In a Love-Hate Relationship by Precious Martins was submitted in May 2022 to Challenging The Writers Writing Contest #4 based on the writing prompt: Write a romantic story in which the main characters are enemies, but ultimately fall in love with each other.

My hatred for William Adeleke was confirmed the day he beheaded my doll when we were five years old. William has always been a chronic bully and annoying leech in my eyes. It was even more irksome that he only picked on me. He was the sweetest boy in everyone’s eyes but an archenemy in mine.

From the moment we met as babies, we never got along, when we were left alone in a room, we would end up tearing at each other with absolute hate. It was as if our guilty pleasure was to see the other cry or feel pain.

On my eighth birthday, I woke up to a ruined birthday dress. At our graduation party in secondary school, he spiked my drink and I embarrassed myself in front of everyone. One time, he poured dye into my hair shampoo and I had blue hair for a week. 

Of course, I didn’t let him go scot-free, I locked him in the school bathroom before his football game started when we were thirteen, and he missed the game. I made his then-girlfriend who he really liked break up with him by making her think he was cheating on her with me. One time too, I pulled his pants down in primary school.

For every prank he gave, I returned it with equal gusto. I had a fiery temper and he had endless tricks up his sleeves.

People find it hard to believe when I tell them how much I hate him especially when they know or find out that our fathers are childhood friends, and even our mothers are good friends as well. It was impossible to avoid him, since our families are next-door neighbours, on Sundays, our families have dinner together and we have always attended the same school, right from kindergarten to university. 

To seal up the entire bag of troublesome friendship, our fathers promised to marry their children off to each other to continue the ‘love’. 

I really don’t see how that’s going to come to fruition because William just broke the last straw of holding together my self-control.

I am standing in front of what is meant to be my still sort of brand new car, which my dad had given me as a birthday present some weeks back when I turned twenty-three years old. 

My beautiful car, which I haven’t even dared to drink in yet, was now sporting different shades of colours that gave off the impression a unicorn had pooped on it. 

William, you are so dead! I kept repeating the five words to myself over and over again until it felt like I would explode in anger if I didn’t let it all out.

“WILLIAM!” I shouted and my voice echoed endlessly through the usually quiet estate. I was seeing red and I bet if I was a cartoon character, steams of anger would have been pouring out of my ears.

“Jeez, why are you being so loud early in the morning?” My archenemy says as he steps out lazily from the front of his dormitory doors.

Just like at home, we are next-door neighbours at school too. Trust me, this is way better than us being roomies like our parents first suggested.

He tried to feign confusion but it was easy to read the mischief in his endless black orbs. I have seen that look one too many times to miss it.

“I AM GOING TO KILL YOU!” I scream and lunge at him. He already expected my attack and quickly backs up and into a run to put a distance between us and unluckily for me, he was too damn fast for me to reach him.

“Come on Adele, move those chicken legs.” He mock-shouts as he clutches his stomach in laughter. In times like this, I wish I wasn’t named after the singer Adele all because my mum is a die-hard fan of hers.

I attempt to run after him but I think better of it as I see other students come out of the dormitory with interest to watch, some watched through their window and gossiped cheerfully like we were their morning show. I even saw a guy taking out his phone to record.

“It’s them again.”

“Aww, They are so cute together. God when? Am I a potato?”

“I’m on Team William but William is definitely going to get crushed by Adele’s anger.”

“Is this the last straw for Adele?”

“I really hope it is, maybe then she can give me a chance”

I could hear the chatter from the students as they derived entertainment from watching us.

Everyone but me seems to be in a different world where William and I are the perfect couple. No matter how much I complain and explain, they just wave off my hatred for him and fawn over our “love”.

“I have a boyfriend y’all!” I exclaim in frustration as I huff and walk angrily back into my dormitory and to my room.

Ugh! Why is my life like this?

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