This is copyrighted, since it is in a published book, so I suggest to all of you that who like stealing things, to trim your claws while you read this and back off, because I will sue your ass if I find it has been stolen. But if you want me to clarify, then read the small print! Happy Valentines Day. ^_^
The Perfect Match
Written by Phoenix Saige Whytock, in her book of short stories, "The Good, The Bad, and Everything Inbetween." This story is copyrighted as of 2011 by Phoenix Saige Whytock. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or trasmitted by any means without the written permission of the author.
A heart is a heart; it can be loved, cherished, broken and ripped apart into tiny pieces that cut through your skin like the sharpest of knives. No one can change that, even the strongest of people… no matter how hard they try.A heart though, only has one match. A perfect fit to its broken corners, nooks and crannies. That perfect match fills in the blanks to things you didn’t even know you had forgotten, to things you didn’t even know you knew.
The perfect match teaches you the meaning of Love.
Carissa Kayles ran her fingers through her tangled mass of dark blonde hair and let out a puff of air as she bent over, hands on her knees as she took deep breaths. Her white tank top and jacket were soaked through and as were her leggings as beads of sweat rolled down her neck and back, even though it was the middle of winter.
Central Park wasn’t overly crowded today– an oddity on Valentine’s Day. A few elder couples walked here and there with young couples in love thrown in between; even a few single people walked by themselves, through the park, enjoying the twisting paths. A stroll through Central Park– in a New Yorker’s life– was a tradition on Valentine’s Day– or any other day for that matter.
As Carissa straightened herself she took note of all the couples that passed by her and with a sigh, she walked over to one of the numerous water fountains, choosing to ignore the couples rather than feeling sorry for her lack of a relationship on the most romantic day of the year.
That feeling of self pity started to gnaw at her stomach again as she remembered her rather recent break up with her fiancée just a week ago. The water cool her flushed body as it washed through her, she straightened and leaned against the cement fountain, remembering the past week with a certain distaste.
The days were spent in bed with two mountains of tissues on either side of her, a half gallon of Cherry Garcia and black and white movies of Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers. If you asked her how she had felt, she would have replied by either mumbling some incoherency or bursting out crying, it was usually the latter. Her friend Stacy had finally pulled her growing ass out of her tiny one bedroom apartment in Brooklyn, and forced her back into the real world of chaos and reality. What a loving best friend.
Carissa shook her head and chuckled while rolling her eyes at the memory of Stacy shaking her white tip French manicure at her and yelling at her to get her lazy, sorry for herself, ass out of bed in her oh so nice New Jersey accent.
A large crash came from the street and jolted Carissa out of her thoughts and away from her week of self depressions and heartbreak. With one last intake of water from the fountain she was leaning against she started to jog away. The rhythm of her feet on the pavement made like a steady hypnosis lull. Her thoughts once again wandered as did her eyes and all to soon she felt herself being jolted, once again, back down to reality by a solid object and the bruising contact of the slightly slushy pathway concrete.
“Oh God, are you alright? I am so sorry,” said a deep masculine voice.
A large hand met her arm and helped pull her up from the cold ground. Carissa made a sound of disgust as she felt the back of her leggings, feeling them soaked through.
“Are you alright?” Asked the voice again.
Carissa looked up from her wet pants and into a set of caramel eyes. She smiled, “Yeah I’m fine; I’ll have to go home now,” she said. “But other than that, I’m good.”
The stranger nodded, straightening the oversized black beanie he was wearing, and giving her a friendly smile. “Well, if there’s been no bodily damage then I guess I should go.”
“Yeah, thanks for helping me up.”
He smiled again, “not a problem.” He went to walk passed her getting only a few feet before he stopped. “Hey, out of curiosity: what’s a girl like you doing alone on Valentine’s Day?”
Carissa raised a blonde brow, “A girl like me? What’s that suppose to mean?”
“Nothing, just that you don’t seem like the type to be alone on a day like this,” he said gesturing to the couples in the park.
“Well I could ask you the same thing.” She said putting her hands on her hips and giving him a look. “I mean it is after all 7 am, wouldn’t you rather be spending this time with your wife?”
“I’m not married.”
“Ok then, I guess that answers that,” she muttered.
The male shrugged, “and you? Husband? Boyfriend? Single?”
“Fiancée.” He made an ‘oh’ sound. “Or rather, lack of. He broke it off a week ago.”
“I’m sorry to hear that.”
Carissa gave a soft snort, “yeah me too.”
“I’m Jessie Calister by the way.” Jessie said coming closer to her and holding out his hand.
Jessie smiled, “Well Carissa, do you mind telling me how far away your home is, your clothes are pretty soaked, sorry.”
Carissa shook her head, “I live in Downtown Brooklyn but I stayed at a friend’s place last night, she lives a few blocks from here.”
“You’ll catch a cold if you walk, or jog, from here in your clothes. My friend’s café is one block from here, actually, if we can cut across this grass it’s just around the corner. His sister works there and always keeps spare clothes around, I’m sure she can lend you something.”
Carissa thought about it for a moment but the numbness that started to creep into her legs made her final decision for her. “Yeah, alright, sounds good to me.”
The two started across the sodden wet grass, the water seeping into their sneakers as they made their way through the grounds.
Coming upon the sidewalk five minutes later, the crowds, already dense with mobs of people, they walked to their destination.
Jessie hadn’t lied when he said it was just around the corner, The Stop café was more of a laidback lounge style stop rather than a café. The walls were burnt red and the countertops were dark stone, it was dimly lit though held a comforting feel of having been lived in. Carissa grinned as she walked into The Stop and immediately fell in love with the small café.
A warm hand fell to the middle of her back as Jessie guided her to the counter. “Stay here, I’ll be right back.” He said.
She shrugged. Where was she going to go?
Jessie disappeared behind the counter and into the back of the store. The girl stood there glancing here and there at the many abstracted paintings that lined the walls along with black and white fashion photos.
Magazines were stacked on whicker coffee tables and dark cream colored chairs and couches were strewn all around the spacious area.
“Oh, you poor thing!”
Carissa turned around, bewildered, as a female voice from behind her made a tsking sound. She came face to face with a petit girl with bright green eyes and a wild mass of blondish brown curls. “You’re soaked!” She exclaimed turning Carissa in a circle, the poor girl looking around wildly for Jessie, or anyone who could help her get the girl off of her.
“Uh yes, I have noted that. Who are you?” She asked trying to step back but the counter limiting her.
“I told you I would find her,” came a voice from behind Carissa. The hostage girl turned her head to find Jessie and another next to him who was a couple inches shorter with a muscular build though not overly stocky, his light brown hair hanging unnaturally straight, slightly past his shoulders.
“Fee, your scaring Carissa,” Jessie said walking around the counter again, prying the smaller of the two off. Fee rolled her and let Jessie pull Carissa away from her touchy fingers.
“Actually,” Jessie started. “We were wondering if you could lend her some clothes.”
“Yeah, Jessie pushed the girl, now look were its landed her: in a room full of losers,” said the guy with the long hair as he leaned over the counter to flick Fee’s face.
“Says the long haired freak who wishes he could be like us, you have to be cool to be a loser.”
“I can’t believe we’re related.” He muttered.
Jessie rolled his eyes, “Carissa this is Alex and Fee, they are related, not that they tell anyone that,” he said with a chuckle. “And don’t worry, this is normal.”
Carissa smiled at the pair; the girl wasn’t so bad once she realized that she wasn’t in fact crazy. “It’s nice to meet you guys.”
Fee smiled brightly, “Carissa, come with me. You and I look to be the same size, though you might be a bit taller but that doesn’t matter, dry clothes are better than wet ones. Agreed?” Carissa nodded her head obligingly, and let Fee drag her by her hand, behind the counter and into the back.
“Strip for me my darling.” Fee said in her best French madam accent while she walked over to a trunk that had been shoved against a wall. Carissa laughed and stripped as she had been told to do, taking everything off but her undergarments.
“Here these should fit,” Fee said tossing Carissa a pair of jeans and a pink sweater. “I have some boots you can wear. What size are you?”
Carissa pulled on the jeans, buttoning them and pulling the fuzzy warm pink sweater over her head. “6 and a half.”
“Perfect, here.” Her curly hair bounced every which way as she danced over to the blonde’s side. “I’m a 7, because I sadly inherited Big Foot’s feet, so these will fit you perfectly since yours are tiny.”
Carissa laughed taking the black boots Fee handed her, “Thank you.”
Jessie and Alex were talking amongst themselves when the two girls walked out of the back room. They both turned when Fee announced that they had arrived. Alex just rolled his eyes at his sister and smiled at Carissa. “I’m glad my sister’s clothes fit you. They look better on you then her anyways.”
Fee scowled swatting at her brother’s arm. “Shut up you idiot.”
“Not until you murder me will I be as silent as the grave.”
Carissa shook her head turning to Jessie who was gesturing for her to follow him. He led her to a window seat in the corner, two cups of coffee sat on either side with a two scones. “I didn’t know how you liked your coffee so I just guessed. You seemed like a cream and two sugars type of girl.”
“Well you guessed right, except you left out a sugar,” she said with a smile as she sat down, Jessie pulling her chair out for her before he took his own seat.
Jessie grinned and produced a small packet from out of thin air. “Your sugar, miss.”
“Why thank you, Mr. Calister.”
They sat there for a little while, sipping their caffeinated drink slowly. Carissa was the first to break the silence. “So, coffee…?”
“I thought I owed you that much.”
“You have already done so much that this is sort of a bonus for me,” she said with a small smile, taking another sip of the perfectly made coffee.
Jessie watched her slowly, taking his time to look at her. Her long blonde hair that curled and hung loosely down her back, light skin and long lashes that complemented green eyes that stared back at him from time to time.
Carissa caught Jessie’s eye and she tilted her head. “What?” She asked.
“I can’t fathom why a guy would break off his engagement to a girl as beautiful as you.” He stated in a confused manner.
Carissa blushed lightly looking down at her cup, “I can’t either…,” she murmured. “Not the beautiful part but the breaking it off, I don’t know why. All he said was that is wasn’t working out.”
“Well he’s an idiot,” Jessie said. “He doesn’t know what he just missed out on.”
“Exactly,” she said nodding in agreement. “He had his chance. It’s over now, time to move on.”
The two peeked at one another from above their coffee and grinned. A silence once again hung in the air, but contentment hung with it, creating an easy atmosphere.
“So, Carissa,” Jessie started. “Tell me little about yourself.”
One year later….
“Omigosh!” Stacy said in a rush as she bustled around Carissa’s one bedroom apartment with a hand full of tall thin champagne glasses. “They’re going to be here any minute! Rissa, what are you doing standing around by the windows? Get over here!”
Carissa sighed, smiling at the thought of her friends arriving; she peered out of her large living room windows and smiled. The night lights were everywhere, creating a wonderful glow that illuminated through her home. White Christmas lights were intertwined here and there throughout her apartment, creating an almost fairy like appearance to her simple living areas.
“Coming,” She called from over her shoulder, taking once last look at the busy city that lay out her window covered in snow, before joining her rushed friend at the dining room table.
Carissa set the dishes, which lay stacked neatly in the middle of the rectangular dark oak table, placing the five plates on their assigned place mats. Stacy had gone all out this Valentine’s Day, bringing her red cloth place settings – which were currently in use now– and all of her lights. Though leaving the dishes and cooking to, of course, Carissa since she couldn’t cook a decent meal even if it was to save her soul from the devil.
Champagne glasses were placed primly in front of the plate and silverware in their correct order. The doorbell rand just as Stacy sat the last food dish on the table, along with an uncorked bottle of Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin’s brand of champagne.
Carissa went to the door, opening it to reveal the smiling faces of Fee, Alex, and Jessie– who was holding his own bottle of red wine. Carissa smiled at them and step to the side to let them in, “come on in you guys.” She said shutting the door as Jessie passed her.
The two went into the dining area to see Stacy to say hello. Carissa smiled as she remembered just last year when they had all met for the first time, and now a year later here they were on Valentine’s Day, altogether.
She turned at her name. Jessie was standing behind her a look of nervousness washed across his face as his brows pulled together and he chewed on his bottom lip.
“What’s wrong?” She questioned, stepping closer to him in the empty hallway. “Jessie?”
Jessie nodded taking a moment to gather his thoughts before speaking. “I, Carissa, I want to ask you something.” Carissa nodded encouragingly. He groaned, “You know this was so much easier in my head.”
“You make that sound like a good thing,” she laughed.
He just rolled his eyes and continued. “I wanted to ask if you could… would you be my Valentine?” The last words were soft and questioning, though the look in his eyes was intense and bright with hope.
The two didn’t notice when a set of three eyes peaked around the corner to eavesdrop on them.
Carissa raised her eyebrows, surprised by his words, but not entirely. He had always been her friend, but always more so to her. He was, to her, her Jessie. With a smile and a tilt of her head, she said yes.
The grin on Jessie’s face was wider then possible and with a flick of his wrist, he produced a single red rose from thin air. “A rose for a rose,” He whispered bending down to kiss her cheek.
“Oh, what a sap!” Alex cried dramatically, breaking the moment. Carissa and Jessie turned to their friends with a look of lack of interest.
“Shut up you git!” Fee scowled, straightening herself along with Alex and Stacy.
“Both of you shut it! Don’t you see their trying to have a romantic moment?”
Fee rolled her bright green eyes, “the freak ruined it obviously.”
“Says the girl who said we should eavesdrop on them.”
“I didn’t,” she said facing her two friends in the entry way.
Stacy spoke up, her New Jersey accent becoming thicker as she spoke, “now since we have all witnessed our two best friends confess their love for one another, after a year of putting it off.” Jessie and Carissa shared a confused look while Alex and Fee snickered behind her hands. “We have to complete this lovely memorable moment with a Valentine’s kiss! So shall I do the honors of kissing your oh so yummy Valentine, Rissa? Or would you?”
Jessie shook his head, “I’ll be kissing her thank you very much, Stacy.” With that being said, or stated, he turned Carissa in his arms and without so much as a hesitation, he kissed her. A slow and sweet one, a perfect one that made Carissa’s heart leap from her chest.
A chores of “ahh’s” echoed through the tiny space as Stacy and Fee smiled at the sweet moment, Alex making a gagging motion with his finger though secretly smiling at the couple.
When the two broke apart after a moment, they turned to everyone with a smile on lit on their faces.
“Ok now that that’s over with, it’s time to eat!” Stacy all but shouted.
Fee snorted in disagreement, “Yeah and while you’re doing that, I on the other hand will be getting to know that nice bottle of bubbly that has been calling my name since I stepped out of the cab,” she said striding into the dining room.
Georg and Stacy followed behind her, rolling their eyes at each other as she spoke. Jessie and Carissa followed behind their friends, linking their hands in the process.
As the dinner progressed, everyone at the table at one point or another, took the time to look around at the smiling, laughing, faces that surrounded him or her. This was it; the thing people talked about most in life: Love. It didn’t have to be romantic or about being sentimental with the one you love. It was about this. The love of spending time with the people you love, not just one, but all. And at one point or another, through the dinner, they had all realized it. They had, indeed, found their perfect matches.
See you don't need one person to love, and you most certainly don't need to complain about being single, when you have so many around you who you can share your love with. Stop being so damn blind.