Part One

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"A little advice;
be kind,
undress hearts,
stop running."

~ Anonymous

"Your hair is such a beautiful colour, Maisie," Aubrey smiled from across the bedroom, painting her toenails carefully, "And this nail polish! Is it more green or blue?"

"I don't know," Maisie replied sourly, flicking the pages of her book a little too fiercely, "I can't see it yet."

"Oh. Sorry," Aubrey winced, screwing the brush back into the bottle and sticking her feet into the patch of sun on the rug from the open window. "It'll happen soon."

"That's what my mum keeps telling me, too."

"You just haven't met the right person yet, that's all! Not like when I met Jack," Aubrey's eyes shined and she opened her mouth to speak, but she looked down at the floor again. Maisie sighed and put her book on the bedside table.

"It's okay, Aubrey. You can talk about him."

"Do you promise you don't mind?"

Maisie did mind. She'd never felt more alone and, although Aubrey was her best friend, she had always believed that she would be the one to find her soulmate first. As lovely as she was, she secretly thought that Aubrey was a little bit ordinary. She wasn't ugly but she wasn't pretty, and even though she wasn't boring there was nothing particularly interesting about her either. She was just plain yet now she'd found her soulmate and seen the colours of the world, she seemed like the most fascinating person Maisie had ever met.

But how could she tell her that?

"Of course not."

So she listened again for the third time that morning about how, last night, Aubrey Addison had met her soulmate outside Waterstones. They both reached for the same boring book on the same boring table, and as they began chatting the grey covers on the bookshelves turned red and orange and yellow, and she saw the colour of her own hair for the first time and how pale her skin was, and although Maisie Murdock smiled and nodded in all the right places, she couldn't give two shits.

The walk to college that morning was as uneventful as ever, with the added bonus of hearing Aubrey mention Jack at every chance she got.

"Oh, have you read the book for English yet? Jack read it last year so he's helping me with my essay." That's nice Aubrey.

"Did you see that car? Jack has the same one in blue but a newer model." Okay Aubrey.

"I can't meet up after school today to walk home. Jack's picking me up." Please shut your mouth Aubrey.

It was almost a relief when they split their separate ways on the corner of the main road and Maisie, for the first time, enjoyed being on her own. Maybe she didn't want to meet her soulmate after all, if it turned her into such an annoying buffoon with flushed cheeks and a shinier-than-usual forehead.

She felt a pang of guilt. She knew she was ridiculously, unnaturally jealous. She wasn't at all jealous of Jack - he probably wasn't anything that special and she didn't particularly care that Aubrey had found her soulmate first. In fact, she was happy for her in most ways - but if she had to hear one more time about how Jack looks like a sexier version of Sheldon Cooper with longer hair she was going to kill herself. No, she was glad that her best friend had found her soulmate.

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