I continued to cough, still feeling that wrong sensation in my throat. How did I not see this coming? She’s a fine young lady. Of course Maya has a boyfriend.
“Lim, are you alright?” My best friend, Ryan asked. His face was far from being concerned and I bet it’s because he knows that I’m just fine. I just nodded my head and drank my water. My eyes shifted to her then back at the door. I can’t even look at her!
“Sir Dean, ‘yung gamot niyo po.” I hrard her sweet voice say. My eyes shifted and saw her holding the medicine I need. I just grabbed it and the mere touch of her palm along my fingers already gave me goose bumps. I rarely felt this with anyone. That’s why I knew that she is different. I really want to avoid her but the opposite is happening.
“Sir Mar asked me when your father is coming back. May kailangan daw -”
“Next week.” I interrupted then I paused to take the tablet in my hand. “I’ll let him know.” I continued.
“Alright. He’s complaining, you know. Bibihira na nga raw niya makita ang Papa mo, bibihira na rin daw niyang makita ang inaanak niya.” Ryan continued.
“Ninong niyo po si Sir Mar?” Maya asked.
I didn’t answer. “Yeah. Kaya kumpadre ng Papa nitong si Richard si Sir Mar.” I heard Ryan answer for me. I don’t really care if he answers questions for me. For the years we knew each other, he already knows which questions he can answer and would avoid those ones too personal for me to answer.
“Ahh.” I heard Maya react. “Eh si Ma’am Ched po?” She asked.
“She’s his mom’s best friend. Tama ba Lim?” Ryan asked me and I just nodded. “He actually calls them different, just like how we call each other when no one is around.”
I saw the confuse look in Maya’s face. It’s not actually new to me. I get that a lot when people talk to me. They keep saying that I’m so secretive though I could just lay all my information at once but I actually can’t. It’s hard being Richard Lim.
“Bakit kayo lagi ang nasagot Sir Ryan?” Maya asked and she quickly looked at me apologetically. “Ay, s-sorry Sir, hindi naman po sa -”
“It’s fine.” I answered and my eyes shifted to my watch. “Ms. Dela Rosa, your next class is at 12:30 right?” I asked and she nodded and her big doe eyes widened. “Well, it’s currently 12:15.”
“Shit.” She softly muttered but it was still audible. Ryan and I stared at her as she quickly got up. “Ay ano, sorry po. Uhm ..” She looked at the mess on my table.
“It’s okay Maya. We’ll clean it up.” Ryan said and she quickly went outside my office. After a second, we heard a knock and then her head popped out from the gap of the door.
“Thank you po sa lunch! I’m really sorry Sir, babawi na lang po ako.” She said and then the door closed. After a few beats, there was a knock again and Maya appeared again. “Sir Dean, kapag nahihilo po kayo, kahit ‘wag na po muna kayong magturo mamaya. Uso naman pong umabsent. Sige po!” She said and a smirk appeared on my lips. It’s just the exact wit that I needed for today.
“You like her, don’t you?” Ryan asked with a teasing smile on his face. I quickly removed the smirk on my face and just sighed.
“Molina, you have a class at one.” I said and he just raised his brows at me.
“I’m not leaving until you answer my question.” He replied, looking so eager all of the sudden. I groaned and massaged my temple. Ever since Ryan got married to Raffi, which happens to be a close friend of mine too, he always meddles in with my life, particularly in my love life. The three of us were inseparable in college. When we graduated BS Bio, Raffi took culinary next since it’s not really her ambition to be a doctor, and that’s when Ryan had the guts to ask her out. Ryan had this huge crush on Raffi and would get mad at me whenever Raffi runs to me instead of him when she got problems. Raffi just reminds of Alex, that’s why I didn’t develop any feelings for her, whilst Ryan was head over heels in love with her. They started dating and whenever they would invite me, I would go but it’s not like before. I’m now the third wheel. I was Ryan’s best man in his wedding and now, he’s paying the role back. He’s is now my best man and part of his job is to look for a woman that would be the one for me.
“Ryan, I don’t have time for this.” I said as I slid the stack of Tupperware inside the paper bag.
“You do have time for this, Lim. You’re just choosing to spend it on something else.” Ryan said ad he helped me with cleaning up. “Raffi and I are worried -”
“There’s no need for you to worry, okay? I’m fine on my own. I can’t even imagine myself with anyone. Don’t you think it’s already a sign that I’m not made to have whatever it is you and Raffi have?” I said.
Ryan threw the thrash on the bin near the door and sat again on the chair he occupied. “How can you even say that? Remember when Alex was alive? You were thinking about marriage all the time because she was too excited to be an aunt.” Ryan said.
I leaned back on my chair. I do miss Alex. I really do. “I just wish she was still alive when your son was born. She would’ve been ecstatic.” I said.
“She would’ve been happier if you got married and have your own children.” Ryan replied. I already know that. But when Alex died, I just lost faith in everything. She was the perfect contrast in my life. She was the one who balanced things in my life. And now that she’s gone, I completely lost my sense of equilibrium.
“Ryan, its 12:30 -”
“You still haven’t given me an answer.” He interrupted. “I like her, Lim, for you. Weren’t you wondering what it’s like to have someone taking care of you for the rest of your life, like what she did last night?”
I sighed. “Yes.” I just answered and even though I’m not looking, I bet Ryan has this huge smile on his face.
“Good! We’re getting there! What are you going to do about it?” My friend continued to ask.
“Nothing.” I said as I reached for my iPad to read my notes.
“What do you mean by nothing? Are you kidding me?” Ryan snarled.
“Ryan, she has a boyfriend. And there’s nothing I could do about it.” I said and went back into reading. I was waiting for Ryan to speak again but he was silent. I looked up and saw him smiling.
“So you do like her -”
“Oh, for the love of – yes, I like her. I was an idiot at first for acting like a jerk to her and then even if I’m like that to her, she still helped me. And she got me thinking what it’s like to spend a lifetime with someone like her.” I admitted. I can’t believe I just said it all to my best friend. He could really get in my nerves during times like this. “And please don’t tell me that ‘I told you so’.”
Ryan stood up and smiled down at me. “Then I suggest you should win her over.”
“I can’t. I need to respect her relationship with her boyfriend. And I can’t really get involve with her romantically.” I said without looking up from my iPad.
“Why is that?” He asked, crossing his arms.
I massaged my temple again. Why are we talking about this? This is all completely out of the blue! “Ryan, she’s my student. You and I both know that it’s not really legal for a professor to be with a student.”
“Yeah, I know. But she’s a professor too. She’s also a colleague from work -”
“She’s still my student, Molina.” I interrupted and then I went back to reading again.
“Suit yourself. Alam kong hindi ka rin makakapagpigil sa huli.” He said. “I better go.”
“Ah Ryan.” I called him and he stopped from twisting the knob of the door. “You haven’t told her about .. about Papa right?”
His brows furrowed. “Of course not. It’s not my story to tell.” He said and got out of my office, leaving me and my headache alone.
The only reason why I’m hiding my true self is because of my father. I really am enjoying my privacy and if people learned about me having his name, it would ruin everything. Alex was actually the first one to use our middle name. She felt like her teachers are giving her too much credit for something she normally does just because of her name, and fully knowing my younger sister, she wants to do everything on her own without the help of others.
“It’s just too damn complicated.” I muttered as I leaned back on my chair to sleep. My headache is getting the best of me.
The day dragged on and I just went out of my office at three in the afternoon for the meeting. The professors are sitting on the chairs around the long table at the center of the faculty. As I strode to them, I placed the back of my hand on my neck and felt that my temperature is now back to normal. About time.
“Is everyone present?” I asked as I stood before them. They all gave me nods and I nodded back. “Alright, so let’s start.” I said and carried on the different agendas for the term. Ryan actually said that this was a step for me in being a true Dean. I’ve been here for only five years and I’ve been the Dean ever since. It was hard at first, since I don’t know anyone except for Ryan. That’s why Ninong Mar and Tita Ched applied for this school, making my life a little bit easier.
“Sir, the proposed date for COS week is the week after the next. Would it be okay or we need to move it because of the prelims?” Ms. Rodriguez, one of our Ecology teachers asked.
“I strongly recommend moving it the week after the prelims so that there will be no subjects that will be affected.” I said and I got a couple of nods. “It’s just an opinion though, are there any other suggestions?” I asked and they just shook their heads. “Let’s vote then.” I added. Through the years, I’ve learned how to cooperate with the teachers. I thought I could make it work without asking for their opinions but it turned out that the opposite will just happen. You really need others for the whole thing to work and grow.
“Are there any matters to discuss?” I asked as we reached the end of our meeting.
“Ah Sir, there will be a field exposure for the Biology students during the midterms.” Ninong Mar said as he raised his hand. “I know that we might be planning ahead but I do suggest that all of the faculty members should come instead of only the full time professors. The number of our students doubled and we might have trouble handling them all.” He said.
I stared at my faculty members and saw that our number might just be enough to handle them, just like what Ninong Mar suggested. “We’ll take it into consideration, Sir. I suggest that it should be the main topic for our next meeting.” I just said. “Thank you for your cooperation and the meeting is now adjourned. Please excuse me.” I stood up from my seat and walked to my office.
“Are you feeling better now?” Ryan asked me silently as he walked by my side.
“Yeah. My fever’s gone.” I answered.
Ryan nodded and grabbed my arm to stop me from walking. “Maya, you’ll have your class soon.” He said and she just gave Ryan a curious look then she looked at me and nodded with a smile. “She’s glad that you’re better Lim.” I heard Ryan mutter, then he smiled at me. “Pogi points lang ‘yan.” He said as he patted my back and then walked to his table as he chuckled.
I just sighed and rolled my eyes. She’s my student, Ryan.
A/N : Happy Anniversary to this blog! I can’t believe it’s been a year already. Thank you for all the support, for the comments, for wishing me good luck with my exams and quizzes, for waiting patiently to my updates, and thank you for being with me for a year! Thank you thank you!
This chapter is written in Richard’s POV. I left some clues but they’re not enough to figure out the whole situation, or maybe you did figure it out. God bless!