Elsa had learned at a young age that soulmate markings came in many forms. Some had drawings somewhere in their bodies. Others had matching tattoos, or words (for either the first or the last time they talked to you). Some people had countdowns in their wrists, that hit zero the moment you met them. But not her.
From the moment she was born, Elsa’s skin was pale and free of any mark.
“Patience,” Her mother had said. “You will meet them.”
Elsa didn’t believe her mother.
She watched as her classmates showed their marks to each other, as some of them met each other, and she tried not to feel jealous. With time, she learned to ignore it. She didn’t need anyone else.
And then when she was seventeen, things changed.
It was during an afternoon class. Her forearm itched, as if someone was writing something on it. And when she looked down, someone had.
‘Math hw pg 101 1-13 4tuesday’, it said.
Except that she hadn’t written it. She didn’t even have Calculus today, and she didn’t use acronyms like that. Elsa rubbed a finger on the words, but they didn’t smudge. It was like a tattoo.
Realization dawned onto her, and she smiled, trying to keep her hopes down. It could be everything (it could be them), or it could mean something else entirely.
Hesitantly, she wrote a ‘Hello?’ below that note and waited. One minute. Two. Three. A lot of seconds. Her heart beat almost painfully in her ribcage.
The reply was eloquent.
Elsa stared at it for some seconds, unsure if she was reading it correctly, and then she laughed.
“Anything you’d like to share with us, Miss Andersen?” Her teacher asked, but Elsa allowed herself to ignore the disapproving tone.
“I found my soulmate.” She said, beaming, and her classmates cheered for her. Her teacher’s face softened into a smile, and Elsa’s head was spinning with happiness.
In a certain way, it was a privilege. Her parents seemed surprised, but pleased, that Elsa had a way to actually communicate with her soulmate. It was rare, they said, and special, and Elsa agreed with them. This was the best day of her life.
Her soulmate gave her his phone number, and they agreed to chat first. Elsa had asked for a somewhat long-distance friendly relationship, and Jackson (it was his name, although he preferred Jack) thought “it sounded good”. Elsa’s sister didn’t understand.
“You could tell him to meet you right now.” Anna insisted. “Why not do it?”
“I’m not ready to meet him yet.” Elsa murmured, and Anna glared at her.
“You waited for him all your life.”
“Yes, but there are all these expectations over soulmates… What if I don’t want to date him or marry him right away, like most people do?” Elsa sighed. “I want to know him, and then decide.”
And so know each other they did.
‘Why did you write that memo in your arm? Did you forget your agenda?’ Elsa texted him that evening.
‘Im trying to be a better student. Maybe Ill get an agenda’
‘You really should.’
‘Its cute how you type all correctly and stuff’ His message said. ‘And embarrassing tbh’
Elsa hesitated before sending her next message.
‘You’ll get used to it.’
He didn’t seem to hesitate at all. ‘Im glad I found you’
They talked a lot, almost every day, about everything; from simple ‘good morning’ texts, to 2-hours long conversations debating the probability of aliens invading Earth. Jack hated all types of responsibility — with the exception of being a big brother to his little sister Emma — and deadlines. He loved pastries and the outdoors, loved knowing new places, loved all types of rock music. He lived in America, in a city called Burgess, in Pennsylvania, and was constantly curious about Arendelle (in Norway), where she lived.
And despite his awful memory for duties, he always remembered the things she liked and her birthday. He was a very good friend, and Elsa liked his good moments and was there to help whenever he was sad or angry. With time, he learned that her way of showing she was having a bad day was by staying in complete silence. And seeing as she shut the world out then, he used their special connection, writing poetry (either her favorite poets or bad improvised poetry he made for her) or random quotes in his arm. And she felt better after that.
Three years passed by quickly.
Anna found Kristoff in her first day in college, and she was the type of person that married her soulmate months after finding them.
“I was meant to find him and spend the rest of my life with him.” Anna said. “Why wait? It’s what I’ve always wanted.”
It was, so Elsa didn’t argue anymore. She came to realize something about herself in the past months. Something she wasn’t sure her soulmate would forgive her for. But it was a secret she had to share.
‘I think I’m aromantic.’ She wrote on her forearm during Anna’s engagement party. The three glasses of wine made her sure that telling him now was a great idea, so she did, and pulled the sleeve of her shirt down to her wrist, hiding the message from everybody else.
She didn’t know how long it took for him to reply. Being drunk made time pass in a funny way. She locked herself in the restroom and pulled her sleeve up.
He already was in the way of writing a second message.
‘Gee, it sounded like I’m angry, but I promise it’s ok.’
A voice in her mind told her it wasn’t. Elsa got her phone and called him.
“It’s not okay, is it?” She asked him, feeling a lump forming in her throat.
“No, no, no, I promise you it is!” He said. “I—”
“No, it’s not. You wrote correctly, with punctuation all in the right places and everything.”
In the other side of the line, Jack laughed.
“I promise you it’s okay.” She could hear the smile in his voice. “I just thought that maybe you thought it was a big deal. Like, a really serious occasion, you know.”
“It is.” She hissed.
“Elsa, listen, I’m happy that you feel comfortable to tell me this, but it doesn’t change anything.”
“Yes, it does!” Her voice was a little louder, insistent. “I don’t think I’ll ever… Love you the way my sister loves Kristoff. Doesn’t that bother you?”
There was a pause.
“Els, even if it did, what could be done? You’re my best friend, and I love you, and I don’t want you to think I’m bothered. I’m not, okay? Okay, we might never get married and kiss and have eight kids—”
“Eight kids? Jesus, Jack.”
“But you are my friend, and when I meet you, I’d like to hug you and say stupid jokes to make you laugh. We don’t need to travel to Vegas and marry, okay? You make me happy, the way you are. We’ll be BFFs.”
Elsa was silent for a moment, thinking. The thoughts were processed slowly in her slightly drunk brain.
“So… It’s okay? That I’m not in love with you?”
“More than okay. Are you happy with it?”
Elsa had to think again.
“I think I will be someday.”
“That’s good enough for now.” He said, and she heard the smile in his voice again.
Anna’s wedding was going to happen in a beautiful, sunny Sunday morning. The entire Andersen family was nervous, running around and making sure everything was in its place. Perfectionism ran through the family.
The bride, on the other hand, was the personification of calm. Elsa always had the certainty that Anna would never use any type of drugs, but now she wasn’t so sure.
“Elsa, what could go wrong? We love each other.” Anna said for the fourth time, trying to make her sister relax. Part of Elsa’s brain recognized that behavior as bizarre — she should be the one calming the bride.
They were twenty minutes away from the beginning of the ceremony when Elsa felt her forehead itching.
Anna frowned. “I think Jack is drawing something in your face.” She said, and Elsa rolled her eyes. It was no time for jokes. He knew the wedding was today.
So she grabbed her phone and locked herself in the suite’s bathroom. Midway through typing his number, she caught her reflection on the mirror and the phone fell from her hands.
Elsa couldn’t move for several seconds, maybe a minute. Thoughts of murder entered her head and didn’t leave. She got her phone on the floor and typed carefully, so she didn’t make any mistakes.
He picked it up on the fifth ring.
“Hi, Sunshine!” His voice was loud and happy — way too much, considering it was three or four in the morning where he lived. Drunk.
Okay. I can deal with this.
“Jackson Overland Frost.” She said slowly. “Care to explain why in the world of fuck there is a dick in my forehead?”
There was silence. When Jack spoke again, his voice was scared.
Elsa closed her eyes, asking for whatever divine power existed out there to give her patience.
“I will kill you, Jack. Slowly. With a knife, maybe. Or—”
“It wasn’t me!” He defended himself. “I think it was one of my asshole friends—” She heard someone else saying something in the other side of the line, but couldn’t understand what it was. “Yeah, it was Bunnymund. He forgot our soulmateness worked like this. Don’t worry, Elsa, I’ll break up with him. And throw an egg in his face.”
“I couldn’t care less what you will do to him right now, Jack. I need you to clean your face so I can go to my sister’s wedding!”
“It’s today? Tell her I wish her happiness and—”
“Ouch. Sorry. I’ll clean it, Sunshine, sorry.” He sounded hurt for a moment, but then he giggled again.
Elsa waited until her face was clean, and thanked goodness that that horrific drawing didn’t come from a permanent marker.
“My asshole friends rubbed my face with a scrub brush, Sunshine.” Jack complained on the phone. “I’ll break up with all of them.”
“Tell them I said thanks.”
“Traitor.” He mumbled.
“I’ll go now.”
“Good wedding!” He sang on the phone, and Elsa hang up and sighed, hoping she wasn’t late.
The party after the ceremony was boring and draining, and Elsa found herself locked in a restroom once again.
At least Anna is having fun. Anna hadn’t stopped smiling the entire morning, and greeted all their (many) distant relatives with a grace Elsa was no longer capable of.
She decided to text Jack again.
‘I want to meet your friends.’ She wrote.
The reply came minutes later.
‘I thought youd like to meet me first??? :’(((’
‘I have an intense desire to punch Bunnymund in the face.’ She explained.
‘LOL then its fine =DDDD’
Elsa shook her head and sighed, then went back to the party.
She received a text from sober Jack on Monday afternoon.
‘Why did u want to punch Bunny??’
‘I mean he probs totally deserves it but whyyy??’
She shook her head. Jack had to drink more responsibly.
‘You don’t remember? He drew a dick in your (my) forehead.’
Jack sent two lines of shocked emojis that became laughing ones eventually.
‘Did u take photos????’
‘Of the dick in my forehead? No, Jack. I’d rather forget.’
Jack sent four crying emojis.
‘It would ve been beautiful blackmail material’
‘Love you too, man.’
‘Do you really want to meet them?’ He sent after a while, and Elsa analyzed the sentence until she realized it was written with proper punctuation.
‘Yes, Jack, I’d like to meet you.’
‘How the fuck do u do this elsa??’
Elsa sent him a single emoji — the one with sunglasses.
‘But are you serious??’
Elsa paused, thinking. She was sure.
They made plans. Summer was ideal, so she bought a ticket and he borrowed Bunny’s car.
He was going to pick her up in the airport, and she was overthinking again.
What if she didn’t recognize him? What if she simply forgot what his face looked like, despite the photos and the real-time conversations?
What if their trip consisted of awkward silence and disappointment? What would they do? Would they stop talking? God, this had been a bad idea? Whose idea was this in the first place?
The travel to Pennsylvania was remarkably fast, and Elsa had to use breathing techniques to calm down and stop thinking so much. On the way to get her luggage she sent him a text.
His reply was immediate.
Elsa took a deep breath, slightly calmer, got her suitcase and walked through the doors.
She saw him immediately. Or rather, she saw the huge sign in yellow postcard above his head. It read ‘BFF (AKA ELSA)’ in glittery red letters, and below it Jack watched her with a huge grin on his face. She met his gaze, and her grin in response was automatic and bright.
She walked toward him and he lowered the sign, putting it on the floor. When she stopped in front of him, the familiar mischievous gleam was back in his eyes.
“Goddamnit, you nerd.” He pointed at her Star Wars T-shirt. Anna had given it to her, and Elsa used it whenever she was feeling jittery. He knew this — of course. “Were you that nervous about meeting me? I know I’m charming as hell, but I hadn’t realized just how mu—”
“Shut up.” She said and hugged him tightly. He smelled like soap and something sweet; she loved it.
He hugged her back. It felt so good and natural it was as if they’d been doing this for years.
“I can’t believe your first word to me in real life was a curse word, Jack.” She murmured.
“You know me.” He mumbled back, and she could hear the smile in his voice.
“Yeah. I do.” And she felt privileged, in that moment, for the truth of those words.