“…then the King married the beautiful Princess and so she became the Queen…”
Richard looked down and smiled. The twins were asleep at last. Carefully, he bent to give Sunshine a kiss, pulled the blanket up over her shoulders, then stood to transfer Sky to his bed, tuck him in, and also give him a kiss. Finally! He glanced at the stack of books on the side table. Quietly, he padded over and reached for the one on top. It was Abby’s old slam book. He found it earlier while choosing a book to read to the twins. She must’ve accidentally included it when she gave some of her old stuff to her siblings. His wife had written her answers there when she was still Abby’s nanny and he wanted to read them again. Slowly, he opened it, carefully flipping the pages.
Richard Lim. His eyebrows rose in surprise and he smiled widely. Maya had written his name to the questions Who is your first kiss and Who is your first love. She had been too embarassed to add his name before. Scanning the page, he noted changes in her other answers as well. Tay Arturo’s, his, Luke’s, Nikki’s and the twins’ names were now included on her list of favorite people. She had also added anything my husband cooks for me, kahit sunog to her favorite food, making him chuckle; what made him proud, however, was her name. It was now Maya dela Rosa-Lim.
His phone rang and he hurried out the room as he answered it. “Sweetheart!”
“Sweetheart, sorry, ngayon lang ako nakatawag. Tulog na ba yung kambal?”
“Yes. Medyo late na ngang nakatulog kasi hindi pa inaantok.”
“Sayang, hindi ko naabutan.”
“Oo nga, eh. Naglambing pa nga. They wanted me to read them a story.”
“Ha? Naku, sweetheart, ilang beses ko nang inulit basahin yung mga libro dyan.”
“Kaya nga, kinwentuhan ko na lang sila.”
“Hm? Talaga?” Maya sounded dubious. Making up stories was not one of her husband’s strongest points. “Tungkol saan?”
“About the king who had forgotten how to smile.”
She giggled. “At saan mo naman nahugot yung kwento mong yan?”
“Well,” Richard glanced at the slam book in his hand, “I had inspiration.”
She heard the smile in his voice and raised an eyebrow. “Hmmm, teka lang, Mr. Lim, at sino naman ang inspirasyon mo dyan? Parang ang saya-saya mo, a. Hindi mo yata ako na-mi-miss katabi ngayong gabi.”
“Silly! You know I always miss you kapag hindi kita nakikita. You were my inspiration for my story, you know. You always find a way to make me smile, kahit wala ka dito.”
There was a little silence. Maya had a big grin on her face. Something about the way he spoke made her kilig and touched at the same time. “Asuus…sige na nga, gabing-gabi na. Bukas na lang tayo mag-bolahan.”
Richard laughed softly, picturing her reaction. “Anong oras ka nga pala darating bukas?”
“Two o’clock ETA, sweetheart.”
“Hindi pala kita masusundo.”
“Oo nga, e, pero ok lang din yun, para makauwi ako ng maaga. Matulungan ko si Sabel…O, sige na, sweetheart, matulog ka na, alam kong pagod ka. Goodnight! I love you!”
“I love you too. Ingat ka.”
Maya sat on the bed with a sigh. As she took off her shoes, she saw a book on Richard’s side table and curiously reached for it. Slam book ni Abby? A thought occurred to her, and she smiled. Ito pala yon. She realized what he was referring to last night. She opened it, turning the pages slowly, reading the names. She saw it right away. It was so untypical, so unexpected, yet so endearingly him. Just two words, but the sweetness brought a tear to her eye. On his page, below the question, who is your first love, Richard had written in capital letters, LAST LOVE, then her name, Maya Lim.
Richard smiled when he saw who was calling. He raised the the phone to his ear and waited.
I Love You.