Note: This is a continuation to Someone Like You – part 3.
It’s been a week since Maya reported for work at L.O.E. & Associates Law offices. So far, she had not encountered Richard in the office. She considered it as a combination of luck and good planning on her part; that is avoiding the area where Richard’s office is located. Since she knew that she will only work with them on a temporary basis, she decided it wasn’t necessary to correct his impression of her. After all, he might not remember her because she was in costume. In addition, he doesn’t mean anything to her; he was just a college crush that’s all. So, she considered that night as just one bad dream.
On her first day of work, she was glad to learn that her new boss was the senior Atty. Lim. Sir Bobby, as he requested to be called, came across as fatherly and so they got along quite easily. Maya felt comfortable telling him that she doesn’t have much background working in a law firm but he assured her that she will learn once she is on the job. Sir Bobby’s practice is on corporate law; an area that Maya can start her learning.
During the first week, Maya found out more about Richard’s background. He completed his juris doctor in the U.S. and when he was in the U.S. for 4 years, he was admitted to practice in Virginia and New York. He came back a year in the Philippines in 2012 to rejoin his father’s law firm as senior partner. He brought with him partnership with the global law firm, Baker McKenzie. Liza shared these information to Maya while they were doing turn-over of responsibilities. The only thing that Maya has not found out is whether Richard is married or not. On her second week, Maya met another partner of the firm, Atty. Ryan Orlino.
“Bro, may bago palang EA ang Dad mo.” Ryan went to Richard’s office as soon as he left Maya’s work station.
“Ah, Yes. I took back Liza. So, I guess they already found the replacement.” Richard responded. He has not seen his father’s new assistant because he was busy with his clients lately.
“Bro, I think you should go and see her. She’s quite pretty.” Ryan winked at Richard as he described Maya.
“Ryan, what are you trying to say? Don’t tell me interested ka sa secretary ni Dad. Remember, may asawa ka na.” His brows furrowed. This is the side of his best friend that he keeps tempering; Ryan can easily get tempted by beauty.
“Of course not. She’s not for me but could be for you.” Ryan teased him.
“Rye, you know that I never go for officemates and rarely do I go out with women in the same profession.” He looked at his friend seriously.
“Well friend, never say never. Malay mo ito na ang hinahanap mo. You’ve been single for the longest time although you never run out of chicks. Ha,ha,ha.” Ryan countered.
“Alright, let’s focus on work. The tax advice for Go Enterprises looks good to me but better run it with Che first. She is the tax expert here.” Richard changed the topic.
“Wow, pareho kayo ng advise ng Dad mo. Talagang malapit ka ng maging managing partner, ha.” Ryan was smiling.
Richard only responded with a smile. It’s been widely accepted by the LOE partners that he will be the next managing partner when his father retires.
With the comment of Ryan, Richard got curious on the new EA he was excited about. So after a call with a client, he decided to pay a visit to his father’s office which is located on the other side of their office.
Maya was on her computer preparing a correspondence when Richard appeared in front of her table.
“Hi. You must be the new EA of Atty. Lim?” Richard opened the conversation.
Maya froze when she heard the familiar voice. She confirmed it was him when she looked up and saw his smiling face.
All she could say in a meek voice was “Po?” Her eyes were wide open.
Richard’s smile suddenly disappeared and was replaced by a questioning look. “I said, you must be the new EA of Atty. Lim. I’m Richard, his son.” In his thoughts, she looks familiar. Where have I seen this girl before?”
“Ay, yes, Sir. Ako nga po. I’m Maya dela Rosa, sir.” She couldn’t extend her hand for a hand shake as it was shaking. She tried to calm her nerves and prayed she was doing good at it. In her head, “Oh lord, bakit ngayon kami nagkita. Hindi pa ako ready na harapin ‘to. Shocks naman, baka ma-one week last week ako dito pag nagkataon.”
Richard positioned his two hands on her table and bent down a bit to look at her closer. “Know what Maya, your face looks familiar. Where have I met you before?” Richard eye’s turning to tiny slits in trying to figure out where he had seen her.
“Ahh, sir, yes. I was a trainee here 5 years ago.” Her immediate response. She reminded herself she need not admit that they met 2 weeks ago. If ever she tell him that, that kind of discussion would need proper timing, she thought.
“No, I don’t think it was that long ago. I think I’ve seen you recently somewhere.” Richard was about to say more when the intercom from his father rang. Maya pressed the receive button to listen to him.
“Maya, Hija, could you get me a ballpoint pen? I can’t find any of my sign pens here. I need a black one please. And also, get me a red one too.” The elder Lim said on the phone.
It was an escape delivered from heaven, Maya thought. In her aligaga mode, she immediately stood up to get the pens from her side cabinet. As she stood up, Richard appraised her fully.
“Wow, nice legs.” Those words almost came out of his mouth.
Maya noticed him looking at her from head to foot that she felt self-conscious. She lost her poise when her stilettos wobbled that almost caused to lose balance. It was fortunate that she was able to hold on to the cabinet but she dropped the pens that she was holding. Another embarrassment added to her list of embarrassing scenes with him.
“Excuse me sir.” She apologized as she bent down to pick up the pens. After picking them up, she went inside the room of the senior Lim.
All throughout Richard observed her trying to recall when and where he had met her. The face looked familiar, the legs and when he saw her bent down, he unintentionally saw her cleavage. As if a light bulb turned on, he realized where he had seen her before. “Burgos. Is she the hooker I met two weeks ago? Minus the long red hair, I am sure she is that one.”
For 10 minutes, Richard waited for her to return. Then, he got a call from a client. So, left without a choice, he went back to his room. However, he made a decision that he will confirm his theory before the day ends.
Maya was at the pantry preparing her own coffee. Finally, after that surprising visit of Richard and the long note taking in an audio call with her boss, she had a chance for coffee break.
She almost dropped her cup of coffee when she saw him enter the pantry. He was looking at her intently and she knew fear could be seen in her eyes.
“Ms. Dela Rosa, why do I sense that you are afraid of me?” Richard asked.
“Hindi po sir. Nagulat lang ako ng pumasok kayo.” Her alibi.
“Alam mo bang yung tao magugulatin, either may iniisip na malalim or may sekretong tinatago?” He set her up for an argument with him.
“Ah ganoon po ba sir? May iniisip lang po akong malalim.” She responded. It was a safer answer than his insinuation that she has a secret.
“So, pwede mo bang i-share ang iniisip mo? Is it a problem that I can help you with as a company officer?” He pursued his questioning, just like he when he is in a court session.
“No, sir, wala ito. It’s personal.” She retorted hoping that he will stop talking to her.
“Ms. Dela Rosa, regarding my question earlier whether we’ve met before, I think I already know where we met.” Richard made a leading statement.
“Po? Naku sir, baka nagkakamali lang kayo. Anyway, babalik na ako sa table ko. Baka hanapin ako ni Atty. Lim.” She immediately stood up to proceed to the door.
Unfortunately, Richard beat her to the doorway. Knowing her intention, he closed the door and stood behind it.
“See, iniiwasan mo ako. Ms. Dela Rosa, my profession has trained me to decipher facial expressions of people. Right now, I am getting the signal that you are trying to hide something from me. I think you know where we met.” Richard spoke in a calculating tone making Maya nervous.
She knew her secret was out and she needed to explain but her thoughts were so scattered in her brain that first thing that came out from her mouth was “Sir, kasi, you’re making the wrong assumption.”
“Ah, so I’m making the wrong assumption?” Richard walked slowly towards
her while she retreated until she was against the counter.
“I don’t think I am wrong, Ms. Dela Rosa. And I think I know how to refresh your memory.” He said right in front of her face. His gaze moved from her eyes to her lips. Maya’s heart thumped.
Maya assumed he would kiss her because of the proximity of their faces. Defensively she blurted out, “Wag mo akong hahalikan kung di mo gustong masampal ulit.” That statement gave her away.
In triumph, Richard said so close to her ear. “Ah! So, you remember the kiss but you forgot where we met.” Then, he distanced himself away from her.
“Very interesting Ms. Dela Rosa, very interesting. I suggest that you don’t leave the office early because I want to talk to you later. Please come to my office at 5:30 p.m.. By that time, my meeting with Go Enterprises should be done.”
Richard left the pantry in haste while Maya leaned back on the counter thinking about her next move.