Note: This is a continuation of First Love, Last Love – part 12
Author’s Note: Thank you to all EB readers who sent their comments and appreciation of this work.
Their Singaporean business partners arrived before lunchtime on Thursday as expected. It was Maya’s first time to meet these people while Ryan has had several meetings with them in the past.
At the restaurant where they all met for lunch, Richard started the introductions. “Mr. Andy Tan, Mr. Ho Hsing, Mr. Gavin Daud, I’d like you to meet Ms. Maya dela Rosa. She is our HR & Admin. manager. This is Ryan, of course, you’ve met him before.”
They all shook hands and exchange pleasantries.
She greeted them with her usual cheerful smile and matching wave. “Good morning Sirs. Welcome to Boracay Island, welcome to the Phils. Please call me Maya. How was your flight?”
Gavin Daud responded, “It was good Maya, very smooth. It’s actually my first time here. Now I realize why they say Phils. is a beautiful country.”
“Yes, Gavin, thank you for saying that. Actually, this is just one of the nicest place here. You should see the rest of the country.” She encouraged him.
“Oh, I’d like to do that. I also find that Phils. has many beautiful ladies like yourself.”
Richard observed how quickly Gavin and Maya became at ease with each other. Among his 3 new business partners, Gavin is the youngest at 35 and an eligible bachelor. He interrupted the conversation by saying,
“Okay, maybe we should go to our table and have lunch now? Maya has pre-ordered the food.” He directed the team towards their reserved table.
Maya ended up seating beside Gavin while Richard was in the opposite side of the table with Mr. Hsing and Mr. Tan. He saw how comfortable Gavin and Maya in their conversation talking about food with occasional laughter.
Over lunch, Maya glanced at Richard a few times and everytime she did, she would see him looking at her with furrowed brows. “Oh,oh, ano naman kaya this time ang iniisip nitong isang ito at parang nasa tiger mode.” She thought.
After lunch, the guests decided that they will have an afternoon off to rest. Gavin invited Maya for a swim but before she could respond, Richard interjected.
“Gavin, I’m sorry but Maya and I have a pre-arranged appointment.” While saying this, he placed his hand on her waist which caught Maya by surprise. She looked at him and read in his eyes the message saying she needed to agree.
Turning to Gavin, she apologized. “I’m sorry Gavin, Richard and I are going to have a meeting. So, how about swimming tomorrow morning?”
“Oh, that’s fine with me. See you then.” They said their goodbyes and Richard and Maya were left behind in their table.
Richard was looking at her, still with furrowed brows. So, she was prompted to ask, “What?”
“Maya, I shouldn’t be saying this but I just want to remind you that these are our new partners. Just be careful not to give them a wrong impression or false hope because we are just starting…” he wasn’t able to finish because Maya retorted back.
“Ricardo, I think I know what you mean. I will not do anything that will hurt your business. I am just being friendly. Besides, I don’t think there is anything else on his invitation but just friendship, so please relax Sir.” She said in a serious tone.
“Thank you. Anyway, so let’s go.” He took her hand and nudge her to walk with him.
“Hey, where are we going?” She asked all the while conscious that he was holding her hand.
“You need to get your things. We’ll go swimming and snorkeling. I’ve already arranged for it.”
“Eh, I thought we are going to have a meeting. Yun pa naman ang sabi ko dun sa bisita natin.”
“Maya, ‘yang meeting na ‘yan ay press release mo lang. We are going out this afternoon, whether you like it or like it a lot.” He was smiling, seemingly excited and it was hard not to agree with him when he is that mood. She was thrilled that he actually gave her no choice.
They spent their whole afternoon and dinner together, enjoying each other’s company. Ryan has mysteriously excused himself from joining them saying that he was going to visit some friends that are also in the island.
The following two days, the LAS team and their visitors spent their time swimming and doing more island tour. Throughout those days, Richard stayed close to her whether they were eating, walking, sunbathing, swimming or just boarding their rented boat. Maya was ecstatic on the attention she was getting from him. She thought , “Para pala itong guwardya sibil kung maka pagprotect sa interes n’ya. Well, sabagay, if it’s a multi-million business, I will also ensure that nothing will ruin it. Anyway, ganito rin kaya ito ka seryoso sa girlfriend nito? Lalo na ‘tong si Stephanie na maganda na eh seksi pa. Sana ako na lang…”
Then, she remembered how it felt to be kissed by him. At this juncture, she stopped and scolded herself. “Maya, tantanan na ang pag-iilusyon. It will be more painful later on if you continue doing this. ” She had to stop because felt that pinch in her heart again.
After a whole week in Boracay, Richard, Ryan and Maya had finally returned to Manila. Their visitors have decided to extend their stay in Boracay. Although they were also invited to stay as well, the three begged off reasoning that they’ve been away for a week and some things at the office need to be attended to. They just all agreed that when the Singaporean team returns to Manila, they will have lunch together to meet some of the clients of L.A.S.
At the Manila domestic airport, Richard asked Maya, “How will go home, Maya?”
“I will take the airport taxi. I left my car at home. Ikaw, how will you go home?”
“I’ll take the airport taxi too. So… why don’t we just get one. We can go to my house first and then we can take my car and I’ll bring you home.” He suggested.
“Naku, ‘wag na Richard. It’s inconvenient. Besides, its already late in the afternoon. You might want to have some rest.”
“I insist Maya. It’s Sunday and the traffic is very light from Makati to Eastwood. I’d feel better knowing you safely arrived home. So, let’s not argue about this.”
“Sabi mo nga.” Again, she was feeling that excitement knowing that he was being thoughtful about her safety.
While in the taxi, Richard suddenly had an idea, “Why don’t you come up to my unit Maya. I’m a bit hungry. We can have early dinner together before I drop you off. What do you think? It’s just an idea unless you have other plans.”
“Ay, wala.” She quickly clarified. “Okay, an early dinner is fine.” Seeing where he lives is an opportunity that she didn’t want to miss.
Before going to his unit, Richard and Maya first went to the parking area where Richard’s car is parked to stow her luggages. He owns two cars, a black BMW car which he usually drives going to the office and another luxury SUV, a Toyota Prado, which he uses for his out-of-town trips.
As he finished stacking the 2 luggages of Maya, he made a comment.
“What’s in your luggage? They are so heavy so I wonder how you managed to carry them all to Boracay.”
“Well, I have my beauty paraphernalia, shoes, and of course my clothes. If I didn’t have extra dresses or pants, I don’t think I would have been allowed to go out of my room, right Sir?” She look at him quizzically.
“Hmmm…. you could do away with the beauty paraphernalia because you don’t need them. But the clothes, okay I totally agree and let’s not discuss this further.” He then guided her towards the building’s elevator to go to his unit.
As they were waiting for the elevator, she recalled one of their discussions over her attire when they were at Boracay. She remembered his look of disapproval when on the day of their island tour with their guests, she came out of the room wearing short shorts and matching bikini top. Emman actually helped her choose that and her other swimming attire saying that it complimented her body shape. She knew she looked good in it but when Richard saw her, he asked her to get an extra shirt to cover herself. What upset her was that, the swim suit she wore during their snorkeling trip was skimpier but he didn’t say anything. They almost had another argument over that but realizing that it might ruin their day, she just gave up. It was a battle worth losing just to have fun with him for next two days