They were best friends, soulmates, so what could force them apart?
They’d been soulmates for practically their entire lives.
In a world that was lucky to find their soulmate at all, they’d been even more than fortunate. As soon as Tatiana and Seren had met, four years old at the park one day by chance, something had just clicked. Of course, it would be a few years before they understood the implications behind it, but by then, they’d already become fast friends, spending all of their spare time at the other’s house, braiding each other’s hair, making up code names and secret languages by flashlight under blanket forts.
Even their parents, siblings, and all their close friends at the time had understood and come to terms with what they were. Nobody tried to keep them apart, and neither had any real reason to be clingy. They were best friends, soulmates, so what could force them apart?
“Want to know a secret?” Tatiana at eight years old whispered to her friend one day as they lay side by side on the ground under a fort they’d built.
“What?” Seren giggled in return.
The brunette flipped over. “We’re soulmates,” she murmured in excitement. “I heard our parents talking about it. They say we’re inseparable.”
“That’s because we are,” Seren confirmed, lifting a pale eyebrow in amusement at her friend. “And what’s a soulmate, anyway? Aren’t they meant to be your ‘one true love’?” She drew air quotes around the last few words, clearly more skeptical than her friend.
“It doesn’t need to be,” Tatiana defended quickly. “I think that soulmates are just meant to be, I dunno, your other half or something like that.”
There was a pause, and then Seren turned over. “So like us, right? Best friends?”
“Exactly,” the other girl grinned.
Once they got to high school, they went to a new school, a bit farther from their home. They had to take a bus to get there, surrounded not by their classmates their entire lives, but strangers. This didn’t really bother either of them much. They had each other to rely on.
When they actually got to school, however, they realized that they’d been separated into different classrooms for the first time in their academic lives. After hesitating at the door of her classroom, Tatiana nodded at Seren slowly. “It’ll be fine. I’ll see you at lunch.” She waved her fingers and disappeared inside.
High school wasn’t quite as awful as she’d expected it to be. She met people inside the classroom – Ariel, Chastity, Benjamin. They were all lovely in their own ways, for it was in Tatiana’s nature to be polite and try to get along with everyone, but they weren’t Seren.
Fortunately, at lunch, she was reunited with the blonde. Hazel eyes scanned the crowded cafeteria room until she caught sight of her friend and sped over as fast as she could without sending her tray flying forward, and she nudged her best friend in the side. “Hey, did you make any new friends?”
The blonde turned and nodded eagerly. “A few! This is one of them.” She gestured with one hand, the other supporting her tray, to the tall boy with curly brown hair next to her that Tatiana hadn’t noticed until now. “His name is Frankie,” Seren added, and at his name, the boy turned and nodded politely at the brunette girl, who imitated the same gesture back.
After a pause, Seren nodded toward the nearest table. “Should we sit down?”
Tatiana wasn’t sure why there was suddenly a third person invited to what had always been a very close friendship between her and Seren, but she allowed it. (Temporarily, and with much wariness.)
She nodded and forced a smile on her lips. “Sure. It’s nice to meet you, Frankie.”
There were things that Tatiana had begun to take notice of that she hadn’t noticed before, probably because her and Seren had been inseparable throughout their childhood. Things were changing now between them. Seren was interested in cheerleading, parties, and Frankie Baudelaire. Tatiana was interested in painting, studying, and trying not to lose her best friend.
That seemed to be exactly where this was leading. She barely saw the blonde except briefly on the bus and at lunch – where they were always with Frankie, never alone. They were still close, but they weren’t exactly what they’d once been, and the brunette could think of no solution.
On top of that, she was beginning to see and feel things differently. One weekend night, when she was studying for an anatomy exam she had on Monday, she heard the sound of laughter, the lights from her reading lamp suddenly dimming and fading to a scene much like a party. Her own bedroom appeared to her like a living room somewhere, and someone looked like they were handing her a drink – only the hand that reached out to take it wasn’t hers.
With a gasp, she sat up and hit her head on her bookshelf promptly, the scene in front of her dispelling. Rubbing at it ruefully, it occurred to her that she knew exactly whose hand that was, and she grabbed her phone and gave the other person a call.
“Hello?” The voice at the other end of the phone was distorted, shouting through all the other noise.
“Seren? Are you at a party?” Tatiana asked her friend, jamming her phone in between her shoulder and ear for stability.
“Yeah, I’m at one right now. Are you going to come? You won’t guess what Frankie just –“ There was a shout and then a peal of laughter, decidedly the boy’s and not Seren’s, and then the blonde added, “I’ll talk to you later, okay?”
The line clicked dead and Tatiana stared at the phone in her hands for a moment before she placed it down beside her. The brunette did her best to try and study again, but a dull throbbing began in her head, reminiscent of being somewhere where music was played too loud. Like a party that her best friend was currently at.
Tatiana sighed and rubbed at her temple, abandoning her textbook to lie down.
TATIANA PENVRANE >> SEREN JONES [7:26] hey, u wanna go to see that one new romance movie tomorrow?
SEREN JONES >>> TATIANA PENVRANE [7:27] sorry, frankie and i are going bowling tomorrow!
TATIANA PENVRANE >>> SEREN JONES [7:29] that’s ok. can we go to the mall friday night instead?
SEREN JONES >>> TATIANA PENVRANE [7:30] can’t, frankie’s taking me to his friend’s party
TATIANA PENVRANE >>> SEREN JONES [7:31] lunch on saturday at that little cafe that you love?
SEREN JONES >>> TATIANA PENVRANE [7:33] frankie and i are going to the cinema during that time
TATIANA PENVRANE >>> SEREN JONES [7:36] ok.
SEREN JONES >>> TATIANA PENVRANE [7:37] r u mad at me??
Tatiana Penvrane: message seen at 7:38
Tatiana Penvrane has logged off of Messenger.
Tatiana could hear the familiar voice behind her, but she ignored it as she continued through the hallway, wrapping her arms more tightly around the books that she was carrying. Unfortunately, the hallway was crowded, but maneuverable enough, and the blonde caught up with her, and they stopped abruptly beside a row of lockers.
“Where’s Frankie?” Tatiana asked venomously.
Seren shot her a wide-eyed look. “Why are you so angry?”
The brunette faltered, even if she knew exactly why. It tugged on her heartstrings uncomfortably every time her best friend went out with the boy – it wasn’t so much the fear that she’d have to share Seren that bothered her, but the fear of being replaced.
Also, seeing the world through the other’s eyes had made her a bit more aware of the latent feelings she had for Seren that she hadn’t realized until now. Tatiana was, quite possibly, a bit very, in love with Seren Jones.
She blinked again and broke her silence to answer the question. “You’re spending so much of your time with Frankie,” she complained bitterly, trying and failing to act like anything but the petulant child that she was.
“Yes, well, that’s because I really like him,” Seren justified, crossing her arms across her chest.
“I know,” Tatiana replied sullenly. “You’re always at parties with him.”
“How did you know?”
“We’re meant to be soulmates, Seren. And we’ve been together for basically our entire lives until now. I can see what you’re feeling and feel what you are when you’re not with me now.”
“I can see what you’re doing sometimes too,” the blonde added quickly, “Like, I dunno, when you’re in art club, or studying, or trying to learn to drive.”
“Yeah, but it’s not the same,” Tatiana huffed. “You’re not feeling what I feel like the way I feel what you do.”
And lately, there had been that annoying tickle in her stomach as if butterflies were trying to escape. At first, Tatiana had dismissed them, because this was the feeling that she always got near Seren, but now she was beginning to realize that she was feeling what Seren felt – in front of Frankie. It had crushed Tatiana when she’d realized it, but she wanted to hear the other actually say it.
That was why she plowed forward. “Seren, just admit it. You fancy him, don’t you?”
The other’s red cheeks were really all the confirmation that she needed, but after a moment, the blonde nodded slowly. “I really fancy. I think – I dunno, it might be a bit early to tell – I might be in love with him.”
These words were a slap in the face to Tatiana Penvrane.
She nodded slowly in return. “Okay.” And then, she found that she could stay there no longer and began walking again, the way she’d been going. Seren, once more, rushed to keep up with her.
“What? What’s wrong with that?”
Tears pricked at the brunette’s eyes, but she studiously kept her gaze forward, replying, “Nothing. I’m just not going to sit around and have to watch you fall in love – with someone else.”
Before Seren could answer, Tatiana had already turned and all but run into her classroom.
Three weeks later, they were seated at Tatiana’s kitchen table, calculus notebooks in front of them as they tried to learn integration. There had been silence for nearly twenty minutes as they worked, until Seren broke it.
“You didn’t mean it, did you? What you said that one day in school about watching me fall in love with someone who wasn’t you?”
There was the briefest of pauses before the brunette choked out a laugh. “No, that’s not what I meant at all.” A lie. “I was just upset that you weren’t spending that much time with me.” This was true, but not all of it.
“Oh, good,” Seren breathed out a sigh and then grinned. “Did I tell you that Frankie finally asked me out?”
“No, you didn’t.” Her voice was flat, and to hide that, she gave her friend an amused glance sideways.
Seren didn’t seem to notice anything amiss. “Besides, soulmates are platonic sometimes. Like us – best friends,” she reassured her friend.
Tatiana finally met the other’s gaze. The blonde was happy – that was undeniable. For all of Tatiana’s heartache and jealousy, she wouldn’t do anything to jeopardize Seren’s happiness.
That was why she plastered on a smile and nodded numbly, her heart twisting uncomfortably as she added, “Exactly. Just best friends, like us.”