Maya was still staring at the closed door, with a goofy smile, when someone knocked on it. “Come in!” Maya said with a big smile, for whoever was behind the door. She was just so happy, nothing or no one can ruin her already very beautiful day!
The door opened and Emman came in with a curious expression on his face. “Maya Dela Rosa, parang napapadalas yata ang dalaw dito sa office mo ng handsome chief lawyer natin ha.” He teased as he sat in front of Maya’s desk holding several sheets of papers.
“Ikaw, Emman Castro, speaking of which, may hindi ka sinasabi sa akin!” Maya said, looking at her friend with accusatory, but teasing expression. “Ikaw iyong nagsabi sa secretary ni Ricky, errrr, ni Atty. Lim, na sunflowers ang paborito kong flowers di ba?
“OMG, so siya nga! Tama ang hula ko! Si guwapong-guwapong Attorney Richard nga ang secret admirer mo! “ Emman shrieked happily.
“Shhhh, Emman. Kalma lang. Marinig ka ng mga tao sa labas. Akala nila kung napapaano ka na diyan.” Maya said with a smile. “Errr, yes, umamin na siya na siya ang nagpapadala ng mga ito.”
“Oh my, oh my, oh my! Kinikilig ako sis! Feeling ko nanonood ako ng movie nina John Lloyd at Sarah o kaya nina John Lloyd at Bea!” Emman said. “Basta, lahat na ng romcom na napanood ko, kabog ng blossoming lovelife mo.”
“Pero Mayabels, hindi ko naman intensyong itago sa iyo iyon. I suspected it when you mentioned that the card with the flowers was not signed and about only a handful of people here know you like sunflowers. I was not so sure. I thought, baka nagkataon lang din. Kasi naman itong si Liza, kaswal na kaswal lang ang tanong sa akin matapos akong tsikahin. Para raw kasi sa birthday mo. Then later on ko na lang na-realized na bakit nga ba siya nagtatanong samantalang hindi naman siya ang nagha-handle ng flowers for the company officers na nagbi-birthday. Di ba tayo iyon? Si Annie ang in-charge doon di ba?”
“I know Emman. Hindi rin naman alam ni Ricky, errr, ni Atty. Lim na ikaw ang tinanong ni Liza.” Maya said. “But then I realized it was you since friend mo si Liza di ba?”
“Yes, I know her since before she resigned the first time to take care of her kids. She is very nice and I’m glad she is back. Sayang ang skills niya and medyo malalaki na naman ang kiddos niya. Pero, Mayabels, Ricky, kung Ricky, okay lang iyon. Tayong dalawa lang naman dito.” Emman said with a smile. “Hay nakakakilig naman talaga! So, paanong umamin na si Attorney Richard sa iyo?”
“Hahahaha, that’s the funny part. Kahapon ko pa alam na siya. Nahuli ko kasi na pareho ang handwriting noong documents na galing sa Legal at nung nasa card. I compared. Then I decided to flush Ricky out.” Maya said with a big smile,then proceeded to tell Emman how she turned the tables on Richard.
“OMG, that was so funny!” Emman said smiling. “Mabuti hindi nagselos kay guwapong-guwapo ring Sir James.”
“Well, I think, hindi naman siguro. Pero I have to thank James talaga, effective ang pagsakay niya sa gusto kong mangyari yesterday, kahit dense na dense ang reaction niya noong una.” Maya replied, still smiling.
“Ikaw na sis, ang haba ng hair, dinaig pa si Rapunzel. May Sir James na, may Atty. Richard pa.” Emman teased. “Pero I must say, I switched side. Team Richard na ako. Sorry, Sir James.”
“Hahahaha, Emman. Ikaw talaga. Alam mo namang friends lang talaga kami ni James. Well, as for Ricky, I like him.” Maya admitted with a blush, her eyes sparkling.
“Sis, ang mga mata, nagniningning. Pero, in fairness, parang mutual naman ang liking na iyan.”
“I do hope so. I just want to take things slowly. Alam mo naman, after what I have gone through, I just want to do things slowly. Live for the moment. Savor it.” Maya said. She was happy, but she suddenly turned pensive, remembering the catalyst for her switching careers.
“O siya, tama na nga iyan. It’s all in the past. There is nothing you can do about it.” Emman said.
“Oo nga. Heto na ba ang proofs ng next edition ng newsletter natin?” Maya asked, checkng the papers Emman gave her and Richard’s face was the first thing she saw when she inspected the first sheet of paper. Ang guwapo talaga! She just remembered that he is will be on the cover of the latest newsletter. Emman wrote the piece on him, mostly about his professional background, nothing much on the personal side, except that he is the only son of the owner of Lim Corporation. It also said that he finished Law at the Ateneo Law School and took up LLM in the States.
“Yes, pa-check na lang kung may kailangan pang baguhin.” Emman said, then teased Maya. “May mahigpit lang akong reminder, 10 pages iyan ha. Baka ma-stuck ka sa first page.
“Hahahaha, ikaw talaga, Emman.” Maya laughed. “Pero ang guwapo niya di ba?”
Emman said he agrees 101 percent. The two friends shared a laugh. Then, Emman returned to his workplace. Maya checked the lay-out of each page and finding everything in order, signed the copy so her staff can send it to the printers for those who want a hard copy of the newsletter. The morning passed like a blur. Maya’s concentration was broken by the ringing of her mobile phone around noon.
“College BFF, lunch tayo?” James asked as soon as Maya said hello. “You owe me for yesterday!”
Maya laughed. “Ikaw talaga, walang pinapalampas! O sige na nga. Okay lang ba na doon na lang sa restaurant sa 9th floor, instead of going out of the building?”
“Sure. I’ll see you there in 15 minutes. Ako na bahalang mag-order. I know your favorite from there!”
“Thanks, James. Sige, I’ll just freshen up and get my purse.”
Several minutes later, Maya entered the busy restaurant where most of the executives of LC dine, especially if they want a quick lunch. She was looking for James when she saw a familiar figure dining out with a beautiful girl in a corner table. Her heart skipped a beat when he smiled at her, but seeing him with a beautiful woman, felt like someone just pinched her heart.
She didn’t know how to react except to offer him a tentative smile. His companion looked at her too, curiously, and Maya noticed that she is very beautiful in a model kind of way. The girl offered Maya a smile, which she returned automatically.
Richard was about to stand up and go to her, when James called Maya from the left side of the restaurant. Maya grabbed at the opportunity to deflect Richard until she can think straight. She waved at Richard, smiled a bit forcefully, then went to James, with a brave, brilliant smile plastered on her face.
Richard saw who Maya was dining with and frowned. Hmmmm, what gives? Do I have a karibal in James? He mused.
“Chard, hoy Chard?” The lady called Richard several times before he reacted. “Who is the girl? Iyon ba si Maya? Friend pala sila ng COO niyo.”
Richard looked at his cousin Rafi. “How did you guess that it is her?”
“Sus naman cuz, kung makatingin ka sa kanya, wagas kaya. Saka ang laki kaya ng smile mo nang makita mo siyang pumapasok.”
Richard smiled at that. “Got me! That’s her. Kaya lang, mabigat ang karibal ko yata sa kanya.”
“Naku, lamang ka naman doon ng 20 times na paligo.” Rafi said loyally. “Saka, I haven’t seen you this unsure with a girl. Nasaan na lang ang Richard Lim’s famous and unshakeable confidence!”
“Yes, it is still here. But Rafi, I want this so much, kaya I’m nervous. That is what is different this time. She is different.”
“Oh my, oh my! Has my mighty and unattainable cousin fallen at last? I would think, big time. I never thought I would see the day!” Raf said gleefully.
“Shhhh, Rafaella Alcantara, ang boses mo. Marinig ka ni Maya.” Richard said, checking if Maya heard his cousin.
“Cuz, tingin ko may pag-asa ka naman. Parang nag-iba ang smile niya nang makita niyang may kasama ka.” Rafi remarked.
“Hmmm, parang hindi naman.” Richard retorted, not believing his cousin, though he wanted to, very much.
“Well, sometimes, it takes another girl to know also. Trust me. Kapag mali ako, hindi mo na kailagang palitan ang kinuha mong mga DVD kong ‘Before Sunrise’, ‘Before Sunset’ and ‘Before Midnight’. Lucky you, hindi ko pa nabubuksan ang mga iyon. But as it is to aid your panliligaw, I didn’t mind.” She finished, teasing her cousin whom she hasn’t in this state before.
“I hope you are right, Rafi, and thank you again for those.” Richard said, glancing one more time at a very chatty Maya. He can’t help but feel a pinch in his heart also, the way James and her were conversing. Their gestures indicated that they are very much at ease with each other, as if they have known each other for a long time. All he knew is that James was the one who recruited Maya to LC. Maybe, he should find out more about the dynamics between Maya and him.
“O bakit nga pala napasugod sa LC. Hindi ka ba busy sa atelier mo?” Richard asked, trying not to stare in Maya and James’s direction, trying to focus on his cousin, instead, who showed up at his office around lunchtime, asking if he has time for her.
“Well, I do need to pick your brain for a business I want to start in Makati.” Rafi said, then proceeded to tell her cousin about her plan to have a coffee and pastry shop beside the atelier she wanted to open there, aside from the one she has in Alabang. The two cousins talked about it in detail. Then afterwards, they talked about the antics of Rafi’s daughter Abby.
The cousins laughed so hard at an anecdote Rafi was telling about Abby refusing to eat vegetables, arguing that those are too healthy for her. Rafi teased Richard that her daughter is like her uncle, trying to get the best of an argument. For sure, she said, they will have another lawyer in the family in Abby. They laughed a bit louder than usual and Maya who was trying not to look at them, can’t help herself, as if something was pulling her against her better judgement.
“Maya Dela Rosa, are you with me this afternoon? Kanina ka pa distracted!” James remarked. Then he looked at the direction where she was gazing. “Ha, I know it! What gives? May hindi talaga ako alam. Kanina mo ba ako hindi sinasagot sa mga pangyayari yesterday. May kinalaman ba ang lahat ng ito kay Attorney Richard Lim?”
“Shhhh, James, madinig ka ni Richard saka noong girlfriend niya.” Maya remarked, the words painful to spit out. Though, she was not so sure if the girl is Richard’s girlfriend talaga. Pero sobrang at ease sila with each other, she argued in her head.
“Hahahaha, Maya, selos ka ba?” James said, as Maya tried to shush him. “College BFF hindi niya girlfriend iyan! In fact….”
James was not able to finish what he was saying, as Fred, the new lawyer whom James know personally before he work for LC, interrupted him. Fred asked if he could sit with them as the place was full. Most people didn’t go out to have lunch outside the building as it turned out, it was raining. Whatever James what about to say, was lost. Maya dared not ask him in front of Fred, though she was dying to know what was he was about to say earlier.
They ate companionably with Fred, or rather James did. Maya was very distracted. She can’t wait for lunch to be over. She can’t think. She was so aware of Richard and his companion and she knew the exact time they stood up and walked towards the exit to the restaurant. She refused to look at them, fearing she would see them very sweet with each other and worse, holding hands.
She, James and Fred finished their lunch soon after. They walked back towards the elevator that would take them to their offices.
Maya settled down on her chair and just stared into space. She was at a lost. Should she cancel the dinner with Richard? There is a part of her that believes that he would not go to such length to get her attention and wouldn’t have invited her if he is sweet to another girl. But who is that girl? It is maddening for Maya not to know!
Her phone beep, distracting her from her dark thoughts. She checked and saw it was from Richard.
Had good lunch, Maya?
Yes I did! And you?
Yes, it was nice to see Rafi again! So, see you at 7PM?
Hmmm, about that, should you have dinner with the girl you had lunch with, instead?
Maya pressed send before she could really think about that reply. OMG, she sounded like a harpy! She wished cellphones have a ‘recall text’ button!
Maya got doubly nervous when Richard didn’t reply anymore.
Unbeknown to her, Richard was grinning after reading her last text. So Rafi was right! Maya sounded jealous. He likes it very much. That means she cares for him and likes him din, di ba? He asked himself. He stood up from his desk, very happy with this turn of events.
“Liza, I will be out lang for 30 minutes or so.” He told his secretary. “Ilagay mo na lang sa mesa ang legal briefs na pinagawa ko kina Fred and Aldrin. Thanks Liza.” Then he was gone before his secretary could react further.
Richard went down to the lobby, bought two cups of coffee and some desserts, then rode to Maya’s floor. Her secretary spotted him on right away.
Nandito na naman si Sir Richard. Dito na yata gustong mag-office sa floor namin, Minerva thought! The others were not back from lunch yet, so it was just Minerva, Maya and Emman in this section of the office. Emman didn’t notice Richard as he was busy checking the powerpoint presentation he was making. Richard told Minerva not to announce him.
He knocked, then when he heard Maya said ‘come in’, he opened the door and he saw a distracted Maya looking at her phone as if wishing it to ring of beep.
“Coffee and dessert? I noticed you didn’t have any earlier!” He offered with a big smile to a surprised and blushing Maya.
“Ricky!….” She stood up, but then Richard motioned for her to sit down again, then put the steaming cup in front of her. “You don’t have to, but thank you! Ikaw talaga, baka sobrang nakakaabala na ako sa iyo.”
“Like I said before, hindi ka abala kahit kailan. Saka I want to talk to you in person, instead of texting.” He said smiling, still holding his coffee and dessert. “Hmmm, and why would you think that I would want to have dinner with my cousin Rafi, instead of you?” Richard asked meaningfully.
“Oh!….” was all Maya managed to say before she blushed big time.
“Yes, oh!, Ms. Maya Dela Rosa.” Richard said still smiling. “Didn’t your special friend James tell you about Rafi. He had seen her before in a company gathering. He also knows her dad, though I don’t think Rafi and him were formally introduced.”
“Errrr, he was about to tell me something when he got interrupted by Fred.” Maya said, smiling now. “Sorry for the wrong assumption. I don’t have a right naman to say that talaga.” She finished sheepishly.
“Well, I’m so glad you did.” He replied meaningfully, at the same time, he was waiting for her to say something more about James. But with her action, he sort of believe, that they were just very good friends, though there is still a lingering question in his mind. But he will deal with it another time. The important thing is, he managed to say to Maya that Rafi is not someone special in a romantic way. “I’ll see you later.”
“Yes, I will.” Maya said softly, melting under Richard’s warm gaze.
“I’m so looking forward to that, Maya.” Richard said, gazing at Maya meaningfully. And with that, he said goodbye.
Maya stared after him, grinning. All is right in her world again.
Note: Merry Christmas my fellow adiks!!!! I’m not sure If I can make another post before Christmas day, but I will try. But anyways, enjoy the holidays with your loved ones! 🙂 🙂 Sorry pala if I have typos, will check again in the morning. Just want to post this before heading off to dreamland. 🙂 🙂