Accidental Cupid

“How do you get content with loneliness?” She asked, nobody in particular.

Vera is unfortunate in love. Unfortunate seems to be an understatement for the shambles that is her love-life. It always started off perfectly – meet a nice guy, talk to him for a bit, go on a date and then kiss was the catalyst. Once she gets kissed, she never gets a call back, no good morning text, nothing. Then she saw the relationship updates the following morning – So-and-so is now in a relationship. The first time it happened, she put it down to a one time thing. The second time – merely a coincidence. But the thirty-sixth time it happened? Something wasn’t right.

And it’s up to Vera to discover what.

With great power comes …a lot of mistakes and lots of awkward encounters.

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2. ii: saudade

 

[saudade -  (portuguese) nostalgic longing to be near again to something or someone that is distant, or that has been loved and then lost.]

 

Four years later, Vera rubbed at the scar as she pulled her tights up from under the table. The memory still made her heart ache with despair, but she could do nothing about the way she was feeling. The memory haunted her dreams, appearing randomly and sporadically throughout the years.

A dark-skinned girl with lilac hair placed her coffee on the table. Vera smiled, placing her bags, that were occupying the nearest chair, on the table and pulled the chair out.

“Thanks, Blaire.” She murmured, blowing over her frappuccino. “How much do I owe you?”

“Psht.” Blaire waved her off, her lilac hair bouncing as she did so. She sat down, and placed her laptop on the table. “You don’t owe me shit.”

“I feel bad!” Vera pushed the coins towards her friend, not at all surprised when Blaire pushed it back to her.

“It’s a gift.” She said, as she typed away on her laptop. “Appreciate ya’ gift.”

“But-”

Blaire looked up and glared at her friend, narrowing her eyes when Vera was about to open her mouth. Vera sipped her coffee instead, wincing once the hot liquid touched her lips. Blaire returned to her work, not realising that Vera had slipped the money into her coat pocket. Blaire didn’t have to know and Vera’s mind could be still.

“Who else we waiting for?” Blaire wondered.

“Henry, Michael, and-”

Blaire rolled her dark eyes. “Gemma. Of course.”

She forgave Gemma for what happened in the past but Vera couldn’t help but feel the same sentiment towards her friend.

“I can’t believe you’re actually friends with her ever since what happened.” Blaire’s fingers hit the keyboard a little bit harder on each word she says. “And you’re perfectly fine with hearing her yap about her stupid boyfriend all the time.”

Not perfectly okay, but let’s go with that for now. Vera thought to herself, as she sipped a bit more on her coffee.

Vera had accidentally told Blaire what had happened between them on a drunken night out, letting the alcohol tell all of her untold secrets. Blaire and Vera bonded that night – and Blaire had it out for Gemma ever since. She was adamant that it broke the ‘girl code’ and couldn’t understand why Vera decided to stay with her.

“I can’t just dump her; she has nobody except Mitchell.”

It had been four years and somehow his name still managed to cause a lump in her throat. Her heart rate still spikes when the words pass through her mouth – the ache in her heart always acts as a remainder of the past.

“Isn’t that her fault? If she wasn’t such a-”

“Girls!” Gemma’s voice interrupts Blaire’s sentence, to which she rolls her eyes.

“Where’s Henry? I thought he was coming with you?” Blaire changed the subject before Gemma could talk about her boyfriend.

“Yeah, he’s coming with Mitchell.” Gemma says, tying her brown hair into a high ponytail. Her hazel brown eyes changed colours in the warm coffee shop’s lights and Vera could see what Mitchell saw in Gemma.

Gemma was gorgeous. Vera couldn’t help but compare herself to her friend, from her face to her figure to her personality. Gemma was outgoing, Gemma was kind, Gemma had an amazing figure, Gemma was everything she wasn’t. Vera considered herself plain, considered herself invisible, considered herself forgettable.

There were reasons why goddesses were worshipped and mortals merely faded into obscurity.

“Mitchell’s coming?” Vera’s heart thudded against her chest as she yearned to look for the closest exit.

“Yeah, him and Henry are playing later so I thought why not invite him too?” Gemma said casually, not realising that the panic in Vera’s body was increasing. “I’m gonna go get a coffee, save my seat please.”

“Sure.” Vera was surprised that the word even came out of her mouth, so smoothly too.

Blaire waited until Gemma was completely out of earshot before she let a bunch of abrupt noises, catching the attention of a couple of other university students. “How rude can you be? If I got together with the guy my best friend had feelings for, and trust me – I wouldn’t, I definitely wouldn’t be flaunting him in front of her.”

“I don’t think she means to.” Vera, again, found herself defending her best friend.

“Did she even ask you if it was okay to date him after you found out?”

Vera shook her head. “They got together at the party, so there was no need for my permission.”

Blaire made a sudden high-pitched heaving noise, making the girl behind her jump and send her dirty looks. Vera caught the end of the girl’s eye-roll, and mouthed a ‘sorry’ to her and turned back to her table.

“You realise that she’s an actual bitch, I don’t know how you don’t see this.” Blaire murmured, while dragging her hand down her face in exasperation.

“Who’s a bitch?”

Gemma’s eyes were wide, and Vera could tell she was just aching for gossip. If it wasn’t for Vera, Gemma would only be hanging out with her boyfriend and a couple of acquaintances on her course.

Blaire was about to open her mouth and Vera could just tell that she would have spouted the truth. Vera interrupted her, “Just this girl on our lit course.”

Gemma’s eyes looked down in disappointment, like she was holding a cup of sadness in her hands. “Why is she a bitch?”

Blaire shot in before Vera could even think of a response, “Ugh, she just talks about her boyfriend all the time and nobody wants to hear it.”

Gemma rolled her eyes, “I hate girls like that. It’s like they have nothing going on in their lives.”

Both Vera and Blaire gave each other side-eye-glances, wondering whether Gemma had realised that they were talking about her. Gemma innocently blew on her coffee before lifting it up to her lips, her pinky finger unconsciously sticking out.

“Yeah…” Vera dragged the word out, hoping that the word would fill the awkward silence between them.

“It’s weird but Mitchell’s been so nice recently, especially after that fight I told you girls. I honestly thought that it’d be the end of us.”

“I wish it was the end of you guys.” Blaire whispered, more to Vera than anyone else.

“What?” Gemma looked up, her eyes darting from Vera to Blaire, from Blaire to Vera again.

“I wish that you’d tell us more.” Blaire’s voice was laced with sarcasm, but Vera was sure that Gemma couldn’t tell.

Gemma whipped out her phone, and a text message was in front of Vera’s eyes. “Look at how lovely he is, Vera.”

I already know how lovely he is, she thought to herself, I liked him for two years before you did.

Vera didn’t say any of this, of course, she didn’t want to strain her friendship with her friend. The last time Vera brought it up, she ended up not talking to Gemma for over two weeks and of course – she was the one had to apologise for being petty.

“Mm.” Vera nodded, before turning her attention to Blaire’s laptop, even though it had nothing of interest to her.

“Aw, here’s my baby!” Gemma’s voice reached an octave higher than it did before as she shrieked and hugged her boyfriend.

How was it possible that Mitchell had gotten hotter in the past four years? Vera had avoided contact with him for so long – each time she’d see him walking the same path, she’d take a different path. Each time Gemma wanted Vera to spend time with Mitchell, Vera would find an elaborate excuse just to not spend time with them. It was bad enough that Vera had to hear about her friend’s love life from Gemma, but why did she have to go through the torment of seeing them be romantic in front of her?

“Hey Gems.” His voice was still as husky as she remembered, and still manage to send shivers down her spine.

Watching someone she loved, love someone else was one of the most excruciating pains she had ever felt. Watching someone she loved, love someone else and knowing that that it could’ve been her made the pain even more intense. Vera blinked back the tears as she hugged Henry, nestling her face into Henry’s shoulder for a while.

Henry didn’t mind, and Blaire had accidentally spilled the beans to Henry when she was ranting about Gemma. Henry held onto her for a tiny bit longer before releasing her and smiling.

“Vera, you going to the football match?”

Before Vera could smile and answer, Mitchell answered her. “Yeah, you coming to support me?”

Vera froze in her tracks. She was forced to look at him now, she could no longer look past his hair. She forced herself to look for something, something to hate him on. She forced herself to think that his eyes were too close together, but she knew that it wasn’t true. She forced herself to look at the tiny mole under his eye, forcing herself to call it ‘gross’ instead of ‘cute.’

“Uh, no. Me and Blaire have a project to work on.” She said the first thing that came into her head, wanting nothing more than to be away from his presence and his doting girlfriend.

“Aw, that’s too bad. Was really looking forward to having you there.” He smiled at her, and those dimples she loved so much appeared on his cheeks.

Vera noticed that Gemma was staring at her, so she forced herself to act normal and not the pile of mush she wanted to melt into. It took every single ounce of energy for her to smile and nod politely.

“Mitchie, do you think you could get me a waffle?” Gemma asked sweetly, but Vera wasn’t much of a sweet tooth anymore.

Mitchell nodded, taking a fiver out of his pocket and slapping Henry on the back. Vera and Henry shared a look and he patted her back as he walked past.

“He’s so lovely.” Gemma said in a sing-song tone.

“Mhm.” Vera could do nothing but swing the straw around in her empty cup.

“I honestly don’t deserve him.” Gemma murmured, staring at her boyfriend as he chatted with the female barista.

“I’m sure you do.” Vera murmured, her brain used to this pattern of conversation. Nearly everything she said was on autopilot when it came to Gemma.

“I think he’s the one.”

“I’m-”

Vera widened her eyes, and it’s as if her whole entire body just tore in two. The pain in her soul was so raw, and the wounds from earlier were still festering but Gemma’s comments stabbed her in the gut. If hell was a place on earth, then her soul was definitely burning in the embers.

“We’re 22, Gemma. Isn’t it a bit too soon to be thinking about the one?” Blaire asked, hoping to give Vera some time to respond.

She squeezed Vera’s thigh, hoping to fill her with reassurance but Vera was numb. The heartbreak had engulfed her, it had swallowed her mind and her soul to the point where she didn’t even feel Blaire’s hand on her thigh.

“Blaire, isn’t our lecture in 30 minutes?” Vera said, struggling to keep her voice calm.

Blaire furrowed her eyebrows then looked at the time in mock-surprise. “Shit, we gotta go.”

Gemma looked back in surprise, “But it’s a Saturday?”

Vera was already nearing the exit, and she wanted nothing more than to run out the door. She didn’t look back, securing the backpack strap on her shoulder.

“It’s a revision class, we’ll probably see you later.” Vera could hear Blaire saying her goodbyes and ushering her out of the coffee shop

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