#RomanceClass2019: Assignment 1

Dear #RomanceClass readers: Our participating authors are submitting story concepts—and we need your comments/reactions! To do that here on this blog post, go to the reply section at the bottom and identify the story you’re reacting to by using the title or number. Keep it helpful/productive! I will archive this post in November 2019. Thank you! -Mina

1.
IF IT FITS RIGHT
They say, “Good shoes bring you to good places” but what of those who make them?  
Marqui Guzman struggles to keep her family’s shoe shop afloat against the steep competition and waning popularity. Taking risks might be prudent and it comes in the form of Felipe Villanueva, a would-be fashion designer running away from his family’s demands, looking to forge a partnership with their business.  
With the weight of a legacy on her shoulders and the creation of one on his, will their partnership make it without breaking each other?

2.

Tapping Out

Roni Sarmiento had just lost her beloved grandmother, an unsung World War II hero. In her will, not only is she tasked with writing her memoir, but she must also figure out what had happened to Lola’s long-lost sister Mercedes, one whom she had never known — and one her estranged family kept hidden. As a result of her task, and the financial burden of Lola’s funeral costs, she is forced to give up Aikido — and Ken Yamada, her constant sparring partner.

Reticent, exacting, yet undeniably attractive, Ken sparks some of Roni’s darkest fantasies, but her past convinces her that leaving is for the best. Yet, Ken will not let her go so easily, and soon shows her the joys of submitting to her secret desires — and to him. But as Roni pursues the mystery of Lola Mercedes, an inconvenient truth is bound to be revealed — one that could force her to tap out of Ken’s arms forever…

3.
Treacherous Headlines
Valerie has been living her best life working as an entertainment news writer for a well-known media company. Her genuine curiosity about things and people made this profession more than rewarding for her. The headlines she has published has caused a lot of drama and tension among the people involved, except her, because she was never part of the lives of the people she wrote about… until one day, her boss told her to keep an eye on the singer Megara Sy’s engagement and wedding with her non-showbiz fiancé, Joaquin Uy.
Projects like this would have excited her, except that she personally knew Joaquin, and worse, they had history together. Valerie and Joaquin were high school classmates, and it has long been rumored that Joaquin likes her. This wasn’t really an issue for Val because he never confirmed those rumors, what is making her uneasy is that something happened between the two of them five years ago that had her avoiding him like the plague for years, and now, she has to stick around his wedding preparations like it is her own business.
Her constant involvement opened her lines to Joaquin, and they’re finally friends again—never mentioning about anything that happened in the past. But as the wedding came closer, more and more things about the wedding is making no sense to Valerie. First, Joaquin does not seem to know where Megara is most of the time. Second, Joaquin’s friends seem to be more interested with her friendship with Joaquin more than anything else. These observations shouldn’t be something that Valerie should ponder on but her curiosity is telling her to find out more… soon enough she uncovers some truths about this wedding and Joaquin’s alleged feelings for her. But the real question is… is she going to write about all of this? Is it finally her turn to be in the headlines?
4.
How A Heart Unbreaks
When 24-year-old public school librarian Vivian Lorenzo and 21-year-old aspiring singer Pablo June Borja meet, she’s the Captain who almost didn’t accept him to the university a capella guild and he’s the new kid who secretly plots to overthrow her.
A few weeks of a capella training reveal the decline of the Captain’s death glare — Vivian finds herself smiling after two years of being angry at the world, and Pablo June discovers that he can destroy her in a heartbeat.
Maybe their lives will go as planned.
Or maybe, Fate has other plans.
5.
The Comeback
When former teen heartthrob Mimi Dela Merced receives a legit offer for a juicy role in an upcoming web series, Mimi finds herself at a classic career crossroads. So, before she dives headfirst into any major commitments, she grabs the chance to let her hair down for a vacation (and a steamy summer fling) on the cusp of her fortieth birthday.
Everything seems to be falling forward until she discovers Eman Adayo (who may or may not be the father of Mimi’s only child) has checked into the suite above hers! She wasn’t sure twenty years ago, so what makes her think she can unravel the mystery now?
Some comebacks are worth the wait, but between being pulled into her past-life and facing who she’s meant to be, will Mimi run from the spotlight or take centerstage?

6.
Moments Like This

Dion James Ignacio is the best Subject Matter Expert in his company. To reward his hard work, he is allowed to use up his accumulated leaves before they get forfeited. Wanting to just stay home and play video games, he packs his bags when a close friend asks him to house-sit a condominium unit in the heart of the city. Only to realize it was a set-up so he could assist an old-flame who, unbeknownst to him, happens to be bearing his baby.

Project Manager Jaeyanna Lorenzo is a private person who is used to doing things on her own. But raising a new born alone while keeping a job to ensure she can pay the bills is a different story. With her parents half-way across the globe, she will need all the help she can get when she delivers her baby. Even if that means reconnecting with her ex who doesn’t know about her pregnancy.

Faced with the overwhelming task of caring for a new-born, DJ and Yanna reconcile and rekindle old feelings. But when the demands of parenthood and the lack of available childcare services require one of them to give up working, they are thrown in the same situation that drove them apart the first time — who is willing to give up a good career?

7.

Shipped!

Reisa smiles as her friends renew the long-running bet they had about her and Rence getting together. These silly girls wagered that she and her good friend-slash-food truck business partner (who she noticed has started to develop beautiful forearm muscles) would eventually become an item since they spend every waking moment together. But that’s what it takes to make a business that lasts through trends, and their seamless teamwork has seen their food truck through seven years of success.  

Reisa never took her friends “shipping” them seriously, anyway. Well, not until Rence announced that he’s finally fulfilling his dream of going to law school on their 3rd food truck’s inauguration. The prospect of not seeing him everyday has revived something inside that she’s been refusing to acknowledge even before the shipping started. No, she can’t give it attention. She’s not a big fan of pining and one-sided love. Besides, she has to focus on her goal of being Entrepreneur of the Year. She doesn’t need love for that, right?  

As Reisa tries to get used to days without her partner, will the solitude help her unravel the strings of feelings she left jumbled at the back of her mind? Will she focus on her success story, or try to have it all with her own love story as well?

8.

Shade of Blue

Marguerite Ibarra, 25, an ambitious, high-maintenance, and life of the party art director tries to be relatable in the fast-growing and emerging art community in the Philippines when she commissioned an amateur illustrator whose following in Instagram (22k) and Twitter (5k) made Marguerite curious.

Lanse Del Toro, 20, a magnetic, intense, and mysterious nursing student whose passion for gothic illustration involved with highly aggressive nationalism made him adequately surface in the competitive and screened art community in the Philippines.

Will the psychedelic, vivid, and chromatic world of Marguerite give color to the dark, moody, equally vindictive and nasty side of Lanse?

9. 

Indecision

An ambitious girl walking through life dreaming to find that one true love that she has been reading about as a child while struggling to make a name for herself in her chosen profession. Focusing on her career without really expecting that love will truly find her in ways she couldn’t imagine.

He has been taking things slow. Not really sure what he wants for his future. Taking one step at a time, without any assurance what the future holds for him. Not one for commitments, he never suspected that someone so different could actually accept a guy like him, unconditionally.

Realizing that love knows no boundaries and that forgiveness and acceptance are keys to a lasting relationship, they eventually find the right rhythm towards their happy ever after.

10.

The Principles of Love and Sustainability

Responsible tourism advocate Alba Decierdo is thrilled when she’s tapped to work on an ad campaign for her hometown, the beautiful Mawakis Island. That is, until she finds out that the star of the video is Jonathan Prieto, famous actor and one of the heirs to the Prieto real estate dynasty. Things get worse when she finds out Jonathan’s family has plans to build a luxury resort right on the beach.  

There’s almost nothing Alba wouldn’t do for her home and her cause, so she decides to befriend Jonathan in the hopes of doing a little corporate sabotage. Things get difficult when she realizes two things: first, Jonathan isn’t the spoiled, pampered brat she thought he was; and second, he’s just as against the luxury resort as she is.  

Can Alba and Jeff stop the resort from being built? And will they do anything about the mutual attraction simmering between them? Or will the rich and powerful win once more?

11.

*Beki With the Good Hair

Regie Cirilos is small town beautician famous for two things: flawless makeovers and foolproof fixes for matters of the heart. Anyone who comes in at RegenCi Beauté Salon with split-ends and bad splits, manicures and marriages in peril, or just plain old singleness, and looking to be beautified will walk out transformed and ready for romance. Anyone except Regie himself, that is. Not that he’s looking for a man to sweep him off his feet right now, though. He’s got bills to pay, cats to feed and gaggle of gays to keep employed. But the nights do get lonely sometimes, and Regie starts to think that maybe love isn’t really for parloristas like him.

Until Regie gets a customer complaint: Donn Piala’s date was a disaster after getting his hair cut by Regie. He doesn’t blame him though, as his hair has never looked so good, and so he asks for something else to be done to his hair, or face, or nails for subsequent first dates, that all end up badly. Regie is baffled, why isn’t anyone falling in love with him? Why isn’t anyone getting mesmerized by his beautiful brown eyes and stunning smile?

Or is Regie just too distracted to notice that maybe the makeovers are actually working? And it’s working too well on the beautician Donn hasn’t asked on a date. Yet.

12.
Don’t Call Me Pretty

In a YA novella, a college publication editor is the apple-of-the-eye of a rich kid who happens to be the son of the only geologist in town. Olivia, or Vee for short, is both intelligent and stunning. She is quite determined to focus her attention to her studies and extra-curricular activities. But Gabriel is more determined – and agile – to win her heart against all odds.

13.

Lost Without Your Love

Elena Carreon is lost. In general, but also navigationally. She thought spending a month in her Lola’s place in Nueva Ecija would do her burned-out self a good thing. Take in the peace and calm of nature, maybe listen to her family’s request to try her hand at making pasalubong sweets like inipit, ensaymada, and pastillas. There is nothing – absolutely nothing – in the plans about getting lost in the neighbor’s orchard.

Isko Dionisio is more than just your normal haciendero. He also saves lost damsels in his free time, apparently. With big dreams for their family’s hacienda, he doesn’t have the time and energy for feisty women, let alone a relationship. His perfect city-girl ex could attest to that. So why does this lost city-girl evoke so much emotion from him?

Chancing upon each other was a stroke of fate, but maybe it’s stumbling into destiny too.

14.

The Half of You and Me

Yago and Selene are best friends. But senior year of college is taking their friendship to the hardest test since junior high.

Selene Ocampo is a strong, intelligent, no-nonsense woman. She volunteers as a teaching assistant for special needs kids at a small inclusive school for her SpEd degree, she bakes pie as a part-time job at Kape’t Aklat, and she babysits Yago – her fully grown, six-feet spinning dare-devil of a best friend. Her life is what she makes of it and her friendship with Yago is one of the most important aspects of it.

Santiago “Yago” dela Costa is a man who pushes himself to the limits to the brink of snap. A mountaineer, a water polo varsity, Math major and consistent dean’s lister, he sets his eyes to excellence and proving to the world he can be something despite being outside looking in. He’s been angry after finding out his parents left him to have families of their own. But he didn’t care, he believes doesn’t need anything or anyone. Except Selene. In everything he does, his best friend Selene is always there to ground him.

Everything was as it was for Yago and Selen until the lines went blurry, the touches burn, jealousy ensues.

Until a kiss in the closet changes the rules of friendship. It all went downhill from there.

What to do when the person you can’t fall in love with falls in love with you?

15.

Seven Sketching Sessions

Gavin Palma is struggling in his fine arts class as he’s never struggled before. He breezed through his first three semesters but is now struggling with drawing female nudes in his required figure drawing class. Given that he’s a scholar, his professor allows him to redo his seven worst plates to salvage his grade. To do that, he has to find a model himself. His resourceful friend, campus journalist Melanie, finds him a girl.

Jaya Laylay is a recent dropout, all alone in the world, scarred by her experiences in trying to make it through life on her own. Needing a job so she can go back to school, she agrees to pose for the seven required pictures.

Over the course of a week, Gavin and Jaya go on an imaginary world tour as they share their dream travel plans during the seven sketching sessions. The reserved Gavin also eventually opens up about his disturbing family problems to Jaya. But in a vulnerable moment, he breaches Jaya’s trust in him. Can he win it back–along with her love?

16.

Florante Meets Laura

Laura Tanglao had just been thinking that it was about time her tiny custom tailor shop in Pandacan get a little more exciting—when District 6 Counsilor Florante “Gam” Sicat entered through her door. Suddenly, her life was not so dull anymore.

Florante expertly weaves her into a fast-paced saga called politics with an offer she cannot conscientiously outright refuse: an opportunity to do good things for the local crafts, something dear to her heart. But with a price.

Between projects with her name, playing partner, rivals, ex-lovers all rolled in a dirty mayoral race laced with danger and deceit—Laura can’t help but think, “Mama, I’m not in Pandacan anymore”.

To which her overzealous Filipino teacher mother shouts back, “No, you’re in Francisco Baltazar’s poem,” as she hurries to draw parallel lines all over her daughter’s already overwhelming days. Should she really give up her quiet life just like this or can she just run on back to her tiny shop where everything is in control?

But there was something in the way he says her name that she cannot quite turn her back on.

Or is it just politics? Or is it fate? After all, when Florante meets Laura—you can just hear Balagtas rolling in his grave.

17.

Maybe This Time

40-something single mother Yasmin attends 25-year college reunion and gets reunited with ex-BF, Rafael, with whom she’s had a very painful breakup and hasn’t seen since graduation. Sparks fly as feelings, old and new, overwhelm both of them.

Yasmin turns to their mutual friend, Manuel, for advice and support, as he has always been there for her through the years and is even ninong to her only child.

Will Yasmin and Rafael finally make it work this time? So why are things getting more complicated than what they should be, with Manuel in the picture?

18.

Maybe, Maybe Not

Sophia’s friends are all excited about finding their “Hibalag Flings”, but she couldn’t care less. She was stuck manning a booth night after night, trying to sound cheerful while entertaining people who barely knew of the existence of their department. She had to be there- she was the President of the organization and everyone’s “ate”, the responsible one. It was what she had done year after year, and there she was again, even after 6 years in college.

Vincent suddenly felt drawn to the 2 week festivities in celebration of the University’s Founder’s day. He enjoyed it back when he first started his undergrad, but since he came back the swarm of enthusiastic students didn’t really appeal to him. He starts helping out at the Department Booth and finds himself drawn to Sophia’s silence, and believing there’s more to her than meets the eye.

As they slowly learn more about each other, Sophia starts to feel her fears catching up to her and feeling the need to put up her walls but Vincent is determined to be with her. Will they be able to get over their differences and help each other out?

 
19.
Like We Used To
 
Airwoman Second Class Lovely Peralta knows that being granted a ten-day leave is a huge privilege for a soldier and she intended to use it to go home to her sick father, their three-year gap would have to be at the backseat. This time, Lovely could try to be the daughter he wanted her to be—or could she, if it meant she needs to play nice with her ex-fiancé, also her father’s caretaker, Barangay Captain Allen Ruiz?
Suddenly, Lovely’s brand of tough seemed weak against the bittersweet memories of the life she left behind.

20.

Shape of You

He’s a pop idol who’s lost his muse.

Kamiya Satoshi’s the leader of the hottest Jpop idol group, Storm. When the group suddenly decides to go for a temporary hiatus, he’s left with too much time on his hands. He takes this opportunity to do his own art exhibition but the inspiration will not come. With a little help from a senpai (senior), Satoshi finds himself in the tropical paradise of the Philippines with thoughts of sun, catching some fish and hopefully, creating his masterpiece. What he gets is what he thought he needs but actually wants.

She’s a fisherman’s daughter aiming for a better life for her family.

Life is tough but Nina Perez is tougher. With aging parents and siblings to support, her only focus is to get to Dubai as a caregiver so she could start earning money to send back home. While waiting on her visa and papers to get sorted, she helps her father as a house help for a wealthy Japanese tourist. Meeting Satoshi, acting as his fishing tour guide brings out the disdain for his lifestyle but secretly wishing the same for her and her family. He was a distraction to her a life goal that she did not want but might actually need.

Two different different worlds meet in a small fishing island to prove that there’s no barriers in language and love.

21.

Millennial Momma

On the eve of her 22nd birthday, Izzie made a one-word wish as she blew out her candles: “More.” She already had everything: a med-student boyfriend of three years, a creative job at a digital company, and a 24-inch waist. She was, everyone believed, poised to rule the world. That is, until she peed on a stick and found out that she was pregnant. Millennial Momma is the story of one girl’s many heartbreaks as she goes from “It girl” to jilted, single mom, and her road to discovering a new kind of love: the “momma” kind. But will she ever find romance again? And does she even want it?

22.

Coming Up Roses

Life has never been easy for Lauren, but with a stroke of luck, she has become everything she’s ever dreamed of. She is now a famous florist in her hometown and is about to tie the knot with a resort heir named Theo, only after three months of dating. Theo could be a little arrogant sometimes, but he has a soft spot for Lauren. They started out as business partners, Lauren as the go-to florist in weddings held at Theo’s resort. Since then, she couldn’t get him out of her head.

As their big day is drawing near, their relationship is doomed with the links to the past they try to leave behind. Being the impulsive woman that she is, Lauren asked for a break and booked a flight to Dubai. Escaping once again to find her safe space. Her plan: visit the city where her best friend lives as an expat to get the support system that she needs. However, where she flew is also where her ex-boyfriend of four years has built a successful career as a skydiving coach.

As burning questions about her engagement overwhelm her, so do thoughts of Anthony—her first love. Will this trip make her realize where her heart truly belongs?

23.

Because It’s Love

Thirty-something cold-hearted and no-nonsense Daniel Sy is a successful businessman because he knows the rules both in life and in business and he lives by them. But once upon a time, he broke these rules for a guy who he thought was the one for him only he learned the hard way that rules are not meant to be broken and he ended up breaking his own heart in the process. Today, Daniel knows better. Or does he? Brandon Bautista is great at acting; he is so great at it he’s managed to convince everyone that he is someone he is not including himself if only for a while. But Brandon is done hiding in the closet and he’s ready to claim the life that he wants for himself and this includes Daniel. Word has it that Daniel is still a bachelor and is very much available. The trouble is Daniel is available for everyone and no one and he’ll have to fall in line if he wants even a piece of him. However, Brandon does not want just a piece, he does not want Daniel for a night, and neither does he want to share him with others. But first, Brandon has to convince Daniel otherwise.

24.

Our Little Secret

Sofie Dalisay was an angel. Well, not a real angel, but her preschool students would have vouched for her. Kind, soft-spoken, and eternally patient, she was the favorite teacher the exclusive preschool she taught at. The parents appreciated her sharp wit and her perfect manners, while the administrators would have sworn in every court on the planet that Sofie had always been the picture of perfect professionalism.

It helped that the young teacher looked the part, too. A gentle smile always played on her never-overdone lips, and her bright, almond-shaped eyes laughed behind tasteful, pink-framed glasses. She wore her hair pulled back from her face in a half-pony, soft curls falling down past her shoulders and framed her full cheeks and emphasized and accented her fuller frame.

But when school lets out for the day, Sofie goes home to trade her glasses for a custom cat mask, and slips on skin-tight, thigh-high boots with heels that bring her at least five inches closer to the ceiling. She selects her lighting, picks out her tools, and turns on her computer, and for a few hours every night, she is Mistress Sasha, doling out love advice to the lost and needy denizens of the internet.

Until one day, someone sends her an anonymous message that threatens to burn both her worlds to the ground. “I know who you are.”

Leila Oracion has been fascinated by the fetish scene since she could remember. It was the one place she thought she could truly fit in, and the one thing that she believed allowed her to survive her humdrum, boring (to her) life as a “bean counter” with a large accounting firm.

Then Leila happens on a random vlog, The Satin Whip. Offering borderline legal services as a camgirl/love guru, she is captivated by the Mistress Sasha, a shining jewel among all the crazies and wanna-bes on the dark web. Enthralled, Leila sets up an anonymous persona of her own and under this guise, she courts Sasha with long love letters and chat sessions late into the night. They have an immediate connection and share intimacy and promises to meet, a whirlwind romance that both terrifies and excites Leila.

However, things get all too real at her sister’s preschool’s Christmas party. Her sister introduces her to the teaching staff, and the moment Sofie Dalisay opens her mouth, Leila knows. What follows is a heart-pounding series of events that leads to the two women to confront what they know about love, honesty, commitment, and possibly…second chances.

25.

15 Countries, 10 Days, 1 Guy

Amiya is a 28-year-old top insurance agent. She lives with her boyfriend of 5 years, Miki,in the center of the busy district of Makati. They first met in their previous company which was a design and printing studio, where Amiya was a sales account executive, and Miki was a graphic designer. They both had quit then. Now he is a freelancer and works from home. Or does he really?

Observing that her boyfriend has become lax since she started earning higher, Amiya breaks up with him and reflects on her love life. Also, on her career that has become challenging recently. Is this really what she wants to do for the rest of her career life? As she reaches almost 30, Amiya feels more pressured. And with the plateau of her performance, Amiya rests and goes on a long-overdue vacation in Europe.

In all 15 Countries she visited within just 10 Days, a roll of unexpected handsome foreign guys have come her way. In a cafe. At the museum. In the train. But it was on the way back home that caught her interest the most, as she sat beside this 1 Guy in the plane ride. Rick. She pulls out her Insurance Form and writes down his details since he’s from a very qualified high-income family. But as they date back home, she realizes that Rick is also a failure. He’s about to close the Gym Business he had started with his friends. Does that make him less attractive then? Or that makes him just the same as her ex?

#RomanceClass2019: Meet the authors

September 2, 2019