I didn’t choose to be the Heartbreak Messenger. Not really. I was just trying to make a few honest bucks and help a guy out. I definitely didn’t choose the name. I don’t know who did. It just started floating around and eventually stuck. Me? I would’ve gone for something more professional and less … girly.
Speaking of girls, I should probably tell you something about myself right off the bat—and it’s embarrassing, so you can pretty much count on it being true. I’m not exactly what you would call a “ladies’ man.” Anyone who knows me can tell you I don’t talk to girls if I can help it. I mean, besides my friend Abby and the occasional cashier at the grocery store. I’m only saying this so you’ll believe me when I tell you that I didn’t get involved in all this as a way to meet girls. And, for the record, I don’t enjoy making people cry, either.
But, believe it or not, there are guys out there that have even more trouble with girls than I do. The crazy part is that some of those guys have girlfriends.
And that’s where I come in.
It all started with Rob McFallen’s older brother, who was a junior in high school. We were sitting in Rob’s kitchen one afternoon eating ice cream. That was the great thing about Rob’s house—both of his parents worked, and their freezer was always stocked with ice cream. As long as the rest of the house was in one piece when they came home, his parents didn’t really care if half a carton of rocky road was missing.
Rob’s brother, Marcus, came in and pulled out the mint fudge brownie. He had on his red delivery uniform, but he didn’t seem to be in a hurry to get to work. He sat down and dug in with a serving spoon.
Rob looked up from making patterns in his ice cream with his fork prongs. “Dude, Marcus, use a bowl.”
Rob had been my friend since the second grade when he’d dared me to kiss a particular girl on the playground. I didn’t have the guts, so I started a fight with him instead. He finished it by throwing sand in my face. Sitting in the principal’s office afterward, me blind and him busted, had bonded us for life in a prisoner-of-war kind of way. I guess you could say he was my best friend. One of two.
Marcus scowled at his brother. “Don’t bug me. I’m thinking.”
“First time for everything,” Rob said.
Marcus didn’t respond. He just sat there, staring at the spotted green ice cream on his spoon.
“Man … you really are thinking,” Rob said.
I was kind of amazed, too.
Marcus dropped his spoon back into the carton without taking a bite. He pushed the ice cream away. “I’ve got problems.”
I licked the dripping ice cream from my spoon. “What kind of problems?”
Rob answered for him. “Girl problems. With Marcus, it’s always girl problems.”
“But I thought you already have a girlfriend,” I said.
“Sure, man. But that’s when the real problems start.” Marcus looked at me with troubled eyes.
Rob had already lost interest and was digging the marshmallows out of his ice cream. But I was curious. “Like what?”
“Like, on Monday when I picked her up for school. I wore my cross-trainers, but she made me go back home and change into my dress shoes. She said they went better with my shirt.”
“Or Tuesday, I was gonna hang out with the guys, but she needed me to come decorate some preschool for their fall party. She wanted me
* “When his best friend’s brother wants to break up with his girlfriend but doesn’t know how, Quentin agrees to do it for him for $20. He never expects it to turn into a business, but after being successful and taking the ex’s advice to soften the blow with flowers and chocolate, he becomes the heartbreak messenger. . . . This clever read will find an audience with both boys and girls.” —School Library Journal, starred review
“The laughs are plentiful in Vance’s debut. . . . Overall it’s an entertaining and funny read with a clever conceit.” —Publishers Weekly
“Breaking up is hard to do, but not if you have the Heartbreak Messenger do it for you. . . . With strong supporting characters and an appealing lead, this funny, feel-good tale is perfect for those beginning to think about dating.” —Booklist