“A bond between souls is ancient – older than the planet.” – Dianna Hardy
Two thousand five hundred years, that’s how long Alexander had been wandering the Earth. His name wasn’t always Alexander. It had been Achaeus when he lived in Greece, Titus when he lived in Rome, Henry when he lived in England, Louis during his stay in France, and James when he lived in the Colonies. He had been sticking with Alexander as of late; it was a name that seemed to fit in most of the places where he traveled. But he liked Alexander, he liked that no matter where he went something always stayed the same.
His name, and her.
The girl in question hadn’t entered the building yet; she always had a terrible habit of being late, one that Alexander knew very well.
When she did come rushing into the library, her hair was falling out of its ponytail, glasses slipping down her nose, and left shoe untied. She took Alexander’s breath away.
She gave a soft apology to her coworker who had covered her shift. The boy rolled his eyes and got up from the desk heading into the back office to get his things.
The girl dropped into the rolling chair with a sigh, bending down to tie her laces. When she sat up her eyes scanned the room, stopping for only a moment on Alexander before continuing to scan the rest of it.
The boy returned from the back grumbling about restocking books. She jumped up without complaint and headed off, pushing the overflowing cart in front of her.
She was humming something when she passed Alexander, a soft melody, one that Alexander had heard countless times before. He knew if he asked what it was called she wouldn’t have an answer, for Alexander didn’t give the song a name when he wrote it for her.
Alexander had spent the past month in this library. He enrolled at the college in the fall after running into her at a music festival. He hadn’t even wanted to go to the festival, it wasn’t his thing, but there she was. Long brown hair and bright blue eyes, she was surrounded by friends, dancing without a care in the world. She didn’t know that Alexander was there, just like she didn’t know that Alexander had followed her to her car after the festival ended and saw the college name printed on a sticker.
Fall was coming to an end though, the last of the leaves finally falling, and he still hadn’t gathered up the courage to talk to her.
It didn’t matter how many life times Alexander chased her, the first meeting was always the hardest. He had no idea what her life was like outside the dusty bookshelves. He didn’t know what classes she was taking or who her friends were, if she had a boyfriend. But Alexander was ready to take that step.
He waited until she was deep in the maze of books; in the off chance she remembered him, Alexander figured it’d be safer to have some privacy.
He walked back towards her slowly, not able to see her, but able to feel the pull towards her growing stronger with each step.
When Alexander reached the aisle that she was in he found her standing under a window. Alexander knew that this was going to be it. He’d do it right this time.
She looked up from the book she was holding and smiled softly at Alexander. “Can I help you find something?”
Her voice was the same, still no accent. She hadn’t had once since they went to America. But it was warm, and gentle and Alexander wanted to hear it everyday.
“Yes actually,” Alexander said moving slightly closer to her.
She waited for him to continue, a smile on her face, blue eyes filled with curiosity.
“Do you have any books on soulmates?” He asked after he took a breath.
Her eyebrows drew together in thought. “I think so, I’d be surprised if we didn’t.” She pulled out her phone and started typing away. “Is this for a project?”
“Personal reading actually,” Alexander told her. She looked up with a breathtaking smile.
“We have a small section,” She started walking and Alexander followed. He was always following her. “Our online section is much larger, but we have a few hard copies.”
She stopped suddenly and pointed to a row of books. “Here we are. This one is on the Greek’s theory, this one is the Egyptain’s idea, and the rest are other authors who believe they know something about something so complex.”
“Do you believe in it?” Alexander asked, picking up the book about the Greeks.
“In soulmates?” She gave a small laugh. “Who am I to have a say in it? Maybe? Maybe not? I’d need to see some solid proof of it, but then again, I think it’s a nice concept.”
Alexander wanted to tell her that he was living proof, but instead he said, “I think it’s true.”
“Why’s that?” She asked, genuinely curious.
“Call it a hunch, but I like the idea that everyone has one person that they belong to, their other half.”
She nodded. “It’s a nice idea, but I’m not sure if I buy that we only get one. It’d make more sense if we had multiple, maybe a romantic one and a few non romantic ones?”
Alexander lowered his head and smiled. “I think you might be onto something there. I’m Alexander by the way.”
“Stephenie,” She said, holding out her hand. Alexander wondered if she could feel the tingling in her chest like he could.
“Lovely to meet you Stephenie.” A faint blush rose to the girls cheeks.
“I could say the same about you,” She took a small step back. “I better get back to work, but let me know if you figure out the secret to soulmates, alright?”
Alexander nodded. “You’ll be the first to know.”
He wanted to tell her that he had been trying to figure it out for the past two thousand years with little to no luck. But instead he gave her a smile and, carrying the book about Greece, went back to his seat.
Alexander spent the next week in the library reading everything he could about soulmates. Most of it was things he already knew; but he enjoyed watching Stephenie smile at information that was new to her.
“It’s interesting,” She said one afternoon. She was sitting in the seat next to Alexander, close enough that he could smell the lavender shampoo she used that morning. She had always been a lover of flowers.
“What is?” Alexander asked, dragging his eyes away from the computer to look at her.
She was flipping through the notes that he had been taking. “Everyone has a different idea, on how and why. But you know that I think? I think that soulmates come from the when the universe was first created. And the atoms in our body are trying to get together again. Like let’s say that we’re soulmates. So my atoms and your atoms used to be together so we feel this need to be together to reunited what’s separated.”
Alexander grinned, “I like that a lot actually. It’s more scientific than some of these.”
“There’s nothing scientific about this,” Stephenie said softly. “Soulmates are just a concept we humans created years ago to keep our imaginations going.”
“You don’t believe it?”
She shrugged. “I believe in a lot of things, but this,” She got up. “I don’t know about.”
Alexander nodded; he knew it was a long shot for her to be a believer. “That’s what I like about it, the fact that we have no idea.”
“I like knowing the answers to things.” She gave him a smile and went back to her desk.
It took Alexander another month to finally gain the courage to ask her out. They had dinner together in a small restaurant just outside of campus. They watched the first snow of the year fall as the candles flickered between them.
The night was filled with soft smiles, and warm cheeks.
Alexander kissed her for the first time on New Years. She convinced him to go to a party with some of her friends. She was tipsy off of champagne and he was tipsy off of her. The kiss didn’t last long, just the light brush of her lips against his. She tasted like strawberries and chocolate, and he could feel her lips for hours after the party ended.
He spent the night at her apartment for the first time February. The night was filled with soft whispering about their childhood, neither wanting to fall asleep. She clung to him, and he clung to her, both praying that the other wasn’t going to leave any time soon. The atmosphere was something that could only be described as home. When Alexander woke up the next morning she was curled up in his arms.
He told her that he loved her in March. He entered the kitchen one morning only to find her dancing to the same song she had been dancing to when he first saw her at the festival. He didn’t mean for the words to slip out of his lips, but was grateful when she whispered it back against his.
She went home in May, the school year coming to an end. She didn’t want to go to her mom’s that summer; she wanted to stay in that tiny bedroom with him. She wanted to block out the world, have it only be them. But he made her go, made her be with her family. She might have been better off staying with him though, they were rarely not talking. Late night phone calls and early morning texts, she’d send him videos of herself telling some story. They both anticipated the day for her to go back to him.
She moved in with him in August. She had spent most of her nights there anyway. The right side of the bed was hers, as was the second shelf in the fridge. She hung pictures of her family in the hallway, and pictures of the two of them in the living room. He loved coming home to her asleep on the couch, the tv on but long forgotten about. She made the tiny apartment feel like home.
They got into their first fight in November. He refused to go to her house for Thanksgiving (because he knew what was waiting for him there) and she refused to let him stay in the apartment alone. He knew that her family would be the same family he met over two thousand years ago. Her mother was a soft spoken woman. Her brown hair would be going grey, but her blue eyes would still sparkle. She’d tell stories about her childhood all while making sure that everyone had had enough to eat. And he knew that her father would still be the stern man that he always was. He wouldn’t talk much, but he’d listen and play the piano after dinner while his children sang over the notes. And Alexander knew that her two older brothers would drive their mother crazy, and that her youngest brother would want to tell him stories about school. He wasn’t sure if he could handle seeing the same faces of her family again; not after so many years of having to say goodbye to them too soon. She went without him. They didn’t talk for the entire weekend, but when she came home in tears he held her until the loneliness went away.
They spent their first Christmas together at her parents’ house. He bought her a necklace and she gave him a watch. He smiled as she sang along with the piano and laughed at her mother’s stories. He held her hand as they walked down the street looking at the Christmas lights. He helped her mother decorate cookies and he helped her father shovel the driveway.
Her mother got sick in January. She went home for two months to be with her. She called every night to update him on her progress and to listen to stories about his daily life in class. She drove home every other week wanting nothing more than to spend the night in her own bed.
He held her throughout April, told her that her mother was in a better place now. He made sure that she had eaten and was trying to keep up with work. He emailed everyone he needed to and the two of them took time off from school to learn how to live without her mother.
She spent the summer at home alone; she asked him for space. She packed up her mother’s things, donating most of them. She helped her father move into a smaller house and took her younger brother back to school shopping. She rarely called, maybe only once a week if he was lucky. He understood though, she needed to find stable ground on her own.
They took a break in October. She took time off school to go home and help her father take care of her brother. He buried himself into his work. He spent his nights alone in the library trying to figure out where he went wrong. She spent her nights driving until she ran out of gas, hoping to find the answers to everything on the empty roads.
She moved back in with him in November. They were both different now; she was stronger than before, and he needed her more now than he used to. He kissed her like he was afraid of losing her, and she kissed him like he was the answer to everything.
She found the photo album in December. He was still in class as she flipped through the pictures. It was them, but it wasn’t really them. Pictures from Greece and Rome, from France and New York City, from a small town in the country to a Hollywood nightclub. Each picture was them smiling, or holding each other, or him kissing her cheek. He came home to her in tears on the bedroom floor, the book in front of her opened to the first picture of them in Greece. It was a painting, the edges worn from being held, the paint faded. He explained everything to her.
They went to Greece in June, a diamond ring on her finger. They walked the streets that they had met on all those years ago. She remembered pieces of that life, one that ended too early when they went to war with Sparta. He went to fight, and when he returned, and she was gone, killed when they invaded the city. He held her as she cried, the memory of the fear she felt coursing through her veins.
They went to Rome in July. They traveled through the city on the water and he told her stories about fighting alongside Alexander the Great. How he met her after a battle when she tended to his wounds. He told her how he left the army when he got news she was pregnant with his child. She told him she remembered dying delivering the baby. And he told her that their baby would grow up to be a hero of Rome, a true gladiator. She held his hand when he told her that their son would eventually die in battle, a hero’s death.
They traveled to England in August. He told her how she was a princess, and he was a stable boy. They had fallen in love the summer before she was supposed to be married off to some king of a neighboring kingdom. He took her on the path they travel on when they ran off together. She told him that she remembered them being tracked by the guards. And he told her how they eventually were caught, how she was brought back to the castle and he was executed. She told him that she remembered poisoning herself so she wouldn’t have to live without him.
They went back to Venice in September. He told her that they met when his merchant ship came into the port and her father was funding his next trip. He spent the next few months in the city as he waited for the season to change. They fell in love on his ship as he took her out onto the Mediterranean. She told him that she remembered the storm that sunk the ship. He held her when she remembered how cold the water was.
They went to a small village in northern Italy in October. She was the priest’s daughter and he was son of the town’s blacksmith. She went against her father’s orders every night that she snuck out to see him. He told her how he felt to go farther north in hopes of making money by sell his tools. And she told him how sick she got when the plague swept through.
They traveled to France in November. She was the daughter of a noble man, and he was a starving peasant. He explained to her how he tried to steal from her and how instead of punishing him she took him in. How they fell in love inside her family’s manor. She told him about how scared she was when the revolution started and her entire family was murdered. How scared she was as she walked up the steps to the guillotine. He told her how hard she tried to have her life spared, but the mob wouldn’t listen.
They went on a cruise in December around the Bahamas, and he told her stories about his life as a pirate. How he met her in a bar during one of the crews stops. How she demanded to go with him, wanting to see the world with a handsome captain. She told him about how she remembered when they noticed a fleet of ships on the horizon. The Spanish sank their ship with no warning. She told him how warm the water was there in comparison to the water when the Titanic sunk.
They were married in June two years later, after they graduated. The wedding was small, only friends and her family. He gave a speech about how he knew she was the one the moment they first met. She grins when he tells everyone about how he feels like they’re soulmates. She gave a speech after him, telling everyone how she didn’t believe in soulmates before she met him. But now she knew how true it was.
She gave birth to a healthy son in April of the following year. They named him Asher, whose name means fortunate. He listened to his parents tell him and his little sisters stories about soulmates and kings and queens, pirates and soldiers. They raised their son to believe in true love and happy endings. They didn’t know that he was given the same fate as his father, immortality until fate decides that the story can finally come to an end.
A new star was born years later. Long after their children were old and having children of their own. Long after Asher had met his soulmate and started on his own journey. The star was one of the brightest, its energy strong. Asher will tell his children then that when soulmates finally find each other their atoms collide with enough energy to create a star. He’ll tell his children the same stories his parents told him. He’ll tell this knowing that the star is shining bright above him. He’ll tell the stories knowing that his parents are finally at peace. He’ll tell about how his parents are finally together for eternity, their souls finally united as one.