Note: This is a continuation to Someone Like You – part 5.
Maya arrived at the office 7:00 a.m. the following day. Atty. Bobby Lim usually comes early to work so she wanted to be there before he arrives.
First thing she did when she landed on her table was to call up Mrs. Cortez to check on the status of the search for EA position. She was told that the list of candidates have been sent to her email and that per previous arrangement with Liza, the interviews were scheduled that day. As a proactive move, Maya opened her email and printed out the resume of the 3 candidates. She showed him the candidates’ CVs when he was already seated in his desk.
“Good morning Sir Bobby. Sir, here are the resume of the EA candidates.” She informed him.
“Ah, really.” Sir Bobby took the papers from Maya and scanned them. After reading the CVs, he looked up and asked Maya. “Looks good. But Hija, don’t you want to be assigned here permanently? We can definitely hire you.”
Maya was startled by his offer.
“Naku Sir, Thank you. But I don’t think I fit in this role. Mas mabuti yung may experience and law background . Besides, I have a job in People. Hinihintay po ako doon.” Although she was flattered by the offer, she wasn’t inclined to accept the job because of Richard. She’s still upset with all the experiences she had with him.
“Well, you are a fast learner. And I like your work style. You are fast, efficient, professional. So, if you really want to pursue your law profession, this might a good place to start. Anyway, Hija nasa iyo yan. I’m just opening an option for you.” In the end, Sir Bobby gave her comments about the candidates profile and which one he was more interested with.
Maya was just coming out from Sir Bobby’s office when she saw Richard approaching her table.
Because her supervisor said she is professional, she greeted him politely. “Good morning, Atty. Lim.” She looked at him; her face expressionless.
“Hi, Maya. Good morning. Is my Dad here?” Richard asked. Actually, he didn’t have a purpose for coming to his father’s office. He was more interested in finding out if Maya was there. He wondered if she would talk to him after the previous night’s dinner. She appeared formal in her demeanor. He observed that she was well dressed for the day.
“Yes, he is here Atty. Lim.” She opened the door of Sir Bobby’s office. She was smiling when she addressed the elder Lim. In her sweet voice, “Sir Bobby… Atty. Lim is here to see you. Ay, sir Bob anong gusto n’yo pala juice, coffee, tea or water?”
“I’ll have coffee and water. Thank you, Hija.” He smiled back at her.
When Maya turned to ask Richard, her smile was gone and replaced with serious tone. “Atty. Lim, kayo po?”
Richard noticed the change in mood. He could only reply “Nothing for me, Maya.” Then, he took the chair in front of his father’s desk. She was pleasant with his dad but she gave him a cold treatment. He got a confirmation, she was still angry with him. He decided he will need to do something about it.
On her way out of Sir Bobby’s office, Maya heard him say to his son. “So, what brings you here, son. Alam mo pa pala kung paano makapunta dito sa office ko. Hindi ka ba naligaw?”
Maya didn’t hear Richard’s response as she closed the door. In her thoughts “So, hindi masyadong nagkikita itong mag-ama sa office? Hmmm, weird.”
When she returned with the coffee and water, Richard had already left. Maya made a sigh of relief only to be upset by update coming from her boss.
“Ah Maya, Liza apparently is unable to report for work today and tomorrow. May sakit daw ang anak n’ya. So, Richard asked kung pwede kang mahiram tomorrow. He needs someone to help him complete the documents for VCA company. So, bukas, it’s fine if work with him.” Atty. Bobby told her.
Lunchtime, Maya was about to go the cafeteria and join the other secretaries when she got a delivery. She received a basket of white long-stemmed roses. She was excited to see the flowers and wondered who sent it to her. There was no occasion but thought it could be from Emman or one of her friends.
As soon as she placed the basked on top of her table, she took out the card.
“I’m really sorry. To make up for the spoiled dinner last night, can we have dinner this evening?” With the same speed of opening the card, she crumpled the same and threw it in the waste basket.
From behind, Atty. Bobby who saw everything commented “Hmm, I smell lover’s quarrel. Hija, pag pinadalhan ka na ng white flowers, it means suko na s’ya.”
Maya turned and saw her boss nodding as if he knew something. She blushed; giving away a hint that he might be right.
“Sir, paano n’yo naman nasabing lover’s quarrel?” Now, she was smiling in amusement; gone was her upset moment a while ago. It was replaced by a light giddiness.
“Maya, marami na akong naging sekretarya at mga ka-opisinang babae. I can sense from the facial expression, there is something there. At saka, gawain ko rin yan ay Esmeralda, yung misis ko. Pag nagalit yon parang tigre, so kailangan suyuin.” He was laughing with Maya as he shared one story of his LQ with his wife.
When their conversation ended, Maya was left with her thoughts. “Hayy Sir Bob, kung pwede ko lang sa’yong sabihin na itong flowers ay galing sa magaling n’yong anak dahil may kasalanan s’ya. Mukhang itong style na ‘to namana n’ya sa iyo.”
At 2:00 p.m. Richard called up Maya’s office phone but there was no response. After 30 minutes, he went back but she wasn’t there. He noticed that the flowers he sent were in the corner of her workstation where it’s least visible.
At 3:30 during coffee break, he was at her work area again. Maya’s table was still empty. So, he knocked and then opened his father’s door. Richard found his father, Maya and another lady in a meeting. All he could say was “Excuse me, I didn’t know you have a meeting.” Then, he left.
At 4:30 he was at her workstation again. This time, his father’s door had a huge sign in it. “Do Not Disturb, Meeting On-Going.” He didn’t know how to react to the message. He knew who placed it there and if he is being sensitive about it, he knew the message was for him.
At 5:30, he decided that he will talk to her. Even if he has to disturb their meeting, he needs her response to his invitation. He was walking at the hallway when he almost collided with her. She came out of the stock room carrying 2 boxes of legal paper.
They said simultaneously “Sorry.”
Richard allowed Maya to proceed and he followed her. When they reached her table, it was then he asked her. “Maya, so are you free tonight?”
“Sir, thank you pala sa flowers. Sorry, I have work this evening. Dahil sa office mo ako bukas, kailangan kong tapusin yung pinapagawa ni Sir Bobby today.” She told him in a matter-of-fact tone.
“Ah… alright then. Maybe next time?” He checked with her.
“Probably sir, when I’m still here. Nag-interview na kami ng kapalit ko kanina.” She informed him.
“Really, so you took part in the selection process?” His father must really like her for her to be included in such activity. She has just been with them for 2 weeks.
“Since wala si Ms. Liza, ako na lang pinasama n’ya. So, don’t worry Sir, malapit ng maging safe ang dad mo.” She said sarcastically.
“Maya…. I thought forgiven na ako? Di ba sabi mo mag-apologize ako. I already apologized last night and today also. I’m inviting you to a peace dinner, but you’re declining it.” Richard leaned on her table with his hands on his chest.
“So, please tell me, ano pa ang gusto mong gawin ko para tanggapin mo ang sorry ko?” The tone of his voice was gentler; it was more conciliatory this time.
She looked at him intently. She realized that whenever she sees him, she gets upset. But there are moments that she felt giddy too an example was when she realized that he could be sincere in his apology this time.
Then, her heart skipped a bit when she saw him smile at her; the smile was hopeful. “So, ano? Peace na tayo? ” He asked again while making a peace sign with his fingers.
With deep sigh, “O sige nga sir. Accepted na ang apology mo.” She smiled at him. In her head, “Maya, pwede na ‘yan anyway temporary ka lang dito.”
The next day, Maya was loaded with reading, notes taking, typing and collating work. Seeing the pending folders that she saw in the cabinet, she discovered that he handles many cases.
Richard was in several meetings most of the day. So, he didn’t have a chance to speak to her. As an EA, he noticed her attentiveness when it came to work. She takes notes fast and quick to ascertain the needs of her supervisor, be it paper, pen, coffee, water, call transfers and following up documents.
In the afternoon break, Maya prepared coffee for him. When he sipped from the cup, he actually liked it . So, he asked “Do we have a new coffee maker in the office?”
“Wala po, Sir. Timpla ko lang ‘yan.” She responded while she was fixing the contents of the folders laying around his table.
“Talaga? It tastes very good. Pwede ikaw na lang ang coffee maker ko?” He flashed his lopsided smile. As usual, Maya’s heart thumped.
“Sir.” She responded with a tone of warning.
“Ooops Maya. I meant it as a compliment, nothing else. The coffee really tastes good.”
“Thank you po.” She accepted the compliment and when she was about to go out of his room, he had one more thing to ask her.
“Maya, are you free for dinner tonight?”
“I have a personal appointment this evening sir.” She turned to answer him.
“Ahh, okay, maybe next time na lang.” He didn’t pursue anymore but deep within, the turn downs he was getting from her was beginning to bother him.
Although Liza has reported back to office on Friday, Maya had made it a point to prepare an extra cup of coffee whenever she would prepare one for Sir Bobby. Liza appreciated Maya’s thoughtfulness because it was one less task for her. Richard appreciated the coffee too; he could tell the difference between Maya and Liza’s coffee.
The following week, it became a routine. Richard’s coffee was being prepared by Maya. At least twice a day, he would see her come into his office to deliver his cup. He was also getting used to seeing her a lot in the office premises especially when he goes to his father’s office for short case discussions.
Week two after the routine was established, Richard noticed a break in the pattern. It was mid-day Wednesday that his coffee has not been arrived.
Without asking Liza, he went straight to Maya’s table. More than the missing coffee, he actually hasn’t seen her all morning and so he was wondering where she might be.
Richard’s brows furrowed when he saw another girl sitting at Maya’s desk.
The moment he approached the table, a timid girl greeted him. “Good morning Sir.”
“Good morning. Is Atty. Lim inside?” He pointed at the door of his father’s office.
“Yes, sir.” The girl responded. She didn’t move and just stared at him.
Richard went inside his father’s room without knocking. The elder Lim was surprised by the sudden appearance of his son.
“Dad, asan si Maya?” He went straight to the point as he sat on the visitor’s chair.
“Maya is back with her company. Did you see the lady outside? That’s Mary-Ann. She’s my new EA.” Sir Bobby told his son.
“Why wasn’t I informed that your new EA will start today and it was Maya’s last day yesterday?” The tone of Richard’s voice indicated he was upset. The elder Lim sensed there was something that was making him agitated so he probed.
“Ricky, why do you need to know when she doesn’t report to you? She was my EA and not yours. And by the way, why are you looking for my EA?” He got curious with Richard’s question earlier.
“Ah, I was going to follow-up with her about something. Anyway, I’ll just call her office.” Richard couldn’t think of a quick alibi; the tone of his voice lowered. He was about to stand up when his father motioned him to sit again.
Atty. Roberto went around his table and placed a hand on Richard’s shoulder.
“Son, I noticed that in the last few days since Maya worked with us, nadadalas na ang punta mo dito sa opisina ko. This leads me to think that either you developed a greater interest to the corporate cases that I am handling or you are actually visiting my EA. So, which one is it son?” Atty. Roberto looked at Richard with piercing eyes.
Richard couldn’t respond; his mind was blank. In his mind, “Yes, why am I upset over this? I knew she was on temporary assignment here. But the office atmosphere was different when she was here.”
For a few seconds, he just stared back at his father. The elder Lim seemed to have gotten his answer; his facial expression slowly changed from curiosity to a sly look.
His father spoke again. “Do you know that she wanted to pursue law as a profession? I actually offered her to stay and build a career here.”
“So, Dad, how do I relate this information to your question earlier?” Richard couldn’t make head nor tail of their conversation.
“Ay, Ricky… you are the next managing partner of this company. You’ve won many cases, you go figure it out.”