Prologue

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"Aren't you excited?"

I glanced up to meet the cheery voice with a raised eyebrow. "Excited?"

Sly's grin widened as he clapped his hands together. "Yes, excited! You're turning eighteen, you'll get your tattoo soon!"

I tried not too look as deflated as I felt. "Yeah. It'll be pretty cool, I guess."

"Man, lighten up!" he whined, hitting me on the arm. "It's a hell of a lot easier than trying to find your soul mate by yourself. This way, you'll know!"

I glanced at his wrist, seeing the neatly-printed words peek out from under his hoodie. No, I'm fine, don't worry. The words Sly had first heard Seamus say when they'd bumped into each other, causing Seamus to spill whatever he was holding. The Puerto Rican regarded his tattoo with love, making it blatantly obvious how he felt about the blonde-haired man who sported a matching tattoo.

It was no secret that I didn't like the tattoo system. I hated it, I didn't understand it. How could the government know that I was supposed to fall in love with someone by the words that they said to me when we first met? Who were they to control who I spent the rest of my fucking life with by ink?

"Aleks," Sly sighed, jerking me out of my thoughts. His tone gentler, the passion replaced with pity. "I know you're scared, but trust me, you won't be disappointed."

How could he know?

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