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Love Like You

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"¡Mi Hijo, pásate aquí! Your letter is here!"

 

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Tony bolted downstairs, the only sounds he could hear being the pounding of his heart that was ringing in his ears and the screaming coming from the living room. When he reached his destination he was met with his mother who was curled up on the sofa, weeping tears of delight into his father's broad shoulders as he clutched a yellowing piece of parchment with a maroon seal fastening it shut. He was simultaneously rocking his mother to soothe her and shooing away his older brothers who were pawing at the letter, desperately trying to open it. They were whining about how they were older than him, but Tony had received his letter before them. He couldn't help but smirk with genuine satisfaction as he cruised with pride towards the sofa, carefully plucking the letter out of his father's hands and examining it. His name was engraved on the back in curly handwriting, and the letter reeked of ink. The one thing that caught his attention was the wax seal with a single heart embellished on it, making his insides melt as he ghosted his fingers over the seal. He flopped on the couch as his family flocked around him, anxiously waiting for him to peel open the letter. "What are you waiting for?" His mother urged, "open it and show us who the lucky person is!"

Tony smiled, peeling the letter delicately and tuning in on the sound of the wax being torn off the paper. He sluggishly picked up the letter and unfolded it, inhaling the dominating scent of flowers that the letter emitted and letting it overwhelm his senses. He smoothed out the paper before finally reading it.

Clay Jensen

His parents exchanged disbelieving looks as they re-read the two words, and examined the address printed in small letters at the bottom of the page. Tony was supposed to meet "Clay" in twenty-four hours and apparently, fall in love with them. When he was younger it all seemed like complete bullshit to assign someone to love, but Tony was not very stubborn and learned to cope with the nearing reality that he would have to face his soulmate sooner or later. Tony was snapped out of his inner thoughts when his father quipped up. "Clay is an unusual name for a girl, isn't it, Mi Hijo?" He asked, looking Tony dead in the eyes. Tony visibly stiffened at the question as he mulled over in his head that he had not officially come out to his family despite their overall truthful accusations. He just nodded awkwardly in response and slipped the letter into the pocket of his leather jacket.

"I better get going to this address to meet Clay," Tony said, looking at his saddened but proud family. They all gave him reassuring smiles and hugged him goodbye, each of them whispering encouraging words.

"If this 'Clay' kid tries any shit with you just call the home phone and we'll break him before you can even admit that you're gay, ok?" His older brother whispered as he squeezed Tony. Tony's eyes widened as he let out a lighthearted laugh and patted his brother on the back, before venturing on to the garage towards his bright red mustang. He plopped into the driver's seat and turned on the car, basking in the sound of the engine revving and coming to life. He pulled out of the cluttered garage and descended towards the ominous shadows of night, welcoming the cool breeze that floated throughout his car. He was only a half hour into his car ride when he saw a lanky white boy pedaling like his life depended on it rush down the street in a hurry. As Tony's car lights shone on his milky white skin Tony could make out the eyebags that framed his face. The kid looked like he was about to pass out right on the spot. Tony couldn't help but feel bad for the boy, so he pulled over right next to him and honked his horn multiple times to get his attention. The boy at first looked startled as he jumped up and stopped his bike, staring down at the red mustang in confusion. Tony just leaned over and unlocked the car door next to him and popped the trunk, gesturing for the taller boy to put his bike in the back and join him. He gave a sleepy nod as he pushed the bike into the trunk in a daze and practically melted into the seat next to Tony, letting out a content sigh as he closed his eyes. Tony's heart tugged slightly at the sight of the boy looking so content, but he quickly snapped out of it in remembrance of who he was supposed to be meeting.

I came on this ride to meet my soulmate, Tony reminded himself, not to gush and drive around some random ass boy I picked up off the street.

Tony shook the boy awake, watching as his long eyelashes cast shadows along his cheekbones as he fluttered them open, revealing piercing blue eyes. It took all his self-control not to rake his eyes along the taller boy's skinny body as he made eye contact with Tony.

"Who are you and why am I in your car?" He croaked, running his hand along his face as if he had no recollection of what recently happened. Tony let out a breathy chuckle as he explained to the confused boy that he looked like he was about to fall over on his bike and that he had welcomed him into his car so he could drive him to where ever he was going. The boy just stared at him in disbelief as he shifted awkwardly in his seat, rummaging through a mangled looking backpack that he had been biking in and pulling out an individual piece of paper. "Please take me to the address on the bottom of the paper," he urged quietly, passing the paper over into Tony's hands. Tony gave him a quick nod as he folded open the letter, before gawking at the words printed on it in utter surprise.

Tony Padilla

Holy fuck I just found my soulmate on the street and he is a lanky white boy, Tony thought, staring at Clay in shock. Clay just raised an eyebrow as he cocked his head. "What?" He asked, folding his arms over his chest.

"Holy fuck," Tony repeated out loud, "you're my motherfucking soulmate."

Now it was Clay's turn to gape as he watched Tony pull out his letter from inside his jacket pocket and pass it silently towards the blue-eyed boy, watching as the boy gasped when he read his name written on the letter.

"You? Really?" Clay said finally, raking his eyes over Tony's general 1900s look, complete with the leather jacket. Tony knew he probably did not mean it in a disrespectful way, but he couldn't help the wave of insecurities that hit him as he grimaced at Clay's comment. "Hey, I know I'm not a model or some shit, but a scrawny looking white boy definitely wasn't what I was expecting either," Tony retorted as he allowed himself to fully check out the other boy. He overall was pretty cute, but Clay could obviously lose the dull gray sweater and get some meat on his bones in Tony's opinion. Clay frowned as he turned around and zipped up his backpack, prompting Tony to drive towards the destination printed on the letter. Tony just looked at him in bewilderment

"We already met now, what's the point of driving to the place?" Clay scoffed in response.

"That isn't where we were supposed to meet, it's where we are supposed to live together. This soulmate fuckery is basically an arranged marriage, but with more mystery I guess," Clay explained as he uncrossed his arms from his chest and clung them protectively around his backpack. Tony just groaned as he started driving again. "I have to live with you? For how long?" He asked as Clay shrugged, and responded by explaining that they would have to endure each other's bullshit for about a week.

"Apparently it's so we get to 'know each other better' before practically being thrown into a relationship because some random ass letter said so."

"You're kidding!"

"Nope."

Tony groaned again, and Clay just let out a sleep deprived hum in agreement as he drifted to sleep again. Tony rolled his eyes and drove in utter silence.

 

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Three Hours Later . . .

 

"Rise and shine, Sleeping Beauty, we're here," Tony mused mockingly as he shook Clay awake once again, opening the car door to let the taller boy out. Clay stuck his tongue out childishly at Tony, and Tony tried not to stare. They both walked in silence together towards the row of small houses, each labeled with a heart and a cheery banner welcoming any new soulmate couples. Tony tried not to gag at the smell of sex that wafted out of some houses. Eventually, the silence and stolen glances at each other became too much for Tony, so he decided to risk breaking it and ask a question that had been bugging him since he had met Clay.

"So Jensen," he said awkwardly as he shoved his hands into the pockets of his leather jacket, "you don't look very-"

"Gay?" Clay laughed softly, cutting him off. He moved his hand up to muffle the sweet sound of his laughter, which genuinely disappointed Tony. "I know I'm practically the poster boy for the 'shy straight kid' stereotype, but believe it or not, I'm actually bisexual so you're half right."

Now it was Tony's turn to laugh as they neared a large booth that was asking for both of their letters for registration purposes. It was pitch dark outside so there was a single fake candle illuminating the inside of the booth. Tony squinted in the darkness as he took the letters out of his pockets and tossed them gingerly onto the rim of the booth. He was about to slid the letters over to the tall boy on the other side of the booth when he saw Clay staring owlishly at the boy. He ignored jealousy bubbling up in his chest when Clay got closer to the boy, as his face split into a large smile.

"Jeff!" He exclaimed, outstretching his hand enthusiastically for "Jeff" to shake it. Jeff happily obliged, sending Clay a gleeful beam of a smile. "It's been a while."

"No shit, Sherlock. I'm working here by the hour to see if I can find my soulmate.  I don't even need to get my letter because I'll already be here, making it an even bigger surprise!"

Clay just laughed again in response, as Tony shifted awkwardly from foot to foot. He itched just to pull Clay away and retreat towards their own small house, leaving this Jeff guy in the dust. "On the topic of soulmates, where's yours?" Jeff finished, looking quizzically at Tony. Clay just smiled, poking Tony with his index finger.

"The quiet short guy right here is mine," he responded sending a shit-eating grin Tony's way, making his insides melt. Despite desperately wanting to kiss that grin off his face, Tony just rolled his eyes and elbowed Clay in the ribs. "This tall ass bicycle boy is, unfortunately, mine as well," Tony said letting a smirk pull at the corners of his lips. Clay just stared, a light blush tainting his pale cheekbones as he comprehended Tony calling him "his".

Jeff just let out a groan as he slid the keys to the house over to the two boys. "Get your asses over to your house before you two start making out in front of me," he demanded, shooing them away and addressing the next couple in line. Clay just sputtered and looked at Tony with pleading eyes, who in response, just chuckled and dragged an embarrassed Jensen towards their house. Tony excitedly shoved the key into the hole, unlocking it and practically skipping throughout it as he tried to memorize every detail about the new place. Clay followed curtly, stopping at the large master bedroom and yawning. Tony's face erupted into a noticeable blush when he realized that there was only one bed.

"I call the couch. No offense, Jensen, but I'm not sleeping in the same bed as you," he practically croaked as he turned away and retreated towards the living room.

All he heard was the sound of Clay's muffled laughter that quietly died down after awhile as the lights gradually dimmed before turning off completely as Tony made himself comfortable on the couch. Being a little shorter than an average person his age, he was able to effortlessly get comfortable in the compacted space before pulling out his phone from his pocket and reading some of the messages he had missed from his family.

Madre: Lo siento, hijo mío. Me olvidé de empacar tus cosas antes de irte.

Papá: Si usted necesita que le enviemos cualquier cosa apenas nos envíe su dirección y le la enviaremo.

Tony let his mouth morph into a content smile as he reread the messages, the memories of his loving family dancing throughout his mind. No matter where he would go he would never forget them. He clicked off his phone when he checked the time and realized it was already the next day, and sluggishly let sleep take control of his body as Clay's dazzling blue eyes settled into his mind before everything went black.

 

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Clay

 

Clay awoke with a start as his eyes slowly adjusted to the sunlight streaming through the windows on the opposite side of the room. He recollected his thoughts, remembering where he was and who he was with. His face heated as he thought about the handsome stranger he had met last night. Well, now he was not a stranger, he was Clay's soulmate.

Great, the 'love of my life' looks like a short Italian mobster with gelled hair and tattoos, Clay thought bitterly as he shrugged off the light covers that encased his body. He was on his way towards the kitchen to check if there was any actual food in the fridge before he was met with a shirtless Tony Padilla adorned with only boxers that left nothing to the imagination, with a single towel in tow heading towards the bathroom on the other end of the hall. Clay gawked and squeezed his eyes shut, praying desperately for his face not to heat up as the image replayed in his head. Since the other boy was shirtless, his various tattoos were on full display, peaking Clay's interest. It wasn't long before Clay realized that it wasn't only his interest in Tony's tattoos that was peaking as he felt the heat rise towards his crotch. He swiftly turned around in embarrassment.

"Holy shi- What the fuck, Padilla!" He exclaimed as his voice cracked. "Tell me before you start walking around half naked!"

"I'm going to the fucking shower, Jensen, plus I didn't even know you were awake yet!" Tony sputtered as he hurriedly made his way down the hall, slamming the bathroom door shut behind him. Clay let out a sigh of relief as he heard the soothing sound of water droplets hitting the ground in a rhythmic pattern as coming from the other side of the hall. He made his way towards the kitchen before another distraction yet again greeted him. The doorbell chimed as Clay let out an annoyed huff as he shuffled to open it.

Jeff was standing at his doorstep with two trays of food in his hands, as he passing them to a confused looking Clay. "It's for your breakfast, dumbass," he explained as Clay let out an understanding noise in response. Jeff happily let himself in as he plopped down on a stool that was next to the small kitchen island that the house was graced with. Clay found the small area utterly adorable despite the cramped space. A small moment of silence passed through the two before Jeff opened his mouth to ask something.

"So, about your soulmate," He started before trailing off quietly. Clay spun around to face him, his eyebrow raised slightly as he pulled up a stool to sit next to the other boy. "What about him?" Clay inquired, urging Jeff to continue.

"Don't you guys notice that you are, like, polar opposites?"

"So? That doesn't mean we can't be friends," Jeff scoffed at Clay's statement, waving his hand around dismissingly. 

"Well, in your case, eventually get married," He finished as he watched the other boy's cheeks gradually grow reddered as he huffed and murmured something under his breath. Jeff raised his eyebrows, but when Clay didn't repeat what he said he just continued. "Face it, Clay, he's ripped as fuck and he has tattoos. Not to mention he has nice hair, and that's coming from a straight guy."

"So?" Clay asked, shrugging nonchalantly. 

"And you're Clay Jensen," Jeff responded, a teasing smirk forming on his lips. Clay pouted and rolled his eyes, flipping Jeff off before standing up to unwrap the food Jeff had given him earlier before Jeff tugged at his arm, forcing his gaze to return to the other boy. 

"In all seriousness, tell me if something goes wrong. I used to think this soulmate stuff was safe when I started working here, and I thought that it was really 'true love', even when Jessica and Justin arrived. But after what happened with her, Justin, and Bryce at the party, I'm not sure I really trust this shit anymore," He admitted as he squeezed Clay's hand. Clay couldn't help but feel bad for him as he nodded slowly, squeezing Jeff's hand back. Their sentimental moment was unfortunately clipped short when a slightly upset looking Tony waltzed into the room, his eyes locked on Jeff.

"Am I interrupting something?" He said slowly, annoyance dripping off his tongue like venom as the looked at the two. Clay barely had time to process that he and Jeff were still clutching each other's hands before Jeff's hand quickly let go of Clay's, his arms falling stiffly to his sides.

oh fuck, Clay thought.