All Veronica has ever seen is the colour blue.
She's still young, only four years old, when she first asks her mother about colours. More than blue, really. She sees blue- nothing but- and wants to know if what the television says is true. If once you touch your soulmate, you see more. She wants to know what things look like, wants to know when she'll meet him- because her mother is so insistent that it'll be a boy, and wants to know when- because she's four, she's impatient.
Her mother tries to tell her, her voice a whispered dreamy sigh, how things look. About red and yellow and green and everything in between, because she knows that Veronica sees blue. She can tell by the way she gravitates towards the colour, and knows. But everything she says about colours just makes Veronica long to meet her soulmate that much more. Veronica doesn't understand, her cheeks puffed out and arms crossed over her chest, why she has to wait. She wants to meet him now.
Her mother laughs, ruffles her hair, and tells her that she will eventually.
It's only a year later when Martha squeals in the middle of nap time, her hand on Ram's cheek, and starts gushing about how pretty everything is as he wakes up with a tired moan. The teachers stare for a moment, before shaking their head in this sad kind of way Veronica doesn't quite understand then and later knows is because of how young they are. Cranky and tired from her interrupted nap, Veronica had shushed her friend and snapped at her to go back to sleep, but only hours later, she realised what Martha had meant. She had found her soulmate.
Ram doesn't seem to realise, or perhaps Martha isn't his, because he keeps telling her he doesn't see a difference, and years later when Veronica looks back on it, she has to wonder if he's lying. Martha thinks so, thinks he was lying to her because he was a kid and didn't understand what it meant. So she keeps barking up the same tree and Veronica doesn't have the heart to tell her there's nothing in the tree that she'll be looking for. She can tell by the way Ram reacts when it comes to colours outside of orange.
Ram may be Martha's soulmate, but Martha isn't Ram's.
Veronica is sixteen, when it finally happens.
It's just after lunch and she's looking for peace and quiet in the one place in school that seems to be safe. Almost everyone is gushing about colours again, even those who never had any trouble seeing them, and she feels like an outcast. More so than usual. Even Martha has joined in, telling her how she used to see just pink, but since she touched Ram, everything has been so bright. So instead of listening to something she's starting to feel like she's never going to have, she hides.
The bathroom isn't empty like she's hoped though. Instead of coming in and sitting alone, she finds herself slipping in quietly and standing behind the door, because there, in front of the sinks, are two of the Heathers, while she can hear the third vomiting in one of the stalls. They're chatting amongst for now, fixing up their hair and makeup, and she's glad they haven't noticed her yet. She makes a move to leave, as quiet as possible, when the door swings open and hits her in the face.
“Ah, Heather and Heather.” It's Ms. Fleming, the guidance counsellor, and Veronica shrinks back against the wall behind the door, knowing she hasn't seen her yet. She's only seen two of the Heathers so far, and when the vomiting comes from the third in the stall, she's alerted to the presence of the third, so she adds, “and Heather,” as if it had been something she had been meaning to say all along, before she continues on. “Perhaps you didn't hear the bell over all the vomiting. You're late for class.”
And just like that, Veronica's time to shine comes in. Her journal is already out and as much as she hates desecrating it, this time it's worth it. She zones out of their conversation as she scratches out a quick note, knowing Ms. Fleming loved her too much to question her, so when Ms. Fleming turns to leave, Veronica steps out from behind the door and hands over the note, ignoring the surprised faces the Heathers wear.
“Um, actually! Ms. Fleming, all four of us are out on a hall pass,” she defends, and the Heathers are all three staring at her, for the first time but not the last. She doesn't know if they have any classes together, hasn't really paid that much attention to her classmates yet today, but does know that Heather Duke is part of the yearbook and adds in, as if she had meant it to be there all along, “yearbook committee.” The silence that follows as Ms. Fleming reads the note is almost as stifling as listening to Martha squeal all those years ago had been.
“I see you're all listed,” the guidance counsellor says tersely, her jaw clenched, before she lets out the slightest sigh and hands back the note to Veronica, waving a hand towards the girls behind her without even turning around to see their expressions. Thankfully so, or else Heather McNamara might have blown their cover, her face twisted into one of pure surprise, and one Veronica later comes to love seeing. “Hurry up and get where you're going.”
And just like that, Veronica is alone with the most popular girls in school. They're all stunned, for just a moment, before descending like sharks. Heather Chandler is upon her first, snatching her note from her hand. There's a slight brush and everything suddenly explodes behind Veronica's eyes. She learns later that she had gasped, when McNamara is snickering about how they had both jumped back from each other like they had been shocked by electricity.
“Fuck!” is the next thing Heather says, scrubbing the heels of her hands against her eyes, and Veronica is too focused on her outfit to say anything, her mouth agape. It's a brilliant red. Moments before it had been a light blue, just like everything else, but now… It's red. Red. Red. The colour repeats itself in her head as she looks up at the other two Heathers. She expects to see them in all their glory, but instead, all she sees is reds and blues and purples and it makes something in her heart twist darkly because, she doesn't understand. There should be more than that.
“Holy fucking Christ,” Heather says again and Veronica looks to her, watches the way she's watching her, before she realises what's going on. She's seeing blue for the first time, it has to be, and she wants to laugh, but really… She's too stunned to do more than gape, because Heather Chandler is so, so, so very red. “Heather, Heather, touch her. She's… It's blue. Fuck, it's blue.”
And she doesn't understand, takes a step back. Later, she looks back at her fear and laughs, but for now, she's pressed in the corner of the wall behind the bathroom door, and everything is terrifying. Not even the new shades of purple and red can help. They don't do anything to stop Heather McNamara as she pounces forward, grabs her cheeks in both hands, and lets out a squeal that knocks her breath away.
The reaction this time, isn't as violent. Instead of exploding behind her eyes, it kind of fades in. It reminds her of water colours, the way they mix when you have two colours next to each other and they bleed, before it all comes perfectly clear into view, slowly and carefully, just between blinks. So now, instead of looking at the still very red Heather, she's looking at a very yellow one instead. Her cheeks are flushed an amazing red, her eyes a sparkling blue, and Veronica almost wants to kiss her.
Instead, she tries to focus on the new colours. It's orange and yellow now. Just a moment before she had been given red and purple, and now it's yellow and orange. For the most part, she feels like she's seeing it all. It's a rainbow of colours she's never seen before, all bright and crashing and almost overwhelming. Breathtaking. She doesn't quite realise, for just a moment, that she's stopped breathing.
It all really catches up to her when Heather McNamara steps back and Heather Duke grabs her wrist. The wave of green and brown nearly drown her, as if she's drowning in the ocean, because for a moment, it's really all she sees. Then it recedes and she's staring at a world full of colour, colour she had never seen before, and it's almost enough to make her cry. All of the sudden colour is almost blinding, but the way it hurts her eyes is so good that she'd never, ever, give it up.
“You know what this means, don't you?” Heather McNamara asks, as she bounces on the tip of her toes, and all Veronica can think to do is shake her head, because it's all too much. Everything is bright and powerful and she honestly doesn't. She's never heard of anyone seeing colours like that before. It's always, always, been a flash and done thing. Never anything like touching three different people and getting some of the colours from each one.
“It means,” Heather Duke starts, standing behind McNamara again and crossing her arms over her chest in a way that Veronica later finds adorable and kisses her over every time she does it, because it means she's jealous, “that you're one of us now. You're number four. Took you long enough to show up.”
“Oh, she's always been here,” Heather Chandler says, a smirk on her lips that always manages to make Veronica's heart beat funny, even back then, though whether she takes her breath away or makes her want to steal Heather's depends on why she's smirking. For now, it's the former, and she stares at her with wide eyes, truly seeing Heather for the first time in all of her coloured glory. “We just had to find her.”
McNamara lets out an infectious and bubbly laugh that steals what she had left of her breath away as she swoops forward. She grabs her cheeks in both hands and tugs her down to her level, so that their lips are together for just a moment, before she pulls back and laughs again, wonderfully bright and beautiful. Heather and Heather later lament that they're jealous Heather stole her first kiss, but that's years down the road. For now, they both grin, and Veronica finds her head swimming.
She's found her soulmates. All three of them.
It's barely ten years later when, as she's trying to cook supper and as Heather and Heather are bickering about what colour to paint the new baby's room, a little hand tugs at her skirt. She looks down to see bright eyes, wonderful eyes, that only see teal and shades of it. He has his other mother's eyes, and she always finds herself amazed to see how wonderful and green they truly are, and how much she loves the colour, just like she loves red and yellow.
“Momma? Is it true what Mumma, Mommy, and Mom were saying about colours?” he asks, and she watches as Heather, the green one, grins and shrugs. She hasn't been able to call them by their last names in a long time, not without some feeling of confusion between them all. Their last name is a jumbled mess of dashes, has been since she married Heather, red, and Heather, yellow, and Heather, green, married, and none of them are apt to change it. Why bother? They're happier that way. So she looks down at her little boy and gives him a wonderful smile that is similar to the one her own mother gave her at that age.
He'll find his own soulmate one day. And then he'll see colours too.