My hands shook as I dialled my mother’s number, and no cell in my body contained patience as it rang. After the second ring, her voice filled my ears, frantically shooting questions. “What is it sweetie? Do I need to come get you?”
I chuckled, readjusting my grip on the phone sliding out of my hands. “No mom, we’re alright. But I have fantastic news.” She gasped, screaming in French, “You found your Half?!”
“Mom! No, not me; Collin! Collin found his Half.” My gaze landed on the pair, who hadn’t moved more than a few inches away from each other since their necklaces glowed. Collin had a look of complete adoration as he stared as Emeraude, as we learned was the pretty red-head’s name. She was visiting her grandaunt, and decided to take up a job while she was here for the time being. They spoke softly, with Casey and Nikolai gushing in the background and taking pictures while Vincent tried to get them to stop, and give the newly found Halves their privacy.
The owner of the restaurant came out upon hearing our loud squeals, and immediately relieved Emeraude of her duties, as newly found Halves are unable to leave each other’s sides during the first few months. Some even went as far as being physically intimate during the first week to ease up the magnetic attraction between them, to allow them to take care of other matters before being glued to their Half’s side.
My mother screamed, and I pulled the phone away, wincing as my ears rang. She called for my father and his voice filled my ears as I imagined my mother dancing with glee near him. “What’s her name, Gin?” he asked, amusement in his voice that told me my mother was really dancing with glee near him. “Emeraude Beaulieu.”
My mother gasped in the background. “She’s French!” she yelled happily, and my father laughed, no doubt at her vigorous happy dancing. I laughed too, her aggressive chicken dancing appearing in my mind’s eye. “Make sure Collin calls, okay?”
“Will do, papa-roo.” I replied, shaking my head as Vincent gave up and threw Nikolai over his shoulder while Casey laughed loudly, tipping and falling out of his chair. The other patrons laughed, their eyes bright as they watched on, no doubt as happy as we are for the newly found Halves.
It was basically a Universal thing: everyone celebrated with you when you found your Half.
I hung up, then sent out a text to Stella and Thera, knowing that my mother would have phoned Alfonso by now. ‘Guess who found their Half?’ I sent, and I got an immediate response from Stella.
‘You?!?!’ I chuckled, shaking my head. ‘Thanks for the enthusiasm, but it’s Collin.’
My phone buzzed in my hand, and Thera’s picture popped up. I braced my ears as I answered the device. “IS IT YOU?!!” I winced, shaking my head as I felt disoriented. “No, Collin. But I appreciate the enthusiasm.” I groaned, and noticed the slight disappointment in her sigh. “I’m so happy for him. Tell him to call as soon as he can, okay?”
“Sure thing.” I slipped past the pair, grabbing my bag and walking out of the restaurant to find Vincent pinning Nikolai’s hands to his sides, and Casey texting on his phone. “And Ginny? Don’t lose hope.” I nodded stupidly, then shakily said goodbye to her. The line cut off and I ran a hand down my face.
My gut is telling me the complete opposite.
My phone chimed again, and I stared at Stella’s text. ‘I freaking screamed in the middle of my lecture and everyone was staring at me; but then I said that my brother found his Half and they screamed too.’
I laughed, sending a string of emojis to her.
We wound up taking our order to go, and Emeraude joined us. We all talked as we ate in the backyard, and with each passing minute, my heart clenched and a terrible feeling of envy wormed its way into my soul. I took deep breaths, willing it to go away; only for it to be replaced with dread that I will, in fact, be joining Jupiter in the stars.
“Well on the bright side; at least we’d be together again, wreaking havoc in the heavens and watching over our family.”
The thought brought a sad smile to my face, and I mumbled out a poor excuse when Casey brought the attention to me. He glared, but left it alone, and we continued on with our day, just relaxing and talking. Collin and Emeraude chatted with my parents until dark, Casey chatted with Stella and a few of his and Collin’s friends from university, and I read a book, willing the gut feeling to go away.
Most of the morning was spent at Emeraude’s house, where she packed and Collin got interrogated by her uncles. Her grandaunt was emotional and reluctant to let her go, but Collin promised that he’d bring her back to them for visits. She smiled and gave them her blessing, and we were on our way back to Vincent’s and Nikolai’s.
Emeraude was a bit introverted, but as fiery as her red hair. They bantered on our ride back, Nikolai grinning and bouncing in his seat as he sang along to the music, and Casey smiling happily. Again, we were squished in the back seat, with Emeraude’s belongings piled up the back of the pick-up. Nikolai said that he’d help us ship the stuff out to our parent’s house before we leave. Casey leaned against my shoulder, and I creepily breathed in the scent of his shampoo; for some reason it calmed me down.
“I’m worried about you Gin.” Casey said softly, squeezing my fingers. I squeezed back, pressing my nose further into his pink hair. “Don’t be.” I whispered back, and he merely shook his head, falling silent again.
We spent the rest of the day helping Emeraude sort her things out into boxes to be shipped and a suitcase so she could come along with us, since Collin refused to return home without me and Casey. “I want to be there for my brother and sister too.” He had said, crossing his arms and staring me down. I finally gave in and he grinned, then ruffled my hair. He ran off laughing when I tried to strike him on the head and Emeraude watched on, giggling behind her hand as I chased him around.
We only had an hour to rest, and thirty minutes to get ready for the party. We got dressed for a cool night, and piled into Vincent’s pick-up, screaming the lyrics to the songs playing on the radio just to annoy him.
Parked cars lined the street on both sides, and we circled around a street twice before we found a spot, earning an aggressive honking from a man who was about to take the place. One look at Vincent however, and the tires squealed as the man drove off. Vincent smirked and the rest of us laughed as we made our way to the center of all the activity.
The cacophony of music and excited people assaulted my ears and I cringed while my hearing adjusted to the loudness of the place. With my hands stuffed in the pockets of my jeans, I followed the two pairs of Halves around, tuning in and out of their conversation as I looked around, a tiny glimmer of hope keeping my eyes darting through the crowd, waiting for that lurch and warmth. Casey was doing the same, and he huffed in defeat, then shook his head and slung his arm across my shoulder.
“My gut’s telling me that they aren’t here. So I’ll trust it, and stop looking. What’s your gut telling you, Ginny? Apart from that horrid sentence.” Casey spoke loudly, pulling me closer to his side as a group of children ran past. I huffed, running a hand through my hair and down my face.
My gut hasn’t been saying anything but that ‘horrid’ sentence, but as I try to tune out my surroundings, it finally says something else along with the usual ‘Stop looking’.
‘They aren’t here.’
Exhaling, I looked up at my pink-haired baby brother. “They’re not here.” He grinned brightly and shook my shoulder. “Then let’s stop looking, and start having a good time!” I chuckled and nodded, causing him to cheer and drag me forward to where Nikolai and Emeraude sat at a surprisingly empty picnic table. “Vinny and Collin went to get us something to eat.” Nikolai said as Casey and I sat down beside him and Emeraude.
“So after we eat, we should check out the stalls, maybe go on a few rides. Right Ginny?” Casey spoke, and I nodded, pushing my gut feeling away. He grinned at me and I smiled back, grateful to have him with me. Grateful for my entire family; including Niko and Vin. They’re as much my brothers as Collin, Casey, and Alfonso.
Here they are, trying to project their strong belief that I still have a chance, and I was just feeding off my gut feeling that hasn’t eased up since Jupiter left. I made a promise to myself right then and there to stop listening to my stupid gut feeling, and start feeding off the positivity that my family is pushing onto me. To stop worrying and start living; we’re travelling the world! That’s always a fun and exciting experience that shouldn’t be spent worrying about whether or not I’d find my soulmate.
“Maybe we could pull a prank or two.” I said, and Casey cheered, while Nikolai shook his head. “There’s my sister!” Casey shouted as Nikolai said “Absolutely not.”
They stared at each other for a few seconds before breaking out into an argument, where Niko is against the prank whereas Casey says that it’s going to be harmless, and no one would get hurt. Emeraude chuckled as she watched them, and I backed up my baby brother.
Vincent and Collin returned a short while after the argument broke out and joined in, both of them against Nikolai. He huffed and crossed his arms, upset that Vincent didn’t take his side. “It’ll be harmless, cariño I'll make sure of it." Nikolai huffed again, then nodded minutely. Casey cheered again and poked Nikolai repeatedly until he snapped, swatting his hand away.
"Okay, here's the plan..." We leaned in, listening to Casey and Vincent, with Collin and I occasionally adding our ideas.
As expected, the hall of mirrors was dark, but the strobe lights illuminated the room in two-second intervals. Collin and Emeraude had spotted a stall that sold masks when we broke off after we ate, and we all bought similar ones, Nikolai's and Emeraude's a different colour than the rest.