This is a continuation to The Rightful Owner – part 4
Few days before her dinner meeting with Richard, Maya anxiously and mentally practiced how she would behave once she sees him again. She told herself she will keep it businesslike.
After that night in Bali, she was too embarrassed to actually meet him again. She imagined how low he must be thinking of her. She herself couldn’t believe her own actions that time. She had allowed him to kiss to her, touch her, allowed him inside her room. The worst was that she triggered everything. It was all because of her altercation with his girlfriend. And knowing that he has a girlfriend and yet he openly said he wanted to sleep with her made him all the more dangerous. She didn’t know much about him but what she experienced was enough for her to know she needs to keep distance from him.
She started avoiding him the day after she met him. Although he said he would see her the following day, she checked out of Conrad hotel early. Together with her assistant, they took the first available flight of out of Bali to return to Manila. She had three missed calls from him when she was at the airport. She didn’t return his call. After that, she never heard from him again. So, she was surprised when he called her up asking her to meet him.
Richard reserved a table for two at an exclusive restaurant in Pasay for his dinner with Maya. It was place near to TA’s office. Instead of fetching her, Maya requested for the address and preferred to meet him there. It was a long drive coming from her studio in Q.C. to Pasay but she preferred it that way. Maya was just trying to avoid being seen in public with just one man, lest talks about her dating come out again.
When Maya arrived at the restaurant, Richard was already there waiting for her. Her heart leaped in alarm when she saw him. Their last meeting was so intimate that she still blushes when she thinks about it. As she approached their table, Richard stood up. When she was in front of him, he held out his hand for her to shake and tried to pull her in an attempt to kiss her. She slightly ducked to avoid the kiss. Richard eyed her carefully.
“Let’s order first.” Richard signaled for the waiter to give them the menu as they sat down.
“Maya, I didn’t pre-order anything as I wasn’t sure what you would like to have.” He started to explain. The place is a reservation only restaurant and typically pre-order from its menu is done by its clientele.
“Ahhh. I can’t decide which one I prefer. Parang I like the seafood pasta and I also like the mustard chicken.” She was talking to herself as she eased the tension building inside her. But, Richard heard her.
He took the menu from her and said. “You can order both. I’m ordering pasta too.” He signaled the waiter to take their order.
“Sir, Ma’m, how about wine? We have red wine or white wine.” The waiter excitedly suggested. He recognized Maya so he was extra nice to the two guests.
Richard quickly responded. “No wine for us. She’ll just have a juice or your other non-alcoholic beverages here.” He winked at her. She just pursed her lips; she understood what he meant. She ended up ordering just an orange juice. Moments later, they were alone in their corner table.
“So, Ms. Dela Rosa, what have you been up to in the last few days?” Richard started their conversation.
“I’ve been busy with work. Malapit na ang premiere ng latest movie namin so I’m busy with promos and TV guestings.” She plainly stated.
“I understand from our marketing department that you’re set to shoot the ads in two weeks time. How do you feel about working with Time Airways?” He was curious to find out as to how much involvement she already has with his brother.
“I’m excited Sir. It’s the first time I’m doing an institutional ads. Mabait si James, he promised it will be a worthwhile work for all of us.” Unknown to her Richard and James are half-brothers.
“That’s good. But why are you addressing me as a sir. Aren’t we are past that stage?” He looked at her directly that made her uncomfortable. Instead of asking about James, Richard’s original intent was replaced by his personal interest. “Tell me Maya, bakit ka nagcheck out kaagad sa Conrad? Didn’t I tell you I would see you the following day?”
Maya looked at him as if questioning him why he brought up that question. In the end though she answered him, “Yes, I remember you telling me that. Kaya lang, I didn’t think it was appropriate for me to see you again. You may have gathered an impression of me but I’m sorry I’m not like that. It was really crazy day that day. Parang lahat ng pwedeng masamang nangyari sa akin, it all happened that day.” For lack of better word to use, she used masama as she further explained.
“So, are you saying kasama ako sa masamang nangyari sa’yo that day?” He had a quizzical look in his face.
Maya didn’t know how to respond to his query. How can she keep the conversation businesslike when he was talking to her in that manner. In the end she chose the safe answer, “Hindi naman. It’s just that many things happened that otherwise wouldn’t happen normally to me. Besides, meeting you is part of work, right?”
“Ahh, so work pala ang classification ko. And so, what about that night in Bali?” He looked directly in her eyes waiting for her confirmation.
“Yes, work. That night was a moment of insanity.” She knew in her heart she was only saying half-truth. The other half was yet to be determined.
Richard suddenly became pensive. Then, their food arrived. When the waiter delivered everything on the table, they started eating in silence.
“I’ve read something about you, Maya. If you don’t mind my asking, are you dating current leading man in your movie?” Finally, he asked another question that was on his mind.
Maya found the question funny that she chuckled. “Of course not. Friends lang kami ni Piolo.”
“Well the article said you are dating someone very close to you and the speculation is this guy. So, I assumed you were with him in Bali?” Richard eyebrow rose as he followed up his question.
Maya laughed some more. “Ha,ha,ha. I was with my personal assistant. Naku eh, nagpapaniwala ka pala sa mga tsismis, sir.”
Richard just shook his head as he smiled. So, it was all rumors but there was still James in the equation.
“Anyway, I thought I’d see you today just to get to know you better. After all, you’re going to represent our company.” He switched his topic back to business. She heaved a sigh of relief; their meeting was about work.
Their conversation progressed pleasantly. Richard spoke of the general concepts why they are putting the ads and what Time Airways is about. He was like a salesman on the job which Maya found interesting. Other than his good looks which can be distracting for her at times, she found him very engaging being a good conversationalist.
At one point during dinner, she wondered what happened to his girlfriend who was with him in Bali. She quickly dismissed the thought. She felt a slight pinch in her heart as she recalled his facial expression before he ran after the girl.
Their dinner extended up to almost midnight since they got along pretty well talking about business and other inconsequential topics. Richard appreciated her candidness.
Richard accompanied Maya back to her car after their dinner and expressed his appreciation of the time spent with her.
“Maya, I enjoyed our dinner together.” He flashed his lopsided smile.
“I also did Mr. Lim.” She smiled back. Her eyes were twinkling.
Richard, in a spur of the moment, asked. “So, how about dinner again, say tomorrow?” Maya’s smile left her face when she heard his invitation.
“Ha?? I have a full schedule tomorrow. May taping kasi ako.” She reasoned out.
“Then, ikaw na ang magset ng date. That is, if you’re open to have dinner again with me.” He waited for her answer.
“Ha… ehhh… sige sa Saturday na lang. Pwede ako na lang ang mag text uli sa’yo? I’ll choose the place.” She counter offered.
“Alright, that’s fine with me. Until then, Maya.” Richard allowed her to enter her car and then he closed it the moment she settled inside. He watched her drive out of the place before proceeding to his own car.
On his way home, Richard thought. “She seems okay but maybe it’s too early to judge her. She only considers me as part of work. Bali was insanity.” Somehow, he was slighted by that thought.
Then, he remembered his brother, “If James is serious, he must be making a move now. She might really become my sister-in-law. However, I have a stake on James’s marriage. He still needs to prove that he is worthy of running TA. After all, I helped build where it is now. I will not just hand it over to him just because he got married as stipulated in the will. I still have a say on TA’s ownership.”
The next day, a delivery of flowers arrived at Maya’s studio. When she saw the basket of pink roses waiting for her in the make-up room, she immediately assumed that it was Richard who sent it to her. She got a lot of teasing from the make-up artists who were also in the room.
She took the card that came with flowers and eagerly opened it. She smiled when she read the dedication, “A basket of beautiful pink roses for a very lovely lady. I hope you like them.” She felt giddy but her heart sank when she flipped over the card and read. “James V.”
She stared at the flowers and examined her feelings. “Oh no Maya, it can’t be! You can’t have crush or feelings for him because of Bali. You don’t feel anything for that guy.” She scolded herself with her realization. But later that night, she found herself researching on him on the internet. Richard Lim, Time Airways. However, there was very little information about him.