What’s stronger? True love, or soulmates?
Changed Forever
“Did you hear about Christi Millers party tonight?” Ruby asks.
I nod absentmindedly.
“Do you think Liam will be there?” She asks.
I look up from my laptop screen. We’re both sitting on my bed, a bowl of grapes balanced between us. I had been eating and scrolling through various social media as Ruby worried on.
“Have you two talked yet?” I ask.
She shakes her head. “I tried, he wouldn’t answer. Do you think he’s really mad?”
“You two almost died. He’s bound to be a little freaked out.” I point out, popping a grape into my mouth.
“I really messed up.” Ruby says, putting her head in her hands. “I really, really messed up.”
“Calm down.” I say.
“No, I’m gonna keep complaining and be bitter about this, thanks.” Ruby says, and I can’t help but laugh. “Seriously though, Char. I was there for you ever Leo freak out you had, humor me.” She says.
“You’re right.” I say, closing my laptop I sit up straight and put on my best therapist face. “How are you feeling about all of this?” I ask in a mock serious tone.
Ruby throws her hands up in the air. “Fine then, you’re no help in fixing my relationship, I’ll just have to date myself then.”
I collapse into a pile of giggles and stand up, nearly capsizing the bowl of grapes.
“Come on, stupid. Lets get you ready for a party.”
“Ruby, Char, over here.” Leo says, waving at us from a spot on the beach. Liam is standing right next to him, frantically shaking his head and trying to walk away but Leo grabs his arm.
It’s pretty dark out already, and someones started a fire in a fire pit. Music is playing and people are dancing and chatting everywhere. I love parties on the beach, nice and open.
“Okay you two, time to work things out. Char, come on, we’re couple counselors now.” He says, gesturing for me to sit beside him.
“This is stupid.” Liam says.
“Don’t question the counseling.” Leo says, pointing a finger at Liam and stifling a smile.
“Now talk it out.” I say.
“Guys, you can’t be serious.” Ruby says.
Leo gives me a look. “We aren’t good at this.” He says, shaking his head and smiling.
I giggle. “We need a counseling counselor.”
Leo laughs too and starts scanning the beach.
“Hey!” He says, waving at someone I can’t quite make out, the smoke from the fire blowing right in from of my line of vision. “August, help us out here!”
I laugh as August walks over, giving us a peculiar look. “What do you need help with?” He asks, studying the scene. The look on his face makes me giggle. I guess it’s kinda weird looking. Leo and I sitting across from a very disgruntled looking Liam and eye-rolling Ruby.
“We’re counseling them,” I explain. “They’re fighting.”
August laughs, “counseling them?” He asks, giving us a look that clearly says we must not be doing a very good job.
“We’re not very good at it.” Leo says.
“I thought you were dead, Ruby!” Liam blurts out.
Leo, August, and I quiet. August sits down next to Leo and we all scoot back a bit. Watching the scene before us unfold.
“It was just a joke.” Ruby says, although she looks sheepish.
“We nearly died, you scared me.” Liam says.
“And you didn’t even give me a chance to apologize!” Ruby says.
“I-I . . . Yeah, I probably could’ve handled that better.” Liam says, smiling just a little bit.
“I’m sorry.” Ruby says.
“Aww.” Leo whispers and I elbow him we’ll August stifles a laugh.
“I’m sorry too.” Liam says. They look like they’re going to hug but then they look over at us and freeze.
“Okay now that’s borderline stalkery.” Ruby says.
“Stalkery isn’t a word.” August points out.
“Oh shush, you.” Ruby says, but she’s smiling.
“Charlotte,” Leo says, looking at me very seriously. “I think we’ve found our futures,” he says. “We’re going to be marriage counselors.” We all burst into fits of laughter.
Ruby and Liam are dancing so close to the ocean that the waves wash over their feet, August has wandered off looking for food, and Leo and I are lying on a blanket, set out on the sand.
“Can I ask you a question or do you think it would ruin the night?” Leo asks.
“I don’t even know the question how can I judge that?” I ask, smiling.
Leo shrugs, “fair enough. I’m just going to ask you then. What do you think my soul mate is like? Don’t get me wrong Char, I’m just asking.” He says.
“I have a confession.” I say, so quietly I’m barely even sure I spoke.
Leo raises an eyebrow. “Go on then.” He says, smiling comfortingly.
“Grace Lynch is your soul mate.” I say in a rush, I just need to get it over with.
“What?” Leo asks, sitting up.
I sit up too, hoping and hoping that I haven’t just ruined everything. Then again, if I have, I ruined it a long time ago, when I kept that secret.
“How long have you known this?” He asks.
I shrug, because I really can’t remember. “Awhile.” I whisper. Stupid, stupid, stupid. I never should’ve kept this a secret. I stare at the string, leading from his heart to a girl dancing in a throng of people, smiling and laughing and completely oblivious of what’s going on.
“Char . . . “ He whispers, shaking his head.
“I’m sorry,” I breathe. “I never should’ve kept it a secret, are you mad?”
“I don’t know.” He says. “I mean I can’t believe you didn’t tell me but . . . I really just don’t know.” He says.
I’ve messed up. I’ve messed up. Secrets destroy people. Secrets destroy relationships. Secrets ruin everything. Why couldn’t little me have understood this?
I feel like falling apart. Just crying. It would be stupid. I don’t want to be the dumb, prissy, girl who cries over a boy. I don’t want to be that person but here I am willing back tears.
I think it has more to do with everything than just him. The strings. The stupid, stupid strings. Strings should not exist. They shouldn’t exist at all. I hate the universe for looking down on baby me and going oh hey! I have a swell idea! Lets ruin her life!
Somehow I don’t think I’ve ruined everything. But I’m not sure we’ll ever be the same. I try to put myself in his shoes, and realize I kinda have been. The day August got onto the school bus. And suddenly I knew who the universe wanted me with. That’s how Leo feels.
But it’s different. He’s talked to Grace before. We were all pretty good friends back in elementary school. Nothing and no one can be ruined forever. But we can be changed forever.

Keep Reading

Chapter 32

Confessions and Apologies

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