This is a continuation of Learning to Love Again, Chapter 3
A/N: Thank you sa lahat ng mga nagbasa, nag comment, nag like, nag enjoy at kinilig! Di ko pa kayo lahat na-replayan but rest assured, masayang masaya ako reading them. I feel very blessed dahil may nag-eenjoy sa mga pinagsusulat ko. Love u all! ~lainey
It had been a long time since Richard held a woman in his arms. Maya leaned her wet cheek against his chest and he put his chin on top of her head, rubbing her back almost hesitantly. He didn’t want her to think that he was taking advantage of her vulnerability. But he too, was feeling raw inside, and needing to feel the physical closeness of another human being. He hasn’t really talked about Alex to anyone since her death, keeping it all to himself. He allowed himself to cry now, as he was with someone who understands what he had gone through, what he had lost, what he misses so badly. He was with someone who doesn’t need him to be strong, someone he trusted enough to see him like this. He didn’t know how long they clung to each other but when her sobs finally died down, Richard let go of her.
For a moment they looked at each other through their teary eyes, grateful for the connection. Then Maya stepped back almost in surprise.
“Naku, Richard, sorry!” She started dabbing the hanky he gave her on the spots of tears on his polo, frantically trying to dry them.
“Maya!? What are you doing?”
“Nabasa ko yung magandang polo mo, Richard! Sorry! Nakakahiya!”
“Stop it Maya,” Richard said, laughing. “Matutuyo naman yan. Besides, patas lang tayo. Yung buhok mo din naman, mukhang nabasa ko din,” he admitted, knowing that she’d understand.
Maya realized that Richard had allowed himself to be vulnerable with her. It was almost a privilege, knowing that the CEO of a huge company that so many people looked up to, just bared his soul to her, even admitting to tears.
“Alam mo ba, Richard, sabi ng nanay ko, pwede daw ako maging best actress kasi iyakin talaga ako. Mababaw pa sa aquarium ang luha ko,” Maya told him, trying to lighten the mood. “Eh mukhang ikaw din pala eh, pwedeng best actor!”
The two of them laughed heartily, breaking the tension. They started walking to the car again.
“Siguro kelangan na natin bumalik sa Manila,” Maya said wistfully. Tomorrow her life was going back to normal. She would again spend the day looking for a job and a place to stay.
As if he had read her mind, Richard replied, “May gagawin ka ba bukas, Maya?”
She nodded solemnly. “Maghahanap na ako ng work bukas, Richard. Nahihiya na din ako na magstay sa inyo so pag may work na ako, hahanap na din ako ng malilipatan na malapit sa work ko.”
“So you mean, hindi mo pa balak umuwi sa San Nicolas?”
Maya shook her head. “Hindi ko pa nga sinasabi kay Nanay na hindi ako natuloy sa Dubai. Ayokong ma-disappoint silang lahat. Nag text lang ako kanina na okay lang ako at tatawag ako soon. Ayokong umuwi hangga’t hindi ako nakaka-ipon.” Maya admitted.
Richard and Maya arrived at the car and he opened the door for her.
But instead of getting in, Maya looked around her one more time. “Hay, sayang. Ang ganda pala dito sa Clark.”
“Bakit sayang, Maya?”
“Wala lang, hindi tayo nakapag-libot,” Maya replied sadly, knowing that she will probably never set foot here again.
“Well, next time, I’ll make sure na makakapasyal tayo.” Richard said, smiling coyly at her.
Maya smiled back in surprise. “Next time, Richard?”
Richard couldn’t help but grin like an excited little boy. “Kung papayag ka sana, Maya. I was thinking of offering you a job. Matagal mawawala si Fred. I need a personal assistant. Someone to organize my schedules, help me with presentations, accompany me to meetings. Liza, my secretary, does all the paperwork naman. Gusto mo ba, Maya?”
Maya couldn’t believe what he was offering, especially when he mentioned the starting salary. P40,000 a month plus the usual benefits, bonuses, overtime pay and comprehensive health insurance.
“H-ha?” Maya was shocked. The work she was planning to take in Dubai was supposed to pay her slightly less than that. This was an answered prayer to her family’s financial woes. And she didn’t even have to leave the country. Plus, Richard would be her boss.
Richard saw her surprise and seeming hesitation. He knew he had to convince her to take the job. After being with her for less than 24 hours, he already knew he couldn’t just let her go.
“Look, I know you were planning to go abroad and all, but please think about it, kahit temporary lang if you still want to pursue your dream. I do need help desperately right now and I already know and trust you, Maya. You’ve proven to be capable in the things I would need you to do. Besides,” he gave her a half-smile that could melt anyone’s heart, “you seem to be my lucky charm. Malaking financial boost sa Lim Aviation yung deal kanina, Maya. That will easily cover your salary plus bonuses for all my employees involved in this project. Ganung ka-big deal yun.”
Maya stood stiffly, unable to move just yet. This seemed too good to be true.
She turned to him slowly, not trusting herself not to fling her arms around him and kiss him. Ha?? Teka, teka Maya. San nanggaling yun?
“Ah, Maya? Ok ka lang ba? Masyado bang mababa yung offer ko? Pwede naman natin pag-usapan pag sure ka na at-”
Maya flung herself at him. She squealed and hugged him tightly. Richard was taken aback by the sudden physical contact but laughed at her child-like innocence.
“I take that as a yes, Maya?”
“Yes, Richard! Yes!” Maya replied happily, then immediately stepped back, embarrassed as she realized what she just did.
“Ay, sorry! Hindi ko napigilan ang sarili ko! Naku, Richard, sigurado ka ba dyan? Wag mo akong bibiruin ha?”
“Yes of course Maya. You have the job,” he said smiling, finding her so adorable. “O sige na, pumasok ka na sa kotse nang makauwi na tayo.”
Maya got in and settled into the seat happily. Then her phone rang. She fished it out of her bag and checked the screen. It was Nanay Teresita! Maya’s eyes widened. She wasn’t ready to talk to her yet!
Richard took his seat and saw the phone on her lap.
“Maya? It’s your Nanay… di mo ba sasagutin?
“Ha? Eh anong sasabihin ko?” Maya was panicking.
“Just tell her the truth,” Richard said gently. “Go on, answer it na.”
Maya finally pressed the green button on her phone.
“Maya, anak! Ano, kamusta ka ba dyan?” Nanay Teresita was so worried about her bunso that she rattled off one question after another. “Bakit hindi ka tumatawag? Ok ka lang ba, nak? Maayos ba yung tinitirahan mo dyan? Mabait ba ang boss mo? Kumakain ka ba ng maayos, Maya?”
“Nay, isa isa lang po! Opo okay po ako. Pero Nay,” she paused and looked to Richard for support. He nodded and encouraged her to go on. “Ah, Nay, wag po kayo magulat ha. Eh kasi, wala po ako sa Dubai.” Maya proceeded to tell her what happened with the recruiter.
“Ano!?? Napaka walang hiyang babae nyan! Niloko lang pala tayo!!” Teresita exclaimed angrily.
“Nay, kalma lang. Siguro po, blessing in disguise po yun. Kasi nakahanap na po ako ng trabaho sa Maynila. Mas maganda pa po dun sa dapat na pupuntahan ko. Napakabait po ng boss ko, mapagmalasakit, masipag, maalaga sa mga tao nya,” she looked at Richard shyly, who turned red upon hearing what she said. “Tapos, nandito lang ako sa Pilipinas, madali akong makakauwi para bumisita o magpadala sa inyo,” Maya continued, placating her mother.
“Naku, anak. Sana umuwi ka nalang agad nung hindi ka natuloy! Di mo naman kelangan maghanap ng trabaho dyan, ‘nak eh! Eh ano, okay ka naman ba dyan? Maayos ba yung tinitirahan mo?”
Maya gulped. Somehow, she didn’t want to tell her ultra-conservative mother that she was presently living in her boss’ house.
“Uh, opo Nay. Maayos naman po yung tinitirahan ko.”
Richard listened to her side of the conversation as he backed out of the restaurant’s driveway.
“Address ko po dito Nay? May ipapadala kayong mga gamit ko? Eh ite-text ko nalang po sa inyo bukas yung address ng office kasi po.. ano eh… ah, baka lumipat po ako ng boarding house… baka maligaw lang yung ipapadala nyo. Kapag nalang po sure na kung saan ako permanent na titira dito, saka ko nalang po kayo sasabihan,” Maya told her.
Richard raised his eyebrow. What was that all about?
“Sige po Nay, tawag tawag nalang po ako sa inyo. Ingat po Nay, goodnight! Miss ko din po kayo!”
“Why didn’t you give our address, Maya?”
“Eh, di ba, lilipat pa nga ako? Mga damit ko lang naman yun, hindi naman yun nagmamadali.”
“Lilipat ka pa ba? Why don’t you just stay in the house nalang? I do a lot of my work from the house anyway. Halos lahat ng mga pertinent files ko nasa office ko sa bahay. So if you work for me, convenient yun para sa yo.”
“Naku, sobra sobra naman yun Richard! Hindi na, pag may time ako, maghahanap na ako ng mauupahan.”
“Well, if you insist. Pero the offer stands, Maya.” He couldn’t hide his disappointment. He was looking forward to seeing her at breakfast everyday and drinking her delicious coffee.
They drove the rest of the way home mostly in silence, both lost in thought, allowing the recent events to sink in.
Richard thought about how lucky he was to find Maya. Mahirap humanap ng papalit kay Fred. He shuddered at the thought of going thru the hassle of interviewing applicants, all of them trying to put their best foot forward to get that lucrative position. Some would even stoop so low as to dress provocatively, in an attempt to get his approval. Thank God dumating si Maya sa buhay ko, just at the right time. Para syang anghel na hinulog ng langit, yun nga lang, muntik ko pa nasagasaan. He chuckled.
Maya glanced at him. “Bakit ka natatawa?”
“Wala naman, may naalala lang ako.”
Maya sat back and sighed in contentment. She couldn’t believe the sudden reversal of her fortune. Just last night, she felt like the weight of the world was on her shoulders. She was on the verge of breaking down. Now, she was on the verge of a promising career and a steady source of income. Napakabait nyo po sa akin, Lord. At ang gwapo pa talaga ng pinadala nyong anghel! A small laugh escaped her lips, making Richard turn to her.
“What’s so funny, Maya?”
A blush crept up from her neck and she shook her head vigorously. “Wala… Masaya lang ako. Salamat sa lahat ng tulong mo, Richard. Ay, teka pala… Di ba sabi mo, I got the job?”
“Yes, why? Wala nang bawian yan ha!”
“Oo naman, wala nang bawian. Pero inisip ko, dapat siguro ‘Sir’ na ang tawag ko sa yo uli? Eh boss na kita di ba?”
They finally arrived home. Richard parked the vehicle then turned to her.
Richard shrugged. He didn’t care about ranks or titles. “It’s not necessary, Maya. You can still call me Richard. Fred calls me Richard, it’s no big deal.”
“Eh iba naman yun. Di ba friends naman talaga kayo ni Fred bago mo sya naging assistant?”
“Bakit, hindi ba tayo friends?” Richard took a sidelong glance at her. She opened her mouth to reply, but decided against it, not really knowing how to answer that without sounding like either an assumera if she says yes, or that she didn’t care for his friendship if she says no. Maya looked down at her lap. She decided to let him take the lead.
“Maya, after ng pinagdaanan nating dalawa, it hardly matters how long we’ve known each other. I know you might find it weird but, I feel like I’ve known you all my life.”
Maya nodded, knowing exactly what he meant because she felt the same way.
She looked back up at him with a smile. “Friends?” She offered him her hand.
Richard took her hand and shook it firmly. “Friends,” he replied… for now… he added silently.
To be continued…
A/N: Sana napasaya ko kayo today!