Unwillingly Yours(8)

By: Marian Tee & Lourdes Marcelo

A part of her, Jaike realized sickly, wanted to do just that. She had never disobeyed anything Angelo asked of her, never. She had craved Angelo’s controlling nature the way a junkie needed to be high. If he was in control, she was in control. It was that simple. But now it wasn’t.

“I need to know why you’re doing this now.”

“You really want to do this now? Here?”

“Yes.” She had barely finished answering when Angelo gave her what she asked.

“You’re the coldest, most boring prude I’ve had the misfortune to date.” Angelo raised a brow. “Is that reason enough for you?”

Numbness wrapped around her heart, the shock so great she couldn’t even feel hurt by his words. Tears stung her eyes as she stared at Angelo, but his face didn’t soften. He had always been gentle with her, never raising his voice, never losing his temper or patience. The most he did was frown to show his disappointment, and she would be so damn eager to make it up to him.

Jaike no longer felt. She simply existed.

Angelo’s arm went around Rosie’s waist. “Now that you’ve---”


She spun so fast at the sound of that voice she almost stumbled. It was a sound she used to run away from but now it was that one and only sound she could cling to.

Derek stood before her, utterly at ease being the cynosure of everyone’s eyes. He gazed at her like she was the center of his world, uncaring of the silent and expectant crowd that had gathered around them. His beautiful face showed no clue to his thoughts and feelings, making the next words that came out from his mouth all the more surprising.

“Is everything all right, baby?”

Derek crossed to her side immediately, his jaw clenching hard at the sight of Jaike’s tear-stained eyes.

Jaike numbly watched a small frown crease Derek’s forehead as he bent close. It was only when he cradled her face, wiping her tears away with his thumbs, that she realized she had been crying. “I’m here, baby,” he whispered, concern mingled with fury darkening his gaze.

“Who the hell are you calling baby, Christopoulos?” Angelo roared from behind, but Jaike couldn’t see him, with Derek’s tall and lean form blocking almost everyone from her view.

“My girlfriend, who else?”

Jaike’s eyes flew to Derek, stunned at his words. He gazed back at her expressionlessly, as if leaving it to her to accept or denounce his claim. Her lips parted, but no words came out.

He gave her a tender smile, as if reassuring her that there wasn’t any rush. “Are you okay?”

Even as Jaike nodded, her body started to tremble, the shock of what had just transpired finally catching up with the rest of her. Derek moved away reluctantly, stepping back to stand at her side.

The first thing Jaike saw was the distance suddenly separating Angelo and Rosie, the other girl fuming when she reached out for Angelo’s hand and he batted it away instead. The second was the look of betrayal in Angelo’s dark gaze, sending a shaft of such acute distress through her that she almost cried out.

Even though a part of her wanted to go to Angelo, she held herself stiffly in place, her hand instinctively searching for Derek’s and gripping it as tightly as she could. Why was Angelo looking at her like she had hurt him when he had been the one to break them apart? His unexpected betrayal was like a chainsaw that had hacked her heart into pieces, something she didn’t know how to survive without Derek at her side.

“Baby?” The aching sweetness in Derek’s voice made her look at him, unconsciously pleading for something she couldn’t put a label to. All she knew was that Derek was the only one who could give it to her.

The look of surrender in Jaike’s eyes nearly had Derek undone, but he managed to keep his control even though all he wanted was to snatch her into his arms and finally have a taste of her lips. Keeping his voice gentle, he asked, “Did you tell him then?”

Jaike found herself suddenly being pulled to Derek’s side, one arm going around her waist with casual intimacy. She shivered again, for an entirely different reason. The touch felt like the start of something she had waited and avoided for so long, the moment when Derek Christopoulos was finally claiming her as his.