Love is Harder than it looks
Take Two?
CHAPTER
1
How To Be A Good Cupid: a book by Not Me
I admit it.
I screwed up.
Bigtime.
Nobody’s actually said anything about my mission to me yet, but it’s coming.
See, I’m known as the ‘failed Cupid’ for a reason. I’ve gone through countless mock-ups and simulations, and I always fail. I’ve taken loads of tests, sat through millions of classes- and what did I learn?
Apparently nothing.
So when Madame decided to give me a chance and see how I did in the real world, I almost jumped for joy. Finally, a chance to prove myself. Maybe after this, they’d see I’m more than just a failure.
And guess what I do?
I prove them all right.
No matter how you sugarcoat it, the fact still stands. I failed.
No thanks to her.
She couldn’t have just accepted her fate and moved on? Oh, no. She just had to find a cure. Whatever else you say about her, that girl sure is determined.
Although, she did kind of try to help in the end. Once I’d broken the spell, she found me another couple.
Even if they were cats, she still meant well.
I think.
I’m going to be the laughing stock of Heartfelt for ages!
Or well, more of a laughing stock that usual, that is.
Sigh.
“Michelle.”
“Michelle.”
“Michelle!”
“What?!” I jolt awake. Laughter rises up from around me.
“What did I just say?” Miss H asks.
“Uh… The arrows are for… uh… shooting lovers?”
More laughter.
“Falling asleep in class will not help you pass your tests, Michelle.”
“Staying awake in class won’t help him pass his tests either,” someone whispers, and I hear a girlish giggle from his posse.
I feel a flush creeping up my neck. I don’t even need to look to see who it is. Patrick thinks he’s the coolest person around (he’s probably right), and even though he’s relatively new, he knows everything there is to know about me and my repeated failures. He never misses a chance to hold it over my head, either.
“Shut it,” a low voice growls. I look over and see an older guy- he probably came here in his fifties- standing up. He must be quite new, as I don’t recognise him. And seeing as he’s standing up for me, he doesn’t know about me, either.
“Or what?” Patrick says.
“Or I’ll make you,” the guy says.
“You can’t make me do anything,” Patrick sneers.
The guy grins. “I used to be a boxer, in my prime.”
“Enough!” Miss H says. The older guy sits down, and Patrick swallows his retort. Despite how young she looks, Miss H is one of the most respected Cupids around here. To disobey her would be almost as bad as disobeying Madame.
“Michelle, you will be staying behind to revise all that you missed,” she says. “Do not fall asleep again, or there will be further consequences. “
I nod, and she continues her class.
I trudge home with a heavy heart and an even heavier bag. Miss H gave me the lecture of a lifetime about my work in her class. I’ve taken it so many times now that I’ve lost count, but I can never pass the final test.
It’s not my fault!
Just… nothing ever seems to stay in my head. I admit I haven’t exactly been trying lately, but it doesn’t seem to matter anyway.
I just wish that I could be given a chance.
Another chance.
But, seeing how my first mission went, I doubt I’ll be getting a second anytime soon.
Still, that wasn’t exactly my fault either. If I’d been given any instructions maybe it would have turned out differently. And a different client would probably have helped too.
You know, I probably should have just been given a completely different mission!
But then I would never have met her.
Trixie Troubleby.
She was even more troublesome than her name suggests.
I reach the front door of my apartment and unlock it, fumbling with the key. I go inside, dump my heavy bag on the couch, and then collapse on it myself.
I wonder what Trixie’s doing right now?
I bet she’s probably bossing some other kid around, making terrible cakes with them and yelling at them to stop watching her TV and eating her Nutella. I hope it’s Toby. If she does fall in love with him, then I’m not a failure, and she gets an awesome boyfriend.
Also, I really liked them together, but that’s completely beyond the point.
I sigh, and stretch out on the couch. I’d like to see Trixie again someday. Maybe not attempt to make her fall in love- that didn’t exactly work out last time. But to just be together as friends? That would be cool.
Speaking of friends… there’s been a suspicious lack of those around, and he almost always follows me home from class.
A sudden crash sounds from the kitchen, and I laugh to myself.
“Gerry?” I shout. “Is that you?”
I hear a muffled shout that sounds somewhat like “Help!”
I haul myself off of the couch, and go to investigate.
Gerry’s lying upside down on my kitchen bench, his feet dangling out the window. He’s knocked a jar over, spilling biscuit crumbs in his sandy blond hair, his wings are tangled in the curtain, and a high cupboard is threatening to spill out over him. He’s got both hands reached up holding it shut, and what I assume is his homework in a folder clamped between his teeth.
I laugh. “Can’t you just use the front door like a normal person?”
“Mmph nnpht, nnphmph!”
I reach up and help him with the cupboard. He takes the folder out of his mouth, and wriggles backwards until his feet are inside, detangling his wings in the process. He swings himself around and jumps down onto the floor without knocking anything else over.
“I said I’m not normal,” Gerry repeats, shaking his head and running his hands through his hair to get rid of the biscuit crumbs.
“Anything but,” I agree. “And you’re sweeping those up!”
Gerry looks down at the crumbs in surprise, as if he’d only just realised they were there. “Get your roommate to do it.”
“Right, I’ll just get my imaginary friend Bob over here-“
“Sorry, sorry! I forgot. Still no luck then?”
“Nope.”
“Wow. Usually Heartquarters is really strict about roommates.” What Gerry says is true. We’re all supposed to have one- something about the experience of living with another person making us better Cupids or something.
“After the last one left, I guess they’ve just gotten so sick of me they can’t be bothered anymore.”
“Huh. Well, you can have mine if you want.”
I grimace. I’ve heard much from Gerry about his horrible roommate. I’m not exactly eager to swap. “Yeah, no thanks.”
“What if I move in with you instead?”
“Heartquarters’d never let you.”
“I guess.”
“So, homework?” I ask, changing the subject.
“Yeah. Do you know anything about Advanced Chemistry? I’m totally flunking that subject.”
“Chemistry? It’s easy, once you pick up the basics. The main thing you have to remember is that if your couple share at least one thing in common, they have potential chemistry. Of course, there’s more to it than that, but having something in common is a start.”
Gerry flops onto the floor, taking out his homework and spreading it in a semi-circle around himself. “How are you so smart?” he moans.
“Me? Smart? If I had even a tiny bit of brains, I’d be well and truly a full-fledged Cupid by now. I guess with all the classes I’ve repeated, I’ve just picked up a thing or two.”
“Not in Earthen Studies though.”
“Maybe not quite,” I agree, remembering my last mission with a cringe.
“Still, at least you got sent on a mission,” Gerry says enviously. “One with a cute, single girl, too. I can’t wait for my first mission.”
“It’ll probably happen s-“ I pause, and the full implication of what he just said sinks in. “Wait, what makes you think she was cute?”
“You wouldn’t talk about her otherwise.”
I frown “Why wouldn’t I talk about her? She was fun to be around, and you know as well as I do that looks don’t matter. Not to mention she was a huge part of my first mission.”
“So she wasn’t cute then?”
I feel my face getting hot. “Well... I-I never said she wasn’t!”
“So she is?”
“No! I mean, yes! I don’t know.”
Gerry snickers.
“What does it matter, anyway?” I say defensively.
“Just wanted to know if you liked her.”
I’m pretty sure my face has never been redder. “No way! I only knew her for a day, and I was trying to make her fall in love with someone else the entire time.”
“Sure.” Gerry draws the word out teasingly.
“Cupids aren’t supposed to fall in love,” I say as if that settles it.
“Yeah, but they do anyway. Mia tells me she saw Mr K bring Miss H a bunch of flowers yesterday, and they were roses.”
“So? Just because Mia said it doesn’t mean it’s true.”
“I trust her.”
“You would.”
“Cupid No. 11359 to Heartquarters. Repeat, Cupid No. 11359 to Heartquarters.”
Gerry and I look at one another nervously as the message comes over the intercom. 11359 is my number.
“What do Heartquarters want with you?” he asks curiously as I pack up my stuff.
“Probably more questions about why I’m not passing my tests.” I sigh. “Seriously, they should know that I’m just not very good with books- or any other kind of test for that matter- by now.”
“Eh. Best to just get it over and done with.”
“Yeah.”
I step over Gerry’s pile of books and paper- I know I’m not the tidiest person around, but he is seriously messy- and open the door.
“See you later, I guess. Don’t trash the house. I don’t want any potential roommates scared off.”
Gerry mumbles something unintelligible, and chews on his- no, my- pencil. I sigh, and shut the door.
The streets from my apartment to Heartquarters aren’t particularly interesting. I hurry through them, hoping I’ll be back before Gerry decides he’s hungry. When I reach Heartquarters, I go in through the massive front doors, ignoring the bustling people around me. I go up to reception, and am directed straight to Madame Aphrodite’s office.
Outside, her office looks mildly threatening. For a being dedicated to love and trust, she sure is worried about security. Inside, though, is a different story. Her walls and floor are covered with pink velvet, and little hearts are spotted decorating anything she’s managed to stick one to. The backs of the chairs are heart-shaped, and her desk is covered in a lacy tablecloth.
Madame herself is currently seated behind her desk, eating sugar cookies. Little crumbs have fallen over her robe, and she brushes herself off as I come in.
“Shut the door behind you,” she says briskly.
I do as she says and come and stand meekly in front of her. While she may appear to be a sweet grandma, Madame can be strict.
“Now,” she says, “I presume you’ve guessed why you’re here?”
“Well, I’m really hoping you’re going to give me a roommate?”
“It’s your own fault you don’t have one, you know.”
“Is not.”
Madame ignores my comment.
“No, the real reason is because of your grades. But I suspect you already knew that. Sugar cookie?”
I shake my head no, and she shrugs.
“Very well. I believe this is your fourteenth time you’ve repeated a school year?”
“Something like that.”
“Hmm. Why is it, Michelle, that you can’t seem to pick up enough to pass your tests?”
“I don’t know, Madame,” I say, staring at my feet.
“Hmm,” she says again and is silent, ruffling through papers.
The silence eventually gets awkward enough that I have to ask what she’s doing. I open my mouth, but she beats me to it.
“I’ve spent the past six months reviewing your mission,” she says.
I cringe.
“And I have to say, with the circumstances, you did surprisingly well.”
I freeze and blink slowly. Did I hear her right?
“Of course, there are some parts that we’ll have to work on. But most,” she says slowly, “Most give up on uninstructed missions, and you didn’t.”
“Even if your couple weren’t exactly what I expected, they were still a couple. It was you that brought them together.”
My first couple were cats.
“So,” Madame says with an air of finality, “I’ve decided that a second mission would give you the experience you need to pass your tests.”
I must look like a goldfish right now. I never expected anything like this!
“Th-Thank you, Madame!” I say. “I promise I’ll do my best!”
She treats me to a rare smile. “I know you will,” she says. “Which is why I’ve decided to make this an arrowless mission.”
I simply stare in shock.

Keep Reading

Chapter 2

Bouncy balls for good causes

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