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Mina V. Esguerra, Contributor
 
June 05, 2009

My Imaginary Ex

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Here's what happens when you play pretend.

When Zack asks Jasmine to pretend to be his ex-girlfriend, she gamely agrees, thinking it would be fun. A few years later, she still has to keep convincing people that they were never together! Then one day, she finds out he’s getting married—to someone she'd just met once! All of a sudden, things aren’t so clear-cut anymore. Can Jasmine sort out her feelings (sometimes, she can't even tell real from pretend when it comes to her and Zack) before it's too late?

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Excerpt

SAY WHAT?

"THEN WHY DOES he want to marry her?"

"I don't know, Jasmine. You studied psychology. Why does he keep having relationships with girls he isn't actually compatible with?"

"What do you think, Lena?"

She smiled slyly. She looked like she had been waiting to say this the entire evening. "Because he's never gotten over you, and he deliberately gets into doomed relationships until you finally realize you love him too and will save him from himself."

I groaned. "I can't believe you're starting this again."

I wanted to say that she was wrong, that she couldn't be more wrong. Zack and I, I had to remind myself sometimes, were never together. There was nothing to "get over." There was no dramatic senior prom, no tearful "let's be friends" reconciliation during high school graduation.

She was mistaken then, and mistaken now.

Chapter 1

LENA WAS ONE of those friends who never called.

That in itself wasn't unusual. Five years since college graduation—people move on. I was only in touch with a handful of people, most of them from my AB Psychology block. Lena was not from that block. We weren't even in the same orgs or the same barkada.

I tried to recall how we were friends. For some reason her name triggered stress and anxiety in me, but I couldn't figure out why. And then: Oh, right. Zack. She was the ex of my friend Zack.

Then I remembered why my stomach was doing little nervous flips. Lena Mallari was the recipient of one of the longest-running lies I had ever told, and after almost ten years, I could no longer keep my stories straight. So I decided to avoid her as much as possible.
Out of the blue, I got a text from her: Jas, Coffee Bean, 6 tonight. BE THERE. Even if you have other plans, just stop by. Need to talk to you, urgent.

In my first year of college, I told Lena that Zachary Tomas—the cute guy who asked her to the Freshman Night party—was my high school boyfriend. It was not true, but I never came clean about it.

While walking to the coffee shop, I tried to piece together every single detail woven into that story. I couldn't remember it all. Maybe this was the day to just admit it? After all, she and Zack had been broken up for years.


"JASMINE! I THOUGHT you weren't going to show up," Lena smiled widely. "Chai tea latte?"

"Sure."

I watched Lena lean a cylindrical object (yoga mat?) against our table as she stood up and headed to the counter. She was slender and perky, with a head full of lush curly hair. I remember she had a health kick in college, and wasn't surprised she did yoga.

She returned with a tea latte a size larger than what I was used to. Like she was expecting this "meeting" of ours to last longer than I thought. I got nervous.

"You look great!" she gushed, as if we were close friends. "Did you do something different to your hair? It looks so nice."

Oh, you mean actually brushing it? I had a tomboyish ponytail going on in college. Now I actually made an effort to style my hair, which I had grown past my shoulders. The whole production took half an hour each morning, but at least the waves in my hair looked like I wanted them there.

It was nice that she noticed. "Thanks, Lena. It's like you haven't changed at all."

She seemed to take it as a compliment. (It was.) "So... how are you? Where are you working again?"

"I'm good. I'm in HR for a Business Process Outsourcing firm."

"Do you work the night shift?"

"Sometimes. But not usually."

"Were you always there? I thought you worked at a pharma company after college."

"I moved. Been at this office for three years now." I sipped my tea, trying to ignore the awkwardness. "And you?"

"I've actually quit my job! Trying to get my own business running."

Lena started to tell me about the business she started, something to do with designing accessories, and that she had opened a small store. I asked her a few follow-up questions, just to keep her talking about herself, consequently putting less pressure on me to share.
I’d always been introverted, but I got better at talking to people. I discovered that the key was to ask questions. Keep them talking for a while, and you'll hardly need to do anything.

Lena was in mid-sentence when she checked her watch, a frustrated look on her face. "I can't believe this. I said six o'clock."

"Why, Lena? What's up?"

"Jas, I guess I should just start. Do you have a boyfriend?"

"What? Well, no."

"Good. That's good."

I started to panic. "Wait! Are you setting me up with somebody?"

"No, no. Or maybe. Have you talked to Zack lately?"

Uh-oh! "No," I said, and that was the truth. "I think the last time I heard from him was... it's got to be months."

"You got an invitation to his wedding, right?"

"Yes." This conversation was becoming even weirder. "Did you?"

"No. We didn't stay friends after college. Do you know anything about his fiancée, Kimmy?"

"I've met her, but I don't really know her."

Lena sighed. "This is going to be harder than I thought then. Jasmine, I was going to ask you to stage some sort of intervention for our Zack."

"What?"

"I want you to get him to break his engagement. Call off the wedding. Do anything, just keep him from marrying that girl."

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About the Author

Mina V. Esguerra wrote her first short story in grade five. She would like to say that she's been writing fiction regularly since then, but really, she stopped in college and only started up again in 2008. She has degrees in Communication Arts and Development Communication. Today, she works as an editor, web content manager, and all-around communications consultant. She blogs at http://minavesguerra.blogspot.com.

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  • prinsesalasalista Jul 07 2009 @ 07:16am Report Abuse
       
    this is the first summit book I was able to read, I read it in 3-4 hours and i loved every minute of it, I loved how the story was written, It took me back to my college days which made me all giddy. :P I can totally relate to this book and I totally recommend this to everyone out there. :)

    I will surely grab those other summit books I missed before. :)
    Last modified A long time ago
  • ernalie Jul 08 2009 @ 09:38pm Report Abuse
       
    this book is a must-have. i love it!
    Last modified A long time ago
  • annekatherine23 Jul 20 2009 @ 05:32pm Report Abuse
       
    ahw.. i just got a copy and still reading it=)
    Last modified A long time ago
  • meowlian Oct 28 2009 @ 07:17pm Report Abuse
       
    done with this book :]
    it's so cute!
    jasmine
    Last modified A long time ago
  • cesz_06 Mar 24 2010 @ 10:21pm Report Abuse
       
    elow! first year hs puh aquh! grabe ang ganda2 puh ng my imaginary ex! i hope that someday will happen it to me! sna puh mrami p kaung story n mgawa! its so cute! zack and jasmine! :]
    Last modified Apr 07 2010 @ 02:54pm
  • RiaLyz Apr 02 2010 @ 04:33pm Report Abuse
       
    This post was deleted due to its inappropriate content. Please click this link to read our posting guidelines. – Webmaster
    Last modified Apr 07 2010 @ 02:42pm
  • claire Apr 23 2010 @ 05:15pm Report Abuse
       
    I hope there will be more prizes like this, I was able to win VInce's life. Maybe I'll just buy one, not that expensive anyway!
    Last modified A long time ago
  • mariel Jun 19 2010 @ 03:24pm Report Abuse
       
    may i ask those whose been able to finished reading the book.....????what's the ending?????heeh...d ako mkbili ng sarili kong copy ng book...malapit ko ng matapos basahin e...kaasar naman may nangyari kya d ko na nabasa ung ending...grabe..cant stop myself from turning the pages..nakaka in love ung story.....sadly nga d ko natapos...sana kwento nyo..hehe..just kidding..
    Last modified A long time ago
  • rj Jul 15 2010 @ 10:58am Report Abuse
       
    i love to have this book.unfortunately,it's not available here in our place(Tacloban City). Can i order it online?thank you. :)
    Last modified A long time ago
  • selah Jul 26 2010 @ 12:39am Report Abuse
       
    a must read book...i enjoyed reading it...i love the twist as well as jasmine's character! =>
    Last modified A long time ago
  • aivejane Jul 30 2010 @ 08:29pm Report Abuse
       
    saan po pwedeng makabili ng book na 'my imaginary ex?'thanks po sa sasagot
    Last modified A long time ago
  • geil Aug 30 2010 @ 03:27pm Report Abuse
       
    weee! it's such a nice story! :) hope merong part 2 nito. :)
    Last modified A long time ago
  • amber Sep 10 2010 @ 08:08pm Report Abuse
       
    first year plang ako and i really love this book....i bought it yesterday and wont stop reading it.. long live JASMINE AND ZACK!!
    Last modified A long time ago
  • vaj Sep 17 2010 @ 09:32am Report Abuse
       
    been reading lots of these summit books but, it's kinda difficult to find some of these books because they're mostly out of stock, well national bookstore is, always. and i'm hoping someone can enlighten me on how i can subscribe like we do with magazines. i'd like to receive a copy of each book. so far, the ones i don't have are girl meets world and my imaginary ex-bf.


    Last modified A long time ago
  • abby Sep 24 2010 @ 02:31pm Report Abuse
       
    I finished reading this book. I love it!:)
    Last modified A long time ago
  • paula Oct 21 2010 @ 09:32pm Report Abuse
       
    gsto ko rin syang bsahin, sna my mkta ako sa national book store :)
    Last modified A long time ago
  • maya Apr 01 2011 @ 12:36pm Report Abuse
       
    Same with prinsesalasalista, this is the first book from summit that I read. It's fun and exciting! I'm in love with summit books and I am dying to complete all the books! :)



    HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!
    Last modified A long time ago
  • Jastra Jun 08 2011 @ 05:34pm Report Abuse
       
    I'd like to read this... I hope I can still find copies of this in my place.
    Last modified A long time ago
  • blitz Jul 13 2011 @ 07:50pm Report Abuse
       
    where can i buy my imaginary ex its always out of stock whose willing to sell it
    Last modified A long time ago
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