Unwillingly Yours(7)

By: Marian Tee & Lourdes Marcelo



“You don’t need to talk to him.” Derek’s body vibrated with suppressed rage.

She knew what that coiled form meant. Just one word from her, and he would make a move against Angelo.

“Jaike?”

“No. I have to do this myself.” She forced herself to say the words even though all she wanted was to lean on Derek and let the inevitable happen.

Jaike pushed her way into the throng of couples crowding the poolside, stopping only when she stood half a foot away from Angelo and the unknown girl in his arms. Shouldn’t Angelo have sensed her presence by now? They were still oblivious, and that hurt even more. Angelo used to know the moment she came into a room he was in, no matter how many other people were with them, no matter how noisy, no matter how busy he was.

The pain of his betrayal began to sink in, and she struggled to control her chaotic emotions when the other girl enfolded Angelo in an embrace, pulling his head down for an open-mouthed kiss.

What now, she wondered. Should she scream and make a scene? Should she burst into tears like she wanted to and wait if Angelo would comfort or ditch her? In the end, all she could think of doing was…tap. Her fingers played on Angelo’s broad and hard shoulder like they were a piano.

Nothing.

She had to tap thrice.

Oh God, he was so into the other girl Jaike – his girlfriend - had to tap thrice!

Angelo finally tore his mouth away from the girl’s. When he turned to her, there wasn’t even a flicker of surprise, no sign of guilt or regret coloring his gaze.

The Angelo she knew had been the gentlest and sweetest man alive, a guy who always did what was best for her.

The Angelo in front of her was a stranger. He was still the tall, dark, handsome Italian-American Jaike had cared for, but those were the only things that she could recognize. Everything else was different. His eyes used to be so bright when looking at her, but now they were completely hard. Even his clothes were all wrong, with his gray silk polo unbuttoned almost all the way to his navel and even a bite mark in the middle of his bare chest. He wasn’t the typical flamboyant Latin lover, but now he could easily pass for a first-class gigolo.

“What’s wrong, caro?”

Jaike wanted to gag. Angelo had asked her to call him ‘caro’, too, which meant ‘darling’ in Italian. Now this girl was doing the same, in front of her, and in such a shrill voice that Jaike half-expected Angelo to curse right after.

Angelo hated shrill voices, and it had been one of his few explicit requests that Jaike speak with him in a soft voice all the time because it soothed his ears. But the seconds ticked past, and Angelo still hadn’t spoken, didn’t even seem to hear the girl freaking out next to him.

“Do you want me to talk to her?” the girl demanded more shrilly when Angelo still hadn’t uttered a word. She turned to Jaike, chin jutting upward aggressively.

Recognition instantly hit her and Jaike’s eyes widened in disbelief. Rosie Parsley? Angelo was cheating her with Rosie Parsley? Sure, everyone knew Rosie was a hot lay, but that was the problem itself. Everyone knew the fact firsthand, and she couldn’t imagine someone as possessive as Angelo wanting a girl who liked being every male’s common property. He used to brood all the time when Derek so much as glanced at her, but now he was cheating on her with someone who practically did everyone on the varsity squad. For three sports.

Rosie’s gaze insolently traveled over Jaike’s form from head to toe. “Are you just going to stand there or what?”

Jaike forced herself to look away from the other girl, focusing on Angelo. Her voice shook as she asked, “Angelo? Can we talk?”

“No, you can’t,” Rosie snapped.

Jaike didn’t even look at her, keeping her gaze at Angelo. “Please, Angelo?” She wasn’t above begging. She needed him so, so badly.

Angelo’s eyes darkened with something that so closely resembled regret it sparked a light of hope inside Jaike. But then it was gone, his gaze cold once more and Jaike knew she could have only imagined it out of desperation.

Just when she thought he would leave her hanging, Angelo said quietly, “Later. Just go home and we’ll talk about it later.”

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