Writing Now

Surprise! Draft Excerpt: Yes to You

Sometimes you think you’re just going out and joining friends for a celebration over food and drinks and next thing you know you’re talking tropes and weddings and wow look at that, you’ve all signed up to deliver an anthology and there are receipts. There weren’t even that many drinks that night? Pretty sure we agreed on this project while sober. Which means it will totally happen right? Right. Wedding anthology. Fake dating. #romanceclass. Coming at ya 2019. (Happy juju and pompoms for encouragement are solicited and very much appreciated)

No final anything on the output yet, but for now we’ve got excerpts. For accountability, of course.

Check out Mina V. Esguerra‘s here, and Carla de Guzman‘s here. Scroll down for mine, hee.

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Yes to You by Jay E. Tria (excerpt from a draft)

“I’ll guess your favorite thing about weddings.”

“You’ve been trying to since the plane.” Jiji rolled her eyes at Ruiz’s stone serious face. “Know when to quit.”

“I really thought it would be the bride walking down the aisle.”

“Is it because I cried?”

“That was cute though not surprising at all.”

Ruiz did look like he’d been expecting it when Jiji burst into quiet sobs, seeing Rachel walk through the church’s double doors, glowing in her white dress as she floated towards her groom. He came ready with a pressed handkerchief for her and it didn’t even come with teasing.

“I do love that part,” she had to admit. “But nope, not my favorite thing.”

“Is it the slicing of the cake and the first toast?” Ruiz guessed again, trying this one maybe because that was where they were right now, at the reception, watching the newlyweds stand before the three-tier fondant, their knotted arms struggling with the cake knife.

“Because cake and wine?”

“Makes sense to me.”

“I’d rather they feed me the cake and wine.”

“You’re right.” Ruiz scratched the back of his head. “What a stupid guess. Don’t count that.”

At an earlier point in their friendship, Jiji would have worried that Ruiz was playing this guessing game because he was bored, being stuck in this island celebration knowing no one else but her. She knew better now.

This was him amused, excited and curious all at once. He wasn’t the type to require much mingling, or any mingling at all. Unlike Jiji, he wasn’t very fond of people, which was what the resting bitch face was for. Well, so it was in the office where only Jiji could safely approach his cubicle and not get grunts and deadpan stares for answers. He was better outside though, more sociable, at least with her friends that he’d met. And today he had met quite a few new ones since they’ve arrived in Cebu. The bride included.

‘No,’ Jiji mouthed to Rachel soon after she introduced them. Jiji and Ruiz had hung back after the ceremony to greet the newlyweds, in that pocket of time before the couple had to cross the church’s threshold and receive their customary shower of petals. Rachel’s eyes widened at Jiji from behind Ruiz’s head, hearts popping out. 

‘Yes he’s hot,’ Jiji’s thoughts had buzzed, responding to Rachel’s wild gaze. ‘So hot it hurts me, it physically hurts me.’ 

If it wasn’t bad enough that off-duty, island Ruiz was him in a V-neck white shirt and low slung plaid board shorts—as Jiji had learned when he picked her up for the airport—, he had to interpret the invite’s formal wear requisite by showing up in a midnight purple suit, his black hair slicked back in soft waves, looking straight out of a runway wet dream. Jiji was certain Rachel got her pained message.

Inappropriate, unnecessary thoughts aside, Jiji knew bringing Ruiz to the wedding remained to be a good idea. It was a small affair but it was a place to be seen, and by people she hadn’t in along time. She had been looking forward to reacquainting herself with old people, but she’d forgotten the annoying parts of how this worked. ‘Did you gain weight’ and ‘are you married yet’ were every other person’s token hello. How to unlearn that, society? Jiji had to hold in her procession of sighs. She couldn’t care less about the first nosy question. And while she could handle the second, she was glad she didn’t have to.

“Don’t ruin the surprise. I haven’tasked her yet.” Ruiz would say this to each prying person with his signature straight face and laser eyes.

It was more than enough to send people shuffling their feet and shifting to ‘so what are you up to now,’ which to Jiji wasn’t all that better but at least led to more meaningful catching-up threads.

From their view three rows of tables away from the stage, Jiji and Ruiz watched the husband give his new wife the first bite of cake, his shaky hand leaving a trail of icing on her airbrushed face. Ruiz made a soft snort, the tip of suppressed laughter.

Jiji nudged his arm with her elbow. “What’s your favorite wedding thing? Do you even have one?”

“Of course I do. I have a heart.”

“Well, then?”

“You’ll get that when I guess yours.”

“This game makes no sense.”

“It doesn’t have to make sense.” Ruiz’s gaze stuck to hers, making her wonder if they were still talking about the same thing.

From the front of the hall, the emcee’s voice boomed out, “CLINK YOUR GLASSES IF YOU WANT TO SEE A KISS FROM THE NEWLYWEDS” and after raising a chorus of silverware tinkling against glass,hollered, “Such a sweet kiss! Moving on with the program, let’s have one short game before dinner—”

“Speaking of games.” Ruiz’s eyes reflected blank panic. “I think the condom-blowing contest or some find-the-pin-on-the-coat idiocy is about to happen and I’m sure that’s a favorite thing for no one.”

Jiji shot out of her seat. “Get me out of here.”

***

End of excerpt. Pinterest board here, in case you appreciate visuals.

Thanks for reading and we hope to share more of this project with you really really soon <3

Photos sourced from Pinterest. Credits to owners.


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