A/N: Let me extend my thanks to the EBU admins for continually accommodating my works from wannabe writers like myself. Thank you to Ms. Chuchy and Ms Alpha Grace for checking and critically reviewing my draft so that I can come up with a better quality of work. And last but not the least, my effusive thanks go to the readers who always make the effort to leave encouraging comments . You can also find the complete uncut version of this series at http://cyndiresti.wordpress.com/
With his even teeth clenched, Richard’s patience was wearing very thin with the woman draped around his neck. He had tried to subtly tell Catherine for the last hour that he was not interested but she still kept on flirting all throughout the meeting. She even had the shameless temerity to rub her leg against his under the long conference table which compelled him to distance his swivel chair from the table, well away from her reach. He had originally intended to attend this progress update meeting via teleconference but since he was in the metropolis, he decided to come instead. It was a mistake that he was regretting but constructing this underwater road tunnel, which will be connecting Batangas to Mindoro, was his biggest project to date. He would hate it if something goes wrong again.
When he took on a government-funded bridging project in General Santos City a couple of years ago, he met Catherine who was one of DPWH’s public relations specialist back then. In hindsight, he should have not indulged in a one-night stand with her for he had immediately recognised her type. With her eye on the main chance, Catherine always throws herself at a rich guy, hoping to catch a big fish. She may be attracted to Richard but she was even more attracted to his bank balance.
He had already declined Catherine’s invitation for ‘lunch’ thrice, knowing she was serving herself as dessert. He was simply not interested. On the contrary, she left him cold. So unlike how he feels for a particular doe-eyed young lady who could turn him on by just thinking about her.
That was when the subject of his burning obsession arrived like a cool collected miss. He was jubilant that Maya came to see him and introduced herself as his girlfriend but was dismayed with the other things she said. She confronted him and his ‘perfidy’ while insulting him almost in the same breath. Then, she calmly walked out after declaring that their relationship was over.
Over before it even properly began!
“Bloody hell, Catherine!!! Get off me!!!” he roared which got the woman’s attention. Catherine finally heard loud and clear. In fact, the entire floor heard loud and clear, alerting everyone that the big boss’ infamous tiger temper had been roused! All ears were then honed to the commotion that was happening inside the boardroom. Everyone stopped in their tracks as they watched in fascination as their dashing business-suited CEO, who had been breaking female hearts for over a decade, came striding out in pursuit of the beautiful young woman who moved with fluid grace as she walked towards the elevator.
Richard Lim was running after a woman!
Now, that was astounding news to them! They have seen a parade of sophisticatedly sultry women who came and went but they were all usually seen metaphorically running after Richard who becomes very elusive once his male curiosity has been ‘satisfied’. It was common knowledge that Engr. Richard Lim’s attention span with a woman does not last very long. Among the spectators, three to be exact, had even turned the playboy’s constantly changing lovelife, or more accurately referred to as sex life, into a betting game.
Mr. Dalipe, a balding middle-aged man and head of the purchasing department, sidled up to Sonny who had brought out a little frayed notebook. He whispered, “2 months, 1000 pesos.”
A geeky draftsman named Anthony, who even had a pencil tucked behind his ear, joined them and whispered “ako 5-6 months, limang libo.”
“Two months, three weeks and 4 days ang longest record ni Sir. Ngayon dinoble mo. Namimigay ka ba ng pera?” Sonny taunted as he logged the bet.
“Hindi ah! Mukhang patay na patay pa kaya si Sir. Tingnan nyo kung makahabol, oh!” Anthony’s lips puckered and pointed towards their boss who was viciously pressing all of the elevator buttons.
As they heard the boss coming back, their hushed conversation momentarily stopped and the three pretended to be busy.
“Bloody hell!” Richard had kept on swearing a string of profanity as all the lifts were all at lower levels and were just descending. He strode towards his private office as he quickly speed dialled Maya’s number but he could not get through for she was in a blindspot.
“Lisa, call security,” Richard bellowed “Tell them to stop Maya at the ground floor or else they will all be fired!”
“But, sir! They don’t know her.” Lisa reminded him.
“Just do it Lisa!” he growled his order as he made his way to his private office. “And one more thing, tell MultimediaGem that I don’t want Catherine setting foot on my premises ever again! They better send me another PR Coordinator or I will tear their bloody contract and make sure they never get another in the city!”
“That one I will do with pleasure, sir!” Lisa was already on the internal phone with security requesting assistance and then physically describing Maya and her current outfit from memory. She smiled malevolently at Catherine, who finally emerged from the boardroom. Miss High-and-Mighty Catherine, who had always talked down to Lisa, was trying to slink unnoticed towards the exit stairs. Lisa noted Catherine’s ridiculously high heels and predicted that the tart would likely end up falling down the stairs and breaking her neck before she even reaches halfway down the building.
When Lisa replaced the receiver, she noticed the three men huddled together as they speculated on the duration of their employer’s fascination for the current flame.
“Ehemmm!” she coughed as she reached the trio to get their embarrassed attention “I know very well that you have always been betting over Sir Richard’s personal life. For supposed professionals, you three have conducted yourself most unprofessionally!”
“Miss Lisa, wala namang nasasaktan, katuwaan lang,” said Mr. Dalipe. The other two made similar noises.
“Sige, I won’t tell on you three,” Miss Lisa relented with a sly smile “Coz I am betting a month’s salary that this one will last longer than all the rest combined!”
“Wehhh, di nga?” incredulously intoned by Anthony, the geeky draftsman.
“Sobra namang laki ng pusta mo, Miss Lisa” complained Sonny. “Hindi namin kaya.”
“I thought you three were hard-nosed gamblers? Now, put your money where your mouth is!” Lisa smiled, enjoying how the three squirmed.
Despite their moans, the three gamblers noted her bet. Besides teaching them a lesson, Lisa thought that she would have the budget for a nice outfit to attend a wedding when she collects her winnings. She had actually seen the preliminary engagement ring design that was drawn by Richard Lim himself. Lisa had forwarded it to one of the top engagement ring designer in the country that had been commissioned to fine-tune the uniquely exquisite design. She never would have thought that her long-time boss had such a romantic side that finally came out when Maya arrived on the scene. For that alone, Maya had won her over.
Meanwhile, Richard had used his private elevator to reach the ground floor level. Damage control was foremost in his mind as he ran out as soon as the doors slid open. He slowed in his tracks when he saw her by the security podium. Maya’s exit was being blocked by two uniformed security men. Richard recognised one as his grey-haired security supervisor while the other was much younger and relatively new in his employ.
“Ma’am Maya, pasensiya na po hindi po kayo pwedeng umalis. Utos po galing sa itaas.” His security supervisor explained to Maya whose back was turned towards him so she had no idea that he was nearby.
“Pero, Manong Guard. Hindi nyo po ako pwedeng i-detain dito.” Maya argued, with a catch in her voice.
“Hindi po talaga pwede, ma’am. Kami po ang masisisante kay boss—” he stopped in mid-sentence when his companion nudged and nodded towards their employer.
“Manong Tonyo” Richard greeted the elderly security supervisor who had been with him since day one and then nodded to the younger staff. “Thank you for taking care of my girlfriend.”
“Wala po yun, Sir Richard,” the elder man grinned from ear to ear at him, obviously pleased for they met the boss’ girlfriend. They heard it first hand, way ahead over the corporate grapevine. At this piece of information, the younger security personnel’s eyes merely bulged as he looked at his boss to the young lady beside him. Richard could understand their reaction. Despite having a string of women that came in and out of his life, he never officially introduced a girlfriend to the staff.
Richard saw Maya’s momentary stunned silence at his statement and gently led her back towards his private lifts. Her eyes were already red and swollen from crying. In her hand was a ball of tissue which she had been continually crushing, a sure sign of her agitation.
“Come, sweetheart,” his hand at her back.
“Ayokong sumama sayo,” she hissed at him as she tried to dig in her heels.
“Maya, not here, please,” Richard whispered as he guided Maya back to his private elevator.
“Goodness, you are some piece of work! You don’t want to make a scene in front of your employees but you make-out with that boa constrictor in your boardroom!” she uttered harshly in an undertone.
Richard’s bland expression hid his amusement at her reaction as he followed her into the confined space. With hair ponytailed in a wispy scrunchie, Maya looked sweet and sexy in her white frilly Spanish-style layered skirt that stopped a few inches above her knee. A long thin shoulder-strapped purse crossed over her white peasant-style top that showed off smooth skin from her neck to the top of her shoulder. Richard thought that the bare skin was just inviting to be kissed. He dared not at the moment, though. Despite being tearful, Maya was still breathing fire as she castigated him for his alleged ‘sins’.
“I was not doing anything. As far as I am concerned, my association with Catherine is purely business. She had different ideas.” he tried to explain as he pressed the button to close the elevator’s sliding doors.
“Hah! Umapela ka sa baranggay dahil hindi ako naniniwala sayo, Singkit!”
He smiled lopsidedly at her, thoroughly enjoying watching her waspish display of jealousy, a direct contrast to the cool collected miss that he saw upstairs. He was feeling a bit smug for he had managed to get her inside the confines of his private lift which was fireproofed and soundproofed. She can rant and rave and no one will be able to hear.
“Anong ngini-ngiti mo diyan? Walang nakakatuwa dito!” she told him as she closed-fist punched him on the chest.
“Whoa! Masakit yun, ah!” Richard complained for Maya can slug a wallop despite her size. “Look, sweetheart, huwag ka nang magselos. Catherine means nothing to me.”
The minute he said it, he knew it was the wrong thing to say for Maya’s face visibly changed before his eyes in reaction.
“Hindi ako nagseselos!!! Ang ayoko yung niloloko ako!!!” Maya screamed at the top of her lungs as she stepped up to him, her face flushed, her delicate nostrils flared, her doe-eyes ablaze with fiery fury. He didn’t think it possible, but Maya was even more beautiful when angry, almost as beautiful when she’s in the throes of intense sensual passion.
And she was exciting him!
“I told you,” she poked his chest painfully with her pointer finger “I cannot tolerate being one among many! Alin duon ang hindi mo maintindihan? Kung hindi mo kaya, walang problema sakin! Hindi kita pipigilan! Dun ka na sa mga Catherine mo! Just stay the hell out of my life!”
Then, she burst into tears as Maya bent her head into her palms. Despite being innocent of her accusation, Richard’s conscience pricked him for inadvertently causing her pain. At first, Maya rejected his touch but Richard insisted on gathering her in his arms as she sobbed her heart out. He let her cry knowing she needed to release her anger and frustration. He held her for several minutes whispering soothing words while he gently patted her back as if he was calming a hurt child. When she calmed down, Richard wiped away her tears with his hanky and then offered it to Maya. Then, he led her out of the lifts which had long stopped at the first underground parking level and settled her in his car.
“I will take you home,” he informed her as he secured her safety belt in place.
Maya nodded wordlessly before she closed her lacklustre eyes, seemingly in sleep. Richard considered her serene demeanour that was still marred by sporadic sobs and shaky breath. He lifted his hand to the hair that escaped her ponytail. His fingers tucked the errant lock behind her ear and would have lingered against her hair had Maya not moved to avoid his caress. Richard sighed and shook his head before starting the engine.
They were entering Ayala Alabang Village’s gated community when Maya finally noticed that Richard was not bringing her to her condominium.
“Nasaan na tayo?” Maya asked shrilly as she almost bolted out of her seat in sudden movement “Ang sabi mo iuuwi mo na ako!”
“What I said was ‘I will take you home’ ” he quoted himself and then clarified belatedly “my home”.
“Well, you can just turn your blasted car around and take me to ‘my’ home!” Maya demanded.
Richard spared her a glance and sighed. He saw that Maya was again getting very agitated. A pity, she had been channelling all her passions negatively. At the thought, his eyes glinted as a more delightful way of spending all that passion came to mind.
“Richard Lim, narinig mo ba ko?”
“I heard you, Maya” he retorted calmly.
“But you are choosing to ignore what I say, is that it?” Maya was getting herself more worked up.
Richard kept silent as he did not want to add any fuel to the fire. Well, not this type of fire anyway, he thought.
He calmly pressed the button to the automatic gates and drove in. He had barely parked the car when Maya jumped out with the intention of running out the driveway again but Richard was quick on his feet and quickly blocked her path as she went round the BMW.
“Sweetheart, stop being difficult please.” Richard cajoled as his hands grabbed her around the waist.
“Let me go!” Maya yelled as she struggled against his more superior strength.
“Let’s get inside. Manang Fe prepared lunch for us.”
Out of the corner of his eye, he saw Doris and Sabel open and hold the front double doors for them. Obviously, the nosey tandem would want to see the first woman he had ever brought home to meet Manang Fe. He may be a womaniser, rather an ex-womaniser, but he never brought home any of his flings. He had too much respect for Manang Fe, whom he treats like his second mother, to subject her to that.
“Hindi ako papasok sa bahay mo at hindi mo ako mapipilit!” she struggled and kicked his shin, oblivious to the fact that they now have an audience standing by the front door.
“Owww! Maya, stop that!” Richard complained as he held her firmly at a distance to avoid her flailing legs.
Richard wanted her to go inside. Maya refused to budge. They were at an impasse.
Richard noted the steps by the front door. Maya could get hurt if he dragged her along. If he carried her in, she would struggle and fall, possibly resulting with a sprain or fracture. Unless, he carried her a different way.
“So, hindi ka papasok ng matiwasay?” Richard’s eyes glinted down at her, annoyed at her bull-headedness.
Maya mutinously looked up at him. Her chin jutted out in silent challenge as she shook her head in wordless negative response.
“Right, you left me no choice.”
In very swift economical movements, Richard wedged his right leg between her legs, held her right hand with his left and quickly bent his knees as so that Maya’s middle goes over his right shoulder. Richard grabbed her legs for a more secure hold before he straightened to carry her into the house…
Maya breathed out an involuntary ‘oooomph’ when she got lifted off the ground. It only took a few seconds before Maya recovered from his literally breath-taking maneuver. Then she started to struggle as she pummelled his back.
“Put me down, you chinky-eyed devil!!! This is sooooo undignified!!!” Maya howled.
Doris and Sabel were stunned as they followed their employer carrying a female into the house like a sack of rice.
“Stop this, you caveman!!! And put me down!!!”
“Doris, Sabel!” Richard barked as he walked past his gaping cook and laundress.
“Ser?” answered Doris nervously.
“Ano po yun?” Sabel asked just as nervously.
“You two, take the rest of the day off. Bring Manang Fe with you. And tell Joma to drive you around.” Richard was grinning wickedly, anticipating to having Maya all to himself.
“Walanghiya ka talaga, Singkit!!! Isusumbong kita kay Kuya! This is assault! ” Maya bellowed as she was forced to hold on to his suit jacket as he started climbing the stairs. He would have gone to the master’s bedroom but remembered Maya’s tendency to moan and scream during lovemaking. So, he opted to go to the mezzanine floor where his soundproofed audiovisual room was located.
“Ricardo!” an elderly lady called at the foot of the stairs to halt his progress, appalled censure in her tone “anong ginagawa mo?”
“Manang Fe,” he acknowledged with a slight turn of his head as he paused, one hand on the modern wooden balustrade while the other was fastened securely around Maya’s shapely legs. “This is Maya.”
Richard felt Maya lift her head to look down at the elderly lady at the foot of the stairs as he continued to ascend.
“Hello po. Pasensiya na po hindi ako makapagmano dahil sa kawalanghiyaan ng alaga ninyo,” she greeted the elderly lady.
“Huwag mo nang alalahanin yun, ineng.” Manang Fe reassured her. With curiosity getting the better of his mayor doma, she asked “Maya, taga-Mindoro ka ba?”
“Po?” Maya was evidently perplexed “Opo, papaano nyo po nalaman?”
“Palaging nasa inyo si Ricardo diba?”
“Opo, palagi po siyang nagbabakasyon samin nuon. Pero, ilang taon siyang di dumalaw. Tapos ngayon naglalagi na naman siya sa San Nicholas. Inaayos po nya yung lumang villa.”
Richard merely grinned at the farcical situation. What amazed him was that Maya can still carry on a conversation despite the fact that her diaphragm was compressed with her own weight. She remained the undisputed ‘Chatterbox Queen’. She actually only shuts up when she’s too embarrassed or when he’s kissing her. Then, when they get hot and heavy, she makes sexy little moans, groans and whimpers. And then of course, she screams. This prompted him again to address Doris and Sabel. He turned when he reached the lower landing to look down at the three female watching his progress from the ground floor.
“Doris, Sabel. Yung bilin ko huwag ninyong kakalimutan. Kahit bukas na kayo umuwi.” It was better that they were alone in the house just in case the soundproofing system does not drown all the sounds.
“Opo ser!” Doris and Sabel chorused their identical response.
“Ricardo, tigilan mo na yan,” Manang Fe sternly told off her former charge.
“Manang Fe, huwag kayong mag-alala, pakakasalan ko ‘to. Pakakalmahin ko lang dahil nagwawala sa galit. Nagselos kasi,” he explained to reassure his former nanny as he disappeared into the double doors with a spluttering Maya who took exception to his parting statement.
The same parting statement brought forth giddy squeals from Doris and Sabel who finally understood the situation as an LQ.
“Salbaheng bata ito, masilya-elektrika ka diyan sa gagawin mo!” yelled Manang Fe but Richard did not hear her warning.
“Manang Fe, lethal injection na po ngayon, wala na pong electric chair,” Doris informed the older lady.
“Tingnan mo itong luka-lukang ‘to! Naagnas na yung diyaryo kung saan mo nabasa yang balita mo, eh!” Sabel jeered at Doris and then turned to Manang Fe “Matagal na pong walang death penalty. Life imprisonment na lang po ang hatol sa rape.”
“Manang, halika na po” Doris pouted at Sabel as she dragged a very worried Manang Fe with them.
“Teka, baka mademanda si Ricardo,” protested the mayor doma.
“Naku, Manang, wala pong mangyayaring demandahan,” Sabel reassured the older lady smilingly “at mukhang rape with consent ang mangyayari.”
Once inside, Richard bolted the doors behind him and then walked in front of the huge L-shaped leather sofa and gently placed Maya on her feet by the chaise.
For several long seconds, she shot daggers at him with her glittering doe-shaped eyes. Then, she lunged at him and pummelled his chest with her fists until all her strength was spent. Then, Richard gathered her again in his arms.
“I hate you,” she murmured against his chest.
“At the moment, you may think you do,” he agreed, as he started nuzzling her neck before raining kisses all over her face.
“Richard, ‘this’ will not fix anything…” Maya protested as Richard gently pulled her towards the chaise-end of the lounge.
Then Richard removed his specs before he lifted her chin so that he can engage her lips in another drugging kiss.
Richard broke the kiss and nuzzled a path down her jawline to her neck. He quickly dispensed the shoulder bag when he encountered the thin strap only to return lip-caressing her bare shoulder…
Author’s endnote: For the complete chapter, please click on this link: