There are a million ways to find your soulmate. Lance’s parents, for instance, are connected by an invisible red string that only they can see. His oldest brother, Luis, couldn’t see color until the first time he touched his soulmate, and in turn, his soulmate and now husband, Jake, has the first words Luis spoke to him tattooed on his wrist. Luis and Jake’s kids, twins named Rosalia and Emilio, are platonic soulmates who can hear one another’s thoughts, which only serves to make them that much more troublesome, and so on with the rest of his family, with everyone else in the world.
All Lance knows about his soulmate is that they’re an artist. How does he know, you ask, if he’s never met them? It’s the careless smudges of paint that appear on his hands and arms, the marks on his face as if they were pushing hair out of their face, intricate ink doodles unfurling on his forearm during school, graphite on the side of his left hand. And, Lance’s personal favorite, when his soulmate paints on their own skin and, unwittingly, Lance’s. He always feels a warm glow in his chest when that happens, feeling especially close to his soulmate.
He can’t wait to meet them. It might be naive of him, but Lance expects great things from his soulmate. A romantic First Meeting, a fairytale wedding, the works. It had turned out that way for most of his family, so why wouldn't it for him?
“Lance,” his twin sister Rachel whispers to him now as he paints her nails while music plays in the background. But he already knew, could feel the invisible paintbrush on his forearm. Lance smiles as he glances down at the dark blue spreading across his arm. He stares for a few seconds more before forcing himself to tear his eyes away and continue his sister’s nails.
“I can’t wait to meet your soulmate,” Rachel sighs, her gaze locked on the paint coming to life stroke by stroke on Lance’s arm.
“Then how do you think I feel?” Lance says with a weak laugh, trying and failing to make it sound like a joke.
“Yeah, I know, just… They’re so talented. I’m really happy for you Lance.”
“Thank you, Rach. But I’m supposed to be making you feel better, so shut up.” Rachel laughs and rolls her eyes, but doesn’t protest.
Lance is giving her a full makeover to help her feel better after breaking up with her boyfriend the day before. It was inevitable, really. Having relationships before meeting your soulmate is tricky. You know that eventually you’ll have to part, but it still hurts. Lance had had relationships as well, and he, like Rachel, always fell way too hard and got way too hurt.
“I just got too attached, you know?” Lance only hums in agreement, having heard this same spiel countless times that day, as well as every other time she’d had a breakup. “I knew we’d have to break up eventually, but I didn’t expect it to… I don’t know.”
“Suck so much?” Lance supplies.
“Yes!” Rachel reaches one hand up to wipe at the stream of tears that had begun to flow, careful to keep her wet nails out of her hair. “Boys suck.”
And suddenly they’re eleven years old again, sprawled on Rachel’s bed after Lance’s first breakup.
“I kn-knew we weren’t soulm-mates but…” Lance sniffed, glaring up at the glow-in-the-dark stars stuck to the ceiling as he let his tears freely fall. “A-and it was in th-the cafeteria and everyone s-saw. And he— he laughed at me.”
“Boys suck,” was all Rachel said in response. A sob ripped itself out of Lance’s throat.
Rachel sat up, pulling Lance with her. “Let me do your nails, okay?”
He nodded miserably. Rachel briefly left the room and returned with a bottle of blue nail polish from Veronica’s room. Veronica herself, almost four years the twins’ senior, was not far behind with her makeup bag. When their mother got home from work to find her son in tears while her daughters did his nails and makeup, she immediately set to work on homemade chocolate chip cookies.
And from that day on, it became something of a family tradition. Whenever someone in the McClain household suffered a heartbreak, they’d get a makeover and cookies. It was like an unspoken rule, never said aloud and never questioned.
“Yeah,” Lance agrees. “Boys suck.”