“I really don’t like this idea, Matt,” I said, struggling as my friend tried to pull me out the door of my dorm room. “Classes only just started and I don’t want to start this year off badly.”
“What can happen?” Matthew Holt replied, turning around to grin at me. “Besides, your roommate is going, right? This will be a chance for you to get to know him. You said he didn’t talk much, didn’t you?”
“Well, yeah, but-” I hesitated.
“I know you only saw him for like five seconds but that’s irrelevant,” Matt said, waving off my protests easily. “Maybe he talks more when he’s had a little something, you know what I mean?”
"I... fine,” I sighed. “Just don’t let me do anything stupid.”
“Don’t worry, man,” he grinned, succeeding in pulling me out the door this time. “I won’t. You’re my ride back, anyways."
Matt and I had a strange relationship. We had dated for a while in high school, clicking immediately during a project and believing that we were soulmates because of it. The first time we kissed, however, there was no color in our vision when we parted. Nothing had changed, and it made things awkward between us for a while. Then we both got it together and talked a week or so later. We decided then that while we may not have been romantic soulmates, we couldn't deny that we had clicked. We've remained close ever since, helping each other train at the Garrison, a special college for aspiring astronauts and pilots, and keeping each other’s spirits up when we started to believe we were never going to meet our soulmates. Matt was really good at keeping me optimistic, and I could only hope I did the same for him.
I parked near the apartment complex just outside the Garrison campus, looking up at it as I got out. The fact that it was far away from the main building explained how they were able to play music that loudly and how they'd gotten the alcohol in, but how did they spread the word around this quickly? Most people only arrived yesterday for the first day of classes.
“What did you say to Adam when he told you about the party?” Matt asked we started for the door.
“I told him I’m not really the party type,” I replied, regret and nerves making me clench my fists inside my jacket pockets. “I said thanks for the invite, but I was probably going to stay back and settle in.”
“How’d he respond?”
“He just nodded and went back to his work,” I answered, opening the door for him and wincing as the noise of the party washed over us. “Like I told you, he doesn’t talk too much.”
“It does seem like you kind of shut him down there,” Matt pointed out, going through the door.
“Yeah… I’ll work on that. How’s your roommate?” I asked, following him inside and already having to shout over the music blasting a few rooms over.
“I’m still at my folk’s place, remember? We live pretty close to here, actually, only a neighborhood over. My dad’s a professor here, you've known that for years. You doing okay, man?”
“Right,” I said, shaking my head. “Sorry. My memory’s been weird lately.”
“Wait!” Matt exclaimed, turning to me with a huge grin on his face. “Didn’t that one website say your memory got fuzzy when you were close to your soulmate because all you could think about was them and how much you wanted to see them?”
“But we ruled that website out as bullshit months ago, remember?” I pointed out, moving towards the stairs. I'd only just gotten here and I already needed some quiet. “See, now you’re the one with a messed up memory. And besides, I don’t have any memories of my soulmate, so how can I think of them?”
“What if your soulmate was someone in one of our classes today?” Matt asked eagerly. “Was it that girl in flight class today? What was her name… Aler- Ali-”
“Allura,” I told him. “And she’s already met her soulmate. She told me the uniform color suited me or something.”
"Dang it,” he muttered. "You guys make a good team."
"I'm perfectly okay with just being her friend," I assured him. “You said there were others you knew here, right?”
"Yeah, let's go find them," he nodded, his energy returning quickly.
We headed upstairs, the music fading behind us, to find dozens of people sitting in small circles around the living room, empty bottles in the center of all of them. There was hardly a sound as we slowly walked further into the room, the silence almost eerie compared to the ruckus below.
“Spin the Bottle?” I said doubtfully, raising an eyebrow. “What are we in, middle school? Or are things just extremely different at college parties than what I expected?”
“Oh, I get it!” Matt whispered, catching on to the situation quickly. “It’s so people can try to find their soulmates!”
“Ah,” I said quietly, pausing for a moment to look around the room. “Which circle should we join?”
“Isn’t that your roommate over there?” he asked, pointing across the room to where Adam sat in a larger circle containing a few other people, the bottle in the process of spinning as we watched. “Let’s go join him.”
“But… what’ll I say to him? ‘Surprise, I’m here, trying to not act like a complete asshole now, my head was just hurting earlier’?”
“I mean, if that’s the truth, then go for it,” Matt said, grinning as I glared at him, pushing me forward. “C’mon, you gotta at least try to be friends with him. Let’s go.”
We walked over the circle as the last pair finished kissing, disappointed looks on both of their faces as they returned to their places. “Uhh, hey Adam,” I said quietly, tapping him lightly on the shoulder. “Can we join?”
“Sure,” he said, an unreadable expression on his face as everyone moved back a little to let us in. I sat next to him, Matt on my other side. I had the idea that it would be pretty unlikely I would have to kiss my roommate this way. Wouldn’t want to make things awkward, right?
“How about you spin, Shiro?” Matt suggested, a smirk on his face as he got settled in his spot. “Since we just got here and everything.”
“What about you?” I asked, a strange nervousness consuming me. Matt was the only person I'd ever kissed, and look at how that had gone. We barely talked for almost a week, we were so disappointed and awkward with each other. “Don’t you want to-”
“Yeah, Takashi,” Adam said beside me, making me turn to him as my heartbeat quickened rapidly. “Why don’t you spin?” There was a strange tone to his voice, something that made my face go red and my hands start to sweat. Why was he calling me Takashi and not Shiro? Wasn't my nickname easier?
“Uh, sure,” I said shakily, reaching forward and flicking my wrist so the bottle spun in place.
It passed him once.
Keep going, keep going.
It passed him again.
Anyone but him.
It passed again, slower this time.
Please, anyone but-
The bottle landed on Adam.
“Huh,” he said, his expression still too hard to read as he turned to look at me. “Interesting first kiss of the night. Alright, how ‘bout it then, Takashi?”
“Um, okay,” I said, turning a little bit in place. My face burned as the way he said my name echoed in my mind. Takashi, Takashi, Takashi. I could live off of that sound.
I hesitantly met Adam’s eyes, trying not to think about the fact that he was my roommate and this was going to be so awkward and-
“Let’s go," he said quietly, so only I could hear.
Forcing my thoughts back, I leaned forward and closed my eyes, my lips meeting his. The kiss was awkward, hesitant at first and then suddenly something more. I felt a shift in my mind, a click, as I realized how well we fit together, like we were-
Adam and I pulled apart at the same time, staring at each other.
Like we were meant to be.
I looked at him, panting, my heart beating out of my chest. I watched as the image before me slowly started to change, a whole new layer being added to my vision. The thing I suspected to be color spread across my vision as I stared into Adam’s eyes, their irises changing to something I had always associated with the feel of home and safety. They were the color of how chocolate tasted, the way it melted in my mouth and always got all over my lips, no matter what I did. His hair was the same shade, and I suddenly realized just how much I wanted to run my hands through it, feeling the soft locks as I kissed him and-
I practically threw myself into his arms, our lips meeting once more. I felt his glasses bump against my face as we fell backwards and smiled into the kiss, pushing them back into place as his hands came up to cradle my face gently. “Takashi,” he whispered, his breath tickling me as I laced my fingers through his hair. It was just as soft as I had imagined it to be.
“Do that again,” I breathed, staring into his eyes like their color might fade away any second. “Say that again.”
“Takashi,” he murmured, one hand shifting to the back of my head to pull me closer. His gaze drifted to my lips and I felt my hands tug slightly at his hair while I leaned in, our faces so close now that our noses were touching, our faces red as we looked at each other. “I…”
“Nice job, Shiro!”
We snapped out of our little world, the moment ruined, and turned to see Matt and the other people in the circle clapping and grinning at us while my friend cheered loudly. I felt my face flush worse than before and I burrowed into Adam's side, his arm coming up around my shoulders to hold me close to him.
“I told you so!” Matt laughed. I smiled when I looked over at him again, realizing I could see him in color now. His caramel eyes sparkled in the dim light as he looked at me proudly, that same friendly affection clear on his face.
“Yeah, I guess you did,” I said, rolling off of Adam and sitting up. “Sorry,” I laughed awkwardly, standing and offering a hand to help him up.
He smiled, taking my hand and sending a current of something running up my spine. He looked at me with an emotion I didn't know existed until now, but was suddenly very obsessed with. “You are perfectly okay.”
“Lemme guess, you guys are gonna go back to your room and have fun, leaving me behind?” Matt teased, a smile on his face despite his words.
“Uhhh…” I began, blushing as I looked at Adam, whose face openly said that that was just what we were going to do. We needed to get to know each other, after all, since all this time had gone by alone and now we had the rest of our lives to spend together in color.
“Because if that’s the case,” Matt said, “go ahead. I don’t want to be stuck between you lovebirds anyway, if you’re gonna be doing that all night,” he said, gesturing to the way we had gotten lost in each other’s eyes yet again while he spoke. “So shoo, you idiots!"
“You’re the best,” I said, ruffling his hair as we basically sprinted for the exit. “I’ll make it up to you, I promise!”
“Oh, you bet you will!” he laughed. “Now go, be gay!”