Connor pecked his best friend, Jude Jacob on the lips before fully acknowledging what that meant. That Particular time of his young life had arrived where he started questioning everything happening before his eyes. Why is the sky blue? Why do people jog at five in the morning? Why do people kiss?
"Mom?" A young Connor Stevens asked his mom, one sunny morning of June. Marla turned around, dropping the knife she was using to chop some carrots on the counter to give her son her full attention.
"What is it, honey?"
"Why you and dad kiss?"
Marla smiled before wiping her hands on the apron she was wearing and leaned against the kitchen aisle where Connor was sitting, staring intently at her face with an eyebrow raised quizzically.
"Because we make each other happy and we love each other very much." That was Marla's simple response.
Connor's nose scrunched up in a perplexed wince as he gave a small nod of his head although he didn't really get what his mother meant although it sounded so easy to his own ears. Her answer, yet clear and simple, sent his brain in a whirlwind of questions that didn't let him find peace.
“B-But-” Connor stuttered, trailing off on a small groan as he tried to come up with the right words. “L-Lot of people make you happy. Y-You kiss every one of them on the lips? I don't get it.”
Marla laughed, affectionately ruffling his hair. “Of course it doesn't work like that, honey. I kiss dad cause he's the person that makes me happiest among all those people. He's my husband, my friend, my confidant. He's the person I can rely on. He's the person that makes me laugh and piss me off like anyone else.”
“Is he your soulmate? Like.. the one in the stories you read to me?”
Marla nodded, biting her lip as to refrain a laugh to burst out of her lungs at the way Connor's face lit up with hope, “So when the time comes and I'll kiss someone that would be my soulmate?”
Something flashed across Marla's eyes at Connor's pure, hopeful tone in his voice. She gave a nod, kissing her son's temple, unable to reveal to him that real life isn't always a tale. She wanted her son to live in this bubble of genuine hope and happiness for a little longer, “Yes honey. When the time comes, you'll know.”
Marla's words left Connor more confused than before. What did she mean by “You'll know?” If he wasn't able to know what was written in his future how would he know who was going to be his soulmate? What if, completely clueless about standing in front of his soulmate, was he going to let him go?
Some of his doubts dissipated when he turned fourteen years old and some of his mates from school started showing off, quite proudly, their –-How did they call them?-- bond marks. It was just a letter indicating the first letter of their soulmate's name.
“Hey.” Jude Jacob raised his eyes from his notebook, dedicating his attention to Connor, sitting just across from him in the library.
“Have you, uh. Have you seen the sick mark Taylor got on her wrist?”
Jude snorted, biting off a laugh. “I wouldn't exactly call them sick. It's a bond mark-” Then he threw a ball of paper in his chest, laughing. “You would know if you paid some attention once in a while.”
Connor rolled his eyes, throwing the paper back at him, hitting him on his glasses with a silent thud. “Said the guy that reads fanfictions during classes!”
“Still, I know everything I need to know on the matter.” Jude shrugged, a smug light flashing across his eyes that Connor decided to ignore.
“So, explain to me why the only marks on our wrists are pens ink?”
“I guess we'll just grow old completely alone with a dozen of cats keeping us company.”
"I do not like the sound of it."
“Or-” Jude continued, chuckling lightly at the way Connor's face was twisted in horror, his eyes wide with fear. “We could marry each other and get over with it.”
“Us? Marry each other?” Connor snorted like he just heard the most idiotic joke in the word, unaware of the hurt flashing across his eyes as he was intently staring down at his notebook, “God, we would end up murdering each other within the first week as a married couple.”
“Maybe.” Jude breathed out, his tone not so light and playful anymore. “M-Maybe you are right..”
Connor clearly wasn't right.
"Dude! Get out of here! This is my spot." Jude spat out through gritted teeth, pushing him lightly on his chest which was completely hard under his palm. God, why Connor Stevens was built like a war machine?
"We both fit behind this bush. Come on Rose, don't be greedy!"
"Connor, for the thousand time! They couldn't possibly fit on that door!" Jude groaned, scooting a little bit behind the bush and murmuring under his breath. "There is a reason why hide and seek is a game for children only."
"Well, you could be easily mistaken for a child." Connor mused with low voice. Jude just rolled his eyes elbowing lightly in the hip and eliciting a small gasp to erupt from Connor's throat.
"You will get us caught!"
"May I remind you that this was my spot and you basically crashed my hiding place?"
"God, you are so infuriating."
"Go get your own hiding place!" Jude spat back with a playful pitch in his voice that gave no doubts to Connor that he was just messing with him.
"At the risk of getting caught?" Jude's cheeks warmed up at the glimpse of a pout on Connor's face. He decided to keep the racing of his heartbeats in check, looking away from his face in favor of taking a quick peek from over the bush.
"I don't care." Jude snorted, still not daring to look in Connor's direction. The sudden closeness between them made him hard to breathe. His heart inexplicably rocking in his chest with each passing second of waiting, praying for Taylor to catch them.
Jude turns his face to take a look at the boy crouched behind the bush next to him. His face was incredibly close to his own, his eyes fixed on his mouth like a spell just fell on him. Jude's chest ached with every long, painful intake of breath he was taking and giving away, aware of the huge, monumental moment weighing over them.
Their eyes probably fell close at the same time, the exact moment Connor leaned in and pecked him on the lips softly, like he was handling the most fragile, precious treasure in the whole word and thought of his mother's words as their lips started moving slowly, almost hesitantly, against one another. "He's the person I can rely on. He's the person that makes me laugh and piss me off like anyone else.”
It made him pull away from Jude just slightly, their lips pulling apart but still able to feel each other's breath, and looked down at his wrist where a small, remarkable initial now was marked into his skin.