Thursday, September 01, 2005

Lunch Break (Part One)

Posting LUNCH BREAK, a three-part series that I posted to the Lingkod QC egroup. It was my first short story in about five years. The brothers and sisters lapped it up a la Meteor Garden, with discussions, comments and arguments in between my postings. I wrote these on my lunch break while working at the Sandiganbayan. :) Internet connection was my own dialup account ha!

From: Ella del Rosario
Date: Fri Jul 5, 2002 12:57 pm
Subject: LUNCH BREAK galadri_ella

Richard was about to step out of his apartment when his cellphone beeped. It was Carol, reminding him to bring the Marvin Gaye CD that he had completely forgotten he borrowed from her in the first place. He quickly texted back the requisite “K” and ran to unearth the CD from his pile of readings for his Masters class.

Carol had been texting everyday lately, Richard thought as he boarded the FX that would take him to the MRT station. He was not sure what to make of it, though, so the thought was soon forgotten as he saw a petite mestiza and followed her line through the MRT turnstile and onto the Cubao platform.

“I wonder if he liked the songs”, Carol told Diane as they were collating materials she would use in her presentation to their Board of Directors that afternoon. “That CD contains great date music,” she sighed. “I’m tempted to ask our whole barkada to back out at the last
minute tonight so I could have him all to myself!”

Diane shook her head at her boss and friend. Carol is the Chief Finance Officer of their company, a very logical and take-charge kind of woman who is attempting to use her corporate-world skills to capture the man of her dreams. Diane knows she is all bark and no bite, though.

“Wake up, Sleeping Beauty, and focus on your report. Our year-to-date figures would surely make Chairman Ben jump from his seat again later. May I remind you that you have to convince him we can meet our targets next month? You’ll have time to entrap Prince Charming afterwards!”

“I swear, Diane, you exist to make my life miserable!” Carol wailed as she made a face at her assistant and left her to come up with a speech to pacify Chairman Ben.

As usual, she lost track of time as soon as she sat in front of her computer. When she stood up to print her work, her attention was caught by her blinking cellphone – it was ringing in Silent mode. It was Richard!

“Hi.” She managed to sound cool and NOT overly eager.

“Hi! I thought you’d never pick up.” Gosh, he sounds so cute… I swear I don’t have time for this… I’m acting like a high school junior again, focus, focus!

“Oh, I’d make you wait but never forever, my friend,” she had the presence of mind to reply as she saw Diane mouthing through her glass door, “WE’RE GONNA BE LATE.” Carol signaled for her to go ahead. She’d make time for this even if it meant her job. At this point, she didn’t care actually. Innocent flirting seemed more interesting than her lifetime of career choices.

“I was in the neighborhood and thought you could treat your working-student-friend of 12 years to lunch,” came Richard’s excuse for this welcome disturbance.

Carol gritted her teeth in frustration and replied, “Much as I’d love to drop everything to be at your beck and call, Mister, I can’t today. You should have booked this with Diane a month ago.” She could feel her chest getting heavier every split second. Darn Richard and his spontaneity! She wanted to drop everything to be at his beck and call.

“Aww, sungit tayo today. You need a break! Let me cheer you up with a song…”

“WAIT!” Carol interrupted him before he could start serenading her with his legendary off-key rendition of “You are So Beautiful To Me.” “Diane’s waiting for me, I’ve really got to go. Whatever made you want to have lunch when we’ll see each other at Cristy’s birthday dinner tonight?” She couldn’t help asking him as she hurriedly shoved her materials into her portfolio and frantically searched her pockets for her car keys.

“Wala lang,” came the non-comittal reply.

“That’s not good enough, you need to come up with a better reason tonight. I’ll see you later, k?”

“K, take care.”

I will not analyze, I will not speculate, I will concentrate on our company’s performance for the year-to-date, Carol chanted to herself as she repeatedly pressed the elevator button.

Richard stared at the phone after she hung up. Now why on earth did I do that, really? He asked himself.


Everything is possible to a man who trusts. Mark 9:23

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