***For readers 18 and up***
LIGHTS OFF BY ASHA CARPIO
Broadway Star Olivia Rivera knows exactly what she wants: fame, successful career, and to prove herself. She even has a “script” to get this: find the next big thing, grab it, then move on to the next one.
Her plans get shaky when the sultry and equally ambitious Jacob Pecson makes a surprise comeback in her life. Jacob knows exactly what Olivia wants, and he has a mission of his own: to turn her life around.
With their paths crossing again, Olivia finds herself troubled as she rekindles her fire with Jacob. Will Olivia finally give in to what her heart desires or will she runaway again this time?
I would’ve recognized the voice anywhere. In Barcelona, in Venice, in London, in Taipei, in New York—in every city that I went to in the past three years, it was the only voice that I wanted to hear amidst the crowd’s cheer every time that I took my final bow.
“JACOB! I thought you weren’t coming!” Marian told him. He gave her one of his boyish smiles, the one that made the girls fall for him back in college.
He moved closer to me, making butterflies form in my stomach. He looked so much different now. He was wearing a light blue long sleeved shirt, his muscular arms clearly under it. Last I heard, he was doing mixed martial arts during his free time – not that he had many. After all he was managing the accounts for his family’s advertising and public relations agency and he was also spearheading the expansion of the firm in Malaysia.
He looked lean but muscular, but his face remained the same. His dark eyes, full lips, and strong jaw had turned him into one of the heartthrobs. He was the guy that any girl would kill for, and now he’s also one of the most eligible bachelors of Manila.
I can still remember how those lips tasted, how I felt when they touched every inch of my body. Three years and all I could think about was his body against mine. I didn’t realize that I was staring a bit longer than I intended until a playful smile formed on his lips.
“Hey, we’ll just meet you there,” Marian told me. She exchanged knowing looks with Poch before they scampered to leave the room with Elle.
When I heard the door close, he moved towards me and by instinct, I stepped back.
“You were good out there,” he told me. He gave me a kiss on the cheek. “I got these for you by the way.”
“Thanks,” I replied as I tried to mask the confusion. I haven’t seen him in four years and I was pretty sure that I wasn’t his favorite person. Especially not after what I did. I took the bouquet of white lilies from him. “What are you doing here, Jacob?”
I tried to sound friendly, to not let my guard down but as he stepped closer to me, I can’t help but think about what we had. Or rather, never had. Jacob had that effect on me—he broke my walls down once, making me vulnerable. That was my biggest mistake by far.
“I came to support you, just like old times. Besides, I handled the publicity for your show,” he said in an as-a-matter-of-fact tone.
I was a good actress. I was so good that I even won a Tony last year, but my feelings kept betraying me at the moment. I could tell that he was watching my every move, waiting for my response but I didn’t have any.
“Great job,” I said, faking a smile. When we parted ways, I told him that it was fine, that we would remain friends. It was only now that I’ve fully realized that what I told him was bullshit. I’m not fine. I was never fine after what happened.
“Who are you dressed up as?” He asked me, his eyes surveying my body. He was looking at me keenly. His eyes travelled from my neck to my legs, lingering on my thighs and at the curve of my waist. His stare made me melt inside.
“Velma Kelly,” I answered. “You?”
“Peter Parker, Broadway edition,” he grinned as he tapped the glasses that he was wearing. Though dressed as a geek, Jacob still looked hot. I remembered how he would often dress down when we were doing rehearsals and still, heads turned when he passed by. He can basically wear a garbage bag and still look incredibly sexy.
“Anyway, it was nice of you to drop by.” I reached out for my blue clutch from the dresser and started to walk towards the door, hoping that Jacob would take the cue and leave. Being alone in a room with him was never a good idea. Besides, I had no plans of repeating history, anyway.
“I am pretty sure that your stage manager said that you had twenty minutes to spare,” he said. His voice sounded gruffer than I last remembered but it still had that hypnotic effect on me. He looked at his watch, before adding, “I still have fifteen minutes.”
“I wanted to go in earlier. Why don’t we talk outside?” I suggested. We both knew that this was a lousy excuse, but I didn’t have anything better to say.
“But I don’t want to share you, Olivia.” he told me. He walked closer, with only a foot between our bodies. He smelled like clean aftershave and mint, making my knees go weak. “So how about this, dinner is on me tomorrow. All you have to do is say yes.”
“I have a thing tomorrow,” I lied. I managed to walk past him and headed for the door, trying my best to ignore the feelings stirring inside. Before I could head out, he grabbed me by the hand which caused me to lose my balance. I nearly tripped but he caught me, pulling me close to him.
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