A/N: This is a continuation to Foolish Hearts – part 2
Chapter 3 – Affected
Two Weeks Later
Maya was at the waiting area of the faculty lounge as early as 8:00 a.m. waiting for Ms. Coriandez, her Org. Dev. Teacher. She was going to consult her with one of reports they have to make.
She also thought that it might be a good opportunity to check with Richard on the status of his car since she still felt guilty about the accident two weeks ago. The previous Saturday, she didn’t have the chance to ask him since he came to their class just in time for the session and that morning, he was not around.
Maya has been waiting for thirty minutes when the door opened. It was Richard who came in and Maya was shocked.
“Sir….Richard…. hi.” She stuttered.
She was surprised to find him looking so different. He was clean shaven; gone was his mustache. He was wearing a blue collared fitting T-shirt which fitted his chest and stomach well. He is physically fit, in fact, sexy. In her mind, “What happened? Has he always been like that?”
“Good morning, Ms. Dela Rosa. Are you waiting for someone?” He greeted her with a grin. It was only then she noticed that he has a dimple on his right cheek. Another question in her head “Has it always been there?”
“Eh… sir….I’m waiting for Ms. Coriandez. Anyway, sir kumusta na ang car n’yo?” She was still stuttering and she didn’t know why.
“It’s still there because they said there is no available replacement part yet. But, the casa committed to get it done next Wednesday.” He shared with her.
“Ay ganun po ba, naku sorry talaga sa abala sir.” She was again apologizing for the inconvenience she caused him.
“It’s fine Ms. Dela Rosa. It can be fixed.” Richard retained the smile on his face. “So, if it is still causing you worry, then don’t. By the way, I have a class at nine. So, I’ll go ahead.” He left her staring at his back with her eyes wondering what she had missed in the past two weeks.
She recalled how her heart missed several beats when he smiled at her earlier.
A few minutes later, Maya left the faculty room with a new strange feeling. She completely forgot her original intention to be there. Seeing Richard differently and his show of kindness towards her made her feel lighthearted. And somehow, she was looking forward to attending his class later that day.
Richard arrived in their class 10 minutes late. He was stalled at the hallway by one of his co-professors causing him delay in starting Maya’s class. His face was serious when he took his seat and spoke to his students. He was going to give them their grades for the first paper they have submitted.
“I have completed checking your reports and I must say I wasn’t that impressed. The industry and external analysis of your chosen companies needed more depth. I suggest that in your next individual work, please make sure you do it thoroughly.” He started flipping papers from his folder. Those were the cover one-pagers they submitted for their report.
Maya upon hearing his comment was curious what she got for a grade. She has been a top student since high school and therefore, for her MA, she intended to ace all her subjects. And so far, she had been successful.
Richard stood up and gave instructions. “Class, you go with your respective groups and get ready with your new case studies. Please prepare an internal analysis of the company’s financial performance based on ratios and internal factor evaluation matrix. I expect you all to be ready to present in an hour. Simultaneously, I will be calling you to return you one-pagers with your grade.”
As directed, Maya worked with her group but occasionally glanced at Richard. She wanted to catch him smile. She realized she likes his smile. He was serious that afternoon. However, in her eyes, he never looked better than that day. And as she kept checking on him, she noticed that her other girl classmates tended to consult longer compared to the boys who seemed to be unmindful of their grade.
Finally, it was her turn. She was excited to see it and being able to face him closer. When Richard handed her paper, her eyes grew wide.
“Sir, 2.5?” She couldn’t believe what she got. Her excitement flew out of the window.
“Yes, Ms. Dela Rosa, you read it correctly. It is 2.5” Richard looked at her with an eyebrow raised. “Obviously, you are not happy Ms. Dela Rosa.” He commented.
“Sir, a 2.5!” Her voice slightly raised but soon realized she was talking to a professor.
“Eh, anu ba ‘to, sir. Di ba sabi mo the lowest grade you give is a 3 then next doon is F na. Isang hinga na lang pasang awa na ako.” She was upset because she spent a lot of hours trying to finish that report. They were only given a week and it needed research on competitor’s information.
“As I said earlier, the reports needed more depth and that included yours Ms. Dela Rosa. Specifically, your external analysis was incomplete. How could you have missed the cultural assessment of your company’s market?” There was firmness in his tone as he explained why she got that grade and what she missed.
Maya’s facial expression can’t be described as she left his table. She was really disappointed considering all the efforts she put into her work. She realized that this course would require more time than she anticipated. Richard Lim’s standards were higher than her previous professors.
For the rest of the afternoon, Maya was quiet. She did participate in the group discussions but opted not to be the group’s spokesperson. She had been actively participating in the last 2 weeks but that Saturday she was not in the right mood.
As in the previous sessions, Richard grilled the groups with questions. Even the other students seemed to have gotten his style that they’ve started asking other teams challenging questions. Therefore, everyone was alert and engrossed in the class discussion.
Until end of the class, Maya was quiet. She would occasionally glance at Richard’s direction who was very focused in his subject matter. She had formed a conclusion about him. “Masarap nga sa paningin, mahirap ngang maging professor. Nose bleed ang labas ko dito!” She sighed.
After class, Maya tried to speak to Richard but other students, the girls beat her to it. They were consulting him about their next assignment. It was quite evident too that some of them have a crush on him by the way they swoon over his manly aura. She waited for a while but it looked like the girls were taking their time to be with him. So, she decided to just leave the room. She will find another time to tell him what she thinks about the class. Unknown to her, Richard noticed her leave the room.
Maya was walking towards the parking lot when she heard his voice.
“Ms. Dela Rosa!” It was Richard coming from behind. He was smiling and again, her heart skipped a beat.
“Hi, Sir.” She responded.
“Now, it’s my turn to ask you. How is your car? Is it fixed?” From the tone of his voice, he seemed interested.
“Ah, okay na po Sir.” She smiled at him. Then, she thought, this is the opportunity to give a feedback. “Ah sir…” She turned to him face him while they were still walking together, now side by side.
“Yes, Ms. Dela Rosa?” He eyed her carefully.
“Naisip ko lang kanina, this course is just one of subjects under my MA program. But, it seems that the treatment of this course is like a MBA. Wala naman kami sa MBA program, ah.”
Richard smirked. “That’s a very good observation Ms. Dela Rosa. I wasn’t the one who created the course content but it is really very much similar to Strama of MBA.”
“Sir, I get the point that there is a syllabus to follow. Pero, sir, hindi ba dapat medyo calibrated ang expectations and requirements mo? Ang hirap kaya ng subject mo. Tapos may work pa kami.” She was arguing her point to him. By that time they reached Maya’s car.
He looked at her straight in the eyes. “Ms. Dela Rosa, believe me, I’ve already scaled down my requirements and standards.”
“Ano? Adjusted na’yon? Baka bumagsak ako sa subject mo!!” She made a face.
Richard couldn’t help but laugh seeing her facial expression. “You won’t Ms. Dela Rosa. But I suggest that you spend more time doing your assignments rather than thinking about your grade. Focus on learning the concepts and applicability to work. The grade is just an outcome of diligence in your studies. What I am trying to say it, it may be important but is not critical in your learning.” When he ended their conversation, he was back being serious.
Maya just stared back at him figuring out what he meant. Then, in her thoughts, “Ang cute naman pala ng mata, lalo na pag nakatawa s’ya.” She stood in front of him frozen. Noticing that, Richard took the car key from her hand and opened the door for her.
“Ms. Dela Rosa, are you driving or not?” Richard asked her while he still standing beside her but pointing at her car.
“Huh?” She didn’t know when her thoughts shifted from the conversation about the course and his eyes. There was something more in his eyes that really intrigued her, right from the first time they met.
“Ms. Dela Rosa, hindi ka pa ba sasakay sa car mo? If not, how about……” He wasn’t able to finish his sentence because Maya interjected.
“Ay sir, yes, uuwi na ako. Thank you sa explanation sir. May point din kayo. Sige sir.” Maya immediately took the driver’s seat. A few seconds later, she drove away after waving goodbye to him.
Richard retraced the path they took earlier. Actually, the BMW X5 that he used that day was on the 5th slot from the entrance of the parking area. However, sensing that she wanted to talk to him, he followed and called her out.
On his way home to La Vista, he couldn’t help grinning. With left arm resting on the window of his car and two fingers over his chin, he was thinking of Maya.
He does find her really interesting. He recalled the stunned look in her eyes that morning, as if it was the first time they saw each other. She spoke nervously and yet later in class she was insistent on justifying her work. She argues her points very well evident of her intelligence. She was not afraid to tell him what she thinks and she seems not to back out from any challenge. Other than that, she has a lovely face to match her brains. He almost invited her for coffee earlier.
Then he suddenly tapped his hand on the steering wheel. He was talking to himself. “Gosh, I can’t be interested in her. She is a student. Besides, I am done with women, or at least for now.” He warned himself.
Maya was driving at Katipunan Road on the direction going to Eastwood City but her thoughts were still on Richard. She kept asking herself, what happened and how he managed to transform to a very good looking man.
“Hello, Ysa.” Maya called her friend who must on her way home from school by that time.
“Hello Maya, ano nagda-drive ka di ba? Bakit ka napatawag?” There was a tone of concern on Ysa’s voice.
“Don’t worry, sandali lang ‘to. At saka naka hands free ako. Nakita mo ba si Sir Lim today?” She asked her.
“Oo naman, para namang mahirap ma-ignore yung gwapong ‘yun?” Ysa sounded excited much to her surprise.
“Gwapo? Kailan pa?” Maya pretended not to be affected.
“Maya dear, matagal ng gwapo ‘yun. First time pa lang nagturo ‘yon, marami ng girls ang may crush doon. May fans club yan sa PUS, if you don’t know yet.”
“Paano naging gwapo ay may bigote at saka parang mataba, may beer belly eh.” Maya declared her observations of him.
“Hayyy, parang itong semester na ito s’ya ganyan particularly two weeks ago. Kanina, I saw him. He is back to his old, default form. Baka may pinagdaanan lang ‘yung tao kaya di naka pag-ayos. Pero one thing for sure, wala syang beer belly. Pero, sister, admit it gwapo talaga.” Ysa was giddy on the end of the line.
“Hmmm, well in fairness, pwede na.” She down played her reaction. “Anyway, sige na. Ingat ha. Sino kasama mo ngayon? Si Lino ba?”
“Yes, Maya dear. Bye, mwahhh.” Their call ended.
As Maya continued driving, the giddiness that she sensed from Ysa seemed to have transferred to her. Slowly, a smile emerged from her face as she thought about Richard. She admitted to herself, “Yes, he is really good looking. Only a blind won’t see that.”