A/N: This is a continuation to Foolish Hearts – part 1
Chapter 2 – Still on Murphy’s law.
Richard bought a sandwich and a coke for lunch. He has a scheduled class at 2:00 p.m. and has only thirty minutes to complete his meal at the cafeteria. Seeing all the tables mostly occupied by students, he found a table with a single chair near the smoker’s lanai. Although not a smoker, he had no choice but to sit there.
The moment he pulled his chair, he overheard a conversation on the other side of the café. He couldn’t see the people talking as there was a divider between them.
“Ysa, naku ewan ko ba. Parang ang malas ko talaga today. Ikaw naman kasi, bakit bigla kang nagyaya kagabi.” It was a female’s voice and somehow it sounded familiar to him.
“Eh bakit Maya, kung hindi kita inimbitahan, I am sure magagalit ka rin sa akin. Alangan naman na palampasin mo ang opportunity na makasama si Eric.” Another female presumably Ysa responded.
“Shhhh, grabe ka naman, wag naman masyadong broadcast. Pero, you are right, ang saya ko kaya kagabi.” There was a tone of excitement from girl named Maya.
“Girl, ewan ko ba bakit pagdating dyan sa Eric na ‘yan eh aligaga ka. Anu bang nakita mo do’n.” Ysa commented, now in a lower voice.
Maya replied. “Well, aside from gwapo, mabait, maginoo at…”
Ysa interjected. “maginoo at ano? Medyo bastos?” She teased Maya.
“Yieee. Ysa, ha, walang ganyanan.” From her tone, she was giggling. “Hmmm, pero ‘yan ang talagang kailangan e-research ang sagot, hi,hi,hi.” Then, there was laughter from them.
Unknown to the two who wer so engrossed with their girl talk, Richard could hear them. Although it wasn’t his nature to eavesdrop on women, he was in a spot where their voices can be heard even if they tried lowering their voices. He was also entertained by their topic of conversation.
A few minutes later, the girls decided to leave the lanai for their respective class. They passed by Richard’s table.
For the second time that day, Richard and Maya saw each other. She was startled realizing he could have heard her conversation with Ysa. Richard on the other hand looked amused. He smirked at her.
In his thoughts, she’s the one who slipped on the stairs. So, who is Ysa and who is Maya between the two. The two girls looked like they were of the same age. The difference is that one is bigger, on the heavier side of the weighing scale while the other one is slimmer, lighter as he remembered catching her on the stairs earlier.
Maya was comfortably seated on the chair in front of the teacher’s desk waiting for her Strategic Planning class to start. Somehow, having lunch with Ysa calmed her nerves. Gone was the nervous feeling she had about car she bumped earlier. She was ready to face Mr. Lim sooner or later that day.
Then, she saw him again, the man at the café, the one who caught her on the stairs. He was about to enter their classroom’s front door when someone greeted him from the doorway causing him to backtrack.
Maya’s heartbeats started to race. “Oh my gee, I hope he is not Mr. Apolinario.” Somehow, the thought of having him as her professor made her uneasy. But, he might also be a student. The other possibility still didn’t calm her. She watched him until he finally entered the class and dropped the folder he was carrying on the teacher’s desk.
“Yikesss!! S’ya nga ang professor ko.” She was having an inner conversation again. When he noticed her, he smiled.
He looked at the class as if assessing them. He then took a white board marker and wrote on the board in caps. RICHARD LIM. He also wrote an email address.
As Maya read what he wrote, she had an immediate reaction. “Oh, No!!” She didn’t mean to utter it out load but she did. It just came out. It was a sound of shock and disappointment and Richard heard her.
“Oh yes, miss.” Richard looked at her directly, his expression serious; an eyebrow raised. Then, switching his attention to the rest of the students, he continued. “Class, I am taking over this course from Mr. Apolinario. He will not be teaching this semester due personal reasons. I believe some of you already know me because I used to teach Ethics.”
There was complete silence in the room.
Then a girl from the class spoke, “Sir Richard, can you tell us more about yourself for the benefit of others like me who were not your student before?”
Maya recovered from her initial shock and was annoyed by her classmate’s request. In her mind, “anu ba ‘yun, parang ang arte naman ng tono. We are in a class ‘no?” Her brows furrowed as she looked at the girl. Maya’s impression was confirmed, she is a flirt by the way she sat and twirled her long hair around her finger.
Richard seems to be used to this kind of request since he only smiled.
“Alright. I’m a part-time professor here. This is the 3rd semester that I am teaching in this school. I’m in the airline business. Now, let’s start with the expectations setting today.” Richard started to lay down his rules in class.
“My rules are simple. All of you are here to learn and so my role is to facilitate learning. I believe in practical applications of concepts and theories. Therefore, expect that we will have a lot of discussions, case studies, individual and group reports. We will be meeting for 12 Saturdays and you will be allowed only 2 absences. Beyond 2, you will get an F in class. On the board is my email address where you can submit your reports to me which by the way will be required of you weekly.”
Maya seriously took notes but the moment the rule on absence was mentioned, she raised her hand. Richard acknowledged her. “Sir, what if the absence is valid. Example, most of us are working, so what if we have to do work or travel due to work, can we be excused in class?”
“Ah, very good question miss…” Richard looked at her seemingly asking for her name.
“Maya Dela Rosa, sir.” He had a knowing smile on his face as if he remembered something.
Richard addressed the whole class. “Okay, all of you here are professionals. I believe your supervisors are aware that you are taking post-graduate studies, therefore, you can work out your schedules with them. The 2 absences already took into consideration unavoidable circumstances on your part. This is an integration class, so it is important that you attend the sessions regularly so can get the most value from this course.” After saying his piece, he looked at her again.
Maya blushed; unable to look straight in his eyes. “Did he just put on her on the spot?” She was getting affected by just his stare. Again, he is not even good looking by her standards.
She isn’t attracted to men with mustache, however, his is just light.Anu bang tawag d’yan, bigotilyo? Maybe he just forgot to shave for a week. He seems to have a beer belly judging by the tuck out polo shirt he was wearing. She doesn’t like chinito guys. Although not particularly averse to chinito look, but this particular guy is different. Then she realized something. Why was she assessing him as a man? He is her professor and the worst part of it was she bumped his car earlier.
After the expectations were set, Richard started the class. He gave out copies of a case study that his class will work on.
“Okay, class, please form into triads and work on the case. I believe you were given notices to do preparatory readings of Chapters 2 & 5 of the textbook, Chapters 3, 4, 5 of the reference book. I’d like you prepare an analysis of the vision and mission statement based on David’s criteria and framework.” He gave further instructions. Every now and then, he would glance at her.
Maya couldn’t help but comment to her teammates, “Naku, eh, first day pa lang, parang finals na. Dapat alisto dito, otherwise, yari.” Her group chuckled as they began on their work.
By the end of the class, Maya was mentally tired. Although she wasn’t assigned as the reporter for her group, she ended up answering most of Richard’s questions in order to save her group mate from his difficult questions. Before they were dismissed, he gave them a list of chapters to read and individual papers to submit prior to the next meeting.
“So, ito yung sabi ni Rina na mahirap s’yang professor pero nasa’n yung masarap sa mata?” She asked herself as she left the classroom. She still had a more pressing issue to settle with him.
Richard was walking towards the parking lot when he noticed someone was behind him. When he turned around, Maya was several steps away from him.
“Hi Sir Richard.” She waved at him. She seemed nervous.
“Hi Ms. Dela Rosa. So, you are also parked on this side?” He waited for her to reach him and asked casually.
“Hmmm, yes sir.” She hesitated a moment. They continued walking side by side.
“Sir, actually, may sasabihin sana ako sa’yo.” She was about to tell him about the car incident.
“Don’t tell me it’s still the attendance thing? Or, do you have other concerns, like the stairs?” He was grinning. In his thoughts, he had never had so much encounter with a student since he started teaching until this day.
“Naku, hindi sir. It’s not about school work.” She clarified and saw his brows furrowed. They were still walking until they reached the spot where his car was parked.
The moment Richard saw his car, his reaction was. “What the hell…” He checked the damages and took the piece of paper inserted on the wiper.
“Sir, sorry. Hindi ko sinasadya. Nagmamadali kasi ako kanina kaya naurungan ko ang car mo. Sir, may insurance coverage naman ako. Kaya lang talagang ma-aabala ka, sorry sir.” She was very apologetic and was pale faced.
Richard just stared at her and then said. “It’s alright Ms. Dela Rosa. We can get the casa fix this. Just let your insurer know I’m bringing this to Autosport in Pasong Tamo.” He said calmly to Maya’s surprise.
It was like a heavy burden on her shoulder was lifted. She smiled tentatively. “Thank you sir. Thank you, talaga.”
“As I told you Ms. Dela Rosa, please focus. You’ve had two accidents today.” He warned her. “Are you able to drive? Konti lang naman yata ang damage sa car mo but can you concentrate on your driving?” He went around his car and checked hers too.
Her heartbeats raced by his concern, she couldn’t understand why. “I’m okay Sir. Malapit lang naman ako dito.”
“O sige, if not, I can give you a ride and you can have your car towed or picked up by your boyfriend.” He replied while he was getting ready to board his car.
“No need sir. I can manage.” After responding to him, she immediately boarded her own car to get ready to drive out of the parking lot. She stayed there for a while. Then, she realized that Richard was waiting for her to drive out first. She saw him make a signal to go ahead.
In his car, Richard was very amused with Maya. He finds her cute and a good student from the way she answered on behalf of her group mates. He was smiling as he drove; it is going to be an interesting semester for him.