"The two people connected by the red thread are destined lovers, regardless of place, time, or circumstances. This magical cord may stretch or tangle, but never break." -Chinese Folklore
If there was such thing as fate, then it was very cruel to Alex Parrish.
While everyone around him was marveling at their red strings wrapped around their pinkies, Alex gazed at his sad, scarred, red-stringless arms. Since these strings of fate were invisible to others who weren't the pair, this gave him the benefit of the doubt and pretend that he did have one (though he thought this whole 'fate' ordeal was just stupid).
Alex was tired of waiting for someone that wouldn't come but the immature and emotional side of him was thinking that one day, maybe his fated one would come.
That side of him was easily squashed down.
After all, Alex thought, how can I love someone if I don't even love myself?
The best way to keep your heart safe is to pretend you don't have one.
It was after school when he was walking all the way home. Alex was waiting on the train station as tugged on his jacket sleeves. He was preoccupied with his thoughts that he bumped into someone. He landed on the ground with his stuff scattered all over the concrete, and a pair of glasses that wasn't his. He met with the sight of enticing green eyes and long shaggy brown hair. Alex quickly grabbed all of his stuff and gave the glasses to the unknown man, who muttered a soft "Thanks" as they both got up.
Then that's when it happened.
A small splash of red straightened into a thin line that connected the two men; one to the wrist of one and one to the wrist of the other. The two men looked at each other in disbelief as they both thought the same thing:
My soulmate's a boy?
The man let out a disbelieving laugh as he wiped the tears of his face, "I'm sorry. I'm Darien Isle." He let out his stringed hand for Alex to shake. At first, Alex hesitated but he brushed off his shyness and said, "Alex Parrish."
Around the barrier of his heart, a crack appeared.
That same night, Alex couldn't sleep.
This wasn't unusual for him, but mostly it was out of disbelief that he, the boy who spited fate itself, was tied to another boy.
He couldn't help thinking that fate was spiting him back.
A comfortable silence drifted across the room as he recalled:
Oh right, it's been a while.
He got out of his bed and went to the bathroom. Behind the mirror was a cupboard which hid a small container, when opened revealed a tiny sharpener blade. Alex sighed, at first it was just something to release the stress but at the end of the day, he did it compulsively, to make the voices in his head stop. He rolled his jacket sleeves which revealed horribly scarred arm, one of which was connected with a red string.
Would...would he know?
A thought answered his question: Only one way to find out.
Another scar was added to the collection.
Alex thought it was stupid of him to give his number to a complete stranger, because after he stopped cutting his phone went crazy. Alex was debating whether or not to pick it up and the curious side of him won. "Hello, Darien?" He heard his panicked voice screaming "Are you alright, are you hurt?" Alex rolled his eyes as he bandaged his arm, "No, I'm not hurt. Why are you even calling me?" Darien's voice bled through his soul, "Because I was worried."
He shouldn't be. After all, no one worries about nothing.
Alex hated himself so goddamn much.
"You shouldn't worry about a stranger."
"Well you are my soulmate so..."
"Aren't you weirded out about this?"
" A little, but hey at least my soulmate's cute."
A flustered blush was spread on the sarcastic boy's face, as he stuttered "Stop, now. Good night."
That same night, Alex couldn't sleep; unlike other nights though, his thoughts were not busy on himself.
Then why do you buy it?!
Alex knew the reason why as he walked in to the same station he met Darien. Part of him believes in the voices but the other part was risking to be deceived by the sweet, delicious lie set up in front of him.
He really hated himself.
"Helloooo?" Alex turned to see Darien, all smiles and ready to end the day. It faltered when he saw the gauze on Alex's arm, and Alex noticed. Instead of opening up the subject, Darien asked "Do you draw?" Alex was kind of put off by the question, "Why are you asking?"
"Then no, I don't. You?"
"Used to but I stopped."
"What made you stop?"
Alex surprised himself by asking that and Darien let out a chuckle, "It was a useless hobby, anyway. Don't worry about it." A comfortable silence was laid down at the two men as they both waited for the train.
"Don't you think it's weird that our strings are attached to our wrists?"
"Yes, it's weird."
"Aren't you curious?"
"No, I don't necessarily care."
Darien's train arived as he hopped on to it and gave Alex a wave, and that's when Alex saw it.
Alex waited by the station again, and he really wanted to talk about what he saw. When Darien came, he rushed over to him as Darien smiled "I'll ask you again, do you draw?" Alex rolled up his sleeves to reveal his scars, as he whispered, "Yes. I draw too."
Alex was starting to open himself up to his soulmate, and they found that there was no place they'd rather be in. It may not yet be romantic but their friendship was stronger than most.
And to his surprise, Alex does most of the initiating of conversations, an example would be right now.
He texted Darien:
A: What're you doing?
D: Just thinking about my folks.
A: Where are they?
D: Sure as hell ain't on Earth!
D: Nah, don't sweat it.
D: Hey, where are your parents?
A: I ran away from them
A: As soon as they saw my cuts, they kicked me out.
D: Now I need to apologize
A: It's okay, I feel better talking about it with you.
D: Awwww thanks, bro!
A: No problem.
D: Al, if I say I love you, how would you react?
Alex nearly jumped up in surprise when he read that; he wasn't used to hearing it or even saying it, hell he doesn't even say that to himself!
A: I dunno. I've never been told that.
D: I love you =)
Alex still wasn't ready to say it so he didn't respond. A few moments later, he felt a familiar pain going down his wrist. At first he thought nothing of it, thinking it was residual pain from when he cut.
Then he remembered: he never cut today or any other day at all. He stopped because...Darien would feel the pain too.
He started dialing Darien's number, but he never picked up. Alex was starting to panic, as he felt another pain going down his wrist once more, cutting deeper and harder.
This is what you get...for letting him get too close.
911 reached Darien quickly, as they found him unconscious in the bathtub full of water and blood. Alex was pacing back and forth in the hallway, thinking what the hell was going on.
The doctor went out, "Mr. Parrish?"
Alex darted for him as he responded, breathless. "Yes, how is he?" The doctor looked through the papers on his checkboard, "He seems to be fine, lucky to survive since he lost a lot of blood. You can see him now, he's awake."
When Alex went into the room, he saw Darien's eyes string back at him. Alex was beyond furious, "I thought you said you would never draw again." Darien shrugged, nonchalantly as if this was a regular thing, "Sorry about lying then." Alex lunged for him, holding him by the collar, "I had to stop so I wouldn't hurt you and here you are, trying to kill yourself!" Alex vented out, his tears nearly spilling over, "I trusted you, Darien! I stopped so I would never see you hurt again, I trusted that you would stay!" His voice cracked as Alex sunk to his knees, "I trusted you when you told me you loved me, but that would've been the first and last time I would hear you say it!"
"YOU TOLD ME YOU LOVED ME AND I WAS STUPID ENOUGH TO BELIEVE IT!"
Alex was breathing heavily now, as Darien gazed at him with a broken heart. His eyes were brimmed with unshed tears as he gave a sad smile. Alex stood up and reached for the door. "They were right, the voices were right. I never should have trusted you. You were foolish to try and lie to me, I was even more foolish to believe you."
A week has gone by and Alex never attempted to call or text Darien.
At first, he was tired of feeling everything now he feels nothing; it was just numb to him. He even considered cutting again, but his stupid heart told him that Darien would get hurt.
At the end of the day, he still cared about his stupid soulmate.
Alex was so tired and numb he didn't even notice that Darien sat beside him by the bench on the train station they always meet, and when he did notice he didn't want to move.
"I'm sorry, Alex."
"Don't lie to me."
"I really am."
"...Was there a time when you were honest to me?"
"When I told you I love you."
Alex let out a bitter chuckle, "That's, that's the worst one you've told me. And I hate you for it." It was quiet before Darien continued, "Do you really?"
Alex was done.
He retorted back, "I shouldn't love you! I don't love myself, why the hell would I be capable of love?!" Darien wrapped an arm around his shoulder an replied softly, "But you do love me."
"Why are you asking me?"
"Why...do you love me?"
"Because, it used to be me alone. And it sucks, but now I have you."
"And who are we against?"
"This won't fix anything at all."
"I'm not promising that it'll be fixed; hell, I'm not even promising that we're gonna be fine from now on! I'm promising that you wouldn't face it alone."
Darien hooked Alex's chin with his finger as the stared at each others' eyes. Darien whispered "It'll be us against each other." Alex felt helpless under Darien's gaze, "And if we can't defeat them? The "us" we're so afraid of?"
"Well, we still have each other. I don't know about you, but to me that's more than enough."
They leaned in closer until their lips met in soft and sweet kiss, one that made Alex melt into.
If there was such thing as fate, then it was very cruel to Alex Parrish. He had a soulmate that would love him unconditionally, and that irritated him to no end.
Maybe he could learn to love himself by loving his stupid soulmate.