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You've got me, I've got you

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Jericko Santillan a man who has lost his appetite for women because of his big time heartbreaks. He had given up hope that another woman would give his heart new life. Until she finds Maria Isabel del Frado; the woman who is escaping his father’s tradition; arranged marriage. Would Jericko risk his heart once more to save Isabelle? Will Isabelle be successful in winning Jericko's heart and trust so she can reject her father's forced marriage proposal? Will they have a good life if they can escape their problems in life, especially in their love life? Can they survive the life they have chosen?

Chapter 1

Jericko’s POV

One of the saddest things in a person’s life is the loss of a loved one in life. I don't know if I was so bad in my past life and I'm experiencing this. My mother passed away because of a car accident. After my mother's funeral, my long-term girlfriend broke up with me. It's not clear to me why Celine, my girlfriend, decided to leave me. Every time I remember that incident, the pain intensifies.

“Celine please don’t leave me, mom just died last month.” I sobbed in front of her, saying, "I can't imagine losing you too.”

“Jericko, I'm very sorry, but my decision is final. I'm not sure if you're the right one for me,” she responded.

Those are the lines that stuck in my mind. She didn’t give me a valid reason why she left me. Five months have passed since my ex-girlfriend broke up with me. Although it can be difficult to accept reality, I am sure that God has a plan for everything.

“Why are you still standing there, dude?” Charlie yelled out the window of his car. "Come on, our buddies have been waiting for you for a while.”

Dad has given his approval for my decision to take a break at work. I know that he feels sorry for me so he just let me go on vacation.

I’m here right now in La Union. I chose this place because I want to unwind and forget for just a moment and my friends live here.

I didn't bring my car; I just commuted, and one of my closest friends picked me up at the bus stop.

As I hopped into Charlie's car, I replied, "I'm sorry man, something suddenly came to my mind.

He started the engine as soon as I got inside. "Jericko, do you still have your ex-girlfriend on your mind? " he asked.

“No. I simply said, "I've moved on to her already.”

"You know what, man, try to put your life first and try to forget about her, even though it's hard. Spend some time alone.”

"That’s why I'm here, taking a vacation—I want to forget everything that has happened to me recently and, as you mentioned, take some time for myself.”

“Look at how different you are from the Jericko I knew before, buddy, you really need to unwind. You didn't enjoy having a mustache and beard back then, but now you have the looks of a hermit,” he teased.

My friend's comment offended me. “I don't really care about my appearance right now, I just want to rest, so please be quiet and drive very quickly.”

Charlie kept driving without saying anything. That was advantageous because we could quickly reach his resto bar. Charlie is the owner of Party city nightclub in La Union, the most well-liked resto bar. The hotel that belongs to another friend of ours is directly next to it, and that is where I will stay.

Fred, my friend who runs the hotel, greeted me when he saw me get out of Charlie’s car and said, "Jericko, long time no see, how are you?"

“Hey Fred, I’m good. How about you? You look fatter, don't you?” I asked jokingly.

He smiled and replied, "I'm good, you're right I'm really gaining weight since my wife is pregnant again and it looks like I'm pregnant too.”

"Congratulations then, you will have more children," I said with a smile.

It seems that Fred had been pregnant with his wife for almost a year.

“You Jericko, when do you plan to start a family?” Charlie asked with a smirk.

I hesitated to respond to Charlie's inquiry at first because I wasn't sure if I was ready for it. And I gave him a tiger look because he knew that I had just come from a break up and then he would ask a question like that.

“Let’s talk about that later, I know that Jericko is worn out after his trip. Maybe he wants to take a rest. Let’s get inside first,” Fred suggested.

It was good and Fred thought I wanted to rest first. Because if not until later, we will talk here outside. I haven't seen them for a long time. When we entered the hotel lobby, our two other friends, Gino and Clyde, were there. They hadn't even met me outside earlier.

“Jericko? Is that you? Why do you look like that?” Gino questioned in shock.

“Gino is right, dude. Why do you suddenly resemble a hermit? Shaving your mustache and beard is apparently in right now?," Clyde laughed.

"May I answer your questions later? I reluctantly said, “I would want to take a nap beforehand.”

I was going to take my suitcase but it was no longer beside me and Charlie was already dragging it and Fred and Gino were with him.

“Hey Charlie! Hey, where are you taking my suitcase?!” I wondered.

“You mentioned you wanted to take a nap, didn't you? Oh, I see. Let's take you to your room,” he said.

I chased after him and took my suitcase from him. “It's just me, I can do it. And then maybe you have more work. You can leave me now,” I said with a forced smile.

I'm not sure if I'll be able to wipe my face or scratch my head. My friends act in this way because, in my opinion, they have gone back to being kids. I still feel embarrassed when people see us.

“We haven't seen each other in years, so wherever you go, we ought to be there as well,” Clyde grinned.

If I hadn't just let them do what they wanted to do, I could have done nothing. They appeared to have won the lotto when we boarded the elevator, while I appeared to be about to cry. How can I unwind now?

My friends sat on the sofa when we came to my room.

I stood behind them and said, "We're already here in my room, maybe you can go out now."

Charlie stood up and put his arm around my shoulder. "As for you Jericko, we haven't been with you for a long time and then you'll send us away right away?" he said with a pouty lip.

"Jericko, Charlie is right; we can only bond now. Furthermore, you haven't even responded to our questions so far,” Gino said.

I thought that when I went on vacation here my mind would be at peace, it would seem even more chaotic.

I just replied, "Okay, all right, but I will only answer the basic question."

"Okaaay. Come on, Clyde, take the beer I put in there earlier from the refrigerator, we can drink it while there is a question and answer here," Fred said with a smile.

We sat on the floor as Gino set up the main table. Charlie assisted Clyde with carrying the ice and beer cans.

When we were all seated on the floor in a circle-shaped, Fred suddenly raised his hand.

"I will be the first to ask our friend," he said. "Jericko, do you have a new girlfriend now?" he asked me with a broad smile on his face.

I looked at my friends one by one and they were all staring at me. I drank first before I answered Fred's question.

“Nope.” Reluctantly, I replied, "I guess I would rather be an old man than be left alone repeatedly.”

Gino abruptly yelled, "What! Single old man? Hey Jericko, it's a shame for your breed if you merely beat them with your eggs. Not all ladies will leave you.”

His abrupt scream caused me to muffle my ears because I couldn't tell what he was battling for.

“Gino, you don't need to yell; I'm right next to you,” I said.

He laughed and added, “I apologize, I was simply surprised by what you said, but honestly, young man, don't let yourself get too old; perhaps you're only thinking about it because you're upset right now. But let's bet that if you meet a woman who will make your heart beat again, you'll be able to smile once more.”

“I don't have a cold heart, so maybe I should just prioritize my goals.” I replied, "I don't want my past to repeat itself; it was traumatic and unpleasant.

Clyde cracks a joke, "Don't cry man, we're not in the exciting part yet."

They made fun of Clyde's remarks.I’m thankful that I have friends like them. They will always be willing to assist you if you have a problem, which is something I enjoy about them.

"You're too serious, let's talk about the simple first," Charlie said. “Jericko, when are you going to fix your face? My son might be afraid of you when he sees you.”

Despite being shocked by what Charlie had said, I grinned. “Charlie, don't worry; I'll take it off later. Gino is already on top of me, so I'm going to return to my dashing face," I chuckled.

“Hey, man, I think I look better than you. Don't feel like that,” Gino grinned.

It was fantastic in my room. Because of these idiots, I somehow feel better. We were all rejoicing when Fred's phone started to ring. To respond to the call, he got off of the floor. We just kept talking as we waited for Fred to come back. But when it turned around, he was scratching his head.

"Did the commander call already?" Gino asked laughingly.

He bowed and said, "Dude, I'm sorry, but my wife called and she wants me to go home right now. I will see you all later at Charlie’s bar, if I can escape from her,” he added.

“I'll be with you Fred; I'll go to the bar. I’m sure many people will be there later, because it's the weekend tomorrow.” Charlie looked at me and said, "Come down to the bar later, I'll wait for you.”

I replied to Charlie, "Yes, go ahead; I'll just take a rest and then I'll go to your bar." I asked Gino and Clyde, "You two, don't you have any plans to go yet?"

Gino reclined on the couch. “Jericko, I don't want to go home; might I just lie here first? I am stuck with nowhere to go.”

“Me too, can I take a nap here? I don't want to drive since I'm a little bit tipsy. If ever, I might pass away on the road,” Clyde replied.

When Charlie and Fred left, Gino was still reclining on the sofa and Clyde was lying on the floor and appeared to be napping. I entered the room to get changed and rest. My friends will undoubtedly want to have another drink tonight.

It was seven in the evening when I sighed and glanced at my cellphone. And there are a few texts and calls from my friends. I simply read each one, but I made no comments. ‘What's up, dude? Come on down here,’ that's what I read from their text messages. In order to stop being tricked by my buddies, I got up, took a shower, and shaved. Simple black pants, a white t-shirt, and a leather jacket are all I'm wearing. I only picked up my phone and went down. Gino and Clyde might have gone down with them as they weren't in the living room earlier.

Only Gino was in the hotel lobby when I got there; he was wearing a new outfit now, so perhaps he had returned home earlier.

When he noticed me approaching, he rose to his feet. “Charlie has been waiting for a while, so let's go to the bar since you're already here, dude.”

We left the hotel and made our way over to Charlie's bar. As my friend had mentioned before, there were so many people there now that we could not get through the entrance. Thankfully, Gino was joined by the bouncers, who led us down the private lane. A few individuals were dancing in the center when we entered. Gino and I headed directly to the counter to meet our friends there.

“Hey, Gino was with a lovely man,” Clyde said, covering his lips when he saw me. “Would you mind becoming my date tonight, my dear?” he said while chuckling.

I wrapped him in my arms while pretending to strike him in the stomach. I also chuckled as I said, "You're truly crazy. Did you get a lot of beer?”

Fred responded, "I guess he drinks four cans of beer."

We decided to sit in a row at the counter rather than look for another seat because there were so many people there. The music's beat suddenly became louder, and the people in the middle began to dance. Gino and Clyde also join the dance in the middle. In the end, I was the only person left at the counter because Charlie probably went to the restroom and Fred arrived home earlier than me due to his wife calling him again.

It might be hard for my buddies to cause trouble, so I just watched them dance and kept an eye on them. Sometimes, when I turn my eyes at people, I unintentionally get a woman's attention. Her eyes are definitely fixed on me, so I'm not sure whether I'm just assuming. I couldn't help but look at the others, and I noticed she was coming my way, but when she was almost in my place, there was a man who grabbed her hand. While watching them I could see in her face that she was in pain because of the man’s grip one her.

I hurriedly stood from my chair and went over to them. The man was on the floor after I hit him because I didn't like what he had said.

I moved the girl to the bar counter to get her away from the rude man, but I'm not sure if she's stunned by me because of my handsomeness or because she's still afraid of what happened.

When I asked her if she's okay, she made no response. To awaken her from her stupor, I waved my hands in front of her.

She's back in her trance, which is a good thing since I would have left her and moved to the dance floor to join my buddies.

“A-ah y-yes, I-I’m okay,” she said inaudibly.

I just stared at her and she did the same.

I waved my hand goodbye when a guy and a lady came to our place; perhaps they were her friends. Because she is now with her friends, I believe she is secure. I make my way to the dance floor to find my friends.

I promised myself I wouldn't be attracted to girls and that I would put myself first, so why did my viewpoint shift so suddenly when I saw Isabelle? Is this what Gino was saying when we were at the hotel earlier?

Chapter 2

Isabelle’s POV

I’m Maria Isabelle del Frado, an interior designer and a daughter of a politician. I love going to a place where it is smoky, noisy and a lot of people are dancing. . I get happy when I'm in places like this, this is where I come out who I really am. I can do everything I want to do. I left home when I started working because I prefer to be alone than with my parents who did nothing but force me to marry a politician's child too. My father is a Governor here in La Union that’s why our surname is well-known, and he also supports the practice of arranged marriage, and leaving our house was the only way to escape his tradition.

Here we are today with my friends at Party City NightClub, one of the famous clubs here in La Union. It's a little early so there are still a few people. We just sat on the sofa while drinking, later when the number of people increased, we would join the dancers, for now we will drink first.

"Isabelle, how ma


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