Admin Note: *Contributed Story* Please give credit and thanks to Hanah6181. This is a continuation to Fist Love, Last Love- part 2.
Maya spent the whole weekend thinking about what happened at the Shangri-la hotel. She couldn’t forget Richard. She felt something for him. It was a strange experience because she has never felt like that before with any man, even with James. When she was with James, she never responded to him in the same way she responded to Richard. What made it worst was that she barely knew him. They just met that evening. She was confused but at the same time embarrassed by what she did. She loves James and she shouldn’t have behaved that way.
She arrived at the office on Monday feeling tired. She barely slept for two days. It didn’t help that Sunday was devoted to her family where spent the whole day in her parents house in Marikina for their usual family get together. She makes it a point to be there especially now that she has become an only daughter. Her sister, Cristina, died when giving birth to her child three years ago. So, she reserves her Sundays for her parents.
“Good morning, Tita Fe.” Maya entered her office. Tita Fe is the outgoing HR manager whom Maya is replacing. At 55 years old, she decided to retire from the company. It was her last week of work. She was there just to orient and turn-over work to Maya.
“Good morning, Maya. Upo ka na dito sa pwesto mo.” She offered her chair to sit on.
“Naku, Tita, dito na lang muna ako sa visitor’s table mo. I can work from here.” She reassured her. She was being respectful to her.
“O sige. Anyway, Maya, our boss has arrived from his travel abroad. He will be in the office this week. Siguro, may jetlag pa.” Tita Maya shared the information.
“Tita, okay ba si Sir? How old is he?”
“Ah, si Ricardo? Bata pa ‘yon. 38 years old na pero single pa. He is so focused dito sa business n’ya kaya hindi makapag-asawa.”
“Ganoon po ba? Baka naman mapili lang?” Maya was smiling. She thought of Richard. “Ilang taon na kaya ‘yon?”
“Medyo, ang daming humahabol doon na babae pero ewan ko ba kung anong hinahanap n’ya. Matagal ko ng kasama ang batang ‘yan dahil dati ako nagwork sa family business nila. Kinuha lang n’ya ako dito nung magsarili sya ng business.” Tita Fe has served in Lim Aviations for the last 15 years and she is very much respected in this company.
Maya and Tita Fe spent the whole Monday working on some pending issues in human resources. Tuesday, they went to the hangar in Paranaque to meet the employees there including the other officers of the company. Maya became an instant hit with the employees which were mostly men. Aside from her beauty, she’s got great people skills so they immediately felt comfortable having her around. One engineer that seemed to be interested in her was Engr. Yamaguchi, the head of engineering. He was quick to ask for her phone number using the reason that in case of emergency, he can immediately reach her. Of course, Maya gave her number.
Wednesday morning was a day of many surprises for Maya. By mid-morning, she was already busy with paper work when a delivery from a flower shop arrived. A bouquet of red roses was addressed to her with a note welcoming her to the company. The flowers came from Engr. Yamaguchi.
“Maya, mukhang may admirer ka na agad, ha?” Tita Fe teased her.
“Naku, Tita, friendly lang siguro si Engr. Yamaguchi.”
They were laughing when the door suddenly opened and Richard entered the room.
“Tita Fe…” he wasn’t able to finish his sentence as he saw Maya. His eyes widened. Maya was so surprised that she dropped the bouquet of flowers she was holding.
“Ricardo, welcome back. Ito pala si Maya, s’ya ang kapalit ko.” Tita Fe gladly introduced her.
“What?” His voice was loud. Clearly, he was surprised. After moments of silence, he seemed to have recovered. “Tita, can we go to my room? I need to speak to you.”
Maya was left standing in her office in shock. It took her a while before it dawned on her that Richard is the same Ricardo that Tita Fe refers to and he is the owner of Lim Aviations. She knew that Richard Lim owned Lim Aviations but when she met him almost a week before, he just introduced himself by his first name. Now, she found out, he is her new boss. She panicked. She was thinking how could she survive working for him after that night at Shangri-la hotel.
In Richard’s office, Tita Fe was explaining to him.
“Tita, who is she?”
“As I said, she is my replacement. S’ya si Maya dela Rosa. Mahusay si Maya. In fact, kasundo na nya kaagad ang mga employees pati na rin yung mga nasa sa Paranaque site.”
“But do you really know her? Why didn’t you wait for me before hiring your replacement. Parang masyado naman yata kayong nagmamadali, Tita.” Richard obviously upset.
“Ricardo, I have made personal plans. Isa pa yang executive assistant mong si Lisa is already 7 months pregnant. She can have a baby anytime. So, dapat makakuha na tayo ng kapalit ko para ma train kaagad at hindi ka mahirapan kung dalawa kami ni Lisa na wala sa office mo.” Tita Fe explained. When she talks to Richard like this, he can’t do anything. She is like a mother to him. So, even if he wasn’t convinced, he didn’t agrue with her anymore.
“Anyway, Tita Fe. Can you just send her here? I will talk to her.” He said with resignation. Tita Fe smiled to herself as went out of his office. She noticed the surprise in Maya and Richard’s face when they met in the HR room. She was looking forward to see how these two will get along.
A few minutes later, Maya was knocking on Richard’s door. She was very nervous.
“Come in.” He was sitting on the chair behind his large table.
“Sir, good morning.” Maya greeted him and waited for his response. He was reading a paper.
“Please sit down.” Then he looked at her.
“ So, Ms. Dela Rosa, Dela Rosa right? How did you get hired by this company? Especially getting this role of HR manager? Do you understand the expectations of this role?” He asked the questions one after the other.
“Sir, I went thru your company’s recruitment process just like any other candidate. I have a good amount of experience and I believe I can contribute to the growth of your business.” She felt like she was going thru an interview but this time, it felt like she was going to fail it.
“Ms. Dela Rosa, let’s cut the crap. You were interviewed by our VP Operations – Mr. Orlino. What did you do to convince him to hire you?” The way he looked at her was full with disdain.
“Sir, are you insinuating something?” Maya was hurt by the question. She tried to compose herself although her eyes were starting to get misty.
“Can you blame me? The last time we met… ah… the occasion was quite… interesting.”
“Sir, I want you to know that I was headhunted for this role. I didn’t apply directly but I was invited to consider this job. I went thru the interview process and I believe I met the requirements. So I got offered this job and I accepted.” She answered him defiantly. She is now fully aware that Richard was referring to their first meeting. He has formed a wrong impression of her.
“You got hired without being interviewed by me.” He emphasized.
“It isn’t my fault that you weren’t around when I was interviewed.” She countered.
“As an HR manager, I have certain standards that I’d like to be followed. I expect the role to have morale ascendancy here.” His voice was as cold as his eyes. The coldness sent shivers to her body.
“Mr. Lim, are you about to fire me?” Maya was ready to be fired.
“All I am saying is I expect professionalism.”
“Sir, I think I understand what you are driving at. I totally agree with you on that aspect.”
“Let me clarify this Ms. Dela Rosa, my expectations go beyond the bounds of this office and office hours.”
“Sir, what I do during my personal time is mine. But I do admit, I made a huge mistake the last time we met. It was insane of me to have gone with you. My assumption is that, by now, you have realized that you also made a mistake that night, unless you are the type of man who picks up any available woman in a bar.” She defended herself. She thought if she got fired by saying that, so be it.
Richard stared at her for a few more moments. She couldn’t read his thoughts because his facial expression was blank. Finally, he said..
“Alright Ms. Dela Rosa, we have clearly stated our position. You may go back to your office. I expect that you will do your best. I will be observing you.” He said with finality.
Maya got out of his office feeling very upset. If she felt confused by her feelings for this man over the weekend, this time, she is very sure about it. She hates him.