Archive for August 2nd, 2014

Suddenly Love – Chapter 1

Chapter 1
Jet-lagged and jolted

Maya parked her car in the first space she found in the basement parking of her company’s building. Then, she hit the elevator going to her office fast. She is running late. Maya has not been sleeping properly the past several days since she returned from Europe. Jet lag usually hit her harder when she gets home, than when she is wherever she was that was several time zones ahead or behind that of the Philippines. Compounding her inability to sleep properly, is the thought of him. He even invaded her dreams. Maya can’t still understand what exactly happend to him, to them, whatever it was that they had for such a short time. She is tired of thinking and analyzing. Hopefully, work can distract her from remembering their times together. She does need to attend to a lot of things after being away for a month. She walked to her office with the resolution that she would just try to not think about the guy who broke her heart, maybe without him intending to or knowing it.

Maya is the head of the foundation of Lim Corporation. It is a job that suits her perfectly, and that she was lucky to find it as soon as she decided to move back to the Phlippines after years of working in various parts of the world, mostly with agencies connected to the humanitarian arm of the United Nations. She wanted to settle down in the Philippines after years of working abroad and prior to that, living wherever her father, a diplomat, was posted.

She likes helping people a lot, being able to do something to make their lives better, especially underprivileged, but deserving students, whom the company give scholarships to, and communities that they help to be self-sufficient. She also likes going to communities, being a partner in their development by empowering people to do more, and achieve more, through the livelihood seminars, trainings and other assistance the foundation do for them.

Maya went to Sweden several weeks ago to attend a conference and a seminar on how private organizations like Lim Corporation can partner effectively with non-governmental organizations and the government to help more communities. It was a great opportunity for her and she was glad to be part of that program. She had learned a lot. However, what happened to her outside her training hours, is something that’s giving her the sleepless nights, and heartache. But at the moment, she can’t do anything about it, and maybe, it was just that, she mused, she can’t do anything about it anymore. Stop, Maya, hayan ka na naman. She told herself. Maybe, I should just forget him, she thought. They barely started anyway, then it was over. Besides, he is at the other side of the world.

“Ms. Maya, welcome back! I’m so happy to see you.” Her secretary, Minerva, greeted her. “And you are just in time. You have a meeting with the new CEO of the company in the afternoon. Sorry, hindi na kita, na-inform. Last minute kasi ang request ng executive assistant ni Mr. Lim. On the way ka na rin naman dito sa office kaya hindi na kita tinawagan.”

“Oh, okay. It’s alright Minerva, no worries.” She assured her secretary. “Let me just settle in a bit. Hindi pa kasi ako masyadong nakakatulog ng maayos. Pero I’m fine naman. Nasaan na si Emman. I will need him for the presentation.”

Maya knew that they have a new CEO. While she was attending the training in Sweden, she read in the online edition of one the country’s leading newspapers, that her boss, Mr. Roberto Lim passed away, and that his estranged son, took over the family corporation soon after. She also received a company e-mail on Richard Lim’s appointment. Maya didn’t know much about Richard Lim as he was already out of the company when she was hired almost a year ago. She was not aware on what really happened between father and son. There was a bit of talk about it in the office, but she does not like listening to office gossips, so she just ignored what was being said. It didn’t concern her, and her work, anyway. Maya had thought of checking Richard Lim’s profile, when she just started, but never got around to doing so due to the amount of work that needed to be done at the foundation when she assumed leadership of it. It was a shock to know that her Sir Roberto died. Though, she knew that he had been a bit sickly the past several months. He had been a strict, no nonsense boss, but had been very fair. He really was very active in pushing the activities of the foundation as he wanted to give back to the people who supported his various businesses through the years – from real estate developments, to shipping, manufacturing, telecommunications, and an airline company. She was sad at his passing and regretted that she missed his funeral.

Several cups of coffee later, Maya is prepped up for the meeting with her new boss. Emman, her assistant manager, had already prepared a presentation of their current projects and programs, the ones that they have finished the past several months, and their future ones. Maya just checked his prepared materials. He had also kept her updated via e-mail while she was abroad so she knew all the details of their current programs and projects. She told Emman that she will do the presentation and he should just go with her, just in case, there are aspects or details she overlooked.

Maya arrived at the conference room, 15 minutes early, so she has some lead time before Mr. Lim arrives. Her secretary Minerva also went with her and Emman. The door opened, several minutes after, and Mr. Lim, his executive assistant, and secretary entered the room. Maya looked up from her laptop and got the shock of her life.

“Ricky!!! What are you doing here? I thought you work in London? I’m supposed to meet my new boss here.” She asked, so surprised to see the man who has been haunting her dreams. She looked at his handsome chinito face, then the realization, Richard, Ricky… Lim and Lim! “Don’t tell me, you are….?”

“Hi Maya! Yes I am your new boss. I’m Richard Lim. Ricky to friends and family.” Richard said, making it crystal clear to Maya that, he, and her Ricky, are one and the same person. “How have you been?”

“Ha, ah, errr, I’m fine!” Maya she replied automatically. Then, she realized that aside from the fact that he had left without even a goodbye, he was not completely honest with her, that he lied to her, in a way. Her expression turned from surprise to stone-faced and it was an effort to put up a professional facade. “You want to see me, Sir, for an update of our projects? Let me know if I should get started with our presentation.”

Richard looked at Maya’s beautiful face, her expressive eyes, not being able to hide completely her hurt expression. He know that he have a lot of explaining to do, but he can’t do it at the moment, they have an audience. They are getting curious at the interplay between Maya and him.

“Err, yes. Since I took over after my father died, I have been meeting with various members of the management committee. You were the only one I haven’t met yet since you were abroad.” Richard explained as he settled at the head of the conference table. “Could you please brief me on our projects and other programs the foundation are undertaking at the moment. Also, about future plans and projects. I need to get updated for my meeting with our board tomorrow.”

“First, my condolences, Mr. Lim, on the passing of Sir Roberto.” Maya said simply, then proceeded to give Richard a summary of what the foundation has been doing so far, and the programs and projects they have lined up, also the timeline for accomplishing it.

Richard asked several questions. After an hour, they have finished. Maya detached ler laptop from the projector, gathered her papers, handed everything over to Minerva, and started leaving the room.

“Maya, ah errr, Ms. Dela Rosa, can you plase stay a little bit. I need to talk to you alone, please.” Richard said before Maya can open the door. He really wanted to talk to her to clear the air.

Maya looked at Minerva and Emman, and told them to go ahead. Richard’s EA, Lisa and his secretary, Marissa, left with them. Their eyes and expressions can’t hide their curiousity.

“Yes Sir, ano po iyon?” Maya asked, not looking at Richard directly.

“Maya could you please stop calling me, Sir, tayong dalawa na lang dito, please?” Richard requested, knowing, Maya is now antagonistic towards him. She has a valid reason to be. But he would like to explain. “Call me Richard please, or Ricky.”

“If you don’t mind, Sir. I would rather call you Mr. Lim since you are my boss and I don’t really know you on a personal level. Ricky or Richard is just too familiar!” Maya insisted.

“But, we know each other quite very well naman, di ba? Okay lang when we are with other people here at the office, but when we are alone, please call me Richard or Ricky?” Richard insisted as he moved forward to try to get hold of her hand.

“No, Sir, we don’t know each other well. We don’t know each other period. I don’t know you at all. I I used to know a Ricky but you are not him, and it looked like he was not what he seemed to be!” Maya avoided Richard’s touch. ”If you will excuse me, Sir. I need to go back to my office. I have a lot of work to do since I have been away for a month.”

Maya left the conference room without a backward glance. She is just too hurt, too confused and unsettled at the moment to hear his explanation.

Richard let Maya go, and decided to bid his time with her. He knew he had his work cut out for him. Maybe, today is not the best time to talk to her. She just got back, and this is their work environment. He was not thinking clearly. All he thought was, seeing her again, finally. Richard was really planning on asking Maya to coffee after her presentation. But maybe, he thought, it would be better to let Maya’s anger subside before he approach her again. He should have tried harder to seek her our as soon as she returned, outside of the office setting. He called her mobile phone, which he got from his EA, once, after she arrived back but when she didn’t pick up, he thought she might be having a bad case of jet lag. She told him in one of their conversations, while sitting in a cafe in Stockholm, about her difficulty adjusting her sleeping pattern when she returns to the country from abroad. Then something came up again that he needed to attend to, ah too many responsibilities, and this is his first opportunity to see her.

Richard is set on clearing the air with Maya so they can still continue what they have started in Sweden. This time, he will be completely honest with her. He didn’t intend to lie to her by omission when he met her, but he had his reasons. By the time, he decided to tell her the truth, he can’t anymore due to circumstances beyond his control. Richard vowed he will make it up to Maya, and will work very hard to win her trust again, and her heart. Yes, he has feelings for her.

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