A/N: This is a continuation to Foolish Hearts – part 5
Chapter 6 – It’s confirmed
Twenty five minutes later, Richard’s car was in front of the building where Maya’s office is. She was already there waiting for him. The moment he stopped his car, he got out of it and opened the passenger door for her.
She smiled and thanked him. In her thoughts, “Hmmm, pa gentleman pa ‘to.”
Inside the car, they waited for each other to start the conversation, as if there was a sudden air of awkwardness in the space there were in. Finally, Richard spoke, “where do you want to go?”
“Sir, sa malapit na lang dito. There are three options, Starbucks, Seattle’s Best or Tully’s.”
Richard and Maya ended up having coffee at Tully’s, Ortigas Center. As it was Saturday, the place was practically empty and so they were able to seat themselves in a corner couch.
When their coffee was served, Richard checked with Maya. “Are you sure you don’t want anything to go with your coffee? May sandwiches sila or cakes.” He offered.
Maya smiled, trying to lighten the mood. “Sir, you just invited me for coffee, so coffee lang order ko.”
“Ahh, so namimilosopo ka? Do you know you have a habit of doing that when you were in my class?” He smirked.
“Of course not, sir. Sinasagot ko lang ang mga tanong mo, na hindi matapos tapos kaya humahaba ang presentation namin.” She defended herself as she took a sip of her coffee.
“Maya, kaya humahaba ang discussion dahil sagot ka ng sagot. Ayaw mong patalo. Alam ko naman na nagbabasa ka ng mga chapters but you didn’t have cover paragraph by paragraph when you explain.”
“Ganun sir? Eh bakit hinahayan mo lang akong salita ng salita?” She got curious.
“Because.. you were actually helping the class in the learning process, that is, if they were listening. The questions I usually asked were supposed to make you to think critically.” He explained as he was drinking his coffee.
“So, sir bakit ako naging 2.0 sa final grade? Okay naman ang individual reports ko, diba? Siguro naman ang recitation ko ay okay din naman.” She looked at him with interest.
“Alright, I will share with you the details of your grades on one condition.” He shifted on his seat and folded his arms on his chest.
“Sir, ha…sir” She was getting nervous on what the condition be. Again, the way he looks at her bothers her. If before she didn’t recognize its effect on her, now she is fully aware that it was one of the reasons she developed a crush on him.
“Yun, yung tawag na Sir. Now that you are not my student anymore, you may call me Richard or Ricky.” He requested from her.
“Ay hindi pwede sir.” Maya immediately declined. “Kasi, professor kayo sa school na pinapasukan ko. We are in the same school as student and teacher. Alangan naman tawagin kita ng Ricky sa school tapos yung ibang students eh sir. Hindi naman ata appropriate ‘yon.” She argued her point.
In reality she wanted to call him Ricky. The sound of his nickname and rolling his name in her tongue felt good.
“Well, you’ve got a point there Maya. So, you can call me Ricky outside of the school but in school you can call the usual name you call me.” He offered a compromise.
Maya felt her face turned crimson as she remembered the code she and Ysa use for him. “Sir Tiger” She came up with that code because that was how he made her feel, a tiger on a prowl, whenever she was reporting in his class.
“So, what are you thinking Maya?” Richard became curious when her face changed its color.
“Wala , sir, eh Ricky pala. So, pwede mo nang e-share sa akin yung details ng grade ko?” She lied and immediately sipped her coffee. She getting self-conscious again.
Richard entered the password of his iPad and opened a file. He had created a separate sheet for her in anticipation that she might ask about her grade. When, he handed to her the iPad, she seriously looked at the grades per category. While doing so, she was alternately drinking coffee or writing something in a paper.
“Sir, it was the final report that affected my grade? Eh, ang comprehensive naman nung report ko ah.” She looked at him with questioning eyes.
“I agree Maya. But your report was just a part of the larger report which turned out be just very average. Did you review with your group the final paper? It was incomplete, actually.” He told her in a straightforward fashion.
“Ayun!! Kasi nga nasa Thailand ako. I let the group leader handle everything because I trusted them.” She gave out a deep sigh in defeat. “ Anyway, sir. Thank you.” She felt bad and bit embarrassed for even questioning her grade. “Sorry, sir, kinulit ko pa kayo.”
“It’s fine Maya. I don’t mind.” He flashed his lopsided smile again. “So, okay na tayo sa grade mo, ha?”
Maya nodded as she returned his iPad to him. When she looked down to take her coffee , she noticed that both mugs had lipstick marks on its rim. Her eyes grew big with a realization that she had been drinking from two mugs, his and hers. How many times she had done it while she was scrutinizing her record, she couldn’t remember.
“Naku sir, sorry, sorry, iniinum ko pala ang coffee n’yo.” She was very apologetic. “Ano ba ‘tong nangyayari sa akin, nakakahiya naman sa inyo sir. Order na lang tayo uli.” Her face turned crimson again.
“Maya, kalma ka lang. Okay lang. It was an honest mistake and I didn’t notice too until you mentioned it just now. It must be the orientation of the mugs’ position, you being left handed and me being right handed, it was easy to pick up the wrong cup because they are beside each other.” He calmly eased her embarrassment.
Later that night, Maya couldn’t sleep with the thought that they actually shared coffee. She felt giddy recalling how finished his coffee regardless whose mug he was drinking from.
On the other part of the city, Richard was also unable to sleep. His head was filled with similar thoughts as Maya.
The second semester started mid-November with Maya taking 1 more subject and a review for her comprehensive exams. By end of that semester, she was supposed to graduate in her MA-HRD program. She was excited as things were getting better for her both in work and personal life.
After her embarrassing afternoon coffee with Richard, it was followed by a lunch invitation the following week. She was getting comfortable being with him and seeing him other than as her professor. She had learned about what his real job is and was impressed to discover he is actually a CEO of his own company. He is an only child and that his parents were both in China. He is single and has never been married. What she couldn’t ask was if he had a current girlfriend or dating someone.
On Richard’s part, he has learned that Maya has a family in San Nicolas and that she rents a place in Ortigas area near her office. She has an elder sister who has a son and currently living with their mother. She comes from a predominantly female family having 3 doting grandmothers who practically reared her and her sibling while their mother worked for a living. Their father went missing when she was 10 years old and they don’t know whether he is already dead or still alive.
When the semester started, Maya wondered if Richard would ask her again for lunch or coffee. He might be busy as she knew he accepted two subjects for this semester. He will be returning to PUS again for the Ethics class and Strategic Planning.
First week, 2nd semester
“Ysabel, ano okay ka na? Okay na family mo?” Maya asked her friend three days after typhoon Yolanda hit eastern Visayas. Ysa’s immediate family are based there.
“Naku, Maya. Salamat talaga at ng mangyari ‘yun nasa Cebu sina Mama dahil may patay kaming kamag-anak. Kaya ligtas sila. Yung bahay naming napakaswerte kasi konti lang naman ang damage.” Ysa shared to her friend.
“Buti naman. At least, wala ka ng aalalahanin.”
“Ayyy girl, gusto mong mag-join sa amin? May requests for volunteers to do repacking ng donations sa school. Di ba, P.U.S. has volunteered to be one of the repacking stations. Sama ka? This Sunday na ‘yon.” Ysa excitedly asked Maya.
“Gusto ko yan, Ysa. Sige sama ako.” She confirmed.
Later that day, Maya got a call from Richard. She was glad to see his number flashing on her phone as she had wondered when he would contact her again now that the semester has started.
“Hi, Maya. I’m just checking. Would you be free this Sunday?” Maya felt disappointed when he mentioned Sunday. She already made a commitment to Ysa and she couldn’t back out.
“Ehhh, sir I am not available. Naka commit na akong mag-join sa repacking the donations this weekend eh.” She paused to think first because the next thing she wanted to say was if they can reschedule his invitation.
“Where are you going for repacking? Actually, yun din sana ang itatanong ko sa’yo. If you want to join my employees because we are planning the same thing. And please drop the sir.”
“Ricky, sa P.U.S kami. Maybe I can just help in your company after I finish my time sa school.” She counter offered.
By the end of their phone conversation, Richard made a decision to just bring his company’s donations to P.U.S. and let his employees also volunteer to do repacking.
Sunday, Richard fetched Maya from her condo unit. Upon his insistence, she agreed to be fetched even if she could have just driven going to PUS.
The moment they entered the school’s covered court, they realized that there was a big task at hand. There were lots of boxes of food, hygine and clothing items waiting to be packed. Ysa waved at Maya to let her know she was already there and motioned her friend to join her.
“Hmmm, sabay pa talaga kayo ni prince charming sa pagdating ha? Anu ‘yan?” Ysa pointed her lips to Richard’s direction who was talking to one of his employees. The boxes from Lim Aviations have arrived too.
Maya just smiled at her friend. “Wala.”
“Hmmm, mahuhuli rin kita girl. Ayaw pa kasi umamin, crush o siguro in love ka dyan” She was still referring to Richard. It was fortunate that no one else heard what Ysa was saying to Maya.
The whole morning, everyone was busy with the job at hand. More volunteers have arrived in the covered court to help them. Ysa who was getting tired attempted to inject fun in their activity by asking Richard personal questions who seemed to be in a jolly mood that day. He was also doing repacking work close to where Maya, Ysa and their other friends were seated.
“Sir Richard, buti nag-join kayo dito. Siguro wala kayong date today?” Ysa was smiling mischievously as she glanced at Maya who seemed to have frozen when she asked him the question.
“Ha,ha,ha. Wala akong mai-date eh.” He responded while chuckling.
“Owwwss, wala? Sir, ang dami dito… Mamili ka d’yan. I’m very sure pag nag-invite ka sasama sa’yo, wala ng patumpik-tumpik pa.” Ysa was pointing at all the girls around. The girls were all smiling as they heard Ysa’s statements. However, there was no reaction from Maya who was still busy with her repacking work.
Richard just chuckled as a response and continued passing the bags to be filled up with hygiene kits.
Ysa wouldn’t let up so she asked. “Sir, if you don’t mind, my girlfriend ka ba? Kasi baka suggest ako ng suggest dito, eh may masasaktan pala.” Ysa glanced again at Maya.
This time, Richard followed Ysa’s eyes. He gave Ysa a meaningful look and responded. “I don’t have a girlfriend but there is someone..” He trailed off on his response although he said it a bit louder to make sure Maya heard him.
Maya heard him say he doesn’t have a girlfriend and the other girls nearby also heard him. Maya looked up and found him looking straight at her. Then, he winked at her causing her to blush.
Ysa saw her friend blush. “So confirmed!” Ysa exclaimed. More than confirming that Maya has a crush on Richard, she realized that at there was something going on between the professor and the student.
“Anong confirmed, Ysa?” One of the girls asked unaware of the hidden story in the conversation earlier.
“Confirmed na, 12:00 ay lunch time which means kakain na tayo. Nakapagod din ‘tong ginagawa natin ‘no!” Ysa responded with rounded smiling eyes which caused everyone to laugh.
After the laughter had died down, Richard announced that he will take care of lunch. And since the cafeteria is closed and there was no restaurant nearby that can accommodate their big group, they’ve decided to just order pizza and pasta for lunch.
During lunch, it was pretty obvious that Richard had his eyes only for Maya as he chose to sit beside her when they were eating. They were all smiles to each other.
In between his bite on his pizza he whispered to Maya as he raised his plastic cup with cola in it. “Kunin ko na ang cup ko, dahil baka inuman mo na naman., ang dami pa namang witness dito.” It was a joke that earned him a light slap on his shoulder while they both laughed. Maya almost died of giddiness seeing his eyes turn into just tiny slits as he laughed.