Why. Why did the hockey team prospects have to all meet up as a group. What does meeting someone even mean? How was he supposed to know whether the reds and pinks that exploded into his vision came from the boy he locked eyes with, or the boy whose name he’d just heard, or the boy who was saying ‘hi’ to him?
He barely had time to process his new world on fire before it all shifted again to accommodate yellows and oranges. So. He had at least two soulmates. The easiest thing to do, logistically, was to get everybody’s attention and ask who else had just seen color, but it was absolutely impossible for a person like Dex, for whom approaching a single other person was an act of bravery.
Honestly, he didn’t really want to go to Samwell. The culture at Colgate appealed more. But like hell was he not going to go to the school where his soulmates went. He’d just have to hope neither of them were idiots who were going to pick someplace else.
Well, this certainly made choosing a school easier. Chill. He pulled out his phone and googled ‘soulmate color test’, which brought up the familiar list of circles composed of spots. To his delight, not only were they not all grey, but he could actually see several of the numbers. He clicked through the test as quickly as he could without completely losing the plot of what the group was doing. According to the results, he now had red, blue, and purple, but was missing yellow and its derivatives. Huh. There was a third soulmate waiting somewhere. Well, two out of three in one day before school even started was mad lucky.
Chris was a goalie. He was very, very good at staying in one place and keeping track of what was going on around him. One soulmate was the surly white boy, Dex, who had said his name at the same time as shades of yellow filled his vision. The other was the brown boy in the hat, Nursey, whose introduction had made the yellow expand into red and orange. Chris was actually less of a romantic than people thought, because he waited to make sure he loved the rink before he pulled out his phone and confirmed his attendance.
Chris had Asperger’s, which meant he didn’t realize neither Dex nor Nursey had figured out they were soulmates from the mild confusion when he asked for their phone numbers. But when they all moved in at the start of term, and all they had for each other was thinly veiled hostility, it was the only conclusion he could draw. Worse, Dex was a white boy, and not a woke one as Nursey put it, and Chris could empathize with Nursey’s frustration far better than he could Dex’s. But he desperately didn’t want to take sides while they were all so new at this, for fear of driving Dex away from both of them. He asked Bitty for help without much hope he could do anything, being an unwoke white boy himself, but hockey is an extremely white sport and Chris couldn’t ask Ransom to intervene. Dex and Nursey needed the support of the first-line D-men, and gossip said Ransom was going to get the C next year. It was just asking for trouble to get him mixed up in the off-ice drama. Chris sort of regretted suggesting to Coach Murray that they try Dex and Nursey as partners. He knew they couldn’t be less than amazing together, which they were, and it made Chris’s job in the net easier, but forcing them to interact didn’t seem to be doing any good.
One moment she was walking with some friends near where the hockey team was playing chicken, and the next moment, one boy was flying off of another’s shoulders and straight into her.
“Oof,” said Caitlin, and then she caught his eyes and reds colored her vision. His eyes opened wide and he grinned at her with a mouth full of braces.
“It’s you. You’re the third,” he said. “I’m Chris.”
Chris looked back over his shoulder. “Dex!” he hollered. “Nursey! Come meet Caitlin!” He turned back to her, and his look turned quizzical. “Unless—you didn’t get all the colors, did you?”
“No. You know who else?”
“Dex and Nursey are my others,” he said, “but I haven’t exactly told them that. They hate each other.”
“Well, they’re going to have to get over that,” said Caitlin. “They’re hardly not going to notice now.” She knew there was another half to that sentence she hadn’t quite gotten out, something like, “when they get the rest of their colors at the same time and inevitably react,” but Chris seemed to know what she was talking about anyway. She looked up at the two boys who had come up behind Chris and the rest of her colors bloomed. They looked shocked.
“You’re my—” they both started to say, then looked at each other.
“Guys, this is Caitlin, she’s our fourth,” said Chris. “Caitlin, this is Derek and Will, but we call them Nursey and Dex. And they call me Chowder. It’s a hockey thing.”
Derek and Will turned to stare at Chris and started talking at the same time again.
“I’m so glad it’s you guys.” Derek was beaming, though Will still seemed to be blindsided by the whole thing.
“Well, what was I supposed to do? ‘Hey guys, know you hate each other, but guess what we’re all soulmates,’” said Chris sarcastically. He looked at Caitlin and beamed at her again, happiness lighting up his entire face. “I’m so glad we’re not going to do that anymore. This is going to be amazing.”
“And by god you better not ruin this for him,” said Caitlin to Derek and Will. “I don’t even know why you don’t get along, but you’re gonna try. Look at his face.”
Chris blushed. Will made a ‘well, okay,’ kind of a face.
Derek said, “Ch’yeah. We’re all a little in love with C already, huh?”
“We’ll work on it,” muttered Will.
And that was how Chris Chow bonded an entire soulmate quad who would otherwise never talk to each other with the sheer force of his personality.