Long-held Torch – Part 10
Author’s Note: Again, thank you to Ms. Chuchy for always checking my work prior to submission or posting. My very special thanks go to Ms Alpha Grace for critically reviewing my draft so that I can come up with a better quality work. My effusive thanks to the readers who always make the effort to leave encouraging comments. As I have said many times over, your comments/reactions keep me typing and typing and typing…parang Energiser Battery lang ang effect😉
Much earlier that day, Maya’s time was spent mainly on woolgathering. She had been absently smiling as she silently reminisced how her stargazing date with Richard went like a dream the night before. She was even singing a love tune while she did her household chores. Mamang even caught her using the feather-duster as a microphone when she sang the chorus verses.
“Ang saya-saya naman ng apo ko,” commented Mamang as Maya gave her grandmother a quick hug when Maya encountered her in the living room “kaya lang wala pa rin sa tono.”
Maya giggled good-naturedly. She never cared whether she sings out of tune. She is in love with Richard and he ‘says’ he feels the same. Under the stars, he had confessed that he had been in love with her for almost a decade. And she is beginning to believe him.
Her grandmother paused in her tracks as she was about to return downstairs to the shop. “Ano yun, apo?”
“Ang ganda po talaga ng mga bituin sa langit, Mamang.” Maya sighed dramatically.
“Bituin?” Mamang looked up at the late morning sun that was intensifying as the day reached noontime. “Bakit ka nakakakita ng mga bituin? Nabagok ba ulo mo?”
Maya smilingly shook her head as her grandmother checked her head for any lump or swelling.
“Hmmmp!” Mamang pursed her lips and considered her youngest grandchild before heading back downstairs “Teresita, itong bunso mo, nakakakita ng bituin kahit sikat na sikat ang araw…nagha-halusinasyon na…”
In the late afternoon, she had an unexpected visit from Capt. James who spent a few hours with her while his return flight was delayed due to minor repairs on his aircraft. Since she was euphoric with how her relationship with Richard was progressing, she got a bit overzealous in congratulating him when he had confided that he was finally committing himself to taking on the deputy managing director’s post long offered to him by his dad. This meant that he will not be regularly flying commercial routes anymore.
Sensing that Capt. James was also attempting to formally express his feelings for her, Maya pre-empted him by stating that she has been in love with someone and that particular someone returns her feelings. Capt. James smiled ruefully and stated that he had suspected that there has to be a special someone for Maya to keep on ignoring him, even joking that most women found him irresistible otherwise. Like a true gentleman, Capt. James accepted the situation and they parted as friends.
Maya was bubbly the entire dinner time. Then, the clock indicated 7pm which progressed to 8pm and then to 9pm. It was almost 10 in the evening and Richard was still nowhere in sight. She texted him but he did not answer.
“Bunso, kalma ka lang,” teased Kute as she noticed Maya jumping to see over the front road window each time a vehicle passed by.
Nasaan na kaya si Singkit? Sabagay, wala naman siyang sinabing gabi-gabi siyang dadalaw. Mahirap pala itong nasasanay agad-agad.
“Hmmmp!” Maya pursed her lips in annoyance.
“Busy yun,” explained Kute as she noticed her sibling’s darkening expression.
“Kahit anong busy niya, nandito siya pagdating ng gabi” Maya argued.
“Wow, Maya! Daig mo pa ang asawa, ah!” Kute was laughing as she tried to balance the shop’s accounts that were spread in front of her.
“Kute, ano ka ba? Baka marinig ka nila Tatay.”
“Pakinggan mo nga kasi ang sarili mo, ni hindi mo pa nga boyfriend yung tao, mukhang gusto mo nang rendahan!” observed Kute “saka nasa kuwarto na sila Tatay. Si Mamang naman naghihilik na kanina pa.”
“Matutulog na rin ako,” Maya left her sister in the family room and locked herself in her bedroom to sulk.
Richard’s light gray suit jacket was on a wire hanger and was dangling by her wardrobe cabinet handle. After a few minutes of debating on the wisdom of visiting a man’s home, she took the jacket and went out of her bedroom. No one was about in the living areas so she decided to just leave without telling anyone. She should be back before anyone realizes that she was gone anyway. She trekked the sandy beach to reach the villa where Nana Benita and Tata Igme was just about to lock the side kitchen door behind them. The old couple let her in and said their farewells. Before they went, Tata Igme forewarned Maya that the boss was in a foul temper since late afternoon.
Maya may probably have been able to cope with Richard in a bad mood but she was certainly no match against Richard in an amorous mood! Her physical attraction to him was just too strong for her to withstand his advances. She had just had a small taste of his prowess in bed that had her behaving so carelessly and so wantonly. She was delirious with pleasure as he seemed to instinctively hone in on all her erogenous zones. He had caressed and stroked her so intimately that she was helpless as he brought her to heavenly heights where she burst into flames.
As she slowly came back down to earth, Maya’s sensual bliss was quickly replaced by acute embarrassment. If only one can be swallowed up by the earth merely by wishing it, she would have done so to avoid facing Richard afterwards. There she was lying in a wicker daybed with him, behaving like an overly emotional female as tears flowed in post experience reaction.
“Maya, what’s wrong sweetheart?” Richard softly asked in concern, which made her tears flow even more profusely.
“Maya?” Richard questioned softly.
Maya abruptly sat up and gathered her front, still crying silently. She would have gotten up and walked away just as quietly had Richard not barred her way.
“Maya, look at me.” Richard’s voice had a hint of pleading but Maya still can not bring herself to look at him directly. “Sweetheart, please talk to me.”
“I want to go home,” Maya hiccupped her response.
“What do you want me to say, Maya? I cannot say I am sorry for what just happened coz I’m not,” was the unapologetic response as Richard framed her face.
Maya turned her head away as Richard tried to kiss her tears away. She desperately needed to get away from him. Now!
“Okey, fine!” Richard bit out when Maya struggled out of his hold.
Richard and Maya both had mutinous facial expressions on the ride home. The minute the Land Cruiser stopped, Maya jumped out without waiting for Richard to open the door for her. She ran upstairs like the devil was at her heels and locked herself in her room.
She looked terrible the next day as she was not able to sleep for each time she closed her eyes, she could see Richard and how he caressed her traitorous body. She would then get embarrassed all over again. She stayed in her bedroom all day, feigning sickness. Hence, it was easy for her to avoid Richard when he visited that evening with Kute making excuses for her.
Maya was on tenterhooks the entire hour that he stayed. She could hear him chatting with her Tatay Arturo discussing structural reinforcements and other projects her father would like to do. She could not hide in her bedroom like this, night after night. She could travel back to Manila to stay at her condo in order to give herself a reprieve from Richard’s advances. So, the next day, she informed her family that she needed to be back in the capital city for a few days to sort out some things. Kute had looked at her with disbelief but did not ask probing questions.
Maya’s flight back to Manila was uneventful. It was just what she needed to calm herself and try to rationalize what had happened between herself and Richard. The answer was pure and simple of course. Powerful mutual physical attraction. With the strong pull between them, it was but natural that they would end up in bed. Sooner or later.
Pero hindi ko pa siya sinasagot! Saka sabi niya maghihintay siya!
Well, he did wait. He waited until the next day and almost made love to her! The worst part of it was she just let him. No, that was not entirely accurate nor honest. She enjoyed his love-making. With his vast sexual experience, she was certainly no match for him. And that was not fair!
Pilyong Singkit na yun! Sobrang eksperto sa aparato! Hmmmp!
She was still wearing a disgruntled frown when she went through the airport gates. The expression was still in place when, Emman, her gay flatmate and fellow TA flight attendant, opened the door for her as she was struggling to find the right key for the front door.
“Roomie? What are you doing back here?” her friend asked as he followed her into their minuscule flat that barely had room to swing a cat.
“Dito ako nakatira diba?”
“My pink gosh!” Emman’s left delicately plucked eyebrow was raised. “Ang alam ko, isang buwan ang bakasyon mo. So, what’s up?”
Maya tried to look relaxed as she checked her mail. They were mainly bills as per normal but one was from TA training department which she quickly opened. It was reminding FA’s of the first aid refresher courses that started to run from last week. She had another week to be able to attend one of the sessions.
“I just have to attend the first aid refresher course this week,” Maya quickly used the new information as her alibi as she glanced at the reminder letter “Baka umuwi din ako ng San Nicholas pagkatapos.”
Emman smiled as he peered at her closely. “Roomie, meron kang hindi sinasabi sakin.”
Maya was taken aback. Did she really look different after almost making love with Richard? Goodness, will everyone be able to tell?
“Ha? Anong pinagsasasabi mo?” she asked worriedly.
Emman, perceptive as always, shook his head. “There is a sparkle in your eyes that was not there when you left.”
“Well…” Maya avoided her flatmate’s knowing gaze.
“My pink gosh! Meron ka na bang boylet? Finally?” exclaimed her gay friend excitedly.
Maya smiled at the term ‘boylet’ and how highly unsuitable it was to describe Richard. He was anything but a boy.
“There is someone but… I am just…well,” Maya paused as she tried to verbalize the overwhelming feeling she had at the speed of how the relationship was progressing. “basta…saka ko na lang ikukwento sayo, kapag hindi nako nahihilo sa bilis ng mga pangyayari, ha?”
“Sige promise yan. Kukulitin talaga kita.” Emman retorted as she headed towards her bedroom.
Maya just smiled ruefully as she closed her bedroom. She unpacked, undressed and garbed on a thick towelling robe. She then gathered all soiled clothing into her laundry basket. She glanced at her wall clock which just ticked a few minutes after 8pm. She went to her ensuite bathroom and turned on the tap to fill the bathtub with very warm water. Then, she lit her chamomile scented candles to fill the bathroom with a relaxing ambience.
With her long tresses in a high chignon, Maya was already soaking in the bath when Emman hollered that he will go to the mall to meet up with a few female colleagues from TA to watch the last full show screening of a chick flick. She yelled back that she was in the bath and requested that Emman lock the door behind him.
Resettling herself in the warm water, she took the ball puff to scrub herself in places that was reminding her of her last encounter with the bespectacled chinito. He had touched her in the most intimate places which were still very sensitive at the moment. Even the gentle laps of water against the swell of her breasts were echoing the caress of the man who preoccupied most of her conscious thoughts at the moment.
With grim determination, Maya closed her eyes and tried to blank out any thoughts on Richard. The very warm scented water eventually soothed and relaxed her body. Maya frowned as she felt the light caress of fingers over her uppers arms which travelled to the upper swell of her breasts that were visible above water. Maya languorously opened her eyes and saw Richard lowering himself into the bathtub, causing a lot of scented water to overflow. Maya blinked as he poised himself above her before his lips claimed hers in another searingly hot kiss.
Maya’s hands involuntarily went to his wide chest and felt his bare warm skin. Richard further deepened the kiss and she felt his length covering hers as water gushed around them. The bath water may have cooled down, but Maya’s temperature was rising again as Richard’s hands were lightly stroking her while he continued with his drugging kisses.
Maya’s breathing hitched when Richard’s lips travelled down her neck to one upturned peak that leapt alive as he suckled hungrily and then fondled the other. Maya was mewling with pleasure as Richard shifted his attention to her other peak. Then his hands were exploring further down, much further down. Maya bit her lower lip to stop herself from groaning when she felt his fingers probe between her feminine furrow. She gasped as he found her hidden nubbin and started caressing it like before. With eyes squeezed shut, Maya could only hold on to him as she felt hedonistic delight taking over.
Wordlessly, she felt one of his hands shift to cup one of her derrière and she felt him wedging her thighs open. Then she felt a blunt tip nudging her feminine entrance that made her eyes flutter wide open. She looked up at him and saw that his chinito eyes were glittering down at her before he swooped down again to cover her lips. Maya felt herself being stretched as his male shaft inched its way into her feminine core. When Richard released her lips, Maya’s breathing was very much uneven. Richard gathered her in his arms, as his painstakingly slow invasion continued.
Maya’s hands went up and gripped his upper arms and rested her cheek against his left chest. His heart was beating hard and loud. In fact, it was getting louder and louder that it alarmed her for his heartbeat sounded very different from the ‘lub-dub’ that one normally hears. It was more like the pounding of wood, like someone knocking very hard on a wooden door!
That was when Maya’s eyes finally opened. She was still half-immersed within the scented water with her hands gripping either side of the bathtub while her legs were spread-eagled under the scented bath water. But she was alone! Her hands went to her hot cheeks in shame. It was just a dream, albeit a very vivid erotic dream!
Damn the man! She can’t even escape him even though she had already placed a great distance between them! Her traitorous body certainly remembered, as she was reduced to fantasizing about him!
The hard knock came again. She ignored it at first but was forced to get up as the relentless knock got louder by the second. Any harder and the front door would be in danger of getting knocked off its hinges.
“Sandali lang!” she yelled out which halted the wood pounding.
Maya climbed out of the bath and self-deprecatingly noted the very dry bathroom floor tiles. She haphazardly towelled herself dry before putting on a towelling robe. Emman must have forgotten his set of keys again, Maya thought as she quickly padded barefoot to the front door.
“Emman? Nakalimutan mo na nam—!” Maya’s jaw dropped as she opened the door for it was Richard standing there with a thunderous expression on his face.
“Who the hell is Emman?” Richard demanded as he walked through the door, brushing past Maya.
“Richard, anong ginagawa mo dito?” Maya finally asked as she recovered, ignoring his question.
“I should be asking you that question, Maya” he verbally threw back with both hands on his hips as he stood in the middle of the condo’s tiny living room.
“I don’t have to tell you anything!” she yelled defiantly but stepped back as Richard advanced on her like a tiger eyeing his prey “Well, if you must know I have training this week.”
“Really?” he questioned, scepticism written all over his stern face.
“So, you were not actually running away from me?” he baited as he continued to advance.
“Bakit ko naman gagawin yun?” Maya parried with another question as she moved away from him, her back now against the wall as she gripped the doorknob.
“Dahil natakot ka sa nangyari nung isang gabi” he replied with eyes mere slits.
“Hindi ah!” was her vehement denial.
“Good!” Richard looked pointedly at her towelling robe “Change into something decent. We’re going out for dinner.”
In a bad mood, Richard can be derisive, demanding or domineering. At the moment, he was all three which took her breath away, in a really very bad way! How dared he imply that she was dressed indecently! For goodness sake, she was in the bath when he arrived unannounced! And he did not even ask if she wanted to go out with him. He just declared that they were and that was that!
“Sinong may sabing sasama ako sayo?” she bristled, unwilling to be browbeated.
“Are you not hungry?”
Maya shook her head vigorously.
“Okey, then we’ll stay in and order food to be delivered.” Richard eyed her almost balefully.
“What? You can’t stay here!” Maya protested in panic.
His response was to close the door a bit more forcefully than necessary as he closed the gap between them. She was rooted at the spot, her back against the wall. Then, Maya felt Richard’s right hand go round her waist while the other angled her face so he could directly look into her eyes.
“You are driving me insane,” he murmured as he lowered his face to hers.
“Richard, please!” Maya protested in a breathless voice as she tried to avoid his kiss.
Hmmmnnn…you smell very nice,” he murmured as his kiss fell on the side of her face while his right hand travelled upwards to go under her robe to freely explore. His lips were making a trail across her neck while his hands cupped her twin peaks under the fabric. Maya could only whimper as little ripples of pleasurable sensations coursed through her body. She was helpless as Richard swooped up again for a passionate kiss. All coherent thought processes fled once again as Maya’s traitorous body revelled in the attention that Richard was giving her. Of their own accord, her hands had crept around his neck as she hesitantly kissed him back which made Richard just deepen the kiss.
“So, who is Emman?” he asked when he broke the liplock only to trail his lips along her jawline.
Maya frowned. “Emman?”
“Hmmnnnn… when I arrived, you thought I was Emman. I seem to keep on tripping over your boyfriends. What’s he to you?” he prompted in deceptively soft tone.
“He’s not my—oohhh!” Maya forgot what she was trying to say as his thumb pad teased her nipples.
“Go on,” Richard prompted as he kissed the corner of her mouth.
“He’s not…my boy…friend,” Maya managed to gasp with unsteady breathing “he’s myyyy g—gay…flat…mate…”
“Good!” Richard said before kissing her that obliterated all rational thoughts from her head.
After a while, Richard released her lips and looked down at her.
“Maya?” he whispered.
“I am sure you have something to say,” he said huskily.
“No?” he sounded amused as Maya shook her head wordlessly. “Well, if you have nothing to say, we might as well continue this in your bedroom, hmmm?”
Maya gasped and then looked up at him.
“And daya-daya mo!” Maya complained as she glared at him “Dinadaan mo ako palagi sa bilis, eh!”
Richard’s brows merely lifted as he tried to suppress a smile which further annoyed Maya.
“Sabi mo maghihintay ka, diba?” Maya whined petulantly. “Ano? Express Lane na naman?”
“Maya, FYI,” he indicated towards his lower body where his hard-on was clearly visible against his pants “I am still waiting.”
“Oh!” Maya blinked in realization, her doe-shaped eyes as big as saucers. While she was consumed with passion, she did not even spare a thought for him.
Richard laughed in that throaty deep voice, his chinito eyes slanted upwards in very good humour despite his unsatisfied state.
Maya blinked again as she finally remembered that she was half exposed. Her hands flew to gather her robe lapels as she tried to escape, her eyes avoiding Richard’s knowing gaze. She went nowhere as Richard refused to release her.
“Maya, look at me,” Richard softly commanded as he gently turned her jaw to face him. “There is nothing wrong with what happened the other night, if that was bothering you. What happened was just as natural as my loving you.”
Maya still kept mum, lost for words.
“Are you shy, Maya?”
Maya wordlessly nodded her head.
“Sweetheart, you shouldn’t be,” Richard laughed again throatily. “We are physically attracted to each other so ‘this’ was inevitable between us.”
A rumbling sound interrupted their conversation. It was Richard’s stomach growling with hunger.
“I haven’t had lunch and I am really getting hungry,” Richard informed her ruefully as he stepped back to release her. “It’s too late for a proper course dinner but I am sure we can find something if I drive around.”
With head averted, she quickly went into her bedroom. For a minute, Maya weighed the merits of locking him out of her room. He will probably just break it down and wake up the entire condominium building’s residential populace in the process!
“And Maya, I am just giving you 10 minutes. If you are not dressed in that time, I will go in there and continue where we left off,” he hollered through her bedroom door.
That threat got her moving in lightning speed, unwilling to risk another bout of love-making with Richard. How was she going to get through the next couple of hours with him? She would die of embarrassment each time he looked at her.
Funny enough, Maya was able to survive the late night date with Richard. They went to a 24-hour American diner that always served breakfast and steak dinners. She was even able to muster a smile when Richard ordered a banana with her steak and rice meal.
Richard’s behaviour changed, though. At first, he had insisted on holding her hand as he drove his BMW. It was like a tug of war at first, but he eventually won as he firmly held her hand against his thigh. Then he was either holding her hand, or his hand would be at the back of her waist when they were walking. And she had even felt his palm stray downwards to her derrière once or twice! He had also held her very close when they were standing by the diner’s foyer, waiting to be seated. He even stole a kiss as he did a quick lipsmack before guiding her as they followed the waiting staff to their table. While waiting for their food, he was holding her hands across the square table.
Richard was behaving like a boyfriend! More specifically, her boyfriend! He had decided that they are ‘together’ despite the fact that they never did the DTR. Maya almost laughed at herself. Richard had almost made love to her once, or twice, if you count what happened tonight. Yet, she was still wanting a verbal confirmation of their relationship status!
When they got back to her condo, Richard had kissed her thoroughly for several minutes before releasing her and then watching her go through her front door. He had whispered that he has an important meeting the next day at the corporate head office that finishes by midday but he would call her so that they can have lunch together.
First thing in the morning, Maya left for TA head office. She picked up her payslips and checked her next roster. Then, she sauntered off to the training centre located on the third floor. She presented herself to the elderly lady facilitator, who was part of the company nurse team, and confessed that she was not able to book herself as she had been away. The facilitator smiled and waved her in stating that she did not have many attendees for that morning. Maya breezed though the CPR training and finished early but the facilitator said something that struck Maya.
“Life is so precious and you never know what’s around the corner. One minute, you are laughing with a passenger, a colleague, or a loved one. The next minute, something happens and they are gone. So, you need to be prepared but do not blame yourself if you cannot save that life, because there are no guarantees in life.”
There are no guarantees in life. That statement kept on replaying in her head as she stepped into the elevator.
In retrospect, Maya thought about Señor La Rosa and his wife. They were both in the prime of their lives. He had a brilliant career. He had many plans, intended to have many children, hoped to fill the Spanish villa with love and laughter. But it all came to a crashing end with the unexpected death of his wife and his own death soon thereafter.
The thought of Richard dying was unthinkable. Yet, she had cowardly left Richard when she could not handle the situation. He quickly followed but anything could have happened in between. Then she thought about his chopper and she felt nauseous just thinking of the mishaps that could have happened to him while travelling to and fro Mindoro night after night just so that he could be with her.
She ran out of the elevator as soon as it stopped on the ground floor level. Maya practiced some breathing exercises to calm herself down. It took several minutes before her breathing regulated and her pulses beat in normal steady rhythm.
Without meaning to, the facilitator drummed a few home truths to her this morning. In the final analysis, she loves Richard and he loves her. Whatever the future brings, she owed it to herself and to him to have a chance at happiness. There would definitely be problems with the difference in personalities. She was not that naïve not to expect any. But they can compromise which had always been the key to successful relationships. And as long as he remained devoted and faithful to her, they can work out the rest.
With that decided in her head, she was again light on her feet. It was an hour before lunchtime. Maya would surprise him and visit him this time. She was smiling as she hailed an oncoming taxi.
Despite the hideous Makati City traffic, Maya was practically beaming when she finally reached Richard’s head office. The clerical staff were busy as she went through. It was a good thing Miss Lisa came out of the boardroom and saw her.
“Miss Maya,” she smiled at her as Maya warmly kissed her cheek in greeting “Your Kuya Ryan is not here.”
Maya smiled shyly. “I am looking for Richard, actually. Is he free now?”
Lisa smiled conspiratorially at her. “We just finished a meeting with the public relations company. You go into the boardroom.”
Maya hesitated not wanting to intrude on Richard when he has clients and employees with him. When she saw several people filing out from the boardroom, she went towards the door, smiling in acknowledgement as she passed them. She quietly opened the door, but was transfixed like a statue as she saw Richard talking in hushed tones with a very beautiful woman in a very clingy backless halter top and silky black pants that showed off her curvaceously stunning figure. But what was damning was that the woman’s arms were around his neck while he was holding her upper arms.
Maya felt a searing pain in her chest. She stood there for a few seconds unconsciously gripping the doorknob before she finally remembered where she was. Pulling a deep calming breath, Maya plastered on a smile as she felt the adrenalin rushing through her bloodstream as she switched on the fight mode.
You messed with the wrong woman, Richard Lim!
Maya walked further into the boardroom and stopped when she reached Richard’s line of vision.
“Maya!” he greeted in surprise. But was that delight that she can also detect in his voice?
“Hello, Richard” she smiled which did not reach her eyes, “TA’s head office was nearby so I thought it was better for me to come instead of you fetching me for our lunch date. But I can see you are otherwise busy with your favourite ‘casual proclivity’.”
“Maya, it’s not what you think.” Richard protested as he finally pried Catherine’s arms from around his neck but had to hold her upper arms again as she tried to snuggle up to him once more.
“Richard, who is this girl? Tell her to go away so we can be alone.” Catherine piped in as she looked up at Richard with sultry eyes.
Maya felt nauseous at the sight of Richard holding another woman. “Miss Whoever-You-Are. Let me introduce myself, I am Maya dela Rosa and I am his girlfriend,” she said, enunciating every syllable of that statement very clearly.
Maya allowed for a few seconds for her words to sink in to the creature between herself and Richard.
“You are?” Catherine questioned rather dumbly as she turned her head towards Maya.
“I would have been his fiancée if I had accepted his marriage offer.” Maya informed her hardly as she glared at Richard. “But after today, you are quite welcome to him. Coz I do not want to see his two-timing face ever again!”
“Excuse me. I need to go coz I can’t stand your combined stench!”
Catherine gasped at the insult but Maya could not care less as she walked out of the boardroom with head held high.
Maya could hear Richard talking exasperatedly at Catherine as he tried to follow her.
“Maya, please wait!” Richard pleaded but she ignored him.
She smiled at Lisa who was just outside the boardroom door. Her progress slowed down for she could not see where she was going. Her vision got blurry with tears.
“Miss Maya, are you okey?” Lisa was looking at her with concern as she was handing her a tissue from a box of Kleenex.
“Thank you, Miss Lisa” Maya sniffed as she controlled her tears. “I will be okey. I just need to get out of here.”
Maya pulled a deep breath and smiled tremulously at Lisa. With head held high, Maya was the epitome of grace under pressure as she walked with poise towards the lifts which was opportunely held wide open as someone noticed her approach.
She saw Richard striding towards her as she quickly pressed down on the button to close the elevator doors faster.
to be continued…