Author's Note- In case thetime is confusing, remember the first part of this is happening at the same time as the second part of the first chapter. So no one is in two palces at once. Hopefully, the timing will get less confusing as the story progresses.

The Matchmaker

Story By StormDancer

Chapter 2

As soon as he was gone, I yanked my locker back open. No one has ever noticed the hole in the bottom of locker 420, because they're all too cowardly to open it. They're afraid opening the locker will break the magic spell that is The Matchmaker and they'll have to set themselves up. The horror.

I pawed through the notes in the basket at the top of my locker. A few notes of thanks- always nice for when my confidence is down-, a few requests, a couple bills for bribes, and one angry letter from the bitch I oh-so-mistakenly set up with a complete bastard. I was just doing my job. They were perfect for each other, really!

In other words, there was nothing unusual in that basket. Everything was signed and none by Darien. But I knew I saw him put something in the locker! He wouldn't have asked for the locker if he hadn't.

I stood and glanced around. No one was in the hall, as usual. Having a locker on the far edge of nowhere was occasionally useful.

I yanked locker 420 open. I never bothered to lock it. Even if people tried to take anything, all the notes were in my locker, and the hole was inconspicuous enough that they wouldn't notice anything. Locker 420 should have been empty.

Jammed in the hole where the notes fell from locker 420 to mine was a scarlet rose with a slip of paper attached. Raising my eyebrow at the oddity-what good did giving the Matchmaker a rose do, monetary bribes would be more practical- I unfolded the paper. A note was written on it. 4 words.

I want the Matchmaker.

No name, no return address, no way of knowing who had written it. But there was only one person it could be. It had to be Darien. It was the only conceivable option, however inconceivable it might be. Even the handwriting matched what I knew of him!

But what on earth was the possible use? Why would he do that? I had to quell my inner giggle at the request, that he wanted to be with me. It made no sense! And Darien McGavern did not do anything without a solid reason behind it. Everyone knew that. But he wanted me. No, not me, the Matchmaker. How did he even know it was a girl? And how was the supposed girl to know it was him? He'd never written to the matchmaker before, how was I expected to know it was him? I couldn't know the handwriting.

"Yo, Em!"

My inner debate interrupted, I slammed the locker shut, rose and all still inside. Hurriedly, I spun to face the approaching boy.

"Hi Allan."

As always he frowned at his given name. The almost rise it gets is the only reason I call him that, rather then his nickname. His face cleared quickly, though. Nothing kept him down for long.

"Why are you looking in the Matchmaker's locker?"

"I'm not," I retorted easily. I love Allan to death, but he is not the sharpest knife in the drawer, which is useful in situations like this.

"Okay!" If he hadn't been 6'5 and majorly built, I would have said he chirped. I rolled my eyes and patted him affectionately on the shoulder. He threw off my hand.

"Want a ride home?" he asked.

"I've told you before," I began patronizingly, but he cut me off for once.

"That you refuse to get rides with me. I know. But I still don't get why!"

He wouldn't. He had been popular since preschool.

"It won't do your reputation any good to be seen with me," I explained slowly, "Or else, I would be popular simply by association. I don't want either of those to happen."

"Why not? You don't want people to like you?" he asked, confused.

"I'm fine with the friends I have, and I don't want people to like me because you do," I informed him, "So I'm not getting in your car."

"Fine," he pouted. I grinned. I had discovered I was incapable of staying mad at Allan for long. He turned to jog away, but I stopped him, a sudden idea intruding. It was a long shot, but…

"Allan, what do you know about Darien McGavern and the Matchmaker?"

"Dude, this is taking forever!" Brock complained. I nodded curtly, For once, I agreed. These idiots obviously did not comprehend the idea of either move forward or get the hell out of my way. The crowd in the halls was moving slower then a turtle. More like a sloth. Or a snail. Or an amoeba.

"Move." I commanded, not yelling, but pitching my voice just high enough to be heard amidst the bustle. People pressed themselves against the walls as I strode down the now silent corridor, Brock trailing in my wake as the crowd closed up behind us.

"Yo," Lex was fighting his way toward us, occasionally waiting as people squeezed to get out of his way, without him even asking. At one especially crowded area, he physically lifted a girl out of the way and placed her to the side with a polite 'excuse me'. But for the most part, people let him through. I don't know why, they can't actually respect him. Maybe it's the smell. He, like, Brock, had come straight from football practice, and they reeked of sweat and mud. I had learned early on in my friendship to block out the smell, as I wouldn't have been able to stay by them otherwise. Neither of them or the rest of the team would ever learn that people don't find that stench attractive. People being me.

Brock greeted Lex with an exuberant punch on the shoulder. I was almost impressed that Lex stood up to it. I would probably have been on the floor if I had taken the fall impact of Brock's punch.

"Hey," Brock cried, "I hear you've got a party Saturday."

"Yup. Even convinced the old man to pay," Lex replied just as happily.

"So any chance your sis will show?"

I saw Lex's eyes flick to the crowd, as if searching for someone, but before I could trace his look, his eyes were back on Brock.

"How'd me getting a sister get out so fast?" he inquired, and I was almost impressed in spite of myself. It was an almost subtle attempt at misdirection.

"Oh, rumors. They say you got a new step-mom, as well as 15 brothers and sisters and 20 pets."

Lex and I stared at him.

"What?" Brock shrugged, "People in this school will say anything. So, is your sister coming?"

"Oh, well," Lex had obviously decided a distraction wouldn't work. Brock could be a bull dozer at times, "I doubt she'll show."

I leisurely lit a cigarette and drew from it, hiding my slight shock. Most girls jump at the chance to go to one of Lex's parties. They know I'll be there, after all.

"Is she hot," I drawled after another pull at the cigarette. Lex turned to face me, and even I was astonished at his expression, though I was careful not to show it. Lex was glaring. At me. His face hurriedly shifted back to its habitual slightly goofy grin, but I was sure that I had said something to make him mad. And nothing provoked Lex. Everyone knew that.

"So?" Brock prompted.

"Dude, that's a loaded question!" Lex exclaimed, his face set once more into a smile, "She's alright, I guess."

"But you would have to say that, wouldn't you?" I said lazily, ignoring the crowd listening to the entire conversation, "You can tell us the truth. Is she?"

"Why, McGavern?" Lex retorted, "Thinking of using the Matchmaker like us lesser mortals at last?"

"Why would I need the Matchmaker?" I scoffed, "I can find my own people to have sex with."

Out of the corner of my eye, I noticed one figure moving faster then the rest, weaving out of sight between pupils. All I caught was a flash of pale skin and dark clothes before she was out of sight. That Laycha girl. Idly, I wondered what had happened that she had left so suddenly, but I quickly dismissed it as unimportant. She didn't matter, and never would.

Brock whistled to hide his discomfort. I knew he hated to have the Matchmaker brought up. How could Lex do that? He must have known as well as I that the Matchmaker evoked bad memories for Brock. I mentally cursed Lex. I was the one who would have to deal with bringing Brock out of this Matchmaker induced funk.

"As I'm sure many girls can attest to," Brock responded to my cocky comment as if he wasn't upset at all. He was pretty good at that. I knew him well enough to tell he was down, but no one else would. "Come on, Dar. Later, Lex!"

He strode away, head high. This time, I was the one who followed in Brock's wake, after a condescending glare at Lex, just so he knew he had done something wrong.

"What's eating you?" Brock asked as we approached our cars.

"What the hell do you mean?" I replied testily. I had been meaning to ask him the same thing, so he could vent about the Matchmaker. He didn't have any right to pry into my business.

"That. You yell in the hall, then you get mad at Lex, and now you're getting pissed at me. What set it off?"

Brock was being surprisingly perceptive. But you know what they say, even a stopped clock is right twice a day.

"I'm just bored."

I couldn't very well admit that some slip of a girl I could probably break in half without half trying mouthed off to me, now could I?

"No, that's why you're never in a good mood. What's so bad about today?"

He wasn't going to let up, I could tell. It was probably better to just tell him now instead of having him annoy me for days until he got it out somehow.

"Some girl was impudent," I muttered. Brock snorted.

"Wow, dude, you need a life. Some kid's got you this worked up?"

I groaned and stretched as we come to my car.

"I going to get trashed," I informed him, "That's life enough for me."

Brock chuckled as he jogged to his car.

"Amen to that, brother, amen."