Unwillingly Yours

By: Marian Tee & Lourdes Marcelo

Warning: Love Moderately

Nerdy. Boring. Unavailable. 18-year-old Jaike Hepburn is happiest when those words are used – and they always are – to describe her. Anything is better than the truth…until she meets a billionaire heir who makes it impossible to deny her true self.

Gorgeous. Charming. Friendly. As part of both a business and political dynasty, 21-year-old Derek Christopoulos is used to living his life in the limelight, pretending to be the embodiment of a modern-day prince. Throughout his life, he’s kept his secret side leashed, waiting patiently for that one girl who’d find pleasure in belonging to him, body and soul.

Even as the feelings he arouses in Jaike pushes her into the arms of his rival, Derek knows it’s only a matter of time before the truth between them is laid bare.

She is his, and he is hers.

“That controlling son of a bitch stood you up again, didn’t he?” Her best friend Marcy growled from Jaike’s balcony, which overlooked the Roosevelt Bridge, its pillars outlined by an incandescent glow at night. Scenic views or even the balcony weren’t typical features for the dorm rooms of Blake Hall, but then her unit wasn’t the typical dorm room either.

Instead she had a suite, one of the many perks offered to students who did extremely well on scholarships.

Jaike Hepburn was one of those students, and her kind was the minority in Christopoulos University. All the others were rich and privileged like her friend, the kind who learned how to say “credit” and “card” before “Momma” and “Poppa”. Or at least that was what Marcy said.

“I just don’t know what you see in that little shit.”

Jaike smothered a laugh when she saw Marcy glaring at the scenery, knowing it was her boyfriend Marcy wanted to glare at instead.

Briefly, Jaike considered denying the obvious since the six-foot-tall “little shit” Marcy was talking about had indeed stood her up again. Not that it was a big deal. Angelo Ricardo Valencia III, her boyfriend for fifteen wonderful months, had been re-elected as Student Council President. Of course there’d be a lot of times he had to prioritize his obligations over dates with his girlfriend.

Marcy was still grumbling.

“Stop it,” she said laughingly. “I don’t have an issue with it so why should you?”

“Did he at least text you to say he’s not coming?”

Jaike took a deep breath, but in the end she couldn’t lie. “He’s just busy, okay?” The excuse that readily leapt to her lips only seemed to reinforce what an old edition of Cosmo had revealed to her.

Earlier at the library, Jaike had impulsively taken one of the quizzes featured in the magazine. The title had grabbed her attention. Are You Playing the Martyr? By the time she finished the quiz, Angelo still hadn’t shown up. She had also scored ten out of ten, the only time she was aghast at getting a perfect score.

But it was impossible for her to be a martyr, Jaike thought. Martyrs weren’t happy. Martyrs didn’t smile. And she was both. So she wasn’t a martyr, never mind if Angelo was ditching her for the second time in less than 24 hours.

Cosmo was so stupid. If – when – she passed the bar exam four years from now, Cosmo would have the honor of being the recipient of her first lawsuit. She’d sue them for fraud on behalf of young women like her whose minds they had messed up when they were perfectly happy.

And she was happy.

Or at least she had been until Angelo had suddenly changed. For weeks now, he had been aloof to the point of cruel indifference, and she just didn’t know what to make of it.

“Where is he supposed to be anyway?”

Jaike brightened at Marcy’s question, declaring proudly, “He’s at a photo shoot. The Photography Club asked him to model for their Valentines’ poster. They’re auctioning him off – the girl who wins gets to date him for one evening, all expense paid.”

Marcy’s glossy pink lips formed an O of surprise. “And you agreed?”

“It’s for a good cause!”

“Hopeless!” Shaking her head, Marcy walked back into the living room and grabbed her shiny wrist bag from the leather sofa. “I wish I can stick around to give the little shit a piece of my mind---”