Note: This is a continuation to Someone Like You – part 7.
Liza noticed the change of Richard’s mood for the past several days. She always sees him in good mood. She even caught him humming while he was reviewing a position paper for their client. He is normally serious when he reviews position papers.
“Boss, mukhang okay kayo these days ha.” Liza commented when she gave additional papers to read on.
He smiled and winked at her confirming her observation. Liza was glad that her boss is happy. It meant that no extended work hours for them.
“By the way boss, Atty. Collins from New York called up this morning. He was asking about your availability to discuss the case in China.”
“Thanks Liza, I’ll call him up myself.” Richard picked up the phone and made a long distance call to New York.
In that call, he found out that he needed to go to China to do consulting work with another BMc firm regarding some OFW related cases in China. He wanted him to travel as soon as possible as their client is large U.S. based company and the case can potential become a class suit.
As agreed, Richard and Maya met at Chateau 1771 at El Pueblo for lunch. Similar to the previous night, they enjoyed their time together. Although it was a hurried lunch, they managed to share about their family background. Richard is an only son while Maya has an elder sibling who works in luxury cruise ship as a sous chef. Maya lives with her mother while Richard is staying in a condo unit in Eastwood City. His parents live in Bel-Air, Makati.
“Maya, about the job that I mentioned yesterday, are you thinking about it? I’m not asking for an answer today but I’m just checking whether it even merits attention on your part.”
“Ricky, I’ll think about it. Right now kasi, okay naman sa office. I don’t really see any need to move company. So, if you really are in need of an additional staff, I suggest that you go ahead with the recruitment process”
Richard sighed. “Alright. You have a point there. However, if you change your mind, please give me a call. I don’t think it will be that soon we’ll be able to find a candidate anyway.”
“Sige, thank you sa offer.” She continued working on the food on plate.
By the end of lunch, Richard mentioned to her that he was going to China for 3 days for consulting work. Maya didn’t ask for any details but noted that he didn’t say anything about calling her up or seeing her again. At the back of her mind, she half-expected that he will connect with her again once he returns to Manila.
Three Weeks Later
The 3 days trip of Richard extended to 3 weeks. After China, he returned to Manila for only 2 days and then immediately flew to New York for a series of meetings at BMc. He was in the U.S. for more than 2 weeks. As he was focused on the case he was handling, he didn’t have a lot of chance to call back home. All his other work related communications where done thru Liza or Ryan. At one point though, the thought of speaking to Maya crossed his mind. So, he tried to call her up early mornining NY and evening Manila but there was no response from her. His call couldn’t get through so he just gave up.
On the day he returned from New York, he immediately reported for work. He arrived early morning via Narita Japan but he knew he won’t be able to sleep yet so he decided to go the office and do some catch up work. He will just take the next 2 days off to get a rest.
Richard was on his way to the pantry when he thought he saw her in one of the work stations talking to another secretary. He quickly dismissed the idea thinking he must just be imagining her. So, he prepared his own coffee. He stayed at the pantry for a while to finish his coffee and then proceeded to his father’s office to let him know that he was already back.
He was very surprised to find Maya sitting in the EA desk working intently in the computer. He must have been walking so lightly that when he calle her name, “Maya!”, she suddenly exclaimed “Ayyyy,”.
A wide-eyed Maya turned to look at him. “Ricky, Eh Sir Ricky, nandito na ka na? Nakakagulat ka naman.”
Maya’s hands were on her chest upon recovering from the shock of seeing him. Her heart was thumping loudly that she hoped that she was the only one who could hear it.
“What are you doing here?” Richard couldn’t hide his shock of seeing her in their office.
“Ha? Eh, nagtatrabaho. May pinapatapos si Sir Bobby.” She responded.
“Since when have you started work here?” He seemed more interested in asking question than listening to her answer. His brows furrowed and creases on his forehead were visible.
“Last week pa. Available ang Dad mo sa loob.” She responded again. In her thoughts, “Is he upset? Why would he when he was also offering me a job here.”
Richard went inside his father’s office. The moment the elder Lim saw him, he smiled ear to ear and approached his son.
“Dad, I’m back.” He took his father’s hand and gave him a quick hug. His father on the other hand, tapped his shoulder. They sat on the visitors chair facing each other.
“Son, it’s good you’re back. Your mom was asking about you this morning. She was wondering why you only called her up once during your trip. Next time, anak, you should call her more frequently. You know her. Up to now, she wants to know what’s happening with you.” Atty. Bobby reminded his son.
“Yeah. I know that Dad. I was very busy in NY and you know the time zone difference. Anyway, why is Maya in your EA’s desk?”
“Ah you saw her? She is back as my EA. She finally agreed. She has joined our company.” Atty. Bobby happily shared the news.
“What? How did you manage to get her in?” Richard’s facial expression was a mixture of surprise and upset.
“Well, I spoke to her when Karen, the other girl, resigned.” The way his father explained it to him seemed like it was an easy task.
“But she told me… Ah, I thought she preferred to stay in her company.” Richard countered.
“I know. Initially, she hesitated but you know me. When I’m into something, I go after it until it’s done. So what son? do you have any issues having her in the office?” Atty. Bobby was looking at his son intently.
“No, I’m fine with it Dad. I was actually hoping that she can join my team. I need someone like her in my team. We’re receiving more cases this time so I need some help.” Richard told his father.
“Is that so? Hmmm, I think what we need to do is review the firm’s organization. It’s about time we expand and accept one or two into senior partnership. Then, we can hire new lawyers that can join your team. What you’d need would be those with solid law background. What do you think?”
“But Dad..” Richard was about to argue when Atty. Bobby interjected.
“That’s the organization side of it son. About Maya, I’ll offer you an option. If you want her in your team, I’m fine with it but you have to return Liza to me. You can’t keep both them, alright?”
“Thanks Dad, that’s a possibility but…” Richard was again cut-off.
“Ricky, do you want help in the exchange process?” Atty. Bobby was smiling mischievously
“No need Dad, I’ll think about it first. Don’t do anything, okay?” Richard stood up. Before he left, he advised him that he was taking a day off the following day to catch up on sleep.
As soon as he came out of his father’s office, Richard stood beside Maya’s table to talk to her.
“Maya, how did my father convince you to take this role?” He eyed her curiously.
“Well, as you said I should think about having a job in a law firm. There were also some issues at People that I wasn’t aware of until Mrs. Cortez talked to me. So with the right timing and opportunity, I took the job. I might return to school next semester.” Maya smiled as she told him her plans.
“Alright, I’m convinced about that. But how come you didn’t even let me know that you are now working here? Kahit man lang text wala? Mahirap dito sa office na’to hirings and resignations seems to be kept secret from me.” This time his tone indicated he was offended by the surprise of finding her back in their office.
“Ha? Nag-send ako sa’yo ng text message. So, hindi mo pala na-receive kaya pala wala kang response. Anyway, I thought you’d know or you’d be glad that I finally accepted a job here.” Maya reasoned out.
“I didn’t receive any message.” His tone was calmer. “I think it must be the phone connection. But anyway, welcome to LOE. I’m glad you are here and I expect that you’ll not disappoint us with your performance.” He spoke like a senior partner of the company.
“Thank you, Sir Ricky.” Maya responded smiling at him.
“About that, Maya. Pls. drop the Sir. We are past that title tag, right?” Richard was already smiling. His be-dimpled cheek almost made her blush.
“Right” was her short reply.
The following day, Maya was about to prepare a coffee for Atty. Bobby and Richard, as he was already back, when Liza approached her carrying a medium sized paper bag.
“Hi Maya, good morning.” Liza was grinning as if she knew a secret.
“Hi Liza, how are you today? Dumating na ba si Sir Ricky? Isasama ko na s’ya sa coffee na ginagawa ko.” Maya started to take out 2 cups to fill them up with water.
“No need Maya. Wala si Boss dito. He just dropped by earlier to leave some work and pasalubongs. Here is yours.” Liza handed her the paper bag.
“Ha? May pasalubong ako?” She wasn’t sure if she heard her right or she even deserved it.
“Yes, dear. Look at the paper bag, name mo nakasulat dyan. That’s his handwriting.” Liza pointed out the paper with her name on it.
It was only then that Maya took the bag from Liza but the other lady had one more thing to say. “Sabi ni Boss, make sure you put in the ref after you open it.”
She opened the bag and saw that she got 3 boxes of Japanese brand chocolates. She hid her excitement as she knew Liza was observing her reaction. As advised, she placed the bag inside the refrigerator in their pantry area.
When she returned to her desk, Maya sent a message to Richard’s phone. “Thank you Ricky, I got the chocolates.”
Within a minute, he was calling her. “Hi, that’s my welcome gift to you.” His voice sounded low as if he was woken up from sleep.
“Ay, did I wake you up? Sorry, ha.” Maya immediately apologized thinking she might have disturbed him.
“Not really, I was half-asleep when I heard the incoming message. I just can’t resist making this call.” He said.
“Huh?” Maya was dumbfounded on the other end of the line. She could imagine his lopsided smile as he spoke to her.
“I meant I missed talking to you.” His statement made her heartbeat stopped. “Maya, are you still there?”
“Ah, yes…. Andito pa ako. Ricky, sige na. You need to catch up on your sleep.” She responded.
“Alright, I’ll see you tomorrow at the office. Let’s have lunch together. Bye.” Richard disconnected the call.
Maya was in heaven for the rest of the day. If she wasn’t misinterpreting his actions, Maya thought that Richard could be interested in her.