Stone of Jade

United States

~ 17 she/her ~
Aspiring writer and artist. Completely awestruck by night skies. Apart of many, many fandoms ;) Reader, journaler, collector.
~ pilot pens and beat-up notebooks ~
#bluesourpatchkid
one half of the locket

Message to Readers

I am republishing this story in one piece so you can read it all together ;)

This is a short series called *heartbreak* that I published awhile ago. This short story is my take on the whole "soulmate-trope" and set in an AU.

If you want to read it in sections, there is a link to the finale (with all chapter links) in the footnotes.

Feedback is always welcome and is greatly appreciated :)

---
Check out some of my other series if you feel so inclined:

Traitors & Rebels -- a dystopian novel [continuing]
On the High Seas -- a pirate adventure [finished]
heartbreak series -- soulmate au [finished]
Unlikely Hero -- fantasy [finished]

heartbreak | a series | FULL STORY

January 18, 2021

FREE WRITING

6
When you turn sixteen you get your mark. Your mark is special to you and one other--your soulmate. Usually, it is your favorite color. My best friend Alice's pinky-finger is tipped in pale yellow. My neighbor Sam has a mark of red on his shoulder. Even though the marks are each unique, a few are more common than others. Some look like birthmarks, others look like you have been dipped with the Easter eggs. I have never seen another with a mark like mine. I was shocked when, on my sixteenth birthday, I woke to find my mark, staining my lips pale blue. Alice thought my permanent lipstick was beautiful. 
    "You'll never be mistaken when you find your soulmate," she told me that morning. 
    As if anyone could make a mistake when comparing marks, I had thought. 
I'm eighteen now, and I still haven't met anyone with the same mark as mine. Alice found her soulmate, one of the upperclassmen. Sam is patient. He hasn't found his match yet. I constantly worry, what it would be like to meet my match. To look across the coffee shop or the library and see someone with the same pale blue lips as me. Alice keeps telling me it'll come. That it was only a matter of time before we'd meet. 
    If only any of us knew how wrong she was. 

It started in early March, a sharp pain in my abdomen one morning, a heavy feeling in my feet. Every few days a new pain would come, some were bearable, others were not. I didn't tell anyone what was happening. I didn't see the need. Then, a few weeks later, it happened. 
    It was in math class right when I was called to the front. That was when the worst pain yet hit my chest. I doubled over, clutching my stomach, and crumpled to the floor in front of all my classmates. It felt as if a large block of ice was pressed against my ribs, melting liquid fire into my veins. I cried out as the cold shot through my neck and to my face. Then it was over. Alice ran to the front to help me up. She gasped and went pale when I met her eyes. I slowly stood and faced the room. The whole class was silent, the teacher had a look of sympathy. Alice dragged me out of the classroom and through the halls until ducking into the girls' bathroom. That's when I saw what had scared her. The pale blue on my lips, the mark I had been so embarrassed because of its uniqueness, was gone. My lips were now white as salt, all the color drained from them. 
    A sinking feeling set in as I realized what had happened. We had heard a few stories of marks disappearing. It was very rare. It meant the match had died without meeting the other mark. All that pain was heartbreak. My match, my soulmate, was gone.

+++
Usually, your mark is something you are proud of. Something you wear with love, unashamed. I used to be ashamed of mine--embarrassed was a better word. Worried fit too. What would it be like when I meet my soulmate? Would we get along? Hundreds of questions flooded my mind, filling me with an exciting, yet worrying, anticipation. I hated that feeling. Now, I wish more than anything I would have those worries again. 
    It's impossible to hide a faded mark. 

    The luckiest of the heartbroken are able to camouflage their mark--make them less obvious. Some are constantly wearing white fingernail polish. Others might be able to cover it with pieces of clothing. It is impossible to cover my mark. It's stuck. A badge of shame. One that fills everyone who sees it with pity.
    I find myself biting my lips when I am anxious. As if hiding them might hide the truth. But there is no escaping what happened. There was nothing I could do. 
    
    I lost my mark about a year ago. I was sitting in math class one day while somewhere, my soulmate, who I never got to meet, died. You would think that I wouldn't feel the pain of heartbreak. Afterall, we were still strangers. But it is a scary thought to think the one who was meant for me is gone. My destiny isn't planned anymore. Some might find that freeing.     I find it more terrifying than anything else. 
 
  Alice tries to comfort me. But it's hard to swallow her fake empathy when her soulmate is alive and well. I find refuge in little things. An afternoon in the coffee shop. Walking in the parks. Almost everywhere I look, though, I see couples. True, there are a few loners, but the fact that I am utterly alone in this world haunts me. 
    I have found one new friend though--Ted Willis. He was there in math class, yet he kindly ignores my salt-white lips. He never mentions it, and I am grateful for that. He's one of the few.
 
+++
Do you want coconut milk in that latte? We have almond milk too,” the coffee barista asked. Her tone was sweet--matching the tone of compassion I had grown used to.
    “Almond milk would be perfect, thanks,” I replied. 
    “I’ll bring that over in a sec!” The barista flashed a warm smile as she turned back into the steaming cloud of coffee. 
    “Where do you want to sit, Mallory?” Teddy asked, adjusting his hat. “Corner table?” 
    “Sure,” I said, smiling. Teddy knew we always sat at the same table to study. As we pulled out our binders, I felt myself begin to relax. That is, until Teddy reminded me of the result of my Social Studies test.
    “Don’t even try to deny it,” he said with a laugh. “I saw it before you turned the paper over--a 76?”
    “Don’t remind me!” I tried to frown, but I couldn’t help laughing with Teddy. “Honestly, I don’t know what happened. I studied really hard! The geography section threw me.”
    “I told you we should’ve studied more--”
    “Pfft, whatever. I’ll make it up with some redos. What was your score? An A, I assume, as usual…”
    “Here’s the Vanilla Latte with almond milk and your White Mocha!” It was a different barista who brought our drinks. “Anything else I”--the barista’s eyes widened as she locked eyes with me--“can get you two?” The barista tried to play off her hesitation, but it was a reaction I often got.
    “No, uh, we’re good for now,” Teddy said.
    The barista nodded and rushed back towards the counter, behind which she disappeared. 
    “Mal, you okay? You played that off pretty cool,” Teddy said, shifting his baseball cap--it was a habit of his, shifting his cap. I don’t even think he realized he did it. 
    “Used to it by now,” I replied. And I was. 
Sometimes it was funny--the look of shock and then confusion as the person tries to play off their reaction and pretend they didn’t notice. Other times, though, it was...difficult. The look of confused children as they notice my white lips, the tugging at their mother’s arms, the hushed responses, the pity-filled glances. 
    Alice gave me some of her lipstick to hide my mark--but I got tired of constantly needing to reapply. Plus it dried out my lips. 
Mrs. Serrano, my math teacher who was there that day, comforted me by saying it would be easier if I grew from the experience, rather than try to run from it.

+++
Life moves on. I go to the store, I attend my classes, I try to ignore the looks and whispers. I focus on normal activities, like going to the library to pick up some research books. Teddy and I are working on studying communication for our end-of-quarter project. Winter break is coming up and we have a week before our presentation is due. 
    So there I was, sitting in an empty corner of the library, surrounded by a ton of loose papers. Teddy had class this period, so I told him I’d start on the outlining. He joined me after class. 
    “Mal?” 
    I look up to see Teddy, sporting a black beanie instead of his usual baseball cap. His ski coat dripped from the melting snow outside. 
    “Finally found you!” he said with a laugh. “Picked a pretty secluded table back here. Plus it’s hard to recognize you with your scarf all bundled around your neck.”
    “Did you walk here?” I questioned.
    “The library is only, like, three minutes from the high school. Are you taking a study break?” he asked, pointing to the paperback I was holding.
    I smiled sheepishly. “Got distracted,” I said with a shrug. 
    Teddy plucked the book from my hands. “Next in Line?” his eyebrow arched as he read the title. 
    “Yes, and don’t lose my place! I’m right where they are about to reveal the murderer!”
    “Ah, I see you’re working hard on our project then.”
    I grabbed my book back from Teddy. “As a matter of fact, yes, I have. I have the paper outlined and main sources highlighted.”
    Teddy sat at the table and slipped off his ski jacket. “Cool! Guess you don’t need my help then!”
    “Very funny,” I laughed.
    Teddy and I worked on the project endlessly. Okay maybe not endlessly--we got sidetracked discussing murder mysteries. We finished the assignment just as the librarian came to tell us they were closing. It was late afternoon and as we stepped into the winter air. It had already become dark. 
    “You aren’t walking, are you?” I asked Teddy.
    “My car’s at the high school.”
    “Let me give you a ride there,” I offered. 
    “Nah, I’m fine. Before I forget--are you meeting us at Aspen’s tomorrow?”
    Aspen’s Diner was one of the best places to get a burger. Last year, Alice and I made a small habit of meeting there on Saturdays, either to eat or just hang out. They had great milkshakes too.
    “Yeah, Alice told me about it! Are you going too?”
    “Braden invited me. I’ll see you there!” Teddy’s smile grew warm under the streetlights. He gave a little wave before heading toward the high school parking lot. 
    I smiled into my scarf, strangely excited for tomorrow afternoon.

+++
The warmth of Aspen’s Diner was a lovely welcome from the winter air outside. I stamped the snow from my boots and looked around the diner. I spotted Alice and Teddy sitting in a booth by the window. Braden Cook, Alice’s boyfriend, was with them. The faded turquoise of the seat shone under the winter sunlight pouring through the window. I peeled off my scarf as I made my way over to them, picking up a bit of their conversation.
    “Have you already met her?”
    “Come on, Alice,” Teddy groaned.
    “You totally have!”
    “I didn’t say that--”
    “At least tell us where it is. Under your shirt?” Alice said.
    “Alice--”
    “Hey guys!” I said, sliding into the booth next to Teddy. “Sorry I’m late. I swear, I got stopped at every red light!”
    “Hey, Mallory,” Alice said, suddenly quiet.
    “Is something wrong? You were so chatty when before I came,” I asked, confused at the change in Alice. 
    “Alice was just trying to guess who Ted’s soulmate is,” Braden said softly. 
    “Really, guys...it’s not a big deal,” Teddy said. “Mal, I ordered you a strawberry shake.”
    “Awesome, thanks!” I could tell Teddy was embarrassed. His cheeks were red and he shifted his beanie a little further down over his hair. 
    Usually, marks were a bit of a sore topic for me, but suddenly, I wanted to know Teddy’s. “Where is it?” I asked tentatively.
    “Under his shirt,” Alice answered. “Although he didn’t say what color.”
    “Technically, I didn’t say anything,” Teddy interjected. Then he sighed. “Light red.”
    “Like pink?” I asked, smiling.
    “More like rosy peach.”
    “And that name doesn’t make it more girlish?” Braden teased.
    “Whatever man,” Teddy said laughing. “Better than a yellow finger!”
    Alice laughed and locked pinkies with Braden, “it’s the ultimate promise,” she said happily. Then she caught my eye and her smile disappeared. “Oh, I’m so sorry, Mal. I didn’t mean--”
    “It’s all right,” I said, feigning a smile. But really, I felt that pain again--the cold feeling in my chest. The sudden realization that Teddy had a match out there hit a little harder than I expected. I had never thought of Teddy’s match before. We had never talked about it--we tended to just avoid that conversation altogether. But it was true--he had his own mark. 
    It was too confusing. I tried to shake the feeling off and enjoy our milkshakes. But with each sip, the shake grew less sweet. The very moment I realized Teddy--my Teddy--would one day meet his match, something broke.

+++
I watched from a comfy chair in our living room as a light snow began to fall, coating the branches of the evergreens in the front lawn. I cupped a steaming mug of tea in my hands. The smell of cinnamon and citrus filled the house, reminding everyone that Christmas was coming. I looked at Teddy, who sat on the opposite couch. We had finished studying for end-of-quarter exams and decided to just chill until dinnertime. It was an almost perfect afternoon. He was doodling in his sketchpad. I was trying to read. Teddy looked up and caught me staring at him.
    “Something wrong?” he asked.
    “No,” I said, taking a sip of my tea.
    “You’ve been weird ever since last Saturday,” he said
    “What do you mean?” I knew exactly what he meant.
    “When we got shakes with Alice and Braden. Come on, Mal, you know what I’m talking about. You were really quiet after Alice asked me about my mark.”
    “It’s nothing.”
    “It’s something,” Teddy pushed. “You haven’t really said anything since then. Is it about the marks?”
    “Not really...I just never thought about it before. It kinda changes things.”
    “How does it change anything?”
    “I don’t know--your soulmate is out there. I don’t want to--I just don’t know.”
    “Does it bother you?”
    “Does what bother me?”
    “The idea of my soulmate.” Teddy put his sketchbook down. There was a look in his eye that I couldn’t decipher. 
    “No...yes...kind of. I’m not certain about anything at the moment.”
    “I’m not either,” he admitted softly. “I don’t think anyone is.”
    “That’s not what I meant,” I said, a little harsher than I meant to. “You have someone. You don’t have to worry about being by yourself forever.”
    “What are you talking about?” Teddy asked. “You are definitely not going to be by yourself forever. You have a whole life ahead of you.”
    “Teddy--you don’t get it. You don’t know how it feels to know you are all alone in the world. You have to figure it out all on your own, with no assurance you are making the right choice!”
    “Mal--”
    “And it’s hard, knowing--”
    "Mallory, listen!” Teddy shouted. I must have looked surprised, because his voice immediately softened. “You're the one who doesn't get it. I know exactly how it feels.” 
    “You couldn’t--” 
    What Teddy did next stopped me mid sentence. 
    He slowly reached up and pulled off his beanie. There it was. His mark. His faded mark. A large portion of his curly hair was pure white. 
    I stared in shock, not knowing what to say. The popping of the fire was the only sound in the room. 
    “You’re not alone, Mal,” Teddy said softly, running his hand through his hair. 
    “When did--how--” 
    “Six months after my sixteenth birthday.”
    “You mean all this time you...”
    Teddy nodded in response.
    “What did Alice mean saying your mark was on your back? And you said it was pink!”
    “It was pink. And Alice was just guessing. I just went along with it.” Teddy shrugged. “Mal, life is uncertain. Sure, our soulmates are picked for us at the beginning of time. But isn’t it more exciting to find them? There will always be heartbreak...but the ending is worth it.”
    I couldn’t breathe. My heart was beating so hard, I was sure it would tear through my ribs. All this time. Teddy had never mentioned marks when we were together. We had just focused on our friendship. Teddy was right, finding your soulmate is uncertain. But only some of us were able to learn that lesson. We were able to learn it through heartbreak. 
    “Now that you know...” Teddy’s voice was uncertain. “...does it change anything?”
    “A little,” I managed.
    Teddy’s face fell.
    “I meant,” I continued. “It only changes the fact that maybe, we could be happy?”
    A slow smile grew over Teddy’s reddening cheeks. His eyes reflected the warm fire that crackled, spreading warmth. “Yea...maybe we could.”
 
here is a link to the final part (which has links to all chapters)

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  • January 18, 2021 - 6:32pm (Now Viewing)

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15 Comments
  • Lata.B

    Omg yessss this is the whole story!! I promise to come back and read it!! (I have school tomorrow soo gotta sleep early!)
    Re- Yea its alot!!! Thank you so much! I really want to so bad!!


    about 1 month ago
  • Rohan’s Defender

    Re: thank you! And Awwwww!! He sounds so cute! So Pippin actually has a first name and kind of two middle names: Peregrin Elias Took. But we call him Pippin, Pippy, and Pip! XD He’s named after Pippin from the Lord of the Rings! (And I think Buster Bear is adorable!!!)


    about 1 month ago
  • Rohan’s Defender

    Re: thank you, Jade. :) and yes, I’ve had him for about six months or so! He’s a yorkiepoo named Pippin! And he is a troublemaker with a capital T (and every other letter...) Awwww, what’s his name?


    about 1 month ago
  • bunnybeige

    re: omg that's so sweeeeeeet, jade. i'll be the first to buy your NYT bestselling novels maybe


    about 1 month ago
  • Rohan’s Defender

    Re: awww, I’m so sorry!! I’m sure that’s really hard. I’m tired myself, because my puppy doesn’t even want me to sleep in on the weekends..... but I’m sorry you’re having a rough time. I’m here if you need to talk. And I’m okay, thank you. Tired, and missing a friend on a hiatus......... but doing alright at the moment. Thanks for asking! Sorry I haven’t talked much recently! And YAY I’m very excited for the next chapter! And an epilogue would be amazinggggg!


    about 1 month ago
  • its.joyanna

    AHHH OMG THIS IS AMAZING !!
    i was hooked literally from the first sentence! omg. i just... wow.


    about 1 month ago
  • bunnybeige

    re: thank you!
    re re: Yeah, i was sort of thinking of this series and how it related to The Giver (i.e., everyone gets their roles, is content, main character is different, ostracized for it, etc.)


    about 1 month ago
  • bunnybeige

    this is a really interesting concept - i don't know if I've said this already, but I'm fascinated by the idea that identical marks decide who's your soulmate, but what would happen if a person finds that they and their designated soulmate don't work out, in some capacity, I guess?
    Sorry, now i'm just rambling, lol.


    about 1 month ago
  • AstroWriter

    I loveeeddd this series.


    about 1 month ago
  • Rohan’s Defender

    And how are you, Lexi?


    about 1 month ago
  • Rohan’s Defender

    Ooh, I love that you compiled it!! So great! I loved this series! If you ever felt inspiration calling you to write a sequel... put me down for reading that!


    about 1 month ago
  • Molly_

    Re; thank you!!
    Don't even get me started on school, or there is a chance I won't stop! It's just gone 9 am here, and I'm supposed to be on zoom, haha, but I never did that essay, so I should probably do that! I hope you have a wonderful day- I feel like I've made a new friend too :))


    about 1 month ago
  • Molly_

    Re; omg stop it, now you're making me cry!! Thank you so much, it means the world to me. Seriously. You're like my new favourite person. Thank you so much.
    Also, I got so confused when you said college bio because I didn't notice you were from the US! It is strange how different the education systems are! But again, and I feel like this is all I'm saying tonight (or rather, this very early morning) but I mean it so so much: thank you!!!


    about 1 month ago
  • Molly_

    Re; okay first of all, thank you so much for reading my stuff! I'm going to compile all my responses into one so I don't clog up your notifications :))
    Thank you so much for all your comments; they mean a lot! And why I was able to write so much in the last hour or so is purely down to the fact I have a 30 mark essay due that I refuse to begin. It's due in about 7 hours, but this is more fun!


    about 1 month ago
  • Molly_

    Re; trust me when I say, I have absolutely no idea either. It is, however, definitely a unique set of events!


    about 1 month ago