“Why on earth did you think I would enjoy going on that show?” Clarke was staring at the show’s Wikipedia page, trying to figure out how many swimsuits she would need to pack.
“You know why,” her mother replied, leaning against the door frame. Yes, Clarke knew why. In the past few years, she had stopped going out and meeting people. Her father’s death was hard on her. She watched her mother’s heart break into a thousand pieces because she had lost the love of her life. Her soulmate. Clarke never really believed in soulmates. But, if soulmates did exist, her parents were it.
Clarke had dated a few people, but they never lasted long. She figured it would be easier to end things early so that she would never have to go through what her mother did. Clarke didn’t think she was strong enough to find love and then lose it. It would be better to just never find that person.
“If this ends badly, I blame you.”
“I got you onto one of the most popular dating shows on TV where they basically guarantee that they’ll find your soulmate. If this ends badly, it’s on you, sweetheart,” her mom snapped back with a smile. Clarke ignored her and went to grab her sketchbook, before carefully tucking it into her suitcase.
“Well, even if I don’t find love, I could still win money,” Clarke laughed to herself. Worst case scenario, she wouldn’t find love or money, but could quit her job to become a reality TV star.
“Hey, this could be fun. I could totally tell you which girls are fake and you can tell me which guys are acting super douchey,” Octavia joked. She put her feet up on the dashboard, which she knew Bellamy hated.
“O, I don’t find this funny. I can’t believe you nominated me for this crap,” Bellamy replied, keeping his eyes on the road.
“Okay, first of all, you nominated me too. So, let’s chill out.” Octavia had been watching this show since high school and always wanted to be on it. Bellamy teased her for it whenever it was on. Nominating Bell for the show was kind of a drunken mistake. They had gotten into a fight over her ex-boyfriend, Atom. He told her that she went out of her way to pick out people who aren’t right for her and she stormed out and ended up drinking with her roommate. Bellamy was just as horrible at relationships as she was. The only reason he was so obsessed with her love life was because he no longer had one. So, after three shots of tequila, she decided to nominate her brother for Matched, a show that she knew he hated. She never thought he’d get in. And she never thought her brother would nominate her.
“It was my way of apologizing. I know how much you love that show. I nominated you out of love. You nominated me out of spite,” he sighed. He turned on his blinker and they pulled into the airport. “Now, we are two siblings stuck on a show that’s notorious for the obscene amount of sex. And that’s just awkward and weird and we can’t get out of it.”
It was going to be weird. She couldn’t very well find her true love if her big brother kept scaring him away. But, at least she knows there is one person in this house that wouldn’t break her heart.
He had never flown first class before. The leg room alone made this the best flight of his life. Finn was watching as passengers boarded the plane, wondering who was going to sit next to him.
Then, a girl with braided blonde hair put her carry-on in the overhead compartment and took her seat. Her headphones were in and only looked at him to give him a small smile, before looking back at her phone. Finn nosily glanced over his shoulder to see she was watching last season’s finale of Matched.
“Holy shit,” he said, without thinking, causing the girl to flinch. A mother who was holding her toddler glared at him as she made her way back to coach. He really needed to watch his language in public.
She pulled out one of her headphones. “Sorry, I’m not trying to be rude. I just wanted to finish this episode before the plane took off. I am kinda on this show’s next season and I am trying to learn as much as I can about it before I get there.”
“That’s crazy. I am going to be on that show too. That’s why I freaked out that you were watching it. I just watched that episode last night.” He stopped, realizing that he had just started talking too quickly. “I’m Finn, by the way.”
She pulled out both of her headphones and said, “Nice to meet you. My name is Harper.”
She was the first person to arrive. She dropped her bags off with one of the guys from the studio. There were cameras everywhere. The producer at least made an effort to say hello to her before taking off. Other than that, no one had really talked to her. Which she was fine with.
If she was being honest with herself, she needed a little bit of quiet time to digest everything that was about to happen. She always wanted to be on this show but never thought she could because she wasn’t exactly interested in guys. The show had only ever cast straight people in the past. But, for the first time in the show’s history, a majority of the cast was actually bisexual. Lexa was thrilled that her favorite show was finally catching up with the times. But, since this was their first time doing this, she had no idea how that change might alter how the game works.
Her strategy would remain the same, regardless. Hang back. Don’t get too attached to anyone early on. And above all, don’t sleep with anyone that she’s not certain is her match.
He counted eighteen. He started counting again. Maybe he forgot to count himself. No, there were definitely only eighteen contestants in the room. The show’s host, Marcus Kane, was pacing in the foyer while Lincoln and the other contestants stood awkwardly in the foyer. They had all been instructed not to talk to each other yet, so that they could get everyone’s first interactions on film. However, Lincoln was sure that they had not anticipated two contestants being thirty-five minutes late. Everyone in the room was getting antsy, from having to awkwardly stand next to the people they were going to spend the next ten weeks with but not being allowed to speak to them.
“They just pulled up!” Lincoln heard one of the technicians yell out. He heard someone behind him grumble, “oh thank God.” Next thing he knew, the door flew open and two people came running in. One was a taller man with dark curls, freckles, and a look on his face that screamed he would murder everyone if they looked at him the wrong way. The other, was a girl who would not stop smiling. She was much shorter than the man she came in with, but they looked kind of similar. She was beautiful.
“We’re here, bitches!” she yelled, throwing her hands up in the air, without her smile fading for even a moment. The man who walked in with her finally broke his stern look with a small chuckle. She giggled as she joined the rest of the contestants, practically skipping to her spot.
Lincoln tried to pay attention to Kane’s opening remarks, but he couldn’t stop stealing glances at the girl with the smile. She just looked so happy.
He has been on his own for such a long time. He hasn’t been sad or anything. But, he wasn’t happy either. Just content and lonely. That girl looked like she had more than enough happiness to share. Lincoln just hoped that someone as beautiful as her would want to share some of that happiness with him.
It was unbearably awkward. This looked so much easier on TV, Wells thought, staring into his red solo cup. Everyone was huddled into clusters, making small talk, trying to get to know each other. It would feel like a normal party… except with microphones and cameras everywhere and no one had actually met each other before. Except the siblings that ended up on the show. That had to be weird for them.
“I can’t believe we went to Ark U together at the same time and literally never crossed paths,” Jasper, sort of drunkenly, shouted toward Monty. Monty’s face was getting all red, probably from all the beer. Wells had been talking with the two of them for the last few minutes, but was beginning to feel like a third wheel.
“I know! Like it’s so sad because like even though I just met you, I know we would have been best friends, you know?” Monty replied. His words were starting to slur together. Wells would have to start chugging if he wanted to catch up with the rest of the group. He glanced around the patio. He saw Lexa and Maya talking in the hot tub, while that quiet guy hands both of them refills on their drinks before joining them. His name might have been Roan, or maybe that was someone else. It was hard to keep track.
To his right, he saw Lincoln sitting with a blonde girl, not really talking. Maybe they both feel as awkward as he does, he thought. So, Wells slipped away from the drunken disaster that was Jasper and Monty and walked toward Lincoln.
“Hey,” he says as he sits across from Lincoln and her, “I’m Wells by the way. I don’t think we’ve actually met yet.” He reached his hand out toward the girl. She smiles softly back at him.
“I’m Clarke. Lincoln and I are playing a drinking game. Want in?”
“Sure, why not?”
“Cool. Just take a drink every time you hear Echo start laughing and take two drinks if she hiccups during the laugh,” Lincoln told him. Wells looked around for Echo. She wasn’t outside. She was sitting on the kitchen counter talking to Bellamy and Bryan, looking just as drunk as Jasper.
“Dude, she’s inside. How are we even going to hear her?” he asked. Then, as if on cue, he heard her cackle, then hiccup, then resume cackling. He looked over at Clarke as she smirked back at him.
“Drink,” she commanded, while Lincoln laughed into his cup. Okay, he could hang with these people.
“Okay, that’s not fair. I was like twelve when those books came out,” she snapped at Finn, who had been laughing hysterically for what felt like an hour.
“Doesn’t matter. Your first fictional crush will forever be a glittering vampire. That undermines any badass vibe you try to give off,” he said before finishing his drink. Raven had been talking to Finn exclusively for the entire night. The party around them had been dying down. It was that time of night where all the drunks started getting sleepy and needy. Raven looked over and saw Jasper asleep on Monty’s shoulder, as Monty tried desperately to stay awake and involved in this conversation.
“What I’m hearing is that you think I’m a badass.”
“What you’re hearing is that I thought you were a badass until I found out just how in love with Edward Cullen you were. Now, you can’t intimidate me,” he said, grinning like a smug idiot. She wanted to smack him. Then, kiss him. Then, smack him again. And, inevitably, kiss him again. And that’s exactly what she did.
It was way too early for drama, Bellamy thought as he went outside toward the pool. Last night had been a little bit reckless. He thought things were going well with Echo… until he saw her making out with Roan by the pool. She kept telling him that they were definitely a match and then, five minutes later, has her tongue in another guy’s mouth. He just needed to forget about her. Last night, he managed to keep his cool and go up to his room. But, he couldn’t sleep after that. Of course the first girl he is into is fake. He shouldn’t even be here.
He settles down into his chair to lay out. He hears giggling in the pool, but tries to ignore it as he slips his sunglasses on. Then, he hears splashing, followed by a girl shouting stop, and next thing he knows he got splashed.
“Watch it, princess,” he shouted at the blonde in the pool.
“What did you just call me?” she shouts back. That girl didn’t know it, but she picked the wrong moment to be snarky to Bellamy. He was already done with everyone in this house.
“Princess,” he spat back as he sat up to glare at her. Lexa, the other girl in the pool, looked like she wanted to jump in but held back from actually saying anything.
“My name is Clarke,” she snapped.
Bellamy laid back down in his chair before replying, “Do I look like I give a shit what your name is?”
If she had a clever come back, he didn’t hear it. Bellamy closed his eyes and plotted how he was going to get back at Octavia for signing him up for this dumb show to begin with.
The second day had been pretty uneventful. Most people were hungover from the night before and since the first week of the game didn’t have a challenge, no one really had anything to do except hang out. Miller was too preoccupied trying to figure out who he would choose for the match up ceremony. He liked talking to Lincoln and Roan but really didn’t make that close of a connection to match up with them this week. He looked around the room trying to see if there was anyone he had missed. Monty was cute but they hadn’t talked. Bryan seemed overly interested in Lincoln. He would just have to figure that out after this truth booth meeting.
Apparently, each week on the night before the match up ceremony, the house would send two people into the “truth booth” to find out if they are a perfect match. It was nice because then two people who were spending a lot of time with each other could find out if it’s worth the time or if they needed to move onto someone else. Pretty much everyone voted for Monty and Jasper to go into the booth since they looked so adorable sleeping on each other last night.
Kane waited for everyone to have a seat before starting. Bellamy, who was sitting beside him, kept muttering about getting this over with. Miller and Bellamy had quickly become friends after bonding over how much they hated being on the show. Miller looked around. Raven and Finn were cuddled up together. Emori and Murphy were holding hands. Clarke and Wells were laughing at something Luna said. At least no serious drama had started yet. Drama could wait a few weeks.
“And the couple you voted into the truth booth is,” Kane said, pausing for dramatic effect, “Jasper and Monty.” The two of them weren’t even sitting next to each other, but, after making eye contact, proceeded to give themselves self-high fives. They totally practiced that. Everyone in the room was cheering as they got up to walk toward the “truth booth.”
“That’s going to be this house’s first match, you guys!” Octavia yelled, inspiring the rest of the room to resume cheering. Miller wasn’t going to hold his breath about that, though. He binge watched enough of this show to know that the house never finds a perfect match on the first week.
“We are going to call you guys up here, one by one. You will say who you think your perfect match is and take a seat. Then, once everyone has a match, we will show you how many matches you guessed correctly with these beams of light. One beam means one match and ten beams means ten perfect matches and that you guys will walk away with one million dollars!” Kane explained to the cameras. Harper was barely paying attention. She had heard this explanation many times from previous seasons. She was too busy trying to decide who she would choose as her match. She talked to a lot of people who had been nice, but she didn’t really connect with anyone. Maybe she should just pick Monty, since he hasn’t gotten the time to talk to anyone other than Jasper. The whole house really thought they were a perfect match. They didn’t seem all that upset about it, though. They were joking around all day together, like they were best friends.
“First up, Octavia.” She practically skipped toward Kane. “Octavia, who do you think is your perfect match?”
She turns around to look at the rest of them before smiling and choosing Jasper.
“Oh hell yes!” she heard Jasper shout from behind her, before basically running up to Octavia. They locked in while giggling and then took their seats.
Next up was Finn, who obviously chose Raven. He basically declared his love for her to Kane, as Kane just laughed and shook his head.
After that, Lexa chose Maya. Murphy chose Emori, which she thought was cute. Anya chose Luna. Bryan chose Lincoln.
Then, Miller chose Monty. Damnit, she hadn’t exactly picked out a back up option. And, of course, Kane called her next.
“So, Harper, who do you think your perfect match is?” Harper looked back at the rest of the contestants and just said the name of the first person she saw.
“Roan.” Wait, that was a mistake. Wasn’t he already kind of paired up with someone in the house?
“What?” Echo yelled. Roan, not really reacting to this situation, just calmly walked up next to Harper.
“Roan,” Kane started, “would you have picked Harper tonight?”
“Honestly, no. She’s nice, but I haven’t gotten the chance to get to know her yet. But, I’m sure we will get along just fine.” Harper lets out a breath. At least he isn’t mad at her, she thought.
“Harper, if you didn’t know Roan all that well, why did you choose him to be your match tonight?” Kane asked.
“Well, I kind of couldn’t decide who to pick and panicked and picked him,” she said, trying to hide her embarrassment.
“So you picked someone you knew I was going to choose?” Echo yelled from where the rest of the contestants were standing. This was the exact opposite of what Harper had wanted.
“Give her a break. It’s the first week and she’s didn’t know,” Clarke snapped at Echo. Oh, thank God. She didn’t have a response to Echo and Clarke was her new guardian angel.
“I’m sorry, what does this have to do with you? Harper and I are having a private conversation,” Echo spat back at Clarke.
“It stopped being a private conversation when you started being a bitch,” Clarke yelled. Everyone in the room’s jaw dropped and Bellamy just started cackling. Harper then heard Jasper scream “yaaas” from the bench he and Octavia were sitting in. Echo just shut her mouth.
Harper and Roan took their seats quickly and waited to hear the rest of the matches.
“Next up, Echo.” Echo marched up there and chose Bellamy. Bellamy just glared at her when she called his name.
“Bellamy, you don’t seem too excited to be paired with Echo. What’s going on there?” Kane asked.
Bellamy sighed. “I don’t actually know what’s going on with us. We got along pretty well and she kept telling me that she thought she was my match. Then, I find her making out with Roan.” Seated behind her, Miller let’s out an “oh damn” and the rest of the group starts looking over at Roan.
“Okay, but it was the first night. Like I really like Bellamy but I’m not going to put all my eggs in the Bellamy basket without seeing if there are other people in the house that I might like. It’s how you play the game,” Echo argued. Harper, who had just been in the middle of Echo drama, was very amused at how quickly this all turned back on her.
“Interesting,” Kane replies. “Roan, I’m curious about how you feel about all of this.”
“Dude, I didn’t know about their situation. I was just drunk and she was pretty and she wanted to make out with me. Sorry, Bellamy. Didn’t know. But like, I’m not going to lose any sleep over it.” Harper snorted at Roan’s response. He probably isn’t her match. But, it was really nice to watch him verbally bitch slap Echo.
The ceremony started to come to a close once Wells chose Clarke. Kane reminded everyone about the light beams and they waited to see how many matches they got correct.
After all the dramatic waiting, they only got one light beam. Which meant there was only one perfect match that night. Most of the house was pretty disappointed in how they did. Harper was more worried about the couples who seemed to really work well together. Only one of them is actually a match. The rest of them are setting themselves up to be heartbroken.