A/N: This is a continuation to Foolish Hearts – part 3
Chapter 4 – Ambivalent Feelings
As Richard got out of his car to enter his house at La Vista, his mind was still on Maya. He kept on telling himself, “I can’t be interested in her. She is a student. Besides, I am done with women.”
When he entered the living room, he was pleasantly surprised to find someone waiting for him.
“Good evening, Richard!” The visitor greeted him and gave him a brotherly hug.
“Ryan, bro. When did you come back?” Richard was all smiles. Ryan is his bestfriend and the corporate lawyer for Lim Aviations, Richard’s company. He was in the U.S. for a month on vacation.
“I got back last night. Hindi na lang ako tumawag sa’yo kanina as I knew you have classes. So, what’s up? Back to looking good ka p’re. Anong nangyari during the time I was away?” Ryan sat down on the sofa anticipating Richard’s response.
“Well, if you are referring to the business, nothing’s change. We are doing well. I am still thinking whether we should open a hangar in Davao or Cebu.” Richard plainly shared as he sat on the sofa opposite his friend.
“Ricky, I am not asking about business. I am more interested in your love life. Ano, naka move on ka na? Because the last time I saw you, para kang pinagsakluban ng langit at lupa.” This time, Ryan was more insistent in questioning his friend.
Richard chuckled. “Gano’n ba kasama ang itsura ko? But to answer your question, I am moving on. I’ve reached the point that I’ve given up on Samatha.”
“Good for you, bro. So, does that mean wala ka ng feelings for her? Parang 4 months pala kayong nag-break versus the 3 years you were together. You were engaged to her bro., almost got hitched.” Ryan probed further.
“I don’t know about the feelings, I haven’t seen her since we broke up. To some extent, when she kept on putting off the wedding, I had the feeling there was something holding her back. Anyway, life goes on.” Richard turned serious.
“Salamat naman and I can see it from the way you look. So, I think pwede na ulit tayong lumabas at mag-bar hopping.”
“Ryan, we can go out but we can’t do what we did three months ago. Hindi na ‘yung over over sa inuman to the point that I got allergies from too much alcohol. Then, the doctor had to put me on steroids that made me bloat. I’m done with that phase, bro.” Richard was shaking his head.
“Ahh, so that was it? Akala ko pa naman because you broke up with Samantha, kaya hindi mo na naasikaso ang sarili mo?” Ryan was scratching his head with the realization.
“Of course not! Actually, ngayon pa lang nakakabawi ang katawan ko. I still have to lose a few pounds and tone my muscles.”
“Wohh, you look good na bro. Pero, bakit sa sinabi mong ‘yan eh I get the feeling that you are going back to the playing field?” Ryan gave him a knowing look.
“I’m not.” Came a definite answer from Richard. However, his eyes were twinkling which gave his friend a hint that he must be thinking of someone or a girl in particular.
“Hmmm, since I know there are no prospects in the office and you weren’t into dating the past 4 months, I have a feeling that there is a girl in your university that interests you my friend.” Ryan was grinning and his brows moving up and down indicating he knows something.
Richard just chuckled, not wanting to give his friend the satisfaction of guessing it correctly.
Ryan, knowing his friend too well, cautioned him. “Bro, baka student ‘yan. Bawal ‘yan. Ingat ka.”
It was then Richard replied. “I know Ryan. You know I am very particular with rules and I don’t intend to break them.”
The weeks that followed in graduate school were the worst time in Maya’s school life. She was thankful that she only enrolled in two courses that semester, otherwise, she wouldn’t know how else to manage her time. She was fortunate that her supervisor was supportive so she accommodated Maya’s occasional request to be out of the office to do research work for her class.
While Maya had expressed what she thought of Richard’s style of teaching and grading, nothing changed in the classroom environment. They still got weekly reports and weekly discussions. There were lot of readings to do. He didn’t give any written exams but he made sure they had weekly reports. Maya’s grades stabilized between 1.5 to 2.0.
As the weeks went by, Maya had a see-saw emotion towards him. There were days that she found him very handsome making her heart flutter but the feeling would quickly go away once he starts throwing difficult questions when she was in front of the class. There were days she could easily respond to his questions but there were days she stuttered especially when he looks at her intently that it disturbed her thought processes.
One class day at lunchtime with Ysa, Maya felt tiny hairs in her nape stood up when she heard a voice from behind.
“Hi ladies, do you mind if I join you?” It was Richard asking permission to join Maya and Ysa on their table.
Maya’s heart was beating fast. In her mind, “Here we go again. Everytime I see him ganito na lang palagi. Kelan ba titigil itong reaction na’to.” She tried to fake a smile.
It was Ysa who responded smiling ear to ear. “Ay, of course, sir.” She immediately removed her bag on the seat beside her, emptying the chair for Richard. He took the seat beside Ysa. He was on the opposite side where Maya was seated.
“Sorry, girls to disturb whatever girl talk you have. Wala na kasing available na pwesto dito sa cafeteria. And I don’t want to be in the smoker’s lounge.” Richard explained as he took a bite on his sandwich.
They all looked around and found that all tables were full.
“Sir, okay na okay lang. Buti na lang dito kayo nag-join.” Ysa’s giddiness was very evident to Maya’s dismay. Maya had shared with her thoughts about Richard and she was afraid that she might say something embarrassing.
“Well, I know Ms. Dela Rosa because she is in my class. So, I thought it’s better to share table here.” He was smiling at them emphasizing his bedimpled cheek. Then, he asked Ysa. “Are you in the same program as Ms. Dela Rosa? Sorry, I didn’t get your name yet.”
“Sir, hindi po. Nasa business po ako while si Maya is in HRD. My name is Ysa, short for Ysabel sir.”
“Ahhh, Ysa. So, since you are in business program, you might also end up being my student later on.” Richard commented.
“Ay sir, tapos na po ako sa strategic planning at ethics. Sayang nga eh. Hi,hi,hi.” She was giggling that Maya secretly hit her leg under the table to make her stop.
“Nakatawa ka naman Ysa. But your friend here is very quiet. So, what’s keeping you silent Ms. Dela Rosa.” He finally noticed that since he joined them, she only smiled. Even her smile didn’t reach her eyes.
“Oo nga girl, bakit tahimik ka? Hindi ba masarap ‘yang lasagna mo?” Ysa forked her lasagna to taste the food. “Okay naman, ah?”
Maya smiled at her friend’s action. “Ysa, pareho lang tayo ng order ‘noh!” Then she continued. “Actually, tahimik ako kasi pinaghahandaan ko ang reporting mamaya. Sigurado, madugong Q&A na naman tayo, di ba, sir?”
Richard grinned. “Well, it depends on what you will cover Ms. Dela Rosa.”
Later that afternoon, Maya was in front of the class leading their group report on company strategy map and balanced scorecard. She wasn’t the main presenter but was ready to take on questions as she had done in previous weeks. They were the third to present and the first two groups as usual got a lot of questions particularly from Richard.
When, Maya’s group was done with their presentation, the floor was opened to questions. They received one from the other group. Her team was able to respond to the question satisfactorily.
Then, it was Richard’s turn. “What’s the importance of having a performance measurement as part of strategy evaluation?” It was an easy question that she took on. Maya expected that he will twist her response to deliver a trick question which he often did to her. But to her surprise, Richard just thanked them and told the next group to prepare.
It was the first time that he didn’t grill them. Initially, she was glad that he didn’t put her on the spot. But her glee was soon replaced by upset because she prepared hard for that afternoon’s report. She was ready for any question he would ask but he didn’t. She then suspected that he played a trick on her.
Her eyes thinned with annoyance. She was looking at him hoping that she could tell him directly in his face what was going thru her head. “Ikaw talaga Mr. Lim. May araw na pa cute, may araw na pa-serious at ngayon, ka-inis ka. I hate you, sana matapos na ang semester na ‘to. GRRRRR!”
When Richard glanced at Maya’s direction, he saw her giving him dagger looks. He smirked and turned his attention to the next group.