“WHAT?” Richard exclaimed, his brows furrowed and his hands are clenched into fists. “Did I hear it right? You got a job, as a secretary. His secretary. Am I right?” He asked, putting an emphasis to the word him.
Maya nodded. “Oo. Eh kasi, sayang yung offer. Wala naman akong ginagawa dito sa condo. Inisip ko, wala namang masama kung magtatrabaho ako. I might as well make myself useful.” She reasoned out.
“No. You don’t need to work! Pwede ka namang dito na lang sa condo. You have plenty of things to do here!And besides, there’s really no need for you to work. May trabaho naman ako, may sweldo. My salary’s already enough.” He countered. “May bibilhin ka ba? Just tell me! Ako na bibili. Just … just don’t work with that man!” He continued, his tone rising up. Richard was so fuelled by anger. If he just knew this would happen then he wouldn’t even suggested firing that Jannet.
“Richard,” Maya started, curling her arms around Richard’s and leaned against his shoulders. “Wala naman akong gustong bilhin eh. Your father was just being nice. Ganito lang kasimple. He offered me a job and I took it because I see it as an opportunity. Ayoko rin naman na ikaw lang yung nagastos dito. Sabit lang kaya ako rito. Ako na nga yung marami yung utang sa’yo, ikaw pa ‘tong bigay nang bigay. Baka hindi na kita mabayaran niyan ha.” She calmly explained.
“I don’t need your payment. I thought we already talked about this –“
“Oo, nag-usap tayo tungkol dito nung tayo na.” Maya interrupted. “Let me just do this, okay? Ayokong isipin mo na dahil boyfriend kita eh hindi ko na susuklian lahat ng ginawa mo para sa’kin. It’s never an advantage, okay? If I’m in debt, I’m in debt. There’s no way out, except for this. Kapag nagtrabaho ako, eventually, I’ll get paid. And when I’ve got my salary, I can pay you little by little. It’s a start.” She pressed on.
“There’s a ton of jobs here in Manila. Why do you need to work for him?” Richard asked.
“Sira ka ba?” Maya asked back, and Richard looked at him with his eyes narrowed. “Sino namang tatanggap sa isang katulad kong hindi alam ang buong pangalan, hindi alam kung saan nakatira, kung saan nag-aral, hindi ko nga alam kung naka-graduate pa ko eh! Tingin mo tatanggap sila ng ganon?” Maya said. Then she sat up straight and brought her hand on her waist as if she was in a beauty contest. “Hi! I’m Maya. I can see that you want to ask what my surname is but don’t bother. Why? Because I also have no idea what it is! I celebrated my 23th birthday almost three months ago and that’s the only thing I could remember.” She said comically, making Richard chuckle.
“What can you do for this company, Ms. Maya?” Richard decided to play along.
“That’s an excellent question, Sir!” She said making Richard laugh. “Well, I don’t know what’s my highest educational attainment but I’m telling you that I’m persistent, I’m .. I’m there in times of need, uhm, I’m .. a bit of a workaholic which would be an advantage, and I’m very persistent!” She said making Richard laugh even more. “But wait, there’s more! I’m also good at freelance photography. I capture everything the way I saw them with my eyes. You can even ask Mr. Richard Lim about it.”
“And what does this Mr. Lim have to do with you?” Richard amusedly asked.
Maya laughed. “Uy! Fishing for compliments!” She said.
“I am not.” Richard replied and laughed with her. “Go on, answer my question.”
“Well, I worked for Mr. Lim before as an assistant. I fetch him coffee but the first time I did that, he hated me. I spilled coffee on his work and he ended up doing it again overnight. I inspired him during that time because of the beautiful house that I drew for him. I’m sure I can get you a copy of it. I think he framed it.” She said.
“I did not!” Richard countered and they both continued to laugh.
“Anyway, Mr. Richard Lim is the most amazing person I’ve met. He always helps the ones he truly loves. There’s this one time when his brother’s laptop was broken. His brother was so miserable because he needs to do a bunch of projects that were due the other day. Richard, instead of bringing it for repair, bought a new one right away and gave it to him. In Richard, actions do speak louder than words. He doesn’t always say the word ‘love’ but you could always feel it in everything he does.” Maya said truthfully. “I for one am a testimony of it. He’s always worried about me. That he even defends me even if I’m not personally hit by foul words. I’m so lucky to gain his trust and be the one whom he would tell his stories to. Before, he’s built up hatred and grudges inside like he’s going to explode. But now that he can tell someone about it, he’s not likely to. And I’m happy because I want him to stay beside me for eternity.”
“Sounds like you’ve got a thing for this Richard eh?” He asked.
Maya nodded proudly. “Yes, Sir, and I would not deny it. So if you’re planning on doing some moves on me, I’m afraid I’m already taken.”
Richard chuckled. He looked at Maya and saw how her eyes seem to tell him that what she was saying were all true. He smiled before leaning in and kissing her on her lips. “What did I do to deserve you?” He muttered, his lips brushing against her and then he kissed her again. “I really love you, Maya.”
“Ako rin. Love na love kita.” She said before kissing him again. “Kaya payagan mo na ko please.”
Richard groaned. “No. Tatawagan ko si Liza. I’ll just recommend her to him so you can work for me.”
“Ay ay, ayoko nyan.” Maya said and then she pouted. “Richard naman eh. Sisirain mo pa yung trabaho ni Liza. Wag mo nang gawin kumplikado ang lahat. Bukas, pupunta ako sa LVVanguard para magtrabaho tapos ikaw naman sa Aero. O, walang mahirap ‘don. Saka baka maging distraction lang ako kapag naging assistant mo ko. Tanggalin ka pa sa trabaho ni James.”
“James wouldn’t fire me. Ako kaya ang pinupuntahan sa Aero.” Richard countered.
“Ang conceited mo.” Maya remaked and giggled. “Payagan mo na ako please?” She pleaded.
“No. Paano na lang kapag pinahirapan ka don? Paano kung ganon na lang yung plano niya para bumalik ako?” Richard asked.
Maya sighed. “Richard, sa ginagawa mong ‘yan, para ka na ring nagiging judgemental, parang Papa mo.” She said, making Richard still. “’Wag mo muna siyang husgahan. ‘Yun din naman yung gusto mong gawin niya sa’kin ‘di ba? If you want him to change, you would do it first in yourself.”
“I don’t know, Maya. I .. I’m not just sure of this move. I’m not going to be there to protect you.” Richard insisted.
“I’m not sure either. Ganito na lang. I promise. I promise na kapag may ginawa siyang alam kong hindi mo gusto, magre-resign agad ako. Okay na ba ‘yon?” She suggested.
Richard sighed. “And I’ll call you during your lunch break. I’ll text you frequently, too. Deal?”
“Deal!” Maya exclaimed and throw herself at Richard to give him a hug. “Thank you!”
“You really want this?” Richard asked and she answered by nodding frantically. “Just be careful, okay? And our deal. Remember that.”
“Yes Sir!” Maya answered. “Tara na, kumain na tayo. Ang tagal mo naman kasing kalabanin eh. Matatalo ka rin pala.” Maya said as she got some plates ready for them.
Richard just watched Maya as she moved. She was really happy, he could tell that. The smile on her face is true, something he always wanted Maya to have. “Nope. I think I might’ve made a right decision.” He said.
The next day, Maya couldn’t help but feel excited. She prepared everything as usual, and even made packed lunch for her and Richard. She knew, taking the job would change everything. Not just between her and Richard, but also between him and his father.
“I’ll pick you up. I-text mo na lang sa’kin kung anong oras.” Richard said as soon as the car halted.
Maya nodded. “Okay. Ingat sa pagmamaneho ha.”
“I will.” He said and leaned in to give her a kiss on her cheek. “Go ahead. Ayaw niya sa mga late. Just .. just call me as you can kapag may ginawa siya.”
“Oo. Wag ka na kasing mag-alala. Ikukwento ko lahat ng mangyayari pag-uwi natin. Kapag hindi ko nagustuhan yung pakikitungo niya, I promise, I’ll quit.” Maya reassured.
“Alright.” He said. “I love you.”
“I love you, too.” Maya said with a smile and opened her door to go inside the firm.
The reason Maya said yes over the phone was because of Roberto. He didn’t actually hire her; he pleaded Maya to take the job, something she chose not to tell Richard. She could never forget how broken Roberto’s voice is and she could tell that the man was so shattered inside. Richard was the last piece of the puzzle. Maya then discovered that his son really was the reason why the father was like that. Good thing she accepted the job without even consulting Richard.
The elevator pinged when it reached the top floor. The firm was a lot bigger than Aero Designs, as Maya expected. Every floor is furnished at the building itself is very high end. She cautiously strode along the hall and stopped at the door on the end of it. She knocked and opened the door, sticking her head out.
“G-Good morning po, Mr. Lim.” She stammered. The old Lim turned his head from what he was doing and gave her a small smile.
“Come in.” He said.
Maya let out a deep breath before going inside. She stopped a few meters away from Roberto’s table, and then he gestured her to take a sit on the chair on the right, in front of his table.
“Thank you for being here.” Roberto started. “My former secretary was not able to fulfil her duties and was just after work experience. I hope you can really replace her.”
“Yes Sir. I will do everything I can po for you.” Maya politely said. Richard actually gave her tips last night on how to answer his father’s questions. It’s now the time to put it all up to test.
“Now, I know that I hired you in a rush, without documents and all, but I believe you still have to provide those. For work’s sakes of course.” He said.
“Uhm, Sir.” Maya started. “I can’t actually provide those things. It’s not really within my grasp to get those information.”
“And why is that?” Roberto curiously asked.
“M-may amnesia po kasi ako. Richard rescued me one night and then he brought me to the hospital. The police said that it was a case of robbery but up until now there’s still no news about it. Si Richard lang po ‘yung pinagkakatiwalaan kong tao ngayon kaya po .. kaya po ganito ngayon.” She explained.
“So what you’re saying is you can’t remember anything?” Roberto asked, confusion written all over his face. “But Richard’s calling you Maya.”
Maya nodded. She could feel her heart thudding loud. “’Yun lang po yung alam ko sa pangalan ko. I don’t know what my full name is. Pati po kung saan ako nakatira, yung parents ko, basta halos lahat po ng basic information, hindi ko po matandaan.” She explained. Suddenly, she wanted to believe everything that Richard said. She pictured everything better in her head and was not prepared for this look from Richard’s father.
“But you’re in a relationship with my son. That’s true, right?”
“Oo naman po. Mahal na mahal ko po yung anak niyo. Kung .. kung may doubt po kayo tungkol ‘dun, alisin niyo na po. Sa lahat po ng mali sa buhay ko ngayon, siya lang po yung nakikita kong tama.” She said.
Roberto nodded and remained mum. He was trying to absorb all of this. His son was right – he judged Maya too quickly and didn’t even know that she was like this. “Richard told me that you blackmailed him just to talk to me. Was that true?”
Maya nodded frantically. “Opo. Gusto ko po kasing magkaayos na kayo. Ang tagal na po kasing dinadala ni Richard yung nararamdaman niya sa loob, lalo na po nung namatay yung mama niya –“
“He told you about it?” Roberto interrupted.
“Opo. Marami pa po siyang nakwento eh. Pero yun po yung una niyang naikwento gawa po ng naging nightmare na niya ‘yon.” She explained.
Roberto nodded. He knew he made the right decision this time. He hired Maya not because he wanted a new secretary right away but he knew Maya might help him. And now that Maya made it clear that Richard did talk to her about his thoughts, Roberto knew right away that she’s the missing link between his broken relationship with his son.
“Maya, you’re hired. But I need you to do a big favor for me.” Roberto said.
“A-ano po ‘yon?”
“I .. I want to reconcile with my son. For sure this time. I don’t want to make any more mistakes. I just want him back. Will you help me?”
Maya’s nervousness started to fade away. She nodded with a smile this time. “Oo naman po.” She surely said. There’s just so many right things going on in Richard’s life and adding his relationship with his father might just be one of them.
A/N: Pasensya na po sa mga naghintay kagabi! Galing po kasi ako sa Tanay kahapon gawa po ng Visita Iglesia. Magsusulat po sana ako pag-uwi ko nung gabi. Nakatulog po pala ako. Haha.