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Just a Fairy Tale (English Edition)

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When Jane's mother had told her about soulmates she filed it away as a fairy tale. At the time her mother had been trying to distract her from her growing illness but it wasn't quite working. The loud hum of medical instruments, the multitude of tubes running from her body and the persistent smell of the hospital stole focus from their casual conversation as she tried to tell her only daughter about the magic of soulmates. The whites of her mother's eyes had begun to cloud the longer she spoke. Jane madly wanted to escape from this place, to not see her mother's tired eyes, under which shadows resided. She desperately wanted to not hear her horse, heavy breathing.

Even more than that though Jane wanted to be with her a little longer, even in this terrible place. Therefore Jane, the ever obedient daughter, listened. She listened as her mother told her of the little flowers that sprouted from your body, straight through your skin when you met your soulmate. She told of the gorgeous blooms that began to grow as ones feelings developed. She explained how the phenomenon was incredibly rare and most people would never find their soulmates. Most instead choosing to start families with those they knew were not meant for them. Her mother said that their neighbors, the Collins, were soulmates and she had never seen anyone happier together than they were.

Fairy tales, Jane thought nervously as she sat on the edge of her white blanket. "Flowers growing out of your body?" Fairy tales "There are 8 billion people on earth, how are you supposed to find the one who is meant for you?" Fairy tales. “The Collins must be an exception to the rule. Why chase after a tiny chance if people can be happy without it?” Fairy Tales. But something inside of Jane clung to the story.

 

Our lives are stories, waiting to be told
In search of silver linings, we discovered gold
And judgment taught us that our hearts were wrong

 

When Jane was 13, she tried not to think of her mother’s story but her neighbors seemed to be so very happy and her heart ached for what they had. She finally gathered her courage and asked them about it, impolitely at that. She reprimanded herself but they were not angry. They just smiled, remembering how the first small daisies had appeared from the palms of their hands. Although they had known each other for some time, the flowers had not appeared until they had begun to fall in love. Her restless curiosity had paid off. She recalled how her mother had spoken to her about them, with a smile that lit up her entire face. Now Jane shared that smile. Their story really was like a fairy tale and Jane began to believe a little more.

 

When Jane was 22, she started to work for Scarlet Magazine and despite all of the time that had passed since she had first spoken to the Collins, she had yet to run into another pair of soulmates. Until one fateful day, when she shared an elevator with a man from the legal department. She couldn’t help but overhearing his phone conversation.He’d suddenly sprouted a blue morning glory along his forearm as he told a friend about the woman he was dating. It suddenly seemed there was another example of a fairy tale in her midst. As the man stepped out of the elevator, he left Jane alone with a single blue petal that drifted to the ground. Though she still didn’t quite believe in miracles enough to believe they were meant for her.

 

The rules say our emotions don't comply
But we'll defy the rules until we die
So let's be sinners to be saints
And let's be winners by mistake

 

As the years passed Jane forgot about the man with the blue flowers and the daisies of her youth. She forgot about fairy tales. She found herself for the hundredth time standing at the sink staring into the full length mirror that covered the wall of Scarlet’s bathroom. Her reflection not quite someone she knew. Her skin had been itching for days on end like it didn’t belong to her anymore. She rolled her sleeves up to see if there was a rash on her forearm. As she looked up and down her arm, the skin near the crook of her elbow crackled and a small pale pink flower sprouted. A rose, Jane noted as she was suddenly overcome with a wave of panic. She ripped the flower painfully from her skin and pricked her fingertips on the flowers thorns.

 

The world may disapprove
But my world is only you
You showed me feelings
I’ve never felt before

 

Jane immediately ran to Kat and Sutton, who squealed happily as she told them about the rose. They continued jumping up and down for several minutes both sarcastically offering to tell Ryan on her behalf.

“It’s Ryan, right?” Sutton teased. "I mean, who else could it be?” Jane angrily pulled out another rose as it sprouted. The Collins hadn’t mentioned it would hurt. No one spoke.

***

Jane stood nervously in front of Ryan as she awkwardly stretched out her arms, which were now covered in roses. The skin underneath the flowers was bruised and scarred from the numerous buds she had already pulled out. He shook his head rolling up his sleeves and stretching out his bare arms. “I’m not your soulmate.” He smiled at Jane, “It doesn’t matter.The sprouts will pass, we can still be together.” All Jane could do was close her eyes and walk away. Her soulmate was out there and she wanted to believe in fairy tales.

As more flowers started to pierce through her skin, she bought looser and less revealing clothing to hide them. The longer she concealed them, the more the buds began to harden and die. They became more difficult to hide and remove as her bruises and scars accumulated but that did not deter her decision to wait for her soulmate.

We're making enemies, knocking on the devil's door
But how can you expect me not to eat,
When the forbidden fruit tastes so sweet?
So let's be sinners to be saints
And let's be winners by mistake

The work day had ended an hour prior but the disgraced president was eating at the restaurant around the corner causing protesters to block the street outside of Scarlet. The police apologized as they cordoned off the street locking everyone inside. Despite the air conditioning, it was stifling in the office.

“You’re a psycho.” Sutton said offhandedly to Jane as she shook her head and rolled her eyes. Sutton pointed to Jane’s long sleeved shirt when Jane gave her a confused look. “It’s unbearable in here. How are you wearing that?” It was almost 90 degrees in the building. Sutton looked at everyone else’s attire on the floor settling her gaze on Jacqueline. “You two must have blood a few degrees cooler than the rest of us humans.”

“What?” Jane swung her head sharply to where Sutton was pointing. Jacqueline wore a full body black suit complete with jacket buttoned up to her neck. Jane’s heart skipped a beat, dropping her head to the table in front of her. It couldn’t be. Jane tried to get Jacqueline’s attention to speak to her privately but she hurried past her. No matter how many hours passed it didn’t cool down on the Scarlet floor.

 

Our hearts are too ruthless to break
Let’s start fires for heaven's sake

 

Time moved incredibly slow as Jane waited to speak to Jacqueline. She drank her weight in pink cocktails that she and Sutton had created and she waited. After more hours than she cared to count an officer finally came in to tell them the street had been reopened and they were free to leave. It was about time because Jane was like a barrel full of gunpowder, ready to explode at the slightest jostle.

“Thank you Mr. President this has been fucking great.” Jane complained. She wearily covered her eyes.The office emptied quickly and she was about to step onto the elevator with Sutton and Kat when Jacqueline called out to her.

“Go on ahead, Jane will catch up."

Jane bit her lip as she looked back at the girls and slowly turned back to Jacqueline, gathering her courage. They stood by the stairs, under the only light that remained on. Jacqueline could hear Jane’s ragged breathing.

The editor took the first step and moved a little closer, bowing her head to look into the girls eyes. She lifted Jane’s arm and pulled back her sleeve slightly to reveal the deep purple bruising and scars there.

“What happened?” As Jacqueline traced her finger along a vein on Jane’s arm where the worst scare was a brilliant red rose sprouted, fuller and more vibrant than any of the previous buds.

 

So let’s be sinners to be saints
And let’s be winners by mistake
The world may disapprove
But my world is only you

 

The newly sprouted flower trembled, no it was her hand that was trembling. Jane reached out to try to stop the shaking but Jacqueline was one step ahead of her and held her trembling arm. As her hand touched Jane’s skin, it felt like a rush of cool water over her entire body.

Jacqueline’s fingers continued to trace disappearing bruises up and down Jane’s arms. For a fleeting moment she touched the stem of a hardened rose and watched it become vibrant again. The color returned to the petals and the life was reignited in the flower. Jacqueline gently plucked the rose and to Jane’s surprise the normal accompanying pain was absent. The thorns on the existing flowers shriveled and her wounds continued to heal. Jacqueline exhaled loudly as her gaze returned to Jane’s.

Jane suddenly felt the need to be bold. She unbuttoned the top few buttons of Jacqueline’s high collared shirt and pushed the fabric back. Jacqueline held her breath as Jane’s eyes stopped on an identical rose to her own that lay along Jacqueline’s collarbone. She became bolder still as she leaned in and captured Jacquleline’s surprisingly soft lips, roses littering both of their arms as she did.

Jane was 25 and she believed in fairy tales.

And if we’re sinners then
It feels like heaven
To me…