Chapter 9 - Solo

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Is falling in love a blessing or a curse? I asked this question because falling in love changes so many things in our lives, makes us realize things. My husband was an introvert when I met him, and he disliked socializing. But since my job was and still is in marketing and eats up my time during weekends, he was forced to come with me during some of my events so that we would still have time to be together. So now he has learned to be more relaxed when meeting new people in my circle, because he has gotten used to mingling already. 

In this story, Richard is also an introvert, and his being one got in the way of his previous relationship. While he has moved on and gone back to his solitary life like normal, an incident will now make him yearn to get out of his solo existence. What used to make him happy is now a source of sadness. 

Please read on and share if you also had a similar experience. How did love change life for you? :)


Richard rubbed the back of his head to ease the knots of stress he was feeling since morning. It had been a crazy week and his schedule was filled with so many meetings while still having to go through several business profiles of companies that want to set up Manila operations through their company. He was beginning to feel unwell and wanted to go home to get some sleep.

"Sir, ok ka lang po ba?"

He saw Maine looking at him with a worried look on her face. She was such a big help to him, she learned fast and he liked that she kept to herself instead of gossiping with the other secretaries. She stayed with him through the past late nights without seeming to lose energy. He looked back at her, his forehead scrunching with effort to see her clearly.

"Medyo masama pakiramdam ko, what time is it?"

"Almost ten o'clock na sir."

"That late? Tapos naman na natin lahat diba? Let's call it a day. Hapon pa naman meeting natin tomorrow, let's meet diretso na sa venue, get some rest din. You worked so hard on this presentation, I really appreciate it."

He was already tidying up his desk as he spoke, his voice a bit hoarse from fatigue. He tried to stand up and walk towards her but staggered, feeling dizzy all of a sudden. Maine rushed to hold him up, feeling his weight bear down heavily on her, as the documents he held scattered on the floor.

"Sir! Hala, upo muna tayo."

His arms went around her to avoid falling down, his head falling on her shoulder. Maine felt his hot and flushed face nestle against the bare skin of her neck, shivering a little when his warm breath blew.

Maine naman, tama bang kiligin ka at a time like this ? Maysakit yung tao oh, inaapoy ng lagnat. Pero bakit ang bango niya? Alam kaya niyang yung lips niya nakadikit na sa neck ko? 

Maine staggered and awkwardly walked him to the couch to lie down for a bit. She touched his forehead and confirmed that he was feverish. She loosened his necktie and undid the top two buttons of his shirt. She rushed to her table to grab some paracetamol and went to the pantry to get a glass of water.

"Sir, inom ka muna ng gamot."

He seemed half asleep already. She grabbed a throw pillow behind her and lifted his head to put the pillow underneath. Cupping his chin, she tried to nudge him to open his mouth. She leaned over to lift his head gingerly, her hand at his nape. Her hand held the tablet with her thumb and index finger, prodding his mouth to open and take the medication. Her fingers grazed his lips, again sending conflicting sensations that coursed through her body. Soft. His lips were so soft, now a darker shade of pink because he was feverish.

"Sir, inom na ng gamot, please. You'll feel better pagkatapos."

He opened his mouth a little, finally. She carefully inserted the tablet into his mouth, then his lips closed over her finger, the roughness of his tongue brushing against its smooth pad. She closed her eyes against the sensation of having her finger sucked by her boss. Dear God, does he know, is he aware of what he's doing?

Reluctantly, she pulled her finger away, hearing him groan in protest. She brought her finger to her lips, still damp from his saliva. Her heart thudding, she stood up with the finger still pressed against her mouth. Her knees shook as she shook her head and laughed inwardly.

Ano yun, Sir RJ? Ang harot mo naman pag maysakit. Lucky for you that's what I like, that's what I like.......Gaga Maine, stahp. Maysakit siya, he doesn't know what he's doing.

She tidied up her things and his office, then texted Manong Rod, the driver, to come up and help her bring Richard to the basement parking area. Richard groaned, annoyed at being roused from his slumber. He walked unsteadily with them, leaning heavily against Maine while the driver carried their laptops and documents. Struggling with his weight, Maine tried to hold him up.

"Manong Rod, hatid na muna natin si Maine."

"Sir, hindi. We need to get you home para makapahinga ka na. Don't worry about me."

The drive to his condo was quick and hassle-free. Once again, Maine helped Richard walk and let Manong Rod carry the bags. Richard tried to walk on his own but couldn't, leaning heavily on Maine for support. He let Maine open the door to his unit and guide him inside. He tumbled on to the couch, closing his eyes to ease the vertigo. Maine took off his shoes and socks despite his protests, and eased him down the couch to lie down properly.

She went to his room to get a shirt, towels, alcohol and a basin. She hoped he wouldn't get mad at her for taking liberty at going through his things. He shivered when she took off his shirt, but did not protest as she rubbed the damp towel over his upper body and arms. After changing his shirt, she filled the basin with cold water and dunked the towel again to make a cold compress to bring his fever further down.

It was already close to midnight when she left the condo. Upon arriving in her place, she took off her shoes and sat down on the couch to just lie down for a bit. Exhausted, she fell asleep without changing her clothes.

-----

Richard felt much better in the morning, thanks to ten solid hours of sleep. He remembered how Maine took care of him last night, her gentle hands undressing his upper body, running the damp towel through his arms and chest. The care and concern she displayed warmed his heart. It also made him feel so alone.

Remembering last night made him feel the loneliness of being unattached. It felt wonderful to be taken care of, to have someone take charge. The downside of being successful is having so many people rely on him, looking up to him as someone who is strong and capable of taking charge of everything. But strong people have their moments of weakness too, and in his moment last night, Maine forgot he was boss and took care of him in a way that none of his past girlfriends ever did.

He looked forward to their meeting this afternoon, excited to see her again. Maine awakened something in his heart last night, and he wanted to explore it. He dialed her number to check on her.

"Hello sir?"

"Maine.....kumusta?"

"I'm ok sir. On my way to Shang already for our meeting. I hope you're feeling better."

"Yes I am, thanks to you."

"Sir, yung gamot mo ha, please take another paracetamol after you've eaten. Bumili nga ako ulit, in case lang you have fever later."

"Ang sarap mo naman mag-alaga."

"Hindi naman sir, I know kasi mag-isa ka lang, walang gagawa nito for you."

"Take care on your way to Shang, ok? See you."

For the first time in years, he felt a deep longing to be with someone who would end his solitary life. 

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