This is a continuation to First Love, Last Love – part 17.
Richard arrived at Le Grand’s driveway at exactly 7:00 a.m. to fetch Maya. As soon as the car stopped, Maya boarded the car without waiting for Richard to open the passenger seat.
“Good morning.” She greeted him with a smile.
“Good morning, slept well last night?” He gave a quick glance while he drove out of the driveway.
“Yes, of course.” She responded in a neutral tone. She didn’t want to let him know that she barely slept. More than the kiss, it was the “I missed you” statement that kept her awake almost the whole night. She wasn’t sure whether he really meant it or not.
They were both quiet during the drive to Ortigas until Richard spoke again.
“Maya, any plans for tonight?” Occassionally taking away his eyes from the road to glance at her.
“Hmmm. Nothing., Why?”
“Could we have dinner together, I think we need to talk.”
“Huh? What about? Hindi ba tayo nag-uusap ngayon or how about later at the office?”
“Maya, I mean us – about us.” Their eyes met and she saw a twinkle in his eyes.
Maya’s heart began to thump. “Ahhh…eh.. okay. I am available tonight.” She was nervous as to what he would tell her. For the rest of the ride, she remained quiet. She knew she wouldn’t be able to concentrate the rest of the day but she restrained herself from asking for more details. Otherwise, she might pre-empt the discussion. She felt a mixture of excitement and apprehension for the dinner event. Deep within she hoped that at the least, he should tell her he likes her too.
Richard, on his part, also kept his silence. Although he was excited, he would like a good setting for their conversation. If only Emman didn’t interrupt them last night, this long overdue discussion should have been over last night, he thought.
Stephanie was waiting at the lobby of LAS office when Richard & Maya entered the office. Maya saw her raise an eyebrow upon seeing them together. She immediately went to Richard’s side to greet him. Upon seeing that move, Maya quietly separated herself from the two such that when Richard turned to to where Maya was, she was no longer there. When he looked around, he saw her going to the ladies room.
“Stephanie’s at the office again.” Maya thought. One of these days, she need to find out from Richard exactly what is Stephanie role in his life.
Maya stayed at the ladies room for a while wanting to give herself time to calm her emotion. After taking a deep sigh, she was ready to face the day and was looking forward to having dinner with Richard that night.
Upon entering her office, Maya found Stephanie sitting at her visitor’s chair.
“Hi. I’ve been waiting for you.” Stephanie stood up and kissed Maya’s cheek as a greeting.
“I’m sorry but I wasn’t aware you were here. I thought you went with Richard for a meeting.” Maya sat on her swivel chair.
“Yeah, we do have a meeting but I also wanted to speak to you. I’ve noticed that he’s quite taken by you. I am guessing that you are the current apple of the eye of the Richard Lim” Stephanie’s sly remark.
“What makes you say that Stephanie.” Maya asked.
“Well, it seems that the two of you are getting along quite well. I’ve been observing and when I look at you I can see clearly the signs that you are interested in him. So, I came here to warn you, my dear.” Stephanie made it sound like she was really concerned over the issue. Then, she continued…
“You don’t have to confirm anything Maya but please be careful, you might get hurt. He is not the type who gets serious with anyone. He is not the marrying type. You should know by now that there are many of us, right?”
The other woman’s words stung Maya but she didn’t want to give her the satisfaction that she was hurt so lashed back sarcastically.
“So, if there are other women Stephanie, why do you still cling on to him? There are other men who might be interested in you. Why do you stay with someone whom you say is not serious and not the marrying type?”
“Well, because he and I are the same. We like this set-up. Although, there are others, he always come back to me. We have no commitment and yet we are there for each other in times of need.”
“You make it sound dirty when you say “in times of need”. Maya making a quote and unquote sign with her fingers.
“Stephanie, I don’t think you should be talking to me. Please don’t pretend that you are concerned about my welfare because I don’t believe you. Better yet, I suggest that you just hold on to him – tie him up or lock him up if you like so that he won’t come to me and take my bait.” Maya has heard enough and wanted to get away from Stephanie. She stood up and proceeded to the door. As she was leaving her room, she heard one more scathing remark from Stephanie.
“Has it ever occurred to you that the only reason he’s coming to you is because you are giving him all the come-on hints and being a man….” Maya has lost control and slammed her door as she left the office building.
Fortunately, Maya’s conversation with Stephanie happened early morning when not many employees have reported for work yet. No one seems to have noticed what just happened in her room.
Inside her car, Maya was in quandary whether she would leave or return to the office. She was very upset with Stephanie. The woman has managed to squeeze out all her excitement earlier that morning and replaced some thoughts about Richard’s invitation with skepticism. To some extent, Stephanie was right, Maya thought. What Stephanie said was just a confirmation of what she has been telling herself, she was the one giving all the come-on signals to him. Richard is a normal man that could be just succumbing to temptation. She has been on his beck and call. Believing this realization, Maya felt embarrassed but can only blame herself for falling hopelessly in-love with Richard.
She stayed inside her car for another hour until she decided to return to the office. For the rest of the day, she didn’t see or hear from Richard. Her staff mentioned that Richard left with Stephanie to go their Paranaque hangar.
At 4:30 p.m., Maya got a call from Richard.
“Hi, Maya how’s your day?”
“Okay lang.” She sounded detached when she responded. She had no plan of sharing what transpired between her and Stephanie earlier.
“Ahh, there are still things needed to be completed here. We also have a call with Woodward, the client in London that I told you about. So, I’m sorry but could we postpone our dinner together this evening? How about tomorrow, night?”
“It’s fine Richard. Please focus on your work. About your invitation, I’ll take a rain check on that.” She was non-committal.
“By the way, Hsing and David will be at the office tomorrow to meet some of our clients. It will just be a half day meeting but we may have a quite a number of visitors.”
“It’s fine Richard. I’ll make sure arrangements are made for the visitors.”
Richard paused as he sensed the lackluster tone of Maya on the other line. “Maya, is something wrong? You sound uninterested.”
“Come on Maya, I know when there is something wrong. So, please tell me.”
“Okay, I’d like to know why is Stephanie always in the office or with all of you?” There, she thought. She needed to ask that because she was still upset over their incident in the morning.
“Maya, she’s a consultant for L.A.S. She’s been working with us specifically with this expansion project we are doing. But, may I ask why the sudden curiosity?”
“Wala lang, napansin ko lang that she is here and there, wherever you are.”
“Hmm. Correction, she is always with Ryan because she’s an operations consultant for Ryan. But, why do I sense that you’re upset with her?” There was a tone of amusement from his end.
“Well, I don’t like her. She rubs me off in a different way.”
“Is it because you’re jealous?” He probed more.
“Ricardo!!” She could only exclaim.
“Maya, I’d rather we discuss this matter in person and not on the phone. Obviously, you’re upset with something. I will call you later tonight or if you like, I can come to your place after I am through will all the issues here at the hangar.”
“Never mind, Richard. Just go back to work. Bye.” She absentmindedly disconnected the call without waiting for Richard’s response.