bed with her!

Did he…?   Did they…?   Maya could not even frame the question in her head in sheer panic.  And because, her brain could not grasp what happened and what was still  happening, she screamed again in a futile effort to deny what her senses were perceiving.

A hand clamping  down on her mouth effectively cut off the blood-curdling sound. Maya glared mutely at Richard as she tried to pull down his hand by grabbing his wrist.

“Stop that!”  Richard  muttered  before removing his hand and jack-knifing out of  bed.

Maya sat up and checked herself. She realised that she was  still  wearing her clothes from yestereve. Somehow, she does not feel any different.  Her female friends  said  that a woman aches terribly afterwards.  She looked up as she felt Richard’s   watchful gaze on her.

“I did not touch you” Richard declared flatly when she glared up at him.

“Hah! Kaya nga ako nagising kasi hinahawakan mo ako!” she yelled back at him  while flushing in a deepest shade of  pink   “In fact, you were groping me!”

“Look, I did not realise what I was doing. I was still half-asleep.” Richard explained between his teeth. He was looking down at her with both hands on his hips.

Did he just say he was caressing her without knowing it was her?  Who the heck did he think he was in bed with? 

 

 If his excuse  was supposed to reassure Maya, it surely  missed the mark by a mile!

With her emotions in turmoil, Maya swung her legs on the side of the four-poster bed.

“Saan ka pupunta?”

“Uuwi nako!” Her light brown eyes shot daggers at him.

“Wait!”

“Don’t  touch me!”  Maya hissed as Richard tried to hold her arm.

Richard quickly held up both his arms with palms showing, in mock surrender stance.  Richard started to say something but Maya was beyond  the listening stage as she ran out. All she wanted was— to be out of  his bedroom!  ꜟAhora mismo!

At very early in the morning, everything was still in cloaked in darkness inside the villa.  She was disoriented as she went out of the master’s suite of rooms for everything was in chaos.  The light from the master’s suite was barely illuminating her way. There were wires hanging from the ceiling where lighting fixtures should be and the walls were patchy white with gypsum plaster marks in places.  Maya  bumped into a scaffolding which caused a box  of old light bulbs that was sitting on the  top platform  to crash all around her.  And because Maya could not see what spots to avoid, she stepped on a large sharp fragment and screamed in pain.

“Arayyyyyyyykup!!!”

“Now, what have you done Maya?”  Richard rasped as he caught up with her. “This is what usually happens when you go tramping about barefoot!!!”

Maya could see the top of Richard’s head  as he went down on his haunches to carefully inspect  her bleeding left foot.  As he lifted the injured limb, she had no choice but to hold onto him to steady herself.  Maya also noticed that he had slipped on a pair of chamois leather Sperry Topsiders.

He really does have a fine physique.

 

Maya absently admired Richard as her fingers held on to his wide shoulders. She could see his broad lats  muscles flexing as he bent down for a closer look at her injury.  Maya stifled a moan as she closed her eyes to blot out the visual stimulation.

Richard looked up at her with concern, mistaking her moan for pain.

“It’s a very deep cut with the glass still embedded in the flesh. We need to take it out.”  Richard looked up expectantly at her, waiting for a response.

Maya’s lips wobbled, this time  with the pain that was beginning to throb at that point.  Then, she nodded.  Richard took that as her agreement for treatment. Then he was lifting her again and carrying her back towards the master’s suite.

“Ibaba mo ko. Pwede naman akong maglakad!”  Maya was struggling in his hold.

“Maya, stop it!” Richard growled as he almost dropped her among the scattered broken light bulbs.

“I can walk! Put me down!” Maya protested.

“Kapag hindi ka tumigil, hahalikan kita!” Richard roared like a tiger.

The threat instantly halted  her  flailing movements.  All she could do was shoot daggers at him with her eyes.  Richard merely smirked as he spared  her a fleeting glance. He went past the huge four-poster to go into the adjoining bathroom.  Maya could only hold on to him and look back at the trail of blood droplets behind.

Richard flicked the toilet seat cover  closed with his Sperry-shod foot before seating Maya on top. Richard disappeared for a few seconds to put on his specs before kneeling down in front of her. He gently took the glass shards out of her left foot and more blood oozed out. He probed with light fingers to avoid inflicting any more pain than necessary.

“I think I have taken everything out.  But we need to go to the emergency clinic so that it can be properly cleaned and likely stitched…”  Richard said as if to himself  while  wrapping the injury with gauze bandage from the medicine cabinet.

“Naku hindi na.  Uuwi nako.”  Maya argued as she stood up and tried to walk with her injured foot. She gasped in pain and almost toppled over if it weren’t for Richard’s fast action. Maya felt her wound bleeding again.

“Bakit ba ang tigas ng ulo mo…I am beginning to think you want me to kiss you…?”  Richard voice became a whispher.

“Don’t you dare!” Maya protested, feeling vulnerable within his hold.

Richard laughed in that deep throaty voice of his. He shook his head. “I don’t know what kind of men you have dealt with before, my dear lovely Maya. But you don’t dare a man not to kiss you.  It just makes me want to do the exact opposite.”

Maya could only anticipate and dread as his head started coming down until his nose was just a millimetre away from hers. He was looking down at her with his chinito eyes mere slits.  Maya could not breathe as she uncomfortably shifted within his hold. She winced when she accidentally propped her full weight on her injured left foot.

Richard expelled a mirthless laugh “Once again, you have been given a reprieve. Next time, you won’t be, hmmnnn?”

Reprieve? What on earth was he talking about?

Richard led her back to the toilet seat and ordered her to sit still.  She remained silent as he retreated back to the bedroom.  Maya was left confused.

Was he threatening that he will kiss her next time?  Really, this flirtation really needs  to stop. It is already causing a lot of havoc to her senses.

Richard  went to look for his black denim pants, unmindful that she could see him  stripping just wearing a pair of white briefs from her vantage point. Then, he turned to grab a red US Polo Assn collared shirt. That was when her mouth went dry as she had a visual on his flat abs.  When her gaze further lowered to his turgid ‘lower’ profile, Maya involuntarily gulped in shock.  She immediately turned her head away for  she did not want to be accused of  perving  despite feeling the rush of heat.

Richard came back and knelt to wrap  her foot in a fresh white towel. “That will have to do. Now, stay there and I will get the vehicle ready.”

With that Richard disappeared for a couple of minutes. When he came back, he was talking to someone via a bluetooth device that was hooked over his left ear. “Is that the nearest? Okey, send me the closest route ASAP  as the GPS signals are weak in some parts of the island. I don’t want to mock around with the navigator before I even had my first cup of coffee.  And Lisa, call the medical facility and send them the details of the accident. Name of patient is MAYA, M for Mary,  A for Alpha, Y for Yankee,  and A for Alpha. Surname DELA ROSA, D for Delta, E for Echo, L for Lima, A for Alpha, R for Romeo, O for Oscar, S for Sierra and A for Alpha. Maya dela Rosa—yes, she’s Atty. Ryan’s sister.  Please double-check if they have the staff and facility for a minor surgery.  Also, I expect she will require anti-tetanus shots and maybe antibiotic shots.”

Richard was firing more instructions to his PA  that Maya felt sorry for the woman. It was barely 4 am and he was already a very demanding boss. Maya hoped this unknown PA gets paid really well to be at Richard’s beck and call  twenty-four/seven.

Maya refrained from further arguing when Richard carried her to the backseat  of the Toyota Land Cruiser.  Richard insisted on elevating her  towel-wrapped foot up on the seat.   He even clicked her seatbelt in place.

As it was still before daybreak, the trip to the medical facility took longer as Richard missed a couple of turns and had to backtrack  a few times.  It was a good thing that he was good at following  the online map that his PA Lisa sent. He was able to recognise landmarks even in the dark.  When they arrived though, Richard ignored the wheel chair and proceeded to bring her directly into one of the emergency cubicles  and started barking orders that flustered the front desk clerk  and triage nurse.

When she was  finally admitted properly, one of the nurses approached her.

“Uuuy, Maya,”  a pretty short haired morena greeted her “Remember me? We were batchmates in school.”

“Yes, I remember you. Classmate ka ni Simon, diba?” Maya smiled at the nurse in light blue scrubs suit.

“Oo, Lourdes.  Pero Lulu na lang. Kamusta ka na? Balita ko kay Simon international  flight attendant ka na daw.”

“Oo, nagbabakasyon lang ako.  Pero sa Manila ako nag-stay.  Meron akong flatmate na FA din.”

Lulu glanced to the side where Richard was speaking with the doctor.  “In fairness, ang gwapo ng husband mo, ah!”

Maya blinked, taken aback with the presumption. “Naku, hindi ko husband yan.”

“Aaaah!  Boyfriend mo pa lang…andaming kinikilig  sa  reception nang dumating kayo. Kasi parang ayaw kang bitawan kani—”

‘Teka, hindi ko rin siya boyfriend.” Maya corrected.

That information had Lulu stopping in mid-sentence. “Huh? Eh, ano mo siya?”

“Nothing,  he’s a family friend.”   Maya could see that Lulu was looking at her in disbelief.

When the two men approached, the male doctor smiled at Maya after reading the notes on the clipboard in his hand. “Good morning, Miss Maya dela Rosa, that’s still a miss right? I’m Dr. Gabriel  Marquez.”

Maya nodded while looking at Richard who was now frowning at the doctor. Lulu closed the curtains for privacy and  was about to approach Richard but his very  stern expression stopped her. The doctor also looked at Richard but thought better than to ask him to leave. Maya could sense that he will not budge even when asked to leave the treatment room. He was like a sentinel standing a few feet away with legs apart, and arms folded in front of him

“Let’s have a look”  Dr. Gabriel said cheerfully.

Maya was given a local anaesthesia before the wound was thoroughly cleaned and treated with antiseptic.  Afterwards, Dr. Gabriel did a couple of stitches to avoid wound dehiscence. Maya was also given an anti-tetanus  shot after Richard informed that she had been walking around barefoot before getting cut  by broken antique light bulbs.

Before leaving, Dr. Gabriel was smiling broadly as he gave Maya a script for paracetamol  and  amoxicillin before warmly telling her to take care of herself.

“I will take care of her.” Richard declared  after coming back from settling the bill, obviously hearing what the Spanish-mestizo doctor said.   He scooped up Maya in his arms again and marched outside. Maya was fascinated with his serious profile especially with the nerve ticking at his temple.

“Mananakit ang likod mo sa kabubuhat mo sakin”  Maya warned him, oblivious to the hospital staff  and  patients milling around the exit way.

He ignored her and continued to ignore her until they reached Maya’s home.  Nanay Teresita and Mamang fussed over her  after Richard seated her on the cushioned narra lounge.   Nanay Teresita took the small bag of prescription  medication from Maya and started reading the labels.

“Ano bang nangyari sa inyo?”  asked Mamang. Maya related the long story minus some ‘parental guidance’ scenes.

“Ang tigas kasi ng ulo mo, bunso” reprimanded Cristina Rose  “mabuti na lang si Kuya Richard ang kasama mo kagabi. Kung hindi baka na paano ka na.”

At that ironic statement, Maya pursed her lips while Richard smiled enigmatically.  Richard stood up and said his farewells after seeing her settled.  “Maya, tutuloy nako.  Pahinga ka.  Babalik ako mamayang gabi.”

“Haaaa? Bakit? Okey na naman ako. You don’t need to check on me.” Maya argued.

“I was not going to…”  Richard said softly while smiling warmly down at her.  Maya can feel everyone’s gaze were  focused at both of them. She even caught Cristina Rose’s eyes popping out while Nanay Teresita was  kinikilig.

“Hindi na kailangan.  Hindi na nga masakit, eh.”  That was due to the painkillers she took at the medical clinic.

“But I need to see you,” Richard insisted  “how else can I pay court?”

“Haaaaaa?” That was Mamang and Cristina Rose in unison.

“I will see you all later.” Richard nodded to the Dela Rosa ladies before flashing his most charming bedimpled lop-sided smile at Maya.

There was silence until Richard  was nowhere in sight. Then, Maya got the third degree.

“Bunso, isara mo yang bibig mo at baka pasukin ng langaw!”  Cristina Rose teased Maya.

“Tama ba yung intindi ko? Aakyat mamaya ng ligaw si Richaaard?”  Mamang asked her daughter with a very loud voice.

“Opo, nay. Manliligaw na si Richard kay Maya.”  Nanay Teresita giggled like a  teenager.

“Kaya pala hindi ka mapakali kagabi. Ikaw pa ang nagpunta sa kanya” teased  Cristina Rose.

“Naku, hindi ko siya pinuntahan, ah!  Ang pinuntahan ko yung lumang bahay, ” denied Maya.

“Tapos magdamag kayong magkasama! Maya Dela Rosa, meron ba kaming dapat malaman, ha?” Mamang glared at Maya.

“Naku, Mamang! Huwag po kayong mag-alala. Wala pong nangyari.” Maya denied quickly.

So, what about the early morning ‘making-out’ scene on the bed and the ‘almost ‘kissing’  scene in the ensuite bathroom?  Can those be dismissed as nothing?

“Bakit parang disappointed ka, bunso?”  jeered  Cristina Rose, her brows wagging suggestively at her youngest sibling.

“Tigilan mo ko Kute,” protested Maya once more.

“Tigilan, eh kinikilig ka diyan!”  Cristina Rose was rolling her eyes heavenwards.

“Hindi ah!”

“Denial queen!”  retorted Cristina Rose “Hoy, kung ikaw nakakalimutan mo na, ako hindi.  Inamin mo na kaya sakin yan nuon, ha!”

Maya scrunched up her eyes. She had forgotten about her  post-graduation holiday break.   Maya was euphoric for she had just graduated from her tourism degree  as Magna Cum Laude and had received confirmation of her acceptance at Time Airways. To celebrate, Cristina Rose treated her to her first drinking session which also included her Nanay Teresita and Mamang.  When the older women had retired to bed that night, Maya’s tongue got lose and admitted to having a mammoth crush on Richard for years. However, they never discussed the matter again until now.

“Anong inamin?” asked Nanay Teresita, her expectant look transferring from one daughter to the other.

“Kuteeeeeee!” Maya protested but she knew it was a losing battle.

“Na matagal na niyang crush si Kuya Richard” declared Cristina Rose. There!   Maya’s secret was out!

Mamang and Nanay Teresita both squealed in delight which had the younger  Dela Rosa females laughing. Maya missed moments like these. Only her family can truly  empathise with what she feels, even before she acknowledges it herself.

“Nay, alam nyo bang nabili na ni Richard yung lumang bahay?” asked Maya trying to veer away from the topic that she has not yet properly processed herself. Heck,  she felt weird just referring to him by his first name. Cristina Rose did not miss this fact though for she mouthed his name exaggeratedly,   albeit silently at Maya.

“Ha?  Hindi ko alam yan. Wala namang sinasabi sakin ang Kuya Ryan mo.  Pero okey yan. Kung kayo ang magkakatuluyan, malapit lang ang bahay niyo.”

“Uuuyyyyy, future Mrs. Richard Lim!  Kaya pala parang bagong kasal yung peg nyo kanina.”  Cristina Rose referred to Richard carrying her into the house.

“Kuteeeeee!”

“Excuse me, bunso,” Cristina Rose got up  and joked “Pakihawi mo lang yang hair mo at baka mapatid ako.”

Maya can’t help but giggle at that ridiculous remark. Mamang, Nanay Teresita obviously found it funny, too.

When Maya retreated to her bedroom and was finally alone, she could not help but smile giddily as she sat on her single bed.  Ever since she set foot again on San Nicholas,   Richard had been literally dogging her steps and had been so attentive.  And now, she just needed  to  express  the  kilig she’s feeling.  Grabbing her pillow, Maya screamed into its softness to stifle most of the sound.

She still can’t take it in.  Richard likes her! And he likes her enough to  properly  court her  the old fashioned way,  with her family watching.

Yet, Maya just can not visualise Richard courting her, or any girl for that matter. Maya was fully aware that Richard had  been with lots of women even before her Kuya Ryan highlighted that fact. At 35 years, good-looking,  single,  wealthy  and CEO of his own incorporated company,  Richard would be considered prize-catch by many women. Maya would bet that he almost never had the need to court any woman he wanted. How often had she opened the newspaper to see his snap shot at a building inauguration or  a big social event with a beautiful woman clinging on his arm? The frequency was just a tad too many through the years.

Maya was still distracted with thoughts of  Richard  even after taking a rather complicated shower with her left foot covered  up in cling wrap. Maya’s shoulder-length hair were all over her face as she was combing through it in front of the electric fan, when Cristina Rose rapped on her door excitedly.

“Bunsoooo, ayan naaaaaa…nag-umpisa na  ng ligaaaaaw!!!”

Maya flicked her hair back in reaction.  She remembered Richard saying that he will return this evening. She frowned as the solar heat was just intensifying outside.  Maya  quickly glanced up at the analogue wall clock above her bedroom door.  It  indicated  a couple of minutes before 12 noon!

“Tanghaling tapat?” Maya was incredulous  at  Richard’s timing.  “Chinese-style   talaga ang panliligaw?”

to be continued…

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