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Sometimes Mistakes are for the Best

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"Are you ready? There is no way in hell I’m gonna be late to meet the love of my life.” Kelley waits for a response before yelling again. “Tobin!”

“Chill, dude,” Tobin steps into Kelley’s bathroom leaning against the doorway. Her hair is disheveled, but shoved under a beanie in an attempt to hide it. Her glasses are crooked, but she’ll probably put on her contacts anyway. She looks, in short, like a half-ready mess.

“Do you plan on getting ready?” Kelley asks, annoyed.

“Hey, if the potential love of my life can’t handle this,” she gestures to herself. “Then are they really the love of my life?”

“Yes, they are.” Kelley rolls her eyes as she puts the finishing touches on her makeup.

“I mean, really, who gets to decide when I fall in love?”

“If you’re gonna go on this rant, at least help me pick out my clothes.”

Tobin nods and follows Kelley over to the dresser before continuing. “I’m just saying, am I supposed to let some dumb countdown rule my entire life?” Tobin pauses to point to one of the baseball tees Kelley’s holding up. “What about my hopes? My dreams? My-- That one,” Tobin points to the darker jeans before continuing. “What if I don’t even like my soulmate ?” Tobin says the word with disgust.

“You will,” Kelley reassures, adjusting the hat Tobin picked for her.

“How can you be so positive about it?”

Kelley shrugs. “You’ve gotta trust that it’ll work out, because if you can’t let yourself believe that it’ll be okay, then you’ll waste your whole life worrying about it.”

Tobin nods understandingly. “Have you looked at it recently?”

Kelley looks down nervously to where she’s fidgeting with her watch. “Only every five minutes, yeah. But I’m covering it up for the rest of the night, taking a leaf out of your book. What happens, happens.”

Tobin chuckles and offers Kelley a smile.

“Have you?”

Tobin glances down to the thick, rope bracelet she made when she was eight purely to cover up the god-awful thing. “Not for 15 years.”

“Aren’t you curious?”

Tobin shrugs. “It goes against everything I stand for. Freedom to be yourself, living life in the moment,” She trails off with a sigh. “But I mean, of course I am.” She pauses and looks to her feet before meeting Kelley’s eyes. “I’m about to tell you something I’ve never told anyone, okay?”

Kelley takes one last glance in the mirror to ensure she’s ready before nodding. “Okay.” She’s never seen Tobin look this concerned, and it’s worrying. “Anything.”

“I figured it out.”

Kelley looks confused. “What do you mean?”

When I was eight, when I made the bracelet, when I vowed to never look at that dumb countdown again. I figured it out.”

“Oh,” Kelley takes a second before responding. “Well, when is it?”

“It was,” Tobin swallows before continuing. “The day I met you.”

Kelley’s mouth fall open and she just stares at Tobin, speechless. There are a million thoughts going through her head as she tries to figure out the right thing to say. I love you too. or Maybe I’m your best-friend soulmate? or Well maybe my countdown was wrong. or Did you do the math right? but nothing feels like it’s the right thing to say. She instantly feels awful for always being so optimistic about everything working out . The silence has been long enough that Kelley can feel her quickening heartbeat in every part of her body.

“Kell,” she starts, more serious than Kelley’s ever seen her. “I’m not asking you to--” she starts howling with laughter before she can even finish the sentence. “Oh man,” she tries to slow her breathing so she can talk through the laughter. “Oh dude, I’m fucking with you.”

The color returns to Kelley’s face and she can finally take a breath. “Don’t say shit like that. For a second you made me think I was in some crappy rom-com.” She rolls her eyes. “You are such an asshole.”

Tobin’s still laughing as she nods, “I know, I know. Sorry man, it was just too good an opportunity to pass up.”

“Fuck off,” Kelley says, finally cracking a smile. “Do you really know when it is?”

“Yeah,” Tobin admits. “Should be in just a few days.”

“What are you gonna do?”

“Honestly?” Tobin shrugs. “I have no idea.”

“Well, good luck.” Kelley glances to her watch and she can feel her countdown itching underneath it. “You ready to go then?”

“I’m gonna drive separately, I’ve gotta run to the library first, plus,” she gestures to her shirt. “This has stains, so, I probably should change.”

“Alright, text me when you get there. I’ll be schmoozing ladies and trying to find the love of my life.”

Tobin nods. “Will do.” She gives Kelley a half hug before walking her out of the apartment. “Be safe, have fun, and all that. I’ll see you soon.”

Kelley smiles. “See you soon.”

 

---

 

Kelley gets a text from Tobin that reads Just got here, Where you at? She glances around before responding with Bar area. No luck yet.

“Hey, how’s it going?” Tobin slides onto the chair at the make-shift bar next to Kelley, who motions the bartender over.

“It’s not.” Kelley huffs and makes a motion for a refill of her drink. “Every cute guy I’ve seen already has some bimbo on his arm and the last three girls that have even glanced at me have nails long enough to intimidate a cat.”

Tobin stifles a laugh with her drink and scopes out the surrounding scene. “Well, come on, this is a party . Let’s mingle or something.”

“You go off and do whatever, hey, maybe you’ll find your soulmate a little early,” Kelley says with a grin.

Tobin rolls her eyes. “I’m not sure which would be a better fuck you , falling in love before I’m supposed to, or never falling in love it all.”

She presents it as a joke but Kelley can tell it’s more serious than that. “Well,” Kelley says, bumping Tobin’s shoulder with her own. “Let’s just play it by ear, huh?”

Tobin nods. “Yeah, totally.”

They spend the next hour taking turns being each other’s wingwoman and striking out time and time again. They refresh their drinks and settle onto a few beach chairs to take a break.

Kelley slips off her shoes and stretches so she can dip her toes in the water. “Well, I can’t meet my soulmate sitting at a bar, I can’t meet them dropping pick-up lines on the dance floor, and I’d try volleyball, but I think everyone playing by this point is a bit too intense for my taste. Maybe my soulmate isn’t even at this party.”

“Come on, Kell, so what if you don’t find them tonight? Fuck love, and fuck that fucking countdown. If it were any other night, you’d be having the time of your life, but instead, you’re just stressing out. Let’s just chill.”

Kelley nods in agreement. “Okay, yeah. You’re right. If it happens, it happens.”

“Exactly. Now here’s a toast to,” Tobin pauses, holding her drink up. “Friendship. Who needs love anyway?”

“I'll drink to that.” Kelley clinks her plastic cup against Tobin’s. “Let's be honest though, if they aren't at this party, are they really my soulmate?”

Tobin laughs and nods in agreement, digging her toes into the wet sand. “I always knew you'd meet the love of your life at some trashy party.”

Trashy is such a strong word.”

“It’s a lean-to with some cheap booze for a bar, a volleyball net on its last strings, and the so-called dance floor is just a clear spot in the sand.”

“But it’s on the beach ,” Kelley defends.

“Alright, sorry. You’re gonna meet the love of your life at a trashy beach party.”

“Damn straight. Or, damn gay.” Kelley shrugs. “Either way is cool with me. Man, I love being bi.”

“Twice the fun, but twice the trouble,” Tobin chimes in.

“Oh please, like you’d know.”

Tobin shrugs and takes a sip of her drink. “So what do you say, should we get back out there?”

Kelley nods. “Definitely. I’m gonna go find my soulmate.”

Tobin nods as she watches Kelley walk over to the volleyball court and join in the next game of beach volleyball. She shakes her head and slumps back into her beach chair, looking out over the waves. She sits there, thinking about the countdown on her wrist. She looks at her bracelet and sighs. Part of her wants to sneak a glance, but it’s just going to say what she already knows. Four more days. It feels cruel to have that kind of information. No one should have that kind of power. Besides, love isn’t necessarily about the right person. It’s about effort.

She thinks about her ex. A two year long relationship that ended in lies. She laughs to herself in spite. She really thought that Amber was the one . The whole idea feels silly now. She knew neither of their countdowns had run out, but she could feel it in her bones. She knew that they were young and naive but they had trust and communication and honesty. Or so she thought. Everyone thought they were they perfect couple they all aspired to be, but then with no warning Amber ended it. Without even so much as a conversation. Amber made a decision about their relationship, and Tobin never even knew there was a problem to discuss. Ever since that relationship ended, Tobin’s been hesitant to love or even to trust again. Looking back, she still can’t comprehend how she could have been more clear that above everything, she asked for honesty. Sometimes, good people get lied to and fucked over. Sometimes good people have bad things happen to them.

“I could use a good thing right about now,” Tobin whispers to herself, and almost immediately she feels a tap on her shoulder.

“Is this seat taken?” A tall girl with gorgeous eyes that shine even in the dim light of the moon is standing above her, pointing to the chair Kelley had been in.

“Uh,” Tobin looks at her, mouth agape. “Nobody sits, you, nobody is, you’re good.” Smooth, dumbass. She scolds herself. She can feel a stinging sensation on her wrist unlike she’s ever felt before and she wants to rip her bracelet off and dunk her whole arm in the ocean. “It’s free, the seat’s free. You’re good.”

“Okay.” The girl smiles in a way that makes Tobin feel like she’s floating and takes a seat. She holds out her hand. “I’m Christen, you?”

The stinging is still in her wrist but she holds out her hand anyway. “Tobin, nice to meet you.”

 

----

 

Kelley plays a few games of volleyball before taking a particularly hard

dive and hurting her ankle. One of the more sober members of the makeshift volleyball team rushes to her side.

“Are you okay?” A beautiful dark-haired girl leans over her and reaches out a comforting hand.

Her wrist stings but the pain on her foot and ankle is too bad to notice so Kelley puts on a tight grin and sits up with the girl’s help. “Well, I am now.”

The girl rolls her eyes and starts to get up to leave.

“No, no wait,” Kelley reaches out to grab her hand. “I am actually in immense pain please help me.”

She laughs good-naturedly and leans back down so she can support Kelley’s weight. “I’m Alex,” she says, wrapping one arm around Kelley’s shoulders and rests the other on Kelley’s hip to help steady her. “Where does it hurt?”

“My left ankle.” Kelley holds her foot up and Alex nods. “Doesn’t hurt too bad with a pretty girl on my arm, though.”

“You are just,” Alex pauses, shaking her head. “Absolutely ridiculous.” Kelley flashes her a large grin that Alex reads as I’m too proud of myself . “Can you put any pressure on it?”

“I can-- ow! Ow, ow, ow. Ow.” Kelley winces and leans against Alex for support. “No, no I can not.”

“Here,” Alex readjusts so she's supporting Kelley a little more and ends up half-carrying her to the parking lot.

“Taking me home, hot stuff?” Kelley asks with a sly smile and far too much confidence.

“I'm taking you to the ER.”

“I really don't think that's necessary,” Kelley says, trying to put weight on her foot again. “Ow! Fuck!”

“Come on.” Alex helps her into the passenger seat of her car. “Before you hurt yourself even more.”

 

---

 

After almost two hours of talking, Tobin thinks she might be in love with this girl.

“Woah, you’re a teacher ?” Tobin looks at Christen with her mouth agape. “That is so cool I fucking love teachers. “Well, I didn’t love any of my teachers,” she pauses to wiggle her eyebrows for added effect. “That would’ve been wrong. Well, my biology teacher was actually,” she trails off, looking at the waves in front of them. “But that’s irrelevant.”

“You’re pretty drunk,” Christen says with a small smile.

“And you’re just pretty.”

“You’re not too bad yourself.”

“I’m gonna be honest,” Tobin says, flashing a smile to Christen and leaning forward. “Because I’m a little drunk, and frankly, you are gorgeous.”

“What’s the secret?”

Tobin swallows for a second before smiling again. “I hate the countdown,” she sounds out each syllable like it’s an SAT word. I think it’s dumb and I have since I was eight years old. I made a bracelet and haven’t looked at it since then.”

“So you don’t know when you’re supposed to meet your soulmate?” Christen pulls her sleeve down to hide the 00:00:00 blinking on her arm.

“Not a clue.” Tobin leans back in her chair with a sigh. “Alright, that’s a lie. I figured it out and I’m supposed to meet them in a few days.”
Christen nods.

“And you know what, don’t even tell me yours. It’s clearly not me or you probably would’ve already said something, and--” Tobin cuts herself off with a loud hiccup. “And I don’t, we don’t, it’s not,” she pauses. “That negativity is not nega-necessary, you know what I’m saying?”

Christen rolls her eyes but she’s laughing. “Yeah, I get it.”

Christen’s spent her whole life waiting for this moment. When her countdown would run out. But now it’s finally happened, and it isn’t returned. Tobin is her soulmate, and Tobin’s countdown is still ticking. And if she’s being honest with herself, Tobin’s whole philosophy of fuck the countdown is really appealing now that she thinks about it.

It feels like a cruel trick of fate that she wasted twenty-four years counting to the moment she would tap Tobin on the shoulder, and Tobin doesn’t even care about the idea of soulmates. But, in a weird way, it’s kind of refreshing.

“So what do you say we go back to my place?” Tobin leans forward and the alcohol smell on her breath is strong enough to make a sober person tipsy.

Christen smiles but shakes her head. “What do you say you take this card,” she folds her business card in Tobin’s hands. “And call me when you’ve sobered up.”

Tobin smiles and holds the card up triumphantly. “That I will do.”

Christen stands from her chair with another glance to her wrist, just to be sure she’s right.

00:00:00

Sure enough. It was Tobin.

“Hey wait, Chris,” Tobin calls out, rising from her chair and stumbling a few steps closer so she’s in front of Christen. “I really, really like you. And I think soulmates are dumb, but you’re not. And I think that even if it means that the dumb countdown on my wrist is wrong, that doesn’t mean that this isn’t right. It feels right.”

It’s the most eloquently-put thing Tobin’s said all night.

“I gotta ask,” Tobin offers a half-smile. “When does your countdown end?”

Christen leans closer to give Tobin a kiss on the cheek. “Goodnight, Tobin. Call me.”

 

---

 

A doctor walks into Kelley’s room and picks up her chart from the foot of the bed.

“HI, I’m Dr. Jones and I will be treating you tonight.” He reaches out his hand to Kelley and Alex with a bright smile. “Let me pull up your x-rays and we can get a look at what’s going on.”

“You probably broke your ankle,” Alex says with an eyeroll.

“I’m probably fine ,” Kelley says, glaring at Alex.

“Well,” Dr. Jones swivels around in his chair to face the two of them. “Your ankle is not broken.”

Ha ,” Kelley says, sticking her tongue out at Alex.

“But,” Dr. Jones cuts back in. “Two of the bones in your foot are broken.”

Alex sighs and leans back in her uncomfortable chair.

“I’ll have someone back in here to put you in a cast and then get some release paperwork.”

As the door closes, Kelley turns to Alex. “Why are you even still here?”

“What, you think I want to be sitting in a hospital with some idiot I don’t even know?”

“You forgot the annoying part.”

“Oh, my bad, some annoying idiot I don’t know?”

Kelley rolls her eyes, because she just continues to annoy her. “Don’t you have better things to do than sit here?”

“Yes.” Alex lets out a breath that she feels like she’s been holding in since she first saw Kelley.  “I was supposed to meet my soulmate tonight.” Alex holds her arm up to display the 00:00:00 flashing on her wrist. “But now it’s too late. Thanks to you.”

“Then why are you even here?”

Alex shakes her head and looks away in lieu of a response.

“What? You clearly hate me, so why? Why did you stay?”

“I don’t know.” Alex stands up with a huff, grabbing her purse and storming out of the room.

Kelley crosses her arms and a moment later, a very tired-looking nurse walks in to make her cast. She takes off her watch to look at her own countdown while the nurse begins to wrap her foot.

00:00:00

“I was supposed to meet my soulmate too,” she mutters to herself.

 

---

 

When Tobin gets home, she’s over the moon about Christen. So much so, that she thinks her countdown may be wrong.

Tobin digs out the crumpled, stained piece of paper that she did her calculations on so many years ago.

731 days = 2 years

15 years, 47 days.

May 18th, 2018. About 1:00 am.

It’s more complicated than that, but the numbers are swimming in front of Tobin’s face and she can’t figure out where her math went wrong.

She starts crying over the paper because it’s not fair . It’s not fair that this girl isn’t her soulmate. This girl seems so perfect and she’s the first girl since Amber that has actually made her feel like maybe soulmates are real.

It must be a cruel joke. Four more days.

Tobin looks at the thick bracelet that covers her countdown and shakes her head. It isn’t worth it.

She starts reading overt the numbers again. I was only eight. Maybe I made a mistake.

She can’t find any mistakes, and she falls asleep crying on her desk.

 

---

 

Kelley takes a cab home from the hospital at about 4am. She spends the forty minute ride with far too many thoughts. Who is my soulmate? Why did Alex take me to a hospital so far away? How did Tobin’s night go? Why do I feel like shit? How did what was supposed to be the best night of my life turn into something so shitty? Who the hell is supposed to be my soulmate?

When Kelley finally gets to the apartment, she uses her crutches to get to her room and flops onto her bed, falling asleep before she can even change her clothes.

 

---

 

The next morning when Kelley wakes up, she realizes that she has made a grave mistake.

“Tobin!” Kelley crutches down the hall, calling for her best friend. “Tobin! Tobin!” She busts into Tobin’s room and calls her name again. “Tobin! Wake up!”

Tobin stirs and looks to her doorway where Kelley is leaning on her crutches. “What,” she closes her eyes and takes a deep breath. “What’s up dude?”

“I think I met my soulmate last night.”

Tobin squints and looks back to the paper she fell asleep on, then back to Kelley. “Me too, dude.”

“What?” Kelley rushes to Tobin’s side as fast as she can. “You? In love? A soulmate?”

“Yeah,” Tobin nods. “I don’t believe it either. Anyway, what the hell happened?”

“I broke my foot, and I think my soulmate took me to the hospital.”

“Seriously?”

“Seriously. But also, I think I fucked it up.”

“How?”

“I was a total asshole to her and totally ungrateful.”

“Wait, how did you even break your foot?”

“Volleyball.” Kelley rolls her eyes. “I didn’t even want to play but then I fell and it hurt so much and this beautiful girl took me to the hospital and I was an asshole the whole time and told her I didn’t need to go but, obviously,” Kelley sighs. “I obviously did. And my foot is broken. In two places.”

“Dude,” Tobin grimaces and rubs her temples. “My head is pounding. I am so hungover, and honestly,” Tobin shakes her head. “Everything from last night feels like a fever dream. Let’s go have some breakfast, then take it from the top.”

 

---

 

Tobin clears their plates before collapsing onto the couch next to Kelley. “You’re lucky your foot is broken, because I am not a cook.”

“Yeah, I can tell by how awful your omelets are.”

“Well if you hadn’t gone and broken your foot, you could’ve made breakfast.”

“Well if you’d ever learned how to crack an egg, my omelet wouldn’t have been crunchy.”

Tobin rolls her eyes. “Anyway, so what are you gonna do about Alex?”

“Her name’s Alex, and I’m gonna find her.”

“How?”

“I don’t know yet. Anyway,” Kelley shakes her head and turns back towards Tobin. “Do you seriously think you met your soulmate? I thought you had four more days?”

“I thought so too, but,” Tobin shrugs. “I don’t know, I checked the math and nothing seems wrong.”

“Let me see that.” Kelley holds her hand out for the crumpled up piece of paper and starts looking it over. “Tobin,” Kelley locks eyes, making a very serious face.
“You dumbass.” She reaches out and slaps Tobin upside the head.

“What, dude? Chill!”

Kelley slaps Tobin again. “You are the dumbest person I know.”

“Why?”

Kelley holds up the paper and points to the line that reads 731 days = 2 years . “Seven hundred thirty-one days equals  two years?”

“Yeah?”

“Tobin. Do you remember in tenth grade when I told you that there is only a leap year every four years? Not every two years?”

“Oh, my, god.” Tobin looks down at her wrist. “Oh my god. So it’s not in four days.”

“Nope.”

“It’s,” she pauses. “Oh my god, it was last night. This is too good to be true.”

“Dude, you’ve gotta cut that bracelet off.”

“It’s been fifteen years, I can’t just--” Tobin stops herself as Kelley gathers her crutches and starts toward the kitchen. “What are you doing?”

“Dude, we’re cutting that thing off.” She rummages through the junk drawer until she pulls out a pair of scissors. Kelley starts to fit the scissors in between her hand and the crutch until Tobin rushes up to stand in front of her.

“Let’s not try holding those while you’re on crutches, okay?” Tobing carefully takes the scissors from Kelley. “I can’t believe I did my math wrong. Even so, Christen thinks I’m not gonna find my soulmate for another few days. I can’t just show up on her front doorstep and say that eight year old me was a dumbass.”

“Oh come on, you’re always the one saying soulmates are overrated anyway,” Kelley shrugs. “Just get some flowers and chocolates or whatever and show up. No big deal.”

“You make it sound easy.”

‘I’m a hopeless romantic, what can I say? Now let’s cut off that bracelet, buy some chocolates, and go get that girl!” Kelley holds her hand up for a  high five, letting her crutch fall to the ground with a clatter.

Tobin rolls her eyes and bends down to pick it up for her. “Fine, on one condition.” Tobin hands the crutch back over ot Kelley. “You have to promise me not to do anything crazy about Alex. I know you think she’s the one--”

“I know she is.”

Tobin doesn’t acknowledge the interruption. “But you have to be chill. No buying a dozen roses , no five pounds of chocolate , no hot air balloon to her doorstep . None of that.”

“I wouldn’t--”

“You would, and you have, Kell.”

Kelley nods understandingly. “Fine, can I please cut off that bracelet now? It’s been, like, nine years of me knowing you and telling you that it clashes with every outfit you wear, ever.”

Tobin hands the scissors and holds out her hand. “Really doing this, huh?”

“Yes.” Kelley slips the scissors around the thick material of the bracelet.

“Dude,” Tobin pulls her hand away. “That’s cold.”

Dude ,” Kelley lowers her voice to mock Tobin. “You’re fine. Now don’t you wanna see if Christen is the one?”

Tobin smiles with a nod. “Yeah, you’re right.”

Kelley clips the bracelet off and as the strands falls away, she looks to see that Tobin’s eyes are slammed shut. “You can look, Tobs.”

Tobin smiles as she looks down to her wrist.

00:00:00

Tobin notices a warmth in her heart that she hasn’t felt since she was in love with Amber. “I,” Tobin pauses. “I’ve gotta go get the girl. This is the girl.”

“This is the girl,” Kelley reassures her. “Go get her.”

 

---

 

Kelley spends the rest of the evening trying to find Alex. She starts with checking Facebook for Alexandra, Alexis, and any other Alex-like names she can think but that just leads her down a long road of photo-album digging that leaves her feeling like a stalker. She checks the outdated phone book that she and Tobin use as a doorstop, but after page 20 she feels like she would rather gouge her eyes out. She exhausts her Twitter and Instagram searches before reaching her last resort. Google.

It doesn’t take long before Kelley realizes that Alex Los Angeles can only be googled so many times in so many ways before she, once again, wants to gouge her eyes out.

By the time the sun is setting, Kelley finally drags herself into the kitchen to fuel her body with something other than coffee and the salmonella omelet Tobin made earlier. She makes it all the way into the kitchen before registering what she saw in the living room. She crutches backwards as if rewinding the last fifteen seconds and looks over to Tobin, who is cuddled on the couch with a gorgeous girl.

Kelley moves into the living room and stands in between her friend and the tv. “So you’re the beautiful specimen that made my best friend believe in love again.”.

“I, uh,” Christen starts blushing and looks to Tobin for help.

“Leave her alone, Kell.”

“Fine, fine.” Kelley shrugs. She goes back to her room and settles on ordering pizza and doing whatever she can to locate Alex, hopefully without getting a restraining order for stalking in the process.

 

---

 

 The next morning Kelley makes her way into the kitchen where Tobin is preparing two cups of coffee. “Someone had a visitor last night,” she says with a smirk. “So how’d you do it?” Kelley takes a seat on the bar stool as Tobin pulls down a third mug for Kelley. “A dozen roses? Twelve dozen roses? Sky writing?”

Tobin rolls her eyes as she pours Kelley’s coffee and hands it over. “You know me, I’m too low-key for that kind of stuff. We just met at a coffee shop.”

-

Tobin made her way out of the apartment, digging Christen’s card out of her wallet.

Christen Press. Tutor.

555-2317

She sent Christen a text that read, Hey, it’s Tobin :) Can we get coffee? Along with a pin to her favorite coffee shop.

Minutes later Christen responded with a Be there in twenty! Accompanied by a heart emoji that made Tobin feel light-headed.

She spent the five minutes before Christen got there nervously tapping her cup so much that she was worried she would knock it over. Finally, she saw Christen walk through the door and she swore her heart skipped a beat.

Christen smiled when they made eye contact and offered a small wave. She ordered her drink at the counter then took a seat across from Tobin.

“The math was wrong,” Tobin said before Christen even had a chance to say hello.

“Is this a teacher thing, or--”

“No, no.” Tobin shook her head with a smile. “My math, when I was eight. Eight year old me thought there was a leap year every two years, not four years, so I was four days off. My math was wrong. My countdown timed out when I met you. You’re my soulmate.”

Christen blinked slowly as she tried to process the information. In the past twelve hours, she had already started her grieving over the fact that Tobin wasn’t her soulmate. And now she was? “You, uh,” Christen closed her mouth without finishing the sentence.

“I know I said I don’t believe in all this stuff, but,” Tobin smiled. “When I got home last night, I dug through my old journal to find the paper and I talked it all over with my best friend and,” she held up her wrist to show the zeros in place of where her bracelet used to be. “I cut off my bracelet. And it was you. So,” Tobin shrugged. “I guess my question is, once again, when does your countdown end?”

Christen showed her own wrist, prompting a smile from Tobin. “It went off when I met you, but I was too scared to say anything. Then when you said yours would go off in a few days,” Christen looked down at her coffee. “I guess I thought we could just be friends or something.”

“Well, Tobin reached her hand out for Christen’s. “What do you say we decide to be more than friends?”

-

“And, well,” Tobin smiles as she grabs hers and Christen’s coffee mugs. “The rest is history. How are things going with Alex?”

“They’re not.” Kelley rolls her eyes. “I don’t have her number and I’ve already looked for her every legal way I can think of.”

“Dude,” Tobin starts making her way back to her bedroom. “Just give Mark a call, he threw the party.”

“You genius.” Kelley shakes her head as she pulls out her phone. “You freaking genius.”

 

---

 

Kelley gets Alex’s address from Mark and, after changing into clothes nicer than pajamas, she leaves the apartment. She goes to the store first and between one of the scooter carts that she’s always wanted to try and the help of a very cute cashier that she normally would’ve hit on, she gets what she needs to make the perfect move to win Alex over.

She pulls into a spot on Alex’s street and double checks the address from Mark before getting out of her car. She holds the bouquet of flowers between her teeth and lets the chocolate hang in a bag around her wrist as she makes her way to Alex’s front door. She takes a second to catch her breath, crutches are more tiring than they look, and pulls the chocolates out of the bag. She leans forward to press the doorbell and then adjusts the flowers so the best ones are facing forward.

Alex answers the door and her jaw drops at the sight of Kelley.

“I think you’re my soulmate,” Kelley admits. “And, before you say anything,” she takes a breath for some extra courage. “I think you think so too, and that’s why you stayed at the hospital, and why you took me there in the first place. I think that’s why both of our countdowns went off the same night, and neither of us noticed. I think you are kind and beautiful and probably more wonderful than I could ever deserve. I think that if it weren’t for the sudden pain in my foot, I would have felt a warmth in my heart when I first looked at you. The same warmth that I know I feel right now. And I think that I owe you a million apologies for being such a jerk, but,” she holds out the box of chocolates. “I hope this is a good enough start.”

Alex contemplates what to say before finally settling on, “I think you’re a jerk,” which Kelley takes as a bad sign. “I think you are selfish and ungrateful and incapable of seeing what’s right in front of you. But,” Alex offers a small smile. “I also think that everyone deserves a second chance. I think that you’re right about why I stayed at the hospital for so long and I think that you’re cute as hell. I know that’s my favorite brand of chocolate, and those flowers would look amazing on my mantle. I know that warm feeling you’re talking about, because I feel it right now too.” Alex’s smile grows and she reaches a hand out to Kelley. “So come inside, and let’s get to know each other."