YooA had been getting markings from her soulmate as long as either of them could remember. Little hearts or drawings of things her soulmate saw often adorned YooA's lower arm and hand. YooA would do her best to doodle back, although she said her drawings paled in comparison to her soulmate's.
When Jiho introduced her close friend Mimi, nobody thought much of it, until a sketch of YooA appeared on her own arm with the note met a pretty girl today. Not as pretty as you, I'm sure. The two were both taken aback and entirely floored with the situation.
Hyojung wasn't so lucky. The first time her soulmate wrote something was when Hyojung was fourteen. It just said Learn lyrics to Macklemore's Thrift Shop when you get home followed by you do Macklemore. HSH will do other parts. Hyojung had tried to respond, but couldn't think of anything to say besides "why couldn't I have a soulmate with a better music taste?" Hyojung had considered rubbing it off, but, knowing that it would also be rubbed off her soulmate’s arm as well, chose to leave it and cover it with her sleeve.
The next message appeared a week or two later, reading if I get a tattoo does my soulmate get that tattoo--Google.
Yes. Hyojung hastily wrote on her arm, hoping her soulmate would see it. Please don't get a tattoo without talking to me. I don't want something obscene. It was their first time interacting and Hyojung couldn't believe it was going this way.
I wanted to get the words BUTT TRUMPET tattooed to my forehead lmao. Hyojung stared at the handwriting. Her soulmate was insane.
THAT WAS MY DESKMATE NOT ME I SWEAR. I PROMISE. I WOULDN'T DO THAT I PROMISE. Was hastily written on her arm.
Lol sorry--HSH :) Great, so she just had crazy friends.
"Four years of talking and you never thought to exchange phone numbers or anything?" Mimi stared at Hyojung, mouth wide in shock.
"That's what she's like," YooA explained. "She wants to meet organically.”
“Her soulmate's forgetful, I guess,” Jiho added. “She writes a ton of important things on her hand and arm." Hyojung held up her palm to prove the point, which read -chem book -lit book -buy flash cards -call dentist
"How do you know the soulmate's a girl?" Mimi asked.
"She wrote about picking up pads a couple of times,” Hyojung answered.
“She could just have a sister?” Mimi reasoned.
“She probably does, at the rate she goes through them,” Jiho snorted. The four were seated at a table in the cafeteria, Mimi and YooA seated across from Hyojung and Jiho. Hyojung rolled her eyes, throwing Jiho a look.
“Seriously though, you know nothing about her?”
“It would ruin the fun of it,” Hyojung smiled and shrugged. “We’re only in high school, so who really cares right now if we don’t meet each other. It’s better than being in one of those relationships that have known each other since they were toddlers. I feel like we’d get bored of each other.”
“I mean, they know basic stuff,” YooA cut in. “She’s in high school, Hyojung is in some way older, and her deskmate goes by the initials HSH-”
“The two of them joke around a lot and whoever HSH is she likes to prank Hyojung by writing stuff onto her arm,” Jiho cut in.
“I can tell their handwriting apart better but sometimes it catches me off guard,” Hyojung said.
“They know each other’s birthdays as well,” YooA finished.
“Wait you know each other’s birthdays but not names?”
“HSH said at one point that her and JinE’s mixtape would be dropping soon, but i’m guessing that JinE is just a nickname,” Hyojung said.
“Rap gods HSH and JinE,” Jiho deadpanned. Mimi’s head shot to Jiho, alert. Jiho grinned, knowing that she’d caught the attention of the older girl.
“They rap? Ask them if they want to rap battle with me,” she turned to Hyojung. “Jiho will be my plus one.”
“Yo yo, my bro,” Jiho covered her mouth with her hand.
“I’m not going to do that,” Hyojung flashed Jiho a weary look.
“Just give me your arm, I’ll do it,” Mimi stood up from her seat, reaching across to get Hyojung. Hyojung jumped back, forgetting the chairs were attached to the table. She moved barely an inch, before Mimi grabbed her arm. Mimi reached behind her ear for her pen, before realizing it wasn’t there. “Jiho get me a pen-”
“Jiho, no,” Hyojung glared at the youngest of their group.
“Sorry, Hyojung. The Kim Rap Gods are back at it again, y’know?” Jiho apologized absentmindedly, rifling through her backpack for a pen.
“Sit down,” YooA groaned, grabbing Mimi’s shoulder. Mimi’s grip on Hyojung’s hand loosened as YooA pushed her back into her seat. “You’re making a scene.”
“But we have to rap battle,” Mimi pouted, looking at YooA.
“You can rap battle when they actually meet.” This placated Mimi, who returned to eating her lunch.
“Oh,” Jiho sat up suddenly, looking at Mimi. “There’s been an update in Arin’s situation.” Mimi nodded, prompting Jiho to continue. “Turns out her soulmate is only few years older than her, just three. They’re the grade above us and go here. It solidified Arin’s plan to go to school here.” Mimi gave a relieved sigh.
“How old did you think her soulmate was?” Hyojung asked.
“Sometimes forty, sometimes four,” Jiho said. “We were afraid they had a kid-”
“Or were the kid.” Mimi finished.
“How have they been in contact?” YooA asked.
“They write on their arms like it’s instant messaging,” Jiho answered. “I told them to just use a text service or something, but I guess what they’re doing works better.”
“The strangest thing was seeing an explanation of an algebra problem written on Arin’s stomach,” Mimi nodded. “They use it as their main form of communication.”
“Her soulmate does know how old Arin is, right?” Hyojung asked, worry knit across her face. Jiho nodded quickly, trying to swallow the spaghetti she’d just put in her mouth quickly, nearly choking on it.
“They know everything about each other. Name, age, birthday, best friends names. All sort of stuff.”
“Arin says her soulmate’s just like us; me and Jiho that is,” Mimi said. “She used the phrase ‘an absolute disaster’-”
“Yeah I’d say that fits,” YooA grumbled. Mimi pushed YooA with her arm, but it was a playful gesture.
“She says it makes total sense in a way,” Mimi continued. “That she’d fall in love with someone like her favorite upperclassman-”
“Or childhood friend,” Jiho added.
“But on the other hand, she dreads the day we meet.”
“Have the two done nothing to meet yet?” Hyojung asked.
“Of course not, duh. Age difference,” Jiho said, giving Hyojung a look. “Arin’s still in middle school.”
“Hey, be nice to your upperclassman!” Mimi lifted her arm, faking like she was going to hit Jiho. Jiho stuck her tongue out, leaning back in her seat out of Mimi’s reach.
“What about you?” YooA ignored Mimi, looking instead to Jiho.
“We’re in the same grade, at the same school, but somehow we’ve never crossed paths. I’m starting to think we’re even in the same class, because this happened.” She lifted her sleeve, revealing the phrase study for chem test!! written in alternating handwriting all along her arm. “Sujeong is absolutely positive it’s this kid in my class named Jungkook because he always wears his sleeves down as well, though if it is I might choke him. Or her. Or everyone. I’m pretty sure he’s going to fail all his classes at some point.”
“Ruthless,” Mimi whispered under her breath.
Jiho shrugged. “Either way, it’s only a matter of time before we bump into each other, I hope. Whoever my soulmate is, he’s high in class ranking, from what I’ve gathered. Like a genius or something. I could use the studying help.”
Chemistry wasn’t Jiho’s favorite class. If she had to pick a way to describe it, she’d go with Hell on Earth. But tragically, it was a graduation requirement, thus she was stuck here.
Are you ready for the test? She saw written on her arm.
No. She wrote, followed by a frowning face. The number one in my class is next to me though, so I might copy off of her a little if I need it. She glanced over at the girl next to her, focused intently on her notes from the week before. She let out a small sigh, resting her head on her desk for a moment. She had tried to study, she really had, but she had been distracted by the oh-so-important return of her favorite tv show. She’d slept over Arin’s house the night before, watching the show with her and explaining the intricacies of the plot Arin didn’t understand. A solid excuse, in her opinion.
When the bell rang to start class, Jiho picked her head up, trying to get her brain to focus. She rolled down her sleeves, a customary requirement for students on test days. The test was impossibly difficult for her. So many of the questions she read, remembered learning about, and had absolutely no clue the answer to. Yoobin, however, was doing absolutely nothing to cover up her answers. Jiho smiled, thanking whatever gods allowed Yoobin to be so careless.
Mimi sat in the back of her economics classroom, completely lost. The class wasn’t overly difficult, not really, but the lectures were so draining, with the teacher’s droning, monotonous voice, not to mention her lack of friends to pass the time. She would doodle on her arm to YooA, but of course this had to be the same period YooA had her fancy advanced literature class where the teacher was one step away from forcing the students to wear full body spandex suits to prevent them from interacting with another soul outside of the class.
Her teacher was also one of the few who didn’t put the students into pair desks, instead having them in six uniformed rows, preventing any sort of contact with another human. She had memorized the ceiling tiles. She knew each of their different shapes and differences, even the off-color one from when some students performed an impromptu science lesson combining an entire pack of mentos with a two liter bottle of cola. She knew them all by heart.
“...Mihyun, Kim Mihyun,” the teacher was droning, and Mimi thought to pay it no mind, until the girl from the next row over tapped her on the shoulder. Mimi’s eyes shot to the front, looking at the teacher. “Welcome back to class Miss Kim.” He didn’t even sound upset, which is what got to Mimi. There was no bite to his voice that should make it seem like she should be ashamed for spacing out. He genuinely seemed to be welcoming her back, like she’d left to go to the Nurse’s or the Principal’s office. “Now, the project will be on inflation. A detailed copy of the assignment and grading rubric is located at the front of the room, please pick up one for you and your partner. You’ll be working on this mostly outside of class, but will have the rest of this class to prepare. Get in your partners.”
Mimi stared straight ahead, a dumb smile coming over her face, before she turned to the girl who tapped her on the shoulder. “Kim Namjoo, who is my partner?”
“Do you think I know? Apparently there are more than ten people in this class. My partner’s name is Park Junghwa, I don’t know who that is.” Namjoo hurriedly rose from her seat, moving up in the room to find her partner. Mimi returned to staring at the front of the room, praying her partner knew who she was.
“You’re Kim Mihyun?” A quiet voice caught her attention. She turned to see a girl in front of her, awkwardly offering a small smile.
“Yes! Are you my partner? I wasn’t listening,” Mimi answered sheepishly.
“Shin Hyejin.” The girl held her hand out, and Mimi gladly took it and shook it.
“Most people call me Mimi.” Hyejin smiled, taking the seat next to Mimi and angling it so it was facing closer to her. Hyejin handed her a piece of paper with the assignment on it. “I don’t really pay attention during his lectures, to be honest, I just read the book, so I don’t really know what he was talking about,” Mimi said. “I can read about stuff for tomorrow, but right now I have no idea what any of this says.”
“It’s easy to get lost, I understand.” Hyejin agreed. “I don’t really feel like working much right now, so you don’t have to worry about it.”
“Oh, we should exchange our phone numbers, so we can find time to work,” Mimi said, reaching into her bag for a piece of paper, pulling out the pen that was usually located behind her ear. Hyejin nodded, taking her pen and putting it against her arm. She stared at it a second, before shaking her head and pulling out a piece of paper. “Soulmate thing?” Mimi asked with a grin.
“We haven’t exchanged phone numbers, I wouldn’t want there to be any confusion,” Hyejin said. Mimi nodded, relaying her number to Hyejin and writing Hyejin’s own number one her piece of paper.