Read the other parts before part four.
I. One and Only
II. Falling Fast
III. Hello Heartache
“I met my soul mate today.”
Those were really not the words he was expecting her to say. He didn’t know why but he couldn’t react. Not at first. He just stood there. Silent. Say something. But he couldn’t, he didn’t know what to say. What should he even say? He knew this day would come, he didn’t know when and he didn’t know what it would do to her and just by looking, he could tell it was killing her inside.
What should he do?
Hearing his name snapped him out of whatever he just disappeared in. He cleared his throat and took a step back trying to regain his balance. Theo moved forward but stopped herself, her eyes darting away from him. He could see on her face that she was confused. He could see on her face that she was in pain.
This is why. This is why he never put stock in the whole “soul mark” thing because of reasons like this. She’s hurting, and he knows he can’t do anything to help her, not really. This is why he admired his parents for making it through this society full of matching soul marks because they are still in love. He never knew if they met their soul mates or not, but regardless they’re together. They’re in love. He wanted that regardless of matching soul marks. He knew Theo didn’t care either, she always wanted to make her own way. So why was this so hard? Especially for her?
“Just…” He waved his hand asking her to stop. Just don’t. He wasn’t angry, not really. Steve didn’t really know what he felt. It was confusing. He turned his back on her and gripped the back of her navy-blue couch trying to stable himself. What does this mean for them? He wanted to move in together. He loves Theo. He doesn’t want to lose her to… “What is his name?”
“What?” Her voice was shaky, almost a whisper. He didn’t want to see the look on her face because who know what he’d see.
“What is his name?”
Silence. Steve turned to look at his girlfriend. She stood there, her head lowered, her arms crossed, like she was trying to close herself in. Theo had walls up before, he worked hard to get through them, but it was like she was trying to pull them back up.
“Theodora… what is his name?”
Michael. He wanted to know what he was like. She was gone for a long time, perhaps they got better acquainted. That burned him up inside, it felt like something red-hot was trying to claw its way out of his chest. Jealousy maybe? He never thought he would feel this way. Theo looked at him, her brown eyes wet. Was she crying? Oh god, he can’t handle a crying Theo. She is always so strong so tears were a rarity.
“Tell me about him.”
“There’s nothing to tell Steve. He doesn’t… I mean, we didn’t… it wasn’t like a full conversation. We just talked.”
She stepped towards him again and he would have moved away but he forced himself to stay. He could smell her perfume as she moved closer. The honey lavender scent wafted into his nose and it centered him. He always loved the way she smelt. The smoothness of her hands, touched his arms that tightly gripped the back of the couch behind him. He watched as her hands moved up his arms, rising to his shoulders…his heart beat so painfully in his chest but he couldn’t help himself. He wanted to kiss her. Her hands moved to his neck, they rested on his face and she stood on her toes. Her full lips touched his and he didn’t know if the sharp intake of breath was his or hers.
Steve released the couch and pulled her closer to him. Her body touching his…but something was wrong. Something was off. There was an alarm going off somewhere in his mind. When they pulled away, his breath was heavy, her eyes stared into his eyes and he knew something was wrong.
“Something’s wrong Steve.” She pulled away completely, her movements frantic as she began to pace back and forth. She touched her fingers to her lips, her brow furrowed as it did when she was in thought.
“It’s the soul mark.” His voice was quiet. It was the only explanation. But why would they feel different just because Theo met her soul mate. Nothing changed when he met Ebony. Why has it changed now?
“No. Why would it be different for the both of us and not just me? I don’t understand any of this. It’s so annoying and I hate it. I love you Steve. I know I do but I just feel… so confused that I don’t know what to do.” He watched as her pacing picked up speed. Her face was full of agony and she occasionally stopped to look at him her brown eyes wide.
“No one truly understands how soul marks work Theo.”
“Maybe not but I don’t… I hate this. I hate it. When I heard my words…” No. I don’t want to hear this. “…I, I wanted to fight it. I did fight it, but it wasn’t good enough. I’m so sorry Steve. I never want to hurt you.”
“You know I never wanted to meet my soul mate. I just… I want to be with you. I just can’t decide what’s going on inside of me. If you meet your soul mate you’ll know exactly…”
“I’ve already met her.”
Theo stopped moving, her body rigid. She turned to look at Steve even more confused then she already was. Steve looked away. Today has been ruined. He shouldn’t have said anything, he should have kept everything to himself. He shouldn’t have asked in the first place.
“What? You have? When?”
“About six months ago.”
Theo’s eyes grew large. Steve wasn’t sure what that expression was, but he knew her mind was going through all kinds of scenarios. She stood still. She was so silent. He felt like he should have moved forward, maybe he should reach for her, maybe he should reassure her that it meant nothing. Yeah, he thought about Ebony, but not like constantly. It just happens every now and then.
What? It was so quiet that he almost didn’t hear what she said. He asked her to repeat what she said, but she finally looked at him. Her brown eyes watery once more but soft.
“Is she pretty?”
“Tha- that doesn’t… that doesn’t matter Theo.”
“Is she pretty Steve?”
He sighed. This is so painful, and he didn’t want to make it worse. Why should it matter if his “soulmate” was pretty? It didn’t matter.
The woman of his dreams stood there in front of him. Her eyes a beautiful light brown, seeming brighter because of her tears. Her beautiful brown skin always glowed from the light she carried inside her body. Her large curly hair styled in one of her favorite “go-to” styles of a fro-hawk. Her dark jeans and blue tank top. Everything about her was what he wanted. She was perfect.
But… there were times when he thought of Ebony James. It happened randomly. Not often but randomly. He remembered how she looked when he stopped her dog from running too far.
Ebony had her hair pulled back into a ponytail, it was black and straight with wisps escaping and curling around her forehead. Her skin was dark, he imagined it was beautiful in the moonlight. She had almond eyes, dark as well and a beautiful smile with full lips. She was beautiful and sometimes her face appeared, and he always pushed it away.
Sometimes it lingered for too long though.
Ebony doesn’t look a thing like Theo. But he couldn’t deny his own confusion, but he could push it away a lot easier than Theo apparently could. He didn’t know Ebony. She seemed nice, but he didn’t know her.
Shit. He’s been quiet for too long.
“Yeah, she was pretty.”
There was a sharp intake of breath, but he didn’t see anything accusing or hurt in her eyes. There was understanding, and he hated that. She was perfect and he’s sitting here upset that she met her soulmate, like she planned it.
He sighed and moved towards her.
She wrapped her arms around him and they just stood there entwined. He could feel her heartbeat against his chest, and he really wished everything before this moment could be erased but he knew it was going to be different.
At the end of the day, it’s Theo’s choice.