The Matchbreaker (Part One)

Submitted into Contest #81 in response to: Write about a first date that surprises both people, but in different ways.... view prompt

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Funny Romance High School

“You’re a terrible person.” 

“Then you’re in love with a terrible person.”

“Who said I love you?”

“Mm, but you didn’t have to say anything at all.” 

“Would you two shut up?” My water bottle flips up in the air and lands near their feet on the bleacher. They’ve been rivals since kindergarten, and now they’re… whatever. I don’t want to hear about it. Am I bitter? Maybe. Is the PDA parade two inches away from me absolutely disgusting? Yes. Heck yes. Five thousand percent affirmative. I hate it. I want to kick these lovebirds off the bleachers and into the ditch below us. They sound like one of those pinterest prompt pages for people who think they’re cutely edgy. What an oxymoron. Cutely edgy goes together about as well as ham and mayonnaise. No, scratch that. Those go pretty well together. Cutely edgy goes together like country and rap. Mm hm. Put those two together and what do. you. get? 

Crap. 

I’m trying my best to be a supportive friend, right, but the thing is, I hate the whole situation with every fiber of my fiber deficient being. Not all the fiber chews in the world could make me okay with this. My best friend, who I’ve known since before preschool, has started this absurd phase where she likes this guy, who we’ve agreed to hate since the day we met him, and I don’t know what to do. Of course she drags me along to meet him every morning. She said, in her best caring voice while I sat across from her on her water mattress with the Trolls blanket, “I don’t want you to ever feel left out, Capri.” 

He-ll-o. I think I might feel left out if you and your new boyfriend are constantly attempting to recreate scenes from, I don’t know, um, The Notebook! To be honest, I don’t watch a lot of romance movies. Or any of them. I watched Good Burger, though, and if that’s not love then I don’t know what love is. Back to the bleachers. 

Courtney is glaring at me and Adrian is on the verge of laughter. There’s nothing he likes more than making her mad at me. He was right. He is a terrible person. Him and his icky thick blond hair and giant blue eyes, stuck like fat marbles deep in his mushy marshmallow head. Even describing him makes my toes turn up in my socks. Adrian Keller is a class A clown and if dear, sweet Courtney can’t see it, then I guess I’ll have to get her some new contacts and tell her to look closely, because by Valentine’s Day, and I promise this with my whole heart, they’ll be broken up. This time, two weeks from now, Adrian and Courtney will no longer be the chosen pair of this academic institution. Oh no, if I have any say in it, which I very clearly do, they’ll be very happy and very content far, far away from each other. 

“You always look so mad,” Adrian says, leaning towards me in the way that some people do, when they want to take up more space than is rightly theirs. “Should we find you a boyfriend, too, Capri? Maybe then you’d smile more often.” He turns back towards Courtney and puts his hand on her leg. “What do you think? Should we play matchmaking for little miss priss over there?” 

Courtney laughs and I hate that she’s laughing at something he said. He’s not funny. He’s rude. I don’t want a boyfriend, I want my friend to come to her senses and dump his jerk butt in the nearest porta potty. That would be the real gift of the magi, I can tell you that much. 

“You are trying to get rid of me-” 

“And? You’re trying to get rid of me, too.” 

Courtney throws her hands in the air. If she got paid for all the hours she spends keeping that guy and I away from each other’s throats, she would have enough money to book a jet and fly away from both of us. “No one’s trying to get rid of either one of you! I wish you would try harder to be friends. It’s not that hard. You might have something in common.”

I pick up the water bottle I tossed at them and sigh. Courtney, God love her, is very naive. “The only thing we have in common is you, I promise.” Adrian almost nods, but then stops. He can’t agree with me. It would break the universe. Instead he wraps his jacket around Courtney’s shoulders and she leans closer to him. 

“I think we know our dynamics are a bit different.” Adrian points at me. I can see a thin slice of dirt edged under his nail. “You, Capri, are her best friend. Her sister. She tells you secrets.” He jabs a finger at himself. “I, Adrian, am her boyfriend. Her sweetheart. Soon-to-be-Valentine. I am the sole cause of most of her secrets, if I’m not mistaken.” 

“Guys, we have to get to class.” Courtney sits up, grabbing her backpack and heading off the bleachers. It’s a wonder the teacher on patrol didn’t kick her off ages ago, not just for the public displays of affection, but also for the jeans she’s wearing today. She looks great, obviously, but they’re against the dress code. Oh well, that’s Courtney for you. She gets away with things so easily you’d think her middle name would be Get Out of Jail Free Card, but it’s not. Her middle name is Jefra, named after her creaky grandpa who sits behind his desk all day, reading magazines about why the wage gap is a myth. 

None of that, not her jeans or her grandpa or anything, matter as she walks away. Adrian and I are left alone for half a second. I glare at him. He smiles at me. I jump back because his smile is more abrasive than a bucket of scalding hot water and it comes out of nowhere. I push past him and hurry after Courtney; we have more classes together anyway. “Hey, I’m sorry I was arguing with him again. I just, I mean, I can’t get over the fact that you guys are really dating now. It drives me crazy.” 

“But not because you’re jealous.” 

I shake my head, loose hair coming undone from my ponytail. I knew I should have done that tighter this morning. Too bad I was in a hurry. I didn’t eat breakfast, either, just grabbed a banana and shoved it in the front pocket of my backpack. It’s still there now, rotting and smashed against my AP Chemistry textbook. “Of course I’m not jealous. I’m freaked out because ever since you guys started going out, it’s like a soap opera. I’m not kidding! You’re bouncing off the walls one day, going on about how great this dude is and then the next day you’re at my house, a puddle of tears, because he looked at you wrong or didn’t order your coffee right.” 

Courtney rubs the side of her face. “Are you making fun of me or Adrian? I’m confused. Because one minute you’re vowing up and down to be my best friend come what may, and the next minute you’re refusing to be happy for me. Don’t you think I’m happy?” 

I don’t know. I guess I haven’t asked her whether she’s happy or not. I didn’t think it mattered what she thought as long as it was Adrian who was involved. He didn’t make anyone happy, why would she be any different? I reach for my friend’s hand and she gives it to me. “I miss you.” 

“But I’m right here.” 

“Not when you’re with him, no. I feel like when you’re around Adrian, everything is off about you. The way you laugh, the way you talk, the way you look. You never would have worn jeans with so many holes before you guys started going out.” 

Courtney frowns and lets go of my hand. “What do you mean?”

“I mean you’re different. I don’t know how to explain it, exactly, but you aren’t as interested in the things you used to do. When was the last time you went to one of your poetry nights, or organized a sit-in at the park? It’s almost like you got tired of competing with the enemy, so you decided to give up instead.” 

“Capri. This is our third year of high school. I may not know what I’m doing, but I’m having fun along the way. With all the kindness in my heart, and I mean that honestly, please back off.” We stop in front of the classroom. “Please?” 

I nod, biting my tongue and crossing my fingers behind my back. I don’t want anyone to misunderstand me, though. I don’t want Courtney to not date someone. She’s dated great people, awesome people, even. There was this one kid, see, and he had the prettiest eyes you could imagine, all cobalt and hazel and warm as Sunday biscuits. I liked him! Courtney did too, until they broke up over one too many broken promises. Not on his end, because he was  true-blue-marcher-dinner-with-mother-collar-startcher, but on Courtney’s. She was so focused on this one project that she’d forgotten or ignored his calls for a whole day. This would have been fine, right, but that day was their anniversary of (remember this is in high school years) six months. And he didn’t take too well to that. The point I’m getting at is, Adrian doesn’t deserve Courtney. He’s rude, and she’s considerate. He’s arrogant, and she’s humble to a fault. He’s a dim bulb, and she’s, well, the brightest star. They don't match. It rubs me the wrong way, what else can I say? Ah, but I’m not going to say anything. No, I’ll leave that up to my business associate, a student they call, reverently, The Matchbreaker. 

I leave class thirteen minutes early. Lucky for me our teacher doesn’t question me too much; I have one hand pressed to my stomach and the other clutching my pencil case, but he could be under the impression that, like in his very own biology class, this was shark week. He’s not going to ask, and I’m thankful for that because while I do have business to attend to, it wouldn’t fly well with the adults. It’s funny that I still make distinctions like “the adults” considering that in about a year, I’ll have to join them in the real world. I’m not pretending college and jobs and bills aren’t waiting for me, but for now, this is drama enough. I slip down the hallway and down the case of stairs that’ll lead to the basement. It’s off limits to students, mainly because of people like Courtney and Adrian, but also because there’s a mold problem. 

I won’t be here long, though. I need to get in, make the deal, smile for the camera in the sky, and leave. You’d think that I would know who this Matchbreaker kid is, but I don’t. No one knows who they are until they need their work, and after that, they aren’t allowed to talk about them. I mean, of course they want good PR, so they’re allowed to talk about how good they are at  their job, but if people knew who they were, they would stay away from them with a precision of neurosurgery levels. No one wants to be broken up. It doesn’t matter if it’s for the best. The basement is cold. I pull on my sleeves and blink around in the damp light of the small room. There doesn’t seem to be anyone here, and it definitely doesn’t look like a good office space. 

“Hello?” I whisper-yell, like they taught us to in drama class, before the teacher was arrested for actually stabbing someone during Shakespeare in the Park last year. No one answers me so I step further into the basement. “Hi? I’m looking for the Matchbreaker.” 

A hand grabs my wrist and I clap a hand over my own mouth to stop the shriek from escaping. I can’t risk being found here. “Who did that?” I smack at the hand, but the fingers are wrapped tight. “Let go.” I shake my arm. The hand falls away, and a pair of eyes greets me, gleaming in the dark. “Oh. Hi.” 

A short, but old, teenager steps into the better light. I don’t know him, but I’m about to. This must be The Matchbreaker. The King of Hearts. The Homewrecker himself. I take a few steps back and feel myself knock into something. I turn around and, sure enough, there’s a desk. Where was that desk when I walked into the basement just now? I pull at my sleeves again and take a better look at the Matchbreaker. He’s wearing a mauve, quarter-zip sweater, black jeans and combat boots. Hm. Interesting. Didn’t know combat boots at school were allowed anymore, unless you were a twelve year old girl who considered seventh grade to be “the worst” time of your life but “the best” time to dye your hair and buy a choker or two. This guy, though, is wearing combat boots and he is neither twelve or a girl. He has his ears pierced. Could have a tongue ring, too, except I wouldn’t know because he has yet to open his mouth. His hands were cold. Must be a side effect of lounging around in this basement all day. 

“I’m Capri.” He nods, and steps closer to me. I stick out my hand, because this is a business and we are making a deal to break the deal. An icky feeling clammers in my chest. I think it could be guilt. I shove at it and look back at The Matchbreaker. “I need you to do something for me. I have a friend. Her name is Courtney. Courtney Caddel? She’s dating-”

“Stop.” 

“What?” 

He walks behind his desk and sits down. “Okay,” he says, folding his hands together, “You may proceed.” 

“Question.” 

He raises an eyebrow, ringless, and nods. “Answer. Maybe.” 

“Do I have to call you The Matchbreaker or do you have another name?” 

“Sad story, but no, my mom took one look at me after I was born and said, ‘Gee, hon, I think he’s gonna grow up and make a killing killing high school romances!’” 

I would roll my eyes, but that was funny. “I’ll take that as a yes-but-I-won’t-tell-you. It doesn’t matter. I just want you to split this couple up, you know, their names are Courtney Caddel and Adrian Keller.” 

“Why?” 

I blink. “What do you mean why?” 

The Matchbreaker gives me a small smile, only the white of his crooked front teeth visible. “I don’t go around ruining happy relationships. I need a reason before I mess things up. Are you in love with Courtney?”

“No.” 

“Adrian?” 

“No!” 

“Dang.” The Matchbreaker looks startled. “Okay. Then why?” 

“Because he makes my friend, like, a shell of herself. All they do is stroll through town, and school, like they’re the royal couple-” they did win homecoming king and queen last year “-All day long!”

“Hm. And how does that make you feel?” 

“Mad! What are you now? My therapist? Look, I want you to end them.”

He jumps. “I don’t kill people.” 

This boy, this boy. “I didn’t say I wanted you to kill them, idiot. I said end them. As in, stop them from dating. Make them realize it’s a terrible idea.” 

“Sounds like I will. When do you need the job done by?” The Matchbreaker asks me, and leans back in his chair. 

I lean forward, planting both my hands on the desk. “Valentine’s Day.” 

“That gives us plenty of time, dear Capri.” He stands up and holds out his hand. “We can work out payment later. I like cash, but Venmo works too.” I shake his dead fish hand. “You’ll need my number.” 

“Really?” I say this but I pull out my phone at the same time, so I already know the answer and am ready to punch his number into my contacts when he starts talking again.

“765-112-4280. Got it?” 

“Think so.” I hold my phone out to him. “That's it?” 

“Mm hm. Very good. You can put the contact name as whatever you want as long as it’s not The Matchbreaker. Can’t have my number floating around, I’d be much too popular.” 

I type his contact name out as Anti-Romeo and laugh. He reaches for the phone and I let it go. It’s his name. He can see if he wants. “Anti-Romeo? That’s not really fitting, if you think about it.” 

I take my phone back and put it in my pocket. “I didn’t think about it. Just thought it was funny.” 

“Am I a joke to you, then?” 

“No.” I start to leave the basement. “But you might be the punchline.” 

I don’t hear what he says next. I have a feeling it was something along the lines of it’ll be a trip working with you, dear capri. It will be a trip, one I sincerely hope is worth taking.

February 12, 2021 16:26

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25 comments

Zilla Babbitt
22:31 Feb 12, 2021

This is full of real life and I love it. It's your usual quirky, funny, adorkable group of teenagers and angsty love... and that sounds so patronizing and awful but I mean it in the best way. It's funny and quirky and a real delight to read. Keep it up, Rhonda!

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Rhondalise Mitza
23:44 Feb 12, 2021

Thank you so much for reading! I'm glad I have a good regular crowd in my stories, I know you meant it well! I'm working on part two right now so eyes open for that.

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Rhondalise Mitza
16:28 Feb 12, 2021

Explanation for why I submitted under this prompt: Because I'm counting the basement meeting as a date and it was surprising to Capri and The Matchbreaker because they both were expecting someone different. Not perfect but I like it, so tell me what you think.

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Benny ...
14:04 Feb 20, 2021

Could y'all talented amazing writers maybe give the rest of the peasants a chance at 50 dollars?

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Rhondalise Mitza
16:07 Feb 20, 2021

I’ve never won yet so you have a good as chance as I do!

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. .
15:07 Feb 22, 2021

Ha lol peasants is what we are *bows to Rhonny*

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18:37 May 04, 2021

I kinda agree with him....

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. .
14:40 Feb 13, 2021

VAYD. NEW STORY. QUICK

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Amany Sayed
01:33 Feb 13, 2021

It's a bit different than your usual style. Not a bad thing, of course. It does feel a little bit hasty though, coming to the end, but it is a part one, so, that could be why. Of course, it's an interesting idea, you're very creative, and I enjoyed it. It was also funny :) It's cool, and I'd like to see where you take it next.

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Sol Y.
04:09 May 17, 2022

I love it beyond words

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Rhondalise Mitza
17:50 May 17, 2022

Mm well, you're the only one who seems interested but hey, may be enough to get me back on this project XD

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21:30 Jun 08, 2021

This story had me laughing. Very hard. I loved the funny fight between the teens too.

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Amel Parvez
06:35 May 26, 2021

Ha!! Amazing<3

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Vera Vuscoe
10:15 Mar 17, 2021

Great story! I wanna read parts 2 and 3 so bad...

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Trinity Rupert
18:36 Feb 25, 2021

Wow I really loved this story. Will you write a second part to it? I really hope you do.

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Rhondalise Mitza
20:48 Feb 25, 2021

Yes, there's two more parts to this story!

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Izzie Q.
04:32 Feb 23, 2021

Hi!! Love this so much! It purely represents how a group of teenagers would act while in love!! you are really talented and this community is so lucky to have you be a part of it! and WOW so many submissions! You are AMAZING af rhonda!!

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Courtney C
16:41 Feb 21, 2021

Quirky story. It reminded me a bit of Sex Education, but in a flipped context. Definitely stoked my curiosity about what happens next (and if Courtney will cut ties with such a manipulative, controlling friend).

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Diana Quill
18:28 Feb 20, 2021

This is great! I wish you would continue it so I can know how it ends but the cliffhanger is also really good, leaving questions behind in a thought-provoking way. Well done!

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22:41 Feb 15, 2021

Aww... I know it's supposed to be about the story but I can't help but feel the way you do with the whole left-the-site stiff. Please don't leave, at least for now, because your stories are amazing. You are amazing. I love this story! *This thing*

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Rhondalise Mitza
23:57 Feb 15, 2021

Oh I haven't left the site. I'm just not posting as much as I used to and yeah, a lot of people did leave and I can talk to them elsewhere so it's not as much of a social platform for me. I think I'll have part two of this story out soon and I'm working on my novels, too. Thank you for your concern though, I'm glad you checked in !

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17:40 Feb 16, 2021

I didn't mean you right now, I meant later, but thank you! I am also trying to write a novel, so i can't post a lot :)

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04:37 Feb 14, 2021

This was really good and creative! I only wish you made the environment a little more reliable. For example, the teachers going along with them not following the dress code and PDA was a little unrealistic. Overall, great story! :)

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Oh my, I really like the way you interpreted the prompt Rhonda! :)

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VAYD POSTED AGAIN!!!!

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