Long-held Torch – Part 11
Author’s Note: If you are thoroughly enjoying the recent chapters, that is because I have two ladies, Ms Chuchy and Ms Alpha Grace who review my work prior to posting. My effusive thankie😀 to you two and to those who would leave comments.
With his even teeth clenched, Richard’s patience was wearing very thin with the woman draped around his neck. He had tried to subtly tell Catherine for the last hour that he was not interested but she still kept on flirting all throughout the meeting. She even had the shameless temerity to rub her leg against his under the long conference table which compelled him to distance his swivel chair from the table, well away from her reach. He had originally intended to attend this progress update meeting via teleconference but since he was in the metropolis, he decided to come instead. It was a mistake that he was regretting but constructing this underwater road tunnel, which will be connecting Batangas to Mindoro, was his biggest project to date. He would hate it if something goes wrong again.
When he took on a government-funded bridging project in General Santos City a couple of years ago, he met Catherine who was one of DPWH’s public relations specialist back then. In hindsight, he should have not indulged in a one-night stand with her for he had immediately recognised her type. With her eye on the main chance, Catherine always throws herself at a rich guy, hoping to catch a big fish. She may be attracted to Richard but she was even more attracted to his bank balance.
He had already declined Catherine’s invitation for ‘lunch’ thrice, knowing she was serving herself as dessert. He was simply not interested. On the contrary, she left him cold. So unlike how he feels for a particular doe-eyed young lady who could turn him on by just thinking about her.
That was when the subject of his burning obsession arrived like a cool collected miss. He was jubilant that Maya came to see him and introduced herself as his girlfriend but was dismayed with the other things she said. She confronted him and his ‘perfidy’ while insulting him almost in the same breath. Then, she calmly walked out after declaring that their relationship was over.
Over before it even properly began!
“Bloody hell, Catherine!!! Get off me!!!” he roared which got the woman’s attention. Catherine finally heard loud and clear. In fact, the entire floor heard loud and clear, alerting everyone that the big boss’ infamous tiger temper had been roused! All ears were then honed to the commotion that was happening inside the boardroom. Everyone stopped in their tracks as they watched in fascination as their dashing business-suited CEO, who had been breaking female hearts for over a decade, came striding out in pursuit of the beautiful young woman who moved with fluid grace as she walked towards the elevator.
Richard Lim was running after a woman!
Now, that was astounding news to them! They have seen a parade of sophisticatedly sultry women who came and went but they were all usually seen metaphorically running after Richard who becomes very elusive once his male curiosity has been ‘satisfied’. It was common knowledge that Engr. Richard Lim’s attention span with a woman does not last very long. Among the spectators, three to be exact, had even turned the playboy’s constantly changing lovelife, or more accurately referred to as sex life, into a betting game.
Mr. Dalipe, a balding middle-aged man and head of the purchasing department, sidled up to Sonny who had brought out a little frayed notebook. He whispered, “2 months, 1000 pesos.”
A geeky draftsman named Anthony, who even had a pencil tucked behind his ear, joined them and whispered “ako 5-6 months, limang libo.”
“Two months, three weeks and 4 days ang longest record ni Sir. Ngayon dinoble mo. Namimigay ka ba ng pera?” Sonny taunted as he logged the bet.
“Hindi ah! Mukhang patay na patay pa kaya si Sir. Tingnan nyo kung makahabol, oh!” Anthony’s lips puckered and pointed towards their boss who was viciously pressing all of the elevator buttons.
As they heard the boss coming back, their hushed conversation momentarily stopped and the three pretended to be busy.
“Bloody hell!” Richard had kept on swearing a string of profanity as all the lifts were all at lower levels and were just descending. He strode towards his private office as he quickly speed dialled Maya’s number but he could not get through for she was in a blindspot.
“Lisa, call security,” Richard bellowed “Tell them to stop Maya at the ground floor or else they will all be fired!”
“But, sir! They don’t know her.” Lisa reminded him.
“Just do it Lisa!” he growled his order as he made his way to his private office. “And one more thing, tell MultimediaGem that I don’t want Catherine setting foot on my premises ever again! They better send me another PR Coordinator or I will tear their bloody contract and make sure they never get another in the city!”
“That one I will do with pleasure, sir!” Lisa was already on the internal phone with security requesting assistance and then physically describing Maya and her current outfit from memory. She smiled malevolently at Catherine, who finally emerged from the boardroom. Miss High-and-Mighty Catherine, who had always talked down to Lisa, was trying to slink unnoticed towards the exit stairs. Lisa noted Catherine’s ridiculously high heels and predicted that the tart would likely end up falling down the stairs and breaking her neck before she even reaches halfway down the building.
When Lisa replaced the receiver, she noticed the three men huddled together as they speculated on the duration of their employer’s fascination for the current flame.
“Ehemmm!” she coughed as she reached the trio to get their embarrassed attention “I know very well that you have always been betting over Sir Richard’s personal life. For supposed professionals, you three have conducted yourself most unprofessionally!”
“Miss Lisa, wala namang nasasaktan, katuwaan lang,” said Mr. Dalipe. The other two made similar noises.
“Sige, I won’t tell on you three,” Miss Lisa relented with a sly smile “Coz I am betting a month’s salary that this one will last longer than all the rest combined!”
“Wehhh, di nga?” incredulously intoned by Anthony, the geeky draftsman.
“Sobra namang laki ng pusta mo, Miss Lisa” complained Sonny. “Hindi namin kaya.”
“I thought you three were hard-nosed gamblers? Now, put your money where your mouth is!” Lisa smiled, enjoying how the three squirmed.
Despite their moans, the three gamblers noted her bet. Besides teaching them a lesson, Lisa thought that she would have the budget for a nice outfit to attend a wedding when she collects her winnings. She had actually seen the preliminary engagement ring design that was drawn by Richard Lim himself. Lisa had forwarded it to one of the top engagement ring designer in the country that had been commissioned to fine-tune the uniquely exquisite design. She never would have thought that her long-time boss had such a romantic side that finally came out when Maya arrived on the scene. For that alone, Maya had won her over.
Meanwhile, Richard had used his private elevator to reach the ground floor level. Damage control was foremost in his mind as he ran out as soon as the doors slid open. He slowed in his tracks when he saw her by the security podium. Maya’s exit was being blocked by two uniformed security men. Richard recognised one as his grey-haired security supervisor while the other was much younger and relatively new in his employ.
“Ma’am Maya, pasensiya na po hindi po kayo pwedeng umalis. Utos po galing sa itaas.” His security supervisor explained to Maya whose back was turned towards him so she had no idea that he was nearby.
“Pero, Manong Guard. Hindi nyo po ako pwedeng i-detain dito.” Maya argued, with a catch in her voice.
“Hindi po talaga pwede, ma’am. Kami po ang masisisante kay boss—” he stopped in mid-sentence when his companion nudged and nodded towards their employer.
“Manong Tonyo” Richard greeted the elderly security supervisor who had been with him since day one and then nodded to the younger staff. “Thank you for taking care of my girlfriend.”
“Wala po yun, Sir Richard,” the elder man grinned from ear to ear at him, obviously pleased for they met the boss’ girlfriend. They heard it first hand, way ahead over the corporate grapevine. At this piece of information, the younger security personnel’s eyes merely bulged as he looked at his boss to the young lady beside him. Richard could understand their reaction. Despite having a string of women that came in and out of his life, he never officially introduced a girlfriend to the staff.
Richard saw Maya’s momentary stunned silence at his statement and gently led her back towards his private lifts. Her eyes were already red and swollen from crying. In her hand was a ball of tissue which she had been continually crushing, a sure sign of her agitation.
“Come, sweetheart,” his hand at her back.
“Ayokong sumama sayo,” she hissed at him as she tried to dig in her heels.
“Maya, not here, please,” Richard whispered as he guided Maya back to his private elevator.
“Goodness, you are some piece of work! You don’t want to make a scene in front of your employees but you make-out with that boa constrictor in your boardroom!” she uttered harshly in an undertone.
Richard’s bland expression hid his amusement at her reaction as he followed her into the confined space. With hair ponytailed in a wispy scrunchie, Maya looked sweet and sexy in her white frilly Spanish-style layered skirt that stopped a few inches above her knee. A long thin shoulder-strapped purse crossed over her white peasant-style top that showed off smooth skin from her neck to the top of her shoulder.
Richard thought that the bare skin was just inviting to be kissed. He dared not at the moment, though. Despite being tearful, Maya was still breathing fire as she castigated him for his alleged ‘sins’.
“I was not doing anything. As far as I am concerned, my association with Catherine is purely business. She had different ideas.” he tried to explain as he pressed the button to close the elevator’s sliding doors.
“Hah! Umapela ka sa baranggay dahil hindi ako naniniwala sayo, Singkit!”
He smiled lopsidedly at her, thoroughly enjoying watching her waspish display of jealousy, a direct contrast to the cool collected miss that he saw upstairs. He was feeling a bit smug for he had managed to get her inside the confines of his private lift which was fireproofed and soundproofed. She can rant and rave and no one will be able to hear.
“Anong ngini-ngiti mo diyan? Walang nakakatuwa dito!” she told him as she closed-fist punched him on the chest.
“Whoa! Masakit yun, ah!” Richard complained for Maya can slug a wallop despite her size. “Look, sweetheart, huwag ka nang magselos. Catherine means nothing to me.”
The minute he said it, he knew it was the wrong thing to say for Maya’s face visibly changed before his eyes in reaction.
“Hindi ako nagseselos!!! Ang ayoko yung niloloko ako!!!” Maya screamed at the top of her lungs as she stepped up to him, her face flushed, her delicate nostrils flared, her doe-eyes ablaze with fiery fury. He didn’t think it possible, but Maya was even more beautiful when angry, almost as beautiful when she’s in the throes of intense sensual passion.
And she was exciting him!
“I told you,” she poked his chest painfully with her pointer finger “I cannot tolerate being one among many! Alin duon ang hindi mo maintindihan? Kung hindi mo kaya, walang problema sakin! Hindi kita pipigilan! Dun ka na sa mga Catherine mo! Just stay the hell out of my life!”
Then, she burst into tears as Maya bent her head into her palms. Despite being innocent of her accusation, Richard’s conscience pricked him for inadvertently causing her pain. At first, Maya rejected his touch but Richard insisted on gathering her in his arms as she sobbed her heart out. He let her cry knowing she needed to release her anger and frustration. He held her for several minutes whispering soothing words while he gently patted her back as if he was calming a hurt child. When she calmed down, Richard wiped away her tears with his hanky and then offered it to Maya. Then, he led her out of the lifts which had long stopped at the first underground parking level and settled her in his car.
“I will take you home,” he informed her as he secured her safety belt in place.
Maya nodded wordlessly before she closed her lacklustre eyes, seemingly in sleep. Richard considered her serene demeanour that was still marred by sporadic sobs and shaky breath. He lifted his hand to the hair that escaped her ponytail. His fingers tucked the errant lock behind her ear and would have lingered against her hair had Maya not moved to avoid his caress. Richard sighed and shook his head before starting the engine.
They were entering Ayala Alabang Village’s gated community when Maya finally noticed that Richard was not bringing her to her condominium.
“Nasaan na tayo?” Maya asked shrilly as she almost bolted out of her seat in sudden movement “Ang sabi mo iuuwi mo na ako!”
“What I said was ‘I will take you home’ ” he quoted himself and then clarified belatedly “my home”.
“Well, you can just turn your blasted car around and take me to ‘my’ home!” Maya demanded.
Richard spared her a glance and sighed. He saw that Maya was again getting very agitated. A pity, she had been channelling all her passions negatively. At the thought, his eyes glinted as a more delightful way of spending all that passion came to mind.
“Richard Lim, narinig mo ba ko?”
“I heard you, Maya” he retorted calmly.
“But you are choosing to ignore what I say, is that it?” Maya was getting herself more worked up.
Richard kept silent as he did not want to add any fuel to the fire. Well, not this type of fire anyway, he thought.
He calmly pressed the button to the automatic gates and drove in. He had barely parked the car when Maya jumped out with the intention of running out the driveway again but Richard was quick on his feet and quickly blocked her path as she went round the BMW.
“Sweetheart, stop being difficult please.” Richard cajoled as his hands grabbed her around the waist.
“Let me go!” Maya yelled as she struggled against his more superior strength.
“Let’s get inside. Manang Fe prepared lunch for us.”
Out of the corner of his eye, he saw Doris and Sabel open and hold the front double doors for them. Obviously, the nosey tandem would want to see the first woman he had ever brought home to meet Manang Fe. He may be a womaniser, rather an ex-womaniser, but he never brought home any of his flings. He had too much respect for Manang Fe, whom he treats like his second mother, to subject her to that.
“Hindi ako papasok sa bahay mo at hindi mo ako mapipilit!” she struggled and kicked his shin, oblivious to the fact that they now have an audience standing by the front door.
“Owww! Maya, stop that!” Richard complained as he held her firmly at a distance to avoid her flailing legs.
Richard wanted her to go inside. Maya refused to budge. They were at an impasse.
Richard noted the steps by the front door. Maya could get hurt if he dragged her along. If he carried her in, she would struggle and fall, possibly resulting with a sprain or fracture. Unless, he carried her a different way.
“So, hindi ka papasok ng matiwasay?” Richard’s eyes glinted down at her, annoyed at her bull-headedness.
Maya mutinously looked up at him. Her chin jutted out in silent challenge as she shook her head in wordless negative response.
“Right, you left me no choice.”
In very swift economical movements, Richard wedged his right leg between her legs, held her right hand with his left and quickly bent his knees so that Maya’s middle goes over his right shoulder. Richard grabbed her legs for a more secure hold before he straightened to carry her into the house…
Maya breathed out an involuntary ‘oooomph’ when she got lifted off the ground. It only took a few seconds before Maya recovered from his literally breath-taking maneuver. Then she started to struggle as she pummelled his back.
“Put me down, you chinky-eyed devil!!! This is sooooo undignified!!!” Maya howled.
Doris and Sabel were stunned as they followed their employer carrying a female into the house like a sack of rice.
“Stop this, you caveman!!! And put me down!!!”
“Doris, Sabel!” Richard barked as he walked past his gaping cook and laundress.
“Ser?” answered Doris nervously.
“Ano po yun?” Sabel asked just as nervously.
“You two, take the rest of the day off. Bring Manang Fe with you. And tell Joma to drive you around.” Richard was grinning wickedly, anticipating to having Maya all to himself.
“Walanghiya ka talaga, Singkit!!! Isusumbong kita kay Kuya! This is assault! ” Maya bellowed as she was forced to hold on to his suit jacket as he started climbing the stairs. He would have gone to the master’s bedroom but remembered Maya’s tendency to moan and scream during lovemaking. So, he opted to go to the mezzanine floor where his soundproofed audiovisual room was located.
“Ricardo!” an elderly lady called at the foot of the stairs to halt his progress, appalled censure in her tone “anong ginagawa mo?”
“Manang Fe,” he acknowledged with a slight turn of his head as he paused, one hand on the modern wooden balustrade while the other was fastened securely around Maya’s shapely legs. “This is Maya.”
Richard felt Maya lift her head to look down at the elderly lady at the foot of the stairs as he continued to ascend.
“Hello po. Pasensiya na po hindi ako makapagmano dahil sa kawalanghiyaan ng alaga ninyo,” she greeted the elderly lady.
“Huwag mo nang alalahanin yun, ineng.” Manang Fe reassured her. With curiosity getting the better of his mayor doma, she asked “Maya, taga-Mindoro ka ba?”
“Po?” Maya was evidently perplexed “Opo, papaano nyo po nalaman?”
“Palaging nasa inyo si Ricardo diba?”
“Opo, palagi po siyang nagbabakasyon samin nuon. Pero, ilang taon siyang di dumalaw. Tapos ngayon naglalagi na naman siya sa San Nicholas. Inaayos po nya yung lumang villa.”
Richard merely grinned at the farcical situation. What amazed him was that Maya can still carry on a conversation despite the fact that her diaphragm was compressed with her own weight. She remained the undisputed ‘Chatterbox Queen’. She actually only shuts up when she’s too embarrassed or when he’s kissing her. Then, when they get hot and heavy, she makes sexy little moans, groans and whimpers. And then of course, she screams. This prompted him again to address Doris and Sabel. He turned when he reached the lower landing to look down at the three female watching his progress from the ground floor.
“Doris, Sabel. Yung bilin ko huwag ninyong kakalimutan. Kahit bukas na kayo umuwi.” It was better that they were alone in the house just in case the soundproofing system does not drown all the sounds.
“Opo ser!” Doris and Sabel chorused their identical response.
“Ricardo, tigilan mo na yan,” Manang Fe sternly told off her former charge.
“Manang Fe, huwag kayong mag-alala, pakakasalan ko ‘to. Pakakalmahin ko lang dahil nagwawala sa galit. Nagselos kasi,” he explained to reassure his former nanny as he disappeared into the double doors with a spluttering Maya who took exception to his parting statement.
The same parting statement brought forth giddy squeals from Doris and Sabel who finally understood the situation as an LQ.
“Salbaheng bata ito, masilya-elektrika ka diyan sa gagawin mo!” yelled Manang Fe but Richard did not hear her warning.
“Manang Fe, lethal injection na po ngayon, wala na pong electric chair,” Doris informed the older lady.
“Tingnan mo itong luka-lukang ‘to! Naagnas na yung diyaryo kung saan mo nabasa yang balita mo, eh!” Sabel jeered at Doris and then turned to Manang Fe “Matagal na pong walang death penalty. Life imprisonment na lang po ang hatol sa rape.”
“Manang, halika na po” Doris pouted at Sabel as she dragged a very worried Manang Fe with them.
“Teka, baka mademanda si Ricardo,” protested the mayor doma.
“Naku, Manang, wala pong mangyayaring demandahan,” Sabel reassured the older lady smilingly “at mukhang rape with consent ang mangyayari.”
Once inside, Richard bolted the doors behind him and then walked in front of the huge L-shaped leather sofa and gently placed Maya on her feet by the chaise.
For several long seconds, she shot daggers at him with her glittering doe-shaped eyes. Then, she lunged at him and pummelled his chest with her fists until all her strength was spent. Then, Richard gathered her again in his arms.
“I hate you,” she murmured against his chest.
“At the moment, you may think you do,” he agreed, as he started nuzzling her neck before raining kisses all over her face.
“Richard, ‘this’ will not fix anything…” Maya protested as Richard gently pulled her towards the chaise-end of the lounge.
Then Richard removed his specs before he lifted her chin so that he can engage her lips in another drugging kiss.
Richard broke the kiss and nuzzled a path down her jawline to her neck. He quickly dispensed the shoulder bag when he encountered the thin strap only to return lip-caressing her bare shoulder. He lowered his head to her cleavage as he sat down by the edge of the chaise-end and positioned her sitting on his right thigh. His hands gently tugged and lowered her top and unhooked her strapless bra to unleash Maya’s proud breasts. With his eyes mere slits, Richard observed Maya close her eyes as her breathing became more uneven.
“Oooohhhhhh, Richard!” Maya moaned and threw her head back as he started laving her nipple while his other hand’s thumb was caressing the other. Maya whimpered helplessly while holding on to his shoulders as he also suckled at the other pinkish peak until it went turgid.
“That’s right sweetheart, say my name,” he breathed against her sensitised nipple as he continued his sensual onslaught on her twin mounds.
Richard saw Maya lick her lips which beckoned him to hold her nape to lock his lips with hers once more as his other arm went round her back. Maya responded by putting her arms around his neck and leaning over him which toppled both of them down the leather sofa. She ended up almost fully lengthwise on top of him. Despite the position, Richard was still very much in control as the hand by her nape angled her head to deepen the liplock into another all-rational-thought-obliterating kiss.
Both were panting when their lips parted. Richard gently turned Maya on her back with her nape still in his hand. Then, he went to undo her hair to weave the silky length between his fingers before he spread it across the dark brown leather grain. Richard’s eyes glittered down at her as he removed his suit jacket and tie to drop them carelessly on the floor.
Then, he lowered his head to start nuzzling her neck to make another downward path to the valley between her breasts to go further down. In unison, Richard moved his hand to trail a path to her smooth stomach past the waistband of her skirt down the length of the frilly fabric until he encountered the bare skin just above her knees. His warm palm and fingers caressed her smooth thigh as he hitched the hem of her skirt higher until his fingers encountered her silky undie which he slowly slid down. Richard rained a moist trail of kisses down to her abdomen until he positioned himself at the apex between her thighs.
When he started to explore her downy hair, Maya doubled-up and halted his questing lips by holding his head with both of her hands. Richard viewed that while Maya was very much aroused, her eyes were like saucers in shock at what he intends to do.
“What’s the matter, sweetheart?” he smiled at her as he sat up as well.
Richard watched in fascination as her breasts bobbed up and down with her laboured breathing. She could only shake her head, unable to voice her protest at the raw intimacy of the physical act that he wanted Maya to experience with him.
“Too much for you?” he asked in throaty dulcet tones.
Maya could only nod, likely not trusting herself to speak anything coherent. Richard smiled most charmingly at her, inwardly jubilant that she will be experiencing a first with him.
“Relax, sweetheart. I want to taste you and you will enjoy it, I promise.” he said before kissing her senseless once more. Richard slowly retraced the downward path down her body while his hands and fingers were caressing her breasts. He rained moist kisses over her silky upper thighs while he gently wedged them open again with his broad shoulders.
And then he gently licked at her most intimate feminine centre which evoked very strong pleasurable sensations, causing Maya to involuntarily move away from his probing lips. Richard anticipated her reaction and held her firmly by the waist and then mercilessly continued ‘tasting’ her.
“Richard, please stop!” Maya sobbed.
Richard ignored her emotive plea and her vain effort to push at his shoulders. Then, Richard saw her prop herself up on her elbows as she tried to view what he was doing to her. Seeing her passion-clouded gaze, he probed deeper into her feminine furrow and found her hidden nubbin to tease it swollen. He saw Maya bite her lower lip to stop the guttural moan from escaping her lips.
“Oooohhhh, Richaaaaard!” Maya cried as she helplessly collapsed back against the plush rectangular throw pillows, her head thrashing from side to side. Her reaction merely spurred Richard to intensify his lingual stimulation.
Several long minutes wordlessly passed, minutes that felt like an eternity of breathless moans and sighs of pleasure. He languorously surveyed Maya’s skin which became dewy with a fine sheen of sweat as she trembled within his hold. Richard continued to lave her nub of desire and then run his tongue deeply along her nether lips. He felt Maya’s legs getting very restless on either side of him while her long-nailed fingers were buried in his hair. Richard reckoned that Maya was blissfully unaware of both movements.
“Richaaaaaard—!” Maya screamed his name when his tongue finally invaded her feminine entrance, as she imploded, and then imploded and then imploded. Richard felt very male triumph as Maya reached the pinnacle of intense sexual pleasure several times over.
Wild tremors were shaking Maya’s entire body in reaction. In the throes of passion, she would not have been able to stop him if he had given in to his bodily urge and possessed her at that very moment. Her body was probably crying out to be filled just as his own body was crying out to fill her. Richard was so aroused, he was in pain.
However, this was part of his exorcism. Richard promised himself he would obliterate all traces of her past lovers until she yearned only for him. While she had enjoyed their sensual encounters, she was just basically allowing him to make love to her. Maya never initiated a kiss nor a caress. No matter how passionately she responded, he had to ‘wring’ out that response from her. He never saw nor felt her make any conscious effort to invite his full possession. He wanted her to want only him just as he wants only her.
Richard was almost at the end of his tether. He knew very well that he could not possibly keep denying himself while pleasuring her. He cannot go on waiting for an indefinite period of time.
For the wait was slowly driving him mad!
For several long minutes, Richard could only hear his own harsh breathing and the loud beat of his heart as he knelt before Maya who was vulnerably laid out before him. It would have been the most natural conclusion to finally consummate their relationship after what had just occurred.
Then, he saw the tears streaming down her cheeks again and he sighed.
“Napaka-iyakin mo naman,” Richard whispered, his libido dampened somewhat. He lowered himself beside her and wiped her tears with the pad of his thumb. He knew she was very upset but he responded by ravishing her. He was an insensitive randy cad.
Richard saw her shiver and gathered her in his arms to make her warm. For good measure, he reached for one of the sofa’s plush white throw and draped it over Maya and himself. After the emotional upheaval, Maya was exhausted. Her once ragged breathing was slowly going into an even rhythm as she fell asleep in the crook of his arms.
Richard studied Maya’s face and marvelled at the power this slip of a woman had over him.
“I love you, Maya.” Richard whispered inaudibly as he kissed her forehead “you have no idea how much.”
It was already early evening when Richard felt Maya moving stealthily beside him. She had carefully taken his arm that was across her middle and slowly placed it on him. Richard opened his eyes a fraction and saw that Maya had sat up and was slowly removing his right leg that was draped over her thighs. He feigned sleep as he surreptitiously watched her re-hook her bra and smoothen her top and skirt before she got up to look for something. The next minute, she was on her hands and knees searching underneath the chaise.
Richard slowly got up and lifted the throw off him and saw the elusive triangular piece of clothing by the hem of his pants. With a wolfish grin, he picked up the white silky undie and dangled it towards it owner who was still vainly searching for the item on the carpeted floor.
Her head shot up and gasped as she saw what was in between his fingers. She immediately lunged and snatched it up and hid it behind her back as she looked desperately about, her entire face suffused with colour.
“The bathroom’s through there,” he nodded towards to the small cubicle attached by the entrance of the AVR.
“Thank you,” she bit out before she scooted off.
Richard flexed his arm and creaked his neck. The chaise-end of the L-shaped leather lounge was not really the ideal place for lovemaking. It was too short and too narrow. He noted his crumpled clothing and got up.
“Maya, will you be okey if I leave you for a few minutes?” he asked as he stood by the closed door of the guest toilet room.
“O-okey lang ako,” she stammered back.
“Sandali lang ako. Will you promise me that you’ll wait? That you’re not going to escape the moment I turn my back?”
“Fine, Richard. I will wait,” Maya finally answered.
“Good, I won’t be long.”
Richard went to the master’s suite. He quickly took a shower and donned on a light grey Grand Slam polo shirt and black denim jeans. When he returned to the AVR, Maya was not there. He quickly went downstairs and quickly scanned the downstairs living areas and decided that Maya left despite stating that she won’t leave. Richard was about to sprint back upstairs to get the BMW’s car key when he heard her voice coming from the kitchen.
“Naikwento na po kayo samin nuon ni Richard. Malakas siyang asarin ng Kuya kasi meron pa rin siyang yaya kahit ang tanda-tanda na niya.” Maya did her signature melodious giggle which made him smile.
“Kuya?” Manang Fe asked, as she was stirring something by the burner range.
“Si Kuya Ryan po. Si Atty. Ryan dela Rosa, yung bestfriend po niya?” answered Maya as she ladled rice from the automatic rice cooker into the rice bowl.
“At sa inyo siya naglalagi nuong araw?” Manang Fe probed.
“Opo. Pagkakatapos ho ng schoolyear, kasama siya ni Kuya kapag umuuwi ng San Nicholas.” Maya nodded “Halos buong bakasyon andun siya samin. Kaya nga po Nanay at Tatay na rin ang tawag niya sa mga magulang ko.”
“Ahhhh, kaya pala!” Manang Fe exclaimed, mentally placing all the missing pieces of the jigsaw puzzle together to see the complete picture.
Richard should have known that Manang Fe will not be coerced into going anywhere if she wanted to stay put. She has been dying with curiosity the moment he asked her this morning to prepare a special lunch for he was bringing home someone special. Now, that she had met his special someone, it won’t be long until his mom will learn about Maya. The two were thick as thieves despite his mom staying in China for the major part of the year. His parents had been living there after his dad’s so-called ‘retirement’ but had always been busy with one business venture after another.
“Manang Fe, anong ulam?” he asked unceremoniously as he rounded the corner.
“Ay, kabayo ni Anastacio!” Manang Fe exclaimed “pambihira ka talaga, Ricardo! Bakit ka ba nangugulat?”
“Nagulat kayo kasi abala kayo sa pagtatanong kay Maya. Para klaro ang report nyo kay Mama, sabihin nyo nakilala nyo na ang girlfriend ko.”
“Talaga, pwede kong sabihin yun?” Manang Fe excitedly beamed at them both.
“Teka, sandali” a flushed Maya interrupted “ayokong mag-‘assume’, pero ako ba ang tinutukoy mong girlfriend?”
“Siyempre ikaw” Richard smiled slowly, as he looked at her. Her hair was back in the wispy scrunchie, all smooth like her clothing.
“Teka sandali ulit. Rewind muna tayo. Sa pagkakatanda ko, hindi pa kita sinasagot,” Maya protested as colour further suffused her face.
Richard’s smile deepened at that absurd statement as he noted her deepening colour as he continued to knowingly look at her. Maya may have not said the ‘yes’ verbally but her body had been screaming the word non-verbally each time he caressed and made love to her.
“You claimed to be my girlfriend earlier,” he countered smugly.
“I may have done so” Maya shrugged nonchalantly a she carried the bowl of rice “but I also broke up with you the next minute.”
“You can’t do that.” Richard’s smile disappeared.
“Who says I can’t? You? The omnipotent Richard Lim?” Maya asked sarcastically as she paused in her tracks to pivot back to face him.
“It’s a woman’s prerogative to change her mind,” Maya continued as if he never spoke. She walked back to him to snap her fingers in front of his face “just like that!”
Richard lifted his brows at her sassy attitude as he visually followed her progress to the dining area. Manang Fe, who had been watching the exchange most avidly, caught his eye as she passed him to follow Maya with the bowl of viand.
“Nakakita ka rin ng katapat mo.” Manang Fe whispered tauntingly at him.
Wonderful! Now, she’s got Manang Fe on her side!
Apart from what he already said to Maya, he did not know what else to say that would reassure her. Clearly, the chaise interlude did not make any difference with the obstinate woman except keep the embarrassed colour semi-permanently on her face. Richard sighed as he realised he was still in the doghouse.
And he has no idea how to get out of there!